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Sunday, 31 May 2015

ASK GOD For Something Everlasting

What’s Your Greatest Wish?
Ask God For
Something Everlasting!

Repent And Seek His Mercy And
Forgiveness With ‘Istaghfaar’!

(M. Javed Naseem)

اَللَّهُمَّ اِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ ، تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي
“O Allah! You are the One Who forgives greatly,
and loves to forgive, so forgive me.”

مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحاً فَلِنَفْسِهِ وَمَنْ أَسَآءَ فَعَلَيْهَا
ثُمَّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكُمْ تُرْجَعُونَ
“If any one does a righteous deed, it
ensures to the benefit of his own soul;
if he does evil, it works against (his
own soul). In the end will you (all)
be brought back to your Lord.”
(al-Quran 45:15)

As they say, ‘We make our own bed, so we should be prepared to sleep in it too’. But we want only comfortable, peaceful and happy life; free of problems. And how much do we contribute towards it? We don’t want to ask ourselves. We are always complaining, nagging and are never satisfied. Good and evil (or negative and positive), keep the balance of life, and at the same time bring some excitement. In the end, it is our own effort that counts.

وَأَن لَّيْسَ لِلإِنسَانِ إِلاَّ مَا سَعَىٰ
“That man can have nothing but
what he strives for.”
(al-Quran 53:39)

There is a positive lesson in everything negative experience of life. Sweet are the fruits of adversity. All it needs is a little patience, cool and an honest effort to get through. It is called
‘striving’, or struggle, or Jihad. We should not forget that there will be trials and tests in life. Nothing comes for free. We need to stay on course with patience. Allah says:

وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ ٱلْخَوفْ وَٱلْجُوعِ
وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ ٱلأَمَوَالِ وَٱلأَنفُسِ وَٱلثَّمَرَاتِ
وَبَشِّرِ ٱلصَّابِرِينَ
“And surely We shall try you with
something of fear and hunger, and
loss of wealth and lives and crops;
but give glad tidings to the steadfast.”
(Quran 2:155)

يَآأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ ٱسْتَعِينُواْ بِٱلصَّبْرِ وَٱلصَّلاَةِ
إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلصَّابِرِينَ
“O you who believe! Seek help
in steadfastness and prayer. Lo,
Allah is with the steadfast.”
(al-Quran 2:153)

That’s the secret – the patient perseverance! Allah gave the good news to the steadfast.

If God told you that you could ask Him for one (and only one) thing and you will be granted; then what would you ask Him for? Huh … hundred and one things to ask, so many  needs,  so many desires and ambitions, so many essentials of modern & comfortable life… a tough choice!

If you ask Allah for strength, He will give you difficulties and hurdles to go through. At the end, you would come out strong. But you don’t want difficulties and hurdles!

If you ask for wisdom, God will give you problems to solve.  You always deal with problems trying to find solutions. In the process, you turn grey and become wise. Do you want that?

If you ask God for prosperity, He will give you extra brain and brawn to work. You will be working hard, day and night to achieve your goals. Oh, you don’t want to work hard?

If you ask for courage, God will give you ‘danger’ to overcome. You’ll be scared to death every now and then, but you’ll become courageous. Want that?

If you ask for love … oh, yes! Love! God will give you all the troubled people of the world – les miserable, the destitute, victims of floods & quakes – to help them, take care of them and love them.  And you would become love personified. A tough choice indeed!

If you ask for favors, God will give you opportunities but you should be able to recognize them and grab them. Before that, you need to be humble and grateful to Him.

