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Thursday, 4 March 2021

Story of the Kabah Key Holder and Prophet Muhammad


In the year when they achieved victory of Makkah, the Prophet and the companions entered Makkah. As they entered Makkah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) went to the Ka’bah but found it locked. The key of the Kabah used to be kept by a man known as Uthman ibn Talhah.

Uthman ibn Talhah was not Muslim at the time. So he locked the doors of the Kabah and he ran right up to the roof and hid there.

So when the Prophet (peace be upon him) entered Makkah, most of the people of Makkah were accepting Islam as he was entering, he asked for the key of the Kabah. The people told him that it is with Uthman ibn Talhah, and they found him on the top of the roof of the Ka’bah.

So Ali told him:

“O Uthman, give us the key. Here is Muhammad (peace be upon him) asking for the key.”

He said:

“O Muhammad, if I had believed that you were a Prophet, I would have opened the doors a long time ago.”

What this means is, “I don’t believe that you are a Prophet, so I’m not going to open the door.”

Ali happened to snatch the key from Uthman ibn Talhah and he opened the door of the Ka’bah, and the Prophet entered the Kabah and prayed two raka’hs inside it.

Al-Abbas ibn abd al Muttalib, the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was there and he told the Prophet:

“You know that our family is in charge of pouring water for the pilgrims who come for hajj, so if you hand the key over to us, we will have two points of honor: one is to pour the water and the other is to open and lock the door of the Ka’bah as and when it is necessary.”

A Verse was Revealed

So angel Gabriel came down with a verse inside the Kabah, Subhan Allah:

Allah is commanding you to return the trusts to those whom they belong to. (Quran 4:58)

Which means: “O messenger of God, give the key back to Uthman ibn Talhah.”

So, immediately the Prophet got up and gave the key to Ali and told him:

“Go to Uthman ibn Talhah, return the key and excuse yourself for the manner in which you had snatched the key.”

So Ali went back to Uthman ibn Talhah and told him:

“O Uthman, this is the key, and we are presenting an excuse because we were wrong the way we snatched the key from you.”

Uthman ibn Talhah was surprised:

“Oh Ali! You a few minutes ago were harming me, you came to me very harshly, and now you are being so humble! What is it?”

He said:

“By Allah, o Uthman, Allah has revealed regarding you a verse of the Quran. Allah has instructed Muhammad to return this trust to whom it belongs to. For that reason this key has been given back to you here.”

Immediately Uthman ibn Talhah said:

“I bear witness that indeed Allah is one and Muhammad (peace be upon him) is none other than the messenger of Allah.”

The Key Remains with Talhah’s Family

Do you know what happened? Angel Gabriel came down with more revelation. This time not in the form of Quran but in the form of an instruction to Muhammad (peace be upon him):

“O Muhammad, get up and inform Uthman ibn Talhah that the key of the Kabah will remain with his progeny and family until the day of resurrection.”

To this minute, the key is with the members of the family of Uthman ibn Talhah.

Uthman ibn Talhah became known as one of the greatest companions.

This was the power of the revelation of the Quran. This is what happened to Uthman ibn Talhah. And this was the justice of Islam, can we compete with this?

Imagine Al Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet, was asking for the key and Allah says: “No. Return the key to Uthman ibn Talhah.”

The Most Loving – How Allah Shows Great Love for Us


Using Allah’s names in our interaction and communication with Him is very important. It was Allah Himself who chose those names and He has instructed us to use them.

We use them to understand the nature of Allah, to ponder His majesty, and to call attention to our needs and desires. And we also use them to worship Allah in the way that He has deemed most suitable.

And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny His Names. They will be required for what they used to do. (Quran 7:180)

Allah, none has the right to be worshiped but Him! To Him belong the Best Names. (Quran 20:8)

He is Allah, the Creator, the Inventor of all things, the Bestower of forms. To Him belong the Best Names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorify Him. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. (Quran 59:24)

Al-Wadud

Some of Allah’s names are very familiar to us. We use them often in our prayers and supplications; names such as the Most Merciful, the Most Forgiving and the Most Generous.

