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Oh Allah, we seek refuge with You from the snooze button

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It’s 5:45 and your Fajr alarm has just begun ringing. You tried to be smart and set the alarm and your ringer as the same tone so you’d think that someone was calling you, because, of course, answering a call is much more exciting than trying to figure out how to snooze the alarm this early in the morning. But, you’re smarter than you thought, and caught on to the trick. The reverse psychology failed.

Well, the alarm’s been snoozed, and you begin dreaming that you actually got out of bed in time, made wudu with cold tap water for extra ajr, and prayed your salah, being sure to catch the two rak’aat Sunnah, because, as the Messenger of Allah, salAllahu alayhi wasSalam, said, they’re better than the entire world and everything in it.

Next time you look at the clock: 8:15 a.m.

Did I pray?

53 Comments

53 Comments

  1. Avatar

    mubasshir

    March 29, 2010 at 12:45 AM

    thats exactly what i need after missing my fajr for th whole of last month or so in th same way as described here by akhi..jazakallah sis.

  2. Avatar

    Dawud Israel

    March 29, 2010 at 12:52 AM

    Some advice: Move your alarm clock from your bedside into the washroom, so that way, you are forced to go to the washroom to turn it off and hey, your already there to make wudhu. It works, but its an ‘engineer’ solution- you still need to cultivate your niyyah. Another big issue is Isha is also a problem for Muslims, and missing Isha adds to missing Fajr.

    I am glad to see Muslims writing about tadabbur- without tadabbur, Islam becomes mindless. Reflecting on the signs of the Heavens and Earth is like ‘reading’ the dunya as if it were a book, in a way like reading the Quran. A sign of having strong tadabbur is when a person has vivid dreams, in which their mind is active and clear. It’s not an overnight process, but takes time.

    Jazaka Allahu khayran.

    • Avatar

      Muhammad Elijah

      April 1, 2010 at 2:15 AM

      Assalamu ‘Alaikum Brother
      You rightly said that its an ‘engineer’ solution. We should have that much Eemaan that we don’t even need alarm. The more we engage in Dhikr outside Salaah, the lesser our hearts become Ghaafil. We should always remain cautious about falling in Ghaflah.

      Once, a brother from Burma came to Pakistan in our Masjid, he told me that We should have that much Eemaan that we don’t even need alarm.

  3. Avatar

    Hafsa

    March 29, 2010 at 2:40 AM

    Jazakallahu Khayran!

  4. Avatar

    Amatullah

    March 29, 2010 at 2:50 AM

    jazaaki Allahu khayran sis Aisha, this is wonderful!

  5. Avatar

    Ummezaynub

    March 29, 2010 at 3:53 AM

    Jazakillah Sister,
    the sense of shame after reading your post is inexpressible-some days the feeling of regret is so strong and some days its like oh well! how weak our imaan- please read about my fajr struggle @http://lordsfavors.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/fajr-the-breakfast-of-champions and you’ll understand. Insha’Allah my next step will be to put away the laptop or my novel because that’s a habit I’ve had forever and really focus on my Quran before bed.

    A’alimah Humaira urged us the other day not to let our children read fiction right before they fall asleep- their minds will dream of that instead of the pure dreams that brother Dawud mentions. How true- if we get them in the habit of reading Quran the last thing they do before reading their duas for going to sleep, then it will inshaAllah develop into a habit.

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  7. Avatar

    mystrugglewithin

    March 29, 2010 at 9:50 AM

    Jazakallah Khayrun!

    More advice:

    Get multiple alarms and keep em in different locations in the room, and randomize this process!

    Set the alarms at different times, like gaps of 5-10 minutes ..

    Ask a bunch of your friends to call you at fajr time .. and hide your phone somewhere!

    Delay witr prayer till the last hour, like wake up like 30-40 minutes before fajr. Pray tahajud, witr, and fajr .. you don’t want to miss this opportunity: Abu Hurairah reports that the Messenger of Allah said: “Our Lord descends to the lowest heaven during the last third of the night, inquiring: ‘Who will call on Me so that I may respond to him? Who is asking something of Me so I may give it to him? Who is asking for My forgiveness so I may forgive him?’” [bukhari]

    • Avatar

      Abdus-Sabur

      March 29, 2010 at 11:44 AM

      excellent idea about praying tahajjud & witr before fajr!

      • Avatar

        marjaan

        March 30, 2010 at 1:14 AM

        that is such a good idea, mashaAllah!!! thanks for the advice. i hope this will help me wake up for fajr more often inshaAllah. and i’ll get tahajjud too :)

  8. Avatar

    Abez

    March 29, 2010 at 10:49 AM

    I have to resort to devious means to make very, very sure I wake up for Fajr. One of which is drinking a huge glass of water right before I go to bed. That way, more than one alarm is going off by the time it’s Fajr.

    • Avatar

      Ameera Khan

      March 29, 2010 at 10:51 PM

      Haha! :D

    • Avatar

      Muslim

      March 31, 2010 at 3:32 PM

      Asalam alaikum wa rahamatullah,
      ha! talk about eating/drinking for the sake of Allah :)

    • Avatar

      mummyjaan

      April 2, 2010 at 8:53 PM

      Abez, you’re a genius!

  9. Avatar

    Wael - IslamicAnswers.com

    March 29, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    I think some people put their entire lives on a perpetual snooze button, and maybe that’s what you’re talking about. Not ready to get married yet, not ready to try doing da’wah, not ready to get involved in a cause, not ready to start that business, not ready to write that book, not ready to tackle that important project, not ready to pursue that dream… zzzzzz

    • Avatar

      Abdus-Sabur

      March 29, 2010 at 3:41 PM

      unfortunately, you are absolutely correct

    • Avatar

      Aisha

      March 30, 2010 at 11:45 AM

      That is actually part of what I was talking about…contemplating over the qur’an and feeling empowered because of it can do a lot more than just waking up for fajr on time, but it may as well have to start with waking on time and staying up afterwards [refer to Shaykh Muhammad Al Shareef’s Journey’s End lecture ;)]

  10. Avatar

    Tipton Teapot

    March 29, 2010 at 12:53 PM

    Jazakallah!

    I for one insha Allah will benefit from strengthening the resolve to wake up at Fajr (though the clocks moving forward have made it slightly easier for the next few weeks at least!)

    Perhaps one small point to note – the Quran will certainly judge us. It is known as the Furqaan, or criterion by which right and wrong can be differentiated.

    Ws

  11. Avatar

    Mariam E.

    March 29, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    Asalamu Alikum,

    Great article, mashaAllah. Jazaki Allah khair.

  12. Avatar

    Sayf

    March 29, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    A huge deciding factor is the level of value we attribute. We have to learn to really, really, really love salah. Personally I’ve found the more it sank in with me on an emotional level the more the snooze button became virtually extinct for fajr. Contrast that with me hearing the alarm at 8:00am for inorganic chemistry class and pressing snooze 2-4 times on average, and I love inorganic chemistry.

