Where is Usama (rtam)?


At the age of seventeen years, young Usama bin Zaid (rtam) heads an army under the newly-formed caliphate of Abu Bakr Siddiq (rtam). He was appointed by none other than the beloved Prophet (sa) while he was alive. Usama (rtam) rises to the occasion, leading much more experienced (and perhaps more pious) stalwarts in his army and successfully combats the enemy. How long has it been since we have heard of feats of leadership like that? Given today’s wondrous technology, opportunities, exposure to the world, and efforts in education, why don’t we see any Usama bin Zaid (rtam) amongst us?

My humble experience tells me that our Usamas are being raised with a different vision, and I am deeply concerned. I see their roles being reduced to that of insecure followers. They are not Iqbal’s Shaheens anymore. They are just one of the flock, and they are not trained to soar the skies. And the tragedy of it all is that they consider this to be their freedom: traversing territory already charted out for them, at times by their parents, at times by their desires, and many times by the society at large. Chances are that the higher your education level is, the more cowardly you will turn out to be because that is what the present educational system demands. It does not want free-thinking souls, liberated by their subservience to Allah (swt) alone.

To read the rest of this article and more, subscribe to Hiba Magazine

Muslim Youth: Active, Aware, and Able

Muslim youth

Youth: a word that carries a thousand different connotations. It is a word that reminds us of strength, change, and potential.

Everyone is well-aware of the value of youth and its significance in a society. They are in that period of life when they believe almost anything is possible. The youth hold the power to change the world because they will be the leaders tomorrow.

The youth are full of dreams and desires, and they possess enough physical strength and will power to actively struggle through the process of achieving great things.

Benjamin Disraeli once said: “Almost everything great has been done by the youth.”

The youth of today are presented with much better life opportunities than their parents. We live in a world that preaches the message of meritocracy. You can get anywhere you want, anywhere you aspire to, if you try hard enough. This, in itself, is inspiration enough.

In Islam, great value is placed upon our youth. The Prophet (sa) is reported to have said: “The feet of the son of Adam shall not move from before his Lord on the Day of Judgement until he is asked about five things: how he lived his life, how he utilized his youth, with what means he earned his wealth, how he spent his wealth, and what he did with his knowledge.” (Tirmidhi)

One cannot even hope to bring about a change in the world and most importantly, in the thinking of others, without any knowledge of how the world works. Education plays a vital role in understanding the ways of the world. Only when we identify the problems can we go about addressing them.

To read the rest of this article, and more, subscribe to Hiba Magazine.

Interview with Ustadh Kashif Naseem Dilkusha

azan-logoKashif Naseem Dilkusha is the founding member, lead instructor and project head of Azan. His passion for teaching is evident in his energetic approach and engaging style. He also heads an NGO, Mushkeeza, and is a valuable member of his family business setup. At present, Usdath Kashif is involved in various Dawah projects and activities held in Karachi, some of which include- LiveDeen and the delivery of Friday Khutbahs and lectures at numerous Masajid and other religious social gatherings. His articles have been published on MuslimMatters.org

1.      What is it about Islam that attracts a young man or woman today?

Islam is not only about faith; it is a complete and comprehensive way of life leading to a balanced way of living. Islam is a comprehensive system for all life affairs and human behaviour.

Youth is the prime time of your life; it is very precious to Allah (swt). Islam specifically addresses the youth, urging them to make the best use of this valuable period of their life.

Allah (swt) promises extra reward for the youth, if they are sincerely devoted to Islam. For example, the Prophet (sa) said that on the Day of Judgement, there will be seven types of people to whom Allah (swt) will give shade. As we all know, on the Day of Judgement, there will be no shade except for Allah’s (swt) shade. From amongst the seven groups who will have shade on that Day? One group is of those who spent their youth in the worship of Allah (swt). (Bukhari)

Islam puts a lot of significance on the grooming of our youth.

A few features that attract the youth of today to Islam are:

  1. The hope Islam gives.
  2. The fact that Islam is a permissive Faith. It allows us to have fun within some parameters.
  3. The fact that that there is no hierarchy. The care and concern for and the promotion of human rights, the importance of delivering justice to all. The upholding of the rights of the oppressed.
  4. This point is especially for the young Muslimahs of today. Women in Islam have a very special place, status and dignity that was unknown to humanity before the advent of Islam.

2.      Do you consider Muslim youth confused about their identity and future?

Yes, I think the Muslim youth is confused. The reason behind this confusion is the absence of Islamic material in our educational curriculum and false depiction of Islamic teachings. In addition to that, there are no specific activities from Dawah organizations to cater to the youth and bring them back to Islam. We need to encourage the youth to see Islam in a positive light and not as a burden, as it is often portrayed. Currently, no or very few organizations address the diverse and complex needs of the Muslim youth.

We need to encourage the youth to see Islam in a positive light and not as a burden, as it is often portrayed.

3.      Which qualities of our youth make you hopeful that, if they mend their ways and get connected to the Creator, our Ummah will improve?

Youth is the most energetic stage of life, worthy to make the best use of and a time to strive towards excellence. Youngsters are full of energy and passion. Their road is paved with hope, persistence and enlightened thinking. Indeed, it is a period of productivity. Muslim youth must be aware of the importance and value of their lives. To achieve the best outcome, they should be directed towards the right path. The age of adolescence is a very sensitive period that requires caring, reinforcement of good guidance to Allah’s (swt) way and good ethics.

We should teach our youngsters about Islamic history, which has a myriad of examples of great Muslim youth who were luminaries of humanity. Young people gathered around Prophet Muhammad (sa) to carry his call of Islam forward. To name a few, Zaid bin Thabet (rta), who collected the whole text of the Holy Quran, and Musab bin Umair (rta), who was the first ambassador in Islam. He was asked by Prophet Muhammad (sa) to go to Madinah to teach the Quran; through him and his teachings the people of Madinah converted to Islam. This young prince of Makkah sacrificed every luxury of the world when he embraced Islam, only for Allah (swt) and His Messenger Muhammad (sa).

The biography of Muhammad Bin Qasim should be part of our curriculum. We should teach to our youth, how he conquered Sindh and governed it in such a manner that even the non-Muslims wanted him to stay with them instead of moving on.

We should teach our youngsters about Islamic history, which has a myriad of examples of great Muslim youth who were luminaries of humanity.

They should be taught about Aisha (rta), a young woman, who was an extremely accomplished young woman and who fulfilled all her responsibilities as a wife as well. Teach them about the bravery of Asma (rta) and the firm faith of Sumayyah (rta) who gave her life for the truth.

If our youth connects to the Deen and make the Prophets (sa) their companions and the rightly guided people as their true role models, the affairs of our Ummah will definitely change positively.

4.      What is the best way for elders to treat the young? There seems to be much mistrust between them and the elders often don’t treat the youth with respect.

Elders must be open with them, listen to them and learn to do some of ‘their stuff’. They should accept that times have changed, and thus, the youth should be nurtured and groomed according to the standards of this time, not the past times that the elders experienced. One of the most effective mental exercises that a parent, teacher or youth mentor can undertake in order to enhance their empathy and compassion towards youngsters is to allow themselves to see things from the perspective of the youth.

