Weakness of Emaan (Faith) & its Cures – Yusha Evens

“Hasan Al Basri (rahimullah) said that Emaan is not the substance of your hopes and wishes. It is not just what you aspire to be. You can aspire to be the best Muslim that you want to be. You can dream about making salah all day long. You can dream about Qiyam-ul-Layl all day long, and dream about being the best Muslim (sic). But that’s not Emaan. He (Hasan al Basri) said Emaan is what settles itself in the qalb (Arabic for heart), and then becomes manifested through the actions. ”

Emaan is 3 parts.
1. Belief
2. Belief that is affirmed in the heart
3. Belief that is affirmed in the heart, and then manifested through actions.

Fasting in Ramadan; Answering the Question ‘Why?’

Bismillahi Ar Rahmani Ar Rahim

Assalaamu Alaikum & Ramadan Kareem

I think every Muslim blogger at some point has a ‘why do Muslims fast’ post. So I’m just fulfilling my duty, but in a different way. I won’t go into the hows’ and the whens’ and the whats’. My question is posed to myself…why do I fast? Is it habit? After so many years of practicing Islam and taking part in Ramadan? Have I lost the reasoning or have I never noticed until now?

I’ve made so many mistakes this year, subhanAllah. So many errors and misjudgements. May Allah forgive me,  Ameen. But I have also grown closer to Islam. Alhamdulillah. There was a time in my life not very long ago that the mention of seeking Islamic knowledge would give me anxiety and a sense of severe insecurity.  One of the biggest blessings Allah has ever given me, as far as I can understand, is the ability to move beyond this problem, and connect me to my Deen emotionally and mentally, which, Alhamdulillah, is now connecting me to my Deen physically. Allahu Akbar!

If you practice Islam then you are familiar with the Dunya vs Akhira conflict. How do we find balance in getting what we want in Dunya as well as in the Afterlife? This is a crucial concept in Islam. In declaring your belief in Allah (SWT), Master of the Day of Judgement, Lord of the Worlds, and Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) as Messenger of Allah. you MUST place your entire trust in Allah and you MUST relinquish your grip on this world, and everything that distracts you from seeing your true purpose. Live in this world as a traveler or stranger! (Quote from the Prophet (PBUH) as narrated Abdullah Ibn Umar).

Does that mean we cannot achieve success in this world? Does that mean we cannot pursue our worldly dreams of become a doctor, engineer, a famous writer or artist?  Allah does not want us to be miserable and lazy in this world. In my opinion, all this means is that whatever you do, do for Allah. Whatever you pursue, make sure the cause is halal, and the intention is pure and for Allah’s sake. If Allah gives you success in this world, give back with your duty. Your zakat. Your salah. Your nafl and sunnah. Your belief and your time. And most importantly, do not make your success your home. Do not make your gifts from Allah into attachments that will take you away from Allah (because they will).

So…let’s cycle back to our original topic. How does all of this relate to the Holy month of Ramadan?  How does this relate to refraining from food, water, sexual activity, rude behavior and wasting time, as well as refraining from negativity, such as anger, impatience, and ignorance? In other words, why do we, as Muslims, do this, and not something else?

I’m not a scholar. Nor do I have extensive knowledge, but based on what I do know, a thought sort of  hit me square in the face the other day. And it wasn’t from the angle of Dunya. It was from the angle of Jannah. From what I know of Jannah, it is our true home. Our real existence that is promised to us should we succeed in our duties in this life. It is a place with no death, hunger, disease, poverty, anger, jealousy, or injustice. The things that are harmful here are not harmful there, such as wine and excess (you won’t become greedy). The things that distracted us won’t distract us there, rather they will be gifts for us made even more pleasing. such as the love, beauty, and intimacy of our spouses.

