How The Battle Against The Evil Self Is Won | By Nabi Raza Abidi

How The Battle Against The Evil Self Is Won | By Nabi Raza Abidi

In the battle against one’s evil inclinations, despair can sometimes overtake us. With the right mindset, one can overcome this despair.

By Nabi Raza Abidi

There is no greater battle than the battle against the evils of oneself. This has been said ad nauseam in spiritual talks. Although true, it is often forgotten that in this battle many, many people fall into despair. We struggle against bad habits, selfishness, anger, anxiety, depression, carelessness, immaturity, not being able to control what we say, or what have you. When we don’t see the results we want, we fall into despair and think that we are hopeless which sometimes brings about a state of resignation to sins and ill behavior.

I think the mistake here is that we think we can do the changes ourselves. Of course the effort comes from us, but in the end it is Allah that changes the hearts for He is the changer of hearts as the Prophet (s) said يَا مُقَلِّبَ الْقُلُوبِ (O Changer of Hearts).

Our mistake therefore is believing that we have power on our own which if you think about it, is a form of idolatry and an affront to monotheism. Is it possible that in trying to change ourselves and believing that we can do it on our own, we are actually making things worse? Is it possible that with every step forward, we are taking ten steps back? Real power, real Tawheed is knowing that all power and capacity only lies with the All-Mighty. As the Qur’an says, لا حول ولاقوة إلا بالله (There is no power, no might and no capacity except with God).

Now on treating the dead heart: Who is it that brings non-being into being? Who is it that brings the dead back to life? Even if you are made out of stone, Allah will bring you back to life. As such, only God has the power to resurrect, not you, me or your spiritual teacher for your spiritual teacher or boss is himself/herself trying consciously or unconsciously to invoke God’s favor in his/her life.

Allah says in the Qur’an (Surah Israh, verse 57):

Those [saintly beings] whom they invoke are themselves striving to obtain their Sustainer’s favour –[even] those among them who are closest [to Him]

If our hearts are dead and made out of stone, it is the Resurrector who can bring it to life. So let us not despair. Although the path is an arduous and long one, the changes will come incrementally and the transformation will happen without you even noticing it.

How is this achieved? The Qur’an gives us a clue. In chapter Israh, verses 49-52, Allah (swt) states:

(49) And [thus, too,] they say, “After we will have become bones and dust, shall we, forsooth, be raised from the dead in a new act of creation?”

(50) Say: “[ You will be raised from the dead even though] you be stones or iron

(51) or any [other] substance which, to your minds, appears yet farther removed [from life]!” And [if] thereupon they ask, “Who is it that will bring us back [to life]?” – say thou: “He who has brought you into being in the first instance.” And [if] thereupon they shake their heads at thee [in disbelief] and ask, “When shall this be?” –say thou: “It may well be soon,

(52) on a Day when He will call you, and you will answer by praising Him, thinking all the while that you have tarried [on earth] but a little while.”

Death and resurrection are not only physical processes but are also spiritual and metaphysical. If we pay attention to the last verse, the secret of revival is right there. In order to be revived, we must answer God’s call by praising Him. Praising the All-Mighty is synonymous and at the very essence of being grateful to Him. It is a state of gratefulness that gives us the mental energy to carry on in this fallen and broken world. It is the longterm state of gratefulness that is the key to God’s reciprocation in resurrecting our dead souls.

Being grateful is one part. The second interlocked part is kindness. The verse after (52) tells us the following:

(53) AND TELL My servants that they should speak in the most kindly manner verily, Satan is always ready to stir up discord between men –for, verily, Satan is man’s open foe!

Satan is always trying to instill animosity, hatred, jealousy, and resentment among people. Lack of gratefulness leads to a sense of entitlement and lack of humility, and the sense of entitlement and lack of humility is what often breeds resentment and discord.

To be kind, one must repent to God. It is through real repentance that the sense of entitlement is removed thereby opening the heart to humility, gratefulness, kindness and love – even to those who have wronged us. With gratefulness and kindness to others, especially our enemies – namely those who bear ill-will against us – God’s Grace enters our lives and revives our dead hearts.

Waʿlaikum as-Salam,

Yours Faithfully
Nabi Raza Abidi
Resident Imam of the SABA Islamic Center
San Jose, California

How To Make A Decision | By Nabi Raza Abidi

How To Make A Decision | By Nabi Raza Abidi

It isn’t always easy to make the correct decision, here are four questions you can ask yourself to help you make the right decisions in life.