5.      As a family, what is the positive role that parents must play in the lives of the youth?

Be a role model for them. Be proactive. Don’t just sit back and leave everything to the school and Maulvi sahib to teach them. Always remember: children listen with their eyes and not with their ears. So watch your life. Be the change you wish to see! Parents should keep a critical eye on their own behaviour and personal conduct.

6.      What advice would you give to the young and spirited?

Always be in the company of pious people who remind you of Allah (swt) and the Day of Judgement. If you have good company, you will be prosperous in your life.

In Surah Al Furqan, Allah (swt) says, “And (remember) the Day when the Zalim (wrong-doer, oppressor, polytheist, etc.) will bite at his hands, he will say: “Oh! Would that I had taken a path with the Messenger (Muhammad (sa)). Ah! Woe to me! Would that I had never taken so-and-so as a friend! He indeed led me astray from the Reminder (this Qur’an) after it had come to me. And Shaytan (Satan) is ever a deserter to man in the hour of need.” ” (Al-Furqan 25: 27-29)

Be proactive. Don’t just sit back and leave everything to the school and Maulvi sahib to teach them.

The Prophet (sa) reminds us of the importance of good company in the following Hadeeth: “A good friend and a bad friend are like a perfume-seller and a blacksmith: The perfume-seller might give you some perfume as a gift, or you might buy some from him, or at least you might smell its fragrance. As for the blacksmith, he might singe your clothes, and at the very least, you will breathe in the fumes of the furnace.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

I believe that companionship is the most important thing after Iman. If they have good companionship, all the other good things will automatically be part of their personality.

Youngsters, nowadays, have all the fundamental elements of success and excellence. Schools, colleges, universities, cultural and scientific centers strive to offer the best education. They have the potential to play an important role in the advancement of Islam. The period of adolescence is a very important period in a Muslim’s life. If spent the right way, a person’s youth will not only benefit him, but others as well. They must realize their value and importance for the fate of the Ummah lies in their hands.

May Allah (swt) guide and protect us all on the Day of Judgement. Ameen.

Lead by Faith

11 lead by faithThe youth of the twenty-first century has been deeply affected by the social and political turmoil it has witnessed. Every day is a struggle, and in troubled times, passionate hearts and energized minds look for ideals onto which they can cast their mortal selves. So prevalent and severe are the conflicts that the moral compasses of the youth are shaken – in their fear and confusion, they have drifted away from the righteous path set out by all major religions of this day and age. Lessons of tolerance, compassion, sacrifice, brotherhood, and peace have all been shelved away, only to be replaced by the existing prejudices, violence, discrimination, and bigotry. Unless heroes of the past and stories from childhood are revived, our world would face an unprecedented existential threat.

Daring and hopeful about their future, the youth are in need of guidance, which only various institutions working together can provide. These institutions, provided they function relentlessly, can give rise to agents of change.

Home – Every child’s first school

The family provides the very first training. Only the child’s family is aware of his weaknesses and vulnerabilities. This knowledge allows the family to protect the child from the “big, bad world outside” and becomes a vital source of encouragement when the child opts to be good, displays acts of kindness, and fulfils religious duties. It is this household environment that moulds the reaction and interpretation of the youth, clarifying for him what is wrong and what is right, while stressing on the importance to choose what is right over what is easy. Parents provide their offspring with solid ground to stand on, and in giving them love, they indirectly guide their children towards what they consider to be right, that is, the values they themselves hold as important.

To read the rest of this article and more, subscribe to Hiba Magazine

Pearls of Peace: An extract from Surah Kahf

surah_kahhfA journey for Allah (swt) – an inspiring story!

This Surah begins with the mention of some youth who lived under a tyrant leader. Because of their community’s deviance from the right path, the youth decided to leave them and sought refuge in a cave. Fearing their community and feeling lost, they prayed to Allah (swt), “(Remember) when the young men fled for refuge (from their disbelieving folk) to the Cave, they said: Our Lord! Bestow on us mercy from Yourself, and facilitate for us our affair in the right way!” (Al-Kahf 18:10)

And Allah (swt) answered their prayer and protected them by making them sleep for several years. One reason for losing one’s peace is being in the wrong company. We see people around us indulging in such acts that are contrary to the Quran and Sunnah, and we don’t see a way out for ourselves. In such moments, we should remind ourselves the story of these strong young men. They migrated for the sake of Allah (swt). Their migration was not for any worldly need, but to protect their Iman.

See no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil

This is a powerful statement! Another stirring statement is: garbage in, garbage out. Our brains have the ability to instantly process everything that we come across. If we read or watch filth; that is what is going to come out of our mouth. We will no more be conscious of what words we are uttering or what actions we are doing. Consider for example, you pass by a Masjid and you see people entering in flocks. You have an urge to follow them. You enter the Masjid and you are spiritually uplifted. Now you are with your friends. They offer you a glass of alcohol and you refuse it. They insist you to have a sip. You refuse but they push you. You give in and take a sip. You begin enjoying your drink. What happens next? You are addicted.

A sincere advice

Change your company and reform yourself. Protect your eyes, mouth and ears. Avoid juicy stories and vice. This is why our Prophet (sa) taught us to ask Allah (swt) for beneficial knowledge and protection of our eyes and ears. The youth discussed in Surah Al-Kahf did not just distance themselves from the wrongdoing people but also made Dua. Never leave Dua. It is your connection with Allah (swt) via which you can ask Him for goodness.

It is a mercy of Allah (swt) that He has informed man of both, the truth and the falsehood. Mankind has been given a choice to follow whatever they desire, “And say: The truth is from your Lord. Then whosoever wills, let him believe, and whosoever wills, let him disbelieve.” (Al-Kahf 18:29) Beware these choices have consequences, “Verily, We have prepared for the Zalimun; a Fire whose walls will be surrounding them (disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah). And if they ask for help (relief, water, etc.) they will be granted water like boiling oil that will scald their faces. Terrible the drink, and an evil Murtafaqa (dwelling, resting place, etc.)!” (Al-Kahf 18:29)

Repentance – a way out!

While one is free to pick his path, he is not free to escape the punishment. Every action of man is being recorded in a book, “And the record [of deeds] will be placed [open], and you will see the criminals fearful of that within it, and they will say, ‘Oh, woe to us! What is this book that leaves nothing small or great except that it has enumerated it?’ And they will find what they did present [before them]. And your Lord does injustice to no one.” (Al-Kahf 18:49) To save oneself from such an end, one must hasten to seek repentance. Because sincere repentance is the only thing that can wipe out our bad deeds. When you have shed sincere tears of repentance, compete to increase your good deeds. Don’t waste time; because we will be in need of a lot good deeds in the Hereafter. May Allah (swt) bless us with steadfastness in our repentance. Ameen.

How merciful is Allah (swt)?