In Ramadan, we let go of the Dunya’s version of all these things (and what a poor version it is, when you look at Jannah). Allah is testing you with hunger, thirst, desire, control over your actions and emotions, how you treat your fellow Muslim, your spouses, your children. He, Allahu Akbar, is asking you what you want. Do you want this world and its food that does not satisfy? Its wealth that will lead you astray, that you cannot take with you when you die? Do you want this world, where the objects of your love, desire and affection are never guaranteed to stay, no matter how much you love them?

Or do you want JANNAH? Where our problems cease to exist. Where our greatest mercy from Allah (SWT) becomes our home.

Will you fast in a manner that counts the minutes until the next Iftar? Or will you take advantage of the hours and use them to supplicate, thank, worship, repent, and humble yourself, seeking knowledge and forgiveness from your Lord? Will you be impatient with those around you, your friends and family? Or will you love them and cherish them, and even improve your relations with them for the sake of Allah (SWT)?

Know that Allah is your Master. Only He can correct your affairs. And this is why we let go of Dunya, in the month and hours that Allah has prescribed, in a kind of annual dosage, that, Alhamdulillah, if we live to see it and use it correctly, we reap rewards innumerable,  are brought closer to Allah, and pulled further from Dunya, inshAllah.

We fast to regain sight of the blessings already given to us. We fast to remove ourselves from Dunya and to show Allah that despite our empty stomachs, our greater fear is an empty Emaan. An empty spot in Jannah where we could be, and the fiery realm where we might be. We fast to take advantage of every salah, taraweeh, and every moment  to worship, thank, repent, and supplicate to Allah. Allah, without Whom, we’d be nothing, could be nothing, and with Whom, could have everything He deems best for us. All we need to do is ask sincerely, with a heart full of Emaan. SubhanAllah!

Allahu Akbar.

If I’ve said anything wrong, please correct me, inshAllah.

And Allah knows best.

May Allah give you a Ramadan filled with ease, mercy, rewards, and opportunities to gain His infinite reward.  May Allah correct your affairs for you, and bring you closer to Him. Ameen

Awrite, mate?

Bismilllahi Ar Rahmani Ar Rahim

Assalamu Alaikum!

I’ve been with my family here in Scotland for almost two weeks now, and so far it has been a beautiful experience, not without the normal twinges of homesickness and worry, of course.

We are approaching Ramadan with breakneck speed, subhanAllah. Just around a week to go, and the fasts here in the UK are very long. Fajr is at 3am and Maghrib isn’t until 10pm, subhanAllah. Many rewards to be received, inshAllah, with a well-mannered and lengthy fast.

In terms of a Muslim community, Scotland hasn’t offered what I’m used to. and I miss it very much. But what it lacks in that regard, it makes up for with convenience. I’ve never seen so many halal restaurants in one area in my life, mashAllah.

The scenery is another bonus. Today I prayed Dhuhr in a beautiful botanical garden, and yesterday, just an hour from my family’s home, we marvelled at beautiful lakes (lochs), mountains, and valleys. SubhanAllah. The dense forests and looming mountains make me feel at peace when the chaos of the city gets too much. I’ve also found out more things about myself. My fear of heights and climbing CAN be conquered, alhamdulillah. I climbed cliffs, and went to the top of Arthur’s Seat without feeling like hugging the ground. That might not seem like a lot but for someone who gets queasy jumping out of the back door of a school bus for a fire drill..it’s saying something.

The accents here range from pleasant to painful. The slang is amusing, and by far my favorite phrase is ‘Ah, mate, that’s mingin’!’

It just means, ‘Aw, dude, that’s disgusting.’

Also, not sure if I like UK television. And the best food I’ve had thus far here has been prepared by my wonderful aunt, mashAllah, who is not only a loving and gracious hostess, but also a fabulous cook, mashAllah.

Alhamdulillah. I just pray that Allah makes the rest of my trip easy, fun, and beneficial, and keep me away from heartaches, and make my worries disappear, Ameen.

