15 Common Mistakes in Ramadan


Common Mistakes

                                             Image Courtesy www.infoaboutislam.blogspot.com


Video URL ->https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5sZWEWl6zQ


Errors committed regarding the rules and regulations of fasting

  1. The most common is that the Muslims- many a times- they don’t do Niyyah for fasting.Intention is very important; without Niyyah, without intention, the fasting is not accepted. Hence, making intention is obligatory.
  2. Many Muslims continue eating their Sehri even after the Fajr Adhan has started; and they think that the end of the Suhoor time is only at the end of the Fajr Adhan. In fact, the moment the Fajr Adhan starts, the moment the beginning of Dawn starts, the Suhoor time ends. So, this is error which normally nullifies or invalidates the fast.
  3. The third error is that many people delay paying their Zakat-ul- Fitr; and many a times, they pay that after Eid-ul-Fitr Salah. If we pay the Zakat-ul- Fitr after Eid-ul-Fitr, then it is like normal charity, it does not come under the Zakat-ul- Fitr.

Errors contradictory to the Sunnah of fasting

  1. Many people skip the Suhoor.
  2. Some people have an early Suhoor i.e. they have the suhoor one or two hours before the Fajr time; in fact the Suhoor is a blessing- every Muslim should have it. And, the Prophet (sa) said: “You should delay the Suhoor as much as possible.” Thus, you can have Suhoor till just before the Fajr time.
  3. The third mistake committed by Muslims in this category is that they delay opening their fast- that is they delay their Iftar. Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: ‘The people will be good, as long as, they hasten in breaking their fast. That means immediately after sunset, they should have their Iftar.
  4. Many Muslims read unauthentic Dua during Iftar. The most authentic Dua for Iftar is:


Meaning: “My thirst is quenched, the veins are moistened, and the Ajr is near Insha’Allah (God willing the reward is near).”

  1. Some people when they read this Dua for breaking the fast, they say it before breaking the fast. Before they put the date in their mouth, they say this Dua; and its contradictory to its meanings- that my thirst has been quenched, and the veins have been moistened- thirst cannot be quenched before breaking the fast. So normally, it should be said after you eat the date, after you have water, and you are satisfied- may be some minutes after you break the fast, you can read this Dua.
  2. Many Muslims eat excessively during Iftar, and many of them, even eat throughout the night.
  3. They are negligent, as far as, Taraweeh are concerned. Because Taraweeh is not a Fardh-they think there is no problem if a Muslim misses Taraweeh. Though Taraweeh is not a Fard, but it’s a very important Sunnah; and a Muslim who misses Taraweeh, is missing a great reward.
  4. Many Muslims who perform Taraweeh, they read very fast- 100 miles per hour. They try to finish it in short time, and they defeat the purpose; in fact, they should read it in the moderate pace so that people understand, and they grasp the words of Allah (swt).
  5. Those who go for Itikaf in the mosque, many of them socialize during Itikaf- as though it’s the time to meet people and friends- which is totally contrary to the Sunnah.
  6. Many Muslims think that the Laylatul Qadr is on the 27th night of the Ramadan, and they only worship Allah (swt) on this night. In fact, the beloved Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “Search for the laylatul Qadr in the odd nights of the last 10 days (the last Ashra).” Therefore, Laylatul Qadr can either fall on the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th, or 29th Hence, this is one of the common errors made by Muslims.
  7. They spend their time during Ramadan in unproductive work rather than engaging in Dhikr, and worshiping Allah (swt). They must rather spend time offering the Nawafil (the voluntary Salah) – the Sunnah Salah besides the compulsory Salah.
  8. They should do a lot of Dua.
  9. Ask for forgiveness; this is the month of forgiveness.
  10. They should read the Quran- as much as possible- to get blessing of Allah (swt).
  11. They fast and they keep themselves hungry; but basically, they are not mentally prepared for the fast. And, it is as though, they are staying hungry. But, the main purpose of fasting is to acquire Taqwa which is not obtained.

Transcribed for Hiba Magazine by Hira Naqi

Good, better, best- Never let your Taqwa rest

Vol 2-Issue2 Manners of reading QuranTaqwa to the believer is to know that Allah (swt) is watching over you throughout your life. Whatever you speak, whatever you do is all monitored by Allah (swt). Allah (swt) mentions Taqwa in the Quran nearly two hundred times, because He is emphasizing strongly on the concept of His fear.

TAQWA- True And Quality Worship for Allah (swt)

Taqwa makes our acts of worship meaningful. For instance, alone just the physical act of going between the two mountains of Safa and Marwa, while performing Hajj or Umrah, will gain no importance in the eyes of Allah (swt). Similarly, have we ever pondered what will be the actions of Salat, such as bowing and prostration mean without a heart containing Taqwa? What makes our thirst and hunger different from a disbeliever, during Ramadan? The answer to all these questions is Taqwa.

It’s the Taqwa in our hearts that provides these simple physical rituals a special meaning in the eyes of Allah (swt). It is mentioned, “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is piety from you that reaches Him. Thus have We made them subject to you that you may magnify Allah for His Guidance to you. And give glad tidings (O Muhammad (sa)) to the Muhsinun (doers of good). (Al-Hajj 22:37)

Again, as the verse states, “…but it is the Taqwa (piety) from you that reaches Him.” Let us ensure that our acts of worship and our hearts are beautified with feeling of Taqwa.

What is Taqwa?

As per the scholars, the definition of Taqwa is:

Abu Darr said: “From the completion of Taqwa is that the servant fears from His Lord even with regard to things, the weight of an atom.”

Sheikh Muhammad Tantawi says: “The word ‘Muttaqoon’ is the plural of ‘Muttaqi’. ‘Muttaqi’ is the gerund from the verb ‘Ittaqa’ (acquired protection). ‘Ittaqa’ is from the root verb ‘Waqa’ which means he protected himself from that which harms him.”

One of the more complete definitions and explanations was provided by Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah. He states that Taqwa “includes doing everything that Allah has enjoined whether it is Wajib (obligatory) or Mustahab (recommended), and avoiding all that He has forbidden, whether it is Haram (forbidden) or Makrooh (disliked).” (Reference 1)

Abu Darr was once asked, “What is that you love most in this life? He replied, “I love sickness, hunger and death. He was asked the reason and he said, “If I get sick, my sins fall off; And, if I get hungry, my heart becomes closer to Allah (swt), And if I die I meet my Creator”. This is level of Allah’s (swt) fear.

Where do you stand on the graph of  Taqwa and guidance of Allah (swt)?

There are three types of people mentioned in the Quran, in the first few verses of Surah Al-Baqarah.

