Tag Archives: Dawah

6 Tips For Practising Islam Better

By YC Street Dawah Team

Does Practicing Islam Mean Losing Friends? – 2

A question was posed, “Are there any tips for someone who wants to begin practising Islam?”

This is a big question and the answer probably deserves books upon books to answer. However, I will attempt to offer some ideas which could help in the ‘journey’ towards Islam as a way of life, Insha’Allah.

1- Righteous Company!

Probably the biggest barrier to fully immersing ourselves in the practice of Islam is the company we keep. You have to willingly change your company, and you can do that by the following:

By constantly sharing your thoughts on the purpose of life with the group of friends you hang around with. This might serve as inspiration to others and lead them to switch to a positive lifestyle too, so that you may not have to find new friends!

Alternatively, you can leave this group of friends and find new company. And since that is easier said than done, you can change your mindset, to start thinking along these lines:

“Do I really need friends that would only cause me harm? Can’t I survive and live a wholesome life without friends? When you begin thinking like this, you find all sorts of options.

We have this saying amongst those involved in dawah, “When you begin practising Islam, you may lose friends but you gain brothers/ sisters!”

There is an amazing Hadith on the matter:

“The example of a good companion and a bad companion is like that of the seller of musk, and the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows. So as for the seller of musk then either he will grant you some, or you buy some from him, or at least you enjoy a pleasant smell from him. As for the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows then either he will burn your clothes or you will get an offensive smell from him.”

[Muslim]

2. Invest in Alternative Hobbies or Interests

If you are someone who is addicted to drugs, smoking, clubbing, music, haram relationships, pornography or any other such activities and want to get away from them, don’t think that your life will become boring and dull without them. This is a huge misconception. In fact, having an Islamic lifestyle gives you all sorts of stimulation, which you won’t gain from haram activities. Islam brings peace to your heart, like nothing else. Not dance parties, nor flirting on Instagram.

Other than actively seeking knowledge by attending courses and meeting other enlightened souls, you can opt for hiking, sports, travelling, reading books and so many other activities that are perfectly allowed in Islam. With Islam embedded in your heart and mind, you begin to look at a universe of options, as opposed to the limited set available when away from an Islamic lifestyle.

3. Access to Knowledge

A few decades ago, or even 9, 10 years ago, you could argue that to gain access to Islamic knowledge, be it with scholars, short or long courses, halaqahs, one had to travel to the Middle East or to another locality. With that, came many other hardships & inconveniences.

However, now we have all sorts of mediums to begin our learning! There are thousands of hours of Islamic content available online. Be it YouTube or Facebook, essays, articles or audio recordings. We can access them all through our social media platforms.

So, start following beneficial & productive pages and scholars! You can also find and befriend a scholar or a specialist of their field and have Skype sessions with them!

Furthermore, you can also join numerous WhatsApp/ Telegram learning groups! There really isn’t any excuse to not learn. You can begin your journey of knowledge from the comfort of your own bed!

4. Unfollow/ Unfriend Boys/Girls

Yes, this may sound hard to do, but before actually unfriending those that share nonsense on your Instagram/twitter/ Facebook feeds, start by using the unfollow button. This will be a start to ‘cleansing’ your social media platforms and will directly impact your own thinking. You can filter out useless information and not be influenced by those that encourage non-Islamic content. Social media plays a huge part in forming our opinions in life, and you really do have to work on it!

5. Hang Around Du’aat

If and where you can, hang around those involved in Da’wah to those that are away from Islam. Even if you feel ‘hypocritical’ for still indulging in haram activities, hanging out with those who are practising and inviting towards Islam will be of great benefit to you. You will hear words like ‘destructive’ and ‘foolish’. You will listen to the anecdotal stories of how they changed and will gain great inspiration from their experiences!

6. Talk to Your Creator

If you truly are sincere about changing to begin practising Islam, then turn to Allah and ask him:

” Oh Allah, I want to change! I want to leave this lifestyle behind. I want to become close to you and follow your commands. But how? How do I do this? Where do I start? Can I change? Am I too deep into sin/kufr?! Please show me the way! Please guide me! Please fix my heart and remove these diseases.”

If you can ask this and have a deep conversation with the Turner of Hearts, then I am sure Insha’Allah, you will begin your journey of change.

 

A beautiful, encouraging hadith goes:

“Oh son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. Ask & I will not mind”

[Al-Tirmithi].

Have a strong intention, add will power and try your best to get on the path to Allah!

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Ramadan Challenge: Facebook to Dawah-book

By Zahra Nayyer

Imagine hearing a “ping” on your mobile, it’s a reminder that your favourite event is round the corner. It brings a smile to your face and your heart skips a beat. Now imagine if that same “ping” sound signalled a reminder that the Day of Judgement is near or that you have been slacking off in your prayer. How would you feel?  Is that even possible you may ask and my answer is: yes!

