Tips for Productive Mornings

19 did you know

Snoozy makes you woozy

Get up with your alarm clock. Don’t press snooze! Show discipline at the start of your day by waking up right away, and the rest of your day is most likely to be full of discipline and quality, Insha’Allah.

Wake up before Fajr

This may feel like a huge task, but you can even start by waking up fifteen minutes before Fajr. The last third of the night is an extremely special time, where you can connect with Allah (swt) on a deeper level through Tahajjud, Dua, and Astaghfar.

Make Fajr ‘the event’ of your day

Rather than performing a hit and run type of prayer, aim to perfect Fajr as much as possible. Wear nice clothes and focus on what you recite during prayer. For extra reward, follow the Sunnah by making your recitation short in the Sunnah prayer and long in the Fard prayer of Fajr.

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Salat-ul-Istikhara – A Refuge from Stress

Istikhara                                                   Image Courtesy


At first, the realization that fortune telling is forbidden in Islam saddened me a bit. But I knew there must be an alternative that Allah (swt) must have provided for us Muslims. When Allah (swt) provides us with a dozen doors, and we have to turn the knob of only one then how can this laborious task become easier without a peek at the future? 

The Holy Prophet (sa) bestowed his Ummah with an ideal treasure that is enormously better than future prediction known as Salat-ul-Istikhara.


“Istikhara” means to seek goodness from Allah (swt). When a person does Istikhara, then it is as if he is entrusting Allah (swt) with his decision of a complex situation. He seeks His forgiveness, knows that He is All Merciful and Trustworthy, and will help him in making the best decision which no other person is capable of doing.


It was narrated by Jabir bin ‘Abdullah (rta) that: The Prophet (sa) used to teach the way of doing Istikhara in all matters as he taught us the Surahs of the Quran. He said: “If anyone of you thinks of doing any job, he should offer two Rakat prayer, other than the compulsory ones; and after praising Allah (swt) and asking for His forgiveness and mercy, he should recite:

Istikhara duaa


“O Allah (swt)! I seek goodness from Your Knowledge and with Your Power (and Might); I seek strength, and I ask from You Your Great Blessings, because You have the Power and I do not have the power. You know everything and I do not know, and You have knowledge of the unseen. Oh Allah! If in Your Knowledge this action ———————————————— (which I intend to do) is better for my religion and faith, for my life and end (death), for here (in this world) and the hereafter then make it destined for me and make it easy for me and then add blessings (Barakah) in it, for me. O Allah! In Your Knowledge if this action is bad for me, bad for my religion and faith, for my life and end (death), for here [in this world] and the hereafter then turn it away from me and turn me away from it and whatever is better for me, ordain (destine) that for me and then make me satisfied with it.”


Once the person is done with Istikhara, then Allah (swt) will bless him with some form of indication- either through a dream, or through his inclination towards a particular direction. It is not necessary that a person will get a proper indication in his dream. Some Ulemah are of the opinion that a dream about some fruit, soothing thing is an indication that Allah (swt) is pleased with the decision. And, if he dreams about something burning, or any dangerous animal, or red color- then it means that the particular decision is not good for him. But, this answer of Allah (swt) in a person’s dream has become a misconception.

It is not necessary that a dream will show Allah’s (swt) will. Instead, Allah (swt) will mold the person’s intention to what that is good for him, and will turn him away from that which is bad.


Istikhara can be repeated for seven days- in case a person does not feel satisfied with the particular decision. However, the misconception of Istikhara to be done only when a person is taking a life changing decision like marriage, switching jobs etc. should be removed. Istikhara can be performed for even little decisions of life like taking up courses, deciding a methodology for a project, doing a particular task or not etc. Imagine how an advice from Allah (swt) in small decisions of your life can make them the biggest and blessed ones. And, as a consequence, you will only find satisfaction, salvation and a determination to build a stronger relationship with the One responsible for writing your fate.



Interview with Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan – How to have a productive Ramadan


Image Courtesy 

The following interview was conducted by Abu Productive and posted originally as a video interview. You can watch the entire interview here.

Interviewer: Assalamualaikum and welcome to this very special interview with our favourite teacher Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan.

NAK: Walaikumasalam Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuhu

Interviewer: Jazak’Allah Khair for joining us for this interview

NAK: My pleasure.

Interviewer: I really want to talk to you about how you plan to prepare for and spend Ramadan? My first question is: What’s your definition of the purpose of Ramadan? What should we look out for, and try to achieve in Ramadan?

NAK: To me personally, my thoughts on Ramadan are inspired by the only passage in the Quran that deals with the subject. A little past the middle of Surah Al- Baqarah, Allah (swt) talks about the function, the purpose of Ramadan  and what I find probably the most inspiring in that passage- first and foremost- is that Allah (swt) did not describe this month as a month of fasting, nor did he describe it as a month of prayer. He described it as the month in which the Quran was revealed; and then, when He described the Quran, He described in a way as though He was introducing the Quran for the first time- like never before. And, this is a Madni Surah, which means that the Muslims have been receiving Quran through the Prophet (sa) for over a decade now, well over a decade. And, yet Allah (swt) says,

“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong).” (Al-Baqarah 2:185).

