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Keeping our Brothers and Sisters in Islam

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الحمد لله رب العالمين و الصلاة و السلام على اشرف المرسلين سيدنا محمد سيد الاولين و الاخرين و على اله و اصحابه و من دعا بدعوته و استن بسنته الى يوم الدين. ) سُبْحَانَكَ لَاعِلْمَ لَنَا إِلَّا مَا عَلَّمْتَنَا إِنَّكَأ َنْتَ الْعَلِيمُ الْحَكِيمُ(

 

All praises belong to Allāh. We send prayers and salutations on the most honorable among the Messengers, our leader Muḥammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), the leader of the early ones and the later ones, as well as on his family, his companions, and those who call towards his message and adopt his Sunnah until the day of resurrection. “To You belongs all purity! We have no knowledge except what You have given us. Surely, You alone are the All-knowing, All-wise.”

The Practice of More or Less

This is an article meant to be a complement to two recent articles on the subject of practicing Islām. The intent here is to demonstrate how it is necessary for us, as Muslims, to bridge the gap between those who practice and those who practice less.

There is no denying that as Muslims, as a matter of fact, as human beings, we are bound to live as positive contributors to our social environment, through dignity and respect, despite our differences. One may use any word they wish: tolerance, open-mindedness, accepting diversity. All words refer to the ability the most honorable ones among us have in sincerely displaying a high standard of character when dealing with others.

The first matter to establish and agree on, is that there is a categorization among the Muslims which has been established by naṣṣ (textual evidence) of Qurʾān, and which will always exist until the end of times.

“Then We gave the Book as an inheritance to those whom We chose from among Our servants; among them is the one who wrongs himself, and among them is also the one who takes a middle course, and of them is the one who is foremost in virtuous deeds by Allāh’s permission; this is the great excellence.” (s. al-Fāṭir,v. 32)

One wishing to see a full tafsīr of this verse, may consult this article.

Below are three statements on the tafsīr of this verse which are most relevant to our present discussion:

It has been narrated that while delivering a sermon, ʿUmar Ibn Al-Khaṭṭāb raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) said, after having read the above verse, that Rasūlullāh ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: ‘Our foremost ones have gone ahead, our middle coursed ones are saved, and our wrongful ones are forgiven.’[1]

It has also been narrated through Abū Dardā, that Rasūlullāh ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: ‘The foremost one will enter Paradise with no accounting; the middle coursed one will go through an easy reckoning and then enter Paradise; the wrongful one will be held, until he thinks he is doomed, at whichpoint, he will be overtaken by the mercy of Allāh and will enter Paradise.’[2] This is yet another glad-tiding for accepting Allāh’s oneness, although one may be lacking in their observance of Allāh’s commands. It is also a glad tiding for those who observe Allāh’s commands, through being freed from a reckoning or going through an easy one.

Ibn-ʿAṭā explains: Allah Taʿālā has mentioned the wrongful ones first in the verse so they may not despair from His favor. It is also said that he has mentioned them first so they may know that their sins do not distance them from their Lord. It is also said that this order was set because, generally, one’s initial spiritual state is that of disobedience, followed byrepentance [tawba] and then steadfastness [istiqāma].

According to Ibn-ʿAṭā’s explanation, if this verse is directed at anyone, it is to those who practice least. Yet, those who practice their Islām more diligently can benefit from the order of spiritual progress explained by Ibn-ʿAṭā. If we accept that spiritual progress is a natural progress, as explained by Ibn-ʿAṭā, then we convince ourselves to give salām because we are sure they’re good Muslims. It’s only that they are at a spiritual stage which is less advanced. There is nothing wrong with greeting others with all due respect and consideration, and with no fear of being judged. If the fear of being judged is the only reason why we fail to do so, then we are running away from annoyance while forsaking an obligatory or commendable matter. It is one of the traits of Rasūlullāh ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) to endure annoyance from others. Being judged is a light matter, especially from a person with whom we do not have regular dealings (spouse, sibling, co-worker etc…).

