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Why Do We Need Discussions On Disability At Our Mosques

Why Do We Need Discussions On Disability At Our Mosques

December 3rd marks the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

This day was first proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly resolution back in 1992. It has led global campaigns on disability inclusion and acceptance not just by persons with disabilities, but those without disabilities working in governments, law firms, corporate businesses, and NGOs. It is an act of solidarity, but is mostly a means to raise awareness on some of the everyday barriers that people with disabilities face.

December 3rd is thus a reminder of the rights of persons with disabilities.

It is a call to action towards building a more inclusive and accommodating world towards people with disabilities.

Community care is an integral part of Islam which inadvertently includes disability care.

People with disabilities are an Amanah (protected trust) from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), and our Islamic history includes active participation of companions of the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) that were disabled. Some of the well-known prophets in Islam are also known to have a disability—or form of illness—such as Ayub 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him), and Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). Prophet Yaqub 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) acquired a disability later on in his life but still actively continued his role as a father and prophet.

Disability has been, therefore, very much part of Islamic tradition simply because Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) exemplifies those He loves through them navigating health which leads to a form of disability. Disability is part of the human—and aging—experience to elevate one towards taqwah. Muslims with disabilities in Islamic history were thus accommodated to increase their taqwah. They were accommodated to pray within mosques. This aspect of accommodation is demonstrated by early Muslim leaders such as Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him). Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) would would either assign a house for a someone with a disability near the mosque or appoint employees to help attend them congregational prayers. Islamic tradition thus shows that anyone with disabilities has the right to participate and belong within the community. Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was an advocate for the disabled in his community, therefore the entire Ummah.

Islamic history may show this, but today, a lot of our mosques are not fully accessible. This leads to a lot with disabilities struggling to enter community centers to pray, that a lot choose to pray at home. The minimal attendance of people with disabilities within our community centers, due to the barriers they face, has increased misconceptions and assumptions related to people with disabilities. This, in result, makes it another barrier that people with disabilities face.

A lot of the hurdles people with disabilities face within our community are not necessary. They can be easily removed, primarily through discussion, understanding, and accommodation.

An effective way to start this is by arranging khutbah—Friday sermons—on the disability experience within our mosques.

Below are the reasons why we need discussions on disability at our mosques:

1. It shows people with disabilities that they matter within our community

An inaccessible venue is another way of indicating that it was unexpected for an individual with a physical, visual, or hearing disability to show up. It is a subtle and sometimes direct way to suggest that they do not belong.

I was born with a physical disability and have always needed assistance with stairs. It only became harder to be carried after using the wheelchair. I would still try to show up within community centers to pray, but I sometimes wished not to have the unnecessary attention for simply trying to enter a venue. There was general confusion from others on how to help and how to state not to help respectfully.  The prayer room had more stairs that were a lot higher. It was not possible to have me carried to the prayer room, especially with rugs, and my wheelchair. I would, therefore, pray away from everyone else.

Congregational prayer is part of Islam, but I felt very much separate from the congregation.

It was not only during prayer time but most discussion and activity. Children with disabilities that grow up to be adults have learned to adjust, but it is only natural to want to be part of our community. It is very natural to need to know that us showing up matters, especially when we face so many imposed physical and attitudinal barriers that indicate otherwise.

A khutbah on disability is a means to acknowledge our existence and acceptance—it is a way to show that we matter, too.

2. It decreases discomfort around disability

The topic of disability is ironically considered taboo, regardless of disability being part of the human experience. It is mostly wished not to acquire a disability during old age, even if it is  natural. Disability is thus deemed as something bad—something to resist.

There is also the general confusion on how to treat us and preference to not have us show up when most venues are not accessible. This only adds to the discomfort around disability that people with disabilities face the risk of being ostracized.

Authentic representation on disability, especially with the support of non-disabled community leaders and imams within our mosques, allows our community to gain awareness on the disability-lived experience. Awareness is needed as it a means for people with disabilities—and their family members—to show the fruits and blessings from the disability experience. This is a means to decrease discomfort around the topic of disability—and disabled individuals—and in turn build a more accepting environment.

