Monday, November 30, 2009

The Road of Da’wah: Roses or Thorns? ( 2)

Assalamualaikum my beloved sisters and brothers,
O My Lord! Open for me my chest (grant me self-confidence) and ease my task for me; and make loose the knot from my tongue so that they understand my speech."
[ Surah Thaha, verse 25-28 ]

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Commanding what is right and forbidding what is wrong (amr bi alma 'ruf wa nahi 'an alnunkar) is an Islamic principle that we should practice to maintain a healthy spiritual life. If we ignore this principle and do not adhere to it, we are considered as dead in spiritual and moral sense. `Abd ullah ibn Mas’ oud narrated that the messenger(sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam ) said: “Do you know who is the living dead? The one who does not command good, nor does he reject munkar.” (saheeh muslim ~also reported by Hudhaifah). The Prophet also said: “The living is the one who commands good and forbids evil, and the one who does not command good and forbid evil is the one who has desires (Hawaa) in his heart.” (Saheeh Al Bukhari, Fath ul Baari).

In our road of da’wah besides love, kindness and patient, we need to seek knowledge about Al Ma’rouf and Al Munkar. It is a requirement of our da’wah that we seek knowledge as if we do any actions without knowledge, it is ignorance. Thus, it is essential to have the knowledge of the reality of Ma’rouf and the reality of Munkar in order to command good and forbid evil for the sake of Allah. Qadi Abu Ya’la said: “He must have knowledge about the Ma’rouf that he wants to command and knowledge about the Munkar he wants to forbid, (he must be) kind when he commands and kind when he forbids, patient when he commands and patient when he forbids.” “We must seek the knowledge about what we are calling for, about whom we are calling and about the way in which we are obliged to call as a pre-requisite for our Da’wah.” (Al Mukhtasar for ibn Qudama A Maqdisi and kitab Al Mu’tamad)

Commanding good and forbidding evil is a responsibility of a believer, it is also an issue of testing our faith and if we ignore it we will be sinful.
Abu Sa'id al-Khudri said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, 'Whoever of you sees something wrong should change it with his hand; if he cannot, then with his tongue; if he cannot, then with his heart, and that is the weakest form of belief.'" [Muslim] . Allah Almighty says, "Let there be a community among you who call to the good, and enjoin the right, and forbid the wrong. They are the ones who have success." (3:104) The Almighty says, "You are the best nation ever to be produced before mankind. You enjoin the right, forbid the wrong." (3:110).
Ubaidallah narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “If Muslims are in a society and they see a munkar while they are greater in number, and they do not change it (the munkar) by their hands, they are sinful.” (Saheeh muslim).

If we ignore and do not forbid those who do evil, we will also be accountable and eventually perish with them, but if we stop them from doing evil, we will have the attributes of believers and we will be successful and be saved, InshaAllah.
An-Nu'man ibn Bashir reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The metaphor of someone who stops at the limits of Allah and someone who transgresses them is that of some people who draw lots on a boat. Some of them get the upper deck and some of them the lower. When those in the lower deck want to get water, they have to pass by those above them. Then they say, 'If we were to make a hole in our deck, we would not have to bother those above us.' If they were to let them do what they wanted, all of them would perish. If they seize hold of their hands and stop them, they will be saved and all of them will be saved." [al-Bukhari].
The Almighty says, "Make allowances for people, command what is right, and turn away from the ignorant," (7:199) and the Almighty says, "The believers, men and women, are friends of one another. They command what is right and forbid what is wrong." (9:71)

Let us mujaahadah and move together on our journey returning to Allah, together seeking His redha and to attain His love and mercy, in order that we can live together in Jannah, inshaAllah.
The sage Fuzali said in one of his sermons:-
“It is strange that you wish to live in Paradise of Firdous and in the neighbourhood of the merciful with the prophets, truthful, martyrs and pious men but what actions have you done for it. What tie of relationship you have united after it was severed what faults of your brother you have forgiven, and which distant persons you have brought near for God.” (Love and brotherhood- Ihya’Ulum-ud-din~ Imam Gazzali)

