Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Let us Muslim parents walk the talk!

Bismillah..In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Giving

Alhamdulillah today while researching for the Aaila magazine, I came across this excellent talk by Sheikh Yasir Qadhi. MashAllah he is an amazing speaker with so much knowledge of the faith. I feel so blessed to be able to benefit from his work, alhamdulillah. This talk is about parenting. He talks about how we can raise our children as good Muslims. This beautiful reminder has inspired me to think and write about this topic.

Parenting with Purpose & by Example by Sh. Yasir Qadhi

Children are amazing blessings. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala teaches us that our children are our adornment on this earth. Just imagine a world without the children! They bring so much joy in our life, alhamdulillah. 

We can reach the higher levels of jannah (garden of paradise) through investing in our children. How many of us really reflect on this fact? Is parenting one of the major topics in our mind on a daily basis? Or it's just another chore as adults we have to deal with? 

Parenting is a very challenging job but it also is one of the most rewarding jobs we can have. As a mother of three, I feel worried whenever I think about the huge responsibility of raising our three precious children in this cruel world. Our societies are getting harsher and devoid of basic morals and values. Life is going to be tough for them when they will be the adults. How do we raise them as strong believers? Will they be able to carry on the message of our beautiful faith and share it with the people around them? These are some of the questions which keep me thinking. No wonder parenting is the most challenging job! We don't just get grey hair for no reason, I guess :-(

This talk does give us a guideline to follow. He talks about our role as parents. We, the parents, are the most important role-models, for our children. They will follow our actions , not our long lectures. Children are very clever in detecting hypocrisy.

How many times we have seen parents who talk the talk, but won't walk the talk. In our community, we see people who tend to start practicing the faith when they are in their 60s, 70s etc. Lot of time people have hopes (or rather false/long hopes) that they will have time to sort out their "religious" life before the end. Allah is very merciful towards us. That's why we do see the people who start following the faith properly when they are old alhamdulillah. And may Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala accept their repentance and make everything easy for them, ameen!

But the danger with this sort of lifestyle is the kids get left behind. They cannot relate to their parents anymore. The two lifestyle clashes with each other. While the father is eager to go to the mosque to pray, the son wants to enjoy his time at the cinema or just browsing the net on his phone. The worse scenario is the kids start believing that they will also have time to sort out their life and eventually have a good end like their praents. But is there any guarantee that kids will outlive their parents?

Lot of older practicing Muslims complain that their children don't listen to them. The most frequent complain is that their kids don't have any interest in Islam. But how many times we think that the root cause can be the lack of interest of the parents when they were young. If a child grew up not living Islam with his/her parents, why would he/she be bothered to live Islam as an adult? If the parents felt that living a practicing life is a chore and waited to "enjoy" their life first before they can start following the basic rituals such as prayers, fasting, charity, pilgrimage (which are the basic foundations of our faith) later, why on earth the children would do the opposite? This sort of mentality also gives rise to the impression that Islam as a faith is boring so it's only fit for older people who haven't got any adventures left to experience. So young Muslims, forget about the faith, go "enjoy" your life! YOLO as they say... You Only Live Once!

This YOLO statement is quite profound for me as a Muslim. Yes I do live once so I better do my best to live my life as a Muslim before it's too late and my Lord calls me to Him. YOLO can also motivate us to do our best as parents.

If we really want our children to be good, well-balanced Muslims, we must first strive with ourselves to be better Muslims. Only through living our life as practicing Muslims, we can create a strong, healthy environment for them to grow up as better Muslims inshAllah. May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala give us the ability to live our lives as good Muslims and help our children to be better Muslims, ameen!

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Last post of 2013

In The Name of Allah The Most Gracious The Most Merciful.

So here I am , still alive on 31st of December 2013. All praise belongs to my Lord, Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala. He has blessed me with so much. Words cannot describe how special I feel being showered with endless gifts from Him, alhamdulillah...Despite my numerous sins, He is so MERCIFUL to me. The more I think about Him, I feel more humbled. Alhamdulillah this year, He has given me a great opportunity to know more about His beautiful Names and attributes through the Al-Kauthar course "99 Names of Allah". It has been a dream for a long time to know and study His Names. I am really glad that I was able to attend the weekend course. After the course, I felt really guilty for not studying His Names earlier. If I love something or someone, I would try my best to learn more about them. It is a very basic human characteristic. So how on earth I didn't start earlier knowing my Lord's Names and attributes! I roughly knew the Names Ar-Rahman, Ar-Raheem, Al-Khaliq but that's it, not that much. Only through knowing Him, we can love Him more and use every opportunity to worship Him with the best of our abilities, inshAllah.  I got a huge folder to study and reflect and act upon bi'idnillah. I got couple of books on this topic to study thoroughly bi'idnillah. I hope and ask my Rabb to make this new year a year to learn more about Him and increase my deeds to please Him, only Him inshAllah.

Allahumma Anta Rabbi laa ilaaha illaa Ant(a), khalaqtani wa ana ‘abduk(a), wa ana ‘alaa ‘ahdika wa wa’dika mastata’t(u), a-‘udhu bika min sharri maa sana’t(u), abu’u laka bi ni’matika ‘alayy(a), wa abu’u bi dhanbi, fa’ghfir lii ha innahu laa yaghfiru’dh-dhunuba illaa Ant(a). 

