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

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)

Iman Wears Out

iman wears out

Iman wears out over time. We might remember a time when we felt really close to Allah SWT, but now we feel distant from Him. We feel like we’ve taken a few steps back on some of the good deeds / good habits that we were able to attain before. What happened?

Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said in an authentic hadith:

“Iman wears out in your heart, the way (your) garments would wear out…”

Think about it: When we wash our garment over and over again, it will start to lose its color. Even if we do take care of the garment, its color will still fade naturally from the amount of washing that it goes through. So Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam taught us that it’s natural for our iman to wear out.

He sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam continued in the same hadith by teaching us the FIRST place to go for help:

“… so ask Allah to revive / renew the faith in your hearts.” [1]

It starts with asking Allah. Ask your Rabb, the One who enables our hearts, the One who settles iman in us, the One who responds to us – ask Him to renew our iman. And this should be one of our most frequent supplications to Allah. While praying for a new job / marriage / children / sustenance in this world, don’t forget to constantly ask Allah to renew your iman, because your iman is His greatest blessing! It is your most precious asset. If iman is gone, then everything else will not benefit you in any way. But if your iman is strong, then you can bear everything else of this world.

Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood RA used to supplicate the following on the basis of the above hadith:

اللهم زدنا إيماناً ويقيناً وفقهاً
Allahuma zidna eemaanan, wayaqeenan, wafiqha
Allahumma, revive us in our faith (increase our faith),
our certainty (conviction / yaqin), and understanding (of Your Deen).

Ibn Taymiyyah rahimahullah mentioned that one of the best supplications is the du’a that Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam taught Mu’adh ibn Jabal RA. Mu’adh RA reported that he sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam held his hand and said:

“O Mu’adh,
by Allah, I love you and advise you not to miss supplicating after every Salat saying:

Allahumma a’inni ‘ala dhikrika, wa shukrika, wa husni ‘ibadatika.”
(O Allah, enable me to remember You, and to be grateful to You,
and to worship You in an excellent manner.)
[2]

Similarly, we learnt from the hadith that one of Rasulallah’s sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam most frequent supplications is:

Ya Muqallibul-quloob, thabbit qalbi ‘alaa deenika
(O Turner of Hearts, make my heart firm upon your Deen). [3]

Why are these supplications important? Because we are asking the Enabler to ENABLE us. So when you make du’a to purify your heart, ask the One who can truly purify, to purify you. And that’s the best thing that you can do for your iman – to constantly ask Allah s.w.t. And this Deen is beautiful because He s.w.t. forces us to ask Him this in our every prayer, in every single raka’ah:

Ihdinas-siratul mustaqin
(Guide us to the straight path)

May Allah s.w.t. keep our iman strong, and increase it until the Day we meet Him.

____________
References:
Extracted from The Faith Revival Series by Sheikh Omar Suleiman

[1] Al-Hakim in his Mustadrak
[2] Sunan Abi Dawud
[3] At-Tirmidhi

[Al-Kahf 18:110] Al-Kahf Challenge (20/20)

If you have been following the Al-Kahf Challenge Series,
you should have memorized and learned the first ten ayat of the Surah – alhamdulillah!
From this post onwards, the series will be focusing on the last ten ayat of Surah Al-Kahf.

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 11Pg 12Pg 13 | Pg 14Pg 15 | Pg 16 | Pg 17 | Pg 18 Pg 19Pg 20  | Pg 21

———- 🌺 ———-

al-kahf-110-r

Say (O Muhammad ﷺ): “I am only a man like you.
It has been revealed to me that your Ilah (God) is One Ilah (Allah).
So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Rabb,
let him work righteousness
and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Rabb.”
[Al-Kahf 18:110]

In this ayah, Rasulallah ﷺ was commanded by Allah s.w.t. to declare his ﷺ humanity to the people – and this is a very important information. Even today, there are many sects that overpraise and elevate Rasulallah ﷺ above his humanity. In a sahih hadith, it was reported that Rasulallah ﷺ said:

“Do not praise me excessively like the Christians praised Jesus, the son of Mary.
I am but a servant, so call me Allah’s servant and Messenger.”

