My beloved mother has passed away.

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

After a severe year-long illness and struggle, my mother passed away this week on 25th March 2014, aged just 56. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un. Allah yarhamha wa yaghfir laha. Please spare a moment of du’a for her and my family. Jazakumullahu khayran for all your support and prayers, especially those who went over and beyond to help over the last year of her illness.

Yesterday, we prayed over my dear mother and buried her. Subhan’Allah, I always wondered about this day, which will come for us all. My sister and I were talking this morning about how serene and peaceful we feel despite the chaos and cries of people around us. Perhaps it’s because we saw her struggle through her illness and took care of her throughout that time, or perhaps it’s because she looked so tranquil after her death, or perhaps we are at peace because she is finally at peace. But ultimately, we know it’s because Allah is truly Merciful. He literally removed the sharp grief and sorrow associated with the death of a beloved mum, and kindly replaced it with calm, composure and serenity in all of us.

I remember my friend talking of this when her own mother passed away, and I didn’t understand it back then because I couldn’t imagine losing my mother. But today I understand it very well. Allah saves a person when their world crumbles. He gives you strength at difficult times – the kind of strength that you just know is not from you but can only be from Him. And He allows your soul to soar when it is pushed over the cliff by the calamities of life.

Alhamdulillah, the funeral turnout was incredibly huge. The masjid had to open up another whole building to accommodate for the large number of attendees, and there wasn’t a single person who didn’t have something good to say about her. When news of her death went around, you could see how it affected the community both here and abroad. She used to do a lot of good deeds in secret, and it’s only now that it’s all coming out because people are coming forward to speak of it.

Two women couldn’t stop sobbing because she was the one who brought them into the community after they felt outcasted. A grown man was crying in town saying that she helped him set up his own business and get on his two feet. Numerous couples say they are indebted to her for her great ability to reconcile between quarreling couples and rebuild broken families. Countless people back home who are in poverty weep today because she always gave to them, and made sure they had something to eat and live on. I personally remember the day I found out she had been sponsoring at least two hafidh students of knowledge (for a few years) who were too poor to continue with their Shari’ah degrees – she had tried to keep it a secret but I pushed her until she told me and wow, was I surprised seeing as though she is always giving sadaqah masha’Allah. She didn’t just help people. She rebuilt lives and slowly changed communities.

She did so much for others, but what she did for us is beyond my ability to tell. She was the one who facilitated all my learning. After Allah, if it wasn’t for her I would never have learnt any Arabic or Qur’an or anything, let alone teach any of it. One day I decided to surprise her by calling her after I completed my hifdh of Qur’an. Wallahi, just as I stepped into class for my khatmah, I received a call on my phone. It was my mother calling to surprise *me* with a gift to go on ‘Umrah for my efforts with Qur’an. She had no idea that I was finishing my khatmah and that I was planning on calling her in just an hour. But that was my mum; always a step ahead in charity, gifts, and goodwill. You could give her a river and she would give you back the ocean.

I can never do justice to you dear mummy, because you will always be a million times better than anything I could ever say about you. You were my best friend and confidante, my key adviser and helper. You were our mother and so much more. You were loved by the people of this earth and I’m sure this is a sign of Allah’s Love for you. You now rest in peace and wallahi the light on your face after you passed was seen even by nurses. The eyes weep and the heart is saddened, but I couldn’t have asked for a better relationship with my dear mummy. Allah yarhamuki, love you always.

May the Lord of the Worlds accept you into His Mercy this night, shower His forgiveness upon you, and prepare your grave tonight as the best of earthly abodes; spacious and filled with light. I ask Him to open the window of Paradise to you, and fill you with peace and happiness. May the Angels greet you as they greet the Prophets, truthful ones, martyrs, and righteous, and may you be accepted as one of them.

“Gardens of everlasting residence; they will enter with whoever were righteous among their fathers, their spouses and their descendants. And the angels will enter upon them from every gate saying, “Salamun ‘Alaikum (peace be upon you) for what you patiently endured. And excellent is the final home.” [al-Ra'd: 23-24]

May Allah be pleased with you, ameen.

A simple reminder to dispel distress

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

“We have not sent down the Qur’an unto you to cause you distress.
But only as a reminder to those who fear (Allah).”
[TaHa: 2-3]

The Qur’an never causes distress – rather, it expels all distress. But look at the next verse, what is it telling us? It hints at a sweet solution to many a distress… A reminder. Because a reminder softens the soul and sparks happiness.

It’s telling us that our level of regard for Allah `azza wa jall determines the level of benefit we gain from His Book. So the more we fear Allah and are conscious of Him, the more we understand the Qur’an, the more it reminds us, and the more we learn and delight in its secrets.

So the reader of the Book enters a fascinating cycle of wondrous benefit; the more he/she reads, the more it increases them in their regard for Allah; their love, hope, and fear of Him, which in turn increases their reading and understanding.

…A reminder which gives birth to delights.

Hudayr: ‘This is the Best of Provisions, My Lord.’

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

A beautiful story… please read and see what lessons can be drawn from it.

“Ibn ‘Umar (radhi’Allahu `anhu) reports that the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) once sent out an army unit which included a man called Hudayr. It was a year of difficulty and food was in short supply, so the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) gave each person provisions (for the journey) but he forgot to provide for Hudayr.

Hudayr was patient and went out with the last group, seeking reward and expecting good from Allah, saying “‘La ilaha illa’Allah’ (There is none worthy of worship except Allah), ‘Allahu Akbar’ (Allah is the Greatest), ‘Al-Hamdulillah’ (Praise be to Allah), ‘Subhan’Allah’ (Glory be to Allah), and ‘La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah’ (There is no might or power except with Allah).” And he would say, “This is the best of provisions, O Lord.” Continuously, he repeated this whilst in his group.

