Tuesday, May 28

Spiritually Ritual

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ
And I (Allah) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone).

[Surat Adh-Dhāriyāt 51:56] 

It's the most common verse that we hear day in day out from the sermons in radios, talks and everything else. It's the evidential scriptural proof of our meaning of life, our creation and our purpose (not accounting the verse in al-Baqarah: 30). Yet, how many of us actually understand and grasp the importance of this 'meaning of life' that we do everyday?

The beauty of Islam is that our concept of worship is not narrowed down and constricted to only specific acts of worship like attending mass, or prayer or abstaining oneself from something but it is so broad that our entire life from the moment we wake up to the the time we wake up again is an act of worship; all with one important condition: everything is for Allah.

But I'm not to discuss the matter but instead on our specific act of worship that is unique to any other belief: salaah. 
It's known in many names: solat, salaah, solah, namaz, etc. but it's agreed as the most important part of any Muslim's life.
It's so important that it's described as the very identity of a Muslim as stated in a hadith:

Jabir bin Abdullah says: I heard the Messenger of Allah (SallAllah-u-Alaihi-wa-Sallam) saying this: The difference between a man (Muslim) and shirk and kufr is the abandoning of salaah.
(Sahih Muslim: Kitab ul Iman: Book 001, Number 0147)

So, due to this restriction, most Muslims perform their salaah so that they can be Muslims. But the spirit of salaah itself, the grand meeting of a servant with his Master is lost. It's only a ritual, not a necessity. The importance of doing salaah in the best condition, at the best time and place with the best quality is neglected and turned a blind-eye at. I'm not saying I have done all these and the quality of my salaah is tip top but far, far, far away from that. I'm still working on it. 

Today, some see salaah as a part of a routine. 
Here's what an answer of what salaah is would be from someone who does salaah ritually:
"It's supposed to be done five times a day, in a certain period of time of their respective times and I'm supposed to do salaah because I'm a Muslim or I'll go to Hell or something, like get a beating from my parents, that is, if they cared."

The very function of salaah in providing spirtitual strength and purpose has degraded. Here's a common simple analogy that can be brought up from most motivation books called the Asyran Temple:

There was a temple somewhere called the Asyran Temple. Monks live there to worship and meditate in the temple everyday. Among them is the head monk and it is he who leads the worship. Everyday, when he went for worship to the biggest idol in the temple, his favourite cat would bother him. Rolling on his feet, rubbing and purring for attention. So to solve this problem, every time he went for worship, he would tie the cat to a pole. 

Days turn to months and to years and so the head monk died, but his cat didn't. His successor continued his act of tying the cat to a pole every time to worship the biggest idol because he didn't know the previous head monk's purpose of tying the cat in the first place.

Then it was the cat's turn to die. Believing it was part of the ritual, the head monk replaced the cat and continued to tie the cat to a pole when it was time for worship.

After 20 years, the ritual went on and on. By that time, it was believed in that religion that in order to do worship, a cat must be tied to a pole by the head monk prior to worship and they did not change it believing it must be done de facto without knowing its purpose.

The analogy is simple enough to be understood and doesn't need further explanation.
Now, the question is whether we have become like the monk or would we change and learn what does it mean to worship Allah the Almighty.

Sunday, April 14

When One Ends...

Today will be marked on the calendar of memories.
To many of my own year's batch, our foundation studies have ended. It's now or never. Where will we end up? 
Like so many, our end was a tearful occasion, the happiness of ending one part of our lives eclipsed by separation, not knowing when else will we end up together. 

Volume by volumes of memories were created, good or bad. It'll be something to be remembered by.
All of these is because of the friendships we fostered, the bond that we smelted, stronger than steel yet as colourful as a rainbow. 
That said friendship isn't something simple. It's one of the very purpose of creation.

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ وَأُنْثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ 
 O mankind! we have created You from a male and a female, and made You into nations and tribes, that You may know one another. Verily, the Most honourable of You with Allâh is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa [i.e. one of the Muttaqûn Verily, Allâh is All-Knowing, All-Aware
[Al-Hujurat 49:13]

"People who love each other for Allah, those who visit each other for Allah, those who spend for each other in the path of Allah, those who keep in touch with each other for Allah, they are who are deserving of my love (Allah)." 
(Riwayat Ahmad)

Allah has put the status of friendship so highly to the point it can be called a garden of ajr. We're actually having fun when all the while Allah is showering His love and mercy upon us. Isn't that awesome?
Allah has just one prerequisite to that easy ajr. Love for Him. 

When we feel longing to those we call our friends, our companions, partners in battle. Is it because we feel satisfaction? We feel closer to Allah? We long to do what Allah loves together, in congregation, united and set to achieve one goal. Then well done. You have found the friend that will bring ourselves to Jannah.

