Friday Sermon 19/11/14

First sermon

All praise be to Allah, the Provider, the most Generous. He offered us unlimited kindness. Glad tidings shall, therefore, be to those, who obey Him, are satisfied with his favours and grateful to Him always.

I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship, except for Him alone without any partners or peers and that Muhammad, the best example of contended people, is His Servant and Messenger, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his family, his companions, and all those who will follow them in righteousness till the Day of Judgment.

I urge myself first and all of you to obey Allah and be submissive to Him. Verily, Allah, Exalted is He, has declared the truth in His Holy Book: “O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer.” (Annisaa: 1).

He also says, “So give good tidings to My servants who listen to speech and follow the best of it.” (Azzumar: 17-18).

Dear Muslims,

Allah the Almighty has created Man and gave him abundantly. There are those who are happy with what they have received, but there are also the greedy, the unsatisfied. Allah the All-Glory says, “and as for man, when his Lord tries him and [thus] is generous to him and favours him, he says, ‘my Lord has honoured me.’ But when He tries him and restricts his provision, he says, ‘My Lord has humiliated me’.” (Al Fajr: 15-16).

Actually, the successful is the one who surrenders to Allah and is content with destiny. He neither complains nor gets upset. Allah the most Exalted says, “do they distribute the mercy of your Lord? It is We who have apportioned among them their livelihood in the life of this world.” (Azzukhruf: 32). Thus contentment is to be construed as the act of accepting willingly what is available and never getting frustrated or angry at what is not accessible.

It is beneficial for man and is fundamental to his self-esteem. Its value cannot be measured. It is a source of happiness that never ends, and is a kind of wealth that never dwindles. Further, it is a requirement for a peaceful life as the Almighty says, “whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do.” (Annahl: 97). Here, a good life means any aspects of comfort but it is mostly associated with contentment as reported by scholars, who quoted Ali Ibn Abu Talib and Ibn Abbas amongst others.

Indeed, whoever is blessed with satisfaction, he has succeeded. Allah’s Messenger pbuh said in this regard, “the successful is the one who enters the fold of Islam and is provided with sustenance which is sufficient for his day’s needs, and Allah makes him content with what He has bestowed upon him.”

Our Guide Muhammad pbuh was pleased with what Allah had granted him, and would look forward to the next life, seeking his Lord’s acceptance. He would supplicate to the All-Powerful saying, “O Allah, make the provision of the family of Muhammad sufficient for them.” That is, making them financially independent and sparing them extreme necessity.

Dear Servants of Allah,

Because the self is naturally inclined to own more things, our Guide Muhammad pbuh warned us saying, “if the son of Adam were to possess two valleys of riches, he would long for the third one.” It was also said that the self remains avidly desirous if it is left at free will, and will never be satisfied until it is restrained.

That is why the Prophet pbuh used to educate his Companions into avoiding the obsession with increasing one’s possessions and guide them to ways to satisfaction and happiness. It was narrated that Hakim Ibn Hazzam, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “I asked the Messenger of Allah pbuh and he gave me, then I asked him and he gave me, then I asked him and he gave me.

Then he pbuh said, ‘this wealth is attractive and sweet. Whoever takes it without insisting, it will be blessed for him, and whoever takes it with avarice, it will not be blessed for him. He is like one who eats and is not satisfied. And the upper hand is better than the lower hand’

I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, By the One Who sent you with the truth, I will never ask anyone for anything after you, until I depart this world’.”

The Companions endorsed this prophetic guidance with honesty and raised their children on the same. They taught them not to look at what is in others’ hands.

Here is another example of Saad Ibn Abi Waqqas, may Allah be pleased with him, who advised his son to avoid greed, as it leads to poverty, and ignore what others have. He explained to him that contentment is the true wealth and peace of mind.

Dear Muslims,

Our Prophet pbuh instructed us to adopt ways to reach contentment based on the firm faith that blessings are from Allah only. The All-Glory said, “and whatever you have of favour – it is from Allah. Then when adversity touches you, to Him you cry for helpindeed, it is Allah who is the [continual] Provider, the firm possessor of strength.” (Adhariyat: 58).

In the same regard, He pbuh also told us to think of Allah’s gifts to us and avoid comparing ourselves with others. And if we were to do so, it should be with those who are less fortunate. Only then can we truly value Allah’s blessings to us without undermining them. The Prophet pbuh said, “look at those who are lower than you (financially) but do not look at those who are higher than you, lest you belittle the favours Allah conferred upon you.”

This means satisfaction cannot be attained unless we overlook other people’s property and privileges. In fact being wealthy is much associated with feeling happy with what Allah has granted us, as the Prophet says, “be satisfied with what Allah has allotted for you and you shall be the richest of the people.” He also said, “riches does not mean, having a great amount of property, but riches is self-contentment.”

Truly a self-contended person is well respected amongst the community; he or she is more valued than the ill-aspiring and the wealth-mongering.

Hasan Al Basri said, “you will continue to be generous to people, who will act in the same way [by treating you nicely]. They will do so as long as you do not aspire to what they have in hands. But if you did, they would underestimate you and hate you.”

Anyone blessed with contentment he will sense Allah’s gifts to him and appreciate them fully. But those who deny their Lord’s favours and fail to thank Him cannot be satisfied. The Prophet pbuh said, “O Abu Hurairah, be cautious, and you will be the most devoted of people to Allah. Be content and you will be the most grateful of people to Allah.”

