Saturday, October 18, 2008
Meeting my brothers and sisters fillah again. The leaving of Ramadhan, we hope, has gifted us a vastly increased level of iman and amal insyaAllah. And today is the 18th day after Ramadhan left us. Actually I wanted to post this entry much earlier than this i.e. the first week of Syawal but we cannot accomplish something without the ‘approval letter’ from Allah S.W.T. We just plan and it is He who determines. I had been busy with a number of activities and events that required a deep commitment. What made me feel like writing this entry is still related with Ramadhan and Syawal. Maybe some have heard and digested enough the subject matter. But again, like I have been saying in my previous posts, let’s take this as a refresh button to our brain. Letting our brain flow is much better than letting it be stagnant. Probably, actively utilizing our brain helps prevent thrombosis of the brain vessels.
Now, what is the big deal about the issue I am trying to bring about? And I will begin with a fact that there are several misconceptions that many Muslims have with regard to Hari Raya. However, these are the flaws of views and thoughts. Such views are floated primarily due to the ignorance of religious value. Moreover, those are the people, on the forefront of such theories, who do not even fast during Ramadan, but are very ‘concerned’ about certain facts with regard to Hari Raya. And what are those facts?
The very first misconception these folks have is that, for them, Hari Raya is a festival akin to Christmas, Holi or Diwali or it is a national festival that is manifested as a symbol of unity for Muslims. However, Hari Raya (Eidulfitri to be exact) is essentially related to supplication that commences at the beginning of Ramadhan and culminates after the end of Ramadhan, by thanking Allah, with special Eid prayers.
There one more question is. And this is the main issue of this entry. Who truly deserves Hari Raya greetings? After necessary clarification on this subject, I extend my greeting to you and to all of my Muslim brothers and sisters. People who genuinely deserve the greeting of Hari Raya are those who fasted for the whole month of Ramadhan; who endeavoured to take maximum benefit from the instructions of Qur'an ; who tried to read, understand and take guidance from Qur'an and took advantage of the character-building exercise which Ramadhan seeks to impart to every Muslim. Qur'an explains only two primary objectives of the month of Ramadhan: firstly, Muslims should build their character. And secondly, Muslims pay gratitude to Allah for the favour He has bestowed on Muslims, in the form of revealing Qur'an, during the month of Ramadhan.
If there is one biggest favour Allah has done to the humanity, it is the revelation of Qur'an. This is the greatest divine blessing, because, you see, food and other resources, for instance, oxygen, water, food grains and similar sources of economy, through which man earns the bread, constructs house, provides clothing, though these provisions too are the blessings and kindness of Allah, but they are merely meant for the human body. Holy Qur’an is the blessing which is conceived for the soul of man, for his character and essentially for his real altruism, is the ultimate blessing. A Muslim can offer true gratitude to Allah only in a situation when he thanks on the food provided by Him and also on the gracious commandments which have been issued to him in the form of Qur'an. The most appropriate way to thank Him is not just verbal appreciation like ‘thank you Allah for giving us Qur'an’, rather the precise approach for doing that is to acknowledge Qur'an as the wellhead of guidance; recognize it as a true navigator and take practical advantage of its counseling.
Qur'an gives us instructions about our personal life that how should we lead a devout life. It forbids us from deeds that are harmful in shaping a character full life. It gives us guidelines, by pursuing which, our personality will develop in an upright manner and we could become an exemplary human being. It also provides extensive guidance about our collective life. How to shape our social life and our domestic life? What should be the outline of our culture and civilization? How should we conduct the affairs of our state? What would be our constitution? How should we manage the social life? What should be the avenues to earn our bread and butter? Where should we and should not spend our earned money? How should be our relation with Allah? How should be our relation with our own conscience? What should be the nature of our relationship and behaviour with other human beings, our spouse, our off-springs, our parents, our folks, members of our own society and the entire human population of the earth, even with plants and animals, and with various blessings of Allah? Qur'an gives us specific instructions about each of these aspects of life. The obligations of every Muslim is to accept it as real fountain head for guidance; turn towards it for counseling; truly recognize those instructions, directions and principles which it is dispensing. Muslims should reject all those beliefs and practices which contradict them, whatever is the source.
