Repentance and Forgiveness

Many times in life, you come across certain individuals who persistently commit sins and do not seek the forgiveness of Allah, they believe with full certainty that they will not receive His mercy and consequently choose to increase in evil deeds. This is a grave mistake and misunderstanding. Allah assures us in the Quran that no matter what sin we commit, He subhanahu wa ta’ala will forgive. For example, most of us grew up knowing that shirk (associating partners in worship with Allah) is an unforgivable sin, we don’t actually know that it is only unforgivable if we die having commited shirk without repenting, if we commit even this sin, Allah can forgive us as long as we repent.

“And those who, when they have committed Fahishah (illegal sexual intercourse) or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins; – and none can forgive sins but Allah – and do not persist in what (wrong) they have done, while they know.” (3:135)

During this month especially, it is paramount that we constantly repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness. There are numerous ways in which we can do that, feom simply uttering words of forgiveness on our tongues, to praying two.

Shaddad bin Aus (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (PBUH) said, “The best supplication for seeking forgiveness (Syed-ul-Istighfar) is to say: `Allahumma Anta Rabbi, la ilaha illa Anta, khalaqtani wa ana `abduka, wa ana `ala `ahdika wa wa`dika mastata`tu, a`udhu bika min sharri ma sana`tu, abu’u laka bini`matika `alayya, wa abu’u bidhanbi faghfir li, fa innahu la yaghfirudh-dhunuba illa Anta. (O Allah! You are my Rubb. There is no true god except You. You have created me, and I am Your slave, and I hold to Your Covenant as far as I can. I seek refuge in You from the evil of what I have done. I acknowledge the favours that You have bestowed upon me, and I confess my sins. Pardon me, for none but You has the power to pardon).’ He who supplicates in these terms during the day with firm belief in it and dies on the same day (before the evening), he will be one of the dwellers of Jannah; and if anyone supplicates in these terms during the night with firm belief in it and dies before the morning, he will be one of the dwellers of Jannah.” [Al-Bukhari].

Throughout the year we all fall short and drown in sins, constantly disobeying our Creator and transgressing the limits of Islam. If He has blessed you to witness another ramadhan, He is giving you the opportunity to repent, seize it! Know with full certainty that Allah swt is full of Mercy and Compassion towards His servants, life is short and we must use our time wisely to grow towards Him. Allah swt knows that we are a people who sin, so do not feel shy to repent to your Creator. Do not allow shaytan to delude you into thinking that Allah swt will not forgive you as this is simply not true, and remember to always keep this hadith in mind:
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “By the One in Whose Hand my soul is! If you do not commit sins, Allah would replace you with a people who would commit sins and seek forgiveness from Allah; and Allah will certainly forgive them.” [Bukhari]
Now, the same way we love that Allah should forgive us, we must also get into the habbit of forgiving others. Humans are imperfect by nature, we all fall into mistakes, to look past somebody’s mistake and to forgive them is something very noble and important to do. It is a gift only a few possess.

Forgiving someone can be very difficult to do when you are fuming with anger. It can be that this person has hurt you in a profound and unimaginable way through words or actions. Perhaps this invidual has been abusive. Nonetheless, life is too short to not forgive. In our lives, surely we’ve made mistakes, and do we not appreciate it when people accept our apologies? It is also important to take into consideration that by forgiving someone, even if they’re not concerned by your act of forgiveness, you are actually helping yourself. To hold grudges and sustain ressentment hurts nobody else but you, we know this from our religion, but it is also something emphasized by psychologist. To forgive is to heal your wound by yourself, not depending on someone to do it for you. So in shaa Allah (by the will of Allah) let us strive to forgive one another and accept that we are all flawed and can commit mistakes. Let us also strive to repent to our Lord and often as possible, especially before the inevitable comes.

Ramadan is near – Stay active and keep worshiping

As children, the phrase: “Ramadan is coming” brought joy to our hearts. Knowing that Ramadan was a month where we have guest, delicious food, night trips to the mosque; where family and friends come together to fully appreciate this unforgettable month. As children we didn’t pay much attention to what we were supposed to do and not to do, but as we’re getting older, we’re realising that Ramadhan is much more than Maghrib  countdowns and good family vibes, and sometimes we may be confused with what to do as we become young adults.

