A few Verses each day

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Offline ymislam

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A few Verses each day
« on: August 23, 2009, 05:33:00 PM »
Dear Readers,

Do you ever ask yourselves questions like:

* Who am I?
* What am I doing on earth?
* Does my life have any purpose?
* What will happen after I die?
* etc.

Ramadhan is the month of reflection for the Muslim. Our Book for reflection was revealed in this month. The first word, "Iqra", meaning 'Read', 'Gather Knowledge', 'Read & Reflect' was revealed during this month. The complete book, the Qur'an answers any questions that we may have of our Creator, Allah.

To get us started on reading and reflecting, I will InshaAllah post one brief article each day of Ramadhan. If you are interested, pls read. You can also post any question that you like.

The articles collectively form a tafsir of the Qur'an. Each Verse is explained using other verses from the Qur'an. Self-tafsir is avoided as much as possible.

May Allah guide each of us.

-Yousuf
« Last Edit: August 23, 2009, 05:38:35 PM by ymislam »
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Offline ymislam

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Re: A few Verses each day
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2009, 05:37:05 PM »
1. Sura Fatiha or the Opening Chapter - (Day 1)

If we count the number of times Allah has asked us to recite Sura Fatiha in Fard Namaz and compare this with the number of hours that we are normally awake what would we find? Mathematically, we will find that Allah has asked us to read Sura Fatiha approximately once for each hour that we are awake! Why is this? Is Allah telling us something? Is He warning us about something?

In the following Verse, Allah separates the seven verses of Sura Fatiha and gives them equal importance alongside the whole Qur’an!!
“And We have bestowed upon thee the Seven Oft-Repeated (verses) and the Grand Qur'an.” [15.87]

What could be the reason? Could the seven Verses be an abstract or a summary of the Qur’an? Could they be a gateway to understanding and interpreting the Qur’an? Could they be explaining how and why we should be reading the understanding the Qur’an?

Let us examine each verse and use other verses from the Qur’an to shed light on the significance of each Verse under study.

1.1   â€œIn the name of Allah, Most Gracious{1}, Most Merciful{2}”
This is the first of the seven verses of Sura Fatiha. This Verse introduces Allah as a Being who is condescendingly indulgent on the one hand and most merciful on the other. What does “In the name of” mean? “In the name of ” is given as a phrase in the Encarta Dictionary as “By the authority of ”. Paraphrasing, the first Verse may be written, “By the authority of Allah, the condescendingly indulgent and most merciful”. The verse therefore affirms that whatever follows in the sura and in the rest of the Qur’an is recorded given the authority of Allah. Elsewhere in the Qur’an, Allah confirms that the Prophet has not invented any verse:
“(This is) a Message sent down from the Lord of the Worlds. And if the apostle were to invent any sayings in Our name We should certainly seize him by his right hand and We should certainly then cut off the artery of his heart:” [69.43-46]

A person who understands the meaning of this Verse is immediately in a bind. If the person really believes that he/she has been created then the Allah’s Words are addressed directly to him/her. This therefore is a communication sent by the Creator!

Yet, however:
“…These are the Signs (or Verses) of the Book: that which hath been revealed unto thee from thy Lord is the Truth; but most men believe not.”  
[18.1]

Allah ties in-depth study of the Qur’an with proof of belief in the following Verse:
“Those to whom We have given the Book study it as it should be studied: they are the ones that believe therein: Those who reject faith therein – the loss is their own.” [2.121]

Allah tells us that if we do not study the Revealed Words, it means that we do not believe! Let’s imagine that one of our Muslim friends has received a letter written in the German language. As he does not understand the German language, he simply pronounces the words in the Roman alphabet and puts the letter, after kissing it, away on top of a cupboard. If you observed this, what would you say to him?

1.2 “All praise belongs to Allah, the Cherisher{3} and Sustainer{4} of the Worlds”
Why all praise? The difference between the Creator and the created can be likened{5} to the difference between an ‘anime cartoon writer’ and the cartoon world that he/she has created. Whom does all credit for creating the cartoon world and all that ensues belong to? Sole credit for creating, caring, giving free-will with options and sustaining every moment in our lives belongs to Allah.

Which “Worlds” is Allah talking about? Looking through the Qur’an we find another verse that defines two worlds:
“Praise be to Allah to Whom belong all things in the heavens and on earth: to Him be Praise in the Hereafter:..” [34.1]

Right at the outset, Allah is telling us that He has created two worlds – the current world with everything in it and the Hereafter! When we praise Allah, it is simply acknowledging this truth – giving due credit where credit belongs. He is the Lord, Cherisher and Sustainer of both the current world and the next world in the Hereafter. Regardless of whether or not we acknowledge the truth, i.e. whether or not we give credit where it is due:
“…verily Allah is He (that is) free of all wants worthy of all praise.” [31.26]

Hypothetically imagine if engineers were able to design the planet earth and all that is in it. How many engineers would we need and how many years would it take? Allah gives us an indication of the extent of His Own Handiwork:
“And if all the trees on earth were pens and the oceans (were ink) with seven (additional) oceans behind it to add to its (supply) yet would not the Words of Allah be exhausted (in writing)…” [31.27]

Is there any being other than the Creator that we can credit anything to? By praising Allah, the individual essentially places himself/herself in context as part of creation confirming the truth; Allah does not ‘need’ praise.

Notes:
{1} Gracious: condescendingly indulgent and generous to perceived inferiors.
{2} Merciful: one showing extreme mercy. He forgives again and again during the learning period on earth [38.66].
{3} Cherisher: The Encarta Dictionary gives three meanings for cherisher: one who loves and cares for somebody, one who gives high value and one who constantly retains in mind.
{4} Sustainer: One that supports and upholds (Encarta Dictionary, 2005)
{5} Likened: Now, if the writer were able to give intelligence and free will to the cartoon characters, what kind of interaction would be necessary between the writer and the cartoon characters? Given free will or free choices, the writer would essentially have to consult the choices made by the characters as he/she would have to arrange the script to reflect the choices taken. On whom would the ultimate outcome of any event depend? Who would be writing the script giving success? If a cartoon character were then successful in any thing, whom would the credit belong to? What, then, is the only thing that a cartoon character could be held accountable or responsible for?
« Last Edit: August 23, 2009, 05:39:33 PM by ymislam »
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Offline kulsum

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Re: A few Verses each day
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2009, 11:28:02 AM »
Dear Sir,
May Allah do a lot of Rahmat on you for your good work.

