The Day of Arafah


Every day in Islam is important. But Allah (swt) has favoured some years, days and months over others. One such day is the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah, the Day of Arafah, on which the central rite of Hajj is carried out. On this day, all the pilgrims gather in one place, regardless of their colour, status and nationality, submitting to the commandment of Allah (swt). The blessings of this day are not limited to those who go for Hajj – everyone can benefit from them.

Two major historical events took place on the Day of Arafah.

In 9 AH, the Prophet (sa) performed his first and only Hajj. When he reached the valley of Arafah, Allah (swt) revealed to him that He has completed his religion. It is reported from Umar (rtam) that a Jewish man said to him: “O Ameer al-Mumineen, there is a verse in your Book, which you recite; if it had come to us, the Jews, we would have taken that day as an Eid (festival).” Umar (rtam) asked: “Which verse?” He replied: “This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (Al-Maidah 5:3) Umar (rtam) said: “We know on which day and in which place that was revealed to the Prophet (sa). It was when he was standing in Arafah on a Friday.” (Bukhari and Muslim) All praise is for our Lord, Who has chosen for us a religion, which is perfect.

The second glorious event took place on the Day of Arafah way before we were even born. Allah (swt) with His immense capability brought the entire humanity to life and spoke to us. It is reported that Ibn Abbas (rtam) said: The Prophet (sa) said: “Allah (swt) took the covenant from the loins of Adam in Na’man, i.e., Arafah. He brought forth from his loins all his offspring and spread them before Him, and then He addressed them: ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They said: ‘Yes! We testify,’ lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection: ‘Verily, we have been unaware of this.’ Or lest you should say: ‘It was only our fathers afortime who took others as partners in worship along with Allah, and we were (merely their) descendants after them; will You then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practised Al-Batil (i.e. polytheism and committing crimes and sins, invoking and worshipping others besides Allah)?’ (Al-Araf 7:172-173).” (Ahmad)

We testified that Allah (swt) is our true Lord, before we came into this world. We have already been programmed to believe in Allah (swt). This is why in times of hardship we call on only one God. We call it Fitrah – pure nature. Everyone is born upon Fitrah, and it reminds us of the oath we took in front of Allah (swt). Allah (swt) has given us Fitrah, in order for us to distinguish truth from falsehood, so that we may be guided. Since our Fitrah can change according to our social environment, Allah (swt) has given us other tools, which can help us adhere to the Straight Path.

These tools given to us by Allah include the Shariah – the Quran and the Sunnah – for enlightening our life and guiding us to Paradise. Thus, the people on the Straight Path get the best of this world and the Hereafter  – they are Arafallah, i.e., they recognize Allah (swt) and the oath they took.

The Day of Arafah is the day to renew our oath and repent to Allah (swt). According to a Hadeeth, Satan feels more belittled, humiliated and angry on the Day of Arafah than he does on any other day. (Malik) The reason for this is that on this day, Allah (swt) forgives all those who repent and renew their oath. The best Dua to recite on this day is:

لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ، لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ، وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

“None has the right to be worshipped but Allah (swt) alone, He has no partner, His is the dominion and His is the praise and He is able to do all things.”

It is the day of forgiveness of sins and the day of freedom from Hellfire. Aisha (rtaf) has narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “There is no day, on which Allah (swt) frees more people from the fire, than the Day of Arafah.” (Muslim)

In addition to this, fasting on the Day of Arafah is a Sunnah and expiates sins. When the Messenger of Allah (sa) was asked about fasting on the Day of Arafah, he said: “It expiates the sins of the previous year and that of the following year.” (Muslim) However, fasting on the Day of Arafah is recommended only for non-pilgrims, because it was not the practice of Allah’s Messenger (sa) to fast on the Day of Arafah during Hajj.

On the Day of Arafah, Allah (swt) is close to the believers. According to a Hadeeth, Allah (swt) draws close, and then He happily says to the angels: “What do these people seek?” (Muslim) And Allah (swt) forgives all of them.

It is also the day, which reminds us of the greatest gathering on the Day of Judgement, when the entire humanity shall stand in front of their Creator. In order to succeed on that day, follow your Fitrah and hasten to do good deeds by channelizing your intellect and desires towards the path illuminated by the Shariah.

What’s after Arafah?

On the Day of Arafah, people stand and prostrate before Allah (swt), invoking and supplicating only to Him, as there is no god, who deserves to be worshipped, except Him. They do not want the sun to set, because they want to make the most of these valuable hours. They feel close to Allah (swt), and their hearts fill with peace and contentment.

When the sun sets on this humbling day, the faces of these people glow with happiness and joy, due to the mercy and bounties of Allah (swt). It is stated in the Quran: “Say: In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy – in that let them rejoice; it is better than what they accumulate.” (Yunus 10:58)

They are happy because Allah (swt) responds to their call. They rejoice, because He forgives their sins and takes away sadness from their lives. They feel blessed, because Allah (swt) descends and comes close to the people of Arafah and talks of their magnificence in front of the angels.

After Arafah, the pilgrims head towards Muzdalifah. It is a place between Mina and Arafah.

The word Muzdalifah is derived from Zulfah, which means ‘being near and close’. The people feel very close to Allah (swt), as they are His guests. They are required to stay overnight at Muzdalifah, and even their sleeping is considered to be an act of Ibadah. Such is the reward of total submission to Allah (swt).

Then, the pilgrims pray fajr and set out for Mina before the sun rises.

These are basic rites of Hajj – each one has a meaning for both the pilgrims and the rest of the believers. Whoever magnifies and honours these rites by performing and perfecting them, in turn magnifies Allah (swt).

As mentioned earlier, the Day of Arafah is like the Day of Judgement – a stressful and critical time, when the doer of good will be waiting for the reward, and the doer of evil will be waiting for the punishment. Everyone will want to hear the good news from the angels that they have been purified and will blissfully dwell in Paradise forever, but the ones worthy of receiving this honour will be the Muttaqeen (possessors of Taqwa).

The day after Arafah, which is the day of eid, resembles the happiness and excitement of the people, who will enter paradise. It is the day of eating and drinking, and of joy and happiness. And this very celebration is an act of worship, because it a command from Allah (swt). He will tell the people entering Paradise: “Eat and drink at ease for that, which you have sent on before you in days past.” (Al-Haqqah 69:24)

It is the day, when we offer sacrifice for the sake of Allah (swt), which brings us closer to Him. Allah (swt) does not need our sacrifice, but He accepts it, appreciates it and gives us the best reward.

It is also the day of remembrance of our Lord – we should celebrate it by increasing the Dhikr of Allah (swt).

The purpose of Eid is to express our gratitude to Allah (swt), and to glorify and thank Him for all His blessings. It is a celebration for those, who strove to do the best, because Allah (swt) will reward them with the very best.

Following are some Sunnah practices to be performed on the day of Eid:

  • Say Takbeer whenever possible. The most common form of Takbeer is: “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La Ilaha Illalahu Wallahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar Walil-lahil Hamd.” (“Allah is the Greatest; Allah is the Greatest; there is no one worthy of worship except Allah; Allah is the Greatest and to Allah belongs all Praise.”)
  • Continue to recite the Takbeer three days after eid.
  • Adorn for the occasion (ladies in their homes only).
  • Pray Eid Salah; walk to the Masjid if nearby.
  • Take one route to the Masjid and take a different route back.
  • Offer sacrifice.

Following acts should not be done:

  • Fasting on the day of Eid.
  • Making up the missed prayer of Eid.
  • Offering Eid prayer at home.

All of the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah are very important. Try to engage in acts of worship to the best of your ability and continue to do so even after the ten days are over. This is what Allah (swt) requires from all of us.

Unlocking Horns – Conflict Resolution


Are you a member of the younger or middle generation, struggling to handle family and/or marriage-related problems resulting from familial ‘interference’ in your life?

The first thing to remember is that no matter what your elderly parents do, you have to honour them as much as possible and be patient with them. Never rebuke or snap at them. It is equally important to remember that, as Muslims, pointing out and stopping their injustices is also an obligation. Here are some tips to help you towards effective conflict resolution:

(1) If your parents or other family elders do something that causes chronic anger, hurt feelings or discord between you and your spouse, follow the method of arbitration, as outlined by the Quran (4:35), and request a trustworthy, Allah-fearing and sincere mutual relative to intercede on your behalf and convey to them your points of concern and complain. The most common issues, based on my limited experience, because of which the need for such arbitration might arise are: elderly parents giving blatant preference to daughters over daughters-in-law in terms of love, attention and treatment meted out to grandchildren; interference, manipulation and control that exceeds the boundaries of privacy and independence, especially in how and where the sons’ money is spent; coercing one married son to live with them in their house, but allowing the other sons to live as nuclear families; dictating the Tarbiyah of grandchildren, and so on.

(2) Contact a religious scholar and ask them to advise your elders. This might backfire, as your parents or parents-in-law might feel insulted or humiliated before a religious authority. As an alternative, write a letter to your elders, and/or print out relevant Fatawa by scholars to let them know how their actions are wrong in the eyes of Allah (swt). This method should be used especially for those elders, who unapologetically commit actions that are Haram (such as lying, Gheebah (backbiting) and slander), and who become very defensive in person, continuing to argue and answer back, until their adult child is silenced into grudging submission.

