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Benefit: All of You

In the Name of Allāh, the Ever Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy

Allāh, the Most High, says: «Man is certainly in loss!»1

Shaykh Ṣāliḥ b. al-Fawzān, may Allāh preserve him, comments:2

 “al-Insān” refers to all of Ādam’s descendents. He did not exclude anyone: not the kings nor the leaders, not the affluent nor the destitute, not the free nor the slaves, not the males nor the females. The “al” in “al-Insān” is all-inclusive: so, all the descendents of Ādam are in loss and destruction should they dissipate this precious time and utilize it in disobedience to Allāh..1
 
1) Sūrah al-ʿAṣr (103):2.
2) Al-Fawzān, Sharḥ al-Uṣūl al-Thalāthah.

Benefit: Fear Allāh and Seek Nearness to Him

In the Name of Allāh, the Ever Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy

Shaykh al-Albānī comments on Sūrah al-Māʾidah, 5:35,
In the Name of Allāh, the Extremely Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy...

Allāh, the Perfect and Most High states:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ وَابْتَغُوا إِلَيْهِ الْوَسِيلَةَ وَجَاهِدُوا فِي سَبِيلِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
«O you who believe! Do your duty to Allāh and fear Him. Seek the means of approach to Him, and strive hard in His Cause as much as you can. So that you may be successful.»1

Shaykh al-Albānī comments:2

"...The Imām of the scholars of Tafsīr, al-Ḥāfiẓ ibn Jareer (raḥimahullāh) in explaining this verse, commented: "O you who affirm all that Allāh and His Messenger have informed you of, the reward He promised and the punishment He threatened!

اتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ
«Fear Allāh»

He commented: "Respond to Allāh by obeying Him in all that He has commanded you with and forbade you from."

وَابْتَغُوا إِلَيْهِ الْوَسِيلَة
«Seek the means of approach to Him»

He commented: "Seek nearness to Him by performing deeds pleasing to Him."

al-Ḥāfiẓ ibn Kathīr relates from Ibn ʿʿAbbās (raḍī Allāhu `anhumaa) that the meaning of waseelah is "to draw near." He related the likes of that from Mujāhid, Abū Waa.il, al-Ḥasan, `ʿAbdullāh ibn Kathīr, as-Suddee, Ibn Zayd and others. He further related from Qatādah that he said regarding it: ‘Meaning: You draw near to Him by obeying Him and performing deeds pleasing to Him.'

Imām Ibn Kathīr then stated: "This is what these Imām's have said regarding this, and there is no disagreement between the scholars of tafsīr about it. And al-Waseelah is that which delivers one to the attainment of what he intends."3

__________________________________
[1] Sūrah al-Maʾidah (5):35.
[2] Shaykh al-Albānī, al-Tawassul, Anwaa'uhuwa Aḥkāmuhu, p13.
[3] Ibn Kathīr, Tafsīr ibn Kathīr, 2/52-53).  

Translated by Umm Sufyān Fāṭimah

Benefit: Five Benefits from Sūrah al-Baqarah (2:120)

In the Name of Allāh, the Ever Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy

Our brother, Abū al-ʿAbbās Mūsá Richardson discusses five benefits from the the following verse: 


وَلَن تَرْضَى عَنكَ الْيَهُودُ وَلاَ النَّصَارَى حَتَّى تَتَّبِعَ مِلَّتَهُمْ قُلْ إِنَّ هُدَى اللّهِ هُوَ الْهُدَى وَلَئِنِ اتَّبَعْتَ أَهْوَاءهُم بَعْدَ الَّذِي

جَاءكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ مَا لَكَ مِنَ اللّهِ مِن وَلِيٍّ وَلاَ نَصِيرٍ

Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you (O Muḥammad ṣallallāhu ʿalayhī wa-sallam) till you follow their religion. Say: "Verily, the Guidance of Allāh (i.e. Islamic Monotheism) that is the (only) Guidance. And if you (O Muḥammad, ṣallallāhu ʿalayhī wa-sallam) were to follow their (Jews and Christians) desires after what you have received of Knowledge (i.e. the Qurʾān), then you would have against Allāh neither any Walī (protector or guardian) nor any helper. 
[Sūrah al-Baqarah, 2:120]

The five points elaborated upon:

1) They (the Jews and Christians) will not be pleased with you sticking to your religion.
2) Leaving your religion partly or fully will make them (the Jews and Christians) pleased with you to the degree of which you leave your religion.
3) The guidance of Allāh is the best Guidance, a complete legislation, not comparable to any other guidance (including man-made laws).
4) Following desires upon knowledge is an affair that destroys people.
5) Refusing to follow your or others desires and sticking to truth, this is what will bring about salvation.


