Best viewed with Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, Flock, or IE 8

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

{Quick Reflections 35} The Gender of God

Posted by Badeea at 1:19 PM 1 comments Links to this post

Why do some people take for granted that God has a gender? They even go beyond that and take for granted that God is male.
Let us think of this title together. What is the gender of God? Does He have a gender? Why do we say "He" and not "She"?

To answer these questions properly we will need to use a few different tools. Logic (as usual), biology and linguistics.

From a biological stand point, as creatures, we know that all higher forms of life are formed of 2 sexes, male and female. The reason for having 2 sexes is that the sexual interaction between them is necessary for the continuation of existence of that creature. As one generation dies its offspring have to be there if that creature is to continue to be represented in life in later generations. Another reason for having 2 different sexes is that neither of them is psychologically or physically fully independent and either one needs the other to maintain a healthy and stable life.
On the other hand lesser forms of life are known to reproduce asexually through budding or division. Again the "need" for reproduction is the continuation of existence of that creature as all creatures are mortal and bound to die one day.

Accordingly if an entity is bound to live for ever it does not need to reproduce or have an offspring either sexually or asexually. Also if an entity is "perfect" on its own it does not need another entity to exist either in space or in time parallel to it.

Now if that entity is God, the Most Perfect, the Creator of time and space, the Creator of creatures that reproduce either sexually or asexually we will need to ask ourselves a few questions.
Since He is "perfect" why would He have other entities next to Him? Why would He exist in different "formats"? How can the Creator of "existence" and "formats" exist in formats?!
Since He is the Creator of time and space, then the finite limits of neither the past, present and future nor of place, can encompass Him. (Kindly refer to http://www.daraltarjama.com/dt/forum/showthread.php?p=354#post354). Accordingly how can some people say that His so called "Son", which is a so called "format of Him" existed on Earth in a certain finite place during a certain finite time?

Pure logical answers to the above questions confirm that God is genderless and exists in only one format that only He knows about and is One and only One Who is not limited by place or time.

Now since He does not have a gender as He is the Creator of gender, from a linguistic stand point we refer to Him as "He" and not "She" because our mental and linguistic abilities have to refer to Him using something that is constant and never changing. Accordingly the reason for referring to Him as "He" is our limited mental and linguistic abilities that can never encompass Him.

On the other hand from a social stand point we tend to call the origin of anything "mother" as it is the womb that carries offspring or products into existence, e.g. mother-land, mother-tongue, etc. Accordingly it is very strange that people at a certain era decided to call the Creator of existence "Father" and made up a story about His "Son" and decided that God and His so-called Son are both of the male gender! Why can it not be "Mother" and "Daughter"? Or "Father" and "Daughter"? Or "Mother" and "Son"? The reasons behind that are very clear. At the time that story was fabricated, when the world was ruled mercilessly by the Roman Empire, women and the female sex were regarded as inferior so anything superior or Divine had to be thought of in the more superior form, men and the male sex. Accordingly God had to be "Father". Also Prophet `Isaa (Jesus) whom the whole story was fabricated about was a "man" so it had to be "Son".

From all the above we can conclude that God has no gender (He is the Creator of the concept of gender in the first place) and is One and only One (not existing in multiple finite formats in finite places and times as He is the Creator of formats, places and time).

The Arabic word for God is Allaah which pertains to no gender unlike god in English that pertains to a male gender as goddess pertains to a female gender.

{Quick Reflections 34} Heart and Mind

Posted by Badeea at 12:00 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Heart and Mind

As an adolescent I used to think that I think with my “mind” and feel with my “heart”. As I started reading more I learnt that there is the “conscious” and “subconscious” included in the mind. Then the terms “psych” appeared in English and “self” appeared in Arabic. Add to that the always vague “soul”. Later on I learnt that we do not “feel” with the “heart” and that it is actually a self sustaining “pump” that “responded” to different “hormones” and “nervous input” in addition to having its own role in producing certain hormones. Even later I learnt from some true stories that some people who underwent cardiac transplantation had a change of their personality!
Now this was becoming really confusing; who or which is doing what exactly? What do we really know about all these “terms”? Is our knowledge a fact to be taken for granted or do we have some great misconceptions here?

The only way to find an absolute answer is to get the “manual” of these objects and read what it says about them. The “manufacturer” is the “Creator” (SWT) and the “manual” is the “Qur’an” and authentic “Ahadeeth”.

Regarding the “soul” or “spirit” Allah (SWT) says; “And they ask you about the Spirit. Say, “The Spirit is of the Command of my Lord; and in no way have you been brought of knowledge except a little.”(TMQ, 17:85). So I decided to abandon further search on this one.

Regarding the “self” I was content to know that there are 3 forms and what each one does; the “reproaching self”, the “composed self” and the “evil-inclined self”.

Regarding the “psych”, “conscious” and “subconscious”, the scientific explanations did not take into consideration the spirit’s role but gave precise chemical and electrical recordings of “what” is going on and “how” but not “why”. On the other hand Allah (SWT) tells us we will not know much about the spirit (which I believe has the answer for the “why”) so that was again another dead end for me.

So what really remained confusing and still are very amazing, subhan Allah, are the heart and mind. They are both mentioned extensively in Divine revelations and are continuously undergoing scientific research.

“The heart is a pump”, “the heart is a pump” was the answer I kept getting from science. What about “…they have hearts with which they do not comprehend, and they have eyes with which they do not behold, and they have ears with which they do not hear. Those are like the cattle; no indeed, they are further in error. Those are they (who are) heedless”(TMQ, 7:179), and “but He will take you to task for whatever your hearts have earned”(TMQ, 2:225) among many other ayat which convey similar or close meanings? Again I was told that these were metaphors.

Now what about “Surely then it is not the beholdings (i.e. the eyes) that (grow) blind, but (it is) the hearts within the breasts that (grow) blind.”(TMQ, 22:46)? This is the only ayah in which it is stressed that it is the “heart within the breasts” that is meant to be mentioned. I could not see the metaphor here.

Surgeons performing heart transplantations are mostly materialistic Westerns or atheists in general so they were not intrigued by the true stories of people having certain changes to their personalities following heart transplantation so that issue remains further uninvestigated.

The definite answer is to be found in the ayah, “The Day when neither money nor sons will profit (anyone), Except for him who comes up to Allah with a sound heart.”(TMQ, 26: 88-89). Also our Beloved’s saying, “Truly in the body there exists a lump of flesh which if is sound the whole body will be sound and if is bad the whole body will be bad, and that (lump of flesh) is the heart.” Now some people might argue that is what really happens when the heart is medically in failure which affects the whole body but the context of the rest of that Hadeeth in which that phrase was mentioned is talking about halal and haram. Accordingly the heart is definitely doing something else other than “pumping blood”, “responding to hormones and nervous input” and “producing certain hormones”.

Now let us move to some real life experience to compare between what each of the heart and mind do. I am sure that each of you had tens of similar experiences like the one I will narrate about myself here.
I always understood with my “mind” the ayah “Say, ‘Surely my prayer, and my rites, and my living, and my dying are for Allah, The Lord of the worlds. No associate has He; and this I am commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims.’ (Literally: of the ones who have surrendered to Allah).”(TMQ, 6: 162-163) but it was not until one day Allah (SWT) willed that I “feel” and “understand” it with my “heart” that I found the great difference between understanding with one’s “heart” and understanding with one’s “mind”. It is also manifested when one wants to feel humility to Allah (TWT). It does not happen when one “logically” understands that meaning and not at any time (to refute some physician’s claim that it is a conditioned reflex that one can train himself to do); one only gets the “true feeling” when Allah (SWT) wills regardless of how much one “wants” to “logically feel it”. And the list goes on.
This also applies to the meanings of words as mentioned in the previous article. That is why one has to take the time and effort to let the “meanings” of “words” sink into his/her heart and not just pass rapidly by his/her mind.

So whenever arrogant human science tells you the heart is just a pump “think” and “feel”, “and in no way have you been brought of knowledge except a little.”(TMQ, 17:85).”

