Happiness is Knowing that Ramadan is Coming!


  1. Get the ball rolling – make Dua

The Sahabah (rta) used to prepare for the blessed Ramadan, six months before its arrival. They would pray: “Allahumma Balighna Ramadan.” So, it wasn’t as if one morning they woke up to find themselves battling with desires, low energy to fast, decreased level of patience, and an overall slumping Iman. No, not all! They very deliberately glided into Ramadan well prepared, highly motivated with a thriving Iman.

We naturally need to do the same. Invoke to Allah (swt) to help you reach and experience the best Ramadan of your life. Let your spirituality transcend worldly priorities. Plan now in terms of all your work, home, and other responsibilities to free up meaningful time for sincere Ibadah. Otherwise, intertwine it with your existing schedule like listening to the Quran while driving, cooking, etc. Read up the Tafseer while waiting, etc.

  1. Understand what ‘Sabr’ means

“Fasbir Sabran Jameel” -“So be patient (O Muhammad (sa)), with a good patience.” (Al-Ma’arij 70:5)

Fasting is challenging. Nobody says that it is a bed of roses. Otherwise, Allah (swt) wouldn’t promise a surprise reward for it. Unless we feel the pangs of hunger and low body energy we wouldn’t appreciate the blessings of our life and the suffering of the destitute. Hence, fasting requires beautiful patience which is when:

  • Others do not even realize you’re being patient.
  • Only Allah (swt) knows that you are being patient.
  • Nobody can see your frustration or anger.
  1. Increase the Sunnah prayers

This includes the Nafl or voluntary prayers that the beloved Prophet (sa) used to offer. Hence, they become a Sunnah for us.

If a person prays the Sunnah prayers, the reward promised by Allah (swt) is enormous. If he does not pray, there is no sin, but a great loss of opportunity to excel in worship.

In anticipation of Qiyam ul Lail, or Taraweeh, start your Nawafil now by praying two extra units after Salah. Don’t bulldoze yourself; just jumpstart slowly for the grand finale.

  1. Forgive to be forgiven

“And let not those among you who are blessed with graces and wealth swear not to give (any sort of help) to their kinsmen, Al-Masakin (the poor), and those who left their homes for Allah’s Cause. Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (An-Nur 24:22)

Our Lord (swt) created us. Only He knows how hard it is to forgive someone who hurt us. Hence, he offers the best motivation to His slaves. He promises forgiveness to all those who cleanse their hearts of rancor and malice of others. So, we initiate goodness even if they never asked for our forgiveness.

What are the benefits of forgiving others before Ramadan?

  • We will get more Taufeeq to do more Khair in Ramadan to increase rewards.
  • Our physical abilities improve drastically. American scientists claim that patients who have higher tendencies to forgive recover faster from illnesses such as insomnia, back aches and stomach aches, etc.

5. Ask Allah’s (swt) forgiveness

“Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others.”

Sprint for Allah’s (swt) mercy. Don’t let procrastination, guilt, disappointment, past sins, heedless company, and hopelessness prevent you; it’s all Shaytan in disguise. Allah (swt) is your Creator. He loves you more when you come to Him burdened with sins and shame. Fall into Sajdah and cry your heart out. He will heal you and guide you to a better life. Ameen.

  1. Give charity

What comes in between you and your Ramadan? Love of this Dunya planted by Shaytan in your heart. I cannot wake up for Sehri and Fajr Salah because I love my sleep too much. I cannot fast because I need to eat on time. I cannot control my anger because I am a slave to my Nafs.

Allah (swt) suggests a remedy for us. Calculate and give your Zakah; plan your Sadaqat in cash and kind gestures as per the Sunnah. Parting from our worldly possessions and wealth tames our ego. It also grants a feeling of tranquility as you feel light and worthy to be able to help Allah’s (swt) creation in dire need.

  1. Celebrate Ramadan!

Do not fret over the long and hot days ahead. Do not worry how you will manage your schedule. And do not stress over less sleep and food. Ramadan is not a restriction or burden. It’s a training camp to fix us. But no other camp rewards you Paradise against your tireless efforts. All they can award you with is a certificate, some laurel or an upgraded worldly position.

Allah (swt) is preparing you for His breathtaking and desirable Jannah. Embrace the opportunity with open arms. And motivate family and friends too. Talk how Iblees will be chained. The doors of heaven opened. Allah’s (swt) mercy showering all over us Insha’Allah.

After all, in the dark and lonely grave, this best friend in the form of accepted fasts of Ramadan will be our companion and saviour. Befriend it with love and eagerness.

(Adapted from Sister Khawlah bintYahya’s Ramadan countdown)

A well-prepared welcome to Ramadan

ramadanRamadan is just around the corner, and we are still busy in our day to day routine. Well, this article is for the “Rush- Hour personalities”; those who don’t find much time to spend on Ramadan preparation, or are lazy enough to do so. Either way, if you just start working from the first night of moon sighting, you will still be able to spend Ramadan in an effective sinless way. But firstly, we should know the significance of the first night.

Why is the first night of Ramadan important?

It is reported from Prophet (sa):“Surely Paradise is decorated the whole year for the Ramadan to come. When the first night of the Ramadan comes, a wind called “Musira” blows from the bottom of the skies. Leaves of the trees of Paradise, and the handles of Paradise doors, shake strongly; and therefore, such a nice sound is heard that listeners have never heard a more beautiful sound than that.Thus, the Hur of Paradise appear standing at the highest point of Paradise and say:“Is there anybody who wants to marry? Allah (swt) marries him.”Then Hur says: “O the keeper of Paradise! What night is tonight?”The keeper replies with respect: “Tonight is the first night of the month of Ramadan. The doors of Paradise were opened for those from the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad (sa) who observed fasting.” (At Targheeb wa’t-arheeb)

In another Hadeeth of Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah, the Prophet (sa) said: “When the first night of the month of Ramadan comes, the devils and rebellious Jinn are chained up; and the gates of Hell are closed, and not one gate of it is opened. The gates of Paradise are opened and not one gate of it is closed. And a caller cries out: ‘O seeker of good, proceed; O seeker of evil, desist. And Allah (swt) has those whom He frees from the Fire, and that happens every night.”

It is the first night where the preparation for Ramadan begins in the unseen world. Every one welcomes Ramadan. Hell is shut down and the doors of Paradise open up for the believers. The whole year before Ramadan, a believer is caught up in the tangled web of deception created by Shaytan, trying to fight his way out of it. But, he could not find time and strength to worship Allah (swt) as it should be done. The first night of Ramadan is indeed a glad tiding for the believers to revive their Iman. In the first night of Ramadan, Allah (swt) chains up the mischievous Jinn and devils to ease His servants, so that they can take complete advantage of this blessed month, and can proceed with their good deeds or worship uninterrupted.

What to do on first night of Ramadan?

1. Be grateful to Allah (swt)

The very first thing to do on this night is to thank Allah (swt) that He gave us life, and another chance to accumulate the blessings of this month. Considering the uncertainty of our lives, we should know that we might not live up to the next Ramadan. So if, Allah (swt) has chosen us to live through this Ramadan, then one should take complete advantage of this opportunity.

2. Sale on rewards- Make the most of it!

Second step is to chalk out a plan for the whole Ramadan. Plan will include the complete time table of Salah, Suhur, Aftar, Taraweeh, Quranic recitation, Nawafil (voluntarily prayers), Lailatul Qadr, Itekaf, Extra deeds (Dhikr, Tahajjud, Dua, charity, volunteer welfare work etc). Each and every minute of our day should be planned in order to avoid any time wastage or miss out the blessings of this month.

3. Avoid T.V. “The Viral”

Third step is very crucial, i.e. to lock away our usual entertainment gadgets. Television is the most common ‘Shaytan’ inhabiting our houses. Other cyber Shaytan along with television are the shield against the blessings of this month. One might say that there are several Islamic programs on T.V. regarding Ramadan, and they seem quite helpful; but trust me, they are of no use if Allah’s (swt) blessings are tossed away from your roof top. Hence, on the first night of Ramadan, shut away your television sets in your store rooms. Islamic lectures and Fiqh of fasting could either be listened in recording, or read in authentic Islamic books and magazines. If you must watch T.V. programs, or lectures regarding Ramadan, then do it all before the first night of the blessed month. And when the first night approaches, cut off all the distractions.

