extracted form the book...in the early hours... by Ustadh Khurram Murad.
Dua, supplicating to Allah, is `the spirit of ibada.' (Tirmidhi.) Indeed, it is a demand of Islam. The Prophet has exhorted us: `Allah is angry with him who does not ask [anything] from Him.' (Tirmidhi)
Each of your duas must capture the spirit of your goals and ambitions. You must offer them with humility and sincerity. The Prophet Muhammad has taught us some of the most beautiful supplications - said in beautiful words, encapsulating beautiful ideas, through beautiful ways of asking. Reflect upon the following dua as an example:
I am Your servant, I am at Your door. I am a poor man, I am at Your door. I am a helpless man, I am at Your door. I am a sinner, I am at Your door. l am Your guest, You invited me to come, I am at Your door. So have mercy on me.
There are many similar duas that move the heart and make tears flow from one's eyes. Additionally, there are duas that were part of the Prophet's daily routine: Prayers said while eating, drinking, sleeping, entering and leaving home. All of these duas must be memorised and utilised, for they remind us of Allah and His Omniscience.
But how exactly can these duas be used by us to remember Allah? Allow me to share with you one method, which can be utilised on a daily basis. The Prophet Muhammad taught us in one hadith:
After performing the dawn [Subh] Prayer, before you utter another word, say: O Allah, save me from Hell-fire [Allahumma ajirni min an-nar], seven times. If you die that day, Allah will decree that you be saved from Hell-fire. After performing the sunset [Maghrib] Prayer, before you utter another word, say: O Allah, save me from Hell-fire, seven times. If you die that night, Allah will decree that you be saved from Hell-fire- (Abu Dawud.)
Whenever I recite this dua, I use a method of recitation and reflection which helps me remember the final meeting with my Lord. For each of the seven times I recite this dua, I reflect on one of the stages from the Quran of the Akhira: the time of death; the sojourn and questioning by the angel in the grave; the time of rising and standing before Allah; the time of giving an account of all that has been done and seeing our actions displayed before us; and the passage over the Sirat or Bridge, then entering either Paradise or Hell.
All of these are stages of the journey. Each time that I bring to my mind one of those stages, even for the briefest moment, I supplicate to Him: `O Allah save me from the fire'.
This exercise in supplication takes me about five minutes after both Salat al-Fajr and Salat al-Maghrib. There is, however, no prescribed format to follow. You can select and form your own short course of duas based on the Prophetic traditions and use this as part of the regular way in which you remember Allah.
Finally, it is important for us to observe the etiquette of dua so that we may derive maximum benefit from them. These have been beautifully summarised by Imam al-Nawawi, where he lists ten prime conditions and dispositions that we should observe:
- Seek out the blessed times of Prayer: The Day of the Standing on the plain of Arafat [during Hajj]; the month of fasting [Ramadan]; Fridays [days of congregational prayers]; and during the night [especially the last third of it].
- Seek out the blessed moments for Prayer when the heart is receptive and tender: immediately after the five daily prescribed Prayers; between the call to Prayer (adhan) and the final call to Prayer (iqama); when breaking fast; while on the field of battle; when rainfall occurs; and when bowing down [sujud] in Prayer, for the Prophet said, `The worshipper is closest to his Lord while bowing down. So pray much then.' (Muslim.)
- Face the direction of Makka and raise the hands [with palms spread upward] to the level of the shoulders.
- Voice supplications in a moderate tone that is neither too loud nor too soft.
- Prayers need not be said in a forced rhymed prose [an often natural form in Arabic].
- Implore God with humility and reverence.
- Be fervent in Prayer and optimistic of the answer. Sufyan ibn Uyayna stated: What a person knows of himself should never stop him from supplicating to God for He answered the most evil creatures, Iblis [Shaytan], when he said, `Give me respite until the Day they are resurrected. God said, You are of the respired ones.' [al-Araf 7: 14.]
- Repeat requests, preferably three times, and don't be impatient or despondent in waiting for an answer.
- Begin supplication with the mention of God [His Names, praises and attributes] before asking of Him, and entreat God to send His blessings and peace upon the Prophet.
- Strive for inner purity with repentance and sincere devotion.
[QUOTE=UmmeGibrel;]I am so much busy in my house chores, looking after my family, my kid, when it comes to prayer times, i rush it through. I know its not meant to be this way, and after every prayer i feel like i've served no one and i am nothing. I've no time to read now with a kid snatching my book away and biting on it and i rarely get a chance to go on the internet to learn something beneficial. What a life?!?[/QUOTE]
The Ulemah state that one of the keys is to turn everyday tasks in to worship, by making a sincere intention what you are doing is for the sake of Allah , for example a person may go to work to earn an income, whilst the another person may go to work with the intention of obeying the commands of Allah of earning a halal income, even though both are engaged in the same activity the latter will be in the state of worship, and will be rewarded as such.
I hope the following advice of shaykh Saleem Dorat will be of some benefit Insha'allah.
Turning Housework into Worship Friday
*Source In Shaykhs Company Blog.
by Muhammad Abdullah
As part of the series of lectures delivered in this year’s Ramadhan programme our respected Shaykh hafizahullah delivered a lecture on the necessity of intentions (#UM284: Niyyat-Aamal Ki Rooh). Below is a short transcript to the nearest meaning:
“In our homes, generally our womenfolk cook and clean kindly from the goodnesses of their hearts. From morning to evening how many household chores do they undertake? But most of our mothers and sisters don’t have any specific intention behind what they are doing. They have no intention; they undertake their tasks as a matter of routine. When the household chores are being undertaken just as part of a routine then they receive no reward for what they are doing.
If our mothers and sister think that my young children are small and innocent. I am cooking for them and when I feed them how happy will they become. And if I become the means of creating happiness in the hearts of my children then how happy will my Allah become. I am cleaning my house because everyone likes to live in a clean environment. My husband will be pleased, my mother-in-law will be pleased, my father-in-law will be pleased, my children will be pleased, any guests that visit my house will be pleased. If I become the means of bringing pleasure to the hearts of all these people then my Allah will definitely become pleased with me.
Now (because there is an intention and the intention is correct) all the work that you are doing is turned into worship”.
Once Shaykh likewise reminded the men to correct their intentions whilst working, that they should intend that they are working to provide lawful (Halaal) sustenance, shelter and clothing for their spouse and children, and this intention would work to make their daily duty also into worship!
Some Thoughts To Ponder.