Not only does Allah (swt) make us aware of the right and the wrong, but He is also willing to forgive our wrongdoings; if we turn to Him. Sadly how ungrateful is man- forever complaining and quarrelling, “And indeed We have put forth every kind of example in this Quran, for mankind. But, man is ever more quarrelsome than anything.” (Al-Kahf 18:54) We argue over Allah’s (swt) commands and Prophet’s (sa) tradition; showing disrespect and ingratitude to both of them. We should immediately surrender to the commands of Allah (swt) as soon as we learn about them.

Are we unintentionally ignoring Allah (swt)?

Allah (swt) tells us to come to the right path. But we turn away. “And who does more wrong than he who is reminded of the Ayat of his Lord, but turns away from them forgetting what (deeds) his hands have sent forth. Truly, We have set veils over their hearts lest they should understand this (the Quran), and in their ears, deafness. And if you (O Muhammad (sa)) call them to guidance, even then they will never be guided.” (Al-Kahf 18:57)

When a person chooses to ignore Allah (swt), then Allah (swt) too is not interested in guiding such a person. On the contrary, the one who loves Allah (swt); He opens his heart to comprehend the beneficial knowledge. Today, when one learns of a football match in his city or perhaps a lawn launch; we leave every other worldly task and run to be the first ones to stand in queue. But when call for prayer is given from the mosque and we are promised a greater reward for standing in the first row with the angels; we sit back and turn our attention to something else. How ungrateful man really is! May Allah (swt) make us of those who run towards doing good. May He not make us of those whose hearts have been sealed. Ameen.

Who is your child’s superhero?

Another sad reality is that our children, as young as seven and eight years old, know the names of the entire football or cricket team; but they don’t know the names of the Prophets and their Companions. These were the people who strove with their life and wealth to spread and protect Allah’s (swt) religion. These were the people who were given the glad tiding of Paradise, and we are not interested in learning about them.

A scary reminder!

Allah (swt) says, “Say (O Muhammad (sa)): Shall We tell you the greatest losers in respect of (their) deeds? Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds!” (Al-Kahf 18:103-104) What a scary reminder! The efforts of such a person are limited to the worldly life only and he has no concern for the Hereafter. When you invite such people to study Quran, learn one verse or a Dua, they come up with countless unnecessary tasks of this world.

While the game is on, we are at loss!

Whose loss will it be if we turn away from Allah (swt)? How many hours does a man spend at his job to get a salary at the end of the month? On average, we spend at least eight hours at work weekly. Then we get our pay cheque. We work approximately for 208 hours in a month like slaves to get that cheque. Allah (swt) offers us much greater reward; not only in this world, but an eternal life of bliss in the Hereafter. Unfortunately, we are too lethargic when it comes to obligatory prayers. How many times have we woken for Fajr before the call for prayer is even given? And how many times have we woken up at 3 a.m. without hitting the snooze button when a football match is on? Those who do wake up, they wake up to get done with it. Let us commit to fall in love with our prayer because we love Allah (swt), and we seek His love and His mercy.

The way we have messed up our priorities, shows how confused we are about our purpose in life. Not only are we confused about our purpose in life; but our worship too. We have strayed away from the path of Muhammad (sa) and invented our own ways of worship; which were neither taught by the Prophet (sa) nor practiced by his Companions (ra). The proponents of innovations say, “Say (O Muhammad (sa)): I am only a man like you. It has been inspired to me that your Ilah (God) is One AIlah (God i.e. Allah). So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.” (Al-Kahf 18:110) Hold on to Quran and Sunnah and let not Shaytan deceive you.

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


Vol 6 - Issue 1 Labaik Allahuma Labaik“Here I am, O Allah! Here I am!” echoed in my heart, my mind and soul all in unison. For the first time in my life I experienced unadulterated rapture. I was off on the journey every Muslim dreams of making – to do all the things that billions of Muslims have performed solely for the sake of Allah (swt).

8th Dhul-Hijjah, 1429

I am at Mina. The Hajj experience cannot be described in words, and it must be experienced to be fully understood. For the first time in my life, I am tongue tied. There is no other place on earth, where one willingly shares a bed with 250 people and a bathroom with 700 strangers in the space that was my bedroom back home! The rigors of these three days will almost certainly destroy the body; however, strangely enough, the more tired and uncomfortable one gets, the more one’s soul is purified and strengthened.

I have left three kids behind solely to gain Allah’s (swt) pleasure. I have left my entire palette of experiences to be present under the open sky, where the Prophet (sa) once stood, once prayed, once slept and where his tears must have once fallen. Now, my tears fall here, repenting to Allah (swt) and asking for His mercy.

9th Dhul-Hijjah, 1429

The day of Arafat. The emotions are high and the time is so very short. How can I possibly repent, beg for mercy, ask for all that I want for myself, my family, friends, neighbours, people all over the world, weep for the sins I have committed, cry over the mistakes I have made, plead forgiveness for the promises I didn’t keep, supplicate and beseech Allah (swt) to grant me all that I desire?

I now know that ‘beautiful’ is a simple word, and that is just what Hajj is – simply beautiful and purifying. Not complicated, not intricate, just simple dos and don’ts and mostly tolerance and patience – valuable tools for life.

This was the valley, where the Prophet (sa) once cried to Allah (swt) for forgiveness, where he prayed for us, and where his heart belonged. I prayed my heart out. It is exhausting but only mentally. I walked from Arafat to Muzdalifah to spend the night under the open sky. This is a journey of sacrifices and fulfillment, of friendships where one would not expect, and of great pleasure in simple acts.

10th Dhul-Hijjah, 1429

What a splendid day! The elation of having put my mind and body through the severity, which cannot be imagined, voluntarily. Never in my life did I think that such physical fatigue and control over one’s desires and sacrifice would bring happiness. The tiredness of walking from Arafat to Muzdalifah, not sleeping but just absorbing Muzdalifah, walking to Mina, stoning the Satan, back to Makkah for the Tawaf e Ziarat and Sae’e and finally back to Mina – all in a day and a half has brought me peace of mind. What is this spirit that Allah (swt) has breathed into His creation? What is it that moves me to such heights of passion that I exert myself physically and mentally thus with only one purpose – to gain Allah’s (swt) pleasure! EID MUBARAK!

11th Dhul-Hijjah, 1429

Rami (stoning the devil) is such a simple concept, just like Islam, such a simple way of life. Why didn’t I realize this before? Islam asks so little and gives so much, only if we let go of all the trappings that have become our necessities. In Mina, I realized I didn’t need such a big house, only one sufficient enough to accommodate my family with love and tolerance. We don’t need two cars, just the two legs Allah (swt) has given us. I don’t need three kinds of food at every meal, just enough to feed my family.

Stoned the devil, cast him out but yet so many layers that I have to shed, before I reach the level of true submission. I have never slept so well or as soundly, as I did today.

This was my Hajj experience. Actually, this does not do justice to the overwhelming emotions, the unstoppable tears and the complete and utter calm that descends over you after completing Hajj. It is truly the ‘Journey of a Lifetime’! May Allah (swt) grant every Muslim the means and opportunity to experience it. Ameen.

