A HEART OF GREAT TEMPERAMENT!

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ exemplified the nice character traits of the friends of God. Sometimes he would ask his Companions questions that would make the congregation pay greater attention, and in order to elaborate on certain matters. During one of these sessions, the Prophet ﷺ asked the Com- panions: “Is any one among you capable of being like Abû Damdam?” The Companions said: “Who is Abû Damdam?” The Prophet ﷺ replied: “He was a member of a tribe prior to your time, and he would say, ‘I have forgiven all those who have insulted and backbitten me.’” (Abû Dâwud, Adab 36: 4887).

This is an example of taqwâ: a heart of great temperament!

Hallâj-i Mansûr held his hands up to pray for those who were stoning him, taking refuge in Allah. He pleaded: “O Allah! They are unaware. Before you forgive me, forgive those who stone me!”

Taqwâ is such a great virtue that it brought the Companions close to the Prophet. Anas  reported that a person asked the Prophet Muhammadﷺ: “Who is the family of Muhammad?” and the Prophetﷺ replied: “Every pious person is one of my family.” Thus we see that a believer who reaches perfection in taqwâ is held in such esteem that they are considered to be a member of the Prophet’s family.

A LIFE OF TAQWÂ

The essence and meaning of life is found in taqwâ and living a life of taqwâ essentially means being a true friend of Allah, attaining Paradise and possessing a heart that can understand the deepest depths of Divine blessings. Thus, the truth of taqwâ is that one attains a soul that has been purified of all evil and one turns to their Creator with true faith; this is the only way one can reach Allah.

taqwa_by_mystafa-d5ed8yc

What is Taqwâ?

The companions of Allah (may Allah be pleased with them) have described taqwâ in many different ways. The lexical meaning of taqwâ means the avoidance, protection or safeguarding from every kind of evil. That is, taqwâ means the protection of Allah.

The term taqwâ means being under the protection of Allah by seeking refuge in Him, avoiding what has been forbidden and abiding by what has been commanded; it means fearing the punishment and the torment of the Glorious One and taking refuge in the shadow of His compassion. Therefore, destroying egoistical desires and developing spiritual aptitude is essential. In other words, taqwâ is returning to the glory of the orders of the Qur’ân and Sunnah, and is the means of eternal bliss in the family, in business and in social life- in short, bliss in every aspect of our lives.

Taqwâ is the act of disciplining the soul with the mystery of “He will prosper who purifies himself” (‘lâ, 87: 14) It is when we have done this that our hearts will attain contentment in faith, worship, and deeds which Allah approves of.

Taqwâ is the believer’s spiritual union with Allah; it is his manifestation of attributes such as compassion, kindness, forgiveness, mildness and perfection of the heart, as well as the seeking of Allah’s acceptance for every deed, every situation and every breath.

Taqwâ is the sincere repentance of the person who is continuously seeking forgiveness with both tongue and heart.

Taqwâ is the heart being full of affection and the fear of Allah’s Divine punishment.

Taqwâ is the preservation of the heart from evil thoughts.

Taqwâ means to adhere to the imperative of Allah and His Prophet ﷺ with great love and affection, observing the whole of creation with the compassion and kindness of the Creator, and, being repulsed by anything that is contrary to this, distancing oneself from any situation or action that could damage the soul.

Taqwâ is a heart that has been assiduously purified; and for those who are successful in such purification, their heart becomes a treasure with the best temperament.

Taqwa Consists Of Three Stages:

1. Avoiding the forbidden.

2. Aiding by commands. This is a condition to be followed by all believers and is the basic level of taqwâ.

3. Having the feeling of being in the presence of Allah at all times. This is the highest level, the true test of knowledge and taqwâ.

Taqwa-Fear-and-Mindfulness-of-Allah-Islamic-Calligraphy-and-Typography-

In the Qur’ân Allah revealed that He is “Nearer to [man] than his jugular vein(Qâf, 50; 16) and with us as at all times: “He is with you wheresoever ye may be(Hadîd, 57: 4) This unity means that one is adorned with Allah’s attributes and is aware of His presence at all times. The soul that is adorned with the garment of taqwâ will begin to receive inspiration that direct towards the truth and warn against falsehood and evil; they will realise the real value and meaning of worldly objects. The Qur’ân is a Divine work of art that helps man to resolve every problem he may face. Through the Qur’ân and the Sunnah we can gain peace and contentment.