May Allah forgive us, guide us all in our intention, actions, utterances, writings, etc in our path towards contributing to Islam, nurture love towards fellow Muslims and build unbreakable bonds of brotherhood, commanding what is right and forbidding what is wrong (amr bi alma 'ruf wa nahi 'an alnunkar) with knowledge, inshaAllah

Wallahualam bi shawab

1. Riyad al-Salihin of Imam al-Nawawi
2. Al-Musnadu Al-Sahihu bi Naklil Adli
3. al-Jaami’ al-Sahih al-Musnad al-Mukhtasar min Umur Rasool Allah wa sunanihi wa Ayyamihi.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Friendship for the sake of Allah abides in purity and sealed with modesty (hayaa’)

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Friendship that abides in purity and sealed with modesty is a unique relationship qualified for those who have mutual love for the sake of Allah. It is a relationship build on Islamic standards of purity and modesty which can protect us from being deceived and destroyed slowly by the poisonous arrow that can ruin our dignity as true muslims. It is also a relationship which makes us aware of our limits as a believer when we interact with someone who is non-mahram , avoiding fitnah and closing the doors that lead to fornication of the eyes, ears, tongue, heart. Moreover,it is a friendship that will be rewarded by Allah. However to reach the stage of pure love only for the sake of Allah is difficult. Only few people can attain such a friendship, that is why Allah rewards them highly for their good deed .

Mu`adh (bin Jabal) (radhiallahu 'anhu ) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said, "Allah, the Exalted, has said: `For those who love one another for the sake of My Glory, there will be seats of light (on the Day of Resurrection), and they will be envied by the Prophets and martyrs". [Tirmidhi]

Abu Hurayrah (radhiallahu 'anhu ) reported:
The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said, "On the day of resurrection, Allah, the Exalted, will say, ‘Where are those who have mutual love for the sake of My Glory? Today I shall shelter them in My shade when there will be no shade except Mine." [Reported by Muslim]

Friendship for the sake of Allah abides in purity as it is based upon a sincere purpose for seeking the pleasure of Allah which brings about the love of Allah for the slave. Abu Hurayrah (radhiallahu 'anhu ) narrated that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said, 'A man went to visit a brother of his in another village. Allah sent an Angel to wait for him on the road. When the man came, the Angel asked him, 'Where do you intend to go?' He said, 'I am going to visit a brother of mine who lives in this village.' The Angel asked, 'Have you done him any favor (for which you are now seeking repayment)?' He said, 'No, I just love him for the sake of Allah.' The Angel told him, 'I am a messenger to you from Allah, sent to tell you that He (Allah) Loves you as you love your brother for His sake.' [Saheeh Muslim]

Friendship for the sake of Allah which is sealed with hayaa’ (modesty) will be protected by Allah as Allah loves hayaa’.
" Surely Allah (is One who) has hayaa’ and is the Protector. He loves hayaa’ and people who cover each others faults."(Bukhari)
Hayaa’ is one of the characteristics of Islam so as believers we should have the quality in us.
"Every way of life has a innate character. The character of Islam is hayaa’." Or "Every Deen has an innate character. The character of Islam is modesty (hayaa’)." (Abu Dawood)
Hayaa’ brings goodness as beloved Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: "Hayaa’ does not bring anything except good." (Bukhari)
Hayaa’ is a very clear indication of our Iman. As the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) had mentioned to the Ansar who was condemning is brother about being shy: "Leave him, for Hayaa’ is (a part) of Faith." (Bukhari)
And hayaa’ leads us to PARADISE. As the Prophet ( sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam )told us: "Hayaa’ comes from Iman; Iman leads to Paradise. Obscenity comes from antipathy; and antipathy leads to the fire." (Bukhari)

Let us try to attain a pure friendship sealed with modesty for the sake of Allah by keep seeking Allah’s guidance through our daily prayers.

“When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me: let them also, with a will, listen to My call, and believe in Me: that they may walk in the right way”. ( Translation of Surah : Al-Baqarah 2:186)

The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: "Hayaa’ and trustworthiness will be the first to go from this world; therefore keep asking Allah for them." (Baihaqi)

Wallahualam bi shawab

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Virtues of the Day of Arafaah

This Thursday November 26th 2009 will be the Day of Arafah (9th of Dhul Hijjah 1430).

