Archive for the ‘Death’ Category

Can we pray with hypocrites?

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Let us suppose a person states they do not go to the masjid (mosque) because they do not want to pray with hypocrites. They would rather pray alone. I told the person that we do not go to pray with the hypocrites but go to pray to Allah. And I continued stating that our prayer may soften the heart of others.

What does one say to a person whose heart is hardened against fellow Muslims? These are serious questions. This person does not take well much hadeeth. This person does not trust scholars.

I honestly believe some of us are given the gift of joy in this life under all conditions. I feel this is one of my blessings. On the bleakest of moments I find something joyful in it. Even if it is the benefit of the experience in its darkest depths.

What a beautiful way you finished your question! A blessed person sees blessings in the bleakest moments, while a deprived person sees deprivation in the most opulent moments.

From the other things you wrote to me about this person, I’m getting the impression that they have grown cynical or depressed. I’m not surprised, given their illness, may God heal the sick as only He can and save us all from similar afflictions.

You are right in approaching this delicately. God teaches us in the holy Quran that the call to Him must always be done gently, even with an enemy. You recall how He instructed Moses and Aaron to call upon Pharaoh: “Then say to him a soft uttering perhaps he will remember or fear.” (20:44) Remember or fear, see? That is what you and I hope for your friend.

So, when you get a chance, remind your friend that they have an excuse to pray sitting down and explain how this is done if they don’t know how. Don’t press it. Let them sleep on it and keep praying for them. Also assure them that they can always make up for all missed prayers, and should, unlike what many fatwas have ruled.

Life is too short to waste on cynicism, apathy or despair. A true believer never despairs, “Verily, they do not despair of the grace of God but the disbelieving folk.” (12:87) Life can end at any time, and suddenly, and be replaced by the sobering reality of the Hereafter and Judgment. Cynicism would not be of any help then. Cynicism is an escape from unpleasant reality, but it achieves nothing but ill mood. Optimism and positive activity on the other hand, warm the heart and set the mind to find solutions to problems and fixes for what is wrong.

As for your other question, none know who is hypocrite and who is not. A fellow Muslim is not a hypocrite just because one doesn’t like what they say or do! God told the Prophet (PBUH) that there are hypocrites around him, that He will tell him the names of some of them but will withhold the names of others! (see 9:101). And the Prophet (PBUH) did likewise when Huzhayfa ibn Al-Yamaan (RA) asked him to tell him who were hypocrite. The Prophet (PBUH) made him promise not to tell anyone.

Why is that? Because being a hypocrite many not be the end of the story. A hypocrite may become a good, committed believer later. Affairs of the heart constantly change and God is the “turner of the hearts.”

Tests of faith are healing and guidance

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

I am on an adventure that I know has been sanctioned by Allah swt. My learning curve is off the charts.

I hold on to the precept after difficulties comes ease.

It would be good to address, yet again, how fortunate are the ones that Allah swt tests.

We often forget that our testing is a way to stay alive. We are kept young. We become resourceful. Often in our monotonous lives we become ungrateful of the favors of our Creator. We take things for granted. When the rug is pulled under our feet we become alive again.

We commence on a deeper esoteric journey. When it gets tough it seems the only door open is the door of the Mercy of Allah swt. The example of Yunus (Jonah) becomes alive. He was alone in the belly of the whale at the bottom of the sea. Not even a candle to give some light. Yet, the test was for him to call upon Allah swt.

We overlook the healing process after the ejection from the whale. Once the internal, the soul, is rescued then the body can recover.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

I am blessed too, as Allah has provided me with Believers that I can share my spiritual journey with

You bring up a very important point: that tests of life are nudges along the Straight Path. Picture a father teaching his son to ride a bike. We cannot be steady in life without God’s constant guidance and occasional nudges, because Satan would then have a field day with us. And the only way to avail ourselves of that infinite source of guidance and redirection is correct, true faith in God, recognition of His correction to us, acceptance of His tests of us and doing good deeds.

It is then that we got it. Only then do we understand why we’re here, what we’re supposed to do and not do.

This relates to the question I had regarding ridha. Trust me the term tranquil acceptance is not mine. I was listening to the Imam of Cambridge college. He is a revert. Brilliant mind. One who can think and be clear and precise. Here is a link: http://cambridgekhutbasetc.blogspot.com/.

It seems to be the case, and it is a difficult pill to swallow, that often the guidance of Allah comes at His Pace. When He guides us and wishes for us to purify our souls, for the fragile human ego it is a difficult period. Any metamorphosis requires a degree of what can be described as growing pains. Who wants to yield the warm bottle of milk and the comfort of mothers lap.