When a person approaches the pinnacle of taqwâ, their perception of the Qur’ân and apprehension of the universe deepens and they become familiar with the wisdom and mystery of the universe. With the singing of the nightingales, the quivering of the rose buds and the steady flow of the streams which bestow the sound of peace, we can gain appreciation of the adornments and blessings of the universe. We begin to understand the spirit of Yûnus Emre when he spoke with the yellow flower, about the interpretation of his own mysteries.

True taqwâ is the sign of having reached Allah. Ibn Atâ’illâh al-Iskandarî stated that a believer who has a sound heart says upon attaining taqwâ: “O Allah, what have those who have reached You lost; and what have those who have lost You found?

– An Excerpt from “IKHLAS AND TAQWA”

Shams Tabriz (rahimahullah)’s 40 Rules of Love.

Rule 1

How we see God is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves. If God brings to mind mostly fear and blame, it means there is too much fear and blame welled inside us. If we see God as full of love and compassion, so are we.

Rule 2

The path to the Truth is a labour of the heart, not of the head. Make your heart your primary guide! Not your mind. Meet, challenge and ultimately prevail over your nafs with your heart. Knowing your ego will lead you to the knowledge of God.

Rule 3

You can study God through everything and everyone in the universe, because God is not confined in a mosque, synagogue or church. But if you are still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look for him: in the heart of a true lover.

Rule 4

Intellect and love are made of different materials. Intellect ties people in knots and risks nothing, but love dissolves all tangles and risks everything. Intellect is always cautious and advices, ‘Beware too much ecstasy’, whereas love says, ‘Oh, never mind! Take the plunge!’ Intellect does not easily break down, whereas love can effortlessly reduce itself to rubble. But treasures are hidden among ruins. A broken heart hides treasures.

Rule 5

Most of problems of the world stem from linguistic mistakes and simple misunderstanding. Don’t ever take words at face value. When you step into the zone of love, language, as we know it becomes obsolete. That which cannot be put into words can only be grasped through silence.

Rule 6

Loneliness and solitude are two different things. When you are lonely, it is easy to delude yourself into believing that you are on the right path. Solitude is better for us, as it means being alone without feeling lonely. But eventually it is the best to find a person who will be your mirror. Remember only in another person’s heart can you truly see yourself and the presence of God within you.

Rule 7

Whatever happens in your life, no matter how troubling things might seem, do not enter the neighbourhood of despair. Even when all doors remain closed, God will open up a new path only for you. Be thankful! It is easy to be thankful when all is well. A Sufi is thankful not only for what he has been given but also for all that he has been denied.

Rule 8

Patience does not mean to passively endure. It means to look at the end of a process. What does patience mean? It means to look at the thorn and see the rose, to look at the night and see the dawn. Impatience means to be shortsighted as to not be able to see the outcome. The lovers of God never run out of patience, for they know that time is needed for the crescent moon to become full.

Rule 9

East, west, south, or north makes little difference. No matter what your destination, just be sure to make every journey a journey within. If you travel within, you’ll travel the whole wide world and beyond.

Rule 10

The midwife knows that when there is no pain, the way for the baby cannot be opened and the mother cannot give birth. Likewise, for a new self to be born, hardship is necessary. Just as clay needs to go through intense heat to become strong, Love can only be perfected in pain.

Rule 11

The quest for love changes user. There is no seeker among those who search for love who has not matured on the way. The moment you start looking for love, you start to change within and without.

Rule 12

There are more fake gurus and false teachers in this world than the number of stars in the visible universe. Don’t confuse power-driven, self-centered people with true mentors. A genuine spiritual master will not direct your attention to himself or herself and will not expect absolute obedience or utter admiration from you, but instead will help you to appreciate and admire your inner self. True mentors are as transparent as glass. They let the light of God pass through them.

Rule 13

Try not to resist the changes, which come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?

Rule 14

God is busy with the completion of your work, both outwardly and inwardly. He is fully occupied with you. Every human being is a work in progress that is slowly but inexorably moving toward perfection. We are each an unfinished work of art both waiting and striving to be completed. God deals with each of us separately because humanity is fine art of skilled penmanship where every single dot is equally important for the entire picture.

Rule 15

It’s easy to love a perfect God, unblemished and infallible that He is. What is far more difficult is to love fellow human being with all their imperfections and defects. Remember, one can only know what one is capable of loving. There is no wisdom without love. Unless we learn to love God’s creation, we can neither truly love nor truly know God.

