Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Beware of thoughts

“Ward off passing thoughts, for if you do not, they will become ideas.
Ward off ideas, for if you do not, they will become desires.
Fight the desires, for if you do not, they will become intentions.
If you do not resist them, they will become actions.
If you do not repel them with their opposites, they will become habits,
and it will be difficult to get rid of them.”
From Al-Faw√Ę’id of Imam Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

A mothers anger

At the time of the Prophet (SAW), there was a young man named Alqamah. He was very diligent in obeying Allah by engaging in prayer and fasting and spending in charity. Then he fell ill and his illness became serious. His wife went to the Prophet and said, ”My husband, Alqamah, is on his deathbed. I therefore came to tell you, Messenger of Allah, about his condition.” The Prophet (then) sent for Ammar or Suhaib and Bilal, and told them to go to him (Alqamah) and have him repeat the Shahadah. Thereupon they went to him and found him in the agony of death. They asked him to say, “La illaha illa Allah,” but his tongue was unable to pronounce it. At that, they came and told the Messenger of Allah that he was unable to repeat the Shahadah.
The Prophet asked, “Is either of his parents alive?” He was told, “Messenger of Allah, his mother is, but she is very old.” The Prophet sent her a message that if it was convenient for her (that is, is she was able to go out), she should come to him; otherwise she should stay in her house and the Prophet would come to her.

The Prophet's messenger came to her and informed her of the Prophet's message. She said, “May my life be a ransom for him, it is my pleasure to go to him!” She then stood up, leaning on her walking stick, and came to the Prophet and greeted him. The Prophet returned her greeting and said to her, “Umm Alqamah, tell me the truth, for otherwise Allah Most High will reveal the truth to me! What is the situation concerning your son, Alqamah?” She replied, “Messenger of Allah, he prays much, fasts a great deal, and spends a great amount in charity.” The Prophet said, “And what about yourself?” She said, “Messenger of Allah, I am angry with him.” He said, “Why?” She replied, “Messenger of Allah, he has preferred his wife to me and has disobeyed me.” Then Allah's Messenger said, “Umm Alqamah, surely your anger has prevented Alqamah's tongue from pronouncing the Shahadah.”

He then turned to Bilal and said, “Bilal, go out and collect a quantity of firewood.” She said, “Messenger of Allah, what do you plan to do?” He replied, “I will burn him in front of your eyes.” She said, “Messenger of Allah, he is my son! My heart cannot bear your burning him in front of me!” He said, “Umm Alqamah, Allah's punishment is more severe and more lasting! Therefore, if you want Allah to forgive him, be reconciled to him. By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, the prayer, fasting, and spending in charity (which he has done) are of no benefit to Alqamah as long as you are angry with him! Thereupon she said, “Messenger of Allah, I call upon Allah Most High and His angels and the Muslims who are present to be my witnesses that I am pleased with my son Alqamah.” Allah's Messenger said, “Bilal, go to him and see whether he is now able to say, “La illaha illa Allah” or not. It may be that Umm Alqamah is saying something for my sake which is not in her heart.”

Thereupon Bilal went, and while entering the door he heard Alqamah saying, “La illaha illa Allah.” (Concerning this), Bilal remarked, “It is surely true that while Alqamah's mother was angry with him his tongue was tied, and now that she is pleased with him his tongue is freed.” Alqamah died the same day. The Prophet came to him and gave the order for his washing and shrouding, and then prayed the funeral prayer for him and buried him. He then stood by the side of his grave and said, “You company of Muhajireen and Helpers, if anyone favors his wife over his mother, Allah and His angels and all the people curse him! Allah does not accept his spending (in charity) and his uprightness unless he repents toward Allah, the Glorious and Majestic, and reconciles with her and attains her pleasure, because Allah's pleasure consists in her pleasure and Allah's anger consists in her anger.” [Tabarani and Ahmed]

The wooden bowl

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year-old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth. The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. We must do something about Grandfather," said the son. I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor. So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl.

When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

The four-year-old watched it all in silence. One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, "What are you making?" Just as sweetly, the boy responded, "Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food when I grow up." The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.

The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done. That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

Allah mentions in Surah Bani-Israil 17:23-24

And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour.

And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: "My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was small."

The first night in the Grave (Barzagh)

The Messenger of Allaah (SAW) said, "The souls of the Believers are inside green birds in the trees of Paradise until Allaah returns them to their bodies on the Day of Resurrection." [At-Tabraanee]

The Messenger of Allaah (SAW) said, "Seek Allaah's protection from the Punishment of the Grave, since punishment of the Grave is a fact/true." [At-Tabraanee]

The Messenger of Allaah (SAW) said, "Verily the grave is the first stopping place for the Hereafter; so if he is saved therein, then what comes after is easier than it. And if he is not saved therefrom, then that which comes after is harder." [Tirmidhi]

