Concept of Fun

Vol 5 - Issue 1  Concept of FunSome people prefer to shun all forms of enjoyment, labeling them as useless pastimes of this world; others believe that as long as they are observing basic religious rituals, they are free to lead their lives as they wish.

Sparkling lights, bright clothes and the sound of laughter bring to mind a scene of joy and celebration. Mouth-watering food, tasty desserts and singing and dancing complete the picture. However, sadly, in the merriment and gaiety we often forget Allah’s (swt) pleasure and exceed all limits of decency and moderation prescribed by Shariah. Contrary to what most people would think, piety is not the opposite of gaiety; rejoicing does not have to be un-Islamic; and most importantly, you can be a pious Muslim and yet be a source of cheerfulness, liveliness and joy to those around you.

To become such a Muslim, it is imperative to know what Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa) tell us about celebrating our moments of happiness.

Why do people celebrate?

A look at the festivals throughout the world gives us three major reasons for celebrations. Firstly, many people celebrate the change of seasons – Hindus, for instance, celebrate Holi and Basant at the onset of Spring. Secondly, there are those, who celebrate the birth of gods and goddesses – for example, the Romans celebrated the Feast of Lupercalia to honour Juno, the guardian of women and marriage. And thirdly, yet others celebrate historical events – for example, former Allied nations celebrate the Armistice Day as a reminder of victory against Germany and the Russian and Ottoman Empires in World War I.

Islamic celebrations, on the other hand, are not pinned down by the changes of seasons, or regional and local events. In fact, the two Islamic festivals (Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha) are not related either to the Prophet’s (sa) life or any important victories in the Islamic history. Instead, these celebrations are deeply-rooted in the message brought to this world by the Prophet (sa). Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated after the month of Ramadan in gratefulness to Allah (swt) for having been able to complete a month of fasting. Eid-ul-Adha marks the Hajj rites and reminds Muslims of the sacrifice of Ibrahim (as) and Ismail (as). Rejoicing on these days becomes an act of worship, for the Prophet (sa) has said: “Indeed, for every nation there is a day of rejoicing, and this is our day of rejoicing.” (Bukhari)

Islam encourages rejoicing

According to a famous saying, “variety is the spice of life.” Therefore, it is but natural that we need some change in our daily lives for feeling refreshed and energized. Since Islam is a Deen that gives us guidelines on leading a natural life, it does not ignore this important aspect of human existence. Far from merely allowing celebration, Islam encourages rejoicing.

Allah (swt) says regarding the revelation of the Quran: “Say: ‘In the Bounty of Allah, and in His Mercy (i.e. Islam and the Quran); – therein let them rejoice.’ That is better than what (the wealth) they amass.” (Yunus 10:58)

Furthermore, at another point in the Quran, Allah (swt) asks the Prophet (sa) primarily, and the believers on a secondary level to proclaim the blessings that He has bestowed:

“And proclaim the Grace of your Lord (i.e. the Prophethood and all other Graces).”

(Ad-Duha 93:11)

Islamic celebrations and recreational activities

Apart from the two Eids, personal and national occasions also serve as permissible reasons to celebrate. Such personal occasions as marriage, the birth of a child, getting a new job, moving to a new house or getting a new car are some occasions for celebration. For young children, the starting of the recitation of the Quran and the completion of its recitation can also be reasons for celebration. Celebrating of such national occasions as the Independence Day also reminds us of the blessings of Allah (swt) granted in the form of an independent land where Islam can be practiced freely.

In a wider context, we find that Islam allows picnics, competitions and meaningful vacations. Prophet Yaqub’s (as) children, for example, went for a picnic, while the Companions of the Prophet (sa) engaged in dueling, camel-racing and archery – the Prophet (sa) even awarded prizes to the winners.

Meaningful vacations are also encouraged: “So travel through the land and see what was the end of those who denied (the truth).” (An-Nahl 16:36)

Etiquettes of celebration

Some of the encouraged etiquettes of celebration are exchanging of gifts, singing, reciting of good poetry and indulging in good humour.

Concerning gifts, we know from Aisha (rta) that Allah’s Messenger (sa) used to accept gifts and gave something in return. (Bukhari) In a Hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurairah (rta), we find the Prophet (sa) advising Muslim women: “O Muslim women! None of you should look down upon the gift sent by her female neighbour, even if it were the trotters of the sheep (fleshless part of the legs).” (Bukhari)

From Ahadeeth we know that singing on joyful occasions is also permitted.

Aisha (rta) has narrated: “Allah’s Messenger (sa) came to my house, while two girls were singing beside me the songs of Buath (a story about the war between the two tribes of the Ansar, the Khazraj and the Aus, before Islam). The Prophet (sa) lay down and turned his face to the other side. Then, Abu Bakr (rta) came and spoke to me harshly, saying: ‘Musical instruments of Satan near the Prophet (sa)?’ Allah’s Messenger (sa) turned his face towards him and said: ‘Leave them.’ When Abu Bakr (rta) became inattentive, I signaled to those girls to go out and they left.” (Bukhari)

Al-Rubayyi Bint Muawwidh reports: “The Prophet (sa) visited me on the night of my wedding, sitting not far from me. We had a number of maids playing the tambourine and singing poems in praise of my people, who were killed in the Battle of Badr. One of them said in her singing: ‘Among us is a Prophet who knows what will happen in future.’ The Prophet said to her: ‘Do not repeat this, but continue with what you were saying earlier.’” (Bukhari, Ahmad and Abu Dawood)

In the Prophet’s (sa) life, we find instances of good fun and humour. For example, we find him being playful with his wives.

