Significant of the ‘dua’ recommend by the prophet SAW for the last 10 night of Ramadan.

In the Name of Allah the Most Gracious the Most Merciful

Indeed all praise is due to Allah, we praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness, we seek refuge with Allah from our soul’s evil and our wrong doings, he whom Allah guides, no one can misguide, and he whom He misguides, no one can guide.
May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon Muhammad the Messenger of Allah (SAW) and his family and Companions and all who follow them in righteousness until the Day of Judgment.

Dear respective brother and sisters,
below is the explanation of the significant of the dua recommend by the prophet SAW for the last 10 night of Ramadan.

Aisha, May Allah be pleased with her, said: I asked the Messenger of Allah:

‘O Messenger of Allah, if I know what night is the night of Qadr, what should I say during it?’

The Prophet SAW said: “Say: O Allah, You are pardoning and you love to pardon, so pardon me “Reported by Ibn Majah, and Tirmidhi).

The transliteration of the dua is:-

“Allahumma innaka `afuwwun tuhibbul afwa fa`a fu annee”

And the Arabic text is as written below
اللْهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي

The meaning of the dua is broken down as follows
اللْهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ
O Allah, You are pardoning

تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ
and You love to pardon

فَاعْفُ عَنِّي
so pardon me

From all the dua of the Quran and Sunnah, the Prophet SAW specified this dua for the last 10 nights showing us how profound it is. One of Allah’s beautiful names, Al-‘Afuww (the Pardoner) and it appears five times in the Qur’an and four times with Al-Ghafoor (the Most Forgiving)

Difference between ‘Afuww and Ghafoor

Al-‘Afuww comes from the root ‘afw, which means to hide, obliterate, or remove something.
This meaning connotes ‘pardoning’, which is when one looks over another’s error and does not take them to account for it. Technically, it means Allah’s protection from trials and sicknesses for the believers (i.e.… safety and well-being).

On the Day of Judgment, we may find that many sins we committed are not in our record, this is ‘afw, which is when Allah completely removes your sins from your record as if you never committed them. When it comes to

‘afw Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala said: “And He pardons much” [Ash-Shura 42:34]

Al-‘Afuww pardons His Servants by not calling them to account for their sins and erasing their sins from their records. Not only does Allah pardon and remove our sins, but He Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala loves to Pardon, as is implied in the dua above.

Al-Ghafoor comes from the root ghafar, which means to cover, conceal, and shield. When Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala forgives a sin, it means that He covers it and conceals it.

Al-Ghafoor is the One who does not expose the sins of His Slaves. He shields and protects His Slaves from the consequences of their sins and still forgives even though He is All-Aware of the wrong they committed.

When it comes to Al-Ghafoor, He will forgive the sins but they will appear in your record. Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala Said “Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgives anything else, to whom He pleases.” [An-Nisa’ 4:48]

Al-Ghafoor is the One who forgives any sin regardless of the size as long as one seeks sincere repentance. Al-Ghafoor even forgives sins when we does not seek repentance because it is out of Allah’s Mercy that when a Muslim does certain acts, these acts will automatically have some or all of their sins forgiven.
The sins that Allah did not erase will appear in our record, but Al-Ghafoor can still forgive them.

The Prophet SAW said, “There would come people amongst the Muslims on the Day of Resurrection with sins as heavy as a mountain, and Allah would forgive them.” [Muslim]

When Al-‘Afuww and Al-Ghafoor are paired together, it shows how Merciful and Compassionate Allah is. He Pardons much, and for those sins He does not Pardon, He will forgive and conceal if He Wills.

May Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala pardon all our sins, past, present and future, make the Ummah benefit from this work and keep our hearts firm on His guidance. AMIN

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Status of Mothers in Islam

What does Islam say about “mothers”?

Ansar Al-‘Adl

This is one of the most convincing things about Islam – the treatment of women in general and especially the high position mothers hold in Islam.

Amongst the clearest examples of Islam’s honoring women is the great status of the mother in Islam. Islam commands kindness, respect and obedience to parents and specifically emphasizes and gives preference to the mother as shall be shown in this article.
Islam raises parents to a status greater than that found in any other religion or ideology.

The command to be good to one’s parents begins right from the Qur’an. Allah says:

“Worship God and join not any partners with Him; and be kind to your parents…” [Noble Quran 4:36]

The mention of servitude to parents follows immediately after servitude to God. This is repeated throughout the Qur’an.

“Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor. And out of kindness, lower to
them the wing of humility and say, “My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood.” [Noble Quran 17:23-24]

The great scholar, Abu al-Faraj Ibn Al-Jawzî (d. 1201CE) explained:

To be kind to one’s parents is: to obey them when they order you to do something, unless it is something which Allah has forbidden; to give priority to their orders over voluntary acts of worship; to abstain from that which they forbid you to do; to provide for them; to serve them; to approach them with gentle humility and mercy;
not to raise your voice in front of them; nor to fix your glance on them; nor to call them by their names; and to be patient with them. (Ibn al-Jawzî, Birr al-Wâlidayn)

The Qur’an emphasizes the great struggles the mother goes through for her child, to highlight the need for one to reciprocate their parents sacrifice for them:

“And We have enjoined on man [to be good] to his parents: in travail upon travail did his mother bear him and his weaning was over two years. Be thankful to Me and to your parents, unto Me is the final destination.” [Noble Quran 31:14]