Need for Meaningful Activities for Youth

runSixteen-year-old Ahmed has great inspiration and passion for writing stories, drawing cartoons and making landscape. “That’s what I love to do!” he says, while making a sketch of a village life. He expresses his feelings in form of art and story writing. He engages himself in such activities to make his life exciting and meaningful.

Meaningful activities are often done for enjoyment, pleasure and fun. Simultaneously, it is imperative that these leisure time activities must be meaningful and enjoyable. The scholars of Islam have emphasized the importance of lawful recreation to the healthy development of a person’s character. Al-Ghazali writes:

If the child is forbidden to engage in play and forced to spend his time in perpetual study, this will result in his heart dying, his intelligence waning and his manner of living becoming so wretched that he will seek from it any escape he can find.”

“After completing his bookwork, a child should be allowed to play in a nice manner, so that he can relax from the fatigue of his studies. His play should not tire him out. If the child is forbidden to engage in play and forced to spend his time in perpetual study, this will result in his heart dying, his intelligence waning and his manner of living becoming so wretched that he will seek from it any escape he can find.”

Our youth is lagging behind in knowledge, enterprise and productivity. Teenagers are not making fruitful use of their time – due to unproductive habits, they are suffering from such psychological disorders as anxiety, depression, insecurity, fear, anger and aggression. These anti- social behaviours compel a frustrated person either to commit suicide or engage in violent acts.  Furthermore, the increasing immorality and vulgarity of youth is pushing them towards anarchy and darkness.

The question is: how can a frustrated person relieve his stress? What kind of activities will facilitate mental and physical health and improving the quality of life?

Engaging in recreational activities not only helps in staying healthy but also relieves psychological stress and develops a bright and healthy personality.

Effective and Revitalizing Activities:

  • Morning walk and exercise help to relax, give a soothing effect to nerves and reduce stress. These are the best activities which refresh one’s senses and make one feel light again.
  • Good reading habits include reading newspapers, magazines and books. Reading an interesting book motivates a teenager to develop reading habit and enhances their learning and vocabulary.
  • Through writing articles, stories and diary entries, one can convey his emotions and sentiments.
  • Both indoor and outdoor games and sports, such as swimming, skating, cricket, football, hockey, volleyball, squash, tennis and badminton, help to maintain physical health as well as emotional and psychological stability of an individual.                      In the Sunnah, we see the companions of Prophet Muhammad (sa) participating in many different forms of activities. They engaged in such sports as running races, horse racing, wrestling and archery. They spent time in telling jokes and enjoyed lighthearted conversations. This helps to build up an active, positive personality and improve interpersonal relations.
  • Many teenagers are engaged in arts and crafts activities. Hobbies, such as drawing, sketching, painting, knitting, making artificial jewelry and other items from clay, are excellent for utilizing time effectively. Arts and crafts activities also enhance the self-confidence of a young person.
  • Teenagers in emotional distress should take an adult education class or a course at any institution. Participation in education classes motivates and inspires them to be optimistic and to adopt a positive way of thinking. These types of social gatherings give them opportunities to relieve stress and build new relationships.
  • Young people can engage in long and short term training for honing their skills. They will not only learn but also gain motivation for utilizing their skills.
  • Gardening has many benefits – it can ease stress for people, who have been diagnosed with depression and persistent low mood. Being surrounded by fresh flowers and plants helps in achieving peace of mind.

There is a dire need for young people to stop engaging in unproductive habits, which waste their time. Engaging in recreational activities not only helps in staying healthy but also relieves psychological stress and develops a bright and healthy personality.

[Infograph] Tips on Raising Tomorrow’s Leaders

The youth of today will be the leaders of the Ummah tomorrow. As parents, how can we ensure that our young ones are raised with the best Deen-inclined attributes that enables them to lead the Ummah tomorrow? Aneesah Satriya at Islamographic.com presents the following infograph. tips_leaders-web

Youth Club – Inspiring Positive Change

46Based in Islamabad and Lahore, Youth Club is an organization comprising self-driven young people in a quest to engage other youth in constructive activities. Raja Zia, Ameer of Youth Club, speaks to “Hiba” about this unique platform, enabling the youth to utilize their time, skills and energies in a positive direction.

1) When and how was Youth Club formed?

Youth Club was the brainchild of a group of very dedicated sisters (in Islam), who were committed to ‘inspire positive change’. Allah (swt) put a lot of Barakah in their efforts, and the club grew to become a non-profit organization, calling people towards the Deen of Allah (swt) and helping them find productive ways of utilizing their energies.

The core team of Youth Club includes people from well-educated backgrounds, having a wide range of expertise. They bring a lot of talent, flavour and energy to the organization, which is one of the reasons why it is easy for us to connect with the youth.

Currently, Youth Club has branches in two major cities: Islamabad and Lahore. Both teams manage various events and activities on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis to keep people engaged and craving for more!

2) What is your vision for Youth Club?

The Youth Club’s vision is to educate people: we aim to eradicate slavery to the creation and bringing people closer to their true purpose in life – to find peace and tranquility through submission to the will of their Creator (swt).

3) What were the initial challenges that you faced? How did you overcome them

We faced numerous challenges on both individual and organizational levels right at the onset of this project. We had to deal with friends, family members and relatives, who said this couldn’t be done, as well as with those who claimed that many ‘Maulvis’ had tried this before without much impact on society. Alhumdulillah, the individuals that make up the team have high resolve and constant focus on the objectives. By the mercy of Allah (swt), this has kept us going, come hail, come storm!

Then, there were challenges in terms of getting the team to gel together, to be on the same page and to realize the common goal and the enormity of the mission at hand. This was achieved through regular trainings and workshops, as well as collective participation in monthly events. And though there are some disagreements or differences at times, Youth Club still remains one big happy family that is expanding fast, much like an average Pakistani family!

But the battles are far from over. With the financial crunch still in our rear view mirror, some of the current challenges include maintaining a constant stream of funding for our various Dawah projects spread across Lahore and the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

4) Can you broadly categorize the activities you plan for the youth and describe the ways you execute them?

When we first started, our team was high on enthusiasm, yet often times lost sight of the ‘big picture’. Recently, however, we have had some major organizational changes, after an extensive series of workshops with an industry expert, helping us to define our role within society, our mission and our plan of action. This has led us to formulate the following areas:

  • Street Dawah

A select group of Youth Club brothers gather together (usually on Saturday nights), setting up Dawah stalls at popular commercial areas for discussing the Deen of Allah (swt) with public. This gives us an excellent opportunity to feel the pulse of the nation, remove any misconceptions, address prevailing issues and simply give good advice in light of the Quran and the Sunnah.

  • Workshops

A variety of workshops are conducted at regular intervals by experts, from time management and team building to purpose of life. The workshops typically come with interactive sessions, live broadcast, online quizzes and certificates upon successful completion.

  • Super Troopers

Youth Club is also doing Dawah for our young brothers and sisters in schools. Groups of three to four team members carry out fun, entertaining and interactive sessions for kids, helping them to understand and implement Islamic morals, manners and ethics, encouraging them to become better students and even better human beings!

  • Weekly Halaqahs

Various weekly Halaqahs (study circles), Quran Tafseer classes, etc., are held throughout the week for the general public.