  13. Avatar

    Ibn Masood

    March 29, 2010 at 3:48 PM

    Go to bed before midnight.

    • Avatar

      mystrugglewithin

      March 30, 2010 at 2:47 PM

      This sounds to me like ‘don’t worry, just quit your job’ .. j/k :)

    • Avatar

      Muhammad Elijah

      April 2, 2010 at 12:42 AM

      Assalamu ‘Alaikum Ibn Masood Bhai

      To sleep late at night is to give Shaitaan power over you. There was a Buzurg(Urdu)/Saint/’Aabid (I guess Mansoor bin Mu’tamir(rahimahullaah) I may be wrong) who didn’t talk for consecutive forty years after ‘Ishaa.
      If we start stopping to talk after ‘Ishaa, it would help a lot to sleep earlier.

      I think sleeping late is the greatest tool of giving Shaitaan power over you to stop you from Jamaa’ah at Fajr.

  14. Avatar

    ummahmed

    March 29, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    jazakallahu khairaa sister.That is excellent..Set up the alarm when the fajr starts and not before sunrise.

  15. Avatar

    Reehab Ramadan

    March 29, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    barak Allahu feeki :o) Awesome article Sr. Aisha! Im looking forward to reading more articles from you.

    • Avatar

      Aisha

      March 30, 2010 at 11:46 AM

      Ditto Reehab ;)

  16. Avatar

    Maryam

    March 29, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    MashaAllah

    I love the way Sis. Aisha writes.

    JazakAllah Khair for the article. I think I found a solution. I’m going to start taping my alarm clock/cellphone to my ceiling, so I will be forced to look for a chair to turn it off. By the time I finish doing all of that, I should be full awake :)

  17. Avatar

    Swaying Wind

    March 29, 2010 at 10:19 PM

    SubhanAllah.

    If you need the motivation to read the Quran, and reflect on it, love it, have fear in your heart.. Never cease the opportunity to take a Quran tafseer class or if you can’t, pick up a tafseer book. Alhamdulillah, I attended the Eternal Journey – Tafseer Juz Tabarak by AlMaghrib institute, and it was heart-shattering, and scary SubhanAllah. Once you understand the Quran, you will see it in a different light, and you will inshaAllah reflect on how life is nothing but an illusion.. its not worth losing your aakhirah over.

    May Allah protect us, and guide us to the right path, and may He put love for the Quran in our hearts and help us APPLY it Ameen.

  18. Avatar

    unknown

    March 29, 2010 at 10:40 PM

    Assalamu alaikum,

    let us try to go to masjid for fajr

    It has been narrated by Abu Hurairah (R.A.) that Nabi (S.A.W.) said: “There is no Salaah that is more burdensome on a Munaafiq (hypocrite) than the Fajr and Eshaa Salaah. If they knew the virtue of these Salaah they would perform them even if they had to come to the Masjid crawling.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

    • Avatar

      Muhammad Elijah

      April 2, 2010 at 12:52 AM

      Assalamu ‘Alaikum

      The Munaafiqeen did attend Fajr but with great difficulty. So, the level of difficulty is propertional to you lack of Eemaan. In fact, when we acquire Eemaan we will not feel it burdensome. The Eeman which is variable like Allaah says that their Eemaan increases by listening to the Aayaat of Allaah. When I give Da’wah to others my Eemaan increases, and when I stop Da’wah the Eemaan doesn’t increase. So, non-stop Da’wah about Salaatul Fajr with Jamaa’ah, precisely the purpose of this article, is the key to Salaatul Fajr with Jamaa’ah.Maulana Ashraf Alee Thaanvee(rahimahullaah) used to say the gist of which is that when I want to acquire a Sift/quality, I give Da’wah of that Sift.

      So, the keys to Salaatul Fajr with Jamaa’ah are Da’wah about Salaatul Fajr with Jamaa’ah and Da’wah in general and this will cultivate Eemaan, and we will InshaAllaah not find Salaatul Fajr with Jamaa’ah difficult.

  19. Avatar

    ibn Ahmed

    March 30, 2010 at 5:01 AM

    Asalaamualaikum

    A few tips on getting up for fajr.

    How easy it is for one to get up for fajr or to pray any other salaat depends on their level of eeman (belief) and yakeeen (certainty). If a persons eeman is high and he has certainty then it will become easier for this person to perform their salaat and also to do other good deeds. Therefore one must work on raising their level of eeman and being firm in their yakeen.

    To put this in to context if you knew there was truly heaven and hell and you will be certainly rewarded or punished for your actions would you disobey the commands of Allah?

    A few things which may help practically to get up for fajr. Find an alarm clock like this one:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Science-Museum-Rocket-Alarm-Clock/dp/B002808TN0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=kitchen&qid=1269942660&sr=8-1

    Keep it away from reach and when the alarm goes off you have to get out of bed, pick up the rocket and put it back on the clock to turn it off. Now if this hasn’t woken you up nothing will. A similar alarm to this is whats called a maths clock or puzzle clock. You can download this as an app for your iphone or android phone or buy a physical version. When this alarm goes off you have to solve a few mathematical questions to turn off the alarm. Again keep it away from easy reach. If you need links please ask.

    InshAllah hope this helps. waslaam

  20. Avatar

    Khan

    March 30, 2010 at 9:56 AM

    Alhamdulillaah a good article, jazakAllaahu khairan. SubhanAllaah I’ve this thought of punishing oneself by missing out Fajr salat and that is every time you miss Fajr salat, don’t have breakfast on that day. I would like to see how long a person will last then by missing Fajr, inshaAllaah. The whole point of not having breakfast is to feeling of shame and guilt by missing Fajr. Tell yourself how can you eat the rizq of Allaah when you did not offer salaah that is obligatory upon every Muslim.

    • Avatar

      Abdus-Sabur

      March 30, 2010 at 1:25 PM

      I’m not a scholar but I am quite certain that we as Muslims are not to be punishing ourselves. I have not read anything in the quran or hadith about this sort of behavior. Also to indulge in shame & guilt because you think it will somehow change your behavior is just simply masochistic. We should not imitate the people of the book. That is a very Christian and Jewish type of behavior, in my opinion. The shame and guilt should dissipate after you prayer fajr and ask Allah to forgive you. You make the intention to pray it on time the next day and don’t give up. Persevere don’t punish yourself.

      I am wondering if it is a lot of young muslims that are missing fajr prayer or does this effect all ages? I know that you require less sleep the older you get but you need more naps! :)

      • Avatar

        Khan

        March 30, 2010 at 10:20 PM

        jazakAllaahu kharian akhi, point noted. However, by punishing I meant ‘nafs’.