And here is the best alternative:
If you ask God for nothing – no wants, no needs, no desires
– just be thankful to Him for whatever you have and do good work, He will  give you everything you need. The success is guaranteed.  He has promised:

مَا عِندَكُمْ يَنفَدُ وَمَا عِندَ ٱللَّهِ بَاقٍ وَلَنَجْزِيَنَّ
ٱلَّذِينَ صَبَرُوۤاْ أَجْرَهُمْ بِأَحْسَنِ مَا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ
“… And verily We shall pay those who
are steadfast a recompense in proportion
to the best of what they used to do.”
(al-Quran 16:96)

وَتُوبُوۤاْ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ جَمِيعاً أَيُّهَا ٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
“And turn to Allah all of you, O believers!
So that you may be successful.”
(al-Quran 24:31)

And last but not the least: Ask God for His forgiveness. That forgiveness contains everything you need in this world as well as in the Hereafter. In the Holy Quran, Allah tells you to do just that:

وَٱسْتَغْفِرِ ٱللَّهَ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُوراً رَّحِيماً
“And seek forgiveness of Allah. Lo!
Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.”
(al-Quran 4:106)

Now, you know what to ask for and how to ask. But, as the saying goes: First deserve, then desire. The promise of success is there and there is absolutely no doubt in that. We need to make some effort on our part. There is no escape from pains and hurts in life. It’s a ‘must’ of life. Therefore, we should prepare ourselves, mentally and physically, so that we don’t feel frustrated. The best way to do it is to bring God into our lives.

فَٱذْكُرُونِيۤ أَذْكُرْكُمْ وَٱشْكُرُواْ لِى وَلاَ تَكْفُرُونِ
“Therefore, remember Me, I will
remember you! Give thanks to Me,
and reject not Me!”
(al-Quran 2:152)

وَٱسْتَعِينُواْ بِٱلصَّبْرِ وَٱلصَّلاَةِ وَإِنَّهَا لَكَبِيرَةٌ إِلاَّ عَلَى ٱلْخَاشِعِينَ
“Seek help in patience and prayer; and
truly it is hard except for the humble-minded.”
(al-Quran 2:45)

The One who brought us in this world, will take care of us too, provided we do what HE tells us to do. Be grateful to Him under all circumstances. Every calamity comes from Him and HE is the One who can get us out of it. Show some perseverance and stay on course. Don’t chase your wild desires in vain, and don’t ever get greedy. Greed is the basis of all evil. Try to learn to be content with whatever Allah has blessed you with.

Don’t ever forget that Allah is going to question you about everything you possessed in this world; and what you did with it. He blessed you with so many things in this world and He will ask you how you used those things to help mankind? Therefore, seek His forgiveness. Invoke Him with all His beautiful names and ask Him alone for help!

Don’t ask Allah for ‘maal’ (wealth) or
material gains as they are not going to
last! They come in a package full of
troubles that you cannot handle alone.
Ask for the Contentment, His Mercy
and His Forgiveness to live happily!
Recite ‘astaghfir-ullah’ in abundance!

Remember one thing! If things are going your way, you are a very lucky man in the world. But if things are not going your way, you are even luckier, because then they are going God’s way. And His way is the best way, as He knows how to run the world efficiently.

Don’t look at others who are better off and richer than you. Look at those who are less fortunate than you, and I guarantee you that there are millions of them in this world. Don’t settle for a ‘bad’ bargain! If you are striving for a comfortable, nice and luxury life, with all the pomp and show, in this world,
Allah might give you that. But that is the bad bargain I am referring to. For a comfortable life of this world, you are trading the life of the Hereafter. Allah warns you:

مَن كَانَ يُرِيدُ ٱلْحَيَاةَ ٱلدُّنْيَا وَزِينَتَهَا نُوَفِّ
إِلَيْهِمْ أَعْمَالَهُمْ فِيهَا وَهُمْ فِيهَا لاَ يُبْخَسُونَ
أُوْلَـٰئِكَ ٱلَّذِينَ لَيْسَ لَهُمْ فِى ٱلآخِرَةِ إِلاَّ ٱلنَّارُ
وَحَبِطَ مَا صَنَعُواْ فِيهَا وَبَاطِلٌ مَّا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ
“Whoso desires the life of the world
and its pomp, We shall repay them their
deeds herein, and therein they will not
be wronged. Those are they for whom
is naught in the Hereafter save the Fire.
All that they contrive here is vain and
all that they are wont to do is fruitless.”
(al-Quran 11:15-16)

Imagine those people in the Philippines, in Africa, especially in Somalia and Ethiopia, who have nothing to eat, no clean water to drink, no nice clothes to wear, no refrigerators when the temperature hits 50c degrees or more, no air-conditioners, not even electricity, no cars, no vacations, no birthday parties, no cakes and cookies! Most of them are surviving on corn and muddy water. Everyday they wait for somebody to bring them some good news – some food of any kind.

