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5 Signs You’re Passing the Test

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When tests come, we try to do our best. We keep our faith strong, and ask God to make the tests easy. Yet how can we tell if we’re passing?

All it takes is a look inside, when things get rough outside.

 

Here are 5 ways we can tell we’re winning:

 

Gratefulness

What happens when things don’t go our way?  Do we complain and think the worst? Or do we think to ourselves, “Why us?”.

 

If we look to what happened before the test, we can be grateful.  We can appreciate the time of good before the time of bad.

Or look to those who have it worse off than us. Messenger Muhammad said, “Look at those who are beneath you and do not look at those who are above you, for it is more suitable that you should not consider as less the blessing of God.”

 

Maybe this present test is the worst thing we’ve ever been through, but it’s nothing to somebody else. We should get to know the hardships of others, so we can be grateful.

 

When we are grateful for the test, we realize

  • It could be worse
  • It’s nothing compared to what other people have to go through
  • The good things we still have are there, and we appreciate them more

 

Acceptance

We can tell if a test is a punishment by how we react to it.

 

If we’re freaking out and impatient, that’s a sign that we are not passing.  So, the opposite of that, acceptance, is what we show when we’re making progress.

Part of what can help us accept our test is that the Messenger of God told us, “Great reward comes with great trials. When God loves a people, He tests them, and whoever accepts it attains His pleasure, but whoever shows discontent with it incurs His wrath.”

 

So when God sends a test our way, we accept it as a test. We have a chance to get closer to God, to show Him that we are strong.

We accept the test, and we continue doing good things.  The test might make it harder for us, but with more work is more reward.

Humility

It’s amazing that just a slight change of our condition can totally throw off our day.  Like a hangnail, or a paper cut.

 

How fragile we are!  We’re top of the food chain, yet some small pain will cause us big problems.

And how sensitive we are. Our egos can be hurt so easily. Sometimes a test from God can be an chance to grow in humility.

 

The Messenger of God explained to us that God has tested the Prophets more than anyone else.  Then, the next best, and the next best people.

The more difficult the test, the higher in status we are. The Messenger continued to say that we are tested in accordance to our level of faith.

 

And tests and trials will continue to fall on us, purifying us our whole lives.

 

Asking Forgiveness

When you think about it, there isn’t a person living that is sinless.  Even the best people make mistakes and sin.

 

So we consider the tests of life, and realize that God is purifying us through them.  We admit we have sins to erase.

When tests come, we can take the chance to ask God to forgive us.

 

Messenger Muhammad told us, “Nothing befalls a believer, a (prick of a) thorn or more than that, but God will raise him one degree in status thereby, or erase a bad deed.

 

If we think to ask God to forgive us when we are in a test, then that’s a sign that we’re dealing with it well.

The tests of life are good for us.  Even if all we see in the test is a chance to have our sins erased.

Reflecting

‘Why me?’ is a common way to react when bad things happen. It’s a knee-jerk reaction, coming from pure defence.

 

We need to relax.  If we take a moment and reflect on the test, we might be able to see some good in it.  

Perhaps there’s a lesson in the test.  Even if it’s just a lesson on how not to be.

 

In the end, God has allowed something to happen to you. And He is the One Who plans everything for the best.

We praise and thank God for everything that happens, including the things we think are bad.

 

God does not allow any injustice to take place.  That means, eventually, justice will come. It’s not for us to force it to come, but for us to trust that God will sort things out.

 

In this life, or the next. And then, there’s this:

 

Messenger Muhammad said, “If a certain status has previously been decreed by God for a person, and he does not attain it by his deeds, God afflicts him in his body or wealth or children.

 

Think about the test.  Consider that God is lifting you up, bringing you closer to Him through it. So rather than ‘Why Me?’, we might start to say, ‘God chose me.’

 

Through our tests we always think the best of God.  We focus on Him, and His greatness and perfection. Whatever comes from God is good in the end, and will help us succeed in this life and the next.

How Passing God’s Tests Makes a New Muslim Stronger

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God sends us tests to strengthen us. We can’t let life make us tired and want to give up. Here are some examples from the lives of new Muslims that can help us pass the tests.

Troubles with Friends

 

Just because we’ve become Muslim doesn’t mean that we have changed…much. Then why do our friends treat us differently?

Is it just us, or are so many more things awkward now that we’ve accepted Islam? Our friends who used to be chill are now uncomfortable.  They are restless, and don’t seem to know how to be normal around us anymore.

 

A lot of these reactions to our conversions can be from fear.  Fear is usually caused by not knowing. So to solve this problem, we can educate our friends.

We can be brave and cut through the awkwardness.  We can explain to them what things are still the same, and what things are going to change.

 

When we take a stand on what we believe, our true friends can see our sincerity, how much Islam means to us.

Real friends will support us and try to understand.  If some friends don’t, then we pray for their guidance.  

 

If our circle of friends becomes smaller, then perhaps that is a way that it becomes stronger. Just like us.

 

Conflicts with Family

 

Nothing is more strong or more important to keep strong than family ties.

And nothing can be harder.

 

Some people in our families believe that we are in some kind of phase, and will ‘snap out of it’ eventually.

