REFLECTIONS

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Quarterly: Issue No 39

Rajab 1427

 

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FAVOURS OF ALLAH - USED OR ABUSED

 

Allah, the Exalted, said: "Be!" and the whole universe came into existence.  If He were now to say: "Be not!"  All would be gone again.  He created us from an insignificant drop of water.  After developing us in stages with His attribute of Ruboobiyyah, He then gave us eyes to see and ears to hear as well as endowing us with the power of reflection, the capacity for understanding.  These are hardly things of small account, yet we do belittle them ungratefully.  At best, our attitude is very weak and negligent.  Merely pronouncing the formula "Thanks, O Allah!" is just a ritual utterance and does not constitute true gratitude toward Allah. The body shows its gratitude to Allah by standing, bowing and prostrating in Salaah; by glorifying him and by proclaiming His Uniqueness and Oneness; by humbling our face in the dust in recognition of our servitude and impotence before the Lord of All Worlds.  We show gratitude for the eye we have been given by seeing nothing but the Truth, by looking at everything with a view to learning some lesson. In the case of the ear, gratitude means listening to the word of Allah and always attending to good speech rather than the evil. Preserving one's decency and virtue shows gratitude for beauty. For every bounty we receive there is an appropriate expression of gratitude. If the bounty is related to material belongings then make sure that we spending it wisely. If the bounty is in the form of knowledge gained then spend it wisely in teaching and instructing others.  If it is given in the form of a high position and rank, act with justice and get restitution for the victim from his oppressor. Unless we demonstrate gratitude in these ways the bounties we receive will prove to be misfortunes. When we will finally be called to account for them, we will have to pay the penalty for our ingratitude and Allah knows best what these penalties will be. We seek refuge in Allah from such severe punishments.  Ameen!

 

PROPHET'S SERMON ON LAST DAY OF SHABAAN

It is reported in the Saheeh of Ibn Khuzaimah (Radiyallahu Anhu) that Salmaan (Radiyallahu Anhu) reported that on the last day of the month of Sha’baan, our beloved Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) addressed us as follows:

“O people! There comes over you now a great month (Ramadaan), a most blessed month in which is a night (Lailatul Qadr) greater in virtue than a thousand months.

It is a month in which Allah has made fasting compulsory by day and has made Sunnah the Qiyaam (Taraaweeh) by night. Whosoever intends drawing near to Allah by performing any virtuous deed, for such person shall be the reward like the one who had performed a Fard in any other month; and whoever performs a Fard, shall be blessed with the reward of seventy Faraa’id in any other month.

This is indeed the month of patience and the reward for true patience is Jannah (paradise). It is the month of sympathy with one's fellowmen. It is the month wherein a true believer's sustenance (rizq) is increased.

Whosoever feeds another who fasted, in order to break the fast (at sunset), for the feeder there shall be forgiveness of sins and emancipation from the fire of Jahannam; and for such feeder shall be the same reward as the one who fasted (whom he fed) without that persons reward being decreased in the least.

Thereupon we said: 'O messenger of Allah, not all of us possess the means whereby we can give a fasting person to break his fast'.  Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) replied:  ‘Allah grants the same reward to the one who gives a fasting person to break the fast a mere date or a drink of water or a sip of milk’.

This is a month, the first part of which brings Allah's mercy, the middle part of which brings His forgiveness and the last part of which brings emancipation from the fire of Jahannam.

Whosoever lessens the burden of his servants (bondsmen) in this month; Allah will forgive him and free him from the fire of Jahannam.

And in this month (of Ramadaan) four things you should continue to perform in great numbers, two of which shall be to please your Lord, while the other two shall be those without which you cannot do.  Those which shall be to please your Lord, are that you should in abundance bear witness that there is no deity to worship except Allah (i.e. recite the Kalimah Tayibbah Laa Ilaaha illallah) and make much Istighfaar (beg Allah's forgiveness by saying Astaghfirullah); and as for those without which you cannot do are that you should beg of Allah entrance into Jannah and ask refuge in Him from Jahannam.

And whoever gives a fasting person water to drink, Allah will grant that giver to drink from My Fountain (Hawd-e-Kawsar) such a drink whereafter that person shall never again feel thirsty until he enters Jannah.”

 

THE MUBAARAK MONTH OF RAMADAAN

The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was sent as a guide and as a leader to humanity. He guided us to believe in the Oneness of Allah and ordered us to obey the Commands of Allah and accept him as the last and final Messenger sent to mankind. Imaan and Islam represent these two Beliefs.

We Muslims are approaching the blessed days of Ramadaan; we must work hard to please Allah in these virtuous days of Ramadaan, whilst following the Commands of Allah and obeying His Beloved Messenger.

We should also keep in mind that the worship we undertake in this month is not an easy task to accomplish. In the hot and long days of Ramadaan, we keep ourselves hungry and thirsty from dawn to dusk, hold back our desires and avoid even those matters, which Allah has made Halaal in days other than Ramadaan. Then in this situation, we accomplish our daily work and spend the day according to the Commands of Allah. In the evening, after breaking our fast, we await the night not to slip into the bed and rest, but to make the Qiyaam and listen to the Book of Allah; we thank Allah and make sujood (prostrations) unto Him. Thereafter, taking some sleep at night, we await the call of adhaan to initiate the great act of worship once again for the Fajr Salaah.

All this hard work is done only to please Allah and with the hope that this act would become a means of our salvation. Indeed, many people put together great efforts in the month of Ramadaan, BUT who is the one, whose worship will truly benefit him on the Day of Resurrection and protect him from the severe punishments and trials of that Last Day?  He is the one, who believes in the Oneness of Allah and does not associate partners with Him, and performs all his worships according to the guidance of Allah's Messenger, because Allah says:

"Verily, whosoever sets up partners in worship with Allah, then Allah has forbidden Jannah for him, and Jahannam will be his abode. And for the Zalimoon (polytheist and wrong-doers) there are no helpers." (Surah 5 Verse 72).

