Archive for the ‘Life’ 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 euthenasia allowed in Islam?

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

When my mother was in the hospital she was declared brain dead and was only being supported by the oxygen machine. When the doctor told us there was nothing they can do my father decided to remove the life support and let her go. The rest of us however refused to do so. A day after she died naturally. Is removing the life support considered euthanasia and if its allowed in Islam?

May God have mercy on your mother.

Since removing life support escalates removal of life and keeping it slows that down, it is euthanasia. Euthanasia is a euphemism for “mercy” killing. That means it’s a killing. So, the question is “is killing a brain dead person allowed in Islam?”

To answer that question, one needs to understand when Islam allows killing. God says in the holy Quran, “And do not kill the soul which God has made sacrosanct except in truth.” (6:151). What does “in truth” mean? The Quran answers that. There are only three situations that the Quran has allowed killing: (i) self defense, which includes war, (ii) as punishment for first degree murder and (iii) as punishment for terrorism. Clearly euthanasia does not qualify.

Even calling it mercy killing is a euphemism, because in many situations the act is not done out of compassion for the sick, who may be in a coma, but in order to spare his loved ones the pain of watching him die slowly. It’s understandable why they are in pain, but that is no excuse for killing. Otherwise, suicide would be acceptable but of course it is totally forbidden.

There is a difference between deadening and killing. Deadening is when the soul departs the body naturally and that can only be done by the angel of death authorized by God. Killing is when the soul is forced out of the body. It preempts deadening and therefore it’s an infringement on God’s authority.

Spiritual balance

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Assalaam alaikum,

I have been active in reading the Quran. It is becoming a little easier.

Have many things on my mind. I believe there comes a point in life where all our decisions are made to please Allah subhana wa taala. I have developed a great love for the Prophet Nuh. I can not image living to 950 years. I do not have the patience for humanity that he did. Yes, all prophets and messengers are of the same cloth of sabr.

I am seeking a balance in life. Need your input on spiritual balance. What does a believer do when you feel so alone in the duyna.

Wa Alaykum Assalaam. Being active in reading the Quran is being active in getting closer to God, for the Quran is the word of God. It is the memento God has graciously given us to remember Him by and to remind us that He is always there (As-Samad)), always alert (Al-Hayy), always listening and watching (As-Samee`, Al-Baseer), always welcoming (At-Tawwaab), anxious to forgive us (Al-Ghafoor) and eager to make our wishes come true!

When one realizes that fully, how can one then feel alone? It is only when we let our dark side win over the good side, even briefly, that the feeling of loneliness creeps in, because the light of God does not cohabit with the darkness of ego in the same heart.

One of the repeatedly taught principles of Islam is balance. Extremes on either side are rejected by God and His Messenger (PBUH). And within every aspect of life, balance is also required. One day three people asked about the worship style of the Prophet (PBUH). They were not impressed with the answer! They thought that he did not do much worship because he could afford to; because he has been forgiven all his sins already. So, one of the three said, “I will stay up every night praying.” The second said, “I will fast everyday.” The third said, “I will vow chastity and never marry.” The Prophet (PBUH) heard about that and got upset. He said, “By God, I am the most observing of God among you and the most watchful of Him. But I fast some days and eat some days. I pray part of the night and sleep the rest of it. And I marry women. He who desires a way (Sunna) other than mine does not belong to me.” Narrated by Anas ibn Maalik (RA) and reported and rated authentic by Al-Bukhaari.

When our decisions in life are aligned with God’s teachings, we sail through life. We feel as if we’re under a protective wing. We weather storms. Tumult and confusion that often lead people astray or desperate do not dent us. And we can recognize blessing when it comes. God says in the holy Quran, “Whoever does righteously, male or female, and is a believer, then We shall give them a good life.” (16:97) Otherwise, it’s an uphill battle that makes the world seem to us like a lawless jungle. God says in the holy Quran, “And whoever turns aside from My remembrance, then verily for him is an arduous living.” (20:124)

Did you notice in the story of Prophet Nuh (Noah), peace be upon him, that God told him one day that there will not be any more people who will believe in him? (11:36) That is when he instructed him to build the ark. Noah didn’t stop preaching until God told him to! And even then, he kept hoping against hope that he may be able to save his son who hasn’t accepted God. As the flood waters were rising and the ark was about to sail out, he called upon his son, “O dear son, ride with us! Don’t be among the disbelievers.” (11:42) He knew the son will not believe, because God said so. Yet, he still tried. It wasn’t second guessing God; it was a desperate human effort of a loving father. It didn’t work of course and could not have.

