Eid and a Mother’s Woes


By Abdul-Malik Mujahid – General Manager, Darussalam Publishers and Distributors

The following incident has been related by Shaykh Abdul-Khaliq Al-Qarni, who is a famous Daee (caller to Islam) in Saudi Arabia. He says this incident was narrated to him by a jeweller:

A few days before Eid, a man entered my shop along with his wife, his mother and his child. His elderly mother, who was carrying the child, went to stand in a corner of the shop. The couple started browsing the different jewels and finally chose jewellery sets worth twenty thousand Riyals. In the meantime, the mother was also attracted to the priceless gems. She went over to the display of gold rings, where she found one she liked and placed it on her finger. That ring was priced at a hundred Riyals.

According to the jeweller, when the son went over to the counter to pay the bill, he handed twenty thousand Riyals to him. The jeweller requested him for another hundred Riyals. “For what?” The son asked. “We just agreed upon this price.”

“The extra hundred is for the ring that your mother has purchased,” replied the jeweller.

The son pulled a face: “Really! What use do old women have for gold?” He went over to his mother and asked her where the ring was. Realizing that she was wearing it, he wrenched it from her hand, placed it back on the counter, picked up his purse, and started to walk out of the shop. The jeweller was stunned.

The mother tried very hard not to show her emotions publically. She silently picked up her grandson and followed the son out of the shop. Once they had reached the car, the jeweller heard the son’s wife burst out in anger at her husband. “Why did you take the ring away from your mother? Why did you not let her have it? You broke her heart with this attitude. Now, if she leaves the house, who will take care of our son? Who will wash his feeder?”

Upon hearing this, the son re-entered the shop and asked the jeweller to give him back the ring that he had previously thrown onto the counter. The jeweller complied and handed it to him. He paid for it and came back outside. However, when he presented the ring to his mother, she replied, “By Allah, I will never wear gold again. I only wanted this ring to wear on Eid day. I wanted to celebrate Eid with other people. Now, I have no wish to join in the Eid celebrations. May Allah forgive you, my son!”

Adapted (with permission) from Waldain published by Darussalam. Translated and compiled for Hiba by Umm Ibrahim.

The Slave’s False Claim


Once, a man came to Caliph Mansoor. He complained about another man who, he alleged, was hoarding wealth and weapons for Banu Ummayah.

The Caliph ordered his chief of police to set out and arrest the offender. The police did as told, and soon, the offender was standing before the Caliph.

“We have been informed that you are hoarding wealth and weapons, entrusted to you by Banu Ummayah. We order you to present all the wealth and weapons before us, and turn them over to the state treasury.”

The man calmly asked the Caliph: “Ameer Al-Mumineen! Are you one of the inheritors of Banu Ummayah?”

The Caliph replied in the negative.

The man inquired: “Have Banu Ummayah left a will, saying that you should inherit their wealth and weapons?”

Again, the Caliph answered no.

“Then why are you asking me about their wealth and weapons?” the man queried.

Caliph Mansoor bowed his head. Finally, he said: “Look, Banu Ummayah committed many atrocities against the people and usurped their wealth unlawfully. I only want this wealth, which was confiscated illegally in the first place, to be handed over to the state treasury.”

“Ameer Al-Mumineen!” The man explained. “You need more solid evidence to prove in the court of law that the wealth and weapons, which have been entrusted to me, are indeed the same ones which were confiscated illegally. You do know that Banu Ummayah had personal wealth as well.”

Caliph Mansoor thought for a while and then addressed his chief of police: “This man is absolutely right. We have no authority to take away the wealth which was entrusted to him.”

He turned to the man and said: “If you have any need, speak up.”

The man requested: “I want to see those who complained to you about me. By Allah, I do not have anything belonging to Banu Ummayah – they never entrusted any wealth or weapon to me.”

Caliph Mansoor ordered for the complainant to be presented. When he arrived, the ‘offender’ exclaimed: “This is my slave! He borrowed five hundred Dinars from me and then ran away. I have written proof of this transaction.”

When Caliph Mansoor glared at the complainant, he admitted: “Yes, I am his slave, and I ran away after borrowing the Dinars. Then, I conspired against him and complained to you. I wanted him to be arrested and executed. But Allah (swt) made all my plans unsuccessful.”

“I have gifted the five hundred Dinars to him,” said the man. “And I give him five hundred more for coming here.”

The Caliph appreciated this gesture and both men left. Caliph Mansoor would later remember this man and the way he successfully argued with him.

Adapted (with permission) from “Sunehray Huroof” published by “Darussalam”. Translated and compiled for Hiba by Umm Ibrahim.

Making the Most of Book Fairs

Making the Most of Book Fairs

By Hafsa Ahsan – Senior Assistant Editor, “Hiba” Magazine

Book fairs and book expos are definitely the events to look out for – not only do they offer a variety of books on all subjects under one roof, one can also avail much-needed discounts and special offers. However, like any other event, this one also needs to be thoroughly planned out. Here are a few tips to make the most of the book fairs.

Make a List

Entering a book fair without a list has the potential to turn your entire trip into a disaster, especially if it is crowded with no room for browsing. It is best to find out well in advance which publishers will be exhibiting; you can then look up their website to browse and read the reviews of the new and upcoming titles. Of course, this does not mean you cannot pick and choose titles on the go; however, if you have limited time (and space), a list is most handy.

Sort the List

Which books are really necessary to purchase at a book fair where there are original, hard-cover editions? Are there any books which can be borrowed from friends or purchased second-hand? You can do some research in order to sort the list.

Make a Budget

Once you have finalized your list, make your budget. It is best to save beforehand or make sure you receive your committee money in the months preceding the book fair. How much you decide to put aside depends entirely upon your list.