4. Motivate the children to do good deeds

Our fourth step includes motivating our children. First night can be the best opportunity to think through the plans of guiding and inciting the younger members of our family for Ramadan. The elders of the house should lead the younger members, and assist them in spending their time in worship and good deeds. Special attention should be given to children who have reached puberty, and it is their first month of fasting.

It might be a very hard experience for them- especially when Ramadan is in summer and the time duration of fasting has increased. Help them to recite Quran, engage them in positive activities and focus on Nawafil. If some particular child doesn’t have a habit of prayer prior to Ramadan, then help him/her in developing the habit of praying five times a day. Try not to push them hard for extra volunteer prayers, for that would scare them away even from obligatory prayers.

5. Charity is the best policy

Fifth step will be regarding Zakat and charity. As it is the month of blessings, we should try to give away as much charity as possible apart from Zakat. On the first night of Ramadan, sort out your clothes, shoes and other useful accessories that are extra than your usual need, and are in good condition, give them out in charity. Preparing Suhur and Aftar for others can also be the best charity.

6. Ramadan resolution for a big revolution

Sixth step can be very significant, where one can make a resolution, an oath to him/herself. It can either be a tiny thing or a much bigger promise depending on the stamina and level of Iman. That resolution can include the commencement of any virtue; letting go of any bad habit (sin), or taking up any good habit starting from this Ramadan till the rest of your life. One bad habit left, or one good habit added every Ramadan could lead to a revolution in one’s life. And if, every person of this Ummah starts practicing this, it can yield a much bigger result on a mass scale.

Justice for All: Who Will Be Bankrupt In Allah’s (swt) Court?

Image courtesy http://www.moneyschool.org.au/

Image courtesy http://www.moneyschool.org.au/

There is a Hadeeth where Prophet (sa) said: “On the day of Qiyamah, there will come a person who is bankrupt”- in fact, he asked a question: “Do you know who a bankrupt person is?”

The Sahabah said: “Well, according to us, a person who doesn’t have Dirhams and Dinars, or gold or silver, is a bankrupt person.”

In our terms, perhaps, it’s someone who doesn’t have dollars and pounds. It is a fact that someone who doesn’t have material things is a bankrupt person. Rasool Allah (sa) said: “No, it is a person who comes on the Day of Judgement with a lot of Salah, with a lot of Zakah, and with a lot of acts of worship.”

You know, if I heard that, I would think I am hearing wrong. The bankrupt person on the Day of Judgement is someone with a lot of prayers, a lot of worship, and lots of acts of charity! A lot! How can that person be bankrupt?

The Prophet (sa) continued: “And then when they are standing in front of Allah (swt) with all these deeds, they have backbitten this one, gossiped about that one, slandered this one, eaten the wealth of the other, deceived another, and harmed another and so on. So Allah (swt) takes away these good deeds one by one as a payment because on that day, the currency will be deeds.”

The payback is in the form of your good deeds. Such as:

Salah in the first row – gone

Zakah – gone

Hajj – gone

Fasting – gone

All the good deeds – gone

What happens thereafter? There are still so many people waiting for their rights. The Prophet (sa) said: “There will come a time when that man has nothing remaining and the people in front still want their right. Allah (swt) will say: Take their sins and put them on his shoulder.”

So the sins are put on the shoulder of the individual who violated somebody’s rights. He was the one who used to read Salah in the first row; he was the charitable one; he was the pious one according to the whole world; but because he usurped the rights of the fellow human beings and disregarded them completely, he is going to pay for that. When he went, he went with a lot and as he is progressing on that day (in fact, there is no progress, he is going back) because he has lost everything and on top of that, he has got sins committed by other people. May Allah (swt) forgive us. Ameen.

So, this is the clear Hadeeth that explains the importance of fulfilling the rights of fellow human beings. We need to make sure that we are humble; and remember, it doesn’t mean that you fulfill the rights of those who are pious alone. No! It doesn’t mean you fulfill the rights of the Muslims alone. Whether they are sinful, whether they are non-Muslims, no matter who they are and what they have done, they have rights! So much so, it doesn’t stop at human beings! In fact, it continues to all the creatures of Allah (swt), including the ecosystem. Subhan’Allah!

May Allah (swt) have mercy on us and may He (swt) opens the doors on us. Ameen. I hope the explanation would help in understanding the importance of fulfilling the rights of fellow human beings; and how actually, these are the fruits that are seen clearly on the person who is really close to Allah (swt).

Problems that Arise in the Absence of a Will

Islam is not just about the worship of our Lord; rather, it is a comprehensive way of life which requires the believer to follow the guidance of Allah (swt) on how to dwell in this world. Thus, Allah (swt) has provided for us directions regarding death and dying. Death is inevitable, and every person, regardless their race and religion, will face it. One of the most significant matters, when talking about death, is that a person is expected to leave behind an Islamically sound will, constructed according to the notions provided by Allah (swt).

The action upon Wasiyah (will) is undertaken after the death of the testator. It is emphasized within the Quran that people must leave behind a justified will. A Hadeeth instructs us regarding the importance of the will: “A man may do good deeds for seventy years, but if he acts unjustly, when he leaves his last testament, the wickedness of his deed will be sealed upon him, and he will enter the Fire. If (on the other hand) a man acts wickedly for seventy years but is just in his last will and testament, the goodness of his deed will be sealed upon him, and he will enter the Garden.” (Ahmad and Ibn Majah)

Islam has provided a detailed account on how a person is supposed to create fair dichotomy of his or her wealth among the inheritors and also for the benefit of the society. Our religion conserves two thirds of the wealth for the purpose of inheritance, and this portion is to be disposed of in accordance with the Islamic inheritance laws, as these two thirds do not fall under the laws of the Islamic will. Thus, a person can write his or her will only regarding the remaining one third and specify how it should be distributed – it may be willed to charity or given to any person or cause, which does not go against our religion. Next in order is the guardianship of children one leaves behind, which should also be detailed within the will.

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Ask the One Who gives everyone

A young lady named Umme-Jaffar was very kind and helpful. She used to give people money with her right hand so that the left hand would not know. For some days, she took the same path. On the way, she used to see two blind men sitting on the road. Both of them used to call out for money. One man used to call out: “O Allah (swt), you are the duamost merciful, please provide me with my livelihood.”

The second blind man said: “O Allah (swt), give me Umme – Jaffar’s left over. Umme-Jaffar listened to whatever the two blind men said. She gave both of them something. The one who was asking from Allah (swt), she gave him two Darham; and the one who was asking for Umme-Jaffar’s leftover, she gave him steamed chicken. The interesting point is that the one, who got chicken, used to sell his chicken to the second blind man in two Darhams. This unusual act went on for a few days.  Then one day, Umme – Jaffar  went to one blind man who asked for Umme – Jaffar’s left over and inquired: ”Did you get a hundred Dinars?”

The blind man got scandalized, and said: ”No. I used to get one steamed chicken which I used to sell over in two Darhams.”

Umme-Jaffar said: ”The one who asks from Allah (swt), I used to give him two Darhams. And I used to give you one steamed chicken in which every day I used to put ten Dinars.”

The blind man started hitting his cranium on the enclosure. He started clamouring badly, and he said: ”O my misfortune. Why did I do that? Oh I got smitten.”

Umme – Jaffar said: ”Hopefully, the one who asked Allah (swt) has achieved whatever he needed. And the one who used to ask people is bereft from everything.”

“Undoubted! The one, who asks from people, gets nothing; and in future, they get ignominy as luck.”

People should ask from Allah (swt) because nowadays people sell their Iman for Dinars and Dirhams.”

Our Kids, Our Sadaqah-e-Jariah

islami parenting- 1We always think about what will happen to us when we die? But have we ever thought about what will happen to our kids when they die? Are you confronting troubles in raising them into a productive Muslim and a Sadaqah-e-Jariah for yourself?

Here are some easy parenting tips to follow.

Inculcate Islamic routine and habits
Ever wondered how much emphasis do we put on Islamic routine? What should be our primary focus?

Make an Islamic routine for your children which may include:
a.      Teach them to stay awake after Fajr prayer (depending on the Salah times during the year).
b.      Make them read/memorize a portion of Quran daily.
c.      Make them reflect on a verse of Quran or some Hadeeth every day.
d.      Teach them to be charitable- even by smiling.
e.      Prioritize that they perform their Salah on time.
f.      Inculcate the habit of reading the Duas that Prophet (sa) used to read before going to bed, after waking up from sleep, eating etc.