What should we do? FAST (for those Not preforming Hajj)
Why Fast? Fasting on this day is an expiation of sins for two years
What are the Virtues of the Day of Arafaah ?

Praise be to Allaah.

1. It is the day on which the religion was perfected and Allaah’s Favour was completed.
In Al-Saheehayn it was reported from ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) that a Jewish man said to him, “O Ameer al-Mu’mineen, there is an aayah in your Book which you recite; if it had come to us Jews, we would have taken that day as an ‘Eid (festival).” ‘Umar said, “Which aayah?” He said: “This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” [al-Maa’idah 5:3 – interpretation of the meaning]. ‘Umar said, “We know on which day and in which place that was revealed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). It was when he was standing in ‘Arafaah on a Friday.”

2. It is a day of Eid for the people who are in that place.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Yawm ‘Arafaah (the day of ‘Arafaah), Yawm al-Nahr (the Day of Sacrifice) and Ayyaam al-Tashreeq (the 3 days following Yawm al-Nahr) are Eid (festival) for us, the people of Islam. These are days of eating and drinking.” This was narrated by the authors of al-Sunan. It was reported that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab said: “It – i.e., the aayah ‘This day I have perfected…’ was revealed on a Friday, the Day of ‘Arafaah, both of which – praise be to Allaah – are Eids for us.”

3. It is a day by which Allaah swore an oath.
The Almighty cannot swear by anything except that which is mighty. Yawm ‘Arafaah is the “witnessed day” mentioned in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):

“By the witnessing day [Friday] and by the witnessed day [the Day of ‘Arafaah].” [al-Burooj 85:3].

It was reported from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The promised day is the Day of Resurrection, the witnessed day is the Day of ‘Arafaah, and the witnessing day is Friday.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani.

It is the “odd” [i.e., odd-numbered, Witr] by which Allaah swore in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):

“And by the even and the odd” [al-Fajr 89:3]. Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “The even is the Day of al-Adhaa [i.e., 10th Dhoo’l-Hijjah] and the odd is the Day of ‘Arafaah [i.e., 9th Dhoo’l-Hijjah] This is also the view of ‘Ikrimah and al-Dahhaak.

4. Fasting on this day is an expiation for two years.
It was reported from Abu Qutaadah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was asked about fasting on the Day of ‘Arafaah. He said, “It expiates for the sins of the previous year and of the coming year.” Narrated by Muslim.

This (fasting) is mustahabb for those who are not on Hajj. In the case of the one who is on Hajj, it is not Sunnah for him to fast on the Day of ‘Arafaah, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not fast on this day in ‘Arafaah. It was narrated that he forbade fasting on the Day of ‘Arafaah in ‘Arafaah.

5. It is the day on which Allaah took the covenant from the progeny of Adam.
It was reported that Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah took the covenant from the loins of Adam in Na’maan, i.e., ‘Arafaah. He brought forth from his loins all his offspring and spread them before Him, then He addressed them, and said: ‘Am I not your Lord? They said, ‘Yes, we testify,’ let you should say on the Day of Resurrection: ‘Verily, we have been unaware of this.’ Or lest you should say: ‘It was only our fathers aforetime who took others as partners in worship along with Allaah, and we were (merely their) descendents after them; will You then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practised Al-Baatil (i.e., ploytheism and committing crimes and sins, invoking and worshipping others besides Allaah)?’ [al-A’raaf 7:172-173 – interpretation of the meaning].” Narrated by Ahmad and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani. And there is no greater day than this and no greater covenant than this.

6. It is the day of forgiveness of sins, freedom from the Fire and pride in the people who are there:
In Saheeh Muslim it was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is no day on which Allaah frees more people from the Fire than the Day of ‘Arafaah. He comes close and expresses His pride to the angels, saying, ‘What do these people want?’”

It was reported from Ibn ‘Umar that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah expresses His pride to His angels at the time of ‘Ishaa’ on the Day of ‘Arafaah, about the people of ‘Arafaah. He says, ‘Look at My slaves who have come unkempt and dusty.’” Narrated by Ahmad and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani.