[Sahih Bukhari]

It is very common, yet very far astray, for someone to say that it is okay to make du’a to Rasulallah ﷺ after his death. This is an example of overpraising him ﷺ and overstepping the boundaries that have been set by Allah s.w.t. This is truly shirk.

Rasulallah ﷺ said:
Supplication (du’a) is itself the worship (‘ibadah).
(He then recited:) “And your Rabb said:
Call on Me, I will answer you (Ghafir 40:60).”

[Sunan Abi Dawud | Graded Sahih]

This is why it is beautiful, that after mentioning this, Allah s.w.t. highlights Tawheed in this ayah:

“So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Rabb,
let him work righteousness

and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Rabb.”

Allah s.w.t. says whoever wishes to meet his Rabb with a true, genuine hope, they must fulfill two basic criteria:

(1) Righteous deeds – Deeds done according to the ways of Rasulallah ﷺ and are done sincerely for Allah, and
(2) Tawheed – Having correct belief.

Notice that these 2 criteria have been mentioned multiple times in the previous Ayat in Surah Al-Kahf alone, highlighting their importance. It is also important for us to safeguard our deeds from minor shirk, for Rasulallah ﷺ said:

“Verily, what I fear most for you is the minor shirk.”
And he elaborated, “It is showing off (Ar-Riya’).
Allah will say on the Day of Resurrection,
when the people are rewarded or punished for their deeds:
Go to the one for whom you were showing off in the world
and see if you will find any reward with him.”
[Musnad Ahmad]

May Allah s.w.t. safeguard us from any element of shirk, and help us preserve our Iman until the Day we are brought to him.

Alhamdulillah, this is the end of the Al-Kahf Challenge. Praise be to Allah, the Rabb of all that exists. If you would like to read the previous Al-Kahf Challenge posts in chronological order, please click the links provided at the beginning of the article.

May Allah s.w.t. accept this from you and me.
Jazakumullah khayran.

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

[Al-Kahf 18:107] Al-Kahf Challenge (17/20)

If you have been following the Al-Kahf Challenge Series,
you should have memorized and learned the first ten ayat of the Surah – alhamdulillah!
From this post onwards, the series will be focusing on the last ten ayat of Surah Al-Kahf.

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

al-kahf-107-r

Verily! Those who believe and do righteous deeds
shall have the Gardens of Al-Firdaus (the Paradise)
for their entertainment [nuzul].
[Al-Kahf 18:107]

After describing the true losers in this life, Allah s.w.t. then describes the characteristics of those who will truly be successful. This ayah teaches us the two conditions that must be fulfilled in order to be in the successful group:

Correct Belief
and Righteous Deeds. 

These two are the total opposite of the characteristics of the losers, because the losers are those who not only do not have correct belief, but also all of their works are in vain and not accepted.

What is Righteous Deeds?

We need to really understand that for a deed to be accepted by Allah s.w.t. must be (1) done only for the His sake and (2) in accordance to the Shari’ah i.e. as the teachings of Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam. This is what it meant by Righteous Deeds.

1. Must be done only for Allah’s Sake i.e. Sincerity – The intention of any deed that we do must be only to seek the pleasure of Allah, and not for any other purpose even if it might seem good in our eyes. For example, a person attends a knowledge circle with his friend because he wants to be seen as pious to his friend. Attending a beneficial class and pleasing a friend do seem like good deeds. However, if this was his sole intention, then he will not be rewarded.

One of the things that is so important, yet always forgotten by us, is to tie each of our good action with the intention to seek the pleasure of Allah.
So if we are going to a knowledge circle – make the intention to seek the pleasure of Allah, for He has commanded us to seek knowledge.
If we are pleasing a friend – make the intention to seek the pleasure of Allah, for He has commanded us to behave well with others.
If we are cooking, cleaning, doing “mundane” chores in the house – make the intention to seek the pleasure of Allah, for He has commanded us to treat our family with ihsan, and that He loves cleanliness.
Even if we’re eating or sleeping – make the intention to seek the pleasure of Allah, to revitalize our bodies so that we may continue to worship Him in the best manner.

