Lessons

Are you fasting all year long?
There is no doubt that none of us can bear fasting a whole year; however, Allah SWT has given us the blessing of achieving that by fasting the month of Ramadan and any six days of Shawal.  According to the prophet PBUH “Whoever fasts Ramadan and follows it with six days of Shawal, it will be as if he fasted for a lifetime." [Narrated by Muslim, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi, an-Nisa'i and Ibn Majah] Allah SWT has multiplied the rewards of fasting each day of Ramadan by ten; therefore, you would have earned 300 days for fasting the month of Ramadan. Allah SWT then gave us the incentive to fast an additional six days in Shawal to earn another 60 days. Combined with Ramadan, you would have fasted 360 days or the like of a whole year. If you do that every year, you would have essentially fasted your whole life. There are enough days left in Shawal (about ten days or less) for you to still earn this reward if you have not started already. If you started, then make sure that you finish fasting those six days as it surely is a great reward and a mercy from Allah SWT.

 

We all sin…What’s next?

There is no doubt that we all sin in our daily lives. Sinning is not so much the problem as much as it is to not realize that you sin. Therefore, it is good to spend some with yourself recounting what did that you should not have done and what you did not do that you should have done. This will help you realize what sins you have committed; but what’s next you might ask?
- If you fall, get back up! We will fall down (sin) at some point, sometimes harder than other times based on the level of our Iman (faith) but don’t stay down; pick yourself up! Don’t make the sin a habit, make it an isolated incident. Fight back over and over until you are able to prevent yourself from committing the same sin regularly.
- Make sure that you feel Nadam (remorse) and then ask for forgiveness: Don’t let a sin slide without lecturing yourself. You need to feel that what you have done was wrong; otherwise, you will allow yourself to do it again. Feel remorseful about your action (s) and then make sure that you ask Allah SWT for his forgiveness. Don’t trick yourself into thinking that it was a small sin and that it is not a big deal. Think of who you disobeyed, Allah the almighty, which in itself is a big sin.
- Renew your intention: You can always start over. How many times we say “I wish I had a second chance”? Well, here it is! Change your intention and start over.
- Follow a bad deed with a good deed: Nothing wipes a bad deed better than a good deed that follows it as instructed by our beloved prophet Mohamed PBUH. Think about it for a second, we do this on a daily basis. We always make it up to someone when we do something wrong to them. Why not do it with Allah SWT and do something good every time that you do something bad. For example give charity, make Tasbeeh (remembrance), recite Quran, etc.
- Supplication: Supplicate Allah to forgive you but don’t stop there. Ask Him day and night all of which you wish to have. Supplicate in good times and in bad times, in sickness and in health, in richness and in poverty.
- Don’t fear the struggle: Nothing comes easy and earning paradise is no easy task. Has studying for a test ever been easy? Has going to work every day ever been easy? No right, yet you never gave up. Struggle for the path of Allah the same way or more than you struggle for the path of Dunya (life on earth) and you will succeed.
- Please your soul not your body: Never please your body which leads to Dunya (food, drinks, cars, houses, money, etc), please your soul with closeness to Allah, Quran recitation, charity giving, and performing a good deed which will lead you to the hereafter with the will of Allah.

 

Intention

It is narrated on the authority of Amirul Mu'minin, Abu Hafs 'Umar bin al-Khattab, radiyallahu 'anhu, who said:

I heard the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam, say: "Actions are (judged) by motives (niyyah), so each man will have what he intended. Thus, he whose migration (hijrah) was to Allah and His Messenger, his migration is to Allah and His Messenger; but he whose migration was for some worldly thing he might gain, or for a wife he might marry, his migration is to that for which he migrated." [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

 

