Ramadan Message from Mercy Mission and AlKauthar Institute

Last week I have received this email from Tawfique Chowdhury (director of the Mercy Mission and AlKauthar Institute).

Dear student and friend,

Assalamualiakum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

It is truly by Allah‘s immense blessings that we are alive for yet another Ramadan. Words cannot describe our gratitude to Allah and the joy in our hearts as we ease into this Month of Mercy. What an amazing time this month will be! A month of forgiveness and safety from the fire; a month in which there is a special dua that He accepts every day at the time of breaking our fast; a month in which we remember our poor and our brothers languishing in the depths of the prisons away from their families; where the wretched devils are chained; and the beautiful angels descend; where evil is destroyed and goodness prevails; a month of great victory for the ummah at the battle of Badr, the conquest of Makkah, the tremendous victory of the valiant Tariq bin Ziyad over the lands of Andalusia, the victory of brave Salahuddeen over the Crusaders, the victory of the gallant Salahudden Qutz and his Muslims knights in the plains of Ain Jalut in that epic battle over the Mongols – all of this in the month of divine help and glory: Ramadan; a month of devotion to Allah and prayers upon His noble Prophet; a month of friendship and love with our beloved ummah; a month of charity and Zakat and cleansing; a month of the Quran and wondering in its wisdoms; a month of journey every night into the gardens of prayer to a Lord that is delighted to see His slaves begging and asking for His bounty; a month with days of seclusion with Allah in the corners of His mosques to remember and remind us of the imminent seclusion in the belly of the grave; a month of the most powerful night of all when the angels descend with mighty Jibraeel alaihis salam to spread peace and tranquillity until the morn. What a shame that our non-Muslim colleagues fail to realise our sheer joy at the coming of this month. Truly, it is just as the pious predecessors used to say: The people of worship in their worship are more joyous than the people of frivolities in their playfulness.

I would like to take this opportunity to greet you, to congratulate you on the advent of Ramadan, to make my sincere dua for you, to express my deepest friendship and love for you and my sincere care and support for you and your families with the sincere hope that Allah makes this month a means to ease your worries, to replace it with goodness and transform your world into a Jannah in this life. May Allah give you what your heart desires and amaze you with His bounty and grace. Today, with the Ummah in the grips of wars and military aggression, earthquakes and natural disasters and a constant intellectual war on our way of life and our Islamic ethics and values – at a time like this, we are in need of a divine intervention. In times like this, Allah the most high has equipped us with a weapon more powerful than anything known to man. A weapon that we can use any time, where ever we may be, having unlimited ammunition and unlimited strength – it is the weapon of every believer: Dua. I urge you to use that divine weapon in this month; to fortify yourself from every evil and trial and use it to replace the honour and glory that is rightly for this Ummah. I ask Allah that He makes this a month of unity and strength and honour and glory and forgiveness and hope for you, me and all Muslims. Ameen.

My friends, the key to success in this Ramadan, will not be the performance of major deeds in some of the nights rather than others. It is and always will be the performance of those little things, but with precise regularity. Such will be the path to our spiritual revival, the means to have every gate of Jannah to bear our names and the way to making Allah amazed and content with us. It is in with this in mind that I have designed a list of activities and deeds that a Muslim should endeavour to do in Ramadan. If you stick to it and do as much of it as possible, then I have no doubt that you will qualify for being a true and exemplary believer. http://www.alkauthar.org/downloads/Ramadanchecklist.pdf

Also, in the last few months, Islam Channel in the UK was kind enough to film a series of heart warming lectures by myself in Europe’s first Muslim only graveyard – the Gardens of peace. The series will have started to show already on Islam Channel daily. I encourage you to make some time to see every episode in that series since I myself have been profoundly touched ever since I did that series in that amazing graveyard. I hope that it will help you to put your life in perspective and to realize that in the grand scale of our Journey to the Hereafter, we are only here for a fleeting time.

Lastly my friends, if there is anything at all that I can do to help you or to make Ramadan more enjoyable for you and more successful for you, then please do not deny me the honour of aiding you in it. Please don’t hesitate to email me if you wish, or use the forums for any non-personal issues and questions that you may have: http://forums.alkauthar.org I hope to see you again sometime soon inshaAllah.

Wassalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

Tawfique Chowdhury
DirectorMercy Mission and AlKauthar Institute
alkauthar.org

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Friday, Mar. 30th | Mawlid at Zaytuna

As-Salamu alaykum,

The 12th of the Islamic month Rabi al-Awwal, Friday night and Saturday, March 30th and 31st, is considered by many to be the date of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (Mawlid an-Nabi), upon him be peace. While we benefit every day from the coming into this world of the blessed Messenger of God, upon him be peace, the mawlid is an occasion to celebrate the great blessing he was to all of creation.

Zaytuna Institute would like to invite you to a special community gathering.

Mawlid an-Nabi
Friday, March 30th, 6:30 p.m.
with Shaykh Hamza and Imam Zaid and special guests

– Community Dinner at 6:30

– Special lectures and nasheeds after Maghrib

This program is free, and all are welcome.

For more information:
please call 510-582-1979
e-mail info@zaytuna.org
or visit www.zaytuna.org

Friday Khutbah (09 March 2007): Spreading salaams

Friday Khutbah (09 March 2007): Spreading salaams

One of the first words that the Prophet, صÙ?Ù?اÙ?Ù?Ù? عÙ?Ù?Ù? Ù?سÙ?Ù? is reported to have said on entering Madeenah were: “O people! Spread Salaam (glad tidings/greetings of peace), feed (the poor and needy), maintain the ties of the wombs, and offer prayer when the people are normally asleep, and (thus) enter Paradise in peace.”

What is the meaning of spreading salaam? Is it merely to say the words: As-salaamu’alaykum (peace be upon you) to one another by way of greeting? Or does it have a deeper meaning?

Muslims who understand the true meaning of afshus-salaam (spreading salaam) will try and keep others secure from their sharr (evil) by thought, word and deed. That means: they will not act on the evil suggestions of their Self, by not thinking evil thoughts about others (envy/jealousy/enmity/suspicion/thoughts of a sexual nature). They will safeguard the tongue and stop themselves from speaking evil(lies/slander/gossip/backbiting/vain talk) about others. They will control their bodies and restrain themselves from physically harming others — by way of physical assault or taking an innocent life that is forbidden by Allaah; or by indulging in unlawful physical contact.

If a Muslim does all this, he is said to extend salaam to others.

People who set out to spread the opposite of salaam

There are people who deliberately (or unknowingly) set out to spread the opposite of salaam. They create discord among husbands and wives, parents and children, among extended families, neighbours and communities, among nations and the Ummah.

Their situation is like the ones mentioned in the Qur’aan: “And when it is said to them: ‘Do not cause discord/corruption on earth’, they say: ‘Rather, we are but reformers’. Unquestionably, it is they who spread discord/corruption; but they do not perceive it.” (2: 11-12)

Friday Khutbah (02 March 2007): Reviving the individual

Friday Khutbah (02 March 2007): Reviving the individual

Alhamdulillah. Thanks to the Almighty for everything that He provides. Nothing in this world can replace the feelings of holding on tight to Him. Found an article from islamonline. Very inspirational and motivating. Enjoy~

By Arshad Gamiet

Individuals committed to serving Islam, are like building bricks fused together to form a solid wall. Each individual, like a brick, must be strong and capable of withstanding the loads and stresses that he or she is called upon to bear. Just as each brick must be fully burnt and purified in a kiln and pass certain minimum standards, an individual also has to go through a process of training and development in order to be an effective ambassador of Islam. But what is involved in this construction of the individual? What has the individual got to do in order to prepare for this God-given role? These are fundamental questions because a prerequisite to the revival of Muslim society is a revival of the individual or the self.

The starting point in this process is what the Qur’an calls the human heart. Look at yourself and you will find inside you a whole universe â?? emotions, desires, urges, and instincts â?? which motivates you from within. The heart does not mean the pump which pushes blood around the body; it means the center of the personality that pumps motivations, desires, and urges and which makes us do what we want to do. The Qur’an goes on to explain that this is the key to ourselves. Our success depends not on what we are physically nor on what we do, but on what lies at the center of our personality.

On the Day of Judgment, successful only is (the one who comes to Allah with a sound heart ) (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:89)

A hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) says:

Beware,there is a piece of flesh in the human body. If it is right, then the whole body is right and sound; and if it is corrupted then the whole body is corrupted. Look, this is the ‘heart’.(Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

According to the Qur’an, the basis of corruption stems from within ourselves. The social institutions may be corrupt, there may be exploitation and abuse in the economic and politics spheres, but the basis of all these diseases lies inside our hearts.

