December 19, 2008

A Hug a Day Keep the Blues Away

We need 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 hugs a day for maintenance & 12 hugs a day for growth. - Virginia Satir, Family Therapist.
When was the last time you exchanged a hug with someone? Do you remember the feeling of immense love and contentment you feel when you’re hugged? Does it make you feel special and wanted?

There is a difference between ‘social hugging’; where you paste an artificial smile on your face and exchange some quick hugs and pecks on the cheek, and therapeutic hugging. Therapeutic hugging is meant to be healing. Reaching out and touching someone and holding them tight is simply a natural way of saying you care. When you’re embraced, you feel all your worries melt away and you want live the moment and take it all in. The warmth radiating from the embrace engulfing you is enough to reinforce the positive energy around you and lift you up.

From the time a foetus is in its mother’s womb he is exposed to the healing powers of ‘touch’. Our skin being a ‘sensory’ organ, responds to tender loving care. The amniotic fluid forms a secure abode for the child when he is growing inside the womb and provides constant stimulation to every inch of its tiny body, forming the origin of the yearning for touch for the rest of our lives. As a newborn, a baby recognises its parents initially by touch.

As our children grow up, we tend to start taking them for granted and expect them to just ‘know’ that we care. But what we don’t realise is that even as adults we often crave for some physical touch and expression of love. So kids aren’t any different, and at an age where they are still learning right from wrong and discovering new things everyday they need the reassurance and security of unconditional love. It can also boost their self esteem.

A hug is a great gift – it’s inexpensive, one size fits all, and it's easy to exchange. Sometimes it's better to put love into hugs than to put it into words. So take this as a reminder and try to be more generous with your hugs!

December 16, 2008

The Forgotten Nutrient

Water forms an essential part of our diet and is the second most important component required for survival after air. But we tend to neglect our water intake and most of us do not drink enough water (myself included). Not drinking enough water can cause more harm than we can imagine and the first step to maintaining good health is to drink enough water and incorporate exercise in our daily routine.

The amount of water we need depends on various factors such as our weight, amount of exercise, lifestyle and where we live.

The Hydration Calculator can give you a good estimate of how much water you require depending on individual needs.

Here are some tips I try to follow everyday to make sure I drink enough water:

  • Keep a glass of water next to you. Have a glass of water at every transitional point of the day: when you first get up, just before leaving the house, when you sit down to work, etc.
  • Drink before you get thirsty. People who drink to satisfy thirst replace only about half of what they need.
  • Carry a bottle of water when you go out. This will stop you from spending money on buying beverages or other drinks when all you need is water to re-hydrate.
  • Thirst masquerades as hunger. So when you get hunger pangs between meals, it’s often a request by your body for water rather than food.

Good health is indeed a favour that we take for granted. We should express gratitude to Allah for bestowing us with sound health. Allah has entrusted us with our bodies for a predestined period of time. He will hold us accountable for how we looked after and utilised our bodies and good health.

Abdullah bin Abbas (ra) reports that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “There are two bounties of Allah wherein most people are deceived, health and free time”.

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) mounted the pulpit, then wept and said, "Ask Allah for forgiveness and health, for after being granted certainty, one is given nothing better than health."(Tirmidhi).

December 11, 2008

Smile - It's Charity

Smiling is infectious,
You can catch it like the flu.
Someone smiled at me today,
And I started smiling too.

On my last trip to the grocery store, when I was left with both kids in the trolley and no hubby to assist me (which sounds like a recipe for disaster) – surprisingly it turned out to be the most pleasant shopping experience I’ve had in a while. Why? You ask. Well, to begin with, everyone who passed by smiled at me & wished me a good day. One lady walked up to me and held my hand and told me “Darling, you look beautiful today!” This, coming from a complete stranger! I was surprised to hear this, but it did make my day. Just those few gestures of kindness and empathy they exhibited made me feel so much better.

Many times we go about life, doing our business and we forget the simple things that can brighten up our day and make everything so much more worthwhile. When I’m all stressed and buried neck deep in housework all I need is a smile from my little ones to lighten things up and help me get through my daily chores.

According to Psychologist Robert Zajonc: "There is now compelling evidence that smiling causes people to feel happy. Requiring people to smile, no matter how they really feel at first, results in increased positive feelings; frowning conversely decreases positive feelings."

From this experience I’ve learnt that smiling and showing compassion to people around you can have a positive impact on their lives. So smile away, and make someone’s day!

And I cannot go by without mentioning this hadith that springs to my mind:

Abu Dharr (ra) reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “There is no person who does not have the obligation of (doing) charity every day that the sun rises.”

Whereupon he was asked, “O Messenger of Allah, from where would we get something to give in charity (so often)?” To which he (pbuh) replied, “Indeed the gates to goodness are many: glorifying God, praising Him, magnifying Him, saying ‘There is no god but Allah,’ enjoining the good and forbidding the wrong, removing (any source of) harm from the road, making the deaf hear (and understand), guiding the blind, showing the seeker his need, striving as far as your two legs could carry you and with deep concern to give succor to him who asks, carrying with the strength of your arms (the burdens of) the weak. All these are (acts of) charity.” And he added, “And your smiling in the face of your brother is charity, your removing of stones, thorns, and bones from people’s paths is charity, and your guiding a man gone astray in the world is charity for you.”

December 04, 2008

Hadith for Thought

Treatment of Women in Islam
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah 's Apostle said, "Treat women nicely, for a women is created from a rib, and the most curved portion of the rib is its upper portion, so, if you should try to straighten it, it will break, but if you leave it as it is, it will remain crooked. So treat women nicely." Volume 4, Book 55, Number 548. - Sahih Bukhari

Narrated AbuHurayrah:
Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said: A believing man should not hate a believing woman; if he dislikes one of her characteristics, he will be pleased with another. Book 8, Number 3469 - Sahih Muslim

Narrated Mu'awiyah al-Qushayri:
I went to the Apostle of Allah (pbuh) and asked him: "What do you say (command) about our wives?" He replied: "Give them food what you have for yourself, and clothe them by which you clothe yourself, and do not beat them, and do not revile them." Book 11, Number 2139 - Abu Dawud

"The best of you is one who is best towards his family and I am best towards the family". - At Tirmidhi

"None but a noble man treats women in an honourable manner. And none but an ignoble treats women disgracefully". - At-Tirmidhi

November 28, 2008

Lemonade from Lemons

We all would agree that sometimes when things don’t go as planned we tend to get disappointed and harp on negative thoughts in our mind. This makes us spiral out of control and might lead to immense frustration and emotional distress. I’ve come across various situations in the past when something didn’t quite turn out as I expected it to and I found myself being dragged down by my feelings and couldn’t really get a hold of myself. Life moves on, and I’ve realized that it’s no use fretting over something that didn’t happen. After all, Allah is the best of planners, and He alone knows what is good for us and what is not.

Here’s a simple exercise we can follow to help us spot the silver lining:

Avoid entering a situation ‘looking’ for the negative, because when you seek the negative, you often find it more than not. Stop negative thoughts in their tracks. If you give attention to negative thoughts, they will get stronger and stronger. What seems like a small matter in the beginning may become monstrous at the end.

What you should do is break the vicious cycle by shifting your focus to something positive. Sometimes, the positive may not be easy to see right off the bat, but if you look deep enough it is there. You can then reinforce this positive attention until you completely defeat the negative thoughts.

If something is bothering you, find the main cause of the problem and learn to deal with it with positive thoughts and self-encouragement. Nothing is too big a task to accomplish. Once you’ve overcome your fears, the sense of achievement you feel is much greater and worthwhile than the sense of regret and remorse you would feel if you gave in and let yourself be pulled down into negative vibrations.

