Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Let the Tube's strike. Don't let your good character.

Quest to becoming a Huquq Al Ibaad Hero (part 1)

Top Tips For Maintaining Your Humanity During The London Tube Strikes (and other such battles)

The “How to be a Huquq Al Ibaad Hero” series… starting with the London Tube Strikes

"Please note that the beeping noise coming from the doors means that the doors are about to close. It does not mean throw yourself or your bags into the doors," one train driver recently quipped. Such is just one example of the daily commotion known to occur all too well in London’s beloved underground. Any  Londoner can give testament; keeping ones wits about one when one is late, packed into a steel box like a sardine and unable to find a seat is undoubtedly difficult. But what can only add to this misery is the smile ridden faces and state of constant grumbling grunts of ones fellow travellers. But there comes a point, when every bad habit must be broken, every wrong rule be rewritten and every commuter told it’s okay to act human on the London Underground, for God’s Sake! And when best to do this, than in the time of extenuated chaos pushing you to what you see as an underground battle field, during the train strikes! And so I bring to you the first in the series of helpful short guides  on how to maintain your humanity, or is known in Arabic,  Huquq Al Ibaad (that is, the rights of others), during the London tube strikes, and other such minor battles:

1. Keep Calm and Carry On

Ah yes. It’s been a long day and now there are train delays and strangers getting too close for comfort. Not ideal. But maintaining your composure during all of this is essential. “Glad tidings” are given to the “As-Sabirun”, the patient as Surah Baqarah states, let’s not forget!  But it’s is easy to be calm when all is going well and you are untroubled. The real test of character comes in moments of hardship and discomfort; this is when ones real character is revealed. Anybody can get flustered in the moment, but not the Muslim who watches themselves and keeps close check on their behaviour. How we express ourselves in such moments in critical. A man said to the Prophet, ‘Give me advice.’ The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, ‘Do not get angry.’ The man asked repeatedly and the Prophet answered each time, ‘Do not get angry.’ (Bukhari). If you must speak out, do so with tact and an intention to be of assistance rather than an additional nuisance. Don’t forget "Gentleness does not enter anything except that it beautifies it and harshness does not enter anything except that it disfigures it." (Bukhari) And only if you stay cool and patient, will you be able to be of assistance to others. Which brings us nicely onto tip number 2...

2, Stay Alert: Look out for the welfare of the vulnerable

Hey City Slicker! Yes, you! Not everyone who has to use the train will be at the peak of their health and fitness! Now is the time to really show what Huquq Al Ibaad is all about. It’s time to revive the forgotten art of chivalry. It’s time to dust of your heart to enable your kind intentions to shine out through action. It’s time to help the vulnerable:

The Elderly:  If you happen to spot someone elderly during the tube strikes, asking after them will go a long way. It isn’t just about getting up for them on the train, it’s also about helping them with bags, reassuring them that there is someone at hand and walking at their pace. This is the way of the Best of examples (peace be upon him), who advised, "And your helping a man to get up on his means of transportation, or helping him carry his things on it, is a Sadaqah (charity)." (Bukhari)

Young children: Young children may be afraid to see so many strangers in a small space and their parents likewise will be concerned about the wellbeing and safety of their child. In all the commotion it may become easy for them to become separated. As a 2 year old child, I was once lost on a trip outside. To this day, some couple of decades on, my parents still remember vividly their fear in that moment. Don’t be that person who in their absentmindedness, comes between a parent and child. Help parents with pushchairs and let parents onto trains ahead of you. Remember this hadith and you will go a long way; “He is not of us who does not show mercy to our young ones and does not respect our old ones.” (Tirmidhi).

Pregnant women, Disabled, Unwell:  Any of the people within these groups may find particular discomfort travelling in this busy period and need assistance. Stay alert and if you are able look out for such people in advance of the doors of the carriage opening / getting comfortable in a chair. Remember, “Allah is ever assisting His servant as long as that servant is helping his brother” (Bukhari). Importantly, if you see someone struggling, talk to them, double check whether they need anything. Now is not the time to be living by the unwritten underground rule of no speaking! 

