Teaching Moral Intelligence

ethics word cloud

Consider a child performing outstandingly in his studies, being a fine sportsperson, having an avid interest in the latest technology and excelling in co-curricular activities. But when it comes to his personal conduct, he lacks self-control, shows signs of aggression, can be disrespectful to his elders and younger ones and bears a low level of self-consciousness.

This is one concern which almost every parent has nowadays. Parents often experience that their child performs well academically, but, unfortunately, loses the battle on morality grounds.

Have you ever thought about the cause of this problem as a parent or educationist? What areas do we need to improve to teach our children to become better human beings?

The child in the introduction obviously shows signs of higher intelligence. Students who perform well most of the time are considered to have a high IQ. But at times, they have a low moral IQ, which is now considered to be a pivotal attribute in personality development.

Moral intelligence is a mental capacity to determine how to apply universal moral principles such as integrity, responsibility, compassion and forgiveness (www.moralcompass.com). It is also an ability to distinguish between right and wrong.

Dr. Michele Borba, a former teacher and an internationally renowned consultant and educator, in her book titled “Moral Intelligence: The seven essential virtues that teach kids to do the right thing” firmly advocates seven vital virtues: empathy, conscience, self-control, respect, kindness, tolerance and fairness. Dr. Borba believes that ethics is a prerequisite for positive and productive personality development. Parents should teach their children these qualities, so that they become better people.

Moral intelligence should be taught during childhood, with parents and teachers playing a vital role in developing an understanding of the importance of morals. It takes a considerable amount of patience to inculcate such virtues in young minds. Following are simple but helpful guidelines for embedding moral intelligence in their children.

Know Your Child

This is the most basic requirement. Before going on to introduce new things, you should know who you are dealing with. Children are different and equally special in their own ways. Try to understand your child. What does your child like? What are his interests? What makes him angry, upset or happy? What are his strengths and weaknesses? Understanding your child will guide you towards helping him in a better way!

Develop a Chat with Your Child

Once you understand your kid, you will eventually realise that he is in need of a conversation. Communication is extremely important for both parties. It is fruitful for parents to conquer grounds through thoughtful discussions. However, this should be a conversation and not a lengthy lecture. Let them express their point of view, which is important in building their character. Always speak in a friendly, mild tone, with gestures assuring that you value, understand and love them. Never abuse or use derogatory or negative language.

Dealing with Mistakes

Even though children have an inclination towards virtue, as per their Fitrah, they still tend to make mistakes. Never instantly talk to a child, when he does something wrong – at that time, he is emotionally shattered and embarrassed, and you, as a parent, are angry and disappointed. Both will behave irrationally. Give him time to analyse what he did, let him understand and learn from his mistakes. He will learn to love, sympathise, apologise, respect and care gradually.

Practicing Virtues Yourself

In order to make your child learn, it is vital that you set an example first. Parents have a habit of telling their young ones to do the right thing, without doing the same themselves. By doing so, they lose their credibility. Practice what you preach! Remember that a parent is a child’s role model. You are his/her teacher, so set the best example for him/her to follow.

Significance of Family

Family holds great importance for a child. This unit works as a major learning institution for young ones, upholding greater values, virtues and morality. Make sure that your family stays together. Good and bad phases are a part of life. Through times of trial, when family members are there for each other, children learn the value of love, sacrifice and respect.

By being in a family, one learns to live with different kinds of people. This helps a child in accepting different ideas, trains him to respect others and develops adjusting approaches in his personality.

As mature and responsible members of this society, we must ensure that our morals remain intact. If we want our future generation to be the torch-bearers of our traditions and flourish as one nation, we have to teach them morals. In that way, our children will be well-behaved. Remember, if rational intelligence can help a child build his life, moral intelligence will help him live that life in a better way!

Moral Education for the Young

An average child is exposed to 9000 obscene scenes per year through the mass media and television. This places a heavy responsibility on the shoulders of parents, who should give to their children proper Islamic education – even when it comes to sex education. Parents should realize that sex is not always a taboo to discuss. One can find various examples in the life of the Prophet (saw), where this subject was discussed extensively with the companions. Our failure to tell children what they need to know is one reason why they face complicated situations when they grow up.

Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “…Say: ‘Are those who know equal to those who know not?’…” (Az-Zumar 39:9)

A few tips for parents, who want to instill the moral aspects of life in their children:

  • Start from a very early age to instill in them the notion that the family system and the way of life of a Muslim is very different from others.
  • It is all right to be different and to not engage in what others are doing.
  • Explain that having a feeling in the heart is all right. But to express the same through action is entirely different and should be controlled.
  • Children should be told that just as they cannot drink alcohol and have pork, they cannot engage in immoral relationships.
  • Parents should control the music their children are listening to, TV programmes they are watching, magazines they are reading and clothes they are wearing.
  • Children should be told that what leads to Haram is also Haram in Islam. Adultery is a major sin, so anything that leads to it is also not allowed, e.g., dating, chatting, having flirtatious conversations, etc.
  • Children should be encouraged to spend their free time in extracurricular activities of their interest, so that their energies are involved in doing something constructive.
  • Muslim boys and girls should understand that not all arranged marriages are bad and that sometimes they are more successful than love marriages.
  • Every family member has a responsibility – parents towards their children; elder siblings towards younger siblings and so on.

