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Reap Gold From Every Gathering

Guest post by Madiha Akhtar

Gold-Nuggest

Once my husband said, “Whenever you find yourself in a conservation, try to take something beneficial from it, something that can help you”. I know it sounds philosophical but the application that I saw him practice is what makes this a golden rule to live by. Let me explain further with examples.

I went to visit my grandparents and my husband accompanied me. After asking the usual questions of “how are you and kids, health, job” etc., my grandfather started to talk about his travel experiences. Right after that my husband asked him, “What do you think was their greatest strength and weakness?”. I looked at his face and then at my grandfather’s and was totally indulged in the way my grandfather explained what he found key to their success. A whole new paradigm of discussion opened up which was both interesting and beneficial.

So here is how he does it. In every gathering he asks questions which are related to the topic as well as the knowledge of the audience. This is the ultimate trick to learn from others’ years of experience. Let me share with you some more examples.

In a gathering of moms you can ask the question, “What is the single most important thing that one can give to their children?” or to a grandmother, “What is the one thing you never compromised on when it came to your children?”.

When accompanied by someone who loves cooking , “What is the simplest yet nutritious dish you make?”. In a group of friends, “How do you handle the situation when your husband is angry but you don’t know the cause?”.

So my dear friends, this is the key to learning. Now I enjoy having conversations and even making small talk with strangers when waiting in a queue or reception as I have found a way to tap others’ wisdom. Lastly, I will add just one more thing that most of the sins related to tongue are because of excessive talking and sometimes to avoid an awkward silence in the drawing room, we end up talking uselessly. SO THINK AHEAD!

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Entering Paradise in Chains! (Hadith No. 2650)

Bismillah.

Back again!

Ahadith 2648 – 2649 (below) are repeats. See linked text for related posts.

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 252 :
Narrated by Jabir bin ‘Abdullah (radiallaahu `anhu)
When it was the day (of the battle) of Badr, prisoners of war were brought including Al-Abbas (radiallaahu `anhu) who was undressed. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) looked for a shirt for him. It was found that the shirt of ‘Abdullah bin Ubai would do, so the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) let him wear it. That was the reason why the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) took off and gave his own shirt to ‘Abdullah. (The narrator adds, “He had done the Prophet some favor for which the Prophet liked to reward him.”)

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 253 :
Narrated by Sahl (radiallaahu `anhu)
On the day (of the battle) of Khaibar the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Tomorrow I will give the flag to somebody who will be given victory (by Allah) and who loves Allah and His Apostle and is loved by Allah and His Apostle.” So, the people wondered all that night as to who would receive the flag and in the morning everyone hoped that he would be that person. Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) asked, “Where is ‘Ali?” He was told that ‘Ali (radiallaahu `anhu) was suffering from eye-trouble, so he applied saliva to his eyes and invoked Allah to cure him. He at once got cured as if he had no ailment. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) gave him the flag. ‘Ali (radiallaahu `anhu) said, “Should I fight them till they become like us (i.e. Muslim)?” The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Go to them patiently and calmly till you enter the land. Then, invite them to Islam, and inform them what is enjoined upon them, for, by Allah, if Allah gives guidance to somebody through you, it is better for you than possessing red camels.”

Today’s Hadith:

In his well-known book, Al-Hikam (Words of Wisdom), sheikh Ahmad Ibn `Ataa’illah As-Sakandari says:

He knew that people will mostly not come voluntarily to Him, so He mandated obedience, and thus led them to Him in the chains of obligation. The Lord wonders about people, driven into heaven through chains.

This means that Allah the Almighty, Glory be His, knew that people will mostly not come voluntarily to Him to perform obedience of their own will, so He mandated obedience compulsorily, by threatening them punishment if they do not, and thus led them to Him in the chains of obligation and intimidation. He thus gradually led them to what guides them to eternal pleasure and elevates them to high levels.

In other words, according to Ibn `Ataa’illah, Allah the Almighty knew that most people cannot see what is good for them and what may make them happy because of their psychological desires and instinctive needs. He also knew that if He leaves them to the guidance of their reason and the incentives of their natural disposition (i.e. fitrah) which are inherent in their human entities, they would be overcome by their whims and lustful desires.

In the same vein, they would turn away from contemplating over what is dictated by sound reason and what is ordained by beneficial knowledge. Therefore, out of the Mercy and Kindness of the Almighty Lord, He drove them to the path of guidance and happiness through orders and ordainments and pushed them towards what is beneficial for them through commitment and obligation.

This is similar to the father who disciplines a child and obliges him to unpleasant difficult tasks that are to his disliking, and only when he grows up does he discover their value. He discovers that only when his own immature mental faculties failed to realize what was good for his own self his father turned his words of guidance and pieces of advice into orders and obligations.

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Volume 4, Book 52, Number 254 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Allah wonders at those people who will enter Paradise in chains.”

This hadith refers to the prisoners of Badr from among the polytheists who were captured and then, when they had the chance to know Islam and interact with Muslims, reverted to Islam. As they did not know anything about the goodness and blessing that were awaiting them through staying for a while amidst the Muslims and under the protection of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him); a matter which eventually led them to embrace Islam and become faithful believers in Allah the Almighty and His blessed Messenger.

Remarkably, one should realize that the said chains of obligation are not restricted only to the compulsory rulings that are mandated by Allah the Almighty upon His servants. Rather, these chains of obligation may be represented in trials and calamities that may drive those who are afflicted with them to an end of happiness and welfare which they would have never reached or gained access to except through the scourges of such calamities.

