Friday, June 25, 2010

The best thing to do at different times

One problem many of us face is that we want to do so much at once, and thus become overwhelmed in our thoughts trying to establish exactly what we should be doing and what our obligations are at a given point in time.

This leads us to focus on what we can’t accomplish more so than what we can accomplish. This can be well and good, and as Ibn Al-Jawzi said, a person can be rewarded for his intentions more than for his actions.

However, the point of intending is to be productive and extract something physical from that intention.

Part of being productive is to have a methodical approach as to when to focus on what. For example, if your worship and intentions for specific efforts are organized and you properly place your focus where and when it should be, you’ll find yourself accomplishing much more as a Muslim, no matter if you’re a teacher who teaches, a caller to Allah who motivates, or an ordinary worshipper who simply wants to get closer to your Lord.

Ibn Al-Qayyim wrote: “They say that the best worship is to do what will please the Lord at every time in accordance with what that particular time calls for.

“So, the best act of worship during the time of Jihad is Jihad, even if this leads to abandoning certain rituals such as night prayer, fasting, etc. In fact, this applies even if you are to not pray a complete obligatory prayer as you would in times of safety and calm.

“And the best thing to do when you have a guest, for example, is to see to his rights as a guest and to preoccupy yourself with that instead of the recommended rituals you would usually engage in at the time. Such is also the case in fulfilling the rights of your wife and family.

“The best thing to do during the early morning hours is to be preoccupied with prayer, Qur’an, du’a, remembrance of Allah, and asking His Forgiveness.

“The best thing to do when teaching a student or ignorant person is to completely turn your attention towards teaching him.

“The best thing to do during the call to prayer is to leave whatever rituals you are engaged in and to occupy yourself with repeating after the mu’addhin (one making the call).

For more please read here.

Mirror, mirror on the wall: By Sadaf Farooqi

At times, we get so used to reciting Masnoon Du’as and Adhkaar (supplications and words of remembrance) in our day-to-day lives that we lose sight of their deep meanings and how relevant they are to our everyday thought processes and attitudes. For example, in our contemporary world of increasing mental diseases, personality disorders and psychological problems, psychiatrists, self-help gurus and life coaches help clients or patients to “think positively” and “develop a positive self-image”. Yet, this positive thinking was deeply-entrenched in the life, teachings and habits of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) – if only we paused for a moment to reflect.

Take just one Du’a. For example, the Du’a he would recite aloud when he looked at his reflection in the mirror. The translation is:

“O Allah! The way you have beautified my physical form/body (‘khalqee’), thus beautify (also) my character (‘khuluqee’).” Another Hadith added in the end: “...and make my face forbidden for the Hell-Fire”.

The starting words of this short and simple, yet profound, Du’a reflect positivism. When a person looks in the mirror, he or she sometimes does so with a critical eye (women in particular). What needs to be spruced up or fixed is analyzed in detail. The “defects” are loathed over and people turn into being ungrateful.

“O Allah, the way you beautified my physical creation...”

The believer follows the Sunnah. He or she calls out to Allah when looking into the mirror and acknowledges that Allah created the physical form in a beautiful manner. This is the first step towards positive thinking – a step that gives negative thoughts a kick in the teeth.

Nowadays the more people look into the mirror, the more they complain about their looks – they criticize their height, anatomical proportions, their graying or balding hair, and complexion. However, this Du’a that the Prophet (peace be upon him) recited is guidance for all believers to be grateful to Allah for their physical form. For more please read here.