– By Umm Saad

Beautiful Names

Vol 2 -Issue 4     Beautiful names

1. Ar-Razzaq: The Provider

Allah says in the Quran: “… Is there any creator other than Allah, who provides for you from the sky (rain) and the earth?…” (Fatir 35:3)

Allah (swt) is the one Who provides sustenance as well as the means to enjoy that sustenance. He provides the mankind with different foods, as well as the sense of taste and hunger to enjoy it. ‘Rizq’ is a very comprehensive word that includes everything that we enjoy, benefit from, and make use of. Sustenance is of two types: one that benefits our body such as food, fresh air, and clean water; the other that benefits our soul, which, if properly used, can ultimately lead to Paradise, where Allah’s (swt) provision is eternal. Examples of this kind of sustenance are: knowledge to give guidance, speech to bear witness and to teach, and hands to distribute alms. Allah (swt) extends sustenance to whomever He wills. Allah (swt) alone, the Great and Glorious, is the Provider. We should rely on Allah (swt) and no one else for sustenance. We should understand that people or things are only the means of providing sustenance and not the providers themselves. Indeed, believing in the latter is a grave sin.

2. Al-Fattah: The Opener

By Allah’s (swt) providence, whatever is closed gets opened. He has the keys to the heavens and the earth. Allah (swt) says in the Holy Quran: “Whatever of mercy (i.e., of good), Allah (swt) may grant to mankind, none can withhold it …” (Fatir 35: 2) Similarly, He opens the doors of sustenance, and success in this world to whomever He wills. Doors of great empires were opened for the Prophets by the will of Allah (swt). The doors of knowledge are opened for those He wants to guide to the straight path. Allah (swt) unveils the hearts of people and shows them the light of Islam. He opens up the earth to provide fruits for its creatures. We should do good deeds so that the Opener opens to us an abundance of goodness.

3. Al-Alim: The All Knower / the Omniscient

Allah’s (swt) knowledge is infinite and perfect. Things are derived from Allah’s (swt) knowledge, while our knowledge is derived from the things we know. Allah (swt) has the knowledge of the seen and unseen, the past and future. Angels, while accepting the fact that Allah (swt) is All Knowing say, to Allah (swt) in the Holy Quran: “Glory is to You, we have no knowledge except what you have taught us. Verily, it is You, the All-Knower, the All-Wise.” (Al-Baqarah 2:32)

Similarly, our knowledge is limited to what Allah (swt) has given us. Allah (swt) says: “Who has taught (the writing) by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not.” (Al-Alaq 96:4-5) People are liable to fall into Shirk, if they believe that anyone other than Allah (swt) has the knowledge of the unseen. Only Allah (swt) knows the state of the heart of people, for He says in the Holy Quran that He has the knowledge of our faith. So, we must perform good deeds for the sake of Allah (swt) rather than for showing off and be aware of the fact that Allah (swt) has knowledge of ones deeds and He alone can give the reward. At the same time, this attribute of Allah should serve as a warning not to commit sins – since Allah (swt) has the knowledge of our bad deeds, He can also punish us.

Beautiful Names

Vol 2 -Issue 3     Beautiful namesAl-Ghaffar – the One, Who is full of forgiveness and forgives again and again.

Allah (swt) is the One, Who forgives sins. He is also the One, Who conceals the sins of His slaves. He makes manifest the beautiful and conceals the ugly. He lets a cover fall over the bad deeds of His believing slaves. By understanding this attribute of Allah (swt), we can be sure that all our sins can be forgiven by the will of Allah (swt). Calling upon Him by this name with sincere repentance, we can hope to be among the people of Paradise. This hope will further drive us to do more good deeds and keep away from sins.

We should also try to imitate this attribute of Allah (swt) by forgiving the mistakes of other Muslims and hiding their sins. This attribute will develop a strong bond of Muslim brotherhood and strengthen the broken threads of the Muslim society.

Al-Qahhar – the Dominator.

Allah (swt) is the One, Who dominates over all His creation. He breaks the backs of His enemies and suppresses them. He conquers the conquerors of this world – no matter how powerful we may be, we cannot make anything happen, unless Allah (swt) wills it to happen. The most ruthless tyrants ultimately meet their death and cannot postpone it even for a moment.

In Surah Al-Baqara verse 258, Allah (swt) has mentioned the story of Namrood, who argued with Prophet Ibrahim (as) about his land. When Namrood claimed that he is the one, who gives life and causes death, Ibrahim (as) replied that if Allah (swt) brings the sun up from the East, Namrood should bring it up from the West. Ibrahim (as) challenged Namrood to prove that all he has is but a limited dominion over people, while Allah’s (swt) domination is absolute and encompasses all His creation.

The dominator among men is the one, who subdues his enemies. Our biggest enemy is the desires of our souls (Nafs), which can lead us to sinful deeds. If we are in control of our desires, we actually dominate over all mankind, because no one can lead us to do bad deeds. Only by having a complete control over ourselves, we can conquer Shaitan, who takes advantage of human weaknesses.

Al-Wahhab – the Bestower.

Allah (swt) is the One, Who bestows upon His slaves gifts and grants their wishes without seeking any recompense. While we all are in need of Allah (swt), He needs nothing. No human being by nature can be an absolute bestower because, if we present someone with a gift, we expect a return either from people or from Allah (swt). When we are in need of anything, we should call upon Allah (swt) by this name and ask Him to bestow it on us. In our hearts, we should be absolutely certain that Allah’s (swt) treasures are infinite.

