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Archive for November, 2011


When things are Alhamdulilah going well in our lives, we may get caught up in it and chase after more, but all of a sudden we find ourselves immersed in it and we hang on tightly to it.

We all have aims and goals in life, possibly a vague idea of where we want to be in a few years time, the house we’ll be living in, the car we’ll be driving, and the holidays we can go on. But problems arise when we want things a bit too much.  We start to have an attachment to material things in this world and we place excessive importance on them, when they are actually insignificant in Allah’s view.

A fitting analogy was reported by Jabir b. Abdullah that –

 Rasul Allah (saw) happened to walk through the bazaar coming from the side of ‘Aliya and people were on both sides of him. There he found a dead lamb with very short ears. He took hold of its ear and said: ‘Who amongst you would like to have this for a dirham?’ They said: ‘We would not like to have it even for less than that as it is of no use to us.’ He said: ‘Do you wish to have it free (of any cost)?’. They said: ‘By Allah, even if it were alive (we would not have liked to possess it), for there is defect in it, as its ear is very short; and on top of that its dead now.’ Thereupon, Rasul Allah (saw) said: ‘By Allah, this world is more insignificant in the eyes of Allah than this dead lamb is in your eyes’ (Muslim)

Subhanallah! This just shows how unimportant this life is. It isn’t worth worrying over so much; or worth the anger or the tears.  And there’s no need to hang on so tightly. If you were told you could have a villa in Palm Dubai now for only a few years, or 500 villas in all the countries you wanted equipped with chefs and maids at your service for as long as you lived, which one would you want? Which one would you work towards? It would be silly to ask for the one villa immediately when all you had to do was wait longer for 500, wouldn’t it?

This hadith helps put things in perspective and reminds us that we should be more proportionate in our attitude towards this life. Life is probably on average around 70 years, in comparison to the FOREVER of happiness that we are asking for in Jannah, where we will be given things so much better than anything in this world, the unimaginable. In fact, if you think about it, it isn’t fair on our part to ONLY obey for this short time in relationship to what Allah (swt) will give us in return, yet we make it seem so difficult and we want the more immediate pleasure. So let’s obey Allah for these mere, insignificant years of life on Earth!

May Allah help us all to take this lesson from this hadith InshAllah, and keep our heads down-to-earth, but our eyes on the prize of Paradise, because that is what really matters.

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Five Before Five

“Take advantage of five matters before five other matters: your youth, before you become old; and your health, before you fall sick; and your richness, before you become poor; and your free time before you become busy; and your life, before your death.” (Hakim)

Let’s take it one at a time.

1)      ‘Your youth before you become old’

First of all, the word youth doesn’t refer to our adolescent years, it refers to the time we are have the most energy and strength. This can take us up until the age of 40. This is the time we can make use of this energy and enthusiasm to do good in ways that we won’t be able to later when we’ve aged and lost it.

Even Tweety has lost the energy for his usual antics!

When we are older, we may find it more difficult to prostrate in salah, unable to read Quran for long period of time and so on. So we are urged to take advantage of our youth while we still have it.

2)      ‘Your health before you fall sick’

Our health is certainly something we take for granted. We wish for so many things in our day to day life, but when we feel sick or unwell the only thing we want is our health back SubhanAllah. We don’t know what our life has in store for us but we know that with age, our health deteriorates and we might even get a disability la samah Allah. We really mustn’t neglect our health. Words can’t even describe my urgency about this point.

However, the following link captures it perfectly. Please watch this youtube video. Oh, and prepare for some tears.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkEBUC0APMg&list=LLUGsRZ8fNIPacp_hUnx799Q&index=1&feature=plpp_video

Subhanallah, only someone in a similar position to this man could truly understand how that feels, so let’s learn a lesson from him and stop neglecting our prayers and our duties towards Allah (swt).

