Lifelong Iman Rush – Tip #14: Raise Your Standards

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.

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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.”
[Fatir 35:32]

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.”
[At-Tirmidhi]

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.”
[Sahih Bukhari]

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):

  • They stay away from all prohibitions (haram matters) set by Allah SWT.
  • They leave disliked (makrooh) matters.
  • They leave doubtful matters as we’ve discussed earlier.
  • They also leave excessiveness in permissible matters, for example excessiveness in leisure. Because excessiveness even in permissible matters can distract a believer from the remembrance of Allah.

In terms of obligations and other good deeds:

  • They fulfil all obligations set by Allah SWT.
  • They also fulfil all recommendations in good deeds (supererogatory deeds), such as qiyamulail, fasting six days in Shawwal, etc.

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.”
[Sahih Bukhari]

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.

Pg 1 | Pg 2 | Pg 3| Pg 4 | Pg 5 | Pg 6 | Pg 7 | Pg 8 | Pg 9 | Pg 10
Pg 11 | Pg 12 | Pg 13| Pg 14

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Lifelong Iman Rush – Tip #13: Fight That Laziness!

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. 

To read the series in chronological order, please click the links below:
Pg 1 | Pg 2 | Pg 3| Pg 4 | Pg 5 | Pg 6 | Pg 7 | Pg 8 | Pg 9 | Pg 10
Pg 11 | Pg 12 | Pg 13| Pg 14

———-🌸———-

Have you ever woke up one morning and just straight away feel lazy? Not only do you feel lazy, but you also get irritated easily over every single thing? In this tip, we’ll discuss how to avoid laziness (and bad mood!) – this fight starts from the moment we wake up! Rasulallah ﷺ said:

When any one of you goes to sleep, the shaitan ties 3 knots at the back of his neck, sealing every knot with: ‘You have a long night, so sleep.’
So if one awakes and mentions Allah, a knot will be loosened;
if he performs ablution, two knots are loosened;
and if he prays, (all) knots will be loosened,
and in the morning, he will be active and in good spirits;
otherwise we will be in bad spirits and sluggish in the morning.”
[Sahih Muslim]

Did you know that this is one of THE BEST tips for a Muslim to avoid laziness and become productive?

Rasulallah ﷺ said that when any of us goes to sleep, Shaitan will seal 3 knots at the back of our neck, lulling us to keep on sleeping “It’s okay… Just another 5, 10, 15 minutes…” until we wake up realizing that we have completely missed Fajr prayer.

But not only does Shaitan want us to abandon our obligatory duties, he wants us to waste our morning and the rest of the day as well. He wants us to become LAZY. There are so many obstacles that Iblis has set up for mankind to distract a person from accomplishing any act of obedience for Allah s.w.t.

Rasulallah ﷺ said in the aforementioned hadith:

“So if one awakes and mentions Allah, a knot will be loosened;
if he performs ablution, two knots are loosened;
and if he prays, (all) knots will be loosened,
and in the morning, he will be active and in good spirits;
otherwise we will be in bad spirits and sluggish in the morning.”

The hadith teaches us that if a person wakes up and remembers Allah, 1 knot will be undone. And when he performs wudhu’ properly, 2 knots will be undone. And if he prays, then all of the knots will be undone. And Allah s.w.t. will make this person feel energetic, in good spirit and mood, and be productive insya Allah! But if he does not untie all 3 knots, then he will wake up in a bad mood and feel lazy throughout the day.

This is a very crucial advice from the Sunnah of Rasulallah ﷺ. So let us go in detail on what we should be doing upon waking up, based on this and other authentic ahadith:

📌Step #1: When we wake up, immediately remember Allah to undo the first knot.
A personal litmus test: The first thing that comes to our mind when we wake up is the thing that occupies our life the most. Untie that first knot by remembering Allah and reciting:

الحمد لله الذي أحيانا بعدما أماتنا وإليه النشور
“Alhamdulillahil-ladhi ahyana ba’da ma amatana wa ilaihi an-nushur.”
All praises are for Allah, Who has made us alive after He made us die (sleep)
and unto Him is the Resurrection.
[Sahih Bukhari]

