Power of “Istighfar” (A moving story)

This story about “Istighfar” is from the life of Imam Ahmed Bin Hanbal, who is considered as a renowned scholar of Islam and a famous theologian. Imam Ahmed is also considered to be the founder of the Hanbali school of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and is one of the most celebrated Sunni theologians, often referred to as the “Sheikh ul-Islam” or the “Imam of Ahl al-Sunnah.”

During his old age, while Imam Ahmed was travelling he stopped by a town. After the prayers, he wanted to stay for the night in the masjid yard because he didn’t know anyone in the town. Owing to his humility, he hadn’t introduced himself to anyone thinking that if he did, he would be welcomed by many people.

Failing to recognize Ahmed bin Hanbal, the caretaker of the mosque refused to let him stay in the mosque. As Imam Ahmed was quite old, the caretaker had to drag him out of the mosque. On seeing this, a baker from a nearby place felt pity for this man (Imam Ahmed) and offered to be the host to him for the night. During his stay with the baker, Imam Ahmed observed that the baker would constantly recite Istighfar (seek forgiveness from Allah). Imam Ahmed asked the baker if the constant practice of saying Istighfar had any effect on him. The baker responded by telling Imam Ahmed that Allah had accepted all of his duas (supplications), except one. When he asked him what dua was it that hadn’t been accepted, the baker replied that he had been asking Allah to provide him the privilege to meet the famous scholar Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal.

On this, Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal said that Allah had not only listened to his dua but had dragged him onto his (the baker’s) doorsteps. [Summarized from Al Jumuah magazine, vol 19, issue 7]

This story is a reminder of the power of saying Istighfar (seeking forgiveness) frequently. Let’s remember that the prophet used to say Istighfar frequently during the day. Tafseer Al-Qurtubi states:

A man complained to Al-Hasan about a drought, and he said to him: “Pray to Allah for forgiveness.”

Another man complained to him of poverty and he said to him: “Pray to Allah to forgive you.”

Another man said to him: “Pray to Allah to bless me with a child.” He said: “Pray to Allah for forgiveness.”

Another complained to him that his garden was dry. He said to him: “Pray to Allah for forgiveness.”

He was asked about it and he said: “This is not my personal opinion, for Allah says in Surah Nooh (interpretation of the meaning): ‘Ask forgiveness from your Lord, verily, He is Oft Forgiving; He will send rain to you in abundance. And give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers.” Tafseer Al-Qurtubi (18/301-302)

One of the narrators of a Hadith was asked about the manner in which forgiveness is to be sought, to which he answered: “The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) used to say: ‘Astaghfirullah! Astaghfirullah! (I beseech Allah for forgiveness, I beseech Allah for forgiveness)’.” [Sahih Muslim].

By-Zubair Rafique

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How to perform Ghusl Bath in Islam


Ghusl means bath..

Before making Ghusl one should make Niyyah (intention) thus: – “I am performing Ghusl so as to become Paak.” Without Niyyah, there is no Thawaab (reward) although Ghusl will be valid. Ghusl should be made in a place of total privacy and one should not face towards the Kiblah while making Ghusl. Ghusl may be performed standing or seated, preferably seated. Use sufficient water, don’t skimp nor be wasteful. One should abstain from speaking while performing Ghusl. It is better not to read any Kalimah or Aayah while bathing. Be aware of these rules whilst making Ghusl.

Procedure for performing ghusl

  1. Wash both hands up to and including wrists.
  2. Wash the private parts. The hands and private parts should be washed even if one is not in the state of Janaabat or Najaasat.
  3. If there is Najaasat elsewhere on the body, it should now be washed off.
  4. Perform Wudhu (Read separate pamphlet for Wudhu according to Sunnah). If making Ghusl on a stool or platform where water will rapidly flow away, and then perform the complete Wudhu. If there is fear of the feet being immersed in wastewater during the Ghusl then postpone the washing of the feet to the end of the Ghusl.
  5. Ensure that the mouth and nostrils are thoroughly rinsed thrice.
  6. After performing Wudhu, pour water over the head thrice;
  7. Then pour thrice over right shoulder and;
  8. Thrice again over left shoulder.
  9. Now pour water over entire body and rub.
  10. If the hair of the head is not plaited, it is compulsory to wet all the hair up to the very base. If a single hair is left dry, Ghusl will not be valid. If the hair of a woman is plaited, she is excused from loosening her plaited hair, but it is compulsory for her to wet the base of each and every hair. If one fails to do this then the Ghusl will not be valid. As for men who grow long hair and plait them, they are NOT excused from leaving their hair dry. If a woman experiences difficulty or is unable to wet the very bottom of her plaited hair, then it is necessary for her to unplaite her hair and wash her entire head.
  11. It is Mustahab (preferable) to clean the body by rubbing it.
  12. All parts of the body should be rubbed with the hand so as to ensure that water has reached all parts of the body, and that no portion is left dry.
  13. Rings and earrings, etc. should be moved so as to ensure that no portion covered by them is left dry. Ensure that the navel and the ears are all wetted. If they are not wet Ghusl will be incomplete.
  14. On completion one should confine oneself to a clean place. If, while performing Wudhu, the feet had been washed, it is not necessary to wash them again.
  15. Dry the body with a clean towel, and dress as hastily as possible.

