Children’s Column

The Qur’an for Young Hearts – 78

Important Notes

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. This translation may not be used elsewhere.

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].

Verses from Surah No. 2, Al-Baqarah

[282] Believers! When you agree on a debt upon each other for a fixed period, put it to writing. And let a writer put it down between you justly. And let not any writer refuse to write, even as Allah has taught him (to write): so let him write. And let the man taking loan dictate, but, let him fear Allah his Lord, and not reduce anything of it. And if the man taking loan is weak‑minded, or (physically) weak, or is unable to dictate by himself, then let his guardian dictate justly. And call in to witness two of your men (as) witnesses; but if two men are not (available) then a man and two such women witnesses as you approve, so that if one of them forgets, the other will remind. And let not the witness refuse when called, nor should you feel bored to write down – whether (the deal is) small or big – with its term.That is more just in Allah’s sight, surer for testimony, and likelier that you will not be in doubt (afterwards), unless it is a (hand-to-hand) trading that you do between yourselves; then there is no fault in you that you do not write it down. And ask for witnesses whenever you trade with one another. And let no harm be done either to the writer or the witness. If you do that, then, that is a (sign of) wickedness in you. And (always) fear Allah. Allah teaches you. And Allah has knowledge of all things.

Understanding these Verses:

Islam is a religion of Allah’s mercy. He cares for peace between His slaves. He doesn’t want them to quarrel over anything. And much quarrels happen over money matters; especially over loans. So, Allah teaches us how to avoid quarrels.

Read the following and check back, point by point, with the verse above:

  1. When you loan out something –money or goods –write it down.
  1. Then, a time should be fixed as to when the loan will be returned.
  1. Everyone might not be able to write, so let someone help you out by writing it down. (There are millions in America who cannot read and write).
  1. He who is asked to write down, should not refuse. Is it not Allah who taught him how to write?
  1. Now, who should dictate the amount, the time of return etc.? Let him who is borrowing. Why he? Because he knows exactly how much he is borrowing and when he can return. Tomorrow he should not say that the lender got it wrongly written down.
  1. But supposing the borrower is weak of mind or body? Who should dictate? The lender? No. Let the borrower’s guardian do it; for example, a man’s father, or mother.
  1. To make it sure and certain, let two witnesses be there.
  1. But what if only one male witness is available? Then let two women be witness.
  1. But why two women, why not only one? Does not Islam treat men and women equal? Is woman of a weak mind? No, these are not the reasons. But, firstly, women are weak in money matters. (A woman sold her villa of three crores, for just one crore to a clever man of another community; and the sons had to go to court to cancel the sale). Secondly, Islam does not want women to be taken to courts or to market-places to involve them in business matters. Most women are simple; but most businessmen are quite smart in money matters.
  1. The witnesses should not refuse to be witness.
  1. And, you should not feel tired of this writing down, whether the money or goods being borrowed is small or big. It is better for you, and Allah approves what is better for you. Unless you are in the market, and this borrowing and returning happens so many times during the day; then you may not.
  1. So also, when you do trading, exchanging goods, then, too, it is preferable that you have witnesses. This will close all doors of doubt, argument, and quarrel.
  1. You should also never try to harm the writer, or the witnesses, so as to force them to say false things.
  1. Finally, you have to be conscious of Allah all the time, and fear Him. If the people do not fear Him, there is no way they can be stopped from cheating and outsmarting each other. (Just now, as we write these lines, a case is going on in the court, against the lady-head of a bank of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), that she deceived the bank).
  1. After you have understood these rules, discuss with your non-Muslim friends about the teachings in their Holy Books, about how to borrow and how to lend money, goods, gold, etc.
  1. What is the lesson you derive from the Qur’an introducing ‘writings’ in business, when there were no more than eight men in Makkah who knew how to read and write?
  1. Report back to your teacher about what you learnt from your friends.

(To be continued)

Easy Way to Paradise

“Asalamualaikum!” I began excitedly to speak with a new friend over the phone. “Wa `alaykum… [sigh]… assalam [apathetic sigh],” was the reply.

Subhan’Allah (Glory to God), I thought. I’m so excited to speak with somebody who seems quite bored or exhausted. Did [this friend] have a bad day? Did I do something wrong? Does [this friend] not want to speak with me?

After becoming more acquainted with [this friend], I realized that the reply had nothing to do with me or [the friend’s] day; [the friend] just naturally is an extremely calm and composed person.

This realization was empowering; it meant that the lack of visible or audible enthusiasm had nothing to do with me; I didn’t have to take it personally. I could keep calling. However, not everyone has this realization – especially when it goes down in the Masjid (mosque).

How many of us have entered a Masjid, for the first time, or the hundredth time, and found not a single friendly face? How many of us have tried to say Salaam (the greeting of peace) to someone passing by us in the prayer hall, only to be ignored, stared down or receive in reply a hasty, apathetic Salaam? How many of us have felt that we never wanted to return to that particular Masjid because of all the unfriendly faces?

