Optimism versus skepticism

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

As for those who believe, it has increased their Faith, and they rejoice. But as for those in whose hearts is a disease [of doubt, disbelief and hypocrisy], it will add suspicion and doubt to their suspicion, disbelief and doubt, and they die while they are disbelievers. (Qur'an 9: 124-125)

When faced with a difficult or harsh situation, the righteous Muslims from the early generations of Islam were positive in their attitude, positive that though they were facing difficulties, there was benefit to be had, harm to be warded off, and ease to be met with when rounding the corner of time:

...and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. (Qur'an 2: 216)

Abu Darda (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

"I love three things that are hateful to people: I love poverty, sickness, and death. I love them because poverty is humility, sickness is expiation for sins, and death results in a meeting with Allah."

Some of the Arab poets were extreme in their hate for poverty, as can be discerned from the following line, wherein the poet claims that even dogs hate poor people:

"On a given day, if it sees the poor and indigent one, it growls and shows its teeth in mocking."

Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) said concerning being imprisoned:

`O' my Lord! Prison is more to my liking than that to which they invite me. (Qur'an 12: 33)

As for death, there were many among the righteous who welcomed it. Mu'aadh (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

"Welcome death - a beloved one has come in time of need. And the one who regrets (his sins during his lifetime) is successful."

Others, though, fled from death and cursed its approach. The Jews, for example, are the most covetous of people when it comes to life. Allah, the Exalted, says of them:
Say, [to them]:

Verily, the death from which you flee will surely meet you... (Qur'an 62: 8)

Being killed in the way of Allah is a dream and pleasant wish for the righteous:

Some have. Fuf lled their obligations [i.e. have been martyred], and some of them are still waiting... (Qur'an 33: 23)

Meanwhile others hated death and fled from it. A Desert Arab said:

"By Allah, I'd hate to die while being on my bed, so how can I be expected to seek death out in the frontlines."

Say: Avert death from your ownselves, if you speak the truth. (Qur'an 3: 168)

Say: Even if you had remained in your homes, those for whom death was decreed would certainly have gone forth to the place of their death. (Qur 'an 3: 154)

The story throughout history is one: it is merely the actors who change.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

A boy was watching his grandmother write a letter. At one point, he asked: “are you writing a story about what we have done? It is a story about me?”

His grandmother sropped writing her letter and said to her grandson: “ I am writing about you actually, but more important is than the words is the pencil I’m using. I hope you will be like this pencil when you grow up “

Intrigued, the boy looked at the pencil. It did not seem special. “but it’s just like any ather pencil I’ve seen”

“ That’s depends on how you look at things".

It has 5 qualities which, if you manage to hang on to them, will make you a person who is always at peace with the world.

1. You are capable of great things, but you must never forget that there is a hand guiding your steps. We call that hand oh Allah, and He always guide us according to His will.

And be not like those who forgot Allah, so He made them forget themselves. Those are the defiantly disobedient. ‘(al-Hashr~19.)

2. Now and then, I have to stop writing and use a sharpener. That makes the pencil suffer a little, but afterwards, he’s much sharper. So you too, must learn to bear certain pains and sorrows, because they will make you a better person.

3. The pencil always allows us to use an eraser to rub any mistakes. This means that correcting something we did is not necessarily bad things; it helps to keep us on the road to justice.

4. What really matters is a pencil is not its wooden exterior, but the graphite inside. So, always pay attention to what is happening insidenyou.

5. The pencil’s fifthr quality is, it always leaves mark. In just tha same way, you should know that everything you do in life leave a mark, so try to be conscious of that in your every action.

Please can I have one more chance ?

There you are standing before Allah Taa’la, the whole of mankind in anticipation. Hell to your left and Paradise your right. From the first man until the last, everybody is present. What is to be of them on this Day?