Once, Aisha (rta) was talking very boldly with the Prophet (sa). Abu Bakr (rta) happened to come, and he grew so angry at his daughter’s behaviour that he wanted to beat her, but the Prophet (sa) prevented him. After Abu Bakr (rta) had left, he remarked: “See, how I saved you.” (Abu Dawood)

Limits set by Allah (swt)

Rejoicing and fun without limits is very likely to make harmless celebrations a source of worry and burden. Our beautiful Deen gives us guidelines regarding the boundaries that must be kept. Dr. Mahmood Ghazi, former president of the International Islamic University (Islamabad), highlights three major factors that need to be considered when rejoicing: modesty, moderation and keeping in mind the basic objectives of Shariah.


According to Imran Ibn Hussain (rta), the Prophet (sa) highlighted the excellence of modesty: “Haya (modesty, bashfulness, self-respect) does not bring anything except good.” (Bukhari)

Contrary to general understanding, modesty does not merely refer to an outward expression of chastity. Although codes of conduct regarding proper dress and interaction with the opposite gender are important, they are not the be-all and the end-all. Modesty should be entrenched in one’s nature, which is most apparent through body language and conversation. If properly dressed girls are singing lewd songs or dancing in an obscene manner, it cannot be called modest behaviour.

Ibn Abbas (rta) has narrated (on the authority of Abu Hurairah (rta)) that the Prophet (sa) said: “Allah has written for Adam’s son his share of adultery, which he commits inevitably. The adultery of the eyes is the sight (to gaze at a forbidden thing), the adultery of the tongue is the talk, and the inner self wishes and desires and the private parts testify all this or deny it.” (Bukhari)


Allah (swt) has asked the believers not to be wasteful or extravagant: “O Children of Adam! …eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not Al-Musrifun (those who waste by extravagance).” (Al-Araf 7:31)

Spending on permissible acts beyond what is necessary constitutes extravagance, while squandering wealth or any other blessing of Allah (swt) would mean spending on what Allah (swt) has prohibited, even if it means spending only a rupee. In the latter case, one can seek a scholar’s help to understand what is allowed, while in the former situation, one has to decide subjectively, what is necessary and what goes beyond that.

Being mindful of Shariah objectives

While celebrating, we have to consider the five basic objectives of Shariah, namely, the protection of life, wealth, honour, mind/sense and Deen. For instance, if rejoicing results in the loss of innocent lives, delay or abandonment of obligatory acts of worship, then such activities would not be in line with the objectives of Shariah. At the same time, however, cultural traditions that are not based on polytheism, do not result in disunity among the Muslims and do not exceed the limits prescribed by the Shariah are permissible. For instance, in Morocco pigeon’s soup is served at Iftar time during Ramadan, while Iftar in Pakistan would be incomplete without the traditional Pakoras. Such cultural traditions conform to the above guidelines.

We must also remember that as Muslims we have a distinct identity and culture – we must not fall prey to an inferiority complex which results in copycat behaviour. The Prophet (sa) has said: “Whoever imitates a nation (in its ways and culture) becomes one of them.” (Abu Dawood)

Obtaining Allah’s (swt) blessings

Aligning our special occasions of rejoicing with the above principles will make our celebrations not only memorable, but also deserving of Allah’s (swt) blessing and mercy. May Allah (swt) give us the wisdom for making our celebrations a source of happiness for all those around us, Ameen.

The Lighter Side of Islam

Vol 5 - Issue 1  The lighter side of IslamPraising Allah (swt), Sydney Harris once said: “God cannot be all that solemn, or He would not have blessed man with the incalculable gift of laughter.” If we just toss around the idea for a moment, we come to realize that laughter is really an amazing blessing from Allah (swt) and a means to express our happiness, approval, love and at times silliness, too.

Humour is in agreement with human nature and appeals to all ages. However, it is far easier for younger children and adolescents to burst into a giggling fit and actually also to get away with it. For grownups, things are too somber or stressful in their busy lives. I often hear people complain: “It’s been ages, since I actually had a good laugh.”

However, wouldn’t you agree that whether we are young or old, we need happiness and laughter, when we interact with people? We need it at home, at work and in our communal interactions; and, perhaps, we need it most during stressful times.

Unfortunately, we often leave our lighter side at home, and it is due to this that we witness unpleasant incidents all around us. An uptight, stressed out and angry person can only have a brawl, a frowning face and much bitterness to offer you.

