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Will You Deserve Eid?

11 days down, 18 or 19 more to go.

One third of the way through, and this is where the excitement and buzz of Ramadan starts waning. Well, for everyone but those who know its virtues.

Reviving the Role of the Masjid | Part 1 | Dr Hatem Al Haj -

Everyone who was talking a minute ago about the immense reward on the Day of Judgement, and the pleasure in this life of coming closer to Allah SWT, has reverted to posting food pictures of their iftar; it’s getting tough now for you too as old habits come calling and you slip back to doing tawaf around the same 3 apps you spend your life on.

Your lack of sleep is majorly starting to catch up, and everyone around you is going about their day like normal, as if we weren’t all just attending preparatory talks, buying planners, and making dua lists like yesterday

Where did all of the excitement go?

If you need some mid-Ramadan motivation, think, at the end of this month,

 ‘Will I deserve Eid?’

When we wake up on Eid day, by the permission of Allah, and see those around us celebrating and feeling accomplished, we’re going to want to feel like that as well. We won’t want the guilt of partaking in all of the good stuff after not having quite deserved it. And the truth is, most of us will still enjoy Eid, even if we didn’t work for it.

But all of us know that it would have been sweeter had we sweat more. 

To avoid those pangs of regret, it’s time to pull up our socks, refuel our tanks, and get back in the game.

The gates of Hellfire that shut at the start of Ramadan are still shut

The gates of Jannah that opened at the start of Ramadan are still open

Let’s take a closer look at this famous hadith about Ramadan:

“On the first night of the month of Ramadan, the devils are chained and the jinn are restrained, the gates of Hellfire are closed and none of its gates are opened, the gates of Paradise are opened and none of its gates are closed, and a heavenly caller announces: O seeker of good, come near! O seeker of evil, stop short! Allah has those He saves from the Hellfire, and that is during every night.” (Sunan al Tirmidhi 682)

Here are a few key takeaways from this hadith that can refuel us, insha’Allah.

1. “Scholars who have interpreted this hadith say that “the gates of Paradise” refers to all of the gates, not just the gate “Ar-Rayyan” – the gate for those distinguished through their fasting. That is to say that there are so many, different ways of earning Allah SWT’s mercy in this month, including through fasting of course.

Practical tip: If you’re struggling with staying consistent with your acts of worship, take a look at what you’re good at and increase in it as much as you can, and perhaps that will be your way of attaining Allah SWT’s mercy.

2. If we take a look at the last part of the hadith, the Prophet SAW said “Allah has those He saves from the Hellfire, and that is during every night.”

Every. Single. Night.

Practical tip: We’ve got a good bunch of nights left still, insha’Allah (including the last 10), so put away those excuses because it’s not over yet, my friend.  

There is still time to earn some serious reward. And still time to make sure you earn, as far as you are able to, that Eid we’re all waiting for.

May Allah SWT allow us to exert ourselves in His way, and allow us to see the end of this month in a state where all our sins are forgiven.  

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Ready, Set, Ramadan.

Panic! There’s just over a week left until Ramadan and everyone around you has already been preparing. 

But you haven’t and now it’s all catching up to you. How are you going to make the most of this month? Is it even worth starting to prepare now? What am I even supposed to do?

Pause for a second.

We’ve compiled a list of quick ideas to get you motivated and kick start your preparation. 

  1. Don’t despair: you haven’t thrown it all away.

Shaytan wants you to think it’s too late and there’s nothing you can do now. That’s his trick to stop you from doing anything at all. 

If you didn’t start preparing at the start of Sha’ban (the Islamic month that precedes Ramadan), it’s not too late. Start now.

  1. Write down everything you want to achieve in Ramadan.

Once you know what you’re aiming for, you can specify what you want to practise in the time we have left. 

Want to get up to pray before Fajr? Start setting that alarm 10 minutes, then 15 minutes etc. before Fajr and make it a daily habit.

[Don’t know where to start with tahajjud? Check out our blog post here]

  1. Make a checklist of whether you’re meeting these goals. 

You don’t want to gas yourself up for doing something without realising you only managed to meet your target twice in the past 5 days. Keep track of if you’re on track, if you get what we mean.

  1. Acquire the right tools you’ll need for Ramadan (and therefore the tools you’ll need now).

An obvious example is a mushaf (copy of the Qur’an) or a Qur’an app. And, like we mentioned earlier, start using it if this is your goal!! Other examples could be an athkar (remembrances) book, Islamic book, or hijabs. 