Patience is half of Imân

Imân is in two halves: half is patience ( sabr) and half is gratitude ( shukr). Therefore Allâh has mentioned patience and gratitude alongside one another:
“Verily in this are signs for all who constantly persevere and give thanks” (Ibrâhîm 14:5; Luqmân 31:31; Sabâ’ 34:19; ash-Shurâ 42:33).
The reasons why one half of îmân is patience and the other half is gratitude are as follows:

1. îmân is a term which covers words, deeds and intentions, all of which are based on one of two things, action or abstinence. Action refers to performing a deed in accordance with the instructions of Allâh, which is the reality of gratitude. Abstinence, as in refraining from wrong action, requires patience. The whole of religion is embodied in these two things: carrying out that which Allâh has commanded, and refraining from that which Allâh has prohibited.

2. îmân is based on two pillars, yaqîn (conviction) and patience, which are referred to in the following ayah:
“And We appointed, from among them, leaders, giving guidance under Our command, so long as they persevered with patience and continued to have faith in Our Signs” (as-Sajdah 32:34).
It is through faith that we know the reality of Allâh’s commands and prohibitions, or reward and punishment, and it is through patience that we carry out His instructions and abstain from that which He has prohibited. A person can never come to believe in Allâh’s commands and prohibitions, and in reward and punishment, and it is through patience that we carry out His instructions and abstain from that which He has prohibited, and in reward and punishment, except through faith, and that is truly from Allâh. And we can never carry out Allâh’s instructions and abstain from that which He has prohibited except through patience. Therefore patience is half of îmân, and the other half is gratitude.

3. Man has two powers, the power of doing and the power of abstaining, which control all his behaviour. So a person will do what he likes and abstain from what he dislikes. The whole of religion is doing or abstaining, carrying out the instructions of Allâh or abstaining from that which He has prohibited, neither of which can be accomplished without patience.

4. The whole of religion is hope and fear, and the true believer is the one who is both hopeful and fearful. Allâh said:
“…They used to call on Us with love and reverence, and humble themselves before Us” (al-Anbiyâ’ 21:90).
The Prophet (SAAS) used to pray:
“O Allâh, I have surrendered my soul to You, and turned my face to You. My (own) affair I commit to Allâh and I seek Your protection, in hope of You and in fear of You” (al-Bukhârî).
So the believer is the one who is both hopeful and fearful, but hope and fear can only be based on the foundation of patience: fear should make the believer patient, and his hope should lead to gratitude.

5. Any action done by man is either beneficial or harmful to him in this world and the next, or else it is beneficial to him in the world and harmful to him in the other. The best course for man is to do that which is beneficial to him in the Hereafter, and abstain from that which is harmful to him in the Hereafter. This is the reality of îmân: to do what is good for him, and that is gratitude; and to abstain from that which harms him, and that is patience.

6. Man is always is a situation where he has to carry out an instruction of Allâh, or avoid something which Allâh has prohibited, or accept something that Allâh has decreed. In all cases, he has to face the situation with patience and gratitude. Carrying out Allâh’s instructions is gratitude, and abstaining from prohibited things and being content with the decree of Allâh constitutes patience.

7. Man is constantly being pulled in two opposing directions: should he respond to the lure of this world of desires and pleasures, or should he answer the call of Allâh and the hereafter, with the eternal Paradise that Allâh has prepared for His friend ( walî)? Going against the call of whims and desires is patience, and responding to the call of Allâh and the Hereafter is gratitude.

8. Religion is based on two principles: determination and perseverance (patience), which are referred to in the du‘â of the Prophet (SAAS):
“O Allâh, I ask You for perseverance in all my affairs, and I ask You for the determination to stay on the straight and narrow path.”
9. Religion is based on truth (haqq) and patience, which is referred to in the âyah:
“…and they (join together) in the mutual teaching of truth, and of patience and constancy” (al-‘Asr 103:3).
Man is required to work according to the truth, both by himself and others, which is the reality of gratitude, but he cannot do that without patience, therefore patience is half of îmân. And Allâh knows best.

Taken from: Patience and Gratitude. By Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah. An abridgement of his original work entitled, “Uddat as-Sâbireen wa Dhâkirat by Taha Publications.

November 21, 2008

Reviving a Sunnah: Visiting the Sick

Visiting the sick does not involve only those whom you know, rather it is prescribed for those whom you know and those whom you do not know. This was stated by al-Nawawi in Sharh Muslim.

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “There are five duties that the Muslim owes to his brother Muslim,” one of which is visiting the sick.

The Prophet (pbuh) said, "Free the captives, feed the hungry and pay a visit to the sick."

This hadeeth indicates that it is obligatory, and may be understood as meaning that it is a communal obligation, like feeding the hungry and freeing the captives.

Benefits of visiting the sick

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “When the Muslim visits his (sick) Muslim brother, he is harvesting the fruits of Paradise until he returns.” (Sahih Muslim: 2568).

The Messenger of Allaah (pbuh) said: “Whoever visits a sick person or visits a brother in Islam, a caller cries out to him: ‘May you be happy, may your walking be blessed, and may you occupy a dignified position in Paradise’.” Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.

Imam Ahmad narrated that Jaabir (ra) said: The Messenger of Allaah (pbuh) said: “Whoever visits a sick person is plunging into mercy until he sits down, and when he sits down he is submerged in it.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 2504.

Al-Tirmidhi narrated that ‘Ali (ra) said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (pbuh) say: “There is no Muslim who visits a (sick) Muslim early in the morning but seventy thousand angels send blessings upon him until evening comes, and if he visits him in the evening, seventy thousand angels send blessings upon him until morning comes, and he will have a garden in Paradise.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.

Making dua for the sick person

Du’aa’ should be made for the sick person in the manner narrated in the Sunnah: “La ba’s, tuhoor in sha Allaah (No worry, it is a purification, if Allah wills).” (Al-Bukhaari).

Du’aa’ for healing should be said three times. The Prophet (pbuh) visited Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqaas and said: “O Allaah, heal Sa’d,” three times. (Al-Bukhaari & Muslim).

The Prophet (pbuh) used to place his right hand on the sick person and say: Adhhib al-ba’s Rabb an-naas, wa’shfi anta al-Shaafi, laa shifaa’a illa shifaa’uka shifaa’an laa yughaadir saqaman (Take away the pain, O Lord of mankind, and grant healing, for You are the Healer, and there is no healing but Your healing that leaves no trace of sickness).” (Sahih Muslim)

It was narrated by Ahmad and Abu Dawood that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “Whoever visits a sick person who is not yet dying, and says seven times in his presence: As’alu Allaaha rabb al-‘arsh il-‘azeem an yashfiyaka (I ask Allaah, Lord of the mighty Throne, to heal you), Allaah will heal him of that sickness.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.

Taken from

November 13, 2008


According to wikipedia:

Consumerism is the equation of personal happiness with the purchase of material possessions and consumption.

The question arises – does owning more material things actually make you happy? Or is it one of the many tactics of the companies at large to make their millions at the expense of our over indulgence and splurging?

With pre-christmas sales around the corner, we’re bombarded from all sides to part with our hard earned money in exchange for something we may or may not need, but have surely been convinced that it’s something we cannot live without. This consumer culture that has been paved out over the past few decades has seen a rapid increase in money being pumped into the economy by the truckloads. With the present economical crisis, most countries are suffering even more due to the decrease in consumerism and the government is doing all it can to encourage the masses to get involved and keep them adrift during this economical storm.

Parental indulgence of this volume affects children and leads to childhood misery. Many sociologists believe that buying more for kids can cause unhappiness. Children who are heavily involved in a consumer culture are more depressed and anxious than other children. The advertising industry is increasingly targeting young children in order to create at an early age a demand for consumer products. The obsession with possessions affects the mental health of some children.

