Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Powerful Story About Prayers

He remembered his grandmother's warning about praying on time: "My son, you shouldn't leave prayer to this late time". His grandmother's age was 70 but whenever she heard the Adhan, she got up like an arrow and performed Salah. He, however could never win over his ego to get up and pray. Whatever he did, his Salah was always the last to be offered and he prayed it quickly to get it in on time. Thinking of this, he got up and realized that there were only 15 minutes left before Salat-ul Isha. He quickly made Wudhu and performed Salat-ul Maghrib. While making Tasbih, he again remembered his grandmother and was embarrassed by how he had prayed. His grandmother prayed with such tranquility and peace. He began making Dua and went down to make Sajdah and stayed like that for a while. He had been at school all day and was tired, so tired. He awoke abruptly to the sound of noise and shouting. He was sweating profusely. He looked around. It was very crowded. Every direction he looked in was filled with people.

Some stood frozen looking around, some were running left and right and some were on their knees with their heads in their hands just waiting. Pure fear and apprehension filled him as he realized where he was.

His heart was about to burst. It was the Day of Judgement. When he was alive, he had heard many things about the questioning on the Day of Judgement, but that seemed so long ago. Could this be something his mind made up? No, the wait and the fear were so great that he could not have imagined this. The interrogation was still going on. He began moving frantically from people to people to ask if his name had been called. No one could answer him.

All of a sudden his name was called and the crowd split into two and made a passageway for him. Two people grabbed his arms and led him forward. He walked with unknowing eyes through the crowd. The angels brought him to the center and left him there. His head was bent down and his whole life was passing in front of his eyes like a movie. He opened his eyes but saw only another world. The people were all helping others. He saw his father running from one lecture to the other, spending his wealth in the way of Islam. His mother invited guests to their house and one table was being set while the other was being cleared. He pleaded his case, "I too was always on this path. I helped others. I spread the word of Allah. I performed my Salah. I fasted in the month of Ramadan. Whatever Allah ordered us to do, I did. Whatever he ordered us not to do, I did not."

He began to cry and think about how much he loved Allah. He knew that whatever he had done in life would be less than what Allah deserved and his only protector was Allah. He was sweating like never before and was shaking all over. His eyes were fixed on the scale, waiting for the final decision. At last, the decision was made. The two angels with sheets of paper in their hands, turned to the crowd. His legs felt like they
were going to collapse.

He closed his eyes as they began to read the names of those people who were to enter Jahannam. His name was read first. He fell on his knees and yelled that this couldn't be, "How could I go to Jahannam? I served others all my life, I spread the word of Allah to others". His eyes had become blurry and he was shaking with sweat. The two angels took him by the arms. As his feet dragged, they went through the crowd and advanced toward the blazing flames of Jahannam. He was yelling and wondered if there was any person who was going to help him. He was yelling of all the good deeds he had done, how he had helped his father, his fasts, prayers, the Qur'an that he read, he was asking if none of them would help him. The Jahannam angels continued to drag him. They had gotten closer to the Hellfire. He looked back and these were his last pleas. Had not Rasulullah [saw] said, "How clean would a person be who bathes in a river five times a day, so too does the Salah performed five times cleanse someone of their sins"?

He began yelling, "My prayers? my prayers? my prayers." The two angels did not stop, and they came to the edge of the abyss of Jahannam. The flames of the Fire were burning his face. He looked back one last time, but his eyes were dry of hope and he had nothing left in him. One of the angels pushed him in. He found himself in the air and falling towards the flames. He had just fallen five or six feet when a hand grabbed him by the arm and pulled him back. He lifted his head and saw an old man with a long white beard. He wiped some dust off himself and asked him, "Who are you?" The old man replied, "I am your prayers". "Why are you so late! I was almost in the Fire! You rescued me at the last minute before I fell in!!"

The old man smiled and shook his head, "You always performed me at the last minute, did you forget?" At that instant, he blinked and lifted his head from Sajdah. He was in a sweat. He listened to the voices coming from outside. He heard the adhan for Salat-ul Isha. He got up quickly and went to perform Wudhu.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hijab Reform in the Month of Ramadhan

