Archive for the ‘Beyond (Al-Ghayb)’ Category

The role of intention

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

I read this somewhere that we will be judged by God because of our INTENT (نیتنا). Do you believe that INTENT نية is more important than performance? (as reported by Ali and Ja`far As-Saadiq, may God have been pleased with them).

If you’d agree with me then should I keep going? I still haven’t made a decision. If I choose not to, it won’t be because of my situation (calamity). I swear to my dear Lord that it’s not about misfortunes of my life. Maybe everyone hates me, even my family, all people except kids.

I just wanna see the truth, wanna see God, wanna see my Dear Lord because I believe that it would be enough for me, I’ll endure those flames just for that sight of Him. Then I’ll rest even in hell.

That will be the INTENT behind my action, so tell me as a man of God, not personal answer, as someone who knows the truth (Allah) and have a task to share that, is this forbidden too to make such a decision?

I’ve nothing to contribute, because of your perfect site, but pray. May our Dear Lord bless your soul.

Thank you for you kind words about the blog and for your prayer for me. May God accept it and give you same.

How do you know that you will see God? There is no evidence that this will happen except for the people of Paradise. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “When the people of Paradise enter Paradise, God will say to them, ‘Do you want more I can add for you?’. They will say, ‘Did You not admit us to Paradise and save us from the Fire?’. Then the veil will be uncovered. They would never be given anything more beloved to them than looking at their Lord.” Narrated by Suhayb ibn Sanaan and reported by Muslim who rated it authentic. In another narration of the same hadeeth, he subsequently recited, “For those who did good is the best reward and more.” (10:26)

Thus, you assumption that you may see God either way has no basis. If what you are talking about is committing suicide, God forbid, then you should know that it is the only terminal sin in Islam. All other can be remedied in time.

It is also unforgivable, regardless of the intention behind it. One day, in a battle, a man was quite the warrior. His fellows were praising his valor, but the Prophet (PBUH) surprised them by saying, “He is in the Hellfire!” Shortly thereafter, the man was so badly wounded and in so much pain that he killed himself. Now the Sahaba understood the Prophet’s prophesy about him. The Prophet (PBUH) also said that a man from the prior nations had a painful open wound, so he committed suicide. Then God said, “My servant preempted Me with himself; I have forbidden him Paradise.” (Narrated by Jandab ibn Abdillah and reported by Al-Bukhaari). If, God forbid, you should commit suicide, you would lose both this world and the Hereafter. I pray that you come to your senses and expel Satan who is whispering such delusions into your ears.

The reality of this world can certainly be hard. God made that clear to Adam, “So, We said, ‘O Adam, verily this (Satan) is an enemy to you and to your spouse, so do not let him evict you from the Garden lest you should suffer.'” (20:117)

But does that mean we should abandon living and renounce the world? If that were true, how come the Prophet (PBUH) and all his noble companions were fully engaged in the world, in spite of all its trials, tribulations and unpleasantness? The Prophet (PBUH) had uncles who cursed him and even plotted to kill him. And what did he do? He kept friendly relations with them to the end. As a matter of fact, he practiced forgiveness, largess and graciousness.

If renouncing the world was a teaching of Islam, don’t you think that God, or His messenger, would have told us so?

This world was meant to mix the good and the bad, the wholesome and the filthy, the right and the wrong, guidance and loss. How else would the free will that man took on be exercised or tested? Why do you think God keeps telling us in the holy Quran to endure, keep the faith and do good? It is precisely because human nature would lead man to despair, lose faith and detach from the world otherwise. Maybe even drink to forget. Satan is counting on it!

Life is a finite opportunity to gain God’s approval and earn His reward. This can only be done if we maintain the right faith, remain steadfast on the Straight Path, fulfill our obligations, accumulate good deeds, expiate sins and call upon God to accept what we do right and pardon what we do wrong.