Being aware of the merits of contentment, we implore Allah to help us be satisfied in all of our matters and grant us acceptance. We also pray to Allah to help us obey Him, His Messenger Muhammad pbuh and those He has decreed on us to obey in compliance with His orders: “O you who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you.” (Annisaa: 59).

May Allah direct us all to the blessings of the Glorious Quran and the Sunna of His Messenger pbuh and benefit us all in whatever is in them.

I say this and ask Allah the Great, the Most Honoured for forgiveness for me, you and all the Muslims for every sin, so invoke Him for forgiveness, for He is the Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Second sermon

Praise be to Allah. I bear witness that there is no deity but Him, having no associates. I also bear witness that our Master Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger, may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his pure family, his companions and all those who will follow them in righteousness till the Day of Judgment.

Servants of Allah, 

Please be aware that you are asked to obey Him, the Almighty, as it ought to be by observing Him in private and in public. Please know that those, who are never satisfied with what they have, have less faith in their Lord and submit to their desires. The All-Glory says, “if only they had been satisfied with what Allah and His Messenger gave them and said, “Sufficient for us is Allah; Allah will give us of His bounty, and [so will] His Messenger; indeed, we are desirous toward Allah,” [it would have been better for them].” (Attawbah: 59).

A pious man used to say, “one of the greatest blessings of Allah is contentment for there is nothing better for the self than satisfaction with and acceptance of destiny and trust in Allah the most Exalted.”

Dear Servants of Allah,

Bear in mind that you are asked to offer prayer and greetings upon our most noble Prophet pbuh for Allah says, “indeed, Allah and His angels sends blessing upon the Prophet. O you who have believed, ask [Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [Allah to grant him] peace.” (Al Ahzab: 56). On the same matter, the Prophet pbuh said, “for everyone who invokes a blessing on me will receive ten blessings from Allah.” He also said, “Nothing turns back the Decree except supplication.”

May the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon our Master Muhammad pbuh, his family and all his Companions. May Allah be pleased with the Rightly Guided Caliphs: Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali, and all those who will follow them in righteousness till the Day of Judgment.

May Allah grant us satisfaction with what you have given us.

O Allah, we implore You at this instant not to let a sin unforgiven, a distress unrelieved, an illness unhealed or a handicapped without relief, a dead without mercy or a debt unsettled. Our Lord, give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire.

O Allah, may we ask You to help us with what gets us closer to Paradise and furthers us from hell. O Allah we seek Your grace to admit us, our parents, whoever has done a favour to us and all Muslims to Your Paradise.

May Allah grant success and continued good health to our leader HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. May Allah also ensure success to his Deputy, HH Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and provide strength and assistance to his brothers, Their Highness the Rulers of the Emirates, and his trustworthy Crown Prince HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

O Allah, forgive all of the Muslims, men and women, living and dead, and make blessings follow us and them. May Allah have mercy on Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Maktoum and all their brothers, the Late UAE Sheikhs. O Lord, forgive and show mercy to our parents, relatives and whoever has done a favour to us.

O Allah, we pray to You to grant Your forgiveness to who built this mosque and to his or her parents as well as to anyone who gave to this mosque. O Allah, we also supplicate to You to forgive whoever built a mosque where Your name is remembered.

We pray to Allah, the Most Gracious, to preserve the UAE from all temptations, both apparent and hidden, and   continue blessing the UAE and all Muslim countries with safety and security.

O servants of Allah, remember Allah and He will remember you. Be grateful for His benevolence He will increase His blessings to you. Allah, the Most High, says, “and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do.” (Al Ankaboot: 45).

Translation

Mostapha El Mouloudi

Note: The English translation of the Quran and Hadith is an interpretation of their meanings, and does not have the status of their original Arabic texts.

 

 

Advertisements

How to raise Children

Parents hold enormous leverage in terms of what they teach their children and accordingly how their children grow up as adults. Islam, therefore, hold parents responsible for steering their children’s upbringing according to the guidelines of the Quran and the Prophet’s (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) traditions. The Prophet (s) said:  (Nasa’i, Abu Da’ud).

Allah (SWT) states in the Quran about the need to raise families in the light of their end destination, which may be translated in the following words:

“O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded” (Tahrim 66:6).

Children have the right, therefore, to be raised as responsible Muslim adults and parents must ensure that right appropriately. Parents must be conscious and take an active role in guiding their children and families on the path of truth. The Prophet Muhammad (s) said:  (Bukhari and Muslim).

The following are some of the critical areas related to raising children into responsible Muslim adults:

Give the child a good name

Parents have the responsibility to provide the child with a good name which is in accordance with Islamic traditions. One of the hadith in this context is the one narrated by Naafi’ that Ibn ‘Umar said: The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said:  (Narrated by Muslim, 2132).

Spend appropriately on your children

Parents, and especially fathers, have the responsibility to spend on their children in ways that can help their proper upbringing. It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Amr said: The Messenger of Allah (s) said: Narrated by Abu Dawood, 1692; classed as sahan by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4481). Another hadith in this context states that ‘Aa’ishah, the wife of the Prophet (s), said: A woman came to me with two daughters and asked me for food, and I could not find anything except one date which I gave to her. She shared it between her two daughters, then she got up and went out. The Prophet (s) came in and I told him what had happened. He said: Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5649; Muslim, 2629).