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Benefit: I'm Stressed Out. I'm Angry. I've Had Enough. I'm Going to Explode!!

In the Name of Allāh, the Ever Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy

All praise is due to Allāh. May the al-Ṣalāh and the Salām be upon Prophet Muḥammad, his family, his companions and all those who follow him in goodness until the Day of Recompense, as to what proceeds:

Indeed, the life of the Dunyā is one of toil and struggle for the believer up until the time when he meets his Lord. It is for this reason that Allāh has enjoined patience upon His slaves and has made it such an integral part of the religion of al-Islām.  The All-Knowing, the All-Wise, has mentioned patience more than 90 times in the Qurʾān, from them is His, the Most High, statement:

"And say not of those who are killed in the Way of Allāh, 'They are dead.' Nay, they are living, but you perceive (it) not. (154) And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to al-Ṣabirīn (the patient ones, etc.)."
[Al-Baqarah 2:154-155]

And His Statement:

"By al-ʿAṣr (the time). (1) Verily! Man is in loss, (2) Except those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth (i.e. order one another to perform all kinds of good deeds (Al-Maʿruf) which Allāh has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar) which Allāh has forbidden), and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allāh's Cause during preaching His religion of Islamic Monotheism or Jihad, etc.). (3)"
[Sūrah-'ʿAṣr: 103-1-3]

In the first of the above two passages from Allāh's Glorious Book, Allāh informs His slaves of the sure fact that they will be tried and tested. However, it should be known that the objective of Allāh's tests and trials is not for Him, the All-Knowing of what is in the breasts, to acquire some knowledge about His slave that He didn't have. Rather, they are means by which He distinguishes the people of firm īmān from those who have weak or no īmān, the people of at-taqwá and love of Allāh from the disobedient ones. As Allāh says in His Book,

"Alif-Lam-Mim. (1) Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: "We believe," and will not be tested. (2) And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allāh will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allāh knows all that before putting them to test). (3)"
[Sūrah al-ʿAnkabūt 29:1-3]

The reality of this affair can be seen in the fact that when some Muslims are tested they are actually strengthened in their forbearance and reliance upon Allāh; while others are driven to despair and become disobedient to Allāh and His Messenger, ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam. This is from the deceptions of Shayṭān who threatens the slave with poverty and afterwards incites him to do what is unlawful to save himself from it. As Allāh says about him,

"Shayṭān threatens you with poverty and orders you to commit Fahsha (evil deeds, illegal sexual intercourse, sins etc.); whereas Allāh promises you Forgiveness from Himself and Bounty, and Allāh is All-Sufficient for His creatures' needs, All-Knower."
[Sūrah al-Baqarah 2:268]

In this second of these passages mentioned above (al-‘ʿAṣr 103:1-3), Allāh informs us that all of mankind is doomed except those who have the two qualities mentioned therein (a) īmān, which consist of belief in the heart, testification with the tongue and  action with the limbs, and (b) patience. How are these two qualities related? ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib, may Allāh be pleased with him, said "Sabr (patience) is to īmān as the head is to the body; if the head is removed then the body will fall." Saying that, he raised his voice and proclaimed, "You cannot have faith without patience!" For this reason, al-Shāfiʿī said concerning Sūrah-‘ʿAṣr;"If Allāh had sent down upon his creation no other proof besides this Sūrah it would have sufficed them"1

After a brief introduction, I would like to share some of my personal experiences with my brothers and sisters in hope that they are benefited by them. And Allāh says,

"Therefore, remind (men) in case the reminder profits (them). (9) The reminder will be received by him who fears (Allāh), (10)"
[Sūrah-'Alā 87:9-10]

I am a Muslim who, at the time of writing this article, is 34 years of age, and I have been in prison for the past twelve years. Due to a number of factors such as distance, frequent transfers, etc., I have not had a single visit from a family member over the course of the past twelve years. About half-way through my incarceration, I was faced with the calamity which every incarcerated person dreads, and that is the death of my mother with whom I was very close, as I am her only child just as she was her mother's only child. I myself have only one child whom I have not seen since I left the streets in 1998 except in pictures, and my contact with her has been sparse to say the least. Three of the past twelve years were spent on lock down at a maximum security prison in Marion IL, USA. These are some of my personal trials.  As for the religious and general trials, then they are many, such as those who are abandoned by their wives or friends and family, the harassment by the correctional officers to the Muslims. In fact, today an officer went into a Muslim's cell under the premise of a "Shakedown” (a cell search for contraband, etc.) and took all of his Islamic books claiming that he had too many. He only left him with secular novels and a bible! The “shakedown” is what the officers use to antagonize the inmates who they don't like. So at any given time an officer may go into your room, search through your belongings, taking your personal items and having no respect for anything that belongs to the inmate.

