Parents: A Gateway to Paradise, Author: Issa Abbasi

•April 5, 2010 • 1 Comment

Not long ago, respecting one’s parents was seen as the norm and today, if you respected your parents after a certain age, you would be seen as “weird.”  How did these standards and actions of respecting our parents fade over so many years? Since when did talking back to our parents become normal and respecting them become old fashioned?

Importance of Respect

In the religion of Islam, respecting one’s parents is so important that after the command to worship the One God, Allah, a Muslim is commanded to be kind to their parents.  Imagine that, right after you are told to obey your Lord, you are told to obey your parents, that’s how important obeying your parents are.

“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honor.  And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: “My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was young.” (17: 23-24)

And if they grow old (your parents), say not to them a word of disrespect or shout at them, but rather respect them with words of honor.  How many of us follow even that verse and instead put our parents through a living nightmare with our requests, needs and wants?

The Status of the Mother

The mother’s status is so important that a companion once asked the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) “Who deserves my good treatment most?” “Your mother” the Prophet said. And the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) didn’t just say that once. The companion asked then who and received the same reply.  He asked again and received the same reply and upon asking a fourth time, the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) responded “your father.”  So respect towards your mother comes three times before your father and rightfully so.  Your mother means so much to you that she deserves that much respect for caring to carry you 9 months in her womb and after that for caring so much for you as a child and even to this day if she is alive, she cares for you.

The Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) once narrated in a hadith (tradition) that “Paradise lies under the feet of the mother.” So if you are good to your mother, your ticket to paradise should be punched.  That’s how easy it is! Take care of your mother!  But what have we seen in the past decade? We have seen a society that once loved to use jokes that begin with “Your Momma…”  Instead, we should be talking about how great our mothers are and how much they mean to us rather than joking about each other’s mother with insults.

Celebrating Mother’s and Father’s Day

With the spring season now upon us in the northern hemisphere, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are literally around the corner.  But why are we stopping for one day a year to celebrate both of our parents?  When I am asked every year what I am doing for these special days, I say the same thing every year and share it with everyone on the world wide web; “mother’s day and father’s day should be everyday, not a day in May and a day in June.”  That’s what Islam preaches, celebrating our mothers and fathers by caring for them and respecting them.  Let’s help bring that back as the norm and not the status quo.

The next time…

So the next time any of us wants to scream or argue with our parents, let’s bite our tongues and obey our parents.  It is preserved on the Heavenly preserved tablet (the Lauh Al Mahfudh) that Allah s.w.t. said “I am God, and there is no deity except Me. I am pleased with those with whom their parents are pleased, and I am displeased with those with whom their parents are displeased.”  Regardless of our wealth, education or status, isn’t it about time we all treat our parents with respect and dignity?  For however we treat our parents, our children will treat us the same way.

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Go Hungry, Author: Issa Abbasi

•March 29, 2010 • 3 Comments

As human beings, we have innate needs and tendencies.  You’ve probably heard of psychologists using “Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs” that states humans have basic needs (food, shelter, water) first and foremost.  In terms of food, there is a saying I like to abide by and Islam as a religion would agree from its beginning; as a society, we should be eating to live and not living to eat.  It is human nature though that we do enjoy food and gather around it.  We take pictures of our meals when we make something creative or dine out, we watch television shows about how to cook and we read recipes and abide by them to the letter.  But outside of the month of Ramadan, where every Muslim (who is eligible to do so) fasts, do we normally go hungry not because we can’t feed ourselves right away, but to build our patience and become better people? 