Many of us are focused on the food and inviting guests during this month, to the point that we miss the actual benefits of Ramadan. We get caught up in an everyday routine and we forget the actual purpose; to praise Allah, subhanah wa ta’ala, in Ramadan, which is a widespread problem in our Ummah today .

Things to do in Ramadan

  • Sleep at night, not the day

It’s easy to get your nights and days turned around as you get up to prepare Suhur before Fajr and pray Taraweeh in the Masjids after Isha’. Make it your goal to not be amongst those who waste precious hours in the day and find ways to keep yourself occupied during the daytime i.e reading Quran, make dua, etc.

  • Try to be active during the day by worshiping Allah and increasing your deeds

When preparing for this Ramandan make a goal list. Think about the type of person you desire to be and pick a few characteristics or deeds and break it down into obtainable goals and work on them this Ramadan. One such goal may be to indulge in less screen time and social media. Choose goals that will help you fill your day and try and stay off that phone until after iftaar.

  • When you cook, try to spend less time in the kitchen. Eat light foods and make easy meals so that Taraweeh isn’t difficult and you can worship Allah at night

Remember that Ramadan is not the month of ‘feasting’ but rather a month of training and endurance against your Nafs, self/desires, a vital stepping stone for helping you build your relationship with Allah, subhanah wa ta’ala, throughout the year. Eating a lot and ‘feasting’ will leave you tired and overly full making Taraweeh extremely difficult. This can lead to missing out on such a golden opportunity for gathering rewards.

  • When the last 10 day have approached, don’t spend all your time preparing for Eid.

The greatest rewards are in the last ten days, espically Laylatul Qadr, a day that is better  than a thousand months – that is longer than most people live. As stated in Surrah al-Qadar(97):3: “The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months”

A night wherein Allah sent down the Qur’ân to the lowest heavens. Our good deeds on this special night are magnified in value, so that it is as if we have been offering those deeds for 1000 months.

  • Increase in kindness to those around you. Give your fellow Muslim brothers and sisters their rights.

Use this blessed and beloved month as your training ground to becoming a better version of yourself and choose take the high road when provoked by others.

  • Keep yourself hydrated and satisfied when eating and drinking (make soups to maximize on hydration) and help your mum in the kitchen or around the house.

Staying active during Ramadan

Health! We all spend time trying to get to a body size, that we wish to be, or just want to eat healthy in general. Making time to workout during Ramadan can be difficult especially when you’re fasting and want to make time to sleep before getting up for suhoor.  The following is a solution that you can implement during this Ramadan:

  1. You can workout 1-2 hours before Isha  or before Fajr
  2. After taraweeh you can rest until 1-2 hours before suhoor and then you can workout.

It’s important to remember that spiritual and physical health are both vitally important and therefore we should strike a balance, all the while not forgetting the true purpose of Ramadan. Use this beautiful and blessed month as your training ground to prepare both and insha’Allah, by the end of the month you will see the fruits or your hard work.

 

Friendship is a gift

Every now and then we may try and convince ourselves that we don’t need friends to get us where we are in the life. However, that is not entirely true, we do need someone to help us up and get us started again. Even when we are started, we all need that one big push to get us going smoothly throughout the roads ahead of us — That is a friend.

A friend is someone who you can trust and speak to. They will always remind you of Allah when in a bad situation and make dua for you. As a friend, you will do the same, not  forcefully but out of kindness which is what brothers and sisters do in Islam. Not only for people you know, but the people who are in need of help. It’s true that there will always be someone who you will clash with and perhaps even spread hatred towards,  but we should refrain from allowing these negative feelings to develop, and allow shaytan to corrupt our friendships.

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Do you know what gheebah (backbiting) is?” They said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He said, “Saying something about your brother that he dislikes.” It was said, “What if what I say about my brother is true?” He said, “If what you say is true then you have backbitten about him, and if it is not true, then you have slandered him.”

