If not now, then when?

Our problem today is that some of us have the appearance of Sunnah without its soul, some have the words of that Aqeeda without its Noor and some have nothing.

Meaning doesn’t mean translation. It means understanding which results in effects on the self. If someone translates Sher as Tiger, he’s correct but it is only when he faces a real tiger in the jungle and has lost control of his bowels that he can claim to understand the meaning of the word Sher.

Islam today is only words. Dry words that create no effect. Words that bring no tears to the eyes, that don’t change your blood pressure or heartbeat. Words that don’t touch your emotions. Words that don’t wake you or sooth you with tranquility. Words that don’t comfort your fear, dry your tears of grief or give you new hope to get up after a fall and face the world which is still the same.

Incidentally in our lives, a pretty woman, a handsome man, a poem, a song, a musical tune, a bottle of whisky or a choice curse word can do all of the above. Yet Islam, the word of Allah, the teaching of His Messenger(S) leave us untouched.

Then we wonder why we’re today the dregs of humanity.

Khizr kyon kar bataye, kya bataye
Agar mahi kahay darya kahan?

The big question to myself is how much longer do I want to continue to live like this… The existence of the living dead?

When will I wake up and respond to my Rabb and rejoice in His company? When will His slightest wish be my command? When will I yearn to meet Him and work to make that day the best day of my life? When will I dedicate my life as He commanded me to dedicate it when He said;

قُلْ إِنَّ صَلاَتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

Anaam 6:162 Say: “Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for Allah, the Rabb of the Worlds.”

I end with asking the question that He asked:

أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَن تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَمَا نَزَلَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ وَلَا يَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلُ فَطَالَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْأَمَدُ فَقَسَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَكَثِيرٌ مِّنْهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ

Hadeed  57:16. IS IT NOT time that the hearts of all who have believed should feel humble at the remem­brance of Allah and of all the truth that has been bestowed [on them] from on high, lest they become like those who were granted revelation aforetime, and whose hearts have hardened with the passing of time so that many of them are [now] depraved?

My brothers and sisters, if not now, then when? 

If not we, then who?

Punishment ISIS style is NOT ISLAMIC

Someone commented on the incident of the ISIS hanging up two boys by their wrists for a day or more because they didn’t fast in Ramadan. Below is the comment and my answer.



Assalamualaykum.
Overall, the ISIS seems a covert American operation to consolidate territory in Iraq and Syria. However, and to be fair, the case in point here – the boys being ‘hanged’ for eating while the Ramadan fasts are on – isn’t quite about their being killed by hanging. Actually, they were just hung up on poles by their wrists (for the whole day or more) as punishment for not fasting.