5. Think about the practical side of Ramadan, and therefore prepare accordingly. 

Don’t want to be spending time making iftar? Practise meal prepping now, and get the recipes/containers/stuff you’ll need for this. Alternatively, hop down to McDougall’s Prayer Hall every night to get a free iftar instead ????

  1. Map out where your uni deadlines lie.

In an idealistic world, our Ramadan would be filled with entirely ritual and “feel-good” ibaadah (worship), but guess what? You’re not paying 9 grand for nothing (even if it feels like it). Figure out what work you’ll need to do in Ramadan, and how you can ensure you still have time for your new goals. 

One way of doing this is taking into account what work you can do now, instead of leaving it for Ramadan. 

You can also make a timetable for each day of Ramadan and put in specific times for when you’ll be studying – remember, with the right intention, this can be an act of worship too, so don’t feel like you’re wasting time.

  1. Learn about Ramadan. 

Which deeds are the most important, and therefore what should you focus on? Revisit your Ramadan goals list and add these in. Even listening to short lectures or podcasts about Ramadan, from sources you trust, can help you prioritise your goals and help you get the best rewards. Remember to revisit your Ramadan goals list to make sure you’re including key deeds! 

  1. So you’ve got your list of things you’re going to do and it might include things you’re going to leave…

Yes, we’re talking about social media. Cut down your time spent on those apps now, so it’s easier to potentially take a break from them during Ramadan. 

Probably the most underestimated step: 

  1. Make dua that Allah SWT allows you to witness Ramadan, and be from amongst those who are forgiven by the time it passes.

It has been narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said Jibreel AS came to him making dua: “Verily, Gabriel came to me and he said: “Whoever reaches the month of Ramadan and he is not forgiven, then he will enter Hellfire and Allah will cast him far away, so say amin.” I said amin.” (Ṣaḥīḥ Ibn Ḥibbān)

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Guess what, folks? 

It’s winter. 

Dark on your way to uni. Dark on the way back.

Gloomy weather, miserable people, a chilling cold that no amount of whatever-spiced-lattes can amend… 

And because the Sun is barely out, it’s our time, as Muslims, to shine. 

So long Summer. This is Winter- the season of the believer. 

A great scholar in our history, Al-Ḥasan al-Baṣrī said, “Winter is the best season for the believer. Its nights are long for him to pray in, and its days are short for him to fast in.”

Whilst we’re patiently waiting for Ramadhan to fix ourselves (more on that later this year), let’s try and kick up our spirits a bit by taking advantage of this time we have now… 

The first of the two deeds Imam Al Hasan al Basri mentioned is qiyam al layl – “standing in the night”. 

What this means is spending part of the night in additional prayers. 

Everybody romanticises qiyam al layl until the alarm goes off and then they begin romanticising the warmth of their beds more (more on that, too). 

A whatever-spiced-latte ^

So… what’s the fuss? 

“The best prayer after the obligatory prayers is the night prayer.” (Muslim) 

“The Lord descends every night to the lowest heaven when one-third of the night remains and says: ‘Who will call upon Me, that I may answer Him? Who will ask of Me, that I may give him? Who will seek My forgiveness, that I may forgive him?” (Bukhari, Muslim)

This is a neglected part of our time where we have the opportunity to ask from Allah SWT. Whatever you’re asking for, the last third of the night is a well-known and well-established time for dua to be accepted. 

In Surah Isra’, ayah 79, Allah SWT mentions

وَمِنَ ٱلَّيْلِ فَتَهَجَّدْ بِهِۦ نَافِلَةًۭ لَّكَ عَسَىٰٓ أَن يَبْعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَامًۭا مَّحْمُودًۭا

“And rise at ˹the last˺ part of the night, offering additional prayers, so your Lord may raise you to a station of praise.” 

And who doesn’t want to attain a station of praise?

