Quiet the Noise and Weep Before Allah

Sunrays shining through the forest

By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

Road repair! Televisions blaring! Radios playing, phones ringing, appliances beeping, traffic roaring, horns honking, commercials, mall music, elevator music… That’s the external noise.

Then there is shame, worrying about the bills, frustration over relationships, guilt, anger, resentment… That’s the internal noise.

There’s so much clamor in our lives, outside and inside, that we can’t hear our own hearts anymore. We can’t hear Allah’s guidance, or we don’t recognize it when we do.

We need to find moments of total silence to pray, make dua’, read Quran, contemplate Allah… We need periods of uninterrupted calm to get back in touch with our fitrah, that pure nature given to us by Allah. We need to confess everything to Allah, lay ourselves bare before him and beg forgiveness, then forgive ourselves for what we’ve done, and pardon others who have harmed us, so that we can get rid of the baggage of bitterness and anger.

We must open our eyes to the clear light of Allah’s huda (guidance), and have tranquility in our hearts, and quiet in our minds, so we can recognize the guidance when it comes.

We cannot silence the modern world. But we can make personal changes. It’s okay to have periods of silence in our lives. We don’t constantly have to have our phones or MP3 players with us, or be listening to lectures… We don’t have be doing something every moment of the day.

So many of us are afraid to be alone and silent because that’s when the disturbing thoughts come:  resentment over the way someone treated us, regret over a lost love, shame over things we’ve done in the past, anxiety about the future. Believe me, I know exactly what that’s like.

It’s okay to feel those things. In fact we need to feel those things, to deal with them and confront them. When those feelings come we can turn to Allah and say, “Ya Allah, I have made mistakes, forgive me. I am lost, please guide me. I am worried, help me.” Let the tears come. Weep before Allah. Those tears are precious to Him. Allah, the Exalted, says:

“And they fall down on their faces weeping and it increases their humility.” (17:109)

Abu Umamah Sudaiy bin `Ajlan Al-Bahili (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said:

“Nothing is dearer to Allah than two drops and two marks: A drop of tears shed out of consciousness of Allah, and a drop of blood shed in Allah’s way. Regarding the two marks, they are: Marks left in the Cause of Allah and a mark left in observing one of the obligatory acts of worship of Allah, the Exalted.” [At-Tirmidhi].

And if tears do not come, that’s okay too. As long as you are honest with yourself and with Allah, and turn to Him with sincerity and humility, that’s what matters.

Find a place that is your special place, a refuge where you can be alone to pray, recite Quran, do dhikr, meditate and think. Amid the chaos and noise of modern life, take time to be alone with your Lord.

For me that place is in my bedroom with the door closed and the lights dimmed, late at night when everyone is asleep. I sit on the floor on a musalla and confess everything to Allah. But I also want to find an outside refuge, someplace in nature.

Do you already have a special place like that? Tell me about it. And if you don’t, then your mission is to find such a place, then comment here and tell me about it Insha’Allah.

What to Say on Laylat al-Qadr, the Night of Power

Center of the Milky Way galaxy, as seen from Cherry Springs State Park

Center of the Milky Way galaxy, as seen from Cherry Springs State Park, one of the darkest places in the USA.

By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

The last ten nights of Ramadan are here. This is an amazing, powerful, unique time. These days are the most spiritually charged days of the year, more full of power than a great star or the mighty ocean. And one of these days is Laylat al-Qadr, the Night of Power, equal to a thousand months. Every prayer is magnified, every good deed is multiplied exponentially.

What to say during Laylat al-Qadr? It is recommended to supplicate a lot during this night.

It is reported from ‘Aisha (ra), that she said: “O Messenger of ALLAH! What if I knew which night Lailatul-Qadr was, then what should I say in it?” The Prophet (PBUH) said.- “Say.-

(Allahumma innaka ‘affuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘annee.)

“O ALLAH You are The One Who pardons greatly, and loves to pardon, so pardon me.”

[reported by at-Tirmithi]

I also wish to remind everyone that all difficulties pass, all troubles pass. Hard times don’t last, but strong people do! Worry if you must, but do not fear. Allah is with you. He is The Forgiving, The Merciful, The Loving, and the Giver of Peace. Call upon Him, especially during this blessed time.

As one of my readers said, call upon Allah using His beautiful Names…

Ar-Rahman – All Compassionate
Ar-Raheem – Most Merciful
Al-Wadood – All Loving

You have no idea how much your worship at this special time is valued. More than any of us can count. SubhanAllah.

