Changing the World at Seventeen

Changing the world at 17

It was 619 AD, when in the garden of Taif, the Prophet (sa), nursing his fresh wounds, prayed to his Lord. Nine years later, the entire Taif embraced Islam. And this is where our story begins.

Muhammad Ibn Qasim was seventeen, when he conquered Sindh. His sword struck the very heart of such false practices as idol worship, which prevailed in that era. He conquered not just a piece of land but an entire people living on the banks of the Indus River. It was his courage and persistent acts of goodness that caused his death – he was imprisoned, tortured and martyred.

He was born in Taif in 695 AD. Growing up in the care of his mother, he soon became a great asset to his uncle Muhammad Ibn Yusuf, the governor of Yemen. His judgement, potential and skills surpassed many experienced officers, thus, he was made the governor of Persia.

Interestingly, the Muslim rule he began was not for such worldly purposes as gaining land, power, or simply for satisfying the awe-inspiring leader inside him. He invaded Sindh for a truly humanitarian act.

In 712 AD, some Arab Muslim families were returning in a merchant ship to their homes to Iraq, including widows and orphans. The ship was intercepted at a Sindh port by some Hindu pirates, who looted the vessel and took the passengers as captives. These were men of Raja Dahir, the ruler of Sindh at the time. Qasim’s uncle wrote to Dahir, demanding the release of the prisoners and the due punishment of the pirates. As expected of a cruel ruler, Dahir refused point-blank. This prompted Muhammad Ibn Yusuf to dispatch his seventeen-year-old nephew to do what was required.

Qasim, of course, took the responsibility seriously. Displaying outstanding courage, he crushed Dahir’s troops. The people of Sindh rejoiced at Qasim’s entry. The cruel reign had ended, because Qasim was a promising ruler of commendable character, efficient administration, and a window into the Islamic system of law and justice, which was so fair and sufficient that it inspired the Hindus. He won both their lands and hearts.

There are two versions of his death. The first and most agreed upon account revisits his preparation for the attack on Rajasthan. Qasim’s father-in-law passed away, and the new governor took revenge against the family of the old governor. The new Khalifa Suleman called upon Qasim and made him captive. This imprisonment led Qasim to an early death. He was twenty, then.

Even his death could not diminish the magnitude of what he had done for the future generations. In 712 AD, conquering the area from its Hindu rulers, he extended Muslim rule to the Indus Valley. Just like Alexander the Great before him, he travelled endlessly and subdued the whole of what is now Pakistan – from Karachi to Kashmir within a matter of three years. He managed to do that with a small force of only around six thousand Syrian tribesmen. Allah (swt) was with him every step of the way.

Muhammad Ibn Qasim is a true inspiration for the leaders of all times. To this day, historians believe that had he lived longer, he would have brought the entire South Asian region into the folds of the Islamic empire.

Dying and Living for Allah (swt)

Vol 6 - Issue 3 Dying living for AllahBy Ayesha Nasir 

Written by: Khurram Murad

Pages: 80

Publisher: “The Islamic Foundation”

Available at: “Darussalam Publishers and Distributors,” Tariq Road, Karachi

In times of grief, you usually turn to a good book. But, the book we are talking about here is not just any book. It’s the last will of Khurram Murad, which is also known as “Dying and Living for Allah (swt)”. This beautifully written book has been translated by Syed Abu Ahmad Akif and deals well with the topic of death – a matter many are afraid to think about.

Khurram Murad was the Director General of the Islamic Foundation in United Kingdom from 1978 to 1986. He had also worked as a chief consulting engineer in Karachi, Dhaka, Riyadh and Tehran. In 1991, he became the editor of the monthly journal, Tarjuman-ul-Quran.

This book is none other than a ‘Nasihah’ as described by Professor Khurshid Ahmed who wrote the Foreword. Khurram Murad has left behind some good and potentially life-changing advice, not only for his family, but for the whole Ummah. As Mr. Ahmed mentions, this compilation is more than advice. It is a gift in the form of a will that deals with what Khurram Murad wishes to tell his people- the knowledge and truth he gained from his sixty-four years which were dedicated to the cause of the Islamic Movement and to fulfilling his duty of being a true servant of Allah (swt).

This publication has four major parts. The ‘Introduction’ deals with the importance of writing a will, and its significance in Islam. He addresses the will to his family at first, but mentions that he would not mind a public circulation of it.

The author also mentions some of the Duas he would recite before going to bed which are: “O Allah (swt), if You seize my soul, then be merciful to it”.

The first part of the book is called “Death and Sabr”. It deals with the pain and grief that comes with a person’s death upon the person’s relatives, friends and colleagues. Being a prominent individual in the Muslim community, Khurram Murad talks about how people should react when he departs this world. He suggests some steps to control the emotional and mental states while facing death of a near one.

He also talks about different levels of Sabr (patience), and how one pleases Allah (swt) by being patient in times of utmost despair. He points out that prayer is the only way to combat emotions of apprehension, anguish and sorrow.