And that’s ok.  They are entitled to believe what they like.  We must make sure they know we are still members of the family.  And we are Muslims.

 

And those two things don’t oppose each other.

 

Maybe some of our family members are open for discussion. Maybe all they need is just to clarify a few points, so they can understand the little changes they will see from us in future.

It’s respectful and wise to explain things to our families.  But it is important to understand that they may continue to think what they want, regardless of what we tell them.

 

All we do is offer the info. Then, we know we’ve done our part.

How many Messengers of God had their families make trouble for them? Lots.

 

So we do what they did: pray for them.  Guidance comes from God alone.

 

Issues with Change

 

In our excitement after accepting Islam, we might want to make big changes, to reflect how different we feel inside.

But sometimes our circumstances just won’t allow for that.

 

Our work, our school, our living situation…they can slow down the changes we want to make.

As long as we are making progress, then we can expect the help of God. That may come as a change in our situations, or can also come as as peace in our hearts.

 

Change brings with it adjustment, and discomfort. But also strength.

 

Take things slow.  When we take things slow, we can lessen the growing pains on ourselves and those around us.

We can feel at peace, knowing we’re moving forward.

 

Distress with Judgement

 

As new Muslims, we have big challenges.  We are raised a certain way, with certain habits…and then one day, we make a change.

And those around us, who have been beside us, want to pull away.

 

But we’re still the same.  We haven’t become a different person altogether!  Yet we are judged.

 

Our friends and family want to analyse us, put us under a microscope: “Why are you doing this?”

“Are you just being a rebel?”  “Are you mentally ill?” “You’re just doing this to spite me.”

 

They may put together complicated theories tied to forgotten events, real and imagined.

 

But we have a simple answer: it’s the truth.

 

But only God can make them see that. Until they actually become Muslims themselves, those around us will just not get it.

So we move forward, and the distance of others can make us want to get closer to God.  We study His Names, learn more about Him and about our relationship with Him.

And we don’t feel alone. God gives us strength when all we have is Him.

7 Steps to Learning for New Muslims

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When we think about starting to study of Islam, it’s like planning to climb a mountain.

We look up, and hope to get there. It’s that first step that’s the hardest of all.

Here are 7 steps to help you get going on the path of knowledge.

Time to Yourself

We all have different things to do each day. If we think about our days, we can probably find time to sit and study.

When we consider how much time we waste on things like social media and TV, all we need to do is cut back on those a little. Then we’ll find that time we can put aside.

We can use this time to read something.  Listen to a short lesson.

Even if it’s just 5 minutes, this can become a regular routine.

 

Put Aside Distractions

Now that we’ve got our time set aside, we have to put away our phones, or the other things that distract us. We have to concentrate, and really focus on what we are studying.

If you disagreed with me about the previous point, then your time is really precious. That’s all the more reason to make the most of that time.

We’ll get more out of a focused five minutes than a whole hour of divided attention on a lesson.

Get your mind ready to learn, and open your heart to the guidance of God. Then you can make a study plan.

 

Bite-Sized Pieces

Just like that mountain is not climbed by jumping forward, we take our study in small steps.  Baby steps.

It’s so much better to focus and apply on small lessons. If we overload ourselves, we may not catch everything.  And we might get overwhelmed, and leave study altogether.

Breaking up a topic into small parts makes study easy. We focus on just one lesson at a time, and think about it until we have study time again.

 

Study, Break, Repeat

Even though we’ve broken up our topic into smaller chunks, it is all new.  

We are new to Islam, so we won’t have a frame of reference to go off of. It will take time to really sink in.

So we take breaks. Just like that mountain climb, breaks are necessary…healthy, even.

Our brains need the break to process what we learn, and our hearts need space to open up to the knowledge and wisdom.

This isn’t just any topic, it’s our way of life.

Then, we come back to it and repeat the lesson.

Repetition is a huge key to really learning and understanding anything. If lessons aren’t repeated on a regular basis, they may slip from our minds.

 

Slow and Steady

If we race up part of the mountain, and then stop for a week, it will be just that much harder to start going again.

It’s the same with studying Islam. We can burn ourselves out. And if we take a really long break, we might not get back to it.

We start out slow, and we keep slowly going through our lessons.  Remember “The Tortoise and the Hare”?

Slow and steady wins.

Learn at a steady, slow pace, so that it becomes a daily practice.

Practice means repetition+consistency.

And we know consistency is good, because the Messenger told us God loves it.

The Messenger of God said, “Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few.”

 

Lifetime of Learning

Let’s say we make it to the top of the mountain. Then we see many other mountaintops that are much higher.

While that might get us down, we could accept is as a challenge.

No matter how much we’ve studied a lot about Islam, there’s always more to learn.

Many great scholars died, wishing they could have studied just a bit more.

The thing is, we’ll never know everything about Islam. The journey is supposed to take our whole lives.

That’s the point: that climb. The reward is in the climb. The goal is to keep going.

 

Never give up

Sometimes when you have done all you can, and you’re exhausted, you want to just sit still.

It’s just too hard sometimes to keep going. The test seems like too much.

But what is the purpose of a test? To exhaust us and defeat us?

Nope, a test is there to qualify people to get to the next level.

Are you ready for the next level? To get closer to God?

