The Wedding Night


The wedding night marks the beginning of a whole new kind of relationship deeper and more personal than any other relationship one will ever have, entailing a deluge of unique experiences and considerations.

Between a husband and wife, nothing remains hidden. There are no veils and no barriers, and no shameful parts. How could there be, when the husband is a garment for his wife and she for him? They are to seek comfort and tranquility in one another.

They will be able to enjoy what has always been forbidden to them. This new permissibility is a realization for the husband that this person is his wife, life-partner, and mother of his children. Consequently, his new bride deserves to be treated with the utmost care, consideration, and sensitivity from the very first moment. Therefore, the wedding night should be a night filled with tenderness, intimacy, affection, and joy. In that night, the husband should be seeking to establish ties of love and affection with his wife and placate her worries and fears about the new life she has just embarked upon, so as to ultimately feel secure and at peace with him.

Alhumdullilah, as with all aspects of life, Islam provides us with simple guidelines, which make this event meaningful and blessed for the couple.

The final disposition of things is for those of pious practice, as the Lord of the Worlds said: “As to the Righteous, they shall be amidst (cool) shades and springs (of water). And (they shall have) fruits, – all they desire. ‘Eat and drink to your heart’s content: for that which you worked (for righteousness).’ Thus do We certainly reward the Doers of Good.” (Al-Mursalat 77:41-44)

Kindness toward your wife, when you wish to enter her chamber

When one goes into his wife’s chamber on the wedding night, it is desirable to show her kindness, such as presenting her with something to drink, etc. This is found in the Hadeeth narrated by Asma’ bint Yazid Ibn As-Sakan, who said: “I beautified Aisha (rta) for Allah’s Messenger (sa), then called him to come to see her unveiled. He came, sat next to her, and brought a large cup of milk, from which he drank. Then, he offered it to Aisha (rta), but she lowered her head and felt shy. I scolded her and said to her: ‘Take from the hand of the Prophet (sa).’ She then took it and drank some. Then, the Prophet (sa) said to her: ‘Give some to your companion.’ At that point, I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah (sa), rather take it yourself and drink, and then give it to me from your hand.’ He took it, drank some, and then offered it to me. I sat down and put it on my knees. Then, I began rotating it and following it with my lips, in order that I might hit the spot from which the Prophet (sa) had drunk. Then, the Prophet (sa) said about some women, who were there with me: ‘Give them some.’ But, they said: ‘We don’t want it.’ (i.e., we are not hungry). The Prophet (sa) said: ‘Do not combine hunger and fibbing!’ (Ahmad)

The husband should place his hand upon his wife’s head and offer a supplication for her

At the time of consummating the marriage with his wife or before that the husband should, place his hand on the front part of her head and mention the name of Allah (swt) Most High, and pray for Allah’s (swt) blessings. As in the statement of the Prophet: “When any of you marries a woman … he should hold her forelock, mention Allah (swt) Most High, and pray for His blessings saying: “O Allah (swt), I ask You for the good in her and the good with which You have created her, and I seek refuge in You from the evil in her and the evil with which You have created her.'” (Bukhari)

The husband and wife should offer two units of prayer together

This is an established practice of the pious predecessors, as related in the following narration: On the authority of Shaqeeq who said: “A man named Abu Hareez came and said: ‘I have married a young girl, and I am afraid that she will despise me.’ ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood said to him: ‘Verily, closeness is from Allah (swt), and hatred is from Shaitan, who wishes to make despicable that which Allah (swt) has allowed. So, when your wife comes to you, tell her to pray behind you 2 Rakat.'” In another version of the same story, “‘Abdullah went on to say: ‘And say: ‘O Allah (swt), give Your blessings on me in my wife, and to her in me. O Allah (swt), join us together as long as You join us in good, and split us apart, if You send to us that which is better.'” (Ibn Abi Shaibah and at-Tabarani and ‘Abdur-Razzaq: Saheeh)

Before cohabitation with one’s wife or husband, it is desirable to mention the name of Allah (swt)

When a Muslim man is about to enter his wife, he should always say first: “In the name of Allah (swt), O Allah (swt), keep us away from the devil, and keep the devil away from that which You may grant us (i.e., offspring).”

