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Lessons from a Toddler

Yesterday, Saad Qadri mentioned gave a small talk after taraweeh.
He was recalling a story of playing with his children. He was helping his older son who loved Thomas the Train build his train set, and assemble the tracks and bridges. After spending about 10 minutes connecting the tracks, assembling the turns and ridges, and connecting the gaps with bridges, his infant 10 month old son came over and smashed it all in an instant.

To build anything takes a lot of effort, coordination, discipline, and knowledge. But to destroy it is easy, just shove it over, just weaken the foundation and the weight of the structure itself will bring it all tumbling to the ground.

He said that for the human being, in their life, sin was the great force. Sin was what was powerful enough to weaken our foundation. Sin was what allowed our eventual self, our nafs, to bring us toppling down.

Knowing this, we need to take advantage of Ramadan in a way that it’s not some isolated month were we assemble a wealth of good deeds, only to burn them away in the coming month. In Ramadan we spend many minutes fasting a day, and in sha’a Allah each of them is rewarded. After fasting all day, we spend our nights standing in prayer and reading Quran. Then after this day long marathon of worship, we continue to do it day after after for the entire month.

Connect Ramadan to the rest of the year, connect Ramadan to yourselves so that you build a strong, impenetrable fortress of good deeds, of knowledge, of love for Allah, of tenderness in your hearts. Then fortify that wealth. Don’t leave each step behind like it’s something easily wasted, but instead glue it down solidly. Nail it down to each and every deed. Don’t stop doing good deeds. Don’t let small cracks in our foundation accumulate. Patch them as they happen. That way, when Ramadan is over, we’ll be ready for you shaytan. We’re not only going to be ready to defend against you, but we’ll be ready to push and progress for the entire year and for our entire lives. After all, the next Ramadan is less than a year away…


The Span of Allah’s Words

Consider this ayah near the end of Surat AlKahf (The Cave; Q18:109) Allah says:


Say (O Muhammad SAW to mankind). “If the sea were ink for (writing) the Words of my Lord, surely, the sea would be exhausted before the Words of my Lord would be finished, even if we brought (another sea) like it for its aid.”

Knowing this, that Allah’s words (of wisdom, signs, and guidance) would overwhelm even two oceans, we must consider ourselves within an ocean. 

Likewise, as human beings we need water to survive. We constantly need to be near a source of water. Ancient civilizations grew around rivers and lakes, where they were near a bountiful source of fresh water to drink from, to use for making bricks to fortify buildings, to irrigate their crops, and to feed their livestock with. 

But simply consuming an entire ocean is not enough. You must learn to reap the benefits of the ocean to utilize everything you can from it. When you are thirsty, you don’t drink an entire lake all at once and never drink water again in your life. You drink a few cups spread out over the whole day. 

Likewise, when you are trying to seek Allah’s bounty, seek it in a steady stream - one cupful at a time.

P.S. If you’re curious, there’s something like 326,000,000,000,000,000,000 gallons of the water on earth (or roughly 1,260,000,000,000,000,000,000 liters)


Five Things to Take Advantage Of

عن ابن عباس صلى هللا عليه وسلم قال:قال رسول هللا صلى هللا عليه وسلم:اغتنم خمسا قبل خمس;شبابك قبل ھرمك;وصحتك قبل سقمك;وغناك قبل فقرك;وفراغك قبل شغلك;وحياتك قبل موتك

In this hadith the Prophet (saws) said to a man while he was advising him:

"Take advantage of five matters before five other matters: your youth, before you become old; and your health, before you fall sick; and your richness, before you become poor; and your free time before you become busy; and your life, before your death."

The word telling us to take advantage of these things in the hadith is ightanam. It comes from same root that signifies sheep ‐ ghanam. What exactly is the meaning of ightanam? Ightanam is used to indicate any good that can be obtained without much effort. Just like sheep, they can easily be caught if they go astray. This is why the war booty that is found on the battlefield after the opposing army has fled is called ghaneemah. It is easy to take, just like the sheep. You can grasp it without much effort. Ghaneemah, ightanam, and ghanam are all from the same root.

So it is as if the Prophet (saws) is pointing out that these five matters are very easy to obtain. They are easy to prey on and catch, and very simple to benefit from. That is because they are treasures that everyone possesses but few people appreciate.


  1. Youth before old age
  2. Health before illness
  3. Wealth before poverty
  4. Free time before you’re busy
  5. Life before death

Counting Blessings

Once a person came to Yunus ibn ‘Ubayy, one of the scholars of the Salaf, and he complained of extreme poverty - as he had not been blessed with much.

