May God’s peace, blessings, mercy and guidance be upon you, your family, your children and upon your progeny up until the day we meet our Lord.
I begin by praising and thanking God for all that He has bestowed upon me and my family. He is independent of all need; whether we praise Him or not, He is the one on whom all praise and all thanks are due. He is the reason my mother loves me and cares for me. He is the reason my father and my brother love me and care for me. He is the source of real peace, real contentment, and real success. So I thank God that He granted us the opportunity to recognise Him, praise Him and thank Him for all that He has bestowed upon us. We praise and thank Him for all the victories, the failures, the sweetness of success and the pain of loss; and for all the good and all the bad, for we praise Him and thank Him in all situations. And we say, we are of those who are to Him, grateful.
O Allah! Shower your peace and blessings upon our beloved prophet Muhammad sallallahu alaihi wasallam, upon his household and upon his descendants up until the day of judgement. He is Your most beloved, the greatest soul to ever walk this earth, the teacher, the mercy and the guide to all mankind. He called us to your path and those who followed him have held on to a handhold that will never be broken. O Allah! Grant us his intercession, on a day where no intercession will be granted except by your permission.
As we bid farewell to another year, I thought it befitting that I paused for a moment to reflect on all the lessons that Allah has taught me during this past year. For me, personally, this year began as a year of sorrow, a year of despair and loss. But through the deceptions and the drama of this life, this year has truly ended as a year full of guidance, patience and success. Alhamdulillah!
These lessons I hope I can etch them in my heart so that I continue to grow and continue to uphold them and take these lessons through to 2014 and beyond insha’Allah.
- Everything in the heavens and on the earth is owned by Allah. This includes your own selves, your siblings, your parents, your spouse, your children, your house, your car and all that your eyes can see and all that your mind can imagine. Whatever that you ‘have’ and all that you ‘own’ is a gift directly from Allah. The place of a gift is to be held in the hand, not in the heart. The only thing the heart can truly be filled by is the giver, the owner of your hearts. Not by the gift. Never make the mistake of putting the gift in your heart and leaving Allah in your hand. So your children, your parents, your spouse, your job, your house and all that you own are His. He has given these to you as a an amanah (a trust) for a period of time so that you will recognise Him. Also since He is the owner of all things, He has set a timeline on all things. Our time with our parents, our grandparents, our children, our jobs and our time on this earth are limited. Indeed our lives are limited and of that none of us disagree on. Upon His will, He gives and upon His will He takes. So truly understand what it means when we say: to Allah we belong and to Him is our final return. If you can truly grasp the essence of it’s meaning, you will be liberated from the shackles of deception and your eyes will truly open to the ultimate reality. The reality that time is running out and with every second that passes by, we are at loss. Except those who recognise that they are at a state of loss, who try to rectify their paths and who help others to the truth. They are also patient, persistent, and consistent in their pursuit toward their Lord. These are those who will have real happiness in this life and eternal bliss in the hereafter, these are the truly successful and those who are truly guided.
- Guidance is a gift from Allah, it is not something that enters the heart upon whom you will. You can wish it upon as many people as you like, but if Allah hasn’t willed guidance upon them, and if they are not willing to open their hearts in order to allow the light of Allah to enter, then they will never receive guidance whether you like it or not. Be grateful that Allah has given you the gift of guidance, the gift to see the reality of this world for what it really is; but don’t expect everyone you meet, that all your loved ones will have a share of Allah’s guidance. Your job is not hidaya (guidance), but to convey. Nothing more, nothing less. So don’t despair.
- Improve your relationship with Allah’s book. If your Qur’an has gathered dust on your shelves, weep for yourselves. This book is a hope for those who are in despair, glad tidings to those who are doing good, a guide for the lost, a mercy for the suffering, a warning to the heedless, and an act of true love from Allah. This book is a gift from above the seven heavens, a real gift of the highest value. No price could ever be placed on the benefit that a single verse from it brings upon the heart. So make extra effort in learning the teachings of the Qur’an and may the Qur’an be the light of your life.
