Monday, October 26, 2009

Your Rice

i remember one of my islamic studies teachers told me that every single thing that is your rizq (earnings, profit, wealth) will come to you some how in some way, and that Allah wills for it to be your rizq from before it comes into existence...

she explained that even rice when it grows on a stalk somewhere in some other country has your name written on it...then after it's picked, packaged, shipped, bought, cooked and think it's your plate of rice...
but the ones that spill off the edge and end up on the floor never belonged to you...they didn't have your name on it

out there in the world there are things that belong to you that will come your way when it is time...and right now on your plate or in your wallet there are things you might think are yours...but they're just not :-/

Subhanallah wa Alhamdullilah

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Grass is Always Green

So we’ve all seen those emo statuses on Facebook, AIM, Twitter, you name it. Or you may even hear someone complaining about something terrible that happened in their life (big or small), some exam coming up or some paper they have to write and how it’s the end of the world and life is so very difficult and their life is hell. Either one of two things are happening: 1) they’re genuinely going through hell or 2) they’re just seeking attention.

Most of the time we may find ourselves in the second category. Now if we really look at our so-called problems (regardless of what you’re going through), are they really THAT bad? I mean some of us may have serious issues we’re dealing with, but at the end of the day when we step back and see what we’re going through and see that the problem really isn’t that bad or even that it could be a lot worse, we’ve taken some good out of that problem. If we realize that our so-called “problem” isn’t really a problem, rather it's either a test, reminder from Allah, or a sign from Allah to check ourselves for where we’re heading.We have so much to be thankful for (blessings we can't even count), yet we choose to stress the negative things that really are insignificant in the spectrum of things. Let’s look at the hadith of the Prophet SAW:

Abu Yahya Suhaib b. Sinan said that Rasulullah saw said : " Wondrous are the believer's affairs. For him there is good in all his affairs, and this is so only for the believer. When something pleasing happens to him, he is grateful, and that is good for him; and when something displeasing happens to him, he is enduring (sabar), and that is good for him " (Muslim)

So it comes down to us looking at the events in our lives not in a negative light, rather in a positive one. What is Allah trying to tell us? What am I doing wrong? Is it a test or is it a punishment? And the way to approach our problems is always two-fold. We always have shukr (gratitude) and sabr (patience). We have gratitude to Allah that the event/problem could have been much worse and/or it is an opportunity to get closer to Allah. As for sabr, we must be patient in whatever trial is put in our path. If you think about it logically, if you see a house on fire are you going to complain, “Oh man that house is on fire, I wish it wasn’t on fire” or are you going to take action and put the fire out? You can complain and complain about your situation or you can find a way out of it. Allah says in the Quran:

Verily never will Allah change a condition of a people until they change what is within their souls [Ra'd 13:11]

Therefore it’s up to us to change our perception of our trials/problems we may face and ponder upon the signs that Allah’s trying to put in front of us. Only you can change your condition at the end of the day, no one else. Tie your camel and leave the rest to Allah. Try your best and leave the outcome to Allah. Allah guarantees his reward for those who’re patient and persevere:

An excellent reward for those who do [good]! - those who persevere in patience, and put their trust in their Lord and Cherisher (29:58-59).

And we will be tested with good and bad:

And We test you by evil and by good by way of trial. To Us must you return (21:35).

So everything in our life is a trial. It’s up to us to see how to approach and learn from those trials. We may be asking, how is Allah testing us if he gives us good? We have so many blessings from Allah, but we’re not thankful or we’re not aware that it comes from Allah. That is our test---to realize that everything we gain in this dunya (world) is from Allah, not just us doing something by ourselves to get what we want. We all know the trials of evil….
What we need to realize is that Allah desires for us good only in this world and the Hereafter:

Abu Sa`id and Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said: "Never a believer is stricken with a discomfort, an illness, an anxiety, a grief or mental worry or even the pricking of a thorn but Allah will expiate his sins on account of his patience".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "When Allah intends good for His slave, He punishes him in this world, but when He intends an evil for His slave, He does not hasten to take him to task but calls him to account on the Day of Resurrection.''

We’ve all heard the saying, “the grass is always greener on the other side”, but when you look at it from an Islamic point of view, you should never look to those who have more or are better off than you, you should rather look at those who have less than you and be thankful to Allah that we’re given so many blessings that we can’t even begin to count. Our problems/trials we face, really aren’t that bad compared to others when we compare them with others’ problems. It all boils down to our perception of our problems/trials. We just need to be patient and have thankfulness to Allah that our situation could be ten times worse than it actually is and that it is an opportunity to get closer to Allah. It’s up to us to realize that the grass isn’t greener on the other side, rather the grass is always green.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Illusion of Piety

We’ve all heard the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Well it certainly is true when we apply it to how we see ourselves and see others. We may see a brother with a long beard and kufi and say “Mashallah, that brother is such a good guy, he’s so religious” or we may see a sister wearing a hijab and say “Mashallah, that sister is so modest and religious.” Well the matter of the fact is the exterior does not always match the interior for some. For some it’s like they’re actors playing a role on a stage, but inside they’re fake. They play a part, but what’s really in their hearts? They wear hijab or they grow a beard to put on the front of being religious so they may be seen by people or be perceived in a certain way by others, thus hiding a deeper uglier spiritual state.

