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Yahya Ibrahim: Shaykhs Need Advice, Too

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I found myself standing before an audience numbering in the tens of thousands; maybe even hundreds of thousands. Mumbai in November is mildly humid with an acceptable temperature that allows you to perspire but not sweat. The sweat came from the lights, cameras and action.

Shaykh, Shaykh please look into the camera.

Perspire.

Shaykh can we ask you a question, you have so much knowledge?

Sweat.

One of the problems with internet scholarship, convention groupies and seminar murids is the negative effect they inflict upon the heart of the “Shaykh.”  This is not my unique observation. Rather, it is from years of observing, discussing and questioning various lecturers, callers and organisers of Islamic educational conventions, seminars and classes.

People at times forget that the “Shaykh” is an individual who struggles each and every day of their life to worship Allah competently and in fulfillment of the Divine Grace of sacred knowledge that they have been afforded by Ar-Rahman.

Ibn al-Jawzi rahimahullah sat to teach and found more than 10,000 heads looking up at him. So he wept and supplicated to Allah:

“O Allah! If You punish me on the Day of Judgment for my sins, do not let these students of mine witness it. I pray this not to save face, but so that they do not say, ‘The One he called us to is the One who punishes him.”

While in Mumbai as a lecturer for Dr. Zakir Naik’s 2009 Peace Conference, I was blessed to meet Sh. Salah al-Budair, the Imam of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah al-Munawarrah. The Shaykh, may Allah grant him protection and shelter him, would lead us in the fajr prayer at the hotel and then have breakfast with us.  He was always joyful, humble, content with whatever was offered to him and a great listener with refined adaab. I have heard him speak before and listened to his awe-inspiring recitation of the Quran during Taraweeh and Qiyaam.  He is known for his soft heart and ease of weeping.

I took council with other honoured lecturers about how to ask him a sensitive question that I feared may be misunderstood. Abu Ammaar (Yasir Qadhi) said, “Just ask.”

“Ya Shaykh, Allah has honoured you and has bestowed an enormous Grace upon you by granting you the duty and privilege of standing on the very Pulpit of the Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), in his masjid, within sight of his home and burial site, sala Allahu alayhi wa salaam.  You lead the prayers and advise others on his (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) behalf.  Ya Shaykh, how do you prepare yourself for this? How do you prepare your Ikhlas to find the courage to stand where you stand and lead where you lead?”

I can’t fathom the pressure, critical self-assessment, and self-doubt and fear that must be experienced by the Shaykh.

I know from personal experience and through my interaction with numerous students of knowledge and scholars that:

Shaykhs need advice.

Shaykhs need help.

Shaykhs make mistakes.

So-called “Shaykhs” can also be rotten to the core.

Sacred Knowledge and following through with sincere action has always been an eternal, internal struggle of the learned.

Al-Ghazali, al-Ash’ari, Ibn Taymiyyah…those before them and superior to them in knowledge and those after them have ALL commented on Ikhlas, self-reformation, muhaasabah and Taqwa. In fact the first chapter of any hadeeth manual will begin with the chapter of Ikhlas.

At times we forget the Ikhlas that Allah enjoins upon us and that was exemplified by our humble Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam).

Knowledge, its acquisition and dissemination was never the aim of the student or the instructor.  Amal, sincere action, that was the objective.

Imam Muslim narrates that Abu Hurairah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said,

The first amongst mankind to be used as kindle for hell-fire will be an individual who studied [religious] knowledge and taught it and who used to recite (memorize) the Qur’an. He will be brought and Allah will make known to him His favours and he will recognize them. It will be said: And what did you do about them? He will say: I studied [religious] knowledge and I taught it and I recited the Qur’an for Your sake. It will be said, “You have lied. You did but study [religious] knowledge that it might be said [of you]: He is learned. And you recited the Qur’an that it might be said [of you]: He is a reciter. And so it was said.” Then it will be ordered that he be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire.

Shaykh Salah smiled. Bowed his head down and politely said, “Every level has its Divine assistance. To abstain from that would be Riyaah (showing off).”

Subhan Allah.

Allah provides the Ikhlas that we seek to attain and pray for.  It is Allah who grants us success and only Allah who can turn us away from it.

True Ikhlas is actually intending success and seeking Allah in all that we do.  True Ikhlas is a willingness to challenge ourselves and demonstrate conviction of faith to ourselves and others. True Ikhlas compels us to repent and rise up after our stumbling.