Going back to the subject, I would say if an individual has, during the month of Ramadhan, read through Qur'an and understood it from this perspective and has endeavoured to absorb its teachings and instructions, to the maximum possible extent, in his life and character, then he/she has offered true gratitude to Allah for this divine blessings – in the form of Qur'an. For this, he/she literally deserves the greetings that he/she has completely fulfilled the responsibility, which the month of Ramadhan placed on him/her.
An equally important objective of fasting, in the month of Ramadhan, for which it has been made mandatory is that we should lead a pious and righteous life. If we consider the reality of fasting, then we would know that righteousness and piety cannot be injected in a better and more effective way than this. And what is righteousness and piety? Righteousness is, essentially, to refrain from violating the commands of Allah and adhere to His guidelines. Fasting allows us to continuously practice this for a month.
Deeds which are usually permissible in our life, they too are forbidden during fasts, by the order of Allah, and continue to be so until they are again permitted by Allah only. Even water which is pure and permissible, during fasting when Allah instructs us not to consume this, then not a single drop can be swallowed down the throat, even if the throat begins to crack by thirst. However, the moment drinking of water is allowed by Allah, then we tend to rush towards it as if we were tied down and we have just been released. This process of caging and freeing persists, for a month, so that we are prepared for the total submission to Allah. You get used to stay away from those activities, which are banned by Him and undertake things, which are permitted by Him. We manage to exercise full control over our inner-self that it could not force us to carry out its unwarranted demands, against the will of Allah. This is the second real motive for which fasting is made mandatory for us.
If during the month of Ramadhan any individual has imbibed this spirit of fast, then he truly justifies the greetings of Raya. And the one who does not throw up this month-long training on the very first day after Raya, but keeps benefiting from this for the remaining eleven months of the year, he is even more worthy for Raya greetings. :-)
Let us imagine this analogy. Consider a situation where an individual eats highly lavish food, which is extremely nutritious for him, but immediately after feeding, he vomits it out by putting a finger into the throat. If it is so, then there will be no benefit of this diet, because he has not allowed the food to digest and translate into blood. On the contrary, if an individual eats and digests food and then blood is made which circulates in his body, then this the actual reward of eating which he has gained. Or thinking it similarly, eating and digesting simple food is better than eating very lavish food and throwing it up. This is the case of fasting during Ramadhan. The real payoff of Ramadhan can be gained only when, after Raya, we do not puke the vigorous training, imparted to us for a month. Rather, for remaining eleven months, allow its effects to work on our life. It one can achieve this goal from Ramadhan, then he truly deserves hearty greetings; that he has bagged a very precious blessing of Allah. :-):-)
And I hate to say this. Unfortunately, a large number of people among us are those who do not turn towards Allah even during Ramadhan. The holy month comes and goes but their homes do not indicate any sign that these are inhabited by Muslims, for whom this month has any special significance. Leave fasting, they do not even care to show any respect for this month. Their eating and drinking persists even during Ramadhan, like any Christian, Hindu or Sikh.
Let us imagine another analogy. This analogy I got from an article by Syeikh Al-Maududi. It says those who behave like this are akin or similar to a situation of a barren land that, even during monsoons, when every inch of land turns lush green and the crop blooms and flourishes, does not produce a single leaf of grass. The way monsoons are a season of cultivation and growth for land, similarly Ramadhan is an era of sprouting and flowering of the spirit of Islam. If Allah had issued the directive of fasting, giving an option to Muslims to keep 30 days fasts at their own convenience, then there would have never been this season-like feeling in our religious life. But, the direction of Supreme Sage has been that all Muslims fast together, in one particular month only. This move has created the feeling of a season. When the season comes, leave aside high quality fertile land, even those pieces of land which have limited level of fertility, buds of vegetable begin to sprout even in those lands. The bounty of season is such that land with even limited potential of growth is not deprived from its blessings. And the land that does not grow even a bud, during monsoons, is indicative that it is free from the faculty of growth. Similarly, Ramadhan is such a period that those Muslims having a ray of faith and a shred of Islamic emotions, comes this month and the deeply buried faith in them becomes restless, however, insensitivity has been their lifestyle during remaining eleven months.
And pray to Allah S.W.T that we are not and will never become one of them. Having said all these, have we refreshed enough our brain?
