“The aim of fasting is to gain mastery over ourselves, to become aware of our illusions, to become the agents of our actions - and not the object of our own pretensions or someone else’s gaze. The philosophy of fasting calls upon us to know ourselves, to master ourselves, and to discipline ourselves the better to free ourselves. To fast is to identify our dependencies, and free ourselves from them. That is adversity number one.”
By Tariq Ramadan
In this blessed month of Ramadhan where we increase our ibadah, wouldn’t it be nice to actually understand the Surahs recited by the Imam or even on our own?
Click here for a very useful article.
For those who missed VSS3, Ustaz Salam has kindly updated his blog with an outline of what he covered during the lecture!
Click here for the article!
This beautiful article explaining the relationship between non-mahrams in the time of our Prophet Rasulullah s.a.w.
For those who would like to know more about Hajat Prayers, here are some useful links for you to explore.
The main gatherings from these links about Hajat Prayers are:
1) 2 units of salah is performed and supplicate to Allah after solah.
2) Supplication: Praises Allah and asks blessings for the Prophet and then recites the Du’a of Needs as recorded in Sunan Tirmizi/any supplications based on own needs(recommended).
3) There is no a specific way nor portions of Qur’an that are advised to be recited in the prayer for need.
4) Supplication can be made during the last prostrtation
5) Nawafil salah are best done during the last third of the night.
Prophet Salih a.s. was sent to the tribe of Thamud, and his people were successful in erecting huge buildings and beautiful homes. However, they too fell to idol-worshiping as the previous tribes have fallen before.
His message to his people was clear, to worship Allah s.w.t. and to not ascribe Allah s.w.t. to any other gods. Many starting following him, while others still refused and continued in their state of disbelief.
The disbelievers demanded a miracle. They demanded that the Prophet Salih a.s. ask Allah to turn a rock into a she camel who was also 10 months pregnant. Allah granted Prophet Salih a.s. request, and many started to follow, while many also continued disbelieving. Certain accounts about the miracle of this she camel was that the she camel used to drink all the water in the wells in one day, and no other animals could approach the water. Still others claimed that the she camel produced milk sufficient for all the people to drink, on the same day that it drank all the water, leaving none for them. At first, the people of Thamud were greatly surprised when th eshe camel issued from the mountain rocks. It was a blessed camel, and its milk sufficient for thousands of men, women and children. Thus it was obvious that is was not an ordinary camel, but one of Allah’s signs. It lived among Salih’s people, some of whom believed in Allah while the majority continued in their obstinacy and disbelief
The she camel lived amongst them, and soon, the disbelievers felt the hate towards the she camel as it was a miraculous sign from Allah, and caused many people to continue to belief in Prophet Salih a.s.
A few of the people then tempted a few men to kill the she camel, and they were successful. Upon finding out, Prophet Salih, who had already warned them previously not to cause any harm to the she camel, issued another warning.
“Enjoy life for 3 more days then the punishment will descend upon you.” Prophet Salih was hoping that they would see the folly of their ways and change their attitude before the three days went out.
”Why three days?” they asked. “Let the punishment come as quickly as possible.”
He pleaded with them: “My people, why do you hasten to evil rather than good?Why do not you ask pardon of Allah so that you may receive mercy?”
They replied: “We see your presence and that of your followers as bringing evil on us.”
They also plotted to kill Salih and his household.
Allah saved Salih and his followers from their wicked plans. Heavy hearted, they left the evil doers and moved to another place. Three days after Salih’s warning, thunderbolts filled the air, followed by severe earthquakes which destroyed the entire tribe and its homeland. The land was violently shaken, destroying all living creatures in it. There was one terrific cry which had hardly ended when the disbeliveers of Salih’s people were struck dead, one and all, at the same time. Neither their strong buildings nor their rock hewn homes could protect them.
Almighty Allah related their story:
“And indeed We sent to Thamud their brother Salih, saying “Worship Allah Alone and none else.” Then look! They became two parties (believers and disbeliveers) quarreling with each other.
He said: “O my people! Why do you seek to hasten the evil (torment) before the good (Allah’s Mercy)? Why seek you not the Forgiveness of Allah, that you may receive mercy?” They said: We augur till omen from you and those with you.” he said: “Your ill omen is with Allah; nay, but you are a people that are being tested.” And there were in the city nine men (from the sons of their chiefs), who made mischief in the land, and would not reform. They said: “Swear to another by Allah that we shall make a secret night attack on him and his household, and afterwards we will surely say to his near relatives: ”We witnessed not the destruction of his household, and verily! We are telling the truth. “
“So they plotted a plot, and We planned a plan, while they perceived not. Then see how was the end of their plot! Verily! We destroyed them and their nation, all together. These are their houses in utter ruin, for they did wrong. Verily, in this is indeed an Ayah (a lesson or a sign) for people who know. We saved those who believed, and used to fear and obey Allah. (Ch 27:45-53)
Masya Allah. The story shows us how ignorant and arrogant humans can be even in the presence of Allah’s miracle.
