Archive for the ‘Angels’ Category

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.

When you escape a dire straight, don’t revisit it!

Monday, June 10th, 2013

I am in, as the cliche aptly states, dire straights. It is dark outside. This naturally intensifies the feeling of isolation. And the example of Hajar is an excellent source of strength. Her situation captures all our fears. Thus, we have to really rely on the inner source. When we use the expression digging deep it sums her dilemma.

Yet, it is during trials like this that we have to dig deep. It does not make one a welcome guest at a party. The need for reflection and contemplation overrides the need for social activity. Sometimes social activity takes too much energy that is better spent to dig deeper.

I am looking for balance. My path at the moment is very steep. I am looking for the moss between a rock and a hard place; to rest for a minute.

Please understand that there is no negativity in what I am writing. I am not a negative person. This is a learning curve.

Yes, the inner journey is difficult. It seems that Satan is very busy with one on that path. And our hearts betray us constantly. The journey is riddled with struggles. It often seems that the other path is so much easier.

One of the reasons why the Prophet (PBUH) experienced dire straights was to teach the rest of us what to do when we are in a similar situation. We follow the Prophet’s example. What did he do?

He had just lost his only remaining physical protector, his uncle Abu-Taalib and the one person in this world whom he loved the most, his wife Khadeeja, may God have been pleased with her. The polytheists of Mecca had cornered the believers in a ghetto for three years: No trading, no contact. Muslims had to eat leaves to survive. Those economic sanctions were probably what killed Khadeeja and Abu-Taalib.

During that tough period, God had not revealed any Quran to the Prophet (PBUH), so even the spiritual joy and reassurance was withheld, to the point that the polytheists of Mecca mocked the Prophet (PBUH) saying, “Muhammad’s Lord has abandoned him!”

Anyone would have given up at that point, consoling himself that he had done all he could but it didn’t work out. Not Muhammad ibn Abdullah! He figured that Mecca may be a lost cause, so let him try At-Taa’if. He traveled to it, on foot, and when he got there he called them to God. No one gave him the time of day. They even let loose their kids and slaves to make fun of him, throw stones at him and force him out of the city. Some of the stones hit him and he started bleeding from his feet.

Can things get worse for someone? As he was leaving that wretched town, he paused and made the most beautiful supplication to God that was ever made! (If you don’t know it, ask me and I’ll include it in my reply). God’s response was immediate and flooding. Quran revelation resumed, with the reassuring Chapter 93, God sent Gabriel down to let the Prophet (PBUH) retaliate against the people of At-Taa’if. As you know, he chose not to. God sent the Jinn to listen to the Quran for the first time, recited by the Prophet (as mentioned in Chapter 72) and when the Prophet (PBUH) arrived in Mecca, he experienced the grandest and most reassuring miracle of all: Israa’ and Mi`raaj.

No matter how dire your straights, how deep your path, or how dark it seems outside, you know, by the example of the Prophet (PBUH), what to do.

I’m glad you reassured me that you’re not a negative person. That said, may I advise you not to disengage socially? The Prophet and his fellows were sociable and active in their communities, each in his own way. Sometimes, your social effort will be appreciated and other times it won’t be. Don’t let that sway you. The reward of God, not of people, is what you’re after.

Wisdom does not come easy. In retrospect it is simple…but that journey is a mini-hajj.

I am looking forward to moving back home. I love the peace there. I have a little community that needs some life. I have made much dua. InshaAllah, I will be able to move there soon. The other day, I took the Quran and asked Allah subhana wa taala to give me a little hope. I randomly opened the Quran. And the ayats were Musa (ra) going to the Madyan people. InshaAllah, my move home is imminent.

I do not wish to complain. I am not unhappy. I am growing ten-fold in faith daily. The reliance on Allah subhana wa taala totally is a reality.

You know Sura 93 is one of my favorites. It is reassuring. I love the words of not being displeased. It is a strong sura.

I am familiar with the dua of the Prophet (swas) at Al-Taa’if. Those are words of courage.

I’m a fan of Muhammad Ali. I bring that up because even in the ring there is a respite. I need a break.

