Thursday, 31 December 2015

Importance of praying prayers on time

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What would you say to one who prays his prayers generally, but when he is at school or work with no prayer facilities, he feels that he is excused due to difficulty


Allah has determined certain times for the daily prayers which may not be violated. Allah says: “For such prayers are enjoined on believers at stated times.” 

Timely performance is so important that we are command to perform prayer even during battle. Prayer should be performed on time even by someone riding a horse being pursued by an enemy. Allah did not allow neglecting the appointed time in the most serious cases. 

What those Muslims are doing by delaying their prayers is a grave sin which needs to be atoned for with true and sincere repentance. 

Everyone has to pray on time, and any activity that prevents this should be abandoned. Whoever abandons something for the sake of Allah, Allah will reward him with something far better.

For Ladies: Have a Good Day, the Islamic Way


A Blessed Morning

Wake up in the morning with gratitude in your heart. Express gratitude that all your limbs and faculties are intact and that Allah has blessed you with another day to serve Him. You could’ve woken up with a bad headache or aches and pains but if your health is in order, give abundant praise.

Gratitude promotes abundance in one’s life, as Allah states in the Quran,

“If you are grateful [to Me], I shall most certainly give you more and more.”(Quran 14: 7)

Make an intention to spend the day in Allah’s obedience. Thus refrain from sin and any haram acts that may severe your relationship with Allah and ask Him to grant you the ability to serve Him well.

Sacrificing the comfort of a warm bed to worship Allah is one of the most beautiful ways to express your love for Him. So strive to make the Tahajjud (late night prayers) prayers a priority in your day. There are enormous blessings bestowed in this special time when Allah draws His servants so near and graciously grants them whatever they desire. Even if you wake just 20 minutes before Fajr (dawn) to pray it, try not to skip it.

If you have little kids who often clamor over you while you pray, Fajr may be one of the prayers that you are able to perform with concentration and devotion.

If possible complete as much Quran reading and dhikr at this time as the blessings of it will be scattered throughout your day. The Prophet (PBUH) has stated that if a person recites surah Yaseen (chapter 36) early in the morning then his needs for the day will be fulfilled (Mishkat).Therefore, take advantage of this opportunity to offer a beautiful prayer to your Lord and be spiritually rejuvenated in return. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that “whoever performs the prayer before the rising of the sun (Fajr) and before its setting (‘Asr), will not enter the Hell.” (Muslim)

Remember, You Are the Heart

There is a popular saying that, “The father may be the head of the house but the mother is the heart.”

Mothers  are the ones who set the emotional tone in a house.  So wake up your kids in a pleasant manner. Kids, especially little ones, crave loving connections and a loving mother is a beautiful mother. While mothers usually have a load on their minds in the morning, strive to give your kids a good dose of positive attention, as this will foster co-operation.

Our Prophet (PBUH) was very affectionate, merciful and even playful with kids and he set the best and most beautiful example for us.  With this in mind, when waking them up, climb into bed and snuggle with them for a few moments, fill their emotional cups and just enjoy seeing their fresh little faces.

A scholar once made a profound statement when he said that there is little difference between the Muslim mother and atheist mother – they both have similar mundane tasks for the day except that the Muslim mother has the opportunity to spend her entire day remembering Allah.

Important Things to Remember

Therefore, keep your tongue moist with the remembrance of Allah. As you pack lunches, get bags ready, hang the washing – let your heart find contentment in Allah’s remembrance for verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest. (Quran 13:28)

Strive to pack your family healthy lunches and serve them a healthy breakfast so that they have the stamina to face the day. Serve dates, honey and milk as these are sunnah foods and will earn you spiritual rewards.  Encourage your family to eat with the intention that the foods strengthen their bodies to serve Allah for the day - this act of eating and enjoying halal foods then becomes ibadah (worship).

It is a fact that men want to feel loved and cared for just as much as women do so do not underestimate the positive effect a little love note can do. Pop one into hubby’s lunch box with the intention of enhancing the love between you. Alternatively, a sweet text message or an email while hubby is at work can stir heartfelt emotions and will set the mood of your relationship for the day.

Make sure there are some positive connections between you and your kids before they leave the house. A good long hug or wishes for a good day are simple ways to establish positive vibes.

Umm Zaynab, mother of 4, says she likes to send her daughters a flying kiss at the door before they leave. If you are dropping them off, use the drive in the car to connect.

There are many delightful reports of moments of humor shared between the Prophet (PBUH) and the sahaba (companions). Sharing jokes in the car can be a fun lighthearted start to a serious day. Alternatively, use the time to give them some simple Islamic advice while their minds are still fresh.

Tidiness and cleanliness is an intrinsic part of being Muslim.