About this the Prophet (sa) said: “After that, if Allah (swt) decrees that they will have a child, the devil will never be able to harm that child.” (Bukhari)

What the husband should do the morning after his wedding night

The following morning, it is desirable for the husband to visit those relatives, who came and visited him to greet and pray for him and his bride. It is also desirable for them to do likewise for him, according to the following Hadeeth narrated by Anas (rta): “The Messenger of Allah (sa) gave a feast on the morning of his wedding night with Zainab (rta), at which he fed the Muslims to satisfaction on bread and meat. Then, he went out to the Mothers of the Believers (i.e., to his other wives), gave them greetings, and prayed for them, which they returned in kind. This is what he used to do on the morning after a wedding night.” (Ibn Sa’d and An-Nasai)

The prohibition of spreading bedroom secrets

It is forbidden for either the husband or the wife to spread any of the secrets of their bedroom or private relations to anyone outside. The following Hadeeth is about this: “The worst in position of all people in the estimation of Allah (swt) on the Day of Resurrection will be the man, who cohabits with his wife, or the woman, who cohabits with her husband, then either of them divulges the secret of his mate.” (Muslim)

Adopting the Right Approach

Vol 4 - Issue 4 Adopting the Right approachLove is one of the noblest and most uncomplicated emotions mankind has been gifted with, because it comes straight from the heart. It transcends many barriers and alters our misguided thinking that true love and affection for a child comes only through the umbilical cord.

The whole process of adoption involves an emotional challenge to the parents giving up their child, those adopting and, of course, the child himself. It is a mixture of fear, anxiety, anticipation and joy.

The first hurdle faced by adopting parents is the unawareness of the Islamic concept of adoption and the places from where they can adopt. After the adopting parents undergo a long emotional wait, the couple finally adopts a child and brings him home. They are eager to start their long loving relationship; however, more challenges are yet to come. Certain factors hamper the relationship between an adopted child and his foster parents – abuse and neglect towards the child from the parents’ relatives and the public, the child’s battles with a hereditary illness or abnormality and, hence, difficulties finding playmates of his age who would accept him. Once the child grows up and realizes that he is adopted, he might undergo a trauma of feeling that his identity is challenged. Adoptive parents are sometimes emotionally shattered when the child expresses the desire to reunite with his biological parents. Another factor that strains the relationship between the adopted children and their parents is the birth of biological children. Due to this, many parents and adopted children stand helpless in failing relationships, not knowing what to do.

Solutions to such problems exist. Some parents seek the help of counseling, while others deal with these problems naturally, just as any regular parents would with their own biological children. One must not become paranoid. Instead, remember that many problems adopted kids experience have nothing to do with the fact of adoption. Rather, it is probably due to their inborn nature, temperament or heredity.

I am, Alhumdulillah, myself a proud mother of an adopted baby. He is still too small to face the challenges I have mentioned. However, it is in human nature to be anxious about the future. The following observations have helped me prepare myself and will, Insha’Allah, help also others (who have taken on or are considering adoption) to deal with such challenges, when the time comes.

The adoptive parents and children must learn to regard each other as their own children and parents. They must know that even though they are not related biologically, they can get connected strongly through love and affection.

Their relationship must be based on trust. It is strongly suggested that the adoptive parents tell their children the truth about their adoption.They should break the news in such a way that their children understand and are not hurt. This must be done at an age, when the child will understand what he is being told.

The strength in our relationship with our children emanates from communication that is open and free. Every opportunity to discuss adoption, the child’s roots and his feelings about being adopted should be taken at the appropriate time.

The child should be discouraged from holding ill feelings towards his natural parents for abandoning him (if that was the case). Rather, encourage the child to forgive and make Dua for them, wherever they may be.

Treat every obstacle as a trial from Allah (swt). Deal with it positively seeking Allah’s (swt) help at all times and making lots of Dua.

If the biological parents appear and claim their child, be prepared to return the child to them, as Islamically it is their right. Be grateful that Allah (swt) let you experience the joy for a short while.

Always go the straight way as far as possible. Do not make a fake birth certificate / documents of the child or do anything else that is illegal. Give the child his own name, if he has one, as that is his birth right.

The adoptive parents should ward off the negative remarks towards their children and must assure them that they are always there to love them.

