Intentions

2 minute read

Intention. A thing intended; an aim or plan. Many of us go to school because we want to get a degree or because we want to make our parents and the community around us proud, but let me ask you this… what is your ultimate intention?

When you work hard at school and get your degree, it will feel absolutely amazing to have finally accomplished such an expected and awaited accomplishment. As you look around the arena, you try to find your parents and see if you truly made them proud. All of that will last about 15 seconds… then little did you expect, there is another expectation or accomplishment waiting to be fulfilled. 

Now don’t get me wrong, making your parents proud is an important part of our deen (religion). In fact, it is so important that Allah SWT says… “And your Lord has decreed that you worship not except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.” Did you notice the moment that Allah said to worship none but Him, He follows it directly with being good to your parents? So, make your parents proud and be good to them, but also, make your ultimate intention to please Allah first. 

I know we can all get lazy when it comes to homework and our studies, but here is one thing that can push you to do better and perhaps gain some motivation.  We get rewarded for completing our assignments. Did you know that? You read right! Everything we do can be an act of worship…How? By having pure intentions. 

Our Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) said “Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended.” When one intends to do something or complete a task for the sake of his parents, he is putting his effort into that task for limited human beings who can only reward you with so much. On the other hand, when one intends to do something for the sake of his Lord, he is putting his effort into that task for the All-Mighty, the Ever-Living. The One who can bless you with great rewards, either in this life, the next, or both. So the next time you do anything, think to yourself… “who am I doing this for, why am I doing this?”

One way to purify your intentions is to do more hidden deeds. Deeds that no one knows about but you and Allah. The more you hide your good deeds, the more you will want to continue doing them for Allah’s sake and expect reward from Him only. Another way to purify your intentions is to make lots of dua and sincerely ask Him to make it easier for you. We are all guilty of wanting attention and validation from our peers and others but how many of us will try to truly change? Let’s be amongst those that try. 

As “40HadithNawawi.com” greatly puts it, “Intentions lead to results. When a change in intention occurs, a change in the external conditions will follow. Intention is also enough for Allah SWT to make a change in our reality, so we should not belittle the necessary change in intention that has to occur in order for our external condition to change.”

Ar-Razaaq: The Provider

2 minute read

Ar-Razaaq, one of the 99 names of Allah, has a meaning that encompasses all aspects of our lives in one way or another. The Provider has essentially given us everything that we have. 

In our day to day lives, sometimes we focus on acquisitions as something that are a product of our hard work or something that we have rightly gained and deserve. The unequivocal truth is that nothing is actually ours; everything is given to us by Allah, the Provider, in this temporary life – “It is He who made the earth tame for you – so walk among its slopes and eat of His provision – and to Him is the resurrection”. [67:15] 

Knowing this we should say Alhamdulillah (all praise be to Allah) for everything that we have been blessed with. 

As The Provider “And Allah has favoured some of you over others in provision.” [16:71] This unequal distribution of wealth and opportunities may be wrongly viewed as unfair. However, this is what allows us to fulfill our compulsory obligations to Allah. Without people in the world who are less fortunate, there would be no one in need of wealth and thus no way of giving Zakat, a compulsory annual 2.5% of one’s wealth that is given to the poor. Giving for the sake of Allah benefits the wealthy as sacrificing what we have increases our love for Allah – ”Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.”  [3:92] For those who are in need of wealth, the hardship and struggle allows them to hold onto faith and remain grateful for what they do have. This also helps them to develop and maintain sabr (patience). Allah SWT says in the Quran [65:2-3] that “whoever fears Allah, then Allah will make an outlet for him (from every difficulty) and will provide for him from sources he never imagined.” This Ayah (a sentence from the Quran) shows that whoever is in need should not lose hope nor be in despair or fear. You should not seek haram means of income in times of destitution, but that you should remember that Allah will provide for you as He is The Provider.

