Saturday, August 3, 2013

An Amazing Read!

Quick Reminder From The Quran

قُلْ أَغَيْرَ اللَّهِ أَتَّخِذُ وَلِيًّا فَاطِرِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَهُوَ يُطْعِمُ وَلَا يُطْعَمُ ۗ قُلْ إِنِّي أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَكُونَ أَوَّلَ مَنْ أَسْلَمَ ۖ وَلَا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ قُلْ إِنِّي أَخَافُ إِنْ عَصَيْتُ رَبِّي عَذَابَ يَوْمٍ عَظِيمٍ -- Say: "Shall I take for my protector any other than Allah, the Maker of the heavens and the earth? And He it is that feedeth but is not fed." Say: "Nay! but I am commanded to be the first of those who bow to Allah (in Islam), and be not thou of the company of those who join gods with Allah." Say: "I would, if I disobeyed my Lord, indeed have fear of the penalty of a Mighty Day. (Quran 6:14,15)

My Ramadan Journal -- Day 25

By S N Smith

On this 25th day of Ramadan, I simply want to share with you three passages from the Quran which I feel is important to reflect upon during these blessed days when we are making extra supplications to Allah and seeking His favor. These are meant to be iman (faith) boosting reminders of the power of Allah and His mercy towards us. Recite them during your prayers or read them to yourself in your private devotions:

اللَّهُ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ ۚ لَا تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلَا نَوْمٌ ۚ لَّهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۗ مَن ذَا الَّذِي يَشْفَعُ عِندَهُ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِ ۚ يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ ۖ وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنْ عِلْمِهِ إِلَّا بِمَا شَاءَ ۚ وَسِعَ كُرْسِيُّهُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ ۖ وَلَا يَئُودُهُ حِفْظُهُمَا ۚ وَهُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْعَظِيمُ -- Allah! There is no god but He,-the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permits? He knows what (appears to His creatures as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as He wills. His Throne doth extend over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them for He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory). (2:255)

هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ ۖ هُوَ الرَّحْمَـٰنُ الرَّحِيمُ هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْمَلِكُ الْقُدُّوسُ السَّلَامُ الْمُؤْمِنُ الْمُهَيْمِنُ الْعَزِيزُ الْجَبَّارُ الْمُتَكَبِّرُ ۚ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ هُوَ اللَّهُ الْخَالِقُ الْبَارِئُ الْمُصَوِّرُ ۖ لَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ ۚيُسَبِّحُ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۖ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ --- Allah is He, than Whom there is no other god;- Who knows (all things) both secret and open; He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Allah is He, than Whom there is no other god;- the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace (and Perfection), the Guardian of Faith, the Preserver of Safety, the Exalted in Might, the Irresistible, the Supreme: Glory to Allah! (High is He) above the partners they attribute to Him. He is Allah, the Creator, the Evolver, the Bestower of Forms (or Colours). To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names: whatever is in the heavens and on earth, doth declare His Praises and Glory: and He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. (59: 22-24)

أَمَّنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَأَنزَلَ لَكُم مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَنبَتْنَا بِهِ حَدَائِقَ ذَاتَ بَهْجَةٍ مَّا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَن تُنبِتُوا شَجَرَهَا ۗ أَإِلَـٰهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ ۚ بَلْ هُمْ قَوْمٌ يَعْدِلُونَ أَمَّن جَعَلَ الْأَرْضَ قَرَارًا وَجَعَلَ خِلَالَهَا أَنْهَارًا وَجَعَلَ لَهَا رَوَاسِيَ وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ حَاجِزًا ۗ أَإِلَـٰهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ ۚ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ أَمَّن يُجِيبُ الْمُضْطَرَّ إِذَا دَعَاهُ وَيَكْشِفُ السُّوءَ وَيَجْعَلُكُمْ خُلَفَاءَ الْأَرْضِ ۗ أَإِلَـٰهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ ۚ قَلِيلًا مَّا تَذَكَّرُونَ أَمَّن يَهْدِ يكُمْ فِي ظُلُمَاتِ الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَمَن يُرْسِلُ الرِّيَاحَ بُشْرًا بَيْنَ يَدَيْ رَحْمَتِهِ ۗ أَإِلَـٰهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ ۚ تَعَالَى اللَّهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ أَمَّن يَبْدَأُ الْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُ وَمَن يَرْزُقُكُم مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۗ أَإِلَـٰهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ ۚ قُلْ هَاتُوا بُرْهَانَكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ 
--- Or, Who has created the heavens and the earth, and Who sends you down rain from the sky? Yea, with it We cause to grow well-planted orchards full of beauty of delight: it is not in your power to cause the growth of the trees in them. (Can there be another) god besides Allah? Nay, they are a people who swerve from justice.  Or, Who has made the earth firm to live in; made rivers in its midst; set thereon mountains immovable; and made a separating bar between the two bodies of flowing water? (can there be another) god besides Allah? Nay, most of them know not. Or, Who listens to the (soul) distressed when it calls on Him, and Who relieves its suffering, and makes you (mankind) inheritors of the earth? (Can there be another) god besides Allah? Little it is that ye heed! Or, Who guides you through the depths of darkness on land and sea, and Who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings, going before His Mercy? (Can there be another) god besides Allah?- High is Allah above what they associate with Him! Or, Who originates creation, then repeats it, and who gives you sustenance from heaven and earth? (Can there be another) god besides Allah? Say, "Bring forth your argument, if ye are telling the truth!" (27: 60-64)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

New series after Ramadan on 14 Quranic / Islamic terms

By S N Smith

After the completion of Ramadan, I intend to write about the following 14 Quranic / Islamic terms for they deal with the inner manifestations of a deep and meaningful relationship between the worshiped God and His worshipers. These should all be a part of a Muslim's regular ibadat (worship) of Allah, but they have to be worked upon over the course of one's life, and do not come naturally.  According to the Quran, the very purpose of our existence is to worship and serve Allah will full devotion (Quran 51:56), which denotes an inner state of being, and not merely carrying out the physical aspects of ibadat. Properly understanding these terms will help the worshiper to work towards this goal, Insha-Allah. 

I am not asserting that I have come even close to achieving all or any of these qualities in my own devotions. In fact, as I stated, they all require a life-time effort and hopefully I will understand them better as I research and write about them. I am not a scholar, nor have any inclinations to be one. I am merely a simple Muslim who seeks to know the truth and find my way in life, which is not always easy due to some health issues I have to deal with on a daily basis. I will not define the terms here, other than offering a rudimentary definition, but merely introduce them and discuss them in greater detail individually. It should be noted, however, that the meanings of these terms do, at times, overlap with other terms and they are not always completely separate from one another. Here are the terms to be discussed:

khushu‘ -- humility or humbleness

khudu‘ (urdu word) -- Self awareness, consciousness of the inner-self or ego.

ikhbat -- The act of humbling oneself before Allah

inabah -- The act of returning to the way of Allah repeatedly

khashiyah -- Fear of Allah (in Quran 2:74)

tadarru‘ -- Also, roughly meaning humility and humbleness. 

qanoot -- literally means "being obedient" or "the act of standing" in Classical Arabic. The word is usually used in reference to special supplications made in certain prayers while in the standing posture.

shukr -- expressing immense gratitude to Allah 
for His many favours

dhikr -- remembering Allah

ikhlas -- devoting one’s self to Allah in all sincerity

tawakkul -- totally putting one's trust in Allah in all of one's affairs. 

