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moon_riseAssalaamu ‘alaykum, may peace be upon you and welcome,

As expected, the blessed month of Ramadhan is swiftly leaving our company – with a mere two weeks left to enjoy inshaAllah. InshaAllah, as I hope has been the case with me, you have all been able to benefit from the blessed month, increase in Iman, taqwa and nearness towards to The Most Beloved, Most High, ameen.

The joys, beauties, love and mercy that fill our homes, hearts and minds do not have to come to an end the night that ‘Eid id pronounced. Because Ramadhan is so dear to us all,  before its conclusion draws near, we should start eagerly deciding on how to keep its spirits alive as soon as it goes. So, to get you started on welcoming ‘Laylatul-Qadr – The Night of Decree’ and to avoid having your captured jewels slip form your hands, here’s a quick to-do list for the upcoming days:

1) Make a list of 3 acts of ‘ibaadah you really enjoyed performing, write why you enjoyed each one… these can now become your regular daily actions – for life inshaAllah.

2) Make a list of 3 things you shouldn’t have done in Ramadhan, but which you did, and as a result feel guilty about and add them to your ‘Du’a list’Why? So that you won’t forget to make tawbah (repentance) for them inshaAllah!

3) Du’a list: Make a list of everything you want from your Lord, Most High, The Only One Able to answer your prayers. Make a list, read through them to ensure you have EVERYTHING SINGLE REQUEST written (those for this life and for The Next Life) inshaAllah… And?… Start asking for them! What’s the use in leaving the list for only the last 10 nights when Allah answers du’as every night! [Start making those du’as asap and ensure you double if not triple the number of times you ask for them during the last 10 Nights inshaAllah.]

4) Empty and Refill… There is a morsel of flesh in the body that needs more spiritually cleaning than any other organ in the body… So what do we do? Ask Allah to cleanse your precious heart of any and every ill-feeling that presently exists. Ask Allah to forgive any person you feel ill towards and remember them in your du’as [it’s one of the best ways to transform a heart, mind and soul inshaAllah] and refilll your heart with nothing, absolutely nothing but good thoughts of others, positive thoughts of yourself and loving thoughts of your Lord, Azza wa Jal.

5) And lastly, just as you started off by listing 3 continuous acts of worship, now set your goals. We sometimes forget that goals are for life not just for Ramadhan! So get thinking, get writing and get doing! InshaAllah. Your goals in life must reflect your personal values – things that are important to you. Once you’ve written them, share your achievement (yes, the construction of your goals!) with someone special… someone you know will aid you and be a great means of support to you for as long as is required… of course this should come after correcting one’s intention and turning to your Lord and requesting of Him His Aid and assistance.

Dear readers, enjoy the rest of the blessed days to come and don’t forget, our lives aren’t preparation for Ramadhan… Ramdhan is preparation for our lives.

Wassalaamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh.

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Salam and welcome to this week’s reminder…

As Ramadhan is briskly approaching, we hope to set the tone by giving you beneficial reminders to prepare for the blessed month ahead, insha’Allah. The first of our Ramadhan reminders is on two themes of such great significance, it always serves to benefit the servants of Allah (Swt).

Have you ever stopped . . . searched within your heart and examined its contents?

Contemplation, pondering, self-reflection are all apart of spiritual growth. Yet, how many of us take account of ourselves? Or question our actions before or after we’ve performed them? What becomes very sad, is when a person becomes convinced that their actions are for Allah (Swt), when in actual fact their actions are simply being performed to be seen, marvelled and envied by others. But how can we protect ourselves from falling into this trap of shaytaan? The answer, dear readers? . . . ‘ilm (knowledge) and Ikhlaas (Sincerity).

ILM – Knowledge

If I told you that I had a friend who was kind, generous, so polite, and because of their beautiful characteristics I truly loved them for the sake of Allah (Swt) – what would you say? Would you suddenly love them too? Would you know enough about them to love them? And if so, do you think your love would be equal to mine? Of course not, for how can it be so, when you know very little about my friend. So, what would cause you to love my friend, as I do?

