[Al-Ghashiyah 88:8-11] Lofty Jannah

(Other) faces that Day will be joyful. Glad with their endeavor. In a lofty Jannah.
Where they shall neither hear harmful speech nor falsehood.
[Al-Ghashiyah 88: 8-11]

Have you always wondered why Jannah is always described as high gardens in the Qur’an? When we travel or go on a road trip, don’t we normally stop upon reaching higher grounds – where we can see far? When we go to a hotel, we want the top floor because we want the view. We go hiking on top of the hill, because that’s the most beautiful part. The most expensive property in real estate is the one with the best kind of view!

And on top of that, Allah s.w.t. says there will be no useless, lewd, obnoxious speech in Jannah. One of the pleasures of Jannah is that there will be no bad talks, and we may wonder: What’s the big deal? Because in this dunya, no matter how rich or successful we may be, if someone – especially our loved ones – talk to us in a hurtful way, will all our wealth and success protect us from not feeling hurt? We can have the best property, be the wealthiest person, but hurtful words can take all those pleasure away. This is one of the gifts in Jannah.

The passage continues:

Therein will be a running spring.
Therein will be thrones raised high.
And cups set at hand.
And cushions set in rows.
And rich carpets (all) spread out.
[Al-Ghashiyah 88:12-16]

These are the beautiful estates, which no eyes nor mind could ever imagine, that will be granted to the believers.

May Allah s.w.t. grant us all Jannatul Firdaus.

[Yunus 10:26] Strive Hard To Be a Muhsin


For those who have done good [ahsanu] is the best and even more…
[Yunus 10:26]

From this short part of an ayah, comes a super important core message for all Muslims:

Don’t settle as you are right now, strive hard to be a Muhsin!

Allah s.w.t. says, “For those who have done good, is the best, and even more.” Scholars said that the ‘best’ refers to the best reward, i.e. Jannah and all the treasures that it contains; while the word ‘even more’ means that on top of all the immensely beautiful treasures that Allah will give the believers in Jannah – He will grant the honor of looking at His Noble Face – and this is the increase that is far greater than anything that had ever been given.

Ibn al-Qayyim rahimahullah wrote in his Madaarij as-Saalikeen that one of the greatest joys of Jannah is that of gazing upon the Countenance of Allah, hearing His Words, the delight of being close to Him, and attaining His Pleasure. There is no comparison between what Jannah contains – the delightful food, drink, clothing and images – than this sublime joy. The least of His Good Pleasure is far greater than Jannah and all that it contains. This should be our aim – that we want to be granted the honor of looking at the Countenance of our Rabb.

We learn in several ahadith that the believers will be granted this honor, but the ayah above specifically highlights a special type of believer. Allah s.w.t. says:

“For those who have done good [ahsanu] is the best [al-husna] and even more…”

From the word [ahsanu], we learn that this specifically refers to the Muhsin. Allah s.w.t. is saying: For the Muhsin, is the BEST, and EVEN MORE! Allah s.w.t. honors the Muhsin in this ayah, granting them with the best of THE BEST rewards – because the Muhsin is THE BEST of all Muslims.

Jibril a.s. asked: “O Muhammad! Inform me about Islam.”
Rasulallah (ﷺ) replied: “Islam is that you should testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His Messenger (ﷺ), that you should perform salah, pay the zakah, fast during Ramadhan, and perform Hajj to the House (the Ka’bah) if you can find a way to it (or find the means for making the journey).”

He went on to ask: “Inform me about Iman.”
He (ﷺ) answered, “It is that you believe in Allah, and His angels, and His Books, and His Messengers, and in the Last Day, and in fate (qadr), both in its good and in its evil aspects.”

He went on to ask: “Inform me about Ihsan.”
He (ﷺ) answered, “It is that you should serve Allah as though you could see Him, although you cannot see Him, He can see you.
[Sahih Muslim]

From this hadith, scholars consider Islam, Iman, and Ihsan as the three stages in the path towards Allah s.w.t.:

The first level is Islam – becoming a Muslim, by pushing and bringing ourselves to do the actions that Allah s.w.t. has commanded us to do. When the word Islam is used in conjunction with the word Iman, as per this article, it refers to outward / physical actions and words – i.e. the physical actions conform to what Allah s.w.t. has commanded us to do.