Monday, September 29, 2008
Today is Ramadhan 30, 1429. What does that indicate? I guess many muslims especially Malaysians are already in their Raya mode. And now the traffics all over Malaysia are in their worst condition. I am afraid that mosques gradually lose their visitors today. Tomorrow morning, the mosques will be like a big complete set of crayons – colourful. Well, lets not imagine the situation first because when you start doing it, stopping will be difficult.
As you can see very clearly (I guess), I am not in a good mood to write. So, I just want to share a surah with you which really touches and pulls me deep into it. Read the translation below then only enjoy the video.
In The Shade of The Quran. Fi-Zilaalil Quran – by Sayyid Qutb.
Surah Asy-Syams (The Sun), 091 : 1-15. Surah Makiyyah.
1 By the sun and his morning brightness,
2 by the moon as she follows him,
3 by the day which reveals its splendour,
4 by the night when it enshrouds him,
5 by the heaven and its construction,
6 by the earth and its spreading,
7 by the soul and its moulding
8 and inspiration with knowledge of wickedness and piety.
9 Successful is the one who keeps it pure,
10 and ruined is the one who corrupts it.
11 In their insolence the people of Thamoud denied the
12 when their most-wretched broke forth.
13 The Messenger of Allah said to them: "The she-camel of
Allah, let her have her drink".
14 But they cried lies to him, and hamstrung her. For that sin
their Lord let loose His scourge upon them, and razed their city to the ground.
15 He fears not what may follow.
This surah, which maintains a single rhyme and keeps the same musical beat throughout, starts with several aesthetic touches which seem to spring out from the surrounding universe and its phenomena. These phenomena form the framework which encompasses the great truth which is the subject matter of the surah, namely, the nature of man, his inherent abilities, his choice of his line of action, and his responsibility in determining his own fate.
This surah also refers to the story of the tribe of Thamoud and their negative attitude to the warnings of Allah's messenger to them, and their killing of the she-camel; and finally the collapse of Thamoud and their complete annihilation. This comes as an example of the unpromising prospects which await those who corrupt their souls instead of keeping them pure and do not confine themselves within the limits of piety. "Successful is the one who keeps it pure, and ruined is the one who corrupts it." - Sayyid Qutb.
I like this video very much. ~credits to my brother Ahmad Fitri
Snada - Demi Matahari (Asy-Syams)
Munsyid : Snada
Demi matahari dan sinarnya di pagi hari
Demi bulan apabila ia mengiringi
Demi siang hari bila menampakkan dirinya
Demi malam apabila ia menutupi
Demi langit beserta seluruh binaannya
Demi bumi serta yang ada di hamparannya
Demi jiwa dan seluruh penyempurnaannya
Allah, Subhanallah … Allah, Subhanallah
Allah, Subhanallah … Allah, Subahanallah
Allah mengilhamkan sukma kefasikan dan ketaqwaan
Beruntung bagi yang mensucikan-Nya
Merugi bagi yang mengotori-Nya ... Subhanallah
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Alhamdulillaahillazii allafabaina quluubinaa fa asbahnaa bini'matihii ikhwaanaa.
Greetings to all of my brothers and sisters in Islam. Today is Ramadhan 29, 1429 equivalent to September 29, 2008. 29 Ramadhan and 29 September. SubhanAllah, beautiful! This helps many muslims to answer the question ''What day of Ramadhan is today?'' . Thinking it deeply, so sad. Is it not? We claim so proudly that we are muslims yet we do not know our own calendar. Oh, I am wrong. There are a number of days in Hijr calendar that many muslims never forget: 1 Syawal, 1 Muharram, and some more (in order of decreasing popularity). Why? It is because they are given days off. Well, that is not a big issue (is it?).
Forgive me for the very not soothing introduction. Perhaps realizing that Ramadhan is reaching its end in few days, my heart is somekind of not feeling well. Questions keep flooding in my mind. Have I done well? Have the objectives been fulfilled? Have all my sins been forgiven? Lets leave those questions for a moment. Just a moment.
I want to draw our attention to a matter. This matter never ends, although having been explained and posted in many places many times. But, now I want to share a thought. It is about LOVE. After reading the previous sentence, now some might say ''Oh, love again. This guy is going to urge everybody to say NO to coupling again bla bla bla...''.