If, after Ghusl, one recalls that a certain portion of the body is left dry, it is not necessary to repeat the Ghusl, but merely wash the dry portion. It is not sufficient to pass a wet hand over the dry place. If one has forgotten to rinse the mouth or the nostrils, these too could be rinsed when recalled after Ghusl has been performed.

The three Faraa’ids (compulsory acts) of Ghusl are:

  1. To rinse the mouth in such a manner that water reaches the entire mouth.
  2. To rinse the nostrils up to the ending of the fleshy part.
  3. To completely wet the whole body. When one performs these Faraa’id intentionally or unintentionally Ghusl will be valid.
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Nikah For Women – Obligations for the muslim wife

Many prospective wives seem to have their hopes dashed after they enter into the contract of marriage. Once the honeymoon is over, suddenly things are not so rosy any more, and the reality of married life seems to be a far cry from the Haraam movies which many have been watching or the novels which end up with ‘and they lived happily ever after’. In a world where it has become fashionable to engage in immoral activities and illicit relationships, it is becoming increasingly difficult to convince people that marriage is an important component of a pure society.

What guidelines does the Shariáh give the wife to help cement the relationship between herself and her husband?

The Qurãn in Surah Shuáraa (v74), describes the prayer of the pious in the following manner:

‘Oh our lord! Grant us wives and offspring who will be the joy and comfort of our eyes.’

The explanation of the above verse is clearly illustrated in the beautiful words of Nabi (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) (as narrated by ibn Abbaas)

‘The best woman (wife) is the one whom, when you look at her she pleases you, when you command her she obeys you, when you are not in her presence she safeguards herself and your belongings.’

Today, the wife adorns herself for weddings and other social events, beautifying herself to attract the attention of everyone else besides the one who is most important in her life. The husband comes home tired from work, only to find his wife shabbily dressed, too glued to the drama on TV to even reply to the Salaam of her husband. Meal times and other household duties are dictated by the box. The children are sent away to their rooms with the words ‘Go to your room and read your Qurãn – or finish up your homework.’ These words, mind you, are not uttered because of some great concern for the child’s education; in fact it is only mentioned to get them out of the way.

Remember! Your children may not do what you ask them to do, but they very often do what they see you do. What kind of example are we setting for these impressionable young minds?

Unrealistic demands made by the wife do not help much to strengthen the marital bond. Being dictated by fashion and the way the people next door are living, the wife forces the husband to beg and borrow just to keep up with the Jones’s. ‘If your brother’s wife can have it, then why can’t I?’ ‘Well your sister has it in her house.’ Comparing ourselves with those who have more than us does not help to relieve tension between husband and wife.

The words of Nabi (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) beautifully explain:

‘Look at those who have less than you, do not look at those who have more than you, (if you do so) then you are more likely to appreciate Allah’s favours upon you.’

If a man had to choose a wife according to the guidelines given by Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam), what kind of a person was he to look for? The Hadith states:

‘A woman is married for four (things); her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion. So choose (marry) the religious woman, otherwise you will be a loser.’

The most important quality of the wife is consciousness of her Islamic responsibilities. How Deeni conscious are you? How supportive are you of your husband when he is engaged in Deeni activities? Are you preventing him from serving humanity?

The Qurãn in Surah Rum (v21) explains the purpose of marriage as a source of comfort for both partners. No one has married ‘Mr Perfect’ and no one is perfect! Are you making the environment in the home conducive to living in peace and harmony or does your husband feel that he rather be at work than at home with you?