      • Avatar

        Muhammad Elijah

        April 1, 2010 at 10:55 PM

        Assalamu ‘Alaikum Abdus Sabur Bhai(as we call Akhee in Urdu)
        We cannot say that if someone doesn’t have a breakfast to chastize the Nafs and to feel Nidaamah(guilt) for missing a Fard, because if Allaah made it Fard, He knows that all Baaligh people can do it, that he is doing something Haraam. In fact, eating less is Mandoob/Mustahabb. Not having breakfast is not Rahbaaniyyah(Asceticism disapproved by Allaah). To fast the whole year is Rahbaaniyyah. In fact, Abdullaah bin ‘Amr radi Allaahu ‘anhu was allowed by Rasoolullaah sall Allaahu ‘alaihi wasallam to fast like Nabi Daawood alaihis salaam (Jews and Christians call him King David) who used to fast on alternate days. Only the Saum of Jumu’ah(Fasting on Friday) is Makrooh(if I am not wrong) and Saum of five days are Haraam(Shawwaal 1st which is ‘Eedul Fitr,Dhul Hijjah 10 which is ‘Eedeul Ad-haa,Dhul Hijjah 11,Dhul Hijjah 12,Dhul Hijjah 13).

        To adopt all Halal means, and that is, every possible Halal mean, to fulfil a Fard would be commended by Allaah(if I am not wrong which I can be as I am not an ‘Aalim(Knower, translated for Kuffaar/non-Muslims who might be reading this)). Khaleefah ‘Umar radi Allaahu ‘anhu, imagine ,the Ameerul Mu’mineen-the ruler of his time,whose subject were Sahaabah like Uthmaan radi Allaahu ‘anhu and ‘Alee radi Allaahu ‘anhu, visited the house of a Muslim to inquire why didn’t he attend Salaatul Fajr with Jamaa’ah. In fact, his mother answered that he was doing Qiyaamul Lail( Standing at Night(in Salaah and doing Qira’ah(recitation of Qur’aan) in Salaah) so he slept and couldn’t wake up for Salaatul Fajr with Jamaa’ah. Ameerul Mu’mineen ‘Umar radi Allaahu ‘anhu said that to attend Salaatul Fajr with Jamaa’ah is more beloved to me than Qiyaamul Lail the whole night.

  21. Avatar

    sara

    March 30, 2010 at 10:23 AM

    In a town in England, brothers have got together and created a “Fajr Brigade”. Each member takes up the role of calling all other members so as to make sure they make it to masjid on time. I suppose the next step would be to arrange transportation to pick up those who sign up for masjid jama’at.

    • Avatar

      Yaqeen needed

      April 1, 2010 at 1:02 AM

      May Allah bless such openly demonstrated act of brotherhood.
      Much more like it is needed. Like visiting brothers who are MIA in salaah regularly

  22. Avatar

    NAS

    March 30, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    With strong Iman, you will never miss fajr [period].

    • Avatar

      mystrugglewithin

      March 30, 2010 at 2:55 PM

      please don’t say ‘never’ ..

      Abu Qataadah (may Allaah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was with some of his companions on a journey, and they halted at the end of the night. He lay down his head, then he said: “Guard our prayer for us.” The first one to wake up was the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). When the sun was on his back. We woke up, startled, then he said, “Ride on.” So we rode on and traveled until the sun had risen, then he stopped and called for the water vessel I had with me, in which there was a little water. He did wudoo’ from it, using less water than usual. A little water was left in it, and he said to Abu Qataadah, “Guard your water vessel, for you will see something happen with it.” Then Bilaal gave the call to prayer and the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) prayed two rak’ahs, then he prayed Fajr, and did as he did every day. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) rode on and we rode with him, and we began to whisper to one another, saying: What expiation is there for what we have done by neglecting our prayer? Then he said: “Do you not have an example in me?” Then he said: “There is no negligence in sleep, rather negligence is the fault of one who does not pray until the time for the next prayer comes. Whoever does that, let him pray when he remembers it, and if it is the following day, then let him pray at the time of the prayer (that he missed).” [Bukhari-570, Muslim-681]

  23. Avatar

    abu nabeeha

    March 30, 2010 at 6:49 PM

    Nothing is more beloved to me than breaking those 3 knots one by one, rendering the spell ineffective. I love the to see my enemy in disappointment and frustration. There is a lot of unfinished business to take care of with my enemy.

    • Avatar

      Muhammad Elijah

      April 1, 2010 at 11:00 PM

      Assalamu ‘Alaikum brother abu nabeeha
      MaShaaAllaah for your statement:I love the to see my enemy in disappointment and frustration.I have never herad anyone describe it like this. The description of Shaitaan being disappointed,frustrated, and I want to add humiliated is simply beautiful.

  24. Avatar

    SonicSoriyah

    March 31, 2010 at 8:21 PM

    Isn’t there a hadith that says something about missing salt because of fatigue or tiredness is “ok” and you can just make it up when you wake up? I don’t have the specific reference as I am horrible at citing Qur’an and hadith but I recall reading it in Bukhari many times.

    I’m not trying to make an excuse for missing fajr, but I also know that contemporary lifestyles to not usually lend themselves to waking up at 4/5/6 in the morning, especially if you live in an area where there is no adhan to call people to pray at fajr time. So, I think its reasonable and understandable that many of us have great difficulty in waking for fajr and if I am right in my understanding of the hadith then maybe we should stop obsessing over missing fajr by being too sleepy.

    • Avatar

      Yaqeen needed

      April 1, 2010 at 12:55 AM

      Sonic,

      We were not created for the Dunya or contemporary lifestyle. Our being Muslims demands that we sacrifice and bend our ways wholly towards what Allah wants not giving a damn about what contemporary style demands. Any Muslim who’s not obssessed about missing any salaah not just Fajr is not a big problem with his Imaan. If Allah is truly Greater than you, your work and contemporary lifestyle why should you not be worried about disobeying him for being fearful of the punishment for missing salat in jamaat for males. Of course,some of us do not find it problematic to be obsessed about being early at work or pleasing our boss, who will die very soon and be eaten by the worms in the grave. Yet Allah does not die and will bring us to account for our deeds or lack of deeds.

      And to be quite frank, the begining of your last paragraph and the end is best described as contradictory or oxymoronic

      • Avatar

        SonicSoriyah

        April 1, 2010 at 9:46 PM

        Sorry for any confusion or seemingly contradictory statements. I guess I was looking for someone to maybe comment on the hadith about it being “ok” if you miss salaah because of being overtaken with fatigue or sleepiness (again, I can’t find the specific reference). Of course we should have the niyaah for praying fajr and set our alarms or what have you to awaken us, but I know that sometimes (or oftentimes) it just doesn’t happen that we wake up at the right time. So instead of becoming self-deprecating every morning maybe we should realize that sleeping through a prayer is understandable and something we might have to live with.

