Dawah – The Call Towards Allah (swt)

Vol 2-Issue 3 Dawah The call towards Allah swtAllah (swt) says in the Quran: “Invite (mankind, O Muhammad) to the Way of your Lord (i.e., Islam) with wisdom (i.e., with the Divine Revelation and the Quran) and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. Truly, your Lord knows best, who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Best Aware of those, who are guided.” (An-Nahl 16:125)

The Prophet (sa) has said: “Convey from me even one verse” (Bukhari). Conveying the message, therefore, is not the responsibility of the scholars only; it is, in fact, a responsibility of each and every Muslim, according to his or her ability. This call towards Allah (swt) is called ‘Dawah,’ and the one, who calls towards Allah’s (swt) Deen, is a Da’ee.

To understand the role of a Da’ee, think of him/her as a smaller road leading to a bigger, clearer path. A by-pass that in itself is not as important as the road (Sirat-e-mustaqeem) to which it leads others. Yet, the Da’ee is a like a connecting wire, which transmits the high voltage power it is connected to. In so doing, the Da’ee illuminates countless hearts and souls and connects them to the power of recognizing Allah (swt). One candle results in thousands of others being lit. Wondrously enough, the light of the candle responsible for lighting up other candles does not lessen. In fact, it glows and grows — the reward of the Da’ee’s work is reaped in this world and stored for him in the hereafter.

Calling towards Allah (swt) is a job that does not require you to give up your existing assignments. You can continue being a parent, a child, a spouse, an executive, a teacher…whatever it is that you are doing with your life. Yet, the time and energy a Da’ee invests brings rewards like no other line of work. It guarantees a sure success!

Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “Let there arise out of you a group of people, inviting to all that is good (Islam), enjoining Al-Ma`ruf [i.e., Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam has ordained] and forbidding Al-Munkar [polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden], and you believe in Allah (swt).” (Al-Imran 3:104) Yet, when weighing career choices, we hardly ever think of Dawah as something we want to do in our practical life.

Calling people to Allah (swt) means completing our own worship, because of which we are created. It is one of the noblest acts, which entails a high reward.

Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “And who is better in speech than he who [says: ‘My Lord is Allah (swt) (believes in His Oneness),’ and stands firm (acts upon His Order), and] invites (men) to Allah (swt)’s (Islamic Monotheism), and does righteous deeds, and says: ‘I am one of the Muslims.'” (Fussilat 41:33)

The Prophet (sa) has said: “Whoever guides [another] to a good deed will get a reward similar to the one who performs it” (Muslim). Also, “By Allah (swt), if Allah (swt) were to guide one man through you, it would be better for you than the best type of camels.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

Dawah is an obligation on every Muslim, young or old, male or female. All it requires is the love of Allah (swt), a conviction in your purpose, and correct knowledge of Deen. One can call towards Allah (swt) in so many different ways. Writing a book, giving a talk, teaching someone, how to pray or recite the Quran, providing counseling or good advice to someone, who needs it, distributing cassettes or books, helping someone actively involved in Dawah, doing social work, gifting to someone a Quran… there are countless ways, in which we can perform Dawah. No matter which method or path of Dawah you choose to travel on, your destination is the same – Allah’s (swt) mercy in this world and in the hereafter.

Decorating Without Doubt

decor without doubtSamia Asghar, a wife, mother and architect always received compliments on her ‘photo wall’-the wall at the entrance of her home, with a myriad of family photographs spanning three generations. Everyone who entered her home, even the installers of her kitchen cabinets, couldn’t help but pause and look at the elegantly displayed personal memories.

Samia, like many who enlarge favorite poses, took great pride in her wall until it dawned upon her. It wasn’t during an Islamic lecture or while reading an Islamic book, but while sorting through her jewellery at the bank locker that she asked herself, “Why do I keep my valuables locked up safely in velvet boxes, and leave my most cherished possessions out for everyone to see? Would I display my diamonds this way? Of course not! I would keep them safe so no one would eye them inappropriately.”

Samia voiced her concerns to a friend who encouraged her to consider taking down the pictures, but with the right intention. Several authentic Ahadeeth explained the issue to Samia:

Narrated by Anas (rta), Aisha (rta) had a thick curtain with pictures on it, and she screened the side of her house with it. The Prophet (sa) said: “Remove it from my sight, for its pictures are still coming to my mind in my prayers.” (Bukhari)

Narrated by Abu Talha (rta), The Prophet (sa) said: “Angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog or there are pictures of living creatures (animals or humans).” (Bukhari)

Most scholars permit photographs-as they consider them captured light as opposed to portraits-but within limits. Family photographs in albums or scrapbooks to remember a wedding, birth, or vacation is acceptable by most schools of thought. But having professional photography sessions without the adherence to the rules of Hijab is questionable. Hanging pictures of loved ones who have passed away in imitation of other faiths to remind us of them is not an Islamic practice either. We should also refrain from painting portraits or hanging them based on the following Hadeeth, Narrated by Aisha (rta), the Prophet (sa) said: “… Whoever makes a picture will be punished on the Day of Resurrection and will be asked to give life to what he has created.” (Bukhari)

Many of us lack the courage that Samia had when she took down all her pictures. But we can intend to start today, pray to Allah to make it easy, and proceed gradually one room at a time.

So, now what do you do with those blank walls and empty frames? Replace them with things acceptable in our Deen. Remember, in Islam there are far more dos than don’ts-for out of all beverages only alcohol is prohibited. We need to appreciate all that is permitted rather than brood over what is not.

Allah is Al-Jameel, i.e. He is Beautiful and likes beautiful things. Our homes too should be clean and beautiful without bordering on extravagance and ostentation. Look for reasonably priced landscapes, still-life and Islamic calligraphy – or better still, make your own. An original Picasso landscape for a million dollars would be technically acceptable but would go against the Islamic teachings of modesty. How about painting something using your favorite colours or displaying your children’s artwork creatively?

There are other objects in the home that could cause us to step into gray areas. Many families enjoy collecting statues and figurines from their travels. What can you bring back from your travels? An idea my parents had was to start a collection of a particular object from different parts of the world. My father bought teapots from China, Iran and Russia to begin with, and before we knew it guests started to bring us unique teapots as gifts as well. I have started an inexpensive collection to remember the places I have visited. I hang souvenir pencils from all the places I have visited-Disney World, Dubai, and Niagara Falls-and hang them from wooden dowels in my hallway.

Having a room with a theme is gaining popularity. Here too, there are several permissible alternatives: an Arabian inspired living room with floor cushions and coffee pots; or a Mexican kitchen in bright colours with chili peppers and sombreros cans. They add personality to your living spaces without compromising your belief.

Children love themes. So step in and inculcate good habits in their early years. Instead of encouraging cartoon character murals, we could suggest generic themes that are not only acceptable Islamically but last longer than a Spiderman fad for instance. Flowers or hearts for girls, and cars or sports gear for boys are easy solutions. Before discouraging your children from hanging posters of pop icons and movie stars, explain to them why. Telling them that they should not do it ‘because mom says so’ is insufficient. Rather that they wouldn’t be able to pray in their room and angels of mercy wouldn’t enter their homes.

Having pictures of mosques and Ayahs that are readily available nowadays is a great idea. However, sometimes people go to extremes and over night their homes become calligraphy central. The word of caution here is that the Quran was sent to us as a guide. So, by framing several Ayahs and not understanding or applying them is senseless. Similarly, wanting to appear more religious to those who enter your home, or thinking that such pictures can protect you, only means you are digressing from their actual purpose. A few chosen verses that you act upon is a better idea or perhaps Duas for children to help them learn proper sleeping and eating habits.

