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Excerpt for The Journey to Success and True Happiness by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

The Journey to Success and true Happiness

The Journey to Success and true Happiness

By Khaleel Jooste

Copyright Khaleel Jooste 2018

Smashwords Edition License Notes:

This free e-book may be copied, distributed, reposted, reprinted and shared, provided it appears in its entirety without alteration, and the reader is not charged to access it.




I seek protection from Satan the outcast and I begin in the name of

Allah,

The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful.



Ayat Al-Kursi (The verse of the Throne)

Allah - there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of all existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is presently before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His throne extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not. And He is the Most High, the Most Great.

Surah Al- Baqarah (The Cow) 2:255



As Allah wills



Foreword



These are just a few lessons I have learnt in this short time that I have been a Muslim.

May it benefit you.

May Allah bless and reward my teachers for all they have done.

This book does not contain any information on the fifth pillar of Islam, Hajj. If Allah spares me and wills, I will put this in a separate book.

Your friend

Khaleel



Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Aaheem

(In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful)



Dhikr – Remembrance of Allah


The remembrance of Allah is considered the best of deeds and one of the greatest virtues.


According to hadith, the Prophet Mohammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam – peace be upon him)

would often tell his companions, ‘Shall I not tell you of the best of your deeds and that which is

most pure in the sight of your Lord, that which raises you more in status and is better for you

than giving gold and silver (in charity), and better than your meeting your enemy and striking

their necks and they strike your necks?’ They said, ‘Yes, O Messenger of Allah.’ He said,

Remembering Allah. (Abu Dawood narrated from Abu’l-Dardaa’)


Abu Musa Al-Ash'ari (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi

wasallam – peace be upon him) said, ‘The similitude of one who remembers his Rubb (Lord) and

one who does not remember Him, is like that of the living and the dead.’

(Al-Bukhari and Muslim)


This should be enough reason and encouragement for us to strive as best as we can and to the

best of our ability to always try and remember Allah. This is also a mercy and a reminder from

Allah to us. Allah says in the Holy Quran:


Ya ayyuha allatheena amanoo othkuroo Allaha thikran katheeran

O you who believe! Remember Allah (with) remembrance much

Wasabbihoohu bukratan waaseelan


And glorify Him morning and evening

(Surah Al-Ahzab 33:41-42)


Remembrance of Allah is the foundation of all good deeds. Whoever succeeds in it is blessed

with the close friendship of Allah.


It is related by Hadrat Abu Huraira (May Allah be pleased with him) that Prophet Mohammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam – peace be upon him) said: Allah (The Glorified and the Exalted) says, "Whoever is hostile to one whom I befriend, is at war with Me. When a servant of Mine approaches Me through the medium of that which I like best, out of what I have declared obligatory for him, and continues to advance towards Me through optional prayers (Nawafil), then I begin to love him. When I make him My beloved, I become his ears to hear, and his eyes to see and his hands to grasp, and his feet to walk. When he asks Me, I grant him and when he seeks My protection I protect him. (Bukhari) (Hadith Qudsi)


In another narration by Hadrat Abu Huraira (May Allah be pleased with him): Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wasallam – peace be upon him) said, "If Allah loves a person (The Glorified and the Exalted). He calls Hadrat Jibril (peace be upon him) saying: "Allah loves so and so.

O Jibril love him. So Jibril (peace be upon him) would love him and then would make an announcement in the Heavens: "Allah loves so and so therefore you should love him also. So all the dwellers of the Heavens would love him and then he is granted the pleasure of the people on the earth." (Bukhari)


Remembrance of Allah not only leads to close friendship with Allah, but it also leads to

contentment with one’s condition. Allah says in the Holy Quran:


Allazeena eamanoo va taatmaainnu kuloobuhum bi zikrilleah(zikrilleahi) a lea bi zikrilleahi

taatmaainnul kuloob(kuloobu).


Such are the ones who believe (in the message of the Prophet) and whose hearts find rest in the

remembrance of Allah. Surely in Allah's remembrance do hearts find rest.

(Surah Ar-Ra’d 13:28)


From these verses we learn that when we remember Allah, we obtain contentment with whatever

our current situation is. Everything is from Allah, whether good or bad and when we remember

that it is from Him, and we show patience in the hard times and give thanks in the good times,

certainly we will have contentment irrespective of what our situation is.


According to a Hadith reported by Abdullah bin Abbas - ‘One day I was behind the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam – peace be upon him) and he said to me: ‘O young man, I shall teach you some words [of advice]: Be mindful of Allah and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah, and you will find Him in front of you. If you (have a need to) ask, ask of Allah; and if you seek help, seek help from Allah. Know that even if the Nation (or the whole community) were to gather together to benefit you with something, they would not benefit you with anything except that which Allah has already recorded for you, and that if they gather together to harm you with something, they would not be able to harm you with anything except that which Allah has already recorded against you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.’


This hadith again affirms that all is as per Allah’s decree. The pens have been lifted and the

pages have dried. It has been decreed by Allah for these things to take place in your life. If you

know this and accept it, by remembering Allah, you will find peace, comfort and rest in your

heart.


The question arises, how can one remember Allah always? Especially if we have work to do,

studies to focus on, serving our community, spending time with our families and friends? The

answer is simple. From the above hadith, Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam –

peace be upon him) says “Be mindful of Allah” which includes a number of things:


  • To observe or fulfill Allah’s obligations;

  • to adhere to His commandments; and

  • to avoid His prohibitions


…for which one needs to be conscious of:

  • Praying Salah in the best way possible and by performing it on time;

  • maintaining cleanliness and purity;

  • observing our oath if we swear by Allah for something because we have to abide by this commitment we make;

  • guarding the senses and we should ensure that whatever we see or hear or say earns us Allah’s pleasure;

  • ensuring that we consume only those foods or drinks that are halal;

  • observing that our dealings and transactions are through halal means; and

  • protecting our hearts from being involved in sins & the moment a person is weak and does a sin, he should repent because of his fear of Allah.