As though, it’s like Allah (swt) is telling us what the Quran is for the first time; so what that teaches me at least, and I hope other Muslims too- is that you have to renew the relationship with this Book almost as though you never knew it before, and you have to come at it anew. Hence, it’s a month of rejuvenating your experience with the Quran, so you can experience it like the first generation that was taught to experience it all over again. That’s the first and foremost thing, like this month should be a celebration of revelation itself. That’s what it should be.

Interviewer: Subhan’Allah, that’s amazing. And based on that, what would be your most important goal to achieve in Ramadan.

NAK: I study the Quran throughout the year, but I turn it up a few notches in the month of Ramadan. My memorization goes up; I haven’t finished memorizing the Quran yet; I’m working on it- part time slowly but surely. But, it goes on an accelerator in the month of Ramadan. I try to catch Itikaf every year, and in Itikaf I do a lot of review of Quran. For me personally, the act of memorizing the Quran, is not just the act of memorization- but actually- when you recite the Ayat over and over again, it gives you a chance to reflect on the word of Allah (swt) too; and to think about the same thing over and over again. It brings about opportunities for insight which I really enjoy. So, that’s one thing that’s certainly I look forward to in Ramadan.

The other thing I really enjoy doing in Ramadan is the nightly Taraweeh prayers; but I will be honest with you- many a times, I don’t join the entire Taraweeh prayers; or a lot of the times, I’ll go to a Masjid- which actually takes it easier. Because some Masajid- unfortunately- their big goal is to finish the recitation of the entire Quran, and they rush through the recitation; and there are other Masajid Alhumdulilllah in our area that actually take it easy. They won’t recite a lot, but what they recite, they really enjoy reciting; and this month should not be about quantity, it should be about quality. There is no religious guideline that you have to finish the entire Quran- there’s no such thing.. We impose this upon ourselves, and you find people that pray their eight Rakat, and there’s a mad rush outside the Masjid. It’s just that I got over with it, let me get out of here. But actually, prayer is supposed to be reflective, a spiritual experience where you’re enjoying the word of Allah (swt) in ever Rakat; and that’s really something, I hope to restore every year for myself in Ramadan, and I hope other people do too Insha’Allah.

Interviewer: Insha’Allah. You mentioned about balancing your energy levels- trying not to do too much in the first days- for example, trying to leave some energy for the last ten days. Do you sort of structure the whole of Ramadan that way? You try to sort of spread out your energy so that you can maintain momentum throughout the month?

NAK: You know,  one of my teachers Dr. Madwi, has some pretty interesting insights on Ramadan, and how you should spend your time in Ramadan, and I tend to agree with him.

Ramadan is, actually, not supposed to be a time where you’re not productive in everything else- like you’re supposed to be as fruitful, as productive at your work, and with business and education and everything else as in the other months.

It’s not a time for vacation; in some Muslim countries- for example, people stay up until Fajr almost, and then they pass out until 4 p.m. Just in time for Iftar and start all over again. They become like creatures of the night, or something, because for them that’s what Ramadan is supposed to be.

That’s silly, that’s not the point of this month. As a matter of fact, the nightly prayers, they are just really a manifestation of Tahajjud, -that’s what they are. Lots of Muslims have a struggle even with the five prayers; but if you’re praying your five prayers, and you’re not good at Tahajjud- this is the month to get into it. There is an (Ayat), even the Ayaat for reciting the Quran in slow rhythmic tone; there are Ayaat about the night prayer,  and Taraweeh is actually supposed to be an exercise for the night prayer; so if, you don’t catch the Taraweeh, but manage to get up for Tahajjud, that’s even better for you.

We have to change- shift our mentality about how we make the most of Ramadan. The other recommendation I very strongly have for people is- if you didn’t catch the Taraweeh prayers at night, but you went to pray Isha, and a few extra Rakaat at the Masjid ,and then you came back for Fajr at the Masjid- that’s way much better for you than staying up until midnight doing Taraweeh, and then, barely catching Fajr, or not coming to the Masjid for Fajr. So, you have to be realistic with yourself; what is a bigger priority? I mean the Prophet (sa) instructions are true, and we should believe in them; if you catch the prayer at the Masjid at Isha and Fajr, it’s as though you prayed the entire night. That’s his promise. So, let’s believe in that promise, and especially, get into that habit in this month.

I personally believe, in my personal life, and I recommend it to my friends and students that if you can make a habit of catching Fajr and Isha at the Masjid, then you’re just going to have a productive life. Allah (swt) is going to put some Barakah in your life throughout your day, throughout your night, a lot of good comes of it; and then, this is the month to get into that habit, because you’re going to go anyway, but don’t overdo it in a way that you just totally can’t sustain it after it’s done. You want to use this month as an opportunity to instill habits in your life that you can sustain after this month is over. So, that’s how I see it.

