Preparation for Hajj

Hajj Al-Baqarah 2.197

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

If Allah has selected you as a hujjaj this year – alhamdulillah!

If Allah has yet to answer your Hajj du’a – alhamdulillah ‘alaa kuli haal (in all circumstances), because whatever Allah has ordained for us is always good for us. His blessings are not just in what He gives, but also in what He withholds or takes away. Alhamdulillah!

Regardless of our circumstances, most of us know the importance of Hajj, so we long to attain Hajj Mabrur (Hajj that is accepted by Allah). Thus it is really critical for every Muslim to learn about Hajj, its manasik (rituals), and its history so that we can be prepared when that call comes, fully appreciating it and utilizing its every moment in the best manner.

Alhamdulillah there are many articles about the importance of Hajj and its manasik that are readily available on the internet, but this post will be focusing on preparation before Hajj, more specifically, on the akhlaq and character that we should be striving for starting now, before the days of Hajj come. Allah s.w.t. specifically mentions 3 traits that must be avoided during Hajj:

The Hajj is (in) the well-known months
So whosoever intends to perform Hajj therein,
then he should not have [rafath], nor commit [fusuq], nor [jidal] during Hajj.
And whatever good you do, Allah knows it.
And take a provision for the journey, but the best provision is At-Taqwa.
So fear Me, O men of understanding [Ulul Albab]!
[Al-Baqarah 2:197]

Rafath, Fusuq, and Jidal
Allah s.w.t. says that one must not do [rafath], [fusuq], and [jidal] during Hajj. Ibn Kathir rahimahullah provided their meanings in his tafseer:

[Rafath] means sexual relation with your spouse, including anything that might lead to it, such as embracing, kissing, and talking -even hinting!- about it or any other similar topics, by both men and women. Rafath also include bad and foul words.

[Fusuq] means all types of sins and disobedience, including cursing others, insulting one another with bad names, and slaughtering animals for other than Allah.

[Jidal] means arguing and getting into disputes.

At this point, we might be thinking that there’s no way we’ll end up doing these things during Hajj – after all, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.

But think about it. Out of the many types of disobedience, why are these 3 things mentioned specifically in this ayah?

Because Allah s.w.t. will definitely TEST US especially with these three things during Hajj. Allah s.w.t. is teaching us to not feel safe from falling into sins, because it may be due to our haughtiness or ignorance that will cause us to fall into the very sins we were so confident of not doing. If we ask the experienced hujjaj, they will say that they were tested so many times throughout the journey – confusion and disorder at the immigration, luggage went missing, bus got delayed, weather was strikingly hot, got pushed during tawaf, got bumped during sa’ie, got thrown by a pebble at the jamrah – and so many other incidents that might cause rafath, fusuq or jidal – if we’re not careful!

And one of the more difficult tests comes from our own selves – and that is negative self-talk. Have you seen someone who started off thinking badly about a small minor issue, and then eventually started thinking that everything else is just as bad? When things don’t go as per schedule, some people might start thinking to themselves:

“Why is this so difficult?”
Then… “This group is terrible!”
And then… “I’ve paid so much for this package, but this is the kind of service I get??”
And eventually… “That’s it! I’m never doing Hajj and Umrah again! These people are not worth my time! And everything is so difficult and a waste of my money!”

Negative self-talk can be triggered by something so minor, and if not managed, will eventually consume the thought of that person about everything else. Even if we can be physically patient by not saying anything bad with the tongue, we can still cause damage to our sabr if we constantly do negative self-talk within ourselves. And if we do not manage those negative self-talks, then we’re allowing ourselves to be taken advantage by shaytan, and end up physically acting on those negative emotions. That’s how people end up doing rafath, fusuq or jidal.

So how do we manage negative self-talk?

