Remedying the Heavy and Tight Chest: Lesson 13

Sunday 29 April 2018

Lesson 13: Jealousy, excesses in worldly matters, and curing the contamination of the heart 

  • Recap of lesson 12
    • Goodness, generosity and Bravery are inseparable, why is this?
    • Likewise stinginess and cowardliness are also inseparable
    • The example which the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) gave regarding the generous vs the miserly
    • Ibnul Qayyim mentions a principle: Bliss and relaxation in life will convert in the grave and in the afterlife into the same. In a similar fashion, the one whose heart is tight due to him not obeying Allah, then this will turn into torment and punishment in the grave and the afterlife.
  • At times you may find a person whose heart is usually relaxed, you may find him temporarily afflicted with a tight chest on the odd occasion and likewise a person who has a tight chest and has not been granted a relaxed chest may temporarily have a relaxed chest. Ibnul Qayyim says no consideration is given to these temporary factors. What matters is the constant, ongoing characteristic of a person.
    • g. a person who is usually a coward or a miser and on one occasion does something generous or brave, then this does not change his main characteristic
  • List of means of relaxing the chest so far:
    • Tawhid (Islamic monotheism)
    • Huda (guidance)
    • Noor of eemaan (Light of Belief)
    • Inaaba (turning towards Allah in repentance)
    • Ilm (knowledge)
    • Loving Allah
    • Dhikr (remembrance) of Allah
    • Ihsan, kindness and generosity
    • Bravery
  • From the greatest means of bringing about the relaxation of the chest is to remove the blameworthy characteristics or contaminations of the heart
    • Shaikh Muhammad Amaan Al-Jaami says these blameworthy characteristic are in reference to envy, jealousy, hatred, having great desire for the world, and being lazy with repentance.
    • Example of water, no matter how pure it was originally, if it becomes contaminated
  • Shaikh Muhammad Amaan Al-Jaami says the one who has been afflicted with jealousy, when he sees another person enjoying a blessing he wishes that blessing to be taken away from that person or delivered to him.
    • His soul does not rest, his jealousy torments him
    • He becomes agitated
    • In reality, the one who is jealous, then his condition speaks for himself. It is as though he is saying “O my Lord why did you give so and so such and such blessing”.
    • This automatically will lead to harm, backbiting and slander.
    • Will such a person ever have a relaxed chest?
  • The jealous one is afflicted with long hopes, “Later on in life I will change this and that”
  • All of the effort of the jealous person will be wasted due to his heart being contaminated
  • Shaikh Muhammad Amaan Al-Jaami says a short thobe and a thick beard, even though they have been commanded, if behind these things there are contaminations of the heart, then these things will not benefit a person. Rather, these external matters should stem from an inner pure heart.
  • Ibn qayyim says if a person adopts means of alleviating his chest without cleansing his heart from contaminations then the alleviation of the chest will not come about.
  • From among the means of alleviating the chest, is to leave off excessive worldly matters:
    • These matters bring about pain and sadness in the heart of as person
    • Excess looking in matters which Allah has prohibited, even just for tourism, then this will prevent you from looking at what Allah loves such as the Qur’an, Sunnah, learning.
    • Excessive speech, i.e. backbiting, gossiping and idle talk. People who do this see time as cheap, whereas the Muslim should see time as more precious than wealth as it is irreplaceable and your only true asset
    • Excessive listening, g. to music, songs and worthless speech, then this type of behavior will mean such a person will not spend his/her time listening to the Qur’an and learning his/her religion.
    • Excess Socialising, Especially in our time: Nowadays socializing will bring about evil and will take you away from attending classes, learning and sticking to those who will benefit you. One should not become a hermit, however if you cannot find any type of beneficial gathering then being secluded is better than socializing in vain.
    • Excessive eating:e. gluttony
    • Excessive sleeping: This will. NOTE these days a person may set his alarm 07:30 Am for work, but will not set his time/alarm for the Fajr prayer, this is a great sin and some scholars say this type of person is a disbeliever as he has abandoning the prayer.
    • NOTE: if you wasted your time in these excessive matters, then one day you will be old and will be struck with regret that you have lost your time and youth and will never get that time back.
    • However, if it is the case that your heart has remorse due to the guilt of having wasted this time, then how blessed a grief this is
  • Ibn Qayyim says how constrained bitter is the life of a person who has engaged in all of the above, and how blissful is the life of the one who has taken part in all of the means of alleviating his heart
  • The point of all of these lessons is that Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was the most perfect of creation in respect to relaxation of the chest, real happiness, elevation of rank and pardoning of sins
  • How much relaxation of the heart and bliss in this life you attain is proportionate to how closely you follow the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم)
  • When one says “I love the Messenger of Allah”, then this should not be based solely on his personality, indeed his uncle Abu Talib loved him for this reason and this did not benefit him. What is needed is the love that comes from Eemaan (belief).
  • How much Allah will support you and protect you is proportionate on how closely you follow the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم)
  • Whoever finds goodness (in this world and the next), then let him praise Allah, and whoever finds other than that then let him not blame anyone except his own self

