Tag Archives: blessings

Ramadan Confession #2: I have this type of Ramadan guilt every year

By Fatima Asad

Many things change in your life when you become a mother.  (Wait! This is not just another mama post; I need to tell you when I truly felt this guilt for the first time.)  In fact, you meet another person in the mirror when you are blessed with motherhood.  It was the first Ramadan after becoming a mama- I wasn’t fasting since the two-month old demanded to suck out my entire essence (along with the breast milk).  If you’re a mama who has nursed, you know the seemingly eternal hours you possess to write to-do lists (without getting anything done, subhanAllah), read that book (yes, that book that you attempted to read during the last trimester), stare at the walls, questioning your interior designing judgement, or contemplating life- really going deep within the mind’s avenues.

Ramadan guilt 1

It was during one of these must-feed-the-little-human sessions that a realization struck my heart chords hard. It was an overwhelming feeling of guilt that shoved me to such an extent that I felt myself freeze, choke and gasp simultaneously.  I couldn’t breathe during those moments, and I wanted to cry, but there were no tears.  I really wanted the tears to flow out so I could rid myself of this overpowering force, but there were none.  That in itself was another terrifying realization: why am I not crying? Why can’t I cry? Has my heart hardened to such an extent? Then, as I gently laid the baby on the bed and kissed her chubby little cheeks, I couldn’t let go of this affection.  As I reached for her tiny fingers, tear drops pattered on her palm.  There they were.  This miracle would continue to awaken an array of emotions I never knew were possible in the future years.

The guilt was because of this: I sadly realized that I had not been the best representation of Islam in the past and to think that I may have been the cause of even a single person missing out on this astounding blessing of Ramadan jolted me to the bone.  Having lived in America all my life, it had been a constant tug of war between faith and culture.  Most of us will confidently claim that Islam doesn’t contradict culture, but do we really believe it? Have we lived by it? Islam does not contradict culture, but I, like countless others, failed to be educated about this until it was too late in many aspects.  I had spent most of my youth years unconsciously trying to become a follower, trying to impress people through fading trends and false doctrines.  This is because I failed to understand my own identity, allowing others to pick and choose how they defined me rather than holding the reins myself.

Ramadan guilt 5

This guilt comes back every year, stronger each time.  I should have done more, I could have done more, I should have learned about my deen earlier, I could have paved a smoother road for myself and others, I should have embraced the real me more…ultimately: I could have painted a better, more authentic picture of Islam if only I had known it myself.  Even though the guilt increases, so does the hope.  In fact, the hope is slowly but surely outgrowing the despair and that is what being a Muslim is all about.  It’s about accepting your mistakes and circumstances, pairing hope with determination, and moving forward.  The past is just that: the past.  Look back to learn not to turn into stone, eternally frozen with despair over what can never be alive again.

Ramadan guilt 4


Ramadan Challenge: Gratitude to the One!

By Abdul Rehman Raza

The One who is most worthy of our gratitude, more than anyone else, is Allah, our Lord! But why should we be grateful to Him anyway?

The basic thing that separates humans from every other living thing is the ability to think and ponder. A rabbit would never sit under a tree, stare at the sky and think why is it blue, why are there clouds or how was it made? The purpose of this post is to make you use this very thinking ability of yours. Think about what? Think about the one who has given you this ability to think! Your Creator! Almighty Allah!

Take a break from life and THINK! The One who made you, made the world for you, made everything around you, gave you the ability to think and ponder, gave you faculties of seeing, hearing, gave you this gadget that you’re using right now to read this article, the ability to read and understand this, the food you eat every single day, the clothes you’re wearing… But this list would keep going on and never end!

Let’s do a short exercise: write down all the things that Allah has blessed you with, everything you can think of. Now think again, did you deserve all this? Could you really pay Allah for this? Obviously not! But Allah still blessed us with all of this and He doesn’t stop, His Mercy is continuously falling on us even at this very moment!

Now comes the golden question, if someone gives you a glass of water, you thank that person, right? Should we not be grateful to the One Who created us and who has given us so much and keeps on giving us every moment of our lives?

Indeed, we should be! In fact, being grateful to Allah is a very important part of our faith. Feeling grateful is one thing but there is a practical aspect to being grateful as well.

Being grateful actually means having gratitude in the heart, professing it through the tongue and showing it through actions.

