Quote of the week: “There is no Islam without unity, no unity without leadership, and no leadership without obedience.” Umar ibn al-Khattab (rta)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Life with the Ahmad Family: Boy, It's Hot!

In this episode, Jamal and his father discover that when it's peak summer and sweltering heat, things may not be what they seem!

(Please click to enlarge)

Life with the Ahmad Family comic for Muslim children: Boy, It's Hot!

Hope you enjoyed the comic! Don't forget to leave some feedback in the comments below!
To see other comics of The Ahmad Family, please, click here.
(Absar Kazmi may be contacted at: absar.kazmi@gmail.com)

Friday, June 29, 2012

New Trend: Billboards with Religious Messages

Models and consumer products lose advertising space to religious messages

By Shaheryar Mirza
Published: June 26, 2012

The Muslim Awareness Programme has put about ten billboards in some areas of the city, including DHA and Clifton. The main theme of the messages is women’s rights. PHOTO: COURTESY MUSLIM AWARENESS PROGRAMME
KARACHI: In Karachi, it is impossible to escape the presence of advertisements, which often times feature beautiful women trying to persuade people into buying a beauty product, ice-cream or even furniture. But lately, there is a new type of advertisement that has been cropping up across the city and the only product being promoted in them is Islamic knowledge.

The Muslim Awareness Programme has started putting up billboards with excerpts from the Holy Quran as well as Hadith in Defence Housing Authority, Clifton, Nursery and Shahra-e-Faisal. “A good man treats women with honour,” reads one of the signs while another says, “When immodesty prevails, another disease prevails.” Yet another states “the prophet (saw) never hit a woman.”

At the moment, there are about ten billboards around the city as well as pylons in Zamzama. The awareness group, which comes under the AlWasila Trust and is funded by donations, aims to spread the message all over the city.

“There is social illness in our community and immodesty on our billboards as well as our TV [screens]. I wanted to spread the message that this is wrong. The programme also aims to motivate people and give [them] authentic knowledge about Islam,” said the founding member of the trust, Asim Ismail.

Recently, another unknown group started putting up billboards that lambasted the fashion industry for its ‘vulgar’ advertisements. “We are not trying to point fingers at anyone or telling people to stop lawn exhibitions,” said the project manager of the programme, Humaira Iqbal. “There are many people who will be happy to see [our signs] but others might be offended because they disagree. We don’t want to insult people.”

The choice of excerpts is interesting because the average person will not be able to tell whether the awareness group falls into the liberal, moderate or conservative fold of Islam. The group itself doesn’t like to fit into any one of these categories.

“Labelling becomes risky and we basically just teach the Quran and Sunnah,” said Ismail. He feels that though there is a lot out there about Islam, he is trying to put forward a side of it that doesn’t get much promotion.

At the moment, the awareness group’s main theme is women’s rights and in Ramadan, it will focus on motivational quotes and information about the holy month. Iqbal and Ismail both say that they avoid picking sayings that are open to interpretation and select those which no one can deny are a part of the religion.
When questioned that the signs may come across as preachy, Iqbal said, “We aren’t trying to convince people and we’ll have a healthy approach to criticism.”

He added that they have been missing out on an important medium in using the media for spreading their message and this innovative campaign, though costly, can be effective in drawing awareness for their cause.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fruit Smoothie with Yogurt


1 banana
1 ½ cups vanilla yogurt
½  of 12-ounce can of frozen mixed fruit juice concentrate
1 tray of ice cubes
fresh fruit of your choice (optional)


Place the peeled banana, yogurt, fruit juice concentrate, ice cubes and your favorite fresh fruits in a blender. Add water, until it reaches the top of the blender. Cover and blend to liquefy. 
(Note: makes 6 servings.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

TEDxKarachi 2011 - Imran Khan - Never Give up on Your Dreams

Muslims Transform the The Art of Papermaking

By Saulat Pervez

Muslims transformed the Chinese art of papermaking into a major industry as early as the eighth century!

