Sep 10, 2010

Eid Mubaarak! Taqaballaahu minna wa minkum

Assalaamu alaykum warahmatuLlaahi wabarakaatuhu!

It is permissible for Muslims to greet each other on the day of Eid with specific greetings that have been reported from the sahabah (radiAllahu anhumma) and from amongst the Salaf.
Responding to a question in this regard, Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) said:
“As for people greeting each other after the eid prayer by, ‘Taqaballahu minna wa minkum‘ (may Allah accept it from you and us) – it is reported that some of the shahabah practiced it, and the scholars permitted it. However, Ahmad said, ‘I do not initiate saying it to anyone; but if one says it to me, I answer him. This is because responding to a greeting is obligatory, but to initiate the greeting is not a required sunnah, neither is it prohibited: whoever does it it would have an example (from the salaf) and whoever does not would have a predecessor as well.” [Majmoo al-Fataawaa (24/253)]
Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajr Al-Asqalani (rahimahullah) said: “We have related in “Mahaamiliyaat” with a chain of narration that is hasan, from Jabyr ibn Nufayr who said: ‘When the companions of Allah’s Messenger (sulAllahu alaihi wa salaam) met on the day of ‘eid, they would say to each other, ‘Taqaballahu minna wa minkum (may Allah accept from you and us ).” [Al Mahamiliyyat; hasan isnad; see Fath ul Bari 2:446]
Ibn Qudaamah mentioned in al-Mughnee (2/259) that Muhammad ibn Ziyad said: I was with Abu Umamah al Bahili (rahimahullah) and some other companions of the Prophet (sulAllahu alaihi wa salaam). When they returned from the eid, they said to each other, ‘Taqabbalallahu minna wa minkum (May Allaah accept it from you and us).”

O Allaah! We seek refuge in You from Your displeasure [sakhatik]; and we seek Your forgiveness, and we seek refuge in You from Your punishment. Aameen.

Sep 7, 2010

Thought-provoking and heartfelt words on Ramadhan

Assalaamu alaykum warahmatullaahi wabarakaatuhu!

Some thought-provoking and heartfelt words on Ramadhan by Ibn al-Jawzi (rahimahullah):

‘… Where are those who fast and where are those who pray by night? Where are those who obey their Lord and where are those who work righteousness? Where are those who are foremost and where are are the humble ones? Where are those who remember (their Lord) and where are those devoted to Him? Where are the truthful and where are the patient? Where are the charity-givers? Where are those who enjoin good, who save the troubled ones and who forbid the wrong? Where are those who heed contemplation and who listen to good advice and life-lessons? By Allah, they have indeed gone with the Salihin (righteous), returned with the Mu’minin (believers), settled with the Anbiya’ (Prophets) and taken residence with the Siddiqin (truthful ones). But us, we remain behind with the ignorant, have settled with the wrong-doers and have taken the heedless as our guides…


Fasting is the shield of nations, protecting from the Hellfire
And fasting is a fortress for whoever fears that fire
Fasting is a covering for all the people of goodness
Those who fear the burden of blame and sinfulness
And this month is the month of the Lord of the Throne
A Most Merciful Lord, Who conceals the heavy sins & burdens
So therein have fasted men who thus profited
Their reward lies with the Exalted and Forgiving One
And so they came to settle in Everlasting Gardens
Surrounded by maidens, and rivers and plantations…

So glad tidings to those who obey the Most Merciful King in this month of Mercy, this month of Ramadan. They bore patience over a few days, and thus long-lasting mercy and abundant blessings came after them and pursued them. Every time you do good in this month, you shall be rewarded for the rest of your life because righteousness is a habit and evilness is mere stubbornness.

Where are you O’ fasting one, who prays by night? Come forth to goodness and you shall triumph with everlasting happiness! Trade with your Lord and you shall profit, work with Him and you shall be successful, apologise and He shall accept your apology, seek His forgiveness and He shall forgive your sins, draw close to Him and He shall alleviate your suffering, ask Him from His Bounties and He shall expand your provisions, repent to Him and He shall increase your portion (in life).

O my dear brother, in this month all faults and mistakes are concealed, all souls and hearts are softened, sins and burdens are forgiven, and Allah `azza wa jall relieves every sad and troubled one. He says to His angels, ‘O My Angels, look at those dry tongues, how they become moist with My Remembrance. Look at those hard eyes, how they soften and weep out of fear of Me, and look at those delicate feet planted firmly at the stations of prayer out of desire for Me!’ O my dear brother, whenever you give food to others in this month for the Sake of Allah the Lord of the heavens and the earth, you shall be raised to high ranks in the lofty grounds of Paradise, and you will be clothed with complete goodness and stripped of all sin…’

[Ibn al-Jawzi, ‘Bustan al-Wa’idhin wa Riyadh al-Sami’in’ Pp. 185-186]

Wabillaahi Tawfiq.