The relationship between the adopted children and their parents may be strained by the appearance of the biological children. Children will often feel insecure or neglected by the birth of a baby to their parents. An easy method for solving these troubles in the relationship is an open talk. Parents must explain to their adopted children that the newborn baby is their brother or sister. They must treat both children equally, as far as the Islamic law permits (for example, they cannot give the adopted child their name nor a part of the inheritance; rather, they may give him / her one third of their property at the most as a gift before their death) and encourage their relatives or friends to treat them the same.

Although they will always be special, never treat them any different than you would your own biological child. Do not spoil them or pity them excessively. Doing this may result in the child becoming overly conscious of his position, and he may take advantage by becoming spoilt or rebellious.

The adopted children and their parents must realize that their relationship is the most special addition to their lives. This understanding will eliminate the pain that some adopted children and their parents may experience at some point in their lives.

Lastly, as with all problems we face even while raising our own biological children, the greatest help and support during rough times comes from Allah (swt). Therefore, we constantly need to turn to Allah (swt) for help and guidance. Insha’Allah, Allah (swt) will make the experience of taking a little one into our homes pleasurable and rewarding!

Etiquette of Proposing

Vol 4-Issue 3 Etiquettes of Proposing

Seeking marriage is highly recommended in Islam. Having taken the decision to marry, the hunt for a potential spouse begins. With the help of relatives, friends and at times matrimonial services the task becomes faster and easier.

However, while looking for a potential mate, one must remember that this cannot be done at the expense of the Islamic rules pertaining to modesty and respect between the sexes. Therefore, proper Islamic guidelines must be followed.

Firstly, one must be sure of the reason why they want to take this step. It should be based on the Islamic perspective, i.e., the Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (sa).

Secondly, it is important to be clear of what you are looking for in a spouse. The Quran enjoins Muslims to select partners, who are good and pure.

“Good statements are for good people (or good women for good men) and good people for good statements (or good men for good women).” (An-Nur 24:26)

According to sound Hadeeth: “Men choose women for four reasons: for their money, for their rank, for their beauty and for their religion, but marry one who is religious and you will succeed.” (Bukhari) This, of course, applies to women as well. If we want to have healthy Muslim families, then Deen has to be the priority. After this we may consider our personal preference, since attraction is necessary for the success of a marriage. This includes social status, appearance, age, etc.

Thirdly, one should use the help of others: especially parents, relatives, an Imam or respected and trustworthy members of the Muslim community. They will not only be your reference, but will, Insha’Allah, suggest individuals as prospective spouses, thoroughly screen and check proposals, call references and initiate and participate in the communication process.

Remember, however, that the final decision is yours.

While backbiting is generally forbidden in Islam, marriage investigations are an exception to this rule. The people you ask may know something about your prospective spouse. If they reveal this information, they would not be backbiting from the Islamic perspective. In fact, in the case of seeking marriage, complete information should be given about an individual, both good and bad.

Fourth, after due consideration of the available possibilities and the decision to propose marriage to one of them, the man should pray two Rakahs followed by the supplication of Istikharah. Next, he may initiate the Khitbah – the request to marry a particular woman and the expression of that desire to her or her guardian.

Often, the first meeting occurs between the women or men of the two families, in which the man conveys his wish to marry. At this point, one may pause to allow the woman and her guardian to do Istikharah and decide whether to pursue the matter further. Once there is a primary agreement between the two parties, the would-be-spouses are allowed to see each other for matrimonial purposes under the direct supervision of their Mahram relatives. This provision is expected to be conceived and executed with piety and modesty. It is not permissible for a man to see a potential wife without Hijab, since he is not her Mahram, seeing her face and hands is enough to determine physical attraction.

“When one of you asked a woman in marriage, if he is able to look at what will induce him to marry her, he should do so.” (Abu Dawood) This means the two potential spouses can look at each other but not ogle or stare.

“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 is All-Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts) and not to show off their adornment except that which is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands or one eye or dress like veil, gloves, head-cover, apron, etc.) and to draw their veils all over Juyubihinna (i.e., their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms)…” (An-Nur 24:30-31)

Fifth, when meeting a prospective mate, one should not meet alone. “Not one of you should meet a woman alone, unless she is accompanied by a relative within the prohibited degrees.” (Bukhari)

The two cannot be in a situation, where no one else can see or hear them. Instead, a discreet, chaperoned meeting should be set up. Meetings between prospective spouses must not last for an extremely long time, like being away most of the day to meet this person. There should be an allotted time for the two to meet and talk.

