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Eid, in times of fitnah V

وَتِلۡكَ ٱلۡأَيَّامُ نُدَاوِلُهَا بَيۡنَ ٱلنَّاسِ وَلِيَعۡلَمَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَيَتَّخِذَ مِنكُمۡ شُهَدَآءَۗ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلظَّٰلِمِينَ

… And so are the days (good and not so good), We give to men by turns, that Allah may test those who believe… Qur’an 3 Verse 140

Eid as a child
From the days leading up to the Eid, there would be so much excitement and euphoria in the air. Getting all the fineries and adornments ready, even the car was not left out. We had special car seat covers used only on Eid days.

From piling into the car on the morning of the Eid, to reciting the takbeerat aloud to setting out early to get a good parking spot, the adrenaline kept flowing. There was only one Eid ground in Ibadan aptly named Yidi (Al-Eid) and you had to arrive early to get in.

Arriving at Yidi and seeing the swarms of worshipers, the vendors with all manners of wares for sale, the masaakin and the fuqaraa expectant of Allaah’s bounties, only heightened the joy and euphoria of Eid. The climax would be the blaring of sirens signaling the arrival of the Muslim governor and the prayer would start shortly after.

Eid as a bride
I remember my first Eid as a bride with my new family in a new town. Everything felt so quiet, the rush of adrenaline was missing. Theirs was a much smaller family and though my bff, Shariifah, had come round to help prep for Eid, it didn’t quite feel the same.

The biggest shock however was arriving at the Eid ground and realizing it was just a tiny school compound and the sermon was in a language I did not even understand – Hausa.

Eid as a migrant
New destination, new culture. Eid prayer was offered immediately after Ishraaq here, could be as early as 5:40am depending on the season. You snooze and you miss it.

As we hurry to the musalla, the sound of the takbeerat from every high and low place filled your heart with joy. But after the prayer, you’d find yourself surrounded by generations of families – grandmas, aunts, daughters, sisters, nieces – hugging and exchanging greetings and pleasantries and suddenly you find your eyes filling with tears, missing your own extended family back home.

Eid in times of fitnah
And then they were only two! No crowds, no fanfare, no rush of adrenaline as you hurry to the Eid ground, no khutbah said, no sadaqah handed out afterwards, no pleasantries exchanged, nothing. Just us, in our courtyard, observing the two rakaats.

Eid in the future?
Will we be back at the Eid grounds? Or will be staying safe in our homes? Or will we be frail and ill in the hospital? Or will the certainty have come to us?

وَٱعۡبُدۡ رَبَّكَ حَتَّىٰ يَأۡتِيَكَ ٱلۡيَقِينُ

And worship your Lord until there comes unto you the certainty (i.e. death). Qur’an 15 Verse 99.

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Ramadhaan, in times of fitnah IV

What plans had you made for Ramadhaan? 

Had you finally saved up enough to visit the house of your Lord for Umrah this year, yearning to respond to the call of Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him?

Had you dreamed of spending your days in i’tikaf in Masjid Nabawi, reminiscing that many noble companions before you had worshiped on the same land?

Had you committed to seeking out a masjid, where the imam would complete the recitation of the Qur’aan meticulously in taraaweh, from alBaqarah to anNaas?

Had you spearheaded the tafseer program in your local masjid, put the logistics in motion so that the well-versed scholar would be there, every evening to inspire the congregation?

Had you signed up for the iftar fundraising campaign, to ensure that all the needy and not so needy in the neighborhood would get a hearty meal every iftar?

Have all these well laid, sincere plans suddenly gone up in smoke? I remember a time when my best laid plans went awry, nothing close to this magnitude but it did seem monumental to a young me back then.

وَإِنَّا بِفِرَاقِكَ يَا مدّثّر لَمَحْزُونُون

I was attending the KBC – Knowledge Builder Course in Lagos and Brother Niyi had kindly agreed to host me for its duration. So not only was I going to have the opportunity to learn my deen by the day, I was also going to be able to continue learning in the evening at his home and as it turned out, I also got to learn even in the depths of the night.