What is it that stops mankind from seeing right and doing what’s right and turns them blind? The Qur’an explains, (It is not the eyes which go blind but it is the hearts within breasts which go blind) (Al-Hajj 22:46)

Then, the heart is the basic starting point for any positive change or any effort to improve our current situations. We have to purify the heart and then summon it to the service of Allah, through service to mankind, whether it be in a professional career, in government, in political institutions, or in economic ventures. Our whole attention must be focused on this continuous refinement of heart. All the rites that have been prescribed by the Qur’an reach out to purify the deepest regions of our self.

The Qur’an says,

(It is not their meat nor their blood (the sacrificial animals), that reaches Allah: it is your taqwa (piety) that reaches Him) (Al-Hajj 22: 37)
If the individual is the primary building block of society, then the heart is its foundation within each person. The important question therefore is how should we set about preparing this most basic element. First we must understand that the heart must submit totally and exclusively to its Creator. It cannot be compartmentalized â?? we cannot dedicate one piece of it to Allah and another to some other “god,” like our wealth, our status, our career, our families, and so on.

Allah is One, indivisible, and wants our service to be undivided to Him. So long as we remain divided within ourselves, so long as our hearts lie in a 100 places, so long as our eyes are set to 100 directions, so long as our destination is not one but many, we shall never be able to achieve that first condition for building a strong and pure Islamic personality.

We should remember that nothing of this world is going to be of use to us when we die however hard we may have striven for it and however valuable it might seem to us. We must recognize that the prizes we should want are not the worldly possessions received from human beings like ourselves. It is only our Creator who can put a real value on our striving and bestow the real reward.

In the Qur’an, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is told to ask [Shall I tell you of a business which will save you of painful torment?] (As-Saff 61:10).

This “business” amounts to people person committing their whole undivided being to Allah alone and selling themselves in order to seek His pleasure. This is the first step towards the building of the individual. The second step is to love Allah.

The Qur’an says (And there are some among men who take for themselves objects of worship besides Allah, whom they love as they love Allah, and those who believe are stronger in love for Allah) (Al-Baqarah 2:165).

It does not say that one must love only Allah and no one else. Love is a blessing given to us by Allah, which is manifested in so many aspects of life. In Islam, however, love must be foremost for Allah and the Prophet.

What is love? Perhaps it cannot be defined in terms that adequately reflect its nature and importance in people’s lives. It is not possible to define it by a formula as we define a scientific fact, nor can we define it by a mathematical equation. But still each one of us knows what love is and can tell, from personal experience, the powerful force it is once it comes to reside in the heart. It becomes the overpowering force in life. It captivates you, it grips you, it moves you and it makes you prepared to do anything for the sake of it. Once love is there, what you do is not something that has to be imposed upon you, because you need imposition only for the things you do not love.

Iman is something that must penetrate deep in our heart and generate love for Allah and His Prophet more than for anything else. Unless that happens inside you, you cannot get the real taste of iman. According to a famous hadith, nobody can taste iman unless Allah and His Prophet are more beloved to him than everything else. But we must remember that this love for Allah and His Prophet is not of a kind to take us into the seclusion of a monastery. It is a love that makes us do our duty to Allah while we are in the street, at home, or at work â?? everywhere we live as servants of Allah, willingly making every sacrifice required of us. Whether or not we have that love is something for each one of us to closely examine. One of the criteria is that if you love something, one of your most intense desires is to get nearer to it. Now we have a way in which we can come nearer to Allah and talk to Him, and that way is the prayer. When someone performs prayer, they actually comes nearer to Allah and talks to Him.

If you look at how you pray five times a day, you will have a barometer in your hand to find how much you love Allah. Once you are praying to Him, you are in front of Him, you are near to Him, you are talking to Him, you are responding to Him in gratitude, you are asking for His forgiveness. Prayer is not just a ritual in which you go through certain postures. The soul has to surrender itself exclusively to Allah and love Him. This love is like a seed that, as it grows, envelops the entire personality. This will make us the sort of person Islam needs today.

The next question is how to nurse and cultivate this seed of faith. The most important nourishment for it is the Qur’an. We know that the first workers for Islam got their training from the Qur’an. It was their guide, their light, their leader. It is a treasure house of soul-stirring inspiration and wisdom. We should spend much effort in trying to understand the Qur’an. But we must know that the real test of benefiting from the Qur’an lies in translating those divine words and ideas into action in our own daily life.

