Coping with Injustice: Strike Your Stick Like Musa (AS)

Every time we turn on the news, scroll down our Facebook feeds or listen to the radio it seems as though all we hear about are stories of oppression, war, crimes, poverty and disease. When one crisis is over, another one emerges. News nowadays seems to be just that…bad news.
For many of us, the more aware we are of all the injustice going on, the more we find ourselves struggling with our faith. So how do we remain hopeful when there is so much global injustice?

We’ve all been asked the question by a non-Muslim. How can you believe in a God who allows people to suffer? The answer is by allowing ourselves to see a different perspective, that injustice is a means to deepen faith, not make us question it.

If we reflect on the creation of heavens and the earth, we have day and night, summer and winter. Allah has built balance into the universe. He says balance exists in everything.
When shaken, the system shifts towards balance again.

This ‘balance’ exists within everything but there seems to be no balance at all in human affairs, there is an inconsistency.

Everything else has a cyclical balance however all the injustice in this world seems to be unbalanced, there’s always all this ‘bad’. Always.

Unlike a storm which is followed by the calm or a harsh winter which is followed by summer. If all the injustice in the world was to become balanced, imagine what it would take for example, for the oppressed to no longer be oppressed, the poor to longer be poor and for the ill to regain their health. It would take a corrective phenomenon for us to achieve the same balance that exists within our universe.
So, therefore, how can anyone not believe in the Akhirah when there is so much injustice? We have to believe that this balance is in the Akhirah.

How do you live otherwise?
How can you not believe that there will be justice, when there are so many tyrants getting away with doing horrible things?
It is not logical to not believe.
Let this deepen our faith, the fact that there is an Akhirah where we are all held accountable for our actions. Subhanallah.

We are servants of Allah and we are Khalifas. We are told to ‘stand firm as witnesses to justice’. Ignite in your heart a passion for Akhirah.

On a smaller scale, the same goes for the way we react to outcomes in our life. We depend on our means, we want results straight away but we are told in the Qur’an to ‘work for justice’. The Qur’an does not tell us to bring about justice. We are not held accountable for outcomes, can you imagine if we were? Allah is the Most Just and the Most Merciful. We are only held accountable for that which we can control, which is our intentions and our actions.
So, do not worry about what may happen or that which we cannot control. Let injustice in this world deepen faith.
Let’s strive to not marry ourselves to means and outcomes because the sooner we realise we do not have any control, maintaining hope becomes so much easier.

We can look at Musa (AS) for example. When Musa reached the Red Sea, the tyrant army were in pursuit and his people were being unhelpful.
But how did Musa respond when the odds were against him? When he was faced by this sea with an army in pursuit and his people, who he was trying to save, were being unhelpful and growing impatient?

Did he doubt Allah in that situation? Did he once doubt Allah?
He said, ‘I have my Lord, He will not forsake me’.

And Allah responded. But did He just fix the problem? No, He commanded Musa to strike his stick.
And what happened? Subhanallah, when Musa struck his stick, the sea parted and they could cross to safety.

But why did Allah ask that? Allah did not need Musa to actually strike his stick  in order for the sea to part. The stick is not what caused the sea to part, Allah did not need any help.
Rather, it was an order from Allah to His servant. All Musa had to do was have faith in Allah and strike his stick. And Musa did, without question.
In the same way, you and I are servants of Allah.
We are told to work hard and do our best.
We all have to strike our stick and know that whatever the outcome is, it is from Allah.
We do it because we obey Him. That is all we are asked.

Strike your stick.

Just do your best, believe the best in Allah and forget about the outcomes because we are only held accountable for that which we can control.

And the sooner we realise this, that’s when we can maintain hope when things are difficult and when things don’t go our way. We don’t lose hope. We realise that it is all in Allah’s control. Allah sees the injustice.

“Whether you conceal what is in your breasts or reveal it, Allah knows it. And He knows that which is in the heavens and that which is on the earth. And Allah is over all things competent.” Surah al-Imran [3:29].

Revert stories: The only Muslim in the village

This week we got the opportunity to interview Sherrie, an MA Translation and Interpreting Studies student from Malpas, who reverted to Islam. The interview was wonderfully insightful and it really gave us a much better understanding of the life of reverts to Islam!

Please do read this interview right up to the end, because trust us, it’ll really enlighten you on so many things!

How old were you when you accepted Islam?

I had just turned 26, it was around 2015 time and I said it with a couple of friends of mine. I was in Saudi, Riyadh. We went out for a dinner and I told them that I was considering converting. I was at that point where I was ready. One of them, she was so excited (this was like in Eid ul Adha time), and she was like you know, you should say it these days, it’s really good! You should say it now! And yeah, so she walked me through it and I said my shahada then.

How did you become interested in Islam?

Well I think it’s hard to attribute the sort of catalyst for my interest in Islam to one particular cause. You know my conversion story isn’t one of those dramatic, you know, I was a wild child then I stumbled across it one day? No, it’s not like that, rather it’s like multiple moments of significance along the way have sort of culminated into a well thought out conviction.

So firstly, I had been a practising Christian for basically all of my childhood although my family isn’t practicing Christian per se. I also had this desire to become close to my creator. I’ve always wondered about why we’re here, why the world is how it is, you know?

I’ve always had these questions about creation and I always accepted that there was one god, so from a young age and growing up in a very sort of white British village, the way that was available, to sort of explore religion, was by going to church.

But then when I was around 19 I went to Morocco. One of the girls on the course was a Moroccan Muslim and she was a very good ambassador for her country and her religion. She was very hospitable and [always] inviting me to stay with her and her family and I guess I had a sort of exotic experience, hands on, of a Muslim country and a Muslim family and I found it quite alluring. So yeah maybe that was kind of the most tangible catalyst if you will.

And following on from that, I lived in Spain for another period of time. One particular Muslim I ended up getting engaged to and I guess when I was in a relationship with him I thought, right if I’m gonna marry this guy I need to know what he properly believes in and what his expectations are because y’know, I’d just heard people warning me like, be careful, Muslims [etcetera], so I was like lemme go find out about what it is he believes in, what it is that his religion says, because I just didn’t buy into the idea that Muslim [equals] bad, like the rhetoric.

And then fast forward a little bit, I went to Egypt and made friends with an Egyptian girl, she was such a good ambassador for her religion. I never liked the idea that we were different because at that time I was very much practicing the Christian faith. I had been baptised actually in that year and I was very fervent in my practices so praying in the morning and reading bible [etc] but then I saw her praying 5 times a day and I just found that dedication really inspiring and encouraging and I guess it sort of lured me in, that commitment.

I ended up getting a job in Saudi Arabia. Seeing the dedication and seeing that people’s lives would stop in the day just to worship god and to pray and to give thanks, I wanted a piece of that you know? And again, Allah placed another crucial figure in my path, who is still to this day my closest friend. [Through her], I saw how there were other ideas in Islam that I also found favourable. I can’t exactly think of the exact ones right now. But yeah, I guess I just found that through discussion with her and through learning more about Islam, where Christianity had questions that were left unanswered, Islam had them.

And then fast forward a little bit more, I went to Cambodia. I think its important that at that time I was like on my own, I didn’t have any influences from people at church, people back home or the church group that I used to attend in Saudi. I didn’t have influences from Muslim friends, or the Muslim culture that I was living in in Saudi. I was in a Buddhist secular country, on my own, with no influences from outsiders so yeah.

