The Second Most Awesome Thing in Paradise

Note: This article is more like an opinion essay, and whatever expressed here is purely my opinion (apart from the obvious facts) and is NOT based on any evidence (well, of course). That title should have been something like ‘the Second Most Awesome Thing of the Blessings of Paradise Accodring to Me,’ but that is ridiculously long, so yeah.

Of all the blessings of Paradise, the most great of them given to its dwellers is the ability to see the Allah with their own eyes. The evidence from the Qur’aan and Sunnah is quite clear with regard to that. I won’t go into that, however, since this is not about that, rather it is about what fascinates me most after that.

It is a widely known attribute of Paradise, which betters whatever of blessings are found in there. Allah mentions this quite frequently in His Book. It might be worth noting that this is also one of the attributes of the Hellfire, which worsens whatever of punishments is found in there, and just like with regard to Paradise, Allah mentions this quite frequently in the Qur’aan.

After the end of the world and the resurrection, mankind will be divided into two groups: either the ones who will dwell in Paradise or the ones that will dwell in the Hellfire (may Allah save us from that). Each group will remain in their respective place forever, eternally and everlastingly.

Eternally. Everlastingly.

Now that is really cool (except for the group in Hellfire, to whom it will be, well, hot).

Allah says in the Qur’aan: They are the dwellers of Paradise, they will abide therein forever [10:26].

And there are numerous other verses that clearly point to that. Likewise, the same is mentioned in the case of the Hellfire.

The Permanent Committee for issuing fatwas said in Fataawaa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah: Those who enter it [i.e. the Paradise] will enjoy real pleasures in both a physical and a spiritual sense, and they will live there forever. It will never cease to exist and they will never leave, and their joy will never come to an end, and they will have nothing to disturb their joy. This is according to the definitive texts and the consensus of the scholars and believers. End quote.

Imagine a life of complete bliss, and imagine that life never ending. Ever.

This attribute of the Paradise, just like I said before, makes everything the Paradise has infinitely better. Imagine an infinte supply of fruits of unimaginable taste for an infinite length of time. Imagine a never-ending holiday or a honeymoon. Imagine being married to the most beautiful women who neither age nor have any defects, for a length of time we are unable to comprehend. Imagine. Or try to imagine.

All that, and a lot more, is possible. If you want that, you know what to do.

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Mistakes Made When Performing Ablution

Ablution, also known as Wudoo’, is a cardinal part of every Muslim’s life. That is because a Muslim has to pray five times a day, and for his prayers to be valid a certain set of conditions have to be met. From those is a correctly performed act of purity, namely the ablution (which I will refer to as Wudoo’ from here onwards).

Now, no Muslim has to be told what Wudoo’ means, except someone who is new to Islam. Some might not know how to perform it correctly, but they would know what it is and what purpose it serves.

You might argue that if one doesn’t know how to perform it correctly, it implies that he doesn’t know what it is. In such a case you would be in luck: I am going to agree with you 100%. Still, if such a person is looking for a definition of Wudoo’, he has to go somewhere else (as in, not here).

To hark back to the topic, a Muslim must make sure his Wudoo’ is performed correctly in order for his prayers to be correct. If his prayers are not correct or valid, then he is in deep trouble.

Since my studies here in Islamic University of Madhinah, I have come across some information about the mistakes we make when we perform Wudoo’. I admit I was ignorance about some of this myself, but praise be to Allah, I am trying to correct myself now. And now I am on a mission to educate others.

Let’s move on to the pith of the topic—the exact mistakes that I am referring to.

Firstly: Omitting part of the face when washing it, namely the part between the sideburn (along with part of the beard, since these two are joined together) and the ears. Often, we wash our faces up to the sideburns and ignore the area between it and the ears. Next time you perform Wudoo’, make sure you wash that part.

Clearly, this might not be a problem for those who doesn’t have beards and hence doesn’t have too much hair to separate the area in question from the rest of the face. But every Muslim man is supposed to have a beard (unless he is a kid or his beard doesn’t grow, etc.), so there.