When talking to each other, one must remain within the Islamic guidelines, thus, being to the point and being businesslike (no flirtatious speech or of a sexual nature). One must be honest with regards to their credentials, background and other pertinent details about their personal lives.

Some of the topics to discuss can include each other’s interests, financial situation of the man, level of Islamic knowledge and practice, future career and education plans, home making skills, where the couple will live right after marriage and the two potential spouses’ relationships with their parents.

Finally, one should take their time before making hasty decisions. More time must be given to checking facts and references. There should be a firm and clear intention of either pursuing marriage, or if proven incompatible, a quick end to the relationship. This ensures that both sides would be safe from transgressing the boundaries of Islam. However, once a promise of marriage is made, it should be fulfilled, unless there is a valid reason for withdrawing it.

May Allah (swt) accept our sincere efforts in this regard, and may we always keep in mind that even if things do not work out, our having made Istikharah means that we have now left it to the will of Allah (swt) and we should be pleased with what He wills and never be disheartened.


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)

The Evil Eye – Fact not Fiction

Vol 3- Issue 4 The Evil eyeThe venomous glance, not alien to our society, is the evil eye (Nazr). It is centered on the belief that jealousy or praise can inflict misfortune. It is this very fear that causes many of us to go to great lengths for shielding ourselves and our children from its wrath. But how real is the threat of the evil eye? Is it an old wives’ tale? Superstition?

Belief in the evil eye is ancient. Reference to the evil eye is found on Babylonian clay tablets, the writings of Greeks and Romans, and in the Bible and Talmud. In Arabic, the evil eye is known as Al Ayn or Ayn Hasooda, but in Turkish – Nazar. In the United States and England, the evil eye is usually referred to as ‘overlooking.’

The concept of the evil eye is an established fact in Islam, thus, one should neither reject it nor consider it to be an erroneous impression or figment of imagination.

Abd Allah ibn Abbas (rta) reports that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “The influence of an evil eye is a fact. If anything would precede the destiny, it would be the influence of an evil eye. And when you are asked to take a bath (for curing purposes), then you should take a bath.” (Muslim)

The concept and reality of the evil eye (Nazar) in Islam can also be understood from the advice given by Prophet Yaqub (as) to his sons, when they intended to enter Egypt: “O my sons! Do not enter by one gate, but enter by different gates, and I cannot avail you against Allah at all. Verily, the decision rests only with Allah. In Him, I put my trust and let all those that trust, put their trust in Him.” (Yusuf 12:67)
The majority of commentators of the Holy Quran explain that the reason, why Prophet Yaqub (as) advised his sons to enter by different gates and not one, was that they were all young, handsome, and healthy. He feared that when people would come to know that they all were brothers and sons of one father, they may become jealous; hence, there was the possibility of them being affected by Nazar.
The reality of Nazar is such that when one looks at something beautiful and is envious, Allah (swt) creates some sort of harm in that particular thing.

Measures to ward off the evil eye vary from culture to culture. For protecting the offspring, common in our society is the lining of black Kohl around the child’s eyes or putting a black spot on the child’s body. Peasant mothers spit in the faces of their children or dirty them with soil, in order to diminish the effects of the evil eye or flattery.  Popular, however, is making the children wear black threads, beads, amulets, talismans, and charms.

The use of protective amulets and charms is forbidden in Islam, because it is considered a form of Shirk (idolatry). As long as one, who wears a charm, believes that it will avert evil and bring good fortune, he has given this charm the power to cancel what Allah (swt) has already destined. Eventually, he will depend on it instead of Allah (swt).