In this article, we are going to look at a name that we often overlook, the Most Loving, Al Wadud.

Although not a day goes past that we do not experience manifestations of Allah’s love for us, we often fail to define the blessings and bounties as love.

One reason might be that the words Al Wadud, the Most Loving, are not found in the Quran as often as many of the other names of Allah. Al Wadud is mentioned only twice; once in chapter eleven and once in chapter eighty five.

And ask forgiveness from your Lord and turn to Him in repentance, Verily my Lord is Most Merciful, Most Loving. (Quran 11:90)

He is oft Forgiving and full of Loving Kindness. (Quran 85:14)

The Arabic words, Al Wadud means the Affectionate, or the Most Loving. However, it goes beyond what we usually think of as love. It comes from the root word wud which means love through the act of giving. It is the active expression of love rather than the emotion.

Allah’s Love

Allah is Al Wadud because he is actively showing us that He loves us through the manifestations of all His names and His attributes. His affection is with us through all of our trials, tribulations, triumphs and blessings. Every day we are surrounded by reminders of our Creator and His love for us.

Prophet Muhammad taught us about some of the ways Allah shows His love for us that might not be otherwise apparent.

He told us that Allah declares His love to the angels and that the love does not stay with the angels but descends to earth.

When Allah loves someone he calls to the angel Gabriel saying, ‘Oh Gabriel, I love so and so, (the name of a person) so love him.’ Then Gabriel will call to the angels in the heavens, ‘Allah loves so and so, so love him.’ And the angels will love that person and Allah will place acceptance on earth for that believer. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Hadith Qudsi

Prophet Muhammad explains more about Allah’s love when he tells us what Allah explained to him about His love for us.

Allah said:

And the most beloved thing with which My slave comes nearer to Me, is what I have enjoined upon him; and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing voluntary prayers and extra deeds apart from what is obligatory, until I love him, (so much so that) I become his hearing with which he hears, and his sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he strikes, and his legs with which he walks; and if he asks Me something, I will surely give (it to) him, and if he seeks refuge with Me I will surely protect him. (Al-Bukhari)

Ponder And Reflect

If we take a break from our busy lives and ponder the miracles we see around us every day, it is easy to see that they are expressions of Allah’s love. It is in the air we breathe and the food we eat.

Although that sounds clich├ęd and somewhat trite, if we reflect we will see that without Allah’s love we would not exist here for even a nanosecond.

When Allah is Merciful, it is because He loves us; when He is Generous it is because He is demonstrating His affection through His Generosity.

And when He forgives us, which He does over and over again, it is because He loves us. And Allah in turn loves it when we turn to Him in repentance. It is one way that we can reciprocate His love.

Prophet Muhammad tells us that:

Allah Almighty stretches out His hand during the night, turning towards the one who did wrong during the day, and stretches out His hand during the day, turning towards the one who did wrong during the night, until the day the sun rises from the place it set. (Muslim)

His Door is Always Open

Allah makes it easy for us to go to Him and be close to Him. His door is always open and He will continue to demonstrate His love for us no matter how far away we wander. He is Al Wadud, the One who loves and is the source of all love and loving-kindness.

Allah is the Most Affectionate and the source of all affection. He is also the One who is deserving of all our love and affection.

When we reflect on the love Allah shows to us, we should try to think of other ways of reciprocating that love. Allah is not in need of our kindness and affection, He does not need our love but He is also the Most Appreciative and loves it when we demonstrate our love for Him and our love for others.

Remember always that the believer should love for everyone else exactly what he loves for himself, and to that end, love and respect for others is of paramount importance.

Love and respect for Allah should be part of our everyday routine and going beyond our obligatory deeds will strengthen the bond between us and Allah.

The following words from Allah, repeated to us by Prophet Muhammad, give us a very profound definition of the love Allah has for us.

