Thursday, 31 October 2013

Time in Islam Part 3: Allah Tells Us About Time

thefinalmessage|THE FRIDAY NOTE
Time in Islam Part 3: Allah Tells Us About Time;

Time in Islam;

In the final part we want to further encourage our readers and outline the etiquettes of time according to Islam.

The Prophet (PBUH)  said:
”Take advantage of five matters before five other matters:
 your youth before you become old;
 your health, before you fall sick;
 your wealth, before you become poor;
your free time before you become preoccupied,
and your life, before your death.”
[Narrated by Ibn Abbas in the Mustadrak of Hakim & Musnad Imam Ahmad. Sahih]

Our approach to time management should be with a sense of urgency to do good deeds with our life before we can no longer make any use of it.
The whole language of the hadith points to the limited nature of our lives and time running out.

To put things into perspective the following 3 categories really summarise our life.

Have Loads of Free Time
Have A Lot of Energy
But No Money

Have A Lot of Energy
Have More Money
But Claim Don’t Have Free Time

Have More Money
Have Loads of Free Time
But Don’t Have Energy or Health

Now relate that to the above hadith and really think about it and what can you do now to get most out of each phase of your life and how you can contribute to Islam or attain closeness to Allah.

To further this point the following Ayah is showing the reality that every moment that passes is a moment that brings us closer to death.
 Allah (SWT) says:
Transliteration: ”Kullu man alaiyha faan”
Translation: All that is on earth will perish
[Surah al-Rahman, Ayah 26]

If we ponder on the hadith and the Ayah then we can appreciate that all of the above is linked to the principle of shukr, or gratefulness.
Each one of the five matters are five blessings of the highest magnitude from Allah to us; Youth, health, wealth, free time and life itself.
Allah, Most Glorious, has informed us of the secret of keeping and increasing our blessings:
Translation: “…If you are grateful, I shall certainly give you increase”
[Surah Ibrahim, Ayah 7]

Scholars explain that true gratefulness is to “use the blessing for what they were intended for” or “That one not disobey Allah using the blessings He has given”.
So, for instance, we should spend our youth in seeking beneficial knowledge; our wealth in sadaqah and our energy to worship Allah as much as possible.

In the following Hadith Qudsi on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
“Allah said, ‘The son of Adam wrongs me for he curses Ad-Dahr (Time); though I am Ad-Dahr (Time). In My Hands are all things, and I cause the revolution of day and night’”

Thus by cursing time, one is indirectly cursing Allah.
We must be very careful when we do not appreciate and insult time and what Allah has blessed us with.

Allah clearly mentions:
Translation: “Allah does not burden any human being with more than he can bear”
[Surah Baqarah, Ayah 286]
So if Allah has mentioned this to us how can we claim without trying that we have no time for more Ibadaah and more effort to please Allah? If we really try then we will find that Allah will inn shaa Allah make it possible.

How can we complain about lack of free time, when there are many Muslims around the globe who are busier than us because they are proactive at their day jobs and in Islamic studies and dawah, wealthier than us because they push themselves to succeed and more healthier than us because they maintain their health? And I personally know many of these proactive Muslims who truly appreciate the blessings from Allah so Allah is constantly increasing them as He The Almighty has promised us.

Alhamdulillah, we are blessed with ample time and modern conveniences to efficiently use them and extract the barakah from. We need to use technology and modern developments in order to benefit us as those same tools can either benefit us and be used as tools to glorify Allah and spread His deen, or they can be used to waste time and waste the blessings He has granted us.

I sincerely pray that Allah gives us the strength to be the best Muslims and strive for success, and answer the call of our Ummah who really need us to help them survive through poverty and struggles. Ameen.

Source: iQur’an and Productive Muslim

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Time in Islam Part 2: Allah Tells Us About Time

thefinalmessage|THE FRIDAY NOTE
Time in Islam Part 2: Allah Tells Us About Time;

Time in Islam;
Imam Shafi’i affirmed that if Allah had revealed only Surah Al-Asr, it would have been enough as guidance for all of humanity!
The following is a very brief explanation of the Surah.

Transliteration: Wal-‘Asr
Translation: By the time
Allah begins by taking an oath.
Anything that Allah the Most High swears by in the Qur’an is a tremendous matter.
Other examples and instances of this in the Qur’an are ‘Wa al-Fajr’ (by the dawn) or ‘Wa al-Shams’ (by the sun).
During the time of our Prophet (SAW), starting with an oath was a method to draw the attention of the listener.

Transliteration: Innal-innsaana la fii khusr
Translation: Verily! Man is in a state of loss
This is describing the general state of humanity as a state of failure and a life which is a waste of time. It is setting the premise before the following Ayah.