True Ikhlas is not a change in mood or a whimsical period of time. It is consistent, constant.  It is a compass that when abandoned one cannot arrive to salvation.

Later in the day, Shaykh Salah pulled me to the side and said privately, “Every day I pray that Allah take my life rather than allow me to stand in the place of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) with an overwhelming hypocrisy in my heart.  I pray every night that I not wake if I do not discharge the trust placed upon me.”

We both wept.

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Ustadh Yahya Ibrahim is Canadian by birth & education, Egyptian through a rich ancestry, Turkish via the blessing of marriage to Songul and Australian by Choice of residence and migration.Since his early teens, in the 90's, Ustadh Yahya has been talking about Islam to Muslims and non-Muslims. He was blessed with numerous opportunities to meet, translate, study and teach alongside some of the Islamic worlds top scholars.Ustadh Yahya is blessed now to be living in Perth, Western Australia with his wife and three wonderful children – Shireen, Omar and Adam. He is a regular lecturer to Muslim and non-Muslim audiences their and around the world. Recently, Ustadh Yahya was awarded by the West Australian State Government the "Individual Excellence in Community Service Award."Ustadh Yahya is a passionate educator with a decades experience in school leadership as an Asst. Principal & registered Teacher.He, also, serves the Muslim community at Curtin University and the University of Western Australia as the Islamic Chaplain and teaches Islamic Ethics & Theology,internationally, with al-Kauthar Institute www.alkauthar.org .

50 Comments

50 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Amatullah

    March 15, 2010 at 4:19 AM

    SubhanAllah.

  2. Avatar

    Hafsa

    March 15, 2010 at 4:23 AM

    SubhanAllah this is so beautiful! Jazakallahukhair!

  3. Avatar

    Ibn Ameen

    March 15, 2010 at 4:49 AM

    Hope i can c u again Syeikh here in Malaysia Insyallah!

  4. Avatar

    ummahmed

    March 15, 2010 at 6:12 AM

    assalamualykum ,

    Mashaallah.Truly touching.The more ilm you have ,the more humbleness you have ..Subahanallah.

  5. Amad

    Amad

    March 15, 2010 at 6:19 AM

    This is one of those stories that gives you goose-pimples… subhanAllah, great start Shaykh Yahya to your blogging career :)

  6. Avatar

    Mirza Shahbaaz Baig

    March 15, 2010 at 7:06 AM

    Subahan Allah, ya shaykh.

    This last ever Peace Conference was full of such events.

    Ain’t this struggle to get true ikhlas (which Allaah blessed Musa AS) require working so much , whole our life , on first hadith of niyyah.

    o Allaah, help us being among mukhliseen ( those who have ikhlaas to say do things and mean it for Allaah’s sake). ameen.

    • Avatar

      Mirza Shahbaaz Baig

      March 15, 2010 at 7:16 AM

      it may be possible for shuyookh with their knowledge to try maintain this consistency at a much higher level than masses like us.

      hence i remember there to be such a du’a to be to Allaah made before any/every knowledge session by every student to make us focused on knowledge and not on personal lacunae of the teacher.

      subahan Allaah.

  7. Avatar

    Abez

    March 15, 2010 at 7:31 AM

    ” Every day I pray that Allah take my life rather than allow me to stand in the place of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) with an overwhelming hypocrisy in my heart. I pray every night that I not wake if I do not discharge the trust placed upon me.”

    SubhanAllah!

  8. Avatar

    Shuaib Mansoori

    March 15, 2010 at 8:45 AM

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    SubhanAllah, left me speechless…

  9. Avatar

    Secrecy

    March 15, 2010 at 8:50 AM

    SubhanAllah…

  10. darthvaider

    darthvaider

    March 15, 2010 at 9:05 AM

    SubhanAllah. Jazak Allah khayr shaykh- may Allah preserve you, Shaykh Salah, and all of the a’immah.

  11. Avatar

    Ali

    March 15, 2010 at 9:56 AM

    Subhanallah.

  12. Avatar

    Zulander

    March 15, 2010 at 11:26 AM

    Masha’Allah, may Allah forgive us of the sins we do knowingly and unknowingly.

  13. Avatar

    amatullah

    March 15, 2010 at 11:33 AM

    May Allah Swt purify our deeds for His sake alone. Ameen!

