“Dear Diary: I just can’t stop smiling because Allah (swt) has His Hands on me.”




                                                 Image Courtesy islampeace1.wordpress.com



Life is beautiful, yet funny. All the problems are like brain injuries, and it’s an old joke that if you get a second blow at the same spot, you get all your memory and sanity back.


On the second day, when my full body X Ray was performed (I was in excruciating pain on the first day, and mostly sedated throughout the day), there he was, my neurosurgeon sitting right across the table, telling me that there was just a very minor bleeder (that resulted in a clot pressing in on my nerve)in my brain, and that I would have to go through a transient amnesia for at least four weeks- as it would take that much time to get resolved- so I better not be given any blood thinner. But, that demanded that I be kind to myself for forgetting things, and ask others to do the same- as a blood thinner could cause bleeding of wounds and delayed healing- and I had already lost some blood in my accident.


After hearing him out, of all the possible thoughts that could have struck me, the above mentioned adage dropped into my brain box and I went like: “Doc, can’t I just get another blow at the same spot, and just get done and over with”. He was flabbergasted. After a few seconds, he managed a mild smile. I laughed (had to at my own joke), and my nose started bleeding because I had head trauma, and massive nasal bleeding post crash. I was a funny mess on a wheelchair. He told me, “You’re a doc, I understand; but I also understand the seriousness of your injuries, and what you have gone through. How are you laughing and not shocked? Do you even know that your pain scale is almost 10/10? You will receive multiple treatments including electric current therapy (transcutaneous nerve stimulation) for numbing your nerves. Your body is in shock. I am happy that you are optimistic, but this isn’t a normal reaction. We hardly see this.”


My reply was: “I’ve no option, but to smile and laugh about it. A few hours ago I slid down my staircase, and landed with a thud all happy, and could move my head in any direction I wanted. And now, I just can’t..Isn’t it a brilliant feat? Isn’t it funny?”
He remained totally dumbfounded at what I had said, completely quiet. Looking at it retrospectively, I also found it hard to believe- I had the courage to say all of that because I knew how much difficult and painful it all was.

Faith in Allah (swt) can do miracles. I remembered all the Prophets as), and all that they went through; and yet, they were patient. I think I remembered all of that at the right time, and gained courage through that.


I now think that when you lead a life of obedience to Allah (swt), He gives you all the courage. Just like His remembrance in ones youth, keeps one away from major sins because of His mercy; and even, if you slip and commit a minor one, you burn that sin away with tears of regret; and promise Him  for never repeating it again.  Similarly, He the Almighty keeps you away from major traumas, and even, if you do land in some kind of pain ( physical, emotional, psychological etc.), then Dhikr, and those nights of remembrance, burns all the pain away.


And so, in all his surprise, my physician went on and asked me how I was feeling; and in all my delirious amnesia (forgive my satire) I retorted: “As it is only my second day, I can’t surely say- but so far so good- best is yet to come.” I felt so calm because I had asked Allah (swt) directly during those last moments for I still hadn’t done enough for my Hereafter, and He listened. I know that pain is a blessing in disguise. Doctor told me that he couldn’t believe his ears because, even though he had seen loads of war and what not injuries, he knew my courage was coming from a place of contentment and peace. And, during the times of pain and hardship, it is rare. “I call it faith. It results in patience. I know how sweet it is. It dissolves everything bitter.”


“You remember Me, I’ll remember you” (2:152) –Allah (swt) addressing believers in Quran.


“Remember Allah (swt) during times of ease, and He will remember you during times of difficulty,” (Tirmidhi)


I vouch by all the Great names of Allah (swt), it’s true. I have experienced it. My doctors said that even if I’d just let myself truly feel the pain my body was experiencing, I could have died of that feeling alone. Even the mere act of thinking about pain and solidifying that thought in mind kills people because it leads to hopelessness, and that’s just like rust. Like a fire that spreads fast, and burns everything coming in its way- I survived because Allah (swt) gave me hope, and made me see it all positively. I don’t know how many times I’ve free-fallen for Allah (swt) since then. People fall for people, and things, and world, and this, and that, and what not. But I fall, I free-fall for Allah (swt) over and over again. I trust Him that much. Alhumdulillah.


A soldier is prepared before leaving -but even though they are all ready- after injuries, they themselves, and their bodies go through shock.

I guess none of us are ever prepared as such; but I think that Allah (swt) does prepare us- whether we realise it or not. I had seen off my father to two wars. I had seen hundreds of tanks and APCs, other equipment, and the whole garrison move from the top most place; it was terrifying to see off thousands of soldiers to war, and overwhelming at the same time, and I still remember that view.


I had seen death of my friends; I had shouldered and hugged my friends on their father’s funerals post war; I had prayed for my father for his martyrdom on his very own request. I had seen enough to be patient. Allah (swt) had prepared me for this well in advance. He surely only puts the burden you can always endure. All of us are the same. He makes us brave. Yes, He makes us, it’s not our own doing- it’s His. He makes us either through His own will, or He makes us when we truly seek and ask for it. Know this in your heart that all the battles you have fought, Allah (swt) had always known you could fight that one. He gave us our parents, and families, and put us through situations with the knowledge of what lies ahead.


My physician pushed me to meet paraplegic war veterans, and bomb blast victims- just so that I share my spirit, and humour- as it may give them courage to not give up. “They get depressed and suicidal; and it is, but natural and expected. They have suffered loss, sometimes an irreplaceable or unfixable one.” he told me. “You must meet them.” He also called on the trauma team, and said: “Emergency, RTA case, hyper-reflexes, ask her anything and listen to her replies. Which one of you was telling me the other day that she feels like killing herself just because she couldn’t do well in PLABS.” I had another bout of laughter.


realise now that, in this day and age of fear mongering and media blast, perfectly normal and healthy beings are ripped off of peace- just because they believe in the lies media, and the world tells them. Their innocence is lost to the stupidity of educated illiterates- (sorry, but I don’t have another term to describe the behaviour and stereotyping they preach who tell them what to look like, what to wear, and how to be like to be accepted and revered. The loss of connection with Allah (swt) makes them believe whatever they are told and taught- because they lose their ability to think, solve and apply. They lose their touch, their brilliance, their courage- because being strong, and being a believer, isn’t cool enough anymore. Beauty has lost its touch, modesty has been stripped off,  and perfect beings are just depressed because they couldn’t get an A+.

The education we get at schools and colleges, and the media we rely on, doesn’t prepare us to deal with real life situations. And, it results in depression for most of the kids and adults alike, unfortunately.


My earnest request is that if you ever get into a tough situation, just get help from your own nearest support system- ask Allah (swt). I do it all the time. I share with people I trust, I ask for help, because sometimes you just need to hear the thing you already know from someone else’s mouth- just for the sake of hearing and internalising it. But again, ask Allah (swt) first and foremost. Cry, beg, weep for hours esp. in the last third of the night – He listens, He truly does. Ask for help -do whatever it takes but never fall into the abyss of hopelessness- it is a trap.

Coming back to where I started off- if something hits you hard, just lie down and breathe. Laugh and remember your best friend who is always there -Allah (swt).
If you get a brain injury, get another one on the same spot like I wanted to. My religion tells me to be thankful in every situation. I was well-taught about it, and I also found it on my own through my experiences. You all probably know that too; and if not, just embark upon this beautiful journey to seek gratitude, and you will find it for sure. Allah (swt) has already told us all that, “If you are thankful, I’ll surely increase you.” (14:7)
Hopelessness is a word missing from our dictionaries because probably a believer can’t disbelieve in Allah (swt); and hopelessness is the biggest sin- it’s the denial of the Creator as the Creator. Let’s not wait for some event, or some grand thing to happen to apply this. Do it now in regular mundane stuff. If I can, you too can. And Allah (swt) never leaves a believer, trust me with this. In fact, just trust Him. He is pure love. I have experienced it, and continue to every day and every minute. You just have to let it sink in.

[Infograph] Ramadan Prep

As Ramadan draws near, hiba presents an exclusive Ramadan prep infograph. The information in this infograph is taken from Shahr-u-Ramadan by Dr. Farhat Hashmi. Designed for hiba by Urooj Khan.

Click to enlarge


Address your stress- Learn to help yourself!

stressStress is the most common problem humanity has to deal with. Every single being is under the spell of stress; he might be a poor teenager or an old millionaire, he will be consumed in ferocious storm of stress and depression. We all are victims of this battle; some might win, but most will perish. Stress has this power, not just to manipulate minds, but squander the body and soul altogether. Increased number of stress relief medications, enhanced therapeutic technologies, modified stress releasing machinery, escalating demand of psychiatrists, and psychologists show how our stress is becoming the ultimate victor of this battle.

Pressing the issue of increased suicidal rate in Muslim community is posing a big question mark on the lifestyle of a religion-oriented nation. It is unfortunate that Muslims are not very considerate about ‘dealing with stress’ issue on a massive scale. A special homework must be done in the scientific and therapeutic fields in the Muslim world, in order to design techniques which are compatible to Muslim mind set and lifestyle; rather than mindless application of the contrastive work of western scholars on Muslims. Meanwhile, we can try to win over the stress within our individual power frame. Usually, people run towards music, party, drinking, smoking, or drugs etc. to get rid of stress; but good news is that there are many alternative Halal (permissible) ways to beat stress. I have enlisted simple, yet powerful tips, which can help overcome stress.

1. Dhikr (rememberance of Allah (swt))

As a Muslim our very first source to beat stress is Dhikr. Allah (swt) said,  “Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.”  (Ar-Rad 13:28)

Now what is this Dhikr? Dhikr literally means to “hold something in conscious mind” and in Islamic terms it means “the remembrance of Allah”. He also said,
“And men who remember Allah greatly and women who remembers (Allah greatly)- Allah holds in store for them forgiveness and a great reward” (Surah Ahzab 33:35)
We find examples of Dhikr in the Quran and narrations of Prophet (sa). Quran itself is the best kind of Dhikr. The psychology behind Dhikr is very interesting. When a person calls his Creator and Sustainer in his conscious mind then he ‘unconsciously’ starts developing a sense of belonging- where he starts trusting his Creator and becomes contented with what is given or taken by Him. This contentment is the key to the door of happiness, and this sensation of felicity beats stress.

2. Follow the Sunnah
Muslims already have a set pattern of life style provided by our prophet (sa). The more you practice Sunnah, the more you beat the stress. Anyone can get those guidelines, anywhere, at any time, just by contemplating over the life of prophet (sa). Allah (swt) said in the Quran, “Say (O Muhammad) onto them that if you love Allah SWT than follow me. Allah will love you and forgive your sins”

When one is loved by Allah (swt) then there is nothing in this entire universe that can harm him/her, or even cause any discomfort. Living a sinless life, gives a great comfort to one’s heart and mind which helps beat stress.

3. Fulfil your obligations/responsibilities

Every adult has to deal with some specific responsibilities. As Prophet (sa) said: “Every one of you is a Shepherd (responsible) and every one of you is accountable for the ones you are responsible for.” In fact, the ever mounting stack of unfulfilled responsibilities and obligations are the cause of depression and stress. Hence, when one fulfils his/ her obligations sincerely on a daily basis then there is nothing to worry about at the end of the day.

4. Develop a habit of physical exercise

Study of Harvard Health shows that regular exercise enhances the action of chemicals in our body, known as Endorphins. These chemicals help in building immunity and serve to improve our mood. Walking briskly for 35-thirty five minutes daily, shows to have a significant influence on mild to moderate symptoms of depression. On the other hand, our Islamic tradition strongly recommends physical exercise where Prophet (sa) used to motivate Muslims to practice different types of sports. Develop a habit of daily exercise, and participate in your favourite sport, so that you can ward off boredom and stress.

5. Provide a helping hand

Helping others gives ultimate happiness. If we observe the poor or destitute closely, we develop a sense of thankfulness; and when we will be thankful to Allah (swt) for His bounties, He will give you more- that is His promise. Hence, start helping others. Find a welfare organization in your area, and participate in community service to beat your stress.

6. Find your vision/mission

Everything in this universe has a purpose of its existence. The tragedy of Muslims nowadays is the lack of vision in their lives; they are confused and negligent of their purpose of creation. Existence of vision in one’s life instils fun, trill and enduringness in it which is a very helpful component in beating stress.

7. Organize yourself
Organization of oneself is one of the most important things in one’s life. If you ponder upon the system of this universe, you will see that everything has its specific time of happening. Nothing falls off the set schedule. Similarly, humans are also designed to organize their lives, or else they will fall from the divine dignity. Start your organization from little things like cleaning your messy cupboard, your book shelf and room, office desk then move up and design your daily routine, manage your events, and make a timetable. Rest assure- the more you organize yourself, the more you beat the stress.

8. Be Patient

Sabr (patience) makes it easy to deal with depression and stress. When a person thinks that everything belongs to Allah (swt), and He has complete authority to give and take any of His bounties whenever He wills; only then, he will experience true peace. Allah (swt) the Almighty knows what is best, and if one is patient at the time of calamity, Allah (swt) rewards him in this world and hereafter. One should try to practice patience, and be contented for what Allah (swt) has ordained for him for He is not unjust.

9. Let Go

Psychology tells us, when a person experiences, or senses something- it immediately goes into his short term memory, and when, it is repeated few times, it becomes long term memory where it resides for a long time. So, when you experience something unlikely and depressive- try to let go of it. It might be extremely depressing, but thinking about it over and over again will just make it worse, and ultimately, lead you to severe depression. Letting go needs a lot of practice and patience as it involves the training of your brain.

Practice these tips and God willing, you will regain your strength to fight stress. May Allah (swt) grant us all the peace of heart and mind. Ameen.

The Best Days are Here!

Top five things to pack for hajj

Do you know what days are better than all other days of the year? The days of Ramadan? No! (The last ten nights of Ramadan are higher in status though, as they comprise Laylatul-Qadr) It’s the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah as narrated by Ibn Abbas (rta):

Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “There is no deed that is better before Allah or more greatly rewarded than a good deed done in the (first) ten days of al-Adha (sacrifice).” It was said: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah, unless a man goes out himself for jihad taking his wealth with him and does not come back with anything.” (Bukhari and Darimi)

Surprisingly, the masses are unaware of these virtuous days and miss the opportunity to gain rewards and Allah’s pleasure in these blessed days. According to the Sunnah these are some of the important actions done in the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah:

  1. Hajj: Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam. Those who get the opportunity of Hajj should make the most of these days as an accepted Hajj eradicates all past sins. Hajj is not just a ritual that needs to be finished; it is a spiritual cleansing, a treasure chest of lessons that need to be learnt and safe kept for life long.
  2. Sacrifice: Eid-ul-Adha, the second Muslim festival, also comes in the blessed month. The price of the animal purchased for slaughter and quality of the barbeque served at Eid parties is not just it. What matters is the intention and Taqwa behind our actions. Allah says: “Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you.” (Hajj 22:37)
  3. Fasting: Fasting on the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah (The tenth day is Eid!) is an established Sunnah of the Prophet (sa). (Nasai and Abu Dawood).
  4. Remembering Allah (swt): The remembrance of Allah (swt) is one of the most beloved of deeds to Him, especially during these days. Prophet Muhammad (sa) has said: “There are no days that are greater before Allah or in which good deeds are more beloved to Him than these ten days, so recite a great deal of Tahleel (La ilaha illallah), Takbeer (Allahu Akbar) and Tahmeed (Alhumdulillah) during them.” (Ahmad)
  5. Takbeerat: Recite them as much as you can. See this page for details.

So, there is something for everyone. If you’re not going for Hajj, you may sacrifice. If you cannot afford an animal, you can still fast. If you’re incapable of fasting you can always remember Allah! We must race after every virtue that we can lay our hands on. Life is too short and every passing second is an asset.

[Multimedia] Ten Steps to Fuel your Faith

Hiba Magazine presents a short multimedia presentation on ten different ways to fuel your faith and give your Eeman a boost. This series is based on an article “Ten Steps to Increase Your Faith

Top Five Ways to Boost Your Iman

7 boost Iman(1) Recite and reflect upon the Quran. Scientific studies have proven that simply listening to Quranic recitations has a miraculous effect upon the hearts and bodies; it has the quality of healing the souls. It is suggested by religious scholars that whenever you are depressed or feel low, listen to the Quran as it has a significant impact upon your mood. You must be aware that Allah (swt) is speaking to you, and you must strive hard to understand His dialogue. This will help you soften your heart, raise your Iman, and bring tranquility within your soul.

(2) Perform Salah regularly. Another factor to increase one’s Iman is the offering of Salah regularly, and at its appointed timings. It is narrated by Jabir ibn Abdullah (rtam) that Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “The similitude of five prayers is like an overflowing river passing by the gate of one of you in which he washes five times daily.” (Muslim) Apart from increasing our level of Iman, Salah gives us an opportunity to have an audience with the Rabb-ul-Alameen in which we can ask for His help and mercy. It is necessary that we engage in this ritual without accelerating our pace, and being aware of His presence.

To read the rest of this article and more, subscribe to Hiba Magazine

No Time to Waste

Photo credit: *USB* / Foter / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: *USB* / Foter / CC BY-SA

The Prophet (sa) said: “Take advantage of five matters before five other matters: your youth before you become old; your health, before you fall sick; your wealth, before you become poor; your free time before you become preoccupied, and your life, before your death.” This Hadeeth teaches us the importance of time and its right use. Every day is a precious gift to us by Allah (swt) and we should make the best use of it- remembering the ultimate goal of pleasing Allah (swt) and not letting a minute to be wasted. This is not to say that we should constantly work and pray, because Islam teaches us to find the right balance and we have the right to rest. Rather, wastefulness is giving time to things and activities that take us further from Allah (swt) and lower our Iman. And some of the most common time thieves nowadays are- watching TV and listening to popular music.

TV – the vital or the virus?

One might ask, “What is wrong with the TV? Why to vilify it, when it’s so common it has practically become part of our lives?” The TV box may be on constantly, and we would hardly give it any thought – just letting it become the not-so-silent background to our day-to-day activities. Yet, if we have young children at home, we should certainly give it more than a fleeting thought, as TV has a profound effect on shaping the mind and it is rarely a positive effect. Even though there are some worthy channels with some content of benefit; the TV in general is full of violence, inappropriate images of genders and gender relations, foul language and un-Islamic ideology.

Also, the TV is addictive, especially for small children who may throw tantrums the moment someone changes their favourite cartoon channel; its content is beyond our control and by watching TV we simply become passive consumers of the broadcast. Getting used to this passive reception also leads to laziness and makes the traditional ways of acquiring knowledge such as reading, seem tiresome and difficult.

Some people may think that if they give up on TV, they would miss out on latest news, newest dramas, everything people might be talking about. But the truth is just the opposite for we miss out on real life, meaningful activities and authentic human interaction, because we spent too much time watching the telly. And same goes for children. Yes, they might learn their phonics and counting quicker from the TV cartoons, but they will miss out on learning good habits and socialising with other family members and guests. Considering all these arguments, I decided that my family would be better off without the TV, but how to make the switch off painless for children (and everybody else)?

Watching TV easily becomes an addiction and breaking off the habit may be more difficult than just turning off the set. It might be a little easier for the grown-ups, once they realize that spending time in front of TV or listening to useless songs really diverts our mind from worthy activities and thoughts and lowers our productivity.

It’s never too late to change

When trying to make a change, it’s always a good idea to replace a bad habit with a good one. For example- if we are used to watching the TV in the afternoon to relax and rest, we might instead reach out for a book or go for a walk. If we get into the habit of listening to music while doing kitchen work or any other household chore, we could instead turn on the CD with the Quran recitation or get busy with Dhikr. Just keeping in mind, why we want to make a change should be enough to keep us motivated through the difficult early stages.

Yet, the children may not be so easily persuaded. It might be much harder for them to understand why watching cartoon is bad and in the first stages they might express lots of negative feelings or even throw tantrums about not being allowed to turn on the TV. It is our role as parents to make the transition easier for them, while at the same time remaining firm about our goals. And this might be actually the hardest part for us as parents, because children occupied with watching TV shows makes the parenting job easier; giving mums a break from watching over kids when they are very busy.

Be there for your child

Yet, we should remind ourselves that the easiest option is not always the best; and bringing up children as good Muslims is our most important job and we should primarily focus our efforts and time on the right education. Once we switch off the TV, the children will turn to us to find them something to do and keep them busy. Expecting this, we should try to find for them activities that would be not only more meaningful, but also more fun for the kids. It would be perfect if we could manage to occupy our children’s time in a way that would be more attractive to them than watching TV. And if we put a little effort, they might not even demand for cartoons at all, preferring instead to spend time playing and learning with their parents and other family members.

Children who spend lots of time watching TV often have no contact with books and see reading as a boring activity. But, we should try to instil the love of reading in our kids from the early age; and that’s why, it is a good idea to build a family library and share stories together every day. Little children love listening to the stories told by their parents and looking at the colourful illustrations in children’s books. Little elder children are often interested in activity books and stories about other children. There is a lot of choice of good literature for children at all ages, and it doesn’t have to be very expensive to build the right collection for them with so many shops with good quality second-hand books available.

Sometimes, we do have a lot of work and we cannot give children our full attention, but there are lots of activities to keep them busy and entertained other than watching TV. Doing crafts, painting and colouring are some of the things all the kids love. Otherwise, we might try to engage the elder children in our own activities, teaching them to help in the kitchen or with any other household work.

I believe that with Allah’s (swt) help, the right intention and a bit of determination, we can give up the unproductive activities and make better use of every minute of our time. Insha’Allah.

Pearls of Peace: An Extract from Juzz 16 & 17

Surah Maryam

Surah Maryam talks about the birth of Prophet Isa (as). But there is another story that is equally meaningful. It is the incident of a few young strong men; who distanced themselves from the community, because of their deviant beliefs and self-invented forms of worship. In the exegesis, we read they were involved in idolatry and grave worshipping.

Prophet Ibrahim (as) and the idolatry

In Surah Maryam, we learn about Prophet Ibrahim’s (as) people who were engaged in idolatry, including his father. Prophet Ibrahim (as) was not pleased by what he saw in his community. Unconvinced by their need to bow before clay idols, carved by themselves; Ibrahim (as) asked his father, “When he said to his father: O my father! Why do you worship that which hears not, sees not and cannot avail you in anything?” (Maryam 19:42) He invited his father to follow a path that is straight, “O my father! Verily! There has come to me of knowledge that which came not unto you. So follow me. I will guide you to a Straight Path.” (Maryam 19:43)

Kind speech – the best way to preach!

It might come to some as a surprise that a son was correcting his father. Sometimes people younger than us are more knowledgeable or have a better understanding of a subject. We should be open to listening to the words of goodness; irrespective of speaker’s age, skin colour or worldly status. We also learn a Dawah tip from this story. Kind speech has been a repetitive reminder in the Quran. We should be mindful of our tone and words when we call people to Allah’s (swt) Deen. We need to soften their hearts, so that they may actually listen; and not repel them with our harshness or disrespect. Moreover, we should be prepared to expect a repulsive or rude behaviour from the other person. When that happens, we should not lose our temper. Recall the times Prophet (sa) endured abuse and hostility for Allah’s (swt) sake. If we are truly concerned about someone’s guidance, we should let go of their uncouth behaviour.

Do not stray away for the evil end awaits!  

This is not a small matter that can be pushed aside by arguments and justifications. Allah (swt) says, “Then, there has succeeded them a posterity who have given up As-Salat (the prayers) (i.e. made their Salat (prayers) to be lost, either by not offering them or by not offering them perfectly or by not offering them in their proper fixed times, etc.) and have followed lusts. So they will be thrown in Hell.” (Maryam 19:59)

They have an evil end waiting for them because of their pursuing their desires. A person who is worried about his prayer will be protected from immoral behaviour. A person who is not worried about his prayer, how will he have a link with Allah (swt)? Let’s commit to being regular in our prayers. The outcome will be attaining closeness to Allah (swt), increased provision and peace. It will not happen all at once; but it will happen one day Insha’Allah. Allah (swt) says, “Verily, those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, the Most Beneficent (Allah) will bestow love for them (in the hearts of the believers)” (Maryam 19:96)

We learn through Hadeeth, when Allah (swt) loves a person; he calls out to Jibrael (as) and commands him to love the person as well. Thus, all the inhabitants of the heaven would love him, and then he will be granted the pleasures of the people on the earth (Bukhari, Muslim)

Make Dua to excel in religion

Sometimes we look at people who are better than us in religion and we feel a kind of anger in our heart. The anger is there due to our weak connection with Allah (swt). How can we get rid of it? It is possible by asking Allah (swt) to allow us to excel in religion just like them or even better. Make Dua for the people who inspire and remind you of Allah (swt). May Allah (swt) open up our hearts to goodness. Ameen.

How often has it happened that our best friend calls and we catch up with them, as if we have been separated for twenty years? In reality, it could be that we spoke to them only yesterday or a few hours ago. For how long does this phone call continue? It would be hard to find a person who hangs up in ten minutes. If that happens, then we are certainly not close enough. Now, let’s look at our prayer. For how long do we remain seated at our prayer mat after the prayer is over? Most people jump off the moment they do Tasleem. What does this tell us about our relationship with Allah (swt)? It requires no further explanation.

Moosa (as) honoured by his Lord!

When Moosa (as) was called in the valley of Tuwa by Allah (swt) and informed that he had been chosen as the Prophet of Allah (swt) and there went on a brief interview. Allah (swt) asks Moosa (as) about his staff, in reply Moosa (as) did not give a one word answer. Then he went on describing his staff and stated the different purposes he used it for. He said: “He said: This is my stick, whereon I lean, and wherewith I beat down branches for my sheep, and wherein I find other uses.” (Ta-Ha 20:18)

Did he not know the Lord who is addressing him from up above can see and know more about his staff than himself? But he cherished this meeting so much that he could not contain his excitement. He wanted to extend this meeting, so he went on talking. This Ramadan, let us commit to correct ourselves and give our utmost attention and respect to Allah (swt). Let’s take out time to speak with Him in Sujood, in Dua, at Suhoor and Iftar times; and whenever and wherever we can steal a moment of privacy.

A gentle approach to Dawah

When it comes to correcting people, we often admonish them in such a way that they would not want to see our face again. Allah (swt) picks up His best man to invite the worst man towards the right path.

With what instruction did Allah (swt) send Moosa (as)? He said, “And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear Allah.” (Ta-Ha 20:44) This was Pharaoh he was being sent to and the instruction was “speak gently”. Let us reflect on our interpersonal skills and be kind to one another for the sake of Allah (swt). Use encouraging words to bring them closer to Allah (swt). Do not rebuke them; lest we widen the gap. Our job is only to take the message to them. We are not Hakim (ruler) over them, for Allah (swt) says, “But whosoever turns away from My Reminder (i.e. neither believes in this Quran nor acts on its orders etc.) verily, for him is a life of hardship.” (Ta-Ha 20:124)

Is turning away from Allah (swt) the right decision?

People tend to turn away from Allah (swt) because they are distracted by the material things around them. Therefore, Allah (swt) warns us, “And strain not your eyes in longing for the things We have given for enjoyment to various groups of them (polytheists and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah), the splendour of the life of this world that We may test them thereby. But the provision (good reward in the Hereafter) of your Lord is better and more lasting.” (Ta-Ha 20:131) Material wealth of this world will remain in this world. Let us not make it a source of our ingratitude towards Allah (swt). Let us apply the wise principle that our Prophet (sa) taught us. In terms of material wealth look at those below you; and when it comes to good deeds and religious status, look at those who are way ahead of you. May Allah (swt) allow us to keep our perspective right. Ameen.

Surah Al-Anbiya

It is ironical that the place where we do not have to live forever, we are concerned about it as if it is the only life we have. And the Hereafter, which is eternal and lasting, is to our least concern. Allah (swt) reminds us, “Draws near for mankind their reckoning, while they turn away in heedlessness. Comes not unto them an admonition (a chapter of the Quran) from their Lord as a recent revelation but they listen to it while they play.” (Al-Anbiya 21:1-2)

Are we living in oblivion?

Our death and resurrection should keep us worried; especially when engaging in something that we shouldn’t be doing. When the soul urges us to do wrong, we must ask ourselves: what if I die right now? How will I face Allah (swt)? In what condition will I be resurrected?

Strive for an honourable life and death

Some years ago, there was news of college girls dying in a stampede in a concert. I was haunted by the thought that in what condition their souls would be recollected? May Allah (swt) bless us all with an honourable life and death. May we die in the state of prostration. Ameen. To be honoured with such a death, we need to become the kind of people who say, “We heard and we obey,” and not of those who say, “We have heard but we are not going to obey.” Because we will be questioned about our time spent on this earth, as Allah (swt) says, “He cannot be questioned as to what He does, while they will be questioned.” (Al-Anbiya 21:23)

Life here vs. life in the hereafter

Let us prepare for the questioning of the Hereafter as we prepare for our worldly exams. Let us strive to be among the high achievers as we do for worldly positions. Allah (swt) tells us that our deeds will be weighed, and when that happens where would we stand? “And We shall set up balances of justice on the Day of Resurrection, then none will be dealt with unjustly in anything. And if there be the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it. And Sufficient are We as Reckoners.” (Al-Anbiya 21:47)

There is glad tiding for him whose good deeds outnumber the bad ones. An easy way to raise our scales is to get busy in glorifying and praising Allah (swt) with words such as SubhanAllahi wabihamdihi SubhanAllahil Adheem.

Remember Allah (swt) and He will remember you!

We have learnt in Surah Al-Baqarah that when we remember Allah (swt) with our Dhikr, He too remembers us. Allah (swt) takes care of His righteous servants, no matter what people plot against them. When Prophet Ibrahim (as) spoke against the idols, the community advised his father to burn him. They said, “They said: Burn him and help your gods, if you will be doing.” (Al-Anbiya 21:68)

Little did they know that Allah (swt) is the Creator of fire. Allah (swt) said, We (Allah) said: O fire! Be you coolness and safety for Ibrahim (Abraham)! And they wanted to harm him, but We made them the worst losers.” (Al-Anbiya 21:69-70) When man surrenders to Allah (swt), Allah (swt) helps him miraculously. We see this in the example of other messengers as well. They surrendered before Allah (swt), cried out only before Him, and sought help from Him alone. Allah (swt) helped them all and took them out of distress, at His decided time. Let us not be hasty with our prayers and have strong hope in Allah (swt) alone.

Learn to make an eloquent Dua

Sometimes when we want something, we are unable to articulate our words properly. It is a mercy of Allah (swt) that through His prophets He taught us the words to make Dua to Him. In Surah Al-Anbiya, we learn the Dua of Prophet Yunus (as), “But he cried through the darkness (saying): La ilaha illa Anta (none has the right to be worshipped but You (O Allah)), Glorified (and Exalted) are You (above all that (evil) they associate with You.) Truly, I have been of the wrong-doers.” (Al-Anbiya 21:87)

Look at how he makes the Dua, he first praises Allah (swt) and then acknowledges his mistake. In the narrations it has been said, when the angels heard this Dua, they pleaded his case in the court of Allah (swt) because they would often hear him being engaged in Dhikr. Such is the power of Dhikr. What chances do we have that if a whale swallows us up, we will come out alive? Have we attained that special status with Allah (swt) where He will save us miraculously?

Talking about miracles, Prophet Zakariya (as) was blessed with an offspring despite his old age and his wife’s barrenness. Indeed, for Allah (swt) nothing is impossible.

Prostrate – be the closest to Allah (swt)!

It is said that one can get closest to Allah (swt) when in prostration. The entire creation in the heavens and the earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the trees, the moving creatures and believers prostrate to Allah (swt), as we learn in Surah Al-Hajj. When we choose to neglect our prayers, it is not that Allah (swt) is in need of our prostration. There are billion other creatures that prostrate to Him and win a special status near Him. At the end it is our loss. Allah (swt) says, “Every time they seek to get away therefrom, from anguish, they will be driven back therein, and (it will be) said to them: Taste the torment of burning!” (Al-Hajj 22:74)

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

Pearls of Peace: Extracts from Juzz 13

Photo credit: Yogendra174 / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: Yogendra174 / Foter / CC BY

Essence of Dhikr

What does Dhikrullah (remembrance of Allah (swt)) entail? Some people confine this to the act of doing Tasbeeh such as: uttering Subhan’Allah and Alhumdulillah. Dhikrullah means to keep Allah (swt) in our thoughts all the time; bearing in mind that He is watching us. One should remember Him by his tongue, his heart and keep Him in his mind. One should know that all tests are from Allah (swt) and that he is sent by Him and will return to Him. This is the source of attaining peace. We learn, “Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Ar-Rad 13:28) May He make us of the Dhakireen. Ameen.

Make Arabic your language

When one falls in love with the Quran, the first thing that they get upset about is the language barrier. A lot of meaning is lost in translations. Non-Arabs wish they were born in an Arab land and Arabic was their native language. Allah (swt) maintained diversity by making us belong to different races. However, we are encouraged to learn different languages, as this is the sure way of bridging gaps. “And We sent not a Messenger except with the language of his people, in order that he might make (the Message) clear for them. Then Allah misleads whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” (Ibrahim 14:4) Learn Arabic and witness how your understanding of the Quran reaches a higher level.

Goodness comes with gratitude

We all want an increase in goodness and escape from punishment. How can we make that happen? “And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: If you give thanks (by accepting Faith and worshipping none but Allah), I will give you more (of My Blessings), but if you are thankless (i.e. disbelievers), verily! My Punishment is indeed severe.” (Ibrahim 14:7)

How can we be grateful to Allah (swt)?

We can be grateful by honouring His commands. By offering our prayers at their appointed time and not when we will. Gratitude should be expressed by the tongue, the heart and the limbs. Allah (swt) has blessed us with health; we should make the most of it by serving Him and His religion. Allah (swt) has given us wealth, we should spend it in His cause. If one is told to count the favours of Allah (swt), he would never be able to do so.

“And He gave you of all that you asked for, and if you count the Blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them. Verily! Man is indeed an extreme wrong-doer, – a disbeliever (an extreme ingrate, denies Allah’s Blessings by disbelief, and by worshipping others besides Allah, and by disobeying Allah and His Prophet Muhammad (sa).” (Ibrahim 14:34) This is a challenge to the entire mankind. We miss one thing from our lives and we claim Allah (swt) has kept us deprived. What about the one thousand others things that we have?

Ingratitude belongs to the Shaytan, the deceiver

Ungratefulness is from Shaytan, he beautifies the harmful things for us and we feel as if we are denied. On the Day of Judgement, Shaytan will excuse himself from us. “And Shaytan (Satan) will say when the matter has been decided: Verily, Allah promised you a promise of truth. And I too promised you, but I betrayed you. I had no authority over you except that I called you, so you responded to me. So blame me not, but blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can you help me. I deny your former act in associating me (Satan) as a partner with Allah (by obeying me in the life of the world). Verily, there is a painful torment for the Zalimun.” (Ibrahim 14:22) What a devil he is! First he whispers evil thoughts and then backs out from enticing.

Allah’s (swt) assurance of His mercy upon His slaves

While Shaytan conspires for our downfall, what does Allah (swt) assures us of? “Declare (O Muhammad (sa)) unto My slaves, that truly, I am the Oft-Forgiving, the Most-Merciful.” (Al-Hijr 15:49) Reading this verse what should we say? We should hasten to make the Dua: O Allah! Forgive me and have mercy on me. Grant me peace in this world and the next. Ameen. Again, this is not a license to continue sinning.

We live in times, where mosque which is free to enter, but is empty; while clubs which cost several thousands to enter, but are packed. This is why the verse right after the previous one warns us, “And that My Torment is indeed the most painful torment.” (Al-Hijr 15:50) Thus, we must not indulge in acts that can lead to His painful punishment.

Islam is protected by Allah (swt) alone

Next, we learn about a miracle that was given to Muhammad (sa), “Truly! We will suffice you against the scoffers.” (Al-Hijr 15:95) Each time the scoffers mocked the Prophet (sa) – they were either punished for the words they uttered, or they were guided because of that. How were they guided? Each time someone decides to damage Islam by drawing caricatures, more people become interested in Islam and embrace it. There were many people during the time of the Prophet (sa), who wanted to harm him; but within moments, they were testifying that Muhammad (sa) is the Prophet of Allah (swt). While such incidents of blasphemy hurt us, we must remember Allah (swt) is the In-Charge here, He will hold the perpetrators accountable.

The matter that requires our attention is that when a non-Muslim disrespects Islam, we come out on the streets, carry out protestations, burn vehicles, damage property and gather all the energy to endure heat and discomfort. But when the call to prayer is given in the mosque, we don’t budge. We are so far away from our own religion, why criticise the non-Muslims? Reverts are much better than some of the born Muslims. May Allah (swt) guide us. Ameen.

It is natural for a tender-hearted person to be distressed by what’s happening around them. Allah (swt), the All-Knowing, knows the hearts of His slaves, “Indeed, We know that your breast is straitened at what they say.” (Al-Hijr 15:97) This was His assurance to Muhammad (sa).

Sunshine or rain – He is the domain

What should one do when he is suffering? He says, “So glorify the praises of your Lord and be of those who prostrate themselves (to Him). And worship your Lord until there comes unto you the certainty (i.e. death).” (Al-Hijr 15:98-99) Rain or shine, we must never forget the purpose of our creation. If things are good, praise and thank Allah (swt). If things are not so good, have patience, praise and thank Allah (swt). The Day of Judgement will settle all disputes. Prostrate whenever you can, because that is the closest we can get to Allah (swt).

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


Most Beloved Days of Dhul-Hijjah

Dhul-hijjah1By Eman Al-Obaid – Al-Huda Sisters, Dubai

Allah (swt) created humans and Jinns to worship Him. This is the purpose of creation. Average life span of a human being is between 60-70 years. We don’t live forever. While we are in this world, our time is divided between eating, sleeping, working and so on. Muslims are supposed to worship Allah (swt), but if we count, then how many minutes in a day do we actually spend worshipping? Calculate the time you spend on praying the five obligatory prayers – maybe 25-30 minutes in a day out of all the 24 hours!

Realistically, HOW are you supposed to spend your entire life in worship?

Allah (swt) has made it easy for us by giving certain bonus periods in life for motivating us to worship Him with renewed feelings. We need a change or a motivation – something to boost us! We know we need to worship Allah (swt) all the time, but we should not get bored of worship! We need change all the time! Look at the cycle. We follow our normal routine. Before Ramadan, we become excited and wait for it. Our level of faith is high. In the middle of Ramadan, we become relaxed in routine. Then another injection of motivation comes in the form of Laylatul Qadr (the Night of Decree), so our faith soars. Afterwards, we relax for the Eid and enjoy. Then, comes the fasting of Shawwal and once again relaxation during the month of Dhul-Qadah, followed by Dhul-Hijjah. We have the first ten days followed by Eid-ul-Adha. Hence, there is no stagnant period – always change in order to motivate us.

Any good actions that you perform during these days will be beloved to Allah (swt). For instance, if you always pray the morning prayer, pray the same during these days and Allah (swt) will love it more, Insha’Allah!

Welcoming Dhul-Hijjah

The most important ten days start on the 1st day of Dhul-Hijjah. Allah (swt) mentions in the Quran: “By the ten nights (i.e., the first ten days of the month of Dhul-Hijjah).” (Al-Fajr 89:2) He further mentions: “That they may witness things that are of benefit to them (i.e. reward of Hajj in the hereafter, and also some worldly gain from trade, etc.), and mention the Name of Allah on appointed days (i.e. 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th day of Dhul-Hijjah), over the beast of cattle that He has provided for them (for sacrifice) (at the time of their slaughtering by saying: Bismillah, Wa Allahu-Akbar, Allahumma Minka wa Ilaik). Then eat thereof and feed therewith the poor who have a very hard time.” (Al-Hajj 22:28)

The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “There are no days during which the righteous action is so pleasing to Allah (swt) than these days (i.e., the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah).” He was asked: “O Messenger of Allah, not even Jihad in the Cause of Allah (swt)?” He (sa) replied: “Not even Jihad in the cause of Allah (swt), except in case one goes forth with his life and his property and does not return with either of it.” (Bukhari)

Spending the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah

Repent and request Allah (swt) for forgiveness for past sins, resolving to not repeat them. Even though you know the virtues of important days, your sins can prevent you from doing them. Repent to Allah (swt) well before Dhul-Hijjah begins. Beg forgiveness for mistakes you know and the ones you do not know.

Remain determined and truthful. Rely upon Allah (swt) only. We cannot do anything on our own, even if it is worship. We need to rely on Allah (swt), so that we remain steadfast upon good deeds. Don’t listen to Shaitan and don’t get discouraged.

These ten days are the ‘mother of all worship’, because there is no specific kind of worship mentioned. Therefore, since Allah (swt) loves, accepts and rewards any deeds in these days.

Good deeds to perform

Any good actions that you perform during these days will be beloved to Allah (swt). For instance, if you always pray the morning prayer, pray the same during these days and Allah (swt) will love it more, Insha’Allah! This should be an important encouragement for us to do more and more good deeds, which have greater reward with Allah (swt). You get extra rewards for all your deeds and all the things that you do even in normal routine (in those days). All the voluntary prayers, Dua, Dhikr and anything else that you do is rewarded. The reward is more because there is more struggle. In Ramadan, for example, it’s easier to perform good deeds, because Shaitan is chained. It is even easy to pray night prayers in the Masjid, because everyone else is engaged in it. In Dhul-Hijjah, it is more difficult.

These ten days are the ‘mother of all worship’, because there is no specific kind of worship mentioned. Therefore, since Allah (swt) loves, accepts and rewards any deeds in these days.

One can do any of the following types of worship with sincerity and hope for the reward from Allah (swt).

  • Prayer
  • Fast
  • Dua
  • Hajj
  • Umrah
  • Remembrance of Allah (swt)

Other positive actions we can do in these ten days are:

  • Remembrance of Allah (swt)
  • More prayer
  • Make more Dua
  • Read more Quran
  • Acquire knowledge
  • Increase voluntary prayers
  • Increase charity
  • Fast on the day of Arafah
  • Fasting from the 1st to the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah (no fasting on the Eid day!)
  • Perform night prayers or Tahajjud

We ask Allah the Almighty (swt) to guide us to His love and pleasure. Ameen!

[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.

This Ramadan will be a Different One!


After breaking the fast, while still on my prayer mat, I was secretly hoping and praying that it wouldn’t be the last fast of Ramadan. Somehow I wasn’t that thrilled about Eid this time. I was rather withdrawn and passive. Obviously, Eid was not the reason for my distress; instead, it was the fact that Ramadan was ending.

Having understood the virtues and experienced the numerous blessings of Ramadan, I was anxious that I had not gained enough from the blessed month. “But there is always next Ramadan,” I reassured myself. “What makes you so sure that you will live that long?” a part of me responded. The growing debate between my conscience and Nafs (lowly base self prone to sin) made me more uncomfortable. The ticking of the clock made me desperate, and I felt like grabbing every second of the passing time.

I started having flashbacks of what little I did the entire month, as opposed to all that I could have done to seek the pleasure of my Rabb: the voluntary deeds I could have performed in addition to the regular rituals. I felt guilty, realizing that the enemy resided within me, and that enemy was my own Nafs.

“Forget it! You don’t have what it takes to be pious. If you couldn’t take charge of yourself in Ramadan, when Shaitan was chained, then what chance do you have for self-purification after Ramadan?” my Nafs condemned me. Tears of regret and remorse rolled down my cheeks into my hands raised in Dua. I promised myself that if I would be allowed to witness next Ramadan then it would have to be a different one and definitely a better one.

The first step towards attaining a goal is to be prepared. Therefore, I devised a pre Ramadan checklist. “This Ramadan will be a different one!” clenching my Ramadan checklist, I announced to myself in a resolute tone.

I thought of sharing it with you all, hoping that it will be of benefit to you as well, Insha’Allah.

My Ramadan Checklist

  • Make lots of Dua to be able to witness Ramadan with Hidayah (guidance), Hikmah (wisdom) and Aafia (well-being) as well as to be blessed with Barakah in your time, so that you can make the most of each day.
  • Regulate Your Routine. Try giving up on late nights and late mornings at least two weeks before Ramadan, in order to set your routine for Taraweeh and Qiyam-ul-Layl.
  • Quran Recitation. Start your Quranic recitation with understanding and contemplation at least ten days before Ramadan, so that by the end of the blessed month you do not feel the urge to rush the completion of the Glorious Quran.
  • Memorization of Duas. A month before Ramadan, you can try to memorize at least one new Dua every week. This way you will be able to gain more Khair during the month of forgiveness.
  • Grocery Shopping. Make sure that you have organized and stored all your groceries at least a week before Ramadan.
  • Ramadan Menu. Pre-planned menus will help you focus on more important tasks. Keep the menu as simple as possible, as it is a Sunnah to do so.
  • Adequate Eating Habits. Do not consume too much fried food, as it tends to lower your energy level.
  • Iftar Parties. If you invite people for Iftar, avoid mixed gatherings and extravagance.
  • Eid Shopping. Ramadan is a golden month for attaining Khair for our Akhirah, not for grabbing the best bargains at shopping malls. Do not lose this opportunity and focus on satisfying your Nafs instead. Complete your shopping before Ramadan.
  • Daily Checklist. Prepare a daily checklist of ‘things to do’ for the next day. This way, you will not be preoccupied with thoughts of mundane tasks and will be able to focus on your worship.
  • Supererogatory Acts. Form the habit of performing voluntary acts (prayers, fasts, charity, etc.) after your obligatory worship, in order to earn extra rewards.

Abu Hurayrah (rta) has narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “Allah said: My servant does not draw near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties (obligatory acts) I have enjoined upon him. My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works, such that I shall love him. When I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask (something) of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it.” (Bukhari)

  • Daily Dhikr. Set your practice of the morning and evening Adhkar two weeks before Ramadan. Try to keep your tongue moist with Dhikr, for example: Astaghfirullah, Subhan Allah, Alhumdulillah, Subhan Allah e Wabihamdihi, while doing routine things like cooking and cleaning. This way your ordinary tasks will turn into acts of worship, Insha’Allah.
  • Duas before Fajr. A month before Ramadan, try to get up just ten to fifteen minutes before Fajr. This is that part of the night when Allah (swt) descends to the lowest heaven and accepts the Duas of His slaves. How can we miss such an opportunity, such an honour?
  • Spiritual Boost. Assign a specific time during the day for listening to Quranic recitation or an Iman-boosting lecture to help you stay high-spirited throughout the busy day.
  • Lessons for Children. Invest at least thirty minutes in sharing Deen-related material with your children. Make the lesson interesting and interactive. For example, read a story from the Quran or stories of the prophets; tell them a Hadeeth and try to act on it with them; switch on a short talk by a scholar, listen to it with them and discuss what you have learned.
  • Sharing Blessings. Arrange your cupboards a month before Ramadan and separate the items that you have not used for over six to ten months. Neatly sort and stack them in boxes to give away in charity.
  • A few months before Ramadan, get your children to help you make a little charity box, so that they can learn the importance of Sadaqah and start collecting money in it. When you go for your pre-Ramadan Eid shopping, buy a few gifts for the poor and wrap them nicely to give them out a day or two before Eid. Charity expiates sins and its virtues increase in this blessed month.

Ramadan offers excellent opportunities for reaping the utmost Khair (goodness). Imagine if you were told about a clearance sale at the best mall in town; wouldn’t you want to grab every valuable item in your reach? Definitely! Then why should we waste this opportunity to attain the pleasure of the One Who loves us beyond our perception?

May Allah (swt) help us make the most of our life, until we meet Him in Jannat-al-Firdaus, Ameen.


Maintaining Productivity while not Praying


Being a Muslim means submitting to Allah’s (swt) laws, as He chose them to be. Some women tend to go into depression as their monthly cycles start or when postnatal bleeding begins. Not being able to pray or fast, they think there is nothing they can do to get closer to Allah (swt) and a sense of spiritual deprivation creeps in.

But what if we change our thinking? What if we accept it as Allah’s (swt) decree? If this is part of Allah’s (swt) plan, then it must be beneficial for us. He would not be pleased by our complaining, would He?

Monthly cycles and postnatal bleeding indicate that our bodies are working exactly the way nature intended them to. It shows that we are normal, and good health is a blessing we should not underestimate. Reflect on the following Ayah from the Quran: “…and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah Knows but you do not know.” (Al-Baqarah 2:216)

Having accepted the inconvenience as part of Allah’s (swt) decree, let us now shift our attention to the ways we can make this time productive.

  1. Permissible Acts of Worship

Only Salah and fasting is not allowed. You can still do a lot of other Ibadah that will take care of your spiritual needs.

  1. Dhikr

Let us begin with the lightest deed. The Prophet (sa) said: “Whoever says: ‘Subhan-Allahi wa Bihamdi’ (How far from imperfections Allah is, and I praise Him) a hundred times during the day, his sins are wiped away, even if they are like the foam of the sea.” (Bukhari)

This neither takes much time, nor requires a state of ritual purity. Yet, the reward is amazing and keeps you connected to Allah (swt). There are several other similar short words of remembrance that do not require opening the Quran. Some other examples are: ‘Subhan Allah’ and ‘La Illaha Illa Allah’. What about Istighfar? We are always in need of seeking forgiveness from Allah (swt), aren’t we?

You can also recite the daily morning and evening supplications. If you do not know these Duas, this might be the time to memorize them.

  1. Listening to the Quran

While there is a disagreement over whether or not it is allowed to touch the Quran during menstruation, you can certainly listen to the recitation on a CD, cell phone or online. If you are trying to beautify your recitation, Allah (swt) has provided you with the time to focus on it now.

  1. Tahajjud

Performing Tahajjud Salah is not the only way to get your Duas answered or to seek nearness to Allah (swt). If you are awake at this hour but cannot pray, get up, make Wudhu and just sit and talk to Allah (swt). Talk to Him like you would at the end of prayer. Why miss out on this splendid opportunity? He listens when you call upon Him.

  1. Voluntary Charity

Invest the time you save on Salah and fasting by focusing on Sadaqah (voluntary charity). Is there any relative of yours that needs assistance? Maybe it’s a neighbour, an orphan child, or another needy person? Find out and be of assistance to them in whatever way you can. Charity is not limited to financial assistance only. For example, some women volunteer to babysit for other sisters to allow them some free time to focus on their Fard (obligatory) worship.

  1. Acquiring Knowledge

Islam lays great emphasis upon acquiring beneficial knowledge. This is evident by the numerous Duas that the Prophet (sa) taught us. In the Quran, knowledgeable people have been addressed as Ulul-Albab, meaning ‘the people of intellect’ or ‘people of understanding’. They are distinguished from those who live their lives mindlessly and deny the signs of Allah (swt).

Allah (swt) says: “Shall he, then, who knows that what has been revealed unto you (O Muhammad (sa)) from your Lord is the truth, be like him who is blind? But it is only the men of understanding that pay heed.” (Ar-Rad 13:19)

Sisters, utilize this time for gaining knowledge. We will not identify reminders unless we have the wisdom to understand them. Read Islamic literature. Read about the life of the Prophet (sa), his companions, and those after them.

  1. Attending Religious Gatherings and Lectures

Umm Atiya narrates: “We were ordered to bring out our menstruating women and veiled women in the religious gatherings and invocation of Muslims on the two Eid festivals. These menstruating women were to keep away from their Musalla (praying area).” (Bukhari)

By attending religious gatherings or lectures, you will not only gain knowledge but also boost your Iman. Moreover, when the angels will be making entries in their journals, regarding who strove in the cause of Allah (swt), your name will also be added to that list. Isn’t it a ‘win-win’ situation?

You could have been sitting in front of the television and catching up on the latest drama episode but you chose to give this time to Allah (swt).

  1. Other Activities
  1. Cooking

For you as daughters, wives, or mothers, family is your first priority. One of the requests that men in our lives have is nicely cooked food. It does not mean you should not cook otherwise, but now you can try out that special recipe, which you have been setting aside due to shortage of time. Cook simple but nutritious meals for your family. However, avoid excess. Control your budget, because we are answerable for our wealth on the Day of Judgement. If Allah (swt) has given you beyond your needs, spend on those who are less privileged. It is their right upon you. Somebody might be starving to death while you are preparing expensive gourmet to satisfy your Nafs.

  1. Shopping

Have you been thinking of buying some household items but were held back by the long, strenuous hours in the shopping malls? Check that off your to-do-list now. Use this time to do those important or not-so-important tasks of the worldly life. Why give up some time from your worship, when Allah (swt) gives an opportunity to do so in another way? However, always recite the Dua prescribed to us by the Prophet (sa) before entering the market. This will protect us from over-indulgence and wastefulness, Insha’Allah!

These are only some of the ways for making your time productive. Do not be emotionally stressed by this natural phase of life. It was decreed by Allah (swt).

When we understand the Hikmah (wisdom) behind Allah’s (swt) plans, our perspective changes; we become more internally content and at ease. Moreover, it allows us to submit willingly and practice our Deen confidently. Which of Allah’s (swt) favours can we deny?

May Allah (swt) bless us with the Hikmah to make the most of our Ramadan. Ameen.


The True Essence of a Muslimah

Beautiful-DiamondA daughter once asked her mother, “Mom, I have heard about diamonds and rubies and also gold and silver. Which is the most precious jewel?”

Her mother replied, “Jewels of gold, silver, diamonds and rubies are all only stones, and do not shine, unless they are burnt and polished. For me, you are my precious jewel. In fact, every daughter is a gem, irreplaceable! I would like to decorate you with such jewels and gems, which will bring you honour and respect, and add a glow to your dignity and character.

• Clothe yourself with Taqwa, and adorn yourself with the most precious jewel of piety.
• Take care of your head! It is the closest to Allah (swt) in Sujud, so make your prostrations lengthy.
• Keep your head cool and low (out of humility) when amongst people. Let Allah (swt) raise it high.
• Keep your hands immersed in work and tongue moist in Dhikr. That’s the essence of the women of Jannah.
• Raise your hands, shed tears, and share your thoughts and feelings only in front of Allah (swt).
• Lower your gaze and adorn it with the emeralds of contentment.

If you have gold, it’s not that you will not turn old.
But if you have character, it will build your Akhirah.
If you have lots of brocade and silk in your closet,
But elegance will be disclosed by your deeds’ facet.

If you are not endowed with diamonds or pearls,
Remember, through your speech and smile you glitter.
And scatter the beauty of Islam.
Through reverence in covering your Awrah.
And reveal what is permissible, and be it little, be happy with Halal and pure.
That’s the true essence of a Muslimah.

Her daughter replied: “True! I am blessed to have a mother, who knows my true value and wants the best for me in this life as well as hereafter.”

May Allah (swt) guide my daughter and all the daughters of the Ummah, too. Ameen

Beautiful Names

Vol 2 -Issue 4     Beautiful names

1. Ar-Razzaq: The Provider

Allah says in the Quran: “… Is there any creator other than Allah, who provides for you from the sky (rain) and the earth?…” (Fatir 35:3)

Allah (swt) is the one Who provides sustenance as well as the means to enjoy that sustenance. He provides the mankind with different foods, as well as the sense of taste and hunger to enjoy it. ‘Rizq’ is a very comprehensive word that includes everything that we enjoy, benefit from, and make use of. Sustenance is of two types: one that benefits our body such as food, fresh air, and clean water; the other that benefits our soul, which, if properly used, can ultimately lead to Paradise, where Allah’s (swt) provision is eternal. Examples of this kind of sustenance are: knowledge to give guidance, speech to bear witness and to teach, and hands to distribute alms. Allah (swt) extends sustenance to whomever He wills. Allah (swt) alone, the Great and Glorious, is the Provider. We should rely on Allah (swt) and no one else for sustenance. We should understand that people or things are only the means of providing sustenance and not the providers themselves. Indeed, believing in the latter is a grave sin.

2. Al-Fattah: The Opener

By Allah’s (swt) providence, whatever is closed gets opened. He has the keys to the heavens and the earth. Allah (swt) says in the Holy Quran: “Whatever of mercy (i.e., of good), Allah (swt) may grant to mankind, none can withhold it …” (Fatir 35: 2) Similarly, He opens the doors of sustenance, and success in this world to whomever He wills. Doors of great empires were opened for the Prophets by the will of Allah (swt). The doors of knowledge are opened for those He wants to guide to the straight path. Allah (swt) unveils the hearts of people and shows them the light of Islam. He opens up the earth to provide fruits for its creatures. We should do good deeds so that the Opener opens to us an abundance of goodness.

3. Al-Alim: The All Knower / the Omniscient

Allah’s (swt) knowledge is infinite and perfect. Things are derived from Allah’s (swt) knowledge, while our knowledge is derived from the things we know. Allah (swt) has the knowledge of the seen and unseen, the past and future. Angels, while accepting the fact that Allah (swt) is All Knowing say, to Allah (swt) in the Holy Quran: “Glory is to You, we have no knowledge except what you have taught us. Verily, it is You, the All-Knower, the All-Wise.” (Al-Baqarah 2:32)

Similarly, our knowledge is limited to what Allah (swt) has given us. Allah (swt) says: “Who has taught (the writing) by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not.” (Al-Alaq 96:4-5) People are liable to fall into Shirk, if they believe that anyone other than Allah (swt) has the knowledge of the unseen. Only Allah (swt) knows the state of the heart of people, for He says in the Holy Quran that He has the knowledge of our faith. So, we must perform good deeds for the sake of Allah (swt) rather than for showing off and be aware of the fact that Allah (swt) has knowledge of ones deeds and He alone can give the reward. At the same time, this attribute of Allah should serve as a warning not to commit sins – since Allah (swt) has the knowledge of our bad deeds, He can also punish us.

Beautiful Names

Vol 2 -Issue 3     Beautiful namesAl-Ghaffar – the One, Who is full of forgiveness and forgives again and again.

Allah (swt) is the One, Who forgives sins. He is also the One, Who conceals the sins of His slaves. He makes manifest the beautiful and conceals the ugly. He lets a cover fall over the bad deeds of His believing slaves. By understanding this attribute of Allah (swt), we can be sure that all our sins can be forgiven by the will of Allah (swt). Calling upon Him by this name with sincere repentance, we can hope to be among the people of Paradise. This hope will further drive us to do more good deeds and keep away from sins.

We should also try to imitate this attribute of Allah (swt) by forgiving the mistakes of other Muslims and hiding their sins. This attribute will develop a strong bond of Muslim brotherhood and strengthen the broken threads of the Muslim society.

Al-Qahhar – the Dominator.

Allah (swt) is the One, Who dominates over all His creation. He breaks the backs of His enemies and suppresses them. He conquers the conquerors of this world – no matter how powerful we may be, we cannot make anything happen, unless Allah (swt) wills it to happen. The most ruthless tyrants ultimately meet their death and cannot postpone it even for a moment.

In Surah Al-Baqara verse 258, Allah (swt) has mentioned the story of Namrood, who argued with Prophet Ibrahim (as) about his land. When Namrood claimed that he is the one, who gives life and causes death, Ibrahim (as) replied that if Allah (swt) brings the sun up from the East, Namrood should bring it up from the West. Ibrahim (as) challenged Namrood to prove that all he has is but a limited dominion over people, while Allah’s (swt) domination is absolute and encompasses all His creation.

The dominator among men is the one, who subdues his enemies. Our biggest enemy is the desires of our souls (Nafs), which can lead us to sinful deeds. If we are in control of our desires, we actually dominate over all mankind, because no one can lead us to do bad deeds. Only by having a complete control over ourselves, we can conquer Shaitan, who takes advantage of human weaknesses.

Al-Wahhab – the Bestower.

Allah (swt) is the One, Who bestows upon His slaves gifts and grants their wishes without seeking any recompense. While we all are in need of Allah (swt), He needs nothing. No human being by nature can be an absolute bestower because, if we present someone with a gift, we expect a return either from people or from Allah (swt). When we are in need of anything, we should call upon Allah (swt) by this name and ask Him to bestow it on us. In our hearts, we should be absolutely certain that Allah’s (swt) treasures are infinite.

Allah (swt) has said in a Hadeeth Qudsee: “O my servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the Jinn of you to rise up in one place and make a request to Me, and were I to give everyone, what he requested, that would not decrease, what I have, anymore than a needle decreases the sea, if put into it.” (Muslim)