Ramadhan Mubarak to each and every single one of you.

Ramadhan is the month in which Allah swt revealed the Qur’an to the Messenger Muhammad pbuh.

Ramadhan is also the month in which our beloved pbuh and his companions, fought the very first battle (badr) in defense of Islam and the message of Allah swt.

Ramadhan is the month in which Allah swt closes the doors of hell and opens the door of Paradise.

Ramadhan is the month in which Allah swt chains up all of the devils, to allow us to test ourselves, whether we get rid of bad habits or not.

Fasting is the only worship, for which the reward isn’t multiplied by the same number of times as other forms of worship – so the closer you are to Allah when fasting, the more reward you get for the same exact actions which you perform on a normal day, Subhan’Allah.

I just want to break the norm and start a reminder which is slightly different to all –

In this Holy Month, Allah the Almighty chains up the devils in order to allow us to assess our commitment to His commands. Therefore whatever evil we do is not from shaytan, rather it is from our own selves. However, do not despair if you slipped up during this holy month. The whole purpose of this month is for you to really figure out your weaknesses and work on improving them, and that is what makes the difference between two people who slip up, but one would turn the error into multiple rewards, and the other would have his fasting disqualified. The latter would despair and perhaps carry on with the sin, whereas the first would realise his weakness and work on improving it by the end of the month, so that by the time Shaytan’s chains are unlocked, you will have had the self discipline and the iman which will insha’Allah help you resist shaytan’s whispers.

On another note, we see Ramadhan every single year and yet, we never look at an aspect which is of extreme importance. The atmosphere during the Taraweeh prayers is absolutely priceless. The Mosques are so full alhamdulillah and you see everyone hugging  and congratulating each other after the prayer and all look extremely excited about seeing one another and about being together during the best month of the year.

And that really made me wonder, Allah the Almighty has blessed us with a weekly community gathering during the Friday prayers, and a WHOLE month every single year in which you see the Mosques so full and the people coming together. The sad part, however, is that once Ramadhan is over, the rows start to empty again and the hearts start to disunite again. And this is something which we really need to, as young Muslims, work on as of today!

Muslims urgently need to make sure that these diseases of the heart are cured in this holy month, and each person must work on himself or herself and then on those around them. So that by the end of the month, our hearts will tend to further unite, or at least remain as united as they were during Ramadhan.

Let us aim to collectively shut the doors in the face of shaytan after this month, leave no room for him to come between us and create disunity within our community. Let us fail him and make him lose hope in us, and let Allah swt’s beautiful words and message, as well as the sunnah of the Chosen, Muhammad pbuh, be what drives us and what is between our hearts as a judge and a decider in all our disagreements and conflicts. when that is done, shaytan will see no place for him between us because the devils escape during the presence of the words of Allah swt.

Let us acknowledge the presence of this weakness in us, as that is step 1 towards fixing ourselves, and Allah swt has given us the answers to all these problems. Therefore the good news is, we need not to look for an answer.

So let us all make dua for one another, forgive each other at the start of this holy month for any shortcomings and any wrongdoings. if you have tension with another brother or sister, drop them a message and tell them you love them for the sake of Allah, apologise if you’ve wronged them, or forgive them if they’ve wronged you. Let our hearts rest with the peace of forgiveness which is prescribed to us by Allah swt and his messenger Muhammad pbuh to start off with. Then let us work on maintaining this compassion towards one an other and turn the tension between us into love for the sake of Allah, so that our hearts may embrace the true beauty of Islam.

An other really important lesson in Ramadhan is patience, there’s absolutely no point in holding back from eating all day, then cursing the guy in front of you for driving too slow. Holding back from food is merely a lesson to show you that, by holding back from a basic necessity in life, you can hold back from anything, as long as you put your mind to it. So learn to be patient, and start to look at things, that used to annoy you, in a more positive way.

