Feed Your Heart in Ramadan – A Beautiful Reminder


heart-purification                                                   Image Courtesy www.ramadan.co.uk


Many Muslims approach Ramadan very much like they do in previous years. They slip into similar habits and routines, and their ibadah from one Ramadan to the next is predictable. They may have the same taraweeh schedules, read similar quantities of Quran, or perform similar types of ibadah. And they end up coming out of Ramadan very much like they did the year before.

The Prophet (sa) said: “The example of hypocrisy in it (the heart) is like an ulcer that thrives on blood and pus.” (Ahmad)

You might be wondering what that even means; the end of the hadith explains it, and specifically in Ramadan we can see how it benefits us.

The Prophet (sa) further said: “Whichever one of the two (faith or hypocrisy) is getting more, whichever one of the two has the upper hand; the heart will follow suits; the heart will be overcome by that.” (Ahmad)

What does that mean? What you feed your hearts is supposed to directly impact whether or not your heart will be that of a Mumin or a Munafiq; a believer or a hypocrite. When you go to rehabilitation it’s about quitting things, and so if I am going to Taraweeh every night but while I am at home I have the TV on and I am still spending the same amount of time on internet and I am still talking about the same types of things to people and I am hanging out with the same group of people who are polluting and corrupting my heart then I am feeding the plants or I am feeding the ulcer? You are feeding the ulcer and the Prophet (sa) taught us to feed the plants specially in Ramadan. You are cutting out all these things which feed the ulcer. This is the meaning of the Hadeeth and Rasulullah (sa) said: “Whoever does not abandon idol speech, foolishness and backbiting (and the flaws of the tongue), Allah has no need of him abandoning his food and his desire; Allah does not want all that.”

Your heart has to fast as well; your limbs have to fast as well; so what are you feeding your heart in Ramadan? If you are feeding the Quran and you are feeding the Dhikr of Allah (swt), you are feeding the good material, listening to beneficial things for the entire month, throughout the month the plant in your heart is growing, your Iman is growing because you are feeding it with the pure water and sustaining it with pure water.

Imam Ibn Al-Jawzi said: “If you find the darkness in your hearts after you commit a sin then that means you still have light in your heart”; because if there was no light in the heart you would not have felt the darkness, (think about it, it is profound). If you still feel bad and uncomfortable in Ramadan when the stuff is going on and outside of the Ramadan as well, you still feel bad, you still have the guilty conscious; this means there is still Noor in your heart; there is some form of light in your heart.

The great scholar from the 9th century Than-Noon Al-Masri said: “Just as a sick body cannot enjoy fine food, a sick heart cannot enjoy worshipping Allah.” So if you are feeding that ulcer and you go to Taraweeh later, what’s going to happen? It’s not going to do anything. The great lecture and everything that you are hearing is not going to work because you have been feeding an ulcer for nine hours; now you are just trying to feed this plant for an hour a day; the plant will die.

So use Ramadan in particular to bring in the right things into your home and into your heart; surround yourself with things that will feed that plant; that will nourish that plant of Iman inside your heart.

Transcribed for Hiba Magazine by Hira Naqi


Personal Growth: Start With A Success-Oriented Mindset!


Image courtesy www.growbecauseyouknow.com

Make a “magical chamber” for yourself. Heal, nourish, and grow yourself there, with the powers you are made from.


We as human beings need space for personal growth; I call that “space” a “magical chamber”. Our chambers might be cracked; they can be rusted on the inside and glossy on the outside. The condition of your chamber will depend on the quality of life you are living. Cracks and rust can be from bad life experiences, abusive relationships, fighting, eating disorders, and so on.


Below are the four ways to build a pure, safe chamber which promotes growth, no matter what you are going through.


  1. Growth demands strong roots of trust: Iman


A healthy growth requires strong roots and bonding with the ultimate foundation; that means strong faith in Allah (swt).


If someone gives you a plant to take care of, how do you think you will do it?


You will try to find out about the basic elements that the plant consists of and the basic things those elements need to grow properly.


Similarly, a process of growth demands strong foundation in Iman (faith in Allah (swt)).