Not a word is spoken. Everybody is naked but unusually today, no one actually cares about anybody else. There’s only one question running through everyone’s mind, what will be their eternal abode?
The Qur’an states:
“And they will be set before your Lord in (lines as) rows, (and Allah will say): “Now indeed you have come to us as We created you first. Nay, but you thought that We had appointed no meeting for you (with us).” (Surah 18, Verse 48)
You stand there very frightened. As a Muslim, you hardly prayed your Salaah. In Ramadhan, you didn’t feel like keeping fasts. Zakaat was never on your mind. Even though you had enough money for Hajj, a trip to the Caribbean always seemed much more appealing.
You look down and wish that this silence continues forever and ever. Then suddenly, very unexpectedly, your name is called. Abdullah! Son of Adam, your heart begins to beat faster and faster. You are now trembling. Your turn has now come.
It is time for the truth; did you live in this world as a true believer? Did you believe in the oneness of Allah and follow the teachings of our Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wassallam? If so, then there is no doubt that Paradise is your eternal abode, but for those who ascribed partners with Allah and neglected the teachings of our Holy Prophet , then, Hell is their only dwelling. There will be no injustice on this day.
Slowly, tears begin to role down your face. Even before you receive the book of deeds, you know you have no chance. You had so many chances to revive yourself in the world, but you continued to commit sins, one after another. Many signs were brought before you clearly proving the oneness of Allah, but you rejected each sign, one after another. How is Allah going to give you another chance? Chances were given in the world. You continued sinning but were not punished; now you must face punishment for those unpunished sins committed. Then, the book (of deeds) is given to you in your left hand. You may have passed all the exams in school, but you now have failed the most important one, Life.
The Qur’an states:
“And We have fastened every mans deeds to his neck, and on the Day of Resurrection, We shall bring out for him a book which he will find wide open.” “(It will be said to him): “Read your book.” (Surah 17, Verses 13,14)
Allah Taa’la states:
“And the Book (ones record) will be placed (in the right hand for a believer in the Oneness of Allah, and in the left hand for a disbeliever in the oneness of Allah), and you will see the ‘Mujrimun (sinners), fearful of that which is (recorded) therein. They will say: Woe to us! What sort of Book is this that leaves neither a small thing nor a big thing, but has recorded it with numbers!” And they will find all that they did, placed before them, and Your Lord treats no one with injustice.” (Surah 18, Verse 49)
You bend down on your knees and beg for mercy. “Please Allah! Only one more chance, only one more chance! You open the Book which had been placed in your left hand. You are shaking as you open the book knowing full well that it has recorded every single deed and every sin. You know full well that no injustice has been done by Allah.
You open the book and every detail is inside. As soon as your eyes glance upon the first sin on the page you have opened, you begin to cry. You close the book and start to regret. But this is no time to regret. Your chance has now gone. You shout once more, “ALLAH! CAN I HAVE ONE MORE CHANCE!!!??”
The Qur’an states regarding the misguided:
When those who were followed will disown those who were following and they will see the punishment and all ties with them will be cut
And those people who were following will say if only there was a returning for us we would disown them just as they disowned us in this way Allah will show them their actions as a source of remorse against themselves and they will not be coming out of the fire of hell. (Surah 2, Verse 166-167)
The heat of the fire of Hell is burning in your mind. How will you be punished? How long will you be punished for? Every time you wanted to do good in the world, Shaytaan took you away from the straight path and you were deceived very easily. You can blame no one but yourself.
Allah Taa’la states:
And Satan will say when the matter has been decided: “Verily, Allah promised you a promise of Truth. And I too promised you, but I betrayed you. I had no authority over you except that I called you, so you responded to me. So blame me not, but blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can you help me.” (Surah 14, Verse 22)

How deceiving Shaytaan was? How powerful were his whispers and how weak was your Imaan?

