Tuesday, 22 November 2011

A message to the vacationer

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

Blessed brother

This message is written by the ink of love, I poured my soul in every word wishing that it will reach the bottom of your heart. I implore you to accompany me with your mind, the mind which prevents you from committing ugly things, which keeps you away from tensions and useless piffle. Consider my words objectively and fairly, with no bias to your desires, whims or lusts.

Blessed brother

My concern with you is what you are thinking about right now: searching for a suitable place for you and your family, you may even have prepared everything! Yes, it is recreation and entertainment. First of all I do not blame you for thinking about that, it is human nature, and it is our innate nature which Allah has created. It would be fighting reality to blame you that you take your family in a trip to the wilderness or to a picnic.

When Hanzalah, may Allah be pleased with him, met Abu Bakr he said to him: "Hanzalah is a hypocrite", Abu Bakr wondered: "Glorified is Allah above all, what are you saying?", he answered: "when we are with the Prophet, peace be upon him, he reminds us with paradise as if we can see it with our own eyes, when we leave him we attend to our spouses, children and farms and we forget a lot". Abu Bakr said: "the same happens with me". Hanzalah and Abu Bakr set off till they entered to the Prophet, peace be upon him, Hanzalah said: "O Messenger of Allah! Hanzalah is a hypocrite", the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "what is that?", Hanzalah answered: " O Messenger of Allah when we are with you, you remind us with paradise and hell as if we can see them with our own eyes, when we leave you we attend to our spouses, children and farms and we forget a lot", the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "by Allah, if you continue the way you are with me when we mention Allah, angles would shake your hands on your beds and when on roads, but Hanzalah an hour and an hour, he repeated it three times". [Narrated by Muslim]

‹‹ لقيني أبو بكر فقال: كيف أنت ؟ يا حنظلة ! قال قلت : نافق حنظلة . قال : سبحان الله ! ما تقول ؟ قال قلت : نكون عند رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم . يذكرنا بالنار والجنة . حتى كأنا رأي عين . فإذا خرجنا من عند رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، عافسنا الأزواج والأولاد والضيعات . فنسينا كثيرا . قال أبو بكر : فوالله ! إنا لنلقى مثل هذا . فانطلقت أنا وأبو بكر ، حتى دخلنا على رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم . قلت : نافق حنظلة . يا رسول الله ! فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم " وما ذاك ؟ " قلت : يا رسول الله ! نكون عندك . تذكرنا بالنار والجنة . حتى كأنا رأي عين . فإذا خرجنا من عندك ، عافسنا الأزواج والأولاد والضيعات . نسينا كثيرا . فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم " والذي نفسي بيده ! إن لو تدومون على ما تكونون عندي ، وفي الذكر ، لصافحتكم الملائكة على فرشكم وفي طرقكم . ولكن ، يا حنظلة ! ساعة وساعة " ثلاث مرات .››[رواه مسلم]

So, recreation is important, burdens must be alleviated, as the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "an hour and an hour".

Here is where the human whims and desires interfere in understanding the words of the Prophet, peace be upon him: "an hour and an hour". Ali ibn Abi-Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "I fear that you follow two things: whims and high expectations: following whims makes you deviate from righteousness, and high expectations make you forget the Hereafter ".

An hour and an hour, yes an hour and an hour but, does this mean it is an hour for worship and an hour for disobedience? Is it an hour for Allah and an hour for you where you can do whatever you wish or crave for? This concept cannot be tolerated by the words of the Prophet, peace be upon him, or to imagine how the Prophet, peace be upon him, may encourage disobeying Allah or violate His set limits. The Prophet, peace be upon him, would never get angry for himself, but only for the sake of Allah, he would turn red with rage whenever Allah's limits were violated. How could he then authorize sins? And this is his dogma and belief! Oh God this is great slander. The true concept perceived from his words "an hour and an hour" is that an hour to worship Allah and an hour for lawful recreation. This is the spirit of Shari'a (laws of Allah): “: But seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter; and [yet], do not forget your share of the world. And do good as Allah has done good to you. And desire not corruption in the land. Indeed, Allah does not like corrupters” [Al-Qasas 28:77]

{وَابْتَغِ فِيمَا آتَاكَ اللَّهُ الدَّارَ الْآخِرَةَ وَلَا تَنسَ نَصِيبَكَ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا وَأَحْسِن كَمَا أَحْسَنَ اللَّهُ إِلَيْكَ وَلَا تَبْغِ الْفَسَادَ فِي الْأَرْضِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُفْسِدِينَ} [القصص: 77]

Transliteration: Wa Abtaghi Fīmā 'Ātāka Allāhu Ad-Dāra Al-'Ākhirata Wa Lā Tansa Naşībaka Mina Ad-Dunyā Wa 'Aĥsin Kamā 'Aĥsana Allāhu 'Ilayka Wa Lā Tabghi Al-Fasāda Fī Al-'Arđi 'Inna Allāha Lā Yuĥibbu Al-Mufsidīna

Here is Allah commanding you to use the wealth and blessings, He has bestowed on you, in His obedience and to try to get close to the reward of the Hereafter by good deeds, and “forget not your portion of lawful enjoyment in this world” the things that Allah has allowed you to: food, drinks, houses, marriage. What a great religion! What a perfect Shari'a! It considered all aspects of life and gave all their rights.