I am as my servant thinks (expects) of me. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly greater than it. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed. (Al-Bukhari)

No One Does Better than You If You Repeat This Dua


Mu`adh ibn Jabal said:

“The people of Jannah will not feel remorse for anything more than their remorse for the times that they did not remember Allah therein.”

Abu Huraira (may Aallah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Messenger said:

“Say La ilaha illa Allah much before you are separated from it.” (Al-Targhib)

It was the Sunnah of the Prophet to make the following dua, affirming Allah’s Oneness and His right alone to be worshiped, every morning and evening.

The Prophet said:

“Whoever says,

‘There is no one worthy of worship but God, alone with no partner, dominion and praise is His and He is capable of all things’

one hundred times a day it will equate to him freeing ten slaves, write for him one hundred good deeds, wipe out one hundred bad deeds, and provide a protection from Shaytan for that day until the evening. No one will do better than the one that says this, except the one that does more.” (Al-Bukhari)

What is the secret behind this great reward?

Simple: The affirmation that each of us is temporal and that Allah is Eternal; that everyone and everything in creation is false and Allah is al-Haqq (the Truth); that no one and no thing has the ability to benefit or harm but Allah.

That is why there is no one worthy of any act of worship but Him, Mighty and Exalted.

Saying “La Ilaha Illa Allah” is, as the Prophet said, “the best thing I and all other Prophets have ever uttered.” (At-Tirmidhi)

It is the essence of Islam, the key to paradise, and salvation for those who say it seeking God’s countenance.

La Ilaha illa Allah is God’s grand gateway, the resting place of the worshipful and the paradise of this world.

It is said that La ilaha illa Allah is God’s greatest name, which when used makes one’s dua accepted.

From Jabir ibn Abdullah: The Messenger of God said: “The best Zikr is La Ilaha Illa Allah.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Why is it the best of Dhikr?

Because it has the ability to affect the inward state. It helps to expunge bad character hidden deep in the soul.

These character flaws entice a person to make his desires and whims as a deity

{Have you seen the one that takes his whims as his god?} (Al-Jathiyah 45:23)

It is a reminder that the soul, mind, and body must not be subservient to anyone or anything but its Creator and Sustainer.

Saying “La Ilaha Illa Allah” reaffirms one’s commitment to nothing being above Allah and his right to be worshiped.

Memorize the above dua and make it a point to repeat it one hundred times in the morning and in the evening.

Prophecies Made in the Quran That Have Already Come True


Praise be to Allah.

There are some things which Allah mentioned in the Quran which were yet to come, and which did in fact happen. These include the following :

1 – The defeat of the Persians by the Romans within a number of years.

Allah said:

“The Romans have been defeated.

In the nearest land (Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Palestine), and they, after their defeat, will be victorious.

Within three to nine years. The decision of the matter, before and after (these events) is only with Allah, (before the defeat of the Romans by the Persians, and after the defeat of the Persians by the Romans). And on that day, the believers (i.e. Muslims) will rejoice (at the victory given by Allah to the Romans against the Persians)”

[al-Room 30:2-4]

Al-Shawkaani said:

The scholars of Tafseer said: the Persians defeated the Romans, and the kuffaar of Makkah rejoiced because of that and said, “Those who do not have a Book have defeated those who do have a Book,” and they gloated over the Muslims and said, “We will also defeat you as the Persians defeated the Romans.” The Muslims wanted the Romans to prevail over the Persians because they were People of the Book… “and they, after their defeat, will be victorious” means that the Romans, after having been defeated by the Persians, would defeat the people of Persia.

Al-Zajjaaj said: This is one of the verses that prove that the Quran is from Allah, because it is foretelling something that was yet to come, and this is something which no one could know except Allah.

