Rules of writing a “Will” in Islam

 

Image Courtesy www.gettyimages.com

 

We need to educate ourselves with the compulsory rules of writing a “will” in Islam.  The topic is huge, but I will try to be as brief as possible. If Allah (swt) wills.

  1. Allah’s (swt) prescription for the six

Allah (swt) has decided our will for six relationships- husband, wife, son, daughter, brother and sister. We “cannot” write anything for these relationships in our will. They will get what is written for them in the Quran.

  1. Charity in the will

Similarly, we cannot leave in charity more than “1/3” of our wealth. Remaining is the right of the above mentioned six relations.  Charity is recommended to be done within the lifetime.  Once we leave this world, we can part 1/3 of our wealth for charity.

  1. Remain just to daughters and wives

Sadly, daughters and wives do not receive their rightful shares from the inheritance. Allah (swt) has taken our right to make any changes in the will He has made for the above six relationships.

Anyone, changing Allah’s (swt) decision, shall be answerable to Him in the hereafter.

  1. Will vs. gift

Will and gift are different. Anything given when one is alive is a gift. All children must be given equal amount of gifts under Islam.

There is a narration of a Hadeeth by Al-Nu’man ibn Basheer, where he said that his father brought him to the Prophet (sa), when he gave him a gift, to ask the Prophet (Allah (sa) to bear witness to it. The Prophet (sa) asked: “Have you given something similar to all your children?” He said: “No.” He said: “Then take it back.” Then he said: “Fear Allah (swt) and treat your children fairly.”(Bukhari)

Allah (swt) has stressed again and again to divide the wealth after settling debts. Once the debts are settled, whatever is left, can be divided amongst the six relationships according to what is ordered in the Quran.

A person has authority of writing a will for 1/3 part or less from his wealth only.

  1. The Will formula

Formula:  Wealth – Debts – (Charity, if written in the will to the extent of 1/3 of the total amount left) OR (anyone can be given 1/3 of the total wealth if it is in the will. Relatives, needy and poor are recommended) = Wealth remaining for distribution among husband, wife, son, daughter, brother and sister.

  1. Distribution of wealth- in the light of Quran

With regard to the distribution of personal belongings, we do not have the right to state how they should be distributed after we die, because the share of each heir has been defined by Allah (swt), and He has explained who inherits and who does not inherit.

So, it is not permitted for any person to transgress the limits set by Allah (swt), because Allah (swt) has warned against doing that.

Allah (swt) says in Surah An-Nisa (interpretation of the meaning),

“Allah (swt) commands you as regards your children’s (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females; if (there are) only daughters, two or more, their share is two-thirds of the inheritance; if only one, her share is a half. For parents, a sixth share of inheritance to each if the deceased left children; if no children, and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third; if the deceased left brothers or (sisters), the mother has a sixth. (The distribution in all cases is) after the payment of legacies he may have bequeathed or debts. You know not which of them, whether your parents or your children, are nearest to you in benefit; (these fixed shares) are ordained by Allah (swt). And Allah (swt)is Ever All‑Knower, All‑Wise.

In that which your wives leave, your share is a half if they have no child; but if they leave a child, you get a fourth of that which they leave after payment of legacies that they may have bequeathed or debts. In that which you leave, their (your wives) share is a fourth if you leave no child; but if you leave a child, they get an eighth of that which you leave after payment of legacies that you may have bequeathed or debts. If the man or woman whose inheritance is in question has left neither ascendants nor descendants, but has left a brother or a sister, each one of the two gets a sixth; but if more than two, they share in a third, after payment of legacies he (or she) may have bequeathed or debts, so that no loss is caused (to anyone). This is a Commandment from Allah (swt); and Allah (swt)is Ever All‑Knowing, Most‑Forbearing.

These are the limits (set by) Allah (swt)(or ordainments as regards laws of inheritance), and whosoever obeys Allah (swt)and His Messenger (Muhammad sa) will be admitted to Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise), to abide therein, and that will be the great success.

And whosoever disobeys Allah (swt) and His Messenger (Muhammad sa), and transgresses His limits, He will cast him into the Fire, to abide therein; and he shall have a disgraceful torment.” (An-Nisa 4:11-14)

  1. Wealth to nieces and nephews

There is no reason why we should not give our nephews and nieces whatever we want of our wealth whilst we are alive. As they are not our own children, we are not obliged to give to them all equally. We can give gifts to those whom we love, and to whoever we wish; or to whoever among them is in need according to his or her need. Try to give to those who are religiously committed in ways that will help them to obey Allah (swt). It is also permitted to leave to them one-third, or less of your wealth- so long as they are not your heirs.

  1. Alteration of the deceased will

It is permissible to alter a will by the heirs- only if- it is made against Allah’s (swt) orders, with the intent to protect the deceased from Allah’s (swt) wrath. Similarly, it is a great sin to alter a will for personal gains. It is a great sin to deprive anyone of his/her share of the will.

And Allah (swt) knows best.

 

 

 

Making sense of the killings

 

Image Courtesy www.islam21c.com

Today the very fabric of society stands shaken. What and who can justify the killings of innocent kids?

If we travel back into time around 220 BC, China was divided into three kingdoms. Those were the times when amazing Chinese poetry was written; romantic heroes were depicted in movies to come; new dialects emerged and great laws were written down. But tragically, those were also the times when China was constantly at war within. Those battles caused unbelievable harm to the people of China who perished in millions. They couldn’t tolerate each other. They would wage war if one clan combed his hair differently than the other clan. That was a reason for them to hate each other. Many smaller nations hurt them in that vulnerable stage.

Today, we see a powerful superpower in the face of China standing united. Yes, united. That was the key. When they realized how division had weakened them, they joined hands to become one. And so, every household today has a high percentage of its merchandise either coming from China or being manufactured there- be it mobile phones, the clothes we wear, the furniture we use, etc.

A very famous parable circulates about three bulls and a lion. As the three stood together, the lion could not hunt them. Then the lion had an opportunity to trap one of the bulls. It cunningly convinced two bulls to break away from the third one. Hence, the two stood back, and let the lion devour the third bull. Next, the lion ate the second bull promising refuge to the one left alone. Lastly, as predicted, the lion pounced on the third and final bull. Just before the third bull was about to die it commented “In reality I was eaten the day I let the first bull be eaten for my own benefit. My death was sealed the day I was de-united. I am just being killed today.”

“Muhammad (sa) is the Messenger of Allah. And those who are with him are severe against disbelievers and merciful among themselves.” (Al-Fath 48:29)

Are we behaving mercifully towards our brothers and sisters? Or the ways of Khawarij have cracked into us? Khawarij were a group of people who had long beards and knew the Quran beautifully; yet, earned Allah’s (swt) anger. Their main worry was to fight other Muslims. For them it was said that they will leave the religion as an arrow leaves the bow. There was much less Iman in their hearts.

If we do not prevent ourselves from this behaviour, if we do not control the agenda, if we do not curb the hatred and rancor- we are heading towards disaster. If only we rewind the scene to the time when Allah’s (swt) had a conversation with His angels as described by the Quran. The angels showed concern to their Lord (swt) that is He going to put on earth His Khalifah who will spill blood? Allah (swt) informed them that He knew what they knew not. It was Allah’s (swt) great plan. And what was that? Allah (swt) was going to change the world through knowledge.

Whoever acted according to the revealed knowledge would be merciful.

Knowledge will ennoble them, bring logic and reason to them, and guide their hearts to mercy. What we see is a byproduct of ignorance about Allah (swt). They have forgotten Allah (swt), so Allah (swt) has made them forget their meeting with Him on Yaum-ul-Qiyamah. It is knowledge that enlightens you about the rights of others; the more you learn, the more you discover your own ignorance and strive to better yourself.

Even the fish in the oceans prays for the one who seeks knowledge. If Ulema of Islam are not the Auliya (helpers) of Allah (swt) – I don’t know who is?

We need to launch schools, colleges and universities of the international level that can impart education on Deen and Duniya both. We need to invest in projects that ensure spiritual, as well as, intellectual uplift. The products of such ventures will bring back the lost glory of knowledge, and academics as was the case from 9th until 14th century when Muslim scholars and their scholastics ruled the world.

AmribnulAas (rta) conquered North Africa thrice. Each time he conquered it, the country went back to fighting internally. Then he altered his strategy, and brought Sahabah from Madinah to come and live with the population. Rest assured everything calmed down. The knowledgeable companions brought light of their knowledge and actions, and illuminated the hearts of the people.

Hassan Al Basree once said that the Himmah (strength) of a Jahil (ignorant) is his narration.

But the concern of an Alim (scholar) is action on the knowledge he has gained. There is a strong co-relation between Amal (action) and Ilm (knowledge). As the Quran questions- is the one who know equal to the one who knows not?

Without true action- in the light of the Quran and the Sunnah- every knowledge seeker becomes a hypocrite or a pseudo-intellectual carrying a label and huge degrees. But, there is no Barakah left in his knowledge. He is as blind as the ones following him. He suffers from a disease of self-righteousness. He knows better, and cannot see the goodness of others; hence, he claims superiority. The essence of Taqwa (fear of Allah’s (swt) presence) is lost. All that one wants to tackle is his own differences, even if he has to resort to violence. This sickness has become rampant in the Ummah today.

We have two sides of the coin. On one hand, we have extremists who follow self-construed understanding of Islam, and take up arms to endorse it. On the other hand, we have modernists who dilute Islam, and call for an understanding that suits to their liking and lifestyle. But, Islam is moderate, and cannot be understood according to our own desires.

Bukhari narrates that before the last hour strikes; there will come a part of time that shall be full of Fitnah.

