Recently I was reading about the achievements and accomplishments of
Shaykh Dr. Hussain Abdul Sattar. What fascinated me was how much he has managed too achieve and accomplish in such a short period of time, in both Academic and deeni fields and all before the age of 40. He has studied medicine become a surgeon and is now a professor teaching pathology.During the same period he has spent several years studying in both Pakistan, and Syria and has qualified as a religious scholar he is also a Shaykh of tazkiyah. And he travels all over the world lecturing on Islam and medicine.
Whilst I was pondering on where the Shaykh got his energy and time too make such great strides in such a short period of time...My mind transported me back to 1998, and I remembered listening to Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq (db) he said something along the lines of (and I am quoting from memory) "Its not important as to what you want to achieve or study, what is important is why you want to achieve and study the things you do, the the power and barakah lies, with the intention, are your intentions for the sake of Allah or for something else...!"
Well I had heard Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq (db) speak all those years ago, but it had taken me 15 years to understand. And it made me realise the reason why Shaykh Dr. Hussain Abdul Sattar (db) has been able to accomplish so much is because of his intention. When an individual undertakes any effort for the sake of Allah, then he is supported in all his endeavours by the grace of Allah. The power is in the intention!
To further emphasise this I was reading yesterday a small booklet "Dying and living for Allah," It is the last will and testament of Ustadh Khurram Murrad
Ustadh Khurram Murrad is one of the pioneers as far as dawah and deeni efforts go in the U.K. he was one of those few individuals who had the foresight way back in the early 1970's to realise that more work and focus needed to be given to the muslim youth especially in universities, and that the religious teachings needed to be made available to them in the English language. For those of you who are quite young you might not realise that religious gatherings in English and availability of books in English, were very rare prior to the 1990s.
I think it would be fair to say that an entire generation who grew up in the 1970's and 1980's owe some debt of gratitude to Ustadh Khurram Murrad amongst others. What is remarkable about Khurram Murrad is that in 1966 at the very young age of 34 he suffered a massive heart attack and over the subsequent decades he suffered I believe five further heart attacks, had heart bypass operations, open heart surgery several times and spent time in various intensive care units.
Despite his ill health from a fairly young age, and the stresses of raising a young family in a foreign land, he was able to write many books and articles, deliver hundreds of lectures, and spent countless hours in trying to inspire the youth. He did not allow his ill health to dim his energy or enthusiasm, he passed away in 1996 thirty years after suffering his intiall heart attack. The Power behind his accomplishments was the intention. Interestingly his Last will and testament, is called, " Dying and living for Allah," rather then "Living and Dying for Allah."
My point was to highlight that even in contemporary times, if an individual regardless of background, puts his trust in Allah and makes every intention for his sake, whether it is in regards to studies, in careers, religious efforts, marriage, upbringing of children. Then Allah will help him climb over insurmountable mountains, and find a way out of every difficulty.
Make every intention for the sake of Allah and Allah will be your protector and guide at all times and in all situations...even if you are doing the everyday mundane things such as shopping, cleaning the house, or visiting relatives, make an intention for Allah. you will be amazed by The Power and Barakah that will come in to your life.
May Allah gives us all the tawfiq to practice what we learn especially a hypocrite and sinner like me ameen.
I have witnessed many brothers in public life, their complex diseases, handicaps etc., anyone else with half of their complex health issues would have been staying at home, not even visiting his local masjid.
I heard one one akabir "Tomorrow, it will never be a better day, health will get more complex as time progresses, whatever opportunities and resources we have if we are not spending for deen, then what is the use of living like a parasite" "our aslaf sacrificed their lives, let us sacrifice our comforts"
"Nobody is perfect, we all sin and we are all trying to get better. This is a struggle which continues until our deathbed. So you are not alone in that. Remember that this desire in your heart to want to get closer to Allah is proof that you are a believer, proof that Allah loves you and wants good for you. Otherwise you would not want to get better and stop sinning.
