Salaah- A Spiritual Journey

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When you begin your Salaah…

From the moment you say “Allahu Akbar” it is as if you have knocked at the door of your Creator. You leave behind the world, and you are now facing your Lord. Clouds of Allah’s mercy form, good deeds fall on you like rain, and angels gather around you crying out,

“O worshipper if you could see who is in front of you and who you are talking to then I swear by Allah you would not finish your Salaah until the day of Judgement. You would stay in Salaah until you die.” (Hadith)

Salaah, derived from the word “Silatun”, means to bring or join together. Salaah joins the slave to his Lord and creates a bond that cannot be obtained through any other form of worship. When you engage in Salaah and you are facing your Lord, you have all of His Attention. It is unfathomable, the Lord of the worlds, our Creator, Allah – looking at me? I share the world with 7 billion other people, but at this moment, His attention is on me? Allahu Akbar.

When you direct your attention elsewhere during your prayers, Allah Ta’ala says, “O my servant, I am in front of you and you are not looking at Me. Have you found something even better than Me? That you have left me and become attracted to it?” Knowing this, we have to perfect our Salaah so that when we offer it to our Lord, He will be pleased with us Insha’Allah.

While you’re travelling, you’re cashing in…

We know Salaah to be a worship to Allah but it is so much more than that. “Salaah ensures;

  • daily bread,
  • promotes health,
  • drives out diseases,
  • strengthens the heart,
  • brings light and beauty to the face,
  • pleases the soul,
  • refreshes the body,
  • cures laziness,
  • relieves the mind,
  • feeds the soul,
  • illuminates the heart
  • guarantees Allah’s favour,
  • keeps shaytaan away
  • And brings us closer to Allah.

Salaah is a guarantee for all that is desirable and a protection against all that is undesirable for both body and soul, in this world and in the hereafter.” (hadith)

We pray to thank Allah for the innumerable bounties He has given us. Man has five senses; sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch. For these five senses Allah (SWT) has prescribed five daily Salaah’s. It is mentioned in the glorious Qur’an,

“And if you count the favours of Allah, never will you be able to number them.” (Surah Ibrahim: 34)

When you end your journey…

When you make “Salaam” at the end of Salaah it indicates that you have gone somewhere else and are now returning from your spiritual journey. You are able to feel the peace and embrace your new-found strength to continue with your day until the next time for Salaah sets in. The time alone with Allah (SWT) gives us courage to go on with our day no matter how tough it becomes. I think of the stories of the pious and now I understand why many spent their nights engaged in Salaah for the pleasure of Allah …why they sacrificed their sleep and body for hours and hours…it’s because we need Allah… to quench our soul. How fortunate are we, that the gift of Salaah helps us achieve this?


7 Reasons To Greet Your Fellow Muslim

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A woman, whom I’ve never met, smiles and says, Assalamu’alaikum. I reply accordingly, Wa’alaikumsalam.  I walk away with a puzzled look on my face wondering how she knows me. Hmm… did she have me mixed up with someone else? Or perhaps she knows someone in my family? I was scratching my head asking why a stranger greeted me, not even considering the fact that she was following an example of the prophet Muhammad (saw). I don’t know if this has ever happened to you but it is the sad truth of life. We greet only whom we know. So I thought I’d delve deeper into the subject and see for myself why greeting your fellow Muslim, stranger or not, is virtuous.

1. The Remembrance of Allah (SWT)

As-Salaam is one of the 99 names of Allah, meaning the Bestower of Peace, One who is free from every imperfection. According to hadith, Rasulullah (SAW) said: “Salaam is from the attributes of Allah Ta’aala which He has placed on earth. Therefore make Salaam common amongst you.” [Al-Adab-ul-Mufrad] This beneficial attribute of Allah (SWT)  is found in:

  • The greetings to Rasulullah (saw) at his blessed grave.
  • In the recitation of Tasha’hud in Salaah,
  •  In the greeting to the Malaa’ikah (Angels) at the end of every Salaah
  • The greeting of the people of Jannah, Subhanallah.

2. Obeying the command of Allah Ta’aala

By greeting one another with   السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ we are obeying the command of our Creator. Allah says in the Quraan,

“And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet with a better greeting or (at least) return it (in a like manner). Surely, Allah is the One who takes account of everything” [4:86]

3. An expression of friendship for a Muslim

Have you noticed that whenever you greet another with  السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ you feel an immediate sense of tranquility descend? I find that the mere act of making Salaam cuts tension and calms me down. Not only is it an act of worship it is also a means of showing another respect and affection. That’s sure to create a bond of sisterhood and friendship!