In fact, those who practice Islam diligently should greet the less diligent ones with even more warmth than they would normally do to ones similar in practice to themselves. This is so because if the diligent Muslims were to forsake greeting the less-practicing ones, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, then by what miracle will they be drawn towards their category? Guidance lies with Allāh, but Allāh has made means for everything in this world. The guidance of the first category of Muslims to the second category, or their capacity to remain within that first category is dependent on the dealings of those Muslims who have the fate of being in a higher category.

Why Keep Company?

Keeping company with one another has been encouraged in the Qurʾān by Allāh’s affirmation that He has bestowed His bounty on the people of īmān by making them brothers.

“Remember the blessing of Allāh upon you: When you were enemies to each other, and He brought your hearts together, so that, you became brothers through His blessing.” (s. Āl-ʿImrān, v. 103).

The main objective of companionship is to assist one another and strengthen one another.

“He is the One who supported you with His aid and with the believers,and He united their hearts.” (s. al-Anfāl, v. 62-63). It is also narrated in ḥadīth, ‘The relationship of the believer with another believer is like (the bricks of) a building, each strengthens the other.’[3]

There are even greater benefits in the ākhira (hereafter), such as the ability of those who are superior to intercede on behalf of those who are inferior, thus allowing them to gain forgiveness and high stations in Paradise (through that intercession).

This is critical to understand and practice upon. If those who practice less are deprived of the company of those who practice more, their practice will only worsen as they progress towards death. ʿAbdullāh Ibn-ʿAbbās  explains, ‘Does anyone other than people corrupt people?”

In other words, either corruption or righteousness is a guaranteed effect of companionship. Rasūlullāh ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) also explains this through his saying, ‘A person is on the religion of his friend, so let each one of you carefully consider whom they befriend.’[4]

Those Muslims who are less-practicing and yet love their Islām, should attempt to keep the company of those who practice more than them. Likewise, Muslims who practice more should attempt to befriend the Muslims who practice less so they may benefit from their companionship. The problem of forsaking the salām requires much more than a simple online discussion. It’s a behavior that requires actively seeking Allāh’s assistance to correct. In doing so, we hope to comply to Allāh’s command in assisting one another towards righteousness and taqwā. It’s just as important as, if not more, than dressing in accordance to the precepts of Islām.

There are numerous examples from Rasūlullāh r that exemplify adopting kindness when dealing with others. One such example is when he reprimanded ʿĀisha raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) for being harsh to a Jewish woman. He said, ‘O ʿĀisha, adopt gentleness, because indeed Allāh-Taʿālā is gentle and He loves gentleness. He grants through gentleness that which He does not grant through harshness, and which He does not grant through anything else.’[5]

Afshush Salam

Greeting our fellow Muslims is the simplest form of social interaction. The salām is ‘the greeting of the people of Paradise’, and it is ‘The word (they receive) from a Merciful Lord’ (s. Yāsīn, v. 58). Regular salām through many weeks, months, years can go a long way in preserving a Muslim’s Islām or taking them to the next category of piety. This is nobility of character. That is, for one to be able to maintain honorable dealings with those who fail to do so, or those whose demeanor is repulsive. It is mentioned in ḥadīth that, ‘The believer will certainly reach, through his noble character, the rank of the one who pray during the hours of the night and fast abundantly.’[6] It is also mentioned that those who will sit the closest to Rasūlullāh ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) on the day of qiyāma are those whose character is the most noble[7]; the noble next to the noblest.

According to ʿUmar, the less diligent are ‘forgiven’ and according to Abū-Dardā’s ḥadīth, ‘will be overtaken by the mercy of Allah and will enter Paradise.’ One may as well look at them as people of Paradise when dealing with them. Their road to Paradise is just different and we are responsible for contributing to better that journey.

