Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Wisdom Quotes

"Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth." - Buddha

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The Holy Pilgrimage

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu. As of November 2010, about three million Muslim pilgrims participate the Hajj pilgrimage. The Hajj is an annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. It is the largest annual pilgrimage in the world, and a fundamental pillar of faith for Muslims, a duty that must be carried out once in the lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so. The pilgrimage is a demonstration of the unity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God All Mighty. Ihram is the word given to the special state in which Muslims live during the pilgrimage. The Hajj is associated with the life of Islamic prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of All Mighty God be upon him), but the ritual of pilgrimage stretches back thousands of years to the time of Ibrahim/Abraham (may the peace and blessings of All Mighty God be upon him). Pilgrims join with hundreds of thousands of people, who simultaneously converge on Mecca for the week of the Hajj, and perform a series of rituals.

Rituals of Hajj.
Once in Mecca pilgrims enter the Great Mosque and walk seven times round the Kaaba which is regarded as the holiest building in Islam (the black cubed house in the centre of the mosque) in an anti-clockwise direction while supplicating to God "Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik(meaning, I am ready to obey Your orders, O Allah). This is known as Tawaf. Pilgrims also run seven times along a passageway in the Great Mosque, commemorating a search for water by Hajar, wife of the Prophet Ibrahim/Abraham (may the peace and blessings of All Mighty God be upon him).

Day 1
Pilgrims travel to Mina on 8 Dhul Hijjah (a date in the Islamic calendar) and remain there until dawn the next morning.
Day 2
Pilgrims then travel to the valley of Arafat and stand in the open praising Allah and meditating.
At the end of the day, pilgrims travel to Muzdalifa where they spend the night. Pilgrims gather up stones to use the next day.
Day 3
In the morning, pilgrims return to Mina and throw seven stones at pillars called Jamaraat. These represent the devil. The pillars stand at three spots where Satan is believed to have tempted the Prophet Ibrahim/Abraham (may the peace and blessings of All Mighty God be upon him)Pilgrims sacrifice an animal (usually a sheep or goat). This commemorates the incident related when the Prophet Ibrahim/Abraham (may the peace and blessings of All Mighty God be upon him) was about to sacrifice his son and God accepted the sheep instead. However nowadays pilgrims tend pay someone to slaughter the animal on their behalf.
Pilgrims shave their heads or cut some hair from it and return to the Great Mosque at Mecca for a further Tawaf, walking around the Kaaba. They then return to Mina, where they spend the night.
Days 4 & 5
Pilgrims spend time in Mina in contemplation and reflection. If a pilgrim has been unable to return to Mecca to walk around the Kaaba, he or she does so on the fourth or fifth day.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Eid-ul-Adha

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.
It gives me pleasure to inform you Eid-ul-Adha takes place this year on the 16th of November (tommorow!), it is known as the festival of sacrifice. The commemoration date is regarded the greater of the two Eid’s. Eid ul Ahdha is approximately three months after the holy month of Ramadan. The significance of the day remembers the willingness of prophet Ibrahim/Abraham (may the peace and blessings of All Mighty God be upon him) to sacrifice his son on the commandment of All Mighty God in a test of faith and obedience. The events which took place is a reminder of our own journey both spiritually and material in order to recognize our sincerity towards our Creator.

Prophet Ibrahim (may the peace and blessings of All Mighty God be upon him) is regarded by Jews Christians and Muslims alike as the father of the Monotheistic faiths. It is Ibrahim (may God All Mighty be pleased with him) who is written about in the Holy Quran as the intimate friend of All Mighty God.  Referred to in many holy books alike as one who is true in faith, pure and obedient. Muslims recognize him to be responsible in giving the name ‘Muslim’ (those who submit to God) to the followers of the beloved prophet of Islam (Muhhamed, Peace and blessings of All Mighty God be upon him).

Ibrahim (may the peace and blessings of All Mighty God be upon him) was brought up in community of polytheist. Born among a family of disbelievers his father was the tribe’s idol-maker. There are Quranic verse where the prophet himself questioned the belief of his community and even his own father in what he saw as false deities.

