Ways to Maximize Halal Rizq – Editorial

Concept of a plant and a lot of golden coins isolated on white background

Rizq is the bounty of Allah (swt), which He bestows upon His creatures. And this does not include our wealth only. The Prophet (sa) said: “When the fetus is four months old in its mother’s womb, Allah sends an angel to breathe the soul into it and write down its provision, its lifespan, its deeds, and whether it is doomed or blessed.” (Bukhari)

Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Salih Al-Uthaymeen says: “Provision is also allocated and connected to its means; it is neither increased nor decreased. But man still needs to strive to seek his provision as is mentioned in the Quran: ‘He it is Who has made the earth subservient to you (i.e. easy for you to walk, to live and to do agriculture on it) so walk in the path thereof and eat of His provision. And to Him will be resurrection.’ (Al-Mulk 67:15)”

It is a grave mistake to assume that even if one lives like a parasite or does not struggle for it, one will be able to obtain one’s share somehow. Provision will not rain from the sky. Besides, such a defeatist attitude is not at all encouraged in Islam. Allah (swt) expects us to utilize every inch of our intelligence and energy for the betterment of all.

When Allah (swt) bestows upon us His bounty, we are required to give away a portion of it. This is done in the form of Zakah (obligatory alms) and Sadaqah (voluntary alms). Hence, when some of us maximize our potential to earn more through lawful means and are blessed with Allah’s (swt) Barakah, it includes the share of those who were not fortunate enough to optimize their conditions.

However, sunshine turns into shadows when, in pursuit of a good fortune for ourselves, we attribute others to Allah (swt). For instance, someone might think that he will prosper only if he becomes part of the USA’s 14 trillion dollar economy. Alternatively, we might single out a few multinational companies or professions that reward more in financial terms. Thus, the centre shifts and we learn to make compromises in the name of good judgement, lucrative prospects, popular culture, etc. We undermine the fact that our provider is Allah (swt) Alone; we resort to begging, borrowing and stealing.

If we cling to the concept of Tauheed and attempt to seek out only lawful provisions, wherever we live and whatever we do, will Allah (swt) forsake us? Imagine what He has blessed the disbelievers with, in return for their hard work? Will the Raziq withhold from His true believers? He feeds millions of species in the rainforests, the vast skies, the deep seas – all living creatures from the North to the South pole. He sustains the galaxies of the universe and the undiscovered life there and beyond.

Concept of a plant and a lot of golden coins isolated on white backgroundHowever, we will have to prove that we deserve it. Firstly, ask for permissible Rizq (Tayyab and Halal). Toil for it. Exhibit patience and advise your family to do the same. Be extremely thankful to Allah (swt) for what He has granted and what He has withheld, as there is a divine reason for it that only He knows. Hasan Al-Basri said: “The roots of evil are three: arrogance, envy and greed.” Steer clear of them. Adhere to the guided path, as Yahya Ibn Muath has stated: “O how poor is man; if he fears Hell-fire in the same degree as he fears poverty, he will enter Paradise.”

Lastly, be fearful of succeeding in the wrong endeavours. When people disobey Allah (swt), He sometimes opens the doors of bounties in this world but cuts them off from the eternal rewards of Paradise. There could be no greater loss for someone to bargain for Hell-fire in the name of maximizing his Rizq.

Overcoming the Roadblocks to Qanat


By Tasneem Vali – Architect, freelance writer and Academic Coordinator

Dawn is that part of the day when you notice the first appearance of light in the sky before sunrise. Allah (swt) in His all encompassing Wisdom tells us: “(It will be said to the pious): ‘O (you) the one in (complete) rest and satisfaction! Come back to your Lord, Well-pleased (yourself) and well-pleasing unto Him! Enter you, then, among My honoured slaves, And enter you My Paradise!’” (Al-Fajr 89:27-30)

The believer’s soul is at peace with its Lord, certain of its way, confident of its fate. It is a soul which is satisfied with all eventualities: happiness or affliction, wealth or poverty.

Our dilemma is that we have no idea how to be the soul that is ‘in complete rest and satisfaction’. The answer is simple and logical. We need a wake-up call from our worries about money, jobs, kids and family; in fact, all the things that tie us to this world obstruct us from attaining true contentment.

There are four simple rules for bringing back contentment into our lives and overcoming any roadblocks to Qanat (being content with what you have):

(1) Free your heart from hatred

The Prophet (sa) said: “By the One in whose hand is my soul, you will not enter Paradise until you submit. You will not submit until you love one another. Greet each other with peace and you will love one another. Beware of hatred, for it is the razor. I do not say it shaves hair, but it shaves away the religion.” (Bukhari) It’s as simple as that – submit yourself to Allah (swt).

(2) Free your mind from worries

Only Allah (swt) knows the precise moment, when we will take our final breath on this earth. “And no person can ever die except by Allah’s Leave and at an appointed term. And whoever desires a reward in (this) world, We shall give him of it; and whoever desires a reward in the Hereafter, We shall give him thereof. And We shall reward the grateful.” (Al-Imran 3:145)

Part of our belief in Allah (swt) requires us to have absolute certainty about Qadr, so why worry? We will get only what Allah (swt) has predetermined for us – just work hard to please Allah (swt).

(3) Live simply (Zuhud – abstinence from the greed of this world)

Abul-Abbas as-Saidi said: “A man came to the Prophet (sa) and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Guide me to such an action, that when I do it, Allah will love me and the people will love me.’ He said: ‘Be detached from this world, and Allah will love you, and do not be attracted to what people have, and the people will love you.’” (Ibn Majah)

(4) Give more and expect less

Give freely of what you have – time, money, knowledge and energy – but expect a return only from Allah (swt). This world is not designed to be the venue for final judgements; accept Allah’s (swt) wisdom and defer to His logic and commands.

Getting rid of the roadblocks to Qanat is your decision. Are you going to get up each morning submitting to Allah (swt) or are you going to sulk in bed, mulling over all your worries? Use each day wisely and hoard good deeds for the Hereafter.

Ways to Maximize Halal Rizq

Concept of a plant and a lot of golden coins isolated on white background

Inspired by a book titled “15 Ways to Increase Your Earnings from the Quran and Sunnah” by Shaykh Yasir Qadhi.

Shaykh Yasir Qadhi is the Dean of Academic Affairs at AlMaghrib Institute. He is in the final stages of completing his PhD in Religious Studies from Yale University. He is also the author of multiple books on Islam.

Compiled for Hiba by Unaiza Ahsan

It is said that a righteous man once left his town in search for Rizq-e-Halal. During his journey, he came upon a strange sight. A crippled sparrow (born without wings) was lying somewhere, and another sparrow was bringing it seeds and grains to eat. When he witnessed this, he immediately realized that if Allah (swt) could provide for this crippled sparrow, He could certainly provide sustenance for him, and, hence, he returned to his town. After returning, he met his teacher, who asked him why he had come back so early. The man narrated his observation and the conclusion he had drawn from it. The teacher smiled and said: “You have learned only half the lesson. Why did you not consider yourself to be akin to the sparrow who was providing food to the crippled sparrow? You could consider yourself as someone who can go out to earn sustenance, and then Allah (swt) will provide not just for you, but for others too – through you.”

People often complain: “Oh, I have lately suffered great financial loss, and it keeps getting worse. I think somebody has inflicted me with the evil eye, or I have been a victim of magic.”

Sounds familiar? There is no end to the ways and means that people employ in order to ‘drive away’ the ‘evil forces’ conspiring against them and hindering their earning. They seem to forget that the source of Rizq, or sustenance, is solely Allah (swt) and nobody else. Consequently, they become guilty of not only attributing their source of earning to someone other than Allah (swt), but also of harbouring suspicion against their own family members or acquaintances. It is high time we recognize the real source of Rizq – Allah (swt) – who not only provides it, but has also given a comprehensive set of rules on how to increase it.

Allah (swt) says: “And if Allah were to enlarge the provision for His slaves, they would surely rebel in the earth, but He sends down by measure as He wills. Verily! He is in respect of His slaves, the Well-Aware, the All-Seer (of things that benefit them).” (Ash-Shura 42:27)

It is absolutely clear from the above verse that if Allah (swt) sent maximum provisions to all, they would not learn the value of hard work, honesty and diligence. His provisions, therefore, come in doses; each dose is carefully ladled out to the slave, who proves that the previous dose only increased his/her faith and piety. Our effort towards our Deen proves to Allah (swt) that we are ready for more Rizq. Unfortunately, we expect the opposite. We do very little in the path of the Deen and expect the skies to shower wealth upon us. Logically, this is not going to happen – not for the Mumins, at least.