It is narrated about ʿUmar Ibn al-Khaṭṭāb raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), that he once took someone as a brother for the sake of Allāh in Madīna-Munawwarah, and that the person eventually moved to Shām (Syria). ʿUmar later enquired about his state of affairs from someone coming from Shām. The person replied, ‘That man is shayṭān’s brother!’ ʿUmar asked ‘Why?’ He replied, ‘He indulges in major sins to the point that he even drinks liquor.’ ʿUmar then said, ‘Inform me prior to leaving for Shām’. He then wrote to his friend in Shām:

“Hā Mīm .This is revelation of the Book from Allāh, the Mighty, the All-Knowing, the One who forgives sins and accepts repentance, the One who is severe in punishment, the One who is the source of all power. There is no god but He. To Him is the ultimate return (of all).” (s. Ghāfir, v. 1-3)

Following the verse, Umar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) then reprimanded and rebuked him.

When the man came to read the letter, he wept, and said, ‘Allāh has said the truth and ʿUmar has indeed discharged naṣīḥa (well-wishing advice).’ He then repented and returned to his good ways.

It is worthy to note that ʿUmar’s advice was received well and had the desired effect. This is because, rather than shunning the brother, he kept the man as his brother in Allāh, even after having been informed about his state of affairs. Finally, the advice was discharged through a letter privately (with wisdom).

The salām of the practicing Muslims to the less-practicing ones, taking them as brothers or sisters for the sake of Allāh and advising them when there is an opportunity to do so, will go a long way in improving their practice, in shā Allāh. Having dealings with them while living as a contributor to the betterment of society will have an even greater effect. Furthermore, doing all this for the sake of Allāh will guarantee that results are reached.

The above is a reminder to all our Muslim brethren. A reminder that Allāh has put us in the same verse insūra Fāṭir; our differing levels of practice are none but a source of strength for us. Rasūlullāh ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), whom we all profess to believe in, is our link to Allāh and his teachings and lifestyle should be our aim. Muslims who practice less should make a sustained effort to educate themselves about the Rasūl ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and his practice of Islām. Those who follow that practice outwardly should make a sustained effort to learn how to take example on him inwardly, by adopting his noble character when dealing with others.

We ask Allāh to favor us all with an Islām that is granted acceptance, which constantly grows, and which we meet Allāh with.

Was-salāmu ʿalaykum wa raḥmatullāhi wa barakātuh.

[1] Al-Durr al-Manthūr, al-Suyūṭī

[2]MusnadImāmAḥmad, Mustadrak al-Ḥākim

[3] Al-Bukhārī and Muslim

[4]Abū-Dāwūd and Tirmidḥī

[5]Al-Bukhārī

[6]Abū-Dāwūd and Ibn-Ḥibbān

[7]Al-Tirmidhī

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Syed J

    March 27, 2015 at 1:37 PM

    Assalam alaikum Mukhtar Ba,

    Bahut zabardast article likhe na Mukhtar Ba.. May Allah forgive the shortcomings and JazakAllah Khair!

    Syed J
    bay area, CA

  2. Avatar

    Br. Nakir

    March 27, 2015 at 4:05 PM

    Interesting enough article….but who really follows this advice? Is it really suitable for the Muslims today?

    • Avatar

      June

      March 28, 2015 at 9:34 AM

      The advice has been given. It is up to the one who hears it to act upon it or not.
      Perhaps what you are suggesting is a follow-up article? One that gives practical advice on how to act in order to compliment this article that gives textual evidence on how to act.
      Out of curiosity what advice from the article does not seem “suitable” for today’s Muslims?
      Perhaps you yourself have advice you feel is more suitable for the Muslims today? As far as I know MM accepts article submissions from guest writers. I’m curious about and would love to hear what you have to say – be it article submission or comment reply. :)

      • Avatar

        Br.Nakir

        March 28, 2015 at 12:57 PM

        Ill share a few thoughts..

        If a person has problems sleeping (insomia), do you tell such a person to sleep? Of course you do, that’s the obvious solution..

        but does that qualify as advice? does the person who suffers from insomnia not know what he should be doing? are we overstating the obvious? is it a sign of our own disconnect with our fellow insomniac that we tell them to do something they already know they should be doing?

