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

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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.
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[1] Sahih Muslim | http://sunnah.com/muslim/1/162
[2] Sahih Muslim | http://sunnah.com/muslim/6/125

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.

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

Ramadhan Thoughts

 

“The heart that loves Allah,
loves being exhausted and exerting itself for Allah;
surely, Allah’s love is not acquired through comfort!”
– Ibn Rajab, Majmoo’ ar-Rasaa’il

 

Many of us have really picked up the pace as we’re inching closer towards end of Ramadhan. But in that effort, perhaps many of us have also started to feel really tired and exhausted and struggling to keep up.

To the one who is struggling to read another page of the Qur’an, or forcing yourself to pray Taraweeh for one more night, or struggling to wake up to pray that extra raka’ats of Tahajjud, or whatever good deed that you’ve been striving to do – I ask you to turn your hearts to Allah SWT and say a heartfelt ‘Alhamdulillah’.

Alhamdulillah that our limbs and bodies are tired from fasting, from praying, from reciting the Qur’an and dhikr. Alhamdulillah that your very essence is exhausted from those charity work, or from those house chores that nobody wants to do. Alhamdulillah that some return to their beds for the night exhausted from misdeeds, but you return to your bed exhausted from good deeds with anticipation to do better tomorrow. Alhamdulillah that Allah SWT has enabled you to do all these things because there is no greater satisfaction than being exhausted from working for the sake of Allah.

It’s an indication of Iman to keep on striving these last few days and nights of Ramadhan.
If you have been doing well, then do well and do better.
If you haven’t had a chance to pray taraweeh at the masjid, then pray at home.
If you haven’t had a chance of a private moment due to obligations, then wake up earlier before your suhoor and have that moment of privacy with your Rabb.
The point is: Keep on working, keep on going.

May Allah SWT grant us physical and spiritual strength to keep on going until end of Ramadhan, and then beyond.

May Allah SWT accept all our good deeds and enable us to do more, for indeed we could not have done any single one of them without His help.

And may Allah SWT forgive all of our sins, for indeed we would be utterly destroyed if there’s even one single sin left unforgiven.

#KeepOnGoing

Tawakkul Comes Hand-in-Hand With A Sincere Heart

Ibn Jawzi rahimahullah said tawakkul is to return all matters to Allah s.w.t. with the utmost trust in His way of handling our affairs.

We know personally that what we do or choose for ourselves is good. But more than that, we must believe that Allah governs our affairs far more better and far more perfect than any of our carefully laid-out plan. It is only with this firm conviction that, after exerting all efforts and avenues, we can let go our affairs entirely to Allah alone, and accept any decision made by Allah with a sincere and open heart.

This is why tawakkul is not just about returning our affairs to Allah, but it must go hand-in-hand with a sincere heart. When there is something that we really, desperately want, something that we have tried so hard and prayed for countless times, but what Allah has decreed upon us is something different than what we have hoped for – ask ourselves, at that precise moment – would we accept His decree and be contented? Or would we reject it out of disappointment and despair?

If we reject and complain, then this is not tawakkul. It has no value. And this is where we often fail.

So it is critical that our tawakkul upon Allah is accompanied with the sincerity and contentment of the heart. Blessed is the one who has tawakkul, because even if he doesn’t get what he prays for, he is still pleased with the outcome due to the certainty that Allah’s decision is always, without a doubt, THE BEST. It’s not easy to resist our emotions when things don’t go as what we’ve hoped for, and this is why the reward of tawakkul upon Allah is Jannah.

Jannah needs to be earned. So pave your way to Jannah with tawakkul upon your Rabb.

[Madaarij us-Saalikeen] Istighfar & Tawbah

What’s the difference between Istighfar & Tawbah?

According to Ibn Al-Qayyim rahimahullah, Istighfar (seeking forgiveness) is mentioned in the Qur’an in 2 ways – either by itself, or coupled with Tawbah (repentance).

If Istighfar is mentioned by itself, then Istighfar IS Tawbah. And Istighfar is not merely covering up sins, as most people think, but it is total removal of sins. It fully removes the sin, undoes its effects and prevents its evil. The essence of istighfar is that it earns a person the prevention from the evil of that sin. It also saves one from the punishment of Allah.

When both Istighfar and Tawbah are used together (always Istighfar first, followed by Tawbah), then the first (Istighfar) means asking for safety from the evil and harm of what has occurred, and the second (Tawbah) means returning to Allah and begging for safety from the evil of what one fears in future.

So here we are concerned with two things:
– The sin that has already occurred, and Istighfar in its specific sense is to seek protection from its evil effects; and
– The repetition of the same sin in future which we fear, and Tawbah is the determination to not do it again.
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Reference:
Madaarij us-Saalikeen, by Ibn al-Qayyim rahimahullah

[Madaarij us-Saalikeen] The Station of Toma’aneenah (Tranquillity)

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

Many of us have memorized these ayat by heart, but how far have we truly understood what they mean? A short reflection on these ayat has been posted, alhamdulillah. However in this particular post, we will focus on the writing of Ibn Al-Qayyim rahimahullah.

