Articles

RAMADAN PREPARATION PROGRAMME

Article Provided by Moulana Shabeer Khan

Posted 03 April 2019

6 weeks before Ramadan

Wake up call’ Week
– Recite the following dua’ to make it to Ramadan. Do this repeatedly throughout the day and every day leading up to Ramadan:
– “Allahumma baarik lanaa fi Rajab wa Sha’baan wa ballighnaa Ramadaan”
– Write down specific targets, no more than five, of things that you want to achieve this Ramadan
– Start to read some books about Ramadan. This will help you get into the – — Ramadan mode and you will also learn about the do’s and don’ts of fasting, which is important if you want to derive the maximum benefit from it.

5 weeks before Ramadan

‘Heart Focus’ Week

– Make Tawbah Nasooha
– Listen to Islamic lectures, choose a scholar and topic that you feel will motivate you and get your heart in the right state
– Do your very best to pray all your salah on time
– Ensure that you pray the sunnah al-mu’akkadah rak’at with your five daily fard prayers
– Actively focus on improving your khushoo’ in salah by spending more time on it and concentrating on what you are saying
– Allocate time to doing tasbeeh and istighfar, especially after salah.

4 weeks before Ramadan

‘Fasting & Qur’an’ Week

–  Start making up the qada of missed fasts from previous Ramadan(s)
– Once you have made up all your qada fasts, start fasting on Mondays and Thursdays
– Involve your family and friends by encouraging them to fast as well
– Allocate a certain amount of Qur’an to read every day and ensure that you read this amount regularly
– Get an English translation and a tafsir book to help you understand the Qur’an and read these regularly.

3 weeks before Ramadan

‘Night Prayer and start thinking about charity’ Week

– If one of your weak points is getting up on time for Fajr, now is the time to get this right by going to bed early and setting the alarm for Fajr time
– Start to pray Qiyam ul-Layl after ‘Isha
– Start getting up for Tahajjud; you only need to wake up half an hour before you normally would for Fajr
– Agree with a friend or family member to wake each other up for Tahajjud
– Think of ways you can benefit your community and the ummah with charitable acts. Be imaginative, try and involve as many people as you can and remember that even the smallest act of kindness counts as charity.

2 weeks before Ramadan

‘Increase your efforts & allocating Zakat & Sadaqah’ Week

– Spend more time than you already are reading and understanding the Qur’an
– Focus even more on your salah. You can start praying the sunnah ghair al-mu’akkadah and salatul Duha, for example
– Increase the number of rak’at your pray for Qiyam ul-Layl and Tahajjud
– Increase the amount of time you are spending on tasbeeh and istighfar
– Allocate your zakat if you are due to pay it
– Allocate the amount you want to pay for sadaqah in Ramadan and set it aside. As you do so, make an effort to read about the plight of those less fortunate than ourselves. This will have the two-fold effect of making you grateful for what you have and wanting to do more for charity.

1 week before Ramadan

‘Connecting with family and friends’ Week

– Organise a family get together
– Contact all of your family, those who live locally as well as those abroad, to wish them the best for this Ramadan
– Organise goody bags for your family and friend’s children to get them excited about Ramadan

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Stay Sharp!

Posted 12 May 2017

By Muhammad Arshad

They say that a fool lives to eat and a wise person eats to live. But then the question remains: for what purpose does the wise person live? Living is not an end by itself. There has to be a purpose for to live for. So what is this purpose?

Most who reflect or think about life in any detail will consider and ponder about this. If the purpose of life is to become wealthy, obviously there would be no purpose after becoming wealthy. How could wealth then be considered as the aim of life?

Once upon a time, a strong woodcutter got a job with a timber merchant. The pay was good, so he determined to do his best.

His boss gave him an axe. The first day he brought 18 trees. He tried harder, but only managed 15 the second day. The third day saw him bring only 10.

Day by day the amount decreased. The woodcutter thought he was losing his strength and went to the boss and apologized.

“When last did you sharpen your axe?” asked the timber merchant. “Sharpen? I had no time for that. I was very busy trying to cut trees,” replied the woodcutter.

Our lives are like this. We get so busy that we don’t take time to sharpen our axe. Everyone is busier, but less happy than ever. Why? We have forgotten how to “stay sharp”.

There’s nothing wrong with activity and hard work. No doubt we have to work hard but in doing so the primary objectives must not be ignored! Indeed we should not get so busy that we neglect the truly important matters like taking time worship Allah Ta’ala and serve His Deen in the way shown to us by The Noble Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him), fulfilling our obligations to family and community etc.

“The purpose of life is to live a life of purpose, for life without a purpose is like a body without a soul”

So take time to reflect for if we don’t sharpen our axes, we will become dull and lose our effectiveness!

