Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Labbayk Allahuma Labbayk

Bismillah Ar Rahman Ar Raheem

Labbayk Allahum Labbayk... Here I am Oh Allah, Here I am. It was the dua of the crowd of Hajj, the cries of the hearts of the pilgrims. Oh Allah here I am... here I am waiting for You, for Your Forgiveness, for Your Mercy, for Your Blessing, for Your Favour. The supplication of tawaf, of the time spent in ihram...
The Hajj season has passed a new year in the Islamic calendar begins today-- Did we come away changed? Was it a Hajj Mabroor? Is the cry of Labbayk Allahuma Labbayk still wet on our tongues? Are we still seeking Allah's favour and His Mercy? What did we attain? What do we deserve?
Evidence of a Hajj Mabroor is the steadfastness of the servant after the Hajj has been completed. That the practice of righteous actions will establish and maintain themselves. That sins would be left. Al-Hasan al-Basri said, “Al-Hajj al-Mabrur is to return abstinent from this world and desiring the hereafter. This is witnessed to in His saying, “And those who are guided – He increases them in guidance and gives them their righteousness (taqwa, fearful awareness of Allah, care to avoid His displeasure).” (47:17)
Have we changed? It is true that we must hope in Allah's Mercy, as without it we have no hope, but to supplicate for forgiveness and the Favour of Allah without doing anything to change ourselves is like saying "I will lose weight" and then continuing to eat junkfood every meal. Allah is capable of all things that is certain, and most definitely making dua is the best action a Muslim can take... sincere supplication. However one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Muslim from the other followers of other religions is that we are accountable-- We must strive to better ourselves, to earn forgiveness, to avoid sin. In another example of an obligatory ibaddah of the Muslim-- ramadan, the Prophet Sallahu Alayhi wa Salam and his companions would supplicate to Allaah for six months that He would allow them to reach Ramadaan. If He allowed them to reach Ramadaan, they would fast, pray at night and supplicate for the next six months that He accepts the month of Ramadaan from them. The righteous predecessors would struggle to complete and perfect their deeds, hoping afterwards, that it would be accepted and fearing that it would be rejected. From the reports of ‘Alee, “Be more concerned with having your deeds accepted than the deed itself. Did you not hear Allaah say: ‘Verily Allaah, only accepts those from those who fear Him. (i.e. possess taqwaa).’ [5:27] “[Lataa'if ul Ma'aarif, p. 246]

Labbayk Allahuma Labbayk... here I am O Allah. Make me of those who is deserving of your mercy, who honors the gift of Islam that you have given me, who honors the gift of Hajj that you gave me. Change my heart, make me fear only You, worship only You, seek only You and your favour. Change my heart O Allah, make me sincere, purify me, make me steadfast. Accept my Hajj O Allah, and invite me back to your house.
Here I am O Allah, Here I am... keep me as one of your servants, keep my heart firm on your religion. Accept my ibadda, accept my Hajj O Allah... Ameen

Monday, June 21, 2010

"A Small Reminder"

I regularly attend a halaka where recently we have been discussing how to live with fear of Allah in our hearts and how to pass that on to our children so they have a pure faith... one untainted with shirk, or love of dunya over religion. All too often the general consensus is that we cling to this world far too much, fear the reaction of others, and don't have a true fear of Allah and understanding that we will stand before Him on the day of Judgement. We don't consider the Hereafter and all of the trials we will face with it. May the following video be a reminder to us all... Remind us about how quickly it can all be snatched away and how this life is fleeting. That we must worship Allah NOW....

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Clinging to Dunya, Losing Religion...

