Man’s lifecycle of creation and complete existence

In these Quranic verses, Allah provides a full picture and life cycle of how the life of a man started and where it will end up.
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12. And indeed We created man (Adam) out of an extract of clay (water and earth).

13. Thereafter We made him (the offspring of Adam) as a Nutfah (mixed drops of the male and female sexual discharge) (and lodged it) in a safe lodging (womb of the woman).

14. Then We made the Nutfah into a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood), then We made the clot into a little lump of flesh, then We made out of that little lump of flesh bones, then We clothed the bones with flesh, and then We brought it forth as another creation. So blessed be Allah, the Best of creators.

15. After that, surely, you will die.

16. Then (again), surely, you will be resurrected on the Day of Resurrection.

Quran (Surah Al-Muminoon, Verses 12 – 16)

In these verses, our attention is drawn to the creation of man and the universe to impress that the whole universe including man’s own self, is a clear proof of the truth of the Holy Prophet’s Message, which invites the people to accept Tauhid and life in the Hereafter.

Reflections on these verses:
Allah tells us how He initially created man from an extract of Tin. This was Adam, (peace be upon him), whom Allah created from sounding clay of altered black smooth mud. Then He made his offspring from semen of despised water ? ‘despised’ meaning weak).
The origin of man is from a mere inanimate sperm-drop, which undergoes several changes in the womb of the mother.

After this, when it sees the light of the day, it is quite a different creation from the embryo in the womb. Now it can hear, it can see, and in due course of time, talk and think. Then, when he reaches adulthood and maturity, he is capable of performing wonderful deeds. It is obvious that Allah alone could create all these characteristics in an inanimate sperm-drop. The various stages of the creation of man have been cited to prove that Allah is All- Blessed and there is no human language which can describe the praise of which He is worthy.

· That Allah Who is able to develop an essence of clay into a perfect man, does not have any partner in His God head. Moreover, He has the power to raise him up again after his death, and is capable of working even greater wonders.

Ahadith pertaining to the verses of man’s creation, The Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “(Allah created Adam from a handful which He picked up from throughout the earth, so the sons of Adam came forth accordingly, red and white and black and in between, evil and good and in between.) Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi recorded something similar. At- Tirmidhi said, “It is Sahih Hasan. ”

Ibn Jarir said, “Adam was called Tin because he was created from it.” Qatadah said, “Adam was created from Tin.” This is the more apparent meaning and is closer to the context, for Adam, upon him be peace, was created from a sticky Tin, which is a sounding clay of altered black smooth mud, and that is created from dust.

Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said, “We change it from one stage to another until it emerges as an infant, then it grows up through the stages of being a child, adolescent, youth, mature man, old man and senile man.”

Narrated ‘Abdullâh: Allâh’s Messenger (s), the true and truly inspired said: “(As regards your creation), every one of you is collected in the womb of his mother for the first forty days, and then he becomes a clot for another forty days, and then a piece of flesh for another forty days. Then Allâh sends an angel to write four words: He writes his deeds, time of his death, means of his livelihood, and whether he will be wretched or blessed (in the Hereafter). Then the soul is breathed into his body. So a man
may do deeds characteristic of the people of the (Hell) Fire, so much so that there is only the distance of a cubit between him and it, and then what has been written (by the angel) surpasses; and so he starts doing deeds characteristic of the people of Paradise and enters Paradise. Similarly, a person may do deeds characteristic of the people of Paradise, so much so that there is only the distance of a cubit between him and it, and then what has been written (by the angel) surpasses, and he starts doing deeds of the people of the (Hell) Fire and enters the (Hell) Fire.” (Sahih Al Bukhari, Vol.4, Hadith No.549).

References: Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Tafhim al-Quran
Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, The Noble Qur’an,
Translation by Dr. Muhsin Khan
– End

Why a Dua doesn’t getanswered?

