Friday, 25 March 2016

How much is enough?

"No one has ever become poor by giving.” - Anne Frank

I believe that God is the best Planner. He plans our schedules and meetings according to what is best for us. We may not understand it or even liked it at that time but He has a good reason for everything.

“And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” 
(AI-Baqarah, 2:216)

Yesterday, I met up with two very young but very aspiring couple. I admire their dedication and hardwork towards Islam even at a young age. When I was their age, (which was eons ago and I'm beginning to feel like a dinosaur fossil with my bones rattling everywhere), Islam was farthest on my mind. I was too busy chasing the world.

Anyway, this young brother said something that has been plaguing me for months. He said that he feels he hasn't done enough charity. Without him knowing, he echoed my own distress.

The question is, how much is enough and when do you know it's enough? If only we have a visible quota ruler complete with neon lights and warning buzzer that can indicate our acts of charities and warn us if we fall short.

So, what do we do? Well......I find that if you set a target for yourself to try to do a charitable act, at least once a day, perhaps the guilt feeling won't hunt you. For me, I admit that I got distracted and have been slacking for the last few months. This young couple was sent to me as a reminder...

Many think that you need to have money in order to give in charity. Wrong!! An act of kindness is also an act of charity. The easist one is to smile to others and be nice. Leave your grumpy moods and bad-hair day drama in the toilet. If possible, flush it down.

The Prophet also said: "Every act of goodness is charity." - Sahih Muslim, Hadith 496

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Charity is prescribed for each descendant of Adam every day the sun rises." He was then asked: "From what do we give charity every day?" The Prophet answered: "The doors of goodness are many...enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, listening to the deaf, leading the blind, guiding one to the object of his need, hurrying with the strength of one's legs to one in sorrow who is asking for help, and supporting the feeble with the strength of one's arms--all of these are charity prescribed for you." He also said: "Your smile for your brother is charity." - Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3, Number 98 

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Every Muslim has to give in charity." The people then asked: "(But what) if someone has nothing to give, what should he do?" The Prophet replied: "He should work with his hands and benefit himself and also give in charity (from what he earns)." The people further asked: "If he cannot find even that?" He replied: "He should help the needy who appeal for help." Then the people asked: "If he cannot do (even) that?" The Prophet said finally: "Then he should perform good deeds and keep away from evil deeds, and that will be regarded as charitable deeds." - Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Hadith 524 

Committing an act of charity is actually food for the soul. When you feel the twitches in your heart or the guilt, that means your soul is starving. If you don't believe me, try it for yourself. Feed a person. See how your heart reacts to it. How it's rejuvenated. You'll feel as if a flower had bloomed in your chest.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Protect yourself from hell-fire even by giving a piece of date as charity.”
(Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

How do we know when it's enough? Hhmm....that's quite subjective actually. I suppose we need to listen carefully to the whispering of our hearts and also, I believe that if you find contentment and peace in your heart even in this chaotic world, then perhaps you've fulfilled your 'quota'. Wallahualam....

“Who is it that would loan Allah a goodly loan so He may multiply it for him many times over? And it is Allah who withholds and grants abundance, and to Him you will be returned.”
(Surah Al Baqara 2:245)

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Learning to Let Go

“The beautiful journey of today can only begin when we learn to let go of yesterday.” ― Steve Maraboli

Once, a sister asked me, how should she deal with people who repeatedly hurt her feelings. Have you ever been in that situation? Whilst it's easy to walk away and stay away from acquiantances or even strangers, how do one react if the person is a family member or work-mate or someone you see on a daily basis? Tricky isn't? You can't simply tell the person off as it might jepordise the relationship but at the same time, you can't take the pain anymore. How do you cope with the anger, pain and heartache without confronting the culprit? What do you do when you know that talking to this person will not make a difference but could possibily make things worse?

Well....I'm no expert but I did find myself in such situation a few years back. One thing for sure, it's not a nice situation for anyone to be in. At that time, I felt torn between trying to maintain the peace and to fight for justice and my own sanity. Keeping everything bottled up is also not solution as one can only take in so much before exploding. The negativity will only pull you down and make you feel depress.