Muslims learned the secret of papermaking from Chinese prisoners captured during the battle of Talas in 751 A.D. Before long, paper began to be manufactured in Samarkand, the very first Muslim hub of papermaking. By 793 A.D., there were many paper mills in Baghdad; as with all other major developments in the Muslim world, paper production soon spread to Syria, Egypt, North Africa, Sicily and Spain. From a Chinese art, paper was thus transformed into a major industry by the Muslims.

This was a revolutionary development, because the existing alternatives to paper were papyrus, which was fragile, and parchment, which was expensive; paper, on the other hand, was relatively cheap, because it was made out of cotton – and Muslims made its manufacturing more efficient through the use of water-powered mills. This mass availability of paper enabled Muslims to commit vast amounts of translations and original research to paper; as a result, libraries and bookstores thrived and became a common sight in Baghdad and in other Muslim cities. 

For example, by the thirteenth century, Baghdad had thirty-six libraries and a 100 book dealers, some of whom were also publishers. The concept of a library catalog dates back to this period - books in these libraries were organized under specific genres and categories. Besides these, many nobles and merchants had private collections of books. 

“We hear of a private library in Baghdad, as early as the ninth century, which required a hundred and twenty camels to move it from one place to another. Another scholar of Baghdad refused to accept a position elsewhere, because it would take four hundred camels to transport his books; the catalogue of this private library filled ten volumes. This is the more astonishing, when it is realized that the library of the king of France in 1300 had only about four hundred titles,” writes Frederick Artz in his book “The Mind of the Middle Ages”.

Furthermore, James Burke notes of Cordoba in Muslim Spain: "Paper, a material still unknown to the west, was everywhere. There were bookshops and more than seventy libraries." 

In fact, this was the case because the very first paper mill in medieval Europe was established as late as 1268 A.D. in Italy and appeared in other major countries, such as Germany and France, centuries later.

Late Dr. Israr Explains the Difference between Deen and Madhab

By Dr. Israr Ahmad

The words Deen and Madhab are entirely different from each other with regard to their underlying concepts. Although in our part of the world we generally refer to Islam as Madhab (religion), yet what is interesting indeed is the fact that the word Madhab has never once been used in the entire treasury of the Quranic text and Ahadeeth literature! Instead, the word that has almost always been used for Islam in the original sources is Deen. 

The fundamental difference between the two terms must be understood. Madhab, or religion, is a term used for a set of beliefs and rituals of worship. On the other hand, Deen refers to an entire way of life that pervades all aspects of life. In other words, as compared to Madhab, Deen is a far more comprehensive, all-encompassing reality. With this backdrop, it will perhaps not be entirely correct to say that Islam is not a Madhab (religion), because all of the elements of a Madhab are certainly part and parcel of Islam - it includes the articles of belief, spirituality, the etiquettes of worship (Salah, Saum, Zakah and Hajj). Hence, it would be more accurate to say that Islam is not merely a Madhab, but an entire code of life (Deen). It not only offers whatever constitutes religion, but is endowed with the elements of a complete way of life. Hence, Islam is, essentially, Deen.

In this context, it must also be understood that while several religions can co-exist at a time in a particular region of the world, but there can only be a single Deen (way of life). It is not possible, for instance, for capitalism and communism to coexist in a country at the same time. Only one will be dominant and prevail over others. Similarly, monarchy and democracy cannot simultaneously be established in a country. A system can either be based on the law of Allah (swt), or it will be against the law of Allah (swt). There cannot be two parallel systems, although there can be several religions co-existing at a time in a certain place. The only exception can be made in the case of a single dominant system ascendant above all, subservient to which, all shrunken up and sidelined, may exist other systems. Allama Iqbal said: “In a state of enslavement, it is reduced to a single, small droplet / The very same life which, when freed, becomes a ceaseless, shoreless torrent!”

