Balance between work and worship

Imam Hasan Al-Basri rahimullah, was asked one day the secret behind his self discipline and moderation. Imam Al-Bari mentioned four things in reply:
1. I believe that my sustenance will never be hijacked by anybody (so I work to attain it).

2.  I know that a work that is mine must be performed by me, so I do not decrease my efforts in performing it.

3. I believe that my Lord is Omnipresent (watching me), so I do not like Him seeing me committing sins.

4, I know that death is somewhere waiting for me, so I prepare for it (through good deeds).

As we go about our day to day work we should seek to do all of the above and we also seek challenge and achievement, these are 2 of the basic human needs. If we are not achieving or feel fulfilled it is harder to keep ourselves motivated.

A Boy and the Nails on the Fence

     

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper.  His father was very concerned for his son’s future and thought hard about how he could explain to his son why relationships are so important and controlling his temper is a key factor in this.

After much thought his father gave him a bag full of nails and told him,  “Every time you lose your temper,  hammer a nail into the back of the fence.”  His son did not understand but knew that his father was wise so he agreed.

On the first day that the boy received his bag of nails he ended up driving about  37 nails into the fence.  Each day he learned little by little to control his temper.   He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all.

He was very proud of himself and went to share his good news with his father.  His Father was very proud of him and offered a challenge to his son.  “Why don’t you pull out a nail everyday that you are able to hold your temper?”

As there were many nails in the fence it took the boy sometime to finally remove the nails from the fence.  But eventually that joyous day arrived.  He was so pleased with himself and he wanted to share this with his father.

His father was so proud of his son, but he wanted him to understand that holding his temper was more than just being able to add or remove nails from a fence.  He took his son’s hand and showed him all the holes that were left from the nails.  “As you see my son, this fence will never be the same, the fence is scarred with holes from your temper.  Think of these holes as the words you have spoken in anger, the wounds you have left in people’s lives.  Words really are like weapons they leave a wound, that does not heal easily.  Son, your family and friends will  make you smile and encourage you to succeed,  they will lend an ear,  share words of praise and they always want to open their hearts to us.  Always remember the fence before you speak words of anger.”

10 Commandments for Peace of Mind

1. Do Not Interfere In Others’ Business Unless Asked
Most of us create our own problems by interfering too often in others’ affairs. We do so because somehow we have convinced ourselves that our way is the best way, our logic is the perfect logic and those who do not conform to our thinking must be criticized and steered to the right direction, our direction.

This thinking denies the existence of individuality and consequently the existence of Allah. Allah has created each one of us in a unique way. No two human beings can think or act in exactly the same way.
All men or women act the way they do because God within them prompts them that way. There is God to look after everything. Why are you bothered? Mind your own business and you will keep your peace.

2. Forgive And Forget
This is the most powerful aid to peace of mind. We often develop ill feelings inside our heart for the person who insults us or harms us. We nurture grievances. This, in turn, results in loss of sleep, development of stomach ulcers, and high blood pressure. This insult or injury was done once, but nourishing of grievance goes on forever by constantly remembering it. Get over this bad habit. Believe in the justice of Allah and the doctrine of Destiny. Let Him judge the act of the one who insulted you. Life is too short to waste in such trifles. Forgive, Forget, and march on. Love flourishes in giving and forgiving.

3. Do Not Crave For Recognition
This world is full of selfish people. They seldom praise anybody without selfish motives. They may praise you today because you are in power, but no sooner than you are powerless; they will forget your achievement and will start finding faults in you. Why do you wish to kill yourself in striving for their recognition? Their recognition is not worth the aggravation. Do your duties ethically and sincerely and leave the rest to Allah, which is Tawakkal.

4. Do Not Be Jealous
We all have experienced how jealousy can disturb our peace of mind. You know that you work harder than your colleagues in the office, but sometimes they get promotions; you do not. You started a business several years ago, but you are not as successful as your neighbor whose business is only one year old. There are several examples like these in everyday life. Should you be jealous? No. Remember everybody’s life is shaped by his or her previous Destiny. If you are predestined to be Rich, nothing in the world can stop you. If you are not so destined, no one can help you either. Nothing will be gained by blaming others for your misfortune. Jealousy will not get you anywhere; it will only take away your peace of mind.