(3) If arbitration and writing doesn’t work, and your parents or parents-in-law continue injustice or any other action that is a sin in Islam, use the rights, freedoms and independence that Allah (swt) has afforded you through His Deen to incorporate a temporary distancing from them or a moderation of visits or interaction that will prevent further discord. Please note: this solution should be employed only in cases of necessity, when the level of marital discord between a husband and wife due to family interference has reached a ‘red-flag’ level (i.e., divorce or separation is imminent), or when a person starts to suffer extreme mental distress or depression because of the actions of their parents or parents-in-law.

(4) If nothing else seems to work, pray to Allah (swt) for guidance and relief. Acknowledge that this is a test from Allah (swt) and be patient. For the men, who find themselves sandwiched between their parents and wives/children – take this as your training to ‘become a man’ and learn to juggle/balance both sides of your family with tact and diplomacy.

Often bring to mind the tremendous debt you owe your parents for raising you. Never forget the Ihsan they have done towards you, which you will never be able to repay.

Recalling the way they tolerated your mischief throughout your childhood will soften your heart towards them and help you overlook their injustice, Insha’Allah!

Beautiful Weaves – Relations with In-Laws

Beautiful Weaves

The Man Who Marries – The Most Critical Player

In a Muslim household, the man of the house is the Ameer (leader). He is the shepherd, who will be held accountable for his flock. He is their leader; he knows them, nurtures them and trains them to become effective members of the Ummah socially, physically, emotionally, mentally and, most significantly, spiritually.

Consider a household in which a set of parents just got their son married. The entire family lives together under one roof. Who will be the Ameer of this family: the father or the son? Until now, it was the father, of course, but now, after their son has wedded, he needs to become the Ameer for his own family as per Islam’s demand. His wife and his offspring to be born will be his responsibility all the way.

The greatest problem that joint family setups and over-protective parenting of today poses is that the man, who is married, hasn’t grown up to be a man. He is clueless about his role, obviously untrained, living in the shadows of his parents and sometimes even financially dependent. This automatically spells disaster. If he has no vision for himself, his wife or the family to come, he will not be granted any freedom to take his decisions either.

He will be an easy prey to manipulation from either side, be it his wife or his parents. Since he will have little courage to stand up for anyone’s rights, he will be controlled. This man will never be able to do justice with any of his relations, because he will eventually tilt towards the oppressor. The oppressed may be the parents or his wife and family.

If boys can go through vigorous and multiple years of academic education and career counselling, why aren’t they prepared for such a pivotal role of their life that will determine their eternity: hell or heaven? And if this sounds too dramatic for you, read on:

“And those who break the Covenant of Allah, after its ratification, and sever that which Allah has commanded to be joined (i.e. they sever the bond of kinship and are not good to their relatives), and work mischief in the land, on them is the curse (i.e. they will be far away from Allah’s mercy), and for them is the unhappy evil home (i.e. Hell).” (Ar-Rad 13:25)

It is the effectiveness of this role as an Ameer that defines a man’s success and place in his family. If he is able to provide financially, decide wisely, love empathetically, forgive patiently and, above all, treat everyone justly, he will command everybody’s respect and earn Allah’s (swt) mercy, too.

The best means to train yourself is to seek guidance from the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (sa). Parents of boys should offer to them opportunities for taking decisions; it doesn’t matter whether they are wrong or right. They should be encouraged to learn conflict resolution skills. Parents can discuss varied scenarios from home, school, workplace, market and elsewhere and invite them to analyze situations and resolve issues. Shura (advise) should be sought from them, concerning important family matters, so these boys groom into competent Muslim men.

All these means are stepping stones to empowering them for their future role as Ameers of their own families. If they are old enough to marry and be accountable before Allah (swt), why do parents think that their sons are not mature enough to lead their own flock?

Father – The Navigator

With the passage of time, the role of a father has been diminished merely to that of a bread winner. Once he stops putting food on the table for his family, he is not remembered much. This may be due to the fact that while he was striving hard to finance the needs of his family, he was hardly around for bonding with them.

In Ibrahim (as), we see a dynamic father whose genes, sacrifice for Islam and prayers to Allah (swt) prove the obedience we all know Ismail (as) for. Sahih Bukhari narrates that after the death of Hajrah (as), Ibrahim (as) came to visit Ismail (as) and his family; however, Ismail (as) had left Makkah before his arrival. He met Ismail’s (as) wife instead and inquired about him. She replied that he had gone to search for livelihood. Then, Ibrahim (as) asked her about their condition and way of living. She said, complaining to him: “We are living in misery; we are living in hardship and destitution.” Ibrahim (as) replied: “When your husband returns, convey my salutation and tell him to change the threshold of the gate (of his house).” When Ismail (as) returned home, he felt something unusual. He asked his wife, if anyone had come in his absence and she narrated the whole message to him. Ismail (as) told his wife: “It was my father, who visited you, and he has told me to divorce you. Go back to your family.”

Ismail (as) married another woman from the tribe of Jurham. Ibrahim (as) stayed away for some time, as long as Allah (swt) wished; he again visited his son but did not find him. He came to Ismail’s (as) wife and asked her about him. She replied: “He has gone to search for his livelihood.” Ibrahim (as) then inquired: “How are you getting on?” asking about their sustenance and living. She replied: “We are prosperous and well-off (i.e., we have everything in abundance). Then she thanked Allah (swt). Ibrahim (as) asked: “What kind of food do you eat?” she answered: “Meat.” “What do you drink?” “Water.”

Ibrahim (as) said to his daughter-in-law: “When your husband comes, give my regards to him and tell him that he should keep firm the threshold of his gate.” When Ismail (as) returned, he asked his wife, if anyone had called on her. She replied: “Yes, a good-looking old man came to me.” She praised him and conveyed his message to Ismail (as). Ismail (as) replied: “He was my father, and he has ordered me to keep you with me.”

This is the true concern a father has for his son – to be married to a virtuous and God-fearing girl, who safeguards the progeny and serves as a content, loyal and loving companion. Ibrahim (as) ensured that his son builds a strong Muslim home, not the sustenance he was earning, the kind of camel he was riding or the amount of savings his bank account held.

Ismail (as), in turn, was a devout son, who understood what his father meant and immediately paid heed to his command, as he realized Allah’s (swt) pleasure lied in it.

Mother – The Door to Jannah

Often parents end up spending more than 70% of their earnings (and sometimes all their savings) on the well-being of their children. They don’t keep accounts of it, of course, but it is understood that the very best that comes to the family directly goes to kids.

It is natural for these parents to feel insecure, lonely and at times, abandoned, when their kids (especially married sons) begin their own family lives. The situation is worse, if they have not taught the Islamic values and responsibilities the son has to fulfil towards his parents in terms of kindness, care and time spent together. Adding fuel to fire, a stranger in the form of a daughter-in-law steps in. She is viewed with great suspicion and mistrust. She is perceived as a competitor to the mother-in-law, especially when the son forgets to balance his roles and set his priorities.

Often out of envy and possessiveness, mothers do not want to let their sons go, thinking that they will be loved less and altogether forgotten one day. This may assume extreme measures in cases of single mothers, who are either widowed or divorced. Seeing their children settling in their marital lives gives them fear of losing them.

Parents should ensure that their married children assume the new challenges of life independently and patiently. It is recommended to spend on their children, but it is imperative to invest in one’s retirement and for old age comforts. In case the kids are unable to support them, these parents must have financial independence for themselves. It is a great relief to be able to sustain oneself at an age, when one has no income and many medical expenses.

In terms of expectations, married sons (and not their wives) should be held accountable for the parents. If the sons themselves are not available, they have to hire help or arrange any other required means to take care of their old parents. However, if parents do not teach their children the value of this care, it is very unlikely that the sons will ever serve them. It is the custom of disbelievers to consider daughters-in-law to be slaves, servants or caregivers for their husbands’ elderly parents. In Islam, it is the duty of the son or the daughter equally, married or not.

If the daughter-in-law is a God-fearing soul, she will proactively participate in whatever she can contribute. However, it should be considered that if she has children and her own parents to look after, she might be pressed for time. Sadly, parents seldom marry their sons to such practicing Muslimahs, as recommended by our Prophet (sa). Today, many brides are selected purely on the scale of materialism. When homes break up or men surrender before their headstrong wives, parents are the first ones to be thrown out of the family photograph.

When mothers-in-law are the dominant force, another gloomy question lurks – whose house is it? If the daughters-in-law actively participate in the kitchen, they are considered to be interfering, their management skills are incompetent or they are too concerned about impressing their husbands. If they stay aloof, they are considered to be indifferent, lazy or useless.

Management skills of two ladies can be poles apart yet good in their own ways. There is no perfect recipe for running a house. Management styles are as diverse as the people involved. However, in joint family setups, this is a very common stumbling stone. A mother-in-law, who has been managing the home turf for the past twenty-five or so years, is naturally the ‘queen bee’. She can’t be stripped of her title and honour. The daughter-in-law, who has just joined the family, has her own dreams, ideas and priorities; she might find all of these are being trampled upon. The kitchen is a woman’s dominion, which may easily turn into a battleground. For maintaining peace in home, kitchens must be separately owned and managed.

Muttaqi (pious and God-fearing) mothers are a gift of Allah (swt). They are the binding force of the family. With their invaluable experience, they have a great opportunity to transfer priceless traits to the next generation and leave behind Sadaqah-e-Jariya for themselves.

Daughter-in-law – The Peacemaker

Not long ago, mothers taught their daughters the valuable skills of becoming good wives. Nowadays, this mental preparation and training is increasingly skipped. Since no university offers such courses, for many girls, life after marriage may somewhat resemble a bomb exploding in their face. What? I can’t sleep until noon? I can’t chat on my mobile for hours? I have to cook breakfast for my husband that early? I need to clean up my room? I have to mingle socially with my in-laws? That’s it! I am filing for divorce!