Sometimes our duas are not answered. Some of
those reasons eventually becomeBaba%20Ali obvious to us with
the passage of time and some don’t. However, as
Muslims we should understand the reasons to help
us better cope with situations when our Duas are
not being answered. This can help us influence
factors that are under our direct control.
We know from Quran and Hadith the many
reasons behind duas not being accepted. Some of
them are the following:
The Dua that a person is asking may not
be good for the person but that person
may not know the reasons yet;
*A persons’ sins may be in the way of
accepting Duas;
*A person earns his living through
unlawful means (haraam means);
*A person may be asking for forbidden or
sinful items;
In the Quran, Allah says:
“And it may be that you dislike a thing which
is good for you” [Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:216]
According to a hadith of the Prophet (SAW):
“There is no Muslim who calls upon his
Lord with a dua in which there is no sin or
severing of family ties, but Allah will give
him one of three things: Either He will
answer his prayer quickly, or He will store
(the reward for) it in the Hereafter, or He
will divert an equivalent evil away from
him.” They said: “We will say more dua.” He
said: “Allah’s bounty is greater.” [Narrated by
Ahmad, 10749; Al-Tirmidhi, 3573. Classed as
Saheeh by Al-Albaani in Mishkaat Al-Masaabeeh,
2199]
On a related note, Umm Salamah said: I heard the
Messenger of Allah (SAW) say:
“There is no calamity that befalls one of the
Muslims and he responds by saying ‘Innaa
Lillaahi wa innaa ilahi raaji’oon, Allahumma
ujurni fi museebati w’ukhluf li khayran
minha (Truly, to Allah we belong and truly,
to Him we shall return; O Allah, reward me
in this calamity and compensate me with
something better than it),’ but Allah will
compensate him with something better than
it.” [Narrated by Muslim, 918]
Ibn Al-Qayyim said:

Whatever Allah has decreed for His
believing slave is a blessing even if that is
in the form of withholding; it is a favor
even if that is in the form of a trial, and
the calamity decreed by him is fair even if
it us painful. [Madaarij Al-Saalikeen, 4/215.]
Many ask if Allah is not being merciful
with them when not answering their
prayers. (The real reason is that) What
Allah chooses for His slave is better for
him than what he chooses for himself.
Allah is more merciful towards His slaves
than they themselves or their mothers
are. If something happens to them that
they dislike, that is better for them than if
it did not happen, so His decree is all
kindness and mercy. If the slave submits
to Allah and has certain faith that all
dominion belongs to Allah and all things
are under His command, and that He is
more merciful to him than he is himself,
then he will find peace of mind regardless
of whether his need is met or not.
[Madaarij Al-Saalikeen, 2/215]

Source: “Power of Dua” by
IqraSense.com

MEMOIRS OF AN ISLAMIC CLOTHING EXHIBITION by Nafisah Mohammed Atta

work
An ardent lover of modest and trendy fashion, a strange bubbly feeling grew inside of me as I received an invitation and as the day of the exhibition drew closer.

To many in our civilized society less is more, to me and to you a muslimah more is more. A point to note is that a woman who wears her hijab is like a pearl in its shell. As it was stated in Q33:59 “O Prophet! Tell your wives and daughters and women of the believers to draw
their cloaks (veils) over their bodies (when outdoors). That is most convenient that they should be known and not molested”.

The memory of the exhibition gives me to till date a deep sense of satisfaction. My wardrobe is full of colorful hijabs, modest and trendy
jilbabs.From the pleated, to the executive elegance to the centre streak, to the simple stitch you name it (what treasures!!!). Back to you ( sorry I was being a bit self indulgent).

The exhibition venue was ceddi plaza, central area Abuja. The setting was a master piece of its own, everything was well organized, there was the female section comprising hijabs, jilbabs, long shirts, skirts e.t.c. Oh! And not forgetting the hijab pins what exquisite stones they were made of!

The male section boasted of an array of lovely and quality t-shirts and hoodies bearing positive Islamic messages which were toilet free and also do not create religious bias. The staff were warm and welcoming and ever at your service. Imagine you get to try the outfits for free even if you are not buying.

After all a trial will convince you right? Wink! The exhibiton which lasted for four days, kept me coming back for more items 1 day after
another. Looking back at my recent acquisition, I have no regrets for I can proudly say this muslimah has found items at the exhibition to keep her modestly beautiful!