Another disturbing trend that is catching on these days is designating one room as the prayer room and filling that with religious artwork. Our entire home should be a reflection of our Muslim identity. Having enlarged close-ups of your daughter’s wedding photos in the living room, and Ayat Al-Kursi in the prayer room makes you appear inconsistent. In other words, picking and choosing where we apply the principles of our religion and where not, we forget how Islam should be intertwined with every aspect of our lives and not just where and when it is convenient for us.

For those of us in non-Muslim countries, having an inviting home to welcome neighbors and colleagues of different faiths is a Dawah tool. A picture of the Kabah is an instant conversation starter as well as a chance to talk about Islam without sounding preachy. A modest yet elegant home reflects well on how simply yet stylishly Muslims live.

Modesty is the key word here. We have to strike a balance as to how much time, energy and money we spend decorating. We know we are travelers, and our life in this world is but a transitory phase before our permanent destination. Would we then spend all our resources sprucing up a hotel room?

Avoid filling your home with priceless furniture and accessories, reserved for occasional guests. The fear of breaking any of it will prevent you from enjoying your home. Your home should be a place where you look forward to spending time with yourself and your family. Let it be your safe haven from endless hours shopping or late nights socializing. By staying away from doubtful matters, avoiding justifications for the temptations of your Nafs, and by accepting the guidelines of the Quran and Sunnah, be confident that you are doing the right thing.

Insha’Allah Barakah and Rahmah will fill your heart, your home and the lives of everyone in it.

Some handy decorating tips you can start on today:

  • Think outside the frame. There are so many other things you can adorn walls with. Consider mounting a collection of decorative plates in your kitchen or beautiful rug in the foyer.
  • Go 3-D. You can use shadow boxes to preserve special objects-your son’s first pair of shoes or your daughter’s graduation cap.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of green. Adding a real or artificial plant or floral arrangement livens up any space.
  • Dabble in paint. There is no easier or relatively less expensive way to brightening up a white wall. Experiment with solids, stripes, borders, stencils or a faux finish like sponging. And for a drastic look, don’t forget the 5th wall – the ceiling!
  • No cost decorating. Re-arrange furniture for a fresh look. Press flowers from your own garden, mat and frame them and you have a unique piece of art.
  • Reuse what you can. Turn old curtains into toss pillows.
  • Choose multipurpose pieces. For instance, a decorative trunk in your family room can serve as the coffee table as well as storage for board games.
  • Pick up decorating magazines for inspiration. Despite the unavailability of some of the project material, know that any idea you like can easily be adapted for a fraction of the cost in Pakistan.

Ibn Khaldun

Rym Aoudia tells us about a Muslim thinker whose thoughts still echo today.

“The goal of civilization is a settled life and the achievement of luxury. But there is a limit that cannot be overstepped. When prosperity and luxury come to a people, they are followed by excessive consumption and extravagance. With that the human soul itself is undermined, both in its worldly wealth and its spiritual life.”

Ibn Khaldun’s quotation makes us appreciate Ibn Khaldun as a thinker who could take a complicated phenomenon, in this case the rise of civilization, and analyze it succinctly and clearly for his readers.

Ibn Khaldun’s full name is Abd Ar-Rahman Ibn Mohammed Ibn Khaldun. He was born in Tunisia on May 27, 1332 C.E. to parents of Yemeni origin. Prior to living in Tunisia, his parents lived in Spain. His family was generally one of politicians and scholars, which developed in Ibn Khaldun an ambitious desire to excel in both fields. In Tunisia, Ibn Khaldun received a fine education, where he became knowledgeable in different subjects and memorized the entire Quran. From a young age, he was active in public service aspiring towards a political career.

In his quest for knowledge, Ibn Khaldun decided to immigrate to Fez in Morocco because political rivalries affected the stability of his career. While on his way to Fez he sought refuge in a small village in Algeria, where he stayed three years. It was during this time that he wrote the first volume about world history, Muqaddimah (Prolegomena) in which he aimed at analyzing historical events. It was with this book that Ibn Khaldun established himself as an eminent scholar, earning the interest and respect of historians, sociologists, and philosophers alike.

The political situation was the reason behind Ibn Khaldun’s unstable career as well as his move to Egypt. He made Egypt his permanent home. These 24 years in Egypt were that of prominence and deference. He was appointed as the Chief Malakite Judge and lectured at Al-Azhar University.

Generally speaking, Ibn Khaldun’s main contribution lies in the philosophy of history and sociology. Unlike previous writers, his interpretation of history was not merely based on political aspects, but also on environmental, sociological, psychological, and economic factors. Ibn Khaldun innovatively analyzed group relationships and identified their role in the rise of a new civilization. He also identified the concept of ‘rise’ and ‘fall’ in human civilization and analyzed its contributing factors.

In addition to the volume of Muqaddimah, his other volume, Kitab Al-I’bar, dealt with the history of Arabs, contemporary Muslim rulers, European rulers, Jews, Greeks, Romans, Persians, Islamic history, North African history, and so forth. Al-Tasrif was his last volume, which was mainly about his life.

With his volumes, Ibn Khaldun is credited to have revolutionized the science of history and set the foundation of sociology. With Al-Tasrif, he initiated a new analytical form of autobiographical writing.

Ibn Khaldun is undoubtedly a prominent social scientist and thinker of profound insight. His writings stand as proof of his brilliance. They have stood the test of time for they are still available for us to read and contemplate today. Surely, Ibn Khaldun is a Muslim whose writings of the past have served the future.

The Prophet (sa) as the Supreme Commander of the Army

role modelUnder his leadership the companions performed stunning, valorous, and brave deeds. A well-defined code of conduct was followed in the battlefield. For instance women, children, elderly and those not taking part in the battle were not to be killed or harmed in any way. Neither were trees to be cut down nor property destroyed. Once the land was conquered the following things were kept in mind:

  1. The stability of the conquered land.
  2. Education, moral and religious training of the conquered people.
  3. The education and training of the managers and administrators.
  4. The moral and intellectual training of the military experts.

Mohammed Ahmed Ghadanfar inspired by the qualities present in the Prophet (sa), highlights the 10 virtues present in a Muslim general:

1. True, consistent and firm faith

Abu Dharr (rta) reported that the Prophet (sa) when asked: “Which deed is the best deed?” He replied: “Faith in Allah and struggle in the cause of Allah.”(Bukhari and Muslim) Deep-rooted faith in Allah motivates a believer to fight the fiercest of opponents.

