Archive for the ‘Paradise/Heaven’ 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.

Supplication during the night

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Assalaamu ‘alaikum WR WB brother.

Is there any specific Du’a recorded in the Sunnah which should be recited
specifically during night prayers (Qiyaamul Layl)
If so , please do share them Insha Allah

The first time God ordered the Prophet (PBUH) to stay up at night praying was in Chapter 73 (Al-Muzzammil), very shortly after revelation started. In this chapter, God only tells the Prophet to recite the Quran.

Later, in Chapter 17 (Al-Israa’), God tells the Prophet two things about night prayer: (a) that it is voluntary (Naafila) and (b) to say in it this supplication, “Rabbi adkhilni mudkhala sidqin wa akhrijni mukhraja sidqin waj`al li min ladunka sultaanan naseera” (17:80) which means, “Lord, make me enter an entrance of truthfulness and make me exit an exit of truthfulness, and set for me, from Your Own, a supporting authority.” Followed by, “Jaa’a-l haqqu wa zahaqa-l baatilu. Inna-l baatila kaana zahooqa” (17:81), which means “Truth has come and falsehood has passed away. Indeed, falsehood is always passing away.”

The Prophet (PBUH) did that and much more. He was committed to night prayer even after he was told it was voluntary. And he added other supplications, such as this one reported by Al-Bukhaari in his authentic compilation,
“O God, to You is praise; You are the Caretaker of the heavens and the earth and whomever is in them. To You is praise; You are the King of the heavens and the earth and whomever is in them. To You is praise, You are the Truth. Your promise is truth. The meeting with You is truth. What You say is truth. The Garden (Al-Janna) is truth. Hellfire is truth. To You I have submitted. In You I have believed. Upon You I have relied. Back to You I have returned. With You I have argued. For Your sake I have judged. So, forgive me what I have put forward and what I have put behind, what I have kept private and what I have made public. You are the Advancer (Al-Muqaddim) and the Regresser (Al-Mu’akhkhir). There is no god but You and there is no capacity nor strength except by You.”

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.

A disproportionate reward?

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Hope you are doing good by the grace and blessings of Allah(SWT).

I was asked this question by one of my friends recently and he asked me whether life in paradise is finite or eternal? I gave him the answer saying eternal. But then he put forward a question saying, when this life we live for(say about 60-70yrs) is finite, then how come righteous people are rewarded with infinite time in the paradise? I had given it a thought and I did derive at an answer. But I would like to hear it from you too brother.

Secondly, I would like to know about Islamic rulings on Movies? And related to Music, Is melody, slow songs, love songs, songs that stir your emotions allowed?

Usually, this question is asked about the flip side: is punishment of the hellfire disproportionate? The answer to both sides of this question is no, for the simple reason that “God does not do a spec’s weight of injustice” (4:40).

One may look at a good deed and think that it is rather minor, but God sees it as fabulous, and because He does, He rewards it more generously than the person who did it ever hoped for. The flip side of this is also true: one may say or do something that he doesn’t think is too bad, but God sees it as a grave sin, and because He does, He punishes it far more severely than the person who committed it ever feared.

To give you an example. God says in the holy Quran, “Did you not see how God strikes a parable of a good word like a good tree: its foundation is firm and its branch is in the sky. It delivers its food every season with the permission of its Lord!” (14:24-25). Did you get the reason for the seemingly disproportionate reward? It is a deed that constantly breeds good deeds. Its benevolent effect does not only positively touch the lives of many contemporary people, but goes on and on for all generations to come. That is why God rewards it so much. And bear in mind that the good deed referred to in this verse appears minor. It is just a good word!

As for your question about music, songs and stirring of emotions, it depends on the environment where the music is played, the lyrics of the songs and the emotion that is stirred and what that leads to. Music is neither good nor bad on its own, as Sheikh Shaarawi once said, may God bless his soul. If it is accompanied by lewd or violent acts or lyrics then it’s forbidden. Otherwise, how can it be bad, when we know that it soothes the soul, puts one in a good mood, a romantic mood or a patriotic mood? Documented evidence is plenty that music speeds up healing of wounds and calms the nerves of patients about to undergo surgery! See the Music category for more posts about this.

Likewise are love songs and love movies. It depends on whether they contain indecent lyrics or scenes. The emotions stirred by music, poetry, motion pictures, or art works in general can be benign and can be malicious. Art is neither good nor bad in the absolute. Art stems from love of beauty and awe at God’s creation and it is in fact an unconscious desire to connect with God, as the late President of Bosnia, Alija Izetbegović wrote in his book “Islam and the West.”

What happens to animals on the Day of Judgment?

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

AssalaamuAlaikum brother.
Hope you are doing good in health and imaan by Allah’s Grace.

Regarding what happens to animals on the day of judgment? If you could please state an authentic hadith & a verse from Quran.

Wa Alaykum Assalaam, brother.