It is also a difficulty process for the ordinary human being to understand that Allah subhana wa taala loves you enough to test you. In the world of sports there is always a period of training for an event. In the world of spirituality the event provides the need for us to seek guidance. The seeking of the guidance is the discipline needed to overcome the obstacles of the individual tests.

I wish to be of those that Allah is well pleased; I have a long way to go but the intention is there.

If I may ask I am assuming you have undergone some trials that have given you the knowledge to provide such words of compassion. I ask this not to pry. Rather, to gain understanding that the seeker of knowledge undergoes ego transformations in the process. The no pain no gain cliche.

When a believer passes a test of faith, it means two things; (a) that God is pleased with him and (b) that his character needed a boost. Thus, passing a trial means it had served its purpose and a believer should not dwell on it. Revisiting it means revisiting the pain, emotional and spiritual, which God has already delivered him from.

Excellent response. I am serious. What I see in the therapeutic milieu here ( our culture) is the very fact that recovery is dependent upon revisiting the pain. In a sense you have to go back and destroy the wall brick by brick, that has impeded your growth. Whereas, in Islam we overcome the wall by guidance.
Islam also demands that we do not purge our emotions. So difficult. Simple example would be anger. Many modalities of treatment for psychological illnesses suggest the patients take the time to examine the emotions and relive them. You always hear the: you have the right to be angry slogan. A persons spiritual health is dictated by an emotional balance. In Islam it seems that we have to get beyond the emotional balance to a spiritual balance that holds the reigns to direct the emotions.

It seems to make sense that wise persons are naturally quiet. A believer’s vision changes after a trial. It seems that we humans really do not have a place for anger.

Fascinating angle. The therapy method you describe may very well work, but I venture to guess that it will leave a spiritual void in the person. One can treat an emotional scar or a spiritual wound in a number of ways, including pharmaceutical, but that may not heal it. The person may find himself or herself resentful, cynical, grieving, regretful, less self-confident, less joyful. Sure the wound is no longer on the surface; it went deeper – into dangerous territory.

Only the connection with God can heal. The Prophet (PBUH) always said this in his ruqyas, “O God, heal. You are the Healer. There is no healing but Yours; a healing that leaves behind no ailment.” (Narrated by `Aa’isha, RA, and reported by Muslim). That is healing!

About anger, God says in the holy Quran, in praise, “And those who suppress frustration and the pardoners of people. And God loves the benevolent.” (3:134). It is their benevolence that earned them God’s love and it is God’s love that gives them the tranquility they seek.

Answers to quizzes 11-18

Friday, April 5th, 2013

You had enough time to figure out the answers to quizzes 11-18, haven’t you? 🙂 Here they are:

11. Friday and Saturday. Friday is mentioned in verse 62:9 and it has the honor of also being the name of Chapter 62. Saturday is mentioned five times! In verses 2:65, 4:47, 4:154, 7:163 and 16:124.

12. Ramadan, the fasting month, the 9th month of the Hijri (lunar) year. It has the special honor that the revelation of the Quran was started in it.

13. Mary. She is mentioned ten times in the Quran: in verses 3:36, 3:37, 3:42-45, 4:156, 19:16, 19:27, and 66:12 and 21 other times in the identification of Jesus. She has the special honor of being the only woman mentioned in the Quran by name and that Chapter 19 is named after her.

14. Luqmaan, Goliath, King Saul, Haman and Zayd. Luqman is mentioned in verses 31:12-13 and Chapter 31 is named after him. Goliath is mentioned in verse 2:251. King Saul, called in Arabic Taaloot, is mentioned in verses 2:247 and 2:249. Haman, Pharaoh’s minister is mentioned in verses 28:6, 28:8, 28:38, 29:39, 40:24 and 40:36. Zayd ibn Haaritha is mentioned by his first name in verse 33:37.

15. Gabriel, Michael, Haaroot and Maaroot. Gabriel, who transmitted the Quran to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was mentioned in verses 2:98 and 66:4. He is mentioned by title many other times. Michael is mentioned in verse 2:98. Haaroot and Maaroot, who taught people some secrets of magic at the time of Solomon, were mentioned in verse 2:102.

16. Egypt, Babylon and Rome. Egypt was mentioned four times: in verses 10:87, 12:21, 12:99 and 43:51. Babylon was mentioned in verse 2:102. Rome is mentioned in verse 30:2 and is the name of Chapter 30.