O Allaah! We seek refuge in You from Your displeasure [sakhatik]; and we seek Your forgiveness, and we seek refuge in You from Your punishment. Aameen.!/daf.ali 

Ramadhan, My Dear Guest, I'm Sorry!

Assalaamu alaykum warahmatullaahi wabarakaatuhu!
Ramadhan, My Dear Guest, I'm Sorry

Honoring the guest is mandatory in Islam. Muslims, due to their religious values and duties, are known as the most hospitable people. Guests should be honored the moment they arrive, and they should honored most at the time of their departure. This practice is a polite way of making the guest feel the most welcomed next time he or she comes back. Imagine, for a whole year you have been expecting an honorable guest to come to your place, and then finally he arrives. He is kind, generous, and the most beloved. For twenty-nine or thirty days, you have developed an emotional relation with him that you started becoming worried and anxious over the day when he leaves. Eventually, the time comes and the day of his departure is here, and your beloved and blissful guest, Ramadan, is leaving, and leaving soon. This wonderful guest is so polite that he does not come back very often, so that you always desire his return later. Now that you realize his departure, you do not know if you will ever see him again. He might not come next year, or you may not be there when he comes back. These anxious thoughts of fear and hope provoke your heart to cry and your eyes to shed tears. They make you prepare the best farewell party ever made for a guest who, as he leaves, was the most welcomed, Ramadan.How do you bid farewell your honorable guest?

1. My dear guest, I'm sorry
It's the last night of the month of Ramadan. His luggage is packed, placed by the door and the place is full with people who came to have a final look at him and enjoy a last moment with the guest. As we watch the guest sipping his final drops of our hospitality, he asks to be excused; we realize now that all the hospitality we offered was not yet enough to meet his status. So we hold his hand tight wish that he would not let go and hope to keep him longer. We become remorseful and ask for forgiveness and say "My dear guest, I'm sorry."

At the end of this blessed month we say "O Allah, forgive me. My Lord, I could have done more but I did not, so forgive me. My Lord, excuse my shortcomings and blemishes, You are indeed oft -Forgiving and You love forgiveness, so forgive me."
Istighfaar, or seeking forgiveness, at the end of every good deed, not just bad deeds, is the way of the righteous. We need forgiveness to patch the holes we created in our fasting due to our faults and mistakes, or at least for falling short on fulfilling the full rights of hospitality to the guest. After all, arriving with a batched record is better off than arriving with no records at all.

Omar ibn Abdulaziz, the Umayyad ruler famous for his justice, may Allah have mercy on him, used to send his deputies around the country with the command to summon the deeds of Ramadan with Istighfaar and charity. Let us have a moment of remorse, and excuse ourselves by seeking forgiveness from the Lord of Ramadan.

2. My dear guest, a final token of appreciation
Our guest deserves the best farewell party, the Eid prayer. We decorate our lives and go out of our way for this party. We take a shower, we come early, we dress nicely, we take different routes back and forth to spread the news of his departure and we bring to the party all people. We bring out our families; our wives and children, the old and young even the most shy maidens and women with legal excuses. It is a procession of goodness, which no one can afford to miss. It is a final token of appreciation. It is a way to say to our dear guest, thank you.
In order not to show our departing guest any sign of sadness on that day, we show him deliberate happiness. Therefore, we eat few dates prior to our arrival at the party site, the prayer area. He now knows that we accept his inevitable departure, we just broke our long time fast.
Anas may Allah be pleased with him narrated: "The Messenger of Allah would not leave to Eid-ul-Fitr until he eats few dates, and he used to eat them in odd number." (Bukhari) It saddens our beloved guest not to follow the example of Muhammad salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Not breaking the fast until we come back from the Eid prayer is indeed a sign of fake piety.

3. My dear guest, this is your legacy
As we prepare for the party, we make sure that everybody around is happy and satisfied. All should participate in this party and no one should be left behind. That was the reason why our guest had come visiting us for anyways, he came to teach us how to care and share. Our guest should not leave us seeing anyone unhappy or dissatisfied. We feed the hungry and keep Ramadan's legacy alive. We give Zaka-ul-Fitr.
Ibn Omar may Allah be pleased with him narrated: "The Messenger of Allah obliged the payment of Zakat-ul-Fitr, the amount of Sa' (four cupped hands) of dates, or barley. This should be paid on behalf every male and female, free or slave and adult or young, from all the Muslims." (Bukhari and Muslim)

4. My dear guest, allow us to sing for you
Escorting the guest out with chanting and du'a until he is out of sight is an Islamic etiquette of honoring the guest. And there is no guest who deserves it more than our beloved Ramadan. Once the announcement of his departure is delivered, as we sight that gesture at night -the hilal, we start making our du'a and chanting our takbeer until the party next day is over.
Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says: "He wants you to complete the prescribed period and to glorify Him (in takbeer) in that He has guided you, and perchance you shall be grateful." (al-Baqara 2:185)
Ibn Abbas may Allah be pleased with him says: "It is an incumbent duty on all Muslims, when they see the crescent for the beginning of Shawwal, to start their chanting with takbeer until they are done with their Eid prayer."

