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Nov 29, 2011

The Imaan Battery


by Lola Of Arabia

Bismillah

A major issue that many Muslims face is when their Imaan (faith) dips. Recently I had a few days when my Imaan and even my self confidence was low, and I really liked how my husband explained the phenomena: Our Imaan is like a battery, sometimes it’s fully charged while other times its low and needs to be recharged

So what are some issues that cause our “Imaan batteries” to lose its charge?

In this life we, not only as Muslims but as humans, face much stress. Stress can be from school, work, family or everyday activities. Sometimes we become doubtful or fatigue and stop wanting to do anything for anyone, even ourselves. It’s normal for people to have short spouts of “depression” that can last 2-3 days (Please note: If you have depression that lasts for more than 2 weeks please seek professional medical help). Personally ,when I feel stressed instead of turning towards Allah, I turn away from Allah and even from my friends and family. I become short tempered and ill with everyone I hold dear and love and begin to shut people out from my life. A big problem that causes us to lose charge to our Imaan Battery is Shaytaan (Satan or the devil) is strong; he knows all our weaknesses and uses such knowledge to push us away from Allah. Also sometimes, especially for reverts or recently practicing Muslims, their try to do too much at one time, which causes more stress than needed.

What are some techniques we can use to “charge” our Imaan’s batteries?

“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves...” (13:11) 

When the feeling of “I don’t want to make salat (Islamic prayer) or making salat wont’ change anything” first we must realize such thoughts are coming from Shaytaan. Shaytaan is an enemy that knows us too well. The front line for fighting Shaytaan is our salats and Sunnah salats (prayers in which Mohammed sal Allahu aleyhi wasallam would prayer after each of the obligatory prayer).I think of it like this: Salat is like a shield that protects against Shaytaan while Sunnah is like a sword used to battle him. Remember that in stressful times in our lives, we MUST turn to Allah, because in those stressful times we are weaker and start following wrong actions from Shaytaan.

“…God does not grace with His guidance people who [deliberately] do wrong" (9:109) 

Though Salat is protection from Allah, reverts and recently practicing Muslims must remember, “don’t bite-off more than you can chew”. I think it’s great to change for Islam, in most cases it’s a must, but trying to do too much at once can be very difficult and can put so much pressure on issues that, at the present time, might not be as important as others; like wanting to do the night and morning salats before getting settled and strong in doing the obligatory and sunnah prayers.

An example from my life:

I talked with my husband one night when I was just feeling my “Imaan battery” so drained, and my husband could sense my energy and he said “don’t do too much, take your time, don’t stress yourself, you must take everything step by step” and I realized that I was trying to do so much at once, I wanted to do extra salats and wanted to learn Arabic so quickly and wanted to memorize all the Quran, but in reality I had to take things one step at a time. I remembered that I must concentrate on the obligatory Salats and Sunnah Salats and make sure I am stable before moving to the next step. We must build a strong foundation before building the rest of the building, or it will crumble at the first problem or storm that come along. 

Also it’s a good idea to find an Imaan Buddy, so when the Imaan battery needs to be charged again, there is someone who will give their help and support like a friend, sibling or spouse. It’s very helpful, because when times get stressful and frustrating there is someone who can not only offer their support on the issues which are causing stress but also give reminders that it’s a must to pray and not to forget Allah.

Most importantly, remember that it’s a must to have patience. The best way to seek patience is through Allah, 
“And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah ]” (2:45) and “And be patient, for indeed, Allah does not allow to be lost the reward of those who do good.” (11:115) 

The scholar Ibn Qayyin Al Jawziyyah also said “It’s is impossible to have patience for the sake of Allah without patience by the help of Allah” Allah never gives us too much that we cannot handle 

“Say, "O My servants who have believed, fear your Lord. For those who do good in this world is good, and the earth of Allah is spacious. Indeed, the patient will be given their reward without account."(39:10)


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

Nov 28, 2011

To Life or To Death


by Sister Sunshine Smiles

“Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilaihi Rajioon”

Indeed we belong to Allah(SWT), and indeed to him is our return.

The intensity that this statement offers does not pertain to death alone but different perceptions of loss and intellect that blows my novice mind to amazedness.

A few years back, this phrase came into my existing Dua’ dictionary when my Father introduced me to it as I was unaware on how to react on the news of somebody’s sad demise.

That one unforgettable morning which started with these words on my lips even before the break of dawn, forced my mind to shut down emotionally for the rest of the day.

It is unimaginable how Allah(SWT) finds the perfect reminders to soften our hearts from the deep barriers of hardness that develop around it in the conscious attempt of living up to the ever competing world.

This isn’t another article reminding you that death is inevitable and all that. This one’s about life, creatively wrapped in ribbons of genuineness symmetrically bowed in what we love to call ‘Love’, of which death does hold some significance.

Love, that was initially focused on our parents when we were 4 years old eventually got distributed to, say a few relatives, cousins and friends when we turned 10 and even more friends and relatives as we turned 18. And when we get married, oh the list increases manifold. Starting from love for the husband to your new family and relatives and who not. Not to forget, soon after the babies that come who gobble up love in means of measures that only start with truck loads and can extend to something as indefinable as a whole country’s population.

Note: I don’t mean to sound so insensitive with the above portrayal, we women just love to ‘Love’. We are born with instincts of love. Love that beams from our hearts in kaleidoscopic patterns and decorates the world in oodles of blended colors warming the heart like no other. Love, that starts off as a whole at birth, in course of life, eventually gets diffused and disseminated to multitudes of fractions in diverse amounts.

And in this engrossed life of loving and living, just when everything seems smooth and settled in, comes a random time when a fraction of the ‘whole of love’ is taken away. Just like that! Sometimes with the grace and ability of our own mistakes and naiveness and sometimes with reasons utterly unknown to us. And when that happens it leaves a sense of silent pain and emptiness in our hearts that our intuition is to flinch from the reality that just bit us. Maybe run away from it coz’ yeah sure, that’s easy right! We would probably wish we had multiple choice options to the unknown question life introduces to us so we can randomly pick an answer desperately hoping for it to be the right one. But all we are left with is the reality to face it, to deal with it and make peace with it.