Whatever he whispered into your ears, you immediately followed him. You disobeyed Allah and followed what you thought was the right path, but you were truly on the wrong path, treading upon the path that would lead you to inevitable destruction, the path that will lead you into Hell fire on this day. You thought arrogantly and lived as though you would live in the world forever. You ignored the fact that everybody to enter the world would eventually die one day and be judged. Allah Taa’la states in the Qur’an:
“Everyone is going to taste death.” (Surah 21, Verse 33)
Only seconds remain. The Hell fire is waiting. Your time has now come, but all you think of is that one more chance. With that one more chance, you would go back in the world and never commit another sin again. Chances, many chances were only given in the world but now it’s too late. You are thrown into the scorching fire.
My dear respected readers, do you want to end up like brother Abdullah? Does his life sound familiar compared to yours? Is obeying Allah, Praying Salaah and pleasing Him not in our daily schedule? Here in this life is our only chance and time to change. Remember, no chance will be given once you pass away. Repenting will be of no avail on that day. The Prophet mentions in one Hadith:
“The one who repents from sin is like one who has no sin.” (Hasan - Reported by Abu 'Ubaidah ibn 'Abdullaah and collected by Ibn Majah. Authenticated by Shaikh al-Albaanee.)
There is an extremely wretched place for those who disobey Allah and the Prophet . However, those who are pious and are on the Sirat-e-Mustaqeem (right path) will be the ones that will be triumphant on that day and these are the people that will earn a great reward. Allah Taa’la states in the Qur’an:
“Verily, the Muttaqun (pious and righteous persons) who fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden), and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained) will be in the midst of Gardens and Rivers (Paradise).”(Surah 54, Verse 54)
From all the hard work that you do in this world dear readers, Allah Taa’la will never let that work go to waste. Instead, gardens and rivers will be awaiting that person and the book of deeds will be placed in the believer’s right hand. As for those who do not believe, Allah Taa’la says:
“The Day they will be dragged in the Fire on their faces (it will be said to them): “Taste you the touch of Hell.” (Surah 54, Verse 48)
May Allah Taa’la give us all the ability to avoid or discard the path of the Shaytaan and follow the right path shown by our The Prophet (SalallAllaahu 'alaihi wa salam). Ameen

source : iloveallaah.com

Ibn al-Qayyim: Raisins Aid Digestion, Are Good For the Memory and Have Many Other Health Benefits

Wednesday, February 29, 2012
The scholar Ibn al-Qayyim in his work "The Prophetic Medicine" described raisins as dried sweetgrapes. He said that the best raisins were large-bodied, plump, thin skinned.

Some of the health benefits he mentioned about raisins were found in the flesh of the fruit. He said that they could be beneficial for the trachea, chest, lungs, and kidney and bladder pains. Other benefits he mentioned were:
  • Strengthening the stomach
  • Aiding digestion
  • Promoting bowel movement
  • Good for the memory
In summary, Ibn al-Qayyim said that raisins provided sound nourishment and the best type were seedless.

What Are raisins?

Raisins are dried grapes and consist of 70% pure fructose and contain fiberantioxidantsiron,potassium, and calciumRaisins are also packed with phytonutrients and are a source of the tracemineral, boron.

When the grapes are converted to raisins, they lose some of their beneficial phenols through the grape-drying process, but grapes seem to be least affected by this process compared to other driedfruit such as apricots and prunes.

Some of the health benefits of raisins include:
  • bone health
  • Boron is a mineral critical to bone health and osteoporosis. It is required to convert estrogen and vitamin D into their most active forms. Studies have shown that boron provides protection against osteoporosis and can reproduce the positive effects of estrogen in postmenopausal women. Raisins are among the top foods that contribute to dietary boron.

