Discovery and the Inner-self || UPENN || by Imam John Starling

  • Human purpose is determined by our ability. We have intellect and therefore we can understand the world around us- thus this is an aspect of our purpose.
  • Surah Israa: “And we have certainly honored the children of Adam, with a definite preference.” Allah has given us preference over everything else.
  • Exp: Allah is informing the reader, that He SWT has honored mankind, and created them in a certain fashion.
  • Scholars say: The human being walks upright not on 4’s. The human being eats with their hands, whereas some eat with their mouth. The loftiest of these characteristics is that the human can distinguish between things- that which is harmful to their life, and that which is good and bad to their faith.- This faculty is a gift from Allah
  • Just as all gifts that are given, it should be utilized- in a positive way, in a beneficial way. This must be in order to help yourself and to help your community.
  • Progression as humans has come so far, and has helped in many ways- benefit has outweighed the harm- because it is to make like easier- to facilitate our goals, and to make things more enjoyable.
  • Modernization: harnessing the power of creativity. We have answered many questions, BUT there are some fundamental human questions that have always existed, such as: What is our purpose?
  • Scientific development does not answer the question- it is only a means to the end. Why are we here? Why are we learning these things? Or is there something deeper and more fundamental
  • Allah commands us to find this purpose – to look and to observe. Surah Yunus: “Look at the signs in creation, and in yourselves there are signs, will you not then understand?”
  • There are primary signs and secondary signs- they are all examples of his power and existence.
  • Imagine a fresh footprint in the sand, and we see another one, we can’t put it down to the rain, the wind, atmospheric pressure etc. There is only a certain point at which we can be creative in finding an ‘excuse’ for it’s origin. In it we can see undeniable signs, in looking at the creation, by thinking and reflecting.
  • Allah says: Surah Ibrahim 32-34. Allah has subjected to you the sun and the moon etc. ships on the sea, but mankind is ungrateful. Everything has been made In due measure and proportion.
  • Glorify the name of your Lord who created everything, and He proportioned it, and He has given it due measure and has guided it.
  • There are four categories:
  1. to bring it into existence
  2. to proportion it
  3. to give it measure
  4. to guide it
  • The human body: The ear- the angle/ the shape etc. right on the side of the face- the ear has limits to its frequencies- eg. A dog whistle cannot be heard. The frequency of the human ear is attuned specifically to the human voice. It is very specifically designed. The ear itself amplifies sound 20x or more, so the message delivered is given very clearly. When you connect this with revelation- the Quran means the recitation , and the recitation is done by the human voice. The Quran was to be given by the human voice, so that the message would be delivered very clearly.
  • Even the call to prayer is done with the human voice- not an instrument.
  • “Allathi qaddara fahada”- the one who he proportioned and guided. HE guided his creation to do what it needs to do. Eg. A tree, has many purposes- and it serves that purpose. You will never see a tree doing something outside of its scope, because it was created with a particular design.
  • Thus behind any design, there MUST be an intent.
  • The only unique creature, to either serve its purpose or to deny its purpose is the human being. We have the CHOICE. This is what distinguishes us. Most of the time we do not fulfill our purpose, because we do not KNOW it.
  • People who do not know their purpose, are too distracted to know it. Stimulus is all around us so we don’t have clear thought. There is anything and everything that has nothing to do with the purpose of man. If a person fills their life with distraction they will never know what it is that they are supposed to be doing.
  • We must examine the world around us, and look at the evidence.
  • Evidence- design-purpose-intent.
  • The fact that there is an intent tells us that there is an intelligent being that created us.
  • Allah says: ‘And we created the heavens and the earth for mere play’, ‘without any purpose? And that you will not be brought back to us?
  • Without a doubt our creation was done with a purpose.
  • This is why the Quran talks about all of the things around us- the river, the sky, the human body etc.
  • 2nd step to self-discovery: Identify with how we can fulfill that purpose.
  • Most responses are secondary – eg. ‘Trying to leave our mark’, ‘trying to make the world a better place’.
  • If we were left alone to figure out the purpose- we would never be able to figure it out- so He sent messengers & revelation. ‘wallathi qaddara fahada’- He guided us.
  • When we are given this message we have no excuse in front of Allah.

It’s my Birthday

I do not celebrate birthdays, but I DO celebrate every day that God has given me as an opportunity to work good deeds and righteousness. Every year, on the 23rd of March, I try to look into what I have done and achieved in the past year of my life, and I realize that every year my attention turns away from the material achievements, and I begin to feel more fulfillment in considering my spiritual state. Did I take myself away from any sin? Did I try my best to be more mindful of my Lord? How did I use my time? Was food and sleep a greater comfort than talking to my Creator?

This world is fleeting. It is adorned by extravagance and beauty, as a test. Will we become more consumed by other’s lives? Other’s Achievements? Other’s wealth? Other’s beauty? Or will we be grateful for having a mind that is able to reflect on our Creator?

Every year I realize that there is little comfort in gatherings where Allah’s name is not mentioned. Socializing for the sake of socializing is perhaps one of the most unfulfilling feelings. As the hours pass by, you begin to realize that those who matter, are those who’s lives you move into, and those who move into your life- your relationship with these people is magnetic, it is attractive but not forced, it is not strained, it is natural, it is real, and it is feesabilillah (in the path of God). As the days fastidiously elapse into night, you will find that as you grow, your circle of close friends shall slowly decrease, so long as your intention is pure, your circle of associates shall become filtered and you will begin to see who seeks your company for the right reasons.

We are all flawed. All in need of fulfillment, spiritually, physically. And it is more important than anything, to remember that Allah will never forsake you, so long as you continue to worship Him, and Him alone.

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17 Qualities That Allah Loves

I thought it would be extremely beneficial to re-share something I came across online. Below are a list of characteristics that Allah Himself has stated he loves. Underneath each characteristic is an evidence from the Quran or from the Hadith. May Allah make us steadfast, and may He make us of those that take heed of what He loves. Ameen!

1) Patience:

“And Allah loves as-Sâbirun (the patient).” (Surah Imran 3:146)

2) Justice and Dealing with Equity:

“O ye who believe! Be steadfast witnesses for Allah in equity, and let not hatred of any people seduce you that ye deal not justly. Deal justly, that is nearer to your duty. Observe your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is informed of what ye do.” (Surah Maeda 5:8)

3) Putting Trust in Allah:

“Certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him).” (Surah Imran 3:159)

4) Kindness:

Ayesha (RA) narrated: The Messenger of Allah (SAW ) said: “Allah
loves kindness in all matters.” (Bukhari)

5) Repentance:

“Truly, Allah loves those who turn unto him in repentance.” (Surah Baqarah 2:222)

6) Piety:

“Verily, then Allah loves those who are al-Muttaqun (the pious).” (Surah Imran 3:76)

7) Good-doing:

“Truly, Allah loves Al-Muhsinun (the good-doers).” (Surah Baqarah 2:195)

8) Purification:

“And Allah loves those who make themselves clean and pure.” (Surah Tawbah 9:108)

9) Humility of the Rich:

Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqas (RA) said: Allah’s Messenger (SAW ) said: “Allah loves the believer who is pious and rich, but does not show off.” (Muslim)

10) Belief and Work:

Al-Tabarâni narrated: Allah’s Messenger (SAW ) said: “Allah loves the slave who believes and acquires a career (or work).”

11) A sense of Honour:

Al-Tirmidhi narrated: Allah’s Messenger (SAW ) said: “Allah loves from amongst his slaves, the one who has a sense of zeal or honour.”