I am happy to read this.

Umme Kulsum

Offline shibli

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Re: A few Verses each day
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2009, 12:47:19 PM »
"Each Verse is explained using other verses from the Qur'an." yes, this is what all of us should know that each verse of the Qur'an should be explained using the other verses.

Let's read the glorious Qur'an understanding the meanings.

regards
Those who worship the natural elements enter darkness (Air, Water, Fire, etc.). Those who worship sambhuti sink deeper in darkness. [Yajurveda 40:9]; Sambhuti means created things, for example table, chair, idol, etc.

Offline ymislam

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Re: A few Verses each day
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2009, 02:35:41 PM »
Sura Fatiha contd: (Day 2)

1.3   â€œMost Gracious{1}, Most Merciful{2}”
How is Allah Most Gracious and Most Merciful? Any ideas?

Let us examine one aspect of our life – food. And look at just one food item – milk. How many types of milk products are there? What is the relationship between these products and the human body? Is this relationship similar to the relationship between a car and petrol/diesel or Combined Natural Gas?

To provide nutrition, if Allah had instead created a Combined Natural Food (CNF) pump where we could fill up our daily requirement against a meter, would it have done the same job or performed the same function?

Instead, Allah has given us so much variety and a tongue to enjoy our food! This is an example of how much Allah loves and cares for us! Allah gives us examples in the Qur’an:
“We have honored the sons of Adam; provided them with transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance things good and pure; and conferred on them special favors above a great part of Our Creation.” [17.70]

Consider the fact that we thank anyone for the smallest of favours. We normally classify this as being good manners! What should be our personal attitude to the One who has given us our beings, made us unique, made us intelligent and given us faculties and opportunities and choices for the fulfillment of our lives?
“It is We who have placed you with authority on earth and provided you therein with means for the fulfillment of your life: small are the thanks that ye give!”[7.10]

On the other hand, how do we ourselves react to ungrateful people, i.e. people who are not grateful for favors given? Do we ourselves use any of the 17 opportunities (during our Fard Namaz) to thank Allah for what He has given us each hour of each day?

What would you say to a cartoon character that became self-righteous and arrogant instead of being humble and grateful? This leads us into the next verse of Sura Fatiha. Allah tells us that He is the

1.4   â€œOwner of the Day of Judgment”
Why do we need a Day of Judgment? What judgment will Allah deliver? Allah tells us:
“And on that Day that the Unbelievers will be placed before the Fire (it will be said to them): "You received your good things in the life of the world and you took your pleasure{3} out of them: but today shall ye be recompensed with a Penalty of humiliation: for that you were arrogant{4} on earth without just cause and that you (ever) transgressed."”[46.20]

An arrogant{5} person not only places himself/herself above others, he/she actually places himself/herself equal to or above the Creator. The Creator has given all, whatever the person has, e.g. existence, wealth, health, property, status, knowledge, abilities, beauty, physique, wisdom, skills, children, success, etc. Therefore, being arrogant implies:
•   Crediting own self for blessings that the Creator has given;
•   Denying credit to the One who deserves credit;
•   Being ungrateful for the blessings that the Creator has given;
•   That the person has not used his/her intelligence to work out who has originated what.

At a point between this world and the next, Allah alone will judge and decide:
“Yea to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth; so that He rewards those who do evil according to their deeds and He rewards those who do good with what is best.” [53.31]

The test is individual – we will be accountable for our deeds alone as we stand before our Creator who has Created our individual environments as a test bed:
“Nor strain your{6} eyes in longing for the things We have given for enjoyment to parties of them the splendor of the life of this world through which We test them: but the provision of thy Lord is better and more enduring.” [20.131]

What we should be doing is saying with full conviction…

1.5   â€œThee (alone) do we worship and thy aid do we seek”
We actually instinctively know Who it is that helps us out of trouble, however:
   â€œWhen trouble touches men they cry (directly) to their Lord turning back to Him in repentance{7}: but when He gives them a taste of Mercy as from Himself behold some of them pay part-worship{8} to other gods besides their Lord. (As if) to show their ingratitude for the favors{9} We have bestowed on them! Then enjoy (your brief day); but soon will you know (your folly).” [30.33 – 34]

Therefore, from human beings, the Creator wants:
•   a correct understanding of blessings and success granted by Allah.
•   to acknowledge Allah’s contribution to one’s life by giving Him the priority that He deserves
•   ask Him directly for help and success in all activities.
•   to be grateful and thank Him regularly.

Notes:

{1} Gracious: kind and polite, full of tact, full of kindness and politeness, condescendingly indulgent and generous to perceived inferiors.
{2} Merciful: one who shows mercy.
{3} Pleasure: deriving pleasure without acknowledging the truth by being grateful to the One who gave everything.
{4} Arrogant: the synonyms of arrogance are given as pride, haughtiness, egotism, conceit, etc. The antonym is given as humility in the Encarta Dictionary.
{5} Arrogance: The Encarta Dictionary defines ‘arrogance’ as ‘contemptuous pride: a strong feeling of proud self-importance that is expressed by treating other people with contempt or disregard’.
{6} Your: the old English word ‘thine’ used by Abdullah Yusuf Ali has been replaced by ‘your’ by the researcher.
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Offline ymislam

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Re: A few Verses each day
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2009, 12:37:49 PM »
Sura Fatiha (contd): - (Day 3)

Being weak and susceptible to temptation [4.26 – 4.28], we ask Allah to…

1.6   â€œShow us the straight way”
A minimum of 17 times each and every day we plead to the Creator to show or to guide us to the straight or proper way – the way that would meet His Approval. How can the Creator guide the person who asks?
   â€œPraise be to Allah Who has sent to His Servant{1} the Book and has allowed therein no crookedness: (He has made it) straight (and clear)…” [18.1 – 2]

It is the Grand Qur’an or the Book accompanying Sura Fatiha that contains the Guidance that we seek and that we need. Together with Sura Fatiha we are therefore asked to recite a part of the Qur’an. The straight way is given in the Qur’an. The Words of the Qur’an should therefore be seriously studied to find the way that would please Allah. A translation is available in every current language of the world. Allah tells us that:
“Verily We have made this (Qur'an) easy in thy tongue in order that they (you) may give heed.” [44.58]

Any ideas on why we need to ask Allah to show us the straight way so many times?