We often feel overwhelmed what we must remember is that any success or accomplishment in life is only through the help of Allah. Another key that I have found to be of benefit is shukr. One may find it difficult to pray in a relaxed manner and with concentration, and become despondent. First of all that you are given tawfiq to pray at all is a blessing from Allah, their many people who are deprived of even of the ability to pray at all . So make shukr to Allah that he has Blessed you with this tawfiq (also do istighfar and seek forgiveness for lack of concentration) and also ask him to make your circumstances so that you are able to pray with full focus and concentration. Also thank Allah for giving you the strength and ability to do household tasks, and to serve your Family. remember if a person is grateful for a blessing then Allah will increase them in that blessing.
"Know that thankfulness leads to the perpetuation of favours already received and to the obtaining of others that are desired. God the Exalted has said: If you give thanks, I shall surely increase you (XIV:7) He is, Exalted is He, too Generous to take away a favour from someone who is thanking him. He has said, Exalted is He: That is because God never changes a blessing he has bestowed on any people until they first change what is in themselves, ( VIII:51) that is their neglecting to give thanks..........."
Imam Abdallah Ibn Alawi Al Hadad (May Allah bless him abundantly and confer His Mercy upon him)* Taken from 'The Book of Assistance'
Another intereseting point here is that in a recent study, in the United states people suffering from Depression, and stress where asked, to keep a gratitude diary noting down the things they where grateful for. The results where staggering compared to other forms of conventional therapy where a person is asked to relate the things that make them feel depressed. So if a person focuses on feelings of depression the more depressed they feel, if a person focuses on feelings of Gratitude the more positive their outlook becomes.
So even the Psychology is confirming what our ulemah have been teaching for centuries.
May Allah make all your tasks easy, and bless you with the best of the duniyah and akhirah ameen.[/QUOTE]
O servants of ALLAH,be sensible and work to know the one whom you worship. Before death comes to you!
Ask Him to supply all your needs by day and night. Asking for something is an act of worship, whether or not He gives what you ask for, do not accuse Him, do not rush Him. Ask Him while standing on the feet of humilty. If His reply was delayed do not object to Him. For He knows your best interests better then you. Listen to these words understand them and act in accordance with them. These are words on a straightway. They are the words of someone who is experienced and an expert...."
The Saint of Saints, Shaykh Abdul Qadir Gilani
Source the book Jila al Khatir.
“Dua is of two types. The first is when a person supplicates as a matter of ritual practice. The second is when a person turns to Allah ta’ala with his heart and mind and with full conviction.
The promise of acceptance is for this second type of dua.”
*Source...In Shaykhs Company.
Something To Ponder.
I just like to conclude the several posts on the power of dua over the last few pages with a brief summary.
Ask Allah for all your needs , even when the situation seems impossible, ask Allah for he alone has the Power to make possible, all that seems hopeless and impossible.
If you want to see Miracles Keep asking Allah with sincerity concerning all your needs, you will see miraculous opportunities, and circumstances appearing in your life.
Their will be days when you feel lazy, or despondent, and cannot be bothered to make Dua, on those days despite the laziness and the feelings of despondency, make Dua with greater focus. You will Insha'Allah experience many blessings. Never ever give up asking, remain firm and steadfast.
In those situations where you feel that there is no need to make Dua we should make dua none the less. For example a person maybe intending , to purchase some necessities, he may feel he has plenty of money on him, and there is no need to make dua. He wakes up to find his mailbox filled with unexpected bills and invoices.......; So the point is we should make Dua for all things whether minor or major and Never give up hope.
May Allah give us the Tawfiq to turn to him, to rely upon him , to have trust in his decree, and to hope in his mercy Ameen.[/QUOTE]
Basketball star teaches trust in Allah
By Abdul Malik Mujahid
Brother Hakeem Olajuwon taught me the importance of Tawakul, or trusting Allah.
Br. Hakeem was an MVP on the Houston Rockets basketball team a couple of years ago when I first got to know him.
I remember reading before he became the star of the team, that he was a very good player but had A very bad temper. He would regularly fight with other players and swear, for instance.
Although he was a good player, his team went nowhere. But suddenly, in the mid-1990s, that changed, and the Rockets became a winning team instead of one with a couple of good players but no coordination. This culminated in their success in the 1994 and 1995 NBA championships.
Br. Hakeem used to be a non-practicing Muslim. I and a group of friends once asked him how the transformation to Islam affected his character.
"Before I started practicing my faith, I used to completely rely on myself. When I had done my best, I would be extremely frustrated if I didn't win. It would irritate and anger me. And that was causing me to be bad to others by fighting and swearing," he explained.
"But when I started practicing my faith, I learned that results are not my property. I started doing my best but then I left success and failure to my Creator. Now I was not irritated by failure and was not overinflated by success. That caused me to calm down and improve my behavior towards others on my team and we became a team."
The difference between Br. Hakeem before and after was his understanding of the concept of Tawakul, which is a major concept in the relationship of a believer with his or her Creator. When a believer fully practices Tawakul by putting his or her full trust in Allah, this person realizes that they are not all-powerful, Allah is. Although we all control some variables that Allah has given us in our control, Allah ultimately controls all the other variables known or unknown to us.
Our capacities are limited. Allah's are unlimited. We are responsible for following His command by doing our duty and making a right choice in the world of choices and following them up with action. In this way, good intentions and directions combined with good steps is what we are responsible for. And as Muslims, we want to do our best in that area. But results, positive or negative, are not always in our control. They are dependent upon the laws and prophecies which Allah has put in place and on His Will.
Sometimes we think that something is good for us and actually it is bad for us. And sometimes we feel that something is bad for us while actually it is the other way around. So the limit of human knowledge explains the limits of our not only control, but our responsibility as well. That is why we do our part and leave things in terms of results to God.
Adopting the belief and practice of Tawakul has two benefits for us. First, knowing that our responsibility for what happens is limited is very comforting. Those who do not realize the limits of human responsibility normally transgress on others' rights by forcing their will on them through verbal or physical violence or they may get depressed and lose their mind or hurt themselves. So it is the Mercy of Allah that He has told us that our responsibility is limited. And that is the meaning of "On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear" (Quran 2: 286) as well as the understanding of individual responsibility.
The second consequence of Tawakul is that it invites us to connect to a powerful Ally Who is no one but the Lord Himself. The more we rely on Him, the greater the chances that we will try to please Him by following the guidance He has given us, which in turn will lead to goodness in this world and success in the Hereafter.
The third consequence of Tawakul is what Br. Hakeem learned by observing himself. By fully trusting in Allah and relying on Him, we are not depressed by what we have lost or intoxicated by our success (Quran 57:22-23). We know that all things are in Allah's hands. And that makes us not only humbler but more submissive to God, thus better believers.[/QUOTE]
After spending a lifetime studying people and their hidden reserves of power, the great psychologist,
Alfred Adler, declared that one of the wonder-filled characteristics of human beings is "their power to
turn a minus into a plus."