And Allaah knows best.
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

Thursday, November 19, 2009

orang yang bijaksana

Menjadi insan yang bijaksana adalah impian setiap pelajar, namun begitu, perlu ada niat yang suci, usaha dengan berbekalkan ilmu, menjalani kehidupan dengan penuh kesabaran dan memastikan agar cinta akhirat lebih daripada cinta dunia.

Sabda Rasulullah S.A.W "Barangsiapa Menuju Suatu Jalan Untuk Mencari Ilmu, Nescaya Allah Akan Memudahkan Baginya Suatu Jalan Menuju Ke Syurga"(Riwayat Muslim)

Syd.Othman Ibnu Affan Rha. berkata:
Antara tanda-tanda orang yang bijaksana itu ialah:
• Hatinya selalu berniat suci
• Lidahnya selalu basah dengan zikrullah
• Kedua matanya menangis kerana penyesalan (terhadap dosa)
• Segala perkara dihadapainya dengan sabar dan tabah
• Mengutamakan kehidupan akhirat daripada kehidupan dunia"

Oh, if a tree could wander
and move with foot and wings!
It would not suffer the axe blows
and not the pain of saws!
For would the sun not wander
away in every night ?
How could at ev?ry morning
the world be lighted up?
And if the ocean?s water
would not rise to the sky,
How would the plants be quickened
by streams and gentle rain?
The drop that left its homeland,
the sea, and then returned ?
It found an oyster waiting
and grew into a pearl.
Did Yusaf not leave his father,
in grief and tears and despair?
Did he not, by such a journey,
gain kingdom and fortune wide?
Did not the Prophet travel
to far Medina, friend?
And there he found a new kingdom
and ruled a hundred lands.
You lack a foot to travel?
Then journey into yourself!
And like a mine of rubies
receive the sunbeams? print!
Out of yourself ? such a journey
will lead you to your self,
It leads to transformation
of dust into pure gold!

Source: Look! This is Love - Poems of Rumi
~ Annemarie Schimmel

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sufi quotes by Rabia Al-Adawiyah

May God steal from you all that steals you away from Him.

–Rabia Al-Adawiyah

Sufi quotes by Rabia Al-Adawiyah

Let me hide in You
From everything that distracts me from You,
From everything that comes in my way
When I want to run to You.

–Rabia Al-Adawiyah

Poem by Rabia Al-Adawiyah

With my Beloved I alone have been,
When secrets tenderer than evening airs
Passed, and the Vision blest
Was granted to my prayers,
That crowned me, else obscure, with endless fame;
The while amazed between
His Beauty and His Majesty
I stood in silent ecstasy
Revealing that which o’er my spirit went and came.
Lo, in His face commingled
Is every charm and grace;
The whole of Beauty singled
Into a perfect face
Beholding Him would cry,
‘There is no God but He, and He is the most High.’

~Rabia Al-Adawiyah

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hope in Allah's Love and Mercy

Life is full of challenges
so be strong and steadfast
in all our steps we take
as our days may pass with pain,
sorrow may melt our comfort
like the rain without the sun

So remember Allah
and never give up our hope
as there is comfort after sorrow
smile after tears
when He shine our pathway of life
with The Light of Truth
and with His Everlasting Love and Mercy

~nur sakinah thomas
8th November 2009

May Allah grant us the ability

May Allah grant us the ability
to make true love grow
in our hearts because
where there is true love
there are always miracles................

May Allah grant us the ability
to gain insight from
Rumi's message of LOVE
so that we may love one another for the sake of Allah........

with love and du'as


View more presentations from E Saleh.

In the name of love for Allah

Let the seeds of love
grow in your heart,
with the ray of sun
glittering the drops of rain
bringing warmth and comfort
creating happiness and inner peace
deep in the heart
in the name of love for Allah

The budding flowers of love
beginning to bloom gracefully
through rain or shine
it never withers
believing there is rainbow
after the heaviest downpour
trusting there is dawn
after the the darkest night
bringing the light of tranquility
in the name of love for Allah..........

nur sakinah
8th November,2009

There is a Soul inside your Soul.