  14. Avatar

    Shibli Zaman

    March 15, 2010 at 12:26 PM

    Sorry to add to the many “Subhan Allah, great blog” comments, but I just had to say that this is simply one of the most moving and wonderful blog articles I have read, ma sha’ Allah. Ever. Jazakumullahu khayran, brother Yahya, for sharing with us such wisdom.

  15. Avatar

    NurKhan

    March 15, 2010 at 12:56 PM

    I pray every night that I not wake if I do not discharge the trust placed upon me.”

    Could someone please explain what ‘trust’ the shaykh is referring to? As I understand his only responsibility as an employee of the government is to lead the daily prayers and give the Friday khutbah. I would love to know what additional roles and responsibilties the shaykh discharges as Imam of Masjid Nabwi.

    • Avatar

      Razi Ahmad

      March 15, 2010 at 1:36 PM

      The responsibility of being Imaam of any Masjid, much less Masjid an-Nabawi or Masjid al-Haraam, is a great trust that the person occupying the position has in his hands. By being in the position he is in, Shaykh Salah (hafidhahullaah) has the ability to guide (with the Tawfeeq of Allaah, of course) or mislead literally millions of people around the world. Anyone who leads even one Salaah in a Masjid (even a small one) and is truly sincere should feel a heavy weight on their shoulders when they are in that position.
      I believe that this is the trust that he might have been referring to, Wallaahu A’lam.

      • Avatar

        NurKhan

        March 15, 2010 at 2:15 PM

        I don’t understand. He is not giving lectures or issuing fatawa. So how does he guide or mislead others? The salah consists of dhikr and recitation. How can that ‘misguide’ others, regardless of the sincerity of the imam?

        Please clarify your comments with examples.

        • Avatar

          Razi Ahmad

          March 15, 2010 at 2:17 PM

          Sorry for the confusion – I was referring to the khutbah, not necessarily through the daily Salaah.

        • Avatar

          brother_bruce

          March 16, 2010 at 8:18 AM

          Even if he didnt give lectures or fatawa, being an Imaam of a Masjid – and Masjid an-Nabawi, to boot – is an enormous responsibility because people automatically look to him as a role model. So on the one hand, he has to make sure his entire life is ‘clean’ and legitimate – not only meeting the minimum requirements as a normal Muslim, but rather, excelling in them, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – so that people wouldnt have the excuse to look at his actions and be misguided, or even slack off.

          Even if he never opened his mouth to talk to the people directly he has the ability to inspire millions of people one way or another, every time he leads the Salaah. Because of WHERE he leads the Salaah. In this manner, he is in a position of trust.

          On top of all that, he has to keep his actions ‘clean’ and ‘exemplary’ not because of what the people might say, but fi sabil illah alone. To try and ignore what the people say.

          Being a leader, a scholar, or an imaam of a masjid – Shaytan focuses his attack heavily on these people, because they are the pillars that support the community. if they are corrupted, then society will follow.

          So lets pretend, for a second, that his dhikr and recitation do not have an impact on the people. Even if it had zero impact, there is still the matter of the niyyah of the Shaykh remaining pure in the face of Shaytan’s attacks, and his responsibility in this regard, to Allah [subhanahu wa ta’ala].

          So these scholars have to walk a very fine line… on the one hand, they need to exert their utmost against Shaytan and maintain ikhlaas, and the other, they need to be role models of excellence for us, and on the third hand, they need to realize when they’re not performing up to par, and step down if required.

          ….But if they step down, are they succumbing to yet another one of Shaytan’s plots?

          Stress upon stress.

    • Avatar

      Abd- Allah

      March 15, 2010 at 2:09 PM

      his only responsibility as an employee of the government is to lead the daily prayers and give the Friday khutbah.

      Isn’t this enough of a responsibility for a person to handle? To lead the daily prayers at the Masjid of the Prophet peace be upon him?

      The Prophet peace be upon him says: “They lead you in prayer; if they get it right (the reward) is for you and for them, and if they get it wrong, (the reward) is for you and (the sin) is on them.”

      And the Prophet peace be upon him said: “The imam is responsible and the mu’adhdhin is trusted, O Allah, guide the imams and forgive the mu’adhdhins.”

      Or is it just because many Imams of masaajid don’t take this responsibility of theirs seriously, that we take it for granted?