Instead, Islam teaches Muslims to seek refuge and protection with Allah (swt) from the evils of envy. Besides the phrase Masha’aAllah wa la Kuwata illa Billah (whatever Allah wishes, and there is no power except with Allah), which protects from the envy of others, there are various supplications for warding off the effects of the evil eye.
Abu Said Al-Khudri (rta) said: “The Messenger of Allah used to seek refuge from the devil-Jins and the evil eye of the human being until the Muawwadhatayn (Al-Falaq and Al-Naas) were revealed. When they were revealed, he took them and left the other forms of supplications.” (Tirmidhi)

It has been reported by Ibn Sunni on the authority of Sahl ibn Hunayf who said: “The Messenger of Allah, when he used to fear of anything being afflicted with his eye, he used to say ‘Allah uma Barik fihi,’ and it did not harm anything.” (Nawawi)

Ibn Abbaas (rta) said: “The Prophet (sa) used to seek refuge with Allah for Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn (rta). He said: ‘Your father [i.e., Ibrahim (as)] used to seek refuge with Allah (swt) for Ismail and Ishaq (rta) with these words: Aodhu bi kalimat Allah Al-tammah min kulli shaytanin wa hammah wa min kulli ‘aynin lammah (I seek refuge in the perfect words of Allah from every devil and every poisonous reptile, and from every bad eye).'”(Bukhari)

In the event of affliction by the evil eye, one should use the treatments recommended in Shariah. One of them is Ruqyah (spiritual healing). It consists of words said or written in the form of Dua or Dhikr for the purpose of protection or cure. It is sometimes accompanied with other actions, such as blowing or wiping over the thing to which it is applied.

The Prophet (sa) said: “There is no Ruqyah except in the case of the evil eye or fever.” (Tirmidhi) Jibreel used to do Ruqyah for the Prophet (sa) and say: “Bismillahi arqeeka min kulli shayin yudheeka, min sharri kulli nafsin aw aynin hasid Allah u yashfeek, bismillahi arqeek (in the name of Allah I perform Ruqyah for you, from everything that is harming you, from the evil of every soul or envious eye; may Allah heal you, in the name of Allah I perform Ruqyah for you).”

Secondly, if it is known or suspected that a person has been afflicted by the evil eye; it was narrated that Aisha (rta) said: “The man, who casts the evil eye, would be commanded to do Wudhu, and then the man, who was affected, would wash himself with (the water).” (Abu Dawood)

Prevention is better than cure. The evil eye is like an arrow, which comes from the soul of the one, who feels envy, towards the one, who is envied – sometimes it hits him and sometimes not. If the target is exposed and unprotected, it will be affected, but if the target is cautious and armed, the arrow will have no effect and may even come back on the one, who struck it. These are some of the Duas and treatments, which offer protection – by Allah’s (swt) leave – from the evil eye and from destructive envy (Hasad). We ask Allah (swt) for His protection. Allah (swt) knows best.

Imam Bukhari

Vol 3- Issue 3 Iman BukhariAs a child, he had memorized over seventy thousand Ahadeeth without the aid of pen or paper; such was the fame of the young Imam Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Ismail Al-Bukhari.

Allah (swt) had blessed him with an amazing memory; the greatest evidence of this is his book of Ahadeeth an-Nabawi, commonly known as Sahih Al-Bukhari. It is universally acknowledged as the most authentic book after the Holy Quran.

Born in Bukhara (present day Uzbekistan), his father passed away during his infancy. Imam Bukhari became blind at a young age; it was his mother’s entreaties to Allah (swt), which led to the restoration of his eyesight. She then set him in the direction of attaining knowledge, which would benefit him and the rest of the world even today.

After acquiring his elementary education at the age of ten, Al-Bukhari obtained admission in the Hadeeth class of Bukhara. A year later, he had such a good retention of the text and chains of transmission of Ahadeeth that sometimes teachers got their corrections from him!

At the age of sixteen, he had memorized the books of learned companions of Imam Abu Haneefah. Then at eighteen, he visited Makkah for further education and later travelled to cities far and wide for the transmission of Ahadeeth. He gained immense knowledge.

Hashid ibn Ismail states: “Imam Bukhari used to go with us to the scholars of Basra to listen to Ahadeeth. All of us used to write Ahadeeth down, except Imam Bukhari. After sixteen days, we thought about it and we condemned Imam Bukhari saying that he had wasted so many days work by not writing down Ahadeeth. Imam Bukhari asked us to bring our notes to him. So we all brought our notes, upon which Imam Bukhari began to read Ahadeeth one by one from the top of his head, until he narrated to us more than fifteen thousand! Hearing these, it seemed that Imam Bukhari was re-teaching us all of the Ahadeeth we had noted.”

His own students bore witness that Al-Bukhari would wake up around twenty times every night to mark Ahadeeth. Furthermore, he would perform Salaat-ul-Istikara before recording each Hadeeth.