When we lose somebody very close to us it leaves behind a void in our hearts. A void that begins to eat us slowly, like REAL slowly. For some, time may begin to stand still and for others, time may begin to walk tortoise steps but no matter how analogous time may get, the certainty of life moving on finds its way to kick you on your butt and push you forward, whether you want to or not.

Undoubtedly, Allah(SWT) has defined a way of life for us. Life and death, Loss and gain. Yet when we make new friends, we barely thank him but when we lose them we grieve and complain…Astaghfirullah! Where is the justice in that?

Indeed, it is Allah(SWT) who introduces people in our life according to His will and it is He who takes them away.

And Allah quotes in The Noble Quran that every soul shall be tested with trials and tribulations but no soul shall be burdened more than they have the capacity to deal with thereof.

“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient.” - The Noble Quran Translation by Sahih International [2:155]
"But those who believed and did righteous deeds - We charge no soul except [within] its capacity. Those are the companions of Paradise; they will abide therein eternally.” - The Noble Quran Translation by Sahih International [7:42]
Note how in the aforementioned quotes, Allah(SWT) has advised us to bear our trials with patience! And Allah’s is the supreme guidance!

May He forgive us for our graveness when we question him on our struggles and complain incessantly in our difficult times unknowingly!

May we always remember that when the storms of trials are being tested on us, clear skies are never far behind. May we be ever patient to bear them and InshaAllah may we see the sun shine brighter on our side of the fence!

But most importantly, May we make Dua for all the people, who we lose unwillingly or unknowingly, to Life or to Death!

I'd love to hear your views on this article. Please tell me in the comments section below :)

Nov 27, 2011

GEMS : Forgiveness



GEMS : Forgiveness

Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him) said the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

"Any person who sins then performs wudu correctly and prays and afterward seeks Allah's forgiveness Allah forgives him."

Then As-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with ) recited the verse "And those who when they commit an indecency or do injustice to their souls remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their faults -- and who forgives the faults but Allah, and (who) do not knowingly persist in what they have done." {Al-Imran 135}

Important Reminder: The most beloved deeds to Allah

Narrated Aisha that the Messenger of Allah stated, "The most beloved of deeds to Allah are those which are done regularly, even if they be small." [Bukhari and Muslim]

... please share this short and sweet message with others :)

Nov 26, 2011

GEMS : Which People Are The Best?


GEMS : Which People Are The Best?

Abdullah ibn Amr (ra) narrated the Prophet (saw) was asked, "Which people are the best? "

He (saws) said, "The best people are those whose tongues are truthful and their hearts are" Makhmun".

They said, "We know the meaning of a truthful tongue, but what is a heart that is Makhmun?"

He (saws) said, "It's a heart that is pious and pure with no sin. This heart has no unfairness, no envy and doesn't hold malice." (Ibn Majah, graded Saheeh by Al-Albani)

.... please share this short and sweet message with others :)

Nov 24, 2011

In Search For Peace - Part 1


by Rehana Shah Bulbulia

Everybody wants it; everybody's looking for it, searching for it, longing for it. No, not the dream mechanism, robotic domestic helper, who never misses a day of work because of taxi strikes, works 24/7-365, who is always available to do all the daily mundane chores for us, our husbands and children. So, that we are left free to spend quality time with them- without the screaming, without the nagging, without the blackmailing AND bribing. Hmmm, I hear your sighs of longing but this is not what we are all TRULY searching for. Even though, such a machine/droid might DEFINITELY bring us, women, closer to achieving it. Yes, men, women, children, teenagers, adults and senior citizens; believers and non-believers alike, are all in pursuit of it. It's simply called Peace, yet it is without a doubt the most sought after and most elusive prized possession.

In them days when I attended the local government school, before my life altering years at the Lenasia Muslim School, I recall a lady teacher yell out in frustration and agitation, 'Who do I have to kill to get peace around here?!' Um, very intimidating...very extreme. But then I guess one could possibly empathise, considering that these teachers spend a great part of their day in the company of uncouth, obnoxious teenagers. (Yes, I hear and agree with you, NOT all teenagers are like this - Alhamdulillah.) However, today I would like to respond to this teacher-" It's not WHO you have to kill but rather WHAT.'

All Praises belong to my Beautiful and Beloved Allah, He who is As Salaamu- The Giver of Peace. And we convey peace and salutations on our beloved leader, the perfect example and the absolute inspiration, Nabi Muhammad sal Allahu aleyhi wasallam. So as I have left you pondering and probing as to WHAT you have to kill to get that peace (remember NOT who - NOT your husband, NOT your children, NOT your domestic helper and nuh uh, NOT your mother in law)… have you found what you believe is the correct answer?

Now are you armed? Do you have your swords drawn and your weapons aimed? Today we are going to kill those WHATs that destroy and deny us our peace...negative actions-sins, negative thoughts, negative emotions, negative moments and negative energies. Are you ready to kill all those negatives in your lives, which covetously steal your peace?

Dear Muslimah, let's enlighten ourselves and begin our journey on the path of peace towards the Everlasting abode of peace. Who we are? Intrinsically we are made up of four components: our souls, our hearts, our minds and our bodies. To maintain and achieve all round and total peace, we need to endeavour to maintain peace in each of these four components. Let's understand who we are and why we are here.

In the Kitab Mishkaat Al Masabih Vol 4, p 5-20, the creation of man (yes, and woman) is discussed. Firstly our attention is drawn to what ALLAH SWT states in the Glorious Quran,

“And they ask you about the soul, say the soul is from the order of Allah (17:85)

Verily I created man from clay, so when I fashioned him and blew into him from my spirit. “(15:29)

Furthermore the seven stages of life are discussed. The first stage whereby Allah created us and we were that nur/rooh/soul in the barzakh e arwah (realm of souls), where we promised to peacefully obey and submit to Allah. The second and third stages respectively are as the Quran has mentioned it, 'the backs of our fathers and the wombs of our mothers'. The fourth stage is the life of Ad dunya. While the fifth is the life in the qabr, the sixth stage is Yaumul Qiyamah. And the seventh and eternal stage is the life of Al Aakhirah.