There is a Soul inside your Soul.
Search that Soul.
There is a jewel in the mountain of body.
Look for the mine of that jewel.
Oh, Sufi, passing by,
Search inside if you can, not outside.

Prayer of Forgiveness by Hasan al-Basri

Prayer of Forgiveness by Hasan al-Basri
Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“O Allah, I seek your forgiveness for every sin for which I presented my repentance before You; and regarding which I stood before You swearing an oath in Your name and called Your friends from among Your servants to be my witnesses – that I would never return to disobeying You.

But when Satan with his cunning tempted me to return to it; and Your forsaking me [due to Your anger over my impiety] caused me to [despairingly] waver toward it; and my lower self invited me to disobey You once more; I hid myself in shame from Your servants, but openly and daringly committed sins before You, though I knew full well that no covering nor any closed door could conceal me from You and no veil could hide me from Your sight.

I still defied You by disobediently doing what You had prohibited to me; but [despite my iniquity], You did not remove Your covering from me, but rather treated me equal to Your pious servants, as though I had always been an obedient servant and swift to fulfill Your every command and fearful of Your warnings.

I remained obscure in front of Your servants, and none besides You knew my secret. You did not single me out from Your servants with a mark of disgrace, but instead showered upon me blessings like theirs; and with this You distinguished me over them as though I were, in Your sight, of a status like theirs. All this was owing only of Your forbearance and abundant blessings – generous grace from You to me. For You then, O my Lord, belongs all praise.

I ask from You, O Allah, just as You have covered my evil deeds in this world, that You do not humiliate me with them on the Day of Judgment. Forgive my sins, O Most Merciful of the merciful!”

- One of the most eloquent of the seventy prayers
in the book Prayers for Forgiveness by Hasan al-Basri

The Meaning of Love by Rumi

"Both light and shadow
are the dance of Love.

Love has no cause;
it is the astrolabe of God’s secrets.

Lover and Loving are inseparable
and timeless.

Although I may try to describe Love
when I experience it I am speechless.

Although I may try to write about Love
I am rendered helpless;
my pen breaks and the paper slips away
at the ineffable place
where Lover, Loving and Loved are one.

Every moment is made glorious
by the light of Love."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Seeking Knowledge Until Death

Seeking Knowledge Until Death
From the Life and Works of al-Imâm Ahmad
From a lecture by Shaykh Salih aalish-Shaykh