People would flock to the Masjid in Basra to learn from this Sheikh, who was often found in humble prayer. Yet, he remained a simple and hard working person. He fulfilled his needs himself and even laid bricks to construct an inn near Bukhara, hoping that: “On the Day of Judgment, this act will be of benefit to me.”

Imam Bukhari’s generosity extended beyond sharing knowledge. He often gave vast sums of money as Sadaqah and would spend his entire month’s earnings on his students.  He also avoided backbiting and suspicion and once said: “I am hopeful that when I meet my Lord, He will not take account of me because I never backbite.”

Imam Bukhari died on the night of Eid-ul-Fitr 256 AH. He was around 62 years old. A scholar, worshipper, and a prosperous man, he always feared Allah and shone with the love of the Messenger (sa). From Salah to fasting, the Muslim Ummah realizes, how indebted it is to Imam Bukhari for furnishing us with the necessary details of going about our daily acts of worship. He compiled and circulated the Ahadeeth of the Prophet (sa) wherever possible and Allah (swt) spread his status to every corner of the world.

How to Raise a Reader

Vol 2 -Issue 4 How to Raise a readerNot all of us were raised in a house full of books; many of us never began reading early and constantly. Now that we have children of our own, we sometimes worry, whether they will turn out to be good readers.

The best you can do is pave the way for your child to developing love for language and books. The following are a few tips you can follow to improve your child’s interest in reading.

Let your child see you read

There should be role models, who read in the home. Parents, who read, are likely to have children, who read. We should not make the child feel that reading is exclusively a school activity. By setting aside time to read books and letting your child see you read, you subtly inform your child that reading is important.

Share information from your own reading

Children, who read on their own, are not always aware of the informative purpose of the written word. Adults read primarily for information. Prepare your child by sharing information from your own reading. Encourage children to share information from their own reading.

Read aloud

Reading aloud provides time for parents and children to experience the written word together. It focuses your children’s attention on language, providing vital comprehension skills that your children will use in school and beyond. Read with expression, involvement, active questioning, and eye contact. You may read one line and ask the child to read out the next.

Read the newspaper as a family

If you have little time to read to your family, the newspaper can be a lifesaver. Make comments of your own and ask your child to comment from what he has read in the children’s section. Oral commentary encourages children to read actively, and they can retain and appreciate what they read.

Encourage intra-generational reading

Having children read to children benefits the reader, the listener, and you. It teaches children to read with articulation and expression. Hearing their siblings succeed at reading motivates the younger ones to read themselves.

Talk about family members’ reading choices

If you are reading something, talk about it. It does not matter, if your children are too young to read it themselves. It is enough for them to know you enjoy reading, it interests you, and you care enough to share your interests with them.

Act out favorite scenes as a family

Break off after an action packed scene and try on the roles yourselves. Choose a simple scene, assign roles, brainstorm to recall what happened first, second and third in the scene, act it out with movement and dialogue, following with discussion.

Recommend beloved books

Share your enthusiasm for a book with your child. Don’t be disappointed, if your child does not share your passion for a particular author or book. Just the implication that you, also, once were a child with a child’s abilities and interests may open new avenues of communication between you and your child.

Keep reading materials in your home

When reading at home, accessibility is important. Children should not take reading as something that only occurs at school. If you have books at home, you will never have trouble finding a story to read at bedtime. Establish a reference library for school reports.

Take books with you, wherever you go

Children hate to wait (e.g. when the car breaks down). Prepare yourself for emergencies with a variety of distractions. Besides toys and games, books should be a part of your carry on bag. Before you leave the house, have your child select his favorite book or magazine to take.

Invent reading related jobs

You probably have jobs around the house that you don’t feel like doing or have not had the time to do. Children can be lured into taking the chores involving reading. If your telephone directory is worn out, have your child read out the names and phone numbers and write them down in a new book.

Subscribe to children’s magazines

Pride of ownership can make the most unwilling reader eager to turn pages and read. Receiving a magazine in the mail addressed to him or her stimulates a child of any age to want to read. Books are rewards we want them to value. Reward minor accomplishments with a puzzle book, while more significant deeds might merit a picture book.

Introduce your child to series books and books on tape

Once children locate a series they like, they may disappear entirely, only emerging at the end to cry: “Where’s the next one?”