Fasting in the Qur’an and Islam

Fasting is prescribed for Muslims in the month of Ramadan as it was the most blessed month, the same month that the Qur’an was revealed.  But also, “Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may attain taqwaa (God consciousness).” [2:183]  So going hungry from dawn until sunset has its benefits, spiritually that is.  How though (one may ask)?  It’s simple, really.  If one was to abstain from any worldly pleasure (focus here particularly on food and drink) for roughly 10-12 hours, he (or she) would be observing patience, a virtue which is said to be half of the religion of Islam.  However, if one were to become upset at something and thus lose their temper, their fast would have no value.  “He whose fasting does not prevent him from evil and doing it, Allah does not have any need that he quits having his food and his drink.” [Narrated by all hadith collectors but Imam Muslim]

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also recorded that “fasting is a protection, so if it happens that it is a day of fasting, then let him not utter profanity, or shout with anger. If someone cursed him or fought him, then let him say: I am fasting. By him whose hand my soul is in.”  As a reminder, if you’re ever voluntarily fasting outside the month of Ramadan and someone comes to you to proverbially “pick a bone” with you, say “I am fasting” and let it go.  You will be taking the high road and rewarded for this by Allah.

Scientific Benefits

Fasting also has its scientific benefits.  Besides not overly ingesting food and drink all day, fasting (the Islamic way) has been shown to increase a body’s metabolic rate, raise blood glucose levels and did not change energy intake.

Now I am no scientist, but I can tell you from a personal account that fasting, when broken at dusk with a moderate and light meal, is more energizing than anything else.  But when the fast is broken with a heavy meal, you only become lethargic.  When the body has to adjust to a change in its routine, it will do so and in my view, perform more efficiently than when it has to conform to a norm.  Simply, our bodies need change in order not to become complacent.

Rewards

The best part of fasting is its reward as we do not know what it is.  The Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) reported “there are two joys for a fasting person; he is joyful when he breaks his fasting, and when he meets his Lord.” In another narration reported by Imam Muslim, “Every deed of son of Adam is his except fasting; it is mine (God’s) and I am the one who gives rewards for it: he abstains from his desires and his food for me.”

But wait, there’s more.  The Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) said: “The sleep of a fasting person is regarded as an act of ibaadah, his remaining silent is regarded as a tasbeeh, the reward for his good deeds is multiplied, his duas are accepted, and his sins are forgiven.”  Just think, everything you do to wake up and fast the whole day is considered an act of worship and when you break your fast, your du’a (supplication) is accepted!  That’s like having 10 cell phone bars for cell phone reception between you and Allah!

Can you imagine what are the other benefits fasting?  In another hadith, Abu Said al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allah, said: “No servant fasts on a day in the path of Allah except that Allah removes the hellfire seventy years further away from his face.”

So the only question left to ask is, will you help revive the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) by fasting on Mondays, Thursdays and the 3 white days of each month?

Jury Duty, Author: Issa Abbasi

•March 19, 2010 • 3 Comments

One late December evening, my Mom handed me a slip of paper that arrived with the day’s mail.  It was the blue slip of paper residents of our county don’t want to see; I had been handed my first summons for (gasp!) jury duty.  My first thought was “oh man, how do I get out of this?!”  I thought this way because of the negative stereotype associated with jury duty.  The majority of the public complains about the long wait in a room full of people you don’t know with nothing to do that can last anywhere from a few hours to weeks.

The day I was summoned for jury duty came and I traveled to my county’s courthouse to serve my time as a petite juror.  As I walked into the courthouse, my pockets had to be emptied and placed into a bucket to be scanned while I was screened for metal objects.  After checking in, all the jurors were taken into a courtroom for a briefing session by the judge.  My row was one of the earliest to be seated, so as the remaining jurors filed into the courtroom, I decided to observe the room and my peers.  The room was elegantly decorated and oil paintings of retired jury selection judges hung around the sides of the courtroom.  The ceiling was very tall and had large chandeliers hanging a few feet apart.  This place looked like a palace! But as I looked around at my fellow colleagues, I noticed that I was sitting in a very diverse crowd.  Almost every race, age group (above 18 years old) and educational level was present.  Some of the jurors worked for themselves, others for a private company and some for government agencies.  But at that point in time, as potential jurors, we were all the same and only differed by the random number we were assigned.  No one was now better, richer, poorer, or smarter than anyone else.