You might think this is an exaggeration. However, tragically, it is true. Young girls of today sometimes want to break up simply because they cannot cope with their roles as wives and mothers. For maintaining the perfect figure, they never ate well; thus, their bodies lack the nourishment required for physical challenges of house chores and child bearing. They were raised to go to school, attend college and take up a job – not for being a part of home management. In other words, they were expected to behave like men. Thus, it is only natural that they revolt, when they are expected to do anything else. They feel as if someone else’s role is being imposed on them.

In some cases, married couples, who live with the parents-in-law, enjoy privileges without participating in responsibilities. In other extreme stories, daughters-in-law are treated like servants. With no love for the parents-in-law in her heart, anger and disdain for her husband, because he wouldn’t stand up for her, and frustrated to the core, she sizzles until she can’t take it anymore. The results are easy to predict: the couple gets a divorce, the couple moves out to a new dwelling after an ugly brawl with the parents, or lives on ‘unhappily ever after’.

What does Allah (swt) say about this? After commanding us not to sever ties of kinship, He also advises us to fear Him and be patient. It is impossible to love, honour and care for people, if we think selfishly – Allah (swt) always has to be in the centre. A girl has no blood ties with either her husband or his family. These relationships require nurturing and tending to on a daily basis. It is like a group of strangers coming together and making an effort to like and live with each other. Some will take more initiative, while others might just sit back and do nothing about it.

As a true agent of change and devout Muslimah, every young married girl must grab the opportunity to make that effort. If there is a misunderstanding, do not prove it right by behaving just like that; prove it wrong by behaving otherwise. It takes a while for strangers to become friends – it requires time and hard work. Also, positive thinking and sincere prayers are like a rescue boat sailing high on the stormy seas, whereas self pity, jealousy and lack of empathy for others is like the “Titanic”, running into the iceberg that sunk it.

For solving problems, we should first understand the parties involved and address their obvious and hidden intents by asking: Why do they behave in a certain way? Once the root cause is unearthed, it is easier for us to devise our own strategies in handling the situation. Also, always separate the problem from the person. Just because someone behaves a certain way doesn’t mean that this person is malicious or downright wicked to the core.

Husband and wife are like garments for each other; they are meant to protect, beautify and confide in each other. A wife is the source of solace, comfort and enjoyment for her husband. Honouring the parents of husband is like honouring him. If a husband treats his wife well, it is because of the upbringing he has received at the hands of his parents. Later, when the young wife becomes a mother, she realizes the pains his parents must have gone through in raising him. It is the right of every parent to be respected. Our in-laws are not our blood relations. Yet, they are no less in significance, as our ties with them will influence the happiness of our own marriage.

May Allah (swt) grant us the forbearance and wisdom to build strong Muslim homes. Ameen.

Privileges for Elderly Parents

Elderly Parents

Right after mentioning His right of worship, Allah (swt) mentions the rights of parents. In a single verse, He has specified the guidelines for the treatment of parents and has particularly stated that additional care should be given to them, when they become old. Allah (swt) says:

“And your Lord had decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour.” (Al-Isra 17:23) 

Aging is accompanied with many physical, mental and emotional changes. For this reason, elderly parents need to be taken care of in a more considerate manner. Unfortunately, the growing materialism and influence of the West is depriving parents from their essential rights. However, according to the Quran and the Sunnah, this is a grave sin, as the Prophet (sa) has said: “They are (or your relation with them will determine) your Paradise and your Hell.” (Tirmidhi) At times, it does become difficult to deal with elderly parents, but with little patience, love and effort, elderly parents can be given the respect they deserve.

Adult children tend to be less grateful because of their independence. Often, resentments are held for parents’ inattentive attitude during childhood. However, this cannot be used as an excuse to justify any mistreatment on behalf of the children. This is because the pains borne by parents to bring a life in this world and nurture it outweigh everything. Parents tend to become kind as they become old; therefore, if someone has had a distant relationship with parents due to their strictness, it’s time to break the ice and start anew. Cleanse the heart from all kinds of bitterness and try to fill it with acknowledgement for them. If gratitude prevails in the heart, all physical actions tend to follow it.

Aged parents are either extremely concerned about their health or are completely casual about it. Irrespective of their attitude, their health and medical needs should be managed properly. This should include regular check-ups, monitoring of medicines and diet control. Diet often becomes a disputed issue in such situations. Talk to your parents politely about the disease and explain to them the consequences of over-indulgence.

Spending upon parents is compulsory for every Muslim. Allah (swt) says: “They ask you (O Muhammad), what they should spend. Say: Whatever you spend of good must be for parents…” (Al-Baqarah 2:215) Consideration should be shown while spending on them, in order to avoid hurting their self-esteem. Due to dignity, some parents don’t even demand anything for themselves. Hence, their needs should be attended amiably. It has been narrated from Jabir ibn Abdullah (rtam) that a man said: “O Messenger of Allah, I have wealth and children, but my father wants to take all my wealth.” He said: “You and your wealth are for your father.” (Ibn Majah)

A bizarre custom of our society is that aged people are expected to keep a very low profile and lead a simple life. They are not expected to show any kind of interest in worldly affairs. However, they are the same humans as any of us – feelings and desires do exist in them. So if an old mother wants to buy a bright dress or a father wants to be a kid for a while, cheerfully let them have their way, as long as they do not fall into the forbidden (Haram).

Once, a man said to the Prophet (sa): “Shall I participate in Jihad?” The Prophet (sa) asked: “Are your parents living?” The man replied: “Yes.” The Prophet (sa) said: “Do Jihad for their benefit.” (Bukhari) Imam Bukhari brings this Hadeeth under the topic of “Seeking permission from parents for Jihad.”

In our routine life, our parents need to be well-informed about our activities. For youngsters it is a must, and for adults it should be done as an act of courtesy and good manners. This will also save parents from the anxiety they go through in the absence of their children.

Change is something disliked, when one grows old. When any kind of change is expected, like buying new furniture or painting the house, talk to the elderly parents beforehand, involve them and ask them for their opinions. Even when going out for family outings, always ensure their comfort.

Retried parents often fall in frustration and even depression because of idleness. Look for productive activities they can engage in. Assign responsibilities to them that they can easily manage. Make them feel important, ask for their advice, include them in all kinds of family discussions and decisions, and spend quality time with them. Also, encourage your spouse to have an affectionate relationship with your parents.

The Prophet (sa) said: “The pious offspring, who casts a single look of affection at his parents, receives a reward from Allah (swt) equal to the reward of an accepted Hajj.” The people enquired: “O Prophet of Allah (sa), if someone casts a hundred such glances of love and affection at his parents, what then?” The Prophet (sa) said: “Yes, indeed, even if one does so a hundred times a day, he will get a hundred-fold reward. Allah (swt) is far greater than you can imagine and is completely free from petty narrow-mindedness.” (Muslim) Adults rarely express love for their parents. A natural shyness and distance develops as we grow older, but this Hadeeth should break all such barriers. Express your emotions! Occasional hugs and kisses and surprise gifts would uplift their spirits and bring extreme delight to them.

After giving the guidelines in Surah Al-Isra verse 23, Allah (swt) further orders: “And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: ‘My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was small.’” (Al-Isra 17:24) This verse makes us realize how indebted we are to our parents. For those of us who, at times, fall short to adhere to the decree, there is hope in the next verse, commanding us to keep trying.

“Your Lord knows best what is in your inner-selves. If you are righteous, then, verily, He is Ever Most Forgiving to those who turn unto Him again and again in obedience, and in repentance.” (Al-Isra 17:25)

May Allah (swt) enable us to realize and attend to the physical and emotional needs of our elderly parents. Ameen!

An Open Letter to the Family’s Elders

Open Letter to Family Elders

In Pakistan, discussions in social gatherings often turn towards the ‘pathetic’ economic and political situation of the country, with elders at the fore in criticizing the leaders and masses for their misdeeds. It is now fashionable not only to disparage Pakistan’s leaders, but to also consider one’s self justified in doing it.

A reminder: criticizing and lampooning figures of authority behind their backs is Gheebah. Just because our leaders are corrupt doesn’t mean we are allowed to sling mud upon their honour.

That being said, Islam has not stopped the common masses from correcting their leader directly, preferably in private, when he makes a mistake. For this reason, even if the Imam makes a mistake in obligatory Salah, his followers in the congregation are obliged to point it out to him by saying, “Subhan’Allah.”

There are levels of leadership in an Islamic society, and they all involve authority and accountability. For example, families have leaders, too, who are accountable before Allah (swt) for their mistakes. Advancement in age doesn’t change the seriousness of this accountability before Allah (swt).

What happens as family leaders age, however, is that they eventually have no one older than them alive, who can scold and correct them, which might give them a false sense of absolute authority over their younger subordinates. This can make it easier for them to go on making mistakes, until the younger ones in the family muster up the courage to try and correct them.

Result? Often, denial.

Undercurrents of tension in joint families

The scores of emails and comments I receive on my blog from the ‘middle generation’ – married Muslims with young children – point towards a reality that no one today likes to talk about: family problems that exist in almost every outwardly smoothly running joint family household.

Rights in Islam that elderly parents do not possess

Most of us are well-aware of the extremely high rights to obedience and good treatment that Allah (swt) has afforded to parents in Islam. Even if they are oppressive, cruel, sinful, outright misguided or non-Muslims, their children, young or old, cannot rebuke, insult or mistreat them in any way. I will not detail these rights here, because most of us are aware of them.