So in conclusion, we should remember Allah when standing, sitting and lying down. It is only

with this consciousness of Allah, that our hearts will not attach itself to material things or to our

own desires, but rather to Allah. And when we remember Allah always, we become conscious of

our actions.


To end of this reminder by Allah and our Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam – peace be upon him) there is another hadith.


Hadrat Asma' daughter of Yazid said that she heard Allah's Aspostle (sallallahu alayhi wasallam – peace be upon him) say, "Shall I not tell you who are the best among you?" and when they replied, "Certainly, Messenger of Allah, he said, "The best of you are those who when seen are a means of Allah being brought to mind." (Ibn Majah)


May Allah make us of those that inspire others to be reminded of Allah and may we grow in our

personalities to become one of His beloved friends.


I make dua that Allah grant you goodness in this life and in the Hereafter, the best of which is

nearness to Him and nearness to His Beloved. Aameen.


Your friend


Khaleel



Exercise


A short dhikr that was taught to me by my teacher is where one focus on the heart and calls to

mind the name of Allah.


Muraqaba is an Arabic word meaning “to watch over” or to “keep an eye” on. So with this

meditation, one keeps an eye on one’s heart and constantly tries to focus the mind to recall Allah.


The way in which this is done is to be in a quiet place. Clear your mind and make the intention to

remember Allah. Lower your gaze as to face your chest, but close your eyes. On your in breath,

say ‘Allah’ and on your out breath say ‘hu’. This is said silently. If you cannot say it silently,

then say it quietly just on your lips.


Many thoughts will come to your mind, but the goal is to accept that these thoughts are coming

and to continuously bring your mind back to Allah. Do not entertain the thoughts, because then

you will focus on them.


Do this for maybe 5 minutes a day at a specific regular time and time yourself. When you ready,

increase the time and carry on increasing it like that.


This exercise will also help you to focus in your salaah and it will also help you to focus on your

classes, whether secular or Islamic.




References:


http://www.iqra.net/Hadith/mumin.php

https://quranacademy.io/blog/deeper-than-the-ocean/

http://www.ummah.com/forum/showthread.php?395580-Verily-in-the-remembrance-of-Allah




Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Aaheem

(In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful)



Kalimah Tayyibah – The Word of Purity


Our declaration of faith, the Shahada, is to bear witness to the word of purity that states:


'lā ilāha illā -llāh, muḥammadur rasūlu -llāh

There is no god but Allah, [and] Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.


This is the core of our belief as Muslims and it encompasses the one message of Islam. Without the full acceptance of this kalimah, we cannot become true Muslims. It is for this reason, that when we accept this and bear witness to it, that we must let go of all previous beliefs, all previous convictions and all previous ideas of who and what God is. It is very important that this belief must be firmly rooted into our hearts. Allah compares this good word to a tree and ultimately compares the believer to the tree. Allah says in the Holy Quran:


Alam tara kaifa darabal laahu masalan kalimatan taiyibatan kashajaratin taiyibatin asluhaa saabitunw wa far'uhaa fis samaaa'

Tu'teee ukulahaa kulla heenim bi izni Rabbihaa; wa yadribul laahul amsaala linnaasi la'allahum yatazak karoon


Have you not considered how Allah sets forth a parable of a good word (being) like a good tree, whose root is firm (firmly fixed) and whose branches are in heaven (high in the sky). It produces its fruit all the time, by permission of its Lord. And Allah presents examples for the people that perhaps they will be reminded.

(Surah Ibrahim 14:24-25).



Ibn ‘Umar reported that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam - peace be upon him) said: There is a kind of tree whose leaves do not fall and it is like the Muslim. Tell me what it is. The people mentioned different kinds of desert trees and I said to myself, “It is the date tree,” but I felt too shy to speak up. Then the people said, “Tell us what it is, O Messenger of Allah.” He said: “It is the date palm tree.” (Bukhari)


This is then ultimately the extent to which our personalities can grow and we can finally reach our station of Khalifatullah. We become productive members of society. We are in service of others, helping where help is needed, guiding where guidance is lacking, inspiring others to become better people, and we remain a beacon of light and hope, while always fighting the good fight. Not only are we in service of people, but also of all animals and all of nature. This can never take place without the acceptance and implementation of this kalimah. Allah says in the Holy Quran:


Allazeena kafaroo wa saddoo'an sabeelil laahi adalla a'maalahum

Wallazeena aamanoo wa 'amilus saalihaati wa aamanoo bimaa nuzzila 'alaa Muhammadinw-wa huwal haqqu mir Rabbihim kaffara 'anhum saiyiaatihim wa aslaha baalahum

Zaalika bi annal lazeena kafarut taba'ul baatila wa annal lazeena aamanut taba'ul haqqa mir Rabbihim; kazaalika yadribul laahu linnaasi amsaalahum


Those who disbelieve (in the Oneness of Allah, and in the Message of Prophet Muhammad) and hinder (men) from the path of Allah - He will render their deeds in vain.

But those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and believe in that which is sent down to Muhammad - for it is the truth from their Lord - He will remove from them their sins, and will make good their state.

That is because those who disbelieve follow falsehood, while those who believe follow the truth from their Lord. Thus does Allah set forth for mankind their parables.

(Surah Muhammad 47:1-3)

Allah is very clear, that only if you believe full heartedly, will He change your state into a good state. A disbeliever can do as much good as he wants, his deeds will be lost and in vain because Allah renders it so.