ALLAHU AKBAR! Really interesting to note is that the ONLY component that remains with us throughout the entire seven stages of our journey is - yes, you guessed it - Ar Rooh - the Soul. So infact our souls should be what we nourish, nurture, maintain and preserve the best. I once heard a rather profound saying- A believer was asked why does mankind have so much difficulty in living through his various human experiences and conditions? His answer contained depth: ' It is because we are not physical beings attempting to have a spiritual experience rather we are spiritual beings attempting to have a human one."

The first and most fundamental factor in maintaining the peace within our soul is complete and total obedience to Allah Subhanahu wa ta’aala and His Rasool sal Allahu aleyhi wasallam- conformity to Shariah and Sunnah. Why? Because the soul is from Allah Subhanahu wa ta’aala. In fact this factor is the CORE ESSENTIAL in maintaining peace in all four components i.e the soul, heart, mind and body. The sooner we realise this, the easier it will be for us to experience, internalise and maintain that Peace, inshaAllah. For as Moulana Jalaluddin Rumi ra states in his Mathnavi, “The Highest state for a Mu’min to reach, after the Ambiyaa As is that of Siddiqeen. Who is a Siddeeq? One whose inner state is not influenced by his outer conditions. For true pleasure comes from within- when the heart and soul is at kamil/complete and total peace and rest.

So the next time you and I wonder why we feel restless and uneasy for no apparent reason, let us take a moment and reflect on the possibilities of negative actions-sins, being the cause of the disturbance of peace in our souls.

Dear reader, fellow Muslimah, I leave you to reflect on this, Allah says in Al-Quran concerning Islam, “The goal to which Islam leads is peace.” (10:25) And lastly do we understand WHO and WHAT a Muslim is...it is someone who submits to Allah's Will peacefully.

In the domino effect of life, lets," Watch our thoughts for they become our words; let's watch our words for they become our actions; let's watch our actions for they become our habits; let’s watch our habits for it becomes our character and finally let's watch our character for it becomes our destiny.'

Ma’asalamah- Wishing peace upon you, with the Mercy and Blessings of Allah.

Read part 2 of The Search for Peace in the next article, wherein we discuss further the maintenance of our four components in a practical way and share methods on how to 'kill' those negatives and release and replace every negative with a positive, In sha Allah. Meanwhile, I'd love to hear your views on this article. Please tell me in the comments section below :)

Nov 23, 2011

Distance Makes The Hearts Grow Fonder


by Sister Sunshine Smiles

In the bareness of this world, we find our hearts growing hard. We begin to get more involved in our own self and care lesser about others. We begin to sin mindfully unable to realize the graveness of the situation. We don’t understand, how slowly and steadily we are unconsciously taking steps away from our Deen.

We wander, in our idleness, in any direction. The minute our minds are idle Shaytan is working tricks in there. We think unnecessarily and we make blunders. And then we work and live on those blunders. We move away from our focused goals. We get confused in the diversity of the actual destination and the road that may lead to it. We compromise on our strictness and we expect Allah(SWT) to understand and forgive. Why shouldn’t we be forgiven? The reasons for our deception are innumerous after all. And the truth is that we are all sinners. And we will continue to be the same, knowingly and unknowingly. Sometimes out of ignorance, sometimes out of plain provocation, And sometimes, out of utter senselessness and our inability to function at certain times. Something that the Shaytan takes full advantage of.

In such perspective how does “Distance make the heart grow fonder.”

Most of us are familiar with this famous quote. And when it comes to grounds of interpretation our instincts flow towards the material reasoning. It may hold true for your better half living halfway oceans apart or it maybe true for your nearest family members who you have migrated away from after marriage or it may be due to your university that is keeping you away from your family for pure career purposes. Whichever reason it is, we all will agree that most of the times, when you lose something, you realize its worth even more. And sometimes, we know its worth but fail to give it the importance that it deserves. Why? Because we live in a world that is too busy hypnotizing us to the unimportant things by making it look more important in this world. Whatever it is, if I am talking in perspective of people, staying away from the people you love makes you realize their importance and their worth and how dependent on them you have been. It makes you realize that every person in your life plays a role and most of the times we tend to ignore the tiny roles which happen to hold great significances.

When I was a teenager I wanted my space, my privacy, my freedom like every youngster these days wants. And I fought for it knowing that it probably wasn’t the best measure to resort to but for me, it was important to make my parents realize that where we lived wasn’t the best place to acquire higher education. Though now in time, I have learnt that acquiring Islamic education holds way more importance than the worldly one, Alhumdulillah. Anyways, in this whole “running behind what I want to become” process I didn’t realize how far from my Deen I was taking myself to, like literally but unintentionally. I would barely call myself a practicing Muslimah in that time and I, very conveniently made excuses to myself for the stacks and heaps of sins I was accumulating. But in my heart, however, the seed of my religion was deeply routed and nurtured by my parents from childhood so I knew I was faulting. I kept saying to myself that I needed to get better no matter how difficult it was going to be yet until I graduated out from University there was a minutely noticeable change in that.

What happened after that is the part I love the most. After I moved back with my family, I had this yearning to repent for being such an unpractising Muslimah. I felt terribly guilty for using worldly excuses and putting away more important things under the carpet. Islam had always interested me as I was growing up and I had too many questions to find answers for, hence my hunger for the knowledge of my Deen. When I set out to the path of increasing my knowledge I felt at instant peace. I knew that this is something I wanted to keep growing with.

Today, I know that my knowledge is probably like a few drops as compared to the ocean of wisdom that Islam has to offer to me and I know that my journey will be long and challenging. But I am also very sure that my real journey has started off, May Allah keep me guided always, InshaAllah.

I also hope that Allah(SWT) guides us Muslimahs to the light and that we all learn in our own ways. We all have different lives and different experiences and I hope we all benefit and learn from what we are put through.

I would like to end with the wise words of Ibn Qayyim that brought solace to me on reading,

"Sin may be more beneficial for a person, if it leads him to repent, than doing a lot of acts of worship.”

This is what is meant by the words of one of the salaf: A person may commit a sin and enter Paradise because of it, or he may do an act of worship and enter Hell because of it.