3. It removes assumptions and misconceptions on disability

There is little to no discussion on disability, and because of this, there is the general misrepresentation of the disability experience. The little discussions that we have are usually by non-disabled individuals that may not have been exposed to the disability lived experience. This increases the chance of assumptions, and misconceptions, especially with the prevalence of stigma associated with disability.

It is the duty of believers to remove stigma towards a reality that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has decreed for us to accept. It is the duty to give our brothers and sisters that have been misrepresented to have authentic representation. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has not disgraced people with disabilities but has honored them to learn and understand life’s realities. It is unjust towards people with disabilities—and their families—to repeatedly be put in a position where they have to clarify. It is not their responsibility to educate, but rather, there should be support for them to share.

Allah has not disgraced people with disabilities but has honored them to learn and understand life’s realities.Click To Tweet

Non-disabled community leaders and imams have this duty to advocate with people with disabilities and their families.

Our collective responsibility is to see how to remove assumptions and misconceptions on disability, especially within our mosques, so that it is the safest of places for people with disabilities to participate and pray.

Good effort to accommodate but the language in this sign is problematic. It has a negative and degrading historic connotation. People with disabilities are not “crippled” “handicapped” “mute” or “dumb”.

4. It is the right of people with disabilities, their families, and a social responsibility to fulfill  

The function of a khutbah is to address a congregation.

It is a means to address the Muslim community.

The topic of disability is a Muslim matter simply because there are people with disabilities within our city and our Muslim communities.

Topics chosen during khutbah are usually to address communal needs within our Muslim community.

Disability care is a need within our community—it is a right of people with disabilities and their families.

The practice of accommodation was shown within Islamic history that we need to ask ourselves why accommodation is rarely part of the conversation within our Muslim communities today. Muslims with disabilities are accommodated by Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) on how to fulfill some of the 5 pillars of Islam. Some of us are even exempted from Zakat, but we still have the flexibility to give Sadaqah (voluntary charity) even if it is a smile. Accommodation is part of Islam, but this part of Islam is relatively forgotten within our communities.

People with disabilities are an Amanah (protected trust) from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) that neglecting disability care is neglecting their rights.

It is a form of neglecting our social responsibility as not just human beings but Muslims.

The attempt to have khutbahs on disability is a means to fulfill our social responsibility as Muslims and the rights of people with disabilities and their families.

Quran in Braille

5. It is a means of collective—and progressive—growth

Our community can only holistically grow if everyone in our community somehow participates. Everyone has something to offer whether a child or an elderly. We all have a perspective to bring. A khutbah on disability that prioritizes authentic representation brings in the disability perspective. It removes some of the barriers people with disabilities face for them to be given the space to participate, too.

People with disabilities are repeatedly put in a position where they have to remove hurdles. They are, therefore, naturally put in a position to find solutions. This type of mindset is needed within our communities as there are many problems within the community that need to be solved.

The function of khutbah is to address some of the hurdles—problems—that Muslims are facing within the community. The topic of disability inadvertently addresses everyday struggles everyone faces, such as discrimination or even the impacts of isolation due to the pandemic.

We cannot progress as a community without collective growth.

Collective growth cannot occur without disability as part of the conversation within our community.

Disability care is a need to advocate for and address.

How to bring discussions on disability within our mosques?

  • Bring this need up to community leaders and imams.
  • Reach out to people with disabilities and their families to understand community’s needs and prioritize authentic disability representation.
  • Reach out to Muslim organizations working on disability and request they share the talks they did to avoid misrepresentation.
  • Partner with Canada’s DEEN Support Services that is run by Muslims with disabilities. They  have an annual global disability khutbah campaign for the week of 3rd of December. They are currently calling out Muslim organizations and mosques to partner with them here: www.tinyurl.com/deenkhutbahcampaign2021 
  • Partner with MUHSEN that offers disability talks, and finds accommodative means within our mosques with accessibility masjid certification.
  • Hear—or read—the disability experience directly from people with disabilities, especially in advocacy work.
  • Understand the barriers we face and collectively work with us to remove them.
  • This is both our human responsibility and responsibility as a Muslim.

It is only through discussions within our mosques there can be a more authentic form of acceptance within our Muslim communities.

It is only through discussions there can be solutions towards growth.

