Wednesday, December 23, 2009

In Search of Sincerity

A little long yes, but trust me, the read is worth it.

Abu Hurairah 'Abd al-Rahman bin Sakhr, radiyallahu 'anhu, reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, say:
-“Stay away from that which I forbid you to do, and do that which I command you to do to the best of your capacity. Verily the people before you were destroyed only because of their excessive questioning and their disagreement with their Prophets.”-  Bukhari and Muslim

Part 1 of 2:
 The instructions of the Prophet (saw) are simple and eloquent. Firstly and most importantly, understand and accept all the things that are Haram and keep yourself far away from them. 
This is the most important thing that you can do; it is much more important than nawaafil/extra deeds. 
Some Sahaba would teach their students that “to return a dirham unlawfully obtained is better than giving a thousand in charity”. So firsty, the most pleasing thing to Allah (swt) is to repent from committing Haram  and stay away from it. This is something natural that everyone can do. Rasulullah did not ask us to stay away from Haram as much as we can. That is because he knew that it is possible for every human being to stay away from the Haram. Every human being is capable if he follows the guidance of Allah (swt).
The problem today is addictions. The Shaytan is working very hard to hook many Muslims to haram things so much so that it becomes hard for them to live without the Haram. As a result they become naturally inclined to do things that harm them and that result in displeasure from Allah (swt)

The solution
? Let’s look to the guidance of Allah and his Messenger, the light that will clarify any misconceptions that we have in our brains or that Shaytan has planted in them. 
To the young men of our time, the Prophet (saw) ordered them to get married. If they cannot get married (due to financial reasons etc.) then he ordered them to fast. (Do not close your heart and mind to what the Prophet (Saw) instructed us to do). The young men are told to fast. That is because this reduces the temptations and weakens the desires of the nafs. So if a man is addicted to a certain secret habit, which of course is Haram*, then how should he cure himself of his addiction? By fasting. The guidance of Allah is ultimate and everlasting. He (swt) knows us better than we do ourselves, for he created us and formed us from an embryo. If one begins fasting Mondays and Thursdays consistently then he will be able to overcome his bad habits. Shaytan may whisper to him and tell him not to fast at all during a week because of trivial sporting events or because of going to the gym, but the true sincere slave of Allah (swt) will put all of these sporting events and training activities to the side until fasting allows him to go back to his fitrah and overcome his addiction to the haram. 

*Leave (O mankind, all kinds of) sin, open and secret. Verily, those who commit sin will get due recompense for that which they used to commit. 6.120
…come not near to Al-Fawahish (shameful sins, illegal sexual acts) whether committed openly or secretly… 6.151
Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do. 24.30

As far as music is concerned, it is also an addiction. The proof that it is in an addiction is that those who listen to it are not willing to give it up and replace it with Quran which they know is more beneficial to them (for every letter you hear in the mode of pleasing Allah (Swt) you get 10 good deeds, not for every word, for every letter). The solution? Gradually replace the music you listen to with Quran; try to listen to more and more Quran each day and be consistent. Stop listening to music in the car, instead only listen to Quran in the car. And when at home begin reading the Quran daily and pondering over its verses. With the help of Allah (swt) gradually you will depend less and less upon music and you will become addiction free. 
(Side note---: making this dua will surely help you in valuing the Quran much more than any music out there For Brothers: O Allah, I am Your slave, son of Your slave, son of Your female slave, my forelock is in Your hand, Your command over me is forever executed and Your decree over me is just. I ask You by every Name belonging to You which You have named Yourself with, or which you have revealed in Your Book, or which You taught to any of Your creation, or which You have preserved in the knowledge of the unseen with You, that You make the Qur'aan the life of my heart and the light of my breast, a departure for my sorrow and a release for my anxiety.

For Sisters: O Allah, I am Your slave, daughter of Your slave, son of Your female slave, my forelock is in Your hand, Your command over me is forever executed and Your decree over me is just. I ask You by every Name belonging to You which You have named Yourself with, or which you have revealed in Your Book, or which You taught to any of Your creation, or which You have preserved in the knowledge of the unseen with You, that You make the Qur'aan the life of my heart and the light of my breast, a departure for my sorrow and a release for my anxiety.)

