Thursday, 28 May 2015

Virtues of Al Kahf 1


    
     Shab-e-Juma Mubarak. We are so lucky to see another Juma in life and be able to discuss virtues of Surah al Kahf. For greater part of my life, I did not benefit from the virtues of this Surah. Reasons are simple. I was born in a Muslim household where it was believed that reciting Surah Al Kahf was an important ritual. I was part of an inquisitive generation. Someone had to convince me with reason to make me understand why reciting a particular passage of Quran on a particular day was necessary. Unfortunately, conduct, method and intellect of Moulvi Sahab failed to stir my imagination. I got lost. I got late. I have to make up for the time lost. Now I pray, with this little typing effort, someone or everyone benefits from the virtues of this Surah.

     Coming to business end of today’s entry, the best part of the Surah remains the story of the men of cave. In ancient time when those young men received the message of Truth, they accepted it. However, they were to face retaliation from the society. They fled the city to protection of the cave where Allah Almighty gave them sleep. They slept in that cave for centuries (Most probably 308 years, however, only Allah knows the whole Truth). Meanwhile, their whole city converted into believers. This Surah gives the message that those who believe in Allah and ask for protection from Him, He gives them the best protection the likes of which the world has never seen. It is brilliant how Allah immortalize those young men that even today we are discussing them. A global remembrance is observed every week by the Muslims spread across the globe.
     Besides this illuminating story and amazing message, the Surah also comes with a variety of virtues as described in the hadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

First Virtue: It is narrated by Abu Saeed al-Khurdi, who said: “Whoever reads Surah al Kahf on the night of Juma, will have a light that will stretch between him and the Ancient House (Ka'aba).” (al-Jaami) This hadith goes on to show the power of the Surah when recited on Friday night. The hadith shows that the Surah brings light to the reader and the stretch of the light covers the area between Ka'aba and the reader, no matter how far away the reader is from the House of Allah. But you have to rein in your imagination. This stretch of light can be loosely considered as the light of blessings and mercy of Allah. It can also be a metaphoric reference which uses imagery to appeal believers. Believers may belong to opposite extremes of intellectual spectrum. Yet, irrespective of intellect level, everyone blessed with the power of faith can connect with this light. Or light is just mentioned to emphasize the sheer importance of reciting this Surah on Juma. Or there might be few blessed ones who actually could see that light, as Allah has all the power to do that. Extreme care is required to control our expectation levels. It should not happen that you recite the Al Kahf today and start waiting for that immense beam of light to appear before you.  Keep your expectations in accordance with your deeds, faith and spiritual purity.
 
Second Virtue: Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “One who memorized the first ten verses of Surah Al Kahf will be secure against the Dajjal (Anti-Christ).” (Muslim) Although Dajjal is mentioned only once in Quran but he is an undeniable reality of end of times. Allah has the knowledge of unseen, yet signs suggest that end of times is nearing. Dajjal (the master of trickery and deceit) will bring destruction to mankind and play havoc to the world. Like every other adversity in this world, Dajjal will come as a test. The final test before Judgement Day because by then this world would have lost the purpose of its creation. Anyway because of Dajjal's might, people with low and weak faith will turn towards him. They will rally around him. At that time, those who believe will ask help from Allah Almighty to protect them against his destruction. Therefore, if one wishes to be safe through such tumultuous times, they should try to memorize the first ten verses of Surah al Kahf and try reciting them whenever the chance becomes available. Again necessary care to be exercised . We must not get carried away by reciting these verses. These are just signs. The guidelines of Allah's manifesto laid down in Al Quran. This Surah may shield us from fitna of Dajjal from Juma to next Juma. But it will be our fear (Taqwa) and faith in Allah that will carry us across that Bridge. The point is simple, Ibadaat like this may guard us against an evil but our deeds done with sincerity of purpose will carry us through.    

May Allah be our Guide & Guardian.
(Other virtues, next week, Insha Allah)
 

Friday, 22 May 2015

Protecting Fitrah of our children

Children are a blessing because they light up your world. But then everything good in life comes at a price. Similarly, kids are given to you as a test. They have been given to us with pure Fitrah (sinless). If their true nature is exposed to negative things; negativity will find a permanent spot in their nature. If they are exposed to ills of life; ills will become part of their nature. If exposed to bad language in house; bad language will always remain part of their vocabulary. We will be held responsible for the amount of damage to their purity. It is our duty and obligation to protect the Fitrah of our children. Besides, they deserve it.
 
So, how can we do that? Just need to sit down and revisit our approach to our kids and life in general.

If you admonish your kid and believe that the message is home, you are wrong. The child may back off momentarily but will return to same thing on first given opportunity. You have to set example. Kids have this strange mechanism of following your actions not your admonitions. If today you fail to correct your bearings, then tomorrow, don’t complain that your kids don’t listen to you. This issue has lived the test of time, you will hear every second parent with grown up kids complaining about their kids’ insolence, lack of attention and compassion towards parents, materialistic  approach and not practicing the religion. But now, its too late, you have to give serious amount of attention to your home. The environments inside home. The respect or lack of it. The care to avoid Haram. The faith, in real God and not the Material God. These are just major issues and the list is way too long. Home remains the basic unit of a society. How a household functions is the microcosm of society. We need to put the focus back in to home.

