Monday, November 23, 2009

Escaping From Heedlessness

"Very Near has mankind's reckoning drawn, while they are turning away in heedlessness." (Translation of 21:1)
One of the most dangerous maladies our hearts are afflicted with is heedlessness. To understand this, ponder over the following examples:

Four youth are driving fast down the highway blasting music, singing, and dancing in their SUV. They joke, laugh, and drink, forgetting to pay attention to the reality of their surroundings. Less than a mile down the road is a turn which is meant to avoid a deep valley. The youth in their heedlessness are driving towards their imminent demise and yet are enjoying themselves so much they fail to pay attention until its too late and their SUV crashes down the mountainside killing each and every one of them.

Another example is that of a person sitting cozily in his living room with his family watching television with his blinds closed as a fire rips through his neighborhood. The person ignores the fire and heat he can sense because he does not want to interrupt his favorite show. The person thus enjoys himself until the fire burns through the home and its too late.

In both examples the people had clear opportunities to avoid the danger yet they were so distracted with the instant pleasure surrounding them they ignored the ultimate reality about to befall them. Had they paid attention to the reality of their surroundings they would have changed their actions immediately, yet they did not pay attention until it was too late.

We can see how foolish these people are. Yet unfortunately, we are often more heedless. We know that each and every soul, including our very own will taste death. That this life is temporary and transient. That we will stand before our Creator and account for how we spent our life and our wealth. That the day of judgement will be 50,000 years long. That either heaven or hell will be our eternal home.

Yet although we know, we forget. And thus we get distracted with many things which are comparatively insignificant. Thus our hearts get hard. We get trapped in worries over this material world and our material well being while neglecting our ultimate reality. When we worry over things like money, power, lust, and so on it is like we are worrying over which radio station we listen too, while we are heading towards a deep cliff.

This is all because we are forgetting to reflect over the reality of Allah and the hereafter. Thus this world seems so important. We forget that Allah controls everything and that real success is only found in his Pleasure through attaining Paradise. Thus we get caught up in worries over our studies, job, wealth, family, etc.

However, if we always remember Allah swt and remember the reality of the hereafter...of the day of judgment...of heaven...of hell, and thus work towards connecting with Allah, we will have complete peace of mind. We will find peace by connecting with Allah, and we view all the good things he has given us as extra gifts to be grateful for and appreciate them and are content with whatever little or much we may have.

However, if we forget about Allah and the reality of the Hereafter, then we will worry about accumulating more and more and will never be content. Instead of seeing our material success as extra gifts to be grateful for, it becomes the sole object of our life and thus our hearts are filled with thousands of worries.

Simply put when we worry about the reality of this life, the hereafter, we focus on what matters most and Allah will give us success in all we do. But when we focus on this material life and forget about the eternal life we worry so much about things that do not even really matter and we loose Allah's help.

Allah Says:

“Oh son of man, devote yourself to my worship, and I will free your bosom from the worldly anxieties and will remove poverty, otherwise I will fill your heart with a thousand worries and will not remove your poverty."

So in short, all of our problems arise when we are heedless of truly reflecting over Allah, His Prophet, Death, and the Hereafter. When we focus on those, then our life becomes focused and in proper perspective and we are grateful for all we have and spend our energies over what matters most. When we forget Allah, His Prophet, Death, and the Hereafter, even if we our Salah and other Obligatory deeds, our heart will not find peace and this material world will overwhelm, impress, and distract us.

So how can we escape from this heedlessness? One of the most effective ways is by spending time with those who are alive and drowned in the remembrance and love of Allah. More to come on this topic soon...

The Important method to highlight today is by reconnecting ourself with the Book of Allah, the Holy Quran. Virtues of the Quran is a very important book on the virtues and importance of the Holy Quran available online. It is a must read for every muslim. You can read it here.

After reading this short book, three important tasks will soften our hearts and free us from heedlessness:
  1. Read the Quran every day in Arabic, even if we cant understand it, there is great rewards and blessing. Reading the Quran is one of the most important daily activities in the life of a Muslim. Our pious predecessora could not imagine a person would call them self Muslim without reading the Quran at least every day.
  2. Try listening to your favorite reciter in the car often and reciting along with him to feel the beauty of the Quranic recitation.
  3. Take time everyday to read a credible authoritative exegesis (interpretation) of the Quran and ponder over its meanings. A good exegesis, Mariful Quran can be purchased here or read for free online here. Try reading a section or some pages a day. You will be amazed at the effect this has.
By reading the Quran we can revive our hearts with the love of Allah, the realization of the reality of the hereafter, and escape from heedlessness while drawing closer to our creator, as the Hour draws closer to us. May Allah help us act upon this. Take time to read Virtues of the Holy Quran now and make a commitment to read the Quran every day and to study the Tafseer of the Quran

Listen to this beautiful recitation of the Holy Quran:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Tragedy of Modern Muslim Activists

It seems that nowadays everyone wants to speak about Islam...but no one wants to practice Islam.