The Prophet (saws) has told us: “O People! Spread Salaam, feed the hungry, be in touch with your kin, and pray while people are asleep (at night) you shall enter paradise peacefully.”

And he (saws) was asked about the best actions and he replied: “Feeding the hungry, and saying Salaam to those you know and those you don’t know.”

Remember that time when someone you didn’t know was walking towards you with this enormous smile… and then continued to walk right past you as they enthusiastically greeted the person right behind you?

Imagine if you had been greeted in that way… especially if you did not even know the person. And then, upon questioning if you knew the person, he or she replied, “You’re my brother/sister in Islam!” How would that make you feel? Welcomed? Special? Accepted? Imagine the reward of that person who would make you feel like you belong.

We constantly call for unity in our communities. We call to be united against oppression globally but what are we doing to help create bonds of unity with those in our own localities? What are we doing to help strengthen our relationships so that we will, insha’Allah, be united in calling for justice?

Read the wisdom of the Prophet(saws): “You will not enter paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another: spread Salaam (the greeting of peace) among you.”

Loving one another is linked with saying Salaam! If we really want to feel united in order to help our Ummah (Muslim community), let us begin where the Prophet (saws) has instructed us – let us spread the Salaam!

Additionally, giving the Salaams and meeting fellow believers can be a means of having our sins forgiven! This Ramadan, in addition to all that cheek kissing we do, let’s seek to establish a blessed Sunnah (traditions and practices of the Prophet) – one through which, our sins will, Insha’Allah, be forgiven.

The Prophet (saws) has told us, “When two Muslims meet (give Salaam), and shake hands, they are forgiven their sins before they part (with each other).”

Observe yourself next time you meet someone and you automatically go for the hugging and cheek-kiss thing (1…2…3…4…7 times? Everyone does it differently!).

Do you ever shake hands? In addition to exuding all that physical love, let’s begin to clasp hands, hoping that with the connection of our hands will be the obliteration of our sins.

Finally, while spreading the Salaam, it’s important to be aware of an important Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) ruling which accompanies the blessed greeting. Allah tells us,

“And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or (at least) return it equally” (Qur’an, 4:86).

We should, at minimum, return the greeting with it’s like or give them an even better greeting.

It is Wajib (an obligation) to respond to someone who has greeted you, and it is a blessed Sunnah to start the greeting. The Prophet (saws) has even told us: “The person closest to Allah is the one who precedes others in greeting.”

Who knows who is closest to Allah other than Allah (swt)? Let’s race to be amongst those closest! Let us try to be the first ones to say Salaam!

This Ramadan, let us, by Allah’s Mercy, be the ones who help people feel like they want to RUSH back to the Masjid because they feel like it is truly their home.

Let us smile, shake hands, and spread sincere and warm Salaams to all that we see! May Allah make it a means, by His Mercy, of allowing us to enter Jannahbi as-Salaam (Paradise with peace).


Inspirational Quotes

  • “Some people dream of success, while others wake up and work hard at it.”~ Winston Churchill
  • “The best dreams happen when you’re awake.” ~ Cherie Gilderbloom
  • “Life is either daring adventure or nothing.” ~ Helen Keller
  • “A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds, and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs; an optimist doesn’t see the clouds at all – he’s walking on them.”~ Leonard Louis Levinson
  • “Don’t make me walk when I want to fly.” ~ Galina Doyla

The Secret Signal of the CEO

Faiez Seyal one of the most well-known and respected motivational speakers in Pakistan writes:

“Once I met a businessman who was considered the best decision-maker in the industry. All the decisions that he made in his 30 year old career proved right. People call him a great visionary. Whenever I asked him about it either he would change the topic or with a smile would say, ‘I just sleep over it.’

“While on a research job, I developed a friendship with him. Whenever we had sometime to spare, we would meet and he would ask me about how the research was getting along. One day, our discussion moved to religion and God. After listening to my arguments and my personal faith in God, he said he wanted to share a secret. I got curious. He asked me if I remembered my question about his decision-making he had always been evading. I said, ‘Yes, I do.’

“He said, ‘You wanted to know the secret of my successful decision-making. I will tell you today. I did not tell you earlier because I did not think it would make sense to an educated 20th century person like you. But now, after discovering your faith in God, I think I can share it with you.’

“What he told me was this, ‘Faiez, you see, over a period of time, I have developed a blind faith in God. He is the best Friend I have. Instead of doing my own thinking, I just give this task to Him to do it for me. Whenever there is a major decision to make, I always try to postpone it for a night, and if I can’t, then I would postpone it till the time of the next prayer. During my prayers, I would tell Him the issue and, instead of praying for what I think is right, I admit my ignorance and request Him to show me the right path. And right after prayer, whatever comes to my mind, I just do it even if it is against my wishes.’

