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Good Tree Academy Senior and this year's valedictorian Faizan delivers Jummah Khutba about following the example of Prophet Muhammad (SWS). Support the show
In Surah At Tariq, Allah prompts us to consider our origin: “Let people then consider what they were created from!” (At-Tariq 86:5 The Nightcomer) Ustadh Michael Wolfender uses this ayat along with examples like IKEA furniture, cow stomachs, birds’ eyes and stomachs to consider advanced design and our purpose.Our purpose is to learn about and worship Allah, as we will return to Him. This life is a test of patience and gratitude for the bounties Allah provides and withholds. In the second half of Surah At-Tariq, Allah advises of the guidance He has sent in His Book: “Surely this ˹Quran˺ is a decisive word and is not to be taken lightly.” (86:13 - 14) The Qur’an advises us of our purpose, in our faith and path in this life with guidance for earning eternal happiness.Support the show
If you saw a treasure chest wide open permitted for you, would you not take? Ustadh Michael Wolfender presents the reality of the best night of the year with a wild example worth paying attention to.In Surat Al-Qadr (97 The Night of Power), Allah repeats three times which He doesn’t do anywhere else in the Qur’an in this manner. Allah reveals He sent the Qur’an on a night in Ramadan called Laylatul Qadr - the Night of Power. Then Allah asks the reader to consider what exactly is this night that has so much power. This is where Ustadh Michael uses his outrageous analogy to help us understand the rewards for worship being accepted on this night.Laylatul Qadr includes a special visitor who only comes to earth once a year now. Angel Gabriel brought Allah’s Message to prophets, concluding with Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.  In the fourth verse of Al Qadr, Allah describes the earth filling with angels on this special night.How can you take advantage? We don’t know which of the last ten nights of Ramadan exactly is Laylatul Qadr. Instead, we search for it. It might be one of the odd nights, particularly the 27th of Ramadan. The best way is to worship each of these nights, give charity, pray, read Qur’an and make dua, asking of Allah. He is The Most Generous. He is The Creator. He is All Powerful. He can grant us everything we wish for and it would not decrease Him in any way.The treasure and reward is available one night a year. It’s up to us to avail ourselves of Allah’s Bounty.Support the show
Principal Wadud Hassan shares some of the rewards from fasting, including: Allah has created a special gate in paradise called Al Rayyan for those who fastFasting is a shield which will protect you from hellfire on the Day of JudgmentCharity and night prayer extinguishes fireFasting and the Qur’an will intercede for believers on the Day of JudgmentFasting one day removes a believer seventy years away from hellfireWhen those fasting are in the company of those who are eating, angels send blessings for those sacrificing for Allah’s SakeThere are levels of fasting beyond abstaining from food and drink, such as staying away from what’s forbidden in bad behavior. Those fasting can then focus on good values like cleansing your heart by forgiving others and seeking forgiveness.Support the show
Once a year, the earth is crowded with angels. Allah announces: “That night the angels and the ˹holy˺ spirit descend, by the permission of their Lord, for every ˹decreed˺ matter.” (Al Qadr 97:4 The Power) This night is in the last ten nights of Ramadan and it’s among the ways Ustadh Michael Wolfender shares how we can get close to angels and earn Allah’s Pleasure. Jummuah means congregation in Arabic and Fridays are when Muslims meet together for the congregational prayer in the middle of the day. Muslims attending jummuah can earn the rewards of a mountain of gold in blessings as angels take attendance of who comes to jummuah and pay attention to the weekly reminder. Angels are made of light and they look for where believers are worshiping so they can join. But if you get distracted, they’ll leave. We can’t see or hear angels here, but everyone entering paradise will. In Surah Ghafir, Allah shows how angels supplicate for believers saying: “Our Lord! Admit them into the Gardens of Eternity which You have promised them, along with the righteous among their parents, spouses, and descendants. You ˹alone˺ are truly the Almighty, All-Wise.” (Al Ghafir 40:8 The Forgiver)When you make dua or ask of Allah on behalf of others, angels make the same request for you. They listen to our duas and report to Allah all of our actions. Back to that one night when Allah crowds the earth with angels. It’s called Laylatul-Qadr or the “Night of Power.” Allah sends a special visitor: the archangel Gabriel, the angel who brought revelation of the Holy Qur’an. Knowing how humans would question how or whether one of their own could see or