May Allah shower us all with His blessings and mercy in this holy month of Ramadhan.

ps: we have a whole month to pray for ourselves as well as for our brothers and sisters in humanity who are suffering from poverty, natural disasters, occupation, oppression and disease. Let’s also pray for the prevalence of justice globally insha’Allah.

Lets pray that Allah allows us to live to see the Masjid al-Aqsa, when it has been liberated from occupation and the oppression it is going through on a daily basis. Let us all dream as of today, of the athaan rising at the Masjid al-Aqsa whilst its surrounded by purity and is clean of occupation insha’Allah. And let us start moving towards that goal by curing the diseases within our hearts first and foremost, and then taking it step by step.

One of the main motto’s is the verse in which Allah the Almighty says “and we have sent you but a mercy to mankind”. so let each and every single one of us live up to this motto and work towards living this motto during the month of Ramadhan, purify ourselves from any habits that may cause harm to those around us in  any way, shape or form. Let us truly stand strong against any form of oppression and injustice that goes on around us, help the poor, support the weak and aid those who are in need. And once we’ve started acting upon this, then let us pray for the prevalence of justice, globally. Let us also start implementing this verse by each person being kind to their neighbours, until you’re seen by your neighbours as the ‘honest and trustworthy’ which were the characteristics which the prophet Muhammad pbuh was known by among his neighbours from a young age.

I’d like to end by praying that Allah, in this holy month, crushes the oppressive rulers in Syria, Libya and any other countries in which the rulers are oppressing their nations, whether physically, militarily or financially. Let us pray that by the end of Ramadhan, all oppressed nations will have two celebrations, one for Eid and one for the end of any form of oppression they’ve been facing.

Have a great Ramadhan, and a great year after it till the following Ramadhan.

The new Lunar year began, and we are approaching the day of Ashura which is the tenth day of the first month (Muharram) of the Islamic Calendar.

It is reported in the Sahih of Imam Al-Bukhari and other authentic collections of hadith that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and his Companions used to fast on the 10th day of Muharram while they were in Makkah (before the Hijra to Madina).

It was a day on which the people of Makkah used to change the covering (kiswah) of the Ka`bah. Quraysh (the dominant tribe in Makkah) also used to fast on this day. (Al-Bukhari, hadith 1489 and 1760)

When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) came to Madinah, he found that the Jews of Madinah also used to observe this day with fasting. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) asked them the reason of their fasting on this day. They said, “This is a blessed day. On this day Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemy (in Egypt) and so Prophet Musa (Moses – peace and blessings be upon him) fasted on this day giving thanks to Allah.” Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) then commanded Muslims to fast on this day. (Al-Bukhari, hadith 1865)

The importance of fasting this day is also manifested in the fact that it was obligatory (fardh) in the beginning. In the second year of hijrah (from Makkah to Madina) (624 CE) when Allah’s command came that Muslims should fast the whole month of Ramadan, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) then sent someone to announce to people that fasting of `Ashura’ had become voluntary (nafl). This indicates that whosoever wishes to fast, may fast and whosoever does not want to fast, there will be no blame on him/her.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Fasting the day of Ashura (is of great merits), I pray that Allah will accept it as an expiation for (the sins committed in) the previous year.” (Muslim)

Looking at the above Hadiths, one of the very important lessons which may be neglected by many is that a day in which Allah saves a nation from an oppressor is a day of Celebration for the Muslims.
This links to the verse in which Allah (Almighty says) “We have sent you but a mercy to Mankind”.
Islam always did, and will never cease to, respect members of other faiths, celebrate the times when they’re given justice and help them through times of difficulties. This was the character of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and this should be the character of each and every single Muslim out there!