After viewing a DVD about why jury duty is a civic responsibility and being thanked in advance for our time by the assignment judge, we were all taken to the fourth floor jury room.  Once we all took our seats, the jury manager informed the group that we were “confined” to this very juror room.  If we wanted to pick up breakfast, we could only do so from the cafeteria downstairs, but had to return back to the same juror room right away.  About 100 men and women who took time off from work to be responsible citizens sat reading, working on their laptops, watched television or slept until their fate of serving on a jury was determined.  No matter what was going to happen, we had to wear our juror tags that only distinguished ourselves as jurors, but with different numbers.

As I sat in my chair jotting down my “to do list” for the week ahead, I began to think about my prospective job as a juror, until that is, an idea hit me in the face.  On the Day of Judgment, we won’t have a jury of 12 people to decide whether we are guilty or innocent of a crime.  We will have our deeds and the Qur’an to testify either for us or against us.  Once we receive our book of deeds in our right or left hand, our verdict has been made.  If received in the right, to Paradise you will go and if received in the left, to Hell you will go.

Can you imagine that? A verdict that will last forever and that most likely will not change unless you were first sent to Hell (for many, many years) to be cleansed before going to Paradise?  Who would want to go to such a place like Hell where you will eat cacti and drink boiling water?

But Allah (s.w.t.) doesn’t just deal with bound rules and regulations, He deals with mercy.  One of his names is actually Ar-Rahman, or the Most Compassionate!

Allah s.w.t. states in the 23rd Hadith An-Nawawi “My servants, it is but your deeds that I reckon up for you and then recompense you for, so let him who finds good praise Allah, and let him who finds other than that blame no one but himself.”

In Hadith An-Nawai #37 narrated on the authority of Ibn Abbas that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) related from his Lord: “Allah has written down the good deeds and the bad ones.” Then he explained it [by saying that] :” He who has intended a good deed and has not done it, Allah writes it down with Himself as a full good deed, but if he has intended it and has done it, Allah writes it down with Himself as from ten good deeds to seven hundred times, or many times over. But if he has intended a bad deed and has not done it, Allah writes it down with Himself as a full good deed, but if he has intended it and has done it, Allah writes it down as one bad deed.”

Let us remember that Allah s.w.t. is truly the All Knowing and All Seeing.  We are reminded in the Qur’an about how our deeds will be seen!

Qur’an: 99: 7-8

“So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it. And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it.”
Because I was not assigned to a case, I was afforded a 2 hour lunch break and upon my return to the jury room, I was released from jury duty by 2:15 PM.  I was so happy to be released from potentially deciding a person’s fate, but I must remind us all that there is no way our deeds will be sent home from their jury duty assignment on the Day of Judgment.

The Divine Link, Part 2, Author: Issa Abbasi

•March 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The most important part of the salah (prayer) in Islam is in its performance. When anyone comes to pray, they must remember why they are doing so and to re-check their intention. Is this for the sole sake of Our Lord, Allah s.w.t., or, is this so that we appear to be a Muslim or because our friends are praying? But along with the intention of our salah comes the focus of salah. Is our salah being performed with a sound mind and focus to Allah s.w.t., or, is our body performing all the right movements, but our minds are elsewhere? Again, this is a reminder to myself and to all of us as about khushoo’ (solemnity). Khushoo’ in salah is of the utmost importance and after each salah, the angels will only accept a percentage of your salah. This percent can vary; 0 % of your salah can be accepted, or 100 % of it can be accepted. And don’t think for a moment that angels aren’t mathematicians and can’t figure out what 3/7ths of a salah is in percent form.