O Allah, You are my Lord. There is no god but You. You have created me and I am Your servant and as far as possible I abide by Your promise and covenant (which I made with You). I seek Your protection against the consequences of my wrongdoings. I fully acknowledge the grace You have bestowed upon me and confess my faults. So pardon me as none besides You can pardon sins. [Bukhari]

I am very grateful to my Rabb, for blessing me with my soul-mate. We have been married since September 2006. Alhamdulillah life has been great since our union :-) He is my best friend. I praise my Lord for sending him for me, alhamdulillah. Without his love and support, I don't think I would have felt so content with my life, alhamdulillah. The most precious thing a man can have in his life is a good wife, a wife who brings peace and joy in her husband's life. ( I can't remember the exact hadith) I hope I can be that wife bi'idnillahi ta'ala. May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala make me an amazing wife like our mother of the believers, Khadija (RA), ameen!

رَبَّنَا هَبۡ لَنَا مِنۡ أَزۡوَٲجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّـٰتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعۡيُنٍ۬ وَٱجۡعَلۡنَا لِلۡمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا 
“Rabbanaa hablanaa min azwaajinaa wa dhurriyyatina qurrata a’yun(iw), wa ‘j’alnaa li’l muttaqiina imaaman.”

“And who say: Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring, the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders for the Muttaquun (pious).” - (part of Qur’an Surah 25:74)

Alhamdulillah our three children are growing so fast! They are healthy, happy and have a great bond with us, alhamdulillah. We were homeschooling but since September Im (6) and Ay(4) have been going to school. Unlike me, they are actually loving their school and enjoying their time at the school. They don't want to miss school even when they are sick! I remember how eager I was to be sick so that I don't need to go to school. I am quite content with the teachers and the headteacher alhamdulillah. They have been really supportive. I hope the new year will be a very productive and meaningful year for our children, bi'idnillahi ta'ala. Yu(2), being the youngest, is also enjoying his sessions at the Children centre. He has already done couple of courses such as Jolly Phonics, Music/ Sound course and so on, alhamdulillah. I am hoping to do more structured activities with him inshAllah through out the year. I hope I can be a better mother to my children and do my best in raising them as good Mu'mins, bi'idnillahi ta'ala. 

I am also blessed to have a great father. This year, we have been able to spend more quality time together. It reminds me of my sweet memories of childhood. People say I resemble my father. I feel really privileged to be part of him alhamdulillah. He works really hard as a medic. When he is not at work, he is busy with his writings. He has a great vision. He believes through his articles he can inspire people to change for the better. He doesn't believe in retirement. He always reminds me that there is no retirement for a slave of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. We must strive hard and only rest when we are in our graves. I love him very much and I hope I can be a good daughter to him just like our lady Fatima (RA) was to her beloved father prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihe Wa SAllam, ameen!

There are so many memories from this year alhamdulillah. I hope the new year will be also full of beautiful memories inshAllah. Life is very precious. Let us enjoy every moment of it and do our best to create good memories to cherish forever, inshAllah! May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala forgive our shortcomings and enable us to do our best in the new year, ameen! 

Allahumma inni as'aluka' l-hudaa wa 'ttuqaa wa 'l-'afaafa wa 'l-ghinaa. 
O Allah, I ask of You guidance, piety, chastity and independence [from Your creation] (Muslim). 

Allahumma Musarrifa 'l-quluub(i), sarrif quluubanaa 'ala taa'atik(a). 
O Allah, Turner of hearts, turn our hearts toward Your obedience (Muslim). 

Yaa Muqalliba 'l-quluub(i), thabbit qalbi 'alaa dinik(a). 
O Controller of the hearts, make my heart firm in Your Religion (Tirmidhi, Mustadrak). 

Allahumma inni a-'udhu bika mina 'l-'ajz(i), wa 'l-kasal(i), wa 'l-jubn(i), wa 'l-haram(i), wa 'l-bukhl(i), wa a-'udhu bika min 'adhabi 'l-qabr(i), wa a'udhu bika min fitnati 'l-mahyaa wa 'lmamat(i). 
O Allah, I seek Your protection from inability, laziness, cowardice, decrepitude and miserliness and I seek Your protection from the punishment of the grave and I seek Your protection from the mischief of life and death (Bukhari). 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

New Hijri year 1435 and the day of Ashoora

Bismillah In the Name of Allah (The Most Merciful)

Alhamdulillah the new Hijri month has just started . The month of Muharram is a very special month. Some hadith mentions that it is named as the month of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. Today is 9th of Muharram. Tomorrow is the day of Ashoora, 10th of Muharram. A very important day for us Muslims. InshAllah we will be fasting today and tomorrow. And some people will fast tomorrow and the day after tomorrow to follow the sunnah of our beloved Messenger Muhammad sallallahu alaihe wa sallam. When he (sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) moved to the city of Yathrib (Medina) , he saw the Jews of Medina fasting on the day of Ashoora. The Jews used to fast to celebrate the victory of Musa (Moses) Alaihis salam over the Pharoah with the Help of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. Our prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said that Musa Alaihis saalam is more beloved to us so we will also fast on this day but to be different from the Jews we are recommended to fast one extra day, either the day before (9th of Muharram) or the day after (11th of Muharram). He also told us that this is indeed a special fast with great reward. 

 Abu Qatadah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) was asked about observing As-Saum (the fast) on the tenth day of Muharram, and he replied, "It is an expiation for the sins of the preceding year."