Here is an interesting and stimulating story of a woman I know who did just that. Her name is Thelma
Thompson, and she lives at 100 Morningside Drive, New York City. "During the war," she said, as she
told me of her experience, "during the war, my husband was stationed at an Army training camp near
the Mojave Desert, in New Mexico.
I went to live there in order to be near him. I hated the place. I
loathed it. I had never before been so miserable. My husband was ordered out on maneuvers in the
Mojave Desert, and I was left in a tiny shack alone. The heat was unbearable-125 degrees in the shade
of a cactus. Not a soul to talk to but Mexicans and Indians, and they couldn't speak English. The wind
blew incessantly, and all the food I ate, and the very air I breathed, were filled with sand, sand, sand!
"I was so utterly wretched, so sorry for myself, that I wrote to my parents. I told them I was giving up
and coming back home. I said I couldn't stand it one minute longer. I would rather be in jail! My father
answered my letter with just two lines-two lines that will always sing in my memory-two lines that
completely altered my life:
Two men looked out from prison bars,
One saw the mud, the other saw stars.
"I read those two lines over and over. I was ashamed of myself. I made up my mind I would find out
what was good in my present situation. I would look for the stars.
"I made friends with the natives, and their reaction amazed me. When I showed interest in their
weaving and pottery, they gave me presents of their favourite pieces which they had refused to sell to
tourists. I studied the fascinating forms of the cactus and the yuccas and the Joshua trees. I learned
about prairie dogs, watched for the desert sunsets, and hunted for seashells that had been left there
millions of years ago when the sands of the desert had been an ocean floor.
"What brought about this astonishing change in me? The Mojave Desert hadn't changed. The Indians
hadn't changed. But I had. I had changed my attitude of mind. And by doing so, I transformed a
wretched experience into the most exciting adventure of my life......."
*Source..."How To Stop Worrying And Start Living By Dale Carnegie."
If you have read Dont To Be Sad, by Aidh Al Qarni, you will find the above book not only an excellent companion to it. You also will find that "Dont Be Sad" is influenced by the above book " How To Stop Worrying And Start Living".
Similarly the work of the late late Egyptian scholar Shaykh Muhammad al Ghazali رضي الله عنه, called "Relax dont Worry Be Happy" is a commentary from an Islamic perspective of " How Stop Worrying and Start Living" , He used extracts from Carnegies book to show how they mirror Islamic principles.[/QUOTE]
Literally meaning gladness felt about and gratitude shown for the good done to one, Sufis use shukr to mean using one’s body, abilities, feelings, and thoughts bestowed upon one to fulfill the purpose of his or her creation: being thankful to the Creator for what He has bestowed. Such thankfulness is to be reflected in the person’s actions or daily life, in speech and in the heart, by admitting that all things are directly from Him, and by feeling gratitude for them.
One may thank God verbally by only depending upon His power and strength, as well as upon His bestowal or withholding of favors, and acknowledging that all good and bounties come from Him. As He alone creates all good, beauty, and bounty, as well as the means by which they can be obtained, only He sends them at the appropriate time.
Since He alone determines, apportions, creates, and spreads [all our provisions] before us as “heavenly tables,” He alone deserves our gratitude and thanks. Attributing our attainment of His bounties to our own or to another’s means or causes, in effect thereby proclaiming that He is not the true Owner, Creator, and Giver of all bounty, is like giving a huge tip to the servant who lays before us a magnificent table and ignoring the host who is responsible for having it prepared and sent to us. Such an attitude reflects sheer ignorance and ingratitude, as mentioned in: They know only the outward face of the life of the world (apparent to them), and they are completely unaware of (its face looking to) the Hereafter (30:7).
True thankfulness in one’s heart is manifested through the conviction and acknowledgment that all bounties are from God, and then ordering one’s life accordingly. One can thank God verbally and through one’s daily life only if personally convinced, and if one willingly acknowledges that his or her existence, life, body, physical appearance, and all abilities and accomplishments are from God, as are all of the bounties obtained and consumed. This is stated in: Do you not see that God has made serviceable unto you whatsoever is in the skies and whatsoever is in the earth, and has loaded you with His bounties seen or unseen? (31:20), and: He gives you of all that you ask Him; and if you reckon the bounties of God, you can never count them (14:34).
Bodily thankfulness is possible by using one’s organs, faculties, and abilities for the purposes for which they were created, and in performing the duties of servanthood falling on each. On the other hand, some have stated that verbal thankfulness means daily recitation of portions of the Qur’an, prayers, supplications, and God’s Names. Thankfulness by the heart means that one is certain or convinced of the truth of the Islamic faith and straightforwardness. Practical or bodily thankfulness, according to others, means observing all acts of worship. Since thankfulness relates directly to all aspects or branches of belief and worship, it is regarded as half of the faith. With respect to this inclusiveness, it is considered together with patience, meaning that according to some people, thankfulness and patience are considered as the two halves of religious life.
In His eternal Speech, God Almighty repeatedly commands thankfulness and, as in the phrases: so that you may give thanks (2:52) and God will reward the thankful (3:144), presents it as the purpose of creation and of sending religion. In such verses as: If you are thankful I will add more unto you. But if you show ingratitude My punishment is terrible indeed (14:7), He has promised abundant reward to the thankful and threatened the ungrateful with a terrible punishment. One of His own Names is the All-Thanking, which shows us that the way to obtain all bounties or favors is through thankfulness, which He returns with abundant reward. He exalts the Prophets Abraham and Noah, upon them be peace, saying: (Abraham was) thankful for His bounties (16:121) and Assuredly, he (Noah) was a grateful servant (17:3).
Although thankfulness is a religious act of great importance and significant “capital,” few people truly do it: Few of My servants are thankful (34:13). Very few people live in full aware-ness of the duty of thankfulness, saying: Shall I not be a servant grateful (to my Lord)?, and try their best to perform their duty of thankfulness and order their lives accordingly.
The glory of humanity, upon him be peace and blessings, whose soles swelled because of his long supererogatory prayer vigils (tahajjud), was a matchless hero of thankfulness. On one occasion, he told his wife ‘A’isha: Shall I not be a servant grateful to God? He always thanked God and recommended thankfulness to his followers, and prayed to God every morning and evening, saying: O God. Help me mention You, thank You, and worship You in the best way possible.
Thankfulness is the deep gratitude and devotion of one who, receiving His bounties or favors, directs these feelings toward the One Who bestows such blessing, and the subsequent turning to Him in love, appreciation, and acknowledgment. The above Prophetic saying expresses this most directly.