  • Macular DegenerationA study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology found that eating fruit daily, including driedfruit, could lower the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. This disease is the primary cause of vision loss in older adults.
Tips on Eating Raisins
  • To prolong the shelf life of raisins and to prevent them from becoming dried out, they can be stored in the refrigerator.
  • Raisins will be the most fresh if consumed within six months.
  • Commercially grown dried raisins and other dried fruit may be treated with sulfur dioxide or other sulfur-containing compounds as preservatives to help prevent oxidation, bleaching of colors and to extend their shelf life.Sulfur dioxide itself is poisonous when inhaled, and although sulfur dioxide fumes aren't inhaled when eating dried fruits treated with the gas, the residues left on the fruit alter its nutritional value and can have adverse effects the body. It is therefore advisable to check labeling when buying all dried fruit and avoid sulfite-preserved food.
References for further reading
  • Cho E, Seddon JM, Rosner B, Willett WC, Hankinson SE. Prospective study of intake of fruits,vegetablesvitamins, and carotenoids and risk of age-related maculopathy. Arch Ophthalmol. 2004 Jun;122(6):883-92. 2004. PMID:15197064.
  • Karadeniz F, Durst RW, Wrolstad RE. Polyphenolic composition of raisins. J Agric Food Chem 2000 Nov;48(11):5343-50 2000. PMID:13500.
  • Karakaya S, El SN, Tas AA. Antioxidant activity of some foods containing phenolic compounds. Int J Food Sci Nutr 2001 Nov;52(6):501-8 2001. PMID:13490.
  • Maffei Facino R, Carini M, Aldini G, et al. [Regeneration of endogenous antioxidantsascorbicacid, alpha tocopherol, by the oligomeric procyanide fraction of Vitus vinifera L.:ESR study]. Boll Chim Farm 1997 Apr;136(4):340-4 1997. PMID:13570.
  • Rainey CJ, Nyquist LA, Christensen RE, et al. Daily boron intake from the American diet. J Amdiet Assoc 1999 Mar;99(3):335-40 1999. PMID:13510.
  • Schuurman AG, Goldbohm RA, Dorant E, van den Brandt PA. Vegetable and fruit consumption and prostate cancer risk: a cohort study in The Netherlands. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 1998 Aug;7(8):673-80 1998. PMID:13520.

Ibn al-Qayyim: Cheese Is Good for the Stomach

The scholar Ibn al-Qayyim in his Prophetic medicine said regarding cheese:
"The moist unsalted cheese is good for the stomach and passes easily into the organs; it increases the flesh and softens the belly in a moderate way. Saltedcheese is less nutritious; it is bad for the stomach and harmful to the intestines. Oldcheese restricts the belly, as does grilled cheese, and is good for ulcers and prevents diarrhea.Cheese is cold and moist. Grilling it makes it more appropriate to its temperament. Fire rectifies and moderates it, refines its essence, and sweetens its taste and odour. Old salty cheese is hot and dry. Grilling rectifies it, too, for it refines its essence and breaks its sharpness, the fire drawing from it certain hot, dry constituents appropriate to it. The salted kind causes emaciation and generates stones of the kidney and bladder, and it is bad for the stomach. The addition of refining ingredients is worse because these cause it to reach the stomach."
Health Benefits of cheese

Cheese contains a range of essential nutrients; it is a source of calcium, for building strong bones; essential protein; vitamin D, to help absorb the calcium; a selection of B vitamins for the central nervous system; Vitamin A as a cancer-fighter; and beneficial for healthy skin.

Cheese also supplies zinc in an easily absorbed form, vital for male reproductive function. As well as its high levels of calciumcheese also contains phosphorous, which combines with calcium to strengthen the bones, good for growing children. It's protein-content helps to build muscle strength.

What Is cheese?

All cheeses are made from the same raw ingredient - the milk of an animal such as a cow, buffalo, sheep or goat. Cheese is made by separating the milk into solid curds and liquid whey. Usually this is done by acidifying (souring) the milk and adding rennet, to set the cheese.

Cheeses can be classified into two very broad types: fresh and ripened, depending on how they are made. Fresh (unripened) cheeses are ready to be eaten soon after the whey is drained from the curds. They may be pressed or molded into different shapes, but they are almost all delicate in flavor and quite soft, milky or spreadable in texture. The most popular fresh cheeses are Ricotta, Mascarpone, cottage cheesequark and Cream cheese.

