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Do you remember your first Ramadhan? I am talking about those days when fasting to you was for mum and dad’s sake. That is to say; if mum or dad and of course the “reporter” sibling in the family did not see you break the fast, your fast is still valid. You can deny it and I can, but Allah saw you every time you drunk half the water meant for rinsing your mouth while taking wudhu. But of course it was not a big deal, we were young and the thought of staying the whole day without food or water to drink either seemed torturous or mission impossible. I remember thinking to myself that even the adults sneak a sip or two of water when no one is watching because there is no way anyone can stay that long without water. At the age of 7 to 10 years Ramadhan to me was to be able to convince the people around me that I have stayed the whole day with neither food nor water.

Imam Siraj Wahaj puts it nicely when he says, Islam means progress. Right now I can look back at those years and see the progress in my Ramadhan. Maybe the adults around me understood it too and that is why they did not punish me when I broke my fast two hours to Magharib adhan (too dumb, I know that now). I was on training and it was okay to slip here and there, my relation with Ramadhan was still being nurtured. However, I never cease to enjoy the holy month. Apart from the hunger and thirst torture, there was the joy of having the extended family meeting up almost every day and excessive playing with friends (no wonder the unbearable thirst). Having the masjids full during all the swalahs, cooking the best foods and being able to witness the amount of blessings increase in the month. Till date, Ramadhan at my home is known as the month of barkah; not because we were taught so but because we saw the blessings. And then there was the ultimate joy that was Eid. So, in a nutshell, Ramadhan to most of us at that young age was torture from hunger and thirst, good food, friends and family.

When you do something wrong and you know it is wrong but no one reprimands you for it and they all act like it was okay for you to do what you have done, your conscious kills you. Or at least that’s what happens to me. At the age of 11-12 years, during Ramadhan all I could think about is that I got to do better. I have to see to it that I stay true to my fasting. It was a real struggle, reminding myself when it got hard that I can do it, I can stay the whole day with no water. Accomplishing this would make me happier than ever during the time of breaking fast and whenever I failed the enthusiasm of breaking the fast was lost all together. Ramadhan to me then was to be able to stay with no food or water the whole day; and it was enough.

Whenever I speak about Sheikh Khalifa, some people look at me with that eye of “oh she is at it again”. The truth is that given a chance to speak about my high school, I would not shut up. I love my high school. Not because it is the best high school in the Coastal province, though it is a bonus, but because of the role it played in building me as a young Muslimah. It was there that I also learnt that finishing the recitation of the whole Qur’an was highly recommended during Ramadhan. I still remember how people would struggle to finish the Qur’an at least twice while I would be struggling with my one khatm. I admit, I would be disappointed when I could not meet my one khatm goal, knowing that most of my friends had two khatms and others even three. All the Ramadhans in Sheikh Khalifa, my goal was that one khatm. I think I realized it once though I’m not so sure.

One of my biggest dream is to speak Arabic. I once told my friend that the day I would be able to speak Arabic fluently, I would not stop talking. He said that is the reason why I have not learnt Arabic till now. I am sure he is wrong. Being outside sheikh Khalifa my thirst for Arabic became intense; not just so as to be able to speak but I really wanted to understand the message in the Qur’an. My recitation was fluent but apart from a few surahs, I didn’t understand most of it’s message. So I asked one of the local ustadh to teach me Arabic at the same time I found myself a mushaf with the translation. And if you thought finishing a khatm was hard try doing it with the translation. Truth be told, I’m yet to accomplish it and I am disturbed by it. Still I was glad that I not only got to recite the qur’an fluently but I could also understand what it was saying to me.

Every Ramadhan has been different to me with different meanings. I have studied specific surahs, I have used Ramadhan to quit some sins. I have done memorizations of specific surahs, supplications and hadith. I have struggled to make each Ramadhan mean something to me. And it all comes back to; Islam means progress. I have seen my progress in my meaning of this beloved Holy month, and if Allah enables me to see more Ramadhans, I pray that I find more meaning to it.

Now as a 25 year old lady I ask myself what does Ramadhan mean to me and my mind goes back to the verses of the Qur’an that I memorized a long time ago due to how much they would be repeated during this month;
“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous” (2:183)
In them I get my answer. This month was meant for me to attain Taqwa. To build the strongest bond possible with my creator and as Umar ibn Abdul Aziz (Rahimatullah) said ;
“Taqwa is not praying long into the night and fasting long into the day but it is to abandon the obstacles between you and Allah (SWT).”
In other words, it is to abandon sin.

Ramadhan was meant for me to have that ultimate connection with the Qur’an. Not only by finishing multiple khatms or memorization but to be able to gain the guidance that Allah talks about when he says;
“Ramadhan is the (month) in which the Qur’an was sent down, as a guide to mankind and a clear guidance and judgement” (2:185)
So yes, Ramadhan is meant for sharing, showing love and compassion to each and every one of us, for the ummah to be united more than ever, but at an individual level, What does Ramadhan mean to you?

RAMADHAN MUBARAK. WA KULLU 3AMUN WA ANTUM BI KHEYR

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Warning: This is going to be a long one 😉

Everyone can agree that Madrasas make up almost the biggest part of our great childhood memories or perhaps the worst. This is where we got shaped and molded into the characters we are today. How we were shaped however, is a different story. They say, the end justifies the means… or does it? If anything, Madrasas are the best example of this phrase.

Back down the memory lane, most families had neglected the Madrasas. Secular education was given the priority giving minimal time for the children to adopt Madrasa teachings. This in turn made the children consider Madrasa as ‘not-so-serious’ a place. It was like the damp spot where parents would take them on weekends so that they don’t bother people back home.

If you ask anyone about their Madrasa days they’ll mention a lot of punishments where students were subjected to individually or as a group. First mistake would always be ‘getting late’ because hey! It’s weekend! The entire family is going for a wedding somewhere and you spent an entire hour crying why you are being left behind while they’ll be enjoying some good biryani with roasted chicken. So you get to the gate, eyes red and swollen and you find a whole group standing aside while the assembly is going on. You become a bit relieved that you are not alone. However, once the assembly is over and the teacher on duty confronts you, he surprises you all by checking the uniform instead or whether your nails are clipped. So you end up with double punishment. But it never ends there does it? You somehow end up in the noisemakers list in class and the ustadh gives you ‘THAT look’ of ‘Too many mistakes in one morning young boy’!

There was always a lot of fun associated with all the mischief which involved incomplete assignments and ending up doing the assignment at the corridor, making fun of other students or rhythmic and loud reading during classes; which more often than not irritated the teachers, a lot of skiving where one or a collective group would go out for lunch break and decide not to come back because you decided that your family will not go for that wedding without you, a lot of ‘tell your parent to come tomorrow’ because let’s face it the teachers were having up to their necks dealing with stubborn kids.

Coming back to class late was a norm because you got caught up in the games you were playing or were waiting in line for your potatoes and other snacks to be prepared; and so when you reach the class you know what’s waiting inside so you all stand by the door deciding who was bold enough to ask for permission to get in. Then there were those days we’d be sent home because we had applied henna on Eid day despite it being against madrasa rules or for the lack of payment of fees on time…yeah the list is endless!

In attempt to change the ‘relaxed-mode’ children had on madrasa, the teachers always opted to cane the naughty children, especially with the famous kikoto (A local type of cane commonly made in Coastal region by use of Reeds.)


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When it came to the need for students to learn, caning only brought fear into them making them memorize things they don’t understand in the least bit. My mother tells me of how when they were young, they’d go to madrasa sit in straight lines and start singing what they’ve been taught, swinging themselves frontward and backward. How they’d put small pieces of kashatas between the mashaf pages then come back and start eating them piece by piece while the ustadh is not looking. They’d then quickly go back to chorusing with the rest, turning their oily mashaf pages. It seemed all merry when the whole class was chorusing like that…but now many years later, she confesses that then, she, and many others did not even know what they were saying. The caning only prompted them to cram something so that whenever the teacher asks a question, they had an answer. Nonetheless, the caning was fruitful when it came to hifdhul qur’an (memorization of the holy qur’an).