What is the ultimate purpose of this kalimah? There are several parts to this answer, namely, we start to understand ourselves, we start to understand our world, we start to take on our role with relation to God, we understand our purpose is to worship God and this ultimately leads to our happiness. This is the only true foundation of happiness. Without it, we will never achieve true happiness as Allah has intended it.


Let us break up this kalimah into its various parts and discuss it more. The first part ‘There is no god’. As human beings we are always looking for answers. We are constantly looking for something greater than ourselves; I know this from my own life. As a Christian, I was always trying to connect with God. This was a hunger that was inside of me and had largely to do with things that were not going right in my life.


I constantly felt that if I could really connect with God that my life would change, perhaps I would be happier. My family might not have understood why I would go from being a Baptist, to being a Catholic and yet be going to spiritual retreats that did not coincide with Catholicism. But that is because they did not have my life experiences, they did not understand my pain, they did not understand this deep yearning inside me that desired change, desired happiness. This I have found and have come to appreciate is not only me, but others have had this same desire. We all just end up looking for it in different places. Only the select few are guided to Islam, the only Truth and this kalimah is the only truth. How fortunate we are to have been guided to this truth, by the One that created us. Allah also explains to us why we are experiencing this great yearning.

Allah says in the Holy Quran:


fa-ʾidhā sawwaytuhū wa-nafakhtu fīhi min rūḥī fa-qaʿū lahū sājidīn


So when I have proportioned him and breathed into him of My spirit, then fall down in prostration before him.’

(Surah Al-Hijr – The Rocky Tract - 15:29)


Allah clearly explains to us that we have the spirit within us that is from Him. This yearning we are experiencing is in actual essence this part of us that wishes to return to Allah. If we are not guided correctly, we look for it (Allah) in places that can never really satisfy it like Allah alone can. We look for it in Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Democracy, Paganism, Atheism, all sorts of different cults and belief systems, none of which can ever help our hearts to find true rest, because as we said in our first reminder, only with the remembrance of Allah will the heart find rest.


So, we have established that we yearn for Allah, because He blew of His spirit into us. Does this then mean that we are gods or part of God or Allah? No. Though we may have divine qualities, it still does not mean that we are gods or even part of Allah. This is again where the kalimah should take firm root into our hearts. ‘There is no god, accept Allah.’ He is One. We do not share in Allah’s divinity. Allah says in the Holy Quran:

Wa iz akhaza Rabbuka mim Baneee Aadama min zuhoorihim zurriyyatahum wa ash hadahum 'alaa anfusihim alastu bi Rabbikum qaaloo balaa shahidnaaa; an taqooloo Yawmal Qiyaamati innaa kunnaa 'an haazaa ghaafileen

And [mention] when your Lord took from the children of Adam - from their loins - their descendants and made them testify of themselves, [saying to them], "Am I not your Lord?" They said, "Yes, we have testified." [This] - lest you should say on the day of Resurrection, "Indeed, we were of this unaware."

(Surah Al-A’raf – The Heights – 7:172)


Here Allah reveals to us at least two things, one being that at the dawn of creation, while we were in the spirit world, Allah called us all and told us that He is our Lord and we all declared this to be true, while the second is clear proof, that all people were informed of Allah and His Lordship over us. This revelation from Allah makes it clear that we are not gods or part of Allah. It establishes a clear distinction that He is the Master and we are His slaves, He is our Lord and we are His servants. This is critical to the kalimah: ‘There is no god, accept Allah’. We can never be god. And unless we accept this, we will not be successful, and not only that, we incur Allah’s displeasure and even His wrath. We as Muslims make this dua at least 17 times per day during our Fard salaah as it is in the Holy Quran:


Ihdinas-Siraatal-Mustaqeem

Siraatal-lazeena an'amta 'alaihim ghayril-maghdoobi 'alaihim wa lad-daaalleen


Guide us on the straight path,

the path of those who have received your grace; not the path of those who have brought down wrath, nor of those who wander astray.

(Surah Fatiha – The Opening – 1:6-7)


We are constantly asking Allah to keep us on the straight path. Those that have earned Allah’s anger are those like the Jews that changed Allah’s words or hid them from men, and those that are astray are the ones that attribute partners and children to Allah, as do the Christians. This all comes back to the kalimah. It must be rooted in our hearts and we must accept it full heartedly and not try and change it to suite us. We must conform, we must surrender. We must surrender to Allah’s will. We must become Muslim.


This idea that we are gods or godlike stems from our nafs, and this from a higher part of our nafs namely the ego. From the example Allah gives us in the Quran of Iblis. When Allah asked the angels to bow down to Adam, he refused. He was arrogant. He thought himself better than Adam, and because of his arrogance, he was one of the disbelievers. He then also became our enemy. While we are on the straight path, he vowed to Allah that he will lay in wait for us. Allah says in the Holy Quran:

Qaala fabimaaa aghway tanee la aq'udanna lahum Siraatakal Mustaqeem

Summa la aatiyannahum mim baine aideehim wa min khalfihim wa 'an aimaanihim wa 'an shamaaa'ilihim wa laa tajidu aksarahum shaakireen

Iblis said: "Because thou hast thrown me out of the way, lo! I will lie in wait for them on thy straight way:

"Then will I assault them from before them and behind them, from their right and their left: Nor wilt thou find, in most of them, gratitude (for thy mercies)."

(Surah Al-A’raf – The Heights 7:16-17)

Further in this Surah, Allah also shows us how these attacks from the enemy manifests:

Fawaswasa lahumash Shaitaanu liyubdiya lahumaa maa wooriya 'anhumaa min saw aatihimaa wa qaala maa nahaakumaa Rabbukumaa 'an haazihish shajarati illaaa an takoonaa malakaini aw takoonaa minal khaalideen

Then began Satan to whisper suggestions to them, bringing openly before their minds all their shame that was hidden from them (before): he said: "Your Lord only forbade you this tree, lest ye should become angels or such beings as live forever."