Its Importance

In the Glorious Qur’an, Allah s.w.t. revealed the importance of khushoo’ with the verses: “Successful indeed are the believers. Those who offer their Salat (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness.” (23:1-2) Khushoo’ is found in the heart, and as long as the person performing the prayer’s heart is with his Lord, Allah s.w.t., his body will be in tune. However, how can one’s heart be in tune in salah when his/her mind is elsewhere? Just because you are standing in front of Allah s.w.t. during salah does not mean that your mind and heart will be with Him. How so? The shaytan (devil) loves to whisper to you as a means of distracting you from the remembrance of Allah. Sure, he may not pray, but that won’t stop him from trying to mess with your prayer.

(Hadith Muslim 196) “Shaytan running when he hears the adhan, Abu Hurairah (ra) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “When the Adhan is pronounced, Satan takes to his heels and passes wind to avoid hearing the Adhan. When the Adhan is over, he comes back, and again takes to his heels when the Iqamah is pronounced and after its completion, he returns to whisper into the heart of a person (to distract him from his prayer) and makes him remember things which he does not recall before until man forgets how many Rak’ah he prayed.” This is so true. How many times can we all recall starting our salah and the first thing we think about is “oh man, do I have my keys?” or “oh yeah, that’s what I forgot earlier today.” If you can only remember one thing about this point, remind yourself that Shaytan is out to steal from you. He is a thief and if you let your guard (and heart down), he will steal from your salah until you are done and have no idea what just happened.

The Cure

Just because the Shaytan will do all he can to distract you in salah doesn’t mean there isn’t a sound remedy to rid of his influence. Allah s.w.t. even tells us in the Qur’an how hard khushoo’ is! “And seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer) and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khashi’un [i.e. the true believers in Allah – those who obey Allah with full submission, fear much from His Punishment, and believe in His Promise (Paradise,) and in His Warnings (Hell). (2: 45)” Some of the ways to assure our khushoo’ in our salah are as follows:

1) Coming early to your salah, whether at home or masjid.

2) Repeat after the call of the Adhaan

3) Prepare for your salah ahead of time, spiritually, emotionally and physically. This is just like going to an important meeting at work, prepare, prepare and prepare some more.

4) Make a full and thorough Wudhu

5) Select a place where there will be no distractions.

6) Dress nicely for your salah, especially for the Fajr salah

7) Pray the nafl (sunnah salahs)

8.) Read some Qur’an. Preferably the Qur’an you will recite in salah 

9) Make dhikr (remembrance) and du’a (supplication) in your salah . Ask Allah swt for the concentration and its ajr (reward)

10) Don’t talk too much before the salah. Just make dhikr or tasbeeh until time of Iqama

11) Don’t look around in the masjid, just focus on the coming event of the salah

12) Pray in the front row to avoid distraction

13)Straighten your lines before you start your salah, as it is a part of the salah, otherwise you can be distracted

14)Contemplation about greatness of the Lord swt who you will be standing before. It’s part of Ihsaan (worshipping as if you see God)

15) Remember the stories of the righteous people and how they focused on their salah

16) Always remember the excellence and virtue of khushoo in salah

17)If you are hungry or need to go to the washroom, but do that first! It is the sunnah of our prophet (pbuh).

18) Don’t start your salah if you are sleepy or exhausted

19) Do your best to get to the first row, but don’t sprint towards it

20) Try to pray as close as possible to the imam, so you can hear his voice as well as on the speakers so it encourages you more

21) Pray as if this was your last prayer, we never know when we could die, so make this prayer For more on these tips and more, please visit http://forums.almaghrib.org/showpost.php?p=417237&postcount=1.

Finally, don’t pray quickly.

“Because of the speed with which some people pray, they appear as if they are birds, pecking up and down. The Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam forbade that someone should peck (in salah) like a crow.”

Umar (r.a.) once stood on the pulpit and addressed the community with a loud powerful voice saying, “A man may grow old in Islam and never have completed for Allah a single salah!” They said, “How is this?” He said, “He does not perfect his concentration, nor his humbleness, nor his focus on Allah (s.w.t.).”