When Deen is subjugated, it is reduced to mere religion. Just as at the high point of Islamic history, Islam was the single dominant system, under which existed Christianity, Judaism, Magianism and other creeds as religions. They were given this allowance on the clearly laid out condition to pay a nominal tax (Jizya) and accept their subservience to the ascendant system, as said in Surah At-Taubah: “Fight... until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” (At-Taubah, 9:29) 

The law of the land shall be Allah’s (swt), and the dominant system will be Islam, but as far as personal law and private life was concerned, they were free to live according to their own beliefs and practices. However, during the period of the decline and downfall of the Islamic state, the situation was entirely reversed. It will not be wrong to say that in the Indian subcontinent, the dominant system of life belonged to the British. Hence, Islam in the subcontinent was reduced to mere religion - Muslims could pray as they wished, and the British never objected to that; they could declare the call for prayer from the mosques, and they could marry and inherit according to their religious laws, but the state law had to be none other than British, according to the dictates of the British Crown, without interference from the local people. This is exactly what Iqbal expressed in his verse: “Since the Mullah (cleric) in India is allowed to prostrate in prayer / He foolishly thinks it implies his freedom.”

In other words, Islam was not free, but had shriveled up and been reduced to the level of a mere religion among many. 

Deen is essentially that which dominates and pervades. If it is subjugated, it will no longer remain Deen, but will be reduced to Madhab. Its true character will be distorted. If studied from this angle, it becomes clear that no matter how great a system, if it is presented merely as a vision and idea, or presented in the form of a written treatise, it can at best be an idealistic utopia, but can never truly be a criterion, a standard, a benchmark. It can become a decisive criterion for the whole of mankind to judge and live by only when it is brought into practice, established and fully implemented. 

Translated and transcribed for Hiba Magazine by Maryam Sakeenah

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mixed Fruit Punch


1 cup fruit cocktail (canned)                 
½ cup milk (chilled)
2 scoops vanilla ice-cream

Set aside a few pieces of fruit from the cocktail for garnishing.
Blend the remaining fruits in a blender.
Add the vanilla ice-cream and milk and blend until mixture is smooth.
Pour into cocktail glasses and garnish with fruit pieces.
*The image is not original.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tongue Terrors

By Atefa Jamal

I want to share with you a strange story I once heard. Two brothers were at a bus stop, when a young lady approached them. Her arms were laden with groceries. Indicating her apartment behind them, she asked, if they could help her. One of the brothers agreed, while the other stayed at the stop. Fifteen minutes later, the brother at the stop began to worry - his sibling had not yet returned. What was taking him so long to drop off some groceries? He ran to the apartment the young lady had pointed out and knocked on the door. A child, with a bone in his hand and fresh blood dripping from his teeth, answered it. Terrified, the young man pushed past him into the apartment. To his horror, he found a group of people feasting on the body of his dead brother!

I was really disgusted, when I heard this! Then, after the story, I got a real shock. I was told that I do this all the time! Eat human flesh? Me? No way! I faint at the sight of my own blood.

It was explained that Allah has said, "...And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting)..." (Al-Hujurat, 49:12)

So every time I invite my friends over for some ‘juicy gossip,' I am actually inviting them to dig into a ‘juicy human steak!' I remember, how I mimicked that teacher with the accent. My classmates thought I was so cool. Some even said: "You're so smart." Now, I am not sure, if I really was.

Our beloved Prophet (saw) warned us, "A man may be so close to Paradise such that the distance between him and it is one arm's length and he speaks a word and he becomes distant from it further than San'aa" (referring to a great distance). (Tirmidhi)

Subhan'Allah! One word! The jokes I cracked about my over-weight cousin had several words!

When I fasted in Ramadan, I never tasted a single morsel of food. To me that was an accomplishment. However, I relished those hot angry words I dished out to everyone, who suggested I do something other than sleep the day away. I controlled my hunger but not my tongue, so my fasts became a farce.

The Prophet (saw) said, "When a man gets up in the morning, all the limbs humble themselves before the tongue and say, ‘Fear Allah for our sake, for we are dependent on you; if you are straight we are straight, but if you are crooked we are crooked'" (Tirmidhi).

The Prophet (saw) even once took hold of his tongue and said, "Exercise restraint on it...Will anything else besides (irresponsible) talk cause the people to be thrown into the Hell-Fire upon their faces or on their nostrils?" (Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)

Allah's Messenger (saw) also said, "Whoever guarantees me (the chastity of) what is between his legs (i.e., his private parts), and what is between his jaws (i.e., his tongue), I guarantee him Paradise." (Tirmidhi)

From now on, I shall no longer give my tongue free reign to babble away, Insha'Allah (and I mean it), till I have something good to say. It is confined to its place, in my mouth, behind my teeth.