This was also what Allah warned his Messengers with, He said:

"But if they had joined in worship others with Allah, all that they used to do would have been of no benefit to them." (Surah 6 Verse 88).

Similarly, if one performs all his worship with full sincerity but does not abide by the guidance with which the Messenger of Allah came, then all his worship will become invalid and be of no benefit on the Day of Judgement. Allah says:

"O you who believe! Obey Allah and Obey the Messenger and render not vain your deeds." [Surah Muhammad (47): 33]

We ask Allah to make all our worship sincerely for Him alone and make us strong adherents to the guidance of Allah's Messenger.  Ameen!

MODERN MUSLIM WOMEN

Many modern Muslim women today still believe that covering the head is not obligatory.  They say that Ayah 31 of Surah Noor, if understood correctly, infers that the head covering (khimaar) is natural and desirable, but that it is not necessarily obligatory.  They claim that this was more a dressing of the women of Arabia.

Let us clear our misconception here that it is not the dress that the Arab women wore which has been made obligatory in Islam.

Allah, in the Noble Qur’an, in Surah Al-Noor 24: Verses 27, 30 - 31, has prescribed the etiquette for men as well as women for times when they have to interact with each other.  The directives are as follows:

First of all, the Qur’an says – to men and women alike – that if you have to visit someone, you must seek permission for entering their house, and this permission should be sought only if you are familiar and acquainted with those that live in that house. You should enter only if you are given permission to do so.

Once you have entered, men should follow these directives:

Refrain from staring at women; and wear a decent dress that guards their private parts; 

Women (who already have their heads, arms and legs covered) should observe the following directives:

Refrain from staring at men; and wear a decent dress that guards their private parts;

Refrain from showing off their jewellery apparels and make up etc., except for that which inevitably shows; and

spread their head covering (khimaar) on their bosoms.

The reason for these directives is not to be recognized as pious and modest women but that such etiquette contribute towards "purifying our hearts". Like all other directives of the Qur’an, this directive is also for purifying the heart of all such inclinations which might stain it. Such purification is a mandatory requirement for qualifying us for the everlasting bliss – the Jannah – of our Lord.

The directives of the Shari'ah for women have been explained above. These directives should be observed under all circumstances, except those where the Shari'ah itself has exempted the woman (also given in the referred verses).

Whether one is in North America or in Saudi Arabia, the directives of the Shari'ah, as the individual understands them, must be followed. It is very tragic that revealing dresses have become a part or modern day culture. But irrespective of the acceptability or otherwise of the society, an individual – man or a woman – should have the commitment and courage to hold the directives of Allah dearer to himself/herself than any thing else, even if such an attitude means "standing out" in the society.

As a Muslim woman, one should wear the Khimaar (a piece of cloth used as head covering, which is long and wide enough to be spread over the bosom when the time so requires. The style in which such khimaar is worn may differ from that which has been adopted by the Arabs or other eastern nations. The basic theme is that wearing a "khimaar" is a part of the Shari'ah, not just an Arab culture.  In view of the above I do not think anyone may differ with me that a “hat” or “tam” can be used as a substitute for "Khimaar".

Allah does not expect us to dress like the Arabs. Allah expects all women – whether Arab or non-Arab - to cover themselves as has been prescribed by Him.

Any Muslim scholar should restrict himself to teaching the directives of the Shari'ah and should refrain from making his own Shari'ah. 

I therefore appeal to all modern Muslim women to carefully study the directives given in the referred verses of the Qur’an, keeping in mind that they were primarily addressed to women who usually kept their heads, arms and legs covered, and see what you derive from these verses. You should follow what in your opinion is the correct application of these verses. All that would be required from you after that is that you keep your mind and heart open for the arguments of those who have a different opinion than your own.

Let not these modern Muslim women concentrate their efforts in making a logical presentation of Islam.  It is our firm belief that if Islam is truly a Divine religion, nothing in its directives can be illogical.

One must always remember that all the directives of the Qur’an and the Sunnah are to purify our hearts and thereby qualify us for Jannah.  These directives are not to make this present life more comfortable but to make the life hereafter, which is our permanent abode, more comfortable.

May Allah help us in understanding His Shari'ah and live our lives accordingly.  Ameen!

PROPHETIC WISDOM

Narrated Jarir bin Abdullah:  We were in the company of the Prophet on a fourteenth night (of the lunar month), and he looked at the (full) moon and said: "You will see your Lord as you see this moon, and you will have no trouble in looking at Him. So, whoever can, should not miss the offering of prayers before sunrise (Fajr prayer) and before sunset (Asr prayer)." Then the Prophet recited:  “and glorify the Praises of your Lord, before the rising of the sun and before (its) setting. (Surah 50 Verse 39)  (Bukhari)

Narrated Abdullah:  Allah's Apostle said: "The key of the Unseen are five: (and then he recited): “Verily, Allah! With Him (Alone) is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, and knows that which is in the wombs. No person knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no person knows in what land he will die. Verily, Allah is All­Knower, All­Aware (of things)”. (Surah 31 Verse 34)  (Bukhari)

Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: "The person from whom advice is sought has been entrusted with an amaanah (trust). Therefore he should advise the person seeking advice to do that which he himself would have done". (Tabrani)

 

I request your humble du'aas.

Abdul Haq Abdul Kadir

Umhlanga Rocks, KZN

South Africa