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Archive for June, 2010

“…I spent thirty years learning manners, and I spent twenty years learning knowledge…” – ‘Abdullah bin al-Mubarak

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The problems you face will either defeat you or develop you – depending on how you respond to them. Unfortunately, most people fail to see how Allah wants to use problems for good in their lives. They react foolishly and resent their problems rather than pausing to consider what benefit they might bring.

Here are five ways Allah wants to use the problems in your life:

1. Allah uses problems to DIRECT you.
Sometimes God must light a fire under you to get you moving. Problems often point us in a new direction and motivate us to change. Is God trying to get your attention? “Sometimes it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways.”

2. Allah uses problems to INSPECT you.
People are like tea bags…if you want to know what’s inside them, just drop them into hot ever water! Has God tested your faith with a problem What do problems reveal about you? “When you have many kinds of troubles, you should be full of joy, because you know that these troubles test your faith, and this will give you patience.”

3. Allah uses problems to CORRECT you.
Some lessons we learn only through pain and failure. It’s likely that as a child your parents told you not to touch a hot stove…. But you probably learned by being burned. Sometimes we only learn the value of something… health, money, a relationship. .. by losing it. “It was the best thing that could have happened to me, for it taught me to pay attention to your laws.”

4. Allah uses problems to PROTECT you.
A problem can be a blessing in disguise if it prevents you from being harmed by something more serious. Last year a friend was fired for refusing to do something unethical that his boss had asked him to do. His unemployment was a problem – but it saved him from being convicted and sent to prison a year later when management’s actions were eventually discovered. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good…

5. Allah uses problems to PERFECT you.
Problems, when responded to correctly, are character builders. God is far more interested in your character than your comfort. Your relationship to God and your character are the only two things you’re going to take with you into eternity. “We can rejoice when we run into problems…they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady.”

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“Know that the greatest of losses is for you to be preoccupied with one who will bring you nothing but a loss in your time with Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – and being cut off from Him, a wasting your time with the person, a weakening of your energy, and the dispersing of your resolve. So, if you are tested with this – and you must be tested with this – deal with him according to how Allah would wish, and be patient with him as much as possible. Get closer to Allah and His Pleasure by way of this person, and make your getting together with him something to benefit from, not something to incur a loss from. Be with him as if you are a man who is on a road who was stopped by another man, who then asks you to take him on your journey. Make sure that you are the one who gives him a ride, and that he is not the one giving you the ride. If he refuses, and there is nothing to gain from travelling with him, do not stop for him, bid him farewell, and do not even turn back to look at him, as he is a highway robber, regardless of who he really is.

So, save your heart, be wary of how you spend your days and nights, and do not let the Sun set before you arrive at your destination.”

[‘al-Wabil as-Sayyib’; p. 45] – Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyyah

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Umm Salamah (radi Allahu anha) narrates that she said to Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam): “O Rasul Allah, are the women of this world superior or the hoors (of Paradise)?” He (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) replied, “The women of this world will have superiority over the hoors just as the outer lining of a garment has superiority over the inner lining.” Umm Salamah (radi Allahu anha) then asked, “O Rasul Allah, what is the reason for this?” He answered, “Because they performed salah, fasted, and worshiped [Allah]. Allah will put light on their faces and silk on their bodies. [The human women] will be fair in complexion and will wear green clothing and yellow jewelry. Their incense-burners will be made of pearls and their combs will be of gold. They will say, ‘We are the women who will stay forever and we will never die. We are the women who will always remain in comfort and we will never undergo difficulty. We are the women who will stay and we will never leave. Listen, we are happy women and we will never become sad. Glad tidings to those men for whom we are and who are for us.'” [Tabrani]

Commentary: As beautiful as the hoors of Jannah are, Muslim women of this world will be far superior to them in Jannah. To imagine how wonderful those women will be who make it to Jannah, we only need to see how hoors have been described and then realize that they are of poor quality when compared to the fineness of the righteous women who Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) puts in Jannah.

From the Qur’an and hadith literature we learn that “a hoor is a most beautiful young woman with a transparent body. The marrow of her bones is visible like the interior lines of pearls and rubies. She looks like red wine in a white glass.” [Trmidhi] A hoor has big, beautiful eyes with black irises and intense white scleras. She is a woman characterized by modesty and flexing glances; she never looks at any man except her husband. She feels grateful for being his wife and is always reconciled with him. A hoor is young, immortal and does not age. She is free of animosity and speaks softly. “She is of white color and free from routine physical disabilities such as menstruation, menopause, urinal and offal discharge, child bearing and the related pollution.” [Tirmidhi] Having been brought up in luxury, she is a luxury herself. “If a hoor looked down from her abode in Heaven onto earth, the whole distance between Heaven and earth would fill with light and fragrance. Her face is more radiant than a mirror and one can see one’s image in her cheek.” [Mishkat; volume 3] When a man turns his face away from her, she becomes 70 times more beautiful. If she were to spit in the salty water of the seven oceans, then the oceans would turn sweeter than honey.

However, Muslim women will not feel jealous of the hoors as they will be far more beautiful and superior to the hoors in every way. Righteous women that enter Paradise, regardless of the age they died at or how they looked on earth, will be much more stunning than the hoors of Jannah.

A hoor is one of the delights of Paradise. She has only been created in Paradise for the sake of someone else. On the other hand, believing women will be themselves deserving of great rewards and will be given these rewards in Jannah. This hadith tells us that the reason for the superiority of Muslim women over hoors is that they chose to worship Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) in this world.

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[This sermon was delivered on the Ninth Day of Dhul-Hijjah 10 A.H. in the ‘Uranah valley of Mount Arafat’ in Mecca.]

After praising and thanking Allah the Prophet (saws) said:

“O People, lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying very carefully and take these words to those who could not be present here today.

O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that he will indeed reckon your deeds. Allah has forbidden you to take usury (interest), therefore all interest obligations shall henceforth be waived. Your capital is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer any inequity. Allah has judged that there shall be no interest and that all the interest due to Abbas ibn ‘Abd’al Muttalib [the Prophet’s uncle] be waived.

Every right arising out of homicide in pre-Islamic days is henceforth waived and the first such right that I waive is that arising from the murder of Rabiah ibn al Harith ibn Abdul Muttalib.

O People, the unbelievers indulge in tampering with the calendar in order to make permissible that which Allah forbade, and to forbid that which Allah has made permissible. With Allah the months are twelve in number. Four of them are holy, three of these are successive and one occurs singly between the months of Jumada and Shaban.

Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope of that he will be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.

O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah’s trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right, then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with anyone of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste.

O People, listen to me in earnest, worship Allah, say your five daily prayers, fast during the month of Ramadan, and give your wealth in Zakat. Perform Hajj if you can afford to.

All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over a white – except by piety and good action.

Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not therefore do injustice to yourselves. Remember one day you will meet Allah and answer your deeds. So beware: do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.

O People, no prophet or apostle will come after me, and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore,

O People, and understand my words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Qur’an and my Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray.

All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness, O Allah, that I have conveyed Your message to Your people.”

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