The second level is Iman – becoming a Mu’min, where we are not only doing what has been commanded by Allah, but we’re beginning to taste the sweetness of faith. When the word Iman is used in conjunction with the word Islam, it refers to inward beliefs, and actions of the heart.

The third level is Ihsan becoming a Muhsin, which is to worship Allah as if we see Him, and even if we cannot see Him, then know that He sees us. [Al-Ihsan] means to perfect something and complete it. It is derived from al-husun which means al-jamaal (beauty). When it is used in conjunction with either the words Islam and/or Iman, Ihsan means perfecting one’s outward and inward deeds. Remember that a Muslim might not be a Muhsin; a Mu’min might also not be a Muhsin; but a Muhsin is definitely both a Muslim and a Mu’min – encompassing all three qualities. This is the highest degree of Islam.

Note: When the word Islam, Iman, or Ihsan is used alone, there is no difference between them, rather each of them, when used alone, refers to the entire religion.

The ayah says that the Muhsin will be granted to see the Noble Face of Allah s.w.t. in the akhirah, because they are those who truly strive to serve Allah as though they could see Him in this dunya.

“(Ihsan) is that you should serve Allah as though you could see Him,
although you cannot see Him, He can see you.”

Rasulallah ﷺ taught us that Ihsan has two degrees:

The first and the highest degree of Ihsan is [mushahadah] – worshipping Allah as if you can see Him. Whoever worships Allah with awareness of His nearness, and acts as if he is before Allah, and looking at Him, is bound to fear Him and venerate Him. This is a very difficult station to reach but it is attainable.

The second position is [muraqabah] – having sincerity and awareness that Allah is always watching. This person acts with an awareness that Allah sees him. He truly understands that Allah knows all his deeds, hidden and visible, inward and outward, and that nothing is hidden from Him. And this is the minimum station we all should try to achieve, because Allah s.w.t. says:

“For the people of ihsan [Muhsin] – is the best
and even more
(the honor of looking at His Noble Face).”
[Yunus 10:26]

With this in mind, let us reflect our lifestyle.
How often do we remember Allah and that He is watching us? How many times do we hide in our room sinning, whilst forgetting that Allah is Al-Basir? How many times do we backbite, lie, and curse someone, whilst forgetting that Allah is As-Sami’?
How truly far are we from reaching this station?
This is something that we should try to rectify every single moment in our lives. This should be our everyday resolution.

So I remind myself and then to others: Do not think that this station is beyond our reach. Do not aim so low that we think:
“I’m happy if I can get a spot in the entrance of Jannah.”
“Kalau dapat belakang pintu syurga pun cukuplah.”

We need to realize that this is a completely wrong attitude of a believer. Rasulallah (ﷺ) himself said:

“Paradise has one-hundred grades which Allah has reserved for the Mujahidin who fight in His Cause, and the distance between each of two grades is like the distance between the Heaven and the Earth. So, when you ask Allah, ask for Al-Firdaus which is the best and highest part of Paradise.”
[Sahih Bukhari]

Believers always aim high! Because our goal is not just to sneak by the gates of Jannah – but it’s about getting in and at the highest place – for all eternity. And for the Muhsin, who are foremost in doing good, they will be the ones who will be closest to Allah, and in the highest degrees of Jannah. May Allah s.w.t. help us and our loved ones become a Muhsin, Allahumma ameen!

[1] IslamQA
[2] Abdurrahman.org

[Al-Fajr 89:27-30] Be ‘Ibaad, not ‘Abeed


A slave of Allah s.w.t. in the Qur’an is called [‘abd] and it has 2 plurals: [‘Abeed – عَبِيدٌ] and [‘Ibaad – عِبَادٌ]. Both plurals in simple English translation mean “slaves (of Allah)”. However, they actually carry an altogether different meaning from one another!

The plural [‘Ibaad] refers to slaves of Allah s.w.t. who err, who are sinful, who make mistakes – but they always repent to Allah, they have a strong desire to always rectify themselves, and they continuously strive to be a better person than yesterday. If they are already pious, they will struggle to become even better – and all of these are done solely for the sake of Allah s.w.t.

The plural [‘Abeed] also refers to slaves of Allah s.w.t. who err, who are sinful, make mistakes – but these people refuse to repent, they refuse to rectify themselves, and they have no desire in becoming better Muslims and better slaves of their Rabb.