"We bestowed aforetime on Abraham his rectitude of conduct, and well were We acquainted with him. Behold! He said to his father and his people, "What are these images, to which ye are (so assiduously) devoted?" They said "We found our father worshipping them." He said "Indeed ye have been in manifest error-ye and your fathers." They said "Have you brought us the Truth, or are you one of those who jest?" He said "Nay, your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, He Who created them (from nothing): and I am a witness to this (truth). And by Allah, I have a plan for your idols― after ye go away and turn your backs"… So he broke them to pieces, (all) but the biggest of them, that they might turn (and address themselves) to it. They said "Who has done this to our gods? He must indeed be some man of impiety!" They said "We heard a youth talk of them: he is called Abraham." They said "Then bring him before the eyes of the people, that they may bear witness:" They said "Art thou the one that did this with our gods, O Abraham?" He said: "Nay, this was done by this is their is their biggest one! Ask them, if they can speak intelligently!" So they turned to themselves and said "Surely ye are the ones in the wrong!" Then were they confounded with shame: (they said) "Thou knowest full well that these (idols) do not speak!" (Abraham) said "Do ye then worship, besides Allah, things that can neither be of any good to you nor do you harm? "Fie upon you and upon the things that ye worship besides Allah! have ye no sense?"... They said "Burn him and protect your gods if ye do (anything at all)!"   surat al-Anbiya- The Prophets - verses 51-68

As falsehood perished in the light of intellectual truth it resorted in a response of plotting against Ibrahim (may the peace and blessings of All Mighty God be upon him).

"So naught was the answer of (Ibrahim's) people except that they said : Slay him or burn him " surat Al-Ankaboot - The Spider verse 24.

Ibrahim (may the peace and blessings of All Mighty God be upon him) could have given up his message and his beliefs to save himself from the fire. He chose to die for God All Mighty's message to live. He chose to walk into the fire in order to save humanity from the fire of ignorance. However...

"But Allah did save him from the fire. Verily in this are signs for people who believe " surat Al-Ankaboot - The Spider verse 24.

"We said `O fire ! Be cool and a means of safety for Ibrahim' " Surat al-Anbiya- The Prophets - verse 69.


This miracle did not deter the idol-worshippers from continuing their plots, persecution and cruelty towards Ibrahim (may the peace and blessings of All Mighty God be upon him) but he remained uncompromising in his belief, patient in his suffering. He left the land of his fathers to become a stranger in the land of promise where he continued to struggle, bearing alone the responsibility to advocate monotheism during an age of darkness, prejudice and ignorance. Ibrahim (may the peace and blessings of All Mighty God be upon him) did not have children. And through out his century of service to All Mighty God as Ibrahim grew older, his desire to have a son grew stronger. The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of All Mighty God be upon him) desperately longed for a son but his wife was unable to give him one. He plead to the All Mighty Creator.

"O my Lord ! Grant me a righteous son !" Surat As-SaaffatThose Who Set The Ranks verse 100.  

The Most Merciful fullfilled his promise of making Ibrahim the seed of a great line of Prophets, the root of the  universal religions. 

"So we gave him the good news of a forbearing boy" Surat As-SaaffatThose Who Set The Ranks verse 101.

God All Mighty brought to life the desire of his trustworthy Messenger. For Ibrahim, Ishmael/Ismail was not just a son for a sonless father, he was the end of a life of waiting, the reward of a century of suffering, the fruit of his life. Ishmael was in some sense the whole world for Ibrahim. So there was joy and rejoicing in Ibrahim's house as Ishmael was quickly growing under the sun of his father's love. But Allah decided that it was not to remain so. Ibrahim (may the peace and blessings of All Mighty God be upon him) was to be tried once more. Ibrahim had a vision in which he was commanded by Allah to slaughter his only son.

We must ask ourselves why should Ibrahim, whose entire life was devoted to prophethood, to removing ignorance, to laying the foundations of monotheism be tried once again in this manner?
Is it because man should not rest ?
Is it because man should not be deceived by 100 years of victories ?
Is it because he should not think of himself without weakness ?
Is it for the fact that whatever we fix our eyes upon in this world will blind us ?

It is not possible to convey what it must have meant for Ibrahim (may the peace and blessings of All Mighty God be upon him)  to be commanded by All Mighty God to sacrifice his only son Ishmael. The magnitude of the pain does not allow the imagination to enclose it. How could he do this to his beloved son, the joy of his heart, his Ishmael. If it were only the slaughter of himself at the hand of Ishmael, how easy a decision it would have been! However this was not the command! The young Ishmael must die and the old and aged prophet must remain! As you can imagine Ibrahim (may the peace and blessings of All Mighty God be upon him) must have felt torn apart ! Within him there must have been a war, The war between God and Ishmael! Who should he choose ? Loyalty to God or loyalty to family ? Prophethood or Fatherhood ? Faith or Emotion ? Monotheism or Polytheism ?

