Thursday, December 29, 2011

Who is God?

As Muslims, we understand that there is no god but God, and there is nothing that compares to Him. He is the Creator, and He is not, nor does He ever become, part of His creation.

We often hear people say, "I don't know if I really believe in God, but I do believe in a Higher Power." Many people hesitate to say "God" because, for them, the word conjures the image of an old man with a long white beard and robe, floating on a cloud. You've probably seen this guy in renaissance art. This Zeus looking character is NOT God. God is not an old man or a young man or a spirit or a ball of energy or a statue or any physical thing. He is the Eternal Creator and Sustainer of everything that exists, He is One with no partner, He has power over all things, and none has the right to be worshipped but Him. Doesn't that make a lot more sense?

"In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Ever-Merciful
Say, 'He is Allah, One,
Allah, the Self-Sufficient Eternal Refuge.
He does not beget and He is not born,
and there is nothing comparable to Him.'”

(Qur'an 112:1-4)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Why do Muslims use the name Allah for God?

Only a relatively small percentage of Muslims speak Arabic as their first language, yet Muslims around the world use the same word for God: Allah. But why? Why not just use the word for God in our own languages? One reason is that, since the Quran was revealed in Arabic, and Arabic is used by Muslims multiple times a day in prayer, the word has something of a unifying quality for Muslims. No matter where we're from, no matter what language we speak, Allah is one word we can all understand. While there is nothing wrong with using other words for God, most Muslims are accustomed to using the word Allah, and many prefer to use the word Allah over the word for God in their own language. However, a deeper reason that many cite is the unique quality of the word Allah. Look at English word God. We spell it with a capital G and it means the One True God, but make it a lower case g and it could be referring to Zeus, Ganesh, Thor, or anything that people worship. Since capitalization does not come across in speech, there is no way to distinguish between God and... god. If you add an s it becomes gods plural, and it can become male or female, god or goddess. In contrast, the Arabic words for god and God are two different words. Lowercase god is ilah and capital God is Allah, so when you say Allah there is no confusion. On top of that, the word Allah is unlike most Arabic words in that it cannot be made plural nor take gender. So when you say "Allah" there is no doubt that you are talking not about one of many gods, but about the One and Only God, not a man or a woman but the Creator of men and women, capital G-o-d, God.

"And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them."
-Qur'an 7:180

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Who is Allah?

Some people mistakenly think that Allah is the "god of the Muslims," and a few even like to claim that Allah is an Arabian moon god, but the word Allah is simply the Arabic word for God. Every language has a word for God, and Arabic is no exception. If you have any doubt, you can check an Arabic translation of the Bible, you will find that it uses the word Allah. In fact, since Arabic is a Semitic language like Hebrew, the language of the Torah, and Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus (pbuh), you'll find that the words for God in those languages, El in Hebrew and Alaha in Aramaic, are very similar to the word Allah. This just goes to show that Allah is the same One God, the Creator of the Universe, loved and worshiped by all of God's prophets.

"He is Allah , the Creator, the Inventor, the Fashioner;
to Him belong the best names."
-Qur'an 59:24

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dawah Opportunities: Thanksgiving

Assalaamu 'alaikum sisters and brothers. It's that time again! If you live in the US then you know Thanksgiving is only a few days away.  And what's the best thing about thanksgiving? Turkey dinner? Nope. Pumpkin pie? Nope. I'm talking about opportunities for dawah!

Huh? What? How is Thanksgiving a dawah opportunity?

Well, Thanksgiving is all about giving what? Thanks! And who loves to be thankful? Muslims! So take the opportunity to start a conversation about being thankful, and by doing so, share Islam! Like this...

