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.

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

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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.
____________________________
[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

IMG-20170925-WA0004

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)

The 10 Blessed Days of Dhul-Hijjah

Another season of obedience is upon us, alhamdulillah.

Indeed Ramadhan has left us, but we’re about to receive another massive opportunity to earn Allah’s Forgiveness and Rahmah, another incredible opportunity to strengthen our relationship with Allah s.w.t., and that is the first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah. Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

“There are no days in which righteous deeds
are more beloved to Allah than these 10 days.”

The people asked, “Not even fighting for the cause of Allah?”
He (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “Not even fighting for the cause of Allah,
except in the case of a man who went out, giving himself and his wealth up
for the cause (of Allah), and came back with nothing.”

[Sahih Bukhari]

Allah s.w.t. takes an oath by these 10 days, which indicates their great importance to us:

“By the dawn, and by the ten nights.”
[Al-Fajr: 1-2]

‘Ten nights’ here is interpreted by most scholars to mean the first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah. These are THE best days of the year. No good deeds done on other days are more superior than those done on these 10 days.

Most of us know very well the immense blessings of Ramadhan, especially the last 10 nights. But a lot of us are unaware of the importance and virtues of the first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah. Many of us think that these days are blessed only for the hujjaj. Yes, for the hujjaj, they will be at the best place, at the best days of the year, performing the best act of worship that one can do in these 10 days.

But what about those who don’t go for Hajj? Are they deprive from the virtues of these 10 days?

Absolutely not, alhamdulillah! Here are some recommended deeds to do in these first 10 blessed days of Dhul-Hijjah, based on the Sunnah of Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:

1. Sincere repentance from sins, as well as increase the quality of our fardh prayers, and perform extra acts of worship throughout the first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah such as optional salah, reading and tadabbur of the Qur’an, charity,  qiyamulail, etc. This is based on the above hadith where Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said that there are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these 10 days.

2. Perform Hajj and Umrah for those who are able to.

3. Fast the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah. [1] And for the non-hujjaj only, fast ESPECIALLY on the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah (the day of ‘Arafah). [2] It is highly recommended to fast on the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah, which is the day of ‘Arafah, because fasting on the day of Arafah expiates sins of 2 years: the previous and the coming year!

4. Fully utilize the day of ‘Arafah by making istighfar and tawbah, and increase in supplications. Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

“There is no day when Allah sets free more servants
from the Fire 
than the day of ‘Arafah.
He draws near and expresses His pride to the angels

and says: “What do these people want?”
[Sahih Muslim]

Imam An-Nawawi rahimahullah said this hadith shows the importance of the day of ‘Arafah. Based on many ahadith, it can be signified that supplications on the day of ‘Arafah have a far greater merit than other days. Indeed, this is a day to earn Allah’s forgiveness and freedom from the Fire. Therefore fully utilize the day of ‘Arafah in begging Allah to forgive and cover all of our sins and  all shortcomings, and increase our supplications as well as good deeds. It was reported that the best du’a to make on the day of ‘Arafah is:

“Laa ilaaha illAllaahu wahdahu laa shareeka lahu,
(None has the right to be worshiped but Allah, Alone, without partner)
lahul-Mulku wa lahul-Hamdu,
(to Him belongs all that exists and to Him belongs the Praise)
wa Huwa ‘alaa kulli shay’in Qadeer.”
 (and He is powerful over all things). [3]

5. Make lots of dhikr throughout the first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah: Tahleel (Laa ilaaha illallah), Tahmeed (Alhamdulillah), and Takbeer (Allahu Akbar) and other dhikr. [4]

6. For those who have intended to do udhiyah / qurbani, refrain from cutting nails and depleting any hair from the body from the first day of Dhul-Hijjah until the sacrifice has been offered. [5]

7. Udhiyah / qurbani. [6]

8. Attend the Eid Prayer and listen to the Eid khutbah. [6]

9. And lastly eat and be grateful! It is Sunnah to eat and drink from the 10th – 13th Dhul-Hijjah. It is prohibited to fast on these days. [7]

May Allah s.w.t. help us to fully utilize these 10 blessed days as much as possible, and may He help us remain istiqamah until the last of our breath – Allahumma ameen.
_________________
References:
[1] Sunan Abu Dawud
[2] Sahih Muslim
[3] Sunan At-Tirmidhi
[4] Musnad Ahmad
[5] Sahih Muslim
[6] Sahih Bukhari
[7] Sahih Muslim

Are Sins done in Makkah multiplied?

Question: Are sins performed in Makkah multiplied? If so, how are they multiplied?

Sheikh Ibn Uthaymeen rahimahullah answered:

“Sins are not multiplied in Makkah from the aspect of quantity; however they are multiplied from the aspect of its punishment being more severe and painful. The evidence that shows sins are not multiplied in quantity is the statement of Allah, the Most High:

مَن جَآءَ بِٱلۡحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ ۥ عَشۡرُ أَمۡثَالِهَا‌ۖ وَمَن جَآءَ بِٱلسَّيِّئَةِ فَلَا يُجۡزَىٰٓ إِلَّا مِثۡلَهَا وَهُمۡ لَا يُظۡلَمُونَ

“Whoever brings a good deed shall have ten times the like thereof to his credit,
and whoever brings an evil deed shall have only the recompense of the like thereof,
and they will not be wronged.”
[Al-An’aam 6:160]

And this was a Makki ayah (i.e. revealed before the Hijra of the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) because it is in the chapter al-An’aam. However performing sins in Makkah is as Allah s.w.t. said:

إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ وَيَصُدُّونَ عَن سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡمَسۡجِدِ ٱلۡحَرَامِ ٱلَّذِى جَعَلۡنَـٰهُ لِلنَّاسِ سَوَآءً ٱلۡعَـٰكِفُ فِيهِ وَٱلۡبَادِ‌ۚ وَمَن يُرِدۡ فِيهِ بِإِلۡحَادِۭ بِظُلۡمٍ۬ نُّذِقۡهُ مِنۡ عَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ۬

“Verily! those who disbelieved and hinder (men) from the Path of Allah,
and from Al-Masjid-al-Haram (at Makkah) which We have made (open) to (all) men,
the dweller in it and the visitor from the country are equal there [as regards its sanctity and pilgrimage (Hajj and ‘Umrah)]. And whoever inclines to evil actions therein or to do wrong, We shall cause him to taste from a painful torment.”
[Al-Hajj 22:25]

Meaning, the punishments for those who perform sins in Makkah are more severe than the punishments for those who perform sins outside of Makkah.