Ibrahim (may the peace and blessings of All Mighty God be upon him) did not choose immediately. He doubted and wavered under the forces of pain and anguish.
He finally decide to carry out Allah's command despite the devil appearing and tempting Ibrahim (may the peace and blessings of All Mighty God be upon him) by saying he should spare his son.
This is reflected in the hajj (pilgrimage) ritual of stoning the three idols representing satan who tempts you to disobey you Creator. Understanding that satan works wherever he finds traces of fear, weakness, doubt, despair, envy selfishness and even great affection towards someone or something. Satan sometimes blows logical reasons, intellectual justifications to achieve his ends. For instance we may imagine that, under the crush of his pain and distress, Ibrahim could have used many justifications. Perhaps the meaning of slaughter is just metaphorical and means kill your ego or doubt. Perhaps ``slaughter Ismail'' actually means ``slaughter the love of Ishmael''. Ibrahim  (may the peace and blessings of All Mighty God be upon him) could have also tried many interpretations of his vision. But the prophet, the intimate friend of God, had faith in God All Mighty and he knew that God demanded the sacrifice. He chose the Love of God All Mighty over Loyalty to family. He chose God and gave up Ishmael.

Ibrahim said to Ishmael : "O my Son, I see in a vision that I offer you in sacrifice. Now see what is your view ? " Surat As-SaaffatThose Who Set The Ranks verse 102

What frightening words for a child to hear!..But Ishmael had faith in his father. He submitted to Gods will. Realising his father's distress, Ishmael gave him comforting words

"O my father! Do as you are commanded. You will find me, if God so wills, patient and constant " Surat As-Saaffat - Those Who Set The Ranks verse 101

This gave Ibrahim (may the peace and blessings of All Mighty God be upon him) strength. He tied his heart to God, he took Ishmael in one hand and the knife in the other and he walked until he reached the place of sacrifice. Ibrahim (may the peace and blessings of All Mighty God be upon him) was suffering while believing and at any moment it was possible for him to turn back. Yet he layed Ishmael on the ground, putting his face away from him to give strength to his crushed soul and paralysed hand. And so he slaughtered Ishmael. But, by God grace, the knife did not cut. Ibrahim (may the peace and blessings of All Mighty God be upon him)  received a sheep and was called by God

"O Ibrahim ! You have confirmed the Vision Thus indeed do We reward those who do right This is indeed the manifest trial !" Surat As-SaaffatThose Who Set The Ranks verses 104-105

Ibrahim (may the peace and blessings of All Mighty God be upon him) gained everything and kept Ishmael. This means that the God of Ibrahim is not thirsty for blood unlike the gods and godesses of various other religions. This means that from the very beginning God did not want Ishmael to be slaughtered. Mankind has needs but All Mighty God has no needs. He is Self-Sufficient. God All Mighty in His Wisdom raised Ibrahim (may the peace and blessings of All Mighty God be upon him) to the highest peak of sacrificing his Ishmael without willing the sacrifice to take place. This event is not about the torture of mankind but about the elevation of spirit. There is a lot to understand and discover about this momentous event. These were only a few possible meanings. 

The Ishmael of Ibrahim was his son. Who is your Ishmael ? what is it ? Your reputation ? Your money ? Your family ? Your beauty ? Ask yourself put in the position of sacrifice how would your faith in the All Mighty Creator react or uphold.

Brothers and Sisters, Let us learn to slaughter our ego in the hope we can gain the pleasure All Mighty God by removing the knife from the throat of our own oppression. May All Mighty God give us the ability to act against our own desires and hold better accounts for ourself on the day of Judgement.
Remember this Eid is not an Eid of victory. It is the Eid of sacrifice!

I hope everyone has a wonderful day with their loved ones remembering to reflect on the purpose of this magnificent day!!!

Wishing You All A Merry EID MUBARAK

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Return Of The Prodigal Son

"But it was appropriate to celebrate and be glad, for this, your brother, was dead, and is alive again. He was lost, and is found."
 Luke 15:32

Friday, 10 September 2010

♥♥


EID MUBARAK

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Homerun

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.
The blessed month of ritualistic practice and great rewards has come to an end, However Eid-ul-Fitr is Tomorrow Alhamdulillah! (Praise be to All Mighty God, Creator of all the worlds).
What better time than to give myself a lesson in etiquette. The day of Eid is not merely a festive occasion. A Muslim can acquire great rewards as he/she moves closer to God if the day of Eid is spent in accordance to the teachings of our beloved Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Al'Mighty God be upon him).

Here are ten pointers I will try to adopt in order to make my Eid a special one:

1.  To rise up as early as possible.
2.  Take a bath (Ghusal) and Brush my teeth (Miswaak).
3.  Wear my best clothes.
4.  Apply a fragrance (itr).
5.  Eat something sweet before departing for the mosque.
6.  To give alms before leaving for the mosque.
7.  Take part in the Eid prayer.
8. Walk to the mosque.
9. To recite dhikr while walking to/from the mosque.
10. Choosing a different route when returning home.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Dhikr *Eid special

اللّهُ أكبر اللّهُ أكبر
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar
Allah is Great, Allah is Great

اللّهُ أكبر
Allahu Akbar
Allah is Great

لا إلَهَ الا اللّه
La illaha il Allah
there is no God, but Allah

اللّهُ أكبر اللّهُ اكبر
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar
Allah is Great, Allah is Great

و لِلّه الحمدَ
walilahil Hamd
to Him belongs all Praise

اللّهُ أكبرُ كَبيِرَا
Allahu Akbaru Kabeera
Allah is the Greatest

وَالحَمدُ لِلّهِ كَثِيرا
wal-Hamdulilahi katheera
And all Praise is due to Him

Monday, 6 September 2010

Zakat/Zakat-ul-Fitr

Zakat
One of the five core pillars of Islam, the literal translation of the Arabic word Zakat is ‘to cleanse’ or ‘purify’. Paying Zakat on your wealth purifies and increases the remainder of it, also serving as a reminder that everything we own belongs to Allah.