Transliteration: Illallathina aamanuu
Translation: Except those who believe
So after Allah has set the generic premise He gives the exception. So Allah gives Muslims an opportunity and gives us assurance as long as we believe in Islamic Monotheism.
But a Muslim should never be complacent relying purely only on belief for success in the Akhirah.
Muslims should work for the success in terms of striving for both Dunya and Akhira by fulfilling the rights of Allah, their families, communities and the needs of the Ummah.

Transliteration: Wa ‘amilussaalihaati
Translation: And do righteous good deeds
So Allah Himself clearly goes on to mention what the advice is to mankind, i.e. to persevere in good deeds when mentioning those who are the exception to losers.
Some good deeds and beneficial use of time to consider beyond the 5 pillars are attaining Islamic knowledge to benefit yourself and others, volunteering your skills and time to benefit poor, raising awareness of Islam amongst non-Muslims and educating your fellow Muslims further (And Allah mentions this in the next part of this Ayah) or even something as simple as taking time to help clean your local mosque.

Transliteration: Watawaa saw bil-haqqi Watawaa saw bis-sabr
Translation: And enjoin upon one another truth [i.e. Order one another to perform all kind of good deeds (Al-Ma’ruf) which Allah has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar) which Allah has forbidden] and enjoin upon one another patience
One point here to note is that Patience here also assumes perseverance as you should not be put-off the good work you do by the struggles you may face, continue and persevere to convey the message as we will be tested and Shaytan will do whatever possible to distract and discourage us.

Abu Bakr As Siddiq (RA) was one of the best examples to us and the following beautiful short narration really drills this point home that regardless of him being the leader of all the Muslims he really didn’t worry about his position with the people, but was severely concerned about doing good only for the sake of Allah and to please his Lord regardless of the kind of job it was, compare this to any modern King.
While he was Caliph, Abu Bakr used to lead Fajr prayer and leave right afterwards.  One day Omar followed him because he was curious about what he was doing after Fajr prayer.   He saw Abu Bakr go into a tent in the desert for a while, and then he left and returned to the city.  Omar then went to the tent to see who was there. He found an old woman with young children. He asked her about her condition, and she said that she was a widow raising her orphan children. He then asked who the man was. She said she didn’t know, except that he was a man from the Muslims who would come to them and bake their bread, clean their home, and wash their clothing, milk their goat, and then leave. Omar asked if she paid him, but he found that the woman had nothing to even pay him with. Omar then asked how long AbuBakr had been doing this. The woman said, he’s been doing this for a long time. Afterwards, when Omar saw Abu Bakr, he said, “You have made things very difficult for the caliphs who follow you, Abu Bakr."

One of the greatest scholars in Islamic history from the blessed generation after the Sahaba (Taabi’een), is reported to have had the following inspiration about Surah al-‘Asr.
‘On a sweltering hot day, on a street of Baghdad, he heard an ice-seller exclaim, ‘O people! Have mercy on one whose capital is melting away.’ Sheikh al-Hasan made an immediate connection with time. Just as the ice-seller would make a loss if his capital melted away, man in general will make a loss in the business of life, if we allow our capital to melt away. Our capital is time and Allah reminds us in Surah al-‘Asr that if we waste our capital (time) solely for the dunyathen we make al-khusr (tremendous loss).’
[Hasan al-Basri]

We should always motivate ourselves in order to help us in striving for success as even the call for prayer calls us to success, and there are many Ayahs to motivate us. Allah has provided the guidance, it is down to us to follow it.
It is not unusual for Allah to use the metaphor of business to describe the life of this world and our purpose in it. One of the most powerful verses of the Qur’an talks of Allah ‘purchasing’ our lives:

‘Indeed Allah has purchased from the believers their very lives and their wealth, promising them Paradise in return’ 
What a powerful verse this is SubhanAllah.

Source: iQuran and Productive Muslim

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Time in Islam Part 1 - True Believers Mu’mins

thefinalmessage|THE FRIDAY NOTE
Time in Islam Part 1: True Believers Mu’mins;

What Allah wants for us is to be True Believers;
The most common excuse we give ourselves and to others for not progressing or establishing a closer relationship with Allah and His Book is time. Through this series on the topic of time we hope to convey the significance of using time productively and how Allah wants us to view this blessing.

In order to appreciate the topic of time we must briefly touch on the topic of a Mu’min so we can grasp what is expected of us.
We can practice the basic 5 pillars of Islam but that is what makes us Muslims, but in order to be true believers and Mu’mins we must persevere and strive further to please Allah and attain closeness to Allah and what He has revealed and allowed our Prophet (SAW) to show us as guidance.

