Happiness is Knowing that Ramadan is Coming!

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  1. Get the ball rolling – make Dua

The Sahabah (rta) used to prepare for the blessed Ramadan, six months before its arrival. They would pray: “Allahumma Balighna Ramadan.” So, it wasn’t as if one morning they woke up to find themselves battling with desires, low energy to fast, decreased level of patience, and an overall slumping Iman. No, not all! They very deliberately glided into Ramadan well prepared, highly motivated with a thriving Iman.

We naturally need to do the same. Invoke to Allah (swt) to help you reach and experience the best Ramadan of your life. Let your spirituality transcend worldly priorities. Plan now in terms of all your work, home, and other responsibilities to free up meaningful time for sincere Ibadah. Otherwise, intertwine it with your existing schedule like listening to the Quran while driving, cooking, etc. Read up the Tafseer while waiting, etc.

  1. Understand what ‘Sabr’ means

“Fasbir Sabran Jameel” -“So be patient (O Muhammad (sa)), with a good patience.” (Al-Ma’arij 70:5)

Fasting is challenging. Nobody says that it is a bed of roses. Otherwise, Allah (swt) wouldn’t promise a surprise reward for it. Unless we feel the pangs of hunger and low body energy we wouldn’t appreciate the blessings of our life and the suffering of the destitute. Hence, fasting requires beautiful patience which is when:

  • Others do not even realize you’re being patient.
  • Only Allah (swt) knows that you are being patient.
  • Nobody can see your frustration or anger.
  1. Increase the Sunnah prayers

This includes the Nafl or voluntary prayers that the beloved Prophet (sa) used to offer. Hence, they become a Sunnah for us.

If a person prays the Sunnah prayers, the reward promised by Allah (swt) is enormous. If he does not pray, there is no sin, but a great loss of opportunity to excel in worship.

In anticipation of Qiyam ul Lail, or Taraweeh, start your Nawafil now by praying two extra units after Salah. Don’t bulldoze yourself; just jumpstart slowly for the grand finale.

  1. Forgive to be forgiven

“And let not those among you who are blessed with graces and wealth swear not to give (any sort of help) to their kinsmen, Al-Masakin (the poor), and those who left their homes for Allah’s Cause. Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (An-Nur 24:22)

Our Lord (swt) created us. Only He knows how hard it is to forgive someone who hurt us. Hence, he offers the best motivation to His slaves. He promises forgiveness to all those who cleanse their hearts of rancor and malice of others. So, we initiate goodness even if they never asked for our forgiveness.

What are the benefits of forgiving others before Ramadan?

  • We will get more Taufeeq to do more Khair in Ramadan to increase rewards.
  • Our physical abilities improve drastically. American scientists claim that patients who have higher tendencies to forgive recover faster from illnesses such as insomnia, back aches and stomach aches, etc.

5. Ask Allah’s (swt) forgiveness

“Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others.”

Sprint for Allah’s (swt) mercy. Don’t let procrastination, guilt, disappointment, past sins, heedless company, and hopelessness prevent you; it’s all Shaytan in disguise. Allah (swt) is your Creator. He loves you more when you come to Him burdened with sins and shame. Fall into Sajdah and cry your heart out. He will heal you and guide you to a better life. Ameen.

  1. Give charity

What comes in between you and your Ramadan? Love of this Dunya planted by Shaytan in your heart. I cannot wake up for Sehri and Fajr Salah because I love my sleep too much. I cannot fast because I need to eat on time. I cannot control my anger because I am a slave to my Nafs.

Allah (swt) suggests a remedy for us. Calculate and give your Zakah; plan your Sadaqat in cash and kind gestures as per the Sunnah. Parting from our worldly possessions and wealth tames our ego. It also grants a feeling of tranquility as you feel light and worthy to be able to help Allah’s (swt) creation in dire need.

  1. Celebrate Ramadan!

Do not fret over the long and hot days ahead. Do not worry how you will manage your schedule. And do not stress over less sleep and food. Ramadan is not a restriction or burden. It’s a training camp to fix us. But no other camp rewards you Paradise against your tireless efforts. All they can award you with is a certificate, some laurel or an upgraded worldly position.

