the question of sincerity

In the Name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

There is a very interesting story of one man who lived in the generation after the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) named Abu Nasr As-Sayyad, He was a fisherman that had very little money and his family were starving because of the lack of food. So Abu Nasr went to Ahmad bin Miskin and asked him what he should do, explaining that he really needs to feed his family. His Sheikh tells him to pray two rakaats to Allah (SWT) and to go to the ocean.

When he is there, he catches a huge fish which he then sells and later buys two plates of food for his family.

He goes back to Sheikh to give him thanks and offers one of the plates. Ahmad bin Miskeen says something very important, “O Abu Nasr As-Sayyad, had I helped you for the sake of getting any worldly benefit, the fish would have never come out, Allah (SWT) would never have put barakah in my advice and in your day. Go and feed your family”.

On his way home, he passes by a widowed woman with her child, out on the streets. They are both hungry and their eyes catch the plates of food that Abu Nasr has. Abu Nasr said, “I swear by Allah, I forgot about the hunger of my family. And I felt like Paradise came down to Earth offering herself to whoever would feed that mother and her child”. He gives them the food and returns home.

Abu Nasr goes home and he starts feeling worried and concerned about his family that are still left hungry. Suddenly there comes a knock at the door and someone yells out “Where is Abu Nasr As-Sayyad? I have come to repay my loan, I borrowed money from your father 20 years ago and I’ve been looking for him.They told me he has passed and you are the only remaining son. Here is your money back”. That night, Abu Nasr As-Sayyad becomes extremely wealthy.

After this, Abu Nasr starts donating thousands of dirhams in charity in a bid to thank Allah (SWT). However Abu Nasr says that during this time, there arose a problem. He became over confident in his good deeds and he felt like Allah (SWT) will accept them all so he started being extravagant and showing off in his donations. This meant giving more in quantity just for the people to see how rich he is and to make himself look great and merciful yet he Abu Nasr could feel in his heart, he wasn’t being sincere.

Abu Nasr had a dream one night. Yawm-ul-Qiyamah (The Day of Judgement) had begun and he was there before his scales of deeds in front of Allah (SWT) just like all the other people who had gone in masses before his turn. When it came to the weighing of his deeds, he had some bad ones but Abu Nasr was hopeful that the massive amount of charity he gave would save him. This sadaqah was put on in the scale of good deeds.

It weighed nothing. This charity had no value and no barakah. All of this came to zero because it was mixed with corrupt intentions, the intention of showing off (Riya) and it was done for the people to see and not for the true sake of Allah (SWT). Abu Nasr was left standing there in hopelessness, regret and in disappointment.

Then the Angels started asking, “Does he have anything remaining?”

They bring the two plates of food, all the way from the beginning that he gave to the starving mother and son, over his own hungry family in a merciful act of kindness. Abu Nasr cries, “What will these do for me?”

The two plates of food balance out the scales but he still needs more hasanat (good deeds).

By the will of Allah (SWT), the mother that he gave the plates of food to, her tears turn into physical objects. As does the smile on the baby’s face when the pain of his hunger was overcome. And these are put on Abu Nasr’s scales of deeds, on the side of the hasanat and the tears become like a big pond out of which a giant fish comes out and tips the scales completely. The Angels proclaim, “He made it, he made it’.

This dream startles Abu Nasr and when he wakes up, he says, “Had we done any of these deeds for any worldly benefit, the fish would never have come out”. He had learnt his lesson in what it means to do things for the sake of Allah (SWT) and the heavy price of impure intent.

The story of Abu Nasr contains an important lesson of the virtue of sincerity- something that we collectively have forgotten about whilst also distorting its meaning. Countless times, I’m sure that we have been told to, “Do things for the sake of Allah” and that, “Everything you do is for Allah”. But in all practicality what does that mean? Does it mean to turn to Allah with a lengthy intention (Niyah) before doing a good deed? There is that line of confusion in all of us when we are told these things but we know that within ourselves, Allah (SWT) is not at the forefront of our minds when we do good deeds, rather we are immediately thinking of how it positively affects another person. As an example, if you give money to a homeless person purely because you want them to have a meal that night or if you helped out with things at home because you knew your mother was tired, if these things were not done to please Allah but rather to please someone else, is this still considered for the sake of Allah?

Yes.

Because to do things for the sake of Allah (SWT) is to do them with a pure heart, with clean intentions. When Abu Nasr gave the food to the starving woman and her child, he wasn’t seeking validation or praise from anyone, he did it purely for the reason he did not want them to go hungry or to die. This clarity in intention is what saved him in the end for just these two plates of food, the mother’s tears and the child’s smile laid heavy on his scales. This is what counted as for the sake of Allah (SWT).  But all those later times he gave charity in abundance (which seems an amazing good deed) could not suffice for his salvation because of the state of mind and heart he had and that was for the people’s eyes and acclamation.

A great notion lies in this story because in our time, the youth now have social media and a greater desire for attention and validation. It is not honorary for us as Muslim youth to engage in premeditated acts of kindness for likes, views or praise. Our good deeds must be sincere, our love for others must be pure and whatever generosity or kindness that we show, must reflect a clean heart. If you look for fame and commendation from people for what you have done, you may gain it in this life but your hereafter will be reduced to nothing. To make Jannah our resting place, we need to cleanse our soul of the thoughts of which can hinder our path.

