Its Shawwal- Time to fast!


                                             Image Courtesy www.


36 turned to 360 fasts- But how?

Let’s focus on the issue of fasting for six days in the month of Shawwal- in order to get the reward that is mentioned in the Hadeeth that the Prophet (sa) has said:  “Whosoever observes fasting during the month of Ramadan, then succeeds it (follow that) immediately with fasting six days in the month of Shawaal- he shall receive the reward of fasting lifetime.” For the entire “Dahr”. The word Dahr expresses the meaning of lifetime; lifetime of the individual who fast during Ramadan and the six days. While, the Prophet Muhammad (sa) says that:  “Al Hasantu Bi-Ashri Amsaalihaa”, and Allah (swt) says in Surah Al-Anam, “Man Jaa’aa Bil-Hasanati Falahu Ashru Amsaalihaa”- there is a minimum reward for a good deed multiplied ten times; so if you fast during Ramadan, we will assume it is thirty days times ten- that is three hundred.

 If you fast six days in the month of Shawwal, then it equals to sixty; hence, total fasting is three hundred and sixty- a whole year! If you observe this virtuous act on an annual basis, it would be as if you have fasted throughout your life.

Allah (swt) gives the reward for fasting every single day to the one who fasts in Ramadan, and six days of Shawwal- making  thirty six, or may be thirty five fasting days in total, (depending upon the number of days in Ramadan)

How to fast in Shawwal?

The Hadeeth says: “…then succeeds the month of Ramadan with fasting six days.” So, it recommends following the fasting of the month of Ramadan immediately. Of course, Eid-ul-Fitr is only one day- it’s called Youm-ul-Fitr; then the following days are the regular days, so you may begin the fasting of the six days of Shawwal from the very next day after Eid.. In many cultures, they assume that Eid-ul-Fitr is for three days, because the government gives them the vacation for three days; and Eid-ul-Adha is for four days, which is not true. Eid-ul-Fitr is only one day which allows you to fast soon after Eid; if you can manage that, that’s fine. But- whether to fast consecutively or discretely, in the month of Shawwal? – It is optional, although it is best to fast in a row.

Some people prefer to discrete the six days as- two days in a week, Monday and Thursday,-that’s perfectly fine. And, scholars say that if you do have the habit of fasting these two days, then you receive double the reward; the reward of fasting your voluntary fasting on two days, Monday and Thursday, in addition to observing fasts for the six days of the month of Shawwal. Similarly, fasting the three white days- that is the 13th, 14th and 15th of the lunar calendar will get you double the reward as well Insha’Allah. So, if you fast while following your routine fasts, with the intention of having the reward for both then  Insha’Allah you will get the reward of both.

Making up for the missed fasts of Ramadan in Shawwal

If one could not fast in Ramadan, then he/she should begin by making up for the days that he missed in Ramadan- because the Hadeeth stated that: “Whoever fasts in the month of Ramadan, he has to complete the course, and then follow that with fasting the six days in Shawwal.

For example, a woman’s monthly period was for fifteen, or twenty days; or somebody was sick for twenty days- more or less- it means he/she first has to make up for the missed fasts and then follow by the six fasts in Shawwal. But if, one tries to make up the number of days which he missed during Ramadan, it would consume most of the month of Shawwal, and they will not be able to catch the prescribed six days of Shawwal; hence, it is recommended in such a condition, to make up for the six days first, and then to make up for the missed fasts.

Aisha (ra), Ummahat-ul-Mumineen, stated that they used to postpone making up the days of Ramadan until Shaban of the next year. They used to postpone it; however, they would also observe six days fast during the month of Shawwal.. Most preferably, make up for the first few days which you missed during Ramadan, then succeed them or follow them with fasting six days from the month of Shawwal; but if, the time does not allow you, and the month of Shawwal will finish before you get to do both- then begin fasting the six days of Shawwal, and Allah (swt) knows best.

Five Weaknesses to Overcome This Ramadan


5 weakness

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The Arabic word for fasting is Saum, derived from the word Saim. Saim is a horse that is kept hungry by his master, and raced to build his stamina for battles. By commanding us to give up on our desires for some part of the day, Allah (swt) intends to build our stamina for our enemy. Who is our enemy? Our enemy is Shaytan (Satan) – man’s clearest enemy. He does not hide his intention to harm us. In fact, that is his purpose in life to cause us to slip, and appear displeasing to Allah (swt).

Ramadan is an annual training month for the Muslims. Through this one month of training, Allah (swt) plans to train us for the entire year. He teaches us what we need to control to strengthen our faith, and become strong soldiers of His army. If one follows the routine in other months as well, by no means can he fail.

Here are the five things – the five weaknesses of man – which one must learn to control.


