Ramadan Mubarak, Campus Iftars & More!

As-Salamu Alaykum,

Baihaqi reported on the authority of Salman Al-Farsi that the Prophet (PBUH) delivered a sermon on the last day of the month of Sha’ban. In it he said,

“O People! The month of Allah (Ramadan) has come with its mercies, blessings and forgiveness. Allah has decreed this month the best of all months. The days of this month are the best among the days and the nights are the best among the nights and the hours during Ramadan are the best among the hours. This is a month in which you have been invited by Allah (to fast and pray). Allah has honored you in it. In every breath you take is a reward of Allah, your sleep is worship, your good deeds are accepted and your invocations are answered.”

Beloved Michigan Muslims, Ramadan Mubarak!

We pray that this special month brings you continuous blessings and benefits. We pray that God makes this special month smooth for you and accepts all your worship. We pray that it is a productive, joyous and tranquil month for you and your families. We pray that this Ramadan is your best one yet, and that you are able to experience and nourish yourself through many more Ramadans to come insha’Allah. Jazakum Allah Kheir for being an integral part of this community that, for many, provides a sense of family.

Speaking of family, they say that the family that prays together, stays together- and eats together! The MSA will be hosting a campus iftar every week during Ramadan, insha’Allah. Please save these dates and be on the lookout for emails with location details. We would love to see you and break our fasts with you!

Thursday, July 26 (East Hall – co-sponsored with the Michigan Muslim Alumni Foundation- a reunion!)
Thursday, August 2 (East Hall)
Thursday, August 9 (Rackham)
Wednesday, August 15 (Rackham)

On these nights, will also hold taraweeh prayers on campus. For all other days of the month, we are organizing carpools to the local Muslim Center of Ann Arbor (MCA). If you need a ride or can offer others a ride (even if just once a week), please e-mail Omar Hadied (mhadied@umich.edu) or Nour Soubani (nsouba@umich.edu).

To use public transportation, TheRide #2 city bus can get you to the MCA in about 15 minutes. Riding the bus is free with your M-Card!

MCA website: http://mca-aa.org/
Bus #2 route schedule: http://aata.org/rideguide.asp?route=2
From downtown (to MCA): http://aata.org/rideguide/2out.pdf
To downtown (back to campus): http://aata.org/rideguide/2in.pdf

Also, stay tuned for blog posts from MSA’s soon-to-launch Green Muslims project for tips on how you can make this month a Green Ramadan!

Peace and blessings,
Your MSA Board

Why Does Evil Exist: Hardships and Struggle on the Path to Allah (with Sr. Yasmin Mogahed)

For your listening convenience, download the audio of this halaqa here: http://bit.ly/21612halaqa

NOTES from the Halaqa (Thanks to Sarah Abe!) 

Why Does Evil Exist?

–   Jannah is infinite

  • We are only on this Earth to worship Allah for a limited time, yet the payback is infinite
  • There is a price to get to Jannah, but it is not equivalent to what we’re getting
    • Imagine you found something normally $1000 on sale for only a penny – you’d think it’s a pretty good deal, right? And Jannah is INFINITE
    • The greatest reward of Jannah is seeing Allah
      • “After the people of the Garden have entered the Garden, He Who is Blessed and Exalted shall ask: “Do you wish Me to give you anything more?” And they will reply: “Have You not brightened our faces? Have You not made us enter the Garden and saved us from the Fire?” He will then remove the veil, and nothing they were ever given will have been dearer to them than the vision of their Lord, the High, the Majestic.” -Hadith
      • The most painful punishment of the Hellfire is the veil between you and Allah

–   “Do you think that you will enter the Garden without such trials as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity, and were so shaken in spirit that even the Messenger and those of faith who were with him cried ‘When will come the help of Allah?’ Verily, the help of Allah is always near!” (Quran 2:214)

  • Take comfort: our hardships have happened to others before us
  • This ayah is reassurance – you are not alone. Those who came before us were shaken (this word in the Quran comes from the same root as earthquake) – so will we be, those around us, and others after us

–   “Be sure that We shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss of goods, lives, and the fruits of your toil. But give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere (have sabr).” (Quran 2:155)

  • Who are these people? Next ayah: “Those who, when afflicted with calamity, say ‘to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return.’” (2:156)
    • This is more than a statement – it’s an attitude
      • Begins with knowing Who you and everything you own really belong to
      • Everything here is a loan – so when Allah takes it back, am I in any position to complain?

–   Your health is not yours, nor your wealth, nor your limbs, etc.

–   Analogy: If your friend lets you borrow his car for years and then asks for it back, what should you do? You would only be upset if you have forgotten who the car really belongs to

–   Next ayah: “On them will descend blessings from Allah, and mercy, and they are those who will receive guidance.” (2:157)

  • These things are absolutely priceless
  • They will come with the proper response to mercy
    • This means the affliction itself is a mercy, a gift – anything that brings us closer to Allah is good for us, even if it hurts

–   Even ease is a test – you were given Islam. What are you going to do with it?

  • Ease can be a harder test – if you’re in ease, it is easier to forget Allah
    • Ex. One who is rich and thinks he deserves all he has

–   Why do “bad” things happen to “good” people? The definition is flawed – only good things happen to good people

–   “Life is a prison for the believer and a paradise for the disbeliever.” -Hadith

  • This doesn’t mean you should be miserable, and it doesn’t mean you have to suffer in this life. What is a prison? A prisoner does his time and goes home. And it being a paradise for the disbeliever means that this is the best it gets.

