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

Monday, December 31, 2012

Mothers of believers

Sadaf Farooqi lists suggestions, which will help the expectant mothers to connect their baby to Allah (swt) already in pre-birth period.

For most it is a much-awaited, exciting development; for others, an unexpected, pleasant surprise; for some, a disconcerting event that takes time to accept. Whatever the case, being in the family way is a significant turn of events. It is the onset of one of the greatest responsibilities Allah (swt) can entrust us with – that of bearing and raising a person according to His (swt) pleasure.

Most Muslim mothers are not fortunate enough to realize what a pivotal task they have on their hands. Modern research has revealed that everything a mother-to-be feels, thinks about and believes in affects her baby, who starts hearing and recognizing her voice from the fourth month of pregnancy. Pregnant women are thus advised to stay positive, calm and happy during the gestation period for the healthy development of the baby.

So what can you, as an expectant mother, do in order to bear a pious Muslim baby with a sound heart: a baby connected to Allah (swt) from pre-birth? 

Quran recitation. If your own Tajweed is commendable, recite the entire Quran aloud throughout your pregnancy (especially after the fourth month). If that’s not possible, play the recitation of a Qari on a cassette-player near your belly, listening to it attentively yourself. This will bless both you and your baby, acquainting the latter with Allah’s (swt) words as soon as it begins to hear it and tranquilizing you in your expectant state.

Positive thinking. Satan’s ultimate aim is to make us ungrateful for Allah’s (swt) blessings. During pregnancy, a woman has many fears and apprehensions. Coupled with physical sickness, she is prone to depression and negative thinking. That’s why our Prophet (sa) said: “A woman who dies during pregnancy is a martyr.” (Abu Dawood) Count your blessings, reminding yourself that you have been blessed by Allah (swt).

Dhikr of Allah (swt). Engage in Dhikr as much as possible. Capitalize on your nine-month state of uninterrupted purity by offering supererogatory prayers besides obligatory prayers. If Ramadan falls during pregnancy, try fasting before giving up without an effort. Fasting is worship; it can be good for both you and your baby. Furthermore, join a Quran class to be engaged in Allah’s (swt) remembrance regularly. 

The best nutrition. Breastfeeding is difficult to master, but when learned it is the best Sadaqah you can give your baby. While nursing, try to be with ablution, read the Quran or a beneficial book, do Dhikr, or listen to Quranic recitation. Just relax and don’t fret about the pending household chores or the weight that you have not shed off. 

Shun useless activities. Whether during pregnancy or the initial nursing months, avoid pastimes such as gossiping, frequenting markets, watching dramas and films, reading fiction or listening to music. This time, when your baby is physically bound to you, will never return. Use it to build his/her foundation of piety.

Practice Sunnahs. When your toddler starts to speak her first words and eat a varied diet, inculcate Sunnahs into daily actions: always feed her with the right hand and only when she’s sitting; say ‘Bismillah’, ‘Alhumdulillah’, and all Duas aloud (such as on leaving the house or using the washroom). Put her clothes or shoes on right side first. 

Tranquil environment. While your infant lies playing, put up Allah’s (swt) names in the room or on a mobile overhead. Play Quranic recitation nearby; do this right up to the toddler stage. A home sans television is the ideal home for a Muslim baby; realistically speaking, however, when the television is on, keep your baby in some other room of the house, where she can play undisturbed. Avoid taking your baby to noisy gatherings.

Intellectual training. Babies deserve better stimuli for intellectual development than cartoons and musical nursery rhymes. Talk to them about Allah (swt), visit the park or seaside and give them mind-stimulating games that use numbers, alphabets and illustrations. Provide age-appropriate building blocks, Lego, markers, crayons, paper and computers. Seek the company of righteous people, frequenting circles of religious study and intellectual discussion, taking your baby with you. 

If we work hard on our babies today, we can expect our Ummah to be righteous tomorrow.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Life with the Ahmad Family: O Witr Where Art Thou?

In this episode, Abu Jamal learns that when you give instructions to Jamal, you'd better repeat yourself to make sure you were understood!

(Please, click to enlarge)

Life with the Ahmad family comic for Muslim children: O Witr Where Art Thou?

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, December 28, 2012

Dare to think!

Suleman Ahmer, the founder and CEO of "Timelenders", shares a personal story and the reflections this occasion led him to.

I was surprised by the knock. It was late at night and I was the only guest.

