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!

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 (10/10) – The Rewards for ‘Ibad-ur Rahman

ibadur-rahman-10

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

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم

Those will be rewarded with the highest place because of their patience.
Therein they shall be met with greetings and the word of peace and respect.
Abiding therein; excellent it is as an abode, and as a place to dwell.
[Surah Al-Furqan 25:75-76]

Alhamdulillah, in our previous articles, we have discussed all nine characteristics of the ‘Ibad-ur Rahman. To recap, those nine characteristics are:

  1. They have humility (tawadhu’)
  2. They are courteous, even when treated harshly
  3. They are diligent and consistent with their Tahajjud
  4. They always seek refuge from Jahannam
  5. They are not spendthrifts, nor are they stingy
  6. They do not commit shirk, murder, and zina
  7. They do not associate themselves with immoral gatherings and useless activities
  8. They respond to the Ayat of Allah s.w.t.
  9. They always make supplication to Allah to grant them spouses and lineage who will be the coolness of their eyes

In this final article, we will look in detail of the awesome rewards that Allah s.w.t. has promised them.

💎 First: Reward of Jannah
After mentioning the beautiful attributes of the ‘Ibad-ur Rahman and their good words and deeds, Allah s.w.t. then says that believers who are described with these beautiful characteristics will be rewarded with Jannah. Jannah is described as “the highest place” in this ayah because of its elevation.

It is also important to note that Allah s.w.t. says:

Those will be rewarded with the highest place because of their patience
[Surah Al-Furqan 25:75]

Know that each of these nine beautiful qualities of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman require patience and consistency. It means that when we take these qualities, it must be for a lifetime. Our struggles to beautify our akhlaq, to follow the footsteps of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman, to become a better slave of Allah s.w.t. is a lifetime effort. And if we are able to make that as our lifestyle, then Allah s.w.t. will reward us with lofty palaces in Jannah.

💎 Second: Welcome and Honor From the Angels
The ayah continues:

Therein they shall be met with greetings and the word of peace and respect.
[Surah Al-Furqan 25:75]

Because of their patience and consistency in portraying and carrying out these beautiful qualities, the ‘Ibad-ur Rahman will be greeted in peace from the angels. This means that they will be greeted first with words of welcome and honor in Jannah. Peace will be theirs and they will be wished peace. The angels will be so pleased with them, that they would enter from all gates just to greet such people of patience. This is as Allah s.w.t. says:

…And angels shall enter unto them from every gate (saying):
“Salamun ‘Alaikum (peace be upon you) for that you persevered in patience!
Excellent indeed is the final home!”
[Surah Ar-Rad 13: 23-24]

💎 Third: They Will Remain Forever in Jannah
The ayah continues:

Abiding therein…
[Surah Al-Furqan 25:76]

This portion of the ayah means that the ‘Ibad-ur Rahman will settle in Jannah and will never leave, or move, or die. They will never exit, or even wish to move to somewhere else! This is like the Ayah,

And those who are blessed, they will be in Jannah,
abiding therein for all the time that the heavens and the earth endure
[Surah Hud 11:108]

Ibnu Jarir Ath Thobari rahimahullah said that when the Arabs want to describe something that lasts forever, they usually say:

هذا دائم دوام السموات والأرض
“It shall remain as long as the heavens and the earth exist.”
(I.e. it will remain forever)

My dear brothers and sisters in Islam, internalize and sink this into our hearts: Jannah is forever. There is no end to this perfect gift from Allah s.w.t. You will no longer feel sad in Jannah. You will no longer have to worry about the future. You will no longer need to work, or pay those bills. You will no longer worry of losing anyone you love. Anything painful that you are enduring right now – any sadness, any heartbreak or heartache – all of them will come to end and forgotten the moment you step in Jannah. Remember when Rasulallah ﷺ said:

“The people of Jannah will enter Jannah, and the people of the Fire will enter the Fire;
then a call-maker will get up (and make an announcement) among them:
O the people of the Fire! No death anymore!
And O people of Paradise! No death (anymore) but Eternity.”
[Sahih Bukhari]

So for this, strive o Muslims! Be one of those whom Allah s.w.t. allow to step into Jannah, where exactly on that moment, you will forget and leave every single sadness and every single anguish behind, just as Rasulallah ﷺ said:

“One of the people of Jannah who had experienced extreme misery in the life of this world will be dipped in Jannah. Then he will be asked: ‘O son of Adam! Did you ever experience any misery? Did you ever encounter difficulty?’
He will say:
By Allah, no my Rabb,
I neither experienced misery nor passed through hardship.”
[Sahih Muslim]

💎 Fourth: They Will Attain The Best Abode
The ayah continues:

Abiding therein; excellent it is as an abode, and as a place to dwell.
[Surah Al-Furqan 25:76]

The ‘Ibadur-Rahman will be granted with the BEST abode, the BEST home, the BEST real estate that they will ever attain! Its appearance will be so beautiful, that it’s impossible to imagine by the human mind.

