Monthly Archives: April 2014

5 tips on how to be more sincere

1. Rajab 1435

Salam Alaykum,

the past month had the theme of being more sincere. Due to me being a bit busier than I anticipated and less organised most of the posts in this series were written and posted over the last week, instead of being spread over the month.

In the post Sincerity, I went through the importance of being sincere and its definition, while in the post Aufrichtigkeit gegenüber Allah swt. I went over what it meant to be sincere to God and why we should be. He swt. is the light of the heaven and the earth, there is no other source of light except Him, so why waste this life trying to fill the void, the yearning in our life, when nothing can fill it except Him?  In Sincerity towards people,  I tried to explain that we as Muslims should feel a sincere care for our fellow human beings, I would even go further and say, that we have a duty towards the mental and physical well-being of all people. Allah swt. honoured the children of Adam, so why don’t we?

In this last post of this month, I’d like to go into some practical tips on how  one may become more sincere in ones actions.

1. Be conscious of Allah swt.

This is the goal, having Taqwa of Allah swt. in every action that we do, it is the way to ensure that we are sincere in our actions. Having in the back of our minds, that Allah swt. is there that we will meet Him and will be asked about how we spent every single breath in this life, even though He swt. already knows, He the most Just of Judges. Every single Prayer, every single supplication, every single act of Dhikr that we perform should remind us. The more we increase the acts of worship in our lives the more connected we become to the light.

2. Sincere Supplication

Supplication, Dua’ is the weapon of a believer in every situation. Allah swt. is the controller of our hearts. The Prophet saw. used to supplicate “Oh turner of hearts, keep our hearts firm on your religion” [Muslim] So why do we not turn and ask the One who controls our hearts to make us sincere in our actions. Umar ibn Al-Khattab ra. used to say: “Oh Allah! Make all of my actions for your sake only!”

3. Doing Actions privately

We as humans seek to be appreciated, to be praised for our actions, it makes us feel good, feel needed, of use etc. Praise is however poison to our intentions, we begin to do our actions because we want to be praised. Our intentions become corrupted, and we fall to the danger of our deeds not being accepted.

In a hadith, which is one of the ones that many people will know, regarding sincerity and one of the scariest. In this narration on the authority of Abu Hurairah ra. the Prophet saw. said, “Three categories of people will be the first to be thrown into Hell-Fire: a scholar who taught people merely to be praised as a scholar; a generous person who gave charity just to be called generous; and a person who participates in Jihad to be recognized as brave.”

Deeds that are done in private are more likely to be sincere, so let’s do more in private, when no one sees our long Sujuds, our tears as we make dua’ or our charity. As narrated in the Hadith of Abu Hurairah ra. among those 7 groups of people that are granted the Shade of Allah swt. on the Day of Judgement are “…a person who gives a charity and conceals it (to such an extent) that the left hand might not know what the right has given; and a person who remembers Allah in solitude and his eyes well up.” [ Bukhari and Muslim]

4. Check your intentions

Check your intentions regularly, when beginning a task ask yourself who you are doing this for, for Allah or for the people. If there is doubt, then renew your intention right there and go ahead with the task with full confidence, knowing it is solely for Allah. If you are doing a task and you hear the whispers of Shaytan as people watch you, and you unconsciously make your prayer just a tiny bit longer. Renew your intention, and make it longer, as it was attributed to Imam An-Nakhai rah.“When Shaytan comes to you while you are in prayer and says: ‘You are showing off,’ make it longer.” It is his will that we abandon the task. When you have completed the task, ask Allah swt. for the acceptance of the task.

