COVID-19: Practical Guidance on Self-Improvement – Ustadha Shireen Ahmed

Ustadha Shireen Ahmed gives practical guidance on how to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. She shares tips on achieve physical and emotional wellness, both personally and when relating to others during this time of social isolation. Ustadha Shireen begins looking at the personal level by emphasizing the central importance of our daily prayers. She also highlights the importance of supplication as well as nurturing good habits, such as Qur’an recitation, beneficial reading and study. Additionally, she offers practical tips on working from home and staying organized and healthy. Next, Ustadha Shireen discusses how to deal with the situation in the context of family. She underscores the importance of good character with one’s family, particularly highlighting helping out at home and having etiquette with elders. Finally, Ustadha Shireen explains how one should respond to the crisis at the communal level. She highlights why one should stay at home, be heedful of the warnings of health officials, avoid hoarding and support the needy.

This reminder is part of COVID-19: A Global Islamic Response series. As the Coronavirus pandemic spreads across the world, the Muslim community is struggling to find answers to many questions. Along with the critical advice of health and medical professionals, we are in dire need of Prophetic Guidance. In these videos, Muslim scholars and community leaders from around the world provides clarity in these challenging times on how people from all faiths should view and respond to the current situation. Watch the full playlist here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list….

The Month of Sha’ban: Prelude to Ramadan – Imam Zaid Shakir

* Courtesy of Imam Zaid’s Facebook page

Sha’ban is a month of good that introduces the great month of Ramadan. The Prophet, peace upon him, used to fast voluntarily during this month more so than in any other month. One of the motivations for that, as we will mention below, is that Sha’ban is the month during which the deeds performed by the servant ascend to God.

Usama b. Zayd relates: “The Prophet, peace and mercy of God upon him, used to fast so many days in succession that we said, ‘He will never break his fast.’ At other times he would go without fasting for so long until we said, ‘He will never again fast;’ except for two days, which he would fast even if they occurred during the times he was not fasting consecutive days.

Furthermore, he would not fast in any month as many days as he fasted during Sha’ban. I said: ‘O Messenger of God! Sometimes you fast so much it is as if you will never break your fast, at other times you leave fasting for such a long stint it is as if you will never again fast [voluntarily]; except for two days that you always fast.’ He asked: ‘Which two days are those?’ I replied: ‘Monday and Thursday.’ The Prophet, peace upon him, said: ‘Those are two days in which the deeds are presented to the Lord of the Worlds. I love that my deeds are presented while I am fasting.’ I said: ‘I do not see you fasting in any month like you fast during Sha’ban.’ The Prophet, peace and mercy of God upon him, said: “That is a month occurring between Rajab and Ramadan that many people neglect. It is a month in which the deeds ascend to the Lord of the Worlds, be He Mighty and Majestic, and I love for my deeds to ascend while I am fasting.” Related by Imam Ahmad and Imam Al-Nasa’i.

–  Imam Zaid Shakir

 

Below is Imam Zaid’s recent visit to SeekersGuidance, click below to watch.


About Imam Zaid Shakir

Imam Zaid Shakir is a co-founder, and senior Faculty Member of  located in Berkeley, CA. He is amongst the most respected and influential Islamic scholars in the West. As an American Muslim who came of age during the civil rights struggles, he has brought both sensitivity about race and poverty issues and scholarly discipline to his faith-based work.

Born in Berkeley, California, he accepted Islam in 1977 while serving in the United States Air Force. He obtained a BA with honors in International Relations at  in Washington D.C. and later earned his MA in Political Science at . While at Rutgers, he led a successful campaign for divestment from South Africa, and co-founded  formerly Masjid al-Huda.

After a year of studying Arabic in Cairo, Egypt, he settled in New Haven, Connecticut and continued his community activism, co-founding , the Tri-State Muslim Education Initiative, and the Connecticut Muslim Coordinating Committee. As Imam of Masjid Al-Islam from 1988 to 1994 he spear-headed a community renewal and grassroots anti-drug effort, and also taught political science and Arabic at . He served as an interfaith council Chaplain at  and developed the Chaplaincy Sensitivity Training for physicians at . He then left for Syria to pursue his studies in the traditional Islamic sciences.

For seven years in Syria, and briefly in Morocco, he immersed himself in an intense study of Arabic, Islamic law, Quranic studies, and spirituality with some of the top Muslim scholars of our age. In 2001, he graduated from Syria’s prestigious Abu Noor University with a BA in Islamic Sciences and returned to Connecticut, serving again as the Imam of Masjid al-Islam, and writing and speaking frequently on a host of issues. That same year, his translation from Arabic into English of The Heirs of the Prophets was published by Starlatch Press.

