Archive for the Friday Themes Category

Purification of the Soul, Wk 2: Excessive Eating & Time

Posted in Friday Themes with tags , , on December 31, 2010 by Ibby'sMom

Asalamoalaykum warahmatullah,

This past week has been a good week in analyzing the ‘sensors’ in my soul. Having said that, it wasn’t an easy task. Alhamdolilah ‘ala kulli haal.

I’m not an IT person but I have studied basic programming involved in computer technology in school and we all know that in Museums and public places with valuables, there are sensors installed. These sensors could be in the form of touch -sensitive sensors which measure pressure changes on a certain surface and thus ring alarm if there’s a potential burglar around. There are also infra-red sensors and so if someone cuts that beam of the infra-red, the alarm rings. So in a nutshell sensors are turned ON when the area is closed at night time when robbery etc. is expected. With us humans, the thief or our enemy is always at work. Not only during night but also during the day. 24 hours, 365 days a year.

Therefore, the sensors of our souls better be ON all the time. They are usually switched ON with knowledge of Allah SWT’s Commands because if you do not know that a thief is around or how good his robbery techniques are, how’re you going to protect yourself. I’m sure everyone has heard a common saying, ‘know thy enemy.’

Well connecting it back to purification of the soul, our sensors should be ON to tell us what is making it impure. Last week, I was working on ‘excessive talking’ and it opened up my eyes regarding myself. I pity my soul now because of the consequences it has to suffer because of my tongue. And I’m not saying that I actively back-bite, lie etc. Those are like major sins. SubhanAllah. I’m referring to talking unnecessarily. Anyhow, we can remind ourselves about it by revisiting this link inshaa’Allah.

Coming to this week’s much needed topic: Excessive Eating.

Before I begin this, I want each one of us to recall whenever we had eaten to full. What did it result in? The key result that comes into my mind is laziness. When I realized that problem of mine, I think I was having my exams and I could not afford to sleep at all so I decided to barely eat a few bites and it worked! I felt energetic and no longer I felt lazy and my mind felt awake alhamdolilah.

Like we cannot afford to be lazy when meeting certain deadlines, we cannot afford to be lazy when working on the biggest deadline of our life: to accumulate as many good deeds as we can before we die! We all so easily forget that.

So I think one will only be able to notice the seriousness of this problem of excessive eating if he/she realizes how important time is and how destructive the effect of over eating are on one’s time. If you have trouble realizing the significance of such a problem, I found a few statements which might be beneficial. I do not have references to them but that doesn’t mean that they cannot be applied.

  • Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy upon him,said: “Wasting time is more serious than death, because wasting time disconnects you from the Hereafter, whereas death only disconnects you from this worldly life.”
  • Ibn ‘Asaakir, may Allaah have mercy upon him,said: “Imaam Saleem ibn Ayyoob, may Allaah have mercy upon him, never let time pass without benefiting from it. He either taught or read, and whenever he wanted to sharpen his pencil, he would start mentioning Allaah until he finished. I myself try to preserve and better utilize my time, to the extent that I crush dry cakes and bread and drink it with water as this is easier and faster to eat and not much chewing is required this way compared to eating it whole. The best thing a person can invest in is his time. Obligations are too numerous, while time is too short and snaps out of our hands suddenly.”
  • Imaam Ibn ‘Aqeel, may Allaah have mercy upon him,said: “I do not believe it is lawful for me to waste even an hour of my life purposelessly. If my tongue can no longer move to teach others, then my eyes will read, and when my eyes go blind, I will use my mind to ponder and think about different jurisprudential matters. I find more energy in myself – at the age of eighty – to seek knowledge and learn than I had when I was in my twenties.”
  • The biggest motivation for me is: Allah SWT has sworn by time in Surah Al ‘Asr and has told man that if you do not involve yourself in the following deeds then you are indeed a loser!

“By Al-‘Asr (the time). (1) Verily, man is in loss, (2) Except those who believe (in Islâmic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth (i.e. order one another to perform all kinds of good deeds (Al-Ma’ruf) which Allâh has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar) which Allâh has forbidden), and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allâh’s Cause during preaching His religion of Islâmic Monotheism or Jihâd).” (3)

An excellent reminder: here. Just made the realization reach deeper. SubhanAllah!

