Archive for the Ibadah Category

Qubooliyat-e-Dua

Posted in Essentials of Deen, Ibadah, Qubooliyat, Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmed [db], Supplication/Making Dua, Tasawwuf Essentials on August 22, 2011 by Islamic Spirituality

[The following post has been inspired from a very powerful bayan by Hadhrat Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmed db on "Qubooliyat-e-Dua"  during his recent India trip]

Three cases: dua accepted, misfortune removed, reward in akhirah.

All three are good news Thus, for a momin, it is a good thing if the dua is accepted. If some misfortune/trial is cancelled, that is also good. And if reward is given on the day of judgment, that is even better.

Dua not accepted when a person complains that Allah does not listen to them

 However, there is one condition in which a person’s dua is not accepted and is thrown back at the person like a dirty, torn cloth on his face. That is when a person says that ‘Allah does not listen to our dua’. This makes Allah very angry (jalal).

Remember: inna rabbi la sami u dua. Allah listens to dua, but Allah is Allah. It is not like we say something and it is fulfilled immediately. Allah has his own shaan. His own Will as to when He will accept that dua. Thus these words should never be articulated that ‘Allah does not listen to us’. He listens to everyone. But yes, if we keep hope that ‘I have made dua and I will get the return in one of these three ways’ then Allah will give him the badla of his dua.

Delay in dua : Allah likes listening to the person’s dua

 Sometimes it happens so that Allah is pleased with a person’s supplication and Allah gives him the chance to pray/supplicate (maangnay ka mauqa detay hain). Sometimes when a child cries the father lets him cry for a while as he likes it. Some even tease the kids so that they make a crying face. Everyone has their own manner.

In hadith the Prophet said that: A person’s dua is sometimes presented in front of Allah. Allah loves the person, and the person prays to Allah. Allah says to Jibrael: O Jibrael, postpone my servant’s hajit. I like listening to his voice.

There have been a buzurg Yahja bin Saeed al Qitan ra (17:45). He said: He had the didaar of Allah in a dream. He said: ‘O Allah, how long will I have to keep praying? You do not fulfill them’. Allah replied: ‘I like listening to your voice so I want you to pray even more’.

‘When’ is upto Allah; having the taufeeq to make dua is a blessing in itself.

Example of people who cannot make dua: a mehrumi Therefore the question of ‘when will the prayer be accepted’ should be left to Allah.

Is this a small thing that you got the taufeeq? People do not even have the taufeeq to make dua.

Consider this. A person came to me once and said: ‘Hazrat I do not know why but since the last seven, eight years I have not felt like making dua’. What a misfortune it is that a person does not even want to make dua! This is a misfortune.

If a person’s tears do not well up while making dua, that is mahrumi. Example: blessing of crying during tahajjud taken away due to sins It is said that there was a scholar of Bani Israel. He got entangled in a nafsaani ta’luq (relationship of desire). He has knowledge but his nafs gained dominance. He sinned and also feared that due to sins a person’s blessing are taken away: I don’t know which blessing will be denied me. This continued for some time. Then he was perplexed: I am sinning and yet all the blessings that Allah has granted me are also there. Then he said: Allah, how haleem you are! I am committing sin over sin and yet you have continued your blessings. Allah sent him an ilhaam: My servant, you are mahrum but you have not realized it. He inquired: Allah, which nai’mat has been taken away? Allah told him: the day from which you stepped into kabirah sin we have taken away from you the sweetness (lazzat) of crying in the last part of the night. Then he realized that since that day he had not been able to cry during tahajjud. Dua is the best sabab of saving oneself So a person becomes mahrum.

If a person is given the ability to make dua and opens the way to making dua then this is blessing from Allah.

Remember that among the methods/asbaab of saving himself that a person can have the best sabab is dua. There is no better sabab than dua. Therefore one should make dua with regards to every matter.

There is a hadith: The person who desires that his dua during hard times should be accepted, he should make dua during good times as well (khushhaali) so that Allah accepts his dua during hard times.

Dua is the only thing that is considered as worship even if it is made for the sake of the world

Dua is a strange thing: if a person makes dua purely for benefit of this world that ‘Allah, please fulfill this need of mine, please let that be done…’ then even that is ibadat/worship. This is a feature that makes dua stand alone.

Any other deed done with the intention of this world would not lead to any reward. They require an intention for the akhirah. Dua is such a deed that even if the person is asking for a purely worldly need/desire such as ‘Allah, please give me food, shoes, clothes…’, the supplication is for only a worldly thing even in such a case dua is ibadat. Ulema have mentioned the reason for this.

They say that when making dua a person has to have tawazeh[aajizi], the supplicated is a saa’il. Due to this tawazah even though he is asking for the world Allah has made even this entreaty for the world worship.

Asking from khaliq and makhluq: differences in their manner of responding to supplications

One is a supplication to the creator; another is a supplication to the created/makhluq. Both of these are completely different, like the earth and sky. Makhluq gives to those who are close to them; Khaliq grants everyone, even the disbelievers

 1. You must have noticed that if the makhluq reach that level/status where they can give to others then they give to those who are their own.

If they get the government then they grant privileges to those who are close to them. If their factory does well then they give jobs to people who are close to them. It is a custom of the makhluq that they grant things to those who are their own (people).

The khaliq’s matter is different.

That Lord, in this world, grants blessings to those who are His own as well as to ghair/strangers. Thus He fulfills the desires of the unbelievers as well. That Lord manifests His quality of being Rehman in this world: where he gives to the loyal people, there He also gives to those who betray Him. Rather He satisfies the loyal on plain food and says that if these were ghaddar/betrayers then I would make even their roofs of gold. Grant them in this world. That is why the Lord grants and gives to everyone in this world. Makhluq gives with anger; khaliq with love

 2. If the makhluq ever gives then it is with anger: if you are travelling in a car and your mother is sitting at the back and the car stops at a traffic light and a beggar comes. He comes and knocks the window. You make a sign to tell him to leave. But they too are very steadfast. Without caring for your answer they keep knocking. Now you start getting angry: ‘when I have said no, leave, then why is he still knocking?’ Now the mother says from the back: ‘son, if you have any change then give it to the beggar’. Now that your mother has said that you have to give something. You open the window and give some money but look with anger since you told him to go away but he did not listen. Thus sometimes when the makhluq gives it does so with anger and resentment but it is not a different case with Allah.

 The Lord never gives with anger; whenever He gives it is with love. He always grants with love.

 3. Makhluq start avoiding you if you ask continuously; Allah makes you his wali

There is one more noticeable thing in makhluq. If you ask once, they will give. You ask a second time, they will consider it a burden. The third time they will try to avoid giving. And the fourth time they will just refuse and say ‘what kind of a person is this? He just keeps asking and is not ashamed.’ They will close the door and stop meeting; they’ll break relations. ‘He is always asking for something’ Thus with makhluq you see that if you ask again and again then they will close the doors and push you away. If you ask once from Allah, He gives. You ask a second time, He grants it. A third time, He gives. You ask again and again and He gives again and again. Rather, the person who asks Allah for every single thing, in every single condition Allah admits that person among his auliya. ‘This servant of mine does not turn to anyone but me. He is my wali. Whenever he supplicates, he does so from me’.

4. There is another difference between the giving of the makhluq and the giving of the khaliq. A person of great status gets affronted if you ask little from him. If there is a very rich person and you tell him that you need one rupee he will say that ‘you have insulted me publicly. You ask me for one rupee? Who do you take me for? What do you think I am?’ If you ask a person of high status for something meager then he becomes angry. Similarly if you go to a poor person and ask for a loan of a million dollars he will say: ‘are you joking!’ If you ask for a large sum from the poor, he is angry, and if you ask for a meager amount from a rich person he is also enraged.

But the affair of the Lord is different. If you ask for little, He gives. If you ask for a lot, He gives. It is written in books that if a person even asks for the broken shoelace Allah grants it to him happily.

5. We have noticed another different. If you go to someone and say that ‘I am in need’ they say: ‘I really want to do something for you and not send you back empty handed, but my trade is not doing well, conditions are not good…’ So the makhluq wants to help but the situation is not such that they can do so.

This is not so with Allah. There there is neither a budget deficit nor a lack in His treasures. Whenever a person supplicates to Allah Allah always grants his wish and does so with pleasure.

 6. Another difference is that the door of the creation is open during the day and closed during the night. If there is a friend then his office will be open during the day, the shop will be open during days, the times during which you can meet will be during the day. At night the office will be closed and the superior will be resting at home. Doors are open during the day and close at night.

But the Lord’s glory is different. You can supplicate during the day, the door will be open. You can do so at night and the door will still be open.

He says: la ta’fuz a hu sinatun wa la naum (19:29).

 The Lord neither gets drowsy nor sleepy.

It should not be so that my servant supplicates and the giver is sleeping. He said that we have no need for even sleep and drowsiness. We are always in a state of being awake. My servant may turn to me anytime and he will always find me awake. Allah does not ask for things; He gives them.

7. There is one more thing. If you have asked the makhluq to do something, then they also have expectations (tawaqu’at). So if you go a second time they ask: ‘What did you bring? Have you brought a gift or not?’ So if you go to the door of makhluq (creation) you are asked: ‘What have you brought?’ It’s a different matter with Allah.

Whenever you go to Allah’s door Allah does not ask ‘What did you bring?’ But He does ask his servant: ‘What did you come to ask from me?’ When someone goes to king’s doors then kings do not inquire about what they have brought with them. They ask ‘what have you come to get/ask for?’ Therefore we should turn to Allah for our needs. If we do so then we will not have to turn to the creation. Rather than ‘dua karna’ we tend towards ‘dua parhna ’If we know how to ask from Allah, then the problem is that these days we ‘read’ duas (parhtay hain) we do not make dua (kartay nahi hain).

 A dua is not accepted via recitation; it is accepted when we ask/make it (maangnay se qabool hoti hai).

Story of Hajjaj bin Yosuf and the blind man who got his eyes when he truly made dua

 There is a famous story of Hajjaj bin Yusaf: he was doing tawaf and saw a blind person who was making dua in a routine manner: ‘Allah heal my eyes, give me light of the eyes’. Hujjaj bin Yusaf stood there, kicked/pushed (thokar laga kar) the blind person and told him: ‘I am Hujjaj bin Yusaf’.

 It was well known of him that he was a very hard hearted person and always did what he said. The blind person got scared: what trouble has descended now! Hujjaj bin Yusaf told him that: ‘I am doing tawaf and I have x rounds left. If your eyes are not healed by the time I have completed them then I will have you killed’, and stationed a guard there to ensure that the blind person would not escape and started his tawaf. Now after being told that he will be killed, the whole demeanor of the blind person changed: earlier he was just ‘saying’ dua. Now, Ya Allah, earlier it was a question of eyes, now it’s a matter of life and death! He cried and cried and pleaded with Allah. It is said that before Hujjaj bin Yusaf returned Allah healed his eyes. Hujjaj bin Yusaf told him: the way you were praying earlier, you could have stayed here in haram for your whole life but it would not have been accepted. You were just saying dua, reading the words. When your heart fluttered and was moved then the dua you made, and Allah has promised:

Amain yujjibul mustara iza dua (33:26)

Dua is different from assigning Allah a task to be done These days we have often seen that people do not make duas (maangtay nahin); rather they do it as though it’s a job that has been assigned to them.

 Now pay attention: someone comes to your office and tells the engineer to do this, and the plumber to do that, and the electrician to get something done – he is assigning work to all these people. Analyze your prayers (dua): our dua is also similar: ‘Allah, may my son be married. My daughter should get a son. Younger son get a job. This happen to x…’. Our manner is such as though maazAllah we are assigning Allah things to be done. A dua is not accepted like this.

So, in dua, do not assign tasks to Allah. Maangna (asking) is abdiyat, required humility. So in dua a person has to ask from Allah.

Asking others to make dua for you Another thing: asking others to pray for you is a very good habit. The Prophet SAW used to both pray and ask others to pray for him too. It is in hadith: Umar was going for umrah and the Prophet said: remember us in your prayers. Therefore, the Prophet has prayed and asked others to pray for him too and taught this to the ummah. It is better to become a person for whom others automatically make dua without being asked This is a good practice: taking dua from a teacher, from parents, elders.

But there is an even better practice than asking others to make dua: that is, rather than asking others to make dua, become a person who takes dua (dua lenay wala). Asking others to make dua amounts to: ‘mother, pray for me; teacher, make dua for me; hazrat ji, pray for me’. Taking dua means that a person becomes such a good student that the teacher’s heart makes dua for him, becomes such a good saalik that when they shaykh sees him, prays from his heart, becomes such an obedient son that when the mother looks at him, her heart gives dua for him.

Doors of Allah’s mercy are opened for the person who becomes a person who takes duas.

So young people should become people who take duas because it takes time to come to the door of Allah but getting (milnay me) does not take time. Receiving from Allah’s door does not take time.

 Hadith: man salallahu shahadata be sidqin balaghullah manaazil a shuhadae wa im ma’ata al firaashe hi (36:57).

The person who has the desire for shahadat in his heart and he prays in his heart then though he may die on a bed Allah will give him the status of a shaheed on the Day of Judgment.

 Allah grants more than expected: example of Hazrat Ibrahim’s dua (fruits for his offspring: fruits of trees verses fruits of everything!)

There is a custom in Allah’s place that the supplicant is always given more than he expected. There is an example in the Quran. Ibrahim alaihe salam made dua: ‘O Allah, I settled my children near your home. Warduhum min a samara’. Grant them fruit to eat’. Now it’s a custom that fruit grow on trees but when Allah spoke about the acceptance of this dua

He said: ‘O my Ibrahim yuj-ba elaihi samaraat u qul e shai’in (38:22).