A man will sleep a believer and wake up a disbeliever. And He will sleep a disbeliever and wake up a believer. This will be due to a tremendous trial. The heart of a believer is weak and fragile. A stupid doubt can lead him to atheism, and his heart can waver as soon as a Fitnah strikes.

But, when I see Pakistan, I see tremendous hope. When there is good, there is opportunity; and when there is bad, I see greater opportunity. Every nation takes approximately twenty five years to rise. Look at Japan after Hiroshima bombing and Germany after its collapse. Pakistan has three great assets:

  1. Over 60% of its population comprises of youth. This is spectacular demographic. Nowhere in the world do you find this kind of a number. All we need to do is invest in their right education. Invest Dollar 1 today to save Dollars 10 tomorrow. This youth can be the fulcrum of change with the right leadership and mentorship.
  1. Islam is in the D.N.A. of every Pakistani. False ideologies will not take root here for long.
  1. Pakistanis are an extremely charitable nation. Even abroad in England 10 Downing Street reported that an average annual donation of a Muslim to another Muslim is Pound 668. And a large portion of it comes from Pakistanis.

I, being the chairman of Mercy Mission, want to personally see this growth. By the year 2030, I dream to see a pious, confident, selfless and self-sufficient Pakistan. It is our organization’s goal to help build a world where Muslim communities live faithfully, and benefit the society globally. And our change will come through education, Insha’Allah.

Transcribed from a talk at Motiwala residence for Hiba by RanaRais Khan

 

 

Bringing Deen in your child’s heart

quran_childThere is a good difference between teaching Deen and making your child love Deen. Teaching comes very easily; you have to instruct your children to pray, greet with peace, to be honest at all times, and to avoid all kinds of sins. They will practise it as long as they are under your supervision, but it cannot be guaranteed in your absence. In order to make them really want to do the righteous acts you have to instil love for the Deen in their hearts.
Don’t scare them with imaginary beings.

It is the most common practise in our society that, as adults, we are prone to scaring kids using imaginary beings with some horrible made-up names. It temporarily solves the problem, but in the long run, it will not do any good. First of all, it will make your child feel deceived when he or she will discover that a scary being as such never existed. Then, it will make your child think that it is alright to lie; and then, they might lie to you as well for small and big matters. Lastly, they will never get to realize the Greatness of Allah (swt).
Instead, tell them about Allah (swt), the Most Merciful, the Most Gracious. If it is about finishing their homework, tell them that since Allah (swt) has blessed them with the opportunity to study at a school, they should thank Him by finishing their school work. If you want them to finish their food, or eat a particular dish they don’t like, tell them about how Allah (swt) will be pleased if he or she eats the food Allah (swt) has blessed your family with.

Increase their trust in Allah (swt)
Increasing your children’s trust in Allah (swt) will help to make their perception about the Judgement Day, the existence of Hell and Paradise stronger. Start doing it from a very young age. Each time they are worried, tell them that Allah (swt) is with them at all times. When your children are afraid to go to school because you will not be there, let them know that even though you can’t be there, Allah (swt) will be looking after them. This makes the existence of Allah (swt) more real to children, and they start feeling protected by Allah (swt).

Make them realize their value in the sight of Allah (swt)
We all know and must believe that Allah (swt) loves each one of us more than anyone else in this world. Children will only know that when they will persistently hear from their parents. Also, for this reason, you need to avoid taunting your children about something they are not good at, or scold them unnecessarily.

Let your children know that Allah (swt) loves them more than you do or anyone else does. Make them realize the blessings Allah (swt) has showered them with. Let them know that the happiness they receive is by the blessings of Allah (swt), and that is only because they mean a lot to Allah (swt).

Don’t shun them for wrong deeds
When you catch children doing something wrong, don’t shun them or isolate them. Instead ask them to repent and rectify their mistakes. Explain to them why it is wrong to commit a sin, or to go against the commandments of Allah (swt); and that Allah (swt) is the most forgiving if they decide not to repeat their mistake.

Rewards are more effective than punishments
It is very easy to punish your children, and punishments will eventually stop your children from doing the wrong act; but better than this is to reward them for the good deeds. By rewarding, you will increase the chances of them going good deeds again.

The reward does not have to be materialistic all the time. You can juggle between rewarding with a toy, chocolate, their favourite food, reading them their favourite book, playing a game with them that they enjoy or simply encouraging them with words.

Do what you preach
‘Do what you preach’ is the most important rule that parents forget to apply when teaching their children anything. Children learn more from your actions than from your words. If you tell them that we are not supposed to lie, then you should be careful of not lying as well. If you ask them to perform the prayers on time, then they must see you doing the same.

Allow open and friendly discussions
You can only expect your children to take you seriously, if they have that trust that you are not trying to boss them- but rather, you care for them. Take some time out every day to sit and talk to your children. Let them be open enough to discuss their doubts and confusions, especially when it comes to the Deen. Do your best not to show your irritation even if you do get irritated by their questions. Of course, there always have to be this certain boundary that you will have to maintain; but, as long as, they are really serious about asking a question, you don’t have to be too hard on them.

Randomly tell them prophetic stories
I have heard this complaint from a lot of parents that their kids enjoy listening to stories; but whenever they take that opportunity to tell them Islamic tales, they quickly lose their interest, and the whole purpose of telling that story gets destroyed.

My advice is to start the story in a general manner. You don’t have use the name of the Prophet right at the start of the story. Start with telling the story and try to grasp your child’s interest with the whereabouts of the story. Whenever we are telling kids stories of the Prophets, we focus more on their names and less on the moral of the story; whereas. children are always more interested in what the story is all about. So, once you have gained the attention get to the name of the Prophet.

Introduce them to the words of Allah (swt)
Making your children learn and memorize the Quran is an excellent act. But, along with that make them understand the meaning of the verses they recite is important. Quran has covered all topics related to our lives. What could be a better way to educate your children than with the words of Allah (swt).

Instilling Deen in your child’s heart is easier said than done. But, if you do it with pure intentions, Allah (swt) is sure to help you. May Allah (swt) be pleased with all the efforts you put in to bring up a pious offspring. Ameen.

Caution: Innovations Ahead!

sunnah-bidahThe term Bid’ah literally means innovation. Many people have invented new practices in our religion, which neither Allah (swt) nor the messenger (sa) commanded us to act upon. As Muslims, it is necessary to believe that the Prophet Muhammad (sa) bought us the complete religion in its most perfect form.

As the Quran says, “This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (Al-Maidah 5:3)

This verse confirms that our religion Islam is complete, and does not require any additions or omissions from it. Islam is such an amazing religion that it teaches us how to behave in every situation of life- be it at a funeral, a wedding, visiting the sick or even in the bathroom. As Muslims, we believe that by following the Prophet (sa) in every aspect of life, we will be successful in this life and the hereafter because his lifestyle is that of moderation.

Unfortunately, many Muslims have innovated numerous practices in Islam that were neither done by the Prophet (sa) nor commanded by Allah (swt) in the Quran. By doing such an act, they imply a number of things. Did the Prophet (sa) fail in bringing us the complete religion? Was Allah’s (swt) religion not perfect for you that you had to make some additions to Islam? Is the Quran not accurate for Allah (swt) says that He has completed and perfected the religion? Please reflect upon these questions fellow Muslims because Allah (swt) is perfect, His system is perfect and there is no fault in whatever He has given and gives us.

Bid’ah is something:

  1. we consider a part of Islam,
  2. for which there is no evidence in the Quran or Sunnah,
  3. we believe we can get rewards from Allah (swt) for carrying out this practice.

This is a litmus test for identifying any practice that is a Bid’ah. So, whenever you do something that you consider a part of Islam, ask yourself, did the Prophet (sa) do this? Does Allah (swt) command us to do this?

Here are some practices we consider a part of Islam, but they are in fact Bid’ah!

-Offering Fatiha at the grave: The Prophet (sa) has never been recorded to have offered Fatiha at anyone’s grave. In fact, he indirectly prohibited it as shown by the following Hadeeth in which Aisha (ra) asked the Prophet (sa) what to say when she visited the graveyard. He replied to send Salam upon them and to pray for them. He did not tell her to recite Fatiha or any chapter of the Quran. It is prohibited to recite the Quran in graveyards for the Prophet (sa) said: “Do not make your houses graveyards, for verily Satan flees from the house in which Surah Al Baqarah is recited.” Thus, our houses should not resemble graveyards where no chapter from the Quran is read.

-Events such as the Birthday of the Prophet (sa) (Maulad-e-Nabi). Neither the Prophet (sa) nor the companions (rta) celebrated such an event in their lives. However, just to imitate the Christians, Muslims have started doing so. They celebrate Jesus’s (as) birthday on the 25th of December, so we should celebrate our Prophet’s (sa) birthday too, right? Other events such as Qul or mourning on the 3rd, 10th or 40th day of death have no roots in our religion.

List of Bid’ah

  1. Offering Fatiha at graves or reciting Quran there.
  2. Celebrating the Prophet’s (sa) Birthday
  3. Shab-e-Mairaj on the 27th of Rajab (night of ascension) or Shab-e-Barat on the 15th of Shaban.
  4. Mourning on the 3rd, 10th and 40th and the yearly anniversary of the deceased.

According to Hadeeth, only three things increase the deceased’s reward namely Sadaqah, knowledge they taught and pious children who make Dua for them.

  1. Placing the Quran over the bride’s head.
  2. Celebrating Urs (yearly festival of saints).
  3. Sacrificing animals in the name of saints or even the Prophet (sa). We should perform all acts of righteousness only in the name of Allah (swt). Practices such as cooking food, or sacrificing animals in the name of the Prophet (sa) or for him are forbidden.