Knowing Allah (Swt) is synonymous to loving Him (Swt), and yet many of us claim love of our Lord (Swt), though we haven’t taken the time to learn and understand how best to worship Him (Swt), understand Tawheed – The Oneness of Allah (Swt), or learn, understand and implement His(Swt) Names and Attributes. Are we aware of the affects these important areas should have upon our lives?

Dear readers, in order to truly be able to love Allah (Swt), we’ve got to know Allah (Swt), study His Names and Attributes and read His Blessed Words – Al-Qur’an, making it more attched and beloved to our hearts than anything else, insha’Allah.

IKHLAAS – Sincerity

Purity is a state of self, required in a variety of ways in order to achieve particular goals. Ikhlaas – sincerity is a state of the heart that must be present before any action can be accepted by Allah (Swt).

“Actions are but by intentions. And every man shall receive that which he intended. Thus, if a his migration was for Allah and His messenger, then his migration was for Allah and His messenger. But if his migration was for some wordly benefit or to seek a woman in marriage, then his migration was for that which he migrated.”

[Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

Thus, who must we have sincerity for? Someone may be sincere in an action, but direct it towards to a family member, spouse, friend etc – is this acceptable? How can it be? When The Only One worthy of performing an action for is Allah (Swt)? Any action done simply to seek the pleasure of another, will be rejected on Yawmul Qiyaamah – The Day of Judgement, with the unfortunate servant being told to seek reward from the one whom they sought reward from, initially:

“If you associate partners (with Allah), your deeds will be cancelled”

[Surah Az-Zumar:65]

Is it worth it?  A worthless praise or insignificant acknowledgement, does not even come close to a speck of dust compared to the pleasure of The One Whom hearts were created to please. A servant’s niyyah – intention is sufficient to make a great deed small and a small deed great.

Dear readers, this is a concept that should always remain with us, for remember this … Can a action really be worh performing, if the end result will only be rejected by Allah (Swt) due to its defects? No, absolutely not, for He (Swt) is the reason why we live.

Thus, let us think of ways in which we can make the most of the three weeks we have left, before Ramadhan, in order to ensure that we achieve both ‘ilm and ‘ikhlaas, insha’Allah. So, we’ve noted a few points of very beneficial actions to perform now, in order to prepare ourselves for the blessed month ahead, insha’Allah.

*Make a ‘Ramadhan Achievement List’ – things I will achieve by the end of Ramadhan, insha’Allah. Along with that you could create a ‘Ramadhan Good-deeds chart’ – where you tick off the deeds you manage to perform eac day. And don’t forget your ‘Ramadhan timetable’ – a time guide to aid you in fulfilling your Ramadhan targets, insha’Allah.

*Make the niyyah to read atleast 1 ayah after every salaah, and if you find it difficult to achieve that, then read the equivalent amount every night before going to sleep (1 ayah x 5 daily prayers = 5 ayat a day) insha’Allah. For if we truly want to love Allah (Swt), then we will strive to be amongst the family of Allah (Swt). For verily those that learn, understand, implement and teach The Words of Allah (Swt) – are considered amongst the best of people – the family of Allah (Swt).

*Incorporate into your Ramadhan timetable, a small slot everyday to memorise, understand and implement 5 of the Names of Allah (Swt). For anyone who memorises all 99 names of Allah (Swt), understands them and acts according to them, shall enter Paradise, by Allah’s (Swt) Grace.

*Before going to sleep, ask yourself 2 things: What did I do, purely for Allah’s Sake today? and … If my soul were not to return to me, what would I be ashamed to answer for, on The Day of Judgement? And whatever you find the latter to be, seek immediate forgiveness before closing your eyes to sleep. 

Dear readers only with true knowledge of Allah (Swt) will we grow to understand and appreciate the magnanimity of The One we call Lord – Allah (The Most High).  For truly, when we say that we love our Lord (Swt), He hears our claims and is fully aware of what really lies within our hearts.

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Salaam and welcome, to this week’s reminder …

By the grace of our Magnificent Lord (Swt), we’re back after three long weeks, with our next reminder to get you contemplating, insha’Allah. Alhamdulillah, our last reminder touched upon the topic of baa’ithun qawi – an inspirational urge’. This week, dear readers, we have continued on the topic of ‘A Gift from Allah (Swt)’, to shed what we hope will be a source of benefit to you all, insha’Allah.