When asked, “ How is that?”

He said: “He may commit a sin and continues to think about it, and when he stands or sits or walks he remembers his sin, so he feels ashamed and repents and seeks forgiveness and regrets it, so that will be the means of his salvation. And he may do a good deed and continue to think about it, and when he stands or sits or walks he remembers it and it fills him with self-admiration and pride, so it is the cause of his doom.”

So we all fall into ditches occasionally! Some of us are pushed into it, some trip in by mistake and some choose to jump right in. But, At the end of it, what matters is, how much that struggle in getting out of the ditch teaches you and how well you manage to dust yourself off !
 
I'd love to hear your views on this article. Please tell me in the comments section below :)

Nov 21, 2011

POEM: Nothing Compares


by Farheen Naaz

This is dedicated to all the fathers out there who adore their daughters to an extent which makes the daughter say -- Oh God! And also for all the daughters who feel maybe he's being too overprotective.

Nothing compares to the comfort of walking sleepy-eyed into the living room every morning and seeing him reading the newspaper . . .

Nothing compares to the sense of security that you feel when despite your loud protests, he insists on dropping you somewhere just so he is assured that you have reached safely . . .

Nothing compares to the feeling of individuality that only he could give by asking for your opinion on significant family decisions, even when you were just 12 . . .

Nothing compares to the delight you feel when he expresses amazement that your birthday is not important enough to be a national holiday . . .

Nothing compares to the sense of camaraderie you feel when it's you and your father versus mom and your brother . . .

Nothing compares to the spark in your mother's eyes when she gets a pair of earrings from him on their anniversary . . .

Nothing compares to the feeling of exceptionality he insists in you when he genuinely thinks that any guy isn't good enough for someone as unique as you . . .

Nothing compares with the knowledge that no matter what life throws at you, dad will always help you fix it . . .

And finally, absolutely nothing compares to the taken-for-granted feeling that no matter where you are, he is just a phone call away . . .

Thank you for being there always!

Nov 17, 2011

A Beautiful Story: how my patient became my doorway to Islam





My name is Cassie, I am 23 years old. I graduated as a qualified nurse this year and was given my first position as a home nurse.

My patient was an English gentleman in his early 80s who suffered from Alzheimer's. In the first meeting, the patient was given his record and from it I could see that he was a convert to the religion of Islam, therefore he was a Muslim.

I knew from this that I would need to take into account some modes of treatment that may go against his faith, and therefore try to adapt my care to meet his needs. I brought in some ‘halal’ meat to cook for him and ensured that there was no pork or alcohol in the premises as I did some research which showed that these were forbidden in Islam.

My patient was in a very advanced stage of his condition so a lot of my colleagues could not understand why I was going through so much effort for him. But I understood that a person who commits to a faith deserves that commitment to be respected, even if they are not in a position to understand.

Anyway after a few weeks with my patient I began to notice some patterns of movement.

At first I thought it was some copied motions he's seen someone doing, but I saw him repeat the movement at particular time; morning, afternoon, evening.

The movements were to raise his hands, bow and then put his head to the ground. I could not understand it. He was also repeating sentences in another language, I couldn’t figure out what language it was as his speech was slurred but I know the same verses were repeated daily.

Also there was something strange, he didnt allow me to feed him with my left hand (I am left-handed).

Somehow I knew this linked to his religion but didn't know how.

One of my colleagues told me about paltalk as a place for debates and discussions and as I did not know any Muslims except for my patient I thought it would be good to speak to someone live and ask questions. I went on the Islam section and entered the room ‘True Message'.

Here I asked questions regarding the repeated movements and was told that these were the actions of prayer. I did not really believe it until someone posted a link of the Islamic prayer on youtube.

I was shocked.

A man who has lost all memory of his children, of his occupation, and could barely eat and drink was able to remember not only actions of prayer but verses that were in another language.

This was nothing short of incredible and I knew that this man was devout in his faith, which made me want to learn more in order to care for him the best I could.

I came into the paltalk room as often as I could and was given a link to read the translation of the Quran and listen to it.

The chapter of the ‘Bee’ gave me chills and I repeated it several times a day.

I saved a recording of the Quran on my iPod and gave it to my patient to listen to, he was smiling and crying, and in reading the translation I could see why.

I applied what I gained from paltalk to care for my patient but gradually found myself coming to the room to find answers for myself.

I never really took the time to look at my life; I never knew my father, my mother died when I was 3, me and my brother were raised by our grandparents who died 4 years ago, so now its just the two of us.

But despite all this loss, I always thought I was happy, content.

It was only after spending time with my patient that felt like I was missing something. I was missing that sense of peace and tranquility my patient, even through suffering felt.

I wanted that sense of belonging and a part of something that he felt, even with no one around him.

I was given a list of mosques in my area by a lady on paltalk and went down to visit one. I watched the prayer and could not hold back my tears.

I felt drawn to the mosque every day and the imam and his wife would give me books and tapes and welcome any questions I had.

Every question I asked at the mosque and on paltalk was answered with such clarity and depth that could do nothing but accept them.

I have never practiced a faith but always believed that there was a God; I just did not know how to worship Him.

One evening I came on paltalk and one of the speakers on the mic addressed me. He asked me if I have any questions, I said no. He asked if I was happy with the answers I was given, I said yes.

He asked then what was stopping me accepting Islam, I could not answer.

I went to the mosque to watch the dawn prayer. The imam asked me the same question, I could not answer.

I then went to tend to my patient, I was feeding him and as I looked in his eyes I just realized, he was brought to me for a reason and the only thing stopping me from accepting was fear.... not fear in the sense of something bad, but fear of accepting something good, and thinking that I was not worthy like this man.

That afternoon I went to the mosque and asked the imam if I could say my declaration of faith, the Shahadah.


He helped me through it and guided me through what I would need to do next.

I cannot explain the feeling I felt when I said it.

It was like someone woke me up from sleep and sees everything more clearly.

The feeling was overwhelming joy, clarity and most of all.... peace.

The first person I told was not my brother but my patient.

I went to him, and before I even opened my mouth he cried and smiled at me.

I broke down in front of him, I owed him so much.

