Seven Ways to seek the Pleasure of Allah Ta’ala in the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah

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1. Hajj

Try to do Hajj if you haven’t yet. If you are unable then make a firm intention to do it in the coming Dhul Hijjah. Even if you’re not in Makkah during the days of Hajj, the mercy on Allah is descending on the world in this time so be especially attentive with your heart towards this special mercy of Allah Ta’ala.

2. Saum/Fasting

In a narration of Tirmidhi it is narrated from Rasoolullah (SallalahualayhiWasallam) that one fast in these days is equal to fasting a complete year. Fast the first 9 days of Dhul Hijjah. Make a special effort towards this. It is Mustahab (meritorious) to fast on the ninth of Dhul Hijjah for those not performing Hajj.

3. Takbeer of Tashreeq

From Fajr on the 9th Dhul Hijjah upto asr on the 13th Dhul Hijjah it is obligatory to recite the takbeer after each fardh prayer. The takbeer is as follows: Allahuakbar Allahuakbar, La-ilaha illalaahu wal-laahu akbar Allahu akbar wa lil-laahil hamd. It is commendable for women to recite this takbeer in a low voice. The men will do it audibly.

4. To follow the sunnahs of the day of Eid

On the day of Eid, following the Sunnahs will be a menas of us gaining the love of Allah Ta’ala. The sunnahs of Eid are to wake early in the morning, to clean the teeth with siwak, to take a bath, use one’s best clothes, not to eat before the Eid prayer, apply itr, and to recite Takbeer aloud while going to the Eid prayer. Even our celebration must be a means of pleasing Allah Ta’ala.

5. Sacrifice of an animal

This is recognised by the Shariah as a means of worship on the tenth, eleventh and twelfth of Dhul Hijjah. This sacrifice must be after the Eid prayer. This is compulsory on every adult male and female who is sahibe nisaab (owns above the nisaab). Pondering on this, there is alot of wisdom in sacrificing. Through this sacrifice we will feel some level of spiritual opening and upliftment. Through this we will learn the spiritual temperament of Prophet Ibraheem AlayhisSalam and his family. The purpose of this month of Dhul Hijjah and the actions of Hajj it is for the ummah of Muhammad Sallalahualayhiwasallam to learn the mizaaaj and spiritual temperament of Ibraheem AlayhisSalam where he and his family were willing to sacrifice anything and everything for Allah Ta’ala. Pray to Allah Ta’ala during these days to bless you with this temperament. Allah Ta’ala wants our whole life, our days and our nights to be spent in submission and love of Him. Do the sacrifice with your own hands it will have more effect.

6. Worshipping in the nights of Dhul Hijjah

Worshipping in the nights of Dhul Hijjah equals to worship of laylatul qadr. Make a special effort to perform Tahajjud Salaah and make special Duaa.

7. Do more good deeds and more dhikr of Allah Ta’ala

No deeds are weightier to Allah Ta’ala than the good deeds in these first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. Increase the recitation of La-ilaha il-lallaah, Allahu akbar, Subhanallah and Alhamdulillah.

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Unlawful Gazes – Tips for safeguarding oneself from the sin of the eye

Path of Ehsaan

The following are few tips for safeguarding oneself from the sin of the Eye – “Unlawful gazes” by Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad Naqshbandi Mujaddidi DB

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  ۚقُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا فُرُوجَهُمْ

Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be modest [Surah 24. An-Nur, Ayah 30]

وَقُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ

And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest [Surah 24. An-Nur, Ayah 31]

Unfortunately, today, we live in a society where advertisement, billboards, newspapers, etc. attract us with obscene images. The west also attempts to destroy our faith by propagating the message of “SHYNESS is a SICKNESS”. It is difficult to save ourselves from this evil, as watching obscene images repeatedly destroys our modesty and makes us immune to obscenity.

‘Remember, if we do not cast veil over our eyes, then a veil will be cast over our hearts…

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An incident of Mawlana Thanwi (rahimahullah) – Not putting any creature in difficulty

unnamed (12)Always stay clear of causing distress to the heart of another being as this will lead to loss of blessings in your life.