Some points below can help you be grateful to Allah in a practical way:

‘Ibadah, Worship Allah Only

Be His righteous slave, offer your prayers regularly, fast, especially in the month of Ramadan, give in charity, remember Him regularly, read and understand His Book, do what He likes, follow the role model of Prophets (AS) especially our final Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

Hope and Patience in Tough Times

Being grateful in good times is easy, the real test is when we face trials and hardships. A person who is truly grateful, does not become ungrateful even in hard times. He believes that Allah does everything for the person’s own good. Even in hard times, a believer finds something positive, he thanks Allah irrespective of good or bad times.

Be Good To Others

One of the best ways to be grateful to Allah is being good to others around us. Have mercy and love for your fellow human beings as well as other creatures of Allah. We should love others the same way we want others to love us and in order to acquire Allah’s love.

Mention Allah’s Blessing Upon You

Instead of complaining to people, we should tell them about how much has Allah blessed us and praise Him.

“But as for the favour of your Lord, mention [it].”, (Surah Duha, verse 11)


This one verse from the Quran should be enough (though there are many other benefits not being mentioned for brevity’s sake):

“If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]”, (Surah Ibrahim, verse 7.)

May Allah make us truly grateful to Him!


Ramadan Challenge: It’s All Good!

By Fiza Khan

Today was one of those days when I really….I mean reallyyyy….felt drained out by fasting.
As I walked back home from the bus stop, in the peak heat of noon, all I could think of was, ‘Water. Water. Water.’

As I came closer to home, I heard myself saying ‘Alhamdulillah’ out loud.

‘For the heat?’ I asked myself.

‘No, no, for the means that await so close by! For being blessed to have the blessing, even if it was delayed for a time, and for being reminded of all His favours which I was failing to recognize!’

Today was one of those days when, as your throat stings with dryness, you plead to Allah for a drink at Hawd-e-Kauthar*, after which there will be no more thirst, ever. Ah, I thought, I love making this dua with sincerity each Ramadan, the kind of sincerity that doesn’t come otherwise.

As I cooled off, hours before iftaar, I wondered would I have ever thanked Him for this unnamed (2)simple yet immense blessing had it not been for the little difficulty I felt today? Would I have realized how needy I am for the deeds that will help me make my way to the Hawd-e-Kauthar on a day that will be immeasurably more hotter than today? Would I have thought twice about my responsibility towards those who don’t get access to water at a distance of a few miles from me, and then turned off the tap upon realization before I wanted to, because it wasn’t only mine to use excessively?

If Allah did not send us reminders to jolt us back into realization from straying into daily illusions of this worldly life, how would we ever save ourselves? What a kind Rabb that He places such benefit in every little difficulty, Ya Rahman!

The Kind Rabb who rewards even for as much as the prick of a thorn (Bukhari 5641), who multiplies each good deed between 10 to 700 (Bukhari 7062) and when you and I go without food and drink all day, He exceeds it beyond any given standard and says “fasting is for me and I shall reward for it” (Bukhari 1761). Yes, He knows the effort and the struggle that we go through!

What a pity that we waste these precious moments of rewards and reminder in jest and complaint!

Let’s take it up as a challenge this month, or week or even a single day to find the goodness in everything that comes our way!

Let’s not throw a tantrum next time a desired item is missing from the iftaar menu, for it may give us a chance to try something new!

Let’s not distract ourselves from the thoughts of hunger with videos and memes, but utilize those moments of weakness for heartfelt duas and gratitude for what we have all year round.

Let’s accept the weather for how it is, realizing that it is causing for our rewards of this month a much needed increase.

Let’s come up with better questions to ask each other this Ramadan than “Roza lag raha hai?” Let’s smile wide in the face of the one who asks us this and tell them “ji bohot acha lag raha hai, Alhamdolillah!” (P.S. If you can come up with a better reply, leave it for us too in the comments below!)

Let’s actively seek, when struck with hardship, the promised ease!

*Hawd-e-Kauthar: It is a great cistern – a tank for holding water – which will be set up in the place of gathering on the Day of Resurrection, to which the ummah of Muhammad ﷺ will come. The water of this cistern will come from the river of al-Kawthar which is in Paradise, hence it is called the Cistern of al-Kawthar.
“…Its water is whiter than milk and its scent is better than musk. Its drinking vessels are like the stars of the sky and whoever drinks from it will never thirst again.”
Read details here

Chapter 13: The Waning Dusk (series)

gratitudeMyth: Whine for more

لَٮِٕن شَڪَرۡتُمۡ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمۡ‌ۖ  

This snippet is from one of the most beautiful verses of the Quran on gratitude from surah Ibrahim (v. 7). And I wrote just the Arabic text here for you guys to read it and comprehend it better when I expand on it. In Arabic, there are a lot of ways you can emphasize or stress upon a point. And using a shadd (or tashdeed) on a verb is one way of doing it.