Our Facebook profiles are customized to receive different notifications and our newsfeed shows us what we want to see. We may be keen to share our milestones and important events in our lives but not keen on sharing reminders that can benefit us and those around us. We don’t want to cause discomfort by talking about grim things like, life of the hereafter and the grave. But what if your reminders are the very wake-up call someone needs to change their ways and become better Muslims? Would we still shy away from sharing such vital information?

Let’s first get one thing straight, what is our motivation towards sharing reminders about our Deen? Who or what are we calling people towards?

Say (O Muhammad ﷺ): This is my way; I invite unto Allaah (i.e. to the Oneness of Allaah — Islamic Monotheism) with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me (also must invite others to Allaah, i.e. to the Oneness of Allaah — Islamic Monotheism with sure knowledge). And Glorified and Exalted be Allaah (above all that they associate as partners with Him). And I am not of the Mushrikoon (polytheists, pagans, idolaters and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allaah; those who worship others along with Allaah or set up rivals or partners to Allaah)” [Yoosuf 12:108] 

It’s good to remind ourselves why we need to develop the habit of reminding others about this beautiful religion Allah has blessed us with, which at times can be a daunting task due to which we shy away from reminding, and the verse above does just that in a powerful way.

 I have realized that Facebook is indeed a powerful tool. One that can destroy lives with endless hours of scrolling, “liking” posts and commenting on photos. Or it can be used to spread the message of Allah and reviving sunnahs that have long been lost under the cloud of innovations and traditions.

There really is no end to what you can share; quotes from the Quran and sunnah in the form of scenic images and beautiful text, reminders to attend upcoming events in your city and short videos about various topics related to Islam etc.  You don’t need to be a scholar to share Islamic information because the Prophet ﷺ told us; “Convey from me even if it is one ayah (verse)” (Bukhari)

Calling towards Islam is really the most noble of actions a person can do, it is reviving the legacy of the Prophets and the great scholars of our time. It is a huge blessing and honour for us that now we can share a wealth of information from the comfort of our homes when in the past this same knowledge used to take days and many months to reach people in different parts of the world!

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While sharing information, be sure to keep the etiquette in mind to make this process beneficial for you and those reading your posts:

Cite the Source

Don’t share everything you read and that “sounds nice” rather always aim to share authentic information that is backed up by references from the Quran and sunnah.

Forget the “Likes”

Don’t check for the number of likes on your posts for it could be that pretty soon your intention changes from pleasing Allah to pleasing people and all the reward is then lost.

Keep out of Facebook Battles

People may not always like what you post , in case this happens remind yourself that the Prophets too faced much criticism but they didn’t take it personally and tried to cater to the people’s mindsets in a humble and polite way and we too should aim to do the same and avoid arguments.

Keep Learning and Sharing

As you aim to share more reminders through your Facebook profile and other social networking sites, make sure that you make time to improve on your own knowledge about Islam whether it’s through regular classes or reading books. Whenever you learn something or are yourself reminded of something, share it on your page or profile. It will not only help you retain the knowledge but also be a source of guidance for others and you never know just who might benefit. So keep sharing because the reminder benefits the believer!

 

Ramadan Challenge: It’s Time To Talk!

By Abdul Rehman Raza

In the life of a Muslim, the importance of dawah (calling people towards Allah) cannot be ignored. How can we not call towards the One we believe in and place our trust in? How can we not want others to have the same happiness in their lives? Yet we often avoid doing dawah because it seems tough; telling someone to do good and avoid evil?! Umm…how do I even?!

Well, here’s something to help you! Keep your hesitations and fears aside and go through the following, you’ll be wanting to stop people and talk to them this very minute!

Play the Role of Prophets

We are here in this world for a specific purpose. Many of us go astray. In the past, Allah sent Prophets to remind people again and again, now when there are no more Prophets to come, the duty falls on us. When you give dawah, you are literally playing the role of Prophets. You are among the very few whom Allah has chosen to convey His message. Consider this an honour for yourself. Feel confident, honoured and humbled at the same time.

Talk Something Positive

Mostly when we sit with friends or family, we waste our time talking about useless things. We would discuss movies, sports or at times resort to really bad things like backbiting, insulting. We need to change our habits. We need to use this great opportunity of sitting in a gathering to talk about something positive. A few words on praying, doing zikr, being good and kind to others etc. Calling people to Allah is probably the best thing possible. And how good a gathering would be in which Allah is mentioned.