When our knowledge helps us come close to God, we’ve already won.  And the more we learn, the more we understand Him.

The more we build a link with God, the easier the tests will be.

At the top of the mountain the sky is clearer and the path behind you well worth the climb.

How the New Muslim Can Live These Pillars of Faith

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Islam has pillars of actions, and the beliefs in the heart.  The action pillars are the Testimony of Faith, Prescribed Ritual Devotion, Charity, Fasting, and the Pilgrimage to Mecca.  Not everybody gets to do all five pillars of Islam during their lives.

 

The pillars of belief are not affected by how much money you have, or your level of health like the pillars of Islam.  They are beliefs in the heart. Every Muslim has to have them.

 

Here are some of the Pillars of Faith, and how we as new Muslims can live them each day:

 

We believe in God

 

It’s not just the obvious: God exists. We call on God alone, and believe that nothing can help us, but Him. He is the only one that gives us what we need, and keeps us safe.  Believing in Him and hoping for His help when we pray to Him is one way to demonstrate our faith in Him.

 

We believe that only He can truly describe Himself.  He taught His beautiful Names, and His actions.  We are showing our faith in God by calling on Him using these names.

 

He is absolutely perfect. He’s not like anything that He created, because He always existed. He looks after and maintains everything He made with perfection and justice.  Nothing will come to us except what God has planned for us to have.

 

We learn about God from reading the Quran, and from understanding the traditions of Messenger Muhammad.  If we spend just a little time each day learning something new about God, we are living this pillar of faith.

 

We believe in God’s Angels

 

We only believe what is true about angels, and we get our information about them from the Quran and Prophetic traditions.

 

We have guardian angels, and angels that write down every single deed, good and bad, that we do.  And when our lives are over, we will be tested in the graves by angels.  Angels spend their whole lives serving God by doing errands.

 

Some angels have specific jobs, such as Gabriel, who brings revelation from God, and Malik, who is the gatekeeper of Hellfire.  They are not, contrary to some traditions, the daughters of God, or the pure souls of good people who have died on earth.

 

They are an entirely different creation of God, not male or female.  They are made from light and have wings.  Sometimes, as we read in the Quran, angels have taken the form of humans, because God has a special message to send to earth.

 

We do ourselves a service by remembering the writing angels in particular. Their job is to write down everything we do and say. Even when we don’t think anyone is listening or seeing what is happening, the angels are recording.

 

We believe in God’s Messengers

 

Notice the plural? Messengers. God sent a lot of Messengers throughout time. He wanted people to come back to worshipping Him and fix their lives. It happened to every nation on earth.

 

The Quran mentions only 25 by name, and we believe in all of them.  Not only that, but we repeat their prayers, and take lessons from their lives, too.  If we didn’t, God would not have placed their stories in the Quran and in the sayings of Messenger Muhammad!

 

They brought us lessons from God on how to worship Him.  They never said to worship them. They always directed people to worship God alone.

 

This is especially important for us as new Muslims.  We haven’t left belief in the Messenger of our people, we’re only continuing belief in them.  Muhammad is the last in a long chain of Messengers of God.

 

We hold all the Messengers, including Jesus, Moses, David, Solomon and John the Baptist with the greatest respect and honor. They are all our Messengers, too.  Their lives’ work is finalized by Muhammad, the last of all the Messengers. He called them his brothers.

 

We Believe in His Books

 

And the Messengers brought messages, the revealed books. Just like our belief in the Messengers, we believe in all the books that God sent.

 

We only know of the ones that are mentioned in the Quran, but there were many more.  Each time God wanted to communicate to the people on earth, He sent a book. Jesus got the Gospel, Moses got the Torah, and Muhammad got the Quran.

 

While we believe that God sent all these books, the final word is the Quran.  It is the only revealed book that God preserved to this day from being changed or corrupted at all.  The messages inside it are universal and timeless, and the Quran confirms what is in the previous books.

 

Whatever truth you found in the book of revelation you might have known before Islam will be confirmed by the Quran. You may continue your faith in God’s messages as New Muslims.

 

We Believe in The Last Day

 

Remember how I mentioned the angels that write down everything? The Last Day is when all those books of deeds are going to be weighed.  Whichever book, the good or the bad deeds, is heavier will decide our home after this life.

 

It’s really critical to the human being to believe that they will one day be held accountable. People will just not behave unless they think someone’s aware of what they’re doing.  Security cameras, and even just the presence of others, deters many crimes worldwide.

 

It gives us hope that even if no one seems to be keeping track of the good we do, it’s going to be taken up on Judgement Day.

 

The Day of Judgement is when God will sort out the people of the earth.  We don’t know when this day will come. Not even Messenger Muhammad knew.

 

The great lesson in believing in this day, is to focus on what we are preparing for it.

 

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While for one reason or the other we might not make it to the Pilgrimage, or ever have enough money to give the regular Charity, we can hold all these beliefs in our hearts.

 

May God bless us with firm belief, and allows us to learn more so our hearts can become stronger with each day.

3 Steps Back the New Muslim Can Avoid

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We want to get close to God.  Yet we don’t know much about our new way of life.  We want to move forward, but sometimes we take steps back.