  • Nashtas/Teas

Ever so often, the team has Nashta (breakfast) and tea meetings, where apart from engaging in our mutual love for fine cuisine, we get to know each other, benefit from righteous company and just develop that ‘o so beautiful’ feeling of love, respect and brotherhood. A much needed ingredient for that perfect teamwork recipe!

  • University/College Lectures

Some of our team members regularly tour colleges and universities, delivering lectures on subject relevant to the youth. So far, we have had an amazing response, and we find that more and more institutes are joining the bandwagon to invite our guest speakers over for a motivational session for their students.

  • Annual Conference/Tour

The highlight of all Youth Club’s activities is an annual conference or tour, which is usually conducted in the first quarter of the year – we invite to Pakistan renowned speakers from abroad and take them on a tour across various parts of the country. All this is done in an attempt to energize the youth and bring the timeless teachings of Islam back into their hearts.

Through such events, we have developed special strategic ties with the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) in the UK, resulting in an annual tour under the name of the “Winds of Change”, which has gained unprecedented popularity among the youth.

5) What has been the response? Do you require people to join the club formally or can they take part off and on in the activities?

By the mercy of Allah (swt), we are constantly receiving great feedback. People want to join and participate in the work that we do. For this we have designed membership forms that can be obtained and filled out online. A short-cut way of joining the team is that we give the opportunity to appropriately skilled people to join a project at hand on trial basis. Later, after considering a particular person’s trial performance, he or she may be moved into the core team.

6) Any plans for a Youth Club branch in Karachi?

Alhamdulillah, “Live Deen” is already doing a great job in Karachi. If we ever get enough manpower, we would love to have a team there as well and support them in their efforts. However, this can only happen once the working models have been fine-tuned in Islamabad and Lahore.

7) How can other brothers and sisters be a part of this? Can elder individuals volunteer their time or expertise as well?

People are welcome to help and support us in whatever way they can. Apart from the young, the young at heart will also do, Insha’Allah! We also advertise (usually via social media), if we need people for a particular assignment or task. So look out for that, too!

You can get in touch with Youth Club at:

Website: http://www.theyouthclub.org/

Email: info@theyouthclub.org

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/youthclub.pk

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/youthclubpk

Youth: Future of the Ummah

cover - youth - Jul 11

Compiled by Tooba Mumtaz

It definitely goes without saying that the Muslim youth of today will be the leaders of the Ummah tomorrow. This is a role for which they have to be formally groomed, by their families, educational institutes, and the society at large. Today, the sad reality is that the youth are “lost” – they lack direction and they definitely are in dire need of role models to emulate and leaders to follow. So, what can be done to improve the situation and channel the youth towards a positive future?

Hiba interviewed a few prominent personalities, who have worked with the youth in different fields. These individuals included:

1)      Salman Asif Siddiqui: Director, Educational Resource Development Centre (ERDC), Educationist and Parent Counsellor.

2)      Amina Murad: Administrator, Star Links School and author of award-winning Flowers of Islam publications.

3)      Shujja-uddin Shaikh: Academic Director, Quran Academy.

4)      Saulat Pervez: teacher at Generations’ School, content researcher, and writer.

5)      Sumaira Dada: ex-teacher and writer.

The aforementioned individuals gave their valued input on three aspects:

Top three success strategies for working with the youth in order to motivate them to be the leaders of tomorrow

Salman Asif Siddiqui

1)      Respect the youth and nourish their confidence, self esteem and trust.

2)      Educate them about the culturally-rich history of Muslim leaders who were pioneers of the Islamic history/society. Tell them their success stories in the different fields of life.

3)      Thirdly, there should broaden their vision and keep the global perspective of humanity in mind, while being loyal to their regional identities. We want to produce world leaders.

Amina Murad

Act upon what you say

The youth need good contemporary role models to emulate. Be one of them: a sound practicing Muslim and follower of the Prophet (sa). Be a leader at home and in the community.

Communicate vision

Telling is not communication. Be visionary and give them a vision. Be their friend and show them ways of achieving their goal, despite the setbacks. Provide positive feedback to motivate them instead of continuous criticism. Help them focus by removing time wasters that sap their energy. Youth should be taught to find their special talent, develop it, and channelize their energy in that direction.

Involve them and channelize their energy

Muslim youth have fewer opportunities to channelize their energies. Authentic work experience and involvement in schools, colleges and family and community services will channelize their energies. Positive involvement will help them unleash their potential and help them gain confidence to work towards their vision. Their blurred vision of a glamorous world will be shattered and the harsh realities will excite them to share their resources with others. Leadership will thus follow.

Shujja-uddin Sheikh

First of all, we should clearly define success. It is crystal clear from the Quran and Sunnah that the ultimate success is that of the hereafter. As such, I propose the following strategies:

  1. Try to inculcate real faith (through company of pious people and teachings of Quran and Sunnah), as faith is the fundamental motivating force for good deeds.
  2. Get authentic knowledge of what is Halal and what is Haram (through the teachings of Quran and Sunnah); we cannot move forward towards success unless we know the right path ourselves.
  3. Keep in view the life of the Prophet (sa) – according to the Quran, his role model is the best, followed by the Companions of the Prophet (sa).

Saulat Pervez

  1. Keep the communication lines open — instead of micromanaging the youth, have a trust relationship where they can come to you to discuss any problem.
  2. Educate them not only in the traditional intellectual subjects, but also in emotional, mental, and social areas so that not only are their SAT scores or O Level results high, they can also learn to empathize, to exercise self-control, and be civic-minded.
  3. Raise them to not only be good Muslims – but to be good humans and understand that the only way you can be a good Muslim, is to be a good human first and foremost.

Sumaira Dada

  1. Trust them: Our youth is constantly kept under check via a strategy of do’s and don’ts till they rebel. We need to realize that after giving them a guideline on the do’s and don’ts that Allah (swt) has laid down for us; we need to trust them to follow that guideline.
  2. Convey the message that the Muslim heroes of yesterday are as relevant for us today as they were then: The Umar and Uthman (rta) of the golden Islamic age are not just paragraphs in books on Islamic history; rather they have been real people who led a balanced life in this world. We need to make our youth realise this so that they stop looking for heroes in un-Islamic cultures.
  3. Channelize their talent in a way that Allah (swt) approves of. We need to guide them to the right kind of friends who will support them in their endeavour.

What are the top three issues facing the youth of today and how do you suggest they deal with them?

Salman Asif Siddiqui

In Pakistan, specifically, the identity crisis is the main issue which has developed in our youth. They have lost confidence in being recognized as Pakistanis and as Muslims. The only option is ‘escape’ from their country and religion. To change this mentality, we need to develop institutions confidence is restored in one’s identity.

Another issue is lack of emotional confidence; the youth has no personal opinion. It’s so easy for them to be moulded by others and react. To deal with it, the thought process needs a radical shift from extremism to a balanced state of mentality. Finally, the youth of the Ummah need to develop native language skills.