In 2003, he moved to Hayward, California to serve as a scholar-in-residence and lecturer at , where he taught courses on Arabic, Islamic law, history, and Islamic spirituality. In 2004, he initiated a pilot seminary program at Zaytuna Institute, which was useful in Zaytuna College’s refinement of its Islamic Studies curriculum and its educational philosophy. For four years, students in the pilot program were engaged in the study of contemporary and classical texts. In 2005, Zaytuna Institute published, Scattered Pictures: Reflections of An American Muslim„ an anthology of diverse essays penned by Zaid Shakir. He co-founded the , Oakland, CA. in 2007. He authored an award-winning text, Treatise for the Seekers of Guidance, a translation and commentary on Imam Harith al-Muhasibi’s work, Risala al-Mustarshideen in 2008. He is co-founder and chairman of  since 2009. The mission of United For Change is, through modern discourse, to create awareness of the broadest and most consuming topics within the Muslim community. The aim is to leverage the diversity through cooperation and goodwill and address the obstacles that have proven to be divisive.  His most recent work is Where I’m Coming From: The Year In Review, a new collection of his essays from 2010. Imam Zaid has also authored numerous articles and research papers on a wide range of topics.

He is a frequent speaker at local and national Muslim events and has emerged as one of the nation’s top Islamic scholars and a voice of conscience for American Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Imam Zaid has served as an advisor to many organizations, and influential leaders. He is ranked as “one of America’s most influential Scholars” in the West; by , edited by John Esposito and Ibrahim Kalin, (2009). Imam Zaid is a signatory along with religious and spiritual Leaders from around the world who presented the UN Secretary General with a declaration in support of the Paris Climate Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, marking the largest number of nations ever signing an international agreement. Inspired to work with religious groups on sustainable living and climate change in 2017, Imam Zaid is a Green Faith partner in action for the earth. The mission is to inspire, educate, organize, and mobilize people of diverse religious and spiritual backgrounds globally for environmental action. In 2018, CNN listed him among 25 influential American Muslims.

While many have cited Imam Zaid as example of Islamic moderation, his critics have questioned his moderate credentials by citing his expressed hope for the conversion of America to Islam and adoption of Islamic law in America. Dr. Ingrid Mattson stated that Imam Zaid is solidly grounded in the Islamic legal, ethical and intellectual tradition, which all Muslims share, as well as his personal understanding of the current political context.


 

 

EXCLUSIVE WEBINAR: Your Best Ramadan Ever – Tushar Imdad

Ramadan 2020 promises to be unprecedented and unlike any Ramadan in our lifetime due to the Coronavirus restrictions.

Unprecedented circumstances call for unprecedented action.

When times change, successful people adapt accordingly.

There’s no reason why Ramadan 2020 shouldn’t be your best Ramadan ever.

Especially if you apply productivity science and Islamic Time Management principles.

Sign up to the upcoming, exclusive FREE webinar to find out how:

https://yourbestramadan.tusharimdad.com/1-signup

And take a massive step towards making this Ramadan your best ever, inshaAllah!

Tushar Imdad

Biography:

Tushar Imdad (aka Tushar Mohammed Imdad-ul-Haque Bhuiya) is an Islamic Time Management Coach and Educational Entrepreneur. Professionally trained as a high school English teacher, Tushar has taught or managed prominent Islamic schools in Leicester, UK, between 2007-2016. With a flair for managing multiple roles, Tushar is also a GCSE English examiner, a teacher trainer for AMS UK; professional proofreader; former lead instructor at Madrasa Manara; and is currently the Director of Shaykhspeare’s Online English Academy and High Impact Tutors.  

 A long-term student of knowledge, Tushar has studied a range of Islamic sciences at the feet of scholars such as Shaykh Nuh Keller, Umm Sahl, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Maulana Ilyas Patel and Ustadh Tabraze Azam. In 2015 he completed Level 5 of the Classical Arabic Program from the prestigious Qasid Institute, Amman.   

Throughout his varied career, Tushar has always been driven by a passion for time management. Starting in 2009, he has delivered a mixture of workshops, webinars, web-coaching and client visits, attracting delegates as varied as CEOs, corporate professionals, housewives, dentists and scholars from places spanning the UK, US and Middle East. Tushar has published articles and delivered training for ProductiveMuslim.com, SeekersGuidance.org and Qibla.com (now Kiflayn). In recent years he has immersed himself in  productivity systems, learning from world-class experts such as Demir Bentley, the authors of The One Thing, Leo Babuta and James Clear. His recent courses have included  ‘Principles of Islamic Time Management’, ‘Time Tactics 101’ and ‘The Breakthrough Habit’.