I opened the door. It was the manager along with the cook.

“Sir, we wanted to ask you something that has been troubling us for the past few days?”

“Sure,” I replied while asking them in.

The guest house belonged to Dr. A. Q. Khan Research Labs (KRL), where I had come to conduct a workshop.

KRL is Pakistan’s nuclear research powerhouse with some of the finest scientists that you can find under the sun.

After being seated, the cook spoke, “Sir, our scientists have brains so big that it would take us a few lifetimes to have our brains grow to that size!”

I was amazed at the clarity of the expression knowing that here was an unschooled young man with his whole world limited to his village and now Rawalpindi, a town next to Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.

“You are right” I said knowing that I had in my workshop seasoned PhDs in subjects such as nuclear physics, power electronics, vibrations and vacuum systems. And these scientists know how to make things happen; just ask Dr. ElBaradei, the former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“Sir,” the cook continued, “everyday these scientists spend the whole day in your class. We don’t understand what is it that you are teaching them?”

I was stumped. What a wonderful observation!

And what a wonderful predicament!

How do I explain to these simple folks that I teach organizational restructuring based on strategic visions and then introduce the framework for converting these visions into short term actionable and quantifiable plans?  

I was pushed into deep thought.

“I cannot teach anybody anything,” Socrates once said, “I can only make them think.”

Socrates believed that people can’t be taught; rather people can be facilitated to discover what they already know. I disagree with him. It is only partly true. Through prophetic revelations we learn many things that we didn’t know before.

Socrates was known to exaggerate. I believe that he was purposely exaggerating to provoke people because provocation forces people to think; for this, I respect the guy for his noble agenda to force people to examine their beliefs, their assumptions and their paradigms. No wonder he made so many enemies.

I have come to believe that sincere people who disbelieve us and challenge us are one of our greatest assets.

Professors know it. Teachers know it. Trainers, like I, know it. We all know that one of the best rewards of teaching is to come across a sincere, naïve and aggressive man or woman who doesn’t buy into what we hold to be correct or believe we know well. And if that person happens to be your spouse, then all the better!

On that cold winter night in Rawalpindi, I realized that I had come across such people.

In the few moments of silence that followed, by the grace of Allah (swt), a thought came to me which has indebted me to those simple men forever.

“You know,” I carefully picked my words, “these scientists have knowledge much greater than mine. They are experts in their fields. I can’t teach anything that is related to their area of expertise.”

I can see that they felt relieved. How can someone much younger and an outsider teach their scientists? It just didn’t make sense to them. And now I had vindicated them. They were right after all.

I looked them in the eye and said, “You know what I teach?” I held their attention, “I teach people that if what you do today – however big or small – doesn’t impact the world a hundred years later then that doing is plain useless. It is just a waste of time.”

I sat back.

Amazingly their eyes glistened with understanding and smiles erupted.

“You are right. This is absolutely true.” They were in complete agreement. I had told them something that they knew all along.

“We now understand what you teach. That is something good that you are teaching. Keep it up.”

Saying this and with satisfaction written all over their faces, they left me to rest. Not realizing that they had left me exactly the opposite: restless!

I though about it for many days. I pondered and reflected and agonized. In my urge to make things simple – I questioned myself – had I lied to them or misled them?

Then it dawned upon me that just like them, I had also known this all along my life; I had never clearly articulated it to others and most importantly, to myself. All I needed was an innocent question from those innocent men who had no fear of being called naïve, with no reservations and no artificial persona of ‘look we know’!

And they taught me something that I had not been able to learn through books or by my travels across the globe.

Look deep inside your heart and you will realize that you know it too: if what we do today doesn’t impact this world a hundred years down the road then it is simply a waste of time!

Dr. Yousuf Al Qardawi writes that there are people who die before their death while being counted amongst the living; while others live much after their death because they leave behind good deeds, beneficial knowledge, pious children and able students who keep increasing their life. In the words of William Wallace, the character in the movie Braveheart: “Every man dies, but not every man really lives!”

Please reflect on things that you know. Seek people who will challenge you. Hear them out patiently. Cherish them. You may have some valuable knowledge that is waiting to be discovered by none other than yourself.

Keep in mind the words of Socrates, “An unexamined life is not worth living.”