Michelle Al-Nasr rightly observes that, sometimes as we immerse our lives in Deen, laughter is the component that is often the first to go from our daily lives. Maybe, it is because laughter is associated with fun, and we are too scared of earning Allah’s (swt) displeasure by indulging in it. This not only hurts our own lives, but also sets an intimidating example for others to become wary of Muslims and Islam in general.

The Quran and Prophet’s Sunnah prove otherwise. Believe it or not, you can laugh and still be a good Muslim! All you need to do is know the etiquettes of humour commended by Allah (swt) and His Apostle (saw). Let us reflect on some of the evidence given by Allah and the examples set by Prophet Muhammad (sa) for our guidance and a lighter approach to life:

Evidence from the Quran:

Allah (swt), our Creator and Owner, commenting about His Majesty states that: “And it is He who makes (one) laugh and weep…” (Najam 53:43)

When news was brought to Prophet Ibrahim (as) that his wife Sarah (rta) would have a child, she laughed out of surprise and joy: “And his wife was standing and she laughed: But We gave her tidings of Isaac and after him Yaqoob.” (Hud 11:71)


Similarly, describing the victorious believers on the Day of Judgment, Allah (swt) says: “Some faces that day will be beaming, laughing, rejoicing.” (Abasa 80: 38-39)

Evidence from Sunnah:

Narrated Abu Dharr (rta), the Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “Do not consider any act of goodness insignificant, even if it is meeting your brother with a cheerful face.” (Muslim)

The Prophet (sa) also said: “Fear Allah wherever you are; if you follow an evil deed with a good one, you will obliterate it; and deal with people with a good disposition.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Examples from Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) household:

One of the Ahadeeth that reflects Prophet’s (sa) enjoyment of fun is from Aisha (rta), who said: “I went out with the Prophet (sa) on a journey. At that time I was a young girl and was quite slender. The Prophet (sa) told the people: ‘Go on ahead’, so they went ahead, then he said to me: ‘Come, let us have a race’. So I raced with him, and

I won. He let the matter rest, until I had gained weight. Later, I accompanied him on another journey. He told the people: ‘Go on ahead’, so they went ahead. He said to me: ‘Come, let us have a race.’ So I raced with him, and he won. He began to laugh, and said: ‘This is for that.’” (Ahmad)

Examples from Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) Companions:

An-Nuayman Ibn Amar (rta), one of the Companions of Allah’s Prophet (sa), was known to instigate hilarious situations for the sole purpose of inciting all to laugh at his antics.

Once An-Nuayman (rta) spotted some food being sold at the market place. It appeared to be quite tasty and tempting. He ordered some and sent it to the Prophet (sa), as if it were a gift from him. The Prophet (sa) was delighted with the food and he and his family ate of it. The vendor of the food then came to An-Nuayman (rta) to collect the price for it. He replied the vendor: “Go to the Messenger of Allah (sa), it was for him. He and his family ate it.” The vendor then went to the Prophet (sa). Puzzled, the Prophet (sa) asked An-Nuayman (rta): “Didn’t you give it to me?” An-Nuayman (rta) answered: “Yes! I thought you would like it and I wanted you to eat some of it, so I had it presented to you. But I do not have any money to pay the merchant for it. So, O Messenger of Allah, you pay him!” The Prophet (sa) had a good laugh and so did his Companions. The laugh was at his expense literally, for he had to pay for the unsolicited gift.

Ibn Umar (rta) was asked: “Did the Companions of the Prophet (sa) laugh?” He replied: “Yes, and the faith in their hearts was like mountains.” It is quite evident that laughter was a part of life even for the pious.

Etiquettes of humour in Islam

1. Content of humour

Muslims are required to pick their subject of humour cautiously. It is absolutely forbidden to make fun of our faith in any way and for anyone. Allah (swt) states in the Quran: “And if you ask them, they will surely say: ‘We were only conversing and playing.’ Say: ‘Is it Allah and His verses and His Messenger you were mocking? Make no excuse; you have disbelieved (i.e., rejected faith) after your belief.” (Al-Tawbah 9:65-66)

2. Ridiculing others

Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “I am not of those, who indulge in amusement. Those, who indulge in amusement, are not of me.” (Bukhari)


It is quite clear that turning someone into a laughing stock and disgracing him is not permissible. Allah (swt) states in the Quran: “O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule (another) people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule (other) women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (Al-Hujurat 49:11)

3. Falsehood in jokes

Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “Woe to him who tells things, speaking falsely, to make people laugh thereby. Woe to him! Woe to him!” (Abu Dawood) Prophet Muhammad (sa) had a unique sense of humour. He was truthful even when he joked, and that is exactly what he recommended to others. Once a Sahabiyya conveyed her husband’s greetings to him. The Messenger (sa) inquired, if her husband was not the one with whiteness in his eyes. She protested: “No! No! There is not any whiteness in his eyes!” Prophet Muhammad (sa) insisted: “Why not? There is whiteness in every eye!” Obviously, he referred to the area around the pupil of the eye and she took it to be blindness! (Ibn Bakar)

4. Avoiding exaggeration

Moderation is one of the formative and pivotal lessons that Islam preaches to its followers. Excess of any habit is detrimental to one’s faith and worldly life. Excessive joking lowers the dignity and esteem of a person. Hazlitt once said that wit is the salt of conversation, not the food. Sharp wits like sharp knives do often cut their owner’s fingers. If a person laughs too much, his heart tends to become hard and he is desensitized.