May Allah (SWT) grant us all sound hearts.

{Quick Reflections 33} Inside the Grave

Posted by Badeea at 11:59 AM 0 comments Links to this post
I was 7 years old when my father first took me down with him into an empty grave he was buying. He showed me and my younger brother inside. He told us that this is where we will all end up. Down there we will not take anything with us except our deeds. I saw that for myself at a very young age.
It really helped me later on in life inspite of being an unrelenting rebel to know what are my limits. I learnt that my limits are only those put forward by ALLAAH (SWT) through His Prophet (SAWS) and nothing else.
Even later on when i was around 12 my father explained to me that he brought the grave before buying the house. He explained to me that we are more sure to die than we are to live. That taught me to prioritize my akhirah over my dunya.

My second and third visits to the inside of a grave was later in both my early and late teens. But this time it was different. I was able to grasp more and more the Truth. Following one's personal inclinations in addition to shaytaan are our greatest enemies that will be of no benefit to us down there.
At that young age that is how i saw it. Down there was dark and tight. Down there was very cold and lonely and i am a very outgoing and social person. I don't want to be lonely. The only way to avoid that is to work hard in this life in preparation for the day when one goes there.

May ALLAAH make our graves gardens from paradise.

{Quick Reflections 32} On the Death Bed

Posted by Badeea at 11:58 AM 0 comments Links to this post
I was 21 years old full of vibrant untamed explosive energy that manifested itself in the form of rebelling against everything and everyone except Allaah (TWT), and also reckless driving. Allaah (SWT) willed that I live through a rare experience that lasted for a few seconds. While driving at my then usual 80-100km/hour in the heart of Cairo and during a maneuver to avoid a fatal collision a memory of my whole life with the very fine details flashed infront of my eyes. A few minutes after the incident was over safely I realized that our memories are much stronger than we imagine and never lose a single event that we have lived through. It just requires the suitable stimulus to bring back to life every single second of the past which is stored in our brains.
Now instead of facing that moment again at an unexpected time how about each of us puts him/herself on his/her death bed and think of his/her life. Is there something we regret doing? Is there something we want to change about ourselves? Is there something we wish we did but never actually gave ourselves the chance to do? What if i am to die after 3 days, what are the major decisions that i would make? What are the things that need urgent ammendment or correction? What will i do inorder not to have any regrets concerning my short life on this Earth?

{Quick Reflections 30} The Sound Heart

Posted by Badeea at 11:57 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Last time we mentioned the ayah, “The Day when neither money nor sons will profit (anyone), Except for him who comes up to Allah with a sound heart”(TMQ, 26: 88-89) . That means that our only way out and the key for success on the day of Judgment is having a sound heart. Many people can claim that they have sound hearts but who really has it? Accordingly the issue of knowing the exact definition and criteria of a sound heart is crucial for all of us.

I will quote al-Hasan al-Basry and use his very wise words as a guideline to help us explore the different dimensions of a sound heart. He says, contrary to common knowledge it is not a Hadeeth, “Iman is not achieved by wishful thinking, rather it is what is ‘deeply rooted’ in the ‘heart’ and is affirmed by ‘deeds’”.
The three underlined words in the above quote are the axes around which this little study will proceed.

Definition and criteria of a sound heart:
Linguistically in Arabic the word saleem is derived from the root salam, which means free of any defects. Hence a “sound heart” is a heart with no defects, a heart free of shirk, kofr, envy, deceit, hatred, evil intent, suspicion and hesitancy.
It is a heart that is free from anything except Allah (TWT) and hence Prophet Muhammad (SAWS). Any love to any other one or thing does not “follow” them but is rather “derived” from love to Allah (AWJ) and the Prophet (SAWS).
A sound heart is one that carries the manners of the Qur’an and that is why our Beloved’s (SAWS) manners were the Qur’an, he had the soundest of hearts.
A sound heart is one that has no arrogance in it, “…humble towards the believers, mightily proud towards the disbelievers…”(TMQ, 5:54) .
A sound heart is one that loves all Muslims. It is one that wishes that all people were good Muslims, “…and do not set up in our hearts rancor towards (the ones) who have believed…”(TMQ, 59:10) .
A sound heart is one that not only loves the good for other Muslims and non-Muslims, as our Beloved (SAWS) says, “None of you will have faith until he wishes for his (Muslim) brother what he likes for himself” , but even prefers others to his own self, “but give [them] preference over themselves, even though they are in privation”(TMQ, 59:9)


Nature of the heart:
The heart in general has got a very strange nature. Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) says, “The similitude of the heart is that of a feather in an open space twirled about by the wind” . It is ever changing and is so vulnerable to the extent that our Beloved (SAWS) who has the soundest of all hearts says, “O Allah, You ever changer of hearts make our hearts hold steadfast onto your religion” .

The sahaba’s (companions of the Prophet) hearts and our hearts, that’s where the difference lies:
What is deeply rooted in the heart dictates success and acceptance of deeds in this life and in the hereafter. Hearts –rather than deeds- differ greatly from good to better and better and best and hence the great differences in levels in jannah.
I will explain further. The heart should be the drive for the deeds. The heart leads and the deeds follow. What happens if they are dissociated? Let us examine the different scenarios one by one.

Can the soundness of the heart be much greater and yet the deeds so little? The answer is no. Examine the sahaba’s lives and you will see that they all had great deeds though of different nature. For example Omar Ibnul-Khattab’s (RA) deeds were mostly outspoken and well known while those of Othman Ibn-Affan (RA) were mostly hidden and those of Abu-Bakr (RA) were both. The more the heart is sound the more it propels one to do more good deeds (regardless of the exact type or nature of the deeds). Accordingly a very sound heart equals very great deeds. However the opposite is not true as we will see in the next scenario.

Can the greatness of deeds be much more than the soundness of the heart? The answer is yes.
That is where the hypocrisy, shirk, ‘ojb (when one is proud of his good deeds) and nifaq come in. We all know the following Hadeeth, “The Messenger of Allah (SAWS) said, “Truly on the Day of Judgment, Allah the All-Mighty will descend to the slaves to judge them and every nation will be kneeling. The first of people against whom judgment will be pronounced will be a man who has learnt all the Qur’an, a man who died a martyr and a wealthy man. Allah will say to the Qur’an reciter, ‘Did I not teach you what I revealed upon my Messenger?’ He will say, ‘Yes, my Lord.’ Allah will say, ‘What did you do with your knowledge?’ He will say, ‘I used to recite it around the clock.’ Allah will say to him, ‘You have lied.’ And the angels will say, ‘You have lied.’ And Allah will say to him, ‘You actually wanted it to be said of you: He is a reciter. And so it was said.’ The wealthy one is then brought up. Allah will say, ‘Did I not grant you all kinds of wealth that you may not need anyone?’ He will say, ‘Yes, my Lord.’ Allah will say, ‘What did you do with what I granted you?’ He will say, ‘I used to keep good kinship ties and give charity.’ Allah will say to him, ‘You have lied.’ And the angels will say, ‘You have lied.’ And Allah will say to him, ‘You actually wanted it to be said of you: He is generous. And so it was said.’ Then the martyr is brought up. Allah will say to him, ‘For what sake were you killed?’ He will say, ‘I was ordered to fight for Your sake so I fought until I was killed.’ Allah will say to him, ‘You have lied.’ And the angels will say, ‘You have lied.’ And Allah will say to him, ‘You actually wanted it to be said of you: He is courageous. And so it was said.’” Then Allah’s Messenger hit me on my knees saying, “O Abu-Huraira, these three are the first of Allah’s creatures with whom the Hell-fire will be kindled on the Day of Judgment.”
The third and last scenario is more or less the first scenario but in the opposite direction. The less sound the hearts the less the good deeds and achievements.
We all know as generations are concerned that the generation of the sahaba was the greatest generation ever followed by the following and the following ones. (However on individual basis some people in any generation can be as great or even greater than some of the sahaba). Now why was that generation the best? Because they had the soundest hearts. Comparing our generation to theirs for example, they had much much less means to help them spread Islam than we do yet they did in 30 years what we did not do in hundreds of years. We are mostly very well educated with PhDs and Masters Degrees having certificates of “higher education” with access to the internet and all kinds of media (much more means and even deeds) and they had non of that yet their “achievements” are much more than ours. Now why is that? Again because their hearts were sounder.