In Islam, working with one’s own hands is considered to be the best source of earning income. The Prophet (sa) said: “No one has ever eaten any food that is better than eating what his hands have earned. And indeed Dawood, the Prophet of Allah, would eat from the earnings of his hands.” (Bukhari)

Ways to Increase Halal Rizq

1) Offering and Inviting to Salah

In the Holy Quran, Allah (swt) says: “And enjoin as-Salah (the prayer) on your family, and be patient in offering them (i.e. the Salah). We ask not of you a provision (i.e. to give Us something: money, etc.); We provide for you. And the good end (i.e. Paradise) is for the Muttaqun (pious).” (Ta-Ha 20:132)

This shows that a Salah that is just an exercise of the limbs is not going to increase our Rizq. The effort that goes into that Salah, the feeling with which we recite the verses of Allah (swt), and the enthusiasm with which we call our families, friends and acquaintances towards it contribute towards Allah’s (swt) pleasure, adding Barakah in our provisions. However, it is not recommended to offer Salah only to obtain an increase in provisions.

2) Seeking Allah’s (swt) Forgiveness (Istighfar)

Allah (swt) reveals that Prophet Nuh (as) told his people to seek forgiveness from Allah (swt) in the following words: “I said (to them): ‘Ask forgiveness from your Lord; Verily, He is Oft-Forgiving; He will send rain to you in abundance; and give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers.’” (Nuh 71:10-12)

Seeking forgiveness from Allah (swt) has to be done abundantly every day. This must be done because not a day passes, in which we haven’t consciously or unconsciously sinned before Allah (swt). Hence, this is another means of increasing one’s provisions.

3) Spending in the path of Allah (swt)

Charity or wealth/provisions spent on the needy are also a way through which one’s wealth can increase, if Allah (swt) wills. Apparently, spending money results in a decrease in wealth, but Allah (swt) defines it as a confirmed increase in your earnings. It is against Allah’s Sunnah to take favours from the believers. Every penny spent in His way is returned in multiple folds through various means to the Mumins. The fact is that Allah (swt) does not need our money. He only wants to grant more to His slaves; hence, He trains them to sacrifice what they love the most, which is generally wealth and other materialistic essentials.

4) Migration (Hijrah) for the Sake of Allah (swt)

People who migrate today are mostly looking for better work or education opportunities. Hijrah is completely different. If you leave your homes, cities, or countries in the search for a better Islamic lifestyle for your children and families, that, Insha’Allah, will be counted as ‘migration for the sake of Allah (swt)’ and will be rewarded with an increase in provision. On face value, it seems as if migrating from one country to another is going to eat up the savings, and, hence, result in a decrease in wealth. But Allah (swt) promises that this kind of migration is going to result in an increase in provisions.

The Holy Quran says: “And those who believed, and emigrated and strove hard in the Cause of Allah (Al-Jihad), as well as those who gave (them) asylum and aid; these are the believers in truth, for them is forgiveness and Rizqun Karim(a generous provision i.e. Paradise).” (Al-Anfal 8:74)

5) Taqwah

The Holy Quran says: “…And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty).And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine…” (At-Talaq 65:2-3). We usually believe we know exactly where our savings and salaries are coming from. Actually, we don’t. Once we don’t have a steady source of income, there is still Allah (swt), the Ar-Razzaq, Who can provide us with abundant provisions, if He (swt) so wills. The key is complete consciousness and fear of Allah (swt) – that is enough to keep us wary of even insignificant sins and the greater evil. This would guarantee provisions from Allah (swt) from sources we could never have comprehended.

6) Trusting Allah (Tawakkal)

Allah (swt) says in the Holy Quran: “And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish his purpose. Indeed Allah has set a measure for all things.” (At-Talaq 65:3)

The true meaning of sincerely trusting Allah (swt) is having a firm conviction that whatever comes to us, whether provisions or any other circumstances, is from Allah (swt). Furthermore, Tawakkal means to make sincere effort and leave the results to Allah (swt), relying on Him to make things easy for us and to work things out. If a believer manages to have this kind of trust in Allah (swt), He guarantees that He will make a way out for him from any difficulty, including financial hard times.

7) Ibadah

Abu Hurairah (rta) stated that the Prophet (sa) said: “Allah says: ‘O son of Adam! Take time out to constantly worship me; I will fill your chest with richness and remove your poverty. And if you do not do so, I will make your hands filled with occupation, and will not remove your poverty.’” (At-Tirmidhi) This means to submit our lifestyle, thoughts, beliefs and actions round the clock to the Creator (swt). There is no division of sacred and secular lines as is in the popular culture today.

8) Treating Family/Relatives Well (Silah-Rehmi)

Abu Hurairah (rta) reported that the Prophet (sa) said: “Whoever is pleased with the fact that his Rizq is increased and his life-span is extended, let him establish the ties of kinship.” (Bukhari) This is one of the easier ways to have Barakah and blessings in our provisions. All we have to do (easier said than done) is to smile back at any barbed comment, meet and greet any sour face, cheerfully wave away any backbiter’s tale, give affordable gifts to extended family members, and look after or visit an ailing or financially destitute relative, etc.

9) Being Grateful to Allah (swt)

The Holy Quran says: “And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: ‘If you give thanks (by accepting faith and worshipping none but Allah), I will give you more (of My Blessings), but if you are thankless (i.e. disbelievers), verily! My Punishment is indeed severe.’” (Ibrahim 14:7)

If we analyze our lives, there is so much for which we should be grateful: the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the money we spend, etc. We not only have access to basic necessities of life, but we also manage to indulge in luxuries and designer brands every now and then. In His infinite mercy, Allah (swt) doesn’t prohibit us from enjoying His provisions; all we need to do is add Barakah in it by being constantly grateful to Him.

10) Reciting Surah Waqiah

The Prophet (sa) said: “Surah Al-Waqiah is the Surah of wealth, so recite it and teach it to your children.” (Ibn Asakir) Thus, regular recitation of this Surah and teaching it to our children will surely benefit us, not only spiritually but also physically – resulting in Barakah in our Rizq. However, recitation should be followed by deep reflection on the verses and adhering to its commands for a positive change in one’s character.

11) Hajj and Umrah Multiple Times

It has been reported by Abdullah Ibn Masood (rta) that the Prophet of Allah (sa) said: “Follow up between Hajj and Umrah (continuously repeat Hajj and Umrah), because they both eliminate poverty and sins just like a furnace eliminates the dirty impurities of iron, gold and silver. And an accepted Hajj has no reward less than paradise.” (At-Tirmidhi) Wealthy Mumins can finance others (relatives, etc.) to fulfill this obligation and reap equal rewards, Insha’Allah.

12) Marriage

“And marry those among you who are single (i.e. a man who has no wife and the woman who has no husband) and (also marry) the Salihun (pious, fit and capable ones) of your (male) slaves and maid-servants (female slaves). If they are poor, Allah will enrich them out of His Bounty. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knowing (about the state of the people).” (An-Nur 24:32) A pious wife can turn around any deficit budget with her prayers and wisdom. Also, when a Mumin initiates a family, Allah (swt) arranges for an increase in his Rizq for the new arrival.

13) Supporting Students of Islamic Knowledge

Anas Ibn Malik (rta) said: “Two brothers (lived) during the time of the Prophet (sa). One of them would come to Prophet (sa), whereas the other one would seek his sustenance (by working). So, the one who used to seek his sustenance complained to the Prophet (sa) about his brother. The Prophet (sa) replied: ‘It is possible that you are provided your Rizq because of him.’” (At-Tirmidhi)

14) Showing Kindness to the Poor

The Prophet (saw) said: “The only reason that you are aided in victory (against your enemies) and provided with sustenance is due to your weak.” (Bukhari) Allah (swt) has promised the destitute that they will enter Paradise before the rich ones; thus, we can imagine Allah’s love for their forbearance in the face of abject poverty.

15) Being Honest in Dealings

The Prophet (sa) said: “The two parties of a transaction have the right (to annul the contract), as long as they don’t separate (from each other). So, if they are truthful (to one another), and honest in explaining (the defects of an item), they will be blessed in their transaction. But, if they lie and hide (the defects of an item), the blessings of their transaction will be destroyed.” (Muslim)

These are just some of the ways one can hope to have his/her provisions increased by Allah (swt). The important thing to remember is that our intention behind every good deed should never be on the lines of financial reward. The reward will, Insha’Allah, come from Allah (swt). The intention should always be to please our Creator first and hope for the infinite mercy of Allah (swt) to pull us out of any trouble whatsoever – financial or otherwise. May Allah (swt) grant us the ability to practice these ways and invite our family members to act on them, too. Ameen.


If you are a shop owner / business owner and your business is really down, ask yourself the following questions:

1)      Did I take or give any interest-based loans when I was starting my business?

