Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The New Year?...Resolutions

Anytime Resolutions...

5 Easy Tips to Make Our Lives Spiritually Enriching!


The Islamic New of 1435 has recently ushered in and people generally begin to think about their life and some even make resolutions about how they will approach this New Islamic Year and their work, health and relationships. As humans and believers we also have ambitions. Instead of making resolutions only about material progression, the resolutions of a believer would and should be about one's progression on the path of enlightenment and nearness to his or her Creator Allah Ta'ala. In reality we don't need a New Year or special occasion to make a resolution for doing or achieving good. It can be done instantaneously!

Generally people intend doing things to become better off than the year before. Common resolutions include cutting down on chocolate/weight, quit smoking, getting in shape, etc. A lot involves benefits to the health and/or improving their lifestyle. Others include giving more to charity, being closer to family which boosts a personal level of satisfaction etc. But this we as Muslims should be doing regardless.

What about us? Have we set a goal or targets for ourselves? If so, was it because it was a New Year? Did you have to wait for the New Year to set it? Is there something about you that you wish to improve? No human is perfect. But Allah Ta'ala gave us human's intelligence to learn and the means for people to better themselves. And we should aim for perfection. The whole essence of Tarbiya is based on improving ourselves, i.e. self development.

While people set goals or targets for the benefit of this world, we as Muslims should ideally be setting goals for not only our material well-being but more importantly for the aakhirah (Life in Hereafter), to maximise reward so we attain Jannah(Paradise) and to avoid the punishment of the Jahannam (hellfire). That is not to say that we should not set goals for this material life , by all means go ahead. But if you intend to do a good deed for the dunya(worldly life) only, your reward will be in the dunya. When you intend to do a good deed for the aakhirah, your rewards will be in both the dunya and the akhira. For example, when you intend to eat so you can have the strength and energy to work so you can maintain and care for your family as it is a Command of Allah Ta'ala to do so, you will be rewarded  and receive benefits both in this world and the next. But if you just eat so satisfy your hunger then your reward is just the benefits of eating.

Allah Ta'ala mentions in the Holy Quran; "…And I created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me.." (Quran 51:56).

Therefore, our intentions and targets should ultimately be aimed at pleasing Allah Ta'ala. We set ourselves certain targets that will help us maximise reward, or to even minimise sinning. For many of us we can start with some simple yet effective, ways which we can improve our character such as to stop backbiting, be more trusting, watching our tongue, not lazing about, etc.

Let us look at it another way. Do we ever stop at the end of the day to look back thinking, what have I actually achieved today? It may be a good idea, before the start of each day, to ask yourself, what can I do tomorrow to improve myself? It can even be something small such as learning an ayah of the Quran or giving a loaf of bread in Sadaqah (Charity) or just to smile at somebody.

Whatever you wish to improve on, no matter how ambitious or small it is, whether it is for the dunya or the akhirah, one can apply the SMART method. What they stand for is: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely. The crucial element here is time, which means you need to set yourself deadlines. Instead of saying, I'm going to memorise the Quran, Insha Allah (If Allah Ta'ala wills), rather say by the end of this month, Insha Allah I hope to have memorised juz(chapter) Amma. Its more direct and you will have set yourself up with expectations. Another way to help is to let others know what you intended to do. This way you will have someone else to give you that extra push. If you and a friend decide to work towards the same target then it makes it much easier, you both can push each other. The Noble Messenger of Allah is reported to have said; "None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself." (Hadith:Bukhari and Muslim).

There is also the topic of setting a long term goal, but that in itself is another topic, though the principles are similar.

Often the lack of motivation is what causes people to stop pursuing their targets. However, if you set your targets with the intention of pleasing Allah Ta'ala and make effort, He will make things easier for you. In Hadith Qudsi Allah says, "if he comes to Me walking, I go running unto him" (Bukhari, Muslim).

Allah Ta'ala also mentions that; "…those who strive in Our cause, We will surely guide them in Our Paths. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good." (Quran, 29:69).

Knowing that Allah will reward you both in this world and the hereafter should re-stimulate that motivation that you need to accomplish things. Sometimes it is that extra motivation that you need. So if ever, when working towards something you feel a bit bothered about then just ask yourself again why you are doing this. If it is for Allah Ta'alas cause then He shall make things easier for you. But you need that bit of effort. Have a bit of patience for you will be rewarded for that too.

There is indeed no limit to the good a person can intend and indeed according to ones niyyah (intention) one will be rewarded . According to Hadith if a person intends to do a good deed but cannot do it, Allah writes for him a reward of one good deed. If he both intends to do and performs that good deed, Allah writes for him a reward of ten good deeds and increases it up to seven hundred and more. (Hadith Bukhari). Also if a person intends to do a good deed, but is then unable to complete it due to an obstacle in his way, there will still be a reward just for his good intention.

Intention is such a magical cure that it turns habits, activities, deeds to worship. And also it is a soul which turns dead circumstances and moods to live worships.