We do not have the privilege that Noah had. We do not know when to stop calling for God with our words and deeds. Therefore, we must keep trying.

Supplicating with confidence

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

Salaams,
This is what you said to me earlier:
What you keep thinking about tends to happen. That’s because the brain and the psyche are geared to achieve what you obsess about!

I obsessed about getting married and having children. I was worried about being alone and tried my darndest for that not to happen, but it did. What was at the forefront, however, was a constant determinatin: i will not reach 40 without getting married. I will not enter my middle years without having children.

Based on your thesis, it should have happened.

The problem is that you obsessed more about your fears that it won’t happen. Your brain and psyche saw two strong thoughts, one positive and another negative, and the negative was stronger, so it won.

I hope you can see why your approach to achieving your goal needs refinement. The right approach of a believing man or woman is to earnestly supplicate to God for what they wish for, work hard to exhaust all the possible material means to achieve that goal and then completely accept the outcome. That acceptance is proof of faith.

As I mentioned to you before, God has already answered your prayers. The answer is either not obvious to you in your disheartened state, or it is coming.

Have you ever prayed in congregation and the Imaam (preacher) said, ادعوا الله وأنتم موقنون بالإجابة (supplicate to God certain in the response)? The believer is certain of God’s reply to their supplication. The believer supplicates with confidence!

One of the things I really pray for is that my elderly parents remain healthy and able-bodied at least until I get married and have children (of course even beyond that, too!). I say that in every salaat, and at each time I speak to God. But last week my mother found out she had a health scare and now needs to see a surgeon to evaluate cancer. She does not want to take the further testing because it is very invasive.

I feel like I am drowning. The more I ask, the more disappointed I get. Its like the joy in life is lying at the surface of the ocean but I am struggling to get to the top. And I tried to keep the struggle at bay through my 30’s because I assumed that eventually I would get there. But now the struggle is overwhelming because it is compounded by so many other factors…my mothers’ health and longevity, my fatigue in always taking care of my own needs, my loss of someone I loved but who ultimately did not want to be with me, the loss of my childbearing years, and abandonment by my siblings and friends during a time when I am heartbroken. So I’m not getting to the top.

May God heal your mother as only He can. Please encourage her to seek all available treatments. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Take medicine, for God sent down ailment and sent with it its cure.” Narrated by Abud-Dardaa’ and reported by Abu-Daawood who rated it acceptable. At-Tirmizhi rated it soundly authentic.

The joy is not at the bottom of the ocean, it’s all around you. What you feel inside is what is blinding you to it. Millions of people have worked hard for goals that never materialized. Life handed them a lemon, but they made of it lemonade! Don’t keep tasting the lemon.

You never answered my question, “Why did your best friends abandon you?” The answer may help you fix your approach.

And I disagree that I obsessed over that – to the contrary, i obsessed over the opposite.

It was a subtle, subconscious obsession. Your supplication took you one step up the ladder, but your fears dragged you down two steps.

I know you think that the joy may lie in where I am, but everyone has a different perspective on joy. For me, joy is in being surrounded by family that loves and cares about you, and being nourished by them. Joy is being able to experience this world with people who are important to you.

Real joy is getting to Paradise. Joys of this life are fleeting. Please reflect on these verses from the holy Quran,

“And [this] the nearest life is but distraction and play. And verily, the Lasting Home (the Hereafter) is the life, if they only knew.” (29:64)

“So that you will not grieve over what missed you nor be overjoyed over what He has given you!” (57:23)

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.

Is health (and life) insurance allowed in Islam?

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

I asked several prominent scholars and they all told me that insurance is allowed in Islam. The rationale is that insurance is a social co-sponsorship contract (Takaaful); everybody pitches in so that the ones who eventually need coverage can be helped.

I had reservations about the allowance for life insurance, but I’ve been told by several Islamic scholars that the same concept of Takaaful applies to life insurance too, because the proceeds go to cover funeral and probate expenses, etc.

Does everything have a life?

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

I believe that everything is alive. If I were to stomp on the floor hard with the intention, on the Day of Judgment it will say that I did it. Am I off base?

No. Obviously the life of other creatures differs from our lives, like the life of plants is different from the life of fish, for instance. God tells us in the holy Quran that the sky and the earth “did not weep” for the people of Pharaoh when they drowned! (44:29)

And God tells us that rocks sometimes fall down “out of fear of God” (2:74)

In Chapter 18, the story of Moses and the sage is told. In that story, the Quran says that there was a wall that “wanted” to collapse! From this, some scholars said the wall has a will. Is this true?