12) Magnanimity:

Al-Hakim narrated: The Messenger of Allah (SAW ) said: “ Allah is All-Generous and He loves generosity in sale, purchase and judgment.”

13) Virtuosity:

The Messenger of Allah (SAW)said: “Allah loves the believer who is poor but virtuous enough to refrain from begging though he has many children.” (Muslim and Ahmed)

14) Strength:

Allah’s Messenger (SAW ) said: “The strong believer is better and more loved by Allah than the weak one, but they are both good.” (Muslim)

15) Love for the Sake of Allah:

Al-Tabarâni, Ibn Ya’lâ, Ibn Hibban and Al-Hakim narrated: Allah’s Messenger
(SAW ) said: “If two individuals love each other for the sake of Allah, the stronger in love to his brother will be more loved by Allah.”

16) Continuous Performance of Righteous Deeds:

Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said: “The best loved deeds to Allah are the ones that are continuous even if they are not very many.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

17) Good Manners and Conduct:

Al-Tirmidhi narrated: Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said: “The best loved by me and the nearest to me on the seats on the Day of Resurrection are those who have the best manners and conduct amongst you, who are intimate, are on good terms with others and are humble, and the most hated by me and who will be on the furthest seats from me are those who are talkative and arrogant.”

Love of Allah is the basis of worship that should be directed to Him alone. Any other love should be for his sake too. The real love of Allah is to do whatever He ordained and to abandon whatever He forbade, in addition to Following Rasulullah (SAW)’s Sunnah. Whoever obeys someone or something other than Allah and His Messenger (SAW), or follows any saying other than theirs, or fears other than Allah or seeks the pleasure of other than Allah, or puts his trust in other than Him, does not love Allah, nor does he love His Messenger (SAW). Muslims should also love one another and wish the best for one another. Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said: “One will not be a true believer unless he loves for his brother what be loves for himself.” (Bukhari)

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Courtesy of: http://www.thekhalids.org/index.php/newsletter-archive/878-qualities-allah-loves-a-hates

The Child.

I had perhaps one of the most bizarre encounters today on the train: I get on the train half asleep in the morning, and sat opposite a father and his daughter; he seems like a young dad, just on his phone, whilst his daughter – who’s probably around 5 years old is sat down next to him- she looked like the most adorable little thing.. chubby cheeks and pigtails.

After a couple minutes of being sat opposite them, I notice the little girl is extremely perceptive. She is leaning her head on her dads arm, whilst looking at everyone around her. Then I noticed her eyes glazed over everyone, and suddenly her stare locked on me. The girl is staring at me- naturally, I smile, and then that’s when the weirdness all began. At first, she sees my smile and then her head tilts forward.. her eyebrows scrunch up and seem to form angry lines along her forehead and down to her nose.. She didn’t seem angry- she seemed furious. Then after a whole minute of this, she raises her head, but keeps her intense frown, and then her tongue protrudes in a lizard like way.. she keeps her eyes locked on me. At this point people are looking at me like I provoked the child or something, but it didn’t stop there. Her tongue was still protruding, and then she raises her tiny hand in the form of a clenched fist- she is pointing at me with a clenched fist- ‘this is just getting weird’, I think to myself.

The girls hand is still raised and clenched- then I see her small thumb jolt out, and she points it down. It seems like as if she is expressing great displeasure at the sight of me. At this point her dad looks over at her, and Lo and Behold! She opens her fist and she waves it in the air like she is just holding a fairy wand- innocently busying herself. She looks up and smiles at her dad with such great zeal. I’m wondering HOW ON EARTH is this child so flippant?!

Anyway, so her dad looks back at his phone and busies himself with whatever he was doing. Then I see her glaring at me again- embarrassingly, I began to feel very uncomfortable- why did this girl seem so tortured by my presence?! What she did next make me honestly think she was possessed. The girl then begins mouthing things to me repetitively and with great hate. The only thing I could make out were the words ‘No.. You’… then she lifts her hand up again and starts drawing crosses in the air and pointing at me. I was just thinking: a’oothubillahi minasshaytannirajeem. Again she sticks her tongue out and pulls a series of very disturbing facial expressions. Then once again her father looks at her, and with great speed, she changes her face into that of an innocent five year old, and smiles at him.

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Cruel Company

It’s a harsh reality, that not everyone out there will be happy for you.

The decisions you make, are always in their peripheral vision. The successes in your life are not met the same way by these individuals. They seek to be like you, but they hate you? They enjoy your company but they choose to dislike you. They are confusing because they themselves are confused.

You just have to let these people be. Keep doing what you are doing so long as it is feesabilillah, and shrug off the negativity that seeks to make you its slave. You are FREE, and you have the power to choose your company.

The Quran: A Timeless Companion. [From a lecture by Brother Hatem El Hajj]

1. Ja’far RA Saadiq, said that he marvels at someone who fears something but does not seek refuge in Allah against it.

2. The reciter of the Quran, is relaying the message of Allah. lf you feel as if Allah is talking to you directly, you have connected with the Quran.

3. Ja’far RA said, I marvel at someone who is afflicted by stress, and does not run away and seek solice in Allah’s saying ‘La ilaha illa anta subhanaka innee kuntu mina alththalimeen’ ([none has the right to be worshipped but You (O Allah)], Glorified (and Exalted) are You [above all that (evil) they associate with You] Truly, I have been of the wrong-doers. This is the dua (supplication) of Yunus when he was in the belly of the whale. Allah says: “so we responded to him, and we saved and rescued him”. But Allah said, that this is not just the case for Yunus, but it is the case for everyone. You admit: you have no one except Allah SWT, exhaulted, above holding grudges, above not accepting repentance, above wanting pain for your servant, you are the most compassionate most merciful. I am not deserving, but you are deerving, all forgiving.

4. The word ‘ghammu’ in arabic is used. The meaning is comparable to something that is: engulfed, surrounded. However the implication of ‘ghammu’ is that you do not know the condition is, or where your distress is coming from. It has to do with unknown cause of depression,where you cannot identify the cause.

5. Allah is all-seer of all his servants.. Allah says He protected him (Yunus) from their evil plots. Ja’far said he marvels at the one who seeks the dunyah, but then he does not say ‘mashaAllah’. We know this from the story of the men who were arguing about the jannah, one man advised the other, make sure to say mashallah when entering your garden. Moral of this statement from Ja’far, whatever it is that you feel in this dunya, whether it is aspirations, whether it is anxiety/ stress, you should run to the Quran for guidance and help, because in the Quran you will find all of them. Ja’far ,was able to connect with the Quran to the point that he did not see the reciter as a medium, that it was as if he was hearing Allah speaking directly to him. We need to get to this level to be able to reap the full benefit of the Quran.

6. At one point, if you persevere, and if Allah decrees, then you will be able to sense the same feeling of Ja’far, as if he was hearing the speech of Allah directly.

7. The relevance of the Quran: How could such a book revealed 1400 years ago be relevant in this day? The transformations are remarkable technologically, our life is lived totally different from the way that humanity experienced 1400 years ago. The nature of the human however, remains the same. To answer this question more specifically though, there are two spheres in which the man interacts, the fixed and the changeable. When the Quran addresses the fixed sphere, it was in line with rules and teachings, no changes are needed for this. I.e. lying is the same from the beginning of time to the end. The relationship between man and God should also be a fixed sphere. The human interaction of transaction, is somewhere in between. When something is more changeable, then more detail has been given on these, i.e financial sphere. Financial details came with milestones and guidelines to protect against deviation, and but did not come in such detail that it lead to human activity in that field.