I was also spiritually feeling like the ways that I was trying to reach to god and get that closeness weren’t working. And actually, I remember I was thinking about how Muslims pray and how they get down into the position, at the time I didn’t know what it was called, sujood, and just bowing. I had known from reading the bible that Jesus himself, peace be upon him, had also prayed like this. And I just thought, maybe this is what I need to do to humble myself, to get myself into that position of prostration. And yeah so, I was actually praying, making dua, in the way that I knew how at that time, and then I got down into prostration and yeah like, I guess the feeling of humility and connection was even present then.

And then fast forward a little bit more, I had applied for another position working in Saudi Arabia. And when you apply for another job in Saudi Arabia, you need to get a work visa and, on the application, you have to state your religion. Um I left that box on the form unticked for like 3 days because I was like I’m not technically yet Muslim but I feel like I’m becoming Muslim, but I don’t wanna put on the form that I’m Christian but then I also haven’t made that change yet officially. So, I guess yeah I could sense that I was coming to Islam and I had read and heard sufficient information about the practice and the beliefs, to make that step but there was still something holding me back.

And now I can say that the thing that was holding me back was the fear of how I would be accepted by my family, by my friends, by my society, by those who knew me, whether or not they were close to me. And the fear of what are people going to say? What are people going to think? How am I going to be accepted by people? That was what held me back.

And so, for the time being, I selected Christian on the form. Then when I went back to Saudi as I mentioned before, I took the decision while I was with friends, made the shahada and alhamdulillah since then I haven’t looked back.

How did you tell your family about your conversion to Islam?

So, for a while I didn’t like ‘come out’ for want of a better term, to my family or my friends back home. I would say that it took a few months until I was able to come out to people back home.

And I guess one of the toughest things was dealing with my mum who was very ill towards the last couple of years of her life because she asked me one day. She came out with this, she said ‘Sherrie, are you Muslim?’

And because of the way that she had spoken before, I mean she’s not prejudiced per se but I guess it’s one thing being friendly and accepting of other people and other religions but it’s another thing when your child decides to, in her eyes, reject what she had been following all of her life and change to a different religion. So, I think my mum, she probably saw it as though I was turning away from everything. I obviously didn’t want to upset her because she was ill, but I also could not denounce my faith so I just kind of very diplomatically said that I think there are many things in Islam that we can embrace, that I embrace, and I went on to explain a couple of things because she was thinking that y’know it’s not safe for women and so I basically was sort of promoting some of the ideologies of Islam to my mum, by saying that I embrace them, so yeah, it was difficult to come out to my family.

How accepting was your family of your conversion?

So, one of my sisters, she’s very understanding and supportive. My Dad, he’s also pretty cool about everything. He knows like I only eat halal meat, he knows if I don’t answer him if he’s calling me and I’m upstairs, then he knows, oh she’s praying, so he’s understanding of that. My brother in law, he’s also lived in Saudi for a couple of years so he’s had experience with Muslims, and he’s also on the ball when it comes to the way Muslims are portrayed in media. My sister, the one who’s married to my brother in law, she’s relatively okay but like once or twice she’s come out with something. We’ve dealt with that but yeah that was difficult, and like my mum, she actually passed away before seeing me actively and visibly Muslim. So, I guess, who knows what she knows now?

On the New year’s vacation this year, we went to my other sister’s house and she’d gone to the effort of going to her supermarket and ordering halal beef. They don’t have halal meat there so they had to order it in, they went to the effort to do that. So, my family has been really supportive actually in those things.

I remember also on my first Ramadan, she got me a happy Eid card and she got my family to sign it. So yeah, they’re very supportive in those things so yeah.

But it’s more of the community, the village where I spent a lot of my teen years. Maybe because it’s a predominantly white British community. I am literally the only Muslim in the village, I think.

What’s it like being, perhaps, the only Muslim in the village?

When I visit home, I still wear hijab but like I wear turban style in a way that doesn’t look too ‘muslamic’ but inshallah this will also improve and my fears will dissipate as I sort of come out more visibly to people.

I don’t feel I can fully be myself when I go back to the village, I feel like I’m the elephant in the room. Even like wearing my funky turban style. I feel it’s just people being people isn’t it? Chit chatting, gossiping, maybe looking at you a bit skewwhiff.

Is there any particular hadith or ayah from the Quran which helps you in certain situations?

‘If you go to Allah walking, He’ll come to you running.’

(Sahih al-Bukhari)

Jazakallah khair for the interview! Thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed every single bit of it! May Allah reward you for it!

Note: If any other readers want to be interviewed, please contact us through


Interview Corner: Reflections from the Refugee Camps

This week, we sat down with committee members from Manchester ISoc to hear what they had to say about their recent trip to Lebanon with Global Rahmah Foundation, where they delivered aid to those in need in refugee camps, using money raised from our charity week.

In a nutshell, how was the trip?

Abdurrahman: A few words would be eye opening, like you already know about the things beforehand but it just makes it a lot more personal. It really brought it home, the suffering that people had, you’re definitely able to empathise a lot more after the trip.

How were the donations used?

Zaidi: They were mainly used in the Winter Aid, so that was buying blankets, mattresses and food boxes for families in two refugee camps. Donations also went to an orphanage school, the Bee Academy, so that helped with orphan sponsorship and the upkeep of the school.

What is your most unforgettable memory from the trip?

Shamena: For me, it was when we went to the Palestinian slums. There was a woman there and she was with her daughter, her daughter was disabled. And she was speaking in Arabic and me and Alicya, we couldn’t understand what she was saying, but even though we couldn’t understand, we could feel her pain you know? When she started crying and when she was talking about her daughter you could just feel the emotion, you could just feel their struggle. That’s what was the most unforgettable part for me.

Alicya: Yeah being in the Palestinian refugee camp, that was the most memorable for me as well because there were just so many different experiences that happened on that day that it really hit you properly. It’s become like a slum now. It’s been established for so many years, I think since 1984 so that’s like their permanent home but obviously the facilities aren’t very good, there’s electricity wires hanging like everywhere, its really dangerous.

And I think one thing that hit me was that there’s a graveyard in the refugee camp and they were saying how they have no more space to bury the people that are dying. The government won’t let them bury them outside that particular graveyard, so they’re having to bury on top of each other.

And then there was this picture of a young guy, maybe our age, and they told us that he died while trying to fix the electricity wires because its not very safe, like they’re all exposed, he got electrocuted and passed away. So I think a lot of people die from that each year as well. So it’s just things like that, simple things that people are dying from, just because of the lack of infrastructure.

Zaidi: I think one thing that stuck out to me was on the first day at the Syrian refugee camp, there were loads of kids running around and at one point we brought out some toys and they all came running towards us and what hit me then was, they’re exactly the same as us.

There is no difference, like a few years ago they would’ve been living a normal life: going to school, having friends, toys, like all of that and its all been taken away from them and now they’re in subhuman conditions. Honestly like, the Syrian refugee camp was very similar to a farm with just some tents there and the thing is, the innocence of these kids was still protected, they were just running around, playing with you, they’d talk to you if you wanted to and they weren’t any different to family members that I have.