The first group: In the first few verses 2 – 5, Allah (swt) clearly explains that the Quran is guidance for Al – Muttaqoon- the people who have Taqwa in their hearts, and this guidance causes them to be successful. The people described in these verses are those who:

  1. Believe in the unseen (e.g. Allah (swt), angels, the holy books that Allah (swt) revealed but got changed with time, prophets, day of resurrection, and Al-Qadr)
  2. Perform Salat.
  3. Spend for Allah’s (swt) cause from what Allah (swt) has provided to them.
  4. Believe in what Allah (swt) revealed to Prophet Muhammad (sa).
  1. Believe in what Allah (swt) revealed to the Prophets before Muhammad (sa).
  2. Believe in hereafter.

The second group: The second group falls on the other end of the spectrum- as mentioned in verses 6 and 7- and are the disbelievers. In explaining these verses, Allah (swt) says that these people have a seal on their hearts and ears, as well as, a covering on their eyes that has caused them to disbelieve.

The third group: Finally, the third group is from verse 6 to verse 18.

Regarding these people, the Quran says, Verily, those who disbelieve, it is the same to them whether you (sa ) warn them or do not warn them, they will not believe.” (Al-Baqarah 2:6)

Some of the attributes that Allah (swt) points out in those people (in those verses) are the following:

1. They (think to) deceive Allah and those who believe, while they only deceive themselves, and perceive (it) not!”

2. “In their hearts is a disease (of doubt and hypocrisy) and Allah has increased their disease. A painful torment is theirs because they used to tell lies.

3. Allah mocks at them and gives them increase in their wrong-doings to wander blindly.

4. When Allah (swt) tells them to believe by modeling themselves according to the Prophet and the true believers, they say, “Shall we believe as the fools have believed?” Allah (swt) then responds by saying that, “Verily, they are the fools but they know not.”

5. And when they meet those who believe, they say: “We believe,” but when they are alone with their Shayatin (devils – polytheists, hypocrites, etc.), they say: “Truly, we are with you; verily, we were but mocking.”

6. Allah (swt) remarks about these people, “These are they who have purchased error for guidance, so their commerce was profitless. And they were not guided.”

These groups were reminded in order that we should check our intentions and thoughts. These verses should be enough to create the urgency to associate ourselves with the first group (Al – Muttaqoon: the ones fearful of Allah (swt)). Let’s, therefore, ensure that our actions (not just words) reveal that we are people who have Taqwa (as mentioned in verse 2)

Taqwa can be inculcated in our hearts by taking a few steps.

A believer should realise the fact that Allah (swt) has the biggest right after saying:
“La Ilaha Illa Allah”, Allah (swt) right becomes mandatory.

Ibn Qayyim said: “A benefit of understanding Allah’s (swt) right over the servant is that it opens the door of humbleness in front of Allah (swt) and closes the doors of conceit. It allows one to realize that salvation is only through Allah’s (swt) grace and mercy. It is Allah’s (swt) right that He should be obeyed and not disobeyed: that He should be remembered and not forgotten; and that He should be appreciated and not unappreciated . . . Many people think about their rights over Allah (swt) and do not know about His rights over them. This is how they are detached from Allah (swt) and deprived of the desire to meet Him. This is the epitome of ignorance of their Lord and of themselves.” (Ighathatul Lahfaan)

Time and again we should check the status of our hearts- whether we have the required devotion and fear of Allah (swt)? Or, do we have remnant of hardness and carefree attitude about Allah (swt) and His teachings.

Allah (swt) says in the Quran, “O you who believe! Fear Allah and keep your duty to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent forth for the morrow (tomorrow), and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what you do” (Al-Hashr 59:18)

Ibn Kathir says that the phrase ‘let each soul see’ or “let every person look” in the above verse means to take an account of one’s own actions before being audited (by Allah (swt)) (Tafseer Ibn Kathir).

Omar bin Khattab wrote to one of his employees: “Audit yourself in prosperity before doing the audit of adversity. Whoever does this will be pleased and envied. Whoever is distracted by his life and fantasies, will face remorse and loss.”

Taqwa reflection in every action

After inculcating Taqwa in the heart, actions should instill the element of piety, Allah’s (swt) consciousness, humbleness, righteousness. We have inspiring examples of Sahaba and Salafs, whose deeds manifested their hearts. Ibn omar used to stay awake the whole night, so that he does not miss a prayer in congregation, since the reward for praying in congregation is more rather than praying alone. Hence, through the Taqwa in the heart every difficult act becomes easy.  As per Imam Ghazali- our Nafs should not deviate, as it is our biggest enemy and is more likely to rebel against our own selves (Ihya’ul ulum al-din).

About ensuring that we bring Taqwa in our actions, Abu Dhar reported that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “Fear Allah wherever you may be; follow up an evil deed with a good one which will wipe (the former) out, and behave good-naturedly towards people” (Tirmidhi)

Remembering our final resort – death

We should remind ourselves about death and our meeting with Allah (swt), in order to retain Taqwa in our hearts. We should become ardent learners of what Allah (swt) like and dislikes, and mould our lives accordingly. This is because the life of this world has to come to an end, and we should take it seriously. With this thought in our mind, Taqwa can never leave our hearts.

Top Five Things to Pack for Hajj

Top five things to pack for hajj

1) Clothing and Toiletries

Pack in one extra set of Ihram, comfortable clothing for the number of days you are travelling, a shawl or sweater (for any unexpected chilliness at night), socks and undergarments. Take along two pairs of inexpensive slippers and a drawstring bag to carry them when entering the mosque. Men can keep a cap to cover their heads, when they are not in the state of Ihram.

Pack in soap, shampoo, deodorant as well as a non-fragrance soap and travel soap dish to use when in state of Ihram. Keep small scissors, a nails cutter, a disposable razor, a set of towels and a small packet of detergent to wash your clothes.

2) Accessories

Keep a money belt or vest with pockets to keep money hidden. Also, keep sunglasses, –+prescription/reading spectacles, and a spectacle-holding string to secure your glasses. Remember to wear plastic name tags for identification (especially important, if you have small children with you).

Also pack a light prayer rug, an alarm clock, your mobile and it’s charger, an umbrella, a flashlight for when you go to Muzdalifah, a flask or water bottle, three sandwich sized zip-lock bags or drawstring cloth bags for pebbles that you collect from Muzdalifah and a medium sized handbag for everyday use to hold glasses, medicines, Quran, prayer rug, etc.

3) Medicines

Illnesses are easy to catch, when there are three million people coming from around the world! Pack in one course of broad spectrum Antibiotics, pain-killers, cough syrup, band-aids, pain-relief ointments as well as any special medication you need for conditions such as diabetes, asthma, hypertension. Remember to keep a prescription written by the doctor for the medicines you are carrying.