How to promote the soundness of your heart:
Here is a 10 point-summary for methods of promoting soundness of one’s heart each of which needs a separate article or study to elaborate upon.
1. Estimation of Allah’s true estimate in one’s heart.
2. Estimation of the hereafter’s true estimate in one’s heart.
3. Observation of the surrounding creation with meditation and learning from history.
4. Living with hope.
5. Persistence on obtaining knowledge and reading.
6. Reading the Qur’an and learning it.
7. Performing the voluntary night prayers (qyam) out of love to Allah (SWT) rather than out of compulsion.
8. Remembrance of Allah (AWJ) all the time along with istighfar, du’aa and continuous repentance.
9. Staying away from sins and bad deeds.
10. True brother/sisterhood in Allah.

Death:
This is actually a point that belongs to the above subtitle but I would like to stress on it on its own due to its very “materialistic” and “touchable” nature and hence great effect in disciplining oneself.
The only sure future event in the life of any of us is death. One has to have this on his/her mind all the time. Our Beloved (SAWS) used to remember death more than 20 times a day.
Now why is that? As previously mentioned the heart is of a very vulnerable nature and is ever changing and is continuously affected by the surrounding environment and the materials of this lowly life. The only materialistic and visible way to tame it and redirect it to arrange its priorities and head for its goal is to continuously remind it of the visible destination, the grave. This way one will always be able to differentiate what is true and what is false, what is to be followed and what is to be left and whom to believe and whom not to believe.

I know of someone very successful in life and very cheerful who after a few years of his marriage bought a grave even before buying an apartment of his own. He even took his less than 10-years old kids down into that grave and told them that this will eventually be any living being’s future. One of these then-kids is one of my best friends now and he knows his priorities very well and is a very cheerful and successful man.

What degrades the heart:
“No indeed, (but) whatever they were earning has overlaid on their hearts”(TMQ, 83:14) . All kinds of sins and bad deeds simply accumulate over the heart and blacken it making it less and less sound to the extent that it might hear the Qur’an and not understand it (as was mentioned previously in “Heart and Mind), have the light and guidance in front of it but not see it and listen to the truth but not recognize it.
Following one’s desires and inclinations is the road to an ill heart and hence failure and hell.

General strategy and conclusion:
From all of the above and especially from the difference between the sahaba’s hearts and our hearts we can conclude that we all need to give much more attention, effort and time to purification of our hearts, more than that we give to “performing” good deeds. We should persistently ask Allah to grant us sound hearts. In our attempt at achieving perfection we should work on the heart first. If we concentrate on that, with time Allah (TWT) will bless our “little” deeds and they will become greater and greater and eventually much more effective and finally more perfect.

May Allah (AWJ) grant us all the soundest of hearts and guide us to reach His utmost content.

References:
 The Noble Qur’an.
 The Prophet’s sunnah (SAWS).
 Life of the sahaba.
 Our life.
 History.
 http://www.islamway.com/?iw_s=Lesson&iw_a=view&lesson_id=35216
 http://www.qaradawi.net/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=3285&version=1&template_id=104
 http://ar.fgulen.com/a.page/qna/a443.html?PHPSESSID=c9e4929c5b8fd288678828b7f80faaf5
 http://egyamira.tigblog.org/post/38587
 http://www.muslimtents.com/zakihassan/index2.htm
 http://www.islamway.com/?iw_s=Scholar&iw_a=series&series_id=1590
 http://www.islamway.com/?iw_s=Scholar&iw_a=series&series_id=2038
 http://www.islamway.com/?iw_s=Lesson&iw_a=view&lesson_id=36975&scholar_id=361&series_id=2021
 The Ahadeeth team database.
 http://dorar.net/mhadith.asp

Special thanks to our sister who helped me editing the translation of some Ahadeeth.

{Quick Reflections 31} The Sound Heart 2

Posted by Badeea at 11:56 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Again our talk continues around the ayah “The Day when neither money nor sons will profit (anyone), Except for him who comes up to Allah with a sound heart”(TMQ, 26: 88-89) . It is all about the heart. It is all about the heart.

We will live with sound hearts through a couple of stories followed by exploring our own hearts to see how sound they are at this point of time. Last time together we studied the sound heart from a somewhat academic point of view which will be our ongoing reference point.

Stories:
Most of us know the famous story about our Beloved (SAWS) announcing an unknown person who entered the Masjid as one of the residents of jannah. "Abdullaah Ibn "Umar Ibnul-Khattaab (RA) was so curious to know what was this man doing to get that position in spite of him not being one of the famous Sahabah. So he followed him to his home and asked for refuge in his home for three days in order to watch him.
He noticed that he neither prayed extra voluntary prayers nor made voluntary fasting nor was he special in any aspect. After three days he asked him how come the Prophet (SAWS) rejoiced jannah to him. His answer was that he always went to bed at night with his heart feeling having no hard feelings towards any Muslim! It is as simple and difficult as that. On the other hand, many Muslims have a lot of good deeds but their hearts are not sound and have some hardships between each other. Alas, the only condition for jannah is a sound heart. It is all about the sound heart.

I have learnt the following story directly from an old man I have known very well throughout my life.
His father died back in the thirties when he was a few months old. His illiterate mother raised him and his brother, the only 2 to remain alive out of 13 brothers and sisters, very patiently for 40 years. She was illiterate, yet very honest that people of her village used to trust her with their valuable belongings to keep away for them. She was very generous with the poor in spite of being poor herself and never denied any poor person food and temporary shelter again in spite of her modest means. She never had any hard feelings towards anyone, always forgiving, giving and caring.

The day she died her other son who was there narrates that she loudly asked, "Who is that man coming at us?" pointing in a certain direction. All those who were in the room looked there and there was no one there. She then immediately died with a big smile on her face. Most probably that was the angel of death or any other angel she saw immediately before her death.

That now-old man narrated that he was devastated by her death and kept crying for days that he isolated himself from his friends. A few days later he saw his dead mother in a dream (seeing a dead person in a dream is usually a good thing for both parties if both were in a good religious state) very healthy and happy comforting him and asking him to calm down and go out with his friends! Since then he keeps seeing her in dreams once in a while telling him about certain events that would happen; some of which I have personally witnessed.

The morale of the story is that this good old illiterate lady did not do much of great deeds or was famous or known to anyone except to some people of her small village in upper Egypt. Yet, she had a sound heart that enabled her to rise to such high ranks in the barzakh life and hence in jannah in shaa Allaah.

So again it is all about the heart.

Examining our own hearts now and everyday:

You want to know how sound your heart is now and everyday?
Ask yourself the following questions and answer them very honestly.

With Allaah:
How do you feel with Allaah while doing munajah? Tranquil, serene, afraid, hopeful, strange, detached, distracted or what?
How sincerely, honestly and freely can you "talk" to Him (SWT)? Can you really be yourself and express yourself while "talking" to Him (TWT)?
You can spend hours on the phone with a friend talking about your troubles, how long can you spend with your Creator (AWJ) talking about your troubles? A few seconds, minutes or hours?

With Qur'aan:
Do you read Qur'aan with your heart, or just with your eyes, tongue and lips? One of our sisters narrates that she new a Christian who very honestly once said, "Qur'aan never fails you when you read it with your heart".
How does Qur'aan affect you? Do you respond with happiness, fear, hope or contemplation according to each relevant ayah?
Do you believe what is stated in the Qur'aan more or what is in the newspapers or what you hear from your friends or read in other books?
Which is your basic source of knowledge, the Qur’aan, newspapers, what you hear from your friends, what you read in books, etc?
Are Qur'aan and Sunnah your only absolute standard points of reference?