It all depends on our interpretation / understanding of The Quran, and of life itself. The better your understanding you have of this life, the more you believe the Quran to be relevant. Quran applies, ethically and morally in the same way because not much changed in these realms with man. Quran maintained that relevance at all times, despite the fact that human experience does change to a great extent. Those changeable areas of human experience, come with guidleines, but they were not detailed to stifle our activity or to limit what we do in the field of human interaction. The intervention is about how you will utilize your science or the outcomes of your experiences in the heart of mankind. Allah SWT does not intervene with your research/ outcome/ of your studies. How will you use this to benefit or harm mankind? Then it becomes relevant to the Quran.

8. Ibn Al Qayyim in his book Al fawaai’d– stated the abandonment of the quran comes in 4 types:

  1. When you abandon recitation of the Quran and listening to it. You don’t recite or listen. This is the first step of abandonment.
  2. The next step is when you abandon applying it in your life, and what it held haram as haram or halal as halal.
  3. The abandonment as your ultimate judge, in matters and disputes amongst the believers in all matters of the deen
  4. Abandoning the contemplation of the Quran (he considered understanding to be related to recitation and listening to it)- because once you do this, you will be able to act upon it in the realm of what is right and wrong. The fourth level he mentioned though was the deeper meanings of the Quran, the non-apparent. Not your own understanding, the evidential understanding, and the compliance of it with the text of the Quran.

9. When you listen the Quran, you will understand the apparent meaning of the Quran, enough to act upon it, and enough to hold/ differentiate the rulings. This is how the verses have such an impact on Ja’far, and they don’t on us.

10. Connecting with the quran is not like a light switch, understand it with the receptors of the heart, and the receptors of the brain. If you don’t then you will be veiled from it. If you devote yourself, sacrifice for the Quran and live for the Quran, then you will be able to connect.

11. Othman was the khalifa, was so committed, that when he was khalifah, he was sat in the Prophets SAW masjid, teaching the Quran. The inner meanings of the Quran, speak to the heart, and brings about the effect.

12. The Quran is advice from your lord, a shifaa’ (healing), a guidance, and a mercy- the Quran.

13. The Quran is greater than any amount wealth, because it is a cure for all that is in the chest.. What does it cure? Ailments of the heart, it will also Give you shifaa’ of all of the misconceptions, ‘we shall show them our signs, in the atmosphere, until they come to realize it is the truth, isn’t it enough that your Lord is a witness of all things?’

14. The Quran is also shifaa’ from doubts that creep into your hearts. Because you read the Quran and the signs, and you realize this book was sent by none other than Allah, particularly when the one who brought it to us lived 1400 years ago. The miraculousness of the science, the historic miraculousness.

15. The Quran also gives shifaa’ so you get a better knowledge of the Quran, so you can extinguish misconceptions whenever they come up, you could clap them off very promptly. This can also be a physical type of Shifaa’- Zam Zam is also a shifaa’, there is medicine for the sick, physical shifaa’ is not limited to the Quran, and is present in also physical things. There are some aspects of shifaa for anxiety of the heart, this can ONLY be sought through the Quran. It takes from us commitment, steadfastness and perseverance in learning from the Quran and connecting with it. When we read the Quran we should not be so obsessive about the technicalities of it, we should be reading it for the deeper meaning- not just the apparent, the grammar of certain words, or the knowledge people to seek to gain for intellectual gain- go there, but do not stop there. The prophet SAW said: “it is part of exalting Allah that you honor the muslim elders, and to honor hafidh al quran, the one who is not obsessive about the Quran, nor negligent of the Quran.” Excessive meaning, you go to excess the technicalities, the linguistic technicalities, the tajweed, the exterior knowledge, which might prevent one from fully connecting to the Quran. EG. If you pray behind the Imaam, and you obsess about this, it becomes a crime to become obsessed about this, and it becomes a barrier between you connecting to Allah. You esentially should forget the medium and think about Allah and the connection with him

Benefits from Q and A:

-Can women be truly equal to women in todays society: Equality is a mathematical concept, it means men should be as strong as men are. For leadership in the household, men take priority. If we reject this, then we reject the ayat that has come- leadership has been given to men in the household.

-As for women being more emotional, is this a strength or weakness? It can be either. If men and women fulfill their roles then it gives way to their strengths and it controls their weaknesses. For instance, women have more patience than men with children, in this sense men have weaknesses with children, but women have this strength. You can’t compare oranges and apples, there are different expectations on both sides. Equality, in humanity, yes this is true- a given. Allah created us from a single male, and a single female.

-Can women recite Quran infront of men? For women, the voice of the woman is not awrah, so the woman can speak in the presence of men. The voice of women becomes an issue, when she uses it ina a way that is tempting, soft, inappropriate. If woman sings in the presence in men, is this tempting? Yes. You have to be out of your mind to say that it is not tempting. The voice has an enormous effect on the hearts. In this case it is not acceptable. With the recitation of the Quran, then it shouldn’t be. An older women who is a teacher teaching men recitation, then it is permitted. Depends on the context. A younger woman to sit in the midst of men, is not purposeful and should be avoided, as we try to avoid temptation as best we can. That is to protect society in general to protect from intermixing, and inappropriate interface between the two genders.

-To connect with the Quran, learn the Quranic Arabic to be able to understand. Not for the rhetorical eloquence, but on the actual meanings- then you capture the greater of the two parts.

-Nuh: rhetorically it is very powerful, Nuh AS (Noah) was sailing in the midst of waves like mountains, and Nuh called upon his son, who was in seclusion, who said come on the boat with us. Nuh said there is no protection from this, and the waves separated them. And then it was said, to the land swallow up the water, and the water settled, and the ship settled on mount juday. Nuh said to Allah, ‘this is my son, he is from my family, and your promise is the true promise’. Allah said ‘he is not from your family, he is mislead, so do not ask me of what you have no knowledge of.’ That scene is so relatable- the relevance of the Quran. Imagine it is relevant to you, raising your child is being risen in the midst of high waves, in the midst of dangers, misconceptions, and you want to call your child on board with you, and you feel what Nuh felt when his son refuses protection. Eventually you try to bring some comfort in your heart, you are happy you are not liable for them, just as Nuh was. His maximum effort was put into it. Could you relate to this? Even if you cannot understand the rhetorical eloquence. How much do you relate to it? Only on how much you recite/ reflect on this. Reflection is not a one time thing, you read over and you see other subtleties to it. It takes commitment and effort. Diligence. Interest from us. If you are interested you will sacrifice for your aspirations and your dreams.

-How to balance quran recitation with college: formula: quran reviewed twice a month. Review the quran once a month. You work from there backwards. Once you review, then continue and memorize. To review all that you learnt, it should take less and less time. Past puberty is better for you to review past memorization. When people forget what they learnt in the past, is often what puts people off what they are learning. Take it easy!

-How do you stay on the straight path? You have to strive, jihad. Make sure you are in the right soil, because if you sow the seeds in the wrong the soil, then no matter how you nurture the seeds, they will not grow or blossom. How? Make internal hijrah, external hijrah, switching your friends. Limiting your exposure to evil by staying home more, watching less of things of no benefit. Be with friends who correct you when you err.