Fuits of everything will reach this place.’

He did not say ‘samaraat ul ashjaar’, fruits of trees, though that is the understanding. But Allah grants more. Look, the fruit of trees is their fruit, the fruit of farming are vegetables, the fruit of factories are their products, and the fruit of humans is their offspring. So Allah said: My Ibrahim, you asked for fruit that is normally that of trees. I am such a generous Giver, Parwardigaar, that I will bring to baitullah not only the fruit that grow on trees but everything that is growing/being made anywhere in the world due to your dua. Today you can see that fruits from all over the world can be found in Makkah, as well as vegetables, clothes and every product of convenience. This was yuj-ba elaihi samaraat u qul e shai’in.

Example of Hazrat Umar’s dua’s acceptance: Allah grants beyond the expectation of the supplicant Umar raziullah anhu was once returning from umrah and slept in an open place. When he woke for tahajjud the moon of the 14th of the month was shining. Looking at the moon of the sky he thought of the moon of Madinah and missed the Prophet Sallallu ‘alaihe wassalam.

At that time he made a dua to Allah: ‘O Allah, grant me shahadat for you, make my grave in the city of your beloved’ (40:20). The prayer was accepted. He could have been given shahadat on the ground or at the top of a mountain, but no: it was in masjid-e-nabwi, in a state of purity, during prayer when he was reciting the Quran. It was in that state that he was attacked and that attack was the cause of his shahadat. He had not thought of how he would be granted shahadat. Then, if he got the sa’adat of being buried in Jannat-al-Baqi then his prayer would have been accepted: let me be buried in the city of your beloved. But the Giver is very Generous. ‘Loved one of my beloved, you asked from Me to let you rest in the Prophet’s city. I will let you rest not in jannat-ul-Baqi but near the feet of the Prophet’. Thus, whenever the supplicant has asked for something, the Giver has always exceeded what was requested.

 He grants beyond the expectations. Sinner’s prayers are also accepted; ‘I am a sinner’ should not stop you from praying.

Example of Iblis Sometimes we think that we are not worthy of making dua, we are such sinners. Never avoid making dua for the reason that we are sinners because the Lord does not only accept the prayers of the virtuous, He also accepts the prayers of the sinners.

 Sufiyan bin Uyaina said a strange thing: Let not anyone among you be stopped from praying by the thought that you have sinned. Allah even accepted the worst sinner, Iblis’s dua when he said ‘Allah, give me time till the day of judgment’. Allah said, I granted it to you. So if Allah can accept shaytan’s prayers, then why should the supplicant who recites the kalima be worried! (42:30-43:30).This is shaitan’s weapon. He makes us think ‘we have sinned so much, what dua should we make? We have tongues that lie’. If the kalima recited from such a tongue can be accepted then the dua will also be accepted! So, never delay makind dua and never stop yourself from it. Need to make dua with the heart as well.

An inattentive heart will not lead to acceptance.

 Example of Musa alaihe salam and the shepherd who was inattentive while supplicating If you ask from humans, they become angry. If you do not ask from Allah, then He is displeased. However, when a person makes dua the heart should be attentive; not that you are praying with your tongue and your heart is thinking of something else. Once Musa alaihe salam passed a person who was making dua and hi tears were also visible.

Wa qaala musa alaihe salam (44:41) Musa said, ‘O Allah, lo qaanat hajatahu beyazi qazaituha (44:43) O Allah, were it in my ikhtiyar then I would resolve this person’s problems. He is crying and supplicating. Fa au Allahu ta’ala ilai. Allah sent a wahi to Musa alaihe salam: ana arhamu be hi minka. O my beloved Musa, I am more merciful towards this person than you, wa la kin-na hun yad u ni. But he is making dua to me and

 wa la hul ghanamul wa qalbahu inda ghanamehi (45:58).

He has a herd, and his heart is thinking of his herd and is concerned about his goats. Wa inni la astajeebu le abdin yad u ni wa qalbuhu illa ghairi. And I do not accept such a dua where the dua is being made to me and the heart is busy with someone else. Scholars have also translated ghanam as the heart was busy with goats/animals, and then took that to mean women. That the heart was entangled with a women.

Thus the dua is being made to Allah while the heart is concentrated elsewhere then how will the dua be accepted? Musa alaihe sala, le rajuli zalika, told that person this thing: that your heart is stuck so your prayers will not be accepted till the heart is not emptied. Fan qatala illallahe tala be qalbehi (46:26): that person separated his heart from everything . Fa quziyat hajatuhu, Allah accepted his dua immediately. Allah desires your heart to be attentive as you are making supplications to him. Hadith (46:56): Allah sent a wahi to Isa alaihe salam: ‘Give me khushu’ from your heart and khuzu’ from your body’, that is to make dua with respect, dignity and adab. ‘And give me tears from your eyes. Then make dua and I will accept it. Indeed I am the acceptor of your duas’.

 Dua may not be immediately accepted: you should continue praying. Example of the child asking his mother for something he wants Therefore if a person makes dua to Allah, Allah will accept them. Sometimes signs of acceptance are not immediately visible after dua. One should not stop making dua; it should be continued. There have been elders whose duas have been accepted after twenty five, fifty years and they have seen them being accepted. It takes time but Allah accepts them. Sometimes a child says: ‘mother, buy me ice-cream’ but the mother refuses: ‘no, you have a sore throat’. He cries for the ice-cream but the mother keeps refusing. The child keeps crying and asking and the mother keeps refusing but at the end the same mother gives the ice-cream to the child. The matter is similar with Allah. The person cries and asks for something, and finally Allah opens the door.

The Prophet SAW said (49:13): I swear by the Being who holds my life, a person makes dua to Allah and Allah becomes angry with the person. Allah does not accept his dua. The person prays again. Again, Allah does not accept it (Allah does airaaz). He asks again, and Allah does not grant it. He asks again for the fourth time and Allah says to the angels: It seems like my servant has decided to supplicate only to me and not from any ghairullah. I’ll accept his dua.

Allah likes two things: wasila of amal, and aitaraaf-e-jurm. These lead to acceptance of dua Thus by praying time and time again the prayer is finally accepted. We should also ask from Allah and do it over and over again. Asking once is not enough. There is a point to note here: there are two things that Allah likes which lead to acceptance of prayers:

1. First is that a person should present the wasila of his amal (deed) in front of Allah.

Mafhoom-e-Hadith: Three men of Bani Israel were stuck in a cave when large stones closed off the way out. The first offered his action: he had treated his parents well. Part of the stone was removed. The second offered the amal: ‘Allah, I avoided zina because of my fear for you.’ The third: ‘I did not do khiyaanat in another person’s imaanat’. Allah removed the stones and freed them from their trouble. This hadith makes it clear that either a person should offer his deeds.

 Example of famine in Delhi: dua accepted by wasila of the mother

It is said that during the time of Shaykh Abdullakht Delhivi (51:41) there was a very bad famine in Delhi. The ulema of the city made an announcement for everyone to gather in a square (medaan) along with their children and cattle and to stand in the sun and pray to Allah for rain. They started praying from ishraaq till asr. There was not a single cloud visible in the sky. People were surprised: thousands are crying, supplicating, children and women, and even the animals are getting troubled but Allah’s mercy is not descending.

 Now a youth was taking someone on a camel and saw the crowd. He stopped and inquired why the people were all gathered. They said that they have been praying since ishraaq and now its asr but their prayer is not being accepted. He said okay, returned to his camel and made a dua. It started raining immediately.

The ulema were amazed and went to the youth and asked him: ‘O youth, what was your deed due to which Allah has sent his mercy?’ He replied: ‘my mother is sitting on this camel and I know that she is virtuous and pure and has spent a virtuous life. I came and I caught a corner of her clothing and prayed: ‘O Allah, I am the son of this mother who has spent a virtuous life. Allah tujhay is ki paak daamini ka waasta sent rain on your servants.’ Allah liked this so much that he sent rain immediately.

2. Aitaraaf-e-jurm

So, one way is for a person to offer his deeds to Allah. However, this is not possible for us. We don’t even find a single deed in our lives that we can offer in front of Allah, not a single day in our lives that was free of sin, then how can we offer our deed? Who can dare to offer his worship in front of Allah? So, for sinners like us, we cannot offer our deeds.

 However, there is one thing that Allah likes: aitaraaf-e-jurm. Acceptance of our sins. Accepting in front of Allah that we have sinned. When a person does that, Allah likes his aitaraaf and accepts his repentance (tawba) and his dua.

 Example of famine in Undalis: King made dua asking forginess for his sins and mercy Once in 350 hijri there was a famine in Undalis. There were no rains. Ulema decided that everyone should gather and make dua to Allah. They prayed all day but the dua was not accepted. Someone went and told the king. His name was Abdurrehman Nasir. He was told that everyone has been praying for so long but the dua is not being accepted. Abdurrehman Nasir had not been wearing his crown.

He got up and went out with naked feet and head and ran in such a state and mingled in the crowd, raised his hands and prayed: ‘Allah, I am the great sinner. Please do not put your servants in hard times because of my sins. I ask for forgiveness. Forgive me and grant your blessing to your servants’. It started raining even before his hands completely lowered. So, aitaraaf-e-jurm is also liked by Allah.

This is something that people like us can also do. We can accept our sins in front of Allah and ask him that ‘O Allah, however we are, we are yours’.

Example. ‘I have nothing to recommend me, but I only belong to you’.

It is said that there was a woman whose husband got angry and said: ‘you are neither pretty not intelligent, you are not from a prestigious family, nor do you have wealth etc etc…What do you have?’ Tears came in the woman’s eyes and she said: ‘Nahi koi auqaat auganhaar di, jeho jayi wi aun mein haun sarkaar di’. That is: ‘I have no worth. Whatever you have said is true. I have no quality, nothing good to speak of, but one thing is certain: howsoever I am, I am yours. I do not look at anyone other than you’. It is said that the husband liked what she said so much that he forgave her negligence.

We too say the same in front of Allah: ‘We are sinners, we do not have good deeds, good qualities, good manners, nothing to make us worthy. We have nothing but sins with us. But however we might be we still belong only to you. We recite your kalima. Accept only you as our Lord. We have not bowed in front of any ghair other than you. Never spread our hands (in supplication) in front of any ghair. O Allah, we are asking only from you. Do not make us go away from your door empty handed’.

Example: sinner of bani Israel who was cast out due to his sins and became a wali of Allah when he called out to Him after becoming all alone, in a foreign land If we ask with attentiveness then Allah will grant us.

Learn the way/manner of asking from the sinner of Bani Israel.

He made a dua from which we can all learn. Wahb ibn munab (59:52) is the narrator.

He narrated: There was a youth, very wild. He sinned and worshipped his nafs. He used to be engrossed with all kinds of sins (nafsaani, shaitaani, shehvaani). He sinned so much that the people of the village gathered and decided to tell him to stop. And if he does not stop, we will throw him out of the village. Therefore he stopped for a few days and then again sinned. The villagers then beat him up and banished him from the village.

Due to his sins he was cast out of his village by his fellow villagers. Now, after getting out he was in a secluded area. He stayed there a few days; there was nothing to eat, to drink, nor anything else. He fell sick. There was no one to tend to him or to give him medicine. No one to ask him how he was. He died in that secluded area. He died in front of the town gates in the isolated area.

Allah swt sent a wahi to Musa alaihe salam: inna waliyan min alauliya I, One wali from among my awliya, azrahul maut fazurhu, He has passed away. You should go, wa ghassil ho, bathe him, wa salli alaihi, and pray his namaz-a-janaza. Wa qul, and announce it, le man kasara isyanu hu, the person whose sins are very great, yahzaru janazatun, if he comes to pray that person’s janaza, le aghfirla la hum, then I will forgive their sins as well. Wah mil hul illaiya le akrama maswahu, bring him to me, bury him, I will do his ikraam. (1:02) Musa alaihe salam made the announcement. Many people were gathered. Everyone wanted to have their sins forgiven by praying the janaza.

There are two types of mayyat (dead bodies):

- Due to the people who pray the namaz-e-Janaz Allah forgives the sins of the person who passed away.

There is a hadith that if forty believers pray someone’s janaza Allah forgives the sins of that person.

- Some mayyats are such that by praying their janaza the people who prayed it are forgiven. This person was among those. Therefore, everyone from Bani Israel came to pray the janaza of that person. When the people of the village saw him they recognized him. They said: ‘O Prophet of Allah, this is the same faasiq(sinner) whom we had thrown out of the village’. Musa AS was also surprised.

Allah revealed a wahi: ‘These people are correct. However, when this person was close to death in this secluded area he looked towards his left and towards his right. He saw no friend, nor did he see anyone close, and he found himself alone, in a place that was not his home, disgraced.

When he saw no one then he gazed towards the sky and said: ‘Allah, I am also one servant among your servants. I have been thrown out of my home. If I had known that your glory would increase by punishing me and giving me azaab, and by forgiving me there would be a reduction in your treasures then I would not ask for forgiveness. Allah, I have no malja and maawa (1:06:15) other than you now, and I have also heard that you have said: Inni alal gafur-u-rahim, you are very forgiving and merciful. Allah do not make me lose all hope’.

O Musa, would it have suited me to discard his prayer! He was not in his homeland. With this quality he found my tawassul with my Mercy. He cried in front of me. I swear by my honor, if that person had asked me the same for all the sinners of the world I would have forgiven them.