Yunus ibn ‘Ubayy asked him, ”Would you be willing to give away your sight for a certain amount of money?”

The man said, “No, of course not.”

Then he asked him, “Would you be willing to give your hands away?”

He said, “No, of course not.”

He asked, “Your feet?”

He said, “Of course not.”

When he finished he said “I see that you have hundreds of thousands of millions of blessings, yet you are complaining of poverty?”

Photo credit: Misanthrope0854


An Ant’s Comment

In Surat AlNaml (Q27: The Ants), Allah tells the story of Suleiman and Queen Sheba, just before this story, there is a mention of Suleiman’s miracle and the magnificence of the kingdom Allah had blessed him with. 

The most peculiar part is the intelligence of the ant, who speaks to the other ants. With Suleiman, and his army of men, jinn, and birds marching into the valley where these ants lived, the ant comments: 


"Until, when they came to a valley of ants, one of the ants said: "O ye ants, get into your habitations, lest Solomon and his hosts crush you (under foot) without knowing it."

Suleiman responds, 


So [Suleiman] smiled, amused at her speech, and said, “My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to do righteousness of which You approve. And admit me by Your mercy into [the ranks of] Your righteous servants.”

Looking at the tafsir (exegesis) of these verses, scholars note the many splendors that Allah had blessed his prophets’ Suleiman and David (Daood) with. They were able to win battles against insurmountable odds, they were blessed with wealth, they exemplified wisdom in their judgment, yet the story mentioned here is much more simple than that. It’s not an epic tale, but the story of a tiny ant trying to save it’s colony from an threat so much larger than it, that it normally wouldn’t even notice it. Think about when you are walking in the grass, do you look down to make sure there aren’t any ant hills or ants below your foot? The ants are so small, that unless you were looking right at them, you wouldn’t even see them as you walk. 

Suleiman, a man given the ability to command the winds, to command beasts, and even jinn still had the humility to listen to an ant, and wait patiently as the ants passed in front of his troops. And as a result of hearing the ant, he first thanks Allah for his favor and blessings. 

Finally, let’s recall the dua’a Suleiman made in the second ayah:

Our Lord, enable us to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon us and upon our parents and to do righteousness of which You approve. And admit us by Your mercy into [the ranks of] Your righteous servants. 


A Touching Tale - Sa’ad AlAswad AlSulumi

At the time of the prophet, pbuh, a man came to the prophet named Sa’ad AlAswad AlSulumi and asked him, “Oh, messenger of Allah, will I also enter into jannah.”

The messenger responded, “Of course you will enter into jannah if you are a believer.”

Sa’ad responded, “But me, I’m regarded as low amongst the believers.”

The prophet said, “Oh Sa’ad for you is the same reward as the rest of the believers,”

And Sa’ad asked, “then why would no one give me their daughter to marry.”

The prophet told him to go to Ibn AlWahab, and he was one of the leaders of Medina who had just embraced Islam, and his daughter was known for her beauty.

The prophet told Sa’ad go to Ibn AlWahab and tell him that I have sent you to request his daughters hand in marriage.”

Sa’ad went to the home of Ibn AlWahab looking for him. He was besides himself with excitement. He knocked on the door and said to Ibn AlWahab, The prophet has sent me to request your daughters hand in marriage.

Ibn AlWahab exclaimed, “You! To my daughter! Don’t you know my daughter! She’s known for her beauty,” and he told Sa’ad to go home.

As Sa’ad began to walk away, the daughter heard this, and said, “Oh father, wait. Wait! This is a request of the Messenger of Allah. Where will we be if we turn down a request of the prophet?! Where will we be if we turn away from the concerns of the messenger?! I’ll tell you where we will be. We will be where we are!” And she turned to Sa’ad and said, “Go to the messenger of Allah, and tell him I am ready to marry you.”

Sa’ad went to the prophet and he was elated! The prophet married them with a  dowry of 400 dirhams. Upon hearing that amount, Sa’ad exclaimed, “400 dirhams! Oh messenger of Allah, I have never even seen 400 dirhams!

The prophet instructed him to go to Ali AlNu’man ibn Awf and Uthman and tell them each to give you 200 dirhams each. They both gave him more than 200 dirhams. On his way home to see his wife, he decides to stop by the marketplace to buy some gift for his beautiful wife. While at the market place, he hears the call to arms to prepare for battle. Sa’ad stood where he was and looked into the heavens. He said, “Oh Allah, I will buy something with this wealth that will please you. Oh Allah.” He bought a sword and a horse and he covered his face from the view of the messenger. He knew that if the prophet saw him he would send him home because he had just gotten married.