Treat your children fairly

All children within a family have their own rights to be treated fairly. This right was referred to by the Prophet (s) in the saheeh hadeeth:  (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2447; Muslim, 1623).

Parents should not show undue preference to their children based on their gender or other criteria. Unfair treatment can arouse a feeling of jealousy and hatred in children that can continue for life and can also lead to bitterness in the child’s heart toward the parents as well. The Prophet (s) referred to this in the hadeeth narrated by Muslim (1623) when he said to the father of al-Nu’maan,  He said, “Yes.” In other words, if you want them all to honor you equally, then be equally fair to all of them.

Even about the inheritance that children are bound to receive from parents, Allah (SWT) has made it clear that it does not depend on the parents’ wishes but has to be given according to the laws laid down in the Quran:

“Allah commands you as regards your children’s (inheritance)Treat your children with love and mercy

Parents have the obligation to show love and mercy to their children. This will help children to develop normal and stable personalities and will also make it easier for children to love and respect their parents and elders when they grow up. Seeing the Prophet kissing his grandson, a person named Alaqr’a Ibn Habis found this behavior strange and said, “I have ten children, but I have never kissed any of them.” The Prophet (s) replied, (Bukhari and At-Tirmidhi).

Your children deserve the right to proper education and upbringing

One of the most important facets of raising children is for the parents to provide them with the right training. According to Islamic traditions, the best gift that parents can provide to their children is training that can help them live as responsible Muslim adults fulfilling the rights of Allah and others. This, then, can lead them to succeed in the hereafter as well. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi va sallam) said,  (Tirmizi).

Educating children in such a way that they can be successful both in this life and the hereafter should be the supreme responsibility of parents. In today’s world, while it is common to see parents focus on the kind of education that can help them toward building the right careers and in making a living, the focus on Islamic education rarely gets its due focus. Depriving children of proper Islamic teachings can prevent children from building a close relationship with their creator Allah, which is the cornerstone of all success in this life and the hereafter. A good religious education grounded in love of their Lord, on the contrary, can help them live a more peaceful life, deal with life’s challenges easily and maturely, and fulfill the rights and obligations of all around them (including the parents themselves), leading the children to grow up as better citizens of their communities and making them an integral part of the overall Muslim Ummah.

The following provide some of the key responsibilities of the parents in terms of raising and training their children:

Inculcating the concept of “La Ilaha Illa-Allah” and Huquq Allah (Rights of Allah)

Parents should inculcate in their children the correct ‘aqeedah of the oneness of Allah followed by all religious acts of worship that are needed for them to get close to Allah. This involves teaching children all rights of Allah, which can come by children fully understanding the concepts of Tawheed. The principles of Tawheed should never be taken lightly because they mark the boundaries of entering Islam. Mu`âdh bin Jabal relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to him: “O Mu`âdh! Do you know what is Allah’s right over His servants and what their right is over Him?” I said: “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He said: “Allah’s right over His servants is that they worship Him without associating any partner with Him in worship, and their right over Him is that He does not punish anyone who worships Him without associating any partner with Him in worship” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim].

Eeman (belief/faith) in Allah comprises of the following distinct concepts that parents must strive to teach their children:

1. Faith (Eeman) in the Existence of Allah: This refers to believing in Allah – not just any God – but specifically Allah as the supreme being of this universe and all that exists in this universe.

2. Faith (Eeman) in the Rububiyah (Lordship) of Allah – This refers to believing in Allah as the true Lord of this universe and as the controller of all aspects of this universe.

3. Faith (Eeman) in the Uluhiyyah (Worship) of Allah – This refers to singling out only Allah as the one who is worthy of any worship.

4. Faith (Eeman) in al-Asma was-Sifat (the names and attributes) of Allah – This refers to belief in Allah’s names and attributes.

Believing and living life on the concepts of Tawheed not only can lead to ultimate salvation, it can also nurture the love of Allah in the children’s hearts at an early age, which is the essence of our relationship with Allah. The Quran also gives us examples where prophets and the righteous stressed the importance of fulfilling the rights of Allah to their children. As an example, Luqman (alaihis’salam) provided the following instructions to his son as mentioned in the Quran by Allah:

“And (remember) when Luqmaan said to his son when he was advising him: “O my son! Join not in worship others with Allah. Verily, joining others in worship with Allah is a great Zulm (wrong) indeed” [Luqmaan 31:13]. 

As part of this training, parents should also ensure that they train their children on all the rituals of worship including the five times obligatory prayers, fasting, charity, Hajj, reciting Quran, and so on. A hadith in this context clarifies this concept where Mu’adh ibn Jabal narrated that, “I said to Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him): Inform me about an act which would entitle me to get into Paradise, and remove me away from Hell-Fire. He (the Prophet) said:You have asked me about a matter (which ostensibly appears to be) difficult but it is easy to those for whom Allah, the Exalted, has made it easy. Worship Allah and do not associate anything with him, establish prayer, pay the Zakat, observe the fast of Ramadan and perform Hajj to the (sacred) House (Ka’bah).”Teaching children about Huqul-Ibad (Rights of other fellow beings)

Huqul-Ibad is about respecting the rights of others and especially understanding others’ rights from an Islamic standpoint. A concise description of fulfilling both Huqooq Allah and Huqooqul Ibaad is found in the following verse:

“Worship Allah and join none with Him in worship, and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, Al-Masakin (the poor), the neighbor who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess. Verily, Allah does not like such as are proud and boastful (An-Nisa 4:36).”For example, children raised in certain non-Muslim cultures may not develop the same respect for parents and elders as mandated in Islam. Children should, therefore, be taught to be respectful and dutiful to their parents, maintain good relations with relatives, and neighbors. Children should also be warned against picking up habits that can lead to disrespecting others. These include backbiting, slandering, lying and abusing others.