So basically, punishments differed on 3 factors: The teacher himself, the personality of the student and the kind of mistake done.

We all had some experience with the ‘bad news’ ustadh who you’d carefully avoid on the way even if you’ve done nothing wrong. He is always ready to cane; always ready to strike; always armed with his kikoto. Yet others would go for other less violent kind of punishments like making the students kneel, making them stand the whole session, pinching, sweeping, squatting, washing the washrooms, cleaning corridors, extra assignments, calling of the parent or being detained from going to tea/lunch break.

This however also differed according to the child in question. For some children just the mere mention of ‘I’ll cane you’ is enough to scare them and make them do the right thing. They’d weep like no one’s business if you even jokingly mention that you’ll summon the parent. Yet another child is so used to the canning that it doesn’t matter anymore. It’s routine now and thus, doesn’t mould them in anyway. Sometimes, it even made the students become more rebellious and beating them was as useless as screaming on their faces. But this same naughty child if detained from going to have lunch, he tends to settle down. A lazy child would detest being given extra assignment and that would be the perfect punishment for him/her.

When it comes to collective mistake i.e. the whole class making noise, or late comers, the teacher would ask them to sweep the classroom or wash the loos for the older students. For some children, telling them to go out of the class as punishment acts as the best thing for them. It turns out to be ‘free-class-to-have-fun’ oh yeah, and to make more mischief. So the child’s personal character always factored in the kind of punishment.

How the child/children are punished depended on the kind of mistake too. For a mistake like late-coming, the punishment would be lesser than the ones who got into a fight. Or noise-makers compared to the ones skiving classes.

The teachers would always use the small punishment methods and only when things really escalated is when the parent is summoned.


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It’s no secret that Madrasa punishment is better than school (before the anti-punishment law came in). Yet still, there were/are parents who still go to complain once their children are canned or in the least, touched at all. The parents would sometimes respond to complaints from the Madrasa by transferring their child to another institution which ends up making the child always half-baked with information and sometimes in character too.

We all have experienced or at least witnessed the dramatic parents who are always so protective and just at the slightest caning of their child, they’d appear at the institution and start shouting to whoever they can throw words to, threatening to report to the police if their children are canned again yet they are in the first place responsible for the negligence the children have on Madrasa. If the parents showed the children how important Madrasa is, the mischief would be less and they’d be more serious on Madrasa education.

Punishment systems have changed over the years. This could be because the teachers realized that they are using the wrong approach in the desperate need of making students prioritize Madrasa studies. Nowadays, there is less caning. We can’t say it has stopped completely but teachers are more and more adopting the alternative punishment systems like giving them extra assignments or sweeping classes and corridors amongst other methods. Different Madrasas have also tried different ways to make Madrasa more interesting for children i.e. including extra-curricular activities and trips too. They also involve the parents a lot more than before on the issues of their children.

The best move Madrasa systems have taken, however, is ensuring that their teachers undergo teachers’ training before stepping into class. This is unlike before whereby anyone with the knowledge could teach regardless of whether they knew how to handle the mentality of children or not. Some Madrasas would let the older kids teach the younger ones just because they had a little more knowledge than the little ones, or the smarter kids would teach the other kids when a teacher was not around. So now we have better teachers who have studied psychology of the children and are able to deal with them in the right way.

The punishments have been the better evil for many of us. Apart from the notorious students whom we’d tell ‘haskii la mwadhini wala mteka maji mskitini’ to, many owe their good discipline to the Madrasa teachers who ensured they behave. Many of us wouldn’t even know how to recite Surat Fatiha if not for the canning. The punishments done in Madrasa have mostly been moderate apart from a few cases and they seem necessary in order to straighten the children up.

Apart from that, we got the many memories from these days; the days we did mistakes and cried even before the teacher raised the cane, or the days we knelt down until our knees ached, or when we were late and were sent back home; half happy half miserable, or those days when someone stole and we’d have soot applied on his face (someone mentioned this and couldn’t help but imagine and laugh). As much as we as a community have undermined the Madrasa for so long, we have to admit that we learnt good lessons and became better people from what we learnt back then.

I know some really hate the memories they have of back then or of the entire madrasa system, and some would enthusiastically want to debate this whole punishment issue, nonetheless, I guess at the end of the day it is only each one of us who can judge and perceive those days as they will. Everyone is entitled to their opinion after all.

In my opinion, there is improvement and gradual process in the Madrasa systems which hopefully will make more students serious on the deen education which has been comprised for so long. As for the punishments (the moderate reasonable ones that is), I hope they still stay in the system until the later generations. In the current dark world, we need a system that will still humble us and mold us to be better individuals.

So there’s this new local Islamic TV station coming up and it just got me all excited. I mean, if you are a ‘90s baby or prior that, then you will totally relate to all those times you were asked to switch off the TV because ‘there is nothing for you to watch’ or you’d be pushed to go sleep early even when you are having some chronic insomnia. You will even be thoroughly encouraged to go play outside even when the heat is about to unleash its superpowers, just to avoid you from watching something inappropriate. And even as we grew up, there was so much monotony in the stations because if it isn’t ‘Soledad’ in one station then it is ‘the day of our lives’ in the next. Too much misery in the news. Too much stereotype in the real world. Finally, the Muslims have a voice.

Horizon TV it is. It is the first locally oriented Islamic television channel in the country; a project of Tamaz Communications Limited, a company fully owned by Jamia Mosque Committee, Nairobi. With a lot of Islamophobia growing around the world, including our own country, this is a great blessing indeed. This is a wonderful platform for the non-Muslims to learn more about Islam; the true Islam and not the stereotyped one. This is the place where Muslims can acquire further knowledge. This is where we can allow our children to stay tuned to 24/7 because it is simply worth it. This is where hard issues are discussed and challenges are faced. This is where a better understanding of what Islam really is, is brought out. This is where we talk of societal issues that are yet to be talked about; the untold stories, the voices that need to be heard.

We are living in such a negative world at the moment and we really need some source of mega-positivity and inspiration. We need Islamic role models and mentors. We need to acquire knowledge in interesting ways that won’t make the students sleep in boredom. We need to move alongside the rest of the world. And technology is the answer. These visuals actually do have a greater impact than we ever think of it. And this is exactly what Horizon TV aims at: Make a positive difference in our society!

The objectives of the TV station are:
• To provide and support Da’awah activities
• To provide the Muslim community with a platform to articulate their issues and agenda
• To provide a platform where the masses will learn the true picture of Islam and Islamic values
• To educate, inform and entertain the targeted audiences (primary and secondary) within Sharia parameters.
• To produce and broadcast a variety of community programs for di’erent segments of society e.g. women,
children, youth, within the purview with Islamic shariah.
• To facilitate broadcast of other programs whose goals and objectives are in conformity with Horizon TV.

As we approach the D-day of the launch, 24th March, we pray that this becomes a successful project that will help Muslims come together in good terms and to educate both the Muslims and Non-Muslims as well. Horizon will be hosted on Star Times, GoTv, Signet and Bamba. The TV station will cover Nairobi region for starters before expanding biidhnillah.

Ready for great things ahead in shaa Allah!!

…And how my 1 year in madrasa changed my perspective of things

Just a few weeks after my graduation, I decided 2016 would be my year; the year to discover myself, to challenge my abilities, the year to heal and let go, the year to get to my higher self so I decided to join madrasa again. It had been more than 5 years since I was in a madrasa class but I decided this would be my new year resolution. I quickly registered for the diploma in Islamic studies and went ahead to get my goal done.