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My dear brother وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته
I have highlighted your statement Actually, they were just hung up on poles by their wrists (for the whole day or more) as punishment for not fasting…. Which seems to imply that this punishment given to the boys was justified.
I beg to differ, completely and totally. The punishment is unislamic and has no grounds in the Shari’ah. The punishment is brutal, barbaric, inhuman, unislamic and Haraam.
It is an action that can (and more than probably did) result in permanent damage to the veins and cartilages in the wrists and the cartilages and joints of the elbows and shoulders of the boys. It resulted in permanently scarring them psychologically. It more than likely made them hate Islam all their lives.
Where is the precedence for this in the life of the Prophet who we like to quote in the treatment of children? Where is the precedent for this in the Qur’an and Sunnah? Which Madhhab prescribes the punishment for children not fasting (or for adults even) that they should be hung up by their wrists for a day or more? Who invented this punishment and what is the punishment for inventing punishments in Islam?
With due respect to you, I submit what I have always said from the first day when this scourge of the ISIS raised its ugly head – they are the modern manifestation of the Khawarij and should be dealt with as Sayyidina Ali bin Abi Talib (RA) dealt with them – by exterminating them. Whether they are pawns of the Americans or not is conjecture. Even if it is true, there was no American telling them to hang the boys up because they didn’t fast. There was no American telling them to slaughter prisoners – including Muslims – like sheep. There was no American telling them to sell women civilians (non-combatants) like animals in a market place to the highest bidder after displaying them like merchandise. These are the actions of psychopathic criminals and must be recognized as such.
Just ask yourself what would be your reaction if the Israelis had done what these people are doing to the Palestinians? Would you have said, ‘They are the tools of America. After all they only hung up those boys for a day or more by their wrists. They didn’t kill them.’
I have suggested to those who say such things, to kindly suspend themselves for a day or more by their wrists and then when you are taken down with your trousers soiled by your own urine and faeces, your veins damaged, your hands gangrenous because of lack of blood supply for 12 hours or more, your elbows stretched until you can’t bend your arms for hours, your shoulder cartilages permanently damaged with perhaps the shoulders dislocated, screaming in agony; dishonored, humiliated, shamed and injured and your spirit scarred; then say, ‘Actually they only hung me for a day or more.’
I am sorry to say this but since you made this statement publicly I thought it important to put things in perspective.
The actions of the ISIS are Haraam, against the Qur’an and Sunnah and render them out of Islam. They are Murtaddeen and apostates. They are not the Islamic State. Their Khalifa is not a Khalifa except of Shaytaan. Anyone who joins them is either seriously misguided or deranged or a psychopath himself who wants to get some thrills in their barbaric society. These people have caused far more damage to Islam and grief and suffering to Muslims all over the world than all the cartoonists who sought to insult the Prophet put together. It is the actions of these people which are done in the name of Islam with Islamic symbolism and signage that has caused people to hate Islam and our Prophet. These people are the clear and manifest enemies of Islam and must be declared as such.
This has been my position from the first day and as time progressed I have been vindicated in my stand. I have spoken against the ISIS in India and abroad and written against them widely. They are a curse on the Muslims and we need to condemn them openly and clearly. They must be exterminated in the shortest possible time.
I ask Allah for His Mercy for all people and for His help in deliverance from this curse of the ISIS.

Words – It’s only words – Or is it?

Don’t underestimate the importance of words. In the famous words of Mark Twain: ‘The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.’
Words touch the heart, move the soul and inspire the spirit. Words move people to do things they considered impossible. Words are timeless and continue to have meaning in contexts very different from that in which they were first uttered. Words outlast the speaker and are handed down from generation to generation. Even to this day, the words of John F. Kennedy echo down through the decades when he said, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country’. Or the words of Aristotle which echo down through the ages and have so much meaning today in our current context where he said,It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.’  And the words of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be on him) which underscore the essence of brotherhood, good character and citizenship, where he said, He is not one of mine who lies, breaks a promise or fails in his trust.’  Imagine a society based on truth and trustworthiness and how much we need to create such a society today.
Words are the only means we have of transferring our thoughts and feelings into the hearts and minds of others. Words are remembered long after the speaker is forgotten. Words wound and heal. Words cause tears and laughter. Words are the stuff of dreams. Words are us.

So don’t underestimate the power of words, delivered perfectly – only if they are delivered perfectly.

(Extract from my new book: Present Your Way to the Top)

Ramadan, a time of self-indulgence?

So Ramadan is coming along. What are the signs that I see around me? By far the most important of them all – the cleaning of the Haleem cooking cauldrons, repairing of the tandoor ovens and the painting of signs screaming that the Haleem of that particular establishment can’t possibly be bettered in this life. Haleem for the body and soul. And in this case Haleem for Good luck – if you please.
Then is the case of Iftaar parties – those who claim first strike and those given in retaliation – do unto others what they did unto you. Yeah! I know that is poetic license but all is fair in Iftaar and war. And the conversations before, during and after the Iftaar party. Gossip galore. What to say about the political Iftaars that people vie to be invited to so that they can rub shoulders with those that ‘count’?

