About Trials and Tribulations

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“Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: ‘We believe,’ and will not be tested?” [Qur’an 29:1-3]

The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “The people most severely tested are the Prophets, then the righteous, then the next best and the next best. A man will be tested in accordance with the degree of his religious commitment; the stronger his religious commitment, the stronger his test.”[Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi (7:78)]

“Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said: ‘When (will come) the help of Allah?’ Yes! Certainly, the help of Allah is near!” [Qur’an 2:214]

And surely We shall try you with something of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives and crops; but give glad tidings to the patient, Who says, when afflicted with calamity: “To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return”: They are those on whom (descend) Blessings from Allah, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance. [Qur’an 2:155-157]

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “He whom Allah intends good, He makes him to suffer from some affliction” [Bukhari]

Abu Yahya Suhaib bin Sinan (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “How wonderful is the case of a believer; there is good for him in everything and this applies only to a believer. If prosperity attends him, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him, he endures it patiently and that is good for him” [Muslim]

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “A strong believer is better and dearer to Allah than a weak one, and both are good. Adhere to that which is beneficial for you. Keep asking Allah for help and do not refrain from it. (If you are afflicted in any way), do not say: ‘If I had taken this or that step, it would have resulted into such and such,’ but say only: ‘Allah so determined and did as He willed.’ The word ‘if’ opens the gates of satanic (thoughts)” [Muslim]

Few verses from Surah Al-Haqqah (The Sure Reality)

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And he that will be given his Record in his left hand, will say: “Ah! would that my Record had not been given to me! 25

And that I had never realized how my account (stood)! 26

Ah! Would that (Death) had made an end of me! 27

Of no profit to me has been my wealth! 28

My power has perished from me!” … 29

(The stern command will say): “Seize him, and bind him, 30

And burn him in the Blazing Fire. 31

Further, make him march in a chain, whereof the length is seventy cubits! 32

This was he that would not believe in Allah Most High, 33

And would not encourage the feeding of the indigent! 34

So no friend has he here this Day. 35

Nor has he any food except the corruption from the washing of wounds 36

Which none do eat but those in sin.” 37

~just a reminder for all of us inshallah :>

(source: Quran, Surah Al-Haqqah, verses 25-37)

Divine Speech: Literary Characteristics of the Qur’an by Nouman A. Khan [Day 3]

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Under construction.. bayyaniah

Divine Speech: Literary Characteristics of the Qur’an by Nouman A. Khan [Day 2]

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Under construction..bayyaniah

Divine Speech: Literary Characteristics of the Qur’an by Nouman A. Khan [Day 1]

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Asalamalaikum!bayyaniah

Last weekend, I attended this seminar series by brother Nouman Ali Khan. No doubt, the experience of attending it is far better than listening to anything while driving or eating junk food.. far better, & alhamdolillah I was blessed to be a part of it. 🙂

In this post, I have tried to recollect all the gems I could jot down and that I could remember by now. Inshallah, please correct me if I am mistaken in anyway. More importantly, it is not easy for me to organize this in accordance to the flow of the actual seminars delivered, like I said, the best experience was being a part of it. Here it goes:

Quran is a speech by Allah SWT, and speech is different than written text. Speech doesn’t go through editorial process, so there is a high chance of saying things that you didn’t intend to. Written text goes through this editorial process, and there is always plenty of time and resources to make it perfect. So, mistakes in speech are fatal as we know from the examples of many politicians, and celebritites around us. But, at the same time, Quran’s speech is impeccable in its truest sense, SubhanAllah. 🙂

ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the ‘Âlamîn.

This is the first verse of Surah Al-Fatiha. Some scholars believe that it’s the second (first being بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ), but for the purpose of this session, we adhere to the previous stance. The word Alhamdolillah is an all inclusive word. Thanking someone doesn’t imply that we are also praising him. Ibraheem A.S. thanked his father (because Allah SWT commanded us to do so), but didn’t praise him. Allah SWT is worthy of being praised and thanked at the same time. And, in the word hamd, praise and thankfulness are simultaneous.

Then the translation of Alhamdolillah is “Praise be to Allah”. The word praise here is a noun, not a verb. One question that we can raise is that why can’t it be “Praise Allah” and not what it is. This is because if the verb form of praise is used, it implies a time factor. But, praise of Allah is timeless, it was there before we were here, it is here, and it will remain here. So when we say Alhamdolillah, we are admitting that Praise is for Allah SWT even if are here or not, and even if we do it or not.