It was quite strange for people at first. Those criticisms started coming.
“First class honors? Aren’t you supposed to be at KTN anchoring and killing people with that smile?”
“What about your masters? Don’t you want to do your masters?”
Then came the concern.
“But why are you doing this anyway? Be a teacher?”…I am doing this for myself and that is enough reason.
“Isn’t it too far for you?”
Then came the pettiness.
“Aren’t you the girl who spends all her time on the internet?” (Apparently this makes me a haramee so going for deen studies quite conflicts my journalistic career lol)
But the pettiness has always been there.
“Ustadha mzima wavaa hizi vitu?” (Hizi vitu: the luminous bracelets)
“If you; a Muslim union official wears a cap, what do you expect from us?” (This was during a sports events; all women, the cap on my hijab but still, it makes me a haramee somehow :D)
“You are too obsessed with sneakers” ( *rolls eyes* This somehow makes me like a gangster and gangsters barely get to jannah you know 😀 )

Then, my friend, don’t you dare make mistake, or say a wrong word, or the wrong joke. Have I insisted enough? No wait. DO NOT DARE MAKE A MISTAKE because both the haramees and halalees are going to judge you. Because once you do, the haramees will call you a silent killer, a pretentious little devil. The halalees will quote from the qur’an and hadith. They will quote fatawas of Bin Baaz and talk about Sheikh Annawawy. You, my friend, you are NOT allowed to make a mistake. They will send you pdfs and long emails on how wrong you are. They will condemn people like you; people who talk about faith and truths people didn’t even want to hear, then make a mistake. Buddy, you are NOT allowed to be human.

A moment of silence people. A moment of silence to all the petty people 😀 😀 😀

But then I was forced to accept that as a writer and a journalist, you are putting a part of yourself to the world out there. Not everyone will like you or what you say and write. You will get positive remarks but also lots of negative ones and you just had to accept both and learn how to be yourself.

So for the longest time in my life, I was the girl who was too haramee (the ones breaking the rules of religion) for the halalees (the ones who are very pious; jannah material straight away 😀 ) and too halalee for the haramees. So I was right at the middle. I had friends on both sides. Some haramees would sometimes be the go-getters, the ambitious souls who just won’t allow life to bring them down. They became my source of inspiration. And halalees, people who would always bring you closer to Allah. But then I didn’t just belong anywhere. You sit with the haramees and they talk of how judgmental the halalees are. How they pretend to be so perfect and straight. Then they’ll refer to them as, “Those friends of yours nkt…they are so judgmental” and I would be quick to jump in and say, “That is just inferiority complex” because as much as some are judgmental, sometimes, the halalees haven’t even told them anything. It’s just their guilty conscious making them feel attacked even before they are.
Then when i’d sit with the halalees, they’d start talking of how someone did something wrong or messed up and i’d jump in, “You guys don’t give people the benefit of doubt or just try and understand how our backgrounds and lives are so different…sometimes people are just so neglected they get lost.” As such, I barely had any long-term friendships with people. They expected me to fit in; I just simply didn’t and it bothers them when you are different. I believed and still believe in seeing the good in each and every single person so I interacted according to what each human being had to offer and filter out the rest. So when 2016 began, I was ready to explore my higher self and this, changed my perspective of things in a great way.

Upon joining the college, I realized again, that it would be hard to fit in. Being in an environment with people who are very-well covered from head to toe, ladies who don’t even go out without a mahram, they rarely even have phones. So here I was again, the haramee; the social media noise maker, the too English, the too opinionated & educated, the non-niqabi, the girl who is always typing (Too much dunya you know 😀 ). But they were beautiful souls; the kind to inspire you be a better person and change your ways. Sometimes they just look at you or comment on something you have done and you feel attacked, so here I was, thinking like a haramee. They are judging me. But then it is just the battle between the soul and the brain. How to accept opinions and change. And yes, sometimes they’ll judge you because they are humans too; making mistakes.

And you are in a class environment with very educated lecturers who tell you of how they were in their jahilliyya periods; how they also did mistakes before finding their way. Teachers who keep reminding you that even as a deen seeker, you are never to be rough to those who may be lost. In an environment where young men debate about important issues and you just realize, yes, there are some good men out there who are only after their akhera.

Slowly, I came to see them making mistakes and you get to notice the human part of them. You see them complain and sad sometimes. You see them planning their halaal outings and having fun their own way. My perspective started to change and I realized something interesting about us human beings.

That we are all desperate human beings trying to be right in this messed up life. We all seek what our heart desires but at the end of the day there is no us or them. There is just WE; all of us having that little devil inside of us. Sometimes it gets the better of us and conquers our souls and we do wrong things, and sometimes our imaan is high and alive and we conquer our ego. There is no haramee or halalee per se because there are some haramees who are actually doing so much good to other people despite their rebelliousness to deen. And there are halalees who are so attached to the deen yet have no character to deal with people. We are all kinda messed up so we create squads and think we are the better humans just so we can satisfy our egos. We are all a combination of haramee and halalee at the same time. We just choose which one to make it visible as our image. It’s all about everyone’s personal journey to their higher self; some are still at the first step, some at the fifth, some have reached the peak while some haven’t started yet. Maybe this is why we should be kind and more empathetic to people; let us try see the good in them despite how annoying and evil they may seem. Forgive people and judge them not. Let God be the judge, but still, pray for yourself and for others. Pray for guidance and understanding. Pray for a beautiful end that would lead to all of us be in jannah together.

Yes, I am a halamee.
I am the haramee who is on the path to being a halalee.
I am still on my journey to getting to my higher self 🙂

P.S Munawwarah college has now started a bachelors of arts in Islamic studies after partnering with International University of Africa. They also offer diploma in teaching Arabic and Islamic studies, diploma in arabic language, certificate in Arabic, certificate in Islamic studies and by the way, ICDL (International Computer Driving License) course too.

You need to find yourself? Find Allah first.

You can contact the college at: 0735 559 095 or check their website at: info@almunawwarah.ac.ke

NOTE: This article is simply about riba in general and doesn’t aim at any specific banking system. Interest also happens a lot in our normal business transactions and initiatives and sometimes we (the clients) are ignorant or unaware about it.

Something interesting always comes up when Muslims start talking about riba/interest/usury-related transactions.Just like we try to ‘halalisize’ (if there is any word like that) many other haraam things in our lives, riba is one of them. We never call a spade a spade simply because hey! who wants to be lectured about interest? So we’d rather call it profit, call it a gift, a reward yet as much as we sugarcoat it, it doesn’t change the fact that it is indeed riba.

The word “Riba”, in Arabic language, literally means an “increment’ or addition”. In Islamic Fiqh the term riba has a special meaning. Riba is an unjustified increment in borrowing or lending money, paid in kind or in money above the amount of loan, as a condition imposed by the lender or voluntarily by the borrower. Riba defined in this way is called in Fiqhriba al-duyun (debt usury). Riba also is an unjustified increment gained by the seller or the buyer if they exchanged goods of the same kind in different quantities. This is called “riba al-fadl” or “riba-al-buyu” (trade usury).

So there are basically two types of riba:

The first and primary type is called Riba An Nasiyah or Riba Al Jahiliya. It is defined as excess, which results from predetermined interest (sood) which a lender receives over and above the principle (Ras ulMaal)
Imam Abu Bakr Hassan Razi has outlined definition of Riba An Nasiyah in the following words: “That kind of loan where specified repayment period and an amount in excess of capital is pre determined.”.
One of the hadith quoted by Ali Ibn Talib (RAA) has defined Riba An Nasiyah in similar words. The Holy Prophet said:”Every loan that draws excess is Riba.”

