Resolving Family Conflicts – A Lectureshop with Dr. Bilal Philips

As most of you know already. Dr. Bilal Philips is coming to #Karachi Insha’Allah! On this occasion, Hiba Magazine and LIVE DEEN have joined hands to bring to you a mega event:

Resolving Family Conflicts
A Lectureshop and Q&A with Dr. Bilal Philips

When: Friday, 27th February, 2015
Timing: 7:00 – 9:30 pm
Where: Marriott Hotel Karachi

Ticket price
Single: PKR 1500/-
Special discount for couples: PKR 2500/- (SAVE PKR 500/-)

Tickets are available from Hiba Magazine’s office, Role Model Institute, and Da’wah Books.

Separate arrangement will be made for mothers with children under 5 years.

We hope to see you there, Insha’Allah!

Lectureshop Flyer

“Twins of Faith” – An Epic Experience

ToF-logo-2-293x300O you, who believe, be supporters of Allah (swt)…” (61:14)

“The Twins of Faith 2014” conference was a life-changing experience. Helping in the cause of Allah (swt) was something I had longed to do. This conference was my chance. This was the first time I had volunteered in such an event. The tension and excitement were both at their peak before the event.

I was first given the job to sell tickets. I had to go to my school, friends and family members and tell them about the event, convincing them to come. Believe me, it was no walk in the park. I only managed to sell five tickets to my family members. In school, none of my friends were interested. I was really disappointed. I told them about how beneficial and gratifying it would be, but still I got a response in the negative. I gave up all hope and started thinking what a Fitnah filled world it was, but I remembered that our job was to remind people – Allah (swt) is the One, Who can change the hearts. So I kept reminding them and they finally got interested, but it all ended in vain, when their parents did not allow them. Frankly, I was quite upset but I kept my calm.

Now about the responsibilities I had on the day of the event. I was an usher at the registration desk. We were summoned to “Marriott” at 7 o’clock in the morning, so we headed for the venue right after praying Fajr. It was still dark outside. It seemed like a small job to perform, just like a drop in the sea, as the older volunteers were assigned all the hard tasks; however, I found satisfaction in the fact that one should not belittle his good deeds. The Prophet (sa) said: “Do not belittle any good deed, even meeting your brother (Muslim) with a cheerful face.” (Muslim) Furthermore, we were told in the weekly meetings that deeds were based on intentions, and I did it solely for Allah (swt). The rewards of deeds are based on the intentions (Bukhari). Time and again we were reminded to keep a smiling and cheerful face, as it makes the people feel welcomed, and it also is a Sunnah. The event was a blast and a great learning experience. They told about the rights of parents, how they are the easiest route to Jannah, and the rights of children. Even though many problems arose, everybody had a great time. The volunteers and the team members handled every situation calmly, always showing a jovial demeanour.

The best thing was that we were within close proximity with the shaykhs. We got the best seats in the house, right next to the stage. The dinner with the shaykhs was great, as they related their lifetime stories. It was a highly learning experience. The meetings were fun, and everybody had a great sense of humour – we were helping in the cause of Allah (swt), while being social and active in the community.


The Story of Orange Tree

orange treeWhen you do something solely to please the Lord, you don’t keep a count or tabs or wonder about success. You just keep on doing what you are doing, hoping He accepts it. This may be one of the reasons why I never wrote about the Orange Tree Foundation or got worried about its publicity or growing in numbers or size.

But living so far away from it, I feel it’s time I introduce the world to this baby of ours and talk about it and give it the recognition it deserves. Normally, when someone asks me, “So what exactly is Orange Tree?” My typical answer is the one I had learnt by heart over the years…” It’s a mother and child education program starting from the Montessori level. It provides equal educational opportunities to students. We give the students Montessori for a year along with regular classes to mothers for a year; after which they get admitted into mainstream schools of Karachi and the Orange Tree sponsors their education as well as provides them with reinforcement classes of what they are studying in school.”

It’s a mother and child education program starting from the Montessori level. It provides equal educational opportunities to students.

