Preparing for Ramadan

Vol 4- Issue 2 Preparing for ramadan copy

“O Allah! Bless us during Rajab and Shaban, and let us reach Ramadan (in good health). Ameen.”

When I told a friend that I was doing research for an article on preparing for Ramadan, she said: “What are you going to write? We know everything there is about Ramadan. We’ve been hearing it over and over again!”

It’s true that Ayahs and sayings related to Ramadan will be the same, because our Deen is complete and will remain so till the end of time. But the fact that we have heard them many times makes us more accountable. We have no excuse to forget the guidance. We shouldn’t tune out thinking “Oh, I’ve heard this before.” Instead, we need to pay extra attention to revising, internalizing, applying and then sharing this knowledge.

For instance, your husband has asked you to pay the telephone bill. If he reminds you once, you could forget. But if you forget after being reminded several times and seeing that note stuck on the refrigerator, you will be left with a late fee and a lot of explaining to do. You heard the same message over and over again and still paid no attention.

Alhumdulillah, we have been taught the basic tenets of Ramadan since we were children. Let’s make Dua to take it a step further this year. We are the selected recipients of this blessed month. There are many non-Muslims and Muslims alike, for whom Ramadan comes and goes without making an iota of difference in their lives. Allah (swt) says that unlike other acts of worship, fasting is only for ME. What an honor! We have the opportunity to do something, for which Allah (swt) will personally decide the reward.

Just like we make preparations well in advance when a favourite guest is coming, we have to prepare in advance for Ramadan, so that we don’t waste time during the precious month.


  • Gather books/tapes/Dua pamphlets in one place, so you avoid wasting precious Ramadan time looking for stuff. If you have loaned some books to a friend or vice versa, see that they get to their respective owners before Ramadan. If you know you have two hours to complete an exam, you wouldn’t want to waste time sharpening pencils or looking for erasers, would you?
  • Host or attend a ‘Welcoming Ramadan’ talk and invite friends, who usually do not frequent these circles.
  • Plan where you will be going for Taraweeh. Find out which venues welcome women. Make child care and transportation arrangements beforehand.


  • Make small packets of dates with the Dua for breaking the fast. Pass these out to people in the Masjid, or your family and friends two weeks before Ramadan. This way you can hope for part of the reward each time they break their fast.
  • Complete your to-do list or postpone unimportant stuff for after Eid.
  • Buy small gifts for the children to mark the beginning of Ramadan. Blow up some balloons and give out candy, so that they know this is a special time. Hang up a Ramadan calendar, so they can count the days till Eid.
  • Complete Eid shopping for clothes beforehand. When I was in school, I used to envy my friends, who would go Eid shopping during the last ten days of Ramadan for bangles on ‘Chand Raat’. My mom made it a point to get us what we wanted for Eid before Ramadan began. We might not have understood the beauty of the lesson she was teaching us then, but, Alhamdulillah, now when I make my decisions about Eid shopping, I emulate her. If you really do need to go to the bazaar, get what you need and don’t loiter around.
  • Buy Eid gifts for family, friends and domestic help and don’t forget the kids. It is up to us, how important we make Eid for our children. If you’re planning to throw an Eid party for them, do the preparations before Ramadan or schedule the party at least a week after Eid.
  • Involve kids in wrapping gifts for the domestic help, so they see you giving them something new, as opposed to your old stuff all the time.


  • Make up the missed fasts before Ramadan.
  • Plan an ideal day by using the natural pegs of Salah. For example: “Between Fajr and Zuhr, I would like to memorize three Ayahs, and between Zuhr and Asr, I would like to listen to a Seerah tape.”
  • Evaluate your previous Ramadan and set goals for this year. Two days of a believer’s life should not be the same, just like each day should be better than the previous one. Similarly, two Ramadan’s should not be alike. Think about what you could have done better and avoid making previous mistakes. Set special, specific goals for the last ten nights of Ramadan.
  • Identify time wasters. Is it a talkative friend, an addictive computer game, the TV or surfing the Internet? Resolve to stay away from these things in Ramadan.

Household Duties

  • Freeze, freeze and freeze. Samosas, rolls, Kebabs, Chutneys – whatever your family enjoys. Make it beforehand, so you spend minimum time in the kitchen.
  • Practice moderation. Fasting is not postponing three meals only to make up for at Iftar. Eat what you like but in moderation, so that you are not so full that you can’t even go in Ruku at Maghrib!
  • If you are obsessed about cleaning, do all the detailed tasks before Ramadan, so that you and yours can take a breather. If you are fortunate to have help around the house, plan on being easy on them, as they will be fasting, too.


  • Limit lavish Iftar parties as much as possible. When you want to share a meal, send Iftar to the Masjid, deliver it to your neighbour in advance or find a deserving family. This way, you’ll be reaping the benefits of providing Iftar without having to take out fancy tableware and wearing your prettiest clothes!
  • Take out your phone book and call a relative you haven’t been in touch with ‘because she never calls.’ There might be some hurt feelings or unresolved issues that you can sort out before Ramadan.
  • Offer to watch a friend’s child, when she tries a mini-Itekaf for a few hours. She could return the favour on the days she doesn’t have to fast.

Family Time

  • Decide on a new Sunnah you want to adopt as a family. Miswak? Wudhu before bed?
  • Provide a list of options and have fun choosing.
  • Delegate chores to children according to their age. Your work load will be less, and they will get into the spirit of Ramadan.
  • Make a Sadaqah box and keep it in the kitchen. Encourage family members to pitch in every day.

This very moment, make Niyah to recharge your batteries and make this the best Ramadan yet. So even if, for some valid reason, you are unable to do all that you have planned, you can get reward for your intention, Insha’Allah.

Taraweeh – The Essence of Ramadan

Vol 4- Issue 2 Essence of taraweehUmm Usman highlights some important Ahadeeth discussing the rulings for Taraweeh

The Ramadan nightly prayer has a special merit over other nights. The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “Whoever observes the night prayer in Ramadan as an expression of his faith and to seek reward from Allah, his previous sins will be blotted out.” (Muslim)

In this Hadeeth, ‘faith’ means the faith in what Allah (swt) has promised the observers of night prayers. ‘To seek reward’ means that the observer’s intent is not for the eye service.

Taraweeh is derived from the Arabic root word Raaha, which means ‘to rest, relax, and use as recreation.’ It is so called, because the believers used to prolong it. After every four Rakahs, they would stop for rest and resume, until Taraweeh was complete.

Taraweeh in Congregation

The Messenger of Allah (sa) was the first to establish the Sunnah of congregational (Jamah) prayer of Taraweeh in Masjid. Then, he did not continue with this Sunnah because of fear that it might be made mandatory on the Ummah in Ramadan, and they might not be able to do it.

Aisha (rta) said: “The Messenger of Allah (sa) observed Taraweeh prayer in the Masjid one night and people prayed with him. He repeated the following night and the number of participants grew. The companions congregated the third and fourth night, but the Messenger (sa) did not show up. In the morning, he told them: ‘I saw what you did last night, but nothing prevented me from joining you, except my fear that it might be made mandatory on you in Ramadan.’” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Number of Rakahs in Taraweeh

The worthy ancestors Salaf As-Salih disagreed on the amount of Rakahs for Taraweeh and Witr. The following numbers are mentioned: 39, 29, 23, 19, 13, and 11 Rakahs. According to a particular view, of all the numbers mentioned, none is sounder than 11 Rakahs. When Aisha (rta) was asked regarding the prayer of the Prophet (sa), she replied: “He did not pray in Ramadan or some other times more than eleven Rakahs.” (Muslim and Bukhari)

However, there is nothing wrong with praying more than 11 Rakahs. Perhaps, this is why different numbers are observed. When the Prophet (sa) was asked about the night prayer, he said: “It may be done in two Rakahs, and if anyone fears the appearance of morning, he should pray one Rakah as a Witr for what he has already prayed.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

In their desire to pray more Rakahs, some people make Taraweeh in extreme speed. This is wrong, especially when the speed leads to a breach of certain rules of prayer. In that case, the prayer will not be valid. Similarly, it is undesirable for an Imam to pray with such speed, whereby the followers would have difficulty observing the necessary deeds in Salah.

Neglecting Taraweeh

No one should neglect Taraweeh without a good reason. It is part of physical and spiritual training, and its observation soon after Iftar insures timely and proper digestion of food. Besides, there are spiritual rewards awaiting the observers of this prayer.

Everybody should attend the Masjid prayers, including women, provided they are properly covered. The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “Prevent not the women servants of Allah, from going to the Masjid of Allah.” However, some scholars state that there must be separate arrangement for ladies when they attend the Masjid to avoid creating Fitna (trails). They should also neither wear perfume, nor raise their voices, nor show their beauty. Allah (swt) states: “They should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof.” (An-Nur 24:31)

‘What ordinarily appears’ refers to the outer garments, for when the Messenger (sa) commanded women to attend Eid prayer, Umm Atiyah (rta) said: “Messenger of Allah, some of us do not have the outer garment (Jilbab).” The Messenger of Allah (sa) told her to let a sister (who has more than one) give her one to wear. (Agreed upon)

It is Sunnah that women pray behind the men in the rear lines. The Messenger (sa) has been reported as saying: “The best lines for men are the front lines, and the worst lines for men are the rear lines. The best lines for women are the rear ones, and the worst lines of women are the front ones.” (Muslim)

The women should leave the Masjid as soon as the Imam says ‘As-Salaamu Alaikum.’ They should not delay without a valid reason. Umm Salmah (rta) said: “When the Messenger of Allah (sa) saluted to end prayer, the women would stand up to leave, and the Messenger (sa) would remain in his place for a while. Allah is the Best Knower, but perhaps the Messenger (sa) did this, so women would leave, before men could overtake them.” (Bukhari)

Taraweeh is significantly the essence of Ramadan. Qiyam-ul-Lail might not be possible for many through out the year except in the holy month of Ramadan. Muslims flock to the Masjid or other Taraweeh congregations in hope of reaping optimum benefit. And why not? Ramadan is the only month when Nafl Ibadah (optional worship) equates to the reward of Fard Ibadah (obligatory worship). May Allah (swt) bless every believer with this golden opportunity to earn His Pleasure. Ameen.