Cheers for chores

We know, as Muslims, that cleanliness is half of our faith. If being clean is a large part of us being a Muslim, why not cultivate this into our children at an early age and teach them how to maintain their home and own space?  In their development, we all must play an effective role to keep both our external and internal environment clean. Someone taught a girl not to litter the ground. When she was asked why, she replied , “Why litter the ground we will be sleeping in one day?” I found her words extremely beautiful.

Make them follow Sunnah

Try to make Prophet (sa) their role model and the one whose footsteps they need to follow even while doing little tasks. Bring out positivity in them by reading to them the stories about Sahaba, and making their image everlasting in their minds. In this way, they will be able to understand our Islamic history more profoundly; they will respect our heroes and will try to act like them in their own lives as well.

Walk the talk

You cannot expect your kid to sit and learn Quran while the dad’s watching T.V and mummy’s browsing on her I pad. With the love of Quran exemplified in the parents, a young child will be attracted to sit and learn. So, first act upon what you teach them, and make them your Sadaqah-e-Jariah- the only way to earn rewards even after death.

Open Your Hearts to Charity

give1It was September 29th, 2012 Stamford Hilton, Connecticut was packed with people. United for Change had arranged a conference. Notable speakers had been invited. Powerful speeches were given, stirring the souls and leaving the audience disturbed. Each speaker was revealing the true state of our community.

Another speaker appeared on the podium- wearing a winter cap, a scarf and a torn jacket. The torn jacket caught attention. One wondered if the speaker overlooked the tear while dressing up. She held a master’s degree. Her speech was slow and well-articulated, further confusing the audience as the torn clothing did not match her eloquence.

Irony with charity

The sister began her talk by unveiling life’s challenges and the tragedies that people encounter by a struck of fate. She then introduced us to a bag that she had brought – a bag filled with donated items. She took out a handheld vacuum, without a cord or battery- what purpose could it serve, the sister asked. Next, she took out canned food that someone had gifted, perhaps, while clearing out their pantry. A food item without any nutritional value is not food. She had many other tales to tell- each causing a stir and a deeper hurt. The audience was tongue-tied with eyes welling up.

She, then, took off her torn jacket. It was an item given by someone as an act of generosity, and not her choice of wardrobe for a conference. This sister was Asma Hanif, founder of Muslimat Al-Nisaa, a self-sufficiency shelter home for Muslim women and children in Baltimore, Maryland. Heading a charity, she had many accounts of people’s attitude – our attitude – towards charity.

Anybody can become vulnerable by a struck of fate. Natural disasters, family feuds, illnesses, separation or divorce, and death cause people to lose their properties and wealth. An independent, respectable life that they had been living is lost. They are now dependent on their families and communities for help.

Anybody can become vulnerable by a struck of fate. They are now dependent on their families and communities for help.

When disaster hits, temporary campaigns are launched and then it is a forgotten cause. We shell out some money and go about our businesses assuming things have been taken care of. We donated generously in 2005 when a 7.6 earthquake shook the Kashmir region. But what became of the affected families or how they are now, we have no clue.

During our annual cleaning, we take out our rags and drop them at the Edhi Center. When the food gets expired or burnt, we give it to our domestic help. Donating broken toys and non-functional appliances with missing parts, has become a norm. The requests from donation banks to be respectful of the recipients are completely ignored.

Charity and its etiquettes- in the light of Quran

1. Spend of the good things

Allah (swt) teaches the Adab (etiquette) of spending. Allah (swt) says, “O you who believe! Spend of the good things which you have (legally) earned, and of that which We have produced from the earth for you, and do not aim at that which is bad to spend from it, (though) you would not accept it save if you close your eyes and tolerate therein. And know that Allah is Rich (Free of all wants), and Worthy of all praise.” (Al-Baqarah 2:267).

How many of us will accept torn clothing, broken pieces and expired food? Allah (swt) says we will never accept it unless our eyes are closed and we cannot see what we are being given.

2. Share the spare

He also tells us, “And they ask you what they ought to spend. Say: That which is beyond your needs.”(Al-Baqarah 2:219)

After having filled your basic needs, look after those who are being tried and tested. By replacing wants with needs, we spend a fortune in the name of leisure and clothing, and fail to fulfil the needs of those around us.

3. All belongs to Him, and to Him all shall return!

He reminds us that whatever we are enjoying today is actually from Him. “O you who believe! Spend of that with which We have provided for you, before a Day comes when there will be no bargaining, nor friendship, nor intercession. And it is the disbelievers who are the Zalimun (wrong-doers, etc.)” (Al-Baqarah 2:254) If it is from Him there is a great danger of losing it one day as others have lost their properties.

4. Allah (swt) is the best accountant

While Shaytan threatens us with poverty, Allah (swt) promises us His bounty.  “…And whatever you spend in good, it is for yourselves, when you spend not except seeking Allah’s Countenance. And whatever you spend in good, it will be repaid to you in full, and you shall not be wronged.” (Al-Baqarah 2:272)

5. Charity- A shield from Hell fire

Spending in for the sake of Allah (swt) is not a favour that we do, rather it is an obligation- as well as- a mean to draw closer to Him, and to save ourselves from the Fire. When people will be thrown in the Hell, they will be asked the reason for their entry. They will say that they were not of those who looked after the orphans and fed the poor.

Zakat is an obligation, but whoever does voluntary deeds, he must know that Allah (swt) is Appreciative and All-Knower. He describes multiple ways for drawing closer to Him. He commands us to believe in His Signs and give our wealth, in spite of our love for it.

“…but Al-Birr is (the quality of) the one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the Angels, the Book, the Prophets and gives his wealth, in spite of love for it, to the kinsfolk, to the orphans, and to Al-Masakin (the poor), and to the wayfarer, and to those who ask, and to set slaves free, performs As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and gives the Zakat, and who fulfill their covenant when they make it, and who are As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.) in extreme poverty and ailment (disease) and at the time of fighting (during the battles). Such are the people of the truth and they are Al-Muttaqun.” (Al-Baqarah 2:177)

People ask: “Shall we feed those whom, if Allah willed, He (Himself) would have fed?” We forget, while others are being tried by not having enough, we are being tested by having more than our needs.

Allah (swt) tells us, “And whosoever is saved from his own covetousness, such are they who will be the successful.” (Al-Hashr 59:9)

Let us open up our hearts, and give out generously in the Way of Allah (swt) and for His sake- seeking only His pleasure.

Sadaqah Matters – A Marginalized Profit?

charityMost of us rush to do good deeds in Ramadan in order to make Allah (swt) happy and earn His promised reward of Jannah. We increase our acts of generosity by spending for those in need. But have we ever reflected on our intentions? Have we ever checked the quality of our aid? Are we giving good things or the old discarded ones? Are we down to earth? Or walk boastfully in pride? Do the ones we helped feel inferior because of our behaviour towards them, during and after helping them?

These are some areas of concern that we must look into before we do something good. Allah (swt) has mentioned some important aspects of Sadaqah in Surah Al-Baqarah.

As an individual, an entrepreneur, or any random person from any walk of life, we act in ways which are favourable to us or which will earn us some rewards in return. We maintain ties of kinship with relatives who enjoy luxuries, have high financial status, and enjoy a good social repute. In short, man is greedy by nature. Our desire to attain pleasure and fame drives us to do anything.

In Surah Baqarah, verses 261 to 267, Allah (swt) talks about ways to maximize one’s wealth along with some other sub topics that come in relation with doing charity (Sadaqah).

But have we ever reflected on our intentions? Have we ever checked the quality of our aid?

The likeness of those who spend their wealth in the Way of Allah is as the likeness of a grain (of corn); it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He pleases. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.” (Al-Baqarah 2:261)

A promised and guaranteed profit

Subhan’Allah! How generous Allah (swt) is. For every single penny, you will earn seven hundred times more reward. This verse explains the virtue of spending in the way of Allah (swt) to attain His pleasure.

It was narrated by Abu Hurairah (rta) that Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “If one gives in charity what equals to one date-fruit for the honestly-earned money, and Allah (swt) accepts only the honestly earned money, Allah (swt) takes it in His right (hand) and then enlarges its reward for that person (who has given it), as anyone of you brings up his baby horse, so much so that it becomes as big as a mountain.” (Bukhari)

“Those who spend their wealth in the Cause of Allah, and do not follow up their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with injury, their reward is with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (Al-Baqarah 2:262)

The humble intention

This stresses on the intention behind the act of Sadaqah. Firstly, the intention should be to spend for Allah’s (swt) pleasure. After emphasizing on Niyyah, the stress is shifted to the behaviour of the giver. When we spend in the way of Allah (swt) by giving money or things to our maids, we think we can now ask them to work more and assist us with chores that they are not entitled to do. We are of the opinion that we can suppress them as they are under our feet because of the generosity we have shown to them. When the intention and behaviour is polluted then the act will go in vain.