With the passage of time, could the failings of the people who received Revelation earlier afflict us as well? Would it then be instructional to find out what the previous peoples did wrong? If we are interested, both good and bad examples from the past would help us practically compare our day-to-day lives today. If we are not interested in learning and adopting Revelation, Allah clearly tells us:
   â€œ"And if you reject (the Message) so did generations before you: and the duty of the apostle is only to preach publicly (and clearly)."” [29.18]

In the next Verse, we therefore ask Allah to show us practical examples from the lives of those who previously received Revelation – ways that pleased Allah and ways that displeased Allah.

1.7 “The way of those on whom Thou has bestowed Thy Grace, those whose portion is not wrath and who go not astray.”
To help us understand, we ask Allah to show us three ways of those who received Revelation before us:
•   on whom You (Allah) bestowed thy Grace

And guide us away from the way of those
•   with whom You (Allah) are angry and
•   who have moved away from the straight path

How can we benefit from the ways followed by those who were given Revelation before? Would it be pertinent for believers to ask themselves why indeed has Allah enjoined these verses{2} a minimum of 17 times each day? Allah asks:
“Has not the time arrived for the Believers that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah and of (examining) the truth which has been Revealed (to them) and that they should not become like those to whom was given Revelation aforetime but long ages passed over them and their hearts grew hard{3}? For many among them are rebellious transgressors.” [57.16]

To examine the truth we need to thoroughly analyse each Verse [39.18] Revealed by Allah and compare with our lives today [2.186]. Each verse Revealed is a Sign [32.26] from our Creator, Allah. If we simply recite the Verses like a parrot and do not to study or understand what Guidance Allah has sent, Allah asks for a story to be told, perchance we may understand:
   â€œRelate to them the story of the man to whom We sent Our Signs{4} but he passed them by: so Satan followed him up and he went astray. If it had been Our Will We should have elevated him with Our Signs; but he inclined to the earth and followed his own vain desires.  His similitude is that of a dog: if you attack him he lolls out his tongue or if you leave him alone he (still) lolls out his tongue. That is the similitude of those who reject Our Signs; so relate the story; perchance they may reflect. Evil as an example are people who reject Our Signs and wrong their own souls.” [7.175 – 7.177]

Two such Verses that talk about people of previous Revelations with whom Allah is displeased or who have gone astray are given as examples below. It is left to the reader to decide why Allah is relating these verses to us or why indeed we are asked to recite such verses so many times a day. Can parallels be drawn with our day-to-day attitudes?
   â€œAnd they say: “None shall enter paradise unless he be a Jew or Christian”. That is their vain desire. Say, “Produce your proof, if what you say is true.” [2.111]

“The Jews say, “The Christians have naught (to stand) upon”; and the Christians say, “The Jews have naught (to stand) upon.” Yet they (profess to) study the (same) Book. Like unto their word is what those say, who know not{5}; but Allah will judge between them in their quarrel on the Day of Judgment.” [2.113]

Summary of Sura Fatiha: Allah has given Sura Fatiha equal weight as the rest of the Qur’an. He has asked us to recite this sura at least 17 times each day – once for every waking hour. This spells the importance that we should give to this Sura! Allah tells us at the outset that He has created two worlds – the current Universe and the Hereafter and that He is overly indulgent to mankind. On the Day of Judgment He will separate those who acknowledge this truth by being humble, grateful and work righteous deeds from those who are arrogant, ungrateful and work evil. We therefore plead that it is He alone that we worship, and He alone that we ask for help! As we are weak and given to temptation, we ask Him to show us the straight way by giving practical examples of those who received Revelation in earlier times. We need to seriously study the Words of the Qur’an, as a proof of our belief, to find out whether we are following the wrong paths of those who received previous Revelations and make sure that we follow the path that would please Allah. With such repeated Guidance at hand what excuses would we put forward on the Day of Judgment?
-------------------------------
{Notes}:
{1} Servant: Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), through whom these Verses were Revealed.
{2} Verses: Sura Fatiha accompanied with Verses from the Grand Qur’an.
{3} Hard: the Words of the Qur’an have no effect on a ‘hard heart’. We hear and recite the Words, but do not listen and obey – we hear the Verses but do not want or care to know the meaning of the words or even why the Words are addressed to us. Read Verses 8.21 – 8.22.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2009, 12:41:01 PM by ymislam »
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Offline shibli

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Re: A few Verses each day
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2009, 04:15:05 PM »
About the Obvious Existence of Allah

From the moment man opens his eyes to this world a great order surrounds him. He needs oxygen to survive. It is interesting that the atmosphere of the planet on which he lives provides more than just the adequate amount of oxygen he needs. This way, he breathes without difficulty. For the existence of life on this planet, the existence of a source of heat is essential. In response to this need, the sun is located just at the right distance to emit just the exact amount of heat and energy man needs. Man needs nourishment to survive. Every corner of the world abounds in astonishingly diversified provisions. Likewise, man needs water. Surprisingly, three-fourths of the planet is covered with water. Man needs shelter, and in this world, there is land on which it is suitable to build and all sorts of materials to make shelters.

These are only a few among billions of details making life possible on earth. In brief, man lives on a planet perfectly designed for his survival. This is certainly a planet "created for human beings".