meet an angel, Allah sent revelation affirming how Prophet Muhammad ﷺ did see Jibreel, declaring in Surah Takwir: “I do swear by the receding stars which travel and hide and the night as it falls and the day as it breaks! Indeed, this ˹Quran˺ is the Word of ˹Allah delivered by Gabriel,˺ a noble messenger-angel, full of power, held in honor by the Lord of the Throne, obeyed there ˹in heaven˺, and trustworthy. And your fellow man is not insane. And he did see that ˹angel˺ on the clear horizon” (At-Takwir 81:15 - 23 The Overthrowing) Since revelation completed with Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, Jibreel only visits once a year. Search for Laylatul Qadr in the last ten nights of Ramadan to be in the company of angels worshiping with you. Support the show
All of His books Allah revealed in the month of Ramadan, while most Muslims may only consider the Qur’an’s revelation to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ  in the cave of Mount Hira. This is among the reasons Ramadan is a special month with increased blessings. Allah closes the doors to the hellfire and opens the doors to paradise. Prayers increase in reward 70-fold. Optional prayers are elevated to the reward of obligatory prayers. Beyond rewards as an incentive, Ramadan is a month to develop and build your relationship with Allah, remembering Him in your heart. Build good values, like patience. Principal Wadud Hassan shares the origin story of an early scholar of Islam, his beginnings as a sinner, the death of his daughter and a dream where she helped bring him towards Allah. It’s guidance like this which can help us chart a straight path to understand the value of our short lifetime compared to the Day of Judgment which will last 50,000 years. This Ramadan, add to your good deeds by supporting Good Tree Academy to continue our mission of cultivating the next generation of Muslim scholars and leaders. Support the show
Allah doesn’t expect perfection. He expects to worship only Him, talking to Him in prayer and doing your best. Allah sent us His Book, the Qur’an, beginning its revelation in the month of Ramadan where He commands fasting: “Ramaḍân is the month in which the Quran was revealed as a guide for humanity with clear proofs of guidance and the standard ˹to distinguish between right and wrong˺. So whoever is present this month, let them fast. But whoever is ill or on a journey, then ˹let them fast˺ an equal number of days ˹after Ramaḍân˺. Allah intends ease for you, not hardship, so that you may complete the prescribed period and proclaim the greatness of Allah for guiding you, and perhaps you will be grateful.” (Al-Baqarah 2:185 The Cow)Ustadh Michael Wolfender provides examples of believers who changed themselves based on their relationship with The Holy Qur’an, the significance of the qibla changing in the month before Ramadan and how Prophet Abraham and his son built the Ka’ba in Mecca. The power of the Qur’an is evidenced in how it changed civilizations, the direction for Musims to pray and turned lives to accept Islam. Ramadan is a time to prepare and change yourself to follow the blueprint Allah provides in the Qur’an. Do your best, Ustadh Michael explains, is what Allah is asking for and ask of Him as He says in the ayah following the verse on Ramadan: “When My servants ask you ˹O Prophet˺ about Me: I am truly near. I respond to one’s prayer when they call upon Me. So let them respond ˹with obedience˺ to Me and believe in Me, perhaps they will be guided ˹to the Right Way˺.”  (Al-Baqarah 2:186 The Cow)Support the show
Allah created all humans as equal. But modern times and history show example after example where humans disobeyed the universal value of treating each other equally. Such racism has ignited wars, spurring sinning behavior Allah detests.As a means of recognition, society can then single out certain people to ‘honor,’ such as with Black History Month. Ustadh Michael Wolfender explains the conundrum this displays on ensuring we each recognize the value of one another every single day by seeking to better our character. The best amongst us only occurs in righteousness. If someone belittles you, respond with peace. Don’t let others lose your inner peace. Allah is with each of us all the time, as He says in Surah Al-Baqarah (The Cow 2:186): “When My servants ask you ˹O Prophet˺ about Me: I am truly near. I respond to one’s prayer when they call upon Me. So let them respond ˹with obedience˺ to Me and believe in Me, perhaps they will be guided ˹to the Right Way˺.”Support the show
