Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Understanding Al-Fatihah

The first chapter of Qur’an, which is repeated during the prayers, includes a remarkable summary of the criteria of a Muslim’s life and needs. Half of it consists of praises to God and the other is a prayer seeking God’s Guidance and help to avoid becoming one of those who have gone astray.

The Prophet (s.a.w) in Hadith Qudsi, a direct quotation of God’s Words, said:

“I have divided prayer between Myself and My Servant, two halves, and My Servant shall have what he has asked for. When the servant says, ‘Al-hamdu lillahi rabbi ‘l-`alamin (Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds)’, God says, ‘My servant has praised Me’. And when he says, ‘Ar-rahmani ar-rahim (the Merciful, the Compassionate)’, God says, ‘ My servant has extolled Me’. When he says, ‘Maliki yawmi ‘d-din (Master of the Day of Judgement), God says, ‘My servant has glorified Me’. And when he says, ‘Iyyaka na’budu wa iyyaka nasta’in (It is You we worship and it is You we ask for help)’, He says, ‘This is between Me and My servant and My servant shall have what he has asked for’. And when he says, ‘Ihdina ‘sirata ‘l-mustaqim; sirata ‘l-ladhina an amta ‘alayhim, ghayri ‘l-maghdubi, ‘alayhim wa la ‘d-dallin (Guide us to the Straight Path, the Path of those upon whom You have bestowed Your Favours, not that of those upon whom You are Wrath, nor of those who are astray)’, He says, ‘My Servant shall be guided’.”

May He guide us all. Insya-Allah.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

What is Ridha?

Know that ridha is a well established doctrine validated by both the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah (practices) of Holy Prophet (s.a.w). Says the Holy Qur’an:

“The true believers (mu’minin) are pleased with God.” [5:122]

It is also said in the Holy Book:

“Verily, Allah is pleased with true believers.” [48:18]

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w) has said:

“He who is satisfied with God gets real taste of iman.”

Ridha is of two kinds. Ridha (pleasure) of Allah with His servant, and ridha of the servant with (the decree) of Allah.

God’s pleasure with the servant is manifest in His bounties and gifts both material and spiritual; and the servant’s pleasure with God is the name of his obedience to God’s commands and submission to His Will. Actually man’s pleasure is the result of God’s pleasure, since, unless God is kind to him he cannot be obedient to God.

Ridha on the part of man is really his determination to accept God’s decree irrespective of whether it is favourable or unfavourable, and whether it is in the shape of fire of God’s Wrath (jalal) or it is illuminated by the rays of His Beauty (jamal). Being burnt or illuminated does not make any difference to him because both spring from God Almighty and whatever comes from the Beloved is welcome. That is to say whatever happens to him, he should regard it as his destiny and be pleased with it.

He who is pleased with the decrees of God lives in peace and bliss. Says the Holy Prophet (s.a.w):

“He, who is not pleased with God, has a worried soul and a troubled body.”

It is ridha which removes sorrows and cures negligence. It banishes the thought of any other than God from the hearts and cuts across the shackles of hardships. Therefore, ridha can be exercised only by the man who believes that the author of good and evil is the Almighty and that He has an eye on him in all circumstances.

It is said that once a dervish fell into a river. Someone shouted from outside, “Should I bring someone to rescue you?” He said, “No.” The man said, “Do you wish to die?” He said, “No.” The man asked, “What do you wish?” He said, “I wish what God wishes. I have nothing to do with wishing.”

There are many more sayings about ridha which I cannot deal within this article for the sake of brevity.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Blindness of the heart is real blindness

There was a blind man who lived happily with his loving wife, his devoted son and his good friend. The only thing that bothered him was the darkness in which he lived. He wished that he could see the lights and the things that made him happy with his own eyes.

A brilliant doctor came to the city in which this blind man lived, so he went to him and asked him for medicine that would help him to see. The doctor gave him some drops and told him how to use them, and warned him that he may see suddenly, at any moment.

The blind man continued to use the drops even though no one else believed that they would work, but after a few days he saw the lights suddenly, whilst sitting in his garden. He was filled with joy and ran into the house to tell his dear wife, but he saw her in his room, betraying him with his friend, and he could not believe what he saw. Then he went to the other room and saw his son stealing something from his cupboard.