The Qur’an says that when people really listen to it, their faith will increase. The eyes of those who truly listen to the Qur’an, allowing their hearts to be affected, will well up with tears that trickle down their cheeks. Sadly, many of us listen to the Qur’an or read it, but our hearts are not moved, nor do our lives change. It is as if water is falling on a rock and flowing away. Our task is to replace this hard rock with soft absorbent soil so that the Qur’an may nourish the seed that has been planted. We should always study the Qur’an as if it were being revealed today. One of the greatest injustices we do to the Qur’an is to read it as if it were something of the past and of no relevance to the present.

The next method of sustaining the seed of iman is to develop a strong bond of brotherhood. Brotherhood reinforces people’s lives like nothing else. The Qur’an says (Withhold yourself with those who call upon Allah in the early morning and nightfall) (Al-Kahf 18: 28). As soon as you have planted the seed of iman in your own heart, you will recognize it in others. You find that there is some sort of harmony between you and them.

The final method to nourish the seed of iman is da`wah â?? to strive and invite others to the path of Allah, the same path as you are following yourself. Again, if the faith is there inside you, this is a necessary outcome of it. As iman increases you get aroused and you want to go out and tell everybody what you think is right, or call upon them to join your mission and your group. Moreover, as your group grows, your iman grows as well, each reinforcing the other, and that is how the whole of life becomes integrated and turns into a path to what pleases Allah. To sum up, you, the individual, are the key to the Ummah, and your heart is the key to you.

* Based on a Friday sermon delivered at the Royal Holloway,University of London, UK, on April 30, 1999. Courtesy of http://www.khutbahbank.org.uk. Arshad Gamiet is a South African writer living in the United Kingdom. He is a co-founder of the Khutbah Bank.

Friday Khutbah (02 March 2007): We must not loose sight of our identity as muslims and muslimahs

Friday Khutbah (02 March 2007): We must not loose sight of our identity as muslims and muslimahs

Salaam alaykum wa rahma tuâ??ala wa barakatu.

Brothers and sisters we must not loose sight of our identity as muslims and muslimahs. Where do we draw this identity? Do we draw it from the culture we are in? Living in the western culture we are constantly bombarded by Shaitan urging us to all kinds of sin. We are constantly prodded to live for materialistic things and things that take our heart and mind from Allah (SWT). And most sad of all, constantly, everyday I see people treat each other badly. I see rudeness and impatience and anger and enmity. What kind of society are we following? I heard yesterday that a study was done where it was estimated that we are exposed to 90 thousand advertisements every day. Violence is prevalent, and not just wars and things far away, but in our own lives. People bicker and mistrust one another, and people do cheat and steal and lie. But we are human and we do make mistakes and where do we turn? How do we realize our identity and be the kind and compassionate people we are supposed to be as muslims.

We have an ever present guide and ideal to live up to. And it is that ideal and example of Rasool Allah (SAW) that we should be drawing our identity as muslims from.

Rasool Allah (SAW) is described in hadith as
“Al-Mutawakkil” (who depends upon Allah). You are neither discourteous, harsh Nor a noisemaker in the markets And you do not do evil to those Who do evil to you, but you deal With them with forgiveness and kindness. Allah will not let him (the Prophet) die till he makes straight the crooked people by making them say: “None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,” With which will be opened blind eyes And deaf ears and enveloped hearts.’ ”

And about how to behave when on a journey.

Malik related to me from Abu Ubayd, the mawla of Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik from Khalid ibn Madan who attributed it to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, “Allah, the Blessed and Exalted is kind and loves kindness. He is pleased with it and helps you with it as long as it is not misplaced. When you ride dumb beasts, stop them in their stopping places, and quicken their pace when the land is barren. Travel by night, because the land is traveled faster at night than it is during the day. Beware of pitching tents on the road, for it is the path of animals and the abode of snakes.”

My friends we are all on a journey on this life. Should we not then behave just as well to those around us in our every day life as we would towards beasts?

Towards Each other especially and especially in these hard conditions.

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “One Muslim should do six acts of kindness to another: he should salute him when he meets him, accept his invitation when he gives one, say ‘Allah have mercy on you’ when he sneezes, visit him when he is ill, follow his bier when he dies, and like for him what he likes for himself.”

And in another hadith

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “Every act of kindness is “sadaqah, and kindness includes meeting your brother with a cheerful face and pouring water from your bucket into your brother’s vessel.”

We must stop doing things to each other that nullifies our identity as muslims. We must treat each other with kindness and with the charity that Rasool Allah (SAW) has shown us and has described to us.