Books on tape exist for children as well as adults. A variety of children’s favorites are available in packages as ‘read alongs.’ The child follows the text as read on the tape.

Make library visits a family routine

The library provides a seemingly limitless resource of reading material, making sure we find something suited to our age and proficiency. Libraries provide a habit of reading that a family can share. At times, your budget may not allow buying books; that is where the library comes in.

Showing your children that you enjoy reading sets an example for them to emulate. Showing that reading is a chore, it is only related to school work, or it is something that must be done to please you, you will be robbing the child the experience of its innate pleasure. You will wind up with children too tense to relax into reading, children, who will never love to read.

How to teach respect for books

  • Remind children to handle books with clean hands.
  • Discourage tearing, folding down pages or coloring and writing in books, especially in library books.
  • Help children design bookmarks and propose they use them, rather than straining bindings by placing open books face down.
  • Work together to repair damaged pages and bindings.

Physically Fit Kids

Vol 2-Issue2 Physically fit kidsFundamental movement skills are the basis for the skills your child will use later in life to pursue recreational and competitive sport activities. They include locomotive movements (walking, running, jumping, skipping, balancing, climbing, hanging, swinging, pushing, and pulling) and motor skills (throwing, catching, and kicking).

Acquiring competence and confidence in movement will enhance your child’s overall co-ordination and nurture his self-esteem. Your child will build up his fitness to develop good aerobic capacity, strength, flexibility, speed, alertness, and reaction.

From an early age, your child has to acquire good spatial awareness (both in personal and general space), develop body awareness, as well as learn to move with effort and in relationship with others. Children need to learn to move, but at the same time, they need to move to learn.

A child, who is physically active from an early age and receives positive, enjoyable, and successful movement experiences, will continue to pursue activity on a regular basis throughout his lifetime. The benefits in terms of general well-being are physiological, psychological (emotional stability), and academic.

Make fitness fun

Children attain fitness by doing activities they enjoy. When parents impose exercise on them, they are creating an uphill battle of resistance. Usually, the interest of young children is short and changes quickly. Their attention span is inconsistent, and they tire easily. Be reasonable about the degree of physical exertion you require from them.


Through playing, your child explores, expresses, and discovers many aspects of life. Play can also help your child to realize the real value of fitness and to learn the ‘social graces.’

Understand the ‘want-fear’ premise

Adults work on fitness out of such fears as heart attack or weight-gain. Children are too detached from this ‘fear’ factor; therefore, from an early age, we need to develop in our children the ‘want to’ attitude. This can be achieved by always making activities enjoyable.

Teach body management

Children need to be able to manage their bodies and feel comfortable with moving. A child, who does not like to be active because movement is difficult for him, will have coordination problems and develop a tendency to become over- weight and lethargic. An over-weight child and a child who lacks coordination and flexibility will look for excuses to be inactive. This will, in turn, affect his growth, general fitness, and social development. Therefore, we must engage children in enjoyable coordination activities.

Be aware of child’s growth and development

Your child’s bones have not yet fully developed. Movement will ensure the growth of strong bones and muscles; therefore, it is important that your child engages in appropriate movement for his age group activities.

Be a positive role model

Children learn by watching their elders. Be a positive role model by showing enthusiasm. Provide a constructive feedback to your child – encourage and praise him.

See FITNESS as a ‘big’ picture

It is important to emphasize that the physical fitness is only one part of general well-being, which also includes: nutrition, play, mental health, quality sleep, and emotional health. For a child to be functioning at his optimal pace, there must be a balance of all these components. They all are the ‘life keys’ to the ‘big’ picture.

Be aware of exercise ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’

First, always warm up your child with low to moderate activities. Movements should be gentle and rhythmical, then gradually increased in intensity. Try to use all the major muscle groups in the warm up activity. Cold muscles should never be stretched. Avoid ballistic movements when stretching. Avoid exercises that hyper extend any joint areas. Do not use massive weight bearing exercises. Children should use their own body weight to develop strength.

Develop a knowing attitude and an exercise habit

Develop a knowing attitude, not just a fitness attitude. Get your child used to being active and doing exercise. Your child should know why exercise is good for him.