2. Dignified personality

Dignity is a gift from Allah. It can become a part of one’s personality only if there is true faith, fear of Allah, integrity and an effort to guard moral and ethical values. The Prophet (sa) said: “I have been granted such majesty and dignity that the enemy who is a month away from me starts to tremble when he hears my name.” (Bukhari)

3. Valor and courage

With remarkable bravery the Prophet (sa) led 313 of his modestly armed soldiers in the battle of Badr against a 1000 heavily armed-polytheists. Ali (rta) said: “On the day of Badr, we sheltered behind the Prophet (sa), and he was the nearest of us to the enemy and the strongest man there on that day.” (Ahmad)

4. Steadfast and resolute in purpose

During the Battle of Hunain when the army was falling apart due to the pressure being exerted by the enemy, the Prophet (sa) stood firm in the midst of the battlefield and said: “I am the true Prophet. It is no lie. And I am the son of Abdul Muttalib.” Sensing his steadfastness and determination, the army that had dispersed out of fear quickly rallied around him and created the victory of that day. (Muslim)

5. Strength of will and ability to execute

A successful general ought to be competent and efficient so as to have his orders executed. That is why the Prophet (sa) instructed Abu Dharr Al-Ghafari (rta) not to take on the responsibility of even two people, whereas he appointed the seventeen year old Usamah Bin Zaid (rta) as commander of an army that included such note worthy and respected companions as Abu Bakr Siddiq (rta) and Umar Farooq (rta). (Bukhari)

6. Charismatic and magnetic personality

In the Quran Allah has made Sulaiman (as) king and granted him knowledge and stature. (Al-Baqarah 2:247) These two qualities facilitate leadership skills. Al-Bara reported that the Prophet (sa) had the most handsome face amongst men, the best of dispositions, and he was neither very tall nor very short in stature. (Muslim)

7. Eloquence

Abu Hurairah (rta) narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest of meanings.” (Bukhari) On an expedition, the poets would sing their verses to encourage the army and the Prophet (sa) would sing along. On the day of the battle of Badr, the Prophet (sa) encouraged his companions by saying: “Arise and enter Paradise whose extent is that of the heavens and the earth.” (Ahmad) Eloquence and oratorical skills can, to a great extent, arouse emotions and feelings.

8. Excellent arms

Ibn Amir (rta) said that he heard the Prophet (sa) say: “Prepare to meet the enemy with as much strength as you can afford. Beware strength consists in archery, beware strength consists in archery, beware strength consists in archery.” (Bukhari)

A believer should equip himself with the best weaponry available, and train in the most sophisticated combat skills rather than just rely on faith and prayers. Faith and prayers must be followed by action.

9. Generosity and liberality

These two qualities are necessary for a leader to gain the love and respect of his followers. After the Battle of Hunain, Safwan Bin Umayyah (rta) said: “Even when the Prophet (sa) was the person I hated most, he would give me. He (sa) continued to give me gifts, until he became the person I loved the most.” (Bukhari) The Prophet (sa) also said: “Anyone who equips a warrior in the way of Allah is like the one who actually fights. And anyone who looks after his family in his absence is like the one who actually fights.” (Muslim)

10. A sense of justice and fair play

The Prophet (saw) said: “Support your brother whether he is the oppressor or the oppressed. If he is the oppressor then support him by stopping him. Should he be the oppressed then support him.” (Muslim)

Al-Miqdad Bin Al-Aswad reported: “I said: ‘Tell me, O Messenger of Allah, if I meet an infidel, we fight together, and he cuts off my hand with his sword, then hides behind a tree and says he has submitted himself to Allah. Shall I kill him after he has said it?’ He replied: ‘Do not kill him.’ I said: ‘But O messenger of Allah, he cut off one of my hands and only then he said it.’ The Messenger of Allah (sa) then replied: ‘Do not kill him, for if you do so, he will be in the position in which you were before you killed him (i.e., he will be considered a Muslim and thus his life will be inviolable), and you will be in the position in which he was before he made his testimony’ (i.e. your life will not be inviolable, for his heirs can ask for Qisas).” (Bukhari and Muslim)

“Do not kill yourself”

Naba Basar brings to light the serious challenge of resisting suicide in today’s disturbed and fast paced society.

Addressing this issue Allah says: “Do not kill yourselves; indeed, Allah is merciful to you” (Al-Imran 4:29)

The word ‘suicide’ means the intentional killing of oneself. Although the most privileged means of entering Hell, it is at an increase. Allah has made life sacred, and by no means can any being terminate and transgress rules He has set for His creation.

Islam encourages us to face mishaps with determination, and prohibits the resort to self-violation. Know that every calamity is a test from Allah, and a believer should be confident that Allah will help him in every possible way. As Conte Vittorio Alfieri stated, “Often the test of courage is not to die but to live.”

“…Do not take life which God has made sacred except in the course of Justice…” (Al-Anam 6:151) Taking away one’s life is an unforgivable sin, and it reflects the weakness of a person’s Eeman. Narrated by Abu Hurairah (rta), the Prophet (sa) said: “Whoever purposely throws himself from a mountain and kills himself, will be in the (Hell) Fire falling into it and abiding therein forever; and whoever drinks poison and kills himself he will be carrying his poison in his hand and drinking it in the (Hell) Fire wherein he will abide eternally; and whoever kills himself with an iron weapon will be carrying that weapon in his hand and stabbing his abdomen with it in the (Hell) Fire wherein he will abide eternally.” (Bukhari)

Anas Ibn Malik (rta) reported of Allah’s Messenger (sa) saying: “None of you should make a request for death because of the trouble in which he is involved. At times of despair say: ‘O Allah, keep me alive as long as there is goodness in life for me and bring death to me when there is goodness in death for me.'” (Muslim)

“There was amongst those before you a man who had a wound. He was in (such) anguish that he took a knife and made with it a cut in his hand, and the blood did not cease to flow till he died. Allah the Almighty said: ‘My servant has himself forestalled Me; I have forbidden him Paradise.”’ (Hadith Qudsi)

Clearly a person who commits suicide lacks faith in Allah and sees things through the eyes of an absolute pessimist. The above Ahadeeth confirm that any form of suicide is prohibited in Islam. An essential part of faith is to believe in predestination with its good and bad. Allah rewards a believer who suffers trials and tribulations, provided he exhibits Sabr (patience) and Tawwakul (reliance) on the Creator. We fail to understand that these little trials are a means to test our belief in Allah and in the Day of Resurrection.

It has been noticed that suicide among males is more common and is the third leading cause of death. W. H. Ferry once quoted, “Men just don’t seem to jump off the bridge for big reasons; they usually do so for little ones.” Nevertheless factors that contribute towards suicide may be:

  • Physical ailment / loss of any physical organ
  • Feelings of despair, depression and guilt
  • Fear of failure
  • Social isolation
  • Loss of loved ones
  • Rejection as in the break up of and engagement / romantic relationship or divorce
  • Severe financial dilemma / loss of business / debt

The means adopted for suicide are mostly intake of poisonous substances, hanging, shooting, jumping off a cliff, setting one’s self on fire, cutting the wrist etc. But many use methods that require time to ensure partial safety, so they use drugs over a longer period of time.

What of the family left behind to bear the grief? They blame themselves for not preventing the suicide. Thus, they spend their lives tormented with shame and guilt. These emotions are intensified when the perished and the survivor had an argument before the suicide took place.

Remember a person who commits suicide is forbidden Paradise.

If you feel suicidal make sure you try talking to an Imam or someone who can help paint a clearer picture through Ahadeeth and Quranic verses.

Or seek out Islamic counsel to guide and encourage you to take the right path, not the perceived easy path.

Say: “Astaghfar Allah wa Atubu ilayh” (May Allah have mercy on me and accept my repentance) 100 times a day, as was the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (sa).

When fearful, say: “La ilaha ill Allah” (there is no deity but Allah).

If someone expresses suicidal thoughts to you, it is important that you warn him or her of the consequences that their soul will have to bear. Nevertheless, pray for the soul that committed suicide, for Allah knows the truth and really forgives. “He is Oft-Forgive, Most-Merciful.”

According to a report by Shifa News International, published in the August 2004 issue of ‘Madadgar’, an NGO quoted, almost 2,386 people in Pakistan committed suicide in 2004 & around 468 people failed in their attempt.

Sindh led other provinces in this regard with an estimated count of 1,391 cases, 804 in Punjab, 108 in NWFP & 83 in Balochistan. In Sindh an average of five cases were reported daily in different areas.

