Misc Topics

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

With The Name Of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

Report On Pilgrimage

I am a Muslim.

I find the absence of priests and rabbis attractive. Islam means acknowledging the oneness of God, God of Abraham, Moses and Jesus, surrendering to it and cooperating with the way things are. Being a Muslim, God is as near as the veins in my neck. During the Hajj each year, millions of faithful come to Mecca. The men wear lengths of unstitched cloth and women wear any simple clothes. The garments are a symbol. The person who wears them agrees not to harm plants and animals or fellow pilgrims. No arguments, no violence. We agree to keep the peace. The garments are a great leveler too. Who can tell rich from poor?

Millions Descend on Mecca

Here I join people from all over the earth, all these human beings drawn together by the call of an idea, by the oneness of God. We have left daily life behind and come to a place hardly belonging to this world, a place filled by the almost tangible presence of God. To preserve its sanctity and protect pilgrims, the sacred territory around Mecca is forbidden to all but Muslims. It lies hidden in the mountains of Saudi Arabia 50 miles from the Red Sea, a modern city of 1.2 million people. To walk around the block in Mecca is to walk around the world. I step out the door and for 15 yards, I’m in Indonesia. Down the street past a couple of stores and it’s Africa. Pakistan is just around the corner and then I’m in Bangladesh. A vast majority of the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims—80 percent—now live outside the Middle East. There are more than five million in the United States.

Muslims Perform Sacred Duties

The duties of the Hajj are symbolic of the story and obligations of Islam. Before prayer, Muslims wash, representing ritual purity. The walk around the Ka’ba — the black stone block in the great mosque—is an expression of our desire to put God at the center of our lives. Pilgrims also make a journey to Mina and to the plain of Arafat, 13 miles outside of Mecca. Making our way on foot, we trade city streets and buildings for tents and carpets on the sand of the barren plain, giving up our usual comforts, getting back to basics. On the plain of Arafat, we perform the central obligation of the pilgrimage, to be here together from noon until sunset. There is no ceremony. We stroll, we pray, we meditate. The Hajj goes on inside the hearts and thoughts of each of us. This is a rehearsal for that Day of Judgment. How will we account for our acts? Have I injured anyone? Have I been grateful enough for the simple gifts of life, water, food, friends, family and the air to breathe? Before leaving Mecca, we visit the Ka’ba one last time. For most of us, this will be our last glimpse of the shrine. There is an old proverb—before you visit Mecca, it beckons you. When you leave it behind, it calls you forever.



The Great Virtue Of Ramadan

All praise is due to Allah Who made the succession of day and night a lesson for those who reflect. I thank him for his bountiful blessings and I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah. I equally testify that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his household and companions, and on those who are the people of righteousness and piety.

Dear brothers, fear Allah as He should be feared, for whoever fears Him earns his protection and he who follows his desires is doomed. It should be known that physical and spiritual felicity can only be attained by subjecting ones heart and body to the worship of Allah and that it is through worshipping Allah in complete sincerity that this mundane world can be of no importance.

Dear brothers, it is a manifestation of Allah’s mercy on His slaves that He ordained fasting for them in order to purify them from excessive tastes and to cleanse their hearts from lustful things. These days, Muslims all over the world are receiving the month of Ramadan; leader of all months; the month of forgiveness, merits and gifts; the month that gladdens the hearts of righteous people. No wonder that a pious man said in his death bed giving a reason for his weeping:

“I am only weeping for the fact that people will continue to be fasting and performing prayers after my death while I will no longer be in a position to do likewise.”

Ramadan is the month that contains the leader of all nights; a night that is better than a thousand months. Whoever spends the night in prayers with faith and hoping for Allah’s reward will have all his past sins forgiven. The Prophet PBUH said:

““When the month of Ramadan enters, gates of Paradise are opened, gates of Hell are closed and devils are chained.”

(Reported by Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim). ”

Dear brothers, whoever wants eternal prosperity should endeavor to worship Allah and do good deeds sincerely. For, good deeds without sincere intention are of no use. Also, it is a glory for a believer to wake up in the night and perform prayers, for the best prayer after the obligatory ones are the prayers performed in the night. In fact, righteous people do compete with each other to make use of its darkness for doing acts of worship that bring them closer to Allah and they love this world only because of its nights. Aboo Sulaymaan Ad-Daaraanee said:

“By Allah! If not because of waking up in the night and performing prayers, I would not have loved this world; for, the night is precious because of its darkness and performing the prayers during the night is one of the characteristics of righteous people.”

Al-Hasan Al-Basree said:

“Nobody abandons night prayers except that it is regarded as a punishment for a sin he has committed.”

You should also endeavor to supplicate to Allah during the nights of this noble month because, supplication is the link between man and his Lord; it is an effortlessly clear profit and easy booty; it prevents calamities and brings forth Allah’s treasures and bounties. By supplicating to Allah during the night, He answers by granting the request generously, for His Hands never get tired of giving.