Jibreel (‘alayhisalam) came to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) and said, “Indeed, my Lord has sent me to you to inform you that you provided for your companions but you forgot to provide for Hudayr and he is in the last battalion saying, “’La ilaha illa’Allah’ (There is none worthy of worship except Allah), ‘Allahu Akbar’ (Allah is the Greatest), ‘Al-Hamdulillah’ (Praise be to Allah), ‘Subhan’Allah’ (Glory be to Allah), and ‘La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah’ (There is no might or power except with Allah). This is the best of provision, O Lord.” This statement of his will be a light for him on the Day of Judgement and it shall fill what is between the heavens and the earth, so send him his provision.”

The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) immediately called a man and gave him the provision of Hudayr (to take it to him) and commanded him to listen and memorise whatever Hudayr says upon meeting him and upon giving him the provision, and to tell him, “The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) sends you the greeting of peace and the mercy of Allah, and he wants to inform you that he forgot to provide for you but my Lord, Blessed and Lofty is He, sent Jibreel to remind him of you and he told him of your position (in the army).”

So the man set off and met Hudayr whilst he was still repeating “’La ilaha illa’Allah’ (There is none worthy of worship except Allah), ‘Allahu Akbar’ (Allah is the Greatest), ‘Al-Hamdulillah’ (Praise be to Allah), ‘Subhan’Allah’ (Glory be to Allah), and ‘La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah’ (There is no might or power except with Allah). This is the best of provision, O Lord.”

He then drew close to him and said, “Indeed, the Messenger of Allah sends you his greeting of peace and the mercy of Allah, and he has sent me to you with this provision saying, “Indeed, I forgot you so Jibreel was sent to me from the heavens to remind me of you.”

He (Hudayr) praised and thanked Allah and sent his blessings upon the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). Then he said, “Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. My Lord remembered me from above the seven heavens and from above His Throne, and He was merciful towards my hunger and my weakness. O my Lord, just as You did not forget me, do not let Hudayr forget You.”

The man memorised what he said, and went back to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), informing him of what he heard Hudayr say upon reaching him and giving him the news. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) then said, “If you were to lift your head to the sky, you would surely have seen a light spreading and radiating all that is between the heavens and the earth, due to his words.””

- Related by Ibn Jawzi in his collection, ‘Sifat al-Safwah’ [See also, al-Atqiya’ al-Akhfiya’, pg. 117-118]

Some brief lessons:

  • Allah will never ever fail you, if you place your trust in Him.
  • Have a good expectation and opinion of your Lord. Not only does He Hear and See all, but He is the best of Providers.
  • Your provisions will always reach you, even if at first, they pass you by.
  • Remember Allah and He will remember you.
  • Dhikr (Remembrance) is one of the best provisions and nourishment for the soul.
  • Dhikr and ‘Ibadah (worship) strengthen you and will keep you going (physically, spiritually and mentally) and will take you much further than you think.
  • We all forget. By definition, the human being is a forgetful being. This is not blameworthy.
  • Learning from the Prophet (s), we should hasten to make amends and correct our actions the moment we remember or are reminded.
  • Allah will always send you His Help.
  • Look at the beautiful etiquette of Hudayr. He did not disobey the leader or accuse him of unfairness etc. Instead he focused on his own role as a soldier/part of the battalion and he placed his affair in the Hands of Allah.
  • The way we react to things makes all the difference.
  • Our actions have effects; the good we say and do can create light which reaches to the skies and witnessed by the angels.
  • Remember to thank Allah when difficulties are alleviated.
  • Take advantage of the moment and make the best du’a for yourself after thanking Allah – He is ready to respond!

 

The Wisdom Behind Repetition in Prayer

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

“… And it has been prescribed for the servant to repeat these actions and words (i.e. repeat recitation of al-Fatiha, rukoo’, sujood etc, in the prayer) as it is a source of nourishment for the heart and soul. There is no strength in them (the heart and soul) except through this.

Its repetition is just like repeatedly eating food – mouthful after mouthful until a person eats his fill, and drinking again and again until his thirst is quenched. If a hungry individual only took one mouthful of food and then pushed his food away, what will that mouthful do for him? In fact, it may even cause him to become hungrier!

For this reason, one of the Salaf said: ‘A person who prays but does not find tranquillity in his prayer is like a person who is hungry… food is brought to him but he only takes one or two handfuls. What will it then do for him?!’”

[Asrar al-Salat, Ibn al-Qayyim]

Most of the time, a person’s level of Iman, khushu’ (humbleness), and depth of spirituality increases in stages, and doesn’t occur overnight or with one act of ‘Ibadah alone. For this reason, Allah legislated that the soul undergo repetitive acts of ‘Ibadah for it to attain higher levels of Iman; so in the case of prayer, a slave offers it no less than 5 times a day and if they feel themselves lacking in spiritual nourishment, they should increase in nafl (supererogatory) salah until their soul begins to feel nourished and the empty voids are all filled. The same with other acts of worship and the soul will soon taste the sweetness of Iman (faith) and climb up from rank to rank in the Sight of Allah.

Not stopping for anything

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

A believer.

Sitting alone in the calm and quiet space of his/her own, reciting the Qur’an.

Eyes lowered humbly, mind in deep thought and contemplation; reciting and reciting. Not stopping for anything.

All their attention devoted completely to the beautiful verses and chapters that unfold.

Not diverted by any sound;
neither the song of a bird nor the horn of a car in the street,
neither the thunder in the clouds nor the ring of a phone,
neither the distant call of a friend nor the silence of the room enclosing them.

A most beautiful experience yet one of the simplest that a slave can implement.

Serenity, tranquility and peace can be found anywhere; we just need to engage our mind and connect our heart with its Maker.