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.

———-🌸———-

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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The Strong Believer Is Better Than The Weak Believer

Poster-TheStrongBelievercompressed

Rasulallah ﷺ said:

الْمُؤْمِنُ الْقَوِيُّ خَيْرٌ وَأَحَبُّ إِلَى اللَّهِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِ الضَّعِيفِ وَفِي كُلٍّ خَيْرٌ

“The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah
than the weak believer, although both are good…”
[Sahih Muslim]

When I first read this hadith, I thought that the physically stronger believers are better than the physically weak believers because they could help the Deen more, and achieve more. I’m physically not as strong as the average person, so I actually felt bummed about it. But alhamdulillah, when revisiting this hadith, the ustadh pointed out that Rasulallah ﷺ said “The strong MU’MIN is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak mu’min.” Meaning, the believer with a stronger iman is better and more beloved to Allah than the believer with a weaker iman. This is something that we can all strive regardless of our physical condition, insya Allah. Nonetheless it is praiseworthy to gain strength and vitality in order to worship Allah SWT for a longer period of life.

How can we have a strong iman? Rasulallah ﷺ said:

“Iman has over seventy branches – or over sixty branches,
the uppermost of which is the declaration: لا إله إلا الله
(None has the right to be worshipped but Allah);
and the least of which is the removal of harmful object from the road,
and modesty is a branch of Iman.”
[Bukhari & Muslim]

Iman increases when we obey Allah SWT, His commandments and prohibitions; and it decreases when one disobeys Him, when we sin. The more branches of iman that a person commits in his heart, on his tongue, and in his actions, the stronger his iman becomes. So for example, a believer who fulfills all fard (wajib) commandments of Allah SWT, and on top of that has haya’ as the hadith states, has a stronger iman than another believer who also fulfills all fard commandments but lack in modesty. How much iman increases and decreases are dependant on our good deeds as well as our knowledge of the Deen.

It is amazing that Rasulallah ﷺ said, “The stronger mu’min is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak mu’min, although BOTH are good.” Whether we have strong iman, or weak iman, have hope and have good thoughts of Allah SWT for there is still khayr in us. Subhanallah, such is the mercy of Allah towards the believers. And just as important – have good thoughts of your fellow Muslims too! It’s really disheartening to see people claiming to love the Sunnah, but bicker and belittle among each other, especially on non-principal matters in the Deen. We need to constantly remind ourselves to instil the fear of Allah SWT – because while we may think we’re a ‘better’ mu’min than others, we can actually be small in the Sight of Allah due to our ego and bad character towards others.

At the same time, the hadith also teaches us that not all mu’min are equally the same in their good deeds and in istiqamah, therefore not all mu’min are equally loved by Allah SWT. So it teaches us that in order to become a more beloved slave to Allah, we need to exert ourselves to become a stronger mu’min. This is as Allah SWT says:

“And for all, there will be degrees according to that which they did…”
[Surah Al-Ahqaaf 46:19]

In another surah, Allah SWT says:

“Then We gave the Book (the Qur’an) as inheritance
to such of Our slaves whom We chose.
Then of them are some who wrong their selves,
and of them are some who follow a middle course,
and of them are some who are, by Allah’s Leave, foremost in good deeds.
That, that is indeed a great grace.”
[Surah Fatir 35:32]

Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas commented: “This (ayah) refers to the Ummah of Muhammad (ﷺ). Allah caused it to inherit every Book that He had revealed; those who wrong themselves will be forgiven, those who follow a middle course will have an easy accounting, and those who are foremost in good deeds will enter Paradise without being brought to account.”

Based on this ayah, scholars say that the ummah of Rasulallah ﷺ are divided into three:

ظَـلِمٌ لِّنَفْسِهِ
The first group of believers who wrong themselves. They do not do shirk, but they are careless in doing some fard (wajib) actions, and also commit some haram (forbidden) actions.