Setting goals or targets is an excellent practise. There are good resolutions a person can make and does not need to wait for a New Year. Here are a few tips to get started…

5 Easy Tips To Get You Started…

REACH FOR THE STARS! AIM HIGH: So indeed there is no harm in achieving good in both materially and spiritually.The most important is to note that all resolutions, hopes, ambitions and dreams etc are entirely dependent on Allah Ta'ala, The Most Wise, for their fulfilment. So making Dua (asking Allah Ta'ala) is the most essential ingredient for achievement. When making dua "reach for the stars" i.e. ask Allah Ta'ala for the most in fact ask for everything good. Don't leave out anything. Allah, The Most Wise, says: "Invoke Me, (and ask Allah for anything) I will respond to your (invocation/dua)………….." (Quran: 40: 60)

ELIMINATE SINS: Just like a Shop keeper refuses to grant more credit to a bad debtor or nonpayer, likewise how can we expect Allah Ta'ala to grant us good if we continuously sin and transgress. To get the Help of Allah Ta'ala we need to remove sin from our lives. We are not perfect and as humans we often err. But the least we can do to show our sincerity to Allah Ta'ala is to intend to abandon ALL forms of sins from our lives. Allah is Ar-Rahman, the Most Compassionate, and Ar-Raheem, the Most Merciful. Allah Ta'ala tells man of the greatness of His forgiveness and mercy so that no one would despair due to the amount of sins he may have committed. This is supported by the following verse of the Holy Quran: Say: "O My servants who have transgressed against their own souls, despair not of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Qur'an:Surah az-Zumar 39:53)

MAKE ISLAM THE BIGGER CIRCLE: Until now we may have made our material (worldly) desires the Bigger Circle and Deen(Islam) the inner Smaller Circle that occupies a very small insignificant place in the Bigger Circle. Now resolve to make Deen(Islam) the Bigger Circle and make everything else fit into the Bigger Circle. If it does not conform to Deen, no matter what it may be, leave it out of the Bigger Circle! The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him is reported to have said: "None of you can be a true Muslim, unless his desires are subject to the religion that I have brought." (Hadith). Yes set high goals both for our Spiritual and Material progress. The Holy Qur'an says: "Our Lord! Grant us good in this world and good in the life to come and keep us safe from the torment of the Fire" (Quran:Al-Baqarah:201).

SET SPECIFIC GOALS: It would be good if specific intentions are made. Also categorise goals. For example ; lets take salaah (prayer): Resolve that henceforth all five prayers will be read punctually and better still for men(if possible) that prayers would be in the Masjid. Qur'an: Aim to memorize more verses of the Book of Allah; Make our children Hafiz of the Quran; Zikr: Increase the amount of Zikr done daily and aim to improve concentration. Sadaqah (Charity): Spend more on the poor and for all other noble causes whether it be victims of natural disasters or contributing to the local Masjid etc. Increase the amount of time one spends volunteering, Spending Time in the Path of Allah, memorize duas for different occasions or Prophetic traditions(Hadith), making quality time to spend with family, making wise career choices for yourself/children, assisting one's mother and/or father, speaking well with one's siblings, furthering Islamic knowledge, serving those less fortunate and oppressed and thanking Allah Ta'ala in whatever way for the all blessing and bounties for which He has bestowed upon us.etc etc

BE EXTENSIVE AND SYSTEMATIC: Yes let the list be extensive, realistic and systematic. Dedicate time with family to make these resolutions. Make your family part of it and set goals together. In addition, it helps to write down intentions and to regularly review those intentions in order to fulfil those commitments.

Finally the most important resolution is that My Creator Allah Ta'ala must be pleased with me. So whatever I desire, do, say, want, etc must be only to please my Lord!

May Allah Ta'ala make this Islamic Year 1435 Hijrah the most spiritually rewarding year for the Ummah and may He grant ease and relief to those that are suffering and oppressed throughout the world.…Ameen


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Fwd: Is there a PlayStation in Jannah?

Is there a PlayStation in Jannah?

For E Islam by Umm Ismail


Some years back my 11 year old son asked me if I thought there would be a PlayStation in Jannah(Paradise), because really, if there wasn't going to be one, then he didn't know if he still wanted to go there. While I was gratified to be thought so knowledgeable, I was also aware that my reputation as Oracle-In-Chief was now at stake.

So naturally I thought very carefully about how to respond.

His query reminded me of another, a few decades earlier. I attended Madressah(Islamic School) with an older aunt who graciously conceded to teaching me privately in the afternoons after school. When I started high school, she told me I would have to start wearing the hijab soon. Now this was the 80's – South Africa was in the grip of the last, bloody, grasp of institutional apartheid, the Rainbow nation hadn't yet been born, and a head-scarfed girl at my school wasn't an option.

So being 12 and opinionated, I asked her why, and whether I would have to wear it at school as well. I knew of other girls who wore it, then instantly discarded it at the school gate for the duration of the school day, only to put it on again when they went home. She replied that it would indeed be all right since hijab was for one's protection, and at school girls were protected (from what, I wondered!).

If wearing hijab was compulsory, my teen brain reasoned, then surely there had to be a proper reason. I also questioned why would it be ok to wear the hijab on one side of the school gate and unnecessary on the other side? Silently, I promptly decided never to wear hijab - until aeons later, at 17, when it made perfect sense!

When our children question us about Islamic principles, ethics or concepts, we often find it difficult to address their concerns head-on. We either react with self-righteous indignation, or sometimes we're just amiably dismissive, while pointedly informing them about what's allowed and what's not.

