Ramadan 1435H: Discover Who You Are

Ramadan-2012
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O you who have believed, fear Allah. And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow – and fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is acquainted with what you do. And be not like those who forgot Allah, so He made them forget themselves. Those are the defiantly disobedient. [The Noble Quran 59: 18-19]

These are two very profound verses of the Quran. Allah is exhorting us to reflect and think about what we are putting forth for tomorrow, which is the eternal life of hereafter.

The month of Ramadan is back among us.  There cannot be a time of self-reflection better than the month of Ramadan. Therefore, we need to reflect what we have put forth since last Ramadan.

How many good deeds we have put forth? Have we kept the promises we had made with Allah in the last Ramadan? Will the good deeds of last year outweigh the sins we have committed? How many nights we took account of our deeds before going to sleep?

We need to think. We need to reflect.

This self-reflection is necessary to find out who we are and where we stand.

When we commit sins, we forget Allah. However, in the process of forgetting Allah, we forget our very own self. We forget our very purpose of existence, our purpose of life, our utter helplessness before Allah’s decree and His punishment, and our ultimate goal, which is Jannah.

That is why when we commit sins, we not only forget Allah, but we forget our own self. And this is very scary.

Think about it deeply. Allah created us for worshipping Him. There will come a day when we will face our end -the death. At that moment, we will see our whole life in a flashback. We will look back into our fond memories. We will look back at our loved ones -our parents, spouse, children, siblings, relatives, and friends. We will look back at our houses and our worldly achievements. But at the face of death, when someone will finally realize that he will have to leave it all, a really horrible feeling will overcome him. It is truly a horrible feeling. At that moment, the person will realize the value of standing before Allah with utmost humility in the darkest part of night and praying before Him. At that moment, we will all realize the worth of worship -all forms of legislated worship. At that moment, we will realize that it is submission and worship of Allah that truly defines a human being.

Undoubtedly, there is no tragedy for human beings greater than forgetting Allah, their Creator, and forgetting their own selves, which is a natural consequence of forgetting the Creator. Therefore, in this blessed month of Ramadan, let us all do a self-audit. Let us reflect about our deeds. Let us find out who we are and where we need to be. Let us assess the extent of damage we have done to our souls by committing sins. And after self-reflection, take actions to repair the damages. Let’s not be lazy in this Ramadan. Rather, let us strive a mighty strive to make the most of this month.

O Allah! Forgive our sins and give us the ability to make the most of the blessed month of Ramadan.

The Best Introduction

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Imam Ash-Shafee (R) said, “If Allah had sent down only surah Al-Asr, it would have been sufficient (as a proof and guidance for mankind).”

This is the beauty of Islam. It is not only surah Al-Asr. Out of His infinite mercy, Allah has made the whole religion replete with proofs about the truthfulness of Islam. A proof can be a verse from the Quran. It can be a saying of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). It can be an incident from the life of Prophet (ﷺ). It is not possible to convince all human beings with one single proof. That is why, by His Mercy, Allah has blessed us with countless number of proofs.

Personally for me, khutbatul hajah (the sermon of necessity) has always been a source of evidence that Islam is a religion sent down by none other than Allah. This introductory khutbah, which the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) taught his ummah to begin their speech with, is so eloquent that when you hear it, you immediately recognize that it is impossible for a human being to come up with such a perfect introduction.

A beauty of khutbatul hajah is you never get tired of it. If a speaker writes an introduction and uses it every time he gives a speech, for sure the audience will get bored of it. That is why speakers always try to come with an unique introduction to draw the attention of their audience every time they give a new speech. In contrast, we never get tired of khutbatul hajah. You may hear it more than once is a single gathering, and yet, every time you hear it, your love only grows for it.

This article will present khutbatul hajah and a short explanation of it by Yasir Qadhi.

Khutbatul Hajah

All Praise is due to Allah. We Praise Him, seek His help, and ask His forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil of our souls, and the adverse consequences of our deeds. Whoever Allah guides, there is none that can misguide him, and whoever He misguides, then none can guide him.

I bear witness and testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except for Allah; He is alone, having no partners. I bear witness and testify that Muhammad (ﷺ) is His perfect worshiper, and messenger.