3. Show good comradery

We all know the infamous hadith “None of you truly believes (in Allah and in His religion) until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself” (Bukhari). Well get ready to take your Ilm to Amal and practice what you know! Firstly, for the love of a good cup of tea when you get home, move down the carriage! After this in order of importance, if you know of an easier route, or an alternative train line that happens to be running, you may want to consider informing those around you or those who ask.  Additionally show respect to the train staff and the ethics for which they feel the need to strike. Rather than insulting them, think of all the good service that has enabled you over the years to get to and fro with ease. Be kind to them, they too are trying to earn a living and do a job. The truth of the matter is those who do not appreciate their blessings when they have them come to realise through losing them and this may be one such time to reflect on the blessing on a good transport system.

Finally, it is worth reminding that Nothing befalls a believer, a (prick of a) thorn or more than that, but Allah will raise him one degree in status thereby, or erase a bad deed.” – while this hadith is usually used to console those going through calamities, it is also important to bear in mind during every day struggles. Why? Because the example given, is that of a prick of a thorn. This indicates that any difficulty, no matter how small will be rewarded for. So, battling a brutal rush hour (multiplied by 10 in this instance!) on your way to study or earn a living can actually earn you reward. Just imagine! So loosen up, be thankful for an otherwise decent train service rather than having to walk 20 miles a day and …. Perhaps even… smile!

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Holiday Advice to Youth

Holiday Advice to youth and students 

In The Name of Allah, The Most Merciful, The Especially Merciful.

While many students will be looking forward to their well-deserved holiday, here are some pieces of advice as echoed by my honourable teacher recently.

So, how should we spend our break? How can we make the most of this time so that we come back fresh and alert for another period of study?

Firstly, the holidays are a time to get some rest. The body has rights and one of those of rights is that you take good care of it. Just as we work hard during the day and use the night to allow our mind and body to rest, in the same way our holidays are a sort of ‘long night’. Once we wake up, we feel fresh and alert ready for another period of learning. The same way, the holidays act as a refresher.

But that doesn’t mean we just sleep through our holidays. Go to sleep early so you can get up early. Also, try and pray your Salat al-Dhuhaa and Chast. Do you know the reward for this?
In a narration mentioned in Tirmidhi, The Messenger [peace be upon him] is reported to have said, 'He who performs Fajr Salat with Jamaat and remains seated in the same place while engaging in Dhikr until after sunrise and thereafter performs 2 Rakaats Nafil Salat, (Ishraaq), he will obtain the Thawaab of one Hajj and one Umrah.'

Secondly, help your parents out at home. Get involved with the shopping, cleaning and general needs of the family. Be proactive and be ready to help them. Your parents must be tired because they have been working hard all year round.  So work together, after all, a task shared is a task halved!

Get your coat and woollies on and visit your relatives to strengthen the bonds of relation. This act not only carries great reward but also fosters love between family members. So go out and get to know your family better and bring joy to their faces!

To build a house is very difficult but to destroy it is very easy. The same applies to all the hard work we have been doing over the past months with our studies. Don’t become lazy and start to slacken - put your studies and knowledge into practice! So here are some simple tips:

Make sure you are punctual for your Salaah. Get to the masjid early and try and get to the front. It’s a great feeling when you come early to the masjid in a calm, relaxed manner!

Next, show your parents that you are putting into practice what you are learning. There is nothing that brings greater pleasure to mums and dads than seeing their children practicing what they have been taught. Moreover, people in our community will be looking at us to see how much we have really learnt. Never forget, knowledge is what is practiced regularly.

