The following, timeless, question was asked: How can we make Allah our Guide in everything that we do?
Before we consider this question, we have to first understand what it means to seek guidance, and to be guided. Let us start with the fact one of Allah’s Names is Al-Hadi, The Guide. The connection between us, as servants, and Allah, the Rabb, is evident in this Name of Allah. Some of Allah’s Names stand apart from all his creation, demonstrating His complete self-sufficiency – for example, Al-Azeem (The Magnificent), Al-Ghani (The Self-sufficient), and Al-Qadir (The All-Powerful). But then there are other Names of Allah which teach us about His greatness in relation to His servants. Al-Hadi is one of those Names, because if Allah is The Guide, then there are also creation that need His guidance and are indeed being guided by Him.
The importance of this guidance as the cement that bonds the servant to the Master, the creation to the Lord, is also made clear by the fact it is present in the first surah in the Qur’an: Surah Al-Fatiha. Indeed, it is mentioned in the form of a supplication – thus after praising Allah (swt), and acknowledging His Oneness, the first thing we say is:
“ihdina as-sirat al-mustaqeem” — “Show us the straight path”.
A deep-dive reflection on fear, pride, deception, truth, confidence, and hope among human beings.
This is a reflection on a few short but deeply instructive verses from Surah Yunus (Chapter 10) of the Qur’an, which not only narrate to us one of the most dramatic scenes in Prophetic history, but which have profound relevance for us living in today’s society. Continue reading →
During his old age, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, the renowned scholar of Islam and a famous theologian, was travelling when he stopped by a town. After salah, he wanted to stay for the night in the mosque. Out of humility, he didn’t introduce himself to anyone – he did not want the recognition and adulation that would come with people knowing he was a ‘renowned scholar’. Bearing in mind, these were the days before social media and TV and billboard posters, so people knew of great or notorious individuals from afar without ever knowing what they looked like. So to those in this particular town, Imam Ahmad was just ‘another man’. Continue reading →
“We gave her the good news of Ishaq and, after him, of Yaqub. She’s said ‘Alas for me! How am I to bear a child when I am an old woman, and my husband here is an old man? That would be a strange thing!’ They said, ‘Are you astonished at what God ordains? The grace of God and His blessings be upon you, people of this house! For He is worthy of all praise and glory’” (11:71-73)
The wife of Ibrahim (AS) had reached old age and longed for a child. And whilst the universe may have been telling them that their ability to have a child was gone, her faith in God told her that He would certainly answer! And that’s exactly how Allah rewarded her. He rewarded her with the best lineage SubhanAllah! Ishaq, and then Yaqub (and then Yusuf)! (as) Continue reading →
The Arabic word ‘ihsan’ translates as ‘excellence’ in English. If we try to define excellence, we will find multiple definitions in psychology, sport, business, academia, and social expectations.
One measurement of excellence that has been popular in self-help guides is the amount of time and practice you put into something to become proficient. The author Malcolm Gladwell called this the ‘10,000-hour Rule’. He studied the lives of great artists, musicians, and sportspeople to come up with a theory that 10,000 hours of practice will achieve excellence in any field. Continue reading →
As Muslims, we face constant pressure to show that we are objective, intelligent and rational – that we are not blind followers, or sheep, as orientalist narratives and perceptions have historically portrayed us. This pressure is based on not just decades, but centuries of negative and derogatory attitudes towards religion, and particularly ‘exotic’ religions that are seen to be alien from the ‘rational’ beliefs of the west.
And all these attributes of being rational and seeking truth are praiseworthy and in fact come from our own faith – are we not taught to ponder on the very words of Allah? To not just read and gloss over, but to deeply reflect on those words? And did the Prophet (saw) not teach us that “good questioning is a half of knowledge?” (Baihaqi). Continue reading →
Why should we do any act of worship? What is our motivation?
Here are some clear answers provided in the Qur’an:
“And obey Allah and the Messenger that you may obtain mercy.” (Qur’an ‘Al Imran, 3: 132).
In another part of the Qur’an Allah says: “The only saying of the faithful believers when they are called to Allah and His Messenger, to judge between them, is that they say “we hear and we obey”.” (Surah Nur 4: 51)
And in another part of the Qur’an Allah tells us: “And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, has indeed achieved a great achievement.” (Surah Ahzab, 33: 71)
“So do not weaken and do not grieve, and you will be victorious if you are [true] believers.” (Al-Imran: 139)
Despite constant bad news at home and abroad we need to try and retain hope – though it’s hard to do, I know. We cannot allow evil to distract us from the good deeds we can still do. Remember that Shaytan relies on spreading despair, something he suffers from himself.
Despair affects people individually at first. But it is infectious and can spread, until it paralyses entire communities. It’s why, despite some positives, social media is also really problematic; because while it has the power to inform and raise awareness, it also tends to spread hopelessness and can end up giving a greater platform to those who lie and boast about their bad deeds. When bad things happen, social media allows it to spread like a wildfire. Even the term “gone viral” comes from the idea of a spreading infection!Continue reading →