        • Avatar

          mystrugglewithin

          April 1, 2010 at 9:48 PM

          Abu Qataadah (may Allaah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was with some of his companions on a journey, and they halted at the end of the night. He lay down his head, then he said: “Guard our prayer for us.” The first one to wake up was the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). When the sun was on his back. We woke up, startled, then he said, “Ride on.” So we rode on and traveled until the sun had risen, then he stopped and called for the water vessel I had with me, in which there was a little water. He did wudoo’ from it, using less water than usual. A little water was left in it, and he said to Abu Qataadah, “Guard your water vessel, for you will see something happen with it.” Then Bilaal gave the call to prayer and the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) prayed two rak’ahs, then he prayed Fajr, and did as he did every day. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) rode on and we rode with him, and we began to whisper to one another, saying: What expiation is there for what we have done by neglecting our prayer? Then he said: “Do you not have an example in me?” Then he said: “There is no negligence in sleep, rather negligence is the fault of one who does not pray until the time for the next prayer comes. Whoever does that, let him pray when he remembers it, and if it is the following day, then let him pray at the time of the prayer (that he missed).” [Bukhari-570, Muslim-681]

          Is this it?

          • Avatar

            SonicSoriyah

            April 1, 2010 at 11:57 PM

            Yes, I believe so, jazak’Allah khair! But when I read it, it was only the last part and it was translated somewhat differently.

          • Avatar

            Muhammad Elijah

            April 2, 2010 at 12:36 AM

            Assalaamu ‘Alaikum brother
            Would you guide me a little about this numbering scheme 570 and 681 and how does it relate to the references I have given to brother SonicSoriyah.

          • Avatar

            mystrugglewithin

            April 2, 2010 at 9:15 AM

            @ Elijah

            Akhi, I found it here: http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/99471

            I believe it’s a trustworthy source, let me know if there’s a typo or anything :>

            jak. ws.

        • Avatar

          Muhammad Elijah

          April 2, 2010 at 12:32 AM

          Assalamu ‘Alaikum brother SonicSoriyah
          By the way, where do you belong to?I am finding it difficult to guess your country by your name.

          You said that you were looking for someone to maybe comment on the hadith about it being “ok” if you miss salaah because of being overtaken with fatigue or sleepiness (again, I can’t find the specific reference)

          Brother with the username mystruggle within has given the specific reference of the Hadith you were trying to find.Your answers are there and I have highlighted it. being overtaken with fatigue or sleepiness is different from NAUM which is sleep itself.So, I would say that Allaah made it FARD because he knew that despite fatigue we CAN do it. So, be optimistic about how Allaah created us and keep up struggling. We are emotionally with you. I would do Du’aa to Allaah for your Salaatul Fajr with Jamaa’ah.

          Saheeh Bukhaari Kitaab ut-Tawheed

          http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/hadith/bukhari/093.sbt.html

          http://hadith.al-islam.com/Display/Display.asp?Doc=0&Rec=11066(Arabi)

          Saheeh Muslim Kitaab ul-Masaajid wa Mawaadi’usSalaah

          Book 004, Number 1450:

          http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/hadith/muslim/004.smt.html
          http://hadith.al-islam.com/Display/Display.asp?Doc=1&Rec=1462(Arabi)

          What I have fallibly understood from the following:

          and some of us whispered to the others saying: How would there be KAFFAARAH/ compensation for TAFREET/omission in our Salaah? Upon this he (the Apostle of Allah) said: Is there not in me (my life) an USWAH/ model for you? There is no TAFREET in sleeping. The (cognizable) TAFREET/omission is that one should not say prayer (intentionally) TILL THE TIME OF OTHER SALAAH COMES So he who did this should say prayer WHEN HE BECOMES AWARE OF IT(HEENA YANTABIHU LAHA) and ON THE NEXT DAY HE SHOULD OBSERVE IT ITS TIME(FA IDHAA KAANAL GHADU FALYUSALLIHA ‘INDA WAQTIHA)

          You said that:but I know that sometimes (or oftentimes) it just doesn’t happen that we wake up at the right time.

          ‘Oftentimes’ is negated by ON THE NEXT DAY HE SHOULD OBSERVE IT ITS TIME and ‘sometimes’ is affirmed by There is no TAFREET in sleeping. (AMA INNAHU LAISA FINNAUMI TAFREETUN).

          You said that:So instead of becoming self-deprecating every morning maybe we should realize that sleeping through a prayer is understandable and something we might have to live with.

          This statement sounds dangerous. Being self-dprecating( trying to make yourself, your abilities or your achievements seem less important -dictionary.cambridge.org) is good in Deen. Sleeping through a prayer is understandable( You say that something, for example someone’s behaviour, is understandable, if you feel that it is usual and not strange or difficult to understand ) and usual considering the majority of humanity and majority of Muslims, but it was not understandable/usual in the time of Sahaabah radi Allaahu ‘anhum. So, our standards should conform to what was understandable/usual in Khairul Quroon(The Best of Eras/Ages/Centuries). What is understandable/usual today can’t be our reference point, because we live in a strange world today when many strange things have becomeunderstandable.

          I look forward to your response here and you are also welcome to contact me on
          neorient@gmail.com

        • Avatar

          Yaqeen needed

          April 2, 2010 at 1:16 AM

          Sonic

          The truth is we should simply change our lifestyles (that’s what submission ISLAAM really means) to suit what Allah wants. Using alarms and all that stuff may be OK and complimentary but secondary to our sacrificing and CHANGING our lifestyles to please Allah as He demands. If Allah is truly Greater and more important and beloved to us than anything in this deceptive world we will never feel comfortable missing out on salaat jamaat not to talk of not making salaah on time. Sleeping through salaah ,especially if it is habitual, should be despised. We should fear Allah and look at the lives of the true salaf for this and other issues

  25. Avatar

    Naseebah

    April 1, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    jazakum Allahu khairan for this inspiring article and the funny title that precedes it! I’ll remember that title tomorrow morning in sha Allah!

  26. Avatar

    Muhammd Elijah

    April 3, 2010 at 2:28 AM

    Assalamu ‘Alaikum brother mystrugglewithin
    My point didn’t concern the authenticity of a source, rather that we should know how to use a given reference to actually find the actual text for ourselves. I searched for myself and the methodology used there for reference was different from that of islam-qa.com.

    I hope this advice will optimize our search of the Islamic texts, InshaaAllaah.

    neorient@gmail.com

  27. Avatar

    M.K.Naushad

    May 6, 2010 at 9:43 AM

    Allah’s Mercy be upon all Muslims. It is our weakness to express in different ways. We should try our level best and stick to the Quran and Sunnah of our Prophet (pbuh), as our brother said keep giving Da’wah our Emaan will increase. STOP writing our personal experience and START practising ISLAM. Insha Allah – Allah’s Mercy will make our life easy in this world and hereafter. OUR AIM is to please ALLAH.

