The Character of a Muslim

A wise old man was sitting at the river bank when he saw a cat that had fallen into the water, flailing around, trying to save itself from drowning. The man decided to save the cat. He stretched his hand out but was scratched by the cat. He pulled his hand back in pain. However, a minute later he stretched his hand out again to save the cat, but it scratched him again, and again he pulled his hand back in pain. Another minute later he was yet again trying for the third time!
A man, who was nearby watching what was happening, yelled out: “O wise man, you have not learned your lesson the first time, nor the second time, and now you are trying to save the cat a third time?”

The wise man paid no heed to that man’s scolding, and kept on trying until he managed to save the cat. He then walked over to the man, and patted his shoulder saying: “My son.. it is in the cat’s nature to scratch, and it is in my nature to love and have sympathy. Why do you want me to let the cat’s nature overcome mine!?!!

My son: Treat people according to your nature, not according to theirs, no matter what they are like and no matter how numerous are their actions that harm you and cause you hurt sometimes.

And do not pay heed to all the voices that loudly call out to you to leave behind your good qualities merely because the other party is not deserving of your noble actions.

When you live to give happiness to others, Allah will send you those who will live to give happiness to you.

“Is the reward for good anything but good?” -Qur’an 55:60

Be beautiful in character and hearts will like you. So never regret the moments you gave happiness to someone, even if that person did not deserve it. And suffice in the fact that you have a Lord Who will reward you for good with good.

“The entire Deen is (about) good character, so whoever exceeds you in good character, has exceeded you in the Deen.” – Ibn al Qayyum

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said “Nothing will be heavier on the Day of Resurrection in the scale of the believer than good manners. Allah hates one who utters foul or coarse language.” [Tirmidhi]

اللهم أنت حسنت خلقي فحسن ﺧﻠﻘﻲ 

O Allah you’ve beautified my outward appearance, so beautify my character.

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Top 10 Preparation Ideas for Ramadan 1437 AH

Want to make this Ramadan different? Want to be productive? Feel the need to lift up your spirituality? Make your plan for it and set these awesome goals this Ramadan! Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

🌜Pre Ramadan practical planning🌛

1) Get Your Eid Clothes and Eid Gifts Ready now so you don’t have to be in shopping malls during the precious Ramadan days and nights.

2) Analyze Yourself and Your Routine. Optimize your high energy levels.

3) Organize Your Dua List and supplicate the same important duas daily.

4) Increase Your Stamina: Start eating less from now. Train yourself to stay hungry for a little more time each day. Exercise. Get physically and mentally pumped up for the hard work in accumulating reward by focusing on good deeds throughout the month.

5) Make a Goal List: Make realistic goals of how much Qur’an you want to read in a day, how much charity can you give daily etc.

6) Declutter: Simplify your room, your work area, hour house. Remove any unnecessary items that may distract you. A cleaner environment can add to the peace and calm.

7) Limit Social Media: A good tip is to remove Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat and other such apps from your phone. Mute your Whatsapp groups and chats so you don’t get the urge to respond throughout the day. If it’s important, they’ll call you, otherwise it can wait.

8) Start listening to the Fiqh of Fasting, Virtues of Ramadan and other such lectures daily to get in the ibaadah mode.

9) Manage your sleeping Habits: the Nights of Ramadan are the best times of making Duaa and getting closer to our Creator. Don’t waste time watching TV and sleeping late.

10) Reach out to your family, friends and loved ones. You should really be doing this throughout the year but it becomes ever more important to engage with the family and friends now to get them into the Ramadan spirit as well.

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A Fine Role Model with Noble Manners & Character

The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wasallam) [Peace be upon him] said…

“ There is NOTHING heavier in the Scales [On the Day Of Judgement] than GOOD CHARACTER ” !

And the Prophet [peace be upon him] was our role model and the premier example of a man who displayed the finest possible character.

ALLAH [Aza Wa Jall] said: “Verily, in the Messenger of Allaah you have a fine role model.” [Source:- ‘Quran’ ~ Surat al-Ahzaab 33: A # 21]
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have Mercy on him) summarized the extent of his noble manners by saying:-
The Prophet [peace be upon him] used to greet the children when he passed by them. Sometimes, a little girl would take him by the hand and he would allow her to lead him wherever she wanted.

Prophet [peace be upon him] used to lick his fingers after eating.

He [peace be upon him] would be in the service of his family when at home.

Never would he become angry because of something personal.

He [peace be upon him] used to repair his own sandals and mend his own torn clothes.

He would milk his goat himself for his own family…& would feed his own camel.

He used to eat with his servants, sit in the company of the poor people,

He would personally take care of the needs of widows and orphans.

He would be the one to initiate the greeting when meeting people.

He would respond to the humblest of invitations.