tafwid -- submitting one’s self and all of one’s affairs to Allah

taslim-o rada -- anxiously pleasing God at every step

ihsan -- doing things with perfection and excellence

Quick reminder from the Quran

وَلَقَدْ بَعَثْنَا فِي كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَّسُولًا أَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَاجْتَنِبُوا الطَّاغُوتَ ۖ فَمِنْهُم مَّنْ هَدَى اللَّهُ وَمِنْهُم مَّنْ حَقَّتْ عَلَيْهِ الضَّلَالَةُ ۚ فَسِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَانظُرُوا كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُكَذِّبِينَ --- or We assuredly sent among every People a messenger, (with the Command), "Serve Allah, and eschew Evil": of the People were some whom Allah guided, and some on whom error became inevitably (established). So travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who denied (the Truth). (16:36)

Ramadan Journal -- Day 22

By S N Smith


“Were they created by nothing, or were they themselves the creators? Or did they create the Heavens and the earth? Nay, but they have no firm belief” (Quran 52: verses 35-36) -- أَمْ خُلِقُوا مِنْ غَيْرِ شَيْءٍ أَمْ هُمُ الْخَالِقُونَ أَمْ خَلَقُوا السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ ۚ بَل لَّا يُوقِنُونَ

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This will not be a long journal entry today, but I wanted to briefly comment on how many people who do not believe in Allah and put their faith in science or empiricism say that religion is anti-reason or beyond reason and thus no right-minded or rational person would believe in religious teachings or God. But there are numerous verses in Quran which challenge readers to actually use their reason, ponder, think and deeply reflect.  The Quran does not just ask readers to blindly embrace its claims without pondering and reflecting upon what is being presented, but urges them to reflect deeply and carefully over what they are being told. When they do so with honesty, and not just cutting and pasting selected verses out of their context, it will lead readers to the truth of Islam as presented in the Quran. The Quran uses many rational trains of thought to convince the reader of the truth of its claims, such as the belief in the hereafter (see part one and part two), or the belief in the reality of Allah's existence (see part one and part two and part three).

One word found many times in the Quran is تَعْقِلُونَ taʿqilūn -- which means to reason, to use one's intellect or to understand. To see the verses click on this link: http://corpus.quran.com/qurandictionary.jsp?q=Eql

The other word found in the Quran is تَتَفَكَّرُونَ tatafakkarūn -- which means to ponder, reflect upon or give thought to. To see the verses which use this world click on this link:http://corpus.quran.com/qurandictionary.jsp?q=fkr

If one reads these verses carefully and in their proper context, they will see that Allah is saying that those who don't believe are the one's who are not using taʿqilūn and tatafakkarūn and that their unbelief is actually irrational and beyond reason as they have not taken the time to properly ponder and reflect on the reality of the message of Islam. In other words, the Quran actually turns the argument of non-believers on its head and asserts that those who do not believe are the ones who  are guilty of being anti-reason or beyond reason and are not in their right mind. 

In his book Major Themes of The Quran, Fazlur Rahman writes the following on page 23-24:

"Empirical" knowledge itself is of little benefit unless it awakens the inner perception of man as to his own situation, his potentialities, his risks, and his destiny:

Have they not travelled around the earth, so that they might come to possess hearts whereby they can understand or ears wherewith they can listen? For it is not the[physical] eyes that become blind but the hearts in people's breasts [that lose perception]. (22.al- Hajj:46)

This is why the Qur’ān appears to be interested in three types knowledge for man. One is the knowledge of nature which has been made subservient to man, i.e., the physical sciences. The second crucial type is the knowledge of history (and geography): the Qur’ān persistently asks man to "travel on the earth" and see for himself what happened to bygone civilizations and why they rose and fell. The third is the knowledge of man himself, since "We shall show them Our signs in the horizons[external nature] and within themselves, so that Truth becomes clear to them—is your Lord not a sufficient witness everything?" (41.Fuşşilat:53). This knowledge is "scientific" knowledge, is based on observation by "the eyes and the ears"; yet this scientific knowledge has finally to "strike the heart" and to kindle a perception in man which will transform his scientific and technological skills in accordance with the moral perception that will, one hopes, be born in him. Without this perception, scientific and technological knowledge; could be—indeed, must be—positively dangerous, and in its critique of the materially prosperous Meccans, the Qur’ān makes this very point: "They know well the externalities of the worldly life, but they are so, ignorant ['heedless'] of the ultimate consequences" (30.ar-Rūm:7).

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Unsubstantiated numbers used to legitimize Egyptian coup

After overly generous calculations reveal that only 2.9 million people throughout Egypt could have possibly joined the protests against Morsi, the author concludes that unsubstantiated numbers were used to claim legitimacy to oust elected president Morsi and place Egypt under a coup. 

July 31, 2013 -- World Bulletin/News Desk

A recent article titled “Mathematics and Egyptians Don't Mix: June 30 Protests Figures” assessing whether the alleged number of millions of anti-Morsi protestors could have actually fit into the claimed areas of Cairo.

The author Shereef Ismail, who himself expresses dissatisfaction with Morsi, explains that he was motivated to do the calculations regarding the maximum number of people who could fit into the said squares after hearing of an unbelievable high number of protestors reaching 17 to 33 million on June 30.

The author acknowledges that his calculations are very generous so as to generate the very largest number of protestors who could have possibly fit into the claimed squares and streets if all had been packed with just protestors, rather than food carts, etc.

The generous calculations yield the results that at most an exaggeratedly high figure of 700,000 protestors could have been on the streets of Cairo, which accounts for 25 percent of the Egyptian population.

By extension, at most 2.9 people could have been protesting the Morsi administration throughout the whole of Egypt.

The author expresses his uneasiness with these calculations as they reveal their grave implications for democracy and freedom in Egypt.

He mourns that the numbers “raise a claim as to how a democratically elected president was removed from office due to protests by what does not even represent 5% of the entire Egyptian population and barely represents 5% of the portion of said population that has a right to vote in Egypt.”

The intentionally overestimated numbers are then used to address the claims to rights and democracy made by the opposition movement against Morsi.

The conclusion reached is that “this annuls the claimed legitimacy of the Tamarod (Rebel) movement, takes away their right to speak on behalf of the entirety of the Egyptian population. It also raises a big question mark around the number of the signatures they claim to have obtained.”

The calculations are based off the Ittihadiya Palace area and Tahrir Square where the protests took place, and the assumption that a single person requires a mere area of 0.45 square meters.

The maximum area of the entire region around Tahrir Square is 128,791 SQM, and could have accommodated for at most 286,602 possible protesters if all streets had been full, which was not the case for Sheikh Rehan Street and Mohammad Mahmoud Street.

Likewise the area surrounding Ittihadiya Palace is at most 170,156 SQM and could fit 378,124 protesters, making 700,000 the absolute maximum number that could have filled the streets if they had been crammed with only protestors.

The author asks why the Egyptian media would spread such impossibly exaggerated numbers, and even falsely claim that Google Earth, CNN and BBC were reporting such figures.

He suggests that among any possible answers is the “need to facilitate the "Military Coup" and make us believe it isn't one.” He also attacks their faulty reporting given that they were the same channels which expressed that merely hundreds protested during the January 25 revolution.
Based on the discrepancy between the actually possible figures and the alleged tens of millions, the author presents the following unsettling conclusions:

“The first is using unsubstantiated numbers to claim legitimacy is a flawed argument in and of itself.

“The second fact that stands even clearer is that Egyptians, whether they intended it or not, and whether they admit it or not, are living a Military Coup.”