And somehow, shed away this wrong notion of living a dream. The worst form of this disease is the fallacy of living an American Dream. What is American Dream? Financial freedom that comes with a luxurious house in an affluent neighbourhood (no matter how costly is the mortgage), an upscale car (mostly leased on surreal interest rates), (not loving but) ‘lovely’ wife and confident kids (being respectful is not a criterion anymore). This truly depicts pursuit of a dream because none of the parameters of this dream are compatible with real life or realities of life.

There is no harm in gaining financial freedom but at what cost? Getting in to debt up till the neck? Living a lie, where love and respect are not the fundamentals of home life. What is the possible outcome of this attitude? Tension and more tension. Stress and more stress. Lie after lie. A life full of gimmicks lacking sincerity. Secondly, the translation of financial freedom is also wrong that you bring more comforts to life or be able to boast about your possessions in front family, friends and colleagues. Where is the payback? Greater financial freedom should translate in to ability to give more. When you get more, you are obligated to give more. Anything short of it is ungrateful attitude.  And ungrateful people have been taken to the task in the past.

Real investment in life is to give time to our kids. Fathers must play with kids. Make them friends. Do homework with them. Make them do chores of the house under your supervision. The only thing that you need to instill in your kids is to enable them to fight their own battles. Make every endeavor to turn them in to good, modest, self sufficient Muslims. The child is blessing of Allah. He or she comes to us in his/her purest form or nature called Fitrah al Saleemah. The onus is upon us, how we protect his/ her nature. As much the child deviates from his real Fitrah, as much our charge sheet grows. Parenting is a serious responsibility. It has changed us already but have we changed enough? Have we done enough? Have we got your basics right?

To avoid complaining at a later stage like so many other parents around us, we must look inwardly. We must bring some fundamental changes to our approach towards life. We must do all we can to protect the Fitrah of our kids because its an obligation and more so, our kids deserve it. This will come at the cost of some inconvenience but it is worth every bit.

May Allah guide us to understand and discharge our real responsibilities as He desires.

The story behind saying "Insha Allah"


We live in times when godless people are in control of the economy, culture, social trending and power matrix of the world. In such times of utter chaos and confusion, our only hope is returning to Allah and keeping the faith. As Allah is the undoubted King of the universe, entering His court, we need to learn few manners. The story behind phrase “Insha Allah” teaches us that manner and highlights the importance of resting complete faith in Allah. It is among many gifts of Al Kahf. It has two strong strands; we must have unwavering faith that every future happening is conditioned to Allah’s Will and not our abilities. Secondly, knowledge of unseen only rests with Allah. Let’s discover the background and significance of the story.

 When Allah's Messenger (PBUH) declared Allah's Oneness and proclaimed to be the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and revelation of Divine Message. The disbelievers of Mecca sent some men to Jewish rabbis in Medina and said: "Ask them (the rabbis) about Muhammad (PBUH).  The rabbis said: 'Ask him about three things, some young men in ancient times, what was their story? For there is a strange and wondrous tale. Ask him about a man who traveled a great deal and reached the east and the west of the earth. What was his story? And ask him about the Rooh (soul or spirit) what is it? they came to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and said: 'O Muhammad (PBUH) tell us,' and they asked him about the things they had been told to ask.

 The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: "I will tell you tomorrow about what you have asked me." But He (PBUH) did not say, Insha Allah (If Allah Wills).

Allah Messenger (PBUH) waited for the revelation from Allah but fifteen days passed away without any revelation. The people of Mecca started to doubt him and said: 'Muhammad (PBUH) promised to tell us the next day and now fifteen days have gone by and he has not told us anything in response to the questions we asked.'

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) felt sad because of the delay in revelation and was grieved by what the people of Mecca were saying about him.  Then Jibreel (AS) came with the revelation of Surah Al-Kahf, which contained answers to the questions asked by Meccans. Following verse was also revealed explaining the correct etiquette when intending to do something in future.

 

وَلَا تَقُولَنَّ لِشَيْءٍ إِنِّي فَاعِلٌ ذَلِكَ غَدًا ﴿18:23﴾ 

(18:23) and never say about any matter, "I will do this tomorrow (for you cannot do anything)


 

إِلَّا أَنْ يَشَاءَ اللَّهُ وَاذْكُرْ رَبَّكَ إِذَا نَسِيتَ وَقُلْ عَسَى أَنْ يَهْدِيَنِ رَبِّي لِأَقْرَبَ مِنْ هَذَا رَشَدًا ﴿18:24﴾ 

(18:24) except that Allah wills it." If ever you inadvertently utter anything like this, you should at once remember your Lord and say, "I hope that my Lord will guide me *24 in this matter with that thing which is nearest to the right way for me"

 

Now just imagine the intensity of the situation. Credibility of infant Islamic movement and title of Allah’s Prophet (PBUH) “Sadiq & Amin” was at stake. It is Allah’s best chosen religion for which He appointed His most beloved Prophet (PBUH). He is the reason of creation of the universe but in order to stamp His authority, Allah swt delayed the answers to questions of Meccan idolaters. This shows importance of etiquettes in Allah’s Court. It also reflects importance of having this infallible faith that only Allah is the Knower of the unseen.