I: You just touched on Barakah there; and I want you to touch on Barakah in particular. How can your fast and spirituality sustain you? How does Barakah of Suhoor and fasting boost your productivity

NAK: It’s pretty amazing because fasting is tough, but, and if you try to fast tomorrow, it’ll be really hard. You’re going to be dazed, you’re not going to be able to focus at work, and things are going to happen. But, what Allah (swt) says about Ramadan is pretty awesome. It’s not a universal statement; it’s actually intended within the month of Ramadan. Allah (swt) intends ease for you; the fasting in the month of Ramadan is actually easier than fasting any other time, and that’s something Allah (swt) instills into this month. It’s special; so nobody is going to be able to say genuinely that they’re having a hard time because of the fasting As a matter of fact, you might even find yourself having more energy than you ever had. Now, if you don’t find yourself having energy, then there are some other causes- not fasting.

What are those other causes? You’re over eating at Iftar; you’re going to town at Suhoor time you’re eating like four times the breakfast you normally eat; no wonder you’re tipped over half the day because you’re dying of how much you ate; the other half you’re dying over your starvation- so, a balanced diet is a big part of how productive you are. A balanced sleep schedule is really important. People have messed up sleep schedules in Ramadan; they’re not supposed to have those sleep schedules. You’re supposed to have a normal sleep schedule in Ramadan- so maintain these things, take care of these things, and Insha’Allah, it’s not going to be a problem. Speaking of the word Barakah, you know, the linguistic meaning of the word is increase beyond expectation.

Combating Depression, Sadness and Anxiety

Depression, sadness and pain related crossword(This article has been “proof read” by a foreign qualified Psychologist)

Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Ar-Rad 13:28)

“But whosoever turns away from My Reminder (i.e. neither believes in this Qur’an nor acts on its orders, etc.) verily, for him is a life of hardship, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection.” (TaHa 20:124)

The above two verses from The Quran explain the basic requirement in order to achieve tranquility of the heart. The heart and mind shall be at peace when it is filled with the remembrance of Allah (swt); on the contrary, it will be full of anxiety and restlessness in its absence.

The “Shaytan” (Satan) wants to inflict pain to us. His work is done for the disbelievers but his main targets are Muslims. Anyone who tries to get closer to Allah (swt), Allah (swt) makes the path even easier for him; whereas somebody who continues to ignore his Creator, Allah (swt) appoints a Shaytan (Satan) for that person, and makes that also easy for him, so it is our choice to choose our course.

“And whosoever turns away (blinds himself) from the remembrance of the Most Beneficent (Allah) (i.e. this Quran and worship of Allah), We appoint for him Shaytan (Satan – devil) to be a Qarin (an intimate companion) to him.” (Az-Zukhruf 43:36)

In contrast to the above verse, Allah (swt) gives good news to those who remain close to Him and do good deeds, they will not only have contentment of heart in this world but will also have a good ending, which means good return in the afterlife. Insha’Allah.

The heart and mind shall be at peace when it is filled with the remembrance of Allah (swt); on the contrary, it will be full of anxiety and restlessness in its absence.

“Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest. Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism), and work righteousness, Tuba (it means all kinds of happiness or name of a tree in Paradise) is for them and a beautiful place of (final) return.” (Ar-Rad 13: 28-29)

A believer is grateful to Allah (swt) when he is blessed in some way, and he is patient when he is going through a test in order to wait for Allah’s (swt) help.  Imagine how Yaqoob (as) wept for his son Yusuf (as) and lost his sight. Imagine how distress and overwhelmed ‘Aishah (ra) was when people slandered her by telling lies about her, and she kept weeping so much that she said: “I thought that grief would tear me apart.”  (Source: Shaykh Al – Munajjad, Saudi Arabia)

Turn each worry into a Dua and each Dua into an action plan.

As human beings, we have a habit to get attached to people and worldly things. We also tend to expect quick results and humans are generally impatient by nature. Many times, even after much effort when the results do not turn out the way we planned, we get depressed. Most common reasons of depression are loss of wealth, health problems, demise of a family member and relationship conflicts. There is no running away from stress because in this life there will always be something small or big troubling us. All that matters is how you deal with it.

This article does not deal with the factors of stress, anxiety, and depression, nor is it a clinical advice. This article would help to develop an attitude to combat with it on a daily basis Insha’Allah. If you feel depressed, you are not alone. It has been estimated that 75 to 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians in America are for stress-related problems. Turn each anxiety, each fear and each concern into a Dua (supplication). Look at it as another reason to submit to God and be in “Sajdah” (prostration), during which you are closest to Allah (swt). God listens and already knows what is in your heart, but He wants you to ask Him for what you want. Allah (swt) is displeased with those who do not ask Him for anything.

A Muslim turns towards Allah (swt) and calls for His help in all types of distress.

