[Thayl At-Tabaqaat 187/1]
[Thayl At-Tabaqaat 187/1]
Tawheed / Aqidah is one of the most essential knowledge that all Muslims must have, for without learning it, or even learning it through incorrect sources, will inevitably deviate a Muslim from the straight path. Tawheed means believing in Allah alone as God, and attributing to Him alone all the attributes of:
Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah rahimahullah said that the knowledge of Al-Asma Al-Husna is the foundation / basis of all other knowledge. Meaning that whatever ‘ilm we are learning – be it regarding the Deen, the worldly affairs, and everything that is contained in the cosmic universes – they must all be based upon the knowledge of Al-Asma Al-Husna, otherwise that ‘ilm may bring harm than good. For how many have studied science, yet is convinced that there is no Creator (Al-Khaliq)?
This is why one of THE most important ‘ilm that a Muslim must have is ma’rifatullah (i.e. knowing Allah SWT), and one of the best ways in trying to achieve this is through learning Al-Asma Al-Husna.
I mentioned the word ‘trying’ in this context because we will never be able to achieve a 100% full completion in learning Al-Asma Al-Husna; because we will never be able to comprehend the majestic and perfection of Allah SWT. And how could we, for He SWT is beyond our limited intellectual ability. Subhanallah.
With the importance of Aqidah in mind, insya Allah we will begin a new series on this website regarding the most beautiful Names and Attributes of Allah SWT, i.e. Al-Asma Al-Husna.
Adab In Learning Al-Asma Al-Husna
Since we will never be able to comprehend the majestic and perfection of Allah SWT, my teacher always reminds us to make tasbih (subhanallah) and istighfar (astaghfirullah) when learning Al-Asma Al-Husna, because there will always be shortcomings on our part in this endeavour. Even Rasulallah ﷺ, the man who is the most beloved to Allah SWT, would still recite the following:
“…I cannot praise You (Allah) enough, You are as You have praised yourself.”
So who are we to think that our understanding, expectations, praises and glorification of Allah SWT are sufficient and perfect for Him SWT? May Allah SWT forgive our shortcomings.
The Importance of Learning Al-Asma Al-Husna
1. It is a knowledge that stems from the branch of Aqidah / Tawheed, and basis of all knowledge as mentioned earlier.
2. It is the best way to learn about Allah SWT as much as humanly possible based on daleel from the Qur’an and sahih ahadith.
When we were young, we were probably mostly taught to be afraid of Allah SWT; that He is The Most Severe in Punishment, that we will receive His Wrath and be thrown into the Hellfire when we did something wrong. We were mostly focused on that one aspect – fear. Then growing up, we began to focus on another one aspect – (false) hope, such as “It’s okay if I drink alcohol / don’t wear hijab / etc, I’ll make tawbah later, Allah is The Most Forgiving, He will forgive me.”
So we grew up either having misunderstood fear about Allah SWT – and life will certainly be full of despair! – or false hope in Allah SWT.
This is why it is important to learn Al-Asma Al-Husna, because it is mandatory upon every Muslim to both fear AND love Allah SWT. It was reported that Abu Bakr RA said:
“Allah’s worshippers should always be in a state of hope and fear,
they shouldn’t wish flimsy wishes about Allah
and neither should they despair of Allah’s mercy.”
[Refs: Abu Nu’aym, Hilyah Al-Awliya’ Vol.1 p18; Ibn Al-Jawzi, Sifah Al-Safwah]
It was also narrated that Rasulallah ﷺ entered upon a young man who was dying and asked: “How do you feel?” He said: “I have hope in Allah, O Rasulallah, but I fear my sins.” Rasulallah ﷺ said:
“These two things (hope and fear)
do not coexist in the heart of a person in a situation like this
except that Allah will give him that which he hopes for
and keep him safe from that which he fears.”
[Sunan Ibn Majah]
Instilling both love and fear of Allah SWT are achievable through learning Al-Asma Al-Husna, insya Allah.
3. So that we may be as those whom Allah SWT calls those who have knowledge that fear Allah. Allah SWT says in the Qur’an:
“…It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah…”
Ibn Kathir rahimahullah wrote that it means “only those who have knowledge truly fear Him as He should be feared, because the more they know about the Almighty, All-Powerful, All-Knowing, Who has the most perfect attributes and is described with the most beautiful Names, the more they will fear Him.”
Thus whoever truly learns and knows Al-Asma Al-Husna will surely fear Allah SWT.
