My Lord! Increase me in knowledge

Archive for October 2010

I have been a  fan of zenhabits – a blog about making life simple and focusing on what’s important. While there are many people working on simplifying their life who write articles and have blogs, this guy (Leo Babauta) writes the best stuff. Its easy to read, effective and his blog is one of the Top 25 blogs of the world!

I myself have been inspired by many of his articles and another book of his called “the power of less”.  I actually started making changes in my life basically reducing distractions and focusing on things I want to do in my life, and it’s going goooood so far (btw, quitting facebook was one of them :D..I will post about my personal story later in details)

Anyhow….I would recommend everyone to read these tips and try atleast a few of them: http://zenhabits.net/simple-living-manifesto-72-ideas-to-simplify-your-life/

Since, this blog is about spiritual improvement, simplifying life is one of theeee most important things in attaining a better spiritual level. Honestly, I wanted to write about all these things myself, but since such an article is already available, I thought I’d just direct you guyz to it. Enjoy 🙂

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The Illustrious Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jillani ( RA) said this in his third discourse regarding the removal of the worldly cares:

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is reported as having said: “Part of the excellence of a man’s Islam is paying no attention to that which does not concern him.

To busy oneself with that which is irrelevant is the distraction of idle fools.  Deprived of the good pleasure of his Master [Mawla] is he who fails to put into practice what He commands, and who occupies himself with things he has not been instructed to deal with.  This is deprivation its very self, death its very self and banishment its very self.

O young man!  You must carry out the commandments and observe the prohibitions [laid down by your Lord].  Make sure that you are fully in compliance [with the sacred law], then place yourself in the hand of destiny [qadar] without asking ‘why?’ and without asking ‘how?’  It is far better for you to be looked after by Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), with His knowledge of you, than for you to be looking after yourself, with your ignorance of your Lord.  Be satisfied with what He has given you.  try to be grateful for it and do not ask him for more, since you do not recognize the best part of what you have already.

Abstinence [zuhd] is what gives comfort to the hearts of obedient abstainers.  the burden of abstinence is borne by the physical constitution.  the burden of intimate knowledge [ma’rifa] is borne by the heart.  the burden of nearness [to the Lord] is borne by the innermost being [sirr].  Be abstinent, be satisfied, and be grateful.  Be pleased with your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), and do not be pleased with yourself.  Think well of other people.  Give up thinking the worst of other people, and do not hold a high opinion of yourself.  Refrain from gratifying the desires of the flesh, for the effects of such restraint are healing and purifying to the heart.  to satisfy one’s appetite for lawful food [halal] is quite enough to blur the perception of the heart and render it intoxicated, so how about the influence of food that is actually unlawful[haram]?  This explains the following saying of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace):

The right diet is the main part of all medical treatment [al-‘imya ra’su ‘d-dawa’].

You must accustom every physical body to what is normal for it, since in these three [Arabic] words the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was making a collective statement applicable to all bodies.  Gluttony [bitna] extinguishes perspicacity [fitna], the lamp of wisdom [misbah al-hikma] and the light of sainthood [nur al-wilaya].   As long as you are still attached to this world and to your fellow creatures, you must keep to the proper diet, because you are in the hospital [maridistan].  But once your heart has attained to the Lord of truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), the matter will be in His hands.  He will take charge of you completely, while you will be out of a job.  How could He fail to take you into His care, when you have become worthy of Him?  As He has said (Almighty and Glorious is He):

[Say:]  “My Protecting Friend is Allah, who has revealed the Book, and He befriends the righteous.” (7:196)

O young man!   You must not be alarmed about the fact that destiny’s decree [qadar] is sure to come into effect.  there is no one who can turn it back, and there is no one who can avert it.  Everything that has been preordained [maqdi] will come into being, without regard for those who may like it or for those who may find it displeasing.

Your involvement in this world requires that you have a righteous intention [niyya saliha], otherwise you deserve to be viewed with disgust.  In all your affairs and undertakings you must say:  “There is no power, nor is there any strength, except through Allah, the High, the Almighty.”  You should set aside one hour for your worldly interests, one hour for your interest in the hereafter, one hour for your personal concerns, and one hour for the benefit of your family, then dedicate all the remaining hours to your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He).  You must concentrate first of all on the cleanliness [tahara] of your heart, for this is an obligatory duty [farida].  Then turn your attention to deeper knowledge [ma’rifa].  If you miss the root, your preoccupation with the branch will not be accepted of you.  there is no benefit in cleanliness of the physical parts of the body combined with defilement of the heart.  You must cleanse your physical limbs and organs by following the Sunna, and your heart by putting the Qur’an into practice.  Take care of your heart, so that your physical body will be taken care of.  Every vessel exudes its own contents.  Whatever is in your heart will ooze out from you through your physical parts.