“Verily Allah is Pure and loves purity, Clean and loves cleanliness, Noble and loves nobility, Generous and loves generosity. So, keep your courtyards (of your homes) clean, and do not resemble the Jews.” (Tirmidhi)

These household chores are part of the daily grind so why not turn them into acts of ibadah (worship) you can earn rewards for. Make the intention to do it for the sake of Allah as He loves cleanliness and order. In the same vein, beautifying your home for Allah’s pleasure and for bringing comfort to your family can also earn you rewards since Allah is beautiful and loves beauty. [Muslim]

While cooking can be a real labor at times, turning it into ibadah can be a motivating factor to get that pot on the stove. Our bodies are a trust from Allah and one that we should nourish and care for so cook your family wholesome foods. Beautify this daily act by keeping up with the remembrance of Allah while you stir your pot, add your spice and measure your flour etc.

When opening your fridge express gratitude for all that Allah, your Raziq (Provider), has bestowed on you.  Reciting Allah’s name, Ya-Wadudu (All-Loving) and blowing onto the food can facilitate loving relationships amongst members in the family. This is a great means to douse sibling rivalry for sure!

Dealing with Stress : Why Me?


There is relief in knowing that although we may be stressed and unhappy we know that it's part of God's plan.

Everyone feels stressed at times.

But there are periods in our lives when we feel particularly overwhelmed with tension. And during these periods we can feel really awful and have highly unpleasant stress symptoms to deal with.

In essence, stress, worry and sadness are part and parcel of human life and part of being human. It is a normal human emotion that more or less all human beings experience in different phases in their lives.

Whether it is the exams approaching for those still in school or college, job hunting, financial pressure, mother worries (believe me there is a ton of that) or the looming work interview it is without doubt that we may become bogged down and discouraged in life's problems.

Worry is the opposite of faith, while nobody is judging, it's important to realize that worry steals our peace, physically wears us out, and can even make us sick. When we worry, we torment ourselves and those around us as we're doing the devil's job for him.Worry being like a rocking chair always in motion never gets us anywhere; actually it gets us nowhere fast. So why do we struggle with it? And what good does it do?

Worry is caused by not trusting God to take care of the various situations in our lives. As Muslims we are taught to stress less and trust more by praying to God when we feel we are lost.

Too often we trust our own abilities, believing that we can figure out how to take care of our own problems. Yet sometimes, after all our worry and effort to do it alone, we come up short, unable to bring about suitable solutions.

Sometimes the pressure coming from peers, family, work, and society in general is enough to make us feel completely broken inside.  If we don’t have the 'right' job, relationship, lifestyle, and so forth, by a certain age or timeframe, we assume we’re just 'not good enough'.

It's during these times of worry and stress that we as Muslims will find comfort in turning to God and simply opening His book. By reading how our Prophets also suffered from worry and stress we find comfort in knowing they shared our experiences; they shared our fears.

One beautiful group of verses I personally find offers instant relief is Surat Al-Duha. By reading it and feeling it we find peace, hope, and a renewed faith in God when we go through states of depression, stress, sadness, and hopelessness.

This is a very powerful verse from God telling us that He doesn’t hate us and hasn’t forgotten us
The Quran reads:

{Your Lord has not taken leave of you, nor has He detested [you].} (93:3)

This is a very powerful verse from God telling us that He doesn’t hate us and hasn’t forgotten us reminding us that He is always by our side. Also the Quranic verse:

{It is he who makes you laugh and cry.} (53:43)

There is relief in knowing that although we may be stressed and unhappy, we know that it's part of God's plan while we may not realize and understand why. We must remember that no human being is burdened with trouble and difficulties they cannot bear. This means that the human being can bear many unthinkable burdens that one initially feels that they cannot tolerate.

How many times in your life, especially before tests did you feel you cannot take it anymore, but you lived through it?

Backtrack on the pressures of high school, college and work, how many of us went through great difficulties but lived through it and survived?

Deadlines, projects and other stress triggering factors leave us drained but we are blessed with the knowledge that these stresses are what make us today the person we are.

When we go through difficult periods, and are struck by bad times, it brings out the real humanness in us, and we begin to ask the very questions that are most fundamental to us: “Why are we here? What is the purpose of life, why me, what happened to all my plans and dreams? We then learn the frailty of our humanness.

OK, so in a moment of honesty, have you ever sat back and thought why not me?

I know I have or at least should have more often. I am guilty as charged drowning in the 'why me,' in the unfairness of whatever calamity and stressful case I happened to be facing and wallow in the idea of bad things happening to good people. Assuming of course I'm a good person and don’t deserve to be stressed or worrying.

everything is written and with this we must feel comforted
I always feared being a ‘why person’.

Sometimes we get really hooked into 'why me' mode, and it just eats away at every fiber of our core why can’t our tests be easy, why are things so hard, why, why, why.

Questions like why did it happen and the emotions of stress, turning into grief, anger, bitterness, and resentment along with the dance in our head and the ache in our heart will keep circling and banging into the walls of our brain contributing further to our stress if we don’t learn to keep this constant worry under control.

We sometimes forget very important factors; firstly, everything is written and with this we must feel comforted, and secondly if we face stress and discomfort there will always be ease after this hardship.