Our children however, are not pint-sized, programmable versions of adults, who after a few basic instructions – pray 5 times daily, learn all your Surahs(Quranic Verses), and don't forget the eating dua (prayer) – will then happily be on their way. Utterly complete human beings, endowed with a healthy curiosity and a growing intellect, they need to be engaged, debated with and have their sometimes misguided views, challenged. Their insecurities, preposterous or profound have to be entertained too.

The Quran constantly encourages us to ponder and use our 'aql (intellect):  "And We have certainly left of it a sign as clear evidence for a people who use reason." (Quran:29:35) and again "And it is He who gives life and causes death, and His is the alternation of the night and the day. Then will you not reason?" (Quran23:80). Despite this, we consistently choose not to heed to seek reasoning, nor do we expect our children to. Indeed we expect them, ironically, to do as their forefathers did and inherit the faith we sometimes wear with weary familiarity. Why?

Perhaps it is because we assume that wanting to understand the essence of a Divine instruction is to question its validity. Perhaps, more often than not, we ourselves don't understand its logic and wisdom. But does this have to be so?

As Hazrat Ali (RA) taught us, and echoed by educationist Ken Robinson, we raise our children for a time other than our own, in fact for a future as yet, quite undetermined. In order for them to grow into the Caretakers that Allah SWT intended, their faith must grow organically; because faith, unlike Granny's antique cups, cannot be passed down to future generations.

Their first steps into the world of meaning and values must be infused with the continued appreciation of the Divine Presence. This primal awareness as created beings starts with the athaan (call to prayer) in the new-born's ear, settles in the heart as a fledgling seed, to be delicately nurtured with love and patient understanding (and a healthy dose of humour). Not for nothing did the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) spend the first 13 years in Mecca nurturing this seed – its blossoming is what enabled that collective cathartic moment years later when the Muslims were ordered to wash the stain of alcohol out of their lives …. In the words of my teen, how awesome was that? 

If we want our children to be of those who "strive hard with their property and their persons" (9:88), who "invite to good and enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong" (3:104), and whom Allah SWT "will love and who will love Him" (5:54), we will need to encourage them to find the answers to their questions from within the Quraan. Let us from the beginning encourage our children to reflect on and be amazed by the universe outside of (and within) us and then weave into that the Qur'anic ethos. This will enable them to view and practice Islam with understanding and love rather than Islam being viewed  as sets of  mechanical actions or regurgitation of the verses of the Quraan without passion and affection.

There is NO excuse today not to make the effort to educate ourselves. Books, the internet, YouTube, community classes, all abound. Indeed, it's our emphatic duty as parents to be exemplary in the desire for authenticity, to "ponder and reflect" together with our children, and to seek out well-researched, thoughtful answers to their queries like why exactly are we here, If Allah SWT is so merciful, why do people suffer, what happens to good atheists, and ….  is there a PlayStation in Jannah?  

So back to my son. I explained that not having made that trip, I obviously couldn't give him any specifics, but what I could say for sure was that Jannah is where we will be unimaginably happy and content. I asked him to recall his most satisfying memory, and to multiply that by a gazillion (words like gazillion always make an impact) – and if that included a PlayStation, then a version of a PlayStation would be awaiting him. He nodded sagely and never mentioned it again, satisfied that his mother clearly was the go-to person when weighty matters preoccupied the mind.

He's 15 now, and the other day he sheepishly recalled that incident and exclaimed, "Mum, can you believe I actually thought Jannah was going to be full of PlayStations and games", and giggling mischievously, he added, "now I know it's going to be full of beautiful girls!" - and disappeared before I could feign shock-horror. Sigh … I suspect the "lower your gaze" talk is already overdue ….

The Year End Party

The Year End Party…

By Abu Muhammad Yusuf

Sharifa gazed at herself in mirror as she applied the final touches of make-up. A highly qualified Chartered Accountant, she remarkably climbed the corporate ladder in just a few years. She surely wanted her presence felt at her Company's Year-End Function. After all the CEO was flying in from the USA and she was to be seated right next to the local MD Mr William Cook.

The night had arrived and she wanted to be sure to shed her old title of being too "conservative and anti-social" as it tendered to hinder her career. That was precisely the reason she stopped donning her hijab(scarf) a few months ago. She felt that it impeded her progress. Tonight she was going to let her hair down!

She arrived in her latest BMW coupe scantly dressed turning heads,eyes and noses as she made her way to the function hall. Her perfume could be smelt a mile away. It was a night of glitz and glamour with many prominent socialites present.

Seated next to the MD Mr William Cook she listened attentively to some of the pre-party speeches, and the comedians were really hilarious. As William went to the podium to deliver his speech she gave him a supportive hug. Then there were moments of light entertainment before the actual bash kicked-off. William had been consuming alcohol and offered Sharifa a drink. She smiled and politely declined. Being brought up in a religious and conservative Muslim home she knew alcohol was a no no!

Sharifa was climbing the corporate ladder really fast and wanted to reach the top, irrespective of the cost. She was passionate about her career. It came well before her husband, baby and religion. Her baby was in a day care centre. Being at the top was her clear ambition. It was William's approval and signature that she urgently needed to move to the next tier.

