Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tools for Pondering the Quran

Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakatuh, it has been a long time since i posted anything, but i just received in my email some lovely notes from this lecture i have been attending by sister Qadria. They were too good not to share, so here they are:

Means (or tools) that help one to ponder over the verses of the Qur'an:

1) Magnifying the Qur'an (receiving the Quran with gratefulness)

2) Showing respect and that is by believing and acting upon it.

3) Having trust in the Quran - that it is:

a) A way of reformation of our lives
b) A guide to that which is the best of creed and manners

Verily, this Quran guides to that which is most just and right and gives glad tidings to the believers who work deeds of righteousness, that they shall have a great reward (Paradise)
(Al Isra, 17:9)

c) A light that shows us the way to righteousness

d) A spirit and soul for one's heart (As Allah has said in surah ash-Shura 42:52):

And thus We have revealed to you an inspiration of Our command. You did not know what is the Book or [what is] faith, but We have made it a light by which We guide whom We will of Our servants. And indeed, [O Muhammad], you guide to a straight path 42:52)

4) Receiving the Quran with rejoice 
Say, "In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy – in that let them rejoice; it is better than what they accumulate." (Surah Younus 10:58)

5) Holding oneself patiently in studying and understanding its meaning. Dont deal with it with carelessness or negligence:

a) Giving it the best of your time 
b) Dont be hasty
c) Dont ascribe purity to yourself when you pass by verses that mention adultery, usury, drinking alcohol etc 

Those who avoid the major sins and immoralities, only [committing] slight ones. Indeed, your Lord is vast in forgiveness. He was most knowing of you when He produced you from the earth and when you were fetuses in the wombs of your mothers. So do not claim yourselves to be pure; He is most knowing of who fears Him. (Surat An-Najm 53:32)

d) Dont feel with self sufficiency when reciting the Qur'an, thinking that the verses do not concern you and you dont need to know about the matter that is mentioned. 

Bear in mind, any matter that is mentioned in the Quran repeatedly -  you should know that you need it in your life and you will be exposed to it

6) Reciting the Quran with a heedful heart with exerting the utmost to understand the word of Allah

7) Acting upon what you have understood. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Qualities To Look For In A Friend

As Salaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barkaatuh!

~Faith ~ Righteousness ~ God-fearing ~ Morals & Good Character  ~ Those who remember Allah ~


Faith should be the first criterion for a meaningful friendship.

Allah Subhanuhu wa Ta`ala says in Noble Qur`an;
(interpretation of the meaning)
"The believers, men and women, are Awliya (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another; they enjoin (on the people) al Maroof (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do), and forbid (people) from al Munkar (i.e. polytheism and disbelief of all kinds, and all that Islam has forbidden); they perform as-Salaah (Iqamat-as-Salaah), and give the Zakaat, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will have His Mercy on them. Surely, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise."

[Soorah Tawbah (9): 71]

Thus, the friendship based on the correct faith aims towards supporting and encouraging one another towards the obedience of Allah. Its goal is much more sublime than the friendship that is done for worldly gain, and amongst its benefits is that it is a means to safeguard one's Aqeedah from being tainted with incorrect beliefs and practices.

Righteousness, God-fearing

The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said:

'…Men are of two types, a man who is righteous,
fearful of Allah and honorable to Allah,
or a man who is vicious, miserable and insignificant to Allah, the Exalted,…' 
[al-Muntakhab by Abd bin Humayd (793)]

The best of people to befriend are those who possess Taqwaa (fear of Allah) for, 
'Verily, the most honorable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has Taqwa.' [Soorah al-Hujurat (49): 13]

'Allah loves those who are al-Muttaqin (those who possess Taqwa).' [Soorah Maryam (19): 63]

Islam gives precedence to Taqwa in all matters, for example, in cases of marriage while choosing a life partner - Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) stressed upon choosing a pious spouse, he (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said,
'A women is married for four (reasons);
her wealth, her nobility, her beauty and her piety.
Choose the pious one and you will be successful.' 

