Category Archives: Faith
Day 8, Day 9 & Day 10 #Ramadan #Quran #Verseoftheday #Paradise #Charity #AngerManagement #Forgive #Chastity
And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous.
Those who spend [in the cause of Allah] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people – and Allah loves the doers of good.
And those who, when they commit immorality or wrong themselves, remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins – and who can forgive sins except Allah? and (who) do not persist in what they have done knowingly.
How beautiful is Islam, full of hope, for the door to forgiveness is always open till the last breath.
These verses from Surah Aal-e-Imran have multiple inter-related themes. Here I am, marveling at each verse and each word and each letter that is meaningful beyond comprehension. With gentle love and care, our Merciful Rabb shows us the path towards salvation, guiding us each step of the way, motivating us, telling us what to do.
The surface of the key subjects in these 3 verses can be at best barely touched upon as under:
- Verse 133: Allah (swt) is using the word “Saa-ri-‘oo” – rush, hasten, run, compete towards Allah’s forgiveness. The word implies that we must not delay, for each moment is precious. Allah’s forgiveness is the only thing that can lead us to the unimaginable Paradise that He has lovingly prepared for the God-conscious. What fascinates me is the fact that the Quran recognizes that even the God-conscious or “Muttaqeen” who may eventually end up in Jannah with His Mercy, will make mistakes, but with effort and sincere intention to improve, they may attract Allah’s forgiveness. The people of Jannah are not perfect. But they accept their faults and strive to improve, and do good deeds that may wash away their sins. #Hope
- Verse 134: SPEND – One of the sure shot ways to wash away your mistakes. And spending not conditionally only when you have lots to give, but spending in times of difficulty and financial restrain. Spending what we love. Spending even when we do not have a lot of “extra” to spend. Spend on those who live on earth, and He will forgive you and shower blessings on you from the heavens.
- Verse 134: CONTROL ANGER – Anger in all its forms. Both inner and outer. Outer anger manifests itself as abuse, violence, taunts, sarcasm and harming the other. Inner anger manifests as grudges and ill feelings. The word “kaazimeen” is so apt – to suppress. Meaning the anger IS there, and in all probability is justified, and the person we are angry with may have hurt us or wronged us. Yet, true strength lies in controlling this negative emotion.
- Verse 134: FORGIVE: Wow! So if we want Allah (swt) to forgive us, we have to forgive those who have harmed us. So many times, even if we are somehow able to suppress anger, the seething pain and the grudges towards those who have hurt us remain. They do not harm that person, mostly. These ill feelings damage the heart that is housing these ill feelings. Allah (swt) is telling us to let go of whatever it was. After all, if it is Allah (swt) on whom we have tawakkul (reliance), we have to trust that He Knows who hurt us and harmed us and scarred us. If we want to heal, this is the only path – forgetting may not be possible but forgiving (with a lot of hard work) is a possibility. So let go of that anger…..forgive…for inner peace. For Paradise will be home to those who have found inner peace 🙂
- Verse 135: BEGGING FOR FORGIVENESS: Yes, even those who will eventually, InshaAllah, enter Paradise, make major mistakes and commit major sins….sins that come under immorality, indecency, and go against the command to guard their chastity. When they do so, they have wronged no one but themselves. The inner impressions such sins leave harm our soul, bit by bit. The verse addresses those who have harmed themselves. Recognizing that one has erred and accepting that it is we who harm ourselves is the first step towards forgiveness. When they ask Allah (swt) for forgiveness, Allah (swt) showers His forgiveness on His slaves. But the one condition this verse puts forth is this: Do not insist on repeating a sin when you realize it is a mistake. Strive and aim to ward it off, and ask Allah (swt) for the strength to be able to resist the temptations. And its beautiful when the verse says who can forgive but Allah (swt)? The piles and mountains of our sins can only find forgiveness in our Rabb, the Magnanimous and ever Merciful.
As the beautiful Hadeeth-e-Qudsi says:
On the authority of Anas, who said: I heard the messenger of Allah say:Allah the Almighty has said: “O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as its.” (Tirmidhi)
In this most special of months, let us forgive and beg Allah for forgiveness.