  1. Hunger


When Allah (swt) created Adam (as), Shaytan looked at Adam’s (as) hollow belly, and knew his place for overcoming this creation. Our indulgence and love for food can be figured out by the number of new restaurants opening up every day in almost every street. The Sunnah is not to eat to our fill. Overeating affects mental, emotional and physical health. Instead of treating yourself to culinary pleasures- eat simple food and feed the deprived instead. Raise your scales for the hereafter.


  1. Desires


Desires lead man to spread corruption. It is desire that provokes a man and a woman to strike an illicit relationship. It is desire to stand-out from the crowd that entices us to buy more and the exclusive. We can splurge without thinking how much Sadaqah could have been given instead. Shaytan knows all his traps well. The day we overcome our desires and only satisfy them through Halal means, we will overcome our enemy.


  1. Sleep


Life of this world is for action while the next life is for rest and leisure. Whenever sleep overtakes, remind yourself of your limited time on earth. Get up and do something that will help in the hereafter. Have extra time? Memorise the Quran. Know it already? Teach a skill to someone especially the underprivileged and help them improve their lives.


  1. Tongue


Misuse of the tongue harms relationships. Therefore, the Prophet (sa) warned us about it, and the scholars have written books narrating the sins of the tongue. Speak good or remain silent. Plant trees in the Paradise by busying your tongue in the remembrance of Allah (swt).


  1. Anger


Returning from the meeting with the Divine when Musa (as) found his people idol worshipping, he flared-up and lost control. Immediately, he made Dua for himself and his brother. Know that anger is from Shaytan. Find the reason for outburst and resolve the matter. Recite the Duas for protection, and ask Allah (swt) to allow you to focus your energies in a better direction.


Happiness is Knowing that Ramadan is Coming!


  1. Get the ball rolling – make Dua

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

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

  1. Understand what ‘Sabr’ means

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Forgive to be forgiven

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

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

What are the benefits of forgiving others before Ramadan?

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

5. Ask Allah’s (swt) forgiveness

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

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

  1. Give charity

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

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

  1. Celebrate Ramadan!

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

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

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

(Adapted from Sister Khawlah bintYahya’s Ramadan countdown)

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

Image courtesy

Image courtesy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Salah in the first row – gone

Zakah – gone

Hajj – gone

Fasting – gone

All the good deeds – gone

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

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

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

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

Day of Arafah – To-Do List

If you are not performing Hajj this year and are wondering how you can make the most out of the Day of Arafah, here is a quick to-do list that you may find useful:

  1. Fasting: Try your best to observe fasts on the 8th and 9th of Dhul-Hijjah. Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “Fasting on the Day of Arafah, I hope from Allah, expiates for the sins of the year before and the year after.” (Muslim and Ibn Majah). According to Shaykh Salih Al-Munajjid: “This (fasting) is mustahabb for those who are not on Hajj.” The Prophet (sa) used to fast on the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah. Hunaydah ibn Khalid (rta) reported from his wife that some of the wives of the Prophet  (sa) said: “The Prophet (sa) used to fast on the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah, on the day of Ashoora, on three days of each month, and on the first two Mondays and Thursdays of each month.” (Abu Dawood and An-Nasai)
  2. Supplication: Talha ibn Ubaydullah ibn Kariz (rta) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “The best Dua is Dua on the Day of Arafah, and the best thing that I or the Prophets before me have said is: ‘There is no god but Allah, alone, without any partner.’ (La ilaha illa Allah, wahdahu la sharika lah.)” (Malik)
  3. Good deeds: The first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah are almost over. Use the time left to engage in worship, voluntary prayers, recitation of the Quran and sincere repentance and submission to Allah (swt).
  4. Takbeerat: Continue to recite as much of Takbeer (Allahu Akbar), Tahleel (La Ilaha Illa Allah) and Tahmeed (Alhumdulillah) as you can (individually). Another Takbeer includes the following words:

Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, there is no god but Allah; Allah is Most Great and to Allah be praise)

Another important thing to do on the Day of Arafah is to reflect upon its meaning and significance. Take some time out to ponder over this day and its virtues. Some of these include the following, as mentioned by Shaykh Salih Al-Munajjid:

  1. It is the day on which Allah perfected our religion for us. A Jew said to Umar (rta): “If this Verse had been revealed to us, we would have taken it (that day) as a festival (Eid): ‘This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.’ (Al-Maidah 5:3)” Umar said: “I know the day when it was reveled and the night of which it was revealed; a Friday night when we were with Messenger of Allah (sa) in Arafah.” (An-Nasai)
  2. Allah (swt) has sworn by this day in the Quran: “And by the witnessing day (i.e. Friday), and by the witnessed day [i.e. the day of ‘Arafat (Hajj) the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah];” (Al-Burooj 85:3) Subhan’Allah! Allah (swt) only swears by something which has a great significance.
  3. Mankind gave the testimony of faith to Allah (swt) in Arafah: It is mentioned in a Saheeh Hadeeth recorded by Imam Ahmad, reported by Ibn ‘Abbas (rta) who narrated that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “Allah took the covenant from the loins of Adam in Arafah. He brought forth from his loins all his offspring and spread them before Him. Then He addressed them, and said: ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They said: ‘Yes, we testify,’ let you should say on the Day of Resurrection: ‘Verily, we have been unaware of this.’ Or lest you should say: ‘It was only our fathers aforetime who took others as partners in worship along with Allaah, and we were (merely their) descendents after them; will You then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practised Al-Batil (i.e., ploytheism and committing crimes and sins, invoking and worshipping others besides Allaah)?’ (Al-Araf 7:172-173).”
  4. For the people who are performing Hajj, it is a day to secure freedom from hellfire: It was narrated from Aisha (rta) that the Prophet (sa) said: “There is no day on which Allah frees more people from the Fire than the Day of Arafah. He comes close and expresses His pride to the angels, saying: ‘What do these people want?'” (Muslim)  It was reported from Ibn Umar (rta) that the Prophet (sa) said: “Allah expresses His pride to His angels at the time of Isha on the Day of Arafah, about the people of Arafah. He says: Look at My slaves who have come unkempt and dusty.’” (Ahmad)

Compiled by Umm Ibrahim

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Fasting: A Gift for Muslims with Healing Powers

healthyThe month of Ramadan, that we are currently in, is a holy month that is eagerly and enthusiastically awaited by the whole Islamic world. It is so because the Quran, which brings people from darkness into light, to the path of our Lord- the all Merciful and Most Beneficent, was sent down in this month. Fasting during this month is an obligation for Muslims, and an opportunity for them to praise the infinite grace and blessings of Almighty Lord. It is also a physical and spiritual healing; a gift, and a month of blessings, abundance, an opportunity to repent for past behaviour and to seek for mercy from our Lord.

Biological benefits of fasting

All Muslims fast to gain our Lord’s pleasure. Moreover, it also is very beneficial for our bodies.

Stomach at rest

First of all, fasting allows the organs to take some time off and rest. For instance, during fasting, the digestion processes are reduced, and the stomach gets to rest for quite some time. Its epithelia tissue can be renewed completely, which helps the stomach to function in a healthier manner during the rest of the year.

Live with a healthy liver

Fasting also allows the liver, which works non-stop in normal times, to rest for six or more hours. Normally, it is active even when we are asleep, but while fasting, it also finds the chance to rest. Since the volume of blood circulating drops, the heart and the primary veins feeding it are regenerated.

Cell Regeneration

Fasting helps cell regeneration, making our bodies and minds healthier and it slows down aging. It also helps protect us from obesity, fat building, cholesterol, and cardiovascular diseases. It contributes to purging our bodies from harmful toxins. While fasting, fat enzymes kick in and help burn fat, creating a condition similar to the effect of a workout session. Even after the 30 days of fasting, the body continues to burn fat at this rate. Normally, during the day, an individual eats without thinking, causing an imbalance in the body. However, when one fasts, because he or she eats only at certain times during the day, the immune system will not have to function unnecessarily, which in turn gives enough time to the immune system to renew itself. The body, because it doesn’t have to deal with time-consuming metabolic activities, can more easily identify harmful cell formations like cancer; and hence, destroys them at the beginning.

Spirituality intensified!

Just like all other religious practices, fasting also intensifies the spirituality of Muslims. It makes them witnesses to each other’s sincere faith in their Lord, their loyalty, patience and sincere efforts, making their fraternal bonds even stronger; and it also reinforces their love and compassion for each other. Muslims, due to this brotherly bond they have, work to eliminate all kinds of negativity that can disturb the sense of calm; and try to build atmospheres of love, peace and serenity for all. They know that their Muslim brothers are also poor servants of Almighty Lord- just like themselves- hoping to gain Allah’s (swt) pleasure; therefore, their feelings of love, solidarity and compassion for one another only intensify in this holy month.

Muslims shun not only eating and drinking during fasting hours, but they also shun bad actions, such as lying, gossiping, saying hurtful words, insulting people or getting angry. They ponder about thirst and hunger; and remember that poor people need their help and understand the importance of helping them.  Regardless of their financial standing, they begin to make their greatest efforts to help the poor. They follow their conscience and not their lower-self; and constantly improve themselves in their quest for complying with the Quran even more sincerely.

Earn a life-time validity for spirituality

A pious Muslim, who fears his Lord, deeply displays this beautiful character of fasting in every moment of his life. He follows the Quran fully throughout his life, and works to live by the morality he hopes that Allah (swt) will approve of.

It should not be forgotten that this is a behaviour that Allah (swt) approves of. However, anything to the contrary – in other words, observing religious practices only in the month of Ramadan, and then walking away from the Quran’s morality after it ends – is something that displeases Allah (swt) greatly. Therefore, let us endeavour to keep the spirit of Ramadan alive throughout the year, and always strive to earn Allah’s (swt) good pleasure, no matter what month we are in.

