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

Beyond Ramadan: Sustaining the Spirit of Worship

Beyond Ramadan

Ramadan is not just thirty days of one year. We should look at it as life itself. When we are young, we are absorbing information and trying to understand the reality around us. In mid-life, we have matured enough to comprehend what life is about. In the later years of our life, we begin to apply what we had learnt.

We can measure our fast on the same scale and determine if, beyond Ramadan, we have matured as a believer or are on a downturn. We might have started the month enthusiastically, but our spiritual drive weakened towards the end. In such a case, we need to go back to the heart and soul of Ramadan. As the Prophet (sa) said: “Truly, in the body, there is a morsel of flesh which, if it is whole, all the body is whole, and which, if it is diseased, all of it is diseased. Truly, it is the heart.” (Bukhari)

This is true for everything. If the core is not lived and grasped, the benefit doesn’t come. For our worship to transform into action, thoughts and sound deeds, it is critical to understand the essence of Ramadan. While we are fasting, there is a spiritual connection between us and Allah (swt). This God-consciousness is called Taqwa. Ramadan is the month to develop Taqwa.

Reciting the Quran

Recitation of the Quran during Ramadan aims at the development of Taqwa, which is the highest point of Islam. Once Jibreel (as) asked the Prophet (sa): “What is Ihsan?” The Prophet (sa) responded: “It is to worship Allah, as (though) we see Him, or as (though) He sees us.” (Bukhari) This is the pinnacle that Allah (swt) wants us to reach.

Our Senses

Our fast should involve every atom of our body through the cooperation of all senses. When we look, we exercise caution that our sight doesn’t wander at forbidden scenes, magazines, movies, etc. And if we happen to cast an accidental look, we must immediately look away, rather than engage with it and displease Allah (swt).

Our Speech

In matters of speech that involve the tongue, a fasting believer is advised to refrain from cursing, abusing, lying, arguing or backbiting. If others coax him into it, he should simply inform them: “I am fasting,” as per a renowned Hadeeth. This means that we will not partake in any sinful conversation, which can dent our spirit of fast and hijack our Taqwa. It is advisable to stay silent unless we have something constructive to utter. Likewise, we should not lend our ears to others, as we may become the means for spreading their gossip and slander. In order to keep the above resolutions alive, it is imperative to intend to do so, either the night before the fast or at Suhoor before Fajr. This intent will ensure that our fast doesn’t become a ritual exercise or daily breakfast.

Giving Charity

Another Sunnah of the Prophet (sa) that builds Taqwa is giving charity. He was known to be the most generous of all, but when Ramadan arrived, he was like a gentle gale of generosity, bringing relief to anyone it touched. Open charity in the form of Zakah is a Fard (obligation) but secret charity (Sadaqah) is highly recommended. These are priceless deeds, especially when the receiver of the endowment doesn’t even know where the aid is coming from.


Believers should perform Qiyam-ul-Lail from day one of Ramadan. We need to reinstitute this in our life and if possible, re-establish it in our communities. It is worth striving for.


The Prophet (sa) encouraged people to pray with presence of mind. Perform each prayer as if it were your last one. How does a worshipper pray if he is told that he will be bidding farewell to this world afterwards? Will he pray the way he usually does? No. He will be conscious of his every movement. Once, Prophet Muhammad (sa) stated to Bilal (rtam): “O Bilal! Call the Iqamah for the Salah, so that we may find comfort in it (prayer).” (Abu Dawood)


Prayer begins with Wudu, which is a process of purification. We should perform every Wudu as if it is our last, focusing on the spiritual elements of ablution. When we wash our limbs, we should believe that our sins are being washed away with every drop of water that falls off our body. As the believer moves from one Wudu to the next and from one prayer to the next, his awareness of Allah (swt) grows stronger, and brings him closer to His pleasure. In the absence of this soul, Ramadan becomes merely thirst and starvation for the person and nothing more.

Istighfar (Repentance)

Making Istighfar is crucial. In between our Sujoods in the prayers, we say: “Rabbigh-firli.” It is an ideal moment to seek forgiveness, but instead, many of us simply sit, prostrate and jump back up again without extracting any benefit from those prostrations.

Pondering over what is beyond Ramadan and how its essence should translate into actions, we need to look at another dimension that governs our life as a whole. As the Prophet (sa) indicated, he was sent to us to perfect the highest level of moral traits. We need to evaluate what have we given up and how that translates into our own moral behaviour. We need to assess our relationship with Allah (swt), our relationship with others and our relationship with the world He submitted to us.

Interestingly, food and drink are critical to one’s existence and so is the need to procreate. Yet, during Ramadan, Allah (swt) restricts what is Halal and vital, in order to raise the will to give up Haram. When this will is strengthened, we become conscious of Allah (swt). In this righteousness, we achieve the purpose of our creation. In terms of existence, it is Paradise, turning the whole life to worship. Hence, fasting helps us to develop the goal we need to apply beyond Ramadan.

In order to keep the spirit of fasting alive, we are encouraged to fast six days in Shawwal. For fasting thirty days of Ramadan, the reward is equal to a worship of three hundred days. For fasting the six days of Shawwal, we are rewarded for another sixty days of worship. These days combined complete a whole year in the lunar calendar.

Then, we are advised to fast on the 13th, 14th and 15th of each month. Likewise, fasting is advised on such significant days as Yaum Arafah and the 10th of Muharram. Sins of the entire year fall off sincere worshippers, while they fast.

The one who went through Ramadan but was not able to have his sins forgiven has suffered an unthinkable loss. We need to treat each Ramadan as a farewell Ramadan. What if we don’t experience this merciful month next year? If we were diagnosed with cancer, how would we live our life? Let us not wait for the doctor to come and tell us that! Just do the right thing now.

Let the focus on Allah (swt) translate into the rest of the year. Taqwa will make everything else in our life right. Allah (swt) will become our talking, hearing, seeing, walking, etc. Without this connection, we are misguided. The worst form of misguidance for us is to live for eating, drinking, procreating and dying.

We can bring Ramadan’s essence back to life if we have lost it, or introduce it to our life and start anew. Fasting is undoubtedly a firm barrier and a protective shield against greater satanic attacks. May Allah (swt) enable us to reap maximum benefits from Ramadan this year. Ameen!

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.