Furthermore, Muslims are comforted with the thought that depending on how we face our challenges we will be rewarded accordingly. In fact the way we respond to a challenge may also be a type of stress contributing further to the sense of discomfort we are facing.

There is a level of comfort in knowing however that without worry we would lose purpose with no opportunities for personal, professional and spiritual growth; it sorts of keeps us alert.I have after all these years realized that it is difficult to grow when we are in our comfort zone. Many of us prefer to stay here because we don’t want to experience the stress and anxiety of discomfort. But by doing so, we limit our potential for growth. So maybe stress isn’t all bad after all (of course in small and controlled doses).

The reality is that we need to embrace our healthy share of uncomfortable experiences in this life. Acknowledging this, we need to find a way to face them, shall it be a flight or fight response, in short how do we embrace stress and growing through the process. Remember what won’t kill us will make us stronger even if the stress is overwhelming.

Trust Allah

When times are tough, we need to remind ourselves that no pain comes without a purpose

Too much stress though is caused by not trusting God to take care of the various situations in our lives.

Unfortunately and too often, we fall into the trap of trusting our own abilities, believing that we can figure out how to take care of our own problems in trying to overcome the anxiety resulting sadly in more stress.

It is here that we need to realize that only through God and trust can we ever dream to overcome the abovementioned stress and worry.

Bear in mind that everything will come together, maybe not immediately, but gradually; in God's time. When times are tough, we need to remind ourselves that no pain comes without a purpose.

Move on from what hurt you, but never forget what it taught. Pain through stress and worry, as mentioned before, is part of growing.

Remember that there are two kinds of stress: stress that affects us and pain that changes us. When we roll with life, instead of resisting it, both kinds help us grow. The Quran teaches us:

{With difficulty comes ease.} (94:6)

Hence, facing discomfort in this life is inevitable; what is important is how we view this discomfort and respond to it. If a moment of discomfort brings us closer to God, is that not a sign of growth? It is essential to also mention here that God will never burden you with more than you can handle, as taught to us in the Quran when He says:

{Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear.} (2:286)

Finally, remember that every day brings a choice: to practice stress or to practice peace. We can choose to be miserable and believe me with the way things are in the world we will be able to find plenty of reasons to be miserable or we can choose to be peaceful and find plenty of reasons to be at peace. Think about it.  Are we skilled at making ourselves miserable? With those same skills we can make ourselves motivated, effective and fulfilled.
If need be, give yourself no other choice. In fact, achievement consists mostly of adopting this stance.

You are more than good enough; you just have to own it – you have to own everything you are and everything you’re up against.

If you believe your troubles are too powerful, then you’ll never allow yourself to rise above them. Stop fretting. Quit worrying. Don’t complain. You know what you must do. So do it. The floor is yours, to be or not to be.

Equipped with this and the knowledge that God helps those who help themselves, we will definitely overcome stress and garner points through the process as we renew our intentions with our ultimate goal in mind, Paradise.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Worship in Islam (part 3 of 3): The Comprehensiveness of Worship

