Genuine Effort

Just a few days back I was reading an article on repentance. While casually checking out the comments that followed I came across one that really had me thinking. The individual would use a credit card to pay the rent of his apartment. Normally credit cards have interest on them but it has to be paid only if one fails to pay the bills on time. Due to some financial difficulties that came his way he was compelled to pay interest on the credit card he possessed. You must know that paying, taking or dealing with interest is prohibited in Islam and is considered a major sin. The man realized this late but he did what most of us fail to do. Any guesses? Well, he immediately stopped using his card. He still was in need of money and he obviously didn’t discover any hidden treasure, nevertheless, he did stop. He didn’t want to go against the command of Allah (swt) in order to pay them off. Despite the grave situation he had gotten into, he took a bold decision. He was extremely ashamed of his act and turned to Allah for forgiveness and guidance. This is what he said, “I want to repent to Allah. I could die before this happens. Death comes unannounced.”

Just look at the unwavering concern of this believer. Normally, this is not what happens.

Credit cards.

Possessing one is a matter of pride. It makes you feel proud. It makes you feel rich. You feel as if you have the key to your happiness; you can purchase anything and everything you want to without worrying about how much it costs. Be it those extravagant designer outfits or the latest phones or the lavish furniture, every single thing is just a swipe away. Now it is quite obvious that it’s not just greed that drives people to issue a credit card, rather in most cases it’s their need that tempts them into getting one. But you must know that there is no greater need than gaining our Lord’s approval and pleasure. Surely we’re not sent on this earth to just somehow manage to survive?

What each one of us should possess is the sincerity exemplified by our fellow Muslim here. He is being exceptionally true to himself, yes, his sincerity will solely benefit him. I and you will not gain anything through his repentance. All the reward that awaits this genuine effort of his is only for him. In the same vein, if you repent for the sins you’ve committed, it will only benefit you.

Prohibition of interest (usury/riba) in the Quran: “Those who consume interest cannot stand [on the Day of Resurrection] except like the standing of a person beaten by Shaitan (Satan) leading him to insanity…” (2:275)

“…Allah has permitted trade and has forbidden interest.” (2:275)

There are various hadith that exactly describe the punishment of those who deal in interest. This following for instance:

Al-Bukhari recorded that Samurah bin Jundub said in the long Hadith about the dream that the Prophet had, (We reached a river -the narrator said, “I thought he said that the river was as red as blood”- and found that a man was swimming in the river, and on its bank there was another man standing with a large collection of stones next to him. The man in the river would swim, then come to the man who had collected the stones and open his mouth, and the other man would throw a stone in his mouth.)

The explanation of this dream was that the person in the river was one who consumed Riba. (Tafsir ibn Kathir)

If you are using a credit card or are dealing in any other form of riba (home loans, life insurance) then stop immediately and repent to Allah. This applies to any sin that you commit. Never think that you have enough time to repent and easily postpone it to a later date, because as simple as it sounds you really can’t tell.

With the blessed month of Ramadan just around the corner by Allah’s grace, don’t you think it’s about time you make genuine efforts to assess your deeds and try to better your soul?


Tips for the last 10 nights of Ramadhan

Fastabiqul Khairat


Useful reminders by Sheikh Tawfique Chowdhury on the last 10 nights of Ramadhan. May Allah make us amongst those who attain rewards of Laylatul Qadr!

“The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months” (97:3)

The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “Verily, the month of Ramadan has come to you all… In it there is a night that is better than one thousand months. Whoever is deprived of its good, then he has truly been deprived.”

1. Do not let your ‘performance’ until now affect your last 10 days. The moment of forgiveness could be today or anytime in the coming days! It is not all lost! If you sincerely wish it could have been better – Chin up and get ready to make it your best yet! Start with a positive, sincere intention!

2. Today, take a little time to read the Tafseer of Surah al-Qadr…

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Checklist for the last ten nights and days of ramadan..

Mu'min's Blog

In this blessed month of Ramadan, we have now come to the grand finale – the last ten days of Ramadan that are even more blessed than the rest of Ramadan. In it is a night that Quran tells us is better than 1000 months (yes, months – not days).

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

There has come to you Ramadan, a blessed month which Allah has enjoined you to fast, during which the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and the rebellious devils are chained up. In it there is a night which is better than a thousand months, and whoever is deprived of its goodness is indeed deprived.” Narrated by al-Nasa’i, 2106; Ahmad, 8769. classed as saheeh by al-Albani in Saheeh al-Targheeb, 999.

So, in preparation for the grand finale, here is a checklist…

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Making the Most of Ramadan

Naturally, fasting (especially in summer) exhausts a person. So what usually happens is some Muslims literally *just* fast. So it’s like you get up for suhoor, eat your full, and then all through the day wait for iftar.

And, since you go hungry for sixteen or more hours, you feel that you deserve to relax. So you’d find yourself “deservedly” sleeping all day on your cozy bed, curled up in your blanket. If not sleeping, the time is utilized in worldly obsession, browsing the net, reading books, magazines and all sorts of 21st century nonsense, shopping (you wouldn’t miss out on this!), socializing, playing video games, etc. Consequently, you tend to ignore the real meaning of Islamic fasting and forget the essence and very purpose of Ramadan.