And my advice to you today: please dare to think!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fried Fish

Fish fillet 1
Ginger garlic paste 1 tbsp
Black pepper ½ tsp
Crushed red pepper ½ tsp
Egg half
Flour 2 – 3 tbsp
Desiccated coconut 2 – 3 tbsp
Mayonnaise ½ cup
Chili garlic sauce ¼ cup
Salt to taste


  1. Cut fish into cubes, marinate with 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste, salt to taste, ½ tsp black pepper, ½ tsp crushed red pepper, half egg and 2 – 3 tbsp flour. Mix well.
  2. Now coat with 2 – 2 tbsp desiccated coconut and deep fry on low flame till golden brown.
  3. For making sauce mix together ¼ cup chili garlic sauce, salt to taste, ½ cup mayonnaise and a little black pepper. Add a little water to make in desired consistency.
  4. Serve with fried fish.

(Recipe by Chef Zakir)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Be my guest!

Tooba Asim explores the etiquette of being a guest.

“Oh no! Not again,” I sighed, as I glanced at the clock and went ahead to check the main door. Sure enough, it was my next door neighbour. It was three in the afternoon, and no one else was brave enough to venture out of their homes in this sweltering heat. She was always an exception. Today was different, as my mother was visiting us as well. “Why the sigh? She’s your guest, and guests are a blessing from Allah (swt),” was my mom’s immediate response to my behaviour.

Guests indeed are among Allah's (swt) blessings, but we can see from the Prophet’s (sa) example that there is a certain etiquette of visitation, which one must follow in order to fulfill the Sunnah. In our society, there are plenty of people like my neighbour, who make their hosts wary of guests instead of welcoming them.

The Prophet (sa) said: “A man visited a brother in another town. Allah (swt) sent an angel to lie in wait for him along his way. When he came upon the angel, he asked him: ‘Where are you going?’ He answered: ‘I am going to visit a brother of mine in this town?’ The angel asked further: ‘Is there any favour that you want to get from him?’ The man said: ‘No, it is only that I love him for Allah’s (swt) sake.’ The angel then said: ‘I am a messenger of Allah to you (to tell you) that Allah (swt) loves you, as you love your brother for His sake.” (Muslim)

The aforementioned Hadeeth makes it clear that visiting somebody for Allah’s (swt) sake alone and not for some personal reason is what Allah (swt) wants from us. 

Keeping in mind the importance that Allah (swt) and His Prophet (sa) have placed on visiting, we should certainly take some time out of our busy schedules for our family, neighbours and friends. This, however, should be done keeping in mind some important reminders.

Choose a suitable time…
…and day. Don’t pay a late night visit to someone, who is known to go to bed early or has school-going children. Don’t visit at mealtimes, unless you have been invited by your hosts.

Call before you go
It is better to give your hosts time to tidy up their place and be prepared. Also, it will save you time and unnecessary hassle, if your hosts are not at home or have other plans.

Do not grumble
If your hosts could not be contacted earlier and you had to return home, do not complain.

Take a gift
This does not have to be very extravagant or formal. You can take a home-cooked dish, a small box of biscuits or anything thoughtful that is likely to cheer up your hosts or their children.

Don’t stay too long
Respect the fact that your hosts might also have other commitments. If you’re visiting someone who’s staying at your host’s place, be extra careful.

Avoid indulging in gossip
Don’t pry about people’s lives. Everyone is entitled to privacy. Ask about their well-being, without being nosy.

Visit the sick
Visit the sick to help their attendants with some chores. This relieve them for a while and earn you Allah’s (swt) pleasure.

It is good manners to appreciate the effort your hosts put in for you, no matter how big or small. Anas Ibn Malik (rta) narrated: “The Prophet (sa) visited some of the Anaar in their house and ate some food there. When he wanted to leave, he ordered that a place be prepared for him where he could pray. He then prayed there and supplicated for his hosts.” (Bukhari)

Good etiquettes go a long way in maintaining healthy relationships. A smile here and a kind word there are sure shot recipes for winning hearts.

The invocation of a guest for his host, as taught by Prophet Muhammad (sa): "O Allah, bless them in what You have provided for them, and forgive them and have mercy on them." (Muslim)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Fasad – The Corrupter of Hearts

Mufti Kamaluddin discusses Fasad and offers tips for purifying the heart.

Although there are differences of opinion on several matters, strangely, every single human being on earth agrees upon one thing - today the whole world is affected by Fasad: unhappiness, discord, unease and corruption. However, different people offer different solutions to this Fasad.
The educated people say that the reason for Fasad is the lack of education. However, if education was the solution, then countries with a literacy rate of over ninety percent should not have any problems. But, if we go to any of those places, they tell us that they also have problems.