Ramadan – the month of spiritual reform. It is the month that I finally decided to wear the hijab. My thoughts were full of worries about what would happen if I began to wear it; I would be recognized as a Muslim everywhere I go. Having grown up amongst non-Muslims whilst living in the west made me afraid to express my culture, because I felt I would not be accepted.
Throughout my school years I experienced different forms of discrimination and intolerance, much of it enforcing my fear to wear the hijab. Senior year came and a feeling of emptiness spread inside me. I thought maybe there was something worldly I was missing out on. I knew I was in need of a spiritual change, and that I must begin to wear the hijab, but I ignored it.
I relied on worldly matters to take the feelings of emptiness away. If only I had known of the Hadith of Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (peace be upon him) in which he said, "This world is like seawater, the more you drink the more you get thirsty." And let us think, what is the effect of seawater on the one who drinks it? There are elements in it which cause insanity. Indeed, relying on worldly things to quench our thirst and solve our problems will cause us nothing but distress.
Throughout those days at school I knew I was committing sin, and I can even remember a moment where I could feel Allah watching me directly. My heart was saddened, but Shaytan told me to ignore it; he was trying to convince me that this world will provide me with all that I needed. Yet Imam Sadiq's words will always ring true - it will never be enough.
As senior year came to an end I felt as if I was awakening form my slumber; my eyes were finally opening, and regret for my actions consumed me. I began to repent to Allah asking Him to bring me back to His Mercy and Love. I gave up music, and this time seriously considered wearing the hijab. I wanted the emptiness to disappear and my thirst to be quenched.
It was in the month of Ramadan that Allah helped me gain the courage to wear it. He allowed me to meet some very encouraging sisters who impacted my life greatly. I began to observe hijab in the second week of Ramadan, and I knew instantly that this was what my heart had been yearning for.
The day I put it on, not a single person spoke against me for wearing it, and it was then that I realized all my fears were whispers of Shaytan. My friends did not question me, and instead I felt I had gained respect. I fell in love with my hijab.
But putting the hijab on was only the beginning. I soon realized it is not just a piece of cloth on my head, but a spiritual journey to the Almighty; I could feel my love of Allah increasing daily. He soon blessed me to go on Ziyarat to visit Lady Zainab (peace be upon her), and upon my return I found within myself a strong craving to gain Islamic knowledge. I began learning what I did not know, and things I once thought I knew.
Let us make this Ramadan one in which we abandon our sinful ways and ask Allah to help us gain nearness to Him in our hearts. To my sisters who are struggling to wear the hijab: if you sincerely ask Allah for help, while also making the effort to change, He will certainly help you in the best of ways. And to my brothers: do remember to lower your gaze.
This world is only temporary, while Love for Allah is eternal. Love for Him is the best of feelings and the highest form of love, for He wants nothing from us, but everything for us - so let us develop the God-consciousness in our hearts to practice all that He has made obligatory, and guard ourselves from all that He has made forbidden.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Nearness to God

Once Moosa (AS) asked Allah Ta'ala: O Allah ! You have granted me the honor and privilege of talking to you directly, Have you given this privilege to any otherperson? Allah Ta'ala replied, O!! Moosa during the last period I am going to send an ummat, who will be the Ummat of Mohammed (SAW) with dry lips, parched tongues, emaciated body with eyes sunken deep into their sockets, with livers dry and stomachs suffering the pangs of hunger- will call out to me (in dua) they will be much much closer to me than you O Moosa! while you speak to me there are 70000 veils between you and me but at the time of iftaar there will not be a single veil between me and the fasting Ummati of Mohammed (SAW) O!! Moosa I have taken upon myself the responsibility that at the time of iftaar I will never refuse the dua of a fasting person!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Reward on the Basis of Common Sense

Mohammed bin Suleiman Al-Dailami, through a reliable chain of narrators said, "I mentioned the devotion, religious acts and piety of a certain individual to Hazrat Imam Jaffer as-Sadiq A.S. The Imam asked, "What about his common sense?" I said, "I have no idea." The Imam said, "The rewards depends upon the degree of his common sense." Then the Imam A.S. exemplified this principle saying, "A descendent of Israeel used to worship Allah in an Island, verdant, full of greenery and blossoming trees and an abundant supply of pure and fresh water. One of the angels happened to pass that way and (being impressed by the sincerity of the devotion of the worshipper) prayed: "O my Lord! show me the reward destined for this servant of Thine." Allah, the Elevated One, showed him that (reward). The angel thought that the reward was less than what the worshipper deserved. Allah, the Elevated One, then inspired the angel to befriend him. The angel approached the worshipper in a human form. The worshipper asked, "Who are you?" He said, "I am also a devoted worshipper. I have been told about your worship and this place of yours in this area. Therefore I have come to you to worship Allah in your company." That day the angel remained with the worshipper. The following morning, the angel addressed the worshipper saying, "This place of yours is excellent and is most suitable for worship." The worshipper remarked, "There is, however, one drawback in this place." The angel asked, "And what is that?" He said, "Our Lord does not have any quadrupeds. If he had a donkey, I would have let him graze in this place because all this grass is just being wasted." The angel then asked him, "So your Lord does not possess a donkey?" He replied, "If he had a donkey, a verdant greenery would not have been wasted." Allah then revealed to the angel by means of inspiration, "I reward (My servants) on the basis of their common sense."