    “On that Day, We will raise up among every community a witness against them from among themselves, and bring you as a witness against them. We have sent down the Book to you making all things clear, and as guidance and mercy and good news for the Muslims”. (Surat an-Nahl, 89)

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The Day I Die | Imam Omar Suleiman

Imam Omar Suleiman

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Janazah, funeral, legacy, Omar Suleiman, Edhi

Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (may Allah be pleased with him) in the midst of the torture he endured at the hands of his oppressors used to say: baynana wa baynahum aljanaa’iz, which means, “the difference between us and them will show in our funerals.” The man who instigated the ideological deviation that led to his torture was an appointed judge named Ahmad Ibn Abi Du’ad. At the moment of Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal making those remarks, it appeared Imam Ahmad would die disgraced in a dungeon but Ahmad Ibn Abi Du’ad would have a state funeral with thousands of mourners. Instead, Imam Ahmad persevered through his struggle, was embraced by the people, and honored by Allah with the biggest Janazah ever known to the Arabs with millions of people pouring in from all over. Ahmad Ibn Abu Du’ad was cast aside and buried without anyone attending his janazah out of revulsion.

Now sometimes righteous people do die in isolation, and wicked people are given grand exits. There are people like Uthman Ibn Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) who was murdered by the people of fitnah, then buried at night far away from the people out of fear of the large numbers that would’ve poured out to his janazah and potentially mobilized against his oppressors. But it may be that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) inspired Imam Ahmad with the vision to see his victory in this life before the next. To elaborate a bit on his statement though, allow me to reflect:

A wise man once said to me,

“Always put your funeral in front of you, and work backwards in constructing your life accordingly.” 

With the deaths of righteous people, that advice always advances to the front of my thoughts. When a person passes away, typically only good things will be said of them. But it’s important to pay attention to 2 aspects about those good things being said:

1. Is there congruence in the particular good quality being attested to about the deceased.

2. Are those good qualities being attested to actually truly of the deceased. 

The first one deals with consistency of character, the second one with sincerity of intention which is only known by the Creator and His servant. In regards to the first one, take our sister Hodan Nalayeh (may Allah have mercy on her) who was murdered tragically last week in a terrorist attack in Somalia. Everyone that spoke of her said practically the same thing about how she interacted with them and/or benefitted them. There is complete harmony with all of the testimonies about her. And in that case we all become the witnesses of our sister on the day of judgment, testifying to her good character.

For many that pass away, neither the deceased nor the community fully appreciates the way they benefitted others until that day. It was narrated that when Zainul Abideen Ali Ibn Al Husayn (may Allah be pleased with them), the great grandson of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) passed away, he had marks on his shoulders from the bags he used to carry to the doorsteps of the poor at night when no one else was watching. The narrations state that the people of Madinah used to live off his charity not knowing the source of it until his death.

How many people will miss you when you die because of the joy you brought to their lives? How many of those that you comforted when they were abandoned by others? That you spent on when they were deprived by others? That you advocated for when they were oppressed by others? 

Will your family miss you because of an empty bed in the home or a deep void in their hearts? Will it be the loss of your spending only that grieves them, or the loss of your smile? Will it be the loss of the stability you provided them only, or the loss of your service and sacrifices for them?

But Zainul Abideen didn’t care for the recipients of his charity to know that he was the source of it, because He was fully in tune with it’s true Divine source. He didn’t want to be thanked in this world, but in the next. He didn’t want the eulogy, he wanted Eternity. 

He understood that if you become distracted by the allure of this world, you may merely become of it. Focus on bettering the future which you cannot escape, rather than the present that you cannot dictate. Focus on the interview with the One who needs no resume, rather than the judgments of those who are just as disposable as you. 

اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْ خَيْرَ زَمَانِيْ آخِرَهُ، وَخَيْرَ عَمَلِيْ خَوَاتِمَهُ، وَخَيْرَ أَيَّامِيْ يِوْمَ أَلقَاكَ

“O Allah, let the best of my lifetime be its ending, and my best deed be that which I seal [my life with], and the best of my days the day I meet You.”

Which brings us to the second aspect of your funeral, the sincerity of the good you’re being praised for. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “increase your remembrance of the destroyer of pleasures.” Death only destroys the temporary pleasures of this world, not the pleasure of the Most Merciful in the next. Keeping that in perspective will help you work towards that without being distracted. If it is the praise of the people you seek, that is as temporary as the world that occupies both your worldly vehicle ie. your body, and your companions in this world who shall perish soon after you.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) mentioned the one who passes away with the people lavishing praise on him that he is unworthy of. In a narration in Al Tirmidhi, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “No one dies and they stand over him crying and saying: ‘Oh what a great man he was! Oh how honored he was!’ except that two angels are appointed for him to poke him and say: Is that really you?”

But if it is Allah’s praise that you sought all along, the deeds that you put forth shall await you in your grave in the form of heavenly ornaments. Those that were known to the community, those that were known to only a select few, and those that were known by no one but Allah and you.

May Allah give us all a good ending, and an even better eternity.

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The Spirituality Of Gratitude

Shaykh Tarik Ata

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Gratitude

The Quran tells the reader of the importance of gratitude in two ways. First, worship, which is the essence of the relationship between man and the Creator, is conditional to gratitude “and be grateful to Allah if it is [indeed] Him that you worship” (2:172). The verse suggests that in order for an individual to truly worship Allah then they must express gratitude to Allah and that an ungrateful individual cannot be a worshiper of Allah. The second verse states the following “And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me” (2:152). The Arabic word used, translated here as ‘deny,’ is kufr which linguistically means to cover up. The word was adopted by the Quran to refer to someone who rejects Allah after learning of Him. Both the linguistic and Quranic definitions are possibly meant in this verse and both arrive at the same conclusion. That is, the absence of gratitude is an indicator of one’s rejection of Allah; the question is how and why?

What Does Shukr Mean?

Understanding a Quranic concept begins with understanding the word chosen by the Quran. The word shukr is used throughout the Quran and is commonly translated as gratitude. From a purely linguistic definition, shukr is “the effect food has on the body of an animal” (Ibn Qayyim v. 2 p. 200). What is meant here is that when an animal eats food it becomes heavier which has a clear and visible effect on the animal. Therefore, shukr is the manifestation of a blessing or blessings on the entirety of a person. From here, spiritualists understood the goal of shukr and added an extra element to the definition and that is the acknowledgment that those blessings are from Allah. Thus, the definition of shukr as an Islamic spiritual concept is “the manifestation of Allah’s blessings verbally through praise and acknowledgment; emotionally on the heart through witnessing the blessings and loving Allah; and physically through submission and servitude” (Ibid).