Save Your Own Self

Not only is doing dawah a responsibility but also if you don’t stop people from doing evil, they’ll only corrupt the world you live in. If you don’t stop others from backbiting or stealing, tomorrow they will backbite about you and steal from you. By doing dawah, you’re not just saving their neck, but your own too!

doing dawah

It is the Quality of the Righteous

Allah says about the righteous people in surah Ale-Imran:

“They believe in Allah and the Last Day, and they enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and hasten to good deeds. And those are among the righteous.” (Surah 3, verse 114)

Doing dawah, calling people to good, forbidding evil becomes a prerequisite to be righteous.

Sharing Good with Others

Whenever we get to know something good, we share it with others. It’s in the human nature. If we find a good restaurant, we would tell everyone around us. Similarly, when we learn something about Allah and His religion, we must share this with people around us. The good part, we get a bonus here, the more we share this great thing, the more it increases.

 

Keep Trying and Never Give Up

Very often we think that what if I give dawah and no one listens, what if I give dawah and it doesn’t go well, what if people mock me? Such questions do discourage us. However, we need to realise that even the Prophets were mocked, ridiculed and rejected. Take the example of any Prophet, Nuh (AS) or our last Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. We must understand that our duty is only to convey the message of Allah and give dawah in the best and wise way possible, that is it. Whether people listen or not, that is not in our hands. Our duty is to put in our best effort, leave the rest to Allah.

So, take this great responsibility today, play the role of Prophets and speak on behalf of Allah. For your own good and for the good of people around you.

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Chapter 26: The Waning Dusk (series)

5128670_origIn a session with a scholar, he pointed out something that I had never thought of before. And this probably why I like listening to different speakers because they always offer a fresh perspective on “stuff we’ve heard so much about”. Addressing all the volunteers, he said, “Allah chose you. Just like He selectively chose the companions around the Prophet. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) could not have spread the Deen without his companions’ unwavering support, loyalty and sacrifices. Similarly, Allah hand-picked you all to carry Deen forward in this age. So, whenever you feel demotivated or insignificant, just think of that. It could have been someone else in your place.”

Indeed, We have sent you (O prophet,) as a witness and as a bearer of good news and as a warner. So that you (O people,) believe in Allah and His Messenger, and support him and revere him, and pronounce His (Allah’s) purity morning and evening. (48:8-9)

What’s different about this verse is that Allah has addressed both the Prophet and his people in the same flow, a style that’s called “iltifaat” in Arabic. The companions did their bit (a pretty colossal bit actually) in their lives. And the command is now directed at us. So this goes out to all da’ees serving Islam in their own small ways or linked with organizations. The verse begins and ends with Allah, and everything in between is interlinked. Belief in prophet-hood demands that you revere and respect the prophet (pbuh) and hold him in such high esteem that it drives you to help him spread the message (the emphasis is behind the Arabic words that I wish I could expand on without taking too much space). It’s a beautiful play of positive emotions building up progressively. And all of this is akin to glorifying Allah day and night.

So all your sleepless nights, urgent tasks, critique that you took, finicky revisions… ending in dark circles and a creaking neck that happened while you helped spread Allah’s word were counted as tasbeeh and as an execution of the command stated in the verses. Most of the times, the results don’t turn out as expected, but results were never in the equation. It’s just the struggle that will be accounted for.

Carry on, whether you’re behind the mic or unnamed behind the screen or under the sun handing out flyers. The task is never too small so long as it leads to the desired cause: spreading the Word.

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.

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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?

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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)

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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.”
[Al-Bukhari].

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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.

Fun, Love, Money.. Or is there more to life?

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By Nadeem Ashraf

NOTE: This article was based upon a few lectures that I gave at some schools in Faisalabad, including LGS, City School & Educare Academy. The article has purposefully been published in a lecture format so as to be of use to other brothers and sisters that would like to deliver a lecture at a school based upon this.

I’m not a preacher. Not a scholar. Not an imam, just your everyday guy. Just another Muslim struggling through this life to achieve the pleasure of our Creator.

I am an English language teacher by profession. Born and raised in England, I emigrated to Pakistan in 2011, to live amongst the Muslims (this is the point where people raise eyebrows – crazy eh?). Yes: to those who view the world from a worldly point of view, this choice would be perceived as crazy. However, those with real vision, those with the vision of getting past the hurdles of the Hereafter, would sympathize with this move.

I was at one point someone who used to look up to British hooliganism – I was a slave to my desires. I wanted to become a gangster! I used my intelligence for my own selfish, evil needs. But Alhamdolillah, I was guided to the truth. I have since been involved in multiple projects aimed at changing society for the better, and have been with all sorts of organizations that want to make the world a better place. I have had the immense privilege of being around people of great stature, people with great wisdom, sincerity, clean hearts and big visions.