Allah (swt) has said in a Hadeeth Qudsee: “O my servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the Jinn of you to rise up in one place and make a request to Me, and were I to give everyone, what he requested, that would not decrease, what I have, anymore than a needle decreases the sea, if put into it.” (Muslim)

Islamic Social Etiquette

etiquetteAllah (swt) states in the holy Quran: “Indeed, in the Messenger of Allah (swt) Muhammad (sa) you have a good example to follow, if you hope for (the meeting with) Allah (swt) and the Last Day, and remember Allah (swt) much.” (Al-Ahzab 33:21)

Therefore, the Prophet (sa) is the best role model for every Muslim that has provided numerous examples in every aspect of human behaviour. The following pearls from his social etiquettes are enlightening.

Spreading the greeting of Salam

The Messenger of Allah (sa) commanded us to do seven things: to visit the sick, to attend funerals, to bless a Muslim, when he sneezes, to support the weak, to help the one, who is oppressed, to spread Salam (peace), and to help people fulfil their oaths. (Bukhari, Muslim)

He also said: “By the One, in whose hand is my soul, you will not enter Paradise, until you believe, and you will not believe, until you love one another. Shall I not tell you of something that if you do, you will love one another? Spread Salam amongst yourselves.” (Muslim)

Unfortunately, today in Islamic societies this greeting has been replaced by foreign ones, especially among new generations, who are either ashamed or consider it old-fashioned to use the Islamic greeting. Obviously, they are unaware that a simple ‘Assalam Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatahu’ can earn them thirty rewards from Allah (swt)!

Not entering anyone’s house without his permission

Allah (swt) commands: “O you who believe! Enter not houses other than your own, until you have asked permission and saluted those in them: that is best for you, in order that you may take heed.” (An-Nur 24:27)

Islam urges Muslims to do the following, when visiting others: “Whenever the Prophet (sa) came to a door seeking permission to enter, he did not stand facing it. He would stand to the right or to the left, and if he was given permission, he would enter; otherwise, he would leave.” (Bukhari)

Impatiently ringing the doorbell, yelling out the in mates name, and grumbling, when the person we had intended to visit is unavailable, are signs of impoliteness and impertinence. They have no room in a Muslim’s life.

Sitting wherever one finds room in a gathering

In a gathering, a Muslim should sit wherever he finds space. He is neither to push through the people in order to sit at the head of the gathering, nor make another give up his space for him. The Prophet (sa) taught his companions to adopt these etiquettes, when joining a gathering.

Jabir Ibn Samurah (rta) said: “When we came to the Prophet (sa), we would sit, wherever we found room.” (Abu Dawood and Tirmidhi)

The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “None of you should make another get up, then sit in his place. All of you should move up and make space (for the latecomer).” (Bukhari, Muslim)

The basic instruction is to accommodate and show courtesy. Nowadays, it is common not to leave any space available, because of improper seating arrangements, and the latecomer is usually forced to stand. Similarly, some make grand arrivals without realizing the disturbance they cause to an ongoing gathering or speech.

Avoiding yawning in a gathering

The Prophet (sa) advised Muslims: “If any of you wants to yawn, then let him suppress it as much as possible.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

If the urge to yawn cannot be resisted, then a Muslim should cover his mouth with his hand. The Prophet (sa) commanded: “If any of you yawns, let him cover his mouth with his hand, so that the Shaytan does not enter.” (Muslim)

Yawning is not only rude but a sign of boredom that may hurt the feelings of others. Even the very sophisticated manage to shock you, when they open their mouths as wide as a hippopotamus in the middle of a conversation.

Following the Islamic etiquette, when sneezing

Islam also teaches a Muslim, what he should say, when he sneezes, and what he should say, when he hears another sneeze.

Abu Hurairah (rta) said: “The Prophet (sa) said: ‘Allah (swt) likes the act of sneezing and dislikes the act of yawning. When any one of you sneezes and says ‘Alhamdulillah’, then he has the right to hear every Muslim say – ‘Yarhamuk Allah’. But yawning is from Shaytan, so if anyone of you feels the urge to yawn, he should resist it as much as he can, for when any of you yawns, the Shaytan laughs at him.’” (Bukhari)

Not looking into other people’s houses

A true Muslim does not spy on his host or pry into that, which does not concern him. The Prophet (sa) warned those, who let their gaze wander in gatherings in an attempt to see things that are none of their business.

The Prophet (sa) said: “Whoever looks into someone’s house without his permission, then it is permissible for the people of the house to take his eyes out.” (Muslim)

Not finding fault with others

The Prophet (sa) issued a stern warning against the danger of slandering other people’s honour and exposing their faults.

The Prophet (sa) said: “Do not hurt the feelings of the servants of Allah (swt), do not embarrass them, do not seek to expose their faults; whoever seeks to expose the faults of his Muslim brother, Allah (swt) will seek to expose his faults and expose him, even if he hides in the innermost part of his home.” (Ahmad)

Apart from the above, there are numerous other social etiquettes that will be discussed in future issues, Insha’Allah.

Iman – The Foundation of Islam

Vol 2-Issue2  ImaanJust by looking at today’s events, one can clearly see that Muslim communities are suffering. Naturally, a lot of soul searching is being done to diagnose the problem. I remember my teacher once told me that all the rewards, which Allah (swt) has promised in the Quran, are for the true believers, i.e., Mumineen. So the Iman (Faith) of people is crucial. My question was: what is Iman? Like others, I wonder if we have really understood this word. One would assume that every Muslim, who says the Shahadatain, has Iman. But is Iman just a declaration of faith? Or is Iman only a belief in the heart? Or do actions and deeds together configure in Iman? Let us consider the answers to these questions one at a time.