The famous Sahabi Fazala Bin Obaid has also defined Riba in similar words: “Every loan that draws profit is one of the forms of Riba.”.

The second type is called: Riba Al Fadl. It is defined as excess compensation without any consideration resulting from a sale of goods.

Riba Al Fadl actually means that excess which is taken in exchange of specific homogenous commodities and encountered in their hand-to-hand purchase & sale as explained in the famous hadith: The Prophet said, “Sell gold in exchange of equivalent gold, sell silver in exchange of equivalent silver, sell dates in exchange of equivalent dates, sell wheat- in exchange of equivalent wheat, sell salt in exchange of equivalent salt, sell barley in exchange of equivalent barley, but if a person transacts in excess, it will be usury (Riba). However, sell gold for silver anyway you please on the condition it is hand-to-hand (spot) and sell barley for date anyway you please on the condition it is hand-to-hand (spot)”.

It has clearly been stated in both the qur’an (several ayas) and hadith on prohibiting riba in all manner:
“That they took riba, though they were forbidden and that they devoured men’s substance wrongfully – We have prepared for those among men who reject faith a grievous punishment”
(Qur’an 4:161)

“Those who charge riba are in the same position as those controlled by the devil’s influence. This is because they claim that riba is the same as commerce. However, God permits commerce, and prohibits riba. Thus, whoever heeds this commandment from his Lord, and refrains from riba, he may keep his past earnings, and his judgment rests with God. As for those who persist in riba, they incur Hell, wherein they abide forever”
(Qur’an 2:275)

“Allah condemns riba, and blesses charities. Allah dislikes every disbeliever, guilty. Lo! those who believe and do good works and establish worship and pay the poor-due, their reward is with their Lord and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve. O you who believe, you shall observe God and refrain from all kinds of riba, if you are believers. If you do not, then expect a war from God and His messenger. But if you repent, you may keep your capitals, without inflicting injustice, or incurring injustice. If the debtor is unable to pay, wait for a better time. If you give up the loan as a charity, it would be better for you, if you only knew.”
(Qur’an 2:276-280)

Jabir said that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) cursed the accepter of usury and its payer, and one who records it, and the two witnesses, and he said: They are all equal”
(Sahih Muslim)

“It is reported on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) observed: Avoid the seven noxious things. It was said (by the hearers): What are they, Messenger of Allah? He (the Holy Prophet) replied: Associating anything with Allah, magic, killing of one whom God has declared inviolate without a just cause, consuming the property of an orphan, and consuming of usury, turning back when the army advances, and slandering chaste women who are believers, but unwary.
(Sahih Muslim)

Now if we were to illustrate Conventional banking to Islamic banking this is how the cycle goes:

In as much as we have the interest-free Islamic banking methods, Muslims still opt for the tempting money rather than their akhera. There is a certain product usually offered in banks that is called a fixed deposit which is one of the most common accounts. With the help of a Muslim banker I got comprehend this:
There are various interest earning accounts in banks today, the most common ones are:-
• Savings account
• Call deposit account
• Fixed deposit account

Savings Account: – This one of the most common banks’ product. It is an account where you can deposit any amount of money but the withdrawals are limited for the sole purpose of making the customer save money for his own benefit. This is an interest earning account where the larger the sum of money in your account the more interest one earns but at a lower interest rate. It has no maturity date meaning you can withdraw any time you feel like it.

Call Deposit: – This is one of the not so popular type of an account offered by commercial banks (not Islamic banks). In this account, the customer enjoys instant access to his/her money and unlimited withdrawals and deposits. The call deposit client also enjoys benefits of a savings account through accrual of interest (cumulated interest of previous months). The difference between Call deposit account and savings account is that Call deposit account has a fair interest rate than a savings account. Some commercial banks offer call deposit with a maturity rate but monthly wise and not annually.

Fixed Deposit: –This is one of the most popular interest earning account offered by all types of banks. A Fixed deposit account is an account where a client deposits a certain amount of money as the principal amount with a maturity rate which is annually. The maturity period is where a client is allowed to withdraw the amount he/she had deposited initially or the whole amount in the account and close it. Here, the higher the deposit the better the interest rate and the higher the interest earnings. For Fixed deposit, you can withdraw the interest only either after 3 months, 6 months or just collect the lump sum annually.

As human beings, we often have lust for money. We seek it. We yearn for it. But then what is worse than lying to yourself that you are doing nothing wrong yet you know it is?
So here is a Muslim who has always been depositing in his fixed account which he receives interest after some months. The argument someone may bring is that, the money he deposited was used to do some kind of business which brought in profit which in turn he is given too. But then comes these three basic rules of fiqh which we need to understand:

Fiqh rules on prohibition of riba:
To emphasize interest or riba prohibition, reference should be made to three Fiqh rules:
a) A benefit gained from a loan is riba. A rule which is based on the ethics of Qard Al-Hassan (Benevolent or good loan) in Quran and on Hadith of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) “the only reward for a loan is the thanks giving and the repayment”.
b) Which means that the capital owner has to choose either a “return” on his capital by sharing with its user in profit, or a “guarantee” to repay his capital intact. A “return” and “guarantee” on capital can not be combined together in one deal.
c) Which means that the capital owner will be entitled to “Profit” only if he is ready to accept “loss” if this happened. These rules are the basis of all profit and loss sharing financing methods in Islam, and they leave no doubt that interest paid to bank depositors above their money, or interest paid by borrowers from banks for the use of banks’ money is riba.
In this case, this Muslim is only getting ‘profit’ which is in fact riba. How? Because if the bank got a loss they don’t also share the loss with the investor.

Why is Riba prohibited?
1. Usurers are generally miser, selfish and hard-hearted Shylocks, devoid of milk of human kindness, who exploit the misery of the poor and charge their pound of flesh without feeling any moral compunction for the sufferings of the borrowers.
2. Interest breeds idleness and promotes unearned income. Instead of undertaking business ventures and using their business acumen, skill, knowledge and entrepreneurship, people having money start lending it on interest and thus living like parasites.
3. Interest causes many economic evils as well. It leads to hoarding of money adversely effecting its circulation among larger sections of society. It also causes establishment of monopolies, cartels and concentration of wealth in few hands. Thus distribution of wealth in the community becomes uneven and gulf between the rich and the poor widens.
4. Interest charged on international loans has aggravated debt-servicing problem of the debtor countries. It has not only impeded the economic development of the poor nations, but has also resulted into transfer of resources from the poor to the rich nations.
5. Capital investment is withheld from those enterprises which cannot yield profit equal to the prevailing rate of interest, even though such projects may be very vital for the country and nation. The flow of all financial resources in the country turns in the direction of those enterprises which carry the prospect of a profit margin equal to or more than the current rate of interest, even though such enterprises may have little or no social value.
With the revolutions and adverse changes in our world, we as Muslims need to be very keen, aware and careful on how we invest, where we invest, where we borrow and how is our money cycle. When you are told this is just profit make sure you investigate further, what kind of ‘profit’ they are talking about. Let us all be steadfast and exemplary in following our deen.

May Allah guide us. Ameen.

REFERENCES:
1. http://www.islamic-banking.com/iarticles_8.aspx
2. http://www.soundvision.com/article/5-ways-to-deal-with-the-dilemma-of-riba
3. http://www.aims.education/study-online/riba-in-islamic-banking-and-finance/

Photo Courtesy: http://cdn.inquisitr.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Poltergeist-Exorcism.jpg

Warning: This article is not for the faint hearts.

When I was in Uni, one of my friends who had come to Mombasa for the first time to study, confessed to me about something. He told me of how he was warned of the Mombasa ladies. That sometimes you may be lured by a very beautiful lady only to find out she is a jinn (genie) lol. Well, I couldn’t agree to the statement but neither could I deny it. I very well knew how the upcountry folks tend to be scared whenever they visit Mombasa for the first time. The stories spread and so does the stereotype.