2)      Did I unfairly usurp anyone’s property when constructing my office premises?

3)      Did I offer any bribes to speed up my paper work?

4)      How is my attitude towards my employees?

5)      Do I pay my employees on time?

6)      Do I ensure my employees are paid overtime and bonuses?

7)      Have I installed UPS/generator for my employees so that their productivity is not affected by power outages?

8)      Do I ensure my shop’s / business’ products are given for free to those who cannot afford them?

9)      Do I regularly give charity out of my income?

Needless Wants

Needless Wants

By Tooba Asim – Freelance journalist

If we change the popular question, ‘what a girls wants’ to ‘what a girl needs’, chances are the latter list of answers would be drastically shorter than the former. But who would dare to restructure the question? After all, life in these times is more about wants than needs, despite the much talked about inflation. So, what is it that makes it so difficult for us to sift our needs from our endless wants? I asked myself this question and identified the common traps most of us fall into.

(1) The cooking show culture

Nothing has harmed the kitchen budget more than these cooking shows. From expensive sauces to exotic veggies, from fancy cookware to nonsense Totkas, these shows are the perfect recipe for making the kitchen budget spiral out of control.

(2) The branded culture

MAC mascara is clearly a want and not a need, or is it? Enough said.

(3) The sale ‘whale’

Yes, the sale ‘whale’ takes in whatever comes its way, completely oblivious of what is needed and what is not. Accept it: the *up to 70% off* billboards do make you concoct a sudden need for bed sheets, towels, out-of-season clothes and what not.

(4) The supermarket culture

The colourful aisles of a supermarket lure you into piling unnecessary stuff into your trolleys, mostly in the name of bargains. I once stocked up on diapers, which were being offered at a discount, and my baby was potty-trained soon after; I still have three unused packs mocking at me.

The next pertinent question is: what now? We can’t stop watching television or making use of sales or going to the super markets, etc. What we can do, however, is to be smart buyers. It’s easier said than done, and requires strict measures and a strong will. Let’s start with the following pointers.

(1) Ask yourself the basic question repeatedly: “Do I need this?”

By doing so, you will be able to control those impulse-shopping urges. Look for alternatives based on what you already have. For example, all those fabric exhibition billboards were tempting me to no end, but a look at my wardrobe put some sense in me and stopped me from spending what I’d rather be saving.

(2) Make lists and stick to them

This, perhaps, is the most important measure to take. Make lists of whatever you need and whatever you want in two separate columns. Then decide which ones are urgent and which ones can wait. Also, promise yourself to stick to them and not be trapped by sales, bargains and special offers, unless you absolutely must.

(3) Detach

Detach yourself from television ads, cooking shows, fashion shows and from whatever provokes expenditure. The key is to watch them as entertainment shows only, once in a while, rather than ‘instructions to follow’.

(4) Avoid needless strolls in malls/Bazars

Visit malls only when you need to, rather than treating them as hang-out spots. Allah (swt) reminds us of our weak nature and instructs us not to even venture close to sin or sinful behaviour. If you are a habitual spender, stay away from malls as much as possible.

(5) Tackle peer pressure

We think this term applies to teenagers only. However, there are plenty of spoilt grown-ups walking around who just cannot reign their desires. Steer clear of all such friends and parties that make you feel small on account of your financial status or drive you to splurge in order to keep up with them.

(6) Strapped for cash

Before going shopping, make a list, put the estimated price next to next item and roughly calculate the total bill you’d have to pay. Take the exact amount with you. Leave extra cash and debit cards at home; with no money in your pocket, you are less likely to be tempted by the ‘luxuries’.

That said, it is important to treat yourself once in a while to avoid feeling deprived. That way you’d be able to distinguish it easily as a luxury and not a ‘need’ per se. And, most importantly, always look at those beneath yourself on the social ladder; it will help you to be thankful to Allah (swt) for His blessings.

A Loser’s Gain

Image courtesy http://nickelinvestingnews.com/

Image courtesy http://nickelinvestingnews.com/a

By Umm Ibrahim and Umm Amal – Freelance writers

Without exaggeration, we live in a time of economic hardship. With costs and prices spiralling upwards, even the ones who are generally well-off think twice before spending. It is quite natural for the budget to go awry every month, and the savings’ pool to decrease. Most of the individuals and families have thought of numerous and creative ways to save money and make the most of their earnings. However, there are quite a few techniques that do not, in the long run, save anything. Seemingly, they increase one’s income; however, they take all the Barakah out of it. Following are some of those techniques to beware of:

Investment Schemes Involving Interest

With a myriad of banks offering attractive investment packages with ‘certain’ fixed return, it is quite hard to shrug off the temptation to invest one’s savings. However, one must remember that all forms of interest are strictly forbidden. The same goes for buying houses, cars, laptops and the like on lease, which involves interest – on the face of it, you are saving money; in reality, you are incurring the severe wrath of Allah (swt), as per the following verse:

“Those who eat Riba (usury) will not stand (on the Day of Resurrection) except like the standing of a person beaten by Shaitan (Satan) leading him to insanity. That is because they say: ‘Trading is only like Riba (usury)’, whereas Allah has permitted trading and forbidden Riba (usury). So whosoever receives an admonition from his Lord and stops eating Riba (usury) shall not be punished for the past; his case is for Allah (to judge); but whoever returns [to Riba (usury)], such are the dwellers of the Fire – they will abide therein.” (Al-Baqarah 2:275)

Investment Schemes Without Investigation

This applies to the investment schemes of Islamic banks. Before you invest your money, you must find out where the Islamic bank itself is investing this money. If it is investing in the stock market (bay-trading) or other interest-based schemes, do not take the risk of investing there. Instead, choose an Islamic bank or scheme that invests in short-term government loans or securities that do not involve interest at any level.

Profiteering Techniques

If you own a business or are in a leadership position in one, you need to watch out for selling low quality or expired products and extracting one to two hundred percent profit out of customers. Hoarding products, creating an artificial shortage and fleecing the customers are again counter-productive. Understand that if the outcome of your business deal does not create a win-win situation for you and your customer, it is unfair and involves impermissible earnings.

Denying Inheritance

Family members need to be extremely careful about fair distribution of inheritance. Denying or delaying inheritance to deserving family members causes greatest rifts among blood ties; loss of Barakah is a natural outcome.

Withholding Charity

It is so tempting to cut down on welfare spending on an individual level – however, one must continue to give as much Sadaqah as one can even if it means curbing one’s own needs along the way – not doing so is again counter-productive towards increasing one’s Rizq.

In short, one may witness an increase in income by Haram means, but Allah (swt) decreases it by some other means which people are unable to see, like loss of health, disobedient children or spouse, earning of dishonour or mistrust, lack of peace in life, constant material loss, etc. Also, the level of pleasure keeps decreasing with an increase in Haram income. This further drives the individual on the misguided path to further seek satisfaction from prohibited sources. The end result is that one loses out in both the worlds.

Halal Options for Investment

Halal Options for Investment

By Ayesha Ashraf Jangda – Section Head, Corporate Strategy and Business Planning at Bank Islami Pakistan Limited

Disclaimer: The writer is an Islamic banker by profession and, in this article, will be informing readers about the Shariah-compliant investment options available in Pakistan. It is advisable that readers review these options according to their own set of beliefs and unique financial situation.

According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, investment is “the process of exchanging income during one period of time for an asset that is expected to produce earning in future periods. Thus, consumption in current period is foregone, in order to obtain a greater return in future.”

An individual might have many goals, for which he/she makes investments that are short term (less than one year), medium term (more than one year but less than five years) or long term (more than five years). One of these goals can be to have regular income, especially if you are a retiree or a widow, for which the monthly profit schemes of banks and mutual funds would be more suitable. If you are young and can take risky investments, then you can invest inshares,which willprovide you with immediate capital gain and dividends. If you are middle aged and have a large sum of money at hand to buy property or real estate on installments, you can earn a hefty capital gain by selling it. If you are a businessman and hardly have money to spare, you can open a foreign currency savings’ account and earn from exchange gain. If you are a woman and are fond of wearing jewellery, then investment in gold jewellery or coins can be your option.

I will now talk about these investment avenues in detail. These are deemed by many to be the interim solutions until the world enforces an Islamic economic system, Insha’Allah.

Islamic Bank Accounts

There are many types of deposit accounts available in Islamic banks for investment purposes:

  • Current Account: It is a non-remunerative account, meaning it will not give you any profit but will only keep your money safe. You have the flexibility of withdrawing your money at any time you want through a cheque or an ATM card/transaction.
  • Saving Account: This account has the flexibility of withdrawals just like a current account but is a remunerative account. A nominal and varied profit is given by the Islamic bank at the end of each month.
  • Fixed or Term Account:The amount deposited in this account is invested for a particular period and cannot be withdrawn until the period ends. Pre-mature encashment or early redemption is allowed, but it reduces the profit rate of the period of investment. There are two types of such accounts:
    • Monthly Income Accounts – profit is given on monthly basis.
    • Maturity Profit Accounts – profit is given at the end of the period.