It is our duty as responsible parents to be cautious and alert and we need to draw the line when it’s necessary and protect ourselves & our children. There’s nothing wrong with the occasional splurge but what we should be vary of is being overcome by constant consumeristic cravings. Some of us tend to develop strong materialistic values than others and it needn’t necessarily be linked to money per se but more to the striving for it.

November 07, 2008

Reviving a Sunnah - Reciting Surah Kahf on Friday

Reciting Surah Kahf on Friday
Alhamdulilah it's Friday. Friday is an important day for us believers.

O ye who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday ( the Day of assembly), hasten earnestly to the remembrance of Allah, and leave off business ( and traffic): that is best for you if ye but knew!" Surah Al-Jumuah

Abu Hurairah (ra) reports that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: "The most important day that ever dawned is Friday. It was on this day that Adam (peace be upon him) was created and on this day he was admitted to paradise and it was on Friday when he was expelled from there (and was appointed vicegerent of Allah ) and it is on this day that the Doom shall occur." Sahih Muslim

There are several Hadith that emphasize on the importance of reciting Surah Kahf on Fridays. It may be read during the night or the day of Jumu’ah. The night of Jumu’ah starts from sunset on Thursday, and the day of Jumu’ah ends at sunset. Therefore the time for reading this surah extends from sunset on Thursday to sunset on Friday.
  1. From Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri, who said: Whoever reads Soorat al-Kahf on the night of Jumu’ah, will have a light that will stretch between him and the Ancient House (the Ka’bah). Narrated by al-Daarimi, 3407. This hadeeth was classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami, 6471
  2. Whoever reads Soorat al-Kahf on the day of Jumu’ah, will have a light that will shine from him from one Friday to the next. (Narrated by al-Haakim, 2/399; al-Bayhaqi, 3/249. Ibn Hajar said in Takhreej al-Adhkaar that this is a hasan hadeeth, and he said, this is the strongest report that has been narrated concerning reading Soorat al-Kahf. See: Fayd al-Qadeer, 6/198. It was classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 6470)
  3. It was narrated that Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Whoever reads Soorat al-Kahf on the day of Jumu’ah, a light will shine for him from beneath his feet to the clouds of the sky, which will shine for him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will be forgiven (his sins) between the two Fridays.’ Al-Mundhiri said, this was narrated by Abu Bakr ibn Mardawayh in his Tafseer, with an isnaad with which there was nothing wrong. (al-Targheeb wa’l-Tarheeb, 1/298)


November 05, 2008

Youngest Memorizer of the Holy Qur'an

Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Emir of Makkah Region, with Tabarak Akmal Al-Labboudi, world’s youngest memorizer of the Holy Qur’an, in Jeddah on Monday. Al-Labboudi is only five years old. Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah Hanafi, Chairman of the Qur’an Memorization Charitable Society in Jeddah, is seen on the left. Prince Khaled congratulated the boy for his distinctive achievement and wished him success in his life. He encouraged him to continue his interest in the Qur’an.
Maasha'Allah! This article appeared in Saudi Gazzette a while back. May Allah bestow His Mercy on this little boy and his family and keep them steadfast. May He reward them with nothing less than jannatul-firdous. May the little boy grow up to be a true mu'min and may he put to practice the teachings of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Ameen!

I know a lot of parents would love for their children to be hafidh of the Qur'an. There are numerous articles floating around on the internet with tips and techniques for memorizing the Qur'an. The one I find very inspirational and motivating is the e-book compiled by Sheikh Muhammad Al-Shareef. It's called "How to Memorize Qur'an at Age 7" You can download it here.
A few days after the death of the Prophet (pbuh) some men came to his wife Aisha bint Abu Bakr(ra) and inquired about Muhammad (pbuh). They put questions to his wife concerning his character and other aspects of his life, and she replied have you ever read the Qur'an? The men replied in the affirmative, then she replied: "Muhammad (pbuh) was the living embodiment of the Qur'an." What a description of the Prophet of Allah (pbuh) from one who was most privy to his private character and morals.
May Allah assist us in our endeavours and put the Qur'an in our hearts, minds and souls.

October 28, 2008

To My Cherished Mother

In the darkness of the night, when everything is so calm and serene, I lie in bed wide awake thinking of the past – when life was different and I was secure in my little nest, loved and nurtured by my beloved mom. Life moves on, and so do you and you have to soon leave your secure dwelling and face the world. It’s my turn now to make my nest and raise off-springs but the yearning to be in my mother’s arms and feel the warmth of her gentle hug while her arms wrap around me, still remains. Those happy times when I’d lie on her lap and forget all my worries and let go of all my fears are missed immensely and I crave to have just one more chance to be able to do all that again and make the moment last forever!

I miss you mom! Your smile brightens any moment and your soft loving words put joy and peace in my heart. You have touched my life in precious ways and the values you’ve taught over the years has enriched my life in more ways than I can count. They remain etched in my soul, and are helping me be the same to my children.

I remember the times when only your touch would soothe my disappointments and make me feel calm. Only you understood my tears and you knew what I wanted without me having to say it to you. You gave me strength and confidence and inspired me to achieve my goals. You believed in me and never let me give up.

I used to think that people didn’t need their moms so much after they grew up but I was so wrong. I’ve realized that it’s now that I need you more than ever. Every decision I make I wish you were here to give me your advice, I know you are always looking out for my best interest. And every time something happens that I know you’d enjoy I wish you were here to share it with me. Our relationship is so special to me and I’m thankful to Allah for blessing me with the best mother anyone could ask for.

It saddens me to see that my children are growing up so far away from you and are being deprived of your loving company. Every day that passes by I crave to be by your side and share these happy moments with you. I wish you were here by our side, so we could all bask in the warmth of your radiant affection and nourish our souls with the wisdom you impart.

Mom I love you, I love you so very much. I appreciate how loving you are, how giving you’ve always been and that even though I’m not always good at showing it, I love you dearly and I miss you heaps.

I pray to Allah (SWT) to grant my parents bodily and spiritual health and strength. Keep away from them every hardship and do not allow anyone to harm them or hurt their feelings. Make me an obedient child and enable me to treat them kindly. Take away all grief from their minds and hearts. Fill their lives with peace and contentment. Ya Rab! cover us with your forgiveness and save us from the torments of the blazing fire. Set our affairs in order and enable us to be Your humble slaves. Make our hearts firm upon the religion and may we die as believers. Ya Rab! grant us Jannatul-firdous. AMEEN.

October 27, 2008

Tag Post: Be Money Smart

With the present condition of our economy and the worst still to come it's time we tightened our belts and looked into cutting costs and saving money.

Listed below are a few tips I try to implement while I'm out and about. Would love to hear more from my blog readers.


  1. Look for generic or store brands.
  2. Plain shapes of pasta (spaghetti and macaroni) cost less than pasta in fancy shapes
  3. Frozen vegetables in larger bags cost less per serving than vegetables in small packages.
  4. In-Season produce is less expensive. Buy fruits and vegetables from your green grocer, it’s often fresher and cheaper than supermarkets.
  5. Buy only as much fresh produce as you’ll use within a week.
  6. Eat before going for grocery shopping. This will limit impulse buying.
  7. Shop on Fridays – it’s been proven to be the cheapest day of the week for everyday items.
  8. Go to the store with a list. You can save up to 40% on your grocery bill.


  1. Need versus want – always ask yourself “Do I really need it?” and nine times out of ten the answer is usually no.
  2. Avoid take-away food, but if you do have to eat out go to a food court and take your drinks. Avoid dine-in as they usually cost more.
  3. Buy items only when on sale. Never pay retail. Stock up during end of summer/winter sales, stock take sales and boxing day sales.
  4. Whenever possible, buy items in bulk and when on special.
  5. Fill the family car up with petrol on Wednesdays, the cheapest day to buy petrol.