Sleep is a minor death – there are those who passed away in their sleep. So when you wake up, exclaim alhamdulillah! Then force ourselves to get up from our beds and step into the bathroom. For many of us, this may be the hardest part. So it’s good to have an alternative bathroom further from the bedroom because Shaitan can still tempt us to go back and sleep. Quickly go to step #2:

📌Step #2: Make Wudhu’ properly to undo the second knot.
In another hadith, Rasulallah ﷺ said:

“If anyone of you performs ablution he should put water in his nose and then blow it out and whoever cleans his private parts with stones should do so with odd numbers. And whoever wakes up from his sleep should wash his hands before putting them in the water for ablution, because nobody knows where his hands were during sleep.”
[Sahih Bukhari]

From this hadith, we learn:
(1) It is Sunnah to wash both of our hands after waking up and before making wudhu’ because we don’t know where our hands were when we were asleep. Alhamdulillah, this Religion truly teaches us the importance of purity and cleanliness.

(2) When making wudhu, one should put water in his nose and then blow it out. In another hadith, it is mentioned that it is Sunnah to do this 3 times:

“When any one of you wakes up from sleep and performs ablution,
he must clean his nose three times,
for the shaitan spends the night in the interior of his nose.”

[Sahih Muslim]

After making wudhu, end it with this du’a:

“Ash-hadu alla ilaha illallah, wahdahu la sharika lah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa Rasuluhu.  Allahummaj-‘alni min at-tawwabin, waj-‘alni min al-mutatahhirin.”
I testify that there is no true god except Allah Alone, Who has no partners and that Muhammad (ﷺ) is His slave and Messenger. Allahumma, make me among those who repent and purify themselves.
[Riyad As Salihin]

📌Step #3: Pray (preferably catch Qiyamul Lail) to undo the last knot.

After we remove all these 3 knots, we will begin our morning in a happy and refreshed mood, and our nafs will be able to handle any difficult or irritating situation in a good and peaceful manner – insya Allah. This is THE tip to enjoy your morning – and life! If we don’t, then not only will we feel lazy, but our nafs will also get agitated and irritated easily even over small things.

In essence, what we learn from the first hadith is that the fight against laziness starts from the moment we wake up. Fighting laziness is a process to undo these knots one by one, and Ibn Qayyim rahimahullah commented that if a person does step 1 properly and sincerely, then he will find step 2 easy, until all three knots are undone.

📌Extra Tips: What else can I do to stop being lazy?
Rasulallah ﷺ taught us this supplication as a daily adhkar that should be recited once every morning and once every evening:

“O Allah! I seek refuge with You from worry and grief,
from incapacity and laziness,
from cowardice and miserliness,
from being heavily in debt and from being overpowered by (other) men.”

[Sahih Bukhari]

My last tip is: Do not abandon your voluntarily ibadahs whenever you feel lazy! I cannot emphasize how important our acts of voluntarily ibadah really is! A lot of Muslims say: Oh it’s just Sunnah, it’s not wajib. Subhanallah, belittling acts of Sunnah will gradually cost one’s iman.

“Guard your acts of Sunnah, for indeed it is a wall, and if it is destroyed,
Shaitan would enter your obligatory acts and make you lazy upon them.”
– Sheikh Rabee –
[Explanation of the book of Iman from Sahih Al-Bukhari]

“Whoever persists upon leaving Sunnah prayers,
then that is a proof of his weakness in religion.”
– Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) –
[مجموع الفتاوى]

I pray that these tips will be beneficial to the readers, and I pray that these writings benefit the writer foremost. Allahumma ameen.

Lifelong Iman Rush – Tip #12: Ask Allah To Renew Our Iman

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. 

To read the series in chronological order, please click the links below:
Pg 1 | Pg 2 | Pg 3| Pg 4 | Pg 5 | Pg 6 | Pg 7 | Pg 8 | Pg 9 | Pg 10
Pg 11 | Pg 12 | Pg 13| Pg 14

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Rasulallah ﷺ said:

“Faith wears out in your heart as clothes wear out,
so ask Allah to renew the faith in your hearts.” [1]

No matter what level of piety we’re currently at, our iman can wear out, so we should never take it for granted. This is why we need to constantly make supplications to Allah to renew iman in our hearts, because only He s.w.t. can nourish it back.