Saving and Fixed accounts taken by an Islamic bank are under the Mudarabatul Musharika basis, which means that the depositor becomes a partner of the bank by investing his/her money in the deposit pool of the Islamic bank. The deposit pool can either earn profit or face loss, which is shared among the participants of the deposit pool, according to their weightages.

Foreign Currency

Purchasing foreign currency in the form of US dollars, Euros or British pounds, is also an investment avenue. Islamic banks facilitate a foreign currency deposit account. To learn more about it, visit: http://www.forex.pk/open_market_rates.asp.

Islamic Mutual Funds

Another option for investing money is Islamic mutual funds. It is a joint pool where investors or certificate holders contribute their money for the purpose of investing in a profitable avenue. The profitable avenue can be Shariah-compliant shares, Sukuks (Islamic bonds), bank deposits or even real estate.

There are many types of mutual funds. The equity fund invests in Shariah-compliant shares listed in the stock market, while the growth fund invests in shares to earn capital gain. Income funds invest in shares of mature companies, in order to earn dividend or Sukuks, while the balanced fund invests in shares as well as Sukuks. For more details, you may visit: http://www.mufap.com.pk.

Gold Coins or Ornaments

Gold coins and jewellery have been considered to be sound avenues of investment since time immemorial. The best part is that you can wear them and still have an appreciated value over a period of one year.

Gold coins can be bought from brokerage houses that are registered by the National Mercantile Exchange (http://www.pmex.com.pk/products/gold.php) or any jeweller. The most important thing is to keep the purchasing slip, so that when you are selling it, you can calculate the capital appreciation that has occurred. Word of advice: keep all the gold ornaments in a locker in an Islamic bank or specialized safety lockers’ companies.

Shariah-compliant Shares

We do not live in a perfect, Riba-free, Islamic economy; therefore, scholars have devised certain conditions based on which investments in shares are considered Shariah-compliant. Some of these conditions are as follows:

  • The main business of the company does not violate the Shariah.
  • If the company deposits its surplus amount in an interest-bearing account, the income from that amount should be less than 5%.
  • If the company has interest-bearing investments, they should be less than 33%.
  • If the company has borrowed money on interest, the debt on total assets should be less than 40%.

For further details, visit: http://www.albalagh.net/Islamic_economics/finance.shtml and http://www.kse.com.pk/ => Market information => Market indices => KMI30.

Real Estate

Real estate remains one of the securest investment avenues that almost always provide a good return. Land, whether urban, agricultured, a house, an apartment or a shop, constitutes different types of property that can be invested in. Those who do not have a lump sum amount can buy it in installments from a reliable real estate developer, avail the house financing facility from an Islamic bank or buy with the help of a real estate agent. The investor can use the property for personal purposes, rent it or earn capital gain upon selling it.

To turn the wheels of an Islamic economy, one must neither hoard nor waste one’s wealth. It is most advisable to invest one’s surplus funds, not just for one’s own future prosperity but to uplift Shariah-compliant economies.


We would like to inform the readers that many scholars have contradictory opinions on saving and term accounts of Islamic Banks. The Ulemas of Jamia Binoria, Jamia Farooqia, Jamia Ashrafia, Lahore etc do not approve of the products of Islamic banking. Their opinion has been published in book titled “Murwajah Islami Bankari” which can

be downloaded from


On the other hand, many scholars agree with the concept of Islamic banking in Pakistan and worldwide; they include Jamiatul Rasheed, Darul Uloom, Korangi and OIC Fiqh Academy, etc. A leading scholar in Pakistan on Islamic banking is Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani. He has written a comprehensive book that answers arguments against

interest-free banking and supports the practice of Islamic banking in Pakistan. This book is titled “Ghair Soodi Bankari” and can be downloaded from


or purchased from Darul Ishat in Urdu Bazar.

Making Kids Money-Wise

Making Kids Money-Wise

By Umm Zakariya – Freelance journalist and the Reading and Creative Writing Coach at Fajr Academy, Karachi

As parents, we want the best for our children. We want our children to be ‘happy’ and that usually translates into us plying them with expensive clothes, toys, gadgets and paraphernalia, while giving into their every whim and desire. In pursuit of this ‘happiness’, we end up making our kids exceedingly materialistic – we either forget about or neglect educating them about the values of earning it, the judgement in spending it, and the virtues and avenues of saving it.

Here are some simple and easy ways of helping our children become money-wise, so that they are not only aware but are also ready to face the reAl-world and its sharks, when the time comes!

Go Shopping Together

Take your children shopping. Let them understand the simple truth that we need money to buy things! Let children get an insight into how you select items based on affordability and that not everything one wants can be bought, as there is a budget to be adhered to.

Set a Pocket Money/ Monthly Allowance

Allowance is an important tool to form sturdy lifelong fiscal habits in your children. However, you need to guide them on how to manage and spend in order for them to become responsible money managers.

Let Them Earn

Another lesson you need to teach your children early on is the diligence that goes into earning money. And it goes without saying that the best and most effective way to teach the value of money is to let your child earn! Help your child set up a small business, such as making and selling greeting cards or jewellery, wrapping gifts, etc. There are countless ideas online. Alternatively, you can pay them for extra chores they do beyond their usual responsibilities. You could also put up a stall at any of the various charity Melas and let them help out.

Open a Savings Account

Open a child-friendly bank account for your children or let them open an account with you as the banker, if they are very young! Teach them to save their Eidi, other gift money and anything they earn for things they may want. You will see that they will appreciate what they buy from their own efforts more than anything you buy for them. This is also a good time to teach them about Riba (interest) and Allah’s (swt) commandments regarding it.

Teach Them to Budget and Plan

Encourage your children to plan and budget. Help them to decide their short-term and long-term goals about the things they want to buy and how they can manage their money to achieve both. Also, teach children the importance of moderation. Help them understand that they should not be extravagant and must save what they can for the future.

Encourage the Charity Giver in Them

We sometimes tend to forget a very significant lesson that our kids need to learn as early as possible. The poor and the destitute have a right to whatever we earn – in order to earn Allah’s (swt) pleasure. Giving Sadaqah is not just an option. It is a responsibility of every believer. In return, the children can ask Allah (swt) to grant them more or relieve them of their daily troubles successfully (tests, exams, etc.). We would not like our kids to become stingy or miserly in pursuit of financial success.

It’s never too early to start! We must realize that unless we put the responsibility of decision-making and accountability on their shoulders, our children will have to learn this the hard way in the real world. Help children gain these values early on by letting them make their own money-related decisions. Even if they end up making a loss, this is a lesson better learnt sooner than later!

Handling Financial Difficulties the Sunnah Way

Handling Financial Difficulties the Sunnah Way

Real-life accounts of people who faced hardship but refused to compromise on their values.

Khilafat-e-Rashidah is no more, where the needy were the top concern for the rulers. Today’s Muslim governments are neglecting and exploiting the needy. Under one such system, sister S.A.’s family was facing massive financial problems: over 100,000 dirhams in her brother’s visa-related fines and renewals for documents. The family had no regular income, but their late father had left them with Islamic upbringing.

I would see S.A. and her mother composed. They would constantly make Dua and Dhikr, mentioning that Allah (swt) is Gahfoor and Raheem, Rahman and Raheem. S.A would say: “This amount is no problem for Allah (swt); He has promised that ‘those who trust in Me, I will be with them,’ and that we should not despair of His mercy.” They would pray to Allah (swt) to give them from His treasures.

Once, S.A. was offered a tempting 5,000 Dirhams for just five days of work at some exhibition. She asked them if she could wear her Hijab there. When they refused, she turned down the offer. Subhan’Allah, in a turn of events, S.A’s own local sponsor agreed to pay a big chunk of their fines, in return for her brother working for him. Their worries are not over, but their submission to Allah (swt) continues.

Umm Musa


“Rasheed, come home immediately. Your father has gone blind,’’ my mother phoned me from Multan in 1980. I was then in the army at Lahore. I rushed to Multan, and the doctor informed me that my father had suffered from haemorrhage. His vision would revive gradually, but it would be very weak. I returned to Lahore after one week.

We are five brothers and three sisters, all married. All brothers, except myself, had jobs abroad. To live with my parents, I applied for a posting on compassionate grounds to my home station, Multan. It was rejected by the GHQ. I then applied for voluntary retirement and left the army within three months. In Multan, I hunted for a job but in vain. I requested my younger brother to return and live with my parents. When he returned, I left for Karachi and later – Saudi Arabia. However, despite my best effort, I found no suitable job.