Helping children to choose their role models

Role models help people to model their behavior and character after those personalities. Parents should, therefore, help their children choose their role models wisely. When teaching about Islam and its teachings, parents should help their children learn about the lives of the prophets, especially Prophet Muhammad (s), sahaba (prophet’s companions such as Abu Bakar, Umar, and so on), tabieen (the ones who followed the sahaba), other salaf (the likes of Hassan al-Basri, Muhammad ibn Sirin, Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz, Ahmad bin Hanbal, etc.), and early Islamic scholars such as Ibne-Taymiyyah, Ibn Al-Qayyim, Ibn Katheer, and so on. Learning about these personalities of Islam who actualized the teachings of Islam can help children learn from their knowledge and appreciate the relationship that those individuals developed with Allah and how they lived exemplary lives. While it may be difficult to teach children about each one of them, parents should at a minimum introduce these personalities to their children and how such personalities achieved high status within Islamic circles. Planting the seeds of respect for such personalities at an early age in your children’s hearts will make it easier for them to seek out more knowledge about these personalities of Islam when they get older.

Teach your children skills that lead to earning only Halal (legal)

Parents should spend their time, effort, and resources to help their children make the right choices for earning a living. In doing so, parents should stress the need for their children to pursue career paths that can provide them solely with Halal (legal) living. Islam places enormous emphasis on this subject and these teachings are clearly stated both in the Quran and hadith. In one case, the prophet (s) said:

“…Purify your food, your supplication will be accepted. By the one in whose hand lays the life of Muhammad, verily a servant places a morsel of Haram in his stomach (and as a result) forty days of worship will not be accepted from him.” (Recorded by Imam Tabrani). In another narration, it is narrated that an angel at Bayt al-Maqdis proclaims every day and night: “Whosoever consumes unlawful (haram) food, Allah Most High will not accept his obligatory (fard) and voluntary worship.” (See: al-Kaba’ir of Imam Dhahabi).

Teaching children knowledge of the Quran

In addition to teaching your children recitation of the Quran, knowledge of the Quran will help your children to think beyond the mundane matters of this life and instead develop elevated thinking that can enable them to ponder about critical issues that can help them reconcile the many confusing ideologies that the world will throw at them as they grow up. Getting them to start thinking about the reasons of their existence, their day to day struggles, and where the world is heading to will make them become more prudent in terms of their life’s priorities.

Consider that once when in Madinah, the prophet (s) had to send a group to Yemen for teaching new Muslims there about Islam. The prophet picked Mu’adh bin Jabal as their leader (even though Muadh was very young – perhaps in his early twenties). The prophet said, “The most knowledgeable of my ummah [community] in matters of Halal [permitted, allowed, lawful or legal] and Haram [forbidden] is Mu’adh bin Jabal.” This shows that knowledge of Quran had expanded the horizons of Muadh to such an extent that the prophet (s) himself picked him as a leader for an important expedition.

Teaching children Islamic morals and characters

Besides teaching children the rituals of worship and the rights of individuals, children should be taught Islamic morals, characters, and etiquette from an early age so that it becomes part of their habits. Children should be taught the principles of humility, tolerance, patience, and other such behavioral traits. These personality traits can help any individual tremendously in their lives. For example, teach them about patience and tolerance and dealing with tough situations, and they will be thankful to you for the rest of their lives. Those of us who struggle in life by not having properly learned such conduct may also very well know their value. Children can learn such conduct by learning hadith as well as learning about the lives of the prophet (s) and his companions.

Provide your children a healthy environment for their upbringing

Training children so that they can grow up to become responsible citizens requires that parents actively maintain an atmosphere at home that is conducive to positive learning and upbringing. This, therefore, requires that parents, too, model their lives according to the Islamic way of life. Children can get conflicting messages and thus can get confused when they do not see parents and elders following the instructions that they give to them, or when out of excessive love for them, parents become so indulgent that they turn a blind eye to their sins and fail in checking them.

It is well known that children who are raised in households where argumentation, fighting, and abuse abound, not only learn less but are more prone to develop personality disorders. There is plenty of research that shows that the serious problems of adolescents, including drug abuse, school failure, delinquency and violence, have grown to tragic proportions in part because of the deteriorating environments in which young people are raised.

Conclusion

Parents should put in their best efforts to ensure that their children become true inheritors of Islam, and to keep Islam alive in their lives and their families’ lives after their death. Parental efforts are, therefore, quite instrumental in inculcating the love of Islam and the desire to worship in the right manner. Parents should also recognize that raising good children can be a source of their salvation in the hereafter. This is because if parents raise good Allah-fearing children, those children can constantly pray to Allah for their parents after their death. The Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said:

 (Muslim).