So now I want to reach out and share a few points with you, my young readers, with the hope of inspiring serious thought. These points will, God willing, do the following:
(a) make you think about life,
(b) make you take life a bit more seriously, and
(c), make you a successful person in this world and in the next.
Now that sounds like a formula one should stick to, doesn’t it?

So here goes…

There are a lot of ideas that people hold onto in the world, and live their lives according to. In my experience, however, people’s ideas about life revolve mainly around three key themes: fun, love, and money. Especially at your age. You don’t want to have worries or concerns – just pure chilling, yeah?

Fun…

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First off, let’s discuss the likes and dislikes of your average Pakistani teenager. (I will also touch upon the average UK teenager’s likes and dislikes.)

Ask the audience: Which celebrities (musicians, movie actors, entertainers) do you admire and look up to? Which celebrity posters do you put upon the bedroom wall?!

In my time, we used to look up to Dr. Dre. Who else? Here’s a few:
Tupac.
Warren G.
Madhuri.
Aishwariya Rai.
Oasis & Robbie Williams!

So what’s the in thing these days?
One Direction?

And what do you Pakistani kids do for fun?
(Get some shout outs from the audience)

Okay, so that’s actually not bad – but maybe there are Pakistani kids in 2014, that smoke cigarettes? Take drugs? Have “special” friends among the opposite gender? Yeah?

Now, that being the case, my question is: why do you do these things? Have you ever thought about it? Or is it just because everyone seems to be doing it? Well if that’s the reason, are you sheep? Are you sheep that follow each other and go wherever the herd goes without thinking for themselves?

Let me put in another way.

If all of your friends, teachers, and everyone in the society around you says, hey, let’s all follow this particular path, and at the end of this path there is an edge. And they jump off, and there’s a huge fire below – would you still follow them? I don’t think so!

Why not? Because you are someone who is sane. You have a mind of your own. Right? So why are you letting people tell you what to do with your life? Because, wake up, that’s exactly what is happening with you right now – you are letting other people dictate your life!

Second, consider this: what if all this entertainment – those music videos, Pakistani and Western, Bollywood movies, the magazines, the commercials, the morning shows – what if this is all being fed to you just so that you DON’T THINK? What if it’s really just a distraction from really thinking about the reality of life, and about that one matter which every human has to experience: DEATH!

These celebrities, will they help after you die? They don’t even know you! And if you just indulge in these things because it makes you feel good, then think again: really, does it? I doubt that. In fact, I would argue that it’s a very fake and temporary buzz. It. Won’t. Last!

Think about it. Now, next.

Money…

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The world is mad about it. We have been fed the idea that we cannot survive without making tonnes of it. And sure, it helps. Sure, you should try and work hard at your studies and become successful businessmen (and women), teachers, IT professionals, and accountants, and so on. Of course it’s good to have big salaries – but just don’t make it the only thing worth living for.

My philosophy is: Do not chase money. Chase the worship of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala. And money will follow.

Think about it. The whole world is chasing money – but is the world a good place to live in right now?
Oppressive wars. Acute poverty. Family breakdown. En masse greed. The problems go on.
What does Allah tell us?

“..And whosoever is conscious of Allah, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine…” (Surah at Talaq: 2,3)

Center your life on taqwa (God-consciousness). Make it about Allah. The world will follow. Allah is in charge of it – how can He not take care of your affairs when you focus your life on Him?

The Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) said:

“Miserable are those who worship money and fine clothes. They are happy when they are provided (with things) and upset when they are denied.” (Bukhari)

Think about that too. And finally *drumroll*

Love!

love

Ahhhhh – love! I bet everyone has either fallen in, or wants to fall in, love.

Our good old friend Bollywood, with Amir Khan, Shahrukh and Hrithik jumping around flowers and over Swiss mountains, has made sure you become hopeless romantics! And we just carry on watching that nonsense and we let it take over our minds and hearts.

So tell me if I am wrong: when you are at the bazaar or the shopping mall, or at the school functions or at weddings, do you not try to get a glimpse of the opposite gender, and hope to fall in love? Bollywood style? Admit it!

Is this the definition of love? Look beautiful/handsome, hopelessly pine after the man/woman of your dreams, hide it from the world, break your heart and walk away? Says who? Again, have you ever stopped to think about it?

Real love is something much deeper and purer. It is when the person takes your hand through the sacred and honourable covenant of Nikah, and stays by your side through thick and thin.

In conclusion..

We, as da’wah-men and women, as Youth Club members, have real fun. We talk and laugh and eat out and travel and make friends. But we strive to do it the only way that makes sense. We strive to think about why we do what we do.

Our real wealth is not to stress about money

We are slowly falling madly in love with Allah. That is serenity personified.