Rule 16

Real faith is the one inside. The rest simply washes off. There is only one type of dirt that cannot be cleansed with pure water, and that is the stain of hatred and bigotry contaminating the soul. You can purify your body through abstinence and fasting, but only love will purify your heart.

Rule 17

The whole universe is contained within a single human being-you. Everything that you see around, including the things that you might not be fond of and even the people you despise or abhor, is present within you in varying degrees. Therefore, do not look for Sheitan outside yourself either. The devil is not an extraordinary force that attacks from without. It is an ordinary voice within. If you set to know yourself fully, facing with honesty and hardness.

Rule 18

If you want to change the ways others treat you, you should first change the way you treat yourself, fully and sincerely, there is no way you can be loved. Once you achieve that stage, however, be thankful for every thorn that others might throw at you. It is a sign that you will soon be showered in roses.

Rule 19

Fret not where the road will take you. Instead concentrate on the first step. That is the hardest part and that is what you are responsible for. Once you take that step let everything do what it naturally does and the rest will follow. Don’t go with the flow. Be the flow.

Rule 20

We were all created in His image, and yet we were each created different and unique. No two people are alike. No hearts beat to the same rhythm. If God had wanted everyone to be the same, He would have made it so. Therefore, disrespecting differences and imposing your thoughts on others is an amount to disrespecting God’s holy scheme.

Rule 21

When a true lover of God goes into a tavern, the tavern becomes his chamber of prayer, but when a wine bibber goes into the same chamber, it becomes his tavern. In everything we do, it is our hearts that make the difference, not our outer appearance. Sufis do not judge other people on how they look or who they are. When a Sufi stares at someone, he keeps both eyes closed instead opens a third eye – the eye that sees the inner realm.

Rule 22

Life is a temporary loan and this world is nothing but a sketchy imitation of Reality. Only children would mistake a toy for the real thing. And yet human beings either become infatuated with the toy or disrespectfully break it and throw it aside. In this life stay away from all kinds of extremities, for they will destroy your inner balance. Sufis do not go to extremes. A Sufi always remains mild and moderate.

Rule 23

The human being has a unique place among God’s creation. “I breathed into him of My Spirit,” God says. Each and every one of us without exception is designed to be God’s delegate on earth. Ask yourself, just how often do you behave like a delegate, if you ever do so? Remember, it fells upon each of us to discover the divine spirit inside and live by it.

Rule 24

Hell is in the here and now. So is heaven. Quit worrying about hell or dreaming about heaven, as they are both present inside this very moment. Every time we fall in love, we ascend to heaven. Every time we hate, envy or fight someone we tumble straight into the fires of hell.

Rule 25

Each and every reader comprehends the Holy Qur’an on a different level of tandem with the depth of his understanding. There are four levels of insight. The first level is the outer meaning and it is the one that the majority of the people are content with. Next is the Batin – the inner level. Third, there is the inner of the inner. And the fourth level is so deep it cannot be put into words and is therefore bound to remain indescribable.

Rule 26

The universe is one being. Everything and everyone is interconnected through an invisible web of stories. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all in a silent conversation. Do no harm. Practice compassion. And do not gossip behind anyone’s back – not even a seemingly innocent remark! The words that come out of our mouths do not vanish but are perpetually stored in infinite space and they will come back to us in due time. One man’s pain will hurt us all. One man’s joy will make everyone smile.

Rule 27

Whatever you speak, good or evil, will somehow come back to you. Therefore, if there is someone who harbours ill thoughts about you, saying similarly bad things about him will only make matters worse. You will be locked in a vicious circle of malevolent energy. Instead for forty days and nights say and think nice things about that person. Everything will be different at the end of 40 days, because you will be different inside.

Rule 28

The past is an interpretation. The future is on illusion. The world does not more through time as if it were a straight line, proceeding from the past to the future. Instead time moves through and within us, in endless spirals. Eternity does not mean infinite time, but simply timelessness. If you want to experience eternal illumination, put the past and the future out of your mind and remain within the present moment.

Rule 29

Destiny doesn’t mean that your life has been strictly predetermined. Therefore, to live everything to the fate and to not actively contribute to the music of the universe is a sign of sheer ignorance. The music of the universe is all pervading and it is composed on 40 different levels. Your destiny is the level where you play your tune. You might not change your instrument but how well to play is entirely in your hands.