I came home logged on to paltalk and repeated the shahadah for the room.

They all helped me so much and even though I had never seen a single one of them, they felt closer to me than my own brother.

I did eventually call my brother to tell him and although he wasn’t happy, he supported me and said he would be there, I couldn't ask for any more.

After my first week as a Muslim my patient passed away in his sleep while I was caring for him. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon.

He died a peaceful death and I was the only person with him.

He was like the father I never had and he was my doorway to Islam.

From the day of my Shahadah to this very day and for every day for as long as I live, I will pray that Allah shows mercy on him and grant him every good deed I perform in the tenfold.

I loved him for the sake of Allah and I pray each night to become an atoms weight of the Muslim he was.

Islam is a religion with an open door; it is there for those who want to enter it.... Verily Allah is the Most Merciful, Most Kind.

* note * Our sister Cassie passed away October 2010 Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon, after she gave da'wa to her brother, who had accepted Islam Alhamdulillah.


May Allah subhaana wa ta'ala grant sister Cassie Paradise Ameen Ya Rabb.

Nov 16, 2011

Yes, Women Can Work (Part 1)




by Khadeejah Islam

“Is education like M.B.B.S. (or MD) allowed for females where they examine naked males? Should a woman be permitted to practice medicine when there are so many males who can do that job, and when the woman will have to work from 9 A.M. to 4 P.M.? Will such a woman be able to give time to the family? Should we allow our women (Muslim women) to go out and expose themselves to the society?”

I was taken aback when a brother posted this question at a forum, not because it questioned working women, but because it implied a certain misconception of the definition of work. The idea that Muslim women should not work is still plaguing a large section of the Muslim Ummah. Therefore, I decided to explore this topic and illustrate the following points:

The permissibility of women working outside the home in the views of Islamic scholars.

The actual definition of work and how it relates to productivity both at home and outside the home.

The need to be productive and hence, working.

Similarities between house-wife and “working” women and how they both work.

Areas where women can lend their productivity.

How to encourage productivity of women.

The permissibility of women working outside the home in the views of Islamic scholars

“If a woman has professional skills which not every woman possesses, and which are needed by other woman and society as a whole, then it is permissible for her to practice her profession outside the home, so long as she adheres to the conditions prescribed by sharee’ah and has the permission of her legal guardian. It is permissible for a female doctor to open a clinic outside her home for the treatment of women and children. Such clinics make it easy for sick women to come to a female doctor; hence they no longer have to uncover their ‘awrah before a male doctor when they need treatment. In principle, men should be treated by male doctors and nurses, and women by female doctors and nurses. There should be no mixing of the sexes in medical treatment, except when it is necessary and as long as there is no fear of temptation.” [1].

“There is no decree in Islam which forbids woman from seeking employment whenever there is a necessity for it, especially in positions which fit her nature and in which society needs her most. Examples of these professions are nursing, teaching (especially for children), and medicine. Moreover, there is no restriction on benefiting from woman's exceptional talent in any field.” [2]

“In a truly Islamic society, there must be women physicians, women nurses, women teachers.” [3].

“The Quranic verse: ‘remain at your homes…’ (Quran 33:33) has been misinterpreted by many, and so has the right of stewardship or Qawama. In many instances we see men objecting to women's participation in Da'wah and thus preventing them from fulfilling their role toward their fellow Muslims and to the larger society in general.” [4].

“Even if a doctor does not treat women except in cases of necessity, he must learn how to treat both sexes, because a woman may not be able to find a female doctor in a certain specialty or in a certain city. Hence there is nothing wrong with the doctor studying drawings that show the human body, whether they are of men or women.” [5].

The actual definition of work and how it relates to productivity both at home and outside the home

What crosses your mind when you think of a Muslim working woman? A scantily-clad, arrogant woman who has no consideration for her family? This is where we make the mistake. We think of working women as defined by the media of secular countries. We do not think of them according to the Islamic standards. We do not imagine a pious Muslimah working diligently outside her home and balancing family duties as well.

The word ‘work’ has eleven different meanings. It is defined as an “employment, occupation, etc., especially as means of earning money.” [6]. It is also defined as an “application of effort to a purpose.” [7].

The latter definition is worth noting. It does not specify the purpose and it does not mention the earning of money as a reason why one would choose to apply one’s effort (or to work). Therefore, a Muslim woman can apply her efforts to any purpose, both at home and outside her home. When a Muslimah tends to an ailing relative, she is indeed working. When a Muslimah rears her children in the best of manners, she is considered to be working as well. When a Muslimah volunteers for a beneficial cause, she is working.

In conclusion, it does not matter if the task undertaken is a paid one or not, and if it is done at home or not, as long as the woman is being productive, she is working. In that case, every woman is a working woman. This should put a lot of misconceptions at rest.

To be continued insha’Allah…In the mean time please leave your views on this article in comments section. We would love to hear your feedback! Thank you.

Footnotes:
[1] http://islamqa.com/en/ref/286/
[2] The Status of Women in Islam, Dr. Jamal Badawi. http://islamswomen.com/articles/status_of_women_in_islam.php
[3] http://islamswomen.com/articles/do_muslim_women_have_rights.php
[4] Women in Da'wah, 'Abdul Latif M. Al-Hassan and Sumayyah Bint Joan. http://islamswomen.com/articles/women_in_dawah.php
[5] http://islamqa.com/en/ref/40054/
[6] Oxford Compact Dictionary and Thesaurus (edited by Julia Elliott), page-890.
[7] Oxford Compact Dictionary and Thesaurus (edited by Julia Elliott), page-890.