A person's interpretation of the world rests on "acquired methods of thought." That is, he thinks in the way he has been taught, or, less kindly, the way in which he is indoctrinated. Under this misguidance, he often dismisses all the aforementioned as "trivial realities." However, if he does not side-step the matter, and start questioning the conditions making our existence possible, he will surely step out of the boundaries of habitual thinking and start to think:

How does the atmosphere serve as a protective ceiling for the earth?
How does each one of the billions of cells in the human body know and perform its individual tasks?
How does this extraordinary ecological balance exist on earth?
A person seeking answers to these questions surely proceeds on the right path. He does not remain insensitive to things happening around him, and doesn't plead ignorance about the extraordinary nature of the world. A person who asks questions, who reflects on and gives answers to these questions will realise that on every inch of the planet, a plan and an order reigns:
How did the flawless order in the whole universe come into being?
Who provided the delicate balances in the world?
How did living beings, incredibly diversified in nature, emerge?
Keeping oneself occupied with relentless research to answer these questions results in a clear awareness that everything in the universe, its order, each living being and structure is a component of a plan, a product of design. Every detail, the excellent structure of an insect's wing, the system enabling a tree to carry tons of water to its topmost branches, the order of planets, and the ratio of gases in the atmosphere, are all unique examples of perfection.

In every detail of the infinitely varied world, man finds his Creator. Allah, the owner of everything in the whole universe, introduces Himself to man through the flawless design of His creation. Everything surrounding us, the birds in flight, our beating hearts, the birth of a child or the existence of the sun in the sky, manifest the power of Allah and His creation. And what man must do is to understand this fact.

These purposes owe their existence to the fact that everything has been created. An intelligent person notices that plan, design and wisdom exist in every detail of the infinitely varied world. This draws him to recognition of the Creator.

So you never plead ignorance that all living beings, living or non-living, show the existence and greatness of Allah. Look at things around you and strive to show appreciation in the best manner for the eternal greatness of Allah.

The existence of Allah is OBVIOUS. Ignoring it would only be the beginning of the greatest damage we could ever do to ourselves. That is simply because Allah is in no need of anything. He is the One Who shows His greatness in all things and in all ways. Allah is the owner of everything, from the heavens to the earth. We learn the attributes of Allah from the Qur'an:

Allah! There is no God but Him, the Living, the Self-Sustaining. He is not subject to drowsiness or sleep. Everything in the heavens and the earth belongs to Him. Who can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them but they cannot grasp any of His knowledge save what He wills. His Footstool encompasses the heavens and the earth and their preservation does not tire Him. He is the Most High, the Magnificent. (Surat al-Baqarah: 255)
Those who worship the natural elements enter darkness (Air, Water, Fire, etc.). Those who worship sambhuti sink deeper in darkness. [Yajurveda 40:9]; Sambhuti means created things, for example table, chair, idol, etc.

Offline shibli

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Criteria to go to Heaven
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2009, 11:05:51 AM »
Dear Yusuf Sir

"By (the Token of) Time (through the ages),
Verily human beings are in loss,
Except those who believe and do righteous deeds, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance or patience."
Al-'Asr


Imaam Shafi (may Allah be pleased with him) said, this verse is enough for a human being to go to Jannah. Four things are there:

1. Having faith (Imaan)
2. Doing righteous deeds
3. Calling n advising people to truth (to the way of Allah)
4. Calling and advising each other to patience n perseverance.

Under normal circumstances, nobody will enter Jannah without fulfilling the following criteria. If Almighty Allah forgives someone, that's a different thing. "Doing Daw'ah is compulsory in Islam." It's a FARZ like acquiring knowledge.  

I think we, muslims, should give topmost priority on Daw'ah. People of different religions and sects have misconceptions towards Islam. Most importantly, International Media is maligning Islam. Everyday more than 1 book is being written against Islam. After 11 September, it has reached an epidemic level. It is the duty on every Muslim to remove the misconception of Islam. We should do Jihad to propagate Islam. We think Jihad means holy war. No, it's not. It means to strive and struggle. A student striving to pass the exam is doing Jihad, a doctor striving to save a patient is doing Jihad. The best Jihad, according to our prophet(pbuh), is to control one's evils, to check NAAFS.

Last but not the least, we Muslims should strive to establish a peaceful society where there will be the laws of the Qur'an.

Rgds  
« Last Edit: August 26, 2009, 11:07:33 AM by shibli »
Those who worship the natural elements enter darkness (Air, Water, Fire, etc.). Those who worship sambhuti sink deeper in darkness. [Yajurveda 40:9]; Sambhuti means created things, for example table, chair, idol, etc.

Offline ymislam

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Re: A few Verses each day
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2009, 05:23:11 PM »
Shibli,

Thank you for your thoughts. How do we define 'Iman'? Is it simply saying by our lips that I believe in the Creator?

-Yousuf
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Re: A few Verses each day
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2009, 05:35:41 PM »
The first three articles completed the Seven Verses of Sura Fatiha. Since we recite this Sura a minimum of 17 times each day, if we go through the tafsir, it may help us understand why Allah has given so much importance to Sura Fatiha.

Today's installment continues with Sura Baquarah. Here is the first article.

Sura Baquarah

2.1 “A.L.M”
If we look through the Qur’an to find a clue as to what these initials{1} may represent; as examples we find:
“Ha-Meem. By the Book that makes things clear. We have made it{2} a Qur’an in Arabic; that you may be able to understand; and verily it is in the Mother of the Book with Us, high, full of wisdom.” [43.1 – 43.4]

“…this is a Glorious Qur’an, (inscribed{3}) in the Tablet Preserved” [85.21 – 85.22]

From a study of the Verses above it is evident that there is a Book with Allah (in a tablet preserved) from where the present Verses{4} have been Revealed. All 29 Chapters in the Qur’an that start with similar initials immediately or subsequently talk about the “Book” in one form or another. Given this fact, the initials could be references{5} to places in the Book with Allah{6} from where the Verses have been extracted. Allah best knows the format of the initials. It is sufficient, however, to say that these initials are Signs from Allah that lend authenticity and authority to the Verses written down in printed form for human beings.

After giving the source from where Revelation has been given, Allah proceeds to categorize the types and natures of people to whom Revelation is addressed.

Verses 2.2 to 2.5 define those who are grateful and humble, i.e. who believe.