5. My dear guest, I just did what I could, but I'm sorry.
Our guest is leaving and as he slowly walks away, he turns to us and say: "Farewell my dear friends and good companions. Know that I may not see you again after this day." The shocking reality strikes, we need to make sure that he leaves happy and satisfied and therefore we concern ourselves with the acceptance of whatsoever we offered of hospitality, even if it was little. It is no longer how much we did; it is how much was accepted and approved. We turn to our guest and present our case and say: "Please, accept the little of our hospitality, for what you saw was indeed the utmost we could afford of our generosity."

Ali bin Abi Talib may Allah be pleased with him once said, "Be concerned more over the acceptance of your deeds than over the deeds themselves for Allah does not accept deeds except from the righteous. Didn't you read Allah's statement: 'Verily, Allah accepts only from the Muttaqeen -Righteous.' (al-Ma'idah 5:27)"

Ibn Rajab, may Allah have mercy on him, said, "The pious predecessors used to spend their efforts on completing their deeds perfectly and precisely. They then, concern themselves over their acceptance, fearing it might be rejected. Those are the people about whom Allah says: "And those who dispense their charity with their hearts full of fear, because they will return to their Lord." (al-Mu'minoon 23:60)

So here we are in a moment of muhasaba and self reckoning. We remember the days we spent with our guest, how much good did we do? And how much of what we did we can count on as a sincere act of hospitality?
It's time to prepare our presentation for the angels to see and report to Allah. How professional do you think our presentation will look? This is the time when you need all the skills of du'a and invocation you have learned so far. And if you feel it's too late to prepare for this presentation, then know that Allah accepts from the deeds their ends. Therefore, make your last deeds the best of all deeds.

We ask Allah to accept from us the little, regardless of how much it was, of what we offered from acts of worship during this blessed month of Ramadan.

6. My dear guest, I'll keep in touch
Our guest is now taking his ride, and his departure becomes inevitable; we start running after him hoping for one final glance from him. He turns the window down and waves to us gracefully saying with a loud reminder: "Don't forget about me." "Never," we vow, "Keep in touch, and write back," he says and we answer back, "of course we will." Then as we start slowing down we reiterate to ourselves the pledge we have just given to our guest, that we will never forget about him and we shall keep in touch, we build loyalty to our guest and our friend, the month of Ramadan.

How can we keep loyal to Ramadan? And how can we stay in touch with him?
Obviously, Ramadan and the reminisces of Ramadan should remain in our hearts. Then we keep loyal to him and in touch with him, by keeping our deeds, which we had established with him, continuous. Because of this blessed guest, we were able to establish a new way of life, a life of regular fasting, night prayers, recitation of the Qur'an and other Ramadan deeds. Moreover, as loyal friends of Ramadan, even long after his departure, we shall keep in touch with him by keeping alive what we have learned from him. We sure love Ramadan.

Aisha may Allah be pleased with her narrated the Messenger of Allah said: "The most beloved deeds to Allah, are the continuous ones even if they were little." Once the Messenger of Allah establishes an act of worship, he used to maintain it continuously. Therefore, follow the example of your beloved Messenger and keep in touch with Ramadan. Continue the good work; continue fasting.

7. My dear guest, thank you for coming
In a final moment of showing our gratitude to our beloved guest and how much we were honored with his presence, we raise our voices with thanks and praises, with shukr and takbeer to Allah. Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala says: "He wants you to complete the prescribed period and to glorify Him (in takbeer) in that He has guided you, and perchance you shall be grateful." (al-Baqara 2:185).

Moreover, as our guest leaves, we return to our inner homes, and then in a moment of contemplation, immediately we go and check on him and act as if he was still there. We could not wait long to display our loyalty to him and our love for him, therefore, we followed his example and fasted six days of Shawwal right after Eid day.

Abu Ayyoub al-Ansaari may Allah be pleased with him narrated the Messenger of Allah said: "Whoever fasts Ramadan and then followed it with six days of Shawwal, it would be counted for him as if he had fasted the whole year." (Muslim) We do not want to stop thinking of him and from that point onward, we will keep in touch and join his fans club, club Ar-Rayyan.

8. My dear guest, I'm sorry I forgot
It has been awhile since our guest left, we thought we will never forget about him, unfortunately we were wrong. Soon as he came out of sight, our hearts changed on us and changed on him. We're no longer entertained by his presence which always worked for us as a frequent reminder. As time passed by, the vow of loyalty we had given him faded away, and life chores took the best of our hearts. We forgot about Ramadan and we forgot the dear lessons of Ramadan. We went back to the old bad habits we had prior to his graceful visit. Naturally, the prolonged separation caused a great damage to our connection with Ramadan. My dear guest, my dear Ramadan, I'm sorry that I forgot.

