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Yet another grief…Life as a testing ground

Bismillahi Rahamani Raheem.  Wasalatu wasalam ala seyidina Muhammad, wa ala alihi, wa ashabihi, wasselim.

Just as we are still grappling with the tragedy of the Dana crash and the torment and calamities it has left to some homes, the endemic terrorists attack came again killing scores of people and worshippers in Kaduna and Yobe states.  This is regarded as the most heinous crime against humanity, it is wicked and satanic.

Notable Muslim leaders have said this, we have also said it on this column, no matter the guise, this has nothing to do with Islam.  Suicide mission is even un-Islamic.  Islam does not preach the destruction of places of worship.  In fact, it is on record that the Prophet (s.a.w) talked about the preservation of monasteries and other places of worship of the Christians.

The Prophet once sent Muslims to Abyssinia where he was sure they would be safe.  We are not surprised that some in spite of several explanation and presentations at different fora, some still grudgingly hold it against Islam, saying senseless things against the religion. Some even sent debasing text messages to my phone.

I pitied their grand ignorance of grandeur, for it is senseless to hold the action of a few against all.  But that is not the focus of today’s sermon, it is rather in consonance with the last week’s topic ‘Dealing with grief and trials’; while also sympathising with the victims of the attack as they also undergo another form of grief and trials.

Nothing happens in this world except through the leave of Allah (SWT). A person who has been suffering from distress should know that Allah (SWT) is fully aware of it.  Not even a leaf will fall from a tree without Allah’s knowledge.  He is aware of every little details of everything that happens to us.

He knoweth whatever there is on the earth and in the sea. Not a leaf doth fall but with His knowledge: there is not a grain in the darkness (or depths) of the earth nor anything fresh or dry (green or withered) but is (inscribed) in a Record Clear (to those who can read). (6:59) No misfortune can happen on earth or in your souls but is recorded in a decree before We bring it into existence: that is truly easy for Allah: in order that ye may not despair over matters that pass you by … (57:22-23)

At a time like this, you need to be calm and remain unflinching in your faith and steadfast in your prayers and supplications to Him.  These calamities or pains might have been caused by the misdeed and wickedness of a fellow human being, but Allah knows why it happened.

It will not go without its consequences. Any harm or injustice that one has been subjected to by anyone, will not go without its punishment. Those who kill in whatever pretense or caused untold hardship to happen to others will ultimately receive the punishment of their actions.

For a believer who has been a victim of wrong or injustice by others, the greatest comfort is that a day will come when he will receive full justice from Allah (swt). No matter how insignificant or how grievous the harm was, the offending parties will be called to account for their actions. No matter to whom an injustice was done, and no matter how long that aggression was committed, the matter will be addressed by Allah.

Those who maimed,  killed  people and children in Churches, market places, or even bombed themselves will certainly face the wrath of Allah. When the heavens are cleft open and every thing  is unveiled; when the blazing fire is kindled to fierce heat; and when the Paradise is brought near; each soul will receive what it has put forward. (81:8-14)

The wrongdoers will face the punishment of Allah (swt) for the wrong they have committed and also violating Allah’s commandments.  The believer, therefore, should be patient having full assurance that Allah (swt) watches everything and will deliver justice. We have made some of you as a trial for others: will ye have patience?

For Allah is One Who sees (all things). (25:20) Truly the reward of the Hereafter will be greater if they only realize (this)! (They are) those who persevere in patience and put their trust on their Lord. (16:41-42) That is the ultimate comfort that a believer who has been wronged or oppressed by others can have.  Remember the story of Prophet Ayub (a.s. Job); it is a heart-melting story of pain and suffering, of patience and forbearance, of faith and gratitude, and ultimately of reward and triumph.

Prophet Ayub (a.s) was a very wealthy man having many animals, lands, slaves, and children. He was a very humble and patient man.  He worshipped Allah and showed gratitude to Him. From his riches, he would help the poor and the needy with food and clothes. He would buy slaves in order to set them free. When he helped people, he made them feel as if they are favouring him by accepting his gifts. He was a noble person that at a time, the angels praised him as a model servant of Allah.