    • Avatar

      Wael - IslamicAnswers.com

      March 16, 2010 at 11:30 PM

      NurKhan, go back and read the hadith about “The first amongst mankind to be used as kindle for hell-fire…” and you will see that studying the Quran and reciting it is enough of an obligation in itself to make a mu’min afraid.

      I hesitate to teach Quran for this very reason. But then, on the other hand, withholding knowledge is also a sin. So you see how the accumulation of knowledge right away becomes a burden…

  16. Avatar

    Abd- Allah

    March 15, 2010 at 1:32 PM

    JazakAllah khayr for sharing this humbling story.

    As a side note, be careful about which shaykh you decide to give advice to, because some don’t want it, others are too arrogant to accept it, and some might just blow up in your face! Alhamdulillah, these types of “shuyukh” are not the majority, but keep in mind that they still do exist.

  17. Avatar

    Mariam E

    March 15, 2010 at 2:09 PM

    Asalamu Alikum

    Jazakum Allah khair. May Allah protect all of our Shuyukh and raise their status in this life and the Hereafter.

  18. Avatar

    Farooq

    March 15, 2010 at 5:35 PM

    May Allah reward you for this reminder

  19. Pingback: Shaykhs Need Advice, Too «

  20. Avatar

    Marya

    March 15, 2010 at 7:43 PM

    Beautiful, masha’Allah. What an amazing reminder. :)

  21. Avatar

    Abu 'Ubaida

    March 15, 2010 at 7:56 PM

    SubhanaAllah!

    May Allah (swt) increase his honor

  22. Avatar

    Imam Zia

    March 15, 2010 at 9:13 PM

    Wonderful reminder, may Allah SWT give us all Ikhlas. Brother Nur Khan, Imamat even in front of a small community is a huge burden and commitment and trust. Even if you don’t count the khutbas, the lectures, the fatwas, leading prayer and making a mistake in it results in the deficiency of the prayer of the people behind you. And he is standing in the exact position and place in which the Prophet himself stood…what greater burden and trust could that be??

  23. Pingback: Shuyookh Need Advice, Too « Scattered Pearls

  24. Avatar

    orange

    March 15, 2010 at 9:57 PM

    salamalaikum,

    Its very beautiful reminder, May Allah help us with our ikhlas.

    I have this issue with how one can implement knowledge that he gains, that is everytime he learns something new : whether from reading the Quran or beneficial books, ahadith etc.? Everything he knows?

    Because I reda this book, that spoke about the great scholars of the past and how they were very worried about putting what they learned into action, otherwise it is a sin. Some Sahabas would learn every few ayahs then act on them, THEN learn few more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

    Wallahi from start to end it scared me, because I thought there is so much that perhaps, small things, I learn everyday, and learnt but have not yet fully implemented, and if I did in the past am not consistent.

    I donot mean the fard/obligatory actions like salah or sawm etc.

    Subhannalh, it paralysed my thirst for learning a bit! I need to stop and acton everything I know otherwise these things are going to be a witness against me on the Day of Judgement.

    How does one do it?

    Jazakallah khair , ws

  25. Avatar

    Meena

    March 16, 2010 at 12:04 AM

    there is a lot of responsibility in leadership positions, especially when it comes to taking care of the Muslim community.

    this was a beautiful reminder, mA!

  26. Avatar

    NahyanInc

    March 16, 2010 at 7:31 AM

    jazakallahuhkair.

    @Amad – …great start indeed :)

  27. Avatar

    Faraz Omar

    March 16, 2010 at 9:01 AM

    Beautiful story masha Allah :) may Allah preserve the imaams of Muslims

  28. Avatar

    Abdallah

    March 16, 2010 at 2:15 PM

    I hardly ever comment on articles but this one, subhan Allah, left me speechless and compelled me to do so. May Allah preserve our shuyookh and bless us all with this level of ikhlaas.

  29. Avatar

    abu Abdullah

    March 16, 2010 at 2:27 PM

    Salamualaikum,

    If Imam of Madinah is saying this, what is our level ( of imaan)? Allahul Musta’an. Great example for the imam to lead from front.

