Trouble Tree

The carpenter I hired to help me restore an old farmhouse had just finished a rough first day on the job. A flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw quit, and now his ancient pickup truck refused to start.

While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On arriving, he invited me in to meet the family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands.

After opening the door, he underwent an amazing transformation. His face was wreathed in smiles, and he hugged his two small children and then gave his wife a kiss.

Afterward, he walked me to my car. We passed the tree, and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.

“Oh, that’s my trouble tree,” he replied. “I know I can’t help having troubles on the job, but one thing for sure, troubles don’t belong in the house with my wife and children. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning, I pick them up again.”

“Funny thing is,” he smiled, “when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there aren’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.”

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A beautiful reminder, don’t you think? 

May Allah continue to assist us, ameen! 

Juma’at Mubarak

Spread Goodness!

One day a man saw an old lady, stranded on the side of the road, but even in the dim light, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out.
Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn’t look safe; he looked poor and hungry. He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was those chills which only fear can put in you. He said, “I’m here to help you, ma’am. Why don’t you wait in the car where it’s warm? By the way, my name is Bryan Anderson.”
Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady, that was bad enough. Bryan crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tire. But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt.
As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only just passing through. She couldn’t thank him enough for coming to her aid.
Bryan just smiled as he closed her trunk. The lady asked how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her. She already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped. Bryan never thought twice about being paid. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty, who had given him a hand in the past. He had lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way.
He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance they needed, and Bryan added, “And think of me.”
He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight.
A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her. The waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn’t erase. The lady noticed the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan.
After the lady finished her meal, she paid with a hundred dollar bill. The waitress quickly went to get change for her hundred dollar bill, but the old lady had slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back. The waitress wondered where the lady could be. Then she noticed something written on the napkin.
There were tears in her eyes when she read what the lady wrote: “You don’t owe me anything. I have been there too. Somebody once helped me out, the way I’m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here is what you do, do not let this chain of love end with you.” Under the napkin were four more $100 bills.
Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could the lady have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard… She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, “Everything’s going to be all right. I love you, Bryan Anderson.”
 
Lesson:
What goes around comes around. Doing good for the sake of Allah will not go unrewarded. The reward may come even much earlier than expected and in ways unimagined.
“Those who spend their wealth for increase in self-purification, and have in their minds no favour from anyone for which a reward is expected in return, but only the desire to seek for the countenance of their Lord Most High; and soon will they attain (complete) satisfaction.” (Quran 92:18-21)
 
Have a blessed Jumu’ah

Purify Your Qalb!

A heart is the most important part of a person because it is the “inner self” of any person. In Quran, this inner self is known as the “Qalb” or the “Heart”. What favors us (Muslims) in the sight of Allah (SWT) is the state of our heart. What will save us on the Day of Judgment is a sound heart. So we can say that heart is playing a very important role in our life and it has an amazing position in Islam.

When we have a pure heart then ultimately our character and soul will also be pure. The “Heart”, in Quranic terminology, is not just a piece of flesh in our body, but it is the center of all our feelings, emotions, desires, remembrance and attention. In Holy Quran, Allah Almighty says: “Their hearts relax at the remembrance of Allah” (Quran, 39:23). If you want the peace of heart and purity of your soul then remember Allah Almighty by heart.

There has always been an emphasis on improving our character in our religion Islam. The Prophet (SAW) said: “Nothing is heavier on the believer’s Scale on the Day of Judgment than good character” (Tirmidhi). From above saying we can conclude that on The Day of Judgment a person’s good character and pure heart will matter. In another hadith ‘Abu Huraira narrated: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH), said, “Allah does not look at your figures, nor at your attire but He looks at your hearts and accomplishments.”’ (Sahih Muslim)

Allah Almighty said in Quran: “He has succeeded who purifies the soul, and he has failed who corrupts the soul.” (Quran, 91:9-10). We learn from the above Ayah that our success in the Hereafter depends upon the purification of our hearts in this life.

Therefore, focusing deliberately every day on improving the state of heart helps us gain good character and increase our overall productiveness. Below are some tips from Quran and Sunnah that help you to purify the heart and the soul of person or individual.

o   Begin with Repentance: Sins are obstacles that restrict the opportunity to do good works; so begin your journey of purifying heart and soul with sincere repentance. In Holy Quran, Allah Almighty says: “Allah loves those who constantly repent” (Quran, 2:222). We can get Allah’s blessings and love while repenting. Our beloved Prophet (SAW) said that: “the best of creation, would seek repentance over 70 times a day; repentance from a sin reduces its sweetness – it discourages you from doing it again.”