Finally, the role of intention is to validate good deeds. A charity could be intended for show-off. It may still be beneficial but it ceases to be a good deed – the kind that gets recorded in one’s book of deeds. A sin remains a sin regardless of the intention that preceded it. Intention is what differentiates the sincere from the hypocrites. That is why God judges by it, and only He fully knows it.

Is supplication futile?

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

Please, what is the relationship between dua (supplicating to God) and the Hadith which says that after 120 days of a fetus development in its mother’s womb that four things will be written for the baby, and nothing will be added and subtracted from the four things? In other words, can dua change the four things? If it can, then there is a misconception of what the Hadith says about nothing will be added or subtracted.

The hadeeth you refer to is reported by Muslim and rated authentic. It was narrated by `Aamir ibn Waathila. What the hadeeth says is that an angel is commissioned by God, after a fetus is 42 nights old, to fashion its form, hearing, eyesight, skin, flesh and bones. Then the angel asks God, “O Lord, male or female?” God tells him. Then the angels asks God, “And its lifespan?” God tells him. Then the angel asks God, “And its provision?” God tells him. Then the angel leaves with the paper in his hand, having added nothing else to it nor left out any of it.

Thus, what the hadeeth tells us is that four things are ‘written” for each human before he or she is born: His or her physical appearance, his or her gender, his or her lifespan and his or her provision and sustenance.

Writing these things means they are already known to God. People have changed their birth gender, for example. But it is the new gender that was written. God has already known about the change.

It is also important to realize that this “paper” is withheld from us. Only God and the angel who wrote it down know its content. People keep trying to change their financial situation and believers are encouraged to ask God to bestow on them wealth. God instructs us in the holy Quran, “And ask God from His bounty, for God is of everything Knowledgeable” (4:32). Whatever financial situation we end up with is foreknown to God. It is what was written down before we were born. We simply don’t know it. By not knowing, we have to work for it! By not knowing, we may keep asking God to change it. If we were to know it, we wouldn’t even try to change it, would we?

People keep trying to extend their lives. In doing so, they pursue methods which will keep them healthy, fight deceases and avoid risky behavior. By not knowing how long each of us will live, we can do all that. If we were to know, we would give up trying any of it.

The lesson learned from the hadeeth is the wisdom of the Beyond (Al-Ghayb); why it is kept hidden from us. It is precisely because we don’t know it that we supplicate to God to grant us what we hope for. It is precisely because we don’t know the Beyond that we keep trying to improve our lives. Supplicating to God and working hard for our goals are two things that God loves for us to do. Neither would be practical if we already knew the outcome.

God says in the holy Quran, “And say [to people], ‘Work! For God will observe your work, as well as His Messenger and the believers. Then you will be returned to the Knower of the Beyond and the Presence then He will inform you of what you have been doing.'” (9:105).

And He also says, “And your Lord has said, ‘Supplicate to Me; I will answer you.'” (40:60) His answer is a fulfillment of what He has already written, but He wanted us to ask for it. This way, we keep remembering that He is the Source and He keeps showing us His Grace and that He listens.

To clear up any misconception, please go through the previous posts in the Fate category.

On destiny and supplication

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

AssalaamuAlaikum akhi.

Hope you and your family are doing well by the blessings and mercy of Allah(SWT). I have a question on destiny and dua’a. I understand it is a very confusing topic. But, well I believe, we humans can sure speculate and understand a pattern of the same. InshaAllah.

My question is, 1. Do really Dua’a change the destiny of believers? If yes, then What about the dua’a(prayers) of disbelievers? Does Allah(SWT) accept their prayers also and change their destiny akhi?

2. Are their any factors that make our dua’s to be accepted soon by Allah(SWT)? I understand it is a matter which Allah(SWT) knows about and not us. BUt considering the limitations of our human mind, are their factors?

3. This is a bit off the topic, I have heard that we should not judge people by their appearances, as their imaan lies in their heart & Allah(SWT) knows the best what sort of person he/she is? But isn’t it that if imaan is there in our heart, it would be shown/seen out in our actions, behavior, our appearance? What is the Islamic & also your view point on it?