Because he was a pardesi, O Musa, I am the shelter of the pardesi. The person who has no one, O Musa, I am his friend. I am his tabib. I am the one who has mercy on him.’

 He is such a merciful Lord. When a person sees that there is no one close and calls out to Allah, Allah grants that faasiq that station of walayat that anyone who prays his janaza will also be forgiven. Allah says that he only asked for his maghfirat, if he had asked the maghfirat of all the sinners of the world I would have forgiven them.

So we know that if a sinner asks from Allah, is truly ashamed in front of Allah, and does aitaraaf of his sins and asks, then Allah’s mercy is moved.

 Let’s do this today in front of Allah, repent and ask for forgiveness of our sins. Allah, do not let us return empty handed. We recited the kalima all our lives, our hair became white. Allah, when a slave serves his master and becomes old and his hair whiten then the master grants the slave freedom. O Allah, we too got white hair reciting the kalima.

O Allah, do save us from the hellfire. We have no deed to offer you; hamaray safed baalon ki laaj rakh lejiyay. We know that the person who is sent empty handed from your door is truly disgraced, he has no other door to go to. Lord, in the world the person begging for food can turn to another door if he is sent away from one, and to a third…but for us, there is no second door to turn to. We can only ask from you. You are the only one who can give. Do not ask: my servants, what have you brought? But do ask, what do you want?

Recommended Ibadah at Tahajjud

Posted in CII talks, Dhikr, Ibadah, Tazkya Talks with tags , , , on August 11, 2011 by Islamic Spirituality

Q: Recommended Ibadah at the time of Tahajjud

If a person, Alhamdulillah by the Grace of Allah swt, is granted the tawfiq to wake up [for Tahajjud] with the limited time there is for it – I would say that:

Sunnah of the time is:

(Praying) Tahajjud, Istighfaar, Dua

In other words, to offer some Salah, to make Istighfaar and to make dua – these three things have to be done. If a person  feels that they have extra time after that then the Mashaikh say that Fajr should not dawn upon a person unless they are in a state of zikr; the moment of dawn should find a person in a state of zikr of Allah swt.

I have read some of the biographies of the Mashaikh that they would wake up offer tahajjud, make istighfaar, make duaa and then do zikr and these are the four things they did. The reason for this is that Allah swt mentions in the Holy Quran that the people who seek the forgiveness of Allah swt at the time of Tahajjud and then Allah swt mentions in Quran Al-Kareem that which has been witnessed at the time of fajar. Some of the mashaikh took from that and they would do tilawat-e-quran at the time of fajr and not prior to that. A person can mix it up that if some night they feel like praying longer and reciting more quran and that may mean that they are able to make less duaa then that is also fine and on other nights they may perhaps not pray so long and make more duaa that is fine.

[QnA Session of CII, Tazkiya talk]

Second Ashra:Taubah

Posted in Ibadah, Lahore Talks, Ramadan, Repentance, Taqwa with tags , , , on August 11, 2011 by Islamic Spirituality

[Following is a transcription(not word by word) of a talk delivered by Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed db during Ramadan 2009]

Alhamdulillah, by the Grace of Allah سبحانه وتعالى, you have completed the first 10 days of Ramadan – the first Ashrah of Ramadan – you just prayed the 11th Taraveeh and insha’Allah if you rise in the morning to see another day, you will make the niyyat to fast the 11th day of Ramadan.

Syeddina RasoolAllahi صلى الله عليه وسلم mentioned in hadith that Ramadan has three parts: the first 10 days are a Rehmah from Allah سبحانه وتعالى; the Middle 10 days are forgiveness from Allah swt and the last 10 days are emancipation from the Hellfire.

What we normally witness at the Masajid is that the first few days of Ramadan, we have a surge of people. This lasts till the 4, 5th of Ramadan and then it starts to dip again. Many of this have it in us that in the beginning of Ramadan, we have a lot of inertia, we have a lot of jazba and passion, but then it begins to dip and fade in the middle and all of a sudden in the last 10 days, the last ashrah in search of Laila tul Qadr and in ‘itekaaf we have a surge again.

Now, its strange when we think of this that the middle 10 days are the days of maghfirah from Allah سبحانه وتعالى, so actually we should be increasing in our passion in these middle 10 days. And that is one way to understand how Allah سبحانه وتعالى Has Put this Rehma in the first 10 days i.e. out of His Mercy Allah سبحانه وتعالى Allowed us to fast although we weren’t worthy of such an ibadah. In the first 10 days, Allah سبحانه وتعالى out of His Mercy let us increase in our a‘amaal, in our ibadaat although we weren’t worthy of such an honour and in the first 10 days, out of His Mercy, Allahسبحانه وتعالى Enabled us to do those a’amaal that may now be a means of earning His Maghfirah and that is really what the whole month of Ramadan is; the whole month of Ramadan is just a bahana just an excuse for Allah سبحانه وتعالى to forgive our sins. You just spent the first 10 days of Ramadan earning a reason for Allah سبحانه وتعالى  to Forgive us – 10 days of fasting; 10 days of Taraveeh; and (for the vast majority of us) 10 days of staying away from gross and manifest and repugnant sin. In other words, aap naik bun ker rahein hain yeh 10 din as opposed to how we were living the rest of the year. Allah سبحانه وتعالى is such an incredibly Merciful Being that that servant and slave of His, who lives his entire life as a sinner, if for only 10 days he lives like a servant and even that was only due to the Mercy of Allah سبحانه وتعالى but nonetheless he lived like a servant and Allah سبحانه وتعالى Has opened these middle 10 days for maghfirah. Now Allah سبحانه وتعالى increases the forgiveness! Every day and every night [in these middle 10 days] Allah سبحانه وتعالى will Take out thousands and thousands of His slaves from the destiny of Hellfire and will be now admitted into Jannah.

The whole apparatus of Ramadan that we have been talking about is for this reason i.e. for Maghfirah:

- Closing the doors of Jahannum; opening the doors of Jannah

- Closing and binding all of the Shayateen

- Enabling us to fast to discipline our Nafs

- Putting us in a state of ibadat for 14, 15 hours of the day

- Telling us to pray taraveeh prayers, extra at night

All of this, in order to do our Maghfirah

So, it behooves us now, rather than letting ourselves dip rather than lapsing, that we should enter these middle 10 days with a renewed passion and the passion that we should have in these 10 days is seeking the forgiveness of Allah سبحانه وتعالى. That is why Allah سبحانه وتعالى has said in the Qur’an-e-Karim:

َأَنَا التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ

[2:160]

Allah سبحانه وتعالى Says about Himself that I am At-tawwaab and I (Allah swt) am Ar-Rahim

First meaning of At-Tawwab:  refers to that being who Accepts the Taubah of the people who turn unto Him. Taubah means to turn to Allah سبحانه وتعالى; to Turn away from sin and towards Allah swt; to turn away from ignorance, towards ‘ilm; to turn away from misguidance, to being rightly guided; to turn away from Ghaflah -being absent minded-, towards Dhikr-remembrance of Allah; to turn away from sins, back to obedience; to turn away from all of ghair-ullah, towards Allah سبحانه وتعالى. And At-tawwab means that Allah سبحانه وتعالى Accepts such a person’s Taubah.

Second meaning of At-Tawwab:  is related to us that we are At-Taaib that we are returning to Allah سبحانه وتعالى

At-Tawwab means that Allah swt is infinitely turning towards us. Just like the person who makes Taubah turns towards Allah swt, Allah swt’s Calling Himself At-Tawwab means that He is infinitely eternally turning towards that person who turns towards Him. That is what the Prophet is trying to say in a hadith-e-Qudsi that Allah swt Says that I am with my servant when he comes closer to Me, I come closer to My servant when he draws close to Me, I come nearer to My servant when she draws herself near to Me – such that if she comes to Me a handspan, I Come to her an arm’s length

….to be continued, insha’Allah

[Following is a transcription(not word by word) of a talk delivered by Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed db during Ramadan 2009]

Treating Spiritual lows

Posted in CII talks, Dhikr, Ibadah, Leaving Sin, Love, Muslim Youth, Nafs, Repentance, Taqwa, Tasawwuf Essentials, Tazkya Talks with tags , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2011 by Islamic Spirituality

[Following are a few highlights from Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed db's CII Tazkiya talk on 12th May 2011]

Right after a person sins, Allah swt can take him back in moments even that person who has been sinning for years only if he asks for the Mercy of Allah swt. So, our response when are in a spiritual low is to be humble, to be shamed, to feel need and dependence upon Allah swt – and if we do that – i.e. if a person throws themselves in sajdah at the mercy of Allah swt then there is great hope that Allah swt can forgive them and Allah swt can raise them out of that spiritual low. Sometimes a person makes a person commit a mistake that [after they sin, or are in a spiritual low, they don't put themselves before Allah swt, but instead]  they first try other types of means [to come out of that spiritual low] for e.g. they’d think okay i’ll read something, or go online and listen to a lecture – I’m not saying reading books and listening to lectures online is not beneficial, they definitely are, – but at that particular time a person is not going to benefit merely from listening to a lecture online or reading a book and what happens is that a person will then say that i didn’t even feel like doing that or i listened to the lecture but it had no effect on my heart and so the person will get even more depressed. Now, this is Shaytan taking a person on a ride, keeps making a person think that they have to find the ability from within and inside of themselves to come out of sin and when they do all of those things that otherwise, normally, do increase their ability and they don’t have an effect on them – they become even more depressed. And they think that they have completely lost the ability to come [out of their sinful state], and they completely loose their ibadah.

So, know that in this situation a person has to throw themselves in sajdah, and make dua directly from Allah swt – yes, maybe listening to a talk may motivate them to do that, reading something may motivate them to do that, talking to someone may help them do that, something may push them drive them spur them to do that – but the only way to get out of a spiritual low and to get back on to a spiritual high is to lower ourselves before that being who is Al-mighty, return to Allah swt.

That is what we see in the duas of Sayyidina RasoolAllahi صلى الله عليه وسلم and the ambiya-e-karam ‘alaihimussalam, duas of Sahabah, Tabieen, Taba tabieen and the duas that we hear from our own Ullema and Mashaikh –  that many of their duas involve a person’s simply submitting themselves directly to Allah swt, presenting themselves directly before Allah swt

A person must have a direct relationship with Allah swt, and if a person neglects that or looses that then there is no replacement from that. Even the relationship with Shaykh is all about trying to connect a person to Allah swt, linking a person to Allah swt, restore that person’s link to Allah swt, re-motivate that person to connect to Allah swt – but at the end of the day, we must have a direct relationship with Allah swt. In other words, when you see all these different duas, the sincerity of the dua can be seen by how personal the duas were made to Allah swt – that  how much in the history of humanity, people have personally loved Allah swt, personally begged Allah swt, personally thrown themselves at the Mercy  of Allah swt, personally been shameful in front of Allah swt and thats really one of the big aspects of Tasawwuf – that by Dhikr and Rabta and Sohbah, – all of it is geared to help that person develop and maintain their personal relationship with Allah swt; their direct relationship with Allah swt.

And, whenever that becomes falls; or becomes weak, then there is no ability inside of ourselves to bring that back – because that relationship was a gift from Allah swt, was bestowed by Allah swt on us.

One of the greatest ways, we loose that personal relationship with Allah swt is, when we form personal relationships with other people outsides the bounds of Shariah – so, then what happens is that all the feelings that they were supposed to have for Allah swt, they start having them for a human being. This is a very very dangerous situation.

And this is something that it is so difficult for  a person to get out of, so difficult. Our Shaykh in his book, ‘Ishq-e-Ilaahi’ which has been translated as ‘Love for Allah swt’, he gave a beautiful example comparing what we call “Ishq-e-majazi and Ishq-e-haqiqi”

Ishq-e-Majazi – is the false love; fake love that we feel for ghairullah – a more fancy translation in English would be Metaphorical love.

Why is it called Majaz; Metaporical love?

It is called Metaphorical love because it seems to be like; it tries to take the place of; it tries to adopt the characteristics of Ishq-e-haqiqi which is the true love - which is the Love for Allah swt

In fact, I would say that – the more majaaz the ishq is, the more devastating it is. In other words, the more it resembles – seemingly; deceptively – love for  Allah swt, the more devastating and crippling it is!

What does it mean?

It means that a crude, lustful love for some member of creation, although it is definitely sinful; definitely problematic, definitely it is a physical sin – but my view is that the crude physical , lustful love is less harmful than ishq-e-majazi -

Ishq-e-majazi again means that a person feels emotionally for someone what they were supposed to emotionally feel for Allah swt. And what are those things?

For e.g. Feelings of longing, of yearning, of need

Our Shaykh has outlined these one by one and the Mashaikh of Tasawwuf used to outline these characteristics one by one – and they would even write about the poetry and even the Arabic poetry would reflect this that the feelings that a person was supposed to feel for Allah swt, people ended up feeling that for the opposite gender. I’m stressing this tonight because, many times the reason we are in a spiritual low is because of this. And it means that we have instead in our heart a direct personal relation for someone else, but we were supposed to have that direct, personal relationship with Allah swt. And the reason its so difficult is that its “Natural” ; this is what we feel, we feel its natural – we feel we are being honest and we honestly, naturally say that I’m feeling these feelings for this person but we don’t know what to do about it. Those were exactly the feelings we were supposed to feel for Allah swt!

I remember a few years ago, I read a quote by one of the earliar awliyah – this is not a prescription, but a description – in other words we’re not prescribing this particular behavior – but he was describing something and he said that, “That person who has suffered from ishq-e-majazi, only that person would truly understand ishq-e-haqiqi – in other words, that person who has extracted themselves out one by one by one from all of those feelings that we have for ghairullah and gave each and every one of them one by one to Allah swt instead – that person would reach Ishq-e-haqiqi.