Rule 30

The true Sufi is such that even when he is unjustly accused, attacked and condemned from all sides, he patiently endures, uttering not a sing bad word about any of his critics. A Sufi never apportions blame. How can there be opponents or rivals or even “others” when there is no “self” in the first place? How can there be anyone to blame when there is only One?

Rule 31

If you want to strengthen your faith, you will need to soften inside. For your faith to be rock solid, your heart needs to be as soft as a feather. Through an illness, accident, loss or fright, one way or another, we are all faced with incidents that teach us how to become less selfish and judgmental and more compassionate and generous. Yet some of us learn the lesson and manage to become milder, while some others end up becoming even harsher than before…

Rule 32

Nothing should stand between you and God. No imams, priests, rabbits or any other custodians of moral or religious leadership. Not spiritual masters and not even your faith. Believe in your values and your rules, but never lord them over others. If you keep breaking other people’s hearts, whatever religious duty you perform is no good. Stay away from all sorts of idolatry, for they will blur your vision. Let God and only God be your guide. Learn the Truth, my friend, but be careful not to make a fetish out of your truths.

Rule 33

While everyone in this world strives to get somewhere and become someone, only to leave it all behind after death, you aim for the supreme stage of nothingness. Live this life as light and empty as the number zero. We are no different from a pot. It is not the decorations outside but the emptiness inside that holds us straight. Just like that, it is not what we aspire to achieve but the consciousness of nothingness that keeps us going.

Rule 34

Submission does not mean being weak or passive. It leads to neither fatalism nor capitulation. Just the opposite. True power resides in submission a power that comes within. Those who submit to the divine essence of life will live in unperturbed tranquillity and peace even the whole wide world goes through turbulence after turbulence.

Rule 35

In this world, it is not similarities or regularities that take us a step forward, but blunt opposites. And all the opposites in the universe are present within each and every one of us. Therefore the believer needs to meet the unbeliever residing within. And the nonbeliever should get to know the silent faithful in him. Until the day one reaches the stage of Insane-I Kamil, the perfect human being, faith is a gradual process and one that necessitates its seeming opposite: disbelief.

Rule 36

This world is erected upon the principle of reciprocity. Neither a drop of kindness nor a speck of evil will remain unreciprocated. For not the plots, deceptions, or tricks of other people. If somebody is setting a trap, remember, so is God. He is the biggest plotter. Not even a leaf stirs outside God’s knowledge. Simply and fully believe in that. Whatever God does, He does it beautifully.

Rule 37

God is a meticulous dock maker. So precise is His order that everything on earth happens in its own time. Neither a minute late nor a minute early. And for everyone without exception, the clock works accurately. For each there is a time to love and a time to die.

Rule 38

It is never too late to ask yourself, “Am I ready to change the life I am living? Am I ready to change within?” Even if a single day in your life is the same as the day before, it surely is a pity. At every moment and with each new breath, one should be renewed and renewed again. There is only one-way to be born into a new life: to die before death.

Rule 39

While the part change, the whole always remains the same. For every thief who departs this world, a new one is born. And every descent person who passes away is replaced by a new one. In this way not only does nothing remain the same but also nothing ever really changes. For every Sufi who dies, another is born somewhere.

Rule 40

A life without love is of no account. Don’t ask yourself what kind of love you should seek, spiritual or material, divine or mundane, Eastern or Western. Divisions only lead to more divisions. Love has no labels, no definitions. It is what it is, pure and simple. Love is the water of life. And a lover is a soul of fire! The universe turns differently when fire loves water.

Reference: The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak

UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS IS ONE NOT OBLIGED TO FAST?

Islam is a religion that makes our life easier. Allah the Exalted does not hold His subjects responsible of the things they are not capable of. This condition holds for fasting as well. It is a sin not to fast during the month of Ramadan without an excuse. However, in some cases, it is permissible not to fast or break the fast that has   already started. After Ramadan, the fasts that are not performed are repaid as qada as soon as possible.

The following are the conditions that our religion considers valid excuses for not fasting or for breaking the fast in Ramadan:

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– Excerpt from the book,”My beautiful Religion: According to the Hanafi School”

The nullifiers of fast

We will discuss the acts nullifying the fast under two categories:

  • Actions that require both Kaffara and Qada.
  • Fast-breaking actions that require Fasting as Qada only.