5. Make it  (the task) regular

Regularity is a sign that we are committed to an action, that we indeed value it, finding pleasure in obedience to Allah swt. in serving Him, as every action that is done for His sake is an ibadah, a worship. In a Hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah ra. the Prophet saw. said”The deeds of anyone of you will not save you (from the (Hell) Fire).” They said, “Even you (will not be saved by your deeds), O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)?” He said, “No, even I (will not be saved) unless and until Allah bestows His Mercy on me. Therefore, do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah’s is the most regular and constant even though it were little.” [Bukhari] In another Hadith Aisha ra. was asked, “What deed was the most beloved to the Prophet?” She said, “The regular constant one.” [Buhkari]

Final “Word” and Tips

These are my tips to become more sincere. These posts are first and foremost for me, to remind myself, to learn and improve myself and I hope that they are of some benefit to you too, inshaAllah.

Some final tips from me, firstly don’t act different around people, whether they approve or not, whether it is to act more piously or less. Be moderate, that is what the religion teaches us, do things as you can and improve steadily, don’t overburden yourself. Take it easy, don’t be too hard on yourself, we all are work in progress.  Have resolve and be resolute in what you are doing and try to constantly ground yourself.

Abu Bakr ra., and with this I end this long post, used to supplicate: “Oh Allah, make me better than what they think of me, and forgive me for what they do not know about me, and do not take me to account for what they say about me.”

Wa Salam,

Abdur-Rahman

#Be more Sincere

Sources and further read:

OnIslam | MuslimMatters | IOU | Sunnipath | Muslimlinkpaper

Videos? Love ’em XXVI

Salam Alaykum,

here are my favourite videos this week. As usual in the categories Islam in over and under 10 minutes, Youtube, Shorts, Vimeo, Motion Graphics and Parkour.

Islam

Under 10 minutes


A reminder for us that we are going to meet Allah swt., what are we going to say to Him? Do we have brought with us enough provisions? Do we realise that we long for Him? Then what have we done to deserve meeting Him, to deserve seeing Him swt. or do we try to fill this void with our desires of the world, ignoring our longing.

Over 10 minutes


This khutba is a small discussion of a snippet of Ayat 15 of Surah Al-Ahqaf.
“We have commanded man to be good to his parents – his mother struggled to carry him and struggled to give birth to him; his bearing and weaning took a full thirty months – and when he has grown to manhood and reached the age of forty to say, ‘Lord, help me to be truly grateful for Your favours to me and to my parents; help me to do good work that pleases You; make my offspring good. I turn to You; I am one of those who devote themselves to You.’”
[Quran 46:15]

Parkour


A great concept, that has been redone. How would Spider-Man get around if his webs are used up? He of course is an accomplished traceur. Busting his moves in this nice video, with amazing shots.

Youtube


This video truly was my favourite this week. I’m extremely happy for the brother, Mabruk. I’ve only known him through his videos and his blog but his sincerity and love for Islam, the Muslims and what he does shine through. MashaAllah, and I ask Allah swt. that he makes their marriage be one of tranquillity and love. I ask that He swt. makes them find the coolness of their eyes in their partner and keep them on the straight path, Amin.

Shorts

This video beautifully captures the story step-by-step behind the craft of weaving silk and the hard work that these women do a lot of it by hand to make a scarf or pillow case.

Motion Graphics

In the style of an old instruction video, this instruction video instructs the attentive student the craft behind the illusion of life. These 12 principles were developed by the ‘old men’ of Walt Disney Studios, amongst them Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, during the 1930s as the creator of this video tells us in its description.

Vimeo

This is the very moving story of a couple who weathered through the aftermath of an accident causing traumatic brain injury, finding strength in their faith. This is the story of Ian and Larissa.
Honourable Mention:

Wow. So till next week, yeah?
Wa Salam,
Abdur-Rahman

Sincerity towards people

Salam Alaykum,

It is part of our religion to care for others as we would for our family and ourselves. As was narrated by Anas ra. that the Prophet(s.a.w) said:

“None of you believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”

A lot of Islam is dedicated to our conduct with other people Muslim or not. Often however we forget that, we forget that we are a part of humanity and that Allah swt honoured all of the Children of Adam. That we sincerely wish for every person to be saved from having to hear Shaytans khutba in Jahanam, affirming everything that Allah swt. has said and declaring everything that he said or promised to be a lie. It should never be our wish, that a person no matter how much we may hate them to be sent to Hell, as we say in our normal conversations.