But today, I’d like to share a bit more than what I used to explain as to who we are to people. If I rewind everything back to 2011, there used to be a very small organization run by a few college students known as Jaag Meray Taalib e Ilm. They weren’t much of Taalibe Ilms since they spent most of their time in protests or in student empowering conferences or events that would just somehow help them feel that they are contributing towards the betterment of Pakistan, towards fighting the education emergency in the country. They used to call themselves ‘the crazy ones…who change things.’

They were looking for something long term, something definite and something that would contribute as a solution rather than a short term band-aid for this problem called education crisis in Pakistan. But they had no money in their pockets and no plan in mind. It was in the summer of 2011 that they met Omer Mateen Allahwala, the current General Secretary of Orange Tree Foundation. He questioned them about their aims, asked them what they wished to do and perhaps might have seen a few twinkling eyes who really thought they could change the world with their grand ideas about changing the country in a prosperous manner. He explained to them that they needed a proper plan and since they seem determined he was willing to join hands with them and help them find what they really want to do. He only insisted on one thing: whether it is improving one life or one hundred lives, you need to know who you are pleasing, your ego or your God.

After a few meetings cum mentoring sessions with him, he introduced them to the power house of a woman called Sabina Khatri (founder of the Kiran School System). It took her two hours talking about her school in Lyari and the problems she faced there to move that particular group to jitters and goose bumps. Something had to be done. She challenged those college kids if they really were determined enough to go to Lyari with her then and there and see for themselves to get a bit more inspired or see the picture clearly. It was decided that a few classes would have to be bunked for that day and off they went in a car driven by Sabina Khatri to Lyari and that day was probably a decisive day for all the members of the Orange Tree who went with her. “We are opening a similar school system…just need a name and place and teachers and a lot of other things that we had not even started to sort out in our heads.”

Three years down the road, we now have 48-forty eight students and their mothers; two apartments in the same building and countless fundraisers and exhibitions of our mothers’ handicrafts around the city;

The name Orange Tree was decided via a vote on a BBM group and then started the hunt for an apartment. It was decided that it would be in Khadda Market, close to the accommodations of most of the team members since safety of the team could not be compromised by the elders on the team. And it was easier to get volunteers to come to that side instead of an area far away.  Within a month a beautiful 2-two room apartment was taken on rent; painting and setting up started. Every team member did their bit, some got a stove, some got their mother’s old crockery, some got their own mothers to teach and some raised donations to buy paint, furniture and what not. We were definitely opening a school.

Our first round of admissions was extremely difficult for us, for we did not know how to shortlist. Saying no to any parent was just impossible for us. Eventually we decided upon the kind of families we needed in order to support a student for a long term program. We also approached a lot of big factory/company owners to spread the word among their employees.

The criterion was simple:

Parents need to be passionate and committed to the cause of education

The student’s family should be Karachi based

The father must be employed and earning a minimum of Rs. 10,000

Both parents should have primary education

The child must be between 2.5-3 years of age at the time of admission

We needed committed parents who would not run off in the middle of the program at the smallest of problems. And we aimed at white collar employees who knew the worth of good education since they saw their employers achieve success with it but could not afford to put their children in good schools.

We admitted 12-twelve students in the first year; again we were not going for numbers, just aiming to do the best for these children. With a few family friends and mentors helping us out, we began our journey. Some of us quit our full time jobs, some adjusted Orange Tree timings with their work timings and some gave up their careers altogether to give time to Orange Tree. With regular classes for mothers which included subjects like Grooming, Art, Computers, English, Quran, Hadeeth, Hygiene and General Knowledge; the mothers were tested on their classes every month and had exams twice a year. Two of our team members enrolled into the London Montessori Institute to become better teachers and were guided by a Montessori Directress with twelve years of experience. The first batch was admitted into various schools in Karachi including St. Michael’s, Reflections, DHA Public School and Army Public School.

Three years down the road, we now have 48-forty eight students and their mothers; two apartments in the same building and countless fundraisers and exhibitions of our mothers’ handicrafts around the city; putting in efforts to improve the registered non-profit organization called Orange Tree Foundation. Our mission statement speaks of enabling moral, spiritual and intellectual enlightenment and of creating opportunities to improve the quality of life. With the vision to please the One and Only, we hope we can do justice with our work at this school and bring the best of opportunities for the students studying there.

