SPIRITUAL GROWTH Q23:115

Abdul-Alim Badejo* was on television reading the Qur’an. Big deal, you might say but this was a 10 year old boy reading the Qur’an in Braille (I didn’t even know that existed) and with proper tajwid!
My husband’s first remark was, ‘And some of us with sight cannot even read.’ How true! Those deprived of their sight seem to visualise the Aakhirah better than those of us with it.

It’s not only bad that some of us cannot read the Qur’an, it’s worse because even our children can’t. Of course they can recite the English alphabets and the numbers backwards including the times table and the National anthem plus a myriad of songs at a very young age but they cannot even say ‘Bismillah.’ So what excuse will suffice?


Indeed, we are truly blessed now. Those of us reading this do not need to send our barefooted children to faraway schools on foot after fetching water from the well 5km away. Schools are everywhere we look; information is at our fingertips; a plethora of learning resources are available; degrees can be earned online.

We will not succeed in this world or in the Hereafter if we do not seek to develop ourselves and our children in every way. Some of us have never had the opportunity of learning the Qur’an while some us dropped it like a hot potato in our youth and have not returned to it since then.

Besides our financial growth, we need to develop in other fields especially spiritually. Just as we will be unhappy if not promoted at work, likewise we should be unhappy at our stunted growth in the deen. Being educated in the deen will help us discern bid’ah from sunnah, Islam from culture and help us to be better Muslims.

No excuses! Create time out of no time! It’s never too late. Nothing is more important than the Aakhirah.

*Not his real name

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LET ME BE BETTER Q7:51

I hope to be self-employed someday. I would also like to be able to employ a couple of individuals to work with me, but I worry about my quality of leadership when the time comes.

You see, I have not had any role models in terms of entrepreneurship. So far, my bosses have not been terrific. I fear there’s something that strips away niceness before one can attain success in this world. It’s like there is a door that one enters and his soul and humanity is snatched away in exchange for accomplishment. Do these big guys have a clue about how their actions affect lives? Are they aware of how they hurt and oppress people? How do they sleep at night? Do they not fear the repercussions of their actions?


I wish to have a wonderful establishment that my employees will be so happy to work in that they will look forward to resuming work each morning. I will respect them and be kind to them but be firm and get the work done. I will know their children by name and have a nursery for mothers to attend to their infants. They will have free medical care or medical insurance, discounts on company products, paid maternity and paternity leave, generous allowances and bonuses…

And then it begins to seem like a politician’s manifesto.

When we gripe about how terrible our boss is (at different places I have worked), I always make a mental note to not be like that but man is indeed forgetful. Now, I have a little notebook in which I note my observations. I like to believe Allah has placed me under such bosses to appreciate how difficult employers make the lives of their employees and to warn me not to behave likewise. When I become a boss, I should ensure my life reflects the teachings of Islam.

Abu Hurairah (R.A.) reported Allah’s Messenger (SAW) as saying:
Verily, Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, would say on the Day of Resurrection: O son of Adam, I was sick but you did not visit Me.
He would say: O my Lord, how could I visit You when You are the Lord of the Worlds?
Thereupon He would say: Didn’t you know that such and such servant of Mine was sick but you did not visit him and were you not aware of this, that if you had visited him, you would have found Me by him?
O son of Adam, I asked food from you but you did not feed Me.
He would say: My Lord, how could I feed You when You are the Lord of the worlds?
He said: Didn’t you know that such and such servant of Mine asked food from you but you did not feed him, and were you not aware that if you had fed him you would have found him by My side?
O son of Adam, I asked drink from you but you did not provide Me.
He would say: My Lord, how could I provide You when You are the Lord of the worlds?
Thereupon He would say: Such and such of servant of Mine asked you for a drink but you did not provide him, and had you provided him drink you would have found him near Me.

I can only pray and yearn desperately for my prayer to be answered: may I never forget where I came from.

I shall be better than my bosses, in sha Allah!

What improvements would you like to see at your workplace? Please, share your thoughts.

