By: Uzman Muhajir
Upon the Creation of the Earth, the site of Al-Kaaba had been inaugurated with status and honour. Allah Most High had designated the Holy ground of Al-Kaabah to be the centre of the universe. The Holy ground of Al-Kaabah bears testimony to the presence of the Father of Mankind, Adam (A.S.) unto the Final Prophet, Muhammad (S.A.W.) unto whom the Revelation of the Glorious Quran descended through the Angel Jibraeel. Unto this day Al-Kaabah is the beacon to which the current 2 billion Muslims worldwide turn to pray. Geographically such magnificence is characterised by harsh terrains and soaring temperatures positioned in The Holy City of Makkah.
By: Uzman Muhajir
Building strong, economic communities in the Muslim world is an idea whose time has come. It is evident that the Islamic world isn’t lacking natural resources, abundance in labor, innovative talent or even historical legacy with which to draw from. What it is lacking is a vision. A vision to transform itself into a strong, cohesive community that utilizes its resources in the best possible way and establishes a foundation, where peace, prosperity and progress are the order of the day.
For the Muslim Ummah to transform itself into a community that can thrive in the 21st century, it must focus on one thing: self-reliance and independence.
Define happiness. It seems like an easy feeling to feel but we become lost on our journey to find it. Is it because we don’t know what happiness is? Or is it because we define happiness in someone else’s words? Don’t ask yourself ‘what do I need to do to find happiness?’ ask yourself, ‘what do I need to do to make Allah happy?’
Happiness for some of us may be a new car, a promotion at work or a new job. It could be graduating from university or getting married. Indeed, these are things that will put a smile to our faces and end the struggle that we have been through to gain these items. But what will you do after you have acquired all these materialistic or ‘dunya items’ (as I like to call it)? Will you set off on another journey to find something else? How much time will you spend to obtain another item? Sometimes our lives become so material focused that we slowly bury our own peace of mind. We start to tell ourselves that without these things, we won’t feel happy or we won’t feel at peace.
Let’s take the most common item that many of us desire – a mobile phone. We ask our parents to buy us a new phone or we save up money ourselves. You now have the phone and you feel ‘happy’. You can now tick this desire of the list because it is no longer a means of happiness. It is no longer something you desire. Now we will find another item that we desire and make this our goal. The cycle continues and we become addicted to finding happiness through things that can be easily destroyed. Throughout this process we forget the most important ingredient to happiness – our heart. If our heart is not happy, can you truly feel happiness? That content, peaceful and nourishing sensation that lightens every corner of our body – have you ever experienced it?
Chasing ‘worldly items’ will only make us go in circles and it won’t lead us anywhere, we will still be in that same position in life where we chase one thing after another. We need to truly understand where our happiness lies. As Muslims we believe that everything we are given in life is from Allah, whether it is good or bad it is from Allah and everything that happens, happens because He wants it to happen. However, Allah has also created a good path and a bad path and he has given us the freedom to distinguish between right and wrong. Our happiness should be pleasing Allah and focusing our life, our goals and our actions to please Him. Why is this? Why should our every goal, motive and intention be to please Allah? It is because you are not going round in circles. You are not making the same journey again and again, instead you are moving forward to achieve things that will benefit you in this world and in the next. Making Allah happy is our way to success and Jannah. He has given us so much to be grateful for yet we focus on things that we will leave behind in this world.
Most of our sources of happiness derive from things that benefit us only and do not include the benefit of others. I am sure you have heard the phrase ‘if you want happiness for a lifetime, then help someone else’s Allah asked us to be good to our parents, orphans, the needy and He has ordered us to give zakah (Quran – 2:83). These are ways to help and support other people than ourselves only. Not only do these people benefit from your acts of goodness but also help you achieve happiness. Why? Because on the Day of Judgement when you stand in front of Allah you can be proud and account for helping these people. You can account for being a source of happiness for someone else.
Science prohibits overeating today, Islam prohibited more than 1400 years ago.
People living in today’s world have put their reliance in the doctors, scientists and researchers to a great extent. They have become health conscious because the doctors have prohibited overeating and they believe that doctors are concerned about people and their guidance benefits mankind. Overeating has been prohibited by Allah more than 1400 years ago. The irony is that people are now following it upon the advice of doctors whereas they ignore the guidance of Allah.