4) Documents and Finances

Double-check that you have with you the originals and photocopies of your passports and tickets in separate suitcases. Take along the confirmation letters from hotels and travel documents. Keep a sufficient amount of money in US dollars and Saudi Riyals. It may be a good idea to keep in extra photos, envelopes, a writing pad and a pen as well.

5) Taqwa!

And last but not least, do not forget what Allah (swt) has said: “And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best provision is At-Taqwa (piety, righteousness).” (Al-Baqarah 2:197) You are making Hajj for the sake of Allah (swt) and for the forgiveness of your sins. Make sure you make the most of it! Pack in a copy of the Quran and other reading material, such as invocations (Dua) cards and Hajj guides.

Pray to Allah (swt) to make it easy for you, before you embark on this incredible journey. In case you do forget something, Makkah has been hosting pilgrims for over 1400 years and most things will be available. Remember, you are a guest of Allah (swt) and He will take care of you!

[Stories from the Quran] An Uncalled-For Murder

quran-2The Background

This is a story about the nature of evil, anger and hostility- as well as-the nature of goodness, forgiveness and peace. These two characteristics are in complete contrast, and result in the first murder that humanity ever experienced. This is the story told in Surah Maidah, verses 27 to 31.


“And (O Muhammad (sa)) recite to them (the Jews) the story of the two sons of Adam in truth…”Allah (swt) narrates the tale of two brothers who are the sons of Adam (as). This story occurs only once in the Quran, and we know that it is the truth. No authentic Hadeeth, or Quran, mentions the names of the main characters – the two sons, nor are we told the time or place where the incident occurs. Ibn Qutb says: “Leaving the story in the general terms in which it is given in the Qurān ensures that the purpose of relating it is fulfilled and its lessons are understood”.

Generally, siblings fight with each other, but they also love and protect one another; this is inherent in our nature as humans. Siblings are essentially the people we are closest to and care about. So, let’s see what happened between the two sons that resulted in a violent crime.

Faith or Fury?

“…when each offered a sacrifice (to Allah), it was accepted from the one but not from the other.”

Each of the sons offered a sacrifice to Allah (swt). This situation in any normal person’s mind is about pleasing and obedience to Allah (swt). However, when they both offered their sacrifices, one was accepted and the other was not. The Quran or Hadeeth does not detail the nature of how an offering was accepted at that time; hence, we deem it as unimportant. What we must focus on is that one son offered the best sacrifice only to please and obey Allah (swt), he proved to be God-fearing; while, the other brother’s sacrifice was not accompanied by Taqwa.


The fire of desire

“The latter said to the former: I will surely kill you.” This statement clearly shows the evil intent of one brother. It makes us shocked and horrified. How can such a severe punishment be given for no crime at all? We all disapprove of this son’s behaviour and thought process. The only reason for such a statement is envy. Envy is a serious disease of the heart; it is what led Iblees towards pride, which resulted in Allah’s (swt) disobedience.

“The former said: Verily, Allah accepts only from those who are Al-Muttaqun. If you do stretch your hand against me to kill me, I shall never stretch my hand against you to kill you, for I fear Allah; the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, Jinns, and all that exists).Verily, I intend to let you draw my sin on yourself as well as yours, then you will be one of the dwellers of the Fire, and that is the recompense of the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers).”

Envy is a serious disease of the heart; it is what led Iblees towards pride, which resulted in Allah’s (swt) disobedience.

The other brother did not react violently; he remained calm and tried to reason with his sibling. He put the entire matter in a proper perspective. This son of Adam said that, “It is not you or I who is better- it is the way we perform our sacrifices for Allah (swt).” This brother after explaining why the sacrifice was not accepted tried to reason with his sibling. He assured his brother, “I shall not lay my hand on you to kill you…” He feared Allah (swt) and would not commit a sin, even though he was being wronged. This was his advice, in a gentle calm manner.

Ibn Qutb describes this as, “What we have here is a case of a peaceful man making clear that his attitude is based on fearing God and implementing His commandments. We must admire the victim’s calmness, reassurance, and the fact that he fears God alone. His gentle words should have been sufficient to quench his brother’s rage, reduce his anger, re-establish the feelings of brotherhood and the reassurance of faith.”

The just brother added a warning- in case his gentle words were not heeded. He said that, “If you murder me, it would only add to all your other sins and you would ultimately be a loser.” The murdering brother would be gaining a double sin. He, the just brother, was staying on the right path at the stake of his life. He was not ready to go against Allah’s (swt) commands.

The narcotic Nafs

“So the Nafs (self) of the other (latter one) encouraged him and made fair-seeming to him the murder of his brother; he murdered him and became one of the losers. Then Allah sent a crow who scratched the ground to show him to hide the dead body of his brother. He (the murderer) said: Woe to me! Am I not even able to be as this crow and to hide the dead body of my brother? Then he became one of those who regretted.”

After all the peaceful persuasion and gentle warnings, the crime was committed. The murderer’s evil soul was able to overrule his good side. Following only his Nafs, removed all obstacles and drove him towards killing. He lost a sibling, a brother who was a friend, a shoulder to cry on, and a companion. More importantly, he lost his after life, as he added that new sin to his earlier ones. Once the deed was done, the crime then took on a physical shape in the form of his brother’s dead body. It began to rot and he did not know what to do. He felt helpless and weak, not because he was remorseful, but because he did not know what to do.

Allah (swt) sent a crow who scratched the ground to show him how to hide the dead body. Once he had hidden the body, he was regretful; not because he killed- but because he realized how useless the crime was. This son of Adam (as) did not gain anything from murder; the killing of his brother didn’t make his sacrifice more acceptable to Allah (swt). He was helpless and weak, in complete loss due to his actions – a result of envy and pride.

Moral of the story


Transcribed and adapted by Tasneem Vali.

Keep Your Doors Locked: An Introduction to Shaytan and his Avenues

locked door“O you who believe! Enter perfectly in Islam (by obeying all the rules and regulations of the Islamic religion) and follow not the footsteps of Shaytan (Satan). Verily! He is to you a plain enemy.”(Al-Baqarah 2:208)

Believers are Momineen, a rank higher than Muslimeen. In the above verse, Allah (swt) addresses the believers- the believers who submit to their Lord. Their thoughts, action, speech and silence- are all out of submission to Allah (swt).

Faith is not like a glass of water you can drink. It rises gradually like tiny droplets of rain showering gently. Faith increases with knowledge and application combined. Allah (swt) brings Deen forward to those who are prepared to receive it out of submission. They don’t question why, what, how, where, who, etc.

What prevents people from submitting to Allah (swt) and entering Islam fully?