The renowned exegete, Shaykh Abdur-Rahman As-Sa’di (d. 1956), says about this verse:

{And to your parents} meaning, be kind to your parents, shower on them love, affection and piety, both in words and deeds, treat them with tender humility, provide for them and never harm them
verbally nor physically. […] Then, Allah mentions the reason why we should be kind to our parents, when He says {His mother bore him in travail upon travail}, that is, the mother bore constant
suffering; in pain and hardship from the first moment she felt the child moving in her womb to the worst pangs during the time of delivery. And {his weaning is for two years}, that is, during these two years the mother breast-feeds her child and looks after him/her. So after all the years of suffering, hardship, love and care, could we not, at least, compensate our mothers for what they have done for us and pay them back their rights? (Taysîr al-Karîm ar- Rahmân fî Tafsîr al-Kalâm al-Manân)

The Qur’an repeats its mention of the struggles of the mother in yet another passage:

“And We have enjoined upon man, to his parents, good treatment. His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship, and his gestation and weaning [period] is thirty months. [He grows] until, when he reaches maturity and reaches [the age
of] forty years, he says, “My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring. Indeed, I have repented to
You, and indeed, I am of the Muslims.” [Noble Quran 46:15]

In connection to this passage, the late Grand Mufti of Pakistan, Shaykh Muhammad Shafy (d. 1976) wrote:

Mother has more rights than father
Although the first part of this verse is a command to do good to both the parents, the second sentence refers only to the hardships suffered by the mother, because they are unavoidable, and no child can be born without them. Every mother has to go through the
problems of pregnancy and severe pains of delivery. As against this, it is not necessary for a father that he suffers any hardship in bringing up and educating the child, if he can afford to pay somebody else for these services. This is why the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has given more rights to the mother than anybody else. According to a hadîth he has said,

“Do good to and serve your mother, then your mother, then your mother, then your father, then the near relatives and then those who come after them.” [Mazhari]

“And his carrying and his weaning is in thirty months” [Noble Quran 46:15]

This sentence too describes the hardships suffered by the mother for her baby. It points out that even after suffering hardships during pregnancy and the severe labor pains, the mother does not get respite from toils, because the natural food of the infants is in her
breasts, and she has to suckle them. (Shafy, Ma’âriful Qur’ân [Eng. trans.], vol. 7, pp. 795-796)

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) continually used to remind his followers of the status of the mother and the obligation of being good to one’s parents. The following narration is a beautiful example of the noble position of the
mother:

A man came to the Prophet and said: O Messenger of Allah! Who from amongst mankind warrants the best companionship from me? He replied: “Your mother.” The man asked: Then who? So he replied: “Your mother.” The man then asked: Then who? So the
Prophet replied again: “Your mother.” The man then asked: Then who? So he replied: “Then your father.” (Sahîh Bukhârî 5971 and Sahîh Muslim 7/2)

Commenting on this hadith, Shaykh Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimi notes:

This hadith confirms that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) gave precedence to kind treatment of one’s mother over kind treatment of one’s father (Al-Hashimi, The Ideal Muslimah, IIPH 2005, p. 165)

Likewise, the late Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaykh Abdul-Azîz Ibn Bâz (d. 1999) comments on this hadith saying:

So this necessitates that the mother is given three times the like of kindness and good treatment than the father. (Majmoo’ Fataawaa wa Maqalat Mutanawwi’ah)

He also writes:

The secret of her importance lies in the tremendous burden and responsibility that is placed upon her, and the difficulties that she has to shoulder – responsibilities and difficulties some of which not even a man bears. This is why from the most important obligations upon a person is to show gratitude to the mother, and kindness and good companionship with her. And in this matter, she is to be given
precedence over and above the father. And I have no doubt that my mother – may Allah shower His mercy upon her – had a tremendous effect upon me, in encouraging me to study; and she
assisted me in it. May Allah greatly increase her reward and reward
her with the best of rewards for what she did for me. (Majmoo’ Fatawa wa Maqalat Mutanawwi’ah)

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) also said in a famous narration:

‘Paradise lies at the feet of your mother’ [Musnad Ahmad, Sunan An-Nasâ’i, Sunan Ibn Mâjah]

What can be greater evidence of honoring women than this? Islam has effectively placed the ultimate reward for human beings in their devotion to their mothers. Shaykh Ibrahîm Ibn Sâlih Al-Mahmud writes:

Treat your mother with the best companionship, then your father;
because paradise is under the mother’s feet. Never disobey your parents, nor make them angry, otherwise you will live a miserable life in this world and the hereafter, and your children will treat you likewise. Ask your parents gently if you need something. Always
thank them if they give it to you, and excuse them if they do not, and never insist on a matter if they refuse to give you something. (Al-Mahmoud, How to be kind to your Parents, p.40)

It is related from Talhah ibn Mu’âwiyah as-Salamî who said:

I came to the Prophet and said, “O Messenger of Allah, I want to perform Jihad in the way of Allah. He asked, “Is your mother alive?” I replied, “Yes.” The Prophet then said: “Cling to her feet, because paradise is there.” (at-Tabarânî).

