Allah Almighty bestows favours and grants bounties upon His slaves, during all times, to help expiate their sins, elevate their ranks and make up for their shortcomings. Allah Almighty legislated for us a month during which we observe fasting, another which we perform pilgrimage in, and one or two extra days to fast during the remaining months. He also legislated prayer during the night and the Witr prayer, the Ud’hiyah (Eid sacrifice), and the ‘Aqeeqah, (birth sacrifice) and many other virtuous deeds. All of these are ways of opening different channels for righteous deeds and methods to energise us by shifting from one form of worship to another, and therefore, not become weary, but continue to worship Allah Almighty. This is indeed a great favour from Allah upon us.Moreover, we find that any act of worship which causes the people to come closer to Allah Almighty is mentioned in His Book or in the Sunnah of His Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention). The problem is in those people who try to come close to Allah and gain His reward by looking outside these two sources, and thus, divert from the right path.The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said during his farewell pilgrimage, “I have left with you that, which if you adhere to, you will never go astray, the Book of Allah”.And Allah Says (what means): “... And whatever the Messenger has given you – take; and what he has forbidden you – refrain from. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty.” [Qur’an: 59:7]Allah Almighty dispraised the Arabs during the pre-Islamic period because they interfered in that which they had no right in, and started changing what is lawful to unlawful, and what is unlawful to lawful, and recommending that which Allah Almighty did not. They used to shift around the times of the sacred months and change the names of the months because they did not want to wait for this long period to finish.Ibn Katheer, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “Dealing with the legislations of Allah with one’s corrupt mind and reasoning, and changing the rulings of Allah according to their desires, and deeming lawful what is unlawful, were some of the things for which Allah dispraised the disbelievers.”The Arabs had also forbidden upon themselves slaughtering certain animals, by setting some laws which Allah Almighty did not legislate, so Allah Almighty dispraised them for that. Thus we know that worshipping Allah Almighty is something which is not permitted except through that which He The Most High has legislated Himself and through His Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Anyone who wants to draw closer to Allah and gain His reward, love and pleasure through other channels, will get the contrary result, because Allah Almighty does not accept from people except that which He legislated for them.During the month of Rajab, which is one of the sacred months, some Muslims make some wrong practices through which they intend to come closer to Allah Almighty and gain His forgiveness, love and pleasure. But they seek that through acts of worship which He did not permit nor legislate, and although they are seeking something good, they do not achieve it.The point is not only in having a sincere and good intention, but the deed itself must be legitimate, or else it will be rejected. Who dare say that a deed is rejected by Allah Almighty? Who told him that the deed is rejected? The one who told us this is the truthful Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, who said: “He who introduces any deed into our matter (Islam) which is not from it then it is rejected.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “He who performs any deed which is not according to what we are upon (i.e., the Prophet and his Companions) then it is rejected.” [Muslim] Therefore, any deed which is not in accordance with what Islam has come with is rejected.One of the practices during the month of Rajab which was done during the pre-Islamic period, is to offer sacrifices and call it ‘Far’a and ‘Ateerah. The Muslims scholars may Allah have mercy upon them said Islam voided this practice. Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “No Fara’. No ‘Ateerah.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]Ar-Raghaa’ib prayer is another thing which people innovated which was never legislated by Allah nor His Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. The scholars may Allah have mercy upon them said: “There is no authentic Hadith regarding a special prayer during the month of Rajab, and all the narrations concerning Ar-Raghaa’ib prayer are fabricated lies.” They also said: “This prayer was innovated after the fourth century and was never known before that, and no one from the scholars during the first virtuous generations ever mentioned it.”People fast all the month of Rajab although there is no authentic Hadith in this regard and so this practice should be abandoned. On the other hand, those who are in the habit of fasting regularly, even in during other months, may fast. Moreover, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, never fasted any month in full other than Ramadan, as narrated by ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, ‘The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, used to fast so much until we would think that he always fasts, and would stop fasting until we would think that he never fasts. I never saw the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, fast a full month except during Ramadan, and he never fasted more than fasting during the month of Sha’baan.’ [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]It was narrated that ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, used to hit men’s hands until they would start using them to eat during the month of Rajab, and he would say, ‘What is the virtue of Rajab? It is a month which the people during the pre-Islamic period used to honour, but when Islam came, people gave this up.’Abu Bakrah, may Allah be pleased with him, saw his household preparing during the month of Rajab, and said to them, ‘Did you make Rajab like Ramadan?’. Then he threw the baskets and broke the cups.Another innovation is what they call the Rajabiyyah, which is an ‘Umrah during Rajab which has no evidence proving it. As a matter of fact, the only month during which ‘Umrah would have a certain prescribed reward is the month of Ramadan. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “’Umrah during Ramadan equals performing Haj”, in another narration he said, “Equals Haj with me.”Therefore, anyone who performs ‘Umrah during Rajab for the sake of Rajab has committed a mistake. Moreover, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, never performed ‘Umrah during Rajab even though he has performed ‘Umrah four times.A Muslim should know that if he seeks the pleasure of Allah, and wants to adhere to obedience, he would find many acts to perform, so there is no need to add to what the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, instructed us to do; let us perform what he, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, taught us, and he who does that, is guaranteed to succeed and prosper in this life and the Hereafter.Ibn Mas’oud, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Imitate and do not innovate (in religion)’. Therefore, we should not add anything to the religion baselessly, and we should adhere to the Sunnah of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Some of the scholars said, ‘Sunnah is like to Noah’s Ark, anyone who sticks to it would be rescued.’”Article source: http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/Pondering on signs of AllahIn the Qur’an, it is mentioned that the unbelievers are the people who do not recognise and appreciate the signs of Allah. The significance of a believer is his ability to see those signs and proofs. They know that these are not created in vain; they can realise the power and great art of Allah everywhere and find ways to appraise Him. About such people Allah Almighty Says (what means): “Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], ‘Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire.’”[Qur’an 3:191]Many times in the Qur’an, there are expressions like “will you not take heed?”, “...there is a sign for thinking men” which emphasise the importance of pondering on the signs of Allah. Allah has created an endless list of things to be the subjects of pondering. Everything we see and sense is indeed a manifestation and sign of Allah; so all those in heavens and in earth and in between may be a means of pondering for us. Allah Says (what means): “He causes to grow for you thereby the crops, olives, palm trees, grapevines, and from all the fruits. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought.”[Qur’an 16: 11]Let’s think for a while of one of the items mentioned in the above verse; for instance, the “date-tree, as well known, grows up from a seed out of the earth. From this tiny seed, an enormous wooden mass of several metres long and hundreds of kilograms of weight, forms. The only thing that seed can use while constituting this great mass is the earth in which it is buried.How can a seed know how to constitute a tree? How does it know how to decompose the necessary substances in the soil to form food? How can it predict the required shape and structure? This last question is especially important, because it is not an ordinary wooden piece that emerges out from the seed. The seed develops a complex living organism with roots for assimilating substances from the earth, with veins in itself and with branches that are perfectly organised. A human being has difficulty while drawing even a picture of a tree, but on the other hand a simple seed can produce that extremely complex object using the substances in the soil.This observation concludes that a seed is extremely intelligent and wise, even more than us. Or better to say, there is an amazing intelligence in what a seed does. But what is the source of that intelligence? How can it be possible for a seed to have such an intelligence and memory like a computer “chip”?The chips are produced by people who have intelligence and knowledge. Just like a seed which is created by Allah with the ability to develop a tree. Every seed on earth is encompassed by Allah and grows within His knowledge. He Almighty Says (what means): “Indeed, Allah is the cleaver of grain and date seeds. He brings the living out of the dead and brings the dead out of the living. That is Allah; so how are you deluded?”[Qur’an 6: 95]A seed is merely one of the numerous signs that Allah has created in the universe. If men begin to think with not only their minds but also with their hearts, asking the question of ‘why’ and ‘how’ to themselves, they can understand that all the universe is a proof of the existence and power of Allah, the Most Exalted.However, the unbelievers cannot understand such things, since they don’t have the ability to “see” this purpose- as the Qur’an expresses (what means): “...They have eyes with which they do not see...” [Qur’an 7: 179] i.e., they do not have the wisdom and comprehension to realise the important reality with their materialistic vision.On the other hand, believers are different from this ‘blind’ group, because they realise and accept that the whole universe is created by Allah with a certain aim and wisdom. This belief is the first step of faith. As faith and wisdom, both of which are in parallel, increase, they will start to identify every detail of Allah’s creation.One of the things to be done to identify the details of Allah’s Creation is to be careful and observant. Because the ability to see the signs of Allah and not to be “blind” like the unbelievers, require a high concentration.Allah Almighty Says (what means): “Unquestionably, to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and earth. Already He knows that upon which you [stand] and [knows] the Day when they will be returned to Him and He will inform them of what they have done. And Allah is Knowing of all things..” [Qur’an 24: 64]“Unquestionably, they are in doubt about the meeting with their Lord. Unquestionably, He is, of all things, encompassing.” [Qur’an 41:54]One should train himself to recognise the signs of Allah and should always keep this in mind. Otherwise, mind will start to wander, jumping from one topic to another, wasting time thinking about useless things.Mind is like water; unless it is directed which way to flow, it spreads away, to the places that you would not want it to flow. This is a kind of unconsciousness; you cannot control your mind. You cannot focus and concentrate on a subject. Actually, you cannot conceive the truth behind the events happening and also cannot ever have the competence to interfere in them. On the contrary, your mind gets directed by those events. You are “bewildered” all the time, which is not an attribute of a believer, but the unbelievers, as Allah Almighty Says (what means): “...And he who associates with Allah – it is as though he had fallen from the sky and was snatched by the birds or the wind carried him down into a remote place.” [Qur’an 22: 31]Believers, on the other hand, are the ones who direct their minds, try to better perceive Allah, and who try to better serve His religion. The believers are the ones “who turn away from ill speech” [Qur’an 23:3]. They free their minds from any useless thoughts and whenever they realise the appeal of Satan, they rescue themselves just like Allah Almighty Says in the Qur’an (what means): “Indeed, those who fear Allah – when an impulse touches them from Satan, they remember [Him] and at once they have insight.” [Qur’an 