Diseases of the Heart part 3

So in this post I’m going to share what we learnt about the next disease of the heart: kibr.

Kibr is the Arabic word for pride or arrogance, when someone considers themselves superior to others.

The prophet (saw) defined kibr in this narration: “No one will enter paradise who has an atoms of pride in his heart.” A man said: “What if a man likes his clothes to look good and his shoes to look good?” He said, “Allah is beautiful and loves beauty. Pride means denying the truth and looking down on people.” [Muslim]

Allah describes in many places in the Quran how much Allah detests pride and the consequences of having pride in your heart.

“I will turn away from my signs those who are arrogant upon the earth…” Quran (7:146)

“…Thus does God seal over every heart (belonging to) an arrogant tyrant. Quran” (40:35)

“Indeed He, does not love the arrogant.” Quran (16:25)

These are just some of the places that Allah speaks about how displeased he is with those who have pride in their hearts. These ayahs show that Allah will not allow someone with pride to have understanding of the Quran and He will seal their hearts from the light of emaan.

The types of Pride

There are 2 types of pride:

1) Having pride and arrogance in accepting the truth in the oneness of Allah and Islam. So this person rejects Allah, the one who created him.

2) This is the pride people have towards other people. They think they are better than others and look down on them, whether it’s in regards to deen or dunya.

The causes of Pride

There are many reasons why someone may have pride some of which are:

1) Knowledge: People of knowledge can fall into this sin as they may be admired for their knowledge and start looking down on those who don’t have as much knowledge as them.

2) Practice and Worship: When people look down on those who may not be practicing their faith. They also look down on those who sin and feel like they are better than them.

3) Lineage: People who come from a noble lineage/tribe look at those who come from a lower tribe with scorn and behave as if these people are here to serve them.

4)Wealth: Allah describes wealth as a fitna in the Quran. So it can be used for good or it can cause harm. Someone who is wealthy may start to look down at those who have less.

Qualities of a person who has Pride

1) Likes people to stand up for him

2) Wants others to walk behind him

3) Believes that he doesn’t need to visit people only that people should visit him

4) Doesn’t want others to be on his level

5) Does not help in chores

The opposite of pride is humility. The prophet (saw) was always humble.

Cures of Pride

1) Realising the greatness of Allah and realising the weakness of man.

2) Contemplate and reflect over the ayah and Hadith which speak about pride.

3) Think of others as better than you, it doesn’t matter who they are.

4) Increase in ibadah and seek refuge in Allah from this disease.

5) Surround yourself with people who remind you of Allah and of your place.

6) Engaging in chores

When you see someone who is older than you; think they’re better than you because they’ve had more time to do good.

When you see someone who is younger than you; think they’re better than you because they’ve had less time to commit sins.

Hope this has been of benefit, my next post will cover backbiting.

What advice do you give someone concerned about the five daily prayers?

What advice do you give someone concerned about the five daily prayers?
Ahmad grew up thinking that Islam was only for Arabs and Asians. But seeing others practice it showed him it was a universal religion. But whilst his interest in Islam grew, could he pray five times a day? 

Watch the video to see how God guided him and helped him overcome. And share it when you’re done. 

Diseases of the heart Part2

In my last post I discussed why it’s important to study the diseases of the heart. So this post will be about the first disease, hasad (envy).

First we need to know what hasad is, according to Ibn al-Qayyim, hasad is defined as: “disliking a blessing that another had received and wishing that the other person would lose that blessing.”

There are several degrees of hasad:

1) When a person wants a blessing to be taken away from someone else. They don’t want the blessing for themselves just that it’s taken away from the other person.

2) When a person wants the blessing to be taken away from someone else because he wants it for himself.

3) When a person wants a blessing that someone else has without wanting it to be taken from the other person. This is permissible and known as ghibtah. The prophet (saw) said: “There is no permissible envy except in two cases; (towards) a person to whom Allah has granted wealth and property from which he gives charity by night and day, and a person to whom Allah has given the Quran and who recites it night and day.” (Agreed upon)

There are many examples of hasad in the Quran from the story of Habil and Qabil to Yusuf (as)  and his brothers to even Iblees and Adam (as). They all showed how hasad caused them to commit evil acts and corrupted them.