The Quran says, “Say (O Muhammad (sa)): “Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, Jinns and all that exists).”(Al-Anam 6:162)

In Saheeh Muslim, it has been reported by Ali (ra) that the Prophet said: “Allah’s (swt) curse is upon the one who sacrifices to anything other than Allah (swt); Allah’s (swt) curse is upon the one who curses his own parents; Allah’s (swt) curse is upon the one who shelters an innovator; and Allah’s (swt) curse is upon the one who alters the landmarks.”

  1. Dowry (Jehez) given by women to men. This practice is not part of the Sunnah and has not been commanded by the Quran, but in fact, is a part of the Hindu culture and ours as well. Such a practice is highly disliked because it creates many obstacles for women trying to get married.
  1. Wearing good luck charms, talismans, amulets and the like. Good and bad only come from Allah (swt), and these objects have no power to change what Allah (swt) wants to happen. It is Shirk to believe that such objects can bring good, or prevent any bad from happening that Allah (swt) has already decreed. “And invoke not besides Allah, any that will neither profit you, nor hurt you, but if (in case) you did so, you shall certainly be one of the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers)”(Yunus 10:106)
  1. Building structures on graves.
  1. We should not sacrifice or pray to Allah (swt) where shirk is committed. The concept that   prayer is likely to be accepted at “Special places” such as graves of known or famous people is also wrong.
  1. Covering the head during call to prayer. There is no evidence that the female companions during the Prophet’s (sa) time did this. Also, the Adhan is not the recitation of Quran, but simply a call to prayer in the Arabic language.

Kindly, ponder upon these points and carry out research regarding these topics, as little knowledge is dangerous; hence, it is important not to follow others blindly. Rest Allah (swt) knows best!

Exclusive Interview with Abu Productive

productive_muslimMohammed Faris (Abu Productive) is the founder of ProductiveMuslim.com, an online social enterprise dedicated to boosting productivity in the Muslim World.

How did Productive Muslim come into being, and what was the inspiration behind it?

When I was at University doing my Masters, I used to have two jobs; I was the President of the Student Islamic society and was quite involved with the community. My friends started asking me: “How do you do it? How do you balance it all?”

Even though my friends said this to me, I felt unsatisfied with how I was managing my time, focus, and energy. I knew I could achieve more and do more; hence, I stumbled upon the science of productivity.

After reading some books on productivity, and seeing the practical positive effects these books had on me, I started thinking how best to share this with my friends.

Then on an early November morning in 2007, I was walking to Fajr and the two words “Productive Muslim” came to my mind. They seemed extremely suited for each other and I was excited to launch a blog under that name.

Initially, what were your aims and objectives? And have they changed over time?

Initially, my goal was to take all the latest productivity techniques and ideas that I was learning from the books and articles I was reading, and share them to the Muslim world.

However, a moment of inspiration came to me when I read the Hadeeth: “The early hours are blessed for my Nation” (Tirmidhi) It made me realize that Islam has a lot to teach us about productivity, but there hasn’t been a platform before that linked between Islam and Productivity.

It was truly an honour from Allah (swt) that we were the pioneers of this linkage and it has truly changed my life forever.

What is your vision for Productive Muslim?

By Allah’s (swt) Permission ­ my vision is to inspire every single Muslim and Muslimah out there to be their best versions. They should aspire to be productive citizens of the world; to be balanced individuals from a spiritual, physical, and social perspective.

I pray that this platform becomes the beginning of the Ummah’s long journey back towards success and prosperity by inspiring every individual to do their very best, every single day.

Most of your work is online – how do you organize everything as you have so many things going on at the same time?

This is from Allah (swt) ­ first and foremost. He has blessed me with a wonderful empowered team to do a lot for His sake, and given us technologies that make working collaboratively very easy.

We use a number of communication and virtual collaboration tools such as Slack, Podio, Gmail, Google Docs, Dropbox, GoToMeeting, Skype, and Lastpass, to keep everything manageable.

But most importantly, are the team members who have clear objectives and goals and who are self motivated to do their best for Allah’s (swt) sake and the vision of Productive Muslim.

Your team comprises mainly of volunteers. In this day and age, when people want to be paid for every work they do, how do you motivate your team?

Once again ­ this is from Allah (swt). Truly without His help, I would not be able to find the right team member to do the right task in the team.

Some of the key principles we have in the team include:

  1. We treat volunteers as professionals. This means we hold them accountable for results and treat them as if they are being paid. There’s no excuse for being an “unproductive” volunteer on our team.
  2. We have a very strict process to hire volunteers: we carefully select volunteers out of hundreds of applications, and then based on assessment, and after interviewing them, we give them a one month probation to try them out. If they are good, they stay, otherwise we ask them to leave.
  3. We invest in our volunteers: We ensure that volunteers are learning and developing so that their time with us is fruitful and beneficial. Some of our volunteers left Productive Muslim and started their own companies and websites which is wonderful!
  4. We meet regularly with the volunteers: When new volunteers join the team, I have a twenty minute conversation with them. Then they have regular meetings with their team heads and we have quarterly meetings abroad.
  5. Constant feedback: We give constant feedback to our volunteers ­ from the way they work, to the way they behave online and this helps them improve and learn and grow.

The articles on Productive Muslim are Masha’Allah well researched. ­ Can you let us know about your authentication process? As in, who proofreads them for Shariah compliance and to ensure the information is correct?

All the articles written for Productive Muslim go through two rounds of revision- first by the assigned editors and second by our Chief Editor.

Most articles are straightforward and there’s nothing controversial about them. However, if something is controversial or needs Shariah approval, we have access to scholars whom we can contact for advice Alhumdulillah.

What are some of the challenges that you face?

Currently, we’re trying to develop a sustainable business model for ProductiveMuslim that both offers free content as well as paid premium content.

We do not like to be dependent on donations or advertisement; hence, we avoided those two sources.

Insha’Allah, we’re converging on a business model that would satisfy most of our readers soon.

We have often read on your page disparaging comments about your workshops’ charges. In general, people’s attitude is that anything Islamic should also be free. What would be your response to that?

Firstly, there’s a lot of free content on ProductiveMuslim.com and the paid content is for those who are keen to go a bit deeper with our content.

Secondly, we’re not an “Islamic” knowledge website; we’re a productivity training and consulting company that is based on Islamic principles and values.

Thirdly, in order for ProductiveMuslim to grow and flourish, we need to run a sustainable business. My dream is to hire every ProductiveMuslim volunteer as a full time staff member; and this can only be done if our readers support us by purchasing some of our courses and other products and services.

What are your plans/projects for the future?

We’ve lots of exciting projects coming up including the launch of our new book with Awakening, a new ProductiveMuslim podcast, a new subscription service called Academy+, and many others Insha’Allah.

How can other brothers and sisters help you out in your work?

We ask people to help us in 7 ways:

  1. Consume our content: articles, videos, worksheets, etc.
  2. Engage with our content: by liking and commenting
  3. Make Dua for us every time you read/view our work
  4. Purchase our products and services.
  5. Let everyone know in your circle about ProductiveMuslim.com.

Any message for the Ummah

My dear Ummah, ­ Islam is waiting for you to be a productive citizen of this world. Rise up from the swamps of laziness and let’s work together to be a Productive Ummah again.

Anything else you would like to share.

Just wanted to share an advice that was given to me before I started ProductiveMuslim.com ­ Have sincere intentions and work hard. This is the formula for success in Dunya and Akhirah.

Every day is your Birthday!

birthdayThe hailstorm turned into a thunderstorm while I was preparing dinner. I sat on my rocking chair and grabbed a cup of tea. What an exotic combination- hot beverage and cold weather! I was absorbed in my chain of thoughts when she came in- my best-est friend. In spite of our years of friendship, we share some conflicts too, and are still struggling to resolve them and gather on the same page. There she was- lying comfortably on the comfy sofa while gazing here and there.

Me: What are you looking for?

She: Where is birdy?

Me: Must be playing outside with him.

She: Do you remember what is coming up?

Me: What?

She gave me a stern look

Me: Oh ok I get it, charity month.

She shook her head in disgrace.

She: Can you ever in your life, just once,  behave like a normal person?

Me: Now what?

She: Dumbo! Its birdy’s birthday.

Birdy was my one and only daughter born after years of anticipation and was turning one year old that month.

Me: Oh that!

She: Yes that! And, I am here to plan with you and we will throw a mind-blowing party for her.

Me: What is so good about birthday?

She: Don’t be ungrateful; after such long wait and prayers, you got her. Don’t you want to celebrate? What kind of a mother are you?

Me: I have my set of belief.

She: Yes my religiously scholar sister, do share your old dated belief and enlighten our ignorance with your deep knowledge

Me: When we conceive, three things are decided at that very moment. First, life span; second, the gender; and third, whether one will be fortunate or unfortunate. Do you agree?

She: Hmm, so?

Me: Each passing year (for you, each birthday) is marking one year less to your total lifeline. What is there to celebrate about it? Celebrate your approaching death or wasted life?

She: Umm hmm..

Me: I am that kind of a mother who would not waste time, energy, and money on things that are of no importance. Instead, I will put in my efforts to earn for birdy’s life in the hereafter. I would rather invest in the later life which is eternal. I am that kind of a mother, who will try her best to make her daughter earn good deeds and the pleasure of her Rabb so she can celebrate with joy in her grave and hereafter.

She: Okay, but it will not cause any harm in celebrating a little bit? Your parents celebrated yours too.

Me: Birthday celebration is innovation in religion. It was originally celebrated by the non-muslims, and we will be among those whom we used to follow when alive. Islam does not teach us any of these rituals and celebrations.