A technique I used successfully in prison with Muslims who didn't pray, whether they were reverts, or brought-up Muslims, was to start with one salah a day. Choose one salah, any one which is easy for you to for you to do and put all your effort into doing that once a day. Do that for one month and it will become a habit. Second month add another salah, whichever is easy for you, now do these two salahs on time every day for a month. Third month, add the third salah, fourth month add the fourth salah, fifth month add the fifth salah and the sixth month focus on waking up for fajr on time. Inshallah in six months you will be praying five times a day without even realising it.
If you slip a day, it doesn't matter, pick yourself up and continue. Once you start to pray five times salah a day you will see your life will change. May Allah make it easy for you,"
Last week, as my family and I patiently dug ourselves out of mounds and mounds of snow during Snowmageddon 2016, I kept thinking of how white the world was around us. Everywhere we turned, there was snow – and not the dirty, been-on-the-road-too-long-kind, but rather the fluffy-want-to-make-an-igloo-and-snowman-kind of snow. But there was one thing that stood out for me in those early days after the storm – there was hardly a sign of life around us. No one was out in the streets, no animals were in the neighborhood and even the greenery from our suburban Virginia homes was gone – all around us, there was just a lot of cold and a lot of white. Deny it as we may, we missed the variety of colors that come with Spring.
In many ways, the world around us reminded me of a beautiful dua of the Prophet ﷺ. The Dua is not specifically about Winter, but rather the life of Springtime that the Quran should bring to our hearts. It’s related to us in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad that Abdullah ibn Masud said that the Prophet [made the dua and] said:
“…I am invoking You [Allah] by all the names that You call Yourself, that You have taught to anyone in Your creation, that You have mentioned in Your Book, or that You have kept unknown. Let the Qur’an be Springtime of my heart, the light of my chest, the remover of my sadness and the pacifier of my worries.”[full text of dua below]
Quite simply, the Prophet ﷺ was asking for a Springtime – but not just any Springtime, but a Springtime of our Hearts, a Spiritual Springtime facilitated by the Words of Allah in the Quran.
What is Spring? It comes after winter – a time of bitterness, cold – a time in which all of the plants and grass are dead, and the crops are barren. As I learned during this past snowstorm, it’s hard to cultivate anything new in Winter – even animals go to hibernate in the Winter. In our case, we couldn’t even move around or out of the house for four days!
But in this beautiful dua, the Prophet ﷺ wasn’t asking for Winter, but reminding us of what comes immediately after Winter: Spring! Spring is a time of rebirth – plants and flowers are awakening, the grass is growing again, the color is coming back into Nature all around us. Everything is alive and rejuvenated and this is the effect that the Quran should have on our hearts – to revive our hearts, to rejuvenate our Imaan – to give it life again. This is what the Prophet ﷺ asked Allah for with regards to the Quran – to rejuvenate our faith and re-invigorate our souls.
During these crazy times, our imaan suffers – we look at all the negativity around us and we begin to despair. But, what’s the cure for that despair? The Quran. To read it and reflect on it. To develop a personal relationship with it. To internalize the lessons from it. To remember that Noah gave dawah for 950 Years and yet was told to “Patiently persevere…” To remember that Abraham was thrown into a massive Fire, but didn’t give up. To remember that the Prophet Muhammad himself ﷺ was ridiculed and hated in society at one point, but he continued to change people’s hearts, one person at a time, because his own heart was rejuvenated with the Quran. What a beautiful way to describe the Quran – as the Springtime of our hearts and souls.
But the Prophet ﷺ didn’t stop there; instead he asked that Allah make the Quran the light of our chests. What is Light? It’s that which guides us. So now the Quran is not just providing us new life, but is guiding us along the Path as well. Most of us take the Quran as an academic Book – we don’t have a personal relationship with the Book of God. How many of us keep a journal of personal reflections on the Verses of the Quran that we read, whether on paper or on our phones?
Our Guidance is predicated on being reflective people – i.e. reading the Quran not just in Arabic, but in English (or our native tongues) and thinking deeply about what those words mean to me, as an individual. The words will have no real meaning until we understand what Allah’s Message is for us. That’s how we take it as guidance. We should make a personal commitment to read and reflect on a minimum of 5 verses a day. If you don’t know Arabic, read the translation and let the meaning of the Quran penetrate into your heart. Allow it to be that Guiding Light that is mentioned in this dua. Every Muslim convert I have ever spoken with told me that it was the translation of the Quran that strengthened their faith in God. This can only happen when we take the Quran as a guide for us—a Divinely-inspired GPS system for our Journey to Jannah (inshaAllah).