With Qyaam:
Is it very difficult for you to do it? How frequently do you miss it? Do you have to force yourself to do it?
When 2 people are in deep love they search for each other all the time and seek each other's company all the time; especially if that is to be away from others. Is qyaam to you a daily date with your Creator that you yearn for all day long or is it a burden?

With Allaah's and His Prophet's (SAWS) orders:
"And in no way should a male believer or a female believer, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a Command, have the choice in their Command”(TMQ, 32: 36). Do you hesitate and consult your inclinations, friends or other books when facing a clear direct command from Allaah (SWT) or His Prophet (SWAS) or do you obey immediately?

With other people:
Do you wish for them what you wish for yourself or even more? Or do you prefer yourself over everything else?
When you see one who is your "rival" at work, be it charity work or in any other work, loved by people more than you, do you envy him/her?
Do you know that Allaah (SWT) makes good people love (with no apparent specific reason) the ones He (SWT) loves?
Do you ever carry any hard feelings towards any Muslim?
How hard are you with non-Muslims who openly hurt other Muslims and display their enmity to Allaah (SWT)?
When you love or hate people do you love or hate them only for Allaah or because they are funny and attractive?

What are your priorities?
Are they arranged according to your personal preferences or to Allaah's orders?
How much do you love this life? Are you willing to sacrifice it for the "true" life in the hereafter?
How willing are you to donate money for the sake of Allaah? Do you have a constant deductible from your monthly income for the sake of Allaah in spite of all your hardships?
What does death mean to you? Are you ready to die now like you are ready to go to work now?
Are you fully aware and living the fact that you are only a very temporary visitor on this earth? Are you aware that temporary visitors do not need much provisions during their visit?


So again it is all about the heart not the amount or quality of deeds. However busy you are, doing good deeds, stop once in a while and assess your heart. See your "good" deeds are really for Allaah’s sake or they have turned into a mere habit; or even worse maintaining them to serve your ego?
Focus on your heart and work on it and Allaah (SWT) will bless your deeds and guide you to do more and to serve Him (AWJ) better.

Kindly refer to last month's little study for answers to questions regarding the sound heart.
May Allah grant us all steadfast and sound hearts.

References:
 The Noble Qur’an.
 The Prophet’s sunnah (SAWS).
 Life of the sahaba.
 Our life.
 http://forum.amrkhaled.net/old/showthread.php?t=2033

Special thanks to our sister who helped me editing the whole article.

{Quick Reflections 29} Glaring Truth

Posted by Badeea at 11:55 AM 0 comments Links to this post
http://glaringtruth.blogspot.com/

Most people are stereotyped in their thoughts and ideas and tend to believe what they know only. Any new information that contradicts their common belief even if true is often shunned away as it is easier for the mind and ego not to disturb itself with contradictory information.

What if the mind and ego start to question the validity of their beliefs discovering that they could be mistaken and that they would look foolish if they continue to think the same way they used to, then that mind and that ego will be convinced easier with the truth.

Imagine the following scenario; evil antibodies killing innocent bacteria inside a blood stream of a human body and a reporter commenting on those evil antibodies without the mention that these are antibodies and those are bacteria. The viewer is convinced that the antibodies are evil and the bacteria are good according to the reporter without knowing the true nature of each and why is this going on.

The above scenario is an example of how an event could be reported in such a way that would give an impression that is completely opposite to the truth. It is an example of what is going on everyday in our world due to the effect of the biased media which conveys a distorted and incomplete image of the truth; the truth about the events happening all around the world, the truth about why there is a certain conflict, the truth about why certain people are behaving in a certain way, the truth about who is the true aggressor and who is innocent, and the truth about who is defending himself and who is evil.

How about if the above reporting of the scenario is amended such that a zoom out is made showing the nature of these objects and what is really going on and who is who and why; a report which says that actually the antibodies are defending the human body against the harmful and aggressive bacteria that are attacking it.

The events that have been going on for more than half a century in the Middle East and especially in Palestine, the rising misunderstanding between different peoples of the world with a resultant widening of gaps, and the most tragic events in Lebanon and how the aggressor was displayed as the victim and the defender displayed as a terrorist, have all contributed to establishing the Glaring Truth group.

The Glaring Truth group is an ongoing effort that aims at revealing the truth to the whole world regarding the political, historical, social, geographical and humanitarian aspects of the Middle East. We aim at dramatically convincing the stereotyped mind and ego that it could be mistaken by trying to present to the audience worldwide the full true picture.



Glaring Truth is an initiative started by a group of people from different backgrounds, religions and cultures with one common goal in mind – to allow the light of truth to reach out to you. It is not politically-affiliated in any way and does not, in any way, promote or affiliate itself to any particular organization. It aims to reveal the truth of current and past events amidst the biased, clichéd and one-sided image that media often reflects to the public. It is trying to reach out beyond the lies, ignorance, arrogance and personal motives of individuals and groups that have succeeded in building barriers and racial prejudice. This has been responsible for the suffering of the human race worldwide and has allowed people to see their differences in an unfavorable light with the result being a never-ending conflict to annihilate the other. The Glaring Truth demonstrates facts and builds bridges of understanding that supersede racial, religious and cultural differences.


You are cordially invited to share in this effort to help show the glaring truth to the whole world. During our follow up of the events, we came to the conclusion that what really shapes our present is not the war of armies, but the war of words. The Public Relations war, in an attempt to gain support for the aggressor's side, is hijacking the world's ability to think and choose. Extensive lies and obscure truth are the tools they are using. Accordingly we decided to organize ourselves and initiate a forum or group to discuss how we can very professionally sustain a front that defends the truth and makes sure it reaches the media and the public through the “Glaring Truth" group. Our efforts are based on humanitarian issues regardless of religion or race. In this group, you will find people who are trying to do something, and who are not just talking.

Within less than two weeks of our initiation we managed to put a racist website under investigation for the possibility of shutting it down by the order of law.

Visit the Glaring Truth blog at http://glaringtruth.blogspot.com/, or the Glaring Truth group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/glaringtruth/.
In order to join the team and share in this noble effort of bringing peace to the world through conveying the truth and bridging gaps please send an email introducing yourself to glaringtruth-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

{Quick Reflections 28} Time

Posted by Badeea at 11:54 AM 0 comments Links to this post

Allaah (SWT) created time and place. Moreover a creation can never encompass its creator. Accordingly, as we all know, Allaah (SWT) is not limited by and can not be talked about in the terms of time and place. However He (SWT) uses explicable terms, which corresponds with our familiar sense of time and place in the Qur'aan, to describe His presence, the Day of Judgment and other issues that are unseen to us.



To elaborate further upon this issue and in an attempt to illustrate how limited we are in our perception and how unlimited He (SWT) is, I will provide the following 2 live pictures.



In order for us to see anything (which is a representation of things in place) light, reflected from (non-illuminating objects e.g. everything except stars, sun, fire and light sources) or emerging from (illuminating objects e.g. stars, sun, fire and light sources), has to enter our eyes. Now that light takes time to travel from place to place, from an object to our eyes. For example light takes approximately 8 minutes to travel from the sun to earth. Accordingly the moment we see the sun it is in a position it used to be 8 minutes earlier. On a wider scale, as light takes thousands of years to reach us from the much further stars; we are actually looking at them through time. We are seeing them in a position they used to be in thousands of years ago. Some of them now might have exploded or moved very far from where we see them. Accordingly we are looking at places and things which we think are there now but which are actually their past. So this is how we see things or places through the window of time.



On the other hand, we have all watched movies and know that they are imprinted on a roll of film which has static pictures printed next to each other in a sequence such that when you move it with the appropriate speed we generate a dynamic movie with different events taking place in a certain time frame having a past, present and future within the movie while you are watching it.

However if you take that roll and spread it out in front of you you will be able to see all the events that occur at different times (in the movie) at the same time. i.e . to you as an outside observer of the film roll, that another human like you made, you can see the past, present and future of the events in that movie at the same time very simply. Also you can see different places at the same time. That can be done by humans amongst humans.