So, if one intends to do something in future or even takes an oath, he should say, 'If Allah Wills' or 'Insha'Allah.' If one forgets to say,  Insha'Allah then he should say when he remembers it even if it is a year later, as Ibn Abbas (RA) explained.

May Allah forgive us for whenever in past we forgot to say Insha Allah while talking about future happenings.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Media trickery

If I were the Devil in 21st Century, I will find a way to preach my message in every household. I would require a system of enticing, exciting, luring, deceiving, distracting and trapping people through fast and reliable communication means. These communication means are world-wide-web and electromagnetic waves supplying cable channels to almost every person on planet.

I’m not saying these are devilish tools. But they can easily become devil’s tools when those running the affairs of media houses have no morals and values. We have the right to be aware. of their trickery. We have the right to resist such assaults on our lives. That is only possible when we are aware how he is playing his trickery nowadays.  

Im sure you know media is playing you up. It is playing with your life. It is trying to control your mind. There are few deep thinkers, few intelligent minds who are behind success of media. They have to make money;  you have to spend money so that they make more money.  They need sponsor. They have omitted the word responsibility from their diction. They are a small group of monsters. They are just playing with your mind. They are patronizing you. They are imposing a way of life on you. They are indoctrinating you to think, live, enjoy, work, fashion…everything they are feeding in to your mind since childhood. They infatuated your imagination when you were a child and played cartoons for you. You craved for attention in your growing years, they showed you movies and taught you some romantic moves. Their deception is so strong that these words sound like bull-crap of a loser. Such is the grip of this menace. People are waiting for Dajjal, but they don’t even realize he is among them. Dajal means trickery, we despite all our progress, live in an age of trickery.  We have far left behind the age of reason. Look around, which video goes viral on internet these days?  No real surprise when you know its either some obscene joke or something which is totally meaningless. We are developing a taste for nonsense. We socialize with friends and family through that nonsense.  Since Whatsapp is comparatively secure way of social networking, people are sharing total filth on it. Is this the height of knowledge and sophistication we have achieved so far? I was surprised when I joined a group of friends who demanded putting something obscene as a pre-condition of acceptance. It is getting out of control.

What we can do in this precarious scenario? We must be aware of it. We should be able to protect our families from the underlying deception of media. Even if we watch something, we must remain critical. We must look for those enticers that media uses for luring us. Look, entire media in this country has announced mourning. All cable channels are displaying black logos, showing solidarity with Ismalilis of the country after horrific incident of Safoora Chowk, Karachi. But you see, they are playing dance and music in all the advertisements being run. Why because turning logo black does not cost them anything rather generates goodwill for the company but not playing those ads will cost them money. They cannot compromise on money.

Journalism used to be a noble profession. Print media columnist and editors have joined the race for making money. They have switched to electronic media but lust for money has seriously compromised the quality of material in every genre of media. Entire world is engulfed in the sea of western media and western way of thinking which takes its roots in materialism. We do not even have materialism in its pure form. We are trying to adopt the remains is western materialism. We are becoming the wastelands of western way of thinking. We are losing strength of our value system and adopting a way of life not ours. A ‘lemon tree’ will never yield melons and vice versa.

Zulqarnain's leadership - Lessons for humanity


The Quran is a source of Guidance. It teaches you what you want to learn. Today we shall learn few lessons of leadership from story of Zulqarnain. Why leadership? Because all of us are leaders in different capacities. One of the well known ahadith of the Prophet is: “Everyone of you is a caretaker, and every caretaker is responsible for what he is caretaker of.” If you are a father, you are caretaker of a family. Children become caretakers of old parents. If you run a business, people working with and for you become your responsibility. If you are a teacher, students are your responsibility. When you finish education, it is your responsibility to make good use of knowledge you acquired from your teachers. In every capacity, a Muslim man and woman has a leadership role and if taken seriously, it is a responsibility for which we will be accountable.

Last week, expeditions of Zulqarnain were discussed. Today, we shall zoom in on his leadership. Story of Zulqarnain is covered from Ayah 83-99. We shall examine each Ayah and draw pertinent leadership lessons.

Ayah 83-84

“They ask you concerning Zul-qarnain. Say “I will rehearse to you something of his story.”.

”Verily We established his power on earth and We gave him the ways and the means to all ends.”

Leadership is about giving authority with appropriate resources, i.e. the means to accomplish the task one has been delegated with. Zulqarnain’s story reminds that Allah SWT is the Sovereign. He delegate authority to us in different degrees. But He will not demand the accomplishment of a delegated task without giving us the proper resources to accomplish it. Allah gave Zulqarnain a huge task but for that He established Zulqarnain in the earth and gave him the means of everything, the resources and abilities that may be needed. The other side of this coin is that Allah SWT does not demand from us what we do not have the ability to accomplish. So, in human terms, this is a lesson for us when we find ourselves in any position of leadership, that we expect the best from those we delegate tasks to, with two conditions: We do not expect more than we know they are capable of delivering, and we give them the material resources and the training needed to get the job done.