If you are still having trouble, remember that salah is the first thing you will be judged on the Day when no one but Allah s.w.t. will judge us.  I ask this question to myself first and to all of the readers, what do we want our record (or book) of salah to look like?

The Divine Link, Part 1, Author: Issa Abbasi

•March 5, 2010 • 3 Comments

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) advised five days before his death “As Salah, as salah”, translated as “I advise you in regards to your salah (prayers).  When people say “pray for me”, they don’t know that Islam has two forms of prayer; salah (the five mandatory prayers and the like) and du’a (supplication).  For this entry, prayer is strictly in reference to salah.

If someone mentions something before they die, chances are it’s something from their heart and it is meant to be important.  But if this was the case with our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), then why are so many Muslims not heeding his message to pray?  Does it take too long to prepare for the 5 daily prayers through ablution and then to pray for 5-7 minutes per prayer?  Are they embarrassed to pray? There are so many excuses and I can’t honestly say that I know them all, but these are what I have heard.  Regardless of the excuse, we really have no excuse not to pray.  This will be the first post in a short series about one of the most important pillars in Islam and for this week will discuss the prayer and its importance.

The Divine Link

Have you heard of people saying they talk to God? You must think they are crazy right? Well, for Muslims, we actually do speak to God and God does speak to us.  When we offer our prayer (salah), we speak to Allah and when we read the Qur’an, He is speaking to us.  Being that salah is the vehicle that allows us to talk to Allah, it is literally the divine link we have to Him.  When we are in prostration during our salah, we are the closest to Allah.  There is a saying posted in my house that he who bows to Allah can stand up to anything.  Yes, anything. Whenever our Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) would become afflicted with a sickness, sadness or calamity, it was narrated by Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) that the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) would rush to the salah.  Why? He wanted the divine link with his Lord. And don’t think that salah is just for Muslims either.  Salah was around during the time of even the Prophet Eesa’s (Jesus) time as well and it was in the Bible!

“And he (Jesus) went a little farther, and fell on his face and prayed, saying…” [Matthew, 26:39]

“And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were so afraid.” [Matthew, 17:6]

Importance

Given the background of the salah and five daily prayers, why is it so important?

Firstly, salah is what establishes the difference between Islam and its followers (Muslims) from other religions.  Find another religion that prays as much as Muslims do on daily basis.  I’ll help you right now by saying you won’t, so save your time for other research.  In fact, when the Prophet Mousa (the Prophet with the stick that Allah turned to a serpent momentarily, yeah, him) spoke to Allah (yes, the Prophet who got to speak to Allah directly), the first commandment Allah gave him was to pray. When the Prophet Musa (a.s) was lost in the valley of Madyan, wandering him and his wife in the middle of the night, cold and dark, he saw a light in the mountain, he thought it was a fire so he told his wife, “Let me go to this fire and perhaps get a brand with which we can see the way and warm ourselves”. He climbed the mountain and lo and behold, it was not a fire of men but it is the light of Allah speaking with him directly and said to Mousa:

“I Am Allah, there is not deity worthy of worship except me so worship me and establish the salah to remember me. (20:14)”

So the first meeting with Allah, the rules are laid out as Sheikh Yasir Qadhi explained.  The transliteration of the end of the verse is “Fa’budni” or “worship ME and establish the prayer.” 

So I ask us all, who are we to deny our Lord his right to be worshipped in salah? The same salah that is so important that scholars have disagreed about the status of a Muslim who neglects it.  Some scholars say neglecting the salah takes you out of the fold of Islam and others say you are still Muslim, but are a fasiq (disobedient).