‘Take Sadaqah (alms) from their wealth in order to purify them and sanctify them with it, and invoke Allâh for them. Verily! Your invocations are a source of security for them, and Allâh is All-Hearer, All-Knower’ Surah Al-Tawba - Repentance, Dispensation verse 103

Items from which wealth can be derived include: gold, silver, and merchandise for business. Zakat must be paid on cash deposits held in bank accounts. Any personal items from which one cannot derive wealth, e.g. cars, utensils, food, clothing, shelter, furniture and which are not to be used for trade, are not included in the calculation of zakat. A lot of people choose Ramadan as the month in which they pay their zakat because the reward for good deeds done in this blessed month is multiplied.


Zakat is distributed among the poor, the needy and the destitute, people who have nothing other than the very basic necessities. Zakat cannot be used to build mosques, to bury the deceased, or to clear the debt of the deceased.

Zakat-ul-Fitr
It is an obligation that every self-sustaining Mulsim adult should pay Zakat-ul-Fitr as prescribed by Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Al'Mighty God be upon him) those Muslims should pay for themselves and on behalf of dependants. It must pay it before one participates in the Eid Prayer
The quantity the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Al'Mighty God be upon him) described as one saa’ of food. One saa’ is equivalent to four madd. A madd is the amount that can be scooped up when one puts their hands together. If we translate this into a monetary value based on the price of a staple food such as flour or rice, it is approximately £3.50.

Therefore the amount due for each person is £3.50 which is $5.50 and 4.26 Euros

Sunday, 5 September 2010

The Five Bounties

Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Al'Mighty God be upon him) has said,

My Ummah has been given fve things in regards to Ramadan which has not been given to any other Ummah before them.

  • that the odour of the mouth of the fasting person is more fragrant, to The Almighty, than musk.
  • that the angels continuously seek forgiveness on their behalf until they end their fast.
    • that The Almighty, everyday adorns his Heaven and then says (to it), ‘The time is near when my pious servants shall be freed from difficulties and provisions, and they will come to You’.
      • that the devils will be shackled and restrained from performing the mischief that they can perform outside Ramadan.
        • that they (the fasting) will be forgiven in the last night of Ramadan.

        Saturday, 4 September 2010

        Silence is Orange

        Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.
        My biggest challenge this Ramadan was to be mindful when conducting my words. I was becoming negligent on the way I speak, which, ultimately got me into allot of trouble; another way in which I brung hardship on myself. I believe that noble characteristics are something we all should aspire towards. Prophet Mohammed (may the peace and blessings of Al'Mighty God be upon him) was a man who was revered for his kindness, he often overlook things that displeased him. This is a testament to his warm heart, politeness and sympathy. I myself continuously study his legacy and believe he was the most compassionate man to have ever been documented into this world, the very reason God chose him to be the seal/last of the prophets. It would be fair to say that the gentle characteristics of this man won over my devotion to Islam. My Lord the All Mighty Ruler of mankind has bestowed upon us a man with sincere humility ingrained in his heart. I believe we must all slaves to the Creator and the beloved Prophet himself would say the same thing!

        "Allah has sent me as an apostle so that I may demonstrate perfection of character, refinement of manners and loftiness of deportment." Prophet Mohammed 

        There is no better role model for me to look toward when looking to improve my characteristics. I am guilty at times of hot headedness and losing the ability to control what I say out of anger. I want to focus on tackling this now rather than later, especially now that it is Ramadan.
        Guarding my tongue is a form protection from lying and bad language which is both forbidden in Islam. I must learn to limit what I say in order to stick closely to a conversation topic. The ability to choose my words more carefully would be something that will benefit me in articulation. I am told I talk too fast so slowing down isn’t going to harm anyone especially myself. I know I am guilty of not fulfilling promises I make, this is something I want to abstain from so there is a need to think about what I say before I say it, again something that can be solved if I just slow down and think before I speak! I find that I engage in convocations that have no relevance to my interests or ideals. My friends and I sit and converse about every topic under the sun, I guess that’s what friends are for, however, there are many subjects which I see no relevance in discussing or engaging in.

