Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Envy...Some ways to Cure it!

Envy…Some Ways to Cure it!

Envy refers to the desire that a person feels for the destruction or removal of a blessing that another person has – a destruction which the bearer of this feeling would himself carry out if he had the power to. This is quite different to wanting such blessings for oneself while not wishing for them to be removed from others, for that is, indeed, a positive and commendable desire. Envy is an evil disease of the heart and the cancer of the soul. If unchecked it leads to animosity, bad behaviour, thinking evil of others, backbiting, tale-bearing and dishonesty. It is considered to be among the most dangerous and destructive of internal diseases and is the most destructive to a person's religion and worldly life.

Abu Huraryah (ra) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "When one of you sees someone who has been blessed more than him in money or appearance, then let him look at someone lesser than him, whom he has been preferred over." (Bukhari)

What is Envy?

Envy is a puzzling and complex emotion. In Christianity, it is known as one of the "Seven Deadly Sins". In Islam, there is hasad (destructive jealousy) where the envier wishes evil for others and to be happy when misfortune befalls them. Ghibtah, however, is envy that is free from malice, meaning the envier neither wants the loss of the blessing nor hating for it to remain with the person, but desiring the same for oneself without the removal of the blessing from others. Envy is not a respected emotion in religion, philosophy, or psychology, yet many of us are suffering from it more and more in a world that forces us to compare ourselves to others.

On Social Media Networks we are forced to look into the lives of others and wonder if our life compares as well. In magazines and talk shows, we are forced to look into the lives of celebrities, which leaves us wondering about our own lives. Are we thin enough, pretty enough, successful enough, etc? Even if we try and protect our home environment from being invaded by such images, we are bombarded with them each time we go to the grocery store and see magazine covers promoting the lifestyles of the rich and famous; drive through the town or freeways and see billboards with images promoting plastic surgery; or listen to the radio and hear advertisements for various products that will make us prettier, richer and thinner. Young children as a result are starting to worry about their weight and appearance at ages as young as 4-5 years old. This is worrisome to say the least.

"If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself".

How Envy Can Destroy Our Lives

"Envy is a propensity to view the well-being of others with distress, even though it does not detract from one's own. [It is] a reluctance to see our own well being overshadowed by another's because the standard we use to see how well off we are is not the intrinsic worth of our own well being but how it compares with that of others. [Envy] aims, at least in terms of one's wishes, at destroying others' good fortune".

Envy and jealousy are often used interchangeably but they are separate and distinct emotions. Envy is centrally focused on the competition with another. You can channel the desire for competition into something more productive rather than destructive.

10 Easy Steps to Overcome Envy

1. Stop the comparisons!

If you find yourself stalking your friends on Social Media Networks or comparing yourself to celebrities, catch yourself and STOP IT! Come up with an affirmation to soothe yourself such as "I feel blessed with all that I have been given." Giving thanks to Allah for all that has been bestowed upon you takes your focus on what you don't have and brings it back to all that you do have. Make gratitude a regular part of your day. For 30 days, write down three different things you are grateful for at the end of each day. Volunteering at a homeless shelter for one day is also a great way to recognize your blessings.

2. Increase your knowledge.

Many of us envy others, without having full knowledge of their lives.

"Never criticize a man until you've walked a mile in his moccasins." –

When we compare our lives to others, we don't take into consideration the whole picture. Many celebrities fear aging and gaining weight so much, they deprive themselves of nourishing sustenance in order to maintain relevant and remain in the public eye. If we knew all this about our favorite envied individual, would we still want to have that life? Would it not make our life seem more stable by comparison?

3. Recognize and embrace your own individuality.

We need to learn to appreciate our differences, within ourselves and with others. We may envy the lives of others but if it were given to us, we may actually wish for our own life back!

Embrace what makes you unique and what's different about you. What you consider a flaw in you might actually be what makes you unique and special.

"It is much more difficult to judge oneself than to judge others. If you succeed in judging yourself rightly, than you are indeed a man of true wisdom."

4. Recognize that the success of others DOES NOT take way from your own!

Be happy for the success and happiness of others and remind yourself it does not take anything away from you. You create your own path and you are responsible for your successes and failures. There is more than enough to go around. You do not need to trample over others to get what you deserve.