2 – Enmity among the Christian sects until the Day of Resurrection:

Allah said:

“And from those who call themselves Christians, We took their covenant, but they have abandoned a good part of the Message that was sent to them. So We planted amongst them enmity and hatred till the Day of Resurrection (when they discarded Allah’s Book, disobeyed Allah’s Messengers and His Orders and transgressed beyond bounds in Allah’s disobedience); and Allah will inform them of what they used to do”

[al-Maa'idah 5:14]

Ibn Katheer said:

“So We planted amongst them enmity and hatred till the Day of Resurrection” means, We sowed amongst them enmity and hatred of one another, and they will remain like that until the Hour begins. Hence the Christian groups, no matter what their types, will continue to hate one another and denounce one another as disbelievers and curse one another. So each group forbids the others to come to its place of worship, and the Byzantines denounced the Jacobites as disbelievers, and the Nestorians denounced the Arians, and so on. Each group denounces the others as disbelievers in this world and will do so on the Day of Judgement.

3 – Allah promised His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that his religion would prevail over all others.

Allah said (interpretation of the meaning):

“It is He Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam), to make it superior over all religions”

[al-Tawbah 9:33; al-Fath 48:28; al-Saff 61:9]

Al-Qurtubi said:

Allah indeed did that. Whenever Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) sent his armies out on a campaign, he would remind them of what Allah had promised them, that He would cause His religion to prevail, so that they would be confident of victory and certain of success. ‘Umar used to do likewise, and their conquests continued east and west, by land and sea.

4 – The conquest of Makkah

Allah said (interpretation of the meaning):

“Indeed Allah shall fulfill the true vision which He showed to His Messenger [i.e. the Prophet saw a dream that he has entered Makkah along with his Companions, having their (head) hair shaved and cut short] in very truth. Certainly, you shall enter Al‑Masjid Al‑Haraam, if Allah wills, secure, (some) having your heads shaved, and (some) having your head hair cut short, having no fear. He knew what you knew not, and He granted besides that a near victory”

[al-Fath 48:27]

al-Tabari said:

Allah says: Allah is confirming as true the vision which He showed to His Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), that he and his companions would enter the sacred House of Allah in very truth, not fearing the mushrikeen, some of them having their heads shaved and some of them with their hair cut short.

The scholars of tafseer said something similar to that which we have said.

5 – The battle of Badr

Allah said (interpretation of the meaning):

“And (remember) when Allah promised you (Muslims) one of the two parties (of the enemy, i.e. either the army or the caravan) that it should be yours; you wished that the one not armed (the caravan) should be yours, but Allah willed to justify the truth by His Words and to cut off the roots of the disbelievers (i.e. in the battle of Badr)”

[al-Anfaal 8:7]

Ibn al-Jawzi said:

What this means is: Remember when Allah promised you one of the two parties. The two parties were: Abu Sufyaan and the wealth that was with him, and Abu Jahl and the people of Quraysh who were with him. When Abu Sufyaan went ahead with the wealth that was with him, he wrote to Quraysh saying, if you have already gone out to save your caravan, I have already saved it for you (i.e., so go back). Abu Jahl said, By Allah, we will not go back. Then the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) set out, heading for the people (i.e., to confront the kaafir army), but his companions were not happy about that, wishing that they had caught up with the group from whom they could capture the booty without fighting. Hence Allah said “you wished that the one not armed (the caravan) should be yours”.

And Allah knows best.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Going Through Hardships? This Verse Will Soothe You


Allah says in an amazing verse in the Quran, and this is the most motivational, the most inspiring verse:

Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. (Quran 2:286)

Allah is speaking to us and informing us that He will never burden a soul with anything more than that which it can carry.

Whatever you're going through no matter how hard, know that Allah knows you can get through it. Allah knows you can pass. And you have to believe this. Otherwise what you're implying indirectly that ‘Allah is unjust and He is burdening me with something I can't handle.’

Allah says, ‘I will never do this to my slave.’

You Can Pass

So, let's create the worst scenario you could ever think of: you came home, you just lost your job, on the way you had a car accident, you smashed your car, by the time you’re home everyone in your family was murdered… Throw the worst scenario you could ever possibly put together…

We all get in such situations, and Allah knows that we can pass and get through it. Because He will never put us in a situation that we cannot handle and get through.

And the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) says in a very amazing hadith:

Amazing is the condition of a believer.

