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).

August 24, 2008

Heart Wheel Journal

Sheikh Mohammad Al-Shareef has put together an amazing journal that we can use during the month of Ramadan (and even during the rest of the year) to improve our relationship with our Creator and get closer to Allah (swt).

I encourage everyone to download the journal, print it, bind it and use it to make this Ramadan a memorable one, inshaAllah.

You can also sign up on Al-Maghrib Forums for support and to interact with other people using the journal around the world, insha'Allah.

All the best and insha'Allah this is beneficial to us all!

Don't forget to make dua for the beloved Sheikh :)

Click Here

August 21, 2008

Life is sacred – preserve it!

Right from the moment of conception a bond of trust, love and dependence is formed between a mother and her child where her body, mind and soul prepare to nurture and nourish the child and give him/her the best possible start in life. This unique journey through conception, pregnancy and birth is a miracle in itself wherein one can experience life in caring for a life. This encompasses many facets of joy, love, sacrifice and even pain at times. Despite these difficulties, mothering can be an enriching experience.

There has been a lot of hype in the media recently about changing abortion laws and legalising it. The whole idea of ending the life of an unborn child – no matter what the reason – makes me sick to the stomach. I cannot understand how someone can be so inhumane and so selfish as to think only about themselves and commit such a hideous act. There are so many couples out there who are willing to trade all they have in exchange to be blessed with an offspring and on the other hand there are people who are hasty to get rid of the blessing God has bestowed upon them. Little do they realise that the innocent being inside them – is a part of them and has a life of its’ own! It’s clearly murder. If they were to kill a child after it was born they’d be prosecuted. Then why should abortion be any different?

Before I go ahead with this article I’d like to briefly mention the different methods of abortion. I am sure many of us are unaware of the actual procedures involved. I’d like to warn you though that what you are going to read is quite disturbing. But I think it’s something we all should know.

How is abortion performed?

The method of abortion varies according to the stage of pregnancy and the size of the unborn baby. The most common method used in the first 12 weeks is suction aspiration. In this procedure the cervix is forced open by inserting rods (dilators) of increasing sizes. A hollow tube with a knife-ending tip called a cannula, which is attached to a very powerful vacuum inserted into the womb and the unborn child is sucked down the tube in pieces. If the head is too large it may be crushed in order to be removed. Another method used in the first trimester is the dilation and curettage (D&C). The cervix is dilated in the same way and a curette or scraping instrument is used to scrape the unborn child (in pieces) from the womb. The dilation and evacuation (D&E) method is used after the 12th week as the unborn child is now much larger and his bones are harder. Small forceps are now used to dismember the body and crush the unborn child's head before removal. The dilation and extraction (D&X or Partial-Birth) method of abortion is currently being used in many countries on unborn babies over 20 weeks. This method is particularly disturbing as some of these babies are of the same age being nurtured and cared for in premature wards. The cervix is now very widely dilated and the abortionist inserts forceps into the womb. Grabbing hold of one of the baby's legs, he/she then draws the unborn child from the birth canal until only the head is undelivered, therefore now partially born. He/she then stabs a sharp instrument into the base of the skull, inserts a suction apparatus and the contents of the skull are then sucked out. The deceased and limp baby is then 'evacuated' from the womb. All of the above procedures are performed under anaesthetic either local, local plus twilight or general anaesthetic and predominantly in private day clinics. Anaesthetic is not given to the unborn child. Less common procedures include Prostaglandins. This is a drug which induces intense labour at any stage of pregnancy and the child is expelled from the womb. In some cases the child may be delivered alive, in which case it is usually left to die, or it may be poisoned before birth. Another method, which is not commonly used as it involves the woman being admitted to hospital, is the saline method. It is used in the second trimester (3 to 6 months). Some of the amniotic fluid is removed and replaced with a highly concentrated salt solution. At this stage of development the unborn child is breathing and swallowing this fluid and now the salt will burn and poison his/her lungs, stomach and intestines. His/her delicate skin is also burned. He/she struggles, haemorrhages, goes into convulsions and dies within a few hours. The mother then goes into labour and delivers the dead or dying baby. Sometimes the baby survives. The Hysterotomy is like a mini Caesarean section however the baby is usually too young to survive or is put aside to die.

Going over what I’ve included above, I am sure you will agree that abortion is just another name for brutal murder. It’s shocking how the so called ‘family planning’ centres offer abortion as one of their ‘services’. They make it look like something so casual, that no one even thinks twice about what they are doing. I cannot understand how a medical professional can end someone’s life when they are trained to save lives! It’s true how they say only half of the patients that enter an abortion clinic come out alive. I’ve seen some footage floating around on the internet which shows US images of a foetus being aborted. It’s saddening to see the look of sheer horror and pain on the face of the foetus while the procedure is being performed. Looks like it is crying out in despair shouting out to his mom – how could you?! Just as it is said that it’s your body and you have a right to do whatever you choose with your body, the same thing applies to the little being inside you. Despite being in you, the child has a right to live, a right to experience the many facets of life – he is a separate person – with a soul of its own.

