Lessons of Wisdom from Hind bint Amr (ra)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShe was the sister of Abdullah ibn Amr (ra) who was the father of the famous Hadeeth narrator Jabir ibn Abdullah (ra). Her husband Amr ibn Jamuh (ra) was the leader of Yathrib (old name of Madinah) and was from the nobles of the Ansar (the helpers of Madinah).

Conversion to Islam

Hind (ra) converted to Islam along with her sons through the Dawah efforts of Musab ibn Umair (ra). Her husband, like other ignorant leaders, had installed an idol in his house that he used to worship and sacrifice animals for. One day, he purchased a sturdy piece of wood and instructed a woodworker to craft an idol for him. This idol, named Manat, was dressed in fine clothing and pleasantly perfumed.

Like many early Muslims, Hind (ra) kept her conversion a secret. She was waiting for an appropriate time to break the news to her husband. Her sons regularly attended the gatherings of Musab ibn Umair (ra), and later shared the knowledge of the Quranic verses with their mother. Amr (ra) remained unaware of what was happening in his house. He only began to worry when more and more people entered Islam. He then felt insecurity for his family. He instructed Hind (ra) to keep a close watch on their sons that they do not meet the man from Makkah, and get spoilt by his teachings. Hind (ra) assured him to not worry and to keep his heart free from apprehensions about them.

While at one end, the father was instructing the mother to keep a close watch on the sons; on the other end, the sons worried for their father’s faith. Muadh ibn Amr (ra) shared his concerns with a close friend and they plotted a plan to get the father off idol worshipping. It was decided that Muadh ibn Jabl (ra) will help the brothers in throwing the idol in a trash can. Amr (ra) was fast asleep when this plan was carried out. The next day when he woke up, as per his routine, he entered the room where the idol was kept. Not finding it there he vehemently demanded where it was. The mother and the sons replied that they had no idea where it had gone.

Amr (ra) went out of the house and fetched the idol. Seeing it lying on trash, he brought it home, cleaned it and applied fragrance. He vowed to take revenge from the culprit. The mother and the sons looked at Amr (ra) in disbelief- was he really talking to a piece of wood? He was apologising to it while it could neither hear him nor speak.

He then brought a sword and hung it around Manat’s neck. He told the idol that it was for its defence, in case it was attacked again.

When the father had gone to sleep, the sons again, with the help of Muadh ibn Jabl (ra), picked up the idol and threw it in trash. Second time they tied a dead dog to the wooden piece and returned home.

The next day, when Amr (ra) woke up and did not find Manat in its room, he again screamed and shouted and went out to find the idol. When he saw that it was again lying on trash and a dead dog was wrapped around its neck, and that the idol did not defend itself, Amr (ra) conceded that the idol did not deserve his respect. It was content with its own dishonour. He left the idol on the trash and returned home feeling estranged.

She was not only doing Tarbiyah of her sons that they should be respectful towards their father, but also did not spoil the home environment.

Seeing Amr (ra) anguished, the family inquired what the matter was. Amr (ra) did not reply to the question. He sighed deeply and asked the mother if she had been keeping a close watch on the sons. The mother assured him that the sons had acted upon her instructions. However, she quickly added that their son Muadh (ra) had a meeting with the Makkan preacher Musab (ra) and had learnt some things. She suggested that Amr (ra) should call him and inquire what he had learnt.

Amr (ra) at once called Muadh (ra). Muadh (ra) came and the father inquired if he had memorised anything from the Makkan preacher (ra). The son replied in affirmation. The father then asked the son to share something. Muadh (ra) recited the Ta’awuth and Surah Al-Fatihah.

Amr (ra), as if speaking to himself commented that how eloquent, enticing and beautiful the words were. The son was overjoyed by his father’s statement. He affirmed that indeed that Makkan man’s entire talk was elegant, beautiful and exceptional and that Amr (ra) should meet the man himself. To entice the father furthermore, he added that all the other leaders of Madinah had been visiting Musab (ra) and embracing Islam. They had preceded Amr (ra). Hind (ra) also encouraged her husband to meet the Makkan preacher (ra). Amr (ra) said that he needed to take advice from his idols. Muadh (ra) immediately reminded his father if he was to take advice from a dumb and deaf piece of wood. Amr (ra) was offended by his son’s comment, but then admitted that it was indeed the truth. The wood was void of intellect and emotions. He then looked at his family and asked for their views. The family was startled, but quickly agreed that Amr (ra) was right.

Our mistake is that when we meet a person who is committing some wrong, we start our conversation with taunts and criticism

At that moment, Amr (ra) testified the Oneness of Allah (swt) and recited the Islamic testimony of faith (Shahadah). That was a joyous moment for the family. Later that evening Musab ibn Umair (ra) was invited to their home, who then purified the house from the filth of associating partners with Allah (swt).

Lessons to draw

There are several lessons in this story. When Hind (ra) became a Muslim she did not break the news to her husband at once. Despite having the support of adult sons, she waited for an appropriate time to approach Amr (ra). She hoped that he might embrace Islam on his own and the relations between them will not be severed. She was not only doing Tarbiyah of her sons that they should be respectful towards their father, but also did not spoil the home environment.

  • Hikmah of preaching

We need to reflect on our attitudes when we learn something new and how we preach it to others. First, we must gain firmness in what we have learnt and then pass it on to others. Show them by practicing, not by preaching. Melt their hearts first. Give them space to understand. Secondly, “plan” how you are going to preach. Hind (ra) and her sons first sketched a plan that how they could convince Amr (ra) that what he was following was wrong.

Thirdly, when Amr (ra) returned home feeling estranged, the family showed concern and inquired- although they knew it very well what grieved him. They treated him with respect and care- even when he was upset about a wrong matter. Our mistake is that when we meet a person who is committing some wrong, we start our conversation with taunts and criticism. Unless, we show some compassion how can the other person trust our opinion? Gain the support first, so that he can open up his heart to understand what you want to tell him.

Hind’s son did not pick a horrifying verse to abuse or scare the father away. Rather, he chose Surah Al-Fatihah

Another Hikmah of preaching is that Hind’s son did not pick a horrifying verse to abuse or scare the father away. Rather, he chose Surah Al-Fatihah — the Opening Surah of the Quran — that introduces us to Allah (swt). Generally, we invite people to Islam by scaring them with the punishment of the Hereafter. Even to the babies and toddlers, we introduce Allah (swt) by telling them how intense His punishments are; whereas Allah (swt) introduces Himself to us by choosing His attributes of mercy: Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem (Al-Fatihah 1:3).

Finally, Hind (ra) respected the leader of the house. When the father asked if she had been keeping an eye on the sons, the mother replied in affirmative and then added that Muadh (ra) had heard something. She then requested the father to ascertain what he had learnt. In a way, she was putting the father in-charge- whether he found it fit for the family or not. She did not say I have checked it and I find it alright. She gave reverence to the husband’s position in the house.

When the parents fail to give respect to one another, the silent observers — the children — grow up disrespecting their parents. Family matters should be dealt with utmost respect and wisdom thinking about the children as well.

(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu by Mehmood Ahmad Ghazanfar and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)

Lessons of Fortitude from Umm Sulaym Bint Malhan (ra)

shell_in_the_sand_1600x1200When someone is loved by their dear ones, they are called by many nick names. Same was the case with Umm Sulaym (ra). Though widely known as Umm Sulaym, some of her other names were: Sahlah, Ghameesa, Rameesa, Rumaylah and Mulaykah.