You can take one question at a time and answer it akhi. At your leisure. JazakAllah Khair.

Peace.

Wa Alaykum Assalaam, brother.

Destiny is not a confusing subject. It is quite simple. Only God knows where each of us will end up. Nobody else. He says in the holy Quran, “Say: None in the heavens and the earth knows the Beyond but God.” (27:65). Very straightforward.

Perhaps the confusion comes from the many opinions and theories people have formed about fate over the centuries. I’d suggest that you read the previous posts in this blog in the Fate category.

I think you are referring to the hadeeth, “Nothing holds back a Divine Decree except supplication.”, narrated by Salmaan Al-Faarisi and reported by At-Tirmizhi who rated it “sound but strange.” The authenticity of this hadeeth is suspect. But even if it were authentic, the word “Al-Qadhaa'” that appears in it is wrongly translated as destiny or pre-destination. This is a very common error that most Muslims fall into. Al-Qadhaa’ simply means Divine Decrees. What the hadeeth means is that God may suspend a Decree of His when the affected believer supplicates to Him. This does not change the believer’s destiny. God knew all along that His servant will call upon Him. He sends down His Decree then holds it. Why? In order to convey to us how much He loves supplication! This teaches us that if we want to be saved from afflictions and hardship, our best chance is to call upon God to save us from them. Amen.

God may reply to your supplication immediately or may defer the reply. He does that because He is the only One who has the whole picture. He grants everything in precise measure and timing. That is what the word Al-Qadar means. Another word that is wrongly translated as fate.

As for appearance, it can, as we all know, be deceiving. Some people look pious but are wicked inside. God says in the holy Quran, “And among the people is one whose utterance in this world you admire and he holds God a witness to what is in his heart while he is the fiercest of adversaries!” (2:204).

And the flip-side is also true. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “There may be a man, dusty and uncombed, whom people pay no attention to, but if He swears upon God for something, God will fulfill it!”, narrated by Anas ibn Maalik and reported by At-Tirmizhi who rated it it soundly authentic.

Life in the grave?

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

What does the Qur’an say about what will happen to us in that time between our last breath and the Day of Judgement?

That period is called Al-Barzakh (Isthmus). God says in the holy Quran, “And behind them (the dead) will be an isthmus until the Day they are sent off (resurrected)” (23:100).

The significance of the word “isthmus” is that the life in the grave is solitary. The deceased person in his grave will see and hear the living who come to visit his grave, but cannot communicate with them, and may be shown scenes from the Hereafter awaiting him but can neither avert or hurry them! God says in the holy Quran, about the House of Pharaoh, “The Hell they will be presented to it, day and night, and when the Hour is established (the Day of Resurrection) [it will be announced], “Admit the House of Pharaoh to the toughest torment!” (40:46).

That is why the Prophet (PBUH) used to pray for a fellow Muslim who has died, “O God, honor his stay-over and widen his entrance”, narrated by `Awf ibn Maalik and reported and rated authentic by Muslim.

May God make our stay-over and that of our loved ones a pleasant one.

Will all believers end up in Paradise?

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

I had read one of your answers regarding Muslims going to Jannah (Paradise) or not. You had mentioned, that it is Allah (SWT) who decides. Very true. But I had also come across one hadith in Bukhari
1.21:
Narrated Abu Sa`id Al−Khudri: The Prophet said, “When the people of Paradise will enter Paradise and the people of Hell will go to Hell, Allah will order those who have had faith equal to the weight of a grain of mustard seed to be taken out from Hell. So they will be taken out but (by then) they will be blackened (charred). Then they will be put in the river of Haya’ (rain) or Hayat (life) (the Narrator is in doubt as to which is the right term), and they will revive like a grain that grows near the bank of a flood channel. Don’t you see that it comes out yellow and twisted”.

So what does this mean? Does it mean that people who have faith of ONE GOD & don’t do idol worship/don’t equate Allah(SWT) with anyone will go to Jannah?