Occasional humour comes in handy

We can analyze some of the situations where humour can spark up our mundane lives:

  1. Humour works as an excellent icebreaker, especially when two people are on the brink of an argument.
  2. It facilitates conversation and opens up doors of communication to newcomers in your class, office, club, Masjid, etc. Someone once said: “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”
  3. Laughter relieves tension and can help combat stress that usually sneaks up on us, turning us into unpleasant creatures at times.
  4. Humour increases learning and retention and can be a great help to mothers and teachers to work their way around difficult areas.
  5. It also works as a “tip off,” and often reveals people’s worries and concerns. This way we may be able to offer help and advice.
  6. Lightheartedness adds up to our charms. Who doesn’t want to be around a smiling, pleasant and genuinely happy person?
  7. Above all, when we bring joy to other people’s lives, it is a blessing for everyone.

Humour and your health

Laughter may not be the best medicine, but its importance in maintaining a healthy and happy life is certainly no joke! Research shows that laughter actually produces following physiological changes in the human body:

  1. An increase of oxygen to the brain and other vital organs
  2. Exercise of the lungs and abdominal muscles
  3. Release of tears, which lubricate the eyeball
  4. Stimulation of brain chemistry, which releases neurotransmitters that reduce pain and stress and give a boost to the immune system

We must remember that Allah (swt) is Al-Wadud (The Loving One). He puts smiles on our faces because He loves us. We must cherish and share this blessing just like all the other innumerable blessings of Allah (swt).

Quotable quotes

Laughter is a unique medicine that places your problems in perspective, relaxes your tense muscles, reassures those around you and helps you to enjoy life, even when you don’t have everything you want.

If the prose of our lives could only be punctuated with more smiles and subtle humour, there can only be one downside … many counselors and psychiatrists would have to go out of business.

The Process of Islamic Revolution

By Dr. Israr Ahmad

Pakistan enjoys a special significance in the context of the contemporary global movement for Islamic revival and renaissance. There are, indeed, a number of indications that Pakistan is destined to play a pivotal role concerning the future of Islam, and that Pakistan will have the honor of leading the Muslim Ummah into the age characterized by the domination of Islam. Unlike the more or less simultaneous movements launched against the yoke of Western imperialism throughout the Muslim world, it was only in the Indian subcontinent that the name of Islam was invoked. Furthermore, any keen student of history can appreciate the veracity of the assertion that, in view of the extremely unfavorable situation prevailing at the time, the establishment of a separate homeland for Muslims in 1947 was nothing short of a miracle.

The creation of Pakistan was in direct response to our firm and solemn pledge to Almighty Allah (swt) __ the pledge that, in case we succeed in gaining our much coveted freedom, we will establish the Islamic system of social justice in this country. During the movement for independence, we made public claims of creating a model Islamic state, showing to the entire world the true picture of Islam and demonstrating how the Islamic ideals of human freedom, equality and fraternity work in real life.

What we have done during the last half century or so, however, is a different story. We have utterly and completely failed to live up to our claims. We have done everything in this country except what we were supposed to. We have followed every path except the one we should have. Instead of worshipping Almighty Allah (swt), we have been paying our humble homage to the goddess of wealth; instead of cultivating a sense of unity, we have chosen the path of provincial parochialism and religious sectarianism; and instead of establishing the Islamic system of social justice, we have let the demons of exploitation and repression run amok. We, the Pakistani Muslims, are hardly in a position to blame anyone but ourselves for our sorry state of affairs. Because of our position of authority or leadership, some of us may have been more responsible than others, but none of us is totally free from guilt.

Under the present conditions, there is only one course of action that can lead to our salvation: collective repentance. What we mean by a collective repentance is that the final aim of the endeavors of a significant portion of Pakistani Muslims must undergo a radical change __ a change from their present preoccupation with the pursuit of this-worldly goals to a similar preoccupation with the fulfillment of their basic Islamic responsibilities. The prerequisite for any positive change in the present scenario is that an appreciable segment of our population must realize that obedience to the commandments of Almighty Allah (swt) and Prophet Muhammad (sa), propagation and dissemination of the teachings of the Quran and Hadeeth and the struggle to establish the politico-socio-economic system as given by Islam are their fundamental and absolutely inescapable duties. All those, who thus realize their divinely ordained obligations, must be welded together in the form of a disciplined and highly organized party or Hizbullah. The establishment of the envisioned Islamic state will be possible only through the efforts and sacrifices of such dedicated people.