So what causes hasad?

1) Hatred

This often leads to envy, when you feel happy when the person you envy goes through some difficulty. You also feel unhappy when the person you envy is given a blessing from Allah.

2) Arrogance

Pride and arrogance can make a person feel envious towards someone who has a blessing that they don’t have. They can’t understand why someone who they perceive as below them has been given a blessing that they don’t have.

3) Desire for fame

When the desire to be the best in something leads the person to become obsessed with getting praise and recognition and thinks they are more special than others. If someone else receives praise they feel envious towards them.

The consequences of hasad

1) It makes a person unhappy and discontent with what they have. This can be a punishment from Allah if the person doesn’t want to cure hasad from their heart, that they will never be happy with what Allah has given them.

2) It wipes out good deeds. The prophet (saw) said: “Beware of envy, because it consumes good deeds just like a fire consumes wood.” [Abu Dawud]

3) It causes disunity in the community and between family and friends. The prophet (saw) said: “Do not envy one another; do not hate one another; do not turn your back on one another (in discontent); but be slaves of Allah as brothers.” [Bukhari]

4) Being envious of someone will lead to other sins such as backbiting, slander, spreading lies etc.

So how do we cure ourselves of hasad?

1) Force yourself to behave in the opposite way that the envy makes you feel. So if you feel like putting the person down out of your own pride then you should praise the person instead.

2) We often assume that something good that someone else has is a blessing for that person but Allah tests us with blessings as well as hardship. This blessing you desperately want, that the other person has, may not be a blessing for you. It could lead you away from Allah.

3) Look to those who have less than you and be grateful for what Allah has already blessed you with. A good way of doing this is to have a gratitude journal where you write a few things in there daily that you are thankful for having.

4) As Muslims we should understand that nothing happens without the decree of Allah. So when Allah blesses someone we will know that it is due to His divine decree and we cannot do anything to change that.

It is important to constantly reflect on the state of our heart as it is easy to fall into any of these diseases of the heart. In my next post I will discuss kibr (pride).

When eating introduces someone to Islam

When eating introduces someone to Islam…
Abraham’s interest in Islam took off when he saw the special way that his Muslim friend ate. But he worried what his family, teachers and friends would think if he embraced Islam. Maybe they’d think that he was crazy?

Watch on to see how God guided him and helped him overcome…

World Book Day

Today is World Book Day! As I love books I always feel really excited about today and I thought I would share with you some of my favourite Islamic fiction and non-fiction books. Happy reading!

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1) She wore red trainers by Na’ima B Robert

So this fast became my favourite love story and the first halal love story I’ve read. I could completely relate to the characters throughput the book and what they were going through and seriously loved this story! Everyone needs to read this book! It’s cute, it’s funny, it’s heartbreaking, basically it has everything you need in a book. I read this in one sitting!

2) The Echoes series by Jamilah Kolocotronis (5 book series)

So this is the first series I read that was classed as Islamic fiction, before this I didn’t even know that this genre existed! This is a story about a brother who reverts to Islam and how his life and his family’s life changes. Each book you see the development of him and his family and friends and it’s a series that will keep you on the edge of your seat. There’s so many things brought up in this series and so amazingly woven into the story from racism to terrorism and everything else in between. Completely loved this series.

3) Normal Calm by Hend Hegazi

So this book I picked up because I read about it in sisters magazine and it really intrigued me because the story was about a young Muslim girl who is raped and how her journey through surviving progresses. It’s a heartbreaking story but one that needs to be told as its somethings that isn’t dealt with appropriately in our society. I did wish some parts had been given more depth but it’s still worth reading.

4) From my sisters lips by Na’ima B Robert

This book is nothing but inspiring, to read about how Islam empowered the women sister Na’ima talks about in her book and especially how much of an impact Islam had on her life. It shatters the stereotype that women are oppressed and we get to see a much more real image of what Muslim women are like.

5) Reclaim your heart by Yasmin Mogahed

This book needs no introduction, I’m sure many of you have heard of sister Yasmin and know about her book. This book got me through some difficult times and it’s a book you can read multiple times and gain new insights into your life everytime you read it. Absolutely love this book!