The Prophet (sa) warned: “The Shaytan (devil) flows in a man like his blood.” (Abu Dawood). He is naturally aware of our weaknesses. Hence, plots against us. He injects evil ideas and makes them seem fair. He beautifies actions of disobedience.  But, our Nafs is more powerful. Shaytan may throw ideas into our mind and heart like a ball. It is up to our Nafs to catch them or let them pass. We need to be vigilant and strict about our fleeting thoughts. But if, our Nafs forms a treaty with the Shaytan, we will belong to the companionship of Shaytan.

The first door through which Shaytan enters is that of desire

He uses this door for majority of the people. The scholars call this entrance ‘Al-Bahimah’ cattle-like. The trial of Adam (as) and Hawa (as) started with food. They were commanded not to go close to a particular tree, and Shaytan tempted Adam (as) to eat of it in order to become immortal. The consequence was that they had to leave Jannah.

Shaytan builds attraction around food, drink and intimate relationships. This is especially relevant to Ramadan, when Allah (swt) forbids indulgence into Halal to train our Nafs against Shaytan. But, Shaytan’s mission is to make us indulge excessively into food and sexual relations.

How can we guard ourselves?

Make Dua to Allah (swt). Eat Halal (permissible) and Tayyab (pure) only. Ask yourself before eating: “Am I really hungry?” Avoid overeating- as it poorly affects our worship, mannerisms, moods, etc. Don’t force-feed a sick person, a guest in the house or a small child. Do not equate food with love.

The second door through which Shaytan enters is that of anger

The scholars call this entrance, ‘Sabaiyah’ like wild animals. An angry person just wants to attack. He carries a burning feeling in his heart.  Anger also leads us to pride and arrogance. Shaytan whispers to people to take revenge, instead of forgiving them.

As a result, we act disgracefully- regretting our actions later. He turns us into a Zalim (oppressor) whom Allah (swt) hates. Instead, Allah (swt) loves Muhsinun (who act beautifully) and suppress their fury.

The third door through which Shaytan enters is the door of Hawa

Shaytan makes some people obey their moods and conveniences. The scholars call this entrance ‘Shaytaniyah’ demonic. They may worship Allah (swt) as much as they like to, in the manner they like to and not be bothered about what Allah’s (swt) commands are. For them their personal choices matter more; hence, they pick and choose. Hawa is like a stubborn child. It will jump into a deep swimming pool simply because it appeals to it.

This attitude is opposite of Taqwa- the state in which you obey Allah (swt) regardless of your own desires and feelings.This sin can be originally seen in Iblees, who used to worship Allah (swt) out of desires because he found pleasure in it. But, when Allah (swt) commanded Iblees to prostrate before Adam (as), Iblees refused.

There is a difference between Shahwah and Hawa. Shahwah is restricted to excess in food, drink, sleep, relations, etc. But Hawa is dangerous, because it prevents a person from entering Islam completely. He embraces some parts and rejects the rest. He is entirely dictated by his moods. He creates innovations.

The cure is to know Allah (swt). Renew our intentions to gain knowledge only to please Allah (swt). And to analyze every action we take.



Changes for the better
Motivation for work, with clear
Consolation for trying and a sure
Compensation for a job done
With great aspiration for next

Gone have been laxities
Pulled off all self-restraining desires
Adorned with the garment of Taqwa
Hoping it would last beyond 720 hours

Every claim, to a reason
Even those that lead to treason
Every purpose to satisfaction
Nothing is called done, except with action

The motivation to do more
Clinical cleansing in no clinic
Shopping for rewards
All route to the market of Ibadah

Humble simplicity
Not lack of strength but obedience
This task, a must carry on
Its essence is to last long

Don’t be constrained
Just for the moment
Changes seen in a few days
A lifelong story not a case study

Aspiration for a rank in paradise
Compensation for this changed heart
Consolation with tranquillity from the
Motivation of fasting

Actions you have taken to seek
Satisfaction of the Most Merciful
Treason against God your wish to subdue
Reason so clear, as Jannah is the only clue

Allah (swt) gave us this month
To submit, submit and change
Grow your faith and manners
All thanks to Him
For this yearly rehabilitation for the best of mankind

Abdullah Bn Bashir [13/07/14 16th Ramadan 1435]

Acquire Taqwa, Build a Home in Jannah

6 build a home in jannah“This is the Book (The Quran), whereof there is no doubt, a guidance to those who are Al-Muttaqun (the pious believers of Islamic Monotheism who fear Allah much and love Allah much).” (Al-Baqarah 2:2)

The above-stated verse clarifies that guidance is given to those who fear Allah (swt) and have Taqwa. What is Taqwa? It stems from the root word ‘Waqa’ meaning ‘to protect’.

Fear of Allah (swt) is only one element of Taqwa, which also means ‘to build a barrier between oneself and whatever angers or displeases Him’.

We have a remarkable example of Taqwa in the annals of history, and the way it brought a very noble person to Islam. Our beloved Prophet (sa), while braving the hardships of opposition and persecution by the Makkans, earnestly invoked Allah (swt) to strengthen Islam by guiding either Amr ibn Hisham (Abu Jahl) or Umar ibn Al-Khattab (rtam).

Allah (swt) answered his Dua, and granted Islam to Umar (rtam). Why? In spite of being an apparent archenemy of Muslims, he was not completely evil, and Allah knew the beauty of his heart. Subsequently, when he heard his sister recite the Ayah of Surah Taha, Umar’s (rtam) heart melted, and he entered the fold of Islam.

The word ‘Taqwa’ has been mentioned 250 times in the Quran. It is the essence of Islam. How can it be attained? Allah (swt) created Ramadan to train and discipline us for the rest of the eleven months. It is an opportunity for the believer to exit this month with rewards, to gain Taqwa, and, finally, to enter Jannah.

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Lessons for Parents in the Nikah Sermon

nikah sermonLike other special occasions in Islam (Jummah and Eid), the Nikah ceremony too is marked by a Khutbah, in accordance with the practice of our beloved Prophet (sa).The Nikah sermon is an essential part of every Muslim wedding. However, unfortunately, women rarely get to hear it, and the men who do hear it seldom understand the meaning.

Whatever the Prophet (sa) did or said had a purpose behind it. The Khutbah of Nikah is not just a ritualistic repetition of a few words. This simple, concise, and yet profound sermon contains a message for all those who are involved in the making of a new family: the bride, the groom, and their respective parents and siblings.

Let us, as parents, ponder over and extract lessons pertaining to the marriage of our children.