Society has advanced but this progress hasn’t always been good. There is moral degradation and people’s minds have fragmented and become self-centred. You might argue that things aren’t as black and white as they appear. There might be a lot of reasons for which a person might be treading down this path. But I think it’s important here for us to treat the cause rather than the symptom. There has been an increase in the number of teen pregnancies, unplanned pregnancies and pregnancies resulting from abuse. It would be useful to step back and access the situation and try to work towards avoiding these in the first place, rather than encouraging it to happen and then offering options such as abortion. It doesn’t make sense. We’re going to be stuck in a vicious circle, where the unborn foetus, which bears no responsibility whatsoever, pays the price.

Alhamdulilah for Islam. It truly is a way of life, where we have everything laid down for us by Allah (swt). The basic principle concerning abortion is that it is haraam and is not allowed from the moment of conception when it becomes a new being and is “placed in a place of safety” [cf. al-Mursalaat 77:21], i.e., the womb. It is not permissible to abort a pregnancy at any stage unless there is a legitimate reason, and within very precise limits. If a woman was to abort her child, then it is due upon her and everyone else involved to pay (diyah) blood money and the kafaarah (expiation) must be offered. The diyah should be paid to the heirs of the foetus, but his killer should not take any of it. The expiation for killing is to free a slave; if that is not possible then one must fast for two consecutive months.

Ibn Qudaamah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: If a number of people took part in beating the woman and she miscarried the foetus, then the diyah or slave must be given by them all, each contributing a share, and each of them must offer expiation, the same as if a group of people participate in killing one man. If she miscarries several foetuses then they must all contribute to the diyah, and each one must offer expiation for each foetus. If three people strike the woman’s stomach, and she miscarries three foetuses, then they must offer nine expiations in all, each one offering three. [al-Mughni (8/326)]. And he said: The value of the slave is half of one-tenth of the diyah, which is five camels. That was narrated from ‘Umar and Zayd (may Allaah be pleased with them).

May Allah protect us from all evil and harm and keep us steadfast on His deen and make us among those that earn his pleasure and not of those who make Him angry, Ameen.

August 19, 2008

A hobby a day keeps the doldrums away

As a school aged child my mom always encouraged me to pursue my hobbies. Along with academics she always stressed on the importance of having hobbies. During our school holidays we were never allowed to sit idle or waste our time in front of the television. We were always asked to do something productive with our time. As a child I didn’t really understand why she made such a big deal of it but now that I do not have much time to do the things I like I realize how important it is for me to spend some time everyday doing what I love most.

Besides filling up the hours, hobbies can be the beginning of a lifetime passion. Hobbies can enhance our creativity and help us think more clearly and sharpen our focus. When I would be engaged in a hobby of my choice, I’d lose sense of time and get completely engrossed in the task at hand. It made me feel so much more energetic and I came out of it feeling content and motivated – both emotionally and intellectually. Making time for enjoyable activities stimulates parts of the brain associated with creative and positive thinking. They enhance self-esteem and self-confidence.

I believe that everyone has an abundance of interests and talents. It’s just a matter of figuring out what makes us tick and stick to it. Sometimes a particular experience can lead to experimenting with new projects, meeting new people and increasing positive self-esteem.

I know for myself pursing my hobbies created a very special place in my heart. It fulfilled so many parts of me and the personal connection to create something new was very therapeutic for my well-being.

If you notice that you often feel lonely, maybe it’s time to observe what you silently yearn to try. The choices are limitless. Participating in something new can be adventurous. Once you discover what your hobbies are you will realise that it brings more joy and awareness in your life.

Going through the same old routine day and in out makes life so monotone and I feel more anxious and depressed. I burn out easily and get very irritable. I love being the person I am and enjoy doing the things I do, but sometimes the feeling that I am solely defined by my job – as a mother/home-maker – even if it is going well makes me feel depressed. I feel that I do not have a perception of myself outside of ‘work’.

Being tied up with life and the many chores it brings along with it, I’ve let my hobbies take a back-seat. I’ve ignored them for too long and now I feel that it’s time I spent some time doing the things I like without having to worry about anything else. Just as we make sure we take some time out to look after ourselves physically, we need to nurture our minds and let ourselves ‘flow’. Soon I will be making an effort to spend a few minutes everyday doing the things that make me happy & I hope this will help me develop a more positive outlook towards life in general.