Energy Saving Tips:

  1. Turn the tap off when you can – don’t use running water to wash you’re hands, clean your teeth, wash vegetables, etc.
  2. Take shorter showers – no longer than 5 minutes.
  3. Always run appliances (washing machines, dishwashers etc) with full loads and try to do fewer cycles per week.
  4. 8-10% of total electricity used in your home is due to appliances left on standby. Some appliances use 25% of their normal power in standby mode.
  5. Unplug chargers when not in use.
  6. Run appliances such as washing machine, dishwasher etc at night when the electricity is on off peak.
  7. Fridges and freezers need space at the top, back and sides to shed excess heat. For appliances with exposed rear coils, vacuum or wipe off dust. Ensure door seals are kept clean and seal well. Locate fridges and freezers in cool spots, away from direct sun and other heat sources such as stoves. The recommended operating temperature for a fridge is 3 to 5°C. Below this it costs more to run and can frost up. For freezers, the recommended range is -15 to -18°C. Regularly remove any frost build-up.
  8. Turn off lights in any room not being used.
  9. Leaving your computer switched on all day eats up a lot of electricity. Schedule a time for internet surfing and try to turn on the computer only when needed.
  10. Re-use water from baby bath for flushing or washing toilets.
In no particular order I tag: UmmIbrahim, UmmTravis & Shama.

October 26, 2008

Lying Distorts Reality

A few days back there were reports about a Muslim student held at gunpoint at a University in Illinois, USA. You can read the article here.

When I first read this, I was very impressed at the sisters courage and her response when asked "Who is going to protect you now?". To me, this incident highlighted the trials our dear brothers and sisters in the west have to face and helped me reflect on my relationship with my Lord and made me wonder whether I would give the same response if I was faced with such a situation.

But just as this was giving all of us an Emaan boost, we came to know that this was a hoax and the sister had made false claims.

"A week after the incident roiled the small college, Elmhurst Police Chief Steve Neubauer said officers had cited Safia Z. Jilani, 19, of Oak Brook, on a single count of filing a false police report. Filing a false police report is a Class 4 felony, punishable by one to three years in prison." Click here to read the full article.

It truly is sad to see our dear sister making this mistake. Wallahu 'Alam as to what her intention was, but it draws unnecessary attention towards Muslims, not that we haven't got enough already. We as muslims should be setting an example and portraying the best of character so others can learn from us and embrace our deen by watching us practice it in the best possible manner. These times are fragile, and we need to be cautious of our every action as we are being watched and the mischief makers are always pouncing at the first opportunity to defame us.

Lying is prohibited in Islam. It was narrated that 'Abd-Allah ibn Mas'ood said: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: "Truthfullness is righteousness and righteousness leads to Paradise. A person will continue to tell the truth until he is written with Allah as one who tells the truth. Lying is evildoing, and evildoing leads to Hell. A person will keep on telling lies until he is written as a liar."(Al-Bukhari 5743; Muslim 2607)

Punishments for Lying:

1. Hypocrisy in the Heart

"So He punished them by putting hypocrisy into their hearts till the Day whereon they shall meet Him, because they broke that (covenant with Allah) which they had promised Him and because they used to tell lies." Surah At-Tawbah verse 77

2. Guidance to evildoing and to the Fire

3. His testimony will be rejected

4. Blackening of the face in this world and in the Hereafter

And on the Day of Resurrection you will see those who lied against Allah (i.e. attributed to Him sons, partners, etc.) their faces will be black. Is there not in Hell an abode for the arrogant ones? Surah Az-Zumar verse 60

5. The liar will have the flesh of his cheeks torn to the back of his head

Volume 2, Book 23, Number 468; Narrated Samura bin Jundab: Whenever the Prophet finished the (morning) prayer, he would face us and ask, "Who amongst you had a dream last night?" So if anyone had seen a dream he would narrate it. The Prophet would say: "Ma sha'a-llah" (An Arabic maxim meaning literally, 'What Allah wished,' and it indicates a good omen.) One day, he asked us whether anyone of us had seen a dream. We replied in the negative. The Prophet said, "But I had seen (a dream) last night that two men came to me, caught hold of my hands, and took me to the Sacred Land (Jerusalem). There, I saw a person sitting and another standing with an iron hook in his hand pushing it inside the mouth of the former till it reached the jaw-bone, and then tore off one side of his cheek, and then did the same with the other side; in the mean-time the first side of his cheek became normal again and then he repeated the same operation again...

.....'You have made me ramble all the night. Tell me all about that I have seen.' They said, 'Yes. As for the one whose cheek you saw being torn away, he was a liar and he used to tell lies, and the people would report those lies on his authority till they spread all over the world. So, he will be punished like that till the Day of Resurrection.

May Allah protect us from the whispers of Shaytaan and all evil doings that anger Him, and may we be among those who are righteous and seek His pleasure, Ameen.

October 19, 2008

'Selatur - Rahim'

In this day and age where people are engulfed by the world around them and are immersed in the rat race of survival there seems to be a decline in basic qualities that defined the core of human values in the past. Earlier, family and friends were the most important components of a persons’ life and everything else followed suit. But now there seems to be a change in priority and people have less or even no time for their family and friends. With internet and e-mail everything has become so impersonal and mechanical. Tasks can be ‘outsourced’ or done in a few minutes with the click of a button. There is no feeling attached to it whatsoever. Being in touch and maintaining ties of kinship are looked upon as chores.

In Islam, maintaining ties of kinship and being on good terms with your family, neighbours and friends is of utmost importance. One can maintain ties of kinship (selatur-rahim) by:
  1. Making dua for them
  2. Visiting them
  3. Helping them when they need help
  4. Having good feelings for them in your heart
  5. Forgiving their shortcomings and seeking forgiveness from them for when you have wronged them.
  6. Reminding them of their duties towards their Lord in kind words
  7. Exchanging gifts and seeking ways to make them happy.
    The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Exchange gifts, as that will lead to increasing your love to one another.” (Al-Bukhaari)
    The Prophet (pbuh) enjoined responding in kind to favours, as he said in a narration: “Whoever does you a favour, respond in kind, and if you cannot find the means of doing so, then keep praying for him until you think that you have responded in kind.” (Abu Daawood)

    What the Noble Qur’an & Hadith have to say:

And those who break the Covenant of Allah, after its ratification, and sever that which Allah has commanded to be joined (i.e. they sever the bond of kinship and are not good to their relatives), and work mischief in the land, on them is the curse (i.e. they will be far away from Allah's Mercy); And for them is the unhappy (evil) home (i.e. Hell). Surah Ar-Rad, verse 25

The Prophet is closer to the believers than their ownselves, and his wives are their (believers') mothers (as regards respect and marriage). And blood relations among each other have closer personal ties in the Decree of Allah (regarding inheritance) than (the brotherhood of) the believers and the Muhajirun (emigrants from Makkah, etc.), except that you do kindness to those brothers (when the Prophet SAW joined them in brotherhood ties). This has been written in the (Allah's Book of Divine) Decrees (AlLauh AlMahfuz)." Surah Al-Ahzab verse 6

That is (the Paradise) whereof Allah gives glad tidings to His slaves who believe (in the Oneness of Allah Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds. Say (O Muhammad SAW): "No reward do I ask of you for this except to be kind to me for my kinship with you." And whoever earns a good righteous deed, We shall give him an increase of good in respect thereof. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Ready to appreciate (the deeds of those who are obedient to Him). Surah Ash-Shura verse 2

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Al-Wasil (one who maintains good relations with his kin) is not the one who recompenses the good done to him by his relatives, but Al-Wasil is the one who keeps good relations with those relatives who have severed the bond of kinship with him." (Reported by Al-Bukhari.)

