Gratitude, Celebration & Mercy as Sunnah of the Believer: Allah’s basis of dealing with creation is the overflowing tremendous good that he has bestowed on us, says Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In this uplifting and lofty reminder, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani calls the community to gratitude and contemplation of the sheer gift of being alive. “Allah’s basis of dealing with creation is the overflowing tremendous good that he has bestowed on us,”  says Shaykh Faraz, and these blessings culminate and manifest in the life of the believer.

The life of the believer highlights the tremendous  gifts of life,  guidance and mercy.  Mercy encompassing over every moment and event for the believer is one who looks at reality and sees not only form and the temporary and the fleeting nature of things, the believer is one who sees meaning and recognises that all is from Allah.  Shaykh Faraz explains that, “the believer sees that it is all Mercy and Allah sent it and the blessing in it is how one responds to it.” When one responds to affairs in ways pleasing to Allah then that opens the door of Mercy.  “Wondrous is the life of the believers, ” proclaims the Messenger of God, ” for when pleasing things happen to them they are grateful and if distress comes to them they remain contentedly patient.”  It is not what comes to you, but how you respond to it and the response itself is mercy; that is why the believer sees everything in a positive attitude.

Resources for the Seekers

How To Be Like The Prophet Muhammad In His Gratitude to Allah
A Reader on Thankfulness to Allah and True Gratitude
The True Cause of All Happiness and Good is Turning to Allah
Invite Allah’s Generosity into your Life – Shaykh Muhammad
Understanding the Ninety-Nine Names of Allah: Al-Rahman
“His Mercy is our only constant”, by Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said
The Believer’s Clarity When Tested: The Power of Patience
Clarity in Crisis: How Believers Look at Trials
Worship, Coffee and the Meaning of Life

Cover Photo by Anita Anand. Video courtesy of Seekershub

Cultivating One’s Environment to Develop the Inner Self – Shaykh Yahya Rhodus

* Courtesy of Cambridge Muslim College

Shaykh Yahya Rhodus draws a beautiful parallel between the human heart and soil.  We are experiencing over-cultivation and depletion of minerals in our soil that bares real fruits that lack any sort of nutrients.  Our hearts, similarly, have experienced a drought, and as a consequence this has manifested within our limbs.  We need to till our hearts. Even though this is our current state, we must understand that our hearts are not void of good, Shaykh Yahya says:

…there are so many aspects of our religion that are of a social nature, because its in the coming in contact with human beings that a lot of the meanings that lie dormant in the hearts rise to the surface, stirred up, in a way that you would have a bitter cup of tea with sugar at the bottom of it, that tea is not going to taste sweet until you stir it up, and once you stir it up, depending upon the amount of sugar, it will taste sweet.  Likewise, there are many things that lie dormant by way of potentiality in the hearts of the children of Adam that it’s only with that spiritual struggle and exerting oneself that these things ever truly become realized within one…

Check out this lecture on their Youtube page and leave them a comment.

Here are some courses we offer by Shaykh Yahya Rhodus at SeekersGuidance:

  • Haddad’s Book of Assistance: Complete Guidance for Turning to Allah | Click here for this free course
  • First Principles of Islamic Spirituality: Ibn Ashir’s Introduction to Sufism Explained | Click here for this free course
  • Clarity and Calm in an Age of Anger – Lessons on Navigating Troubled Times| Click here for this free course
  • The Divine Opening: Sura al-Fatiha Explained | Click here for this free course
  • 30 Days, 30 Deeds: A Roadmap of Virtues and Good to Transform Your Life and Relations | Click here for this free course

Are Protein Supplements Halal?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam Aleykum, My question is regarding Whey protein. As a person who workouts I need to take protein supplements. In most protein bars or powder, it contains whey protein isolate or whey protein concentrate which are often byproducts resulting from the manufacture of rennet types of hard cheese. Are these halal?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

The basis is that rennet is permissible according to Imam Abu Hanifa, irrespective of whether or not the animal was slaughtered correctly. His two Companions (sahibayn), however, disagreed and held that rennet extracted from non-slaughtered animals is impermissible due to its proximity and contact with filthy moisture in the stomach. This is a safer and more precautionary position to follow.