By Nabi Raza Abidi

There is a common approach to worldly problems across religious communities – be they Muslim or Christian – that posits that we should leave everything to God and thus withhold any serious decision making. Although in principle the notion of “leaving everything to God” is true, its understanding has often been faulty. Some have understood the concept as meaning that no decision should be taken and that somehow God will do everything for us. Unfortunately, this an incentive for some to take the backseat and avoid tough decisions in life.

From an Islamic perspective, we as Muslims have been created by God and tasked to make important decisions. However, after we make the decisions, we leave the results to God – this is what we mean by “leaving everything to God”. This is – in part – one of the many aspects of tawakkul (reliance on God). Now the question here is how do we make decisions? In my view, there are four questions we should ask ourselves before making any decision, particularly important ones:

1) Is what I am doing permitted in Islam? Is it haram? Obviously if it is haram I should not consider it.
2) If it is halal, is it the wise thing to do?
3) Is this something I really want to do?
4) What are the long-term effects of this decision and what is the cost of going back on it, if possible at all?

It is not always easy to make the right decision and when we think we did, they sometimes don’t yield the kind of results we want. But remember, most of the time we can’t know with pinpoint accuracy what God really wants from us. What we are tested on is how compassionate and sincere our attempt is.

Waʿlaikum as-Salam,
Yours Faithfully
Nabi Raza Abidi
Resident Imam of the SABA Islamic Center
San Jose, California

Five Tips On On How To Forgive Someone | By Nabi Raza Abidi

Five Tips On On How To Forgive Someone | By Nabi Raza Abidi

Resentment in the remembrance of wrongs is destructive to our souls. Here are fight tips on how to forgive those who have wronged you.

By Nabi Raza Abidi

There is nothing more destructive to your soul, iman (faith) and your spirituality than the constant remembrance of wrongs that were done to you by someone. And by this, I mean the inability to forgive someone and the build up resentment. As I said in a previous article, forgiveness is not forgetting what a person did to you (that is almost impossible), forgiveness is not having resentment towards them.

The remembrance of wrongs is the poisonous fruit of unhealed anger. The remembrance of wrongs results in lingering resentment and often enough, it opens the doors to other sins. I have often observed that when people remember wrongs, they are prone to slander, gossip, listening to haram music, and commit other sins, small or great.

The constant remembering of the wrongs that others did to you contradicts what we seek from God for ourselves. As the Prophet (s) taught us to say in the following dua: اغْفِرْ لَنَا حُوبَنَا وَخَطَايَانَا أَنْتَ رَبُّ الطَّيِّبِينَ ” Forgive us our sins and trespasses, You are the Lord of the good folk.” If we want God to forgive us our sins, we must forgive the sins of others. As the Prophet (s) said: من لا يَرحم لا يُرحم “the one who does not show mercy shall not be shown mercy [by God”.

Unfortunately, the remembrance of wrongs is just as common among religious people as it is with irreligious people.

Here are some tips to fight the remembrance of wrongs done to you:

1) Remember your own sins and how you wish God to forgive you.

2) Remember how other people have forgiven you for the wrongs you have done to them. I’m sure you can think of a few! Then think of your own hypocrisy in remembering the wrongs of another.

3) Ask the person who has wronged you for forgiveness, and be the first to say sorry even if you are not guilty. Also, try to teach others about forgiving others when they have been wronged. In this way, you may feel like a hypocrite and your “self” may try to reshape itself so that it can forgive.

4) Every time you remember the wrongs a person has done to you, ask God to forgive you for your sins.

5) Finally and most importantly, tell God about your weakness and inability to forgive. Ask Him to help you and grant you the transformative grace needed to heal the spiritual sickness within you and allow you to truly forgive the person who has wronged you.

True forgiveness does not happen all of a sudden. It is a long and difficult process and happens one step at a time. So do not despair if you still having some resentment left in you. Here is an interesting point: the true sign of whether or not you have forgiven a person is when a calamity befalls that person and you feel pity for him or her.

Waʿlaikum as-Salam,
Yours Faithfully
Nabi Raza Abidi
Resident Imam of the SABA Islamic Center
San Jose, California