“And surely, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Surah ar-Ra’d: 28)

You can have fun. You can earn money. And you certainly can fall in love. BUT.
Do it the right way. Do it the way that makes sense.
Don’t let other pieces of creation dictate to you who to love and HOW to love.

Who created your heart? Who created feelings? Who controls the time of your death?
That’s right: Allah!
So does it not make sense that you take heed of the ONE that created all these rather than the limited, flimsy creation?

In a practical sense, I would advise you to do the following:

Study the names and attributes of God. That will make you want to love him. And when you really love Him, it will be easier, even pleasurable, to follow the limitations placed by him.

Then read about Paradise. You can have your dream hunk/princess! You can own your own Ferrari to take you to (a much better version of) Dubai or Paris or NYC for shopping. Unlimited shopping. Unlimited fun. Unlimited wealth. Unlimited love. You can have all this and whatever your mind can imagine – and more!

Just be patient, for a while. Listen to your teachers. Listen to and respect your parents. Establish the prayer. Keep away from what is not allowed. Get away from the corruption of the music and entertainment industry. Take time to reflect about your life. Obey Allah’s commands — and it’s not hard, trust me; just avoid the haram. Before you know it, the dunya will be gone, and the akhirah will be the only reality. The eternity. Work on making that pleasant!

So here’s your homework:

Go home, switch everything off – your iPhone/Android, laptop, iPad, TV, radio, mp3 – everything. Close your door and for ten minutes, think about Allah, your Creator. Think about what he provided you with. Think about your return to Him. And pray to find good strong company!

Study the deen. You really will find peace, and love, and fun and money – believe me. Allah does not let you down!

I leave you with the inspiring promise of the Quran:

“Whoever does good-whether male or female- we will grant to him a goodly life, and We will reward them according to the best deeds that they did.” (Surah an-Nahl: 97)

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Theme of the Month: #StayStrong

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So the incredible Winds of Change tour has rolled to a halt, and the local da’wah scene isn’t quite as hip-and-happening as it was last month. This time last month, we were all geared up to be brand new people, to transform society and to take the world by storm. Winds of Change infused us with the spirit, the energy, and the conviction that we, the youth, will make a difference.

Then came the stillness that prevails after the storm has passed. And now, we still have the spirit and the conviction, but we suddenly don’t know what to do with it, and the energy level seems to be dropping fast. The world is suddenly a different place, one much harder to change than it seemed a few weeks ago. Da’wah isn’t all that easy anymore, or as fun as it was when everyone was doing it. Is it really that important to “change yourself, change the world”? It’s suddenly hard to remember what the hype was all about.

What happened here? Well, what happened is that we just discovered two fundamental facts of life: one, that it’s easy to swim with the tide, and very hard to swim against it. Two, that good deeds are easy to start, but incredibly hard to maintain!

So the important question is, now what?

Well, the good news is, Youth Club won’t abandon you to struggle on alone. We know how hard it is to maintain the spirit after an incredible boost, and how exhausting it can be to swim against the tide; we’re here to struggle with you!

And thus we introduce this month’s theme: *drumroll* #StayStrong!

The idea is to remind ourselves that steadfastness is critical. Remember that it is much better to do less and do it regularly than to take leaps and bounds for a couple of weeks and then go flat for the rest of the year!

How do we know that’s better? Here’s how:

Allah’s Messenger (Sallalahu alaihi wasallam) said,

“The most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant even though it were little.” (Bukhari)

Together, we will provide each other the motivation and energy boost to keep going even when we just don’t feel like doing that good deed, even when that sin is just too tempting, and even when difficult times hit us hard and our world seems to be going topsy-turvy.

So, #StayStrong and battle on. Bring on the articles, videos, posts and tweets that can help us be streadfast, and as always, don’t forget the hashtag: #StayStrong!

Dare to Ask – Q & A with the Dawah Man

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‘Around the Bonfire’ was a very unique and memorable event of Winds of Change 2014. It was an opportunity for us to get to know the speakers better, to hear their personal stories never heard before, and to ask the questions we always wanted to ask them. Here we present some of the questions that were posed to our superhero Dawah Man Imran ibn Mansur. (Watch this space for interviews of other WOC 2014 speakers- Coming soon inshaAllah.)

YOUTH CLUB: It has come to our knowledge that you were a famous rap artist. Tell us more about your journey and what made you distance yourself from something that is so addictive?

IMRAN IBN MANSUR: In my rap days, I had everything from this world that I ever wanted: friends, money, power, respect. I had it all. I thought that these things make people happy. I had exhausted myself in acquiring all these things, but when I got them, they actually did not make me happy. They worked only for a very short period of time. And then I would think: what else can I possibly do to put a smile on my face?