        Would it not be more reasonable to explore what is causing the insomnia? what is causing people not to give salams?

        One aspect of people not giving salams is that people are unaware of its value, that is something the article relates well….people don’t do things because they are unaware of its inherent benefit..easy enough to understand…

        there is a flip side…people do things because they are aware of its inherent benefit..also easy enough to understand..

        now lets look at another coin; ignorance of benefit aside (lets face it, the vast majority of muslims understand the obligations and importance of salam)

        aside from ignorance, what causes people not to give salam

        …that is a perspective that would yield lots of insight and opportunity for self reflection

        Another aspect is the nafs..

  3. Avatar

    Gary H.

    March 27, 2015 at 7:24 PM

    Finally, an article with solid contextual evidence. I don’t understand why so many writers feel the need to express and project their own opinions of Islam when dealing with different subject matters. It confuses the reader and doesn’t capture the spirit of Islam. I guess that’s what happens when peoe feel the need to express their ego rather than what Allah and his messenger said.

    Good write up, this article presents the essence of Islam.

    Jazakullah kahyr

  4. Avatar

    Garrick

    March 29, 2015 at 7:30 AM

    Thanks for the article brother, a good reminder to those who want to humble themselves. Sometimes I feel like we just lose sight of whats important and how easy the little things like these are.

    Ill definitely be sharing this.

  5. Avatar

    Sahil Khan

    March 30, 2015 at 7:23 AM

    Thanx for the reminder bro. I have shared in my group Practicing Peace..!!

  6. Avatar

    Spirituality

    March 31, 2015 at 9:57 AM

    As Salamu Alaikum,
    I can’t help but think that this aamazing article is a response to the articles ‘practicing Islam in short shorts’ and ‘practicing Islam in long prayer garments.’

    If so, please make that explicitly clear- everyone who read both those articles and had a strong divisive reaction should read this article and reflect deeply.

    Jazak Allahu Khayran for writing this piece.

  7. Avatar

    Spirituality

    March 31, 2015 at 10:01 AM

    Oops there was a link to the articles! Maybe include a direct reference in the title?

  8. Avatar

    Shahin

    April 4, 2015 at 9:09 PM

    As some people have guessed, I also believe that this is a response to “Practicing Islam in Long, Long Prayer Garments” by Umm Zakiyyah, which was a response to “Practicing Islam in Short Shorts” by Thanna El-Naggar. When Umm Zakiyyah wrote her response, it seemed “harsh” to some since it mimicked the same attitude found in the “short shorts” article but it was important. The way that this article above highlights the way Muslims need to deal with each other on a day-to-day basis is true, esp. with the contextual evidence provided, but when practicing Muslims get judged by less practicing Muslims (which is something we don’t really talk about), someone needs to speak up, and that’s what Umm Zakiyyah did.

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#Islam

Lesson 11 From Surah Al-Kahf

Tafsir Verses 72-81

Shaykh Furhan Zubairi

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Alhamdulillah last session we were able to explore the meanings and lessons of verses 60-70. InshAllah, we’ll try our best to cover the meanings of verse 71-82. As we learned in the last session, this passage of the Surah deals with a very unique and interesting episode from the life of Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). It’s the story of his encounter and journey with a man of God known as Khidr or Khadir. We reached the point in the story where Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) finally finds Khidr and asks with the utmost humility and respect to allow him to be his student. This highlights Musa’s 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) sincerity in seeking knowledge, his lack of pride and his willingness to humble himself in front of Khidr despite his own status as a Prophet.

But Khidr initially declined his request telling him, “Truly you will not be able to bear patiently with me. And how can you be patient with that which you have no knowledge?” Khidr recognized that he would do things that Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) would find to be illogical, irrational and even impermissible. Things that on the surface level seem to be horrible and despicable. Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was sent as a Prophet of Divine Law, while Khidr had been entrusted with some unique knowledge and actions that seemed to be contradictory to that law. So he explained to Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) that he wouldn’t be able to be patient with him and his actions. But Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was extremely eager to learn. He resolved to be patient and obedient while relying upon the will of Allah ﷻ.

