Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Your Ticket Has Been Confirmed

SUMMARY
Ticket type: One Way
Price: Absolutely free (booking confirmed)

PASSENGER DETAILS
Name: One of the 'Children of Adam'
Origins: From clay
Address: Planet Earth

CONDITIONS OF TRAVEL
Departure: from life on Earth
Destination: eternal life
Stop-over: hotel (2 metres under the ground, for one person)
Duration of flight: from couple of seconds to several million years
Departure time: Time of death (exact time is unknown, but it can happen earlier than expected)
Arrival time: on Judgment Day (not specified in the timetable)

INFORMATION ABOUT INTERROGATION
Condition on arrival to the hotel (grave): incorruptible
Auditors: Two angels, Munkar & Nakir, will immediately start questioning. Three questions will be asked:
1) Who is your God?
2) Who is your Prophet?
3) What is your religion?
Notes: Questions will follow about your life on Earth. For more information, refer to 27th Ayah of Sura "Ibrahim" of the Holy Qur’an.

LUGGAGE
Despite the fact that the aeroplane transfers only one passenger at a time, there are some restrictions on the amount of baggage that you can take with you:
1) You can take with you 5 metres of white cloth.
2) Any items of material life on Earth are strictly forbidden.
3) Realistic luggage should consist of good deeds, modest behaviour and of well spent time on calling people to Islam.

IMPORTANT INSTRUCTIONS
All the passengers should remember that tickets are not exchangeable or refundable.
This journey is compulsory for representatives of all races, nationalities, religions and of all ages.
Delays are not stipulated.

CAPTAIN
Angel of Death will not compromise on changing the date and time of departure.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Read instructions, which you can find in The Holy Qur’an and Sunnah. You could also consult alims (scholars) . Please do it as soon as possible.
During your journey you will not be provided with an oxygen mask, as your breathing system will be terminated just before departure time.

ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS
You don't need to take care of your boarding pass, passport and other travel documents. To prepare for the flight:
· Pray 5 times a day
· Read the Holy Qur’an
· Follow the Sunnah to the best of your ability
· and be ready for your flight, as you may have to depart any minute (even now)

FINAL WARNING
Final destination depends on you! please do not waste your time on planet earth. Remember, you have a one-way ticket to Hell or Paradise.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Character of a Believer

As Muslims, it is important that we demonstrate our Islamic character through our everyday interaction with others. This can only be achieved if we acknowledge the importance of our behaviour and the impact it has on society. Needless to say, the character of a believer is as important as any religious duty. However, despite being aware of this fact, we often find ourselves in situations where we put our Islamic temperament to the back of our minds and behave like the very people we hate to associate ourselves with.

Here are a few phrases which describe courtesy:

• ‘Courtesy costs nothing and profits everybody’
• ‘Good manners are treating other people in the way we expect to be treated’
• ‘Listen, smile and take time in our dealings with each other’

Being courteous does not require you to go out of your way to help others. There are much simpler tasks which help to demonstrate this quality. Examples include: holding a door open for someone, offering your seat to a person who needs it more and giving way to a fellow motorist. I’m sure that as drivers, many of us forget our courteous traits whilst in the driving seat, often horning at one another with immense frustration!

It is very easy to do what is common by following the norm. However, the character of a believer is not supposed to be ordinary. It must act as a shining example of the beauty which lies within Islamic conduct. Islam teaches us to be considerate and understanding of one another, so that we can live in peace and harmony. This approach arises from believers having an appreciation of diversity and awareness of the fact that we are all constantly experiencing different circumstances.

Giving Salaam is an important part of Islam, it is this very greeting which unites the hearts of believers and conveys a genuine affection. Unfortunately, in practice, many Muslims often hesitate to use this greeting, others don’t reply appropriately and this can lead to a sense of hesitation which contrasts the desired effect of Salaam. The manner in which we give Salaam is also important, a smile and a positive look are good but they should be the output of a genuine feeling of delight. The importance of the way in which we greet one another can never be underestimated. Giving Salaam is a good deed and it means that you are greeting someone with the intention of earning the pleasure of Allah (SWT). Surely, this is the best way to commence an interaction.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Gold Wrapping Paper

The story goes that some time ago a mother punished her five year old daughter for wasting a roll of expensive gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and she became even more upset when the child used the gold paper to decorate a box to put under her bedroom.

Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift box to her mother the next morning and then said, 'This is for you, Momma.'The mother was embarrassed by her earlier over reaction, but her anger flared again when she opened the box and found it was empty. She spoke to her daughter in a harsh manner.'Don't you know, young lady, when you give someone a present there's supposed to be something inside the package?' She had tears in her eyes and said, 'Oh, Momma, it's not empty! I blew kisses into it until it was full.'

