Learn the Qur’an in Arabic, Get Rewarded: How?

Learn the Qur’an in Arabic, Get Rewarded: How?

 By Amy Klooz

It can be intimidating for a new Muslim to be told that the Qur’an has to be read in Arabic when he or she can’t make heads or tails of the Arabic script in the first place. So learning not just letters but pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary seems a daunting task.

Do they know the blessings they are missing out on, that they can't even read the Qur’an in the original Arabic?

Do they know the blessings they are missing out on, that they can’t even read the Qur’an in the original Arabic?

But if I may say so, it is one of the more rewarding endeavors in which a person can dedicate his time. And in actuality, it’s not as difficult as it might seem at the start.

In fact, throughout the Qur’an, Allah describes Arabic and the Qur’an as easy:

So, (O Muhammad), We have only made the Qur’an easy in the Arabic language that you may give good tidings thereby to the righteous and warn thereby a hostile people. (Maryam 19:97)

Verily, We have made this (Qur’an) easy, in thy tongue, in order that they may give heed. (Ad-Dukhan 44:58)

And We have certainly made the Qur’an easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember? (Al-Qamar 54:17)

So before we start complaining about it being hard, we should remember that Allah (the Lord of the Worlds) is making it easy for us; making it easy to learn to read Arabic, to speak it, and to understand it in the Qur’an.

Now, for some people the motivation for learning Arabic is more to learn spoken Arabic, perhaps to communicate with Arab Muslims, maybe new family members. In that case, I can’t promise it will be as easy, but the person whose intention is solely for the sake of Allah, to learn the Qur’an, I know will have the help of Allah.

I think it’s sad that to see Muslims who have had years of opportunities to learn and still haven’t made any progress regarding the Arabic language.

Do they know the blessings they are missing out on, that they can’t even read the Qur’an in the original Arabic?

Moreover, I know many converts struggle in trying to memorize the Qur’an, and we know from a hadith that Allah will reward their struggle. But for years, they go by having memorized only one or two surahs (chapters)!

Is it necessary to spend hours listening to audio over and over and over to try to pick up the sounds?

For anyone who wants to start memorizing more Qur’an, I would say they should focus their energy on learning to read Arabic. I can say from my own experience that memorizing became much faster, easier, and fulfilling, once I could read the Arabic. Sounds became words, words became phrases and phrases took on meaning. Being able to read the Qur’an in Arabic, while trying to memorize it, can only facilitate memorization.

So I have come to the opinion that one essential component of any program for helping new Muslims must be helping them to learn the Arabic language–not for speaking, not for conversation, but to start reading the Qur’an. And the minimum responsibility should be to teach them the letters–recognition and pronunciation–and proper recitation of the Qur’an.

A class for new Muslims to teach Arabic, starting with letters, should actively involve the students reading writing words as soon as they know the relevant letters. Seeing letters on a board or in a book is not enough to learn them.

Worksheets, tests and quizzes are good motivational tools to keep the students practicing the letters consistently. Consistency is the only way to make it stick constant use.

For students trying to learn the Arabic alphabet, flashcards are an exceptionally useful tool. Correcting the pronunciation requires a teacher with a good ear and lots of practice. The articulation of some letters is an acquired skill children can learn easily, but with dedication adults can become equally proficient and should not be deterred because a letter is difficult or not present in their native language.

But a person cannot stop their Arabic after learning the letters. They must progress immediately to learning tajweed (rules of Qur’anic recitation). This is to correct and improve their articulation, and to help them begin in reciting Qur’an.

When able to actually read and recite the Qur’an even without understanding, a person is at least establishing a connection with the Qur’an, and is consistently practicing the Arabic already learnt.

This ‘practice‘ keeps the knowledge (of the alphabet, articulation, tajweed, etc.) in the front of a person’s mind, building a skill that will undoubtedly brighten his or her heart and mind. It is a skill that opens up the Qur’an, and opens the heart to the Qur’an.

So I would suggest for new Muslims who haven’t started learning any Arabic yet, to make it a priority. And for anyone involved in educational programs for new Muslims, to incorporate some Arabic into those programs to help our communities build and strengthen their relationship with the Qur’an.