Secondly: Not washing the hands while washing the arms after the face. Didn’t get that? Let me explain.

When we start (to perform Wudoo’, duh!), we first wash our hands. This is not an essential part of Wudoo’, rather it is considered as a Sunnah (meaning that even if you skip this part, it won’t affect the validity of your Wudoo’). After this washing of the hand, we wash our face, rinse our nose and mouth, then we wash our arms. Now, in this step, we tend to ignore the hands since we had already washed it at the beginning. We put the wrist under the tap and wash from there to the elbow. However, this is wrong and it is imperative that the hands to be washed along with the arm, after the face. Even if the hands were washed at the beginning.

This means that even if you don’t wash your hands at the beginning, there is another step for washing the hands.

It is well known that the different parts of Wudoo’ must be performed in a specific order. These different parts are pointed out in the Qur’aan, and Allah mentions the washing of the hands (along with the arms—the whole limb is considered as one) after the face.

I hope it is clear. I consider myself capable of making it a bit clearer, but I wanted to keep this post as short as possible.

Thirdly: Not washing the leg thoroughly (I thank my uncle for mentioning this; I didn’t realize that this actually happens until he mentioned it in a Facebook comment).

Scores of people have the habit of washing their feet and remove any dirt before they actually begin the Wudoo’, and there is nothing wrong with this. But when they do that, they tend to forget to wash the feet thoroughly at the end of Wudoo’. Since the feet are wet from the first wash, they fail to notice any deficiency in the washing of the feet at the end.

This is it. But in no way I am implying that these are the only mistakes. They are only those that I know of, or that I can think of at the moment. I hope that you weren’t among those who used to commit these mistakes, but if you were, now you know better.

And Allah knows best.

The Dream That Was

Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to fly: I wanted to become a pilot. Since then I had a
fascination for aircraft. I still have.

I persisted in convincing myself that when I grow up, I will be a pilot. After all, the life of a
pilot was simply awesome. A pilot gets to travel to a lot of places, see a lot of sunsets and
sunrises, and they get to take home big fat paychecks. Who wouldn’t want that? Up until
my grade 10, my thoughts about my ambition never wavered. I was as determined as
anyone could be.

However, when I started seeing more of life and the world, I began to contemplate upon
the fact (or the possibility) that becoming a pilot might not be the best of choices. Maldives
was witnessing a time when newly trained pilots were finding it very difficult to get a job
and it didn’t help that my faith (in every way) was very low at that moment. A female cousin
of mine had married a student pilot and when finished his studies and applied for a job, so
did 700 others (he now has a great job (at Maldivian, I think), praise be to Allah). I was very
disheartened.

So, I began to think about other choices. How about another career, but from the same
industry, aviation? That seemed sensible. Engineering never appealed to me, so that was
crossed off my list. To cut this part short, when I completed my A-levels I applied to an
Aviation Management Course in the UK. Praise be to Allah, I got the placement, but even
more praises be to Allah, I got even a better placement.

I had been planning something good for myself ever since my childhood, but Allah had planned something even better for myself even before I was even born.

Breaking Fasts at the Prophet’s Mosque

On most Mondays and Thursdays, I usually break my fast (whether I am fasting or not *grins*) at the Prophet’s Mosque.

These two days every week, along with the 13th, 14th and 15 of every (Hijri) month, and other special days when fasting is recommended (like the first 9 days of the month of Zul-Hijjah), there usually is–make it always–sufras for breaking fasts.

The meaning of the word Sufra here includes:
1. A plastic, disposable cloth (about 2 feet wide and as long as the people want it to be, depending on the number of people they want to serve) laid out on the carpet (in essence, this is what is called the sufra, but here by sufra I am referring to itself and whatever is placed on it),
2. A cup of Zamzam water for each person sitting at the sufra,
3. A number of dates (types of which vary according to every sufra or even within the same sufra, although they try hard to distribute each type evenly),
4. A small cup of Arabic coffee (which I don’t particularly like because it tastes ridiculous),
5. A slice of a kind of bread.