A party atmosphere erupted in the room and the music blared out causing even the spoons to vibrate. William was soon completely inebriated and started loosing himself. William offered Sharifa a drink of wine. She thought for a moment and said to herself "its just a one glass and it will definitely not make me drunk and to refuse will be indeed so anti-social." She took the tall wine glass smiled and slowly sipped as the party fever raged.

It was now close to midnight. She faintly heard her mobile ring. Over 7 missed calls from her husband. She honestly thought she will call back when things are a bit more quiet and relaxed. Her husband, as was now a custom, stayed at home to look after their cute little baby Fatima. He never really approved of attending parties, not that Sharifa cared.

William insisted that she have a little more. She responded "ok just a little more", can't do much harm she thought. Being a teetotaller, in a short while the wine completely intoxicated her…she now lost control of herself and behaved like a party animal responding to William's passionate and intimate moves…

Soon they were on their way to William's car where he promised her the most memorable romantic moonlight drive. He stopped the car at a nearby park where he made very intimate passes and touched her at places she knew was so incorrect. She was now a bit more sober and began to realise her folly. As he tried to kiss her passionately she pushed him away. He was deeply angered and drunk and in a fit of fury, started the car, driving recklessly like a maniac. He now appeared to be the devil incarnate. Swearing and cursing her. He failed to stop at the traffic lights..she begged him, implored him to slow down but he became more rebellious and aggressive. Reeking of alcohol he now drove even faster. He had no control over the car and himself. She began to cry…

He swerved into the opposite lane and there was a huge bang… there were definitely two cars involved…it seemed the world had come to an end…she heard voices.

It was now well passed midnight. Good Samaritans ushered around them trying to pull them from the wreck. She heard one saying, " Oh no in the other car the driver is crushed to death!"

Than came the sound of sirens. Breathing became difficult. The fire fighters and paramedics huddled around her and frantically applied device after device. 'She's not not gonna make it,' she heard one of them saying. Her heart started pounding. She was soaked in sweat and blood. William lay motionless beside her, his head crushed.

Her voice uttered some feint words of regret as she was mounted onto a stretcher waiting to be loaded into the ambulance. She so regretted but there was no way the damage could be undone.

For a moment her eye caught a final glimpse of the other car in the crash. It was her hubby's car crushed…and beside it laid his dead body. She heard an emergency service worker screaming, "we still need to remove the baby from the wreck". She was quite sure, due to his caring nature he was so worried as she did not answer her mobile and came to see if she was indeed ok.

She shrieked and wailed, "Oh Allah what have I done?"…her mouth smelling of wine and her body stained in blood she gasped and breathed her last…

The lessons to be learned are so many but most important of all is, to live in this world as if you are going to die today!

It's better to be tagged "anti-social" and "nerd" than allow our colleagues, ambitions and careers to sway us into such deeds that will destroy and harm us and our families both in this temporary world and the everlasting life of the hereafter.

The Fear of Allah and good conduct leads to Endless Hope…                                                   

Sin and vice leads to a Hopeless End!

Slow down!

Slow down !

By:Abdur Rahman Umar

"Can you believe this!" lamented Yusuf as he looked sadly at his leg covered from foot to knee in a thick white plaster cast leaving his plaster stained toes exposed.

"This is so frustrating!" he continued, addressing his exposed toes who had now become his captive audience, "Just when everything was going perfectly. Now this! Like I needed it in my life?"

Ridwaan stood idly by, adding little to the lament being addressed to the toes. He fidgeted wearily with his cell phone paying little attention to the monologue until Yusuf turned to him and asked:

"Did you hear what I said? I really didn't need this in my life. Not at any time, and definitely, definitely not now. I mean..."

"What's so special about now?" enquired Ridwaan not bothering to look up from his cell phone.

Yusuf ignored his question, shifted painfully in his chair and struggled to get his leg into a comfortable position. He stared at some of the graffiti on his plaster cast "Mojo was here!" "Oops. My brain just hit a bad sector" "On the other hand, you have different fingers" and some other writings that became a bit smudgy with the first attempt at taking a shower.

"I mean how does someone rupture an Achilles tendon playing tennis? It must be a one in a million thing, and I am the one! So now I sit – six weeks with this thing on my leg. Six weeks! and at a time when the business is going so well. Just when we got the Department of Education tender for printing. There's so much to do .... preparation, layout, design. Yo! It was going crazy at work."

Ridwaan stopped fidgeting with his cell phone long enough to exclaim, "So what's the hassle. You get a nice break and fully paid on top of it!"

"You don't understand, do you!" said Yusuf, glaring at him. An uncomfortable frown crossed his forehead, "You don't know what it means. I really didn't even have enough time to eat let alone take a six week break. We were working 12 hours a day to get that tender out. So what happens now?"

"I know exactly what it means," replied Ridwaan, "It means you were moving too fast so Allah put down a speed breaker"

"What!" he exclaimed, "What you mean...speed breaker?"

"You see, sometimes when we rush through life and we forget the important things then Allah puts down a speed bump so we can slow down and reflect. Maybe a little sickness or a small problem. Just to ponder on what we're doing and what we should be doing. And that's it! You were chasing like a madman so you got hit with a speed bump."

He paused allowing his words to sink in then continued, "You know most of us get so caught up in life then we forget about Allah, our salaah becomes just a ritual and the family ...well, they even forget who we are. I bet your kids call you Uncle by now?"