He tells Khidr, “You will find me patient, if Allah wills, and I shall not disobey you in any matter.” Khidr finally gave in and both of them set off on their way. This is where we’ll pick up the story again. Allah ﷻ says,

Verse 71: So they both went on till, when they had embarked upon a ship, he made a hole in it. He said, “Have you made a hole in it to drown its people? Certainly, you have done a grave thing.”

They set out walking together along the shore looking for a ship to ride. As they were walking a ship of sailors passed by them and Khidr asked for a ride. The sailors knew Khidr so they let both him and Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) come on board without any charge. After traveling for a while Khidr got up and pulled out one of the planks from the bottom of the ship using an ax making a hole in it. This placed everyone on the ship in danger of drowning. Obviously, this seemingly absurd and cruel behavior surprised Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). He was literally in shock. He couldn’t understand why Khidr would do such a thing to someone who helped him out. This went against his moral compass of what’s right and wrong. Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) forgot about the conditions of his teacher and objected. These people gave us a free ride and you’re pulling a plank to drown their ship. You’ve done something bad. “Have you made a hole in it to drown its people? Certainly, you have done a grave thing.” Khidr then reminded him gently with patience.

Verse 72: He said, “Did I not say that you can never bear with me patiently?”

Didn’t I tell you that you wouldn’t be able to be patient with me and my actions? The way he says this shows that he was willing to overlook and tolerate Musa’s (as) impatience. Musa (as) felt a sense of regret and apologized to Khidr telling him that he completely forgot about his deal.

Verse 73: He (Musa) said, “Do not hold me responsible for what I forgot, and do not make my course too difficult for me.”

Basically he apologized. He said please don’t hold me responsible for what I forgot and allow me to continue travelling in your company. While telling the story the Prophet ﷺ says, “the first (question) was out of forgetfulness. While this conversation was taking place a bird came and sat on the side of the boat and took a sip of water from the ocean. Khidr said to Musa, ‘my knowledge and yours combined in comparison to the knowledge of Allah is like the sip of water compared to the ocean.’” Khidr accepting his apology and they continued travelling on their way.

Verse 74: So, they moved ahead until when they met a boy, he killed him (the boy). He (Musa) said, “Did you kill an innocent soul while he did not kill anyone? You have committed a heinous act indeed.”

“So they continued…” They both got off the ship and started walking along the shore until they came across a young boy playing with his friends. Khidr went up to this young boy and killed him by either strangling him to death or striking him on his head. This was too much for Musa (as) to handle. He objected even more vehemently. How can he kill an innocent young boy for no reason whatsoever? To Musa (as) this seemed absolutely absurd, cruel and unjustified. It was too much for him to tolerate patiently despite his promise not to question anything that he saw. So he said, How can you kill a pure innocent child for no reason whatsoever? You have done something unjustified and have committed a heinous act. Once again Khidr reminds him of the condition that he made and the promise that Musa (as) had given.

Verse 75: He said, “Did I not tell you that you can never bear with me patiently?”

Didn’t I warn you that you wouldn’t be able to handle what I would do? Didn’t I tell you that you wouldn’t be able to remain silent when I do certain things? In this reminder, Khidr added the word “laka” to show that this time his reminder is more severe and clearer. The first time someone forgets and makes a mistake it’s overlooked. The second time it’s also overlooked but with a sense of hesitation. Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) again feels a sense of regret for breaking his word and not sticking to the conditions of Khidr. He’s now done this twice so he apologizes by saying,

Verse 76: He said, “If I ask you about something after this, do not keep me in your company. You have had enough excuses from me.”

Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)(as) again apologizes but this time gives himself one last chance. He said if he questions Khidr one more time then Khidr can choose to part ways with him. Once again Khidr accepts his apology and they set off on their way. After commenting on this part ibn Kathīr narrates a hadīth from the Prophet ﷺ. He writes, “Ibn Jarir narrated from Ibn `Abbas that Ubayy bin Ka`b said: “Whenever the Prophet ﷺ mentioned anyone, he would pray for himself first. One day he said:

  • «رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْنَا وَعَلَى مُوسَى لَوْ لَبِثَ مَعَ صَاحِبِهِ لَأَبْصَرَ الْعَجَبَ، وَلَكِنَّهُ قَالَ:
  • ﴿إِن سَأَلْتُكَ عَن شَىْءٍ بَعْدَهَا فَلاَ تُصَاحِبْنِى قَدْ بَلَغْتَ مِن لَّدُنِّى عُذْراً﴾»

May the mercy of Allah be upon us and upon Musa. If he had stayed with his companion he would have seen wonders, but he said, (`If I ask you anything after this, keep me not in your company, you have received an excuse from me.’))” That brings us to the third and last adventure they had together.

Verse 77: Then, they moved on until they came to the people of a town and sought food from them. But they refused to show them any hospitality. Then, they found there a wall that was about to fall down. So he (Khidr) set it right. He (Musa) said, “If you wished, you could have charged a fee for this.”

Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and Khidr continued traveling until they came upon the people of a town that most commentators identify as the ancient city of Antioch. Being tired and hungry they asked them for some food but they refused to give them any or show them any hospitality whatsoever. As they were leaving the city they came across a wall that was about to fall down. Khidr stopped by it and repaired it. Now, this situation is also bizarre; Khidr is a complete stranger in a town that refused to give them food or host them yet he still stops and fixes their wall for nothing in return. Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) finds the situation full of irony. Why should a stranger exert so much effort in rebuilding a wall in a town where they were denied even a little food and all hospitality? He should have at least demanded some money for his labor and then they could have bought some food to eat.

Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) couldn’t hold himself so he objected, “If you wished, you could have charged a fee for this.” And that was the end of their relationship. Khidr responded,

Verse 78: He said, “This is the parting between me and you. I shall inform you of the meaning of that which you were unable to bear with patiently.”

Meaning, this is the end of our relationship and this is where we’ll part ways. But before we go our separate ways I’ll explain to you the wisdom and hidden meaning behind everything I did. Up till this point in the story, we’ve probably been just as impatient as Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him); we have no clue why Khidr did the things he did. But he then explains everything is detail; why he pulled a plank out of the bottom the ship, why he killed an innocent child and why he rebuilt the wall without taking anything in return.

Verse 79: As for the ship, it belonged to some poor people who worked at sea. I wanted to damage it, for just beyond them was a king who was seizing every ship by force.

Khidr is explained that his act of damaging the ship was, in reality, a means of saving it. It comes in a narration that these poor people were ten brothers, 5 of them were handicapped while the other five worked. The ship was their only source of income. The king was a cruel, tyrannical oppressor who would take ships by force. The damage done to the ship made it undesirable for the king and ultimately saved it for its owners. Had it been seaworthy, it would certainly have been confiscated by the tyrannical king. Perpetrating some small damage to the boat saved it from the greater harm and ruinous injustice which was certain to take place without it. Hence, causing such damage was a good and kindly action. So damaging the ship actually turned out to be a good thing.

Verses 80-81: And as for the young boy, his parents were believers and we feared that he would make them suffer much through rebellion and disbelief. So we desired that their Lord give them in exchange one who is better than him in purity, and nearer to mercy.

Although the young child seemed to be pure and innocent in reality the seeds of disbelief and wickedness were entrenched in his heart. If he had grown up he would have been a source of grief and sorrow for his parents who were believers. Their love for this child would have led them towards evil and wickedness as well. They would suffer because of the rebellion and disbelief. So Allah told Khidr to kill this boy to spare them that grief and to replace him with a child that would be better and more dutiful. Now obviously the parents weren’t aware of this at this time so to them this was a huge loss and tragedy. They weren’t aware of the future difficulties that they were saved from by his death.