In addition to this, you might also find the following in some of the sufras:
6. A cup of tea, the taste of which usually enhanced with a type of leaves which gives it a minty taste.
7. A brown colored powder called dhuggah, in which we dip our bread before eating.
8. Cheese and cream, which is also used for the same purpose as dhuggah. If I am not wrong, this is illegal, but some people smuggle them in. I am not complaining, though.
9. Yoghurt, which is rarely found except on really special days. Probably because it is a bit hard to smuggle them in, unlike cheese and cream.

Sometimes, we have to go and sit an hour or two before the time for iftaar if we want to get a ‘seat’ at any of the decent ones. You know, high demand. The moment the Muazzin starts the azan, we all start to eat. When we finish, the organizers of the sufra collect any remaining dates and pieces of bread. Then the sufra is picked up (with the used cups and all) and put in a dustbin bag.

After Maghrib, they spread a sufra and start eating again. In addition to tea, dates and bread (the unused ones collected before), this time some might provide extra types of hot drinks like zanjabeel (don’t ask me what it is) and green tea.

When I came here during Ramadan in 2011, I saw that some sufras here at Madhinah even provided rice and chicken. Looking forward to that, No, I mean Ramadan.

Your Most Valuable Asset

Imagine this: there is a special kind of bank, which opens an account for you everyday, puts some money, let’s say $86,400 in it and hands you a credit card. You can spend the money in any way you want, buy anything you want, you can do anything you want with that money. The bank will open a new account for you the next day, with the same amount of money, just like the day before.

But, there is one condition. Whatever money they give you today, you cannot take it, or save it for the next day. If there is any money not spent at the end of the day, you will lose it.

The question: What will you do with this $86,400?

You spend it all everyday, of course. There is no other way. You cannot let it go to waste.

Something very similar to this happens in our lives everyday. The only difference is that something much more valuable, priceless in fact, is given to us instead of the money and that we act in a very different way than we would have done if it was money.

At the beginning of every day in our lives, we are given 86,400 seconds. 1440 minutes. 24 hours. We will not waste any of that $86,400 but how many of those 86,400 seconds are we wasting everyday?

Indeed, few of us realize the true value of time. It is more expensive than gold and silver. It is infinitely more valuable than money, gold and silver: you can get more money, you can get more gold, you can get more silver, and you might be able get more of everything, but you can never get more time.

If time is lost, there is no hope of its return. For this reason, time is said to be the most valuable asset to any human being.

How truthful were the words of al-Hasan al-Basri, when he said: “O son of Adam! You are nothing but a number of days, if a day is gone, then a part of you has gone.”

Indeed, our time is our life. How we live our life is how we live our time, how we live our days. When we waste time, we are wasting our lives. When we waste our money, we are only out of money, but when we waste our time, we lose a part of our life.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “There are two blessings which many people do not make the most of: good health and free time.”

If one of us were to think about his past life, starting from his birth or maybe from his oldest memory, to the current time, for example tonight at 9:30, his train of thought would not go too far. Rather, he will see a hazy and a fuzzy beginning and the past days and years will look as if it was just one day, passing by just like a liquid flows on the ground.

We might not sense or understand this feeling now, but we will surely sense it on the Day of Resurrection, when we are waiting for the judgment to be carried out.

Allah says in the Qur’aan, Soorath Yoonus, Chapter 10 verse number 45: “And on the day when He shall gather (resurrect) them together, (it will be) as if they had not stayed (in the life of this world) but an hour of a day.”

He also says in Soorath Tha-Ha, Chapter 20, verses 103 and 104: “They will speak in a very low voice to each other (saying): “You stayed no longer than ten days”. We know very well what they will say, when the best among them in knowledge and wisdom will say: “You stayed no longer than a day!””

He also says in Soorath-uh-Naazi’aath, Chapter 79, verse 46: “On the Day they see it, (it will be) as if they had not tarried (in this world) except an afternoon or a morning.”