There is no word in the Qur’an that refers to slaves of Allah who are sinless. With the exception of the Anbiya (prophets), every single resident of Jannah was a former sinner in this Dunya. All of us make mistakes. It was narrated from Anas r.a. that Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said:

“Every son of Adam commits sin,
and the best of those who commit sin are those who repent.”
[Sunan Ibn Majah | Grade: Hasan]

Therefore, the best slaves of Allah s.w.t. are the [‘Ibaad] – those who do fall in error, but get back up quickly to make tawbah and rectify themselves. [‘Ibaad] is what we should strive to be, not [‘Abeed]. I loved how my ustadh drove this point home with the following ayat. Allah s.w.t. says:

“O (you) the one in (complete) rest and satisfaction!
Come back to your Rabb, Well-pleased and well-pleasing!
Enter you, then, among My slaves [‘Ibaadi],
and enter you My Paradise!”
[Al-Fajr 89: 27-30]

Notice that [‘Ibaad] is used, and notice its placement in the ayah:

“Enter you then among [‘Ibaadi],
and enter you My Paradise.”

There are many tafseer regarding this ayah, but the following is one of them: Before Allah s.w.t. allow us to enter His Jannah, we need to make sure we first enter, enroll, register ourselves – first and foremost – to be His [‘Ibaad]. Meaning, before we can ever dream to be invited to enter Jannah in the Akhirah, we need to rectify ourselves and persist in making tawbah while still in this Dunya. Subhanallah. It gives a whole different perspective!

Consider this hadith:

Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said:
“Verily, Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than a person who has his camel in a waterless desert carrying his provision of food and drink and it is lost.
He, having lost all hopes, lies down in shade and is disappointed about his camel; when all of a sudden he finds that camel standing before him. He takes hold of its reins and then out of boundless joy blurts out:
‘O Allah, You are my slave and I am Your Rabb’.
He commits this mistake out of extreme joy”.
[Sahih Muslim]

Allah s.w.t. is MORE PLEASED with the repentance of His slave than this man, who almost died out of hunger and thirst in a scorching desert! Indeed Allah s.w.t. loves to forgive, and loves those who make tawbah. Allah s.w.t. loves the [‘Ibaad] – who do make mistake, but who always return to Allah s.w.t. in humility and repentance.

May Allah s.w.t. help you and me become beloved slaves of our Rabb – Allahumma ameen.

[At-Takwir 81:1] When The Sun [Kuwwirat]


Ibn Umar narrated that Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said:
Whoever wishes to look at the Day of Resurrection as if he is seeing it with his own eye,
then let him recite:
‘When the sun Kuwwirat’ (At-Takwir 81:1)
and ‘When the heaven is cleft sunder’ (82:1)
and ‘When the heaven is split asunder’ (84:1)
[At-Tirmidhi | Graded Hasan]

How true are the statements of Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam. Hands down, one of the scariest scenes on the Day of Judgment has been told by Allah s.w.t. in Surah At-Takwir. The Surah begins with:

إِذَا الشَّمْسُ كُوِّرَتْ
When the sun is [Kuwwirat]
[At-Takwir 81:1]

This is what will happen to the sun on the Day of Judgement. The translation of this ayah is “When the sun is wound round and lost its light.” Our righteous predecessors said this ayah means:

The sun will be darkened,
The sun will go away,
Its light will go away,
The sun will sink in,
The sun will be thrown down.

Ibn Kathir rahimahullah wrote that At-Takwir means to gather one part of something with another part of it, like the folding of clothes together. Therefore the meaning of Allah’s statement [Kuwwirat] is that:

Part of the sun will be folded up into another part of it.
Then it will be rolled up.
Then it will be thrown away.
And when this is done, its light will go away.

Subhanallah, this short tafsir unnerved me so much. Taking straight from the wiki, the Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System, a nearly perfect sphere of hot plasma, with a diameter about 109 times that of Earth, and its mass is about 330,000 times that of Earth, accounting for about 99.86% of the total mass of the Solar System.

So try to imagine that this great sun, greater than the earth, greater than you and me, will easily be folded up like clothes.
And then it will be easily rolled up.
And its light will easily be snuffed out.

