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Ramadan Challenge: Know & Love the Prophet ﷺ

By Umm Ibrahim

He is a man who is so easy to love. He is a man whose beauty, perfection and love for us shines through so clearly, yet our hearts seem to be blinded.

May peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

The Prophet of Allah ﷺ was by far, the most remarkable man that ever set foot on this earth. He was a religious teacher, a social reformer, a moral guide, a just ruler, a faithful friend, a devoted husband and a loving father – all in one.

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He loved us more than our parents could ever love us.

He wept for us in the depths of the night.

He only wished the best for us.

He worried for us.

He wished to meet us. He called us his brothers.

We have in him, a perfect role model.

He conveyed the best religion to us.

He lived the Quran for us to see and follow.

He left us on a Straight Path, which leads straight to Jannah.

The Best of Allah’s Creation. May peace and blessings be upon him.

Through him, Allah unsealed and unlocked people’s hearts, and opened their eyes and ears, and saved them from the pit of Fire. His Prophet-hood is a great favour upon us.

Allah says: ‘Verily, Allah and His Angels send blessings on the Prophet: O’ you who believe! Send blessings on him, and salute him with a worthy salutation.’ (Surah al-Ahzaab:33)

When your heart is filled with love, the salawaat (salutations) will flow naturally from your tongue. But how can you love him when you do not know him well? His looks, his likes and dislikes, his routine, his habits, his sayings, how well do you actually know him?

Today, take out some time to listen to a lecture on Seerah.
(Recommendation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPb3tn49iDA), feel the love, and send abundant salawaat on Rasulullah (the Prophet of Allah) ﷺ.

This is one of the best ways to receive the Mercy and Forgiveness of Allah, as well as to have your duas accepted!

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He Loved You!

He Loved You!

By Umm Ibrahim

Imagine the day when every identity of yours will become irrelevant.

The day when no one will care which country you are from, which language you speak, whose son or daughter or husband or wife you are.

The day when your education, career, political affiliations and social circles, all amount to fluff. No one will be bothered or impressed. You yourself, will forget all your identities as you stand naked, before the Master of the worlds, on that terrifying day.

Every person you were affiliated to in this world, will be ready to disown you and offer you in ransom. Not one will be ready to speak in your favour. No prophet, no wali, no teacher, no leader, no parent, no child- no one will care for anyone.

The one identity and affiliation that will be valuable there, will be that of being from the Ummah of Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wasallam). He is the only man who will care for you, even on that day; he is the only man who will intercede on your behalf, when no other human being is willing.

We need to rekindle the love of this identity in our heart. Our greatest honour, should lie in the fact, that we are from the Ummah of Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wasallam). Our greatest affiliation should also be with this Ummah.

Rasulullah (sallalahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is the one man, who binds together the entire Ummah. We cannot love his Ummah until we love him. We will continue to be least bothered about the affairs of the Ummah, if we are not concerned about carrying forward his legacy.

He is a man who is so easy to love, yet our hearts seem to be diseased. He is a man whose beauty, perfection and love for us shines through so clearly, yet our hearts seem to be blinded.

May peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

He was by far, the most remarkable man that ever set foot on this earth. He was a religious teacher, a social reformer, a moral guide, a just ruler, a faithful friend, a devoted husband and a loving father – all in one.

He loved us more than our parents could ever love us.

He wept for us in the depths of the night.

He only wished the best for us.

He worried for us.

He wished to meet us. He called us his brothers.

We have in him, a perfect role model.

He conveyed the best religion to us.

He lived the Quran for us to see and follow.

He left us on a Straight Path, which leads straight to Jannah.

The Best of Allah’s Creation. May peace and blessings be upon him.

Through him, Allah unsealed and unlocked people’s hearts, and opened their eyes and ears, and saved them from the pit of Fire. His Prophethood is a great favour upon us. Allah says:

“Indeed Allah conferred a great favour on the believers, when He sent among them a Messenger from among themselves, reciting unto them His Verses, and purifying them, and teaching them the Book and Wisdom, while before that they had been in manifest error.” (Surah ale-Imran:164)

Indeed, Allah conferred a great favour on us!

How can we claim to believe in him, yet ignore his life and his teachings? How can we be so unconcerned about his mission, so nonchalant about his Ummah?

Today, it is upon our shoulders to carry forth his mission and legacy, and to stand up for the protection and strength of his Ummah. When we care enough, we will find 101 ways to do it. And when we just don’t care enough, we will find the same number of excuses.