O dear brother

Islam is not a stumbling block against recreation and enjoyment as long as they abide by the rules that guarantee your and your family's safety and wellbeing in both homes: life and the Hereafter. But if, however, this has been accompanied by excessive negligence to His laws, here comes the warning and prevention, not to deprive you from enjoying recreations. Nay, it is in order to keep you from the sins that would surround you, lest you perish and become one of the losers.

By Allah, how nice it is that a Muslim remains in his country to enjoy its sightseeing! And he completely disregards, unless for legitimate excuses, traveling to the lands of impiety where vice is abundantly committed, as there are a lot of religious texts preventing doing so.

How nice it would be if the picnic is full of mentioning Allah and maintaining His ordinances.

How beautiful to take lessons from the picnic; you do not build castles or aspire to establish important things, you are certain that there is a house in town to return to. You should keep in mind that this life is like a picnic, not permanent, there is an eternal home awaiting you: what have you prepared for it?

If this picnic is taken in that fresh air under the blue sky and lively colors; that make you contemplate and reflect on the stars and spheres, which you may not see in the cities, then you are from those described by Allah: “: 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.” [Al-'Imran 3:191]

{الَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللّهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَىَ جُنُوبِهِمْ وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقْتَ هَذا بَاطِلاً سُبْحَانَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ}[ عمران: 191]

Transliteration: Al-Ladhīna Yadhkurūna Allāha Qiyāmāan Wa Qu`ūdāan Wa `Alá Junūbihim Wa Yatafakkarūna Fī Khalqi As-Samāwāti Wa Al-'Arđi Rabbanā Mā Khalaqta Hādhā Bāţilāan Subĥānaka Faqinā `Adhāba An-Nāri

What about taking along some useful books and tapes to distribute among your friends or people around you! What a beautiful trip that combines fun and propagate to Allah and the promotion of virtue and the prevention of vice, there is no contradiction in that. The most beautiful trip is where you can find permissible humor and useful enjoyment.

By Allah what a wonderful man who takes his family for innocent recreational activities, to places free from the eyes of the peepers.

All of these are beautiful images, but what stains them is the revolting and conscience chiding scenes we see in some of the so-called family parks, where women are loud, putting on make-up and taking off their veils… so much that some women use children swings while strangers are watching… has it reached this far? Has dignity vanished? Has ethics been slaughtered?

Dear brother:

I hope that you would not turn your heart or ear on me, just answer me: can you enjoy yourself in such gatherings? Can your wife be at ease while looking into Allah's kingdom, where she is surrounded by people and other families? How many young men are in these parks to stalk girls? They are only interested in peeping! How many young men sitting in their cars where music is too loud, can you prevent your ears or your family's from hearing such sounds? And how many impermissible scenes you will have to see like the unveiled women? If you could lower your gaze from one woman can you lower it from the other or the other? I speak in such a frank attitude because I know that you truly appreciate the rituals of your religion and prioritize them in your life. You have accepted Allah as your God and Muhammad, peace be upon him, His Messenger. You would say that these places have their positive aspects; I agree with you but keep in mind that their negative aspects are more than their positive ones, so, harm prevention is prioritized over bringing interests. You may not be convinced saying: ''what unnecessary complications while religion is so easy and facile". I would answer that you would not be convinced unless you, God forbid, got stung, then regret will do no good.

You may say that your family pressurizes you, I answer with the words of Allah: “O you who have believed, indeed, among your wives and your children are enemies to you, so beware of them. But if you pardon and overlook and forgive – then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” [Taghabun 64:14]

{يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّ مِنْ أَزْوَاجِكُمْ وَأَوْلَادِكُمْ عَدُوًّا لَّكُمْ فَاحْذَرُوهُمْ وَإِن تَعْفُوا وَتَصْفَحُوا وَتَغْفِرُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ} [التغابن: 14]

Transliteration: Yā 'Ayyuhā Al-Ladhīna 'Āmanū 'Inna Min 'Azwājikum Wa 'Awlādikum `Adūwāan Lakum Fāĥdharūhum Wa 'In Ta`fū Wa Taşfaĥū Wa Taghfirū Fa'inna Allāha Ghafūrun Raĥīmun

Know that you are responsible before Allah about your Maharem, they were shielded, so do not make them unveiled before every eye.

