Our religion or deen is complete in every aspect of life and Allah swt created humans in the perfect shape and form.
Allah swt knows what the human needs and has sent us guidelines to help us to achieve happiness and balance in all aspects of our life. To stray from this guidance will lead us to unhappiness, discontent and a poor quality of life now and in the hereafter.
What is beneficial and what is not has been decided, and what is permissible and what is not is set within our religious guidance.
As we approach the spring and summer seasons the opportunities for recreational activities such as the enjoyment of holidays present themselves with both halal and haram options available.
Fun and recreation is encouraged in our deen by maintaining a balance between worship, family and relaxation. However, we have to remain mindful of the limitations of seeking such fun, holidays and recreation within the confines of Shariah or (Islamic law).
We have obligatory holidays such as Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha, recreational activities such as visiting friends and families, and visiting other places to gain knowledge of the world, contemplate the greatness of our creator and reflect on our blessings.
This kind of holiday, within the boundaries of Shariah and led by good intentions can be worship to Allah SWT in itself.
The simple act of assessing your intention to your forthcoming course of action, whether that is a holiday or visiting family, can all be turned into worship of Allah if we intend for it to benefit our understanding of each other, our Deen and Allah’s blessings upon us.
Allah swt in surah Al-Ankabut ayah 20 said
‘Say, oh Muhammad, travel through the land and observe how He began creation’.
Contemplate the beauty of Allah’s creation as you enjoy the relaxation of your holidays,
Surah An-Naml ayt 60 reminds us,
‘ whatever you have been given is a provision for this world and its glitter, but that which is with Allah is better and more enduring, do you not use your intellect?’
As you contemplate the beauty of Allah’s creation, be mindful of the fact that there is better to come in the next life for us all. Be grateful for what you have been blessed with in this world and remember Allah SWT, the creator of it all.
In Surah Al-Hajj Ayat 46 Allah SWT says
‘have they not journeyed in the land that their hearts might understand and their ears might listen? For indeed it is not the eyes that are blinded; it is rather the hearts in the breast that are rendered blind’
Do not take for granted that the purpose of everything that has been created for us is for us to remember Allah SWT and his mercy and blessings upon us. The beauty that surrounds us, the temperature of the sun, the texture of the sand, the taste of the foods we enjoy on our holidays, etc.
Taking all this for granted would be an act that will lead to blindness of the heart. The eyes may see but the heart, and thus, the soul would receive no benefit if the rememberance of who created all this was not sought.
Brothers and Sisters as spring and summer approaches and the holiday seasons begin let us consider the benefits of intending our relaxation and travels into an act of worship to Allah swt, and do so with our families and friends, including them in our recreation.
In Sahih Muslim, it is narrated that the Prophet, peace be upon him said:
‘That Paradise is surrounded by hardships and the Hell-Fire is surrounded by temptations.
Desire is short lived brothers, so enjoy your holidays but know that loosing yourself in the glitter of this dunya could lead you to neglect your worship of Allah. Protect yourself by keeping such enjoyment short and surround yourself with good people, the right travel companions and with activities that encourage and promote permissable acts.
Surah Al-Anfal ayah 29 says:
‘ Oh you who believe, if you follow the path shown by Allah, He will give you a standard (of right and wrong), and overlook your sins, and forgive you. Allah is abounding in benevolence.’
May Allah SWT grant us safety on our journeys. May Allah SWT accept our intentions to seek His Mercy and His Blessings. May Allah SWT grant us the ability through these intentions to know him and to gain closeness to him.
Ameen wal hamdullilahi rabilalameen.
As a Muslim, Imaan or Faith can be broken down into two constituent parts.
Firstly, having Imaan is to be thankful and grateful to Allah SWT for the blessings you have been bestowed with in life.
Secondly, to have Imaan is to be patient with the hardships and tests that Allah SWT sends you during the course of your life.
Upon reflection, one can get an idea on the level of Imaan they possess by observing how patiently they handled a previous hardship from Allah SWT.
One can also get an idea on their level of Imaan by reflecting on how much gratitude they showed Allah SWT the last time they felt blessed by Him.
Allah SWT says in Sura Ibrahim, ayat 7:
“And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase my favour unto you; but if you deny, Indeed, my punishement is severe.’”
When was the last time you thanked Allah for all the blessings in your life? The ability to come to this mosque to pray? The ability to listen to the Khutba today? The biggest blessing of all that you are a Muslim when so many around you are not?
We live in an age where the supplications made to Allah SWT are for materialistic things. Property, Cars, Money, etc.
It’s not wrong to ask for the above as Allah SWT can give without measure but patience comes from feeling blessed with what you have already and not feeling an urge to have your wishes realized.
Upon reflection as Muslims, it is hard not to feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for what Allah SWT has already blessed each and every one of us with.
