As autumn creeps closer, parents across the globe find themselves preparing for the upcoming school year. Choices about education have been made, school supplies and resources are purchased, and uniforms or home learning schedules are sorted. Amidst the visible preparations, however, lies an often overlooked aspect: the invisible load our children carry when they enter a new learning year. This invisible load encompasses their understanding of themselves, their environment, and their identity.
From birth to the age of two, children lack a full awareness of their identity and place in the world. As they venture into school and public environments, they do so with an incomplete sense of self, facing the challenge of understanding who they are, what’s expected of them, and how to navigate their emotions all while holding onto their Islamic principles.
In the hustle and bustle of daily life, we sometimes forget to address these critical aspects until issues arise, and by then, it might be too late. Our children enter spaces and environments that may not always be welcoming to their Islamic identity.
In this article, we aim to shed light on this invisible load and provide guidance to Muslim parents on how to best support their children as they embark on a new academic year. Drawing on recent research, we’ll explore seven key areas of concern and offer practical insights to help parents navigate these challenges effectively.1- Identity
Research has shown that children begin developing their sense of self at a very early age. According to a study conducted by Grossmann et al. (2013), infants as young as five months old start forming a rudimentary self-concept. This development continues as children grow and interact with their surroundings. It’s essential for Muslim parents to acknowledge that being a Muslim in today’s world can be challenging, with many perceiving Islamic values and principles as outdated or peculiar. Whether your child attends public school or is homeschooled, it’s imperative to reinforce their Islamic identity at home first and foremost. Role modeling alone may not suffice; children’s brains undergo synaptic pruning, meaning they lose certain learning pathways if not consistently used. Therefore, practicing daily affirmations, incorporating dua’s (supplications), sharing Hadiths (sayings of the Prophet), and discussing real-life case studies can help solidify your child’s Islamic identity.2- Peer Pressure
Peer pressure is a familiar part of growing up, yet we often underestimate its significance during the early years. Regardless of the educational path chosen for your child, peer pressure inevitably weaves its influence, whether within the classroom, on the playground, or in today’s virtual learning spaces.
Preschoolers and adolescents alike tend to align their behaviors and viewpoints with their peer groups, even when they possess independent judgments.
A noteworthy study conducted in 2011 sheds light on this phenomenon. The research observed 24 groups of 4 children, aged between 4 to 9 years. Children from these groups frequently conformed their judgments to match those of just three peers, even when these peers had recently made erroneous and unanimous public judgments.
These findings underscore that peer pressure begins exerting its influence at a remarkably young age, with children in preschool years already showing sensitivity to the opinions of their peers as a primary social reference group.
It’s crucial, however, to recognize that peer pressure isn’t inherently negative. In fact, healthy peer relationships and friendships play a vital role in a child’s social and emotional development. The critical distinction lies in whether this peer influence is positive or negative.
To navigate this, role modeling, storytelling, and practical case studies can empower children to think critically and make sound decisions when interacting with peers.
As the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ wisely reminds us, “A person is on the religion of his companions. Therefore, let every one of you carefully consider the company he keeps.” [Sunan Abi Dawud 4833]3- Personal Safety
With years of experience spanning both the private and public sectors, I can attest that personal safety is a subject often overlooked in a child’s upbringing. The roots of this issue often lie in children not having a clear understanding of their personal space and boundaries in developmentally appropriate ways.
Studies have shown that the developmental progression of children’s grasp of personal body safety is usually weak at first due to their naivete.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for children to encounter situations involving personal space violations within their own homes even before they embark on their school journeys.
The concept of personal safety, however, evolves within the home environment and takes on a different dimension outside the home and both need to be taught and discussed. Children should not only learn but also actively practice maintaining a healthy personal space at all times. Equally vital is equipping them with the language to articulate their boundaries and practice protocol for both inside and outside the home when they feel their personal safety is compromised.4- Personal Hygiene
For parents of young children entering Pre-K or Kindergarten (3-4 years old), the transition from potty training to using public washrooms independently can be daunting. To ease this process, consider implementing practice runs during the initial month of school. These practice sessions allow you to supervise and guide your child as they develop this essential life skill.
However, it’s crucial to engage in a dialogue with your child’s teachers and school staff regarding accident handling procedures. Don’t simply assume that the designated teacher will handle such situations. Take the initiative to understand the school’s policies and clearly define your family boundaries. This communication should encompass both written and verbal agreements, ensuring that everyone is on the same page.
For older children, it’s an opportune moment to discuss the principles of purification in public spaces. Explore how they can maintain cleanliness in a way that preserves their ablution and purity of their clothing when using public restrooms. Equipping children with a pouch containing wet wipes, a small towel, spare underwear, and clothing not only reinforces their Islamic values discreetly but also empowers them with the understanding that upholding these values happens everywhere.5- Prayer and Islamic Studies
Through personal experience, I’ve come to realize that amid the busyness of the academic year, prayer and Islamic studies often take a back seat. The reality is that genuine success lies in nurturing one’s connection with prayer and Islamic knowledge.
It’s important to establish prayer as a non-negotiable aspect of your child’s daily routine. Assisting your child with their prayers is not a choice but an obligation that extends beyond the age of ten. To ensure the seamless integration of prayer into your child’s schedule, review both their school and home learning timetables, and plan their Salah (prayer) accordingly.
Furthermore, engaging in a dialogue about how Islamic learning will persist within the home and after school is of utmost importance. Begin by selecting a specific Islamic topic to explore, in addition to Quranic learning.
Always bear in mind that Islamic learning should continue within the household, regardless of your choice of schooling. As Allah reminds us in the Quran, reminds us,
“And enjoin prayer upon your family [and people] and be steadfast therein. We ask you not for provision; We provide for you, and the [best] outcome is for [those of] righteousness.” [Surah Taha: 20;132]6- Academic Success
Here is an irrefutable fact: success rarely occurs without planning. Conventional schools and many learning environments often fall short in teaching children how to learn—they simply anticipate learning to happen.
The new academic year presents a golden opportunity for parents to reevaluate and reinforce healthy study habits while nurturing their child’s individualized learning journey.
Consider the proactive measures you can implement now to evade the unwanted daily parent-child chase. Delegate responsibilities and establish clear boundaries in terms of academic expectations. Define what success signifies within each realm of learning.
It’s crucial to remember that you need not adhere to the school’s conventional criteria for academic success. In typical school settings, high grades are often regarded as the sole measure of achievement. However, within the sanctity of your home, accomplishments like praying on time and demonstrating effort and dedication to academic subjects are equally deserving of recognition.
Take a moment to reassess your priorities and formulate your distinctive criteria for success for your family. Prioritize attributes such as grit and resilience, for they are the bedrock of life accomplishments.7- Mental Health
Many studies have shown that children are showing signs of anxiety as early as infancy in this day and age. The need for early interventions to foster emotional well-being has propelled a new field of study categorized as Infant Mental Health (IMH).
In the early stages of childhood, it’s incredibly important to provide children with spaces for respite, allowing them moments to break free from the daily rigors of expectations and learning. Free play, in particular, emerges as an essential component for nurturing a child’s mental, physical, and emotional faculties.
Additionally, it’s valuable to curate interludes of mental health practices throughout their day. For instance, incorporating Quranic recitations during car rides to and from school can provide a soothing backdrop, giving children moments of tranquility. Similarly, allowing children the autonomy to unwind after a day of learning—whether through self-directed activities, extracurriculars, or leisurely board games—becomes a conscious checkpoint for their mental health. Bedtime can also be transformed into an opportunity for children to share their daily experiences, promoting emotional well-being.