And, it is not necessary to follow the same path of ignorance that we had once lived. We did celebrate birthdays when we were unaware.

She: I agree. But what will birdy think when she would see birthday celebrations of other kids? She will feel bad.

Me: Imagine what I now say. Consider yourself a kid and your birth date is approaching. You are waiting for the day when you are treated special. When you cut a cake, you receive gifts and privileges. The other kids around are not getting anything. They look towards you and crave to be in your place. They want to feel special and want those fancy wrapped gifts too. But they don’t. Will you share your presents and offer the same place of yours to be?

She: No not at all. Kids are kids. Why they would let other kids step in their zone of specialness and undivided attention.

Me: Exactly my point. Through this we are instilling selfishness in them. It is the time when every birthday child is just thinking about himself.

She: So what else can we do? We can’t have same date for every kid around?

Me: We can celebrate our two big festivals with fervour i.e. our Eid. We can décor our homes and invite guests and have food and fun. It is the right time to exchange gifts, and to create sense of communism and unity. Shared happiness, and shared love. It will be more encouraging if we present them with board games which require more than one player. This way all will be united.

She: Wow, I never thought on these lines. You nailed it sister.

This concluded our discussion and with this discussion, I finally got one conflict down between us. Smilingly I looked outside the window and I realized that continuous water drops can make a hole in a stone. Can’t we penetrate in ones heart with softness yet strong determination and commitment? When there is a will, there is a way.

A Warm Welcome to Winter

winter

Just take a walk amidst the cold

You will find a ray of hope

Those white snowy lands, and chilly winds blowing

Makes you realize that Allah (swt) is All-Knowing

He knows the human psyche so well

That He has offered us with variety, to happily dwell

They say winter is depressing, and drains one’s power

I say winter is the month of believer, and an energizer

We often hear people nag about the drop in temperature

It has blessings in disguise; let’s make use of this venture

Days are shorter, nights are long

Return spiritually to Him- to whom we belong

Fast the days, and pray the night prayers

Rekindle the faith, and keep it with care

Activities are put to halt, atmosphere is lazy

Read Quran to remove any perception that is hazy

It is an opportunity to be in love with your Rabb, and strengthen the tie

Buckle up O Muslim, for time flies.

 

15 Tips to Raising Great Children

Vol 1-Issue 2 Upbringing Children1) Start by teaching them the importance of worshipping only Allah (swt): The best thing any Muslim parent could ever teach  their children is to emphasize, from the day they can comprehend, that Allah (swt) is One and no one is worthy of worship except Allah (swt).
2) Treat them kindly: Kindness begets kindness. If we are kind to our children, they in turn would show kindness to others. Our Prophet (sa) was the best example in being kind to children.
3) Teach them examples: Here are some tips you may want to follow in helping your children grow up with Islamic values of Muslim heroes: Instead of Batman or Superman, tell them about real heroes such as Abu Bakr, Umar Ibn Khattab, Uthman Bin Affan, Ali Bin Abi Talib and others. Tell them how Muslim leaders brought a real peaceful change in the world, and won the hearts of Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
4) Let children sit with adults: It is preferable for children to be among adults, especially when listening to Islamic lectures. The Prophet (sa) would often put children in the front row when he spoke to the people.
5) Make them feel important: Consult them in family matters. Let them feel they are important members of the family; and that they have a part to play in the growth and well being of the family.
6) Go out as a family: Take family trips rather than allowing your children to always go out with their friends. Let your children be around family and friends from whom you want them to pick up their values. Always remember that your children will become who they are around with most of the time. So, watch their company and above all give them your company.
7) Praise them: Praise is a powerful tool with children, especially in front of others. Children feel a sense of pride when their parents’ praise them, and will be keen to perform other good deeds. However, praise must be limited to Islamic deeds and deeds of moral value.
8) Avoid humiliation: Similarly, do not humiliate them in front of others. Children make mistakes. Sometimes, these mistakes occur in their efforts to please the parents. If you are unhappy with your children, tell them in private.
9) Sports: The Prophet (sa) encouraged sports such as swimming, running and horse riding. Other sports that build character and physical strength are also recommended- as long as the children maintain their Islamic identity, wear appropriate clothes and do not engage in unnecessary mixing.
10) Responsibility: Have faith in their abilities to perform tasks. Give them chores to do in line with their age. Convince them that they are performing an important function, and you will find them eager to help you out again.
11) Don’t spoil them: Children are easily spoiled. If they receive everything they ask for, they will expect you to oblige on every occasion. Be wise in what you buy for them. Avoid extravagance and unnecessary luxuries. Take them to an orphanage or poor area of your city once in a while so they can see how privileged they are.
12) Don’t be friends: It is common in the West for parents to consider their children as friends. In Islam, it doesn’t work that way. If you have ever heard how friends talk to each other, then you will know that this is not how a parent-child relationship should be. You are the parents, and they should respect you, and this is what you should be teaching them. The friendship part should be limited to you and them; keeping an open dialog so they can share their concerns with you, and ask you questions when they have any.
13) Pray with them: Involve them in acts of worship. When they are young, let them see you in the act of Salah (Salat). Soon, they would be trying to imitate you. Wake them up for Fajr and pray as a family. Talk to them about the rewards of Salah so that it doesn’t feel like a burden to them.
14) Emphasize the Halal: It is not always good to say: “this is Haram, that is Haram”. While you must educate them on Haram things, Islam is full of Halal; and tell your children to thank Allah (swt) for the bounties He has bestowed on them- not just for food and clothes. Tell them to be thankful for having eyes that see, ears that hear, arms and legs, and the ultimate blessing, Islam in their hearts.
15) Set an example: As parents, you are the best example the children can have. If you talk to your parents rudely, expect your children to do the same to you. If you are disrespectful to others, your children will follow too. Islam is filled with Divine advices to bring up your children. That makes it an obligation upon parents to be good Muslims so their children will try to emulate them. If you don’t take Islam seriously, neither will your children. It goes back to our third point, which is to acquaint them with Islamic heroes. As a parent, you should be their number one hero.

The Benefits in Being Grateful

thankGratitude (Shukr) is an important characteristic; and the one who instills it, is endowed with great blessings.

Allah (swt) says, “And Allah has brought you out from the wombs of your mothers while you know nothing. And He gave you hearing, sight, and hearts that you might give thanks (to Allah).” (An-Nahl 16:78)

Also, it is mentioned, “Allah, it is He Who has made the night for you that you may rest therein and the day for you to see. Truly, Allah is full of Bounty to mankind, yet most of mankind give no thanks.” (Ghafir 40:61)

Gratitude infiltrates a person with happiness, and evicts pressure and anxiety. It teaches one to be content and happy in whatever state he is. Also Allah (swt) has made mankind grateful by nature; thus, we should express gratitude- not just to Allah (swt), but also to the people we deal with.

Many a times in the Quran, Allah (swt) divides people as being grateful and ungrateful in order to motivate us to join the camp of those who are grateful. In one of such verses, Prophet Sulaiman (as) said, “One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said: “I will bring it to you within the twinkling of an eye!” then when (Sulaiman (Solomon)) saw it placed before him, he said: “This is by the Grace of my Lord to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful! And whoever is grateful, truly, his gratitude is for (the good of) his ownself, and whoever is ungrateful, (he is ungrateful only for the loss of his ownself). Certainly! My Lord is Rich (Free of all wants), Bountiful.”(An-Naml 27:40)

Gratitude is escorted with many blessings. Some are discussed below:

Gratitude- A blissful attitude

We, today, are busy like robots; having full plate and swamped by work the whole day- we tend to forget the countless blessings around us. Being grateful to Allah (swt) helps us to focus on the gifts gifted to us by our Most Generous Lord Allah (swt); and hence, it reminds us that everything is decreed by Allah (swt), and whatever happens with us is by the will of Allah (swt).

As He says in the Quran, And whatever of blessings and good things you have, it is from Allah. Then, when harm touches you, unto Him you cry aloud for help.” (An-Nahl 16:53)

He also says, “And whatever of blessings and good things you have, it is from Allah. Then, when harm touches you, unto Him you cry aloud for help.” (Ad-Duha 93:8)

Let’s therefore, constantly remind ourselves of Allah’s (swt) bounties by expressing our gratitude to Him in prayers and at other times.

Gratitude- The best mind craftBy paying gratitude for our blessings, prevents us from focusing on other peoples’ lives and blessings. When we allow our minds to look into other peoples’ lives, we welcome a lot of different problems and negativity along with it to enter our brains. Let’s therefore, use gratitude to motivate ourselves to look for solutions and possibilities, and not the negativity associated with the problem.

Gratitude- Wards off Allah’s wrath

Allah (swt) is happy with His slaves if they are thankful to Him. Such people are protected from all evil- hidden or evident. If you are not grateful, then one deserves wrath and resentment of Allah (swt). We know that if Allah (swt) were to punish us for our negligence, He would be justified for it.

He says in the Quran, And if Allah were to punish men for that which they earned, He would not leave a moving (living) creature on the surface of the earth, but He gives them respite to an appointed term, and when their term comes, then verily, Allah is Ever All-Seer of His slaves. (Fatir 35:45)

At the same time though, Allah (swt) provides us a way to escape His punishment by being thankful to Him. He says, Why should Allah punish you if you have thanked (Him) and have believed in Him. And Allah is Ever All-Appreciative (of good), All-Knowing.” (An-Nisa 4:147)

Gratitude, therefore, is not an option; and we should clean our hearts to thank Allah (swt) for everything that He has provided us, for not doing so would bring the displeasure of Allah (swt).

