Archives for July 2015
Droplets of water drip down slowly from the faces of the believers as they finish performing ablution. Sleepy eyes now wide open as minds are once more awakened and bodies are revitalised and ready. Whilst the rest of the world is seemingly asleep, the moon shines like a glorious lamp in the starlit sky, as feet are placed firmly on the ground, bodies turned in the direction of prayer and hands raised in surrender to their Lord. This is Qiyaam al-Layl.
Qiyaam al-layl is simply translated as ‘The standing at night.’ It is known to be similar to the Taraaweeh prayer, except that Qiyaam al-layl can be performed in any month and on any night, whilst Taraaweeh prayer is specifically performed in Ramadan. This voluntary prayer can be performed any time after the night prayer, Ishaa, until the break of dawn and is deeply beloved to God Almighty.
Shukr is a quality and characteristic that mankind as a whole have yet to master. It is often overlooked in the lives of many and is rarely given its due importance. This lack of having Shukr is recurrent in history and will continue till the end of time, and has brought many nations to their dreaded end. You are probably wondering by now what exactly Shukr is.
Shukr is an Arabic term that is often translated as ‘thankfulness’ and ‘gratitude’. Shukr has been defined by scholars of Islam as the mentioning of God’s blessings upon the slave’s tongue, the slave’s recognition of these blessings in his heart, and obedience of the limbs due to these blessings. Therefore, Shukr stems from acknowledgement of God’s blessings upon you, and this is then shown in the form of gratitude and appreciation through actions of the heart, tongue, and body, and sincere worship to God.
Shukr helps us to focus our minds on God, something that has unfortunately become so difficult in today’s day and age, with the hustle and bustle of life and the various distractions and attractions in this world. It helps to correct our perceptions and serves as a reminder to us that everything we have in life comes from God and will inevitably return to God. Our health, our wealth, our youth, our time, and our lives are all gifts granted to us by God Almighty and we must constantly remember Him and thank Him for the uncountable blessings showered upon us, and doing this will only increase us in more blessings as God Almighty tells us in the following verse:
وَإِذۡ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمۡ لَٮِٕن شَڪَرۡتُمۡ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمۡۖ وَلَٮِٕن ڪَفَرۡتُمۡ إِنَّ عَذَابِى لَشَدِيدٌ۬
“And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: ‘If you give thanks (by accepting Faith and worshipping none but God Almighty), I will give you more (of My Blessings); but if you are thankless, verily, My punishment is indeed severe.” [Ibraheem 14:7]
How Merciful is God Almighty! From this verse, we learn that showing Shukr will increase us in even more blessings, and so even when we thank and praise God for His many blessings, He continues to increase us in them, and this is from the vast bounty of our Lord.
Amazingly, Ramadan is connected to Shukr as well. In fact, one of the main purposes for the fasting in Ramadan is so that we may learn to be grateful, and so that we may do Shukr.
In Islam, we are taught to not only show gratitude and appreciation to God, but also to the people, for their favours upon us as well. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) would often stress on practicing Shukr and say: “He who does not thank people, does not thank God.”
Looking back into Islamic history, we see the examples and stories of the legends that came before us, our Prophets and pious predecessors, and can derive numerous lessons from their lives – including those of Shukr and Sabr.
Shukr and Sabr, the Arabic terms for gratitude and perseverance, often come hand in hand with one another. As Muslims, we are advised to show Shukr in times of good and Sabr in times of bad.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) explained this lesson to us eloquently in his saying:
“How amazing is the case of the believer; there is good for him in everything, and this characteristic is exclusively for him alone. If he experiences something pleasant, he is thankful, and that is good for him; and if he comes across some diversity, he is patient, and that is good for him.”
So, dear brothers and sisters, we must take care to be grateful and exert patience at all times, as we will continuously be put through tests in this world by God, and only through beautiful Shukr and Sabr will we be able to achieve the status of true believers.
We ask God Almighty to grant us a beautiful Shukr in this blessed month and the months to follow, to make us from those who show Shukr at all times, and to gift us with a beautiful reward in this world and the Hereafter.
- Ponder over the blessings that God Almighty has granted you today and thank Him sincerely for them. Our blessings are simply uncountable and immeasurable!
- Remember that thanking God Almighty for what you have will increase you in sustenance, so remember Him often and thank Him often.
- Show shukr through your deeds, not just your words! Praise God Almighty with your actions, your tongue, and your limbs.
- Do not get caught up with this world and its attractions such that you forget God Almighty’s favours upon yourself.
- Remember that everything is from God Almighty and will return to God Almighty; everything you have and everything you earn is by His favour upon you alone. So beware of self praise and arrogance.
Our beloved teacher and mentor; the best man to walk this earth, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said that no one has ever been given anything more excellent and more comprehensive than Sabr.
