Destination the Hereafter – Have you packed your suitcases?


…”Dad was now becoming more worried about me. I’ve never cried like that before”…

Her cheeks were worn and sunken and her skin hugged her bones. That didn’t stop her though; you could never catch her not reciting Quran. Always vigil in her personal prayer room Dad had set up for her. Bowing, prostrating, raising her hands in prayer. That was the way she was from dawn to sunset and back again, boredom was for others.

As for me I craved nothing more than fashion magazines and novels. I treated myself all the time to videos until those trips to the rental place became my trademark. As they say, when something becomes habit people tend to distinguish you by it. I was negligent in my responsibilities and laziness characterized my Salah.
 
One night, I turned the video off after a marathon three hours of watching. The azaan softly rose in that quiet night. I slipped peacefully into my blanket.
 
Her voice carried from her prayer room. “Yes? Would you like anything Norah?”
With a sharp needle she popped my plans. ‘Don’t sleep before you pray Fajar!’
“Agh … there’s still an hour before Fajar, that was only the first azaan!”
 
With those loving pinches of hers, she called me closer. She was always like that, even before the fierce sickness shook her spirit and shut her in bed. ‘Hanan can you come sit beside me.’
 
I could never refuse any of her requests, you could touch the purity and sincerity. “Yes, Norah?”
‘Please sit here.’
“OK, I’m sitting. What’s on your mind?”
 
With the sweetest mono voice she began reciting:
[Every soul shall taste death and you will merely be repaid your earnings on Resurrection Day{3:185}]
 
She stopped thoughtfully. Then she asked, ‘Do you believe in death?’
“Of course I do.”
‘Do you believe that you shall be responsible for whatever you do, regardless of how small or large?’
“I do, but . Allah is Forgiving and Merciful and I’ve got a long life waiting for me.”
 
‘Stop it Hanan … aren’t you afraid of death and it’s abruptness? Look at Hind. She was younger than you but she died in a car accident. So did so and so, and so and so. Death is age-blind and your age could never be a measure of when you shall die.’
 
The darkness of the room filled my skin with fear. “I’m scared of the dark and now you made me scared of death, how am I supposed to go to sleep now. Norah, I thought you promised you’d go with us on vacation during the summer break.”
 
Impact. Her voice broke and her heart quivered. ‘I might be going on a long trip this year Hanan, but somewhere else. Just maybe. All of our lives are in Allah’s hands and we all belong to Him.’
 
My eyes welled and the tears slipped down both cheeks.
 
I pondered my sisters grizzly sickness, how the doctors had informed my father privately that there was not much hope that Norah was going to outlive the disease. She wasn’t told though. Who hinted to her? Or was it that she could sense the truth.
 
‘What are you thinking about Hanan?’ Her voice was sharp. ‘Do you think I am just saying this because I am sick? Uh – uh. In fact, I may live longer than people who are not sick. And you Hanan, how long are you going to live? Twenty years, maybe? Forty? Then what?’ Through the dark she reached for my hand and squeezed gently. ‘There’s no difference between us; we’re all going to leave this world to live in Paradise or agonize in Hell.

I left my sister’s room dazed, her words ringing in my ears: “May Allah guide you Hanan – don’t forget your prayer.”

Eight O’clock in the morning. Pounding on my door. I don’t usually wake up at this time. Crying. Confusion. O Allah, what happened?
 
Norah’s condition became critical after Fajar, they took her immediately to the hospital … Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un….this is what Norah always said to say if she died.
 
There wasn’t going to be any trips this summer. It was written that I would spend the summer at home., i could feel it.
 
At hospital….
It was one O’clock in the afternoon. Mother phoned the hospital. ‘Yes. You can come and see her now.’ Dad’s voice had changed, mother could sense something had gone deathly wrong. We left immediately.
 
Where was that avenue I used to travel and thought was so short? Why was it so long now, so very long. Where was the cherished crowd and traffic that would give me a chance to gaze left and right. Everyone, just move out of our way. Mother was shaking her head in her hands – crying – as she made du’a for her Norah.
 
We arrived at the hospitals main entrance.
 
One man was moaning, another was involved in an accident and a third’s eyes were iced, you couldn’t tell if he was alive or dead.
 
We skipped stairs to Norah’s floor. She was in intensive care.
 
The nurse approached us. ‘Let me take you to her.’ As we walked down the aisles the nurse went on expressing how sweet a girl Norah was. She reassured Mother somewhat that Norah’s condition had gotten better than what it was in the morning.
 
