Children’s Column

Penpal
Sense and Sensitivity
Amatul Hakim

How ironic, we being Muslims, lie and cheat for petty gains and call it street-smartness? We dress-up immodestly and call that liberation? We disobey our parents by ignoring their good advice, and say that’s freedom of expression? We spare five minutes for obligatory prayer and spend fifteen minutes checking and updating our WhatsApp status, and we claim that to be time management? We disobey our Creator (swt) in every possible way and still complain about lack of contentment in our lives? We concentrate and focus with all our might in achieving the apparent-world, and neglect the unseen? Yet faith in the unseen, that is Iman, is a major part of our belief, uh?

Alas! For we’ve failed to grasp the concept of Iman, despite the fact that Allah (swt) sent His Speech in the form of a Divine Book, i.e., Qur’an, and His Messenger (saws) along with it, as clear proof, to confirm the existence of the Unseen World.

Once, Angel Jibraeel came to prophet Muhammad (saws) in the human form, and questioned him about Iman, Islam, and Ihsan with the pretext of teaching these to the Sahabah (the Companions of our Prophet), while they were present with him, learning the religion.

Iman, our Prophet said, is the belief in Allah (swt), His angels, His Prophets, His Books, the Day of Judgment and in Destiny, the good of it and the bad of it. And Islam, our Prophet said, is to bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah (swt) and that Prophet Muhammad (saws) is His Messenger, and to pray five times a day, fast during the month of Ramadan, give obligatory charity i.e. Zakah, and if circumstances permit, then, perform the pilgrimage to Makkah during 8th, 9th, and 10th of Dhul-Hijjah, the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar, which is called Hajj in Islamic terminology. Ihsan was described by our Prophet as that act of worship, which is done with the feeling that we are seeing Allah (swt), however, even though we cannot see Allah (swt), He is surely watching us.

The above description of Iman and Ihsan by our Prophet is to draw our attention towards the imperceptible, which forms the major part of our religion.

On the other hand, with further contemplation on Iman, one can say Iman precedes Islam in the process of understanding the religion, because unless we completely believe in the existence of the impalpable world around us, our Islam is not complete. This is the difference between the believer and the unbeliever: a true believer is one who develops that sensitivity towards things that are concealed from our physical senses. It is that Nur – or light – that illuminates with the good and dims down with the wrong.

A good Muslim develops and nurtures this inner light to the effect that he, or she, can senses the acceptance of his, or her, good action, similarly he/ she can sense the effect of sins when he/she commits a mistake, this inner feeling is different from the general feeling of consciousness which every human being possesses.

This subtle sensitiveness is a part of Iman: it increases with every good deed one does. A small good action like picking a thorn away from the path, thinking it could harm someone – yes: as small as that! – to a much bigger act of saving a life by risking our own, all become the reason for an elevated Iman.

At this juncture, one gets closer to his/her Rabb (Caretaker), every act of worship becomes meaningful, life will have a purpose and there’s contentment in every trial one has to go through in this worldly life. While these contribute immensely to one’s spiritual self, the apparent material goodies also automatically come along the way. Increased Iman becomes a magnet to attract more Good. Indeed, higher the level of our Iman, higher we rise in our morals, values, in our human-ness.

On the contrary, every tiny sin – which could be as simple as an act of lying to have fun – takes our Iman down the trajectory. Phew! One can imagine what repercussions other major sins could accumulate. Each time one’s Iman takes a dip, that special light, given to the believer, also decreases; and gradually, there comes a time when the person loses sensitiveness completely and, with that, he becomes immune to all wrong acts. Wretchedness becomes apparent on his face, he will no longer be respected by the people around him, and he will be humiliated in both worlds – this physical world as well as in the life which is to come after death.

Cheating, causing harm to others either verbally or physically, disobeying parents when they are right and as per the norms set by the Shari’ah, going against the Sunnah and Shari’ah, neglecting the prayers, being disrespectful with elders, greed, arrogance and pride (considering ourselves to be superior and others to be inferior than us), jealousy, immodesty – all these have become a norm in our lives.