Evidences of both opinions:

Opinions of Imams Abu Hanifah, Malik and Shafi’ee:

Ubadah ibn -us-Samit narrated, the Messenger of Allah said: “Allah has obligated five prayers. Whoever excellently performs their ablutions, prays them in their proper times, completes their bows, prostrations and khushu [attuning the heart to the prayer] has a promise from Allah that He will forgive him. And whoever does not do that has no promise from Allah. He may either forgive him or punish him.” [Malik and Ahmad]

Opinions of Imam Ahmad

Buraydah ibn al-Husayb (r.a.) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say: ‘The covenant that distinguishes between us and them is the Prayer, and whoever neglects it has disbelieved.’” [Musnad Imam Ahmad, Sunan Abi Dawood, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Nisaa’i and Sunan Ibn Majah]

But to close, there is something to Muslims praying five times a day that benefits them.

Ubadah ibn -us-Samit narrated, the Messenger of Allah said: “Allah has obligated five prayers. Whoever excellently performs their ablutions, prays them in their proper times, completes their bows, prostrations and khushu [attuning the heart to the prayer] has a promise from Allah that He will forgive him. And whoever does not do that has no promise from Allah. He may either forgive him or punish him.” [Malik and Ahmad]

Finally, I would like to end by reminding us all what happens when we pray.  When we pray, we stand in front of Allah, the Lord of the Universe.  Yes, we stand right in front of Him and this is our divine link, our divine connection to Him.  The more focus you have, the more reward for you because only a percent of your salah when you finish is recorded for you by the angels.  The percent can be anything from 1 to 100.  In the future, there will be more posts on this topic and how to achieve this tranquility (kushoo’) in your salah and more in general about the topic of salah.  For now, establish your salah regularly if you do not and keep working on it because the shaytan is out to rob you of your salah as much as he can.

Sources: http://muslimmatters.org/2009/02/27/transcript-of-khutbah-on-salah-by-yasir-qadhi/

Ilm: A Must, Author: Issa Abbasi

•February 27, 2010 • Leave a Comment

How do you know if Allah (the One God), the Creator and Sustainer of the universe intends good for you?  Are you intended good when you are monetarily rich? Is it when you have status? Believe it or not, the answer is “none of the above.”  So then, how do I know when Allah intends good for me?

The answer comes from Mu’aawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan who narrated that  the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever Allah wishes good for, he grants them Fiqh (understanding) of the Deen.”

If you need any evidence of how important ilm (knowledge) is in the religion of Islam, think back to last week’s blog post “READ!.”  Ilm is so important in Islam that the first revelation of the Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the verse “Read!”.

Origin of Knowledge

So, how did knowledge first come to us?  Is it innate? Are we really born with it?  If one delves into deep thought for these questions, the answer is apparently blatant.  We were born as infants with no knowledge.  As stated last week, the only means of communication we had as infants was crying.  Parents always have to guess what their child wants when they cry because it is the only means of communication an infant has.  “Is h/she hungry? Tired? Wants to be held? What is it?!”  That sounds like the typical parent in my opinion when their child cries.  Let’s look for the answer in the Qur’an for how the Prophet Adam (may Allah be pleased with him) was given knowledge.

And He taught Adam all the names (of everything), then He showed them to the angels and said, “Tell Me the names of these if you are truthful.” (Qur’an, 2:31)

So, the Lord of the Universe taught the first human being the names (everything) and then showed the angels His creation.  And then, He showed the Angels his creation and they said: “Glory be to You, we have no knowledge except what you have taught us. Verily, it is You, the All-Knower, the All-Wise.” (Qur’an, 2:32)

Its Importance and Reward

Knowledge of Islam is so important that The Prophet (peace be upon him) made seeking knowledge an obligation upon every Muslim, and he (peace be upon him) explained that the superiority of the one who has knowledge over the one who merely worships is like the superiority of the moon over every other heavenly body. He (peace be upon him) said that the scholars are the heirs of the Prophets and that the Prophets, may Allaah exalt their mention did not leave behind any money, rather their inheritance was knowledge, so whoever acquires it has gained a great share. Furthermore, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said that seeking knowledge is a way leading to Paradise. He (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever follows a path in the pursuit of knowledge, Allaah will make a path to Paradise easy for him.” (Al-Bukhaari)

How awesome is that?! The reward for acquiring and understanding knowledge is Paradise, which if you forgot, is eternal.