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the All-Merciful,

Imâm Ahmad had two sons, 'Abdullâh and Sâlih, whom were half-brothers. Sâlih relates that:
"A man saw my father carrying a mihbarah (a wooden inkwell that students used to carry along with their pens) and said, 'O Abâ 'Abdillâh! You are the Imâm of the Muslims!' "
This man spoke like this since he was surprised to see Imâm Ahmad carrying his mihbarah as the young students would carry it, or indeed that he would still read books, or shoulder the same responsibilities that the youth did. Note also how all the people were fascinated by him (by Imâm Ahmad), even the elders of the people!
Imâm Ahmad replied with a statement that nullified this man's whole understanding. He said:
"I will be with the mihbarah all the way to the maqbarah (graveyard)."
What did he mean? He meant, "I will be busy with knowledge until I die."
Another narration mentions that he said this same statement on a separate occasion to another group of people:
"As for me, I will seek knowledge until I am placed in the grave."
When the time of his death came near, he said to those around him:
"Relate to me the statement of Hushaym." (Hushaym was Hushaym ibn Bashîr, Imâm Ahmad's first teacher. He met him in the year 179AH, when he began seeking knowledge at the age of 16) So they read to him what he had requested. This narrated tradition mentioned that Ibn Sîrîn used to dislike a person groaning from pain. At that time, Imâm Ahmad had became very ill and he used to groan due to the pain yet when they informed him that Ibn Sîrîn used to dislike groaning at such a time, he did not groan again until he died.
This is the reality of his statement, "I will seek knowledge until I am placed in the grave," meaning, "I must continue benefiting from knowledge."
So if you have left your youth behind and become a teacher or an educator, or a lecturer or professor in the university, or an author, and you say, "I have finished seeking knowledge," know that this is the situation of someone who does not know the reality of his affairs.
Al-'Ilm is knowledge of what? It is knowledge of the Speech of Allah and the speech of His Messenger, peace be upon him. Has anyone reached a level of awareness of the meanings of the Speech of Allah and His Messenger, peace be upon him, and also the statements of the scholars explaining the Book and the sunnah, a level of awareness that is sufficient?
No one has reached that level. No one who has the right intention and a proper heart has reached that level. Regarding this, Imâm Ahmad said, "With the mihbarah all the way to the maqbarah." He was addressing everyone, advising us to continue seeking knowledge and not to give it up for any petty reason.
In the study circles of our mosques we have seen a great number of students who are eager to learn for two months, and then they abandon it. Three months or so only. What is this?! Some of them seek knowledge for 3, 4, 5, or 7 years and then they abandon it.
Why is that? Is it because the lure of the world has come to you, so you are finished and now you head off into the world? Is it because a position was offered to you and you took it? Is it because you have reached a certain status, you have become a school director or professor in the university? For this you reason you have stopped seeking knowledge? No! You must continue seeking knowledge until you die. This is what will correct the society's problems, if their scholars take this advice. As for the students of knowledge, then they must hold fast to this advice, "With the mihbarah all the way to the maqbarah."
He must stay with his book until he dies - reading, learning, memorizing, reviewing, teaching, until his end.
What are the people saying these days? "The rulings related to prayer, we know them, no problem." If you asked them about many of the rulings, you will find that they do not know them. Why is that? It is because they have become satisfied with the knowledge they have, even delighted that they have the knowledge they have. We ask Allah that He excuses us and that He is pleased with us.
If you asked them about affairs even greater than the prayer, issues of creed, issues of tawhîd, you will find that they have not fully grasped the issues, and they used to be students of knowledge! Why is that? Because they were negligent, and thus abandoned it.
Knowledge is honor, if you abandon it, it will abandon you. If you take the task seriously, you will be given some of it, from what Allah has decreed for you.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sunshine Follows the Rain Lessons from Al-Isra and Al-Miraj

By Idris Tawfiq
Very often in life we go through periods of trial or great sadness, only to look back on them later and see that they were followed by great happiness or periods of growth. There is a saying in English that "sunshine follows the rain".

In the tenth year after the first revelation of the Quran, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) suffered greatly. First of all, his uncle Abu Talib died. He had loved the Prophet dearly and had protected him from the attacks and the ridicule of the Quraish. To Muhammad, it was a very severe blow.

Then another tragedy followed. His beloved wife, Khadijah, the mother of his children and his friend and companion who had supported him with love and care as Islam grew and spread, died. Muhammad was grief stricken at such a loss.

It was after both of these events that Allah Almighty granted His Prophet an extraordinary favor. Out of the darkness of loss, he was given a great joy and a great confirmation of his role as Messenger.

In the Quran we read what means:

{Glory to Allah who did take His Servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Furthest Mosque whose precincts We did bless, in order that We might show him some of Our Signs. For Allah hears and sees all things.} (Al-Israa' 17:1)

In Arabic we call this al-Isra and al-Miraj (The Night Journey and Ascension). It is one of the most extraordinary events to have happened. Allah took Prophet Muhammad on a night journey from the Kabah in Makkah to Jerusalem and then led him through the seven heavens almost to the very throne of Allah Himself.

Muslims celebrate this blessed favor on the 27th night of the month of Rajab.

It began when the Angel Jibreel (Gabriel) descended and woke Muhammad from sleep with Buraq, an animal larger than an ass and smaller than a donkey, which could reach the farthest horizon in just one stride. (Al-Bukhari)

They travelled to the mosque in Jerusalem and Muhammad tethered the animal outside the mosque, as all former Prophets had tethered theirs before him. Muhammad then entered the mosque to find assembled there all the former prophets who had ever lived, and he led them in prayer. What a moment of special honor, that Muhammad should stand in front of such an assembly and lead them.

Jibreel then led him from the place we now call the Dome of the Rock and they began to ascend through the seven heavens, encountering former prophets along the way.