Allah is the ultimate provider – “Or who is it that could provide for you if He withheld His provision? But they have persisted in insolence and aversion” [67:21]. Although some humans ‘provide’ for us, e.g a farmer gives us food, it is indeed Allah who provides for them. Allah allows them to give us that food, He caused it to rain which is vital in crop growth and beyond human control. If Allah chose to do so, He could withhold the rain and cause a drought resulting in no crop growth.

The lesson we learn from this is that we should be grateful to Allah SWT for what has been given to us no matter what that is, as He is the ultimate Provider. So remember to say Alhamdulillah (All praise to Allah).

Balancing Deen and Dunya in Uni

3 minute read

We all know the feeling of how difficult it is to find the right balance between our Deen and our Dunya. Sometimes things can get overwhelming trying to do well in our studies while also maintaining a good level of Imaan. What most people don’t often mention is that it’s completely okay for you to not be at your highest point all the time. It’s only normal, we’re all human. What truly matters is that you get back up and keep trying. When you set your intention to do well for the sake of Allah SWT, everything gets just that much easier.

So.. if you are someone trying to figure out that balance, we pray this read will help you start In Sha Allah! Take these baby steps and you will thank yourself in the future. 

Deen

Our Deen is one of the most, if not the most, important part of all of our lives, not only for our hereafter but also for our own betterment in this world. So keeping deen at the forefront of everything will In Sha Allah help you succeed in your studies. Though it can be hard sometimes- especially living in the west, remember, nothing is possible without the help or will of Allah SWT. Studying hard for your exams without seeking help from Allah and asking Him to make things easier is like building a desk (or whatever it may be) without reading the instructions. While you may eventually figure it out, you definitely took the long way to do so! Even then, Allah willed for you to complete your task, so why not thank Him? Make it easier on yourself and never neglect making dua. Even if you think you don’t need it, because you do. We all do. 

Dunya

We all know that this dunya is temporary and short-lived. You may ask yourself “well if the dunya is temporary why even bother working hard?” Islam does not ask us to live in isolation. In fact, it encourages us to seek knowledge and be educated. Hence, it is your intentions that truly matter i.e. make the intention that you are studying for the sake of Allah SWT so He will bless you in becoming more knowledgeable, helping others, providing for your family ect. Can you believe that? Simply doing your homework and studying could be acts of Ibadah (worship) if your intentions are pure. You would get good grades in this life along with a better future and who knows how many blessings are waiting for you in the Akhirah (hereafter)!

So how do you strike the right balance between deen and dunya?

  •  Begin every day with Bismillah – it may sound simple but, starting your day this way will welcome blessings.
  • Constantly remind yourself of your intentions. Why are you studying? Why are you learning? All for the sake of Allah SWT.
  • Design a schedule – Write down when and what you’re going to study as well as any spiritual acts you intend to do. Plan your day according to salah timings, that way you will be working on your betterment in the dunya and building a beautiful life in the hereafter for yourself. Make sure you set aside some daily time to read the Quran, even if it’s only 5 minutes!
  • Set yourself a Quran goal – Set yourself a weekly goal to memorise a portion of the Quran. Whether that be one ayah a week or one page a day. Set yourself something and stick to it
  • Keep good company – surround yourself with righteous friends as they will have a big influence on you. Get involved with ISoc (you can sign up here)!!
  •  Remember to get enough sleep! Getting the right amount of sleep will increase your productivity, stop you from being lazy and allow you to perform your Ibadah sincerely.
  •  Eat the right foods – Eating healthy is also very important as it will prevent you from being lazy and makes it easier to stop procrastinating whether that is in terms of studying or spiritual acts.
  •  Look after yourself – Your body and soul have been entrusted to you by Allah and you are responsible for looking after them. Looking after your body means looking after your soul. Eat the right foods, get the right amount of sleep, and be active. Alongside that, pray your daily salahs and you’ll be taking great care of your soul.
  • Remember not to overwork yourself – At the end of the day, we are all human and none of us can reach perfection. All we can do is first, try our best in what we are able to do and second, seek help from the Almighty, leaving everything up to Him and trusting that what is meant for us will be ours and what isn’t will not come to us. So allow yourself to take a breather when you need it. 