Anytime Resolutions…5 Easy Tips!

Posted 07 October 2016

By Abu Muhammad Yusuf
The Islamic New has recently begun and people generally ponder about on how to approach this New Islamic Year and their work, health and relationships etc.
In reality we don’t need a New Year or special occasion to make a resolution for doing or achieving good. It can be done instantaneously!
Common resolutions include cutting down on chocolate/weight, quit smoking, getting in shape, etc. A lot involves benefits to the health and/or improving lifestyle. Others include giving more to charity, being closer to family which boosts a personal level of satisfaction etc. But this we as Muslims should be doing regardless.

What about us? Have we set a goal or targets for ourselves? If so, was it because it was a New Year? Did you have to wait for the New Year to set it? Is there something about you that you wish to improve? No human is perfect!
As Muslims we should ideally and additionally be setting goals for not only our material well-being but more importantly for our spiritual self. That is not to say that we should not set goals for this material life, by all means go ahead but let us not forget the journey that lies ahead once our eyes close from this temporary abode.
Yes set high goals both for our Spiritual and Material progress.
The Holy Qur’an says: “Our Lord! Grant us good in this world and good in the life to come and keep us safe from the torment of the Fire” (Quran:Al-Baqarah:201).

Allah Ta’ala mentions in the Holy Quran; “…And I created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me..”(Quran 51:56)

5 Easy Tips To Get You Started…

REACH FOR THE STARS! AIM HIGH:
So indeed there is no harm in achieving good in both materially and spiritually. The most important is to note that all resolutions, hopes, ambitions and dreams etc are entirely dependent on Allah Ta’ala, The Most Wise, for their fulfillment. So making Dua (asking Allah Ta’ala) is the most essential ingredient for achievement. When making dua “reach for the stars” i.e. ask Allah Ta’ala for the best, in fact ask for everything good. Don’t leave out anything. Allah, The Most Wise, says: “Invoke Me, (and ask Allah for anything) I will respond to your (invocation/dua)…” (Quran: 40: 60)

ELIMINATE TRANSGRESSIONS:
Most businesses refuse to grant more credit to a bad debtor or nonpayer, likewise how can we expect Allah Ta’ala to grant us good if we continuously sin and transgress? To get the Help of Allah Ta’ala we need to remove sin from our lives. We are not perfect and as humans we often err. But the least we can do to show our sincerity to Allah Ta’ala is to intend to abandon ALL forms of sins from our lives. Allah is Ar-Rahman, the Most Compassionate, and Ar-Raheem, the Most Merciful. Allah Ta’ala reminds us of the greatness of His Forgiveness and Mercy so that no one w ould despair due to the amount of sins he or she may have committed.
“O My servants who have transgressed against their own souls, despair not of the Mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Qur’an: 39:53)

MAKE ISLAM THE BIGGER CIRCLE:
Until now we may have made our material (worldly) desires the Bigger Circle in our life and Deen (Islam) the inner Smaller Circle that occupies a very small insignificant place in the Bigger Circle. Now resolve to make Deen(Islam) the Bigger Circle and make everything else fit into the Bigger Circle. If it does not conform to Deen, no matter what it may be, leave it out of the Bigger Circle!
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is reported to have said: “None of you can be a true Muslim, unless his desires are subject to the deen (religion) that I have brought.” (Hadith).

SET SPECIFIC GOALS:
Leaving our intentions vague and general is not wise. Make specific intentions and set targets. Cover each aspect of your life which you would like to improve upon and set targets that are easily attainable. Don’t leave it open ended. He who fails to plan, plans to fail!

BE EXTENSIVE AND SYSTEMATIC:
Yes, let the list be extensive, realistic and systematic. Dedicate time with family to make these resolutions. Make your family part of it and set goals together. In addition, it helps to write down intentions and to regularly review those intentions in order to achieve those commitments.
Finally the most important resolution is that My Creator Allah Ta’ala must be pleased with me. So whatever I desire, do, say, want, etc must be only to please my Lord!
May Allah Ta’ala make this Islamic Year 1438 Hijrah the most spiritually rewarding year for the Ummah and may He grant ease and relief to those that are suffering and oppressed throughout the world.…Ameen