Yes, I understand that part of the tests are we give up our misconceptions and notions of what ought to be in a perfect world for ourselves. However, it is not our world. We are participants in His Creation. What I have come to understand is the Truth of the Quran. It is absolute. There is not one lie in it.

This is an earth-shattering experience. It is scary. When we read Allah is sufficient unto me…we have to believe in that 100%. He has told us so. And we are tested to understand the meaning of that. One of the blessings of the test is the ridha. But, in the midst of the chaos of the test we have to stop and count our blessings. This is where we need the strength of community. Almost a reinforcement of enjoining good and forbidding evil.

As life is a new experience each day, is that not a definition of striving, we are in constant change.

Maybe, I am blessed.

He is indeed successful who “gets” the Quran before they die, because back to its author they are going.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Novelties about visiting graves

Monday, March 28th, 2011

In my country some people, mostly Barlewi Muslims, do things like commemorating the 40th day after death of a loved one, gathering together, reading the Quran and passing over the blessing to the dead, reciting the Fatiha (Chapter 1) at the grave site.

As far as I know, these things aren’t allowed in Islam. but someone emailed me an article citing many hadeeths which they say support these practices. I’m attaching the article herewith. I know most of those hadeeths, but I don’t see how they can make from them the conclusions they made.

Can we pass good deeds to the dead? The authentic hadeeth about the three things the deceased continue to benefit from does not mention reciting the Quran.

Am I right in considering these acts as biddah (novelty)? If yes, how can convince the Barelwi people?

The article mixes two issues together: (1) the fact that the dead can benefit from good deeds of the living, and (2) that the practice of the 40th day memorial is sanctioned by Islam. The former is true, but the latter is false. You are right that the evidence they quoted you does not prove the 40th day memorial practice. It is a novelty that traces its roots to ancient Egypt.

Supplicating for the dead is a good deed and this is a consensus of the scholars. The Quran makes that clear,
“Our Lord, forgive us and those of our brothers who were ahead of us in faith” (59:10) and the Prophet (PBUH) frequently supplicated, “O God, forgive our living and our dead…”

Muslims are taught to say the phrase “Rahimahullah” (May God have mercy on him) when referring to the dead. Muslims pray a special funeral prayer for a deceased person before he or she is buried.

As for reciting the Quran at a grave, scholars have differed on that. Abu-Haneefa and Mallik did not like it, because the is no Sunna to support it, but Ash-Shaafi`i, Muhammad ibn Al-Hasan, Judge `Iyaadh and Al-Qaraafi all favor it for the blessing it causes. Ibn Hanbal sees no harm in it. Limiting that recital to Al-Faatiha only is a novelty, however.

Lastly, the article has a number of claims too ridiculous to respond to, but I’ll be happy to address them if you need that; things like “start every journey on a Thursday!”

Do birds have feelings?

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

I watched a video featuring a bird and its mate that has just died. It sure looked to me like the bird that survived was grieving over its dead mate! Am I imagining things, or do birds have feelings?

You’re not imagining things. God tells us in the Quran,

“There is no creature in the earth, nor a bird that flies with its wings, but are a community like you!” (6:38)

The sky and the earth have feelings! Consider,
“Then the sky and the earth did not weep for them (the house of Pharaoh)” (44:29)

Modern research has shown that plants have feelings too. That does not surprise me.

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.

Nagging questions about death

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Why would God allow innocent people to die? Why would God allow infants to die? Why would God allow unborn babies to die through late-term abortions just because the mother didn’t want a kid? Now I’ll be the first to argue that, in certain circumstances, death isn’t a bad thing for the person dying. But it’s the effects of that death on loved ones that truly brings grief and suffering. I can’t see God giving those kinds of effects to his believers.

The loved ones acceptance of the death of their relatives is proof of their submission to God, which is what the word Islam means. Their prayers for them adds to their reward with God.

When a Muslim loses a loved one to death, he or she utters the words “We belong to God and back to Him we shall all return” (2:156). That is the acknowledgment that our life is a temporary test of faith, but our place was always meant to be in heaven. The death of someone is not a punishment; it’s their gateway to the Hereafter which the Quran calls “The Lasting Home.”

The non-believer’s reaction to death, on the other hand, is despair, panic, resentment, etc. He or she does not understand the meaning of life, what we’re here for or where we’re going. Or is not willing to accept it.

This is also somewhat contradictory of free will. If I decide I want to die today, it doesn’t matter, because God’s in control of death. I could stab myself in the heart as many times as I want, Im not gonna die until God allows me to. That doesn’t sound right to me.

The domain of the free will, and the consequences of choices made, is in the mandates of God only. It’s not a Carte Blanche. You are free to believe in Him or to reject Him and you are free then to obey Him or rebel against Him. As for His decrees, He compels you to them because He has not asked you to choose in them. We could not have a free will if God did not will for us to have it.