Nafisah Mohammed Atta
Abuja, Nigeria

Meet a Coz….. “Zainab Oluwabukola Atta

Screen_20130329_223319Greatness comes in simple packages. With a rare sense of discipline, focus, and family – our End-of-March’2013 Guest on Meet-A-Coz is a study in humility that belies her tough nature.

Considerate, yet Fearless. Gentle, yet Straight talking. Compassionate, Vocal Defender of Women & Children’s Rights and Welfare, This Brilliant Lawyer-daughter Of The Atta Clan Is A True Sister In Need and In Deed, As Even I Can Testify!

Please Meet: *Zainab Oluwabukola Atta*

Aka ‘KaKa’. Zainab is daughter To One Of The Family’s Renown Doctors, Late. Dr. Ahmed Atta. Her Instinctively Caring Nature Easily Gives Way To The Amazon In Her When The Duty To Defend A Victim Of Injustice Comes Calling.

An Avid Reader, Neatness Freak, Zainab Does Stunningly Amazing Cakes’ Designs, Amongst Other Talents. She Was Her Efficient Self During The Interview; Returning Responses In Record Time!

Enjoy ‘KaKa’ Like You’ve Never Known Her!

Q. Your Background – parents’ names, your birth date, place of birth, siblings, education, work experiences, etc.

Zainab: My father is Late Dr. Ahmed Tijani Atta, My mum is Mrs. Comfort O. Atta. I was born in Zaria on the 28th of October 197-. My siblings are Ladi, Habib, Amirah, Ibrahim, Jemila(Late), Suleiman and Mariam. I have an LL.B from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. I went to the Nigerian Law Sch, Enugu Campus. I was called to the Nigerian Bar in May 2002. After my Call to Bar, I went for my Youth Service in Zamfara State, where i lectured at the Federal Polytechnic, Kaura Namora. I worked with a Law office in Kaduna State after my Service year but left in 2005. In 2006, i joined an NGO called Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women (LEADS-NIGERIA) where i work as a Legal Officer. We work to promote and protect the rights of Women and Children, encourage women to participate in politics, amongst other things. You can call me a Gender Advocate or ‘Women’s Rights Advocate’. Hahaha.

Q. How was your growing up years? Recall fond memories.

Zainab: Growing up was bittersweet. Bitter cos of my parents separation (I was my dad’s favorite so i felt he had ‘betrayed’ me personally! Hahahaha). But let me say here that my parents were exceptional. They remained friends and cordial. My mum never ever encouraged us to hate our Dad and neither did my dad do same per my mum. I wish all divorced couples could be as cordial and civil and friendly as they were. I grew up at a point being neighbors with my male cousins (Abdul, Sani, Yakubu) and so I almost ended up being a tomboy; but it was great having so much protection from them. I remember all the mischief we got ourselves into. I wonder how our mums coped with us?!!! Hahaha. Then I started going for holidays with Dad and step momsie (Mrs. Ann Atta, who is an exceptional step mum. I think I was even closer to her than to Dad) and it was something else. Dad didn’t believe in us going out. I guess we were many enough to play with each other. He had rather i read books (From his vast library) than to go visiting (I love reading novels till date). I also remember all the laughs and jokes when i stayed with my Mum’s Parents. Her Dad was and still is a disciplinarian but i enjoyed visits to Kingsway and other fun places with him.

Q. Current status: married or unmarried? Your experiences & thoughts on family & relationships.

Zainab: I am single and not searching. The bible says na the bobo go do the finding, so am enjoying my freedom while it lasts. Hahaha. I believe family is very very important and it helps to mold a person and helps us maintain sanity in this crazy world. To me, a relationship MUST be based on honesty, openness, mutual respect, faithfulness, hard work and the fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom.

Q. Describe your typical day.

Zainab: I wake up, have my morning devotions ( Pray, read my bible and my daily devotionals). Have my bath, package my breakfast and/or lunch and leave for the office, where i attend to emails, write reports or other documents, handle cases that come to the Legal Clinic my office runs, attend meetings where necessary. After work i either go for Mid-week service or go home and relax, read a book, do house work or bake and decorate cakes. Check mails and Facebook, then off to bed with a good book.

Q. Tell us more about your line of work. What is your motivation? Any particular memories and/or cases you wish to recall in your line of duty?