A wake up call

Posted 04 September 2015

Life is a journey with important lessons that are learned along the way. It’s full of surprises
encompassing moments of happiness and sadness. During this journey we need to be mindful
of our ultimate destination.
Often in pursuit of our material objectives, we are so absorbed and obsessed that we become
oblivious about those important people that are near and dear to us and forget about our
greater and real purpose in life.
There was a very successful executive, Mike, traveling down a busy neighbourhood street.
He was speeding in his sleek, black, two month old BMW Coupe. A brick sailed out and –
Baaangg! – it smashed Into the BMW’s shiny black side door! SCREECH..!!!! Brakes
slammed! Gears ground into reverse, and tires madly spun the car back to the spot from
where the brick had been thrown.
Mike jumped out of the car, grabbed the kid and pushed him up against a parked car. He
shouted at the kid, “What was that all about and who are you? Just what the heck are you
doing?!” Building up a head of steam, he went on. “That’s my new BMW, that brick you
threw is going to cost you a lot of money. Why did you throw it?”
“Please, mister, please. . . I’m sorry! I didn’t know what else to do”, pleaded the youngster. “I
threw the brick because no one else would stop!” Tears were dripping down the boy’s chin as
he pointed around the parked car. “It’s my brother, mister,” he said. “He rolled off the curb
and fell out of his wheelchair and I can’t lift him up.” Sobbing, the boy asked the executive,
“Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He’s really hurt and he’s too
heavy for me.”
Moved beyond words, the young executive tried desperately to swallow the rapidly swelling
lump in his throat. Straining, he lifted the young man back into the wheelchair and took out
his handkerchief and wiped the scrapes and cuts, checking to see that everything was going to
be OK. He then watched the younger brother push him down the sidewalk towards their
home.
It was a long walk back to the sleek, black, shining, BMW -a long and slow walk. Mike never
fixed the side door of his car. He kept the dent to remind him not to go through life so fast
that someone has to throw a brick at him to get his attention. It was indeed a real wake-up
call!
A brick thrown at us is not always a tragedy and could be blessing in disguise as it brings a
deep realisation within us that we need to do some serious introspection and to become more
conscious about our greater purpose and objectives in life. Allah says:
‘…and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing
which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.'(Qur’an:Surah Baqarah: 216)
In life there is always another dimension to a tragedy and in all situations one can find
goodness and reward from Allah Ta’ala provided one endures patiently.  Sure it is not easy to
undergo a difficulty and remain unhurt, but know in your mind and believe in your heart that
it is indeed better for you.
We need to be positive as traverse this journey of life and each difficulty or problem that we
encounter can be medication for our soul and a preparation for the onward journey. Allah
Ta’ala says:“Verily, with hardship there is relief” (Qur’an 94:6).We have absolutely no control over what happens to us in life but what we have vital control
over is how we respond to those events. How we respond to them defines our character and
the quality of our life. We can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity
of the loss, or we can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift we have
life itself!
A crisis creates the opportunity to dip deep into the reservoirs of our very being, to rise to
levels of confidence, strength, and resolve that otherwise we didn’t think we possessed. No
matter what challenges or obstacles we experience, we make a CHOICE to become better or
bitter because of it.
So the next time a brick is flung at us…remember it may just be that Wake-Up Call!
May Allah Ta’ala grant us strength in adversity…Ameen.


Saved by a Simple Gesture

Posted 24 August 2015

This story is about a person working at a freezer plant

It was almost the day end. Everyone had packed up to check out. A technical snag developed in the plant and he went to check. By the time he finished it was late. The doors were sealed and the lights were off.

Trapped inside the ice plant for the night without air and light, an icy grave was almost sure for him. Hours passed thus. Suddenly he found someone opening the door.

Was it a miracle?

The security guard entered there with a torch and helped him to come out.

On the way back the person asked the security guard, “How did you know that I was inside? Who informed you?” the guard said, “No one sir; this unit has about 50 people. But you are the only one who greets me with salaam in the morning and in the evening.

You had reported in morning. But did not go out. That made me suspicious.”

He never knew a small gesture of greeting someone would prove to be a lifesaver for him.

Remember to greet when you meet someone, of course, with a warm smile. You never know – it may work a miracle in your life too.

Education is not a degree or certificate that can be shown to others as proof. It is our attitude, actions, language and behavior with
others in real life..!!


Mother’s Love

Posted 14 August 2015

The Vietnam War broke out. Followed the heart, the young husband joined the military and sacrificed his life leaving behind his wife and kids.Life postwar was very hard, often with not enough food to eat. Still young and beautiful, the wife refused to remarry and dedicated her entire life to raise her kids with the best possible care and education.

An opportunity came, the first born son immigrated to America, studied hard and became a NASA Engineer having a good life.

The son sent home letters often, together with much money for mom to spend, however, Christmas after Christmas, New Year after New Year, with the many excuses, the son stubbornly refused to travel home to visit mom.

When the mother died, the son returned and organized a big funeral but people did not see him shredding tear.

Mother left behind a chest that she always placed at the top of her bed. During the funeral, the son opened the chest and suddenly bursted into tears, sobbed, embraced his mother’s coffin and screamed hysterically, “Mom! Mom!”