Allah Will Make a Way Out

Al-Masjid An-Nabawi Al-Sharif, in Madinah

Al-Masjid An-Nabawi Al-Sharif, in Madinah

By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

Are you stressed? Take a deep breath, and as you release it, let your heart slow down and be calm.

Step back and look at your situation objectively. It’s almost never as bad as you think. Just do your best, and trust Allah. He will show you a way forward, and bring you through. He will bring you relief from a direction you did not expect.

This is true. I have experienced it over and over in my life, and it is a promise from Allah:

“And whoever is conscious of Allah, He will make for him a way out, And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.” (Quran 65:2-3)

Here is a true story that illustrates this point in an amazing way:

The Hotel Manager

Recently, a Muslim man was caught in a dilemma, where he faced two choices, both of which were onerous. This man was the manager of one of the largest hotels in Egypt. The hospitality industry in Egypt is one of the most competitive in the world so this manager always strived to provide the best possible service in his hotel. He paid attention to the smallest details, set the budget priorities, observed his staff, and got personally involved whenever a problem occurred. He was very good at his job. Because of this he was highly valued by his superiors.

However, there was one element of the job that galled him. A duty that he felt ashamed over. In any large hotel in Egypt, serving alcoholic drinks is a must, and that duty was killing him inside. He knew that serving alcohol is haram. It is forbidden by Allah, and whatever money comes from it is not blessed but haram; but it was part of the job and had to be taken care of, regardless of how he felt towards it.

Time went by and he performed his job admirably, but this business of selling alcohol was eating him up inside. Finally he decided to go to one of the well- known Egyptian sheikhs and ask his advice. After arranging for an appointment to meet this sheikh, he met him and explained the problem. The sheikh without hesitation said, “You must leave this job.”

That was not enough of an answer for the manager. He explained to the sheikh, “This is the only job I know. I’ve been working in this field all my life. I don’t know what else to do. I have a wife and children to take care of. I can’t just leave the job and be unemployed and penniless like so many others in Egypt.”

The sheikh replied, “Did you come to me thinking that I might give you permission to do what Allah forbids? Leave this job for the sake of Allah.”

The man, not knowing what to do, said, “But I have family to take care of. I’m their only source of money. How will I feed my children? If I leave the job, I won’t be able to provide them with the simplest needs of life. What shall I do?”

The sheikh reminded the manager of a verse from the Quran:

“And whoever is conscious of Allah, He will make for him a way out, And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him.”

The man returned to the hotel, knowing that he had to make the most difficult decision of his life. He knew now that this job would not satisfy Allah. As frightened as he was for his future, he was not willing to lose his faith and lose the hereafter because of a job; but he trembled when he thought of the risk he was taking, and the fear of what the future might hold for him and his family.

At the hotel the manager went about his job, looking normal on the outside. But inside he was thinking furiously, considering.  Then he made his decision. He decided to quit the job with no regrets. He became convinced that this was the right thing to do. With a strong faith and an absolute trust in Allah, he made a plea to the heavens: “O Allah, I trust You, and I’m doing this only for You. I know you will make for me away out, so please help me.”

He headed directly to his office, sat at his desk, and began writing his resignation.

As he was writing, the phone in front of him rang. It was his superior at the corporation office, calling with news. The manager was stunned and could hardly believe the news he heard, but it was true. The man was informed that he had been promoted and would no longer be responsible for managing this hotel but instead he would manage a new hotel located in Al-Madinah, the holy city of our Prophet (peace be upon him), and right next to the Masjid of the Prophet. Of course, being in Saudi Arabia, this new hotel sold no alcohol.

His dua had been answered in a heartbeat, from one moment to the next, before he even finished the letter of resignation.

Till this day, the man is still the manager of the hotel in Madinah.

Subhan’Allah…

“Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred. Our Lord, and lay not upon us a burden like that which You laid upon those before us. Our Lord, and burden us not with that which we have no ability to bear. And pardon us; and forgive us; and have mercy upon us. You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbelieving people.” (Quran 002.286)

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.)

I Asked Allah for Strength

Trees and sunshine

 

“I asked Allah for strength and Allah gave me difficulties to make me strong.
I asked Allah for wisdom and Allah gave me problems to solve.
I asked Allah for courage and Allah gave me obstacles to overcome.
I asked Allah for love and Allah gave me troubled people to help.
I asked Allah for favors and Allah gave me opportunities.
Maybe I received nothing I wanted, but I received everything I needed – Alhamdulillah.”

