Five Weaknesses to Overcome This Ramadan


5 weakness

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The Arabic word for fasting is Saum, derived from the word Saim. Saim is a horse that is kept hungry by his master, and raced to build his stamina for battles. By commanding us to give up on our desires for some part of the day, Allah (swt) intends to build our stamina for our enemy. Who is our enemy? Our enemy is Shaytan (Satan) – man’s clearest enemy. He does not hide his intention to harm us. In fact, that is his purpose in life to cause us to slip, and appear displeasing to Allah (swt).

Ramadan is an annual training month for the Muslims. Through this one month of training, Allah (swt) plans to train us for the entire year. He teaches us what we need to control to strengthen our faith, and become strong soldiers of His army. If one follows the routine in other months as well, by no means can he fail.

Here are the five things – the five weaknesses of man – which one must learn to control.


  1. Hunger


When Allah (swt) created Adam (as), Shaytan looked at Adam’s (as) hollow belly, and knew his place for overcoming this creation. Our indulgence and love for food can be figured out by the number of new restaurants opening up every day in almost every street. The Sunnah is not to eat to our fill. Overeating affects mental, emotional and physical health. Instead of treating yourself to culinary pleasures- eat simple food and feed the deprived instead. Raise your scales for the hereafter.


  1. Desires


Desires lead man to spread corruption. It is desire that provokes a man and a woman to strike an illicit relationship. It is desire to stand-out from the crowd that entices us to buy more and the exclusive. We can splurge without thinking how much Sadaqah could have been given instead. Shaytan knows all his traps well. The day we overcome our desires and only satisfy them through Halal means, we will overcome our enemy.


  1. Sleep


Life of this world is for action while the next life is for rest and leisure. Whenever sleep overtakes, remind yourself of your limited time on earth. Get up and do something that will help in the hereafter. Have extra time? Memorise the Quran. Know it already? Teach a skill to someone especially the underprivileged and help them improve their lives.


  1. Tongue


Misuse of the tongue harms relationships. Therefore, the Prophet (sa) warned us about it, and the scholars have written books narrating the sins of the tongue. Speak good or remain silent. Plant trees in the Paradise by busying your tongue in the remembrance of Allah (swt).


  1. Anger


Returning from the meeting with the Divine when Musa (as) found his people idol worshipping, he flared-up and lost control. Immediately, he made Dua for himself and his brother. Know that anger is from Shaytan. Find the reason for outburst and resolve the matter. Recite the Duas for protection, and ask Allah (swt) to allow you to focus your energies in a better direction.


Lessons of Eloquence from Umm Maabad (ra)

flower-wallpaper-1The Description of the Prophet (sa) by an Uneducated, Desert Woman

When Abu Maabad (ra) returned with his flock of sheep, he was startled finding a vessel full of milk. He inquired where it came from, since he had not left any animal behind that gave milk. The wife narrated to him the interesting incident that had happened moments ago. Abu Maabad (ra) asked for the man’s description.

Umm Maabad (ra) replied:

“Radiant colour, glowing countenance, beautifully proportioned.

Neither blemished by a protruding belly nor disfigured by an unusually small head.

Deep black eyes, long eyelashes, coarse voice and a long neck.

The pupils of his eyes are very dark while the area around them is extremely white;

Thick eyebrows that meet each other.

Dark, shiny hair.


When he is silent, he is stately and composed,

And when he speaks, his appearance is impressive.

He is the most beautiful and striking man from afar,

And the most pleasant and stunning when near.


Sweetness in speech, clear and concise;

Neither too little nor nonsense.

Words flowing forth like a perfect string of pearls.


Of moderate height-

Neither too tall that it displeases the eye,

Nor too short that the eye does not behold.


A branch between two branches

Radiant and beholding to the eye

(Meaning: A stately man in the company of two other stately men. He is the most prominent among them and the most well-respected.)


Companions who surround him,

If he speaks, they listen to him attentively.

If he commands, they hasten to honour it.

Well-served and attended;

Neither harsh nor utters Laghw [futile] speech.

Hearing the description of the Prophet (sa), Abu Maabad (ra) cried out that this was the man the Quraish had been looking for. He exclaimed that if he met the Prophet (sa), he would follow him. The couple then went to Madinah, embraced Islam and pledged their allegiance.