At this stage: You’re lost. You’re genuinely lost. That’s why you hear about so many celebrities who are on anti-depressants, alcohol and drugs. They lead very sad and empty lives. The only way to fill that emptiness is to just drink, smoke, drug yourself up and take tablets. And when they realize that doesn’t work either, in the worst case scenario, they commit suicide.

Alhamdolillah, I didn’t get into drugs and alcohol but I got to the stage where I realized that my work wasn’t bringing me happiness. It was just bringing me more stress and more problems. Allah put it in my heart to just leave behind that life. I didn’t start practicing Islam but all I knew was that that life wasn’t bringing me happiness. I just wanted to be happy. I just wanted to smile. I just wanted to wake up and not be sad.

So, one day I walked into the studio with my colleague. The moment I walked in, I got this splitting migraine. I just looked at my friend and I said: “This place is evil, man.”

He looked at me and nodded. Then, at the exact same moment, we both said, “Let’s shut this place down.”

And we did.  It was maybe 3-6 months after that I actually started practicing Islam.

The moment that really changed the dynamics for me was when I was in university one day and I had left everything behind. I used to have a haram relationship with a girl that I wanted to marry, I had ended that. I had left all my friends; I had left behind the only source of income that I had. So, I was a broke, lonely, sad guy. And I was walking around, thinking: “What else would possibly make me happy?” Suddenly, Allah put something in my heart to go to the Masjid on campus. So I went there. I was sitting, just staring at the walls and ceiling.  I didn’t even know how to pray properly.

A brother walked in and asked me: “Why’re you looking so down, bro?”

So I told him my story- the full version. The hour and a half epic version. He listened patiently. At the end, he asked me a series of questions. The conversation went like this:

“Did the money make you happy?”

“Yes.”

“Did the girl make you happy?”

“Yes.”

“Did the friends make you happy?”

“Yes.”

‘If that’s the case I have some news for you.”

“What is it?”

“The news is that you will live a very sad life, because if you put your happiness in these things, know that when these things disappear, your happiness will disappear along with them. And know that every single one of these things within the dunya will disappear. Because they are temporary. Nothing is forever. So you are guaranteed to lead a very sad and depressed life. But there is a way that you can be happy.”

“What’s that?”

“If you put your happiness in The One that will never disappear, your happiness will always be there. And that is Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala. Because no matter where you go, what you do, Allah SWT will be there.”

These words penetrated my heart like no other. I’ll never get tired of repeating them. I realized that the key to happiness was to fall in love with Allah. And I made it my mission from that day on that I was going to base my happiness around the love of Allah. Today, I say this in all seriousness and I challenge you: “I am the happiest man in the world.”

Say MashaAllah. You don’t want to give me the nazar (evil eye)!

YOUTH CLUB: How do you balance between personal worship and dawah?

IMRAN IBN MANSUR: I was with Sheikh Abdul Nasir Jangda (Nouman Ali Khan’s teacher) this Ramadan and I asked him the exact same question and he told me that his Shaykh was a prolific public speaker. He was such a good speaker that his regular halaqah (study circle) in Karachi would have 5000 women. When he saw that his student Abdul Nasir Jangda was becoming a good speaker, he gave him the following advice: “As your time with the people increases, (lectures, youtube, dawah table), your private time with Allah should also increase in the same way.”

So if you gave a lecture for an hour, you need to make sure that you’re speaking to Allah, engaging in private worship for at least the same amount of time. We do fall short, especially when we’re travelling to other places. But you should continue with your Azkaar and the minimum Quran that you should read is one Juzz. On an average day, I try to read the bulk of it at Fajr time and finish the rest throughout the day, as and when I get time.

YOUTH CLUB: People often criticize your videos in which you give targeted Dawah to celebrities. How do you respond to that?

IMRAN IBN MANSUR: Criticism can be a huge fitna and impediment in your work. People like to criticize all the time. If I would listen to even 5% of the criticism I get, I wouldn’t be able to continue with my Dawah. I filter the criticism. I only listen to and value quality criticism from experienced people. As for every Tom, Dick and Harry, I tell them very respectfully that: Nobody cares! Just stay at home and talk to the walls.

It is from the Seerah of Rasulullah (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) to make Dawah to the tribal leaders and influential people. He used to take Abu Bakr with him, and Abu Bakr was an expert in genealogy. This is because when the shepherd comes to you, the sheep follow. The celebrities of today are very influential, they have huge followings. I’ve made Dawah to Atif Aslam, Veena Malik, Shoaib Akhtar in person. Its high-impact Dawah. So, for example, when I make Dawah to Eminem, even if he doesn’t come, his followers sit up and listen.

YOUTH CLUB: What do you enjoy about Dawah work? And is it okay to enjoy Dawah?