Ayah 85-88

”One (such) way he followed until when he reached the setting of the sun He found it set in a spring of murky water: near it he found a People: We said: “O Zul-qarnain! (you have authority) either to punish them or to treat them with kindness.” He said: “Whoever does wrong him shall we punish; then shall he be sent back to his Lord; and He will punish him with a punishment unheard-of (before). But whoever believes and works righteousness he shall have a goodly reward and easy will be his task as we order it by our command.”

                 

Zulqarnain’s leadership faces a test. He is established in authority and he has been given the capacity to do anything, and he is asked now to decide what he will do with a people whom he has apparently overpowered. He shows the discernment of a good leader – distinguishing between those who are righteous and those who are not. He shows the leadership qualities of fairness and justice. The wrong-doers must be punished, but good people must be rewarded and honored. Notice the two stages in each case. In the wrongdoers’ case, first punishment comes from him, and a greater punishment comes later from Allah SWT. In the case of good people, first they will get the best of rewards from him, and on top of that he will speak to them kindly. So the difference between treatment of the good and the bad is significant as it should be.

Ayah 92-94

“ Then followed he (another) way until when he reached (a tract) between two mountains he found beneath them a people who scarcely understood a word. They said: “O Zul-qarnain! the Gog and Magog (people) do great mischief on earth: shall we then render you tribute in order that you may erect a barrier between us and them?”

Leadership is not exploitative. When Zulqarnain meets a people who speak a different language and are obviously strangers to him, he treats them with a sense of service, not greed. Even though they themselves offer to pay for him to erect a protective barrier against foreign attackers, Zulqarnain does not demand more, he does not even accept what he is willingly offered because he does not want to exploit their weakness. Maybe if they fought him and lost, he may expect something from them, but not when they basically surrendered and exposed to him their weakness. So like a good leader, he is generous. In his generosity also, he remains humble, because he remembers that even what he has is given to him by Allah, and says so. He also realizes that the power that Allah has blessed him with is only a means to serve Allah. He serves Allah through being a servant-leader to his people, i.e. taking care of their needs.

Ayah 95

 “(The power) in which my Lord has established me is better (than tribute): help me therefore with strength (and labor): I will erect a strong barrier between you and them”.

Leadership is about teamwork because leaders cannot accomplish anything without their followers (and of course Allah’s help). After telling them what he has from Allah SWT is better than what they can offer, Zulqarnain tells them that he will help them if they will help him in the task, and work together as a group. This action does three things that good leaders do in accomplishing their mission: (1) Asking the people to help him dignifies the people by making them a partner in solving the problem, (2) it give them a stake the success of the solution, and (3) it also give them a sense of responsibility for owning and maintaining the solution they have arrived at. It is also important to note that he asks them to help him with what they do possess, which was their strength.

Ayah 96

 

“Bring me blocks of iron.” At length when he had filled up the space between the two steep mountain sides he said “Blow (with your bellows).” Then when he had made it (red) as fire he said: “Bring me that I may pour over it molten lead.”

Another characteristic of leadership is the ability to accomplish things. Zulqarnain got the things done in a methodically fashion. This is what he does: (1) He informs them and prepares them for the task, (2) he seeks their commitment and tells them what he will accomplish with their help, (3) he completes the first stage by having them bring blocks of iron to be placed between the mountains, (4) he lights the fire and asks them to blow on it,(5) he completes the next stage by having them bring copper to pour over red hot iron. The wall is then ready, with his knowledge and wisdom working hand in hand with the people’s strength and commitment.

Not only asks them to follow his directives, he also participates actively in the action. He himself takes charge of the most dangerous task by personally pouring the molten lead over the blocks of iron. We can practically outline a method of performance and accomplishment for our daily task based on Zulqarnain’s methodical conduct in this situation. His scientific and engineering knowledge and skills is part of the mean that Allah SWT gave him when he established him in the earth. It is then natural for Muslims to regard technical knowledge as a gift from Allah to be accepted, cultivated, promoted, advanced and used in their own lives and in service to others. The clear and specific reference in the Qur’an to this great engineering project tells us in no certain terms that it is the Islamic way – to solve human problems with God-given technical knowledge and wisdom.

Ayah 97-98

Thus were they made powerless to scale it or to dig through it. He said: “This is a mercy from my Lord: but when the promise of my Lord comes to pass He will make it into dust; and the promise of My Lord is true.”

Again like a good leader, having accomplished his task – to build a barrier that will prevent foreign invaders – he remembers and reminds the people that the true source of all accomplishment is Allah swt. He tells them: (1) what he has accomplished is due to the Mercy of Allah SWT, (2) just like everything else this accomplishment will perish when the Final Day comes, alerting them that the Final Day is still the ultimate truth. In a way, he is sharing his humility that even his great accomplishment is no match for the power of Allah SWT. It is important to note that the above lessons in leadership are congruent with some of the leading recent advances in leadership theories.