So what is Sabr you may ask? Well, Sabr is an Arabic term that is often translated as ‘patience’, ‘perseverance’, or ‘steadfastness’, and in actuality encompasses all three characteristics. It is a fundamental aspect of Islam and has been mentioned in the Qur’an over ninety times!
Sabr is one of the most beautiful characteristics that a believer can possess. It raises and elevates one’s rank in the eyes of God Almighty and is a quality often attributed to those most beloved to God Almighty.
Day 22 / Juzz 22
O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth (or that which is right.) (33:70)
In this ayah, Allah is saying be cautious of Allah. He then follows this commandment of Taqwa with another commandment, and that is, “and say that which is right.”
Allah uses the word سديد which comes from the word سد. The meaning of this word سد is ‘something that closes a gap which prevents water from leaking through.’ It also means a Dam.
So by Allah using the word سديد here He is telling us that when we speak, we need to speak in a way where we don’t leave any room for misunderstanding and that we must mean what we say. Allah is advising us to be clear and honest In our speech.
One of the most powerful implications of this is one of the things Allah commands us to say when we meet someone, which is ‘assalaamu alaykum’ where we’re declaring to the other person that I am in peace with you, there is no grudges and I have no issues with you.
However sometimes, even when we give Salaams to others, we don’t really mean it from our heart, we’re not clear and honest because our hearts feel something else whilst we utter something else.
So in this ayah Allah is reminding us to to be honest in our speech and to say what is right. That includes speaking the right words and not holding grudges and meaning peace when we greet one another.
May Allah enable to say what us right and enable us to remove any grudges from our hearts towards our brother or sister, ameen.
Day 21 / Juzz 21
And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect. [ar-Rum 30:21]
“that you may find repose [taskoonoo] in them”.
The word in Arabic for repose is; Sukoon.
Sukoon = Tranquility/calmness. Anyone who has been in love has felt this strongly when they are with their lover. This is one of the strongest feeling of love a person will feel.
This feeling of joy, contentment and tranquility makes the person have extreme love for their spouse.. So Allah after explaining the first attribute of Tranquility describes the next stage;
“..and he has put between you affection (Mawaddah)..”
Mawaddah is love with passion, an extreme liking to something.
So the lover;
1) Feels at ease [feels calmness] with the person.
2) Has an extreme passionate liking to them.
This Mawaddah stage usually lasts for around 2 years in marriage.
As the couple continue living together, the passion gradually becomes less and less. Both partners mature a bit more and the fantasies die out a bit more.
So many obstacles come within their way because they are living with each other. Before they were both blinded by passion, but now they see each others’ mistakes and errors.
So Allah tells us;
“and He has put between you affection and MERCY (rahmah)..”
So now that the passions have slightly died out, and the calmness isn’t always there in the relationship (arguments do happen in marriage) – Allah tells us that He has placed between the lovers Mercy.
So even though they might argue with each other, they have mercy on each other and forgive. This mercy keeps their relationship going, because deep down inside you still care that your partner doesn’t get hurt.
“..Verily, in that are signs for people who reflect.”
May Allah allow us to be merciful to our spouses and enable us to live tranquility with one another, ameen.
Day 20 / Juzz 20
Every one of us, at some point in our lives, will feel emotional turmoil or emotional pain. For some, they may have to face a traumatic experience which will leave them feeling scarred for life, heartbroken and lost in this world.
However, when we feel we can’t get on with life after an experience we may have faced, then it’s time for us to recall the story of Ummi Musa – the Mother of Musa (as). In Surah Qasas, Allah talks about how Musa (as)’s mother had to throw Musa into the river and in doing so, her heart felt empty. She felt no emotion because of it. Imagine. She had two options. To either watch Musa be slaughtered by Firaun and his army, or throw him into the river, in a basket, whilst placing her trust in Allah.
This was no easy task for her, and by taking it upon herself to do it, by walking into her biggest nightmare, her heart became empty, and void of any feeling, like a person who is in shock. The worst of thoughts were occupying her mind. Would her child drown? Would she ever see her dear Musa again? Yet, who was it that calmed her heart? Allah.
He says: “And the heart of Moses’ mother became empty [of all else]. She was about to disclose [the matter concerning] him had We not bound fast her heart that she would be of the believers.”
Allah says, He “bound her heart” meaning He calmed it and strengthened it through faith.
This is so beautiful as it teaches you that whatever emotional turmoil your facing, whatever sorrow, grief, fear or loss, it is Allah who is capable of healing your heart. There is no such thing as “I am scarred for life”, when you truly believe that Allah will bind your heart with the sweetness of Imaan and will soothe your burning heart with the coolness of faith. So believe that Allah will intervene in your emotional traumas and will give you peace of heart and mind and remove your every sorrow.
May Allah soothe burning hearts with the coolness of faith and may He remove our sorrows and replace them with ease and the sweetness of ‘imaan, ameen.