For those of us who grew up watching PTV, religious shows were an integral and beneficial part of the daily routine. Anything that came on PTV, we watched. As a member of the PTV generation, I grew up watching the daily afternoon show where the recitation of the Holy Quran was taught, and I don’t recall missing Majlis-e-Shaam-e-Gharibaan on any tenth ofMuharram, even as a Sunni.
Religion, as presented on TV back then, was something to be respected and honoured on the media. I recall care being taken even about the kind of advertisements that were run between religious shows, if they were any at all.
But then the Aalim Online era begun. Make no mistake; as an objective bystander I appreciate the fact that Aalim Online was the first show that brought Islamic scholars of different schools of thought on the same podium, and acted as an interfaith forum of sorts. Many similar shows followed, providing useful information.
But then something dangerous happened. These shows started bringing in ratings. And advertisements. And money. Ramazan, followed by Eid is of course heyday for marketeers and consumerists. Therefore, religious shows were morphed into Ramazan religious shows – all in one type – with the azaan, religious scholars and verses of the Holy Quran in one hour and full throttle live entertainment show the next.
Every one followed this trend. Money kept rolling in. Ramazan’s spirit of giving was abused into marketing gimmickry. Thousands of motorbikes are given away to people who are willing to sacrifice their self-respect and let their humiliation be broadcasted for it. Karachi’s legendary killer motorbiker boys keep increasing on the streets of a city where 23 million or more reside, but there is no dependable public transport system.
Sadly enough, these shows are a reflection of what is going on in our society. These Ramazan shows are a slice of Pakistan today. A bit of religion followed by a bit of gossip and a bit of extravagance and a bit of unethical humiliation of someone who cannot stop us from doing so and a bit of retail therapy – all in a single breath. It may be very easy for the affluent upper tier Pakistanis to judge the people coming on these shows for that motorbike and say,
“In kee koi izzat e nafs nahin?”
(Don’t they have any self-respect?)
But the reality is that in a society with such drastic socio-economic disparity, we often cannot relate to what winning a motorbike or a mobile-phone means to the masses. They struggle every day and pretend to be carrying on a comfortable life, but in reality are exhausted by financial crunches.
Here we are, witnessing the beautiful spirit of this month being hijacked by money making machines. These shows, for instance, Pak Ramzan Amir Liaquat Show and Jeeto Pakistanwith Fahad Mustafa, in the long run, will have disastrous and sustained effects on our social fabric. Some are beginning to show already. Thanks to the fact that gifts are given even if the person does not know the answer to “which are Pakistan’s neighbouring countries?” the bar for intelligent general knowledge quizzes is not just being lowered but has been smashed. Levels are also being lowered with regards to collective entertainment. Publicly ridiculing others is considered funny, or people pretend that it is funny because the host is often being praised collectively, so that s/he is happy with the audience and gives away a gift.
There is certain decorum – call it adab, if you may – that is required for religious and spiritual messages to permeate a heart. When that is absent, the soul does not absorb the beautiful messages Ramazan is transmitting to it. When a large part of our post-iftar eve is spent watching these shows even though we criticise them, something inside us dies.
What’s worse is that the few genuinely informative and interesting religious shows that are on television in Ramazan, such as Baran e Rehmat with Hamza Ali Abbasi, also lose their credibility due to the blanket assumption of viewers that all Ramazan special shows are just the same sub-standard offering. The genuine scholars are respected less due to those who have not yet embodied the beautiful spirit of Ramazan, and in fact of Islam. Thus, some genuinely good shows no longer get the recognition they deserve.
Do the hosts and producers of these shows realise what a powerful medium they have in their hands, and how productively this could be used to propagate the real ideals of Ramazan like charity, hospitality, simplicity, love and compassion?
Maybe it’s time to make it a regular dua in Ramazan that may Allah (SWT) guide those who have been given this power to use it responsibly.
Oh, woe to me! I wish I had not taken that one as a friend.
He led me away from the remembrance after it had come to me. And ever is Satan, to man, a deserter.”
Day 5 – DO NOT EVEN SAY UGH OR UFF TO YOUR PARENTS
And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.