– Anonymous author

The Power of Dua

Sunrise behind a hill, Sun and tree

I am reprinting this article from Albalagh.net because I found it to be eloquent and moving.

The Power of Dua

The dua can change our life, our outlook, and our fate. It is the most potent weapon of a believer.

By Khalid Baig
POSTED: 14 RABI-UL-AWWAL 1423, 27 MAY 2002

Once Prophet Muhammad (sal-Allahu-alayhi-wa-sallam) passed by a people who were suffering from some affliction. “Why don’t they make dua (prayer) to Allah for protection?” he said. With all the suffering and disasters Muslims are facing in various parts of the world, the question can be directed to all of us today.

It is not that we have forgotten dua completely; we refer to it regularly. But our ideas and practice regarding dua have become distorted. Often it is reduced to the level of a ritual. Generally it is considered when all our efforts have failed — an act of last resort. It is belittled through actions and sometimes even with words. Is it any wonder that today mostly a mention of dua is meant to indicate the hopelessness of a situation?

What a tragedy, for dua is the most potent weapon of a believer. It can change fate, while no action of ours ever can. It is the essence of ibadah or worship. With it we can never fail; without it we can never succeed. In the proper scheme of things, dua should be the first and the last resort of the believer, with all his plans and actions coming in between.

The most empowering conversation

Dua is conversation with Allah, out Creator, our Lord and Master, the All Knowing, the All Powerful. This act in itself is of extraordinary significance. It is the most uplifting, liberating, empowering, and transforming conversation a person can ever have. We turn to Him because we know that He alone can lift our sufferings and solve our problems. We feel relieved after describing our difficulties to our Creator. We feel empowered after having communicated with the All Mighty. We sense His mercy all around us after talking to the Most Merciful. We get a new commitment to follow His path for that is the only path for success. We feel blessed with each such commitment.

Our first and last action

In every difficulty our first action is dua, as is our last. We ask Allah to show us the way to handle that difficulty; we seek His help in following the path He shows to us; we seek His aid in making our efforts successful. When we fall sick, we know that we cannot find the right doctor without His Will; that the best doctor may not be able to diagnose our condition without His Command; that the best treatment plan will not succeed without His Permission. We make dua for all of these. We make dua before we seek medical help, while we are receiving it and after it has been delivered.

The essence of worship

Dua is the essence of ibadah. A person engaged in dua affirms his belief in Tawheed (monotheism) and shuns belief in all false gods. With each dua his belief in Allah grows. He beseeches Him, affirming his own powerlessness. A person seriously and sincerely engaged in dua understands exactly the relationship between himself and the Creator and affirms it through his actions. That is the essence of worship! Additionally, such a person can never become arrogant or proud, a logical result of true worship.

Our most potent weapon

Dua is our most potent weapon in all struggles of life as well as in jihad in the battlefield. During the battle of Badr, the Prophet Muhammad stood up all night in prayer seeking Allah’s help in the battle between unequal armies that would follow the next day. In the decisive battles against the crusaders, Sultan Salatuddin Ayyubi was busy day and night. His days were devoted to Jihad. His nights were spent making dua, crying, seeking Allah’s help. This has been the practice of all true mujahideen.

Big and small

We should make it a point to make dua for all things big and small. It is the beginning of wisdom to realize that big and small are arbitrary labels that are totally irrelevant in this context. Nothing is too big for Whom we are asking from; nothing is too small for the one who is asking. That is why we have been taught to ask Allah when we need something as small as shoelaces. We should ask as a beggar, as a destitute person, for that is what we in reality are in relationship to Allah. At the same time we should ask with great hope and conviction that we shall be granted our prayers. We should remember the Hadith: “There is nothing more dear to Allah than a servant making dua to Him.” On the other hand, a prayer lacking concentration and conviction is no prayer at all.

All times and all needs

We should make dua at all times, not only during times of distress. The Prophet Muhammad said: “Whosoever desires that Allah answers his duas in unfavorable and difficult conditions, he should make plentiful dua in days of ease and comfort.” Also he said: “The person who does not ask from Allah, Allah becomes angry with him.”