I remember waking up in the last third of the night. As I stepped out of the room in our (ladies and kids) side of the house, I could hear his voice reciting sonorously and meticulously from the living room. He had already started his tahajjud and I remember wishing that I’d marry a man who would remember His lord in the depths of the night like he did. May Allaah forgive him, widen his grave, grant an excellent abode in hereafter, accept all his good deeds and reward him with jannatul-firdaus, aamiin. He did go on to match me with my husband so… : )

Just as I was settling in and soaking up all the knowledge and practice of the deen as much as I could, my abdomen starting hurting badly and I’d wince in pain while laughing. I spoke to my mum on the phone about it and she asked that I come back home. I tried to convince her that I could bear it till the end of KBC but she insisted. And so my sojourn came to an abrupt end. Got home, did all the tests and abdominal scan, and I was just fine, nothing was wrong with me.

Had I given up the experience and lost out on the reward for a pain that was almost phantom? Have you lost out on the deeds and the reward from all the plans you have given up to comply with the restrictions?

No! Rather for you is the reward for that which you already put forth as Allaah assures us:

Verily! As for those who believe and do righteous deeds, certainly! We shall not suffer to be lost the reward of anyone who does his (righteous) deeds in the most perfect manner.

And also, for you is the reward for that which you had intended but hadn’t even acted upon:

“Allah decreed good deeds and bad deeds, then He explained that. Whoever thinks of doing a good deed then does not do it, Allah will write it down as one complete good deed. If he thinks of doing a good deed and then does it, Allah will write it down between ten and seven hundred fold, or many more”. Al-Bukhari 6491

How generous is our Lord who magnifies the reward of His slaves. Verily our Lord is the Most Magnificent, The Most Generous, The Most Loving, The Rich, The Benefactor, The Bestower. Glory be to Him, for HE is the Best of those who give.

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In times of fitnah III

At the very beginning of this gregorian year 2020, the idea of a World War 3 was trending. America had just assassinated Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani and Iran was threatening to retaliate vehemently. With both countries being nuclear powers, there were speculations of a brutal war erupting and our lives being torpedoed in the process. Things died down between the two countries, everyone sighed in relief and life went back to normal. Little did we know, that a war was already underway.

A war by the almighty, Al Azeez, alJabbar. A war He had warned us about several times in the Qur’aan but we turned away in heedlessness:

أَمۡ أَمِنتُم مَّن فِي ٱلسَّمَآءِ أَن يُرۡسِلَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ حَاصِبٗاۖ فَسَتَعۡلَمُونَ كَيۡفَ نَذِيرِ

Or do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven, will not send against you a violent whirlwind? Then you shall know how has been My Warning? Suuratul Mulk verse 17

A war being waged upon us by the soldiers of Allaah, soldiers so minuscule that we can not see them with our eyes, but yet their effect has just been as devastating.

A war which started in China in 2019 but has since swept swiftly across the globe, infecting approximately 1.5 million and killing 100 thousand people worldwide to date.

A war by soldiers about whom Allaah says in Suuratul Muddathir, verse 31:

وَمَا يَعۡلَمُ جُنُودَ رَبِّكَ إِلَّا هُوَۚ وَمَا هِيَ إِلَّا ذِكۡرَىٰ لِلۡبَشَرِ

And none can know the soldiers of your Lord but He. And this is nothing else than a (warning) reminder to mankind.

A war by soldiers that do not distinguish between the rich and the poor, the lofty and the lowly, the believer and the disbeliever, the young and the old, rather they afflict whomever Allaah decrees:

وَٱتَّقُواْ فِتۡنَةٗ لَّا تُصِيبَنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ مِنكُمۡ خَآصَّةٗۖ وَٱعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ شَدِيدُ ٱلۡعِقَابِ

And fear the fitnah which affects not in particular (only) those of you who do wrong, and know that Allah is Severe in punishment. Suuratul Anfal, verse 25

A war by soldiers unwavering in their obedience to Allaah, like the angels described in Suuratul Tahrim, verse 6:

يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ قُوٓاْ أَنفُسَكُمۡ وَأَهۡلِيكُمۡ نَارٗا وَقُودُهَا ٱلنَّاسُ وَٱلۡحِجَارَةُ عَلَيۡهَا مَلَٰٓئِكَةٌ غِلَاظٞ شِدَادٞ لَّا يَعۡصُونَ ٱللَّهَ مَآ أَمَرَهُمۡ وَيَفۡعَلُونَ مَا يُؤۡمَرُونَ

O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a fire whose fuel is men and stones, over which are angels stern severe, who disobey not, the commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded.

A war, the effects of which are beginning to take a toll; hospitals and medical personnel are overwhelmed, workers are getting the boot or paycuts, vendors are starving from loss of daily income, students and parents are at their wits end and the list goes on. So how does this war end?