It frightens the soul and truly, it humbles it. It reminds us of our insignificance, of our weakness, and it reminds us that if a great creation such as the sun can easily, EASILY, come to pass, then so will you and I.

So I remind my soul, and then yours, to remember who we really are. Do not let our status, our wealth, our looks, our intellect, our state of happiness / sadness make us forget of our responsibilities as slaves of Allah. Do not let the pleasures of life make us forget the Rabb who gave them to us in the first place. Do not allow these things make us look big in our eyes, when in reality, we might be so insignificantly small in the sight of our Rabb. Do not allow these things to make us forget of the Day when Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said:

“The sun and the moon will be rolled up on the Day of Judgement.”
[Sahih Bukhari]

Tafsir Ibn Kathir

[Al-Muzzammil 73:20] A Motivation To Be Charitable

A motivation for us to be charitable ❤

“…and lend to Allah a goodly loan,
and whatever good you send before you for yourselves,
you will certainly find it with Allah, better and greater in reward…”
[Al-Muzzammil 73:20]

Allah s.w.t. is saying to us do charitable donations, for He s.w.t. will reward for it the best and most abundant of rewards. This is as Allah s.w.t. says:

“Who is he that will lend to Allah a goodly loan
so that He may multiply it to him many times.”
[Al-Baqarah 2:245]

He s.w.t. also says: “And whatever good you send before you for yourselves, you will certainly find it with Allah, better and greater in reward.” What it means is that for all the khayr that we have done, we will get it back, and it will be better than what we kept for ourselves in this worldly life.

Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said:
“Who among you considers the wealth of his heirs dearer to him than his own wealth?”
They replied:
“O Allah’s Messenger! There is none among us but loves his own wealth more.”
The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said:
“So his wealth is whatever he spends (in Allah’s Cause) during his life (on good deeds)
while the wealth of his heirs is whatever he leaves after his death.”
[Sahih Bukhari]

Reference: Tafsir Ibn Kathir

The Three Beautiful Things


3 beautiful characteristics mentioned in the Qur’an:

Beautiful Patience
صَبۡرً۬ا جَمِيلاً [Q70:5]
Beautiful Forgiveness
ٱلصَّفۡحَ ٱلۡجَمِيلَ [Q15:85]
Beautiful Departure
هَجۡرً۬ا جَمِيلاً۬ [Q73:10]

🌹Beautiful patience means you do not whine about your life, you do not complain about it to anyone except ONLY to Allah s.w.t., like the way of Ya’qub a.s. Make du’a to your Rabb who can easily remove the difficulties you’re facing and change the hearts of the people who have wronged you.

🌹Beautiful forgiveness is when you’ve forgiven someone, you do not rebuke them, you do not lash back at them, you do not snub them. But you say: It’s okay. It’s forgotten. This is a beautiful characteristic of Yusuf a.s. towards his siblings, who threw him into a well out of jealousy when he a.s. was young and ended up being sold as a slave. Even after all these injustice, and especially even after being granted a high, prominent status in Egypt, Yusuf a.s. said to his brothers: “No reproach on you this day, may Allah forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.” [Q12:92] {Between me and you: I forgive you and I shall not disgrace you; and between you and Allah: Then I ask Allah to forgive you.}

🌹If people increase in harming you despite your beautiful patience and beautiful forgiveness, then depart beautifully like the way of Ibrahim a.s. He a.s. gave the best da’wah to his father, the best da’wah that any child could do towards his parent. But when his father threatened to stone him, he a.s. said: “Peace be on you. I will ask Forgiveness of my Rabb for you. Verily, He is unto me, Ever Most Gracious. And I shall turn away from you and from those whom you invoke besides Allah. And I shall call upon my Rabb; and I hope that I shall not be unblest in my invocation to my Rabb.” [Q19:46-48]

Notice in all three stories above, all of them forgive those who have hurt them,
all of them ask Allah s.w.t. to forgive those who have wronged them,
all of them think well of Allah s.w.t. despite being tested,
and all of them hope for their rewards only from Allah s.w.t.

If there is something legal that you can do to relieve your suffering, then by all means, take the initiative. And while doing so, remember that the Rabb who rewards Ya’qub a.s., Yusuf a.s., and Ibrahim a.s. is the same Rabb who will reward you for your own beautiful patience, for your own beautiful forgiveness, and for your own beautiful departure.