True reward is only from Allah.

social media and insensitivity

In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

 

A dark age has befallen the Muslim Ummah. Intolerance, disrespect and discrimination towards the believers has become commonplace in the Western world while war, poverty, and senseless killing caused by the latter throws the East into frenzy. We have seen our sisters in hijab beaten and attacked, our sacred land of Ash Sham destroyed, Zionist oppression in our beloved Al-Quds, persecution of the Rohingya and Uighur Muslims and the fatal starvation of those in Africa caused by debt inflicted due to the usury system. It is the times like these where hope is scarce, we may be at the end of the tunnel and feel as if there there is no light. Every day we wake up to a new declaration of war and more lifeless bodies appear on our social media and newspapers.                    

The War on Palestine happened. We gathered in our thousands to condemn the Zionists. Thereafter the Syrian massacres happened. We cried as we saw children being pulled from the depths of the rubble. Then we heard of Yemen, of Burma, of the Central African Republic, Somalia, France, Belgium, Britain and recently Afghanistan, it happens all at once in an instance as the world delves into ignorance and war. It’s surreal. It’s hard to imagine, while we, the lucky ones are able to live in beautiful countries and come home to our families every night. How can we even begin to  envision F-16s dotting the sky, the sound of terror, the smell of blood while we wake up to birds and blue skies? What are we meant to do?

In this age of mass media, it’s so easy to get sidetracked into the illusion of fame and personal gain. Social media has created an outlet that in some areas can be used as a good thing to spread awareness of certain issues but at the same time when looking at the bigger picture, it has created this mirage. It has come to a point where we as Muslims, are able to easily look at and share images of our dead and bloodied brothers and sisters in the name of ‘awareness’ without feeling a drop of sympathy and empathy in our hearts. Our feeds are flooded with these hashtags and posts and in some cases we’ve distanced ourselves so much, it has become a joke. In all our helplessness, we’re able to make it our second nature to promote these heart-breaking images and videos without any second thought, to make it look like ‘activism’, to make it look like maybe we are in touch with the rest of the struggling Muslim nation. This heartlessness is in complete defiance to the mighty ayah of the Quran which tells us clearly our relationship with those in Anatolia, Sham, Yemen, Hejaz, Egypt, Gaza and elsewhere.

“The believers are but brothers, so make settlement between your brothers. And fear Allah that you may receive mercy.” (49:10)

As a regular Muslim teenager, we already feel so helpless, we’re diving deeper into that abyss of ignorance by leaving everything up to our media to manipulate and mislead us. We should know that it isn’t fitting to post things just for the sake of it, to show people that we think we care. That things have gone past the age of ‘awareness’ and are waiting for action. Rather than instagram, twitter and facebook socialites, the Muslim youth should be up there as shining examples of leading global and community citizens. But what exactly does it mean to be a global citizen?

Each and every one of us are granted by Allah, a voice, intellect and strength. To find it in ourselves to utilize those qualities and to spend time on these things of benefit, we will experience a unity like no other. It’s a cliche to be told that the world can change with just one person and one good action but the truth in it still remains. The Muslim youth should be at the forefront of the community. Actions need to be taken. As Allah says about the youth and their potential

“It is We who relate to you, [O Muhammad], their story in truth. Indeed, they were youths who believed in their Lord, and We increased them in guidance.” (18:13)

We, the youth, should be volunteering, organizing, fundraising, protesting speaking to members of the outside in our effort to make a change. The Youth need to free themselves from the chains of social media, of empty words and promises that are never fulfilled. We need to make ourselves heard in both this Earth but also in the Heavens.

Allah has not forgotten about us. He has not turned away from the cries of the Muslim Nation no matter what new oppressor we face nor these calamities. He Watches and Hears all things. Allah reminds us in Surah Al-Fajr when talking about the Ad, the people of Thamud and the Pharaoh who were granted extreme strength and wealth yet carried out injustice in the lands, Allah says,

“Indeed your Lord is in observation” (89:14)

This is in parallel to the oppressors and tyrants of today’s age who commit heinous war crimes under the mask of freedom, Allah is in count and Allah knows what is in the hearts of all men. For us as Muslims, we must be in this full consciousness that Allah is near and He is sufficient.

“And put thy trust in Allah, and enough is Allah as a disposer of affairs” (33:3)

This means that in all due respect to all our Muslim brothers and sisters living in these corrupted lands in fear and in war, it is better from us to make a sincere, heartfelt dua. Maybe this is where the thorn lies in our response. How many times has one been able to write paragraphs condemning deaths online, to write that they are in solidarity with our Ummah yet their hands are completely void of being raised in dua? What will a word on a screen ever help to achieve in their struggle when we could ask the One who predestines and changes the hearts and fates of men? Our culture of hollow oaths must come to an end and we must be able to turn our attention back to what is important. The trials of this world are only given and taken away by Allah so it is to Allah that we should ask for their pardon and easement and it is with Allah where our trust must lie. It is action that will change our conditions and end these trials not the use of corrupt media or fake activism as Allah says

“For each one are successive [angels] before and behind him who protect him by the decree of Allah . Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. And when Allah intends for a people ill, there is no repelling it. And there is not for them besides Him any patron.” (13:11)

The Muslim Ummah can only stay divided if we blind our eyes and our hearts. With it being incredibly easy to fall into the cavity of feeling helpless and depressed, the Muslim youth need to be in consciousness of everything. Islam is a religion of action and if we all act collectively now and put our trust in Allah, the Muslims will win both this world and Jannah. Do not lose hope, it’s time for us all to move forward in the pursuit of Jannah.

introduction

In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

This page is here to offer the various insights and perspectives surrounding the Muslim youth in areas of spirituality, mental health, society and politics.

Feel free to like, comment and share, your feedback and interaction is greatly appreciated.

-Hanifa ♥