Tag Archives: Allah

Being patient with ourselves

Salam Alaykum,

It is in our nature to want, do and act in haste, to be impatient as Allah (swt.) said in the Qur’an:

“Man is ever hasty” [Surah Al-Israa’ : 11]

Our creator created us like this, with this haste and still He (swt.) expects us to fight it. To act with intelligence and not act on emotion alone. Didn’t the Prophet (saw.) say:

“The strong man is not the good wrestler; but the strong man is he who controls himself when he is angry.” [Agreed upon.]

To be patient in a moment of extreme emotion, be it anger or sadness is often to act against our first instinct to lash out. We are asked to struggle, to make Jihad in such situations, to be the strong man or woman.

Wasn’t there a time where we sought to be grown up as fast as possible? Then pine away at those trouble-free days as we reached our adult days. Do we not seek time to pass faster when there is nothing to do, but miss times of lazing about when we are busy. We always want time to go by as fast as possible, not realising that with every second we come closer to death. We forget to live in the moment, thanking God for the good times and the bad times. The times of joy and happiness and those of pain and sadness which we want to have passed quickly, but everything takes time.

“Rome ne fut pas faite toute en un jour”

Rome wasn’t built in a day as the adage says, encouraging us, that there is a need of time for great things to be created. Everyone is on a journey and at different stages of it, it takes time for us to reach the majour stations in our life as Allah (swt.) wills it and how much effort we put into reaching them. If a majour problem of yours is your anger, then work on it, it may take a long time to control it but you’ll get there. We will get there, inshaAllah (if God wills). On our journey to reach our goals, we need to be persistent. There may be many set backs on the way, it is going to be hard but persist in it and Allah will give. As Allah (swt.) tells us in many instances:

“And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah ]” [Surah Baqarah : 153]

 But they never lost assurance due to what afflicted them in the cause of Allah , nor did they weaken or submit. And Allah loves the steadfast.

[Surah Ali Imran : 146]

It is always difficult to be patient especially with ourselves, we can be very hard on ourselves, with our regrets and guilt. To a point regret and feeling guilt is okay and a good thing, it can drive us making that train reach its station faster. Past a certain point however it harms us, we either fall to our regrets, wallowing in them or we begin to feel indifferent which is the other extreme. The goal is to harness this feeling to become better, to come closer to God.

In a Hadith Qudsi related by Abu Huraira (ra.) the Messenger of Allah (saw.) said:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Allah, the Exalted, and Glorious said: ‘A slave committed a sin and he said: O Allah, forgive my sin,’ and Allah said: ‘My slave committed a sin and then he realized that he has a Rubb Who forgives the sins and punishes for the sin.’ He then again committed a sin and said: ‘My Rubb, forgive my sin,’ and Allah (SWT) said: ‘My slave committed a sin and then realized that he has a Rubb Who forgives his sin and punishes for the sin.’ He again committed a sin and said: ‘My Rubb, forgive my sin,’ and Allah (SWT) said: ‘My slave has committed a sin and then realized that he has a Rubb Who forgives the sin or takes (him) to account for sin. I have granted forgiveness to my slave. Let him do whatever he likes”.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

This Hadith shows, the Mercy of Allah (swt.) that He forgives and forgives if we repent with sincerity. This of course does not give us the license to sin, but if we fall into sin and then repent from it sincerely, resolving to not do it again, and we happen to fall into it again then we are to repent from it again and to not give up repenting for our weakness.

It was said to al-Hasan al Basri (rah.):

“Shouldn’t one of us feel too shy to ask his Lord to forgive his sin, then do it again, then ask for forgiveness, then do it again? He said: The Shaytaan wishes that you would have this attitude, so do not tire of asking for forgiveness.”

We have to have the patience that when we do something we regret repeatedly, to ask for forgiveness and to not get tired of repenting thinking that, “I am just going to do it again anyway”. 

We ask Allah (swt.), as the army of Saul (as.) and David (as.) asked:

Our Lord, pour upon us patience…

[Surah Al-Baqarah : 250]

Oh Allah help us make us worthy of having you with us, as you have promised the people who are patient.

Indeed, Allah is with the patient.

Make us people of patience and forbearance, of good character and good actions. Amin.

Wa Salam,
Abdur-Rahman

Love for Allah

Salam Alaykum,

This month being about being more loving, it is therefore logical for me to start with loving the entity from where everything is sourced. The One who created us, and deserves our love like no other being. As Muslims we do not say that God is love, however we say that He is the Loving (Al-Wadud) it is an aspect of Him, in His absolute perfection.