Dear Muslims, the Qur’an is Allah’s message to His servants and a light for the mankind. There is no way to Allah’s pleasure except through it. It is revealed in the best of all months. The best way you can spend your time during this month is to recite the Qur’an as frequently as possible. Read it, reflect on its meaning and work by its injunctions. This is because the Qur’an contains admonitions and lessons that increase one’s humility and humbleness.

As regards charity, the Prophet PBUH was the most generous of all people and his generosity manifested most during the month of Ramadaan. Whenever he gave, he gave in plenty as if he had no fear of poverty. He was never asked anything except that he gave it unless if he did not have it.

Charity, dear brothers, has its positive effects on the giver. It yields blessings to the giver's wealth and children, prevents calamities and brings forth bliss. Ramadan is a month of charity. Spend out of your wealth for the poor and needy and be aware that avarice and stinginess does not keep the wealth for eternity just as charity does not decrease it. Ibnul-Qayyim said:

“Nothing brings Allah’s blessings and prevents His punishment than obeying Him, moving closer to Him through acts of worship and being kind to His creatures.”

Therefore, spend in charity, for charity elevates one’s rank in front of Allah and know that, man is going to stay under the shade of his charity on the Day of Resurrection.

Dear brothers, make good preparation for this honorable month because it is a transient visitor. Receive it with a sincere repentance and spend your time during the month in acts of obedience to your Lord.

Further, try to perform ‘Umrah (smaller pilgrimage) during Ramadan, for an ‘Umrah during Ramadan is equivalent in reward to a Hajj (pilgrimage) performed with the Messenger of Allah . Also, provide food for fasting Muslims for whoever does that gets an equivalent of their reward without causing any deduction to the reward of the fasting Muslims.

I‘tikaaf (seclusion in a mosque for the purpose of worshipping Allah alone) is also a Sunnah (way of the prophet PBUH) that should be practiced during the last ten days of Ramadan. Ibn Shihaab said:

“It is a strange thing that Muslims should abandon I‘tikaaf while the Messenger of Allah never skipped it right from the time he entered Madinah until his death.”

Use this noble month to join the ties of kinship (by keeping good relations with your kith and kin). Also repent sincerely to Allah as long as the door of repentance is still open. Be cautious of an undesirable end because then leaving this world is actually painful.



The Meaning Of Ramadan

Fasting during Ramadan, the Muslims holy month, was ordained during the second year of Hijrah. Why not earlier? In Makkah the economic conditions of the Muslims were bad. They were being persecuted. Often days would go by before they had anything to eat. It is easy to skip meals if you don’t have any. Obviously fasting would have been easier under the circumstances. So why not then?

The answer may be that Ramadan is not only about skipping meals. While fasting is an integral and paramount part of it, Ramadan offers a comprehensive program for our spiritual overhaul. The entire program required the peace and security that was offered by Madinah.

Yes, Ramadan is the most important month of the year. It is the month that the believers await with eagerness. At the beginning of Rajab -two full months before Ramadan- the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to supplicate:
“"O Allah! Bless us during Rajab and Sha’ban, and let us reach Ramadan (in good health)." ”

During Ramadan the believers get busy seeking Allah’s mercy, forgiveness, and protection from Hellfire. This is the month for renewing our commitment and re-establishing our relationship with our Creator. It is the spring season for goodness and virtues when righteousness blossoms throughout the Muslim communities. "If we combine all the blessings of the other eleven months, they would not add up to the blessings of Ramadan," said the great scholar and reformer Shaikh Ahmed Farooqi (Mujaddad Alif Thani). Ramadan offers every Muslim an opportunity to strengthen his Iman, purify his heart and soul, and to remove the evil effects of the sins committed by him.

“"Anyone who fasts during this month with purity of belief and with expectation of a good reward (from his Creator), will have his previous sins forgiven," ”said Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). “"Anyone who stands in prayers during its nights with purity of belief and expectation of a reward, will have his previous sins forgiven." ”As other hadiths (saying of the Prophet) tell us, the rewards for good deeds are multiplied manifold during Ramadan.

Along with the possibility of a great reward, there is the risk of a terrible loss. If we let any other month pass by carelessly, we just lost a month. If we do the same during Ramadan, we have lost everything. The person who misses just one day’s fast without a legitimate reason, cannot really make up for it even if he were to fast everyday for the rest of his life. And of the three persons that Prophet (peace be upon him) cursed, one is the unfortunate Muslim who finds Ramadan in good health but does not use the opportunity to seek Allah’s mercy.