Finally, let’s not forget that fulfilling the rights of the individuals prescribed by Allah is part of the limits set by Allah that should be taken seriously. Allah states thus in the Quran:

And treat not the Verses (Laws) of Allah as a jest, but remember Allah’s favors on you (i.e. Islam), and that which He has sent down to you of the Book (i.e. the Qur’an) and Al-Hikmah (the Prophet’s Sunnah – legal ways – Islamic jurisprudence) whereby He instructs you. And fear Allah, and know that Allah is all-aware of everything Quran (2:231).

Islamic etiquette of dealing with people

Islamic teachings put great emphasis in how we deal with people in our daily lives. The prophet (S.A.W.S.) summed up his message by stating: “I have been sent to perfect the best of manners”. As Muslims, we, therefore, have to be aware of how each one of us deals with people in our circles. Our good dealings not only will ensure that we are not violating other people’s rights but can also make us accepted, loved and appreciated by others. Luqman once said to his son, “O my son: Let your speech be good and your face be smiling; you will be more loved by the people than those who give them provisions.” – (Mentioned in the stories of ibn Kathir.)

Experience shows that life becomes pleasant when we can manage our work and relationships well. Quranic wisdom and the example of Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h)’s dealings with people should help us steer our relationships and keep them on the right track. This post highlights certain essential principles of Islam that guide us in this matter.

 

It is so easy to get carried away by whatever we may possess of wealth and the good things of life. It is so easy and common to credit ourselves with our achievements and feel proud of them, and then, as a matter of course, to look down upon others who haven’t been able to make the same effort or reach the status we might have achieved. What makes all this happen is our own ego and the ever opportunistic Satan who knows our vulnerability. And so The One Who cares for our well being the most, Allah the Most Merciful, has warned us against falling into the trap of pride and arrogance.

He Says in the Quran (interpretation of the Arabic meaning):

 

And turn not your face away from men with pride, nor walk in insolence through the earth. Verily, Allah likes not any arrogant boaster.(Surah Luqman:18)The way to avoid pride and arrogance is to remember Allah as much as we can till it becomes a habit to instantly thank Him for any good that comes our way. Thankfulness to Allah creates humility in us and makes us aware that we’re not entirely responsible for all the good things of life. We wouldn’t have gotten them if He hadn’t willed them for us, nor can we retain them if He decides to take them away from us.

 

 

We often see people taking pleasure in making fun of others or mocking them. Is it that the ego craves for the satisfaction of proving oneself better than others by looking out for others’ weaknesses and laughing at them? But Allah admonishes us:

 

O you who believe! Let not a group scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former. Nor let (some) women scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than the former. (Surah Hujrat, 11)

Allah tells us that our knowledge is restricted by our limited perception. Since we’re not aware of any one’s real worth, wouldn’t it be foolish to laugh at those who might actually be better than us? We can curb this tendency by opening our eyes to the fact that when we think that others deserve to be ridiculed, we’re actually fooling ourselves and no one else (though we might find a few thoughtless and insensitive people to give us company in our foolish pastime).

 

A general misconception about sense of humor is the so called ‘ability’ to make others laugh. Giving nicknames to others on account of some negative characteristic that is noticed in them or even some disability that they might be suffering from is a crude form of entertainment. Making fun of those who stammer, or are very short or lean, is obviously some form of indecency practiced by callous people, and enjoyed by others who lack sensitivity to human feelings. Allah warns us against such behavior and practices. He says:

 

. . . Nor defame yourselves, nor insult one another by nicknames. Evil is the name of wickedness after faith. And whosoever does not repent, then such are indeed wrongdoers(Surah Hujrat: 11)

 

Imam Al-Nawawi (rh) said that scholars have differentiated between ‘tahassus’, which means ‘snooping’ and listening to other people’s conversations, and ‘tajassus’, which means ‘spying’, seeking out other people’s faults and looking for secrets. Both activities are considered evil and have been forbidden. Allah Says:

O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion; indeed some suspicion is sin. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it. And have Taqwa of Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who forgives and accepts repentance, Most Merciful. (Hujrat 49:12)

Is it for want of a better activity to keep ourselves busy, that we enjoy peeping into others’ lives?

Seeking out information about other people’s state of affairs, searching and disclosing their secrets has been strictly forbidden. (Hence, to eavesdrop upon somebody while hiding or pretending to sleep is like spying on others.) Spying done with the intention of exposing the faults or unveiling the secrets of others, is a sin. It also leads to backbiting which is Haram. Allah has closed every door that leads to the evil of backbiting and has made spying Haram.

Abu Huraira (RA) narrated that the Prophet (p.b.u.h) said:“Beware of suspicion, for suspicion is the worst of false tales; and do not look for the others’ faults and do not spy, and do not be jealous of one another, and do not desert (cut your relation with) one another, and do not hate one another; and O Allah’s worshipers! Be brothers (as Allah has ordered you!). (Bukhari)

Our relationships should always have only a positive outcome. That’s the only way to seek Allah’s favor when in the company of others. We should say what’s good or refrain from saying anything. We should also have the moral sense and courage to stop others from backbiting for even if we don’t contribute to it, we become guilty of the sin by being silent listeners and participants. The best means of avoiding it is by changing the topic or saying sensibly that we don’t really know the whole truth of the matter so that we shouldn’t be unfair to any one.