Some of my hobbies are: reading, painting (fabric/tile/glass), and latch work, henna designs, cooking & stitching (not sewing). What are yours?

August 18, 2008

A beautiful Nasheed

Our actions are undermined by our intentions

It is narrated on the authority of 'Umar bin al-Khattab, radiyallahu 'anhu, who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam, say:
"Actions are (judged) by motives (niyyah), so each man will have what he intended. Thus, he whose migration (hijrah) was to Allah and His Messenger, his migration is to Allah and His Messenger; but he whose migration was for some worldly thing he might gain, or for a wife he might marry, his migration is to that for which he migrated."
[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

This hadith is considered to be one of the greatest hadith in Islam. Al-Imam al-Shafie said: “This Hadith is one third of the knowledge of Islam; related to about 70 topics of Fiqh.”

Imam Ahmad said: Before you do anything, check your intention (niyyah) - ask yourself before performing an action: "Is it for the sake of Allah?"

We must always make sure that our actions are for the sake of Allah and we are performing an act solely for Allah's sake whereby no other witness except Allah is sought. By doing this we are also showing ikhlas (sincerity) towards Allah. We can work towards achieving this by doing righteous deeds (the more good deeds we do for the sake of Allah, the closer we get to Him and the more sincere we become) & by seeking knowledge (our actions and deeds should be guided by knowledge so we do them in accordance of the Shariah).

The four things that contradict ikhlas are:

  • Ma'siat - committing sins - this will weaken our ikhlas
  • Shirk - associating others with Allah
  • Riya' - performing an ibadah with the intention of showing off to others
  • Nifaq - hypocrisy

It is a terrible possibility that all of our good deeds might not be of any value because of a corruption of our motives. To avoid that fate, one must know the dangers of changing his intentions and seeking the pleasure of others besides Allah. We may begin a good deed for the sake of Allah alone but due to other worldly rewards associated with the same act we may start enjoying them and even seeking them without any realization that a switch has taken place internally. They are hard to detect and even harder to repel. We may be under the illusion that we are performing a certain act for the sake of Allah but we might actually be in it for praise from the people around us.

Al-Imam al-Harawi said the root cause for insincerity (or shirk) is self-desire (al-hawa). He states that there are 7 types of self-desires:-

  • To make oneself appear good in the hearts of others
  • To seek the praises of others
  • To avoid being blamed by others
  • To seek the glorification of others
  • To seek the wealth/money of others
  • To seek the services or love of others
  • To seek the help of others for oneself

Therefore no action should be done because of self-desire. Ibnu al-Qayyim says: Any action we do is subject to three defects:

  1. Being conscious that others are observing our actions
  2. Seeking a return (benefit/reward) for the action
  3. Being satisfied with the action

By being vigilant & conscious of our intentions we can work towards getting closer to Allah and seeking His pleasure. Once we achieve this it won’t matter whether you have gained acceptance and praise from the people around you but you can be sure that insha'Allah your deeds have been accepted by Allah and you will be rightly rewarded.

What happens if we were to change our niyyah while performing an action?

Ibn Rajab says according to the ulama' if the niyyah at the end of the action matches the beginning (i.e. doing the action for the sake of Allah), then any changes in the middle of the action will be forgiven or does not matter, insha Allah. However, if the niyyah at the end does not match the beginning, i.e. we do the action for other than the sake of Allah, then we must repent (taubah).

August 15, 2008

Inspirational Quotes

During one of our many annual trips to India while we were residing in Saudi Arabia, I borrowed a book off my grandma (she is a bookworm, mashaAllah). It was a very inspirational book and I loved reading every bit of it. It wasn't a story per se but very uplifting nonetheless. I was so taken by it I wrote down the bits that inspired me the most in a seperate book so I could read it whenever I wanted to. Unfortunately, I cannot recall the name of the book or the author and hence have no records of that but Alhamdulilah I still have the stuff I wrote down. So here I am sharing it with you all...

"Flatter me & I may not believe you, criticize me & I may not like you, ignore me & I make not forgive you. Encourage me & and I will not forget you."

"What lies behind us & what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us".

"No matter how qualified or deserving we are, we will never reach a better life until we can imagine it for ourselves and allow ourselves to have it".

"The pessimist complains abou tthw wind, the optimist expects it to change & the realist adjusts his sails".

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices".

"Commerce is idea & choice expressed. Look about you this moment. Everything you see & touch was once an invisible idea until someone chose to bring it into being".