What we really need is a radical change in the entire politico-socio-economic structure, replacing this corrupt, decaying and unfair system with the Islamic system of social justice. Such a system is to be based on the sovereignty of Almighty Allah (swt) and the implementation of the injunctions of the Quran and the Sunnah at all levels of the state, whether executive, judiciary or legislative. What is being proposed here in effect is a modern and democratic welfare state, where the elimination of all forms of social discrimination, economic exploitation and political repression will be the primary objectives of the government. Keeping in view the conditions prevailing currently in Pakistan, the implementation of such lofty ideals is impossible without a revolution.

What do we mean by a revolution? A revolution can be defined as the bringing about of basic and radical changes in the social, political or economic systems dominant in a given country. The most thorough revolution involves the transformation of all of these aspects of collective human existence. Although the term ‘Islamic revolution’ is rapidly becoming a hollow cliché due to its widespread abuse by politico-religious parties, the fact remains that such a revolution is our only hope.

In view of the evolution of social thought during the last few hundred years, we believe that it is very much possible to change the entire system without resorting to any armed rebellion or terrorist activity. In contrast to the age of the Prophet (sa), it has now become possible to replace one system by another through a non-violent and unarmed rebellion against the status quo. This idea is based on the simple fact that even the most secure and the most firmly established politico-socio-economic order will collapse, when people refuse their cooperation and persist in their disobedience and defiance. Recent examples of the success of this passive resistance type of non-violent insurgency include the popular uprising in Iran against the Shah, the triumph of the ‘people power’ against the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines, and the anti-Communism movements in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

However, before such a popular mass movement can be launched in order to bring about an Islamic revolution, a disciplined and highly organized party or Hizbullah is needed to keep the whole movement on the right track, consisting of totally dedicated volunteers, who have realized their divinely ordained obligations and have consciously decided that they have to live and die for the sake of Islam. The Tanzeem-e-Islami is endeavoring for the establishment of precisely such a revolutionary group, its target primarily being Pakistan, but it addresses Muslims living anywhere in the world.

Most of the Islamic movements have taken either to the bullet or to the ballet for establishing the Deen of Allah (swt). The Tanzeem-e-Islami believes that an ideal Islamic state cannot be established by either of these methods, and we have to go back to the Seerah of Prophet Muhammad (sa) for the guidance of the methodology of Iqamah Al-Deen. When we look at the Seerah, we find that the struggle of the Prophet (sa) was revolutionary in nature. His struggle can be understood as having six phases. One phase naturally leads to the other. If we jump from one phase to the next without fulfilling the requirements of the former, we may not succeed. Following are the six phases of this struggle:

  1. Dawah (calling people to Islam and Imaan)
  2. Tanzeem (organization of those who respond)
  3. Training
  4. Passive resistance
  5. Active resistance
  6. Challenge and conflict

In the revolution brought about by Prophet Muhammad (sa), the final phase of conflict took the form of an armed struggle against the status quo. Under the present conditions, however, there is no need for an armed struggle; indeed, such a struggle is not likely to succeed. The state and government are now recognized as two different entities, and the right of the citizens to bring about a change in the government and the established system is now an accepted democratic right, as long as they do not indulge in violence or rebellion against the state.

A Moment to Reflect

Vol 5 - Issue 1  A Moment of ReflectA political leader has been assassinated. Several people are dead. Civic life has come to a standstill and people are stuck at home. The news is the focus of our attention, speech and energies. Security is scant. Food, water, basic amenities and petrol are dwindling in supply. The future (even the coming week) is uncertain. Worries, stress and despondency are on the rise, as is anger and resentment, when we see our normal lives spiral out of our control.

At times like this, the hidden aspects of a person’s beliefs, personality and character come to the surface. Some start pointing fingers, others just whine and complain, while a rare few clasp positivism and faith, taking charge of the situation with presence of mind.

When people come together but do not unite, chaos ensues. Pakistan is a proof of this. Right now, it is important for each of us to analyze for our own selves: “What should I do now?” Leave the rest of the world! While stranded at home, as you sit at your computer, talk on your cell phone, watch TV, cook in the kitchen or talk to your family – what should you be doing? What’s the best pastime in such unusual circumstances?

Think of those, who experienced this before you

Think Afghanistan, Iraq, Kashmir, Ukraine, Palestine and many other war-torn lands that have made the news in recent years. You saw the coverage on TV and heard about families fleeing from their homes, being torn apart or ravaging for food supplies. At that time, you knew you’d go home from school/work safe and you planned your career or your marriage, knowing that it was happening to them, not you. Well, now you know how they felt.

Think positively

Sure, it’s bad right now. But it could get better soon. People die, countries and empires are toppled, kingdoms and governments come and go… but there’s always the light at the end of the tunnel. You are alive and well. And you still have some control over your life. So, all is not lost.

“(…) And verily, when We cause man to taste of Mercy from Us, he rejoices thereat; but when some ill befalls them because of the deeds which their hands have sent forth, then verily, man (becomes) ingrate!” (Ash-Shura 42:48)

Guard your tongue

Guard what you say during trials like these, if not for the sake and pleasure of Allah (swt), then for the sake of preventing the spread of negativity and despondency. Idleness, coupled with worry and uncertainty, tempts us to say negative things, put the blame on others and be ungrateful for what we do have. You have been secure and safe for almost all of your life. You have probably never slept on an empty stomach (or even if you have, it was rare). Now is the time to realize, just how privileged you are. Thousands of people lack security and food/water. Maybe what is happening right now will allow you to know, how that feels.