The blind man retraced his steps, screaming, “This is not a doctor, this is an accursed sorcerer!”

Then he took a pin and pierced his eyes, and nervously went back to the happiness that he was used to.

The moral of this sad tale is that we should accept the lot that we have been given in life, with whatever limitations have been decreed for us, because as the saying goes, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

al-Hayyul Qayyum

God is a potent force. He is al-Hayyul Qayyum (which means that God is living and self-subsisting. He is living by His own self, without any external aid. He does not derive His powers from any external or foreign source; and apart from maintaining His own existence, He makes others exist by infusing life into them and by maintaining them throughout their existence) and nothing escapes Him.

After creating the universe He has not retired into oblivion and has not become impotent or lost all interest in His creation. He is as potent as ever and His creatures cannot lose sight of Him without impairing their own position in the scale of creation.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I urge everyone including myself to keep busy, not to give in to laziness and idleness, for these will lead to worries, anxiety, devilish whispers and doubts that nothing can relieve except hard work.

In the lap of idleness, immorality is born and the germs of death and oblivion are generated. But if the mission of the living is to be active, then the idle are dead.

If this world is a preparation for a greater life that is to come hereafter, then the idle deserve to be gathered penniless, with no harvest but loss and doom.

The Prophet (s.a.w) pointed out that there are thousands who are unaware of the blessings of wealth and free time that have been bestowed upon them. He said: “There are two blessings of which many people are careless; good health and free time.”

How many sound-bodied people go about in life with no goal to drive them, nothing to occupy them, no mission to devote their life to and try their best to make it succeed?

Life was created for a purpose, so were the heavens, the earth and everything in between. Man should understand the purpose (behind this creation) and live for it.

But if we dwell in the shadow of our narrow desires and hide away blinkered by their limitations, then what a bad choice that is for our present and future.

Our life is a precious jewel whose value cannot be valued in material terms. Every minute of our life that passes can never come back. These minutes are our capital in this world, with which we can buy whatever we want of the delights of Paradise.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Take Care of Today Only

A happy person once said:

“The beautiful day is the day on which we have control of our affairs and our affairs do not control us. It is the day on which we control our desires and we are not controlled by them like slaves.

Some of these days I can remember and will never forget.

Every day on which I managed to save myself from the vicious cycle of worrying about what I can and cannot do is a wonderful day.

How wonderful is the day on which I was hesitating whether to do a deed for which people would praise me or a deed for which no one would praise me, and no one would know about it, so I forsook the praise of people and was content to do an action which I will remember as long as I live, but which no one will hear about.

How wonderful is the day on which I felt my pockets were filling with money but my conscience was devoid of dignity, so I decided that I would rather be penniless and have a clear conscience.

These days are wonderful, and the most wonderful thing about them is that my worldly gains on these days were very small, but the fact that I gained self-respect from my actions far outweighs that, and what I gained on such days is great, praise be to Allah, the Exalted, All-Merciful.”

There is one way that leads to happiness: stop being worried about the things beyond our control.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sincerity in Deeds

Hadhrat Malik bin Dinar, the herald of love among men and jins, is one of the disciples of Hadhrat Hasan Basri and ranks as one of the greatest shaikhs of the path. He is known for his karamat (miracles) and riyazat (struggle for truth).

Once he was traveling in a boat, when somebody’s jewel was stolen. As he was poorly dressed everybody suspected him, and demanded the jewel from him. He looked up to the heavens and all of a sudden many fish came out with dinars in their mouths. He took a dinar, and giving it to the owner, walked over the surface of the water and disappeared.

He is reported to have said, “Ahhabal aamali allaya-al-ikhlas fi aamal” (The thing I love most is sincerity in deeds).

This is because a deed is valued only when there is sincerity behind it. Sincerity (ikhlas) in deeds is like the soul in a body. A body without a soul is dead like a stone. Sincerity is the inner aspect and deeds the outer. It is only when the inner and outer are coalesced that perfection is assured. Both are complementary or interdependent.

If a man cherishes sincerity for a thousand years but does not exhibit it by deeds, he has gone nowhere. Again if he does deeds without sincerity for a thousand years, he has gone nowhere.

Deeds count as deeds only when they are founded on sincerity.