We all love, whether it is our parents in particular our family generally, a pet, our house, cars, our hobbies etc. we all have things that we love. It is a natural love for the things that make us happy, that give us tranquillity.There is a problem however if the love that we have for other than God (swt.) is weightier than for Him. Allah (swt.) warns us about the one who , “has taken his own desires as a god” it is the ultimate form of oppression of the self.

Ibn Taymiyyah rah. said:”The heart will not find complete happiness except by loving Allah and by striving towards what is dear to Him.” Tranquillity and serenity will follow if we truly love Allah instead of paying lip service. We all say that we love Allah swt. I say that I love Allah (swt.), but how often do I feel the tranquillity, the khushu in Salah when I’m closest to Him?

If we want to talk about love as something that emanates from how someone makes us feel, loving us and caring for us. Then what can one say about the love that we should have for God (swt.), who gave us our life, gave us our parents, our family. He has showered us with blessings after blessings, with favours upon favours. From the a single breath or gulp of water to the ceiling above our head, He has given us abundantly.

Allah swt. said in the Quran: “And if you should count the favours of Allah you could not enumerate them.” He wants the best for us always, and even if He has not granted us something, He did so in His unlimited love. With the foreknowledge, as the All-Knowing, that it would not do us any good. He wants the best for us. He is the One who says “…is there anyone who is calling on Me, so I may answer his prayer? Is there anyone who is asking of Me, so I may grant his request? Is there anyone who is seeking forgiveness, so that I may forgive him? (Muslim)

We show love to someone by doing things for them, by giving them our all, by appreciating them. We show love by action, and that is why He has called Himself Al-Wadud. Al-Wadud is the type of love that is shown by action, as opposed to hubb which is just the feeling inside of us. Similarly is we truly love Allah swt. then we should try and dedicate all of our actions to Him. To try and worship Him, as He deserves to be worshipped and have love for that worship. Our 5 daily prayers, were a gift to mankind, given directly to the Prophet (saw.) on the Isra wa al Mi’raj. What would you think of a person who you give a gift to, and it is not appreciated worse even he throws it away carelessly. My little sister served as a reminder of this, taking away my playing rights to a little chocolate egg car that she gifted me, giving me an ear lashing about how I’ve been careless with it. What am I doing with the gift that Allah swt. in His infinite Mercy has granted me? Am I distracted by the love of this world? Allah swt says: “But those who believe, love Allah more.” [2:165] I want to be amongst those who are talked about here by Allah (swt.).

Finally,

Ibn Taymiyyah (rah.) says: “There cannot be clearer recognition of mahabbah than this, and this recognition in itself increases love for Allah. And people have discussed (at lengths) about mahabbah – its causes, its signs, its fruits, its supports and its rulings. The most comprehensive of what has been said about this is what Abu Bakr al-Katani relates from al-Junayd (d.297H):

Abu Bakr al-Katani said: A discussion about mahabbah took place in Makkah, during pilgrimage season. The Shaykhs who were present spoke about this topic, and al-Junayd being the youngest of them. They said to him: What do you say, O ’Iraqi? So al-Junayd lowered his head and tears were gushing from his eyes, then he said:

“A servant should overcome his soul,
And be continuous in the remembrance of his Lord,
Establishing the rights of his Lord,
Focusing upon Him with his heart,
The light of fear setting ablaze his heart,
Whilst drinking from the vessel of pure love,
And certain hidden realities being unveiled for him.
So when he talks, it is due to Allah,
When he speaks, it is from Allah,
When he moves, it is by the Command of Allah,
And when he is serene, then it is from Allah,
He belongs to Allah, is for Allah and is with Allah.”

Upon hearing, the Shaykhs all started weeping, and they said: There is nothing left to add to that, may Allah reward you O Crown of the Knowledgeable Ones.”

Wa Salam,

Abdur-Rahman

Further read and sources:

Foundations of true faith | Love is in Giving

PS: It’s past midnight and I’ve missed the post for yesterday. My laptop crashed on me, then decided it needed an update :/

Khutba I

Salam Alaykum,

I recently found a couple of my old Sermons (khutba) that I gave at College and since it’s Friday I thought I’d share a snippet with you.

All Praises and thanks are due to Allah swt., whom we thank, seek help and invoke his forgiveness. Peace and blessings be upon the noble Messenger, his family and companions.

A new academic year has arrived. To the year 12s, I welcome you with the words of peace, the words of paradise As-Salamu Alaykum. To the year 13s and the teachers, I welcome you back, As Salamu Alaykum.

This year brings with it many new challenges and hurdles to overcome, but in all this, never forget Allah swt, your Creator. With everything that might come up, that may seem to overwhelm us, don’t forget that this life is a test, a test from Allah swt. our Lord. The Prophet saw. said: “Verily, if Allah loves a people, He makes them go through trials. Whoever is satisfied, for him is contentment and whoever is angry upon him is wrath.”