Allaah narrates to us a similar situation faced by the three companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, who stayed away from the Tabuk expedition in Suuratul Tawbah verse 118:

وَعَلَى ٱلثَّلَٰثَةِ ٱلَّذِينَ خُلِّفُواْ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا ضَاقَتۡ عَلَيۡهِمُ ٱلۡأَرۡضُ بِمَا رَحُبَتۡ وَضَاقَتۡ عَلَيۡهِمۡ أَنفُسُهُمۡ وَظَنُّوٓاْ أَن لَّا مَلۡجَأَ مِنَ ٱللَّهِ إِلَّآ إِلَيۡهِ ثُمَّ تَابَ عَلَيۡهِمۡ لِيَتُوبُوٓاْۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ هُوَ ٱلتَّوَّابُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ

And (He did forgive also) the three who were left behind, till for them the earth, vast as it is, was straitened and their ownselves were straitened to them, and they perceived that there is no fleeing from Allah, and no refuge but with Him. Then, He accepted their repentance, that they might repent. Verily, Allah is the One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful.

So, there is no refuge or fleeing from Allaah and His war except to Allaah. Therefore, let us hasten to repentance and returning to Allaah, verily He is atTawwaab – the one who accepts repentance, al’Afuww – the oft pardoning, alGhafuur – the Forgiving, arRaheem – the Most Merciful and to Him belongs the most beautiful names.

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In times of fitnah II

After the annulment of the June 12 presidential election, the resulting political instabilities in Nigeria during Abacha’s regime in 1993/94, created an acute scarcity of petroleum by-products; the shortage of kerosene led to the ingenious Abacha stove, while shortage of petrol and the riots led to people being forced to stay at home.

Even though I was quite young then, the events of that period are etched on my memory. I remember in particular, a family friend had brought his wife to live with us. She was heavily pregnant and having lost a previous pregnancy, he feared she might lose that too if she went into labor and they could not get her to the hospital. So, he brought her to stay with my mum, a veteran midwife.

And yes, as Allaah would have it, she went right into labor a few days later and mum had to deliver the baby in our home, our bedroom. I remember mum calling to my sister to get into the bedroom saying: “you want to be a doctor right, well here is your first patient”. Mind you, my sister had only just written her Jamb – University Matriculation Exam : ) But by Allaah’s rahmah, it was a beautiful, bouncing baby boy delivered that day in a tense period of fear, lootings and lockdowns.

So, as we huddle down in our homes in fear and hope; fear of Allaah’s reckoning for our sins and hope in His mercy for our salvation, do we hasten to Him in repentance and acts of obedience and devotion and fasting and standing at night and charity or do we count the number of sticks of spaghetti in a satchet or the number of beans in a cup or whatever #isolationchallenge social media throws our way?

Verily, the people before us were tried with plagues, and they hastened to the mosque in repentance! And when the mosques were closed, they turned their homes into their mosques and sought Allaah’s face therein.

Indeed, they lost family and friends to the plague but it only increased them in returning and servitude to Allaah. Theirs are the footsteps worthy of being followed!

Narrated Aishah (the wife of the Prophet) that she asked Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) about plague, and Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) informed her saying,

“Plague was a punishment which Allah used to send on whom He wished, but Allah made it a blessing for the believers. None (among the believers) remains patient in a land in which plague has broken out and considers that nothing will befall him except what Allah has ordained for him, but that Allah will grant him a reward similar to that of a martyr.”

Sahih al-Bukhari 5734

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In times of fitnah I

Approximately 2 decades ago, when I was but a teenager and freshman in my first year of University, ASUU had gone on one of its infamous strikes and I was leaving campus to spend the holiday of unknown length with my favorite aunt in-law in Abuja.

I had just begun learning the deen then and I remember freaking out and panicking, that I would no longer be able to attend my Arabic madrasah, my Qur’an madrasah, halqahs on campus, nor morning gatherings after Fajr with the sisters in Queens Hall. This was in days before mobile phones or WIFI.

My best friend, Mutiiah looked at me calmly, almost stoically you’ll say and said: But you do have the Qur’aan! And indeed, I did and the Qur’aan (in particular, interpretation of the meanings of the Noble Qur’aan by Dr Al-Hilali and Dr Khan) became my companion during that holiday and ever since.