Role of the Media

By Huma Imam


What is the first thing Allah (swt) created? Pen. (Abu Dawood)

What did Allah (swt) say to the pen? Write. (The decree of creation)

What is the first word revealed in the Quran? Read (i.e. Iqra, Al-Alaq 96:1)

Congratulations! We should be proud to be a civilization of the pen. Pen, to this day, remains a potent instrument of communication, giving life to today’s influential modern media, i.e., TV, the Internet, and the print media.

How significant and effective are these mediums of communication? Phenomenal! People like you and I have the power, by Allah’s (swt) Will, to bring about great changes. The motivation to bring about changes is fueled by awareness. This is where the might of the news media plays a vital part. History has witnessed well-informed ordinary people, with the indispensable support of their media, managing to pressurize their leaders into ending futile wars. The initial coverage of the Vietnam War supported the US involvement, but following the Tet offensive, it changed its frame. The bold and uncensored TV coverage helped to turn the public opinion against the war. The ensuing anti-war movements were also given wide media support and eventually led to success.

Another reason for the media’s significance in our lives is its power on influencing social ideals and values, thereby shaping individuals and societies. Today, in the name of globalization, Muslims are threatened by cultural and intellectual invasion through media. As intangible and harmless as it sounds, in the long run, this war and enforcement of ideas is far more deadly than any war in the battlefield. Such invasion leads to the enslavement of a free mind, rendering it aimless, robbing it of its identity, and instilling inferiority complexes. The desperation Pakistani public exhibited at the ban on Indian entertainment channels is a sad but stark example of our society’s enslavement and defeat through media’s control.

Does this mean that we, as Muslims, should shun the media? No.

“Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good (Islam), enjoining Al-Maruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do) and forbidding Al-Munkar (polytheism and disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden). And it is they who are the successful.” (Al-Imran 3:104)

Since the modern media has a far reaching power and a great potential to influence, so why not use them to enjoin Al-Maruf and forbid Al-Munkar? Why not use it to put the correct Islam on the forefront? Why not use it for the wellbeing of Muslims? Why not use it to spread the word of Allah (swt)? Why not use it to wage intellectual Jihad?

“So obey not the disbelievers, but strive against them (by preaching) with the utmost endeavour with it (the Quran).” (Al-Furqan 25:52)

This verse orders us to wage Jihad by proclaiming the truth. We can use media to do just that, i.e., proclaim the truth, defend Islam and Muslims from criticisms and insults of the disbelievers. If Islam and Muslims are attacked physically, then we should also respond through physical might in the battlefields. But if we are attacked on an intellectual level, then it is wise to retaliate with mighty but similarly intellectual defense.

A book, blasphemous to Islam, was recently published. As a result, people went out on the streets protesting with swords in their hands. Did they accomplish anything? The swords were useless there. The attack was with the pen, thus, the defense should also have been with a pen – pen of Muslim intellectuals that would have rebutted their baseless writings.

Thanks to the media, we daily witness the atrocities committed against our brothers and sisters in Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Darfur, Chechnya, etc. By default, we become participants of this violence, as we simply cannot take the position of oblivious viewers.

“The believers, men and women, are Auliya (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another.” (At-Taubah 9:71)

The least we can do for them is voice our condemnation and repulsion through our media. It is better to protest than to accept injustice.

Pen is mightier than the sword

This saying holds true, if the user fulfills the following conditions: good and sincere intention; correct knowledge; training and proper organization on a community level. Alhumdullilah, TV channels, the Internet and the print media are all open to our comments and feedback. Whenever we come across an evil action within these mediums or in society in general, we are duty bound to denounce it. This can be done by contacting the newspaper/channel or writing directly to the author of the offending article/program.

This direct technique becomes most effective, if a number of people take a collective stand. An example of this was BBC’s sacking of a former MP and a popular talk show host Robert Kilroy Silk, who was guilty of racist and Islamophobic comments. His censure was a direct result of active protests and condemnations by Muslims.

Newspapers and magazines

Did you know that after the front page headlines, the ‘Letter to Editor’ column is the most widely read section in a newspaper? You don’t need to be a journalist to write to them. This is a forum that we should read and write to regularly. Why? To show that Muslims have a voice. We need to be heard rather than just be talked about. To be effective and successful in writing to papers you need to:

  • be informed Muslims;
  • hold opinions based on correct knowledge;
  • keep abreast with current affairs and changing political scenarios.
  • This way, you will be able to:
  • bring the Islamic perspective on current affairs to the forefront;
  • persistently challenge the stereotypes of Islam;
  • show that there is a clear difference between Islamic culture and cultural Islam;
  • point out any wrong or injustice you see or experience in your society.
  • When penning your opinions, it is important to stay calm and polite, no matter how provoked, but communicate your feelings firmly.


TV elicits two extreme views from most Muslims. It is either a total and outright rejection by some, terming it as Haram or an unreserved acceptance by others, in the name of freedom of expression. However, the correct perspective is to be aware of TV’s pros and cons and make use of this avenue.

Some scholar has said:

“Every means that helps to achieve the goals of Dawah may be used, so long as it is not Haram.”

Prophet (sa) used to visit the market places of Kaafirs for this purpose. Just because TV has been used for a lot of vice, the knowledgeable people should not shy away from it. The scope of benefit any Dawah school or program offers is limited to the few, who are able to go out and attend it. But if such programs are telecasted, they will reach a million homes. Presented in attractive and modern formats, TV Dawah has an extensive potential to influence a diverse audience.

The Internet

According to Internet World Stats, there are approximately 1,094 million Internet users worldwide. Like TV, its potential for good and bad is unparalleled; however, unlike TV, this medium enjoys the benefit of instantaneous and two-way communication for all. The following are some of the ways that you can enjoin good and forbid evil on the Internet:


  • Report offending sites to your Internet service provider, asking them to block or censor them.
  • Do not forward chain letters that promise you some worldly benefit or miracles.
  • Never forward Islamic info emails without reference sources. Verify the authenticity of information.
  • Reply to chain letters and senders of wrong information asking for evidence or enlightening them about the dangers of spreading hype or legends that aim to take advantage of people’s gullibility.
  • Prepare and send short mails to acquaintances reminding them of Allah’s (swt) commands and timely good deeds.
  • Read and write letters and opinion pieces to local and international media.
  • Do not waste time and energy on debating on forums, which slyly aim to provoke Muslims in the guise of discussing religion and politics.
  • Set up and manage websites for social and religious benefit.


Primary Means of Communication

The spoken word or language is the most primitive form of communication. Contrary to the popular perception of the primary means of communication being only gestures and body movements, the first human beings Adam (as) and Hawwa (as) were taught language by Allah (swt) – they were taught the words of repentance and were given guidance from Allah (swt) to follow. As the human race grew, more languages evolved and Allah’s (swt) guidance continued to the different nations and tribes in their respective languages.

(Contributed by Naureen Aqueel)

Target: Family

Hafsa Ahsan speaks out on what television dramas and soaps directly aim at

The last couple of years have witnessed a sudden spurt in the number of private channels, which broadcast a wide range of content for a diverse audience. There are drama serials, soaps, sitcoms, talk shows, satires and what not. Of these, drama serials and soaps are not only the staple diet of an average media consumer – they are also the main constituent of prime time transmission, when the entire family is watching television.

However, these drama serials and soaps have undergone a huge metamorphosis. Following are some of their fallouts, which are a direct attack on the family system.

Conflict Resolution – A Distant Dream

The stories, which once focused on conflict resolution within the family, have now begun to thrive on breeding conflict and propagating new and innovative methods of creating discord between the most sacred of relationships.

This trend has set in, because most private channels telecast soap operas rather than drama serials. Soaps have to have at least a hundred episodes. The only means of stretching the soap opera to infinite proportions is never to solve any conflict – in fact, the key is to keep the members of a family in a constant state of war with each other.

Conspiracies Abound

Domestic politics has taken a completely new dimension with the drama serials on air. Previously, characters of daughter-in-law, mother-in-law and sister-in-law merely shouted at each other or complained vocally to their friends about what they had to go through. Today, these same characters go ten steps further – plotting to get each other killed, they hire professional assassins and feel no shame in pushing their pregnant female relatives down a staircase. One wonders, what sort of message is going out to the vulnerable audience?

Dating Culture

A direct assault to the family system is the portrayal of a dating culture. The difference between Mehrum and non-Mehrum relatives was never there in the first place, but now things have worsened as couples are portrayed hanging out in popular hangouts, sometimes encouraged by their own parents. It may be mentioned here that there are times, when the story is such that an air of sympathy is created for the ‘poor couple’ which ‘cannot date because of the undue pressure of the parents.’

A soap on a private channel showed three girls were shown so desperate to get married that they kept going on dates with one guy after another and then rejecting them for the silliest reasons possible.

Hurdles to Marriage 

Where there are absolutely no obstacles in ‘going out and having a good time’, there are an infinite number of hurdles in getting married – again related to the need of the drama serial to extend itself to hundred plus episodes. If two people get married and start a peaceful life, where’s the drama? So, to create ‘drama’ and ‘action’, evil relatives cause problems, friends of the bride-to-be try to steal away her husband-to-be for themselves, and at times, the couple is married off to other people and then must sneak out to meet each other.