Today, I was speaking to a friend who has been undergoing the same issues as so many of us, and as myself. Elderly parents growing weaker every day pose more challenges than we acknowledge. We looked up to them all our lives. Now they look up to us and are dependent on us. They are no longer financially or physically supporting us. They no longer have that control over us which made us lower our voices in front of them. And herein lies our test. This beautiful ayat from Surah Bani Israel (17:23) starts with the very basic belief – belief in the oneness of Allah. And in the same verse, Allah (swt) reminds us of who is most deserving of our good behaviour, patience and kindness.
But the key here is the old age bit. Not only are they no longer dependent on us, but at the twilight of their lives they see their lives as downhill, and they have achieved every goal they had, and this realization often makes them cranky and unreasonable.
At this stage of life, children need to exercise patience. Even the smallest of reactions like rolling eyes or saying Ugh or Uff or speaking to them harshly may wash away our good deeds.
Read this: Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar saw a Yemeni man performing Tawāf (circumambulating the Ka’bah) while carrying his mother on his back. This man said to Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar, “I am like a tame camel for her! I have carried her more than she carried me. Do you think I have paid her back, O Ibn ‘Umar?” Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar replied, “No, not even one contraction!” [Al-Adab al-Mufrad Bukhārī 1/62]
And in a hadith, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said :
“A father’s pleasure is Allah’s pleasure, a father’s displeasure is Allah’s displeasure.” (Tirmidhi)
The following verse (17:24) even specifies our body language with parents, advising us that our shoulders must be lowered, and teaches us to make dua for them.
Parents are not saints or angels and are not without faults. But they are the most sincere and selfless in their love for their children, and no other love compares with that, though in Islam each relationship has its own distinct place. So, despite their shortcomings and the age related weaknesses, one must continue treating them with honour, love and affection.
Also, as spouses, one must never restrict one’s wife or husband from serving their parents.
May Allah (swt) enable us to act on these verses, and shower upon our parents His Mercy. Ameen.
He frowned and turned away
Day 4 – DON’T LOOK AWAY, DON’T TURN YOUR FACE AWAY
This one scares me…The first ten verses actually.
So this is what happened: This surah was revealed in the Meccan era. Muslims were facing the oppression of the powerful Quraish. The Prophet of Allah Muhammad (saw) wanted to get the message of Allah across to the leaders of Mecca so that the oppression would stop and Islam would gain foothold, though the message was in no way exclusive only to the rich and famous, and the fact that so many earliest Muslims were from the underprivileged strata of Meccan society.
The background of the revelation of this and the following verses is that once the Prophet (saw) was deeply engaged in trying to explain the Holy Qur’an to some pagan Quraish leaders such as ‘Atabat‑ibn‑i‑Rabi ‘ah, Abu‑Jahl, ‘Abbas‑ibn‑’Abdul‑Mutallib and some others. He was hopeful that it would attract them to Islam, and in so doing, surely a lot of others would come to Islam, too. But, suddenly, he was interrupted by a blind man, ‘Abdullah‑ibn‑Ummi‑Maktum, who was apparently poor, so that no one took notice of him. He wanted to learn the Qur’an and asked the Prophet (saw) to teach him. He repeated his statement again and again, because he did not know exactly whom he was talking to.
The Holy Prophet (saw) in that moment did not like the frequent interruptions and this was seen on his face.
He turned away from ‘Abdullah and continued the work at preaching Allah’s Message to them.
At that moment he received the verses stated above.
The translation of the first ten verses of this Surah from the 30th Juz are as under:
1. He frowned and turned away
2. Because there came to him the blind man
3. And what would make you know that he might (spiritually) purify himself
4 Or become reminded so that the reminder might profit him?
5. As to one who regards himself self‑sufficient
6. To him do you address yourself!
7. Though it is no blame on you if he would not (spiritually) purify himself.
8. But as to him who comes to you striving hard
9. And he fears (Allah in his heart)
10. Of him you were unmindful.
So in this verse 80:1 of the Quran, and the verses that follow, Allah (swt) is admonishing the best of the best in the sight of Allah, Muhammad (saw). No one is closer to perfection than the last Prophet (saw). Yet, look how he is being reminded. So high is the honour and stature of a sincere person in the sight of Allah, even though he is poor and blind.
How many times, may Allah forgive us, have we judged someone on the basis of their financial status or their physical appearance? How many times have we been dismissive or demeaning to someone who is not influential or rich or powerful? How many times we punish people by our indifference and silence? Our body language suddenly becomes respectful and our choice of words becomes careful when we address someone who has a position. But with a poorer person we could care less.