5. Learn from the envied: "Don't hate, appreciate and emulate!"

Learn from those you envy. You do not need to have all that they have but maybe you can learn from them. If you envy a friend for their success or happiness, you can ask them their "secret." This can deepen your friendship rather than drive the wedge of resentment and envy further. Are they eating healthy and exercising? You can emulate some of the positive traits and apply them to your life. Do they look young because they take care of their skin? You can learn from their techniques.

6. Find out what you can do better, how you can be better!

Envy is a non-productive and energy zapping emotion. You can instead channel your energy towards making yourself better. Do you envy how creative or talented your friend is? Explore your own creativity or talents by taking classes and experimenting with various projects. Is your friend adventurous and you wished you traveled more? Start saving up for that trip you've been wanting to take. Rather than stand by and hope great things will happen to you, make things happen.

"Thought is the sculptor who can create the person you want to be."

7. Work within your limitations.

Understand what is possible and accept what isn't. If you've always wanted to jump out of a plane but are terrified of heights, how can you achieve the sensation without having to actually jump out of a plane? Would riding a scary roller coaster be sufficient? Would taking a helicopter ride be equivalent? Work within your limitations and use them to bust through the mental barriers you have set up for yourself. You don't have to have everything in place to make your dreams a reality. Set your intentions and you'll be amazed how things fall into place after that. It might take years but once it happens, you'll realize it happened at just the right time!

8. Keep your focus on your goals.

You must first have goals in order to stay focused on them. Your goals don't have to be major accomplishments. Keep the focus of your goals on increasing your happiness and making you a better person rather than impressing others. Do things because you want to feel good not because you feel bad about your life.

9. Be happy for the envied and genuinely mean it.

Being happy for others makes you feel happier inside. Envy takes our focus away from the connection we all have to each other. We envy others because we don't feel good about our own lives. Instead of allowing envy to erode your self-esteem, boost your self-esteem by remembering what makes you special. Focusing on your positives will make you notice the positives in others.

"The supplication of a Muslim for his brother in his absence will certainly be answered. Everytime he makes a supplication for good for his brother, the angel appointed for this particular task says: `Ameen! May it be for you, too'." (Muslim).

10. Be the best that you can be.

Focus on an area of your life that needs improving, whether it's to become a better person, gossip less, give more, take more time for yourself, get a makeover, get a massage, or learn a new skill. When you feel good about yourself, it's easier to be good to those around you. Confidence and self-esteem are at the core of success and happiness. Work on improving and increasing your self-esteem and self-confidence.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "The deeds of anyone of you will not save you from the Fire." They said, "Even you, [will not be saved by your deeds] O Allah's Apostle?" He said, "No, even I [will not be saved] unless and until Allah bestows His Mercy on me. Therefore, do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and worship Allah in the forenoon and in the afternoon and during a part of the night, and always adopt a middle, moderate, regular course whereby you will reach your target." (Bukhari)

Patience in Times of Hardships

Patience with Trials and Hardship


Imagine yourself in this position. Your beloved husband with whom you have grown in Islam, who has supported you through the difficulties of life, who has helped you raise your dear children and who has provided for you by Allah's permission passes away. How would you react? Would you be overcome with despair and grief? Would you fret over who will provide for you and your children? This is what happened to Umm Salamah, one of the great companions of the Prophet (saws) when her husband passed away. How did she react to this trial that befell her? We shall learn later.

Allah has promised each and every one of us that we will face difficulties and hardship in life, whether it be with the loss of a loved one, poverty or fear of something: "And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sâbirin (the patient ones, etc.)" Suarh Baqarah 2:155] [. The real test for us is how we deal with these trials. As Allah said in the above verse, glad tidings are for the ones that are patient with the trials that he tests us with.