  1. Stop at the very first layer of negative self-talk, and replace it with something that is good. Instead of thinking “Why is this so difficult?!” replace it by thinking “This is a test from Allah, and He will reward me immensely for my patience.”
  2. Move away from the scene or person who is causing you distress. For example, if you’re having a hard time with one of the hujjaj, move away from him until you’ve calmed down. Bear in mind that negative self-talk can create false accusations in our thoughts – we might think negatively about a person from the way he talks or treats us, when in reality, that person has absolutely no grudge whatsoever against us. It’s not people’s flaws that we should be focusing on, but rather our own.
  3. It’s your frame – change it. Meaning we can choose to look at the scenario with a different lense. We HAVE the capability to choose to respond in the best manner that will attain the Mercy and Forgiveness of Allah. And the best of frame / manner that will attain such Mercy is by being merciful towards one another. Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:“The Compassionate One has mercy on those who are merciful. If you show mercy to those who are on the earth, He Who is in the heaven, will show mercy to you.” [Sunan Abi Dawud]

Developing these beautiful characters must start now, ahead before the days of Hajj come. So if someone is rude to you on the road, choose to be merciful towards him, let him have the way first instead. If you’re in a conversation that is about to get heated, excuse yourself in a respectful manner, remove yourself from the scene, and then come back once you’ve calmed down. Know that these beautiful characteristics are not only important for Hajj, but they’re just as important in every aspect and day of our lives.

The Rewards of Hajj Mabrur
Always, always bear in mind that things will never go 100% smoothly during Hajj, no matter what package or group we’re in. Not everything will go our way, and that is actually part of the ‘ibadah and tests of Hajj.

One may wonder, we are all going for Hajj to do acts of worship, so why are we tested so much during Hajj? Because the rewards of Hajj Mabrur are immense and invaluable. Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

“Whoever performed Hajj to this (Sacred) House and did not commit Rafath or Fusuq,
will return sinless, just as the day his mother gave birth to him.”

[Sahih Bukhari]

“And the reward of Hajj Mabrur is nothing except Paradise.”
[Sahih Bukhari]

“Make the Hajj and ‘Umrah follow each other closely,
for they remove poverty and sins
as the bellows removes impurity from iron and gold and silver,
and an accepted Hajj brings no less a reward than Paradise.”
[Sunan An-Nasaa’i]

If we want to come back to Allah s.w.t., rebuild that connection with Him with a clean slate, then there is nothing more beautiful than coming out of Hajj Mabrur completely sinless like the first day we were born. And on top of that, Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa salaam specifically said that an accepted Hajj brings no reward EXCEPT Jannah. Subhanallah.

These great rewards will not be given away to anyone so easily. So all these tests that we will face during Hajj are simply prerequisites for us to attain these rewards. Rejoice when Allah tests you, be patient when He does, and always think well of your Rabb for He is The Most Merciful and is never unjust to His creations.

Ulul Albab – The People of Intellect
Notice that Allah s.w.t. mentions [Ulul Albab] in the ayah that we talked earlier:

The Hajj is (in) the well-known months
So whosoever intends to perform Hajj therein,
then he should not have rafath, nor commit fusuq, nor jidal during the Hajj.
And whatever good you do, Allah knows it.
And take a provision for the journey, but the best provision is At-Taqwa.
So fear Me, O men of understanding [Ulul Albab]!
[Al-Baqarah 2:197]

One of the wisdoms why Allah s.w.t. mentions Ulul Albab in this ayah about Hajj is because we must have knowledge in order to attain Hajj Mabrur, and the best of sources to attain authentic knowledge is the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Hajj Mabrur is free from shirk – and the smallest form of shirk is pride – as well as bid’ah. Every hujjaj who aspires to attain Hajj Mabrur must follow the Sunnah of Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as close as possible to the best of their capability.

Ulul Albab does not just mean people of knowledge, but they’re also people who do a lot of thinking and reflecting. Hajj is an act of ‘ibadah that requires us to do a lot of contemplation. When something seemingly bad happened to us, do not complain, instead listen to the unsaid. When we are tested, always take ourselves to account – muhasabah, seek what Allah is teaching us through that test for everything that happens has a reason and lesson.

May Allah s.w.t. allow all of us to do Hajj in the best way possible that is most pleasing to Him, and grant us all Hajj Mabrur – Allahumma ameen!