Quick reminder from the Quran

وَاكْتُبْ لَنَا فِي هَـٰذِهِ الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ إِنَّا هُدْنَا إِلَيْكَ ۚ قَالَ عَذَابِي أُصِيبُ بِهِ مَنْ أَشَاءُ ۖوَرَحْمَتِي وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ ۚ فَسَأَكْتُبُهَا لِلَّذِينَ يَتَّقُونَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَالَّذِينَ هُم بِآيَاتِنَا يُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ الرَّسُولَ النَّبِيَّ الْأُمِّيَّ الَّذِي يَجِدُونَهُ مَكْتُوبًا عِندَهُمْ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَالْإِنجِيلِ يَأْمُرُهُم بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَاهُمْ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَيُحِلُّ لَهُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْخَبَائِثَ وَيَضَعُ عَنْهُمْ إِصْرَهُمْ وَالْأَغْلَالَ الَّتِي كَانَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚفَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِهِ وَعَزَّرُوهُ وَنَصَرُوهُ وَاتَّبَعُوا النُّورَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ مَعَهُ ۙ أُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

"And ordain for us that which is good, in this life and in the Hereafter: for we have turned unto Thee." He said: "With My punishment I visit whom I will; but My mercy extendeth to all things. That (mercy) I shall ordain for those who do right, and practise regular charity, and those who believe in Our signs;-"Those who follow the messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own (scriptures),- in the law and the Gospel;- for he commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil; he allows them as lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them from what is bad (and impure); He releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them. So it is those who believe in him, honour him, help him, and follow the light which is sent down with him,- it is they who will prosper." (Quran 7:156-7)

Surah Fussilat recited by Mishary bin Rashid Al-Afasy

Surah Fussilat recited by Mishary bin Rashid Al-Afasy

Ramadan Journal -- Day 22

لَّقَد تَّابَ اللَّهُ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ وَالْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَالْأَنصَارِ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُ فِي سَاعَةِ الْعُسْرَةِ مِن بَعْدِ مَا كَادَ يَزِيغُ قُلُوبُ فَرِيقٍ مِّنْهُمْ ثُمَّ تَابَ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّهُ بِهِمْ رَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ وَعَلَى الثَّلَاثَةِ الَّذِينَ خُلِّفُوا حَتَّىٰ إِذَا ضَاقَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ الْأَرْضُ بِمَا رَحُبَتْ وَضَاقَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ أَنفُسُهُمْ وَظَنُّوا أَن لَّا مَلْجَأَ مِنَ اللَّهِ إِلَّا إِلَيْهِ ثُمَّ تَابَ عَلَيْهِمْ لِيَتُوبُوا ۚإِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ --- Allah turned with favor to the Prophet, the Muhajirs, and the Ansar,- who followed him in a time of distress, after that the hearts of a part of them had nearly swerved (from duty); but He turned to them (also): for He is unto them Most Kind, Most Merciful.(He turned in mercy also) to the three who were left behind; (they felt guilty) to such a degree that the earth seemed constrained to them, for all its spaciousness, and their (very) souls seemed straitened to them,- and they perceived that there is no fleeing from Allah (and no refuge) but to Himself. Then He turned to them, that they might repent: for Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. (Quran 9: 117-118)

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by S N Smith

In today's Ramadan journal entry, I want to draw your attention to the following lengthy hadeeth found in Sahih Muslim, which contextualizes the above Quranic verse and highlights the mercy of Allah to those who are truly repentant. The story is about Ka'b b. 'Malik -- as well as Murara b. ar-Rabi'a 'Amiri and Hilal b. Umayya al-Waqafi -- the three which the Quran is referring to in the above verses. While reading this hadeeth, you may also want to read up on the Battle of Tabuk, as it is directly related to this story, which you can do by clicking here.  Note also, that according to Safi-ur-Rahman Mubarakpuri, in his biography of the Prophet (pbuh) "The Sealed Nector," many verses of Surah Tawbah (chapter 9 of the Quran) are related to the Battle of Tabuk. The Muslim scholar Ibn Kathir, in his famous commentary of the Quran, also mentions that verses 9:42-48, 9:49, 9:81, and 9:29 are all related to the Battle of Tabuk or were revealed during the Battle of Tabuk. Read and reflect upon the words you read as it is a beautiful story which has been preserved for our reminder and admonition:


Ibn Shihab reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) made an expedition to Tabuk and he (the Holy Prophet) had in his mind (the idea of threatening the) Christians of Arabia in Syria and those of Rome. Ibn Shihab (further) reported that 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Abdullah b. Ka'b informed him that Abdullah b. Ka'b who served as the guide of Ka'b b. 'Malik as he became blind that he heard Ka'b b. Malik narrate the story of his remaining behind Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) from the Battle of Tabuk. Ka'b b. Malik said: I never remained behind Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) from any expedition which he undertook except the Battle of Tabuk and that of the Battle of Badr. So far as the Battle of Badr is concerned, nobody was blamed for remaining behind as Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and the Muslims (did not set out for attack but for waylaying) the caravan of the Quraish, but it was Allah Who made them confront their enemies without their intention (to do so). I had the honour to be with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) on the night of 'Aqaba when we pledged our allegiance to Islam and it was more dear to me than my participation in the Battle of Badr, although Badr was more popular amongst people as compared with that (Tabuk). And this is my story of remaining back from Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) on the occasion of the Battle of Tabuk. Never did I possess means enough and (my circumstances) more favourable than at the occasion of this expedition. And, by Allah, I had never before this expedition simultaneously in my possession two rides. Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) set out for this expedition in extremely hot season; the journey was long and the land (which he and his army had to cover) was water-less and he had to confront a large army, so he informed the Muslims about the actual situation (they had to face), so that they should adequately equip themselves for this expedition, and he also told them the destination where he intended to go. And the Muslims who accompanied Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) at that time were large in numbers but there was no proper record of them. Ka'b (further) said: Few were the persons who wanted to absent themselves, and were under the impression that they could easily conceal themselves (and thus remain undetected) until revelations from Allah, the Exalted and Glorious (descended in connection with them).

And Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) set out on an expedition when the fruits were ripe and their shadows had been lengthened. I had weakness for them and it was during this season that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) made preparations and the Muslims too along with them. I also set out in the morning so that I should make preparations along with them but I came back and did nothing and said to myself: I have means enough (to make preparations) as soon as I like. And I went on doing this (postponing my preparations) until people were about to depart and it was in the morning that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) set out and the Muslims too along with him, but I made no preparations. I went early in the morning and came back, but I made no decision. I continued to do so until they (the Muslims) hastened and covered a good deal of distance. I also made up my mind to march on and to meet them. Would that I had done that but perhaps it was not destined for me. After the departure of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as I went out amongst people, I was shocked to find that I did not find anyone like me but people who were labelled as hypocrites or the people whom Allah granted exemption because of their incapacity and Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) took no notice of me until he had reached Tabuk. (One day as he was sitting amongst the people in Tabuk) he said: What has happened to Ka'b b. Malik? A person from Banu' Salama said: Allah's Messenger, the (beauty) of his cloak and his appreciation of his sides have allured him and he was thus detained. Mua'dh b. Jabal said: Woe be upon that what you contend. Allah's Messenger, by Allah, we know nothing about him but good. Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him), however, kept quiet. It was during that time that he (the Holy Prophet) saw a person (dressed in all white (garment) shattering the illusion of eye (mirage).

Thereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: May he be Abu Khaithama and, lo, it was Abu Khaithama al-Ansari and he was that person who contributed a sa' of dates and was scoffed at by the hypocrites. Ka'b b. Malik farther said: When this news reached me that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) was on his way back from Tabuk I was greatly perturbed. I thought of fabricating false stories and asked myself how I would save myself from his anger on the following day. In this connection, I sought the help of every prudent man from amongst the members of my family and when it was said to me that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) was about to arrive, all the false ideas banished (from my mind) and I came to the conclusion that nothing could save me but the telling of truth, so I decided to speak the truth and it was in the morning that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) arrived (in Medina). And it was his habit that as he came back from a journey he first went to the mosque and observed two Rak'ahs of nafl prayer (as a mark of gratitude) and then sat amongst people. And as he did that, those who had remained behind him began to put forward their excuses and take an oath before him and they were more than eighty persons. Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) accepted their excuses on the very face of them and accepted their allegiance and sought forgiveness for them and left their secret (intentions) to Allah, until I presented myself to him. I greeted him and he smiled and there was a tinge of anger in that. He (the Holy Prophet) then said to me: Come forward. I went forward until I sat in front of him. He said to me: What kept you back? Could you not afford to go in for a ride? I said: Allah's Messenger, by Allah, if I were to sit in the presence of anybody else from amongst the worldly people I would have definitely saved myself from his anger on one pretext (or the other) and I have also the knack to fall into argumentation, but, by Allah, I am fully aware of the fact that if I were to put forward before you a false excuse to please you Allah would definitely provoke your wrath upon me, and if I speak the truth you may be annoyed with me, but I hope that Allah would make its end well and, by Allah, there is no valid excuse for me. By Allah, I never possessed so good means, and I never had such favourable conditions for me as I had when I stayed behind you (failed to join the expedition).

Thereupon, Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: This man told the truth, so get up until Allah gives a decision in your case. I stood up and some people of Banu' Salama followed me in hot haste, and they said to me: By Allah, we do not know about you that you committed a sin prior to this. You, however, showed inability to put forward an excuse before Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as those who stayed behind him have put forward excuses. It would have been enough for the forgiveness of your sin that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) would have sought forgiveness for you. By Allah, they continued to incite me until I thought of going back to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and contradict myself. Then I said to them: Has anyone else also met the same fate? They said: Yes, two persons have met the same fate as has fallen to you and they have made the same statement as you have made, and the same verdict has been delivered in their case as it has been delivered in your case. I said: Who are they? They said: Murara b. ar-Rabi'a 'Amiri and Hilal b. Umayya al-Waqafi. They made a mention of these two pious persons to me who had participated in the Battle of Badr and there was an example for me in them. I went away when they named these two persons. Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) forbade the Nluslims to talk with three of us from amongst those (persons) who had stayed behind him. The people began to avoid us and their attitude towards us underwent a change and it seemed as if the whole atmosphere had turned (hostile) against us and it was in fact the same atmosphere ot which I was fully aware and in which I had lived (for a fairly long time). We spent fifty nights in this very state and my two friends confined themselves within their houses and spent (most of the) time in weeping, but as I was young and strong amongst them I got (out of my house), participated in congregational prayers, moved about in the bazar; but none spoke to me. I came to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as he sat amongst (people) after the prayer, greeted him and asked myself whether his lips stirred in response to my greetings (or not). 

Then I observed prayer beside him and looked at him with stealing glances and when I attended to my prayer, he looked at me and when I cast a glance at him he turned away his eyes from me. And when the harsh treatment of the Muslims towards me extended to a (considerable) length of time, I walked until I climbed upon the wall of the garden of Abu Qatada, and he was my cousin, and I had the greatest love for him. I greeted him but, by Allah, he did not respond to my greetings. I said to him: Abu Qatada, I adjure you by Allah, arn't you well aware of the fact that I love Allah and His Messenger (may peace be upon him) the most. He kept quiet. I again repeated saying: I adjure you by Allah. arn't you well aware of the fact that I love Allah and His Messenger (may peace be upon him) the most. He kept quiet. I again adjured him, whereupon he said: Allah and the Messenger (may peace be upon him) are best aware of it. My eyes began to shed tears and I came back climbing down from the wall and as I was walking in the bazar of Medina a Nabatean from amongst the Nabateans of Syria, who had come to sell foodgrains in Medina, asked people to direct him to Ka'b b. Malik. People gave him the indication by pointing towards me. He came to me and delivered to me a letter of the King of Ghassan and as I was a scribe I read that letter and it was written like this: "Coming to my point, it has been conveyed to us that your friend (the Holy Prophet) is subjecting you to cruelty and Allah has not created you for a place where you are to be degraded and where you cannot find your right place, so you come to us that we should accord you honor."

As I read that letter I said: This is also a calamity, so I burnt it in the oven. When out of the fifty days, forty days had passed and Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) received no revelation, there came the messenger of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) to me and said: Verily, Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) has commanded you to remain separate from your wife. I said: Should I divorce her or what (else) should I do? He said: No, but only remain separate from her and don't have sexual contact with her. 

The same message was sent to my companions. So I said to my wife: You better go to your parents and stay there with them until Allah gives the decision in my case. The wife of Hilal b. Umayya came to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: Allah's Messenger, Hilal b. Umayya is a senile person, he has no servant. Do you disapprove of my serving him? He said: No, but don't go near him. She said: By Allah, he has no such instinct in him. By Allah, he spends his time in weeping from that day to this day. Some of the members of my family said to me: Were you to seek permission from Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) in regard to your wife as he has granted permission to the wife of Hilal b. Umayya to serve him. I said: I would not seek permission from Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him), for I cannot say what Allah's Apostle may say in response to seeking my permission. Moreover, I am a young man. It was in this state that I spent ten more nights and thus fifty nights had passed that (people) had observed boycott with us. It was on the morning of the fiftieth night that I observed my dawn prayer and was sitting on one of the roofs of our houses. And I was in fact sitting in that very state which Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, has described about us in these words:" Life had become hard for myself and the earth had compressed despite its vastness," that I heard the noise of an announcer from the peak of the hill of Sal' saying at the top of his voice: Ka'b b. Malik, there is glad tidings for you. I fell down in prostration and came to realise that there was (a message of) relief for me. Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) had informed the people of the acceptance of our repentance by Allah as he offered the dawn prayer. So the people went on to give us glad tidings and some of them went to my friends in order to give them the glad tidings and a person galloped his horse and came from the tribe of Aslam and his horse reached me more quickly than his voice. And when he came to me whose sound I heard, he gave me the glad tidings. I took off my clothes and clothed him with them because of his bringing good news to me and, by Allah, I possessed nothing else (in the form of clothes) than these two on that occasion, and I asked one to lend me two clothes and dressed myself in them. 

I came to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and on my way I met groups of people who greeted me because of (the acceptance of) repentance and they said: Here is a greeting for you for your repentance being accepted by Allah. (I moved on) until I came to the mosque and Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) had been sitting there amongst persons. So Talha b. 'Ubaidullah got up and rushed towards me and he shook hands with me and greeted me and, by Allah, no person stood up (to greet me) from among the emigrants except he. Ka'b said that he never forgot (this good gesture of) Talha. Ka'b further said: I greeted Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) with Assalam-o-'Alaikam and his face was glistening because of delight, and he said: Let there be glad tidings and blessings for you, the like of which (you have neither found nor you will find, as you find today) since your mother gave birth to you. I said: Allah's Messenger. is this acceptance of repentance from you or from Allah? He said: No, (it is not from ma), it is from Allah, and it was common with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) that as he was happy his face brightened up and it looked like a part of the moon and it was from this that we recognized it (his delight). As I sat before him, I said: Allah's Messenger, am I allowed to give in charity my wealth for Allah's sake and for the sake of His Messenger (may peace be upon him)? Thereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Keep some property with you as it is better for you. I said: I shall keep with me that part (of my property) which fell to my lot (on the occasion of the expedition of) Khaibar. I said: Allah's Messenger, verily, Allah has granted me salvation because of truth and, therefore, (I think) that repentance implies that I should not speak anything but truth as long as I live. He said: By Allah, I do not know whether anyone amongst the Muslims was put to more severe trial than I by Allah because of telling the truth. And since I made a mention of this to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) up to this day I have not told any lie and, by Allah, I have decided not to tell a lie and I hope that Allah would save me (from trials) for the rest of my life and Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, revealed these verses: 