One who does not fast is obviously in this category, but so also is the person who fasts and prays but makes no effort to stay away from sins or attain purity of the heart through the numerous opportunities offered by Ramadan. The Prophet (peace be upon him), warned us:
“"There are those who get nothing from their fast but hunger and thirst. There are those who get nothing from their nightly prayers but loss of sleep." ”

Those who understood this, for them Ramadan was indeed a very special month. In addition to fasting, mandatory Salat (prayers), and extra Tarawih Salat (congregational evening prayers in Ramadan), they spent the whole month in acts of worship like voluntary Salat, Tilawa (recitation of Qur’an), Dhikr (remembrance of God) etc. After mentioning that this has been the tradition of the pious people of this Ummah (Muslim nation) throughout the centuries, Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi notes: "I have seen with my own eyes such ulema (scholars) who used to finish recitation of the entire Qur’an everyday during Ramadan. They spent almost the entire night in prayers. They used to eat so little that one wondered how they could endure all this. These greats valued every moment of Ramadan and would not waste any of it in any other pursuit…Watching them made one believe the astounding stories of Ibada (worship) and devotion of our elders recorded by history."

This emphasis on these acts of worship may sound strange -even misplaced- to some. It requires some explanation. We know that the term Ibada (worship and obedience) in Islam applies not only to the formal acts of worship and devotion like Salat, Tilawa and Dhikr, but it also applies to worldly acts when performed in obedience to Shariah (Islamic law) and with the intention of pleasing Allah. Thus a believer going to work is performing Ibada when he seeks Halal (permissible) income to discharge his responsibility as a bread-winner for the family. However a distinction must be made between the two. The first category consists of direct Ibada, acts that are required for their own sake. The second category consists of indirect Ibada -worldly acts that become Ibada through proper intention and observation of Shariah. While the second category is important for it extends the idea of Ibada to our entire life, there is also a danger because by their very nature these acts can camouflage other motives. (Is my going to work really Ibada or am I actually in the rat race?). Here the direct Ibada comes to the rescue. Through them we can purify our motives, and re-establish our relationship with Allah.

Islam does not approve of monasticism. It does not ask us to permanently isolate ourselves from this world, since our test is in living here according to the Commands of our Creator. But it does ask us to take periodic breaks from it. The mandatory Salat (five daily prayers) is one example. For a few minutes every so many hours throughout the day, we leave the affairs of this world and appear before Allah to remind ourselves that none but He is worthy of worship and of our unfaltering obedience. Ramadan takes this to the next higher plane, providing intense training for a whole month.

This spirit is captured in I’tikaf, a unique Ibada associated with Ramadan, in which a person gives up all his normal activities and enters a mosque for a specific period. There is great merit in it and every Muslim community is encouraged to provide at least one person who will perform I’tikaf for the last ten days of Ramadan. But even those who cannot spare ten days are encouraged to spend as much time in the mosque as possible.

Through direct Ibada we "charge our batteries"; the indirect ones allow us to use the power so accumulated in driving the vehicle of our life. Ramadan is the month for rebuilding our spiritual strength. How much we benefit from it is up to us.



The Physical Act of Prayer

Islam is not a new religion. Literally meaning “submission to the Will of God”, Islam is the only religion which is not named after a people, a place, or an individual. It is the religion of all of the prophets including Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, and Muhammad (peace be upon them
all), to name a few.

The Muslim practice of standing, bowing, kneeling, and prostrating in worship is not foreign to past traditions. While many Christians and Jews find images of Muslims in prayer to be peaceful or even awe-inspiring, some find the Muslim method of prayer to be odd.

When Muslims pray, they do so in a manner taught by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the Last Prophet sent by God and the only prophet sent to all of humanity. His words, his actions, and the events of which he approved or disapproved have all been preserved in numerous
volumes, called Ahadith. It is important to note that these volumes are kept separate from the revealed word of God, the Qur’an.

It is from the Ahadith that Muslims derive their model for how to live, love, work, raise children, eat, give charity, greet each other, pray, etc. The point, here, is that after having received the command from God to pray, Muslims look to the example of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to learn how to pray. Were Christians and Jews to look to the examples of the prophets (peace be upon them all) given in the Torah and the Gospel, then they would find themselves praying like Muslims. Here’s proof.......

Genesis 17:1-4 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his
face: and God talked with him, saying, As for Me, behold, My covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.

Deuteronomy 5:6-9 I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Thou shalt have none other gods before Me. Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them nor serve them... The very fact that God is instructing people not to “bow down” to idols, means that bowing is a valid form of worship.

Psalm 95:6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. Note that both bowing and kneeling are mentioned in Psalm 95:6, the very order in which Muslims perform them.

Deuteronomy 9:24-25 Ye have been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I knew you. Thus I fell down before the Lord forty days and forty nights, as I fell down the first; because the Lord had said He would destroy you.

Revelations 7:11-12 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be
unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

Joshua 7:6-7 And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the Lord until eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads. And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord God, wherefore hast Thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to
deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan!

Numbers 16:20-22 And the Lord spoke unto Moses and Aaron, saying, Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment. And they fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt Thou be wroth
with the all of the congregation?