See Mombasa is by the sea which makes it natural that jinns will be more attracted to this part of the town. They love oceans and seas and that is basically their home. Nonetheless, culture and traditions of the ancestors of this area was such that, while some wanted to be as far away from the whole jinn issue, some when to the far extents of hunting them down and using them for witchcraft and personal agendas. Some were just victims while some sought them. And one other fact about Jinns is that they can be inherited in the family which led to generations after generations being innocently possessed.

Now for the scared-chicken me, fate has made it for me such that I have witnessed exorcism more than 5 times. The first time was when I was around 11 to 12 years old in primary school when one of the Muslim girls suddenly got possessed. It was an exam day so you can imagine half the excitement of postponement of my exam at the same time, fear and sympathy for the girl. The school I was in was a Christian school so the Christian teachers together with the director took their bibles and off they started the prayers. The doors to the room were closed and so were the windows so we couldn’t see anything inside. For almost one hour, we could their loud prayers, some commotion inside, more volume and more volume again until that door finally opened. Before I could understand what exactly was happening, my IRE teacher summoned the few Muslims in the school asking for those who could recite qur’an. Apparently, everyone was looking at me; the 12 year old me to go do exorcism to a fellow kid. Right now, thinking about it, I realize how much danger our teacher put us into. Nonetheless, we still went. The girl’s brother, my teacher and I. Upon entering, the Christian teachers left with the look like, “she is all yours.”

The girl didn’t have her head scarf on. Her long hair was so messed up. She was pacing around the room like it was her ego that had taken over; walking arrogantly across like a boss. So I started reciting surat Yasin. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know what surah was to be read but I still went on with the surah with her brother and my teacher following along. The girl was laughing at us, mocking us, insulting us; we were being useless. She wasn’t feeling anything. And for once I felt how really small I was. By the time I was done with Yasin and there was no improvement, I remembered surat Jinn and this is when things started getting wild. She was yelling, screaming in pain. I was shaking now, my hands too cold. There was nothing heroic about this; just shudders of fear. After some verses, she was holding my knees. Don’t even ask me how she got there but she was; holding my knees begging me to read louder because, “He is there. I can see him” pointing somewhere above our heads. It was terrifying and my knees wobbled. I almost thought i’d either pee on myself or faint in the process. She then quieted down. My teacher rushed to give her a glass of water and check if she recognizes herself and the people around. Somehow, with time, I was able to get over it but that was never the end of the exorcism sessions I had to attend.

In uni, one of my mates had the same issue and time to time we would have to do the exorcism on her despite knowing that it should be done by experts only. But then within the past few days, I came across far worse case scenarios I had never seen.

In Islam, (for those who don’t know about this) we have our traditional medicine and treatments called ruqya, and despite this being the original and the best medical way to deal with ailments especially the complicated unexplainable ones, we always tend to keep this to be the last option. Ruqya is commonly known for treatment of witchcraft, exorcism, hasad and 3ayn (disastrous envy) but also for normal ailments that could do just good with some herbals and holy treatment.This is the place you go when no scan is telling what is wrong with you. When you see the doctor and he has to call a mini-meeting to discuss what could be wrong with you and they just end up giving you speculations. This is the place you go when doctors and people ask you, “maybe it’s all in your head? Maybe you are just imagining being sick.” This is the place you go when you have lost hope and finally realize only religious treatment will help you.

My sister and I entered the room which was somewhat full with other Muslim ladies. We went to the front rows, sat quietly waiting just like the rest. When the sheikh finally started reciting, slowly I could hear voices behind me and beside me. Someone was crying, almost wimping, another was laughing in a mock. The one in front of me started stretching her hands, moving her head vigorously from left to right, beside us was another who was now groaning like a lion. Right behind me, the young lady was twisting and turning in pain. And I was there, right at the middle of it all, all seeming like a zombie apocalypse horror movie and everyone was getting infected and I was definitely the next. The screams were getting into my head, the cries, the shouts and my hands were already getting cold. Half the time I was holding my sister’s hand and the other half I was hugging myself, head bowed down. I didn’t want to look but hearing the voices only is way worse. So I get glimpsing around me and it was like someone was trying to drown me. My head being shoved in cold water, pulled out, before being shoved right back. There is a lot of sympathy, empathy, confusion and chaos. I almost walked out right at the middle of it because there you are and you see people having literal fights with the unseen. Someone is twisting like she has no bones, another is groaning like she is about to puke, another is shouting, ‘sitokii!!’ (leave me alone) or ‘uskut’ (Keep quiet!), another is half-crying half-laughing, another is holding her head while crying out in pain, another is screaming like a banshee while another is moving about intensely like she is dancing some zumba.

For the first time I was so scared of my own self, too tensed up because you don’t even have an idea what is wrong with you or even what is your situation exactly. I kept checking on my sister and whenever she’d just move a bit i’d get worried until after confirmation that she is okay. I was trying too to not bulge even an inch because my own restlessness was making me worry. So I wanted to convince myself that nothing is wrong and that nothing is wrong with my sister. But then keeping still is almost impossible too. When the one in front started reacting we had to move back a little bit, when the one behind was writhing in pain on the floor, we had to move forward again. I was terrified, shocked and perhaps it was too much for me to see several people ache loudly like that all at once. By the second day end of it all, a lady was still crying while talking in arabic, “Khaliny. Khaliny anta lasta 3unuky” (Leave me! Leave me you are not my neck) while struggling with her neck like she was being strangled. And that’s when I had had enough. I broke down.

I cried at the difficulty of the situation. At how hard it can be for someone to be their own enemy. At how your ailment is something inside you and you can barely do anything about it. I cried at how we really take it lightly how much these people suffer. But then this is way worse than malaria or even diabetics. This is someone inside you who was sent on a mission to destroy you. Someone who is trying to steal your identity, your happiness, your comfort and worst of all, you are the only one who can see it. Someone who can totally take control of your soul, make you do things or harm yourself and others without even knowing it. This is perhaps one of the biggest tests anyone can have. And even while watching the emotional mess, I wanted to disappear right into the wall beside me. It’s not a sight for someone with empathy issues or even crying-an-entire-bucket issues. I believe that the victims are very strong people and I just hope Allah makes it easy for them and pays them abundantly for their patience.

Perhaps this is why we keep being told that whenever we feel we are in difficult situations, we should look at those in worse scenarios than us and thank God anyway. Nonetheless, the religion has always been complete. We have to take these things seriously and recite the duas for the morning and evening sessions. We have to protect ourselves and our children. We have to teach them the duas before going into the washrooms and after, before eating and after, before leaving home and after…We have to ask for Allah’s protection when going to the beaches and new places. We have to read and listen to qur’an more often but more importantly, we have to listen to the ruqya verses more often. Trust me, it is worth it. The way people talk of possessed victims like it is an ordinary and ‘normal’ thing, is quite underrated. They suffer and they need our support, love and care. They need you now more than ever. They need your sincere prayers.

Besides all these dark spirits (which is mostly not everyone’s fault), Mombasa is a beautiful place of it’s own kind. Stereotyping generalizes it way more than it really is. The victims are sick and trust me, they do not like it just like you. Do not be afraid of them or stigmatize them. God is surely for us all.

To end this, below is a ruqya video that is good for you. Make time to listen to the video at least once everyday and let your family listen too. You can always download more videos and audios from the internet. https://youtu.be/oEgZT9cJ4lY (This is different from the one below)

May Allah have mercy on us, protect us and our families from all evil. Ameen.

