#RamadanReflections – Never Give Up On Yourself

The month of Ramadan is full of many blessings and insights. I had a young Muslim come to me feeling distraught over sins he made and how he felt God no longer listened to his pleas. I gave him one short passage in the 7th chapter to contemplate: “God even answered Iblis’ (Satan’s) du’a (supplication), so why would He not answer yours?”

To this the young man’s eyes welled up with tears and laughed, saying “there’s hope!” Ma sha’Allah. Ramadan Mubarak. 

قالَ فَاهبِط مِنها فَما يَكونُ لَكَ أَن تَتَكَبَّرَ فيها فَاخرُج إِنَّكَ مِنَ الصّاغِرينَ

قالَ أَنظِرني إِلىٰ يَومِ يُبعَثونَ

قالَ إِنَّكَ مِنَ المُنظَرينَ

“…’Get down and away from here!’, God ordered. ‘This is no place for you to be arrogant. Get out of here, for you’re the least of all creatures’. ‘Give me time!’, Iblis cried out. ‘Give me time until the day when they’re all resurrected’. ‘You shall have your time,’ God answered’.” Qur’an 7: 13-15

#MiddleGroundPodcast – Ramadan Is About Being A Believer

[Direct download]

Modern society has become obsessed with winning. But what happens if you can’t always win? What happens if God puts you in circumstances in which you lose?

God, in the Qur’an, had to tell the pagan Arabs that God will not cause any good you’ve done in secret to fall by the wayside.

وهو شهرٌ أولُهُ رحمةٌ وأوسطُهُ مغفرةٌ وآخرُهُ عتقٌ من النارِ

“It [Ramadan] is a month in which the first of it is mercy, the middle of it is forgiveness and the last of it is salvation from the fire.” — narration from Salman al-Farisi

‘A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: “I asked the Messenger of Allah ﷺ about this verse”:

عَنْ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ سَعِيدِ بْنِ وَهْبٍ الْهَمْدَانِيِّ، أَنَّ عَائِشَةَ، زَوْجَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَتْ

سَأَلْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَنْ هَذِهِ الآيَةِ

إِنَّ الَّذينَ هُم مِن خَشيَةِ رَبِّهِم مُشفِقونَ

وَالَّذينَ هُم بِآياتِ رَبِّهِم يُؤمِنونَ

وَالَّذينَ هُم بِرَبِّهِم لا يُشرِكونَ

وَالَّذينَ يُؤتونَ ما آتَوا وَقُلوبُهُم وَجِلَةٌ أَنَّهُم إِلىٰ رَبِّهِم راجِعونَ

أُولٰئِكَ يُسارِعونَ فِي الخَيراتِ وَهُم لَها سابِقونَ

‏قَالَتْ عَائِشَةُ أَهُمُ الَّذِينَ يَشْرَبُونَ الْخَمْرَ وَيَسْرِقُونَ قَالَ لاَ يَا بِنْتَ الصِّدِّيقِ وَلَكِنَّهُمُ الَّذِينَ يَصُومُونَ وَيُصَلُّونَ وَيَتَصَدَّقُونَ وَهُمْ يَخَافُونَ أَنْ لاَ يُقْبَلَ مِنْهُمْ أُولَئِكَ الَّذِينَ يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْخَيْرَاتِ وَهُمْ لَهَا سَابِقُونَ

“Indeed, those who anxiously fear their Lord, who believe in the signs of their Lord, who don’t make partners with their Lord and who give whatever they give in charity with nervous hearts, knowing that they’re going to return to their Lord, they’re the ones who rush forward to do every type of good deed. They’re foremost in doing what’s pleasing to God.Qur’an 23: 57-61

‘A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: “Are they those who drink alcohol and steal?” He ﷺ said, “No, O daughter of al-Siddiq; they are the ones who fast and pray and give charity, but they fear that it will not be accepted from them; they are the ones who race for the good deeds.”Jami’ al-Tirmidhi, #3175

عن ابن مسعود رضي الله عنه

خياركم من قرأ القرآن وأقرأه

Ibn Mas’ud related that the Prophet ﷺ said, “The best of you is the one who recites the Qur’an (for his or herself) and then recites it to others.”

Ramadan Reflections 2017 – Week 1: The Importance and Blessings of Reading Qur’an Yourself

Showcasing a few reflections from our weekly classes and iftars about the importance of reading the Qur’an vs. only listening to it. Also some reflections about superstitious attitudes towards Ramadan and piety in general.