[Saheeh al-Bukharee (7/27)] 

He (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) also said,
'If a man, whose practice of the religion satisfies you,
asks you for your daughter in marriage, you should marry them;
otherwise, there will be corruption on the Earth.'

Choosing a friend is as important as choosing a life partner,
therefore the wise choice are the Muttaqoon (those who possess Taqwa).

Ali (radhi allahu anhu) advised,
'Befriend righteous people,
for they are a good resource to use in this and the last life.
Have you not heard the statement of the people of the Fire, 

'Now we have no intercessors. Nor a close friend (to help us). 
(2): 175' [al-Ihya]

Benefits of accompanying righteous people are numerous,
amongst which is improving one's religion.
As people are always found to be competitive within friends,
associating with righteous individuals inspires
competing them in righteous deeds, thus expanding the scope of
performing righteous deeds and perfecting the religion.

Narrated Abu Musa, it was said to the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam),
'A man may love some people but he cannot catch up with their good deeds?' The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said, 'Everyone will be with those whom he loves.' [Saheeh al-Bukharee (8/191)]

Allah Subhanuhu wa Ta`ala says in Noble Qur`an;
(interpretation of the meaning)
'and the blessed end is for al-Muttaqin (those who possess Taqwa).' [Soorah al-A'raf (7): 128]....'O you who believe! Take not for Awliya those who take your religion for a mockery, …'[Soorah al-Maidah (5): 57]

Morals and Good Character
It is necessary that the friends you choose have good character and possess Islamic morals and etiquettes. Good character is a sign of excellence in Eeman.

The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said,
'The most perfect of the believer in faith is the one who is best in conduct and the best of you are those who are best to their wives.' [At-Tirmidhee. Authenticated by Shaikh Al-Albanee. See, Saheeh al-Jamee al-Sageer (1/1232)]

Allah, the Exalted, has encouraged His slaves in the Qur'aan to associate with those who have good characteristics.

Allah Subhanuhu wa Ta`ala says in Noble Qur`an;
(interpretation of the meaning)
'O you who believe! Fear Allah and be with those who are true (in words and in deeds).' 

[Soorah at-Tawbah (9): 119]

It is essential that those whom you choose as friends recognize and respect the limits of Allah.

For example, they should understand the Islamic etiquette of speaking and language, for sometimes talks among friends can go beyond bounds, like one may be involved in sins like Gheebah (backbiting), nick-naming, slandering, etc. which are generally considered to be very insignificant, but can have disastrous affect on one's Hereafter. .....

The importance of good character is also manifest in the Hadeeth of Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) who said,

'Nothing will be heavier on the Day of Resurrection in the scale of the believer than good manners. Allah hates one who utters foul or coarse language.[At-Tirmidhee]

The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) was asked about the deed, which will be foremost to lead a man to Jannah, he replied, 'Fear of Allah and the good character.' Then he was asked about the indulgence, which will admit a man to Hell and he replied, 'The tongue and the genitals.' [At-Tirmidhee]

Remembering Allah
One's associates and surrounding should help him remember Allah because man is ordered to remember Allah at all times. Remembrance of Allah strengthens the slave's bond with His Lord and prevents his heart and mind from being heedless of divine guidelines and limits.

Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anhu) reported the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) saying, 'If anyone sits in a gathering where he does not remember Allah, he will bring grief upon himself (on the Day of Resurrection), and he who lies down in a place where he does not remember Allah, will bring grief upon himself (on the Day of Resurrection).' [Abu Dawood]

The superiority of the remembrance of Allah was explained by Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam), who said:

'The example of the one who remembers his Lord, in comparison to the one who does not remember his Lord, is that of a living creature compared to a dead.' [Saheeh al-Bukharee]

In the present time of trials and tribulations, it is very easy to be caught up in worldly affairs. Allah warns His slaves against associating with those who busy themselves in worldly pleasures and give no heed to the remembrance of Allah.

Allah Subhanuhu wa Ta`ala says in Noble Qur`an;
(interpretation of the meaning)
'And keep yourself patiently with those who call on their Lord, morning and afternoon, seeking His Face and let not your eyes overlook them, desiring the pomp and glitter of the life of the world; and obey not him whose hearts We have made heedless of Our Remembrance, one who follows his own lust and whose affairs (deeds) have been lost.'