In this consumer-driven society we as a community have seemingly lost that sincere care for the mental and physical well-being of our fellow people. Our conduct with each other, however is one of the most tale telling signs of our current state, one just needs to read the absolutely disgusting comments on a certain video from both sides of the argument, attacking each other instead of striving for good.

Balance is at the heart of our religion, we are called the nation of the middle in, in the exact middle of Surah Al-Baqarah. As such we should cling to the book of Allah and the Sunnah as a guide towards and on the middle path. If we truly want Change in our world, we have to become the change that we want to see. Starting with a sincere intention, as expounded on in the last post (in German), because while we do care about our fellow human beings we are not trying to please them to our detriment. Ultimately everything we do should be to please Allah swt., as Sheikh As-Sakandari said in Al-Hakim,

Actions are like statues that only come to life with the spirit of sincerity.

Ibn Taymiyyah also said this about sincerity to Allahs swt.:

Sincerity for Allaah is that a person’s intent is for Allaah and intends everything for Him, causing fountains of wisdom to spring up from his heart
on to his tongue.

Allah swt promised us that when we do His work for His pleasure alone then He will make people be pleased with us.

“Whoever seeks the pleasure of Allah though it displeases the people, then Allah becomes pleased with him and He will make the people pleased with him. Whoever seeks the pleasure of the people and it displeases Allah, then Allah becomes displeased with him and will make the people displeased with him.”

[al-Mundhiri, al-Targhib wa’l-Tarhib, 3:208 and al-`Iraqi, al-Mughni `an Haml al-Asfar, 4:68]
We therefore strive to be godly people in everything that we do, it does not matter to us then if we are thanked by the recipient of our good deed or not.

While we call people to good and call people to abstain from the bad, we should recognise and have in the back of our head where people are coming from. Knowing or being familiar with their social, socio-economic, ethnic and geopolitical environment, and knowing what shapes them is an important aspect in knowing how to call them to good
beyond the surface level. It should be an invitation that comes from the heart because we value them, and care about their well-being in this and the next life.
A part of being godly people, especially in connection to being sincere is not to lie, being it a white red or black lie. We have the most excellent example in the Prophet saw. who was known to his people as As-Sidiq, the truthful.  As he saw. said in a hadith narrated by Abdullah ra. :

Truth leads one to Paradise and virtue leads one to Paradise and the person tells the truth until he is recorded as truthful, and lie leads to obscenity and obscenity leads to Hell, and the person tells a lie until he is recorded as a liar.

We should also be keeping the secrets and confidences of other people. Private information is just that, private and should only be shared in emergencies if it comes to that and then only what is relevant. This information is an Amanah, it is the sign of a hypocrite that he should share such information as the prophet saw has said on the authority of Abu Hurairah ra.

Signs of a hypocrite are three: whenever he speaks he lies; whenever he promises, he breaks his promises; and whenever he has been entrusted, be betrays his trust; (Another narration adds) even if he fasts and prays and even if he claims he is a Muslim.

You are the guardian of this information so do not spread it in gossip. Backbiting in Islam is seen as eating the flesh of your dead brother. As a brother reminded us today, if you have nothing to say keep quiet. It is very easy to talk badly about people, sometimes it is just done to liven conversations. It is harder but better to keep quiet.
Allah swt. says in the Quran:

O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one’s] faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers.

[Quran Surah 49:11]

Allah swt. also says:

Woe to every slanderer and backbiter.