Adopt the Prophetic approach

Our job is to carry out our responsibilities to the best of our capacity parallel with a clear belief that we do not control the outcome of events. Even the Prophets did not control the outcome of their efforts. Some were successful, others were not. There will be Prophets on the Day of Judgement with one, two and more people; and some with not even one. Does that mean Prophets with very few or nobody were failures? No! They did their best and had their faith in Allah (swt), but Allah (swt) did not choose guidance for their Ummah (nation). Similarly, our role in this life is to make the best with the given resources, and leave the rest in Allah’s (swt) hands. Regardless of the results of your efforts, you will be rewarded for the part you have played.  (Insha’Allah)

However, never underestimate your abilities. Understand the concept of Barakah (blessings from Allah (swt); and remember that Allah (swt) can and Insha’Allah will expand them if you are sincerely exerting your energies for the right path.

A person can be sad due to various reasons.  Depression may be caused with or without a reason. In all types of grief and sadness, a Muslim deals with it differently from a non-believer. A Muslim turns towards Allah (swt) and calls for His help in all types of distress. We can encapsulate it in two categories for easy understanding:

1. Due to a specific reason, such as loss of wealth or loss of a family member.

2. Due to no reason at all. Person may start crying or get aggressive for no reason.

In both of the above situations, it is essential for a person to have a connection with his/her Creator. Whether it is a medical healing or a spiritual healing, the Healer is only The Creator.

              15 Islamic tips to overcome sadness, depression and anxiety

  • Believing that Life and Death are in the hands of Allah (swt) only. Allah (swt) says in the Quran, “Wherever you are, death will find you out, even if you are in towers built up strong and high!” (Quran 4:78)
  •  Believing that ease and difficulty come from Him only.
  • Believing that Allah (swt) is the Only “Raaziq” (Provider). Our job is to make efforts and leave the rest to Him. Our “Rizq” (provision) was decided and written when we were 4 months old in our mother’s womb.  Fataawa Noor ‘ala al-Darb (p. 36). Shaykh Muhammad ibnSaalih al-‘Uthaymeen, Saudi Arabia  (quoted and checked by Shaykh Al-Munajjad, Saudi Arabia) “How many are the creatures that carry not their own sustenance? Allah (swt) says, “It is Allah Who feeds them and you, for He hears and knows all things.” (Quran 29:60)  Allah (swt) further says in the Quran, “And He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And if anyone puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish His purpose. Verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion” (Quran 65:3)
  • Believing that what He gave us was never our right and what He took away from us was always His in the first place.
  • Turning towards Allah (swt) in “Taubah” (repentance) in order to seek His help and forgiveness. Allah’s (swt) mercy overshadows His anger.
  • Keeping a clear focus on those who are less privileged and in greater pain than us.  This should be done on a daily basis as a reminder.
  • Take a spiritual break from the world and have a private moment with Allah (swt). This can be done in various ways such as, by going to Masjid for prayers, doing long prostrations, shedding tears during Dua and keeping total faith in The Creator or by going on a family vacation. It is extremely important to break the monotony of our daily routine before we reach our limits.
  • Recognizing the ultimate enemy- The Satan. He plays with our mind. We can put up a fight with him with Allah’s (swt) help.
  • Appreciate the blessings that cannot be bought with worldly wealth. Health, family and friends are some examples of such blessings that have no price tag.
  • Find a hobby. Involve in some community service. Be a volunteer or even start your own organization if you can. It gives an inner peace and satisfaction when a selfless deed is performed.
  • Staying away from negative people- especially the ones who keep putting us down. Keep a constant check of your company. The ideal company is of somebody who is positive, helps you get closer to Allah (swt); somebody who is honest to you and becomes your shoulder when you need him or her.  It is important not to have too many confidants.
  • Try not to verbalize the negative thoughts. Fighting negative thoughts is better than verbalizing them, which eventually turn into negative actions. Diversion is better and recommended by getting involved in something more positive and constructive.
  • Learn to let go of the things that are not in your control.
  • Exercise daily. Walking and swimming are one of the best exercises for depression. Healthy mind only exists in a healthy body.
  • Learn to forgive. Forgiving is important for our own peace. Once we forgive, we will be able to forget also. Keeping grudges is very unhealthy and self-destructive.
  • Do not fall prey to worldly material things and do not let them control us. We all want money, cars, house and jewellery etc. but there will always be people who will have more than us, and there will be ones who will have less- this is how it works. It is important to have decent living but it is more important to have good health, nice family and friends.

The above method is a road leading towards positive living.


A lot of worry and psychological stress is caused by not being content with the will and decree of Allah (swt). Even after getting what we want, we may still suffer from anxiety and fear of losing that blessing. There is no remedy for this apart from accepting the decree of Allah (swt), thanking Him for His blessings, and patiently bearing the difficulties and calamities that Allah (swt) has decreed for us.


May Allah (swt) bestow His blessings up on us in this life and in the hereafter. May He give us peace of heart and mind, give us courage and wisdom and guide us to the right path. May He make us of those whom He loved and shown His mercy to. Ameen!