As Ramadan announces his departure, it is hard to believe that this blessed season has ended. Never lose hope from the mercy of Allah, celebrate the end of Ramadan with another act of worship, with Istighfaar and do not forget to pay your Zakat-ul-Fitr. Make your concluding act with Ramadan perfect, pray Eid on time with perfect, halal style. Celebrate the departure of Ramadan with takbeer, dhikr and du'a, you definitely need your deeds be accepted. Stay in touch with Ramadan, continue the good work and start with the sequel event of the six days of Shawwal. Finally, keep the beautiful memories of Ramadan; they will always come handy and will always be a source of inspiration. Ramadan, my dear guest, may Allah forgive me. For seeing you departing so quickly, I will always be sorry.

Al Huda Institute, Canada
O Allaah! We seek refuge in You from Your displeasure [sakhatik]; and we seek Your forgiveness, and we seek refuge in You from Your punishment. Aameen.

O Allaah! We seek refuge in You from Your displeasure [sakhatik]; and we seek Your forgiveness, and we seek refuge in You from Your punishment. Aameen.

Sep 6, 2010

Living Islam Daily

By Sister Iman bint Johari

The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said, 'Take benefit of five before five: your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free-time before your preoccupation, and your life before your death.'
[al-Hakim, al-Baihaqi]

Indeed, we all, at some point in our lives, are reminded of the passage of time... It may be due to an affliction that has befallen us, a word we have read or an incident that we have witnessed. We literally feel the seconds ebbing away from our lives and we are filled with a sense of desperation. What have we achieved? What have we done with our lives?

We are reminded of our aspirations we had once had that have lain dormant... buried... while we are engrossed with building our lives in this dunya. We are reminded of how we wanted to be the true and successful servants of our Creator and we become sick with worry and shame. We see how we have not moved an inch closer to this goal.

We want to make amends ... we KNOW we can do it.

And so we start all over again. We begin to piece together our ideas and resolutions. This time we will not forget and we will not fail, inshaa Allah. We will fast more, pray more, recite the Qur'an more... we will change the world and make it a better place.

We set out with promise and enthusiasm but as the months go by, our determination fizzles out and our good actions are forgotten. Our resolutions once again remain in the realm of good intentions... until the next time something prompts us into introspection.

How do we avoid this? How do we convert our good intentions to consistent actions?

I do not dare to say I have all the answers. I can only share what I have learnt in my own struggle with good intentions and resolutions. Here are some tips that I hope you will find useful in trying to live Islam daily:

[1] Purify your intentions and remember that you wish to seek the pleasure of Allah.
Sincerity in all we do is a commandment of Allah (subhanahu wa ta`ala): "Say, 'Indeed my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds. No partner has He. And this I have been commanded, and I am the first (among you) of the Muslims.'"
[Surah al-An'aam, 6: 162,163]

He also says: "So worship Allah (alone) by doing religious deeds sincerely for Allah's sake only, (and not to show-off and not to set up rivals with Him in worship). Surely, the religion (i.e. the worship and the obedience) is for Allah only."
[Surah Az-Zumar 39:2-3]

Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullah) said, "Deeds without sincerity are like a traveler who carries in his water-jug dirt. The carrying of it burdens him and it brings no benefit."

[2] Seek His help through du'a.
Allah has told His Messenger (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) that He is close and answers the supplication of any servant who calls to Him. He said: "When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them), I respond to the prayer of every supplicant when he calleth on Me."
[Surah Al-Baqarah, 2: 186]

Indeed, when we are faced with distress, it is He whom we should turn to: "Or, who listens to the distressed (soul) when he calls on Him, and who relieves his suffering?"
[Surah An -Naml: 62]

[3] Do not procrastinate.
It is easier for one to put off a goal until tomorrow so that one can rationalize not disciplining oneself today. How often have we said, "Inshaa Allah, I will make a change tomorrow" but never actually get around to doing it? One of the early scholars said, "Beware of procrastinating. It is the greatest of the soldiers of Satan." Do not make half-hearted promises - you are fooling no one but yourself. Carry out your resolutions with zeal and optimism.

[4] Take baby steps and set realistic goals In our zeal.
We often chart ambitious plans only to be discouraged when we cannot sustain our efforts. Remember that no good deed is too small - the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) was asked, "Which deed is most beloved to Allah?" He said, "The one that is continuous, even if it is little."
[Sahih al-Bukhari, Fath al-Bari 11:194].

Small changes work a great deal better than giant leaps, so don't bite off more than you can chew. Start out with small deeds and you that you can accomplish easily and consistently before moving on to more challenging ones. This will motivate you and make you feel more successful. Insha'Allah, you will find that over time, you will have made a big difference.

[5] Build a good support system.
Ibn Hazm said, "Anyone who criticises you cares about your friendship. Anyone who makes light of your faults cares nothing about you." It is said that reminders benefit the believers, so surround yourselves with good companions who will give you sincere advice and who will support you with your resolutions. Avoid those who will chip away at your self-esteem or who will tempt you away from your resolutions. Bear in mind what 'Ali radhiallahu 'anhu said: "Mix with the noble people, you become one of them; and keep away from evil people to protect yourself from their evils."