 A beauty of our deen is as such: everything we are honoured to see, hear, read, write and discuss, are gifts from Allah (Swt). However, there are particular aspects of our religion that shine as examples from others. To be able to turn to our Lord (Swt) Who never turns away from us – except when we ourselves turn away; Who receives us time and time again; our Supporter and Protector; from all of the bounties we taste, day in and day out, will we ever be able to repay Him (Swt) back? Though we know the answer to this question is no, there is a gift with which we have been blessed, one like none other, which enables a connection to our Beloved (Swt) … every single day of our lives. What can this gift possibly be? I sense you asking. It is the first station of the wayfarer – a yearning to approach Allah (Swt).

Tawbah:Repentance – when did you last perform it?

If we had a debt to repay, how would we view it? Would we strive as much as we could to repay it? Seek all necessary means to clear our slate? So what then of a very important debt that we have to Allah (Swt)? Every time we commit a wrong action without seeking forgiveness, how do we feel? Do we convince ourselves that Allah (Swt) is AlGhafoor ArRaheem (The All-Forgiving, The Most Merciful)? Do we delay rectifying it, in the hope that it’ll, somehow, sort itself out? But what if I told you that there is an action that is effortless and yet so weighty, simple and yet so profound, what would you say? Dear readers, the depletion and complete clearance of our debts to Allah (Swt) are just an action away of being forgiven, insha’Allah..

Tawbah is a gift that Allah (Swt) bestows upon whom He Wills. The literal meaning is “to turn back“, thus one does not merely ask Allah (Swt) for forgiveness – for such an action is known as istighfar– “seeking forgiveness“, rather one begins a new phase of their life, having turned to their Lord with every essence of their heart. 

When we make tawbah, we make a strong resolve never to return back, intentionally, to our sinful or ignorant ways. It is as though we are asking Allah (Swt) to take us forward, to never turn away from us and to guide us upon what is right. When one performs the beautiful action of tawbah, something very significant takes place, both spiritually and physically; not only do you feel a sense of release, as though a heavy load has been lifted from your shoulders, but you feel as though Allah (Swt) is with you, and that dear readers, is a blessing within itself.

It is an agreed upon opnion that repentance is an obligation for each sin. If the sin is between a servant and their Lord then there are three conditions: ‘Desist, Remorse and Resolve’:

Firstly, desisting from the sin.

Secondly, being remorseful for doing it.

Thirdly, resolving never to repeat it again.

If any of these conditions is missed, repentance will not be correct”.

Along with this Imam an-Nawawi (rh) states a fourth condition, depending on whether the sin involved the right of another:

“Redressing the right of the one who has been wronged. If it entails [falsely] accusing a person of adultery or its like, one must give himself up to him or else ask him to forgive it. If it involved backbiting, then one must have him pardon it.” [Riyad as-Saalihin]

This is crucial for us to remember, as our ‘turning back’ to Allah (Swt) is our way forward, an acknowledgement that we have fallen short and need to return, once again, to our source of tranquility. Not only are we settling our debt with Allah (Swt),we are also uprooting ourselves from disobedience, insha’Allah. For such a blessed gift is a door leading to the station of ‘mahbubiyyah’:being loved by Allah (Swt). And I ask: which of us are not in need of His (Swt) Divine Love?

“Indeed Allah loves those that turn to Him in repentance.” [2:222]

So dear readers,  ask yourselves this: ‘When did you last make tawbah?’ and more importantly, ‘Are you ready to turn back to your Lord (Swt), now that you know you should?’

Do not delay in telling Allah (Swt) you love Him, nor delay in feeling remorse for your sins. For your heart is yearning to approach your Lord (Swt), thus take heed and enable your realisation to penetrate your soul and know … that this gift is one truly from you Lord Alone (Swt).