How to Think BIG!

By Farah Najam

Everyday everywhere young people take on new jobs. Each wishing to enjoy the success associated with reaching the top. Yet, they believe that climbing such heights is impossible, not realizing that there are steps that can lead them to the goal. But a small number of these youth have substantial belief in reaching the top and the steps that they need to take.

How to develop the power of belief?

1. Islam teaches a believer to be optimistic. To think success, rather than failure, even at times, when we are faced with difficult situations. In other words, a believer should think, "I will win, Insha'Allah" and not, "I will probably lose." Pessimism leads the mind to think in the way of failure. Remember that pessimism is a gift from Satan ‘Iblis,' whose name denotes hopelessness.
2. Remind yourself regularly that you are better than you think you are. Successful believers are just ordinary people who have developed belief in Allah and the abilities He has given to them. Allah (swt) states, "Verily, We have created man in the best form." (At-Tin, 95:4)
3. Allah (swt) wants to elevate the status of humankind and ensure its accomplishment and therefore He (swt) send His Prophets and books. So, by thinking big according to the teachings of Allah (swt) and his Prophet (saw) the size of your success will be determined by the size of your belief. Think of little goals and expect little achievements. But think of big goals and you will win big. Big ideas and big plans are often easier.

It is well to respect your leader and learn from him/her. But don't just resolve to be like him or her, rather believe you can surpass and go beyond. .

Building confidence through your memory bank

1. Deposit only positive thoughts in your memory bank. Everyone encounters plenty of unpleasant situations but successful people do not give it a second thought, whereas unsuccessful people brood over them so be among the successful and specialize in putting positive thoughts into your memory bank.
2. A real smile melts away the opposition of others, and instantly too. So, smile big. Harness the power of smiling. Remember Allah's Messenger (saw) had a smiling face.

With a positive, optimistic and cooperative attitude, a person with an IQ of 100 will succeed and earn more money and respect, than a negative, pessimistic, uncooperative individual with an IQ of 120. 60% dreaming and the rest do the trick. The biggest resolution would be the ‘attitude' - think and dream creatively. Creative thinking is simply finding new, improved ways to do anything. Success at home, work, in community or just anything. For this, the basic truth is ‘believe in yourself and the things that you can do - believe in yourself and the world is yours'

Practice positive imagery

Each day spend some time in positive visualization of your goals and new life changes. Use your imagination for only through use does it sharpen. You can travel on the back of any thought you have in mind. Simply catch your thoughts, relax, tilt your eyes up just about twenty degrees and there you are.

Begin incorporating the following points in your attitude

1. Overcome the fear of failure: When fear controls your actions, it takes charge. The only way you can overcome fear is to face it and attack it with full vengeance with one blow.
2. Let your confidence soar: You must have the "I can do this" attitude if anything BIG happens to come your way. Confidence is more evident in a person's actions, thoughts and emotional calm during stormy times.
3. Don't let small and negative people get in the way of your BIG ideas.

Tips for Better Thinking

1. Suspend judgment when hearing something new.
2. Explain things to others using their thinking patterns rather than yours.
3. Remember that arguing is one of the least effective ways of changing someone's mind. You don't always have to fight to win.
4. Use the language of leaders and people will be more inclined to treat you as one.
5. Remember that your sense of humor is your stress barometer; when it seems like there's nothing to laugh about that means you are overstressed.
6. Constantly remind yourself that self-worth is not something you have to prove, or a conclusion you arrive at, it's an assumption you start from.
7. Spend more time reading than you spend watching television.
8. Constantly monitor your self-talk; prefer positive language.
9. Shun toxic people and those who push negative thinking; remember that you can fire anybody from your life.
10. Practice positive "censorship;" you can choose to concentrate your attention on positive messages.
11. Stay out of other people's dramas; don't become part of the victimology triangle.
12. Always be learning; try to discover something new every day.
13. Don't kill ideas when you first hear them. Use the "P.I.N." formula (Positive first, then Interesting, then Negative aspects).
14. Don't mistake a haphazard "brain-dump" for a conversation; explain your ideas clearly; use a discursive strategy to escort others to your truth.
15. Always be ready to smile in the next second, and let it show on your face.