People are thankful for many things: the provisions, home, and family with which they have been favored; wealth and health; belief, knowledge of God, and the spiritual pleasures bestowed on them; and the consciousness with which God favored them so they could open themselves to the knowledge that they must be thankful. If those who are thankful for such a consciousness use their helplessness and destitution as “capital” and thank Him continuously, they will be among the truly thankful. It is narrated from God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, that The Prophet David, upon him be peace, asked God Almighty: O Lord. How can I be thankful to You, since thanking You is another favor that requires thankfulness? The Almighty responded: Just now you have done it. I think this is what is expressed in: We have not been able to thank You as thanking You requires, O All-Thanked One.
One can be thankful by recognizing and appreciating Divine favors, for feeling gratitude to the One Who bestows favors depends to a great extent on due recognition and appreciation of them. Belief and Islam (including the Qur’an) lead one to recognize and appreciate favors and thus turn to God in gratitude. One can be more aware of these favors, and that they are given to us by God out of His mercy for our helplessness and inability to meet our own needs, in the light of belief and Islamic practices. This awareness urges us to praise the One Who bestows upon us those favors and bounties that we consume. Awakening to the meaning of: As for the favor of Your Lord, proclaim it (93:11), we feel a deep need to be grateful and thankful.
Everyone is naturally inclined to praise the good and the one who does good to him or her. However, until this feeling is aroused there is no awareness of being favored by someone else, just as fish are not conscious of living in water. Furthermore, these favors may be attributed to the means and causes used to obtain them. If it is blindness and deafness not to see and appreciate the favors we continuously receive, then it must be an unforgivable deviation to attribute them to various blind, deaf, and unfeeling means and causes. The Prophetic statements: One who does not thank for the little does not thank for the abundant, and: One who does not thank people does not thank God, express blindness and deafness to favors and remind us of the importance of being thankful. Such verses as: Mention Me so that I will mention you, and give thanks to Me and do not be ungrateful to Me (2:152), and: Worship Him and give Him thanks (29:17) tell us that it is God Who truly deserves to be thanked, and also remind us of His absolute Unity.
Thankfulness can be divided into three categories. The first category consists of thankfulness for those things that everyone, regardless of religion or spiritual attainment, desires. The second category consists of thankfulness for those things that, although apparently disagreeable or displeasing, reveal their true nature to those who can see them as favors requiring gratitude.
The third category of thankfulness is that kind performed by those who are loved by God and view favors or bounties from the perspective of the One Who bestows them. They spend their lives in spiritual pleasure that begins in observing God’s manifestation of Himself through His favors, and take the greatest pleasure in worshipping Him. Although they are always enraptured with the spiritual delight flowing from their love of Him, they are extremely careful of their relationship with Him. Such people constantly strive to preserve the Divine blessings that have been bestowed upon them, and always search for what they have missed. While they constantly deepen their belief, love, and gratitude along the way toward Him, the “nets of their sight” are filled with different blessings and gifts.
O God! Include us among Your servants whom You love, have made sincere, and have brought unto You. Grant peace and blessings to our Master, the Master of those loved, made sincere, and brought near unto You.
“If ye are grateful, I will add more (favors) unto you,”
The Principal of Shukr and God’s grace in an age of corruption
[Excerpts from Zachary Wright, On the Path of the Prophet : Shaykh Ahmad Tijani and the Tariqa Muhammadiyya (Atlanta: African American Islamic Institute, 2005), p. 147-158.
Inside the zawiya of Shaykh Ahmad Tijani in FesShaykh Ahmad Tijani was not the first saint to stress the principal of shukr (giving thanks or being grateful) and its relationship to Divine grace, but his placement of shukr as the only door remaining to arrive to God seems unprecedented. The Shaykh’s ideas on this subject might be said to partly define the distinctiveness of the Tijaniyya order, and certainly they are the essential ingredient in understanding how he was able to supply “a distinct vision of the destiny of his followers.” Indeed, it is through the concept of shukr that the Shaykh confronts the perceived corruption of the times and emphasizes the grace (fadl) or mercy of God and the course of its descent.
The Qutb al-Maktum or the Khatm al-Awliya’, being the closest saint to the Prophet and thus the most sincere in his praise (hamd or shukr) to God, becomes the receptacle and distributor of Divine favor or grace flowing through the Prophet. The appearance of such a position in a corrupt age, near to the End of Time, is no accident, but a favor from God, “which He bestows on whom He will, and God is the possessor of the highest bounty (fadl).” Thus, for Shaykh Tijani, the Tariqa Muhammadiyya was a path of grace in a corrupt world whose core practice defined the essential behavior of the Prophet and the purpose of the Islamic message, that of giving thanks or praise to God.
Shaykh Ahmad Tijani places giving thanks on par with faith itself by citing the Qur’an, “What can Allah gain by your punishment, If ye are grateful (shakartum) and ye believe? Nay, it is Allah that recogniseth (all good) (Shakir), and knoweth all things.” It is useful in this regard to recall the semantics behind the opposite of belief, the word kufr; usually translated as “disbelief,” but also meaning “to cover up” or “to be ungrateful.” Thus the act of being grateful was the recognition and exposing or opening of oneself to Divine favor, which Shaykh Ahmad Tijani endowed with the greatest importance:
The closest of the doors to Allah is the door of Shukr, and who does not in this time enter through it, does not enter. [This because] the ego-selves (nafs) have become thick and they are not affected by spiritual exercises and devotions or obedience, nor are they restrained by accounting (hisab) or argumentation. So if one wants to become immersed in happiness and blessing, he should absent himself from all of that and end his distance [from God], and all goodness promised from God we find connected with having no other desire than to give thanks. For as the Most High has said: “If ye are grateful, I will add more (favors) unto you.”
Such a passage also helps to explain the Tijani de-emphasis of excessive asceticism. For Shaykh Ahmad Tijani, the action of giving thanks, saying alhamdulillah, or praising God, was obviously intimately connected with the path of the Prophet as well as being the ultimate expression of servitude before God. The emptying of the self of every desire except to praise or render thanks to God defines the closest station of proximity to God, where dwells the Prophet himself. Thus Shaykh Hassan Cisse comments, “Because of the humility displayed by the Prophet, the blessings and peace of Allah upon him, before his creator, Allah granted him the highest position in the hereafter, known as ‘the Praiseworthy Position.’”