Try to do the best you can in your studies along with your deen and know that you are being rewarded for everything you do for the sake of Allah SWT. Believe in yourself, have trust in Allah, and keep pushing through!

Beyond Ramadan

< 1 minute read

Although Ramadan was a time of spiritual excellence, which set the foundations of where we intend to go above and beyond in our worship, we should also think more long-term and look beyond the month.

Ramadan was the ideal time to begin these new habits, however, we don’t need to abandon them now the month is done. In fact, one way we can know our Ramadan has been accepted is if after the month we continue in goodness.

The following hadith gives us guidance on how we should approach this:

Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant even if it were little.” [Bukhari]

We most likely will not continue with every habit we began during the month; however, we should strive to incorporate one or more into our lives long-term.As the Prophet ﷺ said, the most beloved deed to Allah is the one we do regularly, despite its size, so we must recognise nothing is too small to carry on with, and we shouldn’t underestimate these deeds in the sight of Allah, because perhaps it will be through them that Allah enters us into His Jannah.

Who is Allah? Al Muhaymin, The Protector

3 minute read

Al Muhaymin is the One who observes His creation with regards to their actions. It is also The One Who offers peace and security and The Trustworthy One Who proclaims the Truth. He is the One who always watches us and looks after us.

Al Muhaymin means the guardian, the witness, the overseer of all things. As He is the creator, He is the one whom watches over us and protects us to ensure His slaves are safeguarded. It comes from the root haa-meem-noon which splits into three meanings of (1) to protect (2) to witness (3) to determine truth. This can be applied to us so that we live life righteously. The Qur’an has been sent to us to that we can determine truth, witness what is right and protect ourselves and our religion. Allah SWT says in 5:48: So, judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and do not follow their desires over the truth that has come to you. To each of you We have ordained a code of law and a way of life (end quote). This ayah emphasises the truth that this book holds, and that Allah has given us a code of law to help us live life so that He can protect us and be a witness to any wrongdoings. And if we do not obtain justice in this life, Allah promises us that He will serve it on yawm ad-din (day of judgement).

Our abilities to guard ourselves and be truthful is a representation of who Al Muhaymin is as He is the one who put these attributes in us. We know we can turn to Him when we want peace and security as He is constantly guarding us with His words, actions and more. Even the du’as we so desperately make that never see to be answered, there is rahma (mercy) in that. Surely, he is protecting you from something you do not know of. He extends His wings to us like a hen protecting her chicks – He wants to keep us protected and will continue to do so even if you feel you are going astray. Al Muhaymin has no limits.

The best way to live by Al Muhaymin is to use the Qur’an as your biggest tool in life. Do not just read it, but understand, study, and implement it. When you are struggling, go to the Qur’an; when you are at peace, go to the Qur’an; when you are in need, go to the Qur’an. It is a trustworthy book created to guide you through this dunya (life), so fulfil its rights over you no matter what. Additionally, protect your heart and learn how to best take care of yourself. The Prophet SAW said: There is a piece of flesh in the body if it becomes good (reformed) the whole body becomes good but if it gets spoilt the whole body gets spoilt and that is the heart [Al-Bukhari]. Your heart is one of the greatest trusts given to you by Al-Muhaymin and it will be your most important witness when you stand before Him, so protect your heart. This can be done through seeking professional or medical help to care for your heart – be aware of the problems that can arise from things like bad food, laziness etc. And even the emotional and mental damages that can be caused and how you can protect and care for yourself against them. It is all part of the bigger picture which is protecting your body and your heart as that is an amanah (trust) from Al Muhaymin Himself.