It’s also worth thinking about what sort of believer you want to be. In Surah Az-Zumar, ayah 9, Allah SWT mentions: 

أَمَّنْ هُوَ قَـٰنِتٌ ءَانَآءَ ٱلَّيْلِ سَاجِدًۭا وَقَآئِمًۭا يَحْذَرُ ٱلْـَٔاخِرَةَ وَيَرْجُوا۟ رَحْمَةَ رَبِّهِۦ ۗ قُلْ هَلْ يَسْتَوِى ٱلَّذِينَ يَعْلَمُونَ وَٱلَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ ۗ إِنَّمَا يَتَذَكَّرُ أُو۟لُوا۟ ٱلْأَلْبَـٰبِ 

“˹Are they better˺ or those who worship ˹their Lord˺ devoutly in the hours of the night, prostrating and standing, fearing the Hereafter and hoping for the mercy of their Lord? Say, ˹O Prophet,˺ “Are those who know equal to those who do not know?” None will be mindful ˹of this˺ except people of reason.”

We want to be from amongst the best of believers, and surely this is an action that can distinguish us. 

In numerous ahadith, the Prophet ﷺ encourages praying in the night. The Prophet ﷺ said: “You should pray Qiyaam al-Layl, for it is the habit of the righteous people who came before you, and it will bring you closer to your Lord, expiate for bad deeds, prevent sin, and expel disease from the body.” (Tirmidhi) 

As we aim to follow in the footsteps of our beloved Prophet ﷺ, we need to realise how much this prayer meant to him. It has been narrated that “The Prophet ﷺ used to offer night prayers till his feet became swollen. Somebody said to him, “Allah has forgiven you, your faults of the past and those to follow.” On that, he said, “Shouldn’t I be a thankful slave of Allah?” (Bukhari).

And finally, we mentioned how difficult it is to get out of bed for salah, and Allah SWT knows this about us. 

In Surah Sajdah, Allah SWT mentions how the believer rises to pray after leaving their bed. 

تَتَجَافَىٰ جُنُوبُهُمْ عَنِ ٱلْمَضَاجِعِ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُمْ خَوْفًۭا وَطَمَعًۭا وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَـٰهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ 

“They abandon their beds, invoking their Lord with hope and fear, and donate from what We have provided for them.”

Imam Ash-Shafi’ (a revered scholar in our tradition) even used to say “May you be destroyed. You are ever so soft and inviting.”, when referring to his bed. 

Pretend that’s moonlight, pls ^

The practical side of things

We can’t quite sum up all of the virtues and blessings of qiyam al layl, but hopefully you’re feeling a bit inspired. 

To help you get going, we’ve compiled some tips to help you get started and hopefully stay committed. 

  1. Make sure you have your fardh (compulsory) prayers nailed down! 

The most beloved deeds to Allah are the fara’idh and that’s where we’d better start. 

The Prophet SAW was asked: “Which deed is the dearest to Allah?” He replied: “To perform the (daily compulsory) prayers at their (early) stated fixed time.” (Bukhari) 

So don’t run before you can walk 🙂 

  1. Sleep early – you didn’t need to hear this one from us. 

Isha’ happening earlier now is quite a relief, so make use of it before you regret it in the summer months. Complete your tasks and sign off for the day with Isha’ and the athkar before sleeping (remembrances).

Aisha reported: “The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, would not sleep before evening prayer and he would not stay up after it.” (Sunan Ibn-Majah)

  1. Start small – remember: “If you get up for night prayer, start with two short raka’at.” (Muslim) 

These two raka’at could make a huge difference. 

  1. Give yourself enough time to wake up. If you’re making the effort, you want to reap as much benefit as you can. Allow yourself enough time to wake up properly, make wudu’ and complete your two raka’at. 

When the Prophet ﷺ used to wake up for tahajjud, he recited the dua 

  1. Build a connection with Allah through other good deeds and leaving of sin. Draw closer to Him in all ways and you’ll feel your heart incline even more. Ibn Mas’ud, a companion of the Prophet ﷺ was asked, “I cannot pray at night.”  He said, “Your sins have prevented you.”

Similarly, Sufyaan ath-Thawri said, “I was deprived of the night prayer for five months because of a sin I committed.” It was said, “What was it?” Sufyan said, “I saw a man weeping and I said to myself: This one is showing off.”

So to ensure you are able to offer this prayer, ask for Allah SWT aid, and know that your own sins can be the barrier. 

  1. Push yourself (and remember you don’t have to enjoy an act of worship for it to be accepted).

Sufyaan ath-Thawri said: “For twenty years I waged Jihad against myself.  I struggled all throughout to remain standing in prayer at night. For those twenty years I never tasted the sweetness of the night prayer. It was only after that that I found comfort and sweetness.”