Allah (SWT) has shown us just one tiny part of the divine kindness that awaits us in the afterlife.

Rasul Allah (SAW) said: There are one hundred (parts of) mercy of Allah and He has sent down out of these one part of mercy upon the jinn and human beings and the insects and it is because of this (one part) that they love one another, show kindness to one another and even the beast treats its young one with affection, and Allah has reserved ninety-nine parts of mercy with which He would treat His servants on the Day of Resurrection.
And this kindness, this path of virtue is not necessarily easy. Especially with all the examples around us and the people encouraging us to the â??easy pathâ? the path of rejection and doubt in Allah (SWT)

Allah (SWT) talks about this in the Holy Quran, he tells us that many times we choose not to take this righteous road al aqaba, the road that is correct but sometimes harder but listen, there is good news in taking that road! (90:12-17)

Ù?Ù?Ù?Ù?ا Ø£Ù?دÙ?رÙ?اÙ?Ù? Ù?Ù?ا اÙ?Ù?عÙ?Ù?Ù?بÙ?ةُ 090:012

Wama adraka ma alAAaqaba
And what will explain to thee the path that is steep?

فÙ?Ù?ُÙ? رÙ?Ù?Ù?بÙ?ةٍ 090:013

Fakku raqaba(tin)

(It is:) freeing the bondman;

090.014 Ø£Ù?Ù?Ù? إِطÙ?عÙ?اÙ?Ù? فِÙ? Ù?Ù?Ù?Ù?Ù?ٍ ذِÙ? Ù?Ù?سÙ?غÙ?بÙ?ةٍ

Aw it’a-amun fee yawmin thee masghabat

Or the giving of food in a day of privation

090.015 Ù?Ù?تِÙ?Ù?Ù?ا Ø°Ù?ا Ù?Ù?Ù?Ù?رÙ?بÙ?ةٍ

Yateeman tha maqraba

To the orphan with claims of relationship,

090.016 Ø£Ù?Ù?Ù? Ù?ِسÙ?Ù?ِÙ?Ù?Ù?ا Ø°Ù?ا Ù?Ù?تÙ?رÙ?بÙ?ةٍ

Aw miskeenan tha matraba

Or to the indigent (down) in the dust.

090.017 ثُÙ?Ù?Ù? Ù?Ù?اÙ?Ù? Ù?ِÙ?Ù? اÙ?Ù?Ù?ذِÙ?Ù?Ù? Ø¢Ù?Ù?Ù?ُÙ?ا Ù?Ù?تÙ?Ù?Ù?اصÙ?Ù?Ù?ا بِاÙ?صÙ?Ù?بÙ?رِ Ù?Ù?تÙ?Ù?Ù?اصÙ?Ù?Ù?ا بِاÙ?Ù?Ù?Ù?رÙ?Ø­Ù?Ù?Ù?ةِ

Thumma kana mina allatheena ‘amanoo watawasaw bialssabri watawasaw bialmarhama

Then will he be of those who believe, and enjoin patience, (constancy, and self-restraint), and enjoin deeds of kindness and compassion.

‘A man walking along a path felt very thirsty. Reaching a well he descended into it, drank his fill and came up. Then he saw a dog with its tongue hanging out, trying to lick up mud to quench its thirst. The man saw that the dog was feeling the same thirst as he had felt so he went down into the well again and filled his shoe with water and gave the dog a drink. God forgave his sins for this action.’ The Prophet (SAW) was asked: ‘Messenger of God, are we rewarded for kindness towards animals?’ He said, ‘There is a reward for kindness to every living thing.’

Part 2

The Prophet Muhammad (peace by upon him) said: “Charity is prescribed for each descendant of Adam on every day the sun rises.” He was then asked: “From what do we give charity every day?” The Prophet Replied: “The doors of goodness are many…enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, listening to the deaf (until you understand them), 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.”

Brothers and sisters, we should leave here today and pledge ourselves to be among those that choose that difficult path. That in spite of what we see around us we should hold on to our Muslim identity. Teach our children to do that as well. That we should follow the example that Allah (SWT) has given us in the Quran and the acts of Rasul Allah (SAW) which are an exemplar of this behavior. Treat each other and other people with kindness and patience and sincerity in these things. After all, we do not know when we die or why we die but we can choose to die as Muslims, secure in our aman and our iman and our tqwa allah.

Wa allahu alim.

Source: http://salimchishti.blogspot.com