مُّقْتَصِدٌ
The second group of believers who follow a middle course. They fulfill all fard actions and avoid things that are haram, but they do not go further than that, meaning they may neglect some supererogatory good deeds (extra deeds beyond fard), and do some things which are makrooh (disliked).

سَابِقٌ بِالْخَيْرَتِ بِإِذُنِ اللَّهِ
The third group of believers are those who, by Allah’s leave, foremost in good deeds. They rush to do all types of khayr. They fulfill all fard obligations AND supererogatory good deeds. They also avoid all things that are haram AND makrooh. This is as the hadith Qudsi where Allah SWT says:

“…And the most beloved things with which My slave comes nearer to Me,
is what I have enjoined upon him [i.e. fard obligations];
and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nawafil
(doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) until I love him…”
[Sahih Bukhari]

On top of that, the third group ALSO leaves all doubtful matters (syubhat). This is as 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…”
[Sahih Bukhari]

Subhanallah indeed, the believer who falls in the third group is the stronger mu’min compared to the other two groups!

Now ask ourselves, which group am I in right now, and which group do I aim to be? Am I happy with my current state, or can I actually do better? The wise believer will consistently exert in improving himself. This is as Allah SWT says:

“…But those who believe, love Allah more (than anything else)…”
[Surah Al-Baqarah 2:165]

May Allah SWT instil the love of iman inside us and help us exert to become a stronger mu’min. May we be amongst the third group who are believers that are more beloved to Him – Allahumma ameen.

____________
References:
Ke Arah Memahami Al-Qur’an dan Al-Hadis, by Ustadh Dr Abdullah Yasin
Tafsir Ibn Kathir

He Whose Life Is Long and His Deeds Are Good

It was narrated that a man asked Rasulallah SAW:
“O Messenger of Allah! Which of the people is the best?”
He (SAW) said: “He whose life is long and his deeds are good.”
He said: “Then which of the people is the worst?”
He SAW said: “He whose life is long and his deeds are bad.”
[At-Tirmidhi | Graded: Hasan]

Rasulallah SAW taught us it’s not our lifespan that matters, but our actions. An average lifespan filled with khayr is definitely so much better than a long lifespan filled with sins. We seek refuge with Allah SWT from a long life that only increases us in sins.

As we enter the year with new goals and resolutions, let’s also start with self-critic of our shortcomings.
Do I enter the year with a stronger iman and better akhlaq than last year?
Has there been an improvement in my relationship with Allah, and my relationship with His creations?
Or is there an increase in sins, in bad habits and bad character instead?
Am I getting lazier, or more cynical, or more prone to anger?
Do I constantly demand for my right, but forgetting about fulfilling other people’s rights?

“Have I truly improved myself?” is something that we need to ask ourselves constantly – not on a yearly basis, but on a weekly, daily basis. Our Deen always advocates that doing good should start right now, at this minute, at this instant.

With family, job, and personal responsibilities, it’s easy to forget that our time in this dunya is actually tiny and miniscule compared to the time we will spend in our graves, and then compared to the time we will spend in the Hereafter. It’s easy to forget that this small fraction of time will determine our eternal fate in the Hereafter.

And it’s the Mercy of Allah SWT that He allows us to still receive khayr in our graves because of the good deeds that we do. Allah SWT says:

“Verily, We give life to the dead,
and We record (1) that which they send before, and (2) their traces,
and all things We have recorded with numbers (as a record) in a Clear Book.”
[Yasin 36:12]

Ibn Kathir rahimahullah wrote that this ayah means: “We [Allah] write down the deeds which [1] they used to do themselves, and [2] the legacy they left behind [meaning the effects of our deeds even after our death, such as educating our children, reviving a forgotten Sunnah in the society, etc will still be written for us as hasanah], so We will requite them for that; if it is good, then We will reward them, and if it is evil, then We will punish them.”