2.2 “This is (from) the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah”
The Revealed Verses contain Guidance for those who acknowledge the Creator’s total supremacy and hold over everything and thereby fear Him. Why would the One who has created everything and every moment of our lives need to Reveal Verses?
“And Allah doth advance in Guidance those who seek Guidance;…” [19.76]
 
As we have been given free-will, we are free to feel that we are self-made and do not need guidance. However, if we want to be grateful for being given existence and want to thank or please Him, we need to study the Verses Revealed:
“And it certainly is a Guide and a Mercy to those who believe.” [27.77]

If a beautiful painting could understand the fact of its own creation, how should it look upon its artist? If the artist gave a ‘manual’, what should the painting do? The ones that seek Guidance are:

2.3 “Who believe in the Unseen, are steadfast in prayer and spend out of what We have provided{7} for them”
The environmental systems that support human beings and the situations that we face in our day-to-day lives cannot be automatic or self-created. There has to be a huge driving force that is creating and sustaining everything in our day-to-day lives!
“Do ye not see that Allah has subjected to your (use) all things in the heavens and on earth and has made His bounties flow to you in exceeding measure (both) seen and unseen?...” [31.20]

Although we cannot see the Creator, we should easily be able to work out that any functional system cannot be automatic. Can a functional device such as a ‘car’ create itself or come into being randomly? The petrol, diesel, gas or power it needs has to be created as well. This book is Guidance for those who wish to demonstrate their gratefulness to the unseen Creator by regularly saying their prayers and spend from whatever resources Allah has given them. Spend for what purpose?
“…spend out of (the gifts) We have bestowed for their sustenance secretly and openly; to{8} turn off evil with good...” [13.22]

Allah continues the definition of a believer:

2.4 “And who believe in the Revelation sent to thee and sent before thy time{9} and (in their hearts) have the assurance{10} of the Hereafter”
If one does not believe that the Creator sends and has sent Revelation, Allah asks:
“No just estimate of Allah do they make when they say: "Nothing doth Allah send down to man (by way of revelation)": Say (or ask): "Who then sent down the Book which Moses brought?...” [6.91]

Allah explains who He is, and who is it that does not believe:
“Your Allah is One Allah: as to those who believe not in the Hereafter their hearts refuse to know as{11} they are arrogant.” [16.22]

Can anyone other than our Creator to send ‘Revelation’? The Verses are addressed to those who are apprehensive of the Day when they will have to stand in front of their Creator and stand trial for their deeds. Who are those who do not fear accountability?
“Such as fear not the meeting with Us (for Judgment) say (or think): "Why are not the angels sent down to us or (why) do we not see our Lord?" Indeed they have an arrogant conceit of themselves and mighty is the insolence of their impiety!” [25.21]

Allah confirms that it is those that meet the criteria of Verses 2.2 to 2.4 are the ones who are on the straight path and will fulfill the purpose for which they have been created:

2.5 “They are on (true) guidance from their Lord and it is these who will prosper.”
Having given us free will, Allah has provided Guidance to His Purpose of the sojourn on earth:

“He Who created Death and Life that He may try which of you is best in deed: and He is the Exalted in Might Oft-Forgiving.” [67.2]

Allah questions:
“Did ye then think that We had created you in jest{12} and that ye would not be brought back to Us (for account)?” [23.115]

“We created not the heavens the earth and all between them but for just{13} ends. And the Hour (of Judgment) is surely coming (when this will be manifest)...”
[15.85]

The Creator has given man free will. Having made everything and given man opportunities for the fulfillment of their individual life [7.10] should the Creator tolerate arrogance? Can free will be meaningful without responsibility and accountability?


------------------------
{Notes}:
{1} Initials: to mark a document with initials, especially in order to show approval or give authorization. (Encarta Dictionary)
{2} It: what We, i.e. what Allah has sent down.
{3} Inscribed: the idea being that what you are reading is inscribed in the Glorious Qur’an preserved in a ‘tablet’ with Allah.
{4} Verses: constituting the Qur’an given in Arabic so that the people around the Prophet could understand in their local language at the time of Revelation.
{5} References: source referred to – Allah best knows the format of the source and the reference.
{6} Book with Allah: the Book could be defining the purpose of Creation and the opportunities that would be given to test mankind. See for example, Verse 5.48.
{7} Provided: all abilities and resources provided by Allah.
{8} To: To complete the sense of the sentence the researcher has used “to” to link the ideas in the Verse. Consult Verses 61.11, 28.77 in support of this point-of-view.
{9} Before thy time: previous original Revelations sent to Prophets from the Creator, e.g. to Abraham, Moses and Jesus.
{10} Assurance: confidence that there is a purpose to Allah’s creation.
{11} As: The researcher has used the conjunction “as” to complete the meaning of the Verse. Read Verse 25.21 in support of this,
{12} Jest: The Encarta Dictionary gives synonyms of jest as joke, prank, hoax, etc.
{13} Just: to establish truth and justice. Synonyms of ‘just’ given in the Encarta Dictionary: correct, moral, ethical, good, appropriate, proper, right, fitting, etc. See Verse 45.22.

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Re: A few Verses each day
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2009, 02:28:54 PM »
Sura Baquarah contd - (Day 5)

Today, the cross-referenced study of the Qur’an continues with Verses 2.6 and 2.7 that define the second category of people who are essentially declared disbelievers.

2.6 “As to those who reject Faith it is the same to them whether you warn them or do not warn them; they will not believe.”
In another place in the Qur’an, Allah gives an example of the characteristics of those who clearly disbelieve:
“The life of this world is alluring{1} to those who reject faith and they scoff{2} at those who believe. But the righteous{3} will be above them on the Day of Resurrection; for Allah bestows His abundance without measure on whom He will.” [2.212]

Wealth, power, children, qualities, abilities, achievements, successes, status in society not only give a false sense of security and a false sense of pride but at the same time provide things that can be ‘worshipped’ besides or in preference to the Creator.  Such are things granted by the Creator only as a test to see who is grateful (for whatever the Creator has given) as opposed to the one who becomes proud preferring the glitter of this life. Allah has given all these things as conveniences of this life; He explains however that:
“And on that Day that the Unbelievers will be placed before the Fire (it will be said to them): "You received your good things in the life of the world and you took your pleasure{4} out of them: but today shall ye be recompensed with a Penalty of humiliation: for that you were arrogant{5} on earth without just cause and that you (ever) transgressed{6}."”[46.20]

