Learning was as serious as faith


The word ‘Jamiah’ in Arabic means ‘university’. The word ‘Jami’ stands for ‘Masjid’. Many scholars of the early Muslim civilization saw a clear connection between learning and faith. The first revelation, “Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists).” (Al-Alaq 96:1), was a significant sign to urge the early Muslims to learn new things and share their discoveries.

Travelling teachers, known as Ahl al-Ilm (the people with knowledge), became the means to spread knowledge between towns and cities. By the late ninth century, almost every Masjid housed an elementary school for boys and girls. Kids began school at the age of six. Among the early skills school kids learnt were how to write verses from the Quran and the 99 names of Allah. They then went on to memorize all 6,239 verses of the Noble Book.

The affluent members of the society hired tutors to teach their children at home. Each Muslim school had an exclusive architecture with arched hallways leading to a courtyard for outdoor lessons, a prayer hall, living quarters for students, and an ablution room. Talking, laughing, or joking was not permitted in the classrooms. There were mainly four different types of Muslim schools: regular (primary schools), houses of readers (high schools), houses of Hadeeth (religious schools), and medical schools.

Most schools had libraries filled with books written in Arabic on such advanced topics as chemistry, physics, and astronomy. Education was free, and some students were even provided with books, stipends, and lodging facilities. An Awqaf was set up for building schools, paying salaries to teachers, and arranging meals for students. Much like college students today, students at universities in the Muslim world took entrance examinations, joined study groups, and had to pass final exams to graduate.

According to a travelling geographer, Ibn Hawqal, the city of Palermo in Muslim Sicily had 300 Masajid that taught various subjects in the late tenth century. By the fifteenth century, the Ottomans had revolutionized schools by setting up a kind of learning centre called a Kulliye. Each complex had a Masjid, school, hospital, and dining area.

A quest for advanced education among Muslim scholars led to the spread of universities throughout the Muslim world: Baghdad, Timbuktu in Mali, Fes in Morocco, Bayt al-Hikmah in Tunisia, and countless more.

The spark of learning lit up the Dark Ages in the European world, too. European students travelled back and forth to Muslim cities to study at colleges and to learn Arabic, in order to access the latest discoveries, intellectual advancements, and inventions. This contributed to the spread of Islamic knowledge and the exchange of ideas in the world at that time.


Positive Teaching


My parents emphasized the value of having good teachers all my life. Why? Because such individuals teach you what can’t be bought with money. They are the path to Jannah. They are on the path of the Rasool (sa). Can you put a price on Jannah? No.

These teachers consider each boy and girl in their care to be the one man and woman they will prepare for tomorrow’s Ummah. They work with a sense of responsibility and the intention to transform their students. This attitude makes such teachers phenomenal.

I went to a Catholic school. It was one of the best in academics but very shallow in terms of moral values.

Later, as an adult, I started to question what was lacking in the Tarbiyah offered by teachers today? After much deliberation, the answer came to me. With the amazing explosion of information that is easily accessible, cheap to use, and fast-paced, we no longer need teachers. What we need are Nasihoon and Murrabbis, who can direct children to what is truly important, and become the children’s coaches, guides and mentors.

When I travelled to Madinah University, I could not speak a sentence of Arabic, except such necessary words as Hammam (bath area), Taam (meal), etc. After spending two weeks in that place with my friend, I told him: “Brother, we are in the wrong place.” But then something truly fantastic happened. I came upon a man by the name of Abdul Kareem. He was a teacher with a smile. In two weeks, he made me dream in Arabic.

In Rajistan (India), a professor conducted an experiment in one of the poorest areas. He took some illiterate children who had never attended any school and had no exposure to computers. The professor assigned to them a project to discover how viruses and cells replicated and behaved. Next, he put up a computer screen for them to access the information. Through Skype, he also connected them to their old grandmother, who lived far away. She was a very encouraging person, whose job was to offer appreciation to the kids every day about their project for the next two months. Guess what? Those kids delivered. They found a way to learn.

A teacher does irreparable damage to a student with an attitude of negativity. Negativity not only destroys the children’s minds but also mars their creativity. Allah (swt) expects us to develop those in our care into Mumineen, the strong believers, the ones who have a purpose in life. Look at the Prophet (sa). The man was orphaned at a tender age, had no materialistic comforts in life, never received a formal education, and experienced harsh opposition from merciless enemies; yet, he smiled, he appreciated others, and he loved and cared for all. It was like hope and belief rising from ashes.

Read the Quran and observe how positive it is. Reflect over the story of Yusuf (as). When he was thrown into a dark well by his own brothers, Allah (swt) revealed to him that one day, he would be in a position to inform them of their wrongdoings. Hope was extended in the face of an adverse situation.

Similarly, Maryam (as) was despondent when she was enduring labour pains as a single and unwed mother. Allah’s (swt) angel again advised her to eat from the branch of Nakhlah (soft and sweet dates), as sugar causes comfort to the body and reduces pain.

Musa’s (as) mother was commanded by Allah (swt) to place him in a basket and set him afloat on the river Nile; it was the worst nightmare for her as a mother to part with her baby. But it was Allah (swt), Who promised her that He would reunite them again. And so it was.

Once, a Sahabi was drunk. As per the Shariah, Muhammad (sa) ordered eighty lashes for him. Later, he was brought to the Prophet (sa) again on the same charge. One of the men present cursed him. The Prophet (sa) corrected his attitude immediately, stating: “Do not swear at him, for he loves Allah (swt) and the Prophet (sa).” (Bukhari)

At the time of the battle of Khandaq, a trench was dug around Madinah as a military strategy. The work came to a halt at the last boulder that would just not break. Far away, rising dust caused by galloping horsemen indicated the approach of the disbelievers’ army. This could easily have been a time of panic and tension. But how does Allah’s Messenger (sa) react? He took the pick axe and called out: “Rome is yours. Allahu Akbar!” The first blow broke the boulder smaller, and a light shone from it. “Sham is yours, Allahu Akbar!” The second blow broke it further down, and another light escaped from the rock. “Persia is yours, Allahu Akbar!” The third blow crumbled the rock to pieces and another light shone through.

The Prophet (sa) faced all the tests positively. The question is: how positive are we as educators and parents? Most of us were raised with negativity. We need to unlearn a lot of that to be able to deal positively with our own children. A shepherd cannot blame the sheep for being eaten. Similarly, a happy team is a winning team.