1. Actions that require both Kaffara and Qada.

It is a sin to break our fast or not fast without an excuse during the month of Ramadan. When we are fasting, if we break the fast knowingly, we must seek forgiveness of Allah due to this sin. As a penalty, we must fast for two months (kaffara) and one additional day to make up the broken fast.

Nullify fasts

2. Fast-breaking actions that require Fasting as Qada only.

Our fast can also be broken accidentally or due to an excuse. In this case, we only fast for those days that we have missed.

Some of the fast-breaking actions that require only qada (without kaffara) include:

Some of the fast-breaking actions that require only qada (without kaffara) include:

1. Eating or drinking does not break the fast if is done through forgetfulness. However, one should immediately stop ea- ting or drinking upon remembering. In this case, the fast is not nullified. That person washes his mouth and continues to fast. Fast breaks if anything goes down one’s throat after remembering that one was fasting. If he does not stop eating or drinking upon remembrance, the fast is nullified and he has to make qada instead.


ACTIONS THAT DO NOT NULLIFY THE FAST

Our beloved Prophet ﷺ says:

“Whosoever eats and drinks while fasting due to forgetfulness, he should complete his fast. That is because Allah made him eat or drink.”

(Bukhari, Sawm, 26)

1. In tooth extraction, the spray-on morphine does not break the fast, but the injection of morphine does break the fast.  2. To taste a food without swallowing it is an objectionable act (makruh).

1. In tooth extraction, the spray-on morphine does not break the fast, but the injection of morphine does break the fast.
2. To taste a food without swallowing it is an objectionable act (makruh).

– Excerpt from the book,”My beautiful Religion: According to the Hanafi School” 

TYPES OF FASTING

Fasting is to abstain from eating, drinking, and sexual activity from dawn to sunset.

Ramadan

Ramadan

 TYPES OF FASTING

OBLIGATORY FASTS

  • Fasting during the month of Ramadan,
  • Fasting to make up (Qada) the missed Ramadan fasting,
  • Fasting as expiation (Kaffara) for the missed Ramadan fasting.

FASTING AS MAKE-UP (QADA)

What is the qada fast?
Fast to make up an accidentally nullified fast or a fast that is not fulfilled due to an excuse.
When is fasting as qada fulfilled?
It can be performed on any day after the month of Ramadan, except the days that are mak- ruh tahriman to fast.
FASTING AS EXPIATION (KAFFARA)

What is fasting as expiation (Kaffara)?
One must atone for a fast nullified knowingly by fasting consecutively without skipping a single day, for two months. This fast, which is performed as a penalty, is called “Kaffara.”
How many days is quaffer fasts?

The length of the Kaffara is two lunar months. This is usually sixty days. When one additional day to make up the nullified fast is added to this, it becomes sixty-one. For this reason, this fasting is also popularly referred to as “sixty-one.”


REQUIRED FASTS

  • Vowed fast,
  • Fasting to make up (Qada) the missed supererogatory (Nafilah) fasting.

SUNNAH FASTS

Our Prophet used to fast outside of the Ramadan and used to recommend this to his Companions as well.

Some of these fasts are:

  • Fasting on the ninth and tenth days or tenth and eleventh days of the month of Muharram,
  • Fasting six days on the month of Shawwal following the month of Ramadan,
  • Fasting on Mondays and Thursdays,
  • Fasting on the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth days of the lunar months,
  • Fasting one day and skipping the other day in days other than Ramadan (Fasting of Prophet David).

OBJECTIONABLE (MAKRUH) FASTINGS

These are the fasts that are considered objectionable (makruh) for various reasons. Those fasts are of two kinds:

1. Makruh Tahriman (Disliked but closer to forbidden) Fast

  • Fasting on the first day of the Ramadan Feast (Eid al-Fitr),
  • Fasting during all of the four days of the Sacrifice Feast (Eid al-Adha, and three days after `Eid al-Adha).

2. Makruh Tanzihan (Disliked but closer to Permissible) Fast 

  • Fasting on only the tenth day of Muharram- Ashura, without fasting the day before or the day after.
  • Fasting on only Friday or Saturday.

#(If a person who wants to fast on Ashura, Friday, or Saturday fasts the day before or the day after, then the fasting is not considered makruh.)

– Excerpt from the book, “My beautiful Religion: ACCORDING TO THE HANAFI SCHOOL”