[6] Track your progress and be consistent.
Write down your goals - hang this list up on the wall, keep it in your notebook, fold it into your wallet or stick it in your locker. You can even keep a log or journal of how you are doing - start a weblog even! Be honest with yourself and recheck your goals. The idea is not to slacken. Indeed, when the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) did something, he kept it up.

Take a look at the hadith Qudsi in which Allah says: "… 'My slave keeps drawing nearer to me with naafil (supererogatory) deeds until I love him.'" [Sahih al-Bukhari].
The phrase maa yazaalu ["keeps (drawing near)"] gives the impression of continuity. The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) also said, "Continue doing Hajj and 'Umrah."

[7] Avoid burnout.
It is inevitable that we sometimes feel as if our iman has hit rock bottom or that we lack the spirit to continue in our striving. The Messenger of Allah (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said, "Iman wears out in one's heart, just as the dress wears out (becomes thin). Therefore, ask Allah to renew iman in your hearts." [at-Tabarani and Al-Hakim]

Continuing to do acts of worship and good deeds does not mean one exhausts oneself to breaking point. We continue with the obligatory acts. When we have the energy and inclination, we strive to do more and when we do not, we do as much as we can. The Messenger of Allah (salAllahu alayhi wasalam)said: "Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection…" [Sahih al-Bukhari]
According to another report, he said: "Be moderate, and you will reach what you want."
[Sahih al-Bukhari]

[8] Seek inspiration.
The best sources of inspiration are in the mighty Qur'an, the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam), his companions, the pious predecessors and the scholars.

Look at Abu Musa al-Ash'ari. He used to apply himself so much in worship at the end of his life that he was told, "Why don't you slow down and be gentle with yourself?" He replied, "When the horses are released for a race and are close to the finish line, they give all the strength they have. What is left of my life is less than that." It is said that he maintained this level of devotion till he died.

Look at Amir ibn Abdullah who was once asked, "How can you tolerate being awake all night, and thirsty in the intense heat of the day?" He replied, "Is it anything more than postponing the food of the day to nighttime, and the sleep of the night to daytime? This is not a big matter." When the night came, he would say, "Remembrance of the heat of hellfire has taken sleepiness from me." And he would not sleep until dawn.

Look at Ar-Rabi' ibn Khuthaym. Abu Hayan related that his father said, "Ar-Rabi' ibn Khuthaym was crippled and used to be carried to the congregational salah. So people told him, "You have an excuse (for not coming)." He said, "I hear 'hayya 'alas-salah', the call to salah; so if you can come to it even by crawling, do so", paraphrasing a hadith.

[9] Do a variety of acts of worship.
Allah in His Infinite Mercy has blessed us with a variety of acts of worship to do - some are physical such as prayer; some are financial such as zakat and sadaqah; some are spoken such as du'aa and dhikr.

Perhaps the wisdom behind this provision is that it addresses the different inclinations and abilities of the people. Some people may enjoy some kinds of worship more than others. Indeed, Allah has made gates of Paradise according to the different types of worship. According to a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah (radhiallahu anhu) the Messenger of Allah (salAllahu alayhi wasalam)said: "Whoever spends on a pair for the sake of Allah will be called from the gates of Paradise, 'O slave of Allah, this is good.' Whoever is one of the people of prayer will be called from the gate of prayer. Whoever is one of the people of jihad will be called from the gate of jihad. Whoever is one of the people of fasting will be called from the gate of al-Rayyan. Whoever is one of the people of charity will be called from the gate of charity." [Sahih al-Bukhari]

[10] Do not waste even a minute.
As mentioned earlier, there are a variety of deeds one can do. There may be days when one is busy with chores, work or commitments to family and friends. This does not mean that one does not have time to incorporate one's resolution to live Islam daily. One can make dhikr while cooking, one can memorise a du'aa while waiting for the bus, one can listen to an Islamic lecture when driving home from work… the list goes on. The bottom line? Do what you can when you can.

May Allah give us steadfastness and may He give us the best in this world and the hereafter

How Does the Iman Increase and Decrease?

How Does the Iman Increase and Decrease?

Every child is born knowing that his or her Lord is Only One, Allaah, regardless of what faith his or her parents may practice. But just because a child is born with this fitra, or natural belief, does not necessarily mean that the child will grow up to be what truly makes a person Muslim, which is ones iman. A Muslim must have belief and iman in the following:

1) One must belief in Allaah as One God without any partners and without denying His Names and Attributes and without directing any form of worship to any other than Allaah.

2) One must believe in all of Allahs noble angels without doubt and without associating any non-Islamic belief regarding them, such as them being females or human-like.

3) To be considered a believer, one must have faith in all of Allaah`s chosen messengers and Prophets, named and unnamed without attributing to them any falsehoods or flaws.