***

It is worth questioning ourselves that what could be the possible reasons why Allah SWT decreed such conditions for the Prophet Salalahu alayhi wasalam and the Sahaba (may Allah SWT be pleased with them all), that they did not usually have a lot of food. What kept them going? I sometimes wonder how Sahaba like Abu Hurairah RA lived. He used to be starving quite often. Starving here doesn’t mean our definition of ‘starvation’ where a person doesn’t eat something for a whole day. I want us to put ourselves in the shoes of such people and try to understand why they were still energetic. It is easy for us to say that , ‘Oh they were Sahaba and so they had special mercy upon them from Allah SWT to be able to keep on functioing without food’. That might be correct but they were humans like us. They had needs and desires like us. Humans were exactly the same 1400 years ago unlike what most archaeologists claim today. The Seerah is a clear evidence for that and the Quraan is an open answer for all the problems it asks us to rectify which were there before at the time of Adam AS and are still common today. 

My concern is that how can we even expect to be resurrected with the Sahaba if we have fed ourselves to full in this Dunia? Allahu ‘Alam but those who feed themselves to full in this dunia may have to be left starved or fed with something despicable in Akhira. This is a serious problem of extravagance we’re dealing with. May Allah SWT protect us!!!

I feel we can get a lot of  answers concerning our bodies from the time when we fast during Ramadan. It is hard in the beginning but the body not only gets used to it, it becomes more alive. I’m not advocating starving oneself but all I’m saying is that we have to train ourselves to realize when we eat beyond our need. And I know we all know when we take a bite or spoon just to fulfill our cravings or that desire to eat a little bit more of the delicious food. We just have to turn ON that sensor which tells us that ‘NO! This is going to be harmful for you!’

So for a day or two let’s try to control our eating and experiment with ourselves. Let’s analyze the following in the next few days:

  • How much is just enough for our survival?
  • What can we cut down on? (Because I know some people who have to be stuffing their mouths all the time with snacks)
  • Junk food only makes one lazy. So what are some healthy alternatives? A suggestion could be granola bars which make our tummies feel full. Try to research on better alternatives.
  • What makes us eat more? Some people eat more when they’re stressed. While others eat more when they are around certain people or are engaged in certain activities (such as watching TV). We will have to reach to the root and nip it off from the root and then work from there on our eating habits.
  • Can we regularly try fasting? Possibly on Mondays and Thursdays like the Prophet Salalahu alayhi wasalam used to.

Study the effect of every step you take in your modulating your eating habit on your day’s productivity and how much time you end up wasting in turn. It is very likely that when you stop over-eating your body will complain and your Nafs will say that you need to eat more to sustain your body. But give it some time and make duaa so that it is healthier soon enough in time to obey Allah SWT.

Inshaa’Allah I’ll address on this more from the book in the next post regarding this specific topic.

May Allah SWT help us utilize our body for His Worship only and not make us from amongst those who wouldn’t be fed from the Foods of Paradise just because we did not purify our soul and/or indulged in feeding the Nafs. Ya Rabb save us from the Fire and give us an easy accountability.Ameen.

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Wk 1: Other Possible Harms of Excessive Talking

Posted in Friday Themes on December 25, 2010 by Ibby'sMom

Asalamoalaykum warahmatullah,

So the journey continues on combatting ‘Excessive Talking’.

There’s a lot of things I learned when I was controlling my tongue the past few days and also regarding people who talk excessively in terms of dunia…thought I’d share some:

  • not talking too much prevents one from exaggerating = a form of lying
  • not talking too much prevents one from losing one’s respect
  • people who talk a lot often end up gossipping/joking in a crude and an indecent manner
  • preventing oneself from talking more than required helps also prevent complication in a certain matter
  • one who talks excessively increases on himself the burden of proving what he says by action and if he doesn’t do that, he loses credibility in the sight of people
  • it instills patience in us which is an excellent virtue to nurture
  • prevents a mountain of regrets
  • you’re not a burden to your listeners if you don’t talk excessively and thus are preferred in the true Muslim society* over those who bend one’s ears
  • tons of arguments are prevented and one can actually strive to achieve the place in Jannah which is reserved for those who do not argue even if they’re correct
  • not talking much prevents one from becoming part of the company of the shayateen and hurting others
  • your words don’t lose value if you don’t talk excessively
  • controlling the tongue enables us to not only protect our own honor but also the honor of people associated with us such as our parents/family as well as all other Muslims
  • not talking too much prevents one from interrupting others which is disrespect therefore talking excessively is a manner of disrespect and negates one’s mannerisms (in a true Muslim society*)

* Note: This is mostly in a Muslim society which has some morals left. Mostly not possible in a non-Muslim society in which the talkative person is deemed as the most confident one and is therefore much liked, at least in the workplace. Possibly those kind of people are given more promotions at work place as well. How can a liar be appreciated/liked/promoted for his lying is beyond my comprehension.