Sahih Bukhari: Volume 8, Book 73, Number 16:- Narrated Abu Huraira -The Prophet (pbuh) said, "Allah created the creations, and when He finished from His creations, Ar-Rahm i.e., womb said, "(O Allah) at this place I seek refuge with You from all those who sever me (i.e. sever the ties of Kith and kin). Allah said, 'Yes, won't you be pleased that I will keep good relations with the one who will keep good relations with you, and I will sever the relation with the one who will sever the relations with you.' It said, 'Yes, O my Lord.' Allah said, ‘Then that is for you’.”Allah's Apostle added. "Read (in the Qur'an) if you wish, the Statement of Allah: 'Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land and sever your ties of kinship?' (47.22)

Sahih Bukhari: Volume 8, Book 73, Number 14:- I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "Who ever is pleased that he be granted more wealth and that his lease of life be pro longed, then he should keep good relations with his Kith and kin."

Sahih Muslim: Book 032, Number 6198:- 'A'isha reported Allah's Messenger (pbuh) as saying: The tie of kinship is suspended to the Throne and says: He who unites me Allah would unite him and he who severed me Allah would sever him.

Sahih Muslim: Book 032, Number 6217:- This hadith has been narrated on the authority of A'mash with the same chain of transmitters (and the words are):" Don't sever relations of kinship, don't bear enmity against one another, don't bear aversion against one another and don't feel envy against the other and live as fellow-brothers as Allah has commanded you.”

October 12, 2008

An Eventful Weekend

This weekend has been pretty eventful. I was looking forward to a relaxing weekend and hoping to enjoy spring before summer sets in & it gets too hot to venture out. But looks like Allah had something different in store for us!

On Saturday we had a family BBQ at my in-laws place. I was planning to take a few pictures to post up here but as usual I forgot to take my camera. Khair, insha'Allah next time. The weather here is now getting warmer and there will surely be many more BBQ's to come.
While I was praying my Maghrib salah I heard a *bang* followed by the sound of shattering glass. When I was done I enquired as to what it could have been and my mother-in-law said it sounded like it came from the neighbours house. Not making much of it, we all settled down on the patio to dig into our scrumptious meal. It was already dark and we had the porch lights on. From the corner of my eye I could see some movement in the backyard and it looked like I saw someone peeking through the branches of the trees. I was startled and told everyone about it. Father-in-law, hubby and hubby's brother-in-law went into the backyard with a torch in one had and a cricket bat in another, in search of intruders. They didn't find anyone nor did they see anything suspicious so they returned and we all finished up our meal. Not to mention we were all pretty alert and jumped at the slightest noise - thanks to me!

Hubby's sister wasn't convinced and as we had heard the noise before we wanted to be a hundred percent sure that nothing was wrong. They looked around and checked all windows to see if there had been any tampering. My second born was sleeping soundly in one of the rooms inside. Later when she woke, hubby casually moved the curtains to check the window - half expecting not to find anything but to his surprise the glass had been shattered! When I saw it I felt numb all over and couldn't stop thinking of the worst possible scenario, especially as I had let my baby sleep there without checking the window first!

After inspecting and checking the backyard again they concluded that it might've been the kids next door who accidently kicked a ball at the window and shattered it. Hubby reckons the person I saw in the backyard must've been one of the kids trying to retrieve the ball...

Wallahu Alam (Allah knows best) as to what exactly happened. It sure is freaky!

I am still recovering from yesterday's incident when something else happened this morning! I was sterlizing baby milk bottles on the stove when my sister phoned from overseas. As it has been a while since we spoke, I was on the phone for a long time and completely forgot about the saucepan. Later the smoke alarm went off and I rushed downstairs with hubby. The whole area was filled with smoke and when I walked into the kitchen white fumes were pouring out of the saucepan! The bottles had completely melted leaving behind only a black goey mess. We hurriedly opened all windows and doors to ventilate the home and asked my first born to remain upstairs. We tried our best not to inhale the fumes (as they could be dangerous) but couldn't help but inhale some of it. We decided it would be a good idea to leave the house for a while until the fumes dispersed and hence put the kids in the car and drove off to my in-laws place. I'm still here at the moment. Both the kids are asleep.

I phoned nurse on call and the poisons information line just to be safe. Alhamdulilah they said that it wasn't harmful and that ventilating was the best thing to do. Ahamdulilah we're all fine and nothing major happened!

Note to self - keep an alarm for next time while sterlizing bottles, and avoid going upstairs without turning off the stove!

الْحَمْدُ للّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِين
All Praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Alamin.

October 09, 2008

Childhood Wonders

This month my first born turns three. Time flies and it’s hard to believe that my little one is growing up so quick. Seems like yesterday when she was a little baby, sleeping soundly in my arms and now she’s a bundle of energy and is always on the go. It’s amazing to see the amount of energy children can have. They can go on and on and on…

Childhood is so magical full of innocence, fun and curiosity. As a parent, I enjoy and savour every stage of my children’s lives and make the most of every minute I spend with them because I know it’s short lived and soon they will be on their way to becoming responsible adults. We will no longer have lazy Sunday mornings where we can sleep in and cuddle in bed, nor will we sit down with a bowl of popcorn in front of the television watching “Curious George”.

It’s fun to indulge in their little world of imagination as it also helps us re-discover ourselves. We see the world through their eyes and find immense happiness and excitement in little things that we would usually ignore. It seems insignificant, but this becomes a wonderful moment that you can share together and cherish for the rest of your life. Parents nowadays need to chill a little and allow kids to be kids. If you allow your child to lead, they’ll direct you to where you need to go.

My little girl is growing up and I can see her change in front of my eyes. Soon she’ll be a young lady and will be busy with her life. Spending time with mom will probably be last on her list and I know I will yearn to be with her, cuddle her, tickle her and listen to her hearty laughter.

Darn! Kids grow up so quick. I am going to make an even better effort to live every moment to the fullest & celebrate every little achievement. Who knows, it might be gone before you know it and no matter what you do, it ain’t going to come back!

Tag Post - When in the Masjid

Jazaak Allah Khayrun sis UmmIbrahim for tagging me.

This Ramadan I didn't get the opportunity to go to the mosque often as I have young kids, Alhamdulilah. It gets difficult for me to concentrate and for others too when I take them to the mosque. So I prefer praying at home, when they're in bed. I really envy the parents who have children who are so well behaved at the mosque and pray that inshaAllah when my children are old enough they're the same and aren't among those who run around and cause havoc!

Here's what I have to say -

Firstly, it is among the etiquettes of going to the masjid to avoid everything that has an offensive smell like garlic, onion or smoking. Unfortunately, everytime during taraweh prayer you'd have someone burp and let out an offensive smell from what they have eaten during their iftaar. I know it's not easy to avoid such foods (especially if you're indian ;)) but it doesn't take much time to brush your teeth (or even better - use miswak) and change your clothes and apply some 'atar before you leave for the masjid, inshaAllah.
Sahih Bukhari - Volume 1, Book 12, Number 814:

Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah: The Prophet said, "Whoever eats garlic or onion should keep away from our mosque or should remain in his house." (Jabir bin 'Abdullah, in another narration said, "Once a big pot containing cooked vegetables was brought. On finding unpleasant smell coming from it, the Prophet asked, 'What is in it?' He was told all the names of the vegetables that were in it. The Prophet ordered that it should be brought near to some of his companions who were with him. When the Prophet saw it he disliked to eat it and said, 'Eat. (I don't eat) for I converse with those whom you don't converse with (i.e. the angels)."