I have heard that, if your bad deeds exceed your good deeds, then you are put in hell. Is it forever, that a person burns in hell? Or as the above stated Hadith, If the person believes in Allah(SWT) he will get Jannah after getting burned for his sins?

Finally, is it really necessary to follow one madhab (school of thought)? like hanafi or shafi?

Sorry brother, I ask way too many questions. It’s just the curiosity and zeal to learn more. I hope you understand.

JazakAllah Khair

Wa Iyyak (and you too), brother. Feel free to ask as many questions as you like. I only hope I’m able to answer them.

The hadeeth you quoted is authentic and it means that anyone who has the slightest faith will eventually reside in Paradise. Guess who is the only One who knows that?

Thus, it is futile to try and guess who will enter Paradise and who won’t. This is God’s domain. What we are commissioned to do is to obey God in what He told us in the Quran and obey the Prophet (PBUH) in what he authentically told us in the Hadeeth. This requires knowledge of these two sources. Nobody has an excuse nowadays not to know what God and His Messenger have said because that is documented, preserved and widely and freely available in practically all human languages.

We cannot know, nor should we try to know, whether someone’s faith is true or whether someone’s actions please God. What we should try to do instead is to make our faith as sincere as we possibly can and our words and deeds as good and as dedicated to God as best as we can.

As for following a particular school of thought, ask yourself this question: Did the founder of that school receive revelation from God? Was he infallible? The answer is obviously no. Thus, strictly following a school of thought is not required upon Muslims, unless one is unable or unwilling to study the various opinions and pick the one that makes the most sense to him or her. All the founders of schools of thought were pious and knowledgeable. Yet, they differed greatly on many issues. How come? Was it because they thought the other founder was less knowledgeable or less pious? Of course not. They simply saw alternative arguments that seemed to them more meritorious than the other founder’s argument. If God or His Messenger wanted a matter to be settled without disputes, they would have explicitly given the ruling on it. A matter being subject to various interpretations is so by design! All legitimate interpretations of it are meant.

The only people who will not be in Paradise are the people whom God said about that they will “reside in the Fire for eternity”. Pay extra attention – when you read the Quran – to those verses! May God guard our faith, rectify our words and deeds and save us from straying from His Straight Path.

When Jesus comes back

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Assalam u Alaikum, I was just wondering what will happen to people other than the people of the book on the day of judgment? Because I read that when Isa ibn Mariam (as) (Jesus) comes back, all the People of the Book will believe in him and become Muslims. But what about people who are not from the People of the book like Hindus or Buddhists or Sikhs etc.? What about them? Will they convert and believe in Isa (as) or not? Will they follow Ad-Dajjal (Antichrist)? Thanks and may Allah (swt) bless you!

The short answer to your question is this verse,

“Verily, those who have believed (the Muslims), those who came back apologizing (the Jews), the Sabeans, the Christians, the Magi and those have associated [others with God in worship] – God will decisively judge between them on the Day of Resurrection. Verily, God is upon everything a Witness.” (22:17)

It is a matter of Al-Ghayb (the Beyond). This verse makes it clear that such judgment is up to God only. We cannot nor should attempt to make a judgment about the destiny of any people of any belief.

As for your point about Jesus, peace be upon him; God tells us in the Quran, “And there is from the People of the Book [none] but who will surely believe in him (Jesus) before his death. And on the Day of Resurrection he will be upon them a witness.” (4:159)

The preceding three verses state very emphatically and unambiguously that Mary (PBUH) was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus (PBUH), that nobody killed Jesus and that, in fact, he never died at all – God raised him up to Him. When Jesus comes back, the People of the Book – the Jews and the Christians – will have to believe the truth about him as taught in the Quran, because Jesus will be there teaching the same teachings until he dies. Whether they continue to believe after his death is unknown. They may differ about him yet again like they did the first time!

The Antichrist, by definition, will come before Christ Jesus does. This is confirmed in the Hadeeth. Jesus will easily defeat him.