In any organization, the leader is not just there to enjoy privileges and blow his own trumpet. He will have to own not only the success of each team member but also their failures. This is how “Mercy Mission” works. A very apt example is of an economic crisis in the corporate world faced by Ford. The CEO of Ford called a one-day meeting of all important employees and spent the whole day discussing nothing but the company’s vision, their dreams, and how they had once wanted to achieve them so badly. This was the turning point for the company. The belief to do the impossible breathed a new life into them. The leader looked in the eyes of negativity and said to it: “We’re not giving up.”

There are two ways to build a ship: you can either tell your team how to build it and supervise them down to the finest detail, or you can share with them the beauty of the ocean, inspire them to sail to explore the Khalq (creation) of Allah (swt) and then wait and see what the team builds.

Sen Sui said: “The legacy of a leader is the number of leaders he creates.” Today, we do not need managers to control anymore. We need leaders to inspire. Likewise, we do not need teachers who dictate, but Murrabis that guide and give hope to their children to do their best. The attitude of arrogance will have to go. As teachers, we must realize that there is no one particular way to solve a problem. There are multiple ways to get to the solution.

The people of tomorrow are in school today. Unlock their minds and do not restrict them. If we build schools and lose the spirit, what is the gain? Education should be 20% teacher-led and 80% student-led. We need to teach them to empower themselves. Fear doesn’t achieve the results that love and belief do. Educators and parents will have to make a conscious decision about how they will impact the children under their care. This might mean we need to re-learn how to teach.

May Allah (swt) grant our children the Taufiq to discover something truly amazing and new for the benefit of other people. Ameen!

Based on a workshop hosted by Fajr Academy, Karachi. Adapted by Rana Rais Khan.


Finding Fatimah


The world has known many Fatimahs, the most famous and revered one in the Muslim Ummah being Fatimah, the daughter of Prophet Muhammad (sa), whom we meet in the books of Seerah.

Recently, I came across one more exemplary Fatimah, who was born to a Tunisian businessman in the year 800 AD. Fatimah bint Mohammad al-Fihri is known as the founder of the oldest university in the world.

Along with her sister, Maryam, Fatimah al-Fihri left her city of birth in order to help their father expand his business. Rather like today, changing homes back in the ninth century was no easy task. But the bustling city of Fes soon became a friend to the family as the two sisters helped Mohammad al-Fihri settle in Morocco.

Their newfound happiness did not last for as long as they may have hoped. Mohammad al-Fihri passed away, leaving the girls without any close family member. However, he left for the girls a respectable amount of money in his will, a clear message that he trusted his daughters to build for themselves a place in this world. Fatimah and Maryam had previously lived comfortably and money matters were mostly left to the discretion of their father. After his death, however, the sisters took bold yet noble decisions about what to do with the money that was now theirs.

Living in the cultural and spiritual centre of ninth century Morocco, Fatimah was deeply inspired by the study of art, religion, history, and architectural design. She gravitated towards this vibrant community and the values it upheld, to which she was no longer a stranger. For the al-Fihri sisters, nothing could reduce the pain of losing their father better than giving back to their community. Hence, they decided to invest in the society around them. The money they had inherited was used to lay the foundations of what were initially two Masajid: Al-Andalus and Al-Qarawiyyin. The constructions of both were supervised by Maryam and Fatimah respectively.

In 869 AD, Fatimah decided it was time to expand the mosque into a Madrassah, which went on to be recognized as a state university in 1963. In his book “Madrasah and University in the Middle Ages”, George Makdisi writes: “…back in the Middle Ages, outside of Europe, there was nothing anything quite like it anywhere.”

During the course of Islamic history, Al-Qarawiyyin became more than a university that housed a Masjid; it soon began housing the greatest minds of the European Middle Ages. Many notable scholars of the time either studied or taught at Al-Qarawiyyin, including Ibn Khaldun, Leo Africanus, and Ibn al-Arabi. The university gained fame among the scholars from all over the world, such as Maimonides (Ibn Maimun) and Muhammad al-Idris, a cartographer, whose maps were widely used during the Renaissance, especially in European quests to explore uncharted lands.

The university expanded very rapidly. With additional construction done in the twelfth century, Al-Qarawiyyin came to be regarded as the largest mosque in North Africa. That was the time when the Masjid gained its current structure, which can now accommodate around twenty-two thousand worshippers.

In a brutal attempt to massacre Muslim civilization during the Spanish Inquisition, many Muslims and scholars were expelled from Spain. They found a refuge in Fes, where they shared their wisdom and their cultural insights about arts and sciences. While the Spanish Inquisition of the thirteenth century was a dark and difficult time for Muslim scholars, al-Fihri’s institution became a much-needed symbol of hope for the devastated Muslim academia.

In his book “Islamic Education in Europe” (2009), Ednan Aslan writes how the Muslim community “maintained, favoured, and organized the institutions for higher education that became the new centres for the diffusion of Islamic knowledge.” This resulted in the centres becoming “places where teachers and students of that time would meet” and “where all intellectuals would gather and take part in extremely important scientific debates.” He writes that in the ninth century, it is not to be taken as a coincidence that the establishment of the Qarawiyyin University in Fes was followed by Az-Zaytuna in Tunis and Al-Azhar in Cairo. Aslan writes: “The university model, which in the West was widespread starting only from the twelfth century, had an extraordinary fortune and was spread throughout the Muslim world at least until the colonial period.”

Before her death in 880 AD, Fatimah al-Fihri was titled Umme Banin, the Mother of the Children. She was remembered to have stood true to her oath to keep fasting till the construction of the Masjid was completed. She prayed in the Masjid for the first time as an act of gratitude to Allah (swt). The city of Kairouan was no longer a stranger to the two sisters, Fatimah and Maryam, both of whom had made wise and important choices in their youth.

As a Muslimah, the world I live in asks me to stop looking into the past; however, it is there that I find hope for the future. Perhaps there is a Fatimah al-Fihri out there reading my words. If she is, we must help her in her quest to create a space, where learning takes place for all the seekers of knowledge.