Steve: Hey Abdullah! How's it going?
Abdullah: Hey Steve! Happy Thanksgiving!
Steve: Uh Thanksgiving isn't for another few days.
Abdullah: Not for me. I'm Muslim. In Islam, every day is Thanksgiving!
Steve: What do you mean? You eat roast turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy every day? That's not very healthy bro.
Abdullah: Well, maybe not that part. Just the part about giving thanks.
Steve: Oh yeah. I forgot about that part.
Abdullah: I think a lot of people do.
Steve: Who are we even thanking anyway?
Abdullah: Well, as Muslims, we believe it's important to always give thanks, to your friends, your family, definitely your parents, and above all, to God.
Steve: Oh. Wait, this might sound like a dumb question but... Muslims believe in God? I thought you believed in "Allah."
Abdullah: Haha that's not a dumb question. Actually, Allah is the Arabic word for God. It's the same God though. The Creator of the Universe.
Steve: Oooh ok that makes sense actually.
Abdullah: What do you say we continue this conversation over some pumpkin pie and masala chai?
Steve: That sounds great!

See? You just have to get the conversation started, and it's so easy! And I'll make it even easier inshaAllah. I have a video called "Thanksgiving & Islam: Who Are We Thanking?" If you share it on your Facebook wall with all of your friends, and they share it, and so on, inshaAllah it'll reach so many people and we can ALL share in the hasanat! I even have a picture to promote the video which you can use as your default pic on Facebook during this holiday time inshaAllah. Now go do the dawah inshaAllah!

Assalaamu 'alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

Every day is a day to give thanks. Share your AHL moments at Remember Allah. Then remember us.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hey! I know you! You're that Dawah Addict guy!


Assalaamu 'alaikum! So, if you like the videos on the Dawah Addict channel, here's some news you'll like insha'Allah. I've started  a new, second channel! It's called "That Dawah Addict Guy" and insha'Allah it's going to allow me to post more videos and more different kinds of videos. Want to know more? Just watch the video insha'Allah!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

AHL Moments

Assalaamu alaikum guys and gals!

So, I'm very excited. Ask me why. Oh, why, you ask? It's because I just created a brand new website called AHL Moments, and it's already becoming a hit, AHL!

So what's it all about, you ask? Well, with the growth in popularity of "" and similar sites, I find people constantly complaining about the difficult situations they face, highlighting the negative and ignoring the positive. Not only do they emphasize their misfortunes, but they conclude with FML (which stands for "F My Life"). Seriously, do we even think about how messed up that is? Do we ever take a second and think, "How does this constant expression of negativity effect my outlook on life?" I wanted to provide people with an alternative to FML, an outlet to express their frustrations, as well as their happiness, in a way that's actually uplifting, rather than detrimental, to their emotional, psychological, and spiritual well-being. That's how AHL was born.

As you might have guessed, AHL stands for alhamdulillah (Al-Hamdu-Lillah) which for those who don't know means "Thankful Praise belongs to God" in Arabic. While it comes from the Islamic tradition, the phrase can be used by anyone, whether you're Jewish, or Christian, or if you don't really have a set religion. What is unique about this phrase is that it is meant to be used in response to both pleasing and displeasing circumstances in our lives, the idea being that, whether things are going well or not so well, I will stay positive and ALWAYS give thanks and praise to the Creator.

The Prophet Muhammad (saws) is reported to have said, "Wondrous are the affairs of the believer. There is good for him in every affair, and that is only so for the believer. When something pleasing happens, he is thankful, and that is good for him. When something displeasing happens, he is patient, and that is good for him." So when you live your life with AHL on your mind, good is good and bad is good, and you can begin to look at every moment as an opportunity to remember God, to be thankful, and to be patient, and God is the ultimate goal.

So please help by sharing with your friends. If you'd like to share your own story on the site, check out the Submit a Moment page. Just follow the quick and easy instructions and you'll be on your way insha'Allah!

Jazakum Allahu khair for your help in bringing this site to the world. I'm very excited about it's growth so far AHL and I look forward to seeing what we can do with it together, insha'Allah.

Simple Sadaqa - Charity: Water

Assalaamu 'alaikum people everywhere!

I just posted a new video offering a simple opportunity for some incredible sadaqa. Insha'Allah please check out the video, share it with everyone you know, and participate as much as you can. Jazakum Allahu khair.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Simple Sadaqa - Charity: Water

Bismillah Alhamdulillah wa Salaatu wa Salaam 'ala rasoolullah
(In the name of Allah, Praise belongs to Allah, and Prayers and Peace be upon the Messenger of Allah)

"Sadaqa extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire."
-Prophet Muhammad (saws)

Assalaamu 'alaikum! Peace be upon you!