So it might be tough at the start, but that’s where the reward lies. 

  1. At the same time, do not overburden yourself. You have uni. You have your limits. So make sure you don’t set unrealistic standards (and remember, these might jeopardise your consistency). 

Whilst it’s important to keep going, it was narrated by Abu Huraira that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Verily, the religion is easy and no one burdens himself in religion but that it overwhelms him. Follow the right course, seek closeness to Allah, give glad tidings, and seek help for worship in the morning and evening and a part of the night.” (Bukhari) 

  1. Make the Witr prayer your last prayer of the night. “The Witr prayer is offered in units of two raka’at. If you fear that dawn is near, conclude with a single rak’ah so the night prayer will be of an odd number.” (Bukhari) 

Ensure it is prayed before the time of Fajr commences. 

  1. And when you’ve done all of the above (or followed whichever route that worked for you), keep it up! 

Remember: “The most beloved of actions to Allah are those which are done persistently, even if they are little.” (Muslim).

Getting started is perhaps the hardest part, so once you’ve established a routine, hold onto it. 

In all, we’ve got to remember that tahajjud is not a shot in the dark. 

Instead, it’s shooting an arrow that doesn’t miss (Imam ash-Shafi’). 

Your Lord listens to you, and you are the closest to Him when in prostration (Sahih Muslim). He descends in a way that befits him, in the last third of the night. 

He asks “who will ask of Me, that I may give him?”.

Your Lord is asking… so tell him. 

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Laylatul Qadr

As we approach the end of Ramadhan, Muslims all over the world are awaiting the
opportunity to gain infinite rewards and blessings from Laylatul Qadr.
Here is a guide to everything you need to know about this blessed night and how to
attain maximum rewards!
But first, what exactly is Laylatul Qadr?

  • Many scholars translate this as the Night of Decree or the Night of Power.
    The Night of Decree implies that this is the night in which each believer’s
    destiny for the year is decided by Allah SWT and written by the angels. This
    destiny can refer to a person’s lifespan, sustenance, success and anything
  • Other scholars define it as the Night of Power.
    This is because any righteous deed performed during this night is far more
    powerful than it would be on any other night. In fact, the actions we do in this
    one night are equal to 83 years and 4 months (or 1000 months) and this is
    evident in The Holy Qur’an in Surah Al- Qadr, in which it states this night is
    ‘better than a thousand months’ (97:3).
    Sheikh Uthaimeen (may Allah SWT have mercy on him) said ‘Laylatul Qadr is given
    that name for two reasons. The first is because the actions of the children of
    Aadam and other things that will happen in that year are decreed, due to His
    Saying, the Most High, “Indeed, We sent it down during a blessed night. Indeed, We
    were to warn [mankind]. Therein [i.e., on that night] is made distinct every precise
    matter…” (Dukhaan 44: 3-4). The second reason is that it is a night of honour
    because of its immense value/rank evident in ayah 3 of Surah Al- Qadr as
    mentioned above.
    {Riyadhus- Saaliheen, Vol. 1, p. 1367}.
  • This auspicious night only occurs once in Ramadhan and though we do not
    know the specific date, the prophet Muhammad SAW said ‘search for
    Laylatul Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten nights of Ramadhan’.
    {Sahih Al-Bukhari 2017}
    There is tremendous wisdom behind not knowing a specific date, as this
    will distinguish from those who were consistent in their worship and those who
    would only worship on the one day. This way, we are allowed the opportunity
    to gain even more rewards. It is paramount that we engage in plentiful Ibada’a
    and do good to reap the bounty, mercy, and pleasure of Allah SWT.
  • This was the night that the first verses of The Holy Qur’an were revealed to
    the prophet Muhammad SAW.

So how should I achieve the most out of this night?