Zainab: I work for an NGO that promotes and protects the rights of women and children in Northern Nigeria. We provide Pro-Bono services for victims of abuse. We also encourage women to participate in politics. These are done through Advocacy to stakeholders, Town hall meetings, trainings, Media campaigns, etc. There is a huge gap in the North where the issues of gender sensitivity, women’s rights, Women’s participation in politic, women / Girl child education are concerned. We have had all sorts of cases. Women whose husbands physically, mentally abuse them, little children who have been abuse, etc. I strongly belief that the more we talk about such issues, the better the situation becomes. If a woman faces constant abuse, how does she bring up right thinking children? her children grow up in such abusive environment and become abusers themselves when they grow up. There is this traditional ruler in a particular ‘Ungwar’ in Kaduna metropolis that we trained on issues of Women’s rights. Just 2 weeks ago he testified that the training has made him a better ruler. he gave the story of a little girl who was to be married off. He refused and insisted her parents send her to school. We are not saying we want to be equal with the men. All we want is fairness, equity. Gender is about both men and women, not just men. For examples are there proper toilets for girls in schools? etc.

Q. What it means to come from Atta Ibrahim family.

Zainab: I believe it is a privilege to come from the Atta family. The name opens doors sometimes when you least expect it. I also believe it is a responsibility because people watch you and how you behave even if you are unaware.

Q. Happiest moment so far?

Zainab: The day i got Born Again because my relationship with God saw me through some unpleasant experiences in life.

Q. Saddest moment so far?

Zainab: The day my dad died in July 1995.

Q. Your thoughts on Atta ibrahim family. Tell us one thing you would change about the family if you could.

Zainab: I wish we were more united and caring. There is a high level of disenchantment amongst us about the family. I believe our generation can bring about a change for our own sake and that of our children. There are families that are not half as large as ours yet they achieve great things and are united. YES WE CAN! It is gradual and wouldn’t happen in a day.

Q. What does fashion mean to you?

Zainab: Fashion to me means coordinated colours, comfortable and decent, not revealing unnecessary body parts. Whatever makes me feel good.

Q. You are known in Kaduna as a very creative Cakes decorator. What inspires your designs?

Zainab: I have always loved cakes. I used to say i wasn’t artistic( I wonder if i can draw a proper stick figure, Ha ha ha). But i learn from others. In this line of cake decorating, you need to be current. Usually i prefer to get a job at least 4 days to the even, if possible weeks before. It enables me to play with ideas, colour combinations in my head, and also to research to see what others are doing. i also attend trainings. God has been faithful. Though I still have a lot to learn. Hahaha.

Q. Zainab’s favourites:

Favourite Meal?
Any ‘swallow’ food (Amala, pounded yam, semovita) with any draw soup with fish or goat meat. (She dey chop o 🙂

Fav. Drink?
Coke soft drink

Fav. Colours?
Blue and peach.

Fav. Football club?
NONE! Hahaha

Fav. Personality?
Jesus Christ

Fav. Travel destination?
Chesapeake, Virginia

Fav. Perfume?
U by UNGARO or most Avon perfumes

Q. The family is looking forward to the 50th anniversary of Grandpa’s passing by next year 2014. In retrospect, are we where we ought to be as a family? Where have we missed it?

Zainab: No. we are not where we should be. I think we missed it by forgetting that unity is very important. Also we have this attitude of ‘me and my immediate family only’. We actually grew up to meet things like that but i also think as Atta Descendants, we are on the right path to changing things. It wouldn’t happen automatically, but it would surely change for the best. I see a great, united, peaceful, loving, helpful and supportive Atta family in the not too distant future.

Q. Where do you see yourself, five years from now?

Zainab: WOW! 5 years from now, I see myself as a force to be reckoned with in my career and also my line of business( Not just the cakes but also the events management aspect). I see myself being financially independent and an employer of labour with a well established business premises. I see myself in a better relationship with God and also with people around me. I see my self Married to a sweet godly man with well behaved children. I see myself being 10kg heavier in weight (Hahaha)!

The End.