Numbers 20:6 And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto them.
Thus far, we have read that Moses, Joshua, Aaron, and Abraham (peace be upon them all) worshipped the One True God through prostration and bowing. The angels did the same. And in Matthew 26:39 Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) also puts his face to the ground in humility
before God.

Matthew 26:36-39 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gesthemane, and saith unto his disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be very sorrowful and heavy. Then saith he unto them, my soul
is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death; tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou Wilt.

We must realize that human beings chosen by God to bring God’s message are the best of human beings. To not follow their lead is illogical and arrogant. Bow down and prostrate to God and ask for guidance. It is God, alone, who can guide us.

«"And be steadfast in prayer;
Practice regular charity;
And bow down your heads
With those who bow down."»
Holy Qur'an 2:45

Many first reactions to this information is that it is interesting, but not significant or important. "Wow, I never realized that Jesus (peace be upon him) prayed with his face on the ground, as Muslims do. That's interesting, but who cares? The important part of prayer comes from the heart,
not the act of bowing."

In one sense this is true. An important part of prayer is what comes from the heart......but that's not all. Islam (submission to God) is a way of life in all respects. As such, it does not divorce the physical act of submission from the submission of the heart. When Muslims pray, they do so in a manner taught by the prophets (peace be upon all of them). Prayer is an act of mind, body, and soul. Submission takes place in all of these realms.




The Reason Why Fasting Is Prescribed?


What is the reason why fasting is prescribed?


Praise be to Allaah.

Firstly we must note that one of the names of Allaah is al-Hakeem (the Most Wise). The word Hakeem is derived from the same root as hukm (ruling) and hikmah (wisdom). Allaah alone is the One Who issues rulings, and His rulings are the most wise and perfect.


Allaah does not prescribe any ruling but there is great wisdom behind it, which we may understand, or our minds may not be guided to understand it. We may know some of it but a great deal is hidden from us.


Allaah has mentioned the reason and wisdom behind His enjoining of fasting upon us, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“O you who believe! Observing As-Sawm (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)”
[al-Baqarah 2:183]

Fasting is a means of attaining taqwa (piety, being conscious of Allaah), and taqwa means doing that which Allaah has enjoined and avoiding that which He has forbidden.

Fasting is one of the greatest means of helping a person to fulfil the commands of Islam.

The scholars (may Allaah have mercy on them) have mentioned some of the reasons why fasting is prescribed, all of which are characteristics of taqwa, but there is nothing wrong with quoting them here, to draw the attention of fasting people to them and make them keen to attain them.

Among the reasons behind fasting are:

1 – Fasting is a means that makes us appreciate and give thanks for pleasures. For fasting means giving up eating, drinking and intercourse, which are among the greatest pleasures. By giving them up for a short time, we begin to appreciate their value. Because the blessings of Allaah are not recognized, but when you abstain from them, you begin to recognize them, so this motivates you to be grateful for them.

2 – Fasting is a means of giving up haraam things, because if a person can give up halaal things in order to please Allaah and for fear of His painful torment, then he will be more likely to refrain from haraam things. So fasting is a means of avoiding the things that Allaah has forbidden.

3 – Fasting enables us to control our desires, because when a person is full his desires grow, but if he is hungry then his desire becomes weak. Hence the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “O young men! Whoever among you can afford to get married, let him do so, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and protecting one’s chastity. Whoever cannot do that, let him fast, for it will be a shield for him.”

4 – Fasting makes us feel compassion and empathy towards the poor, because when the fasting person tastes the pain of hunger for a while, he remembers those who are in this situation all the time, so he will hasten to do acts of kindness to them and show compassion towards them. So fasting is a means of feeling empathy with the poor.

5 – Fasting humiliates and weakens the Shaytaan; it weakens the effects of his whispers (waswaas) on a person and reduces his sins. That is because the Shaytaan “flows through the son of Adam like blood” as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, but fasting narrows the passages through which the Shaytaan flows, so his influence grows less.

Shaykh al-Islam said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 25/246

Undoubtedly blood is created from food and drink, so when a person eats and drinks, the passages through which the devils flow – which is the blood – become wide. But if a person fasts, the passages through which the devils flow become narrow, so hearts are motivated to do good deeds, and to give up evil deeds.

6 – The fasting person is training himself to remember that Allaah is always watching, so he gives up the things that he desires even though he is able to take them, because he knows that Allaah can see him.

7 – Fasting means developing an attitude of asceticism towards this world and its desires, and seeking that which is with Allaah.

8 – It makes the Muslim get used to doing a great deal of acts of worship, because the fasting person usually does more acts of worship and gets used to that.

These are some of the reasons why fasting is enjoined. We ask Allaah to help us to achieve them and to worship Him properly.

And Allaah knows best.

See Tafseer al-Sa’di, p. 116; Ibn al-Qayyim’s footnotes on al-Rawd al-Murabba’, 3/344; al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah, 28/9.