Allah swt. also says in the Quran: “Indeed with hardship there is ease.” With all the things going on in our lives we should never lose sight of the sirat al mustakeem, the straight path, we ask Allah swt. to guide us to in every prayer, reciting Al-Fatiha.

This life is not more than a blink of an eye, or a drop in the ocean when compared to the next, so why give that up? In the last khutba I talked about keeping up the good deeds that we have done in Ramadan, to not stop achieving greatness just because Ramadan is now over. Ramadan was a training to keep our desires an infinite wants under lock, away from the influences of shaytan.

Shaitan, who Allah swt. says: “Oh you who believe, enter into Islam completely and perfectly and do not follow the footsteps of Shaytan. Indeed he is to you a clear enemy.” In Ramadan Shaytan was in shackles, away from us, not being able to influence us any more. However a tea swirled with a spoon will continue swirling even after  it has been taken out. The influence Shaytan had on us before Ramadan might have continued into Ramadan and maybe even out of Ramadan.

In that case turn to Allah, ask him for forgiveness. Pray your five daily prayers that are obligatory on you without excuses and read Quran everyday even if it is just a page or 5 verses.

Now that Ramadan is over, Shaytan is once again at large throwing hurdles at us trying to make us fall into the depths of our sins. Make Allah swt. your Protector, your Guide, and nothing can touch you. Remember , in the battle of Badr, Allah swt. helped His Messenger saw. by sending armies of angels who stroked fear in the vast army of the Quraysh causing them to run. Allah swt. is there for the one who asks Him, and obeys Him.

Wa Salam,

Abdur-Rahman

Self-Confidence and Anxiety: Lessons drawn

Salam Alaykum.

“Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar”, my voice crows. Behind me sit 200 people, listening to my shaky voice. Noticing my leg, as it trembles almost giving away. My hands as they give away my nervousness, clammy. In Ramadan I was asked to lead a part of the Taraweeh prayer, everyone of us over 16 took 2 Rakat. As my turn came, I acted as if I didn’t notice, didn’t feel the stares nor the calling of my name until I felt a light tapping on my leg. My heart racing, feeling light-headed, sick even I stood up. In my last year of college, I was asked by the last years Islamic Society president to take over. Every khutba (Sermon), every Prayer I lead was a repeat, it felt like a never ending upward hill climb. I thought by the end of it I’d be used to it, I was looking forward to that. I’m still fighting with it.

Dr. Ivan Joseph, a Football coach at the University of Ryerson said, at a TEDx conference, about self-confidence, that it is a skill. A skill that can be trained and honed through a lot of repetition or more so persistence.  He noted J.K Rowling as an example, whose first draft was refused by 12 publishers until it was accepted. He mentioned that one of his athletes a goalie now playing in Europe set his target at 350 repeats a day for 8 months until he could catch it. Or as Malcolm Gladwell said in his book the Outliers “In fact, by the age of twenty, the elite performers (violinists) had each totalled ten thousand hours of practice.” The basis for the 10,000 hours rule to be an expert.

In all the stories of the Messengers as. (peace be upon them) you’ll find repetition and persistence as was God’s will. It required a lot of confidence in them selves and in Allah swt. to face the obstacles that we could not have imagined for ourselves. These however are supposed to guide us in our life, we are to take lessons out of these for our daily life.

Imagine that your society, your people, your family turned on you. Noah as. {peace be upon him) is a perfect example. This amazing personality called people to guidance for 950 years and only a handful of people listened to what he had to say. He preached, called, invited, warned, gave them the good news, night and day, as the Quran tells us. He did this all the time, around the clock. Even with all the effort that he put in calling them to the Guidance they refused to listen, would stick their fingers in their ears, would cover the heads with their garments to avoid having to see him, to avoid making eye contact. What would such a rejection for centuries, from people he knew from birth, watched grow up and up to their death, do to a person who didn’t have self-confidence and full confidence in Allah swt.?

What must have been the emotional state of Joseph as. who was abandoned by his brothers, then sold as a slave and thrown into prison until eventually becoming the governor to the king, if he didn’t have confidence in Allah. One particular part of the Seerah of the Prophet saw. came to mind. As he saw. received the Message for the first time he was afraid, he didn’t know what to think. He thought that God swt. was punishing him. This story highlights for me, in this context, the importance of positive reinforcement. As he saw. ran to his house calling for Khadijah ra. to cover him up, and he began explaining what had happened to him. Khadijah ra. began listing all of his good qualities and the good things that he had done for the people that called him As-Sadiq Al-Amin, to assure him of his standing with God. She believed in him instantly.