She was the daughter of Malhan ibn Khalid. Her first husband was Malik ibn Nadhr, from whom she had Anas ibn Malik (ra) and Barah (ra). She later married Abu Talha (ra). She was a woman blessed with beauty, intellect, good character, fortitude and independent thinking. Her distinguishing trait, however, was her love for Islam and its defence.

Conversion to Islam

Umm Sulaym (ra) is one of the forerunners who embraced Islam as soon as the message reached her. Her husband was not in town. When he learnt that his wife had converted to Islam, he asked her if she was a Sabi (without any religion). Umm Sulaym (ra) replied that she had not left religion. Rather, she had embraced faith and followed the truth. Her husband threatened her. But Umm Sulaym (ra) remained calm. Her heart was filled with the love of her Creator (swt) and His Messenger (sa).

(Note: Umm Sulaym (ra) remained married to an unbeliever because at that time the verses that prohibit such a marriage were not revealed.)

We blame our families for our mediocre adherence to religion. Umm Sulaym (ra) teaches us courage to find our own way to build a strong connection with Allah (swt)

Lessons to draw: Umm Sulaym (ra) knew her salvation in the hereafter did not depend on her husband. She was a woman of independent thinking. She submitted to the commands of Allah (swt) and did not allow her husband to dissuade her. When our family does not support us in the way of Allah (swt), we take that as an excuse for not excelling in religion. We blame our families for our mediocre adherence to religion. Umm Sulaym (ra) teaches us courage to find our own way to build a strong connection with Allah (swt), and not depend on people to connect with Him. She also did not fear that if her husband left, what will become of her.

How strong are we in the path of Allah (swt)?

Paying attention to the necessary

Umm Sulaym (ra) did not engage herself in conflicts and arguments. She directed her energies to that which actually mattered – the upbringing of her son Anas (ra). She started with the basics and taught him the words of Adhan (call to prayer). One day, little Anas (ra) was memorising La ilaha illa Allahu Muhammad ur Rasulullah, when his father saw him. Furious as he was, Malik ibn Nadhr confronted his wife for spoiling their son and warned her to stop. Umm Sulaym (ra) again calmly replied that she was not spoiling their son, but educating him.

Arguments became a norm in Malik’s house. Malik threatened his wife that if she did not leave her religion, then he will have to leave her. Umm Sulaym (ra) remained undeterred. Understanding that his wife would not give up the religion that she so dearly loved, Malik left the house and was killed by an enemy.

Lesson to draw: Dawah begins from home. Many people are seen practicing religion, but when one meets their children – they are quite the opposite. While it is a test from Allah (swt), one cause of their detachment from Deen is that the message did not reach them. The parent had been attending or delivering religious lectures and classes, while not transferring the knowledge to those at home. This is also one reason why families are different.

Do not ignore your family, your parents, your spouse and children. Your first responsibility is towards them. Also do not get disheartened when your Dawah is not welcomed

Do not ignore your family, your parents, your spouse and children. Your first responsibility is towards them. Also do not get disheartened when your Dawah is not welcomed. Again, it is a test from Allah (swt). When the father (Nadhr) rejects the religion, the son (Anas) embraces it. Continue your efforts and seek reward from only Him.

(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu by Mehmood Ahmad Ghazanfar and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)

[Revert Story] Guided by Recitation

quran-2The stories of reverts to Islam are always full of inspiration. But not only that, whenever I hear a story, I unwillingly find myself thinking about the ways Allah (swt) uses people to guide others to Islam. I think of it, because my own reversion to Islam was influenced by numerous people, who might not even have the slightest idea they had anything to do with it. They were instruments in the hands of Almighty, without being aware of it.

As we were sitting and listening to the reading of Ahadeeth in a revert Muslims Halaqah, a young and fragile looking girl entered to join our circle. She quietly sat down along with us to benefit from the reading. Later we found out that she had come, because she was ready to take her Shahadah, which she did, Alhamdulillah. I was curious to hear her story, as finding Islam in a country, where Muslims constitute barely 1% of the population, is a miracle in itself. Her story proved to be an amazing illustration of the beautiful ways Allah (swt) can guide people.

This girl had become a student at a local university and was living in student housing. Shortly after moving into her room, she noticed that in early mornings a beautiful sound of recitation was coming from behind one of her room walls. The recitation was so beautiful that day after day she kept wondering what it was. Finally, she mastered enough courage to go and see, who the reciter was. It turned out to be an international student from some Muslim country, who in early morning hours was doing his Quran reading. Subhan’Allah! She got to know the young man and learned about Islam from him, which later led to her reversion to Islam. Just imagine – even recitation of the Quran in solitude of your own room may become a guiding light on someone’s way to Islam!

my own reversion to Islam was influenced by numerous people, who might not even have the slightest idea they had anything to do with it.

We never know how Allah (swt) chooses to use us in opening the hearts of people. I was inspired by several strong and confident Muslims, who were not afraid to speak their mind, even if at the time I felt they challenged me to the edge. I thank the Muslim student from Africa, who had enough courage to tell me that he would never ever for anything in the world leave Islam. Even though his boldness took me aback, I kept on thinking about the strength of his faith. I thank the ladies of a Pakistani family, who answered my questions about women in Islam in a matter of fact manner, impressing me by their confidence in their lifestyle. I thank my friend from Yemen, who challenged my beliefs about trinity in Christianity. And I thank the Australian revert sister, who in our first and only meeting boldly invited me to accept Islam with deep belief in her heart that this is the best thing that can ever happen to me. It didn’t happen on that day. But it did happen eight months later, Alhamdulillah.

My message to my Muslim brothers and sisters – do not be afraid to talk about your faith. Take pride in being Muslims and be confident about it. You may become that one much needed building brick on the way to somebody’s Shahadah!

[Video] Giving Dawah to Family Members by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan

This beautiful reminder by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan illustrated by Darul Arqam Studios highlights the importance of patience when giving Dawah to family members. It gives the example of Imam Abu Haneefah and his mother, who wanted to consult another scholar and not her own son.

Lesson From Story of Imam Abu Hanifa | Nouman Ali Khan from FreeQuranEducation on Vimeo.

Shaikh Hussain Yee’s Words of Wisdom

paperpenDonning a brown shirt and a cap, the Sheikh was seated in the centre of “Fajr Academy’s” training room. His voice was tranquil yet firm, his face was radiant yet purposeful, his eyes scanned all across the room filled with teachers seated in awe before him. It was inspirational to be in his company and here is what he had to say:

As a Muslim

He is someone, who maintains a fine balance between physical, mental and spiritual needs. Why does a Muslim need to be like that? Well, if his body is weak, his mind is weak, too. And if his mind is weak, he cannot seek knowledge. And what is the best knowledge? That you can act upon right away. Why? It is because every person’s needs are different. Be proactive and be a part of the circle of people of knowledge. So you may ask them questions. That is the fastest way to learn your Deen. Also remember knowledge without action is not beneficial. Allah (swt) and the Prophet (sa) hate such individuals, who only listen but do not act upon what they hear.

As a teacher

At my educational centre in Malaysia, I teach my students that this is your home. Keep it clean and don’t litter around. I teach them to sweep the floor and wash the dishes, because this requires a special set of skills. It is an art to clean correctly; otherwise, you are just wasting soap and water. Your heart should be in it. Yes, something as insignificant as cleaning. The whole point is that whatever you do in Islam, you must be committed with your heart and soul. Also, don’t just be a Mualim or Mualimah. Be a Murabbi. The difference is that a Muslim comes and delivers the lecture and leaves unbothered. But a Murabbi imparts knowledge, monitors that it is implemented and keeps supervising, until it is properly imposed. Our Prophet (sa) was a Murabbi, too.