The person is considered as a transgressor because of hurting one’s pride and self-respect; and it is more heinous as compared to any financial or physical harm. The psychological attack especially on one’s pride is unbendable.

On the contrary, if one’s intention and action are in concordance to the principles of Islam while giving charity, then surely, his reward is with Allah (swt); and he shall not fear or grieve.

Kind words and forgiving of faults are better than Sadaqah (charity) followed by injury. And Allah is Rich (Free of all wants) and He is Most-Forbearing.” (Al-Baqarah 2:263) One kind word can warm the iced hearts

This verse talks about the notion of being polite and considerate. A sweet tongue can conquer many hearts, whilst a sharp tongue breeds the seeds of hatred. When a needy asks the one who is superior to him in terms of finance, then the upper hand must respond with kindness; and if he has to refuse, then he must do so with politeness.Islam is truly a religion that one can fall in love with every time he comprehends its teachings via Quran and Sunnah. It takes care of the rights of each and every individual, and guards their rights.

O you who believe! Do not render in vain your Sadaqah (charity) by reminders of your generosity or by injury, like him who spends his wealth to be seen of men, and he does not believe in Allah, nor in the Last Day. His likeness is the likeness of a smooth rock on which is a little dust; on it falls heavy rain which leaves it bare. They are not able to do anything with what they have earned. And Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.” (Al-Baqarah 2:264)

When we spend in the way of Allah (swt) by giving money or things to our maids, we think we can now ask them to work more and assist us with chores that they are not entitled to do

Showing off will not bring glory

This verse talks about showing off (Riya).  When we do something good we expect to be praised, and raised in status in the eyes of society and home. Often, the picture is blurring with the intention of to be seen only; however, in reality, one feels no sympathy. A similitude has been used here to make a relation with the act and its outcome. It says when a farmer plants a seed on a rock the surface of which is hard and soil is infertile, a gush of water in the form of rain, will take away the dirt on it. No fertilizer, temperature control, pesticide control- nothing will bear any fruit of success as the land on which it is sown is barren. Similar is the case of a man whose heart is solid, empty of the love of Allah (swt), and is filled with the attitude to show off, then the act of charity, will not earn him any reward nor it will touch his heart.

And the likeness of those who spend their wealth seeking Allah’s Pleasure while they in their own selves are sure and certain that Allah will reward them (for their spending in His Cause), is the likeness of a garden on a height; heavy rain falls on it and it doubles its yield of harvest. And if it does not receive heavy rain, light rain suffices it. And Allah is All-Seer of (knows well) what you do.” (Al-Baqarah 2:265)

The second verse is opposite to the above one- it says about the one who spends to gain the pleasure of Allah (swt) and to acquire Taqwa by strengthening his faith. When a seed is sown in a fertile soil, all measures that one takes to improve the yields will support the outcome- i.e. a healthy, abundant yield. Spending in the name of Allah (swt) is a guaranteed reward. The reward is twofold. One is that the spender’s faith will enrich and the other is awaiting him in Jannah.

Would any of you wish to have a garden with date-palms and vines, with rivers flowing underneath, and all kinds of fruits for him therein, while he is stricken with old age, and his children are weak (not able to look after themselves), then it is struck with a fiery whirlwind, so that it is burnt? Thus does Allah make clear His Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses) to you that you may give thought.” (Al-Baqarah 2:266)

A worth incentive

In this verse, Allah (swt) is giving an incentive to do well. Just like a mother, who provokes her kid, makes him greedy to do work in order to enjoy any favourable outcome. Allah (swt) loves us more than seventy mothers, Subhan’Allah. He is describing the appearance of heaven to make man greedy to attain it.

O you who believe! Spend of the good things which you have (legally) earned, and of that which We have produced from the earth for you, and do not aim at that which is bad to spend from it, (though) you would not accept it save if you close your eyes and tolerate therein. And know that Allah is Rich (Free of all wants), and Worthy of all praise.” (Al-Baqarah 2:267)

Quality of Aid is more important than quantity

When it comes to spend for charity, we tend to choose the things which are not worthy to be used again, or have lost their liking in our eyes, or are not pleasurable for us, and/or have depreciated. Allah (swt) knows the hidden intentions and thoughts, as well as, a man’s psychological level. Therefore, He also warned us to not to spend the things which we ourselves will not accept if given to us.

Life Lessons from Asma Bint Abu Bakr (ra) – 2

cherryclossomWe continue with some more characteristics of Asma bint Abu Bakr (ra).

Steadfastness in Religion

When Asma (ra) migrated to Madinah, her mother Qutalyah bint Abdul Uzza came for a visit bringing along some gifts. Her mother being an idolatress, Asma (ra) did not admit her into the house or accept her gifts, until she asked the Prophet (sa) about relations with the idolaters. The Prophet (sa) told her to welcome her mother and accept her gifts.

It was her Taqwa that made her rank Allah (swt) and His commandments above everything else. If she was unclear about a certain matter, she did not proceed on her own, until she received clarification regarding it. “And whosoever honours the Symbols of Allah, then it is truly from the piety of the heart.” (Al-Hajj 22:32)

Lessons to draw: Seek knowledge of the religion and protect yourself and your families from committing that, which might be displeasing to Allah (swt). Be conscious of your earning, your food, your clothing, and the kind of people you keep company with. Put Allah (swt) before everything else.

Perseverance and Generosity

Life for Asma (ra) wasn’t easy. Her husband Zubair (ra) had neither money nor property. Asma (ra) would do house chores as well as look after her husband’s mare. Tending to the mare was the most difficult of all jobs. When she complained to her father, he advised her to be patient.

It was her Taqwa that made her rank Allah (swt) and His commandments above everything else.

When Allah (swt) improved their financial condition, instead of increasing her living status, Asma (ra) increased her charity. She was a woman not blinded by the attractions of this world. She was focused on the hereafter and that which pleased Allah (swt). Advising her children of benevolence, she said: “Spend, give Sadaqah and charity and do not wait for abundance.”

Lessons to draw: Many women complain of not having enough to give. There are many simple ways of contributing in the way of Allah (swt), and it does not always involve money. One can contribute in the way of Allah (swt) by giving their time, talent, special skills or even provision. Prepare an extra meal one day and feed an orphan child. Volunteer to teach Quran, a Dua or even academic studies to one of your domestic help’s children.

Haya and Modesty

One day, Asma (ra) was walking home with a load of dates on her head. Upon seeing her, the Prophet (sa) signalled his camel to sit down, so that Asma (ra) could climb. But Asma (ra) refused and continued to walk. There were other men with Prophet (sa), and Asma (ra) did not find it appropriate to be the only woman in a group of men.

Once, her son Al-Mundhir sent her an elegant dress from Iraq, but Asma (ra) refused to take it. Her son, knowing his mother, contested that it was not of a transparent material. Asma (ra) replied that it was not, but it was of tight-fitting and revealed the contours of the body.

Lessons to draw: We might spend a fortune on looking elegant and distinguished, but does our clothing cover all the parameters of Haya? Let us dress up to please Allah (swt).

When Allah (swt) improved their financial condition, instead of increasing her living status, Asma (ra) increased her charity.


Asma (ra) instilled in her children religious values and instructed them about always standing up for the truth. She transferred her love for charity in them and raised them upon best characteristics. After her husband divorced her, Asma (ra) started living with her son Abdullah ibn Az-Zubair (ra). Raised by his mother, Abdullah (ra) grew up to be prudent, intellectual and a master archer.

Lessons to draw: Connect your children to Allah (swt), because when the hearts are empty, they would take in anything that Shaytan leads them to. Teach the Seerah of the Prophet (sa) and his Duas. Tell them about Shirk, and teach not to depend on anyone or fear anyone besides Allah (swt).

Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat.

“Twins of Faith” – An Epic Experience

ToF-logo-2-293x300O you, who believe, be supporters of Allah (swt)…” (61:14)

“The Twins of Faith 2014” conference was a life-changing experience. Helping in the cause of Allah (swt) was something I had longed to do. This conference was my chance. This was the first time I had volunteered in such an event. The tension and excitement were both at their peak before the event.