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Dealing with Challenges after Accepting Islam

Dealing with Challenges after Accepting Islam

Accepting Islam brings with it challenges. Before someone converts to Islam they may be concerned about many things to the extent that they may actually hold them back from taking the step, for example, how their parents are going to receive the news, how their friends are going to be shocked, all the change that will happen in their life.

Yes, it’s going to hard. It’s not easy. Life is going to change not for the better at least at the beginning in so many ways.

Thus, accepting Islam does bring with it difficulties and obstacles, so what mindset do we use to tackle with them?

Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan talks about this in the video here…


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Source: FreeQuranEducation

 

 

 

 

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Mercy with People’s Faults: Twenty Second Stop of Your Spiritual Journey to God

Mercy with People’s Faults: Twenty Second Stop of Your Spiritual Journey to God

By Dr. Jasser Auda

A person, who learns of people’s secrets and does not have Godly mercy on them, brings upon himself great danger and disaster.

When one’s knowledge and awareness increase, he will find himself in situations and incidents where he learns of people’s secrets, faults, and problems.

Mercy with People’s Faults-Twenty Second Stop of Your Spiritual Journey to God

One should not feel that he is authorized by God to act as a judge among the people.

This happens when one applies his mind to the study of the outward appearance of a thing with a view to understanding its real nature and its inner characteristics. One comes to know people’s secrets when he is consulted or becomes an arbitrator in a certain dispute on individual, family, and collective levels.

Learning people’s secrets and their weaknesses is a chance for practicing some influence on them. If you come to learn people’s secrets, you should treat them in the proper way. The Sheikh says: “A person, who learns of people’s secrets and does not have Godly mercy on them, brings upon himself great danger and disaster.”

One should not feel that he is authorized by God to act as a judge among the people or that he will establish justice among them. What one should do is to have Godly mercy on them.

Godly Mercy

Having Godly mercy on people requires that you should not reveal people’s faults because God is the One who conceals such faults. A man called Maiz came to the Prophet confessing his adultery. So the Prophet ordered that he be stoned as a punishment for his act. Hazzal came and said, “I ordered him to confess.” The Prophet then said, “It would have been better for you if you had covered him with your clothes, Hazzal.” (Abu Dawud)

It is a major sin to reveal people’s faults or take them as a pretext to harm them. The Prophet is reported to have said: “The servant (who conceals) the faults of others in this world, God would conceal his faults on the Day of Resurrection.” (Muslim)

Having Godly mercy on people also requires that you admonish people and call them to do good deeds with a view to correcting their faults. This is how the Prophet behaved with the hypocrites after God told him about what they hid in their hearts.

As for them – God knows all that is in their hearts; so leave them alone, and admonish them, and speak unto them about themselves in a gravely searching manner. (An-Nisaa’ 4:64)

When God Himself admonishes us He does so in the best manner. When He commands us to do something, His commandments are conveyed in a gentle way. God says in a hadith: “If they offer repentance, I will surely love them. If they do not repent, I will be like their physician (who helps them with their diseases until they are recovered).”

Personal Interests

A physician follows a gradual course in treating people’s diseases. He also tries different medicines until a certain medicine works out. A good physician resorts to surgery, amputation or cautery only as the last option. Cautery is recommended only as the last treatment option as the Arabian proverb suggests.

Besides, having Godly mercy on people requires that you free yourself from your personal interests when you handle people’s secrets or information which you learn about. As we said earlier, learning people’s secrets gives one an authority to exploit them for his own interests. This contradicts the concept of Godly mercy which urges one to overlook his own interests and aims only at fixing and correcting people’s behavior.

The servant, who does not have mercy on people after learning their faults, might have a feeling of pride, conceit, envy and suspicion. All these traits are dangerous and destructive to our moral system.

Also, the one, who does not have mercy on people, will be doing injustice to them. Injustice is punishable both in this world and the world to come. Therefore, the Sheikh says: “A person, who learns of people’s secrets and does not have Godly mercy on them, brings upon himself great danger and disaster.”  This word of wisdom is reinforced by the hadith in which the Prophet says: “No sin has a faster Divine punishment than the sin of injustice …” (Abu Hanifa)

The original situation is “do not spy upon one another” (Al-Hujurat 49:12)  But if one finds himself in a situation where people’s secrets are revealed before him, he should have Godly mercy on them as the Sheikh says. Otherwise, he will be journeying backward not forward to God.