I shall pass by in silence looking at our women and servants slaving in kitchens cooking food for those who don’t need it sacrificing their own time of Dhikr and dua because the pleasure of their bosses is more important than the pleasure of Allah. Or I should say that the displeasure of their bosses is more visible and immediate than the displeasure of Allah.
Ask our business people and they will tell you that 70% of their business happens after Iftaar in Ramadan, especially during the last ten nights. And of course as you shop you need sustenance and so you eat. Shops are very accommodative and so they remain open all through the night. And the nights of grace and mercy pass unnoticed overhead.
I have deliberately given this article a title which may seem provocative but which I believe reflects our reality – that Ramadan is a time of self-indulgence for us, instead of being a time of self-denial, reflection, introspection and repentance.
Allah ordered us to have His Taqwa – to fear His displeasure and be aware of the fact that one day we will meet Him – when He said:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ
A’al Imraan 3:102.        O you who believe! Have Taqwa of Allâh (fear to disobey Him) as it is His right that His displeasure shoud be feared. And die not except in a state of Islâm (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allâh.
Allah told us that He made fasting Fardh (compulsory) upon us so that we can develop Taqwa. But does that happen to us in Ramadan? Do we develop more Taqwa? Is this reflected in our lives? And if not, is Ramadan anything more for us than a date change? A social event at best; enjoyable time but nothing more in terms of the blessings that it comes with for the one who has wisdom.
Allah said:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
Al Baqarah 2:83. O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqûn 
As we can see, Allah ordered us to have Taqwa and then showed us how to develop Taqwa – by fasting. Only once a Muslim develops Taqwa then his submission to Allah can be assured and so the second part of the Ayah becomes possible.
وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ
And die not except in a state of Islâm (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allâh.
The secret of obedience is to obey without question. It is not obedience without understanding. The understanding when obeying Allah is to understand who Allah is; not what the command is or the logic behind it. This is a major trap that most of our so-called intellectuals fall into. They get lost in trying to understand the logic of the command and forget who is commanding it. That is why Ramadan comes to emphasize the fact that the Muslim obeys because Allah commanded it; not because it makes ‘sense’ to him. Allah made some things Halaal and some things Haraam. But in Ramadan during the hours of daylight, He made even the things which are ordinarily Halaal, Haraam. When the Muslim obeys Allah and fasts he is essentially doing something which makes sense only when one understands whose command it is. It is emphasized for the Muslim that if he obeyed Allah during Ramadan and stayed away even from Halaal then how much more important it is for him to stay away from what Allah prohibited and made Haraam?

That is why it is so critical to know Allah, to be connected to Allah, to be conscious of Allah and to be concerned about His pleasure and approval for all that we say or do because to Him is our return. Ramadan comes to reiterate this to us every year; that we are the slaves of Allah and in being true to that is our salvation. Ramadan comes to teach us obedience. It comes to teach us the meaning of Uboodiya. It comes to teach us the meaning of being Abdullah and Amatullah and to do that because we love AllahYabove all else.
My brothers and sisters, I remind myself and you that Ramadan comes to us every year as an opportunity to change ourselves, our habits, our ways and our lives so that we become people of Jannah. Ramadan is a special time when Allah relaxes the rules and gives us special advantages with respect to our actions so that we get a chance to change. He chains Shayateen so that we don’t have to fight against the odds. He increases the reward for good deeds so that we get a handicap advantage and a much higher return on our actions. He gives us fasting which makes every action we do during it, including sleep – Ibaadah. He gives us Taraweeh in the night where we get from 10-100 rewards for every letter of the Qur’an we listen to. He gives our dua a special place of acceptance, especially duas at the time of Iftaar. He shuts the doors of Jahannam and opens the doors of Jannah. He opens the doors of His Mercy and Kindness and Forgiveness for all those who actively seek it. In the last ten nights He increases all this even more in keeping with His Majesty and Grace.

