Committing sins and falling into error is an unavoidable human trait, such that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “By the One in whose hand is my soul, if you were not to commit sin, Allah would have swept you out of existence and would have brought about another people who commit sin, and then seek forgiveness, and He would then forgive them.” (Ahmad, vol. 20, p. 344; Al-Tirmidhi, vol. 4, p. 659) He also said, “All the children of Adam sin repeatedly, and the best of those who sin repeatedly are those who repent frequently.” (Sahih Muslim, vol. 4, no. 2749)
Repenting to Allah (Tawbah) is one of the greatest characteristics of people of faith; Allah says, ‘‘…and turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.” (Qur’an, 24:31) He also says, ‘‘O you who have believed, repent to Allah with sincere repentance. Perhaps your Lord will remove from you your misdeeds and admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow (on) the Day when Allah will not disgrace the Prophet and those who believed with him. Their light will proceed before them and on their right; they will say, “Our Lord, perfect for us our light and forgive us. Indeed, You are Able to do all things.” (Qur’an, 66:8)
Ibn Al-Qayyim defines repentance by stating that “the reality of repentance is to have regret for that which one has committed in the past, to disassociate oneself from it in the here and now and to have the resolve to not return to it in the future.” (Madarij Al-Salikin, vol. 1, p. 199)
When a servant happens to slip and disobey Allah, if he is righteous, two inseparable qualities are manifested. The first is swift remorse and return to Allah – the heart that is alive with Iman (faith) neither continues with disobedience nor continues transgressing; it is quick in resorting back to his Lord in repentance.
Allah says, “And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves (by transgression), remember Allah and so seek forgiveness for their sins – and who can forgive sins except Allah? – and (who) do not persist in what they have done while they know.” (Qur’an, 3:135) He also says, “And whoever does evil or wrongs himself but then seeks forgiveness of Allah will find Allah Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Qur’an, 4:110)
He also says, “And Paradise will be brought near to the righteous, not far. (It will be said), ‘This is what you were promised – for every ‘Awwab’ and keeper (of His covenant). Who feared the Most Merciful unseen and came with a heart returning (in repentance).’” (Qur’an, 50:31-33) Ibn Kathir said, “Awwab means one who continually returns, repents and renounces.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 4, p. 229)
The second quality is not to regard disobedience as a trivial matter. The righteous Believer does not regard sinning as being insignificant regardless how negligible the sin is classified as being. This is remaining true to the saying of Allah’s Messenger, “Beware of small sins, for the example of slight sins is that of a group of travelers who broke their journey in a valley. Then one of them brought in a stick and another came up with another piece until they were able to gather enough to bake their bread. Remember! If a person is held to account for his small sins, surely they will destroy him.” (Ahmad, vol. 37, p. 467)
This is why our righteous forefathers, may Allah be pleased with them, would take the utmost care not to fall into sin (whether major or minor); Anas Ibn Malik said, “You people do deeds which seem in your eyes as minute as a strand of hair while we used to consider those very deeds during the lifetime of the Prophet as destructive sins.” (Al-Bukhari, vol. 11, no. 6492)
Abdullah Bin Mas‘ud said, “A believer sees his sins as if he were sitting under a mountain, which he fears may fall on him; whereas the wicked person considers his sins as flies passing over his nose and he just drives them away like this.” (Al-Bukhari, vol. 11, no. 6308) Abu Shihab (the sub-narrator) moved his hand over his nose in illustration.
Anas (RA) narrated: Allah’s Messenger (saw) said, “Every Deen has a distinctive quality, and the distinctive quality of Islam is Modesty.”
Abu Hurairah(RA) narrated: The Prophet (saw) said, “Iman (Faith) has more than sixty branches, and Al Haya (modesty) too is a branch of Iman.”
Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated : Allah’s Messenger (saw) said , “Modesty is from Iman and Iman leads to paradise and indecency is from the (useless) scum/froth and the (useless) scum/froth leads to the fire”
Salim bin Abdullah narrated from his father that once Allah’s Messenger (saw) passed by a man of the Ansaar who was admonishing his brother regarding Haya (modesty). Allah’s Messenger (saw) said, “Leave him for modesty is part of Iman.”
Abu Sawaar al- Addavi narrated that he heard Imran bin Husayn (RA) who said :The Prophet (saw) said, “Modesty does not bring anything but good.”
Imran (RA) narrated one day : The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “Modesty is all good.”
Anas (RA) narrated : Allah’s Messenger (saw)said, “There is no indecency in anything except for it makes it defective, and there is no modesty in anything except for it beautifies it.”
Abu Saeed Al Khudri (RA) narrated : The Prophet (saw) was more shy than a virgin in her private room, and if he saw a thing which he disliked, we would recognize it on his face
Abu Masud(RA) narrated: The Prophet (saw) said, “One of the sayings of the early Prophets which was imparted to the people is, “If you do not feel shame, then do as you like.”