Taking care of your soul is as important, if not even more, than taking care of your body. Emotions come from and impact your soul. How do you feel when you're angry? A purpose of anger is protection, not to adversely impact others. So, as Principal Wadud Hassan advises, the best way to respond to anger is with patience, compassion, and forgiveness. He shares the example of how our prophet Muhammad ﷺ respnded to a bedouin who grabbed the prophet ﷺ by his collar as a means of introduction and attention. Our prophet’s ﷺ response was to turn with a smile to then understand what the bedouin’s need concerned. We often think of our soul as if it’s within our heart, in our chest. It’s not really an incorrect way of thinking as how you view your heart and your chest is a physical manifestation of your emotional state. Principal Wadud gives the example of the famous dua of Moses (as) which Allah shares in Surah Taha 20:25 - 28 as his prophet asked of Him: “O my Lord! Open for me my chest (grant me self-confidence, contentment, and boldness.) And ease my task for me. And untie the knot (the defect) from my tongue (i.e. remove the incorrectness from my speech). That they understand my speech.”Start feeding your soul by remembering Allah, ask of Him and know that Allah is with those who are patient and mindful of Him. Remembering Allah is actually a form of positive self-talk. Indeed, Allah has built a home for every human in paradise. This life is a test to earn this eternal reward, in part by developing ourselves and our souls with these habits: Make wudu - cleaning yourself and asking Allah to wash away your sins and have the body parts you’ve washed shine with light to guide you on the Day of Judgment Frequently say “In the Name of Allah, The Most Beneficient, The Most Merciful.” Such as when you start, are in the midst of and when you end anything. Pray. Worship is our conversation with Our Creator with the effect of calming us from daily distractions. Ask of Allah by making lots of dua. Allah loves when His servants ask of him. Don’t not talk with someone for three days when you are experiencing conflict with them. Do greet them and resolve to end the issue before 72 hours have passed. Shake hands, of course, while observing hygienic protocols. Humans benefit from touch.Greet others with a greeting of peace. End your day ensuring you are not harboring grudges; it’s easiest to do this by forgiving others. Read. The first command Allah sent in the revelation of the Qur’an is “Read.” Build a connection with Allah’s Book by starting with a translation of the Qur’an and you will begin to understand the value of learning to understand its Arabic.Write, whether it’s an email, post, journal or letter. Writing is cognitive and cathartic.Support the show
As a parent looking for an Islamic school, a key criteria to look at is the Quranic curriculum. At Good Tree Academy, the Qur’an’s lessons are integrated into the curriculum, which also means the school does not qualify for state funding. If we want treasures from Allah, we must strive for them in the decisions we make, including ardently supporting institutions such as Good Tree Academy. “O humanity! Indeed, you are laboring restlessly towards your Lord, and will ˹eventually˺ meet the consequences..” Surah Inshiqaq (The Sundering) 84:6 In this week’s khutbah, Ustadh Michael Wolfender shares lessons from the Qur’an on how to benefit from two treasures Allah has revealed. The first are the short surahs at the end of the Qur’an and the lessons they contain, including not to be mean as ultimately this really only hurts yourself. “Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah from the day He created the heavens and the earth.” Surah Tawbah (The Repentance) 9:36The second treasure are the four sacred months: al-Muharram, Rajab, Du al-Qa'dah, Du al-Hijjah when Allah says we should take advantage of the opportunity to get closer to Allah by increasing our worship, memorizing more and studying the meaning of Allah’s Book. Winners encourage each other to do good. Losers won’t take advantage of the treasures Allah provides. Worse, they prevent others from doing good.Make good decisions. Seek to please Allah and He will be pleased with you, provide you guidance and rewards in abundance. Support the show
Brother Wadud Hassan reminds us to hold on to the Qur'an and always turn to it especially in times of need.Support the show
Ustadh Michael wolfender talks about the origin of the popular idea that life on earth happened by chance and states that although this idea is popular, it is the most illogical explanation. He explains how the most logical explanation is that there is a Designer, a Creator of the heavens, the earth and all in between.Support the show