Sahih Muslim Vol. 3, The Book of Fasting, Hadith no. 2427

Ibn 'Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) said: "I never saw the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) so keen to fast any day and give it priority over any other than this day, the day of 'Ashoora', and this month, meaning Ramadhan." [Reported by al-Bukhari, 1867]

Also, fasting as a form of worship , is highly recommended through out the year. This is one special act which will be rewarded by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala personally, subhanallah! Who wants to miss this great opportunity! Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is Al-Kareem, the most Generous. He doesn't expect a lot from us. One fast to do for the day of Ashoora and so much reward to gain, subhanallah! How can we not love Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala! 

The Prophet said: “Anyone who fasts for one day for Allah’s pleasure, Allah will keep his face away from the (Hell) fire for (a distance covered by a journey of) 70 years.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

The story of Musa alaihes salam is a fascinating story mentioned so many times in the Qur'an. There are also so many hadith about this great prophet of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. Because of his advise, we pray 5 times a day and still are promised to get reward of 50 raka' by the grace of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. He alaihis salam had a super-tough people to manage, the Bani Israel , the children of Israel. He knew what a hard job it was to convey the divine message. He never seen us, but he loves us so much and care so much. That's actually one of the amazing fact about our prophets ( starting from our father Adam aalaihis salam to Muhammad sallallahu alaihe salam). I hope that one day I can meet all the prophets bi'idnillahi ta'ala. 

As the day of Ashoora is near, it is also very timely to learn about the history of the massacre of Karbala, the brutal murder of our beloved prophet's grand son Husayn radiallahu anhu and lots of other innocent people. Lots of us are totally ignorant about this incident. Knowing the history of our Ummah is really crucial to understand our own existence and how to live our lives as good Muslims. The whole Qur'an is full of history. And the purpose is not to 'entertain' us but to educate us and prepare us as better Muslims who in return can hope to gain mercy of our Creator Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and live in eternal bliss after death. There is an excellent talk done by Sheikh Yasir Qadhi on this topic of Karbala, produced by Al-Maghrib institute. Do listen and take notes inshAllah ans spread the link.

Knowledge is power, or I should say, it's life! Without the proper knowledge we can never understand and love our beautiful faith. Only through seeking knowledge we can follow our faith with conviction. It's also very important for us as parents to educate our children with the proper knowledge of our faith. Our children love stories (and the horrible history series). I tell them stories of the prophets based on the Qura'n on a regular basis. And we discuss about it on a regular basis. I keep reiterating to them that  these are not fairy stories, these are our history and there is a lot to learn from our history. Alhamdulillah they do think about it and love discussing about all sorts of issues. As parents, we must have patience and ability to deal with their inquisitive minds. Just listening to them makes me wonder how close they are to the fitra. Children teach us so much about the faith and life in general i.e how to live life with contentment and happiness. 

To celebrate the day of Ashoora and the month of Muharram as a family, we are doing story sessions after school about prophet Musa alaihis salam. They actually want to fast, mashAllah. I told them they can fast half a day inshAllah. When we learn about Musa alaihis salam, we are not just learning about him. We are also learning about his great mother who had so much tawakkul on Allah to leave her baby in basket in the river, his sister who was so clever to approach the Queen and suggest her mother as a potential nurse for baby Musa, his loving foster mother, Queen Aasiya ( one of the greatest women in our faith), his supporting brother and prophet Harun (Aaron), prophet Shu'aib alaihis salam and his intelligent daughters, cruelty of Pharaoh, the bravery of the magicians in the palace of Pharaoh, characteristics of children of Israel (Bani Israel) and so on. So much to think and learn inshAllah! Let us study the chapters of the Qur'an which deals with Musa alahis salam and ponder upon them and derive some lessons to follow in our own life, bi'idnilillah ta'ala. May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala accept our fasts and all the ibadah we are doing to sincerely please Him, only Him, ameen! 

Monday, 30 September 2013

The best days of the year

Alhamdulillah , all praise to our Rabb, the great month of Dhul hijjah is going to approach us very soon inshAllah. This is the last month of the Islamic year and the well-known month of pilgrimage to Makkah. There are so many acts of Ibadah we can perform to get closer to our Rabb, bi'idnillah.

In 2006 I was invited by my Rabb subhanahu wa ta'ala to perform my hajj Alhamdulillah. I was very moved by the whole experience. Never before in my life I have felt so moved and shaken and felt the amazing sweetness of Imaan (the feeling of closeness and firm belief in Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala) Subhanallah! Whenever I used to come across this term ‘sweetness of Imaan’ I could not really understand what that really meant. Going to hajj and being so close to my Lord, I was able to experience that wonderful feeling so deeply in my heart for the first time. I felt I was full of energy to worship Allah more eagerly and in various ways but unfortunately within the couple of months after returning from hajj my motivation become weaker and weaker, which sometimes made me feel empty and disenchanted with my life. I have heard from other hajjis that they also went through the same phase after their return from hajj.
Our society and its busy pace delude us into believing that we have too many things to do and worry about. Life becomes so busy that we tend to forget that as a spiritual being apart from food and drink we also need spiritual nourishment to preserve the integrity and peace of our soul and body. 
Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala as our creator knows what we need to feel the peace in our heart. We need to get closer to Him through His worship. So we are getting a great chance to renew and boost our faith as the holy month of Dhul Hijja is coming very soon. He is so merciful to us. Ramadan just left us and once again we are given another chance to renew our faith for His sake. Let us do our best to reap as much benefit as possible from this great month.
Usually we as Muslims tend to regard the month of Dhul Hijja as a month exclusively significant for pilgrims as they have to embark upon a great journey to Makkah and perform all the rituals recommended during hajj i.e. staying in Mina, ‘Arafah, Mujdalifa , stoning , sacrificing an animal, doing tawaf and sa’y bewen Safa and Marwa and so on. Although the remaining Muslims around the world celebrate the Eid ul Adha and sacrifice animal, most of the times these are the only action done with lots of enthusiasm. 