        The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Al'Mighty God be upon him) said, “From a person’s Islam being good is his leaving what does not concern him.” Tirmidhi

        I think its most important to make sure that I do what I say. I know what a hypocritical example it sets to say something and do something completely different. I will make an effort to better my character to be more befitting to a Muslim. Our beloved Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Al'Mighty God be upon him) gave us a complete instructions on how to control/conduct ourselves. All of which are stated in the Quran and Hadith collections. I have seen a dramatic improvement in myself but pray I can grow in becoming more familiar with the Quran and its guidance for mankind. I hope to be more kind/compassionate/loving/charming towards everyone I have the pleasure of meeting. pray for me! Thanks for again for reading.

        The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Al'Mighty God be upon him) said, “All of the speech of the Child of Adam will be held against him, it will not be in his favor; except commanding good, forbidding wrong, or the remembrance of Allah.” Tirmidhi

        Increase the Peace

        Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.
        We are approaching the last week of Ramadan. Those Muslims who have neglected the virtues of this month are the losers, but how those who have implemented the goodness of this Holy month are surely feeling the benefits already.

        The Messenger of God (may the peace and blessings of Al'Mighty God be upon him) went to the podium and said:  “Ameen, Ameen, Ameen.” It was said to him, “O Messenger of Allah, why did you do that?” He said, “Jibreel said to me, ‘May Allah rub his nose in the dust, that person who Ramadaan comes and his sins are not forgiven,’ and I said, ‘Ameen’. Then he said, ‘May Allah rub his nose in the dust, that person who lives to see his parents grow old, one or both of them, but he does not enter Paradise,’ and I said, ‘Ameen’. Then he said, ‘May Allah rub his nose in the dust, that person in whose presence you are mentioned and he does not send blessings upon you,’ and I said, ‘Ameen.’” Narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah, al-Tirmidhi

        I have researched and highlighted ways in which we can make the most of the rest of Ramadan. It is important a Muslim is constantly increasing in faith (Iman); it is this faith which makes us visible to our Lord, The Most Beneficent.

        Praying (Salat) daily prayers which the first commandment to all Muslims, make supplications (Dua) to Him and stay focused in His remembrance.

        Contemplating on verses of the noble Quran, Nothing will bring you more tranquility. trust me!

        Try to pray in congregation, for God has guaranteed the believer that the one who prayers in congregation will neither be abandoned nor humiliated in this world and the hereafter

        Performing repetitive supplications (Dhikr), keeping God Al'Mighty on your tongue will surely raise your level of faith not to mention the countless virtues they will bring to one’s life

        Seeking guidance and keeping the company of the loving and righteous people. "The person is with one he loves." Al-Bukhari

        Maintain that God knows all and watches over us, and knowing that He is with you:
        "Have you not considered that God Al'Mighty knows what is in the heavens and what is on the earth? There is no private conversation of three but that He is the fourth of them, nor are there five but that He is the sixth of them - and no less than that and no more except that He is with them [in knowledge] wherever they are. Then He will inform them of what they did, on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed Allah is, of all things, Knowing." Surah Al-Mujadilah - The Woman Who Disputes verse 7

        Visit a grave as a reminder:
        "Every human being is bound to taste death, [and] in the end unto Us shall all be brought back" Surah Al-'Ankabut - The Spider verse 57

        Call unto your Lord aloud or in secret and supplicate to Him especially in the third part of the night:
        “The Lord descends every night to the lowest heaven when one-third of the night remains and says: ‘Who will call upon Me, that I may answer him? Who will ask of Me, that I may give him? Who will seek My forgiveness, that I may forgive him?’” Al-Bukhari

        Thursday, 2 September 2010

        Make/Break Fast

        Make Fast

        بسم الله
        Bismillāh ir rahman ir rahim
        In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful



        An intention is an action of the heart. The fasting person should resolve in their heart that they will fast the following day; this act is better known to Muslims as a Niyyah. The supplication that is advised before any positive action is the Bismilla.

        Break Fast

        اللَّهُمَّ اِنِّى لَكَ صُمْتُ وَبِكَ امنْتُ وَعَلَيْكَ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَعَلَى رِزْقِكَ اَفْطَرْتُ
        Allahumma inni laka sumtu wa bika aamantu wa 'alayka tawakkaltu wa 'ala rizq-ika aftarthu
        O God! I fasted for You and I believe in You and I put my trust in You and I break my fast with Your sustenance.

        The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Al'Mighty God be upon him) used to recite this supplication as it was time to break his fast. He used to break his fast with dates (both old or fresh) then he drank some mouthfuls of water.