Notice how the Prophet Muhammad doesn't say ‘the condition of a Muslim’. Because to be a Muslim is entry level, anyone can really become a Muslim. But here he's been very specific because being a believer is a higher level. He says:

"Amazing is the condition of a believer. Whatever happens to him or her is good."

What does that mean? Whatever happens to you and I is good; when something good happens the Prophet (peace be upon him) says you praise Allah and you thank Him and this is good for you. And when something bad comes your way or a test or a trial or a tribulation… then you are patient and you turn back to Allah, and this is also good for you.

For the case of a believer anything and everything that happens in his or her life it's all good; there is no bad.

Why? Because ultimately where did that come from?

Allah.

We must understand that He the one who's in control. He knows what is best for us and we must trust in Him.

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Tazkiyyah: Purification of Heart Through Story of Prophet Abraham


What is the definition of a successful person in your mind? It might be someone who has a lot of money, power, influence, and ability to shape the world according to their desires.

It could also be someone with a large amount of knowledge and has studied and read broadly enough to accurately analyze and find solutions to some of society’s most pressing problems.

Each of these definitions is correct from a worldly perspective. In God’s eyes, however, each of these successes is a test or opportunity.

People, endowed with free will, are held responsible for choosing whether to use their successes properly in the service of God and Islam or not. This applies equally to both material (money) and non-material (knowledge) wealth.

I am sure that you have heard this point made before, and it is something that pretty much every religious leader has focused on in their Khutbas or lessons at least once in their career.

What I would like to focus on today, however, is the process through which you dedicate your wealth, knowledge, experience – and ultimately your life – to the service of God and Islam. This is what we call the concept of purification, or tazkiyyah.

WAKING UP

Some of the most important elements of Tazkiyyah are found in a part of the broader story of the Prophet Abraham in the Chapter of the Poets (Surat al-Shua’ra’). When Abraham speaks to his father, he asks him why he and his people choose to follow idols. His father responds simply,

“We found our forefathers doing so.”

This is the response that so many of us have in our own lives. Why do you wear certain clothes, eat certain food, or even believe certain things? Because that is what you have been doing your whole life and have never questioned it.

Here is the first step of tazkiyyah: wake up. Your faith and actions are not simply the product of your ancestors, upbringing, education, or culture, no matter how much importance you give to any of these in your daily life. You are ultimately responsible for what you believe and do in this world.

Therefore, question everything, seek new knowledge, and never take things for granted. The more conscious you are of your own life and the things in it, the easier it will become to sort out those things that are blatantly inappropriate or against Islam.

FOCUSING ON YOU

Let’s keep going through this story of Abraham. Once his father gives him that most flippant and unaware of responses, what was Abraham’s answer? Did he disown his father and shun him?

On the contrary, he looked inwards and prayed, stating:

My Lord, endow me with knowledge and wisdom and join me with the righteous; and grant me an honorable reputation among posterity, and make me of those who will inherit the Garden of Paradise; and forgive my father for he is among those who strayed, and disgrace me not on the Day when people will be raised to life. (26:83)

This is the core of the second lesson around tazkiyyah: That this process is about you and not others.

Sometimes, being a Muslim means that you feel a sense of entitlement. You have the Truth and are on the Right Path. Why then, shouldn’t you openly tell others what the right decision is?

That, of course, is because Islam tells us to work within the reality that we live in and to focus on the betterment of ourselves before stepping out and judging others.

PURIFICATION AS THE ONLY WAY

Finally, tazkiyyah is understandably a broad concept and can include purifying your actions, statements, and wealth to improve your practice of Islam.

At the heart of all of this, however, is coming to an understanding that only through purification can true salvation really be achieved and that it is the core intent of actions – and not their ultimate end – that brings the truest results.

This is in the last statement in our story of Abraham, after he ends his prayer. The Quran adds, “But only one who comes to Allah with a sound heart,” meaning that these are the only people who will receive true salvation.