As mentioned earlier, the definition of worship in Islam is one which is comprehensive, including everything a person perceives, thinks, intends, feels, says and does.  It refers to everything that God requires, external, internal or interactive.  This includes rituals as well as beliefs, work, social activities, and personal behavior.
There is a distinction between that which is good, that which is evil and that which is neutral.  A good thing is that which is according to the purposes and nature made by God.  It leads to harmony and is, therefore, a reward in itself because it removes conflict and suffering.  It follows that anything that accords with this must be a form of worship.
This Islamic understanding of worship allows the whole of one’s life to be an act of worship, as long as the objective of that life is the pleasure of God, which is achieved by doing good and refraining from evil.  A person can turn everyday activities into acts of worship by purifying his or her intention and sincerely seeking God’s pleasure through these activities.  God’s Messenger, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said:
"Helping a person or his belongings onto his mount is an act of charity.  A good word is charity.  Every step taken on the way to performing prayers is charity.  Removing an obstacle from the road is charity." (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
Earning a living can be a form of worship. The Companions saw a man and were astonished by his hard work and industry.  They lamented: "If he were only doing this much work for the sake of God…"
God’s Messenger said:
"If he is working to support his small children, then it is for the sake of God.  If he is working to support his elderly parents, then it is for the sake of God.  If he is working to occupy himself and keep his desires in check, then it is for the sake of God.  If, on the other hand, he is doing so to show off and earn fame, then he is working for the sake of Satan." (al-Mundhiri,as-Suyuti)
Even the most natural acts can become acts of worship if they are accompanied by the proper intention: God’s Messenger said:
"When one of you approaches his wife, it is an act of charity." (Saheeh Muslim)
The same can be said for of eating, sleeping, working and traits of good character, such as truthfulness, honesty, generosity, courage, and humbleness, can become worship through sincere intention and deliberate obedience to God.
In order for these otherwise mundane actions to be counted as acts of worship deserving of divine reward, the following conditions must be met:
A.   The action must be accompanied by the proper intention.  God’s Messenger said:
"Actions are but by intentions, and a person gets only what he intended." (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
B.   The action must be lawful in and of itself.  If the action is something prohibited, its perpetrator deserves punishment.  God’s Messenger said:
"God is pure and good, and He accepts only what is pure and good." (Saheeh Muslim)
C.   The dictates of Islamic Law must be completely observed.  Deception, oppression, and iniquity must be avoided.  God’s Messenger said:
"He who deceives us is not one of us." (Saheeh Muslim)
D.   The activity should not keep the person from performing his or her religious obligations.  God says:
"O you who believe, do not let your wealth and children distract you from the remembrance of God…" (Quran 63:9)
As we see here, the concept of worship in Islam is not restricted to mere monasticism, meditation, or acknowledging the reality in which God has created us, nor is it one based upon mere ritualism and performance of certain actions with no apparent meanings.  Rather Islam has combined the inner and the outer and has defined righteousness and placed for it a reward.  It is this comprehensiveness of the concept of worship through which humans may fulfill the purpose for which they have been created.  God says:
"And I have neither created jinn nor humans, except for My worship." (Quran 51:56)
Humans are required to live not according to their subjective desires, automatisms, mental conditioning or according to the dictates of social, political or academic authorities, but in accordance with their cosmic purpose inherent in us: the worship of God.
"So direct your face towards the straight religion, the nature (framed by) God with which He has created humankind.  No change let there be in the creation of God, that is the straight religion, but most people do not know." (Quran 30:30)
When one lives their life fulfilling those aspects which God has commanded, leaving those things which God has forbidden, and according each of their actions to the Will of God, their life, from morning until evening, from the time of birth until death, is turned into worship for which they will be rewarded.  This was the state of the Prophets, as God says:
"Indeed, my prayer, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for God, the Lord of the all that exists." (Quran 6:162)
When one achieves this state, they come into harmony with the rest of creation and return to their natural state of being, as all others of the creations of God are unconsciously in constant worship of God, as He has said:
"Do you not see that unto God bow down in worship (or submit in service and adoration) whosoever is in the heavens and whosoever is in the earth, and the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the mountains, and the trees, and the beasts, and many among mankind…" (Quran 22:18)
READ Part 1 : Worship in Islam (part 1 of 3): The Meaning of Worship 

READ Part 2 : Worship in Islam (part 2 of 3): The Outer Forms of Worship

Worship in Islam (part 2 of 3): The Outer Forms of Worship

The Outer Forms of Worship

Throughout history, certain religions, due to their tampering, have placed more emphasis on the inner format of worship, wholly or partially dismissing the importance of the outer, while others have placed more emphasis on apparent and visible acts of rituals, diminishing the value of belief.  As mentioned earlier, in Islam, there is no absolute separation between the inner and outer - the inner state produces and ought to produce outer manifestations, and outer conditions and actions have inner consequences.  There is certainly a correspondence between the inner and outer state, and each tends to modify the other.  All inner intentions lead to equivalent postures and actions.  One can often judge a person's inner state by his outer.  A person in despair or fear, for instance, has a certain posture and expression on his face.  Conversely, if certain activities or postures are adopted then the equivalent inner state will result.
Visible acts of worship offered to God are fruits of the Muslim’s belief.  For this reason, not only does Islam demand that a person believe in the ultimate truths laid out in its doctrine, but it also demands that belief in God produce visible action.  It is not enough for one to maintain certain beliefs for salvation, but rather deeds are essential in order for one to be successful in this life and the next.
God has commanded that Muslims fulfill certain commandments throughout the course of their lives, exemplified in the five pillars of Islam.  These have been prescribed daily, such as the prayer, and annually, such as the compulsory charity and the fast of Ramadan, or as little as once in a person’s life, such as the Hajj.  There are many other acts of worship prescribed in Islam other than the five pillars, some of which are obligatory and others of which are voluntary, their performance left to a Muslim’s discretion.
Though there is a ritual connected with these acts of worship, they should not be mistaken for ritualism or regimentation.  Acts of worship must be done with full awareness of what one is doing and awareness of the presence of God.  Actions performed mechanically or as habits produce only automatons and do not facilitate spiritual growth.
"It is not righteousness that you turn your faces toward the East or the West, but righteous is he who believes in God and the Last Day and the Angels and the Book and the Prophets, and gives his beloved money to his relatives and the orphans and the needy and for the ransoming of captives and who observes prayer and pays the poor-due; and those who fulfill their promises when they have made one, and the patient in poverty and affliction and the steadfast in time of war; it is those who have proved truthful and it is those who are the God-fearing." (Quran 2:177)