It is from this station of selfless proximity that flow God’s favors to the rest of the saints and to creation. Shukr is the most important action for the servant to receive this grace: the servant must never believe that it is only through the merit of his good deeds that he may attain the good favor of God. Shaykh Ahmad Tijani, as was mentioned previously, cautioned the aspirant not to “err in pride in believing himself full of good qualities.” The Shaykh himself used to entreat God, “I come, bringing no knowledge and no piety, rather all is defilement, my Lord, with me.” This idea was of course not new, and Hakim al-Tirmidhi once described the Prophet’s own preeminence “because of what is contained in his heart, not because of his works.” The idea of grace (fadl) thus implies the complete submission of the servant to permit God’s own action. According to Shaykh Ahmad Tijani, the saint becomes a letter (harf) among the letters (huruf) emanating from the Divine Essence, thereby “permitting him a direct action.”
According to Shaykh Hassan Cisse, Shaykh Ahmad Tijani’s emphasis on shukr and the grace (fadl) of Allah finds its parallel in the Hadith, for the Prophet once said nobody would enter Paradise except through the mercy of God. When asked if that included himself, he replied even himself. Indeed Shaykh Ahmad Tijani himself declared, “We have nothing but the grace (fadl) of Allah and His mercy.” The Shaykh delimited within this grace from God the guidance and intercession of the Prophet and the presence of the saints, or the people of God (ahl-Allah), “those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His Face.” Such grace was necessary because the servant was painfully unable, especially in the present time, to fulfill God’s commands by his own efforts. As the Jawahir poses the question, “Are you capable of fulfilling all the obligations of the Law, the explicit and the implicit? Are you able, without assistance, to triumph over your passions?”
Clearly what is meant by shukr is the recognition of God’s grace and beauty, an essential action to avoid His punishment. In the words of the Shaykh,
If Allah wishes the destruction of a servant, He empowers him to His [decreed] blessing, [but] without adding to it … and if He wills mercy to a servant He makes known to him His blessing and makes him eager to show gratefulness and to avoid denial, and this [gratefulness] is the source of all good.
Elsewhere, the Shaykh likens gratefulness to love for God, for “the source of love is the witnessing of [God's] beauty and beneficence.” He was thus concerned to enumerate to his followers the grace or mercy of God. These passages of the Jawahir present a deeply compassionate idea of the Divine.
Indeed Allah has mercy on a servant for the sake of only one quality … if He finds one trait of goodness in you, such as modesty, generosity or something of love, for example, or a peaceful heart or truthfulness of speaking, or something of this in your actions for His sake, He has sympathy for you and takes you by the hand.
But even this is not enough to express God’s mercy, and later the Shaykh simply declares, “Allah shows mercy without a reason.” Such an emphasis has subsequently provided the basis for a tradition of tolerance within the Tijaniyya, for God’s mercy or rahma is present everywhere in the creation, even among wrongdoers or non-Muslims. Shaykh Ahmad Tijani once said, “Wrongdoing is only an accident where the sick person remains enveloped by the love of his Creator; his fate is between the Hands of his Lord. No other except God will know how to declare his fate.” Consequently the Shaykh often urged his followers to “ignore the evil of people.” Such a general emphasis on tolerance or not delving into another’s shortcomings has been expanded by some Tijani scholars to include those who reject Sufism or the Tijaniyya, and thus has implications for the modern division between Sufis and anti-Sufis. Shaykh Hassan Cisse advises Tijanis not to attack those hostile to them in the manner they themselves are attacked, since “it is just ignorance” that allows some other Muslims to label Sufis or Tijanis as unbelievers. Such behavior for any Muslim, concludes the Shaykh, “is dangerous, and very sad.”
Shaykh Ahmad Tijani’s emphasis on the mercy or grace of God situated within the context of emptiness of the self presents the classic juxtaposition between hope and fear of God. On the one hand, we find the Shaykh assuring his followers of the unending mercy of the Creator, but in the majority of correspondences we find him encouraging them nonetheless in the fear of God. Critics of the Tijaniyya are quick to isolate his assurances of mercy of God or His salvation from the totality of his teachings. In the context of the Jawahir’s cautioning of the aspirant against God’s anger or even misguidance (makr Allah), it must be admitted that this seems to make about as much sense as taking in isolation the Prophet’s assurances of salvation for anyone who once uttered the profession of faith, “There is nothing worthy of worship but God” (la ilaha ill-Allah), without considering the hadith that not even the Prophet will enter Paradise without the mercy of God.
In any case, Shaykh Ahmad Tijani was enthusiastic to proclaim, based on what the Prophet reportedly told him, the wonder of God’s mercy to his followers. Those who took his wird (the Tijani litany) and loved him are thereby a beloved of the Prophet and would not die before becoming one of God’s saints (wali). But such statements can not be considered unique to the Tijaniyya. The Prophet appeared to such saints as Abu Madyan, Ibn ‘Arabi, Muhammad Zawawi and al-Nabulsi to shake their hands and inform that others who shook their hand, sometimes up to the seventh person, would be saved from Hellfire. The Egyptian Tijani Shaykh Muhsin Shalaby contextualizes such an idea by citing the hadith where a wrongdoer is granted Paradise simply for giving a thirsty dog some water, and pointing out that the mercy of God is such that it sometimes appears as if “Allah is using any excuse to send people to Paradise.” In any case, Shaykh Hassan Cisse explains the possibility of Shaykh Ahmad Tijani’s pronouncements by saying they came not from him, but were statements made by the Prophet himself. Unless one is willing to accuse the Shaykh of lying on behalf of the Prophet, despite his having knowledge of the hadith where the Prophet said that anyone lying concerning him should prepare his seat in Hellfire, there is no choice but to accept the Prophet’s announcements as they were reported by the Shaykh.
Whatever Shaykh Ahmad Tijani’s emphasis of God’s mercy, it apparently never eclipsed his stress on the necessity of having fear of God. The Tijani disciple should therefore not “take the promise of salvation as a trick to be safe from the punishment of God for his sins.” In this case, God would veil him from the remembrance of God’s grace and its means of distribution through the Prophet and the saints. “If so, God clothes his heart in ignoring us until he maligns us, and if he maligns us, God makes him die an unbeliever… [his] heart must be ever fearful of the punishment of God.” Even those most beloved of God, according to the Shaykh, never stop fearing Him, “Because the Prophets and the Saints themselves, despite their elevated ranks, did not believe themselves sheltered from Divine anger and always strove in the purification of their souls.”
The idea of accessing God’s grace through contact with the Prophet was understood by Shaykh Ahmad Tijani to have a relationship to a new era of Islamic history. The Shaykh seemed concerned that the knowledge of God’s favor or grace, itself perhaps the most important inheritance from the Prophet, was in danger of obscuration by the corruption of the times. Specifically he was anxious about the prevalence of sin and the Muslim’s increasing inability to live according to God’s command. He warned his disciples, “Know that nobody in these times can keep away from sin since it falls on human beings like heavy rain, but do acts of penitence, the most assured of which is Salat al-Fatih.” Elsewhere he urged his disciples to have patience with the corruption of the times in the following terms:
This time is one in which the bases of divine ordinance have been destroyed …; and it is beyond the capacity of any person to carry out God’s command in every respect in this time, except those attired in knowledge of Him or who approach it. However, things being what [as] they have been described, and as the servant has no escape from that in which God has placed him, the gray is better than the black. Abstain from acting contrary to God’s command as much as it is within your powers, and carry out His ordinance as much as possible; but do for yourself numerous acts of penitence day and night.