Bismillah Ar Rahman Ar Raheem,

As a Muslim in the West, (and I suspect anywhere in this world,) we are constantly inundated with the desire to seek and acquire personal wealth and material possessions. The idea that "more is more" and that having such things will bring happiness and satisfaction, possibly status and admirability. Allah tells us in His glorious Qur'an that "Beautified is the life of the world..." 2:212 and it is a hard thing to resist. Is having wealth and possessions wrong in Islam? Does it go against Islam? In some aspects, no. Look at the fact that 6 of the 10 people guaranteed paradise were incredibly wealthy mashAllah, however, what we do with this wealth is critical. Does it draw us closer to or away from Allah. Does it distract us from our worship of Allah and our ultimate pursuit... that of the Hereafter? This is where we need to examine ourselves and our intention. If dunya or its pursuit is hindering the worship of Allah, or even becoming a god to you in the way that you worship it over our Glorious Creator, then there is a problem.
On that note, here is some food for thought I thought was worth sharing. Alhamdulillah recently I had the opportunity to read some of Ibn Khaldun's works. He is a sunni scholar who focused in detail on the construction and order of society ( this is a very basic and poor description of his focus). Anyway, he makes some great points worth contemplating. Essentially he argues that a nation will always try to surpass the one previous by attaining more, and that we view progressive nations as something superior and worth pursuing.

“[t]he vanquished always want to imitate the victor in his distinctive mark(s), his dress, his occupation, and all his other conditions and customs.” “ [He] always sees perfection in the person who is superior to it and to whom it is subservient.” such thinking then “adopts all the manners of the victor and assimilates itself to him.” “Therefore, the vanquished can always be observed to assimilate themselves to the victor in the use and style of dress, mounts, and weapons, indeed, in everything.” The Muqaddimah, I, p. 299.

"when a nation has gained the upper hand and taken possession of the holdings of its predecessors who had mulk, its prosperity and well-being grow. People become accustomed to a great number of things. From the necessities of life and a life of austerity, they progress to the luxuries and a life of comfort and beauty. They come to adopt the customs and (enjoy) the conditions of their predecessors. Luxuries require development of the customs necessary to produce them. People then also tend toward luxury in food, clothing, bedding (carpets), and household goods. They take pride in such things and vie with other nations in delicacies, gorgeous raiment, and fine mounts. Every new generation wants to surpass the preceding one in this respect, and so it goes right down to the end of the state. The larger the realm ruled by a state, the greater is the share of its people in these luxuries. The limit eventually to be reached is set for a particular state by its own power and by the customs of its predecessors.The Muqaddimah, I

He further argues that those who are furthest removed from society or the urban life are the closest to religion specifically because they are void of such distraction and dunya, i.e. the pursuit of the attainment of such luxury.

“The frugal inhabitants of the desert and those of settled areas who have accustomed themselves to hunger and to abstinence from pleasures are found to be more religious and more ready for divine worship than people who live in luxury and abundance.” Ibn Khaldun-The Muqaddimah, I, pp. 179-180.

So, if then naturally having less brings us closer to Allah, makes us "more religious and ready for divine worship" then maybe this is the way that we should be living? In my using Ibn Khaldun's insight as an example in no way to I forget the way of the Prophet (Sallahu Allahi wa Salam). The best example for mankind of course is him, and it is certain he lived a life that was not excessive, wasteful or full of anything that would draw him away from the worship of Allah. However reading the above caused me to think about this subject and I felt it was worth sharing with those I care about... the Muslim ummah, with the hope that insha'Allah it would cause us to ponder about it and reflect upon ourselves and how we live.

May Allah make us among the pious, those who associate none or nothing with Him. May we be those who place nothing of importance over Him, and may we always remember our ultimate goal is the Hereafter and not anything in this life. Ameen.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Hadith of Jibreel--

On a daily basis one doesn't have to look far to see acts of disgust and sin that go against everything Allah commands us to do. In the West this is especially not surprising as the majority of the people we live around are not God-Fearing, however I would challenge us all to ask ourselves do we as Muslims live with the fear of Allah? One of the most well-known hadith is that of the "Jibreel Hadith". It is a hadith full of powerful lessons and of course the message of Islam, Ihsan, and Iman---