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The article is excerpted from “Some of Al-Hikam Al-Ataiyyah” (The Path to God: A Journey with Ibn `Ata’illah’s Words of Wisdom In the Light of the Quran, the Prophetic Tradition, and Universal Laws of God- By Dr. Jasser Auda

 

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Dealing with People’s Praise: Twenty First Stop of Your Spiritual Journey to God

Dealing with People’s Praise: Twenty First Stop of Your Spiritual Journey to God

By Dr. Jasser Auda

“When people praise you for what they assume about you, blame yourself for what you really know about yourself. The most ignorant is the one who denies what he really knows about himself and believes what others assume about him.”

While journeying to God we will be put to many tests. One of those tests pertains to people’s praise for what they assume about you. This word of wisdom answers the following question: how does one deal with people’s praise?

Dealing with People’s Praise

People’s praise may change one’s rituals from being done to please God to being done to please people.

People’s praise is a serious issue. A man was mentioned before the Prophet and another man praised him greatly. The Prophet said,

“Woe on you! You have cut the neck of your friend.” The Prophet repeated this sentence many times and said, “If it is indispensable for anyone of you to praise someone, then he should say, ‘I think that he is so-and-so,” if he really thinks that he is such. God is the One Who will take his accounts (as He knows his reality) and no-one can sanctify anybody before God.” (Al-Bukhari)

In another tradition, the Prophet said: “When you see those who shower (undue) praise (upon others), throw dust upon their faces.” (Muslim)

Negative Impact

People’s praise may change one’s rituals from being done to please God to being done to please people, earn their praise or avoid their criticism. It also discourages one to do more good deeds if he feels that he is perfecting his actions or that he has done many good deeds which attracted people’s praise.

Another negative aspect of praise is that it makes one overlook his flaws and, instead, look at his merits.

In this word of wisdom, Sheikh Ibn `Ata’illah says: “When people praise you for what they assume about you, blame yourself for what you really know about yourself.” People praise you based on their assumption about you. But you know yourself better. You know that you are suffering from many flaws.

Notice that when the Sheikh talked about the beginnings he advised us to discover our flaws. The Sheikh said: “Trying to discover the flaws within you is better than trying to discover the worlds hidden from you.”

One’s Flaws

If you are highly praised by people, you should discover your flaws and blame yourself for what you know about it. You should feel ashamed because people are praising you for things which are not in you. You should pray to God to forgive your sins and conceal your flaws.

This is reminds us of what Imam `Ali (may God be pleased with him) when he described the Companions (may God be pleased with them) in his famous sermon: Imam `Ali said: “If someone praises one of them, he says, “I know myself better than others (know me), and my Lord is more knowledgeable of me than myself. O God, don’t take me to task for what they say, and make me better than what they think of me, and forgive me for those sins which they are unaware of.”

According to Imam `Ali’s description, when someone praised one of the Prophet’s Companions, he responded to him saying: “I know myself better than others (know me)”, i.e. I know myself and others think good of me. This is the same meaning given by Ibn `Atta’illah. Then the Companion adds: “And my Lord is more knowledgeable of me than myself”, i.e. God is more knowledgeable of my flaws, sins, and mistakes than myself. Finally, the Companion ends his response by praying to God: “Make me better than what they think of me.” They think good of me, so make me better than this. “O God, forgive me for those sins which they are unaware of.” God does not reveal things which we do not like and which we cannot tell people about.

Sometimes people’s praise takes away the reward promised by God for a certain good deed. Because this praise is actually the reward that one was seeking, as his intention was not to please God, but to please people. This is an utter hypocrisy.

The Sheikh says: “If the believer is praised, he should feel ashamed of God that people praise him for things which are not in him. The most ignorant is the one who denies what he really knows about himself and believes what others assume about him.”

Should I leave what I know for sure about myself and believe what people assume about it? This is a sign of ignorance and conceit.