In such a time the saint, or “those attired in knowledge of Him,” had a particularly important role to play. The saint, as was explained previously, was for Shaykh Ahmad Tijani the true inheritor of the Prophet, so his presence among the people, especially in difficult times, served as an opening to God’s favor or grace that would not otherwise be available given the near impossibility of fulfilling Divine ordinance in such a time. The legal scholars were thus unable by themselves to pass on the Islamic message to the people, and the Jawahir asks the negatively rhetorical question, “The ‘ulama of today, are they capable of transmitting guidance to the people?” The saints alone, due to their access to God’s grace through spiritual relationship to the Prophet, were capable of serving the people in this regard. The Shaykh was of course not implying the saints had the power to change to the law to fit the new age, but only that his position as ibn waqtihi, the son of his time, required him to act within Divine ordinance “according to what his time requires” in order to maintain access to God’s grace.
It is tempting to conclude that what the Shaykh meant by the corruption of the times was the onset of modernity and the beginnings of non-Muslim colonial control of Muslim societies. But even if Napoleon’s conquest of Egypt in 1798 can be seen in hindsight as ushering in a new era for the Muslim world, it is doubtful Shaykh Ahmad Tijani was speaking of the encroaching age of European modernity when he spoke of the corruption of his age. There is no reference to the Europeans in the Jawahir, nor to any of the elements of European style modernity, such as increasing technological progress, secularization, urbanization, etc. More likely the Shaykh, as with many an Islamic reformer before him, saw his own time as the most recent, lowest state of deterioration from the time of the Prophet; a time whose corruption was itself testament to the approaching End of Time. For Shaykh Ahmad Tijani, the most serious result of this decline was the disappearance of the people of knowledge who were capable of providing guidance to the Muslims.
Such a notion of guidance or grace in a corrupt age defines the historical purpose the Shaykh saw his own Tariqa Muhammadiyya as playing from his own time until the Last Day. It is with such a notion that is found the most valuable definition of the Tariqa Muhammadiyya as both an abstraction and an historical phenomenon. Thus, for Shaykh Ahmad Tijani, the Tariqa Muhammadiyya was a path of grace through contact with the enduring, guiding spirit of the Prophet, seeing its culmination in the formation of the Tijaniyya order as a favor from God to face the difficulties of a world full of transgression and increasingly bereft of knowledge. END QUOTE
-As there is sabr in times of ni'mah, there is shukr as well.
- Quran: Nay, indeed it is Allah should you show ubudiyyah to, and show to Him gratitude.
- Quran: O you who believe, use of that which is good of what We have provided for you, and be grateful to Allah if you are truly ibaad.
- Quran: And if you show gratefulness, I will give you more.
- Quran: (shaytan says after being granted respite by Allah) I will come to them, from in front of them and from behind them, from their right and their left, and You will find most of them ungrateful.
- Hadeeth: O Mu'adh, I love you. Let me teach you something.. ( the duah at end of salah) Allahumma a'innee ala dhikrikah, wa shukrukah, wa hussni ibadatik.. ( Ya Allah help me to remember You, to show shukr to You, and to make the most beautiful of ibdadah)
- Rasulullah (saws) used to stand up nights in qiyamul-layl every night to the extent his feet swelled. Aisha رضي الله عنه asked him, why do you do this when Allah has already forgiven you everything before and everything after? He (saws) said: Then shall I not be a grateful 'abd (servant)?
("and we're too busy for this! Rasulullah saws was a busy man, wasn't he? Didn't he have important things to do? Yet He made qiyamul layl every night. But of course, we have school, or work, and we can't be tired for that. What are our priorities? Being strong and energetic in front of your boss, or being content and pleasing in front of Allah?)
- the more one has, the more one should fear, be scared and humble: Will I be able to show enough shukr for all that I have?
Shukr is to be shown in three ways:
(1): Shukru bil qalb: shukr of the heart. achieved by harboring and intending good for all of Allah's creation. (khayr meaning something pleasing to Allah swt)
(2): Shukru bil leesan: shukr of the tongue. celebrate with the tongue the praises of Allah سبحانه وتعالى, Alhamdulillah = showing the world I am pleased with my Lord. Quran: As to the ni'mah of your Lord, celebrate it.
(3): Shukr bil jawaarih: shukr of the external senses. (amal, actions) everytime Allah gives us a ni'mah, we must use that ni'mah the way it was intended to be used by our Creator- and thus used in the way of His obedience, and not in the way of His disobedience.
- kuffr an- na'mah: rejection of Allah's ni'mah "There are divine words written on the pages of every ni'mah. But those words are not deciphered by everyone."
ex. Using the tongue in a harmful way is kuffran of ni'matul leesan ex. Using the eyes to look at things that are haraam is kuffran of the ni'mah of the eyes. ex. dressing inappropriately is kufrran of the ni'mah of our body ex. Using the intellect for the wrong type of knowledge, is kuffran as well.
Any ilm that does not bring us closer to Allah, is wrong. Rasulullah (saws) sought refuge in Allah from information that was not beneficial.
- Quran: If you were to count the ni'mah of Allah, you would not be able to ennumerate them. Verily Man is an ungrateful creature.
- How do we know what Allah wants us to do with this ni'mah? Ulamah says there are two ways:
1) a. What sharh' (Islamic law) teaches of the ni'mah or action b. seek help from the people of ilm (ijtihaad)
2) ali'tibaar- cotemplation, using the faculties we have been endowed with, with of course ilm and wisdom.
- Why does the universe exist in relation to us? (In relationship to itself, it exists to fulfill ubudiyyah to Allah, as is everything that has been created by Allah) No usul to Allah can exist without mahabba (love for Him), and you will not have hubb for Allah if you are not consistent in reflection of Allah (His attributes) and how they relate to the signs of Allah in His creation and bounties. Universe is made to reflect on the ni'im of Allah to gain hub for Allah (in relation to us).
Shukr + Sabr + Tawbaah = ingredients for happiness
-showing sabr in the ni'mah of Allah is shukr (by not transgressing the bounds set down by Allah)
some duah mentioned:
- In response to 'how are you?': "I celebrate the praises of my Lord to you and the rest of creation. Surely with my Lord I am pleased."