Our behaviour needs to be spot on. It’s easy being well behaved when we are at school or at madressah because of the environment. The real test is when we are no longer there anymore: back home with our family and friends. So we need to control ourselves and be well behaved. This isn’t easy but becomes easy with practice. So what is the great reward for this? Allah Almighty mentions in the Qur’an :

“But as for he who feared the position of his Lord and prevented the soul from [unlawful] inclination, then indeed, Paradise will be [his] refuge.” (79: 40,41)

Wow, paradise for being good and well behaved!

Next, spread goodness at home.  Start a study a circle or ta’leem. Grab a book and sit down every evening for at least half an hour. Fix this time so everyone at home knows when it is and make sure you don’t miss a single session. Take turns to read it so everybody can benefit and practice their reading skills!

We all complain about not having enough time. Why is that? The Messenger of Allah never complained about time. The simple reason is that we don’t plan and have a timetable. Think about it, The Messenger of Allah  was the busiest man with the greatest amount of responsibilities ever. Yet, he achieved so much in such a short space of time. That was down to the fact that He was organised and had a plan.

I pray that Allah blessed us with barakah in these holidays and grants us all steadfastness. Ameen.

Maulana Haroon Sidat

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Wind

It is narrated from Ubai bin Ka 'b (May Allah be pleased with him) that Allah's Messenger (May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) said:

"Do not curse the wind. If you see that which is displeasing to you then say: 'O Allah, we ask of you the good of this wind and the good of what is in it and the good that it is commanded to bring along with it. And we seek your protection, from the harm of this wind and the evil of what is in it and the evil that it is commanded to bring along with it.' "

[At- Tirmidhi]

Oh wind, what is it you are trying to tell us as you cry and howl so loudly?! If only we could meet, I would help you through your anger, I would soothe your sadness.

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Passing of a man blessed with secrets

"It is with profound sadness that I share the news of the passing away  of Shaykh Agha Sa'id Adam, the custodian of the Prophetic Shrine and khadim of the Rawdah Sharifah, who was this morning laid to rest in the cemetery of al-Baqi" in Madinah. A man of secrets and illuminations who lived a paradisiacal life distant from this world as h...e spent more than half a century holding the key to the Prophetic Presence and twice a week entering it and, not cleaning as assumed, but rubbing his hands on the most purest of surroundings. Born on 27/02/1922 and died on the interesting date of 11/12/13, Shaykh Adam witnessed what the world has no real idea about. I had the unique opportunity of meeting him and he blessed me by firmly grasping my sinful hands as he spoke to me in a voice of sincerity and certainty. Among the many brief thoughts he shared with me, one was his statement, "Those outside have no sense of what is inside."

I asked, "Can you describe to me the inside?" "No, I cannot." He said. I rudely asked, "Is that because you will not or because you cannot?" His response was given with eyes down, "I walk in with my head down and eyes on the floor due to the sheer majesty of the inside, I dare not look up. I wipe my hands over the blessed grave and whatever touches my hand, I place on my eyes." One of his associates in the room then spoke out, "When Shaykh Adam walks in, on many occasions, his greeting is responded to with a voice from within." Another said, "On one occasion, as he walked in, a voice said, "How are you, O my Sa'id?" And Shaykh Adam fell to the floor and sat crying for a long time." These statements were made as Shaykh Adam looked down with tearful eyes. There was a lot more shared and I am grateful to Allah for this experience. Shaykh Adam spoke to me with great precision and his glance was filled with power and sharp focus."



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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Men Around The Messenger

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Kayf Ya'nee

Was asked a question intriguing in its essence the other day by one who was intrigued by the essence of another; "With whom did you grow up with?"

So what does one reply? Does one name their parents? Their brothers? School teachers? Perhaps mention spiritual teachers and company one may have been blessed to know from a young age? What about the general good company of friends one has been blessed to keep with? I was tempted to mention sniffer my pet shark (we had him for many many years!) and good old Roald Dahl with his whirlwind adventures and be done with it! Subhannallah.

 Quite a deep question to be fair!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Imam Shafi'i was asked, "How did you get such good character?" 
He replied, "By taking my critics seriously." 

Lessons in life!