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Oct 20, 2014

That Menacing Atom of Pride

by Anum Ali

Being proud is not entirely negative, but in general it is a negative reference and unfortunately it is found like a pandemic in the global Muslim community over several matters. The sense of pride of being Muslims and of being the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad salAllahu alaihi wasallam (peace and blessings upon him), is worth harboring in our hearts only to remember that it does not pollute the hearts with a sense of boastful superiority over others. Other types of pride in the chaos of the social jungle, compelling people to compete for the unnecessary, are born from that menacing atom of pride that takes them far, far away from smelling even the fragrance of Paradise.

An Emotionally Intelligent Muslim Is Proud With Humility
I believe that every phenomenon, unless classified as a solid, proven vice such as Shirk, has a good and a bad side. Likewise, pride has two aspects. Since it is an emotion, a Muslim is required to be emotionally intelligent and channel the sense of superiority into positive expression and productive upbringing of the Muslim community. If he or she chooses to act foolish, the same pride can give birth to social intolerance, derogatory treatment of others, and would eventually tarnish the image of the Muslim nation at large. I find extremists, who claim to be Muslim, to be proud beings who possess such an inflated sense of pride that they despise anybody else who is any different than them. Contrary to such fools, a proud, yet humble, Muslim is tolerant of others. 

Model of an atom - The basic particle of all creation

So what is the size of an atom, again? A scientific figure with too many decimal points, but in simple comparative language, there are millions of atoms in each grain of sand. Do you get the picture of how mega-tiny microscopic I'm talking about? That's the size, of exactly one atom, of pride that pushes you far away from even smelling the scent of Paradise. That's not me talking. In the words of Prophet Mohammad, Messenger of Allah, RasoolAllah salAllahu alaihi wasallam, "No one who has an atom's weight of arrogance in his heart will enter Paradise," (Muslim, 91).

Let's put pride under our own Islamic electron microscope today and study it in light of Qur’an and Hadith.

Pride - The Devil's Trait
The first incidence of the display of pride and arrogance is known to all. It was Iblis, the leader of angels, who stood arrogantly before Allah and refused to bow before Prophet Adam ‘alaihissalaam. Iblis boasted,

 "I am better than him. You created me from fire, and him, You created from clay." (Qur’an 7:12). 

So think again whose footsteps are you following, what status he has been demoted to, and what would be the fate of his followers.

Another proud being was the Pharaoh (Fir'awn) the ruler of Egypt in the days of Prophet Moses ‘alaihissalaam. He was boastful of his stature, riches, and lands so much that he rejected the truth i.e. the Oneness of Allah. He rejected Prophet Moses ‘alaihissalaam as Allah's prophet and put him to tests and trials in combat with magicians. We all know what happened to him.

Types of Pride

1. Pride of being more knowledgeable or better off
There is a lot of this kind of pride going around these days simply because people are gaining more religious, academic, and professional knowledge. Degrees, diplomas, and certifications at times do more than just pinning a badge of qualification on a person. They also pin a badge of pride. A doctor, having passed through a tenure of several years of hard studies to get to where he or she is, may talk down everyone else who has a medical opinion. A company's chief executive officer may think everyone else is an underachiever. A person who has completed a religious course may look down upon everyone else as a sinner or somebody less in stature than them.

2. Pride of one's ancestors
Another common pride is that which one feels for his or her ancestral heritage. Some may be proud about belonging to an influential tribe and others may have royal or noble roots. Some may be from a generation of aristocrats and others may have ancestors from a popular township.

3. Pride of being more beautiful and/or rich

Being rich and beautiful is a blessing that requires utmost offering of gratitude to Allah and service and politeness to His Creation.

Influences of media have created a major social dysfunction of praising "plastic beauty" and disgracing the rest. Men and women are not comfortable in their own skins because others who have inherited "artificial, make-believe skins" are proud to put themselves up for display. The rich and famous parade the streets with pompous displays of wealth reflecting from their clothes, the vehicles they drive, and even the food they eat.