Obviously, there is the other realm – the more pure and noble one which is that there are going to be people in this world who never felt that ishq-e-majazi – feeling of love – resembling- yearning, longing, missing, craving for ghairullah, they only felt that for Allah swt! that is obviously the ideal way. But, for those for whom it is too late; they have already gotten those feelings for somebody else – they have already fallen in that sense for somebody else – so its only when they are able to completely give up on those things that they will be able to find Allah  swt again.

So, this is one of the major reasons that we fall into spiritual low. And, it is one of the most difficult things for a person to get out of Ishq-e-majazi. And, this is why many times we tell people, that the only thing that can take us out of spiritual and emotional addiction is to get on a higher emotional addiction i.e. Allah swt; the only thing that can get us out of this particular spiritual low is to get connected to the spiritual high of Allah swt; the only way to take out this emotional heartache that we feel for ghairullah is if we can learn to feel emotional heartache for Allah swt – if we can learn to miss Allah swt, to yearn for Allah swt, to crave Allah swt to long for Allah swt – and that requires a direct personal relationship

 

–cont’d, iA

[Following are a few highlights from Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed db's CII Tazkiya talk on 12th May 2011]

–cont’d, iA

[Following are a few highlights from Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed db's CII Tazkiya talk on 12th May 2011]

Harmful Effects of sins

Posted in Dhikr, Essentials of Deen, General Bayans, Ibadah, Leaving Sin, Muslim Youth, Purification of the Heart, Repentance, Taqwa, Tazkya Talks on February 18, 2011 by Islamic Spirituality
Taken from HERE
PURIFICATION OF HEART SERIES- part 2 [IBA]

Topic: Harmful effects of sin
Date: April 5, 2010
Venue: Main Campus, IBA
Speaker: Ustadha Sobia Qasim
[Following is NOT a transcription of the talk but merely an understanding based on Ms. Nida Fareed's notes taken during the session]

Harmful Effects of sins

We have to understand that we have to leave sins of the zahir and the sins of batin. Some of us think that it is okay if I don’t lie or if I don’t do gheebat etc but since our actions stem from inside, we have to take care of our baatin as well. 

We are protected by Allah SWT through a chaadar. Everytime we sin, a hole gets in that protection of Allah SWT. The effect of the sin can be immediate or it can be delayed. One of the sahabaa said that everytime he disobeyed Allah SWT, then immediately, something or the other would disobey him as well, be it his wife, his animal. So the effect of the sin can be immediate or delayed.

There are several effects of sin:

The first effect of Sin is that it makes us restless. Sins suck out the itminaan from our lives. Allah has said in the Quran: “Only in the remembrance of Allah can the heart find peace.” (Qur’an, 13:28)
The reason we sin is because we are negligent of Allah SWT and then Allah gives the ability to shaitan to overpower us. There is a very famous incident that a person was praying to Allah SWT and prayed to Allah that “O Allah, I have been sinning all my life, and You have still not taken my ibadaat from me, You have still not taken my tahajjud from me” and then Allah replied that O my beloved, I have taken the sweetness of ibadat from you…

When we put our heads on the ground for Sajda, how many of us feel the sweetness of ibadat? if we ask this question from anyone, he or she would say “ hello, I don’t even know what I am saying in namaaz, what are you talking about?!!?!?”

The real itminaan can only come from ibadat. Most of us when we get a day off or get holidays, we say “oh now, I will download movies and seasons and watch those” but all these things make us numb. We laugh when the fictional character is laughing, we cry when the character is crying. And some of us are even starting to have mushaahibat with those fictional characters with the way we talk, walk, etc. These things only give us temporary satisfaction and make us oblivious to our real problems. Only from the ibadat and obedience of Allah SWT can we find everlasting itminaan and peace

Haven’t we noticed that every single time we miss out on Fajr or be disobedient to Allah, our entire day becomes cranky. And when we are involve in ibadat of Allah, say we are fasting, there is a strange kind of happiness around us. To a person of true imaan, “depression” and all sorts of psychological illnesses are foreign because he or she has the true imaan.

The second effect of sin is that we become mehroom of Ilm-ul-Nafey (knowledge that benefits) Someone asked a scholar what is ilm? The scholar replied “ ilm woh nur hai jis per amal kiye baghair chain naa aye” knowledge is a light which can transform the heart. If our taqwa is not going up, it is not ilm, it is only maloomaat.

Some of us say that “whenever I want to attain knowledge of the deen, or want to attend that bayaan etc, some problem always come up” but instead we should be saying “what is it about me that is so displeasing to Allah SWT that He is not providing me the Fazaail of Rememberance. What is it about me that is going wrong?” So then Allah will automatically ease up matters

The third effect of sin is that it causes decrease in rizq . Rizq is an all encompassing term. It is anything that we need. It can be different for different people. It can be “good career” “good spouse” “good grades” etc. Whenever we sin, our rizq decreases.

We have heard a lot of people saying “we earn in lacs but we also spend in lacs” or “we earn in thousands but we also spend in thousands and there is no saving” or “ I work so hard, but don’t get good grades and the result was just not what I expected” . This is because of the sins that Allah takes away barakaah from their lives.

As for the person who is pleasing to Allah, Allah puts so much barakaah in his or her time or money that the entire amount will suffice for him or her. There is a hadith of Prophet S.A.W that “Allah says Take one step towards me, I will take ten steps towards you. Walk towards me, I will run towards you.” -Hadith Qudsi

The fourth effect of sin is that we get deprived of worship “ta’at sey mehroomi”. Most of us say that “before entering college, I used to pray 5 times a day”, or “I used to wear much decent clothes” or “I used to pray tahajjud, now I have trouble with offering my compulsory prayers as well. I have so much work, duties, etc” So instead, we should question ourselves that “what is it about me that Allah does not want my name to be included in the ranks of those who pray 5 times a day or in the ranks of those who perform tahajjud?” “why is Allah SWT taking away the taufeeq to pray from me?”

The fifth effect of the sin is that our health starts deteriorating “sehat sey mehroomi” health is one of the blessings of Allah. Nowadays, we hear young girls and boys saying that he or she has knee problem or the doctor has told him or her that he or she will have to be on drip. Such young people are having Blood pressure problems, depression and stress issues that it is really one of the effects of sin.

The sixth effect of sin is “bantey kaam ka bhigarna” so many of us say that “Oh, I was about to get an A but then I ended up getting A minus” it is just like to say “ A aatey aatey reh gaya” or “kaam hotey hotey reh gaya”.

We have to understand that sins affect not only our deen but also our dunya. Sahaaba used to lead such lives that they had kheir for not only Akhira but also dunya. And the more they used to forsake dunya for Allah, the more Allah ta’ala used to throw world at their feets.

So now, if anyone of us has these effects, what is it that can be done to cure it?

The first step is to do “kasrat sey astaghfar” Our prophet Mohammad S.A.W used to do astaghfar 70-100 times a day. You and I probably need to do astaghfaar more than 1000 times a day! We should do astaghfaar not only for sins we have already done but also for sins we are unable to leave at the moment. And we can do astaghfar whenever we have free time, for example during break from one class to another, when we are in the coaster etc.

The second step is to make sure we offer nafl prayers or nafl ibadat. In order to save our Faraaid, we have to offer nafl. This is to make sure that if anytime shaitaan attacks our ibadat, it is done on our nafl prayers and not on farz. Although nafl are very important but we have to make sure that if there is any lapse, let the lapse be in nafl.

Also, whatever good deeds we do, however much small, we have to make sure that we do them on a regular basis because Allah SWT loves deeds done on a regular basis more than the deeds which are not done regularly.

The third step is to make sure that we keep a good company. Nowadays we have cyber friends: we have cell phones and ipods. So why don’t we use these for the remembrance of Allah by keeping good lectures in them. Earlier on, people had to travel miles from one place to another to listen to a bayaan by a famous scholar. Now all we need to do is download and put it on our laptop or in usb etc.

Insha Allah, if we follow these small steps, we will be able to overcome the effects of sin, with the help of Allah SWT. May Allah SWT help us all. Ameen

What to do once we fall into sin?

Posted in CII talks, Essentials of Deen, Ibadah, Issues faced by Muslim Ummah, Leaving Sin, Love, Muslim Youth, Repentance, Sunnah, Taqwa, Tasawwuf Essentials, Tazkya Talks on February 5, 2011 by Islamic Spirituality

[The following post has been inspired by Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed db's CII Tazkya Talk -  February 3rd, 2011]

Tazkya Talk Flyer ->  [To listen to Shaykh's Tazkya Talk every Thursday 10:10pm [Click here]

 

In tonights tazkiya talk we learnt how to react properly once we have fallen into sin. We have heard our beloved Sheikh talk about staying pure and staying distant from sin, but tonight he taught us how to react to the state once we have fallen into sin.

Once we sin we tend to go deeper into it and the main reason is that we don’t react properly and we flounder into that sin. When a person succumbs to his nafs it takes a lot of effort to  get out of that sinful state so much so that they become sad for days and in result feel further distant from Allah swt. What we need to do is rather than further going into depression and further repeating that sin we should follow that one single sin immediately with an act of ibadaah.

Shaytaan makes a person more sad when he is ‘more religious’ or ‘trying more to get closer to the True Beloved swt’. A Person’s nafs makes him commit sin whereas shaytan makes him stare at that sin. He wants him to be sad and depressed and go into despair rather than believing in the Mercy of Allah swt. Shaytaan wants the person to be just like him. Shaytan had years of record of ibadaah which we can quote n quote say ‘taqwa’ yet he did not have belief in the Mercy of Allah swt and chose not to do tawbah. So what hurts shaytan relatively the most is not the taqwa of a momin but the tawbah of a momin . That one time that shaytan committed sin, he himself did not do tawbah and thus he doesn’t want us to do tawbah as well so he puts us in despair.

  • So every time we sin, and we fall in despair we should keep reading the following ayah:

قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَى أَنْفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِنْ رَحْمَةِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ

39:53 Say: “O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah. for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Here Allah swt has addressed specifically that momin and ibaad who wants to become closer to Allah swt, who have cried infront of Allah swt to forgive him , who genuinely tries to leave sin but he falls in sin again. Allah swt tells him in this ayah oh MY servant…(the ya in ibadee shows Allah swt saying Meray banday, ya shows ‘MERAY’ in Arabic language), even if you have sinned you are still Mine, you are still My ibaad so don’t despair I am not that upset with you I will have Mercy upon you and I will forgive you.

This is such a beautiful ayah that gives a sinner hope in the Mercy of Allah swt. Whereas shaytan puts in our hearts once we sin ‘you have just sinned and now you want to turn to Allah..you are a munafiq’ and thus a person feels spiritually low and sad for days and goes further in sin and thus  this is the victory of shaytan. In reality this is not munafaqat in the eyes of Allah, this is tawbah and we should not fall prey to shaytan.

how can we even let shaytan win when our Rabb-e-karim is calling us ‘Meray Banday’ even once we have sinned.

So the first thing that we should do once we fall in sin is keeping reciting this ayat, keep it in our wallet or anywhere near so we may read it over and over again and keep reminding ourself of Allah swt’s mercy till we do tawbah.

  • The second thing we should do is do some form of ibadah immediately after we sin i.e. recite istighfar, 2 rakat nafl or simply recite the above ayah and make dua to Allah swt. We should view that sin as a moment of  temporary insanity. It doesn’t mean we should belittle our sin. It means that we should go right back at being an ibaad, go right back into servanthood.

  • We should also reprimand or punish our nafs in some form immediately after we commit sin just like when we are teaching someone we correct them the moment they make a mistake, similarly we should punish our nafs the moment it falls in sin.

In a hadith Qudsi Nabi Kareem saw says that Allah swt says ‘when a person comes to Me walking I’d come to them running’.

So this is what is meants here..i.e. when we turn to Allah swt in tawbah immediately after sin Allah swt will come to us flying and running.

For a young person who commits sin it is very difficult for him to go the the masjid and pray isha in the masjid.It’s the last thing he wants.But its not a question of worthiness to be able to pray and present ourselves infront of Allah swt. If it was a question of worthiness then even if we had never ever sinned we’d still not be worthy to pray.

  • Another thing is that we should feel happy in our dua after sinning i.e. make dua in a state of hope by making dua to Allah that Ya Allah You have told me in the Quran not to despair, that you’d come running to me even if I crawl towards you by an inch, so please forgive me.

OUR REAL FAILURE IS NOT IN THE FAILURE TO DO TAQWAH . OUR REAL FAILURE IS IN THE FAILURE TO DO TAWBAH.

  • Another thing that Shaykh taught us tonight was that we should not stay in the place of sin once we have sinned or the state i.e. ‘haal’ or kaifiyat’ in which we have sinned. We should immediately change our ‘haal’ or ‘maqam’ and do some transition be it getting out of the room where we have sinned or simply going out of the house for a walk. We should not prolong the kaifiyat of sin.

We have to fear Allah when we are alone by ‘feeling’ Allah when we are alone.

  • Just like a coach is sitting in the corner and the boxer is fighting in the ring, when the boxer gets knocked down the coach doesn’t get upset on his falling but when he doesn’t get up.When the boxer gets knocked down and he gets up the coach doesn’t get upset on that. Infact if a boxer is knocked down and he knows that if he gets up he’ll get knocked down again, yet he gets up and fights the coach is proud of  him and the audience calls in the ‘himmah’ of the boxer.