-How does one deal with personal conflict in islam/ like finding ones identitiy? Identitiy crisis, ie growing up in America as a muslim etc. which identity will prevail? The one you are most convinced of. There is not always conflict between the two, there is no national allegiance. Not always conflict. When there is, then one has to figure out which comes first- Allah or his nation? All the prophets had a clear answer to this question. Most of the time there is no conflict between the religious identity and the national identity, so we should not always create conflict when it is not really there. It is about your amount of certainty in this deen- both your intellectual conviction, and your

-Faith grows by association (for immature epeople ) and persuasion (much stronger type of faith). But there is another level of faith- when you have a complete ownership of your faith, it becomes ayn-al yaqeen, amost as if you see the unseen, the jannah and naar and angels, and that level of faith cannot develop through intellectual conviction, because the human mind is very volatile but once the heart is completely convinced, the persuasion of the heart is basically unbreakable type of faith.

To make sure you don’t have this conflict, you need to gain your faith. Identity conflict implies that there are two conflicting entitities, then there is an issue, because there is trouble when islam has an equal opposition/ fighting inside of you. But once your faith grows, your faith will accommodate your other identity’s harmoniosly and effortlessly, except in certain situations in which you draw the lines, and have to choose Allah. There must be one prevalent identity.

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‘The Journey of the Soul After Death’ Part I: Lecture by Br. Taqweem Aslam

نَّ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ نَحْمَدُهُ وَنَسْتَعِينُهُ وَنَسْتَغْفِرُهُ وَنَعُوذُ بِاللَّهِ مِنْ شُرُورِ أَنْفُسِنَا وَمِنْ سَيِّئَاتِ أَعْمَالِنَا مَنْ يَهْدِهِ اللَّهُ فَلَا مُضِلَّ لَهُ وَمَنْ يُضْلِلْ فَلَا هَادِيَ لَهُ وَأَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ

Innalhamda lillahee, nahmaduhu wa nasta’eenuhu wa nastaghfiruhu, wa na’oodhu billaahi min shuroori anfusinaa wa min sayyiaati a’maalinaa. Mainyah dihillaahu falaa mudillilahu, wa mainyudlil falaa haadiya lah.

“Alhumdulillah. Indeed, all praise is due to Allah. We praise Him and seek His Help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from our souls’ evils and our wrong doings. He whom Allah guides, no one can misguide; and he whom He misguides, no one can guide. I testify that there is no true God worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad (pbuh) is the Messenger of Allah.”


  • When a person gains knowledge, he must first look to his intention. The intention of a person has an effect on what he does, and on whether that action will be rewarded or not. Shaykh Saleh Ala Saleh stated that the intention is the first thing one must look at before anything. The individual’s intention should be that they are seeking that knowledge sincerely for the sake of Allah. SWT, and that he is not seeking this knowledge for anybody else; the individual is not seeking knowledge to show off to the people, that he/ she knows this much, or that much.
  • The seeking of knowledge is an act of worship, and the scholars have said that all the types of worship are based on two pillars: 1. Al-Ikhlaas (sincerity) 2. The action must be in accordance to the Quran and Sunnah (from the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad SAW). The intention should be to expel ignorance with the knowledge attained, so that the individual can then implement his/her religion correctly, according to the Quran and Sunnah. Then the intention should be that that after the individual becomes more grounded in his knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah then eventually he/she intends to remove the ignorance of others.

**We will be covering in depth the stages of what happens to the soul from the moment that the angel of death takes it, all the way up until that person enters either hell or paradise.**

  1. The first stage is the taking of the soul. Al-hayaat al-barzakhiyya. The Barzakh is the place that the soul goes to after death; it is a place that is between the life of this world, and the life of the hereafter. It is called Barzakh because in arabic the word barzakh means a barrier between two things. So when a person dies, they are in this stage between two things, neither in the worldly life nor the hereafter. For an individual to believe in this stage is an aspect of Imaan (faith).
  2. The scholars however start with something just before that, called Ih’tidhaar (when the angels come to take the soul of a person), even though technically, that is not after death, because death only begins once the soul is taken. However, that time at which the angels come, with regards to their appearance and the mannerism in which the soul is taken, the scholars still mention, and link to the belief in the day of judgement. This is because the way that the soul is taken is linked to the individuals barzakh and hereafter.
  3. The belief in the day of Judgement, is one of the six pillars of belief. (We know this from the hadith of Jibra’eel- i.e aspect of imaan for a believer to have the correct belief). That is: 1. Iman-Billah: Belief in Allah. 2. Malaa-ikah: Belief in His angels 3. The Kutb: The books that Allah SWT sent down. 4. Prophets/ Messengers: belief in the prophets. 5. Al-Qadr: Belief in the divine decree – its good and its bad. 6. The day of Judgement: Belief in the day of judgement and the hereafter. There is evidence also in the Quran, that the individual who does not belief in the day of Judgement has committed Kufr (disbelief) (Surah Nisaa’)
  4. Al-Ihtidhaar (the final few moments of a person’s life): Either the angels of mercy, or the angels of torture/ punishment come to take the individual’s soul.
  5. What is death? Briefly, death can be defined as MufaaraqatirRooh-alJasad: The separation of the soul from the body. Death as it is known will come to every person. Allah has also stated in the Quran that no individual will be able to bring forward his death, or delay his death.
  6. Does the soul die? The soul does not die in the same way that the body dies. The soul is something that moves from stage to stage- the first stage is the one in which the soul is in the body. Once the body dies, the soul does not die, but it moves into the next stage which is in Barzakh (in the grave). The third stage is the one in which the soul then moves from the Barzakh, when the horn is blown, into hell or paradise. If the soul moves through these stages, and does not die, therefore the question arises, will the soul ever die? Because we know that the Quran says that everything has a fixed period, except Allah SWT. The verse states that everything will perish except Allah SWT. The scholars have said that this verse means that everything will perish except Allah, and anything that Allah will not allow to perish – one of these is the soul. Uthaymeen also said that Angels are another thing that will never perish. **look more into this**
  7. How will the soul exit the body at the time of death? This falls into two categories: The soul of the believer, or the soul of the disbeliever. In the hadith narrated by Baraa’ Ibn Aazim, the Prophet SAW said: “The soul of a believer flows out of the body just as water flows out of a cup”. This does not mean however that the person does not feel any pain, some amount of pain might still be felt even though the soul leaves the body with ease. Sometimes a muslim might still feel some difficulty at the time of his death, and there are some reasons for this. According to one hadith, ‘a believer dies with sweat on his forehead’- the meaning of this hadith is that a believer dies with some difficulty. Why does the believer die with difficulty when his soul leaves with fluidity? The scholars have said this could be due to: 1. to remove some sins (saghaa’ir- the smaller sins- NOT the kabaa’ir (major sins)) form him through the pain they feel in their death. 2. To raise his rank in the hereafter. This is shown through the example of the Prophet SAW, just before his soul was taken, he said: “There is no true God except Allah, Indeed death has difficulties/ pains.” There are narrations from Aishah RA who said that at the time of death of the Rasool SAW, he would be in pain so much so that he was in and out of consciousness, and he would have a wet cloth on his head and he would move it up and down.
  8. As for the kaafir (disbeliever), his soul is taken out in a different manner; his soul is taken out with great difficulty and great harshness. The Prophet SAW said in a hadith: “The soul is ripped out from his body, like a thorn that is put into cotton wool and ripped out- some of it remains on the thorn, and some does not”. There are further narrations that clarify and explain this narration even more, Prophet SAW said: “The soul is taken from the body like a thorn is ripped through a wet piece of wool.” This is the difference between the one who dies upon Tawheed (worshipping only Allah in pure monotheism), and the one dies upon Shirkh (associating partners with Allah).
  9. What is the soul? It is something that is self-sufficient, it is a separate object/ entity, it is not a part of the body. However, it is connected to the body, but even when it is connected to the body, it is not a part of the body; it is linked to the body. With the connection of the soul to the body, the body has life. The soul has certain characterstics: The soul can become happy and joyful, but at the same time the soul can become sad and grievous. The soul also rises up to the heavens, and it descends again. The punishments of the grave, and the blessings of the grave, are also upon the soul.
  10. Fitnatul-Qabr: Trial of the grave. What is the trial of the grave? It is the questioning of the soul in the grave, about it’s Lord, the deen, the Messenger SAW. These are three questions every soul shall be asked. Why is it the questioning a fitnah, or a trial? Because it is like an exam, or a test for that person. When a kuffar is asked these questions, their response will be ‘Har, Har’ almost like the equivalent to what we would say nowadays as ‘err, err’, as in they will not know the answer to the questions they are asked. Evidences: In the Quran, Allah says: Surah Ibraheem, Verse 27: “Allah makes firm those people who believed with the strong speech, in this life, and in the hereafter.” How does Allah make that person strong in speech in the hereafter? The scholars of tafseer, have said about this ayat, when Allah makes that person strong in speech in the hereafter is when they are in the grave, and they are asked the three questions, and they can answer the three questions correctly accoding to the Quran and Sunnah.