Prophet Mohammad salAllahu alaihi wassallam said,

 "Whilst a man was walking, dragging his garment with pride, with his hair nicely combed, Allah caused the earth to swallow him and he will go on sinking until the Day of Resurrection." (Al-Bukhari, 3297)

This does not imply that one should not dress and look beautiful. Prophet Mohammad salAllahu alaihi wassallam said, 

"Allah is Beautiful and loves beauty. Arrogance means rejecting the truth and looking down on people." (Muslim, 91)

Modesty is a trait that is required of a Muslim as essentially as his or her devotion to Allah.

The Right Kind of Pride
Being a Muslim is a matter of pride because you are following the best theological philosophy of One Creator. This pride is the right kind of pride and qualifies as a self-esteem booster, however, if expressed in a wrong way it would again be disqualified as a forbidden aspect of personality. Prophet Mohammad salAllahu alaihi wassallam prescribed various ways to express this pride in one's Creator. He asked the people to exalt Allah and proclaim that there is no God but Him. The chants of Allahu Akbar (Allah is Great) and Laa ilaaha illAllah (There is no God but Allah) are expressions of Islamic pride and of rising in honor. Unfortunately, they have been misused so much by hostile elements that they have become restricted in meaning only as war cries. That is not true.

Don't Nuke Your Destiny 
Paradise is our destiny and one atom of pride is enough to become that atom bomb which can nuke our destiny. In simple words, do not blow it up out of sheer arrogance.

I'd love to hear your view on this topic. Please leave comments in the section below!

Oct 17, 2014

The Problem with Mufti Google

By: AmatullahAminah


I love Google & Wikipedia … and HabibiHalaqas. It is like I have access to world’s best libraries and forums; most of all I have the liberty to choose from many conflicting views and approaches and practically use the info available according to my convenience and lifestyle. Life is good…Alhumdulillah for Google! 

However, I have come to realize that Google is not infallible, irrevocable, irrefutable and irreplaceable. Especially, when we christen it as ‘Shaykh’ Google and go about shopping for fatwas. It is hard to ignore the rising trend of using Google to browse for fiqh issues (or even as an advisory tool in religious matters) and continue browsing, hopping from site to site, until we find a ‘satisfactory’ answer- that is, an answer which will satisfy our current lifestyle and allow us to adopt a solution which may be least inconvenient. At times, even at the cost of twisting and cherry picking the ‘solutions’

“Ah! Alhumdulillah…I found an answer on Google”

How Ghastly!

It is actually very dangerous to go about looking for advice from complete strangers, who have attained their “PhDs” in religion, from studying a few websites. I would not even recommend the Question and Answers websites. Fiqh can be subjective and unique, it could differ from person to person and it most certainly takes into consideration the local political, cultural and economic climate. A general ruling comes with limitations and exceptions, which are usually ignored by random people publishing fatwas online. Furthermore, even if a body or a committee of scholars issues a ruling, it could be very likely that the ruling applies to the people of the region, facing a problem or issue in a specific environment (or a geographical region).

(Think: In a country like America, you are employed with an IT company and although you are earning halal income, you know your employer- the IT giant- is paying and receiving interest and the salary you get, most probably, comes from an income based on interest. Is your risq halal then? Now don’t get flustered and start Googling. Alhumdulillah your rizq is halal.) The scenario was just to drag your attention to problems and issues peculiar to a region where laws of the land are man-made.
Next time you are in a legal dilemma, talk to your masjid’s imam or a local scholar. Alhumdulillah for Google…you can also google contact info of prominent scholars in your region and get in touch with them ;) 

Now, let us examine the nature of our issues and how our beloved Shaykh Google could be messing up our chances. I browsed through some popular question and answer sites and found some pretty amusing questions with equally amusing answers. Quoting them below:

There are broadly three kinds of questions we Google:

a) The Generic Kind:
Nail Polish and Wudu
“My husband wants me to wear nail polish all the time. But I have to take it off for prayers, and this is very cumbersome for me. I don't understand the logic of this ruling either…” *

This is the safest kind to hunt online. Wudu is not valid if you have nail polish on. Period. Although, you could add an IF and a BUT to it as well. IF you are stranded on an island with no civilization and you cannot get nail polish remover, you cannot either chip off the nail polish, then you may make wudu and say your salah with the honest hope that Allah accepts it. Allah knows best.