Moses as. was to speak out against the Pharaoh who was not only the leader of probably the biggest kingdom on earth at the time, but also killed thousands of babies for fear of an opponent. Moses was to oppose this ruler, and he had a speech impediment on top of that magnanimous challenge, and was even insulted by Pharaoh because of this speech defect, but it is him as. who is called Kalemullah the one who conversed with Allah swt. All of these Prophets as. have in common a confidence in Allah and in themselves of carrying out whatever Allah swt. willed.

An article I read a couple of days ago brought me to the attention of the hypocrisy that I and probably many have. We feel that what we have to say is of non-importance, the we are boring and at the same time we think that everyone would judge us, that everyone is watching our every step, looking to call us out as hypocrites, as being as non important as we feel. I started this post with an account of a year ago at Jumuah, I was certain that everyone noticed my voice shaking, that they noticed my trembling and they probably did, but so what? No one came up to me and said “you know how you were trembling and your voice kept changing, while giving the Adhan, that was hilarious.” I did not have to face Pharaoh. Numb yourself to the thinking, that everyone is out to get you.

That incident in Ramadan a year ago, was disabling, I felt horrible about my reaction it had never gotten so bad before. I let myself get lost in anxiety. In such situations it may help to fight it with logic. Anxiety is illogical, it is the fear of something that has not entered and most likely will not enter. Box it in, think about all the “what ifs” and work backwards. Think of instances where you have done something successfully, this has worked often during Parkour. Fall back on your achievements in times of hardship. Find positive reinforcement, whether it is from people or as Dr. Joseph did, write a letter to yourself in a time of happiness to regain confidence. But most importantly fall back to God, know that He will not leave you alone, that with every hardship there is ease.

By the end of my term as President of the ISOC, I was indeed getting used to giving talks. My limbs did not tremble as much, as it did at the beginning but with the end of College I was not put into situations as often where I had to give talks, presentations etc. so I began to fall back somewhat. Robert Kelsey, author of  “What’s Stopping You?” in a video series on confidence, said that it may always stay with you but it is something you learn to overcome. Always put yourself out there, start small, step by step. Advice to talk to cashiers or waiters are often given, they have to be nice to you and are most likely bored. Sheikh Omar Suleiman once mentioned that he asked a cashier how her day was, and she was over the moon that he’d ask, that she had a terrible day, her boyfriend broke up with her etc. wanting to get that off her chest and having no one to talk to.

Do not add to the negativity about yourself that other people are giving you for free. Surround yourself with positivity, Muhammad Ali would shout “I am the greatest”. No one except the One, will believe in you unless you do. God in His absolute Mercy will never abandon you, even if you have abandoned yourself. Every breath that we take is a chance He gave us to return to Him. Having Confidence in Allah and trusting in what Allah swt. has ordained for us enhances confidence in ourselves. We have to recognise when things are in our capacity to change and when things are in the Hands of Allah alone.

It was We who created you: will you not believe? Consider [the semen] that you eject? Do you create it yourself, or are We the Creator? We have ordained death to be among you. Nothing could stop Us if We intended to change you and recreate you in a way unknown to you. You have learned how you were first created; will you not reflect? Consider the seeds you sow in the ground – If We wished, We could turn your harvest into chaff and leave you to wail, We are burdened with debt; we are bereft. Consider the water you drink. Was it you who brought it down from the rain-cloud or We? If We wanted, We could make it bitter: will you not be thankful? Consider the fire you kindle. Is it you who makes the wood for it to grow or We? We made it a reminder, and useful to those who kindle it, so [Prophet] glorify the name of your Lord, the Supreme.” [Qur’an 56:57-74]

As usual this is intended as a reminder for me first and foremost

wa Salam,

Abdur-Rahman

Consider the seeds you sow

Consider the seeds you sow in the ground is it you who makes them grow or We? If We wished, We could turn your harvest into chaff and leave you to wail, We are burdened with debt; we are bereft. Consider the water you drink. Was it you who brought it down from the rain-cloud or We? If We wanted, We could make it bitter: will you not be thankful? Consider the fire you kindle. Is it you who makes the wood for it to grow or We? We made it a reminder, and useful to those who kindle it, so [Prophet] glorify the name of your Lord, the Supreme.

[Qur’an 56:63-74]

Those who oppose you

Imam Ibnul Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (rahimahullah) said:

[Such a person] does not become disheartened by those who differ from and oppose him, as they are lesser in importance and significance, even if they might be greater in number, as some of the Salaf said: “Traverse the paths of the truth, and do not be discouraged by the small number of people who do the same.” Every time you feel disheartened by your being alone on this path, then look to those who came before you and strive to catch up with them, and turn away from everyone else, as they will not benefit you in the least with Allah. If you happen to see them somewhere along the path that you are upon, then do not turn to look at them, for if you do so, they will distract you and simply delay your progress.

[‘Madarij as-Salikin’; 1/21]