لَّقَد تَّابَ اللَّهُ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ وَالْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَالْأَنصَارِ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُ فِي سَاعَةِ الْعُسْرَةِ مِن بَعْدِ مَا كَادَ يَزِيغُ قُلُوبُ فَرِيقٍ مِّنْهُمْ ثُمَّ تَابَ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّهُ بِهِمْ رَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ وَعَلَى الثَّلَاثَةِ الَّذِينَ خُلِّفُوا حَتَّىٰ إِذَا ضَاقَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ الْأَرْضُ بِمَا رَحُبَتْ وَضَاقَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ أَنفُسُهُمْ وَظَنُّوا أَن لَّا مَلْجَأَ مِنَ اللَّهِ إِلَّا إِلَيْهِ ثُمَّ تَابَ عَلَيْهِمْ لِيَتُوبُوا ۚإِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ --- "Allah turned with favor to the Prophet, the Muhajirs, and the Ansar,- who followed him in a time of distress, after that the hearts of a part of them had nearly swerved (from duty); but He turned to them (also): for He is unto them Most Kind, Most Merciful.(He turned in mercy also) to the three who were left behind; (they felt guilty) to such a degree that the earth seemed constrained to them, for all its spaciousness, and their (very) souls seemed straitened to them,- and they perceived that there is no fleeing from Allah (and no refuge) but to Himself. Then He turned to them, that they might repent: for Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful." (Quran 9: 117-118) And this revelation reached up to the (words): يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَكُونُوا مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ --"O you who believe, develop God consciousness, and be with the truthful" (Quran 9:119). 

Ka'b said: By Allah, since Allah directed me to Islam there has been no blessing more significant for me than this truth of mine which I spoke to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and if I were to tell a lie I would have been ruined as were ruined those who told lies, for in regard to those who told lies Allah used harshest words used for anyone as He descended revelation (and the words of Allah are): سَيَحْلِفُونَ بِاللَّهِ لَكُمْ إِذَا انقَلَبْتُمْ إِلَيْهِمْ لِتُعْرِضُوا عَنْهُمْ ۖفَأَعْرِضُوا عَنْهُمْ ۖ إِنَّهُمْ رِجْسٌ ۖ وَمَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ جَزَاءً بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ يَحْلِفُونَ لَكُمْ لِتَرْضَوْا عَنْهُمْ ۖ فَإِن تَرْضَوْا عَنْهُمْ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَرْضَىٰ عَنِ الْقَوْمِ الْفَاسِقِينَ --- "They will swear by Allah to you when you return to them so that you may leave them alone. So leave them alone. Surely, they are unclean and their resort is Hell, recompense for what they earned. They will swear to you that you may be pleased with them but if you are pleased with them, yet surely Allah is not pleased with the transgressing people." (9: 95-96) 

K'ab said that the matter of us three persons was deferred as compared with those who took an oath in the presence of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and he accepted their allegiance and sought forgiveness for them and Allah did not give any decision in regard to us. It was Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, Who gave decisions in our case, three who remained behind. (The words of the Qur'an)" the three who were left behind" do not mean that we remained back from Jihad but these imply that He kept our matter behind them who took oath and presented excuse before Him. 

This hadeeth has been narrated on the authority of Zuhri with the same chain of transmitters.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Surah Ghafir recited by Mishary bin Rashid Al-Afasy

Surah Ghafir recited by Mishary bin Rashid Al-Afasy

MANNING VERDICT BLOW FOR INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM AND ITS SOURCES

REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS: PUBLISHED ON TUESDAY 30 JULY 2013.


Reporters Without Borders regards today’s verdict in U.S. Army private Bradley Manning’s trial as dangerous. Although acquitted of “aiding the enemy,” he was found guilty of five counts of espionage and five counts of theft, for which he could receive a combined sentence of more than 100 years in prison.


The sentence is due to be announced at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow (1330 GMT).

The verdict is warning to all whistleblowers, against whom the Obama administration has been waging an unprecedented offensive that has ignored the public interest in their revelations. It also threatens the future of investigative journalism, which risks finding its sources drying up.

“The information that Manning allegedly passed to WikiLeaks – used by newspapers such as The New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel and Le Monde in coordination with Julian Assange’s website – included revelations of grave abuses in the ‘war on terror’ launched by the Bush administration,” Reporters Without Borders said. 

“The ‘collateral’ fatal shooting of Reuters employees by a U.S. Army helicopter in Baghdad in July 2007 is a well-known example (see video). Should this reality have been concealed from the U.S. public and international opinion? Which was more serious – committing such crimes or revealing them to the public?

“The conditions in which Manning has been held, his unfair trial and the lack of transparency during the hearings speak volumes about the fate reserved for whistle-blowers and the way the rule of law is being flouted. Edward Snowden would have every reason to fear persecution, as defined by the Geneva Conventions, if he were to return to the United States.”


Reporters Without Borders added: “Will the resumption of the debate about protection of sources at the federal level suffice to overcome the many offensives against investigative journalism, such as the recent seizure of Associated Press phone records? The outcome of the Manning trial unfortunately suggests the contrary.”

Al Qaeda and the Iraq-Syria Civil War

What happens when you invade one stable nation, destroy its government and virtually its entire political and social infrastructure, and then a decade later stoke the fire of revolution in a stable nation next door without regard for the consequences? Well, take a look: that’s what the United States has done in Iraq and Syria, writes Bob Dreyfuss for The Nation. 

Quick reminder from the Quran

"What has come upon you that you do not fear the majesty of your Lord, for He has made you in gradual stages in various moulds. [We said]: ‘See you not how Allah has made seven heavens one above the other? And made the moon a light therein and the sun a lamp? And Allah has grown you from the earth in such an elaborate way and to the earth He will return you and then He will suddenly bring you forth from it without any effort. And Allah has spread out the earth for you as a spreading that you may walk in its spacious passes [that lie between the mountains]. (71:13-20)

مَّا لَكُمْ لَا تَرْجُونَ لِلَّهِ وَقَارًا وَقَدْ خَلَقَكُمْ أَطْوَارًا أَلَمْ تَرَوْا كَيْفَ خَلَقَ اللَّهُ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ طِبَاقًا وَجَعَلَ الْقَمَرَ فِيهِنَّ نُورًا وَجَعَلَ الشَّمْسَ سِرَاجًا وَاللَّهُ أَنبَتَكُم مِّنَ الْأَرْضِ نَبَاتًا ثُمَّ يُعِيدُكُمْ فِيهَا وَيُخْرِجُكُمْ إِخْرَاجًا وَاللَّهُ جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْأَرْضَ بِسَاطًا لِّتَسْلُكُوا مِنْهَا سُبُلًا فِجَاجًا

Ramadan Journal -- Day 21

By S N Smith

"We should read and ponder over these verses often as a reminder of the kind of enemy we are dealing with. The Quran is very clear and there is no ambiguity in the meaning of the above cited verses. Satan issued a direct challenge to the Almighty in which he openly told Allah that he would lead people astray."
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Today, on this 21st day of Ramadan, I want to write a bit about Satan and some of the things Allah says about him in the Quran. As a beginning, consider the following six verses: 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ادْخُلُوا فِي السِّلْمِ كَافَّةً وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ ۚ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ ---O you who have believed, enter into Islam completely [and perfectly] and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy. (2:208)

وَمِنَ الْأَنْعَامِ حَمُولَةً وَفَرْشًا ۚ كُلُوا مِمَّا رَزَقَكُمُ اللَّهُ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ ۚ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ --- And of the grazing livestock are carriers [of burdens] and those [too] small. Eat of what Allah has provided for you and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy. (6:142)