A person who becomes proud and arrogant has not understood who has originated what. Being humble and grateful is proof of belief. As the purpose of our temporary stay on earth is to separate the ungrateful from the grateful, it is not Allah’s Will [2.256] to force anyone to believe:
“If it had been the Lord's Will they would all have believed all who are on earth! Will thou then compel mankind against their will to believe?” [10.99]

Allah does not need our worship, our gratitude or our praise.
“And He gives you of all that you ask for. But if you count the favors of Allah never will you be able to number them: verily man is given up to injustice and ingratitude.” [14.34]

“To Allah belong all things in the heavens and on earth. Verily We have directed the people of the Book{7} before you and you (O Muslims) to fear Allah. But if you deny Him lo! Unto Allah belong all things in the heavens and on earth and Allah is free of all wants worthy of all praise.” [4.131]

“Verily We have revealed the Book to thee in Truth for (instructing) mankind. He then that receives guidance benefits his own soul: but he that strays injures his own soul.” [39.41]

By worshipping Allah we are not doing Him a favour! He does not need our worship! By worshipping Him exclusively we are simply acknowledging the truth that He is the Giver and we are the beneficiaries; by being grateful for all that He has given us – the favour is on us! By acknowledging the truth we demonstrate our understanding of who originated what and thereby fulfill the purpose of our creation!

After ample opportunities and warnings, Allah completes the test and then as punishment He removes further opportunities to believe:

2.7 “Allah sets a seal on their hearts and on their hearing and on their eyes is a veil; great is the penalty they (incur).”
After repeated opportunities and tests to acknowledge and be grateful to Him, Allah removes the opportunity for a change of heart:
“Then after him We sent (many) apostles to their Peoples: they brought them Clear Signs but they would not believe what they had already rejected beforehand. Thus do We (then) seal the hearts of the transgressors.”[10.74]

So that we realize that we have a fixed limited amount of time on earth and realize that opportunities are slipping by:
“It is He Who made the sun to be a shining glory and the moon to be a reflecting{8} light and measured out stages for her: that ye might know the number of years and the count (of time). Nowise did Allah create this but (to help establish) truth and righteousness. (Thus) doth He explain his Signs in detail for those who (wish to) understand.” [10.5]

“But to no soul will Allah grant respite when the time appointed (for it) has come: and Allah is well-acquainted with (all) that you do.” [63.11]

From the preceding, it is evident that Allah has not only left many ‘signs’ of His handiwork, but has also sent mankind Revelation through prophets to inform us of the purpose of creation and given us time to correct our mistakes. If, after this, we still reject His sole Authority, He ‘locks’ up our understanding as punishment. However, He allows us continue to enjoy [15.3] our arrogant ways as this is what we have preferred. After the seal is set, the individual would no longer be able to recognize Allah’s handiwork – the examination/answer scripts are taken back after the time allowed by the Examiner.

As an example, the words of Sura Fatiha are ‘delivered’ to us a minimum of 17 times each day as are the Verses that we recite in tandem – these are all Signs from Allah. Yet, if we ignore these Signs (the Words of the Qur’an) by not giving due weight to the meaning of what we are saying, the following Verse delivers a serious warning.
   â€œVerily We have propounded{9} for men in this Qur'an every kind of Parable: but if thou bring to them any Sign the unbelievers are sure to say{10} "You do nothing but talk vanities{11}." Thus does Allah seal up the hearts of those who (wish to) understand not.” [30.58 – 30.59]

When we ignore people who explain the Qur’an or avoid reading the meaning of the Qur’an we effectively demonstrate our disbelief. When we recite the ‘Kalimah’ we testify our belief, and then if we ignore Allah’s Signs given in the Qur’an, what are we doing?
“That is because they believed then they rejected Faith: so a seal was set on their hearts: therefore they understand not.” [63.3]
         
-------------------------------------
{Notes}:
{1} Alluring: extremely attractive, tempting and able to arouse a strong desire (Encarta Dictionary)
{2} Scoff: ridicule or make fun of (Encarta Dictionary)
{3} Righteous: those who support the truth and justice of the Creator.
{4} Pleasure: deriving pleasure without acknowledging the truth by being grateful to the One who gave you everything.
{5} Arrogant: The synonyms of arrogance are given as pride, haughtiness, egotism, conceit, etc. The antonym is given as humility (Encarta Dictionary).
{6} Transgress: to overstep the limits of proper and just behavior (Encarta Dictionary).
{7} People of the Book: people who were given previous Revelations from the Book [85.22] with Allah.
{8} Reflecting: The researcher has added the word ‘reflecting’, to point out that the moon reflects the ‘shining glory’ of the sun and helps us keep track of time. During the day, man has also used sun dials to keep track of time.
{9} Propound: put forward by way of explanation for mankind to consider
{10} Say: or equally think as Allah is thoroughly acquainted with our inner thoughts.
{11} Vanities: self-made extrapolations or concoctions in th
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Re: A few Verses each day
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2009, 12:17:34 PM »
"Everyone is a house with four rooms: PHYSICAL, MENTAL, EMOTIONAL and SPIRITUAL. Unless we go into everyroom every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person."--Rumer Godden.

No doubt, Allah has bestowed upon you a tremendous ability, that is your writing skill. May Allah give you the ability to write to remove the misconceptions of Islam that nonmuslims as well as muslims have, ameen.
Those who worship the natural elements enter darkness (Air, Water, Fire, etc.). Those who worship sambhuti sink deeper in darkness. [Yajurveda 40:9]; Sambhuti means created things, for example table, chair, idol, etc.

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Re: A few Verses each day
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2009, 01:05:51 PM »
Shibli,

Jazak Allah! Allah has given you good writing abilities as well!

We need to look at three concepts.
1. What does belief mean? Is belief like trust? Can we say to someone, I trust you 50% or even 99%? Similarly can we say to Allah, I believe in you 50% or even 99%? Allah either exists or He doesn't, i.e 1 or 0. It cannot be 1 when we are in trouble and 0 when we are happy with things around us. It cannot be 1 before exams and 0 after we get a good grade. It cannot be 1 when we are in trouble and 0 when He has got us out of trouble. If He does exist, what does it mean in our day-to-day lives?