Proof that listening to Music is not a praiseworthy mode of spending time?
And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing, etc.) to mislead (men) from the Path of Allah without knowledge, and takes it (the Path of Allah, or the Verses of the Qur'an) by way of mockery. For such there will be a humiliating torment (in the Hell-fire).  31.6
We are not supposed to be inclined towards useless singing and music. These things will only distract us from the signs of Allah (Swt). Allah knows us better than we know ourselves and so he prohibits from us the things that he know will harm us. The Quran contains so much more wisdom and benefit than the useless vulgar lyrics of music today. But if people do not want to listen to the beautiful commands of Allah, then the next verse addresses them.
And when Our Verses (of the Qur'an) are recited to such a one, he turns away in pride, as if he heard them not - as if there were deafness in his ear. So announce to him a painful torment. 31.7
Let us not be of these people and let us be of those who hear Allah (Swt) and obey inshaAllah.
Listening to the Quran is always more beneficial and will always let you gain more pleasure from Allah (swt).
It is not going to be easy to overcome addictions, but following the guidance of Allah (swt) will make it possible for us. We have to strive (Jihad) against our own souls and the unnatural inclinations that Shaytan has made for us until we are back to the natural disposition of being able to completely stay away from the Haram.

Part 2 of 2:
After we have moved away from the Haram then Alhamdulillah we should already be doing the obligatory deeds such as praying five times a day etc. (The building of Islam built on five pillars, Bearing witness that there is nothing worthy of worship except Allah (Swt), and the Muhammad  (saw) is his messenger, establishing the five prayers, fasting Ramadan, giving the yearly Zakah, and making the pilgrimage to Makkah when one is able –Bukhari and Muslim).  Once we have given up the Haram then we are ready to do extra nawaafil deeds that the Prophet (Saw) used to do. The key here is having ikhlaas(pure sincerity) and doing these actions only to please Allah (swt).  Once one has ikhlaas then he or she should do as much worship or dhikr as he is able and it should be an amount that he or she can be very consistent with (as the Prophet (saw) told us, do as much nawaafil/extra deeds as we are able to). A small amount of nawaafil worship done everyday is much better than a whole night spent reading Quran and then a whole month spent neglecting it. 
The key things to worshipping Allah with extra things are:
1) Ikhlaas (pure sincerity), and doing the actions only to please Allah (Swt)
2) Building consistent habits, such as reading some Quran everyday, or memorizing one verse from the Quran everyday, or praying two rak’ah Qiyam every night, or going to the Masjid for Fajr every morning. 
Allah (Swt) loves the consistent deeds done to please him only.
'A'isha said that Rasulullah saw said : "The deeds most loved by Allah (swt) (are those) done regularly, even if they are small". ( Bukhari, Muslim )

 If someone continues to do a deed every day it shows that he is really consistent in Loving Allah (Swt) and following the Messenger and that he is not weak minded. The small deeds build up; if someone starts reading some Quran every day, he may finish reading it in a couple months; if he starts memorizing a verse a day, he may finish Surat al-Baqarah in a year. The importance here is that when performing extra deeds (which by all means are necessary in improving our hearts and getting close to Allah (swt) ), we have to make sure we are doing them out of love of Allah (swt) and that we are doing them in an amount that we can be consistent with (as the Prophet (Saw) told us, do as much as we are able). This way we can be consistent in earning Allah (Swt)’s pleasure. If we do too much extra worship at once then we feel exhausted and we abandon the good habits.

Allah swt told us:

My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. ... Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it. I do not hesitate about anything as much as I hesitate about [seizing] the soul of My faithful servant: he hates death and I hate hurting him. –Bukhari

Most of what is described above is contained in the single statement of Rasulullah (saw) at the beginning, this is the eloquence of the last Messenger (saw). Subhanallah.

Let us all abandon the Haram and then begin doing consistent nawaafil acts so that we may draw closer to Allah (swt) until he loves us inshaAllah  =)   .

Anything good in this is purely from Allah (Swt) and anything bad is of course from myself.

May Allah guide us all to Ihsan.     –Ameen


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