The Doors to Mercy

doors of mercy

  1. The Quran. Allah (swt) has termed the Quran as Rahmah (mercy) in about twenty places in His Book. It is the consoler of hearts that accompanies us throughout the journey and will be there when everyone will forsake us. It is the only key to eternal success. Therefore, let us make a sincere effort this month to befriend the Quran. Go beyond the speedy recital and read with deep understanding, deducing lessons for a lifetime. Set achievable goals from one Ramadan to the next for the recitation and understanding of the Quran. If you learn the word by word translation of three Ayahs daily along with their Tafseer, you will cover the first six parts by the next Ramadan.
  2. Muhammad (sa) – mercy for mankind. His words, commandments, and even the smallest of his Sunnahs, bring about tranquility and ease for those who abide by them. Allah (swt) says: “And obey Allah and the Messenger (Muhammad (sa)) that you may obtain mercy.” (Ale-Imran 3:132) The most effective way of connecting with the Prophet (sa) is to start reading a book of Seerah in the month of Ramadan. You can also select a number of Sunnahs and try your best to follow them throughout the blessed month.
  3. Striving for the cause of Islam. Playing or watching cricket matches, watching movies, reading novels, and sleeping: these are the much-loved time killing tools we employ in Ramadan. Jihad (or struggle) is one of the most rewarding acts in the sight of Allah (swt) and a definite source of His mercy. Allah (swt) says: “Verily, those who have believed, and those who have emigrated (for Allah’s religion) and have striven hard in the way of Allah, all these hope for Allah’s mercy.” (Al-Baqarah 2:218) Think of what you have done to uphold the name of Allah (swt) in your home and community. What portion of your health, wealth, time, and capabilities are you using for Allah’s (swt) sake?
  4. Asking for forgiveness. Prophet Salih (as) said to his people: “Why seek you not the forgiveness of Allah that you may receive mercy?” (An-Namal 27:46) Believers are advised to ask for forgiveness in the last hours of the night. Wake up ten minutes earlier for Suhoor, pray two Rakahs, and invoke Allah (swt) for mercy and forgiveness. Keep your tongue occupied with the Duas of forgiveness throughout Ramadan, especially during the last ten nights. Indeed, we have an example in the Prophet (sa), who used to make Astaghfar more than a hundred times every day.
  5. Ihsan and Taqwa. Beautify your acts of worship with Ihsan. Instead of worshipping in a habitually rushed manner, make an effort to adorn your prayer with attentiveness, your fast with staying away from sins, and all your actions with sincerity. Want a double portion of mercy? Taqwa will get you there! Allah (swt) says: “Fear Allah and believe in His Messenger (Muhammad (sa)); He will give you a double portion of His Mercy.” (Al-Hadid 57:28) Taqwa is to tame the galloping heart, stop wherever Allah (swt) wants you to stop, and race forward wherever He wants you to – all of that comes with practice and Duas!

The Fiqh of Love

fiqh of love

It is human nature to love. But what is true love? What does it imply? Is it just about boy-meets-girl and their fairytale happily-ever-after that the media, novels, movies, magazines, commercials, and billboards of today project? Is ‘that’ love or is love something far deeper, and more meaningful, noble, and pure?

Love – A Forbidden Word?

Views on love in the Muslim community range from the extremely liberal (‘love is good and everything prior to marriage is okay’) to the strictly conservative (‘love is a big no-no’). At times, it is even perceived to be a forbidden topic. The blame lies with us that such an innate emotion as love is so misunderstood by us. We need to learn how beautifully Islam has taught us all about love.

The Love We Know

The dictionary explains the word ‘love’ as follows: a strong positive regard or affection; a feeling of intense affection, without restrictions. However, our notions about love today are largely based on what is shown by the media: two individuals falling madly in love with each other. The world is perfect as long as they are together. They will never fight or have any differences. In the movie world, it is the society that is against them, and the couple will go to any length (really, ‘any’ length) to be with each other.

Fairytales, with which our minds are fed from a very tender age, cause even more harm. Prince Charming comes and takes the poor, oppressed protagonist far, far away. The way the female protagonists are always portrayed as flawlessly beautiful leads us to believe that love is all about appearance and outward appeal. We need to get real.


Love seems to be the only issue that matters these days. There is an over-emphasis on the portrayal of love as something associated with singing romantic songs, and depicting scenes of how true love conquers all. Is this kind of love “ultimately fulfilling” and the only thing to strive for?

Many of us know that real love does not work this way. Yet tantalizing images affect our hopes for romance, which may cause disappointment in the long run. Our thinking is shaped by what we are exposed to. As a result, our life begins to echo the stories we see on the screen.

Divine Perspective of Love

“Love is neither disapproved of by religion, nor prohibited by the law. For every heart is in Allah’s (swt) hands.” (Ibn Hazm)

“And among His signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.” (Ar-Rum 30:21)

Over time, the word ‘love’ has gained a negative connotation. People relate it to many things that it should not be associated with. Hence, they feel shy or embarrassed when the topic comes up. The reality, however, is that the word ‘love’ is often used in the Quran and the Sunnah to describe love for our parents, for our brothers and sisters in Islam, and of course, for our spouses. Thus, love is not something to be ashamed of.

Regarding his wife Khadijah (rta), the Prophet (sa) once said: “Verily, I was filled with love for her.” (Muslim)

The love our Prophet (sa) had for his wives in general, and Khadijah (rtaf) and Aisha (rtaf) in particular, illustrates how love makes relationships beautiful. There is a lot to learn from the life of the Prophet (sa)!

Is Loving Someone a Sin?

Love brings stability and security when dealt with correctly. At the same time, we can never have full control over love, and it cannot remain hidden either. This poses the dilemma of how to address being in love.

Having the feeling of love in the heart is not a sin. Sinning occurs when a person decides to act upon that love in a Haram way, such as talking continually to the person he or she loves, dating, and engaging in fornication. Even staring at the other person can be Haram!

Love Someone? Get Married!

Marriage is the only happily-ever-after for two people in this Dunya and the next. The Prophet (sa) said: “There is nothing better for two who love one another than marriage.” (Ibn Majah)

What can be better for us than what the Prophet of Allah (sa) has liked for us? If you like someone, send the proposal for Nikah. Islam is modern enough to endorse a father asking a suitable man’s hand for his daughter. Umar (rtam) asked first Abu Bakr (rtam) and later Usman (rtam) to marry his daughter, Hafsa (rtaf). Islam even permits an older lady to send a proposal for a younger, pious man as in the case of Khadijah (rtaf) and Muhammad (sa). Don’t wait for your career to settle or for your degree to be in your pocket. There will always be a new achievement to attain. Why not do all that with a righteous spouse by your side?