4. Assurance to a Muslim that they will not be harmed… 

Not by your hands nor by your tongue

We understand that the greeting السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ is a du’aa for a fellow Muslim. It translates as May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be with you.” When greeting a Muslim we ask Allah to safeguard him/her from all calamities and to bless them with a prosperous life. Making such a prayer for another human being should create brotherhood (or sisterhood) and should remind us that we cannot harm or benefit one another without the will of Allah Ta’aala.

5. The right of a Muslim

Abu Hurairah (ra) reported that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said,

“The Muslim has six rights. When you meet him, you should greet him. When he invites you, you should accept his invitation. When he asks you for advice, you should advise him. When he sneezes and praises Allah, you should bless him. When he is ill, you should visit him. When he dies, you should follow him (i.e. his funeral procession).” [Sahih Muslim]

 6. An antidote for arrogance… remedy for pride

When engaging in salaam one would immediately humble himself thus gaining closeness to Allah Ta’aala. It is narrated in hadith that Rasullulah (saw) said: “The one who initiates the salaam is free from pride.”

 7. Abundant rewards in the hereafter

Imran bin Husain (ra) reported:

 “A man came to the Prophet (saw) and said, ‘As-Salamu Alaikum’ (peace be upon you). The Messenger of Allah (saw) responded to his greeting and the man sat down. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, ‘Ten’ (meaning the man had earned the merit of ten good deeds). Another one came and said, ‘As-Salamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah’ (peace and the mercy of Allah be upon you). The Messenger of Allah (saw) responded to his greeting and the man sat down. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, ‘Twenty.’ A third one came and said, ‘As-Salamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu’ (peace and the mercy of Allah and His blessings be upon you). The Messenger of Allah (saw) responded to his greeting and the man sat down. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, ‘Thirty.’” [Tirmidhi]

 Alhamdulilah, we have been given the opportunity to reap the benefits of a single Salaam. Starting today, we should grab the chance, smile broadly and greet a fellow Muslim for the pleasure of Allah. Who knows, your Salaam could go a long way to brighten up someone’s day and maybe… just maybe there won’t be any more strangers left. Insha’allah.

 


Touched by an Angel

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You wouldn’t know her by her firm hands or the scars on her tummy, not even the tiny blob of mashed veggies wedged in her hair. It’s her selflessness, her patience and her unconditional love that gives it away. She is… a mother.

That caring voice you hear warning you, belongs to her. The white lie that remedied your tantrum came from her. That squishy hug you received took no effort from her part. She is the goopy-glue that holds her family together, ensuring that things are always running smoothly. That’s the beauty of a mother; she’s always, always giving.

From the very first moment her eyes meet her newborn, she falls in love. A love that gives her the energy during those sleepless nights, a love so strong she can see no harm come to her bouncing baby. “She becomes the protective force field called Mum.”

She masters the “crazy” eyes, the baby voice and the zoom-zoom of the flying spoon. Mothers give everything to please their child, to see them smile, to hear that giggle. It’s almost as if she’s been doing this all her life.

Got a problem? Need advice? Looking for something?  Mum’s got the answers. Google ain’t got nothing on her. From running errands and playing carpool to combating homework and tantrums she possesses strength that would amaze you.

What can’t this woman do, you ask? She can’t appreciate herself, that’s what. She doesn’t understand her worth. She won’t see herself as the gem that she is. The truth is… there’s no one in the world that could take her place. She’s incredible.

A mother is a blessing unto all of us from Allah (SWT). Her status, in Islam is of high calibre. With all the sacrifices she makes, we can understand why Jannah lies beneath a mother’s feet. To the mothers out there, smile… you’re doing a superb job! For those of you who have lost your precious gems, it’s not too late… You can always fill her Qabr with the light of prayer.

Allah (SWT) says in the Holy Qur’an, to pray for our parents, “My Lord, be merciful to them as they have brought me up in childhood.” (Surat al-Isra’, 17: 24)

The world without our parents, especially a mother- the beautifully wrapped gift given to us by our Creator- would certainly be a dull place. So I raise my hands in du’aa and thank Allah for making my life a whole lot brighter.

Dedicated to my mother, who brought up six pretty awesome children and is still at it 🙂 


Du’aa – You might just find the perfect one.

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Driving home, watching the rain come down, thinking about the difficult decision you’ll have to make in a few days. You feel burdened, no, angry or is it just the start of a pounding headache? It could be anything, the problem is, you have no idea what and it doesn’t matter. All you need is someone to talk to. No. You need your Creator.  Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing you could raise your hands and pray to Allah. But what do you do when you can’t find the right words? Anything your brain offers doesn’t describe how you feel in that moment. You seek comfort in speaking to Allah, going to Him first with your troubles or joys but the right words are probably nonexistent.