Alhamdullilah! Look at the world around us today. You can only watch the news for a short while until your heart becomes heavy with the pain you feel for your brothers and sisters across the world. We are truly blessed that we are not experiencing some of the tests our brothers and sisters are having to take.
In a Sahih Muslim hadith, Aisha (May Allah SWT be pleased with her) said:
The Prophet, peace be upon him, would stand in prayer so long that the skin on his feet would crack. I asked him “Why do you do this while your past and future sins have been forgiven?” He replied “Should I not be a grateful slave of Allah?”
Gratitude and patience was abundance with our beloved Prophet, peace be upon him, even to the point where it was overwhelming for his beloved companions:
In a Sahih Bukhari hadith, Umar Ibn Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) said:
I entered the house of the Prophet, peace be upon him, to find him lying on a simple mattress which had left marks on his body. There was very little else to be found in the room in terms of possessions. Seeing this stark austerity, Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) began to cry.
“Why are you crying, O Umar” asked the Prophet, peace be upon him
“It is because I thought of Caesar and Chosroes sitting on thrones of gold wearing silk. And you are the messenger of Allah, yet here you are sitting on this simple mattress”
“O Umar” replied the Prophet, peace be upon him, “Are you not satisfied that they have this world and we have the next?”
We need to remember that this life is designed as a test for our Imaan. Our Imaan can be measured and therefore our progress in this life through our patience and our gratitude.
We need to remain steadfast in our prayers, our deeds and our rememberance of Allah SWT through all of the good times and though all the hardships that may come our way.
No better thanks can come from perfecting our worship to Allah SWT. This is the true gratitude we can show Allah SWT.
We ask Allah SWT to give us patience at all times. We ask Allah SWT to turn to Him in thanks for all the blessings He has given us. And we ask Allah SWT for forgiveness in our impatience and our ingratitude to Him.
Ameen. Walhamdullilahi Rabilalameen.
It is a common fact of existence that each and every living being has but one ultimate goal. That goal is to find happiness. It is to feel fulfilled in life, it is to feel peace and tranquility, it is to feel that inner happiness within themselves.
So, whatever a person does, they believe that as a result of that action they will achieve happiness. They say “I will be happy. It will bring me pleasure, joy and peace.”
Different people take different paths to find happiness in life. One group of people believe it is found in possessions such as a house, a car, savings and investments. So they think of achieving the best education, the best career, the best university and the best job.
Others believe in finding the path through fame or recognition. They say “What can make me famous. What can make people recognize me?”
Another group pursue their happiness through satisfaction of their sensual instincts. They tread the path of pursuing women, wine and other intoxicants.
And a lot of us sadly believe that happiness is found through a combination of the above. A little bit of wealth, with a little bit of fame, and a little bit of sensual desires.
But if you look in society at the people at the top of each of these groups: the rich, the famous and the ones most evil in their pursuit of sensual desires, you will see they all share the same thought:
Some of them have even been honest enough to say it. And that is the answer to the question. “Have you found happiness now?”
The honest amongst them say “Not yet…”
My brothers, true happiness does not come from this world. It is because this world is not our ultimate goal. True happiness, ultimate happiness comes from Allah SWT.
In Sura Az-Zumar Ayat 61 Allah SWT says:
And Allah will deliver the righteous to their place of salvation: no evil shall touch them nor shall they grieve.
Once we establish a connection with Allah SWT then this world becomes secondary.
What we have then we say “Alhamdullilah!”
What we don’t have then we say – “Alhamdullilah!
The world does not become our ultimate goal. And when the world ceases to be our ultimate goal then we are content with what we have. Our attitude becomes one of gratitude for what we have and optimism for what we will get from Allah SWT.
Don’t pursue the role models mentioned previously as they haven’t found happiness despite being at the top. Be amongst the guided so that you can find true happiness.
In Sura Al-Anam Ayat 125, Allah SWT says:
And whomever God wants, He guides him. He expands his breast for The Submission to One God. And whomever He wants to cause to go astray, He makes his breast tight, troubling, as if he had been climbing up a difficult ascent. Thus, God assigns disgrace on those who believe not.
My brothers, we are all to return to our Lord Allah SWT one day. On that day inshAllah each and every one of us will experience infinite happiness due to our good deeds.
In Sura Al-Isra, Allah SWT says:
And We have attached to every person’s neck his deeds, and We bring forth for him a record on the Day of Resurrection which he will find on display.
As our Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
Richness is not the quantity of possessions that one has, rather true richness is the richness of contentment” –Sahih Al-Bukhari
This world is telling you through the mouths of those on the false paths that happiness does not lie there. So turn to the path of submission to Allah SWT and the Sunna of our beloved prophet Muhammed, Peace Be Upon Him.
We ask Allah SWT to help us to attain happiness in this life through the worship of Him. We ask Allah SWT to help us achieve that inner happiness through the right means and the only means that truly work.