To those who might have said that - NO. I am not going to ask you to stop coupling this time (in the future? Lets see, huhu). My primary concern is to describe the difference between love and romance.
Romance, if not checked, may mean wasting time, effort and dignity. Islam teaches us to be truthful and realistic. Besides, the concept of love in Islam is very unique, when a Muslim loves something or somebody, it must be for the sake of Allah; the same applies to hatred.
Islam teaches us that marriage is the finest, purest and permissible relationship that should exist between a male and female. There is no room in Islam for illicit affairs or the Western vogue-word of boyfriend and girlfriend. All those stories of media and movies are not helpful to make a person comply with the teachings of Islam. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, says that there are three qualities, if found in a person, will help him have perfect faith:
1. Having Allah and His Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, as the most
2. Loving a person only for the sake of Allah and
3. Hating getting back to Kufr (disbelief) the way one hates to be thrown into fire.
That means love is a fruit of piety. Love without piety is mischief.
There is no concept of courtship in Islam as it is practiced in the West. There is no dating or living in de facto relationship or trying each other out before committing to each other. There is to be no physical relationship whatsoever before marriage. The romantic notions that occupy the mind of young people often have proven in most cases to be unrealistic and harmful to those involved. We only have to look at the alarming divorce rate in the West to understand this point. To give an example, the couple know each other for years, are intimate, live together and so on. Yet somehow this does not guarantee the success of the future marriage. Romance and love simply do not result in an everlasting bond between two people.
In most cases, romance and love die out very quickly when couple find themselves with the real world. The unrealistic expectation that young people have is what often contributes to the failure of their relationship.
You know the West is making fun of the Islamic way of marriage, in particular arranged marriage. Yet, the irony is that statistically arranged marriages prove to be more successful and lasting than romantic types of courtship. This is because people are blinded by the physical attraction and thus do not choose the compatible partner. Love blinds people to the extent of overlooking potential problems in the relationship. There is an Arabic proverb that says: "Love is blind, it makes zucchini turn into okra". Arranged marriages, on the other hand, are based not on physical attraction or romantic notions, but rather on critical evaluation of the compatibility of the couple. That is why such marriage often proves successful.
I still remember of an article explaining about this. It says from an Islamic perspective, in choosing a partner, the most important factor that should be taken into consideration is Taqwa (piety and consciousness of Allah).
Though love is something nice, and it is recommended for a man to marry a woman whom he loves, because the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “There is nothing better for two who love each other than marriage.” (Sahih Al-Jami`, 5200)
However, this love should not be overwhelming and cause a person to forget other characteristics which he should look for in the person he wants to marry. The most important characteristic is religious commitment. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, says: “A woman may be married for four things: her wealth, her lineage, her beauty and her commitment to religion. Choose the one who is religious, may your hands be rubbed with dust [i.e., may you prosper]!” (Agreed-upon Hadith).
Dear my brothers and sisters, I hope that the main points of the issue have become clear. Now, let’s assume that you are the subject: On what basis would you like to choose your partner? Wouldn’t you look to his/her commitment to Islam – does he/she pray regularly, for example? Does he/she adhere to the Islamic teachings?
If the gentleman/lady you want to marry is religious, of good manners, and obeys Allah and His Messenger, and both of you want to please Allah in this world in order to earn reward in the Hereafter, then you have made a perfect choice, and we ask Allah to fulfill your hopes and bring you together in a good way. If she is not, then you should reconsider your choice. May Allah help you to do what He loves and what pleases Him!
And I did not urge you to STOP COUPLING right? :-)
Monday, September 15, 2008
Alhamdulillaahillazii allafabaina quluubinaa fa asbahnaa bini'matihii ikhwaanaa.
Brothers and sisters rahimakumullah, I am sure all of you are in a great Iman, greater than yesterday, InsyaAllah.
Why are we asked and ordered by Allah S.W.T to do good deeds and not to postpone them until we are really ready for it e.g. when we are old? What is the big deal about ‘NOW’ and not ‘TOMORROW’ or ‘NEXT WEEK’?
Owh, two questions already. Nevermind. Try to think it as one.