The Shahada

The words that are spoken when one becomes a Muslim, are few but so significant. With the utterance of these words, a person acknowledges Allah as the Creator and Sustainer of all, and the prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him). With these words, which come from the heart, a person steps from disbelief and ignorance to knowledge, light and guidance. A person can only reach this state by the Mercy and Guidance of Allah the Almighty.

There is no god worthy of worship except Allah
and Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His Prophet

These are the words that a person says to enter the fold of Islam. The Shahadah, or declaration of faith, is a covenant that the person makes with Allah: that he/she will continue to obey Allah, and walk in the footsteps of our Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). It is the first step to complete obedience to the Lord of all.

From the time of making Shahadah, the person is treated and respected like a Muslim by all Muslims, even if he/she was previously an enemy of Islam. There are many examples of this in the history of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

The bond of faith is much stronger than the bond of blood. When a person becomes a Muslim they enter the community of Muslims, regardless of their race or background. A feeling of love and harmony abides between people who sincerely seek to practice Islam according to the Qu'ran and Sunnah. Such people are in a race to do good deeds and be those with whom Allah is pleased.

The significance of the Shahadah is further highlighted, when we ponder on the fact that we repeat it every time we pray. How many of us, really think about it during prayer? It becomes a usual thing and maybe sometimes we say the words without contemplating their meaning.

When we say there is no god worthy of worship except Allah, it means that we disdain obedience and servitude to anyone or anything except Allah. It means that we fear no one and nothing except Allah: that our greatest feeling of love and gratitude are kept for Allah, because we know that He is the real Provider of all we have. It means that we do not seek the pleasure or acceptance of anyone or anything except Allah. This means that the Muslim becomes strong and independent. The ridicule, scorn, sneers and insults of people bear no importance. The Muslim remains calm and secure in times of panic because they know that there is no help except from Allah. In times of grief and distress, the Muslim remains steadfast and courageous, knowing that calamity can only occur with the permission of Allah and that He, in His Mercy has promised not to bear a sincere soul, with more than it can bear.

When we say that Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah, we acknowledge his right to be respected, obeyed and revered. We follow in his footsteps, knowing that he was the best of creation and hope to achieve Paradise and be close to him and the other prophets, Inshaa Allah (God Willing).

Truly the Shahadah is not an empty phrase, it is not just a few words spoken but is coupled with sincerity of intention and determination to struggle, strive and sacrifice along the straight path.

«"The Religion in the sight of Allah is Islam"» (Qur'an 3:19) «"If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (Submission to Allah), Never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (their selves in the hell fire)"» (Qur'an 3:85)




To Reflect On The Shahada

"That is Allah, your Lord! There is no god but He, the creator of all things: Then worship you Him: and He has power to dispose of all affairs." (Quran 6:102)

Although all practicing Muslims repeat the shahadah many times every day, only few understand its profound meaning and appreciate its implications. For example, how many Muslims understand why the shahadah uses the negative form - La Ilaha ha Ila Allah (There is no Ilah (God) except Allah), instead of the affirmative form - Allah is one, and why did the Quranic revelations stress this concept for the 13 years which the Prophet (peace be upon him) spent in Mecca before migrating to Medina? To help us in understanding the answer to these questions and in better appreciating the implications of La Ilaha Illa Allah, the Quran provides us with the following two facts:

1 · All the prophets and messengers of Allah were principally teaching the same thing: La Ilaha lila Allah:
“O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other god but Him” (Quran 7:59)
This is precisely what Prophet Nuh said; Prophet Hud declared (Quran 7:65); and Prophet Salih affirmed (Quran 7:73). Prophet Shuaib gave the same message (Quran 7:85). The same doctrine was repeated and confirmed by Prophets Moussa, Issa, and Mohammad (peace be upon them):
"Say; Truly I am a warner: no god is there but Allah, the One, Supreme, and Irresistible." (Quran 38:65)
"Say: Verily, I am commanded to serve Allah, and follow with sincere devotion his deen." (Quran 39:11)

2 · Many of the unbelievers who opposed the prophets did not deny the existence of Allah, nor that He was the sole creator of heavens and earth, and of human beings.
“If you were to question them, ‘Who created the heavens and earth?’ They would be sure to reply, ‘They were created by (Him), the exalted in power, full of knowledge.’” (Quran 43:9)
"If you ask them, who created them, they will certainly say, ‘Allah’: how then are they deluded away from the truth)?" (Quran 43:87)

The Muslim scholar Abul A'la Maududi explains La ilaha illa Allah by using four basic terms from the Qur'an: Ilah, Rabb, Ibadah, and deen (see the table below). The four words, and their derivatives, are repeated many times in the Quran: the word Ilah 147 times; Rabb 975 times; Ibadah 275 times; and deen 94 times. Note that the word deen is an all-encompassing concept, dealing with life as an integrated whole. It is not restricted to the so-called "religious" observances, practices, and rituals.