To conclude, these are not just stories, these are signs for those who understand.
Inspired by works of Dr. Iqbal Unus and Dr. Rafik Beekun

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Mother's Day

Who invented mother's day?
Anna Jarvis
In its present form, Mother's Day was established by Anna Jarvis with the help of Philadelphia merchant John Wanamaker following the death of her mother, Ann Jarvis, on May 9, 1905.
Go on keep Anna Jarvis' Sunnah alive. But answer few questions before you do that :-
Why mother's day for one day in a calendar year?
Don't you love your mother all year long?
Is it not insulting to all the sacrifices of your mother, that you brag about loving her for one day only?
Did she not endure pain for you? Did she not stay awake in long nights?
Had she followed one day in a year to celebrate her love for you, like World Offspring Day or something, things would have been different, definitely.
Why do you need to display mother's picture and some Mama love poster to prove you love your mother?
She is your mother and you love her, its perfectly private business, why it should be another one of those show offs?
One day in year for mothers is already an excessive time allocation in western way of life which is already decaying like rotten meat in summers. Have our parents and their parents celebrated mother's day? And did they love their mothers any less?
Are we so blindly following western way of life that we are unable to distinguish how to celebrate our love for our mothers?
How dumb are our liberals who with little exposure and zero intellect, follow others like monkeys and feel offended when you try and drop some sense in their bogus heads?
Our strength is family. We must do all we can to preserve family. A lifetime is not enough to payback our mothers. We must celebrate this blessing of Allah, 24/7, seven days a week and all year. For love of mother is the only pure reflection of Creator's love for His creature. It deserve lifetime celebrations. It must be dignified. Don't show pictures of your great mothers with your fake hugs and happy faces. Those lucky enough to have living mothers, give them time, attention and affection. Those unlucky without mothers, just pray for them. Pray for them hard. Like they used to do for your success and well being.
May Allah guide us to do the right things not just popular things.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Zurqarnain (one with two horn) - Traces of Identity

The fourth story in Al Kahf is about the King Zulqarnain (one with two horns). There is no mention of a King named Zulqarnain in recorded history. However, his importance cannot be denied when he gets the honour of mention in Quran among blessed people. Secondly, the question about who Zurqarnain was raised by the Quraish (who were prompted by Jews). Since Jews revered Zulqarnain, Christians were also familiar with his name. Now its easy to connect the dots, Zulqarnain holds place of some significance among people of the Book. Some have labelled him as Alexander the Great and others called him the Cyrus. Lets draw few historic parallels regarding identity of Zulqarnain. The brief account of Zulqarnain discussed below is the gist of some of the best Quran Mufasareen.

Only Allah is the Knower of the truth.

For Jews, he is remembered as a savior. Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar conquered the kingdom of Judea in sixth century B.C and the Jews were taken to Babylon. Jews remained in Babylon as captives for seventy years. During this time the Prophet Daniel was appointed in Jews. He was the Prophet who at one time, after receiving revelation from God in a dream, announced the coming of a savior of Jews. In a dream, Prophet Daniel saw this savior as a ram with two horns (Zulqarnain---one with two horns) (Daniel 8:1-4). The two horns metaphorically showed the two kingdoms of Media and Persia united and ram depicting the savior himself showed him to be the conqueror and king of this united kingdom. This king was Cyrus. He was the one who afterwards conquered the Babylonian kingdom and released the Jews from captivity and allowed them to go back to their homeland and build the temple. It was because of these reasons that Jews held him in very high esteem and considered him as their savior as predicted by the Prophet Daniel. This also answers the question why Jews were interested to know about Zulqaranain. Jews had a personality in their history which fitted the description of Zulqarnain and they had great regard for him. Cyrus comes very close to the Zulqarnain of Qur'an.

As regards Cyrus's religion, he was a believer in Zoroastrianism, a new religion at that time, which existed with all its purity and spirit. The prophet Zoroaster who was probably contemporary to Cyrus preached belief in one God.

While introducing Zulqarnain, his three expeditions(towards west,east and north) have been narrated in Quran. In western expedition he reached a place where he saw the sun sinking in water, metaphorically explaining the western direction of his conquest and his experience while standing at the shore of Mediterranean in western Asia Minor (modern Turkey).  In second expedition towards east, he conquered a people who had no cover for the rising sun, metaphorically explaining their nomadic life style and the eastern direction of the conquest. Lastly, the Qur'an talks about his third expedition. This is probably when Zulqarnain went to the northeastern Caucasus mountain range between the Black Sea and the Caspian sea and built barriers to protect his people against the incursion of nomadic tribes who lived on the other side of the Caucasus range, and referred to as Gog and Magog in the Qur'an. As for the iron wall itself, its remains probably can still be found in the area of the Caucasus region called Dariel Pass.

It should be kept in mind that Qur'an has not specifically mentioned any name, so we should also avoid saying that this or any other opinion on Zulqarnain's identity is final. Cyrus comes very close to being Zulqarnain but is he really Zulqarnain? The answer is ambivalently, ‘probably he is’.
 
