Wednesday, October 31, 2012

6-steps-to-get-you-closer-to-allah-swt

Asalam wa alikum



“…for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction.” (Surah Al-Rad, 13:28)
To be close to our Creator is a fundamental need of every human being and striving to achieve it can be the healing for our chaotic inner selves which, in turn, leads to:
  1. Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) love
  2. Greater productivity
  3. Confidence
  4. Satisfaction and joy
Therefore, it is essential to exert effort in seeking closeness to your Creator. To begin with, the prescription to getting closer to Allah requires a few things from you:
  1. Strong intention to get closer to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He)
  2. Patience
  3. Consistency
  4. Avoid doing nothing
Let’s first consider our worth to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He). If you want to know your worth to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He), then see what you are doing with your life. Are you pleasing Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) or disappointing Him?
Don’t like your answer?
Well, there is good news. The fact that you are seeking closeness to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) means He wants you to remember Him. Being productive is very important as a Muslim. It is a sign of Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) mercy that you have come to seek beneficial knowledge from websites like this one. A righteous deed is like a pearl necklace – when it breaks, all the pearls follow one another quickly.
Abu Huraira (RA) reported that the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He), the Exalted and Glorious said, “I am near to the thought of My servant as he thinks about Me, and I am with him as he remembers Me. And if he remembers Me in his heart, I also remember him in My heart, and if he remembers Me in assembly I remember him in assembly, better than his (remembrance), and if he draws near Me by the span of a palm, I draw near him by the cubit, and if he draws near me by the cubit I draw near him by the space (covered by) two hands. And if he walks towards Me, I rush towards him.” (Sahih Muslim).

We need to struggle to achieve great things. The harder the struggle is, the better the outcome becomes. Getting close to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) takes time. We cannot expect everything to magically fall into place by doing a righteous deed. You need to depend on Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) and trust that what He has planned for you is the best you can have, for this life and the hereafter.
Here are some tips to achieve closeness to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He):

1. Dua’a (Supplication)

We forget that we need Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) help and strength to guide us. When we get too caught up with dunya (this life) we often think we can do it on our own without His help. We have to know that nothing changes without the strength and power of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He). We need to ask Him for His help, even if it is to get closer to Him, or become better at worshiping Him. We need to seek refuge in Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) in everything. It could be negative thoughts we have, our lack of productivity or even our lack of faith. We need to ask Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) to help us and guide us to the Straight Path. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) says in the Qur’an:
”And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided”(2:186).

2. Stay Away from Poisons

You need to get any poisons out of your life. Poison has many forms. Fix your heart, by staying away from anything that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) doesn’t love. If you are around friends that make you sin and make you disappoint Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He), then you need to get them out of your life.
The Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “A good friend and a bad friend are like a perfume-seller and a blacksmith: The perfume-seller might give you some perfume as a gift, or you might buy some from him, or at least you might smell its fragrance. As for the blacksmith, he might singe your clothes, and at the very least you will breathe in the fumes of the furnace.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

3. Get to Know Allah [SWT] Through His 99 Beautiful Names

How can you love Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) and want to get closer to Him if you don’t know Him that well? We fall in love with people as we get to know them more and realize that they have a lot of beautiful qualities and characteristics. Of course Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) is above any analogy, but you need know Him more. Wanting to get closer alone won’t do you any good without falling in love with your Creator. Start with the name of Al-Wadud, the Ever-Loving. Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) love for you is unconditional. He does not need or want anything from you in return. He loves you so He keeps giving you even if you disobey Him. Ask Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) with His 99 Names.
If you want to get closer to Him, pray with His name Al-Qareeb (The Close One) and ask Him to bring you closer to Him. And with Al-Wadud ask Him to love you more and make you love Him more. It’s as simple as that. We tend to overthink stuff and forget that if we seek refuge in Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He), He will make everything easier on us.
Abu Huraira (RA) narrates that the Prophet [SAW] said, “If Allah loves a person, He calls Gabriel saying, ‘Allah loves so and-so; O Gabriel! Love him.’ Gabriel would love him and make an announcement amongst the inhabitants of the Heaven. ‘Allah loves so-and-so, therefore you should love him also,’ and so all the inhabitants of the Heaven would love him, and then he is granted the pleasure of the people on the earth.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

4. Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He))

Remembering Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) is essential in achieving closeness to Him. You can remember him by engaging in dhikr (remembrance) and tasbeeh (praise).
Say Astaghfirullah a lot to erase your sins.
Say Alhamdulillah so Allah will give you more.
Look outside your window and say Subhan-Allah about His beautiful creations.
The most elegant form of remembering Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) is by looking at His creations. When you are in between tasks like driving or walking, remember Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He). Listen to Islamic lectures or Islamic poetry that talk about Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) glory. Surround yourself with people who remind you of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He). Attend halaqas or religious circles in masjids or you can even create your own gathering of remembrance. The more you remember Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He), the more He will remember you. See what happens when you are sitting in a gathering that is filled with Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) remembrance.
Allah’s Messenger [SAW] said:
“Whenever some people gather in one of Allah’s houses (mosques) to recite the book of Allah and study it among themselves – then calmness (tranquility) descends upon them, the angels surround them, mercy covers them, and Allah mentions them to those who are with Him.” (Sahih Muslim)

5. Follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)

By following the Sunnah of our prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) we will gain the love of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He). When you gain the love of Allahsubḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He), you will get closer to him. Following the sunnah of the Prophet makes you a better person. You will have better manners and ethics. Read more about the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him); fall in love with your Messenger. After all, he was a mercy to all mankind. Allah says so in the Qu’ran:
“Say, (O Muhammad, to mankind): If ye love Allah, follow me; Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (3:31)”.

6. Stay Connected to the Qur’an

Reading or memorizing the Qur’an alone is not enough. Understand it and act upon it. Try your best to act the way we were asked to in the Qur’an. Strive for the best. Reflect on its meanings; it will give you answers to your daily life’s complications. When you read the Qur’an and understand it more you will be more likely to reach the level of ihsan. You will want to do everything right. In the form of a man, Gabriel/Jibreel 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) (peace be upon him) once entered a gathering where the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was sitting. One of the questions the angel asked was to elaborate on the term “ihsan”, Prophet Muhammed ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “That you worship Allah as if you see Him, for if you don’t see Him then truly He sees you.”(Bukhari and Muslim)

Wrapping It All Up

Be productive, seek knowledge and take action. The more you love Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He), the more you will do to get closer to Him. The more you get closer to Him, the more He will get closer to you. The more you will want to learn about the sunnah and the Qur’an and want to get even closer to Him, the closer you will become to reaching the level of ihsan. When you reach that level you will feel Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) love and you will be satisfied with everything He gives you. You will be productive because you won’t want to waste time without pleasing Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He). You will be confident in anything that you do in your life, because you will have full trust in Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He). May Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) guide us to the path that takes us closer to Him. Ameen.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Modesty and shyness

Asalam Wa Alikum


Modesty and shyness play a special part between the affairs of the Creator and the created.  All prophets and Messengers encouraged modesty, as the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said:

“Indeed from the teachings of the first prophets which has reached you is, ‘If you do not have shyness, then do as you please.” (Al-Bukhari)

Modesty as a sense of shame or shyness in human beings is a shrinking of the soul from foul conduct, a quality that prevents one from behaving badly towards others or encouraging others to behave badly towards you.  Islamic ethics considers modesty as more than just a question of how a person dresses, and more than just modesty in front of people; rather it is reflected in a Muslim’s speech, dress, and conduct: in public in regards to people, and in private in regards to God.  Any talk of modesty, therefore, must begin with the heart, not the hemline, as the Prophet of Mercy said, ‘Modesty is part of faith,  and that part of faith must lie in the heart.

