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Can You Feel His Love?

 

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Let us all start thanking Allah for all that He has given us, before it’s too late.

By: Sis Zabrina
IslamiCity* –

I was in a furniture shop with my sister that day, looking through its collection of English furniture and interior decorations. I have this thing about flowers and laces, so, naturally, English design has always been the one I admire the most. Then, I saw this beautiful ‘Old Granny Chair’ and I could not resist temptations to land myself on it!

It is so comfortable like you wouldn’t believe it. Its cushion is well padded, it has a very wide sitting platform, a very high back which allows you to just rest your head comfortably, a matching ottoman stool which is convenient for legs stretching and its material is just the best design of elegant English Rose, which, by the way, is one of my favorite designs. I had practically fallen in love with the chair the moment I sat on it. As I made myself very cozy on that expensive chair (much to the dismay of the salesperson!), I was thinking of the blessings of this wonderful chair design…

Then it occurred to me. If this one chair is able to give me such pleasure, what about other things in life which I have taken for granted? I guess there must be a million other things that I have forgotten to thank Allah for.

Think about it. Among 114 surahs mentioned in the Qur’an, there is this one surah that asked us to think of His blessings…

He set the earth for all creatures, with all kinds of tasty fruits in abundance and palm-trees with sheathed fruit, and a variety of corn with husk as well as grain. So, O jinn and men, which of your Lord’s blessings will you deny? (Surah Ar-Rahman: 10-13)

Which of my Lord’s blessings have I denied?

Let me see, from the air I breathe, the joy of listening to the rain drops, the smell of freshly cut grass, the innocent laughter of children, the yellowish color of the rising sun, the wonderful sensation when the wind blows to my face, the contagious giggle that tickles the young girls, the sound of the flip flop slippers, the stillness and silence of the midnight hours, the crack of people’s face known as smile, the mysterious creamy smell of vanilla, the screams of a hungry child. Don’t these things bring pleasure in life?

You might be thinking now. How can the loud screaming sound of a crying child be a blessing? Well, the way I see it, when a child is hungry usually he will cry, demanding his mother’s attention. This act indirectly symbolizes love and dependence. And the best part is when the mother comes to the rescue and feeds this baby, with her loving eyes and beautiful smile, she would have this small baby talk which may go something like ‘Oh my sweet angel, mummy is here… don’t you worry… You are hungry, aren’t you, aren’t you?… Mummy made you this delicious rice pudding… oh yes… open you mouth… there you go… there you go… aummmm!’ Ok guys, don’t puke on me here J))

But, seriously, isn’t that a blessing? Hearing this sweet goo-goo-gaa-gaa version from a mother? Do I see a smile there on your faces?

Then I will certainly come to them from before them and from behind them, and from their right-hand side and from their left-hand side; and Thou shalt not find most of them thankful. (Surah 7, The Elevated Place: 17)

This ayah is so true for many of us. We have forgotten to find the blessings from the smallest things we have in life to the biggest. Only when we faced with adversity or we lost something, then, we realized that what we had was something precious and was really a blessing from Allah, that we were able to have it. Sounds familiar, right?

Shouldn’t we start being thankful to Him for everything we have? Allah has reminded us in His ayah

Therefore remember Me, I will remember you, and be thankful to Me, and do not be ungrateful to Me. (Surah 2, The Cow: 152)

It is a reminder for us to always be thankful and not to be ungrateful. If we look at it, both words come together. If someone is thankful, doesn’t that mean he is grateful? I am a bit confused here. Let me check my big red dictionary. Ok, here it is. Thankful is defined as feeling of gratitude, or feeling glad about something. Grateful on the other hand means having the desire or reason to thank someone. Hmm… Interesting…

I am no language expert here, but, as a layman, I think being thankful means we are thankful of specific things that we have received from Allah and it only involves words, but, being grateful to Him is more than words and a much higher feeling of gratitude. It involves desire to thank someone. It involves heart and emotions. Well, that’s what the definition says anyway…

Consider the difference in this dialogue between two friends: Thank you for helping me with this task, against, I am grateful to you for your help. Or this one: I thank Allah for giving me a child, compared to, I am grateful to Allah for giving me a child.

Feel the difference? Allaahu ‘alaam.

Let me share with you a story I once read about a sick brother in a Hospital in East York, Canada. This brother had an infection in his stomach, which caused it to explode. As a result, the doctors had to remove half of his stomach through an operation. For seven days, he was unable to eat or drink anything. Nutrients were provided to him by using specialized methods. During visiting hours, his family and friends told him to be patient and pray to Allah for quick recovery. At one point, the brother made a very important statement. He said, “Now I have understood that if Allah doesn’t want, we cannot eat even one grain of rice.”

Subhanallaah. How right were the words of this brother?