Patience is a means to Allah and His love, His help, His victory, His fortification, His reward, and His company. Patience is a Command from Allah. Allah said:"And seek help in patience and As-Salah and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for humbly submissive [to Allah ]" [Surah Al-Baqarah 2:45]. Patience is the way to gaining the love of Allah. Allah said:"And Allah loves As-Sabirun (the patient ones)" [Surah Aal Imran 3:146] And the Prophet (p.b.u.h) said: "How wonderful is the case of the believer; there is good in everything and this is not the case with anyone except a believer. If good attends him, he expresses gratitude to Allah and that is good for him; and if adversity befalls him he endures it patiently and that is better for him" [ Narrated by Abu Yahya Suhaib ibn Sinan and recorded in Sahih Muslim]

How should one be patient? Patience takes on importance for the Muslim at the first moment of a trial. The Prophet said: "The real patience is at the first stroke of a calamity" [Narrated by Anas and recorded in Sahih Al Bukhari vol 2 # 389]

This is the time of the true test, when the initial reaction is either patience or impatience, and this is the time when patience is needed most. Allah said in the Qur'an: "No calamity occurs, but by the permission of Allah, and whosover believes in Allah, He guides his heart. And Allah is the All-Knower of everything" [Surat at-Taghabun 64:11]

Ibn Kathir said about this Verse: Whoever suffered an affliction and he knew that it occurred by Allah's Judgement and Decree, and he patiently abides, awaiting Allah's reward, then Allah guides his heart, and will compensate him for his loss in this life by granting guidance to his heart and certainty in faith. Allah will replace whatever he lost for Him with the same or what is better. Ali ibn Abi Talhah reported from Ibn Abbas: '… and whosever believes in Allah, He guides his heart.' Allah will guide his heart to certainty. Therefore, he will know that what reached him would not have missed him and what missed him would not have reached him" [Al Mubarakpuri, Sheikh Saifur-Rahman, tafsir ibn Kathir (Abridges) vol 10 (Riyadh, Darussalam, 2000), pp 24-25]

So the one who is patient does not wail, complain or feel despair about their loss but rather they know that they are the slave of Allah, that He knows what is best for his creation and if they are patient they will eventually be recompensed for their trial. Indeed we see this in the example of Umm Salamah dealing with the loss of her husband. She patiently bore his loss and she remembered the supplication that the Prophet (saws) taught us: "Inna-lillahi wa'inna ilayhi raji'un. Allahumma a-juri fi museebati wa akhluf ni khairan minha -To Allah we belong, and to Him is our Return. O Allah! Take me out of my plight and replace it with something which is better" [Muslim; 2:632]

She was initially reluctant to bring herself to say "and replace it with something which is better" because she thought to herself, "What could be better than Abu Salamah?" Allah soon answered her supplication by marrying her to the Prophet (p.b.u.h), the best of creation and made her from one of the Mothers of the Believers

Sometimes when we're experiencing hardships in our lives we fail to see Allah's wisdom and mercy in the hardships. We become consumed with the hardship itself. However difficult the hardships may be, Allah always helps the believers and intends good for them. Indeed, Allah has His plans.

Allah, The Most Wise says, "For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease." [Surah ash-Sharh 94: 5-6]

The Full Cup…(motivational)

The Full Cup…


A wise old Sheikh once lived near a Musjid in Medina. One day the Sheikh heard an impatient pounding on his door. He opened it and greeted a young student, who said, "I have studied with great and wise masters. I consider myself quite accomplished in Islamic teachings and philosophy. However, just in case there is anything more I need to know, I have come to see if you can add to my knowledge."


"Very well," said the wise old master. "Come and have tea with me, and we will discuss your studies." The two seated themselves opposite each other, and the old Sheikh prepared tea. When it was ready, the old Sheikh began to pour the tea carefully into the visitor's cup. When the cup was full, the old man continued pouring until the tea spilled over the side of the cup and onto the young man's lap. The startled visitor jumped back and indignantly shouted, "Some wise master you are! You are a fool who does not even know when a cup is full!"


The old man calmly replied, "Just like this cup, your mind is so full of ideas that there is no room for any more. Come to me with an empty-cup mind, and then you will learn something."

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fwd: Eid Mubarak


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Kids and Fasting

Salmaan wants to fast!

A motivational story to make kids understand why we fast...


"But, Mum, I do not want to eat. I am a big boy and I can fast," Salmaan told his mother.