[Soorah al-Kahf (18): 28]

The Qur'aan informs us that on the Day of Judgment there will be people who will bite their hands in regret that they were lead astray because of choosing wrong people as their friends, they would say,
'Woe to me! Would that I had never taken so-and-so as a friend! He indeed led me astray from the Reminder (this Qur'aan) after it had come to me.' 
[Soorah al-Furqan (25): 27]

Whereas, those who help one another in piety, truth and remembrance of Allah will surely benefit each other in the Hereafter. Allah will grant them His Shade on the Day of Judgment.

Allah Subhanuhu wa Ta`ala says in Noble Qur`an;
(interpretation of the meaning)

'Friends on that day will be foe's one to another except Al-Muttaqoon (pious, righteous).'

[Soorah az-Zukhruf (43): 67]


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Things You See In Arabia ....

Here is a little collection of pics that are, well ... hard to explain to anyone who doesn't live in Arabia. For those of us who live here in the land of the sand, this comes as no surprise...

Car Wash .. never mind that salt water creates rust.. no  broblem.

This takes "head & shoulders" to a whole new level

Blease bass me the baint. ... why have PAINT when you can have BAINT.

Well.. what do i say....

Pretty self explanatory really...

10 lanes of traffic .. also note the tree in the middle of the road

Number plate in English 97569 and in Arabic 97596

All I can do is giggle!

“Attention from Restaurant
The restaurant is not open because it is closed"

This sign board says that you cannot dance if you are single! You have to be with your partner in order to dance.

It’s an ad from this small falafel shop! Here is the translation:
Revolution in ‘FALAFIL’ world
The latest state of the art
Our new invention
Bean(fool in Arabic) Sandwich!!!!!!”
It’s like the latest revolution in cars …. check out this motor cycle!
Hairdresser?? Sayy whaaaaaaat..... “Moonlike”  hairdressing,  beauty salon and ‘Henna’ painting!! As you can see it’s a normal grocery! It’s hard to explain!

SDIDSA .... like ADIDAS but better.

Hmmm... It doesnt look like a phone....

For "BARTYS" ... not Party!!

Just like V.I.P .. only waaay better!!

I guess i will just park my elephant here

In English the plate says 44989 and in Arabic it says 44898


DANGER... well that's Awkward.

Just another day on the Jet-ski

Bad space available .... 300 bad spaces available actually!

I think i will give this one a miss....

Errmm...... Gang Massage.. thats gonna end badly.....

You Know You Are In Dubai When

1.       For the most authentic shopping experience you go to KARAMA .. not Dubai Mall.
2.       Khassi = Bullsh*t,  Aween= no way,  Vtec = Nissan patrol
3.       Burj Al Arab, Metro, computer are also drinks at cafeterias
4.       If you drive a small Japanese car then don’t bother approaching a girl
5.       You are not shocked to see a Ferrari parked outside a cafeteria
6.       You are not a local unless you SWIM in perfume before you leave the house
7.       Having a Nikon or a cannon makes you a professional photographer
8.       You will probably hear the name Yousef Radha a lot, no he isn’t a famous person, it’s the name of a tobacco store
9.       All of your friends names are: abood, hamood, rashood, mayood, khaloood
10.   You automatically switch to local Emirati accent when talking to the police
11.   Every Philipino guy you know calls you my “my priend” … or … “yes ma’am siiiiiiiiiir”
12.   Its totally normal to wear your sunglass inside a mall … at night.
13.   A sentence is incomplete is if doesn’t have “sah” or “wallah” or “y3nii”
14.   We have numbers to replace letters  “9a7” 

Monday, June 6, 2011

lâ hawla wa lâ quwwata illâ bi Allâh

The magnificent phrase hawla wa lâ quwwata illâ bi Allâh is mentioned numerous times in the hadith (sayings of Muhammad, (saaws) ) as being highly regarded and highly recommended by the Prophet Muhammad,(saaws).

The phrase is a part of daily prayers for many Muslims, and is a common phrase in ceremony and dhikr.