Based on this definition, the goal of shukr can be broken into five categories. First, gratitude that brings about the submission of the individual to his benefactor. In order for an act to be worthy of gratitude, the beneficiary must conclude that the benefactor’s action was done for the sake of the beneficiary – thus making the benefactor benevolent. In other words, the benefactor is not benefiting in the least (Emmons et al 2004 p. 62). When the individual recognizes his benefactor, Allah, as being completely independent of the individual and perfect in of himself, one concludes that the actions of the benefactor are purely in the best interest of the beneficiary resulting in the building of trust in Allah. The Quran utilizes this point multiple times explicitly stating that Allah has nothing to gain from the creations servitude nor does he lose anything from because of their disobedience (Q 2:255, 4:133, 35:15, 47:38). Through shukr, a person’s spirituality increases by recognizing Allah’s perfection and their own imperfection thus building the feeling of need for Allah and trust in him (Emmons et al 2002 p. 463).

Gratitude in Knowing That Allah Loves Us

The second category is love for the benefactor. Similar to the previous category, by identifying the motive of the benefactor one can better appreciate their favors. “Gratitude is fundamentally a moral affect with empathy at its foundation: In order to acknowledge the cost of the gift, the recipient must identity with the psychological state of the one who has provided it” (Emmons 2002 p. 461).[1] That is, by recognizing Allah’s perfection one concludes that his blessings are entirely in the best interest of the beneficiary despite not bringing any return to Him. Thus, the Quran utilizes this concept repeatedly and to list a few, the Quran reminds the human reader that he created the human species directly with his two hands (38:75), he created them in the best physical and mental form (95:4), gave him nobility (17:70), commanded the angels to prostrate to him out of reverence (38:72-3), made him unique by giving him knowledge and language (2:31), exiled Satan who refused to revere him (7:13), allowed him into Paradise (7:19), forgave his mistake (2:37), designated angels to protect each individual (13:11) and supplicate Allah to forgive the believers (40:7-9), created an entire world that caters to his needs (2:29), among plenty of other blessings which express Allah’s love, care, and compassion of the human.

The remaining three categories revolve around the individual acting upon their gratitude by acknowledging them, praising Allah for them and using them in a manner acceptable to Allah. In order for gratitude to play a role in spirituality the blessings one enjoys must be utilized in a manner that connects them with Allah. Initially, one must acknowledge that all blessings are from him thus establishing a connection between the self and Allah. This is then elevated to where the individual views these blessings as more than inanimate objects but entities that serve a purpose. By doing this one begins to see and appreciate the wisdoms behind these created entities enlightening the individual to the Creators abilities and qualities. Finally, after recognizing the general and specific wisdoms behind each creation, one feels a greater sense of purpose, responsibility, and loyalty. That is, engaging the previous five categories establishes love for the benefactor (Ibn Qayyim v. 2 p. 203). Observing the care and compassion of the benefactor for his creation establishes the feeling of loyalty towards the one who has cared for us as well as responsibility since He created everything with purpose.

Blessings Even in Hardship

One may interject by referring to the many individuals and societies that are plagued with hardships and do not have blessings to appreciate. No doubt this is a reality and the Quran address this indirectly. Upon analysis, one finds that the blessings which the Quran references and encourages the reader to appreciate are not wealth or health; rather, it is the sun, the moon, trees, and the natural world in general. Perhaps the reason for this is what shukr seeks to drive us towards. There are two things all these objects have in common (1) they are gifts given by Allah to all humans and all individuals enjoy them and (2) humans are dependent upon them. Everyone has access to the sun, no one can take it away, and we are critically dependent upon it. When the Quran draws our attention to these blessings, the reader should begin to appreciate the natural world at a different level and Surah an Nahl does precisely that. This chapter was likely revealed during the time of hijrah (immigration); a time when the companions lost everything – their homes, wealth, and tribes. The chapter works to counsel them by teaching them that the true blessings a person enjoys is all around them and no matter how much was taken from them, no one can take away the greater blessings of Allah.

In sum, these verses bring light to the crucial role shukr plays in faith. It serves as a means to better know Allah which can be achieved through a series of phases. First, the individual must search for the blessings which then leads to a shift in perspective from focusing on the wants to focusing on what is available. This leads to greater appreciation and recognition of the positives in one’s life allowing the person more optimism. Second, the person must link those blessings to the benefactor – Allah – which reveals many elements of who He is and His concern for His creation. Once this is internalized in the person’s hearts, its benefits begin to manifest itself on the person’s heart, mind, and body; it manifests itself in the form of love for Allah and submission to him. Shukr ultimately reveals the extent of Allah’s love and concern for the individual which therein strengthens the trust and love of the individual for Allah and ultimately their submission to Him.

Allah knows best.

Emmons, Robert A., and Charles M. Shelton. “Gratitude and the science of positive psychology.” Handbook of positive psychology 18 (2002): 459-471.

Emmons, Robert A., and Michael E. McCullough, eds. The psychology of gratitude. Oxford University Press, 2004.

Jawziyyah, Ibn Qayyim. madārij al-sālikīn bayn manāzil iyyāka naʿbud wa iyyāka nastaʿīn مدارج السالكين بين منازل إياك نعبد وإياك نستعين [The Levels of Spirituality between the Dynamics of “It is You Alone we Worship and it is You Alone we Seek Help From]. Cario: Hadith Publications, 2005.

[1] Islamically speaking, it is not befitting to claim that Allah has a psyche or that he can be analyzed psychologically.

Download a longer version of this article here: The Sprituality of Gratitude

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When Faith Hurts: Do Good Deeds = Good Life?

Loving Allah and trusting the Wisdom and Purpose in everything He throws your way- even if it hurts. It is a time to learn.

Zeba Khan

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hurts, hardship. Allah, test, why Allah is testing me

The Messenger of Allahṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said that the faith in our hearts wears out the way our clothes wear out. Deterioration, maintenance, and renewal are part of the cycle.  That’s life with all that hurts. That’s normal.

But what happens when that’s life, but life is not your normal? What happens when it feels like life isn’t normal, hasn’t been normal, and won’t be normal for a foreseeably long time?  For some of us, refreshing faith becomes secondary to just keeping it.

It’s easier to say Alhamdulillah when you are happy. It’s harder when you’re not. That’s human nature though. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there is something wrong with what we teach about faith that can leave us unprepared for when Allah tests it. I believe that our discussions about faith tend to be overly simplistic. They revolve around a few basic concepts, and are more or less summed up with:

Faith = Happiness

Righteousness = Ease

Prayer = Problem Solved

Good Deeds Equals Good Life?

Basically, the TLDR is Good Deeds = The Good Life. None of these statements are technically untrue. The sweetness of faith is a joy that is beyond any other gratitude, for any other thing in this world. Righteousness in the sight of Allah will put you on the path to the good life in the afterlife. Making dua can be the solution to your problems. But when we say these things to people who have true faith but not happiness, or righteous behavior yet distressing hardship, we’re kind of implying that that either Islam is broken (because their prayers seem unanswered), or they are broken (because their prayers are undeserving of answers.) And neither of those is true either.