We stress the exterior so much, although I am not disregarding the sunnah or the importance of the hijab, but merely pointing out wearing a hijab or wearing a kufi and growing a beard does nothing if one’s interior spiritual state is in ruins, intentions are not pure or the heart is diseased with hypocrisy, ostentation, or self-glorification, etc. There are some of the so-called pious/righteous amongst us who we perceive as righteous/pious who we trust with our lives and our deen, namely some imams, who have done unspeakable crimes against Muslims and society. This is dangerous as it not only places doubt in the minds of Muslims and creates a fitnah amongst Muslims and doesn’t allow us to trust one another. How can we trust those who claim to be the leaders of our ummah, masaajid, and communities when they deceive us? Also, brothers may put on a religious front and abuse their wives or they may treat their own families terribly. Sisters may wear hijab, yet may also cuss, backbite, gossip or may overstep boundaries we won’t talk about. What good did the hijab or the kufi and beard do? Did it remind them of Allah? Also, this shows the backwardness of stressing the exterior and not focusing on cleansing and improving the interior spiritual state of the heart. The Prophet SAW said in a hadith:

‘Surely there is in the body a small piece of flesh; if it is good, the whole body is good, and if it is corrupted, the whole body is corrupted, and that is surely the heart’.
(Sahih Bukhari)

So those who stress the exterior and think that their exterior look will make them more pious are mistaken as the heart must be purified, then the exterior will show. This can be seen amongst us as we see there is sometimes sisters who don’t wear hijab who are in fact more modest than the sisters who wear hijab. This definitely shows you the fallacy of the exterior argument and the stress on the outer state rather than the inner spiritual state. Again I am not discounting or diminishing the importance of hijab, but one must not merely put it on and think that they’re any more pious or religious than any one if the hijab does not remind them of Allah and their actions and character don’t change, then the hijab is merely a piece of clothe on one’s head. The hijab is not only a clothe, rather it includes the behavior of a woman. When a sister puts on hijab she should be reminded of WHY she’s putting on and for WHO and for WHAT intention. If any of those questions have any doubt in them, the sister should question her intentions. The greatest examples sister’s have are the Prophet SAW’s wives, who carried themselves with dignity and honor and only spoke the truth, carried themselves in a certain manner in which they protected their modesty. Sisters often erroneously complain “Oh in Islam we don’t have a role model for women.” This is clearly false if you’re to look in the Quran and the Seerah of the Prophet SAW, there have been great women whose lives not only women can learn from, but men too.

Modesty isn’t merely a cloth on one’s head, it’s in the character, demeanor and actions of a person. This modesty is not only limited to dress, it’s modesty of the tongue (not saying bad things, backbiting, gossiping, lying,etc.), actions of the hands (not hurting anyone or harming anyone) and modesty of the eyes (not seeing that which is haraam). Modesty is extended to brothers too as they are meant to carry themselves in an honorable way and treat sisters in a certain manner in a way to not compromise either’s reputation or modesty. Brothers need to hold themselves to a certain moral and ethical standard according to Quran and Sunnah.

And we may have sincere brothers and sisters who wear the hijab and grow the beard and wear what they wear out of sincere piety, but we need to check our sincerity in our actions and what we do. Are we wearing the hijab because of family pressure, culture or because we’re hiding behind it? Are we wearing the kufi, growing the beard just to be seen by people and have people praise you? In the Quran Allah says:

Among the people there are some who say, "We believe in Allah and the Last Day," when they are not believers. They think they deceive Allah and those who believe. They deceive no one but themselves but they are not aware of it. There is a sickness in their hearts and Allah has increased their sickness. They will have a painful punishment on account of their denial. (Surah al-Baqara, 8-10)


When you see them, their outward form appeals to you, and if they speak you listen to what they say. But they are like propped-up planks of wood. They imagine every cry to be against them. They are the enemy, so beware of them. May Allah destroy them! How they are perverted! (Surah al-Munafiqun, 4)

The hypocrites think they deceive Allah, but He is deceiving them. When they get up to pray, they get up lazily, showing off to people, and only remembering Allah a very little. (Surah an-Nisa', 142)

[O you who believe! do not make your charity worthless by reproach and injury, like him who spends his property to be seen of men and does not believe in Allah and the last day; so his parable is as the parable of a smooth rock with earth upon it, then a heavy rain falls upon it, so it leaves it bare; they shall not be able to gain anything of what they have earned; and Allah does not guide the unbelieving people.] (Al-Baqarah 2:264)

There are several other ayahs from the Quran that relate to hypocrisy and hypocrites, but the fact of the matter is ultimately hypocrites are deceiving themselves and may be deceiving others, but they cannot deceive Allah:

Say: "Whether ye hide what is in your hearts or reveal it, Allah knows it all: He knows what is in the heavens, and what is on earth. And Allah has power over all things.] (Aal `Imran 3:29)

May Allah protect us all from hypocrisy and from being hypocrites and purify our spiritual states, forgive our sins, and grant us Jannat al Firdaus. Ameen.