Shaykh Nidhaam Sakkijihaa comments:
Cling to her feet means to submit yourself to her, be close to her, protect her, serve her because in this is Paradise and with her satisfaction you will enjoy the good blessings of Allah. (Sakkijihaa, Honoring the Parents, p. 52)

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) showed us the importance of serving one’s parents in the following narration reported by Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud:

I asked the Prophet, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is the best deed?’ He replied ‘Prayer offered on time.’ I asked, ‘What is next in goodness?’ He replied, ‘To be dutiful and kind to one’s parents.’ I
further asked, ‘What is next in goodness?’ He replied, ‘Jihad in the
Allah’s cause. [Sahîh Bukhârî, Sahîh Muslim]

Just as the Prophet said that kindness to one’s parents was of the best deeds, he also said that disobedience to them was amongst the major sins:

“The greatest sins are to associate partners in worship with Allah, to be undutiful or unkind to one’s parents, to kill a soul forbidden by Allah and to bear false witness.” [Sahîh Bukhârî]

Even after the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him),

image

the Muslim scholars continued to stress the importance of being dutiful to one’s mother. By examining the conduct and
teachings of the early Muslim scholars, one may see how the direct recipients of the Islamic message understood the command to be dutiful to one’s parents. Their behavior towards their parents shows Muslims how one is to implement the teachings of the Prophet on honoring parents.

Abdullah Ibn Abbâs (d. 687CE), a companions of the Prophet and a great scholar of Islam, considered kind treatment of one’s mother to be the best deed for strengthening or rectifying one’s relation with God. He said:

I know of no other deed that brings people closer to Allah than kind
treatment and respect towards one’s mother. [Al-Adab al-Mufrad Bukhârî 1/45]

An even more powerful example is found in the statement of another one of the Prophet’s companions, Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (d. 692CE), who was also a great scholar of Islam. It has been related that:

Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar saw a Yemeni man performing Tawâf (circumambulating the Ka’bah) while carrying his mother on his back. This man said to Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar, “I am like a tame camel for her! I have carried her more than she carried me. Do you think I have paid her back, O Ibn ‘Umar?” Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar replied, “No, not even one contraction!!” [Al-Adab al-Mufrad Bukhârî 1/62]

SubhânAllah (Glory be to God)! The efforts of a man who carries his mother on his back while performing tawâf cannot even repay his mother for a single contraction that she went through for him. Wise indeed was Ibn ‘Umar’s reply to this man to show him how massively indebted he was to his mother. This is the tremendous value and prestigious position of mothers in Islam!
Yet another example is found in the following prophecy of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him):

There will come to you with reinforcements from Yemen a man
called Uways ibn ‘Âmir of the clan of Murâd from the tribe of Qaran. He had leprosy but has been cured of it except for a spot the size of a coin. He has a mother and he has always treated her
with kindness and respect. If he prays to Allah, Allah will fulfill his wish. If you can ask him to pray for forgiveness for you, then do so. [Sahîh Muslim 16/95]

Indeed, later on ‘Umar ibn al-Khattâb met Uways who was exactly as the Prophet described, and upon ‘Umar’s request Uways prayed for him. Commenting on this narration, Shaykh Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimî writes:

What a high status Uways reached by virtue of his kindness and respect towards his mother, so that the Prophet recommended his Sahabah [companions] to seek him out and ask him to pray for them!

All of this indicates the high status to which Islam has raised the position of motherhood, and given the mother precedence over the father. At the same time, Islam has given importance to both parents, and has enjoined kindness and respect to both. (Al-
Hashimi, The Ideal Muslimah, IIPH 2005, p. 167)

So great was the Islamic emphasis on parents, that the Muslims considered a great opportunity to attain paradise in service to one’s mother. Iyâs Ibn Mu’âwiyah was a famous Islamic scholar from the second generation of Muslims. When his mother died, Iyâs Ibn Mu’âwiyah cried. He was asked, “Why do you cry?” He said, “I used
to have two gates open to Paradise, now one of them is closed.”

Zayn al-‘Abidîn (d. 713CE) was the great grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and also a renowned scholar. He used to treat his mother with so much
kindness and love as seen in the following narration:

Once he was asked, ‘You are the most kind person to his mother, yet we have never seen you eating with her from a single dish.’ He replied, ‘I fear that my hand would take the what her eyes have
already seen in the dish, and then I would be disobeying her’. [At- Tartushi, Birr al-Wâlidayn]

In other words, he was so careful not to disobey his mother that he would even avoid eating out of the same plate as her; He thought that she would see a morsel and intend to take it, but before she did he might unknowingly take that same morsel and eat it. This is how careful he was to obey his mother in the most minute details.
Another early Islamic scholar, Sa’îd Ibn Al-Musayyib (d. 709CE), was asked about the meaning of the verse “but address them in terms of honor” (17:23) . Sa’îd Ibn Al-Musayyib replied:

It means that you should address them as a servant addresses his master.
Muhammad Ibn Sirîn (d. 729CE) used to speak to his mother in a very soft voice, out of respect for her. He was also often seen inBthe company of his mother and looking after her. (Ibn al-Jawzî, Birr
al-Wâlidayn).

All that has preceded shows how the status of mothers – and consequently that of women – is elevated to the highest position in Islam. The honor Islam has given to mothers is beyond that found in any other religion, ideology or culture. This is clear proof of the
lofty status of Muslim Women.

Why Does a Single Good Deed Carry Tenfold Reward in Islam?