Allah (swt) says, “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you…”

Notice the form of verb for being grateful is shakartum— lightest form of the verb used and the word for the promise of being increased is la-azeedannakum— the most intense form with a shadd is chosen to drive the point home; meaning: if you are a little bit, just a tiny, teeny-weeny bit grateful– Allah will surely, most certainly, definitely increase you. And this is the eloquence of the Quran– it can contain so much in just one word. We miss out on these special effects when we limit ourselves to the translation.

And Allah used first-person singular narrative here “I will increase you…” and not “We will increase you…” as opposed to most places in the Quran where “We” is generally used. “I” has more powerful undertones than “We”. This hammers another dimension of intensity and emphasis to the promise that if you are a teensy bit grateful, Allah Himself WILL increase you (sadly, caps lock is as far as I can go to give the special effects).

Question being- increase you in what? You say Rabbi zidni ilmaa (O Allah, increase me in knowledge) and Allah says in places in the Quran wa-zaadat-hum imaanaa (their imaan increased)… so what’s going to be increased here? That’s the best part, Allah hasn’t put limits or mentioned anything in particular. You will be increased in anything imaginable.

When you’re fasting, it is undoubtedly the best time to be thankful for all that you have, instead of whining about how you don’t see your proposed menu on the table. You want more? Be grateful. It’s not a one-moment reflection where you say “Thank you”– it’s an attitude towards life. And of course, it’s the surest way to get blessings infinity times infinity pouring down on you.

And oh- there’s another fail-proof way you can go about it. Give charity. To your maids, workers on the streets, beggars by your car… at least in this month, don’t turn anyone away empty handed.

My Ramadan Diary: Forgive Me When I Whine


By Umm Ibrahim

Hot days? Long fasts? Parched tongue? Droopy eyes? Aching legs?

This Ramadan, I will not whine! I absolutely refuse to complain. Not only will I not complain to Tom, Dick and Harry (or to Jamilah, Sakinah and Aneela) I will not even complain to myself! I feel too grateful to do that. I have been blessed with far more than what I could ever deserve or earn.

I’m grateful that Allah made me a human being, and not a monkey or a hen.

I’m grateful that He made me a Muslim, and not an atheist or a fire-worshipper.

I’m grateful that I’m alive and healthy.

And that He blessed me with yet another Ramadan- yet another opportunity.

And that He gave me the Glorious Quran.

And that I have family and friends.

In fact, I have everything I asked him for, and more! Much more.

I’m grateful for the Duas He accepted, and the ones He apparently did not (because He had better substitutes planned).

“And He gave you of all that you asked for, and if you count the Blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them. Verily! Man is indeed an extreme wrong-doer, an extreme ingrate.” (Surah Ibrahim: 34)

And most of all, I’m thankful to Him that despite my all-year round sins, He allowed me to fast. He enabled me to open the Quran, and gave me the taufeeq to stand before Him, and put my face on the ground only for Him.

Yes, there is still hope for me. And you.

How can I complain while my heart is bursting with love and gratitude? This year, I will go the extra mile happily and willingly, inshaAllah. I will do it all with a smile, all for His sake, out of love for Him, and in anticipation of His Pleasure and Reward.

So, in conclusion: Alhamdolillah!

“Alhamdolillah fills the scales.” (Sahih Muslim)

To starve or not to starve- Ramadan 2014!


By Umme Aisha

It’s almost Ramadan! Just a few hours to go, inshaAllah.

This is the one time of the year where most Muslims readily sacrifice both food and the immediate gratification of their desires. It’s a month that when it leaves, it leaves us feeling sad and gloomy.

Despite it being the favorite month of every believer, a logical mind may wonder: Why does Allah want us to starve throughout the day? What good is our starving ourselves, for Him? In the Quran, Allah encourages people to consume His blessings:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ كُلُوا مِمَّا فِي الْأَرْضِ حَلَالًا طَيِّبًا وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ ۚ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ

O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth [that is] lawful and good and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy. [Quran; 2:168]

Especially since Allah addresses His believing slaves in particular and commands them to eat from His given Rizq (provision)and be thankful about it:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُلُوا مِن طَيِّبَاتِ مَا رَزَقْنَاكُمْ وَاشْكُرُوا لِلَّهِ إِن كُنتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ

O you who have believed, eat from the good things which We have provided for you and be grateful to Allah if it is [indeed] Him that you worship. [Quran; 2:172]

There remains no doubt about the fact that Allah has created all these blessings for His slaves to consume and to take benefit from, and that He doesn’t need us to starve all day long, because Allah is free from all needs.