The next chapter is called “Message for Successful Living”. Most of us have read motivational literature on how to make the best use of life, but none of us has ever written a concise document on the best way to live life to its maximum. That is exactly what Khurram Murad has done. This chapter features what Muslims should strive for: Allah’s (swt) pleasure, Jannah, following the Prophet’s (sa) way and so forth. Hence, the author tells us, how we should implement our desires into actions. Even though most of the points seem as the most basic of human virtues, many of us have forgotten, how exactly it feels to do good deeds wholeheartedly and solely for Allah’s (swt) pleasure.

The book ends with a personal message by Khurram Murad called “Journey to Fear and Hope”. When everything has been done, only one thing remains – looking forward to being brought before Allah (swt).

People die each day, and almost all of them forgotten. After their funerals, their wills are referred to because that is what they ‘legally’ leave behind for others. Khurram Murad left behind more than any family or any Ummah could ask for.

The main question that this book puts in front of us is, “Are you ready to face Him (swt)?”

Expect More!

Ayesha Nasir narrates how some of the teen attractions in this world will find expression in Jannah.

As a child, I was always fascinated by the descriptions of Jannah my parents presented before me. I underwent a thrill thinking of this unknown realm, which I had yet to discover – a land more beautiful than the pictures in my storybooks.

The Quran speaks a lot regarding the pleasures of today and compares them to those of the Hereafter. “And strain not your eyes in longing for the things We have given for enjoyment to various groups of them (polytheists and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah), the splendour of the life of this world that We may test them thereby. But the provision (good reward in the Hereafter) of your Lord is better and more lasting.” (Ta-Ha 20:131)

The joys of this world are nothing compared to those of Jannah. The Prophet (sa) said: “A space the size of a whip in Paradise is better than this world and all that is in it.” (Bukhari)


The dwellers of Jannah will have companions with them. There will be no need for worrying about marriage – a dilemma that the youth of today constantly faces. Instead, Allah (swt) will assign His servants the best of partners. “They and their wives will be in pleasant shade, reclining on thrones.” (Yasin 36:56)

The Prophet (sa) described the women of Jannah very beautifully: “If one of the women of Paradise were to look at the people of this world, everything in between them would be lit up and filled with her fragrance. The veil on her head is better than this world and everything in it.” (Bukhari)

No Brands Needed

Our world has much to offer, but Jannah has in store the unimaginable. Today, we dress with the labels of our time, with the best clothing that money can offer and with the comfort of wearing decent clothes. Unfortunately, today we are judged by the clothes we put on. In Jannah, there will be nothing of this sort. The clothing of its inhabitants is from silk and gold of the finest quality.

Muslim teenagers undergo a lot of stress because of the accessories they have. Today’s ‘normal’ teen has lots of makeup to put on and lots of glam to portray.

A dweller of Jannah, be it a man or a woman, does not have to worry about such things. The dweller’s mind is free from complexes and confusions. The believers are so pure that they do not need gold or silver to be adorned, though there will be enough of these in the hereafter. “They will be adorned with bracelets of gold and pearls and their garments therein will be of silk.” (Al-Hajj 22:23)

No Aging

I laugh at the creams, which claim to remove your wrinkles and make you look younger. In Jannah, there will be no need of hiding your age, because everyone will be in the prime of their youth. Describing the dweller of Jannah, the Prophet (sa) says: “He will remain there forever and never die; his clothes will never wear out, and his youth will never fade”. (Bukhari)

The faces of the inhabitants of Jannah will be like the image of the moon. There will be tranquility in their expressions, and Noor pouring from them as they speak.

Food and Shelter for All

For the person, who worries about his job, family and future – there is nothing of that sort to worry about in Jannah. There is shelter for all believers, food for everyone and, most importantly, a place in Jannah, for those who strive for it.

“But those who fear Allah and keep their duty to their Lord (Allah), for them are built lofty rooms; one above another under which rivers flow (i.e. Paradise). (This is) the Promise of Allah: and Allah does not fail in (His) Promise.” (Az-Zumar 39:20)

The dwellers of Jannah will have food far more delicious than anything we have ever tasted. “Trays of gold and cups will be passed round them, (there will be) therein all that the one’s inner-selves could desire, all that the eyes could delight in, and you will abide therein forever.” (Az-Zukhruf 43:71) 

No Worldly Fears

We often worry about the results we would get of all the hard work we do. We worry whether the teacher will mark the assignment well, or whether the boss will find our report satisfactory.

These are trivial things, if we look at it from a different perspective. In Jannah, you will be in eternal bliss, because you have achieved the purpose of your being – attaining Allah’s (swt) pleasure.

“…and whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad (sa)) will be admitted to Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise), to abide therein, and that will be the great success.” (An-Nisa 4:13)

Jannah is free from all the disappointments and fears we face in this world. The Lord will be in control of everything. There will the sense of security and belonging.