Allah (swt) is preparing you for His breathtaking and desirable Jannah. Embrace the opportunity with open arms. And motivate family and friends too. Talk how Iblees will be chained. The doors of heaven opened. Allah’s (swt) mercy showering all over us Insha’Allah.

After all, in the dark and lonely grave, this best friend in the form of accepted fasts of Ramadan will be our companion and saviour. Befriend it with love and eagerness.

(Adapted from Sister Khawlah bintYahya’s Ramadan countdown)

Hajj 2015 – the Good I Witnessed

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It might be startling for many to believe that there was any good in Hajj 2015, especially after the unfortunate tragedies of the crane crash and Mina stampede. May Allah swt accept the Shahadah (martyrdom) of those who lost their lives. But I was there performing my very first pilgrimage to Bait-ul-Allah. It was an ethereal experience.

The system in place to manage 30 lac pilgrims was quite impressive. The exits and entrances to Masjid al Haram were efficiently monitored to prevent any crowd surges. Policemen were lined up with spray bottles filled with cold water, ready to spray at any face that wanted respite from the heat. Free potable water and juice cartons were distributed to weary Hajis trudging on foot. Free bus rides were arranged from Khana-e-Kaabah to other parts of the city from where one could either walk home or hail a cab. Eager volunteers were present to guide you to your destination sometimes in sign language if you didn’t speak Arabic. Public toilets were present after every few meters and were considerably usable for Wudu and to answer the call of nature.

And who can forget the call of the beautiful Adhan soring high in the Haram. It raised the hair on one’s back, lifted the lowest of Imans, brought tears to eyes blurring the black majestic Kabah ahead. Each worshipper poured his heart out to his Rabb. Everyone had a love story of his own to narrate. Their hands stretched out yearning for the Lord’s Mercy and Love. It was the moment. All else faded away in the background.

Hajj was truly a picture of supreme brotherhood. Muslims from all continents and of every colour praying in one direction, to one God in one language.  We shared food, water, our prayer mats and smiles. We tried conversing in sign language, broken English and wavering Arabic. We pushed wheel chairs of complete strangers and shared taxi rides with them too.

Personally three things helped me immensely. I embarked on the pilgrimage with my husband with zero expectations. I realized that if I was a guest of Allah (swt) I had to trust and respect His hospitality. This meant no complaining and exhibiting patience. And believe me this submission to Allah (swt) worked wonders. We were always pleasantly surprised since we expected nothing.

Hajj is not a vacation. If you want to go on a holiday you should trek to Bali or Dubai maybe. Hajj is serious worship

Secondly offering Sadqah every day in the morning reassured our faith. Be it the cleaners at the Haram or old and frail Hajis, we felt a sense of tranquility to be able to help the lesser privileged. In return we asked of Allah’s (swt) pleasure and mercy in our affairs.

Lastly the prayer of Ibrahim (as) “Husbiy allaha wanaimal wakeel” was a fort against every forwarding trouble in sight. He recited these words when he was thrown into the fire by King Namrood. Allah (swt) had commanded the fire to cool down and offer safety to prophet Ibrahim instead and he walked away unhurt. Hence I relied on the same prayer for the slightest of issues possible. Be it long queues, day’s heat, big crowds, wait for the cab, chance to enter the Haram gates, possibility of Tawaf, etc.

On a closing note, Hajj is not a vacation. If you want to go on a holiday you should trek to Bali or Dubai maybe. Hajj is serious worship. It is meant for the ones who want to grow spiritually and are ready to offer sacrifices of their everyday comforts and conveniences. It’s not for those who think that since they are wealthy enough they should embark on it as they are an eligible candidate for it. If we wish to have our entire life’s sins wiped out, we will have to pay some price.

A very highly recommended exercise for those who wish to perform Hajj next year would be to read a good book on the Prophet’s (sa) Seerah

A very highly recommended exercise for those who wish to perform Hajj next year would be to read a good book on the Prophet’s (sa) Seerah right before they advance for their pilgrimage. It will help them greatly appreciate the lofty sacrifices Muhammad (sa) made for us. At Hajj we could pray anywhere in the Haram, perform as many Tawaf as possible in the ocean of other pilgrims, behold the captivating sight of the breathless Kabah. But Prophet (sa) was beaten at the same place so many times by the disbelievers of Makkah in the first thirteen years of his prophethood for simply offering Salah on the same grounds. And finally he was driven out of the city.