On the Day Itself

Make sure you reach as early as possible on a weekday to avoid massive crowds. Try to arrange baby-sitting for babies and pre-schoolers. Arrange a special, separate trip for children on the weekend, so they can have some fun with the activities organized especially for them.

Did you know?

In the very first Karachi International Book Fair in 2005, there were 50 participants in one hall. In 2011, there were three halls and 290 exhibitors.

Deutshe Welle’s Urdu service (Germany) covered the 2011 book fair in Karachi. Updates were sent from Karachi to their Bonn headquarter from where they were relayed across the European Union.

Lahore International Book Fair is the largest annual international book fair; the 2011 event was held in Johar Town, Lahore, where 165 local and foreign publishers and education-related organisations set up stalls.

Eight hundred Arabic and international exhibitors from more than 60 countries set up stalls at the 21st Abu Dhabi International Book Fair held in 2011.

In 2011, the first Arabic Book Fair was held at the Dubai Women’s College as part of the Library Week event under the patronage of Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al-Nahyan, then Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

MV Logos Hope, the world’s largest floating book fair, arrived in Dubai in 2011. It offered a selection of over 7,000 books and had the capacity to entertain 800 visitors on board at any one time. Its International Café hosted many interactive displays and activities, including an opportunity to meet any one of 400 crew members.

The Best Witness

best witness

By Abdul Malik Mujahid – General Manager, Darussalam Publishers and Distributors

The following story was narrated by the Prophet (sa) to his companions. It was transmitted to us through a Hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurairah (rta), recorded in Sahih Bukhari.

There was once a man in Bani Israel, who requested a fellow Israeli for a loan of one thousand Dinars. The creditor said: “Please bring two or three men with you, who can witness this transaction, and I will give you the loan.” The debtor said: “Allah (swt) is the best witness.” The creditor again said: “At least bring one responsible person, who can give your guarantee.” The debtor said: “Allah (swt) is the best of those who guarantee.” The creditor admitted: “You are right.” Thus, he gave him the loan which was to be returned within a specific period of time.

The debtor went overseas and spent the money on his needs. Thereafter, he started looking for a ship for his return journey. He wanted to return and repay the loan. However, he was unable to find any means of transport.

Finally, he took a piece of wood and made it into a box with a lid. Opening the lid, he kept one thousand Dinars along with a letter. Then, he sealed the box, stood on the shore and said: “O Allah! You know very well that I took a loan of one thousand Dinars from so-and-so. He asked me to bring witnesses or serve a guarantee. But I trusted You as the best witness, and he ultimately agreed with me. You know I have tried very hard to find some means of transport for my return journey, but have been unable to do so. Now, I am entrusting You with this Amanah. Do take it back to him only.”

With these words, the debtor put the box in the sea and saw it being carried away by the waves. Then, he turned back and resumed his search for a ship to take him back.

When the period, for which the loan had been granted was over, the creditor set out towards the sea. He thought the debtor might arrive through a ship or send it through a passenger. Suddenly, he caught sight of a wooden box. He picked it up and took it home, thinking the wood might come useful to light a fire. When he came home and sawed the wood, he saw the letter and the money.

After some time, the debtor came to the creditor with the money (since he didn’t know whether or not he had received the amount sent earlier). He said to the creditor: “By Allah, I was constantly in search for transport so that I could return you your money. However, I could not find any ship in time.”

The creditor asked: “Had you sent anything for me?”

The debtor replied: “That’s what I am trying to explain. I could not find any transport to arrive here on time.”

The creditor then informed him: “Allah (swt) made sure that the money you had returned reached me safely. There is no need to give me these additional one thousand Dinars. You have already repaid your loan.”

Adapted (with permission) from “Sunehray Huroof” published by “Darussalam”. Translated and compiled for “Hiba” by Umm Ibrahim.

A Loser’s Gain

Image courtesy http://nickelinvestingnews.com/

Image courtesy http://nickelinvestingnews.com/a

By Umm Ibrahim and Umm Amal – Freelance writers

Without exaggeration, we live in a time of economic hardship. With costs and prices spiralling upwards, even the ones who are generally well-off think twice before spending. It is quite natural for the budget to go awry every month, and the savings’ pool to decrease. Most of the individuals and families have thought of numerous and creative ways to save money and make the most of their earnings. However, there are quite a few techniques that do not, in the long run, save anything. Seemingly, they increase one’s income; however, they take all the Barakah out of it. Following are some of those techniques to beware of:

Investment Schemes Involving Interest

With a myriad of banks offering attractive investment packages with ‘certain’ fixed return, it is quite hard to shrug off the temptation to invest one’s savings. However, one must remember that all forms of interest are strictly forbidden. The same goes for buying houses, cars, laptops and the like on lease, which involves interest – on the face of it, you are saving money; in reality, you are incurring the severe wrath of Allah (swt), as per the following verse:

“Those who eat Riba (usury) will not stand (on the Day of Resurrection) except like the standing of a person beaten by Shaitan (Satan) leading him to insanity. That is because they say: ‘Trading is only like Riba (usury)’, whereas Allah has permitted trading and forbidden Riba (usury). So whosoever receives an admonition from his Lord and stops eating Riba (usury) shall not be punished for the past; his case is for Allah (to judge); but whoever returns [to Riba (usury)], such are the dwellers of the Fire – they will abide therein.” (Al-Baqarah 2:275)

Investment Schemes Without Investigation

This applies to the investment schemes of Islamic banks. Before you invest your money, you must find out where the Islamic bank itself is investing this money. If it is investing in the stock market (bay-trading) or other interest-based schemes, do not take the risk of investing there. Instead, choose an Islamic bank or scheme that invests in short-term government loans or securities that do not involve interest at any level.