In the light of these four basic terms, La ilaha illa Allah means:
Allah is our Rabb and our Ilah; there is no Rabb and no Ilah except He. To Him alone we make Ibadah; and only His deen we adopt and sincerely follow.
In the light of this definition, it is clear that the whole dispute between the unbelievers and the prophets centered around the uncompromising demand of the prophets that the unbelievers should recognize the very being whom they acknowledged as their Creator, as their Rabb and Ilah (as defined in the table) , and should assign this position to none else.
There are many important consequences for appreciating the full meaning and implications of La ilaha illa Allah, including the following three:
· Absolute freedom of the human conscience from servitude to, or subjection by, anyone or anything; and realization that one's life, livelihood, and sustenance are all in the hands of Allah and Allah alone.
· The natural urge for making ibadah to an ilah will be directed towards the true Ilah (Allah), rather than towards one or more false ilahs (false gods), whether they be humans, or material things.
· Following the true deen of Allah gives a sense of direction, and a meaning to one's life in the present world, and leads to success in the Hereafter.

We pray to Almighty Allah to help us in appreciating the meaning and implications of La ilaha lIla Allah, and in translating its meaning in our daily lives. Ameen.

Four terms needed to understand La Ilaha Illa Allah:

Deity, God
One to be worshipped
One who has power to satisfy your needs and answer your prayer
One who is in control of your affairs
One who can comfort you; provide protection and support for you

Lord, Master and Owner
Sustainer, Provider and Guardian
Sovereign, Ruler and Administrator

Worship and devotion
Submission and obedience
Subjection and servitude

Government and constitution
Complete system (way of life)

Allah is the Rabb and the Ilah. There is no Rabb and no Ilah except He. To Him Alone we make Ibadah. Only His Deen we adopt and sincerely follow.




What Does Prayer Mean To Me ?

Five times a day, I retreat from life, pause and renew my intention for living. It's not just kids and work, fun and problems. There's more, much more ...

Lying just beneath the surface of our everyday thoughts. If we dare to peer within, we'll find it, the home of peace; of truth ; an acute awareness of what is wrong and right, of what is worthwhile and what is wasted.
I stand still and concentrate on the spot on the carpet where my forehead will soon rest, casting aside all worries, fears and hopes, and focusing on the only One Who can help, Who can forgive, Who is Well-Aware of everything. Quietly, so only myself can hear, I recite the verses of Qu'ran that remind us, in every prayer, of the One Who showers Mercy of those who deserve it and those who don't. The One to whom, all Judgment lies and Whom we are all to return to, at an appointed time. I remember that no one can help me, no one can waylay my fears, no one can turn the tide of events, except the One to Whom all help is sought.

When anger strikes my heart, I recite the verses that remind us of mercy, tolerance and forgiveness; raising the consciousness to see through the empty words that people speak, to the meaning that may have been intended. So I forgive.

When worries cloud my mind and I'm busy planning what I should do, I recite those verses telling of good deeds and trust in the Lord of all. The best of planners, the Subduer of evil and the Exalter of Whom He pleases. So , I try my best, ask for help and leave the rest to Allah s.w.t. and I rely on Him only.

When I feel sad and lost, I recite the verses promising victory to those who strive to uphold piety, that place of rest and peace that lies not so far ahead and the Source of all Peace Whose help is always near. So, I wipe away my tears and keep on trying, never giving up.

My prayer, is a way of life. It comes five times a day but the rest of the time it is in preparation for the next, awareness of the passing time, remembering my duty to my Creator and my responsibility to my own soul. So whatever I'm doing, I stop and put it aside, wash and stand in prayer, trying to look within, at the faults that follow me around in my life, of the evil my hands have sent forth, and seek guidance, forgiveness and escape from the evil consequences of what I may have done.

I think of the marvels of the universe, how infinately beautiful and amazing as they are. The wonders of my own self, the physical human body and the wonders it contains. The depth and breadth of the mind, that few of us can compass and then I look to the trivial pleasures of life, the transient nature of our existence and I feel an urge to do more, to try harder, to be better than I was the day before.

And so I bow before my Creator, acknowledging the fact that only He deserves my sincerity, my obedience and my love. All else in life, is secondary to the fact that if He hadn't chosen to create me, I would never have existed. Here I am! Here's my duty. Worship is not only prayer and fasting but the way we live, the way we speak, the way we treat people and the way we solve problems. Knowing that we weren't only Created and left to discern truth for ourselves, I adhere to the guidance given to me , to steady me on the path that leads to success in this life and the next.

I continue in my prayer, whether well or ill, tired or wakeful, sad or hopeful, I continue, knowing that success doesn't lie in the amount of money, weapons or strength one thinks one has, but in one's morality.