It is not uncommon to find the phrase hawla wa lâ quwwata illâ bi Allâh translated simply as there is no power or strength except through Allâh. However that translation fails to capture the grandeur and deeper significance of this magnificent phrase.

Translating the word hawla simply as power is an over-simplification. The Arabic root h-w-l depicts all manner of change and transformation. The root h-w-l has led to a wide variety of words, but they all share this common thread of change and transformation. Certainly it is true that transformation and change require power, but power alone is not an adequate translation.... change and transformation are the keys to this magnificent phrase.

The phrase may be translated word-by-word as:
lâ = no, not, none, neither
hawla = change, alteration, transformation, movement, motion
wa = and
lâ = no, not, none, neither
quwwata = strength, power, potency, force, might, vigor
illâ = but, except, if not
bi = with, to, for, in, through, by means of
Allâh = Arabic name for the Supreme Being

Progress is only achieved through change and transformation... and spiritual progress requires the highest degree of change and transformation. We may wish to change, but we alone do not have the power to make such changes.

Such change and transformation can only occur through the tahwîl (transformation) of Allâh. That is to say, true change and transformation can arise only through the awesome and glorious powers of Allâh.
Here are some literal translations of the phrase hawla wa lâ quwwata illâ billâh that incorporate the idea of change and transformation:

There is neither change nor power except by means of Allâh.
There is no transformation or strength except through Allâh.
There is neither progress nor might except through Allâh.

 All mistakes are my own and all praises are for Allah swt.

Backbiting and slandering

Major sins are indeed the cause for all misery, evil and torment in this world and the hereafter.

And the worst of all sins are those that are greatest in harm and danger to humanity. Among the destructive major sins are backbiting and slandering. These two sins are forbidden by Allah because they sow enmity, evils and discord among people and lead to destruction. They cause hostilities between people of the same household and between neighbors and relatives. They can decrease in good deeds and increase in evil ones and lead to dishonor and ignominy.

Backbiting and slandering are shame and disgrace. Their perpetrator is detested and he shall not have a noble death. Allah forbids these acts, as He says in the Qur'an:

"Backbiting and Gossiping are from the most vilest and despicable of things, yet the most widely spread amongst mankind, such that no one is free from it except for a few people."

Backbiting (gheebah) means mentioning something about a person (in his absence), that he hates (to have mentioned), whether it is about: His body, his religious characteristics, his worldly affairs, his self, his physical appearance, his character, his wealth, his child, his father, his wife, his manner of walking, his smile, it is the same whether you mention that about him with words, through writings, or whether you point or indicate him by gesturing with your eyes, hand or head.

As for the body, is when you make fun of how someone looks, or mentioning any bad quality in him, as saying: "he is blind", "he limps", "he is bleary-eyed", "he is bald", "he is short", "he is tall", "he is black", "he is yellow", "he's too thin", "he's too fat". As for his religious qualities, it is when you say: "he is a sinner", "he is a thief", "he is a betrayer", "he is an oppressor", "he doesn't pray", "he prays so fast", "he does not behave well towards his parents", "he does not pay the Zakat duly"." As for the worldly matters, then it is when you say: "he has poor manners", "he does not think that anyone has a right over him", "he talks too much" …etc

Allah says in the Qur'an:

"O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, in deeds some suspicions are sins. And spy not neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah, verily, Allah is The One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful" (Qur'an 49: 12)

In this verse, Allah strongly forbids backbiting, and he compares the backbiter to one who eats the flesh of his dead brother. If he would hate eating the flesh of his brother, he should also hate to eat his flesh while he is alive by backbiting and slandering him.

When one reflects deeply over this assimilation it will be enough to keep one away from backbiting.

Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said:

"Do you know what backbiting is?” They said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He then said, “It is to say something about your brother that he would dislike.” Someone asked him, “But what if what I say is true?” The Messenger of Allah said, “If what you say about him is true, you are backbiting him, but if it is not true then you have slandered him."

Backbiting is so widespread among people that it has become an issue of people’s meetings and an avenue for expressing their anger, misgivings and jealousy. Those who indulge in backbiting are hiding their own imperfections and harming others. They are oblivious of the fact that they are only harming themselves.