Indeed, the Battle of Badr to which Muslims were brought step by step is a typical example of these chains of obligation which are mentioned in the above hadith of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Eventually, the end result of these chains was nothing but a unique victory which led to many other great victories in the battles that followed. In these battles, Muslims gained spoils many times as much as the spoils they had desired to seize from the caravan which they set out in the first place to intercept and which managed to evade capture as is indicated in the books on earlier Muslim history. In this connection, Allah the Almighty says in the Ever-Glorious Qur’an what may mean,

{Yet, behold! God had promised you [believers], then that one of the two hosts that you had come upon would fall to you. And you wished that the unarmed one, the trade caravan, would be yours. Yet God intended to establish the religion of truth [in the land] – in accordance with His words – and to cut off the very last remnant of the disbelievers.} (Al-Anfal 8:7)

Accordingly, as true Muslims, we have to obey Allah the Almighty and carry out all His obligations and ordinances out of certainty that only through this we will pursue our interests and find our happiness. We have to realize that all we are ordered to do and/or forbidden from is meant only to guarantee our happiness and welfare in this present life as well as the Hereafter.

Then, Ibn `Ataa’illah gave emphasis to this through the following word of wisdom which reads,

He has obligated you to serve Him but in doing so He has only obligated you to enter His Paradise.

This means that Almighty Allah apparently obliged you to serve Him, and in reality is only obliging you to enter His heaven, for He made deeds cause for entry to heaven. What is meant here and in the aforementioned word of wisdom is stating that Allah is Rich beyond His creation: their obedience does not benefit Him, and their disobedience does not harm Him. All orders and mandates in reality bring benefit to them, and He is the Most Wealthy, the Most Gracious.

Allah Almighty says in His Ever-Glorious Qur’an what may mean,

{…For it is God alone Who is the Self-Sufficient. And it is you who are the poor.} (Muhammad 47:38)

and,

{O mankind! It is you who are the poor, utterly in need of God. And it is God alone Who is the Self-Sufficient, the All-Praised.} (Fatir 35:15)

Finally and to sum up, the above two words of wisdom by Ibn `Ataa’illah As-Sakandari mean that Allah the Almighty knew that most of His slaves are not self-motivated in seeking Him; so, He obligated for them obedience to Him. He pushed them towards Him with the chains of obligation. And that He, Glory be His, has obligated them to serve Him but in doing so He has only obligated them to go to His everlasting Heaven.

Source: OnIslam.Net

One for the Volunteers (Hadith No. 2531)

Bismillah.

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 136 :
Narrated by ‘Aisha (radiallaahu `anhaa)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) was vigilant one night and when he reached Medina, he said, “Would that a pious man from my companions guard me tonight!” Suddenly we heard the clatter of arms. He said, “Who is that? ” He (the new comer) replied, ” I am Sad bin Abi Waqqas and have come to guard you.” So, the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) slept (that night).

Volunteering: an altruistic activity intended to promote goodness or improve human quality of life. [Wikipedia]

Volunteer-apperciation-Quotes

Why volunteer? According to a very good HelpGuide article, volunteering has the following benefits:

  • connects you to others
  • good for your mind and body
  • can advance your career
  • brings fun and fulfillment to your life

While I agree with all of the above, I believe them to be secondary benefits of volunteering, primary being:

  • pleasure of Allah
  • reward in Hereafter

Because volunteering is a “good deed”, if done sincerely for Allah’s sake and not to show off or achieve any of the “secondary benefits”, Allah rewards us for it.

هَلْ جَزَاءُ الْإِحْسَانِ إِلَّا الْإِحْسَانُ

“Is the reward for good [anything] but good?” [55:60]

To be honest, keeping that sincerity in check is one tough job when others praise you for your hard work, or when things get rough with the very people you work with. Allah tests us in different situations to measure the level of our “Ihsan” so He can reward us for it accordingly.

If you’re a volunteer, keep at it; and if you’re not, start today! There’s always someone you can help for free (read: reward). :)

volunteer

Maniha: A Good Gift (Ahadith 2295 – 2296)

Bismillah.

Volume 3, Book 47, Number 797:
Narrated Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu):
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “What a good Maniha (the she-camel which has recently given birth and which gives profuse milk) is, and (what a good Maniha) (the sheep which gives profuse milk, a bowl in the morning and another in the evening) is!”

Volume 3, Book 47, Number 798:
Narrated Malik:
Maniha is a good deed of charity.

Maniha: a sort of gift in the form of a she-camel or a sheep which is given to somebody temporarily so that its milk may be used and then the animal is returned to its owner.

So it’s basically a very thoughtful and generous gift.. an example from today could be lending your car to someone with its tank full, or a printer along with hefty ink supply. I personally think we’re stingy when it comes to these things. We’d rather keep such benefits to ourselves than let others have any share in them. Definitely something to think about.

Superfluous Water (Ahadith 2040 – 2041)

Bismillah.

Volume 3, Book 40, Number 543 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Do not withhold the superfluous water, for that will prevent people from grazing their cattle.”

Volume 3, Book 40, Number 544 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
That Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Do not withhold the superfluous water in order to withhold the superfluous grass.”

Superfluous = unnecessary, especially through being more than enough.

Obviously man has rights on his property. He may do with it as he pleases, obeying Allah’s laws all the same. But when it comes to that which is extra or unnecessary, then he may not prevent people/animals from benefiting from it. In this case, water.

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