In 1982, my friend offered me a job, which paid little but had a lot of potential in terms of bribery. I refused. For some time, I ran a garments’ business but was later hoodwinked by my partner. There came a time when I contemplated pulling my two children out of school. However, our patience bore fruit when first, my brothers helped us out financially and later, I got a job that took care of our immediate expenses. Seven years later, out of the blue, I got a job offer from the Middle East, which I accepted. It has been nineteen years now. Allah (swt) has continued to shower His blessings upon me. He has blessed me with good health, wealth and respect.

Muhammad Rasheed

Middle East

The Intellectual Legacy of Timbuktu

The Intellectual Legacy of Timbuktu

By Saulat Pervez – Writer and Editor

When someone mentions ‘Timbuktu,’ our minds often invoke mythical images of a mysterious, otherworldly place. However, when we study a map of Africa, we realize that it is very much a physical city in the country of Mali. What’s more, Timbuktu actually gained legendary status because of its riches and scholarship after Muslims permanently settled there early in the twelfth century.

Originally, Timbuktu was only a seasonal encampment for residents from nearby towns and a temporary outpost for traders and travellers. Its proximity to the Niger River made it a natural meeting point for nearby settlers and visitors alike. The foundation for the Sankore Mosque of Timbuktu was laid late in the tenth century. It was financed by a wealthy lady, who supported a desire to see the town turn into a centre of learning. Over the centuries, it gradually solidified its position as an important trading stop and this vision became a reality. Merchants from around the world visited the mosque, bringing with them ideas and books. Books became the most circulated commodity in Timbuktu, and libraries flourished. Meanwhile, Muslims decided to inhabit the town.

The Mosque grew into a University and by the end of the twelfth century, “student numbers were at twenty-five thousand, an enormous amount in a city of a hundred thousand people,” according to “1001 Inventions: Muslim Heritage in Our World”. Students first studied Arabic and memorized the Quran, followed by a rigorous syllabus consisting of math, sciences, logic, astronomy, history, etc., culminating in philosophical and religious research work.

The nearby salt ranges and gold mines only spurred trade; Timbuktu’s devotion to scholarship also attracted scholars and thinkers who arrived to settle there in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. This led to Timbuktu’s Golden Age in the next two centuries, turning the town into an intellectual and spiritual hub amidst its economic boom. Other mosque-universities, such as Jingaray Ber University and Sidi Yahya University, sprouted, all three together comprising the University of Timbuktu.

Subsequently, thousands of manuscripts were written, copied and passed on through generations. In this way, Timbuktu contributed a legacy of written scholarship in Africa, which has survived through the centuries. These documents are now being discovered from cellars, safes in mud-walls and treasure chests. Today, they are being collected and placed in various libraries in Timbuktu.

Timbuktu has endured a long decline in the years since its glorious past, after falling victim to Moroccan invasion, tribal rule and French colonization. As a result, Timbuktu’s vast scholarship can also be found in the museums of Morocco and France.

The Republic of Mali finally gained independence in 1960. Presently, Timbuktu is an impoverished city with only a few remaining landmarks of the city’s magnificent times. Yet, it remains a tourist attraction, complete with an international airport.

In recognition of its scholarly contributions and intellectual legacy, Timbuktu was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.

Don’t Get Caught Dead Without Islam – Part 2

Don’t Get Caught Dead Without Islam (2)

By Dr. Bilal Philips – Scholar, lecturer, author, editor, translator, professor, and founder of Islamic Online University, Doha

We all believe that we cannot escape death. However, if we accept that death is inevitable and consider ourselves to be practicing Muslims, our actions should reflect our preparation for death. Preparation for death does not mean buying your Kaffan (wrapping shroud), travelling to Makkah, washing it in Zam Zam water and bringing it back to store in your closet. It means to follow Allah’s (swt) commandments in order to be rewarded in the Hereafter with what He has promised the believers.

We should realize that it doesn’t make sense to fear death; this is because if we fear death, we fear Allah (swt) Who has created death. If we fear Him, it simply means that we fear the harm that will come to us because of our disobedience. It is not like fearing fire and hence avoiding it, or fearing a lion by escaping from it. Similarly, we should not fear Allah (swt) in that sense and should not try to run away from Him.

Today, the fear and avoidance of death, which has become deeply rooted in people’s hearts needs to be addressed. For this, firstly, we should supplicate in our Salah and request Allah (swt) to grant us the spirit of sacrifice in this world; we should ask Him to make our life and our death dedicated to Him and in accordance with His Will. This Dua should then become a reality in our lives because whatever good we do in this life, we are doing it for ourselves; whatever evil we do will ultimately be against us only. We might think we are settling scores with somebody or we are hurting someone in this life, but in the end, what we have done is unjust. Allah (swt) says that whatever evil we do in this life is really against ourselves, because the greater it is, the greater its punishment in the next life.

Death is just a transition; it is unavoidable. We should visit the graveyards to remind ourselves that this transition is a reality. We should visit the sick to comfort them and also to remind ourselves that we can be sick any time and may not recover. Health is a blessing from Allah (swt), which can be taken away anytime. While we are healthy, we need to prepare for the time we are ill – the worst that can happen to any Muslim is dying in a state of Shirk. The only way we can protect ourselves from such a situation is by understanding the principles of Tauheed thoroughly and applying them on ourselves.

Unfortunately, even though much has been written about Islam, there is very little material on Tauheed. You will find many books talking about the fundamentals of Islam, but Tauheed is given only a paragraph. As a result, people who read and study about Islam today miss some of the essential material, which should form the basis of everything else. Allah (swt) is One, and that is the final truth. Our economics, our politics, and our prayers – in fact, everything has to be built on a solid foundation of Tauheed. One verse of Allah (swt) is more than just a statement – it represents the entire framework of life for a believer. Thus, it is essential for us to understand how Tauheed should operate in all the factors of our life. For those with limited knowledge in this area, I would personally recommend a book which I have written – “The Fundamentals of Tauheed”. It is perhaps one of the very few books available, which deal in depth with the essential principles concerning Tauheed.

When we die, all our deeds in this life will end. But we can still earn and receive genuine benefit after our death from three basic actions that we did while we were alive:

One: Charity which we give to people and it continues to benefit them.

Two: Knowledge that we pass on, which continues to guide others.

Three: A righteously-raised child who prays for us to Allah (swt).

Our preparation for death should involve giving as much charity as possible. If we know that the only thing which can benefit us after we die is charity which people continue to benefit from, we need to find multiple avenues where we can give our wealth. We need to find out as much about Islam as we can and educate others.

Furthermore, we should prepare for death by looking after our children – by trying to educate them as best as we can primarily from an Islamic perspective. Of course, we also need to prepare them for surviving in this world, so secular education is a part of their life too. However, we should not allow them to consider secular education to be the main goal – we should not let it become the most important aspect of their education. We should discover new avenues for our kids to educate them spiritually, for instance, by bringing them into contact with other righteous young people and by involving them in gatherings wherein righteousness is spoken about, etc.

Our Prophet Muhammad (sa) said that whoever says “La Ilaha Illa Allah” as his/her last words will be led to Paradise. This is not easy for a person who has not lived “La Ilaha Illa Allah”. On the death bed, a corrupt person will not automatically utter “La Ilaha Illa Allah”. Thus, if we consider our God to be Allah (swt) and if we want to enter Paradise as Prophet Muhammad (sa) said, we have to start living “La Ilaha Illa Allah” from now only.

Our will is also a part of our preparation. Abdullah Ibn Umar (rta) has narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “If we have anything to will others and we want it to be given to others after our death, we should not allow two nights to pass without writing it down.” (Malik, Bukhari, Muslim and others) This is a part of awareness of death. Because people are unaware of death, they die and never avail the opportunity to write down any special thing they wanted done upon their burial or regarding their belongings left behind.

If we are believers in reality, we have to be amongst those who prepare for death. We cannot have in our hearts an overwhelming fear of death; instead, we have to be aware of the reality of our end and of what is to come, which should be reflected in our preparation throughout our life.

A point to contemplate concerns the Jews, who claim to be the beloved and the chosen people of Allah (swt): “Say (O Muhammad (sa)): ‘O you Jews! If you pretend that you are friends of Allah, to the exclusion of (all) other mankind, then long for death if you are truthful.’” (Al-Jumuah 62:6)

Allah (swt) commands the Jews to wish for death but they will not do so because of the evil they have committed. They know they are not really the chosen people of Allah (swt); it is only their claim. Hence, they fear death because of the evil in their hearts.