Sanctity of Relationships Gone Downhill

There are certain relationships the sanctity of which we take for granted. The mother-daughter relationship is one example. Father-son relationship is another. Unfortunately, certain drama serials and soaps have directly attacked these very relationships. A while back, a drama serial depicted a mother and daughter as eager to marry the same man. If that wasn’t enough, another serial showed a father marrying the girl his son was interested in. Such portrayals violate the strong bond of trust within these relationships. Unfortunately, our playwrights see this as some staple way to increase viewership.

Wrong Islamic Concepts

The Islamic method of giving a divorce may be familiar to some, but for many it is still vague. Drama serials and soaps could have played some role here, but since the story has to be fast, who is going to wait for the prescribed period and give three divorces over that period of time? The worse case scenario is when they regret their hastiness and conclude that since no one was around when they said it, they can continue living as a husband and a wife.

In the light of all the above examples, one can see how drama serials and soaps directly attack the family system. There is a dire need for playwrights to research and write on concepts, which are relevant and constructive to the society. The challenge is to show how despite all troubles, families survive and cope.

Junaid Jamshed‘s Media Musings

Vol 4- Issue 2 Junaid Jamshed unpluggedAzeem Pirani and Atefa Jamal recount Junaid Jamshed’s narration of his life in the media

His was not a story of a boy with a song in his heart; rather, Junaid Jamshed doesn’t recall being an ardent music listener at all. Living within a protected environment as a child (his father being an ex-air force officer), Junaid was a studious boy, who enjoyed sports and even played under-19 tennis for Pakistan. It was at college and later university, where he met music lovers and proficient music makers, that he discovered his ability for reproducing songs and soon taught himself to play a guitar for making music of his own.

Junaid’s interaction with the media began as a member of Pakistan’s first official band the Vital Signs. This group of professional musicians worked together for three years, before they caught the media’s attention. Music journalism was in its infancy then and matured with every step the Vital Signs took. The band worked hard to market itself. With no radio FM available then, they relied solely on television and print media. Once Pepsi took them under their wing, they no longer worried about economic stability and concentrated on their music.

Being a ground breaking band in Pakistan, the Vital Signs were celebrities and the first to taste the glamour that came with the role. What helped them to avoid becoming addicted? When Shohaib Mansoor, whom Junaid describes as a visionary, asked them about the basis of their money making, fan following and fame, they replied: “Our work.” To this, Shohaib added: “Don’t go after any of these three things. You will receive them all, but only on the basis of your work.”

“So we always focused on our work all the time,” explained Mr. Jamshed, “and, thanks to Allah (swt), we always considered the running of our houses more important than glamour. Man gets destroyed by the glamour world, when his focus shifts away from his work.” In fact, the Vital Signs made it a point not to discuss the matter of fame, so their only disagreements were about the work itself (sound of the music, etc.). Thus, they worked together for 13 years and remain good friends even today.

“But no doubt, there is a lot of glamour in this field,” Junaid Jamshed pointed out, “but it [glamour] is an unnatural life; it is a life of disobedience to Allah (swt), so there can be no Barakat in it. How can there be any? If I live in your house and disregard your every word, will I ever be at peace there? There will always be some problems to face. Similarly, no one can live peacefully in this world, while disobeying Allah.”

The Vital Signs eventually disbanded, because some of its members felt they had lost the appetite for the work. As most Pakistani music fans know, Junaid continued making music as a soloist.

But then, much to the media’s surprise, he began to change and announced that he would stop making music altogether. The media world was in an uproar. What brought about this sudden decision?

Junaid explains that he met an old school friend Junaid Ghani. This Junaid did not chide nor question his music making; rather, he silently made his presence felt in Junaid Jamshed’s life. All he asked from Junaid Jamshed was to participate in some Dawah work for the Pakistani Dawah group the Tableeghi Jamaat, in order to introduce people to Allah (swt) and His Prophet (sa). As this seemed simple enough, Junaid Jamshed began to enjoy doing it. However, while going door to door with Dawah, he also found many people unwilling to give him the time of day. Used to catching the media’s attention easily, this disregard of his presence deeply wounded him. “Then there was [also] Allah’s help, which is necessary,” Mr. Jamshed observed, “if you don’t lead your life according to the Deen, then no matter what plan for success you may have, you are ultimately going towards disaster and will face the effects of that disaster in this world and in the Hereafter.”

His Dawah work and several strange incidents continued to shake Junaid, giving him the strength he needed to turn away from music making. Once, for example, he was approached by a smart young man desiring to learn music. Junaid tried to dissuade him, when much to his astonishment the young man told him that he was a Hafiz of the Quran and had shaved his beard to be more like Junaid. Stunned, he realized that his music making was corrupting the Ummah itself.

Furthermore, he observes that the media makes a person seem like a public commodity. The gossip and fan following had disastrous effects on his family life. Junaid found his family drifting away from him, and he was constantly stressed by this.

When Junaid Jamshed finally announced his departure from music, the media’s reaction was severe. Although initially he gave up in front of the immense pressure from the media and sponsors, later he did manage to stand his ground.

Shaitan made him worry about what to do next. By Allah’s (swt) Mercy, Junaid Jamshed now runs a successful chain of clothing stores popularly known as J..

Surprisingly, he is still working with the media. How did this come about? At the suggestion of Mufti Taqi Usmani and the support of Maulana Tariq Jameel, Junaid Jamshed released two albums of Nasheeds (musicless recitations for praising Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa)) as an alternative to musical (Haraam) songs. He also gives Dars on television and is using the media towards making people aware of the Islamic banking as an alternative to the conventional (Riba based) banking.

The media attention now aids Junaid in Dawah and working towards gaining Allah’s (swt) pleasure. His family can clearly see and appreciate his efforts for the Deen. Though the people using the media for spreading good are assisting each other, Junaid Jamshed cautions: “One should not set out in the way of doing good on ones own; rather, he should ask for elders’ [wise people] advice and then do it. Otherwise, the efforts to spread good would spread Fitnah instead.”

Junaid Jamshed aptly concluded his narration by explaining Surah Ar-Rad (13:11): “Allah will not change the condition of a people, as long as they do not change the state of themselves.”

Junaid Jamshed aptly concluded his narration by quoting from Surah Ar-Rad: “Allah will not change the (good) condition of a people as long as they do not change their state (of goodness) themselves (by committing sins and by being ungrateful and disobedient to Allah).” (Ar-Rad 13:11)

Fear of loss obstructs the desire to turn away from sin. Junaid Jamshed observes that Allah (swt) will test one’s firmness of faith but then: “When Allah decides to make someone His friend, He makes that person beloved and respected by the people. Then, He exalts Himself and His Prophet (sa) through that person. An example is the Sahabahs – every Hadith first quotes the name of the narrator (Sahabah) and then the words of Allah and His Messenger. Such is the manner of respect Allah bestows upon His friends.”


Pakistan still sees Junaid Jamshed in the media eye, still holding a microphone, still using his voice. Now, however, he speaks for the pleasure of Allah (swt).

Information Warfare

Absar H. Kazmi exposes the new tactics of 21st century warfare and suggests the ways of curtailing its effects on Muslim society

In approximately 653 Hijri, Halaku Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, attacked Iraq. He deposed and killed the Khalifah, plundered the vast resources of the Islamic State, massacred the citizens, and took complete control. For any common observer it was clear that a ruthless and powerful leader had taken advantage of his strength to conquer and oppress a weaker people. Halaku Khan himself would probably not have denied this.

A few years ago, Iraq was attacked again. The leader was deposed and recently killed; the vast resources are being plundered; the citizens are daily being massacred and raped. However, this time, strangely enough, the conquerors are claiming that they are not oppressing the people at all; rather, they are liberating them.

In these strange days, when the so-called ‘civilized’ nations have united in war against ‘terror’ (all those, who would dare to oppose their system), we see a conflict – both physical and verbal. Many of us fail to see that contrary to the days of old, today the greater war is not the physical war with guns, tanks, and cluster bombs, and it is not limited to any particular geographic location. Rather, the greater war of today is an intellectual war – a battle to win the hearts and minds, a war, in which the weapon is information. The true winner in this war of information is the one, who manages to control the public opinion. The physical battles we witness are merely symptoms of this deeper and much more sinister conflict.

Why things have changed? The ‘Halaku Khans’ of today have realized something very important – it is much more effective to enslave a people psychologically than physically. A people enslaved only physically may not be ready for an immediate revolt, but hatred for their conquerors would always remain in their hearts. However, a psychologically enslaved people will come to regard the ideology and culture of their conquerors with awe and admiration, while beginning to perceive their own religion, culture, and even race as inadequate and inferior. Thus, they will willingly accept subjugation.

Living in the age of information, we may feel that we are somehow more aware of what is going on around us. We must realize, however, that often it doesn’t really matter how much information we can access but how that information is presented. Information presented incorrectly or selectively can literally make the good seem evil and portray the oppressor as the oppressed. The following are some of the manipulation methods used for achieving this:


If two unrelated objects are shown together enough times, eventually, people will begin to associate them. In the 19th and early 20th century, black people were often illustrated and described in the American media as ugly and stupid; therefore, they came to be regarded as such by the common public. Over the past few decades, the same media has helped to change this image by portraying the blacks as attractive, intelligent, and creative.

Outright Deception

An example of outright deception by the media is the recent uproar in Pakistan waged against the Hudood Ordinance. According to numerous local newspapers, many hundreds of women are currently serving time in prison, because they claimed they were raped but were not able to produce witnesses, as was supposedly stipulated within the Hudood Ordinance. The truth is that the Hudood Ordinance does not require any witnesses in the case of rape. Also, according to Mufti Taqi Usmani, a former chief justice, not a single woman was sent to prison for lack of witnesses, while he presided.

Playing with Words

In the media, people practicing Islam in its totality are often referred to as extremists, whereas those, who practice only selectively or do not practice at all, are referred to as moderates. The implication of this, of course, is that the Messenger of Allah (sa) himself was an extremist, because he brought these commandments and ordered all Muslims to follow them.