It teaches us to slow down, rather than always waiting for our next wish to come true. It trains our minds to be happy and content with our blessings, today and always

Gratitude- A self-guide

It teaches us to slow down, rather than always waiting for our next wish to come true. It trains our minds to be happy and content with our blessings, today and always. It also shows us that if we are not happy with our life today, then we will never be happy with the blessings to come tomorrow. It helps in controlling the unnecessary wants and desires by restraining our Nafs; and recognizing that we have what many people are yearning for. Gratitude is a sense of fulfillment that comes not from wanting more, but rather from a sense of knowing that Allah (swt) has already blessed us with what we need. In one of the Ahadeeth reported by Ahmad, the Prophet (sa) said: “…if the son of Adam has one valley, he will wish that he had a second, and if he had two valleys, he would wish that he had a third. The stomach of the son of Adam will be filled only with dust (i.e. he is never satisfied)…” (Saheeh Al-Jaami’). So, let’s use gratitude to enjoy what we have today, rather than fretting over it and losing it tomorrow.

Patience

With restraining our Nafs, comes the lesson of patience as well. As per Ibn Qayyim, “Patience in resisting desires is easier than patience in dealing with the consequences that result from desires. It is because consequences either lead to pain and punishment; or they prevent a more complete pleasure; or it deprives one of a blessing which would be more pleasurable and better than the fulfillment of desires; or they cut off an oncoming blessing; or they have a life-long negative impact on one’s character – because deeds have a great impact on one’s character and behaviour.” (Al-Fawaa’id) Exercising patience against the forbidden commands prevents us from harmful results coming thereafter.

Good attitude, Good life

Gratitude makes us less demanding and teaches us to remain happy in all states. Thus, personal desires fulfillment can be easily sought with less. As a result, we can be happy with others easily by having fewer expectations, which thereby, withdraws burden from our close relationships. This trait makes our company more pleasing instead of making us unhappy, demanding and burdensome for other people.

Gratitude says go to ego

Holy prophet (sa) made it quite evident via his sayings that thanking Allah (swt) also comprises of thanking people who have done any favour on us. To be grateful to people is also an important factor. The Prophet Muhammad (sa) said, as narrated by Abu Hurairah (ra): “He who does not thank people, does not thank Allah (swt)” (Ahmad, Tirmidhi) He also said: “Whoever does you a favour, then reciprocate, and if you cannot find anything with which to reciprocate, then pray for him until you think that you have reciprocated him.” (Abu Dawood )In another Hadeeth, he said: “Whoever has a favour done for him, and says to the one who did it,‘Jazak’Allah u Khairun,’ has done enough to thank him.” (Tirmidhi) Let’s therefore, ensure that we do our part to sincerely thank our families and those who have done good to us.

 Actions speak louder than words

The prophet (sa)  continued to strive for His pleasure, although his sins were forgiven. It was narrated that A’isha (ra) said: “When the Messenger of Allah (sa) prayed, he would stand for so long that his feet would become swollen. ‘A’isha said: O Messenger of Allah (sa), why are you doing this when Allah (swt) has forgiven your past and future sins? He said: “O ‘A’ishah, should I not be a thankful slave?” (Bukhari, Muslim). Let’s, therefore, pray the Nawafil to thank Allah (swt) for His blessings.

Gratitude augments one’s blessings

Allah (swt) says, “And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: If you give thanks (by accepting Faith and worshipping none but Allah), I will give you more (of My Blessings), but if you are thankless (i.e. disbelievers), verily! My Punishment is indeed severe.” (Ibrahim 14:7)

Let’s, therefore, make thanking Allah (swt) an integral part of our morning and evening remembrances (Adhkar) to get Barakah in our blessings.

Gratitude- Allah’s (swt) pleasure here and hereafter

The People of Paradise will say, “You (Allah) have given to us what You have not given to anyone among Your creation,” Allah (swt) will say to them, “Shall I not give you something better than that?” They will say, “What is it? Have You not brightened our faces, and admitted us to Paradise and saved us from Hell?” Allah (swt) will say, “I bestow My pleasure upon you, and I will never be angry with you after that.” (Muslim)

What better reward can we expect? So, why not be grateful to Him for what He has blessed us with?

Finally, remember that being grateful is not an option, but an obligation; and being one brings us closer to those whom we thank and appreciate.

Conclusion

Gratitude’s importance was emphasized by the Prophet (sa) when he took the hand of Mu’aadh Ibn Jabal and said: “O Mu’adh, by Allah (swt) I love you, by Allah (swt) I love you.” Then he said: “I advise you, O Mu’adh, do not fail to say this after every prayer: O Allah (swt) help me to remember You, to thank You and to worship You properly.” The Arabic version of this Hadeeth is the following. Let’s ensure that we memorize it and recite it after every prayer.

Finally, remember that being grateful is not an option, but an obligation; and being one brings us closer to those whom we thank and appreciate.

We can be grateful to Allah (swt) by utilizing our blessings, the way Allah (swt) has ordered. For example- if we have enough money, we should give a lot of Sadaqah and the prescribed amount of Zakat. This way Allah (swt) will increase our blessings. Similarly, if someone has adequate knowledge in any subject, the best way to be grateful is to spread that knowledge and expect its reward from Allah (swt) solely. This way gratitude helps us to seek Allah’s (swt) pleasure; and aids in transmitting positive energy around us by carrying an optimistic dynamism.

In a nutshell, gratitude is very essential for building strong relationship with the people in this Dunya;  and of course, our association with Allah (swt) will also have an impact, consequently affecting our Akhirah.

 

The truth behind my Niqab

female-silhouetteI have been wearing the Niqab for a little more than 5-five years, and found many blessings through that. It has served as an aid and as a essential support in my efforts to reach the most important goals in my life.

What does Niqab signify?

The main “keywords” that come to mind regarding the Niqab are protection, self-respect and nearness to Allah (swt).

The most important evidence for the practice of covering the face of a woman in Islam is the fact that the wives and female companions of the Prophet (sa) used to do that; hence, this is the way we can show our respect to the practice of these immensely great women, as well as, our determination to emulate them in every aspect possible.

I have noticed Allah’s (swt) special Nur on the faces of those women who have chosen to cover their faces in the presence of non-related men- it is similar to the light of faith that radiates from the heart. Such a face is protected from the unwanted, idle, curious or even hateful glances of people around.

Niqab gives one an opportunity to be in a sacred, blessed solitude even while being in a crowd of people; opportunity to smile exclusively and purely for the sake of Allah (swt); thanking Him for the blessings He has bestowed upon us; opportunity to whisper to oneself words of Allah’s (swt) remembrance; all of that without fearing to attract unwanted attention and causing perplexity to others.

Niqab is a sign of that what one aspires for: true spiritual inwardness and superiority of the spiritual aspect of our being over the physical aspect. A sign of aspiration to draw closer to Allah (swt), in opposition to what allures majority of people (and especially in the case of women – beautifying oneself in order to show off to other people, to butter up one’s selfishness and ambition). This tendency to turn away from the highest aim and waste our efforts for the sake of different ephemeral trifles is present in all of us, and everything that helps to counteract it is to be valued.

Niqab is a sign of turning away from the world-  a place of mundane entertainments without the awareness of the Divine Presence; away from the hustle and bustle that strive to take over our minds, and turning to Allah (swt) instead of all that. While being outside the house, it is a constant reminder of the goal, helping in different circumstances- not to forget towards where I have decided to direct my steps. Niqab is a sign of limiting the individualism and personal whims for the sake of a higher, over-individual goal, as well as, keeping aloof from everything that is base and fake in this world; thus, protecting one’s inner space from such influences.

On a symbolic level niqab points to the feminine, hidden aspect of Allah (swt)- not to Allah (swt) in His masculine aspect, as the Creator; but to Allah (swt) as the Infinite and the Incomprehensible; the black colour, on the other hand, indicates to the primeval state of being before the Creation, before the beginning of manifestation. The covering of the face, on its part, corresponds to Allah (swt) hiding His infinite, inexpressible Beauty behind the veils of the created things – those veils that only a few are able to see through, although everyone yearns for that, even though mostly not being aware of that themselves.

Biased attitude towards Niqab

It is not uncommon to hear that this attire reminds about the Christian nuns, and on a certain level we can agree with that; because, although in a different manner, their clothes speak about total devotion to Allah (swt), and leaving aside everything that may hinder that: if not as a state has been already attained but at least as a goal that one has put for oneself. This attests that it is possible for the society to accept the outward signs of an inner religious determination without any detriment for its totality. It might well be that not everyone feels fully comfortable at a certain point to see something that reminds them about the possibility to move in a different direction than the majority of the society does; but this in no way means that because of one person’s evanescent, by-passing inconvenience we should destroy other person’s opportunity to draw nearer to the highest aim of life. If in the case of Christianity such an expression is generally accepted and – in most cases – respected, why could that not be true in the case of Islam as well?

If somebody would argue that such a practice increases the quandary and hatred of people, it should be said that hatred is a problem of a person’s inner attitude, and it is clear that if it does not find one occasion to discharge itself, it will search for and definitely find another one that by accident will come in its way. Similarly as, reading the Quran, everyone reads there his/her own self, the attitude of people towards the attire of the Prophet’s (s) wives demonstrates to them what is hidden inside themselves, what are their hearts filled with: be it hatred, contempt and arrogance or cordiality, generosity and respect for the human being and his/her highest aspirations and yearnings.

The society blues against Niqab

Undoubtedly, in the basis of the society’s equivocal attitude also lies lack of knowledge and understanding, tightly holding on to prejudices that have been formed in the past, self-righteousness ‘I know better’ when one knows just nothing about the issue at hand, indisposition to lend an ear that is too close to actual deafness; even more deeply there lies hidden inner insecurity, sense of being endangered, lack of self-confidence that pushes one to ‘the best’ solution that actually does not solve anything: banning-mocking-waving aside-out of my sight!-destroying-forgetting.