The Sahabi were questioning, “who is this man riding into battle with his face covered?” Ali replied, “He is coming to fight, leave him.” Sa’ad valiantly rode into battle, and eventually his horse was struck. He stood up, and the prophet saw his dark skin. The prophet asked him, “Oh Sa’ad is that you?!” Sa’ad said, “May my mother and my father be sacrificed for you oh messenger of Allah. It is Sa’ad. Muhammad, pbuh, said, “Oh Sa’ad there is no other abode for you but jannah.” He heard this and jumped back into the battlefield. After a while, people called that Sa’ad was wounded. The prophet ran into the battlefield. He ran to find Sa’ad. He took the head of Sa’ad and placed it in his lap. The tears of the prophet were flowing and falling onto the face of Sa’ad. The prophet was crying profusely. After a while, he started to smile, then he looked away. There was a sahaba named Abu Lubaba, who said “Oh Rasullulah, I saw you do something, I’ve never seen you do before. First you cried, then you smiled, then you looked away.” The Messenger said, “I cried because my beloved companion passed away. And I saw his sacrifice and his love for me. But when I saw his fate is by Allah, he had reached the hawd.” Abu Lubaba said, “What is the hawd?” He responded, “it is a fountain from which if a person drinks from, they will never be thirsty again. It is sweeter than honey and whiter than milk. And when I saw his status by Allah, I began to smile. Then I saw his wives in jannah running towards him with such eagerness that their shins were being exposed, so I looked away.”

Then the prophet came towards the sahaba and asked them to bring Sa’ad’s horse and sword. He then told them to take them to Sa’ad’s wife, and tell her that they were her inheritance. And also inform her that Allah has given Sa’ad wives in jannah even more beautiful than she is.

This was a man, who a while ago, didn’t know if he would attain jannah. He had no status in society. But look at his status by Allah! Because he lived- he died-  for Allah.

May Allah make us all people who live for the sake of Allah, swt. May Allah make us all people whose khair is revealed to everyone. May Allah keep us united in this dunya. May Allah reunite us all in AlFirdaws. 


Secret Deeds

ابن ماجه (4/246) عن ثوبان ، عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال : ( لأعلمن أقوامًا من أمتي يأتون يوم القيامة بحسنات أمثال جبال تهامة بيضا ، فيجعلها الله هباءً منثورا ) قال ثوبان : يا رسول الله صفهم لنا ، جَلِّهم لنا ، ألا نكون منهم ونحن لا نعلم! قال : ( أما إنهم إخوانكم ، ومن جلدتكم ، ويأخذون من الليل كما تأخذون ، ولكنهم أقوام إذا خلوا بمحارم الله انتهكوها )

Ibn Majah relayed of Thawban, that the Prophet (pbuh) said: ” I know of people of my tribe who on the Day of Judgment come with good deeds like the white mountains of Tuhamah, and Allah scattered them like dust.” Thawban said, ” Oh messenger of Allah, describe them to us, so we aren’t from them without knowing.” He [the prophet] said, ” They are indeed your brothers, they are of your skin, and they take from the night [in worship] like you do, but they are people who if they retreat to privacy they transgress Allah’s boundaries. 

One day, during his khilafa, Omar ibn AlKhattab, was patrolling through Medina. He arrived near the outskirts of the city, and found a Bedouin man near a tent. This Bedouin man was looking for Amir AlMu’mineen, the commander of the faithful, but did not know what he looked like. Omar then heard the sound of a woman screaming coming from the tent. Omar then asks about this woman, and the Bedouin responds that it is none of Omar’s business what’s wrong with her. 

The Caliph insisted that it was his business without revealing who he was. The man told him, that it was his wife about to have a baby. He said that he has no money to provide for her, no food to feed her, and nobody to help her with the birth.  

Omar left and went to his home, and found his wife Umm Kulthum the daughter of Ali ibn Abi Talib. He asked her, “do you have a place for a potential source of good open in front of you? “ 

Come take care of a Muslim woman about to deliver with nothing. She prepared, he took food, firewood, and a bowl. His wife tended to the woman having a baby. And Omar prepped the food and the fire. He sat there cooking as the smoke was flowing through his beard. He

His wife called out, oh commander of the faithful, inform your companion that he has a son. Then the man found out that he was Omar ibn AlKhattab, and the Bedouin couldn’t believe himself. Omar reassured him that he was fine. 