Secondly, people who'd enter late after the salah has started would hasten to join the rakah and run to stand next to a praying person in the jamah. The Prophet (pbuh) forbade running in such a situation. It is very disturbing when someone does this, especially when you're the unlucky person they decide to stand next to. They aren't even ready to begin their salah and their movements are a huge distraction.
Imam Bukhari and Muslim reported that the prophet (pbuh) said: "If the prayer started, then do not join it running, and join it walking and quiet, and pray whatever you caught up with, and make up for what you missed."
Thirdly, many of us have forgotten the sunnah of praying two rakah before sitting down when you enter the masjid. I see very few people do this nowdays.
Imam Bukhari and Muslim reported that the prophet (pbuh) said: "When one of you enters the Masjid, he should pray two Rak'ah before sitting down."
Lastly, I have seen a lot of people get irritated when people bring young children to the mosque. I know it's not very easy to concentrate in your salah when you have children running around and making noise. I had a bad experience myself a few Ramadan's back when I took my first born to the masjid. I guess it will suffice to say that I was told off by the Imam over the microphone in front of EVERYONE to mind my daughter and not disturb everyone in their salah :( I was heartbroken and didn't go to the masjid after that for a long time. I am yet to pray in Jamah again...

Personally I feel people should be a bit more forgiving in such circumstances. If we do not take our children to the mosque how do you expect them to learn the adab of being in a mosque? The Prophet (pbuh) used to have his grand-children in the mosque and even shortened his prayer if he heard a child crying. It is very important to raise our children with a strong attachment and love for their religion, and community, and thus it is important for them to have a strong and positive attachment to the mosque from a young age, especially in non-Muslim environments.

In regards to them being a distraction during salah, you could always have someone who is not praying (eg. having their menses) to mind the children and keep them away from the prayer area. Even taking art supplies such as paper, textas etc to keep them occupied would be a good idea.

I've seen a lot of people go off at a child when they misbehave in the mosque. It is important to remember that children are innocent and sinless. Thus, we cannot reprimand them harshly: this may make them dislike mosques and maybe even their religion, na aouzobillah. Rather, we should treat them with gentleness and mercy, though being firm when needed.
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, "Those who do not have mercy for our young and respect for our elders is not of us." [Tirmidhi]

October 05, 2008

Long Silence...

Assalam Alaykum wrwb,

I know I haven't posted in a while and am long overdue for a new post. Ramadan kept us all busy and I had to juggle between looking after my angels and worship and it took up all the time.

InshaAllah I will try to update my blog more often now.

It's sad to see another Ramadan pass by. May Allah accept all our Ibadah and may we live to see many more Ramadans, Ameen.

As much as I wanted to make this a general blog, a lot of people have asked me to 'personalise' it a bit. So insha'Allah I will work on that now ;)

Just so I get an idea of how many readers I have (if any!) I'd appreciate if you could leave a brief comment on this post...

Wassalaam Alaykum wrwb.

September 15, 2008

Dhikr - the greatest obligation & a perpetual Divine order

With the last 10 days of Ramadan approaching us, it is a good time to remind everyone to increase their dhikr of Allah and make it a means of reaping plentiful rewards.

Dhikr of Allah is the most praiseworthy work to earn Allah's pleasure, the most effective weapon to overcome the enemy, and the most deserving of deeds in reward.

Mu`adh ibn Jabal said that the Prophet said: "The People of Paradise will not regret except one thing alone: the hour that passed them by and in which they made no remembrance of Allah." Narrated by Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-iman (1:392 #512-513).

"And be not you as those who forgot Allah and therefore He caused them to forget their own souls. Such are the losers." [Surah Hashr; verse 19]

"Then woe unto those whose hearts are hardened against the remembrance of Allah. Such are in plain error." [Surah Zumar; verse 22]

"O ye who believe! Remember Allah with much remembrance; and glorify Him morning and evening." [Surah al-Ahzab; 41-42]

"I am near to the thought of My servant as he thinks about Me, and I am with him as he remembers Me. And if he remembers Me in his heart, I also remember him in My Heart, and if he remembers Me in assembly I remember him in assembly, better than his (remembrance), and if he draws near Me by the span of a palm, I draw near him by the cubit, and if he draws near Me by the cubit I draw near him by the space (covered by) two hands. And if he walks towards Me, I rush towards him." [Hadith Qudsi]

"Abu Hurairah (RA) reported: the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, "There are two statements that are light for the tongue to remember, heavy in the Scales and are dear to the Merciful: SubhanAllahi wa bihamdihi, Subhan-Allah hil-Adhim [Glory be to Allah and His is the praise, (and) Allah, the Greatest is free from imperfection)]." [Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Samura ibn Jundab reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said, "The dearest phrases to Allah are four: Subhan Allah, al-Hamdulillah, Wa la ilaha ill-Allah, and Allah-o-Akbar. There is no harm in beginning them in any order you choose while remembering Allah.'' [Muslim]

Abu Malik al-Ash'ari (RA) reported: the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, "Wudu' is half of Salat, and the expression: Subhan'Allah (Glory be to Allah)' fills the Balance, and the expression: Alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah)' fills the space between the heavens and the earth." [Muslim]

Abu Mas'ud reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said, "If anyone recites the last two verses of Surat al-Baqarah, they will suffice for him,'' [Bukhari and Muslim] That is, these two verses will bring him a reward equivalent to that of a night prayer, and will safeguard him from any hurt during that night.

The Messenger (Muhammad SAW) believes in what has been sent down to him from his Lord and (so do) the believers. Each one believes in Allah, His Angels, His Books, and His Messengers. They say, "We make no distinction between one another of His Messengers" - and they say, "We hear, and we obey. (We seek) Your Forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the return (of all)."

Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope. He gets reward for that (good) which he has earned, and he is punished for that (evil) which he has earned. "Our Lord! Punish us not if we forget or fall into error, our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that which You did lay on those before us (Jews and Christians); our Lord! Put not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Pardon us and grant us Forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our Maula (Patron, Supporter and Protector, etc.) and give us victory over the disbelieving people.

Abu Sa'id reported that the Prophet (pbuh) asked, "Can anyone of you recite a third of the Qur'an during the night?" The Companions considered this rather difficult and they said, "Who among us can do so, O Prophet of Allah?" Thereupon the Prophet (pbuh) said, "(Say :) He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begets not, nor is he begotten; and there is none like unto Him.'' (The reference here is to recitation of Surah 112 (Surah Ikhlas) of the Qur'an, which the Prophet (pbuh) described as equivalent to reciting one-third of the Qur'an. [Bukhari, Muslim].

"Abu Hurairah (RA) reported: the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, "He who recites after every prayer: Subhan'Allah (Glory be to Allah) thirty-three times; Alhamdu lillah (praise be to Allah) thirty-three times; Allahu Akbar (Allah is Greatest) thirty-three times; and completes the hundred with: La ilaha illallahu, wahdahu la sharika lahu, lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamdu, wa Huwa `ala kulli shai'in Qadir (there is no true god except Allah. He is One and He has no partner with Him. His is the sovereignty and His is the praise, and He is Omnipotent), will have all his sins pardoned even if they may be as large as the foam on the surface of the sea." [Muslim]

Abu Hurairah (RA) reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said, "Whoever says, 'La llaha illa-Allahu wahdahu la sharika lahu, lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamd wa huwa 'ala kulli shai'in qadir' a hundred times during a day will have a reward equivalent to the reward for freeing ten slaves. Besides, a hundred good deeds will be recorded for him and a hundred bad deeds of his will be wiped off, and it will be a safeguard for him from Satan that day until evening, and no one will be better in deeds than such a person except he who does more than that.'' [Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi].