Another example is the recent war between Lebanon and Israel. For gaining public sympathy, the western media was constantly claiming that Israeli soldiers had been kidnapped by Hezbollah and Hamas. Soldiers do not get kidnapped – they are held as prisoners of war.

Selective Sharing of Information

There are numerous examples of half truths being used by the current American and British administrations in order to gain approval for their attack on Iraq.

The sudden exposure to western media coupled with such other factors as general lack of critical thinking, ignorance of Islamic ideology and history, as well as lack of Muslim role models, has had a devastating effect on Muslim societies. The Muslim youth have developed a major inferiority complex and have blindly begun to ape western culture. Many have also started calling for changes in Islam, in order to bring it more in line with western ideals. At the same time, these youth have begun viewing those working on promoting Islamic teachings as backward, naïve, and out of touch with reality.

It needs to be clarified that information, specifically the media, is a tool, which can be used for both constructive and destructive purposes. However, the way it is presently used, especially by the western powers, is clearly not in favour of Muslims or Islam. There are a number of things we can do to protect ourselves and our families from becoming casualties in this ideological war:

Learn History

Specifically, Islamic history. Attacks are already being waged against the character of our Holy Prophet (sa) as well as other personalities from Islamic history. We must arm ourselves with information, in order to defend our faith.

Think Critically

Don’t just take information for granted. Question what you hear, if it doesn’t make sense to you. Question this article! Learn to ponder and think about what has been said to you. Do not place teachers and scholars on such high pedestals that you are afraid to question them (respectfully of course). Imam Malik was once sitting near the grave of Rasool Allah (sa). He pointed to the grave and said: “You can accept or reject from anyone, except the owner of this grave.”

Verify Information

Allah (swt) has commanded us in the Quran to verify information, when it reaches us. Don’t just sit in front of CNN or FOX news, accepting everything you hear; rather, verify it against other media sources, such as Al Jazeerah and even Haaretz.

Minimize Television Viewing

Television is not a very interactive form of media, as we really cannot control, what we are viewing. Therefore, we must try to narrow down television viewing only to educational content and always accompany our children, while they are watching television.

Become a Role Model

There are very few Muslim role models in the world today. Thus, if we do not take the responsibility for becoming a source of guidance and inspiration to our own children, they will probably find some other source, which, most likely, will not be a source we approve of.

Finally, we must constantly pray to Allah (swt) as our beloved Prophet (sa) taught us: “O Allah, help us to see the truth as truth and give us the ability to follow it; and help us to see the falsehood as falsehood and grant us the ability to abstain from it.”


Vol 4- Issue 2 SyriaModern Syria is situated in Asia along the eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea. The Syrian political body is represented by the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The president is the head of state and is directly elected every seven years. Syria gained full independence on April 17, 1946 ceding from French Colonialism Rule.


Damascus is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. It has occupied a position of importance in the fields of science, culture, politics, art, commerce and industry from the earliest times.

Early references to the city, such as those in the Ebla tablets, confirm that ‘Dameski’ (i.e., Damascus) during the third millennium B.C. was a city of huge economic influence. Ancient Pharaonic scripts refer to it as ‘Dameska’. It benefited great prominence during the second millennium B.C. as the centre of an Aramic kingdom under the name of Dar-misiq (the irrigated house).

Damascus became the capital of the first Arab state at the time of the Umayyads in 661 A.D. This marked the start of its golden epoch, and for a whole century, it was the centre of the youthful Islamic Empire. The Empire reached its peak of expansion throughout this period and came to stretch from the shores of the Atlantic and the Pyrennese in the west, to the river Indus and China in the east.

Following the decline and fall of the Umayyads, Damascus went through a period of neglect and decline. However, when independence was achieved in 1946, the city began to regain its importance as a significant cultural and political centre of the Arab world.


Lattakia is Syria’s main sea-port on the Mediterranean (186 km southwest of Aleppo). It has kept its importance since ancient times. Lattakia was one of the five cities built by Saluqos Nikator in the 2nd century B.C. He named it after his mother, Laudetia.
Not a lot of ancient remains have survived in Lattakia, but there are four columns and a Roman arch from the time of Septimus Severus (circa 200 A.D.), in addition to a beautiful Ottoman construction called Khan Al-Dukhan, which is now a museum.

Lattakia is the sea-gate to Syria. It is well-provided with accommodation and is well-placed as a base, from which to explore the coastal regions of the country.


Bosra was the earliest city in the Syrian Arab Republic to become Muslim and has some of the oldest minarets in the history of Islam. As a stopover on the pilgrimage route to Makkah, Bosra was a prosperous city until the 17th century. By then, the region was becoming insecure and the pilgrims began to take a less dangerous route further west. The Mosque of Umar in the center of the town (called Jami-al Arouss, ‘the bridal mosque’, by the Bosriots) used to be a pagan temple and now stands as the only mosque surviving from the early-Islamic period that has preserved its original facades.


Syrian handicrafts symbolize a tradition of skilled workmanship and folk art that dates back many thousands of years. The most common Syrian craft items include hand-woven silk brocades, embroidered table cloth, rugs, carpets, mosaics, brass and copper, leather, gold and silver jewelry made by hand of local designs, inlaid furniture with mother of pearls, all these items can be found in our old souks and bazaars in Damascus, Palmyra, Aleppo and almost all over Syria.

Syrian Food

Many traditional Syrian dishes are effortless preparations based on grains, vegetables and fruits. Often, the same ingredients are used over and over, in unusual ways, in each dish. Yogurt, cheese, cucumber, aubergines, chick peas, nuts, tomatoes, burghul and sesame (seeds, paste and oil) are harmoniously blended into numerous assorted medleys. Pita bread is served for dipping with all meals.

A typical Syrian meal starts with Mezze – this can be an elaborate spread of forty or fifty Hors D’oeuvres or just a salad and a bowl of nuts. But it is always a social occasion, when friends and family meet to enjoy appetizers and conversation before lunch and dinner.

After meals, there is usually a hot drink of Arabic coffee or Shai (tea) along with fruits, Booza (ice cream) and a dessert. Syrian pastries are delicious – usually they are honey soaked pastries with nuts, raisins or cheese.

Sports and Recreation

Mixing with people and eating are the main forms of relaxation, especially in rural areas. Syrians adore talking. Men like going out to coffeehouses to talk, drink tea or Turkish coffee and smoke a “hubble-bubble” or water pipe. On Thursday night, the beginning of the weekend in Syria, young men meet on the streets to talk or drive around in their cars.

Throughout the good weather, some Syrians drive to mountain resorts for the day. Others take pleasure in leisurely walks. Syrians usually go for walks in groups, wearing their finest clothes. On mild evenings, parks in the city are full.

Soccer is the main sport in Syria. The country has national soccer and basketball teams. Men attend the games, which are shown also on television for a few hours a week. Recently, women have been allowed to take part in some sports, and today more women are playing sports and taking part in competitions.

Fact File

Once the center of the Islamic Empire, Syria covers an area that has seen invasions and occupations over the ages, from Romans and Mongols to Crusaders and Turks. However, such battles and scrambles over territory have translated into a catalogue of staggering cities full of stunning monuments, from the entire city of Damascus to the country’s many mosques. The events have also failed to impair the character of the Syrian people who – surprisingly to some – exude friendliness and warmth and are justly proud of their land. It is a home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians, Alawite Shias and Druze, as well as the Arab Sunnis, who make up a majority of the Muslim population.

(Contributed by Affaf Jamal)

Power nap -The Pause that Refreshes

Vol 4- Issue 2 Power napFeeling a bit drowsy after lunch? Can’t seem to give it your all in the afternoons? Need something to perk you up? Well don’t reach for that cup of tea or coffee, just shut your eyes and take a nap – a Power Nap that is.

Dr. Maas, the Cornell psychologist and author of Power Sleep (Villard Books, 1998), writes, “naps greatly strengthen the ability to pay close attention to detail and to make critical decisions, . . .napping should not be frowned upon at the office or make you feel guilty at home,” in fact he states, “it should have the status of daily exercise.”

The journal Nature Neuroscience published a research by Harvard University that assessed the effects of an afternoon nap on learning and memory skills. The study compared the performance of two groups of people during a single day and then the following morning. The group that was not allowed to sleep at all during the day, performed poorly on a learning test given in the afternoon and evening, whereas the second group that was allowed to take a nap fared significantly better in the tests they preformed later in the day. Furthermore, after 24 hours, the performance of those who took a quality nap was just as good as that of those volunteers (in previous studies) who were tested after they had slept two full nights.

Sarah Mednick, researcher at the Psychology Department at Harvard University, concludes: “From the perspective of behavioral improvement, a nap is as good as a night of sleep for learning on this perceptual task”.

Neuroscientist Robert Stickgold of Harvard Medical School, observed: “Napping may protect brain circuits from overuse until those neurons can consolidate what’s been learned about a procedure.”

Dr. David Dinges, sleep researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, strongly advocates taking a “power nap” during the day to head off the cumulative effects of sleep loss. He explained that the brain “sort of sputters” when deprived of sufficient sleep, causing slips in performance and attentiveness often resulting in “microsleeps” – involuntary lapses into sleep, in which accidents can occur.

Furthermore, studies show that sleepy workers make more mistakes and are more susceptible to heart attacks and gastrointestinal disorders. Consequently, some companies in the west have set up nap-rooms with reclining chairs, blankets and alarm clocks. They claim napping has reduced accidents, errors and increased productivity, even though it shortens the workday slightly.

In fact, within the Empire State Building a company called Metronaps rents out specially designed pods for napping, at $14 for 20 minutes.

