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~ Muslim by Choice ~
"Allah! None has the right to be worshipped, but He." Surat Al-Baqarah: 255

Friday Inspiration

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Bismillah Ir-Rahmaan Ir-Raheem

While reading Surat Al-Khaf I really was struck by some of the passages - I'll let them speak for themselves.

Please reflect on these, there really is wisdom to be found there . . .

Think about how we live our wordly lives in context with this verse. What is the true purpose of our lives?:

إِنَّا جَعَلْنَا مَا عَلَى الْأَرْضِ زِينَةً لَّهَا لِنَبْلُوَهُمْ أَيُّهُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا

"That which is on earth We have made but as a glittering show for it, in order that We may test them - as to which of them are best in conduct." (18:7)

Ponder the story of the people of the cave and the faith they exhibited . . .

وَرَبَطْنَا عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ إِذْ قَامُوا فَقَالُوا رَبُّنَا رَبُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ لَن نَّدْعُوَ مِن دُونِهِ إِلَهًا لَقَدْ قُلْنَا إِذًا شَطَطًا

"We gave strength to their hearts. Behold, they stood up and said: 'Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and of the earth: never shall we call upon any god other than Him: if we did, we should indeed have uttered an enormity!'"(18:14)

هَؤُلَاء قَوْمُنَا اتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِهِ آلِهَةً لَّوْلَا يَأْتُونَ عَلَيْهِم بِسُلْطَانٍ بَيِّنٍ فَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنِ افْتَرَى عَلَى اللَّهِ كَذِبًا

"These our people have taken for worship gods other than Him: why do they not bring forward an authority clear (and convincing) for what they do? Who doth more wrong than such as invent a falsehood against Allah?"(18:15)

وَإِذِ اعْتَزَلْتُمُوهُمْ وَمَا يَعْبُدُونَ إِلَّا اللَّهَ فَأْوُوا إِلَى الْكَهْفِ يَنشُرْ لَكُمْ رَبُّكُم مِّن رَّحمته ويُهَيِّئْ لَكُم مِّنْ أَمْرِكُم مِّرْفَقًا

"When ye turn away from them and the things they worship other than Allah, betake yourselves to the cave: your Lord will shower His mercies on you and dispose of your affair towards comfort and ease." (18:16)

Think of the faith they had in order to just turn away and seclude themselves with only Allah to protect and provide for them.

How many of us would be willing to do that today? We often make many excuses (fear, money, time, etc.) about why we don't to the things we need to do to follow Allah's command - why can't we exhibit this type of faith? What do we need to change in our lives to start developing this type of faith in our hearts?

A reminder to say 'insha'Alah' whenever we promise anything:

وَلَا تَقُولَنَّ لِشَيْءٍ إِنِّي فَاعِلٌ ذَلِكَ غَدًا

إِلَّا أَن يَشَاء اللَّهُ وَاذْكُر رَّبَّكَ إِذَا نَسِيتَ وَقُلْ عَسَى أَن يَهْدِيَنِ رَبِّي لِأَقْرَبَ مِنْ هَذَا رَشَدًا

"Nor say of anything, 'I shall be sure to do so and so tomorrow' - except say 'If Alah so wills' and remember thy Lord when thou forgettest and say, 'I hope that my Lord will guide me ever closer (even) than this to the right course.'" (18:23-24)

What about this verse . . .

وَاتْلُ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِن كِتَابِ رَبِّكَ لَا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِهِ وَلَن تَجِدَ مِن دُونِهِ مُلْتَحَدًا

"And recite (and teach) what has been revealed to thee of the book of thy Lord: none can change His Words, and none wilt thou find as a refuge other than Him." (18:27)

How many of us make excuses that we can't read Qur'an - we have no time, we're too busy. Yet, how many of us make the time to read the paper, chat on the internet, watch television? We CAN make time - we just have to want to. You will notice such a difference in the quality of your life even if you just set aside 15 minutes a day to read the Qur'an.

Also - what about the teaching part - how many of us have some useful knowledge that we don't share with others? Know Arabic? Teach someone else. Know how to read Qur'an? Teach someone who doesn't know how to read Arabic yet. Just imagine the blessings we would receive if we shared with others the knowledge that Allah has given us.