Why Do We Sin? (and stepsfor prevention)

Allah has ordained the nature of man to be fallible. We are constantly subjugated to the pulls and desires of this worldly life. While we have the ability to steer our “free will” in any direction, we remain exposed to Satan’s attacks and whispers that can stray us from the straight path. We can counter Satan’s plan of pulling us down with sins by increasing our faith, knowledge, and good deeds and that can then elevate us to a level which can merit our meeting with Allah with bright and shining faces. Alternately, we can ignore Allah’s

commandments and burden ourselves with sins thus bringing in darkness and sadness on our faces.

 

As Allah says in the Quran: Some faces that Day shall be Nadirah (shining and radiant).

Looking at their Lord (Allah). And some faces, that Day, will be Basirah (dark, gloomy, frowning, and sad), Thinking that some calamity is about to fall on them (Quran, Al-

Qiyama:22-25)

 

For those of us who believe, the anticipation of

meeting Allah alone should invigorate us to

straighten our acts and to stay clear from all types of sins. But again, the fallibility of our essential nature makes us either forget or neglect our obligations and drives our nafs (self) to sin. To shield ourselves from misguidance, therefore, we should look at the root causes that can help us become aware of Satan’s tactics and accordingly prevent our nafs from being misguided.

 

The following are some of those reasons and the divine guidance that can help us overcome the temptation to get into sins.

 

Lack of knowledge

 

Lack of knowledge about religious matters and the vast chasms that it creates in our understanding is one of the reasons why many of us engage in sins. This also denies us the knowhow about the allowed (halal), and the prohibitions (haram). Consider what the Prophet (S.A.W) said regarding our

responsibility to learn Islamic knowledge that he brought for mankind:

 

“The example of guidance and knowledge with

which Allah has sent me is like abundant rain

falling on the earth, some of which was fertile soil that absorbed rain water and brought forth vegetation and grass in abundance. (And)

another portion of it was hard and held the rain water and Allah benefited the people with it and they utilized it for drinking, making their animals drink from it and for irrigation of the land for cultivation. (And) a portion of it was barren which could neither hold the water nor bring forth vegetation (then that land gave no benefits). The first is the example of the person who comprehends Allah’s religion and gets benefit (from the knowledge) which Allah has revealed through me (the Prophet) and learns and then teaches others. The last example is that of a person who does not care for it and does not take Allah’s guidance

revealed through me (He is like that barren land.) ” [Bukhari, Vol. 1, Book 1, Hadeeth 79].

 

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to see Muslims today who fall in the last category and make little effort to learn such knowledge. This is what Caliph Umar Ibnul-Khattaab had predicted when he said:

 

“Soon the bonds of Islam will be loosened bit by bit, because people will enter into Islam but will be unaware of Jaahiliyyah (ignorant practices that Islam opposes),” meaning that they won’t hesitate to follow them [Ibn Taymiyyah – Majmoo’ul- Fataawaa (10/301)].

 

Moreover, to excuse ourselves from the obligation to learn more about Islamic matters, some of us rationalize to ourselves that our daily worships may be sufficient for us to live meaningfully. Again, this is one of those traps that many scholars over the centuries had warned us about. This is because

worshipping Allah without the basis of knowledge leaves our foundations of faith very vulnerable and fallible. In this context, Ibn Al-Qayyim comments about the two verses of Suah Al-Hashr (16, 17)

where an ignorant worshipper based his life on

worshipping Allah unknowingly, so Satan seized the opportunity and thus seduced him (due to lack of his knowledge) to disbelieve in Allah [Al Fawwaid]. So, we see that an ongoing effort to strengthen our faith through knowledge is essential not just to protect us from minor sins but also to prevent us from the greatest sin of all, which is to disbelieve in Allah. 

 

Social pressures

 

A number of us sin not because of willful

disobedience but because sometimes we get pulled into the act reluctantly. It is no secret that certain social (and other) pressures tend to push us into committing sins that we normally would not commit. When in such situations, we quiet our conscience and then go with the social flow. This is one of the reasons why the Prophet (S.A.W) warned us about keeping company that can take us away from the straight path. He (S.A.W) said: 

 

“A man will follow the way of his close friends, so let each one of you look at who he takes as a close friend.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood, 8433; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 4046.)