Love Gets it Started, Mercy Keeps it Going

Beloved People

You were sitting there, on the couch,

Well dressed, smart, no slouch

With hair well-trimmed and glasses neat,

The beard just made it all the more sweet.


Your shy smile and your gaze at the floor –

I knew it then that there is more.

With our Mahrams right there with us,

We discussed our interests and what suits us.


The conversation lasted for just a few minutes,

Enough to help us get our tickets

To start this movie of life and adventure

With each other as companions, we write our own scripture.


With the will of Allah (swt) comes opportunity,

And the aid too comes from Allah (swt) only.

Istikhara, my family and my instincts

Helped me make a decision remarkable and distinct.


Little did I know you are the light to my dark,

The answer to my prayers, my own benchmark.

You held me, helped me took all my faults,

You converted them all and gave me exalts.


Alhamdulillah, you are the coolness of my eyes,

My guardian now and the reason for my smile.

You encourage me to work hard and pursue high goals

For this life and hereafter and to perfect my loopholes.


You are pious, caring, sometimes panic, mostly calm,

May your knowledge increase as a student of Islam.

You love to teach and correct what’s wrong,

You made me a better Muslim and human being along.


You care for your grandmother, aunt and mom,

You strengthen ties of kinship, maintain your Salah and Saum.

You are honest and brave and provide for me,

Your love is as big as a wide open sea.


You keep your promise and never fake one,

Whatever you say, I consider it already done.

You give me space with my friends and family,

You are the reason for my growing personality.


You share with me the highlights of the day

And discuss the details too with energy and play.

You invest time in our religion and relationship –

I pray I enter Jannah with you in my companionship.


You know how to balance work and family life,

You are active, sporty and want the same from your wife.

You are intelligent and cute, smart and funny, too,

You are my tall, dark and handsome, my price charming in blue.


You wipe away my tears, understand my pain,

You deal with my tantrums with no complain.

I shout, I cry in anger, I flare,

With you I am myself, none to you I compare.


We both make mistakes, fight for many reasons,

Like any married couple, we have our fall seasons.

But either apologizes and the other one follows,

Ask Allah (swt) for forgiveness, or else we are just hollows.


I never thought I could write again, to myself I swore

Or feel for a poem, like I used to before.

It is the thought of you that I sit after years, today

To compose a poem, hope it suits you I pray.


Love gets it started, mercy keeps it going.

Every day it blossoms, may Allah (swt) keep us growing.

In health and wealth, and success may we have Barakah,

Protect us from evil eye, sins and grant us Tawbah.


To my better half, my knight in shining armour

This poem is a mere symbol of my endeavour

For all the love and respect I have for you,

And the Jannah I yearn for you and me, too.

Lessons for Parents in the Nikah Sermon

nikah sermonLike other special occasions in Islam (Jummah and Eid), the Nikah ceremony too is marked by a Khutbah, in accordance with the practice of our beloved Prophet (sa).The Nikah sermon is an essential part of every Muslim wedding. However, unfortunately, women rarely get to hear it, and the men who do hear it seldom understand the meaning.

Whatever the Prophet (sa) did or said had a purpose behind it. The Khutbah of Nikah is not just a ritualistic repetition of a few words. This simple, concise, and yet profound sermon contains a message for all those who are involved in the making of a new family: the bride, the groom, and their respective parents and siblings.

Let us, as parents, ponder over and extract lessons pertaining to the marriage of our children.

From the Lips of Our Beloved (sa):

“Praise be to Allah (swt). We seek His help and His forgiveness, and rely on Him. We seek refuge with Allah (swt) from the evil of our own souls and from our bad deeds. Whomsoever Allah (swt) guides will never be led astray, and whomsoever Allah (swt) leaves astray can be guided by no one. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah (swt), and I bear witness that Muhammad (sa) is His slave and Messenger.

O you who believe! Fear Allah (swt), as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allah (swt). (Al-Imran 3:102)

O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person, and from him He created his wife, and from them both He created many men and women, and fear Allah (swt), through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah (swt) is ever an All-Watcher over you. (An-Nisa 4:1)

O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah (swt) and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth.” (Al-Ahzab 33:70) (Nasai and Abu Dawood)

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A Fairytale Wedding: Boon or Bane?

lavish-weddingThe tweet of a foreigner, who was invited to a Pakistani wedding, read as follows: “I can’t believe it was a Muslim wedding. Everything about it was so non-Muslim!”

I was ashamed to have been shaken to reality by a non-Muslim. His words were harsh; but they were undoubtedly a big question to re-check our Iman. And the more I thought about it, the more it made sense to me. A few days ago, when I heard that my cousin was going to get married, I immediately fussed about how I had no decent dresses to wear, and did a quick mental calculation on how many dresses I needed for her pre and post wedding events. The disappointing part is that I am not the only odd one out here, or representing just a small pack of Muslims who have lost their identity. The majority of the population tends to go to any extreme and leaves no stone unturned in hosting a ‘fairytale wedding’- just like in the Prince Charming and Cinderella story. They do this not out of sheer self-happiness, but because they want to live up to the social standards and plan a better wedding than the ones they were a part of, because people will judge them on how well they could host an event.