We can today peacefully go for Hajj and worship lovingly all we can. The inconveniences we face in this journey should not even be mentioned if we remember what our Prophet (sa) bore in the way of Allah (swt).

“By the fig, and the olive. By Mount Sinai. By this city of security (Makkah).” (Surat  at- tin 95:1-3)

Sadaqah Matters – A Marginalized Profit?

charityMost of us rush to do good deeds in Ramadan in order to make Allah (swt) happy and earn His promised reward of Jannah. We increase our acts of generosity by spending for those in need. But have we ever reflected on our intentions? Have we ever checked the quality of our aid? Are we giving good things or the old discarded ones? Are we down to earth? Or walk boastfully in pride? Do the ones we helped feel inferior because of our behaviour towards them, during and after helping them?

These are some areas of concern that we must look into before we do something good. Allah (swt) has mentioned some important aspects of Sadaqah in Surah Al-Baqarah.

As an individual, an entrepreneur, or any random person from any walk of life, we act in ways which are favourable to us or which will earn us some rewards in return. We maintain ties of kinship with relatives who enjoy luxuries, have high financial status, and enjoy a good social repute. In short, man is greedy by nature. Our desire to attain pleasure and fame drives us to do anything.

In Surah Baqarah, verses 261 to 267, Allah (swt) talks about ways to maximize one’s wealth along with some other sub topics that come in relation with doing charity (Sadaqah).

But have we ever reflected on our intentions? Have we ever checked the quality of our aid?

The likeness of those who spend their wealth in the Way of Allah is as the likeness of a grain (of corn); it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He pleases. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.” (Al-Baqarah 2:261)

A promised and guaranteed profit

Subhan’Allah! How generous Allah (swt) is. For every single penny, you will earn seven hundred times more reward. This verse explains the virtue of spending in the way of Allah (swt) to attain His pleasure.

It was narrated by Abu Hurairah (rta) that Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “If one gives in charity what equals to one date-fruit for the honestly-earned money, and Allah (swt) accepts only the honestly earned money, Allah (swt) takes it in His right (hand) and then enlarges its reward for that person (who has given it), as anyone of you brings up his baby horse, so much so that it becomes as big as a mountain.” (Bukhari)

“Those who spend their wealth in the Cause of Allah, and do not follow up their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with injury, their reward is with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (Al-Baqarah 2:262)

The humble intention

This stresses on the intention behind the act of Sadaqah. Firstly, the intention should be to spend for Allah’s (swt) pleasure. After emphasizing on Niyyah, the stress is shifted to the behaviour of the giver. When we spend in the way of Allah (swt) by giving money or things to our maids, we think we can now ask them to work more and assist us with chores that they are not entitled to do. We are of the opinion that we can suppress them as they are under our feet because of the generosity we have shown to them. When the intention and behaviour is polluted then the act will go in vain.

The person is considered as a transgressor because of hurting one’s pride and self-respect; and it is more heinous as compared to any financial or physical harm. The psychological attack especially on one’s pride is unbendable.

On the contrary, if one’s intention and action are in concordance to the principles of Islam while giving charity, then surely, his reward is with Allah (swt); and he shall not fear or grieve.

Kind words and forgiving of faults are better than Sadaqah (charity) followed by injury. And Allah is Rich (Free of all wants) and He is Most-Forbearing.” (Al-Baqarah 2:263) One kind word can warm the iced hearts

This verse talks about the notion of being polite and considerate. A sweet tongue can conquer many hearts, whilst a sharp tongue breeds the seeds of hatred. When a needy asks the one who is superior to him in terms of finance, then the upper hand must respond with kindness; and if he has to refuse, then he must do so with politeness.Islam is truly a religion that one can fall in love with every time he comprehends its teachings via Quran and Sunnah. It takes care of the rights of each and every individual, and guards their rights.