From the Lips of Our Beloved (sa):

“Praise be to Allah (swt). We seek His help and His forgiveness, and rely on Him. We seek refuge with Allah (swt) from the evil of our own souls and from our bad deeds. Whomsoever Allah (swt) guides will never be led astray, and whomsoever Allah (swt) leaves astray can be guided by no one. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah (swt), and I bear witness that Muhammad (sa) is His slave and Messenger.

O you who believe! Fear Allah (swt), as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allah (swt). (Al-Imran 3:102)

O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person, and from him He created his wife, and from them both He created many men and women, and fear Allah (swt), through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah (swt) is ever an All-Watcher over you. (An-Nisa 4:1)

O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah (swt) and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth.” (Al-Ahzab 33:70) (Nasai and Abu Dawood)

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Pearls of Peace – An extract from Surah Anfal

Akoya_pearlQualities of a believer

Right in the beginning of this Surah, Allah (swt) describes the qualities of a true believer. He says, “The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses (this Quran) are recited unto them, they (i.e. the Verses) increase their Faith; and they put their trust in their Lord (Alone).” (Al-Anfal 8:2) May Allah (swt) strengthen our Iman. Ameen.

These are those who say, “I have tried my best. Rest is all in the Hands of Allah (swt).” And they are content with that. Their other qualities are: “Who perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) and spend out of that We have provided them.” (Al-Anfal 8:3) We need to check ourselves. Do we have these qualities within us? If yes, then Allah (swt) says, “It is they who are the believers in truth. For them are grades of dignity with their Lord, and Forgiveness and a generous provision (Paradise).” (Al-Anfal 8:4) May He grant us Paradise and bless us with all the qualities of the true believers. Ameen.

Honouring claims and contracts

He then says, “O you who believe! Obey Allah and His Messenger, and turn not away from him (i.e. Messenger Muhammad (sa)) while you are hearing. And be not like those who say: We have heard, but they hear not.” (Al-Anfal 8: 20-21) Several times during the day, we recite Surah Al-Fatihah, and beseech Allah (swt) to show us the right path. When the right path is shown to us, we turn away. Allah (swt) says when the message has reached you; when you have been informed what is right and what is wrong, then do not turn away. Do not become of those who claim we are the followers of Muhammad (sa). But when a command of Allah (swt) comes, they cannot be bothered to act upon it.

Once again we are reminded about the virtue of honouring contracts, Allah (swt) says, “O you who have believed, do not betray Allah and the Messenger or betray your trusts while you know (the consequence).” (Al-Anfal 8:27) Marriage is a contract similar to business contract. By being Muslim, you naturally become an ambassador of Islam. Do not bring a bad repute to Islam because of your behaviour. Many people do not want to engage with the Muslims because of their deceit and clandestine behaviour.

Stay honest with entrusted responsibilities

“O you who believe! Betray not Allah and His Messenger, nor betray knowingly your Amanat (things entrusted to you, and all the duties which Allah has ordained for you).” (Al-Anfal 8:28) Your wealth and children are a test from Allah (swt). He can take them away whenever He desires. They are not yours; you have only been entrusted with their responsibility. He may never bless you with wealth and children; He may bless you with wealth but not give children; He may bless you with children but deprive you of wealth or He may give them both to you and then take them away during your lifetime or after you are gone. This is a great reminder to not get attached to that which in reality belongs to Allah (swt). He can snatch it any moment.

All belongs to Allah (swt)

When an attachment is snatched away, a person loses his peace of mind and contentment. He complains and grieves for his loss. He utters ungrateful words. And when that happens his Iman begins to diminish. May Allah (swt) strengthen us and help us accept that we will suffer loss in this world.

Taqwa – The key to right decisions

In life, we are faced with miscellaneous decision-making. We wish we had a counsellor that we could consult with; Allah (swt) says, “O you who believe! If you obey and fear Allah, He will grant you Furqan (a criterion to judge between right and wrong, or Makhraj, i.e. making a way for you to get out from every difficulty), and will expiate for you your sins, and forgive you, and Allah is the Owner of the Great Bounty.” (Al-Anfal 8:29) What do we learn from this? The only thing required to make the right decision is Taqwa. If we are conscious of Allah (swt), He will grant us the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. Insha’Allah.

It’s either my way or the highway

This brings us to another important matter – in fact a great Fitnah of our times. Everyone is disagreeing with the other. The ideology is: if you do not follow my belief, then you have clearly gone astray. This continuous fighting has divided the Ummah immensely. Many people don’t come near the religion because they cannot understand who is right and who has deviated. Allah (swt) says, “And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not dispute (with one another) lest you lose courage and your strength depart, and be patient. Surely, Allah is with those who are As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.)” (Al-Anfal 8:46)

The enemies are rejoicing as the Muslims fight among themselves. Let us reflect on our behaviour, be forgiving and reduce the distances between the Ummah.

We notice that in the Quran, the reminders for prayer and obligatory charity are frequently mentioned. It is because reminders benefit the believers. Each time we are reminded, we learn something new.

Consistency is the key

Allah (swt) loves those acts of worship which are done consistently. Doing them strengthens our Iman. And abandoning them can have serious implications on our heart’s condition. If you are content with worshipping and obeying Allah (swt), then you are among those who have understood their purpose in life; and know where they are heading to.

Test or punishment?

As Allah (swt) says in verse 53 of Surah Al-Anfal that He will not change a favour which He has bestowed upon His people; unless they change what was given to them. When that happens, then people deserve the gifts to be taken away. Having said that, we should remember that sometimes taking away of the favours is a test, instead of a punishment. How can one distinguish between a test and a punishment? Your heart’s condition will tell you. If your heart remains content and you say “Alhamdulillah” even in adversity, then Allah (swt) intends to increase your status by this test. On the other hand, if a calamity distances you from Allah (swt), then it could be His punishment. May Allah (swt) forgive and protect us. Ameen.

How can we nurture contentment in our hearts?

Let go of disputes and disagreements and forgive people. Look at what Allah (swt) says about confrontation with enemies, “But if they incline to peace, you also incline to it, and (put your) trust in Allah. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.” (Al-Anfal 8:61) Allah (swt) is asking us to make peace with the enemies if they give up fighting too.

Opt for a ceasefire; this initiative will bring you peace

If there’s someone who has had an estranged relationship with you, and he now wants to mend it, then hasten to make peace with him. It is a sign of a good believer that he is the first one to apologize and forgive. Keep forgiving others and keep your heart calm. You might want to deal with that person differently, but do forgive them. “And if they intend to deceive you, then verily, Allah is All-Sufficient for you. He it is Who has supported you with His Help and with the believers.” (Al-Anfal 8:62)

If they deceive you after making peace, then make Dua for them instead. Because Dua has the power to alter conditions. And in this we have the best example of Prophet (sa). When two greatest enemies of Islam were creating hurdles for him, he made Dua for the softness of their hearts so that either of the two would come and work for Islam. Reflect on this Dua.