Evidences from the Sunnah: (there are many evidences for the trial of the grave): One is from a lengthy hadith narrated by Baraa’ Ibn Aazim.. “..and when a person is made to sit up in his grave, he bears witness that there is not true God except Allah, and that the Prophet Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah SAW. This is the shahaadah, and this is the speech that Allah makes firm for the believer in the grave.

  1. Many individuals say that there is no trial of the grave, because there is no mention of it in the Quran, however the above verse, affirms that there is trial in the grave, and it is backed up by the lengthy hadith from the Sunnah of the Rasool SAW.
  2. There is a statement of the Prophet SAW in Bukhari: “It has been revealed to me via the revelation, that you people (i.e the muslims/ ummah), are going to be tested in the graves, just like/ similar to, the test of the Dajjaal (Anti-Christ).” Another hadith, when the Prophet SAW goes to a grave, and he says to the people: “Seek Refuge in Allah from the trial in the grave.”
  3. Now there are some people who will not be tested in the grave. Who are these people? In general there are five categories of people who will not be tested.

(1) The first of them are the prophets and messengers (pbut): They will not be given the trial of the grave, and there are two main reasons for this: This is because one of the questions ‘who is your prophet’, so if you ask the Prophet SAW himself, this would not make sense. The second reason is because the shuhadaa’ who die sincerely, with the correct understanding, and under the correct conditions of fighting for the sake of Allah, are not subject to questioning in the grave. So if the shuhadaa’ (martyrs) are not questioned, then surely the Prophets and Messengers pubta are not questioned as the prophets are better than the shuhaddaa’.

(2) As aforementioned, the second category is the shuhadaa’ who die in the path of Allah, under the correct conditions. The evidence for this is when a man came to the Prophet SAW and asked him: ‘Why is it that the shaheed will nto be questioned in the grave?’, the prophet SAW said: ‘the clang of the sword on his head (the sword coming down on his head), is enough to suffice him from the trail of the grave’,

(3) The thrd catgery is the murabiteen (The mubaraabit is the one who stands watch to protect the muslims, through the night), on the borders of the muslim countries, to watch out if the enemy was coming: This job was a very dangerous job, because this person is susceptible to being killed first by the enemies. The prophet SAW said: This action of standing there and looking out for the enemies, if he does this for a day and a night, is better than him fasting for a month, and praying the night prayers for a month, and he is secured from fataan (the angels of the grave).

(4) Some scholars have said that this category is not for sure, because it depends on how authentic the hadith is. This is the person who dies on a Friday, The hadith says: “There is not a single muslim that dies on the day of Jumuah, or on the night of the Friday, except that Allah protects him from the trial of the grave.” Many of the scholars have said that this hadith is daeef, however amongst the ones who have said that it is authentic, is Al-banee’.

(5) The one’s who have no obligation on them (i.e the child, the majnoon (mentally disabled), the reason for this is, that we are told the trial of the grave is only for the one who understands what that trial is.

  1. Which of the nations will be tested with the trial of the grave? Will it be the nation of Mohammed, or will it be all of the nations.
  2. Will the trial of the grave be for only the muslims? Or will it be for all muslims and kuffar? There is difference of opinion from amongst the schoalrs: The majority opinion however, is that the kaafir also will be tested in the grave. The reasoning for the scholars who said that the person who is a kaafir will not be tested, is because, if a person died upon disbelief, and then in the grave he was asked questions such as what is your religion, then it would not make sense because he died upon disbelief.

The opinion of the majority is that the kaafir will also be tested, this is based on a narration which says the ‘kaafir wa munaafiq’ will be tested. Difference of opinion isbased on the autheniticiy of the hadith.

  1. Who are the angels that come and do the testing? There is a hadith that mentions the angels and their descriptions. The hadith is “When the dead person is buried, two dark angels come to him, (aswadaan and azraqaan)- black and blue, in their appearance. One of their names is al-munkar, and the other Anakeer, Some of the scholars have said that this appearance of black and blue means that they are black and dark in their appearance, and their eyes are a sharp blue- which creates a fearful appearance. However other scholars have said that there is no further evidence authentic that it is the case. So we just know they’re black and blue.
  2. What is the relationship of the soul and the body? The relationship of the soul to the body is not the same as an organ to the body, or not as the finger to the hand. Ibn Al Qayyim answered this question in his book ‘kitaab-ur-Rooh’- he said there are five different connections that the soul has with the body.

(1) The first connection or stage that the soul has with the body is in the mothers womb before their birth, when the soul is blown into the body.

(2) The second stage is when the person is born, after he exits the womb and enters into the face of the earth.

(3) The third relationship is the relationship the soul has with the body when it is asleep. We know that sometimes sleep is referred to as ‘mast-asagheer’ (the ‘minor death’). It is called the minor death because the soul leaves the body (and returns). The exiting of the soul in the sleep is not a complete exiting because the soul returns (unless the person dies in his sleep and in this case the soul is permanently separate to the body).The third stage is the barzakh (when the soul moves into the stage between this life and the hereafter) and the two body and soul are together in the grave.

(4) The fourth stage is the barzakh (when the soul moves into the stage between this life and the hereafter) and the two body and soul are together in the grave.

(5) The final stage is the stage of the soul and the body in the hereafter, on the day of judgement. (the soul returns to the body). Ibn Al Qayyim stated that this is the strongest connection, the most complete connection between the soul and the body. Why? Because after that, the soul will never separate from the body. (There will be no death after this).