(Surah Al-A’raf – The Heights 7:20)

So, Allah in His infinite mercy reveals to us that the enemy whispers to us and that he whispers to the base part of us, which is our nafs. With Adam’s fall, it was again the ego that was misled to think that we are like angels or even gods. An important point to note regarding the kalimah and its relation to our nafs and Satan is better explained with the following verse from the Quran:

Qaala fabi'izzatika la ughwiyannahum ajma'een

Illaa 'ibaadaka minhumul mukhlaseen

(Iblis) said: 'Then [I swear] by Your Power that I will put them all in the wrong, - except Your servants amongst them, sincere and purified [by Your grace]'.

(Surah Sad 38:82-83)


Here is an important revelation from Allah, which is critical to the kalimah. It is also here that we must forget all previous ideas of what we understood about God. We must accept that God created both good and evil and that God is in control of both good and evil. Many Christians believe that there is a war between God and Satan. This is a false belief. There is only a war between mankind and Satan and Allah is in control of both of them.


Why did Allah then create Satan and are our nafs evil? The answer is simple. Allah wants to purify us. Imagine that you are a boxer and Satan is your opponent. He knows your weaknesses and will hit hard at them. The only way that you will beat him, is if you acknowledge your weakness and work on improving yourself. This again can only happen when we surrender to the will of Allah. A diamond in the rough must be cleaned and buffed and similarly Satan is in fact there to help polish us, so that we will shine bright.


Our nafs are not evil, but they are prone to incline towards evil. They are also not an unwanted part of our being, but a crucial part to our existence. Our basic nafs forces us to eat, drink, sleep, procreate, while the higher nafs helps us to take care of ourselves – like temper, anger – all things that we need to survive.

It is however important that we do not allow the nafs to dominate our personality. The spirit that is within us, must dominate the nafs. As my teacher says, our nafs must become our trusted steed – our war horse – that we can use to our advantage.


But how are we going to achieve this? This brings us to the second part of the kalimah: ‘There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.’ Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam - peace be upon him) as Allah says, is the only way to achieve purification:


Laqad kaana lakum fee Rasoolil laahi uswatun hasanatul liman kaana yarjul laaha wal yawmal Aakhira wa azkaral laaha kaseeraa


Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.

(Surah Al-Ahzab – The Combined Forces – 33:21)


Here Allah combines the keys to success. Only through us following Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam - peace be upon him) and through the remembrance of Allah, will we be able to surrender to the will of Allah and achieve happiness and success.


If our ego is what stands in our way, the goal is then that we must die before we die. We must let go of doing things our way, and let ourselves be molded and guided by Mohammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam - peace be upon him). There are two hadiths that emphasis this.


Narrated Anas: The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said "None of you will have faith till he loves me more than his father, his children and all mankind." (Bukhari)


Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Hisham: We were with the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and he was holding the hand of `Umar bin Al-Khattab. `Umar said to Him, "O Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)!You are dearer to me than everything except my own self." The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, "No, by Him in Whose Hand my soul is, (you will not have complete faith) till I am dearer to you than your own self." Then `Umar said to him, "However, now, by Allah, you are dearer to me than my own self." The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, "Now, O `Umar, (now you are a believer). (Bukhari)


In my experience, learning to love Mohammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam – peace be upon him) has been a continuous process. Do I love him as he deserves to be loved? I would lie if I said yes. I loved Jesus (peace be upon him), this I can say with truth. Was it hard for me to now change from loving Jesus (peace be upon him), to start and love Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam – peace be upon him). Yes. As I sit and write this, my eyes tear up and I feel my heart soften up, because I am being sincere when I tell you, that as much as I loved Jesus (peace be upon him), I am more glad that Allah guided me to Mohammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam – peace be upon him). And I am glad that He guided you to him as well. My life has changed drastically since Islam. I am so much more comfortable in my own skin and I am finally becoming a more authentic person. I have become more content with the way things are in my life.


When people from my past see me know, they say they do not recognize me anymore. And I always thought, but I am still the same person. And yes, that is true, I am still the same person, but what was inside me has now been allowed to manifest more in my personality and others can see. I am stronger than I was and am growing stronger every day. This is part of what this kalimah does; you start a process of self-realisation. All the grief, pain, sorrow and never ending difficulties start to make sense and disappear or become bearable because you finally understand why it is like that.

We should not feel bad that we do not have the same devotion as some have towards the Beloved of Allah. We should rather take courage and solace in knowing that we have a blank slate and that we can get to know him. And then we can become of those that love him. Not only in words, but through our actions.

We get to know him by studying his life. All the things that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam – peace be upon him) went through in his life, is an example for us. They are not mere stories of the past, they are relevant to us today. We are fighting the battle of Badr today; we are in the battle of Uhud today. Only through the example of Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam – peace be upon him) will we know how to deal with these battles. And Just as the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam – peace be upon him) said, the greatest battle is the one against ourselves. Only with his example will we be successful.

So by following the sunnah of Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam – peace be upon him) and by reading both authentic hadith, will we learn to love Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam – peace be upon him).

Did you ever ponder to think that you today are Muslim only because of him, through the mercy of Allah?

I make dua that this reminder has been beneficial to you.

May Allah make us of those that will love Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam – peace be upon him) as he deserves to be loved, and may Allah grant us all nearness to Him and to His Beloved, now and more so in the Hereafter.

Your friend

Khaleel

PS: I still love Jesus and still cherish the lessons he has taught me. The only difference is that whatever I learnt that is contrary to the teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah, I have rejected and believe no more. So too you can love Jesus and wait for his return. He is indeed the Messiah and he will destroy the false messiah.