5. Change Yourself According To the Environment

If you try to change the environment single-handedly, the chances are you will fail. Instead, change yourself to suit your environment. As you do this, even the environment, which has been unfriendly to you, will mysteriously change and seem congenial and harmonious.

6. Endure What Cannot Be Cured
This is the best way to turn a disadvantage into an advantage.
Every day we face numerous inconveniences, ailments, irritations, and accidents that are beyond our control. If we cannot control them or change them, we must learn to put up with these things. We must learn to endure them cheerfully, thinking, “Allah wills it so, so be it.” Allah’s plans are beyond our comprehension. Believe in it and you will gain in terms of patience, inner strength and will power.

7. Do Not Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
This maxim needs to be remembered constantly. We often tend to take more responsibilities than we are capable of carrying out. This is done to satisfy our ego. Know your limitations. Why take on additional loads that may create more worries? You cannot gain peace of mind by expanding your external activities. Reduce your material engagements and spend time in prayers, introspection and meditation. This will reduce those thoughts in your mind that make you restless. Uncluttered mind will produce greater peace of mind.

8. Meditate Regularly

Meditation calms the mind and gets rid of disturbing thoughts. This is the highest state of peace of mind. Try and experience it yourself. If you meditate earnestly for half an hour everyday, your mind will tend to become peaceful during the remaining twenty-three and half-hours. Your mind will not be easily disturbed as it was before. You would benefit by gradually increasing the period of daily mediation. You may think that this will interfere with your daily work. On the contrary, this will increase your efficiency and you will be able to produce better results in less time.

9. Never Leave the Mind Vacant

An empty mind is the devil’s workshop. All evil actions start in the vacant mind. Keep your mind occupied in something positive, something worthwhile. Actively follow a hobby. Do something that holds your interest. You must decide what you value more: money or peace of mind. Your hobby, like social and charitable work , may not always earn you more money, but you will have a sense of fulfillment and achievement. Even when you are resting physically, occupy yourself in healthy reading or mental reciting of Allah’s name.

10. Do Not Procrastinate and Never Regret

Do not waste time in protracted wondering ” Should I or shouldn’t I?” Days, weeks, months, and years may be wasted in that futile mental debating. You can never plan enough because you can never anticipate all future happenings. Always remember, Allah has His own plan, too for you. Value you time and do the things that need to be done. It does not matter if you fail the first time. You can learn from your mistakes and succeed the next time.

Sitting back and worrying will lead to nothing. Learn from your mistakes, but do not brood over the past. DO NOT REGRET. Whatever happened was destined to happen only that way. Take it as the Will of Allah. You do not have the power to alter the course of Allah’s Will.
“May Allah grant you the serenity to accept what you cannot change?
Courage to change what you can, And the wisdom to understand the difference”.
(Ameen)

Hospital Window

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was
allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid
from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to
spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families,
their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they
had been on vacation.

Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would
pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside
the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his
world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the
world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on
the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in
arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be
seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on
the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque
scene.

One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by.

Although the other man couldn’t hear the band – he could see it. In his
mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive
words.

Days and weeks passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to
find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his
sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body
away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved
next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making
sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look
at the real world outside.

He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.

It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his
deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this
window

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the
wall.

She said, “Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.”

The man laid back in his bed. His eyes welled up with tears
as he remembered his dear friend.

Remember: Sometimes to ease another’s pain and
discomfort, lessens your own.

Better to Give

A young man, a student in one of the universities, was one day taking a walk
with his Professor. The professor was commonly called the ‘student’s friend’,
from his kindness to those who waited on his instructions.

As they went along, they saw lying in the path a pair of old shoes. They belonged to a poor
man who was employed in a field close by, and who had nearly finished his day’s
work. The student turned to the professor, saying: “Lets play a trick on this
man.” “We will hide his shoes and hide behind those bushes there and see what he
does when he cannot find them.”