We tend to forget that this great month has been blessed tremendously by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. The first ten days of Dhul Hijjah are regarded as the best days of the year. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says in the Qur'ân:

"By the dawn and by the ten nights … " [Al-Qur'ân 89:1-2]

Ibn Kathîr said that "the ten nights" referred to here are the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, and this opinion was also held by Ibn Abbâs, Ibn az-Zubair, Mujâhid and others. 

Moreover, Allah says:
" … and remember the name of Allah in the appointed days." [Al-Qur'ân 2:203]

Ibn Abbâs and Ibn Kathîr said this means in the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.

If we ponder upon the Sunnah of our beloved prophet Muhammad sallallahu alaihe wa sallam, we can find more evidence on the superiority of the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.
Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” The people asked, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah, except in the case of a man who went out, giving himself and his wealth up for the cause (of Allah), and came back with nothing.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

`Abdullah ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “There are no days greater in the sight of Allah and in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Him than these ten days, so during this time recite a great deal of tahlil [saying: 'there is no god but Allah'], takbir [saying 'God is great'] and tahmid [praising God].” (Reported by Ahmad)

This sacred month gives us a great opportunity to strengthen our faith and become better Muslims. Let us prepare ourselves with best of plan to welcome this month with lots of enthusiasm Insha-Allah. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is so merciful to us that He through His messenger sallallahu alaihe wa sallam has also shown us the best of the ways we can worship Him. Therefore let us learn and practice those golden rules to please Allah subhanahu swa ta'ala. 

Actions we can perform and hopefully gain Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala’s pleasure Insha-Allah:

Although Hajj and Umrah are the best deeds performed in Dhul-Hijjah here I would like to concentrate on Muslims who are not going for hajj and umrah.

1. Fasting the First Nine Days, Especially the Day of `Arafah (9th of Dhul Hijjah) 

It is recommended to fast during the first nine days of Dhu’l Hijja. The tenth day is the day of Eid, and is prohibitively disliked and sinful to fast this day. However, if someone is not able to do the entire nine days of fasting then they should at least try to fast on the day of ‘Arafah which is the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah as it is a sunnah of our beloved prophet sallallhu alaihe wa sallam. 

The Day of `Arafah is regarded as the best day of the whole year. 

It has been narrated by Abu Qatada (Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him, his family, and companions) said, “Fasting the Day of `Arafah [9th of Dhu’l Hijjah ] expiates the [minor] sins of two years: a past one and a coming one.” [Reported by Muslim, Abu Dawud, Nasa’i, and Ibn Majah]

Allah chose fasting for Himself from all the good deeds, as is stated in the Hadeeth Qudsee: “All the deeds of the son of Adam are for him, except for fasting, which is for Me and I am the One Who will reward him for it.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee (1085)] 

2. Saying the Takbir as much as possible Insha-Allah

It is Sunnah to say takbir, tahmid, tahlil, and tasbih during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, and to say it loudly in the mosque, the home, the street and every place where it is permitted to remember Allah SWT and mention His name out loud, as an act of worship and as a proclamation of the greatness of Allah, may He be exalted. Men should recite these phrases out loud, and women should recite them quietly. Allah says: (That they might witness things that are of benefit to them (i.e., reward of Hajj in the Hereafter, and also some worldly gain from trade, etc.), and mention the name of Allah on appointed days, over the beast of cattle that He has provided for them (for sacrifice)... ) (Al-Hajj 22: 28) The majority of scholars agree that the "appointed days" are the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, because of the words of ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father): "The ‘appointed days’ are the first ten days (of Dhul-Hijj ah)."

The takbir should be pronounced loudly by men, in order to revive the Sunnah and as a reminder to the negligent. There is sound evidence that ibn `Umar and Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with them both) used to go out in the marketplace during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, reciting takbir, and the people would recite it after him. The idea behind reminding the people to recite this is that each one should recite it individually, not in unison, as there is no basis in Shari`ah for doing this.

The transmitted wording of takbir is: “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, la Ilaha illa Allah; Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, walillah al-hamd” (Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest. There is no god but Allah; Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest, and all praise is due to Allah). 

According to Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, there are two types of takbir in Dhul-Hijjah: unrestricted takbir and restricted takbir. Unrestricted takbir is applicable at any time or place, from the first of Dhul-Hijjah until the days of `Eid. Hence, a man can make takbir in the roads, markets, in Mina, and also when people meet each other. All these are occasions for unrestricted takbir.

Restricted takbir, on the other hand, is restricted to the time following every obligatory prayer, especially if it is offered in congregation, as most scholars restrict it. This type of takbir also includes takbir in the place of `Eid Prayer, on the way to it and while one is sitting around waiting for the `Eid prayer

3. Offering a Sacrifice: 

One of the good deeds that will bring a person closer to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala during these ten days is offering a sacrifice. According to Sheikh M. S. Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Muslim lecturer and author, the one who wants to offer a sacrifice must stop cutting his hair and nails and removing anything from his skin, from the beginning of the ten days until after he has offered his sacrifice, because the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "When you see the new moon of Dhul-Hijjah, if any one of you wants to offer a sacrifice, then he should stop cutting his hair and nails until he has offered his sacrifice."