What causes iman to fade?

One of the reasons why people become weak in their iman is because they allow themselves to become heedless (ghaflah) with the reality – the reality that we will one day stand before Allah s.w.t. and will be held accountable for each of our deed – or the lack of it. We become so engrossed in our dunya affairs, that our work and leisure / the latest movie / the latest celebrity gossips become our priorities over our responsibilities in this Deen. We are so heedless with the accumulation of our minor and major sins, as though we have been given a hundred percent guarantee that they will be forgiven. These are some of the common reasons why one’s iman becomes weak.

Another reason is because Shaitan constantly tries to throw doubts in one’s iman. This happens when we do not have sufficient knowledge of our Deen, making us easy to be swayed by false perceptions and deceptions. We will have issues with our faith if we don’t know how to counter questions that attack Islam.

“Shaitan misleads man due to his lack of knowledge.”
Sheikh Ul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah)
(Kitab al-Sarim al-Maslul alaa’ Shatim ar-Rasul, p. 401)

One of the ways to combat this is to seek authentic knowledge, and intellectual proofs about our religion that conform with the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Knowledge is important – this Deen teaches us to be intellectual. Notice that out of all of the du’as in the Qur’an, Allah s.w.t. instructs us to only ask for an increase in one thing. It’s not status, wealth, family or even happiness. It’s knowledge:

“My Rabb, increase me in knowledge.”
[Ta-Ha 20:114]

“Whoever takes a path upon which to obtain knowledge,
Allah makes the path to Paradise easy for him.”
[At-Tirmidhi]

What are the du’as from the Qur’an and hadith that we can make to protect our iman?

1. From Surah Ali-Imran 3:8

رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغۡ قُلُوبَنَا بَعۡدَ إِذۡ هَدَيۡتَنَا وَهَبۡ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحۡمَةً‌ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلۡوَهَّابُ
(Our Rabb! Let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us,
and grant us mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower.)

2. From a hadith collected by At-Tirmidhi

Umm Salamah was asked: O Mother of the Believers! What was the supplication that Rasulallah ﷺ said most frequently when he was with you?  She answered:

“Ya Muqallibal-quloob, thabbit qalbi ‘alaa deenika.”
(O Changer of the hearts, make my heart firm upon Your religion.)

When asked why, Rasulallah ﷺ said: “O Umm Salamah! Verily, there is no human being except that his heart is between Two Fingers of the Fingers of Allah, so whomsoever He wills, He makes steadfast; and whomever He wills, He causes to deviate.”

3. The du’a that we make everyday, so important that we recite it in our 5 daily prayers – Surah Al-Fatihah

These are three important du’as that we should consistently make every day, if we truly care about our iman. Yes, we should strive hard to take care of our iman by obeying what Allah has commanded us to do, and steer clear from all that He has forbidden. But do not rely on efforts, rather rely only on Allah s.w.t. who is the only One that can nourish our iman back to health again.

May Allah s.w.t. make us love iman, beautify it in our hearts, and cause us to hate disbelief, wickedness, and evil deeds, and make all of us among the rightly guided ones. Allahumma ameen.

———–
🖊 Reference:
[1] Narrated by al-Hakim in his Mustadrak & al-Tabarani in his Mu’jam with a sahih isnaad

Lifelong Iman Rush – Tip #11: The Concept of Making Up Promptly

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.

To read the series in chronological order, please click the links below:
Pg 1 | Pg 2 | Pg 3| Pg 4 | Pg 5 | Pg 6 | Pg 7 | Pg 8 | Pg 9 | Pg 10
Pg 11 | Pg 12 | Pg 13| Pg 14

———-🌸———-

We know that fardh ibadahs are mandatory and we are required to exert our utmost effort to fulfil those obligations. Unfortunately when it comes to voluntarily ibadahs (eg. nawafil prayers, optionals fasting, qiyamulail, etc.), most of us tend to take them lightly. When we miss one of our voluntarily ibadah, we say “Oh well, it’s only sunnah anyway.” But look how serious Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam took his voluntarily ibadah:

When Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam did not pray at night
because he was prevented from doing so by sleep (i.e. sleep overwhelmed him)
or by pain, 
he would pray 12 rak’ahs during the day. [1]

‘A’isha r.a. reported that when Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam
missed the night prayer due to pain or any other reason,

he observed 12 rak’ahs during the daytime. [2]

To explain the above 2 ahadith, Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam would always pray Witr with 11 rak’ahs. But if he sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam was prevented from it due to sickness or sleep, he would pray them the next day during the daytime with 12 rak’ahs. This was his sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam zeal in regard to his ibadah, and this is the Sunnah that we should all strive to follow.

Let’s ponder on the following hadith:

‘Umar bin Al-Khattab (r.a.) reported
that Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam said:
“Anyone who sleeps through his hizb, or a part of it,

should recite it between the Fajr prayer and the Zuhr prayer.
It will be written for him as if he had recited it in the night.” [3]

The hadith teaches us that if we fail to recite the portion of the Qur’an that we intended to recite that night, whether inside or outside our prayer, because we fell asleep – then we should still recite it on the next day between the Fajr prayer and Zuhr prayer. Because by the mercy of Allah s.w.t., this deed will still be written as if we had recited it during the night! Therefore if we fall asleep before we could finish the recitation of Surah Al-Mulk, the 3 Qul, and Ayatul Kursi, then we can make it up on the next day and still earn the rewards – alhamdulillah!

The hadith also points out something very important, that a time has been specified i.e. between Fajr and Zuhr. Therefore one of the things that we can derive from this is: Do not procrastinate! Make up those ibadah that we missed immediately before Zuhr.

This is a practical concept that we can do, insya Allah. So if we were to miss something because we overslept or got sick, the Sunnah encouraged us to still make it up. This will also help us to maintain our consistency and spiritual growth.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
📚🖋 References:
[1] Sunan an-Nasa’i
[2] Sahih Muslim
[3] Sahih Muslim

Lifelong Iman Rush – Tip #10 Turn Tests Into Opportunities

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. 

To read the series in chronological order, please click the links below:
Pg 1 | Pg 2 | Pg 3| Pg 4 | Pg 5 | Pg 6 | Pg 7 | Pg 8 | Pg 9 | Pg 10
Pg 11 | Pg 12 | Pg 13| Pg 14

———-🌸———-

Those (i.e. believers) unto whom the people (hypocrites) said,
“Verily, the people have gathered against you (a great army), therefore fear them.”
But it (only) increased them in Faith, and they said:
“Allah (Alone) is Sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs.”

[Ali Imran 3:173]

In this ayah, the hypocrites were saying that the disbelievers were going to oppress and kill the believers –  in order to frighten the believers. But instead of being afraid, it only increased the believers in their iman. The believers turned this test into an opportunity to strengthen their faith by seeking the help and trust in Allah s.w.t. Consider the following hadith:

Rasulallah s.a.w. said:
“Sufficient for you among the women of mankind are
Maryam bint ‘Imran,
Khadijah bint Khuwailid,
Fatimah bint Muhammad
and Asiyah the wife of Fir’aun.”
[Tirmidhi]

If we ponder on the stories of these 4 women who perfected their faith, the NUMBER ONE lesson that we learn from them is that they have full and complete tawakkul in Allah. Think about it:

Did Maryam’s tawakkul get stronger before her pregnancy, or after?

When tested with boycott by her own people, did Khadijah’s iman get stronger or weaker?

After Khadijah died, Fatima was Rasulallah’s (s.a.w.) only sole supporter for some time – and during those times and the times to come, did her iman get stronger or weaker?

And when Fir’aun severely tortured Asiyah, did it only strengthen her iman, or weaken it?

All these 4 great women were defined by the same theme:
Tawakkul.
Every test increased them in faith.