Regarding safety issues – after all, the possibility to verify person’s identity in case of need is not lost in case of a person wearing the Niqab; it must be understood that no one asks people who pass by on the street every day to show their passports in order to compare the photo with the actual face, and absolute majority of the faces that we see passing by on the street we have already forgotten after just a few minutes. It is difficult to understand how a possible prohibition to cover one’s face could hold someone back from criminal acts he/she intends to perform. Therefore, it should be asked, what exactly is it that is so valuable that the society would gain in case wearing the Niqab would be banned, so that it outweighs the suffering of those members of society whom such a ban would influence the most?

Some months ago unfortunately I happened to be in Brussels for a while, where I was forced to take off the Niqab, and I have to say that it felt like being forced to undress and remain in that state just because of a certain whim of some people, although it is crystal clear that there is no real necessity for that. It would seem that everyone is able to imagine how humiliating and absurd such an experience must be.

There is no doubt that our society is in need of knowledge and an effort must be made in order to explain those – as well as many other Islam-related – issues. Therefore, a discussion in this regard is definitively to be welcomed; however, if this discussion will result in the habitual lack of true listening and eventual adopting of prohibitions for the sake of ‘overall convenience and comfort’, I am more than sure that all the involved sides will have to be counted as losers.

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Gets Going!

sabrandsalahIn our daily life, we face situations that leave us badly concerned as to how to deal with them. Later on, when they are done smoothly, we tend to be astonished. Basically, everything is pre-planned and happening under Allah’s (swt) Will and Order. We all possess a curtailed approach, and hence, cannot think of our Creator’s Planning at all.

Similarly, we might dislike something; but Allah’s (swt) planning might be different in this regard, which yields the best results- again leaving us surprised.

This is what Allah (swt) says in the Holy Quran,

وَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُون
” and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know…” (Al-Baqarah 2:216)

In this regard, I would like to present one of the best solutions for tackling hard situations, which has already been given by Allah (swt) in his Holy Book. Quran says, وَاسْتَعِينُواْ بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلَوةِ
“And seek help in (by) patience and As-Salat (the prayer).” (Al-Baqarah 2:45)

This is a Quranic formula for us, As we human-beings,- when facing any hardship or calamity become hurriedly unconscious; Allah (swt) has ordained us that whenever we face such an incident, without being unconscious and having firm belief upon Allah (swt)- we should seek His Help through prayers and observe patience. It is such a door from where no one will return bare-handed.

I came across an inspiring quote which said: “For Solar Eclipse and Lunar Eclipse, we have been ordained to offer certain prayers. This is the effectiveness of Salah that by Allah’s (swt) order, it can deal with Universal, Giant systems. If it is juxtaposed with our problems, then how can’t Salah deal with our personal issues which are minor and little?”

One thing which makes me wonder and I would like to mention. The whole world knows the young Imam of Masjid Al-Haram, Shaikh Mahir AlMuaiqly; undoubtley, his beautiful voice infuses love for Quran in believers’ hearts. One of the lesser-known facts about him is that, he also holds a degree in Mathematics. Upon this, he was recruited in a school in Madinah tul Munawwara. Primarily, he was a student of Religious sciences- so he pursued Masters in Islamic Jurisprudence easily as an additional qualification. Nobody knew that one day he would lead prayers in Masjid Al-Nabawi and MasjidAl-Haram- except Allah (swt), as He planned this for him.

Lastly my dear, rely entirely upon Allah (swt) for everything. Next step is to keep yourself connected with Salah which is among the pillars of Islam. Observe patience as it has been the tradition of messengers. Verily, the Prophet Muhammad (sa) patience towards brutalities of disbelievers is exemplary.

Reflections on the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Riba

Interest-RibaRiba or interest is the term that every sane adult living in this age is well-aware of; it is a significant matter of debate in the Islamic societies due to the fact that it has been prohibited strictly in the Quranic laws. It must be understood vividly that raison d’être of abolition of interest is not only the exploitation but actually the consequences brought about by this. Jurists of all times agree upon the definition of Riba as follows:

When a transaction occurs between two parties, and an asset that may include commodity, currency, or even shares of a company are traded with an asset of the same quality in different quantities, the inequality in quantities exchanged is taken as Riba, which is prohibited in the Quran.

The Quran mentions: “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)

“Allah will destroy Riba (usury) and will give increase for Sadaqat (deeds of charity, alms, etc.) And Allah likes not the disbelievers, sinners.” (Al-Baqarah 2:276)

“O you who believe! Eat not Riba (usury) doubled and multiplied, but fear Allah that you may be successful.” (Al-Imran 3:130)

“And their taking of Riba (usury) though they were forbidden from taking it and their devouring of men’s substance wrongfully (bribery, etc.). And We have prepared for the disbelievers among them a painful torment.” (An-Nisa 4:161)

History of Riba in Islamic Republic of Pakistan

The debate over whether interest is as same as Riba has been ongoing in Pakistan since 1969 when the State Bank of Pakistan led an enquiry; the  Islamic Advisory Council in its December 1969 session held in Dhaka ruled out the interest on bank loans and prize bonds as Riba. The council advised for a Committee to be formulated in order to work towards founding an interest-free economy. Later on, Article 37 of the constitution of Pakistan in 1973 stipulated interest-removal as the official responsibility of the Government. Further, intense research work was carried out under President Zia-ul-Haq by the Islamic Ideology Council to establish transactions which were free from interest.

Dr. Israr Ahmed began his campaigning for the ban on Riba in 1980. He attempted a great struggle to make the report formulated by Islamic Ideology Council appear in public. All the attempts from activists led the government to formulate the Federal Shariat Court but it was kept out of financial matters, deeming it useless in the matter. And as the alternatives to interest, mark-up schemes were introduced, which Ulema rightly termed as “old wine of interest being marketed in new.”

On November 14 1991, Federal Shariat Court equalized interest on bank loans as Riba and thus Pakistan became the first Islamic nation to declare bank loans as Riba. However quite ironically, this judgement was upheld by the Supreme Court for seven years and later nullified in the review carried out in 2002. The Court asked the Shariah Court to revisit this judgement, providing them with guidance and control. The passage of twelve years led to no concrete judgement being made by the Shariah Court.

Despite these historical affairs, it must be kept in mind that since Pakistan is still following the Constitution formulated in 1973, there cannot be any exception for the Article 38 that stated: “The State shall eliminate riba as early as possible”.

Current Decision Regarding Dealings of Riba

The crux of the matter is to discuss the absurd by-law passed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan on October 6th, 2015, where Justice Sarmad Jalal Usmani ruled out that those who are not willing to deal with interest shouldn’t deal with it, while the others dealing with it will be questioned by Allah.

This decision led to a public outcry in the country. The law is being ridiculed and denied openly on the social media. However, the most active party involved in the offense is Tanzeem-e-Islami which carried out a peaceful demonstration against the law. Shujjauddin Shaukh, a prominent member of the Tanzeem, has appealed to other Islamic political parties to support him in his mission to render this by-law inoperable.

He debates over the issue, quite rightly pointing out that Pakistan was supposed to be an Islamic state which makes it regulatory for the law-enforcers to stick adamantly upon the Islamic laws. The Objectives Resolution of 1949 promised to align all laws under the Quranic injunctions and no deviance towards the laws against will of Allah and His Prophet (sa).

Ironically, the Indian armies wait for a showdown at the borders dreaming to undervalue the Pakistan Army; the Muslim leaders in the Islamic state are preparing clever ploys to carry out a war with Allah and His Messenger (sa). Allah declares in the Quran:

“And if you do not do it, then take a notice of war from Allah and His Messenger but if you repent, you shall have your capital sums. Deal not unjustly (by asking more than your capital sums), and you shall not be dealt with unjustly (by receiving less than your capital sums).” (Al-Baqarah 2:279)

The deprived condition of Pakistan can hardly be revamped unless the affairs with the Divine Constitution are settled. Shujjauddin Shaikh earnestly asks the political leaders and Chief-of-Army-Staff to join their mission and abolish this preposterous law.

It is time for political leaders and religious scholars to stand united against un-constitutional elements disapproved inexorably by Allah and His Messenger (SA).

Interview with Ustadh Kashif Naseem Dilkusha

azan-logoKashif Naseem Dilkusha is the founding member, lead instructor and project head of Azan. His passion for teaching is evident in his energetic approach and engaging style. He also heads an NGO, Mushkeeza, and is a valuable member of his family business setup. At present, Usdath Kashif is involved in various Dawah projects and activities held in Karachi, some of which include- LiveDeen and the delivery of Friday Khutbahs and lectures at numerous Masajid and other religious social gatherings. His articles have been published on MuslimMatters.org

1.      What is it about Islam that attracts a young man or woman today?

Islam is not only about faith; it is a complete and comprehensive way of life leading to a balanced way of living. Islam is a comprehensive system for all life affairs and human behaviour.

Youth is the prime time of your life; it is very precious to Allah (swt). Islam specifically addresses the youth, urging them to make the best use of this valuable period of their life.

Allah (swt) promises extra reward for the youth, if they are sincerely devoted to Islam. For example, the Prophet (sa) said that on the Day of Judgement, there will be seven types of people to whom Allah (swt) will give shade. As we all know, on the Day of Judgement, there will be no shade except for Allah’s (swt) shade. From amongst the seven groups who will have shade on that Day? One group is of those who spent their youth in the worship of Allah (swt). (Bukhari)

Islam puts a lot of significance on the grooming of our youth.