O you who believe! Do not render in vain your Sadaqah (charity) by reminders of your generosity or by injury, like him who spends his wealth to be seen of men, and he does not believe in Allah, nor in the Last Day. His likeness is the likeness of a smooth rock on which is a little dust; on it falls heavy rain which leaves it bare. They are not able to do anything with what they have earned. And Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.” (Al-Baqarah 2:264)

When we spend in the way of Allah (swt) by giving money or things to our maids, we think we can now ask them to work more and assist us with chores that they are not entitled to do

Showing off will not bring glory

This verse talks about showing off (Riya).  When we do something good we expect to be praised, and raised in status in the eyes of society and home. Often, the picture is blurring with the intention of to be seen only; however, in reality, one feels no sympathy. A similitude has been used here to make a relation with the act and its outcome. It says when a farmer plants a seed on a rock the surface of which is hard and soil is infertile, a gush of water in the form of rain, will take away the dirt on it. No fertilizer, temperature control, pesticide control- nothing will bear any fruit of success as the land on which it is sown is barren. Similar is the case of a man whose heart is solid, empty of the love of Allah (swt), and is filled with the attitude to show off, then the act of charity, will not earn him any reward nor it will touch his heart.

And the likeness of those who spend their wealth seeking Allah’s Pleasure while they in their own selves are sure and certain that Allah will reward them (for their spending in His Cause), is the likeness of a garden on a height; heavy rain falls on it and it doubles its yield of harvest. And if it does not receive heavy rain, light rain suffices it. And Allah is All-Seer of (knows well) what you do.” (Al-Baqarah 2:265)

The second verse is opposite to the above one- it says about the one who spends to gain the pleasure of Allah (swt) and to acquire Taqwa by strengthening his faith. When a seed is sown in a fertile soil, all measures that one takes to improve the yields will support the outcome- i.e. a healthy, abundant yield. Spending in the name of Allah (swt) is a guaranteed reward. The reward is twofold. One is that the spender’s faith will enrich and the other is awaiting him in Jannah.

Would any of you wish to have a garden with date-palms and vines, with rivers flowing underneath, and all kinds of fruits for him therein, while he is stricken with old age, and his children are weak (not able to look after themselves), then it is struck with a fiery whirlwind, so that it is burnt? Thus does Allah make clear His Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses) to you that you may give thought.” (Al-Baqarah 2:266)

A worth incentive

In this verse, Allah (swt) is giving an incentive to do well. Just like a mother, who provokes her kid, makes him greedy to do work in order to enjoy any favourable outcome. Allah (swt) loves us more than seventy mothers, Subhan’Allah. He is describing the appearance of heaven to make man greedy to attain it.

O you who believe! Spend of the good things which you have (legally) earned, and of that which We have produced from the earth for you, and do not aim at that which is bad to spend from it, (though) you would not accept it save if you close your eyes and tolerate therein. And know that Allah is Rich (Free of all wants), and Worthy of all praise.” (Al-Baqarah 2:267)

Quality of Aid is more important than quantity

When it comes to spend for charity, we tend to choose the things which are not worthy to be used again, or have lost their liking in our eyes, or are not pleasurable for us, and/or have depreciated. Allah (swt) knows the hidden intentions and thoughts, as well as, a man’s psychological level. Therefore, He also warned us to not to spend the things which we ourselves will not accept if given to us.

[Hadeeth Commentary] Charitable Acts

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Abu Dhar reported that some of the companions of the Messenger (sa) said to him:

 “O Messenger of Allah (swt), the rich have taken away all the rewards. They observe the prayer as we do, and they keep the fasts as we do, and they give Sadaqah (charity) from their surplus riches.” Upon this he (the Prophet (sa)) said: “Has Allah (swt) not prescribed for you (a course) by following which you can also do Sadaqah? Verily in every Tasbih (i.e., saying Subhan’Allah) there is a Sadaqah, every Takbir (i.e. saying Allahu Akbar) is a Sadaqah, every Tahmid (i.e., saying Alhamdulillah) is a Sadaqah, every Tahlil (i.e. saying La ilaha illa Allah) is a Sadaqah, enjoining of good is a Sadaqah, forbidding of evil is a Sadaqah, and having sexual intercourse with your wife is a Sadaqah.” They (the Companions) said: “O Messenger of Allah (swt), is there reward for him who satisfies his sexual passion among us?” He said: “Tell me, if he were to devote it to something forbidden, would it not be a sin on his part? Similarly, if he were to devote it to something lawful, he should have a reward.” (Muslim)