Amina Murad

Communication revolution

We need to educate the youth about the communication revolution and have one-to-one conversation as parents and teachers. Without any guidance, technology has become a giant monster; information is equated with knowledge and knowledge with wisdom. Communication revolution can revolutionize the fate of the Ummah if our adults and youth are educated to use it for acquisition of knowledge and dawah purposes.

Freedom from religion

In today’s secular environment, freedom of expression is an attempt to have freedom from religion. The youth are confused. Constant hammering of slogans of freedom to choose their lifestyle is redefining their conceptual framework. The youth need to develop love and relationship with Allah (swt) and Muhammad (sa) as role models with a sound knowledge base.

Bad companionship

All issues are linked with bad companionship; be it media or society. One’s relationship with the Qur’an and its lessons should be stronger than the relation with Facebook and its communities. Without guidance, the blitz of technology leads to self-love and narcissism: the personality trait of egotism, vanity, conceit, or simple selfishness. Sponsoring events that allow the youth to meet like-minded friends, interact with multi-generational society and provide Halal fun and entertainment and remember Allah (swt) is a practical way to deviate them from Haram fun all around.

Shujja-uddin Sheikh

Lack of direction and supervision

For this, pious people (practicing Muslims) should be contacted who are sincere and willing to help.

Domination of western thoughts and isms

For this, our past history, where we were the leaders, should be revisited through books as well as a study of Muslim thinkers and philosophers, who contributed to human thoughts and civilization.

Limited concept of Deen

For this, they should go back to the original sources of Islamic knowledge (the Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet (swt)). Furthermore, it should be noted that unless we have a comprehensive concept of Deen, the non-issues would remain the issues and sectarianism will prevail in the society.

Saulat Pervez

Frustration with family and other authoritative figures in their lives

Be patient and understand that no person is truly one-dimensional. If you feel someone is always finding fault in you, stay cool and don’t label him/her. Try to talk to them logically and explain to them your side of the story; be ready to listen to their side, too. Reach a solution together.

Over-reliance on friends

Your friends are important, but do understand that just because they are ready to embrace you just the way you are, with no demands whatsoever, doesn’t mean that it’s always a good thing. Having someone older, wiser and more experienced as a guide post, who can distill all those “brilliant” ideas and plans, is truly essential in this age. Ideally, this person should be a parent.

Too plugged

I know it’s cool to log into your Facebook account on your Iphones and have wires sticking out of your ears all the time, but too often, we are exchanging real, purposeful experiences for virtual, meaningless encounters. Find a healthy balance between staying connected with those who really matter, listening to content which is truly inspiring and having social experiences which really challenge you to learn to live with people despite the differences.

Sumaira Dada

1)      Lack of heroes to look up to

2)      A strong influence of largely un-Islamic culture.

3)      Lack of opportunities to release energy and utilize talents.

What behavioural characteristics do the youth need to instill during the primary stages?

Salman Asif Siddiqui

The youth needs to realize the purpose of their life which has been defined by the Quran and Sunnah. They should have positive goals in their lives. Our youth is mainly inspired by Western ideals and beliefs. The west promotes ‘emotional intelligence’ which is being clever, however, the Islamic paradigm is ‘Tazkiya-e-Nafs’. The West works on cost-benefit analysis, whereas Islam teaches us ‘emotional well-being’. To teach these differences, parents must be trained to act as mentors on the divine principle of ‘falah’.

Amina Murad

Nurture their real nature

An Islamic personality should be our Fitrah. In the polluted environment, our Fitrah is suppressed and little priority is given to the remembrance of Allah (swt). The most beautiful ninety-nine names of Allah (swt) should be made the benchmark for all the characteristics taught.

Time management

Value of time means valuing life and self. Parents and teachers should help young children limit every activity and realize that it’s Satan who makes us lose track of our goals and waste our life. Set a routine and discipline from a very early age. From Salah to sports, from giving time to parents to people around them, all activities should nurture individuality which makes each human being a very independent and special entity in this world.

Creative thinking

With unlimited opportunities, creative thinking is a skill that needs to be developed to help our kids reach the level of excellence in all pursuits. We should remember our kids are and will be living in a very different world than ours. Unless we help them come up with challenging ideas, they will be unable to challenge the world of Kufr around them and become part of it. Leadership demands Muslims to be creative to solve the problems of humanity.

Shujja-uddin Sheikh

Sense of responsibility

We should remember the purpose of life and the real life ahead.

Live for others

People live for themselves but we, being the Ummati of the Prophet (sa) have to serve others.

Trust in Allah

No matter how many difficulties we face, we should have faith that nothing is impossible for Allah the Almighty.

Saulat Pervez

Foremost, we need to teach our children to think. At school and at home, we must give them practice in developing their thinking skills, so that they grow to be reflective individuals, just as the Qur’an encourages.

Secondly, we need to instill an awareness of their relationship with Allah (swt) from an early age. They need to understand that Allah (swt) loves us and He is Merciful, but He has also made us responsible for our own deeds and we will be held accountable for them.

This brings me to the third point: they need to be cognizant of the fact that “worship” is not only pure Ibadah such as Salah, Sawm, Hajj, Sadaqah, etc. Along with my prayer and my fasting, I must be honest in my dealings with people (even if they are parents and teachers). Too often, we pray, yet we cheat; we recite the Qur’an, yet we backbite; we give charity, yet we spread rumours without verification. Unfortunately, kids learn this dichotomy from adults.
All three reinforce each other towards a common goal: awareness that our life has a purpose and before it ends, we had better make ample preparation for the life which is eternal.

Sumaira Dada

  1. Self-confidence
  2. Positive thinking
  3. Realism


It is heartening to note that every individual, who is currently working with the youth, is very clear about their problems and solutions. One can only hope that these problems are addressed and these solutions are implemented, in order to ensure that the youth turn out to be the bright future of our Ummah.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun…

Oct 10 - Girls just wanna have fun

When it comes to fashion, we usually read about the things which are forbidden. The youth are instructed to shun the latest styles and trends, as they stand in opposition to the Islamic injunctions of Hijab and Satar.

So is there anything which IS allowed? What are some of the things which Muslim girls and women can do to enhance their natural beauty and follow the fashions?

Islam encourages us to be clean and presentable in appearance. This is more than apparent in recorded descriptions of the Prophet (saw), who was the epitome of Islamic character, personal hygiene and modesty.

Makeup is allowed as long as it is not used so much that it spoils natural skin, or in such a way that it resembles the makeup of non-believing women.

