Creating a Natural Dislike for Sin

May 13, 2014 Leave a comment

Bismillah Calligraphy pic image 10Shaykh Husain talks about muscle memory in the following lecture. He talks about how certain sins are naturally displeasing to us and how to create that inclination for all sins. Recognizing that every sin is an impediment in our path towards our Creator is the first step in overcoming our struggle with any sin.

Listen Here: Creating a Natural Dislike for Sin” by Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar

When we consider sin in Islam, we don’t consider if the sin is big or small; any transgression, big or small, is ultimately a transgression against Allah. We are not just trying to pass this test of life, we’re trying to get an A. Within the spectrum of transgressions against Allah, there are certain transgressions that we feel naturally inclined to avoid. For example, few Muslims struggle with pork. Avoiding pork is something that is easy for nearly all Muslims from all kinds of backgrounds. Allah has made it easy for us to avoid this transgression because it provides a good example. It establishes a goal. Every transgression should actually be this easy to avoid. The way we naturally avoid certain transgressions is the way we should be able to avoid them all. We should pray, “Allah, please make all sins as disgusting to me as much as this one sin disgusts me.”

It would be easier for us to avoid committing a sin if we start to naturally dislike the sin or at least some aspect of it. For example, Allah tells us numerous times in the Quran that the shaytaan is an open enemy; if we inculcate that message, it would become easier to us to avoid the things that shaytaan whispers us towards. Another way to create distance from sinful activity is to recognize that every sin is a step against Allah and that we dislike displeasing Him. The most important thing is our relationship with Allah, and sin just takes us away from Him.

The shariah has placed minimal responsibilities on us (limited prayer, one month of fasting, charity on excess wealth, and a hajj once in our entire lives), but along with our belief in Allah, these minimal things work together to develop closeness with Allah and entrance into eternal paradise. These are not the things we struggle with as Muslims, the issue is avoiding sin. We don’t protect our gaze, we misuse our tongues, we misuse our hands; these seemingly small transgressions are enough to destroy our progress. May Allah سبحانه و تعالى make every sin naturally disgusting to us.

To read more about avoiding sin, please read notes on the lecture Plugging the drain.”

The path is clear

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Maintaining a Healthy Body

April 19, 2014 2 comments

Bismillah Calligraphy pic image 10I don’t think I’ve ever posted anything about health on this blog (that doesn’t mean I’m unhealthy…OK I’m a little bit unhealthy).

Our bodies are an amanah (a trust). In this lecture, Shaykh Husain talks about how to best uphold this amanah and use it as a means to make the most spiritual gains.

Listen Here: “Maintaining a Healthy Body  by Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar

Diet:

  • How can a person develop themselves spiritually if they don’t take care of what they eat and how they exercise? Maintaining a healthy diet is actually easier than spiritual development, “If you can’t trust a person to be careful about their food and withhold themselves in the battle in food, then how are you going to be able to trust a person to develop spiritually?”
  • The Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم said to fill your stomach at the most with 1/3 air, 1/3 food, and 1/3 water. The sunnah is actually to eat as little as possible and the maximum is a 1/3 filled stomach.
  • We shouldn’t be slaves to our food. We shouldn’t drive 40 minutes to eat, come home, and then sleep (53rd and 6th gyro, anyone?).

Exercise:

  • We have to be very particular about our exercise this day in age. Before modern luxuries, people would get their exercise by doing daily chores. Lack of exercise causes us to become lazy, “The body is a vehicle by which we do good deeds.”
  • When you exercise, your goal shouldn’t be muscle mass, it should be cardio. You’re trying to develop the ability to do something over a long period of time, not to show off at the gym.
  • Exercise needs to be continuous, a habit, a routine. Families should exercise together, and children should be taught to exercise at a young age. They should especially learn swimming and martial arts.
  • Don’t say you don’t have time. Everyone finds time for what’s important to them or what they’re interested in. There was no texting, and now everyone has time for it.
  • Don’t destroy your spirituality for the sake of exercise though by going to mixed gyms with blaring music. A simple way to exercise is to go for a walk or run and do your dhikr at the same time.

