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

ibadur-rahman-7

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

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 catch up on the previous posts of this series, click here 📌

———-🌸———-

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.

And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running

There will be times in our life when we feel laziness start to creep into our hearts, when we feel that our prayers, recitation or tadabbur of the Qur’an have become such a heavy thing to do. Those good deeds that we love doing suddenly become a challenge. And we wonder, how could I fall this low? Where did my zest and passion go?

Whatever it is that we’re going through, know that we should never stop when we hit ground. Don’t let your nafs chain you, nor let the illusion of insincerity stop you from trying. Get up and trudge on through, and you will soon find that the path has been made easier. Let this hadith be your source of comfort and encouragement to keep on walking no matter what:

Rasulallah s.a.w. said that Allah s.w.t. says:
“I am just as My slave thinks I am
(i.e. I am able to do for him what he thinks I can do for him),
and I am with him if He remembers Me.
If he remembers Me in himself,
I too, remember him in Myself;

and if he remembers Me in a group of people,
I remember him in a group that is better than them;

and if he comes one span nearer to Me,
I go one cubit nearer to him;

and if he comes one cubit nearer to Me,
I go a distance of two outstretched arms nearer to him;

and if he comes to Me walking,
I go to him running.” [1]

Shaikh Uthaimeen (rahimahullah) said:

“If you see yourself relapse/deteriorate, pick yourself up by repenting and seeking Allah’s Forgiveness and by asking Him to keep you firm,
and don’t become careless and neither say, ‘Inshaa Allah, my iman will become stronger’ [without doing anything about it],
instead from right now – from the moment you feel that you are ill –
you must implement the cure.” [2]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
🖊 References:
[1] Sahih Bukhari
[2] Tafseer Surah an-Nisaa, vol. 2, p. 53.

Ramadhan Gem – Day 20

Through out these last few days and nights of Ramadhan, we’re going to face some serious challenges. From the biggest of them is that we’re going to be LAZY! We won’t want to read the Quran. We won’t want to go to Taraweeh. If we feel ourselves falling for this trap, hold this advice dearly:

“Slaves of Allah! The month of Ramadhan is determined to leave and there are but a few days left of it. Those of you who have done good should complete it (in goodness) and whoever has neglected it then let him end it in goodness since actions are according to their ending. So enjoy the few nights and days that are left and bid it farewell by performing good deeds which can be witness for you with Al-Malik Al-‘Alam, and see it off by parting with the most pure greeting and salam.”

– Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali (rahimahullah)
[Lata’ef Al-Ma’arif, P. 386]

Ramadhan Gem – Day 14

Feeling that mid-Ramadhan slump?

We see it every year around this time. Fasting and waking up for tahajjud becomes harder. The rows in tarawih have decreased. Our motivation for ibadah has gone down a notch. How do we get out of it? Here are some tips from Sheikh Navaid Aziz:

1) Actually recognize that this is happening – you’re not alone. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Instead, be motivated to do better from this point onward. Don’t fall into despair if we mess up one day. Be adamant to pick ourselves up and continue. It’s not too late!

2) Figure out what the minimum voluntary ibadah we want to do every day (eg. at least 5 pages of Qur’an with contemplation, 4-raka’ats of tahajjud prayers, etc) and make a check list for each day. Having visual goals and checking them off is positive psychological affirmation. This works super well for me, and if I missed any of my checklist due to other obligations, I will make up the voluntary ibadah that I have missed on the next day, insya Allah.

3) Make a pact with your spouse / family / friend that you will help each other achieve your goals.

4) Pray to Allah s.w.t. that He helps us in this effort.
Allahumma a’inni ala dhikrika, wa shukrika, wa husni ‘ibadatika.
Allahumma, help me remember You, be grateful to You, and worship You in an excellent manner. [1]
___________
[1] Abu Daud

Race To Good Deeds

Some golden advice by Sheikh Abdul Muhsin Al-Qasim, Imam of Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, during the Twins of Faith 2015 in Malaysia:

1. Rasulallah s.a.w. said if a single person is guided by Allah through you, it will be better for you than a whole lot of red camels. [Bukhari & Muslim] “Better for you than red camels” is an allegory for everything that is better than anything else! So keep on spreading the truth, and do good deeds because others may follow suit.

2. For women who want to maximize their efforts to attain Jannah: Be consistent with your 5 daily prayers, fast in Ramadhan, guard your chastity and obey your husband, for you will then may enter Jannah by whichever of the gates of Paradise you wish. [Ahmad] How easy it is that Allah has made for the women, as long as these acts are done consistently and sincerely for Allah.

3. Miniscule “unworthy” good deeds, even if it’s the size of half an atom, is still countable. Remember the hadith about the prostitute who was forgiven for her sins because she fed water to a dying dog [Muslim] So this gives us hope even though we have sinned so much, even though people have bad thoughts about you, have hope in Allah and keep on continuing doing good deeds.

In a nutshell: Never, ever look down any of our good deeds, not even those mundane domestic work, because anything good we do to please Allah and in line with the Sunnah, they are our means to attain Jannah, insya Allah.

…Then strive together (as in a race) toward all that is good.
[Al-Baqarah 2:148]

May Allah s.w.t. make us racers to good deeds.