The post Why Do We Need Discussions On Disability At Our Mosques appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Source: Muslim Matters

Tips For Umrah During COVID

COVID-19 has changed our lives forever and one of the main impacts it has also had on Muslims is our ability to perform Hajj and Umrah as we please. International borders have opened up and governments such as Australia and Saudi Arabia have eased restrictions. This is great news as it now allows travel to Saudi Arabia and entry to perform Umrah. For many of us, this is the first place we want to travel to.

The purpose of this article is to both hopefully inspire you to go and perform Umrah and enlighten you with all the practical and logistical steps that need to be taken in order to do so. Please note that if you have never performed Hajj or Umrah, then it is highly recommended that you go with a reputable group and spiritual guide for your first visit! Please ensure you choose your group carefully as the spiritual guide on your first trip will make all the difference and ensure that you perform all the rites of Umrah correctly.

Currently children under the age of 12 are not permitted to visit the holy mosques in Makkah or Madinah and therefore are unable to perform Umrah.

Children between the ages of 12-18 are permitted provided they meet the vaccination requirements for the respective visa and entry requirements into Saudi Arabia.

Step 1: Obtain a valid visa

In order to enter into Saudi Arabia you must have a valid visa for entry. There are now 2 types of visas available: a Tourist Visa or an Umrah Visa. Both of these visas allow you to enter Saudi Arabia and perform Umrah. Read more about the differences between a Tourist Visa and Umrah Visa.

Watch video instructions on how to apply for a tourist visa.

Step 2: Book Your Flights and Accommodation

Given current uncertainty that exists due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is recommended that you book accommodation that has a flexible cancellation or full refund option. Try and choose an airline that will refund your money as opposed to issuing travel vouchers where possible.

If you are travelling with a group, the flights and accommodation will obviously be taken care of for you.

Step 3: Registering on Muqeem

Once you have obtained your visa you will need to register your Covid-19 vaccination details into the Saudi government portal.

Register your vaccine status before departing for Saudi Arabia and after obtaining your tourism visa. The site is available in Arabic and English.

Please note that this cannot be done until 7 days before your intended date of arrival.

Watch a video on how to complete this registration:

A sample arrival registration certificate after successful registration on Muqeem.

Step 4: Vaccination Certificate

You will need to download your international vaccination certificate. In Australia, this can be done directly from the Medicare app, you will need to ensure that your Medicare account is linked to your Mygov account.

Sample international vaccination certificate

Step 5: Negative PCR COVID-19 Test Certificate

You will need to ensure that you obtain a negative travel PCR COVID-19 test 72 hours before departure to Saudi Arabia. A SMS is not acceptable; it must be a written document and will cost you approximately $150. In the United States, many insurance companies cover this test. You should take the printed version of the test result with you to the airport.

Please note that you will also need to get a negative PCR COVID-19 test in Saudi Arabia up to 72 hours before departing to return to your home country. The hotel can generally arrange this for you and it will cost around 300 riyals. The results take up to 24 hours. There are also places in Makkah and Madinah, for example Al Borg Diagnostics, that can do the test for you. If you need a more rapid test, then you are able to get tested at Jeddah airport and obtain the result in 40 minutes. There is a premium for this service though and it currently costs 500 riyals.

Rapid PCR tests are available at Jeddah airport with results in less than 40 minutes and are located between Gates C and D.

Step 6: Download Applications

HajjAp

Umrah information

• Hajjap is an end to end guide on how to perform Umrah. The app includes a list of all the duas needed to perform Umrah, as well as audio versions of the duas to help you say them correctly. It also has historical information on the sites to be visited during the journey
DOWNLOAD FOR ANDROID 
DOWNLOAD FOR APPLE 

HajjAp Reviews

Mandatory requirement for COVID contact tracing, Umrah Permit, Prayer permits in Makkah and Rawdah / Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) grave in Madinah

• Tawakkalna (please note you will not be able to sign up or register until you actually land in Saudi Arabia, it will not work outside the country)

This application is mandatory and must be downloaded on each visitors smartphone. It will contain your confirmed vaccination status which will need to be shown to be allowed into all hotels, restaurants, transportation and the Haramain. It will also contain your permits once you have booked them on Etamarna (see below).
DOWNLOAD FOR ANDROID 
DOWNLOAD FOR APPLE 