Profiteering Techniques

If you own a business or are in a leadership position in one, you need to watch out for selling low quality or expired products and extracting one to two hundred percent profit out of customers. Hoarding products, creating an artificial shortage and fleecing the customers are again counter-productive. Understand that if the outcome of your business deal does not create a win-win situation for you and your customer, it is unfair and involves impermissible earnings.

Denying Inheritance

Family members need to be extremely careful about fair distribution of inheritance. Denying or delaying inheritance to deserving family members causes greatest rifts among blood ties; loss of Barakah is a natural outcome.

Withholding Charity

It is so tempting to cut down on welfare spending on an individual level – however, one must continue to give as much Sadaqah as one can even if it means curbing one’s own needs along the way – not doing so is again counter-productive towards increasing one’s Rizq.

In short, one may witness an increase in income by Haram means, but Allah (swt) decreases it by some other means which people are unable to see, like loss of health, disobedient children or spouse, earning of dishonour or mistrust, lack of peace in life, constant material loss, etc. Also, the level of pleasure keeps decreasing with an increase in Haram income. This further drives the individual on the misguided path to further seek satisfaction from prohibited sources. The end result is that one loses out in both the worlds.

Generous! Oh Really?

A Loser’s Gain

By Abdul Malik Mujahid – General Manager, Darussalam

Muan Ibn Zaida was a very wealthy man during the period of the Ummayads. He was also very well-known for his generosity. When the Abbasids took over from the Ummayads, he was forced to go into hiding. The following incident happened, while he was in hiding.

He was on his way out of Baghdad in disguise, when he realized that a man was following him. That man pursued him and caught up with him in a deserted area outside the city. He took hold of the camel’s reins and forced himself on its back. Once he was on the camel, he grabbed Muan with a knife in his hand.

Muan pleaded: “Why have you grabbed me? What do you want?” The man replied: “You are Muan! Ameer ul-Mumineen Mansoor is looking for you.”

Muan pretended to be surprised: “Me? Muan? You must be mistaken. I am an ordinary man.” The man snapped: “Don’t try to be smart. I know you very well, and you can’t run away. See my knife?” Muan begged him to let him go, but to no avail. Finally, he took out an expensive necklace from one of his concealed pockets and said: “What will Mansoor give you when you take me to him? This necklace is much more valuable than any prize he will give you. Take this and let me go.”

The man took the necklace and examined it. Then, he declared: “It does seem that this necklace is very expensive. However, I will not take it.” Muan asked: “Why?” He shook his head and said: “Let me ask you a few questions. If you answer correctly, I will let you go.” Muan agreed: “Ok, what do you want to know?”

The man asked: “You are known to be very generous. Have you ever given your entire wealth in charity?” Muan replied: “No, that has never happened.” The man asked: “Have you ever given half of your wealth in charity?” Muan answered: “No.” The man queried: “How about one-third?” Muan said: “No.” The man kept on decreasing the amount till it came to one-tenth. At that point, Muan was so frustrated that to shut him up, he said yes, he has given one-tenth of his wealth in charity. However, he was also feeling extremely ashamed of himself: he was known to be extremely generous but had not even given half of his wealth in charity.

The man continued: “This is nothing to be proud of. Listen, I am an ordinary man. I don’t own horses; I do not have piles of Dinars and Dirhams. I get twenty Dirhams from Caliph Mansoor on a monthly basis. Without doubt, the necklace you have given me is worth around twenty thousand Dirhams.” Saying this, he returned the necklace. “I spare your life and your necklace. I will not hand you over to Caliph Mansoor. This is only because you are known to be generous. Remember: never be proud of the fact that you are charitable. This is because there are people who are more benevolent than you. Consider your charity to be ordinary, regardless of the amount you give. Also, never abandon your generosity.” With that, he got off the camel and started to walk away.

Muan called him back: “You have drowned me in a sea of embarrassment. It would have been easier to get killed, rather than listen to what you have just said. Take this necklace.” The man laughed: “Do you want me to go back on my word? By Allah, I will not take this necklace. I will not seek the reward for my good deed in this world.” Taking huge steps, he went away.

Muan later admitted: “I always remembered that man and his wisdom. When Caliph Mansoor pardoned me and I recovered my wealth, I searched for him to repay him in kind. However, I was unable to locate him. In any case, I remembered his Ihsan to me that day, especially his Naseehah that I should remember that there are people who are more generous than me.”

Adapted (with permission) from Sunehray Huroof published by Darussalam. Translated and compiled for Hiba by Umm Ibrahim.

Ways to Maximize Halal Rizq – Reviews


Title: The Historic Judgement on Interest – Delivered in the Supreme Court in Pakistan

Author: Justice Maulana Muhammad Taqi Usmani

Publisher: Maktaba Maariful Quran

No. of pages: 247

Available at: Darul-Ishaat, Karachi

For anyone involved in dealing with the financial sector (that pretty much covers everybody!) knowledge of the status of Riba/Sood/interest in Islam is critical. Unfortunately, this is an area of which even scholars are unaware as it requires a good foundation in economics/financial theory.
The best book to read to understand this is called “The Historic Judgement on Interest – Delivered in the Supreme Court in Pakistan” by Justice (retd.) Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani. What makes this book especially unique is that you often find books which put forward Islam’s view on Riba but this publication actually addresses all the ‘responses’ people give to justify the interest we see today as not being Riba. Plus, the book has been written in very easy to understand language and so would not be difficult to comprehend.
The book is published by Maktaba Maariful Quran in Karachi, and is fairly easily available in the market at a very economical price. I use this book as required reading for my Islamic Banking and Finance class at a local business school in Karachi and have felt it provides invaluable knowledge to the students. This was both my assessment as
well as the feedback from the students. – By Azeem Pirani