The mother was crushed. She fell on her knees and put her arms around her little girl, and she begged her forgiveness for her thoughtless anger. An accident took the life of the child only a short time later, and it is told that the mother kept that gold box by her bed for all the years of her life.

Whenever she was discouraged or faced difficult problems she would open the box and take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there. In a very real sense, Allah swt has bestowed on human beings a Golden box filled with unconditional love and kisses for our parents, children, family, relatives & friends. There is no more precious possession anyone could hold.

Narrated by Abu Hurayrah:The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
"Give presents to one another, for a present removes rancor from the breast; and a woman should not despise even the gift of half a sheep's trotter from her neighbour." Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 3028

The Club 99

Some time ago, there lived a King.This king should have been contented with his life, given all the riches and luxuries he had. However, this was not the case! The King always found himself wondering why he just never seemed content with his life.
Sure, he had the attention of everyone wherever he went, attended fancy dinners and parties, but somehow, he still felt something was lacking and he couldn't put his finger on it.
One day, the King had woken up earlier than usual to stroll around his palace. He entered his huge living room and came to a stop when he heard someone happily singing away... following this singing... he saw that one of the servants was singing and had a very contented look on his face.
This fascinated the King and he summoned this man to his chambers.
The man entered the King's chambers as ordered. The King asked why he was so happy?
To this the man replied: "Your Majesty, I am nothing but a servant, but I make enough of a living to keep my wife and children happy. We don't need too much, a roof over our heads and warm food to fill our tummy. My wife and children are my inspiration, they are content with whatever little I bring home. I am happy because my family is happy."
………………


Hearing this, the King dismissed the servant and summoned his Personal Assistant to his chambers.
The King related his personal anguish about his feelings and then related the story of the servant to his Personal Assistant, hoping that somehow, he will be able to come up with some reasoning that here was a King who could have anything he wished for at a snap of his fingers and yet was not contented, whereas, his servant, having so little was extremely contented.
The Personal Assistant listened attentively and came to a conclusion. He said, "Your Majesty, I believe that the servant has not been made part of The 99 Club."

"The 99 Club? And what exactly is that?" the King inquired.
To which the Assistant replied, "Your Majesty, to truly know what The 99 Club is, you will have to do the following... place 99 Gold coins in a bag and leave it at this servant's doorstep, you will then understand what The 99 Club is."

That very same evening, the King arranged for 99 Gold coins to be placed in a bag at the servant's doorstep. Although he was slightly hesitant and he thought he should have put 100 Gold coins into the bag, but since his assistant had advised him to put 99 that is what he did.

The servant was just stepping out of his house when he saw a bag at his doorstep. Wondering about its contents, he took it into his house and opened the bag. When he opened the bag, he let out a great big shout of joy...Gold Coins... so many of them. He could hardly believe it. He called his wife to show her the coins.
He then took the bag to a table and emptied it out and began to count the coins. Doing so, he realized that there were 99 coins and he thought it was an odd number so he counted again, and again and again only to come to the same conclusion.. . 99 Gold Coins.
He began to wonder, what could have happened to that last 1 coin? For no one would leave 99 coins. He began to search his entire house, looked around his backyard for hours, not wanting to lose out on that one coin. Finally, exhausted, he decided that he was going to have to work harder than ever to make up for that 1 Gold coin to make his entire collection an even 100 Gold Coins.
He got up the next morning, in an extremely horrible mood, shouting at the children and his wife for his delay, not realizing that he had spent most of the night conjuring ways of working hard so that he had enough money to buy himself that gold coin. He went to work as usual - but not in his usual best mood, singing happily - as he grumpily did his daily errands.

Seeing the man's attitude change so drastically, the King was puzzled. He promptly summoned his assistant to his chambers. The King related his thoughts about the servant and once again, his assistant listened. The King could not believe that the servant who until yesterday had been singing away and was happy and content with his life had taken a sudden change of attitude, even though he should have been happier after receiving the gold coins.