Watch a video on how to register on Tawkkalna:

Watch a video on how to use Tawkkalna:

• Etamarna (please note you will not be able to sign up or register until you actually land in Saudi Arabia, it will not work outside the country)

This app is used to book your permits for Umrah, prayer, Rawdah etc and can also be used to book transportation if required. However, please refer to Step 7 for recommended travel between Makkah and Madinah.
DOWNLOAD FOR ANDROID 
DOWNLOAD FOR APPLE 

Watch a video on how to register on Etamarna:

Watch a video on how to use Etamarna to book your Umrah and prayer permits:

Other useful apps:


• Haramain Recordings (to listen to translations of Juma Khutbahs, see imam schedule for leading prayers and prayer times, watch Haram tv channels live)
DOWNLOAD FOR ANDROID
DOWNLOAD FOPR APPLE 

Step 7: Transportation options between Madinah & Makkah

It is highly recommended that you book the Haramain High Speed Rail Train to travel between Madinah and Makkah. It is the quickest, comfortable and best value option. You will need to arrange transportation from your hotel in Madinah to the train station as well as transportation from the train station in Makkah to your hotel in Makkah. Taxis are readily available. The cost is approximately 40-70 riyals from Madinah to the train station. From Makkah train station to the Haram hotels, the cost is between 20-50 riyals.

If you are travelling with a group it is most likely they will take care of all your transportation requirements so you won’t need to book the train. When choosing a group, ask if they are going by train or bus as that will make a difference to your experience!

Duration:
• 15-20 minutes travel time from Madinah hotel to Madinah train station.
• Arrive at Madinah train station 30-45 minutes before departure.
• 2 hours 19 minutes travel on train from Madinah to Makkah via Jeddah or 2 hours 6 mins non–stop from Madinah to Makkah.
• 15-20 minutes travel time from Makkah train station to hotel.

Total time estimated: 3-4 hours (Bus trips take between 7-8 hours normally and taxi trips take between 4-5 hours)

Cost: 170 riyals economy, 290 riyals business class (taxis will cost 400-500 riyals).

Weight: According to the ticket you are allowed 1 x 25 kg luggage piece and 1 carry on bag.

Meeqat: Intention to perform Umrah can be said whilst moving on the train this is usually within a minute after leaving the train station, or alternatively can be said from leaving your hotel in Madinah or by visiting the Meeqat at Dhull Hulaiyfah and saying intention before proceeding to train station.

Website: https://sar.hhr.sa/web/booking/home#undefined

Watch an instructional video on how to book the train:
http://bit.ly/Haramainrail

The train between Makkah and Madinah is a must!

New Jeddah Airport and Zam Zam

Finally Jeddah has an airport that won’t leave you having nightmares after your Umrah trip. The Hajj Terminal was often the final straw that would break the camel’s back!

Currently, Zam Zam is not available at Jeddah airport and due to operational issues, they are not letting anyone on any airline take Zam Zam with them! This can be a shock if you do not know before hand.

If you are leaving from any airport other than Jeddah, you are able to take Zam Zam with you. You can readily purchase Zam Zam now from most supermarkets including Bin Dawood. Note they do not come in boxes suitable for air travel at the supermarket like they normally do at the airport. In Makkah, you can visit the Zam Zam factory in Kudai,  just 3km from the Haram.






 

I pray that these steps will help ensure you have a hassle free Umrah, in sha Allah. Please note that the information is based on my recent trip. If you become aware of any information that has changed or been updated or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave comments below.

I also ask that if any of this information aids you that you share it with others, that you make dua for the author, their family and friends who helped put this together.

May Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) allow you to perform Umrah Mabroor soon and keep us in your dua.

Ameen.