Everybody makes mistakes. New Muslims are not the only ones.

But a  lot of our mistakes have to do with a lack of knowledge.  That makes sense, because we are new to Islam. We have a lot to learn.

So to get things started on the right foot, let’s learn four tips to avoid steps back:

Don’t stop yearning for learning

 

We can get discouraged by the journey to learning Islam.

Sometimes converts to Islam can get frustrated.  We think that because it’s hard sometimes, that God is holding us back somehow. That we’re just not cut out for learning about Islam.

Sure, it’s difficult sometimes. But we don’t think for a second that He will not help us. Remember what God says:

Do people think they will be left alone after saying ‘We believe’ without being put to the test?” (29: 2)

The way to relax and keep going is to trust that God will help us learn. The tests in life are there to make us better.

He’s got all the knowledge, and He won’t hold back any from us when we are learning sincerely to get close to Him.

Free to Be You and Me

Have you ever tried to learn something really quickly? You stuff the info in your brain for a class, or a job interview, but what happens?

In a short while, we lose that knowledge.  When you don’t take time to really absorb it,  it slips  away.

We don’t want our practice of Islam to be like that.

When we make a change inside, a change will happen outside, too.  People will be able to tell a change for the better in us.

As we learn more about Islam, the physical acts like offering ritual devotion and altering our lifestyle come naturally.

We don’t need to force ourselves to make changes that we are not ready for.  The changes in our lifestyle, our diet, our dress: these should all be done step-by-step.

There is nothing that says we must lose ourselves, when we find Islam.

We have to be kind to ourselves, and give ourselves time to grow.

 

 

The Blame Game

We don’t give ourselves enough credit. Not only do we think we have to be awesome at Islam, but our progress seems so slow!

Remember that even the Quran, the last book from God for all time,  was revealed over a period of 23 years.  God revealed it in stages, in steps, and the early Muslims implemented it as it came down.

So there isn’t any reason why you need to be the perfect Muslim right now.

We’ll go back to the first point. Perfection is for God. He always knows the struggle we go through, and will help us learn.

“God does not burden any soul with more than it can bear..” (2:286)

God knows better than us, what our limits are.  We do not. The religion is easy. Do not try to make it difficult.

You know how people say, “I am a practicing Muslim”? It’s practice. It’s not professionalism, because every Muslim is practicing. We are all learning and trying to get better.

May God bless you with the ability to know God better, trust that He will allow you to learn.  May God bless your heart with sincerity and motivation, and balance so that you can make consistent progress towards your learning goals.

 

3 Women So Special, the Angels Spoke to Them

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Did you know that angels didn’t talk only to Messengers?  Angels came, bringing messages from God to other people, too. Here are 3 stories for new Muslims about special women who met angels.

Sarah, Wife of Abraham

Being the wife of a Messenger, you’d think meeting angels would happen every day. God brought three to Sarah’s doorstep, with a very special message.

Two Lone Believers

 

Sarah and Abraham were the only believers in God on the face of the earth.

 

Imagine.  Nobody worships God except your husband, and you.

 

She went on travels with her husband around Arabia.  Sarah helped Abraham spread the message of Islam.  She met all kinds of people, but she never guessed she’d meet angels.

Three Great Guests

 

After many years of preaching and travelling, Abraham and Sarah got old.  Sarah had given up on having children, at her age.  So it was just the two of them, living together, travelling, and teaching about God.

 

One day Sarah was in her home with her husband, when Abraham rushed in and said they had guests.  Abraham and Sarah prepared a roasted calf with all the trimmings.  They served it to the three men.

 

The guests didn’t touch it.

 

This was a problem.

 

Abraham asked them why they weren’t eating. It made him worried, and scared.

 

Sarah said to him, “What great guests. We are serving them our very best food, and they’re not even going to eat it.”

 

Then, the men told them, “Angels don’t eat food.”

 

Right away, Abraham and Sarah relaxed. Until the angels told them the next thing.

 

One Amazing Message

 

The angels told them that they would be having a baby!  Not only that, but he would be a Messenger like his father. His name would be Isaac.

 

Sarah slapped herself in the face out of shock.  She argued that she was a very old woman now. And her husband was older than her!

 

They told her God does what He likes. Sarah was so happy to finally be a mother.  Later, she gave birth and raised Isaac, the Messenger of God.

 

Mary, daughter of Imran

God chose Mary out of all the women of the world.  He sent her an angel, but the angel scared her. She protected herself by telling an angel to fear God!

Blessed Childhood

 

Her mother made a prayer to God for her before Mary was born. She promised God that Mary would serve the temple, and when she was little, that’s where she went.

 

Mary’s uncle Messenger Zakariya looked after her.  He visited her and always found ripe, out-of-season fruits to eat. She explained to him that it was all from God.

 

She spent a lot of her time in prayer, in a private place just for her. She really loved to remember God, and did not like anything to disturb her, especially strange men.

Unwelcome Visitor

 

So when a young, handsome man showed up, she was scared. She asked God to protect her from him. She told him, ‘Fear God!

 

He revealed that he was an angel from God.  He told her she would be pregnant soon with a baby named Jesus. She would be the mother of the next Messenger of God.