One may think that people in prison have it easy due to the fact that we get three meals a day and a free bed, however, the prison system serves pork almost on a regular basis, so if a Muslim doesn't have the support of his/her family, there will be a lot of hungry nights. But in spite of all this, and many other trails that I have declined to mention, some more significant than others, Allāh has made my incarceration a source of guidance and abundance of good.  He has made my prison to be a University and my cell to be a place of worship and study, thereby increasing me in īmān and at-Tawakkul (trust) upon him. By Allāh, nothing has been taken from me except that Allāh has replaced it with that which is better.  For I have seen individuals, both Muslims and non-Muslims, experience not even half the trials that I have endured, yet have twice the complaints.  Indeed, some have even been driven to disobedience, apostasy from the religion or insanity. But a servant cannot be given a gift better and more abundant than patience.

My dear friend and mentor, who is incarcerated in another prison, is currently serving a sentence of double life plus fifty!!  ‘O Muslim, let this sink in, DOUBLE LIFE PLUS FIFTY.  This means hypothetically (if Allāh doesn't decree his release), that if he were to die twice, he would have to come back and give the system 50 move years! But by Allāh, I have never seen a Muslim more upbeat; having more sincerity to Allāh, more love for Allāh, His Messenger, and the believers; more of a reminder of what the Salaf were upon and more patient. This is what I think of him and I praise no one over Allāh. So how bad is your situation?

On the authority of Abū Hurayrah, from Allāh's Messenger, ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam, who said, “When one of you looks to one who has been favoured over him in wealth or appearance, let him look to one who is lower than himself as opposed to one who favoured over him"2

On the authority of Khabbāb, Allāh's Messenger, ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam said: “Amongst those who came before you, a man would be sawn in half, but that would not cause him to abandon his religion"3

I advise the Muslims to have patience for the sake of Allāh. Have patience and Allāh will compensate you. And know that with every hardship comes two reliefs, as Allāh said,

"So verily, with the hardship, there is relief, (5) Verily, with the hardship, there is relief (i.e. there is one hardship with two reliefs, so one hardship cannot overcome two reliefs). (6)"
[al-Sharḥ 94:5-6]

The scholars have explained that first relief comes when Allāh removes the hardship. The second comes in the hereafter when the slave meets Allāh and is rewarded for his patience.  This is in addition to the fact that Allāh grants leadership to his slaves due to their patience and their firm faith, as Allāh says,

"And We made from among them (Children of Israel), leaders, giving guidance under Our Command, when they were patient and used to believe with certainty in Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.). (24)"
[Sūrah al-Sajdah 32:24]

As for my affair, indeed it is a blessed one; for patience is the fruit of proper belief in Allāh, the mighty majestic and his qadr. Due to it a slave knows that (a) nothing comes to him of good or evil except that which Allāh has decreed for him, (b) Allāh is in full control of all of the affairs, (c) that Allāh does not burden any soul beyond what it can bear.

On the authority of Saʿd ibn Abī Waqqās, Allāh’s Messenger, ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam said, “The most severely tried amongst mankind are the Prophets; then those that are most like them, then those that are most like them. The people are tried according to their level of faith..." 4

So be patient with the trials of life, may Allāh bless you, and look for your reward with Allāh, the mighty and majestic.  Put your trust in Allāh while acting within the legislated parameters. This is the path to success. May the prayers and peace be upon Muḥammad, his family and Companions, amīn.

So be patient (O Muḥammad ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam). Verily, the Promise of Allāh is true, and ask forgiveness for your fault, and glorify the praises of your Lord in the Ashi (i.e. the time period after the mid noon till sunset) and in the Ibkar (i.e. the time period from early morning or sunrise till before mid noon) [it is said that, that means the five compulsory congregational Salat (prayers) or the 'ʿAṣr and Fajr prayers]. (55)
[Sūrah Ghāfir 40:55] 

Written by one in need of Allāh: Raha ʿAzīzuddīn Batts

Endnotes:
1) Taken from al-Thalāthah al-Uṣūl by Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb.
2)Ṣaḥīḥ Al-Bukhārī, Kitāb al-Riqāq, Ḥadīth # 6490
3) Reported by Aḥmad, al-Bukhārī and Abū Dāwūd
4) Reported by al-Tirmidhī #2398, Ibn Mājah #4023, al-Dārimī 2/320, Aḥmad, and it is authentic.