17. Mecca, Medina and Midyan. Mecca is mentioned by that name in verse 48:25 and by its old name Baca in verse 3:96. Medina is mentioned by that name in four verses: 9:101, 9:120, 33:60 and 63:8 and by its old name Yathrib in verse 33:13. Midyan is mentioned in nine verses: 7:85, 9:70, 11:84, 20:40, 22:44, 28:22-23, 28:45 and 29:36.

18. The Children of Israel, Quraysh, `Aad and Thamood. The Children of Israel were mentioned in the Quran 40 times! Quraysh, the Prophet’s tribe is named in verse 106:1 and is the name of Chapter 106. `Aad is mentioned 19 times and Thamood 25 times.

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.

Don’t be so sure

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Ever felt content with your worship of God and thought that you have done well for yourself and deserve to go to heaven? Let me tell you three stories.

A man observed Al-Hasan ibn Ali, may God have been pleased with both, supplicating hard and weeping. He approached him and said, “You cry out of fear of God when you have all the means to salvation?” He replied, “Like what?” The man said, “How about your lineage to the Prophet (PBUH)? [Al-Hasan was the Prophet’s grandson]. What about his mediation for Muslims? What about God’s vast mercy?”

Good points, right? Well, Al-Hasan answered him: As for my lineage, God says, “Then when the Horn is blown (on the Day of Judgment), there is no kinship between them!” (23:101) As for the Prophet’s mediation, God says, “Who is that who will mediate with Him except by His permission?” (2:255) As for God’s vast mercy, God says about it, “I will grant it to those who watch out [for Me].” (7:156) So, where is security, brother?

Good counter-points, don’t you think? If a saint whom the Prophet (PBUH) said was going to be a prominent youth among the people of Paradise isn’t sure, how can ordinary folks be sure?

Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, may God have been pleased with him, once said, “If an angel on the Day of Resurrection, announced that all people will go to Paradise but one, I’d worry I’m the one!” This, coming from the second Caliph, a man renowned for his piety, whom the Prophet (PBUH) gave him the good news that he was one of ten who will go to Paradise, if he is not sure, how can the rest of us be?

One time the Prophet (PBUH) surprised his fellows sitting with him listening to his teachings when he said to them, “The work of any of you will not enter him into Paradise!” They asked, “Even you, O Messenger of God?” He replied, “Even me, unless God covers me with mercy from Him and favor.” Narrated by `Aa’isha and Abu-Hurayra and reported by Al-Bukhaari and Muslim in their authentic collections.

The Prophet (PBUH) was teaching that while faith and good deeds are necessary for admission to Paradise, they are not sufficient. It is God’s mercy and favor that gets us there. Faith and good deeds only make it likely.

This is not to dash the hopes of Muslims, but rather to balance their attitude. Imam Al-Ghazaali, may God bless his soul, brilliantly defined faith in Islam as “The balance between fear and hope.”

All those honorary titles

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Assalamu Alaikum WR WB.

I need the clarifications on passing different types of Islamic titles on different individuals / group.

We say Alaihissalam to All the prophets, and angels.. and Mahdi too………

We say Radiyallahu Anhu, to Sahabas…

Some say Raheemahullah to living scholars, and the expired as well…

I wanna know, the root of these titles, why we say this?

More over, I met some one and she said, Prophet (PBUH) commanded us to say Salawat upon his family, and we must say Alaihissalaam to Ali(Ral). And when I said its from shia analogies, she replied back saying that Imam Bukhari has approved this !!!!

Please do throw light on this issue Insha Allah..
Fee Amanillah

That is a good convention created by as-Salaf as-Saalih (the righteous predecessors) after the death of the Prophet (PBUH).

In the Quran, God tells us that He “prays” for the Prophet (PBUH) and so do the angels and asks us to do likewise and send our greetings to him (33:56). Therefore, it is highly recommended that we say Salla Allaahu Alayhi wa Sallam (May God bless and greet him), which is commonly abbreviated PBUH (peace be upon him), whenever Muhammad’s name is mentioned.

As for other prophets, for the angels and for some distinguished people, such as Mary, we are encouraged to say “Alaihi As-Salaam” (peace be upon him), or in the case of Mary “Alayha as-Salaam” (peace be upon her), because the Prophet (PBUH) did so.