With ripened or aged cheeses, the curds are further drained by a variety of methods including cooking, soaking or bacteria inoculation. These are some categories of ripened cheeses:
  • Hard: Cooked, pressed, and usually aged for at least two years, these cheeses are firm and dry. Well-known varieties include Parmesan and Pecorino.
  • Semi-Firm: These cheeses are cooked and pressed, but not aged as long as the hard cheeses. They are generally firm, but not crumbly. Popular semi-firm cheeses include Cheddar, Swiss, and Edam.
  • Semi-Soft: Soft, yet sliceable, these cheeses are pressed and may be cooked or uncooked. Semi-soft cheeses include Feta and Gouda.
  • Soft-Ripened: These surface-ripened cheeses are neither cooked nor pressed. Instead they are subjected to various bacteria processes to ripen them from the outside in. Varieties include Brie and Camembert.
As storage life is related to the moisture content of the cheese, the softer the cheese, the shorter amount of time it will keep fresh. In general, firm and semi-firm cheeses will keep for two weeks while soft or grated cheeses will keep for about one week.

Processed Cheese

Processed cheese is typically a blend of fresh and aged cheeses combined with added colorings, preservatives, and emulsifiers (for smoothness and ease of melting). It is also pasteurized to stop the ripening process, giving it a longer shelf life, but is less nutritious and lacks taste compared to naturalcheese.

Are you ready to die tomorrow?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012
We think in detail about certain things, typically things that interest us or which we are directly facing. So football fanatics spend time in following up the latest football news, whose playing who, whose been bought and by which team, etc. People into music would know about the latest chart hits, the top ten, what new bands are on the scene and spend time thinking about this. Movie buffs would ponder about the latest movies, upcoming releases, the latest awards and the like.

Despite expending effort in applying thought upon these trivial issues people in Western society often pay little attention to clearly a vital topic, that of death. It has even become a taboo subject to the extent that people try to change the discussion when it is mentioned.

It is completely irrational to avoid thinking about death as it is the most definite thing in life. To turn away from it is avoiding the inevitable, know one lives forever. All of us know of people who have died whether within our families, community, friends or colleagues. The reason for why many avoid the topic is fear. Fear of the unknown and fear of leaving this life. In fact Western society pushes people into all forms of escapism, so that they attempt to escape reality by drowning themselves in music, movies, sport, and popular culture.

All of us will face death one day, our hearts will stop, our brain activity will stop and our bodies will decompose. However as Muslims we know that death is not the end. Allah (swt) has informed us that there is life after death, that we will be accounted for every action we performed and will be either sent to Jannah (paradise) or Jahannam (Hellfire) according to our deeds.

For a Muslim reminding oneself of death strengthens our realisation of the afterlife and commitment to Islam.

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “The clever one is he who disciplined himself and worked for what is after death, and the feeble one is he who followed his desires, then made (vain) prayers to Allah”.

No matter how ‘hard’ or ‘cool’ people think they are, one day they will die and will stand in front of Allah (swt).

“Say: The Death from which you flee will truly overtake you: then will you be sent back to the Knower of all things secret and open: and He will tell you (the truth of) the things that you did!” [Al-Jumu’a:8].

It will be too late to change after you have died, you cannot go back and change things and live life in a better way. There is coming back for the Salah (prayers) you have missed or to make right the wrongs you committed.

“Until, when death comes to one of them, he says: “O my Lord! Send me back (to life), in order that I may do good in that which I have left behind!” - No! It is but a word that he speaks; and behind them is a Partition until the Day they are raised up. Then when the Trumpet is blown, there will be no more kinship among them that day, nor will they ask of one another! Then those whose scales (of good deeds) are heavy, they are the successful. And those whose scales (of good deeds) are light, they are those who lose their ownselves; in Hell will they abide” [Al-Mu’minun: 99-103],

Thinking about death should make us correct out lives, perform our obligations and stay away from haram (prohibitions). Whilst we are alive it is not too late to change. In fact one of the pious Muslims in the past Al-Rabee’ b. Khaytham had dug a grave in his house, so that if he found hardness within his heart, he would enter it and lay down for as long as Allah wished and read: “O my Lord! Send me back (to life) in order that I may work righteousness in the things I neglected” repeating it, then he would reply to himself saying: “Oh, Rabee’, here, you have been returned, so work.”

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “Increase the remembrance of that which destroys all desires” [Al Tirmidhi]

And he (saw) said, “If animals knew what the sons of Adam knew of death, you would not have found any fat on them to eat” [Al Baihaqi in “Al Sha’ab”].