        Wednesday, 1 September 2010

        Itikaf

        Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.
        During this blessed month of Ramadan, a believer in Islam can gain reward in many ways by following our exemplary Prophet, the messenger Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Al'Mighty God be upon him). The divine guidance of the beloved Prophet affirmed attributes which were considered as noble characteristic for mankind. I’d like to elaborate on a tradition that was very significant in his life, the Itikaf, which is to gain individual growth spiritually. Henceforth, I’d like to focus on some of the virtues of this practice.

        Itikaf is best translated in English as the spiritual retreat. It can only take place under certain circumstances. The places that have been highly recommended  for Muslims to observe the Itikaf is the Grand Mosque in Makkah & the Holy Mosque of the Prophet in Medina, both situated in Saudi Arabia in addition The Holy Mosque of Kufa & the Holy Mosque of Basrah which are both situated in Iraq, are also desired for Itikaf. However, those willing to take part in Itikaf and cannot be in the most favored locations, a Mosque which holds Friday prayers in any town or city is also appropriate.

        Itikaf is usually performed during the last ten days of Ramadan.  A person who chooses to take part will spend the whole day and night at the mosque devoting their time reading the Quran & performing obligatory and optional prayers. In order to validate the Itikaf, it is paramount that the intention regarding the number of days the devotee will spend in the mosque be made in the beginning. In addition, following thorough with the original intention completes the act of worship. The whole Itikaf would be void if participant changes their mind or invalidate any ruling concerning the observation. The minimum duration is three consecutive days with a maximum of ten.

        It is important to remember that Itikaf is an optional act of worship, however, it becomes obligatory due to the intention. There is a requirement for the devotee to be fasting during this time as well as having firm conviction in God. This will allow the heart of the devotee to be fully occupied and engrossed in the remembrance of his Lord, Most Gracious. As a result, the worshiper will be content with his Lord and not distracted with worldly matters or people. Such virtue prepares the devotee to feel the isolation of the grave, where there is no one else but God alone to accompany the thoughts of the believer. This I found to be the ultimate reward of completing an Itikaf. It is safe to conclude that the solace of one’s mind leads one towards the path of God.

        "Allah's Messenger (may the peace and blessings of Al'Mighty God be upon him) used to perform Itikaf for ten days of every Ramadan, then when it was the year in which he died he performed Itikaf for twenty days." Bukhari

        "Aisha the wife of Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Al'Mighty God be upon him) reported that the Prophet, used to practice Itikaf during Ramadan till he died and then his wives used to practice Itikaf after him." Bukhari

        This ritual carried out by the noble Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Al'Mighty God be upon him) is not as popular today as it was during or after his legacy. Such is an indication on how the society today, especially Muslims, have become reliant on modern day conveniences. We must be clear that the Prophet himself never abandoned the practice of Itikaf. There are no Islamic scholars who deny the Itikaf as a blessed sunnah with many hidden benefits.

        All deeds manifest from heart, as the Messenger of Islam (may the peace and blessings of Al'Mighty God be upon him) states:

        “In the body there is an organ which if it is sound, the entire body will be sound, and if it is corrupt, the entire body will be corrupt. That organ is the heart.” Bukhaari & Muslim

        The Prophet continues by explaining that the heart is corrupted most by distractions such as food, drink, sex and excessive sleeping (to mention but a few) which diverts people from the remembrance of God. So the All Mighty has prescribed fasting to protect the heart from countless negative effects of these distractions. Just as fasting is a shield which protects the heart from the influences of physical distractions such as excessive indulgence, Itikaf also offers immense benefit, mainly the protection from the effects of excessive socializing. When a person has all the means of purifying his heart by keeping away from things that can distract him from worship, experience of Itikaf will be more effective in helping him to turn towards God with humility.

        “So glorify the Praises of your Lord, and ask His forgiveness. Verily, He is the One Who accepts the repentance and Who forgives.” Al-Nasr - The Victory verses 1-3

         “We commanded Ibrahim and Ismael that they should purify My House (the Kabah) for those who are staying Itikaf, or bowing or prostrating themselves.” Baqarah

        Tuesday, 31 August 2010

        Dhikr

        You are forgiving, and you love forgiveness. So forgive me. Most Gracious.

        Allahumma innaka afuwwun tuhibbul afwa fa fu anna, ya kareem

        Aisha, the last wife of Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Al'Mighty God be upon him), asked him “O Messenger of God! If I knew which night is Laylatul Qadr, what should I say during it?” And he instructed her to say this supplication.