According to Abu Hurayrah (RA), the Messenger of Allah (p.b.u.h) said:

“The gates of Paradise will be opened on Mondays and on Thursdays, and every servant [of Allah] who associates nothing with Allah will be forgiven, except for the man who has a grudge against his brother. [About them] it will be said: ‘Delay these two until they are reconciled; delay these two until they are reconciled.’” [Muslim (also by Malik and Abu Dawud)]

As long as we nurture any kind of enmity in our heart and prolong any conflict with a Muslim brother, we’re giving evidence of the weakness of our faith. For Faith in Allah is expressed through obedience to Allah. And Allah has said this in the verses of the Quran:

The believers are but a brotherhood. So make reconciliation between your brothers, and have Taqwa of Allah so that you may receive mercy.(Surah Hujrat:10)

So have Taqwa of Allah and settle all matters of difference among you, and obey Allah and His Messenger, if you are believers. (Surah Aanfal:1)

Whatever be our differences in opinions or feelings, we’re expected to set them aside and maintain good relations with each other. Ego ‘nafs’ is never to be allowed to supersede true faith. The whole purpose of our life is to prepare ourselves for the hereafter, and with this long term goal in mind we have to overcome pettiness and trivialities. Our constant struggle is with two real enemies. One is Satan who keeps making the world and worldliness more and more alluring for us. The other is our own ego that inflates our importance in our eyes beyond any sensible measure. It is these that cause conflicts and misunderstandings.Controlling your hands and tongueHow do we resolve differences that have unwittingly or even intentionally cropped up? The best way is to control our tongues and hands that might be too eager to express those feelings! Discretion in speech and actions is the hall mark of a sensible person. We need to consciously practice patience; we need to learn to talk to ourselves, to introspect, before we give freedom to our tongue to have its way. Especially when it comes to speaking about others or voicing our opinion about them, we need to be extra careful that we don’t mislead anyone. Speaking thoughtlessly, or on hearsay, amounts to slander about which we have been warned strictly. Allah Says:

And those who abuse believing men and women, when they have not merited it, bear the weight of slander and clear wrongdoing.Giving the benefit of doubt – Attributing positive motives to others’ actionsIt would help to keep away form slander if we could cultivate the habit of thinking well of others so that even when we hear something negative about them we don’t just get carried away by it but try to see what could have gone wrong. Attributing positive motives to others’ actions helps in understanding them better. Let us also remind ourselves whenever we attempt to judge others, that no one is perfect. We too have our own drawbacks which we wouldn’t like being mentioned or discussed. Hence fairness requires that we do unto others what we expect them to do to us. Moreover, we’ve been assured protection and covering of our faults by Allah the Most Merciful on the Day of Judgment, if we’ve been careful to cover the faults of a Muslim brother / sister here on earth.

 

 

Expressing gratitude for favors done and help rendered is not only the basic requirement of social etiquette but has far reaching effects. It strengthens our relationship and adds warmth to it. On the other hand, taking others for granted, however close the relationship might be, causes disappointment and conveys the impression that we don’t know how to value people, that we just know how to use them! Thanks and appreciation expressed sincerely with a smile gives off a bright glow which is felt by the heart.

 

Allah All Knowing considers smiling at others a charity. We know very well what a smile can convey – absence of ill feeling, acceptance, warmth, and the willingness to share our time or space. Let us not be miserly about brightening our face with a cheerful smile.

 

 

Great merit has been attached to the act of visiting the sick. The Prophet (p.b.u.h) showed concern for a (Jewish) woman who’d throw waste on him whenever he passed her house. The day she failed to throw it, he enquired about her and came to know that she was sick. He tended to her through her sickness and when she recovered she instantly accepted Islam, seeing what character it develops in its followers.

The prophet (p.b.u.h) has given us excellent examples in forgiveness, kindness and tenderness. An old woman who intended to leave Makkah since she did not like the idea of a new religion being preached by a young man named “Muhammad” didn’t realize that he was the one helping her by carrying her belongings and accompanying her till the outskirts of the city. Complaining all the way about a new faith being preached, which required giving up old customs and practices, she finally asked the Prophet his name just before parting. On coming to know that this was the man on account of whom she was about to leave Makkah, she not only retraced her steps and changed her decision of leaving, but also accepted Islam seeing its exemplary representative and a living ideal!

Conclusion

Bad habits picked up over the years in dealing with people can sometimes be difficult to let go and may not even seem that bad. However, we need to strive in changing the undesirable so our families, friends, peers, and others can see the better of us.

Points to consider before asking for a raise

If you plan on asking for a raise, it’s absolutely vital that you prepare for the conversation.

“The first rule is to be organized,” says Jacqueline Whitmore, an international etiquette expert and author of “Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals.”

“Have all of your facts and figures in order and be prepared to explain why you deserve a raise,” she says. “Come prepared with a list of your yearly accomplishments, such as big projects you have completed, statistics and results of those projects, and how you saved the company money or increased the company’s bottom line.” 

The reality is that while the best performers do stand out from the crowd, your manager has a lot on their plate and may not remember everything you’ve done for the company, she explains. 

When it’s time to ask for more money, consider these five questions:

1. Is this the right time?

Timing is everything.

The best time to ask for a raise is three to four months before your annual review. That’s when most budgets are being decided. “You may also request a raise when you have been asked to take on additional responsibilities that do not fall under your job description,” says Whitmore. “Try to approach your boss when business is flourishing if at all possible, not following a company layoff or right after a few clients end their relationship with the company.” 

2. What am I worth?

Do your research to find out how much others in your industry or job position are making. “Use this data to request a certain sum or a percentage,” she suggests. Average salaries for most professions can be found on various websites, like Salary.com, Glassdoor.com, or Payscale.com, or through a professional industry organization. 