Sadaqa (Charity) is one of the easiest and most fundamental ways of worshipping the Creator. Sometimes charity can seem complicated, or only accessible to those who can pledge large amounts, but in reality, it is so simple.

I've started a 90-day campaign with an organization called Charity: Water to raise $7000 to provide clean drinking water to the people in Ethiopia whose suffering is completely unnecessary. You have the opportunity to help save lives, and we know that whoever saves one life, it's like saving all of humanity.

Give whatever you can, big or small, to help people get the most basic of necessities: water.

We're not talking about buying a bunch of Poland Spring. We're talking about digging wells. That means continuous, sustainable water for communities in Northern Ethiopia who need it badly. That means women NOT having to walk for miles just to collect dirty polluted water to drink. Next time you turn on your faucet, let it be a reminder to you. If you can't donate a lot, donate a little. If you wish you could donate more, you can help by asking others to donate. Do the most you can insha'Allah.

100% of your donation funds drilling equipment that will bring clean water to people in Ethiopia. In addition, Charity: Water will track our donations through GPS so we can see exactly how and where our money is being used. Go to to learn more and to donate.

This is such an incredible organization and I urge you to participate insha'Allah, and to encourage everyone you know to do so as well. Even if you can't give much yourself, you can go to your family, friends, coworkers, classmates, neighbors, even strangers, and ask them to contribute to this cause. Send everyone you know to

Sadaqa. It's so simple.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Why is Salah SO Important?

In the name of Allah, Praise belongs to Allah, and Blessings and Peace be upon the messenger of Allah...

In the Qur’an, Allah says,

“Indeed, I am Allah. There is nothing worthy of worship except Me, so worship Me and establish the Salah for My remembrance.” (Quran 20:14)

These are the words that Allah spoke to Musa (as), to Moses, and Allah reminds us of them again in the Qur’an. There is no doubt that the Salah, the established formal daily prayer, has always been a fundamental part of Allah’s religion, even before the last messenger Muhammad (saws). Allah says elsewhere in the Qur’an,

“And We certainly sent into every nation a messenger, [saying], "Worship Allah and avoid false gods." (Quran 16:36)

So why is the Salah so important? It’s simple. The Salah is so important because it is the precise way that Allah has instructed us to worship Him, and because worshipping Allah is the purpose of our creation, as Allah says,

“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Qur’an 51:56)

In a video titled Prayer in Islam, I explained that in Islam there are different types of prayer, or different actions that are commonly translated as prayer, and that, aside from the Salah, the established daily prayer, there is also dua, the act of calling on Allah in prayer at any time or place, and dhikr, remembrance and continuous contemplation of Allah, and all these things are considered “prayer.” What’s interesting is that the Salah itself is in many ways an established form of dua and dhikr, calling on Allah and remembering Allah.

The importance of the Salah can also be understood though the ways in which the Salah benefits us.

It’s reported that the Prophet Muhammad (saws) was speaking to his companions, and he asked them, “If a person had a stream outside his door and he bathed in it five times a day, do you think he would have any dirt left on him?” The companions said, “No dirt would remain on him at all.” The Prophet (saws) then said, “That is like the five daily prayers: Allah wipes away the sins by them.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim)

Subhanallah, think about the amazing mercy of Allah, that he gives us five prayers throughout the day, every single day, with which we can be purified of our sins.

The messenger of Allah (saws) is also reported to have said, "Allah has obligated five prayers. Whoever excellently performs their ablutions, prays them in their proper times, completes their bows, prostrations and khushu' (total concentration and spiritual connection) has a promise from Allah that He will forgive him. And whoever does not do that has no promise from Allah. He may either forgive him or punish him." [Recorded by Malik, Ahmad, Abu Dawud, al-Nasa’I and others. According to al-Albani, it is sahih. Al-Albani, Sahih al-Jami, vol. 1, p. 616.]

