Islam

Islam

Monday, 17 September 2018

THE SIGNS OF GOD (PART 2 OF 2)

4)   Nature

Signs-of-God02.jpgWhat is present on earth in the form of forests, rivers, mountains, waterfalls, oceans, and diverse plant and animal species is truly something remarkable. It is not the dolphin that equips itself with the most advanced and efficient sonar system on earth, nor is it the eagle that equips itself with eyesight four or five times stronger than that of humans – they both are the works of the Creator Who perfected everything He made. Looking at His creation is one way to know how remarkable and capable the Creator is.
God shows us signs in the animals He created to serve us. Horses, mules, and donkeys are for humankind to ride on to faraway places that otherwise would have taken longer to reach on foot. Cows, sheep, and goats produce milk, and we use their hides and wool for clothing, and we slaughter them for meat; while chickens lay millions of eggs daily – all of these are signs so that we may acknowledge God’s blessings on us and be thankful to Him. "And indeed, for you in grazing livestock is a lesson. We (God) give you drink from what is in their bellies between digested food and blood  pure milk, pleasant to drink. And from the fruits of the palm trees and grapevines you derive intoxicants and wholesome provision. Indeed in this is a sign for those who understand." (Quran 16:66-67)
Looking up to the sky above us; the earth’s atmosphere was made with a unique protective layer. The sun gives us light that makes life possible, its tilted axis gives us four seasons so that we may enjoy different climates. The stars, comets, and everything that we can see in space are for us to gaze at, admire their beauty, acknowledge that God created the universe, and acknowledge that it surely must have been created for a purpose. In fact, everything in our universe was made for us. "Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and earth, and the alternation of the night and the day, and the ships which sail through the sea with that which benefits people, and what God has sent down from the heavens of rain, giving life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness and dispersing therein every [kind of] moving creature, and [His] directing of the winds and the clouds controlled between the heavens and the earth  [in all of this] are surely signs for people of understanding." (Quran 2:164)   
Diversity of humans, opposite genders, and everything good in life are also all signs of God’s ability to do anything and of His kindness. "And of His signs is that He created for you spouses from among yourselves so that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought. And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge." (Quran 30:21-22)
Not only is rainfall a blessing and water the source of all life, but the frequent mention of rainfall in the Quran is for a much grander purpose. "And it is He who sends the winds as good tidings before His mercy (rain) until, when they have carried heavy rainclouds, We drive them to a dead land and We send down rain therein and bring forth every type of fruit. Similarly, We will bring the dead to life, so perhaps you will be mindful." (Quran 7:57) "And of His signs is that you see the earth barren, but when We send down upon it rain, it quivers and grows. Indeed, He who gives it life is the Giver of Life to the dead. Indeed! He is Able to do all things." (Quran 41:39) After it rains one should remember that God (through the known biological and chemical processes) turns a dead seed into living vegetation. This should make one acknowledge that similar to how God makes a dead seed come to life He will on the Day of Judgment bring back to life and resurrect all of humankind for judgement.  Knowing this should lead one to prepare for that unprecedented Day by doing what pleases God and avoiding what angers Him.
Hence God shows humankind signs that if followed lead to true guidance to Him; a guidance that is brighter than the sun. This guidance is Islam. "And if they submit [in Islam], they are rightly guided; but if they turn away  then upon you is only to deliver [the message]. And God is Seeing of [His] servants." (Quran 3:20) "This day I (God) have perfected for you your religion, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion." (Quran 5:3) As for people who deny God’s signs, the signs will be evidence used against them on the Day of Judgment. Whoever responds to God’s signs and follows His path will be rewarded with the ultimate eternal bliss, Paradise, and whoever denies God’s signs will be punished with the ultimate eternal misery, Hellfire. -islamreligion.com

Friday, 14 September 2018

Gratitude - I


Gratitude is the greatest way to live for those who possess high ranks of righteousness, and such people did not reach these lofty ranks except through their gratitude; this is because belief is comprised of two halves; one half is gratitude and the other is perseverance.
Gratitude is to acknowledge being treated well by Allah; it is also to praise the One who has done one many favors. It also entails displaying the effect of the favors of Allah upon a person by believing with one's heart, uttering praise and glorifications of Allah by ones tongue, and to use one's limbs in the worship and obedience of Allah. If only a few favors are worthy of a great deal of gratitude, how would the case be when favors are abundant? People are either grateful or ungrateful.
 