Yes, pain and suffering can become negative if we allow them to become barriers between us and Allah. But they can become great motivation if we use them to propel us back to Him. This is one of the wisdoms of trials and tribulations – they force us to turn back to Allah, humbled. Maybe we have been heedless all this while – so Allah s.w.t. sends trials to jolt us out from our spiritually-neglectful state. Maybe Allah wants to raise our status:

“If Allah wants to do good to somebody,
He afflicts him with trials.”
[Sahih Bukhari]

“When Allah has decreed for a servant
a rank which he has not attained by his action,
He (Allah s.w.t.) afflicts him in his body, or his property or his children.
He then enables him to endure that.
So that He may bring him to the rank decreed from him by Allah.”

[Sunan Abi Dawood]

“When Allah wants good for his slave,
He hastens his punishment in the world.
And when He wants bad for His slave,
He withholds his sins from him until he appears before Him
on the Day of Judgement (with those sins).”

[Sunan At-Tirmidhi]

 If we are undergoing a test or calamity, then it is upon us to be patient and remain steadfast on the truth for Rasulallah s.a.w. said in the same hadith:

“Indeed greater reward comes with greater trial.
And indeed, when Allah loves a people He subjects them to trials;
so whoever is content then for him is pleasure,
and whoever is discontent then for him is wrath.”
[Sunan At-Tirmidhi]

Therefore when something happen, don’t allow ourselves to be weak. Take that test as an opportunity to strengthen our faith, and say: “Alhamdulillah, I recognize that Allah is testing me, and insya Allah I will be patient.” Know that our Rabb will give us something better than what we have missed or lost if we are patient.

This is a beautiful quote that aptly explains this tip:

“I swear by The Rabb of the Heavens and the Earth and all that which lies between,
that there is a great blessing and sweetness in the tests which afflict the believer.
If you truly say that you believe in Allah ta’ala,
then be ready to face difficulty and walk in the shoes
of those which Allah has already tested prior to us and has promised them Paradise.

What makes a test so sweet is the fact that there is so much reward in it
despite the great difficulty involved.
You are forced to call upon Allah, remember Him and stay patient.
You are forced to raise your hands high and cry in sujood to none but Allah.
This is one of the greatest blessings and honour given to us by Allah.
Alhamdulillah.”

Lifelong Iman Rush – Tip #9 Have a Consistent Relationship with the Qur’an

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. 

To read the series in chronological order, please click the links below:
Pg 1 | Pg 2 | Pg 3| Pg 4 | Pg 5 | Pg 6 | Pg 7 | Pg 8 | Pg 9 | Pg 10
Pg 11 | Pg 12 | Pg 13| Pg 14

———-🌸———-

Almost all of the Ayat that talk about the increasing of iman are related to the revelation of the Qur’an itself. What it means is that one of the effects of reciting and pondering the Qur’an is that they make one’s iman stronger.

Say (O Muhammad SAW):
Ruh-ul-Qudus [Jibril]
has brought it (the Qur’an) down
from your Rabb with truth,

that it may make firm and strengthen (the Faith of) those who believe…
[An-Nahl 16:102]

The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned,
feel a tremor in their hearts
and when His Verses (this Qur’an)
are recited unto them,
they (i.e. the Verses) increase their Faith

[Al-Anfal 8:2]

And whenever there comes down a Surah,
some of them (hypocrites) say: “Which of you has had his Faith increased by it?”
As for those who believe, it has increased their Faith, and they rejoice.
[At-Tawbah 9:124]

An example of the simplest proof? Think about it. Whenever we listen to a good tafseer, doesn’t something inside us change? Doesn’t it make our heart softer? The more we reflect upon the Qur’an, the more our hearts open, and the stronger our conviction on this beautiful Deen becomes. Shaikh Ibn al-‘Uthaymeen (rahimahullah) commented:

“If you are seeking guidance, then you should contemplate and meditate over the Qur’an.
You should not speed-up (your recitation),
nor should you hurry (in trying to complete your recitation),
nor should you overlook (its meaning).
Indeed, many people today recite the Qur’an either
for seeking the reward from its recitation or for seeking the blessings from it;
and most of them do not recite it with meditation.
That is why they have been prevented from receiving from its (great) benefit.
Otherwise, the Qur’an is a great treasure as it is from Allah.
None can encompass (its complete meaning) except Allah.
Indeed it is a treasure of treasures.”