The Month of The Quran

4 minute read

This month marks the greatest gift to humanity; the final revelation from the highest heavens. A gift that transcends any era, community or place, sent to the whole of mankind. Revelation that is perfect beyond imitation, inscribed in a preserved tablet. 

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنْزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ

‘Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed as a guide for mankind with clear proofs of guidance and the standard ˹to distinguish between right and wrong..’ {2:185}

For the vast majority of us, Ramadan is associated with fasting. However, in this ayah, Allah reintroduces the month of Ramadan as the month of the Quran. This is the only place in the Quran where Ramadan is mentioned by name – this is our call to reap the countless benefits of this month through his divine revelation. 

So how do we truly benefit from the Quran during ramadan?

Tilawah (recitation)

Ramadan is the month of tilawah; it is in this month where Jibril (as) would descend from the heavens to recite the Quran with the Prophetﷺ. The noblest of angels convening with the noblest of creation to recite every single night highlights the immense blessing and reward involved with its recitation during this blessed month.

As to the manner in which we should recite, this was put very beautifully by Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (ra), the one whose recitation was described by the Prophetﷺ to be ‘as fresh as it was revealed’.

“Do not scatter the Quran as if it were dates falling from a tree, nor recite quickly as if it were poetry. Stop at its verses that amaze you and let it move your hearts. Let not your concern be reaching the end of the surah.” Source: Akhlāq Ḥamalat al-Qur’ān 1

Our pious predecessors would recite the Quran in such a profound way, completely immersing themselves in their recitation, giving each letter its due. And if you find yourself struggling to recite, be content with the mercy of our Lord who doubles your reward; once for reading and once for enduring the difficulty of recitation.

Tadabbur (reflection)

Reflecting over the verses of the Quran involves more than just reading the tafsir but pausing, listening, repeating and pondering over its verses.

 A prerequisite to doing so is understanding the context in which each ayah and surah was revealed, we can do this by studying the accompanying moments in the seerah. This will enable us to contemplate what prompted revelations from the seven heavens to the earth. Distinguishing between Makki surahs (revealed before hijrah) and Madani surahs (revealed after hijrah) can help us comprehend the greater purpose of the surah, with Makki surahs generally focusing on promoting Tawheed and laying down the foundations of faith, whereas Madani surahs focus on the rules and regulation pertaining to the implementation of this faith. 

Our approach to reflecting upon the Quran should be one of humility and realisation. So when we read over miracles that seemingly defy logic, we should understand the dimensions of our mind have no relevance to Allah swt’s dominion. The human mind is subjected to our own observations and experiences and the Quran transcends this. We should approach the Quran with an open mind, appreciating our own limitations and with the expectation that our own preconceptions will be challenged and corrected.

لَوۡ اَنۡزَلۡنَا هٰذَا الۡقُرۡاٰنَ عَلٰى جَبَلٍ لَّرَاَيۡتَهٗ خَاشِعًا مُّتَصَدِّعًا مِّنۡ خَشۡيَةِ اللّٰهِ​ؕ وَتِلۡكَ الۡاَمۡثَالُ نَضۡرِبُهَا لِلنَّاسِ  لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَتَفَكَّرُوۡنَ‏

If we had sent down this Qur’an upon a mountain, you would have seen it humbled and coming apart from fear of Allah . And these examples we present to the people that perhaps they will give thought {59:21}

Such is the magnitude of this glorious Quran that we fail to grasp and constantly overlook.

Tadabbur Template 

A Call To Action

Reciting and reflecting over the Quran is not a means to an end but rather a call to action. When Allah says ‘يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُو ’ ‘oh you who believe’— it is us he is referring to, take heed of the guidance that follows. The companions of our Prophetﷺ would learn to recite ten verses from him and they would not study another ten verses until they had fully understood the knowledge and implemented deeds that were contained within these.They would say, “We learned sacred knowledge and action together.” The solemnity in which they approached the Quran is sadly a rarity in our ummah today.

So we must approach the Quran with a sincere determination to implement the guidance it contains—otherwise what separates reading this book from others? 