O you who have faith! Have taqwa of Allah as He deserves, and die not except as Muslims. [The Noble Quran 3:102]

O Mankind! Have taqwa of your Lord, Who created you from a single person, and from him, He created his wife, and from these two, He created multitudes of men, and women. And have taqwa of Allah, through whom you demand your mutual rights, and (do not cut off) the ties of kinship. Verily, Allah is Ever-Watching of over you. [The Noble Quran 4:1]

O you who you have faith! Have taqwa of Allah, and say righteous speech. He will direct you to do righteous deeds, and He will forgive your sins. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has indeed achieved the ultimate success. [the Noble Quran 33:70-71]

As to what follows, then the best speech is the Speech of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (ﷺ). And the worst of affairs are newly invented matters, and every innovation is a misguidance, and every misguidance is in the fire of Hell.

A short explanation of khutbatul hajah from An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’aan by Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi

In this short speech, which the Prophet (ﷺ) would give every time he spoke, and which he (ﷺ) taught the Companions to give every time they spoke, the Prophet (ﷺ) summarized the essence of Islam. The words, despite their brevity, are deep in meaning. The speech, despite its lightness, carries great import.

In the first two paragraphs, the Prophet (ﷺ) outlined the fundamentals of faith (eeman). The first paragraph consists of acknowledging the ‘Oneness of Allah in His Existence’ (Tawheed ar-Ruboobiyyah), and in affirming His unique Names and Attributes (Tawheed al-Asmaa wa as-Sifaat). The fact that a person testifies that Allah is worthy of all types of praise, and that He is the One who is asked in all matters, automatically implies that He exists, and possesses such Names and Attributes that make it deserving and obligatory upon the creation to do these acts.

The second paragraph is the testimony of faith (shahaadah), and with it a Muslim testifies that he will worship Allah, and only Allah, and that this worship will be based upon the teachings and Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). This is the essence of the ‘Oneness of Actions’ (Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah); that all of a person’s acts will be performed with one goal in mind: the pleasure of the Creator.

The three verses that the Prophet (ﷺ) would recite have one central theme: the importance of taqwa. The famous student of Ibn ‘Abbas, Mujaahid ibn Jabr (d. 103 A.H.) defined taqwa as, “It is that you obey Allah, so that He is never disobeyed, and you are conscious of Him, so that he is never forgotten, and that you thank Him, so that He is never disbelieved.” The taqwa of Allah is the life of the heart; without it all actions are as if dead.

In the last paragraph, the Prophet (ﷺ) summarized the source of all guidance, and the source of all misguidance. Guidance comes only from the two inspirations – the Quran and the Sunnah. The Quran is described as the best of all speech. If this is the case, then it must contain in it the best of all matters in all that is needed by mankind. The Sunnah, the best guidance, is superior to all other philosophies and methodologies that mankind has invented, for the Sunnah is the perfect example of the worship of Allah, manifested in the life and actions of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). All that is opposed to the Quran and Sunnah – and in this opposition lies the source of all evil – are termed newly-invented innovations, destined to the fire of Hell.

Umrah 1435: Observations, Thoughts, and Discoveries

Observations

Street Vendors of Madinah:

Thoughts
01. If possible, it would have been better if the government of Saudi Arabia made separate arrangements of tawaf for men and women. Such arrangement would have been purer for hearts.

02. I wish the women pilgrims at haram observed hijab in the proper manner, at least out of respect for the House of Allah.

03. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, especially the streets are way more dirty compared to the streets of Qatar. This has resulted from the culture of irresponsibly disposing wastes almost anywhere without any concern for environment and cleanliness. Majority of the Saudis and expats at KSA do not have the habit of disposing wastes at designated waste bins. That is why you will see polythene bags and plastic bottles even in the middle of deserts. To the locals and residents of KSA: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) has described removing harmful things from the streets as part of eeman. So, how can you so carelessly litter your streets?