[Quran Surah 104:1]
Every single day we should take account of ourselves, of what we have done on that day. Ask for forgiveness for our shortcomings, and resolve to be and act better the next day and to increase in the good that we do.
Wa Salam,
Abdur-Rhaman

Die Aufrichtigkeit Allahs gegenüber

Salam Alaikum,

Allah swt. beschreibt Sich im Quran in Surah Nur, als Nur us Samawati wa Al-Ard. Allah ist das Licht der Himmel und der Erde. Dieser Teil des Verses allein trägt  viel Bedeutung in sich. Es nähert uns an das Unbegreifliche in dem wir an das Licht denken das wir sehen können, das physikalische Licht aus Photonen. Die Sonne ist für uns Lebewesen, lebenswichtig wenn sie auch nur ein Stück von uns entfernt dauert es nicht lange bevor unsere Realität ganz anders aussieht. Wenn die Sonne untergeht, braucht es sehr viel Arbeit und Geld, damit wir nicht total im Dunkeln sitzen.

Straßenlampen werden angemacht, das Licht in unserer Wohnung etc. Im Arabischen sagte man, das Morgenlicht machte die Laterne unnütz. So ist es auch mit dem Spirituellen Licht, wenn wir Allah swt. nicht in unserem Leben haben, dann ist es so als ob wir im Dunkeln stehen und jede einzelne Person hat ihre eigene Lampe. Ihre eigenen Ziele, ihre eigenen Gedanken über was Gut und was Schlecht ist, der Moralitäat usw. Wenn aber das Licht der Offenbarung scheint, dann sind unsere Laternen unnütz, denn dies ist die perfekte, die vollkommenste Rechtleitung auf dem einst dunklen Pfad.

Allah swt. nutzt den Masdar, den Verbalsubstantiv in Allahu Nur, bedeutet also auch, dass es außer Seinem Licht, keine andere Lichtquelle gibt. Egal mit was wir versuchen unser Herz zu stillen, ob mit neuen Autos, oder Häusern, mit mehr Geld, Call of Duty oder Extrem Sport, nichts füllt die leere, das fehlende Licht Allahs in unserem Leben.

So ist es unsinnig irgendetwas bei jemand anderen zu suchen, denn Allah swt. sagt auch im Quran:

Es gibt nichts, von dem Wir nicht Schätze haben, doch Wir schicken davon nur nach bestimmten Maße herab.  

[15:21]

Ibn Al-Qayyim sagte: Alles dass geliebt wird, wenn es nicht um Allahs Willen geliebt wird ist nichts als Elend und Bestrafung. Jede Tat die nicht um Seiner Willen getan wird ist verschwendet und abgetrennt. Jedes Herz dass Ihn nicht erreicht ist verdammt, verhüllt (verborgen-veiled) vom Erringen ihres Erfolgs und Glücks.

Außer Allah swt. gibt es nichts und niemanden, der es verdient angebetet zu werden, niemanden dessentwegen wir unser jeden Atemzug nehmen.

Sheikh Ahmad ibn Atillah As-Sakandari sagte in seinem Al-Hikam, (Wörter der Weisheit): Taten sind wie Statuen die nur zum Leben kommen, mit der Seele der Aufrichtigkeit.

Somit beginnen wir jede Tat mit einer reinen Absicht (niyyah, maqsid), allein Allah swt. gewidmet. Der Prophet saw. sagte in einem Hadith: Wahrlich, Taten sind entsprechend den Absichten., und jedem steht das zu was er beabsichtigt hat. Wer also sein Auswanderung um Allahs und seinem Gesandten Willen ausrichtete, dessen Auswanderung ist für Allah und seinem Gesandten. Und wer seine Auswanderung des irdischen Lebens Willen unternimmt um es zu erlangen oder einer Frau um sie zu heiraten, dessen Auswanderung ist für das und dessentwegen er auswanderte. [Bukhari und Muslim]

Und im Quran:

“Sie sind diejenigen die ihre Gelübde erfüllen und einen Tag fürchten, dessen Unheil weit und breit um sich greift. Sie geben ihr Essen (das sie selbst gern gegessen hätten) einem Bedürftigen, einer Waise und einem Kriegsgefangenen, und sie sagen dabei: “Wir geben euch Gott zuliebe zu essen und wollen von euch kein Entgelt und keinen Dank.””