Older children, particularly those aged 10 and above, often witness a reluctance to openly discuss new challenges, regardless of parental encouragement. Therefore, having a trusted mentor or companion that the parents handpick can be highly beneficial. These individuals can provide an alternative outlet for venting, offering diverse perspectives and opinions that can enrich a child’s social and emotional growth whether in a school or a home setting.
To this end, let’s remember that education involves more than textbooks. Our children’s identity, resilience, mental well-being, and personal safety are hidden yet crucial aspects. Reinforce Islamic values to fortify their identity. Guide peer pressure positively through open discussions and role modeling. Teach personal safety and hygiene discreetly. Make prayer and Islamic studies non-negotiable. Academic success should encompass grit, resilience, and upholding Islamic values. Prioritize mental health with moments of respite and trusted mentors. By addressing these hidden facets, we equip our children for success in the school year and beyond.
[If you need further support like this and you’d like to follow my work, please subscribe to The Elite Family Newsletter for weekly posts on educational and controversial topics faced by the modern Muslim family. Together, we can navigate the complexities of raising our children with strong Islamic identities.]
The post Back To School And Home Learning Success: The Muslim Edition appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.
Israel lobby group claims responsibility for downfall of former Labour leader.
Head of Cage says criticism of Emmanuel Macron’s government for Islamophobia is reason for forced return to Britain
The UK director of the campaign group Cage has claimed he has been deported from Poland at the behest of French authorities because he criticised Emmanuel Macron’s government for Islamophobia.
Muhammad Rabbani, who heads a group that campaigns on behalf of those affected by the “war on terror”, was due to give a speech this week at an international security conference in Warsaw that would have been critical of France’s handling of anti-government protests.Continue reading...
Can Muslim parents make du’a against their children? Do adult children still have to obey their parents in all things? Do Muslim parents have unlimited rights over their children? How can Muslims better understand their obligations towards their parents, without compromising their own mental and spiritual health?
In this episode of the MuslimMatters podcast, Shaykh Isa Parada talks about Islam’s perspective on the rights of parents, what constitutes oppression over their children, and the limits to parental rights. This episode is imperative for a more holistic understanding of a sensitive topic that impacts Muslims around the world.
Shaykh Isa Parada was born in New York and raised in Houston. Isa was an altar boy at his family’s Roman Catholic parish and after converting to Islam, went on to graduate from Madina University from the faculty of theology and is now an Imam.
His family roots from El Salvador allow him to effectively educate Latinos about Islam as one of our IslamInSpanish instructors locally and nationally while serving as a bridge between the general Muslim community and Latinos. He has played a unique role in developing educational programming as an instructor as well as a community counselor.
The post Podcast: The Rights of Parents vs Parental Oppression | Sh Isa Parada appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.
Prosecutor Karim Khan hasn’t yet scheduled his Palestine visit.
It’s party conference season and last week it was the Tory party’s turn, and this is likely to be their last before the next general election. Rishi Sunak, the prime minister, unveiled a sharp U-turn on policies which had previously been geared towards at least appearing to support the reduction in carbon emissions and investing in rail-based infrastructure projects such as the HS2 rail line which is under construction between London and Birmingham, which was originally supposed to reach the East Midlands and Yorkshire as well as Manchester and is now likely only to run between the west London suburbs and Birmingham. Sunak gave a rambling speech promising to curtail 20mph speed limits, cameras aimed at raising fines that “rip off motorists”, low-traffic neighbourhoods and “fifteen-minute cities”. In a number of interviews where he or his ministers were asked whether the Manchester section of HS2 would go ahead or not, they refused to “comment on speculation”, as if the government’s own intention was something they could be said to ‘speculate’ about, and reminded us that most journeys made in the UK are by car.
I was always opposed to HS2; I thought it was a horribly destructive and unnecessary project, a rail line that takes a stupidly circuitous route out of west London when it needs to go north (though in this it follows the same pattern as many of the other northbound railway lines and indeed the M40, which runs for some 30 miles west before it turns more to the north at Oxford). It roughly follows an older express line, the Great Central, which ran through Aylesbury, Brackley and Rugby on its way to the East Midlands; while some parts of this line remain intact, some is preserved and some of the trackbed is intact, much of the line through Brackley and Rugby has been built on and a fast line that passes through a small town but does not stop is unlikely to be very popular there. It also does not serve the centres of the cities it was planned to serve in the East Midlands but rather was going to stop at suburban ‘parkway’ type locations. However, much of the line south of Birmingham is at least partly built — the trackbed, viaducts and so on — and just abandoning it now would be senseless. All this destruction to just cut a few minutes off the journey to Birmingham for people able to pay premium fares is also ludicrous; high-speed lines only make sense for longish journeys such as London to Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow.
Much as Sunak claims to be reorienting transport investment towards road, the Observer reported today that two major road projects, the A303 upgrade at Stonehenge and the Lower Thames Crossing, were also under threat because of spiralling costs. The latter is a ridiculous project and should absolutely be stopped; as I have detailed before on this site, it links only to the A2 corridor, not the A20/M20 which carries most of the traffic to the cross-Channel ports, which will still be required to use the Dartford crossing. As for Stonehenge, the upgrade has been called ‘urgent’ but I dispute that. The congestion at that point is exaggerated and has been alleviated somewhat by removing the old spur road and traffic lights. A couple of weeks ago I saw a tweet thread which claimed that infrastructure projects here cost so much more and took so much longer because we pay too much attention to NIMBYs and adjust projects too much to suit them, but some of these projects are simply grandiose, unnecessary and senselessly destructive, and any consultation process worth its salt should have nipped them in the bud rather than let them drag on so long.
As for 20mph limits, there is a kernel of truth in what he is saying: too many of them have been imposed on a blanket basis across whole council areas (such as Ealing in west London) without considering whether they are necessary everywhere, the upshot being that one can make a journey of 10 or 15 miles nowadays entirely along A- and B-roads with that speed limit. Until now, red routes (roads controlled by the mayor’s office) have been exempt, but the mayor now intends to impose them along most main roads in London, including large sections of the South Circular Road. (In some places this is quite justifiable, such as on the A24 through Tooting, which is south London’s “curry mile” and popular with tourists, but not everywhere.) In the 1960s and again in the 1980s, plans to build cross-town highways were dropped as a result of popular opposition; people making journeys across a large urban area therefore need to use the existing main roads, and a 20mph speed limit is not feasible for whole journeys of 10 miles or more. Yes, some people can use public transport, but the good public transport links in London tend to go into central London rather than round the suburbs; such journeys are often circuitous, requiring multiple changes of train, with long walks between platforms at stations like Clapham and Willesden Junctions, and often infrequent services.
Sunak is also right about the need to rein in other excesses among local authorities, including the imposition of 24-hour bus lanes in places it was never previously thought necessary, and bus lanes that leave insufficient room for other vehicles, especially trucks, to pass each other safely (see the Archway Road in north London and Clapham Road in Stockwell, south London). As for low-traffic neighbourhoods, this was an issue in 2020 but the ill-thought-out schemes that were rushed into operation then (using money made available at short notice by Boris Johnson’s Tory government, which waived the need to carry out any consultation because of the Covid emergency) have largely been dismantled and some of the ‘zones’ that remain are just one or two blocked-off rat runs. Borough councils pay lip service to securing popular consent, carrying out ‘consultations’, but then ignore the result or interpret it selectively, much as we saw when Ken Livingstone extended the Congestion Charge in his second term, dismissing the negative result by saying it “wasn’t a referendum”.