What we feel as the end is only when we make is as the end. When we cherish the memories, keep in contact, trade stories then the end is only in the end in perspective of time, but it was never the end in a true and complete sense. They're still in our hearts. So don't despair. Allah will never let His Servants down. Pray to Him that the friendship we hold dearly is held strong against the winds of time. The best of du'a is the Rabitah du'a:

"Fairwell is all I can say, a prayer is that all I can give. But know that, if I was a given a chance, I would never let time pass to end this very moment when you my friend, my companion, my comrade in the mission for Allah and His Jannah, was all that I long for.  "

Tuesday, February 12

To Walk and Find

It's a short quickie but here goes:

A Sufi story illustrates why we can't just imitate someone else's journey; we need to know who we are in order to know how assertive or passive to be: 
''A man walking through the forest saw a fox that had lost its legs, he wondered how it lived. Then he saw a tiger come up with game in its mouth. The tiger ate its fill and left the rest of the meat for the fox. 
The next day God fed the fox by means of the same tiger. The man began to wonder at God's greatness and said to himself, ''I to shall just rest in a corner with full trust in the Lord and he will provide me with all I need.'' 
He did this for many days but nothing happened, and he was almost at death's door when he heard a voice say, ''O you who are in the path of error, open your eyes to the truth! Stop imitating the disable fox and follow the example of the tiger." "

Quoted in ''The Wisdom to Know The Difference: When To Make A Change and When To Let Go'' by Eileen Flanagan.

Saturday, November 17

Taking Gaza to Our Hands.

Gaza has been attacked again!
What was our response?

Was it screaming curses at Israel who's hundreds of miles away?
Was it a cry of despair?
Was it with a prayer?

Did it worked? What do we feel now?
Ask ourselves those questions. Have we ever wondered why and why Gaza is not granted victory to this day after more than half-a-decade? Whilst we pray and pray. Envoy after envoys sent. Treaties after treaties. Yet nothing has worked to stem the impending injustice and asymmetrical violence.

There was a statement I've read before from a Israeli official:

"Everyday we watch Muslims perform their prayers at dawn. When the Muslims pray in congregation the dawn prayers same way they pray on Fridays, only then we fear."

Read it literally, it will be a complete setback to the vast majority of Muslims of today. There is a very little number of masjids that have a full house on Fajr prayers like Masjidil-haram and Masjid Nabawi in Makkah and Madinah respectively.
Dissect the statement however will bring a solution to the problems of Gaza and any Muslim nation at war.

وَلَنْ تَرْضَى عَنْكَ الْيَهُودُ وَلا النَّصَارَى حَتَّى تَتَّبِعَ مِلَّتَهُمْ قُلْ إِنَّ هُدَى اللَّهِ هُوَ الْهُدَى وَلَئِنِ اتَّبَعْتَ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ بَعْدَ الَّذِي جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ مَا لَكَ مِنَ اللَّهِ مِنْ وَلِيٍّ وَلا نَصِيرٍ (١٢٠)

Never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with Thee unless Thou follow their form of religion. say: "The guidance of Allah,-that is the (only) Guidance." Were thou to follow their desires after the knowledge which hath reached thee, then wouldst thou find neither Protector nor helper against Allah.
 [Quran 2:120]

This verse is directly related to the statement our Mr Rabbi just spoke out.  They will never rest until Islam only becomes a noun not a verb. There is to fear, the conversion is happening. It's just at a rate that we become ignorant too and see it as negligible. 

That is the real solution to wars occurring throughout the Islamic world. We are disunited and sunken with ideologies and principals that further deviate us from what is in Islam that makes us a Muslim. I am included, but I fight to win the edge. 

Our prayers till today are unanswered because we are not connected to Allah. Our line to him is severed by our ignorance. It's not that He has not heard us but we are not worthy of His attention. 
We still find a burden today to be punctual in our five daily appointments with Him in the best way at the best place but we demand Allah to grant us our wishes directly and spontaneously. Think about it.

Allah is not cruel, it is just a test, a reminder to whom we serve and to whom we seek help. Their deaths are not cruelty in Allah's view but a reward for Jannah, but the cause of their death is cruelty. 

O' Muslims, to help the people of Gaza there is two that we must do aside taking up arms.
1. Pray for their victory
2. Prepare ourselves to be better Muslims.

A Muslim's best weapon is his prayer but what is a prayer with a broken rifle? 
Yuslihlakum! Repair yourselves!

Then on forward we will shoot our prayers to Allah like bullets to the sky that finally He will grant our brothers in Gaza eternal victory!

Saturday, October 27

The Da'ie Nation

Salam alayk warahmatullah,

This post is actually a continuation, or a rewritten part of a post of mine, 3 years ago. Refer:

Let's start with a verse shall we?

وَلْتَكُنْ مِنْكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ (١٠٤)
104. Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting (doing da'wa) to all that is good (expanding Islam), enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones to attain felicity.
[Ali-Imran: 104]

Allah has set that there will be people doing da'wa or as the translation puts it; "inviting to all that is good , enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong." and this is one of the hidden obligations of every Muslim. 