4. So that we may instill good characters through learning Al-Asma Al-Husna. Rasulallah ﷺ said,
“The Compassionate One has mercy on those who are merciful.
If you show mercy to those who are on the earth,
He Who is in the heaven will show mercy to you.”
[Sunan Abu Dawud]
Allah SWT is Ar-Rahman, The Most Merciful. He is Al-Ghafur, The Most Forgiving. These are some beautiful characteristics that we should try to emulate in our own human capacity, seeking and hoping for reward from Allah SWT.
5. So that we may correctly utilize Al-Asma Al-Husna as tawassul for our supplications. Tawassul refers to something that one mentions in his supplication that he hopes will be a reason for the supplication to be answered. One of the prescribed ways for tawassul in our Deen is through Al-Asma Al-Husna, for Allah SWT says:
وَلِلَّهِ ٱلۡأَسۡمَآءُ ٱلۡحُسۡنَىٰ فَٱدۡعُوهُ بِہَاۖ
“And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them…”
Allah SWT Himself has commanded us to call Him by His Al-Asma Al-Husna. It is not merely about whether we can or we should do, but rather we must! From the adab of this method is using the suitable Name for the specific supplication one is asking. One example is the following supplication of Rasulallah ﷺ:
“Allahumma, You are The Most Forgiving, and You love to forgive;
so forgive me.”
We will continue with the series in the next post, insya Allah.
Which are more virtuous, the first 10 of Dhul-Hijjah, or the last 10 of Ramadhan? Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyah said:
“The DAYS of the first 10 of Dhul-Hijjah are more virtuous
than the days of the last 10 of Ramadan,
while the NIGHTS of the last 10 of Ramadhan are more virtuous
than the nights of the first 10 of Dhul-Hijjah.”
[Majmoo’ al-Fataawa 25/154]
Some tips by Sheikh Omar Suleiman:
1. Observe each and every single one of these last 10 nights because we don’t know where that treasure is. We want to be in a state worthy of khayr in these last nights.
2. Diversify our deeds – The best thing we can do in these last 10 nights is to stand in prayer and enjoy as much as salah as we possibly can. There is a beautiful statement by Imam Ash-Shafi’e rahimahullah, where he said that the way Laylatul-Qadr started was with a word “Iqra'” [read] to Rasulallah ﷺ and the Surah ends with “Wasjud Waqtarib” [prostrate and come closer to Allah SWT]. So Laylatul-Qadr should be spent with everything from Iqra’ to Wasjud Waqtarib – from reading the Qur’an, praying, prostrating, and coming closer to Allah SWT such as tasbih, dhikrullah and everything in between. Meaning it’s okay to switch to different types of ‘ibadah. The point is to stay engaged.
3. Watch ourselves from sinning – What we definitely don’t want to do on Laylatul-Qadr is to allow ourselves to be in a state of disobedience. Many scholars pointed out that in times in which good deeds are multiplied, the severity of sins is also compounded. Because it is as though we are purposely turning away from a massive blessing from Allah SWT, from a time where we should be exerting in khayr. The shayateen are locked away in Ramadhan, and on top of that, the angels descend on Laylatul-Qadr – yet we still found a way to be satanic? So watch ourselves in these last few nights. Don’t get caught in any act of disobedience.
4. The greatest supplication for Laylatul-Qadr – We know that THE supplication Rasulallah ﷺ recommended for these last 10 nights is:
Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun, tuhibb al-‘afwa, fa’affu ‘anni
(Allahumma, You are forgiving, and You love forgiveness, so forgive me).
This is the most beloved du’a right now. So when we find ourselves blanking out, or trying to think of the next du’a, or when walking, then repeat this du’a constantly. However, don’t treat it merely as a ‘transition’ du’a, because it is THE most special du’a that we should be making right now. From this we can derive that the best supplications on Laylatul-Qadr are the ones that entail forgiveness. There is nothing in the decree of Allah SWT that is more precious to us than His SWT complete forgiveness.
5. Don’t overlook kindness, generosity, and other good deeds – Did you know that the date of Laylatul-Qadr was lost because of an argument?
Rasulallah ﷺ went out to inform the people about the (date of the Al-Qadr). There happened a quarrel between two Muslim men. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:
“I came out to inform you about the Night of Al-Qadr,
but so-and-so and so-and-so quarrelled, so the news about it had been taken away;
and maybe it was better for you…”
So how bad would it be if on Laylatul-Qadr we got into a fight with someone? Don’t allow our ego to get in the way. Don’t get into arguments and backbiting. Smile and give salaam to people. It is better to remain patient so we may receive the blessing of that night. And lastly, show generosity. Exert ourselves in charity in these last 10 nights.