In Thinking Big: The Keys to Personal Power and Maximum Performance, world-famous success expert Brian Tracy will take you beyond the limits of everyday thought, where you will tap into the vast resources of your mind and unlock unlimited potential.

By thinking big, you'll become so confident, determined, and persistent, that you can achieve any goal-and nothing or no one will be able to slow you down or alter your course, Insha'Allah!

Success is an inside job. It's a state of mind. It begins with you and is soon reflected in the world around you. By thinking big, you become a bigger person. By dreaming big dreams, you become a leader. By making plans to accomplish your goals, you take control of your life. And by practicing the ideas taught in Thinking Big, you can and will become unstoppable, by Allah's (swt) grace.

Here is an exercise to measure your true size:

1. Determine your five chief assets.
2. Invite some friends who will give you an honest opinion.
3. Next under each asset, write the names of three persons you know who have achieved large success, but who do not have the asset to as great a degree as you.

Big thinkers are specialists in creating positive, optimistic pictures in their own minds and in the minds of others.

Decorating Without Doubt

By Kiran Ansari

Samia Asghar, a wife, mother and architect, always received compliments on her 'photo wall' - the wall at the entrance of her home with a myriad of family photographs spanning three generations. Everyone, who entered her home, even the installers of her kitchen cabinets, couldn't help but pause and look at the elegantly displayed personal memories.

Samia, like many who enlarge favorite poses, took great pride in her wall, until it dawned upon her. It wasn't during an Islamic lecture or while reading an Islamic book, but while sorting through her jewelry at the bank locker that she asked herself: "Why do I keep my valuables locked up safely in velvet boxes and leave my most cherished possessions out for everyone to see? Would I display my diamonds this way? Of course not! I would keep them safe, so no one would eye them inappropriately."

Samia voiced her concerns to a friend, who encouraged her to consider taking down the pictures but with the right intention. Several authentic Ahadeeth explained the issue to Samia:

Narrated by Anas (rta): Aisha (rta) had a thick curtain with pictures on it, and she screened the side of her house with it. The Prophet (saw) said: "Remove it from my sight, for its pictures are still coming to my mind in my prayers." (Bukhari)

Narrated by Abu Talha (rta): the Prophet (saw) said: "Angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog or there are pictures of living creatures (animals or humans)." (Bukhari)

Most scholars permit photographs - as they consider them captured light, as opposed to portraits - but within limits. Family photographs in albums or scrapbooks to remember a wedding, birth or vacation is acceptable by most schools of thought. But having professional photography sessions without the adherence to the rules of Hijab is questionable. Hanging pictures of loved ones, who have passed away, in imitation of other faiths to remind us of them is not an Islamic practice either. We should also refrain from painting portraits or hanging them based on the following Hadeeth - narrated by Aisha (rta): the Prophet (saw) said: "... Whoever makes a picture will be punished on the Day of Resurrection and will be asked to give life to what he has created." (Bukhari)

Many of us lack the courage that Samia had, when she took down all her pictures. But we can intend to start today, pray to Allah (swt) to make it easy and proceed gradually one room at a time. 

So, now - what do you do with those blank walls and empty frames? Replace them with things acceptable in our Deen. Remember, in Islam there are far more dos than don'ts - for out of all beverages only alcohol is prohibited. We need to appreciate all that is permitted, rather than brood over what is not.

Allah (swt) is Al-Jameel, i.e., He is Beautiful and likes beautiful things. Our homes too should be clean and beautiful, without bordering on extravagance and ostentation. Look for reasonably priced landscapes, still-life and Islamic calligraphy - or better still, make your own. An original Picasso landscape for a million dollars would be technically acceptable but would go against the Islamic teachings of modesty. How about painting something using your favorite colours or displaying your children's artwork creatively?