Concept of group suicide

Strange facets of suicide have surfaced in recent years. In the town of Minano in Japan, police recently found four men and three women dead in a car parked on the mountainside. It was a case of group suicide whose members had become acquainted with each other over the inter net. What led them to commit suicide is yet to be known. Dawn

Suicide is Europe’s unseen killer

58,000 people commit suicide annually in Europe according to the European Union’s health chief. Most suicides in the 25-nation bloc are linked to mental illness, especially depression. 15% who suffer severe depression commit suicide while 56% attempt to kill themselves. Reuters

Beautiful Names

Vol 1-Issue 2    Beautiful namesAl-Malik – The King or The Sovereign.

The Sovereign is the one who has the power to dominate over everything.

Al-Malik implies that:

  1. He has the complete right to govern what He owns,
  2. He has complete authority over what He owns,
  3. He possesses predominant power over everything,
  4. He alone does what he wants with regards to prohibitions.

He is the Supreme Ruler of the human race; He alone is the lawmaker and has the right to change them without permission from anyone.

Imam Al-Ghazali explains that Allah is The Sovereign who is independent of any being either in His person or attributes. Rather everything that exists gains its existence from Him.

Furthermore, man is always in need of Allah for his existence. And the kingship given to man is a gift from Allah whose sovereignty has no competitor.

Abu Hurairah (rta) reported that the Prophet (sa) said: “Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, will seize the earth on the Day of Judgment and will fold the heavens in his right hand and will say: ‘I am the Lord; where are the kings of the world?'” (Muslim)

Malik is used in the Quran 5 times in Surah Al-Hashr verse 23, Surah Ta-Ha verse 114, Surah Al-Jumuah verse 1, Surah An-Nas Verse 2. Malik Al-Mulk that appears in Surah Al-Imran verse 26 is the one who executes his word in His kingdom as He pleases. Malik is used once in Surah Al-Qamar Verse 55.

Al-Quddus – The Pure, Blessed and Holy.

This is another attribute that conveys Allah’s purity and freedom from all flaws. It also implies that Allah bestows purity on others and in turn alludes to Allah’s perfection. The Prophet (sa) in his Dua of Ruku and Sujood said: “Subboohun, quddoosun Rabbul Malaikati War Ruh,” Perfect and Holy Lord of the angels and Jibreel. (Muslim)

Imam Al-Ghazali said that Allah is free of any defect that man can think of, and his purity is beyond human imagination.

A believer is obligated to maintain a pure concept of Allah that befits His majesty, in order to maintain a correct Aqeedah and correct opinion of Allah. Whoever has a good opinion of Allah, Allah will be up to that expectation.

Al-Quddus appears in Surah Al-Hashr verse 23: “He is Allah, besides whom there is no other God, the sovereign Lord, the Holy one.” Surah Al-Jumu’ah verse 1: “Whatever is in the heavens and on the earth, both declare the praise and glory of God, the Sovereign, the Holy One, the exalted in might and wise.”

As-Salam – To be safe, sound, and flawless.

Allah is the source of peace. His actions are untarnished or unimpaired by evil, i.e. evil intended for evil itself.

Imam Al-Ghazali explains Allah’s being as safe, sound and free from any flaws. Otherwise, the creation would not be safe.

This attribute of Allah appears in Surah Al-Hashr verse 23: “Allah is He, than Whom there is no other God;-The Sovereign, the Holy one, The Source of Peace.”

The Prophet (sa) used to make the following Dua after every Salah: “O Allah you are As Salam and from you is all peace, blessed are you, O possessor of Majesty and Honour.” (Muslim)

Iran: Beauty, Charm, and Splendour

Bushra Anwar gives us a glance into the charms and attractions of Iran

There are places you visit, and all you write home about is the massive duty-free shop at the airport. Then, there are places you visit and do not want to go back home. On my recent trip to Tehran, the capital of Iran, it was just that.

From my first expectant drive through the city to my gloomy farewell from the place, I was enchanted. To call Tehran beautiful would be an understatement; it is beauty, charm, splendor, and character rolled into one.

Tehran is an extremely well developed city, with parks, sports complexes, and malls. Vast highways, bridges, underground stations, and flyovers connect the city. The more upscale areas have modern high-rises, glass and chrome offices, and residential buildings with car parking, pools, and other facilities. However, to place Tehran among the typical modern cities would be unjust; it is a perfect blend between ancient architecture, contemporary styles, and natural beauty. Hilly terrains dot the landscape, and long lanes of weaving trees remind of a scenic Parisian avenue. It was a pure pleasure to walk up and down the roads, bordered by hills, gardens, and rocky topography. A snowy, mountainous backdrop completes the allure of the city. In addition, it is dotted with remnants of the old Tehran – huge palaces, ancient structures, and gateways. Not too new to be soulless, not too old to be passed over.

I spent my three days in sightseeing, hobnobbing with the public in Bazaars, and, like all tourists, visiting the numerous elaborate palaces of the exiled Shah, viewing the magnificent crown jewels, and, of course, shopping.

Like most modern cities, Tehran has an underground subway, which makes commuting easy and cheap. The taxi service is extremely efficient – just dial the number of the local taxi station, and one will appear at your doorstep almost immediately. Having obtained a friendly English-speaking driver for the day, we told him to take us wherever he thought feasible for first time visitors. We were driven to Sahebqaranian – one of the Shah’s most luxurious palaces. It was overwhelmingly beautiful, with elaborately mirrored halls, lavish imported furniture, office rooms, luxury bed and bath areas, waiting rooms, bars, tearooms, ladies quarters, and vast palace grounds. It started snowing that day and we crunched on the soft snow and fallen leaves with pure pleasure!

The next day, we went to the Central Bank (Bank Markazi Iran), where the Shah’s jewels are kept. The displays were unimaginably dazzling: entire thrones carved in gold and set with shining rubies, emeralds, diamonds, and other precious gemstones; jewelry ranging from tiara’s to bracelets, rings, turban pins, in glittering diamonds and sapphires; velvet robes studded with opals.

One of the most interesting sport activities in Iran is skiing. There are 16 ski resorts in Iran, out of which the most famous one is Dizin. The next day was delightfully cold and snowy, and we spent a lovely day high up in the mountains, tubing down the pristine white snow, balancing on skis, and throwing snowballs. Other popular sports are mountain biking, horseback riding, climbing, desert trekking, mountaineering, diving, and hunting.

Iranians are of the friendliest people I have ever come across. Everyone from the bookseller (who refused to accept payment for my postcards) to my bus companion (who insisted on paying my subway ticket) and the museum guide (who struggled to translate for us in English) were truly courteous, helpful, and extremely welcoming. It was a delight to walk through the crowded Bazaars, mixing with the people. Language, however, is a barrier – it is difficult to find people, who speak English.

Yet, among the best things about Tehran is absolute safety – the highest form of crime in the city is ‘overcharging by a shop owner’. Even a young lady walking on a deserted Tehran street at 3 am has no fear of being molested.

Iranian specialty food boasts of Sumaq or dried pomegranate with lamb Kababs and roasted tomatoes. Restaurants and eateries are aplenty. For the tourist, Iran is extremely easy on the wallet, unless you plan on taking back with you Persian carpets, which the country is famous for!

Other cities to visit are:

Shiraz – often regarded as one of the most attractive of Iranian cities; situated 919 Km south of Tehran.

Isfahan – has been designated by UNESCO as a world heritage site.

Gorgan – in northern Iran, has good air, railroad and road access. Entering or leaving by land between Iran and Turkmenistan is open to both Iranian and foreign travelers.