3) ‘Your richness before you become poor’

Won’t go into too much detail for this one, but use your money wisely. If you are Alhamdulilah blessed with wealth then make donations, give money to those in need. Use your money for good. Mashallah some people put money together to build mosques and to feed families in third world countries. May Allah (swt) bless them and give them more so that they can continue to do amazing things.

4)      ‘Your free time before you become busy’

As with youth, we have more free time than we will later in life, so we should be prompt in doing good with our time before we become busy with more responsibilities, work and families. Of course, these are all parts of life that we can use to gain Allah’s pleasure and mercy with as everything with the right intention can be worship to Allah (swt). However, when we have more time to ourselves, we can really take advantage of that and do great things InshAllah.

5) ‘Your life before your death’

We all know the day we were born, but we will never know the day we will die. We go to sleep each day certain that we will wake up the next day but we shouldn’t. When we sleep, our soul leaves us, and only with Allah’s blessing do we receive our soul again and wake up the following day. We should be thankful we have been given another day on this Earth to make things right and make the most out of it, and refrain from wasting even a second.

As a worldy example – if your boss at work told you that your performance was going to be watched for the next month, and on a random, unspecified day in this month you were going to be told whether you were good enough to keep your job or not, would you not work your hardest everyday to ensure your best performance? Would you waste time surfing the net or would you get on with your tasks?

I’m pretty sure that if any of us were in that situation we would do our very best each day to hold on to our jobs. So why do we waste time every day when we are getting closer and closer to the day we will leave this world, a day that has already been set, but we are just unaware of its proximity. We should be savouring every moment we have for the ultimate goal InshAllah.

I pray that we all take advantage of these 5 matters before we lose them, and that Allah (swt) accepts our efforts and struggles InshAllah.

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Have you ever asked yourself – Who am I? Why am I here? What should I be doing? What is the point of life? 

I think everyone has had a time in their life when they’ve pondered about the purpose of life and what we’re all meant to be doing here. Unfortunately, some people start to get all sorts of different ideas. Some think life is all about getting rich, and ‘living the life’ as they put it. Well, then if that’s the case why aren’t all rich people happy? If that was the aim in life for all of mankind, then why don’t the people that reach it feel complete? And even if some do, what happens next? What becomes the purpose of life once you’re wealthy? And a more important question is – what’s the real point of being rich when you’re only going to leave this world at some point and leave all your wealth behind anyway?

There are probably hundreds of different theories of what people think the purpose of this life is. And sadly, millions of people live with no purpose at all, existing, rather than living.

Like Oscar Wilde once said ‘ To live is the rarest thing in the world, most people exist, that is all.’ 

But Alhamdulilah as Muslims, we know that we’re on this Earth as a test. We are in full submission to Allah (swt) and we try our best to follow the instructions we’ve been so blessed to be given in the Quran and the Sunnah. This way, we can live happy and purposeful lives. And when it is our time to go, we leave everything we have behind but take our deeds with us, which will InshAllah lead us to Jannah, completing our purpose here.

The point I’d like to make here is that it is important to regularly reflect on our purpose in this life and to keep it in check.

We live a fast-paced and busy life, with work, studies, family, and friends, not to mention the media blasting in our faces everywhere we look, telling us how to look and dress, what we should want and buy, distracting our minds constantly. It seems impossible to just stop everything for a minute and think.

We need to remember that this life is temporary; we’re only here for a short while so we shouldn’t get caught up in it, causing us to forget the whole point of it. As an example, the majority of people find university to be a few years of fun. You meet a bunch of new people, possibly your life-long friends, you join societies, sports teams, and you experience things you may not have the chance to later. It’s a blast!

But you also know that you’re only there for say ~ 3 years and the whole point of being there is to get your degree, so you make sure you study despite of all the distractions, activities and fun and you get the grades that you aimed for and you graduate. You acknowledged what you were at university for and you accomplished it.

Life is exactly the same thing. We’re here for a short time, an average of 70 years (although we have no idea when we will go, could be sooner, could be later) and then it’s bye-bye Earth, see ya never. We have families and other social relationships that we must keep; we build careers so we can earn money to put food on the table, we get married so we can share our life with someone. We have so many things that we have to do here, but we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that this is all for the Akhira.