Whey is a by-product of the cheesemaking process in which initially rennet is added to milk in order to curdle it. The resultant liquid which is released from the coagulum is termed whey; accordingly, this would also be permissible according to Imam Abu Hanifa regardless of the source of the rennet, with the obvious exception of a swine which is unconditionally impermissible to use or consume altogether.

Commercial Methods of Rennet Extraction

However, many contemporary methods of rennet extraction wherein the entire stomach of the animal is treated in order to chemically extract the rennet are religiously problematic when the animal has not undergone a correct religious slaughter. The reason for this is that the stomach itself is not deemed to be legally pure in such a case, nor is it thus permissible to consume anything extracted from it.

What this means is that the process of extraction undertaken by means of using something religiously filthy, through a filthy solution and the like, would cause the by-product to also be filthy and impermissible to consume. This is something which deserves caution and our attention lest we fall into a situation of consuming that which is prohibited. An easy way to find out is to simply ask the company in question what the source of the rennet is.

Fortunately, there are a number of alternatives in our times to animal-based rennet such as GM, microbial, plant-based, and the like which would generally be permissible to use in the cheesemaking process, and the cheese produced thereby would be legally permissible to consume, barring any other impermissible ingredients. Similarly, plant-based whey protein may be used as an alternative to commercial whey protein powders unless the process used in the latter is clearly known to be permissible or the animal has been correctly slaughtered.

(Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar/Minhat al-Khaliq ‘ala al-Bahr al-Ra’iq, quoting Ibn Amir Haj; Halabi, Multaqa al-Abhur)

Please also see: Is Rennet in Cheese Halal or Haram to Consume? and: A Guide for Consuming Various Meats, Foods, Alcohol, Animal By-Product Ingredients, and Cosmetics

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorized the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan, and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based on his family.

Are Muslims Allowed To Be On Television?

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Is it okay to have a YouTube channel if you are a Muslim and you cover properly? Are Muslims allowed to be on television?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

I pray you are well.

It would be permissible to have a YouTube channel you make videos for, if:

a. you are covered properly, and

b. the content you are producing is clean – meaning it has no impermissible elements to it, and it does not promote what is clearly impermissible.

If there is anything impermissible on the channel then think of it as getting a fresh sin with every view. It’s simply not worth it.

Benefitting Others

Although this won’t affect the permissibility directly, it should be a major factor in your decision. If there is a particular benefit you can provide for people, religious or otherwise, then the channel may be a good idea, and, with a proper intention, rewarding.

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give peace, said, “Whoever is able to benefit his brother, let him do so.” (Muslim) Good deeds that benefit oneself and others are better than good deeds which only benefit yourself.

If the content is just the owner’s views on Brexit, chocolate, and fashion, then it’s probably better to direct oneself which will be more beneficial. The ruling would be the same for TV too.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with erudite scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish, and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic with teachers such as Dr. Ashraf Muneeb, Dr. Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr. Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr. Mansur Abu Zina, and others. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabir and Shaykh Yahya Qandil. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

Ibtihaj Muhammad: How A Champ Trains In Ramadan

*Originally posted on 2016/06/17

Muslim American fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad says she spends up to seven hours training on an average day. Right now, during Ramadan, that means seven hours of intense physical exercise without any food or water between sunrise and sunset.

“My faith is first and foremost to me. It’s a priority,” Muhammad told The Huffington Post. “So it was never a question of whether I would fast and train. I’ve had to fast and train for as long as I’ve been competing at this level. The only difference for me this go around is that I’m in the middle of training for the Olympics.”

Read the rest on Huffington Post. Follow Ibtihaj on twitter.

COVID-19 Webinar: A Global Islamic Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic

A Global Islamic Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Announcing the SeekersGuidance COVID-19 Webinar This Sunday!