 

He blew into her sleeve the soul of Jesus, and Mary became pregnant. She raised him, and became the most respected mother of all time.

 

Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid

We’ve read about two mothers of Messengers who met angels. While Khadeejah didn’t actually meet an angel, she did get a very special message from him, from God.

A Peaceful Marriage

 

Lady Khadeejah was married to Messenger Muhammad for 20 years.

 

She still did her best to look after her household and her children.  They raised their four daughters with mercy, kindness and wisdom.

A Frequent Flier

 

She was preparing a plate of food for her husband, Messenger Muhammad one day when a very special visitor came to her house.

 

The Angel Gabriel visited the Messenger in her home. But he came with a special message for Khadeejah.

A Precious Greeting

 

The Archangel Gabriel conveyed a greeting to Khadeejah, from God!

 

The angel told Muhammad:

 

“O Messenger of God, this is Khadeejah coming to you with a dish of meat soup, some food, and some drink. When she reaches you, then greet her with peace on behalf of her Lord and myself, and give her good news of a palace in Paradise made of reeds, where there will be no noise or tiredness.”

 

Other ladies were given just one message, but Khadeejah got two:

  1. God greeted her with Peace
  2. She was guaranteed to go to Paradise

 

God sent angels to these three great women of Islam. When we reflect on their lives, we can see why. May God have mercy on them.

How the Muslim Finds Hope in 5 Types of Difficulty

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When hard times come along, hope is what will pull us out of the test. Here are 5 types of difficulties in which the Muslim can find hope.

1. Poverty

When you’re poor, life seems to constrict and close up. Your options are limited. Just because your money is low, does not mean God has abandoned you. It’s really important to remember that it’s all a test from God.

“God gives abundantly to whoever He will, and sparingly to whoever He will….”(13:26)

This truth is expressed in more than 10 times in the Quran, about God’s power over material goods in this life. You do not control your provision. What you have, and when you have it, is in the hands of God.

Others may have more than you, and others may have less. These things change. It’s all in the care of God, and God never does anyone any injustice.

 

2. Loneliness

Imagine that you’ve got a large home, a loving spouse and many beautiful children. Imagine also that you enjoy a healthy, strong body, and are blessed in every way.

Then imagine it all being taken away. What would you miss the most?

The Messenger Job missed his wife the most. God tested him by taking away his children, his wealth, and his strength and health, and he worshiped God even more. But when his wife left, too, he cried to God:

“…‘Suffering has truly afflicted me, but you are the Most Merciful of the merciful.’” (21:83)

People need other people. It’s human nature. God knows that, and He will send someone for companionship exactly at the point when they are best for you. And what happened to Prophet Job?

“We answered him, removed his suffering, and restored his family to him, along with more like them, as an act of grace from Us and a reminder for all who serve Us.” (21:84)

 

3. Health

Nothing reminds us about the blessing of good health than when we are sick. Some illnesses we recover from, and others affect our daily lives.

When we are tested with a change in our health, we are weak, and unable to do things as we like. It is a great reminder about how God controls things.

“If God touches you with affliction, no one can remove it except Him, and if He touches you with good, He has power over all things.” (6:17)

We seek out cures for our sicknesses, and take remedies that will help us feel better, but we do not rely on these medicines to cure us on their own. When we are sick we are reminded that God is managing all of our affairs, even our own bodies.

If our illness is due to some neglect on our part, we should remember that our bodies are on a loan from God. We must try to be careful and look after ourselves better to avoid illness.

“There are two of God’s favours that are forgotten by many people; health and free time.” -Messenger Muhammad

God is in control, and will never give you more than your body can handle.

We pray to God alone for relief.

 

4. Fear

Fear has a lot to do with being alone. For some people, merely the thought of being all alone is frightening. For the rest of us, we at least like to have a team. You want to know someone has your back.

During a really tense moment in the life of Messenger Muhammad, he was hiding in a cave from tribesmen looking for him. His companion in the cave was Abu Bakr, who expressed concern when the tribesmen drew close.

The Messenger of God turned to him and asked him, “Oh Abu Bakr! What do you think about two, when God is their third?”

God would not abandon you. And He supports the believers. When you have the support of God, no one can knock you down.

When you are alone and afraid, you can find hope in your fear by remembering God has promised that in Paradise, there is no fear.

“Those who believe, do good deeds, keep up the prayer, and pay the prescribed alms will have their reward with their Lord: no fear for them, nor will they grieve.” (2:277)

 

 

5. No Time

Time slips past so quickly. There doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. When life is a blur, recall that God is in control of the passage of time.

Prophet Muhammad also told his followers, “Do not curse time, for God is the one who crafted time.”

When you lose track of time, it may be due to you wasting time on something instead of important stuff. When this happens, remember that we will be asked on the Day of Resurrection about how we spent our time.

“Humankind will remain standing on the Day of Resurrection until he is asked about four things: his life and how he spent it, his youth and how he used it up, his property and how he acquired and managed it and his knowledge and how he utilized it.” -Messenger Muhammad

The tests of life are there to purify us and bring us closer to God. That is why we must look at every test as an opportunity to grow, and learn.

Do You Have It In You To Keep Going?