References:


http://ahadith.co.uk/chapter.php?cid=3

https://sunnah.com/bukhari/2/8

https://sunnah.com/urn/62370

https://www.quran411.com/

http://www.virtualmosque.com/islam-studies/prophet-muhammad/loving-the-messenger-%EF%B7%BA-peace-be-upon-him-above-all-else/




Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Aaheem

(In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful)



Salaah – Remembrance of Allah


The most important act after your acceptance and full submission to the kalimah tayyibah is your salaah.


Hurayth ibn Qubaysah narrated that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “The first thing for which a person will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection will be his prayer. If it is sound, he will be successful, and if it is lacking in any way, he will be doomed. If his obligatory prayers are lacking, the Lord will say: “Look and see whether My slave has any voluntary prayers which may be used to make up what is lacking in his obligatory prayers.” Then all his deeds will be examined and dealt with in the same way.’”

(Sunan al-Tirmidhi)


This should stress to us how very important this act of worship is in the eyes of Allah and it is therefore obligatory upon us to do our best to do it properly and regularly, without it becoming a burden upon us that we simply want to get done, but rather something that we will guard and cherish and look forward to because it is a precious gift that Allah has bestowed upon us. There are many benefits to the salaah, of which the most important is the remembrance of Allah which will lead to His pleasure and our ultimate success. Salaah is a means for us to invoke Allah, to develop a connection with Him.


Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “The servant is nearest to his Lord during prostration, so increase your supplications therein.” (Sahih Muslim)


This makes salaah different to any other forms of prayer, because it is only in sujood, when we humble ourselves willingly, submitting ourselves to the will of Allah by bowing with our foreheads on the ground, that we achieve this nearness to Allah. It is a gift like no other and it is only for the Muslim believer.


Another benefit of salaah is that we increase in taqwa: fear and consciousness of Allah. Fear not merely that we might be punished, but rather fear of disappointing Allah. This consciousness is only achieved when we remember Allah, and is maintained and taken care of only through consistent salaah.


Salaah protects us from the promptings of Shaytan and also prevents us from doing wrong as Allah says in the Holy Quran:


Innamaa yureedush Shaitaanu ai yooqi'a bainakumul 'adaawata wal baghdaaa'a fil khamri wal maisiri wa yasuddakum 'an zikril laahi wa 'anis Salaati fahal antum muntahoon


Satan only wants to cause between you animosity and hatred through intoxicants and gambling and to avert you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. So will you not desist?

(Surah Al-Maidah – The Table Spread - 5:91)


Utlu maaa oohiya ilaika minal Kitaabi wa aqimis Salaata innas Salaata tanhaa 'anil fahshaaa'i wal munkar; wa lazikrul laahi akbar; wal laahu ya'lamu maa tasna'oon


Recite, [O Muhammad], what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do.

(Surah Al-Ankabut – The Spider - 29:45)


It is clear that there is no greater thing after the remembrance of Allah than our salaah. It is therefore vital that we should establish it and perform it to the best of our ability all the time. Allah repeatedly says in the Holy Quran that we must establish prayer as is the case in verse 29:45.


What does it mean to establish prayer? There are many aspects to it and they can be summarised, but is not limited, to the following:


  • to perform it out of faith, devotion, love and fear of Allah;

  • a commitment to be regular and consistent;

  • to perform it with heedfulness and consciousness; and

  • it should not become a routine, but something that requires physical and spiritual preparation.


This last point denotes the importance of preparing the outer body and the inner spirit. Preparing the outer body means to be physically clean and to be in a state of wudhu, to wear clean and modest clothing and to perform salaah in a clean and tranquil space. Preparing the inner spirit means to bring ourselves to remember Allah and to be conscious of Him before, during and after the salaah. When preparing for and during salaah, we must do our best to focus on Allah and not be doing it out of habit or do it lazily. Allah says in the Holy Quran:

Wa maa mana'ahum an tuqbala minhum nafaqaatuhum illaaa annnahum kafaroo billaahi wa bi Rasoolihee wa laa yaatoonas Salaata illaa wa hum kusaalaa wa laa yunfiqoona illaa wa hum kaarihoon


And nothing prevents their Sadaqah from being accepted from them, except that they disbelieve in Allah and in His Messenger, and that they do not come to Salah except in a lazy manner, and that they do not give Sadaqah except unwillingly.”

(Surah At-Taubah – Repentance - 9:54)


Allah is clear that if we are heedless of our salaah that it leads to it not being accepted and therefore the salaah is merely a physical exercise that has no real benefits. More than that, according to Imaam Ahmad, The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: "The worst type of thief is the one who steals from his prayer." The people asked, "O Messenger of Allah, how can a person steal from his prayer?" He said: "By not doing rukoo' and sujood properly." (Saheeh al-Jaami)


So not only do we need to come to salaah out of love and devotion for Allah, but we must do our best to do it according to the way Mohammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) showed us how to perform it.


Another reminder for us is that we must do the salaah on time.

Narated by ‘Abdullah - I asked the Prophet "Which deed is the dearest to Allah?" He replied, "To offer the prayers at their early stated fixed times." I asked, "What is the next (in goodness)?" He replied, "To be good and dutiful to your parents" I again asked, "What is the next (in goodness)?" He replied, 'To participate in Jihad (religious fighting) in Allah's cause." 'Abdullah added, "I asked only that much and if I had asked more, the Prophet would have told me more." (Sahih Bukhari)


The salaah time has a beginning and an end and it is something that is alive during that time only. It is most potent right at the beginning and it wears off towards the end. If we want to gain the most benefit from it, we must do it on time.