6. Why do you say the punishment or the blessings of the grave? Because for example, a person might die on a ship and their body is at the bottom of the sea. Or a person might die in a fire and their body is in ashes. So why do you say grave? Ibn Hajar answered this, and said, for the majority of people, the norm is to be buried in the grave- generally. This is why we call it the punishment of the grave, even IF rarely the person is not buried in the grave. Some people argue that there is no punishment in the grave, however we know that there is, based on the ayat in Surah Ghaafir, in verses 45 and 46. This ayat is talking about Pharaoh, and about his punishment being severe. ‘The fire is brought to them day and night (in barzakh’, then at the time on the day of resurrection, it will be said to the angels, “Take him (Pharaoh), and put him into a more severe punishment.” This is evidence that there are two punishments, in both barzakh and in the akhira (hereafter).

Another ayat in the Quran is, “if you see the ones who disbelieve die, the angels are beating their faces and their backs, and they are saying to them, taste this fiery punishment.” Surah Anfal, verse 50. This again is another evidence for the punishment in the grave.

Another ayat is in Surah Tawbah, Verse 101, Allah says: “We are going to punish them twice, then they will return to a greater punishment.” What is that greatest punishment that they will be returned to? Of course this is hell. However the ayat indicates that there are two punishments before the greater punishment.This is evidence of the punishment in the grave.

7. There are also evidences from the Sunnah, one being from a narration by Abu Ayoub, “The Prophet SAW exited one day, and the sun was going down. and the man heard a voice. The Prophet SAW said, “it is the jews being punished in their graves”.This is a clear affirmation that there is punishment in the grave.

8. Another narration is from Anas, who said, the Prophet SAW said: “Was it not for the fact that I fear you wouldn’t bury your dead, I would have asked Allah SWT for you to hear the punishment of the grave.”

9. Is the punishment (or blessings) of the grave going to be on only the body? on the soul? or on both body and soul? There are different opinions for this.

(1) The first is that the soul is only punished (this is the opinion of Ibn Hazam, Ibn AlJawzi). There reason for that is, if you open up the grave of a person, you do not see the marks on that person being beaten up.

(2) Ibn Taymiyyah however said, “this is a statement that is rejected amongst the majority of the ahlusunnah wall jamaa’- it is an incorrect statement. This is because they are comparing the life on this earth to the life of the barzakh. Ibn Taymiyyah said the barzakh is from the unseen, so that measurement cannot be made of when beating the body in this life etc. The second reasoning he gave was in a person’s sleep he might dream he has been hit, he can feel the pain as he wakes up. That person who wakes up, will not see physical signs of the beating upon his body. Likewise the same would happen in the barzakh. Another evidence is when we are told that the grave will crush the ribs of the evil-doer; this is a sensation related to the body so we know both soul and body are punished. This is the correct opinion- that both the soul and the body will be punished in the grave. Descriptions from the sunnah is that the soul shall be returned to the body in the grave.

(3) The body is the only thing being punished/ blessed, and that the body is made to feel it as opposed to the soul. The evidence is the Prophet SAW says at the battle of Badr: “you are not hearing any different to these people (i.e the dead) are hearing.” If their bodies can hear then this means the bodies are made to hear.

*It was narrated that when the animals were sick, they were taken to the grave and got better, (because animals can hear the punishment of the graves).*

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The Virtue of Fasting in the Month of Muharram: from a khutbah (Friday Sermon) by Brother Muhammad Al-Maghribee

إِنَّ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ نَحْمَدُهُ وَنَسْتَعِينُهُ وَنَسْتَغْفِرُهُ وَنَعُوذُ بِاللَّهِ مِنْ شُرُورِ أَنْفُسِنَا وَمِنْ سَيِّئَاتِ أَعْمَالِنَا مَنْ يَهْدِهِ اللَّهُ فَلَا مُضِلَّ لَهُ وَمَنْ يُضْلِلْ فَلَا هَادِيَ لَهُ وَأَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ

Innalhamda lillahee, nahmaduhu wa nasta’eenuhu wa nastaghfiruhu, wa na’oodhu billaahi min shuroori anfusinaa wa min sayyiaati a’maalinaa. Mainyah dihillaahu falaa mudillilahu, wa mainyudlil falaa haadiya lah.

“Alhumdulillah. Indeed, all praise is due to Allah. We praise Him and seek His Help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from our souls’ evils and our wrong doings. He whom Allah guides, no one can misguide; and he whom He misguides, no one can guide. I testify that there is no true God worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad (pbuh) is the Messenger of Allah.”


Fear Allah, oh servant of Allah, by performing that which is obligatory upon you, and staying away from the prohibitions, for indeed if we do this, this is a sign of happiness and joy in this life and safety in the hereafter. We should give thanks to Allah, especially in the times and the places in which Allah SWT has specified that we should obey Him more.

1. Our noble Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen AS said: “Allah has made time into 12 months; from these 12 months, there are 4 that are sacred. Three of them come one after the other: Dhul-Qi3’da, Dhul-Hijja, and Muharram (the month we are in now- the first month of the Hijri calendar). The fourth is Rajab (between Jamada and Sha’baan). These four months are sacred months, which are supposed to be respected. They were respected even in the time of jahiliyyah (the period before Islam); the pagans respected these four months. They are respected in Islam as well.’

2. Allah has commanded us in the Quran, we should not wrong ourselves in these months. Allah said in Surah At-Tawbah: ‘The number of moths is 12, when Allah created the heavens and the earth. From them, are four that are sacred. This is the right religion. so do not wrong yourselves therein.’

3. The Holy Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen said: “In this month (Muharram), Allah forbade us from wronging ourselves. (Keep in mind that we are forbidden from wronging ourselves at any given time). Since Allah forbade us even more specifically in these four months, then we should know that to wrong ourselves in these months would be even greater with Allah. How does a person wrong himself? A person wrongs himself by two things: 1. Neglecting, and not acting upon that which Allah has made obligatory/ commanded. 2. Fulfilling and acting upon that which Allah has made forbidden and haraam. i.e. by not abiding by the conditions, and also by falling into the prohibitions.

4. Keep in mind that the biggest thing Allah made obligatory upon is Tawheed. So no doubt, the one who is not upon Tawheed, is wronging himself, and oppressing himself. The person who believes in Tawheed, but he does not invest much time to learn it in detail- this person is also wronging himself/herself.

5. The greatest of all prohibitions, is Shirkh: Associating partners with Allah. As Allah tells us in the Quran: ‘InnaShirka la thulmunn Atheem.’- indeed Shirkh is the greatest form of all oppression. Keep in mind that your nafs is an amaanah (trust), and so you should take excellent care of it, more than you take care of your body. Make sure you take your nafs, only in the paths and places that will make it happy/ joyful/ safe and successful. Keep yourself away from any path that will bring you ruin/ destruction/ misery. One of the scholars said in a line of poetry:

‘take good care of your soul,

Purify it.

Try to complete the good manners,

the good etiquettes of islam.

Purify your soul

because you are a human being

due to your soul,

and not just due to your body.’

6. Agreed upon by Muslim, on the authority of Abu Hurayrah RA, who heard the Messenger of Allah SAW say: “The best fasting after Ramadhan, is the fasting in the month of Allah, Al-Muharram.”.

7. There is a special day in this month Muharram, which is a result of a special event, this day is the tenth of Muharram. (which this year will be Monday 3rd November). Agreed upon by Bukhari and Muslim, on the authority of Anas Ibn Malik, who said: When the Prophet SAW came to al-Madinah, he found that the jews were fasting on this day (10th of Muharram), which is called Ashuraa. The Prophet SAW asked why. The jews said, “This is a good day. On this day, Allah saved Musa AS, and the children of Israel from the Pharaoh. Musa fasted, so that’s why we are fasting.” The Prophet SAW said: “We have more right to Musa than you.” then the Prophet SAW fasted Ashuraa, and he commanded the people to fast Ashuraa.