TASU’A AND ‘ASHURA Q9.36

I apologise to my regular readers for going AWOL. No excuses to give. Here’s today’s post:
muharram
It’s going to be Tasu’a and ‘Ashura (9th and 10th of Muharram) in a few days (2nd and 3rd of November, 2014) so remember to make your intention before that day and make whatever plans you have to.

Ibn Abbas narrated that when the Prophet (SAW) arrived at Madina, the Jews were observing the fast on ‘Ashura and they said, this is the day when Moses became victorious over Pharoah.’ On that the Prophet (SAW) said to his companions: You have more right to celebrate Moses’ victory than they have so fast on this day. – Sahih Bukhari Book 65 Hadith 4726

Tasu’a and ‘Ashura mean the ninth and tenth respectively. These days are for optional but recommended fasting days in the Islamic calendar.

Narrated one of the wives of the Prophet (SAW): Hunaydah ibn Khalid narrated from his wife on the authority of one of the wives of the Prophet (SAW) who said, ‘The Messenger of Allah (SAW) used to fast the first nine days of Dhul Hijjah, ‘Ashura, and three days of every month…” – Sahih from Sunan Abi Dawud 2437

Technically, the Prophet (SAW) was only said to have fasted on ‘Ashura and which was initially compulsory before the advent of Ramadan. He had promised to include the 9th the next year but he did not live to see it. It is hoped that fasting that day will be accepted by Allah as expiation for sins of the previous year.

Muharram, Rajab, Dhul Qaddah and Dhul Hijjah are the 4 sacred months in Islam, but the sacredness of Ramadan is beyond par. The ‘haram’ in Muharram denotes its sanctity; the gravity of evil done in this month is more than if done in non-sacred months.

The Shia view it as a day of mourning as Hussein ibn Ali (R.A.), one of the Rasul (SAW)’s grandsons, was killed at the Battle of Karbala. Some flog or cut themselves, weep and visit his grave/shrine in Iraq but this was never practised during the Prophet (SAW)’s time. It is still worthy to keep his martyrdom on our minds on that day and remember all other Muslims martyrs slain for Allah’s sake.

I’ll reiterate; it is a VOLUNTARY fast so ladies, seek your husband’s permission to fast, if you are interested.

SEEKING THE QIBLA Q2.144

I have a lousy sense of direction, and that is putting it mildly. My parents relocated to another house while I was in the University and to date, I cannot find my way to the house on my own. Yeah, it’s that bad. But I know there has got to be people worse than me.

I haven’t held a compass before so I don’t think I will understand how to use it to find the Qibla. When I get to strange places, I often ask around and fortunately get someone to point me in the right direction. When they can’t, I try to calculate the general direction of the Ka’aba and face that direction. Allah knows best!
hajj-pilgrimage
The Qibla was formerly in the direction of the masjid at Jerusalem before it was changed to the Masjid-l-Haram in the second year of Hijra (624AD) and since then, it is incumbent on us to seek and face it for our daily prayers.

Being that it is a duty on us to try to seek the Qibla since it is one of the prerequisite for salat, I have observed and read up on some stuff lately which may help the geographically challenged like me.

1. In Nigeria, and West Africa in general, we should face the North-North East but that is useful only when you know where the North is. The Sun rises from the East and sets in the West. With the right hand pointing to the East and the left pointing to the West, we face North. Surely, you can deduce the NE from there. It is between the North and the North East. At least, that’s the general direction of the Masjid-l-Haraam. If you know how to use a compass, good luck.

2. In urban areas, the ubiquitous DSTV satellite dish points toward the general direction of the Qibla. It’s not accurate but at
least, it gives me an idea.

3. Technology via the use of various apps. I haven’t tried any but maybe you can recommend those which have worked for you in the comment section.
Any other tips?

May Allah guide us to what is right and help us to worship Him in the best of ways

WEEKDAY CHALLENGE: BARE FEET

Have you had the luxury of walking without shoes? Yeah, I said luxury because sometimes, the best things in life are free and right under our noses but we do not see them.

You should try it. Remove your shoes and walk on the cool tiles in your home or on the patio. If you’ve got a lawn or garden, try to walk on them unshod. Allow your feet sink into the soft padding of the grass and relish the tickly sensation.