Everyone faces times of difficulty and may think life is not fair. We might look around and see others around us do not have the same responsibilities we have or are not struggling like we may be. Ustadh Michael Wolfender recites the beginning of 90:1-4 Surah Al-Balad (The City) where Allah announces everyone at some time on this earth will face hardship. We are not alone in this test. Allah is the Most Just. He is not unfair to anyone. This is all a part of our test to make us worthy for the great reward of Paradise.Many believers in the early days of Islam went though severe hardship, but Allah recognized their struggles and took them away as Islam spread and flourished. Allah will send people your way who will recognize what you are going through and help bring relief to you. The test is not to complain, to believe that the ease is surely to come. Sometimes we don’t see that our hardship can be a lot worse and that it is easy compared to what others are going through. Allah gives us examples of others who have suffered greater difficulties than us. With these examples in mind we can move through our hardship towards ease.That ease is in Allah’s Guidance. Ustadh Michael concludes with the beginning of Surah Taha (20) which has the power to bring believers to the peace of Islam, where Allah advises why He sent His Book and that is it easy for those seeking to understand and please Him.Support the show
We should think of ourselves as a soul with a body instead of a body with a soul. It is in our nature to know who Allah is, to know the truth but sometimes we lose our way. Principal Wadud speaks about what Allah says in 16:125 Surah An-Nahl (The Bee) “Invite all to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and kind advice, and only debate with them in the best manner. Surely your Lord alone knows best who has strayed from His Way and who is rightly guided.” If you know someone who has lost their way or needs to be reminded, do it in a way that lifts them up and does not bring them down. Allah even advised His prophet Musa to do this with Pharaoh, who was most astray as one of the worst human beings. Allah says in 20:44 Surah Taha “Speak to him gently, so perhaps he may be mindful of Me or fearful of My punishment.” We only have one life, one chance to do things right. If someone is missing their chance we should not let them be but try to remind them, to offer sincere advice that can bring them back to their best. Offer the advice in the best way. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said that our religion is sincere advice. Give advice not to make someone feel bad or make you feel better than them. Give it  because you really want to help them. Principal Wadud offers these steps to consider when someone offers a correction or advice: be open and curious; make an intention to consider the feedback; don’t judge what’s being offered and explore ways to benefit from the advice. Principal Wadud concludes with a true story showing the rewards of patience which is among the proofs that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is the final messenger of God.Support the show
Ustadh Michael Wolfender shares the story of the first revelation. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was in secution, thinking, pondering when the angel Jibreel (Gabrial) came to him with and said Icra, read (Surah Alaq (96) The Clot). The Qur’an is the ultimate reading, the ultimate recitation that has great power to transform the lives of people, to elevate their humanity, to guide them to a better way of life. Allah chose a person, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, who was known to be trustworthy to give the responsibility of delivering this super powerful Word to the people. The Quran is mercy. What is this mercy? It is the guidance that alleviates pain, confusion, and destruction to the self, the society and all creation. Allah mentions in this same sura to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ that with this trust he has given him, he will be tested, he will go through hardship, but all of these hardships will ultimately make him stronger. Many tried to harm him but he was under the protection of Allah. They only harmed themselves. We ask Allah to give him peace and blessings for bringing us the Qur’an, the super powerful word of God.Support the show
Principal Wadud Hassan reflects on how remembering Allah in our hearts can control our tongues. When our time is up in this world, we will return to Allah and we must be wary of how we spend our time and resources before we meet Allah SWT. Allah will grant us what we desire in the hereafter if we follow what he desires in this world. Therefore, we must be mindful of how we speak to others and ensure that we are always speaking kindly to each other even during disagreements.Our Prophet peace be upon him was kindest when he was speaking to others and said that the strongest person is the person who can control their anger. Principal Wadud tells the story of Abu Bakr and Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. They were sitting in the masjid when a man came up to Abu Bakr and began to argue, saying ill-mannered things to him. Abu Bakr looked at the man, stayed calm and didn't respond. After the third argument, Abu Bakr responds to the man to correct him and the Prophet ﷺ gets up and walks away. Abu Bakr follows the prophet ﷺ and asked him why he left. The prophet ﷺ said that when you are quiet, there is an angel responding on your behalf because you had patience but when you engage, shaytan appears. When we engage in an argument, we are in the presence of the shayateen and this will take us away from the prophet ﷺ and Allah SWT.We must be mindful of what we are saying with our tongues and say things that bring us closer to Jannah. By remembering Allah in our hearts, and practicing patience, we are able to regulate our tongues from hurting others. Talk to Allah often and your heart will see Allah.Support the show