Gratitude holds a high rank in Islam:
 
·        Allah parallels it with His mention. He Says (what means):“So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me”. [Quran 2: 152]
·        Allah parallels it with belief. He Says (what means): “What would Allah do with [i.e., gain from] your punishment if you are grateful and believe?...” [Quran 4: 147] Meaning, if you fulfil the rights due to Allah and the reason for which He has created you by gratitude and belief, He will not punish you.
·        Those who practice gratitude to Allah are those who are chosen to be granted His favors. He Says (what means): “And thus We have tried some of them through others that they [i.e., the disbelievers] might say, 'Is it these whom Allah has favored among us?' Is not Allah most knowing of those who are grateful?”[Quran 6: 53]
·        Allah has classified people into being either grateful or ungrateful; the worst matter in the scale of Allah is ingratitude whilst the dearest things to Him are gratitude and the grateful. Allah Says (what means):“Indeed, We guided him [i.e., man] to the way, be he grateful or ungrateful” [Quran 76: 3]
·        Allah tests His slaves in order to see who will practice gratitude and who will not. Allah informs us about what Prophet Sulayman  may  Allah  exalt  his  mention said when He Says (what means): “…This is from the favor of my Lord to test me whether I will be grateful or ungrateful. And whoever is grateful – his gratitude is only for [the benefit of] himself. And whoever is ungrateful – then indeed my Lord is Free of need and Generous.” [Quran 27: 40]
·        Allah promises increased favors for those who are grateful. He Says (what means): “And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, 'If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed My punishment is severe.'” [Quran 14: 7]
·        Allah loves gratitude and the deeds of the grateful. He Says (what means): “If you disbelieve – indeed, Allah is Free from need of you. And He does not approve for His servants disbelief. And if you are grateful, He approves [i.e., likes] it for you…” [Quran 39: 7] The grateful people mentioned in the verse are those who remain steadfast upon belief during trials and who do not retreat or recanton their belief. Some people verbally thank Allah during times of ease, but during trials they give up their faith. The truly grateful are those who express the true condition of their hearts during trials by remaining steadfast and continuing to thank Allah by their tongues, hearts and limbs. Additionally, this verse clarifies that the pleasure of Allah is achieved by being grateful to Him.
·        Allah did not make the reward for the grateful subject to any condition, as He did for other acts of worship, which He conditioned to His will; rather, Allah immediately mentions their reward; He Says (what means): “…And Allah will reward the grateful.” [Quran 3: 144] and also (what means): “…And We will reward the grateful.”[Quran 3: 145]
·        Allah informs us that one of Satan’s primary objectives is to prevent humans from being grateful; He Says (what means): “[Satan said] 'Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and You [i.e., Allah] will not find most of them grateful [to You].” [Quran 7: 17]
·        Allah describes His grateful slaves to be few in number; HeSays (what means): “…And few of My servants are grateful.” [Quran 34: 13]The reason being that many people enjoy blessings and bounties from Allah, but fail to practice gratitude to Allah.
·        Allah praised the first prophet sent to man on earth, Prophet Nooh  may  Allah  exalt  his  mention due to him being grateful. Allah Says (what means): “O descendants of those We carried [in the ship] with Noah. Indeed, he was a grateful servant.”[Quran 17: 3]This is as an indication that we should imitate him  may  Allah  exalt  his  mention.
·        Gratitude is the first instruction given to man as soon as he begins to comprehend. Allah Says (what means): “And We have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination.”[Quran 31: 14]
·        Allah specified it as one of the main qualities of a person who sets himself as a good example for others to follow. He says regarding prophet Ibraheem  may  Allah  exalt  his  mention (what means):“Indeed, Ibraheem was a [comprehensive] leader, devoutly obedient to Allah, inclining toward truth, and he was not of those who associate others with Allah. [He was] grateful for His favors. He [i.e., Allah] chose him and guided him to a straight path.” [Quran 16: 120-121]
 
Therefore, gratitude is one of the objectives that man is commanded to accomplish.
 