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Here Are 6 Reasons to Believe in Yourself

 

Sometimes it feels like the road ahead leads to a dead end.

Do you sometimes doubt that you can actually do this Islam thing?  That you can live up to the promise you made to yourself?

 

Do you wonder if you can move forward, when it feels like your wheels are spinning?

 

In the beginning you were really motivated. Excited.  But then maybe you hit a roadblock.

When life seems to slip by with nothing getting better, or easier, we often blame ourselves and doubt our potential.

 

The key to getting on your feet and marching forward has been inside you all along.

Here are just 6 of the reasons you should never stop believing in yourself.

 

1. You stepped into the light

Look at how far you’ve come. Often, we forget what we overcame by undervaluing our achievements.

But a simple exercise in self-reflection and gratitude tells a different story.

 

“What about the one whose heart God has opened in devotion to Him, so that he walks in light from his Lord?” (39:22)

You see, God did choose you! Out of the countless humans walking this Earth, it was you who was given the light of Islam.

 

So why wouldn’t you believe in yourself if God Himself believes in you?

 

2. You took the path of learning  

 

He’s in your corner and wants you to succeed. Why else would God give you the tools to pave your way to guidance.

“It is the Lord of Mercy who taught the Quran. He created man and taught him to communicate.” (55: 1-4)

 

What better a teacher to have than God Himself?  Not only did He teach us how to achieve success in this life and the next, He also gave us the step-by-step manual to get there.

 

3. You are admired by the Angels

 

Human beings all have such great potential.  That’s why God commanded the angels to prostrate to the first man, Adam.

 

“Your Lord said to the angels, ‘I will create a mortal out of dried clay, formed from dark mud.  When I have fashioned him and breathed my spirit into him, bow down before him,’ and the angels all did so.” (15:29-30)

 

This prostration is not the kind that we do to God, in order to worship Him: angels only worship God. They prostrated out of obedience to God, and out of honor and greeting to humankind.

 

4. That time God defended you in front of the angels

 

When God announced to the angels that He was creating mankind, the angels assumed we’d cause more damage than good on Earth.

But it was God who defended us… because He knew of our potential for good.

“[Prophet], when your Lord told the angels, ‘I am putting a successor on earth,’ they said, ‘How can You put someone there who will cause damage and bloodshed, when we celebrate Your praise and proclaim Your holiness?’ but He said, ‘I know things you do not.’” (2:30)

 

It’s our propensity for good that far outweighs our weaknesses. We choose mercy, we are affectionate towards plants and animals, and we take care of one another.

You too should believe in your ability to accomplish even greater things.

 

5. You are being bragged about

Imagine someone you admire bragged about you to an elite crowd. How great would that be?  How special would you feel?

You’d probably wonder what you did to deserve that mention.

 

The Messenger of God said, “When a group of people assemble for the remembrance of God, the angels surround them, God’s mercy envelops them, tranquillity descends upon them and God makes a mention of them before those who are near Him.”

 

Even if you are alone at home taking a course with others online… that still counts.

Just imagine a canopy of magnificent angel wings surrounding you… like a protective force field…. extending all the way to heaven.

And simply because you are present in a gathering remembering God, He praises you to His angels. Angels, who are always worshipping Him.  

 

Even if you don’t think you are amazing, the angels do.

 

6. You are stronger than you think

When you can’t bear it anymore and are just about to give up…. especially as someone who has just converted to Islam… remember this:

 

“God does not burden any soul with more than it can bear..” (2:286)

 

Whatever comes your way, know that you are strong enough to overcome it. You have it in you to knock it down and succeed.

 

God chose you, specially, to accept Islam, and gave you the tools that helped guide you.

You are mentioned to the angels, who honor you. Your role on the earth is noble, and with a single purpose: the worship of God alone.

Inside you is an untapped reserve of awesomeness. Find it, and use it.

And so, when you look back on this time in life, you will smile and feel proud at how far you’ve come.  You will one day be grateful for the tests that seemed to weigh you down but just made you stronger.

 

Have hope that you are headed for greatness.

 

7 of God’s Names That Will Give You Hope

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“The Most Excellent Names belong to God: use them to call on him…” (7:180)

 

The Lord of Mercy (Ar-Rahmaan)

One summer, I was at the park with my children and the weather was very hot – not even the lightest breeze. Just when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore, a subtle gust of wind blew through my clothes. What a relief. What a mercy.

Other people at the park that day may not have noticed the wind pick up, but I sure did. God sends His mercy in ways we often overlook.  His mercy is for everyone, but not everyone recognizes it and thanks Him for it.

 

Look for the blessings of the Lord of Mercy: they are all around you.

“If you tried to count God’s blessings, you could never take them all in: He is truly Most Forgiving and Most Merciful.” (16:18)

When you feel like things are going against you, call on the The Lord of Mercy to shower His mercy on you.

 

The Granter of Security (Al Mu’min)

Our little family planned a trip to America from a small town in Canada to see my father-in-law.  So, with a 3-year old and a toddler in tow, we boarded our train.

It was then that I took my first real look at our tickets. I discovered, to my horror, that we would be changing trains late Halloween night in one of the most violent cities in America.  