"Hey, it's not that bad," said Yusuf struggling to find a comfortable position for his plastered leg, "But I hear what you saying. Things were getting a bit out of hand. I missed my daughter's pre-school jalsa, my son's graduation and dropped a couple of salaahs on the way and jip, Allah knows what else I gave up for this tender...."

Yusuf fell silent pondering on his situation, a thin smile broke on his lips and his face lit up with this new found understanding, "So this wasn't all bad then. Actually...."

"It was for you own good," Ridwaan completed the sentence for him, "Too often we forget the real things in life...our Allah, our Deen, our families and those so called little things we tend to forget."

"Yup," chorused Yusuf, "I remember a clever guy telling me once, pay attention to the little things in life, for one day you may find out they were actually the big things. Really can't believe Allah's mercy and kindness upon us. It is, as they say, more than that of a mother. He cares for us and even what I thought was a horrible misfortune was actually an act of kindness from Him."

Allah, The Most Wise, says:"…and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know." ( Qur'an-Surah Baqarah: 216)

A calamity that makes you turn to Allah is better for you than a blessing which makes you forget the remembrance of Allah.

 Let us slow down and ponder of the journey of life and make more calculated decisions that will not only benefit us in the transitory life of this world but more so in the eternal life of the Hereafter.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween in Islam

Halloween: To say "hello" to it or not?

By Abu Muhammad Yusuf

Islam is a complete way of life. Its wisdom is profound. What Islam prescribes and what it prohibits is always of tremendous benefit for humanity as a whole.

Every year, on the evening of October 31st, millions of children in the Western world paint their faces, dress up in costumes, and go door to door collecting treats. The adults often decorate their houses with ghostly figures, carve scary faces on pumpkins, and put candles in them to create "Jack-O-Lanterns." Unfortunately, among the millions of people indulging in this custom, some are also Muslims.


Halloween originated as the Eve of Samhain, a celebration marking the beginning of winter and the first day of the New Year among ancient pagans of the British Isles. On this occasion, it was believed that supernatural forces gathered together, that the barriers between the supernatural and human worlds were broken. They believed that spirits from other worlds (such as the souls of the dead) were able to visit earth during this time and roam about. They also believed that on October 31st, the lord of the dead gathered all the souls of the people who had died that year. The souls upon death would dwell in the body of an animal, then on this day the lord would announce what form they were to take for the next year.


When Christianity came to the British Isles, the church tried to take attention away from these pagan rituals by placing a Christian holiday on the same day. The Christian festival, the Feast of All Saints, acknowledges the saints of the Christian faith in much the same way that Samhain had paid tribute to the pagan gods. The customs of Samhain survived anyway, and eventually became intertwined with the Christian holiday. Through social networking, mass media, television etc this custom has become popular internationally.




In Islam any practice which does not have its origins in Divine Scripture and The Sunnah is totally prohibited. This applies to many Pagan practices such as Halloween, Valentine's Day etc.


Virtually all Halloween traditions are based either in ancient pagan culture, or in Christianity. From an Islamic point of view, they all are forms of idolatry (shirk). As Muslims, our celebrations should be ones that honour and uphold our faith and beliefs. How can we worship only Allah, the Creator, if we participate in activities that are based in pagan rituals, divination, and the spirit world? Many people participate in these celebrations without even understanding the history and the pagan connections, just because their friends are doing it, their parents did it ("it's a tradition!"), and because "it's fun!"

So what can we do, when our children see others dressed up, eating candy, and going to parties? While it may be tempting to join in, we must be careful to preserve our own traditions and not allow our children to be corrupted by this seemingly "innocent" fun. When tempted, remember the pagan origins of these traditions, and ask Allah to give you strength. Save the celebration, the fun and games, for our 'Eid festivals. Children can still have their fun, and most importantly, should learn that we only acknowledge holidays that have a religious significance to us as Muslims. Holidays are not just excuses to binge and be reckless. In Islam, our holidays retain their religious importance, while allowing proper time for rejoicing, fun and games.


Allah Ta'ala, The Most Wise says in the Qur'an :

"When it is said unto them, 'Come to what Allah has revealed, come to the Messenger,' they say, 'Enough for us are the ways we found our fathers following.' What! Even though their fathers were void of knowledge and guidance?" (Qur'an 5:104)

"Has not the time arrived for the believers,  that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah and of the Truth which has been revealed to them? That they should not become like those to whom was given the Book aforetime, but long ages passed over them and their hearts grew hard? For many among them are rebellious transgressors." (Qur'an 57:16)

"We have sent them the Truth, but they indeed practice falsehood" (Qur'an 23:10).

The Noble and Last Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is reported to have said:

"Whoever imitates a nation is one of them!" (Hadith-Abu Da'oud).

"The Final Hour will not come until my followers copy the deeds of the previous nations
and follow them very closely, span by span, and cubit by cubit (inch by inch)"

 "You must keep to my Sunnah and the sunnah of the rightly-guided Caliphs; cling to it firmly. Beware of newly invented matters, for every new matter is an innovation, and every innovation is misleading." (Hadith-Bukhari)


As Muslims we should not participate or condone such evil customs as Halloween. It is the duty of every Muslim parent to educate their children to refrain from practising falsehood and not to imitate the non-Muslims in their customs and festivals. If the children are taught to be proud of their Islamic heritage, they themselves will, if Allah wills, abstain from Halloween and other non-Muslim celebrations, such as birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Valentines Day, etc.  