“Whosoever Allah wishes good for, He gives him understanding (fiqh) of the Religion.”
[Bukhari and Muslim]
And we should do our best to fall into this category as Allah has given guidance to all of us, it is up to us to take the opportunity as Allah wants the best for us, so we should not be lazy and we should be eager to earn this Love.

An excellent quote recently:
“You can’t run your laptops or gadgets perfectly without ‘updating’ them regularly. How do you expect to have a perfect relationship with Allah without updating your level of worship and connection to His Book?
Staying at the same level is not an option for anything in life – much less when it comes to your Creator”
[Shaykh Tawfique Chowdhury]

Just some brief points on Mu’mins, there are many more examples but some to put things in perspective. Please note the comments are not Tafseer in any way but just some (Of many) practical methods of benefiting and working towards achieving what pleases Allah.

They attain the status of having no doubt:
"…and attain the status of having no doubt whatsoever…"

One of the best ways to do this is to learn about the life of the Prophet (SAW), aim to understand the Qur’an by learning Arabic Language or Tafseer and learn the Fiqh of topics of everyday life that is an obligation like Tahara (Cleanliness and Purity) and Marriage as a minimum inn shaa Allah.

They Strive with their money and lives:
"…and Strive with their money and their lives in the cause of Allah.
These are the truthful ones."

This form of striving could be to give up time to regularly teach Islamic knowledge, or help with your skills for a particular charity, or even spending your money and investing your time in taking part in Islamic courses and succeeding in them with an aim to do further good deeds with it inn shaa Allah.

Their faith is strengthened by hearing God's revelations:
"…and when His revelations are recited to them, their faith is strengthened…"

We know we are supposed to love Allah first above all, then Rasool (SAW) and then our parents and so on. And when we love Allah truly out of belief of what He has revealed that faith will increase from reminders of His Ayahs. Another easy way is to ensure that relationship with Allah is improved is to ensure that we understand His Ayahs, so we can interpret what Allah intends for us and the guidance He has set out for us out of His divine mercy and love for us. So when Our Majesty is mentioned we may always have that connection with Him.

6. They trust in their Lord:
"…and they trust in their Lord."
This Ayah has many other benefits to take from Qadr (Divine Decree) to when Allah affirms He does not burden us with more than His slave (Us/We) can take, but for sake of this reminder let us limit it.
In order to trust we must love, in order to love, we must know and what better place to start than the beautiful names of Allah. What a shame that most of us cannot list the names of our Creator.

“Allah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge, by degrees.”
[Qur'an, 58:11]

Here Allah clearly mentions the status of those with knowledge as if they were celebrities in the Akhirah and furthermore the following hadith further affirms this point, SunhanAllah.

Hadith of Abu Darda
“If anyone travels on a road in search of knowledge, Allah will cause him to travel on one of the roads of Paradise. The angels will lower their wings in their great pleasure with one who seeks knowledge, the inhabitants of the heavens and the Earth and the fish in the deep waters will ask forgiveness for the learned man.
 The superiority of the learned man over the worshipper is like that of the moon, on the night when it is full, over the rest of the stars. The learned are the heirs of the Prophets, and the Prophets leave neither dinar nor dirham, leaving only knowledge, and he who takes it takes a big fortune.”
[Abu Dawud]

SubhanAllah, they are the heirs of the Prophets, what a status, and this celebrity status in the Akhirah is what we should aim for as that is eternal as promised by Allah, eternal happiness.

Finally, simply attaining knowledge is not enough, we carry a responsibility of conveying the message just as our Prophet (SAW) did, so knowledge comes with action inn shaa Allah.
“Convey (my teachings) to the people even if it were a single sentence…”

Now that we have a basis on what Allah expects of us iA next week we can cover what is specifically mentioned about time by Allah and His Messenger (SAW).

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Hajj Days Overview - Days 3 and 4-6

Hajj Days Overview;

Day 3 and 4-6 of Hajj;

10th Dhul Hijjah – Yawm al-Nahr

The third day of Hajj is the 10th day, known in Arabic as Yawm al-Nahr (The day of sacrifice).

There are two opinions on the origin of this name:

1. The first referring to Ibraaheem ‘alayhis-salaam and when Allaah commanded him to sacrifice his son Isma’eel. This act itself is called nahr (slaughter/sacrifice). Some scholars reported this incident to have happened on this day of the year.

2. The second referring to the actual practice of sacrificing animals on the day of ‘Eid. Because the sacrifice takes place on a massive scale, this day was named after it.

Thus on this glorious day; the tenth day of Dhul-Hijjah; the blessed ‘Eid al-Adhaa – it is called the Day of Sacrifice because during it the Muslims seek nearness to their Guardian and King, Allaah, by sacrificing designated animals. On this day, those performing Hajj sacrifice their hady, and the Muslims in all other parts of the world sacrifice their udhiyah – all seeking nearness to Allaah by their deed.