This Thursday I’m off to London, inshAllah, and won’t be back in Scotland until the 10th, inshAllah. So, make du’a that everything goes well. 🙂

Assalamu Alaikum!

Watching My Mouth

At times, it’s as if I am

entirely made of words. Words

I do not say, not even whisper,

but which sit against my skin or

cling tightly to my lips.

Pulling, pulling, pulling them open

To try to climb in and take hold of my voice.

I feel them, like a bone-freezing wind,

wrapping around my spine;

leaving little bruises,

Leaving me longing to dive

into a cold, black silence.

Where I know not,

and am unknown

to the dangers of my speech.

Nesha Usmani

At 24

Bismilliahi Ar Rahmani Ar Rahim.

Assalamu Alaikum

At 24 years, my heart has beat, according to my last calculation, over 988,303,680 times since my birth. The number is higher than this, since…you know…it’s still beating as I type this, alhamdulillah.

1 billion times.

Allah has brought me to my 24th year, through 1 billion heartbeats. SubhanAllah.

(insert “if I had a dollar for every time my heart beat” joke here)

It’s okay, you can laugh!

So, a billion beats through every moment of sadness, elation, guilt, happiness, terror, depression, hope, fury, dread, awe, humiliation, suspicion, curiosity, worry, frustration, pain, anguish, regret, and love.

Beating through all of my thoughts and dreams. While I slept, ate, worked, cried, prayed, studied, and laughed, my heart has never stopped, alhamdulillah. 

Recently, very recently, in the dark moments when I thought my heart would surely stop, could not take anymore pain or heartache. Could not suffer one more loss…it kept going. Pushing me along in my life with only the will of Allah to guide it.

A billion heartbeats, averaging 78 per minute.

Then which of the blessings will you deny? (Qur’an 55:13)

When my heart stops, my chance for repentance goes with it.

As long as it beats, every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year…it’s another gift from Allah, another chance, another opportunity to turn to Allah and seek refuge and guidance and repentance in Him.

Don’t despair. If you’re alive, take advantage of it.

Rasulullah (SAW) is reported to have said:

“Take advantage of 5 things before 5 things overcome you:
Take advantage of your youth before your old age.
Take advantage of your health before your sickness.
Take advantage of of your life before your death.
Take advantage of your wealth before your poverty, and
Take advantage of your free time before becoming preoccupied.

[Narrated by al-Haakim on the authority of Ibn Abbaas]

Don’t lose sight of what Allah has given you. Everything within you and around you is there because of Allah’s will; use everything to get close to Allah!

May Allah increase us in Ilm and give us steadfastness and Ihsaan. May Allah correct our affairs for us and forgive our sins, and keep our hearts beating long enough to earn His pleasure and a home near Him in Jannah . Ameen.

Sources:

http://audio-islam.com/2012/10/02/take-care-of-five-things-before-five-things-umar-bryant-mp3en/

Quote

“Change is a di…

Change is a direct product of how much faith you have in Allah and how tightly you’ve tied your camel ~ Areej Usmani

My younger sister Areej’s MSA National Blog post on the “Six Steps to Improving Muslim Life on Campus.” Take a look! MashAllah, it’s a great read.

Confusion

water drips in the quiet of Eden,

held temporarily by the lush green leaves

of trees.

Through the drip-drip-drop,

hushed whispers weave through the branches,

and plumes of steam rise from the ground,

timid heat caressing the forest bed.

Above the canopy,

look closely.

stars twinkle in a sky of sapphire

A competition of beauty,

for the sun blazes gold, throwing

constellations to disarray.

I do not know -nay-

I cannot tell,

Whether this is Heaven,

or a part of Hell,

For I glanced over my bare shoulder,

and saw you looking back at me.

Your eyes, an addiction

I used to feed,

by dreaming of you constantly.

Are you ghost

or are you flesh,

and if flesh you are,

there must be an apple.

Rotting somewhere

behind the trees.

 

Nesha Usmani