The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
ما ملأ بن آدم وعاءً شراً من بطنه ، بحسب ابن آدم لقيمات يقمن بها صلبه ، فإن كان ولا بد فثلث لطعامه ، وثلث لشرابه ، وثلث لنفسه
Ibn Masaweh, a Muslim physician in Iraq, mentioned after reading this hadith: If the people only used these words, they would avoid all diseases and maladies and the clinics and pharmacies would be idle.
“The Son of Adam will not fill a pot worse for himself than his stomach. It is enough for the Son of Adam to eat a few bites that strengthens his spine. If he likes to have more, then let him fill a third with food, a third with drink and leave a third for his breathing” (Tirmidhi)
According to the doctors, dietitians, researchers, andNational Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) USA, Eating disorders are serious, potentially life-threatening conditions that affect a person’s emotional and physical health. An overeater is most likely to suffer from:
•High blood pressure.
•High cholesterol levels.
•Heart disease as a result of elevated triglyceride levels.
•Type II diabetes mellitus.
The doctors suggest consumption of small meals multiple times a day so that people stay fit, energetic and healthy. SubhanAllah, we are blessed to be Muslims. Allah is more concerned about everything related to us than anyone else in this world. He has prohibited only what is bad for us and permitted what is good. There is no personal gain or ego behind these prohibitions. May Allah forbid us.
Allah says in the Quran:
يَأْمُرُهُم بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَاهُمْ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَيُحِلُّ لَهُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْخَبَائِثَ
“Who enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil” (7:157)
So we should put our trust in Allah, and follow his commands to succeed in the world and hereafter. Allah says in the Quran:
وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّـهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ
And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him (65:3)
By Abu Abdullah Saqib
Did you ever experience a dark phase in your life? Lost a job or a loved one? Financial or health problems? Been through a divorce or a rough marriage? Did you find yourself looking towards the sky and asking “Why me?” while hoping and yearning for that perfect life?
If you answered ‘no’ to these questions then better you stop reading right now because this article won’t interest you. If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions then read on….There’s good news and bad news…
The Bad News
I am going to be straight with you. If you waiting for that ‘perfect life’, you going to wait for a long time because that life doesn’t exist. If there was such a thing as a ‘perfect life’, Allah would have given it to His closest servants, the Prophets (Peace be upon them), but they lived lives stacked with difficulty. I won’t elaborate on their sacrifices for I fear this piece will be too long but understand one thing…from marriage to kids, finance to health, the Prophets of Allah (Peace be upon them) experienced an avalanche of trials, and of course, our beloved Muhammad (PBUH) seen the worst. Despite the fact that he was Allah’s most beloved creation, he was orphaned at a young age, lost all his male progeny while still infants and went for days without food just to mention a few.
I know what you thinking…”What about the rich and famous in today’s era?”. Well, truth be told, despite the wealth, there is no happiness. Drug scandals, love affairs, depression, jail -time, I don’t know about you but I don’t see happiness in Hollywood. I mean seriously, I could hold my breath longer than some celebrity marriages. These problems are common and experienced by everyone. The poet says it up beautifully…
“The healthy seek wealth..wealthy seek health..
husbands seek jobs.. employed seek wives..
these are the days of our lives.” @poetrypencil
The Good News
So why did the Prophets of Allah experience rough patches and why do YOU experience rough patches? Because Allah loves them and Allah loves…YOU.
A Hadeeth states:
“When Allah intends good for a person He puts him/her through a test.”(Bukhaari)
But why would Allah put you through difficulty? It doesn’t make sense. It goes against logic!
Well, ask yourself these questions…
1) How often do I read Tahaajud in good times?
2) How much Dhikr do I make in good times?
Now ask yourself this…
1) How often do I make Dua in difficult times?
2) How often do I think of Allah in difficult times?
Quite a bit?
The above Hadith makes more sense now doesn’t it?
The point is Allah puts you through a test because He wants the best for you. He wants you to be closer to Him. We might not realize it but ‘happy times’ takes us further away from Allah. We only turn to Him in our days of darkness. With every rough patch we become His friend and He loves that…He loves YOU.
Also, good news, your sins are being forgiven…
“never a believer is stricken with discomfort, hardship, illness, grief or even with mental worry except that his/her sins are forgiven” (Bukhaari, Muslim)
“A Muslim male or female continues to remain under trial in respect of his/her life, property and offspring till he/she meets Allah in a condition that all of his/her sins are forgiven.” (Tirmidhi)
Today world has so many things to make a person busy and settle down in this life forever. What a generation we are living in! Technological, architectural and ideological advancements have made this world an irresistible place to leave for good. It has given strong and indispensable reasons to choose the worldly life. Humans work all their lives to build mansions to stay, stock up money in their bank accounts as savings for retirement, subscribe to life insurance policies so that their life and the future of their families remain secured, and people buy cars, air-conditioners, smart-phones, etc to ease their process of living on this planet.