Photo Courtesy: http://cosmouk.cdnds.net/

The past two days at the first annual Islamic conference were just A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!! Alhamdulilah; just the kind of things that can make me feel the thrills for the rest of the year 😀 I mean, one sheikh Rishard can make your entire week wonderful so you can imagine having him plus sheikh Kishki plus Al Qahtani plus Abu Hamza plus Ismail plus Abdulghani Bashir plus sheikh Suleiman from different parts of the world, all under the same roof on the same stage! May Allah bless them for all their outstanding lectures and to all the organizers, volunteers and donors who made this event a major success mashallah. It was too exciting I wish I could literally drag everyone to come and learn from them. If you missed it, you REALLY missed out! Lol okay I won’t add any more pepper to the wounds but I can share something I learnt from sheikh Abdulrahman Mansur Al-Qahtani; one the most humorous and coolest sheikhs of our century 😀 Maybe next time we can have both Mufti Menk and Nouman Ali Khan on the same stage and we all know how that conference will rock! Ameen to this 😀

So sheikh Al-Qahtani talked about the promises made by Allah in the qur’an and how Allah is speaking directly to us. So many times we are swept off by life, with it’s tests, with it’s demands, always busy, always in a rush with the worldly affairs and it’s fanciness we forget the most important thing; what brought us into this world.

The Prophet salallaahu ‘alayhi wa aleh wa sallam said that Allah said (in hadith Qudsi): “Myself, Mankind and Jinn are in a great serious state. I create them, then they worship other gods that they make for themselves. I bless them with my bounties, then they thank someone else for what I sent them. My Mercy descends to them while their evil deeds ascend to Me. I endear them with My gifts even though I have no need to any of them while they alienate themselves from Me with their sins even though they are desperate for My help. Whoever returns to Me , I accept him no matter how far he is. And whoever turns away from Me, I approach him and call on him. Whosoever leaves a sin for My sake, I reward him with many gifts and whoever seeks to please Me, I seek to please him. Whoever acknowledges My Will and Power in whatever he does, I make the iron bend for his sake. My dear people are those who are with Me (i.e. whoever would like to be with Me, let him supplicate to Me and remember Me). Whoever thanks Me, I grant him more blessings, whoever obeys Me, I raise him and endeavor him more. Whoever disobeys Me , I keep the doors of My Mercy open for him, if he returns to Me, I bestow him with My Love , since I love those who repent and purify themselves for My Sake. If he does not repent, I still treat him by putting them in hardship to purify him. Whoever favours Me over others, I favour them over others. I reward every single good deed ten times over or seven hundred times over to countless times over. I count every single bad deed as one unless the person repents and asks for My Forgiveness in which case I forgive even that one. I take into account any little good deed and I forgive even major sins. My Mercy supercedes My Anger, My Tolerance supercedes My Blame, My Forgiveness supercedes My Punishment as I am more Merciful with My slaves than a mother with her child.”

Subhanallah, the weight of this hadith qudsi is heavy. So much to question ourselves about. Like how much Allah keeps blessing us, granting us what we want, forgiving us, forgiving us again and again and what do we send back to Him? ‘their evil deeds ascend to Me.’ Yet still He made promises to us; the ungrateful weak humans.

The first promise is: “So remember Me, I will remember You.” Surat Baqarah: verse 152
I am pretty sure we have come across those angry memes on the blue ticks on whatsapp. You are in dire need of help or perhaps just someone to talk to, the ticks have turned blue, the last seen is every past second you check…yet no reply. It is annoying, sometimes heart-breaking. But this is us human-beings. Have you tried Allah? Have you tried talking to Him directly? In your sujood? In your dua? Anywhere anytime??! Do you remember Him at all? We keep saying that communication is a two-way thing then how do we expect Allah to remember any of us when we don’t do the same to Him? Not that He needs us, but because WE NEED HIM! So remember Allah as many times and in many places as possible. Remember Him and He has promised to remember you!

The second promise is: ‘ If you are grateful, I will surely increase you (in favour)’ Surat Ibrahim: verse 7
But how many times do we thank Allah? Sincerely thanking Allah from the bottom of our hearts? For both the good and bad in our lives? He says: ‘when you thank me, I will give you more’. It is a promise. So thank Him. Thank Him for every small and big, Good and bad. And remember; even that the bad you go through is good in disguise. Again, have trust in Allah! 🙂

The third promise: ‘Call unto Me (and) I shall respond to you!’ Surat Ghafir : verse 60.
The thing with Allah is that your messages to Him are delivered spontaneously and so are His replies. You may not know it but Allah has already answered your prayer the moment you make it! Even when you don’t see an answer, His silence is the answer. Sheikh Al Qahatni said: Allah answers your duas in 3 ways: I know you have heard of this so many times but look at it keenly this time round. Let it sink in the mind.

1. He answers your dua immediately. Yep that is when I say; Blue ticks and typing (not literally, His way is way faster than that but you get me right?!) 😉 Trust me, if you have ever made a dua with so much sincerity from the heart, you will relate to this perfectly.

2. He doesn’t give you what you want so that He prevents you from some harm. We have cried. Most of us or all of us for something we wanted so badly. You cry your eyes and heart out but the answer you get is ‘silence’. You pray and cry in days, in months, in years and you give up because you think Allah doesn’t feel you, doesn’t love you…then some day years later something better happens in your life and you are so happy and you just say, ‘I’ve never been happier that what I wanted never happened!’ Ever done that? or heard someone say that? It could be for a job they wanted so badly, or a spouse, or a journey or a child…it can be anything. Yes, that is Allah, loving you and protecting you always. Have trust in Him!

3. Allah doesn’t answer your dua so that you can get abundant reward in jannah. All this pain and heart-ache you are going through right now, be patient about it. Be happy with what Allah has prepared for you. Nabii Ayub aleyhi salam was tested with sickness and loss of wealth and children and Allah answered his dua 18 years later. Mind you, he was a prophet and his dua is immediately accepted yet Allah answered him only after all those years. Be patient. Don’t say that is a prophet I can’t wait that long. Yes, but you can wait for as long as you can.

There are several other promises Allah has made to us, but we are just too blind to see or too unfocused to understand. Verily, in the qur’an and hadiths and hadith al qudsi, you will find Allah repeatedly telling us talking to us, promising us, giving us hope…

“Abu Dharr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, relates from his Lord that Allah said:

يَا عِبَادِي إِنِّي حَرَّمْتُ الظُّلْمَ عَلَى نَفْسِي وَجَعَلْتُهُ بَيْنَكُمْ مُحَرَّمًا فَلَا تَظَالَمُوا

O my servants, I have forbidden oppression for myself and have made it forbidden among you, so do not oppress one another.

يَا عِبَادِي كُلُّكُمْ ضَالٌّ إِلَّا مَنْ هَدَيْتُهُ فَاسْتَهْدُونِي أَهْدِكُمْ

O my servants, all of you are astray except for those I have guided, so seek guidance from me and I will guide you.

يَا عِبَادِي كُلُّكُمْ جَائِعٌ إِلَّا مَنْ أَطْعَمْتُهُ فَاسْتَطْعِمُونِي أُطْعِمْكُمْ

O my servants, all of you are hungry except for those I have fed, so seek food from me and I will feed you.

يَا عِبَادِي كُلُّكُمْ عَارٍ إِلَّا مَنْ كَسَوْتُهُ فَاسْتَكْسُونِي أَكْسُكُمْ

O my servants, all of you are naked except for those I have clothed, so seek clothing from me and I will clothe you.

يَا عِبَادِي إِنَّكُمْ تُخْطِئُونَ بِاللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ وَأَنَا أَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا فَاسْتَغْفِرُونِي أَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ

O my servants, you sin by night and day and I forgive all sins, so seek forgiveness from me and I will forgive you.

يَا عِبَادِي إِنَّكُمْ لَنْ تَبْلُغُوا ضَرِّي فَتَضُرُّونِي وَلَنْ تَبْلُغُوا نَفْعِي فَتَنْفَعُونِي

O my servants, you will not be able to cause harm to me and you will not be able to cause benefit to me.

