July 20, 2012 § 2 Comments
The poisons of the heart are many, some are so clear while some are very discreet. We often wonder how can someone has a sick heart, full of hatred, envy and various ill-feelings. Perhaps, some of these pointers may assist us in ensuring that our very own hearts are in good shape.
1. Unnecessary Talking
‘Umar al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “A person who talks too much is a person who often makes mistakes, and someone who often makes mistakes, often has wrong actions. The Fire has a priority over such a frequent sinner.”
2. Unrestrained Glances
It has been related that the Prophet, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, once said words to the effect: “The glance is a poisoned arrow of shaitan (devil). Whoever lowers his gaze for Allah, He will bestow upon him a refreshing sweetness which he will find in his heart on the day that he meets Him.”
3. Too Much Food
Al-Miqdam ibn Ma’d Yakrib said: “I heard the Prophet, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, say: “The son of Adam fills no vessel more displeasing to Allah than his stomach. A few morsels should be enough for him to preserve his strength. If he must fill it, then he should allow a third for his food, a third for his drink and leave a third empty for easy breathing.”
4. Keeping Bad Company
The Prophet, Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him, said, “The example of a good companion (who sits with you) in comparison with a bad one, is like that of the musk seller and the blacksmith’s bellows (or furnace); from the first you would either buy musk or enjoy its good smell while the bellows would either burn your clothes or your house, or you get a bad nasty smell thereof.“
June 27, 2012 § 1 Comment
It was part of her faith that she welcomed an asceticism which accepted everything as a Gift from Allah, the Lover to his beloved slave. Therefore, she regarded misfortune in the same way as she regarded favors and happiness, and this was the ultimate of bondsmanship to her. About this she said, “You have given me life and have provided for me, and Yours is the Glory.” And she added, “You have bestowed upon me many favors, and gifts, graces and help.” In this she acknowledges her bondsmanship to the Giver and Bestower of all Bounty.
There is a story related that she once said, “I praised Allah one night with the praises of dawn, then I slept and I saw a bright, green tree, not to be described in size and beauty, and lo, upon it were three kinds of fruit, unknown to me amongst the fruit of the world, like virgins’ breasts, white, red and yellow and they shone like spheres and suns in the green spaces of the tree. I admired them and said, ‘Whose is this?‘ And one said to me, ‘This is yours, for your praises aforetime.’ Then I began to walk around the tree, and lo, underneath it were eighteen fruits on the ground of the color of gold, and I said, ‘If only these fruits were with the fruits on the tree it would be better.’ That person said to me, ‘They would have been there but that you, when you offered your praises, were thinking, ‘Is the dough leavened or not?‘ So this fruit fell off. This is a warning to those of insight, and an exhortation to those who fear Allah and worship Him.”
And has the Provider of the poor forgotten the poor on account of their poverty? And does He remember the rich because of their riches?
Her attraction to a life of poverty was also part of her need not to be distracted from her inner journey by the necessity for material considerations. There is a story about this poverty of hers, as one of her companions said, “I went to visit Rabi`a and saw her in her house with nothing but a broken water pitcher out of which she drank and made her ablution. There was also an old reed mat and a brick which she sometimes used as a pillow. When I saw this, I felt very sad and I said to her, ‘I have rich friends. If you wish I will get something from them for you.’ She said, ‘You have committed a grievous error. Is not my Provider and theirs one and the same?‘ I replied, ‘Yes.’ Then she said, ‘And has the Provider of the poor forgotten the poor on account of their poverty? And does He remember the rich because of their riches?‘ I replied, ‘No.’ She said, ‘Then since He knows of my state, how should I remind Him? Such is His Will and I too wish what He wills.‘”
Rabia’s love, which was passionate and all-consuming was also full of humility, fear and reverence for her Beloved, and when she was asked about how she had such a degree of intimacy, she said, “By constantly saying: I take refuge in You from everything which has distracted me from You and from every hindrance which has hindered me from You.” She also said, “You must conceal your good deeds as you conceal your evil deeds.” In the same way, she said, “What appears of any (good) works, I count as nothing at all.”
There is a story that Rabi`a was once on her way to Mecca. When she was half-way there she saw the Kaaba coming to meet her and she said, “It is the Lord of the House Whom I need. What have I to do with the House? I need to meet with Him Who said: ‘Whoso approaches Me by a span’s length I will approach him by the length of a cubit.‘ The Kaaba which I see has no power over me. What does the Kaaba bring to me?”