Reconnecting with Ramadan

Vol 5 - Issue 2 Planning for RamadanO Ramadan, my friend, you are here. I sense peace and happiness as we re-connect again. I remember last year begging Allah to allow me to meet you in the coming year.

You are the month in which the Quran was sent down as a guide to mankind. Your spiritual aspects of Taraweeh prayer (Night Prayer), reading the Quran, fasting, helping the poor by paying Zakat-ul-Fitr, and inviting others to break their fasts together soothes our hearts, develops compassion, and creates a spiritual atmosphere. We seek Laylat-ul-Qadr (Night of Decree) in your last ten odd nights.

When you come, we fast during the day. Fasting means abstinence from food, drink, and sexual intercourse from dawn till sunset. Many consider fasting to be an act of hardship but the truth is it teaches patience and perseverance, and it germinates a feeling of moral accomplishment. Certain individuals are exempted from fasting – they include the sick and the travellers. They can make up the days after Ramadan. Allah says in the Quran:

“[Observing Saum (fasts)] for a fixed number of days, but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days. And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (e.g. an old man, etc.), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a Miskin (poor person) (for every day). But whoever does good of his own accord, it is better for him. And that you fast, it is better for you if only you know.” (Al-Baqarah 2:184)

Fasting is an act of obedience and submission to the Almighty Allah; its foundation is based upon love to gain His pleasure. This is why fasting enhances feelings of inner peace, optimism, and contentment. Abu Hurayrah (ra) narrated that Prophet Muhammad (sa) said:

“Allah, the Exalted and Majestic, said: Every act of the son of Adam is for him, except fasting. It is (exclusively) meant for Me and I (alone) will reward it. Fasting is a shield. When any one of you is fasting on a day, he should neither indulge in obscene language, nor raise the voice; if anyone reviles him or tries to quarrel with him he should say: I am a person fasting. By Him, in Whose Hand is the life of Muhammad, the breath of the observer of fast is sweeter to Allah on the Day of Judgement than the fragrance of musk. The one who fasts has two (occasions) of joy, one when he breaks the fast he is glad with the breaking of (the fast) and one when he meets his Lord he is glad with his fast.” (Muslim)

Fasting ‘shelters’ us from sins. The one who is fasting says: I am fasting – and becomes one of the righteous. Prophet Muhammad (sa) said:

“Fasting is a shield; when one of you is fasting, he should neither behave in an obscene manner nor foolishly. If a man fights or abuses him, he should say: I am fasting, I am fasting.” (Abu Dawood)

O Ramadan, my friend whilst you are here, I pray to Allah (swt) to enable us to make the most of it.

For the Unwed Muslimah: Single is Serene

Photo credit: TexasEagle / Foter / CC BY-NC

Photo credit: TexasEagle / Foter / CC BY-NC

  1. Everything is decreed

The only sober way to change your perspective is to know that you are where you were destined to be. Allah (swt) is Al-Muqtadir (The perfect in ability) and He is the Creator of the Divine Qadr. Your destiny was written by Him even before you came into existence. Customarily, we find people pinning blame or ill-omens to single women for being single. Nothing can be more ignorant and farther from the truth. If you are single right now, you are living out what has been written for you and the rest shall come to pass too- if that includes a husband and a family then rejoice; if it doesn’t, then rejoice some more. It is your Creator’s (swt) wise plan.

Ask any married individual and he/she mopes about having no time for self-growth and development.

  1. Marriage – a non-mandatory blessing

Our lives, our time, the air we breathe are some blessings that have been granted to us by our Lord. But, who said that a spouse is included in the deal for all? Each and every one of us enjoy a different set of bounties when it comes to our share of family, friends, Rizq, intelligence, talent, beauty and opportunities etc. You are not bound to have a relationship; so stop thinking that you are deprived. Your Creator is Al-Wahab (The liberal Bestower). You may have what many other married couples do not have. If being single was unfortunate, then Allah (swt) would not have destined Maryam (as) and prophets like Yahya (as) to live and die as single.

  1. Comparison is the thief of joy

Everyone is in a different chapter of his/her life story. If you decide to compare your life to that happily married cousin or the very wealthy and pampered friend, you will self-sabotage your own life. Understand that Allah (swt) has created every person and his circumstances unique. Any kind of comparison is the greatest insult one can do to that uniqueness in creativity. When we compare our life to others, we are always comparing apples to oranges. Regretfully, social media with couples flaunting their joy adds to the trigger of emotions; and single people often feel insecure, under-achieved and deprived. There is so much to life. A spouse may be a cherry on the cake, but not the cake itself. The cake is your relationship with Allah (swt); the rest is just the icing.

  1. Fasting ensures chastity and contentment

For many Muslimahs, marriage is simply a means to satisfy their natural intimate desire- as Islam disallows adultery. They are not mentally mature to handle a relationship; and neither they are committed and trained to bear and raise kids. If physical attraction would have been such a strong means to keep couples together, then we would not have seen spiralling divorces. Sexual need is natural and nothing to be ashamed of. The prophetic means to curb is to fast regularly. Also occupy yourself with something productive; refrain from viewing soft pornography and seductive imagery on media; try to hang around with friends and family members who are serious about developing their own talents, skills and pursuing community and welfare services.

