Fear (part I)

We fear so many things.  We forget to fear the most important thing we should fear and that is Allah.  Why is it so important to have our hearts quiver in His remembrance?

Image courtesy of Tim Jarosz

INFOCUS NEWS JULY 2010

written by Mariam Al-Kalby

Fear is an emotion lurking in each of us whenever we feel threatened. 

We fear of losing our jobs, our families, and our homes.

Scared of dying alone, of being paralyzed, of being ostracized.

But how many of us actually sincerely fear Allah and His punishments? 

As humans, we are created for fear because it prevents us from committing wrong actions or thoughts and it creates a barrier from approaching things that can hurt us.

We see evidence of this when we first took our wobbly steps.  We reached out for the teakettle and got our fingers licked with fire and from then we fear the heat.

As we got older, we feared losing the soccer game or getting our parents disappointed when we got a lesser grade then we had hoped for on our chemistry test.

Then there is the time to find someone to marry.  Our worries swallow that ticking clock, creating a ringing that time is escaping and all the marriageable types are taken.

And there is the time when we will have wrinkles of days, weeks, and years etched into our skin. 

Lips drooping at the sides of our mouth, wondering and fearing that we didn’t make enough money to make a big house for the grandkids, and that we didn’t hold the best Ramadan iftar.

These worries are tears for the dunya and not the akhirah.

Life is a sailboat floating to its destination towards the hereafter. 

This feeling of alarm and angst should be steered towards the punishments that come if we anger Allah.

“And fear the Fire, which has been prepared for the disbelievers.” (3:131)

Of course it is normal to feel fear of worldly situations and events but we have drenched all of our worries in this obsession and have forgotten to have fear in our hearts for the trials and the day we will be judged for our intentions and actions.

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When The Doors Are Wide Open (finale)

When The Doors Are Wide Open (part I)

We are more focused and honest in our prayers because the daily distractions are put to rest.

The people who get out of bed and make the effort to pray at night are doing it for Allah’s sake and not for show.

Our words are more thoughtful and precise because we are supplicating and we are in need.

It protects us from sins.

The doors are opened from the sky as Allah (swt) wants to shower the answers to our duaas and supplications.

Abu Umama al-Bahili (Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him, his family, and companions) said, “Hold fast to night prayer, for it was the way of the righteous before you, a way of drawing closer to your Lord, an expiation for wrong deeds, and a shield from sin.” [Tirmidhi, and others] In some narrations, there is an addition, “And it repels sickness from the body.”

Night prayers are a personal and relaxing time with our Lord.  It is where we can express all our concerns, worries, wishes, desires, anything without the fear of ridicule or humiliation.  It is the ultimate time to set free our burdens.  Allah (swt) has all the power and He can change and assist us in our woes.

Ibn Mas`ud (Allah be pleased with him) said, “The virtues of night prayer over day prayer is like the virtue of secret charity over open charity.” [Tabarani] The scholars explain that this refers to voluntary prayers.

Allah (swt) then believes that are our prayers are truly for His sake when we betray our beds for His guidance. Allah (swt) has praised those who wake up at night for His remembrance, supplication, and to seek forgiveness and entreat Him, saying,

 “They forsake their beds to cry unto their Lord in fear and hope, and spend of what We have bestowed on them. No soul knows what is kept hid from them of joy, as a reward for what they used to do.”[Qur’an, 32: 16-17]

Crying to Allah (swt) shows how weak and incapable we are as humans when we do not depend on Him.  But when we turn our hearts and our prostrations in His favor, Allah (swt) will cast out our burdens and replace them with an eagerness to meet Him the next night.

And, ‘[The (faithful) servants of the Merciful are they who walk upon the earth modestly, and when the foolish one address them answer: Peace;] And who spend the night before their Lord, prostrate and standing…’ [Qur’an, 25: 63-64]

Image courtesy of Naouriz Inoubli

When The Doors Are Wide Open (part I)

Image courtesy of David Pasillas

Originally published for IFN March 2011

Mariam Al-Kalby

It is with this sense of urgency I want the night to visit and befall on the house like a blanket over a sleeping child.  I want to feel reassurance, guidance, and answers to calm my fluttering heart.

I am in a rush to converse with my Lord.

Making wudu extinguishes any anger in my heart and I ardently rush to my corner of the house and pray.

Tahajjud is the night vigil prayer.

It is a blessed time with the Creator: people sleep and all is quiet in the world where the sounds of the ocean splashing across the sands can be heard in the depths of the darkness.

Life is most clear when all has died down and I submit to Allah (swt).

My focus is heightened and my concentration more intact than when I normally perform my daily prayers.  I am all for Allah (swt) and Allah (swt) is listening.

The closest time to be with Him is in the tahajjud prayer.

There is something powerful, sublime, and serene when prostrating during this time of night; a reassuring embrace sweeps my body and mind.  A warmth that seeps through the layers of skin and into my soul.  That is the power Allah (swt) can cast over us.

Allah Most High said, “Establish worship at the going down of the sun until the dark of the night, and (the recital of) the Qur’an at dawn. Lo! (the recital of) the Qur’an at dawn is ever witnessed. And some part of the night awake for its recital, as voluntary worship for you. It may be that your Lord will raise you to a praised estate.” [Qur’an, 17: 78-79]

These specific prayers are respected and highly recommended.  This is where people give their mind and hearts sincerely to Allah (swt).  Reciting Qu’ran at that prescribed time is an act of sincerity and true submission.

No one is watching but Allah (swt) and His angels and this is when we want to have our actions recorded and acknowledged.  He witnesses our heart’s vulnerability and candor.

Our concentration is not challenged and we are not distracted by our daily activities.  It is not required to pray at this time of night but that is where some of the beauty lies.

Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him, his family, and companions) said, “The best prayer after the obligatory prayers is the night prayer.” [Muslim]

Why is the night prayer seen in high esteem?