Really think about that! If you maintain your prayers and pray them the way they’re meant to be prayed, Allah is giving you a guarantee of forgiveness! Who can give a better guarantee than Allah?

And not only does the Salah remove the sins you have, but it also protects you from further sins! In the Qur’an, Allah says,

“Indeed, the Salah keeps one from the great sins and evil deeds” (Quran 29:45)

Just think, at any given time during the course of the day, you either just finished praying or you are going to pray soon. That consistent routine of prayer continuously boosts your level of taqwa, conciousness of Allah. Since you’re always mindful of Allah, you’re aware that He sees everything you do, you’re less likely to commit sins.

According to Allah’s messenger (saws), the Salah is the most virtuous deed anyone can perform, and that’s why it’s so important to keep the prayer. Just as performing the Salah can be of tremendous benefit, neglecting the Salah can cause us tremendous harm.

As the Prophet (saws) informed us,

“The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the Salah. If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be sound. And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad.”
[Recorded by al-Tabarani. According to al-Albani, it is Sahih. Al-Albani, Sahih al-Jami, vol.1, p. 503.]

So insha’Allah now that you truly understand the importance of the Salah, you can take the next step by perfecting your Salah. That can mean different things for different people. If you are inconsistent with your prayers, it could mean disciplining yourself to pray them every day in their time. If you always find yourself praying at the last minute, it could mean making an effort to pray as soon as the prayer comes in. If you have trouble focusing in your Salah, it could mean studying the meanings of what you are saying in prayer and concentrating on it more deeply while in prayer. If you are a new Muslim, it could mean beginning to learn and practice the Salah, and make it part of your regular routine. Whatever our individual cases may be, I hope and pray that we can all remember why Salah is so important to us and to stay motivated to always improve. Until next time, Assalaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Starting Fresh

I've had this blog for about two years, but I haven't done much with it. Recently, I've been planning some changes and improvements  for the YouTube channel and associated sites, and insha'Allah I'm starting here on the blog. In general, I'd like to be more active in sharing knowledge, and insha'Allah I think the text blog, requiring far less time and work than the channel, will help me to get more out more often.

So insha'Allah here's what you can expect to start seeing from this blog:
-New original blog posts
-Videos converted into blog form
-Blog post that may later be converted into videos (giving you the first look at new material)
-Updates and news about the channel
-Campaigns, contests, and projects from Dawah Addict

and of course all new videos as they come out.

Jazakum Allahu khair to everybody for reading, and make sure to share this page, as well as the channel itself.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Burger King Religion

Imagine you walked into you job on Monday, and said to your boss,

“Hey listen, I know how you always like for me to get all of the work done that you give me to do, you have the whole work routine for us, but I was thinking that, instead, I would take care of some things that I need to take care of, some work I have to do, for myself, maybe do some texting, watch like five videos on YouTube, then I thought I would take a two hour lunch over at Fridays, I’m meeting some friends, and I mean, since I’ll be out that long anyway, I figure I’ll just stay out and hit the beach. I really gotta work on my tan. That’s not a problem, right?”

How do you think that would go over? Probably not to well. Would your boss accept your personalized work routine? Of course not. Would you still expect to get paid at the end of the day? Don’t count on it. See, when I it’s presented like this, it’s not hard to understand. So why, when it comes to religion, do people think that they can make up whatever religion they want, picking and choosing what THEY want to follow and what THEY want to ignore, and then think that at the end of their life, God will accept this from them? Does that make any sense?

In the Qur’an, Allah is very clear on this point:

“And whoever seeks a way of life other than Islam (Submission to Allah’s will on His terms), it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers.”

Qur’an 3:85

I’ve heard people say things like, “God doesn’t care if you pray five times a day. You can just pray whenever you want,” or “God wont mind if you come out drinking.” Oh really? Who gave YOU the authority to speak on God’s behalf? Do you have any proof to back that up? In the Qur’an, Allah says,

“Say: The things that my Lord has forbidden are shameful deeds, whether done openly or in secret, and sin, and unjust oppression, and that you associate with Allah that for which He has not sent down authority, and that you say about Allah that which you do not know.”