Audio Lecture: Maximizing Rizq

Delivered by: Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed

Available from: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/13245794/General%20Talks/MP3/01-08-11%20-%20Maximizing%20Rizq%20-%20EKK.mp3

This is an inspiring talk in English on the subject of maximizing Rizq and how one needs to improve one’s quality of relationship with Allah (swt) and His creation on a quest to increase one’s provisions. It is a ninety-minute talk, which will broaden your horizons on the subject and enable you to perceive the subject of ‘Rizq’ in a whole new light, Insha’Allah. – Umm Ibrahim

Dealing with Innovators

Dealing with Innovators

Three men – Abu Bakr, Abu Bakr Al-Admi and their friend – went for Hajj together. After they had performed all the rites of Hajj, they decided to visit Madinah.

One day, in Madinah, the friend came to Abu Bakr and said: “There is a blind man in the mosque of the Prophet (sa). He is narrating fabricated incidents and weak Ahadeeth to a large audience. We really should go and stop him from doing so, as he is misleading the public.”

Abu Bakr pondered for a while and then replied: “I really do not think that people will listen to us and disregard the more interesting details that the blind man has to tell them. After all, this is not Baghdad. We are well-known there and so is our credibility. Here, we are merely travelers. No one knows us, and if we try and argue with him, no one would support us. We will have to think of another way to handle this.”

Suddenly, an idea occurred to him. He realized that Abu Bakr Al-Admi recites the Quran beautifully. All three of them went to the mosque of the Prophet (sa). There, Abu Bakr Al-Admi was requested to start reciting the Quran in a loud voice.

When he began to recite, people automatically began to gather around him. Attracted by his voice and Qirat, the people attending the blind man’s study circle also got up and came here instead. Soon, there was no one around the blind man.

He sighed and asked his assistant to lead him home, saying: “Blessings are taken away in a second.”

This story contains an important lesson for all of us in these times. Instead of fighting over our differences, it is always a good idea to think of more creative and peaceful ways to resolve those differences, such that the right prevails over the wrong.

Adapted (with permission) from Sunehray Huroof published by Darussalam. Translated for “Hiba” by Hafsa Ahsan.

Book Reviews (Leadership)


Title: Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq

Author: Dr. Ali Muhammad as-Sallabi

Translator: Faisal Shafeeq

Publisher: Darussalam

No. of pages: 784

Available at: All Darussalam outlets

The life of Abu Bakr (rta) is indeed a role model for all the leaders as well as leaders to-be. Abu Bakr was the first Caliph of the Muslims. He had to take extremely critical decisions during his caliphate. This book sheds light on his life and times, along with the leadership qualities that he manifested time and again.

Title: Umar Ibn Al-Khattab: His Life and Times

Author: Dr. Ali Muhammad as-Sallabi

Translator: Nasiruddin Al-Khattab

Publisher: International Islamic Publishing House

No. of pages: 1024

Available at: Dawah Books, Khadda Market, DHA, Karachi

This extensive two-volume, well-researched book on Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (rta) is a must-read for all those, who aspire to be leaders in their respective fields. These books shed deep insight into the life and times of the second rightly-guided caliph. Starting from his opposition and reversion to Islam, going on to the education he received from the Prophet (sa) and finally culminating into the different aspects of his leadership, these books contain many interesting incidents. All incidents have been well-referenced. This is also a must-have for every family library.

Title: Uthman Ibn Affan – Dhun-Noorayn

Author: Dr. Ali Muhammad as-Sallabi

Translator: Nasiruddin Al-Khattab

Publisher: Darussalam

No. of pages: 623

Available at: All Darussalam outlets

The third book in the series of the rightly-guided caliphate takes a look at the life and times of Uthman Ibn Affan (rta). Uthman (rta) became the Caliph after the martyrdom of Umar (rta), as a result of the extremely rigorous selection procedure implemented by the latter. The period of Uthman was one of turmoil, with a lot of friction between the Muslims themselves. The book clears many misconceptions regarding that turbulent period, and is a must-read for all those who wish to acquire deeper insight into the Islamic history.

It’s Just a Mirage

July 11-its just a mirage

By Hafsa Ahsan

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Hadeeth: The Prophet (sa) said: “The feet of the son of Adam will not be removed (meaning, he will remain standing for reckoning), until he has been questioned about five things: his life and how he has spent it, his youth and how he managed it, his wealth, from where and how it has been spent, and his actions and how close or far they are from his knowledge.” (At-Tirmidhi)

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Verse: “That Day mankind will proceed in scattered groups that they may be shown their deeds. So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it. And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it.” (Al-Zalzalah, 99:6-8)

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Hadeeth: The Prophet (sa) said: “If I forbid something, avoid it and if I order you to do something, do it as much as you can. (Sahih Bukhari)

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Verse: “O you who believe! Let not a group scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former; nor let (some) women scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than the former, nor defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. How bad is it, to insult one’s brother after having Faith [i.e. to call your Muslim brother (a faithful believer) as: “O sinner”, or “O wicked”, etc.]. And whosoever does not repent, then such are indeed Zalimun (wrong-doers, etc.). O you who believe! Avoid much suspicions, indeed some suspicions are sins. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting) . And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful.” (Al-Hujurat, 49:11-12)

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Verse: “Blessed is He in Whose Hand is the dominion, and He is Able to do all things. Who has created death and life, that He may test you which of you is best in deed. And He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving.” (Al-Mulk, 67:1-2)