Through this description, we can visualize the Prophet (sa). Let us look at our skills, aim to refine them and use them for serving Allah’s (swt) religion and spreading goodness.

Later, when Umm Maabad (ra) was complimented on her beautiful description of the Prophet, (sa) she replied that it was natural. As a woman, she was a keen observer and sensitive. She scrutinized everything in detail.

Lessons to draw: Umm Maabad (ra) was an uneducated and ordinary, desert woman. At her description, the Companions (ra) commented that despite their being close to the Prophet (sa), they could not describe him with such grace and eloquence.

Tongue is a powerful weapon. It can melt hearts or estrange ties. The tongue that could have been occupied in the remembrance of Allah (swt), and spreading goodness- is often found engaged in character assassination and tale-bearing. We return from gatherings, and get busy in gossips and backbiting. Other people’s lives, their clothing, their children, their career choices, and their relationships, are often the topics of our discussion and scrutiny.

Umm Maabad (ra) asserts that she was able to give such an illustrious description of the Prophet (sa) because being a woman she was more observant than men. She saw the Prophet (sa) only once and observed all his distinguishing features. Why is it that when we meet people our focus is on their flaws and not their excellences?

As mothers, it is important that we keep our tongues in check. Our little apprentices who spend most of their early years with us are observing each and every move of ours, and taking a note of the words that we utter. Our grievances, our tantrums, and our opinions about other people or life in general leave a mark on the children. Their opinions are formed based on what they have heard or seen in their early years. While some children get rid of their early opinions, many do not. Let us not be unaware of our conduct.

She saw the Prophet (sa) only once and observed all his distinguishing features. Why is it that when we meet people our focus is on their flaws and not their excellences?

Umm Maabad (ra) has done us a great favour. We have no way of seeing our beloved (sa) other than waiting for Jannah (May Allah (swt) make us from the people of Paradise, Ameen.) Through this description, we can visualize the Prophet (sa). Let us look at our skills, aim to refine them and use them for serving Allah’s (swt) religion and spreading goodness.

(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)

Watch What You Say: Don’t Poke Fun or Be Sarcastic

Colorful speech bubbles“O you who believe! Let not a group scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former; nor let (some) women scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than the former, nor defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. How bad is it, to insult one’s brother after having Faith [i.e. to call your Muslim brother (a faithful believer) as: “O sinner”, or “O wicked”, etc.]. And whosoever does not repent, then such are indeed Zalimun (wrong-doers, etc.).” (Al-Hujurat 49:11)

I wanted to share with you a reminder that we all need, in regards to guarding and respecting the gift Allah (swt) has given to us- our tongues. The ability to speak is an incredible gift from Allah (swt), and it’s an honour from Allah (swt). And, what we learn from the verses is that, the best use of our speech is to remember Allah (swt) by the words He taught us. Our speech, in any matter, should be inspired by the speech that Allah (swt) has honoured us with, i.e., His Quran.

we sometime don’t realize the value of things that we have, specially our tongues.

Now, we’re all humans and we make mistakes. And, we sometime don’t realize the value of things that we have, specially our tongues. We say things, we make comments and social settings among family and friends and things like that. We completely cross the line sometimes that we don’t realize the magnitude of that problem. And because, Allah (swt) takes good time to mention this particular problem in the Quran, it should make us appreciate that this is not a light matter.

In this regard, there is a reminder from Surah Al-Hujurat, verse number eleven. It is addressed to those who believe, and the first thing Allah (swt) says is that, those of you who believe, don’t let any group among you or any nation, collectivity poke fun at any other group. Don’t be sarcastic against each other. Now, making fun of someone and being sarcastic against someone, especially nowadays, is considered as a sign of intelligence… ‘that guy is really funny!’, ‘ that guy makes a lot of funny jokes!’, or ‘he makes lot of sarcastic remarks that are like a rapid fire, they come out of him one after another!’. And, when people around you laugh at your joke, it’s pretty much an ego boost; so you come up with a next disc or a next sarcastic remark or an inappropriate joke, and you feed off the humour, and you get caught up with it.

Allah (swt) is telling us in this Surah that this is something that can take away the very fabric of brotherhood that we enjoy among each other. Allah (swt) says right before this verse that believers are nothing, but brothers among each other; so make reconciliation among your brothers. And, fear Allah (swt) so you are shown mercy. Be conscious, aware and in awe of Allah (swt) so you may be shown mercy.