I was first given the job to sell tickets. I had to go to my school, friends and family members and tell them about the event, convincing them to come. Believe me, it was no walk in the park. I only managed to sell five tickets to my family members. In school, none of my friends were interested. I was really disappointed. I told them about how beneficial and gratifying it would be, but still I got a response in the negative. I gave up all hope and started thinking what a Fitnah filled world it was, but I remembered that our job was to remind people – Allah (swt) is the One, Who can change the hearts. So I kept reminding them and they finally got interested, but it all ended in vain, when their parents did not allow them. Frankly, I was quite upset but I kept my calm.

Now about the responsibilities I had on the day of the event. I was an usher at the registration desk. We were summoned to “Marriott” at 7 o’clock in the morning, so we headed for the venue right after praying Fajr. It was still dark outside. It seemed like a small job to perform, just like a drop in the sea, as the older volunteers were assigned all the hard tasks; however, I found satisfaction in the fact that one should not belittle his good deeds. The Prophet (sa) said: “Do not belittle any good deed, even meeting your brother (Muslim) with a cheerful face.” (Muslim) Furthermore, we were told in the weekly meetings that deeds were based on intentions, and I did it solely for Allah (swt). The rewards of deeds are based on the intentions (Bukhari). Time and again we were reminded to keep a smiling and cheerful face, as it makes the people feel welcomed, and it also is a Sunnah. The event was a blast and a great learning experience. They told about the rights of parents, how they are the easiest route to Jannah, and the rights of children. Even though many problems arose, everybody had a great time. The volunteers and the team members handled every situation calmly, always showing a jovial demeanour.

The best thing was that we were within close proximity with the shaykhs. We got the best seats in the house, right next to the stage. The dinner with the shaykhs was great, as they related their lifetime stories. It was a highly learning experience. The meetings were fun, and everybody had a great sense of humour – we were helping in the cause of Allah (swt), while being social and active in the community.


The Mountain Peak

jannah-paradiseHow honorable is dwelling with mates,

In Paradise and that’s indeed the best company,

How great is neighborhood to persons of repute,

They will have the pleasure of seeing the Lord,

And listen with delight to His Sublime Word,

With silk brocade being their main garment,

They have their heads crowned with finest crowns,

Inlaid with ornate pearls and rare moonstones,

Or silver that is made of only pure gold

And golden rings and bracelets molded,

Of silver and prettily adorned forearms

Their served food is soft bird meat

The finest of camel that feed on all sorts

And bowls of precious pearls and gold,

Strewn, as seventy thousand, on a thousand tables,

If you feel a thirst and desirous for these,

As much as an exile who yearns for home,

Be as charitable as you can and then you will

Be rewarded for good with that which is best

Prepare for the Gardens of Eden and all

The blessings of it that surely never cease,

Observe fast always and rise in prayer,

For both are indeed acceptable deeds,

Wake in the night and recite Qur’an,

And have little sleep as an anxious one,

Perhaps, your death knell once suddenly tolls,

Your coffin then, not bed, will be the place to rest, How great to shed tears at night,

Due to the fear of the Lord, the Ever Compassionate,

So, lower your gaze and always avoid,

Any forbidden looks and strain to be modest,

Strive and beware of all women’s temptations,

You get them as mates as many hours in Paradise,

Blessed is life there and all its pleasures,

With all kinds of fruit as served in pairs,

Belittle you never any venial sin,

As fire begins with little sparks

Once you sin, be quick to repent,

For fear of sudden death, with no delay,

Sate not your whims and never be excessive,

Allah surely hates greedy persons,

The one who gives in to lust and appetite,

Will suffer forever their two-forked yoke,

So, fast by day to drink your fill

On the day people will be parched with thirst,

There is no good at all in musical instruments,

Or dancing or similar forms of merry-making,

The devout are always afraid of their Lord,

Avoiding listening to music and singing,

They rather recite the Glorious Qur’an,

Especially with melodious and tuneful to ears,

At night, than all those flutes and fifes,

If you just perceive the Doomsday’s horrors,

You would surely flee from kinfolk and home,

Due to its horrors, the skies would crack,

The infant’s hair will turn grey,

Austere and distressful that day will be,

And highly burdensome for humans at all,

that day the devout are driven to their Lord,

With finest of mounts carrying them all,

The wretched, however, are driven to Hell,

Where they will suffer the parching thirst,

So, Heaven and Hellfire respectively will be

For the devout and wicked an eternal abode.

(Published with permission from “On the Mountain Peak” by Dr. Muhammad Al-‘Areefi. Publisher: “Darussalam”)

Pearls of Peace – An Extract from Surah Taubah

perla negraWe now begin Surah At-Taubah. Since it begins with the mention of Allah’s (swt) anger and wrath, we notice that unlike other Surahs it does not begin with Bismillah. May Allah (swt) not deprive us of His mercy and forgiveness. Ameen.

Be cautious – this world deceives

Again, there is a reminder to not to get deceived by the treasures of this world such as wealth and children. He says, So let not their wealth or their children amaze you (O Muhammad (sa)); in reality Allah’s Plan is to punish them with these things in the life of the this world, and that their souls shall depart (die) while they are disbelievers.” (At-Taubah 9:55) May Allah (swt) make our wealth and children a source of comfort for us and means for entering Jannah. May these blessings don’t pave our way to destruction. Ameen.

Beware of mocking Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa)

Then there is a warning against mocking Allah (swt), His Messenger (sa) and His verses. The hypocrites would come in Prophet’s (sa) gathering, give their verbal acknowledgement to whatever they learnt and when they met each other in private, they would confess their disagreement. Each time that happened, Allah (swt) would reveal their true condition to Prophet (sa). Sometimes, we receive jokes about heaven and hell, the angels and other matters of the Unseen. We read them and laugh with our friends and family. Allah (swt) says, “If you ask them (about this), they declare: We were only talking idly and joking. Say: Was it at Allah, and His verses (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) and His Messenger (sa) that you were mocking?” (At-Taubah 9:65)

This is not something to be taken casually; read what Allah (swt) says next about such people, “Make no excuse; you have disbelieved after you had believed. If We pardon some of you, We will punish others amongst you because they were Mujrimun (disbelievers, polytheists, sinners, criminals, etc.)” (At-Taubah 9:66) Such a person is out of the folds of Islam. A Muslim leads a conscious life; he doesn’t get carried away by what’s happening around him. Delete such a message and reply them back with this verse. It could be that they don’t even know this verse is there in the Quran.

Heedfulness or hypocrisy?

Among the many traits of hypocrites, one is that they will not leave anyone without defaming and ridiculing him in all circumstances, even those who give away charity. If, for instance, someone gives away a large amount, the hypocrites say that he is showing off. If someone gives away a small amount, they say that Allah (swt) stands not in need of this man’s charity. Al-Awfi narrates from Ibn Abbas (ra) that one day while the Prophet (sa) was collecting charity, a man brought a Sa’ of dates (a small measure of food grains). He said, “O Messenger of Allah (swt)! This is a Sa’ of dates. I spent the night bringing water and earned two Sa’ of dates for my work. I kept one Sa’ and brought you the other Sa’.” The Prophet (sa) ordered him to add it to the charity. The hypocrites standing their commented that Allah (swt) and His Messenger are not in need of such small charity. What benefit could it bring? After that, came a rich man who wanted to give four thousand Dirhams in the way of Allah (swt). About him the hypocrites said that he gave this much amount to show off. It is the characteristic of Allah (swt) that He exposes those who lie and defame His righteous believers.

Hence this verse was revealed, “Those who defame such of the believers who give charity (in Allah’s Cause) voluntarily, and those who could not find to give charity (in Allah’s Cause) except what is available to them, so they mock at them (believers), Allah will throw back their mockery on them, and they shall have a painful torment.” (At-Taubah 9:79) A small or huge contribution does not matter. What matters is the person’s sincerity and that his wealth was earned from Halal means.

Sincerity in charity

Talking about sincerity, sometimes when we want something, we passionately make Dua and put a condition in it. We say, “O Allah (swt)! If such and such happens, I will be regular in my prayers,” or “I will give some particular amount in charity.” You know what is better than this? That we make ourselves punctual in our prayers and gave Sadaqah out of our willingness rather than putting a condition on it. Why treat Allah (swt) like a baby who you can trick with a candy for getting some work done? Allah (swt) says, “And of them are some who made a covenant with Allah (saying): If He bestowed on us of His Bounty, we will verily, give Sadaqah (Zakat and voluntary charity in Allah’s Cause) and will be certainly among those who are righteous. (At-Taubah 9:75). Know that if one can cheat their Maker, they can cheat anyone. May Allah (swt) forgive us and correct what is wrong within us. Ameen.