Alhamdulillah… Infinite thanks and praises are due to Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. May His Peace and Blessings be upon the Complete Human; Habibi Muhammad, his household, his companions and all those who follow his guided path till the day of Judgement.

The fact that God is the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful and the Most Loving and Caring for us, is enough to inspire us to appreciate why He matches every single good deed we carry out with tenfold reward, while on the other hand, a single wrongdoing entitles the doer to a single sin.
In addition to the above-mentioned understanding, the present article is a reflection on the concept of reward and punishment in Islam, from a different perspective, through which we look for more inspirations and motivations to work for the next life while enjoying the present.

Let me begin with a verse from Surah Al-Qasas, 28:84, where Allah says:

ﻣَﻦ ﺟَﺎﺀَ ﺑِﺎﻟْﺤَﺴَﻨَﺔِ ﻓَﻠَﻪُ ﺧَﻴْﺮٌ ﻣِّﻨْﻬَﺎ، ﻭَﻣَﻦ ﺟَﺎﺀَ ﺑِﺎﻟﺴَّﻴِّﺌَﺔِ ﻓَﻠَﺎ ﻳُﺠْﺰَﻯ ﺍﻟَّﺬِﻳﻦَ
ﻋَﻤِﻠُﻮﺍ ﺍﻟﺴَّﻴِّﺌَﺎﺕِ ﺇِﻟَّﺎ ﻣَﺎ ﻛَﺎﻧُﻮﺍ ﻳَﻌْﻤَﻠُﻮﻥ
َ
It means, “He who does good shall be rewarded with something better. But he who does evil shall be requited according to his deeds.”
In Surah Al-An’aam, 6:160, Allah says, and it reads:

ﻣَﻦ ﺟَﺎﺀَ ﺑِﺎﻟْﺤَﺴَﻨَﺔِ ﻓَﻠَﻪُ ﻋَﺸْﺮُ ﺃَﻣْﺜَﺎﻟِﻬَﺎ، ﻭَﻣَﻦ ﺟَﺎﺀَ ﺑِﺎﻟﺴَّﻴِّﺌَﺔِ ﻓَﻠَﺎ ﻳُﺠْﺰَﻯ ﺇِﻟَّﺎ
ﻣِﺜْﻠَﻬَﺎ ﻭَﻫُﻢْ ﻟَﺎ ﻳُﻈْﻠَﻤُﻮﻥ
َ
It means, “Whoever does a good deed will be repaid tenfold, but those who do a bad deed will only be repaid with its equivalent and they shall not be wronged.”
Every evil deed entitles its doer to a sin equivalent to the evil he committed. In doing so, Allah refers to that equivalence as fair and justice ( they shall not be wronged ). This is to say,
there’s no way one could be accused for what he has done not, let alone getting punished for it.
As for the good doer, his reward for his righteous deeds is always better than the deed itself. The minimum of that ‘better rewards’ is tenfold. Allah could match a good deed with one reward, similar to one sin, which is matched to one every single evil deed. What is the possible wisdom behind this equation?
Wrongdoing Requires No Condition
Among the possible wisdom ( Hikamh ) of this equation is that, it takes no determination to commit a sin and invite the displeasure of God. Why? Everyone can sin; the believer may sin. The disbeliever sins. The pious person may sin. The non-pious does sin. Man sins. Woman sins. The young can sin, so is the adult. In short, it takes no effort to sin.
Also, part of the challenges man has to experience in this life, is that his soul incites him to evil. Thus, sinful things and deeds are desirable to him, while righteous things and deeds are
undesirable to him. Because he is challenged not to fall victim to the desirables at his dispose, he is only awarded a sin (demerit point), whenever he fails the test. We understand this from the Hadeeth of the Prophet, reported by Imam Muslim:

ﺣُﻔَّﺖِ ﺍﻟْﺠَﻨَّﺔُ ﺑِﺎﻟْﻤَﻜَﺎﺭِﻩِ، ﻭَﺣُﻔَّﺖِ ﺍﻟﻨَّﺎﺭُ ﺑِﺎﻟﺸَّﻬَﻮَﺍﺕ
ِ
It meant, “Heaven is covered with the undesirables and Hell fire is covered with the desirables.” What about good deeds? Good Deeds Require Effort and Come With Conditions unlike doing sin, doing righteous deeds is challenging. There are three things you must do to in your way to righteousness. First, you have to walk out of the evil desires at your dispose. Second, you have to go for the righteous deeds and oblige
yourself to them. Remember the Hadeeth of the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alaihi wasallam (above) says:

ﺣُﻔَّﺖِ ﺍﻟْﺠَﻨَّﺔُ ﺑِﺎﻟْﻤَﻜَﺎﺭِﻩِ، ﻭَﺣُﻔَّﺖِ ﺍﻟﻨَّﺎﺭُ ﺑِﺎﻟﺸَّﻬَﻮَﺍﺕ
ِ
Which means, “Heaven is covered with the undesired and Hell fire is covered with the desired.” The two things mentioned above are the effort we need to put in, to achieve righteous deeds. There is one more thing left, and that is the most important of all. Really? Yes.
The final step (third) is, you have to fulfil one condition for the effort you have put to be accepted. That one condition is that the doer must be a believer Mu’min ). In other words, Iman (belief in the One God) must fill his heart first. This is
understood from various verses from the Qur’an. One of them is the verse of Surah Al-Nahl, 16:97, where Allah says:

ﻣَﻦْ ﻋَﻤِﻞَ ﺻَﺎﻟِﺤًﺎ ﻣِّﻦ ﺫَﻛَﺮٍ ﺃَﻭْ ﺃُﻧﺜَﻰ ﻭَﻫُﻮَ ﻣُﺆْﻣِﻦٌ ﻓَﻠَﻨُﺤْﻴِﻴَﻨَّﻪُ ﺣَﻴَﺎﺓً ﻃَﻴِّﺒَﺔً،
ﻭَﻟَﻨَﺠْﺰِﻳَﻨَّﻬُﻢْ ﺃَﺟْﺮَﻫُﻢ ﺑِﺄَﺣْﺴَﻦِ ﻣَﺎ ﻛَﺎﻧُﻮﺍ ﻳَﻌْﻤَﻠُﻮﻥَ

It means, “To whoever does good deeds, man or woman, and is a believer, We shall assuredly give a good life; and We will bestow upon them their reward according to the best of their works.”
Also, in Surah Ghafir, 40:40, Allah says:

ﻣَﻦْ ﻋَﻤِﻞَ ﺻَﺎﻟِﺤًﺎ ﻣِّﻦ ﺫَﻛَﺮٍ ﺃَﻭْ ﺃُﻧﺜَﻰ ﻭَﻫُﻮَ ﻣُﺆْﻣِﻦٌ ﻓَﺄُﻭﻟَـﺌِﻚَ ﻳَﺪْﺧُﻠُﻮﻥَ ﺍﻟْﺠَﻨَّﺔَ
ﻳُﺮْﺯَﻗُﻮﻥَ ﻓِﻴﻬَﺎ ﺑِﻐَﻴْﺮِ ﺣِﺴَﺎﺏٍ

It means, “but whoever does good, whether male or female, and is a believer, will enter the Garden; where they will be provided for without measure.” Similarly, Allah also says in Surah Al-Anbiya, 21:94:

ﻓَﻤَﻦ ﻳَﻌْﻤَﻞْ ﻣِﻦَ ﺍﻟﺼَّﺎﻟِﺤَﺎﺕِ ﻭَﻫُﻮَ ﻣُﺆْﻣِﻦٌ ﻓَﻠَﺎ ﻛُﻔْﺮَﺍﻥَ ﻟِﺴَﻌْﻴِﻪِ ﻭَﺇِﻧَّﺎ ﻟَﻪُ
ﻛَﺎﺗِﺒُﻮﻥَ