This day is the most blessed and virtuous day in the entire year. The Messenger (SAW) said:
“The best day with Allaah is Yawm al-Nahr, and then Yawm al-Qarr (the 11th day, the day that follows, when the pilgrims reside in the camps of Mina for worship).”

Allaah made ‘Arafah (9th day) an introduction to the Day of al-Nahr. After having their sins forgiven on the Day of ‘Arafah, Allaah demands from them to visit His House on the Day of al-Nahr. In fact, the Day of ‘Arafah can be likened to a purification process; a preparation procedure for the Day of al-Nahr.

What do the pilgrims do on the 10th day of Hajj?

In the early hours of Yawm al-Nahr, after Fajr, the majority of the hujjaaj will start their day from the plains of Muzdalifah. Once they finish Fajr prayer, they stay in the Mash’ar al-Haraam or the site of Muzdalifah until close to sunrise then they start their march to Mina.

On this day, the pilgrims are obligated to perform four specific rites of Hajj:

1. To stone the major jamarah (‘Aqabah) with seven stones
2. To offer the sacrificial animal
3. To shave the head or shorten the hair for men, and to clip a bit of the hair for women.
4. To perform tawaaf (Circling seven times around the Ka’bah) and Sa’y (to run between the two hills of Safaa and Marwaa).

The hujjaj then are all required to continue their Hajj by moving to Mina again to spend the night or most of the night in the camps there.

11th, 12th and 13th Dhul Hijjah – Ayyaam al-Tashreeq

These are the final days of Hajj. They are called ayyaam al-tashreeq (The days of tashreeq).

Perhaps the strongest opinion on why they are called ayyaam al-tashreeq is because in the past the pilgrims used to slice the meat they acquired from the sacrifices, season it with salt and then let it dry in the sun. The dehydration of the meat allows the pilgrims to preserve it from spoiling on their long journeys back. This was prior to the invention of refrigeration. The process in itself is called tashreeq, and it linguistically has a connection to sunrise or sunshine. The process entails the exposure of the meat to the sun for a long time

These days are considered days of celebration and worship. It is recommended to enjoy these days by feasting. The Messenger (SAW) said:
“The days of tashreeq are days of eating and drinking.”

What do the pilgrims do on these last few days?

1. The hujjaaj are required to spend most of the night, preferably the entire night and days, of the days of tashreeq in Minaa.

2. During these days the hujjaaj recite the Takbeer until the end of the Hajj season.
“And when you have completed the prayer, remember Allaah standing, sitting, or (lying) on your sides.”
[4: 103]

Also, after performing Hajj:
“And when you have completed your rites, remember Allaah like your (previous) remembrance of your fathers or with much greater remembrance.”
[2: 200]

3. The most important practice of these days is the throwing of stones at the jamaraat site each day.

The timing of this rite of Hajj is critical. The standard opinion is that this should be performed after the time of zawaal or when the time of Zuhr is already in until right before sunset.

After finishing throwing the stones at each station the hujjaaj stand on the side away from the traffic, facing Makkah and raise their hands with du’a and praise and then move on to the next station starting from the minor, the middle and then the major one for last. Note there is no du’aa at the last station.

Once the hujjaaj are done, they ought to return to Mina.

4. The fifth day of Hajj is the 12th of Dhul Hijjah.
Any pilgrim who desires to hasten and leave early can end his or her Hajj after they perform the throwing of the stones on that day, and they have to be out of Mina before sunset. If they stayed in Minaa after sunset then they are required to remain there for the extra day, the 13th, which is the last and final day of ayyaam al-tashreeq.

Once the hujjaaj have taken care of all the essentials of Hajj, making sure nothing of their obligations is left without being fulfilled or compensated for, they prepare themselves for their departure to Makkah for the finale rite.
The sunnah of the Messenger of Allah sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is to perform Tawaaf al-Wada’ or the Farewell Tawaaf right before the departure from Makkah. It is considered waajib (obligatory) to perform this tawaaf for those who are legally able.

You will find as the Hajj season draws to a close, many of the hujjaaj depart from Makkah with sorrow and grief, and just as they arrived with tears and joy, they are now leaving with tears and a mixture of perplexing sadness and happiness. Nevertheless, they all leave with hope that their Hajj was mabroor or faultless and that Allaah has accepted their offerings during these days of great sacrifice. They all leave with hope that this experience was a true redemption from sin and emancipation from the painful snares of both worlds.

The Days of Hajj series by Yaser Birjas
Beneficial Creedal Lessons from The Hajj by Abd Al-Razzaaq al-Badr