“Love Thy Neighbour” – The prophet (peace be upon him), by commanding the Muslims to fast on this day, made the Jews (their neighbours) of Madina feel comfortable and more than welcome to live with the Muslims in harmony. It was a message to the Jews of Madina that the Muslims will not only befriend them, but they will also be there for them during times of difficulty.
This leads to the second lesson, which is the importance of taking care of one’s neighbours: The Prophet (peace be upon him) once said “(Angel) Jibreel never ceased to remind me about (the rights of) my neighbour (upon me) until I assumed that the neighbour will be given (inheritance) a share of my wealth” and in another occasion he said “One of you cannot be a believer (Mu’min) if he was to sleep (satisfied) whilst his neighbour is hungry”.

Allah knows best.

Firstly I would like to start by praying that Allah blesses you all and accepts your good deeds during the Holy month of Ramadhan. Ameen.

Eid Mubarak to you all and I pray that you’re making the most out of these few days and spreading the joy to all those around you.

While celebrating and experiencing the joy of Eid, we often forget the purpose of the whole month that came before it and its struggles. Not only is Ramadhan a month of blessings, but is also a month long opportunity to learn more about yourself and your weaknesses, it is a month dedicated to self-accountability and assessment.

God, Almighty, says in the holy Quran:

“You who believe,

fasting is prescribed for you,

as it was prescribed for those before you,

so that you may be mindful of Allah.”

“It was in the month of Ramadan that the Qur’an was revealed as guidance for mankind, clear messages giving guidance and distinguishing between right and wrong”.

After reading the above verses, one would ask themselves “Why, out of all months, does Ramadhan make me mindful of Allah? And the fact that the Qur’an was revealed in this month, as guidance, surely implies that this is THE month of guidance, but how would it guide me?”

The answer is very simple:

Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be well pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “When the month of Ramadan enters, the gates of heaven are opened, the gates of hell are shut, and the devils are shackled.” [Bukhari]

Putting the bove verses and Hadith into context and linking them, one would conclude that God, Almighty, has given people the chance to hold themselves accountable and test their ability to resist their inner desires and temptations without the external influence of (Devils) Satans. Therefore, all actions committed by people during this Holy month come form their inner selves and not from the devils. This, therefore, allows people to assess the strength of their faith and their discipline. And only by assessing your performance, would you be able to make use of the guidance referred to in the above verses.

Now that this month is over, one should look back at their performance during Ramadhan and ask themselves which category they fall into:

1. Those who were better in Ramadhan:

– These people need to work on overcoming the influence of Satan on them by maintaining the healthy Ramadhan habits, which they don’t practice during other times of the year.

2. Those who are usually good but didn’t improve in Ramadhan: these are the people who’s barrier is themselves and so, must overcome themselves and push themselves that extra step towards God during the rest of the year.

3. Those who had bad habits throughout the year and didn’t change in Ramadhan: these are the easy targets for Satan. They must overcome themselves as well as Satan’s whispers.

Q: After figuring out the answer to the above question, what must one do to improve or build on what they already have?

A: The answer is in the second Quranic verse above: Once you know your self, your abilities, your strengths and you weaknesses, the next step is to build on what you have and fix whatever is wrong by strengthening your relationship with the Qur’an, as it was sent as guidance and a clear message to distinguish between right and wrong. Hence the very strong link between Ramadhan and the Holy Qur’an.

In summary: Ramadhan is a month of self accountability and getting to know youself better, and the Qur’an was sent in Ramadhan as a solution to help you overcome all obstacles which get in your way of becoming a better person. But you must first hold yourself accountable, figure out where your weaknesses are and then overcome them using the Qur’an.

We must also remember that even though we may have struggled during the day in Ramadhan, we always had peace of mind, knowing that we can afford a meal in the evening. There are millions across the world who don’t eat, not because they’re fasting but because they have nothing to eat. So let’s be generous to them in charity during the rest of the year. To stress the importance of caring for the poor, God (Almighty) has set a compulsory (Zakat) charity which is to be paid at the end of Ramadhan, and paying the Zakat-ul-fitr (the cost of a meal for one poor person) is one of the conditions for the acceptance of one’s deeds during Ramadhan. The importance of Zakat is further manifested in the Qur’an: Zakat is mentioned around 30 times in the Holy Qu’ran, and in 27 of these 30 times, it is mentioned alongside with establishing the Prayer (salat).