‘Sorry. No more than one visitor at a time.’ This was the intensive care unit. Through the small window in the door and past the flurry of white robes I caught my sisters eyes. Mother was standing beside her. After two minutes, mother came out unable to control her crying.
 
‘You may enter and say Salaam to her on condition that you do not speak too long,’ they told me. ‘Two minutes should be enough.’
 
“How are you Norah? You were fine last night sister, what happened?”
We held hands, she squeezed harmlessly. ‘Even now, Alhamdulillah, I’m doing fine.’
“Alhamdulillah … but … your hands are so cold.”
 
I sat on her bedside and rested my fingers on her knee. She jerked it away.
“Sorry … did I hurt you?” “No, it is just that I remembered Allah’s words [One leg will be wrapped to the other leg (in the death shroud)]
… Hanan pray for me. I may be meeting the first day of the hereafter very soon. It is a long journey and I haven’t prepared enough good deeds in my suitcase.’
 
A tear escaped my eye and ran down my cheek at her words. I cried and she joined me. The room blurred away and left us – two sisters – to cry together. Rivulets of tears splashed down on my sister’s palm, which I held with both hands. Dad was now becoming more worried about me. I’ve never cried like that before.
 
At home and upstairs in my room, I watched the sun pass away with a sorrowful day. Silence mingled in our corridors. A cousin came in my room, another. The visitors were many and all the voices from downstairs stirred together.
Only one thing was clear at that point … Norah had died!
 
I stopped distinguishing who came and who went. I couldn’t remember what they said. O Allah, where was I? What was going on? I couldn’t even cry anymore.
 
Later that week they told me what had happened. Dad had taken my hand to say goodbye to my sister for the last time, I had kissed Norah’s head.
 
I remember only one thing though, seeing her spread on that bed, the bed that she was going to die on. I remembered the verse she recited: [One leg will be wrapped to the other leg (in the death shroud){75:29}] and I knew too well the truth of the next verse: [The drive on that day we be to your Lord (Allah)!{75:30}]
 
I tiptoed into her prayer room that night. Staring at the quiet dressers and silenced mirrors, I treasured who it was that had shared my mother’s stomach with me. Norah was my twin sister.
I remembered who I had swapped sorrows with. Who had comforted my rainy days. I remembered who had prayed for my guidance and who had spent so many tears for so many long nights telling me about death and accountability. May Allah save us all.
 
Tonight is Norah’s first night that she shall spend in her tomb. O Allah, have mercy on her and illumine her grave. This was her Quran, her prayer mat and .and this was the spring rose-colored dress that she told me she would hide until she got married, the dress she wanted to keep just for her husband.
 
I remembered my sister and cried over all the days that I had lost. I prayed to Allah to have mercy on me, accept me and forgive me. I prayed to Allah to keep her firm in her grave, as she always liked to mention in her supplications.
 
At that moment, I stopped. I asked myself: what if it was I who had died? Where would I be moving on to? Fear pressed me and the tears began all over again.
 
The first azaan rose softly from the Masjid, how beautiful it sounded this time. I felt calm and relaxed as I repeated the Muadhins call. I wrapped the shawl around my shoulders and stood to pray Fajar. I prayed as if it was my last prayer, a farewell prayer, just like Norah had done yesterday. It had been her last Fajar.
 
Now and insha’ Allah for the rest of my life, if I awake in the mornings I do not count on being alive by evening, and in the evening I do not count on being alive by morning.
 
We are all going on Norah’s journey – what have we prepared for it?
 
My sister has already left on this eternal journey? Have YOU & I packed our suitcases?
 
*************************** 
 

Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar R.A says that someone asked the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) which man is the wisest.The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said that; the one who remembers death much and is ever engaged in making preparation for it.These are the men who have become masters of this world and the next. (TIBRANI)   

Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar R.A. says that the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) putting his hand on his shoulder, said that they should spend life like a traveller.He forbode to wait for the morning in the evening and for evening in the morning.He advised to accumulate the prayers when he is healthy; keeping the period of illness in mind and should do something good for the death when he is ill. (BUKHARI) 
 
Hazrat Shaddad bin Aus(R.A.) says that the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) has said that the alert man is one; who takes account of his life and does alot of good actions; which may be useful to him after death. (TIRMIZI)

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Destination the Hereafter – Have you packed your suitcases?


…”Dad was now becoming more worried about me. I’ve never cried like that before”…

Her cheeks were worn and sunken and her skin hugged her bones. That didn’t stop her though; you could never catch her not reciting Quran. Always vigil in her personal prayer room Dad had set up for her. Bowing, prostrating, raising her hands in prayer. That was the way she was from dawn to sunset and back again, boredom was for others.