Muslim women have Islamic guidelines from the Quran, Ahadeeth and opinions of modern day scholars regarding the methods and limits of personal beautification. Although the list is long, the basics of it are as follows:

  • Removal of bodily hair, especially from the armpits and private areas, is Wajib (obligatory) once every month. Hair on the arms, legs and upper lip can also be removed through impermanent procedures that do not involve risks to health or appearance.
  • Removal of the eyebrows has a separate ruling. It is inherently impermissible to remove them, unless they are so abnormally dense that they cause a girl to look very manly or downright ugly. For such a case, the hair in between and on the sides of the eyebrows can be removed only.
  • Hair on the head may be cut and styled, coloured or bleached, without exceeding the limits of extravagance. It is impermissible to cut the hair like a man’s, to imitate a hairstyle that is unique to non-believing women or to pile the hair high on the head like a camel’s hump.
  • Ears and the nose can be pierced to wear ornaments in them.
  • Girls can wear any kind of jewellery and clothes of any colour, fabric or embellishments, as long as they do not reveal these ornaments to non-Mahram men. Muslim girls and women should not reveal more than their head, neck, forearms, feet and ankles, even to Mahram men or other Muslim women. Therefore, it is not permissible to wear very see-through clothes. Revealing bodies to women at beauty parlours to get the whole body waxed is also impermissible.
  • It is permissible to decorate hands and feet with henna or Mehndi.
  • Girls can wear any shoes they want; however, shoes that make a loud sound in public that attracts the attention of men or that make a woman’s body sway provocatively are not allowed.
  • Makeup is allowed as long as it is not used so much that it spoils natural skin, or in such a way that it resembles the makeup of non-believing women, or worn before non-Mahram men.
  • Muslim women may use perfume that is not strong in fragrance. They should not wear it on their outer garments to attract public attention; rather, they can wear it directly on their skin, under their clothes.
  • Dressing up for an all-girls’ party is perfectly alright as long as your clothes do not reveal more than your head, neck, forearms, feet and ankles.
  • Dressing up for the spouse is not just permissible, it is highly desirable, so please do it.

Of Sins and Forgiveness

Herbaceous border in full bloom at Priorwood Garden, Melrose, Bo

K. Ali narrates a story based on personal experience.

“They said: Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.” (Al-Araf 7:23)

I met her in front of a tiny, two-roomed house. Somewhere on the outskirts of God-knows-where, somewhere where there were piles of spoiled fodder and plastic bottles heaped one over the other. She had a strong, pink face, and she smelled of soap. Soap and, for some reason I did not know, musk.

It was quite an accident, our meeting. I was nineteen and driving without an instructor for the first time. My car broke down in the middle of nowhere, and I had to place a call home. My brother was to arrive in about an hour to pick me up; but, meanwhile, the heat was unbearable. I was thirsty, too, and my face showed it. I kicked open the door of the car, clambering outside. The smell and the flies all around nauseated me instantaneously, and I pulled my cap low over my forehead, wishing it could drive them away.

That was when I met her.

She was in the garden, the pretty garden outside her tiny, two-roomed house to my right. I saw her, she saw me, and I instantly looked away. Half a minute later, she came up to me. In her hands was a tray, and in the tray – a glass of water.

“Have a sip, daughter,” she said, holding out the glass.

“No thanks,” I said, a little distastefully. I certainly felt thirsty but not thirsty enough to stoop this low: to accept a drink of water from a ragged woman, when with all the cash in my pocket I could buy a dozen cans of Pepsi. It indeed was a level of degradation I could never even dream of falling to.

“I saw a war when I was younger,” she replied quietly.

“That’s nice,” I replied, turning away. The distaste in my tones had grown stronger now, and I did not attempt to hide it. With temperatures shooting up and a sweltering summer sun beating down on me, the last thing I wanted was to end up listening to the fanatical tales of an old, white-haired woman, who smelled of soap.

Soap and, for a reason I did not know, musk.

She paid no attention to my distaste. Calmly, she continued. “There were lots of people there,” I heard her say. “People pierced by machine guns, people with broken bones, twisted necks, cracked skulls. Those were better days for me, I could serve better things. But you know what, daughter? They wouldn’t have them. They wouldn’t have my alcoholic drinks. They wanted water.”

I looked up, startled. She seemed in a trance now.

“Remember when Allah (swt) created Adam (as)?” she asked. Asked whom? I still wonder, I can’t help wondering – I am sure she did not ask me. “He created him as a superior creature. Then, He asked the angels to bow down before him. All of them did, didn’t they?”

The words rose automatically to my lips: “Satan didn’t.”

“Yes, he didn’t,” she agreed. She walked to her garden and sat down in the middle of it. It was a pretty garden, the only pretty spot for miles around, perhaps. She drank the water she had brought for me, slowly, taking steady sips, before looking at me again. “He didn’t, and he was sinning,” she continued. Her voice was stronger now. “Do you know the story? Do you know, how Adam (as) and Eve (as) were asked to leave Paradise?”

I nodded, throat dry.

She smiled. “Yes, I read about it too, once. Twice, maybe. Maybe more. He lured Adam (as) and Eve (as), that Iblis. He tempted them, and they ate the forbidden fruit. Do you know what this shows? Do you?”

I shook my head. She smiled again. “Yes, you do,” she told me. “We all do. It shows who we are; it shows who he is – who Iblis is. It shows that we are humans – that it is human to err. Part of man’s instinct is an inherent weakness – a weakness that leads him to wither in the face of temptation to sin. And part of Iblis’s instinct is evil – an evil that led him to defiance and pride, an evil that made him mark, in Paradise, the beginnings of his mission to commit misdeeds. And do you know what else it shows? Do you?”

Once more I shook my head, and once more she smiled. “Yes, you do,” she repeated. “We all do. It shows that Allah (swt) is love, and that in His nature, in His light is forgiveness, pure, beautiful and powerful. For when Adam (as) and Eve (as) cried, when they begged, He forgave both His creations. In fact, He taught them how to seek forgiveness from their Lord (swt).”

I was quiet now. She did not notice this, or perhaps she did and ignored it. “We commit so many sins in our lives,” she was saying. I heard her, as if from a distance, a very far-off distance. “And when we are offered God’s blessings in places we least expect to be offered them, we reject them, because we want something better, something larger. We do not want small, we want big – big tempts us, because it is so much more glamorous. Small seems weaker, so much weaker. And He forgives us.”

I saw myself stoop, saw myself reach for the now half empty glass of water. The liquid was clear, cool and sweet – like no other drink of water I have ever tasted – and I drank deeply. I looked up at the woman again, the old, white-haired woman, and she smiled at me. She smelled of soap and, for a reason I now knew, she smelled of musk.

Suddenly, the level of degradation I had never dreamed of falling to was an ascent. The sky was me, and I was the sky.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers – Part 5

Jan 11 - 7 habits teenagers

Paradigms of Life

Sean Covey explains that just as we have paradigms (perceptions) of ourselves and others, we also have paradigms of the world in general. We can find out what our life centres around by asking ourselves the following questions (as we did in our previous articles):

  1. What do I think about the most?
  2. What do I spend most of my time doing?
  3. Who or what is the driving force of my life?

Some popular life-centres for teenagers will follow. They all have certain good points, but they are also incomplete in one way or the other, as will be discussed.


We often witness people building their identity around being an outstanding sportsperson, only to suffer a severe injury; or around an outstanding career only to find out that someone outshines them. In such cases, the poor soul is left to rebuild from scratch. Similarly, many other interests or pastimes, such as theatres, clubs, etc., are based on unstable grounds. If one performs greatly in a particular play or event, it is most stressful to continue maintaining the same performance each time one puts his foot on the stage or in the club.

A wise man once said: “In a game, everyone cannot be a winner. There will be losers, too. And they are human beings. As long as one gives his/her 100 per cent, leave the rest to Allah (swt). It is for Him to decide who crosses the finishing line first.”