When The Night Equals A Thousand

It was narrated that in the days that Prophet Moses (upon him be peace) wandered with Bani Israel in the desert, an intense drought befell them. Together, they raised their hands towards the heavens praying for the blessed rain to come. Then, to the astonishment of Moses (upon him be peace) and all those watching, the few scattered clouds that were in the sky vanished, the heat poured down, and the drought intensified.

It was revealed to Moses that there was a sinner amongst the tribe of Bani Israel who had disobeyed Allah for more than 40 years of his life. “Let him separate himself from the congregation,” Allah told Moses(upon him be peace). “Only then shall I shower you all with rain.”

Moses then called out to the throngs of humanity, “There is a person amongst us who has disobeyed Allah for 40 years. Let him separate himself from the congregation and only then shall we be rescued from the drought.” That man, waited, looking left and right, hoping that someone else would step forward, but no one did. Sweat poured forth from his brow and he knew that he was the one.

The man knew that if he stayed amongst the congregation, all would die of thirst and that if he stepped forward, he would be humiliated for all eternity.

He raised his hands with a sincerity he had never known before, with a humility he had never tasted, and as tears poured down on both cheeks he said: “O Allah, have mercy on me! O Allah, hide my sins! O Allah, forgive me!”

As Moses (upon him be peace) and the people of Bani Israel awaited for the sinner to step forward, the clouds hugged the sky and the rain poured. Moses asked Allah, “O Allah, you blessed us with rain even though the sinner did not come forward.” And Allah replied, “O Moses, it is for the repentance of that very person that I blessed all of Bani Israel with water.”

Moses, wanting to know who this blessed man was, asked, “Show him to me O Allah!” Allah replied, “O Moses, I hid his sins for 40 years, do you think that after his repentance I shall expose him?”

Allah revealed the Qur’an in the most blessed month; the month of Ramadan, this is the month in which the Qur’an was sent down.

On the most blessed night, the Grand night: Laylatul Qadr;
«“Verily, we revealed the Qur’an on the night of Qadr.”» (Qur'an, Chapter 97, Verse 1)

Ibn Jareer narrates, on the authority of Mujaahid that there was a man from Bani Israel who used to spend the night in prayer. Then in the morning he would fight the enemy in the Way of Allah during the day, until the evening and he did this for a thousand months.

And so Allah revealed:
«“Verily, We sent it down in the night of Al-Qadr”» until the verse «“The night of Al-Qadr is better than a thousand months”» That is, standing in prayer on that night is better than the actions of that man.

Sufyaan ath-Thawree reports, on the authority of Mujaahid, that the night of Al-Qadr being better than a thousand months means that the good deeds performed on it, fasting on it and standing in prayer on it are better than a thousand months’ good deeds, prayers and fasting. (Narrated by Ibn Jareer)

It is reported from Abu Hurairah that he said: “When the month of Ramadan came, the Messenger of Allah said:
“‘The month of Ramadan has come, a blessed month in which Allah has made it obligatory for you to fast; in it the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained. In it is a night better than a thousand months, whoever loses the benefit of it has lost something irreplaceable.’” ” (Narrated by Imam Ahmad and An-Nasaa'i).

It is reported on the authority of Abu Hurairah, that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said:
““Whoever stood in prayer on the night of Al-Qadr, in faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, he will have all of his previous sins forgiven.”” (recorded in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim).

This one night surpasses the value of 30,000 nights. The sincere believer who worries day and night about his sins and phases of neglect in his life patiently awaits the onset of Ramadan. During it he hopes to be forgiven by Allah for past sins, knowing that the Prophet (peace be upon him) promised that all who bear down during the last ten days shall have all their sins forgiven. To achieve this, the believer remembers the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) advice in different sayings wherein he used words like “seek”, “pursue”, “search” and “look hard” for Laylatul Qadr.

Laylatul Qadr is the most blessed night. A person who misses it has indeed missed a great amount of good. The believer should search for it in the last ten nights of Ramadan, passing the nights in worship and obedience.

For those who catch the opportunity, their gift is that of past sins wiped away.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) illustrated for us some of the things we should be doing on this Grand Night. From his blessed Sunnah (example) we find the following:

Praying Qiyaam (night prayer):

It is recommended to make a long qiyaam prayer during the nights on which Laylatul Qadr could fall. This is indicated in many ahadeeth (sayings of the Prophet), such as
““Whoever stands (in qiyaam) in Laylatul Qadr [and it is facilitated for him] out of faith and expectation (of Allah’s reward), will have all of his previous sins forgiven.” ”[recorded in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim; the addition “and it is facilitated for him” is recorded by Ahmad from the report of ‘Ubaadah Bin as-Samit; it means that he is permitted to be among the sincere worshippers during that blessed night.]

Making Supplications:

It is also recommended to make extensive supplication on this night.
“Aisha reported that she asked Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) “O Messenger of Allah! If I knew which night is Laylatul Qadr, what should I say during it?” And he instructed her to say: “Allahumma innaka `afuwwun tuhibbul `afwa fa`fu `annee -O Allah! You are forgiving, and you love forgiveness. So forgive me.” ” [An authentic Hadith recorded by Ahmad, Ibn Majah and at-Tirmidhi.]