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Mindmap: The 9 Characteristics of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman

9 Characteristics of 'Ibad-ur Rahman [Surah Al-Furqan]

A brief summary of all the 9 characteristics of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman.
Click the mindmap for full view. To read in detail, please click the following links:

Introduction
Who or What is ‘Ibad-ur Rahman?

Characteristics #1 & #2
They have humility & they are courteous even when treated harshly

Characteristic #3
They are diligent and consistent in their Tahajjud

Characteristics #4
They constantly seek refuge from Jahannam

Characteristic #5
They are neither a spendthrift nor stingy

Characteristic #6
They do not commit Shirk, Murder, and Fornication

Characteristic #7
They will never attend Immoral Gatherings

Characteristic #8
They respond to the Ayat of Allah s.w.t.

Characteristic #9
They always ask Allah for “Coolness of the Eyes”

The Rewards for ‘Ibad-ur Rahman
Remaining Forever in Jannah & Welcome and Honor from the Angels

The 9 Characteristics of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman (7/10) – Refusal To Attend Immoral Gatherings

A Project in collaboration with The Ideal Muslimah.
Articles authored for The Ideal Muslimah are available here.

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

———- 🌺 ———-

ibadur-rahman-7

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

And those who do not witness to falsehood [az-zur],
and if they pass by some evil play or evil talk, they pass by it with dignity.
[Al-Furqan 25:72]

🌸 Seventh Characteristic: They Do Not Associate Themselves With Immoral Gatherings and Activities

Today, we will look at the seventh characteristic of the ‘Ibad-ur Rahman, which Allah s.w.t. describes in this ayah as “those who do not bear witness to falsehood [az-zur].” [Az-zur] refers to a gathering of immoral activities. Ibn Kathir rahimahullah wrote in his tafseer with regard to this ayah: “they do not attend it, and they are not present when it happens.”

So what this ayah means is that the ‘Ibad-ur Rahman never attend gatherings of lewdness, immorality, indecent, and disbelief. The ‘Ibad-ur Rahman will never associate themselves with these sort of gatherings as well as gatherings that consist foul speech and false words. The ‘Ibad-ur Rahman also does not give false testimony, i.e. deliberately lying to someone. This is similar to the following authentic hadith:

Rasulallah (ﷺ) said thrice,
“Shall I not inform you of the biggest of the great sins?”
We said, “Yes, O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ).”
He said, “To join partners in worship with Allah, to be undutiful to one’s parents.”
He (ﷺ) was lying down, then he sat up and added:
“And I warn you against giving forged statement and a false witness;
I warn you against giving a forged statement and a false witness.”
The Prophet (ﷺ) kept on saying that warning until we thought that he would not stop.
[Sahih Bukhari]

Immoral Gatherings and Activities: [Az-Zur]
According to Ibn Al-Jawzi rahimahullah, there are 8 scholarly opinions regarding [az-zur]:

  • It means idols belonging to the mushrikun. This is the opinion of Adh Dhohahk from Ibnu ‘Abbas.
  • It means music. This is the opinion of Muhammad ibn Al Hanafiyah and Makhul.
  • It means shirk. This is the opinion of Adh Dhohak and Abu Malik.
  • It means games in the times of jahiliyyah. This is the opinion of ‘Ikrimah.
  • It means lies / falsehood. This is the opinion of Qatadah and Ibnu Juraij.
  • It means false witness i.e. to lie deliberately. This is the opinion of ‘Ali ibn Abi Tholhah
  • It means the festivity and celebration of the mushrikun. This is the opinion of Ar Robi’ ibn Anas.
  • It means treacherous or treasonable assemblies. This is the opinion of ‘Amr ibn Qois.

All of these opinions support each other to mean that [az-zur] refers to a gathering of immoral activities. From these, we can conclude that:

  • The ‘Ibad-ur Rahman will not attend any gathering that promotes shirk – this includes non-Islamic celebrations such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day.
  • The ‘Ibad-ur Rahman will not attend gatherings that promote vice, lewdness, and falsehood such as music concerts and treacherous assemblies.