6) Duas of the superstars by Alima Ashfaq

This is a sister who I have done several online courses with through Islamic Online University and they have been amazing. Her book goes through the importance of having goals and making the best duas we can make. She uses examples from both historic and contemporary figures and gives us Quranic duas that will help us to reach our goals. I really really loved this book and regularly read the duas she spoke about.

7) Al-Muhaddithat: The women scholars in Islam by Mohammad Akram Nadwi

This is just the introductory book of a 40 volume book of women scholars in Islam. This is the only one that has been translated into English (the 40 volumes are in Arabic) but even reading this gives so much insight into the lives of Muslim women throughout Islamic history. It challenges the misconceptions about women in society today, some of which include that women shouldn’t study or work etc. This book can be a little confusing for those who don’t understand the way that people were named within Arab society but it’s well worth reading.

8) Muhammad: How he can make you extraordinary by Hesham Al Awadi

Having listened to several of his lecture series and loves them, I just had to buy his book, and I wasn’t disappointed. This book is not a typical seerah book but it takes you through all the different stages in the prophet (saw) life and gives practical examples of how we can implement his habits into our lives. Giving practical techniques in raising children, to having a harmonious marriage to how to deal with teenagers. Using examples from the seerah and explaining how the prophet (saw) did things and what impact it had in his life and those around him.

9) The productive Muslim by Mohammad Faris

I love the articles on the productive Muslim website and the book is even better. Going through step by step each chapter tackles a different aspect of your life and goes through examples and exercises for us to implement to become more productive I our lives. It’s not a book you read I one sitting but go through each section and try to implement that before moving on. This is a book I’m still reading and learning from.

So these are some of my favourite Islamic books, if anyone’s read any of these let me know what you think! I would definitely recommend everyone to read all these books. Happy world book day!

Diseases of the Hearts and their Cures part1

So currently I’m attending a weekly class on the diseases of the heart and their cures and I wanted to share what I learnt with you all so we can all benefit inshaAllah.

So why is it important to study the diseases of the heart?

1) Purification of the heart was one of the objectives of prophethood.

Ibrahim (as) made this dua: Our Lord, and send among them a messenger from themselves who will recite to them your verses and teach them the book and hikmah and purify them. Quran (2:129)

Allah responded by saying: Certainly did Allah confer (great) favour upon the believers when He sent among them a messenger from themselves reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the book and hikmah, although they had been before in manifest error. Quran (3:164)

In these ayahs we learn that Allah answered the dua of Ibrahim (as) but Allahs response was different in that He said ‘purify them’ before teaching the book and hikmah which shows that we need to purify ourselves first in order to learn what the Quran is teaching us and have hikmah.

2) The heart is the most important organ in the body.

Indeed in the body is a piece of flesh, if it is correct the whole body is correct and if it is corrupt then the whole body will be corrupt, verily this piece is the heart. (Bukhari)

If the heart is corrupt then this will dictate what the limbs will do. So we need to first fix our heart for our limbs to be fixed.

3) We often neglect studying the diseases of the heart but a lot of societal problems are a result of a corrupt heart. For example arguments are often caused by diseases such as envy, pride, arrogance etc. So in order to rectify these societal issues we must rectify our hearts.

4) Purification of the heart is the key to success in the dunya and the aakhirah.

The day when there will not benefit (anyone) wealth and children. But only those who comes to God with a sound heart. Quran (26:88-89)

If we want to be saved in the aakhirah and enter Jannah we need to purify our hearts of these diseases.

So how do we know that our heart is sick?

Ibn al-Qayyim discussed signs of a sick heart, some of these signs are:

1) The person doesn’t feel remorse when he commits a sin.

2) He finds pleasure in committing acts of disobedience.

3) When he hears the truth he has difficulty accepting or submitting to it.

4) He is not affected by any reminder, khutbah, Quran recitation etc.

Don’t look at the size of the sin, look at the greatness of the one who we disobeyed.

What effect does sinning have on the heart?