He rahimahullah wrote that [toma’aneenah] means tranquility. It is the satisfaction of the heart with whatever circumstances that befall a person, without any feeling of anxiety or restlessness. How can one attain such peace and tranquility? Allah s.w.t. says:

Those who believed and whose hearts find rest [toma’aneenah] in the remembrance of Allah, verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest [toma’aneenah].
[Ar-Rad 13:28]

The only way we can truly attain such tranquility is by the remembrance of Allah s.w.t. Nothing else will cut it. There are two opinions regarding the meaning of this ayah, and the more sound opinion holds that the meaning of the remembrance of Allah is the Qu’ran – that only through the study, pondering, and deep understanding of the Qur’an will allow a person to attain toma’aneenah. This is because the heart can’t have toma’aneenah except by faith and certainty, and there are no means of attaining faith and certainty except through the Qur’an. The Qur’an is the means to attain certainty and firmness in faith, and to remove doubts. However, the benefit from the Qur’an will not be sound unless one’s heart perceives the reflections of His Rabb’s Names and Attributes, and His Laws, within himself and in everything around him within this universe. Those who refuses, Allah s.w.t. says:

And whosoever turns away blindly from the remembrance of Ar-Rahman,
We appoint for him a Shaitan to be an intimate companion to him.

[Az-Zukhruf 43:36]

Again, the sound opinion here is that Allah’s Remembrance is that which He sent to His Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam – i.e. the Qur’an. Whoever turns away from this, Allah will appoint a shaitan for him, who will misguide and deter him from the straight path even though the person may think that he is righteously guided.

But whosoever turns away from My Remembrance, verily for him is a life of hardship and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection.
[Ta-Ha 20:124]

This is why the one that turns away from it will say, “O my Rabb! Why have you raised me up blind while I had sight (before)?” [Ta-Ha 20:125] And Allah s.w.t. will respond by saying, “Like this, Our Ayat came unto you but you disregarded them, and so this Day you will be neglected.” [Ta-Ha 20:126]

Therefore, the believers who ponder on the Qur’an, who study the Qur’an, Allah s.w.t. will deposit toma’aneenah in their hearts and souls. It is these people with toma’aneenah whom Allah s.w.t. will grant the joy, the delight, and the good news of admission into Jannah, and to be with those with toma’aneenah. So we return to the ayat:

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

The ayah “O you with toma’aneenah! Come back to your Rabb…” therefore indicates that the soul will not return to Allah unless it is characterized by toma’aneenah. Meaning, to be eligible to be one of the righteous souls that will receive such a call from his Rabb, one needs to attain toma’aneenah first in this dunya. And for these people, there will be great happiness and a beautiful place for their final return: they will return to their Rabb, the Most High, and they will be from among His honored slaves, and they will be allowed to enter His Paradise. May Allah s.w.t. make us and our loved ones one of them – Allahumma ameen!

After internalizing the above, there are three hard-hitting lessons that I wish to focus:

Lesson #1
Attaining toma’aneenah is only through the remembrance of Allah s.w.t. i.e. the Qur’an.
If you do not strive to attain toma’aneenah in this dunya, then do not have the wishful thinking you will be that righteous soul whom Allah s.w.t. calls: “O you with toma’aneenah! Come back to your Rabb…”
Do not have the wishful thinking of ever achieving such high status in the Eyes of Allah s.w.t. and ever receiving this prominent invitation from your Rabb if you yourself refuse to give time to ponder and study the Qur’an.
And if you turn away and neglect the remembrance of Allah s.w.t. while you’re still alive, then be ready to be neglected on the Day of Resurrection.
This is the most hard-hitting lesson of all, and it is a strong reminder for myself foremost.

Lesson#2
In order to attain such toma’aneenah, and all other benefits, by studying the Qur’an, one of the essentials that a person must strive to learn is the Beautiful Names and Attributes of Allah s.w.t., and then apply this knowledge in our everyday lives – meaning, for example, it’s not sufficient for one to know that Allah s.w.t. is Ar-Razzaq (The Provider) yet abandons his prayers to chase sales and profits, and takes bribes. This person has not truly understand and internalize this knowledge. This person will not be able to attain toma’aneenah, and will not be qualified as the righteous soul mentioned in the ayat above.

Lesson #3
Those who refuse to give time for the Qur’an, those who turn away from it, not only will he never attain toma’aneenah, and not only will he never be the righteous soul whom Allah s.w.t. calls out in His invitation, but Allah s.w.t. will also appoint a shaitan for him as his close companion in this dunya. He will think that he is righteously guided, he will think he is safe, yet the shaitan has already misguided and deterred him from the straight path. May Allah s.w.t. protect us and our loved ones from ever be misguided – Allahumma ameen.

The Benefits of Attaining Toma’aneenah in the Dunya

Ibn Al-Qayyim rahimahullah continued to write that toma’aneenah is more than tranquillity. It includes knowledge, faith and the attainment of what is known.

If the slave of Allah has toma’aneenah with Allah’s Commands, then he knows that Allah’s religion is the truth and that Allah will certainly support him and is sufficient for him and his family.

If the slave of Allah has toma’aneenah with Allah’s Decrees, then he knows that nothing will reach him except what Allah has already written for him. He knows that whatever Allah wishes will come to pass, and whatever Allah doesn’t wish will not not come to pass. Nothing will happen unless it is written, and if it is written, then nothing can stop it. Therefore, there should be no fear, worries, or concern for those with faith.

If an adversity occurs and the believer can do something, then he should do so. However, if he cannot, then he should not be annoyed or dismayed.

May Allah s.w.t. grant us all toma’aneenah.

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Reference:
Madaarij us-Saalikeen, by Ibn al-Qayyim rahimahullah