We no longer feel the uneasiness, or fear, for going against the command set by our Creator (swt). No wonder then that our prayers are robotic, without any humility; our life feels purposeless, our contentment is lost, despite all the comfort and luxuries we have. No technology can help us, no App can guide us, until we set our Iman right, until we connect back to our Creator (swt).

Are we in a mad rush to make an identity for ourselves in this world, and lose the same in the Akhirah (the Day of Judgment and thereafter)? And also be the ones who believe in the unseen? Ask yourselves. Two contradicting personalities cannot exist in a single being.

May Allah (swt) help us protect and nurture the light of Iman within us! Aameen!


Only for Allah

There was a pious man among the Banu Israel who always remained busy in the worship of Allah. A group of people came to him and told him that a tribe living nearby worshipped a tree. The news upset him, and with an axe on his shoulder he went to cut down that tree.

On the way, Satan met him in the form of an old man and asked him where he was going. He said he was going to cut a particular tree.

Satan said, “You have nothing to be concerned with this tree, you better mind your worship and do not give it up for the sake of something that does not concern you.”

“This is also worship,” retorted the worshipper.

Then Satan tried to prevent him from cutting the tree, and there followed a fight between the two, in which the worshipper overpowered the Satan. Finding himself completely helpless, Satan begged to be excused, and when the worshipper released him, he again said, “Allah has not made the cutting of this tree obligatory on you. You do not lose anything if you do not cut it. If its cutting were necessary, Allah could have got it done through one of his many Prophets.”

The worshipper insisted on cutting the tree. There was again a fight between the two and again the worshipper overpowered the Satan.

“Well listen,” said Satan, “I propose a settlement that will be to your advantage.” The worshipper agreed, and Satan said, “You are a poor man, a mere burden on this earth. If you stay away from this act, I will pay you three gold coins everyday. You will daily find them lying under your pillow. By this money you can fulfil your own needs, can oblige your relative, help the needy, and do so many other virtuous things. Cutting the tree will be only one virtue, which will ultimately be of no use because the people will grow another tree.”

This proposal appealed to the worshipper, and he accepted it. He found the money on two successive days, but on the third day there was nothing. He got enraged, picked up his axe and went to cut the tree. Satan as an old man again met him on the way and asked him where he was going.

“To cut the tree,” shouted the worshipper.

“I will not let you do it,” said Satan. A fight took place between the two again but this time Satan had the upper hand and overpowered the worshipper. The latter was surprised at his own defeat, and asked the former the cause of his success.

Satan replied, “At first, your anger was purely for earning the pleasure of Allah, and therefore Almighty Allah helped you to overpower me, but now it has been partly for the sake of the gold coins and therefore you lost.”

[Source: From the book “Ihyaa-ulUloomUdDeen” by Imam Ghazzali (ra)]


 

Riddling Time

Riddle #1

I am a blessed Surah of the Quran, if recited every Friday, I will save you from the evil Dajjal. Which surah am I?

Riddle #2

I am also the Kabah yet I have no roof. What am I?

Riddle #3

I am the longest surviving human being whom death has not touched yet. I am over 2000 years old and still healthy, strong and breathing. Who am I?

Riddle #4

Even a child in kindergarten can be the smartest person in this world by doing this action. What is it?

Riddle #5

The person who buys me doesn’t need me, the person who makes me doesn’t want me, and the person who uses me can’t appreciate me. What am I?

Riddle #6

I am the only female whose name has been mentioned in the Quran. Who am I?

Riddle #7

I am the lucky sahabi (companion of the Prophet) whose name appears in the Quran. Who am I?

Riddle #8

I am mother who was not born, not married and did not give birth. Who am I?

Riddle #9

I am the blessed Surah of the Quran every verse of which contains the word “Allah”, which surah am I?