"But you are fasting, Salmaan, 7-year-old children eat in the morning and a little in the afternoon and then they don't eat anything else till evening."

"But you do not fast like that, Mum," the little boy insisted.

"I am older, Salmaan. Grownups fast that way."

The young boy sat deep in thought and then asked, "Mum, why do we fast?"

"That's a good question, Salmaan." She got up and went to the kitchen cupboard. She removed something from it.

"Do you know what this is, Salmaan?"

"It's a blender."

"Do you know what it is supposed to do?"

"It blends fruit for juice." His mother laughed. "Yes, it does blend. Our body does the same thing. It grinds the food we eat; it takes what it needs and removes the rest. It does this everyday, day in day out."

"Doesn't the body get tired, Mum?"

"It does. Just like the blender. When we have blended juice for too long, it refuses to work. Then it needs fixing. So we have to give our body a rest so it can work better for us. That's why we fast in Ramadan and some other days in the year."

"Does everybody fast, Mummy?"

"Not everybody. If you are ill or expecting a baby or if you are old and weak like your grandpa or if you are 7 years old like yourself then you don't fast.

The little boy thought some more. He ate the food his mother had set before him without much fuss. "What if you don't want to fast?"

"What is your sister Laika's favorite colour?" "Pink".

"And what is the colour of her uniform for Madrassa (School)?" "Blue".

But she says she'd like to wear her pink hijab when she goes."

"And why doesn't she?"

"She is afraid Muallim (Teacher) will punish her."

"You see, she was afraid the teacher would punish her. The teacher will punish her because she has broken the rule of the madrassaby wearing pink.

You see, Salmaan, Allah knows what is good for us and so we have to do as He commands, because He sees and knows everything. We love Him and fear Him and we don't want Him to be displeased with us."

"But Salmaan the real reason fast is to please Allah.Only Allah can give us the reward and fasting creates taqwa in our hearts."

"What is taqwa" Salmaan asked?

"Umar bin al-Khattab asked Ibn Ka'ab for the meaning of Taqwa. Ibn Ka'ab asked Umar how he would travel on a road full of thorns. 'Umar said he would carefully walk, gathering his clothes so they would not get stuck on the thorns which could cause him injury. Ibn K'aab said "This is the meaning of taqwa, to protect oneself from sin during our life's dangerous journey so that one can successfully complete the journey untouched by sin."

"So Salmaan if a person is fasting and drinks water secretly when making wudhu will anybody know?"

"Nobody will no know Mum"

"But Allah will surely know as Allah sees everything and knows about all that we do! So when we fast we do it only for Allah and this will create the fear of Allah in our hearts. We will then be able to obey Allah at all times!"

"But don't you get hungry, Mum?"

"Of course we do. But we keep ourselves busy on other important things to take our mind away from the food and also do things which our dear Rasulullah told us to do.We read the Qur'an, or we visit the sick people or we go to the mosque to read of Salaah and make Zikr and also take part in taalim and dawah. You see there's plenty to do and before you know it, it's time to eat!"

"Is there another reason why Muslims fast?"

"Yes. You are fortunate, Salmaan, because you have food everyday. Not everyone has food to eat, like the poor people in the squatter camps?"

" If we go hungry like them, we will be able to understand that they need help."

The little boy Salmaan seemed satisfied with the answers, his mother had given him.

"Mum, can I go with you and Daddy to help the poor?" "By the Grace of Allah, you can."

" Mum, one more request"

"Yes Salmaan?"

"Can I fast tomorrow?" Salmaan asked

Salmaan's Mum smiled and replied " Allah has allowed 7 year old's not to fast until they grow bigger"

"But my sister Laika fasted yesterday " Salmaan pleaded to his Mum.

"Ok Salmaan I will wake you up for Sehri and then you can try. But if you do get very hungry you may eat ok!"

"Ok Mum!"

Happy with reply of his Mother Salmaan read his Salaah and went to bed praying to Allah to let him also fast tomorrow!


We need to explain to our children the essence and importance of Islamic practises so as they grow up they learn to appreciate and understand the wisdom of this beautiful Deen that Allah has gifted us with!