Researchers like to point out that many a famous personality were napping enthusiasts, (Einstein, Edison and Churchill to name a few) but unfortunately what many of us don’t realize is that taking a Siesta was one of the practices of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sa)!

Many Hadeeth mention the Prophet (sa) taking a Qaylula – (short rest), after Dhuhr prayers, both at home and when traveling (Bukhari). Though still practiced in the Middle East, Latin America and some European countries, it is considered to be cultural and, until recently, frowned upon by most of the business class.

The Prophet (sa) is our role model, and his actions are divine inspiration that Allah ordered us to obey His Messenger (sa). In doing so we obey Allah (Surah An-Nisa 4: 80).

Thus taking a short nap after Dhuhr prayers, with the intention of following the Sunnah and using the rest of our day productively can help us earn Allah’s (swt) blessings. Some scholars say it can also help us establish Tahajjud.

To establish this Sunnah, it would be best to start our day-to- day activities right after Fajr, as the Prophet (sa) would. Then Insha Allah follow his custom of scheduling our work around the times of Salah, so as to allow us to take a short Qaylula before Asr prayer, thus refreshing ourselves to get through the rest of the day. This may seem easier said than done, but Allah (swt) has promised that He will make easy any effort we make to get closer to Him.

The Prophet (sa) said: “My Lord says: ‘If My slave comes nearer to me for a span, I go nearer to him for a cubit; and if he comes nearer to Me for a cubit, I go nearer to him for the span of outstretched arms; and if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running.’” (Bukhari)

The nap need not be very long, as Scholars like Ibn Jawziyyah strongly discouraged sleeping beyond Asr time as it leads to grogginess. Even researchers today recommend a 20-minute nap while others suggest 30 to 60 minutes. Beyond the recommended time leads to deep sleep from which it is difficult to awaken. Parents of little kids have been advised to take a quick nap while the kids are napping, instead of dashing around to get other work done.

Moreover, you don’t actually have to fall asleep; a Qaylula can simply mean putting up your feet and taking a physical and emotional break from your hectic schedule (a good chance to make Dhikr, etc.).

So call it Qaylula or Power Nap, there is ample proof that this Sunnah like all actions of our Prophet (sa) is beneficial for us in our daily lives, and its implementation will help us make the most of our time, Insha’Allah.

Connected to a World of Knowledge

200024784-001The scenario: a dinner party.

“What an exotic dish! How did you make it?” asks a guest.

“I found the recipe on the Internet,” I reply.

“Oh. On which website?” she asks hesitantly.

“I don’t remember. I just Googled the recipe name and chose the easiest one that came up in the Web search.” I explain.

But the questioner has already lost interest and is looking elsewhere. Maybe she’s not very dexterous with the Internet.

It’s not about graduating in Computer Science or taking a few Computer courses to learn how the Internet can be used in daily life. It’s about consciously striving for ease in all matters, and using the blessings provided to us by Allah (swt) for benefit in the Akhirah. The Internet is one such blessing.

The fact of the matter is that I have been using this tool for many fruitful endeavors for about nine years, ever since its introduction into my life. The most commonly-known benefit of the Internet is communication: the ease of staying in touch with relatives and friends in other cities and countries via email and chat. Even elderly ladies have grudgingly mastered the art of connecting to online messengers in order to talk to their beloveds in other parts of the world. However, they only do so as a matter of necessity, not choice.

“I have no patience with this machine! Whenever I sit on it to do something simple, nothing works out. I’d rather do something more productive with my time,” I once heard one mother-of-two complain.

“I have taken courses more than once in order to learn how to use the Computer, but I just don’t have a rapport with it; I cannot sit on it for more than a few minutes,” says another housewife.

It’s true. Either you have the patience to use the computer and Internet, or you don’t. However, patience is a quality that is acquired. I will try, through a few examples, encourage readers to realize just how they can benefit by being patient with this machine.

“And as for the favour of your Lord, so do announce it!” (Ad-Duha 93:11)

The doctor prescribes a certain medicine, and I want to know its side effects. I log on to the Internet, Google the name of the medicine with “side effects” as search terms, and lo! Multiple websites appear, providing me more details about it than the minutely-printed paper in the medicine’s packet.

I wanted to follow the week-by-week development of my first baby during pregnancy (as an excited first time expectant mother is). Just Googling terms like “fetus baby development” enabled me to browse for hours on websites providing everything from ultrasound scans to physical details of what to expect and do during each month.

My baby sometimes cried inconsolably during the first few days of her life, like most babies do. It was the Internet that enlightened me about “infant colic” and remedies for its cure. More reassuring though, were the experiences and advice of other new parents on online forums, where they discussed the problems they faced. I also tracked my baby’s monthly development after birth, on websites providing bulleted details of developmental milestones – complete with weight and height percentile charts and nutrition guides.

Once we needed the mailing address of a relative abroad. I found the Yellow Pages website (by typing “Yellow pages” in Google first), and put their telephone number in the reverse search: the mailing address was displayed within seconds. I do the same with any unrecognizable telephone number on the CLI: several online Pakistan Telephone Directories work successfully.

After purchasing my mobile phone, I realized with dismay that it came with an indecipherable user manual printed in some foreign language. All that was needed was an Internet Google search with the mobile phone brand and the terms “user manual download”; within minutes, I had downloaded its free user manual in English!

“How did you do that so quickly?” I have been asked many times. My answer: “Alhumdulillah, I know how to use the Internet”.

The sacred pursuit of seeking and forwarding Islamic knowledge and doing Dawah – calling others to Islam – can also be done tremendously via the Internet. It has been a favourite pastime of mine since several years to browse the website of Islamic Question and Answers ( of the Fatwa Committee of Sheikh Bin Baz – the grand Mufti of Saudia Arabia (may Allah (swt) have mercy on him) – in order to quench my thirst for practical Islamic guidance in every aspect of life.

I also search for, read and forward via email, articles on Islamic topics to relatives and friends; many provide positive feedback and ask me to continue the virtual “enlightenment”. Many friends email me to ask about matters of Islamic Jurisprudence: “How do I calculate Zakah on my jewelry?”, “Provide me a list of Haram animal ingredients”, “Is it permissible for me to chat online with male colleagues?” It gives one a good feeling to be able to provide solutions to others’ problems within minutes.

Virtual Islamic education is also a great way to utilize the Internet. Using software such as Paltalk and a set of speakers/headphones, many housewives and young mothers attend online religious lectures by scholars, aired live from other parts of the world. The world shrinks as the classroom virtually connects students to their teacher with a few wires and a screen! Software also allows students to participate in the virtual class with their microphones. Online Tajweed lessons are, therefore, a norm. I know a group of Muslim sisters living in the West who would hold regular Tajweed classes on Yahoo Messenger, using its Voice service.

“Then which of the favours of your Lord will you deny?” (Ar-Rahman 55:13)

A little initiative and perseverance on our part can enable that small machine sitting in a room in our house take us a long way on the road of knowledge and – eventually – that of success.

So, You’ve Been Quarrelling?

Vol 4- Issue 2 So you've been QuarrellingShipment deadlines are approaching, but the supply has been slack. It is likely that the consignment may be delayed and you’ll lose that foreign client you worked so hard to get. The supplier now calls requesting further delay. You’ve had it now, and refuse to take anymore, flaring up at the person on the other end of the line, (who’s been having a hard day too) you have the perfect ingredients for a boiling quarrel. What follows is an exchange of the choicest of words—but wait; did you wonder what’s that leading you to? Certainly not Allah’s (swt) pleasure!

An analysis of the above case would show that there are several reasons for the quarrel taking place: anger on both sides; increasing work pressure and other problems on both ends. So, is quarrelling the solution to the problem? Not at all, as we know from the following Ahadeeth:

The Prophet (sa) said: “The most hated person near Allah is the most quarrelsome” (Bukhari). And one of the characteristics of a hypocrite is that, “Whenever he quarrels he behaves in a very imprudent, evil and insulting manner.” (Bukhari)

The above are strong points for working towards resolving an argument.

Conflicts Can Be Costly

Negative responses to conflicts can result in quarrels, long winding disputes or even workplace violence. According to the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR), Europe’s biggest alternative dispute resolution body, it is how you approach conflict that makes the difference. According to its calculations in the United Kingdom alone, conflict costs businesses ₤33 billion every year of which legal fees amount to ₤6 billion whilst the cost of the damages alone is ₤27 billion. If this sum were a country it would be the world’s fifty-seventh biggest economy! Moreover, disputes can go out of control resulting in workplace violence. Workplace Violence Research Institute reports that losses in 1995 from workplace violence in the United States alone amounted to approximately $35.4 billion. Therefore, it is important that conflicts be dealt with positively and prevented from flaring up into negative situations.

What types of quarrels exist in the workplace?

These can be broadly divided into two:

  • Task-related
  • Person-related

How do I Deal with Task-related quarrels?

Find the underlying reason for the quarrel

It’s easy to flare up at someone, and more difficult to find the underlying reason for the quarrel—but the more difficult approach is definitely more rewarding as it would help you to tackle the problem rather than flaring up at the symptoms. Underlying reasons could include system and environmental problems, or organizational problems.

Work towards a win-win solution

Instead of letting differences and difficulties build into heated arguments try negotiating a solution that eventually benefits both the parties.

A famous example from the Seerah is that of the placement of the sacred Black Stone during the rebuilding of Al-Kabah. The Prophet (sa) helped diffuse a tense moment and created a win-win solution by involving the different clans.

Another example is that of Allied Signal, a maker of auto parts and aerospace electronics. The company worked out win-win agreements with many of its suppliers. In 1993, it offered to double its orders from one of its suppliers, Mech-Tronics on the condition that the latter would cut its prices by 10%. This resulted in an initial elimination of Mech-Tronics’ profits, however with help from Allied Signal it improved its efficiency and the higher volume soon paid off.