We should ask for all of our needs: those related to this world as well as those related to the Hereafter. Those who only concentrate on the former are, in effect, announcing that they don’t care for their life in the permanent abode. They should blame nobody but themselves for the total ruin in that world that Qur’an assures us awaits them. Those who only concentrate on the later are also showing lack of balance, for we need Allah’s help to lead a good life here as well.

All people

We should make dua not only for ourselves but also for our parents, brothers and sisters, spouses and children, relatives and friends, teachers and other benefactors, and destitute and struggling Muslims everywhere. We should pray for them for the good in this world as well as in the Hereafter. The Prophet said: “The dua of a Muslim for his brother (in Islam) in his absence is readily accepted. An angel is appointed to his side. Whenever he makes a beneficial dua for his brother the appointed angel says, ‘Aameen. And may you also be blessed with the same.'” [Sahih Muslim]

In the dark ages that we are living in today, everyday brings fresh news about atrocities committed against our brothers in Palestine, Kashmir, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Chechnya, and the list goes on. And what do we do? We can continue to just feel frustrated and depressed. We can petition the determined perpetrators or a fictional “International Community”. We can just forget all this and move on to some other subject. Or we can stand up before Allah and pray for His help, who alone can help. The dua can change our life, our outlook, and our fate. It is the most potent weapon. But it works only for those who try sincerely and seriously to use it.

Stop trying to control others, and change yourself instead

Man and his camel before the sunset

By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com

“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” (Quran 13:11)

Brothers and sisters, each of us must accept that we can only change ourselves. That is the key to changing our situations in life. We can’t control anyone else’s feelings or actions. We cannot make anyone love us, treat us better, respect us even when we deserve it, accept us even when we are right, befriend us even when we are sweet, or believe in us even when we’re true.

Dua’ is not a magic spell that allows you to control other human beings.

Neither will Allah coerce anyone to love us or accept us. Of course He can – He has power over all things – but it is not His way. Allah created us with free will, the ability to choose our own paths in life, and He does not take that away by controlling our emotions or compelling us down predetermined roads. Yes, everything is written, but that does not mean it’s forced, only that the outcome is known to Allah in advance.

I am thinking specifically of people who imagine that there is some special dua’ (prayer) they can say to make someone love them, or stop abusing them and treat them kindly instead. There is not, to my knowledge, and Allah knows best. And the same principle extends to all human interactions: dua’ is not a charm or potion that you can use to control others.

This is true even in very important matters such as guiding people to the truth and bringing them to the worship of Allah. We can certainly pray for Allah to guide someone, but we must understand that Allah’s guidance consists of showing clear signs, no more. It’s up to the individual to make the choice to believe or not. Allah does not force the outcome.

“And if there was any Quran by which the mountains would be removed or the earth would be broken apart or the dead would be made to speak, [it would be this Quran], but to Allah belongs the affair entirely. Then have those who believed not accepted that had Allah willed, He would have guided the people, all of them?” (Quran 13:31)

In other words Allah could certainly force everyone into submission if He willed, or He could manifest miraculous and powerful signs – such as the earth splitting or the dead speaking – that would compel all human beings to submit in fear and awe, as He said:

“If We willed We could send down a sign from heaven to them, and then their necks would be lowered to it in subjection.” (Quran 26:4).

For that matter, Allah could have created us all in submission from the start. He chose not to.

If Allah chose to leave such critical issues within the realm of our free will – vital issues such as acknowledging the truth of Allah’s power, worshiping Him or serving false gods, following the Prophets or rejecting them (and some even killed their Prophets!) – if He chose to leave these all-important issues within the realm of our agency, and under the dominion of our discretion, do you think He is going to violate the principle of free will in order to force your boyfriend or girlfriend to love you and come back to you?

I’m sorry, but this is what it seems to come down to for some people. They actually speak of committing suicide if the boyfriend/girlfriend does not return (ignoring the fact that this relationship is Islamically unlawful in the first place), then they want a dua’ that will force the object of their desire to fall in love, as if dua’ is some kind of magic potion from a fairy tale.

Nor is dua’ going to force your husband to stop abusing you and become kind and loving. Nor will it change occupiers into happy campers so that they quit their occupation, or turn tyrants into hippies who wear flowers in their hair and open the political prisons. I’m not belittling these oppressive situations – they have haunted me for most of my life, and I consider myself a human rights activist. And I’m not saying that dua’ is not effective against oppression – actually the Prophet (pbuh) has told us that the dua’ of the oppressed is one of those categories of dua’ that is guaranteed a response.

