Ten Useless Matters
1. Knowledge that is not acted on
2. The deed that has neither sincerity nor is based on following the righteous examples of others
3. Money that is hoarded, as the owner neither enjoys it during this life nor obtains any reward for it in the Hereafter
4. The heart that is empty of love and longing for Allah, and of seeking closeness to Him
5. A body that does not obey and serve Allah
6. Loving Allah without following His orders or seeking His pleasure
7. Time that is not spent in expiating sins or seizing opportunities to do good
8. A mind that thinks about useless matters
9. Serving those who do not bring you close to Allah, nor benefit you in your life
10. Hoping and fearing whoever is under the authority of Allah and in His hand; while he cannot bring any benefit or harm to himself, nor death, nor life; nor can he resurrect himself.
However the greater of these matters are wasting the heart and wasting time. Wasting the heart is done by preferring this worldly life over the Hereafter, and wasting time is done by having incessant hope. Destruction occurs by following one’s desires and having incessant hope, while all goodness is found in following the right path and preparing oneself to meet Allah.
How strange it is that when a servant of Allah has a [worldly] problem, he seeks help of Allah, but he never asks Allah to cure his heart before it dies of ignorance, neglect, fulfilling one’s desires and being involved in innovations. Indeed, when the heart dies, he will never feel the significance or impact of his sins.
Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyyah
Signs of Weak Iman and how to Increase it
Signs of weak Faith:
Committing sins and not feeling any guilt.
Having a hard heart and no desire to read the Quran.
Feeling too lazy to do good deeds, e.g. being late for salat
Neglecting the Sunnah.
Having mood swings, for instance being upset about petty things and bothered and irritated most of the time.
Not feeling anything when hearing verses from the Quran, for example when Allah warns us of punishments and His promise of glad tidings.
Finding difficulty in remembering Allah and making dhikr.
Not feeling bad when things are done against the Shariah.
Desiring status and wealth.
Being mean and miserly, i.e. not wanting to part with wealth.
Ordering others to do good deeds when not practising them ourselves.
Feeling pleased when things are not progressing for others.
Being concerned with whether something is haram or halal only; and not avoiding makroo (not recommended) things.
Making fun of people who do simple good deeds, like cleaning the mosque.
Not feeling concerned about the situation of Muslims.
Not feeling the responsibility to do something to promote Islam.
Liking to argue just for the sake of arguing without any proof.
Becoming engrossed and very involved with dunya, worldly things, i.e. feeling bad only when losing something in terms of material wealth.
Becoming engrossed and obsessive about ourselves. Okay, how to increase our faith then ?
Recite and ponder on the meanings of the Quran. Tranquility then descends and our hearts become soft. To get optimum benefit, remind yourself that Allah is speaking to you. People are described in different categories in the Quran; think of which one you find yourself in.
Realize the greatness of Allah. Everything is under His control. There are signs in everything we see that points us to His greatness. Everything happens according to His permission. Allah keeps track and looks after everything, even a black ant on a black rock on a black moonless night.
Make an effort to gain knowledge, for at least the basic things in daily life e.g. how to make wudu properly. Know the meanings behind Allah's names and attributes. People who have taqwa are those who have knowledge.
Attend gatherings where Allah is remembered. In such gatherings we are surrounded by angels.
We have to increase our good deeds. One good deed leads to another good deed. Allah will make the way easy for someone who gives charity and also make it easy for him or her to do good deeds. Good deeds must be done continuously, not in spurts.
We must fear the miserable end to our lives; the remembrance of death is the destroyer of pleasures.
Remember the different levels of akhirah, for instance when we are put in our graves, when we are judged, whether we will be in paradise or hell.
Make dua, realize that we need Allah. Be humble. Don't covet material things in this life.
Our love for Subhana Wa Ta'Ala must be shown in actions. We must hope Allah will accept our prayers, and be in constant fear that we do wrong. At night before going to sleep, we must think about what good we did during that day.
Realize the effects of sins and disobedience- one's faith is increased with good deeds and our faith is decreased by bad deeds. Everything that happens is because Allah wanted it. When calamity befalls us- it is also from Allah. It is a direct result of our disobedience to Allah.
Contributed by: Abu Banan
How to Prepare for Ramadan: Sr. Maryam
I benefited from this post so I thought I'd share it with those of you who have not come across it yet insha'allah.
www.suhaibwebb.com is looking for writers. If your interested please let them know.A lot of us yearn to prepare for Ramadan, but we have no idea how to start. Below are a few tips to insha’Allah help prepare our minds and hearts for this upcoming Month of Mercy.