In particular this Hadeeth addresses the fact that the Sahabah were always concerned about the Hereafter and how to compete in seeking Allah’s (swt) reward. The background tells us that the questioners were poor Muslims who understood that their prayer and fasts were equal to that of the richer Muslims. They did not envy them for their wealth, but were only troubled about how to compete when giving in charity (Sadaqah). The companions were sad because they were not able to donate money for charity like other people. Our lesson from this situation is to note that only the thought of not being able to compete in good deeds for Allah’s (swt) sake was what troubled the Sahabah the most, they were not least bothered with what others had – their anxiety stemmed from not being able to please Allah (swt) as much as others could. Subhan’Allah.

In the 40 Hadeeth of An-Nawawi, Ibn Rajab states that the Islamic concept of charity in its broad sense can be divided into two types:

  1. The acts of goodness and kindness one can have towards other humans. Ibn Rajab gave some examples, such as educating and teaching people like teaching the Quran, removing anything that harms people in their paths, and contributing to the well-being of the Muslim community. This also includes doing Dua (prayer) and Istighfar (forgiveness) for other Muslims.
  2. Keeping any harmful action away from others. This means that we must not perform any harmful act towards other people if it does not benefit them. It is the minimum thing that one can afford to benefit others.

The Prophet (sa) then assured his companions, and offered them an alternate explanation of ‘Sadaqah’. A broader concept than the one we usually limit it to – we only take it as monetary in nature.

How does Dhikr benefit you?

When you say ‘Subhan’Allah’ you are granted a tree in Paradise. When you remember Allah (swt) by saying ‘Subhan’Allah’ or ‘Allahu Akbar’ you are actually being good to yourself and Allah (swt) will give you the reward in the Hereafter.

  • Allah (swt) remembers you
  • Allah (swt) will remember your name
  • Allah (swt) will praise you.

hadeeth1Every time you receive a blessing and you say ‘Alhamdulillah”, Allah (swt) will give you a reward. When amazed or in a problem, say ‘Subhan’Allah’ and say Allahu Akbar‘, when you notice yourself feeling proud, this will train you to stay humble and remain a servant of Allah (swt). Finally, our entire lives are based on La ilaha illa Allah. Muslims should make it a habit to do Dhikr during the morning and evening and after every prayer as a minimum. How many times do the rich give monetary Sadaqah? They cannot do so every moment of their life. Allah (swt) has favoured His servants with something that can earn rewards every waking moment. When you say ‘Alhamdulillah’, you get richer. Don’t compare yourself to what other people do, how much do they pray or fast; Allah (swt) has a way for everyone to compete equally. Focus only on what you can do. We know for a fact from this and the other Hadeeth that the ways of pleasing Allah (swt) are numerous and affordable for everyone. People differ in their ability, preference, and potential; therefore a Muslim should take this advantage and do such good deeds that are more convenient and suitable for him or her. People have choices and preferences in doing acts of Ibadah according to their ability and this is acceptable in Islam. Only a few people may have the ability to do many things together. (An-Nawawi)

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If you know of something good, and you want to share it with others, you must make sure you fulfill the conditions. You desire Paradise for others the same way you desire and strive for it yourself – but make sure you do not cause a greater harm than is already present. For example something may not actually be Munkar but in your culture it is considered that way. It has to be Munkar in the Shariah  and not just what your mother or father said. Speak with proof. It is a greater sin to term something as Haram when it is not actually Haram. If you call something Halal when actually it is Haram it is a lesser sin. Everything is Halal except what Allah (swt) has deemed as Haram. The etiquette is not to say something is Haram unless you are certain.

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Acquiring knowledge and spreading it is one of the greatest Sadaqah, this leads to the ability of enjoining good and forbidding evil. Every moment we spend in learning is never wasted. Every normal activity that we do as part of our daily routine will be rewarded for doing it with a good intention. For example, if we leave home for work with an intention to benefit our co-workers and treat it as an opportunity for Dawah; Allah (swt) will reward us for this and it would become Sadaqah.