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Preparing for Ramadhaan

Sat 28 Apr 2018

  • Fasting is one of the Pillars of Islam
  • Allah says: “O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious – see V. 2:2).” [Surah Al-Baqarah (The Cow) verse 183]
    • When a verse begins with “O You who believe” then listen carefully as it is going to be a commandment or a prohibition
    • This verse shows us that fasting has been obligated upon his Ummah
    • It also informs us that fasting was prescribed upon the previous nations who came before us
    • The verse also tells us the wisdom behind fasting: So that we may achieve piety (fearing Allah, fulfilling the obligations and staying away from the prohibitions)
    • The purpose and wisdom behind fasting is one of the most important things a Muslim needs to know
    • NOTE: Fasting is not just to experience hunger, although it is one important part of it.
      • Shaikh Al-Fawzan says when one experiences hunger he understands the position of those who are in poverty and do not have any food.
      • Also when one feels hunger, despite your strength and youth, you will experience what it feels to be weak.
    • To reach taqwa (piety) is the goal of fasting
    • Those who have the attitude “I just want to get it over and done with”, these will not experience the happiness and joy of the great opportunity Allah has provided to us to gain piety and a great deal of reward
    • Shaykh Al-Fawzan says when Ramadhaan finishes the Muslims are of 2 categories
      • Either someone who is happy that it is over, they could not wait for it to end, they have not understood the purpose of it. Someone who is like this needs to fix their attitude, fasting is a pillar of Islam.
      • Others feel happy that they have completed Ramadhaan, but are sad that it is now over, these people have understood its significance
    • Narrated Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him): The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “(Allah said), ‘Every good deed of Adam’s son is for him except fasting; it is for Me. and I shall reward (the fasting person) for it.’ Verily, the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is better to Allah than the smell of musk.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]
      • There is a great deal of reward in Ramadhaan
    • Allah says: “The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Saum (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah [i.e. to say Takbir (Allahu-Akbar; Allah is the Most Great) on seeing the crescent of the months of Ramadan and Shawwal] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (The Cow) verse 185]
    • On the authority of Abdullah, the son of Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with them both), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) say, “Islam has been built on five [pillars]: testifying that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishing the salah (prayer), paying the zakat (obligatory charity), making the hajj (pilgrimage) to the House, and fasting in Ramadhan.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
    • A person aims to purify and cleans his soul from the degrading and lowly acts
    • Anas b. Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) reported the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) as saying: The devil flows in a man like his blood. [Sunan Abi Dawud]
      • When a person fasts, his veins become less in volume due to lack of water and so this also limits the flow of the shaitaan
      • Fasting also strengthens your mind and your resolve in staying upon
    • Fasting teaches you patience upon the obedience of Allah and patience in staying away from the haraam
    • Fasting helps a person control himself
    • Within fasting, a person loses his desires for the worldly glitter and instead things more about the day of Judgement and therefore he better understands his purpose in life
    • Fasting helps you to sympathise with those who are in a poorer state than yourself
    • When a person is fasting he must refrain from certain things with an intention from before Fajr time until Maghrib time, this is the definition of fasting.
    • Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “If one does not eschew lies and false conduct, Allah has no need that he should abstain from his food and his drink.”[Al-Bukhari, Ibn Majah and others].
      • When fasting one must stay away from eating, drinking, intercourse etc, however one must also stay away from bad conduct (acting foolishly or upon falsehood) and must leave evil speech and false testimony.
      • The Salaf used to say the easiest part of fasting is to stop eating and drinking, whereas to control your tongue and your behaviour is the difficult part.
      • These days you may see a Muslim who does not offer five regular daily prayers, yet he fasts in Ramadhaan. This is a mistake in priorities.
    • Some of the Salaf used to make dua to Allah 6 months before Ramadhaan asking Allah for the opportunity to see the coming Ramadhaan and when it had ended they would make dua for Allah to accept their fasting and deeds during the month.
    • Ramadhaan is an opportunity for a person to connect with the Qur’an and pay more attention to it, read it and study it.
    • NOTE: A Muslim should set aside half an hour EVERY Day to read the Qur’an and this should be more in Ramadhaan
    • Before attending the Taraweeh prayers, one should read over what will be read that night and read the meanings of it so that when you come to the Taraweeh you can follow the Imam’s recitation and your mind will have a greater deal of focus
    • Q&A:
      • Is it permissible to read the Qur’an via mushaf or phone etc during the Taraweeh prayer and follow?
      • If someone has not memorised all of the Qur’an, and he/she is praying at home by themselves, can they pray Taraweeh while reading Qur’an via the mushaf or phone?
      • What if during taraweeh at a mosque the only Hafidh is the Imam, can someone behind him be appointed to follow along using the mushaf or phone?
      • What is the best way to correct the Imam during prayer?
      • What if I find it very useful to read the Qur’an along with the Imam using my phone and it improves my understanding/khushu/focusin prayer etc, can one do it then?