What degree of obedience does the Shariáh command the wife to have for her husband? A Hadith of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) explains, ‘If I had to command anyone to prostrate to somebody, I would have commanded the wife to prostrate before her husband.’ However, if your husband commands you to do something against the Shariáh you do not have to obey him.

If the objectives of both husband and wife are to please Allah, the couple will find more common ground on which to build the relationship.

by Ml I Khamisa for Al-Jamiat Magazine

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Period Of Youth In Islam

If we examine the life of an average human, we come to realize that life consists of four periods. Childhood: This usually lasts for thirteen to fourteen years. The teenage years which usually lasts for six to eight years depending on when he gets married, (The Period of Youth). The third part of his life is from the time he gets married until his old age, which usually lasts for merely twenty to thirty years, and then lastly his old age whose exact time period cannot be said with certainty, depending on when death takes him.

Now out of these four parts of an average human life, the most crucial stage of his life is the period of youth. The period of youth is a time when a person goes through many changes and experiences; he undergoes and partake many new things which he has never experienced before. The youth begins to feel as though he has control over the whole world, and that he can do whatever he wishes. His desires are increasing day by day becoming attached to the opposite sex, he enjoys lustfully gazing and flirting with them..

Now, this is that period of his life that if he was to control his desires a bit, and sacrifice a few of these devilish desires, he can become a future role-model for Muslims. He can become a leader for his community, and the biggest achievement he can gain is success in the hereafter.

As being admitted into paradise, and being saved from the hell fire, is, in reality truly the greatest success a person can gain. Allah has described this as a ‘great success’ in the Holy Qur’an.

The reason why this period of human life is so important and crucial is because this period of youth is generally what determines the way in which this period of his life is spent. If he spends this period of his life in an Islamic environment, visiting the Masjid for the five daily prayers, associating with the pious people and the true scholars of Islam, sitting in their gatherings, then, it is greatly hoped that he will spend the rest of his life in the same way.

On the other hand, if the youth stays away from the Masjid and doesn’t associate himself with the pious and scholars of Islam, but spends his time visiting the pubs/clubs, associating himself with girls and mischievous people, then it is most likely that the rest of his life will be spent in a similar manner, away from the Masjid and away from Deen, except if Allah wishes otherwise.

Just like everything, life is also a gift from Allah and every aspect of it should be regarded as a gift and a trust from Allah. Allah expects us to spend this youth in His worship and obedience, seeking knowledge of Islam and acting upon it. This in itself is a form of gratefulness.

In a Hadith, the Messenger of Allah May Allah send peace and blessings upon him said that the feet of the son of Adam will not be able to move until he is questioned regarding four things.

Out of these four questions, one question asked will be regarding how one spent his time as a youth. In another Hadith, the Messenger of Allah May Allah send peace and blessings upon him has said that on the Day of Judgement, there are seven types of people to whom Allah will give shade to. It is stated in Bukhari that on the Day of Judgement there will be no shade except for Allah’s shade. And from amongst these groups, one group will be those youth who spent their youth in the worship of Allah.

The reason being is because a youth has many desires, so whosoever goes against his desires and controls them in this delicate period of youth, and obeys the command of Allah, and tries his best to follow the Islamic Shariah, in such a time of his life when his desires are at their peak, then Allah will give him a great reward.

Once the great Imam Abu Hanifah (rahamtullahe alayhe) was giving advice to his student Imam Abu Yusuf (rahamtullahe alayhe). He said that in your youth you should spend your time in seeking Islamic knowledge, and thereafter seek a job, and when you get enough money then you should get married.


Once a pious servant of Allah saw an old man in great pain. On seeing him in this state, he remarked that the old man did not take care of Allah’s rules in his youth.

Similarly, a wise man once said that how many old men are there who repent to Allah. How great would it be to see youngsters repenting to Allah.

Therefore, the period of youth is a very delicate and important period in a Muslim’s life. If spent in the right way his time as a youth will benefit not only himself but also others. By visiting the Masjid, attending the gatherings of the scholars of Islam and seeking their advice and knowledge, serving one’s parents and trying to carry out Allah Taa’la’s orders to the best of ability then it is greatly hoped that one will grow up to become a leader of the Muslim community and become the coolness of one’s parents eyes. If wasted by continuously committing sins, disobeying Allah’s commands, then it is possible that on the Day of Judgment Allah will reprimand him regarding this.

So dear youngster! Realise your value and importance for the future fate of the Ummah lies in your hands. May Allah guide and protect us all on the day of Judgement. Ameen

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