    How about sharing individual attempts ( if possible ) of achieving certain level of ikhlas in the things we do. Come on, give real life scenarios like what do you do when you try to check out items from walmart and music is going on where you can’t avoid it or the shelf is full of pictures you don’t want to look towards and .. most importantly having that (fake?) smile everytime during you come/go out of masjid when someone is in your way and you say alhamdulillah everything is fine ( just for the sake of it, without possibly meaning it for the sake of Allaah). Allaahu ‘alam.

    For example, Sporadically whenever i am asked to lead the prayer I try to remind myself and entire congregation that listen. (Its just a naseehah with no base in sunnah as far as i know.) Whatever you did till now its past. Now you are about to stand before Allaah, and this is your personal chance to speak to him. Your own worries, problems, thanks anything. our creator and if you are forgetful of any part of this prayer, be sure that its not going to be accepted. Stand straight and close. Allahu akbar. ( i may be wrong but i found it to be beneficial to me personally but again that riyaa thing creeps in your heart and you start battling it whether you did it for self or selfless reason.) may Allaah accept our deeds, ameen.

    PS one thing i also learn as a side note that its ok to narrate such incidents for educational purposes, even though imam himself wouldn’t really want things to be disclosed about him in this level ( got this from the way he pulled the author aside and told his personal story) so this does not count as backbiting instead sadaqa jariya inshAllaah.

  30. Avatar

    Lemon

    March 16, 2010 at 7:30 PM

    For any ounce of goodness that is bestowed upon us by Allah, it is only a realization of the Mercy of Allah, and a means to further praise Him, Alhamdulillah.

    May Allah increase eveyone in ikhlaas, ameen.

  31. Avatar

    Wael - IslamicAnswers.com

    March 16, 2010 at 11:27 PM

    Thank you brother for this glimpse into the doubt and stress in the hearts of individuals that we “the public” tend to think of as beyond all of that. And this reminder of the importance of purity of intention, and that in fact nothing is more important.

    Also for sharing us a very private moment and letting us learn from it, Insha’Allah.

  32. Pingback: Yahya Ibrahim: Shaykhs Need Advice, Too « A World of Dreams

  33. Avatar

    Umm Ismael

    March 19, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    Asslam u alaikum wr wb
    JazakALLAH! That is beautiful! To stand where the Prophet (saw) stood and not start considering it an ordinary mundane duty that some of us do when working in the way of ALLAH comes easily to us, is another aspect highlighted to us, Sometimes ALLAH Chooses us for His work but we start considering it a daily routine, until it is snatched away. May ALLAH Help us!

  34. Avatar

    Sadaf Farooqi

    March 20, 2010 at 5:02 AM

    This post made me realize how blessed we are to have people with such ikhlaas among us. May Allah protect and preserve our shuyookh.
    O Allah, grant us ikhlaas. Ameen!

  35. Avatar

    shirtman

    March 21, 2010 at 9:52 AM

    Great post, as a young Imam myself this hits very hard; I was just thinking about this when I read it.
    May Allah forgive us all.

    SHIRTMAN

  36. Avatar

    Abu Ibrahim

    March 25, 2010 at 3:12 AM

    By far the one of the BEST post on MM. May Allah azza wa jal reward you and the Shaykh over and over again.

  37. Pingback: Imaams of the Haramain - Part IX - Page 70 - IB Islamic Forum

  38. Avatar

    Nur Taher

    September 21, 2010 at 12:19 AM

    salam.
    can you guys give me yahya Ibrahim’s contacts please, I have this question that is private, and i urgently need an answer to it. and yahya is the only one I can trust……

  39. Avatar

    Aloaras

    December 5, 2010 at 6:22 AM

    “Trust”… Subhan’allah… Another amazing read. I have a question … If a “Shaykh” takes advantage of this trust, portrays himself very differently behind closed doors, is a compulsive liar, impinges upon the rights of others, does not seek the forgiveness of those he has wronged should others be warned about him?

  40. Pingback: MM Treasures: Shaykhs Need Advice Too - MuslimMatters.org

  41. Avatar

    Neelo

    September 18, 2012 at 7:47 AM

    Very touchy

  42. Avatar

    Ibrahim

    September 18, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    …..speechless…SubhanAllah

  43. Avatar

    muslimincali

    September 20, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    Subhanallah. I’m speechless. These type of discussions are so needed. Whether one is khateeb or Islamic university graduate, don’t we all suffer from these ‘common’ issues ? Who here that has been involved in dawah or gave or gives lectures to the masses has not fallen or called to something that he is guilty of ? We all love Allah even tho we sin against Him everyday. We all love the gathering of the pious even tho we are not one of them. We all hate sinners yet even tho we are one of them. I know myself that I have been giving khutbahs for some time , many many years and I always feel so ashamed of my sins that when I stand n preach, I actually consciously ask myself. that I’m probably the worst sinner here. And no this is not trying to be humble, this is how I feel. If I were to make the duaa that shaykh saleh made, I might not be around. Maybe others feel the same. Also reading that hadith makes me almost wish I was not involved in dawah out of fear of opening myself to be judged in that category and then being dragged on my face. May Allah protect us.