Just as we should not delay the salaah, we can also not force the salaah to be earlier. Here we come back to our analogy of the tree. In order for our imaan to grow and for the kalimah to really become firm in our hearts, we must nourish it, just like a tree needs to be nourished. We must nourish it regularly and at specific times when it needs nourishment. These necessary times are the five times of our obligatory prayers in the proportions that Allah has given: 2x4x4x3x4. This is like the composition of compost that the tree needs to grow up balanced and good.



The more consistent we are with our salaah, the more our personalities will grow and we increase in purity by the mercy and blessings of Allah.


Abu Huraira narrated - I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "If there was a river at the door of anyone of you and he took a bath in it five times a day would you notice any dirt on him?" They said, "Not a trace of dirt would be left." The Prophet added, "That is the example of the five prayers with which Allah blots out (annuls) evil deeds." (Sahih Bukhari)


May Allah make us of those that will love to establish salaah out of love and devotion for Him. May He accept all our salaah and may He perfect it for us so that we will be of those that are successful, aameen.


I pray that Allah will grant you nearness to Him and to His Beloved now and more so in the Hereafter.


Your friend


Khaleel



Special considerations for salaah that may benefit you.


*Salaah while traveling


When you travel more than 77km from your hometown and you do not intend to stay there for more than 15 days or more, then you are a traveler – musafir.

Once you are declared a traveler, you may offer Qasr salah of the musafir.

This means that you may shorten the dhur, asr and isha salaah to two rakaats each.

It is important to note that your intention here is important. If you do not intend to stay at a certain place for 15 days or more, you remain a musafir. If you however intend to stay for more than 15 days, you are no longer a musafir.


**Traveller - Combining salaah


It is also permissible for a traveler to combine the dhur with asr and the maghrieb with isha. This is known as Jam salaah.


There is Jam’u taqdim which is combination in advance:


Dhur and asr at time of dhur

Maghrieb and isha at time of maghrieb


Then there is Jam’u ta’khir which is delayed combination:


Dhur and asr at time of asr

Maghrieb and isha at time of isha.


You can perform the full 4 rakaats of dhur, asr and isha or reduce each to two.


***Salaah in congregation compared to salaah alone


The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “If people knew the reward in praying Fajr and Isha in congregation, they would go to the mosque even if they had to crawl.” (Bukhari & Muslim)


He (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) also said, “Prayer in congregation is superior to prayer alone by twenty seven degrees.” (Bukhari & Muslim)


****Salaah standing, sitting and lying down


Narrated by Imran bin Husain

(Who had piles) I asked the Prophet about the prayer. He said, "Pray while standing and if you can't, pray while sitting and if you cannot do even that, then pray lying on your side." (Sahih Bukhari)


Narrated by Abdullah bin Buraida

Imran bin Husain had piles. Once Abu Ma mar narrated from 'Imran bin Husain had said, "I asked the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) about the prayer of a person while sitting. He said, 'It is better for one to pray standing; and whoever prays sitting gets half the reward of that who prays while standing; and whoever prays while Lying gets half the reward of that who prays while sitting.'” (Sahih Bukhari)


*****Masah (wiping of socks) during wudhu


You may after normal wudhu, put on socks and keep wearing those socks for 24 hours without having to wash your feet (during wudhu) again. When taking wudhu, simply wipe the wet hands over the socks. These socks should preferably be put on after the fajr wudhu. There is many debate about this, so do research and make your decision. Allah knows best.


******Jumuah


Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “On the day of Jummah, the angels stand at the entrance of that masjid in which Jumuah salat is to be offered. They write down the name of the person who enters the masjid first, and thereafter the name of the person who follows, and they continue doing this. The person who entered first will receive the reward of sacrificing a camel in the path of Allah; the one who followed him will get the reward of sacrificing a cow, thereafter a chicken, thereafter the reward of giving an egg as charity in the path of Allah. Once the khutbah commences, the angels close the register and begin listening to the khutbah.”

(Bukhari and Muslim)


The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, "Whoever takes a bath on Friday, purifies himself as much as he can, then uses his (hair) oil or perfumes himself with the scent of his house, then proceeds (for the Jumuah prayer) and does not separate two persons sitting together (in the mosque), then prays as much as (Allah has) written for him and then remains silent while the Imam is delivering the khutbah, his sins in-between the present and the last Friday would be forgiven." (Sahih Bukhari)


*******Greeting the mosque - Tahiyyat al-masjid


Abu Qataadah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “When one of you enters the mosque, let him not sit down until he has prayed two rak‘ahs.”

(Bukhari)



References:


http://aboutislam.net/shariah/contemporary-issues/to-perform-or-to-establish-prayers/

http://hadithaday.org/important-actions/the-first-act-you-will-be-asked-about/

http://www.quranreading.com/blog/importance-of-salah-prayer-according-to-the-holy-quran/

http://www.irfi.org/articles3/articles_4301_4400/stealing%20in%20prayerhtml.htm

https://www.quran411.com/

https://www.sahih-bukhari.com/Pages/Bukhari_1_10.php

http://www.livingislam.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=753%3Athe-salaah-of-the-traveller&catid=73%3Asalaah&Itemid=537&showall=1

https://islamqa.org/hanafi/qibla-hanafi/42702

http://1loveislam.com/10-facts-about-jummah/



Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Aaheem

(In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful)



Zakah – Purification


Zakah is the third pillar of Islam and it is obligatory upon every Muslim. Everything in Islam is a blessing and so too is zakah. It is a blessing for the one who gives it and for the one that receives it. For the one who gives zakah, Allah promises His mercy as He says in the Holy Quran:

Waktub lanaa fee haazi hid dunyaa hasanatanw wa fil Aakhirati innnaa hudnaaa ilaik; qaala 'azaabee useebu bihee man ashaaa'u wa rahmatee wasi'at kulla shai'; fasa aktubuhaa lillazeena yattaqoona wa yu'toonaz Zakaata wallazeena hum bi Aayaatinaa yu'minoon