IMRAN IBN MANSUR: The best feeling for me is when you say something and you can actually see that it has penetrated the other person’s heart. I was at a school in Islamabad, and when I started talking about death, I could see the facial expressions of the students change. I could see it in their eyes. There was this row of girls who all put their dupattas on. So that’s the thing I love and cherish the most. The whole energy around Dawah work actually does make it fun. I really enjoyed Dawah for the initial 6 months. Then I read the Seerah in depth and I read about the difficulties faced by the Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) in his Dawah work. So, I started to think to myself: “Why am I enjoying? Maybe I’m insincere.”
Because you see, the negative things are supposed to happen. That’s the Sunnah with every Prophet who delivered the message. But, with a deeper understanding, you realize that even with the difficulties, you have fun. I think its okay because some of the Sahabah never saw Rasulullah (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) except that he was smiling. So I think its okay. And I’m having a whole lot of fun. Allah knows best.

YOUTH CLUB: How can females find practicing Muslim life partners in Pakistan?

IMRAN IBN MANSUR: I actually asked Sheikh Abdul Nasir Jangda this sort of question. We have the same problem in UK. He said that this problem will not be resolved until the Imams stand on top of the minbar and address it in the Jumuah Khutbah. This is a real problem in the community. Our generation is suffering from it. To be honest, there’s not much you can do about it. The least you can do is to make sure that when you have kids, you don’t put them through the same fitna. Marry them early.
Also, I’ve seen that a lot of the times, in order to get married, all you have to do is to go and speak to your parents. The fitna is so grand, so dangerous that you need to do everything within your capacity to try and speak to your parents. If they say no, keep trying and carry on. You can just do the Nikah now and leave the Rukhsati for later when you complete your degree and get a job.

So you want to join Youth Club?

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Do you have what it takes to be a member of Youth Club?!

Youth Club does not have a Recruitment and Selection Campaign. Neither do we have such posters, like the above one, adorning the walls and newspapers. Yet, our members remain inundated with requests from people who want to join Youth Club, especially after a major event. These requests mostly come from the youth (obviously), but we have also been getting them from grandparents and pre-teen kids.

“How do I become a member?”

“I have filled in the registration form, now what?”

These are some of the typical queries that we usually get.

Here are some pointers and food for thought for the benefit of all those who would like to join the awesome-st organization in town.

1- Why do you want to join? What are your intentions? Is it so that the awesomeness rubs off, or is it the scrumptious, famed YC Biryani? 😉

Remember, YC is primarily a Dawah organisation. As we inspire positive change, we want to do it for the sake of our Creator and we want to remain sincere to Him.

2- What skills can you offer to help inspire positive change?

Think of your strengths and offer them. Are you good at creative writing, photography, graphic designing, cooking, teaching..? Do you have a smashing new idea for YC to implement?

3- Take the initiative. Most of our members are extremely proactive and creative. They have initiated some kind of productive activity in their own area or at their workplace or their educational institute. Look around you. How can you inspire positive change in your sphere of influence? Don’t sit around and wait for things to happen.

One simple example would be to form a buddy group which meets up once a week, perhaps at a Masjid or at somebody’s house. Watch and discuss a thought-provoking video or go through an inspiring book together.

4- Attend all the YC events. We have either monthly or bi-monthly events. Volunteer for them! Meet our members. Stay in touch.

5- Attend the weekly halaqahs taking place for sisters and brothers in different areas, whether they be at a university near you or at a particular venue. Make inquiries if you don’t know about them yet!

6- Harness the power of social media. Most of our marketing as well as a lot of Dawah work is done online. So you could be an avid sharer or a video expert. Use the various mediums to let people know about YC, and share in the reward.

7- Keep in touch with the current members. Brothers and sisters of YC are always busy with some project or the other. So come up to them and ask if you could help them with something. Don’t be shy! Our team is known to be friendly and courteous 🙂

8- Commitment and hard work– you must have these qualities engrained in you. The YC work is as tough as it is fun. The hard work remains hidden behind the scenes, while the glamour appears onstage! Our current members have families, some study full-time, others work full-time; they have all the burdens of a normal life. Yet when it comes to YC, they remain devoted and passionate, never putting the excuses of dunya before working for a noble cause, Alhamdolilllah!

The above include some of the ways how the current members got involved with YC. They didn’t send in resumes and appear for formal interviews!

Our primary purpose at Youth Club is to create and inspire dynamic and well-rounded personalities, who inspire positive change wherever they are. We wish to be Dawah-carriers and devout worshippers of our Supreme Creator. We organise events, share articles/videos/ thought provoking statuses and activities solely for the pleasure of our Lord. So even if you don’t become actual members, just become amazing, awesome, super-cool Muslims!