Thank you for all of the support at our end of year fundraiser! In this khutbah, Principal Wadud Hasan shares how we can grow gratitude, expressing it at times like when we wake up, when we close our eyes, eat and pray. In surah Ibrahim (Abraham) 14:7, Allah says “And remember when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful I will surely increase you;” Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was always beaming with gratitude. Even when he had the worst day he was always grateful as reflected in his smile, his character, his good deeds.  All of this was because of the gratitude he felt in his heart. Allah loves us more when we are appreciative, when we give thanks.Support the show
As Muslims, sometimes we have to go on a journey to get closer to Allah by visiting the houses of Allah SWT in Mecca and Madina. When you visit Masjid al Nabawi in Madina, the prayer of one rakaa is equivalent to 50,000 rakaa and when you pray one rakaa at Masjid al-Haram, it is equivalent to one hundred thousand rakaa. According to several historians, the earth was all water and the first piece of land started at the Kaaba where today, Muslims circle around to bring themselves closer to Allah SWT. Seven heavens above the Kaaba, there is a house of Allah called Bait al Mamoor where 70,000 angels do tawaaf from sunrise to sunset and when those angels complete tawaaf, another 70,000 angels come and do tawaaf and will not come back to do tawaaf until the day of judgement. The Kaaba is where the Prophet prayed and was harassed, attacked, and endured the dumping of animal feces on him as he prayed. This is also where Muslims freed the house of Allah from idols. Sometimes we must take certain journeys and face difficult obstacles in order to bring ourselves closer to Allah. Allah tells us to visit the houses of Allah and make provisions before making that journey. The main provision we should be making is Takwa. Takwa is having the mindfulness of Allah, being deeply aware and conscious of Allah, and strengthening that connection to Allah. When Prophet Abraham left his wife Hajar with Ismail in Mecca, there was no Kaaba, food, or water present. Hajar had takwa and had six qualities in her heart that brought her closer to Allah. 1. Silence: One of the first qualities that Hajar had to get used to was her heart. She had to learn how to be alone with Allah with no one around her but Allah. We can understand the revelations of Allah better when we tune out everything else and be alone with Allah. 2. Attachment: Hajar had to sacrifice her attachment with everything and everyone other than Allah. This included her husband, her neighborhood, food she loved, and everything she was attached to so she could attach her heart to Allah.  3. Reliance: Her heart relied heavily on Allah when she was left alone and dealing with difficulties. 4. Hope: Hajar never gave up hope on Allah even during these difficult times. Her hope was bigger than her fears. 5. Action: She actively tried to bring herself closer to Allah by seeking Allah. She would walk on rocks between Safa and Marwa to bring herself closer. She did not give up and worked hard to seek Allah’s bounty and with that movement, Allah gave her an opening when the Angel Jibril came and struck the ground that so much water came out she had to say zam zam (stop stop). Today, that water nourishes the souls of pilgrims until the day of judgement. 6. Gratitude: She was soaked in gratitude for the water and was grateful for what Allah had given her that time instead of asking for more. When we are going through a difficult time, it is important to have takwa, put in the effort and seek Allah. May Allah grant us the tawfik to continue to strive towards these qualities that Hajar possessed. May Allah grant us tawfik to have a beautiful heart.Support the show