***

I’d like to share a wonderful reminder about watching our tongues. Many people have a habit of making fun of others and they deliberately target certain ethnicities all the time. It’s as if their favourite hobby as disgusting as it sounds. Where I live, it’s extremely common amongst the brown kids to label the new brown kid as a ‘fob’. In reality the word ‘fob’ stands for ‘fresh off boat’, yep you guessed it! It’s used for fresh immigrants. They obviously come from a different world, have trouble understanding the flow of things and have a different accent. Mashaa’Allah what people forget is their own origins:

Who made everything He has created good, and He began the creation of man from clay. Then He made his offspring from semen of despised water (male and female sexual discharge). [Surah As-Sajda, 32:7-8]

 We all are brought into existence by the same Najas (impure) fluid, why then be arrogant?  I mean unless you were created from musk or some heavenly fragrance, then yeah maybe you could have a reason to be arrogant. This form of arrogance was shown by Iblis who thought just because he was created by Fire, he was better. Our starting material was dust and we are ultimately going to end up in dust. Why show arrogance by tongue? What about sarcasm and the like we encounter in our daily lives? Is it permissible?

Some answers that can be found in the following reminder from the Quraan (beautiful gems and the reasoning behind the words…totally love it mashaa’Allah):

May Allah SWT help us reach the level of Taqwa in which we think thrice before saying anything.Ameen.

Purification of the Soul, Week 1: Excessive Talking

Posted in Friday Themes on December 24, 2010 by Ibby'sMom

“You possess the word. But when you say it, the word possesses you.”

Asalamoalaykum warahmatullah,

Before I begin, I’d like to mention that to start purification of the soul, there are a few prerequisites. These include that one who seeks to purify their soul should have the correct Aqeedah, i.e. Islamic belief/creed. So if a person is invloved in Shirk, they should give that up first.  This is what I gained from listening to this. The idea is that what’s the point in purifying the soul when there’s a greater filth in one’s heart which is nothing other than Shirk. May Allah SWT make us live and die on the correct Aqeedah.Ameen.

So I’d like to quickly point out what are the common forms of  Shirk which Muslims are involved in all over the world:

  • making duaa to other than Allah SWT, such as saints and/or Prophet Mohammed SAW
  • going to graves to seek tabbarauk (blessings) or making duaa to the dead
  • going for ‘pilgrimage’ to graves and doing Tawaf around graves
  • wearing amulets (ta’weez) , keeping charms
  • belief in/practising/seeking help via astrology and/or magic
  • seeking intercession from the saints/pious people
  • seeking tawasul through Prophet SAW’s status/body/honor…for e.g. asking Allah SWT to forgive you via the status of Prophet SAW

We all know Shirk is the only unforgivable sin which if not repented from will take one directly to Hell-fire. To learn more about this, please have a look at this.

***

For a deed to be accepted, it should fulfill 2 conditions:

1) It should have the right intention

2) It should be done in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet SAW (anything outside of Sunnah which the Sahaba haven’t done…is bida’h or innovation and that shall not be accepted at all)

Anyhow that was an extremely basic reminder of what Shirk is etc. Let’s move on to the real topic of : excessive talking

***

Dangers of Excessive Talking

1. Everything you say is being written down, all your public AND private conversations which some people hide from others

Proof:

“Certainly We have created man, and We know what his soul whispers to him. And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein. There are two recording angels sitting one on the right and one on the left Not a word does he utter, but there is a watcher by him ready.” (Qaf: 16-18)

2. Considering what they say harmless which in actuality might lead them to Fire!

Proof:

  • Abu Hurairah RA related that the Prophet SAW has said, ” The servant speaks words, the consequences of which  he does not realizem abd for which he is sent down into the depths of the Fire further than the distance between the east and the west.” [al-Bukhari:Kitab ar-Riqaq, Muslim: Kitab Az-Zuhd]
  • On the authority of Mu`adh ibn Jabal RA, the Prophet SAW took hold of his tongue and said, “Restrain this!” Mu`adh said, “O Messenger of Allah, will what we say be held against us?” He said, “May your mother be bereaved of you, Mu`adh! Is there anything that topples people on their faces – or he said on their noses – into Hell-fire other than the jests of their tongues?” [At-Tirmidhi]

3. A form of regret on the Day of Judgement

  • Abu Hurairah RA reported that Ibn al-Abbas RA said: “A person will not feel greater fury or anger for any part of his body  on the Day of Judgement more than what he will feel for his tongue, unless he only used it for saying or enjoining good.”

4. Deprivation from Truthfulness

  • Sahl (R) said : “Whoever talks about what does not concern him is deprived of truthfulness.”

***

What forms of talking is beneficial then?