Every single, minute good deed that we do – tie them with the intention to please our Rabb.

2. According to the Shari’ah i.e. the Sunnah – Religious innovations (bid’ah) will not be accepted by Allah s.w.t. for they do not follow the Sunnah. This is why Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam has warned us:

“He who innovates something in this matter of ours (i.e. Islam) that is not of it,
will have it rejected (by Allah).”
[Bukhari & Muslim]

Therefore, any deed that lacks sincerity and are not done according to the Sunnah, is not considered as a righteous deed. May Allah s.w.t. enable and facilitate us to constantly do righteous deeds for His sake.

What has been prepared for those who believe and do righteous deeds?

So what has been prepared for such believers? It is the Gardens of Al-Firdaus al-a’laa! Qatadah said that Al-Firdaus is a hill in Paradise, at its center, and the best of it!

One might feel how can I attain Jannatul Firdaus? Isn’t that only for the Messengers and Prophets? What did our beloved Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam taught us? He sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said:

“When you ask Allah (for something),
ask for Al-Firdaus which is the best and highest part of Paradise.”
[Bukhari]

Always aim high! Remember that our goal is not just about getting in Jannah – It’s about getting in and at the HIGHEST place!

May Allah s.w.t. make us one of the inheritors of Jannatul Firdaus, Allahumma ameen!

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

[Madaarij us-Saalikeen] The Station of Firasah

Have you heard the term [firasah]? In the Malaysian local dialect, it’s known to mean intuition.

Ibn Al-Qayyim rahimahullah wrote that [firasah] is a sense of insight / perception / visual acumen. It’s the ability to distinguish between truth and falsehood via one’s eye, ear and heart. And this firasah is a light which Allah s.w.t. deposits in the heart of His slave, enabling him to distinguish between right and wrong.

Firasah allows a believer to know more about a speaker’s hidden intention from the speaker’s speech and tone of voice than from physical appearance. In general, the sahabah had the most accurate and sharpest firasah. Abu Bakr As-Siddiq r.a. is considered to be the one with the greatest firasah in the ummah, and Umar Al-Khattab r.a. was the second.

Ibn Mas’ud r.a. said:

“There are three people with the sharpest firasah.

  1. The Egyptian who bought Yusuf a.s. and then said to his wife: ‘Make his stay comfortable, maybe he will profit for us or we shall adopt him as a son.’ [Q12:21].
  2. The other was the daughter of Shuaib, who said to her father with regards to Musa a.s.: ‘Hire him!’ [Q28:26]
  3. And Abu Bakr r.a., for he appointed Umar r.a. as his successor.”
  4. Another narration includes the wife of Fir’aun who said about Musa a.s.: ‘A comfort of the eye for me and for you. Kill him not, perhaps he may be of benefit to us, or we may adopt him as a son.’ [Q28:9]

Ibn Al-Qayyim rahimahullah wrote that the strength of firasah is dependent on the strength of faith. A person with stronger faith has sharper firasah. Amr bin Nujaid said that Shah al-Kermani had sharp firasah and was never wrong. He also used to say that whoever does the following, then his firasah will never go wrong (insya Allah):

1. Lowers his gaze away from prohibitions,
2. Restrains himself from vain desires,
3. Constructs his interior according to muraqabah (knowledge that Allah is watching over us),
4. Constructs his exterior according to the Sunnah,
5. And accustoms himself to eat only halal.

Firasah is also connected with one’s sharp intellect. Ibn Al-Qayyim rahimahullah wrote that there are two factors in firasah. (1) One is the quality of one’s mind, the sharpness of the heart and the intelligence. (2) The second is the appearance of the signs and indications on others. When both factors are present, then one’s firasah may not be wrong.

And Allah s.w.t. knows best.
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Reference:
Madaarij us-Saalikeen, by Ibn al-Qayyim rahimahullah