We would be doing ourselves a huge disservice if our intention is simply to recite as much as possible rather than implementing its commands and avoiding its prohibitions. So next time we recite the Quran, let’s take a step back and think about the practical ways we can apply its teachings into our daily lives

إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَذِكْرَىٰ لِمَن كَانَ لَهُ قَلْبٌ أَوْ أَلْقَى السَّمْعَ وَهُوَ شَهِيد

Surely in this is a reminder for whoever has a ˹mindful˺ heart and lends an attentive ear {50:37}Consistency 

Consistency

The most beloved deeds to Allah are those that are consistent, even if small. Make the Quran a non-negotiable in your life, in the same way brushing your teeth, eating food and showering daily is. Even if on your busiest of days you only manage to recite a few verses, this is still a huge accomplishment in the sight of Allah.

So perhaps we may have felt inadequate in our worship to Allah throughout the past year, we may have even felt inadequate in our worship during this first portion of Ramadan. This month is an opportunity for us to revive our seemingly dead inconceivable hearts. The Quran is our means through which we purify our soul, and what better time to do this free of all the distractions of the Shaytan. At a time where our hearts are receptive to its message most. Ramadan is only but a limited number of days, we are not guaranteed to witness the white crescent moon of the next. So in these last ten days, let us take full advantage of the way Allah has honoured us with the blessing of reaching this month when so many of our beloved brothers and sisters weren’t afforded this.

Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, Allah has his own people among humanity.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah, who are they?” The Prophet said, “They are the people of the Quran, the people of Allah and his chosen ones.Source: Sunan Ibn Mājah 215

May this blessed month be our stepping stone to making the Quran our companion in this world, and our intercessor in the hereafter. Allahumma Ameen.

The Last 10

4 minute read

The last 10 days and nights of Ramadan are upon us!

This blessed month has gone by so quickly, no sooner had it come than it is now leaving. But Alhamdullilah for blessing us with these last 10 to utilize to maximise our ibadah and make the most of the rest of the time we have in order to come closer to Allah SWT. If you feel as though you have not utilised enough time in worship so far during this month, don’t worry as that’s what these last 10 nights for. They are your opportunity to go all out and devote yourself to Allah SWT in a bid to receive forgiveness and attain the spiritual contentment that this month has to offer. A chance to benefit immensely from Ramadan and seek the salvation of Allah SWT before the month comes to an end.

Narrated by Aisha (RA): With the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet (ﷺ) used to tighten his waist belt (i.e. work hard) and used to pray all the night, and used to keep his family awake for the prayers. [Sahih al-Bukhari 2024]

In this last third of Ramadan, we should do our best to perfect our fasting and to avoid any shortcomings or sins. We should make dua for Allah. SWT to help us maximise in our good deeds whilst repenting to Him and seeking refuge in Him from the Hellfire. 

Allahumma Ajirna min-an-naar.”

Meaning: O Allah, protect us from the fire.

The last ten days of Ramadan are the most special because hidden within then is the night of Laylatul Qadr, the night the holy Qur’an was first revealed to the Prophet SAW, and the night the fate of the creation of Allah SWT is decreed by him.

 . إِنَّآ أَنزَلْنَٰهُ فِى لَيْلَةِ ٱلْقَدْرِ
 . وَمَآ أَدْرَىٰكَ مَا لَيْلَةُ ٱلْقَدْرِ

 . لَيْلَةُ ٱلْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ

 . تَنَزَّلُ ٱلْمَلَٰٓئِكَةُ وَٱلرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِم مِّن كُلِّ أَمْرٍ

 . سَلَٰمٌ هِىَ حَتَّىٰ مَطْلَعِ ٱلْفَجْرِ

Indeed, We sent it [i.e., the Qur’ān] 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. The angels and the Spirit [i.e., Gabriel] descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. Peace it is until the emergence of dawn. [Qur’an, 97:1-5]