However, to answer the question of ‘why starve ourselves’ is that we, humans- being made of both physical bodies and souls- need to pay equal attention to the health of both these elements (i.e. the body and the soul). The month of Ramadan is to balance the nourishment of both elements of our existence.

To understand this, lets assume that you are the custodian of two little kids namely A and B, both having different kinds of needs and demands. If you feed A all day long, you might forget the other one which will result in the malnutrition of B. If you keep on nourishing A while forgetting the other child- one day you will end up starving kid ‘B’ to death at the expense of kid A.

This is what we do with our bodies and souls. While both of these two need equal nourishment and care, we are naturally more inclined towards our bodies because the needs of our physical bodies are easily advocated by our physical weaknesses. We rush to seek assistance for our physical health, whereas our souls do not reveal their needs this clearly and are thus left neglected.

To balance the needs of nourishing our souls Allah has blessed us with a beautiful month, in which our attention is all focused on worshipping Him, who Created us. By fasting we stop ourselves from fulfilling all of our physical needs- at the whims of our bodies- and work on the needs of the soul. We try to strengthen our relationship with our Creator, and become stronger in soul. This is one of the wisdoms we can discover behind the obligation of fasting in the month of Ramadan, a month when all of us work hard to get closer to Allah.


 (The Ramadan Highway Code. Picture courtesy: Muslimness)

This is the same reason why we work harder to connect to the Qur’an in this month- more so than in any other time of the year- through recitation, reflection and taraweeh prayers. Feeding the right food to our souls is impossible without connecting to the words of Allah because just like our souls came from the heavens , so does their food (in the form of Allah’s Words).

May ALLAH help us to understand the wisdom behind refraining from eating in this month. May Allah make our month of Ramadan more than just a month of food; one in which we eat and plan extravagant iftar/suhur meals! May Allah help us get connected to Him through this month and may He accept our good deeds. Ameen.

12 Reasons I’m Excited About Ramadan

By Umm Ibrahim

         1- The Honourable Mention

Ramadan is the only month mentioned in the Quran by its name. Reading through this verse at any time of the year brings to me a rush of beautiful memories, as well as anticipation for the next Ramadan.

“Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Quran, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting..” (Surah al-Baqarah: 185)

And when Ramadan does come, it feels like an old friend is visiting, with its customary warmth, laden with gifts and goodies!


2- Enemy Locked Up

Enemy # 1, Shaytan, is locked up for one whole month. Of course, it feels good. So now I can free myself from one frontier and concentrate my energies on straightening up my own Nafs.

“When Ramadan comes, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and the devils are chained up.” (Bukhari, Muslim)


3- Sinners, Rejoice!

As stated in the above hadith, the gates of Paradise are opened up, and the gates of Hellfire are closed. Allah, Exalted is He, saves people from Hellfire every single day!

“At every breaking of the fast, Allah has people whom He redeems.” (Ahmad, Saheeh at-Targheeb)

For sinners like myself, this is a moment to heave a sigh of relief, a time to renew my hope, rekindle my Iman and redouble my efforts.


4- Spiritual Recharge

Whatever my level of connection with the Quran throughout the year is, it always jumps up a few notches in Ramadan. This is true for most people, whether they never open the Quran at days at end, or whether they teach and study it daily.

Even the angel Jibrael used to meet the Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) every night in Ramadan and study the Quran with him. (Bukhari, Muslim)

As the body is restrained from earthly foods, the soul is fed with its divine nourishment. One can feel it being satisfied and re-energized.



As females, we don’t go to the Masjid regularly throughout the year, but in Ramadan, we turn up at the houses of Allah every night. For me, listening to and soaking in the slow and melodious recitation (not the bullet-train speed recitation) is the perfect end to a blissfully tiring day. Making new friends at the Masjid is a bonus.


6- Family Time

With smartphones invading every hour of our already busy lives, quality family time often takes a backseat. Often, everyone is taking their meals on-the-go. The family bonding and camaraderie that is re-sparked over Suhoor and Iftar is a great blessing.