When a tree has firm roots and healthy trunk and branches, it automatically produces good fruits. When we establish the firm roots of Iman in our heart, and the trunk and branches of the tree healthy, our quality of life improves.


  1. Growth demands transparency


Transparency means:

  • Accepting yourself
  • Accepting your story


Practising transparency means being vulnerable, being honest, and accepting yourself: complete honesty in where you’re at, what you’re struggling with, and the courage to chase that string down to find out why.


The more you practice transparency, the richer your growth will be.


  1. Growth demands space – “A stance” to firmly start your journey


This means that you must have a defined boundary: “The Non-Negotiables”. Things you will not allow to enter your life. Non-negotiable are also things you are no longer willing to negotiate about yourself because they crack your chamber and hinder your growth.

Some examples of “Non-Negotiables” can be your:

  • Standards
  • Passions
  • Truth
  • Voice
  • Worth


  1. Consistent efforts to build a safe chamber


With a strong Iman, start practising transparency and create a space for yourself; build a brand new chamber to grow and prosper as a person. We must keep building and rebuilding it. It’s a continuous practice, and as we do it, we get stronger and more skilful.





Grow in Iman at Work

grow in imaan at work


  1. Focus on the Ultimate Goal: Most people work to earn a decent and Halal income. However, if you want to use your work to grow in Iman, you need to change into a higher gear. You need to make your work fit a larger game plan that you strive for – earning a ticket to Jannah, Bi Izn Allah (swt). Don’t try to make Islam fit your work. Rather, make your work help achieve Islamic goals. In other words, your employer’s mission and vision must be compatible with yours.
  2.  Adopt Islamic Values with Sincerity: Global secularization has caused corporations to define core values for employees, and for professional bodies to establish ethical codes of conduct for its members. The values enshrined in our religion subsume and exceed all ethical principles. Moreover, our intentions for dedicating every action for Allah’s (swt) pleasure makes us sincerer than those who follow such values just to comply with policies and codes. Work is an opportunity for us to develop our true Islamic characters, while fulfilling our professional duties. Our Iman grows when we do our work with Ikhlas.

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Top Five Ways to Boost Your Iman

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

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

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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!

Ebb and Flow

Vol 6 - Issue 4 Ebb and FlowNaureen Aqueel discusses the highs and lows of Iman (faith).

I am often left in great awe about the experiences my heart goes through. At times, I’m overjoyed, while at others – perplexed. The feeling is inexplicable, but every Muslim experiences it. It’s the highs and lows of Iman (faith), as we tread through this journey of life. Sometimes the waves rise and wash away the dirt, driving us to greater and greater heights of good deeds. At other times of spiritual deprivation, the same waves lower, leaving us wondering how they had ever been so high.

This bumpy journey of faith is fascinating but at the same time puzzling. During the periods of low, it is spiritually distressing. And that becomes the best time for Shaitan to attack. Therefore, it becomes extremely important for us to understand these variations in the level of our Iman and the reasons causing them, so that we can be well-prepared to intercept Iman in its downward journey and bounce it back up, Insha’Allah.

It is natural for our Iman to go through these ups and downs. The Prophet (sa) informed us of this condition, when he said: “Faith wears out in the heart of anyone of you, just as clothes wear out, so ask Allah to renew the faith in your hearts.” (Hakim) Allah (swt) also mentions this condition: “…And when His Verses (this Quran) are recited to them, they (i.e. the Verses) increase their Faith…” (Al-Anfal 8:2)

The Messenger of Allah (sa) is reported to have said: “There is no heart that does not have clouds like the clouds that cover the moon. When the cloud covers it, it’s dark, and when the cloud moves away, it shines.” (Tabarani)

It is comfortably reassuring that the Companions of the Prophet (sa) went through the same fluctuations in their level of Iman. The Companions used to feel their Iman increase when they would sit in gatherings of righteousness, and when they were away from such gatherings, they felt their Iman was not so high. Abdullah Ibn Masood (rta) used to say: “Sit with us, so that we may increase in Iman.” (Ahmad)

We find similar reports about other Companions. An increase in their Iman was what they always sought. The fact that the Companions went through the same fluctuations in the level of faith is reassuring, only because it prevents us from falling into despair and gives us hope of reaching high ranks despite this natural human shortcoming. However, this should not make us passive and prevent us from striving to increase our Iman, for Iman often lowers due to sins and laziness.