Ironic, indeed.

Ramadan isn’t a month of dieting, neither is it a month of feasting, but a month which provides you with an opportunity to train your soul, restrain your desires and submit to God’s commandments. Therefore you shouldn’t take it for granted and waste those thirty blessed days in finding ways to make yourselves comfortable while you “obediently observe your fasts” in your comfortable zones (as if that’s even such a big deal!), in contrast to the scorching deserts which housed the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and his companions (radi Allahu ‘anhum).

Time and time again, you should keep reminding yourself of the purpose of your fasts, who is it that you’re doing it for? what do you seek out of it? It is after this that you’d be able to move a step ahead in fulfilling the actual purpose of this month. Once you internalize that you’re doing it solely in obedience of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala, seeking His Pleasure alone, you’ll sense a kind of satisfaction in your heart, the heat of this summer will then not deter you, and going thirsty will not weaken you, everything will make sense at that point. Because, you’ll know that not only greater and better rewards await you in the next life, but that every legislated act in Islam is beneficial in this life too, which may be understood at some point or the other. This revived spirit will then motivate you to do more. And, more. Bi idnillah. So, next, you’d want to learn about ways you can adopt to better your status before your Lord. To get closer and dearer to Him. This is a blessed feeling, a feeling so amazing that you’d want it to stay forever. A better feeling is when you actually know your God, His Attributes. When you turn to Him repentant, knowing that He is the All-Forgiving, when you seek provision from Him, knowing that He is the Sustainer, when you know that before His Will there is no other, you let yourself to be guided. Ramadan is a beautiful opportunity to know your Lord. Get to knowing Him.

So, why not utilize this blessed month?  And by the way, do you  realize that there is so much good that you’re actually capable of doing, by the Grace of Allah? Well, here’s what you can do:

– recite the morning and evening supplications (adhkaar)

– wake up for tahajjud (the night prayer)

– offer two units prayer in the morning before Dhur (it’s called Salat ud-Duha)

So, those are just a few for a head start.

(As a sidenote: sometimes, when I myself look at a list of things that I should be doing, I feel it’s too huge a task to for me to accomplish, but hey, without actually trying it out once, how’d one know if the task is easy or not? That’s just being judgmental, and horribly at that. So an advice; just give it a shot! Do it for Allah Subhanahu wa ta’alaa, seeking reward from Him alone.)

Ramadan: A Means of Drawing Closer to The Almighty

All praise be to Allah Subhanahu wa ta’alaa that He has blessed us with the month of Ramadan. Witnessing it is indeed a blessing, because there is no other month like it. It is unique in the sense that fasting in it, which is a pillar of Islam,  has been made obligatory for the believers.

“The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.” (Surah al-Baqarah 2:185)

Fasting is a way to piety. The believer who fasts does it solely for the sake of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’alaa. It is a means of keeping him away from sins, being conscious of his Lord, making him realize the condition of the poor and most importantly investing in for a manifold increase in the Hereafter. It is an opportunity to train our souls by being submissive to Divine Commands and subjugating our desires. It teaches us the art of sacrifice, what it feels like to give up eating and drinking, and material desires.

The Noble Qur’an, which is the true Word of God Almighty, was revealed in this blessed month. This very fact makes us realize the importance the Qur’an holds in our lives, that we go back to it and let it be our guiding light in this world. The Prophet (pbuh) used to recite the Qur’an to Angel Jibril (Garbriel) in this month every year, reflecting on its meaning and being grateful to His Lord who bestowed on him a blessing as wondrous as this. It is a source of inspiration and guidance for all of mankind. God Almighty Says,

“[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded.” (Surah Sa’ad 38:29)

In Ramadan, for every good deed there is an increased reward in the Hereafter. This should make us want to perform good deeds. This is a bargain like no other. Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful increases the reward for his loving slaves in this blessed month.

In fact, the blessings are many; what is required is only a willing heart, a soul that yearns to draw closer to its Lord, a sincere intention and willpower to stay in the light of Divine Guidance, solely seeking the Pleasure of God Almighty. There were many who had witnessed this month last year, and are not among the ones witnessing it this year. Their opportunity was one, some sought benefit from it, some ignored it, but indeed successful are those who pay heed.

Alhamdullilah, Allah Subhanahu wa ta’alaa has blessed us with this opportunity once more, so let’s make the most of it, inshaAllah.

Here’s a small to-do list (Bear with me, I’ve got this habit of making to-do list’s…but this is important, right?)

  • Purify your intention
  • Avail the opportunities that come your way
  • Do it solely for God Almighty, seeking reward from Him alone
  • Do as much of ‘ibadah as you can (involves reciting/memorizing the Qur’an, reading the translation of the Qur’an/tafseer, doing dhikr)
  • Avoid sins (yeah, that includes minor wrong-doings too! remember the hadith of small sins piling up to be huge mounts in the Hereafter?)
  • Try to be conscious of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’alaa at all times

Ramadan Mubarak!!