[Part 2] The Gates of Mercy….Now Open!!

[…continued from here.]

2. Patience = Allah’s mercy!

Mentioning His Sunnah about trials and tribulations Allah (swt) says in Surah Baqarah:

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Who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah , and indeed to Him we will return.” Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided. [2:156-157]

Patience during trials is another source of Allah’s mercy. Whether it is the loss of a loved one or loss of a beloved possession, whether it is a trivial test of everyday life or a greater affliction comes upon you, endurance and patient perseverance is what Allah wants; it is the key to His mercy.

Ramadan too is the month of patience, as our Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has said:”This is indeed the month of patience, and the reward for true patience is Jannah.”{Nasai-Bayhaqi} In Ramadan we go through a training program for patience, restricting ourselves and controlling our desires itself entails patience. This endurance does not only require us to keep away from food and drink but also to restrain our eye from watching whatever displeases our Beneficent Rabb, restrain our mouth from blurting out Haram, our ears from hearing that which Allah forbids and our feet to drive us to places that are displeasing to Allah.

The Prophet said, “Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)” [Sahih Bukhari]

Sulaymân b. Mûsâ [d119H]  said:

When you fast, your hearing and sight should also fast, and your tongue should fast by keeping away from lies; and do not harm your servant. Don’t let the day you fast be the same as the day you don’t fast. [Tarikh Damishq]

3. Repentence:

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And when those come to you who believe in Our verses, say, “Peace be upon you. Your Lord has decreed upon Himself mercy: that any of you who does wrong out of ignorance and then repents after that and corrects himself – indeed, He is Forgiving and Merciful.” [Surah An’aam 6:54]

The ayah mentioned above relates that” whoever repents from the sins he has committed, intending not to repeat them again and turns towards a rightful life, Allah out of his compassion and beneficence will forgive him. Allah loves that His slaves turn back to him and He has obliged His Most Honored Self to grant mercy.”[Tafsir Ibn Kathir]

The Messenger of Allah said: “When Allah finished with the creation, He wrote in a Book that He has with Him above the Throne, `My mercy prevails over My anger‘.” [Musnad Ahmad]

If we’re tracking on the path of Allah’s wrath, now is the time, and Ramadan is the prime time to turn back to Allah. The mercy of the Merciful is flourishing in Ramadan and performing righteous deeds is relatively easier, why not then return to Allah?

4. Ihsan

Allah Almighty says in Surah A’raaf:

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Indeed, the mercy of Allah is near to the doers of good.[7:56]

The characteristic specified here for availing Allah’s mercy is Ihsan. This, like many others, is a special terminology of the Quran which is used for a higher level of Imaan. According to a Hadith, Ihsan is worshiping Allah as if you can see Him and keeping in mind that He is watching you. This way a person stops himself from doing everything that displeases Allah and races towards good deeds, searching and seeking them wherever they can. This is Ihsan, doing what is best and in the best possible way.

In Ramadan, when the gates of Jannah are open;i.e, the opportunities of righteousness are abundant, we must aim to collect as many rewards as we can from the showering blessings of Allah. When rewards are multiplied and fasting is singled out for an even greater reward.

The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Every deed of the son of Adam will be rewarded between ten and seven hundred fold. Allaah said: ‘Except fasting, for it is for Me and I shall reward for it’” – i.e., I shall reward it greatly, without specifying how much.[Muslim]

This greater reward depends on the quality of our fast! The Husn (beauty, goodness) of it. So let us struggle and work hard to make this Ramadan meaningful….a Ramadan with the power to keep us charged for the whole year to come! A Ramadan of Transformation!

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The Gates of Mercy…Now Open!!

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The month of Ramadan is fast approaching. 30 days, 720 hours, 43200 minutes of Allah’s mercy, forgiveness and blessings. The gates of Jannah are open for all, the gates of Hell fire are closed and the devils are chained. It is our ‘bonus’ month of the year for collecting hasanaat(rewards), renewing faith and re-building our relationship with the Quran.

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying:

When there comes the month of Ramadan, the gates of mercy are opened, and the gates of Hell are locked and the devils are chained. [Sahih Muslim: Kitab us Saum]

Am I Worthy?

The admission test of a college/university is open for all, a number of candidates appear on the test, but then, only those students are admitted who prove their merit. Similarly, Quran is an open book; a guidance for all mankind[ھدی للناس]. However, only those having taqwa qualify to benefit[ھدی للمتقین].

In the same way, the gates of mercy are open wide in Ramadan, but one will have to take a step towards them. They’re open does not mean everyone will have a definite share. What we collect depends on our intentions and efforts!

