PODTHOUGHT: LIFE IS LIKE A HOLIDAY

I had a thought which I wanted to share. When people, irrespective of their faith, go on holiday they only pack the things they need and maybe a little extra but they try to avoid over packing. Even the amount of money they take with them they limit in respect to their stay abroad. When they arrive they often stay in a hotel which usually has the main necessities of living with a few extras. If they believe they will never return to the same destination in the future they will never buy a house as they will claim they stay is short and they will not return. They do not get a job during their holiday claiming that they stay is short so they do not need to earn more money. They do not get married nor have children claiming the holiday destination is not their homeland where they would get married and have children. Generally speaking, this is the attitude and mind-set of holiday makers.

It is strange how muslims truly believe they will depart from this world soon meaning, they stay in the world is temporary just like being on holiday and they believe their stay in hereafter is permanent yet, they do not adequately prepare for it. If they truly realised the short time they have similarly to a holiday they would not dedicate too much effort on their homes and instead be content with a simple home just like the traveller who is content with a simple hotel. So in reality, this world is like the holiday destination in the example yet, muslims do not treat it like one. Instead, they dedicate the majority of their efforts in beautifying their world while neglecting the eternal hereafter. It is sometimes hard to believe some muslims actually believe in the permanent hereafter when one observes the amount of effort they dedicate to the temporal world. Muslims should therefore strive in preparing for the hereafter by fulfilling the commands of Allah, the Exalted, refraining from His prohibitions and by facing destiny with patience while being pleased with obtaining and utilising the necessities of this world. It is why the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, advised muslims to live in this world as travellers in a Hadith found in Sahih Bukhari, number 6416. They should not take this world as a permanent home and instead treat it like a holiday destination.

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PODNEWS: RIGHT GUIDANCE

I read a news article a while ago which I wanted to briefly discuss. It reported on the drastic increase in the number of the youth getting involved in crime. Muslims must understand an important principle which can prevent the youth from reaching this outcome. Even though, there are many obligatory duties on muslims yet, the greatest of them is establishing the obligatory prayers. This is when one performs the prayers while fulfilling all their conditions and etiquettes, such as performing them on time. This is because abandoning the obligatory prayers in most cases is the first step which leads to major sins and misguidance. This has been indicated in the Holy Quran. Chapter 29 Al Ankabut, verse 45:

“…Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing…”

The obligatory prayers act as a barrier which protects one from this misguidance but the moment one destroys it it is only a matter of time before they become misguided. This has been warned in chapter 43 Az Zukhruf, verse 36:

“And whoever is blinded from remembrance of the Most Merciful – We appoint for him a devil, and he is to him a companion.”

One only needs to reflect on the people they know who have become misguided and they will realize that in most cases the first step of their misguidance was abandoning the obligatory prayers.

Therefore, it is vital for muslims to establish their obligatory prayers correctly and ensure their dependents, such as their children, do the same. Parents must be proactive by encouraging children to offer their prayers even before they reach the age it becomes obligatory on them. This has been advised by the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, in a Hadith found in Sunan Abu Dawud, number 495. Delaying this important teaching will become a great regret for both the parents and the child as encouraging an older child to establish their obligatory prayers when they are not used to it is extremely difficult. Parents should remember that they will answer for their failure to rightly guide their children on Judgment Day as this was a duty on them. This is confirmed in a Hadith found in Sunan Abu Dawud, number 2928. Chapter 66 At Tahrim, verse 6:

“O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire…”

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PODHADITH: CONSOLING OTHERS

In a Hadith found in Sunan Ibn Majah, number 1601, the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, advised that the one who consoles a grief stricken person will be clothed with a garment of honor on Judgment Day.

As facing difficulties is guaranteed for all this is an extremely simple way of obtaining a great reward which does not require much time, energy or money. This includes striving to aid the family facing a difficulty according to one’s means, such as emotional, financial and physical support. A muslim must gently encourage those facing difficulties to remain patient throughout the ordeal and remind them of the verses of the Holy Quran and Hadiths of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, which discuss the importance and great reward of being patient. They should speak positively by reminding them things only occur for a good reason even if people fail to understand the wisdom behind them. In reality, a person does not to be a scholar to perform this righteous deed as in most cases a few kind words of support are enough to make someone facing difficulties feel better. And even in some cases just physically being there is enough to provide them with the feeling of support even if no words are spoken.

Finally, it is important muslims correct their intention when performing this righteous deed meaning, do it for the sake of Allah, the Exalted, and not do it in order to show off to others, such as their relatives, nor out of fear of being criticized by others if they do not do it. Those who act for the sake of others will be told on Judgment Day to gain their reward from those they acted for which will not be possible. This has been warned in a Hadith found in Jami At Tirmidhi, number 3154.

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PODTAFSEER: CHAPTER 2 – AL BAQARAH, VERSE 74 – PART 1

“Then your hearts became hardened after that, being like stones or even harder…” Chapter 2 Al Baqarah 74

In a Hadith found in Sahih Bukhari, number 52, the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, advised that if one’s spiritual heart is sound the whole body will become sound but if their spiritual heart is corrupt then the whole body will become corrupt.

First of all, this Hadith refutes the foolish belief where one claims to have a purified heart even though their speech actions are bad. This is because what is inside will eventually manifest outwardly.

The purification of the spiritual heart is only possible when one eliminates evil characteristics from themself and replaces them with good characteristics discussed in Islamic teachings. This is only possible when one learns and acts on Islamic teachings so that they can sincerely fulfill the commands of Allah, the Exalted, refrain from His prohibitions and face destiny with patience according to the traditions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. Behaving in this manner will lead a purified spiritual heart. This purification will then reflect in the outward limbs of the body, such as one’s tongue and eyes. Meaning, they will only use their organs in ways pleasing to Allah, the Exalted. This is in fact a sign showing the love Allah, the Exalted, has for His righteous servant according to a Hadith found in Sahih Bukhari, number 6502.

It is important to note, that this purification will guide one through all worldly difficulties successfully so that they achieve both worldly and religious success.

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PODSERIES: A SOUND HEART – PART 2 OF 4

The Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, has warned that those who talk excessively without mentioning Allah, the Exalted, are prone to adopting a spiritual hard heart. The one who possesses a hard spiritual heart is furthest from Allah, the Exalted. This is confirmed in a Hadith found in Jami At Tirmidhi, number 2411.

As mentioned in the previous blog those who abandon the obedience of Allah, the Exalted, which involves fulfilling His commands, refraining from His prohibitions and facing destiny with patience, will be cursed with a hard heart. Chapter 5 Al Ma’idah, verse 13:

“So for their breaking of the covenant We cursed them and made their hearts hardened…”

In a Hadith found in Jami At Tirmidhi, number 2305, the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, warned that the one who laughs excessively will become hard hearted. It is important to understand this does not mean one cannot smile as this has been classified as an act of charity by the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, which is confirmed in a Hadith found in Jami At Tirmidhi, number 1970. Laughing excessively causes one to adopt a mentality where they only discuss funny issues. This causes one to avoid serious issues such as death and Judgment Day. If one avoids these important issues how can they prepare for them? A lack of preparation will lead to one’s spiritual heart becoming hard.

Some say over eating can cause hardness of the spiritual heart. This is because over eating causes one to become lazy. Laziness leads to a reduction in good deeds which can cause the spiritual heart to become hard. 

As warned by the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, in a Hadith found in Jami At Tirmidhi, number 3334, when a person sins a black spot is etched on their spiritual heart. If the number of sins increase then this blackness increases which leads to a hard spiritual heart. Chapter 83 Al Mutaffifin, verse 14:

“No! Rather, the stain has covered their hearts of that which they were earning.”

This is why it has been said persistently sinning can cause the spiritual heart to die.

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PODEVENT: TRUE BLESSINGS

The next great event which will be discussed in this blog series is found in chapter 27 An Naml, verse 36:

“So when they came to Solomon, he said, “Do you provide me with wealth? But what Allah has given me is better than what He has given you. Rather, it is you who rejoice in your gift.”

This is when a queen who was invited to accept faith by the Holy Prophet Suleiman, peace be upon him, sent him worldly gifts in order to test his character. Muslims should understand the importance of not compromising on their faith for the sake of worldly blessings. Whatever they gain from doing so will eventually become a burden and a curse for them in both worlds. Instead, they should follow in the footsteps of the Holy Prophet Suleiman, peace be upon him, by remaining firm on their faith and values. If they do this they will be granted the same eternal success the Holy Prophet Suleiman, peace be upon him, was granted.

In addition, a muslim should understand that striving in the obedience of Allah, the Exalted, and the blessings associated with it will always be greater than any worldly blessing. In fact, this is what the Holy Prophet Suleiman, peace be upon him, was referring to when he rejected the queen’s gifts. Religious blessings are always flawless and lasting whereas worldly blessings will always have some sort of difficulty attached to it and they are temporary in nature. When one strives in fulfilling the commands of Allah, the Exalted, refraining from His prohibitions and faces destiny with patience Allah, the Exalted, grants them something which the entire mankind irrespective of their faith strives night and day for namely, contentment and peace of mind. This is the ultimate goal of all people even if they have smaller aims and goals such as travelling the world. It is why the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, advised in a Hadith found in Jami At Tirmidhi, number 2373, that true richness does not lie with wealth but being content with life. It is why rich worldly people do not find true peace of mind and why a poorer muslim who strives in the obedience of Allah, the Exalted, does. Chapter 13 Ar Ra’d, verse 28:

“…Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.”

There is nothing wrong with seeking lawful wealth while avoiding excessiveness but muslims should understand that Allah, the Exalted, did not place peace of mind with it.

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PODTHOUGHT: EXPECTATIONS

I had a thought which I wanted to share. It is important for muslims in all aspects of their life to always set realistic expectations as setting unrealistic expectations always leads to disappointment, sadness, grief and depression which are the ingredients for impatience and the disobedience of Allah, the Exalted. This only leads to further trouble in both worlds. For example, muslims should reject the fantasy created by Bollywood by believing their marriage will be like a fairy-tale. This is a ridiculous and unrealistic expectation which will only lead to disappointment. Whereas, if one understands that marriage has difficulties but is willing to work through them then they are more likely to achieve happiness and peace of mind.

In addition, a muslim should set realistic expectations according to their own situation and life meaning, they should not observe others and set their expectations according to their standards. This has been indicated in a Hadith found in Jami At Tirmidhi, number 2513.

In reality, a true muslim will not set expectations in respect to people as they would only rely and trust in Allah, the Exalted. But this is a high and rare status to achieve. Therefore, if a muslim must set expectations in respect to people they should make them realistic otherwise they will only lead to disappointment, grief and depression.

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PODNEWS: LONG PLANS

I read a news article a while ago which I wanted to briefly discuss. It reported on a large scale project and how things were not going according to the initial plan such as the cost of the project increasing dramatically. Muslims should understand that making long term worldly plans is not the wisest decision as these things very rarely work out as planned. One only needs to reflect on their own life and their own long term plans to recognize this truth. It is always best to plan on a short term basis as this is more achievable and does not result in such emotional or financial difficulties when things do not work out as planned. Whereas, failure in long term plans will lead to more serious emotional and financial difficulties.

In addition, long term plans always causes one’s mind to focus on this material world which distracts them from preparing for the hereafter. This attitude will only lead to difficulties in both worlds. But when one makes short term worldly plans it does not distract them from the bigger picture meaning, preparing for the hereafter.

A muslim must understand that they can plan as much as they want but ultimately only what Allah, the Exalted, has planned and decided will occur. So it is best to minimise this as much as possible and instead focus on fulfilling one’s necessities and responsibilities in this world and preparing for their journey to the hereafter. This is what the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, indicated in a Hadith found in Sahih Bukhari, number 6416. He advised muslims to live in this material world as a stranger or traveller. Allah, the Exalted, will bless this behaviour so that the muslim finds peace and happiness in both worlds.

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PODHADITH: DRAWING NEAR

In a Divine Hadith found in Sahih Muslim, number 6833, the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, advised that whoever does a good deed will have a minimum of ten times reward.

Throughout Islamic teachings different amounts of reward have been declared for performing righteous deeds. Some teachings advise ten times reward like this Hadith, others seven hundred times and in some cases a reward which cannot be counted. Chapter 2 Al Baqarah, verse 261:

“The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills…”

This varying reward is dependent on one’s sincerity. The more sincere a person is meaning, they perform the righteous deed for the sake of Allah, the Exalted, the more they will be rewarded. For example, the one who only acts to please Allah, the Exalted, without desiring a lawful worldly blessing will obtain more reward than the one who acts in order to please Allah, the Exalted, and seeks a lawful worldly blessing.

The main Hadith under discussion also advises that out of His infinite mercy Allah, the Exalted, will only punish according to a sin without multiplying it like He does for righteous deeds or He will forgive the sin. Therefore, muslims should never give up hope and strive to sincerely perform righteous deeds and sincerely repent from their sins to ensure they achieve success through the mercy of Allah, the Exalted, in both worlds.

Another thing mentioned in the main Hadith under discussion is that the more one obeys Allah, the Exalted, which involves fulfilling His commands, refraining from His prohibitions and facing destiny with patience the greater the mercy of Allah, the Exalted, they will receive. In each case, a muslim’s minimal effort will lead to receiving a greater mercy. This mercy will ensure they are rightly guided through every situation they face so that they overcome them in order to obtain peace of mind, body and true lasting success in both worlds. But the one who holds back from the obedience of Allah, the Exalted, will not obtain this mercy and they therefore will not obtain right guidance during their life. Instead they will encounter one difficulty after another not knowing how to respond in each case.

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PODTAFSEER: CHAPTER 2 – AL BAQARAH, VERSE 73 – PART 7

“…and He shows you His signs that you might reason.” Chapter 2 Al Baqarah, verse 73.

It is important for muslims to understand that their worldly knowledge irrespective of how much they possess is not enough to gain success in their religious life. Even though, gaining useful worldly knowledge is praiseworthy according to the teachings of Islam as it is an excellent means for one to obtain lawful provision for themself and their dependents yet, it is not enough to safely guide them through their religious life. For example, in most cases, worldly knowledge will not teach someone how to safely journey through a difficulty or a test in a way which pleases Allah, the Exalted, so that they gain reward in both worlds. The obligatory duties and traditions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, cannot be acted on by a muslim who only possesses worldly knowledge. In fact, religious knowledge has the power to guide one to success in both worlds whereas, worldly knowledge will only aid someone in this world. The one who possesses religious knowledge will adhere to the obedience of Allah, the Exalted, which will result in such blessings and grace that they will find success in both worlds. Whereas, worldly knowledge will inspire one to deduce their own path in religion instead of acting according to the teachings of the rightly guided namely, the righteous predecessors. Religion is not to about creating one’s own path it is simply to adhere to Islamic teachings.

Unfortunately, many muslims who possess worldly knowledge do not realise this important point which only reduces their chances of achieving success in both worlds. Therefore, muslims should strive to obtain and act on both religious and useful worldly knowledge if they desire success in both worlds. This is why gaining useful knowledge is a duty on all muslims according to a Hadith found in Sunan Ibn Majah, number 224.

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