Subhanallah! Such are the amazing rewards for ‘Ibad-ur Rahman.

From now onwards, let’s aspire to become from the group of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman. Let us do our best in doing good deeds that are pleasing to Allah, and steer away from all types of sins for the sake of Allah. May Allah s.w.t. make us all truly ‘Ibad-ur Rahman! Allahumma ameen!

Alhamdulillah, with that, our lessons on the Nine Characteristics of the ‘Ibad-ur Rahman has come to an end. I advise myself foremost, and then to others, to always come back to these lessons so that they remain in our hearts, and not forgotten by our limbs. Feel free to use these articles as teaching materials for your children and other loved ones. May this series be a motivation to work hard in beautifying our akhlaq for the pleasure of Allah s.w.t.

And with that, I end this article by a beautiful comprehensive du’a that sums up the gist of this series:

It was narrated from ‘Aishah that Rasulallah ﷺ taught her this supplication:
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ مِنَ الْخَيْرِ كُلِّهِ عَاجِلِهِ وَآجِلِهِ مَا عَلِمْتُ مِنْهُ وَمَا لَمْ أَعْلَمْ وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الشَّرِّ كُلِّهِ عَاجِلِهِ وَآجِلِهِ مَا عَلِمْتُ مِنْهُ وَمَا لَمْ أَعْلَمْ اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ خَيْرِ مَا سَأَلَكَ عَبْدُكَ وَنَبِيُّكَ وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا عَاذَ بِهِ عَبْدُكَ وَنَبِيُّكَ اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ الْجَنَّةَ وَمَا قَرَّبَ إِلَيْهَا مِنْ قَوْلٍ أَوْ عَمَلٍ وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ النَّارِ وَمَا قَرَّبَ إِلَيْهَا مِنْ قَوْلٍ أَوْ عَمَلٍ وَأَسْأَلُكَ أَنْ تَجْعَلَ كُلَّ قَضَاءٍ قَضَيْتَهُ لِي خَيْرًا

Allahumma inni as’aluka minal-khayri kullihi, ‘ajilihi wa ajilihi,
ma ‘alimtu minhu wa ma la a’lam
Allahumma, I ask You for all that is good, in this world and in the Hereafter,
what I know and what I do not know

Wa a’udhu bika minash-sharri kullihi, ‘ajilihi wa ajilihi, ma ‘alimtu minhu wa ma la a’lam
And I seek refuge with You from all evil, in this world and in the Hereafter,
what I know and what I do not know

Allahumma inni as’aluka min khayri ma sa’alaka ‘abduka wa nabiyyuka
Allahumma, I ask You for the good that Your slave and Prophet has asked You for

wa a’udhu bika min sharri ma ‘adha bihi ‘abduka wa nabiyyuka
And I seek refuge with You from the evil
from which Your slave and Prophet sought refuge

Allahumma inni as’alukal-jannatah wa ma qarrab ilayha min qawlin aw ‘amalin
Allahumma, I ask You for Jannah
and for that which brings one closer to it, in word and deed

Wa a’udhu bika minan-nari wa ma qarraba ilayha min qawlin aw ‘amalin
And I seek refuge in You from Hell
and from that which brings one closer to it, 
in word and deed

Wa as’aluka an taj’al kulla qada’in qadaytahuli khayran.
And I ask You to make every decree that You decree concerning me good.
[Sunan Ibn Majah | Grade: Sahih]

Allahumma ameen!

If you would like to read the previous 9 Characteristics of ‘Ibad-ur Rahman posts 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

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

[Al-Ghashiyah 88:8-11] Lofty Jannah

(Other) faces that Day will be joyful. Glad with their endeavor. In a lofty Jannah.
Where they shall neither hear harmful speech nor falsehood.
[Al-Ghashiyah 88: 8-11]

Have you always wondered why Jannah is always described as high gardens in the Qur’an? When we travel or go on a road trip, don’t we normally stop upon reaching higher grounds – where we can see far? When we go to a hotel, we want the top floor because we want the view. We go hiking on top of the hill, because that’s the most beautiful part. The most expensive property in real estate is the one with the best kind of view!

And on top of that, Allah s.w.t. says there will be no useless, lewd, obnoxious speech in Jannah. One of the pleasures of Jannah is that there will be no bad talks, and we may wonder: What’s the big deal? Because in this dunya, no matter how rich or successful we may be, if someone – especially our loved ones – talk to us in a hurtful way, will all our wealth and success protect us from not feeling hurt? We can have the best property, be the wealthiest person, but hurtful words can take all those pleasure away. This is one of the gifts in Jannah.