b) The Advisory Kind:
Facebook is Halal or Haram?
“Q) Facebook is right for a muslim to get access??
 A) Muslims should know that the ill effects of Facebook is more than its good effects. Hence you are being made responsible to stay away from such platforms that approach you with evil.” *

Texting to the opposite sex
“Q) Is it jaa'iz to sms strangers (namahram)?
 A) Sms-ing strangers (non-mahram) is just like speaking face to face to them and is not jaa’iz.” *

Seriously, you do not need advice from self-professed scholars. Again, talk to your local imam. If someone is giving you advice to stay away from Facebook, then that very same reason stands true for internet, TV and smartphones. Any platform can throw a lot of fitnah your way, you should know what to avoid and how to avoid. Furthermore, you should know how to achieve a balance and prioritize your work and time. We would be questioned for our time and if you are investing hours to play candy crush on Facebook and mindlessly browsing through friends’ profiles, then you have a lot of time you could be using productively. If you are listening to Brother Nouman Ali Khan at 1:00 am and missing fajr, consequently, it is not right. And I know, brother Nouman would not be happy either. Shaytan plays some pretty clever games, eh!

Similarly, in the second scenario, you would not have a stranger’s number on your phone, to begin with. If you have a non-mahram’s number you know him/her in some capacity. It could be a co-worker, employer/employee, peer, classmate etc. Be sure to send strictly work-related messages with no friendly undertones and remember to text at an appropriate hour, while limiting your pleasantries to civility only. Like, do not text your classmate at 10:00 pm to ask about history notes and end your text with “Sweet dreams, sleep tight”. You know better!

c) The Legally Binding Kind:
This is perhaps the most dangerous of all. You are not seeking advice you are actually looking for a fatwa here. I could not find any question short enough to paste here; they all had page long answers. Over here we are looking at issues which talk about interest, buying homes, investing in shares, opening saving accounts, putting up pictures in a classroom, issues pertaining to multiple divorce with conditions like periods and sexual activities etc.

Take up your issues to a real, tangible scholar and never derive solutions for your problem from questions posted online, just because they ‘somewhat’ resemble your situation. To address issues, many times the scholar has the need to ask additional questions to have a clearer perspective; online scholars and Google cannot do that. If you want to be discreet, use email to get in touch with a real scholar, although rest assured that your secret will be kept safe and complete discretion is exercised. Your problem could be unique with its own peculiarities and Googling them is certainly not the best idea.

* All the sample questions are directly copied from question and answers kind of Internet sites. Direct reference to such sites is withheld in order to maintain the ethical need for anonymity.

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please leave comments in the section below!

Oct 15, 2014

Flowers & You - Gardening for Stress Management & Better Health

By Pervisha Khan

You have a connection with the beauty around you, is what I have concluded after observing houses with gardens and houses with no flowers at all. 

The woman of my house has a tremendous interest in and extreme passion for gardening. And this is what makes her smile when the spring comes. Now I have noticed that the more flowers bloom in our courtyard, the more she gets in a happy mood. This is something interesting. On days when there are fewer flowers, no season for gardening and absolutely no way for her to socialize with her plants, she is usually in a bad mood. I guess they say it right, flowers with their colors, spread in your home and lighten the environment. Absolutely blissful!

In this article, I have included some pictures of flowers around our home. These are the vibrant colors decorating our entrance at the moment.

Plus, I googled something which you should also check. Google "Gardening for stress Relief", the results explain how maintaining a hobby with gardening, spending time with something you love and watching your plants grow give the gardener a sense of beauty and being someone who has achieved something beautiful in this world. I absolutely agree with this. Look at the green in the picture below. Green is soothing for the eyes and something that gives peace to the eyes would also be a comfort for the soul.

So here's a quick advice for you, on how you can fill your life with colors and lessen your stress about anything haunting you.

  1.  Develop a positive Hobby. Do something you love.
  2.  Develop an interest in gardening. Trust me it would give you sheer happiness to watch your plants grow taller and bloom.
  3. Spend time with flowers in your home. Where humans fail to provide comfort, plants turn out to be your best friend.
  4. Talk to them. They do listen. You just can't hear them reply. But if they do bloom then that's the sign that they are happy with you inshaAllah.
  5. Share your gardening adventures with people interested in it. Make it a movement.
  6. Discover what you can grow in your home. Experiment with your gardening skills.
  7. Smile and grow old with plants. 
  8. Grow vegetables in your garden if you want. That's a superb idea.
Gardening would not only make you organized in your routine because you develop a habit of spending time with flowers, it also makes you mentally preoccupied with positivity.