[Sharh al-Kaafiyah al-Shaafiyah(1/502-503)]

Therefore, one of the great ways to maintain our iman is to have a consistent connection with the Qu’ran. Recite, memorize, and reflect. Listen to a good tafseer at least on a weekly basis. The most important thing is not to get overwhelmed. When we realize that there are so many great lessons to learn from every surah and every ayah, we might think: Where do I start?? Here’s a tip: FOCUS on one Surah. Choose one surah to focus in each year. Get our hands on as much credible tafseer on that particular surah as possible, read / listen to all of them, make notes, ponder, and practice what we’ve learnt. Most importantly, make the intention that this endeavour is solely for the pleasure of Allah, and insya Allah, He s.w.t. will make it easy for us and grant barakah in the endeavour.

Lifelong Iman Rush – Tip #8 Wake Up for Qiyamulail (The Night Prayer)

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. 

To read the series in chronological order, please click the links below:
Pg 1 | Pg 2 | Pg 3| Pg 4 | Pg 5 | Pg 6 | Pg 7 | Pg 8 | Pg 9 | Pg 10
Pg 11 | Pg 12 | Pg 13| Pg 14

———-🌸———-

There is no more intimate conversation between a slave and his Rabb than standing up at night and pray Tahajjud. Imam Al-Hasan Al-Basri rahimahullah was asked why are the faces of those who perform Tahajjud shine more brightly than others? He answered: “It is because when they are alone with the light of the All-Merciful, He clothes them with light from His Light.” That’s how close a person gets to Allah s.w.t. in Qiyamullail.

Qiyamullail is an ibadah that truly engages one’s iman. Fighting ourselves out of bed just to talk to Allah s.w.t. when no one else sees or hears us – what is a greater iman exercised than that? Even Allah s.w.t. Himself is AMAZED by a person who leaves his/her comfortable bed and spouse, just to call upon Him.

Our Rabb admires two men:
a man who leaves his mattress and cover,
and slips away from his wife and lover, to go and pray.
Allah says,

“O My angels, look at My slave.
He has left his mattress and cover
and slipped away from his lover and wife to pray,
out of hope for what is with Me
and out of fear of what is with Me.”

[Reported by Ahmad. It is a hasan (sound) report. Saheeh al-Targheeb, 258]

It was mentioned to Rasulallah s.a.w. about a man who slept all night until morning, to which he s.a.w said:

“That is a man in whose ear the Shaitan has urinated.”
[Sunan an-Nasa’i]

In essence, Shaitan tries to keep us away from Qiyamulail because he knows that had you experience the sweetness of Qiyam, he has no appeal to you anymore and his waswas will mean nothing to you. Qiyamulail is a necessity for spiritual progress! A person who prays Qiyamulail PROTECTS his iman, insya Allah.

To prove this, it was narrated that Rasulallah s.a.w. would sit with the companions every morning and ask if anyone has experienced a good dream to share. Abdullah ibn Umar r.a. really wanted to have a good dream just so that he could share it with Rasulallah s.a.w. One night, he dreamt that he was taken by two angels towards the Hellfire so he started seeking refuge with Allah from the Fire. Then another angel met the other two and said to him, “Do not be afraid.”

When he woke up, he was too ashamed to tell Rasulallah s.a.w. of his dream. So he told about it to Hafsa r.a., his sister, who is the wife of Rasulallah s.a.w. When Hafsa r.a. narrated it to Rasulallah s.a.w, he said:


“What an excellent man Abdullah is,
if he only observes the night prayer.”
[Sahih Bukhari]

First of all, look at the way Rasulallah s.a.w responded. He didn’t say: What a terrible young man, he never prays Qiyamulail! But instead he s.a.w. comforted him by praising him: What an excellent person Abdullah is! Since then, Abdullah ibn Umar only slept little at night to perform Qiyamulail.

Coming back to the point: It is not sufficient for our spiritual progress if Qiyamulail is not part of our daily ibadah. We need to develop it as a consistent spiritual habit – even if it’s just 2 raka’ah, even if it takes only 5 minutes. If we find it difficult to wake up in the last third of the night, just wake up 10 minutes extra before the Fajr azan! 🙂