Our Friends

“A man follows the religion of his friend, so each of you should consider whom he befriends.” (Abu Dawood)

Can there be a better example of how our friends influence us than this Hadeeth? Mutaqqi (Allah-fearing) friends can make our Jannah, while the damage an evil friend can inflict needs no elaboration. Our friends shape our thinking. So choose your friends wisely!

The Surroundings

We are a part of what we see. Psychological studies go at length to prove how explicitly our environment determines our behaviour. For example, a person, who is not used to the open mixing of opposite genders, will be taken aback at the way girls and guys often hang out together at educational institutions. Repeated exposure to such situations will make that person accustomed to it. Sadly, the movies we watch, the books we read, and the places we frequent are making us more and more accustomed to lewdness.

It All Starts with a Thought

Hence, what we have to control foremost is what we think about. Not paying attention to what crosses your mind is asking for trouble because every action begins with a wandering thought. The thought results in action if we do not stop it there and then. Repeated action becomes a habit, and a habit may become an addiction. Thus, we may end up facing many trials which could have been avoided with some self control.

To keep the matters of the heart in check, the following are essential:

  1. If you like someone, marry him or her. Don’t just let it hang there.
  2. If you cannot marry, fast.
  3. Cover the Awrah, as ordained by the Shariah.
  4. Do Dhikr, as it drives away all evil thoughts.
  5. Avoid free mixing of opposite genders and seclusion (Khalwah) with non-Mahrams.
  6. Guard your senses.
  7. Look for good companions.

May Allah (swt) guide us to the right path and make us among the Muttaqeen. Ameen.

A brief transcription of a workshop conducted by Sister Binte Mobin, organized by Youth Talk, Karachi. Transcribed by Maham Irfan.


Fun & Learn Teaching Aids


Living in the West, we all worry about how to teach our children facts about Islam that kids in Muslim countries learn just by being in the right environment. My 6-year-old daughter started memorizing Juz Amma, and when she got to Surah Al-Fajr, I realized I did not know the order of Surahs beyond that point. If I did not know, how could I teach my kids, especially when we always stress that teaching by example is the best?

Having a few years of teaching experience, I decided to utilize all the study aids I had used as an English teacher and even design my own ‘fun & learn’ system. Following are a few ideas. For maximum benefit, you should do these together with your kids. When I used to teach, I realized that the questions students asked and the ingenious solutions to problems they came up with were better than anything I could have imagined. Let your kids teach you.

  1. Mnemonic. This is an aid that helps you memorize something. To memorize the names of the first 10 Surahs, we came up with this story:

At the party, Isra opened the door. It smelled like someone was cooking beef (cow) Biryani; Uncle Imran’s family invited us in. The women were supposed to be served first from a buffet set on the table. The aroma was so awesome, everyone rushed like cattle from downstairs, upstairs, and all heights, behaving like they were distributing spoils of war. Nanijan made them all stop and do Tawbah for behaving in such a manner. We recited prophet Yunus’s Dua.

All you have to do is make up stories with your children. You can use five to ten names in a story. Type them out and read them often, so you and your children can memorize the names.

  1. Graphic Organizers. These come in several categories and are used for pictorial representation of a concept. For example, you can use a tree form to teach kids the Prophet’s (sa) family members. Attached is one that I found on the net (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_tree_of_Muhammad/), but you can design one with your kids for better information retention. It could be in the shape of a tree, a flower, etc.
  1. Lap Books. Basically, these are a handy reference for the child that she herself creates with all the information at her fingertips. They are amazing and there are templates available on the net. All you have to do is download and work on them with your kids. We did one about Akhlaq. The templates are available to download from: http://imanshomeschool.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/a-z-of-akhlaq-lapbook/.


  1. Student Teachers. Have siblings or friends’ kids teach a class, and you will be amazed at the result. I did this by assigning different topics to groups of students; they would make a presentation and a worksheet for ‘recall activity’. Following are some that my son, Bilal, made about animals in the Quran for his 6-year-old sister.


There was a matching sheet of English and Arabic names of animals. The second was a word search from a free website http://www.superkids.com/aweb/tools/words/search/.

  1. Choose a topic and list down all the words that come to mind. Then use these to explain and discuss the topic. We use a cool tool (wordle.net) to brainstorm. Following is our Wordle on Islamic heritage. It was not too fancy, but through discussion we added more words that we had missed like science, discovery, etc.


There are other sites that offer mind mapping and wikis. Your family fun is just a Google away. Whatever you do and however you choose to teach and learn with your kids, make it fun, involve the entire family and use technology (the latest techniques in teaching and the computer/iPad).


This Ramadan will be a Different One!


After breaking the fast, while still on my prayer mat, I was secretly hoping and praying that it wouldn’t be the last fast of Ramadan. Somehow I wasn’t that thrilled about Eid this time. I was rather withdrawn and passive. Obviously, Eid was not the reason for my distress; instead, it was the fact that Ramadan was ending.

Having understood the virtues and experienced the numerous blessings of Ramadan, I was anxious that I had not gained enough from the blessed month. “But there is always next Ramadan,” I reassured myself. “What makes you so sure that you will live that long?” a part of me responded. The growing debate between my conscience and Nafs (lowly base self prone to sin) made me more uncomfortable. The ticking of the clock made me desperate, and I felt like grabbing every second of the passing time.

I started having flashbacks of what little I did the entire month, as opposed to all that I could have done to seek the pleasure of my Rabb: the voluntary deeds I could have performed in addition to the regular rituals. I felt guilty, realizing that the enemy resided within me, and that enemy was my own Nafs.

“Forget it! You don’t have what it takes to be pious. If you couldn’t take charge of yourself in Ramadan, when Shaitan was chained, then what chance do you have for self-purification after Ramadan?” my Nafs condemned me. Tears of regret and remorse rolled down my cheeks into my hands raised in Dua. I promised myself that if I would be allowed to witness next Ramadan then it would have to be a different one and definitely a better one.

The first step towards attaining a goal is to be prepared. Therefore, I devised a pre Ramadan checklist. “This Ramadan will be a different one!” clenching my Ramadan checklist, I announced to myself in a resolute tone.

I thought of sharing it with you all, hoping that it will be of benefit to you as well, Insha’Allah.