- The weapon of the believer is dua and tawakkul. The one who has placed his trust in Allah has entrusted his affairs upon the greatest waqeel (disposer of affairs). Allah is the one who parted the ocean for Moosa alaihissalam (Moses pbuh), cooled the fire for Ibraheem alaihissalam (Abraham pbuh), let the sleepers sleep for over 300 years, reunited Yusuf alaihissalam (Joseph pbuh) with his father (Ya’qoob alaihissalam or Jacob pbuh), who saved nabi Yunus alaihissalam (Jonah pbuh) from the belly of the whale, who sent the angels down to support the believers at Badr. He is Al- Mujeeb, the one who responds immediately to the one who calls out to him. When you ask Allah (swt), it means you know Him. Knowing He responds means knowing that He is All-Seeing (As-Baseer), All-Knowing (Al-`Aleem), All-Hearing (Al-Samee`), that He is the Most-Loving (al-Wadud), that He gives us even if we don’t deserve it (al-Wahhab), that He is not in need of anyone or anything but we are in need of Him (al-Ghaniyy). If we don’t ask, then we truly do not know Him, and we are missing out on an amazing act of worship. So ask Allah, ask Him wherever you are, whatever you do, whatever the state of your imaan is, keep asking for indeed, He is truly the one who responds.
- Listening to shaithan’s whispers (waswasa) even in minor things (why pray an additional nawafil prayer? You have prayed all your fardh and sunnath muakkadar’s so relax) gives him power over you. To truly be free from the deception of shaithan is to continuously seek Allah’s refuge against the chief deceiver and to keep your tongue moist with the remembrance of you Lord for it shames him and breaks his back. Be on guard at all times, he has lost hope in deceiving us in great things so be conscious of the little things.
- Allah is Al-Fatthah – We need to know al-Fatthah when we feel that things are impossible or too difficult because Allah (swt) necessarily invites you to know Him by this Name in those circumstances. When you feel as though all doors are closed, when you see no way out of your predicament, when you have no options, the one who opens new doors for you, doors you think are impossible to open or doors that you never thought existed, is Al-Fattah. He is the one who sends you solutions to problems you think are too great. And when Allah sends us a solution, He gives us that which exceeds our expectations. When Hajar salamun alaihima (Hagar pbuh) was running between Safa and Marwa, all she hoped for was some nourishment for her baby, or to see people who could help. And she didn’t give up, going back and forth 7 times. So Allah did not just give her nourishment for the day or week or month – He gave her the well of zamzam, which we still drink from today. Zamzam brought people to settle in the area and this was where the Ka’aba was built. That is an opening from Allah! Subhana Rabbiyal a’ala!
- Allah is Khabeer – Not only do we refer to this attribute everyday of our lives, but, when truly understood, it is a Name that brings tranquillity and confidence to every person who is overwhelmed. It is a Name that reminds us of our priorities, of where true greatness lies and who is ultimately in control. Another Name from the same root is al-Akbar (the One who is Greater). Al-Akbar simply calls us to understand that Allah is greater than whatever we can imagine. So it is no coincidence that the words used to call us to prayer are “Allahu akbar“—basically telling us to drop whatever it is we are doing because God is greater. We are told to come to what really gives us success (hayya ala al-falaah). Allahu akbar! The Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) tells us that one of the most beloved deeds to God is to pray on time. Because we are prioritizing: God is greater.
- Ya Latheef! Sometimes there is that one moment when someone says something that you need to hear. Perhaps you are sad, and your friend texts you randomly saying, “You know, I really wish you the best,” for no apparent reason. Or you are going through a difficulty and attend a talk, and the sheikh says something that particularly resonates with you. How did these people know to say these things, to remind you of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala (may He be glorified and exalted), when they had no idea what you were feeling or going through?That is Allah al-Lateef—He who is Benevolent, Gentle and Subtle with His servants.
- Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth. The light with which you see things for what they really are. When the light of Allah enters your heart, everything makes sense! You experience ‘Noorun-ala-Noor” – Light upon Light. Where you came from, where you’re heading, the purpose of your life and existence, the dramas of this life, of loss or victories… it will all makes sense. When you experience this level of ihsan, Allah becomes the eyes with which you see, the ears with which you hear and the tongues with which you speak. May Allah grant us such a high station in our imaan. Ameen!