It is very common for the youth to centre their lives on famous celebrities, movies stars, sportsmen, politicians, rock stars, etc. They will even be able to tell you what their favourite personality has for breakfast! But if the same celebrity dies, ends up in prison or does something impulsively ridiculous, where will the fans go? They will feel embarrassed, angry and disappointed. As is the case of every person in the limelight: “What goes up, comes down.” And one day people do forget them, too. We have endless stories of the fans of Princess Diana, Michael Jackson, etc., who spent their lives in their favourite celebrity’s shadow, even after they were gone. So hero-worship is certainly a vulnerable and fragile centre.


Sometimes our entire life revolves around hating a particular person, group or an ideology. Just as an antagonist in a movie wants to take revenge from the protagonist, the aim of some people in life is just to make the lives of others miserable. All the positive energy and creativity turns into evil genius and is passed on to others like a fatal epidemic. They stoop to any level just to settle scores. Such ideologies are usually a by-product of hanging out with gangs or the result of broken homes or maybe, very low self-worth. This indeed is a warped centre. Not to mention how very detrimental it is to one’s faith and extremely heavy on one’s heart. Imagine carrying around so much venom inside one’s heart.


Workaholism is a sickness that generally afflicts people after they have crossed their teenagehood. But sometimes it can strike the young as well. One feels the need to have more money, cars, status and recognition. This obsession prevents the person from

enjoying what he already has, and drives him/her to greater ambitions. This further leads the person to be burned out from too much work and may deprive him/her of sound health and steady mind. Because there is no moderation in life and one is just slaving day in and day out, eventually it tends to make one very unhappy and dead beat.


This is a very common centre nowadays. This perception makes a person resistant to putting the mirror down. Sean Covey explains it: “One thinks that the world revolves around you and your problems. This often results in being so worried about your own condition that you’re oblivious to the walking wounded all around you.” One’s life begins with “my ugly pimple, my dead cell phone, my bad grade…” Get the picture? The list goes on and on.

So what will ultimately provide us with the stability we need in life? All the life-centres that we have discussed in this and our previous issues have proved to be shaky and uncertain. Sean Covey is not suggesting that we should quit being ambitious or passionate about people and stuff we believe in. What he warns against is that we should not rely on a life-line that may give out anytime without warning.

In the next part we will discuss the real thing – the actual centre that we should all try to acquire for guaranteed success, Insha’Allah.

So be on the lookout for our upcoming article.

What are habits?

They are not a machine, though they work with all the precision of a machine plus the intelligence of a human.

They may be run for profit or run for ruin – it makes no difference to them.

So form them wisely!

Dear Haadia


We find two Ahadeeth with criteria for selecting one’s spouse-to-be. In one, Allah’s Messenger (sa) has advised to pick a wife who follows her Deen, and keep other priorities, such as her wealth, status and lineage, on a lower scale. On the other hand, there was an occasion, when he advised a Sahabi to look at the girl he was getting married to. Can we have an explanation for the above two, in order to guide youngsters who are planning to get married?

Answer: We can easily reconcile these two apparently contradictory scenarios that are found in the Sunnah.

For marriage, a Muslim man should give the highest priority to a girl’s piety and practice of religion, as you have stated. However, our Prophet (sa) advised looking at her towards the end of the proposal process, when the two families have negotiated other matters, and a positive outcome seems imminent. At this point, the young man may look at the girl, in order to prevent possible disappointment or physical revulsion, when he sees her in person after marriage.

It was narrated that a man wanted to marry a daughter of one of the Companions who was a resident of Madinah. The Prophet (sa) said to him: “Go and look, and then marry. There is something in the eyes of the Companions.” (Muslim)

As this narration indicates, it serves as a safety net to look at the prospective girl in order to identify any deformity or physical defect that can turn off her future husband, or vice versa. Marriage means conjugal relations, for which physical attraction plays an important part. Though it is mostly enough for his female relatives to describe the girl to him, a man is still permitted to look. As to the extent of looking and what the girl is permitted to show, Shaykh Uthaymeen at IslamQA.com gives us the details in Question 102369, where he says:

“It is permissible for the suitor to see the woman to whom he is proposing marriage, but that is subject to certain conditions:

  1. That he needs to see her. If there is no need, then the basic principle is that a man should not look at a woman, who is a non-Mahram to him.
  2. He should have made up his mind that he wants to propose. If he is still hesitant, then he should not look, but if he has made up his mind, then he may look.
  3. This looking should be without being alone with her, i.e., it is essential that she has one of her Mahrams with her.
  4. He should think it most likely that she and her family will accept. If he does not think it is most likely, then there is no point in looking, because his proposal will not be accepted, whether he looks at her or not.

In this situation, the woman must come out to the suitor looking ordinary; she should not come out wearing beautiful clothes or makeup, because she is not yet his wife.”

The practices of dolling up a girl, asking her to entertain her potential suitor’s family or dressing up to catch public attention for a future marriage proposal are high despicable.

Allah (swt) knows best.

I Lost My Friend

Jul 10 - I lost my friendBy Darakhshan Siddiqui

The dilemma started when I was unable to get myself registered in any medical college. Disheartened and disappointed, I decided to do something ‘more challenging,’ and, to my utter surprise, I cleared the ‘aptitude test’ and embarked on a long journey to become a chartered accountant. Clearing six papers in one ago is not easy at all – it requires hard work, patience and a great deal of good luck.

My friend Suqaina had come from Hyderabad. She was much more determined and energetic, as she was paying a high price for leaving her parents and siblings and being alone here, in Karachi. She was the eldest one, always looking forward to weekends as she then got a chance to visit her very amiable family, especially her siblings, who used to wait anxiously for the small token gifts she got for them.

She was usually the first one to enter the library and the last one to leave. Her hard work bore fruit, and she cleared her first level at the first attempt.

Our final examination of the second level was about to commence, when she asked me to recommend a renowned urologist in Karachi. The examination schedule was announced and she somehow managed to appear for all the papers. She cleared that level too, remarking that it was all due to her mother’s prayers. I forgot about her ailment, as I was struggling harder to clear the second level.

Suddenly, I received the shocking news of her death. I was told that she was misdiagnosed in a local Hyderabad hospital, and passed away after being given the wrong treatment for almost two weeks.

I tried hard to combat the depression, but the worn out pages of my accounting books had become meaningless. Her sudden death had made me realize the ultimate truth of the mortality of my life and this world. From that day I accepted this reality that any day could be my last day, in this materialistic world. I started asking myself: “Am I ready to face Him (swt) at this very moment? What is the purpose of my existence?” Have I ever made any effort to find out what my Creator, the most Beneficent wants to tell me through His Book, the Holy Quran? Have I ever made any deliberate effort to learn, implement or spread the light of righteousness through it?

I realized that one day I will be questioned, for that ever increasing long term loan in the form of countless and countless blessings from Him, the Almighty Allah (swt) to whom we all have to return.

May Allah (swt) grant Suqaina a place in Jannah. (Ameen)