What I would like to do, instead, is address our society elders and remind them of the rights that they, as parents, do not have, especially if they are financially self-sufficient and physically healthy:

(1) Elderly parents do not have the right to control their adult, married offspring in the realm of permissible things in Islam, such as what style, colour, or brand of clothes they wear, which car they buy, or whether they eat cereal or eggs for breakfast. They can give consultation and wisely-worded, appropriately-timed advice, but in the end, the adult son or daughter cannot be manipulated or coerced to do exactly as they please.

(2) Parents do not have the right to insult, deride, ridicule or humiliate their married son or daughter in front of others, especially before the latter’s spouse, children or in-laws. Maligning another’s honour is a sin in Islam, and parental authority is not a ticket to absolution from other sins. So, what can be said about scolding a daughter-in-law or son-in-law for falling short in tasks that are not even their obligatory Islamic duties, such as accidentally burning the rice or wearing their own choice of clothes to a dinner party?

(3) Parents do not have the right to walk into their married son’s or daughter’s private bedroom area without prior permission. Any area, in which a husband and wife enjoy exclusive privacy, is off-limits by default, until permission is given, even for their parents. On the same token, the parents of adult children should not go through the cupboards, wallets, handbags, bank account statements, attaché cases or dressers of their married son or daughter without permission.

(4) Just as elderly parents have exclusive rights upon their adult children, they too, have exclusive rights upon theirs. Grandparents do not have the final say about decisions related to grandchildren; the children’s own parents, especially their mothers, do. Yes, this means that a daughter-in-law has greater rights over her children than her parents-in-law do. If there is ever any worldly matter, in which she wants her child to do one thing, and a grandparent wants him or her to do another (such as what food to eat and what television programme to watch), then according to Allah’s (swt) laws, she deserves to be obeyed by her child three times more than not just the grandparent, but also their son (i.e., her husband).

(5) Elderly people should fear Allah (swt) regarding their children. An elder above the age of sixty or seventy is like a valuable gem for their family. They are indeed fortunate, if all of their children are well-settled, happily married and enjoying loving marital relationships. Elders should not let their authority, advanced age or personal insecurities initiate problems in their children’s homes.

(6) Age is nothing but a number. When a parent crosses the age of sixty, if they are financially self-sufficient and free from physical domestic duties (especially of raising children), they should try to keep themselves occupied in positive work and beneficial hobbies. They can attend new courses, teach/mentor others, volunteer at welfare organizations, and revitalize their worship of Allah (swt). For example, Sheikh Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, the head of the 1000-year-old Al-Azhar University, was eighty-one, when he died in Madinah, where he had travelled to attend an award ceremony. Japanese doctor, Shigeaki Hinohara, is still working as a physician and professor at age of one hundred. Wahiduddin Khan is still writing Islamic books at the age of eighty-seven.

(7) If elders have any surviving elderly relatives of their own besides their parents, such as an ailing aunt, uncle or distant cousin, they should visit them and help them. It will take their mind off from worries of when their son or daughter last visited and prevent them constantly missing their out-of-town grandchildren.

The more mental and physical independence, space and respect elders will give to their adult, married offspring (and their spouses), the more love and joy they will enjoy in their homes, Insha’Allah.

Surah Al-Hujurat in Our Lives – Part 4

Surah Al-Hujurat in Our Lives

Verse 7

“And know that, among you there is the Messenger of Allah (sa). If he were to obey you (i.e. follow your opinions and desires) in much of the matter, you would surely be in trouble, but Allah has endeared the faith to you and has beautified it in your hearts, and has made disbelief, wickedness and disobedience (to Allah and His Messenger [sa]) hateful to you. These! They are the rightly guided ones.” (Al-Hujurat 49:7)

In the previous verse, it was mentioned that whenever someone brings any news, we have to verify it before accepting it. In this verse, we are being informed about an exception. If Prophet Muhammad (sa) brings any news, those around him had to accept it without any process of verification. Likewise, if he did not practice something, then it was not supposed to be done either. ‘Among you’ in the above verse refers to the Sahabah, who were around the Prophet (sa).

Sometimes, the Sahabah wanted to perform extra worship. For instance, once in Ramadan, the Prophet (sa) prayed Qiyam-ul-Lail with the Sahabah. He prayed for a part of the night and then stopped. The Sahabah wanted to perform some more, so they went to the Prophet (sa) and asked, if it was possible to continue the prayer for the whole night. The Prophet (sa) informed them that the one, who has prayed the full prayer behind the Imam, will be rewarded for standing the entire night in prayer. This was his way of saying no to the Sahabah’s request. If he followed every suggestion that those around him gave, it would surely be troublesome and difficult for them. The Prophet (sa) was very kind. He could have heeded the suggestion given to him, but he did not.

The Sahabah were very interested in the kind of worship that was done by the Prophet (sa). Consider the following Hadeeth:

Anas (rtam) has reported: “Three men came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet (sa) to inquire about the worship of the Prophet (sa). When they were informed, they considered their worship to be insignificant and said: ‘Where are we in comparison with the Prophet (sa), while Allah (swt) has forgiven his past sins and future sins?’ One of them said: ‘I shall offer Salah all night long.’ Another said: ‘I shall observe Saum (fasting) continuously and shall not break it.’ Another said: ‘I shall abstain from women and shall never marry.’ The Prophet (sa) came to them and asked: “Are you the people, who said such and such things? By Allah, I fear Allah (swt) more than you do, and I am most obedient and dutiful among you to Him, but still I observe fast and break it; I perform Salah and sleep at night and take wives. Whoever turns away from my Sunnah does not belong to me.’” (Bukhari and Muslim)

This Hadeeth instructs us to do what the Prophet (sa) did, and to leave what the Prophet (sa) did not do. One should not think that they can do anything more than the Prophet (sa) – it is not possible.

Remember that the chains of narration of Ahadeeth were verified and scrutinized before being accepted. If an individual in the chain of narration was discovered to be a liar, no more Ahadeeth from him were accepted. This is again because no one was supposed to add anything or delete anything from the sayings of the Prophet (sa).

Now that we no longer have the Prophet (sa) among us, this command applies to us in terms of accepting Ahadeeth and Sunnah. We cannot give our own opinion on the Ahadeeth.

Note the reaction of the Sahabah, when the Prophet (sa) did not accept their suggestion. What did they do? Did the Prophet’s (sa) rejection of their suggestion turn them away from Islam? Of course not! It did not affect them in any way, because faith was firmly entrenched in their hearts. They were happy and content with Islam itself, and they accepted anything and everything that was done by the Prophet (sa). Their hearts were stable upon firm faith.

For us, the lesson is to remain firm upon faith even when we are overcome with trials and tribulations. Let’s move on to the next part of the verse, which states:

“…Allah has endeared the faith to you and has beautified it in your hearts…” (Al-Hujurat 49:7)

The Arabic word for endearment or love is Hubb. The following diagram explains the meaning of Hubb.


Essentially, it means that Allah (swt) puts faith in your heart and gradually enables you to love it. You cannot force your heart to love Islam or the faith. It’s only from Allah (swt), Who makes you love the faith!

Love in your heart is like a seed. You plant a small seed in your heart. Then Allah (swt) nurtures it and enables it to grow gradually, till it becomes big and beautiful with fruits and flowers. One needs to take good care of faith in the heart, similar to the way we take care of seeds in the garden. Our hearts need to be watered with the rain of knowledge and guidance, so that they can blossom into a fruit-bearing tree. One should also supplicate: “O Allah, make my heart love the faith.” Ameen!

Acceptance or belief in the heart plus good deeds based on the five pillars of Islam highlight the extent of one’s faith. Faith grows and nurtures inside the heart, but is manifested through one’s actions. One should worry, first and foremost, about one’s heart. Once the heart is on track and the love in one heart’s is well-nourished, the rest (in terms of action) will follow.

What urges the believer (because all verses of this Surah are addressed to the believers) to follow all the rules given by Allah (swt) in this Surah?

  • Loving the faith.
  • Beautifying the faith in the heart.

We need to thank Allah (swt) for all His bounties and provisions. When Allah (swt) enables you to do good, you need to be grateful to Allah (swt) for putting you in situations that He loves, for example, praying. When you feel that good deeds or acts of worship are difficult for you, this should make you fear that Allah (swt) did not want the deeds from you or would not accept them from you. You need to supplicate a lot. Even if you have the love of faith in your heart, always make Dua. You never know when your heart can change! You need the following triangle:


Faith is a bird with a head and two wings. When you have all three, you can fly to Allah (swt). Your worship can fly to Allah (swt).

When Allah (swt) plants the seed of love for something in your heart, He also plants the seed of dislike for the opposite of the same. For example, music is not allowed, so you slowly begin to love listening to the Quran and beneficial lectures. At the same time, Allah (swt) plants the seed of hatred of music in your heart. Gradually, your love for music will turn into hate and become love for the good words!

“…and has made disbelief, wickedness and disobedience (to Allah and His Messenger (sa) hateful to you…” (Al-Hujurat 49:7)

When Allah (swt) puts love in the heart, no one can remove it. Likewise, when He puts hate in the heart, no one can affect it. Allah (swt) puts the hatred of the following:

  • Disbelief (in terms of the heart),
  • Wickedness (in terms of actions),
  • Disobedience (in terms of actions).