By maintaining our health, we’ll be able to be more productive and energetic throughout the day. Not only are we seeking longevity in the day, we’re also seeking longevity over the years; we don’t want to be dependent on others in our 60’s and 70’s (we should be able to serve Allah in the same way during those years). May Allah make our bodies healthy so we are able to produce as many good deeds as possible until we reach our graves.

http://www.iqrasense.com/dua-from-quran-and-hadith/dua-for-health-and-provision.html

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Being Prophylactic

December 20, 2013 3 comments

Whoa, it’s been so long. Uh, I left this long period Bismillah Calligraphy pic image 10of inactivity on here  so you guys can thoroughly absorb the previous content. Now you are ready for the next lecture…

Listen Here: “Being Prophylactic” by Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar

Prophylactic means to prevent against diseases. The way people react to physical diseases can be divided into three groups:

  1. The first group of people is preventative. They wash their hands constantly, get flu shots, go for regular checkups, etc. This group is easiest to treat because if they have any disease, it is caught quickly.
  2. The next group of people regularly monitor themselves and report to a doctor as soon as they notice any abnormality. They are easy to treat as well.
  3. The last group will not visit a doctor until the very end, at which point treatment becomes very difficult if not impossible.

The same concept applies to spiritual diseases:

  1. The first group is proactive about their spirituality. They constantly make astaghfar. In fact, they make astaghfar for their deficiency in making astaghfar. They stay in the company of the pious. If they know there is a place that will make it difficult for them to protect their gaze, they will avoid it altogether. They give sadaqah everyday.
  2. The next group constantly scans themselves like the first group. They look for deficiencies within themselves. If they find a malady in their heart, they go to a shaykh for treatment immediately.
  3. The last group of people will ignore their problems until the very end. If a person has an anger problem, he will let it escalate until it ruins his relationships with his children, his wife, his parents etc. If he had treated it at the start, it would not have seeped into every part of his life making it nearly impossible to resolve.

We have to strive to be people who are proactive about our religion, who constantly monitor ourselves and analyze our behavior. We cannot afford to be among the last group of people. If we have weird thoughts or doubts in our minds, we should not mull over it for years until it becomes a huge problem. We should seek the help of the scholars. If a person does not seek treatment for a physical disease, the worst thing that will happen is death. However, if we do not treat our spiritual diseases, we risk eternity in the worst of abodes.

Ramadan: The Treasure of Mercy and Absolution

July 14, 2013 3 comments

First of all, Ramadan Mubarak! Is it just me or have the last 4 days of Ramadan actually superseded the normal passage of time thereby damaging our innate time-sensing abilities and forcing us to fall into the dizzying black hole of questioning time and existence to ultimately end up sitting in a corner trying to quell the horror of knowing that this life is fleeting, but always acting as if it isn’t? It’s just me?

Perhaps we can actually avail of some of these moments and derive motivation from the awesome Ramadan lectures that have been going on.

Aalimah Humera Ahmad (student of Shaykh Zulfiqar) has been doing an amazing Tafseer of Quran in Urdu everyday which can be listened to at 424-203-8000 code 147551# (for women only). Also taught in English with the same number except with code 762992#.

Another great talk is called “Maximizing Ramadan” by Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed.

Today I have some notes on Shaykh Zulfiqar’s recent talk called Ramadan: The Treasure of Mercy and Absolution (translated).

Listen Here: “Ramadan: Rahmat or Maghfirat ka Khazeena” 

When Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎ told his angels to prostrate to Adam عليه السلام‎, everyone did except Iblees. When Allah asked him why he wouldn’t submit, he replied that “I am better than Adam.” He was told to leave but he asked to have time until the Day of Judgment. When he received it, he vowed to tempt humankind until the last day. Allah responded by saying that, in your competition with my people, those who manage to save themselves will be my elect people. Shaytaan (Iblees) asked Allah for provisions in his battle, and he was given the ability to be unseen by humans and have a progeny such that there will be multiple shaytaans for every human. Hazrat Adam عليه السلام‎ also asked for provisions. Allah سبحانه و تعالى said, whenever you commit a sin and repent, I will forgive you. This is our greatest might, to be able to wipe our slates clean of any sin.

Please take a moment to consider the existence of Shaytaan. Just like a mother never likes to place blame on her child, she’ll just say “He is a good kid, his friends misguided him,” similarly through His divine love, Allah سبحانه و تعالى also does not like to place blame on his people. On that Day, He will say that Shaytaan misguided His people. If there were no Shaytaan, then wouldn’t we be solely responsible for all of our sins? The Shaytaan is an excuse for His forgiveness.

In this month of Ramadan, not only are all the temptations of Shaytaan eliminated, but the rewards for our good deeds are multiplied (Nafl=Fard, Itikaf= 2 Hajj and Umrah, etc.). Additionally there are great moments of acceptance, like during sahoor and before iftar. Allah سبحانه و تعالى is sending down blank checks in these great moments and we should fill them as much as we can.