فَدَلَّاهُمَا بِغُرُورٍ ۚ فَلَمَّا ذَاقَا الشَّجَرَةَ بَدَتْ لَهُمَا سَوْآتُهُمَا وَطَفِقَا يَخْصِفَانِ عَلَيْهِمَا مِن وَرَقِ الْجَنَّةِ ۖ وَنَادَاهُمَا رَبُّهُمَا أَلَمْ أَنْهَكُمَا عَن تِلْكُمَا الشَّجَرَةِ وَأَقُل لَّكُمَا إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ لَكُمَا عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ --- So he made them fall, through deception. And when they tasted of the tree, their private parts became apparent to them, and they began to fasten together over themselves from the leaves of Paradise. And their Lord called to them, "Did I not forbid you from that tree and tell you that Satan is to you a clear enemy?" (7:22)

إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ فَاتَّخِذُوهُ عَدُوًّا ۚ إِنَّمَا يَدْعُو حِزْبَهُ لِيَكُونُوا مِنْ أَصْحَابِ السَّعِيرِ -- Indeed, Satan is an enemy to you; so take him as an enemy. He only invites his party to be among the companions of the Blaze. (35:6)

أَلَمْ أَعْهَدْ إِلَيْكُمْ يَا بَنِي آدَمَ أَن لَّا تَعْبُدُوا الشَّيْطَانَ ۖ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ -- Did I not enjoin upon you, O children of Adam, that you not worship Satan - [for] indeed, he is to you a clear enemy. (36:60) 

وَلَا يَصُدَّنَّكُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ ۖ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ ---And never let Satan avert you. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy. (43:62)

The word to describe Satan in relation to humankind in the above verses is "aduw" -- عَدُوٌّ -- and has been translated as "clear enemy" or "avowed enemy" by various translators of the Quran. Satan is given this title because he wants to cause humanity harm and lead them away from the path of truth to a path of destruction. Satan does not wish for our well-being and will resort to any means of deception possible in order for us fool us. Allah says in the Quran, الَّذِينَ يَزْعُمُونَ أَنَّهُمْ آمَنُوا بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا أُنزِلَ مِن قَبْلِكَ يُرِيدُونَ أَن يَتَحَاكَمُوا إِلَى الطَّاغُوتِ وَقَدْ أُمِرُوا أَن يَكْفُرُوا بِهِ وَيُرِيدُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَن يُضِلَّهُمْ ضَلَالًا بَعِيدًا -- "Hast thou not turned Thy vision to those who declare that they believe in the revelations that have come to thee and to those before thee? Their (real) wish is to resort together for judgment (in their disputes) to the Evil One, though they were ordered to reject him. But Satan's wish is to lead them astray far away (from the right)." (4:60) 

Satan will even try to convince us that he is our friend and only wants what's best for us, even as he did to our parents, Adam and Eve. Allah says in the Quran, فَوَسْوَسَ لَهُمَا الشَّيْطَانُ لِيُبْدِيَ لَهُمَا مَا وُورِيَ عَنْهُمَا مِن سَوْآتِهِمَا وَقَالَ مَا نَهَاكُمَا رَبُّكُمَا عَنْ هَـٰذِهِ الشَّجَرَةِ إِلَّا أَن تَكُونَا مَلَكَيْنِ أَوْ تَكُونَا مِنَ الْخَالِدِينَ وَقَاسَمَهُمَا إِنِّي لَكُمَا لَمِنَ النَّاصِحِينَ فَدَلَّاهُمَا بِغُرُورٍ ۚ فَلَمَّا ذَاقَا الشَّجَرَةَ بَدَتْ لَهُمَا سَوْآتُهُمَا وَطَفِقَا يَخْصِفَانِ عَلَيْهِمَا مِن وَرَقِ الْجَنَّةِ ۖ وَنَادَاهُمَا رَبُّهُمَا أَلَمْ أَنْهَكُمَا عَن تِلْكُمَا الشَّجَرَةِ وَأَقُل لَّكُمَا إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ لَكُمَا عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ --- Then began Satan to whisper suggestions to them, bringing openly before their minds all their shame that was hidden from them (before): he said: "Your Lord only forbade you this tree, lest ye should become angels or such beings as live for ever." And he swore to them both, that he was their sincere adviser. So by deceit he brought about their fall: when they tasted of the tree, their shame became manifest to them, and they began to sew together the leaves of the garden over their bodies. And their Lord called unto them: "Did I not forbid you that tree, and tell you that Satan was an avowed enemy unto you?" (7:20-22)

And Allah further says, فَوَسْوَسَ إِلَيْهِ الشَّيْطَانُ قَالَ يَا آدَمُ هَلْ أَدُلُّكَ عَلَىٰ شَجَرَةِ الْخُلْدِ وَمُلْكٍ لَّا يَبْلَىٰ --- But Satan whispered evil to him: he said, "O Adam! shall I lead thee to the Tree of Eternity and to a kingdom that never decays?" (20:120)

Allah also says of him, يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّمَا الْخَمْرُ وَالْمَيْسِرُ وَالْأَنصَابُ وَالْأَزْلَامُ رِجْسٌ مِّنْ عَمَلِ الشَّيْطَانِ فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ -- O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan's handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper. (5:90) 

This is why it is important to be always diligent and be aware of what he is capable of doing, for Satan never keeps his promises even though he is quite adept at making them. Allah reveals about him the following, إِن يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِهِ إِلَّا إِنَاثًا وَإِن يَدْعُونَ إِلَّا شَيْطَانًا مَّرِيدًا لَّعَنَهُ اللَّهُ ۘ وَقَالَ لَأَتَّخِذَنَّ مِنْ عِبَادِكَ نَصِيبًا مَّفْرُوضًا وَلَأُضِلَّنَّهُمْ وَلَأُمَنِّيَنَّهُمْ وَلَآمُرَنَّهُمْ فَلَيُبَتِّكُنَّ آذَانَ الْأَنْعَامِ وَلَآمُرَنَّهُمْ فَلَيُغَيِّرُنَّ خَلْقَ اللَّهِ ۚ وَمَن يَتَّخِذِ الشَّيْطَانَ وَلِيًّا مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ فَقَدْ خَسِرَ خُسْرَانًا مُّبِينًا يَعِدُهُمْ وَيُمَنِّيهِمْ ۖ وَمَا يَعِدُهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ إِلَّا غُرُورًا --- (The Pagans), leaving Him, call but upon female deities: They call but upon Satan the persistent rebel! God did curse him, but he said: “I will take of Thy servants a portion marked off; I will mislead them, and I will create in them false desires; I will order them to slit the ears of cattle, and to deface the (fair) nature created by God.” Whoever, forsaking God, takes Satan for a friend, hath of a surety suffered a loss that is manifest. Satan makes them promises, and creates in them false desires; but Satan’s promises are nothing but deception. (4: 117–20)

Further, Allah says, قَالَ أَرَأَيْتَكَ هَـٰذَا الَّذِي كَرَّمْتَ عَلَيَّ لَئِنْ أَخَّرْتَنِ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ لَأَحْتَنِكَنَّ ذُرِّيَّتَهُ إِلَّا قَلِيلً قَالَ اذْهَبْ فَمَن تَبِعَكَ مِنْهُمْ فَإِنَّ جَهَنَّمَ جَزَاؤُكُمْ جَزَاءً مَّوْفُورًا وَاسْتَفْزِزْ مَنِ اسْتَطَعْتَ مِنْهُم بِصَوْتِكَ وَأَجْلِبْ عَلَيْهِم بِخَيْلِكَ وَرَجِلِكَ وَشَارِكْهُمْ فِي الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَوْلَادِ وَعِدْهُمْ ۚوَمَا يَعِدُهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ إِلَّا غُرُورًا إِنَّ عِبَادِي لَيْسَ لَكَ عَلَيْهِمْ سُلْطَانٌ ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِرَبِّكَ وَكِيلً -- He said, “Seest Thou? This is the one whom Thou hast honoured above me! If Thou wilt but respite me to the Day of Judgement, I will surely bring his descendants under my sway – All but a few!” (God) said: “Go thy way; if any of them follow thee, verily Hell will be the recompense of you (all) – an ample recompense. And arouse those whom thou canst among them, with thy (seductive) voice; make assaults on them with thy cavalry and thy infantry; mutually share with them wealth and children; and make promises to them. But Satan promises them nothing but deceit. As for My servants, no authority shalt thou have over them: Enough is thy Lord for a Disposer of affairs.” (17: 62–65)