So dear sister, whether you are a medical personnel risking it all on the frontline, or you are an educator whose wards have miraculously disappeared or you are a mum who has suddenly become a university lecturer, middle school teacher and kindergarten assistant, all rolled into one or you are an employee whose company/business has abruptly closed:

You do have the Qur’aan

Whether your schedule has suddenly freed up, or been thrown completely into chaos, whether you have unlimited internet access or intermittent power supply:

You do have the Qur’an

From reciting it in the correct melodious way (تلاوة), to pondering over its meaning (تدبّر), to memorizing its letters and verses (حفظ), to acting upon its commands (طاعة), to seeking solace in its words(سكينة);

You do have the Qur’aan

Whether you are being called to serve or to sit; No matter where you are and who you are, remember:

You do have the Qur’aan! 

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Doubt Not!

1st and 2nd Muharram, 1438

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Suuratul Baqarah Verses 1&2

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الم ﴿١ ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ

***

“Alif-Lam-Mim. This is the Book (the Qur’an), whereof there is no doubt, a guidance to those who are Al-Muttaqun.”

~~~

Tafsir Ibn Kathir Volume 1

Allaah said:

ذَلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لاَ رَيْبَ فِيهِ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ 

That is Book in which there is no Rayb, guidance for the Muttaqin.

 

The Book, is the Qur’an, and Rayb means doubt. As-Suddi said that Abu Malik and Abu Salih narrated from Ibn `Abbas, and Murrah Al-Hamadani narrated from Ibn Mas`ud and several other Companions of the Messenger of Allah that,

In which there is no Rayb

means about which there is no doubt. Some scholars stated that this Ayah – 2:2 – contains a prohibition meaning, “Do not doubt the Qur’an.”

هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ

Hidayah – correct guidance – is only granted to those who have Taqwa – fear of Allah.

Allah said:

Say: It is for those who believe, a guide and a healing. And as for those who disbelieve, there is heaviness (deafness) in their ears, and it (the Qur’an) is blindness for them. They are those who are called from a place far away (so they neither listen nor understand)) Quran 41:44)

 

This is a sample of the numerous Ayat indicating that the believers, in particular, benefit from the Qur’an. That is because the Qur’an is itself a form of guidance, but the guidance in it is only granted to the righteous. Ibn `Abbas said about, (guidance for the Muttaqin) that it means, “They are the believers who avoid Shirk with Allah and who work in His obedience.” Ibn `Abbas also said that Al-Muttaqin means, “Those who fear Allah’s punishment, which would result if they abandoned the true guidance that they recognize and know. They also hope in Allah’s mercy by believing in what He revealed.”

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Muharram 1434AH!

AnAayahAtATime

Indeed, all praise and thanks are due to Allaah. We praise Him; seek His help and His forgiveness. We seek protection from Him from the evils of our own souls and from our bad deeds. Whomever Allaah guides, no one can misguide him, and whomever He sends astray, there is no other guide for him. I testify that nothing has any right to be worshipped except Allaah alone, having no partner, and I testify that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger-may the peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him, his family, companions and those who follow them in goodness until the Day of Judgment. To proceed:

Assalaam alaykum wa rahmatullaah wa barakatuuh.

Welcome to the month of Muharram, a month that enjoys the honor of being associated with the glorious name of Allaah:

“…………………………………… Allaah’s month of Muharram……….”    (Narrated by Muslim, 1163)

Apart from that special status, it is…

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AnAayahAtATime

Suuratul Baqarah Verse 267.

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ أَنفِقُوا۟ مِن طَيِّبَـٰتِ مَا كَسَبْتُمْ وَمِمَّآ أَخْرَجْنَا لَكُم مِّنَ ٱلْأَرْضِ ۖ

وَلَا تَيَمَّمُوا۟ ٱلْخَبِيثَ مِنْهُ تُنفِقُونَ وَلَسْتُم بِـَٔاخِذِيهِ إِلَّآ أَن تُغْمِضُوا۟ فِيهِ ۚ وَٱعْلَمُوٓا۟ أَنَّ ٱللَّـهَ غَنِىٌّ حَمِيدٌ ﴿٢٦٧

267. O you who believe! Spend of the good things which you have (legally) earned, and of that which We have produced from the earth for you, and do not aim at that which is bad to spend from it, (though) you would not accept it save if you close your eyes and tolerate therein. And know that Allah is Rich (Free of all wants), and Worthy of all praise.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir

Allah commands His believing servants to spend in charity, as Ibn `Abbas stated, from the pure, honest money that they earned and from the fruits and vegetables that He has grown for them in the land. Ibn `Abbas said, “Allah commanded them to spend from…

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