Alhamdulillah!

And if you were to count the blessing of Allah never will you be able to count them.
Quran (14:36)
Allah gives us countless blessings, He gives and gives, so many in fact that we can’t even count them. Yet how many of us remember to thank Allah for our blessings? We take what Allah gives for granted, we think that it’s due to our hard work that we have achieved something. We become ungrateful because we forget that we can’t do anything without Allah and all that He gives us. 
This ayah really amazes me as it says blessing, in singular, Allah tells us we can’t even count one blessing. For a long time I didn’t really understand what it meant but as I learnt more I realised that from one blessing comes countless others. Our sight is a blessing and from the blessing of being able to see we have so many blessings as a result of this blessing for example We can read the Quran. Without the blessing of sight we wouldn’t be able to see the words in the Quran and recite it. Allah gives us so much that we can’t even begin to count just how much he gave us. 
So which of the favours of your Lord would you deny? 
Quran (55:13)
This ayah is repeated 31 times in Surah Rahman. Every time Allah says this it is preceded by a favour, a blessing given to us by Allah. Allah is telling us about so many blessings bestowed on us, blessing after blessing so how can we deny these? We should be grateful to Allah that He has provided everything for us even though we haven’t done anything to deserve these countless number of blessings. We need to constantly express our gratitude to Allah. It is so easy for us to forget all the blessings we have especially when we are faced with difficulties so we need to learn ways to be grateful and give thanks to Allah for what we have.
We should make a habit of saying Alhamdulillah all the time, whether we’re in a time of hardship or ease. Allah loves those who are grateful so in consistently saying Alhamdulillah we will reap many rewards and success. 
As Allah says: And remember when your Lord proclaimed, “if you are grateful, I will increase you in favour. But if you deny indeed, my punishment is severe.” Quran (14:7)
Ensuring we pray our salah consistently and on time is probably one of the best ways to show gratitude to Allah. Making dua to Allah and asking only from Him. What better time to show how grateful you are than in sujood. Being consistent in our salah and dhikr Allah will give us a great reward, so much more than we could possibly imagine.
As Allah 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. Quran (16:97)
All and every blessing and favour we have is from Allah so when we are faced with difficulties we turn to Allah and ask Him to help us. We beg Him to remove the difficulty from our lives and grant us ease. Yet when Allah answers us and removes the difficulty we forget to turn to Allah. We are selective in turning to Him, only when we need to. We act as though the good came from your own hard work. We need to remember that the ease was only through the blessing of Allah, and He can give and take as He wills. So if we are grateful He will increase us and if we are ungrateful aren’t we at risk of having the blessing removed from us?
As Allah says: And whatever you have of favour – it is from Allah. Then when adversity touches you, to Him you cry for help. Then when He removes the adversity from you, at once a party of you associates others with their Lord. Quran (16:53-54)
We should try and have positive thoughts whatever situation we are in and try to positive in what we what we say. What we think and say has a huge effect on us. If we think negative thoughts then we will become ungrateful but if we remain positive then we are more likely to be grateful for all the blessings we have been given.
We know that Allah is not in need of our worship, it is in fact us who are going to benefit from worshipping Allah. Allah gives us so many blessings, that’s for our benefit and us being grateful for the blessings is also for our benefit! So in showing our gratitude we are only going to get more blessings from Allah.
As Allah says: And when (Suleiman) saw it placed before him, he said, “This is from the favour of my Lord to test me whether I will be grateful or ungrateful. And whoever is grateful – his gratitude is only for (the benefit of) himself. And whoever is ungrateful – then indeed, my Lord is free of need and generous. Quran (27:40)
Being grateful for what others do for us is also a way of showing gratitude to Allah. If someone does something nice for us or gives us a gift we should be grateful no matter how big or small it is. Saying thank you and letting the person know you appreciate it is a way of showing gratitude to Allah. As we know the prophet (saw) said, that whoever does not thank people does not thank Allah. So if we are not grateful to the people in our lives then we are in fact being ungrateful to Allah. 
We should remember that Allah is Ash-Shaakir, the rewarded of good and Ash-Shakoor, the appreciative. He recognises and appreciates our good actions and ibadah and rewards us greatly for even the smallest of actions. His reward is far greater in proportion to the gratitude we show. When we realise this then we can begin to appreciate just how many blessings we are given.
And lastly I will leave you with some food for thought: “Saying alhamdulillah deserves another alhamdulillah in itself, to thank Allah for allowing us to give thanks to Him.” SubhanAllah!

I Want More!