Knowledge (of Islam) is one of the three residual deeds that testify for a person once they pass away from this life. The Prophet (peace be upon him), said: “The best monuments and legacies which a man leaves behind himself are a dutiful son, useful buildings, knowledge and wisdom which are benefited by the people after him”.

But can we imagine who must be the most blessed people who teach?  They are those who teach Qur’an.  Imagine that.  The person we all thought growing up was so boring and had no life, will have the best reward that is out of this world (literally).  For every time you recite a letter of the Qur’an that someone else has taught, that person is earning residual hasanat (good deeds).  If you think athletes and musicians are so fortunate to be earning money every time their sneaker sells or their song is played on the radio or downloaded as an iTune, think of how much more amazing a religious scholar or teacher of Qur’an’s reward is.

Knowledge is 3 hand spans: The first is when a person reads a few books and thinks that he is knowledgeable about  a subject and thinks he is a ‘Alim (scholar). The second hand span is when the person learns more and the more he learns, he realizes he doesn’t know much. This is the stage where he says Allahu ‘Alam or he refers the question to someone else. The third hand span is the highest level and only a very few reach this level, such as the greatest ulama (scholars).  At this level, the person realizes that he absolutely has no knowledge.

Finally, remember the etiquettes of learning knowledge of Islam:

lbn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah said: “There are six stages to knowledge:

Firstly: Asking questions in a good manner

Secondly: Remaining quiet and listening attentively

Thirdly: Understanding well

Fourthly: Memorizing

Fifthly: Teaching

Sixthly: and it is its fruit: Acting upon the knowledge and keeping to its limits.”

Finally, do not forget to keep your intention of acquiring knowledge pure and solely for the Sake of Allah.  By doing so, your knowledge will be accepted.  I pray we all become seekers of knowledge and our intention for seeking knowledge remains pure, ameen.

Sources: http://www.islamweb.net/ver2/engblue/article.php?lang=E&id=137288

http://moralsandethics.wordpress.com/2006/11/20/importance-of-knowledge-in-islam/

http://islamworld.net/docs/why_should_i_study.html

http://www.al-islam.org/al-tawhid/islam-know-conc.htm

Want to learn about the Scholars of Islam? How they overcame their struggles in society, in life and in studying? Want to hear about both the male and female scholars of Islam?  Look no further than AlMaghrib Institute’s upcoming New Jersey Seminar “Torch Bearers: Scholars of Islam!”

Class: Torch Bearers: Scholars of Islam
Instructor: Dr. Waleed Basyouni
Dates: March 12-14 & 20-21
Location: NJIT Campus 2nd floor Ballroom
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A Movement… But not the kind you think. (By: Yousaf)

•February 24, 2010 • 3 Comments

I have not written in a lomg while and much has happened in my life but I thought I would start writing again with a piece about an interesting experience.  It is a slightly crude post so if you are easily offended by childish humor, this post is probably not for you 🙂

Defeat – An Exaggerated but True Story

‘Gurgle… GURGLE! Gur—gle’

My bowels were speaking to me, ‘What did you put in me fool! Whatever it was, you about to pay!’

I was in lecture.  I was relentlessly squirming in my chair, somehow believing that movement would halt the coming storm.  My classmate looked at me out of the corner of her eye with concern as drops of sweat began to make my forehead glisten.  Another wave of peristaltic fury moved towards ’the light’ and I held on for dear life. I coughed… just in case.  No cough has ever muffled the sound of flatus but hey… what’s a brother to do?  Relief came over me as I weathered the blow my colon had tried to deliver. Safe… for now.

Lecture for another 45 minutes followed by clinic for 4 hours and then home sweet home– And by home, I mean the shiny, clean, wondrous toilet that await me.  Has another man ever wished to write poetry of yearning for his throne… I mean lavatory? Well I did.  But today there was no room for a slow motion embrace with my long lost friend. Nope. I was going to have to settle.