It reminds me of that beautiful hadith:
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَنْظُرُ إِلَى صُوَرِكُمْ وَأَمْوَالِكُمْ وَلَكِنْ يَنْظُرُ إِلَى قُلُوبِكُمْ وَأَعْمَالِكُمْ
(2564 صحيح مسلم كتاب البر والصلة والآداب باب تحريم ظلم المسلم وخذله واحتقاره ودمه وعرضه وماله)
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said,
“Verily, Allah does not look at your appearance or wealth, but rather he looks at your hearts and actions.” (Sahih Muslim 2564)
Tremendous lesson here.
Also, I feel enormous love for the Prophet of Allah (saw) when I read this and similar verses. To be humanity’s ultimate role model, his every action was checked more strictly than anyone else on earth. What a heavy responsibility he carried all his life, and what all he went through, to be our role model.
The Quran is indeed the words…. Allah’s final message to humanity, pure and unadulterated. If it were, God forbids, authored by our beloved Prophet (saw), verses admonishing him would not have been part of it.
As for ‘Abdullah, after this revelation, the Prophet (saw) always held ‘Abdullah in high honor, and whenever he saw him he used to tell him
“Hail to the one for whom Allah admonished me.”
And, then, he questioned the man:
“Is there anything that I can do for you?”
The blind man became a true and sincere Muslim and as a direct appointment by the Prophet, himself, become a governor of Medina on two occasions when the Prophet (saw) went to battle.
May peace and blessings of Allah be upon Muhammad (saw), the final messenger, and may Allah enable us to follow his beautiful path.
Day 3 – WHEN WE SAY “I DON’T LIKE HER NOSE” or “HE IS SO DARK”
It is Allah who made for you the earth a place of settlement and the sky a ceiling and formed you and perfected your forms and provided you with good things. That is Allah , your Lord; then blessed is Allah , Lord of the worlds.
So imagine this: You look at someone and say something like “Her nose is so broad” or “such small eyes!” or “poor thing is so dark” or “what a good looking woman but what bad looking feet”. Often, the person saying this has no idea what a serious offence he/she has committed. And Who it is they have offended.
Let’s see the verse again. What a beautiful, majestic ayah this is from Surah Ghafir, also known as Surah al-Mumin. Allah, the Exalted, is reminding us of His place in our lives. The Master Creator mentions the creation of the planet we call home, and the mighty sky over our heads, and then goes on to mention His supreme creation – mankind. You. Me. Us.
First the ayah mentions that He created us and then says he created us beautifully in an “ahsan” (most beautiful) manner….in a design that is perfect in the sight of Allah.
When we criticize or think less of or ridicule someone’s physical attributes, we actually question Allah’s (swt) creation. Social conditioning has a lot to do with it. We come to believe only a certain kind of physical appearance is beautiful. In most cultures, a lighter complexion is considered beautiful. The millions and billions of dollars that globally go into whitening products are a testimony to that. Supremacy of the “white” is a part of this collective complex. More than 1400 years ago, the Prophet Muhammad (saw) elevated the ranks of the Abyssinian slave, Bilal (ra). Yet here we are, centuries later, commenting on people’s complexions. Have we really come of age?
In the upper tiers of urban societies, thin is beautiful. To other cultural sensibilities, a fuller body is beautiful. To some, coloured eyes are beautiful. To others they are not. Thinner or thicker lips, sharper or upturned noses, long fingers, small waistlines, taller statures…..are we talking about Allah’s creation or are we picking and choosing items in a shopping mall?
If you have true love of Allah, every creation of Allah is beautiful in a unique, unparalleled fashion. This is how he wanted you to look. This is who you are. Yes, our bodies are Allah’s amanah (trust) and we must take care of them and maintain them, but not to appease people’s ideas of beauty, but to feel good and healthy.
Here’s praying that our human pettiness, and the hurtful comments that we may have unconsciously uttered about someone’s physicality, are forgiven.
Allah is Beautiful, and loves the beautiful, and all that He created in His divine wisdom is beautiful.
Time to grow up and start thinking differently.
To every one out there, the thing to say is “hey, beautiful”!