The Prophet SAW said towards the end of his life, “The next year inshaAllah we will fast the 9th and the 10th”, but the Prophet SAW died before the next Muharram came in. Shaykh al-Islam ibn Baaz, “Fast the 10th of Muharram, but fast with it the day before it, the 9th, so you oppose the jews.”

There is a great reward and virtue in fasting the 10th of Muharram, and this great benefit, is found in the collection of hadith by Imam Muslim in his Sahih: On the authority of Abi Qataada RA, that the messenger of Allah SAW said: “fasting on the day of Ashuraa, the tenth of muharram, expiates the sins of the previous year.” Through fasting Ashuraa, you not only gain the benefit of the expiation of sins, but you are also benefiting from following the example of the Prophet Muhammad SAW. Allah says in the Quran, “Indeed in the Messenger of Allah, you have the best example to be followed.”

8. For those of you who are sick or traveling, and you are of the people who used to fast (in the previous years in muharram), and you had that good intention to do so, then good news, you will still receive the reward inshaAllah. This is based on the hadith narrated by Abu Darda, who said the Prophet SAW said: “whoever gets sick, or on a journey, Allah will write for him the exact same deeds that person used to do when he was healthy and not traveling.” This is a great ni’ma (blessing) from Allah!

9. Allah sent Musa AS, and he strengthened him with his brother Haroon AS, to the Pharaoh, calling him to worship Allah alone as the only true God. However, Pharaoh turned in arrogance, and rejects the messenger of Allah, and the call of Allah. Not only did he reject this, but he grew arrogant, and said he is Allah the Most High. Pharaoh said “I am your Lord the most High.’ and he began to oppress Bani Israel; they endured all types of oppression and harm, and they bore it with patience, until Allah granted them victory against this tyrant. When the command of Allah came, he left with the children of Israel, when the Pharaoh found out about it, he gathered his followers and supporters. They left their gardens, the palaces, and the luxury, in the pursuit of not only Musa and the children of Israel, but in the pursuit of their death. The children of Israel saw the army of Pharaoh behind them, and the Red sea in front of them, and they did not know where to go. Uthaymeen said, here is where we take lessons of Yaqeen (certainty)/ tawakkul (trust in Allah). Musa AS, said “No. My Lord is with me. He will protect us.” Allah then commanded Musa to strike the sea, and out of it formed 12 dry paths, as high as mountains. Allah granted victory to the believers. They were not victorious over Pharaoh because they were great in number. The victory came from Allah SWT. So when the last one of them crossed the sea, and the Pharaoh entered the sea, Allah commanded the sea to return to it’s natural state, and they were destroyed. Their bodies were drowned, but their souls were in the hell-fire burning.

10. There are many benefits to be taken from the stories in the Quran, especially from the story of Musa, which we covered briefly. It is upon us to further our understanding of this and to study it. The lessons from the Quran, are for the Muttaqoon, they have Yaqeen (certainty), and they believe in Allah.

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How to Boost your Imaan: Lecture by Br. Imam John Starling at Queens College, 10/22/2014

إِنَّ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ نَحْمَدُهُ وَنَسْتَعِينُهُ وَنَسْتَغْفِرُهُ وَنَعُوذُ بِاللَّهِ مِنْ شُرُورِ أَنْفُسِنَا وَمِنْ سَيِّئَاتِ أَعْمَالِنَا مَنْ يَهْدِهِ اللَّهُ فَلَا مُضِلَّ لَهُ وَمَنْ يُضْلِلْ فَلَا هَادِيَ لَهُ وَأَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ

Innalhamda lillahee, nahmaduhu wa nasta’eenuhu wa nastaghfiruhu, wa na’oodhu billaahi min shuroori anfusinaa wa min sayyiaati a’maalinaa. Mainyah dihillaahu falaa mudillilahu, wa mainyudlil falaa haadiya lah.

“Alhumdulillah. Indeed, all praise is due to Allah. We praise Him and seek His Help and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from our souls’ evils and our wrong doings. He whom Allah guides, no one can misguide; and he whom He misguides, no one can guide. I testify that there is no true God worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad (pbuh) is the Messenger of Allah.”


1. In these troubling days, days filled with doubts, confusion, misconception, which are very cloudy, very hazy, it becomes hard for us as muslims to maintain our identity, and so the question of the fortitude of your imaan (belief) is a most important issue that relates to matters of the heart.

2. Allah is most interested in matters of the heart. On a day when neither wealth nor sons will save one, except for the one who comes to Allah with a sound heart and pure heart.

3. The heart is the seat of imaan. The heart is a morsel of flesh that if corrupt, the whole body becomes corrupt.

4. Prophet SAW put emphasis on purifying the heart and strengthening the imaan.

5. The nature of imaan, is that it goes up and goes down. Imaan is affected by our actions, and what we feel in our heart, and by what we say.

6. Imaan is a statement of the tongue, but also actions outwardly done on the limbs, – it increases with righteousness, and it is decreases with sins and transgressions, so we see how our actions can affect our imaan. even to the point that imaan can also become non-existent in the heart of a ‘muslim’, depending on the nature of the sin.

– The theif is not a believer whilst they are in the act of committing theft- it means they are weak in imaan, but not to the point that they have left the faith.

– The book- majmoo al fawaa’id- ‘collection of benefits’- by Shaykh Nasr asSa’adi- he is a very well known scholar of recent times, who passed away in the 1950’s. He was considered as one of the students of Ibn Al –Qayyim (even though Ibn-Al_Qayyim was from the middle-ages). Sa’di was considered as such, because he dealt with issues of the heart and the soul, just as Ibn Al-Qayyim was famously renowned for; even in his style of writing and reflection. Some of Sa’di’s works are being translated into English, one of those is the ‘Beneficial Means to living a Happy Life’- *you can download this book as a free pdf file online.*

– Imam Sa’di, was one of the first scholars from his region that authored a complete work of tafseer (detailed contextual and literary understanding of the Quranic verses)- it is on its way to being translated. Sa’di says, there is a crucial benefit- which is struggling and striving in what will nourish and nurture your Imaan. As we are nurturing the body with a wholesome balanced diet, we should do the same with the soul. If we do not, then we know we will get sick- in the same way the soul can also get sick. This addresses the issue of imaan being weak. The reality is that it only occurs with His blessings SWT.

ADVICE 1 FOR INCREASING ONE’S IMAN:

Sa’adi said from the most powerful way of increasing faith is through reflection of the Quran, not just through the recitation (though the recitation of the Quran is of great benefit). More powerful than the simple recitation of the Quran is reflecting on the Quran- which was sent as a direction for mankind, and requires you to read with an open mind and an open heart. With this, you will increase your knowledge and awareness of the Quran- it provides proof and evidence which will strengthen your Imaan, and implants in your heart a desire which pushes you to put your trust in Allah SWT, and this trust and attachment you begin to develop comes from the core/ foundation of your faith.

With some guidance and instruction on how to interpret the word of Allah, whether it is through Ibn Kathir translation or through a teacher. Reading over that, it leads a person to understanding their faith, and the power of that can be life-altering.