“My young friend,” answered the
professor, “we should never amuse ourselves at the expense of the poor. But you
are rich, and may give yourself a much greater pleasure by means of this poor
man. Put a coin in each shoe, and then we will hide ourselves and watch how this
affects him.”

The student did so & they both hid nearby. The poor man
soon finished work & came out of the field to where he had left his coat
& shoes.

While putting on his coat he slipped his foot into one of
his shoes, but feeling something hard, he stooped down to feel what it was, and
found the coin. Astonished and full of wonder he gazed upon the coin, turned it
around, and looked at it again and again.

He then looked around him on all sides, but no person was to be seen. He now put the money into his pocket,
and proceeded to put on the other shoe; but his surprise was doubled on finding
the other coin.

His feelings overcame him; he fell upon his knees, looked
up to the heavens and uttered aloud a fervent thanksgiving in which he spoke of
his wife who was sick and helpless, and his children without bread, whom this
timely bounty, from some unknown hand,would save from perishing.

The student stood there deeply affected, and his eyes filled with tears. “Now,” said
the professor, are you not much better pleased than if you had played your
intended trick?”

The youth replied, “You have taught me a lesson which I
will never forget. I feel now the truth of these words, which I never understood
before: “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.”

Abdullah bin Abbas (RA) reported that the Prophet (SAW) said that encouraging good,
prohibiting evil, lifting the burden of the weak person and removing an
offensive thing from a path are all acceptable prayers to Allah. [ibn Majah]


The Pious Man and the Shopkeeper

There lived a pious man all by himself, who spent most of his time in
praying, fasting and praising Allah. Almost all his waking hours were utilised
in meditation and devotions. He was very happy with his spiritual progress. No
wicked thoughts came to his mind and no evil temptations entered his heart.

One night, he dreamt a rather disturbing dream. He saw that a shopkeeper in
the town was far superior to him in spirituality and that he must go to him to
learn the basics of true spiritual life. In the morning, the pious man went in
search of the shopkeeper.

He found him busy with his customers, selling goods and collecting money with
a cheerful face. He sat there in a corner of the shop and watched the shopkeeper
carefully. No signs of any spiritual life at all, he said to himself. His dream
could not be true. But then he saw the shopkeeper disappear to pray his
Salah.

When he returned, he was busy dealing with money matters again. The
shopkeeper noticed the pious man sitting in the corner and asked: “As Salamu
Alaikum, would you like something, brother?” “Wa Alaikum As Salam. Oh! No! No!”
said the pious man. “I don’t want to buy anything, but I want to ask you a
question.”

He then related his dream. “Well, that is very simple to explain,” said the
shopkeeper, “but you will have to do something for me before I answer your
question.” “I will do anything for you,” replied the pious man. “All right! Take
this saucer; there is some mercury in it.

Go to the other end of the street and come back fast within half an hour. If
the mercury falls out of the saucer, you will hear nothing from me. There you go
now.” The pious man took the saucer and started running. The mercury nearly
wobbled out of the saucer. He saved it just in time, and slowed down.

Then he remembered he had to return within half an hour, so he started
walking at a fast pace. At long last he returned puffing and panting. “Here is
your mercury, safe and sound,” he told the shopkeeper. “Now tell me the true
interpretation of my dream.”

The shopkeeper looked at the pious man’s weary condition and asked him:
“Well, friend, how many times did you remember Allah while you were going from
this end of the street to the other?” “Remember Allah!” exclaimed the pious man.
“I did not remember Him at all.

I was so worried about the mercury in the saucer.” “But I do remember Him all
the time,” said the shopkeeper. “When I am doing my business, I am also carrying
mercury in a saucer. I am fair, honest and kind to my customers. I never forget
Allah Ta’ala in my dealings with other men.”