May Allah SWT help us to fully utilize these last 10 nights. May He SWT accept all of our good deeds and forgive us all in this Ramadhan, and then beyond.
In life, we experience something amazing that makes us feel compelled to come closer to Allah, where we feel a sense of iman-rush. But after a while, dunya gets to us and our reality check makes us feel that we cannot be spiritual consistently.
Here’s a tip on how to remain consistently on the path towards the pleasure of Allah.
In this Lifelong Iman Rush series, we have previously discussed 13 tips on how to strengthen one’s Iman, alhamdulillah. This article is the last tip of the series, and it’s all about ourselves setting our own aspiration and ambition. The question that we should be asking is: How strong of my Iman do I really want it to be?
To answer this question, there is actually a practical approach mentioned in the Qur’an. Allah SWT says:
“…But there are among them (1) some who wrong their own souls;
(2) some who follow a middle course;
and (3) some who are, by Allah’s leave,
foremost in good deeds; that is the highest Grace.”
In this ayah, Allah SWT highlights for us 3 different levels of people, one of them is where we can truly find our aspiration in regard to our Iman. Let us first break down these 3 different groups:
1. The first that Allah SWT mentions is a group of people who wrong themselves by neglecting His obligations. For example, neglecting the five daily prayers, consuming alcoholic drinks, committing zulm towards people, etc. Not only do they abandon the commandments of Allah SWT, they also allow themselves to indulge in doubtful matters.
What are doubtful matters?
Al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali said: I remember that Rasulallah (ﷺ) said:
“Leave what makes you in doubt for what does not make you doubt.
The truth brings tranquility while falsehood sows doubt.”
Al-Mannawi rahimahullah commented the hadith above: Refrain from that which you are uncertain as to whether it is good or bad, halal or haram; and turn instead to that which you are certain, that you are sure is good and halal. “Truth brings tranquility” means that the heart is at ease with it, and “falsehood sows doubt” means that they make the heart anxious and uneasy.
Al-Hafiz Ibn Rajab rahimahullah commented: This hadith highlights the importance of being careful when faced with doubtful and dubious matters, and keeping away from them, because in the case of that which is definitely halal, the believer will have no doubt in his heart concerning it, rather he will feel at ease and will have reassurance in his heart. As for that which is doubtful, he will feel anxious and worry concerning it.
If we put it in a layman term, doubtful matters are basically those uncertain things where we start to think “I’m not sure whether this is right or wrong, or haram or halal…” At this point, it is better for us to refrain from committing it. This is what the Sunnah teaches us, and it is the safest way in safeguarding our Iman. Doubtful matters are not negligible, insignificant matters. Those who decide to go ahead in committing doubtful matters will fall into destruction. Rasulallah ﷺ said:
“Both legal and illegal things are obvious,
and in between them are doubtful matters.
So whoever forsakes those doubtful things lest he may commit a sin,
will definitely avoid what is clearly illegal;
and whoever indulges in these doubtful things bravely,
is likely to commit what is clearly illegal.
Sins are Allah’s Hima (i.e. private pasture)
and whoever pastures near it,
is likely to get in it at any moment.”
The best of mankind ﷺ has taught us that whoever commits himself to doubtful matters will fall into sins, just like how a shepherd allows his sheep to graze near the borders of someone else’s private property – he will eventually venture illegally into it and therefore will be punished.
Such are the characteristics of the first group. May Allah SWT protect us from ever becoming one of them.
2. The second that Allah SWT mentions is a group of people who are moderate in their Deen. Meaning, they fulfill obligations as well as leave what is prohibited by Allah SWT. However, they may neglect some supererogatory good deeds (such as nawafil prayers) and commit some things which are disliked / makrooh (such as giving and taking with the left hand).
In our time, this is probably our definition of a really pious person, right? If we are of those in the second group, alhamdulillah. But when we talk about strengthening our Iman, we must continuously strive to improve ourselves in accordance to what is more beloved to Allah SWT.
And this is where we come to the third group – the group that we all should aim for.
3. This is the group of people that Allah SWT praises and defines them as “some who are, by Allah’s leave, foremost in good deeds; that is the highest Grace.” Subhanallah! Allah SWT praises them in another Surah where He SWT says:
“And ye shall be sorted out into three classes.
Then (there will be) the Companions of the Right Hand
– what will be the Companions of the Right Hand?