Narrated Abu Ma’bad, that the Prophet said, “… and be afraid of the curse of an oppressed person because there is no screen between his invocation and Allah.” Sahih Bukhari: Volume 2, Book 24, Number 573.

But the response is not going to be forcing someone else to change heart, or become loving, kind or peaceful. That is an artificial expectation and it doesn’t work that way.

What, then? Is it all hopeless? No, far from it! The hope does not lie in changing someone else, it lies in changing yourself. That’s the whole point. Your free will and power do not extend over others, but they do encompass yourself. When you make a sincere choice to change your own life, when you purge yourself of blind desire, bitterness, self-pity, addiction and sin, when you work at it like your life depends on it, and when you make sincere and pure dua’ to Allah, then Allah’s help comes. New doors open, maybe not the solutions that you thought you wanted, but something better.

“And those who struggle in Our cause, We shall certainly guide them to our paths. For verily Allah is with those who do right.” (Quran 29:69)

A steep road, but not an impossible one

Sometimes there’s serious internal work that must be done before we can change. I’ve said that we cannot control others, we can only control our own choices, but some of us are out of control. We keep making the wrong choices over and over again, and we don’t know why, so we seek to blame our situations on others, and we imagine that they are the ones who need to change, not us.

How did we get to be this way? It usually traces back to the way we were raised. Parents are supposed to be loving and supportive, and most of them are, Alhamdulillah. But there are many rotten parents out there as well, dysfunctional people who turn their homes into environments of confusion and suffering. These parents might be alcohol or drug addicts, violent towards spouses and children, or verbally demeaning.

I remember one family I knew well when I was young. The parents were Muslim converts, and they had five children. The mother was German, and the father Arab. They used to scream at each other daily, in front of the children. The mother would shout, “Arab savage!” And the father would shout back, “German barbarian!” The father would sometimes strike the mother or throw things. I remember one time when he picked up a vacuum cleaner and held it over his head like a war club, shouting. It sounds comical, but the effect on the children was not so funny. Both parents often yelled at the children and insulted them. The children were under nourished, partly because the family was always short of money (the father never held a steady job), and partly because the environment was so chaotic that mealtimes were neglected. In their teens, the two eldest children had not learned to read and write.

This family was active in the masjid, their friends were all Muslim, they attended Muslim youth camps in summer… an outsider would never guess at the insanity that existed inside the home.

Those children are all adults now. One married a non-Muslim abuser who beat her while she was pregnant. She became an alcoholic and drug user before she finally returned to Islam many years later. One left Islam and became a Hindu. One is chronically ill and has never married. He’s bitter and expresses many racist ideas toward Arabs in particular. One married an Algerian man who beats her badly enough to put her in the hospital, yet she refuses to leave him. Only the eldest has what you would consider a healthy and normal Muslim family, though he expresses an unexplainable sense of deep sadness that has persisted inside him for years. The parents themselves have been divorced for many years, and each lives alone in their home countries.

Parents like these can do a number on you for life. They can knuckle your self-esteem into the ground, crush your sense of self-worth, and give you a skewed picture of what a family is supposed to be. If you grew up in such a home then you may have been thoroughly indoctrinated into believing that all the abuse heaped on you is your own darn fault.

As a result some of us have uncontrollable tempers, or a lack of will to resist abuse, or a lack of faith in our own talents and dreams. And so the cycle of broken spirits and bad parenting is perpetuated into another generation.

If any of that sounds like you, then you have a steep road to climb, but not an impossible one. You must find a way to break out of the ruinous mold that you’ve been forced into and emerge a new human being, light and free, or at least on your way to becoming free. It’s not an easy process; in fact it can be enormously difficult because it requires self-candor. It’s hard to look at ourselves honestly, with none of the self-deception that we normally employ like a crutch, and say, “I’m messed up inside. Regardless of how I got to be this way, I’m an adult now and I’m responsible for my own actions. I can’t keep blaming my problems on others, or on external circumstances. If I want a better life, I have to start by changing myself.”

That’s very hard. It requires prayer, dua’, study and introspection, and maybe therapy as well. It’s rigorous work, and it’s important, and it takes time. But it can be done.

The same is true for failed relationships, by the way. People say, “My husband/wife betrayed me and broke my heart. Now I can never trust anyone again.”