You must always be humble, for whenever you behave with humility, you will be purified, enhanced and raised to a higher spiritual plane.  If you do not conduct yourself with humility, on the other hand, it can only mean that you are ignorant of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), His Messengers [rusul] and His saints [awliya’], His law [hukm], His knowledge [‘ilm], His destiny [qadar] and His power [qudra], in the sphere of this world and also in the realm of the hereafter.

How often do you listen without understanding what you hear, without putting it into practice, and without even making a sincere effort to pay attention?  So why do you come here at all?  Your presence and your absence are one and the same!  When you come to be with me here, but with no intention of acting on what I have to say, you are merely being a nuisance to the other people present.  As long as you are stuck there in your place of business, you feel depressed because your plans have not been working out, but then you come here to me and your depression leaves you.  It is replaced by a sense of euphoria.  You listen, but it is as if you had not heard.

O you who own so much property, forget about your property!  Come and sit here, in the midst of the poor [fuqara’].  Be humble in the presence of Allah and in their presence.  O you who possess such a noble pedigree [nasab], forget about your pedigree and come here!  the genuinely noble pedigree is devotion to righteousness [taqwa].  Somebody once asked the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace):  “Who are the members of your family, O Muhammad?”  He replied (Allah bless him and give him peace) by saying:

Every dutiful believer belongs to the family of Muhammad [kullu taqiyyin alu Muhammadin].


Article Posted by Osama Ansari. Please comment and share your views/experiences related to the topic. To share or recommend a topic or article, email at readforsoul@gmail.com.

May God Reward You. Peace be upon You.

1. Deal with all urgent matters which may distract you in your prayer. If you need to go to the washroom, or you are feeling hungry, deal with these issues first. Pray with a fresh mind. If you have been feeling lazy, take a walk first, workout, brush your teeth (is a sunnah too), put a pleasant smell. Show that you care and are willing to work on it, and If God wills, he will elevate the level of concentration in you prayers.

2. Get away from distractions. Get away from your cell phone for a few minutes. If there are people talking in your room, go to another room or a corner of your home where there is no noise. Work on the quality of prayers first before quantity of prayers. Recognize the value of Prayer, you are connecting with GOD!

3. Don’t let prayer become stale and a boring burden that you just perform like other duties in your routine. Be creative; Try to pray in different places in your house, visit different mosques, recite different chapters in prayer..  Do other good deeds that soften the heart, give charities, get involved in community service, meditate in silence upon yourself, your life, the creations and wonders of God…

4. Recite slowly and understand what you are saying. Ask yourself if you know the meaning of all what you recite while standing, bowing, prostrating, sitting and in between each action. If you can’t understand Arabic, read the meanings of the chapters you usually recite first. Then, when you recite verses in prayer, recall their meanings, ponder upon them, and take lessons from them. This will also help you visualize the verses while in prayer which is helpful. Would you ever like someone beloved to you say words of love and praise you without even meaning them. Then how can you keep on reciting the words of God for God without even caring to know what they mean?

5. Pray like it’s your last prayer. When praying, Imagine that the angel of death is waiting for you to complete and then he will take your soul and depart. Think like, its your last chance to say praise God, ask for forgiveness and testify your faith. After this, You will have to meet God and will leave this temporary life forever. All your pains, troubles, attachments, achievements are not going to come with you.

Please comment and share your views/experiences related to the topic. To share or recommend a topic or article, email at readforsoul@gmail.com.

Peace!

My friend farhan recommended me this video and asked me to take information from it for the next post. But, i found there was alot of information here to put it in words. So, i thought i’d just post the video as it will best to watch it. (plus there is a little bit of humor which would be missed if i wrote it :))

I disapprove of calling myself(with it comes to religion) anything other than “Muslim”. Some of my methods are more like sunnis, in some cases i am more like shias, some of my thoughts match those of sufis. But this doesnt mean, i have to associate myself with a sect. I respect and consider everyone under the umbrella of Islam who believes in God and worships none except him, believes in the books, the prophets, the day of judgement, Paradise and Hell.