Qatādah said, “His parents rejoiced when he was born and grieved for him when he was killed. If he had stayed alive, he would have been the cause of their doom. So let a man be content with the decree of Allah, for the decree of Allah for the believer, if he dislikes it, is better for him than if He were to decree something that he likes for him.” That’s why in connection to these verses ibn Kathīr رحمهم الله quotes the hadīth, “Allah does not decree anything for a believer, save that it is better for him.”

  • «لَا يَقْضِي اللهُ لِلْمُؤْمِنِ مِنْ قَضَاءٍ إِلَّا كَانَ خَيْرًا لَه»

It is mentioned in a narration that the parents were blessed with a pious daughter who gave birth to a Prophet. So the murder of this child actually turned out to be something good in the long run.

Verse 82: And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city, and beneath it was a treasure belonging to them. Their father was righteous, and your Lord desired that they should reach their maturity and extract their treasure, as a mercy from your Lord. And I didn’t do this upon my own command. This is the meaning of that which you couldn’t bear with patiently.

Khidr explained to Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) that the wall that was about to fall that he rebuilt was covering a treasure that belonged to two orphan boys. If the wall had fallen down the treasure would be exposed and the orphan children would’ve been deprived of their wealth. By rebuilding the wall Khidr made it possible for them to access their treasure when they grew up. This was done partially because their father was a righteous and pious man. Khidr then explains to Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) that he didn’t do any of these things based on his own accord or understanding. Rather he did them according to the Divine command, decree, and will of Allah ﷻ. “And I didn’t do this upon my own command.” He concludes by saying, “This is the meaning of that which you couldn’t bear with patiently.” Meaning, this is the explanation of my actions that you didn’t understand and weren’t able to be patient with.

Lessons:

1) One of the most powerful and profound lessons we learn from this entire episode is that oftentimes a tragedy is a blessing in disguise. Everything that happens in this world, whether good or bad, happens according to the Divine will and decree of Allah ﷻ. There’s some deep divine wisdom behind every single thing that happens in this world. When something good happens we recognize it as a blessing. For example, if we get a good job, get a raise at work, purchase a new car or are blessed with the birth of a child. All of recognize this as something positive. On the other hand whenever we face setbacks, difficulties, hardships and tragedies we tend to lose patience.

This incident is teaching us that difficulties, tests, trials, and hardships are oftentimes blessing in disguise. The first thing to understand is that Allah isn’t sending these difficulties our way to break us or destroy us. Rather he’s sending them our way to test our patience and faith, as a source of mercy and a reminder. As a way of nurturing and training us. He’s reminding us to turn back to Him, to hold on to our faith, to be steadfast, patient, strong, and to persevere. When we’re struggling and going through difficult times we shouldn’t assume that somehow Allah is displeased with us. Similarly, when we’re comfortable and enjoying life we shouldn’t assume that Allah is pleased with us. The opposite can be true. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said,

  • « إِذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِعَبْدِهِ الْخَيْرَ عَجَّلَ لَهُالْعُقُوبَةَ فِى الدُّنْيَا وَإِذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِعَبْدِهِ الشَّرَّأَمْسَكَ عَنْهُ بِذَنْبِهِ حَتَّى يُوَفَّى بِهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ

“If Allah wants good for his servant, He hurries on His punishment in this world, and if He wills ill for a servant, he holds back punishing him for his sin so He can give it to him in full on the Day of Resurrection.”

Everything we face in this world is actually a source of blessing for us. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

  • «مَا يُصِيبُ المُسْلِمَ مِنْ نَصَبٍ،وَلاَ وَصَبٍ، وَلاَ هَمِّ، وَلاَ حُزْنٍ، وَلاَ أَذًى، وَلاَ غَمِّ، حَتَّىالشَّوْكَةِ يُشَاكُهَا؛ إِلاَّ كَفَّرَ الله بِهَا مِنْ خَطَايَاهُ»

“No fatigue, illness, anxiety, sorrow, harm or sadness afflicts any Muslim, even to the extent of a thorn pricking him, without Allah wiping out his sins by it.”