“On my probing, he told me that, in the beginning, it was not an easy task, because he would get a little confused, but over a period of time, he had become good at understanding God’s voice and signals.’”

We should all try to develop this habit of seeking Allah’s guidance in all our important matters. The correct way is to offer two Rak’ahs of prayer, then say the Dua’ called Istikhara and act upon whatever seems right.

(Quoted from The Road to Success, by FaiezSeyal, p. 214-215)

Interesting Insect Facts

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) says mosquitos cause more than two million deaths a year worldwide.
  • Another insect, the honeybee kills more people world-wide than all the poisonous snakes combined.
  • The largest cockroach on record is one measured at 3.81 inches in length.
  • The largest insect egg belongs to the Malaysian jungle nymph, a stick like insect, and measures about 1.3 centimeters long — larger than a peanut! (Some insects, mainly mantises and cockroaches, lay egg cases that are larger, but they contain about 200 individual eggs).
  • The leap of an average flea is equivalent to a 100-pound man leaping 1,000 feet and enduring a G-force of 20,000 pounds with an acceleration greater than that of a space shuttle.
  • The Tsetse fly kills another 66,000 people annually.
  • The venom of a female Black Widow spider is more potent than that of a rattlesnake.
  • The world’s smallest winged insect, the Tanzanian parasitic wasp, is smaller than the eye of a housefly.
  • There are more insects in one square mile of rural land than there are human beings on the entire earth.

How to Become Allah’s Wali’

Live for Allah

I want to be of those who are close to Allah.” Imagine being like Ibn Taymiyyah, who stated, “What can my enemies do to me? I have in my breast both my heaven and my garden. If I travel they are with me, never leaving me. Imprisonment for me is a chance to be alone with my Lord. To be killed is martyrdom and to be exiled from my land is a spiritual journey.”

We need to have high aspirations, and we need to have the desire to be someone special to Allah. Once Allah becomes our main concern, we can insha’Allah, be in the same mindset as Ibn Taymiyyah. What can people do to us when we carry paradise in our hearts?

One of the Names of Allah that should inspire us is Al-Wali’, The Ally. Allah says in the Qur’an:

“Allah is the ally [Wali’] of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness into the light…” (2:257)

What do you feel when you read this verse? Many of us have read this verse again and again, and some of us have contemplated over the meaning of being a Wali’ of Allah. Whenever we think of someone being a Wali’ of Allah, we think of great devoted scholars, courageous fighters, people truly close to Allah… but not us. “We could never be His Awliya,’ could we?”

Allah tells us in this verse that He is the Wali’ of those who believe. As believers, we are already part of that group, insha’Allah. But to truly earn the status of Allah’s Wali’, to be at that elevated level, we have to aspire towards it.

What does Al-Wali’ mean?

Al-Wali’ has different translations; the ‘ally,’ ‘protector,’ ‘guardian’ or ‘patron.’ In Arab countries, schools usually request the permission of the Wali’Amr (the Wali’ of the affairs) of a child for anything concerning him or her, meaning the child’s guardian. What are the characteristics of a child’s guardian?

It must be a person who:(a) is close to the child, and (b) takes care of the child.

Similarly, if Allah is your Wali’, then He is close to you and takes care of you.

Allah took care of the affairs of the Prophet Yusuf (asws). When Yusuf (asws) was alone in the well, Allah made specific travelers thirsty at that particular time so that they could rescue him and take him on their journey with them. Later, the people who bought Yusuf (asws) as a slave turned out to be a couple who were infertile. At every step of the way, Allah was with Yusuf (asws). No doubt, he faced hardships, but Allah is always protecting.

So, there are going to be problems even if you are a Wali’ of Allah, but at the end of the day, He is still taking care of you. At the end of Yusuf’s (asws) story, he proclaims, “Creator of the heavens and earth! You are my Wali’ in this world and in the Hereafter.” (Qur’an, 12:101)

Truly, it is an impoverished person who does not have Allah as his Wali’, the person who takes his Wali’ as the Dunya’.

What happens if you are a Wali’ of Allah?

  1. You have no fear in this Dunya’, no sadness in Akhirah.

“Unquestionably, [for] the awliya of Allah there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve”. (Qur’an, 10:62)

  1. He will put light in your life.

“Allah is the ally of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness into the light.” (Qur’an, 2:257)

  1. Allah will give you victory

Allah says in a hadith qudsi: “Whoever takes a Wali of Mine as an enemy, I will wage war on him…” (Bukhari)

Wouldn’t you want to be one of these people? Be ambitious. Why couldn’t it be you?

So how can I be a Wali?

“Unquestionably, [for] the awliya of Allah there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve. Those who believed and had taqwa of Allah” (Qur’an, 10:62)

Striving for taqwa gives us the status of a Wali insha ‘Allah.