 


Answers to ‘Riddling Time’ sections questions as follows:

  1. Surah Kahaf
  2. Hateem. It is part of the Kabah.
  3. Prophet Isa (as)
  4. Remembrance of death and preparing for it. The Holy Prophet of Allah sallallahualaihewasallam has said, “The most intelligent person is the one who often remembers death. Constant remembrance of it prevents one from evil and sin and motivates him towards good morals. The Holy Prophet sallallahualaihewasallam said, “The remembrance of death defeats joy.” (Ibn Majah)
  5. Coffin or a burial shroud
  6. Maryam (as)
  7. Zayd Ibn Haarithah (r.a)
  8. Pregnant She Camel of Prophet Saleh (as)
  9. Surah Mujadala

Facts about House Flies

1. House flies live on a liquid diet

Yes, that’s correct. Flies tend to live off a diet based on liquids. Why? Well, that’s just how they are built. See, they lack the mouthparts needed to chew food, so instead, they have to drink it.

2. They can taste with their feet

Like butterflies, flies can taste food using their feet!

This is all down to taste receptors (chemonsensilla) being located on their lower legs and feet. When a fly lands on a tasty meal, which can be anything from animal faeces to your lunch, they will often have a wander around to give their next meal a good taste before consuming it.

3. House flies defecate… a lot!

And they aren’t too bothered about where they do it either!

As you know, house flies like to live off a liquid diet. Because of this, their digestive system can move quite quickly, which means they defecate, quite a lot as well. It is speculated that house flies defecate every time they land, even if it’s on their next meal!

4. They can spread a range of diseases

Due to their feeding and breeding habits house flies come into contact with a range of harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E.coli. Because of this, house flies will often aid the spread of these bacteria passing them onto us by contaminating things, such as food and cooking utensils.

5. House flies can walk upside down

The anatomy of a house fly enables it to walk and climb on most surfaces no matter if it’s horizontal, vertical, or even upside down.

This is due to each foot containing two fat foot pads (called pulvilli) which contain tiny hairs that produce a glue-like substance made of sugars and oils which provides them with excellent grip, perfect for scaling any surface.

6. Flies are able to see behind them.

It’s all to do with their amazing eyes.

These intricate eyes provided them with nearly a 360-degree field of view, which allows them to see behind themselves. Unlike ours, the eyes of a house fly don’t move. Being able to see in all directions allows them to navigate whilst also be on the lookout for danger.

7. The lifespan of a house fly isn’t that long; it only lasts for around 30 days, which means they don’t live for long at all.

However, in their short lifetime, they manage to accomplish quite a lot. House flies can lay up to 500 eggs in their lifetime which are usually in batches of around 75 to 150. So, although they don’t live long, an infestation can quickly arise through new generations.

8, House flies have amazing reaction times

Ever wondered why it’s so difficult to swat a fly? Well, it’s pretty much down to their quick reaction times and their agility.

House flies are able to process what they see and react accordingly at amazing speeds. To put things into perspective, our brains process around 60 images a second, whereas a fly can process around 250 in a single second.

9. They have unhygienic breeding habits

House flies aren’t really fans of rushing to the hospital to give birth. Their chosen method is rather disgusting as well.

House flies will lay their eggs on items such as faeces, rotting carcasses and decaying fruit. Why is this? Well, it’s mainly to provide the larvae (maggots) with something to eat when they hatch.


Allah’s Aid
By Sakina Fletcher

Something amazing happened to me [recently]. I was making du`a’ (supplication) for a very long time for something in particular. Then, out of the blue, along came this opportunity that was seemingly the answer to my prayer. It was garbed in a cloak of religiosity, presenting the pretence of happiness and Closeness to Allah `azza wa jal in this life and the next. So much so that I delayed praying istikhara (the prayer for guidance) about it, arrogant in my ways that I knew this was best for me.

The moment I sought Allah’s Aid however, this guise of purity dissolved before my very eyes, revealing a festering situation of sin and oppression. Not soon after this opportunity had been turned away from me, I immediately felt thankful to Allah (swt) for what He had just saved me from.That’s the amazing thing about du`a’. When you first make it, you wonder to yourself how long it will be before the answer arrives. Even for this, Our Master has a purpose.