2. Allah has given us abilities and opportunities to lead fulfilled lives. When we achieve something should we become arrogant or should we thank Allah? When we become arrogant, whom are we thanking for the success? What moral does the story of Iblis carry? What moral does the story of Phiraon carry? Does thanking Allah demonstrate belief that He has provided all?

3. What should we be doing with the opportunities provided to us? With the potential abilities what should we be doing? Should we be good to those with less?

Which of the above would we be asked about on the Day of Judgment?

Your thoughts?

-Yousuf
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Re: A few Verses each day
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2009, 01:20:19 PM »
Sura Baquarah contd: (Day 6)

Of 19 Verses at the beginning of Sura Baquara that classify three types of people to whom the Qur’an is addressed, 13 Verses are devoted to those who give ‘lip service’ to the Creator, i.e. their mouths say that they believe in Allah, yet their actions or thoughts do not support the attitude of a believer. Allah declares these people as disbelievers and thereby hypocrites.

2.8 “Of the people there are some who say: "We believe in Allah and the Last Day" but they do not believe.”
What is Allah talking about? People who claim that they believe, but do not believe?? How many people are there around us who say, “I believe in Allah”? As believers are defined by Verses 2.2 to 2.5, comparing the day-to-day attitudes of such people with these Verses what would we find? Just like actual believers these people say they ‘believe’ but…
•   do not seek guidance from the Qur’an, i.e. do not bother to understand what the Creator has said in His Manual for mankind [2.2]
•   do not ‘fear’ the Creator, e.g. do not care to be grateful to Him or to acknowledge His exclusive contribution to their lives [2.2]
•   do not appreciate that the Creator is beyond what can be physically observed around them [2.3]
•   are not steadfast and sincere in prayer, i.e. not persistent, committed and dedicated to prayer as an expression of gratefulness and humility [2.3]
•   do not spend out of the resources provided by the Creator to combat evil and do good [2.3]
•   do not follow the Qur’an as something revealed by the Creator to be adhered to [2.4]
•   do not believe that Revelations (in their original form) through the ages are from the same one and only Creator [2.4]
•   do not firmly believe that the hereafter is for those who prove their belief in the Creator and that each would have to stand trial for denying the truth on the Day of Judgment [2.4]

Verse 2.5 confirms that Verses 2.2 – 2.4 are the qualities of believers – those who do not do these things are not believers, even if they ‘claim’ to believe. Such people are not ‘true’ to what they themselves say, hence are ‘false’ to their own proclaimed words.

An incident from the time of previous Revelation illustrates how the Creator demonstrated that many people who claimed belief did not really believe.
“Moses said: "O my People! If you do (really) believe in Allah then in Him put your trust if you submit{1} (to Him)."”[10.84]

“They said: "In Allah do we put our trust…” [10.85]

“But none believed in (what) Moses (said) except some children of his People because of the fear of Pharaoh and his chiefs lest they should persecute them;…” [10.83]

Allah demonstrated and proved to those who really trusted and feared Him exclusively:
“We took the Children of Israel across the sea: Pharaoh and his hosts followed them in insolence and spite. At length then We overwhelmed them with the flood…”[10.90]

Allah thereby clearly showed how these people were wrong to fear Pharaoh more than the Creator:
“And Allah by His Words does prove and establish His truth however much the sinners may hate it!” [10.82]

Whom did we actually fear more – Allah or other things like poverty, loss of face amongst peers or bosses? Allah tests each individual, i.e. checks the importance and the priority we give Him given the situations in our day-to-day lives. For example, if we plan to go on Hajj when we have nothing else left to do in our life what does it imply? In our list of priorities where have we placed Allah, our Creator, Provider and Sustainer – and the things He has asked us to do?
“Do the Unbelievers think that they can take my servants (other creation{2}) as protectors besides Me? Verily We have prepared Hell for the Unbelievers for (their) entertainment.” [18.102]

Elsewhere in the Qur’an, Allah gives another example of those who really do not believe.
“When trouble touches a man he cries unto Us{3} (in all postures) lying down on his side, sitting or standing. But when We have solved his trouble he passes{4} on his way as if he had never cried to Us for a trouble that touched him! Thus do the deeds of transgressors{5} seem fair in their eyes!” [10.12]

The trouble that Allah gives each individual person is only a test to examine whether the person who calls on the Creator to remove or alleviate his/her problems, actually believes that it is exclusively Allah that has removed the trouble. Do we thank Allah when we have successfully passed our exams? Do we remember to thank Allah when we are cured of an illness or are we full of praises for the doctors?
“Be sure We shall test you with something of fear and hunger some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil) but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere” [2.155]

There are people who find it difficult (or demeaning) to approach the Creator directly as this requires being humble; some such seek intercessors to apparently ‘mediate’ between them and the Creator. Has Allah appointed any of these mediators? What honorarium would these get for mediating? Allah aptly dubs these mediators ‘partners’.
“They serve{6} besides Allah things that hurt them not nor profit them and they say: "These are our intercessors with Allah." Say: "Do ye indeed inform Allah of something He knows not in the heavens or on earth? Glory to Him! And far is He above the partners they ascribe (to Him)!"” [10.8]

Is it the thought of appearing small that makes some children approach parents through their brothers and sisters when they need something?

To help these people further understand, Allah asks in Verse 2.13, “Do they believe that humble and grateful ‘believers’ are fools?” If hypocrites happily believe that they alone are on the ‘right path’ – they deceive none but themselves! Who else, other than the Creator [3.60], can define the truth? The Creator or Manufacturer of human beings has given ‘books’ through the ages, to different peoples, just as a car manufacturer would give maintenance manuals. What value does the purchaser of a car place upon the manufacturer’s manual? Also, what would you say to the car owner who often recites the manual like a parrot without understanding a word?
            