Have someone arbitrate or make peace

Called a peacemaker or an arbitrator, such a person or an institution resolves disputes between two parties. However, it’s important that the arbitrator resort to the guidance of the Quran and Sunnah to solve the problem and be just so that both parties are willing to accept the proposed solution to the conflict.

The Prophet (sa) was the arbitrator in Medina. In fact, accepting solutions proposed by the Prophet (sa) was a sign of faith among the believers. Allah (swt) says, “But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you ( Muhammad) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.” (Surah An-Nisa 4: 65)

How do I Deal with Personal Quarrels?

Find the underlying problem

Unlike a task-related quarrel, personal quarrels can be due to negative emotions, for instance, dissatisfaction, jealousy, a hot temper or simply personality differences. Controlling emotional reactions or the responses to these differences can stop the difference from escalating into a heated argument.

Understand the different personality types

Try understanding the different personality types and deal with them accordingly. Identify their comfort zones, and what ticks them off. You can do this through patient observation and listening. We have the Prophet (sa)’s example to emulate in this respect. His observation was so minute that he would speak to his guests using their own accents and dialects. He was quite eloquent at both Bedouin and town speech.

Be well-mannered

Allah (swt) praised the Prophet’s (sa) conduct in the Quran, “And verily, you (O Muhammad (sa) SAW) are on an exalted (standard of) character.” (Al Qalam 68: 4) and also said: “And by the Mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you” (Aal Imran 3: 159)

Politeness pays enormous dividends both in this world and the hereafter. The Prophet (sa) said: “Nothing will be placed in the balance heavier than good conduct, and a person with good conduct will attain the rank of one who fasts and prays.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Dua is a Must

No matter how hard we try to turn away from resorting to quarrelling as the sole solution, we can’t do much without Allah’s (swt) help. So let each one of us pray that, O Allah “guide me to the best character for no one can guide to the best (character) except you, and turn away bad conduct from me for no one can turn it away from me except you.” (Muslim) Ameen.

Cartoon Caution

Vol 4- Issue 2  Cartoon Caution

Over the years, whenever I‘d fallen prey to the temptation of allowing the TV to baby-sit my son, I have only regretted. You might find this absurd or even far fetched, but the following incidents are true:

It all started when I decided to accompany my very eager son to watch a myriad of cartoons on cable TV. Our first encounter was with ‘Dexter’s laboratory.’ It showed two boys flirting with one another. Gay relationships in cartoons? I thought I was imagining things. I forbade him to watch it, instantly.

Next I decided to stick to the remakes of ‘Scooby Doo’ and ‘Popeye the Sailorman,’ only to discover that they highlighted romantic liaisons to a great extent. Provocative love scenes catering to children? When did that start happening? ‘No you can’t watch that either!’ I passed my verdict.

I supposed ‘Tom and Jerry’ to be a safe bet, as my son is very gentle and according to his teachers could afford to watch some violence to make him more aggressive for self defense purposes . It wasn’t the violence that I was afraid of. Smooching and flirting was introduced to many of its remakes too. Sigh! ‘You can only watch it with me!’ I decided, wondering if that was any good at all.

Next, I had the displeasure to watch ‘Courage the cowardly dog.’ The only vocabulary that any kid could learn from this cartoon was ‘STUPID.’ I told that to my son.

‘Ed, Edd, and Eddie’ was another popular cartoon that proudly showed its characters, spitting, picking their nose, belching, drooling, punching, etc. No wonder this cartoon rocked among kids. It told them to do everything their mom ever asked them not to!

After strong denial, I finally gave in to ‘Beyblade’ and ‘Pokemon.’ So what if they showed super natural powers, cross dressers, flirts and scantly dressed girls. Isn’t that what all television channels are showing these days?

I still wickedly try to make my son forget his TV hour by offering to take him to the park, or play a game or read his favourite story books. Sometimes my plans work but sometimes my son’s memory outsmarts me. Then I tag along for his TV viewing and try to explain what is good and what isn’t, just to find out what he thinks of all the objectionable stuff only a parent can see.

Its almost tragic to see children being robbed of their innocence. I only wish it could have been some other way. I remember growing up thoroughly enjoying cartoons. My mother never had to worry about it. There was hardly any element of moral or social corruption. Kids were allowed to be kids.

Today the tables have turned. The idiot box has turned into a lewd carton of filth and evil. What is most disturbing is that it encourages children to unlearn all the morals and etiquettes that parents edify. This is probably the reason why kids enjoy its uncontrolled freedom and get addicted to their choice of cartoon.

So those mothers out there who think it is safe to hand over their kids to the cartoon network, should most definitely think twice. Hire help for your home chores and take care of your child personally. The age of innocence is long gone; cartoons are just short of infant porn!

TV and Kids: Another Look

200486818-001Saulat Pervez reconsiders the influence of TV on kids by making it a part of their growing up process

Children, who have been taught or conditioned to listen passively most of the day to the warm verbal communications coming from the TV screen and to the deep emotional appeal of the so-called TV personalities, are often unable to respond to real persons, because they arouse so much less feeling than the skilled actors. Worse, they lose the ability to learn from reality, because life experiences are more complicated than the ones they see on the screen, and there is no one coming in at the end to explain it all. This being seduced into passiveness and discouraged about facing life actively (on one’s own) is the real danger of TV, much more than the often asinine or gruesome content of the shows. (Bruno Bettelheim)

When my two older children were small, watching television was a thing unknown in our family. Instead of growing up watching Sesame Street and Tom & Jerry, they found their fun and entertainment in their blocks, train sets, dolls, cars, and above all – stories.

As they grew older and television made an appearance in their lives, it was still a small nuisance, because we didn’t have cable. So they thrived on imaginary games with each other, expressed their creativity through drawings, Play Doh, building toys and continued to find much joy and happiness in the world of books.

But in a matter of time the cable arrived and with it a plethora of viewing options. At first, my children stayed within my influence, watching the more value-centric, educational cartoons. But soon enough, largely through the exposure from more experienced cousins, they were initiated into the tempting world of multi-channeled 24-hour cartoon mania. Still more disturbing, this loss of innocence was accompanied by an obsession to watch television at any and all times of day.

Every time the television was switched off after much cajoling, nagging, or downright threats, it was me against them. You can imagine my horror, as I watched my creative, enthusiastic and resourceful children slip into zombie-like, lethargic and uninterested beings, whose true pleasure now came in simply sitting back and getting entertained without making any effort. No longer were they interested in their toys or their games; suddenly, “I hate homework” comments started sprouting, and shoddy work was no big deal, as long as they were done with their work quickly and could run to the television set. Even reading could not bring them the thrill it once did. Every and any free time they had was spent on watching TV. Temper tantrums would be thrown and whining bouts heard, if they were prevented from doing so.

As a result, they became short-tempered and displayed very little patience, when it came to other activities, such as interaction with each other and those around them. Their cleverness also increased manifold: no matter how much I explained to them that if they watched TV, when they weren’t allowed to, it was tantamount to cheating, as soon as I turned by back, they would find a way to watch it. I naturally felt frustrated, outraged and at times helpless. It was as if all my years of effort in getting them started on a constructive, thoughtful and meaningful journey of life was simply falling apart right in front of my eyes.

My first instinct was to fight back. I would get irritated every time I’d find them in front of the black box. I would throw temper tantrums of my own. But over time, I have come to realize that my approach must be more sensible. No matter how angry I feel or how depressed I get about the situation, the television is here to stay. As the main protagonist in the movie “Quiz Show” put it:, “I thought I was going to get TV, but TV is going to get us.”

After reading “Teaching Children to Think” by Robert Fisher, I am convinced even more that the solution to this problem can be achieved with an out-of-the-box strategy. Throwing away the set or getting rid of cable would be easier, but in life those choices prove more complex.

Fisher advises parents to plan with their children ahead of time, what they wish to watch, and encourage them to think through, why they are interested in that particular program. He says that children take a lot of information from TV but it comes in ‘discrete forms’ with many concepts and important ideas missing. “For the child to benefit from TV,” Fisher states, “it is up to others to help (him/her) make connections, create networks of ideas, and to see significance.”

According to him, television should be a starting point for the building of a child’s curiosity and interest. We can turn TV-viewing into a positive experience if “thinking is switched on, when the set is switched off.” In this way, we can turn our children into thoughtful, sensitive and critical viewers.

This means that we as parents and caregivers must make it a point to spend time with our children, as they watch television, and to talk about their programs with them. It may not always be easy, but if we put in the requisite efforts in the beginning, our children will learn to make those connections and ask the right questions on their own pretty soon. The initial guidance, however, is imperative.

Incidentally, to lure our children away from the television, we will have to do the same: put in time with them. We must supply them with plenty of other options, such as puzzles and board games, and in many cases they will want our participation.

As Fisher recommended, we must teach our children to question and challenge what they watch – and that includes ads. If we manage to make them think as they watch, we have successfully gotten them started on a journey which will, Insha’Allah, eventually lead them to independent perceiving of the difference between right and wrong, the entertaining and the intellectual, the superficial and the insightful. May Allah (swt) help us in this and all our endeavors toward guiding the Amanah He has blessed us with. Ameen.

Umm Salamah (rta)

By Uzma Jawed

An exemplary and prominent figure, who has been conspicuous in our rich Islamic history, is one of the Ummahat Al-Mumineen, the ‘Mothers of the Faithful.’ Her name was Umm Salamah (rta). A detailed biographical sketch by Dr. Qadri mentioned that her real name was Hind. She was first married to her cousin Abdullah Bin Abdul Asad Makhzumi, who was better known as Abu Salamah (rta). They were among the first ones to embrace Islam.