____________
Reference:
Silsilah Liqaa’aat al-Baab al-Maftooh

Tips – Wuquf & Supplications at Arafah

supplication_is_ibadah

Here are some advice regarding wuquf and supplications at ‘Arafah as per sunnah, collected from Sheikh Omar Suleiman, Sheikh Tawfique Chowdhury, Ustadh Dr Abdullah Yasin, Ustadh Dr Abdul Basit Abdul Rahman, and Ustadh Hussein Yee:

💎 It is Sunnah to rest on the day before ‘Arafah. Try getting your rest as much as possible because THE MOST important day of your life is the next day, ‘Arafah, and the most important pillar of Hajj. It is Allah’s Mercy that ‘Arafah is the beginning of Hajj. If you have not yet planned all of your supplications for ‘Arafah, this is the time to do so.

💎 It’s best to pack up your items in advance before heading to ‘Arafah because we want to be there as early as possible.

💎 Wuquf at ‘Arafah technically begins at Zuhr. So upon reaching ‘Arafah, take the opportunity to rest / sleep before Zuhr. We want to feel refreshed and save our energy as much as possible for those 5 critical hours in ‘Arafah.

💎 It’s not recommended to go to Masjid Namira as you will waste a lot of time getting in and out of the crowd. Stay in your tent and rest, so that when the time of ‘Arafah comes, you’re set to go.

💎 Rasulallah ﷺ said “All Arafah is Arafah”, so don’t be fooled by anyone leading you to a “more barakah spot / mountain”. It’s a common mistake to join the crowd at Jabal Rahmah to perform nawafil prayers – there’s no dalil from Rasulallah ﷺ regarding this. Stay close to your tent so you don’t get lost.

💎 Listen carefully to the Khutbah of ‘Arafah and don’t talk during it. It’s not like Jumuah khutbah, but it is Sunnah, so make sure you take advantage of these moments.

💎 Pray Zuhr and Asr combined and shortened with 1x adhan and 2x qamat, without nawafil prayers in between – this is the Sunnah. Notice that this is the ONLY DAY of the year that Rasulallah ﷺ prioritized du’a to solat, i.e. pray Zuhr + Asr as soon as Zuhr comes in, combined and shortened, then spend the rest of the time making du’a until Maghrib.

💎 When the time of ‘Arafah begins, it’s sunnah to wuquf in the direction of the kiblah and raise your hands when making supplications. The hands of Rasulallah ﷺ did not come down EVEN ONCE until Maghrib (except when he was asked about whether to fast or not). Remember that this is THE MOST IMPORTANT block of hours in your entire life. Don’t waste a single moment of these hours by chit-chatting, sleeping etc! Do a lot of istighfar, tawbah, dhikr, supplications, as well as salutations and prayers to Rasulallah ﷺ.

💎 It is Sunnah to wuquf and make supplications outside the tent in the sitting position, because this was the way of Rasulallah ﷺ. So if it’s possible, especially in the last hour, make your supplications outside.

💎 Prioritize first supplications from the Qur’an and from the Sunnah. There are no better and concise supplications than these. Rasulallah ﷺ loved to repeat his supplications 3 times.

💎 Divide these critical 5 hours for specific supplications – for example, the first hour is reserved only for yourself to make tawbah and personal supplications. Prioritize tawbah before all other supplications.

💎 Then supplications for your spouse; make du’a to Allah that he/she is among the soliheen, who preserve their chastity and modesty, guard their solat, love to go to the masaajid and knowledge circles, love to read and ponder over the Qur’an and so forth.

💎 Then the next is for your parents; make du’a to Allah for their health in the physical and spiritual sense, for husnul khotimah; and if they have passed away, ask for their forgiveness, for Allah’s Mercy upon them, for sakinah in their graves, and so on.

💎 Then the next is for your children and do not generalize your du’a, rather make individual du’a for each child because every one of them has their own struggles.

💎 Then the next is for your siblings, then your other family members, friends, teachers, and the ummah at large. Never forget to include the ummah in our du’a.

💎 There is no basis for congregational / group du’a in ‘Arafah, so make your supplications individually. If you ran out of du’a, make dhikr as taught by Rasulallah ﷺ – “The best thing I and the prophets have said on the eve of ‘Arafah is Laa ilaaha ila-Allah wahdahu la shareeka lah, lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamd, wa huwa ‘ala kulli shay-in qadeer.” [refer Hisnul Muslim #119] So if you have time when walking towards the washroom / getting water, constantly recite this to keep your lips busy with dhikr throughout your time in ‘Arafah.

💎 In that last hour, return to those supplications you personally feel important, and increase the intensity of your supplications with khushoo’ and tawadhu’ until Maghrib – spend that last hour outside of your tent if possible.

May Allah s.w.t. help us to fully utilize these moments in ‘Arafah, forgive all of our sins and accept all of our supplications. Allahumma ameen.