I know this may feel alien to you and all the hair on your neck may stand up in fear that you are going to step on a reptile or bug but try it anyway! Your OCD may kick against getting your feet dirty; ignore it!


If you’ve got access to a beach, after work/school/picking the kids from school, you may want to go to the shore and remove your flip-flops. Burrow your feet into the cool, soft squishy sand with the wind in your face.

Exhilarating and liberating!

Alright! Go to a pool and sit down at the edge with your feet in the water if you cannot attempt the above.

You really should try it today or sometime during the weekend 
And remember to share your experience here.

Enjoy!

Caveat: If you step on a nail or sharp object…get yourself treated. At least, you can console yourself that you tried!

LEGACY Q35.18

I had a young male patient who had been abusing recreational drugs and alcohol but was admitted on account of unrelated issues. During his admission, he lamented that his father caused his predicament. I asked why and he said his father was wealthy but stingy.

This was a man in his mid-twenties and I saw no reason why such a young man would be eyeing his father’s wealth balefully. Weren’t his mates responsible for their education, rent, feeding, clothing and perhaps, younger ones? Whatever little sympathy I had for him evaporated when I met the said thrifty dad who was a septuagenarian pensioner- who, by the way, described his son as a profligate.

While I am not a member of the family and can hardly be expected to make a conclusive judgement, I wondered if I would be willing to give more money to a child who appeared to squander it on recreational drugs and alcohol. I don’t think so. I feel we the youth feel too entitled. We want everything to be handed to us on a platter of gold without even lifting a finger.

Growing up, my dad always drummed it into our ears that he was not going to leave anything in his will for us. His legacy to us was a sound education. His boys should be ready to leave his house and fend for themselves once they attained 25.

When he passed away, none of us, our step-mums or our half-siblings quarrelled about his property. We didn’t expect him to have left anything anyway. I guess it seems strict but I never really felt so. What I took from it was that my father’s money was his (and his prerogative to spend as he wished); I had to complete my education and make mine.

He will have to account, on his own, for how he spent the money entrusted to him by Allah and I will have to do so for myself too.

If our parents have given us love, food and shelter, proper upbringing (tarbiyyah) and sound Islamic and secular education, we should stop expecting more favours but instead, work hard and rely on Allah. He is Self-sufficient enough to take us where we intend to go, if we are ready to work for it. The Aakhirah is the most worthy pursuit we can ever wish for.

Besides, one is rarely careful (or wise) in spending the easy big bucks one did not work for.

TRIAL OF BLESSINGS Q6.165

I went for an interview on Friday and wrote an aptitude test. After marking the script, one of the interviewers beamed and told me I have a high IQ. I had never written an IQ test so I was hearing this for the first time.

On my way home, I kept mulling over the words. What did it mean to have a high IQ? How high was mine, anyway? What did it matter? There were less intelligent people I knew who attain worldly success better than the more intelligent; less intelligent people who were happier and had more fulfilled lives. Nerds make mistakes, plenty of them. For everything we know, we are unaware of much more.

What advantages did it confer on me? I really did not know. So much for having a high IQ.

There is a strong tendency to work less hard because one thinks he has an edge over others. I observed this a lot in medical school. This erroneous belief led to the downfall of many an intelligent student. The industrious ones came from behind and stole their spotlight. Remember the story of The Hare and The Tortoise? Some spend an unusual amount of time to keep up with the appearance of being well-informed and snub those who they perceive to be dullards.


Having a high IQ may be good and confer favours upon one, like having wealthy parents or possessing good looks; but it is not everything. It is merely a foundation to build upon to create a strong personality and a fulfilling future. It does not exonerate us from being kind, humble, courteous, religious/spiritual, friendly, decent or industrious; instead, these qualities should be expected more from us by virtue of our supposed knowledge. Indeed, not every talent can be measured via the IQ test but that doesn’t preclude the existence of the talent.

Every thing we have can also be used against us, as well as for us. We will be called to account for how we used the gifts Allah had blessed us with, not because we deserve them but because, He wants to see how we use them. Will you want to be found wanting?