Everyone knows why. But, why we still have an I-will-do-it-later type of habit, especially when it comes to doing good deeds? Some may answer “because it’s HABIT, hard to change. If not, it’s not habit anyway”. Yes, it’s true. But habit can be changed. Do you still remember when you were a small child? You always put your thumb into your mouth. When you grow older and older. There is no more finger-licking-good habit. Or you still do that now?
Coming back to the discussion. Two events are responsible for the above question. One, we do not know when Qiyamah will occur. Another is that we do not know when death will come to us.
Death may catch up with us at any time. Who knows, perhaps this is the moment. Or, it may be much closer than we have ever expected.
These lines may be the last opportunity, the last reminder, the last warning before death comes upon us. As we proceed with these lines, we can never know that we will still be alive in the next hour. Even if it proves to be so, nothing can guarantee us another hour. Let alone an hour, not even after a single moment, is it certain that we will be still living. There is no guarantee that we will ever finish reading this post. Death will, most likely, come upon us at a time when, only a moment before, we never thought about dying.
قُلْ إِنَّ الْمَوْتَ الَّذِي تَفِرُّونَ مِنْهُ فَإِنَّهُ مُلَاقِيكُمْ ۖ ثُمَّ تُرَدُّونَ إِلَىٰ عَالِمِ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ فَيُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ
“Say: The Death from which ye flee will truly overtake you: then will ye be sent back to the Knower of things secret and open: and He will tell you (the truth of) the things that ye did!” (Al-Jumu'ah, 62:8)
We will most certainly die, as will all our loved ones. Before us or after us, they will certainly die. A hundred years from now, there will not be a single soul we are familiar with in this world.
Endless aims pertaining to life occupy man's minds; to finish high school, to enter university, to graduate, to have a respectable occupation, to marry, to bring up children, to lead a peaceful life. These are among the broadest, most ordinary and most common plans of man. These aside, there are thousands of others devised to address one's personal circumstances.
Death is one of the few things in life certain to occur. This is a 100% certainty.
After years of hard work, a student succeeds in entering the university, yet dies on the way to class. Unpredictable isn’t it? Someone who has recently been hired for a job loses his life on his first morning commute to his work. A traffic accident ends the lives of a newly married couple on their wedding day. A successful businessman prefers to fly to save time, not knowing that that very flight will put a horrible end to his life. We heard all these so often. But the stories flew by just like they never existed.
At such a stage, plans no longer avail. Leaving behind plans doomed to remain unfinished for all eternity, they head for a point of no return-and yet it is a destination they never planned for. Ironically, for years, they spent too much time detailing plans which would never be put into operation, yet never gave a thought to the one certain thing that would happen.
How then should a man of wisdom and conscience establish his priorities? Does he have to make his plans for the one thing certain to happen or for something unlikely to happen? The majority, it is evident, give priority to goals which they can never be certain of accomplishing. No matter which phase of life they are passing through, they resolutely plan for a better and more fulfilling future.
This tendency would be quite rational, if man was immortal. Yet the fact remains that all plans are doomed to that absolute end, called death. Thus it is irrational to disregard death, which is certain to occur, and devote all one's attention to all those things which may or may not materialize.
Yet, owing to an incomprehensible spell enslaving their minds, human beings fail to notice this obvious fact.
This being the case, they can never become acquainted with their real life which is due to start with death. They simply do not prepare themselves for it. Once they are resurrected, they head nowhere but hell, a place specially designed for them!
The intention in writing this post is to make us ponder over an issue which we avoid thinking about and warn us against an imminent and ineluctable event.
Avoiding thinking about it cannot, by any means, provide a solution. Take some time to really reflect on this internal issue.
Allah knows best. Wassalamualaykum w.b.t.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
How are you doing my dear brothers and sisters? Wishing you all a greatly great level of iman. Today, we are in the halfway of Ramadhan, 15 days left 15 days to go. So, how was it so far? Did you complete reciting at least half of the Quran? Did you stand (qiyam) everynight? Did you make donation? Did you utter zikr? Did you utter solawat? Did you make repentance? All these questions are for me too. The most important thing is the effort we put to achieve something. But the problem lies on how much the effort we put. Don’t get frustrated. Don’t give up hope. There is still time. Make full use of the remaining days. This Mega Sale from Allah S.W.T only comes once a year. Are we so sure that we are going to meet the next Ramadhan?