As for me I craved nothing more than fashion magazines and novels. I treated myself all the time to videos until those trips to the rental place became my trademark. As they say, when something becomes habit people tend to distinguish you by it. I was negligent in my responsibilities and laziness characterized my Salah.
 
One night, I turned the video off after a marathon three hours of watching. The azaan softly rose in that quiet night. I slipped peacefully into my blanket.
 
Her voice carried from her prayer room. “Yes? Would you like anything Norah?”
With a sharp needle she popped my plans. ‘Don’t sleep before you pray Fajar!’
“Agh … there’s still an hour before Fajar, that was only the first azaan!”
 
With those loving pinches of hers, she called me closer. She was always like that, even before the fierce sickness shook her spirit and shut her in bed. ‘Hanan can you come sit beside me.’
 
I could never refuse any of her requests, you could touch the purity and sincerity. “Yes, Norah?”
‘Please sit here.’
“OK, I’m sitting. What’s on your mind?”
 
With the sweetest mono voice she began reciting:
[Every soul shall taste death and you will merely be repaid your earnings on Resurrection Day{3:185}]
 
She stopped thoughtfully. Then she asked, ‘Do you believe in death?’
“Of course I do.”
‘Do you believe that you shall be responsible for whatever you do, regardless of how small or large?’
“I do, but . Allah is Forgiving and Merciful and I’ve got a long life waiting for me.”
 
‘Stop it Hanan … aren’t you afraid of death and it’s abruptness? Look at Hind. She was younger than you but she died in a car accident. So did so and so, and so and so. Death is age-blind and your age could never be a measure of when you shall die.’
 
The darkness of the room filled my skin with fear. “I’m scared of the dark and now you made me scared of death, how am I supposed to go to sleep now. Norah, I thought you promised you’d go with us on vacation during the summer break.”
 
Impact. Her voice broke and her heart quivered. ‘I might be going on a long trip this year Hanan, but somewhere else. Just maybe. All of our lives are in Allah’s hands and we all belong to Him.’
 
My eyes welled and the tears slipped down both cheeks.
 
I pondered my sisters grizzly sickness, how the doctors had informed my father privately that there was not much hope that Norah was going to outlive the disease. She wasn’t told though. Who hinted to her? Or was it that she could sense the truth.
 
‘What are you thinking about Hanan?’ Her voice was sharp. ‘Do you think I am just saying this because I am sick? Uh – uh. In fact, I may live longer than people who are not sick. And you Hanan, how long are you going to live? Twenty years, maybe? Forty? Then what?’ Through the dark she reached for my hand and squeezed gently. ‘There’s no difference between us; we’re all going to leave this world to live in Paradise or agonize in Hell.

I left my sister’s room dazed, her words ringing in my ears: “May Allah guide you Hanan – don’t forget your prayer.”

Eight O’clock in the morning. Pounding on my door. I don’t usually wake up at this time. Crying. Confusion. O Allah, what happened?
 
Norah’s condition became critical after Fajar, they took her immediately to the hospital … Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un….this is what Norah always said to say if she died.
 
There wasn’t going to be any trips this summer. It was written that I would spend the summer at home., i could feel it.
 
At hospital….
It was one O’clock in the afternoon. Mother phoned the hospital. ‘Yes. You can come and see her now.’ Dad’s voice had changed, mother could sense something had gone deathly wrong. We left immediately.
 
Where was that avenue I used to travel and thought was so short? Why was it so long now, so very long. Where was the cherished crowd and traffic that would give me a chance to gaze left and right. Everyone, just move out of our way. Mother was shaking her head in her hands – crying – as she made du’a for her Norah.
 
We arrived at the hospitals main entrance.
 
One man was moaning, another was involved in an accident and a third’s eyes were iced, you couldn’t tell if he was alive or dead.
 
We skipped stairs to Norah’s floor. She was in intensive care.
 
The nurse approached us. ‘Let me take you to her.’ As we walked down the aisles the nurse went on expressing how sweet a girl Norah was. She reassured Mother somewhat that Norah’s condition had gotten better than what it was in the morning.
 
‘Sorry. No more than one visitor at a time.’ This was the intensive care unit. Through the small window in the door and past the flurry of white robes I caught my sisters eyes. Mother was standing beside her. After two minutes, mother came out unable to control her crying.
 
‘You may enter and say Salaam to her on condition that you do not speak too long,’ they told me. ‘Two minutes should be enough.’
 