Allah (swt) states in the Quran: “And We shall remove from their breasts any deep feeling of bitterness (that they may have). (So they will be like) brothers facing each other on thrones.” (Al-Hijr 15:47)

Meeting of the Dwellers

What fascinates me most is that the believers will meet those that went before them – those that they only heard about: the Sahabahs, the Prophet (sa) and, most importantly, Allah (swt).

Imagine the exultant joy of the believers, when they will finally meet their Lord! Imagine the tears that will pour out of their eyes and the awe that will confound them. Allah (swt) clearly states: “Some faces that Day shall be Nadirah (shining and radiant). Looking at their Lord (Allah).” (Al-Qiyamah 75:22-23)


What Allah (swt) has kept hidden from us (the delights of Paradise) is beyond our ability to comprehend; the Prophet (sa) said that Allah (swt) said: “I have prepared for My slaves what no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human heart can imagine.” (Bukhari)

The Prophet (sa) compared this earth with the Hereafter: “By Allah, this world in comparison with the Hereafter is nothing more than as if one of you put his finger (and he motioned with his forefinger) in the sea; let him see, how much water he would retrieve.” (Muslim)

The pleasures of this world are temporary and will fade away. This life is like a lonely boat caught in a storm – it has no idea where to go; there is no shore for it to land on. One day, the storms will engulf it, and it will fade from the face of the earth as a mere junk of wood. Whereas the Hereafter is like the arrival of this boat upon a safe shore – its purpose complete, once and for all. Praise be to Allah (swt), Lord of the worlds!

Misguide ‘em Young

By Naureen Aqueel and Aisha Nasir

Youth may be crazy and wild, but they are also passionate, energetic and strong-willed. This is exactly what Satan realizes. Hence, he very cleverly schemes to add this ‘valuable human resource’ to his party. Because of strong emotions, desires and uncertainties that beset this stage of life, youth become vulnerable targets of Satan’s attacks. Therefore, it becomes ever more important for them to recognize some of the following avenues, by which Satan approaches them.

Deception: Sugar-coated Evil

Allah (swt) repeatedly mentions in the Quran that Satan deceives the mankind by making false promises and arousing false desires. He will promise you that no one will find out, if you sneak out; he will guarantee enjoyment, if you attend that college concert; he will promise you that there is nothing wrong with attending that dance party or hanging out with friends of the opposite gender. He will give you a thousand reasons, why it is just innocent fun, the ‘in-thing’, fashion and a means of getting a good message to different people. “Why not?” he’ll say, “you can do a lot of Dawah, while gossiping with non-Mahram friends or attending that concert!”

Allah (swt) describes these justification labels with the following words:

“… but Shaitan (Satan) made their deeds fair-seeming to them.” (An-Nahl 16:63)

Fear of People

Satan threatens you with loss of friends and your standing in society, if you obey Allah (swt). What will people say, if you don the Hijab? What will your friends and relatives say, if you decline that invitation to your cousin’s Dholki? Won’t your peers make fun of you, if you don’t have a girlfriend/boyfriend? Satan injects the fear of rejection and isolation, of being made fun of into the heart, feeding on it gradually, until it grows big enough to make you take several wrong steps, just because you are afraid of what people would say, if you didn’t.

Just Once

“What’s the harm of one puff of a cigarette? Or one puff of shisha? Once won’t harm you!”

How many times do you hear voices like these in your head? Put up your defenses – it’s Satan clean and clear! One song, one movie… one, one! And you won’t even notice, when that one becomes a few dozens more, turning into a habit. Allah (swt) calls this gradual process ‘following the footsteps of Satan’.

Carpe Diem

“Seize the day! Enjoy life! Make the best of this moment! You live only once!”

The theory behind this idea is that you should enjoy life to its fullest. Why? Because this is the only life you have! Wikipedia describes Carpe diem as ‘seize the day.’ Satan makes the youth feel that this is a time of enjoyment with no limits, and that this time will not come again, so one should enjoy it to the fullest. There’s plenty of time to be good in old age! Right? Wrong!

Allah (swt) likes the worship in the young age the best. Among the seven under the shade of Allah’s (swt) throne on the Day of Judgement will be the person, who worshipped Allah (swt) in his youth. Besides, who can be sure, when this life may end? So why should we delay being good for the old age?

Some of the other ways Satan approaches the youth includes causing one to forget Allah (swt) and other important things (Al-Mujadilah 58:19); causing one to backslide from their responsibilities, as he did to Muslims in the battle of Uhud (An-Nahl 3:155); inducing laziness; and causing one to dispute about Allah (swt) without knowledge (Al-Hajj 22:3).

However, Allah (swt) in His infinite mercy has taught us many ways to avoid the snares of Satan. It’s important to know the ways he comes to you, and then to seek refuge against him in Allah (swt). Satan had said: when he was expelled from the heaven, that he would not be able to misguide Allah’s faithful servants. So take up your most powerful defenses from today – Taqwa and Dua!