But what do we do with all these bounties? Do we take the maximum benefit from them or do we squander them in the name of socializing and self-indulgence? I remind myself and you to use Ramadan to change our lives. Allah said about those who will be successful on the Day of Judgment:
كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَآئِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ وَإِنَّمَا تُوَفَّوْنَ أُجُورَكُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فَمَن زُحْزِحَ عَنِ النَّارِ وَأُدْخِلَ الْجَنَّةَ فَقَدْ فَازَ وَما الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلاَّ مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ 
A’al Imran 3: 185. Everyone shall taste death. And only on the Day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise, he indeed is successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception (a deceiving thing).
I remind myself and you that it is we who need Allah and all His Bounties like Ramadan for our own salvation and success in this life and the Hereafter. What sense does it make to be reminded year after year about the bounty that Ramadan brings and still ignore it and squander it instead of taking its benefit?
Allah does not need us and can replace us if we don’t pan out. He warned us and said:
Ma’aida 5: 4. O you who believe! Whoever from among you turns back from his religion (Islam), Allah will bring a people whom He will love and they will love Him; humble towards the believers, stern towards the disbelievers, fighting in the Way of Allah, and never afraid of the blame of the blamers. That is the Grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He wills. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.
Allah created us to teach others how to live. He didn’t create us to live in a way that others can laugh at. That is what is happening today especially with respect to Iftaar parties. They are a spectacle that others laugh at us for. They laugh at our antics of trying to get invited to high profile parties; at our pretensions of piety while gorging on food like there is no tomorrow. Political parties and politicians use Iftaars as carrots for Muslims who are so anxious to be invited to an Iftaar party being given by this or that leader, no matter whether he is Muslims or not, no matter what his own track record of oppression is, no matter anything except that he is temporarily in power. For all power is after all temporary. But we scramble for the invitation shamelessly. It’s time to change before we reach the end of our own line.
So what to do about Iftaar and about wanting to invite family and close friends?
Invite family and close friends. Don’t do anything special. Make sure all activity in the kitchen is ended 30-45 minutes before the time of Iftaar and the people who cook for you are free to wash up and prepare for Iftaar and Dhikr and dua. Remember that Ramadan is for them also and if you give them duties that prevent them from worship you will answer to Allah for that. Eat what you normally eat. When your guests come, remember Allah and remind each other. No other conversation. Then close to the time of Iftaar maintain absolute silence and engage in individual dua. Once the Adhaan is called, break your fast with a date or two and a drink of water and the men go to the masjid for Salah. Make Shukr to Allah for granting you Ramadan and the fast and the food. After Salah return and eat a light meal and go back to the masjid for Isha and Taraweeh.
Be concerned about the poor that they have enough to eat in Ramadan and after it. After all they don’t eat only in Ramadan so I’ve never understood the rush to give hampers in Ramadan and then forgetting about them for the rest of the year. Charity is not restricted to Ramadan. Let us be charitable all through the year.

I ask Allah to make this Ramadan the best Ramadan of your lives and enable you to especially please Him and ask Him to forgive your faults and never be displeased with you.