يَا عِبَادِي لَوْ أَنَّ أَوَّلَكُمْ وَآخِرَكُمْ وَإِنْسَكُمْ وَجِنَّكُمْ كَانُوا عَلَى أَتْقَى قَلْبِ رَجُلٍ وَاحِدٍ مِنْكُمْ مَا زَادَ ذَلِكَ فِي مُلْكِي شَيْئًا

O my servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you, to become as pious as the most pious heart of anyone of you, that would not increase My kingdom in anything.

يَا عِبَادِي لَوْ أَنَّ أَوَّلَكُمْ وَآخِرَكُمْ وَإِنْسَكُمْ وَجِنَّكُمْ كَانُوا عَلَى أَفْجَرِ قَلْبِ رَجُلٍ وَاحِدٍ مَا نَقَصَ ذَلِكَ مِنْ مُلْكِي شَيْئًا

O my servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you, to be as wicked as the most wicked heart of anyone of you, that would not decrease My kingdom in anything.

يَا عِبَادِي لَوْ أَنَّ أَوَّلَكُمْ وَآخِرَكُمْ وَإِنْسَكُمْ وَجِنَّكُمْ قَامُوا فِي صَعِيدٍ وَاحِدٍ فَسَأَلُونِي فَأَعْطَيْتُ كُلَّ إِنْسَانٍ مَسْأَلَتَهُ مَا نَقَصَ ذَلِكَ مِمَّا عِنْدِي إِلَّا كَمَا يَنْقُصُ الْمِخْيَطُ إِذَا أُدْخِلَ الْبَحْرَ

O my servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you, to rise up in one place and make a request of me, and were I to give everyone what he requested, that would not decrease what I have any more than a needle would decrease the sea if put into it.

يَا عِبَادِي إِنَّمَا هِيَ أَعْمَالُكُمْ أُحْصِيهَا لَكُمْ ثُمَّ أُوَفِّيكُمْ إِيَّاهَا فَمَنْ وَجَدَ خَيْرًا فَلْيَحْمَدْ اللَّهَ وَمَنْ وَجَدَ غَيْرَ ذَلِكَ فَلَا يَلُومَنَّ إِلَّا نَفْسَهُ

O my servants, it is only your deeds that I record for you and then recompense for you, so let him who finds good praise Allah and let him who finds other than that blame no one but himself.”

Keep having faith, keep being strong, keep thanking Allah, keep trusting Him and most importantly; keep smiling 🙂

Photo Courtesy: https://img03.rl0.ru

How many times have you looked into the mirror and hated what you saw? Hated what is inside you and not necessarily what is outside you? How many times has the past haunted you? Regrets? Wrong choice of words? Recklessness? Sin? Arrogance? Wrong decisions? Hurt the people who loved you the most?

Here’s the bad news; what is gone can never be recovered, but the good news is, if you are feeling that pinch, that pain struggling out of the shadows of the past, it means you have a healthy conscious. It means your heart is not completely dead yet. It means you haven’t turned ice cold yet. It means you still have a chance to make up for the past; to move on and to start over once again.

Nonetheless, Allah mercy has never known limits. Anyone seeking His forgiveness, His Mercy was going to get it however bad and cold you think you are.

 

The past is full of secrets, regrets, abuse, conflict and tag of wars. We all have chapters we don’t read loud. We all have mistakes we are not proud of. If this will make you feel any better, remember that the prophets too did mistakes (not major sinning, just humanly mistakes).

One of the pious predecessors observed: “Had repentance not been the most beloved of acts to Allah, He would not have tested with sin the most beloved creatures to Him.”

Here are some examples of these mistakes:

Allah says: “Thus did Adam disobey His Lord, and fell into error, but his Lord chose him (for His grace): He turned to him, and gave him guidance.” [Sûrah TâHâ: 122]

The mistake of Adam (peace be upon him) was his partaking of the forbidden tree.

Allah says, relating the words of Noah (peace be upon him): “O my Lord, I do seek refuge with You from asking ask You for that of which I have no knowledge, and unless You forgive me and have mercy upon me, I should indeed be among the losers.” [Sûrah Hûd: 47]

The mistake of Noah (peace be upon him) was his seeking to intercede on behalf of his unbelieving son.

The Qur’ân relates to us mistakes of a similar, minor nature for David and Solomon (peace be upon them both).

About Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Allah says: “That Allah may forgive you your faults of the past and those to follow.” [Sûrah al-Fath: 2]

We should also be aware of the fact that the Qur’ân never mentions a wrongdoing being committed by any Prophet without mentioning his repentance thereof. The Prophets were divinely protected from ever insisting upon their mistakes or persisting in them. They would immediately repent to Allah for any mistake, act of forgetfulness, or any other shortcoming. Then Allah accepted their repentance.

So if the prophets fell into minor sinning, what about us? What about the weak creatures we are before Allah? We are not infallible. Hence the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if you did not commit sin Allaah would do away with you and bring people who would commit sin then pray for forgiveness.” Narrated by Muslim, 2749.

Above all that, Allah has showed us in several ayahs how He is ready to receive our repentance:

Say: “My servants, you who have transgressed against yourselves, do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Truly Allah forgives all wrong actions. He is the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.”
The Holy Quran 39:53

Verily, God’s acceptance of repentance relates only to those who do evil out of ignorance and then repent before their time runs out and it is they unto whom God will turn again in His mercy – for God is all-knowing, wise; – 4:17 (Asad)

“And verily, I am indeed forgiving to him who repents, believes (in My Oneness, and associates none in worship with Me) and does righteous good deeds, and then remains constant in doing them (till his death)”

[Ta-Ha 20:82] 

“And those who, when they have committed Faahishah (illegal sexual intercourse) or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allaah and ask forgiveness for their sins; — and none can forgive sins but Allaah — and do not persist in what (wrong) they have done, while they know”

[Aal ‘Imraan 3:135] 

“And whoever does evil or wrongs himself but afterwards seeks Allaah’s forgiveness, he will find Allaah Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful”

[al-Nisa’ 4:110] 

If Allah has opened the doors of forgiveness to us, then why not use them? Now close your eyes, take a deep breath and let it out. It is not easy to forget the past, it in fact takes a little piece of us each time with it but don’t just allow it to consume you wholly. No human being was going to live in this world for 40, 50, 70 years or even just 20 without making some mistakes and sins along the way. Learn from the past mistakes, live in the present, remain positive, ask for forgiveness to those you hurt, pray to Allah for guidance and keep hoping. Let bygones be bygones!

I will end this by a hadith by the prophet peace be upon him: “Every son of Adam sins, and the best of those who sin are those who repent.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi.

forget_past

 

References: http://en.islamtoday.net/artshow

https://islamqa.info

By: Aisha Zale Navi

Photo Courtesy: http://bestmodernpaintings.blogspot.co.ke/

The hot summer weather had me wishing I was wearing an air condition fitted outfit (seriously, someone should work on that).

‘’I still don’t get it why men can walk in three quarters and vests while muslim women are to cover from top to bottom in this unbearable weather.’’ He argued. And this was the climax of our heated argument. I could have just answered simply; ‘’Jahannam is hotter’’ but I dislike that answer even though it is so true and also I know the person am talking to. He is not the one to accept one word answer or three for that matter. He would have probably said something like, ‘ why can’t God make the earth cooler’. And no he won’t understand the concept of; the earth is a prison for a believer and paradise for a disbeliever. No, he just don’t roll like that. He is a man of reasons. Deep thoughts. Contemplating, arguing and finding logic. Yeah, I hate him sometimes when he becomes so philosophical but not for long because he is my friend and more importantly, it is my duty to answer such questions.