Mashhad – (mah-shahd), meaning place of martyrdom, is the capital of Khorasan province, located 850 km north east of Tehran, near the border of Turkmenistan.

Qom – located some 120 km south west of Tehran. Sometimes considered the religious capital of the Iran, Qom hosts the tomb of Hazrat Masumeh, sister of Imam Reza. Many religious schools, dedicated to Islamic teachings, are located around the sanctuary of Hazrat Masumeh.

Tabriz – founded during the Sassanid period; located 597 km north west of Tehran.

Temperature: 9C min.- 42C max.

Aloe Vera (Ulwa:Sabir)

Dr. Sabheen Riaz Khan provides us with the benefits of aloe vera

Qays Bin Rafi Al-Qaysi narrated that Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “Aloes and wart-cress are a sure cure for illness.” (Abu Dawood)

Aloe Vera is a semi-tropical plant with over 240 different species growing mainly in the dry regions of Africa, Asia, Europe and America. Although it is a member of the Lily family, it has cactus-like characteristics. Mature plants vary in size and usually have 12-16 thick, tapered, and spiny leaves. The plant is harvested every 1 to 2 months by removing the leaves that contain a clear gel-like substance.

Aloe Vera contains numerous vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, natural sugars and agents with anti-inflammatory properties (i.e. preventing redness, swelling, pain and hotness of the skin due to burns, bites, cuts, etc.) and anti-microbial properties (i.e. preventing infection and contamination by micro-organisms). The combination and balance of the plant’s ingredients are what purportedly gives it its healing properties.

Umm Salama (rta) narrated that Allah’s messenger (sa) visited her on the day after Abu Salama (rta) died, and she had spread fresh aloe juice over her face. Allah’s Messenger (sa) asked her: “What happened to your face O Umm Salamah?” She replied: “It is only aloe juice I applied to my face for moistening, O Messenger of Allah, and it does not have perfume.” The Prophet (sa) said: “It contracts the tissues, and it can burn up your skin. Apply it, if you wish, at night, and not during the day.” (Abu Dawood).

Many ancient works refer to the use of aloe. One of the first documented users was Cleopatra, who lived from 68 to 30 C.E. She is said to have used the gel on her skin as protection from the sun, for she thought it helped keep her skin young. About the year 6 C.E, Discorides, a Greek physician, discovered aloe vera was effective in treating a wide range of ailments, such as kidney problems, constipation, and severe skin-burns.

Aloe Vera is useful and practical to have around the house. One of its unique qualities is that it does not need to be prepared for internal or external application for it comes in ready made gel form that can be mixed with water and consumed or applied directly to the skin. Its only drawbacks is that it is usually too strong for children, or pregnant or nursing women to take internally, and not to forget it’s unpleasant bitter taste. Use with caution as people have shown skin reactions to the plant.

Nubayh Ibn Wahab reported that the eyes of Umar Ibn Ubaydullah Ibn Ma’mar were swollen, and he decided to use antimony. Eban Ibn Uthman prevented him from doing so and commanded him to use aloe instead, and reported on the authority of Uthman Ibn Affan (rta): “The Prophet (sa) had done that”. (Muslim)

Aloe Vera is most famous in the Western world for its external uses, particularly in treating kitchen burns, acne, irritation, cuts, insect bites and wounds from injuries or surgery. It is used by dermatologists to speed healing after facial dermabrasion (removal of scars from the skins top layers through mechanical means). In Japan documented cases of radiation burn victims have shown that aloe healed the burns more rapidly than any other method. Research also reveals that early application of aloe vera to areas of frostbite prevents tissue death.

Aloe works most effectively when it is taken directly from the growing plant, as it is sterile and prevents contamination. The mucilage (substance that causes the adherence of two surfaces) found in the gel of the leaves contains mucopolysaccharides, and is largely responsible for aloe’s healing action on both burns and wounds. Aloe also contains varying amounts of anthraquinone glucosides, which have bitter gripping cathartic principles that promote and / or ease the passing of stools. It accelerates the passage of faeces through the large intestine, by influencing the consistency and amount of stool to facilitate the elimination of faeces through the rectum. This explains its reputation as a colon cleanser and detoxification herb. It has also been used to relieve obstructions in internal organs, particularly the liver. In fact, aloe’s mucilage provides a unique soothing effect to the digestive system, as well as a cleansing effect from polysaccharides.

Although not conclusive, some studies indicate that aloe vera may have some value in the treatment or prevention of some cancers and arthritis, preliminary evidence shows that aloe vera may be useful in treating diabetes, immune system problems and psoriasis. Some of the latest research documented on MSNBC news on the 26th of July 2004 reported that tests performed on rats showed that the gel found inside the leaves of aloe Vera could help preserve organ function after massive blood loss, thus helping to counteract the deadly effects of blood loss. The aloe vera plant could provide a fluid that keeps trauma victims alive until they can get a blood transfusion.

It is wise to use the herbs that Allah has provided, remembering that, “For every malady Allah created, He also created a cure (and he who) acquires such knowledge shall benefit from it and one who ignores it will forgo such benefit.” (Bukhari)

How to Think BIG!

thinking bigEveryday everywhere young people take on new jobs. Each wishing to enjoy the success associated with reaching the top. Yet, they believe that climbing such heights is impossible, not realizing that there are steps that can lead them to the goal. But a small number of these youth have substantial belief in reaching the top and the steps that they need to take.

How to develop the power of belief?

  1. Islam teaches a believer to be optimistic. To think success rather than failure even at times when we are faced with difficult situations. In other words, a believer should think, “I will win, Insha’Allah” and not, “I will probably lose.” Pessimism leads the mind to think in the way of failure. Remember that pessimism is a gift from Satan or Iblees, whose name denotes hopelessness.
  2. Remind yourself regularly that you are better than you think you are. Successful believers are just ordinary people who have developed belief in Allah and the abilities He has given to them. Allah states: “Verily, We have created man in the best form.” (At-Tin 95:4)
  3. Allah wants to elevate the status of humankind and ensure its accomplishment and therefore He sent His Prophets and books. So, by thinking big according to the teachings of Allah (swt) and his Prophet (sa) the size of your success will be determined by the size of your belief. Think of little goals and expect little achievements. But think of big goals and you will win big. Big ideas and big plans are often easier. It is well to respect your leader and learn from him/her. But don’t just resolve to be like him or her, rather believe you can surpass and go beyond. .

Building confidence through your memory bank

  1. Deposit only positive thoughts in your memory bank. Everyone encounters plenty of unpleasant situations but successful people do not give it a second thought, whereas unsuccessful people brood over them so be among the successful and specialize in putting positive thoughts into your memory bank.
  2. A real smile melts away the opposition of others, and instantly too. So, smile Big. Harness the power of smiling. Remember Allah’s Messenger (sa) had a smiling face.
  3. With a positive, optimistic and cooperative attitude, a person with an IQ of 100 will succeed and earn more money and respect, than a negative, pessimistic, uncooperative individual with an IQ of 120. 60% dreaming and the rest do the trick. The biggest resolution would be the ‘Attitude’ – Think and dream creatively. Creative thinking is simply finding new, improved ways to do anything. Success at home, work, in community or just anything. For this, the basic truth is ‘Believe in yourself and the things that you can do – Believe in yourself and the world is Yours’.

Practice positive imagery

Each day spend some time in positive visualization of your goals and new life changes. Use your imagination for only through use does it sharpen. You can travel on the back of any thought you have in mind. Simply catch your thoughts, relax, tilt your eyes up just about twenty degrees and there you are.