Glad Tidings

In some other cases, people’s praise is glad tidings for the believer. Abu Dhar (may God be pleased him) reported: It was said to God’s Messenger (peace be upon him): What is your opinion about the person who has done good deeds and the people praise him? He said: “It is glad tidings for a believer (which he has received in this mortal world).” (Muslim)

Therefore, the servant should thank God for that, and should not be self-conceited. He also should not believe what people assume about him and forget his own flaws.

We pray to God to conceal our flaws, grant us humility, and give us glad tidings in this world and the next.

For them there is the glad tiding (of happiness) in the life of this world and in the life to come…  (Yunus 10:64)

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The article is excerpted from “Some of Al-Hikam Al-Ataiyyah” (The Path to God: A Journey with Ibn `Ata’illah’s Words of Wisdom In the Light of the Quran, the Prophetic Tradition, and Universal Laws of God- By Dr. Jasser Auda

 

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Certainty of Faith, Indifference about the World: Twentieth Stop of Your Spiritual Journey to God

By Dr. Jasser Auda

If the light of deep faith shines on you, you will see the Hereafter before journeying to it, and you will see the trappings of this world vanishing before your eyes.

Certainty of Faith, Indifference about the World- Twentieth Stop of Your Spiritual Journey to God

Feeling the Hereafter is related to the degree of certainty of faith.

I cannot proceed in my journey to God while forgetting my journey to the Hereafter. One should not forget that death is a reality for all of us. All humans, believers or unbelievers, agree that death is the end of this life. One should not care for this world and forget his inevitable end, death.

What Is Your Goal?

The Prophet (peace be upon him) warned us against striving only for this world. But this does not mean that we neglect the worldly affairs and leave them to those who do not use them the right way under the pretext that we are devoting our life to the Hereafter. This is a wrong understanding. What the Prophet means is that we should not forget the Hereafter.

The Prophet is reported to have said: “One whose main concern is this worldly life God will make his poverty between his eyes.”  (Ibn Majah)

When you open your eyes in the morning, ask yourself: what is your goal? Is it the Hereafter? Is it what is between you and God? If it is the case, God will grant you contentment and cause this worldly life to come to you despite your indifference about it.

On the other hands, if one opens his eyes in the opening thinking of so and so or such and such of worldly matters, or how to gain such and such of worldly matters, even it is lawful, the Prophet says about this person: “God will make his poverty between his eyes.” This means that he will not be satisfied with whatever he gains and achieves. Rather he will feel that he is still suffering poverty and need.

Between Faith the Hereafter

The Hereafter is an important concept that we should not overlook. The question is how to reach the level of thinking of the Hereafter? How to always call it to our minds?

The Sheikh is linking our thinking of the Hereafter with our certainty of faith. He says that the more our certainty of faith increases, the more we will care for the Hereafter. He sums up this meaning in the word of wisdom in which says: “If the light of deep faith shines on you, you will see the Hereafter before journeying to it, and you will see the trappings of this world vanishing before your eyes.”

The Sheikh links between the certainty of faith and remembering the Hereafter. It is as if the Hereafter is a reality that you can see. The question is how to reach this certainty of faith? The answer comes from the book of God, “ … and worship your Sustainer till death comes to you.”  (Al-Hijr 15:99)

When you worship God in all the various kinds of worship, the certainty of faith in your heart increases and you will remember the Hereafter as if you are living it. The Prophet’s companions experienced this feeling when they studied the Qur’an and worshipped God with him. It is reported that one of the companions said about the impact of worship, “As if we see the heaven and hell with our eyes.” (Ibn Majah)

Therefore, feeling the Hereafter is related to the degree of certainty of faith as the Sheikh says: “If the light of deep faith shines on you, you will see the Hereafter before journeying to it.” This means that you not need death so that you can see the Hereafter. Rather, you can see the Hereafter while you are still in this worldly life, and this is much better and beneficial for you before it is too late, isn’t it?

Balanced Life

Again, this does not mean that we isolate ourselves and renounce this worldly life. This is a wrong understanding which leads to wrong practices of the issue of remembering the Hereafter. It does not mean renouncing the world; rather it is a spiritual ritual. A balanced understanding parallels this worldly life to the Hereafter, i.e. you enjoy your life, but you do not forget your share in the Hereafter.