BTW, God “praying” for somebody means He graces them.

In the Quran, God tells us that He “is pleased with” the Sahaaba (companions of the Prophet, PBUH), who pledged allegiance to the Prophet (PBUH) (48:18). That is the origin of the phrase Radhiya Allaahu `Anhu (May God have been pleased with him), commonly abbreviated RA, in reference to the Sahaaba.

For all subsequent Muslims, the convention has been to say Rahimahu Allaah (May God have mercy on him), in reference to a deceased Muslim.

You were correct when you told your friend that special treatment of Ali (RA) tends to occur with our Shee`i colleagues. I’m not aware of anything that Al-Bukhaari has said that is different.

All those honorary phrases are literally prayers for those wonderful people. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “Whoever prays for his brother in absentia, the angels reply, ‘Amen, and the same to you!'”, narrated by Abud-Dardaa’ and reported by Muslim who rated it authentic.

It is not appropriate to say Rahimahullah about living people, even though literally it is valid. The reason is the convention that it refers to deceased people.

The complex soul

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Assalamu Alaikum WR WB Akhi.

Just need a clarification on this issue.

I had to attend a lecture today in my school and the shaikh was saying that we have 03 types of Nafs
01 Nafsul Ammara
02 Nafsul Lawwama
03 Nafsul Mudhdhima

The third one is the worst one ever, and each level of Nafs has 07 different “Sub- Nafs” , all together 27 sub stuffs, and that why people throw 21 stones at the Hajj per head…

Is this analogy true??

Plus, Is there any doubtful issues regarding the Hajar Al Aaswad stone… I mean, people say that thee is no valid proof for it to be sent down from the heaven, Plz do throw light on this issue as well. Insha Allah

Fee Amanillah

Wa Alaykum Assalaam WR WB (and upon you may be peace, the Mercy of God and His Blessings).

There are no sub-nafses 🙂 There is only one Nafs (self/soul). But it has two sides, as mentioned in the Quran:
(1) An-Nafs Al-Lawwaama (the chastising self/soul) and
(2) An-Nafs Al-Ammaaratu bis-Soo’ (the sin-inducing self/soul).

The third mention of Nafs, An-Nafs Al-Mutma’inna (the tranquil self/soul) is the one where the chastising side of it has won over the sin-inducing side.

Whenever one lets the sin-inducing side of one’s soul win over, one is doing wrong to one’s soul (Zhaalimun li-Nafsih), because the soul wants to submit to God and do good and man fails it.

As for the black stone, there are narrations that say that it was sent down from Paradise and was originally white as snow. These hadeeths range between Sound (Hasan) and weak in authenticity. Neither Al-Bukhaari nor Muslim have reported it. In matters of Aqeeda (theology), don’t crowd your head with less than authentic texts.

What about the Sufis..The three levels of the soul..could the lecturer have been alluding to those constructs?

Possibly. I’m not acquainted with this Sufi teaching, but if they are referring to Islam, Eeman (faith) and Ihsaan (Benevolence), then these are three promotions of the same soul, hence the attribute “levels.”

What these promotions are based on is a hadeeth of the Prophet (PBUH) in which it is narrated that a man wearing all white, whom nobody recognized, and who did not look like he’s been traveling, dropped in on the Prophet (PBUH) while he was sitting down with several people. The man greeted the Prophet (PBUH) and sat very close to him. He asked the Prophet (PBUH), “What is Islam?” The Prophet (PBUH) answered him by telling him of the five pillars of Islam. The man replied, “Right!” People were puzzled by this man asking the Prophet (PBUH) and then confirming his answer! Then the man asked the Prophet (PBUH), “What is Eemaan (faith)?” The Prophet (PBUH) answered him with the six pillars of faith. The man again replied, “Right!” Finally the man asked him, “What is Ihsaan (benevolence)?” The Prophet (PBUH) answered, “Ihsaan is to worship God as if you see Him. Though you don’t see Him, He sees you!” The man smiled and said again, “Right!” Then he bid farewell to the group and left. The Prophet (PBUH) then said, “Do you know who that was? It was Jibreel (Gabriel); he came to teach you your religion!” Narrated by Umar ibn Al-Khattaab and reported by Muslim who rated it authentic.