Are we of those who think it’s okay to celebrate Christmas and its ilks? Are we of those who love to go to concerts? Are we of those who attend treasonable rallies? There are sufficient evidences in the ahadith as well as consensus among majority of our righteous scholars that all of these are prohibited in Islam, and all of them are rightfully and beautifully summed up in this characteristic of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman. Suffice to say that the ‘Ibad-ur Rahman are not those who blindly follow society’s philosophies, but they are those whose actions are defined by the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Truly, they should be our aspirations!

How The ‘Ibad-ur Rahman Responds To [Laghw]
The ayah continues:

…and if they pass by some evil play or evil talk [laghw],
they pass by it with dignity.
[Al-Furqan 25:72]

[Laghw] means
1. Shirk
2. Sin
3. Statements of indecency
4. Any word, talk, or conversation that is thoughtless (done without thinking), and of no benefit
5. Meaningless and useless actions or pastime

The ayah says that the ‘Ibad-ur Rahman do not attend where [laghw] occurs, and if it so happens that they pass by it, they do not let it contaminate them in the slightest. If they pass by shirk, sinful and/or useless conversations and activities, they leave them in a dignified way.

My brothers and sisters in Islam, ‘Ibad-ur Rahman do not hang out until 2 in the morning, or spend hours and hours on non-beneficial matters, or love gossiping. Indeed it is difficult to avoid gossip circles nowadays, because it has become a societal norm. But if we want to be one of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman, we have to learn to remove ourselves from such situation and not let them contaminate us. Don’t let football matches, video games, movies or TV dramas make you waste hours and hours of precious time.

I want to share with you something that I heard in a khutbah: We usually would make a 5 or 10 years plan to accomplish certain goals in life – be it for career, wealth, etc and there is nothing wrong with that. But we always forget to plan the same for our last, yet greatest, destination ever – the Hereafter. How do we practically plan for it?

It all boils down to:
How will I spend my time today?
What am I going to do afterwards?
How am I going to spend tomorrow?
What am I doing with my free time?
When am I going to stop watching so much TV?
When am I going to erase those useless games?
When am I going to stop wasting time?
When am I going to hold myself to a higher standard – if not today?

We have very little time on this earth, half of our life is spent sleeping, another 8 hours at work, a few more hours spent in commuting, and so forth… so what little time do we have left? A day will come when a janazah announcement will be made – and it’s going to be mine and yours. It’s going to happen and it’s not like we’re getting further away from that day – we’re only heading closer.

O Muslims, make the best of this world in order to earn Jannah. Make serious commitment to live our days differently. Hold ourselves to a higher standard. Heed this advice by Ibn Al-Jawzi rahimahullah:

“This world is the harvest field of the Hereafter;
and in it there is business, the profit of which will be visible in the Hereafter.
So whoever utilizes his free time and good health in the obedience of Allah,
he is the blessed one.
And he who utilizes them in the disobedience of Allah,
he is the one who is unjust to himself,
because the leisure time is affected by busyness and health is affected by sickness.”
[Fath al-Bari 11/230]

May Allah s.w.t. give us the understanding on the value of time – Allahumma ameen.

🌸 ‘Ibad-ur Rahman Characteristics Recap 🌸

7th Characteristic
They do not give false testimony. They do not attend sinful and immoral gatherings, such as gathering that promotes shirk and foul speech, music concerts, or treacherous assemblies. They do not participate useless conversations and past time. If they come across such gathering, they will stay away and leave in an honorable manner

_________________
References:
Tafsir Ibn Kathir
Rumaysho.com
Islamqa.info
Who Gets Allah’s Mercy by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan

The 9 Characteristics of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman (2/10) – Humility and Gentleness

A Project in collaboration with The Ideal Muslimah.
Articles authored for The Ideal Muslimah are available here.