As Muslims let us be convinced of our Deen that it is indeed the best and purest way of life…so do not say "hello" to Halloween!

 May Allah Ta'ala guide us onto the straight path…Ameen.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Finding the One!

Finding the One!


By Sister Taaiebah Ebrahim


As a pretend statistician, I'll say it's statistically proven that females are more prone to being caught up in idealistic romantic notions of love especially since we tend to be more emotional beings and brainwashed by fairytales of damsel's in distress and the knight in shining armour hype. Naturally, as a young girl, I had far too many self-edited fairytale re-runs constantly playing in my head.  My excitement was always in anticipation of when my prince would romantically woo me, with me being obviously unaware, just as it was in those fables.  

Truth be told, I was always aware that those fables were indeed far from reality, so nothing surprised me and every person seemed fairly predictable. But even so, I hoped for a miracle - someone original to sweep me off my feet.

And then I was approached…I was given the longest love letter, ever. I was flattered that Someone had taken the time to write to me and was most definitely intrigued. But - I didn't really know Him. So I thought, at least let me, hear Him out, after all, there was a great amount of effort put into this letter.


In all honesty, it was quite entertaining. The letter reflected warmth, beauty, bravery, it was so inspiring. It was like a dream sometimes where good battled and won over evil. There were heroes overcoming their weaknesses, there were love stories (my favourite) and other stuff, but really, the whole thing was about me. I knew this because my name was written all over the place. I was totally in tuned with the Author and was taken aback at how He knew so much about me.

Everyday I got presents from Him too. Now, I'm not the type to get bought over, but these gifts were too nice to return to sender, if you know what I mean.

So, I'd read portions of His letter everyday...and to be honest, gifts aside, He really started growing on me and the more I'd read His letter, the more attached I became to Him. Even though I didn't meet Him yet, I really started to like Him. The more I read, the more love I felt . He seemed to tick all the right boxes; He was knowledgeable, spoke about every topic relevant from animals to society and its challenges. He always made me feel so special by making reference to me, all the time. He would go on and on about how He would do anything for me… I just had to ask. So that was nice.


He got me thinking. I mean this was it. It's the moment we wait for our whole lives. The magic moment that reroutes your future in a simple decision. But as my eyes got bigger, I'd keep reading things in this letter, that I wasn't sure I was ready to hear. There was a commitment, yes indeed a BIG one!

I was at a crossroad. Take Him or wait for someone else. The decision, however, was clear and there was no real choice to be made. It was more like a one way street than a crossroad. He promised to listen to me, when everyone failed to understand me.


 He'd appreciate my humour, understand my emotions and my demeanour. He promised to never break His promises. Could I really believe Him?

He said this whole world and everything in it was nothing compared to me. His words kept on taking my breath away. He seemed so perfect and I felt so honoured and fortunate. I realised I found the One! As the letter began to conclude, He then beautifully and eloquently said…

"Qul huwa laahu Ahad" (Say: He is Allah, the One.) (Quraan 112:1)

This love letter was the Qur'aan, obviously, and the perfect One indeed is. ..ALLAH, THE GREAT.

You see, before I wrongly assumed this craving for love and understanding needed feeding from a human. And while being fully aware of humans and their flaws and predictabilities, I never saw the One who was always there.


 I realised it was Allah that was always will be my first and true love.


The point is that we all have this insatiable gap that needs feeding and we're always craving to feel complete. It's an unsettling feeling knowing something's missing. And until we begin to realise that it can only be filled with accepting Allah's love, we'll forever be searching for temporary fixes that promise no certainty.


Without any judgement, it's understandable in our modern life age to blindly hunt for short-lived reliefs to numb the nagging aching in our chests – after all, we've been coached since young to seek out quick fixes. But it's no reason to your life's betterment to insist on this sort of addictive cycle.

We don't have to wait until we all eventually reach the moment of 'Heeeelp! My cup runneth over!'. It'd be a good idea to nicely sit your sub-conscious down for a no-nonsense one-on-one family meeting, and make it realise that so long as it goes on autopilot in search of completion in anything or anyone outside of yourself, it and you will always feel unfulfilled and super sucky. Being consistently strong in a new way of thinking, trains your sub-conscious to new automatic patterns. Look for permanent freedom - not temporary relief peeps.

Another point to note is to avoid placing the unrealistic expectation of finding perfection in a partner. Everything we've been conditioned to look for in a spouse, is in Allah in perfection, so rely on Him alone to see to your needs, and share your joys with your spouse.


Allah is indeed the Only True Love, He is First and Last, His Love is a beginning without an end, His promises are all true, all we need to do is Love Him  and love for His Sake and when every other Love dims the Love of Allah will still shine bright!

The Umbilical Cord...

The Umbilical Cord …

By Sister Jasmine Khan

When we emerge from the womb at birth we are attached to our mothers by the umbilical cord. The first thing the doctor or midwife does is to sever this cord so that we can make it on our own in the world. However, the umbilical cord has significance besides the purely physical. This metaphorical connection to our birth mother will make its influence felt throughout the life of both child and mother. This bond between mother and child is so powerful that however hard outside agents may try to break it, and even succeed to a certain extent, the connection will stay and re-surface, no matter how frayed the cord may become.

