Sunday, December 23, 2012


Umar Ibn Khattab (RA) has reported the famous hadith of the Prophet (SWAS): "Deeds are [a result] only of the intentions [of the actor], and an individual is [rewarded] only according to that which he intends. Therefore, whosoever has emigrated for the sake of Allah and His messenger, then his emigration was for Allah and His messenger. Whosoever emigrated for the sake of worldly gain, or a woman [whom he desires] to marry, then his emigration is for the sake of that which [moved him] to emigrate." Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim.

Two people might be doing the same actions throughout their lives, yet one will be rewarded and the other punished for them, due to their different intentions. Whatever you do in your life, make your intention sincerely for Allah (SWT). This will remove a lot of stress, misunderstandings, problems and false expectations from your lives. So if you do something good to your brother, do not do it to expect a favour back or tell about it in your social circle, or remind the person later -- do it for Allah (SWT).  

Put Allah (SWT) first in your lives. So when you have a stable income, before buying that car, travel to His house for Hajj. Before having children of your own, sponsor an orphan. Before building your house build a masjid for His worship, etc. Whatever you are busy with at each stage of your life dedicate it to Allah (SWT): whether it is studying, working professionally, marrying, having kids, serving parents, upholding ties of kin, friendship, spending wealth, etc. Do it in a way that is foremost pleasing to Him. While choosing the career for your children, select one that is of service to Islam. How many well to do parents intend to spend their savings on their children to become Islamic scholars? If you decide to move to a Western country do it primarily for Dawah. Prepare yourself and your family to be ready for that role before you go and do not make it a lip service -- just to show off.  

If you dedicate yourself to Allah (SWT), He will not forget you and will take care of your every need of this life in the best possible manner. And in the Hereafter you are promised a great reward, by His mercy.

Monday, December 17, 2012

In Search for the Truth

While in graduate school in New Jersey, I met an Indian student who very passionately explained his perspective on the Truth to me. He said imagine that all the religious teachings were written on various sheaves of papers and that somehow got mixed up. Then the Truth, according to him, is what is common in the study of all wisdom gleaned from all such documents, irrespective of their origin. Surely one can not deny that there is wisdom in all religious scriptures -- be they divine or man-made -- but do they represent the Ultimate Truth?

Fortunately, Allah (SWT) did not leave man to spiritually wander from source to source in search for the Truth. He repeatedly revealed His guidance to mankind from Adam (AS) through to Muhammad (SWAS). The Truth has been the same - to worship only Him and to follow His Messengers in guidance. Yet, throughout history, man has corrupted this essential message by including partners in worshiping his Lord and have adopted modes of worship which were not practiced by the Messengers. For this reason, Allah (SWT) saw it fit to reveal the same Truth time and again through different Messengers. Thus the gist of all divine religions has been the same i.e. Islam; only their Laws were different -- according to the community of believers for their time and place in history. As the last Message and Messenger to humanity have been those of Islam, the Laws of Islam (Shariah) are the Ultimate Laws for the whole of humanity and are valid forever. Allah (SWT) has promised to preserve the Quran from corruption till the End of Time. Thus Islam represents the Ultimate Truth - from the onset of human history to its end.

"Indeed, the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam. And those who were given the Scripture did not differ except after knowledge had come to them - out of jealous animosity between themselves. And whoever disbelieves in the verses of Allah , then indeed, Allah is swift in [taking] account." (Ale-Imran v. 19)

Other religious scriptures do contain wisdom, as their original message may be from Allah (SWT), but they also contain subsequent human corruption. Thus they can not be taken -- either by themselves or in combination -- to represent the Ultimate Truth for one's guidance.

"Anyone who accepts other than Islam his religion, it will not be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter, he will be with the losers." (Ale-Imran v. 85)

A seeker of knowledge should study other religions especially for dawah and comparison to the Truth, but should make a deep study and implementation of Islam his priority as that is the touchstone to whatever he may come in contact.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Most Profitable Investment

People who have accumulated wealth more than their needs become obsessed with finding ways of investing their savings. They search for wise men in their community to find out about the investment with maximum returns. The same was true during the Prophet's (SWAS) era. The Sahaba (RA) sought out the Prophet (SWAS) to ask him on what should they spend their excess wealth on.

They ask you, [O Muhammad], what they should spend. Say, "Whatever you spend of good is [to be] for parents and relatives and orphans and the needy and the traveler. And whatever you do of good - indeed, Allah is Knowing of it." (Baqarah: 215) 

The investments of this world come with a risk. What if the latest investment trend's bubble bursts and you loose everything? Current global investment history is rife with such examples. The present global financial system is based on exploitation based economics where your hard earned money constantly loses its intrinsic value as Central Banks constantly print more money ("quantitative easing" they call it). The economy as a result goes into inflation and the value of goods become out of your reach. Soon your savings are worth only a small fraction of their original value.

As Muslims, we are to shun riba-based investments and the "profit" from Islamic banks and investment houses are so ridiculously low that they sometimes do not even meet the inflation rate!

Try to contrast the above worldly investment scenarios with the following statement of the Prophet (SWAS):

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said, “Charity does not decrease wealth; no one forgives except that Allah increases his honor; and no one humbles himself for the sake of Allah except that Allah raises his status.
[Sahih Muslim, Book 32, Number 6264]

Just like donating blood, triggers the body to generate fresh healthy blood, spending in charity causes blessings in ones income and ability to earn more.

Investing in the Hereafter has its rewards promised by Allah (SWT). He has guaranteed 700+ times increase in the investment, provided it is done sincerely for Him. There are ways in which this bubble might burst too. Fortunately, it is in our hands, so we must constantly be careful not to let it happen. The following trigger a sadaqah bubble burst:

1. Reminding others of our favours
2. Causing the recipients hurt by our words/deeds
3. Spending with an intention to show off to other people in society

As the above verse states, there are some investments which have maximum returns and the first among them is spending on parents. A person should consider himself lucky if he enters a phase in life when he has wealth and elderly parents at the same time and should maximize his investment when he has the time. This taufeeq is only from Allah (SWT) and should not be missed for any other reason. Who knows tomorrow he might lose his wealth, his life or his parents and then he will never forgive himself for losing such a golden investment opportunity.