P.S. We also have a lot of stuff in the pipeline, lots of surprises to spring at you. So stay tuned and make Dua for us! 🙂
P.P.S. Let us know in the Comments if you found the pointers beneficial.

My mate told me to go and get some fish & chips, and we ended up at a lecture about the purpose of life!

By Nadeem Ashraf

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Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is to inspire other brothers and sisters that Dawah missions can be organised anywhere in the world. You just need the will to do it.

Yes, the above title was suggested by the CEO of Youth Club, after he heard about one of the many Dawah adventures that I had whilst on my short stay in the UK!

Youth Club has made some efforts in getting involved in the Dawah scene in UK. It is a sad reality that aside from iERA, Discover Islam, the Quran Project and the many small affiliates, not much is being done for the benefit of the numerous wayward Muslim youth in the UK.

So, we went about organising a few events for the brothers and sisters of Crawley.  Crawley is a town located in the county of Sussex, about 45 minutes south of London.

In all, we organised 5 events.  Brother Imran Ibn Mansur aka Dawah Man was the main character in our projects supported by his Dawah Man team, which includes Dawud Loka , Guled , Saad Ibn Mansur and Musa Adnan.

Before, I give a brief about the various events we organised, I also want to add that we also made several collaborative efforts with iERA, Hittin Institute and Exhibition Islam, Alhumdulillah. These organisations will support our Dawah efforts through various means including financial , material and general support inshaAllah.

So, back in April 2013, we organised an event to expose the beauty of Islam to those young Muslim brothers who had never attended an Islamic event in their lives, or even those who had doubts about their faith.  Non-Muslims were also invited to attend. We envisaged around 10-15 attendees.  This was an exclusive workshop/halaqah based on an invite-only system.  My brother Wasim was the main driving force in getting the crowd to the Masjid.  Through his crew, we had around 27 brothers who turned up MashaAllah!  Most of whom were of the ‘street gang’ background.  Imran gave a pitch-perfect discussion which lasted for about 5-6 hours.  It ended with pizzas and one-to-one counselling sessions at my place.  He spoke about the purpose of life, the rational foundations of Islam, the fallacy of the western culture dominated by the music culture etc.  A common theme woven through his lecture was his vivid portrayal of Paradise (especially talking about the hoor ul ayn!) The halaqah was very interactive, full of humour, Q&A and even role-plays to get the message through.

The next event was at my house; and we had a packed room again, around 25 guys.  This time Imran spoke about the concept of gratitude and our relationship with Allah SWT, as well as general points related to ‘Aqeedah.

In the third halaqah, held at my place, Imran discussed his post-Bayyinah course visit.  He discussed various points he had learnt related to tafseer.  He also connected the language of the Quran with that of the English-speaking youth, using all kinds of colourful slang.

Next up was the Dawah Training and Street Dawah missions that we organised with the help of the local Masjid and some enthusiastic brothers.  The training was conducted by Imran ibn Mansur and Br. Imran Hussain (who undertakes training sessions with iERA).  The training was held in the morning, and actual Dawah with the local non-Muslims of Crawley started in the afternoon.

The brothers who participated in the Street Dawah enjoyed the occasion immensely.  It was a first time for many of the brothers! A first for YC Street Dawah also!

Next up was the final double bill curtain drawer to the summer of Dawah ventures under taken with the Dawah Man!  At my house, Imran addressed around 15 sisters, some with the veil and a few without.  A powerful and moving discussion about the purpose of life and the role of the sisters took place.  The feedback from the sisters was excellent; the sisters resolved to try and organise more get-togethers etc.

After the sisters workshop, Imran addressed a packed crowd at a Community Hall.  There were many new faces mixed with the ‘regulars’.  Amongst the mix were about 3 non-Muslims.  One of these was a guy of Oriental origin who earlier had no idea that he would be attending a lecture about the purpose of life!  He thought he was just going out to chill with a few Asian mates and maybe get some chips!

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The lecture was powerful and precise.  The main theme was: Allah SWT is calling out to you..will you respond? And surely later in the night one brother took his shahadah! Over pizza at my house! A few days later there was news of another attendee who was a Hindu who took his shahadah! This particular ex-Hindu brother was actually shaken by the eye-opening presentation on Islam. Even when I had spoken to him after the talk, he was in genuine shock! SubhanAllah! On top of those amazing pieces of news, there is an unconfirmed rumour that another guy has taken his Shahadah after a few brothers who have been attending our projects/events invites him…Allah SWT knows best!

So, the bulk of the Youth Club summer adventure in UK was the super efforts of Imran ibn Mansur.

It was a busy summer, but I’m hoping that a few seeds have been sown. Youth Club is  unique and it’s message is universal, with an enthusiastic response to it even in a country such as UK which has hundreds of organisations.