As this 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. SeekersGuidance has put together an important program to provide clarity in these challenging times with Muslim scholars, teachers, medical professionals, and thought leaders from around the world.

COVID-19 Webinar: A Global Islamic Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic, will live stream on our website at seeke.rs/live and our Facebook page, this coming Sunday, March 22nd, at 1:00PM EST.


Some of our confirmed speakers:

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani | Toronto, Canada

Mufti Hussain Kamani | Texas, United States

Dr. Asim Yusuf | West Midlands, United Kingdom

Imam Khalid Latif | New  York, United States

Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan | Cape Town, South Africa

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat | Bradford, United Kingdom

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari | Knoxville, United States

Ustadh Mohammed Tayssir Safi | Istanbul, Turkey

Shaykh Salman Younas | London, United Kingdom

Dr. Hadia Mubarak | North Carolina, United States

Ustadha Shireen Ahmed | Toronto, Canada

Dr. Idriss Sparkes | Waterloo, Canada

Imam Hamid Slimi | Toronto, Canada

Shaykh Amin Buxton | Edinburgh, Scotland

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch | Toronto, Canada

Imam Yama Niazi | Vancouver, Canada

Dr. Yusuf Patel | Cape Town, South Africa

Ustadh Abdullah Misra | Trinidad

Moulana Zakariyya Harnekar | Cape Town, South Africa

Moulana Muhammad Carr | Cape Town, South Africa

 

Don’t miss out on this beautiful event .

 

May Allah bless you all and keep you all healthy, amin.

Coronavirus Lessons From Its Butterfly Effect – Shaykh Sadullah Khan

* Courtesy of Masjid al – Furqaan (Cape Town)

In this Pre Khutba talk, Shaykh Sadullah Khan advises the congregation on the lessons that can be learnt regarding the current global pandemic COVID – 19. Shaykh Sadullah provides practical measures and precautions that people can take in their daily lives in order to reduce the risk of transmission. Furthermore, he reminds us to reflect on this contemporary event and to be cognizant of the butterfly effect. Sometimes a seeming-less insignificant event can have massive ramifications. In these challenging times, we should remain optimistic and do the best that we can to avert the potential consequences of COVID-19. We should rely on Allah in all matters and take the necessary means that he has created in order to protect ourselves and others. Let us appreciate the great gifts of life and health in these testing times.

Why Do We Waste So Much Food in Ramadan? – Shaykh Muhammad Metwali Al-Sha’raawi

In this video, the late Egyptian luminary and scholar, Shaykh Muhammad Metwali Al-Sha’raawi (RA) urges us to reflect on our consumption of food in the month of Ramadan. He reminds us that there is no benefit in overeating or being gluttonous once the time of breaking fast sets in. Rather, we should suffice ourselves with minimal food so that we may reap the spiritual and physical benefits of fasting. By being conscious of the true meanings of Ramadan, Muslims will be able to live lives of moderation and balance.

 


Biography:

Shaykh Muhammad al-Sha’raawi was born in Egypt on the 5th of April , 1911. At the age of 11, he had completely memorized the Quran. He graduated from the Faculty of Arabic Language at the al – Azhar University in 1941. He was considered and recognized as a gifted exegete of the Quran. He was revered and respected in the Muslim world for his scholarship and piety. His regular weekly programme on Egyptian television immediately following Friday prayers was followed by millions of people around the Middle East. During his programmes, he would explain the Qur’an with humor, wisdom and the use of examples drawn from everyday life. He passed away on the 4th of June, 1998. Reportedly more than a million mourners packed Cairo’s streets in a display of grief.


 

Conquering Mount Sawm, by Tushar Imdad-ul-Haq Bhuiya

Especially motivating for those dreading the long summer fasts, the following diary entries, written by British educator Tushar Imdad-ul-Haq Bhuiya, should provide reassurance that keeping hunger at bay isn’t as hard as it seems.Although describing the challenge of keeping a voluntary fast, the lessons are just as relevant for Ramadan.