The post Tips For Umrah During COVID appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Source: Muslim Matters

Dr. Abu Salman Shahjahanpuri: In Memory Of An Eminent South Asian Scholar And Historian

Dr. Abu Salman Shahjahanpuri: In Memory Of An Eminent South Asian Scholar And Historian

On 2nd February 2021, Dr Abu Salman Shahjahanpuri, a widely acclaimed scholar from South Asia, was mourned not only in his home of Pakistan but among the many Muslims and non-Muslims throughout the world who knew him and his contributions as a scholar and public figure. He was an eminent Muslim religious scholar, academic, and historian, who was also a well-placed and reputed figure of great spiritual and intellectual insight, and continued to be instrumental over the past 30 years in the critical evaluation and appreciation of Islam and Muslim thinkers in South Asia. Akhtarul Wasey and Khaliq Anjum co-authored Maulana Abulkalam Azad ke muḥaqqiq Ḍākṭar Abū Salmān Shāhjahānpūrī: shak̲h̲ṣīyat aur adabī k̲h̲idmāt (The research scholar of Abul Kalam Azad, Abu Salmān Shahjahānpūri: Life and academic works). The President of Jamiat Ulama Hind, Qari Syed Muhamamd Usman Mansurpuri, and general secretary Mawlana Mahmud Madani also offered their condolences on his death.

Born in 1940 in Shahjahanpur, he was schooled at Madrasa Saeedia in Shahjahanpur and memorized the Quran  at Jamia Qasmia Madrasa in Moradabad, and also nurtured his skills in Islamic sciences, mastered Persian and Arabic from the same institute. Shahjahanpuri also did his studies with his uncle Maulana Abdul Hadi Khan who was the student of Mufti Kifayatullah Dehlawi. He was so thirsty for knowledge that he studied deeply and devoted a great deal of his time to the composition of many scholarly articles and books.

Aged 10, Shahjahanpuri migrated to Pakistan. He received an MA from the University of Karachi and completed his doctoral studies at the University of Sindh. His commitment to Islam, which occupied him for his whole life, left an indelible mark in the hearts and minds of people across territorial boundaries. He was known as a researcher and historian and regarded as an authority in the historical and political movements of the Indian subcontinent, and has dealt with the subject with a scientific detachment and objectivity.

Also an author of over 100 books, Dr. Abu Salman Shahjahanpuri is thought to be the only Pakistani scholar for over a half of century having worked on the life and works of Abul Kalam Azad—like his books Ifādat-e-Azād and Hindustān mai Ibn Taymiyah (comparing Ibn Taymiyya’s influence on Azad), including his 6-volume biography of Hussain Ahmad Madani. A major portion of Shahjahanpuri’s work focuses on the political, historical and intellectual legacy of scholars associated with Jamiat Ulema Hind. He dedicated his time to work on the thought and legacy of scholars like Mufti Azam Hazrat Kifayatulah, Hazrat Mawlana Said Dehlawi, Kutub Aalam, Mawlana Husain Ahmad Madni, and Abul Kalam Azad.

Shahjahanpuri was more admired in India than his homeland of Pakistan, where he migrated to soon after the partition. His many works have focused on the pre-partition history of the sub-continent, and has produced works depicting the intellectual history of region, particularly the scholars of Deoband. He has edited and compiled political and literary works, and above all, bibliographies on the aforesaid themes. To record his works produced so far, this bibliographical account contains almost all of his works, and biographical sketches written by his contemporaries and reviews of his books. The president of Pakistan presented Dr. Shahjahanpuri with an award for the book, and Hamdard Islamicus called it “an enthralling story that combines impeccable scholarship with a rare sense of the sacred worth of the subject.” According to Moinuddin Aqeel,  “Shahjahānpūri is the scholar who is a keen observer of the rise and fall of the nationalist and historic movements of Indian subcontinent.”

Shahjahānpūri’s works include

  • Imām al-Hind, taʻmīr-i afkār
  • Dīvān-i Āh: Abū al-Naṣr G̲h̲ulām Yāsīn Āh Dihlavī ke Urdū aur Fārsī kalām kā majmūʻah maʻ z̤amīmah kalām-i Ārzū va Ābrū
  • Taḥrīk-i Pākistān : afkār o masāʼil
  • Maulānā Muḥammad ʻAlī aur unkī ṣaḥāfat
  • Ashfāqullāh K̲h̲ān̲ Shahīd: ḥayāt o afkār: kākorī kes kā hīro
  • Maulānā ʻUbaidullāh Sindhī ke inqilābī manṣūbe
  • Maulānā Muḥammad ʻAlī: savāniḥ va k̲h̲idmāt