Thinking about death should not have only a temporary affect on us, so that if someone who is close to us dies, we get ill or have a near death experience, we go to the mosque for a while and start following Islam. However some time passes the affect wears off and we are back to our old ways. On the contrary, death should be at the forefront of our minds and should affect us in a permanent way.

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said to Abdullah b.Umar (ra), “If you awoke in the morning, do not speak to yourself of the evening, and if you reach the evening, do not speak to yourself of the morning. Take from your life for your death, and from your health for your illness, as you, oh Abdullah, do not know what your name will be tomorrow” [Bukhari].

We shouldn’t think that by temporarily following Islam and repenting to Allah (swt) and then going back to being negligent in our duties and entering into sin, that our repentance will count.

“Of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds, until death faces one of them, and he says: “Now I repent” nor of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them have we prepared a painful torment” [An-Nisa: 18].

Pondering about death should make us prepare for it, so that we treat this life as a journey and a test not as a time to be obsessed with enjoying ourselves disregarding the limits that Allah (swt) has placed on us. Allah (swt) says:

“And the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment” [al-Hadid: 20]

Ibn ‘Umar (ra) said, “I came to the Prophet (saw), and I was the tenth of ten men, when a man from the Ansar asked: Who is the most clever and the most honourable of people, Oh Messenger of Allah? He (saw) replied: “Those who remember death the most and work the hardest to prepare for it; they are the clever ones. They have left with the honour of this world and the dignity of the Akhirah” [Ibn Majah]

‘Uthman bin ‘Affan (ra), in the last Khutba he gave in his life, said: “Allah (swt) gave you this world to request the Akhirah, and did not give it to you for you to rely upon, for this world ends and Akhirah is everlasting. So let not that which ends make you disregardful, nor keep you busy from that which lasts. Choose to seek that which lasts over that which ends, for this world will be cut off and our return is to Allah.” Death reminds us of Akhirah, and there is no better reminder.

There are specific actions that the Prophet (saw) encouraged us to undertake to remind ourselves about death.

Abi Tharr (ra) said The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “Visit the graves, as it will be a reminder of the Akhirah, and wash the dead, as taking care of an empty body is an outstanding admonition, and pray over the Jana’iz (funerals), as it may sadden you, for the sad one is in the shade of Allah” [Ibn Abi Al Dunya and Al Haakim].

And Ibn Abi Mulaykah said, The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “Visit your dead and pray for peace upon them, for there is an admonition for you in it” [Ibn Abi Al Dunya - Good chain of narrators].
And Al-Dhaahik said: A man once said: Oh, Messenger of Allah, who is the most Zaahid (abstinent) of people? He (saw) said: “He who does not forget the grave and abandoned the luxuries of life, seeking that which lasts above that which ends, not counting yesterday as one of his days, and counted himself amongst the people of the graves”. It is easy to leave the thought of death at the back of your mind and believe that you have a long life left. The angel of death leaves no one, whether young or old when their time has come.

In fact the remembrance is not crying and wailing and blaming one’s self when one is on the brink of death, or attending a funeral or visiting graves alone. Rather, remembrance of death is when a believer imagines that he will meet his Lord at any moment, and his actions will be cut off, as will his ability for repentance. So he will be aware of himself, careful to obey Allah (swt), wary of his Lord every second of his life.

"Say: ‘My life, my death and acts of worship are all for the Lord of the mankind (Rabil alamin)” [Al-An’am: 162]

original text : islamic revival

Ya Allah

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ya Allah!

I said: I'm in pain
You replied: Despair not of the Mercy of Allah [39:53]

I said: nobody knows what's in my heart
You said: Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest [13:28]

I said: many people hurt me
You replied: Remember me & ask forgiveness for them [3:135]

I said: I feel alone
You replied: we are closer to him than his Jugular vein [50:16]

I said: my sins are so many
You replied: None can forgive sins but Allah [3:135]

I said: dont leave me
You replied: Remember me; I will remember you [2:152]