And again, a story of the same nature is as follows: It is related that Ibrahim ibn Adhan, a very holy person, spent fourteen years making his way to the Kaaba because in every place of prayer he prayed two raka’ats and at last when he reached the Kaaba he did not see it. He said to himself, “Alas, what has happened to my eyes. Maybe a sickness has come to them.” Then he heard a voice which said, “No harm has befallen your eyes, but the Kaaba has gone to meet a woman who is approaching.” Ibrahim was seized with jealousy and said, “O indeed; who is this?” He ran and saw Rabi`a arriving, and the Kaaba was back in its place.
June 27, 2012 § 1 Comment
It was told of Rabi`a that she was seen one day carrying a brand of fire in one hand and a pitcher of water in the other, and that she was running very fast. When they asked her what she was doing and where she was going, she said, “I am going to light a fire in the Garden and pour water onto it so that both these veils may disappear from the seekers, and that their purpose may be sure, and that the slaves of Allah may see Him, without any object of hope or motive of fear. What if the Hope for the Garden and the Fear of the Fire did not exist? Not one would worship his Lord, nor obey Him. But He is worthy of worship without any immediate motive or need.”
And she said: “ I love You with two loves: A Selfish love and a Love that You are worthy of. As for the selfish love, it is that I think of You, To the exclusion of everything else. And as for the Love that You are worthy of, Ah! That I no longer see any creature, but I see only You! There is no praise for me in either of these loves, But the praise in both is for You.” It was said that Rabi`a was the first person to teach about the necessity for truthfulness and sincerity in the lover’s bondsman-ship to the Beloved Who is Allah. She was one of those referred to as the spies of the heart for she often spoke out clearly against all who claimed to be lovers of Allah, but whose hearts were not always pure in intention and devotion.
This was the case of those who could not unquestioningly surrender to the Will of the Beloved in everything. She said to them, “You rebel against Allah, yet you appear to love Him. I swear by my faith that this is most strange. For if your love were truthful you would have obeyed Him, since the lover obeys the one whom he loves.” So that whenever someone said to her, “Alas, for my sorrow (my sins),” she replied, “Do not lie, but say rather, ‘Alas for my lack of sorrow,’ for if you were truly sorrowful, life would have no delight for you.”
One of her companions, Sufyan al-Thawri, asked her, “What is the best thing for the servant to do who desires proximity to his Lord?” She said, “That the servant should possess nothing in this world for the Next, save Him.” Rabi`a, may Allah preserve her secret, never had any doubts about her Beloved being present or absent, because she was not concerned only to have His good pleasure and bounties. She lived for a Love which does not seek for any answer, reward or reciprocity.
“O God, if I worship You for fear of Hell, burn me in Hell, And if I worship You in hope of Paradise, Exclude me from Paradise. But if I worship You for Your Own sake, Grudge me not Your everlasting Beauty.”
It was related how one day one of her followers said in her presence, “Oh Allah, may You be satisfied with us!” Whereupon Rabi`a said, “Are you not ashamed before Him to ask Him to be satisfied with you, when you are not satisfied with Him?” By this she meant that first we must be truly satisfied with Allah, Most High, before we can ask Him to be satisfied with us. Then this was followed by the question to her, “When then is the servant satisfied with Allah Most High?” She replied, “When his pleasure in misfortune is equal to his pleasure in prosperity.”
Someone asked Rabi`a, “What is Love?” She, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “Love has come from Eternity and passes into eternity, and none has been found in seventy thousand worlds who drinks one drop of it until at last he is absorbed in Allah, and from that comes His words: “He loves them, and they love Him.” (5:59).
Once when she was sick a number of people went to visit her. They asked her, “How are you?” She replied, “By Allah! I know of no reason for my illness except that Paradise was displayed to me and I yearned after it in my heart; and I thank that my Lord was jealous for me and so He reproached me; and only He can make me happy again.” She said: “O God, whatsoever You have apportioned to me of worldly things, Give that to Your enemies, And what You have apportioned to me in the Hereafter, Give that to Your Friends, For You suffice me.”
When Rabi`a was urged to speak, her words perfectly manifested her love, her belief and her faith, for she was so totally immersed in her Lord that she became a shining Light which attracted many people to her presence to drink from the same Spring from which she drank. She said, “If I will a thing and my Lord does not will it, I shall be guilty of unbelief.” So that her faith came from her total surrender to her Beloved God, as she said, “I have fled from the world and all that is in it. My prayer is for Union with You; that is the goal of my desire.” Then, since she always attributed her illnesses and misfortunes to the Will of her Beloved God, how could she oppose Him in trying to rid herself of them? Once she was heard to say, “If You had not set me apart by affliction, I would not have increased Your lovers.”