Narrated by `Aisha (RA), Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Search for the Night of Qadr in the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan.” [Sahih al-Bukhari 2017]

Laylatul Qadr aka the Night of Decree is a night with many virtues and is a night we should strive to attain. We do not know its exact date, but this is a wisdom of Allah SWT and so we should concentrate our efforts into each of the nights and ensure we are steadfast in our worship across the entire last third of Ramadan so that we can reap its benefits. These nights are the perfect opportunity to search one’s soul, evaluate your good and bad deeds, supplicate to Allah SWT, repent, and seek forgiveness.

‘Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: I asked: “O Messenger of Allah! If I realize Lailat-ul-Qadr (Night of Decree), what should I supplicate in it?” He (ﷺ) replied, “You should supplicate: (الْلَّهُمَّ اِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي) Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun, tuhibbul-‘afwa, fa’fu ‘anni (O Allah, You are Most Forgiving, and You love forgiveness; so forgive me).” [At-Tirmidhi] [Riyad as-Salihin 1195]

What are some tips to help you make the most of the last 10 nights, and especially Laylatul Qadr?

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Whoever established prayers on the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven; and whoever fasts in the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.” [Sahih al-Bukhari 1901]

  1. Go back and read through all the previous blog posts in the series ‘Making the Most of Ramadan’ which give some great tips!
  2. Renew your intentions – we are nearing the end of Ramadan so it’s very easy to be tired and sit back. But this is the time you need to go all out. You need to re energize your spiritual battery and ensure you do not waste your nights. Stay focused and do your best to achieve the blessings and rewards which can be attained.
  3. Sincerely make dua to Allah SWT – these are the nights when your all your duas could be answered insha’Allah. So, make sure you are prepared by having a dua list with all you want to ask your Lord for, for yourself and others. Abud-Darda’ (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “The supplication of a Muslim for his (Muslim) brother in his absence will certainly be answered. Every time he makes a supplication for good for his brother, the angel appointed for this particular task says: ‘Ameen! May it be for you, too’.” [Muslim] [Riyad as-Salihin 1495]
  4. Recite the Quran – Ramadan is the month of the Qur’an, these last 10 nights are those in which the Qur’an was revealed. So, we should increase in our recitation of the Qur’an and ensure we understand and ponder the verses so that we can connect to the words of Allah SWT.
  5. Salah ‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that when the last ten nights began Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) kept awake at night (for prayer and devotion), wakened his family, and prepared himself to observe prayer (with more vigour) [Sahih Muslim 1174]. So, stand up in prayer, especially in the last third of the night when Allah SWT descends to the lowest heaven, and worship.
  6. Dhikr – make sure you continually remember Allah SWT. By doing small things like reciting the Tasbeeh (SubhanAllah), Tahmeed (Alhamdulillah), Tahleel (Laa ilaaha ill-Allah) and Takbeer (Allahu Akbar), you are accumulating an abundance of rewards and coming closer to Allah SWT.
  7. Give sadaqah – increase in your acts of charity and help those who are in need. The reward for righteous acts during Ramadan is multiplied by 70, and during Laylatul Qadr it would be as though it has been performed for 83 years and 4 months, subhanAllah. Who would want to miss out on this? So ensure you donate, even a little bit consistently over these nights and show mercy to others, so that Allah SWT may show mercy towards you.
  8. Switch off – if you haven’t already, switch off worldly distractions so you can focus on Allah SWT.
  9. Perform i’tikaf – the ultimate form of switching off is to seclude yourself so you can focus solely on worship. However, as students with exams, and due to COVID-19, it may not be possible to spend your time in a masjid. However, we can still try to seclude ourselves for periods of each day in our homes, to use as a time to reflect, perform Ibadah and seek to get closer to Allah SWT.

What rewards am I seeking from Fasting?

3 minute read

Many of us fast and know that it’s obligatory but don’t always know what benefits we should be seeking from it. 