  • Cut down and avoid unnecessary socialising whether that be through social
    media or face to face interactions as this can lead to extra sins.
  • Have a light suhoor; you don’t want to waste your day away by sleeping
    when this can be better spent in acts of worship to your Lord.
  • Keep dhikr moist on your tongue constantly! Remember, Allah SWT loves
    those deeds that are consistent, even if they’re small!
  • If possible, go into a period of I’tikaaf- this is to devote yourself to ibada’a by
    secluding yourself in the mosque for the entirety of the ten days as the
    prophet Muhammad SAW often did himself.
  • Perform voluntary prayers such as tahajjud and taraweeh and read other
    prayers in congregation, especially Isha and Fajr salah. Whoever does so,
    it is as if he had spent his entire night in prayer.
  • Read as much Qur’an as you can and ponder over the translation and
    meaning. These are Allah SWT’s words to you. Don’t forget, each letter is
    rewarded 10 good deeds but this multiplies drastically if you happen to do
    this on Laylatul Qadr.
  • Have a list of duas prepared in advance and use some of Allah SWT’s 99
    names to your advantage.
  • Give to charity in abundance and without fear for one’s wealth and it will be
    as if you had done this for 83 years.

Aisha Ra (May Allah SWT be pleased with her) reported:
I asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah! If I realise Laylatul Qadr, what should I supplicate in
it?’ He SAW replied, ‘You should supplicate: Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun,
tuhibbul- ‘afwa, fa’ fu ‘anni (O Allah, You are Most Forgiving, and You love
forgiveness, so forgive me).’
{At- Tirmidhi}.

Signs of this blessed night to look out for

  • A peaceful night implying it is neither too hot nor too cold- Ibn ‘Abbas
    RA said that the messenger SAW said ‘Laylatul Qadr is calm and pleasant,
    neither hot nor cold…’

{Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah 2049}

  • The moon may have a distinct shape (half a plate)- Abu Hurayrah (May
    Allah SWT be pleased with him) said “We were talking about Laylatul Qadr in
    the presence of the Messenger SAW of Allah SWT and he said: He who
    amongst you remembers (the night) when the moon arose and it was like a
    piece of a plate?”.
    {Sahih Muslim 1170}
  • There is a possibility of rain- There are many narrations where Prophet
    Muhammad SAW did mention that he dreamt about Laylatul Qadr and in that
    dream he had prostrated and when he came up, his face was wet with rain
    water and mud.
    {Al- Bukhari, 813}
  • The sun rises early in the morning without rays- From Ubayy RA, who
    said that he SAW said ‘On the morning following Laylatul Qadr the sun rises
    not having any rays, as if it were a brass dish, until it rises up.’
    {Sahih Muslim}
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Ramadan: the month of Forgiveness

The blessed month is with us once again, Alhamdulillah and we are lucky enough to witness the beauty of this holy month, a time that we all look forward to year round.

Ramadan is about many things but it is also the month of forgiveness, the month of mercy where the doors of hell are closed and the doors of Jannah open; where shaytaan is locked up. It is the perfect opportunity to ask for forgiveness from your Lord, no matter how big or small the sin. Trust in Allah’s forgiveness as he is the Most Merciful, All-Forgiving.

First and foremost it is important to forgive ourselves. This month is about healing and repentance which is ultimately the source of inner peace and tranquillity. We are all human, nobody is perfect, we all sin. Yes, we are responsible for our actions, but it is knowing that we sinned which is important. Allah SWT loves those who repent, after all Jannah is filled with the believers who repented. How beautiful is it that Allah will eagerly forgive you for the things you can’t even forgive yourself for?

Ramadan truly reminds us of the mercy of our Lord. Allah SWT loves the voice of a believer, so ask Him for forgiveness for all of your sins and shortcomings. Take advantage of this month and repent to your Lord. Don’t ever think ‘My sin is too huge to be forgiven. Allah will never forgive me’. This is totally not the case. Take the example of the prostitute woman who was forgiven by providing water to a dog who was on the verge of dying. Such a small act of kindness, yet Allah SWT forgave her. Doesn’t that show you how Merciful your Lord is?

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger () as saying:

He who seeks repentance (from the Lord) before the rising of the sun from the west (before the Day of Resurrection), Allah turns to him with Mercy.- Sahih Muslim

مَنْ تَابَ قَبْلَ أَنْ تَطْلُعَ الشَّمْسُ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا تَابَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

Whilst on the topic of forgiveness, it is also important to forgive others for any wrongdoing. Islam teaches us about forgiveness. Forgive others and pray for their well-being. Sometimes it may feel impossible to forgive people who have hurt us, betrayed us but remember everything happens for a reason, Allah SWT is the biggest of planners.. Forgive others for the sake of your own well-being. If you don’t forgive others, how do you expect Allah SWT to forgive you? Your Lord forgives the biggest of sins, so what makes you think you can’t forgive another being? Forgiving others is a part of healing. Forgive others just as Allah will forgive people on the Day of Judgement.