“And He gave you of all that you asked for, and if you count the Blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them, verily, man is indeed and extreme wrong-doer, a disbeliever (an extreme ingrate who denies Allah’s Blessings by disbelief, and by worshipping others besides Allah, and by disobeying Allah and His Prophet Muhammad (sa)).” (Ibrahim 14:34)

Remember the power of Duas

Fate cannot be changed except with sincere Duas if Allah wills. Offer two Rakahs of Nafl prayer and make Dua to Allah (swt) to forgive those, who have died. As you sat at home yesterday, people were being burned alive or were being hit by stray bullets. This could be happening today as well. So stop cribbing that you won’t be able to attend your friend’s Mehndi or the funky New Year ball you bought tickets for, or that your car is out of petrol or that you are stuck at home instead of having coffee at Café “Falaana.” Be grateful that you are alive, safe and healthy. Oh yes – and that your car is still unburned.

Supplicate to your Creator to help the state of this country, to guide and educate its dwellers in both religion and formal education, so that they know, how to react to unfavorable circumstances like these. Ask Allah (swt) to bless people with knowledge and provision, because the combination of ignorance (Jahaalah) and poverty (Faqr) is lethal. Killing and mayhem results, as we all can witness.

Our country is a blessing, no matter what it is like

Read some eye-witness accounts of people, who saw partition in 1947. Read how they felt, as they came to this land called Pakistan. Tears streamed down their cheeks, as they thanked Allah (swt) with euphoric gratitude. Remember that many lives have been laid down for acquiring this country, where we can dwell in freedom and with no fear of persecution by non-Muslims. Remember all this, when you want to flee from this country for greener pastures abroad, or when you hear yourself lamenting about how unlucky you are to be born in Pakistan and “stuck in this dump full of terrorists.” Some of the greatest people (those who brought about major change in their short lives and made a difference to millions of people) were born in unfavorable circumstances; they converted their defeat into victory, their limited provision into opportunity, and their thinking into action. Think of Muhammad (sa) in the cave, Nelson Mandela in jail, Jinnah in a turbulent India. Great minds are the result of chaos and strife.


What you do or say now during this tribulation will affect people around you. So, reflect on what CAN be done to save the situation, rather than what is lost. Remember to be grateful for what is not lost and think positively about tomorrow, as tomorrow IS another day.

An Interview with Ms. Bilquees Edhi

By Naureen Aqueel

In this age of materialism and heightened individualism, selfless efforts are rare gems. One family that has become a paragon of such values is the Edhis. Altruism, commitment, compassion, determination and hard work are behind the successful mission to bring relief to millions across Pakistan and abroad. Be it war, aftermaths of a natural calamity, or abandoned babies, the Edhi family is a ray of hope for many groping in the darkness of disaster, injustice and disease. “Hiba” magazine spoke to Bilquis Edhi, wife of Abdul Sattar Edhi, to get an insight into the great heights they have reached.

“A humanitarian perspective,” is how Bilquis Edhi defines the prime motive behind the Edhi Foundation. “It is aimed at the collective good of all,” she says.

In his autobiography “A Mirror to the Blind” as narrated to Tehmina Durrani, Abdul Sattar Edhi says: “The five basic tenets of Islam continue into the sixth for me: Huquq-ul-Ibaad or humanitarianism. That it is not proclaimed as obligatory has deeper meaning; as right and wrong are left to human initiatives, its importance would be lost if forced.”

At another place in the same book he says: “Huqquq Allah is meaningless without Huqquq-ul-Ibaad. The latter is not possible without compassion and self-help. Islam is not implementable without submission to these two qualities, without them, there can be no practice. Islam without practice is a negation of God. The Holy Book is truly valued only when its prescription is followed.”

As one of the most active philanthropists in the world, Abdul Sattar Edhi is devoted and committed, and is known to work through holidays. How do he and his family manage this? “This is not our work, it is Allah’s (swt) work. And Allah (swt) gets His work done by whomever He Wills,” explains Bilquis Edhi. “Edhi Sahib has undergone only two grades of academic schooling and I have undergone only eight. There are no qualifications for (humanitarian) work. We only need to have a humanitarian perspective and do beneficial work.”

The Edhi couple and their family do not do all the work alone. They have a trained team of employees and volunteers. “We hire the staff and train them. There are also volunteers who get less salary-wise but do quality work. And, Masha’Allah, Allah (swt) has helped us greatly. No matter how much we accept His favour and thank Him, it is insufficient. We, humans, have no power to do work on our own without His help.”

“So, does the staff always work with as much sincerity, enthusiasm and selflessness as you two?” I inquired. “No. The employees sometimes cause trouble. No one is perfect. I keep telling Edhi Sahib: ‘You wish everyone was Sattar Edhi Sahib, but that is difficult – everyone has their own priorities be it home, family or children.’”