1. Making the Intention
Simple to do and has a powerful impact. Maybe you want to prepare for Ramadan, but between school, work, family, and any other activities, you just have no idea how to fit in ‘Preparing for Ramadan’ time. Instead of making ‘preparing for Ramadan’ something separate from your daily activities, MAKE your daily activities a means of preparation for Ramadan.
For example, perhaps your mom asked you to pick up your brother from school on the day you finally had time to read a few extra pages of Qur’an. Instead of feeling upset and feeling like you have lost a great preparation for Ramadan opportunity, make the intention that you are picking up your brother to please Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and prepare for Ramadan by obeying your mother, helping your family members, building ties of kinship… and the list continues.
The point is that preparing for Ramadan does not have to be some magnificent, enormous, extra-special thing that needs to be done at a certain time of the day. Many of your daily actions can be turned into Ramadan preparation actions with a sincere intention, insha’Allah.
2. Do these easy-to-reap-reward actions:
1. Asking Allah to forgive your brothers and sisters. “Whoever seeks forgiveness for believing men and believing woman, Allah will write for him a good deed for each believing man and believing woman.” [at-Tabarani, classed as hasan by al-Albani]
2. It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (r.a) said “The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said: ‘Whoever says subhanAllah wa bi hamdih (praise and glory be to Allah) 100 times, morning and evening, his sins will be erased even if they are like the foam on the sea.” Narrated by al-Bukhari, 6042; Muslim 2691
3. If a person says “SubhanAllah” (glory be to Allah) 100 times, a thousand good deeds are recorded for him and a thousand bad deeds are wiped away. Narrated by Muslim 2073
4. Remember Allah when you go shopping : “Whoever enters a market and says:
‘Laa ilaha illallah wahdahu la shareeka lah, lahul mulku wa lahul hamdu yuhyi wa yumeetu wa huwa hayyun laa yamoot, bi yadihil khair, wa huwa ‘ala kulli shayin qadeer’[there is nothing worthy of worship except Allah, alone without partner, to Him belongs dominion and praise, He causes life and death and He is the Living and does not die. In His Hand is all the good, and He is over all things competent]Allah will write for him/her a million good deeds and erase a million bad deeds and raise him a million levels.” [at-Tirmidhi, classed as hasan by al-Albani]
3. Up your worship
To help condition your heart for this blessed month, intensify your worship before Ramadan begins. Just a small, consistent amount is enough. The Prophet, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam told us:
“The deeds most loved by Allah are those done regularly, even if they are small.”
For example, if I always pray 2 rakats of sunnah after ishaa, from this day until Ramadan begins- and even through Ramadan, let me make the intention that I will now pray 2 extra rakats of sunnah after ishaa. And every time I pray these extra 2 rakats, which are more than what I normally pray, let me remember that I am doing these with the intention of asking Allah to help me be prepared to strive and exert my utmost effort during Ramadan.
4. Make a duaa list today
This is THE MONTH to ask for EVERYTHING, both related to this life and the Next. Let us not wait until the last 10 nights to make special duaas, and then once Eid passes realize that we had completely forgotten about fifty other things we needed to make duaa for. Let us start making our lists now, and add to it as more things come our way. Insha’Allah this should help us remember to make constant duaa in this month where duaa is accepted, and help our hearts pour out to the One Who can make those duaas happen, subhanahu wa ta’ala.
5. Write out your objectives for Ramadan
Praying all of your fard prayers? Praying all of your sunnahs? Reading the entire Qur’an? Giving $1 charity a day? Making itikaaf in the masjid? Leaving one serious sin that you’ve been trying to get away from for some time now? Sincerely turning completely back to Allah?
Write out a list, put them somewhere you will see them, and make duaa for your success in fulfilling these objectives.
6. Make a plan!
Look at your objectives, and try to make a plan on how to actualize those objectives in this month.
For example, perhaps you are really struggling to pray your sunnah prayers. In this month, realize the enormity of the ajr of praying the sunnah prayers… think that perhaps these sunnahs will be the deeds that will be so heavy on your scale of good deeds when you are intense need of them- on yowm al qiyamah. Therefore, fight to keep doing them all throughout Ramadan. If you can’t pray your 2 rakats after dhur right away, make sure to do them as soon as you get a chance.
Thus, your plan might look something like this:
Objective: Pray all of my fard prayers.
Method: Envision myself on the day of judgment seeing the insha’Allah weight of praying my sunnah consistently during this month. Make sure to pray sunnah salah immediately after salah. If I cannot, do it as soon as the opportunity arises… don’t let myself put it off!
Another example is that of finishing the Qur’an:
Objective: Finishing the entire Qur’an in this month.