Another reminder to be careful about the friends we choose - they can make such a great impact on our lives (our friends are a reflection of ourselves):

وَاصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُم بِالْغَدَاةِ وَالْعَشِيِّ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَهُ وَلَا تَعْدُ عَيْنَاكَ عَنْهُمْ تُرِيدُ زِينَةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَلَا تُطِعْ مَنْ أَغْفَلْنَا قَلْبَهُ عَن ذِكْرِنَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ وَكَانَ أَمْرُهُ فُرُطًا

"And keep yourself content with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His Face; and let not thine eyes pass beyond them, seeking the pomp and glitter of this life; nor obey any whose heart We have permitted to neglect the remembrance of Us, one who follows his own desires, and his affair has become all excess." (18:28)

Reflect on the parable of the two gardens . . .

كِلْتَا الْجَنَّتَيْنِ آتَتْ أُكُلَهَا وَلَمْ تَظْلِمْ مِنْهُ شَيْئًا وَفَجَّرْنَا خِلَالَهُمَا نَهَرًا

"Each of those gardens brought forth its produce, and failed not in the least therein. . ." (18:33)

One man was arrogant . . .

وَكَانَ لَهُ ثَمَرٌ فَقَالَ لِصَاحِبِهِ وَهُوَ يُحَاوِرُهُ أَنَا أَكْثَرُ مِنكَ مَالًا وَأَعَزُّ نَفَرًا
وَدَخَلَ جَنَّتَهُ وَهُوَ ظَالِمٌ لِّنَفْسِهِ قَالَ مَا أَظُنُّ أَن تَبِيدَ هَذِهِ أَبَدًا

"(Abundant) was the produce this man had: he said to his companion, in the course of a mutual argument, 'More wealth have I than you, and more honor and power in (my following of) men.' He went into his garden while he wronged himself: He said, 'I deem not that this will ever perish.'"(18:34-35)

We must realize that all blessings in this world are from Allah. Especially we must remember that all things that come to us, whether good or bad, are a test from Allah of our character and faith. Many people become blinded by wealth, status, etc.

We must realize that to Allah, these things are not important . . . On the Day that we will be gathered together, Allah will not ask us how much money we made, but how much money we gave to the poor and needy. How much money did we give to build the masjid and Muslim educational institutions? We will not be asked how much influence did we build in this life, but how many people did we assist by using our influence. How did we improve the Muslim society through that influence? Otherwise, although it may make people envy you and you SEEM important . . . it really is not only useless to you, but it will harm you in the end.

The other man realized that the fruits of this world come only from Allah:

قَالَ لَهُ صَاحِبُهُ وَهُوَ يُحَاوِرُهُ أَكَفَرْتَ بِالَّذِي خَلَقَكَ مِن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ ثُمَّ سَوَّاكَ رَجُلًا
لَّكِنَّا هُوَ اللَّهُ رَبِّي وَلَا أُشْرِكُ بِرَبِّي أَحَدًا

"Dost thou deny Him Who created thee out of dust, then out of a sperm-drop, then fashioned thee into a man? But as for my part, Alah is my Lord, and none shall I Associate with my Lord."

وَلَوْلَا إِذْ دَخَلْتَ جَنَّتَكَ قُلْتَ مَا شَاء اللَّهُ لَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللَّهِ إِن تُرَنِ أَنَا أَقَلَّ مِنكَ مَالًا وَوَلَدًا

He also said, "Why didst thou not, as thou wentest into thy garden, say:'Allah's Will (be done)! There is no power but from Allah!"

The arrogant man's garden was ruined . . .

وَأُحِيطَ بِثَمَرِهِ فَأَصْبَحَ يُقَلِّبُ كَفَّيْهِ عَلَى مَا أَنفَقَ فِيهَا وَهِيَ خَاوِيَةٌ عَلَى عُرُوشِهَا وَيَقُولُ يَا لَيْتَنِي لَمْ أُشْرِكْ بِرَبِّي أَحَدًا

"So his fruits were encompassed (with ruin) and he remained twisting and turning his hands over what he had spent on his property, which had (now) tumbled to pieces to its very foundations. . ."

Allah repeatedly tells us in the Qur'an that all pleasures will perish. The Qur'an is also full of stories about previous men and women and entire societies who rejoiced in their wealth, and status, yet they met disastrous ends. These stories are a means of warning and enlightenment, yet many of us do not contemplate their meaning.

The things of this life are but temporary - we should not be dazzled by their "seeming" importance. We instead must work toward our true goal - to live according to the Qur'an and Sunnah in word and deed in order to be accepted into Paradise.

Anyway, this is only part of the Surah, but I thought I would share with you some of the enlightening passages I have been reflecting over.