I think Dridi mentioned that one thing that hit us, was that we’ve been blessed to be born in a stable country, like our country has been stable throughout. They were born in a stable country, from what I understand, but then everything turned on its head in a couple of weeks and their whole lives have turned around since.

Abdurrahman: I’d say in a similar way to Zaidi I guess, but everyone takes from the experience something different. For me it was again in the Syrian refugee camp. There was someone I guess roughly our age. He wasn’t working and he had, I think, two children and he was married but he couldn’t actually provide for his family because his right arm was injured permanently during a bomb strike. His arm was fully injured and what hit me was just that simple one limb in that scenario is enough to, like there’s no chance.

Like in our society we’re lucky Alhamdulillah to be able to do work, even if you’re disabled you’ve got various other avenues, you can use your mind, your thinking because you’ve got so many different avenues. But in their situation, that’s really not available to them, they’re really limited to very specific physical labour and if you’re put in that situation, you really can’t do much, and just that he was our age you know?

For the rest of my life there’s going to be someone else in roughly the same situation, but unable to provide for himself and his family because of something that wasn’t down to him. That’s just something that really sticks with me.

Do you have any other stories from the trip that stand out that you’d like to share?

Zaidi: I think going back to the Palestinian refugee camp, this was something we witnessed. We were in Beirut city centre and everything was kind of modern and done up nicely and suddenly you enter these gates and it was like a third world country there. And we heard stories from people taking us around about how the gates were closed at one point. They had to eat dogs. They had to eat cats. They were literally starving in there. I think one thing we noticed was that inside they had like their own economy, they had goods that you couldn’t get outside, like they had to fend for themselves.

And just going back to what Alicya mentioned about the graveyard, one quote that hit me when they took us to the graveyard, was they said, we’re separated in life, and we’re separated in death. So like there’s nothing that unites the people, like usually, when death hits, usually like everything is forgotten, like the moment you hear, no matter what someone has done to you, the moment you hear that someone passed away in the family, or something’s afflicted them, like everything’s forgotten, you make amends for them but the fact that through death they continue to stay apart I think that just shows that they’re not treated like people should be treated.

Alicya: Yeah even their bodies, they’re outcasted, like they’re not allowed to be buried in proper graveyards, they have to keep building on top of those.

What did you learn from the trip?

Shamena: I think it was a very humbling experience, I think when I came back I realised that I spend my money on a lot of silly things, things like food, you really appreciate food after I think. Because you’ll go down to like Nando’s and spend like £15 without questioning it, but it can make such a difference to someone else’s life.

Alicya: I think it just sounds generic, but like you really feel grateful for everything that you have and you see how little things bring so much happiness to people and its really humbling and it makes you just think twice about things I think.

Abdurrahman: Yeah I think in terms of learning things, all of these are things that everyone’s heard a million times, but I think being able to actually experience it and see it for yourself, really brings it a lot closer to home, when you actually see it.

You’ve been there, you’ve spoken to the people, you’ve experienced the environment, you mentioned already, it makes you appreciate what you have, I mean personally that is the case, because you compare what you have, to what they have.

While we’re working, while we’re living we’re always trying to get more, accumulate more, and we always compare ourselves, at least with material wealth, to millionaires, billionaires, whatever. We say if we had what they had then we’d be so happy, we wouldn’t be spoiled [like them], if you look at their kids, you get jealous, we look at these rich people.

But then when you really compare yourself, what you have to what these people have, you realise that the situation is flipped completely, you’re now in that very luxurious position but you’re not as grateful as you thought you’d be or as happy as you thought you’d be, so it really brings it a lot closer to home, that we’ve really been given a lot a things.

Zaidi: I think for me personally, it’s quite motivating in the sense that, the first two days we were at refugee camps, they were very poor facilities, there were like seven families to a toilet, it was like bare minimum wasn’t even reached.

On the third day, we went to an orphanage, like a school, we mentioned before, the Bee Academy. And what motivated me particularity about that place, was that this school was built up probably better than any school I’ve been to. It had like 3D printers, it had proper laptops, it had like state of the art everything, and it was only for orphans. For me that kind of encapsulated the verse in Surah Al Fajr where it says “and honour the orphans”.

And I think for me, like usually when we think of giving clothes, we give clothes we don’t wear, we give money that we weren’t going to spend, like just spare change, we give food that we don’t eat, but in this place they took things that most people wouldn’t have had at home, the printers they wouldn’t have had at home, the computers they wouldn’t have had at home, things like that. But they went over and beyond for the orphans and inshaAllah that will give them like a good setting in life, so they can go on to achieve good things.

I think that’s the key at the end of the day. Like all this aid, it’s necessary in the sense that they need it to survive but to break that cycle of poverty, which we saw in the Palestinian refugee camp, you need to get out and you need to get jobs and education is the key to that, and for me Bee Academy just encapsulated that perfectly. It was honouring the orphans and it was trying to break the cycle.

This is only a snapshot into the lives of refugees at camps in Lebanon, whilst so many are displaced in different situations. 

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Introducing Al-Kitab Club

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

Manchester ISoc would like to present Al-Kitab Club.

We can often feel overwhelmed by all of the things we wish to read, learn and benefit from. We tell ourselves we don’t have the time, and we struggle with making the time, to read in our busy lives. We try to juggle our university work and assignments, with social commitments and extracurriculars, barely finding time for anything else. If only there were more than 24 hours in a day!

Finding effective motivation to encourage us to read more is tough, especially with all of the demands of our daily lives. Reading alongside Manchester ISoc with our monthly selections may be the solution to your problems.

What better motivation than reading alongside your peers and having the opportunity to review and discuss the book at the end of each month? Not to mention, the hard work of choosing what to read will be done for you – all you need to do is follow along.

We will be selecting a new book each month to read together, and at the end of the month we will be reviewing it online and holding a discussion in the comments. If you think you might be interested in joining, don’t hesitate! There is no better opportunity to motivate yourself to read more and increase in knowledge than this, trust me.

It only seems right that the first book we will be reading is a book about the most important person in every Muslim’s life: Muhammad, peace, and blessings be upon him. There are countless books about the Prophet (PBUH) by numerous writers, all detailing the life of this incredible man.

The book that seemed most highly regarded and well-reviewed was ‘Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources’ by Martin Lings.

This book is an award-winning biography of Muhammad (PBUH), with incredible historical accuracy and fascinating detail, and is considered to be very accessible and readable by many.

So, what are you waiting for? Find this book in your nearest library or bookshop, start reading, and we’ll see you all in a month insha’Allah for the discussion! 

Happy reading!

Favourite Ayahs challenge by Manchester ISoc

The Qur’an. 6236 ayahs. Each one perfectly beautiful in its own way. Each one full of answers, lessons and guidance. We wanted to hear from our readers, so we asked you to share your favourite Ayahs with us.

Here’s what you had to say:

  1.    “For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.” -Surah Ash-Sharh [94:6]

I feel like this ayah found me when I was in a really difficult place. And I just heard that one ayah and I felt like wow, whatever surah this is, I want to memorise it. So that I can recite it during prayers when I feel particularly down. So, I keep it close to my heart and only recite it when I feel like I truly need comforting.


  1.    “…the life of this world is nothing but a delusion” -Surah Al-Hadid [57:20]

For me this ayah really puts things into perspective and reminds me not to fall victim to the appeals of worldly things. It helps me remain grounded and remember my true purpose. It teaches me not to get attached to the temporary dunya, whether it be possessions or people, as heavy reliance on anything or anyone other than Allah will only lead to disappointment and heartbreak. Allah is sufficient for me.