 

We should remind ourselves that time always

passes and such friends won’t last us for the full journey of our life and they won’t be with us on the day when we are held accountable for the sins that we committed due to their influence. 

Consider what Allah says in the following two verses about the Day of Judgment:

 

“Friends on that Day (the Day of Judgement) will be enemies except al– Muttaqoon (the pious)” (Az–Zukhruf 43: 67).

 

“And (remember) the Day when the wrongdoers will bite at his hands, he will say: O! Would that I had taken a path with the Messenger (Muhammad). Ah! Woe to me! Would that I had never taken so–and– so as a friend. He indeed led me astray from the reminder (the Quran) after it had come to me. And Satan is ever a deserter to man in the hour of need” (Al–Furqaan 25: 27– 29).

 

Let’s, therefore, ensure that if our social circles are directly or indirectly pushing us to commit sins or discouraging us from performing good deeds then we should disengage from such groups and people

immediately. By quieting our conscience in the face of social pressures, we also start to slowly regard many wrongs as rights and gradually lose our internal compass of the right and wrong.

 

Sense of pride and arrogance

 

Pride and arrogance can lead us to suppress the goodness and common sense within us simply to provide merit to our egocentric agendas. One sign of such an attitude involves engaging in frequent argumentation, disputes, and quarrels simply to push misguided viewpoints. Such an attitude in general stands counter to everything that the Quran and the prophet taught us. As one of the Islamic

scholars stated, if faith (eemaan) was simply

knowing the facts in one’s heart, then that is similar to Satan’s situation because he was very knowledgeable about his Lord (rabb) [1], yet his arrogance and pride led him to become

argumentative and disobedient to Allah, and in the process became the worst of creatures.

Let’s remember that the prophet (S.A.W)

associated such an attitude with misguidance. He said, “A nation never went astray after being guided except by means of disputation (Tirmidhi #3253 and ibn Majah #48 on the authority of Abu Umamah).” 

Consider the example that Allah provides about such people: And when the son of Maryam (Mary) is quoted as an example (i.e.

Jesus is worshipped like their idols), behold! Your people cry aloud (laugh out at the example). And say: “Are our aliha (gods)

better or is he (Jesus)?” They quoted not the above example except for argument. Nay! But they are a quarrelsome people (Quran,

43:57-58).

 

We ought to, therefore, look within ourselves and see whether the pride in our hearts or the arrogance of our attitudes in anyway influence us to refuse seeing or listening to the truth. For those of us who suffer from such diseases, what is needed instead is an attitude of humility or humbleness that can motivate us to stay calm and open to seeing our mistakes thereby providing an opportunity to fix them. Ibn Al-Qayyim said that a sin that leads one to submission (and humility to Allah in repentance) is preferable in the sight of Allah than a good deed that causes pride (in one’s

heart) (Al Fawwaid). That is obviously because

pride puts a veil on our eyes and hearts and can lead us to more sins.

 

Not taking minor sins seriously

 

Many take minor sins lightly taking it for granted that Allah will forgive them for such sins. As a result, they persist in such sins thereby getting desensitized to the need to address them. Consider the hadith of the Prophet (S.A.W) where according to one report he said, “Beware of minor sins, for they will pile up until they destroy a person”. (Reported by Ahmad; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2686-2687).

 

Some scholars are of the view that when minor sins are accompanied by a lack of shame or remorse, and with no fear of Allah, and are taken lightly, then there is the risk that they will be counted as major sins. Hence it is said that no minor sin is minor if you persist, and no major sin is major if you seek forgiveness [2].

 

Abandoning the practice of enjoining good

and forbidding evil

 

One of the reasons why we see sin proliferate is that many of us have forgotten the principles of inviting people to good and stopping them from doing bad. When people live in environments (within the family or other social circles) where advice for the good isn’t encouraged much, it takes away the

opportunities for improvements and also lets people develop false perceptions about themselves. As we discussed earlier, Allah has created us weak and as a result staying away from sins requires periodic

doses of knowledgeable advice and wisdom.

Additionally, Islamic teachings also command us to advise each other on matters of right or wrong. 