04. Before going for umrah, we often harbor dreams like making lots of dua and tawaf and so on. What we forget while dreaming is umrah has been described by the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) as a jihad for the weak. Since it is a jihad, after reaching there, we often do not find the perfect utopian setting of worship we imagine. We discover a place of hardship. Often due to overcrowding, noise level, struggle like lowering the gaze, grasshoppers, and many other factors, we struggle to accomplish what we plan to accomplish. That is why before we go for umrah, or hajj, we have to have a different expectation. Just because we are going to the holiest sites of Islam, we should not expect a utopian setting where we will be able to worship effortlessly. Rather, since umrah has been described as a smaller jihad, we must mentally prepare to struggle and endure a lot of hardship, and only if we prepare with such a mindset, we will able to accomplish our goals while we are there.  Otherwise, umrah will turn like visits to other places, and we will return only with lots of complaints against Saudi government, service providers, and so on, and we will not attain our goals of supererogatory worship at the haram.

Discovery
I was passing by an audio store when the recitation of a Qari captivated me. I came to learn that this was Shaykh Khalid Al-Jaleel.

Verily, have we ever wondered what our life would be without the Quran?

“Praise to Allah , who has guided us to this; and we would never have been guided if Allah had not guided us. Certainly the messengers of our Lord had come with the truth.” [The Noble Quran 7:43]

Here is a clip:

Heart Trembling Recitation: Surah Ale Imran (186-200)

Heart trembling recitation of the last part of Surah Ale Imran by three famous qurras of our time:

Shaykh Saud Ibraheem Al-Shuraim: This is a fajr prayer clip recorded in the good old days, when Shaykh Shuraim would lead the fajr prayer in the Haram everyday. The shaykh recited with his usual deep voice.

Shaykh Abdul Wali Al-Arkani: I had the fortune to hear this recitation live at Qatar State Mosque on the 4th night of Ramadan 1434 H. Absolutely amazing recitation.

Shaykh Abdur Rahman Al-Sudais: I was blessed to hear this recitation live in the Haram on the 24th night of Ramadan 1433 H. The way the shaykh raised and lowered his voice was just heart melting.

Old is Gold: 90’s Childhood in Qatar

(All the images have been collected from Facebook. If you have objection to any of these images, please let me know so that I can remove it.)

The fancier box you had, the more popular you would be in the class.

The fancier box you had, the more popular you would be in the class.

The objective of buying toys was to break it and remove motors like these.

The objective of buying toys was to break them and remove motors like these.

Old notes.

Old notes.

In supermarket, whenever we would pass by this Nido color box set, it was difficult for us to take our eyes away from it.

In supermarket, whenever we would pass by this Nido color box set, we would struggle to take our eyes away from it.

Istimara time.

Istimara time.

View master.

View master.

Best snack ever.

Best snack ever.

Only the kids of 90's will know the relationship between this cassette and a pen.

Only the kids of 90’s will know the relationship between this cassette and a pen.

Old Qatari taxi.

Old Qatari taxi.

Our dream fountain pen.

Our dream fountain pen.

Before the cricket days, our attention was in football.

Before the cricket days, our attention was in football.

This roundabout does not exist anymore.

This roundabout does not exist anymore.

QTV logo.

QTV logo.

Tiffin time.

Tiffin time.

Aladdin Kingdom.

Aladdin Kingdom.

Old currency of Qatar.

Old currency of Qatar.

Legendary Chips Oman.

Legendary Chips Oman.

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Trademark iron.

Trademark iron.

Brick game.

Brick game.

Water gun.

Water gun.

If you have lived in Qatar in the 90's, I am sure you have seen notebooks like this.

If you have lived in Qatar in the 90’s, I am sure you have seen notebooks like this.

Common notebooks of Qatar. They are still available in the market.

Common notebooks of Qatar. They are still available in the market.

Old five riyal notes.

Old five riyal notes.

Popeye the sailor.

Popeye the sailor.

Fan speed regulator.

Fan speed regulator.

Old Q-Tel phone.

Old Q-Tel phone.

Hamad General Hospital.

Hamad General Hospital.

Souq Faleh. To buy school back packs, uniform, or blanket, we would go to this market.

Souq Faleh. To buy school back packs, uniform, or blanket, we would go to this market.

Nothing could beat Tom and Jerry.

Nothing could beat Tom and Jerry.

The are supposed to aid you in writing, but we would use them to fight against each other.

The are supposed to aid you in writing, but we would use them to fight against each other.

My first watch.

My first watch.

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This is how our tables and chairs looked like in school.

This is how our tables and chairs looked like in school.

Qatar women's hospital.

Qatar women’s hospital.

Computer.

