Ramadan Poem – In Allah’s Loving Hands

Clouds and sun rays

In Allah’s Loving Hands

May Allah swt be with you every step that you take,
May HE guide you with each decision you make,
May HE help you when life gets rough,
May HE lift you when you’ve had enough,
May HE protect you when you fall,
May HE hear you when you call,
May all your duas be accepted,
May you always be in Allah swt’s loving hands. Ramadan Mubarak x

– Anonymous Muslimah

Allah Prepared the Earth for Us

Yosemite Valley, California

Yosemite Valley, California

“As the pregnant mother excitedly prepares the cradle for the arrival of her new baby, Allah also prepared the earth for us before He sent Adam and Hawaa. He set all in place for us: the earth as a soft bed, the heavens as a canopy, the rain, the fruits, the stars, even companions and love. He (SWT) gave us everything we need to live and fulfill our needs. It’s truly amazing.”

– Sister Fozia

Invite Allah’s Power and Wisdom Into Your Life

Man surrounded by sun rays

By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

Allah’s power and wisdom are limitless and beyond our comprehension. But guess what? There is a key that brings Allah’s infinite wisdom into play in your life. That key is prayer. Salat and dua’ are like a special hotline that transcends the veils of space and time and goes directly to Allah. Prayer is the means and the voice that Allah has given us to speak to Him, ask His forgiveness, and request His assistance and wisdom in any situation that we are dealing with. And it works.

“And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me and believe in Me that they may be guided.” Quran, Al-Baqarah 2:186

Miracles happen every day. Do you not believe that miracles can happen in your life as well? Do you think that you are too insignificant for that? SubhanAllah. Allah sees and knows every fallen leaf, every grain in the darkness of the earth; and He knows your innermost thoughts. He is closer to you than your jugular vein. (Quran 50:16)

Do you think that Allah’s nearness to you is because He mistrusts you? No! Allah has nothing to fear from you, and therefore nothing to mistrust. Allah is near to you because He loves you. He is near to you because He cares about you and understands your pain. He is near to you so that He can help you. You matter, as much as the ocean, the trees and the stars. You are important to Allah, not as a general concept, but you, as an individual person with your own private needs and fears. You only have to turn to Him, and call upon Him; and His wisdom, power and guidance will manifest in your life.

I personally went through a very difficult period when I was younger. At the time I felt that I had failed in life. I was beginning to feel some despair. But I kept my faith in Allah, and I prayed to Him in the day and the dark of the night. I trusted Allah, and I knew that He would not abandon me. And then the last person I would expect, an acquaintance who I hardly knew and who had no reason to care about me or my situation, suddenly took an interest and began helping me. Within a short period of time I had a job, and was able to get my own apartment, and my life had changed completely. It was literally a miracle. Even now it blows my mind. Allah stepped into that situation, and He made the impossible possible, because I believed in Him and I prayed.

Miracles happen every day. Allah hears you. You matter.

“O You the Ever Living Who sustains all that exists! O You Who created the heavens and the earth without precedence. O You, Who owns the glory and the honor, none has the right to be worshiped except You. We seek refuge with Your mercy. Grant us success in all of our matters. Please, do not abandon us to rely on ourselves even for an instant nor on any of Your creation.” – (dua’ mentioned in Tafsir ibn Kathir, in the tafsir of Surat Ar-Rahman, ayahs 26 to 30.)

Allah and His Messenger are the lights in the darkness of this world

The sun bursting from behind the clouds

By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

Matthew Arnold, the English poet, wrote:

“Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,

Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.”

In this poem, Arnold envisioned the world as a place of darkness, conflict and confusion, with no light to show the way out. To him the beauty of the world was just an illusion, a dream; and the reality of life was one of struggle and pain.

Indeed, the world seems to become a more dangerous and hopeless every day. The news is filled with dire stories about war and starvation, the inexorable destruction of the natural environment, pollution of the oceans, terrorism, and crime. Most recently we have been reading about the “Arab Spring”, in which the people of several nations have risen up against their dictators. As inspiring as these events are, in the midst lie acts of horrific cruelty. In Libya it is rumored that 100 officers who refused to order soldiers to fire on protesters, were burned alive. La hawla wa la quwwata il-laa billah. How horrendous.