In the first level of heaven, Muhammad met Prophet Adam (peace be upon him), who greeted him with As-salamu alaykum. Muhammad replied Wa alaykum as-salam and Adam confirmed that Muhammad was indeed the Messenger of Allah. He also looked to his right and smiled and then looked to his left and wept. Those on his right were the believers and those who caused him to weep were the unbelievers. (Al-Bukhari)

They then moved on to the second level of heaven, where Jibreel asked for the door to be opened and they were greeted with As-salamu alaykum by the prophets Yahya (John the Baptist) and his cousin Isa (Jesus). Muhammad once again returned their greeting and they confirmed that he was the Messenger of Allah.

On the third level Muhammad was greeted by Prophet Yusuf (Joseph), on the fourth level he was greeted by Prophet Idris, and on the fifth level of heaven he was greeted by Harun (Aaron), the brother of Musa (Moses). He returned their greetings and all three Prophets confirmed that Muhammad was the Messenger of Allah.

On the sixth level of heaven Muhammad was met by Prophet Moses who greeted him with a sign of peace and testified that he was the Messenger of Allah. After this, Moses began to weep. He said that he was sad because a younger man had been commissioned as a prophet after him and that man's followers would enter heaven in greater numbers than his own.

When Muhammad reached the seventh heaven he was met and greeted by Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham), who declared that Muhammad was the Messenger of Allah. Abraham (peace be upon him) was resting against Al-Bayt Al-Mamur, a House of Worship around which circumambulate seventy thousand different angels every day.

After this, Muhammad was led to a most beautiful tree in heaven known as Sidrat Al-Muntaha, whose leaves were the size of elephants' ears and which was covered by golden moths.

The final part of this extraordinary revelation was to be the greatest of all. No man can look upon the face of Allah Almighty, since He is so great and beyond our comprehension, but Muhammad was taken to within a very close distance to the throne of Allah Himself.

Allah Almighty informed His servant that it was now obligatory on all Muslims to perform prayers fifty times a day. After this, Muhammad was led away by Jibreel, no doubt staggered by all that had been revealed to him.

As he was being led away, the Prophet was stopped by Moses, who asked what he had been told by Allah. When Moses was told about the obligation to perform fifty prayers, he said that this was too much and was beyond the capacity of any man, so Muhammad should go back and ask that the number of prayers be made less. (Al-Bukhari)

Prophet Muhammad returned to the throne of Allah and asked if the number of prayers could be made less. Allah granted his request and said that the number of prayers obligatory each day should be ten. Moses again said that this was too many and urged Muhammad to return and ask that the obligation be made less.

This time, Allah Almighty reduced the number of obligatory prayers to five each day. Upon seeing Moses again, Moses urged him to ask that the obligation be lightened even more, since the Children of Israel had been asked to do less than this but were unable to fulfill their obligations.

Prophet Muhammad declared that he felt ashamed to ask more from Allah. At that moment, he heard a voice declares, "I have enforced My obligation and made it light for My servants. He who prays these five prayers will be rewarded as if he had prayed fifty. What I decree cannot be changed."

With this the Night Journey and Ascension were over. Muhammad returned to Makkah the next morning and narrated all that had happened to him. When some of the Quraish heard what he said they laughed out loud, calling him a madman.

Those who had visited Jerusalem asked him to describe it, trying to catch him out, but he was able to describe the place perfectly. He was also able to tell them of a caravan which he had seen travelling from Jerusalem to Makkah, with exact details of the number of camels and what they were carrying.

The very same caravan arrived in Makkah when he said it would, but even this was not enough to persuade those who refused to believe.

For ourselves, we can take the words of Abu Bakr, the Prophet's closest companion and the one who would succeed him as leader of the Muslims, as an explanation of what had happened. "If he said so, it must be true."

These words of total trust in Prophet Muhammad earned Abu Bakr the title As-Siddiq, one who believes. It is enough for us, too, to accept from our Prophet what he tells us to be true. If only we were as prompt in listening to what he tells us.

As we try our best each day to live as good Muslims, let us rejoice that our beloved Prophet was confirmed as Allah's Messenger by all previous Prophets. Let us rejoice that we have been given the gift of five prayers each day, and that we receive the reward of praying fifty prayers if we perform them well.