Now that Ramadhan is over, after assessing our performance during the holy month, we must all set the following targets:

  1. To maintain the healthy Ramadhan habits.
  2. To work on any shortcomings
  3. To build a strong relationship with The Holy Qur’an
  4. To be generous and give a share of their wealth to the poor
  5. To let go of any grudges they may have against anyone, forgive all those who may have harmed you in anyway and to seek forgiveness from all those who you may have brought harm/oppression to in anyway

We should try to fulfill all of the above during the year ahead of us and assess our performance in the next Ramadhan to see how much we’ve improved.

Allah knows best

60. Behold, Moses said to his attendant, “I will not give up until I reach the junction of the two seas or (until) I spend years and years in travel.”
61. But when they reached the Junction, they forgot (about) their Fish, which took its course through the sea (straight) as in a tunnel.
62. When they had passed on (some distance), Moses said to his attendant: “Bring us our early meal; truly we have suffered much fatigue at this (stage of) our journey.”
63. He replied: “Sawest thou (what happened) when we betook ourselves to the rock? I did indeed forget (about) the Fish: none but Satan made me forget to tell (you) about it: it took its course through the sea in a marvelous way!”
64. Moses said: “That was what we were seeking after:” So they went back on their footsteps, following (the path they had come).
65. So they found one of Our servants, on whom We had bestowed Mercy from Ourselves and whom We had taught knowledge from Our own Presence.

These verses were revealed describing the incident when Moses (peace be upon him), and the people around him, thought that he was the most knowledgeable person out there. God, however, informed Moses of a man who had more knowledge and wisdom than he did, which lead Moses to go on a journey to search for this man and learn from him.

What you learn from the aforementioned verses is that knowledge is of extreme importance and one must always be seeking knowledge, regardless of how knowledgeable they already are. The prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said “seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim, male and female” Al-Bukhari
Prophet Moses, peace be upon him, felt obliged to go and seek the extra knowledge even though many would have thought that he didn’t need it. He traveled very long distances and struggled to gain that extra bit of knowledge.

Imam Al-Shafi’i once said to his students ”Think of your brain as a bucket, you dip the bucket in a sea full of water (knowledge), when you take the bucket out, you may feel that you have all the knowledge that you need because what you can see is a bucket full of water (i.e. a brain full of knowledge). There is, however, a whole sea full of water which you did not explore yet. Therefore never let the knowledge which you have lead you into thinking that you don’t need more, as that is the first step towards ignorance”

You would also notice that Moses set himself very high targets and was refusing to give up, which manifests the importance of knowledge to him. The fact that he had ordered his attendant to bring enough food for the journey, before setting off, is a sign of determination. It shows that Moses, peace be upon him, did not want to spend time hunting for food, as for him that would be time wasted.

His sheer determination is further manifested in the most testing part of the journey, when they’re both hungry and tired from the very long journey and realise that the Fish they wanted to have for lunch had made its way in to the sea miraculously. Moses’ reaction was to acknowledge that this was the clue, which God had promised him, hence one must be patient when facing, what may be perceived as, obstacles. Now that he knew which direction he needs to go, he made use of every second and carried on his journey, spending no time eating, or even resting. This shows that, his goal was always on his mind, even during the times of rest, and attaining that extra knowledge was always his main priority.

As well as highlighting the importance of seeking knowledge, these verses teach us a lesson in prioritising, setting high targets, patience, perseverance and determination.

I’ve not blogged in a pretty long time as I got quite busy with exams and then spent two weeks at Wimbledon, where I didn’t have internet access.
I’ve bee going through rough times over the past few weeks, so I decided to write something about patience. In theory, every one talks about patience and how much of a virtue it is, but the question is, how many people actually implement this beautiful concept?