–   Given trials in order to learn “humility”

  • The word in this ayah is more than humility – it refers to a person who has lost everything and turns to Allah. Imagine someone in the middle of a storm, they’ve lost their lifeboat, life jacket, flares are gone…the only place they have left to turn is Allah.
    • Imagine the humility and the nearness of the servant to Allah at this point
    • The storm makes you return to Allah – these are the times when you feel nearest to Him.
      • Allah sends us hardship in order to return to Him

–   A lot of times, we run after things of this world for solutions – but Allah sends us hardship so that we run after HIM

  • “Do not lose heart nor fall into despair, for you will gain mastery if you are true believers.” (3:139)
    • If you follow the guidance of Allah, there will be no fear on you nor grief

–   If we have Allah, nothing can harm us

–   Ibn Taymiyyah: “What can they do to me? My Paradise is in my heart.”

  • Allah’s tests are not like those of a professor – He doesn’t give them to you and then just watch how you do. He doesn’t expect us to shoulder the tasks alone.
    • Dua of the Prophet: “Do not leave me to myself for the blink of an eye.”
    • If we think we’re strong and can do it on our own, we will fall – we can’t even stand without the help of Allah

–   The whole purpose of Allah’s test is for us to turn to HIM.

Gems of Islam

(This was a sisters only Halaqa that took place 2/17/2012)

–   Asiyah is set example in the Quran for all people, men and women, throughout time (66:11)

–   4 perfect women:

  • Asiyah – abused to the point of torture, married to Pharoah
  • Maryam – a single mother
  • Fatima
  • Khadeeja

–   Asiyah

  • Married to a man and tyrant who tortured and killed those who believed
  • Imagine the risk she took for her faith
  • As she was being tortured, she asked for a house in Paradise – and Allah showed it to her
    • She smiled at this as she was being tortured
    • If we keep jannah in our hearts, even the hardest situation can be made light – smile through hardship

–   Situations are not objectively difficult; how difficult something is depends on how much divine help you have

  • Patience is a gift from Allah – if He gives you patience in any situation, you can handle it
  • Don’t fear situations, fear that you’ll be in a situation without Allah
    • The problem is not the affliction, the problem is the lack of provision
      • When you get hungry, the issue is not hunger; the issue is not having food. When you get cold, the difficulty lies in not having a blanket.
      • Similarly, difficulty doesn’t lie in the situation – difficulty lies in not having the provision, which is Allah.
  • If you depend on something not meant to hold you up, you will fall
    • If you use a twig to pull you up and it breaks, nobody blames the twig – it was never created to hold you. Nothing of creation is meant to hold your weight. If you grasp something weak, it will break.
    • “One who has grasped a firm handhold” (2:256) refers to one who believes in Allah, who has grasped a handhold that will never break
  • Worldly things are just tools sent by Allah. Our problem is that we don’t see Allah.
    • “We see the gift, but we don’t see the Giver. We’re so lost in the reflection, we don’t see the light.” –Yasmin Mogahed
    • “Allah is the real source – everything else is a tool.” –Yasmin Mogahed

¨     If Allah wills medicine not to work, no amount of medicine will save you

  • “When we seek something that is itself weak, then we become weak.” –Yasmin Mogahed

¨     Make your happiness lie in something constant; the only constant is Allah.

–   Maryam

  • Had she depended on her own means to solve the problem, it wouldn’t have had any effect – Allah took care of her
    • Nothing she could have done would have been as effective as her child speaking from the cradle
    • Seek your provision, but count on Allah
      • Do the deeds because this is why we were created, but don’t think for a moment that we deserve jannah because of our deeds
      • Work with your limbs, but leave your heart facing Allah
        • Accept and be content with what those limbs are able to make

–   Hajar did not just sit – she trusted Allah, but she ran between Safa and Marwa seven times

  • She wasn’t trying different things – she tried the same thing, over and over and over again. She was doing her part, but in the end, no amount of running would make water spring from the middle of the desert – it was from the power of Allah
  • Another example: Musa striking the sea with his staff in order to part it. How many times have you slapped the sea with a stick and seen it rise up and split? This couldn’t have happened without the power of Allah
    • Similarly, Allah did not need Hajar’s running or Musa’s strike in order to bring water from the desert or split the sea
      • Take the means, perform the actions, but leave your hope in Allah

–   Role of mother, wife – these are means, not ends

  • Marriage is just another means to reach our destination
  • What completes you is your relationship with Allah – not your role as mother/wife
    • Marriage is just another provision
    • Use provisions as vehicles to take us to our purpose
      • Everything you have, every situation, is a vehicle to reach Allah
        • Often we act the opposite – we set a worldly goal and then ask Allah to get us there. But our final destination is Allah, and everything in this world is another means to get us to Him

–   Back when the polytheists would worship statues – “Why do you worship them? They cannot help or hurt you.”

  • Everything in creation is like a statue – only Allah can help or harm you
    • Everything in His hands is a tool
    • Allah can help you through using tools of His creation, whether those be objects or people

–   Sometimes, someone hurting us can be of benefit – forgive, and Allah will forgive you

  • Thank them for giving you another means to attain Allah’s forgiveness
  • Even psychologists recognize the power of forgiveness – it’s always the first step to healing. It’s essential to your well-being – you have to forgive in order to be able to heal yourself

–   Anger comes from a loss of control

  • Realize that you can’t actually control anything

–   Sometimes, we get so hasty to do the sunnah we forget the fard – do the fard. Those things that are obligatory are those most beloved to Allah.