Frequently Asked Questions
Sometimes my concentration breaks midway through the dhikr or du’a with inner presence and the mind wanders (e.g. if I hear a family member’s voice). Any tips on how to maintain concentration throughout? In the case of the dhikr, I think it may be mild embarrassment that someone will overhear me (I feel self conscious).
Remember that you are training yourself in a newer skill. Just like the first time you lift weights you may not be able to complete the set. You do what you can and slowly improve. Your strength will increase the more you exercise. Similarly you should keep trying and do not worry if the mind wanders. When it happens do this:
- Notice – realise when the thought have ‘gone somewhere’
- Acknowledge – label where they have gone e.g. thoughts of ‘what I need to do next’ or ‘remembering stuff’
- Come back – don’t judge or engage with the thought – simply remember the 3 keys and continue the dhikr and du’a.
On feeling self-conscious:
As we develop in our practices it is often challenging to bring our family members along with us. People feel self-conscious for different reasons, soI can share three approaches that cover most situations:
If the relationship is challenging and it is not possible to communicate this new practice with them, you can find ways to do it secretly. You can schedule the adhkar at times you will not be interrupted or seen by others, for example in the early morning or later at night.The best way to convey a message is by leading by example. Let them see the impact of your adhkar in your conduct towards them.
If you’re able to do the practice, but doing it loudly is the issue, then lower the voice. You can also record your own voice doing the adhkar. Each day follow the adhkar using headphones. This way you can follow along silently. It is best to have your own voice as it creates better connection.
If being seen with your eyes closed is an issue (e.g. your family member might think you’re weird) then keep eyes opened during the Du’a with Inner Presence and Adhkar. You should focus more deeply on the blessed name of Allah azzawajal. You can focus on the image on your phone. If this is not possible you can hold a book etc – the point is to help you focus on one thing as you’re not able to close the eyes.
Being open and transparent helps to build healthy relationships. If you feel self-conscious because you’re not sure about their reaction then (assuming you are able to) speak with your family members and share with them why you are now taking time to do this practice. You can explain that this is part of a course you are studying and it helps to develop sincerity and presence with Allah azzawajal.
In regards to the Istighfar Dhikr, Do we follow all thought levels at once or go through each thought levels?
Start with one level, once it is established (i.e. you find it easy to follow) add the next level until you can work through all the levels in one sitting (i.e. 15mins)
Very good question. It is best to complete first thing in the day to ensure it’s done. As mentioned in narrations of the Holy Prophet, ‘alayhi salaam, the time of Tahajjud is very blessed indeed so this can be considered the best time as well for all worship.
However the best time for you is the time that realistically works and is sustainable! Look at your current schedule and allocate a time you will be able to sit and focus on the adhkar each day AND also plan a back up. For example a good time for you might be after Salatul Zuhur and back up after Salatul Ishaa.
The translated meaning:
I seek forgiveness from Allah the Mighty, The One who has none worthy of worship except Him, The Ever-Living and Sustainer. I repent to Him”
Some of the virtues of this Istighfar:
(Sayyiduna Abu Sa’id Al Khudri (radiyallahu ‘anhu) says: “Whoever says Astaghfirullahal ‘Azim Alladi La Ilaha illa Huwal Hayyul Qayyumu wa atubu ilayhi five times, his sins will be forgiven even they are like the foam of the ocean”
(Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, Hadith: 30060)
(2)Sayyiduna Zayd (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “Whoever says Astaghfirullahal ‘Azim Alladi La Ilaha illa Huwal Hayyul Qayyumu wa atubu ilayhi [once], his sins will be forgiven even if he had fled from battle” (Sunan Tirmidhi, Hadith: 3577, Sunan Abi Dawud, Hadith: 1512)
Tongue sheet- advice on feeling like thoughts and words are being repressed, resulting in further anger or distress
There needs to be a healthy way for the person to process their emotion. Violating the tongue is not a healthy and/or sustainable way to manage emotions. Not only does it harm one in this life (e.g. swearing at loved ones or backbiting friends) but also in the Hereafter.
So, the answer would be: find healthy ways to manage those thoughts and feelings as bottling them up is not good. Example of what one can do:
- Talk to a trusted friend and/or mentor about the situation with the intention of finding a solution to the situation and/or event. For more acute situations one should also consider counselling and therapy.
- Write your thoughts and feelings in a personal journal – this helps to externalise the feeling.
- Exercise – physical activity has been proven to help us process emotions and reduce stress.
Practice Du’a with Inner Presence – turn to Allah azzawajal and ask him to remove this feeling or problem you have encountered.