And the Companions of the Left hand
– what will be the Companions of the Left Hand?
And those Foremost (in Faith) will be Foremost (in the Hereafter) [As-Sabiqoon].
These will be those Nearest to Allah.”
[Al Waqia 56:7-11]
On the Day of Judgment, there will be 3 groups: a group of people on the left, on the right, and a group of people who are called As-Sabiqoon, the foremost, and closest to Allah SWT. As-Sabiqoon are those from the third group, who will be the VIPs on that Day.
Let us quickly look at the characteristics of the third group. In terms of prohibitions (haram) and disliked deeds (makrooh):
In terms of obligations and other good deeds:
Such are the characteristics of the third group. The sahabah are those from the third group, they set THE standard that we should aspire to follow. No Sahabi ever said: “Oh it’s just makrooh, so it’s ok to do that.” or “Oh, that’s just a sunnah, I can skip that.”
Yes, supererogatory deeds are not wajib, there is a reason why Allah SWT does not make supererogatory deeds as fardh. But we can definitely raise our personal standard by making them ‘mandatory’ upon ourselves. For example, on top of our fardh duties, we can set our mind not to abandon a single nawafil prayer without valid reasons. This way, not only do we protect our fardh obligations, but we also enforce protection upon our extra good deeds. This is for the those who aspire to do more.
As mentioned in previous articles of the series, it is wise however, not to overwhelm ourselves by doing every single supererogatory deed immediately. We won’t be able to keep up that way. Therefore, if we want to start praying nawafil prayers for example, begin that pace one at a time. Start first with the 2 raka’ats prayer before Fajr prayer consistently; then Witr consistently; until we get accustomed before taking in more supererogatory deeds. It was Rasulallah ﷺ himself who taught us that good deeds should be done constantly, no matter how little they are:
“Do good deeds properly, sincerely, and moderately
and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise,
and that the most beloved deed to Allah
is the most regular and constant, even if it were little.”
So to summarize this tip, we must have both long term and short term goals with regard to our Iman. In the long term, we should all aspire to become As-Sabiqoon, to be muhsinin, aspiring to perform at the level of maximum capacity. But we can’t reach the station of ihsan if we have not fortified our foundations first. So we need to set reasonable short term goals that are low enough to attain, yet high enough that will still inspire us to reach our lofty long term goals. Set ourselves a 1-month, or 3-months, 5-months, 1-year goal. The same way we set our dunya aspirations, do the same for our akhirah as well.
Before I end this article, let me address one of concerns that we might have:
“But the third group is too far to reach. How can we ever be like the Sahabah?”
Allah SWT says:
“Say (O Muhammad ﷺ to mankind):
If you (really) love Allah, then follow me,
Allah will love you and forgive you your sins.
And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
[Ali Imran 3:31]
There are wisdom and reasons why Allah SWT mentions His forgiveness in the above ayah. When we follow the way, the lifestyle of Rasulallah ﷺ, we will realize that we cannot achieve what he ﷺ achieved. But Allah SWT is telling us, by our virtue of trying to follow him ﷺ, He SWT will love us back and will forgive our shortcomings. And the sahabahs, may Allah SWT be pleased with all of them, are examples for us, meant to inspire us. We cannot reach their level, but we can definitely strive and in that process we will reach an acceptable level, insya Allah. Because if we want to progress, then we have to push ourselves out of our comfort zone.
May Allah s.w.t. make us His beloved slaves from the third group – Allahumma ameen.
Alhamdulillah, this is the end of the Lifelong Iman Rush series. If you would like to read the previous tips in chronological order, please click the links below. Jazakumullah khayran.
“O you who believe! If you have Taqwa of Allah, He will grant you [Furqan],
and will expiate for you your sins and forgive you,
and Allah is the Owner of the Great Bounty.”
Taqwa of Allah includes doing what He SWT has enjoined (both obligatory and recommended), and avoiding what He has forbidden (both haram and makrooh). This ayah mentions that those who have taqwa of Allah will be granted 3 things:
💎 Furqan – the ability to differentiate between right and wrong, what is good and what is bad, what is beneficial and what is harmful. Scholars said that it also means a way out and aid in this Dunya and the Hereafter.
💎 The expiation of sins and His forgiveness – Scholars mentioned that they mean forgiveness for both small and big sins; or that they mean forgiveness for both one’s past sins and future sins.
💎 Tremendous rewards from Allah SWT.