I teach my students to participate. I tell them that when Allah (swt) calls, you must respond. If you don’t, you are not the chosen one. Similarly, when I call you as a teacher, you must come willingly. When you will need me, I will be there for you too. We are a family. I have students who have become fathers and now their children come to me as students. So I am practically a grandfather of hundreds of children.

Your mind is a home for right knowledge. It is counter-productive to seek incorrect knowledge, as it corrupts and confuses your mind and thoughts and ultimately – your actions.

The best way to strengthen your soul is to perform DhikrAllah. Remember Him much. Recite:

“Rabbi Aainni Ala Dhikrika Wa Shukrika Wa Husni Ibadatika.” (An-Nisai)

(“O Allah (swt), help me to remember you, to thank you and to worship you in the best manner.”)

Why do we need Allah’s (swt) help in remembering Him, offering thanks to Him and worshipping Him? Why can’t we just do it on our own? Mainly because this only holds value if performed in the manner Allah (swt) commanded us to do and the Prophet (sa) taught us to do. We cannot please Allah (swt) in any self-created or self-innovated way. It may lead us and others towards misguidance unknowingly, and we might end up displeasing Him instead.

As a servant for community

The supreme manner to offer gratitude to Allah (swt) is to use your health, time, knowledge, and resources in His way. Each time you receive something from Allah (swt), know that it is time to give back by sharing with others. Everything the Lord (swt) granted to you is a Nai’mah (blessing).

Our community needs to be trained with patience. At my centre in Malaysia, my wife and I first clean the rooms before the initiation of any activity. Next, we put up signs around the rooms to educate people for different purposes and mannerisms. Even then many people fail to follow instructions and behave otherwise. They are insensitive to others. We take extra effort to correct Saf (rows) in the Jama’ah (congregation). I do not begin leading the prayer, until all the rows are straight, worshippers standing shoulder to shoulder and toe to toe with no gaps in between. I have a senior sister to signal me from among the ladies to begin, once the same has been achieved on the female side.

Also, significance of Jama’at (group) is very critical. When you are alone, you are exposed. Find creative ways to unite the Ummah. If you had been on the spiritual journey of Umrah or Hajj and had companions along, host gatherings every month, taking turns and inviting them. Your kids will learn the importance of being an Ameer and uniting the Ummah.

As a father

In today’s age, I will strongly advise fathers to remain a step ahead of their children – frisk their school bags and belongings discretely. If you ever find something objectionable, talk to them about the importance of honesty, without confrontation. If the child still conceals or lies, go another round of Ahadeeth and Quranic verses that highlight the dangers of lying. If the kid reveals the truth, which might be disturbing, do not yell at him/her. Otherwise that will be the last time the child will ever confide in you.

Muslim families must internalize the Asma-ul-Husna. Learn and bring into your discussion the ninety-nine names of Allah (swt) with your family. Allah (swt) should be present and not passive in your lives. And when you are gone, your children will remember Allah (swt) the same way you did at every step of their lives.

As a husband

Trust is the single most important ingredient of one’s marital life. My wife and I have no secrets. She remembers my passwords more than I do. At times, when I get any indecent message from unknown female talking rubbish, I show the message to her first, so that it doesn’t create any Fitnah between us. We simply ignore it and the problem takes care of itself. But if you keep secrets from each other, it has adverse effects later.

Also there needs to be a balance between Dawah and home responsibilities. If you have not taken care of the minimum at home and stepped out for community service, it will become a bone of contention and domestic disputes. Take care of your homes first and then the community.

Adapted by Rana Rais Khan from a talk held at “Fajr Academy” (Karachi)

You’re invited…

calling-to-islam_dawah1Not to a party. But something more enchanting, fulfilling and lasting. Yes, I invite you toward Your Lord (swt).

There is a plethora of sad sagas narrated by well-meaning individuals, who after their own reversion to Islam, bravely take up the task of inviting others, too. What are they usually confronted with varies. Insults, threats, suspicion, ridicule, malign, prejudice, oblivion, bigotry, etc. Nonetheless, it shakes one up to lose his honour, dignity and position as a result of simply sharing with others (many times family and friends and not just strangers) what will eventually benefit them most. Yet they shun you away, as if flicking a fly.

Mufti Najeeb offered a deep insight once that is most relevant to Daaees (preachers): “If you have chosen to call someone to Allah’s (swt) path, you need to spend equal time with him/her in person, as well as in absence of him/her.” Firstly, you introduce the person to the message, which will be done directly. Then invoke Allah (swt) earnestly at night for his/her guidance, when you are alone. Omar (rta) didn’t just walk over to Islam. He listened to Surah Taha as a disbeliever, which was the phase of sharing of the message, and later the Prophet (sa) beseeched Allah (swt) to strengthen Deen through his conversion, which was the stage of prayers to the Lord (swt).

What stands in the way of Islam?

  1. When actions do not support words

“O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do? Most hateful it is with Allah that you say that which you do not do.” (As-Saff 61:2-3)

Consistency of deeds and speech is most difficult to attain. Yet it is of utmost significance too. Otherwise an apparently sincere Daaee can reflect hypocrisy causing others to flee Islam.

Once, a very learned scholar was imparting a sermon on patience, suddenly his seven year old daughter interrupted him. He harshly rebuked her for causing this interruption and non-chalantly carried on with his discourse. What impression would the listeners bear of him in their minds when they walk out the door? It’s anybody’s guess.

  1. When we wish to control others

“So remind them (O Muhammad (sa)) – you are only one who reminds. You are not a dictator.” (Al-Ghashiyah 88:21-22)

This happens to Daaees, when they cannot bear to see their kith and kin sinning day and night and out of desperation they adopt extreme measures. When such thoughts strike you, always remember that every person’s heart is in between the two fingers of the Lord (swt). We personally have no control over anybody, except our own choices in life.

Secondly, if Muhammad (sa) was not held accountable for results and he was deemed as a messenger, how can we take on the additional responsibility of guaranteeing favourable results. It’s simply not in our hand. If that would have been the case, Nuh’s (as) son wouldn’t have been drowned for his disbelief. Nuh (as) invited his people for 900 plus years. And his own son didn’t embrace guidance. Hence, a caller can sincerely strive in Allah’s (swt) way but never impose on others, decide or chose for others, whether they will pay heed or be doomed.

  1. When we are unable to understand and agree with Allah’s (swt) Qadr

“And if We had willed, surely We would have given every person his guidance, but the Word from Me took effect (about evildoers) that I will fill Hell with Jinn and mankind together.” (As-Sajdah 32:13)

As a caller to Islam, it is pivotal for us to understand that Allah (swt) loves His creation the most. He offers ample opportunities and sufficient time to them to return to His Deen. We are not the sole source for their reversion, which we mistakenly believe. Hence, it takes consistent and deliberate refusal on part of individuals and nations to turn down Allah’s (swt) signs, before their hearts are sealed. And once the verdict is passed against them, people like us cannot alter it in any way. It is based on the Creator’s (swt) infinite wisdom and decree. And Allah (swt) knows best.

  1. When we lose hope

“Perhaps, you, would kill yourself (O Muhammad sa) in grief, over their footsteps (for their turning away from you), because they believe not in this narration (the Quran). (Al-Kahf 18-6)

Out of love and devotion to his people, Muhammad (sa) would grieve, when the disbelievers did not respond to his call. He could foresee their horrible end in the blazing fire, and hence he would cry for their guidance before Allah (swt).

