Assalamulaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu:
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. I pray this finds each of you in a blessed state of Iman, healthy and prepared for another Ramadan of mercy and contemplation inshaAllah.
I wanted to write a sincere statement coincident with the month about the importance of calling to Islam in America. I have now been incarcerated for two years, and while I never imagined coming back to the country, in many ways, I have grown appreciative and grateful for my newfound reality, and all praise is due to the Lord of Al Alameen. As one gets older, idealisms are replaced by more realistic contemplation and one has a greater appreciation for any opportunity that can lead to the rectification of deeds and the improvement of one’s internal condition.
There aren’t many tests more difficult than prison. The prisoner is often stuck between the fear that his incarceration is a result of his disobedience to Allah and the hope that his situation is a form of worship – surely Allah (SWT) tested the Messengers with similar trials. We are comforted by a balance that comes as a result of contemplation on the ayat of Allah and the close connection that comes about when all is removed and absolute reliance is dependent upon Him (ta’ ala). As Sheikh al-Islam explained it when asked about the du’aa of Yunus (alayhi salam), everything Allah does to His servants serves a purpose. He described,
“From the completion of Allah’s favor upon His slaves is that He afflicts them with trials and tribulations so that they might turn back to Him and supplicate to Him, without partners, making their religion sincere to Him and making their hope and hearts dependant on Him alone. This leads to absolute reliance on Him, and then their tasting the sweetness of faith and absolving themselves of all facets of shirk. All of the blessings of health, security, and provision are only temporal (worldly) blessings which both the believer and non-believer are granted. As for the blessings that are achieved by those who live tawheed, they are beyond description, and every believer experiences this proportionate to his level of faith. This is why the salaf said, ‘O son of Adam, you have indeed been blessed when in order to fulfill a need you frequently knock on the gate of your Master.’ And one of the scholars said, ‘I have a need for Allah so I invoke Him and He grants me the delight of knowing Him and the sweetness of conversation with Him which makes me desire that my needs are not addressed quickly for fear that my soul is distracted from this because the soul only desires what it wants and whenever it attains its objective it turns away.’
So we remind the brothers and sisters to remember Allah much this Ramadan and to use the blessed month to rectify your relationship with Allah, always seeking guidance upon the straight path. The following article is about dawa and is a topic I felt compelled to write about because it is an area that occupies a significant portion of our time here. I ask you all to take time to make dua for me and my family, that Allah (swt) hasten my release and protect my wife and children while I’m gone. He (swt) says that, “Whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way out for him from every difficulty and He will provide for Him from sources where he could never imagine.”
Indeed, many of the salaf considered this verse to be the most inclusive ayah of the Quran, because the good of this world and the hereafter are dependent on its application. Thus tests either help a believer to attain purification or lead to destruction – and we pray for forgiveness on “a day when neither wealth or children will be of any benefit except for the one who comes to Allah with a pure heart (Shura 88-89).”
Ramadan, a month of increased reward and blessing, is also a month when many Muslims pay their zakat, a portion of which might go to the prisoners. So, I also ask those of you that can afford to do so to make a contribution to help keep our family going. You can email my wife at firstname.lastname@example.org to provide assistance. May Allah (swt) keep us firm in seeking knowledge, applying what we learn, calling to it and giving us the courage to right our wrongs. May He (swt) give each and every one of you the ability to call beautifully to Islam. May He bless you and all of your families with a splendid Ramadan, unite the ummah upon the truth and guide us all to the Siratal Mustaqeem.
Younus Abdullah Muhammad