Souls…well the Sufi’s have this one down…They spend more time on the inner journey…the rest break the world into the duyna and deen..the Sufi goes internal…they examine the soul from all aspects and dwell on polishing the heart to reach the soul and keep it clear. My question has always been..we become so hard on ourselves as the struggle against ourselves is really our test. You used the word promotion of souls. Yet, if there is promotion of soul there is the counterpart..the demotion of souls. And the hard part…to put this to test in the duyna..

Let me know what you think about my thoughts and InshaAllah, have a blessed day

You said the keyword that the Quran uses a lot: the heart. It is not that ticking muscle; it’s a metaphor for all that is not physical in us. It can be “sound”, as Abraham’s was,

“And among his (Noah’s) affiliates surely is Abraham. As he came to his Lord with a sound heart” (37:83-84)

A sound heart is our only savior,

“On a Day when neither wealth nor children will benefit [anyone], except him who came to his Lord with a sound heart.” (26:88-89)

The flip side is that a heart may rust from sins,

“No! Rather the rust has built up on their hearts because of what they have earned. No! They verily are from their Lord that Day are kept away.” (83:14-15)

The Prophet (PBUH) explained 83:14 like this, “When a worshiper sins, a dark stain is imprinted on his heart. When he quits and repents, it is polished away. If he comes back to it, it builds up. That is the Raan (build-up) that God mentions (in 83:14)”, narrated by Abu-Hurayra and reported by At-Tirmizhi who rated it soundly authentic.

Thus, demotion of the soul is done by sinning, and its promotion by good deeds and keeping rapport with God. Our hearts are capable of both…to the extreme:

“We have certainly created man in the best stature. Then We turned him back to the lowest of the low!” (95:4-5)

We can be saints and we can be devils. And the choice is entirely ours.

I’m alone but I’m not lonely

Monday, February 28th, 2011

I’m alone a lot, and it’s easy to slip into feeling lonely, but I don’t. That’s because when I’m alone, it means that I’m only with God! It’s a chance to focus on Him instead of the constant daily distractions of people and self.

What a beautiful thing to say! You are delving into wisdom, may God grant it to you and me.

In addition, you have two angels, one on your right side and another on your left side, writing your words and deeds and praying for you! These are the two angels you say Assalaamu Alaykum (peace be with you) to at the end of each prayer.

Can we touch Satan, or the angels?

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Satan whispers to people right? So that means he must come close to our bodies. But what happens if we just randomly extend our hand lets say forward and Satan is standing or whatever in front of you (Scary thought I know); is it possible that we might might touching Satan?.

Same goes for Angels, lets say an Angel is beside you and randomly extend your arm to the side are you actually touching the Angel?

No, we can’t. The reason is that we must have the ability and we don’t. Satan does have the ability to touch our bodies, evidenced by 2:275. Just like the fact that he can see us, but we cannot see him.

Satan is part of us, no? I think there is a hadeeth that says so.

No, he’s not. The hadeeth you refer to tells a metaphor to drive home the point that Satan is ever so close to us, always around trying to tempt us away from God. Metaphors have been used by the Arabs in abundance even in their everyday talk, and any student of Arabic literature and poetry can see that. The Quran used the same literary device often. Taking metaphors literally has unfortunately caused many Muslims to hold weird beliefs, even about God Himself.

Do babies see angels?

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Can babies see angels? Is that why they have that irresistible, angelic smile?

No way to know. But I’ll tell a story that my dad, may God bless his soul, told me which he witnessed himself. A good friend of his, let’s call him M died suddenly and he was rather young. M was a model of decency, piety, spirituality and knowledge. After coming back from his funeral, they all went to his widow’s house where the big family and friends were gathered to comfort her. His niece, a four year old girl, suddenly pointed out in front of her and called, “Uncle M!”

Everybody looked where she pointed and there was nobody there. Someone asked her, “What are you pointing at, sweetheart?” She answered, “Uncle M, right there! He is with God and he is calling the Azhaan for the Maghrib (Sunset) prayer!!”

Everybody was stunned and didn’t know what to say.

Six days later, the girl died suddenly and for no apparent reason.