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Inspiration and Spirituality

Eight Ways to Increase our Love of Allah

In this lecture, delivered on the Night of the 27th of Ramadan, I talk about the sources of the word “Hubb”, Arabic for love.  I then mention the types of love, then focus on the love of Allah.  Finally I mention 8 essential ways of increasing our love of Allah.

I hope you find it beneficial.

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Born and raised in Lebanon, Hlayhel began attending study circles at his local mosque when he was ten. He came to the United States at 17 and studied electrical engineering at the University of Houston. At its MSA, he met Sh Yasir Qadhi and worked together to raise Islamic awareness on campus. Hlayhel studied traditional sciences of Aqeedah (Islamic creed), Fiqh (Islamic law) and Nahw (Arabic grammar) under Sh Waleed Basyouni and Sh Waleed Idriss Meneese among others. After settling in Phoenix AZ, he worked tirelessly, in the capacity of a board member then a chairman, to revive the then dead AZ chapter of CAIR in order to face the growing Islamophobia in that state and to address the resulting civil right violations. Today, he's considered the second founder of a strong CAIR-AZ. In addition, Hlayhel is a part-time imam at the Islamic Center of the Northeast Valley in Phoenix, husband and father of four. His current topics of interest include positive Islam, youth coaching, and countering Islamophobia.

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Umm Sulaim

    September 16, 2011 at 10:21 AM

    JazakAllah khayra for the advice. I enjoyed listening to the material.

    Umm Sulaim

    • Avatar

      Anas Hlayhel

      September 17, 2011 at 6:51 PM

      wa iyyakum, I’m so glad you enjoyed the lecture

      • Avatar

        Umm Sulaim

        September 17, 2011 at 10:28 PM

        Please, would it be possible to get a download link for this lecture?

        I’d like to have a record of it, without getting on youtube each time.

        Umm Sulaim

        • Avatar

          Anas Hlayhel

          September 19, 2011 at 12:41 AM

          Salam, sorry sister, it wasn’t me who shot the video so I don’t have a copy myself. I tried reaching the brother who took the video but he hasn’t responded yet. If he does, i will let you know inshaa’Allah.

  2. Avatar

    Daughter of Adam (AS)

    September 17, 2011 at 1:04 AM

    I was feeling down after listening to a lecture that basically told me I shouldn’t be so sure that Allah loves me..

    this is a beautifully detailed explanation! jazakAllahukhairan!

    • Avatar

      Anas Hlayhel

      September 17, 2011 at 6:55 PM

      wa iyyakum … yes I think this is a very important topic that doesn’t get discussed thoroughly. That was the main motivation behind the lecture. We let other faith traditions exceed us when it comes to this topic while it’s so central to our faith.

  3. Avatar

    MuslimahS

    September 17, 2011 at 5:14 AM

    JazakAllah Khair.

  4. Pingback: Eight Ways to Increase our Love of Allah - Islamic Blog - Articles On Muslims, Quran, Ramadan, Dua, Islamic Issues, Zakir Naik

  5. Avatar

    Holy Quran

    October 19, 2011 at 3:53 AM

    That is really good video to be shared. perfect i think we all have to share that on face book too.

  6. Avatar

    ujjala ahmed

    August 11, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    Asalam o alaikum, brother im in quest of ALLAH’s love. i want to exculde world from ma heart, i dunt want expectations from world. most of the time i am successfull but then there come few days when attraction of this world increase so much that i dunt feel that level of satisfaction in prayers which i normally do. i couldnt maintain ma daily routine. it took few days to get back on track. please guide me how can i increase ma love for ALLAH so that i will not get distracted because of worldly things and peoples. jazakALLAH

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Inspiration and Spirituality

Podcast: Ramadan Reset | Shaykh Aleaddin Elbakri

As Ramadan ends, it is time to begin the rest of the year. Even if your Ramadan hasn’t been great so far, you can still make it good. As long as you’re breathing, the door of repentance is open.

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#Islam

Al-Shafi, the Healer

Al Shafi

Translated from the book, “Because You are Allah” by Ali ibn Jabir Al-Feefi

Have pains exhausted you? Has illness made you see life in a darkened hue?

Do you hate returning to doctors? And are tired of walking in the hallways of hospitals, and the names of clinics, dates of visits and faces of sick people become blurry in your mind?

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Then how would you like me to cleanse your soul from its weight and fatigue?

It is the name of Allah, Al-Shafi (The Healer)! 

Allow for yourself, though exhausted, to catch your breath for a moment to read about this merciful name.  This name after which you experience its shade will understand how much you are in need of it, and how far you were from it! 