Competition in (worldly) increase diverts you.
Until you visit the graveyards.
No! You are going to know.
Then no! You are going to know.
No! If you only knew with knowledge of certainty
You will surely see the hellfire.
Then you will surely see it with the eye of certainty.
Then you will surely be asked that day about pleasure.
Surah At-Takāthur
Spending our lives competing for the next best thing. We are all guilty of this. We spend so much of our time and effort on trying to get the next best thing. We always want more, we’re never satisfied with what we have. For some it’s clothes, others it’s shoes, some want a better paid job, others want a bigger house and some want lavish weddings. Some compete with our children, who’s child can be more successful. What we fail to realise is that none of these things last, they’re temporary. And why do we want these things? To show others that what you have is better than theirs? To be proud that you have things other people don’t? Because you just desire to have more, that what you haven’t can never be enough?
In Surah At-Takathur, Allah tells us that we are all so preoccupied by the love of the world, we are so attracted to its ornaments that it distracts us so much that we actually forget the dunya is temporary and we delay in seeking the aakhirah and limiting our desire for it.  The love of the dunya distracts us so much that death comes to us and it’s too late. In a hadith narrated in Bukhari, the prophet (saw) told us that At-Takathur actually means the piling up of wealth and children. In essence we just want more and more and more. We collect all these material things as if it will last forever. We fool ourselves into thinking that if we just had this one last thing we will be satisfied, but when our nafs is so strong it won’t ever be enough.
The prophet (saw) said: If the son of Adam were to possess two valleys of riches. he would long for the third one. And the stomach of the son of Adam is not filled but with dust. And Allaah returns to him who repents. (Muslim)
This hadith shows us that humans are never satisfied with what they have. We always want more and the only thing that stops us from wanting more is death. Our desires take over and we become so busy in competing with each other that it keeps us from our true purpose in life. It stops us from pondering over what our purpose in life is and pondering over the Quran. 
Allah tells us here that it is only when we go to the graveyard and are buried will we realise what we were so distracted from. Its at that time we will beg for a second chance to go back and do what we should’ve done instead of getting distracted. Allah knows that the majority of us will do this so He gives us warning after warning to emphasise how important it is that we don’t get distracted. 
Allah tells us that if we had solid conviction in the knowledge of the Quran we would have seen what we are being distracted from. Then on the day of judgement we will see the hellfire with our own eyes and we will again be certain of what Allah had taught us about in the Quran. Then once we have seen what out fate is we will be asked about every single blessing we had in the dunya. From our eyesight to our house to our children. Every single blessing that we have Allah will question is about it. We’re we grateful? The more blessing we have in the dunya the more we will be questioned. SubhanAllah 
So we should try and be as grateful as we can for every single blessing Allah has given us. To remember that this dunya is temporary and constantly re-focus our minds when we start to get distracted by the dunya. It doesn’t mean we can’t have things, it just means we shouldn’t let these things distract us from our real purpose in life. Look to those less fortunate than us so we can realise just how much we have been blessed with so that our desire for more will decrease. Every single one us desires something and it’s not actually a bad thing to desire things but we need to keep it in control and not allow it to become so important that we forget that we are headed for the aakhirah and we want Jannah. Make Jannah our ultimate desire.

Happily Ever After?

A few months before I got married one of my best friends told me, marriage is twice as hard as you think it’s going to be. And she couldn’t have been more right.

Marriage isn’t the fairytale we are taught growing up where they magically live happily ever after. It takes constant hard work to build a strong and successful marriage. There are good days and there are bad days. Ups and downs. Even days where you want to kill each other. It is a huge change in your life and it will take time to adjust and many compromises and meeting at half way points has to be done. When you go from living with your parents and having little responsibilities to have to compromise on many aspects of your life it can be a shock to your system. After that honeymoon period where everything is lovey dovey and reality kicks in that’s when you realise just how much effort you need to put into your marriage to make is a successful one.

Now I’m not saying all this to scare people but many people go into marriage thinking it’s all going to be easy and everything will be just fine and they don’t need to change or make any compromises and that’s how people end up fighting and problems escalate and people get divorced on matters that could have been solved if they had gotten married and been realistic in what marriage will be like.

Both the husband and wife need to make compromises and adapt and change to the changes in their life. It is necessary that they both realise that their lifestyle before marriage will not work now they are married. You have responsibilities towards each other and it is important to understand that each of you must make joint decisions and give each other time and support to adjust to the new lifestyle.

It’s so important that they both take time to understand each other and create an environment where both are comfortable and not feeling suffocated. It is not okay for one person to have to always fulfill responsibilities while the other relaxes and enjoys themselves. Both need to fulfill responsibilities so that both have time to relax and spend some time with each other and family and friends.