This fact shows a mirror to the Muslims – are we repeating what the Jews have done? Do not Muslims around the world harbour this fallacy that they are going to enter Paradise just because they are born Muslims and their parents are Muslims? In reality, they fear death. Sadly, we, too, have become like the Jews and the hypocrites.

May Allah (swt) enable us to adequately prepare for our death throughout our life. Ameen.

Transcribed and compiled for Hiba by Mr. Nazir-ud-Din Qureshy.

Making the Most of the First Ten Years

Making the Most of the First Ten Years

By Ambreen Salman – Writer, Translator, and Editor of a book on women health and hygiene matters

First Things to Teach

When your child starts to speak, the first thing s/he should be taught is Allah’s (swt) name. The Prophet (sa) said: “When your offspring starts speaking, teach him to recite La Illaha Illa Allah and never fear about his end. When the milk teeth are uprooted, order your child to observe prayers.” (Muslim)

It is the mother’s duty to inculcate with every drop of milk she feeds her baby the belief in one Allah (swt), devotion to the Prophet (sa) and love of the religion.

Avoid Fear

Avoid frightening your children. Fear instilled in the mind of children in the early years overshadows their mind and intellect for life and renders them incapable of achieving success in life. Make it a point not to shout at, reproach or rebuke children on trivial matters. Make an affectionate effort to train children to form good habits with devotion and good sense, instead of expressing annoyance at their mistakes. However, children should know that you will never conform to anything that is against the religion.

Affectionate Gestures

Always treat your children with affection and love. Keep them healthy by providing for their needs and requirements only by Halal means. Pat the heads of your children with tenderness, seat them in your lap, cuddle them and treat them with good humor. Do not rule over them as tyrants. Such an attitude stunts the growth of affectionate sentiments towards parents in the hearts of children, destroys their self-confidence and adversely affects the development of their inborn facilities.

Concentrate all your efforts on training and educating your children, so that such good virtues as honesty, piety, loyalty and love are harboured in them. The Prophet (sa) said: “The best gift that a father can bestow upon his son is to arrange good education and training for him.” (Mishkat)

Inculcating Prayer Habits

When children attain the age of seven years, teach them Salah and urge them to observe it regularly. Take them to the mosque with you to arouse their interest. If children neglect to observe prayers when they have reached the age of ten, administer suitable punishment through words and actions. Make it absolutely clear that you will not tolerate their evasion of performing prayers. Make it a habit to keep your children clean and neat. Keep their dress pure. However, avoid excessive adornment in dressing them up.

Accountability in Private

In order to maintain the dignity of your children, never point out their faults in public and strictly abstain from degrading or hurting their self-respect. Instead, praise them generously to boost their ego and morale. Make constant endeavor to encourage them and to foster self-confidence in them.

For inculcating in them the spirit of Islam, keep on narrating the stories of Prophets and the Sahabahs. The stories of their valour and bravery will definitely prove to be an inspiring model for them to look up to. Parents are also effective role models for their children. Your own life serves as a mute and permanent precept for your child. Children constantly learn and adopt lessons from the conduct of their parents.

Balancing a Budget – A Wife’s Predicament

Balancing a Budget – A Wife’s Predicament

By Umm Isam – Writer and human resource trainer

Maurice Baring once said: “If you want to know what the Lord thinks of money, you have only to look at those to whom He gives it.” I couldn’t help but laugh heartily. Images of many people went through my mind; I feel that most of them are undeserving of the privileges they enjoy, yet there they are rich and rolling in bucks. Who are we to say?

Now, let’s think in terms of our personal relationships and explore whether money really makes a marriage happier.

In At-Tabaqat, it is narrated that Fatimah (rta), the Prophet’s (sa) daughter, used to go hungry for days. On a particular day, Ali (rta) noticed that she looked very pale and weak. He enquired: “What is the matter with you, Fatima?” Fatimah (rta) answered: “It has been three days, and we haven’t found anything to eat in the house.” Ali (rta) asked: “Why didn’t you inform me?” She replied: “On the night of our wedding, my father, the Messenger of Allah (sa), advised me: ‘O Fatima, if Ali brings you something, eat it, and if he does not, do not ask him.’”

How many of us have had to starve for weeks? The gravest challenge that we face is living within our means. And, believe me, if we brace ourselves and our children for some sacrifice, patience, conditioning and a shift in our perception of ourselves and others, we can live within any amount of income. Try living by the following rules and experience the liberation yourself:

  1. Give yourself no option but to live within your income. Looking in all directions for aid and waiting for someone to bail you out (parents, siblings and friends) should be completely unacceptable.
  2. Take pride in your husband’s abilities and what he is able to bring to the family. If you wear a cotton outfit and your sister wears silk, it does not indicate your husband’s incapability to provide for more. Rather, cotton is what Allah (swt) has ordained for you to wear.
  3. Spend time in the company of those who are content with their provisions, rather than those who complain to death. Contentment doesn’t mean being unambitious; it means submitting to Allah’s (swt) will and being happy with it.
  4. Always remember our Prophet (sa) chose poverty over the riches of the world. There is great wisdom behind it. If you own little, you will be accountable for less.
  5. Do not choose a lifestyle that is not supported by your income. It will only cause misery and family rifts; it may also open doors to Haram (impermissible) earnings.
  6. Never befriend people who size you up by the weight of your wallet. Those who love your family will accept you the way you are.
  7. Similarly, although Islam doesn’t allow severing familial ties, you can restrict your family’s involvement with relatives, if you fear falling into Hasad (envy) or a rat race.
  8. Try to stay off TV, magazines and any public places that tempt you and your family with their hypnotizing lures.
  9. Pray to Allah (swt) for a content and peaceful heart that longs to stay happy in whatever circumstances Allah (swt) keeps it in.
  10. Lastly, a widow once shared: “Each morning, it should be enough for every wife to find her husband beside her, breathing. Many women have been deprived of this blessing as their better halves have left them alone in this journey of life.”

A Respectable Household Budget

Regardless of your monthly income, following are some fixed or varied costs that households may incur, along with suggestions to streamline expenditure and release financial hardships, Insha’Allah:


Fixed costs
Zakah This is a must. If are eligible, pay Zakah even if you have to sell some of your gold to do so.
Loan repayment To ensure future credibility, pay back your loan in installments as early as possible.
Suggestions to reduce expenses under extreme financial difficulties
House rent Consider sharing space with another married sibling or your parents (if they are independent) to divide the cost.
Home maintenance If the above is considered, maintenance cost can also be divided among family members. Otherwise, keep minimum household stuff to reduce wear and tear.
Salaries of servants Delegate home chores to each family member (including boys), without employing servants and thus saving the cost.
Grocery and eatables Shop as per need. Look out for discounts and bargains. Use local products that are cheaper. Cut down on wasteful expenditure of snacking. Cook less variety of dishes for each meal. Try making more curries.
Utility bills Make all family members understand the importance of conserving resources — electricity, water and gas. Sleep in one room to run one AC for a few hours only. Use energy saving bulbs. Use buckets instead of showers for bathing. Fix all leaking faucets and toilets. Use the geyser only in winters.
Toiletries Dilute concentrated detergents for dish washing by adding water. The same can be done for shampoos. Do not keep out entire bottles of creams, powder and lotions. Ration them according to weeks, especially if you have small children, to prevent wastage.
Schooling Choose your kids’ school for its affordability (not popularity), as schooling consumes nearly 45% of your salary. It should be close to home. Home education is a very sane and popular choice for many moms these days. You can join their network at pakistan-home-education-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. If you are unsure, try with younger kids first to gain confidence.
Fuel Try walking to get groceries or other chores close by. Cycling is also a possible alternative for kids.
Entertainment Go to places that are free of cost, such as the beach, parks and nature walks. Pack a picnic meal to save cost of food, especially beverages.
Sadaqah No matter how much costs pinch, maintain a steady payment of Sadaqah to the deserving, even if it is just Rs.10 per month. Doing so will maximize your Rizq, Insha’Allah.


Ideas for generating a support income for your family:

  1. Work from home for a few hours in a skill you have mastered. It could be catering, offering tuitions, writing for publications, computer-based skills, etc.
  2. Pool in a kitty/committee with trustworthy friends, family members, or colleagues, especially for the months in which you need to pay taxes, give children’s school fees, prepare for Eids, etc.
  3. Invest in Islamic institutions that are interest-free.

The Art of Storytelling

The Art of Storytelling

By Sabina Rizwan Khan – Freelance writer and certified Youth Trainer

I still remember the amazing stories my father used to tell me when I was a kid. He was a great storyteller, and he still is. Every night before putting me to bed, he would tell me enchanting tales. He would mention each and every detail; he would describe the ambiance from the costumes and props to the funny names of characters. He would even change his voice and act the story out for me. These are among my best childhood memories.