7- Food

I get to eat my favourite snacks every single day: Fruit Chaat, Chana Chaat, Dahi Bhalay. Every Day. I eat them for iftar and I eat them for dinner too. 😀 Yep, I’m definitely excited.


8- The ‘Gratitude Rush’

The heavenly feeling of the first drops of ice-cold water on a parched tongue is indescribable. Ahhhh. The wave of gratitude that sweeps through your entire being teaches invaluable lessons about recognizing our Sustainer, and giving thanks to Him for all the blessings that we take for granted.

images (1)

9- Duas

I have a very long list of Duas. Allah loves that His slaves ask from Him. I love to ask from him. With Ramadan comes the opportunity to focus more on my Duas, and to intensify and upgrade them. In Surah al-Baqarah, right in the middle of verses about fasting, Allah puts in this beautiful verse:

“When My servants ask you concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way.” (Surah al-Baqarah: 186)

The Dua of the fasting person is very likely to be accepted, especially at the time of Iftar. Every day and night in Ramadan feels like an ‘all-you-can-ask’ offer.


10- Da’wah

In this month, the hearts of Muslims are generally more inclined towards goodness, and more receptive towards sincere advice. For people like me who are passionate about Dawa’h, this is the season to strike gold. Why wouldn’t a seller of umbrellas be excited about a rainy spell!?


11- The Most Amazing Night

In Ramadan comes the Night of The Year. The exciting search for Laylat ul Qadr in the last 10 nights is the highlight of the month year. May Allah enable us to strive in searching for this night, and to reap its benefits and rewards.

“In it (Ramadan) there is a night which is better than a thousand months, and whoever is deprived of its goodness is indeed deprived.” (an-Nasai, Ahmad, Sahih at-Targheeb)

“Whoever spends Laylat al-Qadr in prayer out of faith and in the hope of reward, will be forgiven his previous sins.” (Bukhari, Muslim)


12- Eid 🙂

If it wasn’t for Ramadan, how would you and I get to celebrate Eid ul Fitr!?

Going to the Eid prayer is something I’ve always looked forward to. Henna smells lovely, glittery bangles look beautiful, and Eidi is EXCITING! Yes, even if I’m working and earning myself, the Rs. 1,000 that Dad gives as Eidi is still cherished.

Gratitude to AllahThe Prophet's Example

Anything you would like to add to this list? What makes you excited about Ramadan?

Five practical steps to be a steadfast Muslim!

Not a single person can deny the fact that human nature is notorious and censurable;  history is one unfortunate witness to this very fact!

But human beings are bound to err. They were never designed to be perfect, nor  do they run on pre-defined algorithms for pre-designed results. They are not machines- rather they are driven by their own feelings, challenges, successes and failures.

In this fast-paced  technological era, man needs constant guidance through sincere friends and families to help him weave a path of steadfastness. But most of all, man needs his own self. A living conscience that constantly awakens him to the realities of life. An untainted sound heart.

Islam came to protect individuals, and to give people a chance at a better future, and a better life in the Hereafter. But to actually benefit from this, one needs to learn how to ‘live the life’ of a Muslim.

As  Br. Mohammad Ali [1] says:

“No system of life can give you a better purpose than Islam. So follow Islam. Read about it. Understand it. And you have a great life in both worlds”

Our halls are filled with awe as different religious scholars and ‘daees’ glitter and glamour the world- when one feels his faith climb even the highest and most impossible of  mountain peaks. But in everyday life the situation of the Muslim community leaves much to be desired. There is a massive gap in our hearts, that yearns for Allah.  The match between Iblis and man still goes on, and Iblis is winning. He is not even letting us come close to the ball. The essence and the spirit of repentance, of keeping our duty to Allah 24/7 is like a black hole today in some distant corner of the universe. No one really knows what is inside; what to do, where to walk and what to say. We’re confused, and lost.

In all of this, the way forward is difficult to see. It is only through developing a number of good habits can we try to stay steadfast on the path of Allah- especially when it is so extremely easy to sin and comparatively difficult to do good.

Allah mentions the attitude of the believers in the Qura’n as follows

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا تَتَنَزَّلُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ أَلَّا تَخَافُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَبْشِرُوا بِالْجَنَّةِ الَّتِي كُنتُمْ تُوعَدُونَ
Verily, those who say: “Our Lord is Allah (Alone)” and then they Istaqamu (stay steadfast), on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): “Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised!” (S.Fussilat: 30)

With this, we begin going through an exclusive five item list to help us all develop beneficial habits (inshaAllah). You can copy the following points into your smart phone as a checklist and keep reviewing yourself every now and then to really benefit, insha’Allah.