For those who wish to help us, we are open for admissions and are always looking for volunteers. With limited seats each year, we need to make sure that the parents of our admitted students stay committed for at least 16 years (the child’s graduation). Parents who are committed to the cause of their child’s education and determined to strive for the best- are the ones who can face the fierce competition; let alone the adjustment that they will have to do once their children are admitted into mainstream schools.

For those who wish to help us, we are open for admissions and are always looking for volunteers.

We would appreciate if we could get help in identifying such families for admission. Hence we request you on this platform to come forward and help us find such families. Alhamdulillah, we also have a Mufti on board who is qualified from Dar ul Ifta, Darul Uloom Karachi to assist us in selecting families who are eligible for Sadaqah and Zakat.

We also accept donations, both Zakat and Sadaqah. Both accounts are separately maintained and audited. We can be contacted on or 03312325828 or find us on Facebook.

Account details are as follows:

Orange Tree Foundation

Dubai Islamic Bank Pakistan Limited

26th Street Branch (025)

Swift Code for international transfers: DUIBPKKA

Account No: 0167172002-Sadaqah

Account No: 0167172003-Zakat

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Hiba @ Crafters’ Expo 2013 – Deals & Combos

Catch Hiba Magazine & accessories at Booth 30, Hall 2, The Royal Rodale Club on the event of the Crafters’ Expo 2013, 15th December, 2013, 2:00 – 9:30 pm. Here are some exclusive deals & combos that we are offering at our booth!



The Divine Connection

The Divine Connection

Whenever you think about Salah, you have to consider it in terms of numbers and quality.

On the Day of Judgement, there will be stations or levels. Salah will be the first thing about which people will be questioned. You cannot pass that station unless your Salah is complete and acceptable. If an individual comes with mega achievements, while lacking in Salah, the angels will ask the person: “What about your Salah?” The angels will check the numbers and the quality of your Salah. The quality depends upon Sunnah, Nafil, Qiyam Al-Lail, and of course the amount of Khushu (presence of one’s heart and mind) in one’s prayer. If your Salah is excellent, you will be able to cross that station without any worries.

The question is: what is the quality of our Salah? Most of the times, the only thing we remember from our Salah is the recitation of Allahu Akbar. (May Allah forgive us! Ameen!) No wonder we are commanded to end the Salah with the Tasleem and then recite Astaghfirullah (O Allah, forgive me) for any shortcomings in our Salah.

The importance of Salah can be deduced from the Hadeeth of Umm Salamah (rtaf), who narrated the final few moments in the life of the Prophet (sa) before his death. He advised his Ummah about Salah and its importance.

Consider the Sahabah. They did not have luxury cars. They did not have Masjids conveniently located near their residences. Some of them lived so far from the Masjid, they actually asked the Prophet (sa) if they could shift somewhere nearer. The Prophet (sa) refused, promising them great rewards for their efforts. What about today? We have Masjids in every neighbourhood. We have at our disposal cars and public transport. Most of us are in good health. Yet, some of us are too preoccupied with the worldly things – like cricket or television shows – to pay heed to the Adhan.

Some of us are preoccupied with our meals. It is a Sunnah to eat a quick meal and thereafter, perform Salah with ease. However, we do exactly the other way around. We hurriedly pray Salah and then sit down to enjoy a leisurely meal. The same goes for when some of us have to answer the call of nature. Instead of relieving ourselves and then praying with a fresh ablution, some of us pray hurriedly and then rush to the washroom. Subhan’Allah!