We don’t know whether people other than Christians and Jews will choose to follow Jesus when he comes back and accept Islam. Nor do we know what will be the judgment of non-Muslims on Judgment Day. But we know this for sure: “God does not do a spec’s weight of injustice” (4:40) So, rest assured that God will dispense His judgment fairly and gracefully as only He can. After Salmaan Al-Faarisi, may God have been pleased with him, accepted Islam (he had been a Christian), he asked the Prophet (PBUH), with great concern, what will be the destiny of his parents and other relatives who were righteous people but had no chance to know about Islam until they died. God revealed this verse to answer that question,

“Verily, those who have believed (the Muslims), those who came back apologizing (the Jews), the Christians and the Sabeans – those who believed in God and the Final Day and did a righteous [deed], for them will be their reward with their Lord and there shall be no fear upon them, nor shall they grieve!” (2:62)

God is fair; He would not punish a people until after He sends them a messenger (17:15). Thus, those who die without having any knowledge of Islam will be judged on their reply to their prophets and messengers. And if they had none, on their faith in God and Judgment Day and their actions in life, something which only God truly knows.

Are the dead in a better place?

Friday, September 30th, 2011

I read that when the Prophet Muhammad (saws) was on the night journey, that when he ascended up to heaven that he saw people in heaven. I have a question, who are those people in heaven that he (saws) saw? When people die do they go straight towards there destination? I mean, when people die alot of people say that ” oh so and so is in a better place right now” So I want to know if people are in heaven and or hell right now and exactly who did the Prophet (saws) see. Thanks!

The Night and Ascension journey (Al-Israa’ wal-Mi`raaj) transported the Prophet (PBUH) to other worlds. The whole trip took less actual time than a door opened closes back! So, laws of our world did not apply to the worlds he visited.

One of these laws is the law of time. It does not work there like it works here. When you ask, “Are dead people in heaven now?”, you’re trying to apply the earthly law of time to heaven. It can’t be. How does it work then? That’s a matter of Al-Ghayb (the Beyond).

To make this a bit easier to understand, reflect on dreams. Have you ever had an elaborate dream that you felt took hours and traveled you vast distances, but in reality you dosed off for a few minutes? The law of time does not apply to dreams either.

The Prophet (PBUH) saw Heaven and Hell and the people who will be in them.

When people die, they transfer to the next stage in their existence: Al-Barzakh (life in the grave). They do not go straight to their final destination. When the Hour is due, the Horn is blown and the Day of Judgment commences, all people will emerge out of their graves and ascend to heaven awaiting judgment. May our loved ones and we be among those whose judgment will be quick and easy and be admitted to Paradise.

What to tell a pantheist?

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

My older brother who’s 18 years old just left Islam. Now he’s a pantheist. Would you please help me to give a beautiful explanation, so he’ll think of Islam again? What should I say to him? What would YOU say to him if you were my parent? I don’t understand his philosophy very well, except that he believes in impersonal god and everything occurs in the universe has always been a mere mechanical process (not God’s will). He’s trying to convert me, my sisters, and my mother, a few days ago older sister’s starting to believe his conversion was making sense.

Sorry to hear that. I know you must be feeling terrible.

God is not a person, but He is not impersonal either! These terms apply to creatures only. He is above and beyond everything that we can imagine or conceive of. Everything in the universe did develop in a mechanical way, but it was God who created the mechanical and physical laws, right? God says in the holy Quran,

“[Pharaoh asking Moses and Aaron] saying, “Who then is your Lord, O Moses?” He said, “My Lord is He who gave everything its form and then guided [it]” (20:49-50)

The main question that no atheist has been able to answer is: who created the laws that operate everything? They say they don’t know how any law evolved and may never know. God tells us in the Quran that it is He and no one else who created all, including the laws by which all operate.

Why do these laws operate so orderly and so consistently? Has your brother ever been wounded? Did he ever reflect on how the wound heals? What tells scar tissue to form, just above new skin cells that are too ripe still to be exposed to air?! How does scar tissue know that new skin cells are ready and thus it drops off having served its purpose?! Isn’t this a sign of God, the Healer?

