Archive for November, 2010

Achieve Success By Coming Closer to Allah

Everyday we live our lives, hours, days and months pass by but do we ever stop and think: What does Allah think of me right now? What have I done today to please Allah and what action of mine has displeased Him? Do we ever go back and turn to Him in repentance? Do we ever make the effort to improve ourselves for the better and strive to be the best Muslims we can be? Well, the answer depends from person to person but if our answer is no, then we should be worried. Why do we have to be the best Muslims we can be? It is because our very creation, our very being on this earth is because of Allah and it is for a reason. Allah (SWT) says in the Qu’ran: “And I (Allah) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone)” (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56). 

When we say we are Muslim, it is our responsibility to live up to what we claim. A Muslim is one who submits to Allah and obeys Him. So despite being Muslim, to what extent are we really submitting to Allah? To what extent are we obeying Him? Instead, we are just going about living a life earning Allah’s displeasure and distancing ourselves from Him and His Mercy. Allah (SWT) has not left us unguided though, He gave us the answer in the Qur’an: “ …Then if there comes to you guidance from Me, then whoever follows My Guidance shall neither go astray, nor fall into distress and misery” (Ta-Ha 20:123).
Once we have the goal set in mind, we must start our self-evaluation immediately. We must figure out the stage we are at as Muslims and as individuals. We must be sincere in our intention and ask Allah (SWT) for help in undertaking this journey of coming closer to our Creator. As with many other things that we do in life, we must begin the process ourselves, we have to take the first step. As Imam Safi Khan said in one of his short lectures, “the more effort that you exert to come closer to Allah, the closer Allah will come to you.”
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Prophet (SAW) said: Allah the Almighty said: “… and if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s (forearm’s) length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.” It was related by al-Buhkari (also by Muslim, at-Tirmidhi and Ibn-Majah). Not only did Allah (SWT) assure us that He will be there for us in our journey to come closer to Him, He also told us exactly how to do it and how to attain His Love. On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Messenger of Allah said: Allah (mighty and sublime be He) said:Whosoever shows enmity to someone devoted to Me, I shall be at war with him. My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it. I do not hesitate about anything as much as I hesitate about [seizing] the soul of My faithful servant: he hates death and I hate hurting him.” It was related by al-Bukhari. In this Hadith Qudsi, Allah (SWT) tells of two main ways that we can come closer to Him and attain His Love. I will list those to give a better idea of them insha’allah. However it is important to know that Fard (obligatory) acts come first, then do the Nafl (supererogatory) ones.
Examples of Fard Acts
  • Prayer-praying 5 times a day
  • Zakah-(if one falls in this category i.e. a working adult w/ enough money)
  • Sawm-fasting the month of Ramadan
  • Hajj-(if one has the means to do so)
  • Enjoining good and forbidding evil (and of course, doing it yourself)
  • Staying away from major sins (these include cursing, cheating, lying, disobedience to parents, fornication, betraying trust, false testimony, arrogance and others…)
After we do the Fard acts and come closer to Allah, we must follow up with extra acts.
Examples of Nafl Acts
  • Praying Rawatib-regular Nafls that are associated with the Fard prayers e.g. 2 rak’ahs sunnah before Fajr, 2 Rak’ahs after Maghrib, etc.
    • Also praying Qiyam ul-Layl (the night prayers, which can include Tahajjud)
  • Fasting on Mondays and Thursdays as the Prophet (SAW) used to do
  • Doing extra dhikr in the morning or after salah
  • Giving Sadaqah (charity)-charity includes giving money, smiling, giving a good word of advice, removing a harmful object from someone’s path, or helping someone out with a task
Some scholars say that one should first only focus on the Fard acts and perfect them and then move on to the Nafl ones. Others say that even while you are working on the Fard acts, you should still squeeze in some Nafl acts as they may come in handy when you need good deeds the most (i.e. on the Day of Judgment). In regards to Nafl prayers, many people underestimate their value but the following Hadith Qudsi proves otherwise: On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) from the Prophet (peace be upon him), who said: Allah (mighty and sublime be He) says:The first of his actions for which a servant of Allah will be held accountable on the Day of Resurrection will be his prayers. If they are in order, then he will have prospered and succeeded: and if they are wanting, then he will have failed and lost. If there is something defective in his obligatory prayers, the Lord (glorified and exalted be He) will say: See if My servant has any supererogatory prayers with which may be completed that which was defective in his obligatory prayers. Then the rest of his actions will be judged in like fashion.” It was related by at-Tirmidhi (also by Abu Dawud, an-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah and Ahmad).
All our striving and all of our efforts that we exert for the sake of Allah will never go in vain, but it is very important to always be sincere. We reap the benefits of our good actions both in this world and the next. From the Hadith Qudsi mentioned above, we know how to come closer to Allah and we even know of the benefits. Once we attain Allah’s Love and Pleasure, He makes it easy on us to do good deeds and keeps us away from sin and answers our du’as. Thus, a believer is blessed with goodness all throughout his life and has Allah on his side. This is one of the biggest blessings and/or reward a person can get in this world, but what about the next? Surely, the biggest reward the believers will get will be on the Day of Judgment, as Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an: “And those foremost [(in Islamic Faith of Monotheism and in performing righteous deeds) in the life of this world on the very first call for to embrace Islam,] will be foremost (in Paradise). These will be those nearest to Allah. In the Gardens of delight (Paradise)” (Al-Waqi’ah 56:10-12)
We want to be close to Allah in this life as well as in the Hereafter because that is the greatest success. So let us achieve it by evaluating our lives today and by changing ourselves for the better, for the sake of Allah. Procrastination is our biggest enemy (along with Shaitan lol) so let’s hurry up and get to work before it’s too late. May Allah (SWT) guide us and always keep us on the Straight Path and may He make it easier for us to follow His Orders and stay away from the things He has forbidden. May Allah (SWT) protect us from Shaitan and from our own evil desires as well as the evil of this world. Ameen.
*Note: Beneath is a complimentary video that inspired me to write this post

November 20, 2010 at 7:01 am Leave a comment

Ibn Qayyum: 10 things that bring about the love of Allah

November 20, 2010 at 6:43 am Leave a comment

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