So how do we get Taqwa?

Some scholars have defined taqwa as when Allah finds you where He has ordered you to be, and does not find you where He has forbidden. The following hadith qudsi sheds more light:

“Whosoever acts with enmity towards a closer servant of Mine (Wali), I will indeed declare war against him. Nothing endears My servant to Me than doing of what I have made obligatory upon him to do. And My servant continues to draw nearer to Me with the supererogatory (nawafil) so that I shall love him. When I love him, I shall be his hearing with which he shall hear, his sight with which he shall see, his hands with which he shall hold, and his feet with which he shall walk. And if he asks (something) of Me, I shall surely give it to him, and if he takes refuge in Me, I shall certainly grant him it.” (Bukhari)

Another thing to be inspired by: Jannah

Sometimes we forget about Jannah, Paradise. But Paradise is a reality.

I’m supposed to travel to Granada tomorrow insha’Allah (if Allah wills). Everyone has been telling me how amazing and beautiful it is. A part of me is really excited to explore it and its history, but another part of me is just looking forward to having a break. I’ve been preparing: I will take two books, one spiritual and one political. I’ve made sure I’ve tied up all the ends here. Just as Granada is a reality for me and something to look forward to, Jannah should be just the same for us since we have its description.

Imagine this: you’ve just crossed the sirat (bridge over hell) and made it to the other side. You are waiting for the doors of Jannah to open. Finally they open to the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) and you are in awe. Truly this place is as the Prophet ﷺ described which “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and the mind of no man has conceived”, [Bukhari]. What is the ground made of? It smells a little like saffron, subhan’Allah! What are those trees with huge fruits? Is that a river of honey? Dip your finger in it, that can’t be honey! You’ve never had anything like it in your life. You try it again and it tastes even better. How is that possible? Ok, enough honey. Where is my house? As you are being escorted to your home, you see it’s not just a house. It’s a mansion! Not even Bill Gates had it this good, and you are told you earned it because you donated $10 for that masjid. If only you had donated more! Well this mansion is enough. You’re eager to start exploring.

You enter from the front door with a texture that feels pearly. Are the doors made of pearls? Subhan’Allah! You walk in and there’s someone there. Is that your spouse from the dunya? But they look different. They’re so beautiful, you’re mesmerized. You take their hand and walk out and you see that person who wronged you in the dunya. Even though you forgave on earth, whenever you saw them, you’d still get a bit frustrated. But for some reason it’s ok now. It’s all good. Actually- you’re happy to see them. In fact, you can’t stop smiling.

This place is awesome. You feel so light and airy. You feel as though nothing bad has ever happened to you in your life. You have peace.

It can’t get better than this, right?

Yes it can. As you walk outside your mansion, you see people rushing to go some place. They’re crowding around someone. Is that RasulAllah ﷺ?! Without realizing, tears stream down your face, it IS Rasul’Allah! And he is more beautiful than any of the descriptions you’ve read. You embrace him. He smiles at you, and then you invite him to dinner at your house. You walk away, still in awe that you’ve just seen the final Messenger of God, and… Is that Abu Bakr (ra)? With `Umar (ra)! And over there is Fatima (ra), sitting with her mother Khadija (ra)! And there’s Mariam (as)! You overhear a conversation and it’s someone asking Salaah ad-Deen how it felt to liberate Jerusalem. And you recognize an accent, it’s Malcolm X!2

Finally, it’s the pinnacle of Jannah. Being with Allah. You actually get to see Allah. The highest, greatest most amazing pleasure that surpasses everything we’ve just talked about. Seeing your Lord, Most High.

I want that! What should I aspire to?

We were all created differently for a reason. Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror known in Arabic as Muhammad al-Fateh, was inspired by something. He heard the hadith of the Prophet ﷺ “Verily you shall conquer Constantinople. What a wonderful leader will he be, and what a wonderful army will that army be!” [Ahmad] and he wanted to be that person. He had the opportunity and the skill. He persisted and Allah gave him success. We don’t all have to be Sultan Mehmet II, but we should all desire to be something special to Allah.

So read the Qur’an and find something inspirational. I knew someone who was inspired by the hadith where the Prophet ﷺ names the categories of people who are protected under the shade of Allah on Judgment day. The category that they were inspired by was “the person whose left hand doesn’t know what his right hand has given (in charity)”. So they decided to apply that hadith. They would give money every Friday at salaat al-jumu`ah, without looking at how much they were giving. Whatever was in their wallet, they would give. The person said, “Subhan Allah. Never did I give money but that it came back to me!”

There is so much to look forward to and so much to have hope for. We should not be satisfied with a basic level of faith and doing extra only once in a while. Rather we should say, “This is who I want to be!” and live every day wanting to become the Wali of Allah.

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