First Pentium II Computer.

Pure Ghee.

Pure Ghee.

Carom board. I played it a lot but I was never very good in it.

Carom board. I played it a lot but I was never very good in it.

Brief case. My father had a brief case like this and we would often jump on it like kids jump on a trampoline.

Brief case. My father had a brief case like this and we would often jump on it like kids jump on a trampoline.

Old Qatar museum. Our favorite was the aquarium. This museum was not boring like the present Museum of Islamic Arts.

Old Qatar museum. Our favorite was the aquarium. This museum was not boring like the present Museum of Islamic Arts.

On the way to Umm Ghuwalina.

On the way to Umm Ghuwalina.

We came to Qatar with this a Gulf Air that had livery like this.

We came to Qatar with this a Gulf Air plane that had livery like this.

The watch with calculator. The guy who first brought this watch in the class was a hero.

The watch with calculator. The guy who first brought this watch in the class was a hero.

I guess this was in Wadi Al Sail.

I guess this was in Wadi Al Sail.

Thunder, thunder, thudercats. We were ever fascinated about the fight between Mamra and Thundercats.

Thunder, thunder, thudercats. We were ever fascinated about the fight between Mamra and Thundercats.

Air tickets-this is how they used to look like back then.

Air tickets-this is how they used to look like back then.

Yan Yan- it is still my favorite.

Yan Yan- it is still my favorite.

WWF-World Wrestling Federation. Our young mind was fascinated with this belt. Often after making a symbolic belt like it, I would wrestle with my brother to win the belt. Also in the 90's, there was a sumo wrestler named Yokozona, and because of being overweight, I used to be bullied as Yokozona during my kindergarten days.

WWF-World Wrestling Federation. Our young mind was fascinated with this belt. Often after making a symbolic belt like it, I would wrestle with my brother to win the belt. Also in the 90’s, there was a sumo wrestler named Yokozona, and because of being overweight, I used to be bullied as Yokozona during my kindergarten days.

Y have made it and you know it.

You have made it and you know it.

Harees. During Ramadan, we would often receive harees from as iftaar from Qatari neighbors. Lived in Doha for more than two decades and still cannot eat harees.

Harees. During Ramadan, we would often receive harees as iftaar from Qatari neighbors. Lived in Doha for more than two decades and still cannot eat harees.

Old orange colored taxis of Doha. We did not have a car for about a decade and taxi was the mean to get around.

Old orange colored taxis of Doha. We did not have a car for about a decade and taxi was the mean to get around.

Quality street chocolate.

Quality street chocolate.

Radio. During Ramadan, our hobby was listening to taraweeh prayers led by Shaykh Sudais and Shaykh Shuraim.

Radio. During Ramadan, our hobby was listening to taraweeh prayers led by Shaykh Sudais and Shaykh Shuraim in radio.

Cookies. Whenever guests (mehmans) would bring this cookies, we would be excited.

Cookies. Whenever guests (mehmans) would bring these cookies, we would be excited.

Do you know the word bleep? Whenever we would see a person with bleep, we would think of him as a very important person.

Do you know the word bleep? Whenever we would see a person with bleep, we would think of him as a very important person.

Abu Bakr Al-Siddique Mosque. We had an acquaintance living near this mosque. Whenever we would visit her house, we would be excited about praying in this mosque. That acquaintance of ours has passed away. O Allah! Have mercy on her. Still today whenever we pass by this mosque, we remember her.

Abu Bakr Al-Siddique Mosque. We had an acquaintance living near this mosque. Whenever we would visit her house, we would be excited about praying in this mosque. That acquaintance of ours has passed away. O Allah! Have mercy on her. Still today whenever we pass by this mosque, we remember her.

Vending machine.

Vending machine.

A must have for Asian mothers.

A must have for Asian mothers.

Shaykh Khalifa bin Hamad- he was the emir of Qatar when I arrived in Doha in 1992.

Shaykh Khalifa bin Hamad- he was the emir of Qatar when I arrived in Doha in 1992.

Old Souq Waqif.

This is old Souq Waqif I guess.

The first NOKIA mobile.

The first NOKIA mobile.

Walkman.

Walkman.

I still like LEGO.

I still like LEGO.

Observations, Thoughts, Random Reflections…

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