Allow me to elaborate. I think it’s safe to say that there is not a single parent who has not begged Allah to make their sick or disabled child well again. Yet, our Ummah still has sick and disabled children. Through history, people have begged Allah for a loved one’s life, and then buried them – so is prayer not equal to problem solved?

Many righteous people stand up, and are then ostracized for their faith. Many people speak truth in the face of a tyrant only to be punished for it. Many of us live with complete conviction, with unshakeable belief in the existence and wisdom and mercy of Allah, and still find ourselves unhappy and afraid of what He has willed for us.

Are We Broken?

No, but our spiritual education is. 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.

Has anyone ever said this to you? Have you ever said this to anyone else?

No one ever told me. It was hard for me to learn that lesson on my own, when I pleaded with Allah to make my son’s autism go away, and it didn’t. Everyone told me –Make dua! The prayer of a mother for her child is special! Allah will never turn you down!

It was hard trying to make sense of what seemed like conflicting messages- that Allah knows best, but a mother’s prayer is always answered. It was even harder facing people who tried to reassure me of that, even when it obviously wasn’t working.

“Just make dua! Allah will respond!”

I’m sure people mean well. But it’s hard not to be offended. Either they assume I have never bothered to pray for my son, or they imply that there must be good reason why Allah’s not granting to my prayers. What they don’t consider is that allowing my test to persist – even if I don’t want it to- is also a valid response from Allah.

I have been told to think back in my life, and try to determine what sin caused my child’s disability, as if the only reason why Allah wouldn’t give me what I asked for was because I was so bad I didn’t deserve it. As if good deeds equaled the good life, and if my life wasn’t good, it’s because I hadn’t been good either.

Bad Things Happen to Good People

You can assume whatever you like about my character, but 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.

That’s a bit uncomfortable, isn’t it.  When we talk about prayer and hope, we prefer to talk about Zakariyyah 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) – who begged Allah for a child and was gifted with one long after anyone thought it even possible. But we also need to talk about Abu Talib.

The Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was raised by his uncle Abu Talib, and in his mission to preach Islam he was protected by Abu Talib.  But Abu Talib died without accepting Islam, was there something wrong with the Prophet, that Allah did not give him what he asked for? Was he not good enough? Did he not pray hard enough? Astaghfirullah, no. So if Prophets of God can ask for things and still not get them, why are we assuming otherwise for ourselves?

Making a Bargain with Allah

If we can understand that faith is not a contract for which we trade prayers for services, then maybe we can cope better when fate cannot be bargained with. Maybe it won’t have to hurt so bad – on spiritual level – when Allah withholds what we ask for, even when we asked for the “right” things in the right way and at all the right times.

Life is not simple. Faith is not simple. The will of Allah is not simple, no matter how much we want it to be, and when oversimplify it, we create a Muslim version of Prosperity Gospel without meaning to.

If you’ve never heard of it, prosperity gospel is a religious belief among some Christians that health and wealth and success are the will of God, and therefore faith, good deeds and charity increase one’s wellbeing. Have faith, and God will reward you in this life and the next. That’s nice. But it’s too simple. Because the belief that Good Deeds = The Good Life doesn’t explain how Ibraheem 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)’s father tried to have him burnt alive.

Yusuf 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)’s brothers left him for dead in the bottom of a well. He grew up a slave and spent years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Aasiya 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) – the wife of the Pharoah – one of the four best women in the history of womankind – died from her husband’s torture.

Good people are not guaranteed good lives. Islam is what we need, not a system of practices that we use to fulfill our needs.

When we limit our understanding of faith to a simplistic, almost contractual relationship with Allah, then we can’t even explain the things that Allah Tested His own prophets with.

Nor can we understand, or even begin to cope with- what He Tests the rest of us with either. We have to be real in our talk about faith, because otherwise we set each other up for unrealistic expectations and lack of preparation for when we face hardship. Faith is not protection from hardship. Faith is part of hardship. And hardship is part of faith.

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) asks us in the opening of Surah ‘Ankabut,

Do people think once they say, “We believe,” that they will be left without being put to the test? We certainly tested those before them. And ˹in this way˺ Allah will clearly distinguish between those who are truthful and those who are liars.

Allah says in Surah Baqarah, ayah 155: “And most certainly shall We try you by means of danger, and hunger, and loss of worldly goods, of lives and of the fruits of your labor. But give glad tidings to those who are patient in adversity.

tests, hurts, faith , hardship

Allah Tests Everyone Differently

Allah tests each of us differently, but in every single case – every single time – a test is an invitation to success. Hardship is the process through which we prove ourselves. Experiencing it– and then drawing closer to Allah through it –is how faith is tested as well as strengthened.

If we can change how we perceive hardship, then we can also change how we perceive each other. On our cultural subconscious, we still see worldly failure as being equivalent to spiritual failure. So when we see people who are homeless, we assume fault. When we see people facing depression or divorce, we assume fault. We even look at refugees and victims and special needs children and we look for fault. Because if it’s that bad then it’s has to be someone’s fault, right?

Fault is how we place blame. Blame is how we know whose mistake it is. But the will of Allah is never a mistake, it’s a test.  Instead of faulting each other for what Allah tests us with, we could respect each other for the struggles we all endure. We could see each other with more compassion for our challenges, and less aversion when Allah tests us with dealing each other.

So when you’ve done things the right way, but the right things aren’t happening. Or you’ve been charitable to others, and they’re being evil towards you. Or you’ve earned only halal, but haram- it’s been taken away from you, remember this- your faith is being tested. Allah tests those that He loves. When He raises the difficulty level, Allah is extending a direct invitation for you to climb higher.

So How Do We Succeed When Faced With Failure?

The first thing to do is redefine failure. There is only one true failure in this life, and that is dying on the wrong side of Siraat ul Mustaqeem, because if close your eyes and wake up in Jahannam, no success in this life can compensate for that.

I find that helpful to remember, when I fail to stay fit because I can’t exercise without hurting myself, when I fail to fast in Ramadan because it’s dangerous for me to do so- when I fail to discover a cure for my family’s personal assortment of medical issues through rigorous internet “research,” none of that is my failure either. And I can feel a lot of different ways about these situations, but I do not feel guilty- because it’s not my fault. And I do not feel bitter, because my test is my honor. Even when I do feel scared.

Being scared in not a failure either. Neither is being unemployed. Being unmarried is not a failure. Being childless is not a failure. Being divorced is not a failure. Nothing unpleasant or miserable or unexpected is a failure. It’s all just a test, and seeing it as a test means you have the state of mind to look for the correct answers.