Good communication is so important as misunderstandings can happen so easily especially at the beginning of the marriage. Men and women communicate differently and initially it can be difficult to understand what each other are trying to say and it can be easy for your spouse to say something and for you to understand it differently than what they meant. Speaking to each other daily by spending quality time together can help a lot when trying to learn about how the other communicates.
Romance! Keep the romance alive! That spark and excitement that we have in the honeymoon period is so amazing so why let it end after a few weeks? Go on dates, surprise each other with gifts or something that is important to your spouse. Take an interest in their interests and hobbies. Have quality time set aside regularly solely to spend time with your spouse as our busy routines can make us take our spouse for granted.
But I feel the most important thing when you get married is to help , support and encourage each other in our ibadah. Wake each other up for fair, read Quran together sometimes, attend islamic classes together. Improve in your worship and learn how your marriage can help you gain the love of Allah. As really and truly our marriage cannot be successful without the help of Allah.
None of this happens overnight, it needs constant hard work, I have been married for almost a year and we’re still learning about each other and how each other thinks and communicates. This is a reminder to myself first before anyone else. We still have a lot of growing to do in our marriage but we want a successful marriage in the sight of Allah.
And lastly I want to say that before demanding your rights you must fulfil your responsibilities.

Qadr of Allah

God eliminates what he wills or confirms, and with Him is the mother of the book. Quran (13:39)

And every small and great (thing) is written. Quran (54:53)
If everything is written in the tablet then what role do we play in changing our destiny? Can we really alter what’s been written? If it’s all written then why should we make dua and ask for things?
Know that if all the people get together in order to benefit you with something, they will not be able to benefit you in anything except what Allah has decreed for you. And if they all get together in order to harm you with something, they will not be able to harm you in anything except what Allah has decreed for you. The pens have stopped writing [Divine (Allahs) Preordainments]. And (the ink over) the papers (Book of Decrees) has dried.
(Tirmidhi)
So doesn’t this mean that everything has already been decided? But the hadith mentions pens, in plural. So that must mean there’s more than one pen writing our decree. We know many other times aside from the tablet in which our decrees are written. The angel writes in our mothers womb and we also have laylatul Qadr. From this we learn that there are other times in which Allah decrees what is written for us.
The prophet (saw) said: Allah has appointed an angel in the womb and the angel says, “O Lord! A drop of discharge (ie. semen), O Lord! A clot, O Lord! A piece of flesh.” Then if Allah wishes to complete the child’s creation, the angel will say, ” O Lord! A male or female? O Lord! Wretched or blessed (in religion)? What will his livelihood be? What will his age be?” The angel writes all this while the child is in the womb of its mother. (Bukhari)
Indeed, We sent it down during a blessed night (night of decree) Indeed we were to warn (mankind).
Therein (ie. on that night) is made distinct every precise matter
(Every) matter (proceeding) from Us.
Quran (44:3-5)
So with there being so many times in our lives where our decree is being decided it makes you wonder about why we work so hard for things or bother asking Allah for anything. What amazes me is that actually we are encouraged in the Quran and sunnah to make dua constantly and ask for everything that we want from Allah. There has to be a reason right? Well there is and its a very important reason. Something we always need to keep in mind.
Nothing can change Qadr except dua. (Tirmidhi)
SubhanAllah so if there is a calamity written for us we can combat it with dua. We can ask Allah to change our situation, we can ask Allah to improve our situation and we can ask Allah to remove a hardship too. If our duas are sincere and consistent then it can be changed!
One of my favourite examples is Yunas (as), he was in the belly of a whale and Allah tells us in the Quran that he would have stayed there until the day of judgement if he hadn’t made the dua to Allah. So Allah changed what was decreed for him and he was allowed out of the belly of the whale.
There is nothing that is beyond our supplication. If Allah allows our tongue to move to ask for something then that means that Allah wants to give us something. We should strive to make dua constantly and consistently and never give up hope in the mercy of Allah. But we always need to keep in mind that sometimes what we are asking for is not good for us. We may not understand or be able to see why with our limited vision and wisdom but Allah is Al-Hakeem, the wise and He knows what is going to better for us. Allah always plans in our favour and He loves that we make dua to Him. He waits for us in the last third of every night to see who will make dua to Him so that He can answer it.
Prophet (saw) said: “The dua of any one of you will be answered so long as he does not seek to hasten it, and does not say, ‘I made dua but I had no answer.’” (Bukhari).