Now imagine the Al-Mighty Creator of place and time looking from outside the place and time at us in our place and time. Allaah (SWT) is the creator of this movie roll that has all our lives spreading over it from the day Adam lay foot on earth until the Day of Jugdment. For Him (TWT) He can see all the places and all the times (past, present and future) at the same time while for us, who are limited by these 2 dimensions, time and place, we have different places and different time frames that govern our very limited perception.

And Allaah is Most High Most Knowledgeable.

May Allaah guide us all to live in His ma3iyyah regardless of our time and place.

{Quick Reflections 24} Home... 1

Posted by Badeea at 11:45 AM 0 comments Links to this post

The meaning and concept of the word "home" for me has always been ever changing since I was a little child, until a few years ago when I finally reached the true meaning of the word. This is just like many other basic meanings and concepts that we were taught as children, and hence took for granted, that turned out to be completely different and distorted and have been so amongst most people for the past 200-500 years.

Many true and absolute meanings of words and concepts are not the ones defined by humans but are actually those defined by either Allaah (SWT) or Prophet Muhammad (SAWS).

For example we were all taught that the meaning of "intelligent" or "smart" is "displaying or characterized by quickness of understanding, sound thought, or good judgment" or someone with an IQ higher than average, above 110. On the other hand the true meaning of the word "intelligent" or "smart" as defined by Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) is, " The intelligent (one with sound thought) is the one who calls himself to account and does (noble) deeds to benefit him after death; and the feeble is the one who subdues himself to his desires and then wishes for Allaah's forgiveness (without due repentance)." [1]

For instance my physics teacher while I was in high school in Bangladesh was a Hindu. He was a very "intelligent" man as per the human definition of the word. If he is that smart at physics and makes sense out of very difficult and complicated physical concepts and equations but yet sees that a cow is holy, which does not make any sense, then he definitely is not "intelligent".

Similarly we will now analyze the meaning of the word "home" until we reach its true meaning. The reason for me remembering this issue now is that a few days ago I felt "home-sick" for a few minutes. So I had to stop and evaluate the situation in order not to let my emotions and personal inclinations take over my thinking and decision making. I had to reflect over the meaning that I had reached a few years earlier and make sure it was still valid and will not need further modifications as per my new experiences in life. Alhamdu lEllaah the latest evaluation proved that that meaning is indeed very true and remains valid until this moment in my life.

For many people who travel around a lot and do not settle down in a certain country for long for various reasons, the word "home" means their nationality, the country they were born in or sometimes where his or her parents originally come from. This also applies to people living in one country all their lives. They call it their "home-land" or sometimes just "home".

As my father was a diplomat we used to travel back and forth from Egypt to other countries never settling down in one place for more than a few years. I always felt as a stranger and wanted to go "home" once and for all. However even when I used to stay in Egypt for a while I felt as a stranger there too.

In the beginning when I tried to analyze it I thought of it in the following way. Amongst my colleagues when I was abroad I was a foreigner and when I was in Egypt I was that "strange" guy coming from abroad. Accordingly although I loved all people so much regardless of their back grounds I had so few true friends as to most my acquaintances I was a "stranger".

Accordingly I kept looking for "home" and tried to find a meaning for the word other than the one commonly known to people as I have seen for myself that it is not true.

Four years ago, after I had been in Egypt for 10 years in a row, many of my close friends, whom I believe are truly intelligent people as per our Prophet's definition of true intelligence, started immigrating to different corners of the globe. One of them had spent all his life in Egypt (and thus was much more stable than me) so I believed his judgment would be more accurate than mine. After he had settled in the USA for 2 years, got married and had kids, I asked him if he has found "home" or not yet because he too did not believe the common definition of home was true. He affirmed that he has not found it yet.

That intrigued me to actually stop and fully investigate the true meaning of "home".

First came the hadeeth, ""What would concern me about this life! My similitude and that of this life is that of a traveler who took a rest at mid-day under a shade of a tree for some time and then left it." [2] Accordingly our true "home" is not in this life which is just a journey. May Paradise be our true home, all of us.

However this did not solve the definition of a temporary "home" for this life. So I turned to how Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) identified himself and what was his "home" in this life. The hadeeth commonly narrated in this situation was, "By Allaah, I know that you are the best and dearest of Allaah's lands to Him. Had your people not expelled me, I would never have left." [3]

If you look carefully into the words of the hadeeth you will find that he (SAWS) declared very clearly that his love for the city of Makkah, (at that time it could be defined as his country) arose from the fact that it was the most beloved city (country) to Allaah. Why did his people expel him from his home "country"?! It was because he had a different "idea" and "belief". He (SAWS) chose to stick to the "idea" and "belief" when it contradicted with the "country". He never identified himself as a "Makkan". Accordingly his "home" became "Islam" where ever it is. His "home" (SAWS) is an "idea" or a "belief" where ever it is. It is not the "place" or the "people". Later on he went into war against Makkah and Makkan's. He went into war against his "country" and "people" if you wish to say. He fought for the "idea" and "belief" not for the country and people. He fought for the "truth" where ever it is and against whoever defies it be that his country or people.

Accordingly one should never identify him or herself to a certain country, nationality or people because they might be mistaken. Being born and living in a certain place should not blind us to the truth. Countries and people change but the "truth" is the same all the time. It is the "truth" that one should identify oneself with all the time. The only absolute truth that never changes with time and according to different people's inclinations is Islam, the "idea", the "belief", rather than the country or the people.

As I thought more about this I found that our belief that our "home" is our country, or any group of people we identify ourselves with, is the true reason for lack of unity amongst Muslims. One has only one predominant identity that controls one's feelings and reasoning. If you identify yourself as an Egyptian then there are non-Egyptians who hence will mater less to you. But that is not the way Allaah (SWT) wants us to think and feel. He wants us to think and feel as Muslims, full stop. No further identities or "homes" are needed.

Allaah (SWT) says, ""Was not the earth of Allah wide so that you (could) have emigrated in it?" (TMQ, 4:97). [4] Since we are the worshippers of Allaah and the earth is that of Allaah, then our "home" is the earth, all of it.

Muslims around the world will never be able to unite until they think of themselves as Muslims, full stop, with no further identities or associations. Allaah (TWT) says, "Surely this nation of yours is one nation, and I am your Lord, so worship Me"(TMQ, 21:92). [5] Since our Lord is Allaah then our home is Islam. Then, only then, we will be able to be united in one Ummah that truly worships only one God.

See how Allaah (SWT) defines the difference between true unity and true diversity, "you reckon that they are all together (as a whole), (but) (Literally: and) their hearts are diverse ; that is for that they are a people who do not consider(TMQ, 59:14)". [6]

If in our hearts we are united and see Islam as our only "home" then we are truly united. On the other hand if in our hearts we see anything else as our "home", be that a country, a place or a group of people, then we are truly diverse although we seem united under any other "flag", "name" or "identity" as per the ayah.

I pray for all of us that our "home" in this life is Islam and in the next it is al-Firdaws al-A`laa.


[1] « الْكَيِّسُ مَنْ دَانَ نَفْسَهُ وَعَمِلَ لِمَا بَعْدَ الْمَوْتِ وَالْعَاجِزُ مَنْ أَتْبَعَ نَفْسَهُ هَوَاهَا ثُمَّ تَمَنَّى عَلَى اللَّهِ

Good hadeeth reported by Ibn-Maajah in Sunan Ibn-Maajah page/number 4401 and narrated by shaddaad Ibn-Aws Ibn-Thaabit al-Ansaariyy.

[2] مالي وللدنيا ، ما مثلي ومثل الدنيا إلا كراكب سافر في يوم صائف ، فاستظل تحت شجرة ساعة ، ثم راح وتركها

Authentic hadeeth reported by al-Albaaniyy in Saheeh at-Targheeb page/number 3283 and narrated by Abdullah-Ibn-Abbas (RA).