The passage continues:

Therein will be a running spring.
Therein will be thrones raised high.
And cups set at hand.
And cushions set in rows.
And rich carpets (all) spread out.
[Al-Ghashiyah 88:12-16]

These are the beautiful estates, which no eyes nor mind could ever imagine, that will be granted to the believers.

May Allah s.w.t. grant us all Jannatul Firdaus.

[Yunus 10:26] Strive Hard To Be a Muhsin

Yunus10-26

For those who have done good [ahsanu] is the best and even more…
[Yunus 10:26]

From this short part of an ayah, comes a super important core message for all Muslims:

Don’t settle as you are right now, strive hard to be a Muhsin!

Allah s.w.t. says, “For those who have done good, is the best, and even more.” Scholars said that the ‘best’ refers to the best reward, i.e. Jannah and all the treasures that it contains; while the word ‘even more’ means that on top of all the immensely beautiful treasures that Allah will give the believers in Jannah – He will grant the honor of looking at His Noble Face – and this is the increase that is far greater than anything that had ever been given.

Ibn al-Qayyim rahimahullah wrote in his Madaarij as-Saalikeen that one of the greatest joys of Jannah is that of gazing upon the Countenance of Allah, hearing His Words, the delight of being close to Him, and attaining His Pleasure. There is no comparison between what Jannah contains – the delightful food, drink, clothing and images – than this sublime joy. The least of His Good Pleasure is far greater than Jannah and all that it contains. This should be our aim – that we want to be granted the honor of looking at the Countenance of our Rabb.

We learn in several ahadith that the believers will be granted this honor, but the ayah above specifically highlights a special type of believer. Allah s.w.t. says:

“For those who have done good [ahsanu] is the best [al-husna] and even more…”

From the word [ahsanu], we learn that this specifically refers to the Muhsin. Allah s.w.t. is saying: For the Muhsin, is the BEST, and EVEN MORE! Allah s.w.t. honors the Muhsin in this ayah, granting them with the best of THE BEST rewards – because the Muhsin is THE BEST of all Muslims.

Jibril a.s. asked: “O Muhammad! Inform me about Islam.”
Rasulallah (ﷺ) replied: “Islam is that you should testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is His Messenger (ﷺ), that you should perform salah, pay the zakah, fast during Ramadhan, and perform Hajj to the House (the Ka’bah) if you can find a way to it (or find the means for making the journey).”

He went on to ask: “Inform me about Iman.”
He (ﷺ) answered, “It is that you believe in Allah, and His angels, and His Books, and His Messengers, and in the Last Day, and in fate (qadr), both in its good and in its evil aspects.”

He went on to ask: “Inform me about Ihsan.”
He (ﷺ) answered, “It is that you should serve Allah as though you could see Him, although you cannot see Him, He can see you.
[Sahih Muslim]

From this hadith, scholars consider Islam, Iman, and Ihsan as the three stages in the path towards Allah s.w.t.:

The first level is Islam – becoming a Muslim, by pushing and bringing ourselves to do the actions that Allah s.w.t. has commanded us to do. When the word Islam is used in conjunction with the word Iman, as per this article, it refers to outward / physical actions and words – i.e. the physical actions conform to what Allah s.w.t. has commanded us to do.

The second level is Iman – becoming a Mu’min, where we are not only doing what has been commanded by Allah, but we’re beginning to taste the sweetness of faith. When the word Iman is used in conjunction with the word Islam, it refers to inward beliefs, and actions of the heart.

The third level is Ihsan becoming a Muhsin, which is to worship Allah as if we see Him, and even if we cannot see Him, then know that He sees us. [Al-Ihsan] means to perfect something and complete it. It is derived from al-husun which means al-jamaal (beauty). When it is used in conjunction with either the words Islam and/or Iman, Ihsan means perfecting one’s outward and inward deeds. Remember that a Muslim might not be a Muhsin; a Mu’min might also not be a Muhsin; but a Muhsin is definitely both a Muslim and a Mu’min – encompassing all three qualities. This is the highest degree of Islam.

Note: When the word Islam, Iman, or Ihsan is used alone, there is no difference between them, rather each of them, when used alone, refers to the entire religion.

The ayah says that the Muhsin will be granted to see the Noble Face of Allah s.w.t. in the akhirah, because they are those who truly strive to serve Allah as though they could see Him in this dunya.

“(Ihsan) is that you should serve Allah as though you could see Him,
although you cannot see Him, He can see you.”

Rasulallah ﷺ taught us that Ihsan has two degrees:

The first and the highest degree of Ihsan is [mushahadah] – worshipping Allah as if you can see Him. Whoever worships Allah with awareness of His nearness, and acts as if he is before Allah, and looking at Him, is bound to fear Him and venerate Him. This is a very difficult station to reach but it is attainable.