Zakat – an obligatory charity

Allah (swt) says, “Take Sadaqah (alms) from their wealth in order to purify them and sanctify them with it, and invoke Allah for them. Verily! Your invocations are a source of security for them, and Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.” (At-Taubah 9:103) This command is about the obligatory charity that is Zakat. Zakat is a means for purification and increment of one’s wealth. Therefore, do not be stingy with your Zakat. How can we protect ourselves from the Fitnah of stinginess? By knowing that the wealth that Allah (swt) has given us is not ours to keep. He gave us this wealth so that we could spend it in His cause, helping the needy and the poor. Note that in the verse, the Prophet (sa) has been instructed to make Dua after collecting the Zakat. What does this teach us? It teaches us that when one is collecting donations or charity, he should make Dua for the well-being of donor. The Prophet (sa) prayed in the following words:


بَارَكَ اللهُ لَكَ فِيمَا أَمْسَكْتَ وَفِيمَا أَعْطَيْت

“May Allah bless you for what you kept and what you gave away.” (Ibn Katheer) Such a statement will act as a reassurance for the donors and encourage them to contribute in future as well. Insha’Allah.

Levels of believers

Now we learn about the levels of believers, Allah (swt) says, “And the first to embrace Islam of the Muhajirun (those who migrated from Makkah to Al-Madinah) and the Ansar (the citizens of Al-Madinah who helped and gave aid to the Muhajirun) and also those who followed them exactly (in Faith). Allah is well-pleased with them as they are well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise), to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success.” (At-Taubah 9:100) Look at their honour. We need to be very careful about what we say about the Companions and the righteous slaves of Allah (swt). We must ask Allah (swt) to bless us with the company of His righteous servants, so that we may aspire to raise our status in the Hereafter, Insha’Allah. Allah (swt) says, “O you who believe! Be afraid of Allah, and be with those who are true (in words and deeds).” (At-Taubah 9:119)

One is known by the company he keeps. It either guarantees one peace or snatches it away. However, good company promises goodness. An evil company only increases us in evilness. Reflect on your social circle. Are they bringing you closer to Allah (swt) or only distancing you further? If it’s the latter, do not be shy to break away from them or at least maintain minimal contact. Your Iman and Hereafter is more important than anything else in this fleeting world.

Diversity in Ummah

Then we learn about the diversity in Ummah, “And it is not (proper) for the believers to go out to fight (Jihad) all together. Of every troop of them, a party only should go forth, that they (who are left behind) may get instructions in (Islamic) religion, and that they may warn their people when they return to them, so that they may beware (of evil).” (At-Taubah 9:122) Some people will go out to fight. Some will stay back to teach Quran and matters of religion. This is a great encouragement, especially for the women. Women sometimes feel their task is limited to raising children and managing the house. Allah (swt) has honoured women greatly with these responsibilities. The little Momins, Insha’Allah, will be tomorrow’s scholars and soldiers of Islam. By staying at home, you can focus on your association with the Quran, learn it, live by it and teach it to others. In Islam, no one’s role is insignificant. We make it trivial only by our thoughts. Change your thinking and reflect on your skills: How can I contribute in Allah’s (swt) way.

We have been talking about the certainty of tests in one’s life; in Surah At-Taubah Allah (swt) gives us reminders regarding afflictions. He says, “See they not that they are tried once or twice every year (with different kinds of calamities, disease, famine, etc.)? Yet, they turn not in repentance, nor do they learn a lesson (from it)” (At-Taubah 9:126)

Why does Allah’s (swt) test us?

The purpose is that a person may draw himself closer to Allah (swt). There is nothing more that Allah (swt) appreciates than a servant being engaged in Astaghfar. Astaghfar does not mean that you are a sinful person. The Prophet (sa), who was the best being ever lived on the earth, used to seek Allah’s (swt) forgiveness 70 – 100 times a day.

Allah (swt) describes His Prophet (sa)

As we are talking about Muhammad (sa), let’s see how Allah (swt) describes him, “Verily, there has come unto you a Messenger (Muhammad (sa)) from amongst yourselves (i.e. whom you know well). It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He (Muhammad (sa)) is anxious over you (to be rightly guided, to repent to Allah, and beg Him to pardon and forgive your sins, in order that you may enter Paradise and be saved from the punishment of the Hell-fire), for the believers (he (sa) is) full of pity, kind, and merciful.” (At-Taubah 9:128)

Here we need to ask ourselves three questions:

  1. Are we kind and merciful to one another?
  2. Do we grieve over the sufferings of one another?
  3. Are we concerned about one another?

Again we are reminded of good conduct. If others do not reciprocate kindness then say, “Hasbiya Allahula ilaha illa huwa alayhi tawakkaltu wa huwa rabbu al-arshi al-atheem (Allah is sufficient for me. La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), in Him I put my trust and He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne.)” Surah At-Taubah ends at this Dua. These words should be part of our daily remembrance of Allah (swt).

May He open up our hearts and minds to give Him our very best. Ameen.

(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s “Pearls of Peace” series, Cape Town, Ramadan 2013. The lecture can be listened to at this link.)

[Hadeeth Commentary] Charitable Acts


Abu Dhar reported that some of the companions of the Messenger (sa) said to him:

 “O Messenger of Allah (swt), the rich have taken away all the rewards. They observe the prayer as we do, and they keep the fasts as we do, and they give Sadaqah (charity) from their surplus riches.” Upon this he (the Prophet (sa)) said: “Has Allah (swt) not prescribed for you (a course) by following which you can also do Sadaqah? Verily in every Tasbih (i.e., saying Subhan’Allah) there is a Sadaqah, every Takbir (i.e. saying Allahu Akbar) is a Sadaqah, every Tahmid (i.e., saying Alhamdulillah) is a Sadaqah, every Tahlil (i.e. saying La ilaha illa Allah) is a Sadaqah, enjoining of good is a Sadaqah, forbidding of evil is a Sadaqah, and having sexual intercourse with your wife is a Sadaqah.” They (the Companions) said: “O Messenger of Allah (swt), is there reward for him who satisfies his sexual passion among us?” He said: “Tell me, if he were to devote it to something forbidden, would it not be a sin on his part? Similarly, if he were to devote it to something lawful, he should have a reward.” (Muslim)

In particular this Hadeeth addresses the fact that the Sahabah were always concerned about the Hereafter and how to compete in seeking Allah’s (swt) reward. The background tells us that the questioners were poor Muslims who understood that their prayer and fasts were equal to that of the richer Muslims. They did not envy them for their wealth, but were only troubled about how to compete when giving in charity (Sadaqah). The companions were sad because they were not able to donate money for charity like other people. Our lesson from this situation is to note that only the thought of not being able to compete in good deeds for Allah’s (swt) sake was what troubled the Sahabah the most, they were not least bothered with what others had – their anxiety stemmed from not being able to please Allah (swt) as much as others could. Subhan’Allah.

In the 40 Hadeeth of An-Nawawi, Ibn Rajab states that the Islamic concept of charity in its broad sense can be divided into two types:

  1. The acts of goodness and kindness one can have towards other humans. Ibn Rajab gave some examples, such as educating and teaching people like teaching the Quran, removing anything that harms people in their paths, and contributing to the well-being of the Muslim community. This also includes doing Dua (prayer) and Istighfar (forgiveness) for other Muslims.
  2. Keeping any harmful action away from others. This means that we must not perform any harmful act towards other people if it does not benefit them. It is the minimum thing that one can afford to benefit others.

The Prophet (sa) then assured his companions, and offered them an alternate explanation of ‘Sadaqah’. A broader concept than the one we usually limit it to – we only take it as monetary in nature.

How does Dhikr benefit you?

When you say ‘Subhan’Allah’ you are granted a tree in Paradise. When you remember Allah (swt) by saying ‘Subhan’Allah’ or ‘Allahu Akbar’ you are actually being good to yourself and Allah (swt) will give you the reward in the Hereafter.