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

———- 🌺 ———-

ibadur-rahman-2

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

And the ‘Ibad-ur Rahman are those
who walk on the earth in humility and sedateness [hawna],
and when the foolish address them (with bad words)
they reply back with mild words of gentleness.
[Surah Al-Furqan 25:63]

This is the first ayah that describes 2 beautiful characteristics of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman:

🌸 First Characteristic: They have humility (tawadhu’)

We live in a time where it is encouraged to announce, gloat, and boast oneself. We think it’s “cool” when we walk a certain way – some men try to imitate the ‘swag’ of music rappers, while some women try to imitate models on the runway. Let’s be honest, who do we aim to please when we walk like that?

On the contrary, the ‘Ibad-ur Rahman are those who walk on earth with [hawna]. [Hawna] means dignity, serenity, calm, tranquility. They do not have arrogance or pride in their steps. Allah s.w.t. Himself has forbid us to walk proudly:

And walk not on the earth with conceit and arrogance.
Verily, you can neither rend nor penetrate the earth,
nor can you attain a stature like the mountains in height.
[Surah Al-Isra 17:37]

This does not mean that we should walk like sickly people, or show off fake humility. If we study the seerah of Rasulallah ﷺ, we learn that he walked quickly yet calmly, and he did not walk with his chest pushed out in pride.

This first characteristic of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman also covers aspects on how we carry ourselves in the society – like the way we drive, or the way we interact with others. Let’s do a personal litmus test:

  • How do we behave towards other drivers on the road?
  • How do we behave towards the waiter or waitress serving our meal?
  • How do we behave towards men who work as garbage collector?

Do we look down upon them? Do we behave like we are above them? Allah s.w.t. says:

And indeed We have honoured the Children of Adam.
[Surah Al-Isra 17:70]

None of us has the right to look down on another human being. So we need to be aware of arrogance that can be manifested in our facial and body expressions. We need to be sensitive how we behave towards people, in all situations.

Remember that, as Muslims, everything we do is supposed to be an act of ‘ibadah. Just like how we pray lillahi ta’ala, we should also walk on this earth and behave towards others lillahi ta’ala. May Allah s.w.t. grant us tawadhu’ and remove any ounce of arrogance in our hearts – Allahumma ameen.

🌸 Second Characteristic: They are courteous, even when treated harshly

Allah s.w.t. says in the second part of the ayah:

“…when the foolish [Al-Jahilun] address them (with bad words)
they reply back with mild words of gentleness [salaam].”
[Surah Al-Furqan 25:63]

The word [Jaahil] in Arabic is the opposite of [‘Aaqil] (a person of aql/intellect). One of the meanings of [Jaahil] is someone who has no control over their emotions – they tend to be rude, insulting, disrespectful, etc. If a bad word comes to their mind, it comes out immediately from their mouth – there is no thought process.

Notice also that Allah s.w.t. didn’t say “If Al-Jahilun address them…” but He said “WHEN Al-Jahilun address them…” indicating that we cannot run away from the fact that we will face a lot of temperament from a lot of people.

But when the ‘Ibad-ur Rahman are confronted with such people, people who insult them with bad words, they do not respond in the same manner; they forgive and overlook, and say nothing but good words. They do not respond with sinful words. They speak calmly. They are courteous. All of these are included in the word [salaam]. This is the sunnah of Rasulallah ﷺ – the more ignorant the people, the more patient he ﷺ would become. This is as Allah s.w.t. says:

And when they hear Al-Laghw (dirty, false, evil vain talk), they withdraw from it and say: “To us our deeds, and to you your deeds. Peace be to you [salaam].
We seek not (the way of) the ignorant.”
[Surah Al-Qasas 28:55]

And in another Surah, Allah s.w.t. says:

The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal.
Repel (the evil) with one which is better, then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend.

But none is granted it (the above quality) except those who are patient,
and none is granted it except the owner of the great portion
(of happiness in this world and in the Hereafter).

[Surah Al-Fussilat 41:34-35]

Ibn ‘Abbas r.a. explained this ayah:

“Allah commands the believers to be patient when they feel angry, to be forbearing when confronted with ignorance, and to forgive when they are mistreated. If they do this, Allah will save them from the Shaytan and subdue their enemies to them until they become like close friends.”

The key of having such beautiful characteristic is already mentioned in the aforementioned ayah of Surah Al-Fussilat: We must have patience. Without patience, this will be a very difficult thing to do!