Then the Prophet continued in the dua to say something that is applicable to every single person reading this post. He asked that the Quran be a remover and a cleanser for our grief and our worries. Imagine that for a moment – a life lived with peace of mind. Many of us are weighed down by our worries – worries about our jobs, our children, our parents, our relatives, our Ummah, our community, our society, our selves, etc. We are constantly worried and anxious and yet, the Prophet ﷺ asked Allah to allow the Quran to cleanse us of our worries and anxieties. The question is, how?
The Verses of God refocus us on what’s really important —our Path to Him. And our commitment to Compassion and Mercy. Over and over again in the Quran we are told to be merciful and compassionate to others, even those that have wronged us – we are told to forgive them. There is a lot of ignorance all around us – in our personal lives and societies – but the Quran is there to direct us above all the noise. Its aim is to re-orient us to a life that is largely worry-free when it comes to this material world. Instead, it re-directs us to do our best in this world in order to achieve the highest ranks with God in the next world.
The Quran is transformative by its very nature. For example, the Prophet ﷺ was said to be more giving and generous during the month of Ramadan than in other months of the year, the very same month in which he was known to recite the Quran more often than others. Why? Because that recitation & reflection of Quran led to a change in his behavior. And ultimately, that’s what it will do for us: it will change our behavior with each other, with one another, and with our Lord. We must allow the Quran to be the Spring of our Hearts, the Light of our Chests, the Remover of our Worries and the Dispeller of our Stress. When that happens, we transform ourselves to be better people with our children, our spouses, our parents, our community and our society, all of the very things that cause us grief and worry to begin with.
For a few days towards the end of January, the whole world around us was colorless and lifeless, much like our imaan can become from time to time. The cure for our spiritual lifelessness is to engage with the Book of Allah – to read it, to reflect on it, to understand it and most importantly, to live by it. Just as the Messenger asked of Allah, we need to allow the Quran to become the Springtime and the Light of our hearts, thereby allowing our worries and stress to melt away, just as the sun melted away the towers of snow. My plea for myself and all of us is to start keeping a journal of personal Quran reflections. As my Shaykh, Faisal Matadar, reminded me a few weeks ago – this is what empowered the early Community. It’s not just that they knew the words of the Quran, but that they personalized its message so that they could live by it – day in and day out, throughout all of the “seasons” and “snowstorms” of their lives.
We pray that Allah gives us the Best in this World and the Next and protects us from the Punishment of the Fire. We also pray that Allah makes the Quran the Springtime of our Hearts, the Light of our Chests, the Remover of our Worries and the Dispeller of our Stress. Allahumma Ameen.
Allahumma inni `abduka wabnu `abdika wabnu amatik nasiyati bi-yadik madin fiyya hukmuk `adlun fiyya qada’uk as’aluka bi-kulli ismin huwa lak sammayta bihi nafsak aw `allamtahu ahadan min khalqak aw anzaltahu fi kitabik awista’tharta bihi fi `ilmi al-ghaybi `indak an taj`ala al-Qur’ana al-karima rabi`a qalbi wa-nura sadri wa-jala’a huzni wa-dhahaba hammi.
O Allah, I am Your slave, son of Your male servant, and son of Your female servant. My forelock is in Your Hand. Your command for me prevails. Your judgement concerning me is just. I beseech You through every name You have, by which You have called Yourself, or which You have sent down in Your Book, or which You have taught to any one of Your creations, or which You have preferred to keep to Yourself among Your guarded secrets, to make the Great Qur'an the springtime of my heart, the light of my chest, the remover of my sadness, and the pacifier of my worries. 1
1. It is recorded in Musnad Ahmad and Sahih Abu Hatim on the authority of ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever was afflicted with grief and distress and says (see the du'a above), Allah, the Exalted and Ever-Majestic, will remove his grief and will change his sorrow into happiness.” It was said, “O Messenger of Allah! (Do) we have to learn these words?” He said, “Yes, whoever hears them should learn them.”
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
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