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Oct 24, 2014

Let the haters hate: The Art of dealing with Critics and Naysayers

By Bela Khan


The Prophet salAllahu alayhi wasallam had Abdullah Bin Ubayy’s adversity in life. He also had many other haters. It hurts to have haters, it is human nature. But this hurt should not be powerful enough to stop us from fulfilling our purpose and pursuing our mission. Let the haters hate. Let the caravan go on.

I also had my days of struggle. During the early days of my transformation, where I was becoming a Muslim by choice instead of being Muslim by chance, I was scared of people. I confess. And this fear was overwhelming. I did not want people to hate me. You know, it is a powerful influence, the fear of love lost. No one wants people to hate them and everyone is fearful of losing love.

Well, let us face it. It has to happen at some point in your life if you are pursuing the path of righteousness and carrying the Prophetic mission forward. If you are on your quest of searching for the truth, then the truth is going to hurt. If you raise your voice to say what’s right, people will not like it. No one likes to hear that their way of life is not accurate or not in line with divine guidance. Even the most misguided people think that they are leading an angelic lifestyle.

From Immense Love to Animosity

The Prophet Muhammad’s (salAllahu alayhi wasallam) uncle, Abu Lahab, loved him dearly. When he was born, Abu Lahab was overjoyed and freed his slave-woman who brought the news of the Prophet’s salAllahu alayhi wasallam birth. He was his (salAllahu alayhi wasallam) next door neighbor. Later, the Prophet salAllahu alayhi wasallam married two of his daughters to two sons of Abu Lahab. So, you see they were so strongly bonded. It is not easy to let go of the love when you are so strongly intertwined. But then the love transformed into animosity, the warmth of the emotions disappeared, the relationship got scarred and he started HATING the Prophet salAllahu alayhi wasallam. He became his most stringent opponent and worst critic. Why? He did not want to hear the truth. He did not want to change. You see, no one likes being told that they are less than perfect.

Never Give Up Preaching

But what did the Prophet salAllahu alayhi wasallam do? Did he give up preaching the message because his dear uncle started hating him? No. He was not a people pleaser though it might have hurt to be hated and the fear of love lost would have been astounding. However the hurt and fear combined were not powerful enough to stop him from standing for what’s right and upholding Allah’s Law.

Haters demoralize you. Every ounce of negativity they generate with their words or actions is very destructive for your morale and mission. The not-so-complicated formula to deal with them is to fix them. And if you cannot fix them, avoid them. Allah says in the Qur’an,

“But if they turn away, [O Muhammad] - then only upon you is [responsibility for] clear notification.” 16:82

Avoid them? Yes, because your job is to convey the truth and not to make them accept it. Accountability rests with Allah. 

“You are not the manager of their affairs” – 88:22

Steer Clear of the Haters

So, why is it important to let them go after giving them the Message in the most clear and respectable way. Especially when these people are critical of your mission and your dawah, it is very important to avoid them at every cost. Why, you ask? It is because negative people have destructive negative energy associated with them. Have you ever noticed that when some people call you, the mere sight of their “names” flashing on your mobile screen is enough to make you turn your mobile to silent. This is their lethal negative energy. Even if you do your best to ignore their negativism (either in the form of words, actions or facial expressions), your subconscious mind records it all. It penetrates your thoughts even before you notice its impact. It is suicidal to let too much criticism enter your brain because if you do so, your subconscious will record the data. And every time you come across a difficult situation or you fail at something, your subconscious will bombard those images back at you (“See? I told you. You are such a loser.”). And you will start to believe that your haters were right after all.

Let us be very clear about one thing here. Throughout this article, I am talking about an ill-intended criticism and not the constructive feedback that pushes you to become a better version of yourself. I am just focusing on the strategy of the haters that thrive on the opportunity of bulldozing your personality, debilitating your self-esteem, challenging your aspirations and just about crushing you. Their ultimate joy lies in the fact that they pull you down to their level. We live in a world where we are bombarded with negative images all around us. Television, newspaper and social media are constantly broadcasting a never ending stream of nasty goings-on. We have so much repulsiveness going around that this gives us a better reason to avoid the negative people even more.

Negativity in Disguise

When we are talking about the negative people and haters, it is very important for me to introduce to you Brutus. Yes, the same well-trusted Shakespearean Brutus who lovingly stabbed Caesar. Why am I bringing it up in this context? That is because it is incumbent upon us to know that we are surrounded by a lot of Brutuses . It is easier to recognize the negative people who are venting their negativity openly and are being malevolent but it is very hard to recognize those who have pleasantly disguised themselves. These are the people who are actually stabbing us in our backs. They will tell you that you are a loser and that you cannot do it but in such a pleasant manner that you will never be able to identify their sinister intentions because – well, they all are your well-wishers after all.

Actually, they are NOT. Their agenda is to discourage and demotivate you very subtly and slowly so that you may never find out what they are up to. I will give you a quick example from my life. When I wrote my research synopsis, my professor told me that if I really complete this research, it is going to be a unique discovery and a great contribution. But then, I met some well-wishers who told me that it is impossible to carry out this kind of research at my level. Usually M.Phil. research work is that intense and detailed. “And you are getting married in a few months, what if you fail to complete it, you will fail M.Phil.altogether”. Scary enough.my guards were down and their trick worked. I completed my with an insignificant amount research.

So, their efforts worked. These pathological critics are on a mission to give you a sugar-coated poison. Drink it and you are dead. Similarly, heed their advice and you are sabotaged. You will change your subjects, jobs, give up dawah missions or make similar stupid decisions in your life because a critic (who does not have any credential himself) told you to do so. Do not let them dictate your decisions. Do not let them sit in the driver’s seat of your life. They are Brutuses – who are stabbing you in the back. Watch out!