1. Declaration of faith goes together with the belief in the heart.

Abdullah Bin Ubbay lived in Medina at the time of the Prophet (sa) and he had declared himself to be a Muslim. Although he prayed with the Muslims, Allah (swt) did not accept his faith, because his heart contained doubts about Allah (swt) and his Messenger (sa). He was later on declared to be the greatest hypocrite of his time. A Muslim’s Iman is complete only when he loves Allah (swt) and his Messenger (sa) more than himself.

2. Iman is not only a belief in the heart but in actions and the deeds as well.

Abu Talib was the uncle of the Prophet (sa). He recognized the truth of Islam, but he did not declare this with his tongue. Neither did this belief culminate into good deeds. He neither expressed approval nor submit to the will of Allah (swt). Allah (swt) declared him to be a disbeliever. Clearly, belief without expressing it in the form of words and deeds will not make one a believer.

Since Iman is the foundation of Islam, it has been very clearly explained in the Quran and the Sunnah. According to, Ibn Qayyim once wrote that Iman is composed of the following components:

1. Having the knowledge of what the Prophet (sa) taught.

2. Having complete and firm belief in what he brought.

3. Verbally professing this belief.

4. Submitting to what he brought out of humility and love.

5. Acting in accord with what the Prophet (sa) brought, both outwardly and inwardly. Implementing it and calling to its path according to one’s ability.

Ibn Uthaimeen has emphasized the fact that Iman is not simply composed of belief in the heart. I is a declaration that requires acceptance and submission.

The locus of Iman is the heart, tongue and action. It is also stated that Iman increases or decreases. Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “And when the verses are recited to them, they (the verses) increase their faith.” (Al-Anfal 8:2)

It is also clear from this that a believer’s Iman increases with the Dhikr of Allah (swt) and decreases with Fawahish (Indecency). In another verse, Allah (swt) says: “It is He who sends down tranquility into the hearts of the believers, in order that faith may be added to their faith.” (Al-Fath 48:4)

When a person’s Iman decreases he comes down from the high level of being called Mu’min to being a Muslim and vice versa. Iman can also leave the heart of a Muslim for a short period of time. The proof of this is in the statement of the Prophet (sa): “When a person commits adultery, Iman leaves him and remains above his head like an awning, when he discontinues this behavior, Iman comes back to him.” (Tirmidhi)

Three basic points for every Muslim to remember with regard to Iman:

Minimum level of Iman necessary to prevent one from the eternal hellfire.

A Muslim, should believe in every thing that is from Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa). He should show a readiness and willingness to adhere to all the do’s and don’ts of Islamic teachings.

(1) Level of Iman necessary to save a person from going to the hellfire even for a short period of time: A Muslim should fulfill all the obligations upon him with respect to Allah (swt). He should fulfill all his duties with regards to people. Lastly, he should keep away from all that is forbidden. A person in this category is a true believer or a Mu’min as Allah (swt) says in the Quran, “The (true) believers are only those, who, when Allah (swt) is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts, and when His verses are recited to them, these increase their faith. And they put their trust in their Lord. Those, who establish the prayer and spend out of what We have provided them.” (Al-Anfal 8:2-3)

(2) Level of Iman necessary to be in the highest rank of Paradise:

These are the people possesing complete Iman. They strive to perform much more than the required deeds. They miss no opportunity to do well to people around them and always avoid causing harm to them. Their every act is done with excellence, i.e., Ihsan. These people are called Mohsineen. The Prophet (sa) said: “Ihsan is to worship Allah (swt) as if you see Him, and if you cannot achieve this state of devotion, then you must consider that He is seeing you.” (Bukhari)

On the basis of Iman, people are divided into two categories: Disbelievers and believers, and among the believers there can be some, whom Allah (swt) can categorize as hypocrites. Believers are further divided into three categories, each higher in rank than the other: Muslim, Mumin and Muhsin. Let all the Muslims collectively strive to be true believers and seek help from Allah (swt) in doing so. Allah (swt) says in the Quran, “And seek help through patience and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive (to Allah (swt)).” (Al-Baqarah 2:45)

The Prophet (sa) as the Supreme Commander of the Army

role modelUnder his leadership the companions performed stunning, valorous, and brave deeds. A well-defined code of conduct was followed in the battlefield. For instance women, children, elderly and those not taking part in the battle were not to be killed or harmed in any way. Neither were trees to be cut down nor property destroyed. Once the land was conquered the following things were kept in mind:

  1. The stability of the conquered land.
  2. Education, moral and religious training of the conquered people.
  3. The education and training of the managers and administrators.
  4. The moral and intellectual training of the military experts.

Mohammed Ahmed Ghadanfar inspired by the qualities present in the Prophet (sa), highlights the 10 virtues present in a Muslim general:

1. True, consistent and firm faith

Abu Dharr (rta) reported that the Prophet (sa) when asked: “Which deed is the best deed?” He replied: “Faith in Allah and struggle in the cause of Allah.”(Bukhari and Muslim) Deep-rooted faith in Allah motivates a believer to fight the fiercest of opponents.