After our long argument which took two hours or more, I sat on my bed and a thought came to my head. ‘I wish I was like Imam Shafi or was it Malik, definitely one of those clever people that were before us who possessed so much wisdom to argue their points.’ Then it hit me, I was not sure which Imam or person I was referring to. I just have a rough idea of this man who was good at debates but don’t know who. Sad, isn’t it? Or may be not that sad because it’s just a debate; after all we should avoid them as much as possible.

What is really sad is that, few of us todaytake time to learn our religion. We are updated on most of the aspects of this world but when it comes to our religion, we are where we left off from madrassa. Some of us are doing a PHD in whatever field we are specializing in but it has never bothered them to learn how to make their swalah better and sweeter. The world that is supposed to be in our hands is in our hearts and the deen whose place is in our hearts is no where near our thoughts. Don’t blame time, because most of our time is consumed on absolutely nothing constructive. In this times whereby you can get anything and everything just by clicking a button, you really want to blame time for your luck of advanced knowledge in religion? Nouman Ali Khan has made it easier for you to get a chance to understand the Qur’an like never before just for $100 per year subscription, Qalaam institute got Seera intensive classes every year at $85, Hadith of the Day sends you daily hadiths at no cost, Islamic Online Universities offers different courses on religion at $100 per semester, there are numerous books on religion found online and teachers too from every corner of the world, Productive Muslim teaches you ways to be productive from life of the Prophet s.a.w at an affordable price.. what then is our excuse?

The worst part is when a non-muslim asks a question about Islam and we have no idea what the answer is, they present their arguments and we answer by getting raged and we are ready to fight for the religion that we  have not taken time to understand it for ourselves. We really need to see the urgency in us learning our deen. We should not leave it to Imams and Aalims. We have to learn it for ourselves. So that, just as you update your mode of whatsapp messenger, you update your reading of Qur’an. In your many dreams in life, fit in something to do with acquiring knowledge of the deen. You don’t have to take it all in, we can leave that for the scholars. But for your day to day life; you need Qur’an, Sunnah, important aspects of fiqhi, seera. Find books or courses on them and spare time on learning it. Every year, under your new year resolution, have something like: ‘’ Do in depth tafsir of Qur’an’’ or any other field you know you are really poor at.

And as I always say: it all comes down to the people we love and look up to. Who are the people we admire the most in our lives. Doctors might tell you Dr. House even though he is a fictional character. But really, do you think he is the best person to be looking up to. Yeah he is a genius according to the series and what not, but is he worthy a role model to a muslim lady or gentleman. I remember when we were preparing for our KCSE, the school will invite people from different fields. Now that I mention it, am not sure if it was form four or form three. My point is, there is this one guy. I don’t remember his name nor his profession but I will never forget his advice. It was as simple as, ‘’whatever you want to pursue in life, make sure you are a muslim first. So that you will be: a muslim teacher, a muslim lawyer’, a muslim engineer etc… not by name but by your way of living.’’ We can achieve this by having the right role models in our lives. If you are a muslim and your number one role model is not Rasulullah s.a.w, then you need therapy.

And my opinion is that, apart from the messenger of Allah may peace be upon him the swahabas,  tabiin and those who followed the religion to the letter would make great role models. Whatever profession you are in, look for a role model from the former people and also current who are in the same field and Allah is pleased with them. So if you are a teacher, get to know Aisha r.a one of the best teachers of her time, if you are in army how about you take some notes on Khalid bin Walid’s life, you are a business lady or gentleman, let AbdulRahman Ibn Awf blow your mind; you are a doctor Ibn Sina, you are a nurse Nusaybah bint Ka’ab, you want to be the president or a leader in anything you have a list to choose from, from the four Caliphates to Ummar Bin Abdulaziz, Architectures you can definitely find someone during Ummayad dynasty… the list goes on and on. We have this great people to look up to with whom we are sure if we follow their footsteps we will be successful in this world and the hereafter. The sad thing is that, we don’t know about them and we don’t bother to know about them. Now this is really really sad.

In this world, we are just passers by and the Hereafter is permanent. What if I tell you that there is a way to be happy in both worlds, won’t you jump at the opportunity to know how can you do it? Well this how… whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you are dealing with, check and see how intact is your islam. Not by possessing the most beautiful Arabic name (so far mine is the most beautiful :p) but by possessing the most beautiful heart and characters as we were taught by the teacher of teachers Muhammad s.a.w and his Teacher Allah s.w.t. Make time to know Allah and know what He asks of you. Make time to acquire as much knowledge as you can so that you won’t be wishing to be like a wise someone centuries back because you will be that wise someone and you will be able to answer the questions and remove any doubts. Be a carrier of knowledge. This is an advice to myself first and then to you my dear brothers and sisters. Lower your gaze but don’t lower your standards by failing your religion.

And for the one who is curious to know how the argument with my friend went, well… we agreed to disagree. I pray one day, he agrees to agree with me in shaa Allah. May Allah increase us all in knowledge that is beneficial to us and others and make the path of knowledge easy for all of us, may He grant us success in this world and the hereafter, ameen.

 

By: Jin Khan

The Islamic world influenced the renaissance as well. The origins of the renaissance are generally believed to lie in Italy where renewed interest in classics had a huge impact on art and culture, but the foundation of the renaissance were laid much earlier and not in Italy but in a town called Toledo in an Islamic Spain. When Toledo fell to the Christians it’s doors were open led for people all over Europe. These people mixed with the Muslims who initially lived in the city. Learning their language and reading their books.

1) In 872, Ahmad Ibn Tulun built the first mental hospital in cairo which included music therapy. Bimaristans were described by European travellers, who wrote about their wonder at the care and Kindness shown to lunatics.

2) chemistry

Jabir Ibn Hayyan known as the father of chemistry or Alchemy which actually an Arabic word of Al-Kimiya invented many scientific methods including methods of separation such as filtration, crystallization, pure distillation.

3) Ibn Sinna  known in Latin as Avicenna, his books his two books were an authority on medicine throughout the world for 500 years.

4) Ibn Al Haytham known as the father of optics. He was the first one to explain how the eyes see and first one to perform eye surgery. His work with lenses eventual led to the discovery of the camera. The camera is an Arabic word “Qamar” which means the moon or light entering a room in small processions  “Qamra” or “Qamara”

5) The first practical Windmills ever used were in the 9th century invented in Eastern Persia however an earlier anecdote involving the second Caliph mentions about Windmills having been used in 634-644 A. D

6) When we talk about bulbs and electricity it would have never existed without Abbas Ibn Firnas.

He designed one of the first ever water clocks  and devised a means of manufacturing colourless glass. He also  was the first person to make a room which conducted electricity simulating lightning.

7) Influenced Western architecture.

The Great Roman Catholic cathedral in the middle of Cordoba town in Spain was first built as a Mosque by Muslims and from its design a century later similar designs were adapted by Northern Europeans, in Lincoln cathedral and gothic cathedrals in northern Europe.

8) Al Khawarizmy known as Algorizmi or Algoritmi,   invented algebra and was instrumental on the calculus and in the development of trigonometry and the Use of Algorithm. His name itself was Latin of Algorithm. Without it we would have never been able to make computers or even phones.

9) Al – Zahrawi known in Latin as Abulcasis. Recognised as the father of modern surgery. He invented 200 tools of surgery and many of them are still in use today. He was also the first physician to describe an ectopic pregnancy and the first to identify the hereditary nature of haemophilia

10) “Amr Ibn Bahr” was the first man to discuss foodchains in his famous work ” The book of animals in the 9th century much earlier than Charles Elton who popularised it in his book in 1927

11) In 796 A.D the first brass astrolabe was built by Muhammad Al – Fazari. The astrolabe was a complicated astronomical devise that served many purposes such as telling time,  compass direction and showing the position of the stars.