To this the assistant replied "Ah! But your Majesty, the servant has now officially joined The 99 Club." He explained: "The 99 Club is just a name given to those people who have everything but yet are never contented, therefore they are always working hard and striving for that extra 1 to round it out to 100!
We have so much to be thankful for and we can live with very little in our lives, but the minute we are given something bigger and better, we want even more!
Narrated by Hazrat Abu Huraira r.a. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him said:
"The heart of an old man remains young in two respects ie his love for the world and his perpetual hopes"
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith No. 1069 Book 81, Chapter 5

Friday, March 07, 2008

The Crow

An 80 year old man was sitting on the sofa in his house along with his 45 years old highly educated son. Suddenly a crow perched on their window.
The father asked his son, "What is this?"
The son replied, "It is a crow".
After a few minutes, the father asked his son the 2nd time, "What is this?"
The son said, "Father, I have just now told you, It's a crow".
After a little while, the old father again asked his son the 3rd time, "What is this?"
At this time some expression of irritation was felt in the son's tone when he said to his father with a rebuff. "It's a crow, a crow".
A little after, the father again asked his son the 4th time, "What is this?"
This time the son shouted at his father, "Why do you keep asking me the same question again and again, although I have told you so many times "IT IS A CROW". Are you not able to understand this?"
A little later the father went to his room and came back with an old tattered diary, which he had maintained since his son was born. On opening a page, he asked his son to read that page. When the son read it, the following words were written in the diary:-
"Today my little son aged three was sitting with me on the sofa, when a crow was sitting on the window. My son asked me 23 times what it was, and I replied to him all 23 times that it was a crow. I hugged him lovingly each time he asked me the same question again and again for 23 times. I did not at all feel irritated I rather felt affection for my innocent child".
While the little child asked him 23 times "What is this?", the father had felt no irritation in replying to the same question all 23 times and when today the father asked his son the same question just 4 times, the son felt irritated and annoyed.
So....

If your parents attain old age, do not repulse them or look at them as a burden, but speak to them a gracious word, be cool, obedient, humble and kind to them. Be considerate to your parents. From today say this aloud, "I want to see my parents happy forever. They have cared for me ever since I was a little child. They have always showered their selfless love on me. They crossed all mountains and valleys without seeing the storm and heat to make a person presentable in the society today".

Say a prayer to your Creator, "I will serve my old parents in the best way. I will say all good and kind words to my dear parents, no matter how they behave.

Your Lord has enjoined the following: You should not worship anyone but Him Alone! Treat your parents with great kindness; if either or both of them attain old age, do not even say ‘uff’ to them; nor rebuke them; but speak to them kind words. Treat them with humility and tenderness and pray, “O our Lord, be merciful to them, just as they brought me up with kindness and affection in my childhood.”
Holy Quran Chapter 17 Surah Bani Israel verses 23-24

The story of Shaykh Abdullah Al-Andalusi

Source: Qisas.com

This is a story filled with lessons and warning, anyone who is in a high position of academic activity or in Tasawwuf or in any other service of Deen will derive benefit and guidance from it. They will learn that it is of utmost importance for one to avoid thinking of others as being inferior to him. They should always remember the advice of Shaykh Shahabuddin Suhrawardi (rah), the spiritual guide of Shaykh Saadi (rah):

“Never become self-conceited and never look down upon anyone else.”

This story takes place at a time when piety, trust and righteousness was quite prominent in the lives of the people. In every town there were numerous Ulema and pious men, especially in Baghdad, which at the time was the seat of the Islamic State. It was a gathering place for the jurists, scholars of hadith, and the saints. In this city among all these pious people, was one Abu Abdullah Al-Andalusi (rah), who had thirty khanqahs (spiritual retreats) in Baghdad. In addition he was a well-known scholar and muhaddith and it said that the number of his disciples was 12,000. He knew 30,000 hadith by heart, and could recite the Quran in all the various Qiraats.

On a certain occasion he was going on a journey and was accompanied with a large crowd of attendants among whom were the well-known Junayd Baghdadi (rah) and Shibli (rah). Hadrat Shibli (rah) continues the story: “Our caravan was travelling along quite nicely, safely and comfortably until we passed by an area where Christians were residing. It was already time for Salaah, but because of the unavailability of water, we had not performed it yet. When we reached the Christian village, a search was made for water. We went about the village and discovered the town had many temples, sun-worshipping altars, synagogues and churches. Some of them worshipped the sun, some were worshipping the fire, and some were directing their pleas at the cross. We passed all this and reached the outskirts of the town, where we found a well and a few girls drawing water for people to drink.”

Shaykh Abu Abdullah’s (rah) eyes fell upon one of the girls who stood out from the rest through her exquisite beauty. She was dressed in beautiful clothes and adorned in jewelry. The Shaykh (rah) asked the other girls who she was. They replied: “This is the daughter of our chief”. The Shaykh (rah) replied: “Then why did her father degrade her to such an extent that she has to sit by the well and give people water to drink?”

The girls replied: “He does not want her to sit around and be proud and boastful of her father’s possessions”. Hadrat Shibli (rah) says: “The Shaykh (rah) sat down with his head bent forward and remained silent like that for three days. At the time of Salaah he would perform his Salaah.” On the third day becoming despondent with his situation, I decided to speak to him. I said: “O Shaykh, your mureeds (disciples) are very worried and perplexed at this continued silence of yours. Please speak to us. What is the problem?”