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Salaam and Welcome to this week’s reminder …

A fortnight ago, we spoke about the importance of ‘Awakening’ to the reality of our situation: – understanding that guidance comes only from Allah (Swt) and that before we can even begin our spitritual wayfaring we must come to terms with how and why we are journeying to Allah (Swt).

This week’s reminder will touch upon the essence of receiving a slightly different kind of hidaayah – guidance. For what I shall present to you, is a brief mention of a gift … a gift of honour, bestowed, only, by The Divine, The One and Only. 

Through the grace and mercy of our Lord (Swt), He bestows upon us the opportunity to read, hear and be reminded of His blessings in a way that touches for the very roots of our soul. Have you ever been in a situation where you were reading, watching, listening, or speaking about something, when … in the space of a few seconds, a sense of comfort and ease suddenly dawned over you? Out of nowhere, you feel a load being lifted from your shoulders; a layer removed from your vision and a source of light enter into your heart like never before. And then in that single moment of time, you realise that the real beginning of your life … has just begun.

Just imagine wanting something so sacred, and yet not having to work as hard as you thought to seek it. Why?  As The Only One capable of giving it, actually, wants the seeker to acquire it more than the seeker themself.

Divine Guidance is one thing, but Baa’ithun qawi – “Inspirational Urge” is something quite different: a precious gift and an unequivocal honour for those Whom He (Swt) Wills.

Inspirational Urge:

A couple of days ago, I had the blessed opportunity to sit in the company of a dear and beloved sister-in-Islam, a companion fillah – a friend Allah (Swt) blessed me with, purely for His Sake. We sat reminding one another of our spiritual journey towards Allah (Swt) and the significant states and stations that needed to be achieved.  As we sat discussing and then reflecting upon our discussion, the topic of being inspired emerged. As my dear companion fillah sat next to me, listening so attentively, eyes focused – without the interruption of a blink – we gathered inspiration from the beautiful translation of Shaykh Abdur-Rahman AS-Sa ‘ad’s (may Allah have mercy upon him, ameen) poem – ‘The Exquisite Pearl: Journey to Allah and the home of The Hereafter’, something that had a profound affect upon my heart, was now about to touch her’s. I saw her eyes begin to widen; her posture like a frozen image and her mind begin to ponder over what was being said. The overwhelming nature of what she was hearing was clearly evident on her face; and I too sat feeling in awe of my Lord (Swt), once again.

The guidance of faith that we are fortunate enough to receive, though it is Allah’s (Swt) own doing, still requires us to have an atoms weight of want and desire to be guided, in order for it to actually take place. Similarly, receiving an inspirational urge  requires the seeker to be in the ‘correct state of self’ in order to receive the precious gift.

Someone may love Allah (Swt) ands claim to want khushoo in their salah, however; they do not approach the salah until it’s in it’s last hour, they rush through making their ablution, they hasten to the salaah and somehow manage to complete it in less than three minutes. Similarly, someone that wants to seek nearness towards Allah (Swt), finds the time to read countless numbers of books, acrticles, browse the internet, text for hours etc whilst their Qur’an – Divine Words of ‘their Beloved’ – sits ‘preserved’ at the top of their bookself, simply gathering dust, and the servant only ever referring to it when they feel the need. Such servants are not true to their claims and are most certainly not being true to themselves.

If you knew an extremely wealthy person who owned an enormous amount of wealth and wanted to distribute it to as many people as possible, but the only thing you had to do was show up at their door, which was right next door to you, would you sit at home or would you present yourself at their doorstep? And if the wealthy person called out to you every single day to come and receive more of their wealth, wouldn’t you answer their call, every single day? I don’t think we’d find it an impossible task, do you?

Thus if we are really sincere about wanting to love Allah (Swt), seek nearness towards Him and be amongst His blessed servants, let us ask ourselves two questions: have we ‘presented’ ourselves to our Lord (Swt)? and if so in what state? For such a divine gift is only bestowed upon those that truly seek its fruits, by being in the correct situation to receive it. Whether that’s being in the company of the true lovers of Allah (Swt), making tawbah (repentance), waking up for tahujjud, reading The Words of The Most High, listening to or speaking about the remembrance of Allah (Swt), making dhikr, or any other action pleasing to Him (Swt). And know that the most beloved actions to our Lord (Swt) is that which is done consistently, though it may be small.