The people of Mecca knew who Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was, what he was like, his kind character, how he was well-trusted and loved, and how he interacted with people. However, when he came with the message of Allah and truth, they rejected him and what he was preaching. This was a test for the people of Mecca because they were used to worshipping idols. Allah SWT tells us about the struggle of the people of Mecca in Surah Al-Qalam (68 The Pen) which was one of the first surahs that the prophet ﷺ received. The pen was the first thing that Allah created and Allah told the pen to write and the pen wrote everything, including all events to occur throughout time. Allah SWT gave Prophet Muhammad ﷺ three characteristics as described in this surah; his sound intellect, his devotion to his faith which will result in great reward, and the best behavior in his interactions with others. The prophet ﷺ was very well-trusted by the people around him. When everyone in Mecca was fighting over placement of the black stone in the Ka’ba, Muhammad ﷺ was chosen to settle the argument. In this surah, Allah SWT lists the characteristics we should avoid. You should not give your attention to someone who spends their time swearing by Allah whether it’s true or not, talks down to people, puts people down, hears something from someone and passes it to another person while exaggerating what is said, tries to prevent people from doing good things, and someone who takes away people’s rights and sins all the time. On the day of judgement, these people will try to make sujood in prostration and they will not be able to because when they were able to, they chose not to. However, as perfect as Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was with his endowed three good characteristics, the people of Mecca still did not want to accept him and the message he was preaching. Allah gave Prophet Muhammad ﷺ an example to help him with the people of Mecca. In Surah Al-Qalam, Allah recounts the story of brothers who were in charge of a garden that was rich with many fruits which they inherited from their father. Their father used to let poor people pick from the garden as they pleased and they knew of their father’s generosity. Even though they knew it was the right thing to do, the brothers decided they were not going to let the poor take from their garden because they were worried about losing money. Due to these actions, their behavior began to change. They would whisper to each other, give bad looks to people, walk around like a gang, and intimidate people. So Allah destroyed their garden. That is when the brothers realized that everything had been taken away from them due to their actions, and they turned back to Allah. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ told the people of Mecca this story to guide them to do good before it is too late. May Allah make our behavior and manners nice and guide us to follow the Prophet’s good behavior characteristics.Support the show
There is no one else that deserves our unconditional obedience but Allah SWT and on the day of judgement, when we meet our Creator, our wealth, children, and things of this world will not be with us. Therefore, we should not forget the real purpose of being in this life and in this world is to worship Allah and focus on our hearts for the sake of reaching our best selves. On the day of judgement, we want to come before Allah SWT with a heart that is pure and peaceful. Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him expressed that if you are able to in the morning and evening make the state of your heart where there is no ill will towards anyone then do so and this is considered his way or sunnah. Those who practice this sunnah truly love the prophet ﷺ and purifying our hearts brings us closer to the prophet. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ also explained that whoever defends the reputation of his brother, Allah SWT will defend his face from the fire on the day of judgement. Principal Wadud Hassan presents the idea of psychological safety and how, for instance, Google found that this made their teams work effectively. Psychological safety ensures safety for risk-taking in the face of being seen as incompetent, negative, and disruptive. In the face of adversity, the team can safely take risks and work together on a problem without incurring backlash. Psychological safety is the environment that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ created for his sahaba. His companions were able to come to him and ask permission or guidance on anything and it was a safe space for them with no judgement or repercussions. He would ask Allah SWT to purify their hearts and provide them with guidance. This shows how the prophet ﷺ believed in everyone’s potential. Principal Wadud shares a story about Sheikh Ali, also known as Hakeem al Ummah or the Grand Mufti of Hind and his encounter with another sheikh during a gathering of sheikhs. That sheikh told Sheikh Ali that he feels he is the worst among these scholars and that everyone around him was better than him. Sheikh Ali points to a Hindu man passing by and says what if Allah gives that man guidance tomorrow and he dies with faith in his heart, questioning if he would have such purity of faith as well. This is the level of clarity and cleanliness that was in the heart of these scholars which provides us guidance. May Allah grant us Tawfik to build this quality of keeping our hearts pure to have the best for our brothers and sisters and ourselves. Support the show
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