Useful Means for Happy Life

Sheikh Abd Al-Rahman As-Sa’di (rahimahullah) said that inner peace of one’s heart is the goal that each person tries to achieve in life, because tranquility of the heart is the essential prerequisite for a peaceful life. Some top means to attain happiness:

🌸 1. Iman and righteous deeds are the most important and easiest means for happiness. Allah SWT says:

“Whoever works righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a true believer, verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world) and We shall certainly pay them a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (Jannah in the Hereafter).”
[An-Nahl 16:97]

🌸2. Treating people and Allah’s creatures with kindness and benevolence. Allah SWT protects both believers and non-believers from worries for what they show of kindness and good manners to people (and His other creations). However, a believer is much more rewarded for this kindness.

🌸3. Realize that people’s bad treatment, particularly their annoying utterances, do not harm you in any way. Instead, such bad treatment will be recorded in their record of bad deeds. Therefore, it is better for you to train self-control and show the best conduct regardless of what others may do against you.

🌸4. One of the best means for removing worries is not to look for any reward from any person except for Allah.

“We only feed you for Allah’s sake; we desire from you neither reward nor thanks.”
[Al-Insan 76.9]

🌸5. Accomplish your tasks on a daily basis, and never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Otherwise your tomorrow will be much tiring and exhausting.
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Reference:
Useful Means for Happy Life (abridged)
(extracted from a free Islamic book received at Makkah)

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Man’s Sense of Sinfulness and Purification of Soul

sinfulnessandpurificationofsoul

It is true that the nafs by its very nature is inclined towards freedom. However, religion restricts this ‘freedom’ in order to discipline the nafs. Without such restriction, we could lose all good values and the nafs might lose control and act in a completely irresponsible manner.

The nafs is constantly being tempted since what is alluring is always attractive. A person may enjoy listening to and taking part in gossips, deriving a vicarious pleasure in it because s/he feels s/he is better than the person whose weaknesses are being exposed. Or the nafs may find committing adultery an enjoyable way of satisfying its desires. But if we really think, we’ll find that this short-lived ‘freedom’ is not worth the trouble, because we will have to bear the consequences of our misdeeds for a long time.

If we think about all the sinful pleasures we might have enjoyed 10 years ago, and then ask whether we’re left with any of those pleasures now, what would be the answer? Nothing! The pleasures of sin have vanished, yet the punishment remains.

But think of fasting in Ramadhan 10 years ago. What effects are we feeling now from the suffering of thirst? What is left of that hunger pangs 10 years ago? The pain and suffering undergone for the sake of performing duties lillah have disappeared, but the reward stays with us.

You have been endowed by Allah SWT the power of reasoning and the will to choose which way is best.

So will you not utilize them before it’s too late?

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Reference:
Man’s Sense of Sinfulness and Purification of Soul (abridged)
(extracted from a free Islamic book received at Makkah)

Iman Wears Out

iman wears out

Iman wears out over time. We might remember a time when we felt really close to Allah SWT, but now we feel distant from Him. We feel like we’ve taken a few steps back on some of the good deeds / good habits that we were able to attain before. What happened?

Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said in an authentic hadith:

“Iman wears out in your heart, the way (your) garments would wear out…”

Think about it: When we wash our garment over and over again, it will start to lose its color. Even if we do take care of the garment, its color will still fade naturally from the amount of washing that it goes through. So Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam taught us that it’s natural for our iman to wear out.

He sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam continued in the same hadith by teaching us the FIRST place to go for help:

“… so ask Allah to revive / renew the faith in your hearts.” [1]

It starts with asking Allah. Ask your Rabb, the One who enables our hearts, the One who settles iman in us, the One who responds to us – ask Him to renew our iman. And this should be one of our most frequent supplications to Allah. While praying for a new job / marriage / children / sustenance in this world, don’t forget to constantly ask Allah to renew your iman, because your iman is His greatest blessing! It is your most precious asset. If iman is gone, then everything else will not benefit you in any way. But if your iman is strong, then you can bear everything else of this world.

Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood RA used to supplicate the following on the basis of the above hadith:

اللهم زدنا إيماناً ويقيناً وفقهاً
Allahuma zidna eemaanan, wayaqeenan, wafiqha
Allahumma, revive us in our faith (increase our faith),
our certainty (conviction / yaqin), and understanding (of Your Deen).