He was associated with Abul Kalam Azad Research Institute in Karachi, and visited India during 2014 to present his papers in an international seminar about Abul Kalam Azad, organized by the Iran Society and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad of Asian Studies, Kolkata. He was known for his fierce criticism and objectivity, and never deterred from his position. He was able to cut through the surface and see the crux of the matter. While discussing the Khilafat Movement, for instance, he ruthlessly exposed the immoral conduct of the subsequent British governments and how easily they broke their promises. During the war against Turkey, Britain had promised to Muslims of India that all holy places of Islam would be protected, and due care would be taken to maintain their sanctity. He told us of how this was publicized on a massive scale in India and was “perhaps the most repeated promise in the human history”, and of how it was broken (for example, Jerusalem, the third holiest Muslim place was taken over by the British on December 9, 1917).

In the same breath, Shahjahanpuri blamed Muslim religious scholars for short-sightedness and for falling for the British promises out of ‘innocence or contrivance’. He thought that it was perhaps the biggest mistake made by Muslims of India, which led not only to the desecration of holy Muslim places, but also contributed to the disintegration of the world’s last great Muslim empire and the seat of Khilafat, Turkey. Had the Muslims decided wholeheartedly not to support the British Empire in this war against Turkey he claimed, the British would have confronted one of the most lethal times in their colonial history.

Ironically, Dr Abu Salman’s academic works have not been properly acknowledged, and the reason is that he had his own views, and saw things from a different perspective. He, for example, has written many books on figures and political movements in South Asia not viewed with much favor in Pakistan. But, as Mushfiq Khwaja once remarked, the difference of opinion is limited to his point of view or the conclusions he draws from his research alone, and no one should underestimate the standard or the methodology of his research. The reason is that Dr Sahib never wrote on any topic until he had authentic source material and historical evidence to prove his argument. What commanded the respect of his peers was that his personal library brimmed with rare, original, and untapped source material on the history of the Indo-Pak subcontinent.

May Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) bless him with the loftiest of abodes in Jannatul Firdaus in the company of His beloved Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

The post Dr. Abu Salman Shahjahanpuri: In Memory Of An Eminent South Asian Scholar And Historian appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Source: Muslim Matters

A Conversation with an Atheist (E-book)

By Truth Seeker Staff

This is the first E-book produced by the Electronic Da`wah Committee (EDC) and Truth Seeker Website. The E-book is titled, A Conversation with an Atheist.

It is translated and adapted from the book of Maqalat (Essays) by Sheikh Muhammad Al-Ghazali. The E-book is translated and adapted from Arabic by Dr. Ali Al-Halawani.

Click the following link to download the E-book.

 

 

The post’s URL is :

http://www.truth-seeker.info/wp-admin/post.php?post=10177&action=edit&message=1

Soucre Link

Reasons to Fear Allah (2/2)

By Raya Shokatfard

Does it not make clear sense that the elements of "love", "fear" and "hope" are all necessary in order to maintain a realistic balance in regards to our perception of our Creator? Otherwise, we may be deceiving ourselves.

Does it not make clear sense that the elements of “love”, “fear” and “hope” are all necessary in order to maintain a realistic balance in regards to our perception of our Creator? Otherwise, we may be deceiving ourselves.

In the first part of this article, after answering the question on the importance of taqwa and why we should fear Allah, the first two steps for gaining taqwa were detailed.

In this second part, eight more steps are detailed on the path to taqwa.

Watch How You Spend Your Time

The vast available means of entertainment and job activities leave nearly no time to focus on religion.

Please be very careful with what you do and how you spend your time. Choose very carefully what and who will fill your precious time.

Try to be with the Muslim community and their activities. Make your local masjid a place you visit daily for each prayer, especially for men, if you can. Who are your friends and how do they influence you? It is said that: “It takes ten good teachers to out-do the influence of one bad friend!”

Seek out pious friends who are not only Muslim by name, but by practice. They should clearly fear Allah, while love and respect Him. They should encourage you to participate in acts of charity, seeking knowledge and have the spirit of humbleness and modesty. They will bring you closer to Allah.