Finally, the end of the Hadeeth states that fulfilling the desire in a Halal way is Sadaqah. Fulfilling your desires is a right upon yourself and you are doing well when fulfilling the desire of your spouse. No one can say we are deprived – a deprived person is one who deprives himself from the good. Allah (swt) has made it easy for us to earn rewards and practice charity, no matter how rich or poor we are. Alhamdulillah.

The Story of Orange Tree

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The criterion was simple:

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

The student’s family should be Karachi based

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

Both parents should have primary education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Account details are as follows:

Orange Tree Foundation

Dubai Islamic Bank Pakistan Limited

26th Street Branch (025)

Swift Code for international transfers: DUIBPKKA

Account No: 0167172002-Sadaqah

Account No: 0167172003-Zakat

Ihsaas Trust

ihsaasOur Reason for Being

Every human being wants to be self-sufficient, relying solely upon his Creator and not be dependent on others.

However, to a very large segment of the population of Pakistan, the idea of being self-sufficient seems like a faraway dream. Due to extreme financial hardship, coupled with multiple debts and an ever-deteriorating economy, many people who want to be self-reliant are never able to pull themselves out of the poverty quagmire. This is why we formed Ihsaas Trust.

The word ‘Ihsaas’ means to feel or be sensitive to what others are feeling; and this realization is precisely what brought together the founders of Ihsaas Trust. We not only want to feel what our fellow under-privileged brothers and sisters are feeling, we don’t just want to give them financial aid, but we want to go one step further and financially empower them so that they can become self-sufficient and provide for themselves and their families.

Ihsaas trust is a completely non-profit initiative.

Our Unique Mission

We at Ihsaas Trust, while realizing that we have a duty towards our fellow men, also realize that this is just a small part of our duty to the Almighty, to whom we are ultimately answerable. Thus, we also ensure that all of our services are in line with Allah’s (swt) Law, i.e. the Shariah of Islam. This makes our mission unique as we realize that helping the creation must also be done in accordance with the laws of the Creator.

We need donations for the following:

  1. Sadaqah for Micro-finance Cases
  2. Zakat Disbursement
  3. Ramadan Iftar Program

1. Sadaqah for Microfinance Cases

“Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”

Simply put, this is Islamic Finance. We provide financial services for low-income population and they all are in accordance with Islamic financing principles. All our transactions are monitored and audited by the Shariah Advisory. With proper accounts and audit department, every case is verified by checking the applicant’s experience, overall project feasibility and Shariah compliance. Our dedicated staff ensures timely repayments and motivates the applicants to implement Islamic principles and manners with their clients and their families.

We have an average ticket size of Rs. 80,000 with almost 100% repayment success rate. Your donations can help us reach more and more people, reducing the unemployment and helping our brothers and sisters to stand on their own feet and rely totally on Allah (swt).

2. Zakat Disbursements

We collect Zakat and utilize it for helping our applicants in times of dire need. Our applicants who are mostly orphans, widows and people who are disabled, under medical treatment, under loan or in need of education.

Every case is verified and endorsed by the Shariah Advisory; all our cases need urgent help and every Rupee you contribute will help them in their cause.   

3. Ramadan Iftar Program

Giving Iftar (fast-breaking) meal is very rewarding (Thawab). If a person, while walking on the road, gives only a date or an olive to a fasting person, the reward for giving Iftar meal is attained. Our Prophet (sa) said: “If a person gives Iftar to a fasting person in this month (Ramadan), his sins will be forgiven. And he will be given as many rewards as that of a fasting person.” Some of the blessed companions said that they were not rich enough to give Iftar meal to a fasting person. Prophet (sa) declared:  “The reward will be given even to a person who gives a date for Iftar or who provides water to break the fast or who offers a little milk.” (Bayhaqi)

Ihsaas Trust arranges Iftars for many Masajid every year in areas where the poverty level is more than the rest of the city. We provide quality food with a Tarbiyah Session prior to the Iftar. The objective is to bring people closer to Allah (swt) in the month of Ramadan. A donation from you goes a long way in this effort. This year too we are planning for Iftar in 7 – 10 Masajid. Please, contribute for the sake of Allah (swt).

The daily cost of Iftar per person along with dinner is Rs. 185 or $2. We provide them with fruits, juice, Iftari items and proper food for the day.