As for “15-minute cities”, he is appealing to voters who have fallen into conspiracy theories. A 15-minute city is a neighbourhood or suburb (never an actual whole city) where most amenities are within a 15-minute walk, including shops one might visit daily, schools, doctor’s surgeries, a sports centre of some sort, and so on. Part of the conspiracy theory (as opposed to the actual concept) is that we are going to be confined to our neighbourhood, but no local authority has the power to do that; they never have had. Much as with his “meat tax” and “seven bins” claims from his “net zero” speech earlier in September, he is making a show of ‘abolishing’ or ‘scrapping’ something that was not happening and was never even proposed. Why would we not want basic amenities within a short walk? I do not want to have to use my car to get to any amenity; it costs money, and less car use means less stress for the driver and cleaner air for everyone.
He also reminds us of the high proportion of journeys that are made by car: this is in many places a direct result of transport policy that began under Thatcher and has been continued by governments of both parties since. This includes allowing rail fares to rise year on year, making it not worth the while of any car owner to take a train for an inter-town journey as the fare is considerably more than the fuel, and prohibiting local authorities outside London from subsidising bus services. More recently, housing policy has allowed developers to build more and more new housing on the edges of towns and cities which has no amenities within walking distance. One new development I am familiar with, Broadbridge Heath outside Horsham in Sussex, has no doctors’ surgeries and only one (private) dental practice; the nearest doctor’s surgery is a 40 minute walk away in central Horsham, but a six-minute drive or a 23-minute bus journey which you might prefer not to make if you’re vulnerable to infection. Broadbridge does have a large out-of-town Tesco, some smaller shops, a primary school in the old village and a secondary school just across the Horsham by-pass, but a doctor’s surgery should be within a short walk of anyone in an urban area and councils should be allowed to make sure any large new development has one. This isn’t dystopian or totalitarian. It’s just making sure our towns are built for human beings, not cars.
Sunak seems to be running a “doughnut strategy” similar to that of Zac Goldsmith in the 2016 London mayoral election. He is appealing not to rural voters or even those in small towns, but those in the suburbs who are annoyed at low-emission, low-traffic or low-speed zones, often on the basis of misinformation as we saw with the ULEZ protest vote in Uxbridge, where the vast majority of vehicles are in fact compliant. (Towns in counties tend not to have 20mph speed limits on main roads, perhaps because counties treat roads as belonging to everyone, not just the immediate local community.) There is no proposal to allow rural authorities to reinstate subsidised bus services, for example, which might be expected if his pitch was to voters in and around small towns or villages; the money he proposes to revitalise towns is paltry.
However, Sunak has not got my vote. I’ve never voted Tory in a parliamentary election, but these are the worst we have seen in my lifetime. However much I don’t like 20mph speed limits or 24-hour bus lanes, there are other issues at stake. The Tories over the past few years have made a stinking mess of the country (literally given the state of the rivers and coastline); they have allowed council after council to go bankrupt by starving them of funds, leaving local rate-payers to pick up the tab; they have made us the laughing stock of Europe by signing a miserable deal and then continually putting off keeping our side of it while Europe keeps its own, to our disadvantage; they have run down our education system, with schools closed because of substandard concrete and academy trusts making a show of treating children as less than human beings; their politicians compete to be the most stupidly and viciously bigoted. However disappointing and charmless Keir Starmer may be as Labour leader, we have had a succession of Tory leaders who have mostly got by on charm, at least to some, and have dragged this country into the gutter. They’ve got to go. A return to 30mph speed limits won’t make up for five more years of this wretched regime.
Possibly Related Posts:
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Alḥamdulillāh, we are currently in the lunar month of Rabīʿ al-Awwal, the month in which our beloved master and leader, the seal of prophets and messengers, the best of the first and the last, the most perfect example of a human being to walk on the face of the earth, our beloved Muḥammad ﷺ was born. Whenever the month of Rabīʿ al-Awwal comes, it has become a custom in Muslim communities throughout the world to organize and have lectures, programs, seminars, conferences, and gatherings commemorating and celebrating the life and legacy of the Prophet ﷺ. These gatherings, lectures, and programs are organized as an expression of love and reverence for the Prophet ﷺ.
However, as Muslims, it’s important for us to realize that our way of life, our dīn, is unique and special. We don’t express our love for the Prophet ﷻ like other religious traditions celebrate and honor their figures. We’re not necessarily taught to celebrate his birth or remember him on his death. The way we express love for the Prophet ﷺ is by following his example and his teachings; by bringing his Sunnah to life in our daily lives. Our love for the Prophet ﷺ is supposed to be real, something that comes from the heart and expresses itself in our actions. Our love for the Prophet ﷺ is not simply lip service or commemorating certain events. Our love for the Prophet ﷺ is supposed to be a longing desire to be like him and be in his company. Ibn Ḥajar said if you were given the choice between attaining the most beloved thing in the world and seeing the Prophet ﷺ you would choose to see the Prophet .A Love Greater Than for Our Ownselves
Having love for the Prophet ﷺ is part of our faith, it’s an essential part of our īmān.
The Prophet ﷺ told us, “Whoever possesses the following three characteristics has tasted the sweetness of faith.” The first thing he mentioned is to love Allah ﷻ and His Messenger ﷺ more than anyone and anything else in this world. The Prophet ﷺ also said, “None of you will truly believe until I’m more beloved to him than his father, his children, and all of mankind.” [Sahih al-Bukhari 21]
Meaning, that in order for our faith to be complete, in order to be true believers, we are supposed to love the Prophet ﷺ more than anyone and anything else in this world, even more than our parents and children.
Sometimes this concept is difficult to understand. How can we love the Prophet ﷺ more than our parents? How can we love him more than our children? How can we love him more than our wives? How can we love him more than ourselves? We’ve never seen him, spoken to him, sat with him, shared a meal with him, or interacted with him.
Although we have not been blessed to be in the physical company of the Prophet ﷺ in this world, we can still be in his company figuratively. His entire life has been meticulously documented for us by those who loved him the most, the Companions [ranhuma]. We have detailed reports of exactly what he looked like; his height, build, stature, skin color, the size of his eyes, the color of his pupils, the shape of his face, nose, jaw, hairstyle, the color of his hair, the length of his beard, the width of his hands, and even how many grey hairs he had. We know how he dressed, spoke, ate, slept, walked, and interacted with all segments of society. Every single detail of his life, both public and private, is available to us. Reading these details nurtures and develops a love for him within our hearts.
Initially, this concept of loving the Prophet ﷺ more than anyone else in the world was even difficult for some of the companions of the Prophet ﷺ to realize. Once ʿUmar came to the Prophet ﷺ and said, “O Messenger of Allah! I love you more than my family, my son, and my wealth, except myself.” The Prophet ﷺ said, “No, by Him in whose hand my soul is, not until I become more beloved to you than yourself.” ʿUmar (ra) replied, “Then, by Allah now you are more beloved to me than myself.” The Prophet ﷺ said, “Now o ‘Umar.” Meaning, now your faith is complete. [Sahih al-Bukhari 6632]The Companions: Ultimate Manifestation of Love for The Prophet
There are two types of love: 1) Natural (al-Ḥub al-Ṭabʿī) and 2) Acquired (al-Ḥub al-Ikhtiyārī) Natural love comes from human nature; it’s something that all of us are born with; it’s an intrinsic force of attraction that exists between people. This is a type of love that is hardwired into our DNA. For example, the love that we have for our parents or our children.