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ

“He who observes fasting during the month of Ramadan with Faith while seeking its reward from Allah, will have his past sins forgiven.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Why do we fast?

For many of us, Ramadan can become habitual and ritualistic, and we don’t give it deeper thought. Let’s refresh our intention every day that we’re fasting for the sake of Allah (swt), for our love and obedience to him.

And whilst there are many health benefits to fasting, including cleansing the body and removing toxins, that alone shouldn’t be our primary motivation to want to fast. We must also remind ourselves that we are fasting for Allah (swt), believing, and acknowledging that this is his deen and that it is an act of worship which he has prescribed upon us.

What rewards are we seeking from Allah (swt)?

1. Forgiveness. When we fast out of eman we’re seeking the reward of forgiveness, we want Allah (swt) to forgive our sins. All of this leads us to the end of the hadith ‘will have his past sins forgiven.’ ((Bukhari and Muslim). So we must fast with certainty that he is going to forgive our sins at the end of this month. A short dua we can implement is:

 اللْهُمَّ إِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُعَنِّي 

O Allah, You are Pardoning and you love pardon, so pardon me (tirmidhi)

2. Purification of the heart. Fast with the intention it will cleanse and purify the heart.  

3. Mercy. When we are fasting, we are fasting so Allah (swt) can grant us mercy, we must intend we want his mercy. A dua relating to this is:

رَّبِّ ٱغْفِرْ وَٱرْحَمْ وَأَنتَ خَيْرُ ٱلرَّٰحِمِينَ

My Lord! Forgive and have mercy, for You are the best of those who show mercy (23:118)

4. Fast intending that it prepares us to meet Allah (swt). Prophet ﷺ said There are two occasions of joy for one who fasts, joy when he breaks it, and joy when he meets his Lord’ [Sahih Muslim-213]. There is spiritual enjoyment in fasting. Just like Musa AS, before he spoke to Allah (swt) on Mount Sinai, Allah (swt) commanded him to fast 40 days in preparation for the meeting.

5. Taqwa. “O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may develop Godconsciousness.” (Quran 2:183) We should say ‘Oh Allah (swt) I am seeking the reward of Taqwa, grant me this taqwa.’ Taqwa means to increase in our obedience to him and decrease in disobedience, sins and evil.

We must renew our intentions for fasting daily throughout this blessed month. 

The Prophet ﷺ said: ‘Actions are but by intentions and every person shall have only that which he intended’ [Sahih al-Bukhari – 1]

The more intentions we have when fasting, the greater the reward is.

Prophet ﷺ said, “Allah said, ‘All the deeds of Adam’s sons (people) are for them, except fasting which is for Me, and I will give the reward for it.’

When we are rewarded for something, we always expect the reward to be in accordance with who the one rewarding us is. When we know our reward lies with Allah swt who is Al-Mannan (The Ever Giving); Al-Wahhab (The Supreme Bestower); and Al-Kareem (The Most Generous), we can only then imagine how great and bountiful His reward must be. 

The small number of days for which we fast will inshaAllah be rewarded with an eternal abode in al-Firdaws. May Allah swt allow us to be amongst those who enter Jannah through al-Rayyan (the gate in Jannah exclusively for those who observed the fast). Allahuma Ameen.

Women’s History Campaign

2 minute read

In our second Women’s History post, we highlight the contributions two inspirational muslim women Fatima al-Fihri and Lubna of Cordoba, have made to society. With an aim to increase appreciation of the role Muslim women played in their time periods and respective fields and hope to encourage other muslim women to take inspiration and become masters in their fields.

Fatima al Fihri 

Fatima al-Fihri was born in 800 A.D into a wealthy family in Tunisia. Her father was Mohammed Bnou Abdullah Al-Fihri who was a rich merchant during the rule of Idris II. She was married but both her father and husband died soon after her marriage.