A few features that attract the youth of today to Islam are:

  1. The hope Islam gives.
  2. The fact that Islam is a permissive Faith. It allows us to have fun within some parameters.
  3. The fact that that there is no hierarchy. The care and concern for and the promotion of human rights, the importance of delivering justice to all. The upholding of the rights of the oppressed.
  4. This point is especially for the young Muslimahs of today. Women in Islam have a very special place, status and dignity that was unknown to humanity before the advent of Islam.

2.      Do you consider Muslim youth confused about their identity and future?

Yes, I think the Muslim youth is confused. The reason behind this confusion is the absence of Islamic material in our educational curriculum and false depiction of Islamic teachings. In addition to that, there are no specific activities from Dawah organizations to cater to the youth and bring them back to Islam. We need to encourage the youth to see Islam in a positive light and not as a burden, as it is often portrayed. Currently, no or very few organizations address the diverse and complex needs of the Muslim youth.

We need to encourage the youth to see Islam in a positive light and not as a burden, as it is often portrayed.

3.      Which qualities of our youth make you hopeful that, if they mend their ways and get connected to the Creator, our Ummah will improve?

Youth is the most energetic stage of life, worthy to make the best use of and a time to strive towards excellence. Youngsters are full of energy and passion. Their road is paved with hope, persistence and enlightened thinking. Indeed, it is a period of productivity. Muslim youth must be aware of the importance and value of their lives. To achieve the best outcome, they should be directed towards the right path. The age of adolescence is a very sensitive period that requires caring, reinforcement of good guidance to Allah’s (swt) way and good ethics.

We should teach our youngsters about Islamic history, which has a myriad of examples of great Muslim youth who were luminaries of humanity. Young people gathered around Prophet Muhammad (sa) to carry his call of Islam forward. To name a few, Zaid bin Thabet (rta), who collected the whole text of the Holy Quran, and Musab bin Umair (rta), who was the first ambassador in Islam. He was asked by Prophet Muhammad (sa) to go to Madinah to teach the Quran; through him and his teachings the people of Madinah converted to Islam. This young prince of Makkah sacrificed every luxury of the world when he embraced Islam, only for Allah (swt) and His Messenger Muhammad (sa).

The biography of Muhammad Bin Qasim should be part of our curriculum. We should teach to our youth, how he conquered Sindh and governed it in such a manner that even the non-Muslims wanted him to stay with them instead of moving on.

We should teach our youngsters about Islamic history, which has a myriad of examples of great Muslim youth who were luminaries of humanity.

They should be taught about Aisha (rta), a young woman, who was an extremely accomplished young woman and who fulfilled all her responsibilities as a wife as well. Teach them about the bravery of Asma (rta) and the firm faith of Sumayyah (rta) who gave her life for the truth.

If our youth connects to the Deen and make the Prophets (sa) their companions and the rightly guided people as their true role models, the affairs of our Ummah will definitely change positively.

4.      What is the best way for elders to treat the young? There seems to be much mistrust between them and the elders often don’t treat the youth with respect.

Elders must be open with them, listen to them and learn to do some of ‘their stuff’. They should accept that times have changed, and thus, the youth should be nurtured and groomed according to the standards of this time, not the past times that the elders experienced. One of the most effective mental exercises that a parent, teacher or youth mentor can undertake in order to enhance their empathy and compassion towards youngsters is to allow themselves to see things from the perspective of the youth.

5.      As a family, what is the positive role that parents must play in the lives of the youth?

Be a role model for them. Be proactive. Don’t just sit back and leave everything to the school and Maulvi sahib to teach them. Always remember: children listen with their eyes and not with their ears. So watch your life. Be the change you wish to see! Parents should keep a critical eye on their own behaviour and personal conduct.

6.      What advice would you give to the young and spirited?

Always be in the company of pious people who remind you of Allah (swt) and the Day of Judgement. If you have good company, you will be prosperous in your life.

In Surah Al Furqan, Allah (swt) says, “And (remember) the Day when the Zalim (wrong-doer, oppressor, polytheist, etc.) will bite at his hands, he will say: “Oh! Would that I had taken a path with the Messenger (Muhammad (sa)). Ah! Woe to me! Would that I had never taken so-and-so as a friend! He indeed led me astray from the Reminder (this Qur’an) after it had come to me. And Shaytan (Satan) is ever a deserter to man in the hour of need.” ” (Al-Furqan 25: 27-29)

Be proactive. Don’t just sit back and leave everything to the school and Maulvi sahib to teach them.

The Prophet (sa) reminds us of the importance of good company in the following Hadeeth: “A good friend and a bad friend are like a perfume-seller and a blacksmith: The perfume-seller might give you some perfume as a gift, or you might buy some from him, or at least you might smell its fragrance. As for the blacksmith, he might singe your clothes, and at the very least, you will breathe in the fumes of the furnace.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

I believe that companionship is the most important thing after Iman. If they have good companionship, all the other good things will automatically be part of their personality.

Youngsters, nowadays, have all the fundamental elements of success and excellence. Schools, colleges, universities, cultural and scientific centers strive to offer the best education. They have the potential to play an important role in the advancement of Islam. The period of adolescence is a very important period in a Muslim’s life. If spent the right way, a person’s youth will not only benefit him, but others as well. They must realize their value and importance for the fate of the Ummah lies in their hands.

May Allah (swt) guide and protect us all on the Day of Judgement. Ameen.

Lessons of Wisdom from Hind bint Amr (ra)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShe was the sister of Abdullah ibn Amr (ra) who was the father of the famous Hadeeth narrator Jabir ibn Abdullah (ra). Her husband Amr ibn Jamuh (ra) was the leader of Yathrib (old name of Madinah) and was from the nobles of the Ansar (the helpers of Madinah).

Conversion to Islam

Hind (ra) converted to Islam along with her sons through the Dawah efforts of Musab ibn Umair (ra). Her husband, like other ignorant leaders, had installed an idol in his house that he used to worship and sacrifice animals for. One day, he purchased a sturdy piece of wood and instructed a woodworker to craft an idol for him. This idol, named Manat, was dressed in fine clothing and pleasantly perfumed.

Like many early Muslims, Hind (ra) kept her conversion a secret. She was waiting for an appropriate time to break the news to her husband. Her sons regularly attended the gatherings of Musab ibn Umair (ra), and later shared the knowledge of the Quranic verses with their mother. Amr (ra) remained unaware of what was happening in his house. He only began to worry when more and more people entered Islam. He then felt insecurity for his family. He instructed Hind (ra) to keep a close watch on their sons that they do not meet the man from Makkah, and get spoilt by his teachings. Hind (ra) assured him to not worry and to keep his heart free from apprehensions about them.

While at one end, the father was instructing the mother to keep a close watch on the sons; on the other end, the sons worried for their father’s faith. Muadh ibn Amr (ra) shared his concerns with a close friend and they plotted a plan to get the father off idol worshipping. It was decided that Muadh ibn Jabl (ra) will help the brothers in throwing the idol in a trash can. Amr (ra) was fast asleep when this plan was carried out. The next day when he woke up, as per his routine, he entered the room where the idol was kept. Not finding it there he vehemently demanded where it was. The mother and the sons replied that they had no idea where it had gone.

Amr (ra) went out of the house and fetched the idol. Seeing it lying on trash, he brought it home, cleaned it and applied fragrance. He vowed to take revenge from the culprit. The mother and the sons looked at Amr (ra) in disbelief- was he really talking to a piece of wood? He was apologising to it while it could neither hear him nor speak.

He then brought a sword and hung it around Manat’s neck. He told the idol that it was for its defence, in case it was attacked again.

When the father had gone to sleep, the sons again, with the help of Muadh ibn Jabl (ra), picked up the idol and threw it in trash. Second time they tied a dead dog to the wooden piece and returned home.

The next day, when Amr (ra) woke up and did not find Manat in its room, he again screamed and shouted and went out to find the idol. When he saw that it was again lying on trash and a dead dog was wrapped around its neck, and that the idol did not defend itself, Amr (ra) conceded that the idol did not deserve his respect. It was content with its own dishonour. He left the idol on the trash and returned home feeling estranged.

She was not only doing Tarbiyah of her sons that they should be respectful towards their father, but also did not spoil the home environment.

Seeing Amr (ra) anguished, the family inquired what the matter was. Amr (ra) did not reply to the question. He sighed deeply and asked the mother if she had been keeping a close watch on the sons. The mother assured him that the sons had acted upon her instructions. However, she quickly added that their son Muadh (ra) had a meeting with the Makkan preacher Musab (ra) and had learnt some things. She suggested that Amr (ra) should call him and inquire what he had learnt.

Amr (ra) at once called Muadh (ra). Muadh (ra) came and the father inquired if he had memorised anything from the Makkan preacher (ra). The son replied in affirmation. The father then asked the son to share something. Muadh (ra) recited the Ta’awuth and Surah Al-Fatihah.

Amr (ra), as if speaking to himself commented that how eloquent, enticing and beautiful the words were. The son was overjoyed by his father’s statement. He affirmed that indeed that Makkan man’s entire talk was elegant, beautiful and exceptional and that Amr (ra) should meet the man himself. To entice the father furthermore, he added that all the other leaders of Madinah had been visiting Musab (ra) and embracing Islam. They had preceded Amr (ra). Hind (ra) also encouraged her husband to meet the Makkan preacher (ra). Amr (ra) said that he needed to take advice from his idols. Muadh (ra) immediately reminded his father if he was to take advice from a dumb and deaf piece of wood. Amr (ra) was offended by his son’s comment, but then admitted that it was indeed the truth. The wood was void of intellect and emotions. He then looked at his family and asked for their views. The family was startled, but quickly agreed that Amr (ra) was right.