2. Dignified personality

Dignity is a gift from Allah. It can become a part of one’s personality only if there is true faith, fear of Allah, integrity and an effort to guard moral and ethical values. The Prophet (sa) said: “I have been granted such majesty and dignity that the enemy who is a month away from me starts to tremble when he hears my name.” (Bukhari)

3. Valor and courage

With remarkable bravery the Prophet (sa) led 313 of his modestly armed soldiers in the battle of Badr against a 1000 heavily armed-polytheists. Ali (rta) said: “On the day of Badr, we sheltered behind the Prophet (sa), and he was the nearest of us to the enemy and the strongest man there on that day.” (Ahmad)

4. Steadfast and resolute in purpose

During the Battle of Hunain when the army was falling apart due to the pressure being exerted by the enemy, the Prophet (sa) stood firm in the midst of the battlefield and said: “I am the true Prophet. It is no lie. And I am the son of Abdul Muttalib.” Sensing his steadfastness and determination, the army that had dispersed out of fear quickly rallied around him and created the victory of that day. (Muslim)

5. Strength of will and ability to execute

A successful general ought to be competent and efficient so as to have his orders executed. That is why the Prophet (sa) instructed Abu Dharr Al-Ghafari (rta) not to take on the responsibility of even two people, whereas he appointed the seventeen year old Usamah Bin Zaid (rta) as commander of an army that included such note worthy and respected companions as Abu Bakr Siddiq (rta) and Umar Farooq (rta). (Bukhari)

6. Charismatic and magnetic personality

In the Quran Allah has made Sulaiman (as) king and granted him knowledge and stature. (Al-Baqarah 2:247) These two qualities facilitate leadership skills. Al-Bara reported that the Prophet (sa) had the most handsome face amongst men, the best of dispositions, and he was neither very tall nor very short in stature. (Muslim)

7. Eloquence

Abu Hurairah (rta) narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest of meanings.” (Bukhari) On an expedition, the poets would sing their verses to encourage the army and the Prophet (sa) would sing along. On the day of the battle of Badr, the Prophet (sa) encouraged his companions by saying: “Arise and enter Paradise whose extent is that of the heavens and the earth.” (Ahmad) Eloquence and oratorical skills can, to a great extent, arouse emotions and feelings.

8. Excellent arms

Ibn Amir (rta) said that he heard the Prophet (sa) say: “Prepare to meet the enemy with as much strength as you can afford. Beware strength consists in archery, beware strength consists in archery, beware strength consists in archery.” (Bukhari)

A believer should equip himself with the best weaponry available, and train in the most sophisticated combat skills rather than just rely on faith and prayers. Faith and prayers must be followed by action.

9. Generosity and liberality

These two qualities are necessary for a leader to gain the love and respect of his followers. After the Battle of Hunain, Safwan Bin Umayyah (rta) said: “Even when the Prophet (sa) was the person I hated most, he would give me. He (sa) continued to give me gifts, until he became the person I loved the most.” (Bukhari) The Prophet (sa) also said: “Anyone who equips a warrior in the way of Allah is like the one who actually fights. And anyone who looks after his family in his absence is like the one who actually fights.” (Muslim)

10. A sense of justice and fair play

The Prophet (saw) said: “Support your brother whether he is the oppressor or the oppressed. If he is the oppressor then support him by stopping him. Should he be the oppressed then support him.” (Muslim)

Al-Miqdad Bin Al-Aswad reported: “I said: ‘Tell me, O Messenger of Allah, if I meet an infidel, we fight together, and he cuts off my hand with his sword, then hides behind a tree and says he has submitted himself to Allah. Shall I kill him after he has said it?’ He replied: ‘Do not kill him.’ I said: ‘But O messenger of Allah, he cut off one of my hands and only then he said it.’ The Messenger of Allah (sa) then replied: ‘Do not kill him, for if you do so, he will be in the position in which you were before you killed him (i.e., he will be considered a Muslim and thus his life will be inviolable), and you will be in the position in which he was before he made his testimony’ (i.e. your life will not be inviolable, for his heirs can ask for Qisas).” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Beautiful Names

Vol 1-Issue 2    Beautiful namesAl-Malik – The King or The Sovereign.

The Sovereign is the one who has the power to dominate over everything.

Al-Malik implies that:

  1. He has the complete right to govern what He owns,
  2. He has complete authority over what He owns,
  3. He possesses predominant power over everything,
  4. He alone does what he wants with regards to prohibitions.

He is the Supreme Ruler of the human race; He alone is the lawmaker and has the right to change them without permission from anyone.

Imam Al-Ghazali explains that Allah is The Sovereign who is independent of any being either in His person or attributes. Rather everything that exists gains its existence from Him.

Furthermore, man is always in need of Allah for his existence. And the kingship given to man is a gift from Allah whose sovereignty has no competitor.

Abu Hurairah (rta) reported that the Prophet (sa) said: “Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, will seize the earth on the Day of Judgment and will fold the heavens in his right hand and will say: ‘I am the Lord; where are the kings of the world?'” (Muslim)

Malik is used in the Quran 5 times in Surah Al-Hashr verse 23, Surah Ta-Ha verse 114, Surah Al-Jumuah verse 1, Surah An-Nas Verse 2. Malik Al-Mulk that appears in Surah Al-Imran verse 26 is the one who executes his word in His kingdom as He pleases. Malik is used once in Surah Al-Qamar Verse 55.

Al-Quddus – The Pure, Blessed and Holy.

This is another attribute that conveys Allah’s purity and freedom from all flaws. It also implies that Allah bestows purity on others and in turn alludes to Allah’s perfection. The Prophet (sa) in his Dua of Ruku and Sujood said: “Subboohun, quddoosun Rabbul Malaikati War Ruh,” Perfect and Holy Lord of the angels and Jibreel. (Muslim)

Imam Al-Ghazali said that Allah is free of any defect that man can think of, and his purity is beyond human imagination.