Omar then took the food to give to Umm Kulthum to feed the new mother. And then he told the man to eat, because he had slept without food. 

Omar then invited him to his home the next day to take his allowance. Omar then told the bedoin to feed his wife. Then he invited him to come the next day for an allowance. 

Omar used to say, ” if a mule stumbled in Iraq, I would be afraid that Allah would ask me, why did you not pave the road for it Omar. 

AbuBakr used to leave to the desert after fajr while he was khalifa. One day Omar followed him to an old tent. He went into the tent and saw him leave then return to the city. Omar then went to the tent to see who was there. He went and saw an old woman with young children. He asked her about her condition, and she said that she was a widow raising her orphan children. He than asked who the man was. She said she didn’t know, except that he was a man from the Muslims who would come to them and bake their bread, clean their home, and wash their clothing, milk their goat, and then leave. Omar asked if she paid him, but he found that the woman had nothing to even pay him with. Omar then asked how long AbuBakr had been doing this. The woman said, he’s been doing this for a long time. 

Afterwards, Omar said, “you have tired the caliphs who follow you AbuBakr. For between you and Allah, are secret deeds to please Allah the Almighty. 

People today have many secret deeds. 

AlZubayr said, If you can keep a good deed a secret between you and your lord, keep it so.” For example, if you can fast without telling anyone fast. If you can pray qiyam alone, do so. If you can give charity privately, then give it. Recall, the messenger’s hadith: 

"Seven (types of) people will be covered with Allah’s shade on a day when there is no shade but His Shade, (from among them) a man who gives a charity hiding it, that (even) his left hand does not know what his right hand has spent"

Today, people do have secret deeds, but in the opposite manner. They commit sin in secret. Or in places where no one knows them. 

Allah will say to the people on the day of judgment that he would be furious at the people who would not fear to sin knowing that Allah was watching them. 

Piety in public and private requires patience and nearness to Allah. Whims and desires, to see hear haram, illicit activites, eating haram. 


And when those come to you who believe in Our verses, say, “Peace be upon you. Your Lord has decreed upon Himself mercy: that any of you who does wrong out of ignorance and then repents after that and corrects himself - indeed, He is Forgiving and Merciful.”

Allah says to the people 

Patience not only in this dunya, but patience when he sees wrong doing widespread and he remains chaste.  Sometimes it may seem, that you are the only one doing something right, or not doing something wrong. Allah reminds us to have patience, and resist the wrongdoing that seem to permeate the world. 

Consider the opposite, 


And the Day those who disbelieved are exposed to the Fire [it will be said], “You exhausted your pleasures during your worldly life and enjoyed them, so this Day you will be awarded the punishment of [extreme] humiliation because you were arrogant upon the earth without right and because you were defiantly disobedient.”

harma in the dunya to enjoy, and pleasured in akhira, but you waste them. 


And Moses said, “If you should disbelieve, you and whoever is on the earth entirely - indeed, Allah is Free of need and Praiseworthy.”

Hadith Jabir ibn Abdullah, There is a group of angels created that from the moment of their creation until the day of judgment who are praying, there is another group from their creation until the day of judgment who are bowing, and there is another group from their creation until the day of judgment are prostrating to Allah. And upon the day of judgement, these angels will look towards Allah and say, Glory to Allah, we did not worship him his due. 

عن جابر بن عبد اللّه قال، قال رسول اللّه صلى اللّه عليه وسلم: “ما في السماوات السبع موضع قدم ولا شبر ولا كف، إلا وفيه ملك قائم أو ملك ساجد أو ملك راكع، فإذا كان يوم القيامة قالوا جميعاً سبحانك ما عبدناك حق عبادتك إلا أنا لم نشرك بك شيئاً


On Fate

A commanding officer of the Persian military asked AlMughira bin Shu’ba (a very famous sahabi), “Who are you? What has come upon you?” asking about the Muslim forces who he was about to face in battle.

AlMughira responded, “we are Allah’s fate. Allah is testing us with you and is testing you with us. And if you were up in the clouds, then we would rise up to you or you would fall to us.” 

Similarly, the Indian philosopher poet Dr. Muhammad Iqbal noted,

"The weak believer argues with Allah’s fate and ordainment, while the strong believer finds that Allah’s fate is irrefutable and what he ordains absolute." 


Eid Mubarak! Happy Eid AlAdha! 

Pictures of Hajj from 1885 taken by Snouck Hurgronje. 




An touching video on the reality of this world narrated by Sheikh Yusuf Estes.