4) One must have faith in the Divine Scriptures, but taking only the Quran as the one true guidance, preserved by Allaah for all of eternity and for all of mankind.

5) One of the most important beliefs, which illustrates the purpose of life, is the belief in the Hereafter without denying any of the events told in the Quran or by the Prophet (swallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam).

6) Finally, one must believe in Divine Preordainment, more commonly known as fate or destiny. One must believe that Allaah has knowledge of the future and that everything has been preordained with its due measure.

When a person accepts the above beliefs with his heart and affirms it with his tongue, he is considered as one who has iman. Iman requires acknowledgement of these beliefs through action. The Quran constantly connects ones iman with ones deeds in the phrase, "Innalladhina amanu wa amilus-swaalihaat," which translates to those who believe and do good deeds. It is the actions a person chooses to do that both increase the iman and act as evidence of ones iman or decreases it and proves the weakness of the iman.
The Holy Prophet (swallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) said, Iman wears out in ones heart just as the clothes (one wears) wears out. Therefore, ask Allaah to renew iman in your hearts. Unfortunately, iman will not increase by only making dua and asking Allaah to increase it, but it also takes effort from the believer. Allaah states:

Lo! Allaah does not change the condition of a people until they (first) change that which is in their hearts. (Surat ar-Rad 13:11) 

There are three main causes for the decrease in ones iman. A persons iman is sure to take a fall when he loses certainty in the above six beliefs. These beliefs when properly settled into the heart play an important role in a believers life. When a person says, performs, or believes something, which is Islamically known as kufr (disbelief), their iman will be effected in a very negative way. And the final reason for the downfall of iman is performing any type of shirk. These three things all lead to sin, which is what prevents the iman from increasing.

It is a duty of every Muslim to keep his or her iman in check. This means one must constantly guard his or her iman and observe whether it has increased or decreased and for what causes. If it has decreased, one must work to increase it before it falls low enough to destroy the heart. There are many ways to increases ones iman and it involves increasing in righteous deeds and refraining from sins, as well as staying away from sinful activities and people who encourage such activities.

The first thing one should do is renew his or her faith by reciting La ilaha illallah, the meaning of which is: There is no deity except Allaah, as the Prophet (swallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) advised. A person must also believe in all the aspects of La ilaha illallah and this is done through gaining knowledge. Knowledge is one of the most essential key factors in increasing ones iman. It leads to certainty in the heart, assurance in the mind, and peace felt by the soul. Allaah has said in His Holy Revelation:

It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allaah. (Surat al-Faatir 35:28) 

An increase in knowledge leads to acknowledging Allaah in every moment of ones life through taqwa, which leads to a firm iman. The type of knowledge we are discussing is knowing that Allaah is One and has no partners, wives, children, or equals. It is knowing Allah through His beautiful Names and Attributes; that Allaah is the Creator of the heavens and the earth and all that it contains. He is the Preserver, as well as the One Who destroys. He gives life and takes it whenever He wills. His knowledge encompasses all things and nothing can ever be hidden from Him.

And with Him are the keys of the invisible. None but He knows them. And He knows what is in the land and the sea. Not a leaf falls but He knows it, not a grain amid the darkness of the earth, nor anything wet or dry but (it is noted) in a Clear Record. (Surat al-Anaam 6:59) 
He hears the cries of His servants all at once and is not confused by the countless different number of voices and languages and He is Ever Responding. He is the Compassionate, the Merciful, the Giver of Bounties. He forgives whomever He wills and punishes whomever He wills. He is the Just, the Merciful, and does no wrong to His creation. He sees all things. Not a black ant on a black stone on a black moonless night is hidden from His sight. To Him belongs all praise and glory! He is the Most Great, the Incomparable!

A person who has knowledge of Allaah is no way like a person who simply states La ilaha illallah and knows nothing else about its meaning and its impact in the life of a true believer.

Likewise, a person who has knowledge about Prophet Muhammad (swallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) and his life, noble characteristics, truthful teachings, and exemplary actions and has faith in what he informed his Ummah concerning the torment and bliss in the grave, the Last Day, the Reckoning, the questioning of ones deeds, the scale, the bridge, the rewards of Paradise, and the torments of Hellfire is unlike the person who has no such knowledge or belief. A person with this knowledge will have a purpose and goal in life, which is to obey Allah to the best of his ability and remind himself of the rewards and punishments he may earn depending upon his iman and his deeds.

There is no doubt that knowledge plays a big role in increasing the iman of a weak heart and Allaah says it beautifully:

Are those who know, equal to those who know not? (Surat az-Zumar 39:9) 

The second key factor, which affects the iman are ones deeds. They can either decrease the iman and weaken the heart and soul or increase it, as well as strengthening the heart and soul. Once a person gains knowledge about something, he should accept it and put it into practice. If a person accepts the forbidden as forbidden and the permissible as permissible, but refuses to act upon it, thereby disobeying Allaah and committing sin, not to mention hurting his own soul, he has suppressed his iman. The basis of iman is to accept and practice.