This is why scholars of tafsir have said that we have two types of age: (1) Our age in this dunya, and (2) our age in the grave i.e. al-barzakh, because we can still earn hasanah from the effects of the good deeds we left behind. This is like the Hadith where Rasulallah SAW said:

Whoever starts (or sets an example of) something good in Islam,
will have a reward for it,

and a reward equal to that of everyone who does it after him,
without that detracting from their reward in the slightest.

Whoever starts (or sets an example of) something evil in Islam,
will bear the burden for that,

and a burden equal to that of everyone who does it after him,
without that detracting from their burden in the slightest.”
[Sahih Muslim]

It’s good to have new year goals and resolutions, but not at the expense of forgetting the absolute reality that we will, very soon, return to Allah SWT – either in eternal goodness, or in eternal misery. So let these ahadith be a reminder to make important changes in our lives. The wise believer will realize the little time he has left, and will be busy planting seeds of khayr while he is still alive, so that he can harvest them and reap the reward in the Hereafter.

Useful Means for Happy Life

Sheikh Abd Al-Rahman As-Sa’di (rahimahullah) said that inner peace of one’s heart is the goal that each person tries to achieve in life, because tranquility of the heart is the essential prerequisite for a peaceful life. Some top means to attain happiness:

🌸 1. Iman and righteous deeds are the most important and easiest means for happiness. Allah SWT says:

“Whoever works righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a true believer, verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world) and We shall certainly pay them a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (Jannah in the Hereafter).”
[An-Nahl 16:97]

🌸2. Treating people and Allah’s creatures with kindness and benevolence. Allah SWT protects both believers and non-believers from worries for what they show of kindness and good manners to people (and His other creations). However, a believer is much more rewarded for this kindness.

🌸3. Realize that people’s bad treatment, particularly their annoying utterances, do not harm you in any way. Instead, such bad treatment will be recorded in their record of bad deeds. Therefore, it is better for you to train self-control and show the best conduct regardless of what others may do against you.

🌸4. One of the best means for removing worries is not to look for any reward from any person except for Allah.

“We only feed you for Allah’s sake; we desire from you neither reward nor thanks.”
[Al-Insan 76.9]

🌸5. Accomplish your tasks on a daily basis, and never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Otherwise your tomorrow will be much tiring and exhausting.
_________
Reference:
Useful Means for Happy Life (abridged)
(extracted from a free Islamic book received at Makkah)

To the one who chases his Dunya, but lazy for his Akhirah

We’re very calculative. We want the best phone, the best dress, the best sale bargain. We like to haggle persistently and if we only get a measly RM2 discount, we’d still feel happy about it.

But we’re not as calculative when it comes to matters of the unseen – our Akhirah.

We don’t see that praying on time as one of the best deeds [1] so we refuse to haggle with our nafs to choose the 5-10 minutes fardh prayer over that 30-60 minutes TV show.

We want the best house, we super love free things. But we don’t think of having that free amazing house in Jannah. [2]

If we only understand that the best investment is the investment for our Akhirah. Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim rahimahullah, when referring to good deeds, said that the merchandise of Ar-Rahman is really expensive for the one who is lazy. And Sheikh Ibn Al-Uthaymeen rahimahullah said that it is indeed expensive for the one who is lazy; yet for the one who has zeal, then it is cheap for him!

In this Deen of ours, laziness IS evil – and even more so for being lazy in regard for the Akhirah. This is why Ibn Al-Jawzi rahimahullah wrote:

“The span of lifetime in this world
is practically the life one is given to perform good deeds.
Therefore I wonder at he who prefers idleness in the sowing season,
and leaves yielding for the harvesting season.”

May Allah s.w.t. make us among those who work hard for our Akhirah, and grant us true success in the Hereafter. Allahumma ameen.
____________________________
[1] Sahih Muslim | http://sunnah.com/muslim/1/162
[2] Sahih Muslim | http://sunnah.com/muslim/6/125

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 the series 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

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.