Ameen. Alhamdullilahi rabill alamin
Allah (SWT) says in sura Al Maidah ayat 54
O you who have believed, whoever of you should revert from his religion – Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him [who are] humble toward the believers, powerful against the disbelievers; they strive in the cause of Allah and do not fear the blame of a critic. That is the favor of Allah ; He bestows it upon whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.
It is probably impossible to find a human being who does not love. Most people love their families, spouses and friends. Others love status and money. You can tell a person’s love for something or someone by what they do and how they act.
And we love all of these things despite their temporary nature, despite the fact that they disappoint us sometimes. It is almost an intrinsic part of a human being. And we all love for similar reasons—we love people for the perceived good qualities that we see in a person or the way they treat us. We love things because of the way those things make us feel.
In sura Al Fusilat aya 17
And as for Thamud, We guided them, but they preferred blindness over guidance, so the thunderbolt of humiliating punishment seized them for what they used to earn.
The Glorious Quran clearly demonstrates the danger of pursuing the love of this Dunya, of this life.
So what does it mean when we say we should we love Allah SWT?
How can we not? If we put together all the reasons why we love other people or things, and then apply it to Allah (swt), we should see that truly it is Him that deserves our love. And because human beings are naturally inclined to love, it is only the love of Allah (swt) that can satisfy this need.
Try to count everything good in your life, and everything that seemed bad but turned out to be good. All that is from Allah (swt).
The fact that you are Muslim. The fact that, as the Prophet ﷺtold us, everything that happens in the life of a Muslim is good, and this is only for the believers.
If you are given blessings, then it is an opportunity to be thankful, and if you are tested, it is for you to be patient and to be rewarded for that patience. Nothing a believer does goes to waste inshallah.
So how does one make one’s heart love Allah SWT? One’s heart begins to feel the love for Allah SWT through:
Reading the Quran with reflection
Performance of more voluntary prayers
The remembrance of Allah SWT through Zikr
Choose what Allah SWT prefers over what you prefer
There is a Hadith which demonstrates how the best of Creation performed such a requirement and is an example for us all once more:
‘A’isha reported: One night I missed Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) from the bed, and when I sought him my hand touched the soles of his feet while he was in the state of prostration; they (feet) were raised and he was saying:” O Allah, I seek refuge in Your pleasure from Your anger, and in Your forgiveness from Your punishment, and I seek refuge in You from You. I can’t do justice to praise You. Only You can praise Yourself as you deserve”
We should all aim to strive to match this level of devotion and love for Allah SWT. True happiness and contentment from this life can only come when our hearts feel this love for Allah SWT.
One last reminder is a dua that was recited by the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him):
“Oh Allah I ask you for your love, and love of those who love you, and love of any action that will make me close to loving you”
We ask Allah swt to be from the people who love him and he loves us. We ask Allah to help us to remember him. We ask Allah to help us to thank him. and we ask Allah to help us to worship him.
We ask for his forgiveness, his mercy on ourselves and our family and ummah.
Ameen. Alhamdullilahi rabill alamin
Uthman Ibn Afan (May Allah be pleased with him) has narrated that the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) has said:
“The best of you are those who learn the Quran and then teach it to others”
There are many amongst us who struggle to recite the Quran, especially living in this country. In fact, the following Hadith is escpecially applicable to those:
“Verily the one who recites the Quran beautifully, smoothly and precisely, he will be in the company of noble and obedient angels. And as for the one who recites with difficulty, stammering or stumbling through it’s verses, then he will have TWICE that reward”
Furthermore the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him said:
“Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah will receive a hasanah (good deed) from it. And the hasanah is multiplied by 10. I do not say Alif-Laam-Meem is a letter, rather Alif is a letter, Laam is a letter and Meem is a letter.”
What a great gift we have as muslims to be given the ability to read the words of Allah SWT. Surely the success of this life lies in the remembrance of Allah SWT and what better what than through the recitation of the Quran?
Going back to the first Hadith mentioned, the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him has said that those who memorize or learn the Quran should not do it for just themselves but that they should teach it to others then so that there is a benefit for a greater number of people.
Furthermore, it is important to be aware of the following ayat from Sura Al Furqan that states:
“And the Messenger Will Say “O My Lord!, My people have abandoned this Quran””
We need to be wary that we do not fall into the group of muslims that the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him, complains about.
Abandoning the Quran takes many forms:
There is the reading of it, the understanding of it, how to live by it and how to teach it to others. We need to strive to do all of the above.
The Prophet is reported to have said:
“It will be said to the companion of the Quran after he has entered paradise, “Recite and rise” For every verse he recites he will rise on level in Paradise until he reaches the last verse with him i.e. in his memory”
This hadith mentions the merit of those who memorize part or all of the Quran. We should all memorize as much of the Quran as we can until our last breath for every ayah we memorize will result in higher ranks in Jannah! Inshallah!