After reading extracts from Brad Pilon’s Eat. Stop. Eat, encouragement from my teacher and reflection upon the Sunna, I decide to embark on the ultimate challenge for a food-loving Muslim: a voluntary fast. (And since it’s British summer time, the fast lasts from 02:30 till 9PM – 19½ hours!). What encouraged me was last Ramadan’s experience; we British Muslims dreaded the long summer fast of 2012 – the longest of its kind for almost 30 years! And yet, we did it. It wasn’t that hard. Indeed, I found this extract from a hindsight entry made last year under the title ‘Miracle of Fasting’:

“I somehow fasted from 4.50am till 9.30PM, possibly my longest ever. And it wasn’t hard – despite my normally having 3 square meals and 2 tea-breaks in that time! Allah made it easy, put baraka in my suhur and gave me energy, Alhamdulillah!”

So I went to sleep last night, after a late Isha, with the intention that if Allah would get me up at Tahajjud, only then would I fast with the following intentions:

  1. To follow the exalted Sunna, which should suffice us from having any other motive (though, as with other Sunnas, modern scientific findings help us appreciate the worldly benefits)
  2. To discipline my mind and nafs (self/soul) not to think about food all the time, and therefore
  3. Have a more productive day

02:50 AM

Allah woke me at 2:05AM and I knew He wanted me to try this experiment (perhaps so I could share it with SeekersHub Global readers!). I scrambled to the kitchen to prepare an odd suhur of instant porridge, last night’s pizza & chips leftovers, tea, a date and orange juice. Suitably stuffed, and after some fervent du’a, I’m ready to face the day… after the small matter of sleep!

1:15 PM

Breakfast wasn’t an issue as I was still full from suhur. No headaches or tiredness either. Skipped my compulsory tea-break at work without fuss. This is a big deal as, normally, the first moment after finishing my lesson at 10:30  I’d be rushing to the kitchen to make a cuppa! Got some less intensive down-time for the next few hours. Over half way now: so far, so good.

From a teacher’s point of view I find the ability to fast extraordinary. The nafs is like a teenager/child. Where it knows it has options, it’ll test the boundaries and ask for more than it deserves. However when the boundaries are clear from the outset of the day and one has made the firm resolve NOT to eat until sunset, the nafs grows quiet and barely a squeak of defiance is ever heard!

4:30

Three hours later and still no pangs, Alhamdulillah. I got a slight headache after hours of study on a Seekers Guidance course,  email checking and internet research. The research was worth it though: found out about The Fast Diet which contains much of the inspiration that got me started.

Now, after a brief rest, am pretty energized whilst tutoring the first of two lessons. Only two problems I’ve encountered so far: tendency to do excessive or useless internet jobs, and a longing for Maghrib time to come!

7:00

Last lesson done. Slight headache. Will rest for 20 mins before Tai Chi class at 7:30.

10:00

OK, Tai Chi was agony on my legs for some reason (found out later that this was due to my incorrect posture in one of the positions!) But Maghrib came upon me far from passing out due to hunger.

Conquering Mount Sawm…From the Outside

So if I could climb and conquer Mount Sawm outside Ramadan, anyone can. I’ll leave you with a few top tips that helped me get there:

  1. Have a strong intention for Allah.
  2. Consume a hearty, nutritious (I did have porridge remember!) suhur
  3. Read inspiring literature about benefits of the fast: if you’re not up to date with the two world famous and highly popular diets that lead incredible scientific support to the Sunna fasting system, then do read The Fast Diet by Mosley and Eat.Stop.Eat by Pilon
  4. Keep really busy. I’m sure you noticed my day was quite packed with different activities including work, study and fitness.
  5. Ponder that if millions of other Muslims around the world can do it, so can you. Mothers do this to get over the fear of childbirth. Fasting is not nearly as painful. If you need motivation outside Ramadan, when you are struggling to fast when most people aren’t, then there are a few things to consider: a) Your worship is especially likely to be more sincere. Keep your fast secret (as is recommended with all voluntary acts) and enjoy the special connection you have with Allah, knowing that you are fasting sincerely for His pleasure alone; b) The health benefits you learn from acting upon point 3 above is enough to inspire anyone to take up fasting weekly. Non-Muslims throughout the UK are ‘fasting’ Monday and Thursday due to the proven long-term benefits to health. As Muslims we have even more motivation; c) Although, not everyone is fasting, you can be sure that the ‘ulema of Taqwa, awliya and saliheen all fast regularly. It’s certainly comforting to know you are united with them in following the Sunnah of regular voluntary fasting.
  6. Allow yourself a Sunna qaylula (afternoon nap) after Zuhr; in long summer days this means you can get through plenty of work before your nap. Many nap straight after work. When you wake, it’s just the final lap with the finish line in sight.
  7. Enjoy and take advantage of the fact that you can be so much more productive on a fast day.

The Thought is Scarier Than the Experience

As we’ve all experienced, the thought of fasting – of not having one’s regular meals, of skipping one’s normal snacks – is actually a lot more frightening than the fast itself. Ironically, this is like productivity generally: the anticipation of how difficult it will be to achieve important goals is normally much worse than the actual experience.

And so the upshot is also the same: stop worrying; just do it! Ramadan Mubarak to all reading this and I’d be so grateful if you could remember me in your duas when you break your fasts.

Fruit Photo by Michael Stern. Clock picture by Christine Callahan.

Resources for Seekers

A Nursing Mother’s Ramadan Reflections, by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil thought she knew what a challenging fasting day was…until she became a mother and began nursing her baby.

I thought that my hardest Ramadans were the ones I spent in Jordan, as a young student of knowledge. The days were incredibly long, and the blistering summer heat was like nothing I’d ever felt before. I missed the comfort of my mother’s cooking, and the familiar faces of my family and friends. In place of the loved ones I left behind, Allah blessed me with the warm company of new friends. May Allah reward the families who opened their homes to me, especially during Ramadan.
Almost a decade later, I find myself faced with an entirely different set of circumstances. I am married, living in Malaysia and nursing my baby daughter. She is almost one, and I am so grateful that she enjoys eating solids. Fiqh rulings about fasting while breastfeeding have taken a whole new meaning for me. Once, I would have thought it impossible. Nursing mothers like myself often experience a hunger that accompanies nursing a baby. Despite that, I’m realising how much Allah sustains my baby daughter and me, from heartbeat to heartbeat. Is it easy to fast while nursing a baby? Absolutely not. It’s humbling, it’s exhausting, it’s possible, and for now at least, I’ll keep going.

Tips for nursing mums:

1)   Drink plenty of water after iftar, alongside chia seeds soaked overnight.
2)   Have a solid suhoor (pre-dawn meal) and ask Allah to sustain you.
3)   Nap during the day when your baby naps!
4)   Express milk after suhoor or iftar, or both, if you need to.
5)   If you start getting unwell or your milk supply drops enough to impact on your baby’s nourishment, then know that it’s OK to stop fasting. Pay it back later, and look at the rules of fidyah for your school of thought. Some women can fast while nursing, while others can’t. Allah knows.

Extra Worship Is Another Matter

This Ramadan, I haven’t been able to step into a masjid, because my baby daughter doesn’t sleep through the night. Some nights, she can stay asleep for long stretches, and other nights, she wakes up continuously. I’ve made my peace with that. Instead of the luxury of hours of tarawih like in days gone by, I have precious moments of solitude as my daughter sleeps, or plays with her father and grandmother. These are the moments where I close my eyes and remember the power of intention. Every day looking after my baby is a day spent in love and service, for the sake of Allah Most High. Keeping connected to that intention is challenging, even on the best of days. What’s helped me stay present with that intention is listening to the SeekersHub Ramadan Podcasts in between putting her to sleep, feeding her, and playing with her. Mercy, forgiveness, and salvation – we are all in need.
May Allah help us make the most of the days we have left, help us be of service to others, and help us be pleased with His Decree.

Resources for seekers