Wouldn’t a sane person be afraid of such a world? Wouldn’t an intelligent person be consumed with anxiety, and wouldn’t a very intelligent person be plunged into despair?

The thing about fear, anxiety and despair is that they flourish in spiritual darkness, just as some species of mushrooms can only grow in the dark. They might be represented by the image of a monster hiding in the corner of a dark room.

What do you do when you’re afraid there’s a monster in the closet, or creeping quietly toward you? You turn on the light.

The Light is Allah

For us, the light is Allah, and the Quran through which He communicates with us. Our guiding light is the natural bond we have with Allah, and our instinctive yearning to know our Creator. Let’s cherish that bond and strengthen it, and it will fill us with light.

Allah’s light is our salvation from fear of the unknown; fear of failure; fear of loss and pain; fear of poverty, illness and injury; fear of enemies who want to hurt us; fear of strange things; fear of death.

“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. Light upon light. Allah guides to His light whom He wills. And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is Knowing of all things.” – Quran, Surat An-Nur, 24:35

An Illuminating Lamp

And what about the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him)?

Allah says in the Quran, Surat Al-Ahzab, 33:45-46,

“O Prophet, indeed We have sent you as a witness and a bringer of good tidings and a warner, And one who invites to Allah, by His permission, and an illuminating lamp.”

The Messenger too is a source of light. He is an illuminating lamp, which is what you hold up so you can see the way ahead. His Sunnah gives us a brilliant path to walk. It shows us the way past all the evils that lurk in the darkness, including the evils of racism, nationalism, anger, selfishness, dishonesty, hypocrisy, and greed.

I’m not saying that all we must do is read the Quran and pray, and those dire problems that I mentioned earlier will evaporate. Not at all.

But the solutions to those problems lie within the Quran if we look. The Quran is the light that shows us the way out out of the gloom that we have created for ourselves, and example of the Messenger (peace be upon him) is a beacon that lights the way forward.

Light in Our Hearts

The verse I quoted above, from Surat an-Nur, mentions the example or similitude of Allah’s light. The Sahabi (companion of the Prophet) Ubayy ibn Ka`b said, ‘The similitude of His light [takes place in] the Muslim’s heart.’ [Ibn Kathir, 3:464]  Faith, dhikr, love of Allah and compassion toward all creatures, cause that light to grow in our hearts, until it spreads and appears on our faces, our hands, in our eyes, on our tongues, and even in our homes. As Allah says, “Or is one who was dead, and whom We gave life and made for him a light by which to walk among people, like one who is in a darkness from which he cannot emerge?” [6:122]

Other people can sense this light, and some will be guided by it, while others reject it. Those who reject it might even be angered by it, because it represents a refutation of a lifestyle based on narrow material concerns.

Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “When the Messenger of Allah got up to pray at night, he would say:

(O Allah, to You be praise, You are the Sustainer of heaven and earth and whoever is in them. To You be praise, You are the Light of the heavens and the earth and whoever is in them.)

When life starts to feel like a burden, and your vision contracts so that all you see is darkness, don’t give up. Don’t despair. Remember that there is a light to show you the way. The light is Allah. His light is expressed through the Quran and through His Messenger. Turn to it, and it will grow in your heart and bring you peace. It will give you strength and joy, and will transform you and all those around you.

Arabian lamp shining

Be All About Allah

Mountains above a beautiful valley with flowers

By Wael Abdelgawad for IslamicSunrays.com

Be all about Allah and your connection with Him, no matter what’s happening around you. On Yawm Al-Qiyamah (the Day of Resurrection) it will be you standing before Allah. No one will step in to take your place. No one will dispute truth or promote falsehood. No bigot will harm you, and no lover will help. Only your relationship with Allah will matter, while all else will be irrelevant, so don’t wait until it’s too late. Let it be all about you and Allah, right now.

Represent your faith. Live your deen with courage. With a single verse of the Quran you could light up a city. With the Shahadah (the testimony of faith) you could build a nation and part the sea, and I’m not speaking of the Red Sea, but of the sea of chaos, suffering and war that covers the world.