June 22, 2012 § 4 Comments
These short liners (quotes) provided me with inspiration, courage and strength for today. I thought I’d share it with all of you kind people.
“The sweetness of this life is found in remembering Allah; the sweetness of the next life will be found in seeing Him.”
“Live for Allah. If you don’t live for Allah, you will die for nothing.”
“Don’t ever forget that your heart is where Allah looks. What you do is only dictated by what your inner intentions are.”
“Whenever you feel sad, oppressed, wronged, stressed, or hurt, remember that this is an opportunity to return to Allah.”
Perhaps some of you had other sources that brighten up your lives today. You want to share them here? Feel free to do so.
June 10, 2012 § Leave a comment
A huffaz is someone has memorized the whole Qur’an (30 Juzuk, 114 Surah). Some tried but only a few succeeded. Most of us, at one time or the other, just wish that we are able to become one but we never did make an attempt to it. “Ohh, it will be so difficult” would be one of the excuses, “It must be time-consuming and I just do not have the time” would be another one. Yes, we hear it all the time whenever the subject of becoming a huffaz is being mentioned.
Did we ever wonder that we could recite the Fatihah so easily, while at the same time doing some other work. It just flows out instinctively without any moment of thought. It has withstood the test of time whereby we do not need to refresh the memory by looking the Qur’an itself. Sure we can quickly memorize a short surah but can we recite it back in a month’s time? Perhaps that’s the key…how could we have done it with Al-Fatihah? Let’s look at this phenomenon and figure out how can we apply it to the whole Qur’an.
Certainly, We have made this (Qur’an) easy in your tongue, in order that they may remember.
(Ad-Dukhan, Chapter #44, Verse #58)
And We have indeed made the Qur’an easy to understand and remember; then is there any one who will remember (or receive admonition)?
(Al-Qamar, Chapter #54, Verse #17)
We have been taught Al-Fatihah since we were kids, repeating them a minimum of 17 times daily, which amounts to more than 450 times in a month!. Is that the key? Repetitions? Kids in Mauritania (north-west of Africa) have been known to repeat 1000 times daily during their memorization of the Qur’an and/or Hadith. Before that, let’s establish some useful numbers. Looking at a typically normal Qur’an, it is divided into 30 Juzuk and each Juzuk is covered in 20 pages. And each page contains 15 rows of ayats.
- Let’s start small, say we hope to memorize 3 rows of the Qur’an daily. On the 1st day, recite the 3 rows 300 times.(for ease of reference, we will label this “A”)
- On the 2nd day, get to the next 3 rows and recite them 300 times as well (we will label this “B”). Once completed, recite “A” 150 times.
- On the 3rd day, get to the next 3 rows and recite them 300 times as well (we will label this “C”). Once completed, recite “B” 150 times and recite “A” 75 times.
- On the 4th day, get to the next 3 rows and recite them 300 times as well (we will label this “D”). Once completed, recite “C” 150 times and recite “B” 75 times and recite “A” 35 times.
- On the 5th day, get to the next 3 rows and recite them 300 times as well (we will label this “E”). Once completed, recite “D” 150 times and recite “C” 75 times and recite “B” 35 times and recite “A” 15 times .
- On the 6th and 7th day (will be Saturday and Sunday if you started on Monday), you will need to reconcile the whole page (yes, it’s a whole page of 15 rows) by repeating each page 100 times daily.
By now, you would have realized that most of it comes almost naturally, albeit a few glitches here and there. Surprised? Feels good?
Effectively, you will be reciting each set of 3-rows for 300 + 150 + 75 + 35 + 15 + 100 + 100 = 775 times!!!
And repeat the following weeks accordingly. You will soon get the hang of it and the process becomes easier as the weeks passed by. You will be tempted to increase the number of rows daily…just DON’T. Get a few Juzuk under your belt and progress in small steps. Once you have completed a Juzuk (in 20 weeks), take the following week by just reciting the Juzuk daily.
Again, let’s re-visit the numbers. The Qur’an contains 30 Juzuk and each Juzuk contains 20 pages. That brings us a total of 600 pages for the whole Qur’an. By sticking to the above program, you will become a Huffaz in 11 years. What? No worries, as you make those small progressions, you will accomplish it in 3-5 years, insyaallah.
Note: Get a standard copy of the Qur’an (mushhaf) and use it throughout your journey. It will breed familiarity.
Work hard, istiqomah (consistency) and make du’a. Allah shall make it easy for us to remember!!!