Similarly when a person sins , even if he knows that he will fall in sin again yet he should get up and make dua to Allah and fight shaytan as this attracts the Mercy of Allah swt.

There is a hadith which summarizes that On the Day of Judgment  Allah swt would raise a person who spent his life in sin and tawbah rather than sin and taqwah. The Angels would bring him and say that look at him he never escaped sinning . But Allah swt will say that just like his nafs never stopped sinning he always kept making tawbah everytime he sinned, he kept turning to Me and today I have accepted not only his one tawbah but all of the tawbahs that he made to and I’ll enter him in Jannah.

That’s why the Mashaikh of tasawwuf always put emphasis on living by tawbah and dying in the state of tawbah. The term ‘tawwabeen’ refers to those who are perpetually in a state of tawbah. Indeed Allah swt love His sinning believers who keep making tawbah to him.

All in all, we should never make ourselves devoid of that one single amal that shaytan never had.

Qabiliyat and Qubooliyat

Posted in General Bayans, Ibadah, Qubooliyat on January 8, 2011 by Islamic Spirituality
The analogy of Iblees to the angels was in terms of their ibadat. Iblees was so qaabil in his ibadat that he is viewed as the likeness of the angels. So Allah swt gathered the angels to witness the creation of Adam AS, and Iblees was there as well, he had so much qaabiliyat that Allah swt called him with the angels.
Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (rah) said that Iblis was an alim and an abid. He knew, understood, he was an aarif, had the marifat of Allah swt. But, he was not maqbool, he had no qubooliat, not withstanding being the most qabil of all jins, he turned out to be the lowest of the low of all of creation, not withstanding the height of his qabiliyat. When he saw Adam AS he could see he was made from the earth, perdiodic table of the elements that the human being is made of. He was made of fire and said I am better than him: fire goes high, You made him from mud which is low.
All of that ended in shaytan becoming rajeem, rejected and repudiated.
فَاخْرُجْ مِنْهَا فَإِنَّكَ رَجِيمٌ
[15:34] Can you imagine any of us hearing that sentence, just on the day of Judgment, somewhere near the momineen, and imagine if Allah swt were to say exit from here, you are not worthy of this place, you are rajeem and should go to jahannam, this is how mardood he was: he heard that sentence.
This is the height of the jalal of Allah swt, Allah swt in His might and power is punishing Iblees, and he has maarifat that even at this time of the extreme manifestation of Allah swt, he knew that even if now if I use the word ‘rabb’ Allah will answer, so he said: ‘o rabbi give me a muhlat until that day when everyone will be resurrected’.

Maulana Rumi rah informs us that he could have done istighfar, could have made tawba he would have been forgiven, but he chose to ask for muhlat, and Allah swt would have given forgiveness had he asked. He had marifat that if I ask something I will be granted that something. He did not have the qubooliyat as he was drowned in the enmity against Adam AS and blinded by enmity, he wanted every single human being to be the enemy of Adam AS, Allah o akbar kabeera.
From so much qabiliyat ending in so much anger that he became the most rejected being. Allah swt said this is what you want and you are given it. And Allah swt puts him outside His mercy, ‘lanat’ means someone is outside His mercy. I pick you up and place you outside my mercy. Allah swt says in the Quran that mercy encompasses everything. But Allah swt picked him up and put him outside the reach of His mercy. Many of us have qabiliyat but we do not think about our qubooliyat. Adam AS was created just , now qabiliyat in terms of ibada, but shaytan millions and millions of years of ibadat. Allah o akbar!  quboliyat!

This is an excerpt from the live bayan delivered by Hazrat Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed on January 30 2010.

Taken from: HERE

8 Advices:Imam Al-Ghazali’s letter to his student

Posted in CII talks, Dhikr, Ibadah, Purification of the Heart, Tasawwuf Essentials, Tazkya Talks on November 1, 2010 by Islamic Spirituality

وَذَكِّرْ فَإِنَّ الذِّكْرَى تَنْفَعُ الْمُؤْمِنِين

“And remind, for indeed, the reminder benefits the believers.” (51:55)

* The script within square brackets are Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed[db]‘s personal comments on the text of the letter.

Imam Al-Ghazali rahimahullah wrote a letter to one of his students and this student was a graduate from the Madrassa (Islamic Institution of Learning) that Imam Al-Ghazali was teaching at. The Student actually wrote Imam Al-Ghazali a letter asking him for some final words of advice, which he promised in his letter, that he would bind close to his heart and do his utmost effort to practice upon through out his life. Imam Al-Ghazali wrote him a very long letter which has been printed in the Arab world as a small Risala or Treatise.

Imam Al-Ghazali rah begins this letter to his student, whom he affectionately calls ‘ walad’ ( Walad in Arabic means: Son), by saying “Ya ayyuh al walad-ul-mehboobi i.e. O my beloved Son”. And, in the course of this long letter, one of the things that Imam Al-Ghazali rah mentions are: 8 particular pieces of advice which are taken from a very famous story of a Shaykh of the Muslim Ummah by the name of Shaykh Shaqiq-al-balki rah:

Shaykh Shaqiq-al-balki rah had a student named Hatim al asan rah.  Hatim al asan was once in the company of his Shaykh, when Shaykh Shaqiq asked him: You have had my company for thirty years, what have you learnt in the 30 years that you have been with me?

[This also gives us an insight into the way people in the early Islamic period organized their relationship - it was a long term commitment. One could only imagine what it would be like to associate with a Shaykh, a wali of Allah swt, somebody like Shaykh Shaqiq rah for 30 years!]

So, after 30 years of having the student, the Shaykh asked him what have you learnt or got out from these 30 years, Hatim rah responded that: “Shaykh, there are 8 useful lessons that I have learnt from you and I hope that they will be enough for me, and they will be sufficient to bring about my nija’at, my forgiveness and salvation on the day of judgement.”

So the Shaykh asked him, what are they? [And this is how he replied. Imam Al-Ghazzali included this story in his letter so as to counsel his student.]

First Lesson:

I learnt that to be human is to Love. So, Instead of loving the temporary things (like other human beings do), I fell in love with amaal-e-saalih (righteous actions).

When I was in your company, what I learnt from your company is how to observe humanity.

[All of the lessons have this common feature: it shows that one of the things he learnt from his Shaykh was how to understand humanity.

  • It is interesting how even in the West and all over the world in general, Humanities is a major area of study.
  • The secular tradition was to study  philosophy,  history, literature,  liberal arts, fine arts etc  in order to understand what the human experience was.
  • However, in our Deen, or the Sacred Sciences, it means to drown yourself in Qur'an, in the Seerah(Life of Nabi-e-karim saw), in the Sunnah Ahadith, Teachings and Kaifiaat(States) of Nabi-e-karim saw to look at the path of the Siddiqin(The Righteous), the Shuhada(The Martyrs), and Saliheen. And, the basis of all these sources is to understand Humanity.
  • Hatim al asan begins every lesson with that: I learnt from you, what to learn from humanity itself and from human beings.]

So, he says that I observed humanity and I saw that it is the very part of human nature that every single human being is in love with something or someone or some idea . [He reflected on the human experience that: to be human is to love.] When I looked at the people around me, I realized that all of them had different objects of love. But, I noticed what was common to all of them, was that whatever they chose to love- whatever they chose to give their heart to – they could only take it up to the grave. But when they entered their grave, none of their beloveds could enter with them – none of their beloveds could take the next step in the journey with them.

So, Hatim says that I learnt how to understand humanity from you and when I saw this about humanity that:

1. Every human being loves something

2. All of the objects that people love don’t go past their grave

…I realized that what I should do since I am also human and I will also inevitably love something, I should love what is best i.e that which would enter ones grave and be a friend to one in the grave and be a companion to a person on the next stage of the journey…when I reflected on what that was, I realized that nothing could lay claim to that except: Al-amaal-us-saalih (Righteous Actions, Ibadaat/worship etc)

And so, I fell in love with amaal-us-salih. I gave my love, my muhabbah to amaal-us-salih.

[ Now, if we just take this one lesson:

  • It shows how much one learns when they associate themselves for a long period of time with the Ullema and Mashaikh
  • Now, one thing is to say that I want to do amaal-e-salih, one thing would be to say that I want to be regular and consistent in amaal-e-salihaat ; Here, he is saying that I fell in love with amaal-e-salih! That person whose human state  is such that the greatest object of their love(in terms of  things) are those things that are pleasing to Allah swt; those actions that are righteous and pious - then imagine what type of life that person would lead!
  • This is something that we have to learn, but we can learn it gradually - like a piece-meal: We should start with some amal-e-salih and try to fall in love with them.
  • For most of us, there would be no better amal to start with than our Salah.
  • Now, the  question is: How can I fall in love with Salah? That is going to be when you enjoy Salah.How to enjoy Salah? A person will be able to enjoy Salah, when they feel Allah swt in their prayer.How can we feel Allah swt in our Prayer? That is called dhikr; by feeling Allah swt outside our prayer. The more and more a person remembers Allah swt outside their Salah, the more they  will be able to remember Him inside their Salah --> When they remember Allah Ta'ala inside their Salah --> they will start enjoying their Salah --> once they start enjoying  their Salah, they will be passionate about their Salah; they will love their Salah.
  • And, that is how our pious elders were and that is what they were trying to train people to become like -  and it is one of the major aspects of Tazkiya and Tasawwuf -  to take a person who is cold, dispassionate and habitual about his/her amaal and to make her/him passionate and loving about their amaal and their ibadaat towards Allah swt.
  • One way in which we could begin to learn and practice this advice is: Try to think in terms of love; that I have to love these amaal.
  • That is why there are so many adaab in our Deen for all of the acts of worship, so that the acts become more enjoyable and we perform them with love. For e.g. Adaab of Salah include: praying at a clean place, making wudu externally and trying to purify ourselves of all types of  worldly thoughts and distractions before we pray, to dress in good clothing, to apply perfume etc. Why? To make it a more  pleasurable experience, and to make it an act of love!
  • Just like we see in this world,  when people do an act of love, they try to gift wrap it, give out an invitation, make sure the table is clean, prepare the meal nicely, put up candles, flowers for decoration etc i.e. these little etiquettes  not only manifest love but are actually creating and amplifying the feeling of love.
  • So, if we want to make our Salah an act of love, we need to start focusing on the adaab of Salah. As opposed to praying like most of us do it: hastily, rapidly, praying as an obligation only - Imam An-nawwawi calls it the prayer of Ibaad and he means it in a negative sense like the concept of enslaved humans is that they are forced to do what their masters tell them. We don't want our salah to be like that, instead we should focus on beautifying it; making it an act of love.

- cont'd, iA

[These are some highlights of Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed db's Tazkiya Talk on 28-10-2010]

Listen and Download the original lecture:

Eight Advice from Imam Ghazali’s Ayyuhal Walad – Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed

As-salamu-’alaykum,Speaker: Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed
Topic: Eight Advice from Imam Ghazali’s Ayyuhal Walad – CII ONLINE TALK
Date: 28/10/2010(to download: right click + save target as / save link as)MP3 – TALK + Q&A (Duration = 49:44) [11.30MB]
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/13245794/CII%20Online/10.28.2010%20-%208%20advice%20from%20Ayyuhal%20Walad%20-%20EKK.mp3 

MP3 – TALK (Duration = 33:49) [4.84MB]
http://www.islamicspirituality.org/audio/download/243/10.28.2010%20-%208%20advice%20from%20Ayyuhal%20Walad.mp3

 

* FOR WOMEN ONLY: BRIDGES by Zaynab Academy Online presents: A Course on Islamic Spirituality: “Al-Ghazali – Letter to a Disciple”, by Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed.  FOR DETAILS

Ramadan: A month of Forgiveness

Posted in CII talks, Ibadah, Ramadan, Tazkya Talks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2010 by Islamic Spirituality

كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

Last Thursday, we had a discussion on preparing for the month of Ramadan, Today I want to talk a little bit about Ramadan itself. There are many different ways  to understand this month. Last week we discussed it being a month of Taqwa, also a month of Qur’an and also a month of Taubah. And today we want to mention a 4th aspect of this month that is Ramadan is a month of Maghfirah; Ramadan is a month of forgiveness. And sometimes, our own shaykh refers to this as: Shahrul Ghufran that this is the month of Al-Gufran, that this is the month of one of the attributes of Allah swt, that this is the month of  The Forgiver.

This is the month in which Allah swt has manifested Himself, His attribute of Absolute and Complete Forgiveness for His servants. And what happens here is that if you look at humanity and the way Allah swt created humanity is that we are always constantly in a battle between Haqq and Batin, between Good and Evil, between Truth and Falsehood. And this has been since the very beginning of humanity. You see the beginning of humanity is when Allah swt created sayyidina Adam a.s and  ordered all of the angels to do sajdah..One of the Jinn, Iblis, was present and he was also ordered to do sajda but he didn’t and so you had this beginning from that moment of this tug of war between the forces of good and evil in every human being. Because Shaytan actually[and theres a whole Qur'anic narration, infact a series of passages about it that Shaytan actually swore to Allah swt that I will lead them astray and Allah swt gave Shaytan so many abilities to do so:

1. Shaytan is invisible; we can't see him,

2. Shaytan has unknown, countless assistants or minions known as the Shayateen - Some commentators have viewed them to be from his aulaad, his progeny while some grade them to be among the other evil  Jinns who he  chose to help him carry out his mission.

3. Shaytan has been given the ability to do waswasa - to instill a whisper or thought or to insinuate a desire  in our heart and our in mind.