So, in sum, Allah SWT didn’t throw the ball in our court, everything Allah does is praiseworthy, and even if are not grateful for that, praise is for Allah.

Rab-il-Aa’lameen

Closest meaning of the word rab in english is Master. But, Allah SWT is not like a typical master because in general, no other master is praised or thanked for anything. The word rab here is more related to Huda which means guidance. Your first act as a slave is to ask the master for guidance. Huda is related to Hadiya which means gift. To arabs, guidance was also a gift. For a bedouin lost in desert, nothing’s more worthy for him than guidance.

Then, why Rab-il-Aa’lamin, why not anything else? Because again, it encompasses the mastery of Allah SWT in space and time simultaneously.

ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Rehmaan and Raheem are derived from the word Rahma. Why two words here if they are essentially from the same root? what’s the difference?

In Rehmaan, “aan” relates to Transience, Occurence, and Hyperbole-extreme. Whereas, in Raheem, “eem” relates to permanence. In short, Rehmaan covers immediate mercy of Allah SWT, and Raheem covers long-term mercy. So why this order? why not Raheem then Rehmaan? that’s an easy one. Human being in general hasten, so we are more interested in knowing about something that’s of immediate interest to us, then, we want to ensure the long-term interest. :>

Christianity is primarily about hope, and little about fear. Islam is balanced in this regard. Quran’s all about glad tidings and warnings, and it maintains the balance. Surah Al-Fatiha is sort of proof-of-concept in this regard. The first three verses are describing Allah SWT. Then there is a shift, and the middle part is where we are addressing Allah SWT and conveying our state of submission. Finally, we seek help in desperation, where the prayer implies everything we need help for.

ٱهۡدِنَا ٱلصِّرَٲطَ ٱلۡمُسۡتَقِيمَ Guide us to straight path!

One argument might be that why is it Siraat, why not the word Sabeel or Tareeq. Sabeel means a small path and Tareeq means a long path. However, Siraat relates to a path that’s unique, long, wide, straight, and dangerous – i.e. you need protection! So sabeel and and tareeq lead to siraat, but essentially, we are interested in passing through siraat with Allah SWT’s protection.

Then, why the word mustaqeem appears again, which is also a manifestation of the word path (?!). Mustaqeem comes from Qama (remember Istaqama?) i.e. to stand. So, it doesn’t only mean straight, it means vertically straight. Think of a weight balance, it’s supposed to be straight vertically, but if you want to cheat, you add hidden weights to tilt it – no longer vertically straight!

So, you are seeking Allah’s guidance along a path that’s vertically straight. When you move along such a path, what is it that you leave underneath yourself? it’s Dunya and the temptations of it. At the same time, the higher you get, the dangerous it gets if you fall. 😉

We can notice one thing here that everything that follows this surah in the Quran is essentially Allah SWT’s response to this plea of ours. The response, where we are informed about ways to travel along this path!

صِرَٲطَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَنۡعَمۡتَ عَلَيۡهِمۡ غَيۡرِ ٱلۡمَغۡضُوبِ عَلَيۡهِمۡ وَلَا ٱلضَّآلِّينَ

– The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger, nor of those who went astray.

For some, the path was made easier by the grace of Allah SWT, we seek the same. On the other hand, Allah SWT distanced himself from some, and they received His rage – we seek His refuge from such a destiny. They had knowledge, but they didn’t use it. In the same way, we have knowledge, so we seek refuge from His punishment after we know about such people.

Finally, this is a surah of balance – about master and slave, about praise and thankfulness, and about knowledge and action.

That’s it. Again, I take all the responsibility for anything that I’ve misquoted here, may Allah make it easy on us, ameen.

The Resume for Here, and the Hereafter.

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We all are in a sense managing to beautify two different resumes throughout our lifetimes.

The first resume, i.e. for the Here, adapts to various stages/aims of our lives with two of the foremost importance being the job-search-resume, and the spouse-search-resume (actually with my limited vision, I couldn’t think of any other :>).