[3] والله إني أعلم أنك خير أرض الله وأحبها إلى الله ولولا أن أهلك أخرجوني منك ما خرجت

Authentic hadeeth reported by Ibn-`Abdul-Barr in at-Tamheed page/number 2/28 and narrated by Abu-Hurayrah and `Abdull`ah Ibn-`Adiyy Ibnul-Hamraa'.

[4] أَلَمْ تَكُنْ أَرْضُ اللَّهِ وَاسِعَةً فَتُهَاجِرُوا فِيهَا

[5]

إِنَّ هَذِهِ أُمَّتُكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَأَنَا رَبُّكُمْ فَاعْبُدُونِ

[6] تَحْسَبُهُمْ جَمِيعًا وَقُلُوبُهُمْ شَتَّى ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لا يَعْقِلُونَ

{Quick Reflections 25} Home... 2

Posted by Badeea at 11:44 AM 0 comments Links to this post
A very dear and wise freind of mine replied to this reflection and very elegantly defined "home" in one sentence that encompasses both this life and the next, jazaho ALLAAH 3ann al-Muslimeen jamee3an kull khayr. He defined "home" as, "inna lELLAAH wa inna elayhee raji`oon", ""Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return"(Qur'aan, 2:156).

{Quick Reflections 26} Home... 3

Posted by Badeea at 11:43 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Here is a very comprehensive reply that is very well thought out ma shaa ALLAAH by Sr Moushirah that does not agree with my point of view.
It is followed by my reply to it. :-)


Point well taken and well thought of, however, in my humble opinion, home to me is not only one place; there is the home land that I grew up in, there is the home I felt when I met my husband, there is the home I feel here in "el ghorbah" when I meet a Muslim person where we share the unity of language and religion and the most important one of all is the one that I build in both my heart and mind for my own well being (I call it my psychological home).

Once a doctor asked a patient, who was under great stress due to a trying situation: Do you feel that someone is taking care of you?
The doctor meant the patient's inner self.


There is this feeling of "Amaan" that is "attached" to the place where we grew up, people and places that became part of our psyche and events that molded us through the years. When we leave our home land, we take all of those memories with us, they give us warmth every once in a while whenever we need them so that we could have this "short vacation" away from the burden of everyday life and be able to go on.

Living in "el ghorbah" is not as easy as we could convince ourselves
that home is only in our hearts and that does it.

So, there must be a profound meaning to the word home.
According to Wikipedia: Home is often a place of refuge and safety, where worldly cares fade and the things and people that one loves becomes the focus.

There is also a mention of the psychological impact in Wikipedia:
"Since it can be said that humans are generally creatures of habit, the state of a person's home has been known to physiologically influence their behavior, emotions, and overall mental health . For example, in the introduction to the film Patch Adams, the concept of "home" is compared to the human need for peaceful sanctuary and the absence of it thus leading to restlessness. Such restlessness, as can be seen by that particular case, may lead to depression and, ultimately, to a loss of sanity.[ citation needed]"


It is ok to have this attachments and it is ok too to feel home sick. Why then would home be mentioned in the Qur'aan?
Allaah (SWT) says,


أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ خَرَجُوا مِنْ دِيَارِهِمْ وَهُمْ أُلُوفٌ حَذَرَ الْمَوْتِ فَقَالَ لَهُمْ اللَّهُ مُوتُوا ثُمَّ أَحْيَاهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَذُو فَضْلٍ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لاَ يَشْكُرُونَ (البقرة:243).
Have you not regarded the ones who went out of their residences and they were in thousands, wary of death. So, Allah said to them, "Die." Thereafter He gave them life. Surely Allah is indeed The Owner of Grace over mankind, but (most of 3)

فَالَّذِينَ هَاجَرُوا وَأُخْرِجُوا مِنْ دِيَارِهِمْ وَأُوذُوا فِي سَبِيلِي وَقَاتَلُوا وَقُتِلُوا لَأُكَفِّرَنَّ عَنْهُمْ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ وَلَأُدْخِلَنَّهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الأَنْهَارُ ثَوَابًا مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ عِنْدَهُ حُسْنُ الثَّوَابِ (آل عمران: 195).
Then their Lord responded to them, "I do not waste the deed of any doer among you, any male or female. The one of you is as the other (Literally: some of you from some others). So, the ones who emigrated, and were driven out of their residences, and were hurt in My way, and fought, and were killed, indeed I will definitely expiate them of their odious deeds, and indeed I will definitely cause them to enter Gardens from beneath which Rivers run." A requital from (the Providence of) Allah; and Allah has in His Providence the fairest requital
(TMQ 3:195)

الَّذِينَ أُخْرِجُوا مِنْ دِيَارِهِمْ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ إِلاَّ أَنْ يَقُولُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ وَلَوْلاَ دَفْعُ اللَّهِ النَّاسَ بَعْضَهُمْ بِبَعْضٍ لَهُدِّمَتْ صَوَامِعُ وَبِيَعٌ وَصَلَوَاتٌ وَمَسَاجِدُ يُذْكَرُ فِيهَا اسْمُ اللَّهِ كَثِيرًا وَلَيَنصُرَنَّ اللَّهُ مَنْ يَنصُرُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَقَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ (الحج:40).
(Those) who have been driven out of their homes untruthfully (I.e., without right) except that they say, "Our Lord is Allah." And had it not been the repelling by Allah of mankind, some by the means of others, (Literally: some by means of some others) indeed there would have been completely demolished hermitages, and churches, and oratories, and mosques, wherein The Name of Allah is much mentioned. And indeed Allah will definitely give victory to whomever vindicates Him. Surely Allah is indeed Ever-Powerful, Ever-Mighty. (TMQ 22:40)

لِلْفُقَرَاءِ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ الَّذِينَ أُخْرِجُوا مِنْ دِيارِهِمْ وَأَمْوَالِهِمْ يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلاً مِنْ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانًا وَيَنْصُرُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ أُوْلَئِكَ هُمْ الصَّادِقُونَ (الحشر:8).
It is (also) for the poor emigrants who were driven out of their homes and riches, seeking Grace from Allah and all-blessed Satisfaction, and vindicating Allah and His Messenger. Those are they who are the sincere (TMQ 59:8)

No doubt that our aim is "Dar al Baqaa", but we should make sure that when we strive for it we do that without forgetting to live our life here on earth.
(within the teachings of our religion of course:-)


كان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول : ( اللهم ربنا آتنا في الدنيا حسنة ، وفي الآخرة حسنة ، وقنا عذاب النار ) .
الراوي : أنس بن مالك - خلاصة الدرجة: صحيح - المحدث: البخاري - المصدر : الجامع الصحيح - الصفحة أو الرقم: 4522


الدنيا متاع . وخير متاع الدنيا المرأة الصالحة
الراوي: عبدالله بن عمرو بن العاص - خلاصة الدرجة: صحيح - المحدث: مسلم - المصدر: المسند الصحيح - الصفحة أو الرقم: 1467


من سره أن يبسط له في رزقه ، وأن ينسأ له في أثره ، فليصل رحمه
الراوي: أبو هريرة - خلاصة الدرجة: صحيح - المحدث: البخاري - المصدر: الجامع الصحيح - الصفحة أو الرقم: 5985

من سره أن يمد له في عمره ويزاد في رزقه فليبر والديه وليصل رحمه
الراوي: - - خلاصة الدرجة: إسناده صحيح - المحدث: الهيتمي المكي - المصدر: الزواجر - الصفحة أو الرقم: 2/75

A reply to that was:

Ma shaa Allaah, you tackled the issue very practically and realistically. However I beg to differ with you.

As per the definition you provided from Wikipedia that stresses on the psychological aspect of a home which said, " Since it can be said that humans are generally creatures of habit, the state of a person's home has been known to physiologically influence their behavior, emotions , and overall mental health." I would like to point out 2 facts.

1- Since we are creatures of habit who have a free will and supposedly well-thought choices to make then we are the ones who choose what to condition ourselves to and thus we choose our own habits and are capable to change them.