Allah SWT constantly reminds us in the Quran of his merciness and forgiveness..

قُلْ يَـٰعِبَادِىَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا۟ عَلَىٰٓ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا۟ مِن رَّحْمَةِ ٱللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ ٱلذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُۥ هُوَ ٱلْغَفُورُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ

“ Say, ˹O Prophet, that Allah says,˺ “O My servants who have exceeded the limits against their souls! Do not lose hope in Allah’s mercy, for Allah certainly forgives all sins.1 He is indeed the All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” 39:53 Saheeh international

Take advantage of this month, repent to your Lord, ask for his forgiveness and appreciate how Merciful Allah is. Surely, you will obtain inner peace and will strengthen your imaan.

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Ramadan Reflection: How I set my goals

Written by: Mariam

It’s the blessed month of Ramadaan. We’re halfway through and reflecting on the past two weeks I’ve realised how easy it is to burden yourself with goals and high expectations of how much dhikr (remembrance of Allah) and Ibaadah (worship of Allah). Truthfully speaking I do this every year and I’m beginning to realise that although you should strive to be a better Muslim and definitely increase your ibaadah during Ramadaan, it shouldn’t be to an unsustainable level. 

It’s almost unavoidable to completely focus on improving yourself without comparing what your doing with what others are doing. Seeing posts/ stories of friends reading Qur’aan when you’re not can be guilt provoking. 

Personally I think before Ramadaan starts it’s always a good idea to write out realistic goals. Taking into account what you did the previous Ramadaan and how you found it as well as your habitual Ibaadah can help you find these realistic goals. An often neglected factor that is apparent in hindsight is how tiring fasting can be and that fasting in itself is Ibaadah. 

Reflecting on all the above I have adjusted my goals this Ramadaan and I’m focusing on maintaining a good level of Ibaadah and also building in good habits that insha’Allah can be sustained throughout the year. 

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Of course, it is never easy when the storm hits and you are suddenly engulfed in darkness, consumed with rain and thunder and no way to get out. You try to call for help, but you realise there is no human there to save you, no way to stop the rain from seeping in and no way to stop the boat from sinking. You look around and find that there are no emergency supplies, and you begin to realise with every call you make, your boat is sinking further into what seems endless darkness. 

It is in that moment, after exhausting all other means, you look up.

You call upon God.

وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ٱدْعُونِىٓ أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ 

“And your Lord says, “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” – [40:60 Saheeh International]

There is no doubt that in this world we face challenges that are accustomed to our everyday life, and that in trying to maintain a societal friendly facade whilst battling these challenges, we begin to question what is around us. It is in these very moments where tawakkul is so very important, and we can look at stories of the past as paradigms of tawakkul.

Tawakkul is standing in front of the red sea with the advancing army behind, just as Prophet Musa A.S. did, and not concerning.

Tawakkul is running between two mountains in attempt to find water, just as Hajar A.S. did, after being stranded in an open desert with your baby, but having untouched conviction and a full reliance that Allah SWT is with you.

And tawakkul is also in waiting for the results of an exam you have so heavily revised for, waiting on our parent’s response about a marriage proposal, or perhaps we simply feel misunderstood as an individual, and are waiting for the feeling of peace to precede the feelings of doubt and pain.

It is important to distinguish between tawakkul (توكل) and tawaakul (تواكل). Tawakkul is the complete trust in Allah swt, whilst tawaakul, on the other hand, comprises elements of laziness, inability, a resigned attitude.

Having tawakkul does not mean that we can not put in our efforts, given that we have the capacity of doing so, and depend on Allah SWT to provide a way out. It simply means doing our best, which looks different for each person. 

And so I ask you, 

Do you think that Allah does not know? That He does not see the effort and struggles you go through? He is Al-Khabir, The All Aware. Do you assume he has given you a test that he thinks you will not pass? 

Allah is the most sincere, and He loves you more than you may know it, so believe that your duas will come true if they are what’s best for you – 

you must show trust and faith, better days will come In Sha Allah.

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Starting the New Year Strong in Imaan

Let’s face it. To say that the past year and a half have changed our lives is an understatement. For many people, lockdown was a time of productivity. People had the chance to do things that they wouldn’t normally get to do. This also included reconnecting and becoming closer to Allah (SWT).