We often hear of people coming to Islam just through the recitation, and the understanding of the verses, and then they submit to Allah, all the way back to the time of the Prophet SAW. Al-Fudhayl Ibn Iyaad, was a notorious criminal at his time; he was a highway robber, which was a big deal at that time especially, as most people that travelled would take most of their wealth with them (for business and trading purposes etc.) He was so feared by the population, that the mothers used to threaten their children into being good, with Fudhayl’s name. One evening, it was said, that Al-Fudhayl was walking and he looked up at the second story of a house, and he saw an attractive girl, so he of course living in criminal sin (living according to desire), he begins to climb the wall. As he was climbing the wall, he heard a low voice reciting the book of Allah (Quran). Al-Fudhayl was a muslim, and he heard the verse, ‘is it not time for the people of faith, for their hearts to feel awe of Allah in His remembrance.”. Fudhayl froze, thought about it, and he crawled back down and sat underneath a tree, in the shade from the moonlight. It was at that moment he made Taw-bah (repentance) at the moment of sin, when the Imaan is typically most low; he repented, and he went on to become Imam of al-haramayn (imam of both the masjid in Makkah and Madinah), and became active in da’wah. How powerful was the effect of this verse on the life of Fudhayl!

ADVICE 2 FOR INCREASING ONE’S IMAN:

The second point that Sa’di mentions is understanding and awareness of the Prophet SAW- studying the Seerah. This is the second part of the Shahaadah (testification of ‘There is no true God except Allah, and Muhammad SAW is the final Messenger of Allah’), so then it is a part of imaan. Listen and become acquainted with his Ahadeeth, his characteristics – both physical and in his actions/ mannerisms. Studying this will increases your certainty. If someone comes up to you and challenges the Prophet SAW, then this can be a moment of doubt for you, because you fall into error with regards to your certainty.

ADVICE 3 FOR INCREASING ONE’S IMAN:

Thirdly, think about the signs of Allah- The ayaat. There are two types of ayaat- 1. Ayaat in the Quran, and 2. Ayat- al kawniyah– the signs we find in creation. Allah has perfected His creation, everything measured, proportioned – it has been created and directed. Everything is there for a reason. Nothing was left on it’s own to grow. The sea turtle- comes to shore to lay eggs. The turtles come out of eggs, go back to the sea, they have direction- they are programmed in that way (do not go inland).

There are varieties of signs we can look at, there are many species of plants, thousands, and all have unique purpose and design. Because Allah is The Greatest, most Magnificent.

Allah commands us in the Quran ‘Undhuru’– this means ‘look’, using your sight, but also has the definition of look with regards to ‘reflect’. The more you learn about everything, the more you will become amazed by Allah because of His creation. Allah tells us in the Quran, he set the sun and moon in their courses, and then He says ‘so worship me’. This is because through the understanding and pondering over creation, you realize you owe Allah thanks, gratitude and servitude, and so you submit and worship Him naturally. By doing so you increase in worship. From the poetry of Sa’di, he says, ‘our faith is speech, action. Of righteous good deeds it increases, with sins, it declines.’. Faith goes up with good, and goes down with evil. When you look at Allah’s signs, you begin to understand who He is, All-Powerful and All-Knowing, and this brings you closer to Him.

ADVICE 4 FOR INCREASING ONE’S IMAN:

The fourth advice is to look into and study the lives of the Righteous predecessors, the companions, what they gave for their faith and how/ what they sacrificed. Everything seems practical to us, but when you look at their lives you see the practicality of their lives, V.IMP Advice*** Doing good deeds, is a sacrifice that you make, i.e. when praying fajr you sacrifice your comfort and your sleep. Good deeds always involve sacrifice. You sacrifice your career, your time, your money, your friends. With sacrifice, you are giving that thing value. If you do not sacrifice something for something, you do not value it. The more value you see in something, the more you will sacrifice for it. The Prophet SAW did not go untouched by harm. Enrichment in faith comes through sacrifice of things.

ADVICE 5 FOR INCREASING ONE’S IMAN:

Dhikr :the legislated forms of remembering Allah. Ibn Taymiyyah said- “remembrance of Allah is to the heart as water is to the fish”. Imagine how the fish would be if you were taken out of water…. it starts flapping around, trying to get back into it’s environment. The heart was pre-programmed, so there is a level of worry, anxiety, anger when it is taken out of it’s natural state. This is why tranquility and contentment cannot be brought, because these things do not satisfy the heart. The fish starts flapping and then chokes, and eventually dries out and gets hard. Just as the heart will do once it’s left out too long, it gets hard, and this stage is extremely detrimental.

A person should be in a constant state of remembrance, and they should increase the dua (supplication). The Prophet SAW, said Dua is a form of worship. Regardless of what you are asking for, but the fact you are doing it in itself is a very pure form of worship, and in and of itself is a cause for your faith to increase. It means you are submitting, requesting, and turning to Allah. Through this you become pure, and you are acknowledging Allah as the most High, this is Ubudiyyah, you begin to ask Allah for the big things, as well as the very little things. Sometimes we reserve our dua for the big things, as if your dua will run out. However, the Prophet SAW in hadith Qudsi, (where Allah says), “If all of you from the beginning to the end, humankind and jinn, were to stand on one plane, and begin to ask Me everything they want, and I give it to them, it would no detract from what I have, except the likeness of the needle dipped into the ocean, and then when it is removed, and what water is taken with it (i.e. negligible).” Rely on Allah SWT for the little things- this is a clear indication that you are attached to Him. From that Dua, is the athkhaar al yawm al-Layl. When you wake up what do you say? What are the duas you make? Or is it that you are reserving them for the big things, ie. Exam week… This is the medicine of the heart, the remembrance of Allah, there is a reminder to be had, and with this, imaan is increased.

ADVICE 6 FOR INCREASING ONE’S IMAN:

Six- Reflect and think about the many blessings Ni’aam of Allah. IF you count and enumerate the blessings of Allah, you will not be able to comprehend what they are, nor will you be able to understand the nature of them. Allah has blessed us in so many ways. Think about what He has protected us from. Turn the news on and look at the condition the muslims live in, the dire conditions. Only by Allah’s mercy you are being protected. So Increase your imaan, by remembering these things, and then by showing our gratitude, and if you show gratitude, you get more. So it only builds on itself.

Benefits to be taken from the Q and A session:

-Whoever leaves something for the sake of Allah, then Allah will replace it with something better: this is a part of Tawakkul.

-Every disease spiritually is rooted in ignorance. The cure for this type of disease is the opposite, which is al-Ilm, knowledge. The Prophet SAW said knowledge is obtained by learning, and actively engaging in it.

-When Allah blesses you with ni’ma, part of your gratitude, is to not waste it, or to use it in a wrong way. Milk out any beneficial moment from our lives. Fruits reaped from time management is to first identify what first is a time-waster. I.e Your PHONE! Go on a diet from your phone.. do something for a scheduled amount of time. Schedule your faith-based activities.

-The salaf (pious predecessors) said, if you eat less, you go to the bathroom less, thus spending less time overall. Scholars, used to eat bread and water, but to save time they would pour water on the bread so he didn’t have to take time to sip water.

-Laziness has to be combatted, laziness propels more laziness. The prophet SAW sought refuge against this.

-Allah does not like those who do not do what they say. Indeed in the Messenger of Allah, SAW, is a good example.

-To spread islam, is a communal obligation. Meaning if there are some members are going ahead and doing it, and then they will not be held accountable. As a female, do not fall into a compromising situation, same with male.

-When giving da’wah go into the fundamentals of Islam.

-It is not permissible for the one who has an accent except if the rest of the congregation has the same accent. I.e if their recitation has not been perfected

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