"We are each given a block of marble when we begin a lifetime, & the tools to shape it into sculpture. We can drag it behind us untouched, we can pound it to gravel, we can shape it into glory. Examples from every other life are left for us to see, life works finished & unfinished, guiding and warning. Near the end, our sculpture is nearly finished & we can smooth & polish what we started years before. We can make our greatest progress then, but to do it we must see past the appearance of age".

"Truth like gold is to be obtained not by it's growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold".

"Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself".

"Always forgive your enemies, nothing annoys them more".

"By the time a man realises that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he is wrong".

"Age is like mind over matter. If you don't mind, it don't matter".

"Family life is a constant challenge, not a periodic performance we can render on a stage and then run for the privacy of a dressing room to be alone with ourselves."

"The fear of God is the beginning of Wisdom".

"Don't curse darkness, light a candle".

"Hold fast to your dreams for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly".

"To achieve the marvellous it is precisely the unthinkable that must be thought".

"Be like a rose that perfumes the hand that crushes it".

"If we are not responsible for the thoughts that pass our doors, we are atleast responsible for those we admit and entertain."

"Silence makes the real communication between friends. Not the saying, but the never needing to say is what counts."

"Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves".

"What is to give light, must endure burning".

"We are not permitted to choose the frame of our destiny, but what we put into it is ours".

"Sow an act & you reap a habit, sow a habit & you reap a character, sow a character and you reap a destiny".

"The purest ore is produced from the hottest furnace & the brightest thunder bold is elicited from the darkest storm. Nothing splendid has ever been achieved, except by those who dared to believe that something inside them was superior to circumstances".

"Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the tests first & the lessons afterwards".

"The ailment of the body is in sickness & that of the heart is in sins. A delicious meal cannot benefit the body when the person is sick & likewise, when the heart is infested with sins it cannot taste the sweetness of worship".

"Raindrops erode hard rocks not by intensity, but through repitition".

"The weakest of people is the person who could not keep his own secret, the strongest of them is the person who controls his anger & the richest of them is the person who is content with whatever sustenance he gets".

Book Review

Dear Zoo – by Rod Campbell


This book tells the story of a letter written to the zoo, asking for a pet. A succession of animals are despatched, all of them highly unsuitable, until finally the last one arrives.


This is a very readable and enjoyable book. It has plenty of appeal with gorgeous illustrations and flaps to fiddle with. As well as being great fun it is also educational teaching children concepts such as “too tall” and “too grumpy” as well as teaching them why zoo animals can’t be kept as pets. It’s great for little hands and the flaps are sturdy and encourage hand and eye co-ordination. It not only encourages animal recognition but animal sounds and sizes.

This book has remained a favourite from very early on, and we have not grown bored of reading it almost every day.

August 14, 2008

Trip to Auckland (North Island), New Zealand

Early this year we had the opportunity to visit NZ and see some of the most amazing sights nature has to offer. I was spellbound by the extensive beauty and amazing creation of Allah (swt). And this is just the tip of the iceberg. There were so many things to choose from we didn’t know where to begin but Alhamdulilah were able to make the most of our time there and visited as many places as possible.

We were based in Auckland but rented a car and drove around to areas in and around Auckland. I think we pretty much covered north, south and west of Auckland (and surrounding areas) but couldn’t fit in the east. Of course we had to opt out of certain things and choose only those that were baby/family friendly as we had our 2 year old with us plus I was pregnant with our second child.

Have to mention that surprisingly finding Halal food wasn’t a big issue at all. A lot of places served Halal food and we also had a huge array of seafood restaurants to choose from.

I would love to go back there in the future and see the things we missed out on and visit other cities (this time in the south island) and do heaps more sight-seeing, insha’Allah!

Below is a list of the places we visited along with a brief description:

  • Sky Tower – ‘At 328 metres Sky is the tallest tower in the Southern Hemisphere, offering breath-taking views for more than 80 kilometres in every direction.’ Adventure activities include sky walk and sky jump. Hubby was interested in trying out the sky walk, but time didn’t permit it!
  • Botanical Gardens – ‘Auckland Botanic Gardens is home to over 10,000 plants from around the world, spread over 64 hectares’.
  • Butterfly Creek - Butterfly Creek is Auckland’s hottest new attraction hosting Australasia’s premier tropical butterfly house with over 700 free flying exotic butterflies, tropical fish, birds and lizards. Butterfly Creek offers a great family day out in Auckland.
  • Rainbows End Theme Park – The adult rides weren’t that attractive, but our 2 year old had a ball in the children’s section.
  • Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World - ‘Kelly Tarlton's is a wonderland of snow, ice and amazing underwater sights where you can explore the wilds of Antarctica and the natural treasures of the ocean depths’.
  • One Tree Hill/Cornwall Park – ‘Is a landscaped park designed for the recreation and enjoyment of all the people of New Zealand. The park is renowned for its landscape design and its wide variety of mature trees. It is centred on a volcanic cone, One Tree Hill, with many interesting geological features.’
  • Mt Eden - A volcano in Auckland City situated five kilometres south of the city centre. The mountain is the highest natural point in the whole of Auckland.
  • Parnell Rose Garden – ‘The Rose Gardens are enhanced by many mature trees. The roses are mainly modern with over 4500 rose bushes. From late Spring to early Autumn the rose bushes will be at their best and draw visitors from New Zealand and overseas to view the brilliant display.’
  • Black Sand Beaches (Muriwai, Cornwallis, Piha and other beaches on the way)
  • Waiheke Island – ‘a quiet tropical paradise in the Hauraki Gulf
  • Lake Taupo - Is a lake situated in the North Island. It has a perimeter of approx. 193 kilometers and a deepest point of 186 meters and a surface area of 616 sq kilometers. It is a noted trout fishery with stocks of introduced brown trout and rainbow trout.
  • Huka Falls – ‘At the Huka Falls, the Waikato River which is normally 100m wide, is squeezed through a 20 metre wide gorge and over a 20m drop. Every second up to 220,000 litres of water gushes through the gorge and shoots out over 8 metres beyond to create a beautiful blue/green pool.’
  • Whangarei waterfalls
  • Rotorua - A city in the southern shore of Lake Rotorua, well known for it's geothermal activity.
  • Kuirau Park – ‘Kuirau Park occupies an area of geothermal activity typified by many hot springs, gas and steam upflows, thermally altered ground and silica deposits from prehistoric times.’
  • Waitomo Glowworm Caves – ‘World renowned and a magnet for both local and overseas visitors, the Waitomo Glowworm Caves occupy a high placing in almost everyones New Zealand vacation wish-list. The Waitomo glowworm, Arachnocampa luminosa, is unique to New Zealand. Thousands of these tiny creatures radiate their unmistakable luminescent light as our expert guides provide informative commentary on the Caves' historical and geological significance.’
  • Orakei Korako – Cave and Thermal Park
  • Wai-o-Tapu – A geothermal park

Photos: Click Here and Here (Album is set to private. Can only be viewed by family & friends. Please leave a comment and I will e-mail you the password. Thank-you!)

Crying in Front of Allah - It's not impossible

by Abdul Malik Mujahid

When was the last time you cried? Not a few drops of salty water from your eyes, or the odd tear that slipped down your face while watching a tragic event.

I'm talking about warm tears of the heart. Tears that sting your face because they've been there so long, their bitter saltiness hurts your skin.

When was the last time you cried like a baby?

Aisha, may Allah be pleased with our mother, relates that: In the last ten of Ramadan, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, used to tighten his waist belt, pray all night, and wake up his family for the night prayers (Bukhari and Muslim).

Aisha related that the Prophet said: Look for Laylatul Qadr on an odd-numbered night during the last ten nights of Ramadan (Bukhari).

We can't afford not to be crying in front of Allah, the Merciful, All-Aware.

Tears flow when we remember how much Allah has blessed us with and how much we disobey Him. We can never repay Allah for everything we have, yet we still blatantly commit sins both big and small: whether it's backbiting, hurting other human beings, not standing up for the truth, treating our family badly, lying, doing good deeds to show off, cheating, etc.

Allah opens ways out of problems for us, easing our burdens. Yet, we still disobey Him and take His Mercy for granted.

Abdullah ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said he would rather shed two tears from the fear of Allah than give a thousand dinars in charity.

And the most telling example of a man who few would think would cry because of Allah is Umar, may Allah be pleased with him. He was known for being strong, fearless, and uncompromising when it came to matters of faith. Yet, Abdullah ibn Isa said that Umar had two black streaks on his face because of constant weeping.

He feared Allah so much that he once said, "If someone announced from the heavens that everybody will enter Paradise except one person, I would fear that that person would be me."

Umar was one of the strongest believers. Yet he cried and feared Allah. And Abu Bakr, he was simply known for his crying. These people loved to serve human beings in the day and spent time begging God to save humanity at night. May Allah be pleased with them.

Let's be more contemplative and pray for an awareness of and forgiveness for our sins, as well as softness in our hearts. If Umar the brave and pious did it, we have even more need and urgency to do it.

Human beings are in turmoil. Connecting with God with our hearts and begging for His Mercy for His Creation will bring us Closer to Him and human beings.

What The Prophet did in Sajdah

By Abdul Malik Mujahid

"I happened to pray one night with the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. The Prophet started reciting al-Baqarah chapter of the Quran and I thought he would stop after 100 verses.