The previous verse tells us to make reconciliation among each other, and the very next verse reminds us to watch the way we speak to each other.

The previous verse tells us to make reconciliation among each other, and the very next verse reminds us to watch the way we speak to each other. Don’t be sarcastic with each other. Don’t make insulting comments in the name of humour against each other. It is very casual to say or talk about how short someone is, or how ugly they are, or how they dress, or what kind of car they drive, or what school they go to, or what kind of a job they have. It’s very easy to pick on someone’s flaws and make them the point of ridicule.

An excerpt from a lecture transcript published on – edited and posted by Hiba with permission.

[Hadeeth Commentary] Our Quest to Paradise


Mu’adh bin Jabal, said:

I said:”O Messenger of Allah (swt), tell me of a deed which will take me to Paradise and will keep me away from the Hell-fire.”

He said: “You have asked me about a great matter, yet it is indeed an easy matter for him to whom Allah (swt) Almighty makes it easy. (It is) that you worship Allah (swt) without associating anything with Him, that you perform the prayers, pay the zakat, fast during Ramadan, and that you make the pilgrimage to the House.”

Then he said: ”Shall I not guide you to the gates of goodness? Fasting is a shield; charity extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire; and a man’s prayer in the middle of the night.”

Then he recited: “Their sides forsake their beds to cry unto their Lord in fear and hope, and spend of that We have bestowed on them. No soul knoweth what is kept hidden for them of joy, as a reward for what they used to do.” (As-Sajdah 32:16-17)

Then he said: “Shall I not also tell you about the peak of the matter, its pillar, and its topmost part?” I said: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah (swt).”

He said: “The head of the matter is Islam (submission to Allah (swt)), the pillar is prayer; and its topmost part is Jihad.”

Then he said: “And shall I not tell you of the controlling of all that?”

I said:” Yes, O Messenger of Allah (swt).”

So he took hold of his tongue and said: “Restrain this.”

I said: “O Prophet of Allah (swt), will we be held accountable for what we say?”

He said: “May your mother be bereft of you! Is there anything that topples people on their faces (or he said, on their noses) into the Hell-fire other than the jests of their tongues?” (Tirmidhi)


This Hadeeth is related by Maudh bin Jabal himself. Maudh asked Prophet Muhammad (sa) a question and we note that the main concern of the Sahabah was to go to Paradise. Maudh bin Jabal not only wanted information but he also wanted to put it into practice. When you acquire the knowledge, your main concern should be to go to Paradise and be away from Hellfire.

Sometimes people seek knowledge to feel good, but we should always seek knowledge in order to make ourselves closer to Allah (swt).We need to look within our hearts and ask, ‘Why am I learning?’ The signs that show you are not learning for the sake of Allah (swt) is when you are frustrated, impatient and hasty – this is when you are learning to boost your ego. But when you learn for the sake of Allah (swt); you know that Allah (swt) will appreciate your learning.

In the light of Prophet Muhammad’s (sa) response

1.Worship Him Alone

People usually make their desires their god. Allah’s (swt) Majesty demands that He be worshiped alone, without any rivals. Allah (swt) is the Most Rich, He doesn’t accept it if we associate anyone with Him. We cause our own destruction when we are a slave of someone else or something else besides Allah (swt). Allah (swt) does not need our worship; He will leave us with our Shirk.

  • Shirk is the greatest thing Allah (swt) forbade us from.
  • Tawheed is the greatest thing Allah (swt) commanded us to do.

So don’t make the knowledge a desire; acquire knowledge to draw yourself closer to Allah (swt).

2. Establish Prayer

This advice is being given to one of the Sahabah, not to someone new to Islam. Our struggle and aim should be to perfect our Salat. We need Allah’s (swt) help to fulfill  this task. We should always feel that our last prayer was not so perfect and  hence try to  improve the next one.

3. Pay Zakat

This is the only way to purify our money/wealth. It is one of the rights of people over us. Understand that paying Zakat is an obligation- just like Salat and fasting.