- Salah the ultimate protection – man has walked many paths and on many journeys, even to space and up to the moon! Alhamdulillah! But there is one journey no man has ever taken. No man, but one. On a vehicle no man has ever seen and to a place no creation has ever set foot before. This was the journey of a man who went from the lowly earth to the highest heaven. A feat no man has ever achieved. This is Isra-wal-mi’raj (the magnificent journey). Where our beloved prophet Muhammad ﷺ was taken by Allah to give him a commandment. A commandment so great that instead of sending Jibreel alaihissalam (Archangel Gabriel pbuh) down with it, Allah jalla jalalahu brought our nabi-e-kareem ﷺ up to Himself. That commandment was salah. It was a gift to us from the highest heavens. This is a treasure that whosoever unlocks will find victory and success in it.
- Everything shall perish – if you are going through a tough time or a calamity, rejoice with the knowledge that this calamity is not permanent. Verily, with difficulty comes ease. And the promise of Allah is true! If you are going through good times, Alhamdulilah! Be grateful and know that this too shall perish. As the seasons come and go, Allah teaches us through nature that after the toughest winters is spring and after the most beautiful summers comes autumn. Tests don’t merely come in the form of calamities. Sometimes success and wealth is given as a test to see if you are of those who are grateful.
- What’s the message? – Know that nothing in this life that you experienced was ever meant to miss you and nothing in this life that was missed was ever meant for you. Allah speaks to us every single day through His creation and through His signs. In every situation get into the habit of asking yourself what’s the message for me? Your friend may have lost his mother, but what lesson is Allah teaching you? Your cousin may have died unexpectedly at an extremely young age, but what lesson or lessons was it meant to teach ME? Everything you experience in your life are lessons and messages from the Most High. Make sure to clean your hearts and prepare to receive these messages.
- The best way to overcome calamity is to look at serving others. It may be that you are finding it difficult with finances, but even when times are tough, give. Give of your wealth, give of your talents and give of your time. Be of service and benefit to your community. In the act of service to others you will earn Ajr (reward) and you will earn purification. Give so that your wealth gets purified and give so that Allah blesses you with soft hearts.
- The path to God is not linear. One day you will feel your salah was amazing! Every word you uttered meant something to you. You felt Allah’s rahma enshroud you. On another day you may have felt as though you never had it. We all go through such spiritual ups and downs and they are normal. The challenge is to continue making the effort no matter how you feel.
- All the ibadah that we do, all the Qur’an we learn, all the Arabic that we try to learn, all the hifdh, the dhars and the tafseer classes we go to and the salah we try to perfect (salah with khushoo) are all meant to help us with one thing. And one thing alone. You would have heard the cliché answer whenever someone asks you what’s the point of going to a bayan or getting closer to the Qur’an or memorising the Qur’an etc. the usual answer is so that we get ‘guidance’. But what IS guidance? From what I’ve learn’t, true essence of Salah, learning Qur’an etc. are all so that it will help you make better CHOICES. Every single day you will be presented with choices, “should I go to the office party or not? Should I look down or should I catch that secret gaze? Should I wake up for fajr or stay asleep a little more? Should I post this picture on FB or should I not? Should I say what I am about to say or not? Should I go to the concert or not? Should I go to the movies or not?” and many many more choices. How you respond to them will show your true level of understanding and imaan. If the bayans, the blogs you read, the Qur’an you read and the very many salats you offer don’t help you make better choices, then there is a problem inside your heart that needs mending.
- The morning glory – the sun is beautiful in the early morning, it does something to the trees that you don’t see at any other time of the day. It almost feels like all of creation, at this time celebrate the praises of their Lord. All of creation in submission and worship to their Lord, Cherisher, Provider, Sustainer and Protector. I think we all want the same thing, a quiet peace. Maybe just a single moment of it. To close our eyes and just be OK. For even a single second, to not feel worried about something, sad about something. To crave about something we don’t or can’t have. Just to be there, OK. Still. Silent. On the inside. Maybe that’s what’s so beautiful about this time of the day. The absolute stillness.
- Not for nothing -
Men who celebrate the praises of Allah, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth, (With the thought): ”Our Lord! not for nothing have You created (all) this! Glory to You! (Subhanak!) Give us salvation from the penalty of the Fire.”
And that’s just it! All of this, the sadness, the accidents, the smiles, the peace, the pain, the love, the loss and the sacrifice: it’s not for nothing. It’s not a mistake, some sort of oversight, or a random course of events, it’s certainly not without purpose.