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Verse: “And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like palms of hands or one eye or both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer dress like veil, gloves, head-cover, apron, etc.), and to draw their veils all over Juyubihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms, etc.) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husband’s sons, their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their (Muslim) women (i.e. their sisters in Islam), or the (female) slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigour, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful.” (An-Nur, 24:31)

Book Reviews (Youth Issue)


Title: “Gems and Jewels”
Author: Abdul 

Malik Mujahid

Publisher: Darussalam Publishers and Distributors
Available at: Darussalam outlets

Do you want to peruse an interesting book that is dotted with captivating incidents in the form of short stories? Are you tired of books written in heavy language? If that is the case, “Gems and Jewels” is the book for you. It contains loads of stories that are short, to the point and extremely light to read. Reflecting the life of the Prophet (sa), his companions and their noble predecessors, these incidents will hold your interest from the first to the last page. This is an ideal book to read while travelling or before bedtime. An audio DVD is available for the younger readers as well. If you want to opt for the Urdu version, the title is “Sunehray Awraaq”.

Title: “Women Around the Messenger”
Author: Muhammad Ali Qutb
Publisher: International Islamic Publishing House
Available at: Dawah Books, DHA, Karachi

This book details the life and times of the various female family members of the Prophet (sa) as well as the female companions around him. The different sections in this book include the mothers, the wives and the daughters. It is significant to note that the author has beautifully presented all the personality traits as well as the incidents. This book is a delight to read, because it not only provides knowledge about our history, but also presents some inspiring female role models for us to emulate.

Title: “The Youth in Islam”
Author: Dr. Wahba Zahaili
Publisher: Darul-Ishaat
Available at: Darul-Ishaat, Urdu Bazaar, Karachi

It is quite unfortunate that very few books are written to address the youth. This book is one of the very few, which sheds light on the importance and role of the youth in the betterment of society. The first section deals with how parents need to set the right stage for youth through proper upbringing from childhood. The second section deals with the youth itself. The second segment deals with the importance of youth and specific Islamic commands for the youth. This is a brief, yet very enlightening read.

By Hafsa Ahsan


To Believe or not to Believe

Apr 11 - To believe or not to believe

Handling Information about the Dajjal

By Hafsa Ahsan

Go to any bookstore and there is a very good chance that you will find an assortment of books regarding the Dajjal. There are books exploring whether Dajjal is an individual or a system; there are booklets of Ahadeeth foretelling the coming of Dajjal, Imam Mahdi and Prophet Isa (as); there are volumes addressing the current world order and how conducive it is to the aims of Dajjal, and the list goes on. Being an avid collector and reader of most of these books, my sister and I have discovered that there are some books which are well-worth a read, while others contain theories which are too far-fetched to be authentic. So how do you, as an average reader, sift through this extensive information? How do you differentiate between what is fact and what has been fabricated? How do you ensure that you are not misled? Here are some pointers:

Make Dua

Before reading any book, sincerely supplicate to Allah (swt) that He would open your heart to what is authentic in that book and turn you away from all that is fabricated. Insha’Allah, Allah (swt) will guide you.


While reading any book, booklet or article, it is imperative to look at the references. Whom has the author quoted? Is this a reference from a Hadeeth? If so, what is the grade of this Hadeeth (reliable, authentic, weak, etc.)? Are all the references leading to other books and not a single Hadeeth? Answers to these vital questions will authenticate most of the information for you.


There are some books that contain nothing but sweeping statements and conspiracy theories, which are not supported by a single authentic reference. Such generalizations should alert you to their dubious nature.


Some books clearly point out the relationship between the information that was foretold by the Prophet (saw) and the current world events, as they are unfolding. Even though they are the opinions of the authors concerned, it is refreshing to read them. This ensures that one does not treat the coming of Dajjal as a mere story and something too distant to consider. However, such books are scarce.


The coming of Dajjal is a definite event. We need to know how to protect ourselves and how he will affect us. However, some books digress to the point that they start debating issues which do not really affect us as common people. For instance, does it really matter if certain countries are “Dajjal”? How does it affect us whether or not the armies of certain countries are part of the Dajjal army? Reading books on these topics may be of interest to the more scholarly among us; however, for the vast majority of others, the basic questions are: how will we recognize him and how will we protect ourselves? Useless debates are just a waste of time.

Alright, so we have some idea as to how to sift the information that we read. What next? It is of great concern that a lot of people refuse to believe most of the authentic information given to them. Such people choose to remain in a state of denial, refuting the facts which are right in front of them. Try telling anyone that the money of the future is electronic money, for instance, and they will give you a blank look. On one hand, there is a lot of disinformation, and on the other hand, there is a complete denial of authentic information. It all boils down to the fact that most of us treat the coming of Dajjal as a mere story – something, which will not affect us.

A major step towards correcting our attitude regarding the information is to accept the fact that Dajjal will come, if not during our time then definitely during the time of our descendents. We have to equip ourselves with the right information and then pass it down through our children. Once we see this as our ultimate mission, it will become clear that we must have the correct information about Dajjal from authentic sources. And we must know how to handle this information.

A Potential Spouse’s Tough Exam

01-01In January, 2001, while I was going towards Paris from the airport, I was thinking about the Muslim community in this city. I was particularly wondering, how parents raise their children. I asked my friend Aamir Aqaad: “How do parents ensure that their children stay connected to Deen in this environment?”

Aamir has been a resident of Paris for two decades. He came here from Syria to study and then opened a publishing house of Islamic books. He mulled over my question and then replied:

“A very interesting incident happened a few days ago, which might answer your question. One of my relatives has been a resident of Paris for many years. He was working but was still unmarried. One day, he asked me if I could recommend anyone for marriage.