When communities fail to espouse these principles, sins spread more easily. Allah says in the Quran (about Muslims):

 

“You are the best of peoples ever raised up

for mankind; you enjoin Al-Ma’rûf (the

good and the truth) and forbid Al-Munkar

(the wrong, evils, sins, etc.), and you

believe in Allâh . . .” (Quran 3:110)

 

Malik ibn Dinar said, “We have become accustomed to loving the world, so that we do not enjoin good or forbid evil to one another. Allah the Most High will certainly not permit us to continue doing this, but would that I knew what kind of punishment shall befall us!” Imam Al-Bayhaqi (The Seventy- Seven Branches of Faith).

The Prophet (S.A.W) said: “If the people see an

evil and they do not change it, soon Allah will inflict them all with His Punishment (Hadith – Ahmed, graded authentic by Albaani in Saheeh al- Jaami’ (1/398).”

However, matters of giving advice should be

handled wisely. It is not uncommon to see people getting discouraged (whether in situations of advising or when being advised) due to the manner in which such advice is given. This is because they fail to see the difference between advising and condemning. It was said to one of the Salaf (pious followers that came after the death of the Prophet): “Would you love that someone inform you about your faults?” So he replied: “If he does so with the intention of blaming me, then no.” Also, Al-Fudail (rahimahullaah) said: “The believer conceals (the sin of his brother) and advises (him), while the evildoer disgraces and condemns (him).”

Similarly, when we know of the wrong actions of believers, we shouldn’t make it a point to propagate their weaknesses to others. The salaf, for example, used to hate the commanding of the good and forbidding evil when it was done to someone in a public forum. Instead, they loved that it be done

privately. This is since it is not the goal of the one who is advising to spread and publicize the faults of the person he is advising, rather his goal is only to put an end to the evil that he has fallen into [The Difference between Advising and Condemning by Al-Haafidh Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbalee].

 

Not knowing the ill effects of sins

 

Another reason why many people sin, or care little about their sins is their failure to seethe impact that sins can have on their lives in this world and in the hereafter. The truth is that if we don’t understand the ghastly nature of sins, we wouldn’t stay away from them. Consider a sample of the ill effects of sins that Ibn Al-

Qayyim had explained:

 

1. Sins deprive a person of provision (rizq) in this life. In Musnad Ahmad it is narrated that Thawbaan said: “The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: ‘A man is deprived of provision because of the sins that he commits.”. (Narrated by Ibn Maajah, 4022, classed as hasan by al- Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah).

 

2. A sinful person experiences a sense of

alienation (indifference) with his Lord, and between him and other people. One of the salaf had said that he could see the impact of disobedience to Allah (in some aspects of his daily life).

 

3. A person who commits sins sees that things become difficult for him. In any matter that he turns to, he finds the way blocked or he finds it difficult. By the same token, for the one who fears Allah, things are made easy.

 

4. ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Abbaas said: “Good deeds make the face light, give light to the heart, and bring about ample provision, physical strength and love in people’s hearts. Bad deeds make the face dark, give darkness to the heart, and bring about physical weakness, a lack of

provision and hatred in people’s hearts.”

 

5. Sin breeds sin until it dominates a person

and he cannot escape from it. Sin weakens a person’s willpower. It gradually strengthens his will to commit sin and weakens his will to repent until there is no will in his heart to repent at all . . . So he seeks forgiveness and expresses repentance, but it is merely words on the lips, like the repentance of the liars, whose hearts are still determined to commit sin and persist in it. This is one of the most

serious diseases that is likely to lead to doom. He becomes desensitized and no longer find sins abhorrent; so it becomes his habit, and he is not bothered if people see him committing the sin or talk about him .

 

All in all, let’s remember that for us to stay clear from sins we need to constantly work at building a strong internal frame of reference that is reinforced with knowledge of the truth. This must be coupled with a living conscience that can help us recognize sins when we see them and to have it poke at us should we get inclined to indulge in those sins. Again, reflecting back on the verses of Sura Al-

Qiyamah that we reviewed earlier, let’s strive to keep the burden of our sins light when we meet Allah, so that our faces are Nadirah (shining and radiant) rather than Basirah (dark, gloomy, frowning, and sad).