“Men whom neither trade nor sale (business) diverts from the
remembrance of Allaah (with heart and tongue) nor from performing As‑Salaah
(Iqaamat‑as‑Salaah) nor from giving the Zakaah. They fear a Day when hearts and
eyes will be overturned (out of the horror of the torment of the Day of
Resurrection). That Allaah may reward them according to the best of their deeds,
and add even more for them out of His Grace. And Allaah provides without measure
to whom He wills” [Al Quran, Surah an-Noor 24:37-38]

One Seed to a Forest

There is a saying “There lies a forest in every seed”. We all have seen that
after planting a seed, it grows up to be a plant, which then gives out fruits
with many other seeds. Therefore, a forest can be grown from one seed if we kept
on planting the new seeds that come out from it. It is indeed one of the evident
miracles of Allah!

Similarly, the kalimah, there is no god but Allah SWT
and Muhammad SAW is His messenger, is only one sentence in size but it contains
the entire paradise in it. Success in this world, in the grave, on the Day of
Judgement and hereafter lies only in obeying the message of this kalimah.

Ten gems for a good and noble life

1. Wake up in the last third of the night to beg forgiveness from Allah SWT.

2. At least once in a while, seclude yourself from people in order to contemplate.

3. Stay in the company of the righteous.

4. Remember Allah SWt often.

5. Pray two units of prayer with sincerity and devotion.

6. Recite the Qur’an with understanding and reflection.

7. Fast on a hot, dry day.

8. Give charity secretly.

9. Provide relief and aid to the afflicted Muslim.

10. Be as abstemious and abstinent as possible in this fleeting world.

7 Reasons to Read the Glorious Quran

(1) Intimate:

It dares you to disprove it. How? It says that humans can not write a book like this
even if they pooled all their resources together and got help also from the spirits. The
Quran said this fourteen hundreds years ago and yet no one has been able to
disprove it. Billions of books have been written – but not another one like the Quran.

(2) Incorruptible:

It is the only religious sacred writing which has been in circulation for such a long
time and yet remains as pure as it was in the beginning. The Quran was kept intact.
Nothing was added to it; nothing was changed in it; and nothing was taken away
from it ever since it was completely revealed 1400 years ago.

(3) Unsurpassable:

The Quran is God’s final revelation to humankind. God revealed the Torah to Moses, the Psalms to David, the Gospel to Jesus, and finally the Quran to Muhammad. Peace be upon all of them. No other book will come from God to surpass his final revelation.

(4) Indisputable:

The Quran withstands the test of time and scrutiny. No one can dispute the truth of
this book. It speaks about past history and turns out right. It speaks about the future
in prophecies and it turns out right. It mentions details of physical phenomena which
were not known to people at the time; yet later scientific discoveries confirm that the
Quran was right all along. Every other book needs to be revised to accord with
modern knowledge. The Quran alone is never contradicted by a modern discovery.

(5) Your Roadmap for Life and Afterlife:

The Quran is the best guidebook on how to structure your life. No other book
presents such a comprehensive system involving all aspects of human life and
endeavor. The Quran also points out the way to secure everlasting happiness in the
afterlife. It is your roadmap showing how to get to paradise.

(6) God’s Gift of Guidance:

God has not left you alone. You were made for a reason. God tells you why he made
you, what he demands from you, and what he has in store for you. If you operate a
machine contrary to it’s manufacture specification you will ruin that machine. What
about you? Do you have an owner’s manual for you? The Quran is from your function
for success lest you fail to function. It is a healing mercy from God. It satisfies the
soul, and cleans the heart. It removes doubts and brings peace.

(7) Your Calling Card to Communicate with God:
Humans are social creatures. We love to communicate with other intelligent life. The
Quran tells us how to communicate with the source of all intelligence and the source
of all life- the One God. The Quran tells us who God is, by what name we should
address God, and the way in which to communicate with God.
Are these not seven sufficient reasons for reading the Quran?

Rocks and Sand

A professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks about 2” in diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The students laughed. The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this is your life. The rocks are the important things – your deen, your salah, your family, your partner, your children – anything that is so important to you that if it were lost, you and your akhirah would be nearly destroyed.

“The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. “The sand is everything else. The small stuff.

“If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your energy and time on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important.

“Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness and welfare. Take time to repent to your Lord. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house and visit your friends.

“Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”