The opposite of faith is not one word. It consists of three words. Those who love faith hate disbelief + wickedness + disobedience.

“…These! They are the rightly guided ones.” (Al-Hujurat 49:7)

Allah (swt) magnifies and honours them by referring to them as the only ones, who are taking the path of the rightly-guided. They love their faith, acquire knowledge and then act upon this knowledge. This entire Surah highlights deeds and acts of worship, along with behaviour and mannerisms to be implemented in the society. Its instructions are meant to be understood and implemented.

Verse 8

“(This is) a Grace from Allah and His Favour. And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” (Al-Hujurat 49:8)

‘Favour’ means blessings, bonuses, bounties and favours. This should make a believer humble. One should not feel proud. Everything we do is a favour from Allah (swt). Some blessings for the believers include even the material things in life that will help them achieve Paradise, like children and money. Believers use these things to attain success in the Hereafter.

The last part of the verse specifies some of Allah’s (swt) names. He is All-Knowing. He knows who deserves what. Also, because He is the most Wise, He does everything according to perfect knowledge and wisdom.

The Five ‘Don’ts’ of Tarbiyah


First and foremost, we need to understand the perceptions of parents regarding Tarbiyah. Tarbiyah is a natural part of life in the safety of a family home. It’s not a rehabilitation centre procedure, where people go for treatment. Tarbiyah is about nurturing the best aspects of human nature and not about fixing a problem. Thus, Tarbiyah of children becomes a sacred and challenging yet enjoyable task. It does not become a ‘yelling issue’ or ‘I told you so about 1000 times’, or ‘stop doing that or else…’ sort of scenario.

We must remember that we live in an economic world. Major problems with teenagers arise because of freedom of choices, mass media and peer pressures. Lack of direction and guidance from parents and school add fuel to fire.

When we think of Tarbiyah, some of the ‘don’ts’ are as follows:

  1. Don’t lose communication with them! Don’t disconnect with your children in anger or frustration. Very often, parents lose communication with their children, whereas the children have hundreds of ways to communicate. Talk face to face in all cases. Keep in touch through SMS, emails or Facebook, if you have given them these facilities. This will help you to know their friends as well; however, avoid giving the impression that you are spying on them. Kids, especially teenagers, tend to resort to emotional blackmail by saying: “You don’t understand.”
  2. Don’t teach Islam in isolation. Children need solutions for their problems. Relate day to day events to Aqeedah and practical solutions. When your children claim that you don’t understand them, don’t argue over this statement; rather, take it as an opening statement for further dialogues. Don’t disassociate yourself from their lives. Take an interest in their activities, friends, likes and dislikes. Don’t disrespect their ideas, feelings and suggestions.
  3. Don’t despair when they have done something wrong. Even if your efforts seem to fail, don’t become unmotivated. Don’t condemn them. Disappointments are a part of parenting, and mistakes are a part of growing up. Don’t use excessive words in anger. Don’t use threats or physical force to get what you want or to express anger. Make Dua. It’s the greatest healer. Clarify what you don’t want them to do from a very early stage. For instance, when your child yells, demonstrate the desired tone.
  4. Don’t expect immediate compliance all the time. Give a time frame and stick to it, instead of nagging. Don’t compare your child with another sibling or other children. It is most humiliating for them. Don’t discuss your child’s behaviour with others, especially in front of them. Don’t forget to kiss your teenaged kids. They still want physical contact with you.
  5. Don’t say yes to such social evils as smoking, drugs, dating and outings in late nights. Teenagehood is an experimenting and experiencing age. Don’t fall into the trap of ‘let me do it only once’. Most parents believe their child is drug and dating proof. Sadly, it is a fact that a majority of our youth is involved in one thing or the other. This includes teenagers belonging to religious families as well.

We need to connect our children to the worldview, where all our actions emerge from our religion, with the sources being the Quran, the Sunnah and traditions of the Prophet’s (sa) companions. Our extremely rich Islamic culture and heritage should be practiced to gain success in all fields of life and then in the hereafter. Excellence, or Ihsan, in all aspects is so desirable that Allah (swt) Himself taught us the Dua: “O our Lord, give us the best in this world and the best in the Hereafter and protect us from Hellfire.”

Preserving the Lustre

Preserving the Lustre

What I have noticed about young, mostly practicing married girls is that they are usually more concerned about pleasing the in-laws and keeping the home perfect, rather than preserving their lustre and focusing on their sensual side. Why does it happen? Is it culture? Or have we misunderstood the importance of Halal intimacy in Islam?

Jabir bin Abdullah (rtam) has narrated: While we were returning with the Prophet (sa) from a Ghazwah (Holy Battle), I started driving my camel fast, as it was a lazy camel. A rider came behind me and pricked my camel with a spear he had with him, and then my camel started running as fast as the best camel you may see. Behold! The rider was the Prophet (sa) himself. He asked: “What makes you in such a hurry?” I replied: “I am newly-married.” He said: “Did you marry a virgin or a matron?” I replied: “A matron.” He said: “Why didn’t you marry a young girl, so that you may play with her and she with you?” When we were about to enter (Madinah), the Prophet (sa) said: “Wait so that you may enter (Madinah) at night, so that the lady of unkempt hair may comb her hair, and the one, whose husband has been absent, may shave her pubic region.” (Bukhari)

It is obvious from this Hadeeth that enjoying a healthy relationship with one’s spouse and grooming oneself is part of Sunnah. Instead, married women today may have homes that run like perfectly oiled machines, but when it comes to intimacy, they don’t know where to begin.

As Muslims, it is our duty to support each other in all walks of life and for a marriage to run smoothly, moms and moms-in-law play a bigger role than they realize.

How can moms and moms-in-law help young married girls, overwhelmed with their roles and responsibilities, preserve their lustre? Naturally, elderly people do have more time on hand and they all want to see their kids settled happily in life. If their daughters or daughters-in-law are dishevelled, it will affect their marriage. Maybe they can give some of their time (depending on their own health, resources, stamina and patience) to offer relief to these girls. The sensual side is the first to go, when women are overworked, mismanaged or, at times, lazy and don’t want to make an additional effort to groom themselves, when they have house chores to manage, kids to raise and social commitments to fulfill.

They start lying: “My husband doesn’t mind that I look ten years older than him. Even if he does, too bad, I can’t do anything about it.” Or they complain that their spouse neglects them, talks about other women and even dreams about them. Who would want to live with a wrecked mess and for how long?

Here is a list of suggestions that moms and moms-in-law can begin with:

  1. Encourage grandchildren to sleep with their grandparents sometimes, especially in a joint family setup.
  2. Offer to keep an eye on the maids, so the girl can spend some time grooming herself.
  3. Offer to entertain the children once in a while, when the husband returns home.
  4. Babysit the children at times, so that the mother can get a few hours of undisturbed sleep or visit a spa for relaxation and makeover.
  5. Take care of children during the weekend, giving the couple a two hours’ time. They may take the grandchildren to a place of their choice, or just spend time at home watching an interesting animal documentary or cricket match, playing board games, reading books or teaching a skill.
  6. The responsibilities assigned to the daughter-in-law in a joint family setup can be limited to those, which can be accomplished during daytime, while the spouse is away. Anything that holds her back at night in the kitchen or requires her to be there early in the morning could be considered with sympathy.

The point is not to spend money, ending in skyrocketing expenses. It is simply to keep the magnetism alive between the spouses, which will make them happier and better care-givers and providers for the family. It will also keep petty disputes at bay and nourish the communication. Physical appeal is essential for every marriage. Nanis and Dadis should prepare unmarried girls for it and help the married ones carry on with it.

The son should also be more available for his parents during daytime hours. (Wives should not complain about that, too). This will strike a balance. He can hire some help (part-time driver or maid) to enable his parents to stay more independent, without relying upon him and his wife in all daily matters. Adl (justice) has to be done with everyone.

A husband has to honour his parents, and the wife should help him in that. The wife should not be the cause of discord between him and them. When the parents will be taken care of and cherished, they will not mind the couple spending more quality time together.

Since a large number of family setups are joint family based, grandmothers also need to step up – their cooperation is a great help. Likewise, the girls need to be trained for becoming independent – they have to learn to prioritize work, manage time and work wisely for everyone’s benefit.

Training to be a Mother

Training to be a Mother

Every professional needs to be trained, be it a teacher, doctor, pilot or an engineer. There’s no job difficult or easy that does not require some basic training. Centres are built and workshops are conducted. However, the personnel with the most important job, the bearers of the ‘next generation’, are often left without adequate guidance and preparation.

Motherhood – The Best Career!

The problem in our society is that being a mother holds little to no significance! Some women prefer careers over children. Most well-off mothers hire maids for every kid they have. Today, the Ummah is in dire need of true leadership; yet, the hands that are to mould the leaders are too busy.

The first step in training ourselves as mothers is to learn the significance of our job. Most women look down upon motherhood, thinking it’s all about changing smelly diapers. In fact, it’s about shaping the minds of our future generations. Any mother would tell you that no matter what she goes through, it’s all worth it, when she sees her child laugh, play and grow up. Allah (swt) has elevated our status by the responsibility of motherhood; therefore, this should be our first and foremost priority.

Yes, motherhood needs life-long training, which includes the following:

  1. Rearing Iman (Faith)

The most important aspect of our training should be in the field of faith. Mothers must equip themselves with strong Iman. Every vessel will spill what it contains. Thus, to empower our children with Iman, we ourselves need some nourishment of faith. We must connect ourselves and our children with the tenets of faith and the true sources of knowledge and guidance: the Quran and Sunnah.