Dear brother

I know that you may think that I have diagnosed the case, not offering any solutions, that I have prevented you from picnicking in these mixed parks but did not offer the alternative. Well, beware of the infamous terrible thing that many Muslims do absent-mindedly; which is asking for alternatives whenever they are prevented or denied something, though it is our duty to say: We hear and we obey: “The only statement of the [true] believers when they are called to Allah and His Messenger to judge between them is that they say, “We hear and we obey.” And those are the successful.” [An-Nur 24:51]

{إِنَّمَا كَانَ قَوْلَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذَا دُعُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَهُمْ أَن يَقُولُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا وَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ}[النور: 51]

Transliteration: 'Innamā Kāna Qawla Al-Mu'uminīna 'Idhā Du`ū 'Ilá Allāhi Wa Rasūlihi Liyaĥkuma Baynahum 'An Yaqūlū Sami`nā Wa 'Aţa`nā Wa 'Ūlā'ika Humu Al-Mufliĥūna

This is how a true believer reacts when hearing His commands and prohibitions, blind obedience; therefore Allah addresses His believing slaves describing them with the best characteristics they like: “: O you who have believed, respond to Allah and to the Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life. And know that Allah intervenes between a man and his heart and that to Him you will be gathered.” [Al-Anfal 8:24]

{َا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اسْتَجِيبُواْ لِلّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُم لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ وَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللّهَ يَحُولُ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَأَنَّهُ إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ}[الأنفال: 24]

Transliteration: Yā 'Ayyuhā Al-Ladhīna 'Āmanū Astajībū Lillāhi Wa Lilrrasūli 'Idhā Da`ākum Limā Yuĥyīkum Wa A`lamū 'Anna Allāha Yaĥūlu Bayna Al-Mar'i Wa Qalbihi Wa 'Annahu 'Ilayhi Tuĥsharūna

And that is how the companions of the Prophet were, peace be upon him, responding without hesitation to His commands. When the verses concerning the prohibition of alcoholic drinks were revealed, a public crier called in Medina: "alcoholic drinks have been prohibited", whoever had a glass in his hands broke it immediately, whoever had a sip in his mouth spit it, bottles had been shattered, the wine alley closed, as if there has never existed drunkenness or alcoholic drinks. Then, why whenever a prohibition is mentioned people would immediately ask for an alternative? As if they would not stop disobeying Allah unless alternatives are provided. Oh Lord of the Ka'aba, this is a manifested loss. “: For those who have responded to their Lord is the best [reward], but those who did not respond to Him – if they had all that is in the earth entirely and the like of it with it, they would [attempt to] ransom themselves thereby. Those will have the worst account, and their refuge is Hell, and wretched is the resting place” [Ar-Ra'd 13:18]

{لِلَّذِينَ اسْتَجَابُواْ لِرَبِّهِمُ الْحُسْنَى وَالَّذِينَ لَمْ يَسْتَجِيبُواْ لَهُ لَوْ أَنَّ لَهُم مَّا فِي الأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا وَمِثْلَهُ مَعَهُ لاَفْتَدَوْاْ بِهِ أُوْلَئِكَ لَهُمْ سُوءُ الْحِسَابِ وَمَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ وَبِئْسَ الْمِهَاد}[الرعد: 18]

Transliteration: Lilladhīna Astajābū Lirabbihimu Al-Ĥusná Wa Al-Ladhīna Lam Yastajībū Lahu Law 'Anna Lahum Mā Fī Al-'Arđi Jamī`āan Wa Mithlahu Ma`ahu Lāftadaw Bihi 'Ūlā'ika Lahum Sū'u Al-Ĥisābi Wa Ma'wāhum Jahannamu Wa Bi'sa Al-Mihādu

And “Respond to your Lord before a Day comes from Allah of which there is no repelling. No refuge will you have that day, nor for you will there be any denial.” [Ash-Shura 42:47]

{اسْتَجِيبُوا لِرَبِّكُم مِّن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَ يَوْمٌ لَّا مَرَدَّ لَهُ مِنَ اللَّهِ مَا لَكُم مِّن مَّلْجَأٍ يَوْمَئِذٍ وَمَا لَكُم مِّن نَّكِير}[الشورى: 47]

Transliteration: Astajībū Lirabbikum Min Qabli 'An Ya'tiya Yawmun Lā Maradda Lahu Mina Allāhi Mā Lakum Min Malja'iin Yawma'idhin Wa Mā Lakum Min Nakīrin

This is the way Muslims should raise their children till they grow old.

Anyway, let me mention some alternatives, and as it is said: need is the mother of invention:

First: Private park: they gave vent to many people where a man can take his family out; spend some quality time together happily, peacefully and amiably.

Second: Exploitation of public parks when empty:
For example, after Fajr prayer, one notices that people start their picnics around sunset till the late hours of the night and then parks become empty, so a man can contradict this habit, he can take his family whether to the sea shore or the like places.

Third: Go to the wilderness and deserts and enjoy those places away from the eyes and the harassment of people.

Fourth: Go to the Holy House of Allah (Ka'ba) to perform Umrah and stay close to the holy land, you can also visit Al-Taif; a beautiful summer resort so that you and your family can enjoy the fresh air, the green land and the magnificent scenery. In doing so, you have combined two goals: obedience and recreation.

Finally: blessed brother when you return home, you must recall the outcome of your trip; if good, then praise Allah, if not, blame none but yourself.

O Allah, make us thankful to you, always mentioning you, repentant to you, and make us of the righteous, forgive us and forgive our parents and all the Muslims. The blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions.

Written by: Mohammed ibn Abdullah Alhabadan

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