Has it never occurred to you that you live in a world, surrounded by miracles?
There, without fail, every single day of your life, is the Sun.
Floating in space, it hangs there, without a suspending rope, without a supporting pillar.
Have you ever noticed it?
Or thought about it?
Who made it?
How was it placed there?
The Sun provides an immense amount of heat and light, a single source so incredible, that if it had been any nearer or farther, temperatures on this planet would not be able to support life; it has been placed by Allah, at precisely the correct distance from earth. The core of the sun has a temperature of 15.6 million degrees, yet only a small portion of the light and heat, just sufficient for life on earth, reaches this planet. And this Sun of ours is just one, of 100 billion stars in this Universe!
Subhan Allah! (Glory be to Allah!)
And We have made the heaven a roof, safe and well guarded. Yet they turn away from its signs (i.e. sun, moon, winds, clouds, etc.). And He it is Who has created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon, each in an orbit floating. [21:32,33]
Did man create the Sun?
Is man the one who positions the Sun?
Can man command the Sun to obey him?
Can man even look into the Sun directly without hurting his eyes?
Truly, Man is weak and helpless……
Indeed your Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in Six Days, and then He rose over the Throne. He brings the night as a cover over the day, seeking it rapidly, and (He created) the sun, the moon, the stars subjected to His Command. Surely, His is the Creation and Commandment. Blessed be Allah, the Lord of the Universe (mankind, jinns and all that exists)! [ 7:54 ]
Allah is He Who raised the heavens without any pillars that you can see. Then, He rose above the Throne. He has subjected the sun and the moon (to continue going round)! Each running (its course) for a term appointed. He regulates all affairs, explaining the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) in detail, that you may believe with certainty in the meeting with your Lord.
Subhan Allah (Glory be to Allah!), who has placed before us a blazing miracle of His Power and Majesty, Glory be to He, who has power over all things! Exalted is Allah who places these signs of His greatness before our eyes, so that we may grow in faith, as we perceive the miracles of life.
Think! The mind is that which sets us apart from the animals.
Those who remember Allah (always, and in prayers) standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth, (saying): “Our Lord! You have not created (all) this without purpose, glory be to You! (Exalted be You above all that they associate with You as partners). Give us salvation from the torment of the Fire. 3:191]
Ponder, so that you may benefit, by gaining true Iman (faith).
Will you not take heed?
Verily, it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts which are in the breasts that grow blind. [ 22:46]
If a sick person doesn’t realize that they are sick, the doctor will never be able to cure her. So realizing that there is a spiritual sickness is a sign that your faith is strong. I have the following words of advice for you:
Al-Haakim reported in al-Mustadrak, and al-Tabaraani reported in al-Mu jam, that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: Faith wears out in the heart of any one of you just as clothes wear out, so ask Allah to renew the faith in your hearts. (Reported by al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak, 1/4;. Al-Haythami said in Majma al-Zawaa id, 1/52, It was reported by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer and its isnaad is saheeh. ) This Hadith tells us that our faith will become weak but we will have to strengthen it with various actions and different good deeds. If we try to implement the following, In Sha Allah it will help us all.
On a weekly basis, try to attend some Halaqah or an Islamic gathering. That is a great way of keeping the battery of Iman and actions charged.
A good suggestion would be that you join some weekend or evening Islamic course or something of that sort. You will find good company there which will be a means of strengthening your faith and Iman. And when you feel like you are all burnt out , there will be others there who will guide you and help you out and get you back up on your feet again.
Try to read some portion of the Quran everyday and make Zikr of Allah. It will not be a bad idea to start off the day by reciting Surah Yaseen.
Try to have a daily Halaqah of reading from a Hadith book at home. The most widely used Hadith book in English is probably Riyadh us Salihin. Set aside a time at home, and try to sit down with other family members. It does not have to be long. Even five minutes or ten minutes will suffice. A daily dose of the words of Allah and his beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam goes a long way in keeping us attached to our faith.
After prayers or whenever, try to recite as many times as possible the words which are mentioned in the following Hadith: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: Do not forget to say in every prayer, Rabbi a inni ala dhikrika wa shukrika wa husni ibaadatika (O Allah, help me to remember You, thank You and worship You properly.). (al-Nasaa i, 1303)
In Islam, man’s entire individual and social life is an exercise in developing and strengthening his relationship with Allah. The starting point of our religion consists of the acceptance of this relationship by man ‘s intellect and will. Islam means submission to the will of Allah in all aspects of life. The Islamic code of conduct is known as the Shariah. Its sources are the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh).
