With the approach of Ramadan following is a handy infograph presenting tips on how to prepare ourselves for the blessed month. Designed by Khalil Aleker for Islamographic.com.
Click to enlarge.
By Hira Mateen – Dental surgeon and graphic designer
Allah (swt) has blessed us with the gift of Dua. It is considered to be the weapon of a believer, and there is no doubt that it has amazing powers. The beautiful act of Dua is what connects a Muslim to Allah (swt) whenever and wherever he needs to ask Allah (swt) for help. All one has to do is make a sincere heartfelt call to Allah (swt), and He beautifully responds.
Allah (swt) says in Quran:
“And your Lord said: Invoke Me, [i.e. believe in My Oneness (Islamic Monotheism)] (and ask Me for anything) I will respond to your (invocation).” (Ghafir 40:60)
“And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad ) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor).” (Al-Baqarah 2:186)
“And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them.” (Al-A’raf 7:180)
Prophet Muhammad (sa) said:
“Verily, your Lord is Generous and Shy. If His servant raises his hand to Him (in supplication), He becomes shy to return them empty.” (Tirmidhi)
“Dua turns away destiny, and good deeds lengthen age.” (Tirmidhi)
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Khawlah Bint Thalabah (ra) is one of the companions about whom verses were revealed.
Khawlah (ra) and her husband had reached old age. If maturity and wisdom are the gifts of age and experiences, irritability and illnesses are the bane. With age, Aws Ibn As-Samit (ra) had become short-tempered and he would utter words without meaning them.
One day, he told his wife that she was to him like his mother’s back. Zihar, back in the days, meant divorce. Her husband’s words grieved Khawlah (ra). She had been married to him for years, and had birthed many children. She felt it was unfair to divorce a woman when she was of age and unattractive. Without responding to the husband’s unjust statement, Khawlah (ra) took the matter to someone she thought could help her. The Prophet (sa) listened to her complaint and instructed her to fear Allah (swt) and consult her husband. Khawlah (ra) refused to leave until Allah (swt) responded to her plea. Just then, Angel Jibraeel (Gabriel) (as) descended and brought revelation:
“Indeed Allah has heard the statement of her (Khawlah Bint Tha’labah) that disputes with you (O Muhammad) concerning her husband (Aus bin As-Samit), and complains to Allah. And Allah hears the argument between you both. Verily, Allah is All-Hearer, All-Seer. Those among you who make their wives unlawful (Az-Zihar) to them by saying to them ‘You are like my mother’s back.’ They cannot be their mothers. None can be their mothers except those who gave them birth. And verily, they utter an ill word and a lie. And verily, Allah is Oft-Pardoning, Oft-Forgiving.
And those who make unlawful to them (their wives) (by Az-Zihar) and wish to free themselves from what they uttered, (the penalty) in that case (is) the freeing of a slave before they touch each other. That is an admonition to you (so that you may not return to such an ill thing). And Allah is All-Aware of what you do. And he who finds not (the money for freeing a slave) must fast two successive months before they both touch each other. And for him who is unable to do so, he should feed sixty of Miskin (poor). That is in order that you may have perfect Faith in Allah and His Messenger.
These are the limits set by Allah. And for disbelievers, there is a painful torment.” (Al-Mujadilah 58:1-4)
Lessons: We see that when Khawlah (ra) is hurt by her husband’s words, she neither argues with him nor shares the private family matters with anyone. Rather, she took her case to the one who could guide her and provide a solution. What happens when we face a conflict? Are we able to tame our temper, or do we come back with an intense response? Are we able to keep our domestic disputes to ourselves, or do we share them with anyone and everyone that we come across? Children, domestic help, parents, neighbours, friends and colleagues, almost everyone knows that the couple had a fight.
This ‘certainty’ is what is missing from our supplications. We make Dua but with an inattentive heart. We are sure that our Dua will not be answered; we give up and turn to people
What do we look for when we share our matters with others? Is it to get it off our chests, gain sympathy or to resolve the issue?
Invocation with conviction
Look at the words that Allah (swt) used in the revelation. He said, Certainly, Allah has heard the speech. This ‘certainty’ is what is missing from our supplications. We make Dua but with an inattentive heart. We are sure that our Dua will not be answered; we give up and turn to people. Or sometimes, we turn to people first, and make Allah (swt) our last resort.
At another place in the Quran, Allah (swt) says, “I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor).” (Al-Baqarah 2:186)
Yaqeen (conviction) is the key ingredient for our supplications to be answered. When you make Dua be present in the moment. Fill your Duas with emotions without going overboard. You don’t have to scream because Allah (swt) is the nearest to us. He hears even a whisper or the thought that we hold in our hearts. Do not be hasty with your Duas, for He responds in His timing and in His Own way. His wisdom is incomprehensible, but there is goodness in it; a lesson that we must learn.
Inspect with respect
There was no shouting, no wailing and no usage of bad words. It was because she did not intent to get the matter off her chest, rather she sought solution.
Aisha (ra) narrates that she was sitting in the same room as the complainant, yet some words escaped her ears. From the Seerah, we know the Prophet (sa) did not live in a spacious house. His house was only a room added to the Prophet’s Mosque. Can you imagine how calmly Khawlah (ra) presented her case? There was no shouting, no wailing and no usage of bad words. It was because she did not intent to get the matter off her chest, rather she sought solution. She came to the Prophet (sa) only to find out what the couple was to do in such a situation, and how they could make amends.
Allah (swt) calls husband and wife, a clothing. Like a piece of clothing, they are to adorn one another and conceal flaws. This is an intimate relationship where the two people living this close are better aware of each other’s shortcomings than anyone else. Allah (swt) instructs them to screen the flaws and reveal the strengths. They are not supposed to divulge their secrets or publicize their disputes, not even to their parents, children and siblings. One’s spouse should not be the topic of discussion in a friends’ gathering.
May Allah (swt) allow us to honour our contracts and be respectful to one another, Ameen.
(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)
Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “The best supplication is the supplication of the Day of Arafah.” (Tirmidhi, Ahmad, Malik and others; Al-Albani graded this Hadeeth as Hasan)
Following are some supplications with their Arabic text as mentioned in authentic Ahadeeth. These are the Duas taught by the Prophet (sa) to be recited on different occasions. These are general supplications that can be recited throughout the year.
اَللَّهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ تُحِبُّ اَلْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي
O Allah, You are the Pardoner and You love to pardon, so pardon me. (An-Nasai, At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Ahmad and Al-Hakim)
اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِي وَارْحَمْنِي وَاهْدِنِي وَارْزُقْنِي
O Allah, grant me pardon, have mercy upon me, direct me to the path of righteousness and provide me sustenance. (Muslim)
اللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ رَبِّي لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ خَلَقْتَنِي وَأَنَا عَبْدُكَ وَأَنَا عَلَى عَهْدِكَ وَوَعْدِكَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا صَنَعْتُ أَبُوءُ بِنِعْمَتِكَ وَأَبُوءُ بِذَنْبِي فَاغْفِرْ لِي إِنَّهُ لاَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ
O Allah! You are my Lord; there is no god but You, You have created me, and I am Your servant and hold to Your covenant and promise as much as I can; I seek refuge in You from the evil of what I have done: I acknowledge Your favour to me, and I acknowledge my sin; pardon me, for none but You pardons sins. (Abu Dawood)
اَللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ اَلْعَافِيَةَ فِي دِينِي, وَدُنْيَايَ, وَأَهْلِي, وَمَالِي, اَللَّهُمَّ اسْتُرْ عَوْرَاتِي, وَآمِنْ رَوْعَاتِي, وَاحْفَظْنِي مِنْ بَيْنِ يَدَيَّ, وَمِنْ خَلْفِي, وَعَنْ يَمِينِي, وَعَنْ شِمَالِي, وَمِنْ فَوْقِي, وَأَعُوذُ بِعَظَمَتِكَ أَنْ أُغْتَالَ مِنْ تَحْتِي
O Allah! I ask you for pardon and well-being in my religious and worldly affairs, and my family and my wealth. O Allah! Cover my weaknesses and set at ease my dismay. O Allah! Preserve me from the front and from behind and on my right and on my left and from above, and I seek refuge with you lest I be swallowed up by the earth.” (An-Nasai and Ibn Majah)
اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِنِي فِيمَنْ هَدَيْتَ وَعَافِنِي فِيمَنْ عَافَيْتَ وَتَوَلَّنِي فِيمَنْ تَوَلَّيْتَ وَبَارِكْ لِي فِيمَا أَعْطَيْتَ وَقِنِي شَرَّ مَا قَضَيْتَ فَإِنَّكَ تَقْضِي وَلاَ يُقْضَى عَلَيْكَ وَإِنَّهُ لاَ يَذِلُّ مَنْ وَالَيْتَ تَبَارَكْتَ رَبَّنَا وَتَعَالَيْتَ
O Allah guide me among those You have guided, pardon me among those You have pardoned, befriend me among those You have befriended, bless me in what You have granted, and save me from the evil that You decreed. Indeed You decree, and none can pass decree, and none can pass decree upon You, indeed he is not humiliated whom You have befriended, blessed are You our Lord and Exalted. (At-Tirmidhi)
رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً، وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً، وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ
Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire! (Al-Baqarah 2:201)
We always think about what will happen to us when we die? But have we ever thought about what will happen to our kids when they die? Are you confronting troubles in raising them into a productive Muslim and a Sadaqah-e-Jariah for yourself?
Here are some easy parenting tips to follow.
Inculcate Islamic routine and habits
Ever wondered how much emphasis do we put on Islamic routine? What should be our primary focus?
Make an Islamic routine for your children which may include:
a. Teach them to stay awake after Fajr prayer (depending on the Salah times during the year).
b. Make them read/memorize a portion of Quran daily.
c. Make them reflect on a verse of Quran or some Hadeeth every day.
d. Teach them to be charitable- even by smiling.
e. Prioritize that they perform their Salah on time.
f. Inculcate the habit of reading the Duas that Prophet (sa) used to read before going to bed, after waking up from sleep, eating etc.
Cheers for chores
We know, as Muslims, that cleanliness is half of our faith. If being clean is a large part of us being a Muslim, why not cultivate this into our children at an early age and teach them how to maintain their home and own space? In their development, we all must play an effective role to keep both our external and internal environment clean. Someone taught a girl not to litter the ground. When she was asked why, she replied , “Why litter the ground we will be sleeping in one day?” I found her words extremely beautiful.
Make them follow Sunnah
Try to make Prophet (sa) their role model and the one whose footsteps they need to follow even while doing little tasks. Bring out positivity in them by reading to them the stories about Sahaba, and making their image everlasting in their minds. In this way, they will be able to understand our Islamic history more profoundly; they will respect our heroes and will try to act like them in their own lives as well.
Walk the talk
You cannot expect your kid to sit and learn Quran while the dad’s watching T.V and mummy’s browsing on her I pad. With the love of Quran exemplified in the parents, a young child will be attracted to sit and learn. So, first act upon what you teach them, and make them your Sadaqah-e-Jariah- the only way to earn rewards even after death.
In the Quran, Allah (swt) says, “O mankind! You are Fuqara (those in need).” We have many needs. We look at other people and are reminded of our own deprivations. Zakariya (as) looked at Mariam (as) and realised he has a need. He immediately turned to Allah (swt) in need.
All day long we remind ourselves of what is missing from our lives, yet when we get on the prayer mat we forget to ask. Allah (swt) did a great favour upon us by collecting the Duas of His beloved servants (as) and preserving them. The Companions (as) forwarded the kindness by recording the supplications of the Prophet (sa). These are the Duas for us to take inspiration from.
Let’s look at some of the Duas that the Prophets (as) made and we should too.
1. Protection from Shirk
Following people and keeping a tab on their lives might appear trifling. But when people become the sole focus of our lives – we live for them, we seek and cherish their praises – then certainly it is not a petty matter. We have fallen for Shirk. Allah (swt) should be the main focus of our lives. We should seek love and acknowledgement from Him. In the times of trials, we should remember He is the One to ask help from. Seeing our blessings, we should thank Him first and then the people. We need to learn about the different forms of Shirk and protect ourselves from falling for them.
Ibrahim (as) lost his family, his people and his town, but he did not associate anyone with Allah (swt). He asked Allah (swt) to protect him and his sons from worshipping idols. “And (remember) when Ibrahim (Abraham) said: O my Lord! Make this city (Makkah) one of peace and security, and keep me and my sons away from worshipping idols.” (Ibrahim 14:35)
2. Peace and Sustenance
Hearing the news of another bomb blast or another strike, one wonders how life will continue. How will the businesses function? Fearing for safety and sustenance leaves one anxious and disturbed. Nothing can be accomplished. Leaving his family in an uninhabited land, Ibrahim (as) asked Allah (swt) for peace, sustenance and warmth of the people. He knew they will need all these to survive their challenges. “O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an uncultivable valley by Your Sacred House (the Ka’bah at Makkah); in order, O our Lord, that they may perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), so fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allah) provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks.” (Ibrahim 14:37)
3. Righteous Companions
A Hadeeth tells us that we will be resurrected with the people that we love. Who do we love? Yusuf (as) a righteous man himself, especially prayed to Allah (swt) to join him with the righteous in the hereafter. “My Lord! You have indeed bestowed on me of the sovereignty, and taught me the interpretation of dreams; The (only) Creator of the heavens and the earth! You are my Wali (Protector, Helper, Supporter, Guardian, etc.) in this world and in the Hereafter, cause me to die as a Muslim (the one submitting to Your Will), and join me with the righteous.” (Yusuf 12:101) Ask Allah (swt) to grant you righteous friends, righteous spouses, righteous children in this world and to raise you and your loved ones with the righteous, in the hereafter.
4. Protection from Zulm
Zulm is not giving someone his right. You take the telephone set off its stand and place it on the floor, you have done Zulm. We must ask Allah (swt) to not make of those who commit injustice or injustice is done to us. All the arguments of someone not giving us our right will just end.
5. Acceptance of Deeds
Upon doing a good deed we must remember Ibrahim’s (as) humility. Never should we be boastful. Ibrahim (as) was chosen by Allah (swt) to build His House, yet he feared acceptance. “And (remember) when Ibrahim (Abraham) and (his son) Isma’il (Ishmael) were raising the foundations of the House (the Ka’bah at Makkah), (saying), Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily! You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.”(Al-Baqarah 2:127)
Ask Allah (swt) to guide us to the deeds which are accepted and allow us to do them.
In times, when confusion and misguidance is rife and we can’t tell our foes from friends, when people, whether believers or disbelievers, are made to believe lies and led to hopelessness, we need to seek refuge in Allah (swt) instantly.
Our Creator has not just created us and left us to our own devices to wander around in this world blindly. There is a clear guidance for all situations for those, who believe.
The following invocations from the Quran and Ahadeeth will help us stay steadfast on the truth and secure peace around us, Insha’Allah. Please recite with an intention to obey Allah (swt). Also, share with all. Support the truth by actions and condemn injustices whether in your house, workplace, schools, road and market place.
May Allah (swt) always be our only Guide and provide us refuge from Shaytan’s schemes. Ameen.
1. “I seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Shaytan.”
2. “My Lord! I seek refuge with You from the whisperings (suggestions) of the Shaytin (devils). And I seek refuge with You, My Lord, lest they may attend (or come near) me.” (Al Muminun 23:97-98)
3. “I seek refuge in Allah (swt) from being among the ignorant.” (Al-Baqarah 2:67)
4. “O Allah (swt)! I became obedient for You and believed in You, reposed faith in You, turned to You and fought by You. I seek refuge with Your honour, lest You might not lead me. There is no true God other than You. You are Ever-Alive. You never die, while the Jinn and the human beings die.” (Muslim)
5. “O Allah (swt), I seek refuge in You from the evil of destiny and from falling into the hand of calamity and from the mockery of (triumphant) enemies and from the hardship of misery.” (Muslim)
6. “O Allah (swt), I seek refuge with You from poverty, I seek refuge with You from want and humiliation, and I seek refuge with You from wrongdoing others or being wronged.” (An-Nasaai)
7. “O Allah (swt), I seek refuge with You from being overwhelmed with debt, from being overpowered by the enemy and from the enemy rejoicing over my misfortunes.” (An-Nasaai)
8. “O Allah (swt), I seek refuge in You from the bad day; from the bad night; from the bad hour; from the bad companion; and from the bad neighbour of the house of abode.” (At Tabrani)
9. “O Allah (swt), I seek refuge with You from worry and grief, from being heavily in debt and from being overpowered by (other) men.” (Abu Dawud)
10. “I seek refuge with Allah (swt) from turmoil and its visible and invisible aspects; and I seek refuge with Allah (swt) from the afflictions of the one-eyed liar.” (Ibn Hibban)
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
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)
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.
I left the room and saw her anxiously waiting for me in the hallway. She grabbed my arm and hastily led me into an empty classroom, next to the room where I had just finished delivering a talk to a group of teenagers. She quickly closed the door and started explaining.
“I have been meaning to talk to you… I have a request.” she said, suppressing her overwhelming emotions. “Can you talk to the girls about the importance of the ‘mother and daughter’ relationship?” Fighting back her tears, she struggled to speak. “You know… we were very close… me and my daughter… we were friends… best friends… but now she has become indifferent towards me and doesn’t want to share anything… I don’t know why, I’ve tried everything… I can’t seem to reach her.” Saying this, she burst into tears.
This was one of many heart wrenching incidents that I have come across, where parents feel a drastic tear between them and their children. The most evident, expressive and apparent relationship is between a mother and her daughter. This mostly starts off as a bond between the two, but due to various reasons it weakens, breaks or in some cases is destroyed.
I have been a firsthand witness to relations that had gone through a complicated phase in life, because this important connection was missing from their lives. However, the consequences vary from situation to situation. Therefore, one cannot place a finger on the core problem and cover it under a blanket statement.
Nevertheless, there is no problem, for which Allah (swt) has not given a solution. First, we need to understand what the problem is. Second, we need to ask ourselves, if we consider it worth solving. Third, if yes, then how do we solve it? Because sweeping it under the carpet would mean knowingly marching towards destruction.
Essence of a Relationship
Why do we have relationships? To feel worthwhile, to be nurtured, loved and cared for. What do we want from a relationship? Primarily, a firm relationship rests on the foundations of respect, trust, love, confidence and support.
Generally, the relationship that fits the above mentioned criteria is experienced between friends. Friendship is the only relationship that we are not compelled to establish. This allows us to have a choice; thus, we carefully pick and choose like-minded people for befriending. Whoever ‘clicks’ with our personality is worthy enough to be our BFF or ‘best friend forever’ or bestie, as commonly used nowadays by youngsters.
Who is a Best Friend?
As per the general criteria, who is a ‘best’ friend? Someone, who cares the most about you, who is always there for you, regardless of the situation, conditions and circumstances; someone, who tries to understand you, who wishes the best for you and is always eager to help you; someone, who fears losing you and is there to rectify your situation, where you are prone to harm; someone, who wishes the best for you and helps you work towards it and who loves you selflessly and unconditionally. Above all, despite being aware of your shortcomings, they stick around and put up with your weaknesses, while helping you throughout your life.
Role of a Best Friend
A BFF is not the one, who expresses what you want to hear and is there to support you in whatever you do, because she wishes you to be happy in life. Instead, a true bestie is the one, who says what is better for you and is there to correct you, when you go wrong, regardless of your reaction towards her. She is there to connect you to the true source of everlasting happiness, your Creator, by showing you the light amidst darkness and the positive amongst the negative. She is there to guide you to the source of all Khair, so you may rise from your misery and recognize the beauty of life.
a true bestie is the one, who says what is better for you and is there to correct you, when you go wrong, regardless of your reaction towards her.
Who, in your opinion, truly comes up to the criteria of being your bestie? Before your mind starts scrolling down the list of your friends to pick the most worthy out of them all, let me give you a hint that this best friend of yours is someone, who lives somewhere in the background of your life – your mother.
She is the one, who has been and probably still is doing all and more for you, just to put a smile on your face. She in reality is that ‘insignificant’ friend, who is ready to trade the world to purchase everlasting happiness for you, if she could.
Remember the last time you felt despair, and how things took a U-turn, and it all worked out in the end. It was because of this friend’s secret pleas and Duas that did wonders. It was not because your ‘best’ friend at school or college listened and agreed with your complaints about the whole situation that helped you strive through – it was this ‘insignificant’ friend, who found ways to make it happen (by the will of Allah (swt)).
She in reality is that ‘insignificant’ friend, who is ready to trade the world to purchase everlasting happiness for you, if she could.
Instead of lending her shoulder for you to cry on, she was there to help you regain your strength, so that you may never feel the need to cry in front of anyone, except your Creator.
Remember the times, when she tries to approach you and you give her a deaf ear, assuming her concern to be an irritating lecture. How you coldly switch off even before she has offered any advice, because you have conditioned yourself to believe that no matter what she says, it has to be against you; just because you think that she does not understand you. While giving others an opportunity to express their opinions and showing your respect for what they believe in, did you show a little compassion towards her views, opinions and beliefs?
Being your un-acknowledged but true best friend, she does not only overlook your indifferent behaviour towards her, she empathizes and justifies it for you. She wishes that you stay happy not only in Dunya but in Akhirah, and such a friend is a blessing that is there to escort you to Jannah, Bi izn Allah.
I grew up in a Muslim family but I hated Islam and the Muslims. I was not happy to be called a Muslim. I was looked at with terror and called a troublemaker. I did not like to pray and hated to wear Niqab. I wanted to fly free like a bird, intermingling with the opposite sex and staying overnight at parties. However, my mom never listened to me. Moreover, she would force me to pray and compel me to cover. She would make me say all my Duas and made me learn the Quran as well. She would make me recite Surah Al-Falaq and An-Nas for my protection.
Once she was invited to her cousin’s wedding, held in a village that was a day distance by train. I refused to accompany her. Until the last moment, she warned me and requested me earnestly to read the Duas, recite Quran, offer Salah and wear my Niqab when I go to college. She said:
أَسْتَوْدِعُ اللَّهَ دِينَكَ وَأَمَانَتَكَ وَخَوَاتِيمَ عَمَلِكَ
“(I make) Allah (swt) responsible for your Deen, your trustworthiness and for the results of your actions.” (Tirmidhi)
After bestowing me with the Dua, she left. Her departure meant an arrival of entertainment in my life. I had all the fun pre-planned days ago. My friends had invited me for a sleepover at their place. There would be party, music, and fun!
I was ecstatic. In the evening, my friends picked me up in their car. As soon as I entered my friend’s home that was candle lit, I found something fishy. My heartbeat sped up.
There were not only girls as promised by my friends. There were boys too who were smoking!
Ya Allah (swt)! In what a mess had I stepped in! I was glad I had obeyed my mother by reading the Duas and wearing my Niqab and I was still in it. I had offered Maghrib too. My friend and host Nadia, who was busy talking to a boy, turned to me and said, “C’mon now!” and stretched her hand to my Niqab saying, “Remove this disgusting thing and learn to enjoy!” I defended my Niqab. I saw her dressed in a low cut T-shirt and a very short skirt. Her long legs stood bare and I told her curtly: “I am very comfortable like this Nadia.”
Her parents had a bungalow in a posh area of the city. But she had left them and rented a flat in an apartment.
Music was blaring loudly. Soon, all were couple-dancing. Ryan had no one to dance with and so he was approaching me! He offered his hand to me but I kept mine locked behind. I knew it was Allah (swt) who was helping me to stay away from the evil temptations (for which I had craved earlier). Then he sat next to me with a huge thud! Now! What was I going to do? Should I run away from the house?
I stood up with a firm resolution to leave. He tried to hold me back by my shoulder, but I pushed him down. To my amazement, a gentle push made him fall on the ground and he fainted. Nadia was furious at me. The lights were switched on. They tried to revive him by pouring water on him. But he was gone! There were no pulse beats!
All the girls and boys were shocked! I saw the bottles of the deadly drink laid on the table that was placed in the terrace. This overnight party and sleep over was not something simple. It was like a bar – a Zina centre.
All were Muslims! They had tried to shake my faith. They had already lost theirs. The point to ponder is that how Ryan’s life ended in just trying to touch a woman! I was feeling happy and grateful to Allah (swt) for I had a lovely mother who protected me with the armour of Islam and moulded me into a modest woman. It was a changing moment in my life.
Ryan’s death was a warning bell for all of us. We never know when would be our turn.
(Based on a true story with names changed to protect identity)
I am looking outside the window, remembering my life without Him,
Him, The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
I am looking outside the window, remembering when I was blind,
I couldn’t see life as it is,
Full of His Greatness.
I am looking outside the window, remembering when I was deaf.
I couldn’t hear the adhan,
The perfect call to success.
I am looking outside the window, remembering when I was thirsty,
Thirsty of knowledge.
All this time without Him.
La illaha illa Allah
I thank Him,
I can see, I can hear and I know.
Now I know He is here, whenever I think of Him.
I make Dua to keep me on His Path.
The path He called me to follow.
Who is He?
Allah Subhanahu Wa Tala
You made me a Muslim
By J. Samia Mair
The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “The Jews were divided into seventy-one sects, one of which is in Paradise, and seventy are in the Fire. The Christians were divided into seventy-two sects, seventy-one of which are in the Fire, and one is in Paradise. By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, my Ummah will be divided into seventy-three sects, one of which will be in Paradise, and seventy-two will be in the Fire.” It was said: “Messenger of Allah, who are they?” He said: “Al-Jamah.” (Awf Ibn Malik)
I usually keep quiet, when a brother tells me something incorrect about Islam. I have learned through experience that silence is often the best answer.
Because of my status as a convert and a woman, my words are less credible to some. But this day I could not keep quiet. I could not let his interpretation of the Holy Quran go unchallenged. I could not risk my silence implied that I agreed.
“Brother,” I said at one point in the conversation, “how can you be so sure that you are in the one sect that follows the straight path?”
Perhaps, I should not have been so surprised, when he told me that he was sure. But I was surprised. How can anyone be sure? Indeed, how can any of us be confident that our worship is sincere, correct and accepted? I suggest that if you have not worried about your status on the path, then this fact itself should make you worry.
Allah (swt) says: “And I (Allah) created not the Jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone).” (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56)
Allah (swt) instructed the Prophet (sa) to tell us: “Say (O Muhammad (sa)): ‘If you (really) love Allah then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Quran and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’ Say (O Muhammad (sa)): ‘Obey Allah and the Messenger (Muhammad (sa)).’ But if they turn away, Allah does not like disbelievers.” (Al-Imran 3:31-32)
Scholars tell us that our goal is to become beloved by our Creator, so that we may spend eternity in His (swt) Divine Presence. To be loved by Allah (swt), we must obey Him. Obedience means following the Quran and the Sunnah. To know, what the Quran and the Sunnah require from us, we must turn to people of knowledge. This is exactly where the problem lays. Who are the people of knowledge?
At a recent lecture, Imam Zaid, scholar-in-residence and lecturer at Zaytuna Institute, referred to ‘Sheikh Google’ – a humorous but painfully accurate description of the current state of Islamic scholarship in the West. Let’s face it – the spiritual leadership in many Masjids is abysmal. Very few Imams are scholars and many lack any significant Islamic education. They freely issue Fatwahs, forgetting that it is best to remain silent, when one does not know the answer. I do not question the sincerity of these Imams, but clearly many are not qualified to teach and unwittingly lead other Muslims astray.
What is the average Muslim to do? I try to learn from a variety of sources, what different scholars say on a particular topic. Then I make an educated decision about my practice. This approach is not wholly satisfying. I find scholars, whose writings I trust, and my friends turn to others. Sometimes our scholars disagree on important issues, and so it seems extremely difficult to know, who is right. I believe the answer is to pray. Only Allah (swt) can lead us to the straight path, only with His (swt) mercy and compassion are we rightly guided.
The Fatihah is my favorite Dua, when asking for knowledge. The first time I read the translation, I knew I was going to convert. The seven verses said exactly what I had wanted from Allah, but could not find the words myself.
Other Duas that I say regularly are below. I have collected them from various books and lectures. I always start with a Dua asking for Allah’s (swt) forgiveness. Allahu A’lam.
O Allah, You are my Lord; there is no God but You. You created me and I am Your servant. And Your covenant and promise I uphold to the best of my ability. And I seek refuge in You from the evil of whatever I have done. I acknowledge that all my blessings are from You. And to You I bring my sins, so forgive me, because no one can forgive sins but You. (Bukhari)
O Possessor of Majesty and Generosity, whoever You guide cannot be led astray; whoever You lead astray cannot be guided. Please, let me my family and the believing men and women be among those rightly guided. Increase our knowledge, cure the diseases in our hearts and make what is pleasurable to you pleasurable to us, and what is displeasurable to you displeasurable to us. Let us live in Islam and die in faith. Let our graves be spacious. Give us light, shade and water on the Day of Doom. Build us a home in the highest level of Paradise in the company of our Master Muhammad (sa) and in Thy Presence (swt). (An assorted Dua I put together myself.)
O Allah, save us from the torture of the grave, grant us wisdom and unite us with the righteous.
O Allah, I ask You for the good of this day, its openings, victories, lights, blessings and right-guidance.
O Allah, make my inward better than my outward and make my outward virtuous.
O Allah, place a light in my heart, my family’s heart, the believing men and women’s hearts, in our ears, our eyes, and our mouth; on our right, on our left, before us, behind us, above, below us. Give us light and make us light. (Muslim)
O Lord Allah, we ask You by the Light of Your Face and by Your right over Yourself to grant us a good ending at the time of death – for us, our loved ones and for all the Muslims, O Most Merciful of the Merciful. Lord, allow not our hearts to swerve after You have guided us; grant us Your Mercy, You are the Bestower. Lord, make us patient, and take us to You as Muslims surrendering with sound hearts.
May Allah (swt) guide us all to the straight path and increase our knowledge, Ameen.