If Allah just take away one of His blessings from us, say our stomach, there goes our ability to eat. Ok, forget about big things. Let us simply reflect on smaller things. What if Allah takes away just our toenail? Or if we have blurry vision? What if our eye lash dropped into the eye? Have you ever encountered how irritable it can be? What about dropping hair? Or residing hairlines?  Or the pain that comes with a small splinter into our skin? Have you ever seen the difficulty our beloved elders in munching things? My aunt has resorted to eating soup and porridge since she lost all her good teeth. Isn’t having teeth great blessing from Allah?

Be thankful first for all his blessings to us. And be grateful for all that we have.

Let us all start thanking Allah for all that He has given us, before it’s too late. Do we need for our stomach to explode too before we start thanking Him? Na’uzubillaah. It’s a scary thought. So, as Allah has commanded us to do, remember Him, and He shall remember us too. And thank Him and be grateful.

As for now, I am going to be grateful that Allah has given me the ability to read and write, because without it, I won’t be ‘talking’ to you now. Alhamdulillaah J

Sis Zabrina is a ‘Life Storyteller’ who writes about daily happenings in life, viewed and analyzed from a unique perspective and blended with the Quranic verses and Hadeeth of the Prophet SAW for a solution to illustrate the easiness, simplicity, relevancy and completeness of Islam to today’s world. She maintains an active blog at http://wisdomthruwords.blogspot.com

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Posted by on December 22, 2007 in Articles

 

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Say not even “Fie” to Parents

By: Dr. Ahmad H. Sakr
IslamiCity* –

INTRODUCTION

In America there are many special days set aside to honor and appreciate special people. Some of these are: Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Grandfather’s Day, Grandmother’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc. We do realize the significance of these occasions and we recognize the ideas, ideals, and philosophies of such days. We appreciate the efforts of those who initiated these occasions for the recognition and appreciation of special people.

As for the appreciation of parents, we admire the efforts of children who remember their parents on such occasions by sending them greeting cards and gifts. However, we hope that the appreciation is not for one single day in a year, but for every day throughout the year. 

PARENTS IN QURAN

A child should respect and appreciate his or her parents every day throughout the year. Allah has asked human beings to recognize their parents after recognition of Allah Himself. Throughout the Quran, we notice that parents are mentioned with appreciation and with respect, even if they are senile. In Surah Al-Isra’ (Children of Israel) there is a very beautiful description of how parents are to be treated. Allah says:

“Your Lord had decreed, that you worship none save Him, and (that you show) kindness to parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age with you, say not “Fie” unto them nor repulse them, but speak unto them a gracious word. And lower unto them the wing of submission through mercy, and say: My Lord! Have mercy on them both, as they did care for me when I was young.”   [Quran 17:23-24]

The recognition and respect of parents is mentioned in the Quran eleven times; in every instance, Allah reminds children to recognize and to appreciate the care and love they have received from their parents. In the following verse, Allah demands that children recognize their parents:

“We have enjoined on humankind kindness to parents.”  [Quran 29:8 and 46:15]

1.   The demand for recognizing parents is made more emphaticly when Allah says in the Quran:

“And (remember) when We made a covenant with the children of Israel, (saying): worship none save Allah (only), and be good to parents…” [Quran 2:83]

2.   In Surah Al-Nisaa’ (The Women) Allah emphasizes again that children should be kind to their parents.

“And serve Allah. Ascribe nothing as partner unto Him. (Show) Kindness unto parents… “ [Quran 4:36]

3.   The same directive is repeated again In Surah Al An’Am (The Cattle), where Allah says:

“Say: Come, I will recite unto you that which your Lord has made a sacred duty for you; that you ascribe nothing as partner unto Him and that you do good to parents…” [Quran 6:151

MOTHERS

Although Islam has clear directives to honor and respect both parents, mothers are given particular gratitude and respect. This attitude of Islam is understood if we realize the hardships and the suffering that mothers experience in their lives. In this regard, Prophet Muhammad said:

It was narrated by Abu Hurairah (R) that a man came to the Prophet and asked him, ‘Who is to be close to my friendship?’ The Prophet answered:

Your mother, your mother, your mother, then your father, then the one closest to your kinship, and the one after.

Islam has endorsed respect for parents by their children even if the parents are non-Muslims. Only if parents coerce their children against Islam, then the children have the right not to obey their parents, but they are still to be good to them. In this regard, Allah says in Surah Luqman:

“And We have enjoined upon man concerning his parents–his mother beareth him in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years–Give thanks unto Me and unto your parents. Unto Me is the journeying. But if they strive with you to make you ascribe unto Me as partner that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not. Consort with them in the world kindly, and follow the part of him who repents unto Me. Then unto Me will you return, and I shall tell you what you used to do.–“ [Quran 31:14-15

MORE RESPECT

Islam teaches us that respect for parents comes immediately after praying to Allah and before Jihad (struggle and striving in the way of Allah). In this respect, the Prophet said the following:

Narrated by Abi Abder Rahman Abdullah bin Massoud (May Allah be pleased with him) saying: I asked the Prophet , “which deed is more liked by Allah?” He replied, “Prayers on time.” Then I asked, “Which one is next?” He said, “Goodness to parents.” Then I asked, “Then which one is next?” He said, “Jihad in the way of Allah.” (Agreed)

In Islam, respect for parents is so great that the child and his wealth are considered to be the property of the parents. In this regard, the Prophet said:

Narrated by Aisha that a person came to the Prophet to resolve his dispute with his father regarding a loan given to the father. The Prophet said to the person, “You and your wealth are to your father.”