Qur’an 7:33

We are certainly in no position to say that we know what Allah wants based on nothing but a guess, and we are not in a position to decide what is right and what is wrong. Some people think they should follow their own way of life, thinking, “I know what is best for me.” Do you think you know better than Allah? Doesn’t the Creator know what He created? Allah knows what’s best for you, and for me, and for everybody. Allah is giving you something that will benefit you; that will bring you peace and real satisfaction in this life and the next. Unfortunately, a lot of people actually hold themselves back from following Allah because of their own wants and desires.

See, these days, everybody wants Burger King Religion. Burger King Religion? You know, “Have it your way.” It’s all about what I want, what I get out of the deal. People are busy thinking, “how can my religion serve me?” When they should be asking, “how can I serve my Creator?”

Allah says:

“And I did not create the jinns and humankind except to serve Me.”

Qur’an 51:56

Allah created you, and gave you everything you have in your life, not just your XBOX 360 and your iPhone, but the parents who raised you, the food you eat, the bed you sleep in, and the air you breathe. After all that, don’t you think you owe it to Allah to follow the way of life that He has also created for you? Doesn’t Allah deserve to be worshipped, the way He wants to be worshipped?

This is part of the beauty of Islam; that Allah has made a perfect way of life for us, in that we can worship him constantly, but we don’t have to sit in a corner praying day and night. You don’t have to stop living your life to be a Muslim. Allah does not wish difficulty upon us. This is mentioned repeatedly in the Qur’an.

“Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship.”
Qur’an 2:185

“Allah does not want to place you in difficulty”
Qur’an 5:6

Worship in Islam is not limited to prayer and fasting, but extends into every part of life. Everyday things like working hard to support your family, being kind to your parents, and even a smile can be worship. As long as you live your life, as Allah wants you to live, everything you do for the sake of Allah is a way of serving your Creator.

If this all makes sense to you, if it sounds right, and if you’re thinking, “You know, I might want this way of life for myself,” then I invite you to enter Islam, submission to Allah’s will on His terms, putting what He wants before what you want.

That’s it for this time. Make sure you subscribe to the YouTube Channel and stay tuned for more Dawah Addict videos coming soon insha’Allah. Thanks for reading, and watching. Peace! Assalaamu ‘alaikum.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Dawah advice to sister from Tumblr...

heey man, I really need ur advise and help. My friend has shown an interest in Islam and I really want her to help her. She's being more open minded just because she is curious about Islam. She is a bit fixed about her ideas and she asked me once why n how do u trust a man ! she just asked me to recommend a bio of the prophet and I gave her a book I've read it's called The Sealed Nectar. My thing is that I don't want to be pushy or anything n can u advise me ?