Abu Hurairah (rta) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “When the believer commits a sin, a black dot will be engraved on his heart. If he repents, refrains and regrets, his heart will be polished again. If he commits more errors, the dots will increase, until they cover his heart. This is the Ran (stain) that Allah described: ‘Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (covering of sins and evil deeds) which they used to earn’ (Al-Mutaffifin 83:14).” (At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasai and Ibn Majah)

We often feel this rust on our hearts, when we fail to get the same concentration and spiritual replenishment through our Salah that we got previously. The same Quran that moved our hearts no longer brings those tears. We no longer feel the same excitement at learning a new Hadeeth, nor do we run to adopt a new Sunnah. We slack in carrying out voluntary acts of worship, and while we do perform the obligatory acts of worship, we find that vigour and spirituality painfully missing in us. Sounds familiar? Well, most of us experience one or more of these symptoms during different phases of our life.

The reasons for the falling of Iman are all basically centered around disobedience, laziness, heedlessness and being too involved in the Dunya (world). We often find ourselves so caught up in our worldly activities that we are unable to take out quality time for our Salah, gatherings of Zikr, the Quran and voluntary acts of worship. Our Salah becomes shorter, our daily Quran recitation and study become lesser, we do not have the time to attend Quran study circles, and slowly and gradually we get cut off from all that brings us near to Allah (swt). The result is a decrease in the level of our Iman, a weakening in our connection with Allah (swt) and eventually a heart covered by a dark and gloomy cloud of depression and frustration, resulting in a strange void inside us.

Ok, so we aware of the tell-tale signs signaling that our Iman is beginning to take a downward turn. We know the reasons for its lowering. Now what? Well, firstly, we have to take charge of our lives and not let our busy schedules, laziness or desires weaken our relationship with Allah (swt). It’s not like you won’t commit mistakes or that you’ll become a super time manager and find time for everything; however, you must not let these tactics of Shaitan keep you down for long. Repent and reform as soon as you realize your mistake. Squeeze out time from your busy life just to spend more time with the Quran and good companions. And above all – make Dua.

The Prophet (sa) taught us to ask Allah (swt) to renew our faith. He also taught us beautiful Duas for seeking Allah’s (swt) help concerning the matters of our Iman: “O Turner of hearts! Make my heart firm and steadfast on Your Deen (religion)!” (At-Tirmidhi) “Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth), after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower!” (Al-Imran 3:8)

During periods of low Iman, you may find your daily Salah and your daily Quran recitation difficult and burdensome, but never let those feelings pull you down. Shaitan will tell you it’s no use praying or reading the Quran, when you no longer feel the way you did before. Don’t fall into that trap. Letting go of Salah and the Quran will only worsen your state. Also, increase the time of your listening to the Quran. This has an amazing effect on the heart. Attend Quran study circles and sit in the company of the righteous. You will feel a fascinating ray of Iman reaching into your heart, when you sit with the believers. Such congregations have a great effect in fortifying Iman, and even if your schedule feels tight, taking out time for such gatherings and for the Quran will leave you finding more time in your day, as you gain more energy and motivation from the Quran and the believers. Give it a try!

Wish you the best of Iman!

Iman – The Foundation of Islam

Vol 2-Issue2  ImaanJust by looking at today’s events, one can clearly see that Muslim communities are suffering. Naturally, a lot of soul searching is being done to diagnose the problem. I remember my teacher once told me that all the rewards, which Allah (swt) has promised in the Quran, are for the true believers, i.e., Mumineen. So the Iman (Faith) of people is crucial. My question was: what is Iman? Like others, I wonder if we have really understood this word. One would assume that every Muslim, who says the Shahadatain, has Iman. But is Iman just a declaration of faith? Or is Iman only a belief in the heart? Or do actions and deeds together configure in Iman? Let us consider the answers to these questions one at a time.