 We have to make sure we are still working to gain Allah’s pleasure and aim to enter Jannah in the Afterlife InshAllah. And the beauty of Islam is that we can be pleasing Allah (swt) in everything we do, and in every aspect, making it the beautiful and complete religion that it is. In addition, when we life our life with purpose, we feel happy and at the end of the day, that’s what we all want in life isn’t it – to find happiness.

All we have to do is ensure that we have the intention of pleasing Allah (swt) in everything we do and that we are doing it for His sake and this is what I hope this whole site is all about. Making sure we’re on the right track with the right intentions and seeking Allah’s pleasure in all aspects of our life InshAllah.

Let’s pass the test of life and graduate together InshAllah.

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We don’t need to go on the latest diets and deprive ourselves of certain foods to maintain our weight, because eventually this will lead to cravings, binging and then gaining the weight again. The most obvious way to avoid gaining weight is to eat in moderation, which is exactly what the Quran tells us to do.

‘And eat and drink but do not waste by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) does not like those who waste by extravagance’ (Quran 7:31)

So we should eat what we like but not overdo it. In fact, Muhammad (saw) said:

‘No human fills a vessel worse than his own abdomen; a few bites are enough for man to keep his body upright, but if it is indispensable, then a third for his food, a third for his drink, and a third for his breath.’ (Tirmidhi)

Our stomachs should have equal thirds for food, water and air. We should only eat enough to keep us going, not until we feel full. Scientists have recently explained that the message sent from the stomach to the brain which gives us the feeling of satiety, actually takes 20 minutes to arrive. This is probably why we keep eating and then we realise we feel super bloated!  We’ve filled our stomachs with food and left no space for air. We should have stopped eating 20 minutes earlier.

Another point to make is that we tend to eat when we’re bored. I call it being ‘bungry’, we’re not really hungry, we’re only bored-hungry, and so we end up overeating. As a consequence, this overeating causes us to feel sick at times and certainly lazy. So not only is it bad for our health but also makes us sluggish, stopping us from performing our prayers well and other duties, hence we are advised to avoid this by eating in moderation. To combat this, we should keep ourselves busy achieving our personal goals, carrying out our Islamic duties, helping others and doing things we enjoy so we are not bored! 

Many nutritionists nowadays will tell you to eat just enough to give the body what it needs, as it will improve health and increase longevity according to their studies. An example is Patrick Holford in his book Optimum Nutrition Bible. There’s no harm in reading what nutritionists and scientists have to say about diets and health, but it is clear that the Quran and Hadith from our Prophet (saw) already have the health tips we’re looking for, and these researches are just backing it up Alhamdulilah.

Let’s follow these tips and stay healthy InshAllah!

Note: Some of these tips are inspired by the book – Healing Body and Soul by Amira Ayad.

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How to Wake Up Early?

Common phrases I usually hear are:Oh my! 6am I could never wake that early, ‘I’m more of a night person’, ‘I want to wake up early but I end up staying online til 2am so of course I have to sleep in’, ‘I love my bed too much to leave it’. Let’s be honest, we’re probably all guilty of one of these phrases, if not all of them!

But haven’t you noticed that when you REALLY NEED to be awake early, say – for an interview for your dream job, or your A-Level exams, or to catch an early flight to Barbados, you will wake up early without fail? Whether you stayed up late or not? This is because you mentally noted that you HAVE to wake up or you’re in trouble. You had the drive and the motivation to wake up because otherwise you’d waste an opportunity to secure that job, you’d fail your A-Levels, and you’d either miss out on a sunny vay-kay in Barbados or have to fork up another few hundred quid for a later flight!

In fact, not only did you wake up, but you probably woke up a few times during the night, frantically checking the time, because you were so worried that you’d oversleep.

So why is it then when it comes to waking up for salat al-Fajr, we slack so much? And we don’t have the same drive to wake up in fear that we’ll miss it. Is Fajr not as important as our holiday?