        Monday, 30 August 2010

        Night of Destiny

        Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.
        My dear brothers and sisters in Islam, it gives me great pleasure to inform you of a momentous occasion - the Night of Power. This year the Night shall commence straight after the Magrib Prayer; alternatively, the moment we break our fast this evening. All Mighty God has rightfully guided His servants with His messengers to this night of glorification, praise and forgiveness. On this night, the single most important event in human history unfolded as the Glorious Quran was revealed. Many Hadith indicates that the fate of every believer for the coming year is decreed on this night.
        The Holy book of Islam clearly states:

        “Surely We revealed it (the Holy Quran) on the Grand Night. And what will make you comprehend what the Grand Night is? The Grand Night is better than a thousand months. The angels descend in it by the permission of their Lord for every affair, Peace! It is till the break of the morning.” Surah Al Qadr - The Chapter of Fate

        There are various indicators that I have gathered in order to better familiarise myself with the signs of this Night of Decree. The actual night it is not known to anyone.  However, the majority of scholars in Islam have said that Lailatul Qadr is within the last ten days of Ramadan. There are some Hadith sayings of the Prophet of Islam (may the peace and blessings of All Mighty God be upon him) certified some of the signs of Lailatul Qadr.

        “Seek the Night of Power during the last ten days of the month of Ramadan”

        “Look for the Night of Power on an odd-numbered night during the last ten days of the month Ramadan”

        “The Night of Power is the night either of the 27th or of the 29th day. In this night the number of Angels, who will descend to earth will be greater than pebbles on the whole planet”.

        The night will be calm, dry and will reflect an extraordinary shine. The weather won’t be cold nor warm. There is not a single night in the year which will be comparable with the Night of Power. I hope we are able to look and find such signs for ourselves through research and investigation rather than relying on others.
        It has become somewhat of a Muslim festive tradition to gather for worship in congregation on the 27th day of Ramadan in the belief that Lailatul Qadr is most likely to fall on this night; although this is not for certain. Moreover, a devout Muslim will practice his/her rituals throughout the last ten days, especially on the odd numbered nights. On this night one should do more good deeds such as, read the Quran, pray for forgiveness and ask for blessings by appealing to God the Most High in any language (in which it is most convenient for the devotee to express their sincerity in hopes and wishes).

        Inshallah my brothers and sisters will revive these nights with prayers, suplications and deep reflections. This will be a unique once in a year opportunity to replenish ones conscious and gain a life time’s worth of reward.

        Sunday, 29 August 2010

        Wisdom quotes

        “Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, everywhere is war and until there are no longer first-class and second-class citizens of any nation, until the colour of a man's skin is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes. And until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race, there is war. And until that day, the dream of lasting peace, world citizenship, rule of international morality, will remain but a fleeting illusion to be pursued, but never attained... now everywhere is war.” - Haile Selassie I

        Frenemies

        Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.
        We are now beyond the halfway point of Ramadan 2010. I would like to use this opportunity to give you an update on how I am since this was the initial purpose of setting this blog up. I want to fill you in on how I have been developing throughout the blessed month by discussing various aspects of my life. 
        Firstly, I want to tell you that my confidence has grown in many ways, especially in regards to my attitude. I have learned that in my continuous attempt in bringing myself closer to my faith, I have generally become much more optimistic. In addition, my new outlook has not only benefited me but also those around me. I'm a believer that positivity attracts positivity and I have witnessed this through personal experiences. Moreover, such belief is indeed the fundamental tenement of  the major monotheistic faiths such as Judaism, Christianity & Islam in order to maintain a positive harmony.

        "What is hateful to you do not to your neighbour. That is the entire law…" Talmud, Shabbat 314

        "Do for others what you want them to do for you." Matthew 7:12

        "Reject for others what you would reject for yourself." Mishkat-el-Masabih

        I have seen a drastic improvement in my health, mainly because I have withdrawn from bad habits for the sake of God. I have noticed a change in my appearance; I am looking more rejuvenated by the day, not to mention feeling better from a health perspective. I believe it is due to the discipline I have accustomed myself to which inevitably come with the month of Ramadan. I stick to a routine now as every evening I have been attending the mosque, which infact has been providing me with a good source of exercise. I am more conscious of what sorts of food I put into my body and am drinking plenty of water - well as much as I can. Writing this blog has kept me from indulging into my leisure time listening to music or watching movies; not that there is anything wrong with amusement. However, I feel that we are living in an age where entertainment itself can have a corruptive impact if not restricted. Over all, I am proud of the discipline I am practicing and therefore can see with much more clarity that I have become more focused in my life.

        It has taken me a while to realise that I love the company of my family more than anything. Time spent with my brothers is something I am proud to look back on and will not feel regretful about. My brothers are wise and inspirational individuals and their influence on my life is endlessly constructive. I am fortunate to have two wonderful brothers, an elder and a younger one. My siblings have enabled me to experience what it is to have such relationships. In addition, I have also earned more opportunities to talk with my parents and it has been more fulfilling for me in comparison to any time I have spent with friends. I have come to the realisation that everyone loves to have fun, not just myself. However, due to family commitments we must become responsible and reject such individualistic attitude; which I feel is the problem with mainstream society today (but that is another topic which i'd like to discuss later).