o   Pay Attention to your inner thoughts: Allah Almighty is so close to us that even the thoughts that occur in our minds are known to Allah (SWT). Whether it’s good or bad thought Allah knows. In Quran Allah says: “And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein” (Quran, 50:16). When we feel accountable to Allah for our thoughts, we intentionally judge the matter with understanding. We pay attention to our inner thoughts that help us to figure out other aspects of life and things about which we are focusing. By doing this we can increase our productivity, happiness and mental comfort.

o   Perform Obligatory Prayers: Performing obligatory prayers is one of the obvious things that every one of us should do. Sound actions originate from sound states. If you are struggling to keep up with the prayers, look at the spiritual causes that might be hindering your access to this blessing. Actions are based on Intentions. So we need to check out our intentions that are we should be sincere in intentions if we want to seek Allah’s pleasure. We should have sound actions and sincere intentions behind every act of goodness just like performing prayers on time by heart. Allah says in Quran: “He has succeeded who purifies himself, who remembers the name of his Lord and prays.” (Quran, 87:14-15)

o   Increase Small Acts of Kindness: When we tend to focus on our own mistakes rather than others, we become aware of all our deeds. Once we purify our heart we add good and beautiful things to it. Allah Almighty says in Holy Quran:”Take from their wealth a charity by which you cleanse them and purify them, and invoke blessings upon them.” (Quran, 92:103). Charity means not only giving wealth, but also giving people your time, your effort, and even a smile or a kind word.

o   Read Quran Daily: Make it a routine to read the amount of Quran no matter its one page or few lines that you can read easily after one of the obligatory prayers daily. Allah Almighty says in Quran: “Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.”(Quran, 13:28). Read Quran daily it is the greatest form of Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah). Giving time to the Quran keeps us connected to Allah, making it more likely that we will consciously avoid sinning. It also helps in clearing our minds of unnecessary things, hence achieving clarity and peace.

In short, to achieve a high level of productivity, our hearts need to be light and beautiful. To purify our soul we should do the following things that are mentioned above (and even more). May Allah give us the strength to purify our heart and soul in a rightful manner! Ameen

Juma’at Mabrook!

Tie Your Camel!

Trust in Allah is a difficult issue that can be easily misunderstood. There is a temptation to believe that by trusting in Allah, we can relieve ourselves of any responsibility for our actions or role in events and situations that arise in our lives.

Qur’anic verses such as the one below remind us that Allah provides for all our affairs and is All-Powerful:

“Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is the Guardian and Disposer of all affairs”. (Az-Zumar 39:6)

But trust in Allah is not meant to absolve us of working for our needs and striving towards good futures. In fact, part of the means by which Allah provides for us is in the intellectual and reasoning capacity that He created humans with.

Allah has provided for our needs by giving us the ability to work for our sustenance and to strive for our goals, both in the present and in the future. This is evidenced in the following verse of the Quran:

“And that man can have nothing but what he strives for”. (An-Najm 53:39)

One day Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it and he asked the Bedouin, “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I put my trust in Allah.” The Prophet then said, “Tie your camel first, then put your trust in Allah” (At-Tirmidhi).

This refers to the common sense and reasoning that Allah in His Infinite Mercy has bestowed upon the human intellect, so that we are able to take due precautions, plan and prepare for possible future events, and create a means of addressing those needs on our own.

It seems to have become a common practice for people to say that preventative and preparative actions are unnecessary because they display a lack of trust in Allah for our sustenance, safety, or future plans.

Have Trust in Allah

Trusting in Allah and His plan and mercy is of great importance to our faith. We should never stop trusting that whatever is happening in our lives is happening for a reason and that we can learn and grow from it, and that His Mercy will assist us through it.

Nor should we forget that everything we have is only held in trust from Allah, and that we should use it wisely and share it with others. But we must also remember that we have responsibilities that He has given us: to obey Him, worship and remember Him, and to also do our part in making things happen.

Ultimately, if our camel is meant to wander, no amount of tying him will keep him from getting free, as this verse of the Quran tells us:

“And you will not will except as Allah Wills, the Lord of the worlds”. (At-Takwir81: 29)

But if we do not bother to tie our camel, and he wanders off or is stolen, we have only ourselves to blame.

Let’s increase our trust in Allah, and let’s do our part by tying our camels!

Remember: “One morning or evening in the path of Allah is better than the world and all it contains. A hand-span or a whip’s length of Jannat is better that the world and all it contains…”  {Sayings of Nabi (SAW)}

May Allah continue to perfect our affairs, ameen.

Juma’at Mubarak

Tawakkul – Letting Allah Take Hold

She Trusted, He Delivered

Perched on top of the mountain with nothing and no one around her, the lady peered into the distance. She saw no one. She ran down the mountain and across the valley and climbed another mountain, peering into the distance again. Again, nothing could be seen.