And let us resolve to listen attentively to whatever our Prophet says. If he said so, it must be true.
Idris Tawfiq is a British writer who became Muslim a few years ago. Previously, he was head of religious education in different schools in the United Kingdom. Before embracing Islam, he was a Roman Catholic priest. He now lives in Egypt



The Qur'an states: "If someone shuts his eyes to the remembrance of the All-Merciful, We assign him a satan who becomes his bosom friend." (Surat az-Zukhruf, 36)

Allah reveals that those who turn their backs on religion become the friends of Satan. In another verse this fact is set out in these words: "Children of Adam! Do not let satan tempt you into trouble as He expelled your parents from the Garden, stripping them of their covering and disclosing to them their private parts. He and his tribe see you from where you do not see them. We have made the demons friends of those who do not believe." (Surat al-A'raf, 27) Satan brings those he makes friends with under his control and directs them in the ways of his own loathsome moral values.

People who win the friendship of satan instead of the approval of Allah are deprived of a great many blessings. One of these losses is the way that such people never have true friends. Friendship is a blessing given by our Lord to those who take Him as their friend. As revealed in the verse, "Your friend is only Allah and His Messenger and those who believe: those who perform prayer and give the alms, and bow." (Surat al-Ma'ida, 55), Allah grants these people the friendship of devout believers.

Satan's friendship, on the other hand, leaves a person permanently alone. That is because satan tells those he adopts as friends that lies, deviance, rebellion, denial and hatred are pleasant things. People under the influence of satan approach those around them with just that moral understanding. They will primarily act according to their own interests and agenda. Such a person's best friend is him or herself. It is therefore impossible for such people to build true and permanent friendships as alluded to in the Qur'an.

In a society which does not live by the moral values of the Qur'an, it is very hard to find a reliable and sincere friend from whom to seek help, to whom to entrust property or valuables or money or to confide in. Furthermore, this situation has become so widely accepted that many regard it as an immutable fact of life.

It is impossible for people to be at ease in such an insecure environment. That is because even when a friend seems to have been found, there always exists the danger that these "friends" may in fact be acting out of self-interest. This scenario is therefore far removed from true friendship. Some people look upon one another with envy in relation to jobs, cars or homes which they may covet. They may wish to achieve superiority over the other. They therefore take advantage of even the slightest opportunity to locate each others' weaknesses and rise above one another.

People who behave with such an understanding are aware that they are living in a most untrustworthy and insincere environment. They are perfectly aware that they have no friends in the true sense of the word. Yet since they fail to seek a solution by living by the moral values of the Qur'an, they are unable to escape their predicament. Neither will these people who fail to turn to the true path have any friends in the Hereafter. They will find the same uneasy, insincere, insecure environment they experienced in the world but multiplied many times over in the Hereafter. The position in the Hereafter of those who take satan as their friend in this world is revealed by our Lord:

Therefore here today he has no friend. (Surat al-Haqqa, 35)

They will be bundled into it head first, they and the misled, and every one of Iblis's regiments. Arguing in it with one another, they will say: "By Allah, we were plainly misguided when we equated you with the Lord of all the worlds. It was only the evildoers who misguided us and now we have no one to intercede for us; we do not have a single loyal friend." (Surat ash-Shu'ara', 94-101)

Believers' friendships with one another are very powerful and long-lasting. That is because it is their sincere faith in and fear of Allah which bring believers together and make friends out of them. As revealed by our Lord in the verse:

"Hold fast to the rope of Allah all together, and do not separate. Remember Allah's blessing to you when you were enemies and He joined your hearts together so that you became brothers by His blessing. You were on the very brink of a pit of the Fire and He rescued you from it. In this way Allah makes His signs clear to you, so that hopefully you will be guided." (Surah Al 'Imran, 103)

Believers are brothers. For that reason, the friendship based on faith continues, by the will of Allah, both in this world and for ever in the life of the Hereafter.

"Whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger will be with those whom Allah has blessed: the prophets, the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous. What excellent company such people are!" (Surat an-Nisa', 69)