Me. From a tiny Canadian town, visibly Muslim covered from head to toe, filled with horror stories about this city. Yes, I was very afraid.

 

So I prayed to The Granter of Security to keep us safe. And just like that, God made sure that my fears were never realized. Our little family was diverted without ever setting foot on one of the most dangerous cities in America.

When you are afraid, ask for help from the Granter of Security.  He will bring you safety in ways you could never imagine.

 

Al Jabbar (The Mender)

I learned a lot about cooking from my mother.  She even gave me her ceramic mixing bowl.  Due to over-enthusiastic use, my dad had to repair it several times.

While he was very skilled and careful to put the pieces back, using the strongest glue, the cracks from the previous breaks are easy to see.  And after I had it, the whole bottom of the bowl cracked and broke away.

Even though I repaired it, I’m still very careful with it. I don’t even use it except to store onions and garlic. I’m afraid it will break again.

 

It is only God, the Perfect Mender, who can fully repair and heal back to perfection – like nothing ever happened.

Our hearts can be fragile too.  We have scars and open sores from past losses and hurt. Some of our damaged relationships can seem beyond hope for repair.  

Yet, God is the Perfect Mender.  When He heals your wounds, they don’t even leave a scar.  When He has repaired the harm, you can feel whole again, without a trace of pain.

When you feel broken, call on The Mender to heal your wounds and mend your relationships.

 

The Repeatedly-Forgiving (Al Ghaffar)

This name of God is just one of many that remind us that He forgives.  Take this story for example, narrated to us by Messenger Muhammad.

A man committed a sin, then regretfully asked God:

‘My Lord, I have sinned; forgive me.’

His Lord replied: ‘Is My servant acknowledging that he has a Lord Who forgives sins and punishes for them? I have forgiven My servant.’

Time passed, and he returned to his sin. Regretful once again, he said,

‘My Lord, I have sinned; forgive me.’

His Lord replied: ‘Is My servant acknowledging that he has a Lord Who forgives sins and punishes for them?  I have forgiven My servant.’

Time passed and he returned to his sin yet again. And for the third time, he repeated his plea:

‘My Lord, I have sinned; forgive me.’

By the third time, you may expect the answer would be no. However, you’re dealing with The Repeatedly Forgiving God.  

His Lord replied for the third time: ‘Is My servant acknowledging that he has a Lord Who forgives sins and punishes for them? I have forgiven My servant.’

 

Committing sins makes us feel bad, for sure.  But we should never feel like we’ve ever sinned too much to ask God to forgive us. If we do that, we fall into a trap of Satan.  A great teacher of the past advised:

“Would not any one of us feel ashamed before his Lord to seek forgiveness from his sin then go back to it, then seek forgiveness then go back to it? He said: The Satan would like you to feel that way; never give up seeking forgiveness.”

So when you have sinned, beg God The Forgiver to forgive your mistakes.

 

The Opener (Al Fattah)

Sometimes the path ahead seems dark, while others seem closed. God brings light to those paths, and opens ways for us that we couldn’t possibly imagine.  

“Anyone who believes in God and the Last Day should heed this: God will find a way out for those who are mindful of Him, and will provide for them from an unexpected source; God will be enough for those who put their trust in Him. God achieves His purpose; God has set a due measure for everything.(65:2-3)

A new divorced sister was trying different ways to make money for her and family.  She wanted to stay at home with her young children, but couldn’t find anything online.  She feared she would have to leave home to work.

She took expensive courses to learn how to make money online, but ended up spending more than she made…every month.

Then out of the blue, a friend messaged and asked her if she wanted to work for an Islamic organization. It would include free training and working online from home. She thanked God, supplicated to the Opener, and got the position.

 

God will find a way out for you. Proof of this is always happening around you: perhaps if you think about it, it already has happened to you in your life.

Who else but God can open a door that someone else closed?

If you don’t see a path forward, pray to The Opener to open it for you.

 

The One Who Elevates (Ar Raafi’)

Everybody wants to be elevated.  Nobody wants be stuck in one place: socially, financially, or personally. We want to know more, make more money, and live in a better place.  These are natural human desires.

Seeking a raise in status through those things will only get you so far.

God can raise your level in any aspect, in this life and the next.  Consider how God raised the status of Messenger Muhammad:

“Did We not relieve your heart for you [Prophet], and remove the burden that weighed so heavily on your back,  and raise your reputation high?” (94:1-4)

 

Messenger Muhammad was a poor orphan, and God gave him success and wealth.

He was concerned about the state of the people around him, and God gave him prophethood so that he could cure the society of its problems.

He was insulted and rejected by his own tribe, yet God made his name the most honored of all time afterwards.

If you feel stuck or low in any area of your life, pray to the One Who Elevates.

 

The All-Hearing (As-Samee’)

There was a lady that came to the Messenger of God with an urgent request.  Her husband had been behaving like the men did before Islam, and she did not know how to deal with it.

It is said that she was speaking so quietly about it, that even the Messenger’s wife who was in an adjacent room could not hear her.  Yet, God not only heard her, but responded and helped her, from above the seven heavens.

 

God, the All-Hearing, revealed parts of the Quran about her very case – the response immortalized in the Quran until the end of time.

God not only is able and willing to help you, but is always listening, always paying attention.