It can serve as your very own project. Who doesn't want a personal project to be this good?

And last but not the least thing to remember, planting a tree or a flower is considered continuous charity (sadaqatul jariya) in Islam. It gives you sawab, meaning it is a means of getting many rewards. And not just for a Muslim, it is something that every good human being can do, believing that he would be rewarded for this good deed. After all, you're taking care of Allah's creation on earth. It's a beautiful act of love.With this intention, one can have endless rewards.

“If a human dies, then his good deeds stop except for three: a Sadaqa Jariah (continuous charity), a beneficial knowledge, or a righteous child who prays for him.” – Sahih Muslim

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please leave comments in the section below!

Oct 13, 2014

Trust In Him Alone

By Zainab Mohamed

When you least expect it
your wishes are granted
and your dreams are fulfilled.
Allaah always brings them to you.

And never fear on a day
when things don't go your way.
Only Allaah knows what's best for you
So put your trust completely in Him for he is true.

When terror or sadness overcomes you
keep Him near in mind.
So too when happiness overflows
never in your thoughts should you leave Allaah behind.

Oct 9, 2014


By Syed Faraz Luqman

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Day 12: Shawwal 1st 1433 / August 19th 2012 


*writing at the Jeddah International Airport*

The Eid salaah was a spectacular moment. Last night we prepared for Eid and stayed up all night. Prayed Fajr and then sat in the masjid chanting the takbir with the entire crowd of millions (Estimated 4 million for Eid….SUBHANALLAH)

After the salaah, went out and collected my luggage and heard the bayaan in the courtyard..it was so lovely to see children dressed so colourfully and in such a joyous mood. SubhanAllah.

The Itekaaf has been one of the most amazing things I've ever undertaken in my life…by far.
I cannot thank Allah enough for this amazing journey and his unfaltering support through my every step. I pray he accepts my duas and gives me the chance to come back again soon to his home.

I came here with an unsure heart but an intention to pray. I return having experienced what I can only describe as a miracle, and carrying a memory of it which will last a lifetime inshaAllah.

To all who have read, Jazakallahu Khair. If this monologue has helped anyone in anyway, I take no credit for it. All praise and credit is to Allah alone. But nevertheless I would request duas from everyone who has shared this experience with me through this diary. In return, May Allah bless you and grant you the best of his blessings, guidance, love and peace. May He accept your ibadah and forgive your sins, inshaallah. And most of all, may he guide this Ummah to unity and obedience and to prosper under his care, love and divine guidance. Aameen

AssalamAlaikum, wa rahmatAllahi wa barakatuhu.

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)

Oct 7, 2014


By Syed Faraz Luqman

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Day 11: Ramadhan 30st 1433 / August 18th 2012 

There is a spellbinding sense of achievement when you accomplish something you set out to do. You jump and cheer and feel elated beyond words. You feel proud, happy, thankful and overjoyed with yourself.
I feel none of that.

10 full days, 11 full nights if worship and obedience. Of an attempt at attaining piety. An attempt at renouncing the world and turning to Allah alone. At the end of it, I don’t feel like I achieved something great. I just feel a clean sense of calm. A thoughtful peace which is reassuring and comforting like a loving teacher to whom you have just submitted your work and the teacher smiles and says in the most caring manner, “Good, take your seat, I’ll check your work”. You know and believe deeply that you shouldn't go wrong…and desperately pray you don’t.

Its comforting but I'm afraid to go back into the world. Its too chaotic out there. Life in here was way too simple. I ate, slept, prayed. These were (and are) the most important things in life. Now upon return, I shudder to think of work, projects, university, family, friends, rent, clothes, society, food, media, world…….How much of all this do we really need? And even under those topics, how much is important and how much is unwanted baggage?

I have no idea yet.
But I do have an idea of myself. Inside here I've realized something I've to do out there. Something that will balance my ability with my performance. Something people (including me) talk about, but never really have the guts to do. Something small or big I don’t know…but something meaningful..that I know.