My Ramadan Checklist

  • Make lots of Dua to be able to witness Ramadan with Hidayah (guidance), Hikmah (wisdom) and Aafia (well-being) as well as to be blessed with Barakah in your time, so that you can make the most of each day.
  • Regulate Your Routine. Try giving up on late nights and late mornings at least two weeks before Ramadan, in order to set your routine for Taraweeh and Qiyam-ul-Layl.
  • Quran Recitation. Start your Quranic recitation with understanding and contemplation at least ten days before Ramadan, so that by the end of the blessed month you do not feel the urge to rush the completion of the Glorious Quran.
  • Memorization of Duas. A month before Ramadan, you can try to memorize at least one new Dua every week. This way you will be able to gain more Khair during the month of forgiveness.
  • Grocery Shopping. Make sure that you have organized and stored all your groceries at least a week before Ramadan.
  • Ramadan Menu. Pre-planned menus will help you focus on more important tasks. Keep the menu as simple as possible, as it is a Sunnah to do so.
  • Adequate Eating Habits. Do not consume too much fried food, as it tends to lower your energy level.
  • Iftar Parties. If you invite people for Iftar, avoid mixed gatherings and extravagance.
  • Eid Shopping. Ramadan is a golden month for attaining Khair for our Akhirah, not for grabbing the best bargains at shopping malls. Do not lose this opportunity and focus on satisfying your Nafs instead. Complete your shopping before Ramadan.
  • Daily Checklist. Prepare a daily checklist of ‘things to do’ for the next day. This way, you will not be preoccupied with thoughts of mundane tasks and will be able to focus on your worship.
  • Supererogatory Acts. Form the habit of performing voluntary acts (prayers, fasts, charity, etc.) after your obligatory worship, in order to earn extra rewards.

Abu Hurayrah (rta) has narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “Allah said: My servant does not draw near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties (obligatory acts) I have enjoined upon him. My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works, such that I shall love him. When I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask (something) of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it.” (Bukhari)

  • Daily Dhikr. Set your practice of the morning and evening Adhkar two weeks before Ramadan. Try to keep your tongue moist with Dhikr, for example: Astaghfirullah, Subhan Allah, Alhumdulillah, Subhan Allah e Wabihamdihi, while doing routine things like cooking and cleaning. This way your ordinary tasks will turn into acts of worship, Insha’Allah.
  • Duas before Fajr. A month before Ramadan, try to get up just ten to fifteen minutes before Fajr. This is that part of the night when Allah (swt) descends to the lowest heaven and accepts the Duas of His slaves. How can we miss such an opportunity, such an honour?
  • Spiritual Boost. Assign a specific time during the day for listening to Quranic recitation or an Iman-boosting lecture to help you stay high-spirited throughout the busy day.
  • Lessons for Children. Invest at least thirty minutes in sharing Deen-related material with your children. Make the lesson interesting and interactive. For example, read a story from the Quran or stories of the prophets; tell them a Hadeeth and try to act on it with them; switch on a short talk by a scholar, listen to it with them and discuss what you have learned.
  • Sharing Blessings. Arrange your cupboards a month before Ramadan and separate the items that you have not used for over six to ten months. Neatly sort and stack them in boxes to give away in charity.
  • A few months before Ramadan, get your children to help you make a little charity box, so that they can learn the importance of Sadaqah and start collecting money in it. When you go for your pre-Ramadan Eid shopping, buy a few gifts for the poor and wrap them nicely to give them out a day or two before Eid. Charity expiates sins and its virtues increase in this blessed month.

Ramadan offers excellent opportunities for reaping the utmost Khair (goodness). Imagine if you were told about a clearance sale at the best mall in town; wouldn’t you want to grab every valuable item in your reach? Definitely! Then why should we waste this opportunity to attain the pleasure of the One Who loves us beyond our perception?

May Allah (swt) help us make the most of our life, until we meet Him in Jannat-al-Firdaus, Ameen.


Time Management, the Sunnah Way

time management sunnah

  1. Set Your Goals in Life
  • Your goals will shape your life and your schedule.
  • When doing any task, always begin with the end in mind.
  1. Self-Discipline is the Key
  • Break such habits as procrastination and laziness.
  • Make a weekly schedule along with a daily one and stick to it.
  • Realize the difference between urgent and important. The urgent things may not always be important.
  • Everything else will fit in automatically.
  • Avoid distractions caused by such unimportant things as messages, posts, tweets, and mails.
  • If the task is large or time-consuming, divide it into small chunks and start working on it immediately. Don’t procrastinate.
  • Allah (swt) does not expect immediate results from us. He wants us to grow and learn on a constant basis, as He loves consistent good deeds. Even the Shariah was revealed gradually.
  1. Delegate and Take a Break
  • Avoid burnout and fatigue. Narrated Abdullah bin Amr (rta): News of my daily fasting and praying every night throughout the night reached the Prophet (sa). He sent for me or I met him, and he said: “I have been informed that you fast everyday and pray every night (all the night). Fast (for some days) and give up fasting (for some days); pray and sleep, for your eyes have a right on you, and your body and your family (i.e., wife) have a right on you.” The Prophet (sa) said, twice: “Whoever fasts daily throughout his life is just as the one who does not fast at all.” (Bukhari)
  • Recharge yourself. Make time for Halal fun with your family; it is Sunnah.
  • Do teamwork. Delegate tasks to others, if they are able and willing to do it.
  • The Prophet (sa) used to delegate tasks to his companions according to their abilities.
  1. Eliminate Time-Wasters (Al-Laghw)
  • Eliminate things that don’t give you any benefit, especially the Haram ones.
  • Even if the time wasters aren’t Haram, it is better to replace them with something productive.
  • A good example is from Imam an-Nawawi’s childhood: he used to prefer studying rather than playing outside with the other kids. He prioritized studying over other usual things because that’s what he really wanted to do.
  1. Bonus Tips
  • Multi-task only if it is beneficial. Avoid it where it is harmful, for example, during family time.
  • Keep positive company. Be with those who increase your Iman, and who motivate and stimulate you to accomplish your goals.
  • Be open to advice and correction. Learn from your mistakes. Don’t let your ego stop you from growing.
  • Learn to say ‘no’ politely if somebody wants you to do something that distracts you from your schedule.
  • Stay fit and healthy, because the opposite of fitness is laziness. Health and fitness are a part of Deen.
  • Strive for excellence. Do everything with Ihsan. This is the characteristic of a true Muslim.
  • One way to discipline yourself, or to break bad habits, is by giving a fine in the form of charity every time you indulge in that behaviour .
  • Reward yourself with small treats when you stick to your routine or accomplish your goals. A nice ice-cream would work.