Checklist for a successful wedding event

The wedding is assumed to be a successful one if it has a buffet dinner, music, dance floor, photography, large halls, mix gatherings and much more. Moreover, it’s not just a one day event either. Countless pre-event sessions take place that make you lose your sanity. Mehndi, Mayun, Dholki, bridal showers, hen party, stag party, Barat and Chauthi are just a few event sessions that gear up towards the main day. And it doesn’t end over here. The series of get-together that follows is endless, too.

If we study Islam and look into the teachings of Quran and Sunnah then we’ll find numerous Ahadeeth and verses that condemn the idea of making a wedding into an extravagant affair. The Prophet (sa) said: “The most blessed Nikah is the one in which least expenses are occurred.”

Simplicity is the best policy

Our Prophet (sa) implemented this during the wedding of her daughter Fatimah (ra). When the time came for Fatimah (ra) to go to Ali’s (ra) house after the Nikah, she was sent without any clamour, hue and cry, accompanied by Umm Ayman (ra). After the Isha Salah, the Prophet (sa) went to their house, took permission and entered. He asked for a basin of water, put his blessed hands into it and sprinkled it on both Ali (ra) and Fatimah (ra), and made Dua for them. The sovereign of both worlds gave his beloved daughter a silver bracelet, two Yemeni sheets, four mattresses, one blanket, one pillow, one cup, one hand-grinding mill, one bedstead, a small water skin and a leather pitcher. In this simple fashion, the wedding of the daughter of the leader of the worlds was solemnized. In following this Sunnah, a wedding becomes very simple and easy to fulfill. And it will surely ease our burden.

Allah (swt) states in the Holy Quran,

﴾وَيَأْكُلُونَ كَمَا تَأْكُلُ الْأَنْعَامُ﴿ “They eat like animals.”

This verse was for the Kuffar. It is a pity that the Muslims are now imitating the Kuffar in their eating habits and buffet style dinner in the weddings. Whereas the true benefactor of the Ummah announced it fourteen hundred years ago that we should not eat or drink, while standing.

Behind the scene of ‘the fairytale’

Following the Islamic junctions while marrying your daughters and sons won’t only satisfy your heart, but it’ll also purify your soul from all sorts of evils; to do better than others, to show-off your social standards and to attain praises from your friends and family about how grand your function was. We should realize that turning weddings into a festival is just a waste of money that pressurizes you to take loans and heavy debts. How will Allah (swt) put Barakah in the marriage, if you’ll start your new life with enormous debts on your shoulders to be paid in the near future? Will you be able to enjoy your new life to the full with the guilt and the constant reminder of a loan that needs to be returned? And most importantly, holding a grand and crowded affair becomes more of a hassle. How? The main reason being it’s hard to satisfy people because they’ll look for faults, even when you try your best to arrange a perfect event; and hence, it leads to unwanted fights and quarrels.

Pause and ponder

The rational approach that people don’t give any significance to is: what will you gain with all the compliments that people shower on you? Is it a key to ensure happiness of the bride and the groom in the long run? Or will it in any way be a source of salvation for your married daughter and son?

We all should realize that whatever we do should benefit us the most. And in the case of weddings, simplicity tops the most wanted list. It won’t just benefit us but will certainly be a wonderful approach for both the families that get united through the Nikah.

Avoid the ‘sip and gossip’ session

Invite a few needy people and feed them, the Sunnah of Prophet (sa) will be achieved. Feed the Walima guests in your house, which will save the money of the hall booking and that money can be given to your daughter or son, who is marrying. Remember, if thousands of people will attend the wedding, they will have unending complaints. People tend to make mountains out of mole hills because they’re born to do that. They’ll gossip, no matter if the wedding is simple or grand. So stop worrying about your social position and focus on what Allah (swt) and Prophet (sa) taught us. What if, God forbid, the bride and the groom decide to part ways after their marriage? Won’t you regret your decision of emptying your savings for something that didn’t work out?

Last but not the least, the point we should ponder over is: how can people actually feel satisfied with a typical Desi wedding, which does not make Allah (swt) happy and robs all the involved of His blessings?

Pearls of Peace – An extract from Surah Anam 2

Pearl-in-a-shell1Previously, we discussed standing up for what’s right, even if others around us are content with whatever is happening.

Prophet Ibrahim (as) – the devoted friend of Allah (swt)

Prophet Ibrahim’s (as) entire nation was drowned in Shirk. But he was not of those who blindly followed his tribe. He said: “Verily, I have turned my face towards Him Who has created the heavens and the earth Hanifa and I am not of Al-Mushrikun.” (Al-Anam 6:79) His family kicked him out, his people threw him in fire; but his heart was filled with peace. Why? It was because he had turned his attention and devotion to Allah (swt). As a consequence of his open declaration of truth Allah (swt) chose Ibrahim (as) as His friend – Khalilullah. What an honour!