The worship done in the blessed night of Laylatul Qadr is equivalent to 1000 months of worship (meaning 83 years). Everyone receives forgiveness in this night except four:

  • the one who drinks
  • the one who is disobedient to parents
  • the one who breaks familial relations
  • And the one who harbors malice for others

It is our fasting and our Quran that will be our saviors on the last day. Just how the citizens of a country can enter it easily, one door of Paradise called “Bab-e-Rayyaan” will be the easy access for the diligent in fasting. Allah سبحانه و تعالى has said that “Fasting is for me, so its reward is with me.” Let us immerse ourselves in worship during Allah’s month. Let us do such good deeds that we become absolved of all our past misdeeds.

Ramadan-Kareem-Wallpaper

Hamza Masjid’s Youth Retreat: The Tales of Trials

May 19, 2013 Leave a comment

Hamza Masjid (Valley Stream, NY) ran their yearly youth retreat yesterday, this time on “The Tales of Trials.” It was a really good program mashaAllah, fully loaded with extremely knowledgeable scholars. The program was done by Mufi Farhan’s organization, Child941293_380115038772607_1751607299_nren of Adam. I love their idea of full day “retreats,” because they provide a solid overview of one topic.

The day’s topics included stories of Surah Kahf, People of the Cave, Prophet Musa (as), Dhul Qarnayn, as well as discussions on halal and haram and the trials of wealth, youth, and power. All of the lectures can be viewed here: http://www.livestream.com/masjidhamzany or http://www.youtube.com/user/masjidhamzany

Here are some random quotes to give you a glimpse of the talks:

“Today we will eat anything, anything is an excuse for us to eat something. A friend just has to say ‘Yeah, yeah, it’s ok’ and we eat it.”

“Benefits of halal: Clean and sanitary meat, accepted dua, blessed life, spiritual efficiency, rewards, accepted salah…Jannah”

“Will you choose McDonalds, Subway, Taco Bell, or will you choose Allah?”

“Value yourself and value the orders of Allah” 

“Who is the man who apologizes for something definitely knowing he is right? A husband” (haha)

“The greater the test is, the greater the reward.”

“Today we ask people for dua so cheaply, ‘Oh, make dua for me.’ The elders used to say, ‘Don’t ask for dua, earn it!'”

“Every word, every syllable, in the Quran ties into our purpose” 

The thing about Hamza Masjid that I must point out because it is a cause for concern is their two large televisions in the women’s section that show the male speakers. Just like men, women too, have been commanded to lower their gaze. By putting up TVs, isn’t the masjid transgressing the lines of modesty established by the Quran?

Love for Allah

February 16, 2013 4 comments

Wow. This is the longest anyone has ever abandoned a blog. To the readers left, I come hat in hand.

Along with notes, I have an important announcement today. For the sisters who are familiar with Zaynab Academy, I don’t have to tell you what an amazing project this is. For those who are not, I will gladly take the reward for telling you. For years Zaynab Academy has been offering FREE* Islamic courses under highly intelligent teachers to any woman who registers. I caught on to these classes pretty late, however, the certificate classes will begin VERY soon so register now!

Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed and his wife, Sobia Ahmed, are the creators of Zaynab Academy. Shaykh Kamaluddin is another student of Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmed. One cannot put into words the greatness of Hazrat Jee and his entire khilafa. Here are my notes on one of the greatest lectures ever. It covered a lot of things, so these are some incomplete notes (and it was in Urdu so the poor translation here shouldn’t deter you from listening to Shaykh Kamaluddin’s other AMAZING lectures which are mostly in English):

Listen Here: “Muhabbat-e-Illahi (Love for Allah)” by Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed

We are always out to try and understand the world in which we live; we have the physical sciences, social sciences, medicine etc. We try to understand everything except for Allah سبحانه و تعالى. We have denigrated the religion into a couple of lectures and a few good deeds here and there. Whether it’s the name of “necessity”, “family”, or “halal”, we have surrendered ourselves to the life of this world. The reality is that we should only chase this world as much as we will live in it. The extent to which this world is necessary for us is the extent to which we should seek it. And the extent to which we want the next life is the extent to which we should seek it. It’s not even that we need an immense amount of knowledge to change our hearts and souls; it’s about working hard for what we do know. If this life itself demands hard work to achieve any success, imagine what it would take to achieve eternal bliss in the hereafter.

The popular hadith of the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم , “The deen is easy,” is often misunderstood. Can you look at his life, the lives of the companions, and say they were easy? No matter how difficult it got, you’ll never hear the companions saying life got hard ever since we accepted Islam. The true meaning of this hadith is that the deen is easy for the lovers of Allah, the aashiq. Islam is peace through submission. You have to accept, submit, and relinquish yourself in order to taste that ease.