The second resume, i.e. for the hereafter, goes above the level of worldly aims. It’s the one that we are preparing to strengthen our case when we would face Allah SWT. His decision on this resume would be final and unquestionable. Allah SWT would be the only one to decide on this resume, unlike all of our worldly resumes that we forward to numerous potential candidates (wives and companies). May Allah decide in favor of us all, and may we be blessed with the shadow of His Throne and Janat-ul-firdous, ameen.

Recently, Alhamdolillah, I added one item in each of my poor little resumes! For the job-search-resume, I was blessed and honored when one of my research works got accepted for publication in a prestigious journal, and presentation in a highly competitive conference; Alhamdolillah. I am also offered a decent grant to go and present the paper, and on my way, to visit Pakistan 🙂 I never deserved any part of it at all, .. may Allah SWT make it good for my deen. I was thinking but wasn’t sure about how much of this job-search-resume, I am supposed to copy-paste to my spouse-search-resume, but I really hate the idea. Anyways, these two documents should remain mutually exclusive (in my geek terms)!

Now for the ultimate resume-for-hereafter – I’ve memorized Surah Naba 😀 Yessssss! It took me a while, but it helped me to figure out my pace in this regard and I am making sure to continue to progress despite the stupid well-known ‘busy schedule’. I’ve already started Surah Naziat, which is apparently a little easier, Inshallah, I’ll keep up the pace.

That’s it :> asalamalaikum.

Al-Mugney (The Enricher)

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I was looking out for the meanings of the 99 Asma-ul-Husna of Allah SWT, and I came across this page that talked about the benefits of memorizing the names. One of the strongest Hadeeths that supports the idea is that

Abu Huraira reported that Allah’s Messenger said: ‘There are ninety-nine names of Allah; he who commits them to memory will get into Paradise. Truly, Allah is Odd (he is One) and He loves odd numbers.” [Hadith Muslim: Book of Remembrance of All (Kitab Al-Dhikr) 6475; See also Sahih Bukhari 3.894]

Following that, it’s about satisfaction in this life, which comes from the remembrance of Allah SWT:

“.. and certainly the remembrance of Allah is the greatest, and Allah knows what you do.” [29:45]

“Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction.” [13:28]

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “… Beware! There is a piece of flesh in the body if it becomes good (reformed) the whole body becomes good but if it gets spoilt the whole body gets spoilt and that is the heart.” [Sahih Bukhari / Belief (Al-Eman), Volume 1, Book 2, Number 49]

So, one of the beautiful names I could relate my upS&Downs to was Al-Mugney (The Enricher). It means two things:

  1. He who enriches whom He will.
  2. He who ends the needs.

One of the related verses was verse number 48 in Surah An-Najm. So, I opened up my Mus’haf and started reading the translation and SubhanAllah, I came across these verses from Surah Najm, the 53rd in index, which talks about the fact that Revelation from Allah SWT for Prophet Muhammad PBUH is not an illusion and that He SWT is the source and goal of all things. Following versed amused, as well as amazed me:

Those who avoid great sins and indecent deeds, only (falling into) small faults – certainly, your Lord is ample in forgiveness. He knows you well when He brings you out of the earth, and when you are hidden in your mothers’ wombs. Therefore make not claims of piety; He knows best who it is that guards against evil. [32]

That man can have nothing but what he strives for; [39]
That (the fruit of) his striving will soon come in sight: [40]
Then will he be rewarded with a reward complete; [41]
That to your Lord is the final Goal; [42]
That it is He Who grants Laughter and Tears; [43]
That is He Who grants Death and Life; [44]
That He did create in pairs – male and female, [45]
From a seed when lodged (in its place); [46]
That He has promised a Second Creation (raising of the Dead); [47]
That it is He Who gives wealth and satisfaction; [48]

These verses turned out to be a sort of good news because v. 32 talks about Allah SWT’s mercy and forgiveness for those who are not perfect in their deeds (perhaps all of us). Then v. 39 confirmed that we must strive to gain anything. And that If I strive, the result must appear in form of a reward from none but Allah SWT, and that no result of my struggle can be better than what He wills. Finally, what flipped my mood was v. 43 that explicitly states that tears are from Allah SWT. I know that all good and bad comes from Allah SWT, but deep inside, I felt blessed to know that Allah SWT owns each one of our tear drops too! :>

-asalamalaikum.

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