7: 201]Therefore, the believers should be careful to keep their minds free of useless thoughts and ponder only on useful things that serve them in their life and keep them close to the Mighty Creator.Article source: http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/Etiquette towards the Messenger of AllahOne of the joys that Allah grants His servant is to love His beloved Noble Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention), and how can it be otherwise, when to love the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, is one of the conditions of faith?Imam Al-Bukhari, may Allah have mercy upon him, related from Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “I swear by Him in Whose Hands my soul lies, none of you will truly believe until I am more beloved to him than his father and son.”Imam Muslim, may Allah have mercy upon him, related from Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said: The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “None of you will truly believe until I am more beloved to him than his family, wealth and all the people.”In the same way that love of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, is a reason for attaining the good of this world and the Hereafter, then loving him is also a reason for achieving the sweetness of Eeman (faith).Al-Bukhari and Muslim both related from Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “Whoever possesses the following three qualities will taste the sweetness (delight) of Eeman: One to whom Allah and His Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, are dearer than anything else; whoever loves his brother solely for Allah’s sake; and whoever hates to convert to disbelief just as he hates to be thrown into the Fire.”The meaning of “sweetness of Eeman”, as the scholars have stated is: “Deriving pleasure from obedience and enduring hardship in religion and preferring this over worldly things.” (Sharh An-Nawawee and Fat-Hul-Baree)Loving the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, will also be a means of taking one to the place of felicity.It has been related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim from ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said: [A man came to the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! What do you say of a man who loves a people and never joins them?’ The Messenger of Allah said: The person will be with those whom he loves (i.e. in the Hereafter).”] (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)We all claim that we love the Noble Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, and that he is more beloved to us than our fathers, sons and all the people. However, are we really truthful in this claim? Does our claim have any value in the Sight of Allah?The scholars have mentioned signs and criterion by which the love of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, can be judged i.e. whether it is in a person’s heart or not. Some of the most apparent signs are the following:1) Being eager to see and keep company with him, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Thus, the loss of these two wishes would be worse than the loss of anything in the world.2) Having total willingness to sacrifice oneself and one’s wealth for him.3) Following his orders and refraining from what he prohibited.4) Making his Sunnah (Prophetic traditions) victorious and protecting the Shari’ah (Islamic law).If one finds these signs in himself, then he should praise Allah, The Most Mighty and The Most Majestic, that he possesses in his heart the true love for the beloved, the Noble [Prophet], sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. He should ask Allah for steadfastness upon this.Whoever lacks some or all of these signs, should hold himself to account before he is held to account, on a Day which will turn the hair of children grey (i.e. the Day of Resurrection). Nothing will be hidden from Allah and he (the slave) will not consider or attempt to deceive Allah and the believers; because one who attempts to deceive Allah will only deceive himself as Allah says:“They (think to) deceive Allah and those who believe, while they deceive not except themselves, and perceive (it) not.” [Qur’an, 2: 9]‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, said to Allah’s Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam: “O Messenger of Allah, you are more beloved to me than anything except my own self.” Allah’s Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, then told him, “No, by the One in Whose Hand is my soul, not until I am more beloved to you than your own soul.” ‘Umar then told him, “By Allah, now you are more beloved to me than my own soul (i.e. you will not truly believe).” Allah’s Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, then told him that now he had true and correct faith.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]Ibn Rajab, may Allah have mercy upon him, says about love of the Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam:Love for the Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, is at two levels.The first level is obligatory. This is the love that requires one to accept whatever the Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, brought from Allah and to receive it with love, pleasure, esteem and submission, without seeking guidance from any other source whatsoever. This is then followed by excellent following of him in whatever he conveyed from his Lord and to affirm whatever he has reported of obligations, to remain away from anything he has prohibited of forbidden acts, to give support for his religion and to strive against those who oppose him according to one’s ability. All of these are necessary components that one must possess and a person’s Faith is not complete without them.The second level is superior [and not an absolutely necessary component of Faith]. This type of love requires following his example in an excellent way and fulfilling the following of his Sunnah (tradition) with respect to his behavior, manners, voluntary deeds, supererogatory actions, eating, drinking, dressing, excellent behaviour with his wives and other aspects of his perfect manners and pure behaviour. It also includes learning about the details of his life and practices. It also includes the heart trembling when mentioning him, exalting his mention often, out of what resides in the heart of love for him, esteem for him and respect for him. It also includes loving to listen to his words and preferring them over the words of others of the creation. And one of the greatest aspects of this love is to follow him in his abstinence of this world, his being sufficed with little of this world and his turning to and desiring of the everlasting Hereafter.Article source: http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/