 

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Authentic Adhkār from the Qur’an & Sunnah: Lesson 13

Sat 21 Apr 2018

✏️Lesson 13: The differences in the names of Allah, and what is the greatest name of Allah?

We have already covered that Allah’s names are more than 99 and that the one whomsoever learns and acts on them will enter Paradise

  • This indicates that the names of Allah have different levels
  • Shaikh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah says whoever says that the attributes of Allah do not have different levels, then there is no evidence behind their statement
  • Just as the names and attributes of Allah vary, then so do their virtues
  • The narratiiomn
    • This hadith proves that there are different levels
  • It was narrated that Anas bin Malik said: “The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) heardman say: ‘Allahumma! Inni as’aluka bi-anna lakal-hamd. La ilaha illa Anta, wahdaka la sharika laka. Al-Mannan. Badi’us-samawati wal-ard. Dhul-jalali wal-ikram (O AllahI ask You by virtue of the fact that all praise is due to You; none has the right to be worshiped but Youalone, and You have no partner or associate, the Bestower, the Originator of the heavens and the earth, the Possessor of majesty and honor.’ He (saas) said: ‘He has asked Allah by His Greatest Name which, if He is asked thereby He gives and if He is called upon thereby He answers.'” [Reported in the Musnad of Imam Ahmed and also found in the four books of the Sunnan]
    • Note: what is the order of the four sunnan in the order that their authors died? 1. Ibn Maajah (d.273 AH), Abu Dawud (d. 275 AH), Tirmidhi (d.279 AH), Nisaai (d.303 AH)
    • Note 2: Imam Ahmed died 241
    • What about the order of the Sunan in order of which book is best? Some scholars order them as follows, Abu dawud, NIsaii, Timridhi, Ibn Maajah
  • There are numerous narrations which mention the greatest name of Allah
    • It was narrated that Al-Qasim said: The Greatest Name of Allah, if He is called by which He will respond, is in three Surah: Al-Baqarah, Al ‘Imran and Ta-Ha. (Hasan) Another chain for something similar from Al-Qasim, from Abu Umamah, from the Prophet (saas) [Sunan Ibn Majah]
    • It was narrated from Asma’ bint Yazid that : The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “The Greatest Name of Allah is in these two Verses: And your Ilah (God) is One Ilah (God – Allah), La Ilaha Illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.’ And at the beginning of Surah Al ‘Imran.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]
    • Narrated Buraydah ibn al-Hasib: The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) heard a man saying: O Allah, I ask Thee, I bear witness that there is no god but Thou, the One, He to Whom men repair, Who has not begotten, and has not been begotten, and to Whom no one is equal, and he said: You have supplicated Allah using His Greatest Name, when asked with this name He gives, and when supplicated by this name he answers. [Sunan Abi Dawud]
  • From these narrations we know that the one who calls upon Allah with his greatest name will have his/her supplications answers, the scholar have done a great amount of research into this topic
    • Imam Shawkaani (may Allah have mercy on him) said indeed the scholars have differed on what the greatest name of Allah is, in approximately 40 opinions, however many of them are weak.