However, if a person does any of these things deliberately, he must seek Allah’s forgiveness but is not required to offer (an extra) sacrifice in expiation. Whoever needs to remove some hair, nails, etc., because it harms him, such as having a broken nail or a wound in a site where there is hair, should do so and there is nothing wrong with that. 

4. Studying the Qur’an with meaning and tafseer (explanation):

Through studying the Quran we can seek true knowledge of our faith and strengthen our belief with conviction. Sadly we tend to miss this great chance to educate ourselves with proper knowledge of Islam through mere recitation and not really giving importance to the meaning of this divine book. If we really like to change our poor condition and become better Muslims then only through learning Allah’s message explained in the Qur’an we can achieve our destination. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala loves the learned Muslims and makes their path to learning easy and blessed. According to sunnah, if Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala wants to do good to a person, He makes him or her comprehend the religion (the understanding of the Qur’an and the Sunnah of our beloved prophet sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) It has been said that the best among Muslims is the one who learns the Qur’an and teaches it to others.

5. Recitation and memorization of the Qur’an:

We should also try to recite the Qur'an and try to memorize it to the best of our abilities Insha-Allah. According to the sunnah, every letter of the Quran brings us reward so we should try our best to make the reading as well as following the instructions of this holy book a daily habit Insha-Allah. We can start through the ten days of Dhul Hijjah Insha-Allah.

Narrated by Abu Musa RAW, the prophet SAW said, “The example of a believer who recites the Qur’an and acts on it, is like a citron which tastes nice and smells nice. And the example of a believer who does not recite the Qur’an but acts on it is like a date which tastes good but has no smell. And the example of a hypocrite who recites the Qur’an is like a Raihana (sweet basil) which smells good but tastes bitter. And the example of a hypocrite who does not recite the Qur’an is like a colocynth which tastes bitter and has a bad smell.” [6:579- O.B Al-Bukhari]

6. Being kind and dutiful to our parents and relatives:

Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala has ordered us to be good to our parents and do our best to please them as long as they do not tell us to be disobedient to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. Our parent’s satisfaction  is very crucial for us as without their blessing we cannot achieve closeness of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala in our life. Moreover, being nice to our relatives and helping them whenever they need us are also recommended by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala quite strongly through out the Qur'an and the teachings of our beloved prophet sallallahu alaihe wa sallam. So let us be nice and helpful to our parents and relatives for His sake, inshAllah.

7. Performing plenty of voluntary prayers during the days and nights of Dhul Hijjah:

In addition to the five daily prayers, there are different types of voluntary prayers. Voluntary prayers are recommended by our beloved prophet sallallahu alaihe wa sallam as these sorts of prayers bring us closer to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. We can pray the Salatut Tawbah, Salatut Tasbeeh, Salat al-Israq, Salat at-Duha, Salat al-Awwabin , Salat at-Tahajjud and so on. 

8. Making lots of tawbah (repentance):

We should make sincere tawbah (Repentance) to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala as repentance means coming back to Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala. When a Muslim combines repentance with good deeds during the most virtuous days, this is a sign of his success. Allah says: “But as for him who repented, believed and did righteous deeds, then he will be among those who are successful.” [Soorah al-Qasas (28): 67] 

I would like to share with you a wonderful dua for repentance. Narrated by Shaddad Bin Aus RAW, the prophet SAW said, “The most superior way of asking for forgiveness from Allah SWT is:

Allahumma anta Rabbi , la ilaaha illa anta. Anta khalaqtani wa ana ‘abduka , wa ana ’ala ‘ahdikaa wa wa’dika mastata’tu. A’udhu bika min sharri ma sana’tu, abuu laka bini’matika ‘alaiya, wa abuu laka bidhanbi faghfirli fa innahu la yaghfiru adhdhunuba illa Anta.” which means 
“O Allah, You are my Lord! None has the right to be worshipped but You. You created me and I am Your slave and I am faithful to my covenant and my promise (to You) as much as I can. I seek refuge with You from all the evil I have done. I acknowledge before You all the blessings You have bestowed upon me, and I confess to You all my sins. So I entreat You to forgive my sins, for nobody can forgive sins except You.” 

The prophet SAW added: “If somebody recites it during the day with firm faith in it and dies on the same day before the evening, he will be from the people of Jannah; and if somebody recites it at night with firm faith in it and dies before the morning, he will be from the people of jannah.” ( Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol.8 hadith no.318) 

9. Giving Charity (Sadaqah):

Charity is central to a Muslim's life. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala loves the act of charity. Even smiling to our fellow Muslims is regarded as a charity. Helping the needy and poor people around the world can strengthen our faith and Insha-Allah will make us better Muslims. The Qur'an encourages the Muslim to donate their money: “The likeness of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah, is as the likeness of a grain that sprouts seven spikes. In every spike there are hundred grains, and Allah multiplies for whom He will' (2:261). Giving charity is thereby not seen as detracting from income, but rather as a multiplication in terms of spiritual observance. It is like one who sows a good grain of wheat in the field from which grows a plant on which sprout seven ears and each ear yields hundred grains. As a result, one grain was worth a total yield of 700 grains. When one spends in the way of Allah, he or she receives in return (reward in the Hereafter) on the scale of one to seven hundred. Subahanallah!

10. Attending the Salaat al-Eid and the Khutbah:

The tenth of Dhul-Hijjah is `Eid Al-Adha or the day of An-Nahr (slaughtering). It marks the conclusion of the major rites of Hajj, and commemorates Allah’s bounty on His Messenger Ibrahim Alaihes salam when He gave him a ram to sacrifice as ransom for his son Isma`il, peace and blessing be upon him. 