In addition to it I've realized that there is a scale we've all been given. One to measure right and wrong. I say measure because sometimes they are the same thing with different perspectives. The scale, guideline is an aid to adjudicate haq and batil. The furqan. The criterion to understanding and classifying life. This sense is an ability which we all have, but it dies because we don’t exercise it.

The last day was fast and normal. Slept, read and broke fast. After that we waited for the crowd to subside. Then I and Nauman went down to perform tawaf al wida (The farewell tawaf)
Nauman said a very nice thing yesterday, he said, “The tawaf is a very high and very powerful form of worship. If you look at the universe, everything is in a state of Tawaf..

- The revolution of the galaxies (spirals)
- The revolution of the stars and planetary systems around the galaxy’s epicenter
- The revolution of the earth and planets around the sun
- The revolution of the moon around the earth
- The revolution of humans around the earth’s axis every day
- All the way down to the electrons revolving around the nucleus

This allegory speaks of the centre  A centre around which we go around. In the tawaf of the Kabah, we are going around the closest epicentre of the deen on this planet. SubhanAllah.

The tawaaf went smooth due to the less crowd. After the tawaf prayed isha in the mataaf area and then made one last effort to get close to the Kabah. I wished to touch it like every time so went and did it. It was humbling to see all the people there in various states of prayer and conversation with their lord, some in tears of pain, some in tears of thankful joy…it was beautiful.

I turned and left the Masjid with Nauman and as I left, I felt I was going away from home. As I walked across the courtyard and stepped over the boundary of the masjid…. I felt a quiet ounce of painful separation from the haram. I was no longer the throbbing part of it that I had been for the last 10 days.

Farewell !

P.s. Had a shawarma with meat and vegetables. It tasted Alien.

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)

Oct 5, 2014


By Syed Faraz Luqman 

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Day 10: Ramadhan 29st 1433 / August 17th 2012 

All praise be to Allah, the merciful, the compassionate and the only rule of All the universe. Its almost up. Although Ramadhan this year is for 30 days (Eid has been declared for Sunday the 19th inshaAllah). The final fast began with Magrib today.

My old friend Nauman has joined me for the last day inshaAllah.
My Ethiopian brothers left early today after Fajr. Taufiq hugged me before leaving and said, “Ana hubbak billah” (I love you for (the sake of) Allah). I was so touched. I replied with the same. They smiled and left. I hope I meet phenomenal people again someday inshaAllah. Mom was right, I made some amazing friends here. Although that wasn’t the objective of the trip, it was a pleasant bonus.

Being Jumma Al wida, It was jam packed since morning today. Alhamdulillah it was comfortable nonetheless. Sheikh Sudais gave the Qutbah and led the Salaah. Many didn’t expect Eid tomorrow, but I did. After Isha when they announced the call for Taraweeh. The sinus build-up in my forehead seems really heavy and could feel the earth pulling my head during sajdahs.

The last Taraweeh and the last Qiyaam al layl for this Ramadhan has ended. I pray Allah accepts all our duas and prayers and my incomplete attempt at Itekaaf. Aameen.

More than anything else, I hope my duas for my parents, my brother, my own forgiveness and all the special duas for my loved ones are accepted.

Aameen. Summa Aameen.

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)

Oct 4, 2014


By Syed Faraz Luqman

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Day 9: Ramadhan 28st 1433 / August 16th 2012 

There is a strange but beautiful sense of calm the heart feels after a good long cry in the presence of Allah subhaanahu wa taala. Its like you were crying in a mother’s lap and she stroked you with her loving hands…except Allah loves us 70 times more than our own mothers. SubhanAllah.

The final parts, the final chapters of the Quran and the duas thereafter couldn't be better. The entire masjid erupted with emotion in the closing Dua of the Qu’ran. Even a person not understanding Arabic would have cried tonight, thinking of his life and sins, and thinking of Allah the almighty. Made it a point to record the entire Witr on my mp3 player. The heart feels so light, so satisfied at having begged in front of the only one deserving of it. Making dua'a is also a duty in its own right, and it feels light to dispense it in such a grandiose manner. A fantastic grand finale to the Taraweeh led by Sheikh Abdur Rahman As-Sudais. May Allah bless him.