It means, “He who does good works while he is a believer, shall not see his efforts disregarded: We record them all.” The three verses above, among other verses in the Qur’an not indicated here, emphasize on the requirement of Iman in order for our deeds to be validated. Thus, attaining rewards for
righteous deeds is only confirmed only when one is in the state of Iman.
We have come to understand that the one who possesses Iman is a Mu’min (Believer). What does it mean to be a Believer?
What Does it Mean to Be a Believer?
Being a believer differs from being a Muslim. A Muslim does what people see and perceive to be correct (right[eous]). A believer lives what only God knows and sees. This means, every one can be a Muslim, even the hypocrites among us are Muslims. But only the righteous (the selected) can be believers ( Mu’minun ).
Believing in the existence of God alone doesn’t qualify one to be a complete Believer ( Mu’min ), but it sets the foundation for him to attain the remaining requirements of a complete
Believer. It’s important to know that everything about Belief (Iman) is unseen. They are not measurable. Therefore, we need forgo our logic and reason, and listen to what God and His
Prophet tell us.
We develop a proper Iman (belief) when we have believed in the six pillars of Iman. Knowledge about these six pillars is only attained through a divine revelation ( Wahy) and the Prophet
Muhammad has successfully conveyed that knowledge to his
Ummah . The six pillars are:
1. Belief in Allah (the One God)
2. Belief in the Angels of God
3. Belief in the Scriptures of God
4. Belief in the Messengers of God
5. Belief in the Last Day (Day of Resurrection)
6. Belief in Fate and Destiny, the good and the bad
Now let’s briefly touch on the pillars of Iman .
Belief in Allah (the One God)
Although we are not meant to see God with our naked eyes in this life, the natural feelings in every human tells of the existence of the One God.
God is One. He is Self-Sufficient. He does not give birth, nor was He born. And there’s nothing like Him. Belief in the Angels of God Angels are creatures of God, whom He created to serve Him,
and they fail not to obey His commands to them, and they are prompt as they are commanded.
God has used Angels to reveal all his commandments to mankind. Therefore they are only seen by those Prophets and Messengers, to whom they were sent. Only God knows their number.
The famous names among Angels known to us are Jibril (Gabriel), Mikaeel (Michael), Maalik, Ridwan, Israfeel, Azraeel.
Belief in the Scriptures of God, the Scriptures of God are those revelations descended to His chosen Prophets and Messengers. Those scriptures contain[ed] His commandments to us, and serve as our life manual. Through such scriptures and the Prophets, we get concrete and undoubted knowledge about God, the Hereafter and the unseen world.
The Qur’an in our hands today, serves as an example and is the most authentic scripture of God, which is still in use. It’s going to remain as such, till the Last Day.
Belief in the Messengers of God, Messengers and Prophets are human beings chosen from among humans to communicate with God through Angels and revelations and then convey the message(s) of God to His servants, and to remind them of their ultimate purpose in this existence, and to guide them towards the His Pleasure.
Belief in the Last Day (Day of Resurrection), In this life, everything is certainly temporal. In the next life (The
Last Day) everything is shall be eternal. When the day starts, there shall be two destinations. Heaven will be for those who chose righteousness in this life, and Hellfire will be for those who chose infidelity and transgression. It’s for this day, that this article is written.
Belief in Fate and Destiny, the good and the bad, this world is meant to be the home for all trials and tests.
That’s why not all incidents are logical to human comprehension. We have the right of choice, but at the same times, we are obliged to believe in Fate and Destiny .
It’s important to indicate here, that of all the six pillars of Iman, belief in the existence of God is the easiest attained. Yes, God created the remaining pillars of Iman, but we have to believe in them equally as we believe in God, Himself. In fact, disbelieving in one of the pillars of Iman disqualifies one from Islam.
We are not able to measure the state of Iman in others’ hearts, but each of us knows what is in his heart. On that basis, each one of us can be certain about the strength of his belief when in trials. This means, although I mentioned earlier that Iman is not measurable, you can try to measure yours, just to know (or estimate) its strength, and the extent to which it has settled in your heart.
How Do We Measure Our Iman?
We know our Iman is solid and has settled in our hearts (for good) when we are tested and put to the “undesirables.” How we react and handle tribulations; whether with contentment, patience, anger or sigh tells our level of Iman. This is why the companions of the Prophet are the best of all generations;
they’ve undergone all sorts of test for Iman, and all the them passed, save the hypocrites.
In times of desperate need, hardship and calamity, different people outsource different means to overcome their problems. But the believers always have one way in common to solve their
problems, despite their geographical, economical, intellectual, cultural and language differences; they turn to the One God. Do you? If you do, you are safe. If you do not, it’s not too late. So
take action now, for you do not know when you will stop breathing.
Getting your faith/iman right may seem difficult, and indeed it is… but it is easy. It’s going to remain difficult so long as you keep your heart attached to worldly materials. And it is going to start to be easy once you start to detach your heart from the worldly gains. Then, start making your intention of all you do for
God’s Sake alone. That’s it; all your endeavours become righteous, and you are rewarded in every step you make with tenfold reward, insha Allah.
Those were the feelings (faith) of the believers, which no one can ever take control over it, against their will, but God. What are their characteristics through which they are likely identified?
10 Characteristics of the Believers
There are various verses in the Qur’an that outline characteristics of the believers. Below is an outline of some of them. If you live them or most of them, I’m confident that you live a very high state of inner happiness. The believer…
1. He believes in Allah and His Prophet
2. He has no doubt in his faith
3. His heart becomes fearful when Allah is mentioned
4. His faith increases when the Qur’an is read for them
5. He attend to his prayers on punctual basis
6. He’s humble in his prayers
7. He pays his zakat
8. He safeguards his chastity
9. He is faithful to his trust and promises
10. He turns away from all frivolous

Conclusion
In worldly speaking, purposeful failure is a destination that requires no effort to reach. But success is a summit, which requires a lot of preparation, determination and sacrifice. The
satisfaction attained after reaching the summit worth all the struggles and sacrifices. So is doing righteous deeds and evil deeds and the scale for reward and punishment that come with them, respectfully.
In human-to-human relationship, you are punished beyond your mistakes, and you are seldom (never) rewarded with equivalent to your achievement. This is total opposite when it comes to
God-to-human relationship. Rewards and punishments take place in the day of resurrection. Thus, don’t lose focus in attaining such great rewards, as a result of the pains and inconvenience you experience, when you see the non-believers
and the transgressors enjoying what you think is convenience
and happy life. Always remember this:

ﺃَﻡْ ﺣَﺴِﺐَ ﺍﻟَّﺬِﻳﻦَ ﺍﺟْﺘَﺮَﺣُﻮﺍ ﺍﻟﺴَّﻴِّﺌَﺎﺕِ ﺃَﻥ ﻧَّﺠْﻌَﻠَﻬُﻢْ ﻛَﺎﻟَّﺬِﻳﻦَ ﺁﻣَﻨُﻮﺍ ﻭَﻋَﻤِﻠُﻮﺍ
ﺍﻟﺼَّﺎﻟِﺤَﺎﺕِ ﺳَﻮَﺍﺀً ﻣَّﺤْﻴَﺎﻫُﻢْ ﻭَﻣَﻤَﺎﺗُﻬُﻢْ، ﺳَﺎﺀَ ﻣَﺎ ﻳَﺤْﻜُﻤُﻮﻥ
َ
It means, “Do those who commit evil deeds imagine that We shall deal with them in the same way as We deal with those who have attained to faith and do righteous deeds, that they will be alike in their living and their dying? How ,badly they judge!” [Surah Al-Jathiah, 45:21]
May Allah grant us Paradise and anything that will lead us to it. May He grant us the spiritual immunity that shall aid us out of the desires at our dispose, and empower us to commit to
righteousness, so to attain His Ultimate Pleasure. Ameen.

I would like to hear from you. I welcome your comments, feedback, suggestions and questions. Remember to share this
piece with your loved ones.
Allah knows best.