        Regarding work and career, I must say that I have been freelancing on projects that I would have only dreamed of being a part of. I usually take this Holy month off from any work commitments so I can better utilize my time towards devotional purpose. However, by the grace of God, leaving my risk with Him has never failed to disappoint me. As I have much more clarity in my life now, I feel I can travel a better suited path now and hereafter. I have been working with a few charity organizations which I will refrain from talking about now, but I hope it can continue to give me the satisfaction I crave to be part of a positive change. I strongly believe that one should find something they love to do as that passion will be rewarding and not just contentment in regards to financial stability.

        My dear friends and those I have left from my lackluster unfaithful past, thank you for being there for me. I receive messages randomly from some of you, who tell me how inspired you are with the changes I have implemented in my life. I want to take this opportunity to let you know that it is your kind words and blessings which has actually inspired me. My past has allowed me to realise that it is bad company which corrupts good moral behaviour. I hope this post will act as stern warning to people in my live.  I have grown to understand you will become like the company you keep so I have placed an importance of keeping people who are bad company at a distance in my live. I must warn you all that the friends you keep will only gain the opportunity to know you better, to know your weaknesses; the closer you draw them in, the more damage they are capable of doing. Brothers and sisters, please evaluate your friends as it is the stepping stone to good or corrupted morality in your life.

        "Friends on that Day will be enemies one to another, except those who have Piety." Surah Az-Zukhruf - Ornaments Of Gold, Luxury verse 67

        Those so-called friends in my life who seek to disturb my progression I am aware of your presence! I will leave you with some truthful wise quotes from Prophet Muhhamed (may the peace and blessings of Al'Mighty God be upon him).

        "The best of friends is he who is best in behaviour and character."

        "We should never for a moment think that company does not affect us."

        "I like to sit with those people who spend their time in Dhikr especially those who pray fajr."

        "Keeping the company of the people of Allah is not enough but one must also leave the company of those who are away from Allah."

        Friday, 27 August 2010

        Taraweeh

        Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.
        Once again this year I have been blessed enough to take part in Taraweeh prayers. The prayers are basically the recitation of the entire Quran which is broken down throughout the 30 days into twenty units (Rakats) of prayer per night. The Taraweeh prayer is approximately 2 hours per evening and takes place in all mosques throughout the globe, with the Sharif of Mecca consisting the largest congregation of worshipers. As over a million people gather to be closer to the Kaaba (the most sacred site in Islam), the beauty of the sight becomes incomparable.

        Scholars of Islam have conferred that Taraweeh prayers are an act of honour to the sayings and living habits of Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Al'Mighty God be upon him), which is better referred to as a Sunnah. Thus, one should make an effort to attend the Taraweeh prayers that are held in the mosques. As for those of us who are unable to read the Quran in Arabic, attending Taraweeh is imperative in completing the noble book. I feel that there is an importance to remain in the same mosque throughout a Taraweeh recitation as a hafiz will differ in recitation speeds which in tern will affect the listener’s ability to appreciate Qur’an in its entirety. As I said, Taraweeh prayers are not compulsory for Muslims, however, it is advised that it is not neglected without good reason; there is spiritual rewards and physical benefits that a Muslim can attain which far outweighs the obvious burden of such a long prayer session.

        I have always found it difficult to maintain my concentration during the conventional prayers, let alone an evening of Taraweeh. I obtained some advice which has changed my outlook ever since. Mustaqim Hz, a dear brother who has successfully memorized the Quran (hafiz) and has led the prayers last Ramadan at my local mosque, told me ‘Pray as if it were your last prayer’. I must admit that after obtaining such guidance my sincerity and focus during prayer has changed. Thus I do not find my mind & eyes wondering around as it did before. However, the duration of the Taraweeh prayers per night indeed has potential to take its toll on anyone!

        Here are various narrations of the noble prophet of God, Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Al'Mighty God be upon him) regarding Taraweeh


        "The best prayer after the obligatory ones is the night prayer."
        Muslim

        "Whoever prayed at night in it (the month of Ramadan) out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven."
        Sahih Bukhari

        "O people! disseminate the salutations of peace As-Salaam 'Alaikum; feed the needy food, and join the blood ties among the next of kin; and observe night prayer while people are at sleep, you will enter paradise peacefully."
        Tirmidhi

        The final night prayer is called Witr. It's an odd numbered prayer usually performed after all prayers have concluded. The minimum Witr is one rakat and the maximum is eleven rakats. It should be the last prayer performed before retiring normally. Moreover, it is a beautiful virtue to pray Witr during Ramadan as it's also a sunnah.

        “Whoever prays Witr with the imam until he finishes, it will be recorded as if he spent the whole night in prayer.”
        Tirmidhi

        "Whoever wants to pray Witr with one rakaat should do it and whoever wants to pray Witr with three rakaats should do it."
        Abu Dawud/Nasa'e