Sometimes even our own spouse, parents, and siblings get really angry towards us, and we just don’t understand why they speak badly to us.

But don’t retaliate. Don’t get angry back at them. Our anger drives people away from us, and even worse, away from the Deen. Remember the story of Musa ‘alayhi salam with Fir’aun? When Musa ‘alayhi salam confronted him, Fir’aun addressed Musa in a very condescending manner – which is probably enough to make us really angry! Not only that, Fir’aun tried to kill Musa, killed thousands of babies, called himself God… there are so many reasons to hate Fir’aun. Yet Musa was commanded by Allah s.w.t. to speak to him in a good manner:

(Allah says to Musa and Harun):
“Go, both of you, to Fir’aun verily, he has transgressed.
And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear (Allah).”
[Surah Ta-Ha 20: 43-44]

If that was how a prophet of Allah spoke to his enemy, then what about us towards our spouse, children, parents and siblings? Our family deserves the softest responses from us.

So when someone who cannot control their emotion, who is angry, obnoxious, arrogant, ignorant, insulting, or rude talk to you – choose to reply in calm and kind words. We need to learn to calm down and deal with people peacefully. Speak to disarm their anger. Speak to defuse the situation. Let’s learn to be merciful and courteous to people, both Muslims and non-Muslims.

It is also important to note that out of all the characteristics of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman, the first mentioned by Allah s.w.t. are these two traits. It emphasizes how adab and akhlaq are super important in this Deen. This reminds me of the following two ahadith:

Rasulallah (ﷺ) said:
By his good character a believer will attain the degree
of one who prays during the night and fasts during the day.
[Sunan Abi Dawud | Grade: Sahih]

Abu Hurairah narrated that Rasulallah (ﷺ) was asked about
that for which people are admitted into Paradise the most, so he said:
“Taqwa of Allah, and good character.”
[Jami’ At-Tirmidhi | Grade: Sahih]

Please be advised that this article is in no way advocating that one should be patient over any type of physical or emotional abuse. If you are a victim, please seek professional help immediately!

Alhamdulillah we have covered the first two characteristics of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman. We will continue with the subsequent characters of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman in the next posts, insya Allah.

🌸 ‘Ibad-ur Rahman Characteristics Recap 🌸 

1st Characteristic
They have dignity, serenity, calm, tranquility in their steps and behavior towards others. They do not have arrogance or pride. They are humble.

2nd Characteristic
When they are confronted with insulting and rude people, they do not respond in the same manner, they do not respond with sinful words. They say nothing but good words. They speak calmly. They are courteous.

______________________________________________________
References:
Tafsir Ibn Kathir
Tafsir Surah Al-Furqan by Dr Abdullah Yasin
Rumaysho.com
Who Gets Allah’s Mercy by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan

The 9 Characteristics of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman (1/10) – Introduction

A Project in collaboration with The Ideal Muslimah.
Articles authored for The Ideal Muslimah are available here.

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

———- 🌺 ———-

Ibadur-Rahman 1

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

In the last several ayat of Surah Al-Furqan, Allah s.w.t. describes nine (9) beautiful characteristics of a special group of faithful, believing slaves called ‘Ibad-ur Rahman. Who or what is ‘Ibad-ur Rahman?

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

‘Ibaad VS ‘Abeed
The plural [‘Ibaad] refers to slaves of Allah s.w.t. who do fall into error, who do make mistakes – but they always repent to Allah for the sins they did. They have a strong desire to constantly rectify themselves, to continuously strive to be a better person than yesterday – all done solely for the sake of Allah.

Meanwhile, the plural [‘Abeed] also refers to slaves of Allah s.w.t. who err and make mistakes – but the difference is that this group do not want to rectify themselves nor want to repent. They have no desire in becoming better slaves of their Rabb.

[‘Ibaad] is what we should strive to be – slaves of Allah who are imperfect, but when fall into sin, they swiftly make tawbah and constantly want to rectify themselves.