I knew a Moroccan family and spoke to them on my friend’s behalf. It seemed like a very compatible match. The girl was in her early twenties, educated and intelligent. Her parents liked the guy, but said that they would reach a decision after consulting their daughter. Finally, it was decided that both of them should see each other in person and have a brief meeting.

A railway station was selected as the venue. My wife and I, along with the girl’s parents, sat at some distance from the potential couple to give them some privacy while keeping them under observation. I saw that the girl took out some papers from her purse and handed them over to the potential suitor.

I was astounded. I had no idea that in this day and age, there were girls who were so in love with their Deen.

I was quite astonished and asked the girl’s mother what her daughter was doing. The mother replied that her daughter had prepared a questionnaire to quiz her potential spouse about his personal life. In the light of his answers, she would decide whether or not to say yes to his proposal.

Most of the questions had been prepared in French, a language in which my friend was not so fluent. He called me over to help him translate the questionnaire. The questionnaire spanned over three pages. The first page consisted of questions regarding personal life – name, father’s name, address, height, weight, educational qualifications, occupation, status of house (rent or own), salary, work hours, etc.

When we moved on to the second page, the questions were: What is the nature of your relationship with Islam and your Deen? Are you regular with your Salah? How much time do you dedicate to your Deen? How much of the Quran have you memorized? How often do you recite the Quran? Which books of Ahadeeth have you read? How many Ahadeeth have you memorized? Write one page on “Rights of Spouses.” Which book of Seerah are you currently reading? Which Halaqah (study circle) do you attend? Who’s the scholar leading this Halaqah? Which books have you studied in this circle?

I was astounded. I had no idea that in this day and age, there were girls who were so in love with their Deen.

The questions went on: Do you want children? Would you like sons or daughters? What will you name your first child? What kind of qualities would you like your wife to possess?

The entire questionnaire was designed, so as to get a complete picture of the kind of person my friend was. My friend filled out this questionnaire to the best of his efforts. Unfortunately, the girl was not too impressed with the answers and declined the proposal. She told her parents that an individual, who was not sincere with his Rabb (swt), can never be sincere with his wife.”

After hearing this, I was thinking of all the problems that girls face in their marital life. If only they quiz their potential spouse about his level of Deen beforehand, they could easily avoid the problems which come afterwards.

Adapted from “Sunehri Kirnain”, published by Darussalam. Translated for “Hiba” by Hafsa Ahsan.

The Perfect Recipe – From a Husband’s Perspective

Jan 11 - The perfect recipe

By Hafsa Ahsan

When I wrote “The Perfect Recipe” (published in the January 2010 issue of “Hiba”), I realized belatedly that all of the successful ingredients of marriage were mentioned only by the wives. There was no discussion of any husbands or their perspectives. Consequently, I received an email saying: “Your article on married life provided many useful tips, which can easily be followed by wives to maintain bliss in their lives and in the lives of their spouses. However, I was wondering, if a survey could be done to find out what our male counterparts think could be the perfect ingredients of a blissful married life.”

This email spurred me to life, and I sent out the same questionnaire to discover what the husbands rate to be the most successful ingredients of a happy and successful marriage.

Arsalan Siddiqui, a training consultant, said: “Based on my own experience, I would say that the paramount issue (if the marriage is an arranged one) is trying to understand each other. But this can be tricky, as we are so used to being pampered by our respective families prior to our weddings. And when two people come together, they sometimes do not know how to behave and what to expect from each other. Individual space can be an issue, but that depends on your understanding of your partner. In-laws can be an issue, too. Also money matters play a crucial role in how partners enjoy their lives.”

An IT professional Adeel Masood named three ‘inabilities’ which, in his opinion, characterize the top three issues faced by couples after marriage: inability to cope with the fact that the other person also has his own weaknesses, inability to live within means and inability to respect the spouse’s relatives. His ingredients for a successful marriage were “trust, respect and love, with trust and respect being more important than love.”

“Things like likes and dislikes or getting adjusted with my commitment to work are main issues,” said Adnan Ali, an engineer. “Being a husband, I am on the stage where I have to listen to both parties (wife and mother). I try my best to be neutral and usually don’t act like a messenger between them. I have already clarified that both parties should try and deal with their issues themselves.”

So how does then conflict arise? And what is the best way of dealing with that conflict?

“I would say (the main source of conflict is) family politics, especially if you are not fully aware of the background of your spouse’s family,” said Arsalan Siddiqui. “But any conflict can be solved by giving space to each other and understanding the values and feelings of your spouse.”

“To deal with conflicts, first, you have to have the ability to deal with your anger for the time being, till your spouse has done his/her catharsis. Thereafter, talk out the issue rationally. If nothing works, send for the mediators,” said Adeel Masood.

“Being friends with your spouse usually is the best way out of everything,” said Adnan Ali. “But a husband has the additional responsibility of being neutral in every way. For those who are sandwiched between their wives and mothers, my advice is: let each party understand each other’s point of view, because a husband has already spent more time with his parents, but now spends more time with his wife; hence, he is sometimes the only one who understands what she or they actually mean about something.”

At the end of the day, it seems that husbands think more about practical issues, such as money management, when it comes to marriage. At the same time, they are also concerned about how to balance out their roles between their parents and their wives. That said, even they place emphasis on trust and respect, and in that aspect, their concerns match those of the ladies.

Muslims in Cyberspace

Vol 7 - Issue 1 Muslims in CyberspaceBy Zainub Razvi, Sumaira Dada and Hafsa Ahsan

Cyberspace, like this world at large, is a delicate testing ground for the practicing Muslim. On the one hand, there are enormous benefits that can be gained from the wealth of knowledge at one’s disposal via the information superhighway, but on the other hand, one is exposed to a murky world of temptations and addictions, which has few parallels in the real world.