One of the marvelous qualities of the beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him) was his infinite patience. God was with Muhammad, as He is always with those who patiently persevere:

(God is certainly with those who patiently persevere.) (Al-Baqarah 2:153)

The Qur’anic word used for patience is sabr, and there is no English equivalent for it. We can only convey the idea of sabr by phrases such as, patience with delay, endurance against afflictions, perseverance against hardships, steadfastness in the face of setbacks, self-restraint against provocations, courage against hostilities and will power against temptations.

Every one out there would face times when every thing seems to go wrong for them. Facing difficulties leaves one feeling very lonely, it also leads you into thinking that everyone else’s life is going smoothly.
This is yet another area where you see the beauty of Islam: it teaches us that there will always be good and bad times and it also teaches us how to react in each case:
1.    To be thankful/grateful during the good times and
2.    To be patient (and strong) in during the difficult times.

The beauty in the Islamic approach to difficulties is it teaches you to change your perception of the problem i.e. seeing the glass half full as opposed to half empty. The way Islam does this is by wiping out this (evil) feeling of loneliness by teaching you that God is always with you. This leads you to change your perception of the scenario from being “Oh God, I have a big problem” to being “Oh Problem, I have Almighty God” which gives you confidence, thus putting you in a position of strength.

To be able to remain patient when facing problems, one always tries to understand a) why they’re facing that particular problem, b) if there is a solution to that problem and c) what that solution would be.

Islam answers  all three questions:

a)
The problem is a test from God

The Prophet (PBUH) said the following:
–    God keeps testing the person whom he loves, until that person has no more sins to be forgiven for. (Narrated by Imam Bukhari)
–    Strange are the ways of a believer, for there is good in every affair of his; for if he has an occasion to feel delight, he thanks (God); thus there is good in it in it. And if faces troubles and hardship, he endures it patiently; there is good in it for him. (Narrated by Imam Muslim). The reward you get from going through good and difficult times makes you a winner in either case.

Umar (may God be pleased with him) once said “If people were aware of what God had hidden for them in every test which they go through, they would pray for more such tests”

b)
God, the Almighty, also teaches us that there’s a solution to every problem and that with difficulty comes relief

God, the Almighty says in the Holy Quran, Chapter 95 (The Relief) “So, verily, with the difficulty, there is relief. Verily, with the difficulty, there is relief”.

If you read the verses above in Arabic, you’d realise that both verses refer to the same difficulty. This, however, is not the case with ‘relief’, implying that the “relief” mentioned in the first verse is not the same as that mentioned in the second, even though both verses are referring to one problem. Hence for every difficulty, there are (at least) two sources of relief. When this verse was revealed to the Prophet PHUH, he smiled and said “Spread the glad tidings, one difficulty cannot beat (the minimum of) two sources of relief” i.e. the difficulty is outnumbered by the sources of relief. Some Scholars say that the sources of relief are as follows:
1.    The solution(s) to the problem being faced
2.    The reward for being patient and persevering.

c)

Trusting God, relying on Him and being patient
The source of the Prophet’s courageous determination in the face of all the traumatic experiences he suffered was his strong faith in God and his dependence on Him. The Prophet’s conviction that God was with him when he was struggling with adverse circumstances, is evident from this verse, in The HolY Qur’an, in which Allah says “…he [The Prophet Muhammad] being the second of the two, when they were both in the cave, when he said to his companion: Grieve not, surely God is with us. So God sent down His tranquility upon them, strengthened them with hosts that you did not see…” (At-Tawbah 9:40)

Using this approach truly puts your mind at ease, because it teaches you to rely on Allah (as He as the solutions to every problem), thus freeing your mind from your own difficulties, allowing you to carry on with your life knowing that the solution will come.

Another beautiful concept to remember is Du’a (supplication). God orders Muslims
to ask him for whatever they may want/need and promises them to a) answer their requests and b) reward them for the supplication. So one must look at problems from this angle: if everything in life goes exactly how you want it to go, you’ll never need to ask God for anything, hence you’ll be missing out on the huge rewards which you get from using the tool of supplication which God provides you with, to help you through times of difficulties.