They were also among those, who migrated to Abyssinia (Ethiopia), where they had their first son Salamah (rta). After returning to Makkah, they migrated to Madinah. She was the first Muslim woman to do so. After reaching Madinah, Umm Salamah (rta) had another son and two daughters. In 4 A.H., Abu Salamah (rta) was seriously wounded in the battle of Uhud, and she became a widow while pregnant with her second daughter.

After the Iddat, Abu Bakr (rta) proposed to her, but she declined. After that, the Prophet (sa), who was well aware of Umm Salamah’s (rta) sense of honour and self-respect, proposed to her. According to “Great Women in Islam” by Mahmood Ghadanfar, Umm Salamah (rta) did not decline the offer but replied with reservations. She told him that she was very sensitive, of old age and had several children. The Prophet (sa) answered that they would pray to Allah (swt) to relieve her from this extreme sensitivity. As far as age was concerned, he told her that he was an elderly man himself. Moreover, regarding the children, he wished to be their guardian. Therefore, Umm Salamah (rta) accepted the proposal and was wedded to Prophet Muhammad (sa).

A Muslim woman can succeed the most, if she follows the best women in the best generation, which were nurtured in the best house – that of the Prophet (sa). So let us learn from Umm Salamah (rta), who was known for her patience, perseverance, valor, generosity, wisdom, and intelligence.

Patience & Perseverance

When Umm Salamah (rta) was about to migrate from Makkah to Madinah with Abu Salamah (rta) and their son, her family intercepted them, refusing to let their daughter accompany him. The members of her husband’s clan said to Umm Salamah’s (rta) family that if that were the case, then their son Salamah would remain with his father. Thus, all three of them underwent the pain of living separately. Yet, in the face of such harassment, Umm Salamah (rta) persevered and kept to the right path she had chosen.


Upon the separation from her husband and son, Umm Salamah (rta) would every day go on a hillock longing and praying for them. Eventually, her prayers were answered and a kindhearted man from her clan interceded on her behalf and helped reunite her with them with her family’s permission. She traveled to Madinah alone, as nobody from her family was willing to accompany her. Usman Ibn Talhah saw her traveling alone with a baby and decided to help her reach her destination safely. Her complete faith and trust in Allah (swt) did not deter her from the long and hazardous journey. And because of her courage and absolute trust in Allah (swt) she was able to overcome all odds and complete the journey.


Umm Salamah (rta) was well known for her generosity. She never sent a beggar or needy person empty-handed. There was an incident, when a few destitutes came and begged persistently for alms. Umm Hasan, who was with Umm Salamah (rta) at that time, reprimanded them. Umm Salamah (rta) stopped her saying: “We were not ordered to do that. Do not let them go empty-handed. Even if there is nothing, give them at least a date.”


Umm Salamah (rta) was very astute and had a unique understanding of human psychology. After the truce of Hudaybiyah, the Prophet (sa) ordered his Companions to sacrifice their animals and shave their heads. But they all seemed reluctant to obey the command of the Prophet (sa), as the terms of the treaty did not favour Muslims, and this angered the Prophet (sa). When Umm Salamah (rta) heard of this, she suggested to the Prophet (sa) to offer the rituals himself first, and then the others would follow. She proved to be right.


In ‘Biography of the Women Companions of the Holy Prophet (sa),’ Maulana Nadvi says: “Regarding intellectual qualities and scholarship, no one excelled Umm Salamah (rta) and Aisha (rta). Both the great ladies were a store house of the traditions of the Holy Prophet (sa) as vouchsafed by Mahmud son of Labeed in Tabeqat Ibn-Sa’ad.”

Umm Salamah (rta) preserved many prophetic traditions. She enhanced her knowledge by thoroughly inquiring about every facet of religion and then spreading that knowledge. Abu Hurairah (rta) and Abdullah Ibn Abbbas (rta), despite their great knowledge of Islam, would consult with Umm Salamah (rta) in many finer points of the Shariah. In the science of Hadeeth, she narrated approximately 378 traditions of the Prophet (sa).

Moreover, she was well versed in jurisprudence. The great scholar Allam Ibn Qayyim says that from her rulings on various issues, one whole book of jurisprudence can be compiled. In addition, Umm Salamah (rta) topped the list of the Companions, whose judgments on points of law were regarded as valid.

Umm Salamah (rta) was an outstanding Muslim woman. Her exemplary lifestyle is something each one of us can learn from. If we try to emulate her in every aspect of our lives starting from matters of religion and submission to Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa) to our innate self (including our conduct and character), we could truly be on the way to success in this world as well as the Hereafter.


Vol 4- Issue 2 Sinsational copyWhile discussing the trials of a lewd sight, our teacher once questioned the class: “Do you know of any animal that invites other animals of its kind to group and watch the love making of a couple?” Crimson red, most of us shook our heads. “Well, I know,” she continued, “it’s us, human beings. How many of you have not watched pornography on TV, in movies or magazines deliberately alone or with friends?”

Feeling very uneasy, the class remained silent. Then, she recited from the Quran: “Verily, We created man in the best stature (mould). Then We reduced him to the lowest of the low. Save those who believe and do righteous deeds…” (At-Tin 95:4-6)

Truly, only human beings can stoop so low. Having said that sexual desire has been implanted by Allah (swt) in mankind for pleasure and pro-creation. Although natural, just like other desires it needs to be disciplined, too. Uwaymir Anjum, a writer, states the reasons: “Mainly because this is the greatest power of all other human instincts to sabotage and undermine the very purpose of human creation: the worship of Allah, profound realization of His presence, cultivation of His love and moral conduct on its basis.”

Some argue that we are merely viewers. How do we compare to those directly involved in the moral degeneration or the business of promoting it? They are the merchants of obscenity. Allah (swt) will surely question them! But it is consumer trends that create demand. If buyers of vulgarity boycott all these products (lewd websites, immoral books and magazines, porn movies and TV shows), there will be no market to float such products or services. The buyer is as guilty as the seller.

Even if you do muster the courage to stop viewing, buying or sponsoring lewdness, will it disappear? Unfortunately, it won’t. We live in a world, where soft porn is almost universal. It’s in your newspaper, e-mail account, the supermarket you shop at, on the billboard you drive by, etc. You just can’t escape it! So what do you do? Ask the expert – follow the Quran and stick to the Sunnah.

Is there really a means to restrain ones sexual desires? Yes, there is. Those, who strive to preserve their modesty, obey Allah (swt): “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah (swt) is All-Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts)…And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful.” (An-Nur 24:30-31)

Kimberly Ben, another writer, calls lowering the gaze as dodging the Satan’s arrow. She explains: “The concept of lowering the gaze is a very important characteristic of Islam. It represents discipline and restraint. It is an effective method of halting the stirrings of certain urges and desires that may manifest into even more sinful acts. As human beings, we are visual by nature. Certain sights can evoke very powerful emotions.”

The Prophet (sa) said: “And the eyes commit Zina (adultery). Their Zina is gazing.” (Bukhari)

Now, when we are told to lower our gaze, it does not mean that we go around keeping our eyes glued to the ground. What it actually entails is that upon viewing any explicit scene or image, whether in person, on TV, on a website, in print or on any other media outlet, we should consciously turn our faces away. We underestimate the power of a simple glance. The Prophet (sa) has stated in another Hadeeth: “…the adultery of the eyes is looking at (that), which is not allowed…” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Along with lowering our gaze, we must learn to condition our heart and mind. Following are a few practical tips that can help to guard our purity:

Take a detour

There are some places, where you are expected to run into questionable images, such as music shops, video shops, lingerie outlets (opened up most recently), magazine racks, TV (both on shows and advertisements) and while surfing the web (porn website are flashed before you). Be selective to avoid sexual imagery. Allah’s (swt) advice is to stay as far away as possible from Fawahish (sexual indecency) and if encountered, to turn away right then and there.

Pray earnestly

In times of great difficulty, seek Allah’s (swt) refuge. You will be amazed, how He protects you. But you need to initiate that process. Allah (swt) states in the Quran: “And your Lord said: ‘Invoke Me, [i.e. believe in My Oneness (Islamic Monotheism) and as Me of anything] I will respond to your (invocation).’” (Ghafir 40:60) But remember – your prayers can only make a difference, if you truly resent obscenity and wish to keep yourself chaste.

Don’t give up

Determination is the key word. You will be pushed by peer pressure, enticed when the latest movie of your favourite actor is released, tempted to flip through beauty and fashion magazines. Just remember, what the Prophet (sa) said: “Who ever seeks to be chaste, Allah will make him chaste, and who ever seeks to be independent of means, Allah will make him independent of means, and who ever strives to be patient, Allah will make him patient.” (Bukhari)

Consider marriage

Kimberly Ben puts it nicely: “Many frown on the idea of couples marrying too young in our society. You are expected to live an independent life full of adventures, before finally settling down.” Addressing the assembly of youth, the Prophet (sa) said: “Whoever can afford it, let him get married, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and in guarding one’s chastity. And whoever cannot afford it, let him fast, for it will be a shield for him.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Know that Allah (swt) is watching

You can steal a quick peek or a lingering glance at the opposite gender. Nobody might even notice it, but can you hide anything from Allah (swt)? The Creator states: “Allah knows the fraud of the eyes, and all that the breasts conceal.” (Ghafir 40:19)

A sage once said that looking is the start of sinning – the source of all evil. However, looking for the first time – the unintentional first look – can be forgiven; repeating it evokes rebuke. The Prophet (sa) stated: “The first gaze is forgiven, but the second is counted against you.” (Baihaqi)

On another occasion, he said: “Looking is one of Satan’s poisonous arrows. He, who abandons it out of fear of Allah, Allah will grant him faith, the sweetness of which he finds in his own heart.” (Tabarani)

Lastly, all those are dear to Allah (swt), who fight the whispers of Satan. He states: “Verily, those who are Al-Muttaqun (the pious), when an evil thought comes to them from Shaitan (Satan), they remember (Allah) and (indeed) they then see (aright).” (Al-Araf 7:201)

The question is – do you have the guts to do it?