A public restroom is everybody’s pet-peeve and a veteran’s home bathroom may be another level of nasty but today was the day. The day I would conquer my fear and make the impossible happen.  Resolve pulsed through my veins, bravery laced every breath of determination and anger sped through my intestinal tract like pacific island tsunamis.  I pushed open the door to my nemesis like a cowboy from an old western, both hands ready to pull the triggers of imaginary weapons hidden in the deep pockets of my white coat. I quickly surveyed the place– two stalls, one sink, dingy tiles, peeling paint and the faint smell of some ancient battle that was responsible for the loss of many lives.  Suddenly a rush of patriotism washed over me.  God Bless America I thought.  I mean, I am in a Veteran’s Home. “Man Up!”

I stretched my hamstrings, took a deep breath , an action which I instantly regretted, as that smell stung my nostrils and it quickly became apparent that it was not of ancient battles but instead of a far less valiant process.  It was time.  I looked into the first stall and gasped in horror.  How can someone miss that bad?  I mean… whoever did this was probably in the army and trained. How can you be an ‘army of one’ if you can’t go number one?

What was behind door number two? A large plastic bag and a small, crumpled paper that read ‘out of order, DO NOT USE!’

“Ha… That’s redundant. Who would use an out of order toilet?”  My stomach answered, “Shut up, sit down and get this over with!”

I looked back at the horrid artwork someone with no conscious had left in stall #1… I removed my white coat, rolled up my sleeves and began the task at hand.  I proceeded to tidy the place up.  Wiped down the joint. Closed my eyes so that I would be blind to the atrocious crimes my hands were partaking in.  Worked tirelessly, all the while feeling like an alien was going to bust through my abdominal wall and sing show tunes (Space Balls reference)-

As I developed experiences worthy of PTSD, I reminded myself of the children… All the children (that doesn’t make sense… nor is it supposed to).  I then carefully ripped 3 appropriately measured strips of the toilet paper so thin that the germs on the toilet rim giggled as I placed them down to cover the seat that awaited me.  No ‘shathafa,’ ‘lota,’ or Wet Ones here so I began to wet pre-prepared quadruple layered strips of paper.  Of course, as always, the closer you get to actually getting to use the bathroom, the more the impulse from you brain erupts, like the sirens at a failing nuclear power plant headed for meltdown.  I was ready. I shut the faucet and turned to my new home for the next 5-45 minutes (just kidding about that).

Then it happened. Some say that life altering events occur when you least expect it.  Others have said that you get only one chance to prove yourself your entire life and at that defining moment, a line is drawn between cowards and the brave… between the men and the boys. It was my time to follow through with my triple dog dare.

As I slowly moved towards my destiny… The door slammed open.  Into view came the man that would change the course of human events forever. Some who witnessed the following events have said that the bathroom smelled of sulfur. That this apparition floated above the ground and that he was not human at all. That he had eyes that could see right into your soul and suck away the happiness from your being.  Some that were there that day have said that the man who joined me in that restroom that fateful day was the devil himself.

Before I could react or even say a word, he had entered the stall.  MY stall! Leaving me outside, mouth agape in crampy agony.  My tongue could not find the words, a lump in my throat, I just stood there. My minutes of hard work… destroyed in seconds. The sounds of a flushing toilet drew me from my coma of disbelief.  Out he came.  For a moment, we stood face to face.  He looked back into the stall from which he came and grunted as if to say, ‘it was mine all along.’ A smirk, a wink and he left the restroom and my life forever.  No answers, no apologies, no remorse, and no washing hands.

I was a man, broken. But something amazing happened in the instant when I faced the nameless jerk who stole my throne and, with it, my dignity:  I didn’t have to go anymore.  My body had been shocked into constipation. I won. I am victorious… or at least… that is what I tell myself.