Truly Muhammad (sa) was the mercy for mankind. Within moments we hear Umar ibn Al- Khattab (ra) has embraced Islam. Subhan’Allah! See the power of Dua? One of the mightiest opponents of Islam became one of the strongest proponents of Islam. A seemingly impossible situation was made possible. May Allah (swt) grant us all the strength that Umar (ra) was blessed with. Ameen. Continue making Dua and you will witness the fruit.

(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s “Pearls of Peace” series, Cape Town, Ramadan 2013. The lecture can be listened to at this link.) 

Half my Deen – A Reality Check in Time!

happy-marriageIt was declared that Sofia and Saif’s wedding was heading to a divorce. They were not made for each other. Their thoughts did not match. They were complete opposites.

Haven’t we heard that opposites attract? Well, but here they repelled! There was not a moment where either of them did not argue. Be it money, clothes, food or their sleeping time, there were numerous petty reasons of their bickering when finally Sofia returned to her mother’s place declaring that she could not stand Saif anymore.

It was a grand fairy tale wedding that had taken place hardly six months ago. It had been the talk of the neighbourhood that the beautiful and elegant Sofia was marrying rich and handsome Saif.

Sofia returned to her parental home within six months of marriage. But things were not comfortable at home either. Her mom and dad did not welcome her as always. She was not looked at with pity or concern; she was being scorned and had ogling large eyes all over.

Saif too had returned to his parental home disheartened. He did not know what was wrong in their marriage. Every gadget was in Sofie’s (as he called her lovingly) hands, adorned with jewellery rubies, emeralds, a large apartment in a posh locality. But she had lame arguments and fought over everything. He allowed her to buy the best designer clothes, gave her money but nothing would make her happy

Saif’s parents were humble and he was guilty of leaving them to stay with his wife. His parents were shocked to know that Saif and his wife were applying for a divorce. His mother had told him that divorce is such a huge decision that it would shake the Arsh (heavens).

Sofie stayed quiet while they ate lunch, dinner and breakfast. Silence could be broken with just some nods and hums but she did not have the guts to speak out to her parents. Why? If she was right then what was that hesitation? Sofie felt guilt all over. She was sure that she was wrong, for if she had been right, her parents would have supported her. As she stood in the window and saw droplets of water rolling down the pane, she wiped her tears. At 4-four p.m. they had to appear at the court. For an umpteenth time her gaze went on the wall. It had been an hour since lunch but the minutes were getting heavier each moment. Would Saif come to pick up or would he send the driver? But why would he care now? She regretted her behaviour with him the last day they were together.

She gathered some tissues around her. Her heart was weeping. But why could not she gather herself? She had to go alone as her father did not even want to discuss that issue with her. However she was sure that her parents would get over it in a few days after the divorce. She always hated Saif’s choice, his food habits, his sleeping and everything. So why was she missing all the luxuries and comforts he had showered her with? She called her dad’s driver and he was ready to take her. But no sooner she stepped out of the house than her sandal slipped and she tripped down the stairs right to the bottom and her world went dark.

His mother had told him that divorce is such a huge decision that it would shake the Arsh (heavens).

When she woke up, she saw tensed faces around her. Saif and his parents were present there. But her parents were absent. Saif raised his hands and kept on Sofie’s forehead and wiped the sweat with a tissue. Then she noticed her bandaged leg and bruised hand. Her head was quite heavy. Her mother in law asked Sofie how she was feeling. Sofie was too embarrassed to reply, she just stuck a faint smile. She did not know what exactly had happened.

Saif’s parents left to get something for her to eat and allowed them to be alone which Sofie detested. And luckily the nurses came in and told Saif to let her sleep without disturbance.

Soon she drifted into a blissful sleep only to be awakened by the doctor who did her routine check up and advised rest for a few more days. Then she ordered the RMO (Resident Medical Officer) and nurse to leave the room as she wanted to have a few words with Sofia in isolation.

She asked Sofie with such pure intentions and concern that she did not see even in her own mother, “Beta, you look so pale. You are newly married. Did you try to commit suicide?” Sofie shook her head, she didn’t know whether to trust her or not. What if she was her husband’s agent? But whatever she said later was enough to change Sofia, her present and her future.

“You know these days where social media is becoming cheaper and there are so many extra marital affairs coming on scene… Getting a sincere, loving husband is rare! You are quite lucky, but what makes you sad? It is indeed the talk of the hospital. Both of you are young and beautiful. You are married to a rich, handsome husband who is so devoted to you. Take my advice; marriages do not remain in the honey moon phase forever. Marriage is a life time commitment. You have to live through thick and thin. Marriage is doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, serving, being a maid and working hard to get the crown of a Queen. It is not what you read in novels or watch in serials or movies.. Marriage is to get peace and tranquillity in our lives. It is not to measure differences but to raise the one who is weak.”

marriages do not remain in the honey moon phase forever. Marriage is a life time commitment. You have to live through thick and thin.

Whatever she spoke was the truth but I was adamant. “Are you related to Saif?” I asked.

“You are very naive!” she said. “Pay some heed to what I said and think over it!” she said without replying to my question.

As she went out of the room, the bitter truth she spoke dawned upon me. Her words were echoing in my mind that “marriage does not remain in the honeymoon phase forever. It is not what you read in novels and watch in movies and serials!” But that’s what every woman searches for! That’s why she was sad, that’s what she was missing in her life. She wanted her husband to take her to a hotel or a movie or to a mall or any other park for an outing every day. He wanted promotion, he wanted to save money and he wanted to invest! Obviously then how could their thinking match? The maturity was still lacking and she was behaving like a kid in some mere infatuation.

Sofie’s ego and pride would not allow her to apologize. She did not want to bend down on her knees. Soon she tossed and turned to get some more sleep. As she turned, she saw a letter.

It began with “Allah (swt) has created man and woman as company for one another and so that they can procreate and live in peace and tranquillity according to the commandments of Allah (swt) and the directions of His Messenger (sa). The Quran states:

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

“And Allah has made for you wives of your own kind, and has made for you, from your wives, sons and grandsons, and has bestowed on you good provision. Do they then believe in false deities and deny the Favour of Allah (by not worshipping Allah Alone).”(An-Nahl 16:72)

The word Zawaj is used in the Quran to signify a pair or a mate. But in common parlance it stands for marriage. Since a family is the nucleus of an Islamic society and marriage is the only way to bring families into existence, therefore the Prophet (sa) insisted his followers upon entering into marriage The Shariah prescribes rules to regulate the functioning of the family so that both spouses can live together in love, security and tranquillity. Marriage in Islam has two major aspects:

1. Ibadah (worship) of Allah (swt)

2. The transactions between human beings

With respect to Ibadah, marriage is an act pleasing to Allah (swt) because it is in accordance with His commandments that husband and wife love each other and help each other make efforts to continue the human race, rear and nurse their children in such a fashion that they become true servants of Allah (swt).