3. “Blessed is He who placed in the skies great constellations” -Surah Al-Furqan [25:61]

I remember this verse got me through difficult times. I was mentally drowning, and spent 2 weeks in hospital, but throughout that time this verse never left my lips.


4. “And untie the knot from my tongue” -Surah Taha [20:27]

Musa (AS) asked Allah (SWT) this because he had difficulty in speech. This is one of my favourites because I have difficulty in speech, stuttering etc, so I find it encouraging that one of the prophets had something similar and made du’a for it, so I do the same.

I feel I can look at this ayah for hope.

Having difficulty in speech also becomes a kind of blessing for me because of this. I have yet another reminder of how dependent I am on Allah (SWT) and have more to ask of him in my du’as. And He likes it when we ask Him for things.


5.    ‘And when My servants ask you about Me, (tell them that) I am near. I answer the call of the caller when he calls on me. So let them answer Me, And have faith in me. That they may be rightly guided.’ Surah Al-Baqarah [2:186]

It gave me hope as I used to think that my prayers weren’t being answered and I always wondered why.

But every time I read this ayah I keep faith in Him as He knows best. It reminds me that He’s there and He answers.


6.    “Certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust in Him.” -Surah Ali ‘Imran [3:159]

It shows the magnitude of Allah (SWT)’s Mercy, who not only promises to ease our worries away with simple trust in Him, but also promises us His Love in return for that. A double beauty! How Merciful a Lord…


7.    “Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear” -Surah Al-Baqarah [2:286]

This ayah gives you a sense of hope with whatever struggles you might be going through in life.


8.    “So be patient with a beautiful patience,” – Surat Al-Ma`arij [70:5]

I really like this ayah but I can’t find a beautiful way of wording why I love it so much.


9.    “So which of the favours of your Lord would you deny?” -Surah Ar-Rahman [55:13]

I love listening to the recitation of Surah ar Rahman. It calms me, allows me to reflect on the abundant blessings I have in life, as well as leaving me in awe at the might of God. This above ayah is my favourite, and is repeated throughout the Surah, constantly reminding us of the favours we have been blessed with. This ayah does not only put life in to perspective for those who are living in hardship, who may feel low, to see the beauty in the little things, but those of us who have so much but forget the one behind our provision.

Its relevance hit me even more whilst visiting Syrian and Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon this week. Even though the refugees living in these camps are suffering, they are extremely grateful, still thank God for each and every little thing they have been blessed with, making abundant dua for those of us helping to relieve their hardship. The contrast in our lives and situations are so great, yet the people we met were just like us – shared the same smiles, laughter, hope, hospitality, sadness, and shed the same tears – something that will forever ground me, just like this ayah.


  1.  “And [there are] others who have acknowledged their sins. They had mixed a righteous deed with another that was bad. Perhaps Allah will turn to them in forgiveness. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” – Surah At-Tawbah [9:102]

The two previous ayahs talk about the sahabah and those who follow them in good deeds, and also about the munafiqun (hypocrites). And Allah talks about how he will reward each group justly (i.e. reward one greatly and punish the others).

This ayah tells us that there is a third group, those who do both good and bad deeds, and acknowledge their sins, and it tells us that “perhaps” Allah will forgive them.

When the exegetes interpreted the Qur’an, they said that whenever Allah says “perhaps” it means he definitely will do it. So this third group is guaranteed Allah’s forgiveness, and which one of us isn’t from this third group?

Some scholars consider this to be the most hopeful ayah in the Qur’an.


  1.  “And the dawn, as it breathes away the darkness.” -Surah At-Takwir [81:18]

We’re so caught up in our lives that we forget, sometimes, that Allah is out there. We forget and don’t realise it’s so easy to remember him.

All you have to do is look. Look at the magnificent trees swaying in the breeze. Hear the birds calling. See the bustle of life around you as everyone goes about their daily life.

And see the sky, above us all, not a single one of us able to conquer it. The great seventh heaven in all its vast glory – the tiny pinpricks of glowing stars, the multitude of cloud shapes, and the perpetual cycle of night into day, day into night.

We weren’t able to witness a lot of ayahs in the Qur’an – so make the most of the ones that we can see. Having faith is about believing in the unseen, but having a physical reminder every now and then is always helpful.

Take a breather and look up.

Find yourself caught in the magnificence of Allah’s creation, and reflect upon the creator himself. Make the use of these winter months – we have a great opportunity to be able to witness, in real time, the dawn as its breath steals the darkness away.


Leave your favourite Ayah in the comments below!

We’re back!



It’s fair to say that some long overdue blog posts are in order!

After dusting off the cobwebs and eagerly scribbling away at the drawing board, we have come up with a jam packed schedule for you this semester! From interviews and polls to reminders and moving stories, you can expect nothing but exciting reads to brighten up your week!

And just to get back into the swing of things, here’s a brilliant reminder that was submitted which is the perfect read for the start of this new semester!

Starting a new semester is a chance to turn over a new leaf.
It’s a chance to show that you are learning from your mistakes, a chance to build on current abilities and to continue improving.
And a chance to think positively about your goal.
A light of hope is opened up.
Allah (swt) always gives us chances. Each chance is a blessing.
In fact, every day is another chance to keep improving and proving to Allah (swt) how grateful we are for yet another chance, another day, another semester.

So let’s use the past as a lesson and the future as an opportunity and continue striving through life’s journey with the thought in mind that every breath we take is a gift and a reason to keep striving in the way of Allah (swt).

As university students who are still young and active, we have a responsibility as prescribed by the Prophet (pbuh) who said:

“Take benefit of five before five:
your youth before your old age,
your health before your sickness,
your wealth before your poverty,
your free-time before your preoccupation,
and your life before your death.” (Hakim).

Ramadan: The Last Ten Nights

Ramadan has taken me by storm. Just yesterday the month was dawning upon me, yet I find myself, today, already having reached the last 10 nights, as if the first 20 had charged through my life in full force, without hindrance or interruption. Time does not wait for anyone, it flows, passes, proceeds, and continues, undefied and uninterrupted, regardless of anything or anyone. I look with deep regret at the spent days of Ramadan, how careless I had been with my time, how I had fell short of planning and prioritising, all the while knowing only too well that the fate of the remaining days will be no different unless change is incurred.

When someone presents us with an opportunity which we neglect or misuse, it is unlikely they will offer us a better opportunity next time. To go further, if we keep neglecting the opportunities given to us, it’s almost certain they will cease from being given altogether.

Yet Allah, out of his infinite mercy, will never cease from allowing opportunities to pass our way. If we end up wasting an exclusive chance given to us by Allah, he will give us more chances. And the passing of one opportunity will often signal the nearing of a better one.

The bulk of Ramadan might be over, but the pinnacle is yet to pass. Crying over the expired nights of Ramadan, nights which may never return again, should tighten your resolve to maximise these last 10, with in which is hidden an ultimate jackpot unlike no other. While the context of Ramadan was mentioned in a few verses of Surat Al-Baqarah, the context of laylat-al- qadr has an entire independent surah devoted to it.

إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ ۝ وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ ۝ لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ ۝

Indeed, We sent it (the Qur’an) down during the Night of Decree. And what can make you know what is the Night of Decree? The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months*.

Al-Qadr 97:1-3

As done previously with the verses pertaining to Ramadan, Allah first associated laylat-al- qadr with the Quran. Ramadan is the month of the Quran, hence it became the greatest month. Laylat-al- qadr is the night of the Quran, hence it became the greatest night. Jibreel came down with the Quran, hence he is the greatest Angel. The prophet ﷺ was given the Quran, hence he is the greatest prophet. Anything or anyone which the Quran associates with is destined for greatness, so never prioritise anything over it, especially in these critical days.

عن عمرو بن العاص: من قرأ القرآن فكأنما استدرجت النبوة بين جنبيه إلا أنه لا يوحى إليه‏‏

Narrated by Amr ibn Al-Aas: Whoever reads (memorises/learns) the quran, it is as if revelation has been brought before him, except that he is not revealed upon.

Any conversation may eventually become boring, any book may eventually bring you apathy, any friend may eventually become detached or distant from you, but the book of Allah is the best companion whose words will never become boring, and whose repetition will increase it in beauty**. The more the Quran is studied, the more the benefits and wisdom it reveals.

Finally, pray to Allah and ask him, for Allah is the one who can, wants to and will answer your supplications.

عَنْ سَلْمَانَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ إِنَّ رَبَّكُمْ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى حَيِيٌّ كَرِيمٌ يَسْتَحْيِي مِنْ عَبْدِهِ إِذَا رَفَعَ يَدَيْهِ إِلَيْهِ أَنْ يَرُدَّهُمَا صِفْرًا

Narrated by Salman: The Prophet (ﷺ) said: Your Lord is munificent and generous, and is ashamed to turn away empty the hands of His servant when he raises them to Him.

Sunan Abi Dawud

Pray for yourself, your family and friends. Pray for the attainment of good and the avoidance of misfortunes.

And pray for your short life here and your infinite afterlife to come***. Isolate yourself for a few precious moments and pray and cry as though you are that terminally ill patient asking for a cure, or that drowning man asking for help. Because, ultimately, you are in no less need of Allah than the most vulnerable person on earth. The torments of the last day will render any previous calamities insignificant, and all be in need of help on that day, so don’t forget to ask Allah for his help on that day when you will need it the most.

اعلم أن من هو في البحر على لوح ليس بأحوج إلى الله وإلى لطفه من من هو في بيته بين أهله وماله ،فإذا حققت هذا في قلبك فاعتمد على الله اعتماد الغريق الذي لايعلم له سبب نجاة غيرالله

ابن قدامة

Know that a man floating on a piece of wood in the sea is not in more need of Allah and his kindness than a person in his home, sitting between his family and property. When this meaning becomes ingrained in your heart, then rely on Allah like a drowning man who knows not any other means to salvation but Allah.

-Ibn Qudamah

Ask Allah in your own words and language, but also in the supplications recommended by the prophet ﷺ.

قال رسول الله ص لعائشة: يا عائشة! عليك بجمَل الدعاء، وجوامعه”. فلما انصرفت، قلت: يا رسول الله! وما جمل الدعاء وجوامعه؟ قال : ” قولي: اللهم إني أسألك من الخير كله، عاجله وآجله، ما علمت منه وما لم أعلم، وأعوذ بك من الشر كله عاجله وآجله، ما علمت منه وما لم أعلم، وأسألك الجنة وما قرب إليها من قول أو عمل، وأعوذ بك من النار وما قرب إليها من قول أو عمل، وأسألك مما سألك به محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم، وأعوذ بك مما تعوذ منه محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم، وما قضيت لي من قضاء فاجعل عاقبته رشدًا

The messenger of Allah said to Aishah (while she was praying): Oh Aishah! Use the precise and concise supplications. So when I finished, I said: Oh messenger of Allah! What are the precise and concise supplications? He said: Say: Oh Allah! I ask you of all good, its near and far, what I knew of it and what I didn’t, and I seek refuge in you from all evil, its near and far, what I knew of it and what I didn’t, and I ask you heaven and any words and actions which bring it closer, and I seek refuge in you from Hell and any words or actions which bring it closer, and I ask you from what Muhammad ﷺ had asked you of, and I seek refuge in you from that which Muhammad ﷺ had sought refuge in you from, and whatever you had decreed for me then make its conclusion correct/guided.

Al-Adab Al-Mufrad

عن أنس قال: كان أكثر دعاء النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: اللهم ربنا آتنا في الدنيا حسنة وفي

الآخرة حسنة وقنا عذاب النار

Narrated by Anas, the most frequent supplication of the messenger ﷺ was: Oh Allah our Lord! Give us in this life goodness, and in the next life goodness, and save us from the torment of the hellfire***

Sahih Al-Bukhari

نْ عَائِشَةَ، قَالَتْ قُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ عَلِمْتُ أَىُّ لَيْلَةٍ لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ مَا أَقُولُ فِيهَا قَالَ ‏ “‏ قُولِي اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ كَرِيمٌ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي ‏”

Aishah narrated: “I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is your view if I know when the Night of Al-Qadr is, then what should I say in it?” He said: ‘Say: “O Allah, indeed You are Pardoning, [Generous,] You love to pardon, so pardon me”.

Jami’ Al-Tirmithi

‏While Ramadan is fast diminishing, the best of it could yet be approaching. So before crying over wasted irrecoverable time, appreciate that time isn’t measured by clocks, but by moments. Clocks quantify time, but the quality is measured by the memorable moments of your life. Perhaps a few moments of earnest worship and sincerity (especially at a blessed night) are worth more than many hours of passive or impassive worship.

Make your most cherished and memorable moments those in which you are closest to Allah, and never forget Allah’s vast unconditional mercy and love bestowed upon you, because being aware of Allah’s favour upon you will drive you to seek his pleasure, and loving Allah will open the doors of happiness for you in this life before the next.

عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه ، عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال‏:‏ “ قال الله، عز وجل‏:‏ أنا عند ظن عبدي بي وأنا معه حيث يذكرني، والله لله أفرح بتوبة عبده من أحدكم يجد ضالته بالفلاة، ومن تقرب إلي شبراً، تقربت إليه ذراعاً، ومن تقرب إلي ذراعاً، تقربت إليه باعاً، وإذا أقبل إلي يمشي، أقبلت إليه أهرول

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Allah says: ‘I am just as My slave thinks of Me, and I am with him when he remembers Me.’ By Allah! Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than one of you who unexpectedly finds in the desert his lost camel. ‘He who comes closer to Me one span, I come closer to him a cubit; and he who comes closer to Me a cubit, I come closer to him a fathom; and if he comes to Me walking, I come to him running”

Sahih Al-Bukhari

*Called the night of decree (القدر) because in it Allah decrees matters. And it was said that it is better than an entire lifetime and the mention of 1000 months is for the purpose of exaggeration, as is normal in the Arabic language. It is better in importance, blessing, and reward. And the superiority of a set time, such as Ramadan or laylat-al- qadr, is dependent on the goodness and favours which occur at that time. The messenger ﷺ had encouraged us to seek out laylat-al- qadr in the last 10 odd nights, and in other narrations in the last 7 nights. Most scholars were of the opinion that it falls on the 27th (Abu Hanifa, Malik, and Ahmad) or the 21st (Al-Shafi’i), but there are strong authentic narrations that support it being on the 21st , 23rd , 25th , 27th , and 29th .