Item 1: Al-Islah (Personal Reform)

A steadfast believer should always keep personal reform in focus. Instead of pointing out other people’s mistakes and blaming them for your situation, one should start from an inside-out perspective. If a believer is watchful over his own actions and remembers that every little action will be questioned about and every little good deed will be rewarded, he will remain steadfast upon the path of Allah.

ImageThe Prophet (pbuh) said:

“Unquestionably, in the body there is a lump of flesh; if it is sound, the whole body is sound, and if it is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt, and behold, it is the heart.” [Bukhāri and Muslim]

So, number 1- make sure you have sound, open heart.

Item 2: The path of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and His Companions

Remember the story of  the brothers who tried to break a bunch of sticks given to them by their father? Well, they were unable to break the bundle while the sticks were tied together. That is what the Quran says about our Muslim brethren:

وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا
And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided.


Anyone with basic Arabic skills will notice Allah has placed 3 words in the text in their plural forms in this verse- to stress upon the fact that we must stay together. OK. We’ve learned the lesson to stay together, but where to go, what to follow? Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) tackled this subject in a very famous saying:

“My ummah will split into seventy-three sects, all of whom will be in Hell except one group.” They said: Who are they, O Messenger of Allaah? He said: “(Those who follow) that which I and my companions follow.” Al-Tirmidhi (2641)

If we want the Muslim ummah to be successful in this world and in religion today, we need to work on our centre. The  path that we must follow should not be that of society, nor of our fathers and mothers, but of our Prophet and his Companions, may Allah be pleased with them all.

Item 3: The Intermediate path

People often say that we should strike a ‘balance’ between religion and life. That we should take a little bit of both- something from here, another thing from there. What they want to say is that one shouldn’t be so religious. One should pray , definitely- but there’s nothing wrong with an interest based banking system, eh?Fast in Ramadan- yes of course- but also dance at weddings with non-mehram cousins. Good treatment of your neighbors and elders is cultural only.A beard or a scarf- definite fashion no! Talking against the sins most prevalent in society is plain old negative thinking.

In short, completely following Islam is to lose yourself and your identity and to become an ‘extremist’.   We ask those peoplewere Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his Companions terrorists? Were they extremists? Do their lives bear witness to the terror they struck in other people’s lives- or to something else entirely?


Remember the Prophet’s path is the real  middle path. Learn Islam and its true teachings. You’ll truly get to see how Islam encourages us to be  productive, healthier and God-fearing believers.

Item 4: Pious company

A man is known by the company he keeps

How true it is. If you constantly find yourself in the company of a group of unproductive, lazy, good-for-nothing chain smokers, the first thing that you can start with is to find yourself better company. Friends who are God-fearing. Friends that you can trust- who you can expect to protect your honor  behind your back Just an idea: look for local Islamic communities in your area.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَكُونُوا مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ
O you who believe! Be afraid of Allah, and be with those who are true (in words and deeds). (Quran 9:119)


For those people in Lahore who are looking for new friends, come hang out with the YC brothers (and sisters) at our YC Community Center. For more details visit our Facebook page.

Item 5: Be a student of knowledge

Big seminars are held all over the world to help students plan their future careers. Where do we go to plan our Hereafters?

We’ve managed to produce such a lot of educated people within our society, but where is their education when it comes to matters of  the social life, morals, religious obligations and general ethics? Like a sea shell, beautifully adorned from the outside but empty from the inside- all of us except those who hold within the pearls of wisdom.

‘Uthman bin ‘Affan (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “The best amongst you is the one who learns the Qur’an and teaches it.”


Be a teacher or a student of Quran, constantly, all your life, regardless of what your age or your culture is. Brings to mind another saying of the Prophet (pbuh):

 “This world is cursed, and all that is in it, except for the zikr (remembrance) of Allah and all that is related to it, a scholar and a student of knowledge.” [at-Tirmidhi, 2322]

Again, for those people who live in Lahore and Islamabad- contact your nearest YC members for details of our  Qura’n study circles and our weekly class schedules (this is for both sisters and brothers)!

If one truly  incorporates these  five habits into his/her daily life and asks Allah for help in remaining steadfast, inshaAllah Allah’s help will come. May Allah help us in that.