Start building a powerful connection with Allah (swt) by pondering over His names and attributes. You’ll then be able to connect your child to Allah (swt), telling him how Al-Wadood loves him, how Ar-Razzaq provides for him and how Al-Bari has fashioned him in such a beautiful manner. These small instances will create deep love for Allah (swt). Ponder over the Quranic verses that mention Allah’s (swt) attributes and relate them to your children according to their level.

Mothers should have a constant relationship with the Quran, memorizing and reflecting upon it as much as they can, as this is the foundation of guidance. It is the book that transformed the simple nomads of the desert into the leaders of this Ummah. You may then recite to them while you nurse and play, explaining short verses. When they are older, study alongside them, so that you grow together; this shall be the strongest source of bonding between your children and yourself as well as your children and their Rabb (swt).

Additionally, no matter how busy they are, mothers must take out some time to acquire knowledge about their Deen. Whether it is by means of reading books or listening to beneficial lectures, gaining time-to-time doses of Islamic knowledge ensures that we are constantly reminded of our purpose and position in this world. Familiarize yourself with the Islamic history and culture to withstand the rising tide of western civilization.

Mothers and expectant mothers should also make a habit of reciting daily Duas aloud for their children. A recommended read on this Iman-rearing aspect is “Nurturing Eeman in Children” by Dr. Aisha Hamdan.

  1. Patience

A very important quality of a good mother is patience. Lack of sleep, busy days, tension and fatigue may make you irritable and vexed. Once you sign on to be a mother, 24/7 is the only shift they offer. However, you don’t need to boil out your anger on your children; they’re not your waste bin! If you do feel like venting out, reach out to your Lord (swt); furthermore, writing a daily diary may extinguish your flame.

Another way of developing Sabr is long Qiyam. Mothers should have a habit of praying Tahajjud at least before their child is born. Staying up for your child comes automatically – why not do it for Allah (swt)?

  1. Learn to Manage Time

With kids at hand, time just melts away like ice. To keep up with the clock, mothers must learn time management skills. Firstly, learn to organize your household and teach the same to your children; this will save you a lot of ‘where is my shoe?’ and ‘where are my socks?’ moments of the day. Secondly, learn to delegate tasks. Bigger children can look after a few of their chores themselves and also help their younger siblings. Thirdly, prioritize; know what should be done right away and what can wait for later.

  1. Active Lifestyle

Coddled and cosseted young girls, who usually have faced nothing but books, freak out when they enter the real world of housekeeping and motherhood. The days of sleeping and lazing off to your heart’s desire are over now! Young girls must habituate themselves to a physically active and healthy lifestyle; learn to live without your mobile and the internet. Otherwise, when responsibilities start piling up, there’s a strong chance you end up being a short-tempered mother, which may leave negative effects on the personality of your child.

  1. Gaining Guidance about Parenting

Parenting entails responsibility and accountability. For learning about effective parenting, you may listen to Duroos, attend lectures and read books on the subject. Alhumdulillah, such materials are readily available and they’ll aid you in your journey. Nonetheless, take advice from your elders, your mothers and your grandmothers; it’ll be the essence of their experiences. If you are expecting your first child, start seeking knowledge now and if you already have children, it’s never too late.

  1. Removing the Negatives

Try to eliminate all the negative influences inside your home and your undesirable habits that you don’t wish to transfer to your child. For example, if you think television is having a bad influence on your children, refrain from sitting in front of the TV. If you don’t want your kids to adopt the practice of backbiting, don’t backbite. Refrain from using the words you don’t want them to utter. Children are sponges that will pick up whatever they catch from their environment – be careful! If you want kids like Hassan (rtam) and Hussain (rtam), get ready to follow the characters of Fatimah (rtaf) and Ali (rtam).

To put it succinctly, motherhood is not a walk in the park. It demands time, energy and efforts. Yet it is the instinct of every woman, the most adorable duty there is! Fathers shouldn’t assume they are exempted; they are equally responsible and must actively participate in their children’s upbringing. With the dew drops of Duas and hard work of parents, Insha’Allah, we will succeed in presenting this Ummah with productive Muslims.

Implementing Sunnah in Today’s Classrooms – Part 3

13) Teach what is easily acceptable

Ali ibn Abi Talib (rtam) said: “Narrate to the people what they are acquainted with. Would you like Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa) to be rejected?” (Bukhari)

Educators should remember that if they overload the students, this might result in a complete breakdown. If a student collapses intellectually once, it takes a mountain of effort to bring him/her back on track.

In terms of teaching Islamic obligations, one step at a time should be taken, in order to make the new entrant in this field comfortable. For example, let younger children begin their Salah with Fard only. Later, when they get into the routine, ask them to attempt a few Sunnah units as well. This way, they will not feel over-burdened. Sports’ coaches face similar situations. For instance, weights are increased progressively to make the athlete accept the challenge easily.

14) First the easy and then the difficult

When the Prophet (sa) sent Muadh ibn Jabal (rtam) to Yemen, he said to him: “You are going to the people of the Scripture. Let the first thing to which you will invite them be the Tauhid of Allah (swt). If they learn that, tell them that Allah (swt) has enjoined on them five prayers to be offered in one day and one night. If they pray, tell them that Allah (swt) has enjoined on them Zakah of their properties and it is to be taken from the rich among them and given to the poor. If they agree to that, then take from them the Zakah but avoid the best property of the people.” (Bukhari)

Thus, Allah’s Messenger (sa) taught Muadh (rtam) the order, in which to teach the people of Yemen, so that they would not suddenly feel overburdened with the injunctions. This step-by-step approach must be adopted in today’s classrooms, so that the students easily grasp concepts, as they grow intellectually.

15) Make matters easy for the students

Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “Allah has not sent me as a person, who causes difficulty to others. Rather, He sent me as a teacher, who gives glad tidings.” (Muslim)

According to Allah’s Messenger (sa), the primary function of the teacher is to make matters easy for students to understand, that is, simplify and dilute the lessons for their wards. The level of lesson must be brought down to match the mental abilities of the students. A teacher can impress his or her students with fancy words, but if he or she fails to make them comprehend the lesson, then the purpose is lost. Educators should ensure their students understand the lesson.

16) Break down into easier goals

Abdullah ibn Masud (rtam) said: “When any of us (companions) learnt ten verses, he would not go any further, until he had learnt their meaning and how to put it into practice.” (Kashf al-Qina) This is the perfect example of Allah’s Messenger’s (sa) teaching methodology. Breaking down a larger task into smaller units can help students achieve the easier goals. These can finally culminate to become important milestones for the students.

17) Interactive teaching

Abdullah bin Amr (rtam) said he heard Allah’s Messenger (sa) asking his companions: “Do you know who is a Muslim?” They replied: “Allah and His Messenger know best.” Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “A Muslim is he from whose tongue and hands other Muslims are safe.” (Ahmad)

Interactive teaching is one of the most prominent characteristics of the Messenger’s (sa) teaching methodology. By asking questions, he stimulated the intellect of the students, and they then became more eager to absorb the knowledge. This method is especially beneficial, when a lesson becomes somewhat dull, and a question (on any related subject) becomes a wake-up call for those present.

18) Teaching by demonstration

A person came to Allah’s Messenger (sa) and said: “O Allah’s Messenger! How should I perform ablution?” Allah’s Messenger (sa) asked for water in a container and demonstrated the complete act of ablution for him. (Abu Dawood) When teaching, the best way to make students remember and understand is to show them by performing the act yourself.

19) Similes and examples

Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “The example of a good companion and a bad companion is like that of the seller of musk and the one, who blows the blacksmith’s bellows. As for the seller of musk, then either he will grant you some, you will buy some from him or at least you will enjoy a pleasant smell from him. As for the one, who blows the blacksmith’s bellows, then either he will burn your clothes or you will get an offensive smell from him.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Here, Allah’s Messenger (sa) has used a simile to explain the difference between good and bad company. Likewise, he would frequently use parables and similes to make the students understand the points he wanted to make. An important lesson here is that the teacher should not just issue orders; he or she should explain the wisdom behind them as well.

20) Storytelling

One of the favourite methods of Allah’s Messenger (sa) was true storytelling. The Quran, the Ahadeeth and other Islamic books are full of historical events and inspiring narratives, which can be used to impart knowledge and values to the students. Regardless of which subject you teach, you can always narrate an interesting anecdote, when the class becomes boring during a long discourse.

21) Use body language

Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “Should I not inform you about the most serious of major sins?” He said this thrice. At that time, he was leaning against something. Then he sat up and said: “Behold! A false statement and a false testimony! Behold! A false statement and a false testimony!” (Muslim)

The repetitive style of the Messenger (sa) is used here to emphasize the importance of the subject coming up. Note that to utter the last statement, he sat up. A teacher’s body language is very important to his delivery. A sudden change in posture can make the students more attentive in class.

22) Illustrate with hand gestures

Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “A believer to another believer is like a wall – one part strengthens the other.” Allah’s Messenger (sa) then interlocked his fingers. (Bukhari) In the absence of audio-visual aids, even a simple act of using one’s hand or body can help students understand an important topic.

23) Exhibit items

Allah’s Messenger (sa) took a piece of silk in his left hand and some gold in his right hand. He raised them with his hands and said: “These two items are prohibited to the males of my Ummah.”

Announcing the prohibition might have been enough, but the Messenger (sa) deliberately chose to exhibit samples of the items being discussed. This emphasizes the importance of visual images in teaching. Educators using these on a regular basis will experience a higher level of learning from their students, Insha’Allah!