There is wisdom for not being given the exact night, so people do not become complacent, as Allah ought to the greater concern always, not a set time or place.

**The introduction to the poem of Qasim ibn Feerroh Al-Shatibi, known as Al-Shatibiyyah


{…فَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَمَا لَهُ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلَاقٍ ۝ وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا

آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ ۝ أُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمْ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا كَسَبُوا وَاللَّهُ

سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ }

{…And among the people is he who says, ‘Our Lord, give us in this world,’ and he will have in the Hereafter no share. But among them is he who says, ‘Our Lord, give us in this world [that which is] good and in the Hereafter [that which is] good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire.’ Those will have a share of what they have earned, and Allah is swift in account. }

Al-Baqarah 2:200-202

In these verses, the bad example is of someone who will ask Allah exclusively for matters pertaining to this life. Contrary to what some may expect, the good example is not of someone who will ask Allah exclusively for matters pertaining to their afterlife, but someone who asks Allah for both his current life and afterlife, because he is in need of Allah in this life before the next, and it is by turning to Allah and depending upon him in this life that one may appreciate that he is also in need of Allah in the next life.

Welcome, Ramadan

“Ramadan will be starting on Saturday”
“I’m sorry, don’t you mean Sunday?”
“Brothers, we will be fasting on Monday!”

Ramadan, the blessed 9th month of the lunar Islamic year: A cyclical guest whose very commencement is, more often than not, a matter of difference and confusion. For most, Ramadan signals the re-enactment of the accustomed tradition of usual conversations revolving around discussions of the controversial beginning date, disagreements over how many rakats of taraweeh should be prayed, and distractions due to new Ramadan-exclusive soap operas (which especially plague the Arab/Asian community).

If we comprehended how majestically significant and blessed a time Ramadan was, our overall feeling would be that of sincere gratitude that Allah had allowed us to live and experience one more Ramadan. If we truly appreciated the purpose of Ramadan, our primary concerns would not be the feasts which lie in wait or the friends which keep us occupied.

The messenger of Allah used to tell his companions at the start of Ramadan:

{ أتاكم شهر رمضان، شهر مبارك، كتب الله عليكم صيامه، فيه تفتح أبواب الجنة، وتغلق أبواب الجحيم، وتغل مردة الشياطين، لله فيه ليلة هي خير من ألف شهر، من حرم خيرها فقد حرم }

{ The month of Ramadan has come to you, a blessed month, in which Allah had prescribed upon you fasting, in it the gates of paradise are opened, the gates of hell shut, the devils shackled, and in it Allah has a night which is better than 1000 months, whoever is denied/deprived its good is (truly) denied/deprived } – Sunan An-Nasa’i

Ramadan is an important guest like no other, and it is important to plan and prepare accordingly so one may reap the utmost benefit and fuel up, in preparation for the rest of the year and in preparation for the afterlife.

The month of Ramadan is among the symbols/rituals* of Allah.

{ ذَٰلِكَ وَمَن يُعَظِّمْ شَعَائِرَ اللَّهِ فَإِنَّهَا مِن تَقْوَى الْقُلُوبِ }

{ That [is so]. And whoever honours the symbols of Allah – indeed, it is from the piety of hearts } Al-Hajj (22:32)

Meaning that respecting, honouring and revering the symbols/rituals/sacred matters ordained by Allah is mark of Taqwa (awareness/consciences of Allah).

For example, you may find that an accustomed act such as a casual cinema trip or gaming night with friends is normal and acceptable on an ordinary day, but the reverence you hold for Ramadan should stop you from committing an otherwise permissible act in the blessed month. Another example would be putting everything aside and coming early for salah out of reverence for it (as you hold Allah in greater reverence and regard than any pre-salah occupation – to honour and revere salah is to honour and revere Allah).

The most prominent and common features of Ramadan are the obligatory fasts and recommended night prayers, both of which present great rewards if done with the right intent. A typical Muslim’s reason for fasting or attending the mosque might simply be the fact that ‘everyone else does it’. This herd mentality is a dangerous one which subjects a person to overlook the greater purpose for which this month was bestowed, and in doing so, neglect Allah**.

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ يَقُولُ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ:

{ الصَّوْمُ لِي وَأَنَا أَجْزِي بِهِ يَدَعُ شَهْوَتَهُ وَأَكْلَهُ وَشُرْبَهُ مِنْ أَجْلِي، وَالصَّوْمُ جُنَّةٌ، وَلِلصَّائِمِ فَرْحَتَانِ فَرْحَةٌ حِينَ يُفْطِرُ وَفَرْحَةٌ حِينَ يَلْقَى رَبَّهُ، وَلَخَلُوفُ فَمِ الصَّائِمِ أَطْيَبُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ مِنْ رِيحِ الْمِسْكِ } ‏”

Narrated by Abu Huraira: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Allah said: Fasting is for Me and I will give the reward for it: He (the one who fasts) leaves his desire, food and drink for My Sake. Fasting is a screen (from Hell) and there are two pleasures for a fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord. And the smell of the mouth of a fasting person is better in Allah’s Sight than the smell of musk.- Sahih Al-Bukhari

Fasting which does not induce Taqwa into the ‘faster’ is flawed. Because fasting is not simply the inhibition of food, drink and desires with the culmination of an extravagant feast to top it all off. The purpose of fasting is attaining Taqwa: the awareness/consciousness of Allah. Being patient in restricting your nutritional needs is an excellent way of gaining self-control and restraint, and the benefits of self-control are innumerable. Food is something that you need AND want, so if you can control yourself in your diet, you can control yourself in anything else. Indeed, “if you can learn self-control, you can learn anything”.

Remember, the health benefits of fasting are numerous, but that’s not why we fast. The social benefits of fasting are numerous but that’s not why we fast. The mental, financial, and emotional benefits likewise, but our fasts are for the attainment of Taqwa.

Keep Allah as your intended motive and all else will follow.

Quality not Quantity! A habit of continuous over-eating is one that will bring you regrets in both the long and short term. The prophet ﷺ said:

{ مَا مَلأَ آدَمِيٌّ وِعَاءً شَرًّا مِنْ بَطْنٍ بِحَسْبِ ابْنِ آدَمَ أُكُلاَتٌ يُقِمْنَ صُلْبَهُ فَإِنْ كَانَ لاَ مَحَالَةَ فَثُلُثٌ لِطَعَامِهِ وَثُلُثٌ لِشَرَابِهِ وَثُلُثٌ لِنَفَسِهِ }

{ The human does not fill any container that is worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat what will support his back. If this is not possible, then a third for food, a third for drink, and third for his breath. }– Jaami’ Al-Tirmithi

Living in an age such as this, we know of people around the world who are starving and lack enough food, and it is only by undergoing a similar experience that we really feel empathy towards them. But to say we share a ‘similar experience’ is not true per se, we spend our final minutes of the fasting day in the presence of fresh, delicious food, knowing for certain that it is just a matter of time before we indulge in it and alleviate our hunger, while many others suffer the unpredictability of not knowing whether they will find anything to break their fasts with. Amidst the cheers and joy of eating at iftar, whether you’re alone or surrounded by friends and family***, spare a thought and a prayer for those elsewhere, and ask Allah to make you truly appreciative and grateful.