Acquired love is something that is voluntary, a love that’s the result of choice after reflection and understanding. It is to fall in love with someone because of certain qualities they possess or favors they have done for us. It’s when we choose to love a person for a reason It requires us to plant the seed of affection in our hearts, nurture it, take care of it, and allow it to grow and blossom. That is the type of love we are supposed to nurture and develop for the Prophet ﷺ.
The Companions [ranhuma] had developed this deep, pure love for the Prophet ﷺ. That’s why when we look at their lives we find that they expressed their love for the Prophet ﷺ in ways that are difficult for us to understand. They followed his teachings and emulated his example to an extent that’s unparalleled in history. History has never seen a man who has overwhelmed the hearts through his noble character like the Prophet ﷺ. His Companions used to say to him, “We don’t say to you what the people of Mūsa said to Mūsa , ‘Go, you and your Lord and fight.’ We are here leading the way. We fight on your right, on your left, in front of you, and behind you.” These weren’t empty words. The Companions [ranhuma] underwent trials, difficulties, and hardships sacrificing their wealth, family, and even their lives because of their love for Allah and His messenger.
During the battle of Uḥud, the Muslims initially had the upper hand but once the archers left their post the tide of the battle completely changed. The Muslim army fell into disarray and confusion and then a rumor spread that the Prophet ﷺ had been killed. This demoralized some of the Companions sucking the life out of them. Others then engaged in battle with more enthusiasm. During this time of disarray, the Prophet ﷺ had nine companions with him; seven from the Anṣār and two from the Muhājirūn. The Prophet ﷺ was being attacked from all angles and these seven men went forward to defend the Prophet ﷺ. Each one of them was martyred one after the other until only the two Muhājirs remained, Ṭalḥah ibn ʿUbaidillah and Saʿd ibn Abī Waqqās . This is when the Prophet ﷺ was injured. A stone fell on his beloved face breaking one of his teeth and causing his lip to bleed. He was struck on the head and shoulder. He was struck on the face so hard that two rings from his iron helmet penetrated into his blessed cheek. As he was wiping the blood from his face he ﷺ said, “O Allah! Forgive my people because they don’t know.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim: Riyad as-Salihin 36]
Ṭalḥah and Saʿd were able to hold the enemy back until reinforcements came forming a human shield around the Prophet ﷺ. Ṭalḥah shielded the Prophet ﷺ with his body using his chest to protect the Prophet ﷺ from arrows. After the battle, he had 39 different wounds all over his body. His bravery, heroism, and love earned him the title of the living martyr. Abū Dujānah shielded the Prophet ﷺ with his back and it was struck with so many arrows it was described as a pin cushion.
There’s no other human being in history who was shown this level of love, respect, and loyalty. They were willing to sacrifice their lives for the safety and protection of their beloved Prophet and Messenger ﷺ. The only factor that could drive a person to undergo such sacrifice is unconditional love.
When the Muslim army returned to Madinah, one of the women of the Anṣār was told that her father was martyred. She said, “To Allah we belong and to Him we return. How is the Prophet ﷺ?” She was then told her husband was martyred. She said, “To Allah we belong and to Him we return. How is the Prophet ﷺ?” She was then told her son and brother had also been martyred. Again she said with full composure, “To Allah we belong and to Him we return. How is the Prophet ﷺ?” She had just been told about the loss of her closest family members, but her concern was for the safety and security of the Prophet ﷺ. When she saw him with her own eyes she remarked, “Every calamity after your safety is insignificant.” Has history ever seen someone so beloved, honored, and respected? His safety was a consolation for the loss of an entire family. That can only come from unconditional love.
After the battle of Badr, Zaid ibn al-Dathna was taken as a prisoner of war. The Mushrikūn executed him by slowly torturing him. As they were torturing him, Abū Sufyān (who had not yet accepted Islam) asked, “Wouldn’t you prefer that Muḥammad was in your place today so that we execute him instead while you’re safe with your family?” Zaid responded, “By Allah, I would not wish for the Prophet ﷺ to even be pricked by a thorn while I’m safe with my family.” After hearing this Abū Sufyān said, “By Allah, I have never seen anybody who loves a person the way the Companions loved Muhammad ﷺ.”
The lives of the Companions of the Prophet ﷺ are the ultimate manifestation of love for the Prophet ﷺ. That’s why when ʿAlī was asked what their love for the Prophet was like he said, “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ was more beloved to us than our wealth, our children, our fathers, and our mothers. He was more beloved to us than cold water during intense thirst.”
That’s the type of love we’re supposed to work towards. Their love for the Prophet ﷺ transformed them, filled their hearts with light, and enriched their souls. They were transformed into the best human beings to walk on the face of this earth, the likes of which history had never witnessed before and will never witness again. The reality of the love of the Prophet ﷺ is that it motivates one to do what is pleasing to Allah ﷻ.
We have to ask ourselves, who do we truly love? We claim to love the Prophet ﷺ, but what does that mean? How does it show in our lives? How much do we know about him? Do we follow his example in how we live our lives? True love is manifest through following his example and by doing so we as Muslims can also be transformed. The Companions realized that the objective of loving the Prophet ﷻ was to have it show in their actions by following his teachings.Steps to Cultivate Love for The Prophet
I will end by sharing three practical steps we can take to nurture, cultivate, and develop love for the Prophet ﷺ in our hearts.
1. Learn about him – It is impossible to love someone without knowing who they are. When we love someone, we try our best to learn every single detail of their life. We try to learn about their favorite food, color, activities, likes, and dislikes. It is extremely important for each of us to learn about the life and person of the Prophet ﷺ. All of us should be intimately familiar with his life story. We should be familiar with his Sīrah and the various lessons that can be derived from it. I encourage everyone to read a Sīrah book cover to cover and re-read it every so often. We should also be familiar with his appearance, habits, and character, which can be learned through the various works of Shamā’il. Every Muslim should be intimately familiar with the life and person of the Prophet ﷺ.
I recommend the following books of Sīrah:
a) Noble Life of the Prophet by Dr. Sallaabee (https://amzn.to/2IWdVpP)
b) Prophet of Mercy by Sh. Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (https://tinyurl.com/4wn5y3vr)
c) The Sirah of the Prophet: A Contemporary and Original Analysis by Yasir Qadhi (https://tinyurl.com/74fk6jaz)
I recommend the following books of Shamā’il:
a) al-Shamā’il al-Muḥammadiyyah by al-Tirmidhī (r) (https://tinyurl.com/wb3samtx)
b) A Mercy to the Universe (https://tinyurl.com/2p85zm8t)
c) In the Company of the Prophet by Sh. Salman Al-Oadah
d) Prophet Muhammad the Teacher by Sh. Abd al-Fattāḥ Abū Ghuddah
2. Follow his Sunnah – The Prophet ﷺ is the ideal role model for us to follow in every single aspect of our lives. Allah ﷻ says,
“Indeed for you in the Messenger of Allah is a good example for one who believes in Allah, the last day, and remembers Allah frequently.” [Surah Al-Ahzab – 33;21]
We should try our best to follow his teachings, guidance, instructions, advice, and counsel in everything that we do. This is particularly true for his noble character. We should learn about his kindness, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, patience, forbearance, generosity, humility, simplicity, bravery, courage, and selflessness and try to implement them into our lives. Read a few aḥādīth of the Prophet ﷺ every evening with the intention of putting his teachings into practice. The Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever obeys me loves me and whoever loves me will be with me in Paradise.” [Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2678]
3. Send salutations and blessing upon him – Every time his name is mentioned we should say, “May Allah’s blessings and safety be upon him.” The Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever sends one blessing upon me, Allah sends ten upon him.” [Jami` at-Tirmidhi 485] Sending salutations upon the Prophet ﷺ helps cultivate respect, reverence, and love for him in our hearts.