Insha'Allah, next week I will try to continue with the rest of the surah.


For those of you who are not aware, it is a good practice to read
Surat Al-Kahf on Fridays. It was narrated from Abu Sa’eed al-Khduri that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“Whoever reads Soorat al-Kahf on Friday, he will be illuminated with light between the two Fridays.” Narrated by al-Haakim; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Targheeb, 836.

And Allah knows best.

Don't Be Duped!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Bismillah Ir-Rahmaan Ir-Raheem

I found this beneficial article in the weekly newsletter called Friday Nasiha. If interested, you can sign up for their newsletter at the bottom of their homepage (follow the link).

I find their articles informative and inspiring - see what you think:


If I told you someone was going to climb through your bedroom window at 1:17am, grab your wallet, your watch and your cell phone, would you get your guard up?

You probably wouldn’t think I was serious, say ‘yeah right,’ and snuggle into your warm comfortable bed for a good night’s sleep.

What if it did happen? What if you woke up and found that your wallet, your watch and your cell were gone?

If it did happen, you’d be duped. That’s what.

Duped: conned, deceived, jerked around, fooled, played, tricked.

While these other words kind of give an idea of duped, they miss one important thing: to be duped is to see it coming, yet get hit.


If I told you I got news that someone was after you, that someone wanted to destroy you, that someone wanted to drag you into the depths of hell and was going to use all the resources available to do it, would you believe me?

What if Allah told you, would you believe Him?
What if that someone himself said it, would you believe it?
Check it out,

Satan said: “I will make things on earth seem attractive to them (mankind) and lead all of them to error, except those of Your servants whom You have singled out for Yourself.” (Quran 15:39-40)

Satan has explained it clear enough: we, mankind, have a sworn enemy. So what do we do about it? Well for one, DON’T BE DUPED! ...

The Defense - 5 Things to Realize

1. We Choose, the Power is Ours!

Satan tries to convince us that we are just pawns in a plan that will play itself out. Allah is the Creator of all things, including men, women and their actions. We are the ‘doers’ of our actions, i.e. we choose to do certain things and not to do certain things.

“We showed him the way: whether he be grateful or ungrateful (rests on his will).” (Quran 76:3)
While Allah has the power to control our actions, He has given us guidance and left it up to us to follow it. Once we realize that we choose our actions, it only makes sense that we are accountable for what we do.

2. Dupe Check

With Satan constantly attacking us, we need to check our choices so we please Allah and make it to paradise. How do we know if we are on track or headed for a wreck? We should always keep ourselves in check.

But as the saying goes, ‘no one can be their own best critic’. That’s why it’s important to receive critiques from others with an open mind. No one likes to hear they’re doing something wrong, but we should take every opportunity we can to hold ourselves to account before we are held accountable by the All Seeing, All Hearing and All Knowing God.

3. The Ultimate Reinforcement

Satan admits he can’t win over those people who follow in the path of Allah. When we feel Satan’s whisper loosen our grip on what’s real and what really matters, we call for back-up:

“O my Lord, I seek refuge with you from the evil ones. And I seek refuge with you, O my Lord, lest they should come near me.” (Quran 23:97-98)

No matter how hard Satan hits, Allah’s got our back!

4. Been Duped? Undupe!

People aren’t perfect: we will make mistakes. Satan dupes us by making us think that minor sins aren’t important. So we might think, “What’s the big deal if I tell a ‘white lie’?” The fact is, lies are lies and sins are sins, and as the Prophet said, even minor sins, “if a person is called to account for them, will destroy him.” [Ahmad]

So how do we repent for what we do wrong, whether minor or major?
* Recognize what’s wrong and stop doing it right away.
* Hate the action and regret that we ever did it.
* Be determined never to do the action again.
* If someone’s rights were violated by the action we should seek their forgiveness and set things right.

While we may end up falling into the same trap again, we can always repent and get back on the straight path. Only those people who give up and continue to follow Satan are duped and truly losers.

5. Mission Not Impossible

With tough talk like, "then will I assault them from before them and behind them, from their right and their left" (Quran 7:17), Satan can seem intimidating. But we know from the Quran, on the Day of Judgment Satan will back down and double-cross those he duped:

“It was Allah Who gave you a promise of Truth: I too promised, but I failed in my promise to you. I had no authority over you except to call you but you listened to me: then reproach not me, but reproach your own souls.” (Quran 14:22)

Even now, while Satan thinks he’s all that, we can and have beat him. Just look at what the Prophet said to Umar Al-Khattab!