-------------------------------------------------
{Notes}:
{1} Submit: give in to someone’s authority, demands or control. (Encarta Dictionary)
{2} Other creation: other human beings and rest of creation that is subservient to Allah [16.48]; the rest of creation does exactly as Allah has commanded.
{3} Us: the Arabic language has an additional royal first person that has been translated as “Us” or “We” by the translator Abdullah Yusuf Ali. Note that the person initially prays to the Creator, fully realizing that it is only the Creator that can get him/her out of trouble.
{4} Passes: forgets or intentionally overlooks thanking the Creator for getting him/her out of trouble. He/she may feel pleased that the trouble has gone away or he/she may credit himself/herself for coming out of trouble.
{5} Transgress: overstep limits of just and proper conduct.
{6} Serve: many of us serve/worship religious recluses [9.31] commonly known as ‘pirs’ and make excuses of the need for intercession.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2009, 01:24:43 PM by ymislam »
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Re: A few Verses each day
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2009, 04:08:26 PM »
To me, true faith is based on knowledge that came from Allah. Yes i do agree that we claim we believe, but many of us actually don't believe. Does faith fluctuate? or is it because of our ignorance? Are we hypocrites knowingly? Why what we do or say often leads to SHIRK or disbelief.....You have exquisitely clarified who can be called believers as well as what we should do to be believers.

Whom did we actually fear more – Allah or other things like poverty, loss of face amongst peers or bosses? Allah tests each individual, i.e. checks the importance and the priority we give Him given the situations in our day-to-day lives---yes you are absolutely right. But one can listen to peers or bosses or parents until and unless the commandments don't go against those of Allah and Muhammad (sm). Opinions, views n perception vary; it's better if we accept them n live in consensus without making chaos n FITNAH, which are much worse than slaughter as The Qur'an says.  

Allah has told us that He will forgive all sins for the one who repents to Him. He says (interpretation of the meaning):“Say: ‘O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful’” [al-Zumar 39:53]

This includes all sins, even shirk. Whoever repents, Allah will accept his repentance.

With regard to repentance from shirk in particular and the acceptance thereof, Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And those who invoke not any other ilaah (god) along with Allah, nor kill such person as Allah has forbidden, except for just cause, nor commit illegal sexual intercourse and whoever does this shall receive the punishment.

69. The torment will be doubled to him/her on the Day of Resurrection, and s/he will abide therein in disgrace;

70. Except those who repent and believe (in Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds; for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allah is Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful” [al-Furqaan 25:68-70]

Allah mentions the kufr and shirk of the Christians, then calls them to repent. He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Surely, disbelievers are those who said: “Allah is the third of the three (in a Trinity).” But there is no Ilaah (god) (none who has the right to be worshipped) but One Ilaah (God —Allah). And if they cease not from what they say, verily, a painful torment will befall on the disbelievers among them.

74. Will they not turn with repentance to Allah and ask His forgiveness? For Allaah is Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful” [al-Maa'idah 5:73-74]

No matter how great the sin, the forgiveness, generosity and kindness of Allah is greater.

What we, muslims have to do is to turn to Allah, regret what we did and resolve not to do it again. Then receive the glad tidings of the bounty and mercy of Allah, for Islam wipes out whatever sins came before it, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas (may Allah be pleased with him): “O ‘Amr, do you not know that Islam wipes out whatever came before it.” Narrated by Muslim, 121; Ahmad, 17861.

And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The one who repents from sin is like one who did not sin.”  Narrated by al-Tirmidhi and classed as hasan by al-Albaani.

If a person repents to Allah, Allah accepts his/her repentance and forgives him/her. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And He it is Who accepts repentance from His slaves, and forgives sins”[al-Shoora 42:25]

“And verily, I am indeed forgiving to him/her who repents, believes (in My Oneness, and associates none in worship with Me) and does righteous good deeds, and then remains constant in doing them (till his death)” [Ta-Ha 20:82]

We have to think well of our Lord and hope that He will accept our repentance, for Allah says, “I am as My slave thinks I am.” A hadeeth qudsi narrated by al-Bukhaari, 7066; Muslim, 2675. According to Ahmad with a saheeh isnaad:  â€œI am as My slave thinks I am, so let him think whatever he wants.”

With regard to strengthening our faith, this may be done in many ways, such as the following:

1  Remembering Allah a great deal, reading His Book and sending a great deal of blessings upon His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). We should read Qur’an a great deal and ponder its verses, for in that there is healing for what is in our heart, if Allah wills. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And We send down of the Qur’an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe” [al-Isra’ 17:82]

2 Regularly offering the obligatory prayers on time and offering a lot of naafil prayers, so that one may attain the love and support of Allah as it says in the hadeeth: “Whosoever shows enmity to someone devoted to Me, I shall be at war with him. My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6137.

3 Keeping company with good people who will help us to worship and obey Allah and discourage us from disobeying Him.  

4 Reading biographies of righteous people among the scholars, ascetics (zaahids), devoted worshippers and those who repented. Allah narrated the biographies of the prophets in the Qur’an to make the heart of his Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and the believers with him, steadfast. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And all that We relate to you (O Muhammad) of the news of the Messengers is in order that We may make strong and firm your heart thereby. And in this (chapter of the Qur’aan) has come to you the truth, as well as an admonition and a reminder for the believers”
[Hood 11:120]

5 Keeping away from everything that reminds us of sin and calls us to it.

6. Knowing all types of Shirks including big and small that you mentioned and others and refraining from those by doing the above and seeking refuge to Allah. Thus, in general, we can increase our faith.

Finally, "Do not feel weak before your enemy, and do not let him gain any power over you. Seek the help of Allah and do not feel helpless – as Your Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has enjoined you. Remember that “ever feeble indeed is the plot of Shaytaan (Satan)” [al-Nisa’ 4:76].

O Allaah, make faith dear to us and make kufr (disbelief), evildoing and sin hateful to us, and make us of those who are rightly-guided.

May Allah reward you for all your efforts especially for the last posting, an excellent one, indeed.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2009, 12:27:58 PM by shibli »
Those who worship the natural elements enter darkness (Air, Water, Fire, etc.). Those who worship sambhuti sink deeper in darkness. [Yajurveda 40:9]; Sambhuti means created things, for example table, chair, idol, etc.