Transcribed by Ahmed Faraz. This is an abridged transcription of a webinar conducted by Shaykh Kamdar. For complete transcription, visit www.hibamagazine.com.



The Social Impact of Borrowed Living

borrowed living

The one-world materialistic consumer culture, which is deliberately being promoted throughout the globe, is affecting us. We are falling into the trap of living a lifestyle based on loans: house loans, car loans, education loans, investment loans, credit cards, digital money, and money borrowed from friends and family. All this is affecting us, our families, and our society in a negative manner. Let us study the impact of borrowed living and look at some ways to counter it.

Responsible borrowing may sometimes be inevitable. The Prophet (sa) once borrowed from a Jew. The problem is a lifestyle of borrowed living which is being promoted nowadays. Most of such transactions are based on Riba and lead to a never-ending vicious cycle, which is intended to trap the borrower, adversely impacting him, his family, and the whole society.

The primary impact of borrowing is on the borrower. It affects his character as he becomes prone to lying, deceiving, making false promises and cheating. He also becomes a victim of corruption in trying to pay back the monthly installments to his creditors with whom his relations can easily turn sour. They say that if you want to destroy your friendship, borrow from a friend. Such a person becomes hated in the society. People curse him for not paying back on time. He becomes lonely and sometimes, even depressed and suicidal.

Such people are prone to be led away from truth and reality. They live in the artificial world of advertisements, movies, music, and perpetual entertainment, which help them find comfort and draw them away from focusing on their problems. They develop a mentality of constantly acquiring things, rather than taking care of the weak. They look down on others, who apparently have less than them, and as they do not give the Zakat (due to their loans), the poor become envious of them. With easy access to loans, the borrower has little motivation to develop good work ethics, enterprise, planning, accountability, responsibility, innovation, reform, service, learning, and vision in his work. All this promotes a hollow ostentatious lifestyle, without any meaning, spirituality, or wisdom.

A person living such a lifestyle is deprived of all the blessings, as his transactions are based on Riba, which Allah (swt) has promised to make devoid of any blessings. He lives a wasteful life, and Allah (swt) calls such spendthrifts the ‘brothers of Shaitan’. The borrower’s relationship with Allah (swt) becomes weak as he begins to fear people and the future instead of Him. He always feels guilty and dissatisfied with life, trying to find an escape from his predicament. This weak relationship with Allah (swt) causes his relationships with those around him to deteriorate. He starts perceiving his family, colleagues, neighbours, friends, relatives, etc., as potential creditors. Becoming entrapped in this mentality, he only manages to increase for himself the pressure of his financial problems.

As an Ameer of the family, a man is supposed to provide Halal income, protection, and good Tarbiyah for those under his authority. All these become difficult for a borrower. His family becomes addicted to the easy life, and their demands increase day by day. This leads to family problems and misunderstandings. From a young age, children learn from their parents the destructive character traits that come with borrowed living.

A society, in which the majority of people are trapped in such a mindset, develops serious social problems. These destroy its very fabric, leading to deceit, thefts, violence, crime, killings, addictions, increase in materialism, and loss of spirituality. People become concerned only with competing with each other in acquiring things and living out enviable fashions and trends. They lose sight of what matters most in life and live out the hollow lifestyles of the celebrities they watch on the mainstream media. At a macro level, even governments sell their independence through financial enslavement, which affects millions of citizens.

A Way Out

The solution to these maladies is to not get trapped in a credit-based system in the first place. Try not to take any loan ever, if you can help it. Instead of a credit card, use cash, or at least a debit card. If credit cards are unavoidable, you can ask your bank to automatically pay the monthly balance from your account. The best cure is to change your lifestyle and live within your means. Instead of living a materialistic lifestyle, adopt a spiritual one. Engage in learning and teaching, rather than shopping and partying. Adopt the Sunnah in your daily routine.

Realize that the Prophet (sa) called the market the worst place and the Masjid the best. When you enter the market, recite the Dua for it. When you do go out for shopping, always make a list before leaving the house. Only buy the items on the list. Do it like a chore on fixed times on a weekly basis, not like an outing or entertainment which the mall culture these days promotes. Spend the least possible amount of time shopping. Do it without the wife and kids and after a meal. If you can help it, do not visit the market in between your weekly trips.

Make priorities for spending. For example, you may decide to spend on charity, learning, and health, while cutting expenditures in other areas. Engage in free entertainment like going to parks and beaches, instead of going to movies and malls. Eat at home by learning or asking your wife to learn to cook your children’s favorite fast foods like donuts, cookies, cakes, and pizzas. You can do it as a family weekend in the kitchen once in a while. Buy off season clothing. Do your Eid shopping months in advance before the prices rise. Go on vacations locally, instead of going to faraway places.

Brothers, who are about to tie the knot, should take into consideration the spending priorities of their spouse-to-be. If she is known to spend on extravagant fashions, etc, will you be able to provide that through your loan-free Halal income? Also consider future responsibilities once the family begins and grows. A girl with simple and realistic needs will be closer to Allah (swt), easy to please and caring.

The Prophet (sa) refused to lead the funeral prayer for those who had outstanding loans. The following Hadeeth confirms this. A dead person was brought to the Prophet (sa) so that he might lead the funeral prayer for him. He asked: “Is he in debt?” When the people replied in the negative, he led the funeral prayer. Another dead person was brought and he asked: “Is he in debt?” They said: “Yes.” He (refused to lead the prayer and) said: “Lead the prayer of your friend.” Abu Qatadah said: “O Allah’s Messenger (sa)! I undertake to pay his debt.” Allah’s Messenger (sa) then led his funeral prayer. (Bukhari) Even Halal loans are not encouraged, due to all the reasons cited above.

Today’s social architects promote borrowed living. They aim to keep the general public deluded and entrapped so that they keep earning and prospering at their expense. As practicing Muslims, we should see through their schemes and neutralize them. Borrowed living affects not only the individual, but also the family and society. Resolve to live within your means by adopting a simple Sunnah lifestyle with known priority areas for spending. A slave of Allah (swt) does not rest until he frees himself from all forms of enslavement. This includes financial slavery.