When Muslims go on the Internet, they either tend to ignore certain aspects of the Deen, or they feel that Islamic teachings do not apply to cyberspace at all. This mindset then leads them to do things which they would never do in real life – after all, it is all virtual isn’t it?

Following are some of the common uses of the Internet, along with how the Islamic teachings apply to each of them.


Chatting today is not just text-based – there is voice chat, video conferencing, etc. which takes chatting to a whole new level. Fahad Iqbal has coined a new term for chatting with non-Mahrams – cyber-Khalwa. “When two people chat, they’re in Khalwa” (i.e., there’s no third person between them that knows what is going on). “As Muslims we’re required to not be in Khalwa with non-Mahrams, and if we have to be, for some reason, then there are strict guidelines that ought to be followed.”

Online, the hesitation of chatting with the opposite sex is overcome to a large extent. What is the Islamic guidance in this regard? Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, former President of the Islamic Society of North America, states that Internet chatting is very similar to writing letters or talking to someone on the phone. Hence, Muslims have to observe the same rules whilst chatting. Intimate conversations are not allowed. In fact, it is forbidden for a non-Mahram Muslim male and female to indulge in long conversations with each other, unless it is necessary for education or for business.

Chatting is also very addictive. Time simply whiles away, especially when discussing any unsuitable topic or wasting too much time in casual chit-chat. Time for a Muslim, like everything else, is a blessing from Allah (swt) that he/she will be questioned about on the Day of Judgement, so it ought to be used wisely.

Sheikh M. S. Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Muslim lecturer, says that in chat rooms a Muslim must be on guard, as he is dealing with a large number of unknown people. He should boycott the sites of Biddats and not engage in any discussions on these websites. He also says that the enthusiastic youth must not engage in matters of which they have little knowledge. In this regard, Allah’s (swt) words need to be remembered: “And on the Day of Resurrection, you will see those who lied against Allah (i.e., attributed to Him sons, partners), their faces will be black.” (Az-Zumar 39:60)


A blog is an online diary. In chat rooms, you have a considerable degree of control over who can interact with you and how. It is much more complicated if you maintain a blog, which may be regularly read and commented on by virtually anyone in the world, which includes non-Mahrams. Hence, writing very personal entries on those blogs must be avoided, and if possible, blogs must be made private, accessible only to the blogger’s chosen audience.

Muslim bloggers also ought to make sure that they do not post unverified Islamic information, and they should especially think twice before making any remarks about anyone’s personal attributes or character traits in their posts.

Those who leave comments on the blog must be wary of committing grave sins, such as slander, backbiting and fighting. Muslims should be careful, because every word they utter will be recorded, even if typed in cyberspace. As a general rule, we ought to tell ourselves that if we wouldn’t say something to someone in real life, we ought not to on the Internet as well.

Social and Professional Networking

Social networking websites work by asking you to register and set up a profile page, then allowing you to add people you know, join groups, play games, take quizzes, put up photos, share links and do a host of other activities.

Because these websites ask you to put sensitive information online, it is very important to know how to use their privacy settings. Failure to use the right settings can seriously compromise your online privacy, disclosing your private information to complete strangers and third party companies without your knowledge. Avoid altogether putting up any private data that is prone to exploitation, such as your work history, your phone numbers or residential address. Once again, determine early on where to draw the line, because social networking is very prone to addiction.

Also, while there’s certainly no harm in keeping up with friends, it’s important to define not only who are our ‘friends,’ but also just how much time we ought to devote to ‘keeping up’ with them, and what actually constitutes the exercise of this ‘keeping up.’ Indulging too much into the private lives of others, even if they have put it up for everyone to see, violates Islamic teachings, which require us to refrain from spying and being over-curious.

Online Islamic Guidance

While there is no denying that the Internet is an extremely easy way to access Islamic literature, it is not the best place to go for ‘Fatwah hunting’. There are a lot of bogus ‘Islamic’ websites out there, which do not have authentic scholars and rely on casual Internet users to compile information they have heard, read or gathered from other online sources. We must be especially careful not to mistake genuine Islamic websites run by Dawah organisations with casual Internet message boards set up by ordinary Muslims, where one may find numerous contentious Fatwahs and Wazaif, which are often completely without proper references. Even when using websites claimed to be run by scholars or genuine organizations, we should do a background check on the particular school of thought the scholars and/or organization ascribe to and make sure that they come from a reliable background.

The Youth Trap

Today, children as young as 4-5 years old can be seen using the Internet on their own. Quite a few children have their own email accounts, an instant messenger ID and social networking account by the time they are in school. Peer pressure can drive children to all sorts of dangerous activities online, from the relatively innocuous Internet overuse to such more serious tendencies as viewing pornographic and other sexually explicit content.

“Sending your children on the Internet alone is like sending your kid on the highway alone,” warns Tasneem Ahmed, a mom of four. Her husband Anwer Ahmed, a university professor, nicely sums up the needs of online supervision. “Parents should do their best to be aware of what sites their kids are visiting and whom they are communicating with. It is very important for them to have open and frank communication with their children, without threat of retribution.”

Completely prohibiting the Internet can backfire, as children can then be more tempted to taste the forbidden fruit. Sheikh Abdul-Majeed Subh states that one must teach children the sense of differentiating right from wrong, instead of enforcing exclusive prohibition. He quotes a Hadeeth regarding the principle of Ihsan (Perfection) in worship: “To worship Allah (swt) as if you see Him, and if you cannot achieve this state of devotion, then you must consider that He (swt) is looking at you.” (Bukhari) Parents also need to educate their children about the fact that Allah (swt) is looking at them, while they are surfing the net.