"Never does Satan find you going on a way, but he takes another way other than yours." [Bukhari and Muslim]

With these 5 points in heart and mind, we’ve stacked our defense:

It’s time to take the offense!

The Offense - Stay on track and fight the attack!

1. The Best Offense is a Good Defense We can never pray enough for Allah’s help; the five daily prayers, a night of bonding in voluntary prayers or simply ask Allah for protection from Satan and dupedom.

2. Get the GuideRead, understand, absorb and live the Quran. It guides us with examples of how people in the past dealt with Satan, it consoles us in our struggle and it lights hope with the promise of paradise. [See, Quran: Your Gateway to a New World]

3. Follow the LeaderWhile Satan strives to lead us astray, we should remember the example of the Prophet who was sent to guide us to the right way. If we practice like the Prophet, we too can defeat dupedom!

4. Get StackedDon’t bear the brunt of the battle alone; you need the help of your friends. As the Prophet Muhammad said, “A person is likely to follow the faith of his friend, so look (carefully) whom you choose to befriend.” [Ahmad] A group of dummies are destined to be duped so find friends that feel the way you do about faith. [Check out Cool or Fool]

5. Never StopSatan is relentless. He won’t stop until he has us on a one-way trip to hell. We need to be just as persistent in the resistance, always purifying our hearts and filling our minds with the remembrance of Allah.

"Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves: If You don’t forgive us
and bestow Your mercy upon us, we will certainly be lost."

I decided to be mindful of how I spend my time......

Bismillah Ir-Rahmaan Ir-Raheem

Found this and thought it might make us reflect on how we use our time. May we all find ways to make our time useful, insha'Allah.

I decided to be mindful of how I spend my time......

Since last night my young son has been unwell. When I got back from work this evening I decided to take him to hospital despite my exhaustion. Indeed, fatigue for his sake is rest. There were many waiting;perhaps we will be delayed by more than an hour. I took my number and sat down in the waiting room. There were many faces, young and old, but all silent. Some brothers made use of the many booklets available in the waiting room. Some of those waiting had their eyes closed,while others were looking around. Most were bored.

Once in a while the long silence was broken by a nurse calling out a number. Happiness appears on the one whose turn it is, and he gets up quickly;then silence returns.

A young man grabbed my attention. He was reading a pocket-sized Qur`an continuously; not raising his head even once. At first I did not think much about him. However, after one hour of waiting my casual glances turned into a deep reflection about his lifestyle and how he utilizes his time. One hour of life wasted!

Instead of making benefit of that hour,it was just a boring wait. Then the call for prayer was made. We went to prayer in the hospital's mosque.I tried to pray close to the man who was reading the Qur`an earlier in the waiting room.

After the prayer I walked with him. I informed him of how impressed I was of him and how he tries to benefit from his time. He told me that most of our time is wasted without any benefit. These are days that go from our lives without being conscious of them or regretting their waste. He said that he started carrying the pocket-sized Qur`an around when a friend encouraged him to make full use of his time. He told me that in the time other people waste he gets to read much more of the Qur`an than he gets to read either at home or in the mosque.Moreover, besides the reward of reading the Qur`an,this habit saves him from boredom and stress.

He added that he has now been waiting for one and a half hours.Then he asked, when will you find one and a half hours to read the Qur`an? I reflected;how much time do we waste? How many moments of our lives pass by, and yet we do not account for how they passed by? Indeed, how many months pass by and we do not read the Qur`an? I came to respect my companion, and I discovered that I am to stand for account and that time is not in my hand;so what am I waiting for?

My thoughts were interrupted by the nurse calling out my number;I went to the doctor. But I want to achieve something now. After I left the hospital I quickly went to the bookshop and bought a pocket-sized Qur`an. I decided to be mindful of how I spend the time. That was my intention when I put that Qur`an in my pocket. How many people will do this?
And what great reward is for the one who guides others to this idea?

Forwarded by a brother to IslamWay

Remembering Allah and Setting Priorities

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Bismillah Ir-Rahmaan Ir-Raheem

I found this khutbah on the internet and thought I'd share it with you. I think this topic is very important for us to think over. Insha'Allah we will gain some benefit from it.