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) tells us that the main tool, the key to deal with the world and all the problems it contains is through patience and turning towards Him. When we’re dealing with our problems we should turn to Allah. We should make dhikr, read Quran, spend time in prayer and reflection and try to be around good company. We should try to focus our attention, our spiritual and emotional energy on our relationship with Allah instead of our problem. By doing so we’ll find peace and comfort. True contentment. Part of patience is recognizing that whatever we’re going through is something that we can handle. Whatever we’re going through will not last forever. That’s why throughout the Quran whenever Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) consoles and comforts the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) He reminds him to be patient and to turn to him. “So be patient over what they say and exalt [Allah] with praise of your Lord.” (20:130) “So be patient. Indeed, the promise of Allah is truth.” (30:60) “So be patient, [O Muhammad], over what they say and exalt [Allah] with praise of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting.” (50:39)

2) Being content with the Divine decree of Allah ﷻ.

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#Life

Why I Turned to Tech to Catch Laylatul Qadr

Make sure you maximize your sadaqah

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By Ismael Abdela

My life, just like yours, is sooo busy. So naturally, as the tech nerd I am, I turn to tech to help me manage my regular routine including project management apps to manage my daily tasks. I even have a sleeping app that wakes me up at the optimum time (whatever that means!). But even though tech has changed everything in all sectors and helped make efficiencies in my daily life, it had had little impact on my religious activities.

A few years ago, whilst I was preparing for the last 10 nights of Ramadan, it hit me – why doesn’t something exist that automates my donations during these blessed nights to catch Laylatul Qadr. Rather than putting a reminder on my phone to bring out my bank card every night and inputting it into a website – why doesn’t something exist that does it for me, solving the problem of me forgetting to donate. After all we are human and it’s interesting that the Arabic word for human being is ‘insan’ which is derived from the word ‘nasiya’ which means ‘to forget.’ It is human nature to forget.

So the techie in me came out and I built the first scrappy version of MyTenNights, a platform to automate donations in the last 10 nights of Ramadan (took two weeks) because I wanted to use it myself! I thought it would be cool and my friends and family could use it too. That same year, nearly 2000 other people used it – servers crashed, tech broke and I had to get all my friends and Oreo (my cat) to respond to email complaints about our temperamental site!

I quickly realised I wasn’t alone in my need  – everyone wanted a way to never miss Laylatul Qadr! Two years down the line we’ve called it MyTenNights, and our team has grown to 10, including Oreo, senior developers, QA specialists, brand strategists, creative directors and more. It fast became a fierce operation – an operation to help people all over the world catch Laylatul Qadr!

Last year alone we raised almost $2 million in just 10 days – and that was just in the UK. We’ve now opened MyTenNights to our American, Canadian. South African and Australian brothers and sisters and we’re so excited to see how they use it! We’ve made it available through all the biggest house name charities – Islamic Relief, Muslim Aid, Helping Hand, Penny Appeal, you name it! All donations go directly to the charity donors choose – all 100% of it.

Looking back at the last couple of years – it feels surreal: The biggest charities in the world and tens of thousands of users who share my need to be certain they’ve caught Laylatul Qadr. Although I hear many impressed with the sheer amount MyTenNights has raised for charity (and that excites me too!), it’s not what motives me to go on. What excites me most is the growing number of people who catch Laylatul Qadr because we made it easier.

I often tell my team that the number of people that use MyTenNights is the only metric we care about, and the only metric we celebrate. It makes no difference to us whether you donate $1 or a million – we just want you to catch Laylatul Qadr and for you to transform your Akhirah, because (after Allah) we helped you do it.

To catch Laylatul Qadr with MyTenNights, visit their website MyTenNights.com

Ismael Abdela is a Law & Anthropology graduate from the London School of Economics. He spent some years studying Islamic Sciences in Qaseem, Saudi Arabia. He is now a keen social entrepreneur. Ismael likes to write about spiritual reflections, social commentary, and tafsīr. He is particularly interested in putting religion in conversation with the social sciences.

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Heart Soothers: Shaykh Noreen Mohamed Sideeq

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