May Allah ﷺ fill our hearts with love for the Prophet ﷺ, allow us to follow in his footsteps, and be in his noble company in the best of abodes!
The post From The Chaplain’s Desk: Expressing Love For The Prophet appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.
Blessings from Allah are generally perceived as a tick of approval, whereas trials and hardships are a distasteful aftermath – something that arrives not to impart any gain but to take away something valuable from us. More often than not, it is this mental construct that leads to the ‘lost opportunity’ ideology creating dissatisfaction with the way things unfold in our lives. Yes, the infamous “could have -would have -should have.” A set of ideas or beliefs that link us up with the past, forming a perception of how an event should have happened, but it didn’t, and vice versa.Judging Books by their Covers
Processing any hardship in itself becomes exceedingly difficult when people throw at us phrases and statements such as: “Had you ensured your safety by doing or by not doing so and so, you wouldn’t have been in this situation today!” or “You could’ve done it differently to avoid being exposed to –(xyz)”. As varied as these statements can be, they are clearly devoid of the careful forethought needed to exercise before uttering words that may add to someone’s misfortune or suffering. But Allah lovingly reassures:
“Say, nothing will befall us except what Allah has decreed. He is our Maula”. So in Allah let the believers put their trust.” [Surah At-Tawbah – 9:51]
Maula is the Arabic connotation for ‘guardian’ which, like a balm to a wounded spirit, suggests synonymous words like LORD, HELPER, and PROTECTOR.Allah – The Lord
The Quran tells us that THE Lord ( رَبّ) is someone to whom service and obedience are due. Since Allah is the ultimate Lord, a believer attributes all that happens to him or her to His Will that prevails no matter what. It would’ve never gone the way if Allah hadn’t willed it. He is The Lord of the multiverses without Whose knowledge not a leaf hits the ground [Surah Al-An’am – 6:59], Who alone knows and sees the finest mysteries that all eyes in the universe combined cannot see; as brilliantly pinpointed in the Quran:
“Beholdings (i.e., eyesights) cannot perceive Him, and He perceives beholdings and He is the Ever-Kind and Ever-Cognizant.” [Surah Al-An’am – 6:103]
Al-Bukhari recorded that Salim bin Abdullah said that his father said that the Prophet Muhammad said:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The keys of the unseen are five and none knows them but Allah: (1) None knows (the sex) what is in the womb, but Allah: (2) None knows what will happen tomorrow, but Allah; (3) None knows when it will rain, but Allah; (4) None knows where he will die, but Allah (knows that); (5) and none knows when the Hour will be established, but Allah.” [Sahih al-Bukhari 7379]
The gist of this assertion is that Allah is the absolute possessor of the knowledge of the Unseen with the exclusive power of bringing it into existence. Concerning Allah’s knowledge of all that is concealed, it is only logical to accept the limited designation of a man’s role as well his authority in having any prior knowledge of what is to unfold in the future. Yet the believers exercise their will in line with the divine commandments in areas of life over which they have been given control: such as faith, practices, and chosen values. We can refer here to the insight Allah provides on the very subject in Surah Luqman, verse 34:
“Verily, Allah! With Him (alone) is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, He knows that which is in the wombs, no person knows what he will earn tomorrow and no person knows in what land he will die. Indeed, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” [Surah Luqman – 31:34]
Admittedly, it is His prerogative alone to make the unknown known to His created beings in a manner and time that best fits His knowledge. Allah says:
“We have treasures of everything, but We send them down in a particular measure.” [Surah Al-Hijr – 15:21]Allah – The Helper
So if He has chosen to test a believer with something, He is not going to leave him at it clueless. Think of Him as الْوَالِي, the HELPER. Who, upon heartfelt persistent invocations, comes around with the gift of ease and eventual victory. A helper is someone who is an ally, a supporter, and a sole governor who will bring the resources needed to get something done. This brings up the mirror to our intuitive awareness and recognition of His singular, undivided authority over asbaab (resources). The question remains, do we strive to align our actions with the divine will or recoil on ungratefulness by manufacturing our own conjectures and drift away from the precedent set by the beloved Prophet when tested?
“Allah is sufficient for us, and He is the Best Guardian; What an excellent Protector and what an Excellent Helper.” [Surah Ali Imran – 3:173 & Surah Al-Anfal – 8:40]Allah – The Protecting Associate
A believer whom He has chosen to be tested is thus given all that is needed to prepare in advance for the calamity that was placed on his path. It was (divinely) intentional and with a significant purpose. No matter what the magnitude of suffering and loss of material resources looks like, there is solace in knowing that He is الْوَلِيُّ, the PROTECTING ASSOCIATE. So, the failures, the falls, the bruises, and the cries that are collectively viewed as ‘anti-gain’ are valuable in His eyes provided they lead a believer to the station ordained by Allah .
This means we can safely own up to our vulnerabilities, for once ensued, it would most certainly allow us to let go of the aftermath of a loss, grief, a fall, and a failure followed by peace bestowed by Allah . As penned eloquently by Sir Allama Mohammad Iqbal (the great Pakistani poet and philosopher):
The Path of Least Resistance
تو بچا بچا کے نہ رکھ اسے ترا آئنہ ہے وہ آئنہ
کہ شکستہ ہو تو عزیز تر ہے نگاہ آئنہ ساز میں
Do not try to (over) protect your mirror (i.e., heart) for your mirror is the mirror
That once broken, is dearer in the eyes of its Maker (God)
Unquestionably, then, no soul is tried by a hardship except that it is elevated in spiritual ranking with Allah . These tests and trials are nothing but His ways and means to draw us closer to the promised victory intrinsically connected with difficulty but to those who persevere and give thanks.
“Let a man of wealth spend from his wealth, and he whose provision is restricted – let him spend from what Allah has given him. Allah does not charge a soul except according to what He has given it. Allah will bring about, after hardship, ease.” [Surah At-Talaq – 65:7]
A believer will never end up with an evil. It is inconceivable of a Lord so merciful who gives away from His limitless blessings even when a believer carelessly exposes himself to an accidental prick of a thorn. Allah’s wisdom surrounds the entire universe and those who love Him would not entertain any doubt in His all-encompassing love and fairness of the plan for their lives. So, believers trust relentlessly that the lows are too from His grace and bounty as much as the highs are.
Seeking Allah’s mercy at all times is definitely the right thing to do. However, hoping to never encounter any hardship foils our chances of getting closer to Allah . Time and history both are witnesses to the many events when believers were tested through abundance as well as deprivation only to be rewarded with something greater later on. No doubt, believers follow along the path of tawakkul (trust) which means dedicating our full energy to employing the lawful material resources with abject loyalty to Allah , and finally resigning the outcome to the ultimate taqdir (destiny).The Guaranteed Blessing of Hardships
What counts with Allah brews behind the veils of the heart, is embedded in the character and nobility of intention. As platitudinous as it may sound, with the world it is reduced to an accumulation of worldly gains, an oversized precedence of culture over religion which inevitably results in deep spiritual numbness. A believer, once struck with a calamity, is beckoned to filter and relinquish that which is not rooted in true faith. Trials are, in fact, profound blessings in disguise that Allah grants to those whom He chooses to purify for His sake, who assert a claim to the indestructible hand-hold gripped upon the rope of God, and actively recognize a hardship as a sign of His Mercy as well as a means to gain His proximity both here and Hereafter.
Lastly, to Him alone we implore with utmost humility to guide us through trials and tribulations. And we attribute all goodness to Allah and all shortcomings along with their due consequences are ours to own.