We have made arrangements for our entertainment and leisure, for food and clothing, for touring the world, and for enjoying each and every moment of life. Allah says in the Quran: وما الحياة الدنيا الا متاع الغرور
And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion (57:20; 3:185)
Despite of this verse revealed by Allah, we have been busy all the time to prepare ourselves for this worldly life and ignore the Hereafter. Allah says in the Quran:
يَعِدُهُمْ وَيُمَنِّيهِمْ ۖ وَمَا يَعِدُهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ إِلَّا غُرُورًا
Satan promises them and arouses desire in them. But Satan does not promise them except delusion (4:120) And
فَلَا تَغُرَّنَّكُمُ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا
So let not the worldly life delude you (31:33)
But unfortunately, we have overlooked this piece of guidance from Allah and got trapped into the fake promises of Satan who has blocked our safe-passage to heaven through Earth. This world is not a thoroughfare. There are many misleading turns, directions and twists set by the Satan. These are designed and presented so beautifully that it becomes hard for a person to resist, so he follows them.
This clearly means that we have decided to settle in the world forever. People have forsaken the rights of Allah over them, they have abandoned prayers because they feel that prayers cause hindrance in their jobs, they make no difference in Halaal and haraam because this would keep them away from many delusive delicacies of this world. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) took hold of Ibn Umar’s shoulder and said, ‘Be in the world as if you were a stranger or a traveler along the path.” And ibn Umar would say, “If you survive till late afternoon, do not expect [to be alive in] the morning. If you survive till morning, do not expect [to be alive in] the late afternoon. Take from your health before your sickness and your life before your death.”(Recorded in al-Bukhari).
Allah says in the Quran:
زُيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ حُبُّ الشَّهَوَاتِ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ وَالْبَنِينَ وَالْقَنَاطِيرِ الْمُقَنطَرَةِ مِنَ الذَّهَبِ وَالْفِضَّةِ وَالْخَيْلِ الْمُسَوَّمَةِ وَالْأَنْعَامِ وَالْحَرْثِ ۗ ذَٰلِكَ مَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَاللَّـهُ عِندَهُ حُسْنُ الْمَآبِ
Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire – of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return. (3:14)
As human beings we all possess a sinful nature. But as a Muslim we have to strive to step away from our nature by walking in the light of Islam. If we are not careful to resist ourselves from sin, it will weaken our souls and separate us from our Almighty Allah. On the necessity of self control, Allah says:
“And as for him who fears to stand in the presence of his lord forbids his own soul from its whims and caprices, then surely paradise is his abode”.
Consider these seven ways to control your sinful nature:
1. Know your enemy:
The most important strategy in warfare is to know the enemy. The more you know about your enemy the easier it makes your battle. Likewise, life is a battle against shaytan- The enemy of our souls- We need to study about him and his tactics he uses to lead people astray.
2. Always look to Allah for help:
Allah wants to help you and He is always with you. As Muslims we have direct access to Allah. When you wake up in the morning everyday ask Allah to protect you from evil temptations of this world. Make a habit to confess your sins and ask Allah for forgiveness before you go to bed.
3. Spend time with Allah:
A daily relationship with Allah is the basic principle to control our self from sins. Spend some time reading the Quran and indulging in Zikr. Make it a habit. It will help you to stay focused on Allah in your daily activities.
4. Avoid sinful situations:
A Muslim would be very careful to avoid sins and to avoid situations that are likely to cause sin. Sins often comes searching for you, so if you find yourself in a certain situation that you are more likely to fall in sin; it’s the time for you to walk away from that place.
5. Know the consequences:
Sin is a wall that separates us from Allah and it can enslave us and destroy our whole life. Countless lives have been ruined today because of pursuing things that Allah has forbidden. Remember that Allah has blessed with us with a healthy body and a sound mind, as a result being ungrateful for his gifts will draw severe punishments.
6. Fill your mind with Allah:
Thinking about something often can bring it to life; therefore avoid thinking about things that would arise evil temptations in your mind. Try to fill your mind with the remembrance of Allah.
7. Repent immediately when you fail:
If you fail and fall into sin, repent immediately. You should regret it and be determined never to indulge in any sinful behavior in the future.