  1. Self-appreciation and education

Marriage is a serious business. It comes with a set of heavy duty responsibilities that occupies your entire day and time for many years. Ask any married individual and he/she mopes about having no time for self-growth and development. If Allah (swt) has destined you to be single, then avail this opportunity to grow- educate yourself, develop a skill, pursue a hobby and take care of your health. We often hear comments like: “I need to lose weight so that I can get married.” The only reason one should maintain good health and care is so that he/she is able to worship and obey Allah (swt) effectively. Your self-esteem will rise automatically. Your looks and your decisions should not be fashioned to win a spouse; rather to keep Allah (swt) pleased with you.

May Allah (swt) bless us all with understanding of His Deen and contentment. Ameen

Manna Salwa – Simple Choices vs Variety Gourmet

manna salwa“And we shaded you with clouds and sent down on you Al-Manna and the quail, (saying): ‘Eat of the good lawful things We have provided for you,’ (but they rebelled). And they did not wrong Us, but they wronged themselves.” (Al-Baqarah 2:57)

“And remember when you said: ‘O Musa! We cannot endure one kind of food. So invoke your Lord for us to bring forth for us of what the earth grows, its herbs, its cucumbers, its Fum (wheat or garlic), its lentils and its onions.’ He said: ‘Would you exchange that which is better for that which is lower? Go you down to any town and you shall find what you want!’ And they were covered with humiliation and misery, and they drew on themselves the Wrath of Allah…” (Al-Baqarah 2:61)

I especially remember the children of Israel on the days when I have to venture into the kitchen to cook a decent meal, racing against time and juggling the multitude of roles assigned to me as a working mother. I try to imagine what it must have been like to be served the convenient and pristine cuisine by none other but the King of the Worlds Allah (swt) as His Mercy and divine hospitality. Tafsir Ibn-e-Kathir mentions that Mujahid said: “Al-Manna was a kind of sweet gum, and As-Salwa, a kind of bird (i.e., quail).” This food descended from the Paradise, and was collected by the children of Israel effortlessly.

Someone among them brainstormed the idea of ‘variety is the spice of life’, turned up their nose against the Lord’s superior bounties, and demanded from Musa (as) to arrange inferior food grown on the planet.

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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!

Ramadan Spirit – On the Go!

shawwalAs we approach towards the end of this auspicious month, it is high-time to think about the ways to avoid post-Ramadan Iman decline. This month serves as a denotation for all Muslims to use the weapon of prayers and self-control, in order to avoid their souls from falling prey to satanic pursuits.

While we all glorify Allah (swt) and believe in His Divine surveillance; we achieve a devoted state of mind only during the thirty days of Ramadan. In other eleven months, we approach Him only in the phases where we are suffering from distress. There is no point in concealing the inner demon by a counterfeit form of a devoted Muslim during Ramadan and washing away all the good deeds by committing sins in the subsequent months. The basic purpose of creating human race is to test them and their willpowers which can keep them away from following worldly desires.

So now, you are setting feet in Shawwal, and that spiritual balloon has deflated to quite an extent. The motivational factor which pushed you during Ramadan is now wavering. Don’t rock the boat, here are a few measures that would help you sustain the virtues acquired during Ramadan:

1)     Make Supplications
Allah (swt) is the only One who holds the credentials of your virtue-maintenance during Ramadan and only He can help you sustain them for the entire year. So get yourself attached with His being. As Surah Ghafir, verse 60 states:
“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). Verily! Those who scorn My worship, they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!”
The initial step to strengthen your relationship with your Lord is to seek protection from Him against the shenanigans of the Satan. His mercy is undoubtedly unfathomable; moreover, it is an absolute reality that Dua has the power to modify fate.

Thereupon, approach to the Almighty with a firm belief that He is always listening to your cries. Beseech upon Him to escort you clean in other months and according to the criterion laid down by Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa)

2)     Fortify your Relationship with Quran
Ramadan was an ordinary Islamic month, until it was made exclusive with the first revelation of Quran. The significance of this Book ordained the month of its revelation to be a superior one. The message propagated by Quran is immensely poignant. It brings a complete code of conduct for mankind, containing instructions regarding all phases of human life. Allah (swt) pledges to bestow the staunch followers of the Book with gardens of Paradise.
You can gain acquaintance with Quran through Quranic courses being conducted in your area; making sure that whoever you conjugate with is imparting authentic knowledge. With the widespread use of Internet conferencing, many contemporary online courses are being organized by reputable Islamic institutes.

Never let the thirst of gaining Quranic knowledge die within you, alongside pray to Allah (swt) that He makes it smooth for you to understand Quran. The Book will grasp you in its excellence, so much so, that you will feel incomplete when you get distant from it.