“There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers.” [Surah Al-Anbiya – 21:87]
The post Could Have, Would Have, Should Have? – Making Peace With Hardships appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.
Newspaper of record helps launder the theft of Palestinian land and rights.
A universal belief held by all irrespective of race, colour, or creed is that we are all going to die. Despite this, speaking about death and our impending demise is a conversation we rarely have, and it is not something discussed at many of our dinner tables. It is something we try to avoid, yet it is something that envelopes us everywhere we go. Rarely a day passes before we read the words “إنا لله و إنا اليه راجعون”, acknowledging the fact of life that we too are to follow and return to our Lord ﷻ.
كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَآئِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ
Every soul shall taste death.
Allah ﷻ tells us this in Surah al-Anbiya, al-Ankabut, and Ali ‘Imran. Despite the clarity of this statement and it being something that we all acknowledge, very rarely do people comprehend it and prepare accordingly for this reality.
This was illustrated to me by a patient I met last week in the geriatric ward. Despite having had a stroke and lost the ability to swallow, this 80-year-old man struggled to come to terms with his own mortality. This is of course a result of a lack of imaan and belief in the hereafter to prepare for, but there are many Muslims amongst us who have not packed their bags accordingly for the eternal journey to our Rabb ﷻ.
Likewise, it is unfortunate that many of us are unaware of how to help our loved ones when it is their time to depart. It is a skill set that most of us have yet to acquire or learn about. It may be that no one in your family has died yet, however, this is not an excuse and it is highly likely that within our lifetime people beloved to us such as our mother, father, grandparents, and siblings will depart from this world. There is no greater gift or act of love you can give them than aiding them and being a rock for them at the end of their lives. These are especially important moments, as The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
وَإِنَّمَا الأَعْمَالُ بِالْخَوَاتِيمِ
Indeed, actions are by their endings.1
It is vital that someone is there to remove that burden from your loved ones in their final moments and it is also important to remember that you shouldn’t expect the person or those around them to know what to do, as in times of difficulty people very easily have a mind block.
Around this time in 2022, I was in a similar position having had no close relatives pass away during my life – when my Grandmother (الله يرحمها) returned to her Lord. She had a stroke and went through an increased period of difficulty in her last moments following over a decade of chronic illness. Despite this long period of illness, most of my family were unaware of how to best support her. Alhamdulillah, my teacher (حفظه الله) had given us some guidance in this area, which I will endeavour to share with you all so that we and all our loved ones are all granted a good death.1. Be physically present
Often our loved ones may live in different cities, countries or continents to us. In a recent palliative care teaching I had, we discussed the differences in approaching the final moments of someone’s life in the West compared to many of the countries we originate from. In countries such as the UK, the US etc. there has been an unnatural shift to death being surrounded by silence and isolation.
It is important that we do not allow our loved ones to depart from the life of this world in this manner. If you are abroad, do your utmost to be with them in person. It may be that they say that you don’t need to come back or they downplay the extent of their illness – but still make your way to be with them. Try to find a flight that is as direct as possible and get there as soon as you can. This will of course come at a cost financially, but money is something that comes and goes but your family and the emotions attached to the decision you make do not. Likewise, if you have work, take time off and drop everything that will impact your ability to be with them as their time is limited. It is very likely that you will need to cut down on the amount you are sleeping, but that feeling of a sleep deficit for a mere number of days will pale in comparison to the regret of not being there enough in the final hours of your loved one’s life.
As well as this, any time you spend away from their bedside – make sure that you are available and contactable. When you nip away to get a few hours of rest or to grab food for everyone, make sure that your phone is kept off silent or do not disturb.
It is important that even if someone is entering the final stages of their life, you remain positive in the face of the trial they are facing.
It is narrated that whenever the Messenger of Allah ﷺ visited a sick person, he would say “لا بأس، طهور إن شاء الله” – “No harm, it will be a purification for you (from sins) if Allah wills.”2
This concept of having ihtisaab (seeking reward) during times of illness or test is seen throughout the Prophetic tradition.
He ﷺ said:
الْبَلاَءُ بِالْعَبْدِ حَتَّى يَتْرُكَهُ يَمْشِي عَلَى الأَرْضِ مَا عَلَيْهِ خَطِيئَةٌ
“… a calamity will continue to befall a person until he walks on the earth with no sin”3
RasulAllah ﷺ also taught us:
إِنَّ عِظَمَ الْجَزَاءِ مَعَ عِظَمِ الْبَلاَءِ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ إِذَا أَحَبَّ قَوْمًا ابْتَلاَهُمْ فَمَنْ رَضِيَ فَلَهُ الرِّضَا
“When Allah loves someone, He tests them and whoever is content, then for him is pleasure.”4
We are also told:
إِنَّ الرَّجُلَ لِتَكُونَ لَهُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ الْمَنْزِلَةُ فَمَا يَبْلُغُهَا بِعَمَلٍ فَلَا يَزَالُ اللَّهُ يَبْتَلِيهِ بِمَا يَكْرَهُ حَتَّى يُبَلِّغَهُ إِيَّاهَا
“Surely a person has a special status with Allah which he is unable to attain through his good deeds, so Allah continues to test him with that which the person dislikes until he obtains it (the status).”5
Despite trying to make your loved one more positive, you will no doubt be emotional yourself. Try your best to be brave and remember that this time is about them. They come first and don’t do anything that may upset them further such as crying in front of them. I understand that it is for sure a very difficult time, so if/when you cry – try and do so in a private place away from them.3. The importance of the prayer
There is a bit of a misconception that someone in the final stages of life, no longer needs to perform salah. If the person is of sound mind they can and should perform salah and alhamdulillah, Allah has made this easier for the sick person. They can pray to the best of their ability by sitting down, lying down etc.
The Messenger of Allahﷺ said:
نَّ أَوَّلَ مَا يُحَاسَبُ بِهِ الْعَبْدُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مِنْ عَمَلِهِ صَلاَتُهُ فَإِنْ صَلُحَتْ فَقَدْ أَفْلَحَ وَأَنْجَحَ وَإِنْ فَسَدَتْ فَقَدْ خَابَ وَخَسِرَ
“The first deed for which a person is brought to account on the day of resurrection will be his prayer. If it is good then he will have prospered and succeeded, but if it is bad then he will be doomed.”6
In the final days of our beloved Rasul’s life ﷺ, he was drifting in and out of consciousness. Each time he woke up, he would ask “Have the people prayed?”7 and when told that the people were waiting for him, he would try to get up in order to lead them. Similarly, when Ameerul mu’mineen Umar ibn al Khattab was bleeding to death – the first thing he did when he awoke from his state of unconsciousness was perform the prayer.
Where needed, this can be made easier for the person. For example, if someone is unable to make wudhu with water, they can perform tayammum. This is the last moments of their life and there is no better to meet Allah than having performed your salah.4. Help them sort out their affairs
If they are yet to sort out their inheritance and sort out their will. it is crucial that at this point you make sure that everything is in place. As well as this, it may be that they have debts. Make sure you speak to them and ask them if they have any debts, even if it is something from 30 years ago or something as small as one dollar or pound. If someone dies with debt, it is something that is not forgiven by Allah ﷻ and this was emphasised so much so that the Prophet ﷺ refused to lead the janazah of anyone who had outstanding debts.8
There will also be other tasks that you can assist them with, especially as they will be very weak and unable to do as much. If they want to send messages to particular people or video call people who aren’t able to be there, help them with these tasks such as by writing the messages out or helping them send voicenotes etc.