How to Donate

To donate, please, deposit the amount in the respective accounts mentioned below (as per your interest) and email the deposit slip to this address: donations@ihsaas.pk

Account Title: Ihsaas Trust – Sadaqah

Bank Name:         Meezan Bank Limited

Branch:                Bahadurabad, Karachi – Pakistan

Account Number: 01140100892545

 

Account Title: Ihsaas Trust – Zakat

Bank Name:         Meezan Bank Limited

Branch:                Bahadurabad, Karachi – Pakistan

Account Number: 01140100892552

 

Account Title: Ihsaas Trust – Microfinance

Bank Name:        Meezan Bank Limited

Branch:               Bahadurabad, Karachi – Pakistan

Account Number: 01140100841841

Unwavering Faith – An Empowering Asset!

arrow-target1As I reel back into time, I perceive I was not a very easy child. My mother brought me up and made me what I am today, with a mountain of patience and forbearance. I was a disgruntled girl, who would just need a small mishap to get piqued. I hated when things did not go my way. A tad bit of hiccup in my routine, arrival of unexpected guests, unsatisfactory grades at school or an unwanted meal could rotten my mood and spoil not only my day but also the day of those close to me. But my mother’s warm embrace and ceaseless prayers nurtured me. I learnt many lessons. Lessons that are eye openers and undoubtedly responsible for keeping me afloat.

I grew up watching my sweet mother. Her attitude towards troubles, her problem solving and her trust in the greatest treasure and faith in Allah (swt). All this taught me lessons and changed my perspective about life. When did it happen? I cannot specifically point it out, but the magic did happen.

Her solution for all calamities would always be to kneel before Allah (swt), offer Salat–ul-Hajat and leave everything in His hands.

I can very vividly recollect how my mother’s poise at times of distress stung me and made me erratic. But her voice – the echo of which I can still hear, as I write this out – slowly killed all doubt, all dissension and all anger that I had towards my fate and life. Her solution for all calamities would always be to kneel before Allah (swt), offer Salat–ul-Hajat and leave everything in His hands. After getting up from her prayer mat, she would set aside a sum of money as Sadaqah, as much as her purse allowed, and then seemed as calm as the early morning sky. All she would then say would be, “Allah (swt) is Great; He never leaves His servants in distress.”

Every time she performed this act, Allah (swt) proved her right, and this consolidated her faith and my family’s, too. Our ship never sank. Her faith in Allah (swt) and her tears on the prayer mat brought my family out of our worst times. There were times when we were so cramped emotionally and financially that I had to muster all my strength to keep myself from despising every happy being on the planet. However as I watched my mother confront challenges after challenges with nothing but the sword of unwavering faith in her hand, my faith in this panacea “Faith in Allah (swt)” grew stronger and stronger and all the resentment and discontentment that was in me transformed into Sabr (patience). Although there still is a lot that I need to learn but my mother’s resilience and strength has acquainted me with the path leading towards eternal peace and success.
My mother often quoted the verse of the Holy Quran wherein there is consolation for every perturbed soul. It says, “ Allah (swt) burdens not a person beyond his scope.” (Al-Baqarah 2:286)

If we truly believe that this life that we are living is only an exam before the permanent after life then nothing in the world would upset us or deaden our spirit to fight back and hope for a better tomorrow.
Today, as I look back, I cannot help marvelling at how my mother changed me by presenting herself as an example. At times, her calmness irritated my sulking nerves. But when I found myself helpless in the face of hardships, I was forced to submit and wait. And this helped the power of endurance to grow.

Surrender – we all have to either happily or grudgingly! However, doing so wilfully has its own sweetness

As I saw my mother’s faith in Allah (swt) winning every time, I realized that we all have to, one day or the other, submit to Allah’s (swt) will. As He alone is the Master and He alone has the power over the past, the present and the future. Surrender – we all have to either happily or grudgingly! However, doing so wilfully has its own sweetness and can be implemented and cherished by only those, who seek Allah’s (swt) love and closeness over all other benefits.

Life may teach us many lessons, but some lessons make us who we are. Today, I may be away from my mother, but whenever I am beset by a problem, I am reminded of my mother’s sword. And honestly, this is “The Weapon” that never misses its aim.