They look up to people like you and me to help them get out of that misery. They look up to us to give them life. They can really say that life is harsh and they are going through rough and tough times. Thank Allah that you are not one of them! You are the blessed one!

As Muslims, we should ask ourselves: What are we doing for our fellow human beings? Can’t we see the command of the Almighty God in the Holy Quran? He says:

وَآتِ ذَا ٱلْقُرْبَىٰ حَقَّهُ وَٱلْمِسْكِينَ
وَٱبْنَ ٱلسَّبِيلِ وَلاَ تُبَذِّرْ تَبْذِيراً
“Give the kinsman his due, and the needy,
and the wayfarer, and squander not (your
wealth) in wantonness.”
(al-Quran 17:26)

وَأَنْفِقُواْ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَلاَ تُلْقُواْ بِأَيْدِيكُمْ
إِلَى ٱلتَّهْلُكَةِ وَأَحْسِنُوۤاْ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُحْسِنِينَ
“Spend your wealth for the cause of
Allah, and cast not (yourselves) by
your own hands to ruin; and do good!
Lo, Allah loves the beneficent.‟
(al-Quran 2:195)

 All our lives we struggle and try hard to accumulate as much wealth as possible because we believe that it is the wealth that will solve all our problems. Wealth can solve only economic problems temporarily, but, at the same time, it can create many social and physical ills.  According to one Hadith, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) said:

“Man is always worried about his wealth
and says: ‘My wealth, my wealth’, but in
fact he can benefit from his wealth only
for three little things: Whatever he ate from
it (food); whatever he wore from it (clothing);
and whatever he sent for the Hereafter (charity).
Whatever is in excess (beyond his basic needs)
is not his, and he leaves it behind for others.”

Now, there is a good lesson in it for us. Your basic needs are fulfilled here in this world but they cannot bring anything for you to the next world – the Hereafter. The only thing that goes with you to the next world, is your good deeds. And among those good deeds, charity is number one (the best).
Charity brings prosperity!

During the times of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and his blessed companions, most of the Muslims gave away in charity whatever was surplus or beyond their needs. In the era of Caliph Othman (Usman) bin Affan, a companion of the Prophet (s.a.w.) had a garden of date-palm trees. It was high season and the crop of dates was getting ripe for harvesting. One day that companion was offering prayer (Salaat) and during the Salaat the thought of ripe and profitable crop of dates came to his mind. He regretted it and repented so much that soon after the Salaat he went to see the Caliph Uthman bin Affan and offered him his date-palm garden in charity. Caliph Uthman sold that garden for 50 thousand Dirhams and used the money for religious projects.

Here is another beautiful story. The rich Muslim traders used to send gifts to the Prophet (s.a.w.) so that they could earn Allah’s blessings. The mother of the believers, and wife of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), Ayesha Siddiqah (r.a.a.) once received two sacks of money.  There was more than one hundred thousand Dirhams in those bags. She had instructions from the Prophet (s.a.w.) what to do with those gifts. So, she opened the bags and, with the help of a maid, started distributing money among the poor and needy of the area, till it was finished.
The maid said to Ayesha (r.a.a.):
“You are fasting and you did not keep any money for yourself to buy something for dinner.”
In the evening, at the time of breaking the fast, the maid complained that if she had bought meat for one Dirham from that money, they could have enjoyed a good meal. Ayesha (r.a.a.) said: “Don’t regret now. If you had asked me while I was giving that money away, I would have given you one Dirham for meat.”

True Muslims never accumulated wealth. After meeting their basic needs, they gave away in charity whatever was extra. Most of them regarded wealth as Fire from Hell and nobody wanted to keep it in the house even for one extra night. They did not ask God for wealth or material gains. They asked God for His forgiveness and mercy. Even the Prophet (s.a.w.) himself begged for Allah’s mercy all day long.