Source: Salam.net

Taqwa: The Cornerstone of Islamic Faith

Molding our lives on the basis of those words is equally important in the eyes of Allah and thus we need to ensure that those solemn words indeed get lodged in our hearts so that they direct our behavior and lives.

More than a billion people today say “La Ilaha Illallah”, yet many of us would agree that the Muslim ummah as a whole will be quite possibly missing out on additional mercy and blessings of Allah unless we start living by those words in our lives. Many among us either don’t know how to live up to those words or simply don’t find it necessary to do so. To them, recognizing a deity called “Allah” is all that is needed to be categorized as a “believer”. As we shall see later, Quran tells us that it may be nothing short of a sign of hypocrisy.

The fact is that those who call themselves “Muslims” need to infuse their hearts with “Taqwa” if they want to be viewed by Allah as true believers. In the English language, “Taqwa” has been translated and interpreted in various ways so that it may mean piety, righteousness, fearful of Allah, being God conscious, and so on. But we know that, similar to other words in the Quran, it is difficult to get a corresponding one word translation. Instead, some Quranic words pack more detailed concepts that must be elaborated on when translated into other languages.

After the first Surah (Al-Fatihah), which is mostly considered as a Dua, the Quran continues with Surah Al-Baqara (verse # 2) as follows:

“This is the Book (the Quran), whereof there is no doubt, a guidance to those who are Al-Muttaqin (People of Taqwa).” (Sura Al-Baqarah:2)

This verse thus makes Taqwa a prerequisite for seeking guidance from Quran (a guidance to those who are Al-Muttaqun, i.e., who have Taqwa). Tafsir ibn Kathir states: “Hidayah – correct guidance – is only granted to those who have Taqwa.” He went on to point out that “the guidance in it (Quran) is only granted to the righteous (people with Taqwa in their hearts), just as Allah said,

(O mankind! There has come to you a good advice from your Lord, and a healing for that which is in your breasts (disease of ignorance, doubt, hypocrisy and differences), a guidance and a mercy for the believers (Surah Younus:57).

image

Remembrance of Allah.

What is Taqwa

Rather than coining our own definitions, let’s look at how various scholars have defined Taqwa (Reference 2). Abu Darda (R) said: “From the completion of Taqwa is that the servant fears from His Lord even with regard to things, the weight of an atom.”

Sheikh Muhammed Tantawi says: “The word ‘Muttaqoon’ is the plural of ‘Muttaqi’. ‘Muttaqi’ is the gerund from the verb ‘Ittaqa’ (acquired protection). ‘Ittaqa’ is from the root verb ‘Waqa’ which means he protected himself from that which harms him.”

One of the more complete definitions and explanations was provided by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah. He states that Taqwa “includes doing everything that Allah has enjoined whether it is waajib (obligatory) or mustahabb (recommended), and avoiding all that He has forbidden, whether it is haraam (forbidden) or makrooh (disliked).” [Reference 1]

A heart infused with Taqwa is, therefore, an attitude that one adopts about following Allahs teachings. It provides us the filter to get a renewed perspective regarding how we live various aspects of our lives because we become aware of Allah’s pleasure and displeasure in all our affairs.

It is Taqwa that gives meaning to our simple worship rituals that otherwise would be nothing without it. Haven’t we pondered what would the physical actions of salat (prayers) such as bowing and prostrating mean without a heart infused with Taqwa? What makes the hunger and thirst (when fasting) of a believer different from the same actions of a non-believer? How would the physical acts of going between the two mountains of Safa and Marwa (in Hajj and Umrah) become valuable in the eyes of Allah? It’s the Taqwa in our hearts that provide these simple physical rituals a special meaning in the eyes of Allah. For example, when mentioning the ritual of sacrificing animals (in Allah’s name) in the Quran, Allah says, “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is Taqwa (piety, etc.) from you that reaches Him. Thus have We made them subject to you so that you may glorify Allah for His guidance to you…” (Surah Al-Hajj: 37).

Let’s ensure, therefore, that our worship is not limited to empty acts but is rather adorned with Taqwa. Again, as the verse states, “…but it is the Taqwa (piety) from you that reaches Him.”

Where do we fall related to our Taqwa and the guidance from Allah?
If we read the first few verses of Surah Al-Baqara (almost the beginning of the Quran), we would note that Allah describes three types of people related to guidance.

The first group: In the first few verses (verses 2 – 5), He clearly explains that the Quran is a guidance for those who have Taqwa in their hearts and this guidance causes them to be successful. The people described in these verses are those who:

(1) Believe in the unseen (e.g. Allah, angels, the holy books that Allah revealed but got changed, prophets, day of resurrection, and Al-Qadr)

(2) Perform salat

(3) Spend for Allah’s causes from what Allah has provided to them

(4) Believe in what Allah revealed to Prophet Muhammad

(5) Believe in what Allah revealed to the prophets before Muhammad, and

(6) Believe in hereafter.

The second group: The second group (described in verses 6 and 7) falls on the other end of the spectrum, and are the disbelievers. In describing them Allah says that it is the seal on their hearts and ears as well as a covering in their eyes that has caused them to disbelieve.

The third group: Finally, the Quran uses more verses (verses 8 through 18) in describing those regarding whom Allah says, “And of mankind, there are some who say: “We believe in Allah and the Last Day” while in fact they believe not” (verse 6). Some of the attributes that Allah points out in those people (in those verses) are the following:

(1) They think they are deceiving Allah and the believers but in fact they are deceiving themselves.