Balancing Deen and Dunya

Below are two questions and their answers. Sharing for mutual benefit.
والسّلام
Yawar Baig
Sent:Friday, June 05, 2015 10:08 PM
To: Mirza Yawar Baig
Subject: Balancing Deen and Dunya.
Assalamu`Alaykum Warahmatulahi Wabarakatuhu.
Dear Sheikh,
You seem to have achieved exceptionally well in knowledge of this world and knowledge of here after(Deen).While acquiring knowledge of both worlds, Did it not create a clash or friction in your heart.?
For instance – whenever i wanna give exceptional commitment to acquire any skill of this worldly life, it makes me forget ALLAH. Salah is not at its best -Allotting time for Dhikr is constraint. Just the process of acquiring knowledge of worldly life keeps me away from ALLAH. Because you often say Focus- one Good thing at time- Ordinary Light illuminates at best and laser Cuts through steel.
One can say the focus is hereafter – but anything attached to this dunya in Excess or kind of being exceptionally well ,will invariably spoil the heart or at least forget ALLAH in the process.
To be the best at any skill one needs to love it and take it to heart.
Your talks Represent that you have done intense research on skills of this world and well same is true when you speak about deen in your fajr reminders.whats the art of doing that together- how do you partition that in your heart?
Dont knowledge of both worlds contradict each other – at least the knowledge of materialistic world which we are living is mutually exclusive with knowledge of hereafter.?
or
How do you keep that dunya beneath your foot – even after reaching that feet.
Whats the art of laser cutting through steels in this world and hereafter simultaneously.
There is no conflict between Deen and Dunya. Dunya is not the opposite of Deen. Deen is the way to live in the Dunya. There is no Deen after death. So there is no friction or contradiction between the two. On the contrary, you can only attain excellence in Deen through excellence in Dunya. Sadly people don’t see this and they preach the opposite which is a confusion with Hindu theology – Sanyas, leaving the Dunya for spiritual growth. There is no Sanyas in Islam. Rasoolullah said, ‘La Ruhbaniya fil Islam.’ (There is no asceticism in Islam).
Love of Dunya that people talk about has nothing to do with wealth. It has to do with the love of material things to the exclusion of the love of Allah. A beggar on the street is not the most spiritual of beings. As a matter of fact he may be far less spiritual than someone who has a lot more but is focused on charity. He loves what little he has and the fact that he believes that he has to beg all day so much that he doesn’t bother to pray. When did you ever see a beggar praying, even when they all go to the nearest masjid on Juma to beg? So love of Dunya has nothing to do with how much of it you have. It has to do with how much you love it in relation to how much you love Allah. As long as you love Allah more, you can be the king of the world but the Dunya will not distract you from Deen. So there is no friction between Dunya and Deen. They are intrinsically linked and completely indispensable for success in each other.
Secondly Dunya is the only way that you will attain perfection in the Aakhira. Dunya is the only way to earn Jannah. You don’t earn Jannah by leaving Dunya but by using Dunya. It is like telling someone sitting in a car, ‘The best way to reach your destination is to get out of your car and walk.’ You may still get to your destination but you will get there with great difficulty and very slowly. But if you remained in your car and drove on the right road, you would get there much faster and much more comfortably. This is what the Sahaba did. They had the best of both worlds. The problem is that people only tell you stories of the Sahaba in the days of the inception of Islam. Stories of deprivation and struggle. Not the stories of how they handled Dunya when the conquests started and there was literally money to burn. Did they fall into evil? Did they forget Allah? Did they leave Salah and sit in their shops? Or did they establish Islam on the face of the earth?  
Dunya, lived according to the Deen, is Ibaadah. It is Deen itself. It is the reason for the Deen. If this Dunya didn’t exist there would be no need for Deen. To live in this Dunya according to the Deen is the most powerful way to do Da’awa. Dunya is the way to attain the pleasure of Allah. Dunya is the tilth for the Aakhira – as Rasoolullah reminded us. How are you going to get a harvest if you leave your fields fallow? You want a good harvest you have to spend every waking moment in your fields, ploughing, winnowing, planting, watering and praying for success in the harvest. People who tell you to leave the Dunya don’t know agriculture. If you want to learn agriculture, go to a farmer. That is why the importance of Tarbiyya in Islam which we have completely discarded.
You should love the Dunya – but for the right reasons. You should run behind the Dunya – but for the right reasons. You should use the Dunya – in the right way.
That is the way – the ONLY WAY – to attain Jannah.
Thats my first question.?
Secondly.
How do you manage to get applauded on the stage and keep your heart clean?
It’s very difficult – how do you do it.??
I don’t intend to be any speaker or get applauded on stage. In fact on several instances I have chosen to my keep mouth shut even if I know cos am worried that would end me up at Ria based on past experiences.
I am simply curious about latter.
Very simple. Just make lots of Tawba all through and after the stage. That is the benefit of Tarbiyya. You learn these things. Make lots of Tawba and remember that they are not praising you, they are praising the cover that Allah  placed over you. Ask Allah never to remove that cover.  
Your students may consider you to be very wise because they know less than you. But to your teachers you’re stupid and don’t learn even the simplest of things. So which is the correct opinion?
I’d say both. One is the cover that Allah  put over you to hide your faults. The other is the mirror He shows you so that you can correct the faults. Both are signs of His great Mercy. Always realize that and thank Him.
والسّلام
Yawar Baig

My Shaikh added:

Add: to treat all the affairs of Dunya as the Shari’ah demands with an eye on the sense of accountability to Allah. Read: 2:201. Also the Hadith: al-Dunya MAZRA’UL AAKHIRAH (Dunya is tilling land for the Aakhirah). As it is said: TO KEEP DUNYA IN THE POCKET IS OK BUT NOT RIGHT TO KEEP IT ROOTED IN THE HEART. Akbar Ilahabadi says: DUNYA MEYN HOON DUNYAA KA TALBGAAR NAHEEN HOON + BAZAR SEY GUZRA HOON KHAREEDAAR NAHEEN HOON.  You have rightly said the Aakhirah is earned through the Dunya. There is no contradiction.