Assalaamu ‘alaikum sister,
Ok so awesome question. I actually LOVE answering this one, but you have to make sure that when you explain it to her, insha’Allah she understands it. When someone says something like that, something we agree with, that you shouldn’t just follow a human being, give her due recognition. Something like, “Exactly! That’s the whole point of Islam, that we believe that you SHOULDN’T just follow a human being. You’re starting to sound like a Muslim!” (I find it’s sometimes good to throw semi-kidding suggestions like that in there, but consider your audience insha’Allah.)
This was actually some thing that, for me, was like an epiphany before I became Muslim. For a long time I was into the whole “anti-organized religion” mindset, and I wouldn’t even consider an established faith because I saw them all as “man-made.” I felt, as many do, that I should instead follow what was in my heart, what I felt was right, until it hit me: all I was doing was making my own personal man-made religion. Who was I to think I was a shining exception to all of humanity, who I had deemed unworthy to dictate religion? It was partly through the realization of my own hypocrisy that I decided to give religion a second chance, because I realized that my own custom religion would be just as false as any other religion invented by people. I accepted that the only possible way to follow the right religion was if it was a God-made religion, and I decided to see if any such religion existed. Alhamdulillah I found that religion in Islam.
So insha’Allah try explaining that to her, in the best and most considerate way you can. Confirm her previous statement by saying something like, “So basically, you feel that we shouldn’t follow any religion made up by human beings, right?” Insha’Allah she will agree to that principle, and then you can explain that a religion is nothing more than a way of life, that we all have a religion that we follow, and that if we make up our religion for ourselves, then we would be guilty of following a religion made by human beings (ie ourselves).
Explain that as Muslims, we believe that Muhammad (saws) is the messenger of God, and so we are not following teachings that he made up, but rather the teachings that he is conveying from God through revelation. Explain that this is how religion is supposed to work, and that all the prophets (name a few) taught the same thing, but it was only when people started to put their own ideas and teachings in, and take away things they didn’t agree with, that the God-made religion was transformed into a man-made religion.
I think introducing her to the Prophet (saws) is a great idea. If she understands who he was, what he taught, and how he lived, insha’Allah it might make her feel more comfortable with him, and with the message he brought. Just make sure that what you give her to read is digestible. In other words, make sure it’s something that someone without a familiarity with Islam would be able to understand and connect to. I know there’s a book by Tariq Ramadan called “In The Footsteps of The Prophet” that might be something she would like. It discusses the seerah by issue rather than in chronological order, telling stories here and there to illustrate their lessons. It’s also very well written masha’Allah. Overall though, as always, be conscious of your audience, and make sure not to overwhelm her.
If she still has some reservations about “following a man,” the issue might be that she would prefer something more “miraculous” or “supernatural” then a human being to convey God’s message to humanity. If this is the case, then this is nothing new. The people at the time of the Prophet (saws) made similar requests, and Allah actually answered them in the Qur’an.
People would criticize the Prophet (saws), asking why Allah would send a mere man instead of sending an Angel, or appearing Himself to the people.
Those who do not fear to meet Us say, ‘Why are the angels not sent down to us?’ or ‘Why can we not see our Lord?’ Assuredly, they think too highly of themselves and they are uttering a gross insult.” (Qur’an 25:21)
Allah explains clearly in the Qur’an why we were sent human beings as messengers. First, he reminds us that this has always been the case, and that all of the messengers to humanity were always people like us.
“And even before you [Muhammad], We only ever sent men whom We inspired, so ask people who know the Scripture if you [disbelievers] do not know. We did not give them bodies that ate no food, nor were they immortal.” (Qur’an 21:7-8)
Allah explains that we are given messengers from among us, who are like us, and that an angel would only make sense as a messenger if earth were populated with angles rather than people.
“Nothing kept these people from believing, when guidance came to them, except that they said, ‘How could Allah have sent a human being as a messenger?’ Say, ‘If there were angels walking around, living on earth, We would have sent them an angel from Heaven as a messenger.’” (Qur’an 17:94-95)
Think about it. Our messenger is like us, from among us, and so we are able to relate to him, to his experiences, and we can seek to emulate his character and actions. He is the perfect example of a human being. He not only conveys the message, but demonstrates it’s application.
“Allah has been truly gracious to the believers in sending them a Messenger from among their own, to recite His revelations to them, to make them grow in purity, and to teach them the Scripture and wisdom- before that they were clearly astray.” (Qur’an 3:164)
In addition, if Allah had sent an angel down from heaven, or appeared to us Himself, or in some other way revealed the unseen, then it would be like if you were taking a test in school, and the teacher started reviewing the answers while everyone still had their papers! It doesn’t work like that. You don’t get to see the answers until after the test is over, and once the answers are read out loud, it’s too late to fill them in. In the same way, we can’t see the unseen until after we die. This life is a test for us, and we have to show that we will make a sincere effort to seek the truth and follow it. If Allah were to reveal the unseen to us now, then there would be no test. So once you see any part of the unseen world, time is up, and your chance to believe is over.
“They say, ‘Why was an angel not sent down to him?’ But had We sent down an angel, their judgement would have come at once with no respite given. Indeed, if We had sent an angel as messenger, We would still have sent him in the form of a man, so increasing their confusion.” (Qur’an 6:8-9)
Insha’Allah I hope this will help you out in your conversation with your friend, and insha’Allah maybe it will also help others who get into similar situations with dawah. You know, this might just have to be made into a video… insha’Allah.
Salaam :-)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Rest Stop Paradise (New Video Coming Soon Insha'Allah!)