Imam ibn Al-Qayyim  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him mentioned that gratitude is one of the ranks of belief, which can be extracted from the fifth verse of Soorah Al-Fatihah, (what means): “It is You we worship and You we ask for help.” Then he  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him mentioned the following additional points regarding gratitude:
·        It is one of the highest ranks of belief.
·        It is higher than the rank of contentment; and nobody can be content without being grateful.
·        Allah praises the grateful.
·        Allah promises the grateful the best of rewards.
·        Allah makes gratitude a reason for attaining more of His bounties.
·        It is a means to preserve the favors of Allah upon a person.
·        It is one of the main objectives that a slave must accomplish.
·        It is extracted from Ash-Skakoor, which is one of the Names of Allah, and which implies gratitude.
·        Those who are grateful are very few in number.
·        Gratitude results in more favors from Allah.
 
Gratitude is having ones heart devoted to loving the One bestowing the favors, having the limbs continuously obedient to Him and having the tongue repeatedly mentioning Him, praising Him and glorifying Him. Gratitude entails the following three things:
1.     One should realise the favors bestowed upon him and have it present in his mind constantly, because this leads him to remember the Bestower of favors and therefore being grateful to and loving Allah, who is of course the Bestower of favors. This would therefore make one exert more effort in worshipping Allah.
2.     One should receive favors with humility and express his need to Allah, the Bestower of favors, and mention that he is unworthy of the favors bestowed upon him, and that it is only due to the Grace and Kindness of Allah that such favors were bestowed.
3.     One should praise Allah, the Bestower of favors, and this is done in two ways:
1)    Generally: To describe Allah as being generous and kind.
2)    Specifically: To mention His favors upon one.
 
There are two points regarding the issue of mentioning and talking about favors from Allah:
1)    To mention all that Allah Has bestowed upon one.
2)    To utilise these favors in His obedience.
 
People fall into three categories with regards to the favors from Allah:
1.     Those who are grateful and praise Allah for bestowing them upon them.
2.     Those who are ungrateful and do not mention them.
3.     Those who express that they are worthy of them, when in fact they certainly are not.
 
An-Nu’man ibn Al-Basheer  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him said: “He who does not thank Allah for small favors will not thank Him for great ones; and he who does not express gratitude to people (for doing him favors) will not express gratitude towards Allah. Appreciating and mentioning the favor bestowed upon one from Allah is gratitude, and not doing so expresses ingratitude.” [Ahmad]
 
This should be done in front of people and between a person and himself (i.e., to himself) but if people are of the envious type, then one should conceal such favors, and he would not be ungrateful in this case, because he is simply concealing them in an attempt to prevent an evil from befalling him, such as an evil eye or an evil plot from the envious, and it must be known that to prevent harm from afflicting man is an objective set forth by the Islamic Sharee’ah.
 
There is no way one can do anything to repay the favors bestowed upon him by Allah, except that he should continue to praise and thank Allah for having bestowed them upon him, as well as utilising these favors for the pleasure of Allah.
 
What is our duty towards Allah with regards to the favors He bestows upon us?
·        Being submissive to Allah.
·        Loving Allah.
·        Acknowledging that He is the Bestower of all favors.
·        Praising Him.
·        Utilising these favors in a way that pleases Him.
 
Does the way of expressing gratitude towards Allah differ, just like the favors themselves differ?
 
Yes; gratitude can be expressed by the heart, the tongue and the limbs.
 
Expressing gratitude by the heart:This is by knowing that Allah is the Bestower of these favors, and this is something that is very important when cultivating children, so that they know where favors come from, as Allah Says (what means):“O Mankind, remember the favor of Allah upon you. Is there any creator other than Allah who provides for you from the heaven and the earth? There is no deity except Him, so how are you deluded?” [Quran 35: 3] -islamweb.net

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

THE SIGNS OF GOD (PART 1 OF 2)

The-Signs-of-God-part-1.jpgGod wants guidance for humankind, and to show the right path He sent books and revelations.  For example, He sent the "Suhaf" to Abraham, the Torah to Moses, the Psalms to David and the Gospel to Jesus, the son of Mary; and finally, He sent the Quran to Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon them all.  Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, is the last of God’s Prophet sent to all people till the end of the world.  Prophet Muhammad said, "Every Prophet was sent to his nation exclusively, but I was sent to all humankind."[1]
The Quran is God’s word and no other book in this world is as important to read.  "This (the Quran) is nothing but evidence from your Lord, and a guidance and a mercy for a people who believe." (Quran 7:23).  The Quran mentions that humankind will be shown "signs" that lead to Him.  In fact, the translated word "signs" is of such great importance in the Quran that it is mentioned over 150 times, and in every instant it is referring to God’s signs.  God equipped humankind with intellect so that we may reflect, analyze, conclude, and then act on His signs.  In addition to our given intellect, every human being is born with a pure and natural inclination that God is our Lord and that He is One.
The following are some of the types of signs mentioned in the Quran:

1)   The human conscience

God says that that He will show us clear signs in ourselves and that He will come in between us and our hearts.
"We (God) will show them Our signs in the horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it [Islamic Monotheism] is the truth…" (Quran 41:53)
"O you who have believed, respond to God and to the Messenger [Muhammad] when he calls you to that which gives you life.  And know that God intervenes between a man and his heart and that to Him you will be gathered." (Quran 8:24)
How might God come in between a human and his heart? For example, if one is on the verge of engaging in a harmful act or a major sin there will be an extremely heavy and guilty feeling in that person’s heart.  Such a feeling is actually a warning that doing that sin will anger God. 

2)   Certain occurrences

A black cat passing by a house or a magpie landing in one’s garden do not mean anything, and cats and magpies are simply creatures that go about their lives as they wish to; they do not bring good or bad luck.  Superstition is nothing but a deceptive feeling; in reality it does not exist.  However, some events/occurrences do mean something, such as mentioned in the Quran after Cain, the son of Adam, murdered his brother Abel.  "Then God sent a crow digging [a grave] in the ground [for a dead crow], in order to show him how to bury the corpse of his brother.  He (the murderer) said: ‘Woe to me! Have I even failed to be like this crow and bury the corpse of my brother?’ So he became regretful." (Quran 5:31) Cain understood that it was not a coincidence that as the body of his murdered brother lay in front of him a crow appeared and started digging the earth underneath its feet. 
Likewise, when the Pharaoh ignored Prophet Moses’s call to God and refused to release the Israelites, God sent to the Pharaoh and his people signs (in total there were 9 signs).  These signs included locusts that almost totally wiped out all crops in the area, lice, frogs in unprecedented numbers, and continuously bleeding noses; and instead of referring these to God as signs to believe in God and release the Israelites, the Pharaoh got superstitious and said they were done by Moses, the "magician".  "So We (God) sent upon them the flood and locusts and lice and frogs and blood as distinct signs, but they were arrogant and were a criminal people" (Quran 7: 133)

3)   Destroyed people and civilizations

At the time of Prophet Muhammad it was well known that there were previous civilizations that God destroyed (after they disbelieved in their sent Prophets) through "mother nature." Such civilizations included the people of Aad, Thamud and Lot.  "And We (God) have already destroyed what surrounds you of [those] cities, and We have diversified the signs that perhaps they might return [from disbelief]." (Quran 46:27). 
The ruins of such civilizations were at the time of Prophet Muhammad still visible and preserved for passersby.  After the destruction of the Pharaoh at the time of Prophet Moses, it was God’s will that entire civilizations (that denied their sent Prophet’s message) would not be destroyed in this life; instead they would be judged in the next life.  Still, one does not have to look far to see signs of retribution such as the destroyed city of Pompeii, a city that was renowned for its open sin and sodomy.  "So We (God) seized each [people] for their sin: against some of them We sent a storm of stones, some were overtaken by a [mighty] blast, some We caused the earth to swallow, and some We drowned. It was not God who wronged them, but they wronged themselves." (Quran 29:40)  
One should be fully aware that earthquakes, volcano’s, hurricanes, droughts and other acts of nature are not coincidences, however, acts of God that happen as punishment to people who disbelieve and/or are in overwhelming sin (and do not repent) are also clear signs for people to believe in Him and respond to His call.  "And disasters will continue to afflict the disbelievers or strike close to their homes for their misdeeds, until the promise of God comes to pass.  Indeed, God never fails in His promise." (Quran 13:31) On the contrary, had all humankind believed in God and all His Prophets perhaps there would be no natural disasters, instead more blessings would have come in the form of suitable rainfall, fruits, vegetables and crops.  "And if only the people of the cities had believed and feared God, We (God), would have opened upon them blessings from the heaven and the earth."  (Quran 7:96)
FOOTNOTES:
[1]Saheeh Al-Bukhari
-islamreligion.com