Ali and Hussain left. Missing Hussain’s smiling presence already. Hope he has a good journey back inshaAllah. The teacher and his protégé brought more bread and juice today again. MashaAllah. The protégé is being trained to become a hafiz, mashaAllah.

Around Asr I was joined by 2 Indian brothers. Shahnawaz and Shujahuddin. Mumbai and Hyderabad respectively. A nice discussion of deen ensued for a short while.

The old regal sheikh who looks like dad’s friend was here too. He invited me for a dinner with him and my Ethiopian brothers. Taufiq brought the invitation to me. He said that the sheikh was praising me and invited me. I was humbled but refused due to being in the state of itekaaf. The sheikh nevertheless personally came and held my hand and invited me. I still apologized but refused for the sake of the Itekaaf. He smiled and said, “Never mind, I’ll bring you dinner”. This man is clearly older than dad and I was so thoroughly embarrassed but he smiled in a very congenial manner and insisted it was not a big deal. A small celebration was due for the Qu’ran closing night. It was so nice to be so loved and praised by a man I couldn't interact much apart from exchanging salaams, handshakes, perfume sharing, zam-zam glasses sharing and standing side by side during Salah.

Alhamdulillah, Summa Alhamdulillah, I finished my Qu’ran recitation today as well. After taraweeh, I followed the imam and sat down and finished the 30th part of the Qu’ran.
Feels really blessed.

Apart from my parents, today I'm missing my younger aunt (Noor Hafiza Phuppu) a lot today. She was the lady who guided me through the last chapters when I finished reciting my Qu’ran for the first time in my life. Although we are very far apart today, I pray we are brought together soon inshaAllah.

Possibly last fast tomorrow and Eid on Saturday or Sunday.
Tomorrow is Jumma Al Wida (The Farewell Jumuah of Ramadhan). It will be packed !!

Tawakkal Allah wa bihamdik !

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)

Oct 2, 2014


By Syed Faraz Luqman

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Day 8: Ramadhan 27st 1433 / August 15th 2012 

Just realized today is India’s independence day. And this realization brought forth another one with it. I've been cut off from the entire world. I've no idea what’s going on out there. All the news stories I was following closely, no clue. And I've no curiosity left on it either. This world in here, I'm loving it. Wouldn't trade it for the world.

Day has been usual. Iftar was awesome. Got a full quboos today with curds courtesy a teacher and his protégé who've been in the first saff since a few days. They are very nice. The teacher speaks good English. Its endearing to be called Mr. Engineer by most of these elderly gentlemen here. Its filled with love and respect.

Hussain invited me to Egypt today. He was advising me in religion and towards the end of our conversation, he invited me to come visit his family in Cairo and he promised to show me the best of sights around Al- Misr. He is leaving tomorrow. He came by bus to Makkah from Egypt and it is a 2 and a half day drive. So if he leaves now, he will reach home in time for Eid.. He helped me get a book from outside. Ar-Raheeq Al Maqtoom (The Sealed Nectar- A biography of the Noble Prophet sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam)

*The brother just got me a glass of 7-up as I write this. I was thinking of one for the past 2-3 days to calm my turbulent stomach and he suddenly pops up with some…SubhanAllah*

Rest of the day been normal. Was tired after yesterday’s Qiyam so just sat and recited Qu’ran today.

Qu’ran recitation update: Finished Surah Mursilat (No. 77) – Will complete Qu’ran tomorrow inshaAllah.

P.s. Finished a week here today. Can’t believe Allah made it so relatively smooth for me. May he accept my broken and incomplete ibadah and Taubah. InshaAllah

P.p.s. There is another Sheikh who sits with us these days. He is from Saudi I cant tell. He usually shows up for Taraweeh and stays till Qiyam. He looks like a photocopy of one of dad’s close friends but sports an awesome beard and is very regal looking. He is always dressed immaculately and although I know he is old, I cant place his age. In salah I can usually hear him teary in every sajdah. He speaks very little English and is very friendly mashaAllah. He has this magnetic effect which draws me to learn from him. I can see him teaching a few things to the Taufiq and his friend but it is in Arabic :(

InshaAllah, someday.