Let us pray to never be among those who constantly belittle Allah’s miracles, and may this story only increase our Iman.
Al-Asr (The Time) is the chapter hundred and three of the Quran. It is a relatively short chapter. Its translation is as follows: “Time is a witness, that man is surely in a state of loss, except for those who believe and do good deeds and exhort one another to hold fast to the truth, and who exhort one another to steadfastness.” (103:1-2)
Will you be amongst those in a state of loss?
Advice From Imam ‘Ali Bin Abi Talib R.A.
“The pursuit of knowledge is not carried on without six things which I shall inform you through words that are clear:
1) Ingenious acumen
2) fervent desire,
4) sufficient sustenance,
5) guidance of a teacher, and
6) length of time.”
Ustaz Zhulkeflee Haji Ismail-
As we talk about seeking knowledge, we also talk about purifying our intentions. Indeed, we seek knowledge not to show to others that we are better than them when we get good grades which leads to a good job that allows us to earn alot of money… It is not wrong to want to land ourselves in a good, respectable job which earn us alot of money. Not wrong at all! IF our intentions are right.
It is important to seek knowledge about the dunya to help us know Allah and His creations better. It is just as important to seek knowledge about the akhirah so that we may prepare ourselves for it. We require knowledge in order for us to be successful, in dunya and in akhirah.
But what is the definition of success?
The answer lies in the Qur’an, our Guide.
Allah ta’ala has mentioned the criteria of those who’re successful believers in Surah Mu’minun verses 1-11. Let’s take a look at the verses closely:Surah Al-Mu’minun (The Believers)
1. Successful indeed are the believers.
2. Those who offer their Salat (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness.
3. And those who turn away from Al-Laghw (dirty, false, evil vain talk, falsehood, and all that Allah has forbidden).
4. And those who pay the Zakat .
5. And those who guard their chastity (i.e. private parts, from illegal sexual acts)
6. Except from their wives or (the captives and slaves) that their right hands possess, for then, they are free from blame;
7. But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors;
8. Those who are faithfully true to their Amanat (all the duties which Allah has ordained, honesty, moral responsibility and trusts etc.) and to their covenants;
9. And those who strictly guard their (five compulsory congregational) Salawat (prayers) (at their fixed stated hours).
10. These are indeed the inheritors.
11. Who shall inherit the Firdaus (Paradise). They shall dwell therein forever.
You may want to read up the explanations for from of the verses above in a tafsir book. But looking at the verses itself, the message is clear on what should you do to be ‘successful’.
Let’s take a moment or two to reflect on ourselves. Are we amongst the ‘successful’ in Allah’s eyes? Are we even close? What are we doing in order to achieve/maintain it? How many times have we recited this duaa: Rabbana aatina fid-dunya hasanah, wa fil-akhirati hasanah, wa qinaa athaban naar. Have we ever contemplated how complete this duaa is?
Allah (سبحانه وتعالى ) says
فَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَمَا لَهُ فِي
الآخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلاَقٍ وِمِنْھُم مَّن يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا
حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ
Translation: And among the people is he who says, “our Lord, give us in this world,” and he will have in the Hereafter no share. But among them is he who says, “our Lord, give us in this world [that which is] good and in the Hereafter [that which is] good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire.” [Surah Al-Baqarah:200-201]
Let us not be amongst those who remember only the dunya when making dua. When a person makes du’a, he focuses on what he wants, what is important to him, and what he thinks about the most. Let what we want, what is important to us, and what we think about the most not be limited to the life in this dunya only. Instead let it encompass success both in this dunya as well as the akhirah. Amin.
One of the most crucial obligations on us is to acquire knowledge and then to practice and preach this knowledge. No man becomes truly a Muslim without knowing the meaning of Islam, because he becomes a Muslim not through birth but through knowledge. Unless we come to know the basic and necessary teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), how can we believe in him, have faith in him, act according to what he taught?
Knowledge is pursued and practiced with modesty and humility and leads to beauty and dignity, freedom and justice.
To acquire knowledge is to bring us closer to God. It is not simply for the gratification of the mind or the senses. It is not knowledge for the sake of knowledge or science for the value of sake. Knowledge accordingly must be linked with values and goals; to gain the good of this world, and not to destroy it through wastage, arrogance and in the reckless pursuit of higher standards of material comfort.