But when he went beyond it I thought that he may want to recite the whole chapter in one Rakah.

When he finished al-Baqarah I thought he would do Ruku but then he immediately started reciting al-Imran and when he finished he started reciting an-Nisa.

The Prophet was reciting very slowly with enough pauses and would do Tasbih (praising God) and Dua (supplication) according to the subject being discussed in the relevant Ayah.

After that the Prophet did Ruku. In Ruku he stayed as long as he did when he was in Qiyam (standing in prayer). After Ruku he stood up for almost same time and then he performed Sajdah (prostration) and stayed there as long as he recited Quran while doing Qiyam". (Hudaifa, may God be pleased with him, narrated this hadith as in Sahih al Muslim, Nasai)

Of course, not all the Prayers of the Prophet were this long. In public he would pray for a shorter period of time and ask other imams to do the same. The Prophet use to make dua in Sajdah not just tasbeeh as we do in obligatory prayers. He used to cry in Sajdah. He would spend an extended amount of his time in Sajdah whenever he was praying on his own. Many times, however, Muslims would join him when they found him praying alone.

Aisha, may God be pleased with her, mentions that: the Prophet one night stood up for Salah and he stayed in it for so long that I thought the Prophet had passed away or died. When I felt that way I stood up shook his toe and I felt the movement then I laid down again and I heard the Prophet saying in Sajdah "I seek refuge in Your pleasure from Your wrath, and in Your pardon from Your punishment, and in You from You. I cannot enumerate Your praises as You praise Yourself." (Transliteration: Audhu bi ridaka min sakhatika, wa bi muafatika min uqubatika wa bika minka, la uhsiy thana'an alayka, anta kama athnayta ala nafsika).

When he stood up from the Sajdah he asked Aisha, "do you think God's Prophet has betrayed you?" Aisha responded "No Preophet of God, because of the long Sajdah I thought you had died." (hadith from Baihaqi but Dua wording from Muwatta Imam Malik)

One of the Prophet's companion, Abdullah ibn Zubayr, would pray with such concentration that when he was in Sajdah the sparrows would come flying and sit on his back. In a separate narration, Abdullah ibn Abbas, another companion, said if you want to see how the Prophet of God used to pray, you should copy how Abdullah ibn Zubayr used to pray.

And consider these two Hadiths from the Sahih Muslim:

Ma'dan b. Talha reported: I met Thauban, the freed slave of God's Messenger, and asked him to tell me about an act for which, if I do it, God will admit me to Paradise, or I asked about the act which was loved most by God. He gave no reply. I again asked and he gave no reply. I asked him for the third time, and he said: I asked God's Messenger about that and he said: Make frequent prostrations before God, for you will not make one prostration without raising you a degree because of it, and removing a sin from you, because of it. Ma'dan said that then he met Abu al-Darda' and when he asked him, he received a reply similar to that given by Thauban.

In the second Hadith, Rabi'a b. Ka'b said: I was with God's Messenger one night and I brought him water and what he required. He said to me: Ask (anything you like). I said: I ask your company in Paradise. He (the Prophet) said: Or anything else besides it. I said: That is all (what I require). He said: Then help me to achieve this for you by devoting yourself often to prostration.

Sajdah is truly a humbling experience. We can beg for God's forgiveness and cry by thinking about our misdeeds, as well as seek refuge in God from the Hellfire. We are in one of the most submissive physical positions when in Sajdah. It is one of the best occasions to ask God for forgiveness, guidance, and all that we want. It is one of the best positions in which to talk to God. Seeking God's pleasure and forgiveness need to be given top priority during the month of Ramadan - especially the last 10 days.

Inner Dimension of Fasting

Inner Dimension of Fasting
Excerpts from Ghazali's Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship

Three grades of fasting
It should be known that there are three grades of fasting: ordinary, special and extra-special.
Ordinary fasting means abstaining from food, drink and sexual satisfaction.
Special fasting means keeping one's ears, eyes,tongue, hands and feet-and all other organs-free from sin.
Extra-special fasting means fasting of the heart from unworthy concerns and worldly thoughts, in total disregard of everything but Allah.

See not what displeases Allah
A chaste regard, restrained from viewing anything that is blameworthy or reprehensible, or which distracts the heart and diverts it from the remembrance of God. The Prophet, said: the furtive glance is one of the poisoned arrows of Satan, on him be God's curse. Whoever forsakes it for fear of God, will receive from Him, great and gracious is He, a faith the sweetness of which he will find within his heart.'

Jabir relates from Anas that God's Messenger, on him be peace,said: 'Five things break a man's fast: lying,backbiting, scandalmongering, perjury and a lustful gaze.'

