Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Take a selfie of our characters! What would we see?

 Abu Darda (RadiAllahu Anhu) reported that Rasulullah (Sallalahu aleyhi wasselam) said, “Nothing is weightier on the Scale of Deeds than one’s good manners.”(Al-Bukhari)

As we spend countless hours standing in front of the mirror, combing our beards, making sure our pants are above the ankles, fixing our niqab's and making sure our abaya's are clean and ironed, we tend to forget about fixing what is inside of us. Surely, trying to follow the Qur'an and Sunnah to the best of our abilities is important and highly encouraged, but sometimes we focus too much on our outer appearance and we neglect our inner appearance. Though nobody can see the colour of our hearts or can read our thoughts, Allah Knows everything that lies within ourselves. 

Many of us worry too often about our physical, outer Islam yet neglect the inner, intangible Islam. Surely, the physical aspect of Islam is important and our physical worship is extremely valuable and does help us become better Muslims, but until the inner part of us is clean and pure, then only will our outer Islam be sincerely for the sake of Allah. Allah, the Almighty looks more to the hearts and our sincere actions more than anything else and it seems these days, many of us forget this. 

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, Allah does not look at your appearance or wealth, but rather He looks at your hearts and actions.” ( Sahih Muslim 2564)
Since I reverted to Islam, I have met many wonderful sisters online and offline who have shown me countless times of the beauty of Islam through their manners and good character. They always greet me with a smile and send me a random message and to let me know that they were thinking of me and wanted to say Salam. They genuinely want to talk to me and they never message me just because they need something. They try to follow the manners and etiquette of the Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu aleyhi wasselam) and it just makes me feel so special and that there are some sisters who truly do love me for the sake of Allah. Unfortunately, I can only count a handful of these lovely sisters on one hand, may Allah reward them and continue to beautify their character. It seems these days many sisters place more concern with their exterior appearance and neglect the inner. Many of us may look like a Muslim but the way some of us act online, in public, and in secret are unacceptable. Islam is about good manners and there is a lot of reward for those who show beautiful manners and etiquette (while of course implementing the Qur'an and Sunnah). 

Abu Hurairah (RadiAllahu Anhu) said, “I heard Abu al Qasim (Rasulullah (Sallalahu aleyhi wasselam)), say, ‘The best among you in Islam are those with the best manners, so long as they develop a sense of understanding.” (Al-Bukhari)

Of course this is a reminder to myself first and foremost, as I truly feel this is something that I struggle with on a day to day basis. As I delve deeper into the true teachings of the Qur'an and Sunnah and learn more about our beloved prophet Muhammad (sallalhu aleyhi wasselam) and how he had the most beautiful character and dealt with people with the finest of manners, I can't help but feel compelled to follow his footsteps. Coming from a background where good manners and etiquette were never really practised in my culture, it really is a challenge. Some people were born into good manners and others, not so much. I consider myself the latter and I have learnt just how important it is to practise what we preach. We should all be working hard on beautifying our character and walking on this earth with the best of manners. We should be showing the non-Muslims the beauty of Islam through the way we carry ourselves and as well to those Muslims who are far from the deen. Just because our exterior is beautiful and it physically portrays Islam, it does not mean that we have the right to be rude to people, not send Salams, curse and backbite, and other acts that are disrespectful and not part of the deen. 

Abd Allah ibn ‘Amr said, “Rasulullah (Sallalahu aleyhi wasselam) was never obscene or coarse. Rather, he used to tell us that the best among us were those with the best manners.” (Al-Bukhari)

What is more beautiful than a Muslim sister who knows the importance of beautifying her heart so that her deeds would be sincere and purely for the sake of Allah? When I see a sister with beautiful character, I can't help but want to emulate her actions and it really motivates me to want to focus more on my inner character so that it will shine through on the outside. Having the most expensive abaya or dressing in all black does not mean anything if you will continue to treat others without respect while looking down on them. Just because you wear the niqab and cover your face, it does not mean that you have the right to judge others who do not dress the same as you. How do we call others to Islam if we can not even show to them the kind manners and good character of a believer? We must always remember, 

 Rasulullah (Sallalahu aleyhi wasselam) said: “The most beloved of Allah’s servants to Allah are those with the best manners.” (At-Tabarâni and Albani authenticated it in Silsilatul-AHaadeethis-Saheehah
 How easy it is to attain the status of one who prays the night prayer, and how easy it is to be granted al-Jannah just by exercising good manners towards one another (and of course fulfilling the obligatory before anything)!

 Abu Hurairah (
RadiAllahu Anhu) said that Rasulullah (Sallalahu aleyhi wasselam) said, “If one has good manners, one may attain the same level of merit as those who spend their nights in prayer.” (Al-Bukhari)

 Let us all reflect upon the beautiful manners that our beloved prophet (sallalahu aleyhi wasselam) had and let us follow in his footsteps and those after him.  We should take care of our outer appearance but we should also remember never to neglect what is in our hearts because that is truly what Allah cares about the most! Remember to always keep your intentions clean and to remember not to put your outer appearance before your inner. With a clean heart and the right intentions, our manners should cloak our outer appearance with beauty. May Allah bless us all with good character and manners and keep our intentions purely for His Sake and may Allah give me and all of us the tawfeeq to practise what we preach ameen!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Who do you love?