"The day of Al-Fitr [i.e. `Eid Al-Fitr], the day of An-Nahr, and the days of Tashriq are `Eid days for us Muslims. They are days of eating and drinking." [Ahmad, An-Nasa’i, Sahih Al-Jami` #8192] 

The three days following `Eid Al-Adha, while the pilgrims complete their rites, Muslims continue with their `Eid celebrations, and are prohibited to fast. "The days of Tashriq are days of eating, drinking and mentioning Allah." [Muslim] 

Attending the Salaat al-Eid and the Khutbah are recommended not just for men. The Muslim women should try to perform the prayer too as it has been stressed by our beloved prophet SAW. For the sake of unity and celebrating this great day, He sallallahu alaihe salam even asked the menstruating women to come to the mosque but of course keep a distance from the actual prayer area. 

Therefore, we can perform lots of righteous deed during the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. It is better to write our plan in a diary and try to get enough preparation done in order to welcome the great month of Dhul Hijjah and get the blessings of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. Our ultimate goal is to please our Lord Allah . May Allah give us success in these blessed days and nights, and in every moment of our lives, to follow the path of the Prophet (Allah SWT bless him & give him peace), and may He make us of those whom He loves and who love Him.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Hayati Kullu Ha Lillah

Our children are learning this nasheed below so that they can understand a bit more Arabic. I am also learning the song with them. I hope very soon we will be able to sing the song on our own, bi'idnillah.
You can listen to the nasheed here

حياتى كلها لله .. فلا مولى لنا الاه 
My life is all for Allah...for there is no Lord but Him
احب الله جل علاه .. ومن حبى له اخشاه 
I love Allah, and from this love I humble myself
اصون النفس احميها .. بنور الله اهديها 
I protect the 'self' and look after it, with God's light I guide it
بحب الله اسقيها .. لتفرح عندما تلقاه 
With the love of God I water it, so that when it can be joyful upon meeting Him
حياتى كلها لله .. حياتى كلها لله 
My life is all for Allah
اذا ما الحب لم يسبى .. فؤاد المؤمن الصب
If love didnt fill the believers heart
فوا اسفاه على القلب .. لان الزيف قد غشاه 
Then pity the heart, because glitter has fooled him
حياتى كلها لله .. حياتى كلها لله 
My life is all for Allah
يقيني بين جنبيا .. واسعى بالهدى سعيا
My conviction is with me, and I look for guidance 
كفانى اننى احيا .. وامضى فى سبيل الله 
It is enough that I am alive and living for the sake of God
حياتى كلها لله .. حياتى كلها لله 
My life is all for Allah
اذا جادت ليا الدنيا ... واسقتنى المنى ريا
If life tempted me 
ستبقى بين كفيا .. ويبقى خافقى لله
It will stay between my hands, and my beats for Him 
حياتى كلها لله .. حياتى كلها لله
My life is all for Allah

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Qur'an time: Surah Al-Insaan

I hope to keep studying the Qur'an through out the year, not just in Ramadan. Everyday I hope to read one surah (one chapter) of the Qura'n and try to study/listen to the explanation bi'idnillah. Today it's going to be surah Al-Insaan.

Tafsir of surah Al-Insaan

This is a surah revealed in Makkah before prophet Muhammad Sallallahu alaihe Wa Sallam's migration to Madinah. The Theme of the surah is to inform us the mankind, our true position in the world and to tell us that if we really understood our true position rightly and adopted the attitude of gratefulness, we would meet with such and such good end. Some amazing facts about jannah are mentioned in this surah. And the people who will not be grateful, for them awaits a great punishment. [ "Indeed, We have prepared for the disbelievers chain and shackles and a blaze."76:4]

In this surah, first of all man has been reminded that there was a time when she was nothing; then a humble beginning of her was made with a mixed drop of sperm and ovum of which even her mother was not aware. 

"Has there [not] come upon man a period of time when he was not a thing [even] mentioned?
Indeed, We created man from a sperm drop mixture that We may try him; and We made him hearing and seeing. Indeed, We guided him to the way, be he grateful or be ungrateful." [Surah 76:1-3]

I found some beautiful description of Jannah. May Allah subhananhu wa ta'ala give us the tawfeeq to get there with family and friends and all the Muslims, ameen!

"Indeed, the righteous will drink from a cup of wine whose mixture is of Kaafuur (a sweet-smelling spring in Paradise). A spring of which the righteous servants of Allah will drink; they will make it gush forth in force and abundance." [Surah 76:5-6]

So, who are the people Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala mentions here?

"They [are those who] fulfill [their] vows and fear a Day whose evil will be widespread. And they give food in spite of love for it (the meaning may be, out of love for Him) to the needy, the orphan and the captive, (saying) "We feed you only for the countenance of Allah. We wish not from you reward or gratitude. Indeed, We fear from our Lord a Day austere and distressful." [Surah 76:7-10]

So these are the qualities of people of paradise. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala promises them to reward them on the Day. "So Allah will protect them from the evil of the Day and give them radiance and happiness and will reward them for what they patiently endured [with] a garden in paradise and silk garments.