I’m very sorry that someone hurt you, but you must recognize that the choice not to trust anyone in the future is exactly that, a choice. Of course there’s going to be a period of mourning after a failed relationship, but if you let it affect you forever then that is something you are doing to yourself, not something the other person did to you. There comes a point when you must take responsibility for your own choices and acknowledge your own power. You can choose to love again, to trust again, to be happy again. It’s not necessarily easy, in fact it can be quite frightening, but it is certainly possible. And if you choose loneliness over the risk of being hurt again, then admit that it is your own choice, not some tragic doom that has been forced upon you.

You can make better choices, by Allah’s will.

You can make better choices, or at least different ones. You can wake up in the morning and be a better human being than you were yesterday. You can strengthen your relationship with Allah, pray at night, purify your spirit, exercise your body, eat your veggies and healthy proteins, study and work hard, love your family like a steady summer breeze, treat people with compassion, help someone who is suffering, speak the truth even when it’s not easy, and be a living example of taqwa.

And yes, have fun too, and pursue your dreams. Look within yourself to find your own God-given gifts, your own special treasure chest, and develop them. Bring something meaningful into the world. Be crazy if you have to – good crazy, not bad crazy. A shot of good craziness is sometimes exactly what the world needs.

If you make these changes sincerely, expecting nothing, doing it all to please Allah and to be the best you that you can possibly be, you’ll find the world changing around you in response. And yes, dua’ is an important part of this process, for dua’ is the essence of worship. But you won’t need to plead with Allah to make someone else do something, or be something, or feel something. Your duas will focus on other things, healthy things that have to do with your relationship with Allah, your struggle in His path, your destination in the aakhirah, relieving hardship in your life, helping your family and supporting the Ummah and all who are oppressed and in need.

You will have moved to a place of positively charged energy, a place of health and vitality, and you’ll find that what you need in life will come to you like a cat to catnip.

Dua if you stir during the night

Moon over a beach at night

Moon over a beach at night

By Wael Abdelgawad for IslamicSunrays.com

You are trying to sleep but you are restless. You wake up, and turn onto the other side. You can’t get comfortable. You wake up because you are too hot or too cold. There is some vague worry or uneasiness keeping you awake… Did you know there is a dua for those moments when you wake up in the dark, stirring restlessly?

Laa ‘ilaaha ‘illallaahul-Waahidul-Qahhaaru, Rabbus-samaawaati wal’ardhi wa maa baynahumal-‘Azeezul-Ghaffaaru.

There is none worthy of worship but Allah, the One, the Victorious, Lord of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, the All-Mighty, the All-Forgiving.

See the Arabic version here. (Reference: This is to be said if you turn over in bed during the night. Al-Hakim graded it authentic and Ath-Thahabi agreed 1/540. Also see An-Nasa’i, ‘Amalul-Yawm wal-Laylah, and Ibn As-Sunni. See also Al-Albani, Sahihul-Jami’ As-Saghir 4/ 213).

Isn’t that beautiful? Islam has a dua or prayer for every occasion. If anyone sees that fact as a burden, he is missing the point. These duas are not a requirement or a burden, they are gifts. They are little gems, powerful invocations to bring your mind closer to Allah, ease your heart, and bring peace to your spirit.

A dua like this is a mercy from Allah, as if He is saying, here is a way to contact me when you are in need, here are beautiful words to comfort your soul.

SubhanAllah.

Dua Against Debt

Burden of debt

The burden of debt can crush our happiness and ruin relationships

By Wael Abdelgawad for IslamicSunrays.com

Being in debt is a killer. It consumes us with stress, and eats away at our happiness and sense of security. It destroys marriages, and if the debt is between family or friends then it can ruin those relationships. In some countries, inability to pay your debt can even you put in prison.

I feel obligated to mention that part of the reason so many people are carrying so much debt is our addiction to the material lifestyle. We are bombarded with messages and advertisements telling us we need to buy this and own that. It gets to the point where we measure our status in life (and that of others) by what we own, or worse, by how much we spend. If we spend a huge sum of money on a lavish wedding, then we are “honored” in society. If not, we feel shamed. Since our incomes do not match our desires, we go into debt.

This thinking and lifestyle is completely contrary to what Islam teaches us, and to the example set by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them all). Even when they became rulers of the world, they continued to live simple and humble lifestyles, because they understood what really matters in life.

So the first step for us is to readjust our priorities, and to realize that what matters is our relationship with Allah. Beyond that, the important things in life are our family relationships – loving our spouses and children and spending time with them, worshiping with them, supporting them. Then our friendships, and doing some good in the world, creating something meaningful, and being an agent of compassion in the lives of those around you.