Ethics of Auto Repair

ethics of auto repair

On the Day of Judgement, every detail – be it a screw or a nut – will be accounted for.

It has been reported that Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “The happiness of a person in this world depends on four components: a righteous and obedient wife; a spacious and comfortable abode; good neighbours; practical and comfortable means of transportation.” (Ibn Hibban and Ahmad)

In this article, we will take a closer look at the fourth component or, more specifically, the technical servicing of a means of transportation.

Up until the twentieth century, animals were the most widely used means of transportation worldwide. When the first automobiles appeared, animals started losing their ground; they were eventually pushed aside completely as Europe and the US began the mass production of automobiles.

Due to global technical developments, the automobile, which was once a luxury, has now become a mere means of transportation. In some countries, the number of automobiles is roughly equivalent to the adult population. The number of cars per 1,000 persons is 508 in Europe, 540 in Japan, and 776 in the US.

With an increasing numbers of automobiles, there is also an increased need for specialists qualified to service cars. No driver can avoid seeking the help of an auto mechanic, even if it is just for changing a tyre or car oil. The frequency of seeking the help of a mechanic depends on various factors, such as the condition, year of manufacture, and brand of the car, as well as the driving capabilities of the car owner. The gentler you are towards your ‘steel horse’, the less frequent will be your visits to the auto service.

Sheikh Saeed Alfandi Al-Chirkavi and Imam Kuramuhammad-haji Ramazanov, two great contemporary Muslim scholars, have extensively discussed in their writings the ethics of driving and auto repair.

Selecting the Best Auto Mechanic

Good auto mechanics are always in great demand. Just like in any other field of work, Islam prescribes certain ethical norms and requirements for auto mechanics. The most important principle a mechanic should follow is: to service and repair any automobile as if it was his own, or, like a famous saying goes, “do the work, as if you are doing it for yourself.”

Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “None of you will truly believe until you wish for your brother what you wish for yourself.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Auto Repair Ethics

Although the above discussion should suffice, it is important to mention some ethical norms that must be observed by all auto mechanics:

  • Clear intention to help people and earn, through this, the pleasure of Allah (swt).
  • Aim to earn only by fair means, without deception.
  • Don’t miss Salah, no matter how much work is at hand.
  • Since cleanliness is half of faith, it is very much desired to keep the auto repair shop clean and neat. Clients will also feel good about visiting a well-maintained and clean car service.
  • During work hours, it is desirable to keep the radio tuned to an Islamic channel with the aim of acquiring Islamic knowledge.
  • In the course of work, car oil comes into contact with the skin of mechanics. For Wudhu to be valid, the body parts that need to be washed should not have any water resistant materials on them. Therefore, before making Wudhu, mechanics have to remove all traces of oil from their hands. It is recommended to work in gloves.

Professional Traits

  • First of all, the mechanic has to be well-versed in his trade and have a good understanding about the specialties of different types of transportation. He should continuously keep himself updated about the latest information on car repairs and should raise his qualifications by learning from more experienced mechanics.
  • After evaluating each individual case, the mechanic should not start fixing the auto if he does not have the required skills and knowledge for it.
  • The mechanic should keep in mind the safety of the owner of the car and others on the road. More specifically, he should consider how the auto might behave in traffic situations once he completes his work on it.
  • The mechanic should do honest work with the client’s best interests in mind.

What is Forbidden

Under no conditions should a mechanic cheat his client. Sometimes a sly and unfair mechanic may use the ignorance of his client regarding the technical specifics of his car and:

  • Deceive him by asking to pay for work which is not done;
  • Make the client buy new spare parts in his shop, although there was no need to replace the old ones;
  • Replace a well-functioning car part with a faulty one.

There are numerous ways of cheating through which the mechanic can earn considerable amounts of money. In Islam, such dealings are forbidden. Money earned by such means will not result in blessings. Moreover, such unlawful dealings may bring upon the mechanic severe illness, loss of property, and other afflictions, as it has been said: “Beware of the curse of the oppressed. There is no barrier between such Dua and the Most High.” Car mechanics should keep this in mind, as there is no other word than oppression for unethical practices.

What Should an Unfair Mechanic Do?

A mechanic, who earns his wealth through Haram ways, must know that on the Day of Judgement, he will experience severe difficulties. Every cheated client will come and ask from him his due share. Every smallest detail – be it a screw or a nut – will be accounted for on that day.

Compared with these difficulties on the Day of Judgement, is it not easier to earn your bread by Halal means? We will receive what has been decreed for us. However, ours is the choice by what means our Rizq (provision) will come to us.

So what should an unfair car mechanic do if he has realized his mistake? The answer is self-evident: repent, while there is still time. He should try to recall what he has done wrong, and set it right. Also, he should never cheat again! He should know that he must pay back all those from whom he has taken Haram money; he should find the wronged clients, pay them back, and ask forgiveness. It is easier to set things right in this world than to give to the wronged clients your good deeds on the Day of Judgement and take on yourself their sins.

If you do not know the clients you have wronged and are unable to find them even after searching for them, give the amount you owed them in charity. Also, keep asking the Most High for forgiveness.

Source: http://islam.ru/content/obshestvo/etika-remonta-avtomobilya. Translated by Laila Brence.



Live Healthy, Fast Healthy


Healthy Iftar Menus

  • 3 dates, 4 oz fresh juice, and 1 cup vegetable soup with some pasta or crackers.
  • Pita bread with chicken, salad, and hummus and one or two pieces of Baklava.
  • Fruit salad with cream as appetizer followed by chicken with boiled rice, vegetable curry and mixed salad.
  • Baked fish with roasted vegetables or fish curry with rice, followed by sweet vermicelli or one piece of Jalebi (sweet).
  • Pasta cooked with vegetables and chicken or fish, and a slice of plain cake with home-made custard.

Healthy Suhoor Menus

  • 1-2 servings of fruits as an appetizer; 1-2 servings of whole wheat or oat cereal or whole wheat bread with a cup of milk.
  • A bowl of porridge with milk, one slice of toast, and a handful of unsalted nuts.
  • Wheat-based cereal with milk, a plain scone or crumpet, and an apple or banana.
  • A pear or an orange followed by a bowl of shredded wheat.
  • Cheese followed by one teaspoon of jam with crackers or toast, and a handful of dried fruits.