As I search the latest articles, blogs, books, news reports, etc. relating to Islam, I realize that the majority of commentators on Islam in the media-who want to define what Islamic theology, law, and practice is - do not even practice the basics of the faith! Not to mention, they have never actually studied it!

I was appalled to see that a woman with no training or education in the Islamic sciences who publicly violates unanimously agreed upon aspects of Islamic law and who is not ashamed of her adulterous illicit relationship, debating what Islamic law says regarding gender relations on the Doha debates broadcast internationally. It is watching a person with no medical training and who in fact has cancer and is a proud smoker debate on Internal Medicine!

That is just once example. The media is now full of people who may have never done one prostration to God arguing about the very soul of Islam. And the tragedy is they are given an audience! It is amazing how we would never accept doctors teaching law, or lawyers teaching medicine, and so on, yet we have no problem with doctors, lawyers, activists, and just about everyone else (except for actual scholars) teaching about Islam- when they neither study nor practice it.

It is thus no shock that it is these same speakers who are advocating and promoting beliefs and practices (or lack thereof) which completely contradict over 1400 years of Islamic Scholarship!

The scholars are often not the ones that are respected and learned from...rather people seek knowledge from speakers who lack practice and knowledge.

Our situation is best described by the teachings of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him):

“Allah will not deprive you of knowledge after he has given it to you, but it will be taken away through the death of the learned men (Ulema’a) with their knowledge. There will remain ignorant people who, when consulted, will give verdicts according to their opinions whereby they will mislead others and themselves go astray.”

Islam is the most valuable thing we lets beware from where we acquire it!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Eating Halal

Why I Stopped Eating Supermarket Meat...

A very important article for every wester Muslim to Read...

Growing up I used to avoid Pork, thinking everything else was ok. Burger King, McD's, Chinese Fast Food was all good in my mind long as it didnt have pork. Boy was I in the wrong! This article changed everything for me...although at first I didnt want to give it up, I realized it that I had to and I have no regrets!

Summery as follows: Muslims can only eat meat that meets all three requirements:

1.Slaughterd by a Practicing Muslim, Jew, or Christian.
2. Name of God mentioned in Slaughtering.
3. Slaughtered in a particular method allowing all blood to drain before death.

Thus we cannot eat meat from public places because:
1. We do not know who killed it. May not be a person of any faith or another faith.
2. Highly unlikely they mentioned God's name at time of slaughter.
3. Definitely not slaughtered in proper manner. (usually machine or electric shock) Allah knows best.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What Is Islam?

Islam is not a noun, but a verb, a process—it comes from two root words, “peace” and“submission.” In other words, Islam means the process of attaining internal and external peace with humanity, nature, society, and oneself by willingly following the teachings of the Perfect and Most Merciful Creator—who is All Knowing, All Capable, One, Independent, and completely unlike any of his beloved creation. These teachings were found in the Torah, Gospel, and finally the Quran which state:

Say: He is God, the One and Only God, the Eternal, Absolute He begetteth not, nor is He begotten. And there is none like unto Him. Translation of the Holy Quran 112

Islam calls mankind away from submitting to and worshiping idols, frivolous desires, egos, wealth, materialism, prophets, other human beings, and all else that is finite

One who adheres to Islam is called a “Muslim,” which literally means, “one who submits.” A Muslim is anyone who believes in the Oneness of God and all of God’s Prophets and in the authentic Torah given to Moses, and the authentic Gospel, given to Jesus, and the Quran given to Muhammad (Peace be Upon Them All)

This was the message of all of God’s Prophets, who all called mankind to peace and serenity and to the worship of their Creator and Sustainer. Muslims believe that God did not send different religions to humanity, but rather this simple way of life which called people to attain peace by coming to know their creator—in Arabic, the name for this way of life is Islam. In essence all Prophets called towards peaceful submission, i.e.: Islam. Islam teaches that since all Prophets of God, from Adam to Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad (Peace be Upon Them All), submitted their whole lives to God, they were all Muslim. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) said "Both in this world and in the Hereafter, I am the nearest of all the people to Jesus, the son of Mary There was no Prophet between him and me. The prophets are paternal brothers; their mothers are different, but their religion is one.