Ibn Taymiyyah rahimahullah mentioned that one of the best supplications is the du’a that Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam taught Mu’adh ibn Jabal RA. Mu’adh RA reported that he sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam held his hand and said:

“O Mu’adh,
by Allah, I love you and advise you not to miss supplicating after every Salat saying:

Allahumma a’inni ‘ala dhikrika, wa shukrika, wa husni ‘ibadatika.”
(O Allah, enable me to remember You, and to be grateful to You,
and to worship You in an excellent manner.)
[2]

Similarly, we learnt from the hadith that one of Rasulallah’s sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam most frequent supplications is:

Ya Muqallibul-quloob, thabbit qalbi ‘alaa deenika
(O Turner of Hearts, make my heart firm upon your Deen). [3]

Why are these supplications important? Because we are asking the Enabler to ENABLE us. So when you make du’a to purify your heart, ask the One who can truly purify, to purify you. And that’s the best thing that you can do for your iman – to constantly ask Allah s.w.t. And this Deen is beautiful because He s.w.t. forces us to ask Him this in our every prayer, in every single raka’ah:

Ihdinas-siratul mustaqin
(Guide us to the straight path)

May Allah s.w.t. keep our iman strong, and increase it until the Day we meet Him.

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References:
Extracted from The Faith Revival Series by Sheikh Omar Suleiman

[1] Al-Hakim in his Mustadrak
[2] Sunan Abi Dawud
[3] At-Tirmidhi

Will we be punished for doing a “good” deed?

Imam Sa’eed ibn Al-Musayyib rahimahullah once saw a man praying more than 2 raka’at after the beginning of Fajr (i.e. before the Fajr prayer), making many bows and prostrations, and so he forbade him.

The man said: “O Abu Muhammad, is Allah going to punish me for praying?”

Sa’eed said: “No, but He will punish you for contradicting the Sunnah.” [1]

Sa’eed ibn Al-Musayyib rahimahullah was a tabi’ee (i.e. a student of the Companions), and his narrations are reported in both Bukhari and Muslim.

The point here is a lesson and a warning against doing bid’ah with the excuse of doing a good deed. For this ummah, there is absolutely no one else who knows ‘ibadah that is beloved and accepted by Allah s.w.t. than Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself. So adhere to the Sunnah as much and closely as possible, and leave the ones that contradict it.

قُلۡ إِن كُنتُمۡ تُحِبُّونَ ٱللَّهَ فَٱتَّبِعُونِى يُحۡبِبۡكُمُ ٱللَّهُ وَيَغۡفِرۡ لَكُمۡ ذُنُوبَكُمۡ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ غَفُورٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ۬

Say (O Muhammad sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to mankind):
If you (really) love Allah then follow me (i.e. follow the Qur’an and the Sunnah),
Allah will love you and forgive you your sins.
And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
[Ali Imran 3:31]

May Allah s.w.t. help us live upon the Sunnah and die upon the Sunnah.

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Reference:
Al-Bayhaqi in As-Sunan Al-Kubraa, graded as saheeh by Sheikh Al-Albani

To the one who chases his Dunya, but lazy for his Akhirah

We’re very calculative. We want the best phone, the best dress, the best sale bargain. We like to haggle persistently and if we only get a measly RM2 discount, we’d still feel happy about it.

But we’re not as calculative when it comes to matters of the unseen – our Akhirah.

We don’t see that praying on time as one of the best deeds [1] so we refuse to haggle with our nafs to choose the 5-10 minutes fardh prayer over that 30-60 minutes TV show.

We want the best house, we super love free things. But we don’t think of having that free amazing house in Jannah. [2]

If we only understand that the best investment is the investment for our Akhirah. Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim rahimahullah, when referring to good deeds, said that the merchandise of Ar-Rahman is really expensive for the one who is lazy. And Sheikh Ibn Al-Uthaymeen rahimahullah said that it is indeed expensive for the one who is lazy; yet for the one who has zeal, then it is cheap for him!

In this Deen of ours, laziness IS evil – and even more so for being lazy in regard for the Akhirah. This is why Ibn Al-Jawzi rahimahullah wrote:

“The span of lifetime in this world is practically the life one is given to perform good deeds.
Therefore I wonder at he who prefers idleness in the sowing season, and leaves yielding for the harvesting season.”