Another secret of their success is that they start their work early morning after the morning prayers and breakfast thereafter. Although most of their time is spent serving humanity, you will never hear them complaining or see them in low spirits. So how do they keep themselves motivated? “We are content and satisfied with ourselves,” shares Bilquis Edhi, “we keep doing our work and do not brood on criticisms.”

Despite their international fame, Abdul Sattar Edhi, Bilquis Edhi and their family continue to live a simple life. Indeed, Abdul Sattar Edhi is known to own two traditional Shalwar Kameez. “We have never really thought of who we are or what status we have. We just consider ourselves ordinary human beings and we work like common folk. Allah (swt) has saved us from arrogance and ostentation (Riya Kari),” says Bilquis Edhi.

The journey to establish such an unparalleled network of welfare work was not completely smooth. “We have never encountered any obstacles that have stopped us. Allah (swt) has always taken us ahead. He has never let us fall back. People have opposed us a lot and have resorted to narrow-mindedness and accusations. But Edhi Sahib says that their purpose is to distract us from our work. If we fight back, we will waste time. So he says: ‘Our work should be our response. Such people will be defeated and humiliated, when they see our work.’ Obstacles are a part of life,” says Bilquis Edhi.

In his autobiography, Abdul Sattar Edhi says: “When the anxiety at the vastness of the areas I must cover overwhelmed me, I took courage from Prophet’s Muhammad’s (saw) example. He was confronted with enormous opposition and more hypocrites than friends.”

Commenting on the numerous awards they have received, Bilquis Edhi says: “It is the work that speaks.”

In the end, Bilquis Edhi prayed for the success of “Hiba” magazine and wished to give a message to women: “Women should live life on the principles of simplicity, honesty, hard work and punctuality and should adhere to their limits (Apni Chaddar Mein Rehna Chahye). A good woman and mother is the minister of the home. Islam has not stopped women from work, but they should not cross Islam’s boundaries in any work they do.”

May Allah (swt) reward the Edhi family for their work and bestow His Mercy upon them, and may He grant us the same spirit of charity. Ameen.

Edhi Welfare Foundation, the largest welfare organization of Pakistan and one of the largest and most successful health and welfare networks in Asia, started as a tiny dispensary in 1951. Today, Edhi Foundation has over 300 centers across the country in cities, towns and rural areas. Services provided by Edhi Foundation include: baby cradles, destitute homes, welfare centers, highways projects, warehouses, field ambulance services, air ambulance services, marine and coastal service, blood and drug banks, cancer research hostel, missing persons service, home for sheltering animals, graveyard services, Edhi emergency posts, prisoners aid, refugee assistance and international community centers.

Bilquis Edhi has personally given 18900 children up for adoption.

Edhi Foundation is in the Guinness World Records for having the largest private ambulance service network in the world.

The couple have received around 250-275 awards and Abdul Sattar Edhi has also received an honorary doctorate from IBA.

Socially Constructed Fun

By Naureen Aqueel

What do you see, when you think of fun and entertainment? What images and ideas come into your mind? What feelings do they evoke?

Currently, people would respond to the above questions with descriptions of grand carnivals, huge fiestas, concerts, music, eating out, partying and laughing excessively with friends, hooting, jumping around, dancing and creating a racket.

Welcome to the amazing world of semantics – the branch of linguistics concerned with describing, how we represent meanings of words in our minds and the various connotations associated with words.

Words acquire different meanings and connotations through years of use in different environments, contexts and cultures. Since English is a Western language, its words derive their meanings and connotations from Western culture and worldview. In this present age of globalization and homogenization of cultures, in which Western ideas and practices are dominant, we find that such words get their connotations from Western culture and lifestyles.

If the parameters of what defines a concept vary from time to time and place to place, they cannot be absolute or fixed – they are products of the society they belong to. Concepts can thus be socially constructed, with society attaching only limited meanings or implications to a word.


Today, we see that our conceptions of fun and entertainment are increasingly restricted to a few ideas. It is paradoxical that although fun or enjoyment is more of an intrinsic phenomenon, we attach it to extrinsic things, making it dependent on the presence of external forces or situations that are becoming rather uniform for most people.

Enjoyment is largely a context dependent on relational phenomenon, where whether or not we enjoy something depends on the context and the relationship between ongoing activities and states of mind. Ideas of fun and entertainment may thus vary from person to person, as they do from culture to culture.

However, today we see a homogenization of such concepts across nations and cultures, with the above mentioned ideas becoming the popular notions of fun, thanks to the ever-powerful media that has successfully ‘manufactured’ this concept by bombarding us with such images of fun and entertainment as parties, concerts, music and mad indulgences of desires. And in all this, one subtle idea flashes from the backdrop: the desire to have no limits.

Are such activities really enjoyable? Do people really feel satisfied after them? Or is there still an empty feeling that remains even after all the ‘fun’ they planned is over? Those, who have made the transition from a state of complete ignorance about Allah (swt) and His Deen to the other side, will vouch for the truth of this.