3)     Fast round the year
Fasting is one primary habit that triggers a spiritual sense within you. The merit and supremacy of this act inspires a person to withhold himself/herself from the acts of mischief. Hence, it is a special tool to keep the Ramadan spirit alert within you.
For this purpose, you can keep fasts on different days as derived from Sunnah, such as, Monday and Thursday of every week or 13,14 ad 15 lunar dates. You can begin by keeping six fasts in the month of Shawwal and forge ahead with the practice in other months.

4)     Pray during last hours of the night
Tahajjud prayer has an exceptional value in Islam. It is the time when Allah (swt) responds to every prayer made by His servants. It is emphasized in Surah Isra, verse 79:
“And in some parts of the night (also) offer the Salat (prayer) with it (i.e. recite the Quran in the prayer), as an additional prayer (Tahajjud optional prayer Nawafil) for you (O Muhammad (sa)). It may be that your Lord will raise you to Maqaman Mahmuda (a station of praise and glory, i.e. the highest degree in Paradise!)”

And those who stand in prostration during this time have a distinctive value in the eyes of Allah (swt). When all souls are resting and one person is calling upon Allah (swt), the All-Hearer, there is no chance that Allah (swt) would not love that person. So, during those hours call upon Him to bless you with high-levels of reward and make you immune to the worldly greed. Dua made at those hours never misses the target. Indulge into a conversation with your Lord; He is the only sincere friend you can rely upon.

Thus, we can deduce that it is highly essential for a Muslim to persist what he/she did in Ramadan and not wash all those deeds away. We might stumble occasionally while following these steps, but never forget the infinite Mercy of Allah (swt). He is watching all our efforts and treasures all the hardships and patience we demonstrate. It’s about time we stop being heedless and turn to Him; obeying all His rules with steadfastness. The tribulations will eventually go away. Insha’Allah!

Pearls of Peace – An extract from Surah Baqarah 2

pearls6We hope that the first fast of this blessed month of Ramadan has gone smoothly. When you feel the hours are too long think, of the places where people fast for eighteen or even more hours. May Allah (swt) allow us to make the best of this month, ameen. Let’s dive into some more pearls of peace from the Book of peace.

Tests for the best!

Allah (swt) informs us that He is definitely going to test us with different types of tests. He says, “And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin (the patient ones etc.)” (Al-Baqarah 2:155)

Sometimes fear might over take us. Sometimes we might suffer loss in our business. We may not have enough wealth. We may lose our dear ones; our parents, our spouse and our children. Sometimes the production will be less. But who will have peace when being tested? Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.” (Al-Baqarah 2:155-156)

Surrender to the will of Allah (swt)

They are those who are contented with the decree of Allah (swt). They know that ‘we belong to Allah (swt)’ and everything that we have belongs to Allah (swt). When a calamity strikes them, they are quick to say, “Inna lillahi wa-innailahi rajioon” and move on with their life. If we adopt this approach, we will achieve peace. But if, we are someone not prepared to be tested, then what will we do in the hereafter? How will the believers be distinguished from the disbelievers if we are not prepared to be tested?

It is similar to going to school every day, attending classes and taking lectures. But when exams come we walk out of the examination hall saying, “I don’t want to be tested.” That indicates we wasted our time at school.

Quran’s main addressee is human being; therefore it holistically attends to every topic that is related to human life. If we follow the instructions laid out in the Quran, we will acquire the peace that we are searching for.

Thank Allah (swt) and eat from what is lawful

In this Surah, Allah (swt) talks about what we should eat. He says, “O you who believe! Eat of the lawful things that We have provided you with, and be grateful to Allah, if it is indeed He Whom you worship.” (Al-Baqarah 2:172) Stay away from unlawful and impure things. Eat Halal (lawful) and Tayyab (pure) and be thankful to Allah (swt). This will be the quality of someone who truly considers Allah (swt) as his Lord, Nourisher, Provider and Sustainer. People are dying out of hunger and drought while our houses are stocked with food and water, Alhamdulillah. May He make us His thankful servants. Ameen. The more we appreciate Allah’s (swt) gifts upon us, the more thankful we would be.

Strict avoidance of the Haram

Right after this verse  He warns us to stay away from the Haram, “He has forbidden you only the Maytatah (dead animals), and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah (or has been slaughtered for idols, etc., on which Allah’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering).” (Al-Baqarah 2:173)

This is just a small list of items that we are prohibited to eat. Haram affects our entire system, more details in the later section, Insha’Allah.

Fasting brings piety

Allah (swt) then mentions the month of Ramadan in the Quran, “O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun” (Al-Baqarah 2:185)

Ramadan – the month of the divine revelation

This is the only month of the Islamic calendar which is mentioned this way. This is the month in which the Book of guidance was sent down by Allah (swt). Thus during this month we dedicate specific time for Quran. The Quran recitors should try their best to recite the Quran in such a manner that every letter is clear while those who are still learning the Quran should search for places where they can go and learn the Quran.

