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Muslim seeking the pleasure and mercy of Allah, Most High... Sunnah style!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"By the Criticizing Self"

Bismillah wa-salaatu wa-salaam 'ala Rasulullah

Among the qualities of the believer is a helpless compulsion to criticize themself. The sincerity in their efforts to gain closeness to their Lord through amilu salih (righteous deeds) has them to find little satisfaction in their performance. An unintended tactic to persistently pursue the path of improvement. A sort of consequent motivational drive to achieve and/or sustain the great level of ihsan (i.e. perfection and beauty in doing virtuous deeds).

In any form of ibadah (i.e. worship; actions beloved to Allah commited for His sake), be it prayer, supplicating Allah in the opening and completion of every occassion, benefiting our families, fasting, showing kindness, baring times of ease and trials with patience, etc... more often than not the believer convinces themself that they could have done it better in some regard. Not that they think the intention and effort missed the pleasure of Allah, rather they remind themselves the potential to have pleased Allah even greater. This is because the true believer refuses to be content with what they have in terms of knowledge and deeds; they strive always for more knowledge and in not only doing more deeds, but perfecting them with better manners. Not merely out of the obligation binding upon them as believers, but because of the geniune love they have for Allah tabarakata wa ta'ala and the Sunnah of His beloved Rasul salallahu 'alayhi wa salaam.

A classical scholar of the Tabi'een, al-Hasan al-Basri rahimahullah, sharply expressed this point in his commentary on the second ayah of Surah al-Qiyaamah where Allah swears by this quality in saying what means:

"Say, I do swear by the criticizing self..." -Surah al-Qiyamah ayah 2

al-Basri said of this: "A believer will always be critical of himself in his food, his drink and in his speech. A sinner will NOT criticize himself. A believer is a guardian over himself; he accounts himself for Allah. Those who take account of themselves in this world will be audited lightly in the Hereafter. Those who take this issue lightly will find their auditing (in the Hereafter) extremely difficult."

May Allah azza wa jall make us among those who commit with sincerity and special care the deeds He Loves. May He make us among those who especially during this most holy and blessed month of Ramadan strive to perfect the actions we do for His sake, His Mercy, His Pleasure and reward. Ameen thumma ameen!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Companions of Sin Chase Me

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

You may say:

“I would like to repent and change my ways but my former evil companions pursue me wherever I go. No sooner do they know of a change in me than they launch an attack on me. I feel myself weak against them. What should I do?”

The answer is, bear it with patience for this is the way of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. This is how He tries His slaves in order for everyone to know who are true in their claims from those who are false, and in order that He may expose the pervert from the righteous. Allah says what means:

“Do they think they will be left alone on saying: “we believe” and that they will not be tested. Surely, We will test them as we have tested those before them, and Allah will make clear those who are true from those who are false.” –Surah al-‘Ankabut ayat 2-3

Once you have taken the path to goodness, persevere in it. These evil people who are Shayateen (among jinn and men) will conspire with each in order to turn you back from the path of reformation, therefore, listen to them not. They will say about you as you begin on this new line, that this is an infatuation that will not last, that it is a passing crisis and soon you will be out of it. In fact, once it was heard that a man said about his former companion who had begun to change his life, “what an evil he has fallen into!”

It is for such situations that Allah has revealed what means:

“Say, I take refuge with the Lord of mankind, the King of mankind, the God of mankind. From the evil of the secret whisperings… of the one who whispers in the breast of mankind… among the jinn and mankind.” –Surah an-Nas ayat 1-6

You should then ask yourself: “Is your Lord then more worthy of obedience or these evil companions?”

You should also know that they will chase you in every place and will employ every means to win you back to their ways. One of the means these evil companions of sin will employ to entice you would be to remind you of the pleasures of sins of the past, through insinuations, contacts, notes, pictures, letters and so on. But do not pay any attention to them, and be reminded of the story of Ka’b bin Malik radiallahu anhu who had stayed back from the Tabuk battle. When, by way of punishment, the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa salaam ordered that he be boycotted by everyone until Allah cleared the way for him, the Ghassanid King wrote to him a letter in which he said: “I am to learn that your man (meaning Muhammad salallahu ‘alayhi wa salaam) has abandoned you. But you are not the kind of man to be placed in the situation in which you can be belittled and wasted. Join us. We will treat you much better.” And so what was the reaction of this Sahabi? Well, Ka’b bin Malik radiallah anhu said: “When I read the letter, I said to myself, this is yet another trial from my Lord. Then I threw it into the oven and burned it.”

This is how, my dear young brother or sister, you should treat those things sent to you to win you back. Burn them to ashes and remember Allah says:

“Be patient. For Allah’s Promise is true. And let not those who do not believe weaken you.” –Surah ar-Rum ayah 60