An economist will say that the reason for Fasad is poverty. People do not have enough wealth to fulfill their bare necessities, and, hence, this poverty is the cause of unhappiness in the world. If wealth were the solution, then people living in wealthy countries should be living lives of ease and contentment. However, if we go to them, they will also say that they are unhappy.

The Deen of Islam reveals the reason behind this unhappiness and discord. The Prophet (sa) said that in every son of Adam there is an organ, that if it is sound, the whole body will be sound, and if it is corrupt, the whole body will be corrupt and spoilt. That organ is Qalb - the spiritual heart of a human being. (Bukhari) This Hadeeth clearly tells us that if the heart is spoilt, the human being will be spoilt, and if the heart is pure, the human being will also be sound and pure. Therefore, all the worries and problems in the world are due to problematic people.

Fasad in the world exists because there are individuals, who have Fasad in them. Only that human being, whose heart is impure, will have corruption in him. So the reason why there are so many problems and difficulties in this world is simply because there are so many human beings, who have lost their lesson of humanity and who have corrupted, impure hearts. If the heart becomes pure, the human being will be pure; the family will be pure; the community will be pure; the society will be pure - consequently, the world will be pure.

Precisely for this reason Allah (swt) sent prophets and messengers, so that they purify the hearts of human beings and teach them, how to live pure lives. Through the Seerah of Prophet Muhammad (sa) ,we see that he first worked on the hearts of people, then he formed a community in Madinah and only afterwards they were able to change the society of the whole Arabian Peninsula. This is precisely, what Allah (swt) wants - that we submit our hearts to Him.

The Prophet (sa) said that Allah (swt) does not look at our bodies or at our faces, but He looks at our hearts. (Muslim) Allah (swt) looks, which of His servants has embedded His love and remembrance in his heart. Hence, we should beautify our hearts so that they look pleasing, when Allah (swt) gazes upon them.

Thus, there are two types of hearts: the purified and sound heart (Qalb-un-Saleem) and the corrupt and polluted heart (Qalb-un-Saqeem). Qalb-un-Saleem is that heart, which inclines a person towards good and everything that is pleasing to Allah (swt). A person with a pure heart is wonderful to live with, wonderful to look at and is able to see not only with his eyes but also with his heart. Qalb-un-Saqeem, however, is that heart, which invites a person to actions and thoughts that are corrupt and prohibited. The person with such heart does not view good as good and evil as evil. His heart keeps him occupied with unlawful thoughts and lustful desires. Such a heart will not allow a person to listen to counsel or to accept advice for changing its ways.

How can we purify our hearts? If we enter into a room full of dust, we immediately realize that some window must have been left open, through which pollution has entered. In the same way, the dirt comes into our hearts, because we have left some window open, which is bringing that corruption inside.

There are four windows to the heart.

The first window is a person’s eyes. If we we do with our eyes things that are good, such as look at our parents with love, look at the Quran with love, then these actions cast Noor into our heart. However, if we look at unlawful things, for instance a woman, who is impermissible to look at, then that will bring darkness into our heart. So the eye is like a window into the heart. Allah’s (swt) has made it very easy for us to protect our gaze – He has given us a shutter called our eyelid. It is extremely easy to close our eyelids and save our eyes from seeing bad things. All we have to do is intend, and our eyes will close immediately.

The second window to a person’s heart is a person’s ears. Everything that we hear will affect our heart. If we hear something that is good - recitation of the Quran, good advice, good teachings - then that will have a positive effect on the heart. However, if we listen to lies, bad talks or music, then that will naturally have a negative effect on our hearts.

The third window is a person’s tongue. If we speak good things - recite the Quran, speaks the truth, talk about Allah (swt) and Deen - the Noor of these words will come into our heart. However, if we say things that are bad, for instance unlawful speech or backbiting, then darkness will come into our hearts. So we should always try to use our tongue in good speech and for mentioning the majesty and blessings of Allah (swt).

Lastly, the fourth window into the heart is our mind. Whatever thoughts we think will affect our heart. If we spend our free time thinking about good things and actions that are pleasing to Allah (swt), then such thoughts will cast a light into our hearts. If we spend our time thinking about bad things and engage in unlawful fantasies, then such thoughts will definitely have a very negative effect on our heart.