Ibn al Qayyim (rahimahullah) mentions in Madarij as-Salikeen that the need for tawbah is as important at the end of a believer’s life, compared to its beginning. Seeking forgiveness for our shortcomings is something that is only possible whilst we are alive. Allah ﷻ tells us in al-Hujarat:
وَمَن لَّمْ يَتُبْ فَأُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلظَّـٰلِمُونَ
“Those who do not repent are evildoers.” [ Surah al-Hujarat: 49;11]
In these crucial last moments, ask your loved one to think about all of their sins and make tawbah. Shaykh al Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) explained9 that if someone does not remember every single sin individually, they can make a general repentance which will cover them insha’Allah – however, this is conditional on the premise that:
- If the sin is remembered, they will need to make tawbah for it
- The person doesn’t have any love or connection with the sin
There are a few steps that are needed in order to make tawbah:
- Stopping the sin: you cannot be someone who is sincerely asking forgiveness for a sin if you are still committing the sin.
- Regretting the sin: it’s not possible for a true tawbah to have occurred if you look back at the sin or the time of your disobedience as fond memories.
- A strong commitment to not fall into the sin again
- Restore the rights of others: if the sin they committed involved taking away the rights of others (this should be clear cut, rather than just asking everyone for forgiveness) such as slandering, backbiting, or taking away their possessions or wealth.
- If they have taken something from someone such as money or a possession, they need to return it as soon as possible. If this is something that they no longer have, give something that is equivalent to it as long as the person is happy with this substitute. If this isn’t possible to do, give money that is equivalent in value.
- There may be cases where the person is no longer alive, if this is the case – return the possession to their heir.
- If you are unable to contact them or their heir, give money to charity in their name if they are Muslim. If they aren’t, you can still give money to charity but it doesn’t have to be in their name.
- If they have slandered or backbitten someone and the person is aware of this
- Directly contact them and ask them for their forgiveness. This may be an area where you as a family member can help them by drafting messages for them, etc.
- If you can’t contact them, make dua’ for the person and ask Allah to forgive them.
- If they have slandered or backbitten someone and the person is not aware of this
- It may cause a bigger problem by sharing that you have done so with the person.
- It is far better to clear their name to the people you slandered them in front of. i.e. if there was a particular group of friends with whom you would gossip about someone with, tell all the people in that group that actually you had gone too far and that this person is not like what you said.
- Again, make dua’ for the person and ask Allah to forgive them.
- If they have taken something from someone such as money or a possession, they need to return it as soon as possible. If this is something that they no longer have, give something that is equivalent to it as long as the person is happy with this substitute. If this isn’t possible to do, give money that is equivalent in value.
Insha’Allah, if this is done correctly, your loved ones’ slate will be wiped clean and they won’t stand before Allah bankrupt of good deeds due to their sins.6. Thinking positively about Allah
It is very important that in their last moments, your loved one has only positive thoughts of Allah ﷻ.
Nabi al-Rahmah, Muhammad ﷺ said only three days before his own death:
لاَ يَمُوتَنَّ أَحَدُكُمْ إِلاَّ وَهُوَ يُحْسِنُ الظَّنَّ بِاللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ
“Whenever one of you is dying, they should only have the best thoughts of Allah.”10
In reference to this narration, the ulema mention that “what is meant by thinking positively of Allah , is thinking that He will have mercy on you and forgive you.”11
There are a few different ways you can build this positive mindset with them. For example, you can speak to them about the journey they are about to embark on and what happens with the good soul. You can talk to them about the famous hadith narrated by Al-Bara’ ibn ‘Azib where the Prophet ﷺ told us that angels will come and visit them with perfume and white silk from Jannah, or how the angel of death will come and take their soul with words of comfort, how the angels will take their soul around, perfume it, and clothe it, etc.
Alternatively, you can share with them the narration where RasulAllah ﷺ said “One who loves to meet Allah , Allah loves to meet him.”12
He ﷺ also told us that all this pain and difficulty they have gone through in this life will be forgotten completely once they enter into Jannah. He said “On the Day of Resurrection, a person who suffered the most in terms of exhaustion, pain, illnesses, oppression, being degraded, humiliation and poverty – this person suffered the most out of all of humanity from the beginning until the end of times. This person will be brought and dipped once into Paradise, and it will be said to him: ‘O Son of Adam, did you ever see anything bad? Did you ever experience any hardship?’ He will say: ‘No, by Allah, O Lord. I never saw anything bad and I never experienced any hardship.’13
If despite these reassurances, and having already made tawbah they still feel worried – share with them the following beautiful narration. The Prophet ﷺ entered upon a young man as he was dying, and said to him: How do you feel?” He said: “By Allah! O Messenger of Allah! Indeed I hope in Allah and I fear from my sins.” So the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “These two will not be gathered in a worshipper’s heart at a time such as this, except that Allah will grant him what he hopes and make him safe from what he fears.“147. The final moments
(a) Recite Surah Yaseen to them – if there is a particular style of recitation/ reciter that they connect especially well with try to imitate them or play a recording. This is because it makes it easier for the soul to leave the body. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) said that “this surah includes mention of Tawheed and the Resurrection, and the glad tidings of Paradise for the one who dies believing in Tawheed. Within it are the verses:
“It was said (by the angels) Enter Paradise! He said, “If only my people knew of how my Lord has forgiven me, and made me of the honourable”
“And that this comforts the soul and makes it easier to come out.”15 [Surah Yaseen: 36;26-27]
(b) It is also important for someone to perform the talqeen – which is to encourage the dying person to say the shahadah. The Prophet ﷺ said:
لَقِّنُوا مَوْتَاكُمْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ
“Instruct your dying ones to say Laa ilaaha illAllah”16
Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) commenting on this said that if a believer’s final statement is the shahadah before he died, and he intended to repent for all of his sins whilst making this statement, then it is hope all of his sins will be forgiven. This will be a noble ending to his life, he will be saved from any punishment and will be admitted into Jannah directly.17
Alhamdulillah, this is a well-known sunnah that most Muslims act upon and try to encourage them to say laa ilaaha illAllah. However, it may be that they tell them to try and say it continuously and this is straining on the dying person. The scholars say that if the person has said it once, they don’t need to be told to say it again unless they say something else.
It is narrated that when Abdullah Ibn al-Mubarak (rahimahullah) was on his deathbed, a man kept prompting him to say laa ilaaha illAllah and this continued until Ibn al-Mubarak became overwhelmed. He said “What you are doing is not good, I fear that (if I don’t advise you) you may disturb a Muslim after me. When you prompt me and I respond with ‘laa ilaaha illAllah’ and I do not say anything else after, then do not prompt me further. However, if I speak after it, then prompt me again, so that ‘laa ilaaha illAllah’ may be my final words.”18
(c) Shaytaan will try to attack them one last time
When Imam Ahmad (rahimahullah) was dying, his son Abdullah mentioned that he would keep saying “not yet”. When he asked his father why he was saying this, he said “The Shaytaan is standing beside me, biting on his fingertips and saying: O Ahmad, you got away from me, and I am saying: Not yet, not until I die.”19
Some of the scholars mention that sometimes Shaytaan may impersonate someone (e.g their parents), saying that Islam is a false religion etc. Remind them that as long as they are living, Shaytaan will try to test them and take them away from Jannah.8. Dealing with death
Firstly, try to exercise patience and you will be rewarded by Allah . The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
إِنَّمَا الصَّبْرُ عِنْدَ الصَّدْمَةِ الأُولَ
“True patience is only at the first stroke of a calamity.”20
He ﷺ also taught us:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَرْضَى لِعَبْدِهِ الْمُؤْمِنِ إِذَا ذَهَبَ بِصَفِيِّهِ مِنْ أَهْلِ الأَرْضِ فَصَبَرَ وَاحْتَسَبَ وَقَالَ مَا أُمِرَ بِهِ بِثَوَابٍ دُونَ الْجَنَّةِ
“Allah does not approve for His believing slave, if He takes away his loved one from among the people of the Earth, and he bears that with patience and seeks reward, and says that which he is commanded any reward less than Paradise.”21
It is okay and natural for you to cry, but don’t miss out on the opportunity to make dua’ for the deceased. At this time there will be a large number of angels present, and we know that this is a time when dua’s are increasingly accepted. You can say:
إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْنَ، اَللَّهُمَّ أْجُرْنِيْ فِيْ مُصِيْبَتِيْ وَأَخْلِفْ لِيْ خَيْرًا مِنْهَا
“Surely we belong to Allah and to Him we shall return. O Allah, reward me for my affliction and replace it for me with something better.”22
Our mother, Umm Salamah (ranha) said that the Prophet ﷺ taught her this dua’ and said that there will be no one who responds to a calamity by saying this, except that Allah will compensate them with something better than it.