Handy Health Tips

  • Drink sufficient water after Iftar and before sleep to avoid dehydration.
  • Eat fruits at the beginning of the meal.
  • Consume a sufficient amount of vegetables at meals.
  • Avoid intake of foods with high sugar content, such as sweets.
  • Avoid spicy foods.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks such as coke, coffee, and tea. Green tea or other herbal teas are recommended.
  • Engage in some kind of light exercise, such as stretching or walking. It is important to follow time management practices for Ibadah, sleep, studies, job, and physical activities/exercise.
  • Intake of a balanced diet is critical for maintaining good health, sustaining an active lifestyle, and reaping the full benefits of Ramadan.

Foods to Avoid

  • Junk food (chips and candies)
  • Processed food (ready-to-cook foods, frozen foods, etc.)
  • White flour (Maida)
  • Too many fried foods (try baking, grilling or roasting instead of frying)
  • Excessive sugary foods (save them for Eid)
  • Excessive carbohydrates (rice, potatoes, pasta, and so on)

Healthy Alternatives

  • Baked Samosas and boiled dumplings
  • Chapattis made without oil
  • Baked or grilled meat and chicken
  • Homemade pastry using just a single layer
  • Milk-based sweets and puddings
  • Chickpeas’ Chat
  • Yoghurt Raita with fresh salad
  • Corn on the cob


Our Deen is Green Part 2: Green Shopping

Green shopping

When it comes to eco-friendly Muslim shopping, less is more. The fewer unnecessary items we buy, the less resources we waste, and the more we act to save the environment and follow the path of our Prophet (sa). As we know, Muhammad (sa) lived a simple lifestyle devoid of luxuries. With respect to shopping and buying, he strongly advised fair trade. He forbade waste and excess.

The Prophet (sa) also taught us the responsible use of natural resources: “This wealth (natural resources) is green and sweet, and he who accepts it and applies it rightly, finds it a good help, but he who takes it wrongfully is like one who eats without being satisfied.” (Bukhari)

This highlights the importance of responsible and sustainable farming, which is the key to maintaining world ecosystems. Here are some tips on how to ‘green-up’ your shopping.

Only buy what you need. Excessive shopping leads to waste. Make sure you know what you want to buy, before you set out to the market. Make a list and stick to it! Only buy as much food as you need, especially when it comes to items with a shorter shelf life. Search your wardrobe well before you decide that you have nothing to wear for an upcoming party. Try to recycle your old clothes by making dresses out of unworn Dupattas, for example. Apparently, the clothing industry wastes more water than any other industry and the growing of conventional inorganic cotton uses tons of toxic fertilisers and pesticides.

Go for antique or used stuff. Buying second-hand means that things are not wasted and that no extra resources or energy are used in their production. In many Pakistani Bazars, such as the Sunday Bazar in all the major cities, you can find second-hand clothing and second-hand book shops. Don’t be a snob about buying used stuff. Rather, be an eco-snob and try to creatively reinvent and reuse available materials. Swap your unwanted clothes with friends and family members, and don’t be shy to accept handed-down clothing for your children. (Don’t forget to disinfect any used clothing before using it.)

Buy organic. Buying organic is a new fad. But here in Pakistan, it essentially means going back to the basics, returning to the farming methods of past generations and reviving the traditions. Organic foods are healthier and their production does not harm the environment. The only drawback is that they are a bit pricier, but then, they are usually of good quality. If you think about it, the more organic products we buy, the more popular organic farming would become, which will, in turn, make it more affordable, Insha’Allah.

In Pakistan, there are two pioneering organic brands available in larger stores: these are “Daali Earth Foods” offering organic spices, flour, cereals, oil and honey, and “Pakistani Organic Farms” producing Basmati rice, wheat, sesame seeds and cotton.

Buy locally and seasonally. We all fancy some exotic foods from time to time or crave for a luxury of imported silks. However, ethical and greener shopping means that we should choose locally produced merchandise and, when it comes to buying food, buy only what is in season. Importing goods that can be produced locally is a waste of energy and resources in transport, which results in more carbon emissions. Another advantage of buying local products is that it supports local communities and small businesses. Large international corporations may seem to offer cheaper products, but the people involved in their production at the basic level are, in reality, paid very little. Buying locally from small producers means fair trade.

Avoid excessive packaging. Try to reuse and recycle the packaging you cannot avoid buying. Reuse your own shopping bag to minimize the amount of plastic bags being wasted. Buy fresh fruit and vegetables from open markets and keep them in baskets, not shoppers. Choose fresh milk and yoghurt, instead of bottled ones, and use your own containers when bringing them from the shop. Avoid unnecessary packaging by giving up on commercially-produced snacks in wrappers. Buy freshly-squeezed juice, rather than the one in boxes or, even better, make it at home yourself. There are not many recycling facilities available in Pakistan, but you can see people collecting metal, paper, or glass. Help them by sorting your rubbish and help the planet by reducing the amount of waste you produce.

Buy reusable items. It is better to buy less but better quality items that would last longer and would not end up as waste after just one season. Muslim women value beauty and beautiful clothing. However, replacing items in your wardrobe every season to follow the changing fashions puts pressure on the Earth’s resources and involves excessive expenditure which is altogether un-Islamic. Choose dresses of durable material and once you stop wearing them, give them away to someone in need.

When you purchase toys for children, look for good quality items that would last them for more than a few days. There are many cheap plastic toys sold on the streets that last just a few hours of play and soon end up in the trash. They are a waste of material and a waste of money, too! Also, think of using reusable nappies rather than disposable ones. It may need more effort, but it will mean less rubbish. May Allah (swt) reward us for all our efforts.

Check the energy efficiency rating. When you buy home appliances, inquire about their rating. They are rated from A to G with those labelled ‘A’ being the most energy efficient products. Energy efficient fridges, freezers, washing machines and the like are not only cheaper to run, as they use less electricity, but are also more environment-friendly; less energy used means less emissions and fewer resources used in production.

Be a wise shopper when it comes to buying household goods. Sometimes, paying a bit more in the shop can save us good amounts of money in the long term on electricity bills, for example. The same applies to cars and their fuel efficiency. The mileage an engine can give us on a litre of petrol should be one of the first things we look into when deciding on the purchase of a new car. Also, the CNG installations popular in Pakistan are an eco-friendly option as the cars running on gas produce emissions that are less harmful to the atmosphere.