(2) In their hearts there is a disease (of doubt and hypocrisy).

(3) When Allah tells them to believe by modeling themselves according to the prophet and the true believers, they say, “Shall we believe as the fools have believed?” Allah then responds by saying that “Verily, they are the fools but they know not.”

(4) They mock the believers in turn and then Allah says: “Allah mocks at them and gives them increase in their wrongdoings to wander blindly.”

(5) Allah remarks about these people: “These are they who have purchased error for guidance, so their commerce was profitless. And they were not guided.”

The above (based on verses 2 – 18 of Al-Baqara) should be sufficient to move our hearts to the core and should create the urgency to associate ourselves with the first group (the ones with Taqwa). While a majority of us believers will associate ourselves with the first group, our behaviors and attitudes may instead make us appear to belong to the third. Let’s, therefore, ensure that our actions (not just words) disclose that we are people who have Taqwa (as mentioned in verse 2).

On the road to inculcate Taqwa
 

Once we say “La Ilaha Illallah”, we should take a few steps to lodge Taqwa (piety, righteousness, humbleness, fear, God consciousness, etc.) in our hearts. Some of the steps we can take include the following:

Know as a believer that it’s Allah’s (our creator and sustainer’s) right to be obeyed: Let us never forget that it is Allah’s right to be obeyed. Ibn Qayyim said: “A benefit of understanding Allah’s right over the servant is that it opens the door of humbleness in front of Allah and closes the doors of conceit. It allows one to realize that salvation is only through Allah’s grace and mercy. It is Allah’s right that He should be obeyed and not disobeyed: that He should be remembered and not forgotten and that He should be appreciated and not unappreciated . . . Many people think about their rights over Allah and do not about His rights over them. This is how they are detached from Allah and deprived of the desire to meet Him. This is the epitome of ignorance of their Lord and of themselves” (Ighathatul lahfaan 1/99-101; secondary reference).

Audit yourself

From time to time we should pause and assess the condition of our hearts. If we do that with full introspection, it wouldn’t be difficult to determine whether our hearts are filled with piety and fear of Allah (Taqwa), or have remnants of hardness and a carefree attitude about Allah and His teachings. Allah says in the Quran: “O you who believe! Fear Allah and keep your duty to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent forth for the morrow (tomorrow), and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what you do” (Surah Al-Hashr:18). Ibn kathir says that the phrase ‘let each soul see’ or “let every person look” in the above verse means to take an account of one’s own actions before being audited (by Allah) (Tafseer of Ibn Kathir: 4/346).
Omar bin Khattab wrote to one of his employees: “Audit yourself in prosperity before the auditing of adversity. Whoever does this will be pleased and envied. Whoever is distracted from this by his life and fantasies, will face remorse and loss.”

Reflect your Taqwa in your deeds

Once you build the Taqwa in your heart (become cognizant of, and fear Allah in all your affairs), you should start practicing it in your actions. The sahaba and salaf used to exert themselves in ensuring that their actions reflected the Taqwa in their hearts. It’s said that Ibn Omar used to stay awake the whole night if he missed a prayer in congregation (because he knew (through the Taqwa in his heart) Allah’s pleasure associated with one praying in congregation). Imam Ghazali mentioned that we let ourselves (our nafs) off the hook when it (our nafs) is our biggest enemy and is more likely to rebel against our own selves (Ihya’ul ulum al-din, 4/381). About ensuring that we bring Taqwa in our actions, Abu Dhar reported that the Messenger of Allah, said: “Fear Allah wherever you may be; follow up an evil deed with a good one which will wipe (the former) out, and behave good-naturedly towards people” [Al-Tirmidhi].

Condition yourself to inculcate Taqwa

We have to condition ourselves to fear Him by observing and reflecting more about our existence, our vulnerability as humans in this ocean in which we are journeying, and about the end that each one of us will meet soon. We should also become avid learners about what pleases Allah and what displeases Him and take that seriously. This observation and learning will enable us to learn new truths that can help us condition our states and hearts to inculcate the required Taqwa in our hearts.

Parting Words

Let’s ponder over Quran’s last verse that was revealed to the prophet (agreed to by many scholars, including ibn Kathir). It says: “And be afraid of the Day when you shall be brought back to Allah. Then every person shall be paid what he earned, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly (Surah Al-Baqara: 281).”

Remember, we are what we are – with the rewards and punishments from Allah and His mercy on us – based on the level of our faith in Allah and the Taqwa in our hearts. Sometimes we forget the connection between how our lives turn out to be and the One who makes it all happen. Once you remind yourself of that, remember the power bestowed by Allah on you as regards “free will” and how you can use it to influence the quality of your own lives. As long as you respect the limits that He has set for us (through the Taqwa in your heart), you can earn the blessings that He has promised for you, both in this life and in the hereafter.

We should, therefore, not delay to take a strong decision to increase our Taqwa. As Allah says in the Quran: “Verily, the most honorable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa” [al-Hujrat 49:13].

Reference 1: From the essay of al-Wasiyyah al-Jaami’ah li khayr al-Sunya wa’l-Aakhirah

Reference 2: “Taqwa: The Provision of Beleivers. Compiled by Aby Maryam Majdi, Al-Firdous Ltd)

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