Saturday, 8 September 2018

The qualities of those who love their Lord


Loving our Lord is mandatory upon each of His slaves since the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) informed us that it is a characteristic of belief and a sign of enjoying the sweetness of faith. Anas ibn Maalik, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “One who attains the following three things will taste the sweetness of faith: To make Allah and His Messenger more beloved to himself than anything else; to love a person for no other reason except for the sake of Allah; and to hate to return to disbelief just as much as he would hate to be thrown into fire.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
The question arises: If the love of Allah The Almighty is obligatory and if it is one of the qualities of belief, where do we stand with respect to this love? Are we amongst those who truly love Allah The Almighty? Are we amongst those whom Allah The Almighty loves?
Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {"O you who believe! Whoever from among you turns back from his religion (Islam), Allah will bring a people whom He will love and they will love Him; humble towards the believers, stern towards the disbelievers, fighting in the way of Allah, and never fearing the blame of the blamers. That is the Grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He wills. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures' needs, All-Knower."} [Quran 3: 54].
 
This verse mentions four of their qualities:
First: Humble towards the believers; merciful and compassionate with them, just as the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) was in his leniency, mercy and compassion with the believers.
 Second: Stern towards the disbelievers.
Third: Fighting in the way of Allah The Almighty with their souls, tongues and wealth, and therefore fulfilling this claim of love.
Fourth: Not fearing blame for the sake of Allah The Almighty, which is an indication of their sincere love.
 Generally speaking, one can gain the love of Allah The Almighty through following His commands and refraining from disobeying Him, as well as favouring obedience to Him over anything else and seeking His pleasure.
If you wish to be amongst those whom Allah loves, you must have their qualities which are mentioned in the Qur'aan:
  • To do good: {"And do good. Truly, Allah loves the good-doers."} [Quran, 2: 195]
  • To repent and purify themselves: {"Truly, Allah loves those who turn unto Him in repentance and loves those who purify themselves"} [Quran, 2: 222].
  • To be are pious: {"Yes, whoever fulfils his pledge and fears Allah much; verily, then Allah loves those who are the pious"} [Quran, 3: 76].
  • To be patient: {"But they never lost heart for that which did befall them in Allah's way, nor did they weaken nor degrade themselves. And Allah loves the patient"} [Quran, 3: 146]
  • To rely on Allah: {"Then when you have taken a decision, rely on Allah, certainly, Allah loves those who rely on Him."} [Quran 3: 159]
  • To be just: {"And if you judge, judge with justice between them. Verily, Allah loves those who act justly."} [Quran, 3: 42].
  • To be sincere in Jihaad: {"Verily Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in rows (ranks) as if they were a solid structure."} [Quran, 61: 4].
 
Ibn Al-Qayyim  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him mentioned some actions that inspire the love of Allah The Almighty:
  • Reciting the Quran with attentiveness and pondering over its meanings.
  • Performing optional acts of worship after fulfilling the obligatory ones.
  • Always remembering Allah The Almighty in the heart, by the tongue and deeds, because one will benefit proportional to the amount that he remembers Allah.
  • Favoring His love over any other love, particularly when your desires become strong. 
  • Striving hard to reach that which He loves.
  • Learning and pondering over His qualities and attributes, because the one who learns and ponders over the qualities and attributes of Allah will certainly love Him due to this.
  • Thinking about His apparent and concealed favors and kindness.
  • Supplicating and appealing to Him during the last third of every night, reciting His Book, standing with full servitude before Him and begging for His forgiveness.
  • Being around righteous people who sincerely love Allah and learning the best of what they say. -islamweb.net

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

How to achieve humbleness


Islam highly commends humbleness and simplicity and reckons that as one of the traits of a true believer. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "Al-Kibr (proud and arrogance) is rejecting the truth and looking down upon people."[Muslim, At-Tirmithi and Abu Daawood]
Humility is for one who is important and significant and he fears to gain notoriety or to become too great among people. As it was said, "Humble yourself, you will be as a glimmering star to the viewer on the surface of the water even if it is lofty." We don't say to an ordinary person, "Humble yourself." But it is said to him, "Know the value of yourself, and do not place it in the wrong place!"
 