Who are the secured ones?

Therefore in verse 81 Allah (swt) asks us, “(So) which of the two parties has more right to be in security? If you but know?” The two parties mentioned here are the monotheists and the polytheists. He answers this question in verse 82, “It is those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah and worship none but Him Alone) and confuse not their belief with Zulm (wrong i.e. by worshipping others besides Allah), for them (only) there is security and they are the guided.” May Allah (swt) keep us firm on Tauheed. Ameen.

Respect all religions

As we talk about polytheism, an important point to mention here is that if Allah (swt) chose us to be Muslims, then we have no right to scoff those who worship whatever pleases them. He says, “And insult not those whom they (disbelievers) worship besides Allah, lest they insult Allah wrongfully without knowledge.” (Al-Anam 6:108) If we make fun of them, the obvious retaliation would be ridiculing our religion. Think of others’ reaction before you take any action. Do not become the reason for causing damage to your own religion.

Leaving inner and outer sins

Allah (swt) then wants us to examine ourselves internally – the dual lives that we live. There are people who apparently seem pious and righteous, but they are engaged in sins that only they know of. Allah (swt) says, “Leave (O mankind, all kinds of) sin, open and secret. Verily, those who commit sin will get due recompense for that which they used to commit.” (Al-Anam 6:120) Quit immediately. Give them up. Learn to control your Nafs. Cleanse yourself internally. Our Prophet (sa) taught us a beautiful Dua: “O Allah! Give my heart its piety and purify it, for You are the best who can purify it; You are its Protector and Guardian.”

Would you like to share your good deeds with anyone?

To do a good deed is not as difficult as preserving that deed is. We may be doing a lot of good deeds in our lives, but sometimes we hurt one person and back bite another. We spread rumours about people without verifying the source of information. All these people will be coming on the Day of Judgement to take a portion from our good deeds. Do we wish to give our Salah to other people when we will be the neediest ones? Allah (swt) says, “Whoever brings a good deed shall have ten times the like thereof to his credit, and whoever brings an evil deed shall have only the recompense of the like thereof, and they will not be wronged.” (Al-Anam 6:160) What a loss it would be if our deeds are added to someone else’s scale! Repent and protect other people’s rights.

Do’s and don’ts for staying on the straight path

Towards the end of Surah al-Anam, there is a list of prohibitions and commandments that is similar to what Prophet Moosa (as) was given in Torah. Allah (swt) instructs Muhammad (sa) to say, “Say (O Muhammad (sa)): Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited you from: Join not anything in worship with Him; be good and dutiful to your parents; kill not your children because of poverty – We provide sustenance for you and for them; come not near to Al-Fawahish (shameful sins, illegal sexual intercourse, etc.) whether committed openly or secretly, and kill not anyone whom Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause (according to Islamic law). This He has commanded you that you may understand. And come not near to the orphan’s property, except to improve it, until he (or she) attains the age of full strength; and give full measure and full weight with justice. We burden not any person, but that which he can bear. And whenever you give your word (i.e. judge between men or give evidence, etc.), say the truth even if a near relative is concerned, and fulfill the Covenant of Allah, This He commands you, which you may remember. And verily, this (i.e. Allah’s Commandments mentioned in the above two Verses 151 and 152) is my Straight Path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His Path. This He has ordained for you that you may become Al-Muttaqun.” (Al-Anam 6:151-153)

Why were the above prohibitions mentioned?

It is because if we engage in them, our peace will be snatched both in this world and the hereafter.

1. Shirk – no forgiveness without repentance

The first thing that Allah (swt) mentions is Shirk. That is because there is no forgiveness for Shirk if one dies without seeking repentance. Right after, He mentions kindness to parents because they have the greatest right on an individual.

2. Infant killing

Then we are warned against killing children out of the fear of poverty and hunger. The Arab pagans used to bury their daughters alive; today we have abortions. We are told immorality is unacceptable- don’t even come near it. We should be upright in our character and have high morals.

3. Rights of humankind

Murder and suicide is absolutely prohibited in the Shariah. Then the rights of the orphans are mentioned. If one has spent anything on them. He can recollect his honest share; otherwise handover their property as it was received. We continue to cheat the women when it comes to inheritance and do not give them their share. May Allah (swt) help us. Ameen

4. Bless your business

The discussion moves on to business dealings. People cheat one another for petty prices. The Prophet (sa) said that if one is honest in his business dealings then Allah’s (swt) blessings will descend. But when we misquote our prices and scheme deceitful plans, how do we expect the Barakah in our wealth?

Value the Deen – spread it with love

This brings us to another aspect of our lives. When we have to sell something of this world, our mind can think of all sorts of strategies to lure the customer. We are polite, kind, friendly and respectful. But when it comes to calling people to Allah’s (swt) Deen, we can come up with all the excuses that one can think of. The energy that drives our business marketing skills has vanished. Our time becomes limited. Our tongues become sharp and bitter. We forget all our manners and etiquettes. We will not humble ourselves for the grandeur of the hereafter, but we will open our hearts to accommodate the customers for paltry gain of this world.