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said, speaking of regret about time: “Regret for wasted time should be deep, for time passes quickly and it is difficult to make up what you have missed.

Time for the worshipper is a time for worship and reciting portions of Quran and words of remembrance, and for the devoted Muslim it is time for turning to Allah and focusing on Him with all his heart.

Time is the dearest thing to him and he would feel very sad if time passes without him doing what he is meant to do. If he misses time, he can never make it up, because a second time has its own duties. So if he misses time, there is no way he can bring it back.”

He also said: “If he spends his time in heedlessness, idle entertainment and false wishes, and the best of what he spends his time in is sleep and idleness, then his death is better than his life.”

‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “I would hate to see any one of you idle and not doing anything to help himself in this world or in the Hereafter.”

Dear Brothers, don’t think for a second that we will not be questioned about our time. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “A person’s feet will not move on the Day of Resurrection until he is asked about his life and how he spent it, his knowledge and what he did with it, his wealth and how he acquired it and spent it, and his body (health) and how he used it.”

Imam Ibn Aqeel ah-Hanbali said: “It is not permissible for me to waste an hour of my life even when my tongue is not busy with memorizing or debating with others, or my eyes are not busy in reading. I would think even when I am resting or relaxing, so I would not get up without an idea to write down. I limit the time I spend eating as much as I can, to such an extent that I choose a few crumbs and follow it with water rather than bread, because bread takes more time to chew, so as to save my time for reading or writing down some useful ideas. The best thing for the wise man to save is time.”

Time is a strange thing. It is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who are in pain and fear, too long for those who grieve and too short for those who rejoice.

May Allah help us stop wasting our time and bless us in our time.

Eating Meat Slaughtered by Non-Muslims

The issue of finding halal or permissible food in non-Muslim countries has become quite a big problem. Although I live in a Muslim country and I don’t have to face this problem—by the Grace of my Lord—as of yet, many of my friends and schoolmates who are now living in non-Muslim countries for their higher studies have to face this problem.

Since they can’t starve to death or it is quite difficult to become a vegetarian (because they are—or shall I say, we are—accustomed to include some kind of meat or fish in our meals) or because it is more difficult to get fish in some of these countries, they are forced to eat meat, which is permissible in Islam only if a certain set of conditions are met.

Some of my friends have complained to me about this problem and (as far as I remember) I have so far refrained from giving a clear answer or suggesting a possible solution. But now that I have been asked directly to find more about this problem and see if there is a possible way out, I am now obliged to research a little about the matter in question.

Well, there is good news. Praise be to our Lord, who has indeed made things easy for us. «Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you» (2:185)

As for what I found regarding this topic:

The basic principle is that the meat slaughtered by Christians and Jews is permissible and there is nothing wrong with eating it.

Allah says in the Qur’aan: «The food (slaughtered cattle, eatable animals) of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) is lawful to you» (5:5).

Talking about this this verse, Ibn Qudaamah said (in his book Al-Mughni, 13/293) : The scholars are unanimously agreed that it is permissible to eat meat slaughtered by the People of the Book [i.e. Christians and Jews].

However, if the slaughtering of meat is taken care of by people other than Muslims or People of the Book, such as atheists and Hindus, then it is not permissible to eat it.

As for the meat slaughtered by Christians and Jews, like it was stated just now, it is permissible in principle. It is permissible just like how the meat slaughtered by Muslims is permissible.

But there are some situations where the meat slaughtered by them might be impermissible, just like the meat slaughtered by Muslims might be impermissible. To make this easier to understand, let me divide the meat slaughtered by Muslims, Christians or Jews (as opposed to that which is slaughtered by atheists, Hindus, etc.) into three groups:

1. The meat slaughtered in the proper manner. This meat is permissible.

2. The meat slaughtered in a wrong manner, like by drowning, shooting, choking, strangling or by electric shock, etc. It is not permissible to eat this meat, no matter who slaughtered it. This is because such meat is considered as dead meat (maytah) and Allah says in the Qur’aan: «Forbidden to you (for food) are: al-Maitah (the dead animals — cattle — beast not slaughtered), blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which Allah’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering (that which has been slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah, or has been slaughtered for idols) and that which has been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by the goring of horns — and that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal — unless you are able to slaughter it (before its death)» (5:3)

3. The meat that we are not sure was slaughtered in the proper manner or not. This meat is permissible and there in no need to ask about how it was killed or slaughtered. It seems that most of what my friends were talking about comes under this heading.