Allah (swt) has created boundaries for mankind in everything. Transgression against these limits always proves fatal. A Momin’s faith must swing in between hope and fear. Hope for Allah’s (swt) mercy and fear of His wrath.

A Daaee can invest his best efforts, pray earnestly to Allah (swt) and then he needs to move on to the next mission and man. It should be a matter of relief for him that Allah (swt) will reward him for his strife and not hold him accountable for the numbers. Imagine, most callers would fail as there are always fewer people, who will accept guidance willingly and be led to Jannah, and more of those, who would prefer the short lived joys of the world. After all, Jannah is exclusive and for the distinguished only.

  1. When we overlook the reward

“And We send not the Messengers except as givers of glad tidings and warners. But those who disbelieve, dispute with false argument, in order to refute the truth thereby. And they treat My Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) and that with which they are warned, as a jest and mockery!

And who does more wrong than he who is reminded of the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of his Lord, but turns away from them, forgetting what (deeds) his hands have sent forth. Truly, We have set veils over their hearts lest they should understand this (the Quran), and in their ears, deafness. And if you (O Muhammad sa) call them to guidance, even then they will never be guided.” (Al-Kahf 18:56-57)

All such people, who have called you names, gossiped about you, degraded your mission, have a score to settle with Allah (swt), not you. You, as a Daaee, are only an ambassador, who delivers the message faithfully and as a trust to all. If the receiver decides to turn a deaf ear or snub you it is his short-sightedness and misfortune. You have your precious reward stored with Allah (swt) Who will hand you back big time with honour on the Day of Judgment. That should be a balm for your broken heart, bull dozed feelings and misunderstood intentions at the hands of others.

  1. When we forget that it is Allah (swt), Who keeps hearts firm

“And We made their hearts firm and strong (with the light of faith in Allah and bestowed upon them patience to bear the separation of their kith and kin and dwellings) when they stood up and said: ‘Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, never shall we call upon any illah (god) other than Him; if we did, we should indeed have uttered an enormity in disbelief.” (Al-Kahf 18:14)

When we witness scores of non-Muslims taking the Shahdah at the hands of many scholars of Islam around the globe today, we forget that it wasn’t because of their eloquence of speech, or scintillating piece of writing or a dazzling debater’s spell. It is Allah (swt), Who keeps hearts firm of all, be it Daaees or the ones, who are invited. Otherwise, none of these scholars could withstand the blizzards and boulders of objections and rejections they have to face every day, and most of us are unaware of their personal plights. Scholar Anwar Aulaki lost his life, after the lofty work he left behind. May Allah (swt) grant him Jannat-al-Firdous. Dr. Bilal Phillips has been exiled time and again from none other but Muslim countries, but he continues to educate millions of students to date. Dr. Farhat Hashmi has been time and again mis-quoted and maligned; however, Alhamdulillah, she has brought light to the dark world of uncountable Muslim homes.

It is Allah (swt), Who grants firmness of faith to Daaees, indeed. Allah (swt) has the majesty and power to do the impossible. Hence, as a Daaee, it is always my earnest plea that He may guide the entire humanity. After all, for Him it is simply ‘Kun fay a kun’ and it shall ‘Be’. Allah (swt) knows best.

Quran Stories 2: The Believer of Ya-Sin

Alone in a crowdEver since we were kids, our eyes glazed over at the prospect of being told a story. Even as adults with kids of our own today, we relive our stories and memories. The Quran is nearly 1/3 stories, Allah (swt), our Creator, knows how powerful stories are; in fact all civilizations used  to pass on knowledge in the form of stories from one generation to the next. Stories have a profound impact on our minds – for example, how influential Hollywood is universally! Allah (swt) has related to us the best stories that are true, so why go elsewhere.

Story of the anonymous preacher

The story of an unnamed believer in Surah Ya-sin is noteworthy for many reasons, but most importantly because it teaches us how to be a Daee or the one who invites others to Islam. It starts with a conversation that two messengers have with people in a small town. When these people transgress and deny the messengers, Allah (swt) reinforces the two messengers with a third to lend weight to their claim and help them.

This also serves to indicate that the message is crystal clear, three people claiming the same thing. The names of the people or the town are not relevant so Allah (swt) has left them out in His wisdom as it would detract us from the lessons in the story. Also Allah (swt) will leave no place without sending guidance.

The messengers say: “Verily! We have been sent to you as Messengers.”

The people of the town denied that those men could be Messengers, they belied them. Their argument was like the one that the Quraish used on the Prophet (sa) as well: “You are only human being like us, and the Most Beneficent (Allah) has revealed nothing, you are only telling lies.”

The messengers reply: “Our Lord knows that we have been sent as Messengers to you, and our duty is only to convey plainly (the Message).”

They claimed that they wanted no riches or fame, their only aim was to deliver Allah’s (swt) message. They said Allah (swt) was enough for them, He was their witness that they were telling the truth.

Now, when people are stubborn and do not want to see the truth, they start an illogical argument, they said: “For us, we see an evil omen from you, if you cease not, we will surely stone you, and a painful torment will touch you from us.”

Imagine, in exchange for good, these evil people wanted to hurt the messengers who were trying to save them from doom.This is typical of people who do not have truth on their side; they will always resort to tyranny and oppression. They do not have words to counter the truth with; they just rely on superstitions and omens.

The messengers reply: “Your evil omens be with you! (Do you call it “evil omen”) because you are admonished? Nay, but you are a people Musrifun (transgressing all bounds by committing all kinds of great sins and by disobeying Allah).”

This is such an important lesson for us. Whenever we feel that someone wants to hurt us; we should look within ourselves and evaluate whether we are the ones who are being prejudiced? The messengers’ job is only to deliver Allah’s (swt) message as clearly and accurately as possible; people are free to choose what they want.

Dawah – Our sole and sacred mission!

A man from the furthest part of the city arrived. This statement teaches us two things: First, when the truth is apparent, we should hurry towards it and make an effort to tell others. Sitting at home and tweeting about it does not work. The first thing this man did was to call his people towards Allah (swt). He did not claim to be one of the messengers. His concern was only for his townsfolk – he did Dawah. Even when there are others doing Dawah, our responsibility to enjoin good and forbid evil does not desist; it is still our duty. He said, “My O my people! Obey the Messengers; Obey those who ask no wages of you (for themselves), and who are rightly guided.”

It is obvious that the man was not an influential person in the town, he was an average resident.

The townsfolk were very upset, and they did not want to hear what this man had to say, “And why should I not worship Him (Allah Alone) Who has created me and to Whom you shall be returned. Shall I take besides Him Aliha (gods), if the Most Beneficent (Allah) intends me any harm, their intercession will be of no use for me whatsoever, nor can they save me? Then verily, I should be in plain error. Verily! I have believed in your Lord, so listen to me!”

He was adamant, and knew that if Allah (swt) wanted harm to come to him, no one could stop it. Allah (swt) tells us that He will test our patience. The man realized that false idols could not harm or save him. What was perceived as harm was in reality Allah’s (swt) mercy- as we discover in the next verse.

The story continues and we are informed that Allah (swt) had asked this man to enter Paradise. We read in between the lines, that the people must have murdered this innocent man. The man was in Paradise, yet concerned for his people and said, “Would that my people knew! That my Lord (Allah) has forgiven me, and made me of the honoured ones!”


He was only an ordinary man and was killed for his belief. His response was not revenge; he only wished that the people could see what he could see after his remorse, so they would believe. He was forgiving and was steadfast in his mission, in spite of messengers sent by Allah (swt). Finally, after Allah (swt) had given the town’s people every chance to redeem themselves, He said, It was but one Saihah (shout, etc.) and lo! They (all) were silent (dead-destroyed).”