The final Book of Allah and His final Messenger stand today as the repositories of this truth. Everyone who agrees that the concept of Reality expounded by the Prophet, and the Holy Book is true, should step forward and surrender himself to the Will of Allah. It is this submission which is called Islam, the result of Iman in actual life. And those who of their own freewill accept Allah as their Sovereign, surrender to His Divine will and undertake to regulate their lives in accordance with His commandments, are called Muslims.
All those persons who thus surrender themselves are welded into a community and that is how the ‘Muslim Society’ comes into being. It is an ideological society, radically different from those which are founded on the basis of race, color or territory. It is the result of a deliberate choice, the outcome of a ‘contract ‘ which takes place between human beings and their Creator. Those who enter into this contract undertake to recognize Allah as their Sovereign, His guidance as supreme and His injunctions as absolute Law. They also undertake to accept, without question, His word as to what is good or evil, right or wrong, permissible or prohibited. In short, freedoms in the Islamic society are limited by the commandments of the Omniscient Allah. In other words, it is Allah and not man whose will is the primary source of Law in a Muslim society. When such a society comes into existence, the Book and the Messenger prescribe for it a code of life called the Shariah and this society is bound to conform to it by virtue of the contract it has entered into. It is, therefore, inconceivable that a real Muslim society can deliberately adopt any other system of life than that based on the Shariah. If it does so, its contract is ipso facto broken and it becomes ‘un-Islamic. ‘
But we must clearly distinguish between the everyday sins of the individual and a deliberate revolt against the Shariah. The former may not mean a breaking of the contract, while the latter most certainly would. The point that should be clearly understood is that if an Islamic society consciously resolves not to accept the Shariah, and decides to enact its own constitution and laws or borrows them from any other source in disregard of the Shariah, such a society breaks its contract with Allah and forfeits its right to be called ‘Islamic. ‘
Know, that in the fast (Sawm) is a special quality that is not found in anything else. And that is its close connection to Allah, such that He says:
‘‘The Fast (Sawm) is for Me and I will reward for it.’’
This connection is enough to show the high status of fasting. Similarly, the Ka’bah is highly dignified due to its close connection to Him, as occurs in His statement:
‘‘And sanctify My House.’’
Indeed, the fast is an excellent act of worship due to two significant reasons:
· It is a secret and hidden action, thus, no one from the creation is able to see it; therefore riya‘ (showing off) cannot enter it.
· It is a means of subjugating the enemies of Allah. This is because the road that the enemies (of Allah) embark upon (in order to misguide the son of Adam) is that of desires. And eating and drinking strengthens the desires. There are many Prophetic traditions that indicate the merits of fasting, and they are well-known
Recommended acts of fasting
The pre-dawn meal (suhoor) and delaying in taking it are preferable, as well as hastening to break the fast and doing so with dates. Generosity in giving in charity is also recommended during Ramadan, as well as doing good deeds and giving more and more in charity. This is in accordance with the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).
It is also recommended to study the Qur‘an and perform I‘tikaf (seclusion for worship) during Ramadan, especially in its last 10 days, as well as exerting in doing good deeds in it. In the two Saheehs, ’Aa‘isha said: ‘‘When the last 10 days (of Ramadan) would come, the Prophet would grid up his loins’’
The scholars have mentioned two views concerning the meaning of ‘girding up his lions.’ The first is that it means the turning away from women.
The second is that it is an expression denoting his eagerness and diligence in doing good deed. They also say that the reason for his making an extra effort the last 10 days of Ramadan was due to his seeking of the Night of al-Qadr (Laylatul-Qadr).
Inner secrets of fasting
There are three levels of fasting, the general fast, the specific fast and the more specific fast. As for the general fast, it is the restraining of one’s stomach and private parts from fulfilling their desires.
The specific fast is the refraining of ones gaze, tongue, hands, feet, hearing and eyes, as well as the rest of one’s body parts from committing sinful acts. As for the more specific fast, it is the heart’s abstention from its yearning for the worldly objects and the thoughts which distance one away from Allah, as well as its (the heart’s) abstention from all the things that Allah has placed at the same level.
Among the characteristics of the specific fast is that one lowers his gaze and safeguards his tongue from the repulsive speech that is forbidden, disliked, or which has no benefit, as well as controlling the rest of his body parts. As is mentioned in a Hadith by Al-Bukhari: ‘‘Whosoever does not abandon false speech and acting upon it, Allah is not in need of his giving up food and drink.’’
Another characteristic of the specific fast is that one does not overfill oneself with food during the night. Instead, he eats in due measure, for indeed, the son of Adam does not fill a vessel more evil than his stomach. If he were to eat his fill during the first part of the night, he would not make good use of the remainder of the night.
In the same way, if he eats to his fill for suhoor, he does make good use of himself until the afternoon. This is because excessive eating breeds laziness and lethargy.
Therefore, the objective of fasting is lost due to one’s excessive in eating, for what is indeed intended by the fast, is that one savours the taste of hunger and readily shuns his carnal desires.