Remember that something as common as food or sleep may be an act of worship if done with the right intent and in the right way.

Finally, avoid excessive profusion and wastefulness in your food. Don’t waste excessive food, don’t waste excessive money on buying food, don’t waste excessive time in preparing food. Eating in and of itself is not the aim, but a means.

{ وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ ۖ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ }

{ And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided } Al-Baqarah (2:186)

If the lord of the worlds is telling you he is near and will answer your supplications, what is stopping you from supplicating?

Don’t make Ramadan a time of inactivity! Just because your days are spent without food and drink and your accustomed routine is no longer in effect, is NO EXCUSE for you to lie around all day idly waiting for sunset. Be productive! As you are fasting, scavenging for food will no longer be on your agenda for the day, so you have one less major distraction, and if you ensure you are well nourished with quality food at iftar and suhoor, you will not suffer as much mental or physical fatigue. Quality rest is essential to go about your day (or night), but the difference between rest and laziness is a vast one.

Laziness is something which plagues us as muslims, no time more so than in Ramadan, yet laziness is something so detrimental, the prophet himself had sought refuge in Allah from it:

كَانَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْهَمِّ وَالْحَزَنِ، وَالْعَجْزِ وَالْكَسَلِ، وَالْجُبْنِ وَالْبُخْلِ، وَضَلَعِ الدَّيْنِ، وَغَلَبَةِ الرِّجَالِ ‏”‏‏.‏

The Prophet (ﷺ) used to say, “O Allah! I seek refuge with You from worry and grief, from incapacity and laziness, from cowardice and miserliness, from being heavily in debt and from being overpowered by (other) men.” – Sahih Al-Bukhari

Quranic contemplation:
Probably the most important paragraph here – Ramadan is the MONTH OF THE QURAN. When mentioning the verse of Ramadan, Allah first associated it with the Quran.

{ شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ }

{ The month of Ramadhan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. } Al-Baqarah (2:185)

The Quran is the most read book on earth. Unfortunately, only a mere fraction of those who recite it understand or even practice it. What’s upsetting is not that so many people will spend hours in prayer listening to the Quran being recited without understanding it, the upsetting issue is that they will do so without having a concern or a desire to change. Ignorance is bad enough, but being content with ignorance is far worse. And the true benefit of the Quran as a guidance and reminder is not obtained through mere heedless recitation.

All human knowledge is obtained by studying the world. By observing nature and human interactions, we develop the sciences of logic, mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry, psychology, zoology, sociology, economics, politics etc.

The same way the world is the creation of Allah, the Quran is his literal words, and just as so much knowledge and wisdom is derived from studying his creation, so much knowledge, wisdom and guidance is obtained from studying the Quran. And you don’t need a telescope, microscope, laboratory or even a university to do so. What’s necessary is a sincere heart.

{ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَذِكْرَىٰ لِمَن كَانَ لَهُ قَلْبٌ أَوْ أَلْقَى السَّمْعَ وَهُوَ شَهِيدٌ }

{ Indeed in that is a reminder for whoever has a heart or who listens while he is present [in mind]. } Qaf (50:37)

Allah has shown here in this verse that benefiting from the reminder is dependent on:

-The place in which the reminder is to settle, which is a sincere, living heart. A dead person (with a physically dead heart) cannot possibly hear, understand, or be touched by the Quran, but the same is also true for a living person with a spiritually dead heart.
-Directing your hearing and paying attention to what is being said.
-Being aware and present mentally (and in turn emotionally too)

While reciting the Quran, if you truly believed and constantly remembered that these words are from Allah, how different would your attention and concentration be?

While contemplating the Quran, note down and keep a record of the interesting words, points and questions which are bound to appear, flex your mind and ponder over what Allah had sent down to you, and reinforce your reflections with commentaries and books of exegesis, and even seek help from people of knowledge.

{ أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا }

{ Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an, or are there locks upon [their] hearts? } Muhammad (47:24)

{ عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال : ” الصيام جنة من النار ، فمن أصبح صائماً فلا يجهل يومئذ ، وإن امرؤ جهل عليه فلا يشتمه ولا يسبه وليقل إني صائم …” }

{ The Prophet ﷺ said:”Fasting is a shield against the Fire. Whoever starts the day of fasting, let him not act in an ignorant manner during that day. If anyone treats him in an ignorant manner, let him not insult him or curse him, rather let him say: “I am fasting.’ …” } – Sunan An-Nasa’i

The importance of manners in relation to fasting is paramount, and an end to fasting or Ramadan does not mean an end to the prohibition of bad manners and conduct.

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم: ‏”‏ رُبَّ صَائِمٍ لَيْسَ لَهُ مِنْ صِيَامِهِ إِلاَّ الْجُوعُ وَرُبَّ قَائِمٍ لَيْسَ لَهُ مِنْ قِيَامِهِ إِلاَّ السَّهَرُ ‏”

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “How many a person would fast and get nothing from their fast except hunger, and how many a person would pray and get nothing from their prayer but a sleepless night.”
– Sunan Ibn Majah

Allah has rights upon you, but so do people. Let not your shortcomings towards others be a means of your pious actions becoming dissipated. By rowdily leaving the mosque in a loud fashion and disturbing neighbours late after taraweeh, you are probably causing more harm to Islam and Muslims than if you had not prayed!

Allah has blessed us with an easy religion. If anything, it is we who make it harder for ourselves with our ignorance. In the verses of Ramadan, Allah mentions some examples of exceptions and emphases leniency by saying:

يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ } }

{…Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship…}

Al-Baqarah (2:185)

It may have been sufficient for Allah to just say that he intends for us ease, but the point was further emphasised with the next clause.

If you mistakenly eat and drink before recalling that you are fasting, it’s ok!

If you are sick, travelling, pregnant, breastfeeding, or have an otherwise genuine reason for not fasting, its ok! (provided you make up for it)

عن أم إسحاق ـــ أنها كانت عند رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم، فأتى بقصعة من ثريد فأكلت معه، ومعه ذو اليدين، فناولها رسولُ الله صَلَّى الله عليه وسلم عرقًا؛ فقال: “يَا أُمَّ إِسْحَاقَ، أَصِيبي مِنْ هَذَا”، فذكرت أني صائمة فنسيت، فقال ذو اليدين: الآن بعد ما شبعت. فقال النّبيّ صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم: “إِنَّمَا هُوَ رِزْقٌ سَاقَهُ الله إِلَيْكِ”

Narrated by Umm Ishaq, that while she was in the presence of the prophet, he had bought a bowl of porridge, so she ate with him, and with them was Thul-yadayn, and as the prophet had passed on to her a portion, saying: “Oh Umm-Ishaq, have some of this”, she remembered that she was fasting (and had ate while having forgotten), after which Thul-yadayn had said: Now after you are full?! So the prophet said: “It is a sustenance which Allah had driven to you” – Musnad Ahmad

Regarding the time of imsaak (the suhoor finish time), the sunnah is actually to keep eating till as late as possible, within reasonable boundaries (not eating after you pray).