All human beings have an innate need to hear and tell stories and to have a story to live by. Every family has a story which defines it, distinguishes it from the rest and stands for the values transmitted. Stories of family background represent how the family has grown into what it is today, what customs have prevailed from older times and how the thinking of people has evolved over the years.

When history was not recorded, there were stories. Stories handed down from parents to children were the prime means of cultural roots. This is very important in its own way, because I believe those who are not conscious of their history are fated to repeat its mistakes. In olden days, tribal people valued the stories of their ancestors as their most cherished and precious treasure.

My father’s stories helped me learn. I count them as one of the main reasons behind my creativity and ability to pen down my feelings.

While listening to a story, our sense of hearing is involved; naturally, our imagination becomes stronger as we try to visualize environments and characters in our own way.

Stories are not merely a source of entertainment for young ones – they provide us with a sense of familiarity of the real world. Stories transmit important information, values and morals. The informal sittings of storytelling are an indirect way of family communication, where every individual participates and a lasting bond is established.

Storytelling allows children to relate to personal experiences and develop their own understanding and perceptions of the world. Stories facilitate every individual to learn something new, through which they can rediscover themselves.

Young people are inspired to ask questions, which is the very first step of learning. Stories have the strength to inculcate the right usage of words in the right context. As these contexts will be repeated in real life, learning will be reinforced for better mental development. Also, every member finds the liberty to agree or disagree with the morals and ethics of the story. This leads to intelligent debate and discussion between parents and children without any pressure to conform for the sake of agreement. Parents get to know their kids and kids get to understand the elders better.

Unfortunately, this beautiful tradition is diminishing in today’s times, where visuals have taken the place of the imaginative world. Now, children are more engrossed in television cartoons, video games and the internet, which in a way have damaged their natural imaginative capabilities. Storytelling has become an alien concept, to which many kids cannot relate any more. Even parents or elders do not have much time to engage children in such activities.

Our religion Islam is full of beautiful stories. Stories of the different Prophets have always been my favourite since childhood; I recall reading the stories of Musa (as), Yousuf (as) and Isa (as). Also, the stories of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sa) are mesmerizing and enchanting with astounding moral lessons. If parents and teachers engage in storytelling in a captivating manner, I am sure it would help our children understand their religion better.

We need to revive the lost tradition of storytelling, in order to construct in our children a better understanding of life. The love for knowledge will be awakened in the youth only when they are intellectually nurtured at the basic level, and storytelling is an essential way to engage minds towards betterment.

Parent’s Resource

A highly recommended author for children aged 9-12 years is Michael Morpurgo. This award-winning writer has served as the Children’s Laureate from 2003 to 2005, taking him all over the UK to promote literacy and reading. His stories are special because they are sensitive, thought-provoking and heart-warming. If narrated by a parent to the child at bedtime, they can work wonders in helping children understand the realities of life and how to tackle them. They also provide excellent topics of discussion between a child and a parent, offering unique bonding opportunity

Generous! Oh Really?

A Loser’s Gain

By Abdul Malik Mujahid – General Manager, Darussalam

Muan Ibn Zaida was a very wealthy man during the period of the Ummayads. He was also very well-known for his generosity. When the Abbasids took over from the Ummayads, he was forced to go into hiding. The following incident happened, while he was in hiding.

He was on his way out of Baghdad in disguise, when he realized that a man was following him. That man pursued him and caught up with him in a deserted area outside the city. He took hold of the camel’s reins and forced himself on its back. Once he was on the camel, he grabbed Muan with a knife in his hand.

Muan pleaded: “Why have you grabbed me? What do you want?” The man replied: “You are Muan! Ameer ul-Mumineen Mansoor is looking for you.”

Muan pretended to be surprised: “Me? Muan? You must be mistaken. I am an ordinary man.” The man snapped: “Don’t try to be smart. I know you very well, and you can’t run away. See my knife?” Muan begged him to let him go, but to no avail. Finally, he took out an expensive necklace from one of his concealed pockets and said: “What will Mansoor give you when you take me to him? This necklace is much more valuable than any prize he will give you. Take this and let me go.”

The man took the necklace and examined it. Then, he declared: “It does seem that this necklace is very expensive. However, I will not take it.” Muan asked: “Why?” He shook his head and said: “Let me ask you a few questions. If you answer correctly, I will let you go.” Muan agreed: “Ok, what do you want to know?”

The man asked: “You are known to be very generous. Have you ever given your entire wealth in charity?” Muan replied: “No, that has never happened.” The man asked: “Have you ever given half of your wealth in charity?” Muan answered: “No.” The man queried: “How about one-third?” Muan said: “No.” The man kept on decreasing the amount till it came to one-tenth. At that point, Muan was so frustrated that to shut him up, he said yes, he has given one-tenth of his wealth in charity. However, he was also feeling extremely ashamed of himself: he was known to be extremely generous but had not even given half of his wealth in charity.

The man continued: “This is nothing to be proud of. Listen, I am an ordinary man. I don’t own horses; I do not have piles of Dinars and Dirhams. I get twenty Dirhams from Caliph Mansoor on a monthly basis. Without doubt, the necklace you have given me is worth around twenty thousand Dirhams.” Saying this, he returned the necklace. “I spare your life and your necklace. I will not hand you over to Caliph Mansoor. This is only because you are known to be generous. Remember: never be proud of the fact that you are charitable. This is because there are people who are more benevolent than you. Consider your charity to be ordinary, regardless of the amount you give. Also, never abandon your generosity.” With that, he got off the camel and started to walk away.

Muan called him back: “You have drowned me in a sea of embarrassment. It would have been easier to get killed, rather than listen to what you have just said. Take this necklace.” The man laughed: “Do you want me to go back on my word? By Allah, I will not take this necklace. I will not seek the reward for my good deed in this world.” Taking huge steps, he went away.

Muan later admitted: “I always remembered that man and his wisdom. When Caliph Mansoor pardoned me and I recovered my wealth, I searched for him to repay him in kind. However, I was unable to locate him. In any case, I remembered his Ihsan to me that day, especially his Naseehah that I should remember that there are people who are more generous than me.”

Adapted (with permission) from Sunehray Huroof published by Darussalam. Translated and compiled for Hiba by Umm Ibrahim.

Murder Most Casual

Murder Most Casual

By Sumaiya Saleem

“Mommy!” I looked up at the two-year-old, who was standing on the threshold; he was simply adorable, with his unruly black hair, deep blue eyes and red lips, which were now trembling, as if he was trying hard not to cry. A closer look made me gasp in horror: his eyes were bright with unshed tears and one of his arms was missing. His shoulder was bloody, indicating that someone had ripped off his arm. He was no more than a baby: who could have been cruel and heartless enough to treat him like this?

As I was gazing at him, a clamp appeared out of nowhere; it seized his other arm and began tugging ruthlessly. Tears spilled down the child’s face, as his blood began to flow down his shirt, dripping to the floor in silent drops. Suddenly, there was a ripping sound, and his other arm was torn away as well. Both limbs lay on the floor in a bloody mess, and I couldn’t take my eyes off them. The clamp re-appeared, and, this time, took hold of his leg. I rushed forward to save him, but it seemed as if an invisible force was pushing me back. One by one, his other body parts were ripped apart, resulting in a heap of blood-soaked limbs and pieces of flesh lying on the floor, until only the face was left.

“Who did this to you baby?” I asked, tears pouring down my face, as I struggled to go close to him. The child uttered a soft sigh before replying sadly: “You did, Mommy!” Just then, his head was crushed by a blow to the skull. I started screaming hysterically, as the impact of his final words struck me.

My own screams jerked me awake; I opened my eyes to see everyone staring at me in surprise and disapproval at creating such a scene in a clinic. I swiveled my head to stare at the walls that had been spattered with blood in my dreams: they were clean now, and there was no sign of any of the horrors I had witnessed. “It was just a dream,” I consoled myself.

Ten minutes later, I was being ushered into Dr. Khan’s room; it was my second appointment, so I was at ease with her. Sitting down, my first request to the doctor was to describe the procedure I would have to undergo for the abortion. I had been affected by my nightmare, and it was an almost desperate attempt on my part to convince myself that I wasn’t doing anything wrong.

To my surprise, the doctor seemed strangely reluctant to explain, and it was only after a lot of persuasion that she proceeded to inform me that since I was already five months pregnant, she would be performing a dilation and evacuation procedure on me. It included sucking the amniotic fluid out of my body and then extracting the fetus with the help of a clamp. “Do you use a clamp?” I whispered, and when she nodded in affirmation, all the blood drained from my face. “We do require a clamp because we cannot extract the entire fetus in one part. We have to detach its limbs before the evacuation procedure. But don’t worry, Mrs. Ahmed, according to all the research I have done, the fetus doesn’t register the pain.”