Satan overheard their comments and decided to try him.  He tried to seduce him with evil thoughts and distract him from prayers and worshipping Allah. But Ayub (a.s) was firm in his faith and did not let the whispers of Shaytan tempt him.

Failing in his attempts to achieve that, Shaytan complained to Allah that about Ayub saying that although he was continuously glorifying Allah, he was not doing so out of sincerity but to satisfy Allah so that his wealth should not be taken away from him. “It was all a show, all out of greed. If You remove his wealth then You will find that his tongue will no longer mention Your name and his praying will stop,” Shaytan said.

Allah told Shaytan that Ayub was one of His most sincere devotees, and to prove this to him, Allah allowed him to do whatever he and his helpers wished with Ayub’s wealth. Happy with this authority, Shaytan gathered his helpers and destroyed Ayub’s cattle, servants, and farms and he was left with no possessions. He then appeared before Ayub in the guise of a wise old man and said to him:

“All your wealth is lost. Some people say that it is because you gave too much charity and that you are wasting your time with your continuous prayers to Allah. Others say that Allah has bought this upon you in order to please your enemies. If Allah had the capacity to prevent harm, then He would have protected your wealth.” True to his belief, Ayub replied: “What Allah has taken away from me belongs to Him. I was only its trustee for a while. He gives to whom He wills and withholds from whom He wills.”

With these words, Ayub went into prostration out of his humbleness and gratitude to Allah (swt). Seeing this, Shaytan was frustrated. He again complained to Allah: “I have stripped Ayub of all his wealth, but he still remains grateful to You. However, he is only hiding his disappointments, for he places great love on his many children.

The real test of a parent is through his children. You will then see how he will reject You.”  Allah granted Shaytan authority, but warned him that it would not reduce Ayub’s faith in his Lord nor his patience.

Etiquettes with Sha’ban
By Harun Razaq

Sha’ban is the eight month of Islamic calendar; it is the month after Rajab and preceding Ramadan. Sha’ban is one of the meritorious months in Islam which many Muslims neglect. The importance of the month of Sha’ban cannot be over emphasized in Islam because it is the month that Prophet Muhammad (SAW), used to fast most of the days.

Also, Sha’ban is a month in which an account of the deeds (of human beings) is presented before the Lord of the universe; also, it is the month in which Muslims do finalized their preparation for the blessed month of Ramadan. Therefore, a Muslim is expected to do the following in the month of Sha’ban:

FAST:  To fast in line with the Sunnah of the prophet (SAW), though, the fasts were not obligatory but meritorious and the prophet did not like to miss the fast. Infact, it is reported in a Hadith that the Prophet (SAW), use to fast so mush in the month of Sha’ban that he was asked: “Messenger of Allah, I have seen you fasting in the month of Sha’ban so frequently that I have never seen you fasting in any other month.”

Prophet Muhammad, (SAW), replied: “That (Sha’ban) is a month between Rajab and Ramadan which is neglected by many people. And it is a month in which an account of the deeds (of human beings) is presented before the Lord of the universe, so, I wish that my deeds be presented at a time when I am in a state of fasting.”

Therefore, a Muslim is expected to fast in the month of Sha’ban but it should be noted that, this fasting is expected to commence from the beginning of Sha’ban to the middle of the month. And to use the other part of the month to rest before Ramadan, but those in the habbit of observing Sunnah  of Mondays and Thursday fast are allowed to fast.

But  singling out 15th of Shaban for act of worship such as fast, tahjud, sadaqah etc. with the believe that it has special reward or that on this night the fate or destiny of people is decided etc. are subjected to criticism by Ahlu Sunnah Scholars. eg Sheikh Sayyid Sabiq in Fiqhu Sunnah p.127 said: “it lacks authentic proof.”

Also Sheikh Munajih said: “the 15th of Sha’baan is like any other night, and there is no sound report from the Prophet (SAW) to indicate that on this night the fate or destiny of people is decided”. We ask Allah to make us of those who adhere totally to the Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW) inwardly and outwardly.


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