Method: Read 4 pages of the Qur’an after every salah. 5 prayers X 4 pages = 20 pages. 20 pages= about 1 juz. 1 juz X 30= the entire Qur’an.
So many Muslims have passed away since last month. So many people have not made it to Ramadan this year. Last year was their very last Ramadan. Will you make it to this Ramadan? Will this be your last Ramadan?
Aim to strive in this Ramadan. With a very small amount of effort, such as just making a small intention, or adding a few extra acts of worship, we pray that Allah will help our hearts soften and honor us with making it easy to turn to Him and open up to Him.
May Allah make us of the successful in Ramadan, and make it easy for us to turn to Him completely and perpetually. Ameen.
Avoiding evil thoughts
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion; indeed some suspicions are sins. And spy not, neither backbite one another…”[al-Hujuraat 49:12]
The believer should interpret what his Muslim brother says in the best possible way. One of the salaf said: Never think of something that is said by your brother as being bad when you still find room for a good interpretation.
As Time passes
Abdullah bin Mas'ud radiyalaahu anhu said: "Indeed I hate to see a man idle, neither working for this world nor the hereafter."
Hassan Basri rahiimahulaah said: "O son of Adam, indeed you are only but a number of days. Whenever a day passes a part of you leaves with it."
Hassan said: "I met pious people who are more misely with there time than they are with their wealth."
Hassan also said in a sermon. "Do not let the temporary and little charms of this world distract you and entice you... and do not say tomorrow and tomorrow, for indeed you do not know when you will be heading to Allah."
Gems and Jewels by Abdul Malik Mujahid
Shirk, Parents and false witness
Among the major sins is disobedience to parents. Narrated by Abu Bakra (ra) Allah’s messenger (saw) said: “Shall I inform you of the greatest sins and in another variation he repeated this three times. We the companions said, “Certainly, O messenger of Allah! He (saw) said: “Associating anyone with Allah, disobedience to parents”. The prophet sat up straight after he had reclined and added, “And I warn you against false utterance and false witness, “And I warn you against false utterance and false witness”. The messenger of Allah (saw) kept saying that warning until we thought that he would not stop”.
The messenger of Allah (saw) always repeated his sentences three times to make an emphasis. Shirk (associating partners with Allah) will not be forgiven.(if one dies without asking for forgiveness. And the one who is disobedient to his parents will definitely spend some time in the hellfire however this action will not take you out of the fold of Islam. Grandparents are also included however parents have more right. Before a man accuses someone else of an action he must be a 100% sure and anything less is unacceptable.Explained by Abu abdillah Yunus Ibn Mahmoud
The Patience of Noble People and the Patience of Ignoble People
Every person has to exercise patience in order to face difficulties, whether he does so willingly or unwillingly. The noble person exercises patience willingly, because he realizes the benefits of patience, and he knows that he will be rewarded for his patience and will be criticized if he panics. He is aware that if he does not have patience, panicking and impatience will not help him to regain missed opportunities, and will not take away things he dislikes. Whatever is decreed and is qada' wa qadr cannot be prevented from happening, and whatever is decreed not to happen cannot be made to happen. So an attitude of impatience and panic actually causes harm.
A wise man said: "A man with wisdom as soon as adversity appears does that which a foolish man does after a month (i.e. he resorts to patience)".
The ignoble man exercises patience only when he realizes he has no choice. After wasting a lot of time and energy and panicking and struggling, he realizes that his impatience will not help him. Then he exercises patience in the same way that a person who has been tied up to be whipped exercises patience.
The noble person practices patience in obeying Allah, whilst the ignoble person exercises patience in obeying the Shaytan. So ignoble person have the greatest patience in following their own whims and desires, and have the least patience in obeying their Lord. They have the greatest patience in spending in the way of Shaytan and no patience when it comes to spending even a few pennies in the way of Allah. They will endure many difficulties in order to follow their own whims and desires, but cannot bear even the least difficulties in order to please their Lord. They will endure slander for the sake of committing wrong action, but cannot exercise patience in putting up with slander for the sake of Allah. Such people will avoid enjoining the good and forbidding the evil for fear of what people will say about them for doing so, but they will expose their honour to slander and bear it most patiently for the sake of following their own whims and desires. Similarly, they are not prepared to practise patience in devoting themselves to Allah, but when it comes to devoting themselves to Shaytan and their own whims and desires, they will exercise remarkable patience. Such people will never be noble in the sight of Allah, and on the Day of Resurrection they will not be raised with the people of nobility and decency.
Imam Ibn Al Qayyim
Patience and Gratitude - an abridged translation of `Uddat as-Sabirin wa Dhakhirat ash-Shakirin
© 1977 Ta-Ha Publishers