Superstition (n.) early 13c., “false religious belief; irrational faith in supernatural powers,” from Latin superstitionem (nominative superstitio) “prophecy, soothsaying; dread of the supernatural, excessive fear of the gods, religious belief based on fear or ignorance and considered incompatible with truth or reason,” literally “a standing over,” noun of action from past participle stem of superstare “stand on or over; survive,” from super “above” (see super-) + stare “to stand,” from PIE root *sta- “to stand, make or be firm.”

#MiddleGroundPodcast – Ramadan – Getting Back To What’s Real

[Direct download]

In Surah al-Zumar Allah uses a word: ibādi, referring not only to Muslims to everyone. Allah shows care and concern us all.  However, He also doesn’t say “you’ll never experience unhappiness in life” or that “your mom won’t die”. Rather, He says, if you do what I say you will live forever after death/after Judgment in tranquility and have whatever you want.

In other words, salvation.

قُل يا عِبادِيَ الَّذينَ أَسرَفوا عَلىٰ أَنفُسِهِم لا تَقنَطوا مِن رَحمَةِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغفِرُ الذُّنوبَ جَميعًا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الغَفورُ الرَّحيمُ

وَأَنيبوا إِلىٰ رَبِّكُم وَأَسلِموا لَهُ مِن قَبلِ أَن يَأتِيَكُمُ العَذابُ ثُمَّ لا تُنصَرونَ

وَاتَّبِعوا أَحسَنَ ما أُنزِلَ إِلَيكُم مِن رَبِّكُم مِن قَبلِ أَن يَأتِيَكُمُ العَذابُ بَغتَةً وَأَنتُم لا تَشعُرونَ

أَن تَقولَ نَفسٌ يا حَسرَتا عَلىٰ ما فَرَّطتُ في جَنبِ اللَّهِ وَإِن كُنتُ لَمِنَ السّاخِرينَ

“[Muhammad – Tell the people that I, Myself, have said, ‘All My servants who have acted excessively against their own souls! Don’t lose hope of God’s mercy, for God can forgive all sins. He truly is the Forgiving and the Merciful!’

‘Turn towards your Lord and surrender to Him before the punishment overwhelms you, for then you’ll have no one to help you.’

‘Follow the best of what’s being revealed to you from your Lord before the punishment overwhelms you all of a sudden without your even realizing what’s happening.’

‘For then your soul will cry out, “I’m doomed! I neglected my duty to God, and I scoffed!”Qur’an, 39: 53-56

There is no “guess work” in religion:

عن وابصة بن معبد رضي الله عنه قال‏‏ أتيت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال ‏جئتَ تسألُ عن البرِّ والإثمِ قلتُ نعم فجمع أصابعَه الثَّلاثَ فجعل ينكُتُ بها في صدري ويقولُ يا وابصةُ استفْتِ قلبَك والبرُّ ما اطمأنَّت إليه النَّفسُ واطمأنَّ إليه القلبُ والإثمُ ما حاك في القلبِ وتردَّدُ في الصَّدرِ وإن أفتاك النَّاسُ وأفتَوْك

Wabisah bin Ma’bad, a Companion of the Prophet ﷺ reported that he went to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and he asked me, “Have you come to inquire about piety and sin?” I replied, “yes”. He ﷺ then gather his three fingers together and poked me in my chest, saying “Wabisah … ask your heart regarding it. Piety is that which contents the soul and comforts the heart, and sin is that which knots up the heart and causes one’s chest to be hesitant even if people pronounce it permissible and give you verdicts on such matters again and again.” — al-Mundhiri relates this in al-Targhib wa’l Tarhib with a sound chain

What you’re missing out on the other 11 months of the year:

تُفتَحُ أبوابُ الجنَّةِ يومَ الاثنينِ ، ويومَ الخميسِ ، فيُغفَرُ لِكُلِّ عبدٍ لا يشرِكُ باللَّهِ شيئًا ، إلَّا رجلًا كانت بينَهُ وبينَ أخيهِ شحناءُ

“The doors of Paradise are opened every Monday and Thursday. Thus, every worshiper of God is forgiven except for the person where there exists rancor between him or her and his or her brother or sister.”Related by Abu Hurayrah, recorded in Sahih Muslim, #2565