” Indeed your Lord has, in these days of yor life, divine gifts. So present yourself to them.” [At-Tabarani, al-Mu’jam al-Saghir, 19:234]

Let us turn to our Lord (Swt), not everyday, but every awakened moment of our lives, and present ourselves amongst those who are ever ready to receive, insha’Allah (if Allah Wills).

“By the soul and Him that formed it. Then inspired it with (knowledge of right and wrong. He has indeed prospered who purifies it. But he who pollutes it is ruined.” [91:9-10]

This precious gift is one that goes beyond expressions; one that surpasses comparison; and an unequivocal honour, direct from The Divine (Swt). So, be amongst the forerunners, those that strive with the very depths of their souls and yearn with every vessel in their hearts.

Fortunate are they who, ‘present themselves’ to Him (Swt), ever ready to receive one of the greatest of the Divine gifts … The inspirational urge.

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Salaam and welcome to this week’s reminder …

Last week we wrote about the true meaning of journeying to Allah (Swt) – Siyaaha; by coming to terms with the notions: State and station and understanding what it means to be amongst His wayfarers. We pray that it served as a great reminder benefitting you throughout your week and we hope that you are ready to gain true inspiration from what this week’s reminder has to offer, bi-ithnillaahi ta’ala.

The Awakening   

As servants of Allah (Swt) we long to love Him (Swt), be near to Him and seek His Pleasure. However, more often than not we fail to remind ourselves of what it is that we need to comprehend before such blessings can be achieved. ‘Do we know what it means to be a true and devoted servant of Allah (Swt)?’; and ‘How or in what way our Lord (Swt) Has asked us to worship Him?’. Before one is able to journey towards Allah (Swt) we must understand what is meant by worshiping Allah (Swt).

Worshiping Allah (Swt) – ‘ibaadah is to serve Allah (Swt) internally and externally, with all that is pleasing to Him; have a deep knowledge of Him (Swt) – ma ‘rifahlove Him (Swt) – mahabbah; fulfil the true meaning of repentance – tawbah, by completely turning to Allah (Swt), and to seek every possible means to tread the path that will lead to the ultimate reward – Jannatul Firdaws, insha’Allah.  

A true awakening is to come to a realisation about one’s journey and one’s goal. Of which the first step is to understand that one can only be a wayfarer if Allah (Swt) – Mighty and Majestic – Has decreed for it to take place. Thus, those that wish for hidaayah – guidance – will get exactly that. But those that have chosen to turn away from the light of guidance, the blessed ‘spiritual urge’ bestowed upon those that wish to receive it, will receive a calamity like none other:

“Those who forgot Allah, so He caused them to forget their ownselves; such are the corrupt ones.” [Al-Hashr 59: 19]

A wayfarer, on the path towards their Creator is always on guard to such a calamity taking place; reminding themselves that it is a calamity enough to destroy one’s entire being. Thus they begin to reaise that the greatest loss is to be pre-occupied with anything and anyone that may take one away from the remebrance of Allah (Swt); as such a situation produces nothing but mere loss and everlasting regret. Hence why sincere wayfarers are busy concerning themselves with that which will grant them nearness towards their Lord (Swt).

They prefer the eternal to the ephermeral; the pure to the corrupt, perfection over imperfection and truth over falsehood. Due to their yearning, striving and longing for their Beloved (Swt), they simply live, like a stranger – who’s inner-self is never truly known to those who claim to know them. For the yearnings within them, forever, go unknown…

They are amongst the people, but never with them; seen with the people, but never apart of them; and loved by the people, but never a lover of them. They have sold their portion of this dunya for their Aakhira … with a heart never at rest, until it will finally meet its Lord and Cherisher – The Beloved (Swt) of All.