Everyone looked at each other and looked at the chest. It was full of $100 dollar bills and a piece of paper.

In it read, “Son, I don’t spend too much money. I miss you a lot. Every time I hear a motorcycle passing by, I run out the door but it wasn’t my son. I saved this money for you in case when you get sick.”

Author Michael Luong


 The Golden House

Posted: 07 August 2015

The little girl lived in a small, very simple, poor house on a hill and as she grew she
would play in the small garden and as she grew she was able to see over the garden
fence and across the valley to a wonderful house high on the hill – and this house had
golden windows, so golden and shining that the little girl would dream of how magic it
would be to grow up and live in a house with golden windows instead of an ordinary
house like hers.
And although she loved her parents and her family, she yearned to live in such a golden
house and dreamed all day about how wonderful and exciting it must feel to live there.
When she got to an age where she gained enough skill and sensibility to go outside her
garden fence, she asked her mother is she could go for a bike ride outside the gate and
down the lane. After pleading with her, her mother finally allowed her to go, insisting that
she kept close to the house and didn’t wander too far. The day was beautiful and the
little girl knew exactly where she was heading! Down the lane and across the valley, she
rode her bike until she got to the gate of the golden house across on the other hill.
As she dismounted her bike and lent it against the gate post, she focused on the path
that lead to the house and then on the house itself…and was so disappointed as she
realized all the windows were plain and rather dirty, reflecting nothing other than the sad
neglect of the house that stood derelict.
So sad she didn’t go any further and turned, heart broken as she remounted her bike …
As she glanced up she saw a sight to amaze her…there across the way on her side of
the valley was a little house and its windows glistened golden …as the sun shone on her
little home.
She realized that she had been living in her golden house and all the love and care she
found there was what made her home the ‘golden house’. Everything she dreamed was
right there in front of her nose!


 Listen to the Sound of Silence 

Posted: 22 July 2015

There once was a farmer who discovered that he had lost his watch in the barn. It was no ordinary watch because it had sentimental value for him.

After searching high and low among the hay for a long while; he gave up and enlisted the help of a group of children playing outside the barn.

He promised them that the person who found it would be rewarded.

Hearing this, the children hurried inside the barn, went through and around the entire stack of hay but still could not find the watch. Just when the farmer was about to give up looking for his watch, a little boy went up to him and asked to be given another chance.The farmer looked at him and thought, “Why not? After all, this kid looks sincere enough.”

So the farmer sent the little boy back in the barn. After a while the little boy came out with the watch in his hand! The farmer was both happy and surprised and so he asked the boy how he succeeded where the rest had failed.

The boy replied, “I did nothing but sit on the ground and listen. In the silence, I heard the ticking of the watch and just looked for it in that direction.”

Moral : A peaceful mind can think better than a worked up mind. Allow a few minutes of silence to your mind every day, and see, how sharply it helps you to set your life the way you expect it to be! The soul always knows what to do to heal itself..The challenge is to silence the mind….


 The Triple Filter Test

During the golden Abbasid period, one of the scholars in Baghdad, the capital of Muslim caliphate at that time, was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem.One day an acquaintance met the great scholar and said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”

“Hold on a minute,” the scholar replied. “Before telling me anything I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test.”

“Triple filter?”

“That’s right,” the scholar continued. “Before you talk to me about my friend it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say.

That’s why I call it the triple filter test.

The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?

“No,” the man said, “actually I just heard about it and..”

“All right,” said the scholar. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not.

Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?

“No, on the contrary…”

“So,” the scholar continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him, but you’re not certain it’s true. You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left: the filter of usefulness.

Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?

“No, not really.”

“Well,” concluded the scholar, “if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”

“O ye who believe! Let not some men among you laugh at others: It may be that the (latter) are better than the (former)” … (to end of surah) Hujurat 49.12

“And spy not on each other behind their backs…” (to end of surah) Hujurat 49.13

Praise be to Allah.


The Carpenter

A highly skilled carpenter who had grown old was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire.

The employer was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter agreed to this proposal but made sure that this will be his last project. Being in a mood to retire, the carpenter was not paying much attention to building this house. His heart was not in his work. He resorted to poor workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.

When the job was done, the carpenter called his employer and showed him the house. The employer handed over some papers and the front door key to the carpenter and said “This is your house, my gift to you.”

The carpenter was in a shock! What a shame! If he had only known that he was building his own house, he would have made it better than any other house that he ever built!

Our situation can be compared to this carpenter. Allah Ta’la has sent us to this world to build our homes in paradise by obeying His commands. Now, we have to decide how well we wish to build the homes where we will live forever.