From the Pen of a Woman on the Other Side

closeup of fountain ink pen over white pages spiral notebookSome of you may be surprised by the kind of comments you get to hear, when people find out you’ve worked for television.

I’ve been working for television for about ten years. My first programme was when I was in class six, in which I recited a group of riddles in a children’s programme that aired on Pakistan Television. Back then it meant something to me, my friends and every child viewer. Maybe it was because there was no Nickelodeon, nor was there the overwhelming number of TV channels bamboozling the poor child. Or simply because watching TV was as much of a novelty then, as the latest version of play station is today.

I worked with Geo, ARY and FM 100 at a time, when debates about television being the greatest tool of Satan surfaced. Wars erupted among family, friends and teachers regarding the pros and cons. Those ‘pro-television’ thought nothing wrong with it whatsoever and saw it as a new feat of technology. People couldn’t travel on camels in today’s world now, could they? The ones against it argued from the stand point that pictures were prohibited in Islam, and that the West was using television as a medium to brainwash Muslims against the true and honest principles of Islam.

It was too much to bear at eighteen, when I was suffering from acute identity crises, worrying about what headgear would do to my permanent image and about brainwashing debates based on classical Aristotelian logic. But I did as much as I could. I turned down offers for music videos, dramas and soaps. I refused to let male make-up artists apply makeup before I went on-air. I refused to work with people, who did not have purely academic or knowledgeable programmes. Perhaps that is why I have somewhat stereotyped myself as a woman, who covers her head, and can only appear on Independence Day or Ramadan programmes, even though I have done a series on psychology (in which I am a post graduate student).

After watching constructive efforts of many authentic Islamic scholars, especially such as Dr. Zakir Naik, I have become confident. I have resolved the debate of right or wrong by coming to terms with a plain and simple logic of keeping it simple. Nudity, obscenity, profanity and useless programmes were out. Shows that spread awareness, appreciate

Islam and its wisdom, celebrate peace and good will, promote good and forbid all that is evil in the eyes of Islam, propagate a message that needs to spread faster in the world today than any other time, are agreed upon.

I have been stereotyped negatively so many times, in spite of the headgear and my strict policy on no-commercialism and no-pop-culture. It often makes me wonder, why we still have not resolved this issue, even though we all welcomed the famous singer, who gave up his pop career to recite Hamds and Duroods and appeared for Dawah on television channels.

Somehow I still find Pakistani society trapped in the question of what is good and what is bad. Once we grow out of this harassingly old dispute, may be we can move on to what is important and needed. It is not compromise; we cannot call science or media evil. It is what is inside that makes us Muslims.

So what do you think?

Is media good or bad?

The question is wrong altogether. Rather, we should say: “Media. What’s good in it? What’s not?”

Suhayb Ar-Rumi (rta)

Vol 4- Issue 2 Suhayb Ar-Rumi raAbout twenty years before the start of the Prophet’s (sa) mission, around the middle of the sixth century CE, an Arab named Sinan Ibn Malik governed the city of Al-Uballah on behalf of the Persian emperor. The city, now part of Al-Basrah, lay on the banks of the Euphrates River. Sinan lived in a luxurious palace on the banks of the river. He had several children and was particularly fond of one, who was then barely five years old. His name was Suhayb Ibn Sinan. He was blond and fair-complexioned. He was active and alert and gave much pleasure to his father.

One day Suhayb’s (rta) mother took him and some members of her household to a village called Ath-Thani for a picnic. There a raiding party of Byzantine soldiers attacked the village. The guards accompanying the picnic party were overwhelmed and killed. All possessions were seized and a large number of persons were taken as prisoners. Among these was Suhayb Ibn Sinan (rta).

Suhayb (rta) was taken to one of the slave markets of the Byzantine Empire, the capital of which was Constantinople, where he was sold. Thereafter he passed from the hands of one slave master to another. His fate was no different from thousands of other slaves, who filled the houses, the palaces and castles of Byzantine rulers and aristocrats.

Suhayb (rta) spent his boyhood and his youth as a slave. For about twenty years he stayed in Byzantine lands. This gave him the opportunity to get a rare knowledge and understanding of the Byzantine Empire and society. In the palaces of the aristocracy, he saw with his own eyes the injustices and the corruption of Byzantine life. He detested that society and later would say: “A society like this can only be purified by a deluge.”

Suhayb (rta) grew up speaking Greek, the language of the Byzantine Empire. He practically forgot Arabic. But he never forgot that he was a son of the desert. He longed for the day, when he would be free again to join his people. At the first opportunity, Suhayb (rta) escaped from bondage and headed straight for Makkah, which was a place of refuge. There people called him Suhayb ‘ar-Rumi’ or ‘the Byzantine’ because of his peculiarly heavy speech and his blond hair. He became the assistant of one of the aristocrats of Makkah, Abdullah Ibn Judan. He engaged in trade and prospered.

One day returning to Makkah from one of his trading journeys, he was told that Muhammad (sa) the son of Abdullah had begun calling people to believe in Allah (swt) alone, commanding them to be just and prohibiting them from shameful and reprehensible deeds. He immediately enquired who Muhammad (sa) was and where he stayed.

Suhayb (rta) went cautiously to the house of Al-Arqam and listened to what Muhammad (sa) was saying. He was readily convinced of the truth of the message. The light of faith entered his heart. At this meeting, he pledged loyalty to the Prophet (sa), declaring that there is no God but Allah (swt) and Muhammad (sa) is the Messenger of Allah. He spent the entire day in the company of the noble Prophet (sa). At night, he happily left the house of Al-Arqam, with the light of faith in his heart.

Then, the familiar pattern of events followed. The idolatrous Quraish learnt about Suhayb’s (rta) acceptance of Islam and began harassing and persecuting him. The punishment was inhuman and severe but Suhayb (rta) bore it all with a patient and courageous heart, because he knew that the path to Jannah is paved with thorns and difficulties. The teachings of the noble Prophet (sa) had instilled in him and other companions a rare strength and courage.

When the Prophet (sa) eventually gave permission for his followers to migrate to Madinah, Suhayb (rta) resolved to go in the company of the Prophet (sa) and Abu Bakr (rta). The Quraish, however, found out about his intentions and foiled his plans. They placed guards over him to prevent him from leaving and taking with him the wealth, which he had acquired through trade.

After the departure of the Prophet (sa) and Abu Bakr (rta), Suhayb (rta) continued to bide his time, waiting for an opportunity to join them. He remained unsuccessful. The eyes of his guards were ever alert and watchful.

One cold night, Suhayb (rta) pretended to have stomach problems and went out repeatedly, as if responding to calls of nature. His captors became relaxed and sleep got the better of them. Suhayb (rta) quietly slipped out, armed himself, and headed in the direction of Madinah.

When his captors awoke, they realized that Suhayb (rta) was gone. They set out in hot pursuit and eventually caught up with him. Seeing them approach, Suhayb (rta) clambered up a hill. Ready with his bow and arrow, he shouted: “Men of Quraish! You know, by Allah, that I am one of the best archers and my aim is unerring. By Allah, if you come near me, with each arrow I have, I shall kill one of you. Then, I shall strike with my sword.” A Quraish spokesman responded: “By God, we shall not let you escape from us with your life and money. You came to Makkah weak and poor and you have acquired what you have acquired.” “What would you say, if I leave you my wealth?” interrupted Suhayb (rta). “Would you get out of my way?” “Yes,” they agreed.

Suhayb (rta) described the place in his house in Makkah, where he had left the money, and they allowed him to go.

He set off as quickly as he could for Madinah, cherishing the prospect of being with the Prophet (sa) and of having the freedom to worship God in peace. Whenever he felt tired, the thought of meeting the Prophet (sa) sustained him, and he proceeded with increased determination. When Suhayb (rta) reached Quba, just outside Madinah where the Prophet (sa) himself alighted after his Hijrah, the Prophet (sa) saw him approaching. He was over-joyed and greeted Suhayb (rta) with beaming smiles. “Your transaction has been fruitful, O Abu Yahya. Your transaction has been fruitful.” He repeated this-three times.

Suhayb’s (rta) face was filled with happiness, as he said: “By Allah, no one has come before me to you, Messenger of Allah (sa), and only Jibril could have told you about this.”

Yes indeed! Suhayb’s (rta) transaction was fruitful. Revelation affirmed the truth of this: “And of mankind is he who would sell himself, seeking the Pleasure of Allah. And Allah is full of Kindness to (His) slaves.” (Al-Baqarah 2:207)

The Prophet (sa) loved Suhayb (rta) a great deal. He was commended by the Prophet and described as preceding the Byzantines to Islam. In addition to his piety and sobriety, Suhayb (rta) was also light-hearted at times and had a good sense of humour.

One day the Prophet (sa) saw him eating dates. He noticed that Suhayb (rta) had an infection in one eye. The Prophet (sa) said to him laughingly: Do you eat ripe dates while you have an infection in one eye?” “What’s wrong?” replied Suhayb (rta), “I am eating it with the other eye.”

Suhayb (rta) was also known for his generosity. In the period of the caliphate, he used to give his entire stipend from the public treasury to help the poor and distressed. He was so generous that Umar (rta) once remarked: “I have seen you giving out so much food that you appear to be too extravagant.” Suhayb (rta) replied: “I have heard the Messenger of Allah (sa) say: ‘The best of you is the one, who gives out food.’”

Suhayb’s (rta) piety and his standing among Muslims was so high that he was selected by Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (rta) to lead the Muslims in the period between his death and the choosing of his successor.

Suhayb (rta) was undoubtedly among the shining stars, who contributed immensely in the infancy of Islam and earned a respectable status for his love of Allah (swt) and the Messenger (sa).