Take reservation in speech.  As with everything in Islam, speech should be moderate.  Raising one’s voice in venting anger simply shows one lacks the ability to contain it, and only damage will ensue from it.  Uncontrolled anger, for example, can lead one to verbally abuse and physically assault another, both of which take off the veil of bashfulness one is endowed with, exposing the shameful ego within.  The Prophet said:

“A strong person is not the person who throws his adversaries to the ground.  A strong person is the person who contains himself when he is angry.” (Saheeh al-Bukhari)




















A strong person who believes feels shy in front of God and His creation, since God knows and sees everything.  He feels shy to disobey his Lord and feels shame if he sins or acts inappropriately, whether in private or public.  This type of modesty is acquired and is directly related to one’s faith, where one’s awareness of God increases one’s “shyness” in front of Him.
Islamic morality divides modesty into natural and acquired.  Modesty is a quality inherent in girls and boys, a certain type of modesty that is natural in human beings.  If manifests itself, for instance, in a natural human urge to cover one’s private parts.  According to the Quran, when Adam and Eve ate from the fruit of the forbidden tree, they became aware that their private parts were exposed, and they began to cover themselves with the leaves of Paradise, a natural result of their modesty.

Islamic scholars consider modesty to be a quality that distinguishes human beings from animals.  Animals follow their instincts without feeling any shame or a sense of right or wrong.  Hence, the less modesty a person has, the more he resembles animals.  The more modesty a person has, the closer he is to being human.  Islam has mandated certain legislations which induce this sense of modesty within humans. These legislation range from seeking permission before entering any room and distancing one from others while relieving oneself, to mandating certain manners of dress for men and women alike. Another way that modesty may be attained is by associating with modest people - people in whose presence a person feels embarrassed to do anything shameful - as the Prophet said:

“I advise you to be shy toward God, the Exalted, in the same way that you are shy toward a pious man from your people.

Being shy of a stranger’s gaze is one of the driving forces behind modesty in dress.  This can be seen in children, who naturally shy away from strangers, sometimes hiding from them in their mother’s skirts or behind their father’s legs.  In Islam, screening most of your body off from the gaze of a stranger, especially of the opposite sex, is actually mandated as a means to avoid falling into conduct that may lead to extra-marital or pre-marital sex.  God says,


“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be modest.  That is purer for them.  Lo!  God is Aware of what they do.  And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their chests, and not to reveal their adornment.” (Quran 24:30)
The verse then mentions the people before whom one is exempted from veiling; the ones who cannot be called ‘strangers’.  Also, the command is relaxed as one matures: an aged woman who has no hope of marriage can discard the overcoats that screen what they are wearing underneath

As seen from this verse, Islamic ethics view modesty not as a virtue for women only, but for men as well.  Thus, men must also dress modestly, being careful to wear loose flowing and opaque clothes through which the area between their waist and knees be totally covered. Tight pants or translucent clothing is prohibited. This modesty is reflected upon Muslim male clothing throughout the world, long shirts reaching below the thighs, and loose flowing trousers.
 It may still seem, however, that women bear the main brunt of ‘dressing modestly’. When one reflects, however,  about the predator and the prey in illegal relations between the sexes; the prey which is hidden escapes being a victim.  Besides, another verse says modesty in dress actually identifies one as being a believing woman  a ‘target’ which the devout Muslim, or any decent man, would be motivated to protect rather than abuse.

The way to develop modesty is to think about whether he or she would do the sin they are contemplating in front of their parents.  A person with a shred of shame in their heart will not commit any lewd act in front of their parents.  So what about doing so in front of God?  Is not God much worthier that such acts not be done in His sight?  Thus, Islam considers that the modesty of a believer in front of God must be greater than in front of people. This is manifest in the saying of the Prophet when a man asked him about remaining naked in the house while alone. The Prophet responded:

 God is more deserving than other people of shyness.” (Abu Dawood)
Early Muslims used to say, “Be shy toward God when you are in private in the same way you are shy in front of people when you are in public.”  Another one of their sayings is, “Do not be a devoted slave of God in your public behavior while you are an enemy to Him in your private affairs.”

Modesty can therefore be seen as the means by which morals and ethics in society are maintained and pursued.  Shyness from people and society may be a reason to be modest, but this modesty will not remain due to the fact that what is immodest one day in a secular society may be totally acceptable in another. Thus, the key to modesty is knowing that God is aware of what you do and shying away from that which He forbids.  God only desires what is best for us.  So to seek what is best for us is to submit to what He has in mind for us.  The only way to properly know what that is, is to believe in what he sent down to us through His Prophet, Muhammad, and to embrace the religion (Islam) that His Messenger brought us.