And we also know the hadeeth where a palm tree trunk cried when the Prophet (PBUH) got a new pulpit. So, the tree too has feelings!

The wall wanting to collapse is a metaphor! The Arabs used metaphors liberally and frequently, and so does the Quran and the Hadeeth. The metaphor means that the wall was so unstable, it looked like it wants to fall.

Interpreting metaphors literally has been a cause for misunderstanding and even some strange beliefs.

The tree, being a plant, is alive of course. Modern research has shown that plants have feelings. I’m not surprised.

Life in the grave

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Some Sufis believe that the Prophet, peace be upon him, and the Awliyaa (Saints) have a real life in their graves. Is there a basis in Islamic teachings to back that up?

No. All dead have a different kind of life in the grave, called the life of Al-Barzakh (the labyrinth), but not the regular life we have here, and the Prophet (PBUH) and the saints are no exception.

I have always understood being as a timeless process caught in time while we are here.

We can not dwell on the past nor the future; all we can manage is the present nano-second.

You sound like Eckhart Tolle whom I listened to a few times and liked what I heard.

While all we have is indeed the present moment, our attitude toward our past greatly affects what we decide to do with the present. We can be bitter or content. We may repeat our mistakes or learn from them. His past frightened Umar ibn Al-Khattab, may God have been pleased with him, his entire life! It caused him to abandon arrogance, obstinacy and hardness which he was known for prior to Islam and caused him the sins he could never forgive himself for. That made him the remarkable Muslim he was, renowned for justice and humility. Nobody would have ever guessed that he would turn out like that!

Dr. Wayne Dyer is fond of saying, “We’re not human beings living a spiritual experience, we’re spiritual beings living a human experience!”

I agree. We’ve had a life before the Trust was offered to the heavens, the earth and the mountains and they declined. We had a life in the backbone of Adam, before we were conceived by our mothers, when we gave testimony to God that He is our Lord. And we had a life in the womb, have a life on earth, will have the life of Barzakh in the grave and finally the real life in heaven, in-sha-Allah (God willing).

What some Sufis get wrong is that the life in the grave for the Prophet (PBUH) and the awliyaa’ (Saints) is the same sort of life on earth. It is not. The Prophet (PBUH) said that the dead person hears the clicks of the shoes of the people who go to his funeral as they leave and s/he hears their prayers for them only they cannot reply. It’s a life but not the same kind of life. It’s a life of waiting without work or talk. On the Day of Judgment, all will feel that life on earth, including the portion of the grave, was but an hour of a day.

I will read up on Tolle. But life teaches us to live in the present.
I am afraid of the grave and do wish to have it expanded.

Dumb question: we give the Prophet our salaams (salutations). Is he in the same reality as the other dead? I had assumed he went home.

He is in the same reality as all who died. The angels convey to him the greetings from Muslims. The dead do hear their visitors, per authentic hadeeths, they just cannot reply.

Cooperation for good works

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

I watched with delight the successful rescue operation of 33 Chilean miners who were trapped underground for more than two months. Thank God for their safety. Every now and then there are some good news!

This is a wonderful example of how people can get together, work together, use their know-how for good and save lives. Why is that so rare?

God says in the holy Quran, “…And cooperate for goodness and piety and do not cooperate for sin and aggression…” (5:2)

Is Muslim life cheap?

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

Nick Kristoff wrote in a recent article in the New Republic magazine that Muslim life is cheap, especially for Muslims. Would you comment on that?

Extremist Muslims give him reason to say that. They not only do not value their fellow Muslims lives, they don’t value their own either.

Throughout Muslim history, classic books written by some scholars kept saying whom may be killed, as if they have that authority!

This is especially ironic, since the Quran has declared the value of human life so eloquently, “Whoever kills a soul, unless retaliating for a killed soul or for villainy in the land, it is as if he killed all mankind. And whoever keeps it alive, it is as he saved all mankind.” (5:32)

The Quran also tells us so clearly that whoever deliberately kills a believer incurs God’s wrath, curse and will be in the Hellfire for eternity, severely tormented! (4:93) In his last sermon, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “The whole of a Muslim is forbidden to another Muslim: his blood, his property and his honor.”

How so many Muslims gloss over all those references is beyond me to fathom.