The Healer of Hearts

The Healer of Hearts

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By Mariam Riaz

Bismillah.

For a long time now, I have searched for inspiration to write. What better inspiration than the Book of Allah (SWT) and the most blessed of months, Ramadan!

Every single one of us have reached a point in our lives when our heart suffered the deepest blow. The death of a loved one, a broken relationship, a scandal that ruined one’s life, failure of the acutest kind, and the list goes on. You reach a point where you feel like no one can understand your pain and it feels like it will never go away. A void in your heart that nothing can fill.

We go left, right and center, searching for shrinks, self-help books, or we wallow in despair and drown in drinks and drugs. Yet, nothing seems to fill that gaping void in your heart.

Why is that so?

Because we are searching in all the wrong places! Our Creator, the One who knows our every single thought before we even express it, says in His Book, the Qur’an:

“O mankind, there has come to you instruction from your Lord and healing for what is in the breasts and guidance and mercy for the believers.” (Surah Yunus: 57)

This Book that we take off from our shelves when someone is sick, dying or to hold it above the bride’s head during her Rukhsati – don’t leave it there to gather dust while you knock your head against people and other things to heal your heart. When you are breaking down and when the whole world seems to be falling apart, pick it up and read.

By reading I don’t mean reading out the Arabic without having a clue what the words say. I mean, try to understand what your Lord is saying to you. There is a reason why the Quran was revealed as a Spoken Word (Kalaam) and not in written form. It is the only Book where you feel like you are directly being addressed in speech. It is the only Book which, like a mirror, makes you feel like every word is about you.

Sink in the power of His Words and let them heal you. Because, Wallahi, there is nothing else in this world that can do the same. Take it from me, I have tried!

If you still feel like you don’t have a friend in the world who can protect you from its ugliness, read on in the same Surah, Allah (SWT) assures you:

“Unquestionably, [for] the allies of Allah there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.” (Surah Yunus:62)

My Ramadan Diary: Forgive Me When I Whine

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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)

Peace!

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Peace! The whole world’s hankering after it. Today we have peace conventions, peace rallies, peace slogans, and yet, there is no peace. We are insecure in our own minds, in our own homes, in our own homeland.

Amazing though it may sound but we don’t really need to go into that much hullabaloo to get peace in our lives. That is because its perfect recipe was given by a great leader years ago. A new state had just been formed, he entered it and said,

Spread Salaam...” *1

Just like that! So simple.

Yes, you guessed it. The great leader was none other than our beloved Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alaihi wassalam.

Salaam is the salutation that Muslims greet each other with, when they meet. In effect, they say: Assalam u ‘alaykum, which means ‘peace be upon you’.

This great leader didn’t just state, ‘say’ salaam, rather he said, ‘spread’ salaam. Do you see the depth in his choice of words? Spread means to disseminate widely. Imagine that! Imagine us wishing peace to any and everyone we met. Would there be any discord or bad feelings left, let alone insecurities? Because if you just had to wish peace to everyone, you couldn’t hate them at the same time. That would be a contradiction in and of itself. Today we’re scared of our own neighbors. We don’t even know them. Why? We never talked to them. If we followed the rule of saying salaam to everyone, we’d come to know them, right? Communities would come together and unite peacefully. But alas! Where does salaam stand today?

According to scholars, it is obligatory to reply to the greeting of salaam. If you don’t reply, it’s a sin. Because we have been ordered in the Quran,

And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet [in return] with one better than it or [at least] return it
[in a like manner]. Indeed, Allah is ever, over all things, an Accountant
.”  (An-Nisa 86)

Etiquette of Salaam

> When you meet someone, it is the right of the other person that you initiate it.

> Pronounce it properly. Do not mumble.

> Say it loudly. It should be loud enough to wake a sleeping person.

> Don’t say it as if to show arrogance in front of the other person. Mean it.