Our mistake is that when we meet a person who is committing some wrong, we start our conversation with taunts and criticism

At that moment, Amr (ra) testified the Oneness of Allah (swt) and recited the Islamic testimony of faith (Shahadah). That was a joyous moment for the family. Later that evening Musab ibn Umair (ra) was invited to their home, who then purified the house from the filth of associating partners with Allah (swt).

Lessons to draw

There are several lessons in this story. When Hind (ra) became a Muslim she did not break the news to her husband at once. Despite having the support of adult sons, she waited for an appropriate time to approach Amr (ra). She hoped that he might embrace Islam on his own and the relations between them will not be severed. She was not only doing Tarbiyah of her sons that they should be respectful towards their father, but also did not spoil the home environment.

  • Hikmah of preaching

We need to reflect on our attitudes when we learn something new and how we preach it to others. First, we must gain firmness in what we have learnt and then pass it on to others. Show them by practicing, not by preaching. Melt their hearts first. Give them space to understand. Secondly, “plan” how you are going to preach. Hind (ra) and her sons first sketched a plan that how they could convince Amr (ra) that what he was following was wrong.

Thirdly, when Amr (ra) returned home feeling estranged, the family showed concern and inquired- although they knew it very well what grieved him. They treated him with respect and care- even when he was upset about a wrong matter. Our mistake is that when we meet a person who is committing some wrong, we start our conversation with taunts and criticism. Unless, we show some compassion how can the other person trust our opinion? Gain the support first, so that he can open up his heart to understand what you want to tell him.

Hind’s son did not pick a horrifying verse to abuse or scare the father away. Rather, he chose Surah Al-Fatihah

Another Hikmah of preaching is that Hind’s son did not pick a horrifying verse to abuse or scare the father away. Rather, he chose Surah Al-Fatihah — the Opening Surah of the Quran — that introduces us to Allah (swt). Generally, we invite people to Islam by scaring them with the punishment of the Hereafter. Even to the babies and toddlers, we introduce Allah (swt) by telling them how intense His punishments are; whereas Allah (swt) introduces Himself to us by choosing His attributes of mercy: Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem (Al-Fatihah 1:3).

Finally, Hind (ra) respected the leader of the house. When the father asked if she had been keeping an eye on the sons, the mother replied in affirmative and then added that Muadh (ra) had heard something. She then requested the father to ascertain what he had learnt. In a way, she was putting the father in-charge- whether he found it fit for the family or not. She did not say I have checked it and I find it alright. She gave reverence to the husband’s position in the house.

When the parents fail to give respect to one another, the silent observers — the children — grow up disrespecting their parents. Family matters should be dealt with utmost respect and wisdom thinking about the children as well.

(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu by Mehmood Ahmad Ghazanfar and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)

Bridging the Gap between Hearts

respect2Every individual expects recognition of his/her rights by the people he/she lives with. The fulfillment of this expectation builds a relationship of give and take between two people. This, if defined in one word, is what is known as “respect”. It is through respect that one learns to notice other people’s rights; and in return, gets his/her rights fulfilled as well. Human relationships are strengthened when the seed of respect is sown; whereas its absence may yield devastating results which are quite noticeable at present with the increasing percentage of people falling prey to life shattering evils.

A glimpse at the past and present 

Allah Almighty (swt) sent Prophets (as) upon nations that deviated from the straight path till a seal to the Prophets (as) was put with the revelation of the final message. Man found it comprehensible as Prophet Muhammad (sa) practiced what he preached. That was how people adopted his way of life and considered it a responsibility to pass it on. To be more precise, it was the acquisition of this “knowledge” that justified man’s role as a man- because it was what our Creator chose for our betterment.

The lives of the Arabs revolutionized with the advent of Islam. But prior to that, they lead completely different lives. Evil lurked in their society to the extent that there remained no evil that they weren’t involved in. What we see these days is similar to the pre Islamic times, but a total opposite to the golden times. One can easily see how our priorities have changed. The rule is quite simple. In order to do good, one must know what good really is. And, that happens through the acquisition of knowledge that revolutionizes beliefs.

Concept of respect in Islam

Islam is the way of life that sets certain rights and responsibilities for each and every individual despite of the restrictions of age, nationality, race, or class. This rule in return brings contentment for everybody. Following are some points regarding the concept of respect in Islam:

1.      Respecting parents

Parents are such people in our lives who, in order to fulfill our needs, often give up theirs. Most of us must have witnessed our mother’s sacrifice when she gave up her wish to buy new clothes on Eid to grab ours. Our father must have taken us for recreation, even though at times he may be feeling tired. Both of them must have had sleepless nights just because of us. It is due to such reasons that in Islam parents are said to be treated likewise when they grow old.  Allah (swt) says,

“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour. And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was small.” (Al-Isra 17:23-24)

2.       Restoring an orphan’s property

Living with a family, especially with parents, provides a supportive environment which no other thing can substitute. This is what an orphan child yearns for. Islam condemns the act of depriving an orphan of his/her rights. Allah (swt) says,

“And give unto orphans their property and do not exchange (your) bad things for (their) good ones; and devour not their substance (by adding it) to your substance. Surely, this is a great sin.” (An-Nisa 4:2)

3.      Greeting with respect

It is in Islam that even a greeter is said to be greeted better than him/her. Allah (swt) says,

“When you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or (at least) return it equally. Certainly, Allah is Ever a Careful Account Taker of all things.” (An-Nisa 4:86)

4.      A bully is up to no good

Scornful attitude is what we hear people calling “cool” these days. We often find it in educational institutions under the name of ragging, which at times crosses all limits- despite of the teachers’ intervention. And many children and even adolescents fall prey to depression- just because of this. It would not be wrong to say that children often learn such responses from their parents when they are busy in ridiculing others. No matter how normal we term it as, Allah (swt) has a commandment for that which we need to know. Allah (swt) says,

“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.).” (Al-Hujurat 49:11)

5.      Respect for a wife

If any man intends to treat his wife with respect, he must learn to do that from the life of Prophet Muhammad (sa).

It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas (ra) that the Prophet (sa) said: “The best of you is the one who is best to his wife, and I am the best of you to my wives.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

Lessons of Fortitude from Umm Sulaym Bint Malhan (ra)

shell_in_the_sand_1600x1200When someone is loved by their dear ones, they are called by many nick names. Same was the case with Umm Sulaym (ra). Though widely known as Umm Sulaym, some of her other names were: Sahlah, Ghameesa, Rameesa, Rumaylah and Mulaykah.

She was the daughter of Malhan ibn Khalid. Her first husband was Malik ibn Nadhr, from whom she had Anas ibn Malik (ra) and Barah (ra). She later married Abu Talha (ra). She was a woman blessed with beauty, intellect, good character, fortitude and independent thinking. Her distinguishing trait, however, was her love for Islam and its defence.

Conversion to Islam

Umm Sulaym (ra) is one of the forerunners who embraced Islam as soon as the message reached her. Her husband was not in town. When he learnt that his wife had converted to Islam, he asked her if she was a Sabi (without any religion). Umm Sulaym (ra) replied that she had not left religion. Rather, she had embraced faith and followed the truth. Her husband threatened her. But Umm Sulaym (ra) remained calm. Her heart was filled with the love of her Creator (swt) and His Messenger (sa).

(Note: Umm Sulaym (ra) remained married to an unbeliever because at that time the verses that prohibit such a marriage were not revealed.)

We blame our families for our mediocre adherence to religion. Umm Sulaym (ra) teaches us courage to find our own way to build a strong connection with Allah (swt)

Lessons to draw: Umm Sulaym (ra) knew her salvation in the hereafter did not depend on her husband. She was a woman of independent thinking. She submitted to the commands of Allah (swt) and did not allow her husband to dissuade her. When our family does not support us in the way of Allah (swt), we take that as an excuse for not excelling in religion. We blame our families for our mediocre adherence to religion. Umm Sulaym (ra) teaches us courage to find our own way to build a strong connection with Allah (swt), and not depend on people to connect with Him. She also did not fear that if her husband left, what will become of her.

How strong are we in the path of Allah (swt)?

Paying attention to the necessary

Umm Sulaym (ra) did not engage herself in conflicts and arguments. She directed her energies to that which actually mattered – the upbringing of her son Anas (ra). She started with the basics and taught him the words of Adhan (call to prayer). One day, little Anas (ra) was memorising La ilaha illa Allahu Muhammad ur Rasulullah, when his father saw him. Furious as he was, Malik ibn Nadhr confronted his wife for spoiling their son and warned her to stop. Umm Sulaym (ra) again calmly replied that she was not spoiling their son, but educating him.

Arguments became a norm in Malik’s house. Malik threatened his wife that if she did not leave her religion, then he will have to leave her. Umm Sulaym (ra) remained undeterred. Understanding that his wife would not give up the religion that she so dearly loved, Malik left the house and was killed by an enemy.

Lesson to draw: Dawah begins from home. Many people are seen practicing religion, but when one meets their children – they are quite the opposite. While it is a test from Allah (swt), one cause of their detachment from Deen is that the message did not reach them. The parent had been attending or delivering religious lectures and classes, while not transferring the knowledge to those at home. This is also one reason why families are different.

Do not ignore your family, your parents, your spouse and children. Your first responsibility is towards them. Also do not get disheartened when your Dawah is not welcomed

Do not ignore your family, your parents, your spouse and children. Your first responsibility is towards them. Also do not get disheartened when your Dawah is not welcomed. Again, it is a test from Allah (swt). When the father (Nadhr) rejects the religion, the son (Anas) embraces it. Continue your efforts and seek reward from only Him.

(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu by Mehmood Ahmad Ghazanfar and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)