“Yearning for Allah and His meeting is like the gentle breeze blowing upon the heart, extinguishing the blaze of the Dunya. Whosoever caused his heart to settle with his Lord shall be in a state, calm and tranquility, and whosoever sent it amongst the people shall be disturbed and excessively perturbed.” [Ibn al Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah]

So from week-to-week as you come to read and know of these blessed servants of The Most Merciful, read with true presence of heart and purity of soul, and seek to be amongst those who have been adorned with the beauty of emaan – faith, both inwardly and outwardly… for they are those whose hearts have been awakened and whose souls have been revived.

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Salam and welcome … To The First of our weekly reminders.

We pray that these will serve as great benefits to all who read; inspiring and motivating you to seek nearness towards The Beloved – Allah (Swt). This week’s reminder is the first of many, insha’Allah; on the beautiful topic of ‘Journeying to Allah (Swt)’, by means of ‘purifying our souls’ .

What does it mean to journey to Allah(Swt)?’

Journeying to Allah (Swt) is something that every servant partakes in, though, the nature of each of our journey differs from servant to servant. We are all journeying towards The Master; The Creator of the Heavens and the earth, whether we acknowledge this fact or not. This journey is one that is real and yet ironically surreal. Do you feel your body physically moving towards your Lord (Swt)? No. As that will only occur when the Angels (as) claim our souls. So, what exactly is journeying, if not our bodies?

Our souls; spiritual-self; inner-self; true self-being continues to travel towards our Lord (Swt) every single second of our lives. Our soul is the entity that gives life to our body, hence when a person is considered deceased, it is when the Angel of Death (as) has extracted their soul from their body. Our soul is a spiritual entity that needs to be nurtured, just as our physical entity (or body) needs nourishment. However, the nourishment or lack of it will ultimately affect our relationship with our Lord (Swt); our happiness or destruction in this world and ultimately our success (gain) or downfall (loss) in the Aakhira (Afterlife).

Thus, when we speak of spirituality, it is the extent to which one seeks nearness towards Allah (Swt). By merely ‘internalising’ concepts known in our Aqeedah (belief). One example of this is: it is a common and agreed upon concept that a servant must utter the words “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is Greater) at the beginning of every prayer (and rakah – standing). Saying these words plant in our hearts that fact that there is absolutely nothing as great as Allah (Swt) – our Creator and Sustainer; thus nothing else and no one else is worthy of our attention and focus during our salah (prayer). Thus our salah is only worthy of acceptance when devoted solely to Allah (Swt), seeking His Pleasure Alone.

Spirituality is to observe a deep understanding of the concepts (aspects) of our belief, to the extent that one is able to make a beautiful connection between the heart and the limbs which, as a result, enables an unimaginable nearness towards Allah (Swt).

A spiritual journey to Allah (Swt) is to travel with our inner-selves, from state to state and station to station, until the ultimate station of stations has been achieved: Ihsan

 What is the difference between a state and a station?

A State: is when we feel, behave and react in a particular manner, though, the manner has not yet settled in our hearts. So one may feel ‘patient’  or ‘grateful’  at times, without having permanently arrived at these stations. Thus, a servant may continue to move from state to state with Islamic qualities clearly evident in their lives, however, impermanent qualities still remain within the heart.

A Station: is when our character or self-being arrives at a particular ‘place’. Without wavering between states, a servant at a particular station lives the desired quality inwardly and outwardly. They have settled there; so as opposed to it being a ‘fleeting state’, it becomes a permanent quality of the heart, clearly evident in their lives.

These concepts are crucial for us to understand in order to know whether we are moving from state to state or station to station. Ask yourself these question: “Do I feel like this sometimes (on and off)?” or “Do I feel like this most of the time (consistantly)? Asking yourself these question will enable you to decipher what characteristics you need to purify within yourself in order to be strengthened along this journey; striving with complete devotion, to gain nothing but The Pleasure of your Lord (Swt). 

The pleasure of Allah (Swt) should be the epitamy of our lives; the reason for why we live and do as we do. Remember that It is His love that we yearn for, to carry us through, what will at times be, the loneliest and yet enriching journey we’ll ever make.

He (Swt) is our Supporter, our Protector and our Guide (Swt). May our lives be witnesses for us and not against us and may our hearts strive, not merely to love Allah (Swt)… to be completely in-love with Him (Swt), ameen Allahumma, ameen.   

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