عَنْ أَمِيرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَبِي حَفْصٍ عُمَرَ بْنِ الْخَطَّابِ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ: " إنَّمَا الْأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّاتِ، وَإِنَّمَا لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مَا نَوَى، فَمَنْ كَانَتْ هِجْرَتُهُ إلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ فَهِجْرَتُهُ إلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ، وَمَنْ كَانَتْ هِجْرَتُهُ لِدُنْيَا يُصِيبُهَا أَوْ امْرَأَةٍ يَنْكِحُهَا فَهِجْرَتُهُ إلَى مَا هَاجَرَ إلَيْهِ". 
رَوَاهُ إِمَامَا الْمُحَدِّثِينَ أَبُو عَبْدِ اللهِ مُحَمَّدُ بنُ إِسْمَاعِيل بن إِبْرَاهِيم بن الْمُغِيرَة بن بَرْدِزبَه الْبُخَارِيُّ الْجُعْفِيُّ [رقم:1]، وَأَبُو الْحُسَيْنِ مُسْلِمٌ بنُ الْحَجَّاج بن مُسْلِم الْقُشَيْرِيُّ النَّيْسَابُورِيُّ [رقم:1907] رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُمَا فِي "صَحِيحَيْهِمَا" اللذِينِ هُمَا أَصَحُّ الْكُتُبِ الْمُصَنَّفَةِ.

 

Islam does not judge individuals by who they are or what they look like but rather by their faith and piety. Faith is not something that we are born with but rather something that we build and strengthen. If you were blessed to be born a Muslim then you must work hard to maintain your faith to the highest level because it is a priceless gift if attained. One of the ways to strengthen your faith is by performing good deeds; however, not all deeds are accepted. To ensure that your deeds are accepted by Allah SWT, you must have good intentions. Always question yourself and remind yourself of the reason for which you are performing the deed as this will purify your heart from any false intentions. Do not do a deed if the intent is for people to praise you or just to be seen doing it, do not do a deed if it is to please anyone but Allah SWT, and do not do a deed just to reach a certain social status. Purify your intention, your deed will be pure, and your faith will become stronger.

 
Duties and Limits

Abu Tha`labah Al-Khushani (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah(PBUH) said, "Allah, the Exalted, has laid down certain duties which you should not neglect, and has put certain limits which you should not transgress, and has kept silent about other matters out of mercy for you and not out of forgetfulness, so do not seek to investigate them.'' 
[Ad-Daraqutni and others]
This Hadith is very important as it sets guidelines for our daily lives. There are ‘Faraid’ that Allah SWT has prescribed that we should not miss. For examples, Allah SWT has prescribed five daily prayers. One might sin by purposely delaying these prayers or might perform the prayer but not have the proper state of mind and therefore miss on its rewards. Next, the hadith addresses the limits that Allah SWT has set for us. A very good example of that is killing a human soul unlawfully. It is truly sad how nowadays the human soul has become so invaluable that killing a Muslim or several thousand Muslims does not move our hearts or shed our tears. The hadith also reminds us of forbidden things. Allah SWT forbade a few things comparing to all that he has allowed that we truly do not miss much by staying away from what is forbidden. Further, many of the things that have been forbidden were done for our own good; cigarettes is one of the most common and most obvious. Last but not least, Allah SWT did not address some things as a mercy for us. It is therefore foolish and disrespectful to insist on finding out or investigating what Allah SWT chose not to reveal to us. All the aforementioned sum up high level guidelines that can protect us from hellfire and keep us on the straight path to heaven.