Be very wary on choosing your group of friends, because the ones that will get you to Jannah will remind you what is Haaram and what is Halal. The people who will push you towards Jahnam will be the ones who say “It’s only for this day, why not pray tomorrow.”Always remember the wise words of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasalam, Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “A man is upon the religion of his best friend, so let one of you look at whom he befriends.”( Sunan Abu Dawood)

Don’t let anyone control your life and make your decisions, consciously or subconsciously, because as at the end of the day you are responsible for your actions. Personally, I choose my friends based on their deen, personality and how they treat themselves rather than their appearance. Honestly, choosing someone with a good appearance over their personality is like looking at a cake with good icing and design but when you take a bite of it, it tastes disgusting.

To be honest, I’ve never really had friends I thought being alone was better as I wouldn’t have friend issues. However, since two years living in Saudi Arabia, my mind set has changed due to me feeling sick of always being alone and not having anyone to share my joy with. I then started going to events, speaking to people, and I even entered a group with a lot of friends. Sadly, my friendship with one of the girls didn’t last and it became a lot harder than I expected. In the end it took me five years to find the  right friends that I needed. Surprisingly, they are the ones who are actually part of Muslim Youth Society masha’Allah and I couldn’t be happier.

Abu Musa reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, the parable of a good friend and a bad friend is only that of a seller of musk and a blacksmith. The seller of musk will give you some perfume, you will buy some, or you will notice a good smell. As for the blacksmith, he will burn your clothes or you will notice a bad smell.

Friendship is a gift, do not be afraid and hold yourself back for fear of rejection. Share the gift that you possess with someone else and strive to be that friend that gives a person in need the push that helps them get to a better place.

Hardship

No matter where you are in the world, Allah might test you with a situation where you will experience that which is stressful. A lot of people can feel hopeless during certain situations, for example: not having enough money, getting bad grades or losing a loved one. But there is one thing that most people forget to do, and that is to be patient and trust in their Lord. Many of us forget to do this during times of hardship because we are so eager to get things done, and try and to fix things, when it doesn’t necessarily need fixing. Dua is more powerful than we think.

“Remember that there is much good in bearing with patience that which you dislike, and that victory comes with patience, and that with hardship comes a way out and with difficulty comes ease.”(Narrated by Ahmad)

There may come a time in your life where you might question why Allah is putting you in a certain position, the truth is that Allah gives every person that which they can handle, even if they do not realize that they are capable of handling it.

Allah says in the Quran: “…Allah does not give a soul beyond that it can bear..” Al-Baqarah: 2:286

It’s also important to note, that there’s a reason for everything. “…it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” Al-Baqarah: 2:216

For example, you could be in a situation where you receive half of your wages or get a C as an exam grade, it may seem awful at first, but Allah has already planned out your life and He knows what is best for you. During that moment, it may seem difficult to accept or believe that something good could come out of such a situation, but this where tawakul (trust in Allah) comes it, we must be optmisitic and accept His decree, it is also important to make dua’a to Allah SWT, and remember that with every hardship comes ease.

“Verily with every hardship comes ease.” 94:6

“Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty, ailments and were shaken.” (Qur’an 2:214)

When sadness approaches you during times of hardship, always know that sadness is not beneficial for the heart, it will affect our mental state and even actions that we perform. Sadness is like a disease, it spreads around the body and its effects are visible. Ibn Qayyim said: “There is nothing more beloved to shaytan than a depressed believer”. This is because during times of sadness, we are weak and vulnerable, and shaytan attacks the weak believers.

Remember that this world was never meant to bring us ultimate joy, for happiness lies with Allah swt. Hardships are a form of purification and a test to see which one us will be able to have the right attitude, and accept Allah’s decree. So let us strive to be patient towards the tests of this life, and we will one day see the benefits of that patience, by the will of Allah.

Your choice

We all want a fresh start on the first day of a new year as we set goals and try to accomplish them before the year ends. This can be a big step for some people as it is hard setting something, sticking by it and being motivated to fulfill that particular goal or task. No matter what day, month or year you start, it will always be the beginning of an adventure. This is even true if you start at the end of the month or middle of the year, because you’re taking the steps towards change and working to accomplish a goal that motivates you.