Compare this to the way the Prophet (sa) used to have fun. He would joke, race and play with his wives; he would joke and play with his companions. He enjoyed wedding parties and encouraged Valima feasts. However, he never forgot his limits or harmed anyone. Even when having fun, he never lost sight of his purpose.

Today, Shaitan has made many immoral acts alluring to us by giving them the innocent label of ‘fun.’ Allah (swt) describes this in the Quran: “…but Shaitan (Satan) made their deeds fair-seeming to them.” (An-Nahl 16:63)

May Allah (swt) protect us from being fooled by Shaitan and from getting lost in the life of this world, and may He make us live and enjoy our lives the way our Prophet (sa) used to do. Ameen.

Shopping – an Islamic Perspective

Vol 5 - Issue 1  Shopping- The Islamic prespective

Dictionary describes shopping as a visit to a shop with intent to purchase goods. This activity is almost as old as mankind. Man has always brought home household items for his family. Islam acknowledges this need, and Allah (swt) has given permission for it in the Quran.

Narrated by Ibn Abbas (rta): Ukaz, Majanna and Dhul-Majaz were market-places in the pre-Islamic period of ignorance. When Islam came, Muslims felt that marketing there might be a sin. Thus, the divine revelation came: “There is no sin on you if you seek the Bounty of your Lord (during pilgrimage by trading).” (Al-Baqarah 2:198) Ibn Abbas (rta) recited the verse in this way. (Bukhari)

However, the modes of acquiring goods have greatly changed over the years. Today is the age of shopping malls and centres, which have turned the necessity of shopping into a form of entertainment.

Mall Ambiance

The modern shopping malls have been strategically designed to invite people to spend maximum time there. These mammoth structures offer every form of entertainment and catering services. The atmosphere is such that hours pass without even noticing that morning has turned into afternoon.

Most Hated Place

Rasulullah (sa) has stated: “The most despised of places to Allah on earth are the bazaars and the most beloved of places are the Masaajid.” (Muslim) Now, let us take a look at our malls / bazaars and try to see the reasons, why they are referred to as hated places:

Bazaars are very colourful and attractive. They conjure an atmosphere of unmindfulness and oblivion. The thoughts about Allah (swt) are furthest from the heart.

A vast variety of worldly goods are on display. These give rise to passions and desires.

Not only the goods are on display, but women and men of all ages can be seen displaying their style and beauty.

The ever-present music makes Zikrullahdifficult. Thus, it becomes a favourable home for Shaitan and other impure creations.

It is also very easy to miss Salaah while shopping. Most of such fancy shopping malls offer all kinds of facilities, but very few provide Salaah areas for ladies.

Protective Measures

Rasulullah (sa) guided the Ummah regarding every detail of human life. The necessity of going to the bazaar was also shown to us by Rasulullah (sa). When entering the bazaar, one should keep in mind certain etiquettes:

Time your shopping in such a way that it falls between Salaah times, for example – going immediately after Zuharprayer and coming back by Asr. Another alternative is shopping in malls that provide prayer facilities.

Be mindful of what you wear. Avoid tight-fitting, short and transparent clothes. Some girls / ladies wear Abayasonly in market places, which is indeed a good starting point.

The Prophet (sa) said: “There are two types of the people of Hell, whom I have not seen… (one type are) women who are clothed yet naked, going astray and leading others astray, with their heads looking like the humps of camels, leaning to one side. They will not enter Paradise nor even smell its fragrance, although its fragrance may be detected from such and such a distance.” (Muslim)

A Hadeeth mentions that if a person recites the following upon entering the bazaar –

La ilaaha illallahu wahdahu la shareekalahu lahul mulku walahul hamdu yuhyee wa yumeetu wahuwa hayyun la yamut biyadihil khair wahuwa ala kulli shay’in qadeer

Allah (swt) will record for him a million good deeds and pardon for him a million sins, raise him a million ranks and a house will be built for him in Jannah. (Mishkaat)

The outstanding benefit of this Dua is that the reward gets earned by reciting these words in the bazaar. Significantly, if the very same words are recited in a Masjid or in Salaah, the reward will not be as great as when recited in the bazaar. This indicates the heedlessness prevalent in such an environment; hence, the multiple rewards.

Make a list of shops you plan to visit and be focused. Look around for good bargains but be conscious of the time.

While bargaining, ladies need to be mindful of their tone of voice. It should not be too friendly or too rude but maintain distance and decorum gracefully. Remember, you might have been going to the same shop for a very long time, but the shopkeeper is not your Mahram. Laughing and cracking jokes might get you a good bargain; however, such acts are below the dignity of Mominaat.

Do Zikrwhenever possible.

Alhumdulillah, keeping within the boundaries of Shariah, we can enjoy and make the most of our shopping sprees. We ask Allah (swt) to protect us, keep us chaste and make our commitment to religion good and strong. May Allah (swt) guide us all, Ameen.

Some Karachi malls / shopping centres, which offer prayer areas for ladies:

Dolmen Mall, Tariq Road

Plaza Shopping Mall, Clifton

Gulfway Shopping Mall, Clifton

Park Towers Mall, Clifton