We have to guard all these four windows and prevent anything corrupt from entering and affecting our heart. If the heart becomes pure, everything in the world will change. For this reason, we must start purifying our hearts from its spiritual illnesses, so that Allah’s (swt) love can come into our hearts. We should make Dua to Allah (swt) to grant us such a heart, which is the abode of His love.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Muslims in Cyberspace

Zainub Razvi, Sumaira Dada and Hafsa Ahsan explore the diverse aspects of cyberspace and guide regarding the Islamic rules applying to it. 

Cyberspace, like this world at large, is a delicate testing ground for the practising Muslim. On the one hand, there are enormous benefits that can be gained from the wealth of knowledge at one’s disposal via the information superhighway, but on the other hand, one is exposed to a murky world of temptations and addictions, which has few parallels in the real world.

When Muslims go on the Internet, they either tend to ignore certain aspects of the Deen, or they feel that Islamic teachings do not apply to cyberspace at all. This mindset then leads them to do things which they would never do in real life – after all, it is all virtual isn’t it?

Following are some of the common uses of the Internet, along with how the Islamic teachings apply to each of them.


Chatting today is not just text-based – there is voice chat, video conferencing, etc. which takes chatting to a whole new level. Fahad Iqbal has coined a new term for chatting with non-Mahrams - cyber-Khalwa. “When two people chat, they’re in Khalwa” (i.e., there’s no third person between them that knows what is going on). “As Muslims we’re required to not be in Khalwa with non-Mahrams, and if we have to be, for some reason, then there are strict guidelines that ought to be followed.”

Online, the hesitation of chatting with the opposite sex is overcome to a large extent. What is the Islamic guidance in this regard? Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, former President of the Islamic Society of North America, states that Internet chatting is very similar to writing letters or talking to someone on the phone. Hence, Muslims have to observe the same rules whilst chatting. Intimate conversations are not allowed. In fact, it is forbidden for a non-Mahram Muslim male and female to indulge in long conversations with each other, unless it is necessary for education or for business.

Chatting is also very addictive. Time simply whiles away, especially when discussing any unsuitable topic or wasting too much time in casual chit-chat. Time for a Muslim, like everything else, is a blessing from Allah (swt) that he/she will be questioned about on the Day of Judgement, so it ought to be used wisely.

Sheikh M. S. Al Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Muslim lecturer, says that in chat rooms a Muslim must be on guard, as he is dealing with a large number of unknown people. He should boycott the sites of Biddats and not engage in any discussions on these websites. He also says that the enthusiastic youth must not engage in matters of which they have little knowledge. In this regard, Allah’s (swt) words need to be remembered: “And on the Day of Resurrection, you will see those who lied against Allah (i.e., attributed to Him sons, partners), their faces will be black.” (Az-Zumar, 39:60)


A blog is an online diary. In chat rooms, you have a considerable degree of control over who can interact with you and how. It is much more complicated if you maintain a blog, which may be regularly read and commented on by virtually anyone in the world, which includes non-Mahrams. Hence, writing very personal entries on those blogs must be avoided, and if possible, blogs must be made private, accessible only to the blogger’s chosen audience.

Muslim bloggers also ought to make sure that they do not post unverified Islamic information, and they should especially think twice before making any remarks about anyone’s personal attributes or character traits in their posts.

Those who leave comments on the blog must be wary of committing grave sins, such as slander, backbiting and fighting. Muslims should be careful, because every word they utter will be recorded, even if typed in cyberspace. As a general rule, we ought to tell ourselves that if we wouldn’t say something to someone in real life, we ought not to on the Internet as well.

Social and Professional Networking

Social networking websites work by asking you to register and set up a profile page, then allowing you to add people you know, join groups, play games, take quizzes, put up photos, share links and do a host of other activities.

Because these websites ask you to put sensitive information online, it is very important to know how to use their privacy settings. Failure to use the right settings can seriously compromise your online privacy, disclosing your private information to complete strangers and third party companies without your knowledge. Avoid altogether putting up any private data that is prone to exploitation, such as your work history, your phone numbers or residential address. Once again, determine early on where to draw the line, because social networking is very prone to addiction.

Also, while there’s certainly no harm in keeping up with friends, it’s important to define not only who are our ‘friends,’ but also just how much time we ought to devote to ‘keeping up’ with them, and what actually constitutes the exercise of this ‘keeping up.’ Indulging too much into the private lives of others, even if they have put it up for everyone to see, violates Islamic teachings, which require us to refrain from spying and being over-curious.