 

References:

1. Lecture by Sheikh Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Qari

2. Sheikh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid

(islam-qa.com)

May Allah forgive u our sins and guide us onto the straight path.. Amen

Source– The IqraSense.com Blogger

THE EBIRA TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE RITE.

The Ebira (also spelt Igbira or Igbirra) are an ethno-linguistic group of Nigeria. Ebira (Tao) is a tribe in Kogi state in the Northern part of Nigeria with a population of 1.5milllions inhabitants. Many Ebira people are from Kogi State, Kwara State, Nasarawa State, Federal Capital Territory – Abuja, Edo, Okene, Okehi, Adavi and Ajaokuta. Okene is said to be the administrative centre of the Ebira-speaking people in Kogi state, not far from the Niger-Benue confluence. The word Ebira means behavior when translated literally, with ethics and hospitality as compliments.
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Ebira people are peace loving and accommodating and their hospitality nature has been the reason why many people from different part of the country considered the area as their second home. Ebira land is a blessed area rich in solid mineral resources and economically viable for any type of business.
Ebira (Igbirra) people have unique features of their culture with its ethnic aestheticism that can be appreciated most in the event of traditional marriages.
 
Marriage Custom
When a man sees a lady he intends to marry, he discusses his intentions with her, and if she is interested, asks him to bring his people to express his intentions to her parents.

In respect to the Ebira tradition, the man does not walk to the parents of the woman to disclose his intentions; his parents or elders mostly the women do this, by going to the lady’s parents to introduce themselves and also to inform them of their reason for coming to the house.
 
After this is done, the parents of the lady then conduct a thorough investigation on the upbringing, background, family history and so on, of the intending groom to unravel any history of madness, terminal diseases or criminality in the man’s family. This is with a view to deciding whether or not to give their daughter’s hand in marriage to a family with a tainted reputation in the society. If their findings are appreciable, an approval is given to the man to visit the bride-to- be from time to time to get to know themselves properly.
 
A date is chosen for the formal introduction of both families and this is called “Ise Ewere” which means ‘what has been in secret is now in the open’. During the celebration, there is usually the presentation of gift items made by the family of the groom to the family of the bride.
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The gift items usually include:
1.      42 tubers of yam
2.      Hot drinks / Assorted wines /Minerals
3.      Kolanut
4.      Walking stick
5.      Dried fish or bush meat
6.      10 liters of palm oil
7.      Bag of salt
8.      Palm oil
9.      Groundnut oil
10.    Clothing materials in some boxes
11.    Jewelries and Adornment for the lady
12.    Cash for the clan members and family elders
13. The groom may also decide to present two wrappers to his bride-to-be but this is optional.
 
On the day of introduction, it is not necessary that the man attends the occasion as his family members do the necessary things on his behalf. The bride’s family in turn, entertains the groom’s family with food and drinks. The families interact with one another and formally introduce every member of both families.
 
After this is done, the date for the Traditional marriage is fixed. The tubers of yam and other items brought are distributed to neighbors and members of the extended family. A lot of significance is given to this, to solicit for their prayers for a happy marriage as well as to ensure the acknowledgement of the community that the lady now has someone she intends to get married to.
 
The amount to be collected as bride price is also agreed upon by the parents of the bride and it depends to a large extent, on the financial strength of the man. Apart from the bride price, there are other things like “ozemeiyi” that is “I am attracted to her” which a certain amount of money is attached to, and “otanuvogei” that is “joining hands together”. There is also “idoza” that is “farming price” paid to the bride’s family because Ebira people are predominantly farmers. In the olden days when every young man had to farm, the groom and his friends appoint a day to farm for the father of the bride but these days because most young men don’t farm any longer, they pay money instead.
 
On the day of the Traditional Marriage, women in the man’s family are seen singing and dancing carrying tubers of yams on their heads to the lady’s house. The singing and dancing continues at their arrival at the lady’s house where the ceremony kicks off. The ceremony is usually colorful with display of dances by maiden groups mostly the bride’s friends and by women groups. A religious leader and the parents of the couple offer prayers for them to bless their marriage and a certificate is thereafter given to the couple by the religious leader.
 
 Thereafter, the lady is escorted by her friends and other women to her husband’s house with her belongings.
If you have any addition to this tradition please let us know. Thanks