So what you need to do is to have enough courage not to let these nasty people or Brutuses come near you. You can never achieve any success in both worlds if you have surrounded yourself with haters and naysayers.

Do not despair and do not dignify the haters

And now, listen very closely. If you are a da’ee working to uphold Allah’s system, you will see plenty such people in your life. Probably it’s also a part of Allah’s Master Plan to test us with these people. When you are doing Amar bil Maroof, most of the people will love you, but Nahee anil Munkir is the real challenge. It is when your loved ones will become your enemy and your friends will become foes. As I said earlier, people hardly want to mend their ways s o they attack you to hide their shortcomings. “You know what? You should start doing dawah when you are a perfect Muslim yourself.” “Oh, this is a temporary phase, it will go away”. “I’ll see how long you really are going to carry yourself in Hijaab”. Let them blow their steam. Do not let them discourage you from your mission. Do not let them scare you.

Allah subhaanahuwat’ala says,
“…So fear them not, but fear Me…” 2:150

Are their own hands clean with what they are accusing you of? Are they living a life in perfect obedience to Allah and His Messenger? Is their criticism worth being dignified with your attention? If the answer is NO, then say good-bye to the uninvited criticism and move on. Do what you are supposed to do. Carry out your mission and ignore them. Remember, the Prophet salAllaahu alayhi wassallam never dignified Abdullah Bin Ubaiy with his counter arguments. He never sought counsel from Abu Lahab. He never put an ear to the criticism of those who called him a poet or lunatic. He just did what he was supposed to do – spread the light. I remind myself and you to do the same, spread positivity and the negativity will take care of itself.

Stay tuned for my next article – What to do when the negative people are your dear ones?

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

Oct 22, 2014

Do You Wish that Allah Should Forgive You?

By: Amina Edota


Have you ever come across the quote, “Your secret is safe with me and ten of my best friends?”

Now, imagine your childhood friend turning this quote into a sad reality. You confide in her your mega secret and she goes and shares it with her own clique of friends.

How about your office mate and colleague setting you up against the manager so that she can easily get a promotion over you?

And just when you think nothing else could go wrong in your life, you have a major fallout with your siblings, parents, or spouse.

These scenarios are typical encounters we go through in our day to day lives. They could cause us stress, tears, and pain, especially coming from close friends and loved ones.

But what is the way forward? Is it to plot revenge, get nasty, or swear never to forgive and forget?

It is quite easy to say to yourself, or to the one you believe has caused you pain and hurt, that you can never forgive him/her. But is there a nobler act than forgiving those who wrong us?

“... and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (24:22}

Simple Steps to Forgiving Others
  • Make Dua for them. Remember that nobody is prefect, so ask Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta'ala, to forgive those who wrong you and guide them to the right path. This acceptance of their human nature will make you accept their mistakes, lower your expectations of them, and relieve yourself of undue burden or of holding on to unnecessary grudges from the past. 
  • Take a lesson from the situation. When you believe that everything happens for a reason, you will reflect closely on every situation - whether good or bad- and take lessons for the future. You can turn the lesson into a learning opportunity, to become a better person, and live a better life. 
  • Simply let go. Make no big deal out of the issue, or go about discussing the pain and anger with anyone who has some minutes to spare. It is a plot of Shaytan to distract you from engaging in rewarding acts like remembrance, reading, and da’wah.
  • Seek an opportunity for a resolution. Where possible, organise for you and the offending party to meet and iron out misunderstandings, especially where family members are involved. This is to avoid the issue escalating in the future and causing dissensions among other family members. Resolution also provides an avenue for each person's views to be heard, while seeking a long lasting beneficial option such as peace, rather than malice.
  • Seek reward for your forgiving act. Ask Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta'ala, to reward you for the pain, and your act of forgiveness and turn it into a blessed reward for you. Remember that every good act you do for Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta'ala's, pleasure will be rewarded by Him. 

And the retribution for an evil act is an evil one like it, but whoever pardons and makes reconciliation - his reward is [due] from Allah . (42:40)

  • Imagine yourself wronging others. When the tables turn around, it could actually be you causing mischief or hurt to others - knowingly or unknowingly. You could also sin against your Lord, the Almighty. Will you not wish for Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta'ala, to forgive you? If you do, then learn to forgive others. If you need Allah's forgiveness, as well as the forgiveness of other humans, be patient and try to be the first to exhibit forgiveness as difficult as it may seem.

Beautiful Lessons to Note

A beautiful reminder of this act of forgiveness can be seen from the life of our beloved Prophet, Sal Allahu alayhi Wassalam. He taught us to supplicate; 

''O Allah, You are the most Forgiving One, You love to forgive, so forgive me.'' (Tirmidhee and Ibn Majah)

You can also take lessons from the story of Yusuf, Alayhi Salaam, who forgave his brothers after all the pain they caused him; And from Abu Bakr, Radiyallahu Anhu, who forgave his cousin after slandering his daughter - Aisha, Radiyallahu Anha.

It is OKAY to feel hurt and even cry at the pain others cause you. But you should also take the big step towards healing by forgiving them. Build the bridge that will restore good feelings through your kind words, mercy, and forgiveness.

It may be difficult, but not impossible.

And even when you cannot see a reason, remember you are in need of forgiveness too.

But when in doubt ask yourself: Do you wish that Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta'ala, should forgive you?

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

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

Previous | Next


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

Previous | Next


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! :)