By increasing good deeds and obedience, one nears himself to Allah, increases his iman, and purifies himself. He is less likely to fall into his base desires and worldly pleasures, keeping himself safe from the evils of society by strengthening his soul and weakening his nafs.

A person with low iman should begin by performing the obligatory duties imposed on him, such as performing the five daily prayers at their fixed times and fasting. He should stop committing major sins and eventually begin performing more voluntary and permissible acts of worship and obedience and refrain from minor sins and disliked acts to the best of his ability. When a person refrains from as many sins as possible and does as many good deeds as he can, most importantly his obligatory duties, he weakens Satan against him, which gives him a bigger chance of success. Allaah says:

O you who believe! Obey Allaah and obey the Messenger and do not make your deeds vain. (Surah Muhammad 47:33) 

One should make sure that everything he does will only benefit him both in this world and in the hereafter. There is no point in doing something that will cause hurt to ones soul and add more weight to ones evil deeds. It is very important and beneficial to follow the Sunnah. The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) was the best of mankind and Allah chose him to show us our ways. If we follow him, we are sure to succeed in both worlds, Insha Allah. But if we reject his way and follow our own lusts or the way of the kuffar, we will only destroy ourselves. To be sure that ones deeds will increase the iman, one should do only that which Allaah and His Messenger (swallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) have taught and in that way, one can be safe from bidah and misguidance.

The third key factor to increasing ones iman is remembrance and contemplation. Remembrance refers to the remembrance of Allaah, His Names and Attributes, His Greatness, Power, and Majesty, and the fact that He is the Most High. He is the Only One Who deserves to be worshipped, thanked, and depended upon. Allah is the Lord of Kindness and the Most Generous. He should be praised and glorified constantly as a part of remembrance. The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) said that the most beloved and weighty phrases of dhikr (remembrance) are La ilaha illallah Subhannallah, Alhumdulillah, and Allahu Akbar. There are many others like these, which should also be recited. The Prophet (swallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) said, The difference between a person who glorifies his Lord and the one who does not remember his Lord is like that between the living and the dead. The remembrance of Allah increases iman and brings peace into the heart. There is none more truthful than Allaah in speech and so Allaah confirms:

Who have believed and whose hearts have rest in the remembrance of Allaah. Verily in the remembrance of Allaah do hearts find rest! (Surat ar-Rad 13:28) 
Along with praising and glorifying Allah, one should be regular in reciting His
Holy Speech, the Quran, and ponder upon their meanings and use them as a guide and a healing in ones life.

And we reveal of the Quran that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe(Surat al-Isra 17:82) 

The Quran contains the Truth about monotheism, Allaah`s promises of success to the true believers and warnings of punishment to the hypocrites and disbelievers. It contains commandments and prohibitions, inspiring stories of the previous prophets and their nations, and codes of the best conduct and behavior. The words of the Quran bring hope into a persons life. They enlighten the heart and open up a path of righteousness for those searching for the truth.

Will they not then ponder on the Qur'an? If it had been from other than Allaah they would have found therein much incongruity. (Surat an-Nisaa 4:82)

The iman will increase when one connects with Allaah through His Holy Revelation and this should lead one to acting upon his Lords Word.

They only are the (true) believers whose hearts feel fear when Allah is mentioned, and when the revelations of Allah are recited unto them they increase their faith, and who trust in their Lord. (Surat Al-Anfaal 8:2) 

Remembering the Hereafter is also a cure for weak iman. When one is one hundred percent certain of the Last Day, Paradise, and Hellfire and feels fear of the mere thought of standing before the All-Powerful Creator and be questioned and judged for each of his thoughts, sayings and deeds, he is bound to think twice before committing an act of disobedience. One should remember the Day of Judgement often, which is repeatedly mentioned in the Quran to remind mankind that he will surely be returned to his Lord.

When we look at the night, full of bright glittery stars, the shining moon and the sunset, as well as the mountains standing firm and the flowers blooming, we should feel Allaah`s Power and Majesty and contemplate over His creation. It is absolutely amazing and unimaginable as to how Allaah created every single thing in existence and how the universe runs so smoothly by the will and control of its Creator. Contemplating over the creation is another way a person can increase his iman and grow closer to Allaah.

Such as remember Allaah, standing, sitting, and reclining, and consider the creation of the heavens and the earth, (and say): Our Lord! You created not this in vain. Glory be to You! Preserve us from the doom of Fire. (Surah Ali Imran 3:191)

Abu Hurairah (radhiyallaahu anhu) reported that the Prophet (swallallaahu alaiyhi wa sallam) said, Allah, the All-Mighty says, I treat my slave according to his expectations from Me and I am with him when he remembers Me. If he remembers Me in his heart, I remember him in My heart. If he remembers Me in a gathering, I remember him in a better and more noble gathering (i.e. of the angels). If he comes close to Me by one span, I go towards him a cubits length. If he comes toward Me a cubits length, I go towards him an arms length. And if he walks toward Me, I run toward him.