I believe that when the word "da'wa" is brought up, most of us would have a vivid image of a person giving a sermon, talk, preach or any kind of public speaking in that matter. This is completely utterly true, because that is what we see and believe it to be, but, there is a problem when this is held to the public eye and set in front of their eyes like filters to the eyes. This creates a perception to the public, to the ummah that da'wa can only be done by those who are pious and knowledgeable in religious matters. This is in turn, completely, utterly incorrect.

Da'wa is an obligation to every Muslim because every each of us needs to do it. Today's society, view and status quo has pushed Muslims to be an example of our faith. The double standard and discrimination the world has set on Muslims abolished any further excuses for any Muslim not to do da'wa, that is if we care for the ummah's image.

Before we start off, let's get one thing straight. Da'wa does not, is never, completely about verbal invitation to what is better. It consists of everything. From thoughts to actions that attracts others to do good. It does not need to be intentional. Even the simplest act of kindness that can win over a heart is da'wa. However, the principle of da'wa is;

"I'm not saying I am better than you, I'm just showing what is better."

There is no thy-is-holier-than-thou. There is just equal authority, freedom and choice. What we choose makes the difference. 
So now, what if there is no one doing da'wa in a particular area? 
Would those people in that particular area have Islam as an option of their search for religion and faith?
Course not, they don't even know what Islam is and we ourselves as people who hold on the words wasn't conveying anything. Telling them what Islam; a religion that submits oneself to the One and Only Ilah, Allah and believing that Muhammad SAW is His Messenger, just doesn't cut it. That is not da'wa, that is the most brief summary of what Islam is. 

Da'wa is showing, telling, informing what Islam is, inside and out. From the hijab of the women to the philosophy of the Salaah we do everyday. From how is Islamic jurisdiction upheld to the simplest show of akhlaq that is encouraged in Islam.

And you know what? You don't even have to say a word to tell all those things. 

This is called da'watu-bil-hal or da'wa with actions. A proverb says that actions speak louder than words and it's so, so, so true. Many opt for words to do da'wa but that is just a minor part of da'wa. Words can only explain the theory of what Islam can do. Actions proves them. Throughout the ages of the Islamic empire back then, this form of da'wa has been proven to be the best. With this spirit, empires were built, scholars were born, history was written. The Islamic empire flourished and developed rapidly in terms of material and spiritual. More and more converted to Islam when they saw the truth that clicked in with the human nature. Even the once plagued by the Dark Ages adopted the Muslim style of clothing. 

But that is all long gone. 
There is no worth in reminiscing the past, crying, regretting of what has happened. There is only a way forward or backward. It's a choice each individual of the ummah must make. However, there is no harm learning from mistakes of the past. What caused the downfall of the Turk Ottomans? The Abassiyah? The Umayyah? 

It was because the ruler of the empire lost his image of a Muslim. Each of the empires; be it the Umayyah, the Abassiyah or the Turk Ottomans, exhibited their downfall only when the jurisdiction of Islam was thrown aside and corruption took hold. Their actions no longer portray that they are rulers of an Islamic nation. With that, the people who realised that took action and overthrown their current rulers and reset the clock. That happened to the Umayyah which was replaced by the Abasiyyah then by the Turk Ottomans. The last empire wasn't so lucky. The Caliphate was abolished. The damage was so severe that even the last Khalifah, Sultan Mehmet VI, who had Islam at heart and was as brave as a lion to say no to the Jews couldn't keep the empire together. His predecessors made a mistake too many, those who weren't really Muslims at heart to expand and uphold Islam, but for their own agendas. 

Today, many wished to see the Caliphate back but how many have actually done anything for it? We should stop seeing the big things and focus on the little things that lead us to it. Focus on ourselves. Islamophobia is a psychological barrier that exists today that prevents the world from seeing the beauty of Islam. The West isn't at fault. They believe what they see. We, the Muslims, are at fault. 
What we should do now is to exhibit every essence of Islam in our every being. That doesn't mean to be an extremely pious person who sits in the masjid all day long. 

No. Not that at all

It means to show that Islam is complementary to the human nature and guide humans to become the pinnacle of creation. Islam is not oppressive but freedom with safety nets. Islam isn't terrorism but peace. 

Be a doctor with faith, who prays not because he is afraid but because he knows he is just a tool to heal.
Be a lawyer with faith, who upholds justice not because he feels it's right but because that is the truth. 
Be an architect with faith, who sees the world not through the eyes of construction, but through the eyes of potential. 

The Qur'an is our guide. The Qur'an is who we are.
Individually we can do wonders, InshaAllah, but imagine the whole ummah doing the same thing of being a da'ie of the faith. When the world can recognise us as Muslims just by our very actions. When the world can bath in the light of truth regardless to whether they accept it or not. When every nook and cranny is spick and span of any bad manners and evil. This is not impossible, it has been done. It's just the time for history to repeat itself to build the Da'ie Nation.