An Update on The Istanbul Summer 2020 Intensive Program and More

We hope that you and your family are keeping well in these difficult times. Due to the current conditions around the world, we regret to inform you that we have been forced to postpone the SeekersGuidance Summer Intensive until further notice.

However, we are committed, as always, to continue offering reliable and authentic Islamic knowledge without barriers.

Here are a few things that you may benefit from as we await relief during these tough times…

The SeekersGuidance COVID19 Webinar

Last week SeekersGuidance put together an important webinar to provide clarity in these challenging times with Muslim scholars, teachers, medical professionals, and thought leaders from around the world.

Missed it? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Click here to watch now.

The SeekersGuidance COVID19 Webinar

SeekersGuidance Course Registration Opens Soon – We’re Launching an Exciting New Open-Course System. Plus Dozens of Free On-Demand Courses on a Wide Range of Subjects Available Now.

We’re live-streaming classes with qualified Muslim scholars from around the world. Everyday. Don’t miss out, click here to view our daily live schedule, and connect to Prophetic Guidance today!

Deserving Muslim Scholars Need Your Help Now

The current COVID-19 crisis and the ensuing lockdowns are creating havoc in the lives of scholars–many of whom are now unable to teach; their classes are cancelled–for many, their already precarious livelihood is threatened. Give your zakat and charity now to urgently assist them through the Islamic Scholars Fund.

To read more about the situation, click here.

 

Poem: Wa La Nablu Wanna Kum – Novid Shaid

In appreciation of Sura Baqarah (chapter 2), Verse 155.

 

Wa La Nablu Wanna Kum

I’d heard this verse

Many times before

But I fell in the world’s momentum

And now I’m drawn,

Like a looping moth

To the light of

Wa La Nablu Wanna Kum

 

I’d heard this verse

So deep and terse

But I swayed in a sea of fevers

But now I am swept

Like a floating wreck

To the shores of

Wa la Nablu Wanna Kum

 

I’d heard this verse

With a heart immersed

In the dread of the world’s hysteria

But now the only thing to panic-buy

Is the key for

Wa la Nablu Wanna Kum

 

I’d heard this verse

In the Friday prayers

While my mind viewed conspiracy theories

But now the fake news

Needs to be rebuked

With the truth of

Wa la Nablu Wanna Kum

 

I’d heard this verse

In the universe

Of talks and the deen intensives

But now all the notes

And inspiring quotes

Need to act on

Wa la Nablu Wanna Kum

 

I’d heard this verse

When things were worse

For the poor folk mired in outbreaks

But now the vaccine

For my uncertainties

Is the pledge of

Wa la Nablu Wanna Kum

 

Novid Shaid, March 2020

Spiritual Prescription for Shaban – Habib Umar

* Courtesy of Muwasala

Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah preserve him and benefit us by him) recommends reading the following 40,000 times in the the month of Sha`ban:

 

يَا حَيُّ يَا قَيُّومُ لا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنْتُ مِنْ الْظَّالِمِين

Ya Hayyu ya Qayyum la ilaha illa anta subhanaka inni kuntu min az-zalimin

‘O Living, O Self-Subsistent! There is no deity other than You. Transcendent are You, truly I am one of the wrongdoers.’

Give a Little, Make a Huge Impact: Dar al-Fuqaha Needs Your Support to Buy Media Equipment

Give a little and make a huge impact.

We need to raise $6,000 USD immediately to provide The Dar al-Fuqaha Seminary in Istanbul with the media and recording equipment they need to continue supporting students.

This will not only ensure that current students can continue to benefit from their teachers during these difficult times, but will help reach thousands more with the Prophetic Guidance they direly need.

Don’t delay, give what you can and become our partner in this critical project, and earn the reward of on-going charity. 

Preparing and Dealing with COVID-19 – SeekersGuidance Reader

The current Covid-19 pandemic has caused anxiety, fear and chaos across the globe. Many countries have declared state of emergencies with national lock downs in order to contain the transmission of the virus. The lives of millions of people have have come to a standstill. Some people are confused of how to go about their daily activities whilst others are going through existential crises. At this critical time it is important that Muslims have access to sound knowledge which will be able to prepare them for the practical, theological and religious complexities they many face due to the physical, psychological and social effects of Covid-19. Below you will find links to an array of videos, podcasts and articles which will help prepare you to deal and navigate this confusing and uncertain time of Covid-19.