A believer is obligated to maintain a pure concept of Allah that befits His majesty, in order to maintain a correct Aqeedah and correct opinion of Allah. Whoever has a good opinion of Allah, Allah will be up to that expectation.

Al-Quddus appears in Surah Al-Hashr verse 23: “He is Allah, besides whom there is no other God, the sovereign Lord, the Holy one.” Surah Al-Jumu’ah verse 1: “Whatever is in the heavens and on the earth, both declare the praise and glory of God, the Sovereign, the Holy One, the exalted in might and wise.”

As-Salam – To be safe, sound, and flawless.

Allah is the source of peace. His actions are untarnished or unimpaired by evil, i.e. evil intended for evil itself.

Imam Al-Ghazali explains Allah’s being as safe, sound and free from any flaws. Otherwise, the creation would not be safe.

This attribute of Allah appears in Surah Al-Hashr verse 23: “Allah is He, than Whom there is no other God;-The Sovereign, the Holy one, The Source of Peace.”

The Prophet (sa) used to make the following Dua after every Salah: “O Allah you are As Salam and from you is all peace, blessed are you, O possessor of Majesty and Honour.” (Muslim)

The Prophet (sa) as a Husband

our role modelKindness

Allah says in the Quran: “…and live with them in kindness, even if you dislike them perhaps you dislike something God has placed much good in.” (An-Nisa 4:19). The Prophet (sa) said: “The best among you is he who is best to his family and I am the best among you to my family.” (At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)

He was even kind to the relatives of his wives. An old woman came to the Prophet (sa) and he smiled at her, showed her respect, and asked her, “How are you? How have you been doing?” She answered, “I am fine, may my father and mother be sacrificed for you, O, Messenger of Allah.” When she left Aisha (rta) asked, “Why did you welcome this old woman so warmly in a way that you do not welcome anyone else?” The Prophet (sa) replied, “She used to come and visit us when Khadeejah was alive. Do you not know that honoring the ties of friendship is a part of faith?” (Bukhari and Muslim)


The Prophet (sa) was so keen to keep his wives happy that he would call Aisha (rta) to enjoy some innocent kinds of entertainment.

Aisha (rta) reports that on one occasion, the Prophet (sa) was sitting, and he heard some noise from people and children outside. There was a group of people gathered around some Abyssinians who were dancing.

He said: “O, Aisha, come and see!” I put my cheek on one of his shoulder and looked through the gap. Then he asked, “O, Aisha, have you had enough? Have you had enough?” I said: “No, just to see how much I meant to him and I saw him shifting his weight from one foot to the other.” (Nasai, Bukhari and Muslim)


Once, the Prophet (sa) asked his family for some food, which he could eat with bread, they told him, “We have nothing apart from vinegar.” He asked them to bring it and said: “How good a simple food is vinegar.” (Muslim)

One of the charactistics of the Prophet (sa) is that he never criticized food, if he liked it, he ate it and if he did not like it, he simply left it. (Bukhari and Muslim)

Easy-going nature

Umar (rta) said: “We Quraish used to have control over our women. When we came to Madinah we found a people whose women had control over them, and our women began to learn from those women.

One day my wife was angry with me, and was arguing with me. I did not like this but she told me, ‘Do you not like my arguing with you? By Allah, the wives of the Prophet (sa) argue with him. They get angry and keep away from him all day until night falls.’ So, I went to see Hafsa (Umar rta’s daughter) and asked her, ‘Do you argue with the Prophet (saw)?’ She said: ‘Yes’. I asked her, ‘Do you get angry and keep away from him until night falls?’ She said: ‘Yes’.

I said: ‘The one who does that is doomed to loss! Do you not fear the anger of Allah on account of the anger of his Prophet (sa)? Soon you will be condemned! Do not argue with the Messenger of Allah, and do not ask him for anything. Ask me for whatever you need.'”

Umar (rta) came to the Prophet (sa) and told him about the conversation he had with Hafsah (rta), and the Prophet (sa) just smiled. (Bukhari, Muslim, At-Tirmidhi, Nasai)

Conversations between the Prophet (sa) and his wives should not be assessed as that of a prophet and his wife, but as between a man and his wife; after all they were human beings.

Good Humour

Narrating an incident, Aisha (rta) said: “I came to the Prophet (sa) with some Harirah (a dish made with flour and milk) that I had cooked for him, and told Sawdah (rta) (Prophet’s saw other wife) – as the Prophet (sa) was sitting between me and her – “Eat.” She refused; so, I said: “Either you eat or I will fill your face!” She still refused, so I put my hand in the Harirah and dubbed her face with it. The Prophet (sa) laughed, put some Harirah in her hand and told her: “Do the same to her!” In another report: He lowered his knee (moved out of the way) so that she could get even with me, then she took some and wiped my face with it, and the Prophet (sa) smiled. (Al-Haythami 4/316, Al-Muntakhab 4/393, Kanz al ummal 7/302).

Once, Aisha (rta) was talking very boldly with the Prophet (sa). Abu Bakar (rta) happened to come and he grew so angry at his daughter’s behaviour that he wanted to beat her but the Prophet (sa) prevented him. After Abu Bakar (rta) had left, he remarked, “See, how I save you.” (Abu Dawood)


Prophet Muhammad (sa) never demanded or bothered his family members. In spite of a challenging and time-consuming mission he managed to run many of his own errands. His wives reported that he would often sew his torn clothes, repair his worn out shoes, milk his goat. (Ahmad)

Fairness and Steadfastness

Prophet (sa) was easy going in other matters, but was very firm in the matters of religion. Once during the course of conversation, Aisha (rta) described a woman as short. The Prophet (sa) interrupted her and said that this amounted to back biting. (Masnad Ahmad)

Sense of Justice

Aisha (rta) stated,” Allah’s Messenger (sa) used to divide his time equally amongst us and would pray, ‘O, Allah, this is my division in what I posses, so please do not hold me to blame for the division (of affection) which only you control.'” (Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah, and At-Tirmidhi)

In another statement Aisha (rta) related that when Allah’s Messenger (sa) was ill he called all his wives and said: “Verily I am no longer able to visit all of you, so, if you do not mind that I remain with Aisha, please allow me to do so.” (Abu Dawood).