Quran is for all times and ages. The more you know this Book, the more you realize its Divine attributes. Like most stories of the past told in Quran, no specific details are given. Because specifics may generate lengthy discussions but would not change anything about that past event. The main purpose of Quran's storytelling is that we must take home few important lessons. Just like our parents and grandparents who used to tell meaningful little bedtime stories, every story in Quran is Allah’s way of making us understand the theory of life. It is His mercy that He resorted to storytelling through fables and important historic events like the mention of Zulqarnain in Al Kahf.

Next week the personality and leadership of Zulqarnain shall be discussed. Past and future implications of his expeditions have been explained in different narrations of the Prophet PBUH which would also require a separate blog entry as well. Insha Allah.
 
May Allah give us the wisdom to understand His Book and practice the religion as He desired.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Abuse of freedom of speech

Allah has placed Muhammad, Peace & blessings be upon Him, above every other human created, so your little competition in Texas can take nothing away from His high status, rather your sordid lives will get more miserable. You may draw attention in Western media & stir hatred across Muslim World but your joy will be short like that sinful orgasm which always has immediate & long term consequences. From this moment on you will live like fugitives on the run & once the chase is over, you will be despatched to rot in Hell forever.
Look!!! I don't want you to die like a rat running for his life, but you are asking for it. We are some crazy lovers, we Muslims. We love this guy named Muhammad too much. So much that it exceeds the limits of your imagination. Love is a crazy game you know. Some lovers are just too extreme, some one will cross those normal bounds & will hunt you down. You have to understand the mechanics & intensity of our love before you embark upon such a dangerous journey that only logically ends in your doom.
Freedom of speech means respect to us, but strangely enough, you being the leading civilization at the pinnacle of human knowledge & intellect, have interpreted it as 'Disrespect' to sensitivities of nearly quarter of earth's population, I seriously think your way of thinking is seeing a serious decline. This decline will mark the beginning of the end of Western Civilization.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

25 Life Changing Lessons To Learn From Rumi

“Study me as much as you like, you will not know me, for I differ in a hundred ways from what you see me to be. Put yourself behind my eyes and see me as I see myself, for I have chosen to dwell in a place you cannot see.” ~ Rumi

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī, also known as Rumi, was a 13th-century Persian poet, jurist, theologian, and Sufi mystic who, in my personal opinion, wrote some of the most beautiful and most profound words that were ever written. You won’t believe it how much wisdom and how so much power there is in his words. It’s incredible.

Today I would like to share with you 25 life changing lessons to learn from Rumi, lessons that have the power inspire and empower you to live a more authentic, beautiful, loving and meaningful life.
 

1. STOP ACTING SO SMALL. YOU ARE THE UNIVERSE IN ECSTATIC MOTION.
“You were born with potential. You were born with goodness and trust. You were born with ideals and dreams. You were born with greatness. You were born with wings. You are not meant for crawling, so don’t. You have wings. Learn to use them and fly.”

“You sit here for days saying, This is strange business. You’re the strange business. You have the energy of the sun in you, but you keep knotting it up at the base of your spine. You’re some weird kind of gold that wants to stay melted in the furnace, so you won’t have to become coins.”

“Why should I stay at the bottom of a well when a strong rope is in my hand?”

“Become the sky. Take an axe to the prison wall. Escape.”

“Do you know what you are? You are a manuscript of a divine letter. You are a mirror reflecting a noble face. This universe is not outside of you. Look inside yourself; everything that you want, you are already that.”

2. YOUR JOB IS TO LIVE YOUR LIFE IN A WAY THAT MAKES SENSE TO YOU, NOT TO “THEM”.
“Start a huge, foolish project, like Noah…it makes absolutely no difference what people think of you.”

3. NEVER GIVE UP ON YOURSELF.
“When you go through a hard period, When everything seems to oppose you, … When you feel you cannot even bear one more minute, NEVER GIVE UP! Because it is the time and place that the course will divert!”

“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.”

“Dance, when you’re broken open. Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you’re perfectly free.”

4. IGNORANCE IS GOD’S PRISON.
“Ignorance is God’s prison. Knowing is God’s palace.”

5. THE TREASURES THAT CAN BE FOUND OUTSIDE OF YOU CAN’T EVEN COMPARE WITH THE TREASURES THAT CAN BE FOUND INSIDE OF YOU.
“You wander from room to room Hunting for the diamond necklace That is already around your neck!”

“If you knew yourself for even one moment, if you could just glimpse your most beautiful face, maybe you wouldn’t slumber so deeply in that house of clay. Why not move into your house of joy and shine into every crevice! For you are the secret Treasure-bearer, and always have been. Didn’t you know?”

“Everything in the universe is within you. Ask all from yourself.”

“Why are you so enchanted by this world, when a mine of gold lies within you?”

“You go from village to village on your horse asking everyone, “Has anyone seen my horse?”

“Don’t knock on any random door like a beggar. Reach your long hand out to another door, beyond where you go on the street, the street where everyone says, “How are you?” and no one says How aren’t you?”

“There is a fountain inside you. Don’t walk around with an empty bucket.”