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There is no illness after today

Al-Shafi is one of His names that we praise Him for.  We praise Him for naming Himself with this name, and that He described Himself with the description of healing although He alone is the one who heals the bodies of His servants. 

Illness in the life of a person is an event that happens recurringly, with varying pains, many forms, and is hardly avoided by anyone at any time.  We transition from one pain to the next; from headaches to fatigue, from fever to aches in our joints and bodies etc.  And even if a person is healthy in themselves, they see their brother in pain, or their mother in tears or their beloved ill. 

This life is a real of illness, pain, and sighs.  Due to that, Allah named Himself Al-Shafi, that your pains prostrate in the temple of His Mercy, and that your suffering reverses itself at the doorstep of His Ability. 

Allah decreed that the light of life in our bodies dims every once in a while through illness, that we acknowledge our weakness and that we have no strength and no power. 

Allah decreed illness so that a person remembers something similar to this illness, and that is death! Just as illness is the end of liveliness, death is the end of life! 

Your reality is death, and everything in you and around you resembles death.  Your sleep is death, your illness is death, your transitioning from one stage of life to another is death! For your youth is the death of your childhood, and your old age is the death of your youth, so much of you has died already, and hence you resemble death more than you resemble life.  We still however delude ourselves into thinking we are eternal and so illness screams at our bodies, informing them that they will come to an end! 

Because He is Al-Shafi

He heals you with a cause…
He heals you with the smallest cause…

He heals you with the most unique cause…
He heals you with something not considered a cause…

He heals you with no cause…

He heals with herbs, He heals with simple or compounded medicines, He heals with nutrition, He heals with water…

And from the most amazing things that I read was a child who was stricken with tuberculosis at a time when it meant certain death.  After doctors confirmed his bleak future they permitted his parents to take him back to the countryside where he would be able to live out what remained of his days in his natural environment.  While the boy was walking with cookies in his hand he met a man who with piercing eyes asked him, “My son, do you want to live?” The boy responded that he did to which the man said, “How can you live when you are eating food that is dead? Eat foods that have life, meat and vegetables and everything that God created naturally and still has the traces of dust and life on them! 

The child, Gayelord Hauser,  took that man’s advice and began to only eat natural foods only and with time was able to return to the doctors to find them shocked that he had been healed completely.  The child would tell his story throughout the United States and become one of the pioneers of the natural food movement. 

Yes, the doctors declared him to be terminally ill, but the King of Kings did not decree that!  The doctors expected for his life to end in the countryside but Allah did not intend that! 

You don’t know!

Who is the one who placed secrets of healing in plants and herbs and other things that can be accessed by the poorest people on earth? It is Allah, Al-Shafi

It may be that you are afflicted with disease, and you don’t know and you eat food that causes you an ailment while you are unaware, and you eat food that has your cure and you are still unaware, and so you become ill and healed while being unaware of both! 

Allah may place His healing in water, and we all know “the water of zamzam is for whatever you drink it for.” And the prophet said that it is nourishing healing food.  And how many an ill person had healed by continuously drinking this blessed water by the permission of Allah. 

And other than that Allah has placed healing in cow milk, the black seed, honey, the night prayer, charity, istighfar, tawbah, du’a and much more.  He also heals with nothing!

The Light Returns

In the hospital of Al-Malik Abdul Aziz in Tabuk  a man entered into the office of religious affairs with the traces of worry and panic evident on his face.  When we asked him what was wrong he stated that his son is on the top floor having been in an accident and is now blind! 

I remember the panic that I felt when I heard that, what then about the shock of the parent?

He said with hope, “I want one of you to come with me and recite ruqya on my son, asking Allah to heal him.” 

My friend got up immediately and went with him.  After an hour he returned and informed me that he had performed ruqya on him and then spoke with the father, advising him to be patient, and told him of the hadith, “heal your sick with charity” (Tabarani).  The father than extracted from his pocket five hundred riyal and said to him, “Give this in charity with the intention of healing my son.” 

After two days the man returned and requested my friend to accompany him.  My friend returned a short while after saying “la ilaha illa Allah!” I have good news, the boy can now see some of the light in the room!” He then told me that his father gave him one thousand riyals to give in charity.  After two more days my friend was taken by the boy’s father to his room again, and I did not believe when my friend told me that the boy could now see as well as before! 

Who is the one who returned his sight? Who is the one healed him? His command is only when He intends a thing that He says to it, “Be,” and it is.” (Yaseen v. 82) 

Glory be to the One who said to his sight, ‘return!” and it returned. 

Return to Him

He doesn’t want anything other than you returning to Him.  That you seek out the path that leads to Him. Return to Him with contentment. Return to Him with prostration.  Return to Him with repentance.  Return to Him seeking forgiveness.  Return to Him with charity.  Return to Him with confession. 