If you’re already making the average, but think you deserve more because of the value you add, certain accomplishments you’ve achieved, special training you’ve completed, etc., express that to your boss.

3. What will I do or say if they can’t give me more money?

If your employer cannot meet the dollar amount requested, be prepared to negotiate for benefits, instead. “For example, you can ask for additional personal days per year or the ability to work from home and telecommute one day per week,” Whitmore explains. “If you don’t get the amount you want, reply with, ‘What would it take for me to earn a better raise in the future?’ That way you’ll know exactly what your boss expects of you.”  

4. Is this worth burning bridges over?

Be polite and diplomatic. “If you do not get the raise, don’t get angry and threaten to leave the company, even if you think you might do so,” she advises. “It’s best not to burn any bridges just in case you transfer to another department or get a better offer from another company and need a letter of recommendation.”

5. Do other people really need to know about this?

No, they most likely don’t. Asking for a raise is a private matter and should not be shared with all of your coworkers. “As the saying goes, ‘Loose lips sink ships.’ Don’t jeopardize your chances of getting a higher salary by telling everyone you know how little you make or how much you think you should be making,” says Whitmore.

Gossip travels quickly, even amongst people who promise they “won’t tell anyone else.” “While it would be appropriate to tell your friends and family that you got a promotion, dollar figures should only be discussed with a spouse or partner and your accountant.”

Responding to a salary offer

I feel terrible for people who go through a long, arduous job interview process and then, just when they’re expecting to close the deal and share the good news, get hit with a lowball salary offer. It’s a terrible feeling, not only because the job that seemed to meet your needs so perfectly suddenly represents a financial kick in the teeth, but also because when the lowball offer hits, we have only ourselves to blame.

“I KNEW I should have brought up salary sooner,” say disappointed job-seekers, “but I’ve always heard that you should keep your salary expectations to yourself until you get the offer. Now that I’ve got the offer, my requirement and the company’s expectation are miles apart, and I don’t know if we’ll be able to close the gap.”

It is a shame when things go south in the salary-offer department, but the problem is easily avoided. Despite the traditional instruction “Don’t talk about salary!” you can and must broach the salary topic way before you get anywhere near an offer. If you don’t mention salary, you’re leavong the employer to come up with its own valuation of your skills, and people can make some pretty delusional guesses as to what kind of money it would take to bring a highly qualified person on board.

“I got a call from an old boss,” reported my friend Julia, “who told me he was starting a new company with a friend. I went over and talked with them, and it was a great conversation. I met their investors, I met their wives, I met everyone connected with the company. My old boss last worked with me three years ago when I was earning $82K, and he knew what I was getting paid, because he gave me my salary reviews. Well, at the end of this weeks-long interview process, my boss’s business partner called me and offered me a job at $55K. What kind of alternate universe are these people living in?”

People tell themselves all kinds of crazy things that suit their view of the world, so you’ve got to price yourself like a house on a job search, and let people know that number. A good time to broach the salary topic is at the point when the company recruiter calls to invite you for a second interview. “Thanks for calling – that sounds great,” you will say. “I’ll check my availability on Thursday, and by the way — is this a good time to synch up on compensation, and are you the right person to do that with?”

Don’t show up at the second interview without an understanding that the employer can pay a salary in the ballpark you’re looking for. If you make it to the finish line to get a lowball offer because you kept mum when you should have spoken up, you’ll have learned a lesson the hard way.

But let’s say you are looking at a lowball offer right now. What do you do? Here’s a screenplay to get you going:

MANAGER: So Amy, we’re excited to get you on board.

AMY: I’m excited to join the team!

MANAGER: Here are the details. You’ll report to me, the position is Product Manager for Zircon-Encrusted Tweezers, and the starting salary is $42K.

AMY: Okay, I understand the title, and the reporting structure is what I understood. Did you say the salary is 42 thousand?

MANAGER: That’s right. It’s a small company. We don’t have a ton of revenue.

AMY: I completely understand, Dan. I’m grateful for the offer. I’m excited to get started. I have all kinds of ideas I want to share with you! We’re a ways apart on salary. Can we get creative and figure out how to close that gap?

MANAGER: Well, how big is the gap?

AMY: I have to start at $50K, Dan. I’d love to work with you and I know we’d have fun working together. I can’t live on $42K, and frankly Dan, I’ve got too much experience for that to make sense as a next move for me. Do you have time or interest to brainstorm ways to bridge the gap?

MANAGER: Sure, but I don’t know how far I can stretch. What do you propose?

