Before the Sun Rises and Before it Sleeps (part I)

I have some new recipes coming up, so be on the look out!  For now I have posted an article and want you to think about what makes us do the things we do?  What motivates us?  What motivates you to pray on time?

Image courtesy of David Pasillas

Originally featured in IFN December 2010

Where the birds stir from their nests of twigs and yarn and fly out in search of filling their bellies, between the dawn and the rising of the sun kissing the sky, and where the careless burrow further beneath the covers of sleep and warmth, and where they work till their hands bleed, Fajr and Asr are the hours where the most pious congregate.

They are two of the most missed fard prayers that have swallowed our ummah.

This is unfortunate because these are prayers that separate a believer from a hypocrite.

What person awakens from their deep slumber to splash cold water to make ablution and perform a prayer whilst others sleep?

A devoted and strong believer.

Abu Zuhair ‘Umarah Ruwaibah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying: “He who performs Salat (prayers) before the rising of the sun and before its setting will not enter Hell.”
 (Muslim)

This does not mean that this is the only condition to enter Jannah.

One who dutifully cares and observes these particular important prayers (Fajr and Asr), demonstrates that the believer also practices in observing other religious obligations and follows the sunnah.

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “There are angels who take turns in visiting you by night and by day, and they all assemble at the dawn (Fajr) and the afternoon (‘Asr) prayers. Those who have spent the night with you ascend to the heavens and their Rab, Who knows better about them, asks: ‘In what condition did you leave My slaves?’ They reply: ‘We left them while they were performing Salat and we went to them while they were performing Salat.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Praying these two specific prayers are important and when we are steadfast and reliable in performing them, they surely go unnoticed by the angels and Allah (swt).

How great is it to have angels scribbling and reporting away to our Creator that we are prostrating for Him every time the angels descend upon us?

Fajr and Asr prayers are important prayers because of their difficulty to maintain them and to do them in their short prescribed time is an accomplishment and a break for us from toiling away in work and play.

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Beneath the Leaves (finale)

Beneath the Leaves (part I)

Beneath the Leaves (part II)

Beneath the Leaves (part III)

When it comes to a good act it can be valid or invalid, depending if there was ikhlas within the intention.  We can be leaders in youth groups and feed our hungry Muslims but the good deed will be abolished if the niyyah was anything other than seeking Allah’s reward.  The good deed also loses its value when it is combined with some other purpose, like yearning for wealth, recognition, or status.

Prophet Muhammed (saw) said, “Certainly, Allah does not look at your shapes or wealth.  But He only looks at your hearts and deeds.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The purpose and our perseverance for our actions are to please Allah (swt).  We shall not eagerly wait for something in return but for our books to be inked with good deeds and blessings from Him.  Forget expecting a thank you when we help Muslims move their belongings to a new home, or a beaming smile when we open the door for an elderly woman.

Our hearts should quiver eagerly and fervently waiting for Allah’s rewards to shower on us like raindrops instead of having desire for the pleasures of this life.  Let our leaves embrace us with our goodness.

Beneath the Leaves (part II)

Image courtesy of Greg Russell

Beneath the Leaves (part I)

To rest our heads, close our eyes and drift into an almost death is to rest our bodies from the physical duties of worshipping Him.

Every other moment we have been blessed with and every action should be in adherence to worshipping Allah (swt).

Allah’s Messenger said, “Verily, all actions are but driven by intention and for everyone is what he intended.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The Prophet is telling us that actions are defined through intentions and this is what Allah (swt) will judge us upon.

The Prophet said, “He, who seriously considered doing a good deed but did not do it, will have one good deed recorded for him” (Muslim). 

Allah is Al-Latif and will reward us for just contemplating wanting to do a good deed as well as giving us credit when we fulfill it.  And yet again He is Ar Rahman when He rewards us even when we want to commit a sin but refrain from doing it in fear of His all-powerful wrath.

“But if he intends to do an evil act and has not done it, then Allah writes it down with Him as a full good deed, but if he intends it and has done it, Allah writes it down as one bad deed” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Allah (swt) says in the Qu’ran, “I did not create the jinns and the humans except to worship Me alone” (51:56).  It is clear that our goals in this dunya are to serve: not to serve our desires, or our families wants, or what society hammers us to do.  We have come into existence to serve Allah (swt) and disregard all other goals that go against the Qu’ran and Sunnah.

The Prophet said, “He who lets the people hear of his good deeds intentionally, to win their praise, Allah will let the people know his real intention (on the Day of Resurrection), and he who does good things in public to show off and win the praise of the people, Allah will disclose his real intention (and humiliate him). (Al-Bukhari)