Her child was crying; the little baby boy was thirsty, and mommy didn’t have a drop of water to give to him. Among the harshest of sounds to the ears of a parent is the cry of his or her child, and it was to hers, too. Thus she kept running between the two mountains over and over again until Allah Himself intervened.

He sent the angel Gabriel to strike the earth and bring out water for the mother and the child. And to this day, this run of Hajar is done by millions of pilgrims who go for Hajj and Umrah. She trusted in Allah, and Allah delivered.

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He’ll Even Split the Sea For You

After years and years murder, pillage, and slavery, Allah sent a man to a nation that had suffered much. He willed that this man was to take them from the darkness of oppression to the light of freedom, from the murderer to the just ruler. He ordered Moses to take the Children of Israel from the clutches of Pharaoh and cross into the blessed lands.

As they escaped, running for their lives through the night, Pharaoh was notified. He followed them with his army and his cavalry.

The Children of Israel were stuck right in front of the Red Sea. Some of them despaired, some of them cursed Moses for only bringing them more trouble, while some just kept looking back at the approaching army of Pharaoh.

Moses simply said, inna ma’eyah rabbi sayahdeen (Most certainly, My Lord is with me, He will guide). Allah ordered Moses to strike the sea with his staff, and the sea split. He trusted, and Allah split the sea for him.

What is Tawakkul?

In both these stories, we see an unwavering and amazing trust in the plan and the decree of Allah. These are examples so profound that Allah immortalized them in the Quran, to the end of times.

So, what is it that made these people so dependent on Allah, and, more importantly, what makes Allah send His help to them in the most critical of junctures? Tawakkul. So what exactly is tawakkul?

One of the names of the Prophet Muhammad is al-Mutawakkil, the One who continuously places his trust on Allah. And one of the names of Allah is al-Wakeel, the One who can be trusted.

When Ibrahim was being thrown into the fire, he said: Hasbi Allahu wa ni’m-al Wakeel (Allah is sufficient for me, and He is the best One to trust).

We notice that tawakkul is such an amazing quality that the Prophet is even defined by it! It is seen to be among the qualities of the prophets and saintly people before him as well! 

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So, Again, what Exactly is Tawakkul?

The first part of the dua of Ibrahim gives us the first point of tawakkul– Hasbi Allah— Allah is sufficient for me. The first and most important thing to understand in life, in all spheres of life and at all times, is that no matter what we think, Allah alone is sufficient for us.

When this realization takes over, we know that no matter where the situation gets, He alone is enough for us, and He is the only One we need.

The second part is understanding our neediness before Allah. It is understanding that while we are reading this at home, we are in as much need of Allah as the one who is drowning and his heart desperately calling out for help.

It is understanding that the starving child who doesn’t know if he will have food for the next meal is in as much need of Allah as us who have five days’ worth of food in our fridge!

The third part is understanding that whatever Allah does is good for us, whether we perceive it or not.

Yusuf was thrown into a well. It was wrong. He was picked up and sold into slavery. It was preposterous! His master’s wife tried to seduce him, and when he refused, he was put into prison! It was blatant injustice. And yet, all of it was good for him!

And that is why later when Yusuf became the King of Egypt, he remarked that Allah was “al-Lateef” towards Him.

Al-Lateef is the One who is subtle. He is the One who brings benefit to His slave in a way that the slave can never perceive. The One who is doing good for His slave, while the world thinks the slave is being punished!

Understanding that Allah is enough for us, that we are in need of Him and that whatever He will allow to happen is good for us are the foundations of trusting in Him. How can you not have trust in the One who is enough for you? Of whom you are in perpetual need of? And the One who will only allow good to happen to you?

Tawakkul is to follow the commands of Allah even when disobeying Him seems easier. It is to believe that He will grant us paradise for choosing Him over the fleeting pleasures of this dunya.

It is to entrust our affairs to Allah and be content knowing that He will take care of us.

Tawakkul is to know that all will be well, even if things look impossible.

Tawakkul is knowing that at the end of the tunnel there is light, even if we don’t see it. It is understanding that when Allah shields something from us, He is actually redirecting us to something better.

Tawakkul is among the biggest keys that cause miracles to happen in our lives. It is among the most beautiful fruits of the tree of la ilaha illa Allah.

We ask Allah that He makes us from among those who have Tawakkul in Him (Ameen)

Source: Understand Quran.

Juma’ah Mabruk!!

Always Say Alhamdulillah

Alhamdulillah – a word we are all too familiar with. It stands as a simple utterance but is entrenched in profound meaning and divine devotion. In literal terms, it means “Praise Be to Allah (SWT)”. As Muslims, we have all grown up hearing the use of the word “Alhumdulillah” in our daily lives, but do we truly understand the significance of the word? 