Fill the Bucket this Ramadaan

Fill the Bucket!

By Abdur Rahmaan Umar

"Sheikh, Ramadaan soon," said Omar, his gruff voice making him sound a lot older than his 28 years, "We will really have to exert ourselves this Ramadaan!"

Sheik Hamaad nodded quietly, taking a sip of his favourite Jasmine tea.

"Yup, we really gonna have to try and do a lot this Ramadaan," chorused Ridwaan.

Sheikh looked at them and whispered, "Or not to do."

Omar jerked his head in surprise and looked at Ridwaan, searching for an answer. Ridwaan raised his eyebrows and shrugged his shoulders. The group looked at one another with skewed glances but said little until Omar mustered the courage and broke the silence, "Did Sheikh say not to do?"

Sheikh nodded in silent affirmation, his long beard making little waves on his chest.

They looked at one another for some clue, something just wasn't right.

Zaid, unable to contain himself and ventured softly, his voice barely audible from his usual position against the wall at the back, "But Sheikh always told us that this is the month to capitalize, to take maximum benefit of the time and to really … how you say…stock up."

Sheikh Hamaad's lips curled into a soft smile as he placed his tea on the little ornate wood table beside him, "True, I did say that you have to work hard and earn rewards. But let me give you an example – if you have a bucket, how long will it take to fill up?"

Omar's face lit up, he adjusted his specs, and in his a very professional tone said, "Depends on many factors – what's the rate of flow of the water, how big is the bucket, what is the size of the opening, and …"

"Let say we ignore all that," Sheikh continued, "If the bucket has a huge hole at the bottom will it remain full?"

"Well," began Omar, "depends on the size of the hole, and the rate of…"

"No ways! It will not remain full," Zaid interrupted him, and looked to Sheikh for an explanation of the analogy.

Sheikh surveyed the puzzled look on their faces and decided to end the suspense, "If we do a lot in Ramadaan, but fail to give up sinning then we are like people who are trying to fill a bucket that has holes."

"Holy bucket!" said Zaid, chuckled softly at his joke.

Sheikh smiled and continued, "Hadhrat Abu Hurayrah Radiallahu anhu narrated that the Messenger of Allah Sallalahu Alaihi wasallam said: 'There are many such people who fast but gain nothing from their fast except hunger, and there are many such people who stand up (in Prayer) for whom there is nothing but the (difficulty) of staying awake. (Hadith-ibn Majah)' So….people may make a lot of effort, but gain nothing from it."

"Holes in the bucket," acknowledged Zaid, his head nodding in affirmation, "But why?"

Sheikh paused to sip his tea, "Because they don't give up sinning…perhaps they break their fast with haraam provisions, or they indulged in backbiting during the day. Or they indulged in some other sin that erased the good of the fasting and prayer. "

In another saying of the Messenger of Allah Sallalahu Alaihi wasallam narrated by Hadhrat Abu Ubaydah( Radiallahu Anhu) that "Fasting is a shield until it's not torn" (Hadith-Ibn Majah); which conveys a similar meaning. A shield is only useful if it's able to withstand the onslaught of the enemy. If it's damaged it's no longer a source of protection. Likewise, we have to be extra careful about not committing sins in Ramadaan.

Ridwaan leaned forward and asked, "Must we be more vigilant about sins than doing good deeds?"

"Yes, you need to be more cautious, because if you do good deeds without refraining from sin then it's like filling a bucket with holes. Holy bucket!" said sheikh nodding at Zaid, whose curiosity dragged him away from the back wall.

Sheikh paused to take drain the cup of the last drops of tea, In another Hadith it's mentioned that a person asked The Messenger Sallalahu Alaihi wasallam, just as you have asked, what causes the fast to tear, and he, Sallalahu Alaihi wasallam repliedlies and backbiting.

Fasting is not just about giving up food and drink; it's about staying away from haraam. So the eyes have to fast by not looking at anything impermissible, the ears have to fast by not listening to haraam. So too, the mouth, by avoiding lies, backbiting, swearing and other wrongful words. Even the limbs have to fast by not going to haraam or indulging in it.