Chat rooms should be strictly off-limits, and parents ought to supervise or monitor other chatting routines, even if they are sure their kids do not have any non-Mahrams on their contact lists.

Finding a spouse online

The use of match-making websites has increased. Are these services permissible? Dr. Salah Al-Sawy, the Secretary General for the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (AMJA), says that if correspondence takes place with a faithful and honest mediator running the service and Shariah regulations are observed, then he hopes that it will be permissible (after all, Allah (swt) knows best).

Direct correspondence, however, requires a lot of precautions. Nevertheless, if it is necessary, interaction should be normal, and a trustworthy third party should be present. Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi states that while looking for a spouse online, elders or responsible friends should be involved in investigating or negotiating on one’s behalf.

The Final Word

Ultimately, whatever the medium, be it blogs, social networking websites, instant messengers, email, Muslim merchandise websites or Islamic information portals, whether their harms outweigh their benefits depends on how we use them. So like in all our other daily activities, the reward or sin for our actions online too will be judged based on our intentions for engaging in those activities.

Quick Reminder # 1 – Every click is recorded!

While one is sitting on the Internet, it is very easy to get lost in the numerous activities. There are simply too many websites to visit, too many emails to read and too many friends to keep up with on social networking websites. At times like these, it is imperative for Muslims to remember that every click of the mouse is being recorded and will have to be accounted for on the Day of Judgement. Hence, wastage of time in useless activities must be avoided, and each click must serve some constructive purpose.

Quick Reminder # 2 – The Constructive Clicks

What can one do to serve their Deen in cyberspace? Here are some quick suggestions:

1)      Make your status messages on social networking websites meaningful – you can write a short Ayah or Hadeeth, or simply something informative.

2)      Provide links to Islamic websites, which have authentic information.

3)      Pledge to send a daily or weekly email to all your contacts – again, with some meaningful information pertaining to how Deen can be practiced in daily life.

4)      Stay away from all controversial arguments on non-issues – they waste your time as well as that of others.

5)      If you maintain your own blog, use it to propagate the true face of Islam. Write meaningful posts.

6)      Educate yourself – visit authentic Islamic websites and learn more about Islam.

7)      Join websites as a link manager, and add quality Islamic website to search engine directories.

Quick Reminder # 3 – The Useless Clicks

What activities do NOT serve the Deen in cyberspace, though they seem to do so? Here are a few:

1)      Useless arguments on controversial issues, which do not have any purpose.

2)      Hacking anti-Islamic websites – it is always best to promote Islamic websites than to hack the opposing ones.

3)      Chatting with the opposite sex on the pretext of preaching Deen to them.

4)      Being careless while posting Islamic information – even the slightest slip can cause a widespread Fitnah.

Quick Fact # 1 – What is Cyberspace?

The Internet has aptly defined “cyberspace” as “a computer network consisting of a worldwide network of computer networks” and “a world of information through the Internet.” In layman terms, when you are on the Internet, connected to the world through your computer, laptop, cell phone or any other gadget, you are in cyberspace.

The Right Attitude

Vol 7 - Issue 1 The right attitudeBy Hafsa Ahsan

“Please forward to as many Muslims as you can.” This is the bottom line of most of the email messages which contain links to anti-Islamic websites, ‘fake’ Qurans and the like. Most people hit the forward button and send the email to their entire list of contacts. This response may be popular, but is it the right one?

Let’s have a look at some of the basic facts pertaining to such websites.

There are probably millions of anti-Islamic websites – you cannot stop them from originating. Most of these websites simply disappear on their own – simply because they have very little to keep the visitors coming back.

When you receive an email, which contains links to some of these websites, you naturally feel inclined to visit them. The people, to whom you forward the link, can similarly feel tempted to visit such a website to see for themselves, what it contains. This is the very act, which proves beneficial for the website owners.

Why? This is because every website has a counter for keeping track of its visitors. When a multitude of people visit the same website, the statistics counter shows very impressive figures. This helps the website get advertised and earn more revenue.

Plus, when you forward an email containing a website link, and it is forwarded millions of times, any search engine treats it as multiple web pages linking to one website. This improves the search engine ranking of the website, which means that this website will show up as first on such search engines as Google and Yahoo, even if the slightest keywords match the search.

The question arises: what should you do when you receive such an email? There are a number of possibilities:

1)      Click on the “Reply All” button to ensure that your email goes to all those to whom the original mail was sent. Make your reply polite, yet firm. Explain how forwarding such emails is counter productive, and that the best course of action is to delete them altogether.

2)      If you feel you will not be able to put your point of view across, then simply delete the email. Don’t even open such an email, if you feel you will be tempted to visit the offending websites.

3)      Never forward such emails! Most importantly, do not post the contents of such an email on public forums or social networking websites. If the offending websites have forums, try to avoid them altogether. You can never do proper Dawah there – in fact, you will only end up wasting your precious time.

At the end of the day, remember that Allah (swt) has promised to protect the Quran. Also, no anti-Islam website can shake one’s Iman, if it is truly strong. The next time you receive an email containing offensive websites, hasten to delete it from your inbox – that is definitely the right attitude.

Quick Fact: No References, No Authenticity

There is a barrage of forwarded emails and cell phone messages containing Quranic Ayahs, Ahadeeth and incidents from the Seerah/Islamic history without any references mentioned. Forwarding them without authentication will entirely be on your account, especially if the information they contain turns out to be incorrect. Any Islamic information must be verified and authenticated, before you forward it.