"Allah desireth for you ease; He desireth not hardship for you;"
Surah Al Baqara 2:185

My advice is....let it go. Let all the negative emotions go. Sometimes we need to experience hate in order to learn to forgive. Forgive the person and move on. Don't let this person occupy a space in your heart. Trust me, this person is just not worth your attention or losing sleep over. Once you let go, you will not be affected with anything that this person does to you.

"but forgive them, and overlook (their misdeeds): for Allah loveth those who are kind."
Surah Al Maida 5:13

Abdullah ibn Amr (may Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said,"Be merciful to others and you will receive mercy. Forgive others and Allah will forgive you."Narrated by Imam Ahmad

We must accept the fact that we can never please everyone and that there are bound to be someone who simply hates us. Sometimes, the problem lies not with us but within the heart of that person. Envy, hatred, dislike and grudges are all diseases of the heart that has the potential to blacken one's heart if one is not careful.

If a person does not like you, don't be sad or angry or depress. Just shrug it off, accept the fact and move on. Believe me, you can't make everyone like you. Even our beloved Prophet Muhammad pbuh had 'haters' during his time and yet, he is the best amongst all of us. Aim to please your Creator and not His creations.

Also, always think well of God. If a person has nothing but negativity towards you, then perhaps God is showing you that this person is not someone you should have in your life. As much as you can, keep away from them but if you can't, don't let them get to you.

Worst case scenario, if it still bothers you, just pretend that the person is mentally impaired. That way, hopefully you will be able to deal with it better.

Most important of all, always remember that God Almighty is always near....

"He said: "Fear not: for I am with you: I hear and see (everything)."
Surah Ta ha 20:46

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Life starts at 40?

“Just remember, when you’re over the hill, you begin to pick up speed.”
― Charles M. Schulz

A couple years ago, I discovered that we reach the pinnacle of our lives at the age of 40. 40 is such a special age that it is specifically mentioned in the Quran.

"And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful & kind to his parents. His mother bears him with hardship. And she brings him forth with hardship, and the bearing of him and the weaning of him is thirty months, till when he attains full strength and reaches forty years, he says: My Lord! Grant me the power and ability that I may be grateful for Your Favour which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds, such as please You, and make my off-spring good. Truly, I have turned to You in repentance, and truly, I am one of the Muslims.”

Surah Ahqaf 15:46

When I first read the verse, I really didn't understand the meaning of the verse. The Wise Old then told me that it means in Islam, we reach our 'spiritual' maturity at age of 40. Hmmmm....really? I'm not sure if that's true for me though.

Well, I've gone past the significant age threshold and I slowly began to noticed something. You know the saying 'everything that goes up, must come down'. Once you've climbed to the top of the mountain, the only other way for you to go is....down. Similarly with our bodies, once we've reached our prime, it will slowly descend down the graf and wither.

For the last few months, I began to feel the impact of being above 40. Now, I get aches and pain on my body that I never did experienced before. My movement have somewhat slowed down.

Our body is given to us on loan by God until such appointed time. For some people, the body is taken back at a moment notice and for others, gradually.

I do believe that for me, little bits and pieces of me such as my strength, agility, part of my eyesight and health are slowly finding its way back to its Maker, God Almighty.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un
We surely belong to Allah and to Him we shall return.

"Who say, when afflicted with calamity: "To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return"
Surah Al Baqara 2:156

Some of the privileges given to me are now being taken back slowly. Ultimately, my soul will return to Him. So whilst I'm still alive though no longer kicking, I must make full use of the balance of my life in the best possible way. 

The Prophet said: ”Take advantage of five matters before five other matters: your youth before you become old; your health, before you fall sick; your wealth, before you become poor; your free time before you become preoccupied, and your life, before your death.” (Narrated by Ibn Abbas in the Mustadrak of Hakim & Musnad Imam Ahmad. Sahih)