2- Allaah (SWT) says that, إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِندَ اللّهِ الإِسْلاَمُ , "Truly, the way of life with Allaah is Islam"(TMQ, 3:19). The exact meaning of the word "deen" in an Arabic/Arabic dictionary is "habit" or "way of life" and not "religion" as most TMQs mistakenly say.


According to the above 2 facts, the other ayaat you kindly provided from the Qur'aan and life experiences we have all been through, yes of course we all do have "homes" that are linked to peoples and places. However, I believe that the optimum home (which you call the psychological home) is one that should dominate over all other materialistic and emotional homes. The optimum home is one which we can train ourselves to have (as it is a matter of habit). Our optimum home is Islam the idea, the belief and the way of life. When one chooses that as his/her only home one can rise above all materialistic attachments that could weaken us. That way we become true worshipers of Allaah functioning equally effective on whatever front (regardless of people and places) Allaah (SWT) deploys us to serve at throughout our short journey through life on this earth.


Again thank you and great to hear from you.

{Quick Reflections 27} Home... 4

Posted by Badeea at 11:42 AM 0 comments Links to this post
I received the following reflection about "home" that I believe is the best, and hence last one, in this series. It was written by a dear sister who prefers to remain anonymous. Enjoy :-)

I kept searching, for the true meaning of things. When I had a family, I kept searching for the true meaning of a family, sisters, brothers, a father, a mother, their roles, their duties and responsibilities... When I loved, I kept searching for the true meaning of love, devotion, sacrifice, giving, friendship... When I worked, I kept searching for the true meaning of work.... and because I am a perfectionist, I was always disappointed for I've never found the true meaning of the things that I searched for.

I kept searching and searching for home. I had a home, a perfect one from a worldly point of view, but not the home I feel inside. I had love and I had lots of it, but not the love I feel inside, I need an Original home, Original feeling, Original love, the Raw Material of such products. In every worldly achievement, once you reach your goal, you feel, it was nothing but a personal desire to achieve success.

Finally, after long search for the truth, I found only One Absolute True meaning, that's Allaah. Allaah is the true home, the true love, the true success, the truth of everything. Allaah is the home where you find security, intimacy and warmth and you pay nothing for having such a home but true belief that He is the home. Allaah is where you find love, unconditioned love. He does not love you because you look good, or you have a good car, or you make good money. He loves you because you are his creation, because you are what you are whatever you are, whoever you were, he loves you. Don't you love the dish you cook yourself; don't you love the dress you sew? Don't you love your son because it's a part of you? Allaah is the true success, for when you succeed to know Him, you succeed in any and every field of life.

I am not nuts neither a Sufi, but it's very healthy that we feel strange in this life. Even our Prophet (SAWS) asked us to feel strange in this life, not to feel so much involved in it's worldly concerns,
115692- أخذ رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بمنكبي فقال : ( كن في الدنيا كأنكغريب أو عابر سبيل(. وكان ابن عمر يقول : إذا أمسيت فلا تنتظر الصباح ، وإذا أصبحت فلا تنتظر المساء ، وخذ من صحتك لمرضك ، ومن حياتك لموتك .
الراوي: عبدالله بنعمر - خلاصة الدرجة: صحيح - المحدث: البخاري - المصدر: الجامع الصحيح - الصفحة أو الرقم: 6416

Why do you think the most beloved human being to Allaah, Muhammad (SAWS), was deprived of a stable home, from his father, his mother, his uncle, his grand father, his most beloved wife Khdeeja, his sons, ... ? why? though he's the most beloved human to Allaah? to know and to let us know that there's only One entity in which you'll find the true home, love and security; simply Allaah.

It's normal that we feel that life's fake. It's normal that we feel that the home we have, the love we live, and everything around is just a blurred picture of the truth. That's because the absolute truth is too strong and too clear to be seen by us, Allaah. That's because the real meaning of things is not here, it's there in Allaah's heaven and haven. My home is where I find Allaah, is where I find my self close to Him, is where I find Him satisfied with me, this is the absolute true meaning of things and the absolute security one can ever have in life and in the hereafter.

Search for Allaah to find your home, your love, your joy, your happiness and your everlasting life in the worldly life and in the afterlife. May Allaah bless us all and allow us to search for Him the way that pleases Him, Ameen.

{Quick Reflections 22} Steadfastness

Posted by Badeea at 11:41 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Steadfastness when it comes to the truth is the toughest issue facing any Muslim. Yes we can all have sound hearts, with all what soundness of heart entails, at one part of our lives but then lose it. Yes we can all do great deeds during a certain period of our lives but then cool down. Yes we can all get so close to Allaah (SWT) during a certain hour, day or month, like Ramadaan, but then drift away again. Yes we can all live a life time doing good deeds but, may Allaah forbid, have a bad ending. Accordingly, the issue of being steadfast is a very crucial issue.
Now this issue applies to all times and months of the year but one of the best chances we have in order to achieve it is to be very well acquainted with it before Ramadaan. We can then be able to reach it during Ramadaan and maintain it for the rest of the year for it to be renewed in the following Ramadaan.

In order to be able to practically and effectively answer the question on how to be steadfast we have to answer a more important question first. Steadfast at what direction?!! One can never be steadfast when it comes to something he/she does not understand and “grasp” well. We have to understand our exact role very well first before being able to hold on to it. As al-Hasan al-Basry says, “Iman is not achieved by wishful thinking, rather it is what is ‘deeply rooted’ in the heart and is affirmed by deeds”. In order to achieve steadfastness we need to reach that “deeply rooted” state. I believe that that is our main problem and obstacle on the road to steadfastness. How well-defined and clear to us is the “thing” that we should hold on to and be steadfast with? If you want to hold onto an object using a tool, you need to know its exact shape and dimensions in order to design a tool that would best hold that object in the most effective, strong and everlasting way. If the exact dimensions and shape of the object are not very meticulously defined, you will end up holding on that vague object using a non-matching tool and the object will eventually slip and fall off.
Similarly holding onto a certain level of performance of certain religious rituals or deeds (which is the tool) will be impossible if your knowledge, understanding, and belief do not encompass the reason and wisdom (which are the object) behind them.
This is Allaah’s method with us. He (SWT) first teaches us our roles in a very unambiguous manner and then gives us orders accordingly. Therefore, a very clear realization of the role is the foundation needed before moving any further. The first ayah to be revealed was “Read” (TMQ, 96:1). So first we read and understand very well the meanings before we can proceed further, now that we are standing on firm grounds.
Also it is said about our Beloved (SAWS) that, “Whenever Allaah's Messenger (SAWS) spoke a sentence; he used to repeat it thrice to ensure that it is comprehended.”

So the question of how to be steadfast really turns into how deeply and clearly we do understand the role on earth which we were assigned to perform. After that we can move to define certain strategies and maneuvers that would help us maintain our performance of that very well-defined role at a very high level all the time.

To start with, we have two main roles to perform in parallel, first, “And in no way did I create the jinn and humankind except to worship Me”(TMQ, 51:56), and second, “And (remember) as your Lord said to the Angels, “Surely I am making in the earth a successor”(TMQ, 2:30).
Allaah (AWJ) created us in a way such that we are very well-equipped to serve both roles at the same time. What happens if we focus on one and leave the other? We end up confused and too weak to go on with just one role and start wondering how come we are not being steadfast. We also end up messing up everything and not performing that single role the way it should be performed.
The ones who chose to just worship Him in the form of dry rituals, like most Muslims nowadays, end up not knowing what they are doing and not being His successors on earth. Moreover the ones who chose to just perform a role on earth, as most the advanced countries, end up lost in material life with loss of ethical and spiritual standards.
A true Muslim who really understands his/her dual role on earth performs both very accurately and eagerly and shifts between both roles all the time never going astray or getting bored from one role or the other. A true Muslim knows that, “Who created death and life to try you, whichever of you is fairest in deeds”(TMQ, 67:2). We are in a brotherly race in which Allaah (TWT) is testing us who will come out first then second and so on. Just like when we were students we were always competing to rank the first on our class, we are on this earth to brotherly compete to rank among the top with Allaah (SWT) by performing as much as we can of both roles at the same time; the heart role with Allaah (worshipping Him in every thought and feeling) and the deed role (being His successors on earth) which reflects it. Just like the Arabic proverb says, “Fursaan bin-nahaar, ruhbaan bil-layl”; connect your days and your nights, never cease from labor (or struggle) by day and from devotion to the Lord by night.