Nov 15, 2011

POEM: I Miss You Mom




I Miss You Mom
by Suha Cassim


I should have spent the last 5 years
suing medi-calls
instead I dived
into the great barrier reef and
rode a cable car
over the mountain tops;
I locked my heart
and
shut my mind
and glided
thru
the ice bergs of Alaska..
took a chopper to the Glaciers
and my heart
froze in time...
I escaped
to Big Ben
to stare
into the laughing eyes
of beautiful
Salaam...
a crack appeared..
wide eyed
I ran
to the mine fields
called Guinea
when I heard
Him.
Gently inviting
me
to his House.
In wonder
I followed..
the Black Stone
blew the ice,
to smithereens,
the tears
at arafa
washed me
clean.
My head
on the white carpet -
I was healed..
and
I,
allowed myself
a little peek
through the veil
and saw a brand new world...
May Allah swt grant you Mummy, Jannthul Firdouse, Ameen

Nov 14, 2011

5 Benefits Of Taking Care Of Our Emaan





At the root of our actions and thoughts, is our Iman. What we do, who we are and how life is going for us has a deep connection with the level of our Iman. Other than La Ilaha Illallah, how much do we nourish our Iman?

5 Reasons Why We Should Take Care Of Our Iman (although there are many more):

1. It brings us closer to achieving Jannah. We all want Jannah for ourselves and for others, because it is Allah SWT’s greatest gift to those whom He is pleased with, InshaAllah.

2. It is a means of escape from our problems. Who here doesn’t have challenges in their lives. We are always looking for a way out, and InshaAllah this is the best way.

3. It is a way to attain Allah SWT’s protection. There isn’t a moment in our lives, however great or small, that we don’t need Allah SWT’s protection and blessings over us. This we can never have enough of.

4. It allows us to enter into the strong holds of Brotherhood and Sisterhood. It is these bonds that make us special, make us powerful, InshaAllah. Who else can claim such close ties save those who have Iman?

5. It permits more goodness into our lives. Of course we want the best of the Akhira, but we also want and ask Allah SWT for the goodness in this world. In addition to making Du’a, increasing our Iman is a great way to kindle such goodness.

Can you think of more? Post them below!

Nov 12, 2011

Surah Al-Fatiha - A Reflection


1) With the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

2) All the Praises and thanks are for Allah the Lord of the Universe.

3) The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful.

4) Master of the Day of Recompense.

5) You Alone we worship, and You Alone we ask for help.

6) Guide us to the Straight Path.

7) The Path of those on whom You have bestowed your grace, not the Path of those who earned your Anger, nor of those that went astray.


Just like for many of us, I think my ‘actual’ journey with the book of Allah “The Quran” must have started with this particular surah, which has always been a part of my life since the time I can remember. I do not remember exactly, how I had memorized it and who made me do so. But there was never a day in my life even during the days of my ‘Jahiliya’ (when I was far away from the Quran) that I had spent without reciting it sincerely. I always felt much attached to this ‘special’ surah for unknown reasons. Whenever I felt pain I would automatically start reciting Al Fatiha and the pain would go as if it was never there.

Today many years later when I actually began to study the Qur’an with meanings I realized that how al Fatiha has been affecting me since my early days of childhood. No doubt these are the words of the Creator who is the sole Master of the whole Universe and whatever is in it. No wonder that these words worked like medicine to a pained heart like mine. Who would know His creation better than the Creator Himself! It’s evident from the following:

Al-Fatihah is actually a prayer that Allah teaches to all who embark upon the study of His Book. Its position at the beginning signifies that anyone who wants to benefit from the Book should first offer this prayer to the Lord of the Universe.

Man naturally prays only for what his heart desires and only when he feels that the object of his desire is at the disposal of the One to Whom his prayer is addressed. The placing of this Surah at the head of the Qur’an is a sign that Allah urges man to read this Book with the aim of discovering the right course in life i.e. the Straight Way, to study it with the earnestness of a seeker after Truth, and never to forget that the real source of true knowledge is Allah Himself. The student of the Book should therefore begin by making a humble petition to Him for true guidance.
 
Once this is grasped, it becomes self-evident that in relation to the Qur’an this opening Surah, al-Fatihah is not just an introduction or foreword; the relationship is really one of prayer and response. Al-Fatihah is a prayer from man and the rest of the Qur’an is Allah’s response to this prayer. Man prays to Allah that He may show him the Straight Way and in response to this prayer Allah offers the Qur’an as the true guidance, the Straight Way which man has sought and prayed for. [Abul A`la Mawdudi, ‘Towards Understanding the Qur`an’ [pp. 33-34].

Alhamdullilah! Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in His infinite mercy has given us this beautiful surah so that we will know Him (by His attributes) and is also reminding us that in our times of need He is the only One to Whom we should always turn to. For every human being, even the ones close to us (like Parents, Spouse and Siblings) are a weak creation of His, who will never benefit us in anyway, like Allah can. So touching isn’t it? This makes me feel the warmth of His love and blessings which He has bestowed on His creation. Imagine that you have a best friend who is with you all the time, the one who listens, sees, understands whatever you are going through in life, when people closest to you never will…Who else could have done this for us but the One who really cares for us?

Our beloved Lord is giving us a chance, to ask for the best path which is the path of our beloved prophet sallallahu alayhi wasalam, all the previous prophets (Peace be upon all), the Sahabas (May Allah be pleased with them), the Martyrs and the path of the pious ones. All of these great people are the “People of Jannah”. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has given us the opportunity to ask for the same path of those pious people which will eventually lead us back to our place of origin that is “Jannah”, we were first created in Jannah remember!

At the same time Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in His infinite mercy has warned us about the path of the people who had made Allah angry while living a luxurious life like, Pharoah, Nimrood, Qaroon and many others who went astray in this world, who will definitely find themselves in a much worse situation in the hereafter!

I know now that no matter what happens in life, Allah’s mercy will always be with me in the form of al Fatiha. Even Though I have been reciting it many times before, somehow I feel that each time I recite it in prayer now, gives me a new strength to walk confidently on the straight path our Creator has chosen for us. It feels like Allah is holding my hand and leading me to the path of the salvation which He has chosen for His true slaves.

May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala always keep each and every one of us on the “Straight Path” ameen!