“How are you Norah? You were fine last night sister, what happened?”
We held hands, she squeezed harmlessly. ‘Even now, Alhamdulillah, I’m doing fine.’
“Alhamdulillah … but … your hands are so cold.”
 
I sat on her bedside and rested my fingers on her knee. She jerked it away.
“Sorry … did I hurt you?” “No, it is just that I remembered Allah’s words [One leg will be wrapped to the other leg (in the death shroud)]
… Hanan pray for me. I may be meeting the first day of the hereafter very soon. It is a long journey and I haven’t prepared enough good deeds in my suitcase.’
 
A tear escaped my eye and ran down my cheek at her words. I cried and she joined me. The room blurred away and left us – two sisters – to cry together. Rivulets of tears splashed down on my sister’s palm, which I held with both hands. Dad was now becoming more worried about me. I’ve never cried like that before.
 
At home and upstairs in my room, I watched the sun pass away with a sorrowful day. Silence mingled in our corridors. A cousin came in my room, another. The visitors were many and all the voices from downstairs stirred together.
Only one thing was clear at that point … Norah had died!
 
I stopped distinguishing who came and who went. I couldn’t remember what they said. O Allah, where was I? What was going on? I couldn’t even cry anymore.
 
Later that week they told me what had happened. Dad had taken my hand to say goodbye to my sister for the last time, I had kissed Norah’s head.
 
I remember only one thing though, seeing her spread on that bed, the bed that she was going to die on. I remembered the verse she recited: [One leg will be wrapped to the other leg (in the death shroud){75:29}] and I knew too well the truth of the next verse: [The drive on that day we be to your Lord (Allah)!{75:30}]
 
I tiptoed into her prayer room that night. Staring at the quiet dressers and silenced mirrors, I treasured who it was that had shared my mother’s stomach with me. Norah was my twin sister.
I remembered who I had swapped sorrows with. Who had comforted my rainy days. I remembered who had prayed for my guidance and who had spent so many tears for so many long nights telling me about death and accountability. May Allah save us all.
 
Tonight is Norah’s first night that she shall spend in her tomb. O Allah, have mercy on her and illumine her grave. This was her Quran, her prayer mat and .and this was the spring rose-colored dress that she told me she would hide until she got married, the dress she wanted to keep just for her husband.
 
I remembered my sister and cried over all the days that I had lost. I prayed to Allah to have mercy on me, accept me and forgive me. I prayed to Allah to keep her firm in her grave, as she always liked to mention in her supplications.
 
At that moment, I stopped. I asked myself: what if it was I who had died? Where would I be moving on to? Fear pressed me and the tears began all over again.
 
The first azaan rose softly from the Masjid, how beautiful it sounded this time. I felt calm and relaxed as I repeated the Muadhins call. I wrapped the shawl around my shoulders and stood to pray Fajar. I prayed as if it was my last prayer, a farewell prayer, just like Norah had done yesterday. It had been her last Fajar.
 
Now and insha’ Allah for the rest of my life, if I awake in the mornings I do not count on being alive by evening, and in the evening I do not count on being alive by morning.
 
We are all going on Norah’s journey – what have we prepared for it?
 
My sister has already left on this eternal journey? Have YOU & I packed our suitcases?
 
*************************** 
 

Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar R.A says that someone asked the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) which man is the wisest.The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said that; the one who remembers death much and is ever engaged in making preparation for it.These are the men who have become masters of this world and the next. (TIBRANI)   

Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar R.A. says that the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) putting his hand on his shoulder, said that they should spend life like a traveller.He forbode to wait for the morning in the evening and for evening in the morning.He advised to accumulate the prayers when he is healthy; keeping the period of illness in mind and should do something good for the death when he is ill. (BUKHARI) 
 
Hazrat Shaddad bin Aus(R.A.) says that the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) has said that the alert man is one; who takes account of his life and does alot of good actions; which may be useful to him after death. (TIRMIZI)

Zul Hijjah, Eidul Adha & Qurbani Part 1


 
May Allah accept this noble effort of ours, make it a means of guidance for the Ummah and keep us steadfast on the straight path. Ameen. 
 
1. THE VIRTUES OF THE FIRST TEN DAYS OF ZUL-HIJJAH: 

Allah-Ta’aala has taken oath of the night in Suratul-Fajr of the Quraan. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) has said: ”There is no better time to perform Ibaadat (devotion) of Allah Ta’aala than on the (first) ten days of Zul Hijjah. A day’s Saum (fasting) in it, equals the Saum (fasting) of a year, and a night’s Ibaadah in it, equals the lbaadah of Laylatul Qadr”. (Tirmizi-Ibn Majah). 