- In mornings and evenings: "Ya Allah whatever bounty has been my share and the bounty of the rest of creation has been from You and You alone; and I celebrate Your praise."
-For morning: "Ya Allah I woke up this morning having You, and the angels who carry Your throne, and all angels, and all of Your creation, witness that You are the One and Only God, and Muhammad is your messenger."
- Ni'mah is everything we like that happens to us, but there is one real ni'mah, the ni'mah of all ni'mahs: JANNAH Every other ni'mah are means to that end.
- Why is Jannah the only true, real ni'mah? Because of 4 things (all other ni'mah violate one of them):
1) eternal life without death - every other ni'mah is mortal
2) immortality with happiness - every happiness of dunyaa has moments of displeasure, grief, consequences.
3) ni'mah of knowlege - everyone, no matter how knowledgeable, has moments of ignorance, happiness of akhirah is ilm without jahil
4) wealth never tainted by moments of poverty and need.
- There are 4 types of ni'mah:
1) things that happen to us (nafiyyah) that are beneficial in the short term and the long: The pure ni'mah, beneficial in dunyaa and akhirah. ex. ilm in quran and sunnah, hussnul akhlaaq (good conduct).. These lead to pleasure in dunyaa and akhirah.
2) something harmful in both dunyaa and akhirah. ex. nifaaq
3) something beneficial to us now (dunyaa) but harmful to us in akhirah, considered a blessing by the ignorant, a calamity by the believers, a harm in disguise of benefit.
4) something harmful in the immediate future, but in the long run beneficial
-Before shukr, we need to know how to use Allah's ni'mah in the way He loves, by revealation, shari' ilm, sunnah, quran..
- People lack shukr for mainly two reasons, jahil (ignorance), and ghaffil (heedlesness, carelesness, also a form of jahil).
-kuffrun-na'mah - rejection of Allah's ni'mah. To prevent this: reflect on this world, ilm, amal, isit the hospitals to see Allah's nimah on you, visit the prisons, visit the graveyards.
The dead WISH for two rakah.
-If we are not thankful to Allah for a ni'mah, it will be taken away from us, if taken away, it is rarely returned.
- al-balaa: the opposite of ni'mah, a hardship, something we don't like. For ni'mah we show shukr, for balaa we show sabr. but a balaa to others might be a ni'mah to me. ex. jahil of how when and where we die- in this case it is a good thing because if we knew anxiety would be too much, so its a balaah of which I should show shukr. another ex. not knowing what other creatures are harboring of hate, conspiracies, and intent to harm, we would be concerned with these people everyday. ex. we don't know when duah is accepted on yawmul jummah (therefore we make duah throughout, a good thing) Every balaah should be looked at as a na'mah. It's all relative!
Umar رضي الله عنه: There are four balaah for which I must be shakir:
1- the calamity is not in my deen. (ex. a criminal breaks into your house and steals your stuff. say alhamdulillah, because you should be thankful that shatan did not enter your heart and steal your eman.)
2- It could have been worse, bigger, and Allah has power over all things.
3- I am pleased with what Allah سبحانه وتعالى wanted to afflict me with. In my heart I am still satisfied, I am not stricken with discontent.
4- Every affliction is atonement for my sins.
"Let us embark together on this journey of knowledge.." (he just _says_ stuff like that, naturally)
- A recipe for disaster: Of the reasons of taking the avenues of destruction in this life and the hereafter: to love life, the heart feels serene and at ease in dunyaa.
- A recipe for success: Of the reasons of happiness in dunyaa and akhirah: the heart is restless and uneasy in dunyaa ( balaa' helps this)
- Then should we pray for balaa'?
NO! Rasulullah (saws) found someone doing that and said "Do not do that, do not do that, do not do that!" Hadeeth: Seek refuge in Allah from 4 things: from the exertion and affront of affliction, that one lives to reach a life of misery, from the harmful decree of affliction, and from the deceptive ways of the clans of the enemy. (ie we seek refuge in Allah from balaah, we do not ask him for it)
- Which is better, shukr or sabr?
We can't say, it is dependant upon what level of shukr or sabr it is. (ex. a man indulges in everything that is halaal, or one who uses that wealth in every way to get closer to Allah, the second is a higher level than the first)
- These are the keys to the treasure of happiness.
- Without these two wings of shukr and sabr, we cannot fly to happiness.
- Shukr is a fruit of being aware and conscious of Allah's bounty.
- Sabr is a fruit of being away of our own weaknesses, ignorance, transgressions, inadequacies and ugliness of the self.
The shortest path to Allah is the path of an 'abd. The thickest of veils between Allah and the 'abd is ad'daawaah (feeling of arrogance, deserving)
Ya Allah, make us of those who listen to the words of admonition and follow the best of them. Ya Allah, forgive us our sins, and grant us Your mercy.
Allahumma inne ala dhikrikah, wa shukrikah, wa hussni ibadaatik.
Author’s note: The brother who told me this story allowed me to adapt it as if it happened to me for the purposes of this article.
A Lesson on the Way to the Mosque
I was late. I always managed to be a bit late, always missing thefirst takbir(the saying of AllahuAkbar to start the prayer), but alhamdulillah (all praise is due to God) at least managing to catch the salah (prayer). I pressed on the gas in hopes I would make the first raka`ah (unit of prayer).
As I came closer to the masjid (mosque) I took my eyes off the road in shock. An older lady in a wheelchair was trying to make her way up a driveway into a complex. She was struggling to make it up the incline with groceries strapped on either side of the wheelchair; she would make it up two feet and fall back one. The worst part was that there were some people just driving around her, as if nothing was wrong. Subhan’Allah (glorified is God), I have driven up that driveway numerous times without any problems. Something about a V6 engine and 91 octane gas made it slightly easier than her feeble arms.
I quickly switched lanes, made a u-turn, and headed straight back. I hit my one-touch, auto-down window button and began looking at her as my window made its way down. By now she had made it up the driveway.
“Hi, there, would you mind if I pushed you home?”
“Oh no – not at all.”
Over the course of the next ten minutes I learned about this lady and her story. She was living alone in her apartment. She took care of her own cleaning and cooking, and tried to stay active and self-reliant. She had broken her foot recently (hence the wheelchair), but was still managing to fend for herself; rarely did she seek a helping hand.
Our conversation was only reminiscent of gratitude for the little she had. She was constantly thankful for living in a nice area and always having food on the table, but her living condition left something to be desired in the prosperous surroundings of Orange County. She didn’t have a car (let alone a nice one), or designer clothing, or a beautiful house – but somehow she seemed more content and much happier than many people that I saw around me.