It was narrated from Anas r.a. that Rasulallah ﷺ said:
“Every son of Adam commits sin,
and the best of those who commit sin are those who repent.”
[Sunan Ibn Majah | Grade: Hasan]

So immediately from the get-go, Allah s.w.t. is already letting us know that the people mentioned in the last few ayat of Surah Al-Furqan are special than the rest. But on top of that, not only does Allah call them [‘Ibad] – He s.w.t. also calls them ‘Ibad-ur Rahman. Think about it: Allah s.w.t. has many Beautiful Names, He could choose to call them ‘Ibadullah or ‘Ibad-ul Khaliq, yet He chooses to describe them as ‘Ibad-ur Rahman. Allah s.w.t. chooses to associate His Rahmah (Mercy) with this special group of ‘Ibad, subhanallah. And at the end of this series, we will discuss about the amazing rewards that will be granted upon these special slaves.

Every believer has aspirations to become better, and everyone has bad traits they want to get rid of. So as we go through the series, think deeply: Which of these traits that I do not have, that I have to work on? With that goal in mind, we will be discussing the 9 characteristics of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman in the next several posts, insya Allah.

May Allah s.w.t. help us all become ‘Ibad-ur Rahman.

Note: Some may have translated that there are between eight to thirteen characteristics of ‘Ibadur-Rahman mentioned in Surah Al-Furqan – these opinions do not contradict one another.

The Three Beautiful Things

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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.

[Al-Kahf 18:106] Al-Kahf Challenge (16/20)

“If anyone learns by heart the first 10 Ayat of Surah Al-Kahf,
he will be protected from the Dajjal.”  [Sahih Muslim]
Al-Kahf Challenge is to make the memorization & understanding of the first 10 & the last 10 Ayat of Surah Al-Kahf easy, insya Allah. To catch up on the previous posts of this series, click here📌

To read 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 11Pg 12Pg 13 | Pg 14Pg 15 | Pg 16 | Pg 17 | Pg 18 Pg 19Pg 20  | Pg 21
———- 🌺 ———-

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“That shall be their recompense, Hell;
because they disbelieved and took My Ayat
and My Messengers by way of jest and mockery.”

[Al-Kahf 18:106]

In the previous ayat, we have discussed two characteristics of those who Allah s.w.t. say will be the greatest losers in the Hereafter. Those characteristics are:

(1) They lost or wasted their deeds, and
(2) They deny the Ayat of Allah s.w.t, His messengers, and the Hereafter.

In this Ayah, Allah s.w.t. tell us the ultimate consequence for these worst losers – they will be thrown into Jahannam. These people do not only disbelieve, but they ridicule the clear signs of Allah and His Messengers in the worst possible way. Allah s.w.t. promises that their abode will be Jahannam.

Even though Allah s.w.t. is referring to the disbelievers in this ayah, notice the warning:

“…they took My Ayat and My Messengers by way of jest and mockery.”

This warning is super important to us Muslims. We should not mock the commandments and prohibitions of Allah s.w.t., nor should we make fun of the Sunnah of Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam. Even though we know it’s totally haram from doing so, but we might just fall into this sin unknowingly. How many of us do or say the following:

❌ “Hudud is so outdated in this time of ours. We need to be progressive!”
❌ “I know alcoholic drinks are haram, but my business is just about selling them, I don’t drink! So what’s the fuss!”
❌ “Bro, cut off the beard, it doesn’t look good on you.”
❌ “Sis, why don’t you take off your hijab once in a while. You look like a terrorist.”

These are some examples of belittling and making fun of the Ayat of Allah s.w.t. and His Messenger sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam. So beware o Muslims, lest we mock the Deen unknowingly, due to our ignorance and arrogance. Be aware the gravity of our words.

Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said:
“A slave (of Allah) may utter a word which pleases Allah without giving it much importance,
and because of that Allah will raise him to degrees (of reward);

a slave (of Allah) may utter a word which displeases Allah without thinking of its gravity,
and because of that he will be thrown into the Hell-Fire.”
[Sahih Bukhari]

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For the article written in collaboration with The Ideal Muslimah & mp3 of the Ayah, please click here.