The Purpose and Benefit of Worship

God is not in need of our worship.  Worship has been legislated in Islam and all other previous religions for the benefit of humanity, both in the individual and societal sense.  Worship is essential for the maintenance of spirituality in the life of Muslims and its growth.  Formal worship trains the individual to love his Creator and to develop constant awareness of God.  God says:
"O people!  Worship your Lord Who has created you and those before you in order that you may be of the God-conscious." (Quran 2:21)
God also said to Moses:
"…And establish the prayer in order to remember Me." (Quran 20:14)
Acts of worship serve as a means through which one remembers God and maintains a relationship with Him.  Muslims perform prayer a minimum of five times daily in order to maintain this relationship.  When one supplicates, implores, praises God, recites verses from His revelation, which has been called "the Reminder"[1], along with other forms of worship throughout the day, they will gain the sense that the Power and Knowledge of God is present with them at all times, leading them to this sense of God-consciousness.
Worship also creates a strong sense within a Muslim to remove the evil within himself and in the community and environment and to establish the word of God throughout the world.  God says:
"…Indeed the prayer prevents one from committing licentious and evil deeds…" (Quran 29:45)
Again, when a person spends his day performing specific acts of worship, they are constantly reminded of the purpose of life and their final end, and this in turn helps them to accord their lives to the Will of God, doing what He is pleased with and avoiding what He dislikes.
One can clearly see the impact worship has on a collective level.  Society is merely a conglomeration of individuals, and when individuals are spiritually and morally upright, the society itself will also be upright.  Ideally, the society will be one which feels that God is ever-watching over them; one to which beneficent acts of kindness will be an inseparable adjective, and sin and vice will be confined and limited.
Although it may seem to some that worship and obedience to God is similar to imprisonment and slavery, the worship of God and servitude to Him actually liberates humans from all types of subjugation.  A person break frees from the chains of society, peers, and family, and liberates him to please His One True Lord.  This is true freedom that brings about security and contentment.  Servitude to God is the ultimate source of freedom.

[1] This may be found in many verses, such as 15:9, 36:11, and others.
READ Part 1 : Worship in Islam (part 1 of 3): The Meaning of Worship 

Worship in Islam (part 1 of 3): The Meaning of Worship

The concept and purpose of worship in Islam is unparallel to any other religion in existence.  It combines the mundane with the spiritual, the individual with the society, and the internal soul with the external body.  Worship has a unique role in Islam, and through worship, a person is regarded as a true Muslim who accords his entire life to the Will of God.
The importance of worship may be seen in the fact that it has been prescribed by God in all religions prior to Islam.  God said in the Quran:
"And assuredly We have sent among every people a messenger (with the command): worship God…" (Quran 16:36)
Worship in Islam has so many facets that it is difficult to describe them all in words.  The most general meaning of worship in Islam is inclusive of everything which is pleasing to God, whether they deal with issues of belief, or deeds of the body.  It may include everything a person perceives, thinks, intends, feels, says and does.  It also refers to everything that God requires, external, internal or interactive.  This includes rituals as well as beliefs, work, social activities, and personal behavior, as human being is a whole, such that every part affects every other.
Worship may be classified into two types:
1)   Specific Beliefs, feelings and visible acts of devotion paid in homage to God which He has commanded.
2)   All other acts of goodness generally encouraged in the life of a Muslim.

Devotion to God

This facet of worship entails that one fulfill certain deeds which God has commanded in His religion, whether they deal with the inner self or the outer body, and whether they be obligatory or voluntary.  This facet of worship is not only limited to following His commandments, however, but it is also inclusive of leaving those things which He has forbidden.  Worship in this sense, maybe defined as anything believed, felt, or done as an act of obedience to God.
In this respect, worship may also be called servitude, as it is in essence living one’s life in complete servitude to God, doing what He commands, and avoiding what he forbids, as a slave lives within the will of his master.  In essence all creations are slaves of God, whether they like it or not, for they are all subject to the laws He has placed within His creation:
"There is none in the heavens and the earth but comes unto the Most Beneficent (God) as an obedient slave." (Quran 19:93)
"To Him submitted all creatures in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly." (Quran 3:83)
But worship differs from servitude in that it must be coupled with love, awe and reverence.  No act of obedience is regarded as worship unless it is coupled these feelings; one must love the action and love, hold in awe and have reverence for the One the action is being performed.
For this reason, in discussing this topic, it must be emphasized that worship is a right with is solely for God.  Islam adheres to the strictest form of monotheism and does not tolerate that any act of worship be directed towards other than God.  It is God alone who demands our obedience, and it is God alone who deserves our love.  Any veneration of other deities besides God, whether they be demigods, prophets, angels, saints or martyrs, or their relics, statues or pictures, is considered as a breach in this monotheism, and a person is rendered out of the fold of Islam if committed.  Even though one may justify that they venerate saints due to their service to God, or their relics as a remembrance of them, Islam does not differentiate between direct and indirect, or subordinate and superior worship.  All worship and acts of veneration, homage and obedience must be offered for God alone.