4. Fasting is a Shield

The Prophet (sa) fasted every Monday and Thursday and in the months of Muharram and Shaban.  He used to fast on the white days or the white nights (i.e. the 13th, 14th, and 15th of every lunar month), and the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah. We have been ordained  to  fast in the month of Ramadan. This is important as fasting teaches us obedience to Allah (swt) and puts us in a state of calmness and piety.

5. Pilgrimage to Makkah

To acquire Paradise, we must do what Allah (swt) wants us to do. All the obligations discussed above are the minimum what we can do to enter  Paradise. Quantity is not important – it is there to satisfy ourselves. But Allah (swt) wants the quality. If we get these five pillars right; we will enter Paradise.

picture2The Gates of Paradise

There are a variety of doors – you can do one, two or all three. When Allah (swt) opens the doors of good deeds grab them, stick to them. Everybody is unique and the path you choose to Paradise is also unique. You must not rely on one particular deed to take you to Paradise. Whatever Allah (swt) makes easy for you; you should do, and ask Allah (swt) to accept it.

Charity can be a smile, caring for somebody, carrying something for somebody, the best Sadaqah is giving money for the sake of Allah (swt).

Praying in the depths of night means the beginning of the last third of the night. According to Ibn Rajab in 40 Hadeeth of An-Nawawi, three types of people whose prayer gets readily accepted, are:

  1. Those who wake up during the night for Dhikr, Dua, or perform Tahajud.
  2. Those who wait for the Isha prayer and do not go to sleep until they perform Isha.
  3. Those who wake up for the Fajr prayer.

Blessings of Jihad

Jihad is a blessing that allows us to become closer to Allah (swt). Scholars say that Jihad is the greatest act of worship and the most important deed after the obligatory acts. Through Jihad, Islam was protected and preserved and became dominant, where other nations lived under its rule peacefully with their rights maintained. (40 Hadeeth of An-Nawawi)

Mind Your Tongue

Restraining and controlling our speech is the most important act to achieve good. The one who controls his tongue controls all his affairs. If we cannot control what we say, the result will be chaos and Fitnah like in the time of Caliph Usman (ra).

Hence this Hadeeth provides evidence that good deeds can surely become our ticket to Paradise.

[Hadeeth Commentary] Practical Ways to Forbid Evil


Related on the authority of Abu Saeed al-Khudri that the Prophet (sa) said: “When any one of you sees anything that is disapproved (of by Allah (swt)), let him change it with his hand. If he is not able to do so, then let him change it with his tongue; still if he is not able to do so, then let him change it with his heart, though that is the weakest (kind of) faith.” (Muslim)

hadith4.1The foremost thing we take from the Hadeeth above is that all of us have intrinsic radar to abhor what is bad. If we do not acknowledge this sensitivity of distinguishing between good/bad, beautiful/ugly, Haram/Halal as believers, we cannot follow Allah’s (swt) commands as we are not able to distinguish the acceptable from the unacceptable. It is something that we naturally reject. Regardless of our different cultures or languages, our inner self does not accept it. This is a return to our Fitrah (instinct); there are things that we are naturally disgusted by and vice versa. Unless you identify evil, you cannot stop it – in other words you cannot act on this Hadeeth. Normally we think of these two features as distinct, but they are actually concurrent and occur at the same time. Our aim in accomplishing this obligation is to maximize benefit and minimize harm.

Secondly, the Prophet (sa) talked about ‘changing’ the evil. Usually we do not act to change; we only act to make ourselves feel better. We need to approach it with this thought in mind: “What can I do to bring about a helpful, positive and constructive change?” A believer must work towards making the situation better and permanent. If the change is not possible due to your action, then you are not following the Hadeeth. However you must still dislike it in your heart; remain steadfast on your principles. For example, when you see someone drinking alcohol, you must not accept it as a good act even if you see it all around you. If you say it is normal as those drinking are non-Muslims – it is accepting and agreeing that drinking is not against our innate nature. We must still know and accept in our hearts that it is wrong and unacceptable to Allah (swt). Sinning is arrogance but Allah (swt) is the Most Merciful. When you recognize the sin in your heart, you need to move away from the situation.This is an action of the heart, saying: “O Allah (swt), there is nothing that I can do to change this bad situation that You dislike and disapprove, except that I hate it to take place. I do not agree to it. O Allah (swt) forgive me, guide me and save my heart from being influenced by it.”

hadeeth 4.2

For something to be considered Munkar (denied), there are three conditions. It is not up to you to say something is Haram.