So, when Shaytan was given all these abilities. Sayyidina Adam as also asked Allah swt. And Allah swt said that what I give your children so that they counter all of these actions/wasawas of shaytan is that anyone falls into any of the traps of Shaytan then all they have to do is ask for my maghfirah; ask for my forgiveness and I will forgive them.

And, so it means that Allah swt has put all of Shaytan's abilities on one side and has put His power of forgiveness, His maghfirah on the other side. Now, the amazing thing about this month of Ramadan is that in this month of Ramadan, Allah swt has chosen to chain away all of the Shayateen. So, it comes in hadith that Iblis i.e. Shaytan himself and all of his minions and assistants and helpers and progeny are all chained away. That can literally mean that they are literally in chain but it can also mean that they are closed away, closeted away that they are no longer allowed for the creation in this month to do any of the things that they are able to do.

So imagine this, that if we were going to say that in the whole world theres going to be one month without evil, and thats the way it should've been and it would've been and it could've been if it wasn't for our nafs. And this is  in some ways  the month, when a Muslim is going to come face to face with their nafs because many of us have this mistake that throughout the year we blame our sins on Shaytan and when we see how much we are able to continue in those sins in the month of Ramadan, and we know now that factually Shaytan will have no ability or power in this month then it means that whatever evil we continue to do is due to our nafs and that means that whatever evil we were doing, the vast majority of evil we were doing was due to our nafs.

Otherwise, if we had been people who had been able to purify and discipline their nafs then a shaytan free month would literally mean an absolutely sin-free month not just as individuals but as societies, as an ummah and in short we haven't been able to bring Ramadan to that level. And I'm just mentioning this right now, as I have mentioned sometimes in previous programs, that we realize and understand and appreciate the full force, even if it’s just in theory, of everything in the Deen of Islam.

And really the full force of the month of Ramadan is to restore the entire society by making them live in a month free from all evil and to restore them at a societal level back into purity. So, unfortunately we are unable to reach that level as a collective as an Ummah but as individuals we should really try and suppress and train and discipline our nafs in this month and eliminate all of the evil sinful desires and actions of this nafs in this month of Ramadan. And if, for any reason we slip, then we ask Allah swt for forgiveness.

This is a sequence that is extremely important for us to remember. The first step is Mujahaddah - the first step our whole life is about struggling against our nafs and not letting it fall into sin and evil, its only after making that struggle and being unsuccessful in that struggle that we can ask Allalh swt's forgiveness. Its almost like the way I would explain this to university students that: you only come to a professor after you get an F on the exam, you cannot show up on the first day and ask him for a make up because you are planning to get an F on the exam. Its only after you go through the whole process of effort and struggle and you fail after that process, that you can go to the professor. And this is I think a big mistake we make. And,  I'm about to say a sentence which is not entirely true but I think it is best that we think like this is that: There is no maghfirah without mujahaddah. And the reason I say that its not entirely true is that Allah swt has said in the Qur'an:

wa yaghfiru ma'nyasha : That He forgives whomsoever He wants

And many times out of His infinite Mercy that includes people who didn't make sufficient Mujahiddah and at times it can even include people who did not make any mujahaddah. So, the reality is not that as in the statement that: there is no maghfirah without mujahaddah is not true but its best that we think like that because this much we can say for sure that there is a greater chance at maghfirah - the greater the mujahaddah, the greater the chance of maghfirah. And so, if this month is a month of maghfirah and we understand that this maghfirah comes after mujahaddah, then it means that this month is a month of Mujahadda as well. And in this month of Ramadan, Allah swt is really training us how these three things are linked because if nothing else our mujahaddah[Mujahaddah can mean struggle, effort, exertion for the sake of Allah swt]…if nothing else our Mujahaddah in this month is Fasting – staying away from food and drink  from dawn to maghrib. That is how Allah swt has tied that in. This connection is very strong in Ramadan, because Allah swt could’ve made Ramadan without fasting, He could’ve made all the different means of maghfirah in this month without having required us to fast; He could’ve chained Shaytan and the Shayateen in this month without requiring us to fast; He could’ve allowed us to know and find Laylatul Qadr in this month without having required us to fast. All  the virtues and merits of this month that have been mentioned in Hadith could have been bestowed upon us without having required us to fast.

So, theres clearly two things that we see in this month:

1. A whole series, means and what we call asbab; ways that Allah swt wants to send His maghfirah, but

2. we  also see daily 10 12 8 hour of mujahaddah that Allah swt wants us to do so that He can give us that maghfirah.

So, Mujahaddah and Maghfirah are linked.

Now, when you look at these different ways of maghfirah from the hadith, that Allah swt has given in this month, you will find that there are twelve. There are many many ways, tonight we are going to talk about twelve ways. And our own Shaykh discusses this sometimes he describes this in Urdu that Ramadan is month which is a bahana for Allah swt to forgive us, that means in Ramadan Allah swt just wants an excuse to forgive us.

And Allah swt has made so many asbaab for us to do that, so many different ways means to send His Rehma, His Mercy on the mo’mineen on the believers, so many ways of showering His maghfirah and forgiveness; so many ways for us to earn His forgiveness, so we truly repent this month. Imagine that when we want to do something for someone and that person for some reason is reluctant to take that help from us or for some reason that person hasn’t asked us directly. So what do we try to do? We try to create multiple ways, we try to give that person any and all excuses to come to us for help; any sabab whatsoever to link that person to us. Just like that, Allah swt wants to forgive us. We have not been people who have turned to Him in forgiveness, nor have we did the mujahaddah that may ignite His forgiveness, so in this month Fasting actually is just a bahana is just a means or a way or an excuse to bring to that mujahaddah.

Allah swt’s Twelve ways of Forgiving in the Month of Ramadan:

We can also think it like this that one of the dominant traits of Allah swt is Forgiveness. And throughout the year He wants to forgive the mo’mineen but some of us may not be able to earn that forgiveness that is according to His Justness, His ‘adal. So, He made this month of Ramadan a means for us to earn His forgiveness. But, another way to look at this is that Allah swt made this month of Ramadan a means for Him to send down His maghfirah.

Now, let us look in detail in these twelve different ways that Allah swt has made this month Shahr ul Ghufran, so its is the month of Forgiving, the month of Forgiveness, the month of the Forgiver

1. Chaining of Shaytan & the Shayateen.

I’ve already mentioned this earlier, but how does it help?  if  there is a person, who  has somehow been attacked or effected by their enemy, the best help that you can give them is to remove that enemy of your friend; to completely prevent his enemy from doing anything to him whatsoever. So, not for just laylatulQadr, or the last 10 days, but for all each and every day and night in the month of Ramadan, Allah swt has directly intervened and Allah swt has directly prevented Shaytan and all of the Shayateen from doing any single thing to any and all of His believers.

And sometimes you may find this, an example that I will give you is what we normally feel i.e laziness. Sometimes our laziness is due to Shaytan. So, You may find that there has been a Muslim who is lazy about their prayer or lazy about regularly reading the Qur’an-e-karim, all of a sudden he will say that I find it so much easier to pray in the month of Ramadan, I find it easier to read the Qur’an, I find it easier to go to the Masjid, I find it easier to stay in the Masjid. Well, the reason for this sudden ease is because what was making it difficult before was the waswasa, was the whisperings of the Shayateen and now Allah swt has removed that and we are going to be able to experience what is it like to be effected from these waswasa. But what we really want to do in this month of Ramadan is make ourselves so strong that even when this protection is removed, when the month ends, we have made ourselves so strong that we are ourselves immune to Shaytan, so we can live our entire year like that this whisperings would have no effect on us, anyway whatsoever.

So, this is the first way that Allah swt created for us a means so that we earn His forgiveness.

2. Opening of the Gates of Jannah

It comes in the Hadith by RasulAllah saw that Allah swt throws open all of the gates, the doors to Jannah in this month of Ramadan. And this is a special gift that He gave to the Ummah of Sayyidina Mustafa saw. Now, why is Allah swt doing this? And this is both literal and symbolic. Literal means that there are literally gates; they may not be the gates the likeness of the gates that exist in this world but there are gates or portals or paths to Jannah that otherwise are closed and will be opened on the Day of Judgement after all of the hibaab and Judgement has taken place – but in this month Allah swt casts them open literally.And it also means figuratively: that in this month, Allah swt is going to populate Jannah is going to be colonizing Jannah by forgiving people.

Because Allah swt has opened the gates of Jannah and He wants to populate Jannah, you can imagine that He wants to allot different plots of Jannah to the believers then He is going to do that through His forgiveness and through His Mercy. And that is why Sayiddina RasulAllah saw used to make this dua that:

Allahuma innee asalukal Jannah, wa a’oodhubika minan naar

that: O Allah swt! I ask You that You bestow upon me Jannah and ya Allah swt I ask from You that You grant me refuge and sanctity from Jahannam.

So, in this month we should repeatedly make this sunnah dua. We should repeatedly think about Jannah, think about our aakhirah, think that our aim and our goal is to reach this place which is our ultimate destination in the hereafter.

You can imagine it like this that when there is a big sale in a store, they throw open their gates. What does it mean?  It means that its open house, this is the open season for you to come in and buy as much as you want. So, here Allah swt has actually opened the doors of Jannah in this way as well that O my beloved mo’mineen in this month it is open house for you; it is an open for season for you to earn as much as  you can; make as many ‘amal, good deeds, acts of worship as you can in this month to earn His Jannah.

3. Allah swt increases the reward of our righteous deeds in this month

The third aspect that Allah swt has endowed this month of Ramadan with is that Allah swt has increased the ajar the sawab the reward of the ‘amaal, the acts of worship and other righteous acts that the believers do in this month of Ramadan. So much so that it comes in a Hadith that if a believer does anything that was previously optional/voluntary/recommended – what we call Nafl or Mustahab or Mundook., then that person would get the reward of a Fardh of an obligatory/ mandatory act. So, if you give voluntary Sadaqa, you get the sawab of fardh sawab. If you pray a nafl prayer, you get the sawab of a fardh prayer. If you help someone – some of us may not have a mother or father or sibling who needs our help or who is in such a state of need that it becomes incumbent or fardh upon us to help them – but if we help somebody else; maybe somebody else’s mother or somebody else’s father or somebody else’s children; so then we will get sawab as if it was our very own mother or father or child. So, any optional act that we do we get the reward of a fardh. And the second part of this hadith is that if somebody does something that is fardh then Allah swt will give the reward of seventy faraidh or 70 obligatory acts. That means, if we pray 5 times a day in Ramadan, we would get the reward of having prayed 350 tims outside of Ramadan. If we pray Jumma’ once in Ramadan, it will be as if we prayed 70 Jumma’s.

And this is how Allah swt makes a person catch up. If you imagine a person who is so distant from Allah swt that through out the year they never went for Jumma Salah and now in this month of Ramadan they go and pray the 4 Jummas or maybe they are lucky and in those 30 days it happens to be 5 Jummas, so then they would get the reward of 350 Jummas. Otherwise, they would get the sawab of 280 Jummas if there are 4 jummas. Now, how many Jummas are in a year? There are about 52. Normally, they are about 52. Every person who prayed them in Ramadan will get a reward of 280 jummas. So, that person who did not pray Jumma all year long, in the month of Ramadan goes to Jumma; not just for the sake of going but in a state of tauba; in a state of complete repentance to Allah and complete intention that they will continue going to Jumma throughout the rest of their life so with these 4 jummas they get the reward of about 6 years of jummah! Allahuakbar, incredible maghfirah; incredible maghfirah.

So, Allah swt increases the reward of these actions about 70 folds. Somebody had neglected paying zakat for 2, 3 years for 10,20 years and in this month of Ramadan they decided to pay their zakah then Allah swt increases that as if they paid 70 years worth of zakat. Allahuakbar kabira. And all of us know that these ‘amal and acts of worship and righteous acts and charity and kindness is something that earns the maghfirah, the forgiveness of Allah swt. A person had not been that good to their wife; in the month of Ramadan they treat her well; it will be as if they treat her well for 70 months- that means almost 60 years and they may only have been married for 5 years! Allahuakbar

So, Allah swt increases the reward the sawab  of all of our acts that we do for His sake and in His name; be they formal acts of worship or be they kindness and gentleness to members of His creation. If it was something that was optional He gives us the reward of that which is mandatory and if it is something that is mandatory; He gives us the reward of 70 such mandatory acts.

4. Allah swt gave us 2 special times in Ramadan for the acceptance of Dua

This is something that we spoke about briefly last time as well and that is that in the Hadith, Prophet saw said that Allah swt’s Grace, His special acceptance; He has sent His qubooliat on these times:

1. The first is the time of Iftaar; the time when we break our fast

2. The second is the Suhoor or sometimes called the Sehri in Urdu i.e the time when we keep a fast

This is the time when Allah swt accepts our duas. And the hadith says that Allah swt says to His servants that ask Me of what you wish at these two times and I will grant it to you. So, we’re getting two free guaranteed times in which our Duas will be accepted.

And who is telling us this? Sayyidina RasoolAllah-e-salallaho ‘alaih-e-wassalam.

Now, many times we ask our elders; ask our ullema mashaikh that tell us of a dua that Allah swt will accept. Tell me what to recite so that Allah swt will grant me health, that Allah will protect my children, etc. And here the greatest wali of them all, imam-ul-auliya sayiddina Al-Mustafa RasoolAllah saw he is telling us that Allah swt is going to accept the duas at Suhoor and iftaar and then in the Hadith-e-Qudsi, Allah swt Himself is saying that I grant your duas at the time of Suhoor and iftaar. So, we should make dua with that same fervor with that same level of yaqeen; that level of absolute certainty that Allah swt will accept our dua at this time.