There are other objects in the home that could cause us to step into gray areas. Many families enjoy collecting statues and figurines from their travels. What can you bring back from your travels? An idea my parents had was to start a collection of a particular object from different parts of the world. My father bought teapots from China, Iran and Russia to begin with, and before we knew it, guests started to bring us unique teapots as gifts as well. I have started an inexpensive collection to remember the places I have visited. I hang souvenir pencils from all the places I have visited - Disney World, Dubai and Niagara Falls - and hang them from wooden dowels in my hallway.

Having a room with a theme is gaining popularity. Also here there are several permissible alternatives: an Arabian inspired living room with floor cushions and coffee pots; or a Mexican kitchen in bright colours with chili peppers and sombreros cans. They add personality to your living spaces, without compromising your belief.

Children love themes. So step in and inculcate good habits in their early years. Instead of encouraging cartoon character murals, we could suggest generic themes that are not only acceptable Islamically but last longer than a Spiderman fad for instance. Flowers or hearts for girls and cars or sports gear for boys are easy solutions. Before discouraging your children from hanging posters of pop icons and movie stars, explain to them why. Telling them that they should not do it ‘because mom says so' is insufficient. Rather, that they wouldn't be able to pray in their room and angels of mercy wouldn't enter their homes.

Having pictures of mosques and Ayahs, that are readily available nowadays, is a great idea. However, sometimes people go to extremes and overnight their homes become calligraphy central. The word of caution here is that the Quran was sent to us as a guide. So, by framing several Ayahs and not understanding or applying them is senseless. Similarly, wanting to appear more religious to those, who enter your home, or thinking that such pictures can protect you only means you are digressing from their actual purpose. A few chosen verses that you act upon is a better idea or perhaps Duas for children to help them learn proper sleeping and eating habits. 

Another disturbing trend that is catching on these days is devoting one room to the ‘prayer room' and filling that with religious artwork. Our entire home should be a reflection of our Muslim identity. Having enlarged close-ups of your daughter's wedding photos in the living room and Ayat-al-kursi in the prayer room makes you appear inconsistent. In other words, picking and choosing, where we apply the principles of our religion and where not, we forget how Islam should be intertwined with every aspect of our lives and not just where and when it is convenient for us.

For those of us in non-Muslim countries, having an inviting home to welcome neighbors and colleagues of different faiths is a Dawah tool. A picture of the Kabah is an instant conversation starter as well as a chance to talk about Islam without sounding preachy. A modest yet elegant home reflects well on how simply yet stylishly Muslims live.

Modesty is the key word here. We have to strike a balance as to how much time, energy and money we spend decorating. We know we are travelers, and our life in this world is but a transitory phase before our permanent destination. Would we then spend all our resources sprucing up a hotel room?

Avoid filling your home with priceless furniture and accessories, reserved for occasional guests. The fear of breaking any of it will prevent you from enjoying your home. Your home should be a place, where you look forward to spending time with yourself and your family. Let it be your safe haven from endless hours shopping or late nights socializing. By staying away from doubtful matters, avoiding justifications for the temptations of your Nafs and by accepting the guidelines of the Quran and Sunnah, be confident that you are doing the right thing.

Insha'Allah, Barakah and Rahmah will fill your heart, your home and the lives of everyone in it.

Some handy decorating tips you can start on today:

· Think outside the frame. There are so many other things you can adorn walls with. Consider mounting a collection of decorative plates in your kitchen or beautiful rug in the foyer.
· Go 3-D. You can use shadow boxes to preserve special objects-your son's first pair of shoes or your daughter's graduation cap.
· Don't underestimate the power of green. Adding a real or artificial plant or floral arrangement livens up any space.
· Dabble in paint. There is no easier or relatively less expensive way to brightening up a white wall. Experiment with solids, stripes, borders, stencils or a faux finish like sponging. And for a drastic look, don't forget the 5th wall - the ceiling!
· No cost decorating. Re-arrange furniture for a fresh look. Press flowers from your own garden, mat and frame them and you have a unique piece of art.
· Reuse what you can. Turn old curtains into toss pillows.
· Choose multipurpose pieces. For instance, a decorative trunk in your family room can serve as the coffee table as well as storage for board games.
· Pick up decorating magazines for inspiration. Despite the unavailability of some of the project material, know that any idea you like can easily be adapted for a fraction of the cost in Pakistan.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Approaching a 7-year-old for Doing Salah