There is another umbilical cord which will make itself felt, if we allow it to. That is the invisible cord which connects us to our Creator, the true source from which all of us come into this world. No matter how many outside influences we may have in life, that connection stays, and will eventually clamour for attention. As we turn to our mothers for love and nurturing, our souls will constantly yearn for the love and mercy of our true Creator. We may ignore it, deny it, or be too blind, deaf and dumb to acknowledge it, but it will remain the one constant in our hearts, our souls, in the very essence of our being.

As we enter another season of Hajj, we look at family, friends and neighbours scurrying around with last minute chores that have to be completed before departing for the Holy Land. One cannot help reflecting about the whole concept of Hajj, and why it is the fifth and last pillar of Islam. When we declare the Kalimah Shahadah and Testify that there is only One Allah and that we believe firmly in our Creator, we move to the next pillar which commands us to perform the Salaah. We do this out of obedience initially, but there comes a point when we perform our Salaah out of gratitude for all the bounties that Allah has given us; the greatest being the gift of life. We fast to inculcate Taqwa and because we crave Allah's mercy and forgiveness for our transgressions. We pay Zakah (compulsory charity) and give Sadaqah (voluntary charity) because we want others less fortunate to share in the rizq (provisions) that we have been blessed with. Once we have fulfilled the first four pillars of Islam we feel content to a certain extent.

It is now that our heart and soul starts to crave nearness to Allah, whether we are aware of it or not. We feel a subconscious yearning to meet Allah. We know that someday we will be re-united with our Creator, we will return to that from which we came. This inexplicable longing persists and grows. When we are truly in touch with our heart; when that heart is free from all that is impure, negative, and ugly, the longing will be felt. Our soul will crave to be ever closer to Allah, just as a child turns to his mother for comfort and love. Consider how very merciful Allah is; even more merciful than the best mother. Allah knows what we need and has granted us the opportunity to meet that innate need, by giving us the fifth pillar of Islam, the Hajj(Pilgrimage).  We do not have to wait for death to fulfil our yearning. It has been said that the gathering on the plains of Arafat is like a miniature Qiyaamah(Day of Resurrection)  and during our lifetime we are granted this unique opportunity to experience this magnificent favour from our Creator.

We often hear people commenting on those who have performed Hajj: "look at that, she/he has been to Makkah, but has not changed at all".  Going for Hajj does not change us; the change has to take place before undertaking the journey. In fact, change is the wrong word, we do not change; we grow and develop. If we change today, we can change back tomorrow. Life is a process of moving from not knowing, to knowing, it is a process of evolving. We do not change from a baby to a child and then to an adult. We grow from one stage to another, developing the necessary skills to cope with each stage.

Similarly our faith needs to grow and develop; it must grow from believing in what we cannot really conceive of as a child, to what we possibly cannot conceive of as a young adult, until we reach a state of clarity. At this point we see and feel the workings of Allah as a constant in our life. We need no proof other than what is taking place in our life. When we are connected to our inner core, the core which comes from Allah, we experience Allah's influence from moment to moment. Faith is not an object that can be taken up and put down at will.  True faith means to believe in Allah every second of the day, it is active and dynamic, not passive.

When we truly believe, unconditionally and with total commitment, trust must follow. We cannot say: "I believe, or I have Imaan and Taqwa", and then worry about the outcome of certain things. Total trust in Allah means the having the conviction that nothing happens without Allah's permission, that Allah wants only good things for us. Once we believe and trust, we will flow. We acknowledge and accept that only Allah is in charge, and we submit. Once we have done everything we can to ensure a good outcome, we release. This is the real power of flow. Nowhere is the power of flow more convincingly portrayed than during the rites of pilgrimage. Many of those people have been known to leave babies, young children and elderly parents to perform the pilgrimage. Some have left their jobs, even sold their homes to pay for the trip. They are the ones who have submitted to an inner yearning to meet Allah, to beg for forgiveness and to re-establish connection to their source. They are the ones who have translated faith into action. Their trust in Allah is absolute, and when they say: "I leave my family in the hands of Allah," it is evidence of absolute trust.

When we look at the Hajj portrayed we see millions of people moving like a river in flow. They have truly felt the tug of the invisible cord that joins them to Allah, and have given in to the longing to re-connect. Like a child returning to a mother for succour and comfort, all of us have this yearning for the ONE who is even more Merciful. Whether we know it or not, whether we are aware of it or not, that cord is there. When the heart is pure, when the longing to re-connect is so great, that is when the invitation to be a guest of Allah comes!

May Allah Ta'ala make us amongst His chosen guests…Ameen

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Udhiya (Qurbani)


What is Udhiya?


'Udhiya' is an Arabic word meaning "blood sacrifice", and 'Qurbani' is an Urdu and Persian word derived from the Arabic word "Qurban" which literally means an act performed to seek Allah Ta'ala's pleasure. It is technically used for the sacrifice of an animal slaughtered for the sake of Allah Ta'ala.