I am a strong believer that character plays a huge part in defining who you are as a person. Without character, a person is nothing. First impressions last forever and in most cases, first impressions are born from qualities that you possess. We learn from the Quran and Hadith that character is extremely important. In fact, a Hadith states that those who will have the most complete faith on the day of judgement will be those whose character is best. Character is so important that you would even find animals possessing qualities that are worthy of admiration. You probably thinking “Huh? What? Animals?”, yes, animals. I know you confused right now so I decided to write a list of some qualities that you would find in animals….
Zebra (Racism) – Did you ever marvel over the beauty of a zebra, the way its black and white stripes are perfectly formed. Imagine if it was full black or full white. Would it lose its beauty? Would it still be so eye-catching? No. Why? because black and white together paints that perfect picture. I take lesson from the zebra. By looking at the zebra, I realize that our different skin colours work the same way. What makes this world so beautiful is the fact that we have black, white, brown and various other skin colours. It’s no use fighting and being racist. Being a racist is like fighting for a full black or a full white zebra. Does it really make sense?
Tortoise (Patient) – The tortoise is perhaps the most pitied soul from the entire animal kingdom.It always looks like it’s going nowhere slowly. Most folks that have a tortoise as a pet leave it outside to walk. They don’t close the gates for they know that it will take a few hours to reach the front gate. But what amazes me is, a tortoise never gives up. One step at a time it strolls along heading towards its intended destination. We, humans, would think that they always sleeping not realizing that they move very slow taking long pauses between steps. They never seem to be in a rush. With patience, they eventually reach their destination even though it might be after weeks or months. By looking at the tortoise, I learn that it doesn’t matter how long it takes to reach your goal. It doesn’t even matter if you reach your goal or not. What really matters is the fact that you tried to reach your goal.
Rhino (Brave) – It’s really sad when you hear the news that rhinos are being killed on a daily basis for their horns. I don’t know about other countries but in South Africa it has become a really serious issue over the past few years. The rhino horn is quite expensive and rare so rhino poachers try every possible way to kill the poor animals and take the horns. Sometimes, a group of rhinos would be walking along and all of a sudden they would see another rhino lying dead on the floor without a horn. Animals are not stupid. After so many killings, it’s possible that the rhinos are aware that they are sought after. They are aware that they living in dangerous territory. Despite this, you still find them walking around. They still wake up every day and do what they have to do. Many of them see a family member lying in a pool of blood. They also got hearts. They also feel pain when a loved one is lost. By looking at these rhinos I see bravery. They are brave enough to walk the wild knowing that they could be killed at any moment. They are brave and strong enough to get up every morning and look for food even though they perhaps still recall their friends lying in pools of blood. I look at them and realise that one has to be brave and strong minded to pull through a difficult time. Hiding in your home is not going to solve the problem. Come out, carry on with life, and stay strong.
Horse (Tolerant) – Before the motor-vehicle, horses were one of the most commonly used means of transport. Of course, horses didn’t have gears. It was whips that made the horses move faster. Till today, horses are whipped by man so that they move faster. Despite the horse’s strength, I have never seen a horse attack a man after being whipped. It amazingly tolerates the lashing and carries on in fulfilling its duty. It has the ability to kill even the strongest of man but it doesn’t. Not only does it tolerate the lashing of man, it also serves man by transporting them from place to place. It’s easy to tolerate someone who is bigger and stronger than you but to tolerate someone who you can overpower is just brilliant. I look at the horse and I see this brilliance. This is a quality we should take from a horse. In life, we will come across people who will cause us a lot of difficulty. Think of the horse and tolerate. Even better, serve them just like the horse does.
Bee (Hard-working, Service) –Did you hear the phrase ‘As busy as a bee’? Well, obviously, the phrase originates from the long working hours that the bee puts in on a daily basis. The bee goes from flower to flower to collect nectar that is used to make honey. When you see a bee buzzing around you, don’t think the bee is just passing time.It’s actually moving from park to park and garden to garden visiting every flower. All this effort is put in to produce honey. The beauty part is that human are the primary beneficiaries from the honey but not once did the bee ever ask for a salary or stop working because he seen no benefit for him. I look at the bee and see the quality of service…service to humanity. It works tirelessly on a daily basis so that others may benefit. When we taste the sweetness of honey, not once did we ever praise the bee. From this we find that the bee doesn’t worry about attaining fame. It does its job, with or without praise. If we could all adopt this quality, how beautiful our planet would be.