There is a difference between zabita and rabita (necessity and love). If a servant does all of his required work, the master will be content with him. If the servant goes beyond the call of duty, the master’s heart will incline towards him so that the next time the servant needs something extra, the master will give with a free hand. We have to establish a relationship of love (rabita) with Allah.

The qalb, the spiritual heart, must be clean. You cannot succeed in unless you present to Allah a clean heart. A young student once came to a shaykh and said, “There is a sin I cannot leave, is there any way I can continue this sin and still be the beloved of Allah?”

The shaykh replied, “Yes, just find a place where Allah won’t see and do the sin.” The student says this is not possible.

“Hide the sin somewhere.” [e.g. clear the history]

“How can I do that, Allah is All-Knowing.”

“A sultan doesn’t want you to go against him in his sultanate, so just find a place outside of the sultanate of Allah, do the sin, and come back.”

“The whole universe is the sultanate of Allah.”

“Do this: when you are in the grave and the angels come to question you, don’t let them.”

“There’s no way I can stop them.”

Finally the shaykh says “Try this, when on the Day of Judgment, Allah sends you to the fire, just tell Him you won’t go.”

The student replies, “Allah will be in front of me, my sins will be presented, I will be commanded into the fire, how then will I go against Allah?”

The shaykh knowingly replies, “Why then, do you go against Allah now?”

One must free the heart of sin. There is no sin in the world you cannot repent from. Of all the people we try to hide our sins from, is Allah the least? Is He at the lowest station, where you don’t even care if He sees?

Allah سبحانه و تعالى says in the Quran “إن الله يحب التوابين” meaning that He loves those who repent. Look at the majesty of Allah, look at this statement. Shouldn’t it have just been Allah forgives those who repent? Allah is saying He loves the person who has sinned. It would have been one thing if the repented sinner became among the believers or the patient, but the sinner has become the beloved of Allah! Every lover has one desire- to be the beloved. To become the beloved of Allah, you have to do tauba, you have to repent.

We ask Allah to include us among those who repent, among the innocent, among the aashiq.

Repent

*Haha just kidding, they really are free.

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Monetary Matters

November 16, 2012 Leave a comment

A talk on money is not exactly the first thing I go for, one because I have none and two because, like most of you I’m sure, the first talks I go for are the more juicier ones. Nonetheless this is an incredibly important lecture for anyone who ever earns or buys anything as it would be foolish to do so without understanding it in light of the shariah and sunnah.

Listen Here: “Key Islamic Concepts Regarding Monetary Matters” by Shaykh Omar Hussaini

Concept # 1: Quality is More Important than Quantity

Barakah is what makes all the difference. If you have barakah in the little money you have, it will take you very far and vice versa. We need the blessings of Allah سبحانه و تعالى ‎ and should specifically ask Him to put barakah in our wealth as well as our time.

Concept # 2:  Halal Gaining and Spending

This is the central part of all monetary issues. You have to make sure your income as well as where you spend it are both halal. If there is any evil or haram involved, it will have extreme consequences. The food you buy with that money will become haram and your prayers will be invalidated. Sometimes you have to embark on the more difficult path to earn a halal income but when you do it with sincerity Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎ will make a way for you (sometimes out of nowhere).

Spending: Do not engage in interest, no matter what. It is also better to avoid credit cards. If you have one, be insidious about making payments on time. Carry cash with you at all times because it will make you spend less which will lessen your love of dunya (it will also make it easier for you to quickly give in sadaqa in the masjid or on the streets).

Concept # 3: Save it

If you want more money, you can either earn more or spend less. Earning more money is rarely an option so you have to spend a lot less than you can afford in order to truly save money. Muslims have a dignity and should not be put in a position to beg for money.

Concept # 4: Seek Forgiveness 

If you are having difficulty in earning halal rizq then you should first make astaghfar (the same applies when trying to have children). Truly repent to Allah سبحانه و تعالى‎ and have sincerity in your search for a halal income.

Concept # 5: Give it Away (aside from Zakah)

People think giving money away decreases wealth but in fact it increases it (not to mention what it does for you in the aakhirah). It increases wealth on a qualitative and quantitative basis. It also creates barakah in your wealth which will make you content with what you have.

If these basic guidelines are followed, you will see a great effect in the quality of your life. May Allah give us barakah in our wealth and time, and every aspect of our existence. Ameen.

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