“You’re planning to rip apart my baby and you have the nerve to tell me you don’t think it will hurt?” I demanded furiously.

“Pardon me, Mrs. Ahmed – I was under the impression that it was your decision to have your baby aborted,” she replied.

“I didn’t know. I never imagined it would be this terrible, this cruel,” I whispered.

“What did you think it would be? Do you think it’s easy to extract a live human being from the uterus, where it’s clinging, and not harm it in the process? It’s not easy for me either, you know. But it’s my job, and I only perform this operation when I get a request from the parents. I did tell you that you were too far along and it was unadvisable to have an abortion at this stage, but you insisted.” The doctor’s words, uttered in an icy tone, froze me in my tracks. I was quite willing to put the blame on her and had forgotten who had set the ball rolling in the first place.

I was the child’s mother. I was supposed to protect him. It was my blood the baby was thriving on. This child was the flesh of my flesh, and I had carried it beneath my heart for five months. If I could so callously decide to tear it from my womb and discard it like rubbish, how could the doctor pity me? “Maybe you need time to think it over,” Dr. Khan suggested in a softer tone, but I was disgusted at the idea of thinking over whether or not I wanted to kill my child.

Fifteen minutes later, I was home. The ride had passed in a blur, as I stared out of the window, unconsciously wiping away the tears that were rolling down my face. The fact that I had not known of the exact procedure did not absolve me of guilt. I should have asked for more information before taking such a momentous decision. However, I was so worried about my life being disrupted by an unplanned pregnancy that I had never thought of the being in my body as a living entity, a part of both me and my husband. I had viewed it merely as an inconvenience. My dream had opened my eyes to the realization that my womb held not just a lifeless clump of cells but a baby, who might have inherited my black curls and my husband’s dimple.

“Mommy, I is here,” the baby announced, and I turned to the door with a welcoming smile on my lips, throwing out my arms so that Ammar could run into them. I held him close, smelling the clean baby scent of him; it had been almost two years since my visit to Dr. Khan and my decision not to abort my child. Now, he was eighteen months old, a laughing child with ebony curls, flashing blue eyes, the cutest dimple and the ability to wind me around his little finger. He was the exact replica of the baby I had seen in my dream; as I listened to his gurgles and baby talk, I shuddered to think what might have happened, if I had not had that nightmare. It was Allah’s (swt) blessing that my son was here and not in a heap of bloody limbs in some gutter.

Every night since that horrific vision, I had thanked Allah (swt) that he had saved me from the Kabira (major) sin of killing my own child. The Ayat of the Quran flashed in my mind:

“And kill not your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them and for you. Surely, the killing of them is a great sin.” (Al-Isra 17:31)

Mother Teresa had once remarked: “In every abortion, there are two victims: a dead baby and a dead conscience.” I had been saved from murdering both my baby and my conscience.

Romance in Islam

Romance in Islam

By Shaikh Abdur-Raheem Green

Why do we find the subject of romance fascinating? The reasons are psychological, biological and cultural. As humans, we move towards pleasure. We tend to escape pain. We are looking for certainty in life. However, sometimes we are in search of variety to avoid boredom, too. We all wish to be significant in some way, and we all are in the quest to find true love. Romance encompasses all the six aforementioned needs, which humans wish to fulfill in varied degrees.

Allah (swt) gifted Islam to us in order to fulfill our needs. Our beautiful Deen recognizes and understands our innate nature. Unlike Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and some sects of Judaism, Islam is not monastic. Marriage is a confirmed Sunnah of the Prophet (sa), and he has declared it to be half of our faith. Marriage is the means to fulfill our desire to love and be physically intimate in a permissible manner. And if we follow the Sunnah, romancing our spouse becomes a means of worship, too.

The problem has occurred as we have moved away from the real teachings. In Asian communities, culture is infused in the minds of many. Thus, it has affected our understanding of marriage and romance. We are exposed to western cultural values like never before. Western culture today is based on capitalism, materialism, secularism and consumerism. Their way of dealing with people is to create desires in them to follow their passions and encourage them to buy. They appeal to the biological/psychological need of their consumers, as they believe that sex sells. Naturally, the end product is nudity and immorality. They call it love and romance. However, in reality, the dimensions and nature of romance are linked to the Hollywood and Bollywood culture.

Today, many Muslim lands are not occupied physically, but their minds have been occupied psychologically. This is the worst form of occupation – it is called mind control. This is how we have gone astray and this is how we have become extremely unhappy. In Islam, romance is embedded within marriage. When marriages fail, societies crumble. What we saw in the UK riots in 2011 were disturbed youth hailing from loveless homes. They were greedy for Duniya because their souls were hollow. Their parents’ marriages had not worked out, and, hence, they were deprived of familial upbringing and belonging.

Culturally, some common ills are marriages based on duty, loveless marriages, children not being able to relate to the ideals of the marriages of older generations, mental coercion by parents to marry cousins or relatives, marriages to mates who are physically unattractive, forced marriages, etc. (A forced marriage is invalid in the Shariah in any case. Mutual consent of both partners is a pre-requisite for a Nikah to be valid.)

The West has been through a similar myriad of issues, and, hence, they evolved romantic idealism. Early Europe was pre-dominantly Christian, but their faulty approach to marriages forced them to find love outside Halal relationships. This is how fantasy stories like Romeo and Juliet were born. This is how romantic poetries, plays, movies and songs came into being.

Shaitan attacks through Shahwat (desires) and Shubuhat (doubts). When Shaitan discovered this void in married relations, he filled it with extremism. In some cases, he converted people towards monasticism, which means to become cold fish and have no sex. Naturally, that would square marriages and societies. On the other extreme, he led them to become obsessed and envious, form romantic liaisons and behave like Casanovas. Whenever an imbalance is created, Shaitan wins. And Islam exhorts to tread only the middle path.

Today, what should be encouraged is not paid attention to – for example, early marriages. Quite often, parents themselves are the problem. They wait so long for their kid’s education to finish that appropriate suitors are not interested anymore. Doors are left wide open for dating, inter-mixing, non-observance of Hijab and segregation, physical touching, even if that means casual handshakes (human touch is where sexual desires arise), roaming gazes, casual sex, fornication, etc.

Haste is from Shaitan, except in terms of arranging marriages for your daughters. The Prophet (sa) stated: “If somebody comes to you, and you are pleased with his character and religion, marry him. If you do not, there will be discord on earth and widespread corruption.” (Ibn Majah)

Another aspect is that men and women have been created differently on purpose. Every husband and wife should understand each other’s basic behaviour, especially for marriages to prosper. For instance, when women talk out their troubles, they do not necessarily seek solutions. They want to receive empathy/ sympathy. But when men discuss their problems, they are searching for solutions.

The Prophet (sa) was beyond par excellence in understanding the intrinsic nature of his wives. In order to benefit the Ummah (especially women, who were widowed, divorced or left single), he exercised polygamy and encouraged multiple spouses for others, if one could do justice among them, as he did. All nine wives were immensely in love with him, as he treated them all uniquely.

When he entered his home, he didn’t treat his wives like slaves. Instead, he happily served them as well as his other family members. He would milk the goats, mend his clothes and help clean the house. While travelling for an expedition, as he realized how monotonous and long the journeys were back then, he would go up to his wife’s Hodaw (carriers on camels) for a chit chat. Twice he asked the caravan to march forward, just to be alone with Aisha (rta) for racing with her out of play and fun. He would take Ghusl with her in the same bath tub and drink from the spot of cup, where she had drunk from. When her father Abu Bakr (rta) once raised his hand on Aisha (rta), because she was arguing with the Prophet (sa), he intervened and playfully reminded her about it later, when they were alone.

The Messenger of Allah (sa) cared for his spouses’ emotional well-being with gentleness and kindness. He approved of physical attraction and the closeness it generated. Hence, they all loved him dearly, willing to make any kind of sacrifices. However, he did not surrender where the Shariah or materialistic issues were under consideration. Today, many couples make a grave mistake – they ignore the aspects of physical intimacy and emotional empathy; instead, they try to please each other with Haram substitutes and materialistic endeavours that are not sustainable. Hence, romance dies.

Even after Prophet’s (sa) very first soul mate Khadijah (rta) was long gone, he would reminisce about her. This is true love that transcends time, a deep romance between the most remarkable man in history who changed the fate of the world, and his loving companion who stood by him like a rock, and the memories of which never evaded the Messenger (sa) as long as he lived.

Transcribed from a Lectureshop organized by Live Deen; compiled for hiba by Rana Rais Khan.