Videos:

Fortifying Faith in an Age of Faithlessness – Dr. Ali Ataie

Why We Suffer: Understanding the Problem of Evil, Tribulations & Suffering – Shaykh Hamza Karamali & Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Tribulations from a Faith Perspective – Shaykh Yahya Rhodus

Tribulation and Ease – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf:

Understanding Evil: Why Does Allah Allow Suffering – Shaykh Omar Qureshi

Can I Perform Friday Prayer at Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic? – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Guidance on COVID19 (Part 1) – Mufti Taha Karaan

Guidance on COVID19 (Part 2) – Mufti Taha Karaan

Guidance on COVID19 (Part 3) – Mufti Taha Karaan

Guidance on COVID19 (Part 4) – Mufti Taha Karaan

Coronavirus Lessons From Its Butterfly Effect – Shaykh Sadullah Khan

17 Benefits of Tribulation – By Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

 

Podcasts:

Tribulations from a Faith Perspective – Shaykh Yahya Rhodus

Believers and Tribulations: Faith Entails Being Ambassadors of Mercy with Certitude and Contentment – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Tests and Tribulations Are Blessings: The Divine Promise That We Will Be Tested, Explained – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Dealing with the Coronavirus – Mufti Taha Karaan

 

Articles:

Counsel For Students of Knowledge Regarding COVID19 – Dr. Hisham A. Hellyer

The Shafiʿi School On Friday Prayer and Congregational Prayer During Epidemics

The Believer, Futuwwa, & Times of Crisis – Shaykh Salman Younas

Prophetic Guidance in Times of Tribulations – Habib Umar

Are Diseases Contagious?

Concepts of Health and Disease within an Islamic Framework – by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Protection From Disease – Habib Umar

Poem : COVID19 – By Novid Shaid

Is COVID-19 a Divine Punishment? – Shaykh Ahmed El Azhary

“Is COVID-19 a punishment from Allah?” is definitely a repeated question these days. I know of many Muslims who are asking themselves as they see all the mosques around the world, especially al-Haram al-Makki and al-Masjid al-Nabawi, closed: Is this a sign that Allah is angry at us? Are we being punished from Allah for all of our wrong-doings and short-comings as Muslims? 

Well, the closure of mosques – and also the shutdown of life as we knew it just few months ago – is certainly a “reminder” from Allah that we are after all not in control of things. It is a reminder of all the bounties that we had and never were appreciative or grateful for. Praying in mosques, or I should rather say “The Mosque-life,” was a gigantic blessing that deserved and required from us more care, gratitude, and respect. The closure of mosques is perhaps a reminder that we as Muslims cannot be turning the houses of worship into arenas for egos to battle and for greed to manifest.

And while the closure of mosques is a reminder from Allah of how we should value the houses of worship, staying at home is also a reminder of how we ought to carry our family lives. It is a reminder that our homes require our absolute attention; that our families deserve that we invest more time in them; and that our children need our direct effort in educating and teaching them about both religion and life. 

So, COVID-19 is absolutely a reminder of all of these things and many more, but is it really a “punishment” from Allah? Allah the Most High has told us clearly in the Qur’an that we shall be tested. He said in verse (155) of Surat al-Baqarah: “And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits but give good tidings to the patient.” And He said in verse (31) of Surat Muhammad: “And We will surely test you until We make evident those who strive among you and the patient, and We will test your affairs.” So, we were told in the Qur’an that there will be “tests” that shall bring to the surface what is hidden in our hearts and minds. For this reason, amongst others, we can say that such tests are in actuality blessings, because they provide us with inner illumination. They inform us about ourselves and give us opportunity to understand ourselves better. Hence, they help us to improve and develop ourselves spiritually, as Imam Ibn `Ata’ Allah (may Allah be pleased with him) said in his Aphorisms: “States of need are gift-laden carpets.” However, it is our response to these difficulties that defines whether or not they are punishments, because if one responds to such states of need with anger, irritation and annoyance that would imply that they are punishments, because obviously that would mean the person has failed the test. On the other hand, if one responds to such turbulences with patience and resilience that would suggest that these events were sent as means for expiation of sins and salvation from past misdeeds. Better than this, if one responds to these dire circumstances with acceptance, good-will and content, then that would be an indicator that one’s spiritual rank has elevated, and it is a sign of one’s closeness to Allah the Most High. So, in these regards, COVID-19 is one event – one test – that means different things and brings different results for different people. And Allah knows best.