They will be reclining therein on adorned couches. They will not see therein any [burning] Sun or [freezing] cold. And near above them are its shades, and its fruits to be picked will be lowered in compliance. And there will be circulated among them vessels of silver and cups having been created clear as glass. Clear glasses [made] from silver of which they have determined the measure. And they will be given to drink a cup of wine whose mixture is of ginger. [From] a fountain within it[ i.e, Paradise] named Salsabeel. 
There will circulate among them young boys made eternal. When you see them , you would think them [as beautiful as] scattered pearls. And when you look there [in Paradise], you will see pleasure and great dominion. Upon them [i.e, the inhabitants] will be green garments of fine silk (in layers) and brokade. And they will be adorned with bracelets of silver and their Lord will give them a purifying drink."  [76: 11-21]

All of these are rewards from our Lord. "[And it will be said, "Indeed, this is for you a reward and your effort has been appreciated." " [76:22]

Then, our Rabb mentions what a great Book He has blessed us with! Indeed, it is We have sent down to you [O Muhammad], the Qur'an progressively." [76:23]

This is indeed a huge blessing for us. Without the Qur'an we would have been totally lost. We wouldn't have had any clue of why we are here and what is the way forward for us. But this Book  also comes with a heavy responsibility. This is not just an ordinary book! It's a Book of guidance from our Lord and we are obliged to follow it on a daily basis. We are not even allowed to pick and choose from the rulings of this Book. We have to follow all of it wholeheartedly. And that's not an easy task. Allah tells us in this surah how we can cope with this huge responsibility. We must have sabr (patience) and always be conscious of our Lord through prayers especially during the early morning and the evening. 

"So be patient for the decision of you Lord and do not obey from among them a sinner or ungrateful disbeliever. And mention the name of your Lord [in prayer] morning and evening and during the night prostrate to Him and exalt Him a long part of the night. [76: 24-26]

As we can see, night prayers are very crucial part of our faith. It's not just for Ramadan in the form of taraweeh prayers. We really need to strive to get up at night and pray for our Lord's Pleasure, bi'idnillah. The imam I was listening to mentioned that this also means that we need to do our daily dua/supplications after dawn prayer and the night prayers before going to sleep. 'Fortress of the Muslim' is a great book in this regard. 

Another crucial lesson I have learnt from this surah is the fact that guidance only comes from Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. He is in control and can shower His Mercy to whoever He wants. There are some people who think that everything is in our hand and we can do whatever we want. But Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says at the end of this surah: 

"Indeed, this is a reminder, so he who wills may take to his Lord a way. And you do not will except that Allah wills. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise. He admits whom He wills into His mercy; but the wrongdoers- He has prepared for them a painful punishment." [76: 29-31]

The translation is shared from The Qur'an : Saheeh International Translation [The Qur'an Project]

I have been listening to the explanation of surah Al-Insaan by Imam Abdul Qaiyyum of East London Mosque. It's in Bengali . So much to learn from this amazing surah! 

Part 1    Part 2    Part 3   Part 4

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Ramadan is gone, now what..


Last week on Thursday we celebrated Eid ul fitr alhamdulillah which means this year Ramadan was 29 days for us. We went to the park near us where we prayed the Eid salah with the local Muslims, alhamdulillah. The day and night before Eid is always a very sad time for me. I know for sure that as soon as Ramadan leaves us, it will be quite difficult to worship Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala so intensely like Ramadan. May Allah accept our humble deeds in Ramadan and forgive us for our shortcomings through out the year, ameen! May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala enable us to witness lots of Ramadan in our life, ameen! 

This year Ramadan has been quite a hectic one for me, given my kids are a bit older and very demanding. I normally went to sleep after 4/4:30 but had to get up by 7:30/8 as kids were already wide awake! Lack of sleep made me quite tired and exhausted. If I compare my Ramadan this year with all the other Ramadan I was lucky to have in my life, this year praying Taraweeh was very hard. I think I hardly did that many prayers after Isha prayer. When I woke up at 2 am, I was more alert and were able to be awake till 4, alhamdulillah. The night prayers I have managed to do during this time is just priceless. No kids disturbing, so peaceful mashAllah. I am sure I will miss that very much. This year I put more effort in reading the Qur'an, alhamdulillah and I hope I can carry on through out the year, bi'idnillahi ta'ala.

So, how can I carry on the Ramadan feelings now after it has gone? I try to remind myself that Ramadan is a special month and nothing can replace it. No other month can be so amazing and full of baraka like this sacred month. Like the shahaba ( companions of our beloved prophet sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) we can pray and ask our Lord for six months to accept our humble deeds performed during Ramadan and six months before the next Ramadan we can start preparing and ask our Lord to let us witness the next Ramadan.

Also, we can carry on fasting some days every month to keep up this particular form of worship bi'idnillah. Our beloved prophet sallallahu alaihe wa sallam used to fast every Mondays and Thursdays. He also used to keep fasts in the middle of the month (lunar one), 13, 14 and 15th of every month. As you know, this is the month of Shawwal when fasting six days are highly recommended by our prophet. If someone fasts the whole of ramadan and fasts six days of Shawwal, it will be like fasting for the whole year! Subhanallah who can afford to miss this great opportunity to gain closer to Allah subhana wa ta'ala?! I have to fast 12 days during this month. Due to illness, I missed 6 during Ramadan so I must make that up first inshAllah. Then I hope to do the six of Shawwal bi'idnillah.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Ramadan Reflections: Day 29 ( Last day)

Bismillah... In the Name of Allah the Most Merciful

Today is the last day of Ramadan. I know I should be glad that it's Eid tomorrow. But I am sad that Ramadan has just left us. This was a great month to feel more closer to my Lord. I am tuned into Ramadan TV watching the fund raising event by iERA. Brother Hamza was saying that Ramadan is the time when you find yourself. Allah subhana wa ta'ala says in the Qur'an that the people who forget Allah, Allah makes them forget themselves. Subhanallah what a profound statement! During Ramadan we are so busy with the worship of Allah, that our life becomes so meaningful mashAllah. It all bogs down to the fact that we truly realize during Ramadan, what our purpose is ! And that is to worship our Lord. That's the one and only reason He subhanahu wa ta'ala has created us for! O Allah, please give us the ability to worship You with this realization through out the year and through out our life, ameen, ameen, ameeen! 