"Sa'ad bin abi Waqqas (RA) reported: the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) used to seek (Allah's) protection after prayers in these words: "Allahumma inni a`udhu bika minal-jubni wal-bukhl, wa a'udhu bika min an uradda ila ardhalil-`umur, wa a`udhu bika min fitnatid-dunya, wa a`udhu bika min fitnatil-qabr (O Allah, I seek refuge with You from cowardice, miserliness and from being sent back to a feeble age; and, seek refuge with You from the trials of this life and those of the grave)." [Bukhari]

September 10, 2008

Pearls of Wisdom

O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious) [Al-Baqarah verse 183]

The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Saum (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah [i.e. to say Takbir (Allahu-Akbar; Allah is the Most Great) on seeing the crescent of the months of Ramadan and Shawwal] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him. [Surah Al-Baqarah verse 185]

(The believers whose lives Allah has purchased are) those who repent to Allah (from polytheism and hypocrisy, etc.), who worship Him, who praise Him, who fast (or go out in Allah's Cause), who bow down (in prayer), who prostrate themselves (in prayer), who enjoin (people) for Al-Ma'ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all what Islam has ordained) and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism of all kinds and all that Islam has forbidden), and who observe the limits set by Allah (do all that Allah has ordained and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which Allah has forbidden). And give glad tidings to the believers. [Surah At-Tawbah verse 112]

Sahih Bukhari

Volume 003, Book 031, Hadith Number 120 - Narrated By Sahl (RA):

The Prophet (pbuh) said, "There is a gate in Paradise called Ar-Raiyan, and those who observe fasts will enter through it on the Day of Resurrection and none except them will enter through it. It will be said, 'Where are those who used to observe fasts?' They will get up, and none except them will enter through it. After their entry the gate will be closed and nobody will enter through it."

Volume 003, Book 031, Hadith Number 123 - Narrated By Abu Huraira (RA):

Allah's Apostle (pbuh) said, "When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained."

Volume 3, Book 31, Number 125 - Narrated Abu Huraira (RA):
The Prophet (pbuh) said, "Whoever established prayers on the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven; and whoever fasts in the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven."

Volume 003, Book 031, Hadith Number 127 - Narrated By Abu Huraira (RA):

The Prophet (pbuh) said, "Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)"

The fast and the Qur'an are two intercessors for the servant of Allah on the Day of Resurrection. The fast will say: 'O Lord, I prevented him from his food and desires during the day. Let me intercede for him.' The Qur'an will say: 'I prevented him from sleeping at night. Let me intercede for him.' And their intercession will be accepted." (Ahmad)

Abu Huraira related that the Prophet said: Allah the Majestic and Exalted said: "Every deed of man will receive ten to 700 times reward, except Siyam (fasting), for it is for Me and I shall reward it (as I like). There are two occasions of joy for one who fasts: one when he breaks the fast and the other when he will meet his Lord" (Muslim).

September 09, 2008

Fear & Hope

The heart in its journey towards Allah is like a bird; its head is love, and its two wings are hope & fear. When the head and the two wings are sound and healthy, then the bird will fly well. If the head of the bird is cut off, it immediately dies, and when either or both wings are deficient, the bird cannot fly properly and it may become the victim of a hunter that passes by. - Ibn Al-Qayyim Al- Jawziyyah

One of the great guiding principles of Islam is that the believer should tread a path between fear and hope. He should not take it for granted that he will enter Paradise, because this will make him complacent, and he does not know in what state he will die. Nor should he assume that he is going to Hell, because this is despairing of the mercy of Allaah, which is forbidden. So the believer does righteous deeds, and hopes that Allaah will reward him for them, and he avoids evil deeds out of fear of the punishment of Allaah. If he commits a sin, he repents in order to gain forgiveness and protect himself from the punishment of Hell. Allaah forgives all sins and accepts the repentance of those who repent. If a believer fears that the good deeds he has sent on before him are not enough, as you suggest, then he will increase his efforts, in fear and hope. No matter how many righteous deeds he has sent on before him, he cannot rely on them and take them for granted, or else he will be doomed. He keeps striving and hoping for reward, and at the same time he fears lest his deeds be contaminated with any element of showing off, self-admiration, or anything that will lead to them being rejected by Allaah. Allaah describes the believers :

And those who give that (their charity) which they give (and also do other good deeds) with their hearts full of fear (whether their alms and charities, etc., have been accepted or not), because they are sure to return to their Lord (for reckoning). (Surah Al-Mu'minoon verse 60)

What is the matter with you, [that you fear not Allah (His punishment), and] you hope not for reward (from Allah or you believe not in His Oneness). (Surah Nuh verse 13)

So the believer keeps on striving, fearing and hoping, until he meets his Lord, believing in Tawheed (Divine Unity) and doing righteous deeds, and earns the pleasure of his Lord and Paradise. If you think about the matter, you will realize that these are the right motives for action, and that righteousness cannot be achieved in this life in any other way.

Anas reported that the Prophet(pbuh) entered upon a young boy who was dying. The Prophet (pbuh) asked: "How are you?" The boy replied: "O Messenger of Allah, I am in-between hoping in Allah and fearing for my sins." The Prophet (pbuh) said: "The like of these two qualities do not unite in the heart of a servant except that Allah gives him what he hopes for and protects him from what he feared." (At-Tirmidhi)

Taken from

August 31, 2008

Ramadan Kareem

Ramadan Kareem to all!

Insha'Allah we will be starting our fasts from tomorrow (1st September).

I pray to Allah to open for us the doors of the heavens, and lock the doors of hell. To help us recite the Qur’an and fill our hearts with tranquillity. May He multiply our blessings and ease our path towards its bounties. May He accept our good deeds and guide us towards the clear truth. May this Ramadan be a means of getting closer to our Lord & gaining His pleasure and seeking refuge from His anger and punishment. May He guide us towards righteous actions and fulfil our needs and hopes, Ameen.

Alhamdulilah, we have been truly blessed to be able to live to see the start of yet another Ramadan. We are uncertain whether we will be able to see another Ramadan or even live through this one. May we strive to make this our BEST Ramadan ever and go through it as if it's our last.

August 26, 2008

A True Hero

Yesterday I received my copy of the Australian Breastfeeding Association's bi-monthly magazine - Essence. I became a member of the organisation while expecting our second child as I was keen on having a positive breastfeeding experience second time around, as I wasn't successful with my first born. Alhamdulilah, the ABA has been of great help and support. I would highly recommend supporting such organisations who's goal is to promote exclusive breastfeeding of infants for the first 6 months of their lives and continued feeding uptil the age of 2 or beyond (which is in accordance with the Qur'an & Sunnah). They offer heaps of services for women who encounter breastfeeding problems and also play a major role in raising breastfeeding awarness among the masses.

I love their magazine and always read it cover to cover the day it arrives! Yesterday wasn't any different. I came across an article which spoke about how a Chinese police officer took it upon herself to feed 9 orhpaned/seperated infants after the devastating earthquake in May '08. Here's an article published on CNN website.

SubhanAllah I think she is a true hero. The way she instinctively reacted and cared for those babies shows how deep maternal instinct can be, and illustrates it's universal nature.

May Allah guide her to the truth and keep her steadfast, Ameen.

Here's a snippet from YouTube:

Alhamdulilah - All praise belongs to Allah (swt)

When I was pregnant with my second child I was very eager to find out the gender of my baby. Deep down I hoped it would be a boy just so my elder daughter could have a 'mahram'. I don't have any brothers and always wished I had one. But as time went by I didn't really care what gender my baby would be, all I wanted was for him/her to be healthy and pious. When the time finally arrived, we found out that we have been blessed with a baby girl. Alhamdulilah! The first thing that my husband told me as we walked out of the sonographer's room was - 'this is yet another opportunity for us to go to paradise, insha'Allah!' So for all those out there who have been blessed with 2 or more daughters, I'd like to share this with you:

Sahih Muslim


Book 032, Number 6362:

'A'isha, the wife of Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him), said: A woman came to me along with her two daughters. She asked me for (charity) but she found nothing with me except one date, so I gave her that. She accepted it and then divided it between her two daughters and herself ate nothing out of that. She then got up and went out, and so did her two daughters. (In the meanwhile) Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) visited me and I narrated to him her story. Thereupon Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: He who is involved (in the responsibility) of (bringing up) daughters, and he accords benevolent treatment towards them, there would be protection for him against Hell-Fire.