A huge number of people accepted Islam in 2020 and Ramadan that year saw a record-breaking amount of charity donations in the UK.

However, as things start to slowly get more normal and as our lives get busier, some of us may start to feel that we have less time to focus on our Deen. We may feel that we have unintentionally distanced ourselves from Allah (SWT). This inability to create a balance in life can start to affect our Iman.

Therefore, we’ve put together a few tips to build habits and start 2022 off with a recharge in your Iman:

  1. Reflect on and renew your intentions

The start of a new year is a time where many people set resolutions and goals for the year ahead. Making your intention clear and setting a goal, whether this is to become closer to Allah (SWT) or something else, is the first step to achieving anything. If you feel like you are lacking motivation, think back to a time in your life where your Iman was at a high point, think back to something you prayed for that Allah (SWT) granted you or come up with a list of things that you are grateful to Allah (SWT) for.

The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said “Actions are (judged) by intentions and every man shall have that which he intended” (Bukhari and Muslim).

Your intentions are between you and Allah (SWT)- know that He will reward you for just intending to become closer to Him. 

  1. Build a relationship with the Qur’an

Making the Qur’an part of your daily routine constantly reminds you of the teachings of the Qur’an and helps you to remain focused upon the things that matter most in life. You could start off by reading a small amount everyday and then build it up gradually. But even if you don’t manage to build it up, don’t worry about it. Even 1 page a day makes a huge difference to your relationship with Allah (SWT). Consistency is key..

When I was younger, my father once told me that if you want to talk to Allah (SWT), pray, and if you want Allah (SWT) to talk to you, read the Qur’an. I then realised that for this to happen, I had to understand the Qur’an. Therefore, try to read translations of the Qur’an if you don’t understand it. After you’ve read that one page of Qur’an a day, read one page of the translation!

  1. Look for different ways to help people

One of the biggest teachings of Islam is to help those in need. When helping those in need is mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind for many of us is donating money to help the poor. 

“O you who believe! Spend out of what we have provided you” Quran 2:254

However, Allah (SWT) has provided us all with much more than just money – knowledge, time, skills and much more! Therefore, use all these gifts to help others. Offer to volunteer in your spare time. There are now many ways to volunteer remotely from home which are easy to do even if you don’t have much free time. Helping others doesn’t need to be a long-term commitment – even answering a question and explaining something to another student is a form of helping. 

Another important thing to think about here is your intention. Intending to help someone for the sake of pleasing Allah (SWT) will help to motivate you to do more. 

  1. Listen to podcasts

Finding the time to read an Islamic book or attend events can be difficult. But listening to an educational podcast while you walk to university or whilst cooking your dinner is so easy! There are many different types of podcasts available that can act as reminders or even teach you something new. In my opinion, however, listening to someone else talk about their own life experiences and how Islam helped them get through these can inspire you and boost your Iman.

So let’s start off the new year with a new mindset- positivity and productivity In Sha Allah!

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Tesnime’s Spoken Word

Brainwashed and blind folded

Hands sawn by the handcuffs

Feet are now numb to the chains and the cold concrete

The body is so bruised and wounded

I can’t even remember what not feeling pain is like

The screams and the thwacks of the whips

Are now background noise

I can’t even remember what silence sounds like

My brain is foggy by the alcohol they force us to drink

My legs are bare because of the scissors that cut through my skirts’ fabric

And here comes another round of torture

I can’t forget the feeling of the metal chair 

They stuck me in to beat me up

Because i am muslim

He is here because they found a Quran hidden underneath his mattress

She is here because she was concealing her hair

He is here because he had a beard and his chin wasn’t bare

She is here because she called her mom abroad to tell her not to drown in despair

So they uprooted us from our homes and took our lives away because to them we are a threat

Because we look different, sound different, and they want people to forget

That we exist. They want us to forget

Who we are

They want to erase us from this planet

And how convenient is it if no one sees the scars

So they put us all in the same cage

Hidden to the eyes

They torture our men

Rape our women and they sterilize

And the children that are already alive

Are scattered around from their family deprived

And sent to orphan camps so they can be

Annihilated before they even start to survive

Pile us up like you wouldn’t even treat a beast

They really hate us, to say the least.

That is not my story.