May Allah s.w.t. make us among those who work hard for our Akhirah, and grant us true success in the Hereafter. Allahumma ameen.
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[1] Sahih Muslim | http://sunnah.com/muslim/1/162
[2] Sahih Muslim | http://sunnah.com/muslim/6/125

[Ghafir 40:7,9] The Angels Who Bear The Throne of Allah Make Du’a For Us Too!

Some of my favourite ayat in the Qur’an are where Allah s.w.t describes how even the angels who bear the ‘Arsh of Allah ask for our forgiveness:

“Our Rabb! You comprehend all things in mercy and knowledge,
so forgive those who repent and follow Your Way,
and save them from the torment of the blazing Fire!”

“And save them from (the punishment because of what they did of) the sins,
and whomsoever You save from the sins that Day,
him verily, You have taken into mercy.
And that is the supreme success.”
[Ghafir 40:7, 9]

Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
“I have been permitted to tell about one of Allah’s angels who bears the Throne, that the distance between the lobe of his ear and his shoulder is a journey of seven hundred years.” [Sunan Abu Dawood]

The fact that such supreme creations of Allah would even bother to ask for our forgiveness is a sign of how extremely Merciful and Loving Allah is to us. We sin and fall into mistakes, time and time again, but He is willing to forgive all of them, willing to give us so many chances, if we just return back to Him sincerely.

Truly, Allah is full of Bounty to mankind, yet most of mankind give no thanks.
[Ghafir 40:61]

Allahumma, forgive our transgressions, make us not those who are ungrateful to You. Help us to remember You, to be grateful to You, and to worship You in the best of manner.

Post-Hajj Reflections

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The return journey is always bittersweet; the anticipation of seeing loved ones back home, and yet the heart becomes restless as the airport slowly looms in the horizon.

Will I come back?
Is this my last visit here?
Are all of my sins forgiven?
Are all of my deeds accepted?
Have I truly tried and done enough?

And with each question, the heart responds with a sense of longing, hoping, and worrying. For the fact of the matter is, nobody knows, and nobody can claim piety upon oneself. So we place our hope with Ash-Shakoor, the One who accepts imperfections from those who are imperfect, if He wills.

But the most important question that the Hujjaj should ask is: Will I remain istiqamah after this?

Hajj Mabrur does not necessarily mean it’s attained just by completing the manasik, but it means to remain true and consistent on Tawhid, on the Sunnah, in Taqwa, in righteous good deeds, in obeying what has been commanded and what has been prohibited, and in the removal of everything that gets in the way between your relationship with your Rabb – just like your father, Ibrahim AS.

Labbayka Allaahumma labbayk.
Here I am (I commit myself to serve You and worship You), O Allah, here I am.

The talbiyah reminds us of our focus – and that is Allah, and Allah alone.

So will we leave Makkah with our lives changed? Because living by this statement means we’ve committed ourselves to Allah, we’ve intended everything for Allah, in every moment of our lives, in everything that we do – our work, family relations, friends, what or where we choose to work, to live. Everything.

Hajj is not about getting the title ‘Pak Haji’.
Hajj is not about striking it off on your To-Do-List.
Hajj is not just about completing the manasik.
Hajj is not about returning home and to our old ways – be it of immodest fashion and lifestyle, to haram relationships, to unguarded gaze, to unrestrained tongue, to be lazy in ibadah, to be impatient when tested, to be immersed in entertainment, to each and every single bad habit and bad character that we have vouched that we will never return to.

You were a guest of Ar-Rahman, you were invited by your Rabb, you did not arrive there by your own. So will you repay the honour and kindness by returning to your sins?

O Hujjaj, remember how patient you were, so continue to be patient!
Remember how steadfast you were, so continue to be steadfast!

Hajj is about being consistent. This is why I personally feel that the Hujjaj have a greater amanah towards their Rabb upon their shoulders.

Allahumma, grant us all Hajj Mabrur, and allow us to return again and again to the Haramain, and help us remain istiqamah until the last of our breath.

Allahumma, there is now a distance between us and Your House, but do not make our hearts distant from You, for you are the same Rabb that we worship, and the same Rabb that we will return to. The heart yearns to return, so make our hearts yearn to return to You in the best state that is most pleasing to You.

Allahumma ameen!

(Photo taken at Masjid An-Nabawi, 2017)