For more khutbahs from this website, go here: http://www.icoi.net/articles.php?action=cat&id=9


ICOI Khutbah 149 - May 13, 2005

Remembering Allah and Setting our Priorities - Page 1
Author: Mohammad Al-Yaqoubi

We find ourselves in the midst of a materialistic life where dunia / worldly matters are our priority. Many came to this country in pursuit of money and to escape religious persecution. But, the dunia took them out of the spirit of Islam and they now live mundane lives. We have become human machines; a cycle of eating, working, and sleeping. If we remember Allah (swt), it is from one Friday to the next Friday, or from one Ramadhan to the next.

I would like to highlight the following verse that reminds the Believer to remember Allah (swt):

أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَن تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَمَا نَزَلَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ وَلَا يَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلُ فَطَالَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْأَمَدُ فَقَسَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَكَثِيرٌ مِّنْهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ

Has not the Time arrived for the Believers that their hearts should get into a state of khushu’u to engage in the remembrance of Allah and of the Truth which has been revealed (to them), and that they should not become like those to whom was given Revelation aforetime, but long ages passed over them and their hearts grew hard? For many among them are rebellious transgressors. [Qur’an 57:16]

Khushu’u is the state of sakina / tranquility of the physical body and inner body. Tranquility of the body stems from the heart.

When the name of Allah is mentioned, our hearts and body should shake in awe of the magnificence of Allah. There was a time when a lecturer would simply say “Have taqwa in Allah” and the people would cry, their hearts moved. Their hearts would melt when Allah’s name is merely mentioned. But with time people have changed; their attachment to this world has increased.

Allah is telling us in this verse that it is time for the believer to remember Allah. We must believe in what Allah sent down; no negotiations and no compromise of the deen / religion for dunia / worldly matters. Our goal must be Allah.

We cannot loose our deen to gain the dunia. A wise man once supplicated, “Oh my Lord, he who has lost You, what does he have; and he who has found You, what has he lost.” If you are obedient to Allah (swt) and His Messenger, you have Allah on your side, and you need nothing else. Do you think that if you do something for Allah, Allah will let you down? A good business transactions yields large profits, but people may cheat you or not pay you on time. You will always profit from a good relationship with Allah; Allah will always give you profit.

وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مَخْرَجًا وَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَحْتَسِبُ وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بَالِغُ أَمْرِهِ قَدْ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدْرًا

And for those who fear Allah, He (ever) prepares a way out, And He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And if any one puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose: verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion. [Qur’an 65:2-3]

Put your trust in Allah, and Allah will guide you out of your dilemma and provide you with blessings. We must have Allah as a priority in our life.

قُلْ إِن كَانَ آبَاؤُكُمْ وَأَبْنَآؤُكُمْ وَإِخْوَانُكُمْ وَأَزْوَاجُكُمْ وَعَشِيرَتُكُمْ وَأَمْوَالٌ اقْتَرَفْتُمُوهَا وَتِجَارَةٌ تَخْشَوْنَ كَسَادَهَا وَمَسَاكِنُ تَرْضَوْنَهَا أَحَبَّ إِلَيْكُم مِّنَ اللّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَجِهَادٍ فِي سَبِيلِهِ فَتَرَبَّصُواْ حَتَّى يَأْتِيَ اللّهُ بِأَمْرِهِ وَاللّهُ لاَ يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِينَ

Say: If it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your mates, or your kindred; the wealth that ye have gained; the commerce in which ye fear a decline: or the dwellings in which ye delight - are dearer to you than Allah, or His Messenger, or the striving in His cause;- then wait until Allah brings about His decision: and Allah guides not the rebellious. [Quran 9:24]

We find all the types of attachments people have in the above verse: children are attached to their mothers at a young age, spouses are attached to one another, a person can be attached to their work or business, or be attached to the land in which they live (nationalism). If any of these attachments are dearer or more beloved than Allah (swt) wait for the command of Allah for Allah guides not the rebellious. Rethink your goal of this life. We have lost control of our lives; money and materialism are leading us. If you try to walk on a floor covered with oil, you will loose control and never reach your ultimate destination. Do not let the material world control your life.

Remember Allah’s love for us. We learn to ask from Allah from the age of 10 or even later in life. But Allah did not wait for us to ask of Him; He provided for us since we were young.

May Allah (swt) guide us to be of those who rely on him alone for everything.

Value of Good Friends

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Bismillah Ir-Rahmaan Ir-Raheem

In Islam, the great purpose of true friendship is the brotherhood / sisterhood for the sake of Allah. This love for the sake of Allah is the highest bond that may exist between one human being and another. (The Ideal Muslimah)

Love for the sake of Allah, and for no other reason, is very important, hard to find and very rewarding. As is stated in the Sahih Muslim hadith, "It is sufficient honor for those who love one another for the sake of Allah, men and women alike, to know that their almighty Rabb will take care of them on the Day of Judgement and will say: "Where are those who loved one another for My glory? Today I will shade them in My shade on the Day when there is no shade but Mine."