Just because we don’t see a negative consequence immediately after missing Fajr, doesn’t mean we’re not failing to please our Creator (swt). Fajr should be our drive to wake up early, above all the other benefits mentioned in Part 1 of the Early Bird.

Let’s remind ourselves why Fajr is so important, in hope that it will drive us to wake up every day for Fajr without fail InshAllah:-

Fajr is mentioned in both the Quran and Hadith:-

In the Qur’an, Allah Most High says:

“So establish the Prayer after the declining of the sun [from its zenith, for Dhuhr and then Asr] to the dusk of night [Maghrib and then ‘Isha] and the [Quranic]recitation of Fajr [prayer].  Indeed, the [Quranic] recitation of Fajr is witnessed.” (Quran 17:78)

According to Al-Suyuti in his book Tafsir al-Jalalayn, the meaning of witnesses here refers to both the angels of the previous night and the new morning who listen to the Fajr prayer being recited due to its great status with Allah (swt).

For those who fear Hell, and those who want to work towards entering Jannah, the following two hadiths should help:

The Messenger of Allah (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) has said:

“Whoever performs the Prayer before the rising of the sun [Fajr] and before its setting [‘Asr], will not enter the Hell.” (Muslim)

“Whoever prays the two cooler prayer times (i.e., Fajr and `Asr) will enter Paradise.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

This is not to say that the other prayers aren’t obligatory, but to put emphasis on these two prayers, as these are the ones that people usually miss, because they are at difficult times of the day. Fajr requires waking up from deep sleep, and Asr is during time of work. It is unstated but clear that the one who prays these two prayers is praying all five salahs.

So, now we know we must get up for Fajr, let’s have a look at the different ways we can help ourselves to actually get up:

A Few Tips

Fighting off your worst enemy: Shaytaan is our worst enemy, he will try to stop us from doing any good deed, but the more we persist to beat him, the more reward we get, and the more we please Allah (swt) InshAllah.

In the morning, when Shaytaan tells you to snooze for only 5 more minutes, IGNORE. And rest assure that by getting out of bed straight away, you’ve beaten him! So you might as well kick him out of your room while you’re at it, do Wudhu’ and pray salat al-Fajr. That’ll teach him… (actually it won’t teach him, he’ll keep trying to mess with you any chance he gets! But it’s a good start.)

Click here to read a story about beating Shaytaan that we can learn from InshAllah.

Alarm: Place your Radio-alarm, iPhone, Blackberry or whatever device you use to wake yourself up at an UNREACHABLE distance from your bed. This way you have to get up to switch it off. And why not set your alarm tone to something other than that annoying jingle you hate so much, to something more comforting to the ear. The Quran or the Athan are good ideas, as they’ll remind the half-asleep you that it’s time to pray.

Get your family and friends involved:  Make it a fun challenge with your family and friends, to see who will be the first one to wake up and wake the others. PING! or call each other to help waking those who have snoozed automatically!

And the most obvious one –

SLEEP EARLY: My brother asked me what magic I use to get me up at 5am every morning. I told him it wasn’t magic, it was SLEEPING EARLY. If you sleep after the Isha prayer, which is recommended by our Prophet Muhammad (saw), then you will inevitably find it easier to wake up for Fajr. It might take time to get into the routine of sleeping by 10pm and waking up at 5am but slowly try and shift your bedtime earlier and it will become routine.

InshAllah you will have so much Baraka in your day when you’ve woken up early and prayed Fajr at its time, and made Duah. You will feel positive and can shine through the rest of the day!

'Wakey wakey! Rise and shining!

So rise and shine fellow Dynamic Muslims!

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A man woke up to pray Fajr in the masjid. He got dressed, performed Wudhu and made his way to the masjid.

But, on his way he fell to the ground and his clothes got dirty. So, he got up and walked back home. He changed into clean clothes, did Wudhu, and set off to the masjid again.