… without forgetting, withal, your own (rightful) share in this world; and do good (unto other) as God has done good unto you… (Al-Qasas 28:77)

Then the Sheikh says: “… and you will see the trappings of this world vanishing before your eyes.” This means that this world is of a continuous state of vanishment. Al-Hasan Al-Basri once said: “Son of Adam! You are nothing but a number of days, whenever each day passes then part of you has gone.”

The Sheikh says that if you have deep belief in the Hereafter, you will see this world vanishing before your eyes. This will make you indifferent about it and its pleasure and draws you nearer to the Hereafter and the rituals. We are in a much need of this proper understanding because we always forget the Hereafter and do not think about death.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) saw some companions praising a man because of his good deeds. The Prophet asked them if he used to remember death. They said: We did not hear mentioning death. Then the Prophet said: “Your friend is not there.” This means that he will not reach the high degrees of Paradise because he did not remember death as remembering death makes one ready for the Hereafter.

Success in Both Worlds

If we reflect on the meanings of the Qur’an and remember the Hereafter, we will succeed in this world. Striving for this world only leads to losing both worldly and religious affairs. Whereas remembering the Hereafter makes us successful in both worldly and religious affairs.

If one desires the rewards of this world, (let him remember that) with God are the rewards of (both) this world and the life to come: and God is indeed all-hearing, all-seeing. (An-Nisaa’ 4:134)

There is no harm if we care for the enjoyment of this life. But life should remain in our hands not in our hearts. This is the correct definition of zuhd (indifference about this world), i.e. to hold this world in your hand, but not letting it into your heart.

If you care for the Hereafter only and leave your share in this world, you are not serving Islam and Muslims. You will be easily tempted because you are indifferent about this world because you cannot get it not because you desire to get God’s reward in the Hereafter.

We pray to God to help us strike this balance between this world and the Hereafter. We also pray to God to help us remember the Hereafter and make us ready for it. We earnestly ask Him to save us from the punishment in the Hell.

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The article is excerpted from “Some of Al-Hikam Al-Ataiyyah” (The Path to God: A Journey with Ibn `Ata’illah’s Words of Wisdom In the Light of the Quran, the Prophetic Tradition, and Universal Laws of God- By Dr. Jasser Auda

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Distress and Need of Him: Nineteenth Stop of Your Spiritual Journey to God

Distress and Need of Him: Nineteenth Stop of Your Spiritual Journey to God

By Dr. Jasser Auda

The best way to ask Him is through your distress, and the fastest way to acquire good traits is through expressing your humility and need.

The word of wisdom under discussion is about du`aa’ (supplication). It is not about the etiquette of supplication, but it is about the condition of supplication, i.e. the condition of the Muslim’s heart when he asks God in order that the supplication will be answered.

God asks the unbelievers saying: “Is He (not best) who responds to the distressed when he calls out to Him, and who removes the ill (that caused the distress), and has made you inherit the earth? Could there be any divine power besides God?” (An-Naml 27:62)

In this verse God makes it clear to the unbelievers that when they are in distress and sincerely ask God for help, He will answer them. So, what about if a believer is in distress and asks Him for help!

Therefore, distress gets the supplication answered quickly. The Sheikh says: “The best way to ask Him is through your distress.” If you are in distress and ask God feeling the need for His help after the causes have fallen you, then rest assured that God will answer you supplication.

This applies also to the acts of worship. Therefore, the best way to ask Him is through distress, need, humility, and hope in His mercy. This is best illustrated in the Prophet’s supplication is different situations. In the Battle of Badr the Prophet (peace be upon him) turned (his face) towards the qiblah then he stretched his hands and began his supplication to his Lord:

”O God, accomplish for me what You have promised to me. O God, bring about what You have promised to me. O God, if this small band of Muslims is destroyed. You will not be worshipped on this earth. He continued his supplication to God, stretching his hands, facing the qiblah, until his mantle slipped down from his shoulders.” (Muslim)

This is the supplication of one who was in distress, so his supplication was answered swiftly.