He [peace be upon him] lived a very modest lifestyle, a man of soft manners, naturally kind, easy to get along with, having a pleasant smile on his face, gracefully humble, extremely generous but not wasteful, soft-hearted and gentle in his dealings with each and every Muslim, lowering the wings of humility to the believers, bearing their companionship in such a gentle way.

It is imperative that we as Muslims realize the completeness of the guidance of the Messenger of Allaah (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace’) and know that our true honor and distinction among the nations, as well as our success in the Hereafter, lies in embracing his guidance, in all affairs of belief and action.

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Jeffrey Lang – From Atheism to Belief: A Journey to Islam in North America

I have had this video in my watch later list on YouTube for over a year. Finally had time to watch it. Please watch if you have time – its three hours long, but worth every second.

Three years ago I read one of his Dr Jeffrey Lang’s books and immediately ordered the other two he’s authored. I recommend the books as well:

http://www.amazon.com/Even-Angels-Ask-Journey-America/dp/0915957671/

http://www.amazon.com/Struggling-Surrender-Impressions-American-Convert/dp/0915957264/

http://www.amazon.com/Losing-My-Religion-Call-Help/dp/1590080270/

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Lessons from Surah Yusuf

The Quran is filled with wisdom and guidance for human beings. One of the ways that Allah explains His message is to illustrate it with stories that are easy to understand. The purpose of the stories is not so much to become detailed historical accounts of the various events. Allah in His infinite mercy wants to inform us through these stories the underlying lessons that are beneficial to us today and until the Day of Judgment. There are stories of some of the Prophets that Allah the Almighty sent to convey the message that He alone is to be worshipped and there is a Hereafter.

While each story is compelling and profoundly beneficial in its own right, one of the best of the stories is the story of the Prophet Yusuf (may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) as related in the chapter called Surah Yusuf, the 12th chapter of the Quran. It is my most favorite chapter of the Quran without a doubt. Surah Yusuf took me a few days to memorize the summer of 2009. It was revealed to the Prophet (may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) in the ‘Year of Sorrow’ when he lost both his beloved wife Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) and his Uncle and close ally Abu Taalib (who died without embracing Islam) among other calamities.

The Surah is an amazingly detailed account of the Prophet Yusuf’s life and the trials he faced in his very eventful life. It is a beloved story that my kids love very much as well. It is a great comfort giving Surah to read when you’re going through a particularly tough trial in life. It makes you cry (when the Prophet Yusuf’s father Prophet Yaqoob (peace be upon them both) goes blind, literally crying his eyes out in remembrance of his lost son) and marvel in amazement (at the account of the women cutting their hands seeing how handsome and ‘angel like’ Prophet Yusuf was) and smile and even laugh (for example: when the Yusuf’s brothers refer to him as someone who stole and then talk to him as ‘azeez’ or the privileged one in the next breath). The surah contains everything that makes for a great story: mystery, intrigue, suspense, love, revenge, trickery, mercy, mischief and dream interpretations to name a few. Everyone who listens to this story intently is sure to be mesmerized by the beauty, particularly if they understand the Arabic language.

Although the narrative value of the surah cannot be disputed, the main aim of the story of Prophet Yusuf, as with the rest of the Quran, is to deliver profound lessons to humanity. I have gathered a list of top ten major lessons, gleaning them from scholars’ lectures and commentary that I have read. There was a time in 2009, the same time I memorized Surah Yusuf, when I sought out every possible translation, explanation, lecture and interpretation of this amazing surah.

As it’s often the case with anything from the Quran, the lessons are endless. However, here are ten major ones:

1-Be steadfast in your faith in Allah even in the face of calamities (this is an over all theme throughout the Surah)

2-Always ask Allah for help as Prophets of Allah have shown us through the Quran

3-Never think that others are at fault – since everyone is a test placed by Allah for others – rather ask Allah for forgiveness for those that have wronged you (this one is a hard one, but our Prophet (pbuh) did this all the time as an example for us to follow, inshallah)

4-Dawah (or inviting to the religion of Allah) is an obligation on all of us at all times (see verse 108 of this chapter).

5-Taqwa (Fear of Allah’s wrath and Hope for Allah’s Mercy) and Patience is rewarded by Allah (verse 90).

6-Despair is for the disbelievers (verse 87)

7-Repentance is a virtue at any stage (verses 91-92).

8-The soul orders oneself to commit sins except those souls that have the Mercy of Allah (verse 53).

9-When a leadership opportunity presents itself where you know you have what it takes to do a good job, you should seek it (instead of shying away from it) for the benefit others will get from your skills (verse 55)

10-Prefer prison over disobeying Allah – this is another difficult one which one can only do with Allah’s help (verse 33)

It is apparent from these ten examples that the story of the Prophet Yusuf contains numerous beneficial lessons for humanity. There are many more lessons contained within the story that the reader is encouraged to explore on their own. This is in fact the case with every story in the Quran. It behooves us to take the time to read, understand and reflect upon these stories and apply the lessons learned in our daily lives.

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