When you supplicate to Him, He hears you. When people insult you, He hears that, too.

“If my servants ask you about Me, I am near. I respond to those who call Me, so let them respond to Me, and believe in Me, so that they may be rightly guided.” (2:186)

 

The Beautiful Names of God

The Messenger Muhammad taught us this beautiful supplication:

“O God, I am Your servant, son (daughter) of Your male servant, and son (daughter) of Your female servant. My forelock is in Your Hand. Your command for me prevails. Your judgement concerning me is just. I beseech You through every Name You have, by which You have called Yourself, or which You have sent down in Your Book, or which You have taught to any one of Your creations, or which You have preferred to keep to Yourself among Your guarded secrets, to make the Great Quran the spring of my heart, the light of my chest, the remover of my sadness, and the pacifier of my worries.”

 

Consider these Beautiful Names of God and His many others, reflect upon them and internalize them. You will find your heart at peace with the present and the future.

Your Questions on Jesus as Answered by God

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God. Son. Holy Ghost. Prophet. Average man. Even charlatan.

These are all claims to the nature of Jesus son of Mary.

The Muslim narrative is clear and firm on the matter. God in the Quran makes direct and explicit responses to the most common questions.

 

1. Is Jesus God?

Quran 5:72

They have certainly disbelieved who say, “God is the Messiah, the son of Mary” while the Messiah has said, “O Children of Israel, worship God, my Lord and your Lord.”

 

2. Did Jesus Claim to Be God?

Quran 5:116

And [beware the Day] when God will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides God?'”

He will say, “Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right.

If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself.

Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen.”

 

3. Is Jesus the Son of God?

Quran 10:68

They have said, “God has taken a son.”

Exalted is He; He is the [one] Free of need.

To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. You have no authority for this [claim]. Do you say about God that which you do not know?

 

4. Is Jesus Part of a Trinity?

Quran 4:171

O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about God except the truth.

The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of God and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him.

So believe in God and His messengers.

And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you.

Indeed, God is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son.

To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is God as Disposer of affairs.

 

5. Was Jesus a Charlatan or a Sorcerer?


Quran 5:110

[The Day] when God will say,

“O Jesus, Son of Mary, remember My favor upon you and upon your mother when I supported you with the Pure Spirit and you spoke to the people in the cradle and in maturity;

and [remember] when I taught you writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel;

and when you designed from clay [what was] like the form of a bird with My permission, then you breathed into it, and it became a bird with My permission;

and you healed the blind and the leper with My permission;

and when you brought forth the dead with My permission;

and when I restrained the Children of Israel from [killing] you when you came to them with clear proofs and those who disbelieved among them said, “This is not but obvious magic.”

 

6. What Does Jesus Say About Himself?

Quran 19:30-34

[Jesus] said, “Indeed, I am the servant of God. He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet.

And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer and almsgiving as long as I remain alive. And [made me] dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me a wretched tyrant. And peace is on me the day I was born and the day I will die and the day I am raised alive.”

That is Jesus, the son of Mary – the word of truth about which they are in dispute.

 

7. How Do You Explain His Birth?

Quran 3:59

Indeed, the example of Jesus to God is like that of Adam. He created Him from dust; then He said to him, “Be,” and he was.

Quran 3:47

She [Mary] said, “My Lord, how will I have a child when no man has touched me?”

[The angel] said, “Such is God; He creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be’ and it is.

 

8. How Do You Explain His Abilities?

Quran 3:49

And [make him] a messenger to the Children of Israel, [who will say],

“Indeed I have come to you with a sign from your Lord in that I design for you from clay [that which is] like the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird by permission of God.

And I cure the blind and the leper, and I give life to the dead – by permission of God.

And I inform you of what you eat and what you store in your houses.

Indeed in that is a sign for you, if you are believers.”

 

9. How Do You Explain the Crucifixion?

Quran 4:157

And [for] their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah .” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them.

And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain.

 

10. What Was the Message of Jesus?

Quran 3:50-51

[Jesus said], “And [I have come] confirming what was before me of the Torah and to make lawful for you some of what was forbidden to you. And I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so be conscious of God and obey me.

Indeed, God is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is the straight path.”

 

11. What Do We Say of His Followers?

Quran 3:52

But when Jesus felt [persistence in] disbelief from them, he said, “Who are my supporters for [the cause of] God?”

The disciples said,”We are supporters for God. We have believed in God and testify that we are Muslims (ones who submit to God).”

12. What Happened to the Religion of Jesus?

Quran 57:27

Then We sent following their footsteps Our messengers and followed [them] with Jesus, the son of Mary, and gave him the Gospel.

And We placed in the hearts of those who followed him compassion and mercy and monasticism, which they [then] innovated; We did not prescribe it for them except [that they did so] seeking the approval of God.

But they did not observe it with due observance. So We gave the ones who believed among them their reward, but many of them are defiantly disobedient.

13. Did Jesus Speak of Muhammad?

Quran 61:6

And [mention] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, “O children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of God to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad.”

But when he came to them with clear evidences, they said, “This is obvious magic.”

 

Note: “Ahmad” is one of the names of Messenger Muhammad (a variation of the same meaning).