Subhan’Allah, we humans are so fragile, and when we disobey Allah (swt), nothing but humiliation is our destiny!

(Adapted with permission for “Hiba” by Tasneem Vali.)

Stories from the Quran 1: The Believer in Pharaoh’s House

The Background

Long ago, in the land of Egypt lived a man known as Pharaoh, who disobeyed all of Allah’s (swt) commands; so much so that he started to call himself God. Allah (swt) sent Moosa (as) with the message of Tawheed, to warn Pharaoh to return to worshipping Allah (swt). We enter this story to see a battle between truth and falsehood being played out by a person from Pharaoh’s family. This believer is eloquent; he tries to show people that the truth will always prevail. He presents logical opinions; while reminding Pharaoh, Haman and Korah that the life of comfort and authority that they are enjoying, will come to an end. They will suffer a punishment from Allah (swt) like others have experienced before them.

The Elements in the Story


The Characters

Believer: He is the person who is a part of Pharaoh’s household, who has embraced the message of Moosa (as), but has kept it secret.

Pharaoh: The king of Egypt who calls himself God; he and Moosa (as) grew up together in the palace.

Haman: A verse in Surah Ghafir represents Haman as a person who Pharaoh trusts; He is also in charge of building projects in Egypt, which is why he is asked to build a tower that reaches the Heavens.

Korah: He is a rich person from the Banu Israel and becomes arrogant due to his wealth and position in Pharaoh’s court. He is also present during this debate.

The Setting

“And indeed we sent Moosa with Our Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), and a manifest authority…” (Ghafir 40:23-24) So Moosa (as) comes to Pharaoh’s court with the intention of guiding his childhood friend toward Allah (swt). Moosa (as) has the people and the court in awe since he has the power of truth. However, with the entire court, all the elite, the magicians and the common people are watching these three deny Allah (swt) and call Moosa (as) a sorcerer- just to safeguard their position for they felt the truth threatened Pharaoh, Haman and Korah!

“…to Pharaoh, Hâmân and Qârûn (Korah), but they called (him): A sorcerer, a liar!” (Ghafir 40:24)

The Plot

The people are not convinced by what Pharaoh says. They are starting to believe in Moosa (as). Hence, like any other tyrant, Pharaoh ordered, “then, when He brought them the Truth from us, they said: “Kill the sons of those who believe with Him and let their women live”, but the plots of disbelievers are nothing but errors!” (Ghafir 40:25)

The magicians recognized the truth and are killed; now Pharaoh is threatening to kill anyone else who sides with Moosa (as). Recall this was the same plan that had been used when Moosa (as) was a baby, but Allah (swt) is the best of planners and He saved Moosa (as).

The Story

So Pharaoh tells the people to let him take care of the problem. And that he is going to do what is best for them.

“Pharaoh said: Leave me to kill Moosa, and let him call his Lord! I fear that He may change your religion, or that He may cause mischief to appear in the land! Moosa said: Verily, I seek refuge in My Lord and your Lord from every arrogant who believes not in the Day of Reckoning!” (Ghafir 40:26-27)

At this point when everyone is quiet, the hero of our story starts his speech. He wants to convince the people that murdering someone just because of their belief in one God is preposterous. “And a believing man of Pharaoh’s family, who hid his faith said: Would you kill a man because he says: My Lord is Allah, and he has come to you with clear signs from your Lord? And if he is a liar, upon him will be (the sin of) his lie; but if he is telling the truth, then some of that (calamity) wherewith he threatens you will befall on you….” (Ghafir 40:28)

What a beautiful argument he puts forth. If Moosa is telling the truth, then you should believe in him or else the punishment will destroy you. But if he is not, then the sin is his alone, he will bear all the consequences. He is guiding them to a win/win situation with a warning, “Allah guides not one who is a Musrif (a polytheist, or a murderer who shed blood without a right, or those who commit great sins, oppressor, transgressor), a liar.” (Ghafir 40:28)

Now, he reminds the people and the court that should Allah’s (swt) wrath befall them when none can save them? Thus, they should be thankful to Allah (swt). “O my people! Yours is the kingdom this day, you are uppermost in the land. But who will save us from the Torment of Allah, should it befall us?”(Ghafir 40:29)

Pharaoh sees that this man is changing people’s minds and hearts, he interjects trying to brainwash the people, “Pharaoh said: “I show you only that which I see (correct), and I guide you only to the path of right policy!” (Ghafir 40:29)

The man reminds the people of the Prophets that have come before Moosa (as), he reminds them of Nuh (as) and Yusuf (as). “And he who believed said: O my people! Verily, I fear for you a fate like that day (of disaster) of the Confederates (of old)!” (Ghafir 40:30)

Well, Pharaoh cannot let someone steal the limelight, he uses drama, creates doubt. “And Pharaoh said: O Haman! Build me a tower that I may arrive at the ways. The ways of the heavens, and I may look upon the God of Moosa but verily, I think him to be a liar.” (Ghafir 40:36-37) This is Pharaoh’s plan to convince people he is fair, he is willing to test Moosa’s (as) claim. He even claims that Moosa (as) is a liar, but he, Pharaoh, is still giving him a chance. Satan has influenced Pharaoh, so he thinks he is taking steps to maintain peace and help others. He is blinded by his pride.

The Conclusion

Faced with such stupidity and arrogance, the believer has no choice but to make a final plea to Pharaoh, the noblemen and the people.

“And the man who believed said: O my people! Follow me; I will guide you to the way of right conduct.O my people! Truly, this life of the world is nothing but a (quick passing) enjoyment, and verily, the Hereafter that is the home that will remain forever…And O my people! How is it that I call you to salvation while you call me to the Fire…And you will remember what I am telling you, and my affair I leave it to Allah. Verily, Allah is the All-Seer of (His) slaves.” (Ghafir 40:39-44)

The believer directly challenges Pharaoh by saying that he is the one who is guiding them towards salvation, not Pharaoh. The argument is now over, he has declared the truth and it is up to each individual to decide which path he wants to follow.

The Moral

  • The believer at first hid his faith because the environment was hostile, so we can hide our faith – it is alright not to say anything because he was weak initially and the people around him could cause him harm. But when it came down to injustice of murdering Moosa (as), he spoke up.
  • Allah (swt) shows us that belief and disbelief are not inherited. Sometimes people judge another person based on their family, which is not fair; we are only responsible for what we do.
  • Allah (swt) will not guide the one who transgresses and is a liar. Allah (swt) guides the truthful – because they do not lie to themselves and the pious– because they do not exceed their boundaries.
  • There is no one other than Allah (swt) who will protect us. We cannot protect ourselves nor can anyone else.
  • Why mention Yusuf (as), when you are in the field of Dawah? Talk to people so that they can relate. Bring them to a common point to grab their attention. However, always state the truth.
  • Shaytan beautified Pharaoh’s sins for him, made it acceptable to him, and convinced him that he was just. Remember Shaytan beautifies/adorns evil deeds/sins so we don’t even realize what we are doing is wrong.
  • A Daee must be kind and caring- not expecting anything for delivering the message.

(Adapted with permission for “Hiba” by Tasneem Vali.)

Serving the Creation

serving humanityAn Urdu term Khidmat-e-Khalq is widely understood in English as social service, social work or service to humanity. Ustadh Khurram Murad, may Allah grant him Jannat-ul-Firdaws, in a pamphlet titled “Khidmat-e-Khalq”, elaborates on the purpose of Islam and the wide-ranging meaning of serving Allah’s creation.