The second position is [muraqabah] – having sincerity and awareness that Allah is always watching. This person acts with an awareness that Allah sees him. He truly understands that Allah knows all his deeds, hidden and visible, inward and outward, and that nothing is hidden from Him. And this is the minimum station we all should try to achieve, because Allah s.w.t. says:

“For the people of ihsan [Muhsin] – is the best
and even more
(the honor of looking at His Noble Face).”
[Yunus 10:26]

With this in mind, let us reflect our lifestyle.
How often do we remember Allah and that He is watching us? How many times do we hide in our room sinning, whilst forgetting that Allah is Al-Basir? How many times do we backbite, lie, and curse someone, whilst forgetting that Allah is As-Sami’?
How truly far are we from reaching this station?
This is something that we should try to rectify every single moment in our lives. This should be our everyday resolution.

So I remind myself and then to others: Do not think that this station is beyond our reach. Do not aim so low that we think:
“I’m happy if I can get a spot in the entrance of Jannah.”
“Kalau dapat belakang pintu syurga pun cukuplah.”

We need to realize that this is a completely wrong attitude of a believer. Rasulallah (ﷺ) himself said:

“Paradise has one-hundred grades which Allah has reserved for the Mujahidin who fight in His Cause, and the distance between each of two grades is like the distance between the Heaven and the Earth. So, when you ask Allah, ask for Al-Firdaus which is the best and highest part of Paradise.”
[Sahih Bukhari]

Believers always aim high! Because our goal is not just to sneak by the gates of Jannah – but it’s about getting in and at the highest place – for all eternity. And for the Muhsin, who are foremost in doing good, they will be the ones who will be closest to Allah, and in the highest degrees of Jannah. May Allah s.w.t. help us and our loved ones become a Muhsin, Allahumma ameen!

_____________
References:
[1] IslamQA
[2] Abdurrahman.org

[Al-Kahf 18:108] Al-Kahf Challenge (18/20)

“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 19 | Pg 20  | Pg 21
———- 🌺 ———-

al-kahf-108-r

“Wherein they shall dwell (forever).
No desire will they have for removal therefrom.”

[Al-Kahf 18:108]

In the previous post, we learnt that the believers who have the correct belief and who did righteous deeds will be granted Gardens of Al-Firdaus. This ayah continues to explain that their eternal abode is the Gardens of Al-Firdaus.

My teacher once asked: “Are men created to live forever?”
To which we replied, of course not!
He said: “Wrong! Allah s.w.t. has indeed created us to live forever. It’s just that we have to move on to our next stage of life – the Akhirah.” Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said:

“When the people of Paradise have entered Paradise
and the people of the Fire have entered the Fire,
death will be brought and will be placed between the Fire and Paradise,
and then it will be slaughtered, and a call will be made:
O people of Paradise, no more death! O people of the Fire, no more death!
So the people of Paradise will have happiness added to their previous happiness,
and the people of the Fire will have sorrow added to their previous sorrow.”
[Sahih Bukhari]

Everytime I try to ponder the concept of living forever, I just couldn’t grasp it. The thought of continue to live, and live, and live on, forever and ever in Jannah, is too overwhelming to be fully understood by this limited mind. What is more terrifying is the fact that the same will be faced by the people of Fire – who will continue to live on and on, forever and ever in the Hellfire, drinking and eating filth, to be inflicted punishment upon punishments – day in and out – for eternity.

Can you imagine that condition?
Can you bear that thought?
Subhanallah, may Allah save us from the terrors of Jahannam.

Let us continue with the ayah:

“No desire will they have for removal therefrom (from Jannah).”

Ibn Kathir wrote that the believers will never choose or want anything else. This ayah explains how much they love and desire it! We might think that a person who stays in one place forever would get bored and tired of it. This is true in this dunya. What happens to our beautiful homes? They’re only perfect for a few months and after a while, we start wishing that the designs, colors, interior, neighbourhood, landscapes were different. We can even stay in a beautiful 5-star hotel for several years, but eventually we will want to move on, try something new, eat something new, make new changes. But in this ayah, Allah s.w.t. tells us that despite the eternal stay in Jannah, the believers will never, ever want to choose, nor want to change, nor want to move from where they are.

This is because Jannah is absolutely perfect in all senses, beyond our comprehension. We all know that there are many different levels of Jannah, where people of greater piety will have higher levels than others. But the point of this ayah is that each and every person will feel that no one else has anything more than him! He will feel no one else has anything better than what he has! He will feel that he has THE BEST THERE IS in Jannah!

Subhanallah – such is the perfection of Jannah! And such is the Rahmat of Allah s.w.t. towards the slaves whom He loves. May Allah grant us all Jannatul Firdaus!

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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 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
———- 🌺 ———-

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 knows it will make his friend happy. Attending a beneficial class and pleasing a friend do seem like good deeds. However, if these were his sole intentions, 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 parents 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.