The Prophet SAW has said: “Everything the children of Adam say goes against them, except for their enjoining good and forbidding evil, and remembering Allah, Glorious and Mighty is He.” [Hasan, at-Tirmidhi(he classieifes it as hasan gharib: Kitab az-Zuhd, Ibn al-Majah: Kitab al-Fitan].

***

Advice of the Pious/Scholars/Salaf

  • ‘Ataa said: ‘Those that -were before you (the Salaf), used to detest excessive speech. And they considered anything as excessive speech except speaking about the Book of Allah, the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), commanding good and forbidding evil, and speaking about what a man needs to speak because of a need he has to fulfill in his daily life.” [Source]
  • The believer is he whose tongue lies beneath his heart, in other words he thinks before he speaks, whilst the hypocrite is he who speaks without thinking. It should also be noted that excessive talking deadens the heart.
  • Some of the salaf used to put stone in their mouth and take it out only when they had to say something to fulfill their needs!

***

Action Plan for Week 1:

So there’s the evidence. Now we have to avoid the steps that lead to excessive talking: for e.g. disputes/arguments,useless joking,excessively talking on the phone,even chatting with friends (on MSN/gmail–>I’m talking about typed chatting) and so on. Let’s make a list of situations in which we talk excessively and what situations/conditions led to that excessive talking and try to identify ways to get rid of/avoiding those things inshaa’Allah. A list of things ‘not-to-do’ can be made and could be ticked daily to monitor one’s progress.

And Allah SWT knows best.

Rabbana Taqabal minna innaka antasamee’-ul ‘Aleem, watubb ilayna innaka anta-tawabur-raheem.Ameen.

Project Clean-up: Friday Themes

Posted in Friday Themes with tags , , on December 24, 2010 by Ibby'sMom

Purification = Success

Indeed he succeeds who purifies his ownself (i.e. obeys and performs all that Allâh ordered, by following the true Faith of Islâmic Monotheism and by doing righteous good deeds). And indeed he fails who corrupts his ownself (i.e. disobeys what Allâh has ordered by rejecting the true Faith of Islâmic Monotheism or by following polytheism or by doing every kind of evil wicked deeds).[Surah Ash-Shams, 91: 9-10]

  • This could mean that whoever purifies himself by obedience to Allah, then he will be successful. This is as Qatadah said, “He cleanses it from the lowly and despicable characteristics.” [Ibn Kathir]

Benefits of Pure Heart = Safety on the Day of Judgement

And disgrace me not on the Day when (all the creatures) will be resurrected. The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail. Except him who brings to Allâh a clean/sound heart [clean from Shirk (polytheism) and Nifâq (hypocrisy)]. And Paradise will be brought near to the Muttaqûn. [Al Shuara, 26:87-90]

  • Ibn Sirin said, “The clean heart knows that Allah is true, that the Hour will undoubtedly come and that Allah will resurrect those who are in the graves.”
  • Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib said, “The clean heart is the sound heart.” This is the heart of the believer, for the heart of the disbeliever and the hypocrite is sick. [Ibn Kathir]

***

Asalamoalaykum warahmatullah,

It is common sense that in our Eeman, we can only go up or down. There’s no staying on one-level. To prevent myself from an Eeman dip, I have decided to start another category called ‘Friday Themes’.

Every week, from one Friday to the next Thursday, I will focus on one theme which will help me (and inshaa’Allah others) to become a better Muslim. I am aiming to do this until at least January 14 at the level of the blog. May Allah SWT give me the hidaya and Tawfique to continue beyond it as well.Ameen.

So my 3-week self-development project involves : Purification of the Soul. I will be following this book and would mainly deal with 4 poisons of the heart (pp. 27 of the pdf).

–Week 1 (Dec 24-30) will deal with the poison of excessive talking

–Week 2 (Dec 31-Jan 6) will deal with the poison of excessive eating

–Week 3 (Jan 7- Jan14) will deal with the poision of unrestrained glances and keeping bad company

***

Prophetic Duaas to seek Allah SWT’s Help:

 It was reported by Al-`Awfi and `Ali bin Abi Talhah from Ibn `Abbas. At-Tabarani recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, “The Messenger of Allah used to stop whenever he recited  Ayah no. 9 of Surah As-Shams (quoted above), then he would say this dua ,(O Allah! Give my soul its good. You are its Guardian and Master, and the best to purify it.)” [Source: Ibn Kathir]

 ***
Inshaa’Allah with that duaa, I will comence to this week’s theme in my next post. Whoever wants to join me, they may because there’s always barakah in Jama’h or group effort. In that case it’s the reader’s responsibility to acquaint themselves with what purification is and its basics because I will not be covering that at all.

And Allah SWT knows best.