I'd love to hear your views on this article. Please tell me in the comments section below :)

Nov 11, 2011

Book Review - Enjoy Your Life

By Ni'mah Ali

Published by Darussalam in 2008 and written by Sheikh Dr. Muhammad ‘Abd Al-Rahman Al-‘Arifi Enjoy Your Life is a not just another one of those ‘self-help’ books, it’s that and so much more. By the time you finish the book, you will walk away with lessons, and advice that if you take and act upon, will really change your life forever. Enjoy Your Life is a book which offers sincere advice from the author through lessons he learned in his past experiences, and more important than that, this book is a full of stories and incidents from the life of Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam; this is a truly unique book and Muslims every where whether they are young or old, man or woman would benefit greatly from it. ‘Arifi teaches us about the ways the Prophet dealt with common problems we all face on a daily basis— how to deal with our families, friends, other Muslims, non-Muslims and even animals! Absolutely nothing was left out.

The main theme of the book is how one can enjoy his/her life without worry, anxiety, envy, jealousy or fear—in having good relationships with people, we can avoid all of those negative feelings and emotions. ‘Arifi indirectly answers questions such as ‘how can I gain the love of my family, friends, co-workers and classmates? ‘How can I deal with people who are naturally negative and mean?’ How can I advice people without coming across as critical or judgmental?’ and last but not least ‘how can I get closer to Allah through helping others and staying honest?’

As Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam is the best role model and example for us as Muslims, ‘Arifi gives us the answers through narrating to us the behavior of the Prophet. He shows us how the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam won the hearts of people through being humble, generous, friendly and kind to people. Being a well known scholar and lecturer for many years and having come across many different people, ‘Arifi has witnessed many things which he shares with us in Enjoy Your Life—things which has worked for him in becoming a better Muslim. He tells us the secrets to being a good husband/wife, brother/sister, and friend—it is through being humble, kind, and generous that one gains the love of his family and even strangers. He doesn’t just tell us “do this,” rather he gives examples that if you do such and such things, you can expect someone to act in this way. He often uses examples from his own life—things which he did that made him become loved and respected by many of his acquaintances and family. He tells us exactly how to be generous, and gives examples of how to respond or not respond to people which will make us gain their love.

Enjoy Your Life is well written and easy to read and understand; at times, ‘Arifi writes in a humorous way which makes the book even more enjoyable and not boring. The book is divided into small chapters of about three, four or five pages only. At the end of every chapter, ‘Arifi ends with a nice little advice to take with you. The only negative thing would be some typos that come up every once in a while throughout the book, other than that this is a well-written, easy to understand and very enjoyable book. It’s highly recommended that you get it and add it to your library.
 
 

Nov 10, 2011

POEM: One Word...Cancer



by Amal Milaa Filza


For hours I was staring at my notebook.. Wanting to write
something however my fingers didn't move an inch.. I was searching for the right words, the perfect line but still my mind stayed blank. Every time I started to write something I would press the backspace button immediately. My inspiration was gone. One word however stayed on my mind 24/7. It came so unexpected. I was unprepared for the lightning that struck our home. The news that spread like a gossip. I still remember my sister walking towards me with her eyes filled with tears. The words she said are frozen in my head. 'She has cancer' After that everything turned black.. It felt like my world was tumbling down.

Darkened day,
don’t know what to say

Fallen world
Buried in pain

Teary eyes
Restrained hurt

Floating thoughts
Endless rain.

My guardian angel
Can't stand to see her hurt

Day and night
Not an easy fight

Hold on to Hope
Khair Insha'Allah

Please make Dua
Give her strength

Trust remains
Allahu Akbar

Nov 4, 2011

Lovely Fridays - Practical Advice on what YOU can do on day of Jumuah

by Umm Amin

“The best day on which the sun has risen, is Yaumu al Jumu’ah (Friday). During a Friday, Adam was created, entered Paradise and was expelled from it; the Last Hour will only commence on a Friday.” (At-Tirmidhi, Muslim, Ahmad, and An-Nasaii; Ibn Qayyim al-Jauziyah in Zad-ul-Ma’ad fi Hadyi khairi-l ‘Ibad)

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet Mohammad sallalahu alayhi wa salaam said, “The best day on which the sun has risen is Yaumu al Jumu’ah; during Fridays Adam was created, expelled, forgiven, and died. The Last Hour will commence on a Friday. Every animal listens carefully during Yaumu al-Jumu’ah from dawn until sunrise, weary that the Last Hour might start on that very day, except for the jinns and mankind. During Friday, there is an hour, if aMuslim slave reaches it while praing and invoking Allah for anything, then Allah will grant it to him.” (Imam Malik in Al-Muwatta, Ibn Qayyim al-Jauziyah in Zad-ul-Ma’ad fi Hadyi khairi-l ‘Ibad)

Whether or not you are able to make it to Friday prayer, Friday is a more virtuous day of the week for good deeds. If you cannot make it to the Friday prayer, there are many blessings you can seek out. Any beneficial deed will have a good reward on an excellent day like Friday. Make your intention to please Allah and get to it!

Some things you might be able to do on a Friday include:

· Attend the Subh (fajr) prayer at the mosque and reflect upon the surahs that are read out in prayers

· Increase the dua made for the Prophet Mohammad sallahu alayhi wa salaam

· Wearing nice, clean clothing and performing ghusl

· Reciting suratul Kahf

· Praying Salatul Duha

· Praying sunnah prayers

· Calling your loved ones to maintain ties of kinship

· Donating money, time, energy, encouraging words, or a smile in Sadaqah

· Visiting someone who is sick

· Calling to offer good words to your fellow sisters in Islam

· Removing a harmful thing from the road

· Reading, contemplating, and/or memorizing ayat of the Qur’aan

· Reading about Islam, seeking knowledge that will benefit you in the Hereafter

· Attending an Islamic learning circle

· Try to find the hour in which dua is accepted by increasing your dua and asking for forgiveness wherever you may be

· If you are able to do so, arrive early and attend the Jumu’ah prayer!

What other benefits can you seek out on a Friday?



Nov 2, 2011

Make Hajj & Umrah from the Comfort of YOUR HOME!!! Say whaaaaaat.​...???

Assalamualaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu!!

What would you say if I told you that you can make Hajj & Umrah from the comfort of YOUR HOME, ANY DAY of the year??!! Now what would you say if the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam told us so?

From Anas bin Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, who said: “The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, said: ‘Whoever prays the morning prayer in congregation then sits remembering Allah until the sun rises, then prays two units of prayer has the reward like that of Hajj and `Umrah.’” He said, “Allah’s Messenger, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, said: ‘Complete, complete, complete (i.e. reward)’” (narrated by Tirmidhi).