Allah says in the Quran: “Men are in charge of women by (right of) what (qualities) Allah has given one over the other and what they spend for maintenance from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard…” (An-Nisa 4:34)

This position of Qawwam (maintenance) means the man is completely responsible for his wife. It is indeed a difficult one. But every Muslim can find a solution to all challenges of his marital life from our beloved Prophet’s (sa) own exemplary role as a husband.

Beautiful Names

Beautiful namesAl-Khaliq – The Creator

Al-Khaliq appears 8 times in the Quran. This name has a root word Khalaqa, which means to create. It also refers to measuring and proportioning.

An apt example of Allah’s Power is mentioned when Allah is reminding Isa (as) of His favours upon him: “…who you designed from clay [what was] like a form of a bird with My permission…” (Al-Maidah 5:110)

Referring to the basis of life, Allah reminds us in the Quran: “Is it you who created it or are We the Creator?” (Al-Waqi’ah 56:59)

He also states: “He has created everything, and has measured it exactly according to its due measure.” (Al-Furqan 25:2)

A person should recognize his insignificance before the Creator, knowing the One who can create is also the One who will question one day. This attribute should also apprise the feeling of gratitude in a person realizing what a wonderful world and its inhabitants Allah has created for him. The slightest bit of imbalance in the galaxy alone can lead everything to its doom. But Allah’s Creation is perfect and controlled. He has not only created but set everything in its place too till an appointed time.

Al-Bari – The Evolver / The Maker

It means to create without previous example. It refers to inventing and bringing into existence what He has created and measured. The root word for Al-Bari is Bara’a. Allah creates everything from nothing and creates all things with the knowledge of what will happen to them.

Despite revolutionary advancements in science and research today man has still not been able to create life from nothing. To initiate the process of building life man is still dependent on a living cell. Al- Bari, the Evolver, created that cell. Genetic engineers are still clueless about this miracle. Another theory that is blatantly proved incorrect is the Darwin’s theory, which propagates how lifeless chemical compounds came together to create life.

Allah states: “He is Allah, the Creator, The Evolver- The Bestower of Forms. To him belong Al-Asma Ul Husna (the best names)…” (Al-Hashr 59:24)

Al-Mussawwir – The Bestower of Forms / The Fashioner

It comes from the word Sawwarah- To fashion, to give something a shape or appearance. Allah is the one, who designs all things and gives them their shape and form. Al-Mussawwir has been mentioned in the Quran 4 times.

Quran states: “Allah, it is He who has made for you the earth as a dwelling place and the sky as a canopy, and has given you shade and made your shapes good (looking) and has provided you with good things…” (Ghafir 40:64)

This is an incredibly important Ayah. For all of us who criticize and marvel at others’ looks must realize, whose creation are we challenging? Allah has declared that the form and appearance He gave us is the best according to Him. Why then do we belittle faces? Is it not equivalent to disgracing Al-Mussawwir’s creativity? Truthfully there is great wisdom and beauty in the tiniest creature like an insect right up to the huge mountains Allah formed.

He is Allah, Al-Khaliq, Al-Bari, Al-Mussawwir. If Allah wills something, He merely says to it ‘be’ and it comes into existence.

Beautiful Names

Vol 2 -Issue 4     Beautiful names“And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them…” (Surah Al-Araaf 7:180)  Dr.Sadaf Shiekh and Umm Saad re-discover the Majesty of the Creator’s names.

1. Ar-Rahmaan: The Compassionate

The term Rahmaan comes from the Arabic word Rahmah. This name is exclusively for Allah, which encompasses every type of mercy that Allah has. Rahmah means tenderness, which makes one show kindness to others. Thus, Ar-Rahmaan means that Allah has much mercy and love for His creation.

“And He gave you of all that you asked for and if you count the Blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them…” (Ibrahim 14:34)

“And whatever of blessings and good things you have, it is from Allah…” (Al-Nahl 16:53)

Since Allah has bestowed so much from the time when man was a drop of fluid in his mother’s womb till the time he dies, he should feel embarrassed to disobey Him. Another aspect of this name can be understood by the following Hadeeth, “Allah the Exhalted said, I am Ar-Rahman. I created the Rahm (womb, family relations) and derived a name for it from my name. Hence whoever keeps it, I will keep ties with him. And who ever severs it I will severe ties with him.” (Tuhfat Al – Ahwadhi 6:33)

2. Ar-Raheem: The Merciful

This is also derived from the word Rahma. But the difference is that Allah is Ar-Rahman to His creations but Ar-Raheem to the believers only. “And He is ever Raheem (merciful) to the believers.” (No reference of ayah)

Ar-Raheem is less general and softer than Ar-Rahman. Mercy is the patience and forgiveness that Allah holds for us and which flows from Him to all His creation, protecting them, preserving them, guiding them, and leading them to goodness. The Mercy of Allah is for everyone, while His justice and punishment are kept for those who turn away from the goodness. The benefits that we receive from others are because of Allah’s mercy to them and us. Allah says, “…My mercy embraces all things…” (Al-A’raf 7:156)

Allah has also described others by this name, “Verily there has come to you a Messenger from amongst yourself. It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He (Muhammad sa) is anxious over you, for the believers he (sa) is kind and Raheem.” (At-Taubah 9:128)

A true Momin considers how generous and compassionate Allah has been to him in all of his affairs. To achieve more of that mercy, he humbles himself to Allah with sincere humility, supplications, best of speech and good deeds.