You know, for over one billion Muslims throughout the world, Ramadhan is a special month of the year, a "month of blessing" marked by prayer, fasting, and charity. In many places this month has become widely commercialized. In my village, it is very easy to recognize the month of Ramadhan (I don’t know if other places are the same). Say if tourists from other countries come to my village, I am sure they are able to guess this is the month of Ramadhan. You know why? The mosques are crowded with people including those who have never shown up before! And guess what, it is increasingly true that the non-muslims are the ones who are extremely eager to welcome Ramadhan. Yes, it is (increasingly) true. For them, it is the month of food. I thought there would be less food during the month of fasting. I might have a false definition of fasting or they might have wrongly pronounced ‘fasting’ with ‘wasting’.
However, Alhamdulillah, for some people Ramadhan retains its focus on self-sacrifice and devotion to Allah S.W.T. During the month of Ramadhan, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset every day. Ramadhan was the month in which the first verses of the holy Qur'an were revealed to our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW. It is a time for inner reflection, devotion to God and self-control. The sighting of the new moon at the end of Ramadhan heralds the celebration of Eid ul-Fitr.
Hmm why this month?
We believe that during the month of Ramadan, Allah revealed the first verses of the Quran, the holy book of Islam. Around 610 A.D., the prophet Muhammad SAW used to go out to the desert near Mecca to think about faith, society and God.
One night a voice called to him from the night sky. It was the Jibril, who told Muhammad he had been chosen to receive the words of Allah. In the days that followed, The Prophet SAW found himself speaking the verses that would be transcribed as the Quran.
At many mosques during Ramadhan, about one thirtieth of the Quran is recited each night in Tarowih. In this way, by the end of the month the complete scripture will have been recited. In my village? No comment.
Why do we fast?
We muslims practice Sawm, or fasting, for the entire month of Ramadan. This means that we may eat or drink nothing, including water, while the sun is up as well as making a special effort to avoid sins. Fasting is one of the Five Pillars (duties) of Islam. As with other Islamic duties, all able Muslims take part in Sawm from about age 7. Do you agree? I started at 8 though :).
Fasting serves many purposes. While we are hungry and thirsty, we are reminded of the suffering of the poor. Fasting is also an opportunity to practice self-control and to cleanse the body and mind. And in this most sacred month, fasting helps us feel the peace that comes from spiritual devotion as well as kinship (close connection) with fellow believers.
During Ramadhan in the Muslim world, most restaurants are closed during the daylight hours. Families get up early for sahur (a meal eaten before the sun rises). After the sun sets, the fast is broken with a meal known as Ifthar. I guess for some people this is the most exciting part of Ramadhan. Ifthar usually begins with tamar and sweet drinks that actually provide a quick energy boost.
A sense of generosity and gratitude colors these festivities. Although charity and good deeds are always important in Islam, they have special significance at the end of Ramadhan. As the month draws to a close, Muslims are obligated to share their blessings by feeding the poor and making contributions to Mosques.
So, let us exponentially increase our level of ibadah. All out!!!
Well, that is a brief view of Ramadhan. There are many more things about Ramadhan. What I potray is just the tip of the iceberg. I think that’s it for now.Assalamualaykum w.b.t.
May this post reach you with high level of Iman and Islam.
We believe that there is one true God and that it's our duty to submit to his will. Life may be trying, unfair, or painful here on earth. But we are waiting for the Paradise in the afterlife. Religion is the most important thing in our life, and we are fully devoted to God. We are willing to fast, pray often, and follow all of God's rules to make sure we have a place in heaven.
The objective in my life (as well as others) is to spread the message of Islam, and to invite others to it. Somehow, the truth shines clear, even without words. Allah guides whom He wills to this deen. We are blessed to have a small hand in this matter.
Last time I had a trip to somewhere that is still fresh in my mind. To cut the story short, a brother reminded me on one verse in the Holy Quran:
Well, let us think of it.
Wishing you all a blessed month of fasting and prayer. May the peace, blessings and mercy of Allah be with us all.
May this blog benefit all of us, InsyaAllah. Fi amanillah, ameen.
IIUM Kuantan Campus