At this point in the conversation, you have a choice: you can start tossing out bridge-the-gap ideas then and there, or you can get off the phone and shoot your possible new boss a list of ideas via email. Here are six ideas to consider:

A one-time sign-on bonus that you receive with your first paycheck will put cash in your pocket and won’t mess up the company’s standard new-employee starting salary schedule, if they have one. Sign-on bonuses typically range from two or three percent to ten percent of your first year’s salary.
A guaranteed first-year bonus is another popular way to sweeten an unexciting salary offer. The advantage to the manager is that, like a sign-on bonus, your guaranteed end-of-the-first-year bonus doesn’t disrupt the standard salary schedule (and doesn’t figure into your base salary, getting bigger every year based on performance increases).
A third way to boost your cash flow when you’re taking a new job with a lackluster salary attached to it is to help your new boss structure a performance bonus plan. The bonus amount is often ten to twenty percent of your base salary. Right up front, you can define some important outcomes that you can work toward in your first year.
If you need or want more time off than the organization typically offers, you could trade extra vacation time for the pay you’re not getting.
If more cash compensation (base or bonus) isn’t an option in the short term, you can negotiate for professional development dollars (conferences and training), airline club memberships, and/or membership fees in professional associations where your participation will help you AND your employer.
Negotiate a better title, if your employer can’t come up with a better answer!
Receiving a lowball salary offer is a painful experience, but it’s also the kind of snakebite that serves as a reminder never to get bitten by the same snake again. Once you find yourself in that frustrating (and depending on the stinginess of the offer, insulting) situation, you’re much more likely to speak your salary requirements the next time you’re in an interview situation, and avoid the shock and horror that a surprise lowball offer brings.

If all else fails — the company can’t come up with any money, none of your other suggestions gets any traction, and you have no choice but to bail on the opportunity – take heart. Every networking connection is a good thing, and every interview experience builds your professional muscles and mojo. “Look, it’s been wonderful meeting you and team,” you will say to the boss who’s not getting you, “and life is long. Maybe our paths will cross again.”

Don’t feel bad about saying no to an opportunity that would diminish your flame. You are on a mission, and the mission is to become the person the universe wants you to be. Everything happens for a reason, and maybe this lowball-offer situation came about to remind you that you have a tremendous amount to offer. Don’t share those gifts with people who don’t get — and therefore, don’t deserve — what you bring.

I am Malakulmaut

It was early in the morning at four,
When death knocked upon a bedroom door.

Who is there? The sleeping one cried.
I’m Malkul Maut (Angel Of Death), let me inside.

At once, the man began to shiver,
As one sweating in deadly fever,

He shouted to his sleeping wife,
Don’t let him take away my life.

Please go away, O Angel of Death!
Leave me alone; I’m not ready yet.

My parents and family on me depends,
Give me a chance, O please prepense!

The angel knocked again and again,
Friend! I’ll take your life without a pain,

Tis your soul Allah requires,
I come not with my own desires..

Bewildered, the man began to cry,
O Angel I’m so afraid to die,

I’ll give you gold and be your slave,
Don’t send me to the unlit grave.

Let me in, O Friend! The Angel said,
Open the door; get up from your bed,

If you do not allow me in,
I will walk through it, like a Jinn.

The man held a gun in his hand,
Ready to defy the Angel’s stand..

I’ll point my gun, towards your head,
You dare come in; I’ll shoot you dead.

By now the Angel was in the room,
Saying, O Friend! Prepare for you doom.

Foolish man, Angels never die,(except when Allah will give death to everyone on day of kayamat)
Put down your gun and do not sigh.
Why are you afraid! Tell me O man,
To die according to Allah’s plan?
Come smile at me, do not be grim,
Be Happy, to return to Him.

O Angel! I bow my head in shame;
I had no time to take Allah’s Name.

From morning till dusk, I made my wealth,
Not even caring for my own health.

Allah’s command I never obeyed,
Nor five times a day I ever prayed.

Ramadan came and a Ramadan went,
But I had no time to repent.

The Hajj was already FARD on me,
But I would not part with my money.

All charities I did ignore,
Taking usury more and more.

Sometimes I sipped my favorite wine,
With flirting women I sat to dine…

O Angel! I appeal to you,
Spare my life for a year or two.

The Laws of Quran I will obey,
I’ll begin my SALAT this very day.

My Fast and Hajj, I will complete,
And keep away from self-conceit.

I will refrain from usury,
And give all my wealth to charity,

Wine and wenches I will detest,
Allah’s oneness I will attest.

We Angels do what Allah demands,
We cannot go against His commands..

Death is ordained for everyone,
Father, mother, daughter or son.

I’m afraid this moment is your last,
Now be reminded, of your past,

do understand your dreadful fears,
But it is now too late for your tears.

You lived in this world, two score and more,
Never did to you, your people adore.

Your parents, you did not obey,
Hungry beggars, you turned away.

Your two ill-gotten, female offspring,
In nightclubs, for livelihood they sing.

Instead of making many more Muslims,
You made your children non-Muslims?

You did ignore the Mua’dhin Adhaan,
Nor did you read the Holy Quran.

Breaking promises all your life,
Backbiting friends, and causing strife

From hoarded goods, great profits you made,
And for your poor workers, you underpaid.

Horses and cars were your leisure,
Moneymaking was your pleasure.

You ate vitamins and grew more fat,
With the very sick, you never sat.

A pint of blood you never gave,
Which could a little baby save?

O Human, you have done enough wrong,
You bought good properties for a song.

When the farmers appealed to you,
You did not have mercy, tis true.

Paradise for you? I cannot tell,
Undoubtedly you will dwell in hell.

There is no time for you to repent,
I’ll take your soul for which I am sent.

The ending however, is very sad,
Eventually the man became mad

With a cry, he jumped out of bed,
And suddenly, he fell down dead.

O Reader! Take moral from here,
You never know, your end may be near

Change your living and make amends
For heaven, on your deeds depends.

if this poem inspires you,
It can help someone too.

At least take some time, and do not ban
And send it to as many people as you can.
This poem may change many lives,
And Allah may have for you a great surprise.