The writer is a software engineer and can be contacted at zakiimtiaz1@gmail.com

[1] Br. Mohammad Ali is a Mechnical Engnfrom GIKI, Pakistan and is currently presiding Youth Club Lahore chapter.
[2] The list is compiled based on a lecture given by Sheikh Abu Tayyab on the topic “Istaqamah” at Al-Wabil Center of Islamic Knowledge, DHA, Lahore.

Diary of A Spoilt Brat



By Umm Ibrahim

The ever-alert guard slides open the gate, and my chauffeur-driven car glides in smoothly to a view of lush green grass, and all the colors of spring in bloom. I step out and look around at the gardeners busy working away in the sun.

“I have to leave in 30 minutes again.” I instruct the driver.

Opening the front door, I make a mental list of all the things I need to do in these 30 minutes, before I head to my friend’s place. It is simply a list of all the orders I need to give.

I dial the maid’s extension and the maid responds on the first bell.

“Come inside please. I need to get my clothes ironed.”

“Ji, baji.” She complies obediently.

In less than 2 minutes, she’s inside. I hand her the clothes, and ring the chef’s extension. I tap my fingers impatiently as the bell rings 6 or 7 times. I’m getting irritated.

“Where on earth is this man?”

He picks up the phone and I can sense the hint of drowsiness in his voice.

“Did I wake him up from his afternoon nap?” I wonder.

I give him instructions to fix me a quick snack. After 10 minutes, the clothes are ironed. The maid is given new instructions to clean up my messed-up room.

The bedroom phone rings. It’s the chef: “Food is on the dining table, Madam.”

Too lazy to go downstairs, I say, “Tell the butler to bring it in the lounge upstairs.”

Everything is working like clockwork. After satiating my stomach, I decide to get some shut-eye before heading out again. It has been a long day.

The ringing of my mobile phone shakes me up.

“Where on earth are you?” It’s my best friend.

“Oh sorry…I just took a nap for a few minutes. What’s the time? Oh 4 pm. It’s been an hour. I’ll be there soon.”

I hurriedly get dressed and head out. The driver is waiting, standing next to the car. I realize he must have been there since the past 45 minutes.

“Have you been waiting for long?” I try to mumble an apology.

“Not at all, Madam. That’s my duty, Madam.” He replies.

Before stepping into the car, I notice a flowerpot of withering petunias. I call out to the gardener. He looks up from the weeding and comes hurrying. As I point out the flower pot to him, he apologizes profusely, and immediately gets to work fixing it.

I step in the car and lean back. The guard, ever-alert, opens the gate and the car slides out.


I don’t have to lift a finger to do anything. Well actually, that’s just an exaggeration. I do have to lift a finger. In fact, I have to lift a phone and order around people to get any chore done.

My life has all the trappings of making me a spoilt brat! Raised in the lap of luxury, I admit that I sometimes find it difficult to keep my heart humble and to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground. If it wasn’t for the eye-opening realities that the Quran teaches me, I might as well have been an arrogant, annoying little Ms. Stuck-Up through-and-through. I know people who envy this lifestyle. If only they knew: prosperity is a test so veiled that very few pass it as compared to adversity!


The servants sometimes surprise me with their efficiency. There is the occasional inefficient one who gets in, but gets kicked out soon enough. In a military environment, the servants are specially trained to be disciplined and obedient at all times.

They have entered into an employer-employee relationship where they know their duties and job timings and requirements and stick to it religiously.

Take the driver- I could order him to come at 2 am to take us to the airport- he would do it without so much as a squeak.
But what about me? I find it difficult to crawl out of my cozy bed when my Master calls me for Fajr.

Take the chef- He makes what we ask him to, when we ask him to (and eats the same too).
But I often give precedence to my own choices as opposed to my Master’s.

Take the guard- he keeps vigil at the gate all night.
How few, almost non-existent, are the nights when I actually stayed up all night, just for my Master.

Take the maid- she just listens and obeys to all we say.
But me, pathetic little me? Sometimes I choose to ignore what my Master says, sometimes I openly defy it, sometimes I look for loopholes.

I suspect the servants do what they can when I am not looking. When I’m not home, they might be lounging on my sofa, watching TV! But at least, they would never do it when I’m watching. Because they are forbidden to do so. Because it displeases me.

And what about me? I disobey my Master while He watches me! I dare to defy him while He observes and records.

I can never imagine these people openly disobeying me openly. They are just servants.