The Inner Forms of Worship

As mentioned earlier, acts of worship prescribed by God either deal with the inner self or the outer body.  Those which deal with the inner self do so with belief and feelings.  Humans are commanded to believe in certain ultimate truths, discussed in the articles of faith, and this is the most important aspect of worship.  Belief is the basis for what a person feels and does – actions and feelings are a reflection of belief.  If a person’s belief in incorrect or weak, it will never produce the desired results in regards to their feelings or actions.  For example, if a person incorrectly believes that God has forgiven them their sins due to their mere faith, their belief will not produce the desired feeling of fear which should be present in their heart, nor will this belief cause a person to cease sinning and perform deeds of righteousness.
God has also commanded us to maintain certain feelings in our hearts, both towards God as well as others of His creation.  Muslims must love God, fear him, have awe in Him, place their trust in Him, and revere Him.  Muslims have also been commanded to love their fellow Muslims, to have mercy and compassion towards them, to love righteousness and to hate sin.  These are all considered acts of worship of the inner self because they are in essence a fulfillment of the commandments of God; Muslims will be rewarded for fulfilling them.

Islam Is Simple: Only God is ALLAH


In Islam, Jesus is the only Prophet who never died which is why he is the only messenger who will come back before the Day of Judgment.

I accept that I cannot control the events that occur in my life or in the lives of others.

Islam is the only religion that communicates total submission to our Creator, the Creator of all people and of all things.

As a Muslim I know that everything I do first begins with an intention and then I must transform that intention into an effort in order to carry out what has already been decreed.

This wisdom defines my path to be a better person to myself, my family, my community and to all of my brothers and sisters here on earth.

In essence Allah (the one God) opened my heart, Islam gave me the direction, and now I live to serve out the guidance lent by my Creator for happiness here on earth and if Allah wills, in the hereafter.

While religion is a resource to help guide ourselves to good behavior through our spirituality, there is no prerequisite that it should be far fetched in mental comprehension.

 I am a recent convert. Catholicism is the religion followed by my forefathers. At the age of 14, I refused the trinity concept and narrowed what I saw as a complicated tale of 'three in one' down to 'two in one' and started attending a Baptist church.

Throughout my life, I have searched for understanding, but when it came to my faith I truly was confused about why God would come as a human being and would allow himself to die for the sins of only those privileged enough to believe in his (or his son's) crucifixion.

I found this explanation extravagant and shared my doubts with pastors and scholars who gave every effort to communicate the Christian belief to my understanding. I asked myself: "Why would my religion need to be so complex?"

When I reached adulthood, I decided to make it very simple. There was just one, our Creator and that was it. No other explanation could rationally make sense. I see Islam as a religion that came to clarify the errors of human beings who changed the original word of God to fit their interests. Islam is simple: 

God is God. God created us and we worship God and God alone. God sent Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon him) to deliver his message to guide all people.

In Islam, Jesus is the only Prophet who never died which is why he is the only messenger who will come back before the Day of Judgment to lead the people of the books: [the Torah, the Injeel (Bible) the book of Psalms and the Quran].

The Quran is the final book that has never been altered to fit the changing interest of people throughout history.

Heaven is not an exclusive club for those who merely follow what their fathers taught them.

Islam confirms that you are not awarded passage into heaven just because you say you are Muslim. And you may not go straight to heaven just because you believe that God is monotheistic. You go to heaven based on your intentions and actions following the message taught to us by the messengers themselves and confirmed by the original books of God.

Heaven is not an exclusive club for those who merely follow what their fathers taught them. Instead it is your responsibility, especially as a Muslim, to constantly search for truth, understanding and to read and think.

After reading every chapter in the Quran twice and taking detailed notes, I believe that this masterpiece could only have come from my Creator. Without a doubt the author of this book knows more about me than I know about myself. 
It is no secret that Islam is seriously misunderstood and disliked by many here in my homeland, the United States. My conversion to this "controversial" religion has my family and friends puzzled.

It is my sincere belief that Allah led me to Islam by enhancing my passion in exploring unfamiliar perspectives through foreign travel. I have a genuine interest in building bridges with all people everywhere rather than promoting my own ideology as the only system that can work for all people.

While culture shock is a mild term to express the drastically different life styles of Muslims in the Middle East, I saw great beauty in the generosity of people, the cohesiveness of families and the immediate acceptance of a girl so foreign in her ways.

Even so, in the present I face a culture shock within my own predominantly Middle Eastern Muslim community. I do understand the challenges a Muslim born into their religion faces to dissect their own culture within it.

After finding myself in Islam, I am able to adhere to the teachings supported by the Quran and Hadiths while also managing to bypass the cultural manifestations taught by Muslims born into their religion. Islam is multi-cultural and is a system that can be adopted in any environment at any point in time.

I can confidently say that if Allah had not breathed Islam into my soul, I would have never found Angela.