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :) 

Sep 30, 2014


By Syed Faraz Luqman

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Day 7: Ramadhan 26st 1433 / August 14th 2012 

The Final leg begins. Last 4-5 days. I will not say that time here has flown by. Alhamdulillah, here, everything has been slower, and that is an amazing thing. I've been able to slow down considerably.

I guess whenever we say, “Ramadhan has flown by”, it’s a sign that we let our busy lives keep us from benefiting from the power and grace of Allah in this month. A 6/hour day job can also lead to an overall complacency citing “tiredness”. We tend to forget that people work the whole day, hungry, so that they can afford one square meal that day.

My health is ok. The phone re-charged was a nice thing. Spoke to mom dad after a while today. Mom’s worried (read teary) that I might not be getting enough food.
2 days ago I was again blessed with a quarter Arabic quboos and a cheese triangle.
Yesterday someone stood by the corridor and passed out sulaimani chai and today I got milk chai (tea). I was full of glee at that.

The realization dawns that there are so many simple joys of life that I've been taking for granted. My simple meals here show me how much I really need to get along as opposed to how much my greed wants.

Since it’s the night of the 27th fast, the crowd here today is phenomenal. Tried to make a nafil tawaf but couldn't complete more than 2 rounds in about 20 mins. So I returned to my seat or else would have missed isha in my spot.

Noted one interesting thing today. When people learn that I'm Indian, they show extreme happiness. They are very pleased and are very patient with my handicap with Arabic. Not just Baba, Ali and Mamajaan, but others too. I made a new friend in Taufiq (from Ethiopia) He is very patient and even tries hard to translate a few words in English for my sake. It is a very nice transition from the usual response I get (be it in UAE, Qatar, Europe etc)…which is more or less “Oh…another one.” Not that they get mean or evil at me but the warmth is not there.

Here on the other hand, I'm treated like a brother…and I just done mean the word superficially. I would say that the place makes them be nice, but I guess you can always identify inherent kindness…it shines with a rare glow that transcends circumstance.
By the way, mamajaan’s real name is Haji Yusuf. He gave me his number in Saudi and asked me to catch him up if I return next year.

Taufiq invited me to Addis Ababa and said he’ll show me around. InshaAllah.
The Ethiopians are really a warm sort. No wonder the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam chose their land as a refuge to the persecuted early Muslims.

Met my brother Zeeshan. It is a strange and beautiful coincidence that I somehow got in touch with him and he was coming right this night to perform Umrah. Met him outside in the courtyard for a few minutes. Was very nice to see him mashaAllah so grown up.

Qu’ran recitation update: Reached Surah Ad-dhariyaat (No. 51)

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)

Sep 29, 2014

Bringing In Fall - Part 2

By Anum Ali

Part 1


The Holiday Season

The best bit about the cold season is that it is the holiday season as well. This means two things: food and family, that both come in all shapes and sizes!

Though Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are all non-Muslim festivities, they bring in holidays and good food for all of us, Alhamdulillah. So you need to think about where you will get your caramel apples from and how you will brew your apple cider at home. You cannot deny the food lovers in your family a juicy, stuffed, Halal turkey either. The idea is to plan out a variety of menus for your loved ones in Fall. Try out the exclusive fruits and vegetables of the season. Allah (swt) has created these gifts and hidden remedies in them to combat the harmful effects of each season. 

A brilliant kitchen reading I would recommend, right off my own kitchen counter, is Medicine of the Prophet, an English translation of Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya’s work. It lists down properties, advantages and disadvantages of various foods and how they can be utilized for healing. I learned from there that gourds e.g. pumpkins and bottle gourds are the most harmless foods, honey when added to milk can neutralize its ill effects, and milk itself can soothe mental disturbances. The book is a must have to plan your meals according to the Sunnah. So next time when you use ginger and garlic, you’d know that unless you cook them fully they harm your digestive system!

The Spirit of Giving

Remember that as we Fall Clean our cozy homes, there are the poor and the needy out there living in shelters, orphanages, old homes, and even on the streets who could use some of our generosity. It is pointless to hoard worn out sweaters, old blankets, faded bedding, and out-sized socks and mufflers when you could donate them to warm somebody in the chilly season. Launder what you don’t need, make an effort to locate the nearest non-profit organization and enjoy the warm feeling of giving away in the cold season.