Be yourself, speak your truth, express love in your daily actions and speech no matter what anyone else says or does. They are responsible for their own souls, and you for yours. You will not be asked about them, nor they about you. You will be asked what you did for Allah, for truth, for humanity; but that is about you, not them. The end is with Allah.

Don’t give up on yourself. You have far yet to go, Insha’Allah. Never hate yourself or harm yourself. You are more precious than the crescent moon.

Follow the path of your dream like a bloodhound. Be the ideal you, the you that shines in your imagination, the you that is brave and strong. That image of the “ideal you” that you have in your head, that is not a silly daydream, that is in fact who you are meant to be! Be that person, step out of your chrysalis, emerge from the shadows, hold your head up, and don’t worry what anyone thinks, because as Dr. Seuss famously said, those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter won’t mind.

Poem: My Greatest Need is You

Lonely tree and sun rays

Rabi’ah al-Adawiyya, the author of this poem, was a major spiritual influence in the classical Islamic world. She was born around the year 717 C.E. in what is now Iraq.

My Greatest Need is You

Your hope in my heart is the rarest treasure
Your Name on my tongue is the sweetest word
My choicest hours
Are the hours I spend with You —
O Allah, I can’t live in this world
Without remembering You–
How can I endure the next world
Without seeing Your face?
I am a stranger in Your country
And lonely among Your worshippers:
This is the substance of my complaint.

Praising Allah: the Power of “SubhanAllah wa bihamdihi”

Palm tree in a blue sky

By Wael Abdelgawad for IslamicSunrays.com

There are many hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) about the power of this phrase, SubhanAllah wa bihamdihi, which means, “Glory to Allah and praise Him.”

1. Whoever says “SubhanAllah wa bihamdihi” a hundred times during the day, his sins are wiped away, even if they are like the foam of the sea. [Sahih al-Bukhari; #7:168, Sahih Muslim; #4:2071]

2. Abu Dharr reported that the Prophet (sws) said, “Shall I tell you the words that Allah loves the most?” I said: “Yes, tell me, O Messenger of Allah.” He said: “The words dearest to Allah are: subhanAllah wa bihamdihi.

3. A palm tree is planted for the reciter [of the above] in Paradise. [at-Tirmidhi; 5:511, al-Hakim]

4. The Prophet Muhammad (sws) said: “Two words (subhanAllah wa bihamdihi) are light on the tongue, weigh heavily in the balance, and are loved by the Most Merciful One.”

Allah is so forgiving and gives us countless avenues to earn our forgiveness. Today, let’s have this phrase – subhanAllah wa bihamdihi – on our tongues, and let’s earn our forgiveness, and have entire groves of palm trees planted for us in Jannah, Insha’Allah.

Praise going up, blessings coming down

Of course there are many types of dhikr. Dhikr means praising Allah, remembering Allah. SubhanAllah wa bihamdihi is a good one, but even something as simple as saying, “Thank you, Allah” when you finish a meal is a type of dhikr.

When we have dhikr always on our tongues, we have this constant connection with God, even as we go about our daily routines. When things are going well, or when things are hard, we have this lifeline to Allah, this constant stream of praise going up, and blessings coming down. Our spirits are lighter, our hearts happier. We are grateful for everything we have, because we remember that every single little blessing – good health, the comfortable beds we sleep in, the orange juice we had for breakfast, even our beating hearts and the breath in our lungs – comes from Allah.

Dhikr is a guide to excellent character, and a light that keeps us on the path to Paradise.

We covet what we think about

Here’s another important point. I am the editor of IslamicAnswers.com, which is a common-sense advice website for marriage and family issues. One type of common question I get is from a young person who is madly in love with someone who is unavailable. Maybe the unavailable person is already married, or is not interested, or the parents do not approve, but it’s clear that the match is impossible.

One thing I tell such a young person is, stop thinking about the object of your desire. When the thoughts come, push them away. Absolutely do not spend your time gazing at photographs of him/her, reading old emails, dwelling on what-ifs, and fantasizing, because that will only reinforce your obsession, and keep the unavailable person in your mind.