That question was answered very well by the reverend Sheikh Muhammad Saalih Al-Munajjid. He wrote that all animals are assembled on the Day of Judgment, just like man will be. God says in the holy Quran, describing the Day of Judgment, “And when beasts are assembled.” (81:5)

Another verse that makes this clear is, “And there is no living creature within the earth nor a bird that flies with its wings but are communities like you. We have not neglected in the Book a thing. Then unto their Lord they will be gathered.” (6:38)

But does that mean they will be questioned and tried? The answer is yes! Sheikh Al-Munajjid quotes an authentic hadeeth, reported by Muslim and narrated by Abu-Hurayra, “You shall certainly pay off all dues to their rightful owners; even a stricken lamb will be given its compensation from the horned lamb that struck it!”

God’s justice is comprehensive, which brings up the question, “Will man be judged by his treatment of animals?” The answer to that question is also yes! Two famous authentic hadeeths give us the two flip sides of this question. The Prophet (PBUH) told us that “A woman entered Hellfire because of a cat that she tormented: neither did she feed it, nor let it out of the house to graze.” Narrated by Ibn `Umar and reported by Al-Bukhaari. On the flip side, the Prophet (PBUH) told us that a woman entered Paradise because of a dog: She was very thirsty and found a well. She took off a shoe and reached down in the well and filled the shoe with water then drank it. Then she saw a dog which also looked very thirsty, so she reached down into the well one more time, filled her shoe with water and gave it to the dog to drink 🙂 How beautiful is that? And get this.. the woman was a prostitute! That hadeeth was narrated by Abu-Hurayra and reported by Al-Bukhaari.

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.

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.”

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.

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)

Do Muslims have a covenant with God?

Monday, June 13th, 2011

The Jews believe that they have a covenant with God. Do Muslims believe they have a covenant with God? What does Islam say about God’s covenant?

God’s covenant with people has been the same since He created Adam. It is that we believe in Him alone, do not associate anything or anybody with Him in worship, uphold His laws, follow His Messengers, and honor His scriptures. That is Al-Amaana (the Trust) which God speaks about in this key verse,

“We offered the Trust to the heavens, the earth, and the mountains. They declined to carry it and were apprehensive of it. But man carried it; he is ever unjust and ignorant.” (33:72)

We volunteered for the job, but we haven’t done it too well!

The first obligation of the covenant is made clear in this verse:

“When your Lord took from the children of Adam – from their loins – their descendants and made them testify of themselves, [saying to them], “Am I not your Lord?” They said, “Yes, we have testified.” [This] – lest you should say on the day of Resurrection, “Indeed, we were of this unaware.” (7:172)

The belief in the One God is in our DNA!

Whenever God sent a Messenger to a people, He had them testify that they would uphold the Covenant. That is why many scriptures are called Testaments. There are many verses in the Quran which speak about that, for instance:

“And [recall] when God took the covenant of the prophets, [saying,] “Surely whatever I give you of the Book and wisdom and then comes to you a messenger confirming what is with you, that you [will] indeed believe in him and support him.” [God] said, “Have you acknowledged and taken upon that My commitment?” They said, “We have acknowledged.” He said, “Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses.” (3:81)

Thus, the Covenant was taken by all prophets and part of it was that all future prophets must be followed.

“And [recall] when We took the covenant from the Children of Israel, [enjoining upon them], “Do not worship except God; and to parents do good and to relatives, orphans, and the needy. And speak to people good [words] and establish prayer and give alms.” Then you turned away, except a few of you, with refusal.” (2:83)

The covenant included God’s moral teachings as well as theological fundamentals. The Children of Israel were one of the earliest people who did not uphold the Covenant.

“And [mention, O Muhammad], when God took a covenant from those who were given the Book, [saying], “You must make it clear to the people and not conceal it.” But they banished it behind their backs and exchanged it for a small price. Then how wretched is what they purchased!” (3:187)

The covenant included spreading the word of God to all, but people have hidden it, or worse, altered it.

What do people get when they stick to their end of the Covenant? God explains clearly in this verse,

“And God had already taken a covenant from the Children of Israel, and We delegated from among them twelve leaders. And God said, “I am with you. If you establish prayer and give alms and believe in My messengers and support them and loan God a goodly loan, I will surely remove from you your misdeeds and admit you to gardens beneath which rivers flow. But whoever of you disbelieves after that has certainly strayed from the level road” (5:12)

We get the company of God! We get expiation of our sins. We get the ultimate reward in the Hereafter. May God enable us to uphold His Covenant and not deviate from the level road.

In case you’re wondering whether Christians were exempted from the Covenant, I invite you to read Mathew 5:17-20, in which Jesus (PBUH) is reported to have said that any talk about him abolishing the law is nonsense, that the law stands as long as the heavens and the earth stand, and that those who do not uphold the law will not enter the Kingdom of God. The law of God has been, and always will be the same, and it applies to all people without exceptions. Upholding it is the covenant we made with God.

God reminds Muslims in the holy Quran of their covenant with God. He says,
“And remember the favor of God upon you and His covenant with which He bound you when you said, ‘We hear and we obey’; and watch out for God. Indeed, God is much Knowing of that within the bosoms.” (5:7)