Hazrat Thanwi (rahimahullah) writes about an incident where his wife needed to attend a gathering at her relatives. His wife requested from him to feed the fowls that she had in her care, to throw grain for them and provide fresh water as was her daily habit. Hazrat Thanwi (rahimahullah) agreed to see to it that the birds will get their daily feed. On the appointed day, his wife left. Now, work that a person is not used to doing as a part of his daily schedule easily slips his mind. Hazrat Thanwi (rahimahullah) therefore started his days’ work, making Wudu (ablution) and then sitting to write Tafsir-Bayanul-Quran. While sitting, Hazrat says: “My thoughts would just not flow!” After sitting like this for a while, Hazrat thought to himself that perhaps he had committed a sin which is blocking him from continuing his work and therefore he should make Istighfar (seek forgiveness). So Hazrat sat and made Istighfar for some time, sincerely asking Allah to forgive this sin which was driving away his knowledge. Hazrat says: “After making Istighfar for half an hour, I suddenly got the realisation that my wife had asked me to feed grain to the fowls and supply them with fresh water and I had slipped up in doing this. I stopped my writing and went home, only to find the fowls hungry and thirsty. Almost an hour had passed since their usual feeding time. I placed the grain and water and the fowls ate to their satisfaction. I then returned to my place of writing and immediately Almighty Allah put the details of the Tafsir in my mind.”

Subhanallah! By causing discomfort to a fowl which is such a small creature, Allah withheld the details of the Tafsir from his mind, yet we cause discomfort to the servants of Allah and expect to be blessed with divine help and guidance. A (true) Muslim is one from whose tongue and hands the next Muslim is safe. We must always be on guard that through our actions the heart of another is not being distressed. May Almighty Allah grant us the understanding.

From a lecture titled: Dil-Azari by Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad Naqshbandi (may Allah elevate him). Download from tasawwuf.org

If Rasheed Ahmed doesn’t pick up their shoes, what else should he do?

images-38Hazrat Maulana Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi (Rahimahullah) would treat his students with great love and affection. Once it suddenly started raining while he was imparting a lesson to his students sitting in the compound of the Masjid. In order to prevent their books from getting wet in the rain, the students ran towards their rooms leaving their shoes behind. Hazrat Gangohi (Rahimahullah) spread a piece of cloth on the ground, placed the shoes of all his students on it, and carried the bundle on his head to the students. When the students saw this, they were amazed and astonished and said, “Why did you do so, we would have collected our shoes ourselves”. Hazrat replied, “The people who study قال الله (what Almighty Allah said i.e. The Quran) and قال الرسول (what the Blessed Prophet SallalahuAlayhiWaSallam said i.e. The Hadith), if Rasheed Ahmed doesn’t pick up their shoes, what else should he do?”

Source: Ba-Adab-Ba-Naseeb, Etiquette 2: How a teacher should be kind to his students and consider them as his sons. By Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad Naqshbandi (D.B)

Inculcating the habit of making Salaam and being thankful in children

picsart_12-28-08-40-37(From the lectures of Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad Naqshbandi D.B)

Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:

Afshus-Salaama-Baynakum.

Spread salaam amongst yourselves. (Muslim)

Get little children into the habit of making salaam with both hands whenever they greet someone. Get them into the habit of making Salaam as much as possible. Inculcate this culture in your communities. This boosts the child’s confidence and frees him of inhibitions. He isn’t fearful in the company of other people because he is used to making Salaam. The proper method of making Salaam should be taught to the child. This creates confidence in the child and removes cowardice and fear from his heart.

In the same manner, the child should be taught to be grateful to others from a small age. As soon as he reaches the age of understanding, explain to him that whenever someone does him a favour, he must thank him/her. Inculcate the habit of thanking others into the child from a young age. When the child gets into the habit of thanking people, he will automatically learn to thank Allah Ta’ala as well.

Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:

Man-Lam-Yashkurin-Naasa-Lam-Yashkurillaah.