But note what Allah says about Himself with regards to keeping promises, لَـٰكِنِ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوْا رَبَّهُمْ لَهُمْ غُرَفٌ مِّن فَوْقِهَا غُرَفٌ مَّبْنِيَّةٌ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ ۖ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ ۖ لَا يُخْلِفُ اللَّهُ الْمِيعَادَ -- But it is for those who fear their Lord. That lofty mansions, one above another, have been built: beneath them flow rivers (of delight): (such is) the Promise of Allah: never doth Allah fail in (His) promise. (39:20)

Allah reveals about Satan the following comments he made, قَالَ رَبِّ فَأَنظِرْنِي إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ قَالَ فَإِنَّكَ مِنَ الْمُنظَرِينَ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْوَقْتِ الْمَعْلُومِ قَالَ رَبِّ بِمَا أَغْوَيْتَنِي لَأُزَيِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَأُغْوِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ إِلَّا عِبَادَكَ مِنْهُمُ الْمُخْلَصِينَ قَالَ هَـٰذَا صِرَاطٌ عَلَيَّ مُسْتَقِيمٌ إِنَّ عِبَادِي لَيْسَ لَكَ عَلَيْهِمْ سُلْطَانٌ إِلَّا مَنِ اتَّبَعَكَ مِنَ الْغَاوِينَ --- (Iblis/Satan) said: “O my Lord! Give me then respite till the Day the (dead) are raised.” (God) said: “Respite is granted thee till the Day of the Time appointed.” (Iblis) said: “O my Lord! Because Thou hast put me in the wrong, I will make (wrong) fair-seeming to them on the earth, and I will put them all in the wrong, Except Thy servants among them, sincere and purified (by Thy Grace).” (God) said: “This (way of My sincere servants) is indeed a way that leads straight to Me. For over My servants no authority shalt thou have, except such as put themselves in the wrong and follow thee.” (15: 36–42) 

And, قَالَ فَبِمَا أَغْوَيْتَنِي لَأَقْعُدَنَّ لَهُمْ صِرَاطَكَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ ثُمَّ لَآتِيَنَّهُم مِّن بَيْنِ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ وَعَنْ أَيْمَانِهِمْ وَعَن شَمَائِلِهِمْ ۖ وَلَا تَجِدُ أَكْثَرَهُمْ شَاكِرِينَ قَالَ اخْرُجْ مِنْهَا مَذْءُومًا مَّدْحُورًا ۖ لَّمَن تَبِعَكَ مِنْهُمْ لَأَمْلَأَنَّ جَهَنَّمَ مِنكُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ --He said: “Because thou hast thrown me out of the way, lo! I will lie in wait for them on thy straight way: Then will I assault them from before them and behind them, from their right and their left: Nor wilt thou find, in most of them, gratitude (for thy mercies).” (God) said: “Get out from this, disgraced and expelled. If any of them follow thee – Hell will I fill with you all.” (7: 16–18)

Despite the fact that Satan presents himself as being our well-wisher and sincere adviser, the Quran reveals that he will eventually disassociate from us altogether, as Allah says, وَقَالَ الشَّيْطَانُ لَمَّا قُضِيَ الْأَمْرُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَعَدَكُمْ وَعْدَ الْحَقِّ وَوَعَدتُّكُمْ فَأَخْلَفْتُكُمْ ۖ وَمَا كَانَ لِيَ عَلَيْكُم مِّن سُلْطَانٍ إِلَّا أَن دَعَوْتُكُمْ فَاسْتَجَبْتُمْ لِي ۖ فَلَا تَلُومُونِي وَلُومُوا أَنفُسَكُم ۖ مَّا أَنَا بِمُصْرِخِكُمْ وَمَا أَنتُم بِمُصْرِخِيَّ ۖ إِنِّي كَفَرْتُ بِمَا أَشْرَكْتُمُونِ مِن قَبْلُ ۗ إِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ -- "And Satan will say when the matter is decided: "It was Allah Who gave you a promise of Truth: I too promised, but I failed in my promise to you. I had no authority over you except to call you but ye listened to me: then reproach not me, but reproach your own souls. I cannot listen to your cries, nor can ye listen to mine. I reject your former act in associating me with Allah. For wrong-doers there must be a grievous penalty." (14:22)

Allah also informs us that Satan has no power over us but can only plant suggestions in our minds. Allah says in the Quran, نَّ عِبَادِي لَيْسَ لَكَ عَلَيْهِمْ سُلْطَانٌ ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِرَبِّكَ وَكِيلً -- "As for My servants, no authority shalt thou have over them:" Enough is thy Lord for a Disposer of affairs. (17:65) 

And Allah further says, إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ لَهُ سُلْطَانٌ عَلَى الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ إِنَّمَا سُلْطَانُهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ يَتَوَلَّوْنَهُ وَالَّذِينَ هُم بِهِ مُشْرِكُونَ --- No authority has he over those who believe and put their trust in their Lord. His authority is over those only, who take him as patron and who join partners with Allah. (16:99-100 See also above 15:36–42)

That is why Allah warns us that, وَإِمَّا يَنزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ نَزْغٌ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ --- "If a suggestion from Satan assail thy (mind), seek refuge with Allah; for He hears and knows (all things)." (7:200) 

Allah further admonishes us, وَقُل رَّبِّ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ هَمَزَاتِ الشَّيَاطِينِ --- "And say "O my Lord! I seek refuge with Thee from the suggestions of the Evil Ones." (23:97)

I will close with the following verses in which Allah says, يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّبِعُوا خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ ۚوَمَن يَتَّبِعْ خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ فَإِنَّهُ يَأْمُرُ بِالْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ ۚ وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ مَا زَكَىٰ مِنكُم مِّنْ أَحَدٍ أَبَدًا وَلَـٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ يُزَكِّي مَن يَشَاءُ ۗوَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ --- O ye who believe! follow not Satan's footsteps: if any will follow the footsteps of Satan, he will (but) command what is shameful and wrong: and were it not for the grace and mercy of Allah on you, not one of you would ever have been pure: but Allah doth purify whom He pleases: and Allah is One Who hears and knows (all things). (24:21)

Further, Allah says, يَا بَنِي آدَمَ قَدْ أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكُمْ لِبَاسًا يُوَارِي سَوْآتِكُمْ وَرِيشًا ۖ وَلِبَاسُ التَّقْوَىٰ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ ۚ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ مِنْ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَذَّكَّرُونَ يَا بَنِي آدَمَ لَا يَفْتِنَنَّكُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ كَمَا أَخْرَجَ أَبَوَيْكُم مِّنَ الْجَنَّةِ يَنزِعُ عَنْهُمَا لِبَاسَهُمَا لِيُرِيَهُمَا سَوْآتِهِمَا ۗ إِنَّهُ يَرَاكُمْ هُوَ وَقَبِيلُهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا تَرَوْنَهُمْ ۗ إِنَّا جَعَلْنَا الشَّيَاطِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ لِلَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ --- O ye Children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover your shame, as well as to be an adornment to you. But the raiment of righteousness,- that is the best. Such are among the Signs of Allah, that they may receive admonition! O ye Children of Adam! Let not Satan seduce you, in the same manner as He got your parents out of the Garden, stripping them of their raiment, to expose their shame: for he and his tribe watch you from a position where ye cannot see them: We made the evil ones friends (only) to those without faith. (7:26 - 27)

The verses I have included above are by no means exhaustive, but those I have cited are sufficient to provide readers with ample warning. We should read and ponder over these verses often as a reminder of the kind of enemy we are dealing with. The Quran is very clear and there is no ambiguity in the meaning of the above cited verses. Satan issued a direct challenge to the Almighty in which he openly told Allah that he would lead people astray. But Allah has warned us in advance of Satan's scheme and how we can overcome his tricks and deceptions.