As we approached her apartment she thanked me. We stopped just short of being able to identify her apartment; she still had to get over a small ledge to get into the door. This was an easy task for most, but not for her. I asked numerous times, “Are you sure I can’t take you farther?” I assumed she would be scared that I would rob her. To the contrary, she explained that getting past this ledge was her favorite part of the day and she refused to get anyone’s help. Whenever she returned home, she lifted herself from the chair to sit on the ledge, moved the groceries one bag at a time onto the ledge, maneuvered the chair onto the ledge, re-hung all the groceries back on the chair, sat back on the chair and then wheeled herself into her apartment. Subhan’Allah, I was taken aback after hearing this. I assumed she didn’t have any help and that her neighbors neglected her. However, I was quickly reassured that this wasn’t the case as three little neighborhood children ran up to talk to her. It seemed as if her neighbors knew about her plight – so why this daily difficulty? She confidently replied that she wanted to maintain some independence and did not want to fall into relying on people for everything as she grew older.
Allahu Akbar! (God is Greater!) I continued to talk to her a little longer and she started to inquire about my life.
“So tell me about your life in Orange County, how has it been?”
“Honestly it has been nothing short of blessing. I’ve never had to worry about money or education or anything of the sort. I’ve always been provided for.”
“Really?! Tell, me what it’s like. How is it to live a blessed life?”
It now dawned on me how poor this lady was. She lived by herself, on welfare. She didn’t have anyone to help her because her family was either dead or out of touch. The way she had described herself to me earlier sounded like a life of blessing, but from her reaction it was now apparent to me she was barely making ends meet and that she had lived a life of much struggle and tribulation.
A True Manifestation of Shukr
I learned a very important lesson from her that day. Shukr (gratitude) only manifested through the tongue (i.e. saying alhamdulillah after salah) is the most superficial of realizations. Her shukr was so great that it blinded me of her poverty and past: she was so grateful for what Allah `azza wa jal (honored be His Glory) provided her then and now that I could not see that she was going through—and went through—difficult times.
For us, of course, it’s different. Instead we live lives of careless banter and headless action: we use profanity to express our outrage over petty incidents; we belittle each other senselessly; we get frustrated when asked for help; we get angry if someone needs extra minutes of our precious time; we deny help due to negligence and laziness; we deny monetary aid because of suspicion; we complain to our friends about how much we don’t have instead of thanking for what we do have; instead of walking the streets as positive social elements of change who are grateful for the blessings that surround us, we vegetate at home on our iPhones and Blackberries tweeting about what we had for breakfast while reading the hundreds of instantly updated Facebook status messages on what he hates and who she likes and whether celebrity x is going out with celebrity y.
The greatest manifestation of shukr is the use of a blessing for good and benefit. Allah `azza wa jal gave us a healthy body, so praying with care correctly can be an embodiment of gratitude as can organizing or participating in a beach clean up. We have been granted a privilege here in America by Allah `azza wa jal and we will be asked about our blessings on the Day of Judgment (102:8). How did we use our health: to defame property, beat up our siblings and chase after girls? Or was it to feed the poor, give da`wah (call people to Islam) and help with mosque setup? How did we use our intellect: to carry out endless and worthless arguments or to study hard and stand for justice? There is even blessing and provision in a lack of tribulation. Many of us do not have to care for ailing family members or work two jobs, so what are we doing with the extra time? What are we doing with our iPhones, Blackberries and Droids – are we using them to become more efficient with our time or waste more time?
As this year starts, we should be reciprocating our blessings with positive impacts in society. We only have two questions to answer: 1) What have we worked for the last year with all the blessings that we have been given? 2) What are we going to work for in the coming year?
One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches!
The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly. So I asked, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!' This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, 'The Law of the Garbage Truck.'
He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you. Don't take it personally, just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.
The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so...Love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don't.
Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it! Have a blessed, garbage-free day!
A Few years ago, I was asked to answer this question on a radio programme: "What is the biggest
lesson you have ever learned?"
That was easy: by far the most vital lesson I have ever learned is the importance of what we think.
If I knew what you think, I would know what you are. Our thoughts make us what we are. Our mental
attitude is the X factor that determines our fate. Emerson said: "A man is what he thinks about all day
long." ... How could he possibly be anything else?
I now know with a conviction beyond all doubt that the biggest problem you and I have to deal with-in
fact, almost the only problem we have to deal with-is choosing the right thoughts. If we can do that,
we will be on the highroad to solving all our problems. The great philosopher who ruled the Roman
Empire, Marcus Aurelius, summed it up in eight words-eight words that can determine your destiny:
"Our life is what our thoughts make it."
Yes, if we think happy thoughts, we will be happy. If we think miserable thoughts, we will be
miserable. If we think fear thoughts, we will be fearful. If we think sickly thoughts, we will probably
be ill. If we think failure, we will certainly fail. If we wallow in self-pity, everyone will want to shun
us and avoid us. "You are not," said Norman Vincent Peale, "you are not what you think you are; but
what you think, you are."
Am I advocating an habitual Pollyanna attitude toward all our problems? No, unfortunately, life isn't
so simple as all that. But I am advocating that we assume a positive attitude instead of a negative
attitude. In other words, we need to be concerned about our problems, but not worried. What is the
difference between concern and worry? Let me illustrate. Every time I cross the traffic-jammed streets of New York, I am concerned about what I am doing-but not worried.
Concern means realising what the problems are and calmly taking steps to meet them. Worrying means going around in maddening,
Dale Carneggie in " How To Stop worrying and Start Living."
Something to ponder
We are told to choose our friends carefully, and friends that are pious and of good Character, will exert a positive influence on us and those with negative habits and character will affect us adversely.
Perhaps we should also learn to choose our thoughts carefully, if we have developed the habit of keeping company with thoughts of a negative disposition, and of dubious character, such as sorrow, anxiety, frustration, self pity, and despair. Then we will ultimately due to their negative influence, reap Depression, worry and if such thoughts are left unchecked and allowed to fester and fume in the deep recesses of our mind, they will ruin both our Dhuniyah and akhirah.
So do not allow such bad companions to overtake your mind.
May Allah guide our thoughts and our actions ameen.
Arif-billah Shaykh Dr. Abdul Hayy Arifi (Allah have mercy on him) said;
‘For two minutes talk to Allah any time during the day telling Him,
“O Allah! I am inept, weak, unworthy, and unable to do any thing significant. Please, do have Your special benevolence for me.”
Say this all.
Can’t you even do this?
You certainly have the power to articulate this.
(And if you do so,) Then you will see how your (spiritual) condition changes (for the better).
This is an alchemy prescription by our Shaykh Hakim al-Umma (Allah have mercy on him).’
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
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