He who does not thank people has not thanked Allah. (Ahmad)

It is amazing how even though Allah Ta’ala has ordered us to be thankful on so many occasions, there are very few mothers who teach their children the words of gratitude. “Jazakumullah”, “Jazakallahu Khayran”, teach these words to your children so that they know the Sunnah way of showing gratitude. This practice was supposed to be ours but today the non-Muslims have adopted it.

A strange story regarding the teaching of gratitude.

This humble servant was on a flight from Paris to New York in 1997. When I took my seat in the aircraft, a French lady with her three or four year old daughter came and set on the seat next to mine. There were only three seats, so the mother sat on one, the daughter on the next one and this humble servant sat on the last seat. This humble servant has a habit of taking a kitab to read on flights. This helps in lowering the gaze and passing time. For these reasons, this humble servant began reading a kitab. After a while, an airhostess arrived to serve food. This humble servant declined the offer because he was not sure about the Halal status of the food. I normally take my own packed food with me on flights, and if I do not have my own food with me, I bear the hunger and partake of something when arriving at my destination.

Anyway, the French lady took some food and began feeding her daughter and at the same time partaking from it herself. Now, because she was sitting on the next seat, even though I was reading my kitab and not paying attention to her, I could make out what she was doing by her movements. She put a morsel of food in the girl’s mouth and after she had eaten it, the lady said, “Say Thank You”. Her daughter replied, “Thank You”. She then put another morsel in the girl’s mouth and made her say Thank You again. After putting each morsel of food in her daughter’s mouth, the lady would make the girl say ‘Thank You’. According to my estimation, the lady made her daughter say the words ‘Thank You’ thirty six (36) times during the course of the meal.

I noted with amazement, that this habit of showing gratitude would surely become part of this child’s character and she will be thankful to everyone for the rest of her life. This is an Islamic habit but alas, our Muslim daughters have forgotten it and the non-Muslims have adopted it. This is why we should teach children these habits from childhood. Inculcate the habit of making salaam and showing gratitude in our children. When a mother does not teach the child to be grateful, when he grows up he doesn’t show gratitude to his parents or his siblings and some are so ill-mannered that they are not grateful to Allah Ta’ala for his bounties as well.

Whose mistake was this? It was the mother’s fault for not teaching her child to be grateful when he/she was small.

Whenever you give your child something; feed him food, make him wear his clothes or do anything for him, tell your child to say “Jazakallahu Khayran/May Allah reward you well”. This is a good habit and must be inculcated in children.

The Horseman and the Thousand Gold Coins. An explanation of Divine workings behind actions.

images-8A Nabi of Allah (Alayhis Salam) was once sitting worshipping Allah in the cavern of a mountain. Nearby, a stream flowed. Once, a person riding a horse came to this stream. He removed his money-belt and placed it on the floor before drinking water. He then went away, forgetting the belt in which was a thousand dinars (gold coins). After a short while, another person came and took this belt away. Then a poor man came, carrying a bundle of wood on his back. He removed this bundle from his back and sat down to drink and rest. The horseman, in the meantime, returned very agitated, looking for his money belt. He caught hold of the poor man and started beating him, asking for his bag. When the poor man denied any knowledge of the bag, he brandished his sword and killed him. The Nabi (Alayhis Salam), having witnessed this whole incident, remarked, “O Allah! This incident was most amazing. This poor man did not take the bag but was killed for it, and the other oppressor who stole the bag was not taken to task.”

Almighty Allah revealed to him: “Remain engaged in worship. Knowing the mysteries behind Divine Workings is not your work. The reality of this matter is that this poor person had killed the father of the horseman. I thus allowed retribution to take place by the son of the murdered person. The horseman’s father had once stolen one thousand gold coins from the person who took the bag. I thus returned it, from his estate.”

In summary, whoever believes in these wisdoms and deeper secrets will not be in the least bit surprised at the actions of Almighty Allah. In fact, he will be surprised at his own ignorance and foolishness. He will not question Divine Decisions by using words like ‘why’ and ‘how’. He will be pleased with the decisions which Almighty Allah has determined.