A couple months ago, Imam Suhaib posted a question on Facebook, inquiring how to encourage one’s child to pray. Alhamdulillah, there were many great responses. We wanted to share some of the wonderful advice and stories shared by fellow readers. May our hearts always be open to beneficial advice.

(*Responses abridged and edited for grammar; all of the full responses are available on Facebook.)

“My son is seven years old! What do you think would be a wise way to approach him about praying?”


Faiza Isaaq: “Be subtle. Kids love imitating their parents/role models. Just ask him to join you whenever you pray, focusing on one prayer and then building on that gradually.”

Ghada Othmani: “Mum’s famous prayer tree was awesome! It was a tree with five big leaves (one for each prayer) that she used to draw on a paper and hang on the wall of my room. I had to color each leaf: in green, if the prayer was done on time; in yellow, if it was done but not on time; and in brown, if it was not done.

She used to tell me that green means Allah (swt) is happy and proud of me, because I showed gratitude to Him for all what He has given to me. Yellow means He is less proud. Brown, be careful! He could take away His love and protection from me!

I still remember the joy every time it was full green! And believe me, until now, it still works. It has become a neural association. Every time I do something wrong, the first thing that comes to my mind is the brown leaf. The same goes for deeds.”

Khudake Liye: There was a story I heard about someone, who told to his son: “Come, I will give you something that nobody ever can take away from you - your Deen.”

Aadhil Shiraz: “Let him pray with you. Make sure it’s a pleasurable thing to do, instead of a chore, which is basically what Salah is supposed to be. If you nag him too much and turn it into a chore, then he won’t feel the pain of missing Salah.”

Mike Swies: “I would tell him that now he is going to be man of the house, if anything happens to you, and you want to give him the honor of knowing how to lead the family in prayer.”

AishaLadon AbdulRahman Dixon: “My youngest loves that he is in charge of calling us to prayer. He feels this is his job and we depend on him to do it, and that we really need him as a part of our prayer team.”

Tricia Pe: “I think prayer should be gradually introduced well before seven years of age, through praying occasionally with mom and dad, discussing aspects of Salah, rather than suddenly rolling up on a 7-year-old saying, “Now your Salah is due.” I took your situation as hypothetical, of course.”

Fadwa Silmi: “When one of the Mauritanian Shuyukh (scholars) (Shaykh Khatri) came to California, one of the things he thought was so strange (and there were many) was that we didn’t make Wudu’ (ablution) and pray around our children. He was like, “Why do you guys go lock yourselves in the bathroom to make Wudu’ and then hide in your room to pray, instead of having your children see you, so that they become accustomed to prayer as a part of their lives?”

I would call him to do Wudu’ with you and then to pray with you, whenever you pray. You can also gift him a prayer rug and Kufi (prayer cap) for him to use when he prays. I also like the idea of gifting one prayer at a time, until they are praying all five.”

Ayesha Nicole: via Dr. Farhat Hashmi: “I was exposed to such an environment from the very beginning and was told that prayer is an awesome thing to do. It was portrayed in a “cool” way to me. So obviously I was eager to pray, Alhamdulillah. After 6 months I was given yet another gift and that was of `Isha’ (the night prayer). Then every 6 months I was given a gift: of Dhuhr (the afternoon prayer), then of `Asr (the late afternoon prayer) and then finally of Fajr (the pre-dawn prayer). Both my mother and father have been very consistent and firm regarding prayer with me, so that no way on earth would you be able to convince them to let me off the hook for even a day. I love them for that. But it’s every man for himself. You will be accountable for your actions individually.”

Hussam Kubtan: “Share with him some of the Hadeeth (records of the sayings or actions of the Prophet (saw)) that talk about the Takleef (mandate) at the age of seven, what it means to be a young adult, and that seven is the first step towards being a young man.”