Book 032, Number 6363:

'A'isha reported: A poor woman came to me along with her daughters. I gave her three dates. She gave a date to each of them and then she took up one date and brought that to her mouth in order to eat that, but her daughters expressed desire to eat it. She then divided the date that she intended to eat between them. This (kind) treatment of her impressed me and I mentioned that which she did to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him). Thereupon he said: Verily Allah has assured Paradise for her, because of (this act) of her, or He has rescued her from Hell-Fire.

Book 032, Number 6364:

Malik reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: He, who brought up two girls properly till they grew up, he and I would come (together) (very closely) on the Day of Resurrection, and he interlaced his fingers (for explaining the point of nearness between him and that person).

A Man is known by the company he keeps

Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

“The example of a good companion and a bad one is the bearer of musk and the worker on the bellows. A bearer of musk would give you some, you might buy some from him, or you might enjoy the fragrance of his musk. The worker on the bellows, on the other hand, might spoil your clothes with sparks from his bellows, or you get a bad smell from him.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) uses an effective example to bring to the hearer’s conception the impact of good company and bad company.

A good companion is compared to a musk seller or a perfume seller. A perfume seller might give you some of his fragrance, and a good companion might give you some good advice or a useful tip. A perfume seller can be useful by selling you some of his musk, and a good friend can be useful by responding readily to your demand for help in any matter, mundane or religious. At the very least, a musk seller is nice to have around, even without being beneficial in any practical way, as the pleasant smell emanating from his direction is a pleasure in itself. Similarly, a good companion is at least useful to you for your good name and the pleasure of good company. Just to feel his presence improves your spirits.

In contrast, a bad companion is comparable to a worker on the bellows. If you come close to the bellows, sparks might hit your clothing and make holes in them. Even at some distance, you will feel the stench of burning. Your only hope is in keeping away from the horrid smell. And it is the same way with a bad companion; if you are close to him and identify with him, you will take over some of his perversity, and your character will be harmed, just as your clothes will be spoiled if you come too close to a worker on the bellows. Even if you remain safe from the influence of a bad companion, you cannot escape people talking about you for consorting with bad company. You cannot even be sure that such a person will not adversely affect you in the end: To remain within reach of a wild beast, means it will surely spring on you one day.

The following verses from the Qur’an may drive the idea home:

  • And incline not to those who do wrong, or the fire will seize you.(Hud 11:113)
  • Therefore, shun those who turn away from Our remembrance and desire nothing but the life of this world. (An-Najm 53:30)

In another place, the Qur’an directs a believer to seek the company of the well guided.

Restrain thyself along with those who call on their Lord morning and evening seeking His face. (Al-Kahf 18:28)

The following tradition, on the authority of Abu Hurairah, also corroborates the same concept:

“Man models himself after his companion; so let each one of you see who he chooses for companion” (At-Tirmidhi).

August 25, 2008

Being thankful to Allah

With shaitaan on the prowl, eager to take us away from our Lord, we often become victims of satanic whisperings. Our Lord has bestowed upon us such bounties but we tend to ignore them and look at people around us and crave for what we have not instead of being thankful for what we do have. The problem most of us face today is what is called the “if only…” syndrome. If only I had a bigger house, a better car, more money, a better job – and the list is endless– I’d be grateful.

"Therefore remember Me, I will remember you, and be thankful to Me, and do not be ungrateful to Me." [Qur'an 2:152]

Our pursuit in life must be for the hereafter. How much did the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) have in a materialistic sense? The key to achieving tranquillity and harmony of a balanced heart, mind and body is that we look at those who are below us materialistically and we forget about those who are above us.

"And He gives you all that you ask for. But if you count the favours of Allah, never will you be able to number them. Verily, man is given up to injustice and ingratitude." [Qur'an 14:34]

A great scholar once eloquently said: "Can you picture yourself walking without feet? Should you take it light that you slumber soundly while misery hinders the sleep of many? Should you forget that you fill yourself with both delicious dishes and cool water while the pleasure of good food and drink is impossible for some, due to sickness or disease? Consider the faculties of hearing and seeing with which you have been endowed. Look at your healthy skin and be grateful that you have been saved from diseases that attack it. Reflect on your powers of reasoning and remember those that suffer from mental ailments.”

Thankfulness frees the heart from greed, jealousy and envy. When we are thankful to Allah, we remain mindful of Him and His continuous Mercy toward us, and this in return humbles us and improves our characters. The very fact that Allah has guided us to Islam and the sunnah of His Prophet (pbuh) in itself should be a source of continual praise.

"Surely We have shown him the way: he may be thankful or unthankful." [Qur'an 76:3]

So how can a servant be thankful to Allah?

  • By prostrating to Allah - Abdur-Rahman ibn 'Auf relates that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) went out once and he followed him until he entered a grove of palm trees and prostrated. His prostration was so long that 'Abdur-Rahman feared that Allah had taken his soul. 'Abdur-Rahman came to look at him and he raised his head and said: "What is wrong, Abdur-Rahman'?" Abdur rahman mentioned what had happened, and he (pbuh) said: "Gabriel came to me and said: 'Shall I not give you glad tidings'? Allah says to you, Whoever prays upon you, I pray upon him. Whoever salutes you, I salute him.' Therefore, I prostrated to Allah in thanks." {This is related by Ahmad and by Al-Haakim who says: "It is sahih according to the criterion of al-Bukhari and Muslim}
  • By thanking Allah in words - Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said: "It is a fine thing when a believer praises and thanks Allah if good comes to him, and praises Allah and shows endurance if smitten by affliction. The believer is rewarded for everything, even for the morsel he raises to his wife's mouth." {Bayhaqi transmitted it in Shu'ab al-Iman. Sunan at-Tirmidhi no.1733 See also Saheeh Muslim (7138)}
  • Talking about the benefits Allah has granted us – When we are grateful to Allah for what He has bestowed upon us, He will be pleased with us and grant us what we desire. By continuously returning to Him alone and praising Him for our blessings we can be sure that we will be rewarded with what is best for us both in this life and the next.
  • Helping people in need - The Prophet (pbuh) said, "If anyone strokes an orphan's head, doing so only for Allah's sake, he will have blessings for every hair over which his hand passes; and if anyone treats well an orphan girl or boy under his care, he and I shall be like these two in Paradise," putting two of his fingers together." {Sunan at-Tirmidhi no.4974}
  • Offering optional prayers such as Salatul-Duha (forenoon prayer) - Abu Dharr (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, "In the morning, charity is due on every joint bone of the body of every one of you. Every utterance of Allah's Glorification (i.e., saying Subhan Allah) is an act of charity, and every utterance of His Praise (i.e., saying Al-hamdu lillah) is an act of charity and every utterance of declaration of His Greatness (i.e., saying La ilaha illAllah) is an act of charity; and enjoining M`aruf (good) is an act of charity, and forbidding Munkar (evil) is an act of charity, and two Rak`ah Duha prayers which one performs in the forenoon is equal to all this (in reward).'' [Muslim].
  • By moistening our tongues with Allah's remembrance
  • By visiting the sick, the disabled and the terminally ill
  • Making Dua to Allah that He makes us thankful slaves

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “None will enter Paradise but will be shown the place he would have occupied in the (Hell) Fire if he had rejected faith, so that he may be more thankful; and none will enter the (Hell) Fire but will be shown the place he would have occupied in Paradise if he had faith, so that may be a cause of sorrow for him.” (Sahih Bukhari).