There once was a man who devoted himself to worship for some time, and then he came to have a need of something from Allah (swt), so he fasted 70 Saturdays, eating only 11 dates each Saturday. Then he asked Allah (swt) for what he needed, but the response didn’t come immediately. Then he turned to himself and said, full of remorse: “This is from me. If there was any good in me, I would have been given what I need.”

At that, an angel descended upon him and said: “Son of Adam, this one moment of yours is better than all the worship you did before. And Allah has fulfilled your need.”1

It takes a strong heart to believe when the answer doesn’t seem obvious at first. Take, for instance, the story of Musa `alayhi salaam (peace be upon him), who brought his people to the brink of the Red Sea. The army of Fir’awn (Pharaoh) was advancing behind them, and Bani Isra’eel were getting restless as they were beginning to lose hope.

[When the two hosts came into sight of one another, Musa’s companions said: “We will surely be overtaken!!” Musa said: “By no means! My Lord is with me! Soon will He guide me!]2

Immediately thereafter, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) revealed to Musa to strike the sea with his staff—and like into two mountains it parted, glorious and magnificent for the eye to behold, let alone for the ear to listen to today. And all too often, life can be like that. You’re forced into a corner—reached a dead end—at the very end of your rope. Help seems far away and your forehead begins to sweat. Yet there remains within you a voice, a light undiminished by trial or tribulation, and it calls upon you to have patience and believe with the very reaches of your soul:

[Without a doubt! The Victory of Allah is close!]3

Then before your very eyes, the sea parts. The wound heals. The sun appears from behind the clouds. And the way this takes place is so utterly bewildering, astonishing, awe-inspiring, you would not have fathomed it even in the most outer limit of your imagination.

Such is Allah (swt). The One who allows affliction to touch His worshiping slaves so that He can hear the sweet melody of their voices as they invoke His Assistance and His Victory. Al Ahad, As-Samad (the One, the Eternal)—the One who misses His beloved slaves because they believe in la ilaha ilallah (there is nothing worthy of worship except God) despite never having set their gaze upon His Beautiful Face.

Seeking direction in life remains, as a young person, among the challenges. Youth in generations preceding us, for instance the Companions of the Cave, mentioned in Surah Kahf, went through something similar. They said:

[Our Lord! Grant us Mercy from Your own Providence and furnish us, in our present circumstances, with Right Guidance]4

Worldly and spiritual guidance are intricately interwoven; because we ask that our actions and the goals we pursue are pleasing to the One who gifted us with different talents and abilities. Each of us has been crafted differently, and to each of us is an amaanah (trust) that we are responsible to Allah ta`ala (Most High) to fulfill. Not an atom of a matter exists within our lives except we are dependent upon Allah to guide us in it. Hence a frequent supplication of the Messenger (peace be upon him) is:

[O the Ever Living (al Hayy), the Self-Subsisting (al-Qayyum)! By Your Mercy rectify my every affair, and don’t leave me to myself even for the blink of an eye]

From this it is clear from the prophetic tradition that reliance on Allah (swt) and seeking His Divine Assistance extends even to so-called ‘trivial matters’. So my sister and my brother, those who choose to seek the Countenance of our Loving Master above all else, let us invoke His Mercy and without a doubt He will shower His blessings upon us infinitely and Aid us where we struggle. And this is for no reason other than He is Merciful and loves to show Mercy.

When the dunya (this life) and all its vices rusts our hearts and when no one seems to understand us except for Allah (swt)—let us give our hearts wholly to the One who fashioned them from clay. He will nurse us anew, enrobing us in His light and His care. No heart is incomplete if it has Allah (swt)—because He is a Master who never grows weary of giving His slave a second chance.

End Notes:

  1. The Compendium of Knowledge of Wisdom – Ibn Rajab al Hanbali
  2. Al Qur’an: 26:61-62
  3. Al Qur’an: 2:214
  4. Al Qur’an: 18:10