Rest Stop Paradise

Bismillah alhamdulillah wa salaatu wa salaam 'ala rasoolillah.

Have you ever gone on a long car ride across several states, leaving home and setting out for a family vacation? If you live on the east coast of the United States, you might be driving down to Florida to go to Disney World or some other vacation spot. I'm talking about long drives, like driving for hours, all day, maybe even two days of driving. Along the way, especially with kids in the car, you're going to need to stop for a bathroom break. So you you pull into a rest stop. Now, this isn't some run down place, this is a nice big clean travel plaza. Of course for the parents, for the adults,  this is not a big deal. It's just a quick place to take a break from driving for a few minutes, maybe get something to eat, and then get back on the road.

But not for the kids. When they walk in, they are so excited to be there, it's like they've already made it to their vacation destination, and that's how they treat this place. They see the food court with Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, and Burger King, everything they love, they notice the gift shop with t-shirts and toys and souvenirs, their eyes catch the arcade games and vending machines, and of course they see the 50 cent machines with gumballs, skittles, plastic rings, stickers, temporary tattoos, and more! They start running around all over the place and acting crazy, and their parents are trying to control them! They're saying, "Guys, come on, this is just a rest stop, we're not even their yet. Save all this energy for when we get to our destination." But the kids don't listen. They can't even think that far ahead. All they see is here and now. They love it there so much that when the parents tell them, "Come on kids it's time to leave," all you hear is, "No! Please a few more minutes please!" They just want to stay there and let that be their vacation.

But this is more than just a cute story about some kids playing at a rest stop. The Prophet Muhammad (saws) is reported to have said, "Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a traveler." We know that this life is not our final destination. We are headed towards the akhira, towards the hereafter, and this world is merely a short rest stop along that journey.

In the Qur'an, Allah says:

A'udhu billahi min ash shaytan ir rajeem
"wa maa al Hayaat ud dunyaa illa mataa'u ul ghuroor"
"And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion."
(Qur'an 3:185)

People often become distracted by the temporary delights of this world, but those with the most intellectual and spiritual maturity recognize that the focus should be not on this life but on the next. That is where we are truly headed, and that should be our primary concern. This life must be a time of preparation, because the only thing that we'll be carrying with us on the Day of Judgment will be our faith and our actions, and based on that, Allah will determine where we'll be staying.

Allah says in the Quran:

"fa `ammaa man taghaa
wa `atharal Hayaat ad dunyaa
fa `innal jaHeema hiyal ma`waa
wa `ammaa man khaafa maqaama rabbihee wa nahan nafsa 'anil hawaa
fa `inna al jannata hiyal ma`waa"

"So as for he who transgressed
And preferred the life of the world,
Then indeed, Hellfire will be home.
But as for he who feared to stand before his Lord and restrained himself from (evil) desires,
Then indeed, Paradise will be home."
(Qur'an 79:37-41)

So you want to get to Paradise insha'Allah, but you're not sure if you are headed in the right direction. Let the Qur'an be your GPS. The Qur'an is Al Furqan, the criterion for right and wrong, so read it, and if the road you're on doesn't match the directions that that Allah has given in the Qur'an, then change course now and get on the right path while you have the opportunity insha'Allah.

I will leave you with a few verses from the Qur'an, from Suratul A'ala.

a'udhu billahi min ash shaytan ir rajeem…

"Qad aflaHa man tazakka
wa dhakar asma rabbihi faSalla
bal tu'thiroon al Hayaat ad dunya
wal akhiratu khairu wa abqaaaa
inna hadha la fiS SuHuf il oolaa
SuHufi ibraheema wa moosa"

"He has certainly succeeded who purifies himself
And mentions the name of his Lord and prays.
But you prefer the worldly life,
While the Hereafter is better and more lasting.
Indeed, this is in the former scriptures,
The scriptures of Abraham and Moses."

(Qur'an 87:14-19)

Thanks for reading, and travel safely. Assalaamu 'alaikum.