the weekly Squeaky

It is stacking up to be a hot and humid start to Ramadan.  I drank half a dozen glasses of water yesterday and took 3 showers, but still ended the day feeling dehydrated and drained.  Great, I thought, how much worse will it be tomorrow if we are fasting?

And then I thought of famine in East Africa.  And of the millions who aren’t going hungry and thirsty because it’s Ramadan – they’re literally starving to death.  They won’t be able to pop open the fridge come magrhib time, take out a tall cool glass of water and quench their thirsts.  They won’t be able to siddle up to a Ramadan buffet, pile their plates full, gorge themselves and then throw a quarter of the food away.

So as your stomach growls today because you didn’t eat lunch, as your through is dry because you haven’t had your afternoon latte, think of the blessings you have.  The blessing of being able to choose when to eat and drink.   The blessing of a roof over our heads, of being safe.  The list really is endless.  Remember your blessings and don’t forget to help those in need.  Islamic Relief is one of the charities on the ground, working to address the hunger.  Consider a donation.

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas (ra):

The Prophet was the most generous amongst the people, and he used to be more so in the month of Ramadan when Gabriel visited him, and Gabriel used to meet him on every night of Ramadan till the end of the month. The Prophet used to recite the Holy Qur’an to Gabriel, and when Gabriel met him, he used to be more generous than a fast wind (which causes rain and welfare).

[Bukhari]

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campaigns we’d like to see…

In light of the proposed million beard and niqab campaign in Egypt, I suggest the following:

  • The Allah  is beautiful and loves beauty campaign to clean up the streets (1)
  • The Allah is kind and loves kindness campaign to do random acts of kindness to strangers (2)
  • The treat your neighbor as though s/he were your heir campaign (3)
  • The Speak Good or Remain Silent campaign (4)
  • The shukr campaign to thank people and Allah for everything (5)
  • The do not get angry campaign (6)

(1) [Muslim]

(2)  ‘A’isha reported that the Messenger of Allah , said, “Allah  is kind and loves kindness and gives for gentleness what he does not give for harshness nor for anything else.” [Muslim]

(3) The Prophet  has stated: “Gabriel has repeatedly recommended me to be good to my neighbor to the extent that I thought that he would include him (my neighbour) among my heirs.”  [Ahmad and At-Tirmidh i]

(4) Abu Hurayrah (ra) relates that Allah’s Messenger  said: “Whoever believes in Allah  and the Last Day should speak a good word or remain silent. [Bukhari, Muslim]

(5) “Whoever does not give thanks to the people does not give thanks to Allah ” [Ahmed]

(6) Abu Hurayra reported that a man said to the Prophet  “Advise me.” He said, “Do not get angry.” He repeated his request several times and the Prophet said, “Do not get angry.” [al-Bukhari]

This post grew out of a discussion I had with AbuS.  He watches Egyptian news talk shows on youtube and on Monday night, he let out a sound of disgust, which in turn prompted me to ask what was the matter.  Can you believe this, he asked.  Is this the most important issue facing Egyptians today?  Will more beards and niqabs solve the mess?  Pshhhhhh!

Being a non confrontational person, I wrote this post suggesting campaigns in addition to the everyone needs a beard before Ramadan push.  When I asked AbuS to contribute a few campaign ideas, he said, haven’t you heard of the Fiqh of Priorities?  At the Battle of the Trench, the Prophet  delayed ‘asr.  ‘Asr was a fard, but not getting killed superseded that.

When facing the potential collapse of a civilization, needs should be prioritized.  Energies should be spent doing what is most urgent.  Will growing a beard or covering one’s face be a step towards polishing one’s heart, or will it merely allow us to ignore the tarnished character that is bringing down a country?

AbuS noted that when he went home to visit last year, that there was a great rise in outward signs of piety.  Lots of sunnah beards and lots more niqab, but the inner sunnahs were still deeply lacking.  A rise in outward piety does not appear to have had an effect on the state of Egypt.  Perhaps it is time to shift the focus inward?

The Prophet  said:

I was only sent to perfect good character

[Muwatta,  Ahmad]

note to self

Know that you will never truly love Allah until you love obeying Him

— Attributed to Hasan al-Basri (ra) on tumblr

Even if it’s not really from Hasan al-Basri (ra), it is a bit of wisdom that bears repeating.   Love is not simply a mushy emotion of the heart, head or nafs.  We don’t simply sit on the couch thinking, o Allah , I love you, I love you, I love you, and think that this is the only thing we need to do to express our love.

Ours is not a love of equals.  Allah  is the Beloved and we are His servants.  For our love of Allah to be worth anything, we should seek to please Him.  Love in this case requires action.  Indeed, our love for our Beloved SHOULD manifest itself in action, and those actions should be ones pleasing to Allah

Allah Himself tells us how our love should be manifest:

Whomever is hostile to a friend of Mine I declare war against. My slave approaches Me with nothing more beloved to Me than what I have made obligatory upon him, and My slave keeps drawing nearer to Me with voluntary works until I love him. And when I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his sight with which he sees, his hand with which he seizes, and his foot with which he walks. If he asks Me, I will surely give to him, and if he seeks refuge in Me, I will surely protect him. I do not hesitate from anything I shall do more than My hesitation to take the soul of the believer who dislikes death; for I dislike displeasing him.

Hadith Qudsi recorded in Bukhari

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