Benefits of Salaam

> One of the best things is that you get reward just by saying such a simple thing as Salaam. Isn’t that cool? You get 10 or 20 or 30 rewards depending on how you say it. *2

> You can enter Paradise! Isn’t Paradise our ultimate goal? Imagine getting the thing you strove for and wanted all your life through Salaam, forever and ever. *3

> Through Salaam, you come to love one other. Lovely, yeah? ❤ *4

Know that Salaam is one of the Names of Allah. You’re taking His Name! It should connect with your heart. Say it beautifully. 🙂

Salaam

*1 “O people! spread Salaam, feed the hungry, be in touch with your kin, and pray while people are asleep (at night), you shall enter paradise peacefully.” [Tirmidhi]

*2 Imran bin Husain (radi Allahu anhu) reported: “A man came to the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) and said, ‘As-Salamu Alaikum’ (peace be upon you). The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) responded to his greeting and the man sat down. The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam said, ‘Ten’ (meaning the man had earned the merit of ten good acts). Another one came and said, ‘As-Salamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah’ (peace and the mercy of Allah be upon you). The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) responded to his greeting and the man sat down. The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, ‘Twenty.’ A third one came and said, ‘As-Salamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu’ (peace and the mercy of Allah and His blessings be upon you). The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) responded to his greeting and the man sat down. The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, ‘Thirty.’” [Tirmidhi]

*3,4 Abu Huraira RA narrated: Allah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wassalam said, “You will not enter Paradise until you believe; and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I not guide you to a thing which if you do, you will love one another? Spread (the greeting of peace) Salaam amongst yourselves.” [Muslim]

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

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!

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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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That strange little meeting..

That strange little meeting..

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By Zaki Imtiaz

It was like a gigantic wave of blood gushing in my aorta when I came close to him for the first time. I couldn’t resist the appeal to hold him close, embrace him against my chest, feel the raw aroma coming out of his body. I was feeling a unique warmth in both of us. It was like a long awaited love- a love that kindled even more when we finally met each other. His charming face was itself a testimony for every little second of our wait, of our meeting. The touch of his hands was soft enough to melt my own heart as I fell in love with him at that very moment.

The feelings of compassion, security, tranquility, care and tenderness; all seemed to amalgamate into a single red colored flower of love, filling the room with its scent. Had any one in this world the power to sneak into my heart, he would certainly see a blooming garden in there.

SubhanAllah, Alhamdulillah” I exclaimed, as I saw my little angel, my baby boy, Ibrahim.

The birth of Ibrahim had been one real journey for me and my wife. He made us realize that he should be a reason enough for us to believe in the oneness, the ultimate perfection, the power of the creation of One God, Allah, Exalted is He far above from what people associate with Him falsely. Only after becoming a father do I really understand the depth of ayahs (verses) of Quran in which Allah explains the matter of creation. The mind wonders on the reality a human being, his ego and his pride when Allah says:

قَالَ لَهُ صَاحِبُهُ وَهُوَ يُحَاوِرُهُ أَكَفَرْتَ بِالَّذِي خَلَقَكَ مِن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ ثُمَّ سَوَّاكَ رَجُلًا

“His companion said to him while he was conversing with him: Have you disbelieved in He who created you from dust and then from a sperm-drop and then proportioned you (as) a man?” (Surah Kahf: ayah 37)

‘No, I swar by You, my Lord, I do not disbelieve in You. All praise is for You, I believe in You what You’ve shown me’ – my whole being bore testimony.

In nine months, Allah showed us all the different stages of a human baby before coming into this matrix, how Allah SWT creates the organs inside the belly of a woman, takes care off, given oxygen, food and utmost care to the baby from the mother’s body. Despite her weakness, she pours herself in only for her baby. Allah designs the awesome systems of the baby’s body and bestows intellect inside his grey matter. Do you see, there was nothing but sperms and then Allah fashioned a complete human out of it? This is the incomparable perfection of Allah, yet man invokes others besides Him.

When I heard Ibrahim crying for the first time I remembered the Hadith of Sahih Muslim,

Abu Huraira reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallallhu alaihi wassalam) said:

No child is born but he is pricked by the Satan and he begins to weep because of the pricking of the Satan except the son of Mary (Eesa AS) and his mother (Maryam AS).

Abu Huraira then said: You may recite if you so like (the verse):

” (Maryam’s mother said:) I seek Thy protection for her and her offspring against Satan the accursed” [Surah Ale-Imran: ayah 36]

Invoking Allah in my heart to protect my son Ibrahim from the evil whispers of Satan the accursed; and asking Him from His bounties for him, I smiled at my wife, waiting for him to grow up, be a Hafiz and Qaari of Qur’an and become a Sadqa jariyah for his parents.

The question is what’s in there for you in my experience? Well, I’ve learnt quite a few things along the way and if you’d like to benefit, stay tuned for the next article, insha Allah 🙂
___________________________________________________________
The writer is a software engineer and can be contacted at zakiimtiaz1@gmail.com

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