One of the most important things a person should be aware of when trying to increase his iman and at all times, is the vastness of Allaah`s mercy, compassion, and love. One should put hope and trust in Him. Remembrance of Allaah is a key factor in increasing the iman, as are increasing ones Islamic knowledge and good deeds. Allaah says:

Then, as for those who have faith and do good deeds, He will pay them fully their rewards and give them more out of His grace and as for those who disdain and are proud, He will punish them with a painful doom. And they shall not find for themselves besides Allaah any guardian or helper. (Surat an-Nisaa 4:173)
In the following verse, Allaah emphasizes the importance of iman and doing good deeds along with ones belief:

There shall be no sin unto those who believe and do good deeds for what they may have eaten (in the past); so be mindful of your duty (to Allaah) and do good deeds and again be mindful of your duty and believe and once again, be mindful of your duty and do good deeds. Allaah loves the good! (Surat al-Maidah 5:93)

The life of the dunya is only a test for the creation and one day this test will end. It is the responsibility of each human and jinn to prepare oneself for the final scoring of the test by being mindful of ones duty towards Allaah by following the guidance of the Quran and the Sunnah and keeping ones iman high. A weak iman will lead one to the Hellfire, while a strong one will lead one to the Gardens of Delight. The reason is because it is the iman that determines the actions of a person. A person with weak or even no iman will commit sin and cause Allah to be displeased, causing him to be thrown into the Hellfire to be punished. But a person with a strong faith will refrain from sins and perform good deeds, which will be the cause of Allahs pleasure and his entrance into Paradise.

In conclusion, Shaykh Muhammad Salih al-Munajjid wrote in his book, Some of our righteous Salaf said, It is a sign of the slaves fiqh (knowledge of the religion) that he concerns himself with enhancing the status of his iman when it experiences a decrease. Also, it is a sign of the slaves fiqh to know if his iman is on the increase or the decrease. Furthermore, it is a sign of ones fiqh that he knows why and where the evil whispers of Satan are coming from. 

O Allaah! We seek refuge in You from Your displeasure [sakhatik]; and we seek Your forgiveness, and we seek refuge in You from Your punishment. Aameen.


O Allaah!
We seek refuge in You from Your displeasure [sakhatik];
and we seek Your forgiveness,
and we seek refuge in You from Your punishment.

Fear Allah Wherever You Are

Assalaamu alaykum warahmatuLlaahi wabarakaatuhu!
 Fear Allah Wherever You Are.

Abu Dhar Al-Ghifari and Mu`adh ibn Jabal related that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
"Fear Allah wherever you are. Follow up a bad deed with a good deed and it will blot it out. And deal with people in a good manner." (At-Tirmidhi)
This hadith is a significantly important one as it deals with a number of rights a Muslim should always pay attention to. Ibn Rajab says, "This is a powerful advice, bringing together the rights of Allah and the rights of His servants." The main ideas in this vital hadith are tackled below.
Fear of Allah
The Arabic word for fear of Allah is taqwa. It comes from the root word meaning to guard against something or to prevent. Indeed, a person exhibits fear of Allah by seeking to prevent Allah's punishment by carrying out what He has commanded him or her to do and abstaining from what He has prohibited.

Almighty Allah calls upon all people in every era to fear Him; He says,

(Verily we have directed the People of the Book before you, and you (O Muslims) to fear Allah.) (An-Nisaa' 4:131)
It is Allah's right over His servants that they fear Him as He ought to be feared.
Almighty Allah says,

(O you who believe, fear Allah as He should be feared and die not except in a state of Islam.) (Aal `Imran 3:102)
Ibn Mas`ud explained what it means to fear Allah as He ought to be feared by saying, "It means that He is to be obeyed, not disobeyed; remembered, not forgotten; and shown gratitude, not ingratitude."
The fear of Allah is the path to forgiveness, salvation, and the attainment of Allah's mercy. This meaning is crystal clear in many verses. Allah says,
(For Allah is with those who restrain themselves and those who do good.) (An-Nahl 16:128)
He also says,
(My mercy extends to all things. That (mercy) I shall ordain for those who do right.) (Al-A`raf 7:156)
(He is the Lord of righteousness and the Lord of forgiveness.) (Al-Muddaththir 74:56)
(For those who fear Allah, He will make their path easy.) (At-Talaq 65:5)
(As to the righteous, they will be in the mid of gardens and rivers, in an assembly of truth in the presence of a Sovereign Omnipotent.) (Al-Qamar 54:54–55)
Almighty Allah promises those who fear Him that He will provide for their needs and grant them a way out of their worldly difficulties; He says,
(And for those who fear Allah, He (ever) prepares a way out and He provides for them from (sources) they never could imagine.) (At-Talaq 65:2–3)
This is Allah's promise. We should draw strength from it when we are tried in life with difficulties that tempt us to resort to what Allah has forbidden.

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