6. WHEN YOU LET GO OF WHO YOU ARE, YOU BECOME WHO YOU MIGHT BE.
“Knock, And He’ll open the door Vanish, And He’ll make you shine like the sun Fall, And He’ll raise you to the heavens Become nothing, And He’ll turn you into everything.”

“Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.”

“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”

“Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.”

“Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself.”

7. THERE IS SOMETHING YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE.
“Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.”

“Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd.”

8. YOU DON’T HAVE TO SEE THE WHOLE STAIRCASE, JUST TAKE THE FIRST STEP.
“As you start to walk out on the way, the way appears.”

9. WHEN YOU COMMIT TO SOMETHING, DO IT WITH ALL YOUR HEART.
“Half-heartedness doesn’t reach into majesty. You set out to find God, but then you keep stopping for long periods at mean-spirited roadhouses.”

“When you do things from your soul you feel a river moving in you, a joy. When action come from another section, the feeling disappears.”

“Wherever you are, and whatever you do, be in love.”

10. GOOD THINGS COME TO AN END SO THAT BETTER THINGS CAN FALL TOGETHER.
“Do not grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.”

11. THE WOUND IS THE PLACE WHERE THE LIGHT ENTERS YOU.
“What hurts you, blesses you. Darkness is your candle.”

“Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure.”

“Don’t turn away. Keep your gaze on the bandaged place. That’s where the light enters you.”

“Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.”

“You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.”

12. DO WHAT YOU LOVE AND DO IT WITH LOVE.
“Let the beauty we love be what we do.”

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.”

“Be occupied, then, with what you really value and let the thief take something else.”

13. THINK LESS. FEEL MORE.
“Reason is powerless in the expression of Love.

“Put your thoughts to sleep, do not let them cast a shadow over the moon of your heart. Let go of thinking.”

“Only from the heart can you touch the sky.”

“There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled. There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled. You feel it, don’t you?

“Be empty of worrying. Think of who created thought! Why do you stay in prison When the door is so wide open?”

 

14. LOVE IS WORTH IT ALL.
“Gamble everything for love, if you’re a true human being. If not, leave this gathering.”

“Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy, absentminded. Someone sober will worry about events going badly. Let the lover be.

15. APPRECIATE BOTH THE GOOD AND THE BAD IN YOUR LIFE.
“Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”

“If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?”

“When someone beats a rug, the blows are not against the rug, but against the dust in it.”

 

16. YOU CHANGE YOUR WORLD BY CHANGING YOURSELF.
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

17. WE ARE MADE OF LOVE AND MADE TO LOVE.
“We are born of love; Love is our mother. “

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

“Through Love all that is bitter will be sweet, Through Love all that is copper will be gold, Through Love all dregs will become wine, through Love all pain will turn to medicine.”

“I have no companion but Love, no beginning, no end, no dawn. The Soul calls from within me: ‘You, ignorant of the way of Love, set Me free.’ “

“That which is false troubles the heart, but truth brings joyous tranquillity.”

18. YOUR SOUL IS NOT OF THIS WORLD, YOUR BODY IS.
“All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there.”

“When I die, I shall soar with angels, and when I die to the angels, what I shall become you cannot imagine.”

19. AT THE SOUL LEVEL, WE ARE ALL ONE.
“All religions, all this singing, one song. The differences are just illusion and vanity. The sun’s light looks a little different on this wall than it does on that wall, and a lot different on this other one, but it’s still one light.”

“What shall I say, O Muslims, I know not myself, I am neither a Christian, nor a Jew, nor a Zoroastrian, nor a Muslim.”

“I am neither of the East nor of the West, no boundaries exist within my breast.”

20. YOUR SOUL IS MORE PRECIOUS THAN ANYTHING.
“You know the value of every article of merchandise, but if you don’t know the value of your own soul, it’s all foolishness.”

21. CHOOSE YOUR LIFE PARTNER WISELY.
“Take someone who doesn’t keep score, who’s not looking to be richer, or afraid of losing, who has not the slightest interest even in his own personality: he’s free.”

22. REAL LOVE TRANSCENDS THE MATERIAL PLANE AND NO MATTER IF YOUR BODIES ARE APART, YOUR SOULS WILL FOREVER BE CONNECTED.
“Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation.”

23. RAISE YOUR WORDS, NOT YOUR VOICE.
“Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”

24. SILENCE IS THE LANGUAGE OF GOD.
“Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation.

“Words are a pretext. It is the inner bond that draws one person to another, not words.”

“In Silence there is eloquence. Stop weaving and see how the pattern improves.”

25. JUST TO BE ALIVE IS NOT ENOUGH.
“You think you are alive because you breathe air? Shame on you, that you are alive in such a limited way. Don’t be without Love, so you won’t feel dead. Die in Love and stay alive forever.”