As Allah says in the Quran: “Indeed Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” 13:11

You can try t0 finish the Quran, go rock climbing or even sky diving. Whatever you decide, go crazy about your goals and put your trust in Allah. There is no limit as to how much adventure you can have as long as you keep your Islamic responsibilities in mind.

It’s important to note that Allah is in control of your life, but so are you. When setting goals try to make them worth your time, because life is too short for regret. Keep in mind that sometimes you may have to do tasks that you don’t like in order to achieve your objectives. However, don’t despair and allow such things get you down or stop you from reaching your end goal. 

One such time in my life, I wanted to buy myself an iPod that cost 1000 Saudi riyals (not to sure about the exact price but it was around 1000 riyals) and I only had 20! The reason why I wanted to buy an iPod was because I wanted to treat myself instead of always spending my money on makeup. It seemed impossible to reach my goal and I was about to give up as my self-made deadline was just three months away. Alhamdulillah, my mother made a deal with me agreeing that she would pay me 500 riyals if I made her 30 smoothies. Keeping my end goal in mind, this was a great deal and so just 2 months later I had earned 500 riyals. It happened so fast I couldn’t believe it SubhanAllah. Allah had opened the doors and made it so easy for me to earn the money that I needed. 

Sometimes you might feel as if you’re not able to perform a particular task or goal. It’s easy to feel like this because what we’re trying to accomplish is very new and we are human and prone to feeling emotions of doubt as we’re overwhelmed by the big picture of things. 

As Ibnul Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) once said: “Never does Allah, in His Wisdom, close a door upon a servant, except that He opens, from His Mercy, two other doors.”

So have trust in Allah, take the first step and always make your tasks and goals worth the while, and Insha’Allah, Allah will open doors that you could never even possibly imagine and give you the advantages you desire.

Our Dear Mothers

It is hard to believe that most youth don’t treat their mothers properly. Most of them treat them horribly because their friends are around, or they can’t get what they want. This is really displeasing considering we will one day be held accountable for the wrong actions that we have committed towards our mothers.

We are not all perfect, we will disobey and make our mothers angry at times, but that’s normal because we’re humans. Sometimes we like to take responsibility and complicated situations in our own hands, neglecting the fact that our mothers know best about certain situations we are getting in.

“A man came to the Prophet and said, ‘O Messenger of God! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship? The Prophet said: Your mother. The man said, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man further asked, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man asked again, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your father.” (Bukhari, Muslim).

A mother’s love is a blessing, and it’s still a blessing when she passes. She does everything for you, she sacrifices a lot just so you can have what is best for you. That is why it hurts me to see a mother being mistreated by her kids (beating and swearing etc…). You can’t blame anyone else for your actions. It’s only you who can create those actions that you put upon your mother.

Remember to love your mother more and more each day. Try and make her smile everyday, be kind to her and try and do everything for her and get the blessings in everything, because we never know when they will pass. I don’t want anyone to have regrets with anything by not being there or not doing the things you’re supposed to do. Inshaa’Allah, Allah will make it easy for you.

My mother, she is like a diamond on a stormy day, no matter how much she has been through, she will always keep shining and spreading her happiness throughout the room. SubhanAllah, if it wasn’t for Allah and my mother, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. It kind of shocks me whenever I try to imagine whether she had been absent in my life. I wouldn’t be able to be that strong woman I am today. I’m not perfect and have made my mother angry which breaks my heart just thinking about it, but I’ve learned from the mistakes that I have made.

“The Prophet Muhammad said, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him: Your Heaven lies under the feet of your mother” (Ahmad, Nasai).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mawiyah James

Salam alaikum! My name is Mawiyah James, I am sixteen years old and was born in Birmingham, England. I am St Lucian, Jamaican and Bengali. I consider England my home even though it is very dull and it’s a non-muslim country, it is still my home because my family and friends live there. To me, it is a nice country but some of the people residing there are sometimes problematic. I moved to Saudi Arabia in 2011 with my mum, three sisters at the time and my dad, the first time. Through this blog, I hope to help the youth connect to the deen again.