Leaving You with a Creative Thought

Never stop being productive no matter what season it may be. I take on photography to capture the beautiful scenes Allah (swt) shows us in this season. The pink and gold skies after Fajr, the crispy leaves, and the gorgeous full moons are a must to capture on camera. You can indulge into cooking and enjoying the exotic, flavorful Fall. If you happen to visit craft stores in your area, you’d come across some really good Fall crafts like knitting woolen goodies, weaving straw baskets, making scarecrows, and etc. It is always a memorable seasonal experience when you are creative and involve your family members into activities as well.

Happy Fall everyone!

Leave your thoughts about fall cleaning in the comments section below :)

Sep 28, 2014


By Syed Faraz Luqman

Previous | Next


Day 6: Ramadhan 25st 1433 / August 13th 2012

Met my friend Taoufik just a while ago. He’s come from Germany with his sister for Umrah. May Allah accept his journey and ibadah inshaAllah. Gave him my cellphone to get charged from his hotel, inshaAllah.

Day was fairly regular. My mind and body have adapted fully to the sleep cycle, environment, people and diet. 6 days since meat, vegetables or rice. Yes it is not long I know but the fact that I'm not missing any of them is baffling. The craving did occur yesterday and today for a few minutes. The thoughts of returning home to gorge on Biryani or warm roti was a small imagination of heaven in a way. And then the reality hit me.

Ramadhan is a time to remind (or teach) us how the poor people feel without food. For them, the time or month is irrelevant. Food is still scarce. The entire exercise of reminding and feeling the pangs of destitute is a waste if you return to gorging yourself the day it ends. This is a test run, a demo…to remind you that there are people out there, who have to spend their entire lives living a life which I've been living these few days. If this training cannot change me, don’t know what will.

The desire to do something more in life is getting stronger.
I don’t want to make promises I will break.
Or commitments I wont be able to honour.
Whatever I do, however I do it, should be done it its entirety. If I cannot honour it well, my life and my lesson here is a failure and has to be repeated…..more strictly.
In light of all of this, my personal problems seem so small and insignificant. I am ashamed that I (we) worry so much about absurd little stuff which is so inconsequential when there are much bigger issues to dwell upon.

My neighbour for Qiyam Al Layl yesterday was a brother from Burma. Initially I thought he was Mongolian due to his features but he said he was from Burma and my heart melted. The situation in Rohingya is beyond horrid. The words cannot express the torment of my brothers sisters and children in that troubled land. I could see it in his eyes. I wanted to hug my brother and tell him I loved him and I prayed for our brothers and sisters back home, for their peace and their forgiveness and to deliver them from all tribulations…but what confidence do I put in my sinful duas…And what confidence could I give him?

Sheikh Sudais mentions Burma with Palestine and Syria in his witr dua. Yesterday his dua was especially heart rending. More so upon my brother beside me. When he made dua for the mercy upon our brothers and sisters in Burma, I could feel my brother beside me break down in tears. It didn’t take more than a few seconds for me to feel his pain quiver in my heart. I didn't have the courage to ask him if his family members were in Rohingya. Later he told me that his immediate family was with him in Makkah.

After Qiyam he invited me home for suhoor in the most beautiful manner. He took my hand in his and looked into my eyes with a smile and said, “Aaj aap mere mehmaan baniye” (Please be my guest at my home today). I was touched. Beyond touched, I was numb..

The true character a person possesses is the indestructible persona which always shines through the day-to-day layers of pain, affliction, misery, pride, sadness, success, failure or anger. Just a few minutes after having cried his heat out in the prayer for his torn home, his burning country and countrymen, he wipes his eyes and opens his heart with hospitality.

A religion of hate indeed !!

I told him I'm bound by the masjid’s boundaries of Itekaaf. He was very happy to hear and then requested me to pray for his country. He looked away and in a choking voice said, “Mera mulk bohot takleef mein hai…Dua kijiye” (My land is in a lot of pain..please pray for us)

I don’t have anymore to write.
I cannot think.

Allahumma ansuril Islaam wal Muslimeen 
Oh Allah, Help Islam and the Muslims. 

Qu’ran Recitation Update: Reached Surah Fatir (No. 38)

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)