Begin incorporating the following points in your attitude

  1. Overcome the fear of failure: When fear controls your actions, it takes charge. The only way you can overcome fear is to face it and attack it with full vengeance with one blow.
  2. Let your confidence soar: You must have the “I can do this” attitude if anything BIG happens to come your way. Confidence is more evident in a person’s actions, thoughts and emotional calm during stormy times.
  3. Don’t let small and negative people get in the way of your BIG ideas.

Tips for Better Thinking

  1. Suspend judgment when hearing something new.
  2. Explain things to others using their thinking patterns rather than yours.
  3. Remember that arguing is one of the least effective ways of changing someone’s mind. You don’t always have to fight to win.
  4. Use the language of leaders and people will be more inclined to treat you as one.
  5. Remember that your sense of humour is your stress barometer; when it seems like there’s nothing to laugh about that means you are overstressed.
  6. Constantly remind yourself that self-worth is not something you have to prove, or a conclusion you arrive at, it’s an assumption you start from.
  7. Spend more time reading than you spend watching television.
  8. Constantly monitor your self-talk; prefer positive language.
  9. Shun toxic people and those who push negative thinking; remember that you can fire anybody from your life.
  10. Practice positive “censorship;” you can choose to concentrate your attention on positive messages.
  11. Stay out of other people’s dramas; don’t become part of the victimology triangle.
  12. Always be learning; try to discover something new every day.
  13. Don’t kill ideas when you first hear them.Use the “P.I.N.” formula (Positive first, then Interesting, then Negative aspects).
  14. Don’t mistake a haphazard “brain-dump” for a conversation; explain your ideas clearly; use a discursive strategy to escort others to your truth.
  15. Always be ready to smile in the next second, and let it show on your face.
  16. In Thinking Big: The Keys to Personal Power and Maximum Performance, world-famous success expert Brian Tracy will take you beyond the limits of everyday thought, where you will tap into the vast resources of your mind and unlock unlimited potential.

By thinking big, you’ll become so confident, determined, and persistent that you can achieve any goal – nothing or no one will be able to slow you down or alter your course, Insha’Allah!

Success is an inside job. It’s a state of mind. It begins with you and is soon reflected in the world around you. By thinking big, you become a bigger person. By dreaming big dreams, you become a leader. By making plans to accomplish your goals, you take control of your life. And by practicing the ideas taught in Thinking Big, you can and will become unstoppable, by Allah’s Grace.

Here is an exercise to measure your true size.

  1. Determine your five chief assets.
  2. Invite some friends who will give you an honest opinion.
  3. Next under each asset, write the names of three persons you know who have achieved large success, but who do not have the asset to as great a degree as you.

Big thinkers are specialists in creating positive, optimistic pictures in their own minds and in the minds of others.

Mudarabah: A Special Partnership

financeWhat is Mudarabah?

It is a special kind of partnership, where one partner gives money to another for investing it in a commercial enterprise. The investment comes from the first partner (Rabb-ul-mal), whilst the management and work is the exclusive responsibility of the other partner (Mudarib).

How many types of Mudarabah are there?

There are two main types of Mudarabah:

(1) Restricted Mudarabah, where the investor specifies a particular business for the manager, who may then invest in that particular business only.

(2) Unrestricted Mudarabah, where the investor allows the manager to invest in any type of business.

How will the profits be distributed?

  • Before forming Mudarabah, the parties should agree about a definite proportion of profit, to which each one of them would be entitled.
  • The investor and the manager can share the profit equally or they can allocate different proportions.
  • They cannot allocate a fixed, lump amount, nor can they allocate a fixed percentage of the capital.
  • Different proportions of the profit can be agreed to under different situations, e.g., it can be agreed that the manager can get 35% of the profit, if he works in his hometown. If he works in another town, he can get 50% of the profit.
  • The manager cannot draw any periodical salary or fee for the work done by him for Mudarabah. However, Imam Ahmad has allowed that the manager draws his daily expenses of food from the Mudarabah account. Hanafi jurists, on the other hand, have allowed that the manager draws his expenses, if he is on a business trip outside his own city.

What happens when Mudarabah incurs both a profit and a loss?

In such situation, the profit shall be used to offset the loss. Then, the remainder, if any, shall be distributed between the partners, according to the agreed-upon ratio.

What roles does the Mudarib play?

  • A trustee responsible to look after the investment.
  • An agent for the investor, as he purchases from the funds provided by the investor.
  • A partner, who shares in any profit.
  • Liable to provide for any loss to Mudarabah, due to his actions.
  • An employee, who receives salary, when Mudarabah becomes void.

When does Mudarabah terminate?

  • When the period specified in the contract expires.
  • When either of the two parties informs the other party about the termination of the contract by serving a notice.

What happens when Mudarabah is terminated?

  • All the liabilities are paid off and receivables collected.
  • Assets are liquidated to determine the value of Mudarabah.
  • The investor receives back the amount he / she invested.
  • The balance amount is to be distributed as profit, according to the agreed ratio. If no balance is left, the manager does not get anything.

How do we apply the Mudarabah model for financing purposes?

Mudarabah can be applied to project financing business models, opening letters of credit without margins. The Mudarabah model can also be combined with the Musharakah model for financing large enterprises, import and export businesses (pre-shipment financing), etc.


  • Usmani, Muhammad Taqi. “An Introduction to Islamic Finance.” Idarat ul-Marif, Karachi, Pakistan.
  • Usmani, Dr. Muhammad Imran Ashraf. “Meezan Bank’s Guide to Islamic Banking.” Darul-Ishaat, Karachi, Pakistan.

Children Reaching Puberty

pubertyCulturally, aspects like puberty are considered taboo. It is considered to be a matter of grave shame to even mention it, let alone explain it to our growing children. Consequently, our ignorance and false beliefs inflict most damage to our children, who at their tender age of innocence and discovery find themselves in dark alleys. They don’t know whom to turn to for their questions and are left to their own devices to feed their curiosity. The most comfortable arrangement for parents is usually to keep a tight lid on such sensitive issues or pass the buck over to teachers, friends, and other sources to take ownership.

This is a vital educational process, and parents cannot sit back disconnected, assuming everything will turn out to be just fine! Here are a few tips to help parents who are contemplating a talk with their children approaching puberty. Even if your adolescent kids are past that stage but never had a chance to discuss it with you, this is the time to explore their thoughts and give them a clearer understanding regarding the subject.


It all begins with your own need as a parent to recognize that education on puberty and relevant issues is significant for your child’s biological, emotional, social, and moral well-being. Admit and understand that in absence of correct and complete information your kids may feel frightened, moody, confused, or at a low esteem, due to the sudden changes in their bodies.


Make no distinction between girls and boys when imparting education on intimate matters. The most difficult challenge arises when boys in the house start asking questions like why their sister is not praying, fasting, or reading Quran with them. Generally, they are told lies, or excuses are made to hush up the subject. Hence, it is necessary to educate boys as well as girls, to avoid story telling which is prohibited in Islam anyways. Besides, boys are no different from girls in terms of changes and feelings that they experience with puberty, so why should they be treated differently?


The most effective time to provide your children with any information is before signs of puberty begin to arise. This may vary in kids from nine years onwards. You may talk in general about Allah’s creations and the fact that He created things in pairs. After opening up a line of communication, be available for their questions and observations in future.