Dua Against Debt

If you have done whatever you can to avoid debt, and still you find yourself burdened with debts, try this dua from Fortress of the Muslim. Repeat it many times every day:

Dua for relief from debt

Dua for relief from debt, in Arabic

Allaahummak-finee bihalaalika ‘an haraamika wa ‘aghninee bifadhlika ‘amman siwaaka.

“O Allah, suffice me with what You have allowed instead of what You have forbidden , and make me independent of all others besides You.”

(Reference: At-Tirmithi 5/560. See also Al-Albani, Sahih At-Tirmithi 3/180.)

This dua against debt is really brilliant, because the dua contains within itself the solution to the problem. “Suffice me with what you have allowed.” In other words, let the halal be enough for me. Don’t let me get myself into debt because of haram mortgage loans or excessive material desire, or out-of-control consumer spending. Let me be satisfied with a simple, halal life, so that I don’t get into debt.

If you repeat this often enough it becomes a part of your thinking and awareness, and you modify your own behavior, which leads to: “make me independent of all others besides You.” You become your own man or woman, not owing money to anyone, independent, relying only on Allah.

I’m not saying the dua is just an affirmation, I’m saying it works on both levels, as an affirmation and as a prayer to Allah to help you achieve that affirmation. It’s a subtle and amazing dua.

Three Excellent Dua’s Against Debt:
(note that #2 is the same as the one above)

1) “Oh Allah, I take refuge in You…”

Narrated by Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri (ra):

One day the Messenger of Allah (saw) entered the mosque. He saw there a man from the Ansar (a resident of Madinah) called Abu Umamah and said to him: “What is the matter that I am seeing you sitting in the mosque when there is no time of prayer?” Abu Umamah said: “I am entangled in sorrow and debts.” The Prophet Muhammad (ra ) replied: “Shall I not teach you words by which, when you say them, Allah will remove your sorrow, and settle your debts?” Abu Umamah said: “Yes, Messenger of Allah.” The Prophet Muhammad (ra ) said: “Say in the morning and evening: Allahumma inni ‘auzu bika min alhamma wal ‘huzn, wal ‘ajzi wal kasali wal bukhli wal jubn, wa dhala’iddini wa ‘galabatir rajaal.” (See here for the arabic text).

‘O Allah, I take refuge in You from anxiety and sorrow, weakness and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, the burden of debts and from being overpowered by men.’

Abu Umamah said: “When I did that Allah removed my distress and settled my debt.” [Abu Dawood]

2) “O Allah, grant me enough…”

Ali radi Allahu `anhu said that a slave, who had made a contract with his master to pay for his freedom, came to him and said, “I am unable to fulfil my contract, so help me.” He said, “Shall I not teach you some words which Allah’s Messenger (ra) taught me, and which even if you had a debt as large as a mountain Allah would pay it for you?”:

Allahumma akfini bihala lika an haramika wa aghnini bi fadhlika am-man siwak.

“O Allah, grant me enough of what You make lawful that I may dispense of with what You make unlawful, and make me independent, by Your bounty, of other than You.” [At-Tirmidhi]

3) “O Allah, Sovereign of all…”

The Prophet (saw) said to Muadh radi Allahu `anhu, “Should I not teach you a supplication which, when used to implore Allah, Allah shall pay your debt, even it be as huge as Mount Uhud? He then mentioned:

Allahumma Maalik al-mulki tu’til-mulka man tasha’ u wa tanzi’ul mulka mimman tasha’, wa tu’izzu man tasha’ u wa tudhilu man tasha’, bi yadika al-khayr, innaka ‘ala kulli shay’in qadeer, Rahmaan-id-dunya wa’l-aakhirah wa raheemahuma, tu’teeyahuma man tasha’ wa tamna’ minhuma man tasha’, irhamni rahmatan taghnini biha ‘an rahmati man siwaak.

“O Allah, Sovereign of all, You give dominion to whomsoever You will and You take dominion away from whomsoever You will, You exalt whomsoever You will and You bring low whomsoever You will. In Your hand is all goodness and You are able to do all things. Most Merciful and Most compassionate in this world and in the Hereafter, You give them to whomsoever You will and withhold them from whomsoever You will. Bestow mercy upon Me in such a manner that I have no need of the mercy of anyone but You.” [Tabarani]

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