  • Allah (swt) remembers you
  • Allah (swt) will remember your name
  • Allah (swt) will praise you.

hadeeth1Every time you receive a blessing and you say ‘Alhamdulillah”, Allah (swt) will give you a reward. When amazed or in a problem, say ‘Subhan’Allah’ and say Allahu Akbar‘, when you notice yourself feeling proud, this will train you to stay humble and remain a servant of Allah (swt). Finally, our entire lives are based on La ilaha illa Allah. Muslims should make it a habit to do Dhikr during the morning and evening and after every prayer as a minimum. How many times do the rich give monetary Sadaqah? They cannot do so every moment of their life. Allah (swt) has favoured His servants with something that can earn rewards every waking moment. When you say ‘Alhamdulillah’, you get richer. Don’t compare yourself to what other people do, how much do they pray or fast; Allah (swt) has a way for everyone to compete equally. Focus only on what you can do. We know for a fact from this and the other Hadeeth that the ways of pleasing Allah (swt) are numerous and affordable for everyone. People differ in their ability, preference, and potential; therefore a Muslim should take this advantage and do such good deeds that are more convenient and suitable for him or her. People have choices and preferences in doing acts of Ibadah according to their ability and this is acceptable in Islam. Only a few people may have the ability to do many things together. (An-Nawawi)


If you know of something good, and you want to share it with others, you must make sure you fulfill the conditions. You desire Paradise for others the same way you desire and strive for it yourself – but make sure you do not cause a greater harm than is already present. For example something may not actually be Munkar but in your culture it is considered that way. It has to be Munkar in the Shariah  and not just what your mother or father said. Speak with proof. It is a greater sin to term something as Haram when it is not actually Haram. If you call something Halal when actually it is Haram it is a lesser sin. Everything is Halal except what Allah (swt) has deemed as Haram. The etiquette is not to say something is Haram unless you are certain.


Acquiring knowledge and spreading it is one of the greatest Sadaqah, this leads to the ability of enjoining good and forbidding evil. Every moment we spend in learning is never wasted. Every normal activity that we do as part of our daily routine will be rewarded for doing it with a good intention. For example, if we leave home for work with an intention to benefit our co-workers and treat it as an opportunity for Dawah; Allah (swt) will reward us for this and it would become Sadaqah.

Finally, the end of the Hadeeth states that fulfilling the desire in a Halal way is Sadaqah. Fulfilling your desires is a right upon yourself and you are doing well when fulfilling the desire of your spouse. No one can say we are deprived – a deprived person is one who deprives himself from the good. Allah (swt) has made it easy for us to earn rewards and practice charity, no matter how rich or poor we are. Alhamdulillah.

Pearls of Peace – An extract from Surah Baqarah 3

Gold_and_pearls_neckbandAs we look into these pearls of peace, we ask Allah (swt) to grant us the peace that we are so desperately searching for, along with contentment of the soul. Remember as long as we follow that which Allah (swt) has told us we will be at peace. The moment we deviate from the instructions of Allah (swt) our peace will be snatched away. Today, we are going to understand a few verses that talk about money matters.

Charity in secrecy

Allah (swt) says, “O you who believe! Do not render in vain your Sadaqah (charity) by reminders of your generosity or by injury, like him who spends his wealth to be seen of men, and he does not believe in Allah and in the Last Day.” (Al-Baqarah 2:264)

If Allah (swt) has given you wealth and you spend it in Allah’s (swt) way, don’t brag about it or make the poor person feel shameful. Be humble. Offer gratitude for your wealth that you are among the givers and not takers.

Spend with love for Allah (swt)

Moving further, Allah (swt) teaches us the etiquette of spending in His way. He says, “O you who believe! Spend of the good things which you have (legally) earned, and of that which We have produced from the earth for you, and do not aim at that which is bad to spend from it, (though) you would not accept it save if you close your eyes and tolerate therein. ” (Al-Baqarah 2:267)

What happens during our annual cleaning ritual? We select the most ragged and worn out clothes, broken pieces of crockery, expired cosmetics or medicines and rotten food and give it to our housemaid, satisfied in our hearts that we have done our duty! Will we accept if anyone presented us such a gift? Keep your eyes on the treasures of Jannah and have a big heart. Share from what you pick for yourself.

Islamic business transactions and family dealings

When one goes to a financial institution, there are systems and procedures that must be followed. In the Quran, Allah (swt) has explicitly stated how our contracts and business transactions should be. When we don’t abide by these procedures, we suffer loss and have regrets.

Log in black and white

After a person passes away his heirs come and claim such and such property to be theirs. But where did the father write it? They say, “Well! He didn’t write it but he told me this is yours.” If the father wants to gift a certain property to one of his children, he must write it down and sign it in the presence of witnesses. People give loans to their family members and the debtor forgets to return the money. This small mistake gives birth to family feuds where both the parties are slandering one another. Many business deals fail because the terms were not written down and attested. Remember that word of mouth has no worth in a court where today even signed documents are being challenged.

Allah (swt) elucidates the procedure for business transactions in verse 282, “ O you who believe! When you contract a debt for a fixed period, write it down. Let a scribe write it down in justice between you. Let not the scribe refuse to write as Allah has taught him, so let him write.” Look at how Allah (swt) is teaching us a gem for attaining long term peace. Today, family relations are sacrificed for a few hundred thousands. Both the parties consider themselves to be correct.

A lesson by our Prophet (sa)

Once the Prophet (sa) heard an argument near his door, people were debating over something and its ownership. The Prophet (sa) said: “I am going to judge between you based on the evidence that is before me. And if I am to rule that something is yours yet it is not yours and you know it is not yours then it is piece of fire. It is up to you to take it or leave it.” Both of them left it. They said, “It doesn’t belong to us.” They got worried that in case we take it, it might be a piece of fire. Remember, if you choose to let go of the feud, Allah (swt) might reward you with Paradise in return.

(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s “Pearls of Peace” series, Cape Town, Ramadan 2013. The lecture can be listened to at this link.)

[Hadeeth Commentary] Our Quest to Paradise


Mu’adh bin Jabal, said:

I said:”O Messenger of Allah (swt), tell me of a deed which will take me to Paradise and will keep me away from the Hell-fire.”

He said: “You have asked me about a great matter, yet it is indeed an easy matter for him to whom Allah (swt) Almighty makes it easy. (It is) that you worship Allah (swt) without associating anything with Him, that you perform the prayers, pay the zakat, fast during Ramadan, and that you make the pilgrimage to the House.”

Then he said: ”Shall I not guide you to the gates of goodness? Fasting is a shield; charity extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire; and a man’s prayer in the middle of the night.”

Then he recited: “Their sides forsake their beds to cry unto their Lord in fear and hope, and spend of that We have bestowed on them. No soul knoweth what is kept hidden for them of joy, as a reward for what they used to do.” (As-Sajdah 32:16-17)

Then he said: “Shall I not also tell you about the peak of the matter, its pillar, and its topmost part?” I said: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah (swt).”

He said: “The head of the matter is Islam (submission to Allah (swt)), the pillar is prayer; and its topmost part is Jihad.”

Then he said: “And shall I not tell you of the controlling of all that?”

I said:” Yes, O Messenger of Allah (swt).”

So he took hold of his tongue and said: “Restrain this.”

I said: “O Prophet of Allah (swt), will we be held accountable for what we say?”

He said: “May your mother be bereft of you! Is there anything that topples people on their faces (or he said, on their noses) into the Hell-fire other than the jests of their tongues?” (Tirmidhi)


This Hadeeth is related by Maudh bin Jabal himself. Maudh asked Prophet Muhammad (sa) a question and we note that the main concern of the Sahabah was to go to Paradise. Maudh bin Jabal not only wanted information but he also wanted to put it into practice. When you acquire the knowledge, your main concern should be to go to Paradise and be away from Hellfire.

Sometimes people seek knowledge to feel good, but we should always seek knowledge in order to make ourselves closer to Allah (swt).We need to look within our hearts and ask, ‘Why am I learning?’ The signs that show you are not learning for the sake of Allah (swt) is when you are frustrated, impatient and hasty – this is when you are learning to boost your ego. But when you learn for the sake of Allah (swt); you know that Allah (swt) will appreciate your learning.

In the light of Prophet Muhammad’s (sa) response

1.Worship Him Alone

People usually make their desires their god. Allah’s (swt) Majesty demands that He be worshiped alone, without any rivals. Allah (swt) is the Most Rich, He doesn’t accept it if we associate anyone with Him. We cause our own destruction when we are a slave of someone else or something else besides Allah (swt). Allah (swt) does not need our worship; He will leave us with our Shirk.

  • Shirk is the greatest thing Allah (swt) forbade us from.
  • Tawheed is the greatest thing Allah (swt) commanded us to do.

So don’t make the knowledge a desire; acquire knowledge to draw yourself closer to Allah (swt).