3. As-Samad: The Independent

This is one of the greatest names of Allah. Allah mentions this name in Surah Al-Ikhlas, which is equivalent to a third of the Quran. Al A’mash reported from Shaqiq who said that Abu Wail said, “As Samad is the master whose control is complete.” (Al Tabari 24:692)

Ikrimah reported that Ibn Abbas said, “That Allah As-Samad means the one Who all of the creation depends upon for their needs and their requests.” Ali bin Talhah (rta) reported from Ibn Abbas (rta),  “He is the Master Who is perfect in His sovereignty, the Most Noble Who is perfect in His nobility, the Most Magnificent Who is perfect in His magnificence, the Most Forbearing Who is perfect in his knowledge, and the Most Wise Who is perfect in his wisdom. He is the One who is perfect in all aspects of nobility and authority. He is Allah, glory be unto Him. These attributes are not befitting anyone other than Him. He has no co-equal and nothing is like Him. Glory be to Allah, the One Irresistible.” (Al Tabari 24:692)

Know Your Creator

Esm-Allah-00“The most beautiful names belong to Allah: so call on Him by them, but shun those who deviate regarding His names for they will be punished for what they do” (Al.Araaf 7: 180)

Dr. Sadaf Shiekh and Umm Saad attempt to describe the Majesty of the Creator

A Hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurairah (rta) states: “Allah has ninety-nine names, i.e., one hundred minus one, and whoever believes in their meanings and acts accordingly, will enter Paradise. And Allah is Witr (one) and He loves Witr (odd numbers).” (Bukhari)

Principles followed regarding the Names of Allah (swt)

Al-Qurtubi’s opinion about the Names of Allah (swt)

This famous Islamic scholar has divided the names into four categories on the basis of their inferences:

a. Those which refer to Allah’s (swt) essence e.g. Ar-Rahman, Al-Jalalah.

b. Those which refer to Allah’s (swt) characteristics inseparable from His essence e.g. As-Sami, Al-Aleem.

c. Those which refer to an act attributed to Him e.g. Al-Khaliq, Ar-Razzaq.

d. Those which refer to the negation of something from Him e.g. Al-Quddoos, Al-Ala.

Calling on Allah (swt) is an Ibadah (worship). This should be done according to the Sunnah e.g. Allah (swt) has a name called As-Salam (The one free from defects). After the prayers, Prophet Muhammad (sa) would say:

“Oh Allah you are As-Salam and from you is all peace, blessed are You, Oh Possessor of Majesty and Honour.” (Muslim)

Ibn Al-Qayyim’s opinion about the Names of Allah (swt)

“The reasons which cause Mahabbah (love) of Allah (swt) to develop, are ten out of which the fifth one is: ‘Contemplating and deliberating over the Names and Attributes of Allah’.”

As for the last part of the ayah: “But shun those who deviate regarding His names for they will be punished for what they did,” scholars have many explanations. In general it means one should act according to the names, understand their meaning and believe in them.

Ibn Battal’s opinion about the Names of Allah (swt)

a. Those suitable for following should be adapted.

b. Those restricted to Allah (swt) should be avoided and confirmed humbly to Allah (swt) alone.

c. Those containing promise should produce hope.

d. Those containing warning should produce fear.

His Foremost Name ‘Allah (swt)’

Allah (swt) is Al-Ism Al-Azam: It is The Greatest Name, which contains the divine and beautiful attributes, and is the sign of the essence and the cause of all existence. Allah (swt) does not resemble, in any way, any of His creation. Allah (swt) is only Allah’s (swt) name. Nothing else can in any way assume this name nor share it

“Do you know anyone who is His namesake?” (Maryam 19:65)

Allah and His Attributes: In several ayahs where Allah (swt) has mentioned His attributes, He has started of by calling Himself Allah (swt) and then went on to mention His attributes. e.g Ayat Al-Kursi (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:255) or in (Hashr 22:23). He begins with “He is Allah…” and then goes on to mention His attributes.

Allah (swt) is the most appropriate term: No other term can be more suitable than ‘Allah (swt)’ to describe The Creator and the Sustainer. The title Allah (swt) is complete, and any other name will be a poor substitute. It is the ideal name for God. All other titles, including Rabb, are attributes or names of God.

Each object in the universe manifests some power of Allah (swt): His Joy or His Anger, His Love or His Magnificence flow through these objects. That is why, when we look at this world we see beauty, grandeur, sublimity, strength, the power of joy or destruction manifested in it. Accordingly, we are attracted or repelled by things and happenings.

Allah (swt) wants to be worshipped: Allah (swt) does not desire anything from His creation except that He is worshipped. But Allah (swt) cannot be worshipped unless one learns to know Him, and He cannot be known except if He is remembered. Allah (swt) Himself has made this road easy.

“Verily, I am Allah! La Ilaha Illa Ana (none has the right to be worshipped but I), so worship Me, and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-As-Salat) for My Remembrance.” (Ta-Ha 20: 14)