"That changes the whole notion of fasting," asked Zaid, now having made his way close to the front, "But that's tough…"

Sheikh immediately began reciting in his melodious voice:

"يُرِيدُ اللَّـهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّـهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ"

"From Surah Baqarah (verse 185) – Allah Ta'ala desires ease for you and does not intend for you hardship. And (wants) for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that (to) which He has guided you;"

"Zaid! You love your kebabs?" Sheikh asked.

Zaid nodded bashfully. "Would you eat any one of those lovely, tasty kebabs just before fast breaking time? Say with 30 seconds to spare?"

Zaid shook his head vigorously and replied, "No!" his voice a little too loud for the occasion.

"Why not?"

"Because that would be breaking Allah's command!"

"Even by a mere thirty seconds?" asked Sheikh and Zaid shook his head more energetically.

"So we have so much self-restraint about what we put in our mouths that we won't even transgress by thirty seconds, but we take very little care about what comes out of our mouths," said Sheikh, "Allah Ta'ala has given us the ability to control ourselves, we have to use this ability to avoid all those things which earn His displeasure."

"So what's the best thing we can do this Ramadaan? "asked Omar.

"The best thing to do is to avoid sinning in this blessed month, and…and...do your best to fill the bucket. By the grace of Allah Ta'ala it will be filled which much good that will remain even after Ramadaan. So, simply, do nothing wrong this Ramadaan!"

Object of Despair


Emma is a lawyer
And so is Aisha too
Colleagues going into court
At about half past two

Its 1 O'Clock right now
Aisha prays before the trial
They chat about this and that
Conversing with a smile

Aisha is in full hijab
With a loose all over Abaya (Cloak)
Emma's in her business wear
With accessories and other gear

Emma's really quite bemused
At Aisha's Godly ways
She looks Aisha in the eyes
And very firmly says

You're a smart girl Aisha
Why do you wear that across your hair?
Subjugated by "man"-kind
An object of despair

Take it off my sister
Let your banner be unfurled
Don't blindly follow all around

Aisha is amazed
But not the least bit shy
She bravely puts her milkshake down
And gives Emma the reply

My dear sister Emma,
Why do you dress the way you do?
The skirt you're wearing round your waist,
Is it really you?

Now that we've sat down
I see you tug it across your thighs,
Do you feel ashamed?
Aware of prying eyes?

I see the way you're sitting,
Both legs joined at the knees,
Who forces you to sit like that?
Do you feel at ease?

I'll tell you who obliges you,
To dress the way you do,
Gucci, Klein, and St. Laurent
All have designs on you!

In the market, its designer labels for real,
Who dictate the whims of fashion,
Generating all the garb,
To incite the basest passion

"Sex Sells" there is no doubt
But who buys with such great haste,
The answer is likes like you,
Because they want to be embraced...

They want to be accepted,
On a level playing field
Sure, with brain and intellect
But with body parts revealed

Intelligence and reason
Are useful by and by
But if you want to make a mark
Stay appealing to the eye

You claim your skirt is office-like
A business dress of sorts
Would we not laugh at Mike?
If he turned up in shorts?

His could be the smartest of pants
Pinstripe from Saville Rowe
But walking round like that my friend
He'd really have to go

Why do you douse yourself in creams
To make your skin so milky?
Why do you rip off all your hair
To keep your body silky?

A simple shower's all you need
To stay respectable and clean
The time and money that you spend
Is really quite obscene

Why do you wake up at dawn,
To apply a firm foundation,
Topped with makeup and the like,
In one chaotic combination?

And if you should have to leave the house
Devoid of this routine
Why do you feel insecure
That you should not be seen?

Be free my sister Emma
Escape from your deep mire
Don hijab today my friend
And all Islam's attire

Avoid all those sickly stares
Or whistles from afar
Walk down the street with dignity
Take pride in who you are

Strength lies in anonymity
Be a shadow in the crowd
Until you speak and interact
When your voice will carry loud

You're a smart girl Emma
Wear this across your hair
Don't be subjugated by "man"-kind
An object of despair

To use your very words my friend
Let your banner be unfurled
Don't blindly follow all around