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#Islam

Benefiting From The Majesty Of Divine Will | Thirteen Points In Making The Best Of The Situation

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

In the Name of God most Merciful Most Compassionate

Peace Be Upon Prophet Mohammad, His Family, Companions and Brothers. Ameen

“God will never punish them while they are seeking forgiveness” (al-Anfāl, 8:33)

As we observe imposed isolation or social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus that has disrupted life as we know it, maintaining and elevating our faith becomes both a necessity and a great opportunity. The awakened believer is the one who never excludes the hand of God in everything that happens in the world–good or bad. We ask Allah Almighty to show us kindness and mercy in everything that He decrees for us.

“And We have already sent [messengers] to nations before you, [O Muhammad]; then We seized them with poverty and hardship that perhaps they might humble themselves [to Us]. (42) Then why, when Our punishment came to them, did they not humble themselves? But their hearts became hardened, and Satan made attractive to them that which they were doing. (43) So when they forgot that by which they had been reminded, We opened to them the doors of every [good] thing until, when they rejoiced in that which they were given, We seized them suddenly, and they were [then] in despair. (44)” (al-An’ām, 6:42-44)

Now is the time of seeking forgiveness and repenting to Allah. Now is the time we seek the counsel of our rich tradition in how to deal with collective and universal calamities and hardship. The awakened believer looks at what Allah brings about in His universe with a Divine Light and resists the calls of ignorance and heedlessness in any form they appear.

From the pure well of Prophetic guidance we draw thirteen beautiful, practical, and spiritual counsels:

The pandemic that is frightening everyone is the creation of Allah released by His Power for reasons He only knows. Losing sight of this basic fact is a sign of the blindness of our inner eyes. And your Lord creates what He wills and chooses; not for them was the choice. Exalted is Allah and high above what they associate with Him. (Al-Qaṣaṣ, 28:68)

1. When the Masjids are closed and Jumu’ah is suspended and the Honored Ka’bah and the Prophetic Mosque are emptied and there is rampant panic, the guided believer rushes to Istighfār. Let’s repeat and teach our children and households one of these Prophetic expressions of seeking forgiveness:

 Astaghfirullāh wa Atūbu ilayhi, at least 100 times a day. (Muslim)

أَسْتَغفِرُ اللهَ وَ أَتُوبُ إِلَيْهِ

or

 Rabbī Ighfir Lī wa Tub ‘alayya Innaka Anta Attawābu ArRahīm, at least 100 times a  day. ( Al-Tirmidhī, Abū Dāwūd, Ibn Mājah)

رَبِّ اغْفِرْ لِي، وَتُبْ عَلَيَّ، إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ التَّوَّابُ الرحيم 

The Best time for Istighfār is before Fajr.

Let’s be among those who seek the forgiveness before dawn that God praised in the Qur’ān:

“Those who say, “Our Lord, indeed we have believed, so forgive us our sins and protect us from the punishment of the Fire,” the patient, the true, the obedient, those who spend [in the way of Allah], and those who seek forgiveness before dawn.” (Āl-‘Imrān, 3:17)

2. Pray two Rak’āt of repentance often throughout the day.

3. Make our living spaces spiritual abodes by designating a place in the house as a Muṣallā. This is a forgotten Sunnah that the companions of the Prophet, God bless him and grant him peace, established. Let’s revive this Sunnah in our homes.

4. Perform prayers at the beginning of the time in congregation with an Adhān and Iqāma (assign our children to do so). If we can’t pray together while we are all quarantined in our houses then we surely have a bigger problem than coronavirus.