Seek Knowledge

One may not achieve a higher spiritual level without authentic religious knowledge. As we learn, we act upon it either in a physical, mental, or spiritual level or all combined.

It is best to commit to regular studies with reliable teachers or institutions.

The Prophet is reported to have said: “Ask Allah for beneficial knowledge and seek refuge with Allah from knowledge that is of no benefit.” (Ibn Majah, 3843)

This is religious knowledge so that the worshipper understands who he/she is worshipping and the dos and don’ts of the religion.

Yet knowledge without an open heart and spirit is like any other topic. The love, fear and hope in God must penetrate the deepest part of the soul.

Be Aware of Satan’s Distractions

Some distractions seem simply innocent and not evil. Yet a wise worshipper understands very well the deception of Satan.

In fact such distractions are so numerous that we cannot point to only a few. They are all around us.

As we learn the Book of Allah, we understand better how to save ourselves from these distractions.

Humility in Character

Arrogance is the worst enemy of a serious believer.

The Prophet said: “And no one humbles himself before Allah but Allah will raise him (in status).” (Ibn Majah, 4176)

Humbleness does not mean to think lowly of oneself and have an inferiority complex. It simply means one is avoiding pride, no matter what their status is, and to avoid degrading others.

Another word for pride is Al-Kibr in Arabic which means, “rejecting the truth and looking down upon people.”

One does not exalt himself for one’s actions no matter how great they are. You never know, Allah may reward a small action done in humility much more that the ones involving pride.

“Allah only accepts from those who have taqwa (fear of Allah).” (Al-Ma’idah 5: 27)

Pleasing Allah as Your Number One Goal

This takes a shift of consciousness from our existing one to another much higher level.

How is this achieved?

Practice, practice, practice!

You may not achieve this level unless you know full well what the Creator has ordained or forbidden; what He likes or dislikes; who He loves and why; what are His commandments.

If He loves those who spend their nights worshipping Him and asking Him for forgiveness while praising Him, would one spend their nights watching TV and engaging in idle talk?

Why Am I Here?

worshipping Him is the only way of closeness to Him.

Asking ourselves this question will bring us into a much deeper realm of spirituality and closeness to our Creator. He tells us in a very simple language, our purpose of creation:

“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56)

Yet to understand this verse is not so simple. One must understand that worshipping Him is the only way of closeness to Him.

Remember Death

It is only through remembering death that one recognizes the real value he assigns to pleasures of this life. They will lose all the worth in his sight, as it is clear he will not carry them to the grave with Him.

So, what pleasures can I be engaged in that do not push me into the burning Hell?

Surely there are many. But who decides? Satan or you?

Imagine your life will end tomorrow. Can you stand in front of Allah and claim that you have done all you could while living on earth in order to please Him?

Hoping in God

The last element of attaining salvation from the Islamic perspective is having hope in Allah all times knowing that no matter how much we err and sin, as long as we intend to return to Him, ask for forgiveness and live a righteous life, His vast mercy is awaiting us.

“Say: “O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Az-Zumar 39:53)

Does it not make clear sense that the elements of “love”, “fear” and “hope” are all necessary in order to maintain a realistic balance in regards to our perception of our Creator? Otherwise, we may be deceiving ourselves.

In this context we can clearly see that “fear” has its own place when other elements are included.

We have to examine our intention toward our Creator. If we seek peace, there is no other alternative but to seek His pleasure. This is the only way for moving from darkness into light.

“By which Allah guides those who pursue His pleasure to the ways of peace and brings them out from darkness into the light, by His permission, and guides them to a straight path.” (Al-Ma’idah 5:16)

Finally, let us be among those who are invited to the Home of Peace and among the ones guided by Him to the straight path.

“And Allah invites to the Home of Peace and guides whom He wills to a straight path.” (Yunus 10:25)

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from onislam.net.

Raya Shokatfard holds an MA in Journalism/Mass Communications and an M.A.D. in TV journalism. BA in Communication and BA in Islamic Studies. She has been Islamic propagator in the U.S and Egypt for many years and academic lecturer, writer, international presenter, consultant, foreign correspondent, and former Editor in Chief for Reading Islam website. She can be reached at: [email protected]

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