With an example of prayer: Allah is the only One who deserves worship (WHY). 5 Daily Obligatory Prayers (WHAT). Pray with Khoshoo (HOW)
We will be going through Tawbah (Repentance) and Mujahadah (Striving) in a lot of detail in Session 4. We will learn practical skills to help strengthen both. In regards to Iman and Fiqh – the absolute basics can be learnt in 1 hour – if you would like any of the instructors to book time and go through them with you please let us know.
Please expand on: 1. what is meant by singing, in what context 2. intense debate 3. praising someone in their presence (sometimes this is done intentionally to show appreciation) 4. the list on the slide and on the pdf are different
For more detailed explanation of each sin of the tongue one can invest time to study there. Here are two free resources:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPEzNqC6gh-GogwpdzEu9CyhyEP6POjN9 – Prohibitions of the Tongue (محارم اللسان) Parts 6 Part Series by Mohamed Gilan based on the work by the great Mauritanian Scholar, Imam Muhammad Mawlud.
https://seekersguidance.org/show/31-content-of-character/ – In this episode Shaykh Yahya Rhodus explains how the majority of man’s sins are committed by the tongue, as was taught by Prophet Muhammad. He then highlights the extent of the dangers of the tongue and provides key tips on how to guard one’s tongue.
All of the above is not necessary to know before you start – you just need to know the basic and start today.
To answer you question directly in brief:
1. Singing is in the context of seeing lyrics which have content or association to what, as Muslims, we would consider unlawful (haram). For example lyrics which are have profanity, misogynistic, violent etc.
2. Argumentation and Intense debate usually refers to acting in this way on matters of deen but, in our context, is when we engage in a “back-and-forth” where there is no real outcome or purpose to that exchange. It’s more about proving yourself right. We also observe this behaviour on WhatsApp conversations where two people try to make a point. Formally organised debates and discussions are fine and these require pre-agreed conditions which help to avoid falling into argumentation and sin. Imam Shafi rahimahullah is reported to have said that he would hold discussions and debates but internally he would wish and pray that the truth came out of the words of his opponent.
3. Praising someone in front of them. There is a difference between praising and thanking (e.g. the difference between saying to your friend: “Thank you for helping me” VS “You are the most helpful person I know”).
Our teachers explained that this is usually disliked in our Shari’a (as per many narrations from the Holy Messenger ‘alayhi salatu wa salaam), however there are always exceptions. For example when someone has low self-esteem, it is actually needed to praise them in their presence. Another example is a teacher using praise for children as positive reinforcement for their learning.
We are all aware of the negative effect public praising has (e.g. changes your intention, may lead to pride and arrogance etc) – however this is to be applied with wisdom and if unsure specific questions can be asked. This is not directly related to the question but I will include additional guidance on praise here for everyone to benefit insha Allah:
Brother Harun – you explained how there are 7 organs through which sins enter our heart. The aim is to block off all of those organs so sins do not enter the heart. How does this reconcile with the fact that it is in our nature to sin and forgiveness is one of the purposes of our creation?
There is no contradiction. When you drive a car, accidents happen. This doesn’t mean that you don’t take every precaution to prevent them. Our nature may be inclined towards sin, however, we should try our utmost to prevent accidents and take necessary precautions. Some points to help one understand:
1. The Prophets are sinless, yet they still sought forgiveness – why? There are different levels of sin, mis-steps and heedlessness. We should all at least not engage in Al-Kaba’ir – the Major Sins.
2. The purification of the body is only the 1st stage – so preventing the body from sinning doesn’t mean you’ve become sin-free as the Mind and Heart may still be sinning (e.g. Thinking evil about others and being Ungrateful).
3. Allah azzawajal loves those who turn back to Him in repentance. Allah azzawajal does NOT love those who persist in sin and transgression against Him. There is not virtue in ‘sin’, only in turning away from it.
Does this refer to one sin or additional sins? For example if you commit one sin which is normalised, does it mean that your heart is indifferent to other sins?
Referring to the darkening / encrusting of the heart: It’s a good question. Generally speaking, the darker one’s heart is, the easier it is to be heedless and disobedient to Allah azzawajal. So, to answer your question directly: No. It’s not always the case. For example, someone can be normalised to drinking but hates missing prayers. It is mentioned by one of the Salaf that they would consider each sin (minor and major) like a mountain about to collapse on them. Whilst the evil-doers look at sin like a small fly they flap off their faces.
Yes, firstly there are the sunnah adkar, which you should learn. Second, there is the sunnah of sleeping in wudu. Thirdly, there are the Quranic recitations before sleep (ayatul kursi, the last two verses of al-Baqara and the last three surahs, recited thrice and each time blowing in hands and rubbing the body for protection). Fourthly, there is the sunnah of spitting over the left shoulder if scared by a dream, saying ta’awudh, and changing the side one has been sleeping on. Fifthly, you can try herbal supplements to increase gaba and alpha waves, such as L- theanine or local roots.