It was narrated by Al-Khattaabi  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him in Al-Uzlahthat Imaam `Abdullaah ibn Al-Mubaarak  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him came to Khuraassaan [in Persia] and went to a person who was known for his Zuhd and Wara' [asceticism and cautiousness in piety], so when he entered where the man was, he (the man) did not turn around nor give him any consideration at all.
When 'Abdullaah Ibn Al-Mubaarak left, some of the people who were inside with the man said to him, "Don't you know who he was?!" He said, "No." He was told, "This is the 'Ameer of the believers...`Abdullaah Ibn Al-Mubaarak." So the man was astonished and came out to 'Abdullaah Ibn Al-Mubaarak in a hurry apologizing and absolving himself from what happened, saying, "O Abu 'Abdur-Rahmaan! Forgive me and advise me!" Ibn Al-Mubaarak said, "Yes... whenever you come out of your house and see someone, assume that he is better than you!" He knew that the man was conceited. When 'Abdullaah Ibn Al-Mubaarak  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him inquired as to what the man's profession was, he found out that he was a weaver!! Therefore, this educated Imaam noticed that this Mutazahhid (devoted pious person) possessed a kind of arrogance, conceitedness and feeling of superiority over others.
 
This disease sometimes envelops pious people; this is why he was offered advice that was easy for him. Many times we find this characteristic in some pious people, as well as some callers to Islam. But when it reaches the small students who misbehave with their scholars and teachers, this really hurts inside! There is no objection if you differ in opinion or judgment with a scholar as long as you are qualified to do so. The problem occurs when this difference of opinion becomes a destructive element to the scholar's dignity, diminishes his value, disregards and disrespects him.
 
One should humble himself with his companions. Frequently when the spirit of competition and envy is agitated between companions and rivals, a person may feel superior over his companion, he may be pleased by harming him, degrading his value and importance, accusing him of defects or exaggerating his faults; faults that may have come to light when seeking advice, or correction. In reality this is called jealousy.
 
Humility is to humble oneself to one who is below you. If you find someone who is younger than you, or of less importance than you, you should not despise him, because he might have a better heart than you, or be less sinful, or closer to Allah than you. Even if you see a sinful person and you are righteous, do not act with arrogance towards him, and thank Allah that He saved you from the tribulation that He put him through. Remember that there might be some Riyaa' (showing off) or vanity in your righteous deeds that may cause them to be of no avail, and that this sinful person may be regretful and fearful concerning his bad deeds, and this may be the cause of forgiveness of his sins.
 
According to Jundub, may Allah be pleased with him, the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) mentioned that a man said, "By Allah, Allah will not forgive so-and-so," and that Allah said: "Who is swearing by Me that I will not forgive so-and-so? I surely have forgiven so-and-so and nullified your deeds."[Muslim]. Therefore, do not act in arrogantly towards anyone. Even when you see a sinner, do not show superiority towards him, nor treat him with arrogance and domination. If you feel that the sinner may perform some acts of obedience which you do not, and that you may also posses some defects which the sinner may not, then deal kindly with him, and gently give Da`wah which will hopefully be the cause of his acceptance and remembrance.
 
Your deeds also should not become too great in your eyes. If you do a good deed, or attempt to get closer to Allah through an act of obedience, your deed still may not be accepted. Allah Says what means: "…Indeed, Allah only accepts from the righteous [who fear Him]." [Quran 5:27] This is why some ofthe Salaf (predecessors) said, "If I knew that Allah accepted one Tasbeeh (saying "Subhaanallaah") from me, I would have wished to die right now!"
The arrogant person never gives credit to anybody or mentions good about someone, and if he needed to do so, he would also mention defects of that person. But if he hears somebody reminding him about his own defects, he will not be flexible nor comply due to his inferiority complex. This is why it is among man's moral integrity to accept criticism or comment without any sensitivity or discomfort or feelings of shame and weakness. Here he is, the 'Ameer of the Believers `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, raising the flag and lifting the motto, "May Allah have mercy on a person who informed us of our defects."
By: Shaykh Salmaan Al-'Awdah -islamweb.net

Sunday, 2 September 2018

GUIDANCE IN ISLAM

Guidance-in-Islam.jpgGod, through His grace, mercy and generosity guides whom He wills and through His fairness doesn’t guide whom He wills. God’s guidance, as many converts to Islam will know, is brighter than the sun. One who is guided will truly get to know God, know that He is One, be at peace of mind, be connected to Him through prayer, know what the real purpose of life is and know for certain that there is a Hereafter that one must prepare for by doing good deeds. "God is the Guardian (ally) of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness into the light." (Quran 2:257)