Before Ramadan I tried to mark all the places in the Quran where Allah has mentioned the ones worthy of his mercy. Up till now I could only do this for the first ten para’s. Insha Allah I’ll share these highlighted verses so that we can endeavor to gain the mercy of the Most Merciful and Beneficent in these blessed days, under the light of Quran.

1. The Scripture is a Mercy:

Allah(swt) says about the Quran in Surah Yunus:

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O mankind, there has to come to you instruction from your Lord and healing for what is in the breasts and guidance and mercy for the believers. Say, “In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy – in that let them rejoice; it is better than what they accumulate.” [10:57-58]

In Surah Nisa, verse 174-174, Allah says:

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O mankind, there has come to you a conclusive proof from your Lord, and We have sent down to you a clear light. So those who believe in Allah and hold fast to Him – He will admit them to mercy from Himself and bounty and guide them to Himself on a straight path. [4: 174-175]

In Surah An’am, Allah says:

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And this [Qur’an] is a Book We have revealed [which is] blessed, so follow it and fear Allah that you may receive mercy.[6:155]

In ayah 157 of the same surah Allah (swt) has again defined Quran as ‘clear evidence from your Lord, and a guidance and mercy.’

In Surah A’raaf, Allah says:

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And We had certainly brought them a Book which We detailed by knowledge – as guidance and mercy to a people who believe.[7:52]

In Surah A’raaf, verse 63, Allah says that Nuh (alayhi salam) proclaimed to his people:

7_63Then do you wonder that there has come to you a reminder from your Lord through a man from among you, that he may warn you and that you may fear Allah so you might receive mercy.[7:63]

In the passages that follow Allah says about Torah:

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And when the anger subsided in Moses, he took up the tablets; and in their inscription was guidance and mercy for those who are fearful of their Lord.[7:154]

Ponder over these Ayat and you’ll clearly see that Allah has termed his message; the previous scriptures and Quran as a mercy for mankind. In the profound darkness of ignorance Allah’s message came as a savior for human kind leading them out to the light of Tawheed, to the goodness of this world and the hereafter.

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For this ummah Quran is the life line; the tool for salvation. Through this book Allah arranged for our guidance. This book is actually the reason that makes Ramadan so special! Ramadan is as Noman Ali Khan puts it ‘the month to celebrate the inauguration of the Quran’. The night of Al Qadr, better than a thousand nights has this special status because of the Quran. Hence, the most important goal in Ramadan is to revive our connection with this book. Spend quality time with this merciful and compassionate friend. A friend that will hold hands and guide, touch our heart and cleanse it, remind us and show us the right way. A friend that will accompany through hardships and ease, the only friend who’ll be there for us in the grave.

Quran indeed is a mercy from Allah. This Ramadan let us struggle to open up our hearts, minds and souls to gain as much as we can from this blessing.

Our Goal: Recite, reflect, act and spread….the Quran!

[To be continued… we’ll explore more paths to Allah’s mercy Insha Allah!]

The Choice….

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One is a murky, gloomy and dark night; full of grief, frustration, torment, hardships and an incessant struggle. Yet, you’ve knowledge that as soon as the first rays of dawn emerge in the horizon, your troubles and labour will turn into joy and eternal bliss. There will be no worry, no pain, no sorrow, not a single millisecond of tiredness. The morning will bring you out in a world of complete and pure, everlasting pleasure; in the world of heart rendering beauty and abundant luxuries, valleys and palaces of gold and silver, diamonds and pearls. Delectable and luscious ready-to-eat delicacies served by the most handsome and mannerly of servants. Moreover, all your knowledge about this day is just a trailer, there will be more to come, much more than you expect; things you’ve never seen or heard of, things you are incapable of imagining!

Contrary to that, there’s another night. A lively and lovely night where in you can enjoy to your utmost limit, play around, entertain yourself and have fun. Do whatever you want and in any way that you want. It’s full of laughter and luminosity, freedom and enjoyment. However, the moment this night is wrapped up by the proceeding day you’ll enter a world of suffering and pain; torment that will never end and a fire that will never extinguish. Excruciating and never-ending agony; this is what the morning will have in store. Cries and screams, bugs and serpents, fire and fire! (O Allah! Save us from it!)

You have a choice between how you wish to spend your night. The morning is bound to come, it’s just around the corner….the meeting with our Rabb is destined. Now, the choice is yours….

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“Whoever should hope for the meeting with Allah – indeed, the term decreed by Allah is coming. And He is the Hearing, the Knowing.”[Surah Ankabut 29:5]

[Surah Yusuf – Post # 3] Allah is enough for us!