Online Islamic Guidance

While there is no denying that the Internet is an extremely easy way to access Islamic literature, it is not the best place to go for ‘Fatwah hunting’. There are a lot of bogus ‘Islamic’ websites out there, which do not have authentic scholars and rely on casual Internet users to compile information they have heard, read or gathered from other online sources. We must be especially careful not to mistake genuine Islamic websites run by Dawah organisations with casual Internet message boards set up by ordinary Muslims, where one may find numerous contentious Fatwahs and Wazaif, which are often completely without proper references. Even when using websites claimed to be run by scholars or genuine organisations, we should do a background check on the particular school of thought the scholars and/or organisation ascribe to and make sure that they come from a reliable background.

The Youth Trap

Today, children as young as 4-5 years old can be seen using the Internet on their own. Quite a few children have their own email accounts, an instant messenger ID and social networking account by the time they are in school. Peer pressure can drive children to all sorts of dangerous activities online, from the relatively innocuous Internet overuse to such more serious tendencies as viewing pornographic and other sexually explicit content.

“Sending your children on the Internet alone is like sending your kid on the highway alone,” warns Tasneem Ahmed, a mom of four. Her husband Anwer Ahmed, a university professor, nicely sums up the needs of online supervision. “Parents should do their best to be aware of what sites their kids are visiting and whom they are communicating with. It is very important for them to have open and frank communication with their children, without threat of retribution.”

Completely prohibiting the Internet can backfire, as children can then be more tempted to taste the forbidden fruit. Sheikh Abdul-Majeed Subh states that one must teach children the sense of differentiating right from wrong, instead of enforcing exclusive prohibition. He quotes a Hadeeth regarding the principle of Ihsan (Perfection) in worship: “To worship Allah (swt) as if you see Him, and if you cannot achieve this state of devotion, then you must consider that He (swt) is looking at you.” (Bukhari) Parents also need to educate their children about the fact that Allah (swt) is looking at them, while they are surfing the net.

Chat rooms should be strictly off-limits, and parents ought to supervise or monitor other chatting routines, even if they are sure their kids do not have any non-Mahrams on their contact lists.

Finding a spouse online

The use of match-making websites has increased. Are these services permissible? Dr. Salah Al-Sawy, the Secretary General for the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (AMJA), says that if correspondence takes place with a faithful and honest mediator running the service and Shariah regulations are observed, then he hopes that it will be permissible (after all, Allah (swt) knows best).

Direct correspondence, however, requires a lot of precautions. Nevertheless, if it is necessary, interaction should be normal, and a trustworthy third party should be present. Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi states that while looking for a spouse online, elders or responsible friends should be involved in investigating or negotiating on one’s behalf.

The Final Word

Ultimately, whatever the medium, be it blogs, social networking websites, instant messengers, email, Muslim merchandise websites or Islamic information portals, whether their harms outweigh their benefits depends on how we use them. So like in all our other daily activities, the reward or sin for our actions online too will be judged based on our intentions for engaging in those activities. 

Every click is recorded!

While one is sitting on the Internet, it is very easy to get lost in the numerous activities. There are simply too many websites to visit, too many emails to read and too many friends to keep up with on social networking websites. At times like these, it is imperative for Muslims to remember that every click of the mouse is being recorded and will have to be accounted for on the Day of Judgement. Hence, wastage of time in useless activities must be avoided, and each click must serve some constructive purpose.

The Constructive Clicks

What can one do to serve their Deen in cyberspace? Here are some quick suggestions:
1)     Make your status messages on social networking websites meaningful – you can write a short Ayah or Hadeeth, or simply something informative.
2)     Provide links to Islamic websites, which have authentic information.
3)     Pledge to send a daily or weekly email to all your contacts – again, with some meaningful information pertaining to how Deen can be practiced in daily life.
4)     Stay away from all controversial arguments on non-issues – they waste your time as well as that of others.
5)     If you maintain your own blog, use it to propagate the true face of Islam. Write meaningful posts.
6)     Educate yourself – visit authentic Islamic websites and learn more about Islam.
7)     Join websites as a link manager, and add quality Islamic website to search engine directories.