These days, it is so easy to find friends to chat with about the worldly things (what's on sale, what this person wore to an event, and pronouncements of always trying to keep up with the Jones's to name a few)- to spend time eating and chatting and often talking about the faults of others. It is nice to be social, but at what price?

Sometimes we really overlook how such 'seemingly' small matters can affect our iman. Why do we have the friends we have? What purpose causes us to strive for that friendship? We need to make sure our intentions are pure and that we truly are not harming ourselves through the friends that we have chosen.

As it states in the Qur'an in Surat Al-Kahf, "And keep thy soul content with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His Face; and let not thine eyes pass beyond them, seeking the pomp and glitter of this Life; nor obey any whose heart We have permitted to neglect the remembrance of Us, one who follows his own desires, whose case has gone beyond all bounds."

It is rare to find, however, those whose presence remind you of Allah - who want to spend their time speaking about Islam and inspiring one another to goodness. That doesn't mean that these people don't have lives and concerns, but when all is said and done, the topic of Islam has never left the discussion.

The importance of such friends is emphasized in the following hadith, "The example of a good and bad companion is that of a perfume seller and a blacksmith. The perfume seller either gives you the perfume or tries to sell it to you, or you will get a good smell from him; but in the blacksmith's workshop you will either burn your clothes, or they'll be blackened by soot."

Good friends truly are hard to find but is well worth all the effort. Not only do they willingly share the laughter and smiles of good times, but they are there to remind you of Allah when times are low. They give advice, even when its not easy, and they look past our faults and try to be a good example for what we should be striving for. They speak to you in words of kindness - and assist you in finding yourself and your purpose in case you get lost along the way. Their lives are a testament that Islam is still alive and well in this day and age and that continuing to strive in this deen is not only possible, it is well worth every hardship and obstacle that may come your way.

Through life's ups and downs, I have made my share of mitakes, but Alhumdulilah - all that we go through is meant to teach us and to help us grow as Muslims. I have truly been blessed with wonderful friends that have been an inspiration to me and have helped me strive to reach further than the eye can see - I still have such a long way to go! I pray to Allah that all of us find friends like these - because it truly is a blessing.

One last note, to keep you thinking - not only is it important to find friends such as these and to spend time with them when we have the opportunity, we must also strive to be such friends to others - to be an inspiration - to make Islam alive within our hearts and to share it with others.

Now, sit back and reflect - what kind of friends do we have, why are we friends, and yes, what good comes out of that friendship? If you don't like the answers, perhaps it is time for you to improve your position.

And then reflect - what kind of friend am I? What good do I bring to those who are friends with me? How can I improve?

It reminds me of the personal dua I used to say since I first became Muslim:


"O Allah, please bring people into my life,

that I may be a good example to

and bring people into my life

that may be an good example to me."


Have You Ever?

Bismillah Ir-Rahmaan Ir-Raheem

I'm curious - I know we all try to listen to lectures, read books and articles, surf the internet in search of knowledge - in search of how to be a better Muslim. I've done all of that - but somehow, at times, it seems as though I am unchanged. We hear words of wisdom and shake our heads in acknowledgement - but how many of us actually walk away and change the way we are and the way in which we do things?

I have a 'homework' assignment for all of us - please at least try it out. Find a lecture on a topic that is important to you - perhaps it will be 'how to choose the right friends' or how to stop 'the dangers of the tongue' or perhaps 'how to be a better wife'. It doesn't really matter what lecture, article, book, etc. that you use - what matters is what you do with it. After you have really listened to its message, take the time - sit down and really ask yourself - how can I apply this information to my life. If it is on the topic of 'backbiting' - what things can you do to change this bad habit, should you change the people you spend your time with? Should you make dua before you speak? What other things can you do? Then . . . apply it to your life.

What I want us to do is to really listen . . . to really think . . . information and wisdom that is passed on to us is useless if we don't apply it. It's not enough to be able to tell someone else, 'yeah, I heard that on a lecture' - Islam is about applying this knowledge to our lives and it's about time we really looked at ourselves and asked if we are doing all we can to be the people we need to be. The best way to make dawah in this life is by action - by being a good example.

Have you done your part today?

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