Read and prepare yourself. This will enhance their trust in your knowledge and will put you in a comfortable slot too. Just as you have taught them school academics, good manners etc. this will be just another educational experience for your kids rather than a melodrama. Following is a checklist to help you prepare:

  • Anatomy (structure) and physiology (function) of the human body
  • Emotional, moral and physical aspects of puberty
  • The menstrual cycle
  • The sexual act and guidelines in Islam
  • The reproductive cycle
  • Conception, development of the fetus and birth
  • Islamic perspective on marriage and modesty


Take into consideration their level of understanding and maturity before answering their questions. However, do not push the subject too much nor dump heaps of information at once. Give them gradual bits of information as they begin to question. Also, avoid graphic descriptions that create anxiety and fear. Remember, that this is a learning opportunity for them and not a forum to create thrill and suspense.


Do not conceal information. They will eventually come to know through hand-me-down information tossed around by older siblings, friends, pornographic magazines, movies, or web sites. It is far better that they hear it from you.


You may explain gently to your kids that a subject like this is a private issue not to be discussed in public. Islam greatly advocates modesty and refuses to place anyone in an embarrassing position by making a talk show out of personal and intimate matters. Neither does it allow ridiculing anyone or embarrassing him or her. To be educated about puberty is one thing, but to create and spread perversion is absolutely forbidden.


Puberty is also a test from Allah to check which of His slaves are ready to observe the limits set by Him by safeguarding their chastity and satisfying their intimate desires within the legal capacity of marriage. Culturally, we expect chastity of girls; however, boys are granted leniency. Here, it needs to be reiterated, that boys are as much answerable and accountable for their actions as are girls.


The beauty of Allah’s blessings is such, that along every trial He has placed abundant mercy and satisfaction in everything granted to us. It is the case of puberty. Dr. Aisha Hamdan quotes: “Sexuality is a blessing given to us from Allah. It is obvious for the purpose of procreation, but is a mercy from Allah that there is also enjoyment and satisfaction that comes with it.” Teach your children to be thankful to Allah for it.


Sexuality and marriage go hand in hand in Islam. Maintaining illicit relations are prohibited. The Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “He who can afford to marry should marry, because it will help him to lower his gaze (from looking at forbidden things and other women) and save his private parts (from committing illegal sexual acts) and he who cannot afford to marry is advised to observe fast, as fasting will diminish his sexual power.” (Bukhari)

Allah will question our kids standing at the threshold of adolescence for their choices and actions. As capable parents, we must empower them to learn to guard themselves against the many trials surrounding them today.

If the subject makes you highly uncomfortable, ask a trusted friend or a relative to be available to talk to your child, but do not stifle his right to learn and apply correctly. Educate them truthfully, keep a vigilant eye, pray to Allah, and place your trust in your kids to enable them to pass the tests with flying colours (Insha’Allah)!

When The Better Half Returns Home – Part 1

better half

After having a wretched day at home or outside, the first tempting thought that comes to a fatigued wife’s mind is to dump the despair on husband dear. If she can resist calling him at work, she impatiently waits for the day to end. Her eyes stay on the clock ticking ever slowly. There opens the door and she takes a deep breath ready for the kill. As soon as she sights her husband, she swiftly moves forward and pours the entire molten lava boiling within her on top of her spouse!

The husband already looks battered after toiling through the day. If he is the silent crusader, he will listen to his wife with occasional nods not daring to stop her tirade. He will silently pray to God for her tape to run out soon so he can rest his ears and relax his mind. If conversely he is the confrontational type, he will give her a piece of his mind to shut her mouth. That will be the end of all conversations for the day. The wife will end up with a swollen face and hurt feelings. The husband will end up with a quiet and peaceful evening to himself.

One cannot help but wonder how those women on television look so pretty when their husband comes home. The house is spick and span, the children are neat and tidy, even the pet looks ecstatic and well-kept. Don’t they have worries like unaccommodating in-laws, uncontrollable children, unmanageable servants, unending house chores, unannounced guests or uncountable bills to settle? Probably not on their planet but on earth, life is certainly not trouble free. So, is there a better way to handle these small matters amicably?

Following are some tips to help you revisit your daily schedule and relieve unnecessary stress from building up. It will certainly not do your work for you but facilitate a different approach to go easy on yourself.

Tips For Lady Of The House

  • Wrap up all your house chores at least an hour prior to your husband’s usual arrival time. Remember, even if you were granted 48 hours instead of 24 in a day, there will still be something left out screaming for your attention. A simple make over can work wonders and lifts up your mood. Besides, husbands also hate to come home to a worn out wife who gives them sore eyes. Even if they don’t comment they will certainly notice the effort and feel pleased with you. Besides that you will even earn a bonus reward from Allah for dressing up for your husband, Insha’Allah!
  • Goethe wisely pointed out that ‘He is happiest, be he king or peasant who finds peace in his home.’ When your husband arrives, greet him with genuine enthusiasm. Thank Allah for your family’s safety and good health. It may be tempting to throw your heartfelt miseries point blank at your husband but hold on to them patiently. The point is, sharing your troubles now would not earn you any benefit. Firstly, he may be tired and not in the best frame of mind to offer you sympathy or solutions. Secondly, all your efforts may never be appreciated and the cause may be defeated. Present your case at the best time so it earns the attention it deserves. As Benjamin Franklin put it, ‘He that can have patience can have what he wishes.’
  • Frances Brooke observed that worries are like a horse. They keep you going but don’t get you anywhere. Put your worries on the back burner and your mind in the present time. You may allow your husband some time and space with the kids or his parents if they happen to live with you, since both are hardest to convince to wait around. Meanwhile prepare him a snack or tea if he wishes so. You can get on with preparing the dinner or take care of remaining house chores. Or you may simply join them in their fun and play or discussion.
  • Some times there are genuine urgencies that cannot wait. This may include a doctor’s habitual appointment, something the kids want for school on a short notice, grocery shopping, visiting a sick relative or some other important social commitments that do not fit into your family schedule. As long as it does not become a routine, you may request your husband to help you take care of it, even if it means sacrificing his peace and comfort at home. Once in a while he should not mind it.
  • As per routine, ask your husband how his day had been. Work these days has become a market place of stress. Many times men bring it home bottled up inside of them. As humans have an instinctual need to be heard, just listening about their challenging tasks and reassuring them towards the positive lightens their burden.
  • Once you have allowed him his breathing space, gently open your can of worms. Here what needs to be checked is your tone and choice of words. The trick to be able to persuade any man is with love and tenderness. The minute a wife tries to wear the pants in a relationship, it’s like you have stepped on a cat’s tail. Men hate it when their egos are bruised. Michelet rightly states that, ‘Women are perfectly well aware that the more they seem to obey the more they rule.’ Handle your spouse like a fragile glass. Once you have won him over, not only he will be able to see your point of view but support it too.
  • Lastly and most importantly, each night before you call it a day focus on the positive aspects of your life in comparison to others around. There are always countless examples among us who make us realize how lucky we are to have what we have got. The key word to peace and contentment is appreciation. Learn to appreciate virtues of your better half and remember them for Allah has mercifully given great set of qualities to all of us in spite of our shortcomings. Make no mistake that happiness is hardly a set of circumstances. It is more of a state of mind. If you postpone being happy on the basis of ideal circumstances, you will never find it guaranteed. So start living now. You will enjoy the present for it is the best gift you can have!

Clean is Cool!

If you go long enough without a bath even the fleas will leave you alone, cautions Naba Basar.

Among your friends you must have noticed that there are some who carry a clean and crisp look coming to school. Since it takes all kinds of people to make this world, there are also some who come to school without even washing their faces.