Umar Ibn Al-Khattab reports: One day when we were with Allah's Messenger (saw), a man with very white clothing and very black hair came up to us. No mark of travel was visible on him, and none of us recognized him. Sitting down beside the Prophet (saw), leaning his knees against his and placing his hands on his thighs, he said: “Tell me, Muhammad, about Islam.” He replied: “Islam means that you should testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad (saw) is Allah's Messenger, that you should observe the prayer, pay the Zakat, fast during Ramadan, and make the pilgrimage to the House if you are able to go there.” He said: “You have spoken the truth.” We were surprised at his questioning him and then declaring that he spoke the truth. He said: “Now tell me about Iman.” He replied: “It means that you should believe in Allah (swt), His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day, and that you should believe in the decreeing both of good and evil.” Remarking that he had spoken the truth, he then said: “Now tell me about Ihsan.” He replied: “It means that you should worship Allah (swt) as though you see Him, for He sees you though you do not see Him.” He said: “Now tell me about the Hour.” He replied: “The one who is asked about it is no better informed than the one who is asking.” He said: “Then tell me about its signs.” He replied: “That a maid-servant should beget her mistress, and that you should see barefooted, naked, poor men and shepherds exalting themselves in buildings.” [Umar] says: He then went away, and after I had waited for a long time, [the Prophet] said to me: “Do you know who the questioner was, Umar?” I replied: “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He said: “He was Gabriel who came to you to teach you your religion.” (Narrated by Muslim)

Over the last day I have been spending a lot of time thinking about how people are not fearing Allah. Pondering am I living with the knowledge that Allah is ever watching me, seeing my every action. Do I fear Him more than I fear others, this life, the judgement and acceptance of this world? Am I living in the way that is described in this Hadith? But what started my thinking about it was a few events that have been featured in the Media lately, also linked to this Hadith.

"that you should see barefooted, naked, poor men and shepherds exalting themselves in buildings.”

I can't imagine anyone has missed the footage of now the world's tallest building built in none other than the Middle East-- Dubai. Where each floor cost 9 Million dollars to build for a total well into the billions of dollars. Billions of dollars that could have been used to help those in need, to feed the poor, to bring justice to those who persecute the Muslim people or to bring victory to those struggling in Allah's cause. But instead, in a time where Dubai is drowning in economic turmoil they are competing in the building of tall buildings. Fulfilling this hadith, and not only does it seem that it is a sign of the day of Judgement, but truly I don't know how these people won't be questioned about this act when they stand before Him on the Day of Judgement.

And the second event-- one that really hasn't received much of any coverage in the West is the Aid Convoy from Viva Palestina a London-Based Activist group fighting to help the Palestinians that put together a convoy of supplies on Semi trucks and had them shipped to Palestine with the goal of driving them across the border and dropping them off in Gaza. Trucks full of food, supplies, medical aid--- Help for the Palestinian people. But upon arrival to the Palestinian/Egyptian border, Egypt will not let them cross into Palestine. After the first refusal at the hands of these guards from "Muslim Egypt" they went to another port after trying to find someone that would be willing to supply them with a vessel to reach the next port. But with most countries afraid Israel would Air Strike the vessel they were refused their request until Turkey stepped up and supplied the ship. Now, the group has reached the second port, and Egypt has again refused their admission into Palestine and is demanding they go through an Israeli border-crossing. Not only that but the Egyptian guards have stoned some of the activists. (Here is a link to Turkish news page that has a few pictures from the convoy at the border crossing http://www.filistinkonvoyu.org/ )
Are they living as though Allah is watching? Are they fearing Allah? And are we? Are we doing what we can to support them? Support all of our Muslim brothers and sisters? Are we following the commandments of Allah, doing things for His sake Alone?

May Allah set all of our hearts on the right path, the True Path, and may we serve Allah with a dedication and consciousness that was described in the Hadith of Jibreel. Ameen.