And decree for us in this world [that which is] good and [also] in the Hereafter; indeed, we have turned back to You." [ Allah ] said, "My punishment - I afflict with it whom I will, but My mercy encompasses all things." So I will decree it [especially] for those who fear Me and give zakah and those who believe in Our verses

(Surah Al-A’raf – The Heights or The Wall with Elevations – 7:156)


Not only do we get the promise of Allah’s mercy, but it is a means of purification and growth for us. It removes greed and selfishness from our hearts. It should never be seen as a burden, but rather as an opportunity for an increase in the blessings from Allah. My teacher told me that a shaykh taught that we should see ourselves as a cup in a river that flows continuously. If the cup gets full and is never emptied, it will remain with what it had. So our growth is stunted. But if it is emptied, it will be refilled. So we grow. So are the blessings from giving charity and specifically zakat. If we give from what we have, Allah will give us more. More and more blessings are added to us. So whenever you give it, you are the one that benefits as well as the one that receives it from you. This makes us a source of happiness for our community.


If we refer back to the good word that is like a good tree: when we give zakah, we grow in our faith more.



We grow stronger and we strife more in the cause of Allah. Just like the tree’s branches reach high into the skies and provide shade and produce good fruits, so we become shade for those in need. We help to uplift those tested with poverty. The fruit we bear not only adds sweetness to their lives, but is sweetness for our hearts, as it increases our awareness of Allah. This is what makes zakat different to other charities, it is done with the remembrance of Allah; if we remember Him, He remembers us.


Zakat must be carefully calculated, must be given on time and is meant for specific people, as Allah mentions in the Holy Quran:

Innamas sadaqaatu lilfuqaraaa'i walmasaakeeni wal 'aamileena 'alaihaa wal mu'al lafati quloobuhum wa fir riqaabi walghaarimeena wa fee sabeelil laahi wabnis sabeeli fareedatam minal laah; wal laahu 'Aleemun Hakeem


Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakah] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler - an obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.

(Surah At-Taubah – The Repentance – 9:60)


May Allah keep on increasing our faith and may He purify us. May we become a benefit to our society and by that gain the pleasure of Allah and may He look upon us with His grace.


I make dua that Allah will grant you goodness in this life and more so in the Hereafter. May you be granted nearness to Allah and to His Beloved.


Your friend


Khaleel.




References:


http://pakistanlink.org/Religion/2013/09272013.htm

https://www.quran411.com/

https://quran.com/



Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Aaheem

(In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful)



Sawm (Fasting) – Self-restraint


Allah says in the Holy Quran:


Yaa ayyuhal lazeena aamanoo kutiba 'alaikumus Siyaamu kamaa kutiba 'alal lazeena min qablikum la'allakum tattaqoon


O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you that you may become righteous.

(Surah Al-Baqarah – The Cow – 2:183)


From this it is clear that fasting is not only a physical act of worship whereby we abstain from food, drink and sexual activity, but Allah means to purify us to be of the righteous. When we are fasting, one of the goals is to develop taqwa, Allah consciousness or fear of Allah. As always, this fear should rather be seen as fear of gaining the displeasure of Allah. When we fast our true selves are revealed. The body (the nafs) wants water, desires food and all sorts of pleasures, and when we fast, we deny it of this. This may result in us becoming agitated, moody, easily angered and we might do things that we do not normally do when not fasting. Thus one of the goals of fasting is to gain control over the nafs: to curb our physical desires, to control our thoughts and emotions. As we said before, the nafs are not something that is evil, but it is prone to evil. When we fast, we train the nafs and it becomes the trusted steed (war horse) we can rely on. Fasting thus helps the ruh (the soul) to dominate the personality instead of the nafs. When the ruh is in control of the human personality, we have good character, we have good manners, we are patient and our thoughts and heart are pure. These are the deeper inner blessings of fasting.

Uthman ibn Abi Al-‘As reported: The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu alaihi wasallam, said: Fasting is a shield from the Hellfire just like the shield of any of you in battle. [Sahih Sunan Ibn Majah 1639].


The Prophet, sallallahu alaihi wasallam, further says, as reported by Jabir: The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu alaihi wasallam, said: Verily, Allah has people He redeems at the time of breaking fast, and that is during every night. [Sahih Sunan Ibn Majah 1643].


Allah redeems means that He literally removes people from the hellfire. This is the blessings that come with fasting.


What makes fasting different to all other forms of worship is better understood in the following:


It is narrated from the Prophet of Islam (sallallahu alaihi wasallam): “The Almighty Allah says: ‘For every good deed there are ten to seven hundred times rewards, save fasting. For fasting is for Me and I am the reward of it.’” [Muhsen al-Kashani, al-Mahajjatul-Baydha, vol.2 p121]


In other narrations the wording is a bit different as Al-Bukhari (1761) and Muslim (1946) narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu alaihi wasallam, said: “Allah said: ‘Every deed of the son of Adam is for him except fasting; it is for Me and I shall reward for it…’”


There are many interpretations for this, for example that fasting is usually that others are not aware that you are fasting, unless you tell them you are fasting. There is thus less chance for show off as may result from other forms of worship, like salaah and hajj. Irrespective of what is the real meaning of what is said by the Prophet, sallallahu alaihi wasallam, it is clear that Allah sees it in high regard and will personally reward you for it.


This is also more emphasized by the Prophet, sallallahu alaihi wasallam, as reported by Abu Umamah: I said, “O Messenger of Allah, tell me a deed to do.” The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu alaihi wasallam, said: “You must fast, for there is nothing equal to it.” [ Sahih Sunan al-Nasai 2223]


It is important to note that fasting without it being sincerely for the sake of Allah is only starving and Allah has no need for your starving. Fasting for the sake of Allah means to really avoid all things Allah has forbidden and to really try and control our thoughts and desires as we said before.


Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu alaihi wasallam, said: “Whoever does not give up false speech and evil deeds while fasting, then Allah is not in need of his leaving food and drink”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari 1804]


In another narration, the Prophet, sallallahu alaihi wasallam, said: “A person might fast and he gets nothing from his fast but hunger”.


It is clear from this that when we fast we should really try and avoid all that is not consistent with good character, if we want to gain the true blessings of it from Allah. As with everything in Islam, we can only achieve this, if our intention is pure – for the sake of Allah.


Umar Ibn Al-Khattab relates that he heard the Messenger of God, sallallahu alaihi wasallam, say: “Actions are but by intention and every man shall have but that which he intended.

Thus he whose migration was for Allah and His messenger, his migration was for Allah and His messenger, and he whose migration was to achieve some worldly benefit or to take some woman in marriage, his migration was for that for which he migrated.” [Bukhari and Muslim]


Only when fasting for the sake of Allah, will we thus get Allah. Fasting is also there for us to develop more compassion for those in our community that are tested by poverty. When we feel the hunger pains and thirst for a few hours, we get to experience what others go through for most of their day. It should really instill in us the desire to help more, to give more for their upliftment.


Coming back to our tree, not only does the fasting make our faith and taqwa stronger, we become shields and shade for those in need.



We should therefore increase our sadaqah (voluntary charity) and make sure that our zakat is paid on time and in full. A good time to pay zakat is also during the month of Ramadaan, the month in which we are ordained by Allah to fast. A condition of our fast being accepted during this month is also that we pay sadaqah of fitr.


There is much more to say of fasting, but I hope that what I have shared here with you will benefit you. I will end of by saying that there is a special dua at the end of every fast that Allah promises to accept. Make the most of this dua and make every effort to remember it always.


It was narrated from Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Three prayers are not rejected: the prayer of a father, the prayer of a fasting person, and the prayer of a traveler.” Narrated by al-Bayhaqi [Sahih al-Albaani 1797]

May Allah accept all you do and may you be granted nearness to Him and to His Beloved.


Your friend


Khaleel


PS: The Prophet, sallallahu alaihi wasallam, fasted Mondays and Thursdays and also advised fasting on the three days of the full moon.




More regarding fasting


Fasting the six days after Ramadaan is like fasting one whole year:


The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) explained this when he said: "Whoever fasts for six days after ('Eid) Al-Fitr has completed the year: (whoever does a good deed (hasanah) will have ten hasanah like it)." According to another report: "Allah has made for each hasanah ten like it, so a month is like fasting ten months, and fasting six days completes the year." [An-Nisa'i and Ibn Majah. See also Sahih at-Targhib wa't-Tarhib, 1/421).


It was also narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah with the wording: "Fasting for the month of Ramadan brings the reward of ten like it, and fasting for six days brings the reward of two months, and that is the fasting of the whole year."


Duas for fasting


Beginning fast:


Wa bisawmi ghadinn nawaiytu min shahri Ramadan


I intend to keep the fast for tomorrow in the month of Ramadan


Or


Nawaitu sauma ghadin anadai fardu syahri ramadhana hadzihissanati lillahitaala


I intend to do obligatory fast tomorrow in the month of Ramadan this year because of Allah


Ending fast:


Allahumma inni laka sumtu wa bika aamantu wa alayka tawakkaltu wa ala rizq-ika-aftartu


O Allah! I fasted for You and I believe in You and I put my trust in You and I break my fast with Your sustenance


Sunnahs of fasting


It is Sunnah if someone insults you to respond in a better manner and say, “I am fasting,” because of the report narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Fasting is a shield or protection so there should be no obscene or offensive talk or behaviour. If a person fights him or insults him, let him say, ‘I am fasting,’ twice. By the One in Whose hand is my soul, the smell coming from the mouth of the fasting person is better before Allah then the fragrance of musk. [Allah says:] ‘He gives up his food, drink and desire for My sake. Fasting is for Me and I will reward for it, and a good deed receives the reward of ten like it.’” Al-Bukhari, no. 1894; Muslim, 1151.


It is Sunnah for the fasting person to eat suhoor, because it was proven in al-Saheehayn that Anas ibn Maalik (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Eat suhoor for in suhoor there is blessing.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1923; Muslim, 1059).


It is Sunnah to delay suhoor because of the report narrated by al-Bukhari from Anas from Zayd ibn Thaabit (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: “We ate suhoor with the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), then he got up to pray.” I said: “How much time was there between the adhaan and suhoor?” He said: “The time it takes to recite fifty verses.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari, 1921).


It is Sunnah to hasten to break the fast because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The people will continue to be fine so long as they hasten to break the fast.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari, 1957; Muslim, 1098). See also question no. 49716)


It is Sunnah to break the fast with fresh dates; if none are available then with dry dates; if none are available then with water – because of the hadeeth of Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to break his fast with fresh dates before praying; if there were no (fresh dates) then with dry dates, and if there were no (dried dates) then he would take a few sips of water.



References:


https://www.quran411.com/

https://www.islamicity.org/11682/the-purpose-of-fasting-in-islam/

https://www.islamicity.org/6045/dua-prayer-of-fasting/

http://www.lastprophet.info/the-fast-of-the-prophet

https://islamqa.info/en/39462

http://sunnahonline.com/library/hajj-umrah-and-the-islamic-calendar/322-fasting-the-six-days-of-shawwal



Here is a diagram that shows how all the pillars of Islam impacts the personality:




May Allah reward you abundantly.


Thank you for reading.


Your friend


Khaleel



As Allah wills

35



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