These aspects are beautifully explained in the traditions of our Prophet (sa). It is narrated by Anas that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “When a man marries, he has fulfilled half of his religion, so let him fear Allah (swt) regarding the remaining half.”

The Prophet (sa) considered marriage for a Muslim as half of his religion because it shields him from promiscuity, adultery, fornication, homosexuality etc. which ultimately lead to many other evils like slander, quarrelling, homicide, loss of property and disintegration of the family. According to the Prophet (sa) the remaining half of the faith can be saved by Taqwa.

Since a family is the nucleus of an Islamic society and marriage is the only way to bring families into existence, therefore the Prophet (sa) insisted his followers upon entering into marriage

I never understood the true essence of marriage along with its prescribed injunctions. I am very sorry I failed, but wish you could just give me another chance.” Yours only, Saif.

Sofie who did not want to apologize replied, “I myself never knew what marriage is and in my ignorance almost ended our marriage. I hope we can live more considerately and happily today, tomorrow and always- Insha’Allah!” Yours only, Sofie.

A Shift in Focus – From ‘Them’ to ‘Me’

beforeWeek after week, sitting on the floor in reverent silence, enthralled by the eloquence of the woman gracefully perched on the couch, delivering a Dars (Islamic lecture), I was utterly mesmerized by the powerful message of the Book of Allah (swt). Satisfaction and pleasure would fill me up when Allah (swt) would address with pride ‘those who believed and did good deeds’. However, relief and something close to smugness would enter my conscience when hypocrites and non-believers were reprimanded. And this gave a head start to my journey towards a better understanding of my Deen.

Needless to say, I feel so embarrassed even when I think about that time in my life when I was truly heedless and thus, constantly needed to sooth my ego by reminding myself of how better I was than many others. I would think of others whenever a sin would be mentioned in the Quran or Hadeeth, and congratulate myself for even the minimum that I was doing. This thought of major self-deception makes me quiver. But Allah (swt) saved me with His Absolute Mercy.

I feel so embarrassed even when I think about that time in my life when I was truly heedless and thus, constantly needed to sooth my ego by reminding myself of how better I was than many others.

“… And you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and He saved you from it…” (Al-Imran 3:103)

Today, I marvel at myself as to how could I be so self-righteous when I was committing a number of sins myself. On one hand, I would justify a few sins as being minor and on the other hand delude myself that shunning the others was not in my capacity. I kept blaming external factors and features of the hour as culprits for my transgressions.

Alhumdullillah now, things have changed to a great extent. I do not know when this process actually began, for it happened gradually. It was definitely nothing great in my person that brought about this ‘shift in focus’. But it was purely Allah’s (swt) mercy and guidance that He has promised for those who take that first step towards His path.

“…Indeed, there has come to you from Allah a light (Prophet Muhammad) and a plain Book (this Quran). Wherewith Allah guides all those who seek His Good Pleasure to ways of peace and He brings them out of darkness by His Will unto light and guides them to a Straight Way (Islamic Monotheism).” (Al-Maida 5:15-16)

By the Mercy of my Rabb, now when I read Quran or hear any Hadeeth, my first thought is ‘Am I being talked about?’ My heart gets a little flip and I like to believe it is the flip of ‘Taqwa’, even though I know I am too far from being a Muttaqi. I earnestly start pondering upon my conduct whether consciously or sub-consciously I indulge in that wrongdoing or not. If I am not doing it, then relief washes over me. And if I am guilty, then the urge to resolve that problem fills my heart and incites me to change my ways. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes not, sometimes I fall back into the same sin again, and repent, and the circle continues.

Perhaps, staying on the straight path is a grueling process because we cannot achieve a certain level of Iman and Amal, unless we maintain it by putting in countless efforts throughout our lives.

As our Prophet (sa) said: “The Qalb (heart) had been named so because of its inconstancy. The heart is like a feather hanged on a tree where the wind flips it side to side” (Al-Jami). Hence, in order to keep the heart steady on faith and good deeds, the tools to be used are hard work and constant reminders.

Alhumdullillah, I feel blessed that Allah (swt), the Most Merciful, has now given me the sight to see my own faults rather than those of others. The focus has shifted from ‘them’ to ‘me’ and it has greatly transformed the way I think and act.

this ‘shift in focus’ has not only shown me my numerous faults and made me overcome many of them by conscious effort, but it has also made my relationships better with those around me.

The best thing is that I can feel the effects of this ‘shift in focus’ in every aspect of my life. It is almost as if the ‘ego’ has taken a back seat and broadened my vision about life in general and myself in particular. Earlier if something would happen against my wishes or if I faced criticism and censure, I would get defensive. In cases where I could not react or defend myself, I would plunge deep in the mire of self-pity and harbour resentments against others. Whereas now, I examine critically what had occurred, and try to see where I was at fault in the situation. I do this because I genuinely want to rectify my mistakes and improve my character for the sake of Allah (swt). My heart truly believes that I will be held responsible for my actions on the Day of Judgement, and it is not just a theory anymore.

Moreover, this ‘shift in focus’ has not only shown me my numerous faults and made me overcome many of them by conscious effort, but it has also made my relationships better with those around me. For besides rectification of my errors which many a times caused conflicts in the first place, Allah (swt) has bestowed upon me the gift of tolerance and acceptance of the shortcomings and faults of my loved ones.

Equipped with this new ‘focus’ and a new zeal, I strive daily through the tests and trials that life throws in my way: Zeal to make myself a better person, a better Muslim, and zeal to accept, love and forgive others; for I hope Insha’Allah Allah (swt) would be pleased with my efforts and endeavours on the Day of Judgement. I wanted to share this with you as this new ‘focus’ has brought much ease in my life and I pray that Allah (swt) give all of us the right focus in our lives and correct our affairs Here and Hereafter. Ameen



The True Essence of a Muslimah

Beautiful-DiamondA daughter once asked her mother, “Mom, I have heard about diamonds and rubies and also gold and silver. Which is the most precious jewel?”

Her mother replied, “Jewels of gold, silver, diamonds and rubies are all only stones, and do not shine, unless they are burnt and polished. For me, you are my precious jewel. In fact, every daughter is a gem, irreplaceable! I would like to decorate you with such jewels and gems, which will bring you honour and respect, and add a glow to your dignity and character.