Al-Bukhaari (2057) narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that some people said, “O Messenger of Allah, some people bring meat to us and we do not know whether they mentioned the name of Allah over it or not.” The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Say the name of Allah over it and eat it.”

Taking evidence from this hadeeth, Sheikh Ibn Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) stated that it seems from the Sunnah that it is better not to ask or try to find out (how it was killed). That is because he (peace be upon him) did not say to them to ask them (i.e. the people who brought in the meat) whether they mentioned the name of Allah over them or not, rather he said: “Say the name of Allah over it yourselves, and eat it.”

He also said (in Liqaa’aat al-Baab il-Maftooh, 1/77) : So if some meat comes to us from a Muslim, a Jew or a Christian, we should not ask about it or ask how it was slaughtered or whether the name of Allah was mentioned over it. It is halaal (permissible) so long as there is no clear proof that it is haraam (impermissible). This is a way in which Allah has made things easier for us. End quote.

However, if the Muslim wants to be cautious and forgo eating this meat, there is nothing wrong with that, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with eating it either.

In conclusion, there is nothing wrong with eating the meat slaughtered by a Christian or a Jew, as long as you don’t know and you don’t have evidence that that meat was slaughtered in an improper manner. You don’t have to ask about it either.

Death Penalty, Maldives and Human Rights

Talks about the death penalty surfaces quite often these days, thanks to all those murderers out there in Maldives. Every time one of them stabs someone, Maldivians (most of the Maldivians, at least) start talking about death penalty and why it is absolutely necessary to implement it, as we should, according to the Islamic Shari’ah.

Then there is the other group, who calls themselves Muslims and Maldivians, opposing the execution of those who are sentenced to death. Apparently, the death penalty is the most-inhuman-punishment-ever and it seriously violates something called ‘human rights,’ which—incidentally—is something made up by a group of homo sapiens who think they know what human rights should be.

Even if we, for the sake of argument, assume that they have the right to make up a bunch of rights for themselves, do they have the right to impose those rights on us, when we already have better rights, decided for us by the One who created us?

Yes, for us Muslims, all our laws are legislated by our Lord, who created us from nothing, who knows exactly what a human is. He knows what is best for us and what our rights should be. For us, our human rights were granted by our Lord. They can’t be withdrawn by anyone. They can’t be changed by anyone. We cannot be stripped of those rights by anyone. Hence, we don’t need something that was given by a king or any other legislative assembly, who can withdraw it as easily as it was given.

Now that that is clear, know this: it so happens that our Lord has ordered us to execute people for some specific sins or crimes.

What species has the right to say otherwise when the Lord of those all those species has said something?

The self-appointed protector of human rights, Amnesty International, evidently thinks that they are that species. They strive hard to abolish all the capital and corporal punishments in Islam, claiming that they are inhumane, cruel and barbarous. That is their opinion, but why should we take on the same stand? Why does their opinion matter and ours don’t? Because…wait, let me answer that by answering another question: why does our opinion matter and theirs don’t? That is because our ‘opinion’ is not an opinion and we are following some specific orders and those orders were given by our Lord, to whom belongs to all Sovereignty, which is actually the point I am trying to make clear.

What? You don’t believe that there is a God? Now that is another question altogether. For us (you and me) to be convinced about the fair nature of Islamic Shari’ah (which I hope is our aim), first we need to come to common terms regarding the Lord of the Worlds. If someone can do that—and I mean really get to know Him and His Names and Attributes, everything—then whatever ill-thoughts about Islam that he has in his heart will vanish in a fraction of a second.