But, on his way, he fell yet again! In the same place! So, for a second time, he got up and went home, changed into clean clothes, made Wudhu and walked to the masjid again.

This time, on his way he saw a man holding a lamp. He asked him who he was, and the second man replied: ‘I saw you fall twice on your way to the masjid, so I brought a lamp to light your way’.

The first man thanked him and they both walked to the masjid. When they arrived, the first man asked the man with the lamp to come inside with him and pray Fajr, but he refused. He asked him again, but the man still refused. So he then asked him why he did not want to come and pray.

The second man replied: ‘I am Shaytaan. I saw you on your way to the masjid and it was I who made you fall. When you went home, cleaned yourself and made your way to the masjid again, Allah forgave all of your sins. I made you fall a second time, and even that didn’t discourage you, you cleaned yourself again and made your way to the masjid. This time Allah forgave the sins of the people of your household.’

‘I was afraid that if I made you fall one more time, then Allah would forgive the sins of the people of your village, so I made sure you reached the masjid safely.’

What can we learn from this story?

When we try to do a good deed, Shaytaan will be there to stop us. But we shouldn’t get discouraged but rather, just like the man in the story, we should get up and try again. We don’t know how much reward we receive from the hardships we face while doing a good deed.

When we encounter obstacles and find it hard to do good, we must recognize that it is Shaytaan trying to prevent us, whether it is that inability to wake up for Fajr, or thinking it is ‘too much effort’ to go Jummah cos of the tube strikes or that feeling of laziness when you have an exam to revise for. It’s all Shaytaan trying to convince us that it’s easier and more comfortable not to do good. But let’s ignore him, persevere and InshAllah gain lots of reward.

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Have you ever been in those long queues outside a clothes store at 5am on the first day of their sale? Or maybe you’ve bought a ticket, whether it was a plane, train or game ticket (rhyme not intentional) and realised you could have paid 50 quid less had you booked earlier?

If so, then you already know that being early certainly has its advantages. Similarly, starting your day earlier by waking up earlier has several perks. Let’s have a look at some of these:

RushNOmore

  • If you’re someone who needs time to get ready in the morning, then waking up early means you don’t have to rush, running around from room to room like a tornado, leaving a mess behind everything you touch

Who doesn’t love food? 

  • Hurray! You get time for breakfast! Everyone is aware that having a good breakfast sets you up well for the day, gets you energized and feeling fresh

To-Do List

  • You have time to make a to-do list and plan your tasks for the day effectively – this way you have more structure to your day and you’re less likely to waste time

36 hour day

  • If it’s a weekday, you can probably run the few errands you were planning to do after work/uni, leaving you more time to unwind after 5pm. If it’s the weekend, you’ve probably finished the mundane things you set out to do by midday, and you have the rest of the day to do the fun stuff and achieve your goals. Compare that to waking up a midday..

Exercise

  • Early morning exercises are the best – they get you pumped and energized for the day. Plus, when you exercise you release endorphins which give you a sense of well-being, along with adrenaline (epinephrine), kick-starting your day with a positive attitude

Quiet

  • The roads are clear and everyone else is asleep = peace and quiet for you to get on with your jobs for the day and get a headstart!

Appreciate Nature

  • I personally love how the sky changes from dark to light, with a spectrum of colours in between and slowly creeping to blue. It’s beautiful and also a means of worship to appreciate Allah (swt)’s creation. We miss out on lovely sceneries when we’re asleep!

All of these benefits and yet we haven’t mentioned the most important. Fajr! You never have to miss praying Fajr again. We all know the importance of this salah but as a quick reminder, here’s a hadith:

Abu Musa (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “He who The observes Al-Bardan (i.e., Fajr and `Asr prayers) will enter Jannah.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Of course we must perform all the 5 obligatory salat, but there are additional merits for those who keep the Fajr salat, for the pure fact that we have to get up from our sleep to do so.

So let’s starting waking up early and reaping the benefits! 🙂

P.S – Read Part 2 on how to get up early by clicking here.

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