Speak no evil
Guarding one's tongue from twaddle, lying, backbiting, scandalmongering, obscenity, rudeness, wrangling and controversy; making it observe silence and occupying it with remembrance of Allah and with recitation of the Quran.

This is the fasting of the tongue. Sufyan said: "backbiting vitiates the fast." Layth quotes Mujahid as saying : "Two habits vitiate fasting: backbiting and telling lies.'

The Prophet said: ' Fasting is a shield; so when one of you is fasting he should not use foul or foolish talk. If someone attacks him or insults him, let him say:"I am fasting, I am fasting!"

Hear no evil
Closing one's ears to everything reprehensible; for everything unlawful to utter is likewise unlawful to listen to. That is why Allah equated the eavesdropper with the profiteer " (They like to) listen to falsehood, to devour anything forbidden" (part of Quran 5: 42).

Do no evil
Keeping all other limbs and organs away from sin: the hands and feet from reprehensible deeds, and the stomach from questionable food at the time for breaking fast.

It is meaningless to fast, to abstain from lawful food, only to break one's Fast on what is unlawful. The object of Fasting is to induce moderation. The Prophet said 'How many of those who Fast, get nothing from it but hunger and thirst!'

Avoid overeating
Of what use is the fast as a means of conquering God's enemy and abating appetite, if at the time of breaking it not only makes up for all one has missed during the daytime, but perhaps also indulges in a variety of extra foods?

It has even become the custom to stock up for Ramadan with all kinds of foodstuffs, so that more is consumed during that time than in the course of several other months put together. It is well known that the object of fasting is to experience hunger and to check desire, in order to reinforce the soul in piety.

If the stomach is starved from early morning till evening, so that it's appetite is aroused and it's craving intensified, and it is then offered delicacies and allowed to eat its fill, its taste for pleasure is increased and its force exaggerated; passions are activated which would have lain dormant under normal conditions.

It is therefore essential to cut down one's intake of what one would consume on a normal night, when not Fasting. No benefit is derived from the fast if one consumes as much as he or she would usually take during the day and night combined.

Look to Allah with fear and hope
After the fast has been broken, the heart should swing like a pendulum between fear and hope. For one does not know if one's fast will be accepted, so that one will find favor with God, or whether it will be rejected, leaving one among those He abhors. This is how one should be at the end of any act of worship one performs.

My Ramadan Planner

The few things that come to my mind about the month of Ramadan

  • Spirituality, being away from sins
  • Experiencing pangs of thirst and hunger
  • Qur’an recitation and Taraweeh prayers
  • Dhikr and istighfaar
  • Charity and feeding the poor
  • Providing food for breaking of fast

My Primary goal for this month of Ramadan, insha'Allah

Be God-fearing and work towards increasing Taqwa

I will do the following, insha'Allah -

To improve my Salah:

  • Improve concentration
  • Increase prostrations
  • Pray sunnah and nafl along with Fardh

To improve my relationship with the Qur’an:

  • Read the whole Qur’an atleast once
  • Understand it’s meaning and ponder over it’s verses
  • Go through tafseer (Ibn Kathir)

To get closer to Allah (swt) I will:

  • Incorporate daily du’as
  • Du’as after every prayer
  • Supplications before Iftaar
  • Du’as from Qur’an and Hadith

From health point of view:

  • Improve eating & sleeping habits
  • Be moderate

For increasing my knowledge:

  • Read Islamic books
  • Listen to Islamic Lectures (atleast one a day)

I have decided to work on the following Ma’aroof:

  • Be kind to relatives
  • Arrange for iftaar
  • Give alms to the poor
  • Respect my elders
  • Attain good manners and behavior

I have decided to shun the following Munkar:

  • Gheebat (speaking ill of others)
  • Losing temper
  • Vain Talk
  • Internet surfing/Television

For the last 10 nights:

  • Istighfaar – for past and future sins
  • Ask Allah’s guidance for future
  • Stand in prayers
  • Increase Qur’an recitation and dua
For Eid:
  • Attend Eid prayer
  • Invite family over for meal
  • Visit family and friends
  • Exchange gifts

I Wonder...


If the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) visited you,
Just for a day or two.
If he came unexpectedly,
I wonder what you’d do.

Oh! I know you’d give your nicest room
To such an honored guest
And all the food you’d serve to him
Would be the very best

And you would keep assuring him
You’re glad to have him there
That serving him in your home
Is joy beyond compare

But…when you saw him coming
Would you meet him at the door
With arms outstretched in welcome
To your visitor?

Or…would you have to change your clothes
Before you let him in?
Or hide come magazines and put
The Quran where they had been?

Would you still watch forbidden movies
On your TV set?
Or would you rush to switch it off
Before he gets upset?