As soon as Ramadan leaves us, we feel the hardship in worshiping Allah subhana wa ta'ala. We can easily pray so many raka' of prayers during the nights of Ramadan, and when Ramadan is gone, praying only two raka' extra becomes a struggle! During Ramadan we can recite the Qur'aan ( most of the time 20 pages! ) every day but when this month is gone, reading one page a day seems like a huge task! 

Satan is out now, must be busy in ruining our lives. This month was the month of reflection for us. A month to get properly trained so that the rest of the year we can fight back our enemy , Satan and our enemy within, the nafs ( negative bits of it) . Let us remind ourselves that Ramadan is gone but the Lord of Ramadan is here and will be here with us forever, inshAllah. 

Let us ask our Lord to help us in fighting our ego and Satan with the best of our abilities. Without His help we cannot achieve anything in life. If we feel kind of proud that we have worshiped Allah so much during this month, we must remind ourselves that nothing is possible without Allah's help. We done everything because of Him. He made it possible for us. There are plenty of people around us who also had the opportunity of witnessing Ramadan, but they didn't fast or even pray ! Only Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala guides and gives us the ability to listen to Him. I love this small dua, La Hawla Wa Laa Quwwata Illah Billah. There is no power  or might without Allah's Help. We cannot do anything good without His help and we cannot save ourselves from sins without His help. This tiny but such a powerful dua keeps us grounded. May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala accept our humble deeds during this great month, ameen! May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala help us in leading a righteous life through out the year! May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala enable us to witness more Ramadan in future, Ameen! Please keep me and my family in your precious duas.

تَقَبَّلَ لله مِنَّا وَ مِنْكُمْ وَ اَحَالَ الله عَلَيْكَ 

Taqabbal'Allahu minna wa minkum!

May Allah subhanahu wa taala accept our fasting, our Qiyam (night prayer), our reading of the Quran, our charitable acts and all our Ibadah (acts of worship) that we committed for the sake and pleasure of Allah alone. May Allah forgive our sins and all our shortcomings.
May Allah make us steadfast and righteous and allow us the blessings to see another Ramadan.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Ramadan Reflections: Day 28

Bismillah... In  the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful

2 or 1 day left till the Eid inshAllah. Today quite a lot of people were sharing news about the possibility of Eid happening tomorrow! This is first time in my life I came across this dilemma. Apparently, sometimes moon sighting may go wrong and we can end up fasting only 28 days. If that happens, we are supposed to fast the missed day after Eid. As it was quite cloudy in Saudi during the month of Sha'abaan, they couldn't see the moon. Today they tried to witness the Eid moon, but couldn't find it. Alhamdulillah I am really glad that we will be fasting tomorrow. I just hope Eid is on Friday inshAllah so that we can have 30 days of fasts. Ramadan is an amazing opportunity for us earn the pleasure of our Lord. That's why the more fast we have to do, the better. May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala enable us to do our best during the remaining hours of Ramadan, ameen!

Sheikh Omer Suleiman has shared a beautiful reminder today through Facebook. I hope to follow his great tips, bi'idnillahi wa ta'ala and finish strong inshAllah! May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala reward him for his excellent efforts, ameen! Through out the Ramadan I really benefited from his brilliant work, mashAllah. 

‪#‎RamadanResolution‬ Day 28 (Finish Strong)

Depending on what part of the world you are in, you have anywhere from 1-3 days left of Ramadan. Many of us have regrets that we didn’t make the most of it. We may have had nights where we didn’t wake up for Qiyam, days in which we didn’t control our tongues properly, or spans of Ramadan in which we slacked off with our Quran reading. But now is not the time to cry. Nor is it the time to splurge in Eid shopping and act like the month is over. Reflect on this wonderful statement by Imam Ibn Rajab (RA) in his Lataaif:

"Let those who have failed to make the most of this month of Ramadan end it with good, because actions are judged by their endings." 

The last part of that statement about actions being judged by their endings is an authentic hadeeth and one that should give us much hope. Here’s my challenge: 

1. Make this last day or two of Ramadan the BEST days you have spent all month and count on Allah to judge your entire Ramadan by that last day.

2. Spend the last Asr-Maghrib of Ramadan in reading quran, supplication, and remembrance. If you can do I’itikaf (seclusion) for that last period in the masjid then do so. If not, then try to make it a time of peace, quiet, and reflection.

3. Cry your heart out in that supplication and ask Allah to forgive you for all of your shortcomings in the month and give you the full reward of Laylatul Qadr EVEN if you missed it.

4. DO NOT waste your time arguing over moon sighting now. You are not in a position to change anything. If you will differ from your community in regards to the Eid day, then do so quietly.

Oh Allah, this is what we have presented, understanding our shortcomings but still depending on Your mercy for acceptance.

May Allah allow us to finish this month strong. May we meet Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) completely forgiven, basking in His mercy, freed from the gates of hellfire, and registered in the highest level of jannatul firdaws.