We usually ascribe meaning to a term in accordance with our experiences, observations and imitations of the way it has been implemented. Hence, when we say “Khidmat-e-Khalq” or “service of humanity”, we are overwhelmed by  images of ambulances, camps, NGOs, medicine and funeral rites aid, charity functions, orphanages, institutes for the education of poor and disabled and all forms of aids. In the real sense of the word, service has an intensive meaning according to Quran and Sunnah. What we in the modern times understand as social welfare, social service or service to humanity is a limited interpretation of “Khidmat-e-Khalq”.

welfare of the creations does not necessarily have to be a profession or an association to it rather, it is a lifestyle.

Khalq involves all the creations of Allah (swt), including animals, birds, plants and human beings. Rasoolullah (sa) demonstrated the perfect attitude we need to have while serving all types of creation.  If we analyze, after Iman, Allah (swt) always talks about some form of service to the creation in the Holy Quran when He Az Wajjal orders us to spend for His pleasure from our favorite worldly possessions. Serving the creation, in one form or the other, always comes second in the preference list of a Mumin.

“Whose hearts are filled with fear when Allah is mentioned; who patiently bear whatever may befall them (of calamities); and who perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and who spend (in Allah’s Cause) out of what We have provided them.” (Al-Hajj 22:35)

At many other places in the Quran, Allah (swt) guides people to feed the need or the ways to feed them. In Surah Baqarah, Allah (swt) asks his slaves to spend from their Rizq (provisions). Each and everything that Allah (swt) has provided us with is Rizq. Our money, food, wealth, property, time, health, age, heart, mind and body, all of these are part of our Rizq. Allah (swt) is Ar-Razzaaq, the Supreme Provider! It is mentioned in the Holy Quran: “Say: “Truly, my Lord enlarges the provision for whom He wills of His slaves, and (also) restricts (it) for him, and whatsoever you spend of anything (in Allah’s Cause), He will replace it. And He is the Best of providers.”” (Saba 34:39)

Hence, serving the creation of Allah, Al-Wadud, the Most Loving, is in the basic tenets of Islam. When this perfect religion was in its initial stages, the basic teachings that were given to the non-Muslims were based on this concept of service. One has to see how Hazrat Ja’far ibn Abi Talib (rta) explained the basics of Islam to king Negus.

He said, “O King! We were ignorant people and we lived like wild animals. The strong among us lived by preying upon the weak. We obeyed no law and we acknowledged no authority save that of brute force. We worshipped idols made of stone or wood, and we knew nothing of human dignity. And then God, in His Mercy, sent to us His Messenger who was himself one of us. We knew about his truthfulness and his integrity. His character was exemplary, and he was the most well-born of the Arabs. He invited us toward the worship of One God, and he forbade us to worship idols. He exhorted us to tell the truth, and to protect the weak, the poor, the humble, the widows and the orphans. He ordered us to show respect to women, and never to slander them. We obeyed him and followed his teachings…..”

We have to see the awe-inspiring way Islam has been introduced at the international level. Would it be wrong to say that service of Allah’s creation (Khidmat-e-Khalq) is thus, the main aim of Islam? If we keep Akhirah in our permanent perspective, we will understand that the best and foremost way to serve the creation means to save the creation from the fire of Jahanum, the wrath and the displeasure of Allah (swt).

the best and foremost way to serve the creation means to save the creation from the fire of Jahanum, the wrath and the displeasure of Allah (swt).

As Surah Al-Maun and Surah Mudassir teach us, welfare of the creations does not necessarily have to be a profession or an association to it rather, it is a lifestyle. Our lifestyle should depict it; serving the all the creation of Allah Az Wajjal, with our body, mind and soul.

If Islam means being Allah’s (swt) slave 24/7, which it does undoubtedly, then 90 to 95 percent of our life period revolves around humanity, animals, plants and every other marvelous creation.  The most primary but excellent form of service one can render to the creation is saving it from being hurt by one’s actions.

Abu Musa said, “I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, whose Islam is best?’ He said, ‘The one from whose tongue and hands the Muslims are safe.'” (Agreed upon : Riyadh-us-Saaliheen)

Adapted by Mariam Saeed from Khurram Murad’s “Khidmat-e-Khalq”

[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.

My Ramadan Inspiration

ramadanWe have been given a concept of living ‘in moderation’ by the west. Little Deen, little Dunya and it is readily accepted by our modern day generation.

We live in a house which we find the best. We need a job that is secure and the best. For our children’s education, there is no compromise; they should be in the best school. And which parents would love their children to score low. Hence, for Dunya we aspire for everything of best quality. Even the tiles of our kitchen and bathroom are chosen with great care and should be the best. Our Deen, our way of life, the aspect which would decide our Akhirah, the foundation stones of Jannah should it be substandard and should we be happy with it. Allah (swt) has said in the Quran that He has made man for worshipping Him. Allah (swt) also has promised that He will guide those striving on His path, whether male or female and reward them with a life of bliss.

In other words, these are the ones who will be contented in Dunya and will not participate in the rat race towards Dunya and money. But they run to Allah (swt); run to revive Deen; run for the wellbeing of others; run to make others happy… Allah (swt) has bestowed us with Ramadan to practice all these deeds and be firm on them.

In Ramadan, we think more about our food than about the Sahabas, who tied stones to their bellies for spreading the Deen. We are worried about our rest more than the world, which is deprived of the pearls of Deen. We are worried more about clothes for the Eid than about our lowly deeds. We cry under our pillows when we are in trials, but forget to weep over our sins, which are the main reason for them.

So let’s begin from today and keep involuntary fasts, include supererogatory Ibadah, immerse in Dhikr because Allah (swt) says, “Fazkurullaha Dhikr an Kaseera”- Do my Dhikr abundantly, repent with remorse not just to wash off your sins; but make a sincere promise to Allah (swt) to lead a life of Taqwa , piety and sincerity. May Allah (swt) guide us all and keep us guided till our last breath. Ameen

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

From Darkness to Light

LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS 1I am the eldest of two brothers and one sister. My father died when I was in ninth grade and suddenly, life became very difficult. We shifted to another house. Our source of income was a meagre amount of pension; my mother used to write for magazines in order to support us. By the grace of Allah (swt), all of us worked hard and I did my Masters in English and Bachelors in Education. I started teaching in a private school. While I was teaching, I got married to a man who was living in United Kingdom.

After 15 days of our wedding, he left for UK and never contacted me. I lived with my in-laws for 3 years. One day, my husband called me and told me that his family couldn’t live with me anymore; therefore, he was divorcing me. For me that was the end of my world. But by the grace of Allah (swt), I had a friend who told me about an international organization in Islamabad. I joined it and completed a one year course of Quran and Hadeeth. Later, I started teaching there as well.

I read this verse of the Quran:

“Then, after that, your hearts were hardened and became as stones or even worse in hardness. And indeed, there are stones, out of which rivers gush forth, and indeed, there are of them (stones) which split asunder so that water flows from them, and indeed, there are of them (stones) which fall down for fear of Allah. And Allah is not unaware of what you do.” (Al- Baqarah 2:74)

Divorce was a test for me, like imprisonment was for Yusuf (as) and ailment for Ayub (as). Alhumdulillah, instead of going astray, I turned towards Allah (swt) and He rewarded me with an understanding of His Deen.  

I felt this verse was for me. I was so grateful to Allah (swt) for choosing me to spread His Word among His people. Divorce was a test for me, like imprisonment was for Yusuf (as) and ailment for Ayub (as). Alhumdulillah, instead of going astray, I turned towards Allah (swt) and He rewarded me with an understanding of His Deen.