FINAL REMARKS

We hope and we pray that all of us will respect our parents while they are alive and even after they pass-away. You may honor your parents after they die through the following methods:

  1. Make daily Du’a (prayer) for them
  2. Give a charity on their behalf
  3. Institute a perpetual charity on their behalf – such as a Masjid, an Islamic Center, an Islamic Library, an Islamic hospital, an orphanage, a senior citizen’s home, etc.
  4. Perform Hajj on their behalf or ask someone to do so.
  5. Read Quran on their behalf
  6. Distribute Islamic Literature on their behalf

Let us pray to Allah that we will do our best to respect our parents, to honor them, to be kind to them, to help them, and to please them for the love of Allah.

O Allah! Accept our humble prayers and make us obedient servants to you.

O Allah! Help us to be respectful children to our parents. Ameen.

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2007 in Articles

 

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In Search of the Prophet

 

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I found my source of adoration for you in the love and respect that the Almighty has proclaimed for you; in the honor that He bestowed upon you; in His confirmation of you as “the ultimate exemplar”; “seal of Prophets” and “mercy unto all existence”.

O Prophet of Allah, where shall I find the source of my adoration for you? I have memorized hundreds of your sayings since my youth, taught your seerah (example) to numerous students, grown a beard, used the miswaaq, sang and proudly taught others odes (qasidahs) in praise of you. But I did not find you in these rituals nor did any of these make me any more like you; rather they merely flung me into the fray of insignificant debates in the arena of so many of the sunnahless Muslims who see your sunnah only as an endless array of harsh laws and practices or as some justification for their cultural tendencies. O Allah, save me from being of those who consider the sunnah of Thy beloved as being expressed only through aimless imitations and who know Thy Prophet only as a conveyor of commands and warnings.

O Prophet of Allah, I did not truly find you in the books of fatawa (religious edicts), nor in grand seminars and conferences throughout the world, and certainly not in the harsh arguments between groups proclaiming mutually exclusive rights over you.

I found my source of adoration for you in the love and respect that the Almighty has proclaimed for you; in the honor that He bestowed upon you; in His confirmation of you as “the ultimate exemplar”; “seal of Prophets” and “mercy unto all existence”. Allah has elevated the very memory of you and has made His boundless love accessible through obedience to you.

I catch but a dimension of you through the instances of compassion you extended to others; how you played with the poor orphaned boy when other children refused to play with him, how you prolonged your prostration out of consideration that your change in posture may inconvenience or hurt your beloved grandson who had climbed on your back; how you commanded your army away from the anthill in order not to disrupt the ants’ activities; how you blessed with Paradise the sinful woman for saving the life of a cat by making the water of the well accessible with her shoes; how you intervened and prevented a man from abusing his wife by teaching him that “the best of men are those who treat their wives the best”; how you patched your clothes, mended your shoes and did your daily household chores; how you wrestled with your nephew and raced with your wife; how you joked with the kids and carried the baggage of the elderly; how you hosted the Christians of Najran in your mosque and stood up to honor the bier of a Jew. 

O Prophet of Allah, why is it that so many of us who claim to be of you refuse to be like you. We sing for you and dress like you, but do not come near fulfilling the expression of love, care and beauty that generated from yourself. Why is it that we see in you that which suits our cultural, organizational and chauvinistic interests, yet ignore the essence of what is essential to your being. Others who are not of you proclaim the multi-dimensional and multi-faceted nature of your personality. “The personality of Muhammad is most difficult to get the whole truth of it. Only a glimpse of him I can catch. What dramatic succession of picturesque scenes? There is Muhammad the Prophet; there is Muhammad the General; Muhammad the King; Muhammad the Warrior; Muhammad the Businessman; Muhammad the Preacher; Muhammad the Philosopher; Muhammad the Statesman; Muhammad the Orator; Muhammad the Reformer; Muhammad the Refuge of Orphans; Muhammad the Protector of Slaves; Muhammad the Emancipator of Women; Muhammad the Judge; Muhammad the Saint.. In all these magnificent roles and in all these departments of human activities he is equally a hero.” (Professor Ramakrishna Rao). O Prophet! Your life-example is an integrated biography, history and law; it is above all a model of excellence. 

O Prophet of Allah, you have certainly been adored by many much more worthy than I. Yet, neither the inability to capture my appreciation of you with the eloquence of poets nor my weakness as a believer debars me from qualifying as one who adores you; for in the commemoration of your being do I find the dignity and honor of my existence.

Imam Sadullah Khan is Professor of Islamic Studies at California State University in Dominguez Hills.

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2007 in Articles

 

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