Atheists may think that they are intellectuals, but they really are irrational. Their motivation, IMHO, is one or more of three things: (a) Resentment of God for His Power over them, (b) resentment of God for allowing imperfections in this world, or (c) evasion of religious obligations. All three reasons are ill conceived. God’s power over us is a good thing, because we tend to abuse our powers while God never does, so He is the Balance in the universe. Imperfections in this world is the result of the exercise of the free will. Without the free will, no atheist would have been able to reject God! Finally, religious obligations are for our own benefit. They are our connection to God and the food for our souls.

Remain a good brother to your brother, and pray for him, but educate yourself and him. I suspect that the main reason he veered from Islam is that he knew little or knew wrong about Islam. Yes, many Muslims are ignorant about their religion, I’m sad to say.

Is Aql subservient to Naql?

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

What is the status of Aql (mind) in Islam? Is it true that Ahl-us-Sunna wal-Jamaa`a (People of the Sunna and consensus) believe that Aql is subservient to Naql (narrations)?

We know the validity and authenticity of any narration by way of the mind! Therefore, `Aql (the mind) is superior to Naql (narrations), not the other way around.

The reason we know that the Quran is God’s word is because we’ve read it and came to the unshakable conclusion that it is the truth. The Quran made its case for being holy scripture by invoking our minds, as well as our hearts, and inviting us repeatedly to think, contemplate and reason. Thus, the Quran makes it clear that the mind is one of the two ways we can find the truth. The other being the heart. Both are required.

With that established, we can now feel comfortable accepting matters of the Beyond that are hinted at in the Quran. Because we trust the Source of information, we can trust everything He says, even if our minds cannot grasp it. That is the point where Ahl-us-Sunna wal-Jamaa`a mean when they say that `Aql is subservient to Naql: they mean authenticated Naql.

This is a key differentiator of Islam. Belief in Islam is not blind and is not without questioning. Faith in Islam is educated. It is only after you have become convinced in your heart and in your mind that the Quran is the whole truth about God, then you believe in Islam. And the Quran emphasizes that each of us can tell if it is the truth or not!

As for narrations, such as the Hadeeth, they have been evaluated by scholars on two fronts: Sanad (attribution chain) and Matn (content). A narration that passes authenticity tests of both fronts may be declared authentic and only then does it become part of the religion.

The question “Is `Aql subservient to Naql” has two problems: (a) It does not define what is meant by either term, and (b) It is what is called in logic a false dilemma. It makes an assumption that has not been established as fact, namely, that one of the two is superior and the other is inferior. A third option, which is the case actually, is that both are equally important.

A poem by Imaam Ash-Shaafi`i

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

I know you love poetry, especially by Imaam Ash-Shaafi`i, rahimahullah, so here is one:

عليك بتقوى الله إن كنت غافلا **يأتيك بالأرزاق من حيث لا تدري
وكيف تخاف الفقر والله رازق **فقد رزق الطير والحوت في البحر
ومن ظن أن الرزق يأتي بقوة **ما أكل العصفور شيئاً مع النسر
تزول عن الدنيا فإنك لاتدري **إذا جن عليك الليل هل تعش إلى الفجر
فكم من صحيح مات من غير علة **وكم من سقيم عاش حيناً من الدهر
وكم من فتى أمسى وأصبح ضاحكا **وأكفانه في الغيب تنسج وهو لا يدري

May God reward you well. Lovely poem. Here is its translation:

Commit to consciousness of God, if you’ve been heedless,
He will bring you sustenance from wherever you wouldn’t know.
How can you fear poverty knowing that God is Provider,
He provided for birds and the whale in the sea.
To whomever thought that sustenance is obtained by strength,
A sparrow wouldn’t be eating with eagles!
You depart the world [when you sleep] and you don’t know,
when night covers you, will you live till dawn?
How many healthy ones died without a sickness,
and how many sick ones lived for some time.
And how many a youth laugh night and day,
while their coffin in the Beyond is being sewn and he doesn’t know.