From the writing of Imam Al-Ghazali (Rahimahullah) – Al Arbain fi Usulid Deen.

Exam Tips for the Muslim Student.

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1. Trust in Allah.

Never put your Tawakkul (trust) in the means. Don’t trust your pen, your writing, your computer, your status, your writing skills, your books, your studying, your memory, these are all means. Use the means, but do not put your dependence on them. Allah Almighty is the one who opens your brain. He is the one who will pass you. Stop doing sins and call unto him, Ya Fattaah, Ya Fatthaah. (O Great Opener)  He is Al-Fattaah. The Great Opener. He is Al-Hafeedh. The Great Protector. He is the only one who can keep the knowledge in your mind. The name of Allah you find most appropriate to help you, keep this name of Allah in your mind and keep on calling Him by it.

2. Recite this Du’aa from Quran

There is a Du’aa supplication of Prophet Moosa (Alayhis Salaam) in the Quran for opening the tightness of the chest and removing any fear that one might feel.

Rabbi – O My Lord,

Ishrah li sadri – Expand my chest,

Wa Yassir li Amri – Ease my task for me,

Wahlul uqdatam min lisani – Untie the knot in my tongue/ myself,

Yafqahu Qawli – So they may understand what I say / write / express.

Recite this Du’aa in the days prior to the exam. Keep the meaning in mind while reciting it.

3. Supplication for ease / to remove stress

We have been taught the following beautiful supplication which makes us realise our weakness and that all strength and ease comes only from Almighty Allah.

Allahumma la sahla illa ma ja’altahu sahla, wa anta taj’alul hazna idhaa shi’ ta sahla. 

O Allah there is no ease except that which You make easy, and indeed You, when You want make difficulties easy.

4. To attract divine mercy, keep calm and retain peace of mind.

The best thing to remember what you’ve forgotten is to sincerely send Salawat (salutations) on Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam). The reason why the pious prescribe Salawat when forgetting something is  because each time you recite Salawat, it brings you ten mercies from Almighty Allah. This mercy will surround and assist you.

5. Salaatul Haajah.

Leave the last minute.  Do Wudu and perform two good Rakaats of Salaah. Don’t do this only for exams. Don’t be like the guy who prays hard and gives lots of Sadaqah (charity) in the Masjid box before the exam but then neglects days of Salaah after he passes his exam. Don’t play games with Allah.  Be constant on your prayers before and after.

6. Remember that Allah is in control of the exam hall, the examiner and all else.

Don’t be overwhelmed. Pray and have faith. Use this as a time to build your trust in Him. O Allah, nothing is in my control, you bought me this far, keep staying by my side. O Allah, Malikal Mulk, tu’izzu man tashaa’, O Allah, You are the King of Kings, You honour whoever You wish. O Allah, I believe that You can give me this honour today!

7. Don’t give in to the whispers of Shaytan.

The whispers of the devil can kill you. Don’t let him turn your attention to anything unworthy. Don’t let him distract you with YouTube, friends, etc. Repeat Dhikr to ward him off. Indeed, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find comfort.

8. Allah is sufficient for me and the best of guardians.

After you’ve put in the 100% effort, believe firmly that Allah is sufficient for you. A powerful supplication of the pious of the past was ‘HasbiyAllahu Wa Ni’mal Wakeel’ (Allah is sufficient for me and He is the best of guardians). Test out these words with Eemaan (firm faith). When Prophet Ibrahim (Alayhis Salam) was dropped into the fire, the huge fire, when he was catapulted into the fire, Jibraeel (Alayhis Salam) told him, are you not going to call unto Allah? The first thing Ibrahim (Alayhis Salam) said was HasbiyAllah (Allah is sufficient for me). The Sahaabah (Radiyallahu Anhum) in the Battle of Uhud, repeated, HasbunAllahu Wa Nimal Wakeel (Allah is sufficient for us and He is the best of guardians).

Be sincere with Allah and he will guide you on your path.