Humility

Then the Sheikh explains other useful conditions of supplication. He says: “And the fastest way to acquire good traits is through expressing your humility and need.” This means that one has to be humiliated before God and feel that he is in need of Him Some scholars comments on the verse “The offerings given for the sake of God are (meant) only for the poor…” (At-Tawbah 9:60) saying that the verse is applicable on anyone who feels the need for God and asks for His help.

This interpretation is a bit odd, but the meaning is correct. In normal cases you give in charity the poor person, so what about if you show your need for God! Surely He will give you what you ask for and better than what you ask for.

The Sheikh’s saying: “And the fastest way to acquire good traits is through expressing your humility and need” implies that God is the one who grants good traits, worldly or religious. But here the Sheikh refers to religious traits such as the condition of the heart and the acts of worship.

Conditions for Answered Supplication

In order for a supplication to be answered, it has to meet some conditions such as facing the qiblah (prayer direction), and not asking God for committing a sin or cutting off family ties.

It is recommended to stretch the hand while praying to God and to start the supplication with praising God and invoking peace and blessing on the Prophet. It is also recommended to invoke peace and blessing on the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the middle and at the end of the supplication. This is the fiqh aspect of supplication.

However, what is of more importance is the condition of the heart when praying to God which is the basis of the supplication and not one of the recommended acts associated with it.

In the Islamic rulings there are apparent and hidden conditions related to each rule. Therefore, facing the qiblah, stretching the hand, and invoking peace and blessings on the Prophet are the apparent aspects of supplication. On the other hand, feeling the supplication and feeling the need, humility, and distress are the hidden aspects of supplication which are shown in the Prophet’s supplication in different situations.

The Prophet used to recite certain du`aa’s at certain situation such as getting up, going to bed, wearing clothes, taking off clothes, looking at the mirror, washing himself, sleeping with his wives, seeing the new moon of the month, in the evening, in the morning, going out, and coming back home. If we utter these supplications, we are connected with God all the time.

The Prophet’s Supplication

If we trace the history of du`aa’, we will not find any person, even previous prophets, who had this strong relation with God like the Prophet Muhammad. We study the Psalms, the Torah, and the Injeel (Gospel) well, we not come across such supplications which show the depth of this relation between the Prophet and His Lord. The Prophet used to praise God with humbleness, surrender and awareness of God’s mighty.

From different traditions we learn that the Prophet’s supplication was accompanied by distress. `A’ishah reported that the Prophet used to spend the night with one of his wives. At the dawn time, Bilal (may God be pleased with him) used to wake him up for the prayer.

So the Prophet used to takes a shower, then goes out to prayer and I used to hear him crying. Therefore, the Prophet’s supplication is not merely words uttered by the tongue, but it was deeply felt in the heart.

Unanswered!

The du`aa’ may be answered on the spot and the answer may be may take some time. The Prophet is reported to have said: “A servant will be rewarded on the Day of Judgment for a supplication for God which has not been answered to the extent that he wishes that his du`aa’ was not answered.”

This means that on the Day of Judgment one will wish that none of his du`aa’ had not been answered by God. This is because the du`aa’, which had not been answered, had been postponed by God till the day of Judgment and now it is rewarded in the best from.

When God does not answer your du`aa’, make sure that God is choosing the best for you. God has always been choosing the best for you. God says about Himself, “In Your Hand is all good.” (Aal `Imran 3:26) If you pray to God but He does not answer your prayer, you should know that God is choosing what is good for you and He is not choosing what is bad for you. God allowed you to pray to Him because He wants to give you as the Sheikh says in this word of wisdom.

God’s giving may be in this world or in the world to come. So, we have to leave the choice for God. “And (thus it is) Your Sustainer creates whatever He wills; and He chooses (for mankind) whatever is best for them.” (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:68) God always chooses better that what we choose.

We pray to God to grant us the etiquette of du`aa’ and grant us the gift of praying to Him at times of distress so that we pray to Him in humility and need. We pray to God to reward us for our prayer both in this world and the world to come. God is the hearer and answerer of du`aa’.

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The article is excerpted from “Some of Al-Hikam Al-Ataiyyah” (The Path to God: A Journey with Ibn `Ata’illah’s Words of Wisdom In the Light of the Quran, the Prophetic Tradition, and Universal Laws of God- By Dr. Jasser Auda

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