And this maybe itself a means of maghfirah, because there may be many of us – you see Allah swt in this Deen has made two things: 1. Certain Special places 2. Certain Special times when duas are accepted – so some of us who have not been able to reach maybe due to lack of funds,  those special places, there may be many countless Muslims who have never been able to go to Kaaba, to Multazim, to Maqam-e-Ibrahim, to zam-zam, to safa, to marwa, to madina munawwara, to the Rauza, to bait-al-muqaddas etc. But here, Allah swt universally, for every mo’min then is compensating them that in this month you are going to be given two times a day; 60 times! Such a special time that your Duas will be accepted, that there will be qubooliat of those duas and so we should make full use of these times.

Why are these duas acceptable?

Its simple. At the time of Iftaar, a person’s ibadat is at its climax that fast that hunger and thirst for the sake of Allah swt, that mujahadda and again you see the link between mujahadda and maghfirah; that a person has reached the peak the height the climax of their mujahida which was the day long fast that is a moment because it is at such a height of mujahida that Allah swt sends the height of His Maghfirah upon them, and He sends His special Forgiveness upon them at that moment; at this maximum height of sacrifice for Allah swt. And we will find ourselves also naturally taht we will be able to make a solid 10-15 minutes of dua at that time, otherwise normally in the year we are not able to make dua dfor that long and thats because there is a link between ibadah and dua: the more and more ibadah and worship we do; the more dua we are able to make to Allah swt.

Similarly in the morning, At the time of Suhoor Allah swt has a special acceptance for our duas just because of this niyya; that shows the power of our niyyah of our intention. That Allah swt is so happy, why? because its a true niyyat because there is ikhlas and sincerity in that intention. At the time of suhoor, we truly absolutely, sincerely genuinely from the bottom of our heart intend to fast for that day. And so when an intention is so true, when a niyyah is so khalis Allah swt, Allah swt also sends His maghfirah at that time.  And this is another lesson that we learn in the month of Ramadan – that if you bring to Allah swt true ‘amal like a whole day of fasting or even if you bring to Allah swt a true niyyah a true intention such as at the beginning at the time of suhoor, either one is sufficient to get the absolute Forgiveness and Maghfirah of Allah swt and to get qubooliah of our duas and this is a lesson we carry through out the year. Any time we bring a true mukhlis amal, anytime we make a mukhlis dua, we are truely mukhlis in our niyyah – making true and sincere intention to do something for the sake of Allah swt.  Allah swt accepts our duas at that moment.

And so, we should make as many duas as we can and I’d mentioned last week as well that this is a time when women folk -specially at the time of iftaar- should also wrap up whatever preparations they have to make of making food and they should spend atleast the last 10 minutes in making Dua. And  similarly, when we wake up early in the morning, we should try to eat -even though it is absolutely permissible to eat right upto the last second- why should we waste this opportunity to make dua to Allah swt so we should try to stop eating about 5-10 minutes before time ,Atleast and some of us who maybe able to spend more than that, but at the very least we should try to spend the last 10 minutes before dawn, the last 10 minutes before suhoor making Dua to Allah swt, making dhikr, making istighfar, reciting salawaat, worshiping Allah swt and turning to Him in this time of acceptance. And we should make dua with our tongue, we can make dua in our heart – if a womens baby starts to cry at that moment she can make dua in her heart at whatever level and with as much concentration of Dua that we can offer we should make dua to Allah swt. We should not fail to make dua at any one of these two times, any one of the days of Ramadan.

Like I mentioned last week, this is like Allah swt giving us 60 blank cheques, signed by Allah swt Himself. Blank so that we can choose to make any duas we want. So, we should make as many duas as we can at these two times and we should make dua with the proper Adab towards Allah swt. Not as if we are giving orders to Allah swt or giving a checklist or wishlist to Allah swt. We should make dua with a tone of humility, of submissiveness, of yearning of hope in His Mercy. And we should make dua first and foremost for our Deen, for the disciplining of our nafs and for the purification of our heart. And for our success in this mission of taqwa:  لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

5. Allah swt has made the entire creation make dua for the person

It comes in Hadith that syeddina RasulAllah saw said that Allah swt has made the entire creation all of makhlooq make dua specifically for the maghfirah of the fasting believer Allahuakbar, it comes in hadith that the ‘birds in the air, the fish in the oceans and  the animals on the land all of them are perpetually, constantly it means 24/7 making dua for the maghfirah of that believer who is fasting Allahu akbar so we may only be able to free ourselves up for dua for our own forgiveness at the time of suhoor and iftaar and then we maybe busy so what Allah swt did to maximize the benefits of this month, so He said okay you are going to go back to your dunya what I am going to do is that I will make my entire creation a jamaat of dua for you Allahu akbar all of creation we can’t even imagine it, All of creation makes dua for the maghfirah of the fasting believer, subhanAllahi wabihamdihi subhanAllahilazeem.

If we just take for e.g. one creation it would be amazing for instance if we just take the birds who knows how many billions of birds there are, and every one of them making dua for us personally. subhanAllah.

And if we take the other example: all of us know marine life or ocean life is just phenomenal that is billions and billions, hundreds of billions of life forms live in the oceans of this world and each and every one of them is making Dua for us, subhanAllahi wabihamdihi subhanAllahil azeem.

6. Gates of Jahannum are closed in this month of Ramadan

Allah swt, in addition to opening the gates of Jannah, has closed the gates of Jahannum in this month of Ramadan. Again that means both literally, just like Jannah has entryways and portals, Jahannum also has entryways and portals. It also means figuratively that the means and ways and attractions of Jahannum for the soul of the believer are closed in this month of Ramadan.

7. Every single night in Ramadan, Allah swt frees people from Jahannam

Nabi saw gave the example of a particular valley, this is known as the valley of the people of bani kalb, and this tribe was known to have a very large amount of goats; thousands and thousands of goats used to graze in this large valley of the people of bani kalb and sayyidina RasoolAllah saw in the hadith gave this as an example and said that in every single night in Ramadan not just the last 10 nights, In every single night of Ramdan as mnay people are freed form Jahannam as the number of hair in all the goats of the tribe of banu kalb. Now if there are 1000 goats, all of them will have lets say 100o small small hair will be there on every goat, this means millions of fasting believers are freed every night in the month of Ramadan. This means throughout the month or Ramadan maybe billions of hundreds of billions will be freed from Jahannam in this month.

What does it mean to be free from Jahannam?

It means prior to the month of Ramadan they had lead such a life that had lead them to  deserve Jahannam, their names were written in the ranks of the people of Jahannam, If they had died on 30th of Shaban they might have gone to Jahannam but they turned to Allah swt in Mujahaddah and kept the fasts in Ramadan, they turned to Allah swt in taubah in the month of Ramadan and repented from all of their sinful ways that had led them to Jahannam due to that every night Allah swt accepts the taubah of thousands and millions of fasting believers. So, every single night millions of people are freed from the registers of Jahannam. Allahu akbar kabira

8. Allah swt has blessed us with a very special night of Laylatul Qadr in this month:

لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ

[Surah Qadr, Ayah 3]

Which means that Laytul is greater than 1000 months which is greater than 83 years; this is what today people call winning the Jackpot. Instant Jackpot! Imagine, if we spent this night in worship it is as if we spent 83 nights in worship, if we make dua on this night, it means we made dua for 83 years; if we cried in repentance to Allah swt, it is as if we were crying for 83 years. Allahu akbar Kabira

Theres a special way that a person can be guaranteed of finding laylatul Qadr. In the ahadith, RasulAllah saw has given certain signs of Laylatul Qadr and really you can limit it down to the odd nights of the last 10 days of Ramadan. Although this is a very interesting discussion that the students and scholars of hadith have on the topic of laylatul qadr, by and large I would say for the cast majority of evidence does suggest that you can safely conclude that it will fall on the one of the odd nights of the month of Ramadan which is the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th and 29th – highest probability. Certainly, We should give life in particular to those 5 odd nights, those who have more strength should give life to all of the last 10 nights, those who have more strength should give life to all of the 30 nights of the month of Ramadan.

An easy way to be sure that we are guaranteed of finding the night of laylatul Qadr is what Allah swt has mentioned in the Qur’an:

حَتَّى مَطْلَعِ الْفَجْرِ

[Surah Qadr, Ayah 5] that this night lasts till the rising of the dawn, this night will last until fajr. So, if every night we spend the last 10 15 20 30 minutes before fajr in ibadat then at the end of the month we can say that we would be guaranteed of having made dua in laylatulQadr. Because whenever laylatul Qadr would’ve occurred it would’ve lasted until fajr.

And this is the night when Allah swt send His maximum maghfirah the believers who have been fasting in the month of Ramadan. So, we should seek this night, we should honour this night. If nothing else, we should spend 10-15 or more minutes every early morning, pre-dawn seeking out this night.

9. Allah swt sends His special Mercy on Laylatul Jaiza – the night before Eid and the night before the last Roza

Allah swt sends His special Mercies on the night before Eid Salah, it is known as laylatul Jaiza. In South Asia, subcontinent people call this chaand raat and on that night you see a lot of, you know, they go out into the market place and put themselves in an environment for gatherings of parties and so they deprive themselves of the spiritual benefits of both that night and the preceding 30 days of Ramadan. Now, this is amazing. This literally means that technically this night is outside the month of Ramadan, its the night of the 1st of Shawwal, but the power of Ramadan is so much that it spills over after Ramadan into the night of the 1st of Shawwal, the first night after Ramadan.

And this you can imagine that somehow a person missed something out in the start of Ramadan, so special mercies come at the end of Ramadan; the last 10 days. And of theres somebody who didn’t keep track of time properly, feels that there are some duas that He forgot to make in Ramadan, Allah swt has made the last night; the night before Eid as much forgiveness.

It is mentioned in Hadith that from the 1st of Ramadan upto the last night of Ramadan, as many people were freed from Jahannam Allah swt will free that many people from again on the very last night of Ramadan[night before the last Roza]. So, the very last night of Ramadan as many people are freed from Jahannam as were freed from it throughout the whole month of Ramadan.

And, it also comes in hadith that on the night of 1st Shawwal, Allah swt sends His special maghfirah and forgiveness on people.

So these 2 nights: the very last night of  Ramadan and the very 1st night of Shawwal are also additional asbaab of the mercy of Allah swt.

10. Allah swt sends His special forgiveness for those who join Eid Salah

Continuing in the 1st of Shawwal, the 10th Sabab or means by which Allah swt sends His maghfirah is for those who pray the Eid Salah. The morning of the 1st of Shawwal, those who go and pray Eid Salah. It comes in Hadith that Allah swt gazes upon the gatherings of Eid. And obviously Allah swt knows everything but npnetheless it is His aadat His practice  to sometimes engage the angels in a dialogue.

So, He asks the angels: O my angels, why are so many people gathered together?

The angels reply that” O Allah swt, they are gathered together for the Salah of Eid, they have fasted in the month of Ramadan, they have prayed taraveeh and other worships in the nights of Ramadan and now they have all gathered together to make one salah to You, on this morning of Eid. And they are hopeful of Your Mercy and forgiveness. And then the angels say that O Allah swt there are also some people in this Eid prayer who didn’t fast in the days of Ramadan and who didn’t give life to the nights of Ramadan with worship and they just showed up on Eid because maybe they were customary Muslims.

Even then Allah swt says that because they have come to this gathering and you yourself  have said that this is the gathering of the people who have hope in My Mercy and My forgiveness. So, I send My Rehma, My Maghfirah on even them as well. Allahu akbar kabira

It means that the power of the Mercy and Forgiveness of this month is so much that anybody on Eid Salah also makes true Taubah to Allah swt, Allah swt will accept their Taubah because they have presented themselves to Allah swt in the gathering of those believers who fasted in the month of Ramadan. Allahu akbar kabira

11. Allah swt Himself writes the reward for the fast of a believer

Another special feature of the month of Ramadan is that Allah swt Himself writes the reward for the fast of a believer. It comes in Hadith that Allah swt said:

As-Saumu li : That the fasting has been done for Me, for My sake Wa Ana Ujzabihi: And I will decide the reward for it.

And, it means that the reward is so immense that the angels, the kiraamun katibeen cannot write down what the reward is for fasting, On the day of Judgement, Allah swt Himself will reward with His own Qalam, His own Generosity, His own Fazal, His own Grace, for that person who fasts. So, this is the proof of the great azmat, the great significance Allah swt has given to the fasts that He Himself wants to reward it.

Sometimes Parents do this with their children that I want to give the reward for this myself; I will personally give this reward and thats exactly what Allah swt is saying. And, I’ve mentioned in the previous hadith as well, some of the commentators of hadith have taken a second meaning of the second part of the hadith: wa Ana Ujzabihi - that it means not that Allah swt is saying that I will give the reward, it means that I Myself will become the reward for the fasting. Then this can be understood in the light of a famous saying that:

‘man kaana lillah-e-kaanallahu lahu’ : that person who becomes Allah’s, Allah becomes theirs.

And here, it is being said that Allah swt Himself will become the reward for fasting; it means Allah swt’s pleasure, His vision, the Ro’yat the Deedaar of Allah swt in Jannat etc.

12. Fasting is a Shield for the believer

The next special Mercy that is mentioned in Hadith is that the Prophet saw said that Saum[Fasting] is a shield for the believer.And a shield is something that is used to protect a person. It does not specify in the Hadith that what exactly Fasting is a shield from, clearly. Because shields are somethings that are used to protect us from that which is harmful so it may mean that Fasting is a shield from our own vices. Our own bad attributes. Our own harmful characteristics.