And who am I? I am not just a servant. I am a slave. A Slave of Allah. I renew this contract every single day with the words: “Iyyaka Na’budu” – You alone we worship; You alone we enslave ourselves to. But do I really accept being a slave? Do I really know my duties and job timings and requirements? Where is my humility and submissiveness that is due before Him? Ahh! How true is the word of Allah:

“Surely, man is to his Master, very ungrateful.” (Surah al-‘Aadiyaat, ayah 6)

From our servants, our employees, we expect nothing short of 100% obedience. Say, if they are late, they might get excused the first day, told off the second day, and kicked out for good the third day.

And we ourselves are slaves of Allah. But we feel proud of the occasional obedience thrown in between persistent acts of disobedience! Whatever we do, we think we are good slaves and our Master must be pleased with us. No, scratch that. The real problem is: We don’t accept that we are His slaves! The way we spend our lives is as if we are the masters of our own lives and we can do as we please; as if Allah’s job (Na’aouzubillah) is to just make things go smoothly for us whenever we call out to Him (such as when the going gets too tough for us to handle on our own).

No! He is the Master and we are the slaves. Accepting this role happily will put our lives on track. Yes, He is a Loving and Forgiving Master. But He is the Master- all the same.

Pondering over who He is and who we are changes the definition of sin. It’s an entire paradigm shift. And we are so messed-up. We need an entire paradigm shift.  It is as our pious predecessors said:

“Don’t ever look at the smallness of the sin you are committing, rather realize the magnitude of the One you are sinning against.”

Would you like it Blessed or Wretched?


Marriage is a colorful artwork gifted to you by Allah, specially designed for you to find repose in.  It is an institution where real love is nurtured for the family to bask in its warmth and light.  It is the building where the foundation of future is laid in the present.  It is falling in love with the same person over and over again each day.  Yes, over and over again with that beautiful creation of Allah with whom you sign the contract under His Eyes while you say, “Qabool Hai” (“I do”).  And, this bond is meant to give you sukoon (tranquility) which in itself is one of the greatest blessings of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.

Well, isn’t it ironic then to see that most of the marriages that take place these days turn out with negative results!  All the dreams get smashed in one go and turn into a nightmare.  The number of couples who can say that they are living in sukoon (tranquility) has reduced drastically.  Every second person you bump into these days seems to talk about their marriage related woes.  The reason is often plain and simple: being away from the Qur’an and Sunnah thereby incurring Allah’s wrath in all the affairs including those of marriage.  How can a journey that starts with disobeying Allah and displeasing Him be smooth and enjoyable?

If you are among those who are already married but did so while having crossed the limits set by Allah then know that the doors of repentance are still open and Allah will make easy your affairs if you turn to Him in sincerity.  And, if you are among those who are either looking for a spouse or counting the days left to your wedding, and you want to see unlimited blessings in your wedding, then read on carefully.

1. Check your intentions

Is it for the sake of Allah that you are taking this decision i.e., to safeguard yourself from Haram while wanting your wishes to be fulfilled in a Halal manner?

2. Plan it simple

If you’ve already ticked the check box about your intention then receive the glad tidings of Allah’s promise and know that Allah never breaks His promise!  Now, plan your marriage and get your parents and the parents of your potential spouse on board for this noble cause of simple Nikah.  Be sure that it is going to be in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet (may Allah exalt his mention).

3. Be strict and firm

When it comes to the limits of Allah, be strict and firm.  Don’t compromise with regards to the issue of inter mixing of opposite genders.  Ensure that there will not be extravagance.  You may already know that the spendthrifts are the brothers of Shaytan.  Say a big “No” to music.  Brothers, shaving beard isn’t a good idea either.  Sisters, be cautious of long hours of make up lest you should miss your Salah and you needn’t even boast about your Mahr.

4. Rely on Allah alone

If you are of those who have always lowered your gaze, given charity, offered voluntary prayers, fasted much then Insha Allah the time is near when you will peacefully lock your eyes with your spouse without any hindrance, get the provisions ceaselessly, find the absolute tranquility and enjoy the lovely relationship with her/him; but no matter what, you must always remember to rely on Allah alone without associating others for asking help in any of your affair.  You must trust His Perfect Planning and His Perfect Timing.  So, make sure that you begin the preparation for a journey filled with abundant blessings, a journey where the desired destination is always Jannatul Firdaus, and the eyes remain transfixed on the prize.

Let the journey begin! Bismillah.