Go fasting, go healthy!

In the month of Ramadan, we not only fast for the sake of Allah (swt) but also improve our health. Fasting helps us to detoxify our bodies, physically as well as spiritually; according to a finding supported by Science. In the 1960s, the Stanford University campus conducted an interested experiment at a pre-school. The ability of four-year olds to resist temptation was tested. A marshmallow was placed in a room and the children were told that they could have the marshmallow immediately, or if they waited until the tester had run an errand and returned, then they could have two marshmallows. Some children waited for two marshmallows, while others ate one immediately. These same children were followed over 14 years to see how they managed in life.

Those who had resisted temptation at four were now, as adolescents, more socially competent, personally effective, self-assertive, and better able to cope with the frustrations of life. The third or so who grabbed the marshmallow, however, tended to have fewer of these qualities and shared instead a relatively more troubled psychological portrait. Surprisingly, those who had waited patiently at four were far superior as students to those who acted on whim. Moreover, they had dramatically higher scores in their SAT tests. There is perhaps no physiological skill more fundamental than resisting impulse. It is the root of all emotional self-control, since all emotions, by their very nature, lead to one or another impulse to act. (Coleman, Daniel, Emotional Intelligence, London: Bloomsbury, 1996, pp. 81-82.)

People stop eating certain foods to detoxify their bodies and go on a diet. Allah (swt) gives us an entire month to detoxify and get back in shape. But sadly, we treat the month of fasting as a month of feasting. Women are busy in the kitchen the entire day making delicacies for Iftar, leaving no time or energy to stand up in Taraweeh and worship the One Who provided them Rizq. It seems as if this is the only month when we get to eat something.

Yes, Allah (swt) has called cooking an act of worship when done with the intention of feeding one’s family. However, we also need to keep ourselves in check. When we begin wasting our time in decorating food then it is no more an act of worship. Most often, the decoration done so precisely and artistically goes to waste. No one eats the carved salad or the chocolate sauce sprinkled on the platter. We are wasting what we have been given in abundance while there are people dying out of hunger.

Make invocations before Fajr (at Sahoor)

Allah (swt) then mentions how close He is to us, “And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad (sa)) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge).” (Al-Baqarah 2:186)

When one senses the closeness of Allah (swt), he is at peace. Allah’s (swt) closeness protects one from evil and sins. Allah (swt) continues, “I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.”

Everyone is calling Allah (swt) at the same time for different things, and Allah (swt) is listening to each one us, giving us what we have invoked Him for, at the right time. Never underestimate calling out to Allah (swt). When you get up for Sahoor, remember Allah (swt). Keep your Dua list handy.

The hidden truth about our needs

An overlooked gift of Allah (swt) to us is that He keeps us in need. Had He not kept us yearning, would we have remembered Him? May Allah (swt) fulfill our needs. Ameen.

Bribery – a major sin

Allah (swt) then warns us of bribery, And eat up not one another’s property unjustly (in any illegal way e.g. stealing, robbing, deceiving, etc.), nor give bribery to the rulers …” (Al-Baqarah 2:188)

Sheikh Muhammad Salih Al-Munajid explains, “Bribery means giving money to someone through whom a person takes something that has no right to, such as bribing a judge to judge in his favour wrongfully, or bribing an official to give him preference over others, or to give him something to which he is not entitled. Bribery is a major sin, because the Prophet (sa) said: ‘May the curse of Allah (swt) be upon the one who pays a bribe and the one who takes it.’ (Ibn Majah) It must be known bribery is only permissible when a person cannot attain his rights in any other way. But in that case it is Haram for the one who takes it but not the one who gives it.”

Dishonest transactions/ dealings

Similarly, if you are selling something, do not deceive someone by misquoting the price or selling them a damaged good. If there is some defect be honest and let them know. Charge an honest profit because if the buyer finds out your products are over-priced, he is not going to return for another purchase and also give negative feedback to others.

Worse, the person can curse you because of your lying. Are you willing to risk your peace and contentment for a little amount of money? Honesty builds trust and strengthens relationships. It will also give you a competitive edge over others.

My Ramadan Inspiration

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

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

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

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

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

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.


[Hadeeth Commentary] Our Quest to Paradise


Mu’adh bin Jabal, said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

1.Worship Him Alone

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

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

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

2. Establish Prayer

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

3. Pay Zakat

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

4. Fasting is a Shield

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

5. Pilgrimage to Makkah

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

picture2The Gates of Paradise

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

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

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

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

Blessings of Jihad

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

Mind Your Tongue

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

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

“Your Body Has A Right Over You…”

Body has Right

Human beings are essentially made up of three basic parts: mind, soul and body. The human body not only comprises and connects the other two, it also depends on them. Taking care of the body would be incomplete without caring for the mind and the soul as well. Although the thought of caring for ourselves seems selfish in a way, it actually is not. Our own self is tied with many other lives. Allah (swt) created human beings in a way that makes it inevitable for them to be social. If you are sound and healthy, you will be able to look after your loved ones and society thereupon.