[76:7-9]

So sollte unsere Absicht sein, wenn wir aber eine Tat vollbringen aber selbstgerecht, verärgert oder sonstiges sind wenn kein Dank folgt, so ist dies ein Anzeichen dafür dass unsere Absicht nicht ganz Allah swt. gewidmet war.

Allah swt. sagte auch im Quran:

Sage: “Wahrlich, mein Gebet, meine Opfer riten, mein leben und meine sterben ist für Allah, Herr der Welten.”

[6:162]

Wa Salam,

Abdur-Rahman

——-

Sources:

Nouman Ali Khan – Amazing Quran | SunnahOnline | OnIslam | SuhaibWebb |

[2:177]

Goodness (Al-Birr also righteousness and piety) does not consist in turning your face towards East or West. The truly good are those who believe in God and the Last Day, in the angels, the Scripture, and the prophets; who give away some of their wealth, however much they cherish it, to their relatives, to orphans, the needy, travellers and beggars, and to liberate those in bondage; those who keep up the prayer and pay the prescribed alms; who keep pledges whenever they make them; who are steadfast in misfortune, adversity, and times of danger. These are the ones who are true, and it is they who are aware of God.

[Quran The Cow 2:177]

Sincerity

Salam Alaykum,

being sincere in today’s world is a struggle. Constantly we are trained and honed to look out for ourselves first. We are encouraged to not do something unless it is to our own benefit, to become successful, to be happy. It is in our nature to want to satisfy our needs, before anyone else. Even harder it would then be to do something just for the sake of Allah, not necessarily seeing the benefit of it in this life.

Sincerity is a value that is of utmost importance especially to Muslims, as the the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and receive good news because one’s good deeds will not make him enter Paradise.” They asked, “Even you, O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)?” He said, “Even I, unless and until Allah bestows His pardon and Mercy on me.” [Sahih Bukhari]

Sincerity according to the dictionary is the quality or state of being sincere, having or showing true feelings that are expressed in a honest way. It is honesty of mind and being free from hypocrisy. Sincerity comes from the Middle French sincérité which is derived from the Latin Sinceritatem. This in turn can be traced back to the Proto-Indo-European Sincerus, made up of *sin (sem) meaning whole, together and *ker meaning to grow. Sincerus therefore can be taken to mean, clean, pure, sound, uninjured, whole, genuine etc.

In Arabic there are a few words that can be used to denote sincerity. Sidq and Ikhlas are two of them. We had a discussion about sidq before, in the series be more truthful. Ikhlas (purity, sincerity, isolation etc.) linguistically means to separate or distinguish, thus Yahya ibn Mu’adh ar-Râzi said, “Ikhlâs is to filter the actions from every flaw, just as milk is filtered out from between blood and dung.” He was referring to the verse in the Quran:

We give you drink from what is in their bellies – from between excretions and blood – milk that is khâlis (pure), palatable to the drinkers.

[Surah An-Nahl, Verse 66]

It implies that one has to work to gain sincerity, it is an active process against our natural desires and need to benefit and fulfil our wants. Allah swt. calls the people that are sincere to Him,  مُخْلِصِينَ Mukhliseen.

Say [Prophet], ‘God does not command disgraceful deeds. How can you say about God things that you do not know [to be true]?’ Say, ‘My Lord commands righteousness. Direct your worship straight to Him wherever you pray; Call on Him; sincere to your religion entirely to Him. Just as He first created you, so you will come back [to life] again.’

[Quran The Heights 7:28-29]

The Prophet saw. said in a hadith “Allah is Pure and He accepts only that which is pure” and in another “He accepts only that which is Pure and done solely for His sake alone.”

Imam Fudhayl ibn `Iyad said, “If a person abandons an act because of people, he is being ostentatious; if, on the other hand, he were to do it because of people then that is shirk (associating partners with Allah); ikhlas, therefore, is to be free of both of the above.

Wa Alaykum Salam,

Abdur-Rahman