Accordingly our priorities should be very definite and calculated. I highly recommend “Fiqh al-Awlawiyaat” by Dr el-Qaradawy. Here is a list that is neither comprehensive nor absolute but gives very broad lines for some deeds when the issue of conflicting deeds arises. Of course performance of obligatory prayers and du”aa’ and the rest of the pillars of Islaam are not on the list as they are unquestionable for one to be a Muslim in the first place. In spite of the fact that we usually take these deeds for granted, a deeper look at them should make a world of difference.
1. Being dutiful to one’s parents.
2. Having good manners.
3. Maintaining kinship ties starting from the very close (including children and first degree relatives other than parents) to the farthest.
4. Perfecting one's work or studies.
5. Being useful to others through charity work.
6. Financial charity.
7. All types of voluntary rituals and extra prayers. (However a continuous and constant very little sort of extra prayer all the time is preferred; at least 10 minutes of late night prayer and du”aa’ for example).

In Ramadaan, Imaam ash-Shafi”iyy summed up these two roles in only two deeds by just reading Qur’aan which serves the first role and giving charity and helping the poor which serves the second role.

Now that we understand our dual roles very well and know the purpose we were created for and the race we are going through, we can move on to mention some strategies that could help us maintain a high performance level.

We all know that steadfastness is a blessing from Allaah (SWT) that we can only try to achieve through several certain indirect maneuvers that I will mention in the next article after Ramadaan if Allaah wills.
However Allaah (AWJ) tells us about the single direct act that we as humans can perform in order to achieve steadfastness. Allaah (TWT) says what means, “And the likeness of the ones who expend their riches, seeking gracious satisfaction of Allah and confirming themselves, is as the likeness of a garden upon a mound; a shower hits it, so it brings forth its crop twofold; yet in case no shower hits it, then a drizzle; and Allah is Ever-Beholding of whatever you do” (TMQ, 2:265). As a result, spending in the sake of Allaah is our only direct material method to achieve steadfastness.

In order to achieve constant and continuous steadfastness until our death, how about we all decide this Ramadaan to have a certain fixed deductible amount from our monthly income for the sake of Allaah, either for the orphans or sick or any other charity? It is always difficult to take money out of your salary and donate it, but if one decides that his primary income is 450 L.E instead of the 500 one usually gets, one can easily cope. During the course of our lives, most of us have experienced to spend 100 L.E. if we earn 100 and 1000 if we earn 1000. So how about we take this decision for a lifetime and start performing it in Ramadaan? We will take the thawaab multiplied by 70 for a life time as the decision for that lifetime commitment was taken in Ramadaan in which every good deed is multiplied by 70. How about ensuring a lifetime of steadfastness starting this Ramadaan?

May Allaah (AWJ) grant us all steadfastness until the day we meet Him.


References:
 The Noble Qur’an.
 The Prophet’s sunnah (SAWS).
 The life of the Followers.
 Our life.
 http://dorar.net/mhadith.asp

Special thanks to our sisters who helped me in the location and translation of the hadeeth and in the editing of the whole article.

Coming Soon ...

Comedy Shows

Cartoons for kids

Songs

Live TV

and more....

National Geographic POD

Meditate!

"Do they not then meditate on the Qur'an? And if it were from any other than God, they would have found in it many a discrepancy" (Qur'an, 4:82)

Astronomy Picture of the Day

There was an error in this gadget

NASA Image of the Day

2009 THEME: Islam in the West and Our Children (Discussion & Resources regularly updated)

There is increasing concern that second and third generation Muslims in the West are mostly no longer Muslims so they actually end up adding to the Christian or Atheist population of the West, albeit racially from a non-Western origin. Accordingly, the ratios mentioned in the video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-3X5hIFXYU) would be correct in regards to race or ethnicity but not necessarily to religion.

It is a grave danger facing our children and grand children from a real life stand point as statistically only 1/5 of the second generation stay really Muslims when they grow up and are independent and almost non from the third generation are Muslims. And that is why the Western authorities are still permitting the immigration of Muslims inspite of the figures provided in the above video. They know that on the long term the descendants of Muslims in the West leave Islam because their parents raised them up with an Eastern mentality in a Western society instead of an Islamic mentality that encompasses all cultures.

You can see more about that by Jeffrey Lang; an ex-atheist American Mathematics University Professor who reverted to Islam in 1982. He has also written 3 books that I highly recommend; "Struggling to Surrender", "Even Angels Ask" and "Losing my Religion; A Call for Help".
Now I will leave you to enjoy 2 short excerpts from one of his lectures followed by links to his most important full presentation regarding our children.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmqN75NI0xg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XT1KGyxBXC0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMANKaX8khw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgivQJKtQME
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga2rIUWcPPs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYb2v3Yx1LY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhMN_TZavW0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHeM0H0EMAw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WD-YefJH9x0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2eVOKjOqHE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBQp7aZjxjc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4_xxQVGU44

Here is a solution that is yet to be implemented.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geRM4AlFBOU&NR=1

Raising children here is not an easy task ofcourse but if we do it the right way they will be true Muslims in shaa Allaah who are "Informed Muslims" rather than "Muslims by inheritance" like their counterparts in the East. Hopefully they will then be a much better generation than ours.

Quickly, I do believe that the best 4 authors (for example, there are many others but these are my favorite) who could guide us through this difficult process are Yahiya Emerick, Jeffrey Lang, Jamal Badawi and Dalia Mogahed.

Here are some links for future reference and for an ongoing learning process that I have started collecting slowly.
Please spread the below information to all your Muslim contacts in the West.

Jeffrey Lang:
http://meccacentric.com/jeffrey_lang.html I highly recommend the lecture titled "The Purpose of Life". It has true meanings that I have not come across in any Arabic literature.

Yahiya Emerick:
Articles:
http://www.islamicedfoundation.com/articles/articles.htm
http://www.islamfortoday.com/yahiyaemerick.htm I highly recommend reading and spreading the last article in this link by the name of "The Confusion of the Scholars"
Books:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=sr_adv_b/?search-alias=stripbooks&unfiltered=1&field-keywords=&field-author=Yahiya+Emerick&field-title=&field-isbn=&field-publisher=&node=&url=&field-feature_browse-bin=&field-binding_browse-bin=&field-subject=&field-language=&field-dateop=&field-datemod=&field-dateyear=&sort=relevancerank&Adv-Srch-Books-Submit.x=29&Adv-Srch-Books-Submit.y=8 There are only 14 books, about half for adults and the other half for kids. The extra are just repetitions.

Jamal Badawi:
Many products including books, articles and lectures mostly for adults. You can find them by searching his name online. My favorite is;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMfWURGcvBI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HXGRYaUy6g
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyMD_tE6U68
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AixgiXpAFTY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WUgbgLgMXM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3VLRoQ3qUw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5UvvkCDrm4

Dalia Mogahed: (Obama's adviser)
Has one book so far but has a great potential. "Who Speaks for Islam".
You can watch her debate with Irshad Manji (an openly Lesbian Canadian Muslim who is distorting the picture of Islam in the name of "Progressive Islam")http://fora.tv/2008/07/01/Irshad_Manji_and_Dalia_Mogahed_-_Who_Speaks_for_Islam

Finally here is a website for a store that sells lots of Islamic products including Islamic cartoon DVDs in English and Arabic for kids.
http://www.astrolabe.com/category/17/Cartoons_and_KidVid.html?sid=ceb7c5cf8de15b8f1cb92ad29e183a44
 

Real Life Copyright 2009 Reflection Designed by Ipiet Templates Image by Tadpole's Notez