    • Indeed the Sufia (sufis) have made a great deal of fabrications on this issue, including many made up stories. Every Muslim needs to be upon caution from falling into this deception. One should check the sources used carefully.
    • NOTE: Why are the sufia called sufia? One opinion is that “suuf” means wool linguistically, and so this is a reference to their zuhd (asceticism).
    • Imam Shawkaani says the most popular opinion and most well evidence and the most likely to be correct is in specifying what the greatest name of Allah is in terms of evidence, is his name, “Allah”.
    • One evidence for the above is when we ask “What is the greatest name of Allah”, we always refer to him by default as “Allah”, and we may for example say “Al-Rahmaan (The Most merciful) is one of the names of Allah”, i.e. the name “Allah” is central.
    • In the Book Kitaab At-Tawhid, the Shaikh , mentions that “Allah” is the greatest name of Allah and explains by stating that the name Allah explains the essence of Allah, and that:
      • it is the basis of Eemaan (as we say “Eemaan in Allah”)
      • it is the basis of Islam (as the first pillar, in the testimony we mention his name Allah), and
      • that with this name we start with his name “Allah” and that he is the greatest)
      • And that when we seek refuge we seek refuge with him using this name
      • Therefore this name “Allah” has specific virtues which the others do not have
    • And the verse “And to Allah belong the most beautiful names” shows that all the other names return back to this one and it encompasses them
    • Each of the other names clarify different aspects of why Allah should be singled out for worship, e.g. he is Al-Rahmaan (The Most Merciful) etc
  • Therefore the majority of the scholars state that the name “Allah” is the greatest name
  • Other scholars state that the greatest name is “Al-Hayyul Qayyuum” (The Ever Living, the one who sustains and protects all that exists)
    • Ibn qayyim says the attribute of life (Al-Hayy) is inclusive and comprises all of the attributes of perfection , and the second part (Al-Qayyuum) shows that Allah is completely self sufficient, needing none, yet at the same time he sustains and protects all that exists, and so everything needs him and he needs none.
    • The name “Al-Hayyul Qayyuum” is mentioned the most of the narrations which cover the greatest name of Allah
    • However “Allah” is mentioned in all of the hadith which mention the greatest name of Allah
  • The above two are the strongest two opinions
  • NOTE: However this is an issue of Ihtihaad as there is not any hadith which categorically state which name is greatest, and so this is an issue requiring analysis and research
  • In any case, if you were to repeat the dua which the man made in the first n
  • Q&A:
    • What is the meaning of the name Allah?
    • Is right to call Allah “God”? = No
    • Is it better to call Allah “The Lord” or “The Creator” when explaining to non Muslims? = Yes, this is because the names “Lord” or “Creator” have direct translations into Allah’s names whereas just saying “God” can mean different to different people
    • Question about praying witr and Tahajjud at night
    • Is it right for a man to hug his mother-in-law or sister in-law?