Principles of Forbidding the Evil

1. Prioritize the evil
Begin with the higher priority before the lower.

2. Be gradual
Note the gradual method by which Allah (swt) made the drinking of wine forbidden: Firstly, He said that there were benefits and harms in it, but the harm outweighed the benefits; secondly, He forbade people to approach prayer in a drunken state; finally, it was prohibited by Him. This step-by-step method does not imply that wine was not forbidden in the early stages, but it is a methodology from which we can benefit.

3. Treat the act only
For example, when you see evil, you should not humiliate or insult the person. Hate or forbid only the sin; don’t hate or mock the person. This way you separate the person from the sin – this is good for you and good for the other person. Don’t make people feel uncomfortable; focus only on the evil. Tell him or her to consider that since Allah (swt) will not accept it, you won’t accept it either. This way you tend to free the person from the sin without rejecting him or her. Only then you will be able to communicate successfully with the person using the best of words.

4. Ascertain first
Establish that the evil is indeed taking place.

5. Choose a suitable time to forbid the evil
a. The caller should not delay until the evil has finished.
b. The caller should exploit situations in which people are more likely to respond to his call, for example, Prophet Yusuf (as) spoke to his companions in the prison about Tawheed when they had been troubled by their dreams.

6. Speak in private
If you speak in a crowd it might be considered as a scolding and thus, might serve the opposite purpose.

7. No instigation
Do not provoke the people; use a good argument.

8. Stay compassionate
Show forgiveness and kindness towards the people.

9. Weighing the principles of benefit and harm
Ibn Taymiyah wrote: “If enjoining the good and forbidding the evil would result in a greater evil, then it is Haram to do it. Enjoining good should not lead to a better deed being left out and forbidding evil should not lead to a greater evil taking place.”

The action of the heart must be practiced; the heart of a Muslim who witnesses evil is influenced by that evil. A dark spot is placed in the heart. “Familiarity breeds contempt” and so is with our hearts. With repeated exposure to evil, the heart will acquire more dark spots until it no longer appreciates good and dislikes evil. So a believer, who does not forbid evil in his heart, might turn into an evil doer himself or herself.

May Allah (swt) protect us from ourselves. Ameen.

Mind your Language

Image mind your languageWords can make or break someone’s day. They could help a friendship grow, or they could end it. Words could bring us the blessings and favours of Allah (swt) or they could result in Allah’s (swt) anger. Words are our worst foes or best friends!

In the Quran, Allah (swt) commands us: “and speak good to people…” (Al-Baqarah 2:83)

Ahadeeth of the Prophet (sa) tell us that our tongue could either take us to heaven or land us in hell.

There are some things to bear in mind when conversing. Let us make a checklist.

  • Do I talk politely?
  • Do I smile as I talk?
  • Do I give attention to the person I am talking to, that is do I have eye contact or do I look away?
  • Do I refrain from abusive language, sarcasm and nasty remarks?
  • Do I avoid lying?
  • Do I realize that lying is one of the foremost signs of a hypocrite?
  • Do I guard secrets of my friends as an Amanah, or does my tongue give them away?
  • Do I yell and shout?
  • Is my voice calm, peaceful and soothing to listen to? Or is it monotonous, high-pitched, shrill and annoying?
  • Do I backbite? Do I realize that backbiting is a grievous sin in Allah’s (swt) eyes?
  • Do I make fun of others with my remarks?
  • Do I give genuine compliments and encouragement to others?
  • Is my accent artificial and an attempt to impress others?
  • Do I brag and boast?
  • Do I sound humble? Or do I sound arrogant?
  • Do I talk to others with empathy, understanding and affection?
  • Do I complain too much?
  • Am I impatient when others talk?
  • Do I cut into other people’s conversation with my words?
  • Do I impose my opinions on others?
  • Do I lie and make up jokes and exaggerate to be popular among my friends?
  • Do I love delving into juicy gossip and talking about scandals which I actually know nothing about?
  • Do I talk about things that are useless and don’t concern me at all?
  • Do I use my words to enjoin good and forbid evil?
  • Above all, do I use my power of speech to do Dhikr (remembrance) of Allah (swt) and recite the Quran?