Well, today, here I am: Angela, a Muslim American: the soul who persistently searched for her Creator and has found the Creator of all that is in the universe and beyond, in

Sorcery in Islam (part 2 of 2): The Cure


Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, told us that sorcery was real, and that it was dangerous both physically and spiritually.  However if we face a problem or become ill we should not immediately think we have been harmed by sorcery.  Often those who truly believe they are affected by sorcery one of the first things they think of doing, is using sorcery to heal themselves.  This is entirely incorrect.  Evil cannot, under any circumstances whatsoever, be removed by more evil.  Evil can only be cured or removed by good.
Many diseases of the mind and body mimic the effects of magic therefore a person should always seek help from qualified medical practitioners before jumping to the conclusion that they have had a spell cast on them.  However the reality is that God does allow these things into our lives, either as a test or as a means to greater reward.  It is wise to remember that nothing happens without the permission of God, and God may heal the person affected by sorcery, without any action on the part of the person affected, or others on his behalf, because He is Able to do all things, and He is Wise in all that He does. 
“Verily, His Command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, ‘Be!’ and it is!” (Quran 36:82)
Prophet Muhammad told us that, “The greatest reward comes with the greatest trial.  When God loves a people He tests them.  Whoever accepts that wins His pleasure but whoever is discontent with that earns His wrath.”[1]  God does not leave us defenceless in the face of any danger, sorcery included.  There are many ways to protect ourselves from the ill effects of sorcery.  They begin as always with the words of God, the Quran.
Reciting verses from the Quran, certain supplications and words of remembrance will create a protective barrier between a person and the harms of sorcery, thus it is a very good idea to make this a regular practice.  The opening chapter of Quran is known as the greatest chapter and it one of the greatest forms of protection, along with other verses and chapters of Quran including the last three chapters, and Chapter 2, verse 255.  This verse is known as the greatest verse in Quran and Prophet Muhammad said that whoever recited this verse at night would be protected until morning and whoever recited it in the morning would be protected until nightfall.[2]
The Quran talks extensively about sorcery in chapter 2 and this chapter is one of the greatest means of protection from evil of all kinds.  It is wise to recite or play this chapter in your home on a regular basis. 
“And they followed [instead] what the devils had recited during the reign of Solomon.  It was not Solomon who disbelieved, but the devils disbelieved, teaching people magic and that which was revealed to the two angels at Babylon, Harut and Marut.  But the two angels did not teach anyone unless they said, ’We are a trial, so do not disbelieve [by practicing magic].’  And [yet] they learned from them that which can cause separation between a man and his wife.  But they do not harm anyone through it except by the permission of Allah.  They learned what harmed them, not what benefited them, knowing full well that the buyers of it [magic] would have no share in the Hereafter.  And how bad indeed was that for which they sold themselves, if they but knew.” (Quran 2:102)
Every person, whether affected by sorcery or not, should try to depend on God alone and put his trust in Him in all affairs, knowing that God does not send a disease for which there is no cure.  God has given us permissible means for treating those who have been harmed by sorcery and for protecting ourselves from it.  A person should turn to God; beseech Him with supplication at the beginning of the day, at night and after every prayer.  For God is the One who removes harm and relieves distress and He is merciful; He answers the supplications of all those who call upon Him.  In addition, while holding fast to God, seeking refuge with Him, and putting our trust in Him, we can attain protection from sorcery by striving to do what is right in the sight of God, and turning away from sin. 
Finally let us discuss a few important points to bear in mind about the topic of sorcery.  Sorcery is often referred to as black magic.  This gives the false impression that there is something called white magic and thus not dangerous or as dangerous.  Magic is magic no matter what colour is used to describe it.  While the intent of the practitioner may range from evil to good, believers have been told categorically to stay away from magic in all its forms. 
There is a lot of information about curing a person affected by sorcery circulating on the internet that is downright dangerous, as dangerous as magic.  Some sites will tell you that physical symptoms of ill health are signs of a magic spell, this is often incorrect.  People suffering from flu like symptoms or strange conditions should seek the help of medical practitioners.   Well known and understood mental illnesses are often misdiagnosed as the effects of sorcery; this is particularly dangerous, especially when a person is suffering from delusions or hallucinations.   When medical efforts have been exhausted and the symptoms have not been explained then it would be wise to seek the help of a qualified person of Islamic knowledge.  However, be certain that any “cures” you are given must strictly be in accordance with the instructions given by God and His messenger, Prophet Muhammad.
Lastly remember that using the words of God, that is the Quran itself, as a shield from magic is at all times recommended for it achieves several purposes, including bring a person closer to God.