How do we know it is our religious duty to look after our body? Several references in the Quran and Ahadeeth either directly or indirectly point to this fact. The Prophet (sa) said: “Observe the fast sometimes and also leave (it) at other times. Stand up for prayer at night and also sleep at night. Your body has a right over you, your eyes have a right over you, and your wife has a right over you.” (Bukhari)

Although this is related to excessive praying or fasting, it also holds well in every other aspect of life. “Your body has a right over you” speaks for itself. We already know that everything bestowed upon us is a favour of Allah (swt), and we, as trustees, will be held accountable for it. That’s the reason why we have to give the body its due rights. Being indifferent to these rights is, in essence, a sin. How can we carry out this duty?

As mentioned in the above narration, the Prophet (sa) had to direct the Sahabah not to exceed human limits in worship. It is human psychology that in order to correct our souls and also to be thankful to our Lord (swt), we tend to go for long and tiring acts of Ibadah. This is apparently a very commendable act, especially in this time of Fitnahs (trials), when a man’s strong contact with Allah (swt) is needed. The purity of intention of our Sahabah is admirable, too. However, the teachings of our Prophet (sa) show that Islam requires us to keep a healthy balance between body and soul. Islam’s beauty is in the consistency of acts, no matter how small they may be. We can discern what our practice should be in the worldly matters like our education, jobs, businesses and household chores, when our religion stresses so much on maintaining moderation in worship.

The importance of purity and cleanliness in Islam is evident. We cannot stand for our prayers, unless we have performed Ghusl or ablution. According to a well known Hadeeth, cleanliness is half of faith. A clean body ensures good health. The second revelation of the Quran comprised the first few Ayahs of Surah Al-Muddaththir: “O you (Muhammad (sa)) enveloped (in garments)! Arise and warn! And your Lord (Allah) magnify! And your garments purify! (74:1-4)

We can see that the Quran instructs Muslims to observe cleanliness. Personal hygiene includes clean teeth and use of good scents. Our Prophet Muhammad (sa) used Miswak for his teeth.

In our daily routine, we can observe that we often neglect our health in different ways. Most of us don’t follow a timetable. This eventually leads toward a stressful and unorganized lifestyle. Getting up and staying up late (especially on weekends), delayed or skipped meals, delayed prayers and mismanaged or undone chores are sure to affect our health adversely.

Similarly, most of our Pakistani cuisine includes a host of spices and reckless use of oils or ghee. The only result coming forth is more obese, less active bodies and disturbed stomachs. One of my friends suffers from stomach ulcer. The doctor recommends her simple food and no carbonated drinks. However, being a fan of spices, she would not give up on them and says: “When death is obvious, why not die after having my favourite things instead of abstaining from them?” Her theory is misleading, because such an attitude kills you numerous times before the ultimate death. Also, indulging into such injurious habits as smoking, addiction to prohibited things and preferring to go against a sincere physician’s advice can all be suicidal. The fact that committing suicide is Haram also reflects that our body and life is Allah’s (swt) trust.

Another important component of our being is our mind. We all know the impacts of our thoughts on our bodies and, hence, our performance. It is very crucial that we understand the importance of positive thinking. If we look closely at the Prophet’s (sa) model, we come to know how positive his thoughts were. He always relied upon Allah (swt) and had complete faith in good or bad fate. As Muslims, we should never lose hope, as it amounts to Kufr (disbelief). The Quran states: “So do not become weak (against your enemy), nor be sad, and you will be superior (in victory) if you are indeed (true) believers.” (Ale-Imran 3:139)

Our dear Prophet (sa) has said: “Nothing can change the Divine decree except Dua.” (Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah) If we turn to Allah (swt) in all afflictions, we are sure to get His blessings and success. We witness around us numerous examples of how positive thinking saves someone in an impossible looking situation, whereas negative thinking makes people dull and weak even in the healthiest environment.

The Prophet (sa) taught us many supplications for seeking protection for the body. This Dua should be recited thrice in the mornings and evenings: “O Allah, make me healthy in my body. O Allah, preserve for me my hearing. O Allah, preserve for me my sight. There is none worthy of worship but You.” (Abu Dawood)

Allah (swt) created man with utmost love. Our life is a precious gift. We have to realize its value and be obedient slaves of Allah (swt) Almighty. Allah (swt) tells us He created man in the best form:

“Allah, it is He Who has made for you the earth as a dwelling place and the sky as a canopy, and has given you shape and made your shapes good (looking) and has provided you with good things. That is Allah, your Lord, then blessed be Allah, the Lord of the Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists).” (Ghafir 40:64)

Be thankful to Allah (swt) for His bounties by taking care of them, especially your bodies, so you may be rewarded!