As per the Prophet's saying, during the month of Ramadan, Satan and his minions are held at bay so that they are unable to influence us in any way. It is during these days of fasting that we can develop ways of acting and thinking without the interference of Satan. With this in mind, we are advised to take full advantage of these days, especially the last 10 days of Ramadan, by striving to emulate the Prophet Muhammad who, during this final third of the month long fast, according to a hadeeth in Muslim, would strive to perform acts of worship more than he would at any other time of the year. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Surah Az-Zumar --- Recitation by Saad Al-Ghamdi

Surah Az-Zumar --- Recitation by Saad Al-Ghamdi

Quick reminder from the Quran

Here is a quick reminder from the Book of Allah,

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُحَادُّونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ أُولَـٰئِكَ فِي الْأَذَلِّينَ كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَأَغْلِبَنَّ أَنَا وَرُسُلِي ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ

"Those who resist Allah and His Messenger will be among those most humiliated. Allah has decreed: "It is I and My messengers who must prevail": For Allah is One full of strength, able to enforce His Will." (58:20-21)

Whatever Allah Does …. It Is For Our Best

by Asma bint Shameem

When my daughter was 2 years old, she loved to play with the water in the commode. Yes, thats right….the commode.

Yuck!! That’s nasty ! You would say.

But to her, that was the delight of the day! Splish…splash! To her there was nothing like it! And so when I would prevent her from it, she would scream and cry and wouldn't want to stop. She didn't understand how harmful that was for her. In her little mind, I took away something that she really enjoyed.

And when I would take her to the doctor to have her immunization shots, she didn't understand either. She would howl at the top of her lungs at the first sight of the needle and would run the other way. It would take two of us just to hold her down! To her, frankly, it was plain torture! Her innocent little mind simply could not even begin to understand how, on earth, could being tortured by a needle, be good for you?!! She didn't realize that this ‘needle’ will Insha Allah protect her from certain illnesses and harm that is much more severe than the prick of this little needle.

So what’s the point here?

The point I am trying to make is that we, as parents sometimes do things for our kids, out of our great love and concern for them, which they may not understand. They do not see the wisdom behind it, although we do, and so we carry out those things because we know it will be better for them.

"And for Allah is the Highest example." (Surah Nahl: 60)

So when Allah , in His Infinite Wisdom, tests us with a situation that we think is difficult or takes away something that in our mind was good for us, we need to remember that perhaps it may not be so. Perhaps if we had continued in our way, it might have been harmful for us and whatever Allah decreed for us is actually better for us, for He is All-Wise and All-Knowing.

Allah says: “…and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” (Surah Baqarah: 216)

Al-Hasan al-Basri said: “Do not resent the calamities that come and the disasters that occur, for perhaps in something that you dislike will be your salvation, and perhaps in something that you prefer will be your doom.”

Remember that we are dealing with the One who is Arham ar-Raahimeen, the Most Merciful of all that show mercy. All the mercy that we have in this world from Adam (Alaiyhi Salaam) to the Day of Judgment is only one hundredth of the Mercy of the Most Merciful. And He is Most Wise. He knows and we dont know. So have faith in Him and trust in Him and although, sometimes we may not understand the reason behind certain things, know that as long as you obey Him, whatever He will do for you is, in fact for your betterment.

So if Allah didnt give you that big house, or that nice car you wanted or that big raise you were hoping for, know in your mind and believe in your heart that it is actually better for you. Who knows…..maybe that big house, that car or that money would have become a source of fitnah for you….Perhaps you would have become arrogant and conceited because of it, and Allah saved you from it.

Because, you know that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Any one in whose heart is even a mustard seed’s worth of pride will not enter Paradise.” (Muslim)

And if you have been sick and suffering, sure it is not easy. But again, know in your mind and believe in your heart that it is indeed better for you. For, if you bear patiently, it will be a means of expiation for your sins and a source of great reward.

The Prophet (PBUH) said: “There is nothing that befalls a believer, not even a thorn that pricks him, but Allaah will record one good deed for him and will remove one bad deed from him.” (Muslim)

And: “On the Day of Resurrection, when people who had suffered affliction are given their reward, those who were healthy will wish their skins had been cut to pieces with scissors when they were in the world (when they see the immense rewards for the afflictions they suffered).” (Tirmidhi-Saheeh)

If Allah took away a dear, loved one, believe, from the bottom of your heart, that surely this was better. For, you never know, had the one who passed away lived longer, may be his life would have been one of sins and disobedience and Allaah, out of His Mercy, took him before that….in a state of Imaan.

And if life has been difficult, worries surround you and calamities after calamities befall you, hear the good news from the Prophet (PBUH): “Trials will continue to befall the believing man and woman, with regard to themselves, their children and their wealth, until they meet Allah with no sin on them.” (Tirmidhi– saheeh)

Subhaan Allah! No sin ?!

And what is it from this world that you wouldn't give up, just to meet Allah with no sin??!!

Remember that the One Who is testing you is the Most Wise, the Most Merciful and the Most Loving…..and that He did not send this calamity in order to destroy you….or cause you pain or finish you off. Rather, He is checking on you, testing your patience, acceptance and faith; it is so that He may hear your duaa and supplication, so that He may see you standing before Him….seeking His protection.. ..filled with humility and complaining to Him, alone.

The difficulties you face is a reminder for you to return to Allah and ask for forgiveness from Him. Who knows… if He didn't give you the difficulty, maybe you would have strayed from Him far, far away….

Thus in our times of trouble, when we go through pain and suffering and in our times of loss, we need to trust Allah. We need to keep in mind that as long as we fear Him and try our best to obey Him, He will never do us wrong. He will protect us and guide us and do the best for us, no matter what the situation apparently looks like. Allah says in a hadeeth Qudsi: “I am as my slave thinks of me and I am with him whenever he remembers me.” (Agreed Upon).

It is actually a sign of our weakness and shortsightedness, that we tend to focus on the calamities themselves, without paying much attention to the benefits that they may bring. We also forget to look at all other innumerable blessings that we enjoy and see around us.

Our minds, our logic and our senses cannot even begin to fathom the Wisdom, the Knowledge and the Hikmah behind Allah's decisions and verdicts. It is He who is the Wise….it is He who is the Just and it is He who is the Knower of the unseen. If we trust in Allah, He will suffice and it is He who will grant us goodness in any situation and under any circumstances.

“And when someone puts all his trust in Allah, He will be enough for him.” (Surah at-Talaaq:3)

The Prophet (PBUH) said:

“If you put your trust completely in Allah, He will arrange for your sustenance in the same way as He provides for the birds. They go out in the morning with their stomachs empty and return filled in the evening.” (Tirmidhi-saheeh) .

So trust Him….for, there is much reward intrusting Him…..it is Jannah. And there is sin in distrusting Him. Calamities and disasters are a test, and they are a sign of Allah's love for a person. They are like medicine: even though it is bitter, yet, in spite of its bitterness you still give it to the one whom you love….

“The greatest reward comes with the greatest trial. When Allah loves a people He tests them. Whoever accepts that wins His pleasure but whoever is discontent with that earns His wrath.”(Saheeh al-Tirmidhi)