1. Declaration of faith goes together with the belief in the heart.

Abdullah Bin Ubbay lived in Medina at the time of the Prophet (sa) and he had declared himself to be a Muslim. Although he prayed with the Muslims, Allah (swt) did not accept his faith, because his heart contained doubts about Allah (swt) and his Messenger (sa). He was later on declared to be the greatest hypocrite of his time. A Muslim’s Iman is complete only when he loves Allah (swt) and his Messenger (sa) more than himself.

2. Iman is not only a belief in the heart but in actions and the deeds as well.

Abu Talib was the uncle of the Prophet (sa). He recognized the truth of Islam, but he did not declare this with his tongue. Neither did this belief culminate into good deeds. He neither expressed approval nor submit to the will of Allah (swt). Allah (swt) declared him to be a disbeliever. Clearly, belief without expressing it in the form of words and deeds will not make one a believer.

Since Iman is the foundation of Islam, it has been very clearly explained in the Quran and the Sunnah. According to, Ibn Qayyim once wrote that Iman is composed of the following components:

1. Having the knowledge of what the Prophet (sa) taught.

2. Having complete and firm belief in what he brought.

3. Verbally professing this belief.

4. Submitting to what he brought out of humility and love.

5. Acting in accord with what the Prophet (sa) brought, both outwardly and inwardly. Implementing it and calling to its path according to one’s ability.

Ibn Uthaimeen has emphasized the fact that Iman is not simply composed of belief in the heart. I is a declaration that requires acceptance and submission.

The locus of Iman is the heart, tongue and action. It is also stated that Iman increases or decreases. Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “And when the verses are recited to them, they (the verses) increase their faith.” (Al-Anfal 8:2)

It is also clear from this that a believer’s Iman increases with the Dhikr of Allah (swt) and decreases with Fawahish (Indecency). In another verse, Allah (swt) says: “It is He who sends down tranquility into the hearts of the believers, in order that faith may be added to their faith.” (Al-Fath 48:4)

When a person’s Iman decreases he comes down from the high level of being called Mu’min to being a Muslim and vice versa. Iman can also leave the heart of a Muslim for a short period of time. The proof of this is in the statement of the Prophet (sa): “When a person commits adultery, Iman leaves him and remains above his head like an awning, when he discontinues this behavior, Iman comes back to him.” (Tirmidhi)

Three basic points for every Muslim to remember with regard to Iman:

Minimum level of Iman necessary to prevent one from the eternal hellfire.

A Muslim, should believe in every thing that is from Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa). He should show a readiness and willingness to adhere to all the do’s and don’ts of Islamic teachings.

(1) Level of Iman necessary to save a person from going to the hellfire even for a short period of time: A Muslim should fulfill all the obligations upon him with respect to Allah (swt). He should fulfill all his duties with regards to people. Lastly, he should keep away from all that is forbidden. A person in this category is a true believer or a Mu’min as Allah (swt) says in the Quran, “The (true) believers are only those, who, when Allah (swt) is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts, and when His verses are recited to them, these increase their faith. And they put their trust in their Lord. Those, who establish the prayer and spend out of what We have provided them.” (Al-Anfal 8:2-3)

(2) Level of Iman necessary to be in the highest rank of Paradise:

These are the people possesing complete Iman. They strive to perform much more than the required deeds. They miss no opportunity to do well to people around them and always avoid causing harm to them. Their every act is done with excellence, i.e., Ihsan. These people are called Mohsineen. The Prophet (sa) said: “Ihsan is to worship Allah (swt) as if you see Him, and if you cannot achieve this state of devotion, then you must consider that He is seeing you.” (Bukhari)

On the basis of Iman, people are divided into two categories: Disbelievers and believers, and among the believers there can be some, whom Allah (swt) can categorize as hypocrites. Believers are further divided into three categories, each higher in rank than the other: Muslim, Mumin and Muhsin. Let all the Muslims collectively strive to be true believers and seek help from Allah (swt) in doing so. Allah (swt) says in the Quran, “And seek help through patience and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive (to Allah (swt)).” (Al-Baqarah 2:45)