It’s theirs. Them, millions of stolen lives

It’s not mine to tell, i shouldn’t be here screaming these words

But both the words and the people were left on silent

And how can the world know if we also stay silent

How can we not lend them our vocal cords

They need us to stand by them and unite the hords

And we have failed them for too long.

So today we change the narrative voice

We are not leaving the oppressors spread any more lies

They need to hear our rage they need to hear our chants

Our sisters and brothers need to know our voices are theirs as long as they are voiceless

So let’s yell and screech and howl and shout

Until our lungs run out of air

And our throats turn dry

And our voices tear

The silenced era is over

And we will fight, we swear.

– Tesnime

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How to handle hardships in life

Everyone suffers from hardship in life. It is safe to say it is completely normal, whether that be something big or small. However, it’s important to keep in mind that it is all a test from Allah, the All-Mighty. So do not lose hope. Have faith in Allah, always.     

We all get tested in life and it can often get quite difficult to deal with. First of all, there is a few things to understand- why we suffer from hardship           

The Quran states: وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُم بِشَىْءٍ مِّنَ ٱلْخَوْفِ وَٱلْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ ٱلْأَمْوَٰلِ وَٱلْأَنفُسِ وَٱلثَّمَرَٰتِ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ

And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient. [2:155 Saheeh International]

This life is not meant to be easy, Allah has told us we will be tested with trials and tribulations, but it is the action you take to overcome these trials that truly matter. Do not run away when facing troubles, instead stand and fight against them. There is a hidden gift behind every hardship- “Paradise is surrounded by hardships” [Hadith Qudsi- Jami’ at-Tirmidhi:2559]. Perhaps these trials will make you closer to Allah, closer to the Deen and will allow you to develop a stronger relationship with your Creator. In the end it will all be worth the struggle.

Allah tests those whom He loves the most.  No matter how difficult the trial, no matter how much you are wanting to give up, remember, Allah is with you. Is there anybody else in the entire universe that could stand meeting you in whatever state- happy, sad, angry, hopeless? No one except Allah SWT. So turn to Him, He is always listening, He never lets His servants down.

How to handle hardships:   

Ø  Talk to Allah through dua. Dua is the most powerful weapon; the perfect way to communicate with your Lord, the one who created you. When making dua, do so with full hope that Allah will accept your prayers. Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “There is no Muslim who calls upon Allah, without sin or cutting family ties, but that Allah will give him one of three answers: He will quickly fulfill his supplication, He will store it for him in the Hereafter, or He will divert an evil from him similar to it.” They said, “In that case we will ask for more.” The Prophet said, “Allah has even more.” [Source: Musnad Aḥmad 11133].

Ø  Remain hopeful because Allah is always listening and “Allah does not charge a soul except with that within its capacity” [2:286 Saheeh International].

Ø  Speak to someone, don’t keep it bottled up inside of you. But speak to the right people, those who you genuinely trust and those who have your best interests at heart. If you’re finding it difficult to make friends come along to our weekly gatherings on Friday at Mcdougalls

Ø  You attract what you are. So have a positive mindset always. Positive thoughts attract only positive energy. Shift your focus and you will start to notice all the little blessings in life.           

Ø  Take care of your body and soul, do some exercise and of course, eat good food. Praying your salah is not only a spiritual act but is also a way of caring for your soul.

Ø  Don’t forget to reciteQuran; it is the food for your soul. Ever feel worried? Open up the Quran, even if it’s just one ayah, recite. Try it. See the relief and inner peace you will feel. Try to make it a routine, again, even if it’s only one ayah.

Ø Sadaqah (charity) eases hardships, removes calamities and helps cure illnesses. It will welcome more blessings/baraqah in your life and wealth In Sha Allah. Therefore give, for the sake of Allah SWT.

Ø Put your complete and utmost faith in Allah SWT. Allah SWT says:  “…And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.” [65:3 Saheeh International].

Allah says: “… And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a cubit, and if he draws near to Me a cubit, I draw near to him a fathom. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed. [Hadith 15, 40 Hadith Qudsi]

So even if you have already given up faith, it’s never too late to turn back as Allah is always there for you, even if no one else is there. You are not alone. In the end the ultimate help is from Allah indeed. Take small but routine/regular steps and keep praying and keep striving. Better days are yet to come In Sha Allah.

إِنَّ مَعَ ٱلْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا

Indeed with hardship will be  ease

[Saheeh International 94:6]