2. Establish Prayer

This advice is being given to one of the Sahabah, not to someone new to Islam. Our struggle and aim should be to perfect our Salat. We need Allah’s (swt) help to fulfill  this task. We should always feel that our last prayer was not so perfect and  hence try to  improve the next one.

3. Pay Zakat

This is the only way to purify our money/wealth. It is one of the rights of people over us. Understand that paying Zakat is an obligation- just like Salat and fasting.

4. Fasting is a Shield

The Prophet (sa) fasted every Monday and Thursday and in the months of Muharram and Shaban.  He used to fast on the white days or the white nights (i.e. the 13th, 14th, and 15th of every lunar month), and the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah. We have been ordained  to  fast in the month of Ramadan. This is important as fasting teaches us obedience to Allah (swt) and puts us in a state of calmness and piety.

5. Pilgrimage to Makkah

To acquire Paradise, we must do what Allah (swt) wants us to do. All the obligations discussed above are the minimum what we can do to enter  Paradise. Quantity is not important – it is there to satisfy ourselves. But Allah (swt) wants the quality. If we get these five pillars right; we will enter Paradise.

picture2The Gates of Paradise

There are a variety of doors – you can do one, two or all three. When Allah (swt) opens the doors of good deeds grab them, stick to them. Everybody is unique and the path you choose to Paradise is also unique. You must not rely on one particular deed to take you to Paradise. Whatever Allah (swt) makes easy for you; you should do, and ask Allah (swt) to accept it.

Charity can be a smile, caring for somebody, carrying something for somebody, the best Sadaqah is giving money for the sake of Allah (swt).

Praying in the depths of night means the beginning of the last third of the night. According to Ibn Rajab in 40 Hadeeth of An-Nawawi, three types of people whose prayer gets readily accepted, are:

  1. Those who wake up during the night for Dhikr, Dua, or perform Tahajud.
  2. Those who wait for the Isha prayer and do not go to sleep until they perform Isha.
  3. Those who wake up for the Fajr prayer.

Blessings of Jihad

Jihad is a blessing that allows us to become closer to Allah (swt). Scholars say that Jihad is the greatest act of worship and the most important deed after the obligatory acts. Through Jihad, Islam was protected and preserved and became dominant, where other nations lived under its rule peacefully with their rights maintained. (40 Hadeeth of An-Nawawi)

Mind Your Tongue

Restraining and controlling our speech is the most important act to achieve good. The one who controls his tongue controls all his affairs. If we cannot control what we say, the result will be chaos and Fitnah like in the time of Caliph Usman (ra).

Hence this Hadeeth provides evidence that good deeds can surely become our ticket to Paradise.

Khadijah (rta) – A Guiding Light for Every Muslimah

beautiful-hibiscus-flower-dsc02642Do you ever wish to shake hands with a political figure, or pose for the camera standing next to a high heeled model, or even meet a celebrated Islamic scholar? Khadijah (rta) had the honour of receiving greetings from the Lord of the worlds from above seven heavens.

Jibreel (as) once came to the Prophet (sa) and said: “O Allah’s Messenger! This is Khadijah (rta), coming to you with a dish having meat soup (or some food or drink). When she reaches you, greet her on behalf of her Lord, and on my behalf, and give her the glad tidings of having a palace made of Qasab in Paradise, wherein there will be neither any noise nor any toil.” (Bukhari)

Today, we will spend some time with our dear mother and study the traits of this wonderful woman, who attained the certificate of greatest achievement that can ever be; the Pleasure of the Most High and a Palace in Jannah. What made her so outstanding?

Women especially, are champions at complaining. 

The first Muslimah

Khadijah (rta) readily and instantly accepted the message of Islam, without any hesitation. She was well-aware that proclaiming this new faith would mean inviting trouble as she was surrounded by an ignorant, stereotyped society. How many of us refrain from taking a positive step with the fear of what people might say, and there she accepted the call of Islam at the cost of her life. Whilst we are not willing to pay any price for the truth, Khadijah (rta) gave up everything, teaching us a lesson; our reputation, our wealth and our community, nothing is more valuable than faith and the principles of truth.

Whilst we are not willing to pay any price for the truth, Khadijah (rta) gave up everything, teaching us a lesson; our reputation, our wealth and our community, nothing is more valuable than faith and the principles of truth.

Patience and endurance

Women especially, are champions at complaining. A woman not complaining about her servants, husband, children, in-laws and the tiniest struggles of life is very hard to find! Being the wife of the Prophet (sa), Khadijah (rta) had to face the greatest of trials.

After Qasim, Abdullah too passed away soon after he was born. Instead of sympathies and consolation that one would have expected at that grievous occasion, the pagans rejoiced at the news and started making fun of Muhammad (sa). Moreover, Abu Lahab ordered his two sons to divorce the daughters of Muhammad (sa) who were in their marriage. Weren’t these arrows hard hitting for a mother?

Later, came three difficult years of suffering and starvation in the valley of Abu Talib. However, Khadijah (rta) bore the hardships and the uncomfortable lifestyle without complaining even once.. Every other day, her neighbour Umm-e-Jameel would throw garbage in the front yard of the honourable Khadijah (rta). Did she go and scream at her husband about what she had to go through because of him? No she did not! She did have a heart, but what an enduring heart it was!

Spending in the way of Allah (swt)

“Allah (swt) would never humiliate you, for you are good to your relatives, you are true to your word, you help those who are in need, you support the weak, you feed the guest and you answer the call of those who are in distress.” This is the well-known testimony given by Khadijah (rta) about her husband after the first revelation. In fact, in each act of kindness and charity, she had a major role too. She never stopped her husband or crashed his generosity like many of us would have in favour of our own kids.

With Ali Ibn Talib, Zaid Bin Harithah, their children and two children from Khadijah’s (rta) previous marriage, the expenses weren’t few. However, never was a beggar sent empty handed, or a needy one refused from the household of Khadijah (rta). She gave up all her wealth to spread the religion of Allah (swt).

Never-ending support for her husband

Khadijah (rta) always stood alongside Muhammad (sa) firmly and supportively against the toughest of tides. It was her to whom he returned after the perturbing event of revelations and she affectionately reassured him. Khadijah (rta) was like a shelter amidst the pelting stones of harassment and mockery, a refuge after the tiring and heart breaking days of Dawah. She was not the grumpy, selfish kind. Both were like pillars supporting each other. No wonder Muhammad (sa) loved her and reminisced about her so often.

Every Muslim woman, especially the wives of Islamic workers have a lesson in this: Be a bridge between your men and their worship, not barriers. Like the pillars of a house you may be obscure. However, you are the actual source of strength and power!

He once said: “I have not yet found a better wife than her. She had faith in me when everyone, even members of my own family and tribe did not believe me, and accepted that I was truly a Prophet and a Messenger of Allah (swt). She converted to Islam, spent all her wealth and worldly goods to help me spread this faith. And this too when the entire world turned against me and persecuted me. It is through her that Allah (swt) blessed me with children.”

Every Muslim woman, especially the wives of Islamic workers have a lesson in this: Be a bridge between your men and their worship, not barriers. Like the pillars of a house you may be obscure. However, you are the actual source of strength and power!

An exemplary mother

Behind the faith of Zainab (rta), the Hijrah of Umm Kulthum (rta) and the endless courage of Fatimah (rta) was the hand of their mother. Amongst the children of Khadijah (rta), only Fatimah’s (rta) Seerah is available in detail, and in it one can see the generosity, patience, selflessness and love for Islam that she took from her mother. Khadijah (rta) is not just herself one of the top four ladies of Jannah, she’s also the mother of one of the top ladies of Jannah!

Muhammad (sa) once drew four lines on the ground and asked his companions if they knew what those meant. They replied in the negative. He then told them that they stood for the four leading ladies of Jannah: Asiyah Bint Muzahim, Mariam (as) Bint Imran (as), Khadijah (rta) Bint Khuwalid (rta) and Fatimah Bint Muhammad (rta).

This leads to a question that each one of us should ask ourselves. “Do our sons and daughters get a nourishment of faith, patience and Haya (modesty) from us?

We always rush after successful people, praising them and seeking advice from them. Why don’t we dive into the books of Seerah and spend some evenings with these fabulous Queens of Jannah. Forget about Miss Fashion, Miss World and the Miss Universe because “All that glitters is not gold!” Aspire to be amongst the women with the heart of gold: the women of Jannah and the legendary ladies; follow their footsteps in order to accomplish Jannah where they belong.

May Allah (swt) make us enter Paradise and meet the Queens of Jannah. Ameen