Ibn Kathir rahimahullah wrote that those who have Taqwa of Allah:
1. Will be guided to differentiate between truth and falsehood. This will be a triumph, safety and a way out for them from the affairs of this life, all the while acquiring happiness in the Hereafter.
2. Will also gain Allah’s forgiveness, thus having their sins erased and pardon, thus having their sins covered from the people.
3. Will be directed to a way to gain Allah’s tremendous rewards.
May Allah SWT make us one of the Muttaqun.
1. Ke Arah Memahami Al-Quran dan Al-Hadis by Ustadh Dr Abdullah Yasin
2. Tafsir Ibn Kathir
When we think of oppression, we usually think of war-torn countries, evil dictators and corrupt governments. While all of these are true, and doing something and spreading awareness about it are certainly noble causes, we usually forget to look at the one thing that we can actually make an immediate difference to – ourselves.
Maybe we’re thinking – me committing oppression? No way!
But we need to realize that…
Not paying back the money we owe is zulm.
Not returning something that we borrow is zulm.
Not fulfilling an amanah towards others is zulm.
‘Disappearing’ for a period of time from our work without consent is zulm.
Revealing someone else’s secret is zulm.
Backbiting people, slandering them, and spreading tales about them is zulm.
Degrading people is zulm.
Disrespecting our parents is zulm.
Cheating on one’s spouse is zulm.
Behaving loudly in one’s neighbourhood is zulm.
Withholding sustenance from one’s pets is zulm.
All of these, and more, are a form of oppression.
And the greatest form of zulm is to commit shirk.
[Zulm] literally means to put something in a place that it does not belong, to misplace rights. So if a person withholds a right from their spouse / family / community – a right that has been mandated by Allah SWT – even if there is no screaming or yelling involved, it is still a form of zulm. It also means that everytime we sin, we’re actually committing a form of oppression upon ourselves, because we’re not giving ourselves our due right, because we’re exposing ourselves to Allah’s punishment.
This reality is super important to know, because the consequences of committing zulm are severe on one’s happiness now and in the Hereafter. People who commit zulm will lose TWO very major blessings of Allah: His Love, and His Guidance. Allah SWT says:
وَٱللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ
“And Allah does not love the Zalimun.” [Ali Imran 3:57]
وَٱللَّهُ لَا يَہۡدِى ٱلۡقَوۡمَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ
“And Allah guides not the people who are Zalimun.” [Al-Baqarah 2:258]
We sacrifice BOTH the Love of Allah and His Guidance if we do zulm.
Let that sink in.
We sacrifice BOTH of Allah’s Love and Guidance.
Subhanallah. If we lose these two Divine blessings, then how can we ever function? Zulm forms such a shell on a person’s heart, that it causes that person to lose the Love of Allah as well as losing the capacity to receive Guidance.
Even the noblest of mankind feared doing zulm towards others. Umm Salamah, Ummul Mu’minin, RA said that Rasulallah ﷺ never went out of their house without raising his eyes to the sky and said:
“Allahumma, I seek refuge in You lest I stray or be led astray,
or slip or made to slip,
or cause injustice (towards others) or suffer injustice,
or do wrong or have wrong done to me.”
[Sunan Abi Dawud]
If he ﷺ used to be so afraid of doing injustice, then where does this leave us?
So I remind myself and then others: Do not consciously wrong ourselves through shirk or committing sins. We are all human, we’re bound to make mistakes, but CONSCIOUSLY committing sins is of a different level. Stay away from those seemingly ‘innocent’ paths that will eventually lead us to sinning.
Do not consciously harm anyone and any creation of Allah. Get out of that situation. If your circle of friends are backbiting someone, do not sit with them. If you see someone being cruel towards animals, stop them. If you’re one of those people who abuse their spouse, then let it be known that you have trespassed a major boundary in our Deen, for Allah SWT says in a hadith Qudsi:
“O My slaves,
I have made zulm [oppression] unlawful for Me and unlawful for you,
so do not commit oppression against one another…”
One of the main takeaway lessons from this hadith Qudsi is this: Allah SWT is so good to us, we should therefore be good to one another. He SWT has made oppression forbidden upon Himself, then who are you to oppress another slave of Allah?
And lastly, always ask the protection of Allah SWT from committing zulm just like how Rasulallah ﷺ did. We seek refuge with Allah SWT from oppressing anyone, and being oppressed by others, and may He SWT help us be just in all of our affairs. May Allah SWT help those who are oppressed all around the world and bring an end to the tyranny of their oppressors.