Fatima is known to be the founder of the first university in the world according to UNESCO and Guinness World Records, dating back over 1000 years ago. When her father died, he left behind a huge fortune for her, which she invested back into her community by building a masjid and university in Fez, naming it al-Qarawiyyin after her hometown. 

This became an educational hub for people all over the world, coming to study many subjects from religion, to the sciences, to languages. From the 10th century onwards, al-Qarawiyyin masjid became the largest Arab university in North Africa. Some well-known people associated with the university were Ibn Khaldun, Abu Walid Ibn Rushd and Gerbert of Aurillac (Pope Sylvester II).

Lubna of Córdoba 

Lubna of Córdoba, an Andalusian born in the 10th century, was an intellectual known for her proficiency in mathematics, grammar and in writing poetry. Some narrations say that she was born a slave girl – this only makes it more inspiring to know that she rose to be one of the most important figures at the Andalusian court of Caliph al Hakam II.

Lubna held two main roles at the court: a scribe and a secretary. Her role as a scribe meant that she was in charge of writing and translating many manuscripts in the library of Córdoba. Additionally, she went above and beyond her role to provide her own annotations to important texts including those written by Euclid and Archimedes. She was the driving force behind the creation of the library of Medina Azahara – this famous library was home to more than 500,000 books.

Later she became the personal secretary of Caliph al Hakam II. To top this off, some sources narrate that she would give up her time to roam the streets of Córdoba teaching children mathematics.

Women like Lubna were not necessarily ordinary or unique during the reign of al Hakam II; there were many female scholars that existed during this time who were skilled in multiple disciplines, in fields such as politics, administration, social, intellectual and literary arts, during 10th Century Al-Andalus.

The many, varied contributions of women in the Andalusian Muslim civilisation, highlights the active role that they played in the advancement of a society rich in culture, education, tolerance and more

Making the Most of Ramadan: Practicing Gratitude

2 minute read

Being grateful is something we can all work on. Allah has blessed us in ways so numerous we couldn’t begin to count them; He says in the Quran:

“And if you should count the favors of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful” [16:18]

However, many of us do not recognise or reflect on these blessings, or even if we do, we don’t express this gratitude to Allah.

How many of us would wake up with nothing, if all that we were left with were the things we thanked Allah for the day before?

One small way we can start to work on practising gratitude is to take a quiet moment, perhaps after prayer, to sit and reflect. In these moments we can begin by identifying 3 (or more) particular blessings Allah has bestowed on us (nothing is too small) and that we are grateful for – it’s important to choose things we feel grateful for – and then raise our hands and praise Allah and thank Him for these blessings; the simplest way we can do this is by repeating alhamdulilah.

By repeating this daily or more, we’ll begin to develop the mindset of seeing and focusing on the blessings Allah has surrounded us with, and bi’thnillah begin to learn how to be truly grateful to Allah.

Another way in which we can show gratitude to Allah is by obeying His commands – this is the physical manifestation of the gratitude we feel in our hearts and express on our tongues.

We should also make plenty of dua to Allah to allow us to be grateful and call upon Him by His beautiful names – for example, ash-Shakoor (the most appreciative) and al-Hameed (the praiseworthy).

 رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِىٓ أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ ٱلَّتِىٓ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَىَّ وَعَلَىٰ وَٰلِدَىَّ وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَـٰلِحًا تَرْضَىٰهُ وَأَدْخِلْنِى بِرَحْمَتِكَ فِى عِبَادِكَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ

“My Lord! Inspire me to ˹always˺ be thankful for Your favours which You have blessed me and my parents with, and to do good deeds that please you. Admit me, by Your mercy, into ˹the company of˺ Your righteous servants.”

In his dua, Sulaiman (A.S) acknowledges and thanks Allah for the favours bestowed upon his parents as well as on him. We should do the same, as our blessings are an extension of those Allah granted to our parents. We should also realise our ability to express gratitude to Allah is only by His mercy, so we should be grateful for being able to be grateful!