24) Let students take notes

Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-Aas (rtam) said: “I used to write down everything, which I used to hear from Allah’s Messenger (sa).” (Abu Dawood) Bear in mind that some students are slow in writing. Be patient with them, so that they may record your knowledge.

25) Encourage students to ask questions

The Quran instructs: “…So ask of those who know the scripture [learned men of the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)], if you know not.” (An-Nahl 16:43) A teacher must be willing to answer his students’ queries. Allah’s Messenger (sa) encouraged the people to put forward their enquiries. He said: “The cure for ignorance is questioning.” (Ad-Daraqutni)

When dealing with queries, answer calmly and maintain your composure. Use logic and rationale when responding to questions. Your attitude should encourage students to ask for further explanation, if needed.

Adapted (with permission) from “How the Messenger of Allah (sa) Taught his Students” written by Maulvi Jahangir Mahmud (

Published and distributed by M/s Al-Misbah, 16 Urdu Bazar, Lahore.

Phone: +92 42 371224656. Email:

All rights reserved with the publishers.

The Women in Your Life

Women in Your Life

  1. Centre of gravity

As a man, you must understand that every woman in your life wants herself to be the focal point of your life. This includes your caring mother, your loving wife and your affectionate sister. Give them all their share of attention and love and maintain a balance in it. It might sometimes feel like walking on a tight rope, but you will be able to nip many evils in the bud, if you can master this art of attention-giving. Chat with them, compliment them and make them feel cherished. Find out what they want to hear from you. Be expressive and warm.

  1. A bankrupt account

Too often, we are tight-lipped about matters that bother us. Learn to communicate this to your loved ones. Let the women in your life know what heightens your misery. It may include seeing discord at home, picking fights over trivial matters or expressing unnecessary criticism. Inform them that it breaks your heart when they behave in a certain manner. So the next time any one of them slips, she would know why you are upset and would not build tolerance for anti-family behaviour. When the Prophet’s (sa) wives requested him for a raise in their monthly stipend, he left them for approximately a month, as a clear indication that worldly affairs were not his priority.

  1. A place for all

As a married man, you will have to decide each and every person’s place and rights in your life. You will respect and care for your mother. You will seek her guidance, as she knows you well and is experienced about matters of life. Getting married doesn’t mean that you will not spend time with her anymore. Similarly, your wife is your trusted companion; she is the closest to you. You will shower her with love and provide for her needs. She will offer you support in ways that others can’t. In response, you will support her, especially in matters related to your own family and your kids’ upbringing. Your sisters will look up to you, if younger, or treat you like a boy, if older. You will have to love them back and be there for them, when needed. Communicate this to all the women in your life, so that none of them would try to twist your arm for dominating you.

  1. Old versus new

This is a challenge in which most men fail. At the expense of new relations, they sometimes abandon their old ones. A mother will always be a mother; no one has contributed or sacrificed what she has in raising you. As per the Prophet’s (sa) Hadeeth, she does have the greatest right over you, while you have the greatest right over your wife. As you enter into the delicate marital relationship, you will have to get to know her better and not take your marriage for granted. Above all, communicate to all parties the importance of both old and new relationships. No one will be forsaken for the other one.

  1. Apples and oranges

The last thing you want to do is draw comparisons between the women in your life. If Aisha (rtaf), the fourth highest narrator of Ahadeeth, could not bear to hear our beloved Prophet’s (sa) praise for his beloved wife Khadijah (rtaf), after the latter’s death, can our women fare any better than that? Women are insanely jealous. If you ever try to compare your mom’s recipes with your wife’s recipes (even if you are right) or vice versa, you may end up in deep trouble.

The Strange Stranger

Strange Stranger

Although it was early September, it was a cold evening for London. Salman was going home from work and his wife, Sadia, doing two shifts, would be coming in late at night. Living in London was expensive and both had to work hard to make ends meet.

Salman knew there would be no dinner, so he decided to pick up something on the way. Sadia loved nachos, so he decided to treat her. This would be his good deed of the week. They had this game going amongst themselves to do at least one good thing every week for each other, with the loser paying for dinner at the month’s end.

He got off at Oxford Circus to walk over to the Mexican outlet, which was reasonably priced, although slightly in the back lane. The place was not crowded and Salman walked fast to get out of the cold. When he was nearly there, his foot caught the entrance step and he went tumbling over. Suddenly, two strong hands appeared from nowhere and caught him, saving him from an otherwise bad fall. “Thank you so much – I would have hurt myself real bad, if you had not caught me,” Salman thanked the stranger. “No sweat,” said the big man. Salman looked at him and felt, as if the person was not real. He shook his hand, and yes, he was very much real, but he could not identify his nationality. As a gesture of thanks, Salman asked him to join him for a meal and he agreed happily.

“May I know your name?” “Names do not matter, they are only labels, knowing the person is the real thing,” he replied. Oh, thought Salman, a philosopher. Salman ordered food and a takeaway for his wife, and they sat down at a table. He started to make conversation, saying how difficult it was to make ends meet in London. Salman asked the stranger: “What do you do?” He replied: “Sometimes we lose perspective; I try to give perspective to people.” “What do you mean?” asked Salman. “Let me explain,” he said and took out what looked like a lottery ticket from his pocket. He showed it to Salman who could read the number clearly ‘111-777’.

“The winning lottery number will be announced tomorrow morning,” the man said, and Salman nodded, because it was in all the newspapers that this time it was going to be a jackpot of nearly seven million pounds. “But who wins such things?” said Salman to the stranger, who was now looking very unreal to him. “This ticket is going to win tomorrow,” said the stranger. The way he said it made Salman’s skin crawl, and he felt a tingling all over his body, as if he had just seen a ghost. “How do you know?” he asked. “It’s my job to know,” he replied. “Then you must be a wealthy man,” said Salman. “Yes, but I do not need the money,” to which Salman replied impulsively: “Man! Do I need it!” The stranger looked into his eyes and said: “You can have it, if you want.” Salman was taken aback: “Why would you give it to me?” The stranger said: “Because I need something from you in return.” Salman was confused: “What can I give you worth seven million pounds? I am already behind on my rent – but still if you think I have something you want, then just ask and it’s yours!”

The stranger once again looked deeply into his eyes and said: “Ok, in exchange for this ticket, I need your solid oath that till your last day on earth, you will never say any of your five obligatory prayers.” Salman was shocked. He wants me to leave the prayers and for that he is giving me seven million pounds? It did not make any sense. What benefit will it give to him, if I pray or not? He started to feel this whole evening was turning macabre. “What if this ticket does not win tomorrow?” asked Salman to give himself some time to think. “It will win; you have my word! But if it does not, you are free from your promise, so you do not lose anything,” replied the stranger.

Salman felt as if he was in a bad dream but everything was there: real food, customers walking in and settling down, and the noise of people talking. Salman had never had to make such a big decision in his life. He thought of the palatial house he could buy, the silver Bentley, which was always his dream, his children achieving the very best education and his wife all the jewellery and clothes that her heart desired! It was an opportunity of a lifetime. He would be a fool to give this up and all this just in exchange for his prayers? It was a bargain.

He thought about it for a long time, while the stranger ate his food. When his plate was clean, the stranger stood up and put the ticket in Salman’s hand. “So what’s your decision?” he asked. Salman looked at him for a while and then, with a voice shaking with emotion, he answered: “No deal.” The stranger gave a happy childish laugh, affectionately patted him on the back and walked out into the night with the ticket. Salman sat frozen for some time; then, he picked his takeaway and walked out toward the underground station.

He reached home in a daze, said his prayers and without narrating anything to his wife, went to sleep. The morning newspaper next day announced the winning ticket number, 111-777, but Salman was not surprised, as he already knew it.

It was Friday, and in the afternoon, he went for his prayers. The Imam’s sermon was like background music, hardly registering through his dazed mind, but all of a sudden, the words were ringing sharp and clear in his ears. “Shall I tell you the importance of just the two Sunnah Rakats of the Fajr prayers? The Prophet (sa) said: ‘If you put all the treasures of this world together, they cannot exceed the Barakah, the benefits and the blessings of the two Sunnah Rakats of the Fajr prayers.” (Muslim)

These words hit Salman with a jolt. He felt as if God Almighty was talking to him, to let him know that the great sacrifice he had made the night before had been accepted. Salman fell into Sajdah and cried like a baby, tears of spiritual joy and happiness streaming down his cheeks. He continued to thank Allah (swt) for giving him the strength to make the right decision. He knew that the angel he met last night only wanted him to realize the worth and importance of his daily prayers.

From that day on, Salman was a changed person. His prayers were no longer ordinary and his mind didn’t wander. For him, it was like a meeting with Allah (swt), and each prayer time became the most delightful and uplifting activity of his day.

Bashka Voda – Part 2

Bashka Voda 2

(In part 1: By supplying a Bosnian refugee camp in Bashka Voda with food and detergents, relief workers Suleman and Abbas (with the help of Aida, their translator) have obtained  permission to teach the refugees English and Islamic history, thus introducing to them the basics of Islam, their faith, which had been suppressed by the Communist regime. The turnout to the first class has exceeded their expectations.) 

“Where should we start from?” I asked. This raised a few eyebrows, as according to the picture Aida had painted, they were not expecting much interaction. I was supposed to have lectured like the Khutbah of the Friday prayer and leave; they were to listen respectfully and quietly.