The sacrifice of an animal has always been a recognised form of worship in many religions, but in the 'Shariah' (Islamic sacred law) of The Last and Final Messenger of Allah Ta'ala (Peace be upon him) the sacrifice of an animal has been recognised as a form of ibadah (worship) during the three days of the month Zul Hijjah, namely the 10th, 11th, and 12th .


This is to commemorate the unparalleled sacrifice offered by the Prophet Sayyidna Ibrahim, Alayhi Salam, when he, in pursuance to a command of Allah Ta'ala conveyed to him in a dream, prepared himself to slaughter his beloved son, Sayyidna Isma'il, Alayhi Salam, and actually intended to do so, but Allah Ta'ala the Almighty, after testing his submission, sent down a sheep and saved his son from the logical fate of slaughter. It is from that incident that the sacrifice of an animal became an obligatory duty to be performed by every Muslim who has the means to do it.


On who is it obligatory?


Qurbani is Wajib (obligatory) on every Muslim who is

  • Of sound mind - mature (has reached the age of puberty),
  • Muqeem (i.e. he is not a Shari traveller)
  • Possesses the amount of 612,36 grams of silver or wealth equivalent to that value which is in excess of one's basic needs and debts on any of the three days of Qurbani. It is not necessary that this amount be in one's possession for a complete lunar year. (please do consult your local Islamic Scholars for more details and exact value in your local currency)


What the Quran and Hadith says:


Allah Ta'ala Ta'ala, The Most Wise says:


"It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allâh, it is your piety that reaches Him. Indeed He has subjected them (animals) to you so that you may glorify Allah for guiding you, and give glad tidings to those who excel in good." (Quran-22:37)


The Noble Messenger of Allah Ta'ala(Peace be upon him) is reported to have said:


"For every hair that is on the sacrificial animal, one reward is recorded for the person making the Qurbâni."


"There is nothing dearer to Allâh during the days of Qurbâni than the sacrificing of animals. The sacrificed animal shall come on the Day of Qiyamah with its horns, hair and hooves (to be weighed in reward). The sacrifice is accepted by Allâh before the blood reaches the ground. Therefore sacrifice with an open and happy heart."

"Whoever has the capacity to sacrifice and does not do so, should not come to the place where the Eid prayer is offered." (Hadith-Ibn Majah).


Therefore if you have the means to do Qurbani, do not ignore this important part of Deen. There are many more details that relate to Qurbani which we have not covered in this brief article.


For a detailed article on the Laws & Virtues of Udhiya (Qurbani) please visit: http://eislaminfo.blogspot.com/2010/10/qurbaniudhiyya.html


If you still need more info regarding Qurbani please contact: admin@daruliftaa.net

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Dirty Laundry…(motivational)

The Dirty Laundry…

By Abu Muhammad Yusuf

In life we often tend to be judgmental and very often look down upon others without exploring deeper as to why the person is behaving in such a way. The Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is reported to have said "It is enough of evil for a person to hold his brother Muslim in contempt. All of a Muslim is sacred to another Muslim: his blood, his wealth and his honour." (Hadith- Muslim)

A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbour hanging the laundry outside. "That laundry is not very clean", she said. "She doesn't know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap. "Her husband looked on, but remained silent. Every time her neighbour would hang her washing to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.

About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean laundry on the line and said to her husband: "Look, she has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this."

"The husband said, "I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows"

Lesson: If our windows are dirty so will we see others as dirty too. What we see in others is indeed a reflection of our inner-selves! So it is with life that what we see when watching others depends on the purity of the window through which we look. It is easy for us to discuss other people, their lives & things that really doesn't even concern us and we tend to forget - our windows may not be that clean after all! If we good we will see good…

The Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is reported to have said:
"A Muslim is a mirror to another Muslim"(Hadith_Abu Dawud)


Qunoot - e - Naazilah

Du'aa for protection against Natural Disaster, Plague and War.

When the Muslims Community is afflicted with some hardship then Qunoot-E-Naazilah should be recited in the Fajr Salaat.

The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) encouraged the Ummah to read Qunoot-e-Naazilah supplication (dua) at the time of distress and calamity. (Hadith- Abu Dawood).

Method: After the Rukoo of the second raka'at, while standing in the position known as Qaumah, the Qunoot should be read in a voice lower in tone than when reciting the Qiraa'at. The Muqtadees should place their hands at the side and say Aameen at the proper juncture.

Note: Women may also recite this du'aa softly.

One may recite it as often as possible as a du'aa.

Translation :

O, Allah, guide us aright along with those who have been rightly guided and grant us safety along with those that have been granted safety and support us along with those that have been supported and add Your Blessings to what You have given us and save us from the harmful effects of what You have ordained ( i.e. lest I should be wanting in cheerfully submitting to your Decrees) as You alone disposes and no one can dispose against You. Anyone who is under Your Protection cannot be lowered and anyone who is opposed by You cannot gain dignity; our Lord; You are full of blessings and Most High, we beg forgiveness from You and repent before You and may the blessings of Allah be showered on the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). O Allah, forgive us and the believing men and women and Muslim men and women, unite their hearts with mutual love, set right their mutual affairs and help them against theirs and Your enemy. O Allah, let Your curse be on those unbelievers who prevent people from treading Your path, who reject Your prophets and fight Your chosen ones. O Allah, make difficult their plans, shake their feet and give them such punishment which is not turned away from a sinning people.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

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)