5. Stay after the prayers in your place and make Du’ā’ and Istighfār.

6. Don’t miss any Sunnah prayers before or after the obligatory prayers.

  • Make it a habit to pray Ḍuḥā prayer after sunrise or by midmorning as 2, 4, 6, or 8 Raka’āt.
  • The Prophet, God bless him and grant him peace, used to say that the prayer of Ḍuḥā is the prayer of the Awwābīn (repenters). (Muslim, Ibn Abī Shaybah, al-Ḥākim, Ibn Khuzaymah).
  • 4 Raka’at before Dhụhr and 2 after. 2 Raka’āt before Aṣr. 2 Before Maghrib and 6 after. 2 before Ishā’ and 4 after.
  • Make your Witr a Prophetic Witr: 11 Raka’āt before Fajr. If you can’t wake up, then pray it after Ishā’.

7. Read the Qur’ān every day even if just for 15 minutes.

8. Constant Dhikr and remembrance of Allah Ta’ālā with all kind of expressions while giving precedence to the expression of Tawḥīd لا إله إلا الله   since it is the best expression of Dhikr as the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said. (Al-Tirmidhī)

9. Be a good subordinate and adhere to your community’s collective decisions and experts regarding gatherings, Jamā’ah prayers, Jumu’ah, social distancing, and cleanliness. Our recalcitrance and selfishness sometimes appears in a religious form. At times of hardship going against the consensus is spiritually damaging even when we realize that we might be partially right. Not all debates have to be won.

من أطاع الأمير فقد أطاعني 

Whoever obeys the leader has indeed obeyed me.” (Muslim, al-Bukhārī)

10. The best among us are those who are the best to their spouses. Spending more time with each other should add to our compassion and respect for each other. Let us understand that   everyone going through this situation is experiencing a level of anxiety that might affect their normal behavior. Many of us are not used to staying at home for such a long period. Let this be an opportunity to connect with each other and strengthen the bonds of the family. Let’s Fear The Thieves !! (See point 12.)

11. Attend at least one of the online events that your community is offering even if you know everything that is known about the religion. Showing the sentiments of solidarity by attending these events encourages those who spend time preparing and sacrificing their time to continue their Da’wah work that is necessary for the community.

12. Fear the thieves for yourselves and your loved ones: None of the suggestions above will bear any fruit in advancing our cause with Allah and in bringing us towards a genuine reconciliation with ourselves if we spend all day with WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Netflix and such. In the digital wasteland and on our phones or glued to the TV all day, sharing and re-sharing nonsense makes us lost, nonsensical and trivial people. The last thing we want to find ourselves doing is spreading forgetfulness and heedlessness under the guise of spreading useful information.

Let’s not readily and voluntarily enlist as the agents of Shaytan at the time we have to be servants of God. Think before you send anything shared with you because you will be asked about it. One post a day is too much for those who are busy with all the obligations we all have. By now, everything that needs to be known about the epidemic has probably reached all corners of the globe. Let’s be wary of succumbing to the appeals of our lower selves or nafs and finding ourselves losing this great opportunity with Allah. The same advice goes for our children as it is a great opportunity for them to be creative in how they constructively spend their leisure time.

13. Give in charity, no matter how small, to your local and national Muslim organizations who might be going through difficulty meeting the needs of those who have lost their wages due to the freezing of the economy. This is both a pandemic and an economic crisis and sadaqa is our spiritual remedy to financial matters.

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Health

Podcast: When Faith Hurts | Zeba Khan

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

I believe our spiritual education is broken, and in order to fix it, we have to be upfront with each other. We have to admit that we can be happy with Allah and still find ourselves devastated by the tests He puts before us, because faith is not a protection from struggle.

Bad things do happen to good people, even when they pray. You can try your hardest and still fall short. You can pray your whole life for something that will never come to you. And strength of faith in that circumstance doesn’t mean living in a state of unfulfilled hope, it means accepting the wisdom in the test that Allah has decreed for you.

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MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

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Civil Rights

Podcast: Lessons from the Life of Malcolm X | Abdul-Malik Ryan

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One of the things that happens with historical figures who continue to remain well-known and influential years after they can continue to speak for themselves is that others seek to speak for them.  Attempts are made to co-opt their legacy, either in sincere efforts for good or in selfish efforts for ideological or even commercial gain.  This is especially true of Malcolm X, who is not only a historical and political icon but in many ways a “celebrity” remembered by many primarily for his style and attitude.

The only real and meaningful tribute we can pay to Malcolm X is to follow his example. Click To Tweet

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