Because the moment i say “i am a sunni/shia etc..” i am affirming the making of sects in religion which is prohibited. Lets look at the verses from Quran related to this


And hold fast, all together by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah’s favour on you; for you were enemies and He joined your hearts in love so that by His Grace, you became brethren; and you were on the brink of the pit of fire, and He saved you from it. Thus doth Allah make his signs clear to you: that you may be guided.” (Chapter3, Verse 103)


“The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah–that which We have sent by inspiration to thee–and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: namely, that you should remain steadfast in Religion, and make no divisions therein: to those who worship other things than Allah, hard is the (way) to which you call them. Allah chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn (to Him).” (Chapter 42, Verse 13)


“As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects, you have no part in them in the least: their affair is with Allah. He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did.
And verily this Ummah of yours is One Ummah  and I am your Lord and Cherisher: therefore fear Me (and no other).  But people have cut off their affair (of unity), between them, into sects: each party rejoices in that which is with itself.”
(Chapter 6, Verse 159)


An example of how i view different sects – Imagine if there are three doctors, one graduating out of Harvard, one from Oxford, one from Cambridge university. How stupid would it look, if they all call themselves “Harvardi”, “Oxfordi”, “Cambridgey” instead of calling themselves Doctors?

Religion is very simple, people make it complicated, out of lack of knowledge and ignorance. Stop stereotyping! There are extremists and ignorant people in every group. Just don’t judge a group based on the actions of few. Prejudice is one major reasons for segregation and divisions. Here are a few article with a little more details on Prejudice and Backbiting.

And God knows Best.

Peace!

Wealth or Worldly possessions cannot guarantee happiness

Recall a time in your life when you wanted something very badly. Did you get it? If yes, did that give you complete satisfaction? Did you not want anything more after that? And you will learn that we have no limit to worldly desires. That’s our nature. That is how humans are. As God says in that Quran..

“Beautified for men is the love of things they covet; women, children, much of gold and silver (wealth), branded beautiful horses, cattle and well-tilled land. This is the pleasure of the present world’s life; but God has the excellent return (Paradise) with Him” (Chapter 3, Verse 14)

And as we learn from hadith..

Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah’s Apostle said, “If Adam’s son had a valley full of gold, he would like to have two valleys, for nothing fills his mouth except dust. And Allah forgives him who repents to Him.” (Volume 8, Book 76, Number 447)

Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah’s Apostle said, “The son of Adam (i.e. man) grows old and so also two (desires) grow old with him, i.e., love for wealth and (a wish for) a long life.” (Abu Dawud, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 430)

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “Riches does not mean, having a great amount of property, but riches is self-contentment.” (Abu Dawud, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 453)

The value of Time & Health

As we work hard all our life trying to achieve our dreams, there is something that we lose – that is time and health. Both of these are even greater blessings than money. If you take a moment, analyze yourselves and calculate how much time you spend daily on different activities, you will find that there is lot of time wasted on useless things. Spend time just like you spend your money. Imagine this, if the world’s richest man had only 1 hour more to live, would he be still happy rejoicing in his wealth? His wealth would have no value for him.

An interesting saying of the prophet related to this.

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: The Prophet said, “There are two blessings which many people lose: (They are) Health and free time for doing good.” (Abu Dawud, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 421)

A small chapter of Quran “At-takathur” which basically talks about how people spend their whole lives gaining wealth, worldly pleasures, position, power that they were unmindful of God and have no time to do good deeds. They take pride over their wealth and boast about it. They remain in this “rat-race” all their life until they reach their graves.

The mutual rivalry for piling up (the good things of this world) diverts you (from the more serious things), Until you visit the graves. But no, you soon shall know (the reality). Again, you soon shall know! No, were you to know with certainty of mind, (You would beware!) Ye shall certainly see Hell Fire! Again, you shall see it with certainty of sight! Then shall you be Questioned that Day about the joy (you indulged in)! (Quran, Chapter 102, Verses 1-8)

For a detailed tafsir(commentary) of this Chapter, i found a very good article http://www.islamic-life.com/forums/tafsir-sciences-quran/surah-takathur-miracle-dream-tafseer-nouman-ali-khan-3154

So what do we do?

This doesn’t mean that we stop earning money and hate every material thing around us. We still need to work and earn a living to survive. But we should not be so lost in earning, and competing one another that we have no time to spend doing acts of charity and kindness, no time to spend with our family, relatives and no time to remember God. We have to realize the difference between what is necessary and what is unnecessary. Moderation is the prophetic way and moderation has to be followed in every aspect including earning and spending.

And God knows best.


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