This Ramadan, our special guest blogger and columnist will be sharing daily Islamic reminders with our community.
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First of all, I wish to offer a heart felt Eid Mubarak. May Allah accept all of your efforts during this sacred month and keep you on the straight path.
In this final Ramadan article, I want to very briefly discuss the importance of attending the mosque and praying together with fellow Muslims.
There are many ahadith which mention the rewards for making wudu and going to the mosque and praying in congregation. But these rewards are only meant for those who actually attend the mosque.
Sadly, many Muslims do not attend the mosque at all or if they do, it is for Friday prayers or perhaps during Ramadan for Taraweeh prayers. This is evidenced by the fact that the mosques are full to capacity on Fridays, during Taraweeh in Ramadan and of course eid prayers. But the rest of the time the mosques are more than 1/4 full at best.
Where did all these people go the rest of the week or the rest of the year? I am not saying that it is possible to attend the mosque for every single prayer, but it is a good thing to make a habit of attending the mosque several times a week beyond the Friday prayer.
This should be done if for no other reason than the immense rewards that are associated with going to the mosque and praying in congregation.
But there is also a sociological dimension associated with congregational prayer, and that has to do with the formation of group solidarity and identity, as well as getting to know fellow believers in a religious setting which is instrumental in solidifying one’s faith.
And what sets us apart as Muslims? It is not the colours of our skin, nor is it the countries that we came from, the languages that we speak or the tribes or geographical regions that we identify with.
What sets us apart as Muslims and makes us distinct from everyone else is the kalimah in which we testify to the oneness of Allah and the prophethood of Muhammad — peace be upon him. And we need to continually ensure that this kalimah remains firm within us because it is the only pathway to paradise. That is why coming together and praying collectively in a group is so important as it helps us to strengthen our faith as well as our resolve to bring Islam into our lives in a more profound and real way. This does not happen to the person who isolates themselves from the congregational worship and instead stays at home and prays on their own. In fact, such people become prey for Shaytaan.
‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “It is incumbent upon you to be with the Muslim group and you must avoid disunity. The Shaytaan is with a single person and it is far from two persons.” [At-Tirmithi]
Even if you don’t feel that you need anybody else to practice your faith, consider the notion that perhaps somebody needs you for support. But if you stay away and keep to yourself how can you be of any support to anyone else?
You may ask the question how is it that you going to the mosque is going to be any kind of support to anybody else? I will answer that question by stating that the more we see one another in a larger setting praying in one direction to Allah, the more our faith will be solidified and we come to the realization that we are not alone but are part of something larger than ourselves.
The fact of the matter is that we need one another for support at a time when our faith is continually under attack, as well as the numerous temptations that draw us away from the remembrance of Allah.
As Ramadan comes to a close and we go on with the regular routine of our lives, let’s remember the Mosque and try to attend it on a more regular basis. You will benefit from it and others will benefit from your attendance. You may not see it that way, but your presence is a real blessing.
Once again, Eid Mubarak!
As we approach the end of Ramadan, I wish to share with you the following hadith with a view to highlighting the importance of not holding grudges or malice towards others, after which I will make a few comments:
Anas ibn Malik reported:
We were sitting with the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, and he said, “A man from the people of Paradise is coming to you.”
A man from the Ansar came whose beard was dishevelled by the water of ablution, and he was carrying both of his shoes with his left hand.
The next day the Prophet (pbuh) repeated the same words, and the man came in the same condition.
On the third day, the Prophet repeated the same again, and the man came in the same condition.
When the Prophet stood up to leave, Abdullah ibn Amr followed the man and said to him, “I am in an argument with my father, and I have sworn not to enter my home for three days. May I stay with you?” The man said yes.
Abdullah stayed three nights with the man, but he never saw him praying at night. Whenever he went to bed, the man would remember Allah and rest until he woke up for morning prayer. Abdullah said that he had never heard anything but good words coming from his mouth.
When three nights had passed, and he did not see anything special about his actions, Abdullah asked him, “O servant of Allah, I have not been in an argument with my father, nor have I cut off relations with him. I heard the Prophet say three times that a man from the people of Paradise was coming to us and then you came. I thought I would stay with you to see what you are doing that I could follow, but I did not see you do many good deeds. Why did the Prophet convey this about you?”
The man said, “It is not but as you see, except that I find no malice within myself towards the Muslims, nor do I envy anyone for the good that Allah has given them.”
Abdullah said, “This is what was conveyed about you, for we have been unable to do so.” (Source: Musnad Aḥmad)
Take note of the qualities this person possessed which was the reason behind his receiving the glad tidings of paradise. He harboured no malice towards fellow believers nor did he envy anyone over what Allah had given them. These are noble qualities that many people are unable to attain but well worth striving for because they are the qualities of those who will enter paradise. And this is the central theme of my article.