It is the first phrase of the first verse of Surah Fatiha which is the first Surah of the Holy Quran. We recite Surah Fatiha and hence, Alhumdulillah in every single Raka’ah! We often tend to utter words in an automatic fashion but sometimes we forget the deep implications of those words. Alhamdulillah is a form of high praise of Allah (SWT) and it is very much loved by Him. Saying Alhumdulillah is an expression of high praise and utter gratitude before Allah (SWT), the most Gracious, the ever Merciful, for bestowing us with His endless blessings – spiritually, materialistically etc. – which he continues to give us. Being grateful is one of the main attributes of a Muslim and is an integral part of being a good believer.

“And if you would count the favors of Allah, never could you be able to count them. Truly, Allah is Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful” (Surah Nahl, V18)

We need to remind ourselves that if it were not for Allah (SWT), we would have nothing and we would be lost. As a Muslim, one should consciously make it a habit to say “Alhamdulillah” at every stage in life – be it ease or hardship. The real test of a believer is when Allah (SWT) bestows him/her with a hardship and the believer, despite his/her tough circumstances, has Sabr (patience) and says “Alhamdulillah”, surrendering himself/herself to the perfect Will of Allah (SWT).

Reported by Suhaib, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said: “Strange are the ways of a believer for there is good in every affair of his and this is not the case with anyone else except in the case of a believer for if he has an occasion to feel delight, he thanks (Allah), thus there is a good for him in it, and if he gets into trouble and shows resignation (and endures it patiently), there is a good for him in it.” (Muslim, 2999)

 “And remember when your Lord proclaimed, “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you in favor. But if you deny indeed, my punishment is severe.” (Surah Ibrahim: 7)

Alhamdulillah teaches a believer to be grateful in all turns and phases of life, be it good or bad. Gratitude is the foundation of a life of contentment and happiness. If you are grateful to Allah (SWT), He will increase your blessings and rewards and give you even more than what you ask for, that is the beauty of our Lord.

Always remember to say ALHAMDULILLAH!!

Juma’at Mubarak!

Tawakkul (Trust In Allah)

“If you had all relied on Allah (SWT) as you should rely on Him, then He would have provided for you as He provides for the birds, who wake up hungry in the morning and return with full stomachs at dusk.” [At-Tirmidhi]

Do you truly have full trust in Allah (SWT)? There are some of us who strive our utmost to prepare for things wherein no certainty exists, whilst others fail to prepare for certain things wherein lies no doubt. And let us not forget those that believe their destiny is completely in their own hands, whilst their counterparts hold, in what can only be described as ‘bravery’, that they have full trust in Allah (SWT), thus granting themselves the ticket to do nothing at all.

Tawakkul is a light for our hearts and a means for us to seek nearness towards Allah (SWT) in a manner that absolutely nothing else can achieve. The essence of this quality of the heart is built upon two very important pillars: dependence upon Allah and trust in Allah.

We may often trust a person, without necessarily depending upon them, and likewise we may depend upon a person without fully trusting them. However when it comes to Our Lord (SWT), both exist simultaneously in perfection. So why are we so ready to trust others, but so quick to question Allah (SWT)? I’m sure we can all recall at least one incident in our lives when we experienced the rahma of Allah (SWT) in disguise. What did we do? What did we say? When one of the innumerable blessings we failed to count and thank our Lord for was unexpectedly taken from us, what thoughts rushed to our minds? What regrettable words came from our mouths? Why has this happened? What did I do wrong? Why has my blessing been taken away from me? Such spur of the moment questions, tainted by our false comprehension that the blessings bestowed upon us belonged to us, in an instant, shakes our building of tawakkul, sometimes causing it to collapse, consequently opening up a door for our enemy -Shaytaan and closing a door for us to Our Beloved (SWT).
 
Have full Tawakkul (trust) in Allah (SWT) and never belittle that trust. For the trust we have in Allah is a path to success and a means to achieving victory. Never lose hope and always remember that the situation of a true believer is always one of goodness: For when they are granted a blessing from Allah (SWT) they praise Him and due to that they are rewarded and their blessings increase and when a calamity strikes they patiently persevere, and as a result of which they are rewarded and granted something better than what they lost.
 

Our Lord (SWT) With His Hikmah, Love and Rahmah knows exactly what is good for us, so let us not be amongst the sinful servants of Allah (SWT) who suspect Him of wrongdoing. So the next time you stand before Allah (SWT) and consult Him in your affairs, don’t think He’ll give you what is good for you; know with certainty that He (SWT) will.

‘Say: “Nothing will befall us except what Allah has ordained for us. He is our Protector. In Allah let the believers put their trust. [Surah At-Tawbah: 51]

Juma’at Mubarak!