Abu Huraira narrated:
I heard Allah’s Apostle saying: ‘By Allah! I ask for forgiveness from Allah and turn to Him in repentance more than seventy times a day.’
(Bukhari, Book 75, No. 319, repeated in Book 80, No. 4)

If that was the way of the Prophet (s.a.w.), where do we stand with Allah?

Anas bin Malik narrated:
Allah’s Apostle (s.a.w.) said: ‘Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than anyone of you is pleased with finding his camel which was lost in the desert.’
(Bukhari, Book 75, No. 321)

Istaghfaar (‘Astaghfir-ullah’):

Here’s a well-known supplication (Dua) of all prophets and their followers. It’s also the best means of ‘Istaghfaar’. It is the last Verse of Surah al-Baqara. It was suggested by Allah to the believers. Allah said that many prophets and their followers have supplicated with this Dua:

رَبَّنَا لاَ تُؤَاخِذْنَا إِن نَّسِينَا أَوْ أَخْطَأْنَا رَبَّنَا وَلاَ تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْنَ
إِصْرًا كَمَا حَمَلْتَهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِنَا رَبَّنَا وَلاَ تُحَمِّلْنَا
مَا لاَ طَاقَةَ لَنَا بِهِ وَاعْفُ عَنَّا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا وَارْحَمْنَا
أَنتَ مَوْلاَنَا فَانصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ
"Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget or fall
into error; our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that
which You did lay on those before us. Our Lord!
Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength
to bear. Blot out our sins, and grant us forgiveness.
Have mercy on us. You are our Protector; Help us
against those who stand against Faith."
(al-Quran 2:286)

Adam & Eve disobeyed Allah and, being under the influence of the Satan (Devil), ate the fruit from the forbidden tree. As a result, they were expelled from Paradise. They repented immediately and sought forgiveness from Allah with this prayer (Dua):

رَبَّنَا ظَلَمْنَآ أَنفُسَنَا وَإِن لَّمْ تَغْفِرْ لَنَا
وَتَرْحَمْنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ ٱلْخَاسِرِينَ
"Our Lord! We have wronged our own souls.
If You don’t forgive us and bestow upon us
your Mercy, we shall certainly be lost."
(al-Quran 7:23)

Once, people were sitting in the company of a saint and listening to his wise words when a man came and asked the saint what he should do to escape draught and get crops in abundance. The saint told him to do ‘Istaghfaar’ in abundance.
Later on, another man came and asked similar question for prosperity, increase in provision (‘rizq’) and success. The saint told him to recite ‘Astaghfir-ullah’ in abundance.
A short time later, a third person came and asked for the saint’s advice to get a baby boy (a son) and noble offspring. The saint told him to do ‘Istaghfaar’ in abundance.
Somebody from the gathering (‘majlis’) asked the saint: ‘Sheikh! I don’t understand this. When somebody asked you about rain and increase in crops, you told him to do ‘Istaghfaar’ in abundance. When a second person asked you about prosperity and provision (‘rizq’) you suggested ‘Istaghfaar’. And when a third person came to ask you about his offspring, a baby-boy, you told him the same thing – to do ‘Istaghfaar’. Does that mean that ‘Istaghfaar’ is the solution of every problem?
The saint smiled and said:
‘I didn’t make anything up. I didn’t create the solution. It’s Allah’s promise in the Quran. He says:

فَقُلْتُ ٱسْتَغْفِرُواْ رَبَّكُمْ إِنَّهُ كَانَ غَفَّاراً
يُرْسِلِ ٱلسَّمَآءَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِّدْرَاراً
وَيُمْدِدْكُمْ بِأَمْوَالٍ وَبَنِينَ وَيَجْعَل لَّكُمْ جَنَّاتٍ
وَيَجْعَل لَّكُمْ أَنْهَاراً
"I said: Ask forgiveness from your Lord;
for He is Oft-Forgiving. He will send
rain to you in abundance; give you
increase in wealth and sons; and
bestow on you gardens and bestow
on you rivers (of flowing water).”
(al-Quran 71:10-12)


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