The Useless Clicks

What activities do NOT serve the Deen in cyberspace, though they seem to do so? Here are a few:
1)     Useless arguments on controversial issues, which do not have any purpose.
2)     Hacking anti-Islamic websites – it is always best to promote Islamic websites than to hack the opposing ones.
3)     Chatting with the opposite sex on the pretext of preaching Deen to them.
4)     Being careless while posting Islamic information – even the slightest slip can cause a widespread Fitnah.

What is Cyberspace?

The Internet has aptly defined “cyberspace” as “a computer network consisting of a worldwide network of computer networks” and “a world of information through the Internet.” In layman terms, when you are on the Internet, connected to the world through your computer, laptop, cell phone or any other gadget, you are in cyberspace.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Slow down!

Abdur Rahman Umar invites us to ponder over the obstacles in our life.

“Can you believe this!” lamented Yusuf, as he looked sadly at his leg covered from foot to knee in a thick white plaster cast, leaving his plaster stained toes exposed. 

“This is so frustrating!” he continued, addressing his exposed toes who had now become his captive audience, “Just when everything was going perfectly. Now this! Like I needed it in my life?”

Ridwaan stood idly by, adding little to the lament being addressed to the toes. He fidgeted wearily with his cell phone, paying little attention to the monologue, until Yusuf turned to him and asked: “Did you hear what I said? I really didn’t need this in my life. Not at any time, and definitely, definitely not now. I mean...”

“What’s so special about now?” enquired Ridwaan, not bothering to look up from his cell phone.

Yusuf ignored his question, shifted painfully in his chair and struggled to get his leg into a comfortable position. He stared at some of the graffiti on his plaster cast - “Mojo was here!” “Oops. My brain just hit a bad sector.” “On the other hand, you have different fingers.” - and some other writings that became a bit smudgy with the first attempt at taking a shower.

“I mean how does someone rupture an Achilles tendon playing tennis? It must be a one in a million thing, and I am the one! So now I sit – six weeks with this thing on my leg. Six weeks! And at a time, when the business is going so well. Just when we got the Department of Education tender for printing. There’s so much to do .... preparation, layout, design. Yo! It was going crazy at work.”

Ridwaan stopped fidgeting with his cell phone long enough to exclaim, “So what’s the hassle. You get a nice break and fully paid on top of it!” 

“You don’t understand, do you!” said Yusuf, glaring at him. An uncomfortable frown crossed his forehead, “You don’t know what it means. I really didn’t even have enough time to eat, let alone take a six week break. We were working 12 hours a day to get that tender out. So what happens now?”

“I know exactly what it means,” replied Ridwaan, “it means you were moving too fast, so Allah (swt) put down a speed breaker.”

“What!” he exclaimed, “what you mean... speed breaker?”

“You see, sometimes when we rush through life and forget the important things, then Allah (swt) puts down a speed bump, so we can slow down and reflect. Maybe a little sickness or a small problem. Just to ponder on what we’re doing and what we should be doing. And that’s it! You were chasing like a madman, so you got hit with a speed bump.”

He paused, allowing his words to sink in, then continued, “You know, most of us get so caught up in life that we forget about Allah (swt), our Salaah becomes just a ritual and the family... well, they even forget who we are. I bet your kids call you Uncle by now?”

“Hey, it’s not that bad,” said Yusuf, struggling to find a comfortable position for his plastered leg, “But I hear what you saying. Things were getting a bit out of hand. I missed my daughter’s pre-school Jalsa, my son’s graduation and dropped a couple of Salaahs on the way... and Allah (swt) knows what else I gave up for this tender...” Yusuf fell silent pondering on his situation, a thin smile broke on his lips and his face lit up with this new found understanding, “So this wasn’t all bad then. Actually...”

“It was for you own good,” Ridwaan completed the sentence for him, “too often we forget the real things in life: our Allah (swt), our Deen, our families and those so-called little things we tend to forget.”

“Yup,” chorused Yusuf, “I remember a clever guy telling me once - pay attention to the little things in life, for one day you may find out they were actually the big things. Really, we can’t believe Allah’s (swt) mercy and kindness upon us. It is, as they say, more than that of a mother. He cares for us and even what I thought was a horrible misfortune was actually an act of kindness from Him.”

Allah, The Most Wise, says: "…and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know." (Al-Baqarah 2:216)
A calamity that makes you turn to Allah (swt) is better for you than a blessing, which makes you forget the remembrance of Allah (swt). Let us slow down and ponder of the journey of life and make more calculated decisions that will not only benefit us in the transitory life of this world but more so in the eternal life of the Hereafter.