Next Lesson insha Allah:  Ramadhaan preparation lesson

 

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Remedying the Heavy and Tight Chest: Lesson 12

Sunday 29th Rajab 1439/15 April 2018

Lesson 12: The Kind and Generous vs. the Miserly

  • Recap of lesson 11
    • The Two types of love (beneficial and harmful)
    • When does loving something besides Allah or at the expense of his duty to Allah, become shirk?
    • Shaikh Muhammad Amaan Al-Jaami mentioned the harmful (sadness, loss of perfection etc) effects of loving something/someone besides Allah
    • NOTE: the above harmful love is when someone loves something/someone in a way only befitting to Allah, or with humility, or such that this causes deficiency in his duty to Allah. Natural, normal love towards one’s spouse or child or an inclination towards one’s wealth which does not decline his duty to Allah is not what is meant.
    • How are the above cured?
      • Remembrance of Allah
        • Qur’an
        • Adhkar such as from the Fortress of the Muslim
      • The importance of being kind, Ihsan
    • “Ihsan” literally means to perfect, in this context kindness and generosity is meant
    • The one who is stingy and tight fisted lives a sad and constricted life
    • Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “The example of a miserand an almsgiver is like the example of two persons wearing iron cloaks.” Allah’s Apostle also said, “The example of an almsgiver and a miser is like the example of two persons who have two iron cloaks on them from their breasts to their collar bones, and when the almsgiver wants to give in charity, the cloak becomes capacious till it covers his whole body to such an extent that it hides his fingertips and covers his footprints (obliterates his tracks). (1) And when the miser wants to spend, it (the iron cloak) sticks and every ring gets stuck to its place and he tries to widen it, but it did not become wide. [Sahih Al-Bukhari, also found in Sahih Muslim]
    • Shaikh Muhammad Amaan Al-Jaami says from the avenues of alleviating the chest is to be kind to creation and benefitting them with what one can.
      • Ihsan is of two types, literally means to “perfect” and so the first type is to have Ihsan in the worship of Allah, i.e. to perfect it. The second category is Ihsan towards creation, i.e. goodness and kindness towards creation.
    • Being kind and having mercy towards other people and creation is a form of showing thankfulness towards Allah as he is the one who blessed you in the first place and placed you in the position of being able to spend and help others. Therefore one who is in that position, then that act of spending is an act of gratitude towards Allah.
      • Helping others and showing mercy can be in many forms, you can help them physically with a task, you can help someone in need financially, you can put a good word in for someone who needs a reference if you are in a position to do so etc.
      • Therefore the generous is NOT just someone with money; kindness itself is a mercy to others. One can be generous with even just a smile.
      • Examples of such kind and happy people
    • Ibn Qayyim says as for the miser, in whom there is no ihsan, he is the one who has the heaviest chest and lives the most bitter life and possess the greatest amount of distress.
      • Why is this? He has gone against the word of Allah and gone against the fitra (Natural disposition of a human
      • This type of person is in a state of uneasiness, continuously trying to satisfy his greediness and niggardliness, whilst his heart reproaches him all the while, and for that reason he lives in a state of grief as he is unable to extend the hand of kindness to the other servants of Allah.
    • Shaikh Muhammad Amaan Al-Jaami says stinginess necessitates and is inseparable from cowardliness, just as generosity and kindness necessitates and is inseparable from courage. Therefore when you see a generous person, know that he is brave and courageous, and when you see a miser know that he is a coward.
    • Recap so far of causes of achieving relaxation of the chest:
      1. Tawhid (Islamic monotheism)
      2. Huda (guidance)
      3. Noor of eemaan (Light of Belief)
      4. Inaaba (turning towards Allah in repentance)
      5. Ilm (knowledge)
      6. Loving Allah
      7. Dhikr (remembrance) of Allah
      8. Ihsan, kindness and generosity
    • Next Part: Ibn Qayyim says from among the means of relieving the heavy and tight chest is bravery, because the brave one has an expanded chest and is someone who is easy going, has a big heart. As for the coward, he has the most heavy heart, no happiness or delight does he experience, he only experiences the pleasure which the animals derive, however he is denied from true happiness of the heart.
    • Principle: the state of your heart whilst in this life, that is how the state of your grave is going to be in the next life
      • Indeed the one who is kind and generous, the bliss which his soul experiences in his life transforms in his grave into a garden, and in a similar fashion the tightness experienced by a miser and coward converts into confinement and torture in the grave.

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