Therefore, when you think about doing something good in the world, be it charity, volunteering, or maybe even setting up a business or studying a new subject, think about your intention.

Are you doing this because you want to show off to others or selfishly improve your career?

If so, take a step back and think about what your proper intention should be. Realize that this is a fantastic opportunity to get closer to God.

When it comes down to the end, none of your knowledge or wealth will ultimately help you in your judgement in front of God, unless you have used it to purify yourself and better your faith.

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

How to Control Our Love for This Dunya?


What is Dunya?

“The word dunya encompasses many things but generally means the temporal, earthly world in contrast to the eternal spiritual realm of the hereafter. Literally, the word dunya means 'closer,' or 'lower.'”

More colloquially speaking, the dunya is any earthly concern or possession. We human beings admittedly love the dunya.

And there is no problem in loving the dunya. It is after all the means to sustain our lives and continue our worship. It is after all a blessing for us and a means for us to be thankful to our Creator.

When Love of the Dunya Goes too Far

The problem comes in when we make the dunya become the goal and not the means to the ultimate goal. The dunya is a place where we are for a time, and all that is in the dunya should be used for or avoided with the ultimate goal of pleasing Allah in mind.

Our goal is not to be as rich, or as powerful, or as comfortable as we possibly can in this life. This life is just a means to the hereafter where what we do in the dunya will determine our position with Allah. And Allah knows how we forget the dunya's place in our journey to the hereafter. He says in the Quran:

But you prefer the worldly life, while the Hereafter is better and more enduring. (87:16-7)

When we start chasing the dunya for dunya's sake instead of using it as a means to our real goal (pleasing Allah) that is when our priorities are mixed up. And we start to suffer from a serious spiritual disease.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) once stood before the companions and said:

“It is not poverty that I fear for you, but what I fear for you is that the world (the dunya) will be presented for you just as it was presented for those before you, then you will compete for it, and it will destroy you, just as it destroyed them.” (Ibn Majah)

As a physical disease destroys the body, a spiritual disease destroys the soul. When we put the love of the dunya before the love of Allah, diseases like greed, arrogance, ingratitude, jealousy, vanity all start to take over our heart and destroy our lives.

Guiding Children

Children have a natural love of Allah. And it is easy to nurture this love in them.

But as soon as they are old enough to process visual stimulus and voice their wants, they are bombarded with advertisements geared at them, convincing them that they need the latest and greatest toy, article of clothing, or snack on the market. And this is where the battle ground for the heart begins.

The good news is that, as parents, you can do a lot to make sure the love of Allah wins over the love of dunya in the hearts and minds of your children.

Use their obsession with getting that bright and shiny new toy as a teachable moment. Tell them about children who could only dream about having all that they have.

Combating too Much Love of Dunya as Adults

As adults, we still fall for the same traps we did as children. The commercials may be more sophisticated and our friends may have bigger toys to tempt us to compete, but it is all the same.

Similarly, the cure for this disease of too much love of the dunya is the same.

When we want the latest and greatest “toy” and become obsessed with it and feel like we cannot live without it, we can look to those who have less than us. Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said:

Look at those who stand at a lower (financial) level than you but don't look at those who stand at a higher level than you, for this would make the favors (conferred upon you by Allah) insignificant (in your eyes). (Muslim)

When we feel the urge to compete with others in material wealth or possessions - things that will not help you even a little in the hereafter - replace that competition with a competition in good deeds and gaining religious knowledge - things that will build mansions and gardens for us in the hereafter.

When the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was asked whether the verse in the Quran:

And those who give whatever they (have to) give while their hearts are trembling. (23:60) referred to people who committed sins, he replied:

No. They are those who fast, pray and give charity while fearing that (these deeds) may not be accepted (by God). They are those who compete with one another in good deeds. (Ibn Majah)

The key is to understand that Allah does not deny our impulses. He encourages us to redirect them to something better.

Remind yourself that everything you do in this dunya can be done for the love of Allah, if you just have the right intentions.

And say:

Indeed, my prayer, my service of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds.' (6:162)
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