There are good and bad moments in life, there are dull or mediocre, there are even moments that go uncategorized. For every moment, essential or trivial, you’ll find a du’aa. Whether taken from the Qur’aan or Hadith you will discover one for EVERY occasion. In fact, the little scenario above was an opportunity to read at least five prayers;

  • Du’aa when boarding a car
  • Du’aa at the time of rainfall
  • Du’aa at the time of distress
  • Du’aa when becoming Angry
  • Du’aa for Istikhaarah

It’s clear that no illness or hardship goes untreated. The Qur’aan is a book of cures for illnesses you and I have never heard of. How amazing is it that our Creator has given us answers to questions we haven’t even asked yet? So I thought I’d use these little gifts to my advantage. I’m sure you can imagine how relieved I was when I learned there is a du’aa against laziness. That discovery itself was an answer to my prayers!

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‘O Allah, I take refuge in You from anxiety and sorrow, weakness and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, the burden of debts and from being overpowered by men’

 

That isn’t all. The translation of these du’aas are heart-warming. Take for instance the du’aa when seeing another Muslim cheerful.

أَضْحَكَ اللَّهُ سِنَّكَ

‘May Allah always keep you happy.’

How incredible is that? In Islam selflessness is seen as an admirable quality. There shouldn’t be “Oh, what about me?” and “I want some of that.” This du’aa has no mention of the person reciting it. It’s one sincere prayer for your Muslim brother or sister hoping that there is no end to their happiness. We’re encouraged to fulfill the rights of family and neighbours before we even think of ourselves. This du’aa emphasizes the unity that the Muslim community should uphold by caring for each other’s safety, provisions and happiness.

Another beautiful du’aa I came across was the reply to one expressing their love.

أناأحبك في ألله 

‘I love you for the pleasure of Allah’

And the reply to that;

أَحَبَّكَ الَّذِي أَحْبَبْتَنِي لَهُ

‘May He, for whose pleasure you loved me, love you also.’

You gotta give it to us. We have one very original way of expressing love. This is truly amazing. It just proves Whose love is most important and Who we live to please. This du’aa makes the love being expressed so pure.

Sometimes we mindlessly read these du’aas. We only realize the benefits once we understand their meanings. We’ve been given the chance to ask Allah for forgiveness, thank Him for the blessings bestowed upon us and most importantly to seek protection from Shaytaan. We should, like the Prophet Muhammad (May peace be upon him), read our du’aas with everything we do.

إن شاء الله

‘If Allah wills.’

And since our greeting is a du’aa in itself I’d like to say to you reading this;

السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ

 ‘May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be with you.’


For the pleasure of Allah…

It’s that nagging feeling you’ve tried to push to the back of your mind. It’s the same old question that leaves you feeling uneasy every time. You’ve tried to feed it with simple answers but no matter how hard you try, it resurfaces hungry for more. We’ve all reached that moment at least once in our lives, the dead-end that forces you to ask, “What is my purpose?”

As Muslims we have the answer embedded into our system, one thing, and one fulfilling way of life; to worship Allah. We know this, from the first time we learnt about the five pillars of Islam. We watched our parents pray their salaah on time and with devotion. We observed the peace that enveloped our homes when the beautiful Qur’an was recited, mesmerized by the words we didn’t even understand.  We hoped that one day we’d be able to reach such a spiritual level and when the time came for us to perform all our duties to the Almighty, we stepped up and till today are doing just that but like every wish or goal there comes a moment when you yearn to do more. Then comes the inevitable mind-boggling question, “Why was I created?” to worship Allah of course.

This got me thinking, if I were meant to only worship Allah by performing my prayers and engaging in remembrance of Him then surely I could have been any creation known to man. From insects to plants to the animals, they all worship Allah. But I was created as a human being, with intellect, conscience and emotions. Just listing those has me feeling grateful to my Creator. Alhamdulilah.

How can I go on living a mediocre life when I’ve been blessed with all these bounties? I owe it to my Creator to live a life using my gifts and talents because He gave them to me for a reason. I am the way I am because with my unique abilities I’m meant to make a difference and play my part in the world instead of fading into the background. And from the millions of different creations, Allah has blessed me as I am and still gave me Islam. There’s a reason for that, there’s a reason for everything and when you put your trust in Allah, you can conquer any difficulty with ease.

With the right intentions and for His pleasure only, I believe we can do what we’ve been created for. After all, the only status and recognition that truly matters is from Allah. He made us human to give us that chance and when I think of it like that I know He loves me, He loves us all. And I’d like to imagine Him smiling down at me for taking the first step to an extraordinary Islamic life.


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