An observation of any modern interest based society demonstrates that interest (in Arabic – Riba) is the enemy of charity and that the two (interest and charity) cannot coexist. Charity here is not in reference to a few coins offered to a homeless individual, but rather charity that provides liquidity which subsequently contributes towards building societies and ensuring financial stability. What interest does, ultimately, is it alters society’s morals and principles from value-based ones into exchange-based ones. Inevitably, our ethical and moral values are the primary victims in any interest based society, and as we have seen with current events, the less fortunate do not have the ability to keep up with such an exchange which ensures that they become victims of a system, in which the benefits tend to be in one direction.

The Islamic Financial system neither endorses the capitalist nor the communist financial model. Instead, it is a belief system that cannot be compared to either, nor rivaled. However, both the capitalist and socialist systems share certain elements with Islam such as encouraging people to work, to be productive and to earn as much as they can. Nevertheless, Islam encourages the aforementioned within certain moral guidelines that are divinely ordained. Furthermore, since Islam promotes an awareness of the hereafter in the hearts and minds of believers, it instructs them not to be overcome by greed being excessively attached to money.
In Islam, if an individual earns a lot, he/she is encouraged to take part in spending from his/her earnings. This means that the more he/she acquires, the more he/she spends and the more other people benefit from his/her wealth. Hence the principle of Zakat (purification) of the wealth, which is a compulsory charity, paid annually, whereby 2.5% of one’s annual savings are paid to Bait-ul-maal (literally means ‘The Money House’), which distributes the Money to the poor. Islam also gives incentives for spending, voluntarily towards charity by even making it a means for repenting from certain sins, such as the breaking of an oath/promise.
You see so many people who have incurred huge amounts of debt and are now struggling to pay off their monthly installments for house mortgages and loans. Whilst one can justifiably argue that those who spent recklessly should now face the consequences of their actions, it is also worth bearing in mind that the banks also have a duty to lend responsibly, and that there are large numbers of people who are financially illiterate and in need of greater protection. This simply shows that an interest based system makes transactions much easier for those who cannot afford them, therefore tempting them to take on such transactions which would, in turn, benefit the already-rich service provider at the expense of the not-so-rich consumer.
In contrast, the Islamic system mandates the rich to look after the poor and to grant them the opportunity to become wealthier and to stand up on their feet. Such a system will maintain the sense of selflessness within the society. Such a system would also result in the ‘Boom and Bust’ curve becoming smoother, it would also lead to a society with very few, if any, poor people. The sense of sharing would ensure that all the wealth in society is spent towards keeping the society’s economy stable, at no body’s expense.

God, in the Holy Qur’an Says “We sent thee not, but a Mercy for all creatures” [20:107], and a true mercy would be one who spends their money wisely, setting a fair amount of their wealth aside to spend towards charity and helping the poor, not one who would set rules and policies which would make him/her richer, at the expense of those who need his/her service.

God always reminds people in the Qur’an that he provides wealth to whom so ever he wills, as a test, to see whether or not that person will be generous or greedy. As Muslims, we believe that on the day of judgment, people will be held accountable for three main things, one of which is “their wealth: it’s sources and where it was all spent”. So let not your wealth be earned, or spent, at the expense of others.

In Islam, disobedience to God is forgiven for by the simplest forms of repentance, whereas taking away other people’s rights would only be forgiven for if a) their rights have been given back to them, or b) they decided to forgive you. This highlights the importance of protecting the community as well as other people’s rights and, most importantly, self-discipline. Interest is simply money earned at the expense of others (i.e. taking away peoples rights for your own personal gain), which breaks bonds within the community, creates a lack of trust and breaks the sense of sharing and selflessness. Hence another extremely important reason why it is not permissible to give/take interest in Islam.