However, this dua’ is largely for yourself. So don’t forget to make dua’ for your loved one who has just returned to Allah .
As well as this, there are multiple other dua’s that you can make for them from the sunnah. You can also make dua’ for them in whatever language you speak, the most important thing is that it is a heartfelt dua’ for them.
It is also important that you ensure their ghusl and janazah are carried out properly, and that you let as many people know as possible so they can attend. This is all outlined in the booklet linked at the end of this document that was written by my Shaykh (حفظه الله). The Prophet of Allah ﷺ said that if 40 good believers attend someone’s janazah, Allah will accept them as intercessors for the deceased.23
There are differences of opinion on whether special times such as Jumu’ah or Ramadan are a sign of the person’s status in the next life, so definitely don’t rely on this. It is widely accepted that a good death involves an act of ibadah (i.e. on the way to do it, during it or it being the last thing they do). You can benefit them insha’Allah by creating a charity fundraising page, for example on Launchgood, to collect funds to go towards something that can be an ongoing source of good deeds for them. This could be something such as a masjid or a water well.
As your loved one embarks on their journey to Allah , remember that we too are going to follow. My Grandmother (الله يرحمها) returned to Allah in September 2022, her last action in this dunya having been performing tayammum. I pray that Allah has mercy on her, forgives her of her shortcomings and that He ﷻ reunites us all with our loved ones in al-Firdaws. May Allah grant us all a good death.
اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْ خَيْرَ عُمْرِي آخِرَهُ ، وَخَيْرَ عَمَلِي خَوَاتِمَهُ ، وَخَيْرَ أَيَّامِي يَوْمَ أَلْقَاكَ
“O Allah, make the end of my life the best part of my life, my best deeds my last ones, make the best of days the day in which I meet you.”24
For further details including what to do after your loved one has passed away such as dua’s you can make for them, how to perform the funeral prayer and the content provided in this article in a whole host of languages from Bangla, to Urdu to Tamil and Malay – please visit https://www.spiritualantidote.com/. You can find this in the “Muslims’ COVID-19 Handbook” and the translations in the more section.
The post The Best Send Off : Prepare Your Loved Ones For The Journey To Allah appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.
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Last week or the week before, a meme went around claiming that women don’t realise how often men think of the Roman empire, which must be at least once a day, and various people examined how often they thought of it. The Roman empire stretched at its peak across three continents, and its legacy is viewed differently in the different countries it occupied. What do these men think of, who think of the Roman empire any number of times a day?
If you have any interest in European history, or European languages, its legacy is all around. Britain has cities that were founded by them, and roads built by them that are still in use today, sometimes as major roads; we all did history at school until the middle of secondary school and we will often have visited museums and maybe even ruins (I certainly visited a lot of Roman ruins on holidays to Mediterranean destinations as a child). I grew up in the suburbs of London and when we did a London history project at school, we visited the Museum of London and the Roman period of London’s history loomed large, even though there isn’t much left of Roman London, or Londinium, except parts of the wall. We really learned nothing of British history between the Romans’ departure and the Tudor era, except for a brief mention of the Norman conquest in 1066; the country was portrayed as having fallen into ruin after the Romans left, with one Saxon king having written a letter to the Romans begging them to come back, but to no avail.
The Romans’ impact on European languages is inescapable. Four of the five major Latin-based languages exist because of it; the Roman Empire is the reason Latin-based languages are spoken anywhere except Italy. Whether because of the empire itself or because of its later use in Christian liturgy (and in no small part in the case of English because of the Normans, who gave England a French-speaking ruling class), Latin (along with Greek, which was the major language in much of the empire and a lingua franca even in Italy then) permeates languages that are not Latin-based, including English and German, and make up the bulk of scholarly, scientific and technical vocabulary in those languages. It was, of course, later colonial empires, those of Britain, France, Spain and Portugal, which spread that influence to much of the rest of the world (hence why so many languages today are written with a modernised Latin alphabet), but none of that would have been possible without the influence of the Roman Empire.
When the Romans made most of their conquests they were polytheists, with some emperors believing or insisting people believe they were gods; later, the Roman Empire became Christian and the Eastern Roman Empire was the standard-bearer of Eastern Orthodoxy until Constantinople (now Istanbul) was conquered by the Turkish Muslims, while in the west German kings styled themselves Holy Roman Emperors, a tradition dating back to the 9th century when the Pope crowned Charlemagne as Roman emperor, which no Roman pope had done for 300 years, until the 19th century when Germany fell to Napoleon’s France and the ruling Hapsburg family were removed to Vienna. Catholics continued to use Latin for their liturgy and their spoken Mass until the 1960s and the Latin Mass was reintroduced under Pope Benedict. The official language of the empire in the east always was Greek, and despite retaining the ‘Roman’ name, the empire once it had lost the western territories we associate with it here in the UK was a Greek-speaking entity. The influence was such that a pre-Ottoman Muslim state in Anatolia (today the Asian part of Turkey) was called the Sultanate of Rum, or Rome. Christianity as we know it, despite the religion’s Judaic origin, was formed by the Roman and Greek church fathers and for centuries its languages were Latin and Greek, not its original Aramaic. The majority of Christians have names that, although sometimes of Hebrew origin, are filtered through Latin and Greek. And where do we get the names Africa and Asia? They were the names of Roman provinces, one in today’s Algeria and one in western Anatolia. They were the parts of those land-masses closest to Europe, in other words.
And then there’s the influence on literature, on philosophy, on politics. The notion of the representative assembly as we know it traces back to the Roman senate; the empire was originally called the Roman Republic, and its citizens were divided into patricians and the plebs (which is singular; individuals are plebeians), both terms still in use today. (Democracy came from Greece, and as originally conceived meant direct democracy, although women and slaves were excluded.) Roman works on politics and philosophy, as well as epics such as Virgil’s Aeneid, are still studied today; Rome has been the setting for more recent works of literature and theatre from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar to Robert Graves’s I, Claudius to films such as Spartacus. And any Christian will be aware of the setting for the mission of Jesus Christ: the Roman occupation of the land of Judaea or Palestine, and the role of the Roman procurator, Pontius Pilate.
So, much as we may have no interest in Roman gods or military regalia, the legacy of Rome is all around us, in our history, our language, our names, our literature, and anyone not living under a rock will be reminded of it once in a while.
Image source: G.Dallorto via Wikimedia.
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