The prophet (saw) said: When a slave commits a sin, a black spot appears on his heart. If he gives up the sin, seeks forgiveness and repents, his heart will be cleansed, but if he repeats it, (the blackness) will increase until it overwhelms his heart. (Ibn Majah)

Some of the effects that sinning has on the heart that Ibn al-Qayyim discusses are:

1) Being deprived of knowledge, as knowledge is a light that Allah causes to reach the heart and sinning extinguishes that light.

2) Being deprived of provision. The prophet (saw) said: A man is deprived of provision because of the sins that he commits. (Ahmad)

3) Deprivation of worship and obedience. Sinning prevents a person from doing an act of worship and cuts off access to other acts of worship.

4) Sin leads to sin. The more this happens the harder it is to escape it. Eg. Being jealous of someone can lead to you gossipping and backbiting that person.

5) Sin weakens a persons willpower and makes him desensitised to sinning. The person will gradually find it easier to commit sins and harder to repent. Eventually he will not be bothered about sinning and it will become a habit.

So how do we protect our heart?

There are a number of ways to strengthen the heart. Some of which are:

1) Consistently fulfilling the obligatory actions. Not just the pillars of Islam but also all the obligations we have in regards to family, friends, neighbours etc.

2) Building a strong relationship with the Quran

3) Reciting the morning and evening adhkar

4) Increasing your dua. We should make dua for all things, both in regards to deen and dunya.

5) Repentance. Allah tells us again and again to seek forgiveness because it’s in our nature to sin.

I hope this has been helpful and now we know why we need to study the diseases of the heart and give importance to purifying our heart. I will discuss each disease that we go through in class inshaAllah. The next post will be about hasad (envy).

What happens when you Marry a Bookworm

This post is dedicated to my husband who has put up with all that comes with marrying a booknerd. So these are just some of things you have to deal with if your spouse is a booknerd! To all the people who are looking to get married and your potential spouse says they love reading, you have been warned!

1) We will constantly gush about whatever book we’re reading. Especially when we finish a book we NEED to talk to someone about everything we’re feeling and you are the closest person to us therefore you will have to listen. Even if that means we wake you up at 4am because we we’re an emotional wreck. This will also mean that you will know characters and storylines about books you may not have even looked at, let alone read.

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2) If something traumatic happens in the book we’re reading we will be severely affected by it. If one of our favourite characters dies then we will be an emotional wreck. We will cry, laugh, scream and yell at the book. Basically our emotions are affected by the book.

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3) Everytime we walk past a bookshop we will NEED to go inside to browse. This can mean we think we’re in there for 10 minutes but it can be an hour. We really won’t realise the that much time has passed because we’re too busy looking at all the amazing book we want to buy. You will more than likely end up dragging us out.

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4) We will want to buy more books even though we have a pile of books at home we haven’t read yet. Our favourite kind of shopping spree is a book shopping spree. Don’t worry we will eventually get round to reading all the books we have.

5) We will NEVER have enough books, just not enough bookcases.

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6) Our main post will be books! Because like I mentioned we need to buy books all the time it’s not always from the shop. We will also buy books online. You will also end up carrying the bag of books when we do go to the bookshop.

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7) As we love books, we will want to meet the author of these books. This will mean we will drag you book events as we don’t want to go alone.

8) Our books are like our children, our prized possessions. We will not take kindly to any damage to our books and we always dream of having our own personal library.

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9) We will want several editions of our favourite books. They’re so many pretty covers out there and we want them all!

10) You should never interrupt us mid-chapter. We will either not even realise you spoke to us or become highly irritated with you.

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11) You will never be stuck for a gift for us. You can literally buy us books for any and all occasions and we will be happy.

12) We will tell you every night that we will finish the chapter and come up to bed but it will become one more chapter until it’s past midnight and we’re exhausted but we still need to read one more chapter.

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13) We will carry a book wherever we go, even if it’s to go get the groceries because you know, just in case. We can’t ever get bored if we have a book with us.

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So these are things that me and my husband came up with. I’m sure that others will have their own ones to add. We booknerds are a unique bunch but at least we will keep your life interesting and you will always have something to talk about. 🙂