While I was teaching, I got selected for a course. My colleagues and students wished me luck for attending that course. At that moment, a girl came and hugged me. At first, I couldn’t recognize her but then I realized that she was my ex-sister in law. My ex-husband and his family later apologized for what they put me through. I thanked Allah (swt) for granting me this honour. Now I am married and have a three and a half year old son. I am happy with my new life. Although, my story is a very usual one but that incident became a turning point in my life, as I headed towards the light of Islam Alhumdulillah!

Enlighten Your Soul (and Others’) with the Deen

oil_lampAlhumdulillah, I recently got an opportunity to attend a lecture delivered by eminent Islamic scholar, Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmad. Here, I pen down a summary of the gems of knowledge I was able to grasp from the lecture. I sincerely hope the readers will benefit from it greatly.

The Quran refers to Prophet Muhammad (sa) as “Siraj um-Muneer”, the enlightened candle or lamp. However, strangely enough, the sun has more powerful light than any other source. Hence, technically, the beloved Prophet of Allah (swt), Prophet Muhammad (sa) (mercy for entire mankind) should have been referred to with the comparison of the light of the sun. Why not so? The scholars opine that this is because the light of the sun, though being the strongest, is incapable of being transferred to any other source. On the contrary, the candle flickers and passes the flame from one to the other. Subhan’Allah, it is just as our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sa) passed on the light of his knowledge and wisdom to his beloved companions (ra), who passed it on to the Tabi’een (the successors) and so forth, until the light was received by the Ummah of today.

In this context, how many of us feel we have been able to carry on the flame of this knowledge in our hearts, with the intention of enlightening other souls crossing our lives? Unfortunately, it is sad but true that we have confined the flame to ourselves, losing hope in the goodness concealed in our fellow Muslims. Dawah, or calling towards the Deen, is not just a virtue but an obligation upon each one of us. This makes us answerable on the Judgement Day for being a miser in sharing the flame of knowledge.

Here are a few ways as suggested by the elderly scholars on how to fulfill the obligation of Dawah in the light of Quran and Sunnah:

  1. Make your intentions correct – Lillah

This is the foremost important concept to every virtue one performs in Islam. Our sole intention and idea behind the action should be to earn Allah’s (swt) pleasure. Hence, before you approach others to spread the word of Allah, stop for a second and ask yourself; am I doing this only for my Rabb? Or has it got to do with love for this world?

2.  Ascribe the greatness to Allah(swt) – Fillah

One must understand that one is in fact indebted to Allah (swt) for being able to perform this great deed. One should not ascribe the greatness of the deed to oneself. It was Allah (swt), Who chose us for this sacred mission amongst His entire creation; humility should be adopted instead of arrogance and self-praise.

      3.    Dua – the ultimate weapon of the believer

Each one of us understands the power of Dua. Hence, we are often advised by scholars to never stop making Dua. However what we often neglect is the action of making Dua sincerely for others. If you are genuinely sincere with someone’s better Akhirah, and are actually keen and concerned about him or her being one of the residents of Jannah, nothing should stop you from waking up in the middle of the night, solely to make Dua for him or her.

May Allah (swt) enable us to be a source of guidance for others. Ameen

An Influential Friend

2 frndsRising up at 4:30 a.m everyday was a normal routine. The senior boys stormed our dormitory waking up Muslims to prepare for Fajr. This was one of the most difficult tasks we had to cope with as junior students in my early days at high school. I seldom attended Fajr prayer in the Masjid, thus as soon as the seniors arrived; I jumped out of my bed space pretending to have left for Salat. While the duvet would be over my body to begin a third round of sleep. This was constant on a daily basis. The cold in Kaduna was like that of the Hazzle-Glend and the distance to the Masjid was similar to crossing the Niger Bridge on foot. Sometimes, I hurriedly observed the prayer before others returned and in a few instances, even missed Salat. I recall having bad experiences on the days I missed Fajr . Either seniors sent me on difficult errands, extorted me of my belongings or I would misplace something precious – however, all these never taught me a lesson.

It was not as if observing Salat was a major chore because I grew up in a family where Salat was an  essential start to the day. However, the sways of my bunk mate and friends influenced me negatively in the boarding house. We were a clique of four: two Muslims and others non-Muslim.  Our non-Muslim friends were not the conscious Christian types who attended morning devotion and evening fellowship. We collectively –went on fruit-picking voyages of mangoes and guavas while other students attended the chapel or mosque for weekly convention. We attended social gatherings where we mimed and thrilled with the vibes until midnight. This was how I lived my life in the Machiavellian jungle of FGC Kaduna.

In the eighth grade, I was appointed the class captain to my class. This was after my predecessor was removed owing to his bullying attitude towards his classmates. At this point, I had access to teachers and made more friends – especially among the female folk. This easily paved way for the Fitnah of intermingling with the opposite gender. We played, chatted and enjoyed the company of each other. I saw no harm in listening to music, shaking hands and even hugging the other gender; all in the name of socialization. I was accepted and adored by many, owing to my sense of humour, oratory skills and brilliance. But to what avails were these traits if championed in the wrong course. My journey to self recognition, better orientation and personal reformation began when I met a friend –Muhammad Mukhtar. He emerged as the best student in my class after the second term result computation. It was the first time a Muslim student victoriously led my class: a class of over 70 students. It was awkward to many because they believed ‘Malo-boys’ were not fit to compete on academic grounds. It became apparent when our Business Studies teacher pronounced it in class during one of the lessons. This incident left a mark of rejection and intimidation as well as motivation for us to strive better in our academic ordeal.

My new friend and I had a chat regarding this during a long walk soon after. On our way, he made me realize the natural gifts Allah bestowed upon me. My oratory skills channelled towards comedy can be reserved for Dawah activities. He made me see reasons why we need a new breed of Muslims who will understand the rudiments of the Deen and remain focused individuals who aspire to make a change positively. His words were soft and sank through my nerves like the blood flowing through my veins. And for the first time, I was inspired by this young lad who was barely 13 years of age.

Without delay, I packed my baggage from the cubical and moved to the long corridor section of the hostel –this was where he resided. Then we became roommates, slept on the same bed and dined from the same plate. We walked together to the class, class to Masjid, Masjid to dining hall and dining hall to prep. We apparently spent more time together to love and care, share and learn, forgive and overlook. He helped me overcome my addiction to music by replacing songs with Nasheeds and through him I knew Yusuf Islam – Cats Stevens. We started reading Islamic books and sharing summarized reviews with each other.

I admired his poetry such that it enhanced my writing skill and my weekly article was consistent on the mosque notice board. One of the greatest challenges he gave me was when he said: ‘next week Insha’Allah we shall deliver a lecture at the Muslim students gathering so be prepared Abdulkabeer’. I said to myself, this guy must be kidding me. I did not see myself as a knowledgeable person and I feared the fact that I will be mocked and called an Ustadh by many who knew my background and may assume this as an act of derision. However, I prepared myself and delivered the speech with shaking hands in front of a dazzling crowd.

Mukhtar was of a humble personality, simple character, neat attire, easy going and never trouble making. He was a lover of peace and preacher of perseverance. He taught me patience through difficult times, act of seeking to understand before being understood and the love of your brother over yourself. I was gradually doing away with my bad habits viz negligence of Salat, shaking hands with girls, doing musicals and attending informal parties. There and then I understood the adage ‘show me your friend and I tell you who you are’.

I was gradually doing away with my bad habits viz negligence of Salat, shaking hands with girls, doing musicals and attending informal parties. There and then I understood the adage ‘show me your friend and I tell you who you are’.

My quest for knowledge continued while striving to attain academic excellence along with spiritual strength. I memorized more verses of the Qur’an and learnt several Ahadeeth in order to broaden my scope ahead for public presentations; for verily students must ask questions. I was gradually improving academically, spiritually, morally, intellectually and even physically. We became active members and volunteers for the Muslim Students’ Society through the pen and mouth. Our Dawah activities intensified, creating a platform –Islamic Youth Awareness Forum [IYAF] – through which young Muslim students were tutored and tailored towards a sound creed, intellectualism and Islamic propagation.

The good side of this story is that the legacy still lives in that school ten years after we have left. I recently met an old student who finished in 2011 and narrated to me the success stories and meaningful impacts IYAF has made in the life of young Muslims in Northern Nigeria. This was with the help of Allah who guided Mukhtar – and some of his friends – to start that meaningful project in the year 2001.

Alhamdulillah! Today, I am a better me who aspires for tomorrow to be the best when I meet my Lord; I hope He is pleased with me and I am forgiven. I have had it rough and tough, however my understanding of the Deen has always been a light in the dark, a guide when I am lost and a torch-bearer leading me to felicity.

A Day in the Cancer Ward

Hospital-Ward-1While amusing oneself with a sand clock, a person feels his influence over the fate of sand particles. If left undisturbed, each particle will fall in its specified time but when interrupted by human hands, everything changes for those particles. We as humans are nothing more than those sand particles in the hand of God. He lets us live a routine peaceful life until the trails in our fate take the driving seat in our lives and in a blinking of an eye everything changes completely forever.

The incident that I will narrate entirely changed the perspective of life for me. Not only did I acquire experience about life but it also played a vital role in decreasing the love of this world from my heart.

Four years back, I was a student; a hospital trip was planned by our institute. The aim of the trip was to train us for Dawah work in hospitals.As young girls you could imagine, we were laden with different kinds of emotions. We were exceedingly motivated as we were doing something that would gain us reward. We were excited as no matter where you go, trips with friends also mean fun and enjoyment. We were also curious as what would we see there? We had made Dua cards and gifts for the patients with immense enthusiasm.

It was a cancer ward. There had to be cancer patients in it, and cancer does not see who its host is. Is it a young girl with motivational dreams about her future life or a wife who looks forward to a beautiful relationship or a mother who has to take care of her children.

Finally when we arrived at Jinnah Hospital Karachi, a new kind of feeling over took us. Was it sadness, sympathy or just soberness? Especially at government hospitals, the misery of the patients is two-fold. When we reached, our class was divided into three groups. It was decided that one of our groups would visit the suicide ward, one would visit the TB ward and the third one would visit the cancer ward.

I don’t know the reason for this, but most of us wanted to visit the suicide ward. Maybe because we wanted to satisfy our selfish curiosities, as mostly suicides cases are surrounded by dramatic stories. To my disappointment, I was chosen for the cancer ward.

As we were advancing towards the cancer ward, I was visualizing the image of the ward: severely ill people, who were physically weak, with gloomy eyes, low spirits and depressed faces. I was also thinking about the sentences I would utter, as fear of the unexpected had crept inside me.

Along the corridors of the hospitals we were still chattering, talking slowly to each other, making sympathetic remarks whenever a patient came our way.

If this life is so unreliable and we are completely in darkness about our future then what is that Allah (swt) wants from us? He wants us to live each day at its best. The most important day of our life is the day we are living. 

When we reached the ward, to my astonishment it was just a normal hospital ward. It was well maintained .Clean white sheets were spread on beds. Silver side tables with medicine and food items laying on them. It was a female ward, so as usual, ladies were busy talking to each other, and it was very peaceful. Patients were fine looking people, having bright eyes and cheerful faces. The severity of their disease had not broken their spirits.

We started our work, talking to these patients, making them memorize Duas, and telling them about the Sabr stories of Quran and the reward one has for Sabr (patience). We also told them that Allah puts to trial those people whom He loves. Along with that some of my friends were also applying henna on their hands. We also gave them the gifts we had brought. Our fears had vanished and we were working composedly, until!

A young girl lying on the last bed of the ward caught my attention. The woman accompanying her (who was her mother as we came to know later) had seen us. When I saw her, her face was making a request to us, to come towards them. I asked one of my friends to go to her. We went towards them and gave a cheerful Salam; their reply was very feeble.

Why have been I living in this false delusion that I will be living a long life? Why I have been fancy dreaming about my future when I have no surety about my next breath? I have been living in a wonder land where death only exists for others. But today! I felt I my eyes were functioning properly for the first time.

The woman and girl both smiled but nervousness could be seen on their faces. We could not dare ask the patients what was wrong with them, so instead we just talked about their life. This family had come from the outskirts of Karachi; they were underprivileged innocent people, also not well literate. The girl was Mariam. She was probably 15 years old. She had given her Matriculation exams. Her mother told us that her brother’s marriage was about to be celebrated and they wanted to go home as soon as possible .She also informed us that my daughter wants to study more and wishes to become a doctor.
I smiled and replied “Yes, she will Insha’Allah.” “She was perfectly fine, just at times she used to have pain in her legs but a few days back it became very severe” her mother said.

Continuing her story, “We came to this hospital yesterday morning and in the evening they sent her to this ward.”

“Do you see this medicine?” She handed over the tablets to me. “Please read, what is this medicine for? What is wrong with my daughter?”

What’s wrong with my daughter? Her question started echoing in my ears. Momentarily I was taken aback by her question. Her question struck my heart like something dreadful, traumatizing my emotions. Explosions of thoughts were occurring in my mind but I could not move my lips. I was scared to speak. I tried to force a false smile and said faintly, “She will be fine Insha’Allah.”

Is this the reality of life? In a single day you can be diagnosed with a deadly disease breeding inside you. From the safety and comfort of your home you could be shifted in a ward where death is more certain than life.

Her mother wanted to talk, but I could not stand there. I did not want to cry neither wanted to speak, I just wanted to apprehend the new picture, life had formed for me for the first time.

As a reader you must be thinking why was I so shaken. It was a cancer ward. There had to be cancer patients in it, and cancer does not see who its host is. Is it a young girl with motivational dreams about her future life or a wife who looks forward to a beautiful relationship or a mother who has to take care of her children. Roots of cancer clench to the body where destiny has written for them to be planted. Then why was I so startled? I was surely shocked at the uncertainty of life. Is this the reality of life? In a single day you can be diagnosed with a deadly disease breeding inside you. From the safety and comfort of your home you could be shifted in a ward where death is more certain than life.

Only in my imagination I placed myself in her bearing; I felt a shiver in my body and was over whelmed by fear of Allah (swt). Only a single thought encircled my mind and it was causing pain in my heart. Why have been I living in this false delusion that I will be living a long life? Why I have been fancy dreaming about my future when I have no surety about my next breath? I have been living in a wonder land where death only exists for others. But today! I felt I my eyes were functioning properly for the first time.

If this life is so unreliable and we are completely in darkness about our future then what is that Allah (swt) wants from us? He wants us to live each day at its best. The most important day of our life is the day we are living. The future is unforeseeable and the past has been locked in the books that would only be opened with our death.

On our way back home, silent prevailed in the bus. Grief prevailed in our hearts, yet each of us had learnt a lesson that we would carry all our lives.

This story was submitted to “A Life-Changing Experience”, a story-writing competition organized by Hiba Magazine in 2013.