And we should make this niyyat that for e.g. is we feel that one of our bad characteristics is creeping up in Ramadan. Our anger is coming out, our greed is coming out. So, we can make dua that Ya Allah! Your Beloved Messenger saw said that Fasting is a shield, Ya Allah make this Fasting a shield for me and protect me from my own inner vices, own deceptions of my nafs, own wailing of my nafs

13. Allah swt has made ‘Baab-ur-Rayyan’ – a special Gate of Jannah for the Fasting believers of Ramadan

Allah swt has made a special gate of Jannah only for those of His believers who fasted in the month of Ramadan. This is known as Baab-ur-Rayyan. It comes in Hadith that there are 8 gates of Jannah and one gate of Jannah is specifically for those believers who used to fast regularly in the month of Ramadan. Allahu akbar, I don’t know the details at this moment about all the other gates, maybe theres a gate of Taqwa, maybe theres a gate of wilayat, there maybe other gates that many of us may feel that we will not be able to pass. But if we can fast in this month of Ramadan in a very sincere way. with a very high degree of quality and concentration. And we can do this every year, then we can be hopeful that if nothing else we will inshaAllah be able to enter Jannah through this gate, this baab-ur-Rayyan.

to be cont’d iA. [concluding lines]

[This are some highlights of the Tazkiya Talk given by Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed[db] on 05-08-2010]

To listen to the original talk CLICK HERE [(to download: right click + save target as / save link as)

Preparing for Ramadan

Posted in CII talks, Ibadah, Purification of the Heart, Ramadan, Tazkya Talks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2010 by Islamic Spirituality

كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

أَيَّامًا مَّعْدُودَاتٍ ۚ

Decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous -

[Fasting for] a limited number of days [Surah Baqarah, 2:183-184]

Most of us have spent so many Ramadans but we are still as unprepared for it as a 1st grader. Just like he has to get his bag together and his pencils and stickers in order to prepare for the first day of school, and imagine that when he gets to college, he tells his mom that he’s still as unprepared and wants help in putting together his backpack. We are in a similar condition.

There are only two ways to prepare for Ramadan. If you are standing at the edge of the shore, it is up to you to be swept away or to measure and analyze the wave.

1. we are the sevants and slaves of Allah(swt) and we promise and pledge to give up everything for Him

so whatever He likes we will do and whatever is even slightly displeasing to Him, not just haram but also makrooh, we’ll leave that and be totally swept away by the wave. This method takes 1min!

2. to understand the beauty of Allah

this will be our focus tonight. The Prophet(saw) used to pray for ramadan and prepare for it since rajab! And for most of us, rajab and shaban is spent in total ghaflat. The cure for this is to spend shaban in the sunnah way. The Prophet(saw) used to:

(i)                  fast frequeently.

(ii)                be ever aware that ramadan is coming just like a person standing at the shore is aware of and anticipating the wave that is coming to hit him.

Sahaba ra used to think about ramadan all year! they understood the azmat and majesty of ramadan.

Allama Binori rehmatullah ilaeh called it the month of wilayah.

He used to prove this from the quran by quoting teo ayahs:

  1. fasting has been prescribed for a certain number of days so that you may become muttaqi.
  2. Who are the friends of Allah except the muttaqoon.

Therefore, ramadan=taqwa and taqwa=wilayah!

And this blessing is not given to us due to any goodness of our acts but rather due to Allah(swt)’s mercy in this month and the power of ramadan which transforms our faulty and incomplete imaan into an acceptable one.

The beauty of islam: It is the deen of fitrah.

It’s made perfectly for humanity and humanity is perfectly made for it.

Allah(swt) has two names: zahir (apparent) and batin (hidden)

many aspects of deen have these siffaat. Similarly, ramadan has a zahir (abstainance from food, drink, lawful relations) which leads to a batin sift (taqwa)

Quran: inna akramakum ‘indallahi atQakum. Indeed the most honored of you in the sight of Allah are the ones with the most taqwa.

taqwa is the highest most noble sift near Allah(swt) and it means total submission of the outward and the inner.

Three Different Aspects to Ramadan

There are three aspects to Ramadan.

I – RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TAQWA AND HUNGER

  • Imam Ghazali rehmatullah ilaih writes a whole book about how hunger (gluttony) and lust are connected. This is one of the harms of eating more.
  • A great mistake we make every day every year in ramadan is tht we deprive ourselves from the benefits of hunger.
  • Every year we focus on how to spend our time from fajr to maghrib. This year its going to be dfferent and the difference will be that this time ramadan is going to be spent in focusing on the time from maghrib to fajr rather than fajr to maghrib.
  • Don’t eat too much!! We build spiritual power which come naturally with hunger and we spend our entire day building it, but instead of using it to do ibadah in the night, we overeat! so much that it’s a common joke that we gain weight! What should be done is that we should reduce our food intake even from that which it is in normal days. Make your target to lose weight, 5 pounds, 10 pounds, 15 pounds, 5 kilos, 10 kilos. Otherwise we’ll collect spiritual power from fajr to maghrib and waste it in eating from maghrib to fajr.
  • what is spiritual power?

Some stories from the sahaba can explain it.

1)      One night, Hazrat Umer(RA) was unable to sleep because he was so hungry. AllahoAkbar. You and I cannot even imagine the extent of that hunger! One would think that he would feel sleepy due to the exhaustion and feeling of weakness but imagine how long he must have gone without food that he couldn’t even sleep, that’s how hungry he was! so he decided to go to masjid-e-nabvi and pray. He was food-deprived, sleep-deprived but he rose up to pray. AllahoAkbar. There he found Hazrat Abu Bakr(RA). When he asked him why he was there, Hazrat Abu Bakr(RA) also said that I was so hungry that I couldn’t sleep so I have come to pray. As they both were praying, Prophet(saw) emerged from his hujrah as well. AllahoAkbar! When they asked him what brought him there, he said the same thing! AllahoAkbar!

this is a strong power!

2)      The Battle of khandaq. They were all so hungry that the hollowness of their stomachs pressing into their ribs pained them so they wound cloth around their waists. For some, the pain was so much, that they wrapped a stone around themselves to relieve the pain. The Prophet(saw) put TWO stones! And during this time, they were digging trenches and doing hard manual labor in the heat of the Arab desert. Us, with our stomachs full and ample sleep, cannot do the smallest of tasks. Just imagine, Allah(SWT) is trying to bestow this kind of power on us during this month!

  • You have to keep this in mind. And keep repeating to yourself over and over again “maghrib to fajr, maghrib to fajr”!
  • Our Ulema say that one cannot experience the sweetness of imaan until he has not experienced the sweetness of hunger.
  • We should keep a tinge of hunger lasting from maghrib all the way to fajr.
  • benefits of eating less:
  1. sleep less
  2. eating less and sleeping less leaves you with more time! use tht time to do ibadah and khidmat of humanity.
  • another big mistake is that we make eating a social activity in Ramadan. this is not the month! Yes, we should get together as a community for ibadah and taraweeh, not for merrymaking and collective dining. tht’s what eid-ul-fitr is for! We have to earn tht day by spending 29 days in fasting and ibadah.
  • Don’t spend more than 15-20 mins in eating. When you value time like this, you’ll start appreciating the barakah of time even more and use it more efficiently.
  1. spend less. we realise tht we can live in a smaller budget. Hazrat Aisha(RA) narrates that the Prophet(saw) used to increase in his charity during ramadan.

II – TAQWA

Ramadan is a wakeup call to bring us back to taqwa. Taqwa means to abstain, refrain and not do something that is displeasing to Allah(swt) or the Prophet(saw) or solely for the pleasure and out of the love for Allah(swt).

  • There is a special relationship between Ramadan and taqwa. A person should think of Ramadan as a taqwa training workshop. Its not just fasting and praying. One has to decide that I need to stay away from all tht i know is displeasing to Allah. We need to sharpen our quloob with taqwa.
  • often also ramadan is directed towards eid or the last ten days. Actually the power of Ramadan amazes me. Wherever I happen to be in the world and whenever I give a talk on the first night of Ramadan, after maghrib, that one and a half hour of their life spent in Ramadan, has such amazing barkat that the same person who cannot stand 20mins in nafl prayer says isha with jamaat and stands for 2 hours in taraweeh, listening to the Quran. It gets people to pray for 2 hours just when they have been in ramadan for 1 ½ hrs! this is even before thay have actually fasted or done any other ibadah! So imagine the power at the end of ramadan. This is why we need to make a running start!
  • Allah(swt) is trying to tell us in this month that if we can leave lawful things and lawful relations for the sake of Allah(swt) then we are surely able to leave all unlawful things which are displeasing to Him.

III – MONTH OF QURAN

This month, we have to make an extra effort to become people of the Quran.

  • Read and recite the Quran, listen to the Quran, learn some surahs, read the tafsir, study the tajweed.
  • But also important: tarbiyah. We have to submit our hearts. Pick a surah or even 1 or 2 ayahs and inscribe them on our heart and change our lives according to these ayahs or surah. Our ulema say that some ayahs are so robust that they are enough to bring a person completely to islam. E.g. inna lillahe wainna ileahe raajioon Or wallazeena aamanuu ashaddu hubballillah.
  • take an ayat or surah and think about it all the time..
  • Hadith of the Prophet(saw) that the 1st ten days of Ramadan are of Rehmat, the 2nd ten for forgiveness, and the 3rd ten for emancipation from hell-fire. In explaining this hadith, it is said that it is referring to 3 different groups of people:

The 1st group is those people who were actually prepared for Ramadan and are true momineen, abiding by the shairah in its full glory throughout the year. so they drown in the mercy of Allah(swt) from the 1st day! Allah(swt) out of His mercy accepts their ibadat and blesses them.

The 2nd group is of those who sometimes follow the shariah, sometimes not. Sometimes they control their nafs and sometimes they give in. sometimes they avoid sin, other times they don’t. They need to spend the 1st ten days in taubah and free of sins and live with taqwa, then Allah(swt) makes the next ten days a way of maghfirat for them and forgives their past sins.

The 3rd group is of those people who are so far from the shariah that they even question their imaan. It said that they are people who have earned jahannum. mustahiq-un-naar. that person spends 20 days in taubah, taqwa, ibadah, promises and pledges, stays away from sin, then Allah(swt) removes their name from the list of jahannumis and forgives them for all their sins and includes them in the ranks of the momineen.

  • We are the runaway slaves of Allah(swt). We have orphaned ourselves from Him and we have left Him whereas He has said that He is close to us, even closer than our ownselves! But we have chosen to stay away from Him. So we should spend this month to increase our closeness with Allah (swt). And this is something we should pray for every single day in Ramadan that Allah (swt) you have said you are close to us, we also want to be close to you.

PRACTICAL STEPS:

  1. focus on decreasing our eating
  2. focus on the time between Maghrib to Fajr
  3. free ourselves in Ramadan to do ibadah as it is only a few days of such Rahmah.
  4. criticially analyse our lives and do our muhaasbah before Ramadan
  5. make a plan for all things we want to change about ourselves and make taubah and dua for every single one of them.
  6. Increase in the quantity and quality of ibadah. read & learn quran, be regular in our durud, be regular in our istighfaar, zikr and tilawat, be regular in our salah, in the lowering of our gaze, and in smiling to family and friends.
  7. make a schedule of worship which we can also continue after Ramadan. Of course, you will have the ibadaat that are extra and special for Ramadan but jumpstart on a permanent schedule for the rest of your life in terms of worship and sleep.
  8. ittiba’e sunnah! add to sunnah. Discover, learn and start a new sunnah. could be small or big but add to zahiri amal of sunnah because Allah(swt) has told us clearly that the zahir affects the baatin.
  9. It’s the month of dua; special qubooliyah. Our biggest tragedy is that we don’t know how to make dua, to ask, to cry. Ramadan’s barakah is that our hearts are naturally more inclined to dua due to our ibadah and obedience. We should maximize on this power and make more dua for our spiritual self.
  10. Three time are very special for the qubooliyat of dua:

(i)      when breaking fast – iftaar (Ramadan is not the month of savories, or the month of samosaas, or pakoras! its the month of ibadah and dua) make use of this special time every single day! It ok if the food is luke warm or the pakoras are not too crisp!

(ii)    when starting fast – suhoor

(iii)   laylatul qadr. imagine 83years and 4months of power, of taqwa, ikhlaas, tawakkul, sabr. Our sheikh taught us a special way to find laylatul qadr guaranteed! Allah(swt) says in the Quran that it lasts till the beginning of fajr. so every morning we spend 15-20mins just before fajr to make dua and do ibadah! By the end of Ramadan, you can be sure that you did not miss the laylatul qadr.

  1. Month for us to patch up with Allah(swt) and become His beloved. He says in the Quran that He is near to us and He’s our intimate companion. we should reciprocate these feelings this month. We should make dua that O Allah! we want to make ourselves close to you and we want to feel your closeness.

May Allah(swt) give us the opportunity to take full benefit from this blessed month.

THIS IS NOT A TRANSCRIPTION OF SHAYKH KAMALUDDIN AHMED[db]‘S TALK

[These were merely some rough notes and pointers taken down during his tazkya talk. highlights from the Tazkya Talk delivered by Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed[db] on 29nd July 2010]

Tazkya Talk Flyer ->  [To listen to Shaykh's Tazkya Talk every Thursday 10:10pm [Click here]

(to download: right click + save target as / save link as)

MP3 (20.3MB)
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/7329196/CII%20Online/07.29.2010%20-%20Preparing%20for%20Ramadan%20-%20EKK.mp3

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