Not even sin is failure, because as long as you are alive, your sin stands as an invitation to forgiveness. The bigger the sin, the greater the blessings of repenting from it.  Everything that goes bad is the opening of the door for good. A major sin can be the first step on a journey that starts with repentance and moves you closer to Allah every day thereafter. Sin only becomes failure when it takes you farther away from Allah, rather than closer to him.

Jahannam is the Only Failure

Addiction is not a failure. Depression is not a failure. Poverty is not a failure. Jahannam is the only failure. Everything else is a gap in expectations.

You assumed you would have something, but it’s not written for you. You assumed you’d ask Allah for something and He’d give it to you, but what is that assumption based on again? That good deeds are the guarantee to the good life, and that prayer equals problem solved?

Allah has all the knowledge, Allah has the wisdom, Allah is the best of Planners – how are you assuming that your wishes supersede His will? Even when you put your wishes in the form of a prayer?

They don’t. It is absolutely true that Allah may choose to rewrite Qadr itself based on your prayers – but that’s still His choice. Allah has always, and will always be in control of this world. And that means your world too. If you still think you’re in control, you will find it really, really hard to cope the first time you realize you’re not.

When we understand that we don’t get to control what happens and what doesn’t, we can then release ourselves from the misplaced guilt of things going wrong.  Lots of special needs parents struggle with guilt. I meet them often – and every single parent has asked the question- directly or indirectly-

What did I do for my child to deserve this?

Can you hear the presumption in there? That the parents were good, so why did something bad happen? They were expecting for good deeds to equal the good life.

There’s a second presumption in there too, that their life choices were a determining factor of what happened to their child. That is a presumption of control. And as long as you try to hold on to that presumption of control, there is the constant feeling of failure when it just doesn’t work the way you think it will.

I am not proposing that we lose hope in Allah and despair of His Mercy. I am in no way insinuating that Allah doesn’t hear every prayer, hasn’t counted every tear, and isn’t intimately aware of your pain and your challenges. Allah hears your prayers, and in His wisdom, sometimes he grants us exactly what we want. In His Wisdom, sometimes he grants us exactly what we need.

Even if we don’t see it.

Even if it scares us.

Even if it hurts us – because Allah has promised that He will never, ever break us.

hurts, hardship, special needs

Allah Tests Us in His Mercy

I am proposing that we put trust in the wisdom of Allah, and understand that when He tests us, that is part of his mercy, not a deviation from it. When He grants something to us, that is part of His mercy, and when he withholds something from us, that too is part of His Mercy, even if we don’t like it. Even when we ask Him to take it away.

The third thing I would like to propose, is that we correct our understanding of – Fa Inna Ma’Al usri yusraa, Inna Ma’al usri yusra.

So verily, definitely, for sure- with hardship there is ease. Again, Inna – for sure, with hardship there is ease.

I’m sure lots of you have said this to people you loved, or to yourself when you’re struggling with something and you’re just trying to get through it. But did you mean that this hardship will end, and then things will be good again? Like as soon as things have been hard for a while, Allah will make them easy again?

Would you believe that’s not really what that means? Ma’a means with, not after. With this hardship, there is ease. And maybe you’re like aww man, but I wanted the ease! I want the hardship to go away and Allah I’m ready for my ease now!

But that hardship, will bring you ease. Allah does not tell us what the ease will be, or when it will be- but He says it’s there, so trust Him. Even if you can’t see it right away, or in this life –it will become apparent.

I can tell you some of the ease I found with mine.

Learning When It Hurts

When my son was diagnosed with autism, my husband and I had to drop everything. We dropped our plans to save, to travel, and to live the charmed life of neurotypical parents whose only fears are that their children may grow up and NOT become Muslim doctors. We spent our earnings and our savings and our time and our nights and our tears and Alhamdulillah, we learned patience. We learned perspective. We learned compassion.

We really learned what we thought we already knew – about unconditional love and acceptance. We learned to be bigger than our fears, and smaller than our own egos. We learned to give and take help. We learn to accept what wisdom our cultures could offer us, and respectfully decline what did not. We learn to set boundaries and make rules that did justice by our children and our family, regardless of whether they were popular. With hardship comes ease.

When we couldn’t afford therapy for my son, my husband and I founded a not for profit organization in the UAE that provided it for my son and dozens of other people’s sons and daughters. Three and a half years ago I left that organization to seek better educational opportunities for my son here in the US, but it’s still running. The seed that our challenges planted has grown into something beyond us. With our hardship came ease for ourselves and others as well.

When I was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, my health issues were upgraded from challenging to permanent. I had to rethink how I lived, how I planned, how I dressed, and even – my relationship with Allah. But if I had never been sick, I would never have started writing. When it hurt, I wrote. When I was scared, I wrote. When I was lonely, I wrote. And by and by the grindstone of fear and sickness and frustration sharpened my skills. Where I am today both spiritually and professionally – is actually a direct result of both autism and chronic illness. With hardship comes ease.

I don’t like my hardships, but I don’t have to. You don’t have to either. Being a good Muslim doesn’t always mean being a happy Muslim. It just means being Muslim, no matter the circumstances.

That means loving Allah and trusting the Wisdom and Purpose in everything He throws your way – even if not loving everything He throws your way. You may hate your circumstances, and you may not be able to do anything about them, but as long as you trust Allah and use your hardships to come closer to him, you cannot fail, even if this life, you feel as if you never really succeeded.

hurts, depression, faith , hardship

Faith Wears Out In Our hearts, The Way Our Cothes Wear Out on Our Bodies

The hardship that damages and stains us is Allah’s invitation to repair, renew, and refresh ourselves. Our test are an invitation, an opportunity, an obstacle – but not a punishment or divine cruelty. And when we know that those tests will come, and some may even stay, then we can be better prepared for it.

Trust Allah when He says that He does not burden any soul with more than it can bear. He told us so in Surah Baqarah Ayah 286. Remember that when you are afraid, and Allah will never cause your fear to destroy you. Take your fear to Allah, and He will strengthen you, and reward you for your bravery.

Remember that when you are in pain. Allah will never cause your pain to destroy you. Take your pain to Him, and He will soothe you and reward you for your patience. Take it all to Allah – the loneliness, the anxiety, the confusion. Do not assume that the only emotions a “good Muslim” takes to Allah are gratitude and happiness and awe. Take them all to Allah, uncertainty, disappointment, anger — and He will bless you in all of those states, and guide you to what is better for you in this life, and the next, even if it’s not what you expected.

The struggles in your life are a test, and whether you pass or fail is not determined on whether you conquer them, only on whether you endure them. Expect that they will come, because having faith is not protection from struggle. Faith is protection from being broken by the struggle.

I ask Allah to protect us all from hardship, but protect us in our hardships as well. I ask Allah to grant us peace from His peace, and strength from His strength, to patiently endure and grow through our endurance.

Ameen.

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