For WOMEN, this getting the reward for Hajj & Umrah is WAY EASIER. Why? Because women do not have to pray in congregation at the masjid and they can pray from their own homes.

So - wake up and set your OWN Fajr salah time (an hour before fajr ends, 30 minutes before, 15 minutes before, however long or short you please) and sit there in a warm blankey and make dua, read Qur'an, or make dhikr until sunrise/shurook time. Wait at least 10 minutes for the sun to rise completely (you can not make salah while the sun is rising or setting) and pray 2 rakah AND YOU'RE DONE!! inshaAllah you will see the rewards for all of your Hajj's & Umrah's on the Day of Judgement.

Don't be sad that you're not at Hajj this year :( Be glad that Allah gave you the opportunity to make Hajj and Umrah from the comfort of your own home and any day of the year that you please. Take advantage of the BEST 10 DAYS OF THE YEAR and JOIN THE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE AT HAJJ THIS YEAR by making Hajj & Umrah yourself !! :) Don't miss out!!

Share this post with others to gain even more reward!!

Nov 1, 2011

The Superiority of the First Ten Days of Dhul-Hijjah

By Shaykh ibn al-Uthaymeen, may Allah have mercy on him

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. May peace and blessings be upon the Chief of the Messengers, Muhammad.

Indeed it is a great favour and blessing from Allah that He has made for His righteous servants periods of time within which they can increase in good deeds to attaingreat rewards and one of these opportunistic periods is the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah (the final month of the Islamic Calendar, in which the hajj is performed).

SUPERIORITY OF THE FIRST TEN DAYS OF DHUL-HIJJAH
The excellence of these ten days have been mentioned in the Qur'ân and the Sunnah.

1. Allah 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.

2. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:

"There are no deeds as excellent as those done in these ten days." They (the companions listening) said, "Not even Jihâd?" He, peace be upon him, said, "No, not even Jihâd except a man who goes forth endangering his life and wealth and does not return with anything." [Recorded by al-Imâm al-Bukhârî]
3. 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.

4. The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said:

"There are no other days that are as great as these in the sight of Allah, the Most Sublime. Nor are there any deeds more beloved to Allah then those that are done in these ten days. So increase in tahlîl (to say lâ illaha illallah), takbîr (to say allahu akbar) and tahmîd (to say alhumdulillâh)." [Reported by at-Tabarânî in al-Mu'jum al-Kabîr]
5. With regards to the noble companion Saîd bin Jubair, when the days of Dhul-Hijjah began he would strive to increase in good actions with great intensity until he was unable to increase anymore. [Reported by ad-Dârimî]

6. Ibn Hajar says in Fath al-Bârî:

"The most apparent reason for the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah being distinguished in excellence is due to the assembly of the greatest acts of worship in this period, i.e. salawât (prayers), siyâm (fasting), sadaqah (charity) and the hajj (pilgrimage). In no other periods do these great deeds combine."


WHAT ARE THE RECOMMENDED ACTS IN THESE DAYS?

1. The Prayer - It is highly recommended to perform the obligatory acts at their prescribed times (as early as possible) and to increase oneself in the superogatory acts, for indeed, this is what brings a person closer to their Lord. The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said:

"Upon you is to increase in your prostration to Allah, for verily you do not prostrate to Allah with even one prostration, except that He raises you in degrees and decreases your sins because of it." [Reported by Muslim]
2. Fasting - This has been mentioned as one of the acts of righteousness where Hanbada ibn Khâlid reports on the authority of his wife who reports that some of the wives of the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:

The Prophet, upon whom be peace, would fast on the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah, the day of Âshûra and three days in every month. [Recorded by Ahmad, Abu Dâwûd, an-Nisâî and others]
Al-Imâm an-Nawawî said that fasting in these ten days is extremely recommended.
 
3. Saying allahu akbar; lâ illaha illallah and alhamdulillâh - It is found in the aforementioned narration of Ibn 'Umar:

"So increase yourselves in saying lâ illaha illallah, allahu akbar and alhamdulillâh."

Al-Imâm Bukhârî, may Allah have mercy on him, said:

"Ibn 'Umar and Abû Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with them both, used to go out to the markets in the ten days saying the takbîr causing the people to follow them in this action."

He also said:

"Umar ibn al-Khattâb used to say the takbîr in his minaret in Mina, whereupon the people of the mosque hearing 'Umar, would start to say the takbîr as would the people in the markets until the whole of Mina was locked in glorifying Allah."

Ibn 'Umar used to say the takbîr in Mina during these ten days and after prayers, whilst on his bed, in his tent, in his gathering and whilst walking. What is recommended is to say the takbîr aloud due to the fact that 'Umar ibn al-Khattâb, his son and Abû Hurayrah used to do likewise, may Allah be pleased with them all.

Strive with us O Muslims in reviving this sunnah that has become lost in these times and it was almost forgotten, even amongst the people of righteousness and goodness all of which is unfortunately in opposition to what the best of generations were upon (preserving and maintaining the superogatory acts).

There are a number of ways of making takbîr that have been narrated by the companions and their followers and from these ways is the following:

- Allahu akbar, allahu akbar, allahu akbar kabîrun.

- Allahu akbar, allahu akbar, lâ ilaha illallah, wallahu akbar, wallahu akbar, wa lillahil hamd.

- Allahu akbar, allahu akbar, allahu akbar, lâ ilaha illallah, wallahu akbar, allahu akbar wa lillâhil hamd.

4. Fasting on the day of 'Arafah - Fasting has been affirmed on the day of 'Arafah, where it has been confirmed from the Prophet, peace be upon him, that he said regarding fasting on the day of 'Arafah:

"Be content with the fact that Allah will expiate for you your sins for the year before (the day of 'Arafah) and the year after (the day of 'Arafah)." [Reported by Muslim]
However, whoever is at 'Arafah as a pilgrim then fasting is not expected of him, as the Prophet, peace be upon him, stopped at 'Arafah to eat.

May the peace of Allah be upon his Prophet, the family of the Prophet and all of his companions