Brothers and sisters, the Deen is more valuable! It can result in Paradise for you as against the momentary benefit of this world.

Quran at Fajr

Dawn_-_swifts_creek02Today, I would like to share with you a small reflection from one of the very beautiful passages of Surah Al-Isra.

In Surah Al-Isra, Allah (swt) talks about the value of the Quran, and the institution that helps us experience the Quran. One thing is to learn the language of the Quran. Another is to study its Tafseer, and recite and memorize it. The Quran is experienced in Salah itself.



“Perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) from mid-day till the darkness of the night (i.e. the Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Isha prayers) and recite the Quran in the early dawn (i.e. the morning prayer). Verily, the recitation of the Quran in the early dawn is ever witnessed (attended by the angels in charge of mankind of the day and the night).” (Al-Isra 17:78)

So establish the Salah from the time the sun starts getting “loose” and it starts sinking, meaning around Maghrib time. You know one should strive to pray the Maghrib Salah exactly on time, not when the sun is completely gone and it is the depth of the night. He ordained us to establish the prayer at Maghrib and establish the prayer at Isha when it is dark at night. However, when it came to Fajr, He did not even call it Salat Al-Fajr, He called it Quran Al-Fajr or “The Quran of Fajr.”

Hence, we should recite extra Quran at Fajr. But there is something special about me as a person, me as a Muslim developing a relation with the Quran, especially at Fajr. So the advice I give to myself and the same I share with you all is: Try to make Fajr an institution in your life. Set some time aside for making a good Fajr Salah. Young men reading this, go make your Fajr Salah at the Masjid. And the days when you do go to the Masjid, sit there and recite Quran a little bit. If you dedicate that time to worshipping Allah (swt) and make the best of that time, then in your life you will notice a remarkable change; you will receive both spiritual and worldly benefits from your Lord soon, Insha’Allah.

Allah (swt) says: “…Indeed the recitation of dawn is ever witnessed.”

Try to make Fajr an institution in your life. Set some time aside for making a good Fajr Salah. Young men reading this, go make your Fajr Salah at the Masjid. And the days when you do go to the Masjid, sit there and recite Quran a little bit.

Allah (swt) declares that the Quran of Fajr (in the same verse), no doubt about it, is witnessed. It is such a beautiful thing to say. The word Mashooda means that which is witnessed. So the Fajr Salah, the recitation of Quran, the prayer that you recited and that you attended is witnessed.

Now, the question is who witnesses our actions at that time?

You know that Fajr time is that hour of the day when most of the people are asleep. Therefore, even if somebody is walking to the prayer area or driving to the prayer area, nobody sees them. Allah (swt) prescribes the Fajr time as the time that is witnessed (Mashood). Usually, the things that are witnessed are in middle of the day: popular acts, popular places. However, a Masjid is not a popular place and Salah is not a popular act at Fajr time – not for most of us. It is the time when you do not see many people around you. Allah (swt) says it is witnessed. The question is witnessed by whom? Not by the other people who are sleeping! Not by the people who are in heedlessness or the people in sleep, but by the angels who are recording our deeds and rather by the Almighty Allah (swt) Himself Who is making a note of the slaves who are coming and leaving sleep for Him and His Word. Subhan’Allah!

We need to abide by the rule that Allah (swt) has made the night for us to rest and the day to work. We ought to inculcate this habit in our life of going to sleep early and thus, waking up early. Only then, we can give the “Quran of Fajr” its due right!

Thereby, this is a very powerful thing. Try to implement this advice. Make a good habit of going to sleep early, which is easy to say and so hard to do, I know! We always have things piled up and we start getting around to them in the evening. Of course, Shaitan gets a little over-active in the evening too and hence, our distraction comes. You know you are sitting and watching videos late in the night, knowing you will not be able to wake up for Fajr. But you are doing everything late night and your Fajr is kind of getting out of the way! You are half-asleep, you pray a couple of Rakah and even you do not know what you have prayed! You know your Wudhu was when you were half-asleep and your prayer was when you were half-asleep! Moreover, you go about your day with the delusion that you were amongst those who woke up for Fajr.

We need to abide by the rule that Allah (swt) has made the night for us to rest and the day to work. We ought to inculcate this habit in our life of going to sleep early and thus, waking up early. Only then, we can give the “Quran of Fajr” its due right!

Therefore, I pray that we all are able to take advantage of that time. Once you make a habit of this and you try to implement even a little bit, you will start seeing its benefits soon Insha’Allah! You are going to notice your mood is different, your days are different, what you can accomplish is different, the Barakah in your time is different. I can guarantee you a fruitful experience since I have experienced this personally in my life.

I pray that Allah (swt) make us the people of the Quran, and make us amongst those who are able to take advantage of the specific times when Allah (swt) offers His special assistance and teaches us His special lessons. Ameen