Q: My question is if someone is going through wasawas so much that he repeats all five salat after Isha thinking none of them is correct and his life is becoming so difficult that every salat is taken as big test.
The person suffering from waswas should make intention to complete the act of worship or it’s precursor (wudu), and then go through the actions once only, make du’a for acceptance and then move on. Acts should not be repeated, as that is from the shayatin who wishes to make life difficult for the believers. So make intention, do it once, make du’a, move on and don’t think back, and definitely don’t repeat.
Q: Photos have been exchanged between both families, however it is not enough for the individuals to say yes too, are they able to see one another in person? (If both families meet at home) is it also possible for the individuals to speak privately in another room? To what extent can they see/meet one another?
It is not only allowed but encouraged to meet the person one is considering marrying. The prospective couple can speak but not have privacy (be in khalwa), so must be seen, though not necessarily heard at all time. I’m copying the relevant Hadith from sahih Muslim.
Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported: I was in the company of Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) when there came a man and informed him that he had contracted to marry a woman of the Ansar. Thereupon Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Did you cast a glance at her? He said: No. He said: Go and cast a glance at her, for there is something in the eyes of the Ansar.
Is financing a car allowed which if interest is added to the price? Also is it allowed to buy a watch on finance if there is interest charged as well?
Neither interest-based car nor watch financing is permissible, as the loans would fall under qard and the interest therefore under riba. And Allah knows best.
How can I feel peace if my heart is broken in a true relationship and how do I get over it, please give me some Islamic suggestions? It will help me in the future.
I hope this can help you Inshallah
Actions that help get over any relationship are as follows:
1. To stop messaging the person on all forms of communication.
2. To stop talking about them on all forms of communication (in person and online).
3. To stop thinking about them – this can only be done by diverting your attention elsewhere (Allah (azzawajal) and His Messenger (sallallahu alayhe wasallam) are best, but any lawful thought are fine too).
4.Every time the thought of them comes, busy yourself in other matters. Make a list of things to do to district you, when their thought comes e.g. exercise or walk, or nafl salah, or read a book, or recite Quran, or do zikr. Whatever works as a lawful distraction.
5. Create a new strong relationship elsewhere – the best is with Allah (azzawajal) and Rasoolullah (sallallahu alayhe wasallam) and the friends of Allah (azzawajal). After them any pious person who is good company. (Note: the concept works anywhere but if one creates an unlawful relationship, the first one (whether lawful or not) can be emotionally forgotten (detached) but the cycle will continue.
6. “Step out of yourself” – this means stop thinking about “me” and start thinking of others. Then help them, help anyone. Be of service to mankind.
Whenever a person has a problem, a simple solution is to help someone else who has a bigger problem. When you come back to your problem, your mind will see things in perspective (comparison) and yours will feel lighter therefore easier to overcome.
All 6 actions above have an element of difficulty in them. But there is peace on the other side. With this understanding it becomes easier to do. Choose 3 from from above to start with then gradually implement all 6 of them within 60 days.
Mindsets that help are below. Choose 1 and repeat it 10-20 times per day to have effect
1. “With time, everything heals… so I will let time pass”
2. “I am not the emotion. It is not me. Let it pass.”
3. “I embrace this pain of separation. I won’t fight it. Instead I will embrace it.”
4. “Only in the remembrance of Allah (azzawajal) does the heart find peace”. Remembrance here is deeper than simply repeating the name of Allah (azzawajal) only. It refers to the developing a special relationship between the servant and their Lord.
5. “The heartbreak I get from creation is a reminder that Allah (azzawajal) will never break my heart so I will only give it to Him. It was never meant for anyone else. They can never care for it as it should be cared for. Only He can so my Lord I give it to You.”
In addition, in your question you have mentioned a “true” relationship. “True” relationships can mean different things to different people. For some “true” may mean they felt what they think of as real love. But love is more than just a temporal feeling. For others who are new or young and haven’t had much experience will think their very first relationship is “true”. And for some they will be attached to a person and think this attachment is “true”. None of these are the real “true” relationships.
A “true” relationship in reality is one which is purely for the sake of Allah (azzawajal) (meaning His pleasure). Both parties don’t want any personal benefit from the other. This type of relationship is the purest in the entire world and it never breaks. If it outwardly breaks, there is a greater good in there and it is also for the sake of Allah (azzawajal) e.g. a teacher teaching a student a difficult lesson or a parent admonishing their child or a spouse unable to have children asking their spouse to leave them to marry someone who can. When the element of self sacrifice is present, this is a sign of true love. It should be done for the sake of Allah to be reward worthy and inshallah the reward will be attaining His friendship in return. That relationship is true and eternal.
Ustaad Usman Ahmed
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