Abandoning Worldly Pleasures for the Sake of Worship:

It is further recommended to spend more time in worship during the nights on which Laylatul Qadr is likely to fall. This calls for abandoning many worldly pleasures in order to secure the time and thoughts solely for worshipping Allah.

“Aisha reported: “When the (last) ten started, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would tighten his izaar (i.e. he stayed away from his wives in order to have more time for worship), spend the whole night awake (in prayer) and wake up his family.” ”[recorded in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]

And she said:
““Allah’s Messenger used to exert more (in worship) on the last ten than on other nights.”” [recorded in Sahih Muslim]

Have we estimated Allah correctly?

Life is about people that take advantage of their opportunities to win the love of Allah and Laylatul Qadr is indeed one of those chances. Abu Dah Daah was one of those who found an opportunity and won that which is greater than the heavens and the earth. An adult companion of the Prophet (peace be upon him) cultivated his garden next to the property of an orphan. The orphan claimed that a specific palm tree was on his property and thus belonged to him. The companion rejected the claim and off to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) went the orphan boy to complain. With his justness, the Messenger of Allah measured the two gardens and found that the palm tree did indeed belong to the companion. The orphan erupted crying. Seeing this, the Prophet offered the companion,
““Would you give him the palm tree and to you is a palm tree in Paradise?”” However, the companion in his disbelief that an orphan would complain to the Prophet (peace be upon him) missed the opportunity and went away angry.

But someone else saw the opportunity, Abu Dah Daah. He went to the Prophet and asked, “O Messenger of Allah, if I buy the tree from him and give it to the orphan shall I have that tree in Paradise?” The Messenger of Allah replied, “Yes.”

Abu Dah Daah chased after the companion and asked, “Would you sell that tree to me for my entire garden?” The companion answered, “Take it for there is no good in a tree that I was complained to the Prophet about.”

Immediately, Abu Dah Daah went home and found his wife and children playing in the garden. “Leave the garden!” shouted Abu Dah Daah, “we’ve sold it to Allah! We’ve sold it to Allah!” Some of his children had dates in their hand and he snached the dates from them and threw them back into the garden. “We’ve sold it to Allah!”

When Abu Dah Daah was later martyred in the battle of Uhud, the Prophet stood over his slain body and remarked,
““How many shady palm trees does Abu Dah Daah now have in paradise?” ”

What did Abu Dah Daah lose? Dates? Bushes? Dirt? What did he gain? He gained a Paradise whose expanse is the heavens and the earth.

Abu Dah Daah did not miss his opportunity, and I pray to Allah that we do not miss our opportunity of standing to Allah on Laylatul Qadr.

Dear brothers and sisters, we do not obey, worship and revere Allah in a way befitting of His Majesty.

Allah revealed:
«“No just estimate have they made of Allah, such as is due to Him. On the Day of Resurrection the whole of the earth will be but His handful, and the heavens will be rolled up in His right hand: Glory to Him! High is He above the partners they attribute to Him”» (Qur'an, Chapter 6, Verse 91).

Everything that we have belongs to Allah. When someone dies we say, "Indeed to Allah we belong and indeed to Him we shall return." This is not a supplication just for when a soul is lost. It is a supplication for every calamity that befalls a believer, even if his sandal were to tear. Why? Because everything belongs to Allah and everything shall come back to him. Sit and try to count the blessings Allah has bestowed upon you. Have you ever tried to count stars?

«“And He giveth you of all that ye ask for. But if ye count the favors of Allah, never will ye be able to number them. Verily, man is given up to injustice and ingratitude”» (Qur'an, Chapter 14, Verse 34).

We have not understood the weight of this Qur’an that we rest on our high shelves, this Noble book that was sent to give life to the dead. For even if our hearts were as solid as rock they would have crumbled to the ground in fear and hope of Allah’s punishment and Mercy. Could it be that our hearts are harder than that mountain?

«“Had We sent down this Qur’an on a mountain, verily, thou wouldst have seen it humble itself and split asunder in fear of Allah »(Qur'an, Chapter 59, Verse 21).

Dear brothers and sisters, as you fill the Masajid (mosque) for Qiyamul Layl in the last ten nights of Ramadan, remember what Allah wants you to know:

«“Know ye that Allah is strict in punishment and that Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” »

There shall be a night, some night in your life that you shall awaken in Jannah (Paradise) or Hell fire. Anas ibn Malik, on his deathbed, prayed to Allah, “O Allah, protect from a night whose morning brings a journey to hell fire.” Think about that morning.

Peace shall descend on Laylatul Qadr until the dawn. It may be that you shall leave the Masjid after Fajr one day soon forgiven by Allah, Glorious and Most High.