The Messenger of Allaah (SAW) said, "When the dead person is buried two black-blue angels come to him, one called al-Munkar and the other called an-Nakeer, and they say to him: 'What had you used to say about this man?' So he says what he used to say: 'Allaah's slave and His Messenger, I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.' So they say: 'Verily we knew that you (would) say that.' Then his grave is widened for him to the extent of seventy cubits by seventy, then it is made light for him, then it is said: ' Sleep.' So he says: 'I should go to my family and inform them.' So they say: 'Sleep as the newly married sleeps whom no-one awakes except his favourite wife.' Until Allaah raises him up from that place of sleep. And if he is a hypocrite (munaafiq), he says: 'I heard the people saying something so I said it too, I don't know.' So they say: 'We knew that you (would) say that.' So it is said to the earth: 'Crush him', so he is crushed until his cross over and he remains in the state of torture until Allaah raises him up from that resting place." [Tirmidhi]

The Messenger of Allaah (SAW) said, "When a human being is laid in his grave and his companions return and he even hears their footsteps, two angels come to him and make him sit and ask him: What did you used to say about this man, Muhammad? He will say: I testify that he is Allaah's slave and His Apostle. Then it will be said to him, 'Look at your place in the Hell-Fire. Allaah has changed for you a place in Paradise instead of it.' The Prophet (SAW) added, "The dead person will see both his places. But a non-believer or a hypocrite will say to the angels, 'I do not know, but I used to say what the people used to say! It will be said to him, 'neither did you know nor did you take the guidance (by reciting the Qur'aan).' Then he will be hit with an iron hammer between his ears, and he will cry and that cry will be heard by whatever approaches him except human beings and jinns." [Bukhari]

Al-Baraa b. 'Azib said: We went out with the Prophet of Allaah (SAW) accompanying the bier of a man of the Ansar. When he reached his grave, it was not yet dug. So the Prophet of Allaah (SAW) sat down and we also sat down around him as if birds were over our heads. He had in his hand a stick by which he was scratching the ground. He then raised his head and said: Seek refuge in Allaah from the punishment of the grave. He said it twice or thrice. The version of Jarir adds here: He hears the beat of their sandals when they go back, and at that moment he asked: O so and so! Who is your Lord, what is your religion, and who is your Prophet? Hannad's version has: Two angels will come to him, make him sit up, and ask him: Who is your Lord? He will reply: My Lord is Allaah. They will ask him: What is your religion? He will reply: My religion is Islaam. They will ask him: What is your opinion about the man who was sent on a mission among you? He will reply: He is the Apostle of Allaah. They will ask: Who made you aware of this? He will reply: I read Allaah's Book, believed in it, and considered it true, which is verified by Allaah's word: "Allaah establishes those who believe with the word that stands firm in this world and the next." The agreed version goes: Then a crier will call from the heaven: My servant has spoken the truth, so spread a bed for him from Paradise, clothe him in Paradise, and open a door for him into Paradise. So some of its air and perfume will come to him, and a space will be made for him as far as the eye can see. He also mentioned the death of the infidel, saying: His spirit will be restored to his body, two angels will come to him, make him sit up and ask him: Who is your Lord? He will reply: Alas, alas! I do not know. They will ask him: What is your religion? He will reply: Alas, alas! I do not know. They will ask: Who is this man who was sent on a mission among you? He will reply: Alas, alas! I do not know. Then a crier will call from the heaven: He has lied, so spread a bed for him from Hell, clothe him from Hell and open for him a door into Hell. Then some of its heat and pestilential wind will come to him, and his grave will become restricted, so his ribs will be pressed together. Jarir's version adds: One who is blind and dumb will then be placed in charge of him, having a sledge hammer such that if a mountain were struck with it, it would become dust. He will give him a blow with it which will be heard by everything between the east and the west except by men and jinn, and he will become dust. Then his spirit will be restored to him. [Ahmad]

The Messenger of Allaah (SAW) said, "...the righteous man sits in his grave and is not alarmed or afraid, then it is said to him (by angels): 'In (what state) were you?' So he says: 'In the (state of) Islaam.' So it is said to him: 'What is this man?' So he says: 'Muhammad the Messenger of Allaah who came to us with clear signs from Allaah, so we believed that.' Then it is said to him: 'Have you seen Allaah?' So he says: 'It does not behove any man that he sees Allaah.' So an opening is made for him in the direction of the Fire, so he sees it, some parts of it smashing into others, and it is said to him: 'Look at what Allaah, the Exalted, has saved you from.' Then an opening is made for him in the direction of Paradise, and he looks to its brilliance and what is therein and it is said to him: 'This is your place.' And it is said to him: 'You were upon certain Faith and died upon it and upon it you will be raised up, if Allaah wills.' And the wicked man sits in his grave alarmed and terrified and so it is said to him: 'In what state were you?' So he says: 'I do not know.' So it is said to him: 'Who is this man?' So he says: 'I heard the people saying something so I said it!' So an opening is made for him in the direction of Paradise and he sees its brilliance and what is therein, and it is said to him: 'Look at what Allaah has refused you.' Then an opening is made for him in the direction of the Fire, so he sees it crashing against itself and it is said: 'This is your place, you lived upon doubt and died upon it and you will be raised up upon it, if it is Allaah's will." [Ibn Maajah]

The Messenger of Allaah (SAW) said, "Everyone who dies - then his actions are sealed except for the one guarding the border in the way of Allaah - his actions continue to increase for him until the Day of Resurrection and he is saved from the trials of the Grave." [Abu Dawud & Tirmidhi]