Death
Death is often times a topic that we avoid and do not like talking about. This feeling certainly comes from various reasons such as leaving loved ones and one’s belongings, fear of what is awaiting us, and lack of readiness for such event. However, since it is an imminent event in everyone life, we must prepare for it as best as we can. The prophet PBUH said “Clever is the one who prepares for life after death.” If you fear separation from your loved ones in this life, then know that you are leaving them for that Whom should be more beloved to you, the prophet Mohamed PBUH and Allah SWT. Furthermore, it is only a temporary separation for we will all be united in Jannah with the will of Allah.
If you are the provider of your family, then have no fear because the One that provided for you in this life, in order for you to provide for your family, will provide for them in your absence.
If you fear the grave itself, its loneliness, darkness, and cold then start investing in it! We save to buy comfortable beds and couches, we save to have beautiful windows, and we work to afford electricity. Why not read Quran regularly or memorize it to brighten your grave and have it be your companion and protector?  The Prophet PBUH narrated: “When a man dies and his relatives are busy in funeral, there stands an extremely handsome man by his head. When the dead body is shrouded, that man gets in between the shroud and the chest of the deceased. When after the burial, the people return home, two angels, Munkar and Nakeer, come in the grave and try to separate this handsome man so that they may be able to interrogate the dead man in privacy about his faith. But the handsome man says, He is my companion, he is my friend. I will not leave him alone in any case. If you are appointed for interrogation, do your job. I cannot leave him until I get him admitted into Paradise. Thereafter he turns to his dead companion and says, I am the Noble Qur'an, which you used to read, sometimes in a loud voice and sometimes in a low voice. Do not worry. After the interrogation of Munkar and Nakeer, you will have no grief. When the interrogation is over, the handsome man arranges for him from Al-Mala'ul A'laa (the angels in Heaven) silk bedding filled with musk.”Fill your pockets and your hereafter’s account with good deeds and it will open a window into paradise from your grave; from this window, you will be able to see your estate in heaven.
Seek to invest into a business with Allah SWT that will have reoccurring revenue. Don’t restrict yourself to a deed or two. The Prophet PBHU said, “When a man dies, his deeds come to an end, except for three: A continuous charity, knowledge by which people derive benefit and a pious son who prays for him.”Therefore, invest in a Sadaqah Jariya, an ongoing charity, that will benefit you with good deeds even after you die. You can easily do that by investing in the purchase or construction of a Masjid or any other facility for Muslims to use, you can teach Quran to others for them to always carry in their heart and recite, or you can financially adopt an orphan.<< New text box >>

Best & Worst Places on Earth

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said: the Prophet (PBUH) said, "The dearest parts on the face of the earth near Allah are its mosques, and the most hated parts near Allah are its markets.'' [Muslim]

Islam favored the mosques in this hadith for obvious reasons. People pray and worship Allah in the mosques in various manners whether it be by reciting Qur'an, making Dikr (remembrance), or attending a Khatira (lesson). It is thus, encouraged to be in these locations and to participate in these activities. On the other hand, in markets, people tend to forget to remember Allah, engage in daily life transactions, and even commit sins at times by entering fraudulent transactions, lying, and gossiping. Therefore, it becomes apparent that it is not so much the place itself which is disliked but rather the bad deeds which might occur there. As a result, it is good practice to enter these disliked places for the amount of time needed to conduct an Islamically compliant transaction and to not spend unnecessary time there.

 

Positive Words
According to Aisha may Allah be pleased with her, the messenger of Allah PBUH said: “Don't say my soul is corrupted but say myself is (Lakosat).” This narration is agreed uponThe root of the word Lakosat comes from laziness. Lakosat and corrupted have the same meaning but the prophet PBUH disliked to use negative words. He would favor positive words to describe certain situations over negative words.Another meaning of Lakosat is that the soul is rotten. It was said that the human soul leans towards total laziness and corruption. We can deduce from this that it is preferred to use a positive description over a negative one. For example, if someone asks how are you? Don't say I am not good, but say I am weak instead. 

 

The Prophet's Birthday صلي الله عليه وسلم

Today is the day the prophet Mohamed PBUH was born. We do not celebrate the birth of the prophet with festivities or rituals unlike what some customs do. Rather, we use this day to remind ourselves and others around us of the purpose of his prophecy PBUH and his teachings. It is, therefore, good practice to teach your children about the prophet Mohamed PBUH and the message that he brought to us. It is also good practice to reflect upon your actions and rectify any wrong you do and adopt new Islamic practices in your lives.

 

A Smile

In a hadeeth, the prophet Mohamed صلي الله عليه وسلم  said: “Do not look down upon any good deed, not even to meet your brother with a cheerful face.” [Muslim]

In another hadeeth, the prophet Mohamed صلي الله عليه وسلم said: “To smile in the face of your brother is charity given on your behalf.” - Narrated by Termithy

Smiling is a good quality and causes blessed results. A smiling face indicates that one’s heart is free of hatred. Therefore, if we meet each other with a smiling face, it will result in affection between us and the rest of the Muslims. We should never think that anything Islam has encouraged us to do is insignificant, not even smiling. Therefore, each person should meet others with a smile because our facial expressions reflect what’s in our hearts. Meeting others with a cheerful face and smile will make them feel that they are loved, and Allah SWT will reward us for it.