The Shaykh (rah) replied: “My beloved friends! For how long can I keep my condition hidden from you? My heart has become filled with love for the girl we saw the day before yesterday. So much has this love filled me that it is in control of all my limbs. It is not possible for me under any circumstance to leave from here.” Hadrat Shibli (rah) replied: “Our leader! You are the spiritual guide of all Iraq. You are known for your piety, knowledge and virtues. Your disciples number over 12,000. I beg you through the Holy Quran not to disgrace us.” The Shaykh (rah) replied: “My beloved friends, your lot and my lot has already been sealed by fate. The cloak of sainthood has been removed from me and the signs of guidance have been taken away from me. What has been predestined has come to pass, now I am nothing.” Saying this the Shaykh (rah) started weeping bitterly.

When the people heard of our return, they turned up in large numbers at the outskirts of the city to come and meet the Shaykh (rah) . They saw that he was not with us and asked about it. We told them the entire story. They was a lot of sorrow and crying. Many fell down in prayer begging Allah to guide the Shaykh (rah) to the right path and return him to his former position. In the meantime all the khanqahs were closed down. We were still talking about the Shaykh’s (rah) tragedy one year later when we decided to visit that town again and find out how he was. A group of us set forth and after enquiring were told that he was in the woods looking after pigs. We said: “Allah protect us! What has happened? The villagers told us that he had proposed marriage to the daughter of the village chief. The girls’ father had accepted the proposal on the condition that he would look after the pigs.”
“With tears streaming down our eyes, we went to the woods where he was rearing pigs. We saw him with a string of sacred beads around his neck. He stood leaning on a staff as he watched the pigs, standing in the same way in which he stood when he used to deliver the Khutbah for us. This was like rubbing salt into our open wounds.”

When he saw us coming towards him he bent his head in shame. We came nearer and said “Assalamu Alaykum.” He replied: “Walaykumus salaam”. Then Hadrat Shibli (rah) asked: “Shaykh (rah) inspite of your knowledge and virtue what is this that has happened to you?” The Shaykh (rah) replied: “My brothers! I am now no longer driven by my own choice and will. Whatever Allah has desired for me, He has done with me. After having brought me so near to His door, He has now thrown me very far away from Him. Who is there that can overturn the decree of Allah? O my brothers, fear Allah’s power and wrath. Never become proud and arrogant regarding your knowledge and virtues. Then turning towards the heavens he said: “O my Lord, I never expected that You will make me so disgraced and despised and send me away from Your door.” Then he began crying bitterly and appealing to Allah.

Seeing the Shaykh (rah) in such hopelessness, they left for Baghdad. However on the way they saw the Shaykh (rah) in front of them coming out of a river, where he had just performed a bath. In a loud voice he said: “I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship besides Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad (sallahu alayhi wa sallam) is the Messenger of Allah”
The Shaykh (rah) asked us for pure clothing to wear. He then started performing Salaah after which he was asked the reason why he was put through such an intense trial? The Shaykh (rah) replied: “When we arrived in the village and saw the temples, synagogues and churches and we saw fire-worshippers busy worshipping things other than Allah, a pride overtook my heart. I thought that these people were so foolish to worship lifeless things. At that time I heard a voice inside me saying: “This Iman that you have, in not part of your virtue or good qualities. All this is merely Our favors upon you. Do not consider your faith to be of your own choosing, that you can now look down upon these people with despising eyes. And if you so wish, We will test you now.’ At that moment I felt has if a dove had left my heart and flew away. That was in fact my Imaan.”

Hadrat Shibli (rah) relates: “Thereafter our caravan arrived in Baghdad with great joy all around. All of his mureeds were extremely happy that the Shaykh (rah) had reverted to Islam. He resumed his activities in Tasawwuf, Tafseer and Hadith. The Khanqahs were reopened and in a short while, his mureeds numbered over 40,000.”

Sunnah is like Medicine

Source: Qisas.com

Shaikh Khidir from Toronto, Canada once gave a very beautiful example on the importance of following the ways (sunnah) of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He said that sunnah is like medicine. Usually, when we visit the doctors for treatment, they write on the prescriptions the medicines we need. We take these prescriptions to pharmacists who then sell the medicines to us. Sometimes these medicines are bitter and hard to swallow, but we still consume them as we know that the cure is in them. Similarly, each and every sunnah has physical and spiritual cure for us in this world and in the hereafter. Even if some of the sunnahs are hard to follow, we should still follow them as the cure is in them.

"…So take what the Messenger gives you, and refrain from what he prohibits you…” Al Quran 59:7