Would you turn off the radio
And hope he hadn’t heard?
And hope he hadn’t uttered
That last loud hasty word?

Would you hide your worldly music
And instead take hadith books out?
Could you let him walk right in
Or would you rush about?

And I wonder….if the Prophet(SAWS) spent
A day or two with you
Would you go right on doing the things
You always do?

Would you go right on saying the things
You always say?
Would life for you continue
As it does from day to day?

Would you family conversation
Keep up its usual pace?
And would you find it hard each meal
To say a table grace?

Would you keep up each and every prayer
Without putting on a frown?
And would you always jump up early
For prayers at dawn?

Would you sing the songs you always sing
And read the books you read?
And let him know the things on which
Your mind and spirit feed?

Would you take Prophet(SAWS) with you,
Everywhere you plan to go?
Or, would you, maybe, change your plans
Just for a day or so?

Would you be glad to have him stay
Forever on and on?
Or, would you sigh with great relief
When he at last was gone?

It might be interesting to know
The things that you would do
If the Prophet (SAWS) in person, came,
To spend sometime with you.

(Author Unknown)

Operation Death

Operation Death

This is the tale of an average man who acted contrary to Allah’s plan. If you reflected herein then repent and commit no sin. This poem is woven around the following Quranic verse: "Where ever ye are death will find you, even if ye are in towers built up strong and high" - Qur'an 4:78

T-was early in the morning at four,
When death knocked upon a bedroom door
Who is there? The sleeping one cried,
I am Angel Izrael, let me inside.

At once the man began to shiver,
As one sweating in deadly fever.
He shouted to his sleeping wife,
Don’t let him take away my life.

Please go away, O Angel of Death!
Leave me alone I’m not ready yet.
My family on me depends,
Give me chances, O please perpend!

The Angel knocked again and again,
Friend! I’ll take your life without pain.
T’is your soul that Allah requires,
I come not with my own desire.

Bewildered, the man began to cry,
O Angel! I’m so afraid to die
I’ll give you gold and be your slave,
Don’t send me to the unlit grave.

Let me in O friend! The Angel said,
Open the door get up from your bed
If you do not allow me in
I will walk through it like Jinn.

The man held a gun in his right hand
Ready to defy the Angel’s stand
I’ll point my gun, towards your head
You dare come in, I’ll shoot you dead.

By now the Angel was in the room
Saying, “O friend I prepare for your doom
Foolish man, Angels never die
Put down your gun and do not sigh.

“Why are you afraid?! Tell me O man
To die according to Allah’s plan?
Come smile at me, do not be grim
Be happy to return to him.

O Angel! I bow my head in shame
I had no time to take Allah’s name
From morning till dusk I made my wealth
Not even caring for my health
Allah’s commands, I never obeyed
Nor five times a day, I ever prayed
Holy Ramadan came, and went
But no time had I to repent.

The Hajj was already Fardh on me
But I would not part with my money.
All charities I did ignore
Taking usury more and more
Sometimes I sipped my favourite wine
With flirting women I sat to dine
O Angel! I appeal to you
Spare my life for a year or two.

The laws of Quraan, I will obey
I’ll begin Salaah, this very day
My fast and Hajj I will complete.
And keep away from self-conceit
Yes I will refrain from usury
And give all my wealth to charity
Wine and wenches I will detest
Allah’s Oneness I will attest

We Angles do what Allah demands
We cannot go against His commands
Death is ordained for everyone
Father, mother, daughter or son.
I’m afraid this moment’s your last
Now be reminded, more of your past
I do understand your fears
But it is now too late for tears
You lived in this world, Two score or more
Never did you, your people adore
Your parents you did not obey
Hungry, beggars you turned away.

Your two ill-gotten female off springs
In nightclubs, for livelihood they sing
Instead of making more Muslims
You made your children Non-muslims
You ignored the Muazzin’s Azaan
Nor did you read the Holy Quraan
Breaking promises all your life

Backbiting friends and causing strife
From hoarded goods, great profits you made
And your poor workers, were underpaid
Horses and cards were your leisure
Money-making was your pleasure
You ate enough and grew more fat
With the very poor you never sat
A pint of blood you never gave
Which could a little baby save.

O Human, you have done enough wrong
You bought good properties for a song
When the farmer appealed to you
You did not have mercy

for you? I cannot tell
Allah may or may not dwell you in hell
There’s no time for you to repent
I’ll take your soul for which I’m sent

The ending however is very sad
Eventually the man became mad
With a cry he jumped out of bed
And suddenly he fell down dead

O reader, take a moral from here
Never know your end may be near
Change your living and make amends
For Heaven on your deeds depends.

(Author Unknown)