عن حذيفة قال: تسحرت مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم هو النهار إلا أن الشمس لم تطلع

{ On the authority of Huthaifa, he said: I had suhoor with the messenger of Allah and it was daytime except that the sun had not risen. }

– Sunan Ibn Majah

Contrary to our customs of ceasing from food and drink at a set time or even choosing an earlier time out of caution, the ahadith encouraging the lateness of suhoor, even beyond the time of the athaan are many and incontrovertible. If you hear the athaan but still haven’t finished from eating, you should not cease from eating.

عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال:” إذا سمع أحدكم النداءَ والإناءُ على يده، فلا يضعه حتى يقضيَ حاجته منه ”

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: When any of you hears the summons to prayer while he has a vessel in his hand, he should not lay it down till he fulfils his need.

– Sunan Abi-Dawud


Everyone will make the nourishment of their bodies a primary focus during Ramadan, but few are those who will busy themselves with nourishing their souls.

Ramadan has begun, Ramadan will soon end, and Ramadan will eventually return. While Ramadan’s recurrence will not disappear, our recurrence will: It is we who may not be around for the next Ramadan. The experience of Ramadan is no different to that of life: a miraculous opportunity too good to be true: a short time in which one may take heed and invest for his real future, or waste time, live heedlessly and suffer the consequences.

You have already lived through Ramadan many times before, but has it really had an effect on your remaining 11 months of the year?

Will you spend more time this Ramadan looking at TV series and films with family and friends, or looking into the Quran?

Will you attend I’tikaf at the mosque because you want to have a good time with friends**** or because you want solitude with the Quran and worship?

Will your fast only keep you away from food and drink, or will it keep you away from backbiting, bad manners, bad words, bad looks, and bad dealings too?

Could this be the Ramadan in which you break your heart’s locks and sincerely set aside time to read the Quran and reflect upon it?

Though it is distressing that you will see the Muslim masses racing to the mosque during Ramadan while neglecting it outside Ramadan*****, we should always appreciate the good in others and make that good, no matter how limited, a possible stepping stone for their improvement, and in doing so, our improvement too.

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “‏ إِذَا كَانَ أَوَّلُ لَيْلَةٍ مِنْ شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ صُفِّدَتِ الشَّيَاطِينُ وَمَرَدَةُ الْجِنِّ وَغُلِّقَتْ أَبْوَابُ النَّارِ فَلَمْ يُفْتَحْ مِنْهَا بَابٌ. وَفُتِّحَتْ أَبْوَابُ الْجَنَّةِ فَلَمْ يُغْلَقْ مِنْهَا بَابٌ وَيُنَادِي مُنَادٍ يَا بَاغِيَ الْخَيْرِ أَقْبِلْ وَيَا بَاغِيَ الشَّرِّ أَقْصِرْ وَلِلَّهِ عُتَقَاءُ مِنَ النَّارِ وَذَلِكَ كُلَّ لَيْلَةٍ ‏”

The Messenger of Allah said: “On the first night of the month of Ramadan, the Shayatin and jinns are shackled, the gates of the Fires are shut such that no gate among them would be opened. The gates of Paradise are opened such that no gate among them would be closed, and a caller calls: ‘O seeker of the good; come near!’ and ‘O seeker of evil; stop! And there are those whom Allah frees from the Fire, and that is every night. – Jami’ Al-Tirmithi

عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ: يَسِّرُوا وَلاَ تُعَسِّرُوا، وَبَشِّرُوا وَلاَ تُنَفِّرُوا } ‏}

{ The Prophet (ﷺ) said: Facilitate things to people, and do not make things hard for them, and give them good tidings, and do not make them turn away } – Sahih Al-Bukhari

And who knows, that individual who attends the mosque less than you do or outwardly appears less practicing, less religious or less conservative, may eventually exceed you in faith, or may be worth more in the sight of Allah than yourself. A shortcoming that induces regret and remorse in the person is better than a good act which induces pride and arrogance.

We ask Allah to make us humble and steadfast, in Ramadan and outside Ramadan, and to make us among those who are granted mercy and forgiveness therein and always.

Ramadan is an opportunity like no other, but the consequences of wasting this opportunity are also severe:

قالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “… رَغِمَ أَنْفُ رَجُلٍ دَخَلَ عَلَيْهِ رَمَضَانُ ثُمَّ انْسَلَخَ قَبْلَ أَنْ يُغْفَرَ لَهُ ”

The prophet said: “may a man upon whom Ramadan enters and then passes, before he is forgiven, be humiliated” – Jami’ Al-Tirmithi

*Arabic word: شعيرة

**This ramadan, and always strive to be a muslim with religious integrity, a muslim who is drawn by conviction, not custom or culture – as the saying goes: don’t just follow the crowd.

*** Share the spirit of ramadan with others! Invite your non-muslim neighbours and friends also! Ramdan is an excellent time to exemplify the hospitable and charitable aspects of Islam for others.

****Try to strike a balance between solitude and friends who will encourage you to maximise your Ramadan. Be yourself a sincere friend who encourages others too.

*****Setting aside special times and places dedicated for the worship of Allah is no reason to completely neglect the same worship at other times and places.

The Power of You

It’s important to surround ourselves with positivity, but we must also realise that we can’t completely isolate ourselves from negative energy. Ignorance, difficulty and injustice will be found everywhere. If you get out of a testing situation, or cut ties with an angry person, understand that you will soon face negativity again.
But let me tell you something. The only one who has the power over how you feel, is you.

You cannot control the world around you, but you have the upper hand when it comes to your own heart.

Look after it. 

Learn to nurture and support yourself.

To be kind to yourself, without expecting others to be kind to you.

Learn to live by the principles of optimism. To challenge that negativity you see around you.

Learn to smile at the one who insults you.

To celebrate the personal victories that only you are aware of.

Carry the firm belief that you have a right to be happy. Don’t let anyone take that away from you.

And make it a mission to spread this happiness. To share, and to love, even when your own foundations seem to be breaking.

Learn that through giving, you will receive.

Recognise that mindset is the key to success. With desire, motivation and consistency, you will achieve beyond your expectations.

Because, ultimately, internal strength will destroy the external barriers.

What about tomorrow?

When I reflect on the past few months, I notice something.
If you’d have asked me last year where I expected to be heading, my answer would have been very different from what I see in front of me today.
In such a short amount of time, my life has changed drastically.
It’s moments like these when I realise I’ve got it wrong. I am so focused on the future. In fact, too focused.

I don’t doubt that planning and organisation are of crucial importance. But sometimes, we can go far beyond the acceptable amount of planning.

What exactly am I going to be doing in the next few months? What about in 10 years? What will my circumstances be? Who will I be surrounded by? How will I feel? What if I can’t keep up? The list goes on.

So much energy and thought is fed into worrying about what’s to come.

But this future I’m holding on to so tightly probably never will come. Just like the future I perceived in the past did not translate into what I am living today.

You see, these pages I tried to write so thoroughly were never part of my book. Regardless of how long I spent perfecting the handwriting.

The me of today was once a future me; an idea. And they couldn’t be more different.

I may see change as an obstacle, or a deviation from my well thought out plan. I may see it as a failure or a loss or a burden.

But no matter what I want for tomorrow, no matter what I think I need, what is with Allah will undoubtedly be better. His wisdom will always transcend my ignorance.

‘Say, “Never will we be struck except by what Allah has decreed for us; He is our protector.” And upon Allah let the believers rely.’

(Surah Al Taubah: 51)