According to the majority. the ten nights-are those of the (first) ten days of Zul­ Hijjah, especially the ninth, i.e. the Day of Arafah and the night preceeding the Eid Day. All these days are filled with special virtues. The observance of the saum (fast) of the ninth of Zul Hijjah (Day of Arafah) is a Kaffarah (atonement) of the fast and concerning year, and to remain awake on the night of Eid and perform lbaadah is a source of great virtue and Thawaab (reward). 

2. THE FAST OF YOWM-E-ARAFAH: 

Hazrat Abu Oatadah al-Ansari (R.A.) relates that Rasulullah (SAW) was asked about Saum (fast) on the day of Arafah (9th ZuI Hijjah). He said: “It compensates for the minor sins of the past year and coming year”. 
(Muslim).
 
The 9th day of the month of Zil-Haj is called Yowm-e-Arafah, If Yowm-e­ Arafah is observed in Saudi Arabia on Friday and in South Africa on Saturday. South African Muslims must treat Saturday as Yowm-e­ Arafah. Muslims are to calculate according to the Lunar dates of their own country. It is haraam to fast on (1) Eid·ul-Fitr; (2) Eid-ul-Adha and 3 days after Eid-ul-Adha. 

3. THE NIGHT OF EID: 

It Is related that Rasulullah (SAW) said: “Whoever stays awake and makes lbaadat on the nights of Eidul Fitr and Eidul Adha, his heart will not die on the day when all hearts will be dead”. (Targheeb).
 
Hazrat Muaaz ibn Jabal (RA) relates that Rasulullah (SAW) said: “Jannat is Wajib for those who stay awake with the intention of making Ibaadat on the following nights; 8th 9th and 10th of Zul Hijjah, the night of Eidul Fitr and the night of the Shabaan”. (Targheeb).
 
4. SUNNAT OF EIDUL ADHA:
 
It Is sunnat on the day of Edul Adha to:
  • Awake earlier than usual
  • Brush the teeth (Miswaak)
  • Have a bath (Ghusal) 
  • Be well dressed in an Islamic manner 
  • Dress in your best clothes (Not necessarily new)
  • Use Itr
  • Perform Eid Namaaz at the Eidgah (Permanently fixed place for Eid Namaaz)
  • Avoid eating before Eid Namaaz
  • Go to the place of Namaaz early 
  • Walk to the place of the Eid Namaaz (If it is within distance)
  • Read aloud the Takbeeraat on the way to the place of prayer. Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La-ilaha-illalahu wallahu Akbar Allahu Akbar walilahil hamd
  • Use different routes to and from the place of Eid Namaaz.
5. THE EID PRAYERS

On the 10th day of the sacred month of Zil-Hajj the Muslims throughout the world gather together in Masjids or the Eid Grounds to perform two Rakaats Namaaz (Waajib). These two Rakaats Namaaz are not preceded by the Azaan or the Iqaamath, but by six Takbeers (ALLAHU AKBAR), three in the first and three in the second Rakaat. . 

After the Muslims. have stood in the rows, The Imaam commences the Namaaz with the.”TAKBEER ULLA”, (ALLAHU AKBAR), in response to which all raise their hands up to the lobe of the ears and then fold their arms, thereafter reciting, the Sana (SUBHANA KALLA HUMMA WA BI HAMDIKA WA TA BARAKA A’SMOKA WA TA’AALA JADDUKA WA LA ILAHA GHAIROKA). The lmaam then recites loudly the three Takbeer lifting and dropping the hands after the first two and folding the arms after the third Takbeer. The Imaam then continues to recite the Sura Fatiha and another Sura and then the Ruku and the Sijdas, thus completing the first Rakaat of the Namaaz, after which he rises up completing the second Rakaat. In the second Rakaat, the three Takbeers are not recited before the Sura Fatiha and the Sura but the Imaam just recites loudly the last three remaining Takbeers before the Ruku. The followers in response to which all raise their hands to the lobes of the ears as in the first Rakaat and lower them to their sides. The Imaam then reads the fourth Takbeer after at which the Ruku is performed followed by the Sijdas and Salaams, thus completing the two Rakaats Namaaz. 

Immediately after the completion of the two Rakaats Namaaz only the Imaam rises up and recites the two Khutbas (Sermons). It is essential that every Muslim should listen to the Khutbas attentetively (Wajib).
 
Courtesy of AlIslam.co.za