Benefit: Optimism Through Even the Worst of Tribulations

In the Name of Allāh, the Ever Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy

An important Quranic reminder about how even the worst of trials have good in them. Often, the ranks are purified and the snakes are driven out of the grass through fitnah. A Muslim is always optimistic and looks for the blessings of Allaah in all things.

From class 3 of our series on the Explanation of Sūrah al-Nūr with Mūsá Richardson.

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Benefit: Repelling the Shayṭān

In the Name of Allāh, the Ever Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy

(1) Say: "I seek refuge with (Allāh) the Lord of mankind, (2) The King of mankind (3) The Ilah (God) of mankind, (4) From the evil of the whisperer (devil who whispers evil in the hearts of men) who withdraws (from his whispering in one's heart after one remembers Allāh). (5) Who whispers in the breasts of mankind. (6) Of jinn and men." [Sūrah-Naas, 114:6]

Shaykh ʿAbd al-Rahmân as-Sa’dî (rahîmahullâh) comments:

This Sūrah comprises seeking refuge (Isti'aadah) with the Lord of mankind, the King of mankind and the Ilāh of mankind from Shayṭān, who is the source and essence of every evil and mischief. The one from whose fitnah (trials) and wickedness is that he whispers into the breasts of men, beautifies for them evil misdeeds, displays it to them in an appealing image, and entices their desires towards performing it. He makes good deeds appear repugnant to them, and causes them to lag behind from (performing khayr), and presents it to them in a guise other than its own. He is always in this state of whispering and withdrawing, meaning: he withdraws when the servant remembers his Lord, and seeks His help (towards repelling the devil). Thus, it is obligatory upon the servant and all of mankind to seek aid and refuge with His Rubūbiyyah, and hold fast to it. The whole of creation falls under (the monarchy of) His Lordship and Sovereignty; he has seized every creature by the forelock. Mankind must also seek aid and refuge with His 'Ulūhiyyah (Divinity), for it was for His worship alone, that they were created. This worship, however, is not perfected except and unless they repel the evil of their enemy, who desires to cut them off (from worshiping Allāh alone) and obstruct their way towards it, and who desires to make them his followers, that they may become the dwellers of the blazing Fire. Whispering could come from jinn or from man, hence Allāh says: “…Of jinn and men.”

‎وهذه السورة مشتملة على الاستعاذة برب الناس ومالكهم وإلههم، من الشيطان الذي هو أصل الشرور كلها ومادَّتها، الذي من فتنته وشره، أنه يوسوس في صدور الناس، فيحسن (لهم) الشر، ويريهم إياه في صورة حسنة، وينشط إرادتهم لفعله، ويقبح لهم الخير ويثبطهم عنه، ويريهم إياه في صورة غير صورته، وهو دائماً بهذه الحال يوسوس ويخنس أي: يتأخر إذا ذكر العبد ربه واستعان به على دفعه. فينبغي له أن [يستعين و] يستعيذ ويعتصم بربوبية الله للناس كلهم. وأن الخلق كلهم داخلون تحت الربوبية والملك، فكل دابة هو آخذ بناصيتها. وبألوهيته التي خلقهم لأجلها، فلا تتم لهم إلا بدفع شر عدوهم، الذي يريد أن يقتطعهم عنها ويحول بينهم وبينها، ويريد أن يجعلهم من حزبه ليكونوا من أصحاب السعير، والوسواس كما يكون من الجن يكون من الإنس، ولهذا قال: "من الجنة والاس
.1
 
1) Source: Tafsîr al-Saʿdî, p937-938 (Al-Resalah Publishers)
Translated by Umm Sufyān Faatimah

Benefit: Tafsīr Sūrah al-Nās

In the Name of Allāh, the Ever Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy

[1] «Say: 'I seek refuge with (Allāh) the Lord of mankind» Say, O Messenger of Allāh: "I seek refuge and protection with the Lord of Mankind, who alone has the power to avert and repel the evil of the whisperer."

[2] «The King of mankind» The King of Mankind, the Disposer of all their affairs, and who stands not in need of them.
[3] «The Ilāh (God) of mankind» The Lord of Mankind, none has the right to be worshiped in truth except Him.
[4] «From the evil of the whisperer (devil who whispers evil in the hearts of men) who withdraws (from his whispering in one's heart after one remembers Allāh)» From the shayṭān's evil, who whispers [to the servant] during [his] heedlessness, and who vanishes during the remembrance of Allāh.
[5] «Who whispers in the breasts of mankind» The one who scatters evil and doubts in the breasts of mankind.
[6] «Of jinn and men.» From the devils of jinn and men.[1]
__________________________________________
[1] Tafsīr al-Muyassar, page 604.
Translated by Umm Sufyān Fāṭimah

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