This is because the backbiter if the wrongdoer and his victim is the wronged, on the Day of Resurrection both the wrongdoer and the wronged will stand before Allah Who is the Just Judge and the wronged will appeal to Allah to avenge the wrong done to him, Allah will then give this wronged person from the good deeds of the person who wronged him in accordance with his wrong by backbiting his brother on a Day that no father will give his son any of his good deeds nor a friend to his friend. All will be saying, ‘Myself, myself.’

Ibn 'Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) once passed by two graves and said:

"Verily, they (occupants of graves) are both being tormented and they are not being tormented for something major." In the report from Al-Bukhari:
"Rather, it is indeed something major. As for the first one, he used to go around spreading gossip (nameemah) and as for the other, and then he used not to protect himself from his own urine."
The scholars say the meaning of "and they are not being tormented for something major" is "something major" according to their opinion or "something major" for them to have abandoned doing.

Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) also said:

"Who protects his tongue from unlawful utterances and his private parts from illegal sexual intercourse; I shall guarantee him entrance into Paradise."

Also Abu Mousa Al-Ash’aree narrated that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said:

"I asked the Messenger of Allah: Who is the best Muslim? The Messenger of Allah replied, "He is the one from whom Muslims are safe from the evil of his tongue and hands."

And Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudree narrated that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said:

"When man wakes up in the morning each day, all parts of the body warn the tongue saying, ‘Fear Allah as regards us for we are at your mercy; if you are upright, we will be upright and if you are crooked, we become crooked."

So, Muslims, you should beware of slipping of your tongues and do not give it free hand to wreak havoc on you. For a too free tongue destroys its owner and causes him calamities and evils.

All good comes from Allah and all mistakes are my own.

The Barrier Between Sweet and Salt Waters

“He has let free the two bodies of flowing water, meeting together: Between them is a Barrier which they do not transgress.” [Al-Qur’an Rahman 55:19-20]

In the Arabic text the word ‘barzakh’ means a barrier or a partition.
This barrier, however, is not a physical partition. The Arabic word ‘maraja’ literally means ‘they both meet and mix with each other’. Early commentators of the Qur’an were unable to explain the two opposite meanings for the two bodies of water, i.e. they meet and mix, and at the same time there is a barrier between them.

Modern Science has discovered that in the places where two different seas meet, there is a barrier between them. This barrier divides the two seas so that each sea has its own temperature, salinity and density.

Oceanologists are now in a better position to explain this verse. There is a slanted unseen water barrier between the two seas through which water from one sea passes to the other.

But when the water from one sea enters the other sea, it loses its distinctive characteristic and becomes homogenized with the other water.
In a way this barrier serves as a transitional homogenizing area for the two waters.

This phenomenon is also mentioned in the following verse of the Qur'an:

“And made a separating bar between the two bodies of flowing water?”
[Al-Qur’an Naml 27:61]

This phenomenon occurs in several places, including the divider between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean at Gibralter. A white bar can also be clearly seen at Cape Point, Cape Peninsula, South Africa where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Indian Ocean.

But when the Qur’an speaks about the divider between fresh and salt water, it mentions the existence of “a forbidding partition” with the barrier.

“It is He Who has let free the two bodies of flowing water: one palatable and sweet, and the other salty and bitter; yet has He made a barrier between them, to be passed. [Al-Qur’an Furkan 25:53]

Modern science has discovered that in estuaries, where fresh (sweet) and salt water meet, the situation is somewhat different from that found in places where two salt water seas meet. It has been discovered that what distinguishes fresh water from salt water in estuaries is a “pycnocline zone with a marked density discontinuity separating the two layers.”

This partition (zone of separation) has
a salinity different from both the fresh water and the salt water.
This phenomenon occurs in several places, including Egypt, where the river Nile flows into the Mediterranean Sea.

These scientific phenomena mentioned in the Qur’an was also confirmed by Dr. William Hay, a well-known marine scientist and Professor of Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado, U.S.A.

SubhanAllah.... the beauty of Allahs (swt) Creation.