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So, the story continues…..the intelligence agencies of Quraysh went to the intellectuals of Jews to probe them for a question that would leave Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) speechless. The question they came up with was “How did the children of Israel end up in Egypt when all their ancestors were from Palestine and Syria?”. In their hearts the Jews and Quraysh were confident that Muhammad(sallallahu alayhi wasallam), an ummi (illiterate), would be clueless about this and the opportunity will be an excellent propaganda against him. However, Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) revealed this surah which was not only a proof of His prohethood but also a warning for the disbelievers.

Firstly, Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had no other source of  knowledge provided in this surah other than revelation, and hearing the answer to their ‘ah-we-got-him!’ question they were left flabbergasted!

Secondly, the Quraysh were plotting and planning, persecuting the Muslims and trying to remove Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) from their view the same way that the brothers of Yusuf (alayhi salam) had done before with Yusuf. However, by throwing him in the darkness of a well they ended up elevating Yusuf (alayhi salam) to the kingdom of Egypt, something they surely wouldn’t have wanted! Likewise, the very tactics that the disbelievers were using against the mission of Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) were aiding the mission itself! Hence, this surah was a silent warning to the people of Quraysh; O brethren of Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), your jealousy, hatred and plans against the best of your people will lead to nowhere but your doom!

From this we can deduce some very important FACTS:

1. When you’re righteous and follow the true path [path of the favored ones 🙂 ] it’ll sure gain you enemies. There’s no way around!

2. The enemies will do their very best to desensitize and derail you. Don’t bend in!

3. The disbelievers always conceive plans against the friends of Rahman; they did yesterday and they do today. Their chief concern is the presence of these ‘trouble-makers’, ‘insurgents’, ‘terrorists’ and ‘fundamentalists’. These people were never accepted by them then, and today when the religion has returned back to a state of strangeness, these ghuraba won’t be accepted by the enemies of Allah – not at all!

4. Allah is the Master Planner, He has a better plan and in the end its His plan that is implemented. However well they plan Allah is enough for us!

In surah Ibrahim Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) the All-Knowing tells us:

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And they had planned their plan, but with Allah is [recorded] their plan, even if their plan had been [sufficient] to do away with the mountains.So never think that Allah will fail in His promise to His messengers. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Owner of Retribution.[Surah Ibrahim: 46-47]

History repeats itself….yesterday it was the brothers of Yusuf, 1400 years ago it was the Quraysh and today it’s the modern, enlightened, democratic Kuffar and their alliances. They’ve thrown money, minds and men in a war against the friends of Ar-Rahman the same way their predecessors had done and will surely loose likewise insha Allah.

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Have you ever observed a spider’s web from nearby? See the intricate build, all threads are woven up so neatly; well planned and well placed! Yet with a small phoo it will vanish and fly away unnoticed in the air. Similar are the plots and plans of disbelievers, indeed they seem conceding, over whelming and mind obscuring, However, they are but a ball of crumpled threads and against these plots; Allah is enough for us!!

“And indeed, the weakest of homes is the home of the spider, if they only knew.” [Ankaboot: 41]

[The information regarding Surah Yusuf’s background has been taken from Tafheem ul Quran by Mawdudi and Tayseerul Quran by Abdur Rehman Kelani]

P.S: I’ve added a Subscribe via email option in the sidebar for those who wish to be updated. Jazak Allah Khayr for stopping by!

[Surah Yusuf – Post # 2] In the alleyways of Makkah…

“The subject matter of this Surah indicates that it was revealed during the last stage of the Holy Prophet’s residence at Makkah, when the Quraish were considering the question of killing or exiling or imprisoning him.” [Tafheem-ul-Quran– Mawdudi]

Let us go back fourteen centuries, in the alleyways of Makkah. This is the place Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and his followers dwell. We are witnessing the last few years before the migration to Madinah was made, the most difficult, tense and precarious days. The persecution has reached its limits; the believers are being tortured and tormented both physically and emotionally on a constant basis. The disbelievers of Quraysh are plotting and conspiring, conniving the most hideous of plots against al-Mustafa, the chosen one. The condition is such that the general body of Quraysh has met in Dar –an –Nadwa; their parliament, and is now willing to exile, incarcerate or execute the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). They can not stand it any more! As the Quran mentions:

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“And [remember, O Muhammad], when those who disbelieved plotted against you to restrain you or kill you or evict you [from Makkah]. But they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners.”[Surah Anfal: 30]

It is during these days that the beautiful verses of Surah Yusuf were revealed from above seven heavens to console the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and his followers. They were not merely reciting the Quran, these people were living through it, and whosoever, where so ever treads the path of Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the Sahaba (May Allah be pleased with them all) will confront similar conditions, and will find these very verses to sooth and suffice him. Quran is not just a ‘recite-and-enjoy-on- the-cosy-sofa-book”, it is the book that carves people, it is a mission, a movement…..from the mount of Suffa, to the battle ground of Tabuk, from the shackles of Sha’b abi Talib to the treaty of Hudaybia. If you walk this book, you’ll face all and this same book will come to reassure and comfort you.