We have to understand that Salah is our Divine connection with Allah (swt). In particular, the Sujood is the position in which we have the closest connection with Him. This is why we have been instructed to pray earnestly, while we are prostrating. Now, when we say it is a connection, we have to consider this: the quality of any connection has to be really, really good, if you want to ensure a swift and efficient response. If the connection is faulty, the response will be less and/or delayed. So what are the different factors that affect this connection and its quality? Consider the following flowchart:

Divine Connection Flowchart

Following this flowchart, you can understand the reason behind the complain of some people that they have been supplicating for years and years, yet their particular Duas have not been heard. You can also comprehend the meaning of the following Hadeeth:

The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “A person leaves (after having prayed), and nothing is recorded for him except a tenth of his prayer, (or) a ninth of it, (or) an eighth of it, (or) a seventh of it, (or) a sixth of it, (or) a fifth of it, (or) a fourth of it, (or) a third of it, (or) a half of it.” (Abu Dawood)

Salah involves our body and our souls. Our bodies are nourished by food, drink and regular exercise. However, no amount of meals can nourish the soul whose five meals are the five obligatory prayers. The soul is nurtured by heavenly sources, not television watching. Moreover, praying a couple of Salah per day will not fulfil the soul, whose staple diet is of five obligatory Salah and the in-between snacks are the voluntary prayers and Qiyam Al-Lail.

Now, most of you reading this will have a very clear idea about the importance of Salah. The question is: What do you do, if you find your relatives or your friends to be lax with their Salah? How do you broach the subject with them? What pointers do you give them? Here is a brief introduction to the importance of Salah that you can discuss with them:

  • It is one of the pillars of Islam.
  • It has to be performed regardless of circumstances or how excruciating they are (whether one is ill, travelling or on a battle-field).
  • It was obligated during the journey of Miraj. Allah (swt) brought the Prophet (sa) into the heavens and communicated this obligation directly. This was unlike the other pillars, which were obligated through a revelation. Consider also that the original number of prayers were fifty. Allah (swt) brought them down to five upon the request of the Prophet (sa) but promised to reward them for fifty.
  • Salah is the only pillar of Islam for which you need to be in a state of ritual purity or Taharah.
  • It is the only obligation that is preceded by an official announcement – the Adhan.

We have written quite a bit about Khushu. The question arises: What is Khushu? Having Khushu in Salah basically means to have a protective wall around yourself that protects your Salah. When you are praying, you have to focus upon what you are saying. You have to maintain the high quality of your Divine connection. Scratching, looking at the time, yawning and all such similar acts indicate that your heart is not into Salah. You are only performing the rituals mechanically without any Khushu.

So how can you gain Khushu?

Before Salah

  • Don’t pray if you are fatigued or hungry, or need to use the washroom.
  • Dress nicely. Designate some clothes and always wear them, while preparing for Salah. This has a profound psychological effect.
  • Do a fresh ablution.
  • Go to the Masjid early – as soon as possible.
  • Pray two units of Tahiyyat Al-Masjid.
  • Start with Sunnah prayers.
  • Pray as close as possible to the Imam.
  • Avoid chattering with people. Focus upon Dhikr.

Note: While praying, your mind plays back the last few tasks you have been doing, and the only time you get into ‘Salah mode’ is when the Imam says the Tasleem. Hence, the advice is to get into the prayer mode by dressing up, doing ablution and praying Sunnah prayers or two units of voluntary prayer. This will help you concentrate, while you are praying the Fard Salah!

During Salah

  • As you say ‘Allahu Akbar’ and start your Salah, remember this: Allah (swt) is Greater than anything that occupies your mind.
  • As you fold your hands over your chest, realize your position of humility.
  • Reflect upon the Arabic phrases that you understand.
  • Aim to make this Salah the one, of which you will be proud on the Day of Judgement.
  • Maintain your Divine connection and avoid looking around, while you are praying.

After Salah

  • Say ‘Astaghfirullah’ after your Tasleem. This will avoid making you too proud or too lazy, or too dependent upon that one quality Salah you have just performed.
  • Remain seated. Recite a few supplications. Don’t be in a rush to get up and leave.
  • Pray Sunnah and Nafil prayers.

We pray to Allah (swt) to grant us Khushu and make our Salah a means of making us enter Jannah. Ameen!

Adapted from a lectureshop organized by “LiveDeen”. Transcribed for “Hiba” by Umm Ibrahim.