In the Quran, Allah commands the believers to be clean and to keep away from dirt. Those who do not practice the morality of the Quran, as in everything else, fall into this sorry state. Believers’ bodies, food, clothing, and the place where they live are always spotless and well-ordered. They try to make every place resemble the purity of Paradise. As Allah says in the Quran: “You who believe! Eat of the good things We have provided for you…” (Al-Baqarah 2:172)

In another place Allah commands: “Purify your clothes. Shun all filth.” (Al-Muddaththir 74:4-5)

So, what do believers have to do? Simple! Allah created water, which is a great blessing and is a reason for us to be thankful to Allah. We may begin by washing our hands and face when we get up in the morning and taking a shower. The Quran tells us: “…[He] sent you down water from heaven to purify you and remove the taint of Satan from you, and to fortify your hearts and make your feet firm.” (Al-Anfal 8:11)

You may be spooked to know that besides the two angels who maintain a record of our deeds, Allah has also assigned one devil along each one of us. This devil is a cause of all trials and temptations for us. His strategies are quite devious. Allah warns human beings, that the devil, makes dirtiness look pleasant and tries to prevent them from cleaning themselves.

He may try to make us put off brushing our teeth after a meal or taking regular showers by making it seem like too much trouble. Even if such occasional slips do not bring serious consequences, over time they may be damaging to a person’s health and appearance. And this is exactly what Satan wants. He resents human beings and tries to drag them to Hell, and he really wants to see them living in filth.

Some kids are temperamental and are driven by their mood swings. They may be clean and presentable in parties, but the rest of the time they look scruffy. One wonders, how do they regard cleanliness? Well, they are very different in their aims and intentions from those who believe in Allah. Their aim is to look good and not be criticized by others, but they do not think of pleasing Allah by cleaning themselves.

But to a believer, it is more important to please Allah and to obey His command. Eventually he looks cool to others as well, who appreciate him for his neat and tidy appearance. So there really is no point in looking cool by gelling ones hair and powdering our faces if we do not practice basic hygiene consistently. This may include:

  1. Observing dental care and cleanliness
  2. Taking daily showers
  3. Washing ourselves properly following every call of nature
  4. Performing Wudhu calmly and gracefully prior to prayers
  5. Wearing clean and tidy clothes
  6. Checking ourselves for unpleasant odours
  7. Keeping our rooms filth-free
  8. Not leaving around left over food in our room
  9. Emptying our dustbins daily
  10. Keeping our dustbins closed
  11. Not littering outside our house
  12. Not throwing garbage on the roads

Salman Al-Farsi

salman-al-farisiMehreen Ganny introduces an outstanding Muslim scholar, who was the first person to translate the Quran into a foreign language (Persian) and who contributed immensely towards the development of a Muslim state

The Imam, the flag of flags, the inheritor of Islam, the wise judge, the knowledgeable scholar, and one from the house of the Prophet (sa) are the titles given to Salman Al-Farsi (rta) by our Prophet (sa).

Salman Al-Farsi (rta), born in an influential family of Persia, was raised following the Magian religion. He was truly devoted to his religion, until the day he passed by a church and heard some men praying. He got drawn to the way the Christians worshiped and realized that Christianity was better then the religion of his forefathers. He left home with a group of Arabs to search for the origin of Christianity, which was in Syria.

On the way to Syria, he was sold to a Jewish man, who later sold him to his nephew from the tribe of Banu Qurayzah in Yathrib. Because of being imposed with harsh duties of slavery, he did not know about the call to Islam going on in Makkah, until the day, when he overheard his master talking to his nephew about a person claiming to be the last prophet.

When our Prophet (sa) migrated from Makkah and reached Yathrib, Salman offered him some dates as Sadaqah. Our Prophet (sa) gave them to his companions, not leaving any for himself. Then again Salman went with more dates and said that this was a gift. Our Prophet (sa) ate the dates himself and gave also to his companions. The strict honesty of our Prophet (sa) led Salman to accept Islam.

Salman played an important role in the struggles of the Muslim State. At the battle of the Trench (Khandaq), using his Persian skills, he came up with a brilliant military strategy of digging a ditch around Madinah to keep out the Quraish army. This led Muslims to victory and saved Madinah.

Salman became known as ‘Salman the good.’ He was a great scholar, who lived a rough and harsh life. He wore only one cloak and lived under a tree. He used to say that he was surprised to observe so many people spending all their life for the lower world, without a thought about the inevitable death, which one day will take them from this world. At night, Salman prayed. If he would get tired, he would start making Dhikr by tongue. When his tongue would get tired, he would reflect and ponder on Allah’s power and greatness in creation. He would then say to himself: “Oh, my ego, you took your rest; now get up and pray.” He would continue this cycle all night long.

He was known for his vast knowledge and wisdom. Kab Al-Ahbar said: “Salman is stuffed with knowledge and wisdom like an ocean that does not dry up.” During the lifetime of our Prophet (sa), Salman Al-Farsi (rta) translated the Quran into Persian. He was the first person to translate the Quran into a foreign language.

Being raised in an influential family let Salman (rta) to be a major figure in the expansion of Persian Empire of his time. His thirst for truth, even before the appearance of our Prophet (sa), led him to give up his comfortable life and even suffer the humiliation of slavery.

Tongue Terrors!

tongue terrorsI want to share with you a strange story I once heard. Two brothers were at a bus stop, when a young lady approached them. Her arms were laden with groceries. Indicating her apartment behind them, she asked if they could help her. One of the brothers agreed, while the other stayed at the stop. Fifteen minutes later, the brother at the stop began to worry – his sibling had not yet returned. What was taking him so long to drop off some groceries? He ran to the apartment the young lady had pointed out and knocked on the door. A child, with a bone in his hand and fresh blood dripping from his teeth, answered it. Terrified, the young man pushed past him into the apartment. To his horror, he found a group of people feasting on the body of his dead brother!

I was really disgusted when I heard this! Then, after the story, I got a real shock. I was told that I do this all the time! Eat human flesh? Me? No way! I faint at the sight of my own blood.

It was explained that Allah has said: “…And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting)…” (Al-Hujurat 49:12)

So every time I invite my friends over for some ‘juicy gossip’, I am actually inviting them to dig into a ‘juicy human steak’! I remember how I mimicked that teacher with the accent. My classmates thought I was so cool. Some even said: “You’re so smart.” Now, I am not sure if I really was.

Our beloved Prophet (sa) warned us: “A man may be so close to Paradise such that the distance between him and it is one arm’s length and he speaks a word and he becomes distant from it further than Sanaa (referring to a great distance).” (At-Tirmidhi)

Subhan’Allah! One word! The jokes I cracked about my over-weight cousin had several words!

When I fasted in Ramadan, I never tasted a single morsel of food. To me that was an accomplishment. However, I relished those hot angry words I dished out to everyone, who suggested I do something other than sleep the day away. I controlled my hunger but not my tongue, so my fasts became a farce.

The Prophet (sa) said: “When a man gets up in the morning, all the limbs humble themselves before the tongue and say: ‘Fear Allah for our sake, for we are dependent on you; if you are straight we are straight, but if you are crooked we are crooked’” (At-Tirmidhi)

The Prophet (sa) even once took hold of his tongue and said: “Exercise restraint on it…Will anything else besides (irresponsible) talk cause the people to be thrown into the Hell-Fire upon their faces or on their nostrils?” (Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, Ibn-Majah)

Allah’s Messenger (sa) also said: “Whoever guarantees me (the chastity of) what is between his legs (i.e., his private parts), and what is between his jaws (i.e., his tongue), I guarantee him Paradise.” (At-Tirmidhi)

From now on, I shall no longer give my tongue free reign to babble away, Insha’Allah (and I mean it), till I have something good to say. It is confined to its place, in my mouth, behind my teeth.