May Allah grant us wisdom and awareness; keep us away from foolishness and pretension; and protect us from both the diseases of the body and the diseases of the heart. 


Biography of Shaykh Ahmed Hussein El Azhary:

Shaykh Ahmed El Azhary is a researcher in Islamic intellectual history and a teacher of Islamic traditional sciences. He’s currently a teacher of Hadith, Usūl, Logic, and Kalam at Rawdatul-Na`īm under the supervision of Habib `Ali al-Jifrī; and at Madyafat Shaykh Ismaīl Sadiq al-`Adawī (RA), a prominent learning center by al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo.

Formerly, Shaykh Ahmed worked as a Lead Researcher at Tabah Foundation. He was appointed by Habib `Ali al-Jifrī to architect the philosophical framework of Suaal initiative – an initiative concerned with modeling an Islamic philosophical response to contemporary existential questions, supervised by Shaykh `Ali Jumu`ah, Habib `Umar and Shaykh Usama al-Azhary. Shaykh Ahmed continues to participate in Suaal initiative through essays, public lectures, and workshops.

Shaykh Ahmed studied Anthropology at American University in Cairo and received his training in Leadership Communication from Tulane University and The University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is also a life-long learner. He holds a diversified portfolio of almost 50 certificates in a variety of subjects – extending from Teaching Character and Clinical Psychology of Children and Young People to Complexity Theory, Model Thinking and Conflict Analysis.

Shaykh Ahmed began his journey of studying traditional sciences about 20 years ago. In addition to studying with scholars from al-Azhar, he had the privilege of studying with visiting scholars from Algeria and India in a one-on-one format and was thus given an exceptional opportunity to study and discuss advanced-level texts of different sorts and over a long period of time. Shaykh Ahmed has more than 70 Ijazas from scholars from all over the Muslim world.


 

Prayer of Gabriel – Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Specifically Merciful.

I delivered an online presentation on the evening of Isra and Mi’raj which coincides with the 27th Rajab. I dedicated most of the presentation to events that took place during the Prophet’s nocturnal journey from the Haram of Makkah to Masjid al-Aqsa.

After the presentation, I received many requests for the prayer that Gabriel taught the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace ) when an Ifrit (high-ranking jinn) tried to cast a blaze of fire upon him. In response to these requests, and seeking Allah’s pleasure and protection, I have translated the hadith, which includes the prayer of Gabriel, as it appears in the Muwatta of Imam Malik. However, different versions of the hadith have been transmitted. The version translated below has been transmitted by a successor directly from the Messenger, peace be upon him, (without mentioning the name of a companion), so, on its own, it may be regarded as weak. However, it is important to know that all the different versions of the hadith corroborate this version, and this corroboration raises the status of the hadith to ‘sound’ or ‘hasan’.

The translation is as follows: Yahya bin Said said, “during the nocturnal journey of the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) he saw an Ifrit following him with a blaze of fire. Whenever he looked back, he saw him. Angel Gabriel then said, “Should I not teach you a supplication – if you were to recite it, his flame will go out and he will fall on his mouth?” The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) replied in the affirmative. Gabriel then said:

“In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, I seek refuge in Allah, the Most Generous, and by His Perfect Words, the boundaries of which cannot be exceeded by anyone, whether he be devout or a criminal, from the evil that descends from the heavens, or that which ascends to it, and from the evils that are sown within the earth, and that which comes out of it, and from the trials of the night and the day, and from the visitors of the night except those that come in goodness, O Most Gracious.”

Another version of the hadith reads, “the Prophet, peace be upon him, recited it and the ifrit’s flame died out and he fell on his face.”

The Arabic version of the prayer is:

أَعُوذُ بِوَجْهِ اللهِ الْكَرِيْمِ وَبِكَلِمَاتِ اللهِ التَّامَّاتِ الَّتِي لَا يُجَاوِزُهُنَّ بَرٌّ، وَلَا فَاجِرٌ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا يَنْزِلُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ وَمَا يَعْرُجُ فِيهَا، وَمِنْ شَرِّ مَا ذَرَأَ فِي الْأَرْضِ وشر ما يَخْرُجُ مِنْهَا، وَمِنْ فِتَنِ اللَّيْلِ والنَّهَارِ، وَمِنْ طَوَارِقِ اللَّيْلِ إِلَّا طَارِقًا يَطْرُقُ بِخَيْرٍ يَا رَحْمَانُ