God Has Not Left Humankind Without Guidance

God has not abandoned humankind after creating them, rather He has always shown the path that leads to Him. It is then up to the people if they want to seek and benefit from that guidance or not. "Then if there comes to you (Adam and your offspring) guidance from Me (in the form of a Prophet or Holy Book), then whoever follows My guidance he shall neither go astray, nor shall be distressed." (Quran 20:123)
"We (God) will show them Our signs in the horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it (Islamic Monotheism) is the truth." (Quran 41:53)

Acts That Make One Worthy of Guidance

There are certain acts that when performed are reasons for God to guide one to Him.

1. Repentance

"Verily, God sends astray whom He wills and guides unto Himself those who turn to Him in repentance." (Quran 13:27) Everyone makes mistakes and the best of those who make mistakes are those who turn to God in admittance of their mistakes and seek His forgiveness.

2. Being thankful

"Do you not see that the ships sail through the sea by God's grace so that He may show you some of His signs? Surely in this are signs for whoever is patient, grateful ." (Quran 31:31)
"This is by the grace of my Lord - to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful!" (Quran 27:40)
"If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe." (Quran 14:7)
God’s blessings cannot be counted. He created us after we were nothing and blessed us with life, sight, hearing, speech and intellect so that we may reflect and show gratitude to Him.

3. Truthfulness

God appreciates truthfulness, not only with others but with one’s self too. When the Straight Path becomes apparent, one should be truthful with oneself and embrace it.
"God will say, ‘This is the Day (the Day of Judgement) when the truthful will benefit from their truthfulness.’" (Quran 5:119)
"That God may reward the truthful for their truth and punish the hypocrites if He wills or accept their repentance. Indeed, God is ever Forgiving and Merciful." (Quran 33:24)

4. Seeking God’s Pleasure

"Wherewith God guides all those who seek His pleasure to the ways of peace, and He brings them out from darkness into the light by His Will and guides them to the Straight Way (Islamic Monotheism)." (Quran 5:16) Meaning God will guide to Him whoever truly seeks Him and His acceptance.

Acts That Make One Unworthy of Guidance

Likewise, there are characteristics and acts that do not please God and which are reasons for one not to be guided.

1. Not Believing in Him and His signs

Being obstinate in accepting the Straight Path. "Indeed, God does not guide the disbelieving people." (Quran 5:67)

2. Transgression

Those who knowingly and willfully commit transgression and injustice. "And God does not guidethe wrongdoing people." (Quran 2:258)
"And God does not guide the defiantly disobedient people." (Quran 5:108) 

3. Lying

"God certainly does not guide whoever persists in lying and disbelief." (Quran 39:3)

4. Excessive wastefulness

"Indeed, God does not guide one who is a ‘Musrif’ (someone who is wasteful, transgresses and exceeds in the rights of others), a liar."  (Quran 40:28)

5. Arrogance

"I (God) will turn away from My signs those who are arrogant upon the earth without right; and even if they were to see every sign, they still will not believe in them. If they see the Right Path, they will not take it. But if they see a crooked path, they will follow it. This is because they denied Our signs and were heedless of them." (Quran 7:146)
"Indeed, He (God) does not like the arrogant." (Quran 16:23)
"And the Day those who disbelieved are exposed to the Fire [it will be said], ‘You exhausted your pleasures during your worldly life and enjoyed them, so this Day you will be awarded the punishment of [extreme] humiliation and pain because you were arrogant upon the earth without right and because you were defiantly disobedient.’" (Quran 46:20)
Man was once nothing but a tiny embryo and has no right to be arrogant. It was arrogance and envy that lead to Satan’s downfall.

Repentance Is Open for Everybody

All people commit faults, sins and mistakes, and as long as one is still alive, it is never too late to repent sincerely to God and turn to Him. The Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said, "God is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than anyone of you is pleased with finding his camel which he had lost in the desert."[1]
"Say, [O Prophet, that God says,] ‘O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning]! Do not lose hope in God’s mercy, for God certainly forgives all sins. He is indeed the All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’" (Quran 39:53)
-islamreligion.com

FOOTNOTES:
[1]Saheeh Bukhari, Book #75, Hadeeth #321.