Having conflicts and disagreements, sometimes very heated, with other people, including those closest to us, is an inevitable part of life. The teachings of Islam show us how to reduce the chances of these incidents, as well as how to deal with them when they take place. Islam offers a balanced and rational approach which is worth learning about and implementing into our lives.
In a well-known hadith, which we often neglect or gloss over, Anas bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) said:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Do not desert (stop talking to) one another, do not nurse hatred towards one another, do not be jealous of one another, and become as fellow brothers and slaves of Allah. It is not lawful for a Muslim to stop talking to his brother (Muslim) for more than three days.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
And consider the following narrations:
Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “A Muslim may not boycott another Muslim for more than three days. Then, if he meets him, greets him with peace three times, and he receives no response, the sin falls back on the one still boycotting.” (Source: Sunan Abī Dāwūd)
Jubayr ibn Mut’im narrates from his father (Allah be pleased with them) that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “The one who breaks ties will not enter paradise.” (Sahih Muslim)
Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “It is unlawful for a Muslim to severe relationships with his (Muslim) brother for more than three days. Hence, whoever does severe relationships for more than three days and (thereupon) dies will go to Hell.” (Sunan Abu Dawud)
How many people reading this article have stopped speaking to family members and friends and harbour deep-seated grudges and malice towards them? This is indeed a very severe spiritual sickness which will cause the begrudging one great harm, as well as inflicting harm on families and society at large. In fact, we are not permitted to stop talking to someone beyond three days and we are committing a serious sin if we continue with our social boycott beyond that time frame.
I understand that feelings can be quite intense and deep-seated hurt and anger may set in, but it is important to let these things go as harbouring them will make you both spiritually and physically ill.
It should always be kept in mind that one of the names and attributes of Allah is is ”Al- Afuw”(in Arabic: ٱلْعَفُوُّ), which means “The One who pardons sins and leaves no trace of any fault.” In other words, Allah not only forgives but there is no trace or record of the offence being committed in the first place. It’s as if the offence never happened.
This is the kind of quality that Allah wants the believers to bring into their lives. Believers too need to be forgiving, and once they forgive they should not bring up the matter ever again.
In fact, Allah (swt) states that He loves those who forgives others and makes reconciliation:
They ask thee concerning (things taken as) spoils of war. Say: “(Such) spoils are at the disposal of Allah and the Messenger: so fear Allah, and keep straight the relations between yourselves: obey Allah and His Messenger, if ye do believe.” (Surah Anfal 8:1)
“But whoever pardons and seeks reconciliation, then their reward is with Allah.” (Surah ash-Shura 42:40);
“Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not love to be forgiven by Allah?” (Surah an-Nur 24:22)
“Who spend [in the cause of Allah] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people – and Allah loves the doers of good (Surah Alee Imran 3:134)
In addition, consider the following hadith:
Anas ibn Malik (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah said: “Do not hate one another, nor be jealous of one another; and do not desert one another, but O servants of Allah! Be Brothers. And it is unlawful for a Muslim to severe relationship with his (Muslim) brother for more than three nights.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
The prophet (PBUH) further stated:
“You will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I guide you to that which would make you love one another? Spread greetings (Salaam) abundantly amongst yourselves” [Muslim]
Furthermore, the Prophet, PBUH, was asked: “Who are the best type of people?”
He replied: “A person who is truthful in his speech and Makhmoom in his heart.”
The people asked: “We know what is truthful speech, but what is a Makhmoom heart?”
The Prophet, PBUH, responded saying: “It is a pure pious heart that does not have envy, evil or spite.” [Ibn Maajah]
Dear reader, if you have stopped speaking to a family member or some other person, I advise you to make reconciliation without delay even if you feel you have been wronged in some way.
Remember the excellent example of our beloved prophet (PBUH) who forgave his many adversaries even when they inflicted great suffering and harm on him.
And then consider the following narration from the prophet (pbuh):
Abu Musa reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “No one, or nothing, is more patient with harmful words he hears than Allah. Verily, they ascribe children to him, yet he gives them wellness and provision.” Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī
Learn to be patient and forbearing towards one another and not harbour grudges or feelings of malice. Be quick to forgive others even if you feel that you have been unjustly treated or aligned by them. Learn to not only forgive but release all bad feelings as if the incident or conflict between you and the other person had never happened at all.
I want to close with one other incident which I think is a good example of the message I am trying to convey here.
We all know the incident of the Ifk* in which our mother Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) was slandered. There is a very long hadith in Bukhari that you can read here.