What is your favorite quote from Rumi? What is the one lesson you have learned from this beautiful and amazing Soul? You can share your insights by joining the conversation in the comment section below

Friday, 1 May 2015

The story of Musa AS & Khizar AS

Before we proceed with Juma segment of Al Kahf, following Hadith will add value to recitation of this Surah on Friday. From Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri, who said: “Whoever reads Soorat al-Kahf on the night of Jumu’ah, will have a light that will stretch between him and the Ancient House (the Ka’bah).” Narrated by al-Daarimi. This hadeeth was classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani)

Today we touch upon the third Story of Surah Al Kahf regarding Musa AS and Khizar AS

Once Prophet Musa stood up and addressed Bani Israel. He was asked: “Who is the most learned man amongst the people?” He said: “I am the most learned. Allah admonished Moses as he did not attribute absolute knowledge to Him (Allah). Presumably, in early days of the prophet hood, Musa (Moses) AS was instructed by Allah to go and meet one his special men (name is not mentioned in Quran, but most probably it was Hazrat Khizar AS who is also thought by few to be an angel). “At the junction of the two seas there is a slave of mine who is more learned than you.” Musa said: “O my Lord! How can I meet him?” [Al-Bukharee]

Musa set out on journey with his attendant (Most probably, Yusha ibn Noon). They had to reach where two waters met (most likely the point where Blue and White Nile meet south of Egypt). They took along a fried fish which was supposed to jump out of the basket as they reach the point of meeting. They stopped over for rest. The fish jumped out without notice. They gathered their stuff and continued move towards South. After some distance, Musa asked his companion to serve the food. Yusha told Musa AS, while they rested at the last stop, the fish became alive and went in to the water. They retraced their steps and went back to the same spot. There they found that special man of God. Allah gave him unsurpassed knowledge, Ilm-e-Ladunni. Musa requested to spend some time with him to seek knowledge. But Khizar discouraged Musa to join him. He insisted how could Musa be patient on something when his knowledge, perception and understanding depend upon his five senses. However, Musa insisted and Khizar allowed him to join him, saying: "Verily! You will not be able to have patience with me!  "And how can you have patience about a thing which you know not?" Musa (Moses) said: "If Allah will, you will find me patient, and I will not disobey you in aught." He (Khizar) said: "Then, if you follow me, ask me not about anything till I myself mention it to you."

 

So they both proceeded, till, when they embarked the ship, he (Khizar) scuttled it. Musa (Moses) said: "Have you scuttled it in order to drown its people? Verily, you have committed a thing "Imra" (a Munkar - evil, bad, dreadful thing)." He (Khizar) said: "Did I not tell you, that you would not be able to have patience with me?" [Musa (Moses)] said: "Call me not to account for what I forgot, and be not hard upon me for my affair (with you)."

Then they both proceeded, till they met a boy, he (Khizar) killed him. Musa (Moses) said: "Have you killed an innocent person who had killed none? Verily, you have committed a thing "Nukra" (a great Munkar - prohibited, evil, dreadful thing)!" (Khizar) said: "Did I not tell you that you can have no patience with me?" [Musa (Moses)] said: "If I ask you anything after this, keep me not in your company, you have received an excuse from me."

Then they both proceeded, till, when they came to the people of a town, they asked them for food, but they refused to entertain them. Then they found therein a wall about to collapse and he (Khizar) set it up straight. [Musa (Moses)] said: If you had wished, surely, you could have taken wages for it!" (Khizar) said: "This is the parting between me and you; I will tell you the interpretation of (those) things over which you were unable to hold patience.

"As for the ship, it belonged to Masâkîn (poor people) working in the sea. So I wished to make a defective damage in it, as there was a king after them who seized every ship by force. "And as for the boy, his parents were believers, and we feared lest he should oppress them by rebellion and disbelief. "So we intended that their Lord should change him for them for one better in righteousness and near to mercy. "And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the town; and there was under it a treasure belonging to them; and their father was a righteous man, and your Lord intended that they should attain their age of full strength and take out their treasure as a mercy from your Lord. And I did it not of my own accord. That is the interpretation of those (things) over which you could not hold patience."

There can be long list of lessons drawn from this story. But remember this Book is for every time and generation. These stories are simple but relevant. Today we live in age of reason and knowledge. Just a little click or tap can send you deep in to the ocean of knowledge. We cannot even differentiate between knowledge and information. Knowledge fed by information on internet search engines can be misleading. Google and Wikipedia are least interested in imparting true knowledge to us. They are interested only in number of clicks because each click brings some money with it. True Knowledge only belongs to Allah. He has given us but very little of his knowledge. Even revered Prophet like Musa could not claim to have all the knowledge. And Allah did not challenge him by a quick fire quiz but through knowledge of one of his men. Secondly, unless we submit to Allah, we cannot claim to have true knowledge of things.

Second important lesson is about human impatience. Allah has claimed in Quran that “I made human a creature of haste”. Allah showed Musa AS that He is the Creator who knows his creature well and made Musa’s knowledge of things look insignificant in front of Khizar AS. So a great prophet was humbled by another creature of Allah. Truly because there could be no measure of Allah’s knowledge hence it was the wisest to compare knowledge of creature with another creature. Human nature itself is very fragile with limitations such as impatience.

May Allah give us some of His True Knowledge and help us overcome our worst limitation of impatience. Ameen.