General guidelines to follow

  1. Make activity a family affair.
  2. Set an example – be a good role model.
  3. Turn the television off to encourage your child to go out and play.
  4. Develop regularity and habit in doing activity. Produce a timetable but make it flexible and adjustable.
  5. Be aware of your child’s physical capabilities.
  6. Develop, check, and reinforce good posture.
  7. Foster good sleeping and eating habits.
  8. Encourage drinking water every day.
  9. Develop spatial awareness – general and personal.
  10. Develop a good sense of balance.
  11. Develop upper body strength, reaction, and alertness.
  12. Do relaxation activities.
  13. Develop flexibility – upper and lower body.
  14. Develop agility – quickness.
  15. Develop eye-hand coordination, foot-eye coordination.

Strategies for encouraging a reluctant child

  1. Observe why your child is reluctant. Insecurity, over-weight, poor coordination, low self-esteem, fear of failure, and feeling of being unsafe may be among the causes.
  2. Create a safe, fun, and positive environment. Ensure that there is no physical threat, ridicule, bullying, or put-downs. No ‘emotional hurts.’
  3. Provide immediate feedback. Give praise and encouragement.
  4. Try to experience success within a short period of time.
  5. From time to time, offer incentive or reward. Instant rewards are praise and encouragement. A reward could follow a goal – “after cycling, we will go to have an ice cream.”
  6. Keep within the limits of your child’s abilities. Do not force them or be constantly after them.
  7. Do not be over protective.
  8. Do not confuse the child’s needs with his wants. A young child does not have the experience to know, what is good for him. A child will express his want to watch television, for example, rather than his need for exercise. In this situation, we have to impose on the child our knowledge about the importance of exercise and encourage him to play outside regularly.
  9. Establish firmness and consistency. Insist on doing some activity together and stick to it.
  10. Vary activities to sustain your child’s interest.

Keeping in mind the above mentioned tips, parents should select fitness activities that would be suitable for their children. There are many good books available on the subject, which incorporate a variety of fun, fitness based activities.

Engaging yourself and your child in enjoyable fitness activities is one of the best ways to spend ‘quality time’ together. Get down to it and good luck!

Manners of Reading the Quran

Vol 2-Issue2 Manners of reading Quran

  • Be careful when you handle this holy book. Remember, it is not an ordinary book. We need to do the following for giving to the glorious Quran its due respect:
  • Before you begin reciting from the Quran, seek refuge with Allah (swt) from the Satan, by saying – ‘Aoodhu Billahi Minashaitanir Rajim.’
  • Take Allah (swt)’s name, before you begin to read, by saying – ‘Bismillah.’
  • Try your best to be in the state of Wudu, when reciting from the Quran, and sit in a clean place.
  • Begin reading with a clear intention of seeking only Allah (swt)’s pleasure, not any other worldly gain.
  • Turn the pages gently and slowly to the required page. It is best, if you use a bookmark at the place you finished last, so that there is no unnecessary flipping of pages.
  • Maintain humility, tranquility, and respect, while reading the Quran.
  • Read the Quran in a moderate voice.
  • Read the verses with short pauses in between.
  • Be careful about the Makharij (pronunciation of the letters). Give every letter its due right.
  • Read the Quran attentively, calmly, and sincerely.
  • Ponder over the words of the Quran and make efforts to act upon them.
  • Be grateful, when the verses of Shukr (being grateful) are mentioned and seek refuge with Allah (swt), when asked.
  • Listen quietly and attentively, when the Quran is being read.
  • Do not put the Quran on the floor or near a person’s feet.
  • Do not leave the Quran open, when not being used, or turn it face down on the table.
  • Do not step over the Quran, if it is lying on the ground or at a low level, such as a prayer mat.
  • Do not use the Quran as a support to write on.
  • Do not place things on the top of the Quran.
  • Do not scribble unnecessary things on the pages of your Quran.
  • Do not touch the Quran with dirty hands.
  • Make sure you keep the Quran out of the reach of children that may tear its pages.
  • Do not eat, while reading from the Quran.
  • Sit in a proper, respectable position when reading it.
  • Try not to talk in between, while reciting from the Quran.
  • Keep the Quran in a clean place.
  • Learn as much as you can about the Quran by reading an authentic translation in the language of your preference.
  • Keep the Quran within your reach and in sight.
  • Let no day pass, without reading or reciting from the Quran.