I encouraged them by asking questions like how they were instructed in schools about Islam and so on. Finally, a 14-year-old sister said shyly: “Can you, please, start from zero? We were told in schools that there is no God.”

I was dumbfounded. This was the least of what I expected. I glanced at the rest of the class and found people nodding their heads. She was not alone.

I took a deep breath and started slowly and deliberately, as it would have been a disaster, if Aida misunderstood this delicate topic. I pointed out to the wonders that surrounded us and the signs that the creations held. After introducing them to the microchip, I said: “The microchip is made of silicon, iron and other metals. The probability of these metals getting arranged in this order by random existed but would be one in a zillion.

“So, on seeing this chip, you would argue that there is no one behind its creation just because such a random possibility existed or would you accept that someone designed and manufactured it? So how about this Universe, which is so much more complex?”

I gently reasoned that not believing in Allah (swt) didn’t add up logically. “If we were told that a road has snipers, and there is a chance that we will be hit, as opposed to another road, which is completely safe, which road would you take? Why would you not like to be safer? Why not apply the same logic in believing in Allah (swt)? You only gain by believing in Allah (swt), while in not believing in Him (swt), you take a risk.

I asked them, if anyone had proof that Allah (swt) didn’t exist. No one had. “The absence of the proof of a thing’s existence cannot become a proof in itself of its non-existence. On the contrary, all creations are a clear proof of the existence of a Creator.”

I was crude. It was raw Dawah, for which I had no earlier experience. For most of the students, it was the first time this was being presented in this manner. Some nodded, some sat wondering and others were awestricken.

Towards the end, I was sweating.

I found relief in the cool sea breeze, as I drove that evening. Those drives became a source of strength, as I collected my thoughts before the class and reflected on my return. This was my first intellectual interaction with the Bosnians, of whom I had a good general sample. I had all age groups, except for men of fighting age; I had both country folk and city dwellers from practically all income levels and locations.

I was impressed. I found the Bosnians to be simple-minded. They were also highly impressionable and I couldn’t fathom whether it was intrinsic or due to the tragedy that had met them.

Next day, we discussed Tauhid. “If there is a Creator,” I said, “He must be one; otherwise, the Universe would be in chaos. Just as we can’t have two captains in a plane or two drivers in a car, we can’t have two gods in this Universe.”

That day they were relaxed, easily smiling at my jokes. I wanted them engaged, as the class was voluntary, and the last thing I wanted was to have them lose interest.

I noticed that the girls with the short skirts were not there, confirming my suspicion that they had meant to tease me. The problem had obviously taken care of itself, but I was proven wrong. The girls were there but were dressed differently.

After the class, the same girls approached me. “We are the ones who wore improper dresses yesterday,” one started, visibly embarrassed, “we were later told that it was not proper. We are extremely sorry. Why didn’t you ask us to leave?” With this, tears welled up in her eyes. At a loss of words, I tried to comfort them by saying that we all make mistakes and they didn’t have to worry about it.

As I drove back that evening, I was deep in thought. It was a blessing of Allah (swt) that I had not asked them to leave. They might never have returned. This became a lesson I will never forget.

The classes continued, and we started with the Seerah of the Prophet (sa) and along the way, the Kalima and the articles of faith.

Gradually, they accepted me as a part of their small tortured world; someone who would listen and empathize with them and, more than that, had come to help them. I wasn’t able to leave immediately after class, as people wanted to talk to me. They eventually ended up talking about loved ones dying violently at the hands of the Serbs, of destroyed towns and broken lives.

The children, who became very attracted to me, had interesting questions, and their laughter lit up this bleak world. There was hardly a Muslim child in the camp, who wasn’t attending. I realized that this course was the only good time they were having in their monotonous life as refugees.

As I was going through the hardships that Prophet Muhammad (sa) faced in Makkah, I said: “We should thank Allah (swt) for giving us the gift of Islam; look how difficult it was to be a Muslim at that time.”

On hearing this, a young boy spontaneously spoke and the class fell silent. Since he had spoken in Bosnian, all had understood, except me. Aida tried to ignore it. Others in the class waved, asking me to carry on. I refused. “Hold on!” I caught the sternness in my voice, as I asked Aida, “What did he say?”

“He has asked,” Aida was fighting tears, “if it was as difficult to be a Muslim at the time of the Prophet (sa), as it is for us today.”

Looking up, I saw tears streaming down faces.

The time for the first test arrived. I wanted to encourage them to work hard. “Look,” I requested them a day before, “I have to drive 50 miles each day to be with you so, please, reciprocate by doing well on the test.”

On hearing this, an elder lady pointed out to Ahmed, who was 12 years old with a quiet and serious face. “He lives 5 miles away,” she said. “While you drive, Ahmed walks to class each day.” Finding out through friends that this course was being offered, he had signed up. He was there every day and stayed till the end of the course.

A day before the test, some children came to me with a naughty look in their eyes. They wanted to know, if I would be kind enough to tip them off to the questions in the test. I told them that I might ask them to explain the Kalima and then, looking around carefully, I whispered: “Make sure that no one finds out.”

The next day the one answer everybody knew was about the Kalima. I put that question in the test, happy to have the participants testify in writing to the Tauhid of Allah (swt) and to the prophethood of Muhammad (sa).

That day, I sat back and relaxed, watching the seriousness with which they were taking the test. For an outsider, it could as well have been a chemistry test.

One young girl wrote a comment: “Before coming to this course, I used to believe that there is no God, but now I think there is one. For me that was progress. How stupid it would have been to enforce the dress code on her at that stage.

Another girl wrote: “I now find strength to face the hardships I am going through, knowing that my Prophet (sa) went through similar hardships in his life.”

I gave out writing assignments on different topics. I had them pool their Islamic books and also contributed some to set up a virtual library for doing their rudimentary research. These assignments would then be presented in class.

Adapted (with permission) from “The Embattled Innocence.” Compiled for Hiba by Laila Brence.

Sleeping Habits of the Prophet (sa) – In the Light of Surah Al-Mulk

Sleeping Habits

Ahadeeth offer us ample advice for perfecting our lives according to the Islamic guidelines. Alhumdulillah, every minute aspect of our life is discussed, including such daily routine as sleeping. Let’s take a look at what the Sunnah says about the sleeping habits of the Prophet (sa).

Prophet Muhammad (sa) used to recite Surah Al-Mulk before sleeping and then go straight to bed after Isha, without engaging in useless talk. The Prophet (sa) said: “There is a Surah in the Quran, which contains thirty verses. It will plead for the one who recites it, until Allah (swt) forgives him.” (Tirmidhi)

This action of our beloved Prophet (sa) holds great wisdom. Let’s look deeper into this Surah and reflect upon why he specifically chose it to be recited at night. The Surah begins with a majestic introduction of Allah (swt), enlightening the reader about His three characteristics:

  1. Allah (swt) is Blessed.
  2. He is the Owner of the entire universe.
  3. He does whatever He wills.

These characteristics are important, because they explain the upcoming verse, which is the heart of this Surah: “Who created death and life that He may test you, which of you is best in deed. And He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving.” (Al-Mulk 67:2)

This verse explicitly defines the purpose of our creation, i.e., to perform the best of deeds in life. It is important to note here that Allah (swt) did not state that He wants to see which one of us does the most deeds! Every single night, we sleep with thoughts about the reason behind our creation, and this serves as a reminder for the next morning, assuring that our actions will be performed in accordance with this notion.

In the following two verses, Allah (swt) sets some standards for an Ahsan (best) deed. He commands us to inspect the sky keenly and inquires if there is any visible inconsistency or defect. Just as the creation of Allah (swt) is free from any imperfections, so should be an Ahsan deed. It should be free from ill-intentions and must be performed on the level of excellence.

In the next verse, Allah (swt) directs the attention of the reader towards the sky, manifesting that the aims and objectives of a believer’s life should always be as high as the sky. Another advantage of an Ahsan deed is that it serves as a weapon a believer uses against his/her greatest enemy: the Shaitan.

The verses that follow give a detailed description of Hell and clarify the reason why a person would end up there. Every single night the mind is fed with the idea of Hell, so that a person makes all the efforts possible to be safe from it. The reason for people eventually ending up in Hell would be that they did not follow or listen to the messengers. The only way to attain Jannah is by following the Sunnah, as the life of our Prophet (sa) is a compilation of Ahsan deeds.

Later verses illustrate that the actions of believers are outstanding not only in the company of others, but also when they are all alone. Next, Allah (swt) states that it is only Him, Who upholds the birds in the sky. Similarly, the people, who think they can achieve something in life without the help of Allah (swt), are blinded by delusion. Even if a believer reaches the height of an Ahsan deed, it is because of the mercy of Allah (swt). If He withdraws His support, then a person is left completely helpless.

Towards the end, Allah (swt) presents the reader with two aspects that, if reflected upon, would aid in performing Ahsan deeds. They are Shukr and remembrance of the afterlife. Verses twenty-eight and twenty-nine implant a significant lesson: it is not necessary that those, who do Ahsan deeds, will not be affected by calamites; whenever such a situation occurs, they should keep their trust in Allah (swt) and carry on with their work.

The last verse poses a simple question: if water – the most vital element for human sustenance – is seized, who has the authority to bring it back other than Allah (swt)? It explains the fact that humans are completely dependent on Allah (swt) for their survival, and they should live their lives in the manner Allah (swt) wants them to, which is by doing Ahsan deeds.

When we recite Surah Al-Mulk, we should know what we are reading, because only then we would be able to attain all of its benefits prescribed in the aforementioned Hadeeth.