Knock on His door and then wait for healing. 

There is no hospital in the world that will heal you if Allah does not will it. 

There is no doctor in the world that can diagnose your illness, except if Allah wills that. 

A wealthy man travels with his family to Egypt for a kidney transplant.  His family had agreed with a young girl to give their father a kidney in return for one hundred thousand riyals.  In the morning all of them were in the hospital and the man desired to meet the girl who would be donating a kidney to save his life.  He asked her what caused her to to donate her kidney to an old man like him to which she stated, 

“I’m in need.  My family is poor and my siblings are in college, and I have to do something to help them!”

It was as if she slapped him! She awoke him from a deep sleep that made him forget his illness.  He asked himself, “Is it comprehensible that a person would give up a part of themselves just so that they can eat, just so that they can live! 

He immediately summoned his family and informed them that they would be returning back to Saudi Arabia because he had canceled his plans for the kidney transplant! He also informed them that the amount that was agreed on would be given as a charity to the girl, and that they not decrease it by a single riyal! 

And after resistance from his family, and anger from some of them they submitted to the will of their father.  After his return to Saudi Arabia and to his hospital for dialysis and to the doctors shock and surprise his kidney was now fully functional

Inscribe this verse in your heart

Whatever Allah grants to people of mercy – none can withhold it” (Fatir v. 2) 

Underline this 

The father of the prophets, Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him), taught every believer a lesson to not seek help from other than the Living, the one who does not die;

“And when I am sick, He is the One who heals me.” 

He alone and no one else. Underline this. You will not need other than Him if He wills to heal you, and no one will benefit you otherwise if He doesn’t. 

And Ayub 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him), who is exhausted by years of illness that scattered his family and his wealth, and when the most optimistic of people has lost hope in him ever healing though he was patient and expectant of Allah’s reward.  His body is ravaged by disease and he at last with a head and heart that is turned towards his Lord says,

“I have been touched by harm, and You are the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.”

And the doors of the heavens are opened with mercy..

And the command descends from above the seventh heaven for this burdened soul…

In a moment the healing begins, and the years of toil are reversed..

Why would you seek other than Him?

It is as if through the illness Allah is reminding you, “return to me, just as I am the One who created you from nothing, I am the One who can remove this illness from your body.”

Contentment

If you are pleased with Him He will please you. 

Illness is from the most severe tests of contentment and so if your responses to it are content then in sha Allah your results will be praiseworthy in sha Allah. 

Some may ask: how can I be content with illness when it comes with pain that is naturally hated? How can I be pleased with something that I hate?

Ibn Al-Qayyim responds to this by saying, “There is no contradiction in that, for the person is content from the aspect of journeying to what He loves, and hates it from the aspect of it being painful to them, like a bitter medicine that they know has healing for them, so there is the combination of being pleased with it, and hating it” 

Make this your constant companion, “I am pleased with Allah as my Lord, Islam as my religion and Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam as my prophet.” Make your heart pulse with contentment, make it taste its sweetness, and reflect on your body, and you will see the pulse of healing beat through it in sha Allah. 

Make your illness the beginning of a new covenant through which you will get to know your Lord through His Name, Al-Shafi. 

The destruction of sins

This isn’t the first time you’ve ever been sick.  You’ve been sick before right? Many times even.  Who is the One who healed you? Wasn’t it Allah? Why then feel like this sickness in particular is too much for Him? Feeling that way about the AlMighty is a disease of the heart, so dispel the disease that has taken root in your heart first, and then look to Al-Shafi to heal you. 

All of those ill in the hospitals are waiting for healing from Al-Shafi.  There is not a sigh that you exhale except that He hears it, no pain except that He is aware of it…

Build in your heart a hospital named ‘Prostration Place’, make an appointment with prostration and record the doctor’s name in your heart, “Al-Shafi” 

Oh Allah You are Al-Shafi, prescribe Your Healing on every burdened soul,  every battered body, and every exhausted heart. 

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#Current Affairs

The Best Ramadan in the Worst of Times

As Covid-19 started to spread its tentacles across the U.S. in late February, we began to have a small inkling of a possible disturbance in our daily lives. Living here in Dallas, Texas, close to the East Plano Islamic Center (EPIC), our lives have primarily centered on the masjid and its activities. Our mosque is one of the largest and the most active in the DFW area, and as engaged members of the community, my family and I have also been involved in weekly community activities. The first time we realized that this virus might have a direct effect on us was during a Friday khutbah in February when our Resident Scholar, Sh. Yasir Qadhi cautioned the community to follow the mandates of the state should we be unable to have a jumu’ah. He emphasized the Islamic rulings of following the law in these situations, while quoting several examples of similar situations in history.