Beenish Akhtar: “I remember a talk you once gave, where you spoke about teaching children how to pray as not just some random duty, but you said something about reminding them that they are in the company of the One (swt). This is their time to speak directly to their Creator (swt), and take great solace with Him or run to Him, when they feel thankful. It changed my perspective on the subject because I grew up with the “pray or you’re going to get it” rule.”

Dawud Israel: “Just tell your son about Allah (swt) and His characteristics. Kids are naturally inclined to pray since they are Ma’sum (innocent).”

Vardha Ismail: “Hmm… Tell him that he is now old enough to speak to Allah (swt) through prayer and this is a great honour. It will be difficult to pray all the time but remember that each time you pray Allah (swt) will draw closer to you, and if you have any worries, problems or wishes that you want to share with Allah (swt)—this is the perfect way to do it. And if there is anyone who we want to be close to—even more than our parents, it is Allah (swt). Life is like the seasons outside, sometimes it’s good sometimes it can be difficult, and prayer is the anchoring force in our lives through all the ups and downs. It’s a big responsibility but I’m sure he will be able to maintain his Salah, Insha’Allah, and with good examples it can only help. May Allah (swt) help us all to maintain our Salah!”

Jinan Yousef: “I guess the way I would tell a 7-year-old is that when the time comes to pray, it is Allah (swt) calling us to talk to Him. Imagine, Allah (swt) wants to talk to you! You are that special. And then reminding him that all the good in his life is from Allah (swt).”

Nancy Shehata: “Even way before age seven we taught by example, always making sure they see us make Wudu’ and pray, applauding their efforts when they first start imitating us. My husband would take our son out of school on Fridays to go to the prayer, which, Insha’Allah, we’ll be able to do again soon. It’s all about making it a priority—if we get off the computer, stop watching TV, turn off the iPod, and pray promptly upon hearing the Adhan (the call to prayer), then they will be accustomed to the rhythm of prayer in the household and it will be totally natural for them to join in. Take five minutes after each prayer you pray at home to help the kids memorize parts of the prayer, like what we say in Ruku` (the bowing), the Tashahhud, etc. They are like sponges and will pick it up quickly, Insha’Allah!

Sara M Amin: “I think it would be great if you were to ask him his thoughts on why daddy and mummy pray and then encourage him to pose questions about it to make him curious and interested. Usually kids love to try and learn new things especially when they learn it from family, so keep him around you while you are praying. Ask him to hand you the prayer mat for example and then kiss and hug him to give him that sense of “Wow, I’ve done something good.” Or when the call to prayer resonates throughout the streets, take him out to the balcony and ask him to listen like it’s a special father-son time. I think if that sense of beauty is added before the actual rituals of prayer are learnt, then the rest just comes naturally. Hope I was of some benefit. May Allah (swt) bless him.”

Reshma Hyder: “When they are seven, this is what you may try: “Now that you are seven, I’ll share a secret with you that makes me strong from the inside. All that I buy and provide (cook yummy food, toys, etc. in my case) for you is actually from Allah (swt) and I have been personally thanking him 5 times a day for all that He has given me including a 7-year-old like you! Let me teach you how to personally thank Allah (swt) as He listens to 7-year-olds when they pray to Him. Let’s begin praying together and we both thank Allah (swt) and pray for all that we have. I began praying with my parents when I was seven and look how Allah (swt) kept rewarding me and gave me beautiful family and children. Alhamdulillah.”

Shaykh, forgive me if I said something wrong. I tried this with my now-grown-up kids back when they were seven. It worked till they turned 14—rebellious age—then I switched to, “You have your own book of deeds. I am no longer reminding (nagging) you to pray, but life is short, and you need to be thankful everyday lest your own Janazah prayer (prayer after a person dies) is prayed. It’ll be too late to make up missed prayers then (motherly scare tactics).” Now my current 7-year-old is going through the same process although it is easier when they see older siblings pray. As a parent I now pray to Allah (swt) to keep kids praying and on the straight path. It’s a tough world out there for them.”