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?

Allah Owns the World (part II)

Image courtesy of Nora Elgalad

Allah Owns the World (part I)

Knowing our place and our deficiency in perfection humbles us.

Allah is the one in control and it is He who commands; He is the one who has enabled us to read, write, and teach humans what they did not know.

Our abilities manifest inside our heads as we contemplate that we are self-sufficient.

We are the makers of this dunya: not by physically creating it with our bare hands but how we run and shape it.

It is whether or not our Ummah adheres to Allah’s laws and rules.

In the eighth ayah, Allah states that with all our actions and our work by living in this world, we will eventually return to Him.

Everything will collapse one day and all that we have ever done will fade and Allah will take us back.

Detachment does not exist as we are Allah’s creations.

We are attached and so much so that our Creator has described it in this way in the second ayah, “Created man from a clinging substance” (Al-Alaq).

Our nature is to be clinging, to be attached, to be dependent, to be inferior in the eyes of Allah.  But we place this attachment in the wrong place.

Dunya is the priority lost among us.

It is that lack in faith and remembrance of Allah that makes us humans forget who truly brings out the sun in the day and issue the moon to present itself at night.

When we forget, when we got so lost in the forests of the dunya, do we stray into the path of self-sufficiency and arrogance.

Again and again we see throughout the Qu’ran how much we are dependent on Allah.  In Surah Al-Baqarah, ayah 156, Allah states that we will return to Him,

“Who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return.”

The Tongue Sins (finale)

Image courtesy of Nora Elgalad

The Tongue Sins (part I)

The Tongue Sins (part II)

Islam encompasses both how we behave towards Allah (swt) and His creations.

The idea of worship is that every act can be worship if it is done for the sake of Allah (swt). 

We should ask ourselves some questions when it comes to speaking:

Is this going to benefit the situation?

Can it potentially hurt someone else’s feelings?

Is it possible that it may make someone jealous or ungrateful?

Is it for the sake of Allah?

Would Allah love me for what I am about to say?

Can I possibly regret what I am about to say?

Is it vulgar or idle talk?

It has been widespread to make jokes, brag, and exaggerate but Muslims need to remember that every single thing we do and say is held accountable for us.

Allah (swt) knows everything that we do so we should not waste our time in believing some sentences here won’t harm us or few words there will not matter-it does matter.

“Surely Allah is Ever-Knowing of everything” (8:75).

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)