As I listened to the sermon, I remember looking around the crowded women’s area and wondering how every single person felt listening to this khutbah. Not coming to jumu’ah was unheard of and the very thought of it was disconcerting. It was unnatural, and I remember making dua’ that it should not come to this. On that day I think every single one of us probably felt that discomfort and then shrugged it off because there had been no precedence for such a situation in even our parents’ or grandparents’ lifetimes. Surely, it would not come to this.

Less than 8 weeks after that khutbah we were preparing for a Ramadan in isolation. There was genuine grief within my community as we grappled with a Ramadan without our taraweeh prayers, without the qiyams, without the Quran classes, without the community iftars, without the smiles and hugs of fellow sisters who would embrace each other out of the sheer joy of being blessed with this holy month. The news outside our homes was grim. COVID-19 was rampaging through the country, leaving thousands dead and many more suffering. We were isolated within our homes in the holiest of months. It was a rough start to a month that we look forward to throughout the year. Social media was flooded with Muslims bemoaning the loss of community worship and a challenging Ramadan.

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As a mother of 4, my biggest challenge was to uplift my own emotions so that I could bring some semblance of festivity within my home. I was struggling with a number of things. My work had shifted fully online, so I was busy teaching my classes virtually and trying to maintain a positive outlook for my students, while simultaneously trying to keep the family upbeat about the upcoming month. It was overwhelming. But I slowly trudged on by prepping meals, setting up a routine with the family for suhoor, taraweeh, and Quran study. And then the auspicious evening arrived as we stepped out of our homes to search for the sliver of moon in the darkening sky. We couldn’t find the moon ourselves, but Ramadan had arrived.

That evening, my son led the taraweeh prayers standing shoulder to shoulder with my husband, while my three daughters and I stood behind them. There was a calm that descended on my tense shoulders during those taraweeh prayers. It was the sakina of Ramadan. It enveloped me like a mother’s warm hug, and after weeks of restlessness and uncertainty I was finally relaxed. That same night we sat together as a family to watch Sh. Yasir Qadhi begin his cover-to-cover brief tafsir of the Quran on our masjid’s YouTube channel. The next day was jumu’ah, and as a family we gathered before the television to watch the virtual khutbah being delivered to an empty mosque. It was a heartbreaking moment and I know I wept several times through the khutbah as must have all those whose hearts are attached to our beautiful masjid and were watching the empty musallah. But this weeping was cathartic. It was uplifting because it was bringing my heart closer to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). It was no longer a despairing crying, but a yearning for that closeness and connection to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) that being in the masjid facilitated for me.

Within a couple of days our lives settled in, and suddenly there were unexpected blessings and joy at every turn of the day. The congregational prayers within my home were allowing me to experience the sweetness of salah in the masjid. The daily iftars and suhoors at home were prepared together as a family with each of us contributing to something on the table. The daily live Quran tafsir from Sh. Yasir Qadhi on YouTube was part of the new routine, as all of us would settle in with our teas and coffees to listen. There was no hustle and bustle of previous Ramadans as we were no longer rushing to go out or trying to cater to extended family and friends’ obligations. The outside world continued to be ravaged by the pandemic, but we were protected within our homes and surrounded by the blessings of Ramadan.

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As we reach the midway mark of this holy month, I have to step back and reflect on how I felt coming into this month and the state of my heart now. There is a newfound peace, stability, and joy in this Ramadan that I had not experienced before. The striving is no longer for anything outward but is now focused inward. My worship is now entirely between Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and myself. And my family is now the community whom I have to smile at, hug, serve, and appreciate. In a Sahih Muslim hadith, Abu Huraira raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) and Abu Sa’id raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) as saying:

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), the Exalted and Majestic, said: Fast (is exclusively) meant for Me and I would give its reward. There are two (occasions) of joy for the observer of fast. He feels joy when he breaks the fast and he is happy when he meets Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). By Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) in Whose Hand is the life of Muhammad, the breath of the observer of fast is sweeter to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) than the fragrance of musk.

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says that fasting is exclusively for Him and that He will give the reward for it. This was something I had learned a long time ago, but it is only this Ramadan that I have begun to internalize it. Just as my fasting is exclusively for Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), then my worship needed to be only for Him as well, and this Ramadan Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) removed all the crutches that I would use to boost my imaan. I had to self-reflect and view the state of my faith in its raw form, without any external influences, and without any distractions. And I realized that I was my biggest distraction from my faith. The striving (jihad) had to be internal, and as I began to strive to boost my own imaan, to create my own community, to build my own masjid, I realized that alhamdullilah, this was becoming the best Ramadan of my life.

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