[1] At-Tirmidhi
[2] An-Nasai & At-Tabarani
READ Part 1 : Sorcery in Islam (part 1 of 2): Serious sins that endanger a person’s hereafter

Sorcery in Islam (part 1 of 2): Serious sins that endanger a person’s hereafter

MagicInIslam1.jpgIslam’s position on sorcery for both the one who practices magic and the one who believes in sorcery can be summed up in just one sentence.  Sorcery is absolutely forbidden.  However, let us try to discover why Islam forbids it.  Remembering that Islam is a way of life, not just a set of beliefs that people may or may not practice, we find that sorcery is forbidden because of the damage it can do to individuals, families and the community.
Since the dawn of time, human beings have been fascinated by sorcery in all its forms.  They have been mystified and awe inspired and often times unaware of the dangers inherent in sorcery.  Sorcery is known in Arabic as sihr and it is one of the tricks that Satan uses to lead humankind astray.  It is for this reason Islam warns against magic.  God warns against it in the Quran.
“And indeed they knew that the buyers of it (magic) would have no share in the Hereafter.  And how bad indeed was that for which they sold their own selves, if they but knew.” (Quran 2:102)
Sorcery is performed with the aid of the Jinn[1], whose help is attained when the sorcerer or sorceress does acts of disbelief and worships the Jinn and Satan.  Thus they take the Jinn and Satan as lords besides God.  Once the Jinn are pleased with the sorcerer or sorceress, they will do what they ask them.  Renowned Islamic scholar of the 20th century Sheikh Ibn Baz, may God have mercy on him, said, “Sihr  (sorcery) is a word referring to something hidden.  It is real and there are kinds of witchcraft that may affect people psychologically and physically, so that they become sick and die, or husbands and wives are separated.  It is a devilish action, most of which is only achieved by means of associating others with God and drawing close to the minions of Satan”. 
Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, counseled his followers to avoid the seven destructive sins.  “Making anyone or anything a partner with God; practicing sorcery; killing a living being without justification whose life has been declared sacred by Allah; practicing usury; misappropriating the property of an orphan; running away in a battle; and slandering chaste, innocent, believing women.”[2]
During the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad one of the most popular forms of sorcery was to tie knots in a rope and then recite incantations over knots, thus bewitching or harming another person.  This is mentioned in the second to last chapter of the Quran where we are encouraged to seek refuge from this evil. “And from the evil of those who practise witchcraft when they blow on knots.” (Quran 113:4)
This form of sorcery was done to Prophet Muhammad but God did not allow it to cause him any harm. An evil man cast a spell on Prophet Muhammad using a hair that was caught in a comb along with a few fibers of a date palm. After the spell was cast the Prophet began to imagine that he had sexual relations with one of his wives when he had in fact not done so; The affect of the spell was limited and it did not in any way interfere with his responsibility of conveying the Divine Message.  His beloved wife Aisha narrates that, “One day he (Prophet Muhammad) made supplication to God and then he said, “Do you know that God has shown me where my cure is?  Two men came to me and one of them sat at my head and the other at my feet.  One of them said to the other, ‘What is ailing the man?’ He said: ‘He has been bewitched.’ He said, “who has bewitched him?’ He said: ‘Labeed ibn al-A’sam.’ He said, ‘With what?’ He said, ‘With a comb, a hair that was caught onto it, and the fiber of a male date palm.  He said, ‘Where is it?’ He said, ‘In the well of Dharwaan.’”  He went to the well, came back and said, “Its date palms are like the heads of devils.” I said: “Did you take it out?” He said: “No.  God has healed me, and I feared that that might bring evil upon the people.” Then the well was filled in.  [3]  Prophet Muhammad again warns his followers about the dangers of magic (sorcery or witchcraft) when he states that, "Whoever ties a knot and then says incantations over it has committed sorcery and whoever commits sorcery has associated partners with God and whoever relies on something (other than God) will be turned over to it." [4]
Another form of sorcery that is extremely popular nowadays is listening to predictions made by fortune tellers and consulting horoscopes.  It is worth remembering what Prophet Muhammad said about these forms of sorcery, “Whoever goes to a fortune-teller and asks him about something, his prayer will not be accepted for forty days.” [5]  This does not mean that a person is exempt from the prayer it means he will gain no reward from his prayer.
 “Whoever goes to a fortune-teller or soothsayer and believes what he says has disbelieved in that which was revealed to Muhammad.” [6]
 “He does not belong to us who believes in good or ill omens or asks others to give their views on good or ill fortune based on the motion of worldly objects, or who seeks divination or who has that done for him, or who practices witchcraft or has that done for him.  Whoever goes to a soothsayer and believes what he says has disbelieved in that which was revealed to Muhammad.”[7]
Sorcery, sihr in Arabic, which includes witchcraft, fortune telling of any kind, astrology or divination is strictly forbidden in Islam.  In all cases it involves dealing with the unseen and in most cases it involves ascribing partners with God.  These are both very serious sins and will at the very least involve the person, who either practices or believes in sorcery, in behaviour that may lead to his or her eternal downfall.
In the second article we will discuss cures for sorcery.  What to do if one is affected by sorcery or if one want to protect oneself  from the evil effects of sorcery.   

[1] To learn more about the Jinn, please see: (
[2] Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim
[3] Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim
[4] An Nasa'i
[5] Saheeh Muslim
[6] Abu Dawood
[7] Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim.