Children’s Column – September 2016
The Qur’an for Young Hearts – 76
1:The translation of the Qur’an being presented here is interpretative. It is meant for children. Those who can understand other translations should better consult them.
2. Parents are advised to hold sessions at home and teach the verses and explanation as given here, and, if they can, add more from Qur’anic commentaries.
3. Answers to exercise below may be attempted. Parents may evaluate them and reward the children suitably.
4. Schools could also include this in their Islamic curriculum.
Verses from Surah No. 2, Al-Baqarah
 Their guidance is not your responsibility (O Muhammad), but rather, it is Allah who guides whosoever He wills. And, what you spend of wealth is for your own good, (since) you spend not but seeking Allah’s Pleasure. And, whatever you spend of wealth shall be returned to you and you shall not be wronged.
 (Charity is) due to such poor who are too busy in Allah’s path, who cannot travel in the land. The ignorant supposes them well-off because of their self-control. (But) You can recognize them by their looks. They do not beg the people insistently. And (remember), whatever wealth you spend, surely, Allah is well Aware of it.
 Those who spend their wealth night and day, secretly and in public, for such is their reward with their Lord. They have nothing to fear nor shall they grieve.
Understanding these verses:
It will be noticed that as this Surah is coming to an end, it mentions spending in the way of Allah, and Jihad again and again. Why is it so? There are two reasons. First, this Surah has opened up, discussed, and explained important parts of Islam. And, in Islam Jihad and charity are the most important parts in ‘man-to-man’ relationship. The relationship will never be right without good amount of charity exchanged between them. Secondly, belief in One and only God will never be accepted by corrupt leaders. These corrupt leaders enslave their people and by playing tricks on them, prevent them from believing in their Lord. Jihad is the effort to remove them and remove slavery. And Jihad needs funds.
But one of the key points to remember is that if some people do not wish to be guided to their Lord, we cannot do it either. Religion cannot be forced upon people. All we can do, we must: invite them, explain to them, and pray for them. The decision is theirs. If Allah finds some goodness in them, He will guide them to Himself.
One more thing we can do for them is to be charitable to them, especially to their poor ones. There are among them the old, the sick, the poor, the homeless. We must do what little we can. If they still remain on what they are, away from their Lord, then, that’s their decision. As for our charity, it does not go waste. It is reserved with Allah. He will reward us for it several-fold on the Day of Judgment. So, we must keep carrying on with our charity.
Among the Muslims there is a class which deserves special attention. They have a big share in our charity. They are those who serve the Muslims and non-Muslims. They are so much involved in charitable works that they cannot earn for their own bread. They could be Mujahideen, they could be running orphanages as unpaid employees, they could be teachers of the Qur’an who do not accept any wages, they could be scholars writing books but earning nothing, and so on. Yet, despite their poverty, they do not show their need. They never ask.
A group of the Prophet’s Companions was hungry. One of them was sent to the Prophet to ask some help. But when he went, the first thing he heard him saying to those around him was, “Whoever refrains from asking, Allah will save him from asking. Whoever seeks Allah’s provision, Allah will provide him. All the same, if someone asks us, we will not refuse, so long as we have something to give.” When the man who had gone to ask, heard these word, he returned without asking.
When Haroon al-Rashid the Abbasi Caliph met Ibrahim b. Ad-hum, he asked him whether he needed anything. Ibn Ad-hum replied that he did not need anything from him. Haroon suggested that he should fix up a state grant for him. Ibn Ad-hum said, “Both you and me, are Allah’s slaves. It is not possible that He should remember you, but forget me.”
People of this class hide their needs. In fact, some of the poor men-of-God of the past carried a bunch of keys to give the impression that they were rich, while one of them was so poor that by the Law, he could eat carrion.
Some others carried a bundle with them while they traveled on foot to give the impression to co-travelers, and to the people in towns they passed by, that they were carrying food. But the bundle had stones. Imam Ahmad sold his shoes in Yemen to pay for bread he had been purchasing, and then traveled back to Baghdad bare-foot.
So the ignorant thinks that they are alright. But a true believer sees by the Noor given him by Allah. He knows them from their faces that they are needy and so they spend on them, most of the time secretly.
(To be continued)
SuhaibWebb.com | A Sacred Conversation
A Sacred Conversation
There is a time of night when the whole world transforms. During the day, chaos often takes over our lives. The responsibilities of work, school, and family dominate much of our attention. Other than the time we take for the five daily prayers, it is hard to also take time out to reflect or even relax. Many of us live our lives at such a fast pace, we may not even realize what we’re missing.
But there is a time of night when work ends, traffic sleeps, and silence is the only sound. At that time—while the world around us sleeps—there is One who remains awake and waits for us to call on Him. We are told in the hadith qudsi: “Our Lord descends during the last third of each night to the lower heaven, and says: ‘Is there anyone who calls on Me that I may respond to him? Is there anyone who asks Me that I may give unto him? Is there anyone who requests My Forgiveness that I may forgive him?’” (Bukhari and Muslim)
One can only imagine what would happen if a king were to come to our door, offering to give us anything we want. One would think that any sane person would at least set their alarm for such a meeting. If we were told that at exactly one hour before dawn a check for $10,000,000 would be left at our doorstep, would we not wake up to take it?
Allah subhanahuwata`ala(exalted is He) has told us that at this time of night, just before dawn, He will come to His servants. Imagine this. The Lord of the universe has offered us a sacred conversation with Him. That Lord waits for us to come speak with Him, and yet many of us leave Him waiting while we sleep in our beds. Allah (swt) comes to us and asks what we want from Him. The Creator of all things has told us that He will give us whatever we ask.
And yet we sleep.
There will come a day when this veil of deception will be lifted. The Qur’an says: “[It will be said], You were certainly in unmindfulness of this, and We have removed from you your cover, so your sight, this Day, is sharp.” (Qur’an 50:22).
On that Day, we will see the true reality. On that Day, we will realize that two Rak`at (units) of prayer were greater than everything in the heavens and the earth. We will realize the priceless check that was left on our doorstep every night as we slept. There will come a day when we would give up everything under the sky just to come back and pray those two Rak`at.
There will come a day when we would give up everything we ever loved in this life, everything that preoccupied our hearts and minds, every mirage we ran after, just to have that conversation with Allah. But on that Day, there will be some from whom Allah (swt) will turn away… and forget, as they had once forgotten Him.
The Qur’an says: “He will say, ‘My Lord, why have you raised me blind while I was [once] seeing?’ [Allah] will say, ‘Thus did Our signs come to you, and you forgot them; and thus will you this Day be forgotten.’” (Qur’an, 20:125-126) In Surat al-Mu’minoon, Allah says: “Do not cry out today. Indeed, by Us you will not be helped.” (Qur’an, 23:65)
Can you imagine for a moment what these aayaat (verses) are saying? This is not about being forgotten by an old friend or classmate. This is about being forgotten by the Lord of the worlds. Not hell fire. Not boiling water. Not scalded skin. There is no punishment greater than this.
And as there is no punishment greater than this, there is no reward greater than what the Prophet ﷺ describes in the following hadith:
“When those deserving of Paradise would enter Paradise, the Blessed and the Exalted would ask: Do you wish Me to give you anything more? They would say: Hast Thou not brightened our faces? Hast Thou not made us enter Paradise and saved us from Fire? He would lift the veil, and of things given to them nothing would be dearer to them than the sight of their Lord, the Mighty and the Glorious.” [Sahih Muslim]
But one does not need to wait until that Day to know the result of this nighttime meeting with Allah (swt). The truth is, there are no words to describe the overwhelming peace in this life from such a conversation. One can only experience it to know. Its effect on one’s life is immeasurable. When you experience Qiyaam, the late night prayer the rest of your life transforms. Suddenly, the burdens that once crushed you become light. The problems that were irresolvable become solved. And that closeness to your Creator, which was once unreachable, becomes your only lifeline.
I made du’a but Allah did not answer…
“Is He [not best] who responds to the desperate one when he calls upon Him…” (Qur’an, 27:62)
For whatever problem we have, whatever difficulty we find ourselves in, we have the most powerful weapon to ward off the pain that plagues us. It is the weapon of du`a’. We know with certainty that Allah is Al-Mujeeb (The Responsive). We have read many articles telling us about the importance of du`a’, but in order for our du`a’ to be truly meaningful, we must accompany that du`a’ with a certain brokenness in the heart. This brokenness is the feeling of utter need, submission and surrender to Allah, and realizing that truly it is only He who can get us out of our state. In a beautiful hadith qudsi, Allah says:
“O My servants, I have forbidden oppression for Myself and have made it forbidden amongst you, so do not oppress one another.
O My servants, all of you are astray except for those I have guided, so seek guidance of Me and I shall guide you,
O My servants, all of you are hungry except for those I have fed, so seek food of Me and I shall feed you.
O My servants, all of you are naked except for those I have clothed, so seek clothing of Me and I shall clothe you.
O My servants, you sin by night and by day, and I forgive all sins, so seek forgiveness of Me and I shall forgive you.
O My servants, you will not attain harming Me so as to harm Me, and will not attain benefitting Me so as to benefit Me.
O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as pious as the most pious heart of any one man of you, that would not increase My kingdom in anything.
O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as wicked as the most wicked heart of any one man of you, that would not decrease My kingdom in anything.
O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to rise up in one place and make a request of Me, and were I to give everyone what he requested, that would not decrease what I have, any more that a needle decreases the sea if put into it.
O My servants, it is but your deeds that I reckon up for you and then recompense you for, so let him who finds good, praise Allah, and let him who finds other than that, blame no one but himself.” (Muslim)
Subhan’Allah (exalted is Allah), this hadith requires us to read it more than once to truly grasp its meaning. In essence, Allah is telling us that everything is from Him – He possesses this whole world and all that is in it, therefore we should seek all of our needs from Him.
Allah has named Himself Al-Mujeeb, which means the One who responds. Just as we are certain that the Qur’an is true, we must be certain that Allah, Al-Mujeeb, will answer our call. We should never think that Allah will not answer, because by feeling so, we are denying this attribute (siffat) of Allah. Whenever we are feeling down, we should not hesitate to ask Him over and over again, and to go into sujood (prostration) and plead because that is the closest that we are to Him. If we realize this, the doors of mercy have been opened for us, because the Prophet ﷺ said, “For whoever the door of du`a’ opened, for him the doors of mercy are opened.” (Tirmidhi).
Your du`a’ is deposited with Allah, and as was narrated from the Prophet ﷺ, your du`a’ does something. Either Allah will speedily answer your du`a’ or He will save it for you until the Hereafter, or He will avert something bad equal to the value of the du`a’ (Ahmad). So we should never leave du`a’. The Prophet ﷺ told us, “Do not stop making du`a’, because nobody who makes du`a’ is forsaken.” (Hakim)
Insha’Allah, you will be answered. The Prophet ﷺ said, “Verily your Lord is Generous and Shy. If His servant raises his hands to Him (in supplication) He becomes shy to return them empty.” (Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi)
Remember: our Lord is not forgetful. Sometimes you might even forget that you once made du`a’ for something, but He might give it to you years later.
We must always have certainty that Allah answers. But sometimes doubt enters one’s heart: “…But I asked, I made du`a’… and I don’t see anything?” Firstly, just as we know that Allah is Al-Mujeeb, we must also know He is Al-Hakeem (the Most Wise).
He may delay answering your prayer for a number of reasons; one is to test your trust in Him. We all say we believe Allah is the Al-Mujeeb when everything lands at our feet, but what about when we don’t immediately see the fruits of our du`a’? I knew a woman who was telling the story of how her husband did not pray. When she married him, she didn’t know, and as the marriage progressed she discovered that he was skeptical of religion as well. So she would wake up every night for qiyam al-layl (the night prayer) and plead with Allah to guide Him. Do you know how long she prayed for? Two years. And she says it was so unexpected; he came home from a business trip with a complete change of heart. It turns out that on the plane he was seated next to a great sheikh who began talking to him. And that is how he changed.
Another reason is that Allah knows when it is best to answer. Perhaps you are asking for a job and He could give you a job at this very moment, but He will delay it because He knows that in a couple of months, a better job will come along. Perhaps what you are asking for is not good for you, or He will give you something better in the Hereafter.
Allah also may delay the answer to make us work harder so we are prepared for it. If we look at Palestine, we may think, “Wow, the Muslim Ummah prays so much and we don’t see anything changing.” But in truth, although the majority of the Ummah prays intensely during Ramadan, many do not make du`a’ with true pleading. It is almost an afterthought. And if we do (such as when we see the carnage that happened in Gaza) we do not follow up our words by utilizing the means to change the situation; we forget (as is happening now). There are some genuine people who work for change, but they are a minority. So we need to be patient because we need to know that Allah is training the Ummah. The answer is being delayed so that we become worthy of this task.
There is a beautiful hadith qudsi which states that Allah sometimes delays the answer because He loves hearing the sound of His servant (At-Tabari). Many of us would ask and then when we get what we want we stop going to Allah; but imagine that when the answer is delayed, Allah loves to hear YOUR voice again as you call Him. Wow.
Allah does not place a burden on us greater than we can bear. If the answer to your du`a’ has been delayed, it’s because Allah KNOWS you can handle it. He tests those whom He loves, so keep asking and remember that Allah makes with hardship ease. And remember, as with tawakkul, we need to exert effort as well.
Ibn Al-Qayyim said he who fulfills the following conditions should know that Allah will surely answer his du`a’:
- Have certainty that Allah subhanahuwata`ala will answer your du`a’. The Prophet ﷺ said, ”Ask Allah with certainty that He will answer your prayers.” (Tirmidhi)
- Show submissiveness and devotion during your du`a’. The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Know that Allah will not accept the supplication from an absent heart.’ (Tirmidhi)
- Be patient and do not hasten for an answer. The Prophet ﷺ said: ‘Thedu`a’ of any worshipper will continue to be responded to, as long as… he is not hasty’ i.e. as long as he doesn’t lose patience. [Muslim]
- Continue to gain a lawful means of living. The Prophet ﷺ narrated a story about a man asking Allah, saying “O Lord! O Lord!” but his food was unlawful, his drink was unlawful, his clothing was unlawful, and he was nourished unlawfully; so how can he be answered?!” (Muslim)