One of the leaders of the slander was Mistah bin Uthatha who was a relative of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him). When Abu Bakr found out what Mistah had done, he proclaimed, “By Allah, I will never give to Mistah bin Uthatha anything after what he has said about Aisha.”
Then Allah revealed:
“And let not those among you who are good and wealthy swear not to give (any sort of help) to their kinsmen, those in need, and those who have left their homes for Allah’s cause, let them pardon and forgive. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is oft-Forgiving Most Merciful.” (Surah an-Nur 24:22)
Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, in response to the question posed by Allah, said:”Yes, by Allah, I would like that Allah forgive me.”
After that, he continued giving Mistah the money he used to give him before. Abu Bakr also added, “By Allah, I will never deprive him of it at all.”
Dear reader, do you want Allah to forgive you? Then follow the example of Abu Bakr, the beloved companion of our noble prophet (pbuh).
Let us exit this Ramadan with a clean heart towards others so that we can gain the favour of Allah and draw closer to Him.
If we want to know who Allah is, His names and His attributes, we can turn to the Quran for answers. From cover to cover the main topic of the Quran is Allah. Not only does the Quran tell us who Allah is, but also informs us of who Allah is not. In other words, the Quran dispels the many misconceptions that people have concerning Allah. This topic is addressed numerous times in the Quran. People forge lies concerning Allah without any reliance or reference to divine revelation. As a result of this, many erroneous ideas concerning Allah are both circulated and embraced as being true. And the Quran effectively debunks these erroneous ideas and points us back to the reality of who Allah is.
I submit that the following Quranic verse tells us something about Allah that we need to ponder over.
Allah says in Surah Ankabut 29:6:
وَمَن جَـٰهَدَ فَإِنَّمَا يُجَـٰهِدُ لِنَفۡسِهِۦۤۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَغَنِىٌّ عَنِ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ — “And if any strive (with might and main), they do so for their own souls: for Allah is free of all needs from all creation.”
In this verse, there is a contrast between the situation of we human beings and Allah. Humans need to strive and make effort in our daily lives, and we do so for our own good. Our efforts are made because we are in need of something. So, we go from a place of need to a place where the need is met, and that is done through our own personal efforts. Our condition — from a place of need to a place of having those needs fulfilled — changes from one moment to the next and never remains certain or fixed. Also, especially when we keep in mind the second part of the verse, the actions that we carry out and the efforts that we make are for our own benefit and in no way is Allah in need of any of this.
The second part of this verse informs us that Allah is not a need of anything. Allah is never in a situation where He has a need that has to be fulfilled and then later that need is met as a result of someone or something providing Him with His need. If Allah had needs then that means He changes in that He goes from a state of need to a state of having those needs fulfilled. If Allah had any needs this means but He would be dependent on someone or something else beyond himself to supply those needs. This would also mean that His power is limited and thus He would have to get what He wanted from someone or something else. If we held the assertion that Allah was in need, then we would have a distorted idea of who He is. How could any being who possesses needs be considered all-powerful at the same time?
But Allah shuts down this line of thinking with one simple statement “Allah is not in need of anything.”
In this statement, we have learned an important attribute of Allah. Since Allah is not in need of anything or anyone, then it stands to reason that He is all-powerful and self-sufficient. There is no other being anywhere that can say with absolute truth that they are not in need of anyone or anything, for that is simply untrue.
The one thing the Quran reminds us of over and over again is that we are in need of Allah. Consider the following verses:
O mankind! It is you who stand in need of Allah, but Allah is Rich (Free of all wants and needs), Worthy of all praise. (Surah Fatir 35:15)
“To Him belongs what is in the heavens and what is on the earth. And indeed, Allah is the Free of need, the Praiseworthy.” (Surah Hajj 22: 64)
“… unto Allah belong all things in the heavens and on earth, and Allah is free of all wants, worthy of all praise.” (Surah Nisa 4:131)
So the reality of our situation is that we are in continual need of Allah for everything, and Allah is not in need of us at all. This truth should keep us in a state of humility and prevent us from becoming arrogant. It should also compel us to make continual supplication to The One who has no needs — Allah.
In our personal lives, we must always be careful not to embrace erroneous misconceptions and ideas regarding who Allah is, for doing so would lead us astray. This is why we must continually turn to the Quran, as well as the authentic narrations from the prophet, in order to know who Allah is. Our understanding of Allah is what sets us apart as Muslims. And our belief in Allah, as revealed in the Quran, is our only source of salvation in the hereafter.
May Allah protect us from error and lead us to that which is true. And may the peace and blessings of Allah be on our prophet Muhammad.