Excellence/Striving

  •  وَٱلَّذِينَ جَـٰهَدُواْ فِينَا لَنَہۡدِيَنَّہُمۡ سُبُلَنَا‌ۚ وَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَمَعَ ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ     (As for those who strive in Our way, We will certainly take them onto Our paths, and indeed Allah is with those who are good in deeds  Surah 29, Verse 69)

*   A person’s duty is to make an effort to endeavor and Allah SWT brings fruit to it

*   We need to do something to get something.  We follow this principle regarding the matters of the dunya, but it also applies to our relationship with Allah.  To get close to Allah, we should make an effort

*   We need to make an effort so that we can attain guidance and the love of Allah SWT

*   A person who makes an effort will reach his destination much faster than someone who merely wishes and does not make effort

*   Mujahada:  When a person gets the urge to commit a sin, and he resists, that resisting is mujahada

*   Riyadha:  To weaken the urge so that one is not inclined towards the sin

*   Both mujahada and riyadha are necessary

  • When Allah SWT created paradise, He sent Jibrail (AHS) to see it.  Jibrail (AHS) returned and reported:   I see the blessings of paradise and its beauty.  I believe the majority of Your creation will want to go into paradise.  Then Allah SWT sent Jibrail (AHS) to look at the hellfire.  Jibrail (AHS) returned and reported:  I believe none of Your creation will wish to be here.  Then Allah SWT sent Jibrail (AHS) to paradise again, but this time He covered paradise with mujahada (striving and effort), muamala (proper dealings with others), muashara (proper interactions with others), huquq (ensuring the rights of others), etc.  Jibrail (AHS) returned and reported:  All of Your creation will wish to be here, but they are going to have to make effort and it is going to be difficult.  Then Allah SWT asked him to look towards the hellfire and He covered it with things of desire.  Jibrail (AHS) reported:  I believe few will be saved from this.

*    زُيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ حُبُّ ٱلشَّهَوَٲتِ مِنَ ٱلنِّسَآءِ وَٱلۡبَنِينَ وَٱلۡقَنَـٰطِيرِ ٱلۡمُقَنطَرَةِ مِنَ ٱلذَّهَبِ وَٱلۡفِضَّةِ وَٱلۡخَيۡلِ ٱلۡمُسَوَّمَةِ وَٱلۡأَنۡعَـٰمِ وَٱلۡحَرۡثِ‌ۗ ذَٲلِكَ مَتَـٰعُ ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا‌ۖ وَٱللَّهُ عِندَهُ ۥ حُسۡنُ ٱلۡمَـَٔابِ   (It has been made attractive for people to love the desired things; that is, women, children, hoarded heaps of gold and silver, branded horses, cattle and tillage. That is an enjoyment of the worldly life; but with Allah lies the beauty of the final resort  Surah 3, Verse 14)

  • In our daily lives, we strive to become something, to be above average.  That is natural in our hearts.  For matters of deen, we should have the same type of aspiration

*    وَفِى ذَٲلِكَ فَلۡيَتَنَافَسِ ٱلۡمُتَنَـٰفِسُونَ    (It is this (bliss) in aspiring for which the competitors should race each other Surah 83, Verse 26)

*   This is something worth competing in. There is no meter that measures a person’s love for Allah SWT, so we don’t know who is the closest to Allah SWT.  This is from the Wisdom of Allah SWT – if there was a way of telling who is close and who is not, then immediately people will become judgmental and this will create other diseases.  There is a reason Allah SWT has kept certain things hidden from us (such as our time of death), so that we can continue to function in this dunya.

  • The Prophet (ﷺ) said:  A person who dies, his qiyama is here

*   The difference between us and paradise is a period of going to sleep and waking up

*   When we are awoken, we will feel like it has been a day or part of a day, even if it has been thousands of years

  • A sahaba stated:  A person who understands himself, he will recognize who Allah SWT is
  • A consistent drop of water on a stone erodes the stone.  Injecting a bit of love of Allah SWT in our heart every day, a life new will come into our heart

Controlling the Nafs:

  • Hadith: “If a person guarantees for me what is between his jaw and between his pelvis, I will guarantee Jannah”.  Most sins are committed either with the tongue or the private parts. 
  • When we strive in the path of Allah, our nafs acts like a negative force to our striving

*   Until we do not make an effort to suppress the nafs, it can never be suppressed

*   When a person leaves a sin, he should latch onto the Sunnah of the Prophet (ﷺ) in place of the sin

*   The strength and evil habits of the nafs are apparent in a child.  When a child loses its temper and becomes angry, this is the result of pride inside the child.  The Prophet (ﷺ) has taught us a unique way of educating our children.  For the first seven years, there is no formal education.  The emphasis is on teaching them etiquette.

  •   إِنَّ نَاشِئَةَ ٱلَّيۡلِ هِىَ أَشَدُّ وَطۡـًٔ۬ا وَأَقۡوَمُ قِيلاً   (Truly, rising by night (for prayer of tahajjud ) is the most effective way to subdue (one’s base self) and to make speech more upright  Surah 73, Verse 6)

*   A person needs to do more than the five daily prayers to rectify himself

*   Praying two rakat at night will weaken the nafs and make us more truthful in our speech

  •    يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَكُونُواْ مَعَ ٱلصَّـٰدِقِينَ   (O you who believe, fear Allah, and be in the company of the truthful  Surah 9, Verse 119)

*   Because Allah SWT has ordered us to keep the company of those who are truthful, there will always be people who are truthful until the Day of Judgment. We just have to find them.

*   Keeping good company helps one control their desires

  • About 1/3-1/6 of the Shariah is dedicated to ibadah, eg. how to pray, fast, zakat, purity, hajj.  The rest of the Shariah talks about our dealings in society with other people, and this is the difficult part

*     وَٱعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَلَا تُشۡرِكُواْ بِهِۦ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا‌ۖ وَبِٱلۡوَٲلِدَيۡنِ إِحۡسَـٰنً۬ا وَبِذِى ٱلۡقُرۡبَىٰ    (Worship Allah, and do not associate with Him anything, and be good to parents and to kinsmen Surah 4, Verse 36)

*   Being good to our relatives is more difficult than praying the five daily prayers

*   The concept of us being responsible for others is no longer present.  Dunya has slowly come in and now each person is separated from his family and kin.  Each person is individualistic and acts as if it is survival of the fittest. Nowadays when parents become old, they are put into nursing homes rather than the children taking the responsibility.

*   Our parent’s duas are a big blessing and a source of protection for us.  There was a shaykh whose mother passed away.  Allah SWT sent ilham/khasf (inspiration) to him that up until today your mother’s duas protected you and to be careful from today as there is nobody’s duas to protect you.