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Allah (subhanahu wata’alla) the Most Gracious is acquainting us beforehand with the path of his favorites. He is informing Muhammad (s.a.w) through the story of Yusuf that these ups and downs are bound to come. You are not the first one going through these trials  and these very trials pave the road to success; both worldly and eternal. Also, this story is a ray of hope,we’ve been re assured; the well proved to be the first step towards the kingdom of Egypt!

At a different place in Quran Allah says:

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“And each [story] We relate to you from the news of the messengers is that by which We make firm your heart. And there has come to you, in this, the truth and an instruction and a reminder for the believers.”[Surah Hud: 120]

At times our hearts start to dwindle and shake, and through these word Allah is providing to reassure and placate these hearts. Don’t loose hope in times of difficulty and while facing trials for with every hardship comes ease. Allah says:

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“For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.” [Surah Sharh:5]

This is how Allah strengthens our staggering souls and revives the dwindling flame of Imaan in our hearts. In your journey of tribulations just remember: What you are going through shall pass and may become long forgotten past but the reward generated will be greater, everlasting and eternal!  

The most important point for us to learn from is how these pious predecessors acted and reacted in similar situations. In this surah we will learn from our dear teacher Yusuf (alayhi salam) InshaAllah! O Allah! we ask you for beneficial knowledge and that this beneficial knowledge adorns our actions. Ameen.

Once more…Imagine being in the alleyways of Makkah, facing all that was being faced by Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and you hear the story of Yusuf (alayhi salam)…. won’t you be just tranquilized?

[Surah Yusuf -Post # 1]…and we aspire to follow you..!

Assalam u Alaykum warahmatullah,
For the past few weeks I’ve been going through a thorough study of Surah Yusuf with a bunch of my classmates, taught over by a marvelous teacher Alhumdulillah! Indeed every single verse and each and every chapter of the Quran is jam-packed with pearls and rubies; of wisdom and lessons, all we need to do is just dive in! Moreover, if there is an expert diver alongside, instructing on how to do the ‘dive in’, how to enjoy the whole thing and meanwhile pointing out the hidden beauty of this boundless ocean  your journey will sure turn out to be memorable. Scores of people out there have substantial knowledge of Quran, However, those who walk their talk and enlighten their path with the street bulbs of Seerah are very rare to find, and Alhumdulillah our teacher is one of those precious souls! Over here insha Allah I plan to briefly share some of what we have gone through. I’m no writer, I’m no scholar….I’m simply a student and seeker of knowledge passing on what I’ve learned.

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Reciting Surah Fatiha in each Rak’ah of Salah is compulsory and  while we are doing so we ask Allah to show us the path of those upon whom he has bestowed his favors. The ones that have trodden the straight path and gained His pleasure. We say:

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“Guide us to the straight path -The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray.”[Surah Fatiha: 6-7]

We are then compelled to ask: Who are these people with the favours of Allah conferred upon them? No need to look here and there! No need for our guesses and assumptions. The Answer comes in the Quran itself. A verse in Surah Nisa goes:

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“And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger – those will be with the ones upon whom Allah has bestowed favor of the prophets, the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous. And excellent are those as companions.”[Surah Nisa:69]

Yes, Indeed the Prophets, the affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous, these are the ones favored by Allah and in order to locate the Straight Path we must follow their steps. People in these four categories are our instructors, our mentors and our guides on the path to eternal success. The love of these people is an integral part of Faith.

One of these beautiful teachers is the Prophet of Allah Yusuf (Alayhi salam), well known for his spectacular beauty. Yet his inner beauty, the handsomeness of his soul goes unheeded. Allah Ta’alla in the Quran has dedicated a whole chapter to his life story, a story that contains numerable lessons and gives us an insight into the stunning and strong character of Yusuf (alayhi salam). Is Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) narrating this story ‘just for fun’, just so we listen and enjoy like any other story and pass on? No, this isn’t merely a story. It is the seerah of one of the beloved Prophets of Alla that has been mentioned in the Quran for a reason; for us to pay attention to the lessons therein, aim to be like him, learn from him and try and follow.

Before beginning this Surah let us make an intent intention, a firm resolution in our hearts. We are not learning Quran for merely adding to our knowledge or for a pass-time, we are going through this Surah because….. we aspire to follow the steps of this Prophet we so dearly love! InshaAllah!