What we think about, we come to desire.

With dhikr, we are using this principle for good. By constantly praising Allah, we keep Him in our minds and hearts. The more we do so, the more we come to desire His love, His forgiveness, and His presence. The more we think about Allah, the more we want to please Him. It becomes a beautiful cycle of remembrance and blessings, reinforcing each other.

That’s why Allah described the believers as,

“Who remember Allaah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides.” [3:191]

“…and the men who remember Allaah often and the women who do so – for them Allaah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward.” [33:35]

“O you who have believed, remember Allaah with much remembrance. And exalt Him morning and afternoon.” [33:41-42]

The living and the dead

There is a very powerful hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in which he said,

“The example of the one who remembers his Lord (God) in comparison with the one who does not remember his Lord is that of the living and the dead.” [Sahih al-Bukhari; 11:208, Muslim; 1:539]

I could write an entire essay about that one hadith, but I’ll just say that the essence of life is our need for Allah. Without Him, our hearts would not beat, the rain would not fall, there would be no food on our tables, and no joy in our hearts. When we remember Allah we prove that we are spiritually alive. We acknowledge our need for the One God, and we acknowledge His favors upon us.

Conversely, if we do not remember Him, it’s as if we are spiritually dead. That’s why the famous classical scholar Shaykhul Islam ibn Taymiyyah said, “The example of dhikr to the heart is that of fish to water.”

Living for the Glory of God

sunrays through the trees in AlaskaThe following excerpt is from Henri Nouwen’s book, “The Inner Voice of Love”. He is not Muslim, but what he has to say here is very consistent with the Islamic idea of life as ‘ibadah (worship), and having taqwa (Allah-consciousness) in everything we do:

Whatever you are doing–watching a movie, writing a book, giving a presentation, eating, or sleeping–you have to stay in God’s presence. If you feel a great loneliness and a deep longing for human contact, you have to be extremely discerning. Ask yourself whether this situation is truly God-given. Because where God wants you to be, God holds you safe and gives you peace, even when there is pain.

To live a disciplined life is to live in such a way that you want only to be where God is with you. The more deeply you live your spiritual life, the easier it will be to discern the difference between living with God and living without God, and the easier it will be to move away from the places where God is no longer with you.

The great challenge here is faithfulness, which must be lived in the choices of every moment. When your eating, drinking, working, playing, speaking, or writing is no longer for the glory of God, you should stop it immediately, because when you no longer live for the glory of God, you begin living your own glory. Then you separate yourself from God and do yourself harm.

Your main question should always be whether something is lived with or without God. You have your own inner knowledge to answer that question. Every time you do something that comes from your needs for acceptance, affirmation, or affection, and every time you do something that makes these needs grow, you know that you are not with God. These needs will never be satisfied; they will only increase when you yield to them. But every time you do something for the glory of God, you will know God’s peace in your heart and find rest there.

Speak of Allah’s Kindness

Leaf with water droplets

“Do not become proud of your position. Do not become harsh toward those weaker than yourself. And always speak of Allah’s kindness to you.”

– Ibn Isaq, “The Life of Muhammad”

Surely in Allah’s remembrance do the hearts find peace

Showers of sunshine on a green landscape

True peace comes with remembering Allah and growing closer to Him

When we remember God, we also realize that we are constantly in His presence, and thus we are liberated from the self-destructive habits that consume us.

So often in life we are wronged by others, and the temptation to respond in a demeaning and un-Islamic manner is very strong. Fortunately, we can avoid wrong responses in the case of mistreatment by relying on Allah and knowing that He is the All-Knowing. When we take part in wrong responses, we fall victim to disobediences that lead the soul away from righteousness, and into the pits of retaliation and cruelty.

“Surely in Allah’s remembrance do the hearts find peace.” (13:28)

Those who seek God and remember Him will find contentment and joy in their lives with the knowledge that they are under the protection of Allah. When we utter praise to the Almighty and thank Him for his countless bounties, our hearts are filled with inner peace and reflection. How happy and blessed are those who seek refuge in their Lord, the Most Beneficent and Most Merciful Allah.

– written by Renik

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