Almighty Allah said (what means): “Say (O Muhammad): “if you (really) love Allah then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic monotheism, follow the Quran and Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [3:31]. 

Often when we love someone, we are constantly thinking about them. We try our best to do everything to please them and we will sacrifice our time, effort and possessions in order to make them happy and to make them love us in return. When people fall in love, they can change completely for the better of for the worse. Some people lose sleep because all they can think about is their lover, others lose their identity and become who their lover wants them to become, and some even disobey and cut off family ties in order to be with their lover. Love makes one experience intense attachment, deep devotion and a sense of longing. When we love someone, we do not want to share them with anyone. We want to keep them to ourselves and we want to show the world how much we love them. Although love is a beautiful thing, we need to be really careful who we put all that time, effort, and dedication towards. 

"And from among mankind there are some who take for themselves (objects of worship as) rivals to Allah, loving them as they should (only) love Allah. And those who believe are stronger in their love for Allah."
(Qur'an, Al-Baqarah 2:165)

We must beware of loving someone so much that we begin to idolize them resulting in worshiping them. The creation was not created to be worshiped rather the Creator who created the creation is the One to be worshiped alone, with no partners. We must realize that the love we have for the creation will always be temporary and that the one we love, may not love us back. The one we love may be the one who breaks our heart and makes us lose hope in all of mankind. The one we love so much may be the one we end up hating. The one who we love so much may be the one who brings us to our demise. 

Ibn Taymiyyah said, “the more the servant loves his Master, the less will he love other objects and they will decrease in number. The less the servant loves his Master, the more will he love other objects and they will increase in number (Majmu Fatawa [1/94])

True love is when you love someone and He loves you back unconditionally. He constantly forgives you no matter how many times you have wronged Him. He Provides for you everything you need and want. He Knows what is good for you and He always knows what is in your best interest. He protects you from harm and evil. He makes sure that you are constantly learning and changing into the best person you can be. He always gives and never ask for anything in return except for your loyalty and gratitude. His Love for you is more than that of a mother's love for her child. He never Foresakes you and He never abandons you whenever you need Him the most. He is Always there. His Mercy is greater than His Wrath and He never burdens anyone with more than they can bear. He is Kind, Patient, Peaceful and Loving. He is Allah, the One who Created you. 

Umar ibn al-Khattaab said: “Some prisoners were brought to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), and there was a woman among the prisoners who was searching (for her child). When she found her child she embraced him and put him to her breast. The Messenger of Allah said to us, ‘Do you think that this woman would throw her child in the fire?’ We said, ‘No, by Allah, not if she is able not to.’ The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, ‘Allah is more merciful to His slaves than this woman is to her child.’” (Agreed upon. Al-Bukhaari, 5653; Muslim, 6912.)

Should we then not direct all our love and focus towards the One created us? The One who promises ever lasting eternal bliss with palaces made of gold and silver! No creation could ever promise another creation the true Paradise that which Allah, the Almighty has promised : 

"And their recompense shall be Paradise, and silken garments, because they were patient. Reclining therein on raised thrones, they will see there neither the excessive heat of the sun, nor the excessive bitter cold, (as in Paradise there is no sun and no moon). And the shade thereof is close upon them, and the bunches of fruit thereof will hang low within their reach. And amongst them will be passed round vessels of silver and cups of crystal, Crystal-clear, made of silver. They will determine the measure thereof according to their wishes. And they will be given to drink there a cup (of wine) mixed with Zanjabil (ginger, etc.), A spring there, called Salsabil. And round about them will (serve) boys of everlasting youth. If you see them, you would think them scattered pearls. And when you look there (in Paradise), you will see a delight (that cannot be imagined), and a great dominion. Their garments will be of fine green silk, and gold embroidery. They will be adorned with bracelets of silver, and their Lord will give them a pure drink."  (Quran Al-Insan 76: 12-21)  

The only way we can attain such eternal bliss is by loving Allah more than loving the creation and worshiping Him alone while following the Messenger of Allah (sallalahu aleyhi wasellam.) True love is not real love unless it is for Allah. When you truly love Him, nothing else in the world matters because you will feel tranquility, serenity, peace in your heart, soul, and mind. True love for Allah is when you exist knowing that your sole purpose in life is to please Him and Him alone. We live our lives every day falling in love with the wrong person and as a result of that, we fall into depression, suicide and no longer knowing what our purpose in life is anymore. Loving the Creator more than the creation will lead to an eternal life of happiness and joy that we will never find anywhere else except with our Lord, Allah.

(my monthly blog post from : http://aateam.org/blog/beautifying-our-hearts/)