• Clothe yourself with Taqwa, and adorn yourself with the most precious jewel of piety.
• Take care of your head! It is the closest to Allah (swt) in Sujud, so make your prostrations lengthy.
• Keep your head cool and low (out of humility) when amongst people. Let Allah (swt) raise it high.
• Keep your hands immersed in work and tongue moist in Dhikr. That’s the essence of the women of Jannah.
• Raise your hands, shed tears, and share your thoughts and feelings only in front of Allah (swt).
• Lower your gaze and adorn it with the emeralds of contentment.

If you have gold, it’s not that you will not turn old.
But if you have character, it will build your Akhirah.
If you have lots of brocade and silk in your closet,
But elegance will be disclosed by your deeds’ facet.

If you are not endowed with diamonds or pearls,
Remember, through your speech and smile you glitter.
And scatter the beauty of Islam.
Through reverence in covering your Awrah.
And reveal what is permissible, and be it little, be happy with Halal and pure.
That’s the true essence of a Muslimah.

Her daughter replied: “True! I am blessed to have a mother, who knows my true value and wants the best for me in this life as well as hereafter.”

May Allah (swt) guide my daughter and all the daughters of the Ummah, too. Ameen

Celebrating Valentine’s Day? I think NOT!

say-no-valentine-day1It had been a long and tiring day. I returned home only to realize that I had no energy left to talk to or socialize with any of my family members. I dragged my footsteps inside the house and headed straight towards my bed. As I tried to fall asleep, my husband walked in from the other room. “Another tiring day, huh?” He remarked. All I managed was a little hum until I shut my eyes back again. He quietly came and sat next to me and continued to fiddle on his laptop.

After a few hours, when I felt tiredness decrease a bit, I headed over to the kitchen to fix a dinner for the two of us. It was a quiet meal in the serenity of our peaceful home but it was comforting. The brightest light shinning at the end of the tunnel was the weekend approaching us the next day. My brain was gushing with ideas to ensure complete relaxation over that weekend. I didn’t think much about spending time with my husband; honestly, that was absolutely the last thing on my mind. The hectic schedule of my job, studies and home were taking their toll on me and unfortunately, I hardly had time to spare for him. I would leave that to only special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries which was a safe move and quite frankly, a little automated too.

 I can never forget the reply he gave me. He said, “If, every now and then, we fill our lives with this much love, we wouldn’t need a single day like Valentine’s.” 

The next day started out unexpectedly. Here I was, having a lazy Sunday morning in bed as planned when in came my husband with a tray of freshly-made omelettes and tea. Breakfast in bed! I couldn’t believe my eyes! It was the first time in five years he had ever made such an attempt. Tucked in the corner of the tray along with a red rose, was a love note. I instinctively racked my brain for the reason behind such unabashed generosity. Was it our anniversary? No. Was it my birthday? No. Then what is it that I forgot and he remembered? I couldn’t guess and in the end, just went with the flow. However, I couldn’t control my curiosity for long and soon, I ended up asking my husband for the ‘real’ reason behind this gesture. Did I forget an important event? If yes, could he tell me before I embarrassed myself! I can never forget the reply he gave me. He said, “If, every now and then, we fill our lives with this much love, we wouldn’t need a single day like Valentine’s.” This was the real reason behind that beautiful morning surprise.

From that day onwards, to date, we make that extra effort every month or so to bring out the spirit of love and fill our lives with romance the way Allah (swt) has instructed spouses to do so

It struck me that it was already the month of February and I was insisting on a lavish day out for Valentine’s Day whereas my husband was constantly trying to talk me out of it. However, the lesson I learned that day was greater than any words, because actions speak way louder than them. From that day onwards, to date, we make that extra effort every month or so to bring out the spirit of love and fill our lives with romance the way Allah (swt) has instructed spouses to do so and the Prophet (sa) has modeled for us by being the model husband. We have abandoned tying ourselves to dates dictated by the calendar or people like St. Valentine!

Each time you look at your spouse with love, think of this love as a love for the sake of Allah (swt). Take pleasure in this blessing Allah (swt) has given you and He will double your pleasure, Insha’Allah.

10 years later, after this inspirational moment in our lives, we are well qualified enough to give out little pointers to the fresh love birds out there regarding Valentine’s Day. I was one of the staunchest supporters of Valentine’s Day. Ah, it is a day of love; how beautiful that sounds! How could one even think of not liking it? However, today, I have a whole new perspective of the ‘days of love’, and here they are:

  1. Surprise your spouse with a spontaneous act of love, whether it is once a month or once a year.
  2. Be creative as well as spontaneous. Don’t limit yourself to red roses, or anything red for that matter. Choose from a variety of colours. It’s much more fun! Remember the best colour: Sibghatullah (the colour of Allah) and the colour of Taqwa.
  3. Each time you look at your spouse with love, think of this love as a love for the sake of Allah (swt). Take pleasure in this blessing Allah (swt) has given you and He will double your pleasure, Insha’Allah.
  4. Islam is a practical religion. It does not burden you with emotions which you do not feel. You don’t have to make a day special just because the calendar dictates you to do so. Follow your heart. Allah gives you the freedom to intensify the days when you feel your emotions are at their peak. This will in turn increase your own pleasure and convey a much stronger message to the one you love.
  5. There is so much Barakah in surprises for your spouse! No fixed calendar date can give you as much joy as that sudden white or pink rose that pops out of your husband’s hand! You really have to experience it to feel it! Remember the doubling rule: do it for Allah (swt) and He would double it for you.
  6. One of the wisdoms behind abandoning fixed-day celebrations is a much intensified reaction on normal routine good news days like job promotions,  children’s report cards, or just because you are looking pretty that day! Look for such moments and capitalize on them. Be practical not dramatic.
  7. Imagine the relief you will be providing to your husband! And yes I’m referring to the monetary one. He will spend on buying you gifts when his pocket allows him to.
  8. Men are less dramatic in expressing their emotions and lack the ability of designing their emotions around certain days like women usually do. Hence, the disparity results in a huge conflict of expectations especially on days like the Valentine’s Day. When you drop this day and give your husband the freedom to choose the day he likes, you will certainly notice the ease of his emotions pouring out and the originality of it all. Islam tells us that the best spouses are those who are pure and courteous. So give yourself and your spouse a chance to be genuine and pure with your emotions. Don’t fabricate them or bind them to one day. You are way better than that!

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.

Beyond Ramadan: Sustaining the Spirit of Worship

Beyond Ramadan

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

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

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

Reciting the Quran

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

Our Senses

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

Our Speech

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

Giving Charity

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


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


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


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

Istighfar (Repentance)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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