In These Last Days of Ramadan, Help Sustain Sacred Knowledge – Dr. Hadia Mubarak

In the current global crisis, many deserving scholars and students have been left unsupported; knowledge is critical in these testing times, and you can help to sustain it’s spread.

Dr. Hadia Mubarak talks about the Islamic Scholars Fund and the importance of supporting students of knowledge and qualified teachers around the world.

“Whatever crisis we are facing never eliminates our need for accurate and reliable religious knowledge, so it is absolutely critical that we support religious scholars across the world.”  Dr. Hadia Mubarak

Don’t Let a Faith Pandemic Happen: Support Our Islamic Scholars Fund This Ramadan.

We need your help to raise $1 million in Zakat and Charity to urgently support students of knowledge and qualified scholars in need around the world.

Knowledge is critical in these testing times, and you have an opportunity by donating your Zakat and Charity to help sustain it’s spread.

This Ramadan, help people around the world find light and guidance by supporting deserving scholars. Give your zakat and charity to support scholars who need it, when their knowledge is needed most.

Hadith: The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) reported to have said: “Scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets.”  [Related by Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Nasa’i, Ibn Maja, Ahmad, Ibn Hibban, and others] 

Faith Pandemic

Islamic Scholars Fund

Support the Spread of Sacred Knowledge through the Islamic Scholars Fund this Ramadan, by giving your Zakat and Charity to Help Us Raise $1 Million for Deserving Students and Scholars in Need Around the World. 

On behalf of everyone here at SeekersGuidance, please accept our gratitude for everything you have contributed, and we pray you have a blessed end to Ramadan.

Wasalaam,

Waseem Mahmood
Business Strategy Manager

SeekersGuidance: The Global Islamic Seminary

Islamic Time Management During COVID-19 – Sidi Tushar Imdad

With curfew measures and stay-at-home orders in place across the world, most of us find ourselves cooped up at home for much longer than we are used to.

Worse still, trying to work or study with multiple family members competing for space and time is a recipe for distraction!

Politicians liken the fight with Coronavirus to a war – it’s like a battle humanity must win.

Productivity experts like to use the same analogy for time management. You are battling with your life, your week or your day.

Islamically, we have an even better model (because it’s true!). Spiritual masters have described our real battle to be with four: our nafs (selfish ego), our hawa (obsessional tendencies or ‘stubborn, wilful folly’), Shaytan (we all know him!) and the Dunya (defined by Imam al-Ghazali as anything that distracts one from Allah).

Whichever model you look at, the point is the same. If we do not actively battle with the enemies of our time, then we will lose.

Remember what Imam Shafi’i (r.a.) learned from the Sufis:

“Time is like a sword; if you don’t cut it, it will cut you!”
 
What does any military leader do before any battle?

PLAN.

Preparation is EVERYTHING. If there’s just one time management habit you get from all my articles, I hope it is this: plan your weeks and plan your days .

(If you want a deeper dive into the basics of planning, goal setting and other time managements tricks, you could look into my self-study course Time Tactics 101: https://tusharimdad.thinkific.com/courses/time-tactics-101. Before you buy, email me for a massive discount)

If you don’t plan, this is what happens:

You’re right in the middle of an essential task and your son comes in the room to ask for something.

You’re trying to concentrate but the sound from the kids is driving you nuts!

You are about to finally finish that complex report when your spouse reminds you that you promised to get lunch ready.

It’s like waking up late and spending the whole day fighting fires.

(I contrast a well-planned day with a distracted, ineffective one in a previous article: https://seekersguidance.org/articles/featured-articles/islamic-time-management-series-power-your-day-with-pre-planning-sidi-tushar-imdad/).

Imagine moving city, or starting a new job. Wouldn’t there be so much research and prep you’d do? The unprecedented situation we find ourselves in is no less dramatic – indeed, for many of us, it’s even more disruptive.

The more disrupted your life is, the more you need to plan for it.

So HOW do you optimize your time at home to ensure continued productivity at home.

Below I share 10 pro tips, all of which I practise myself:

1. Sit with your spouse and plan your week.
If you want to be a ‘super couple’ I recommend you do this every week, but for now we ALL need to be doing this. Since you’re both working under the same roof and kids are home, you need to thrash out the following:

  1. Who will home-school/ monitor the kids and when?
  2. Who and when will shop online or locally
  3. Agree meal times, start of work times, end of work times

2. Define and agree clear work times.
You will argue. You will get stressed. It’s all normal and all part of the process. Arguments always happen when expectations are not met. So you need to COMMUNICATE and AGREE what your expectations are for work time and family time. If you are the husband, you need to make sure your family understands when you are unavailable. If you are the wife, you must communicate and discuss any help you need from your husband BEFORE he gets absorbed in his work. Nothing starts an argument like being interrupted from an important task and being asked to help with something not agreed to before!

3. Set up a defined work area.
Hopefully, you have a study or a room which you can designate as your makeshift ‘office’. Even if it’s a bedroom, that’s fine for now. Just ensure your family know that between work hours you are unavailable.

4. Put up a sign.
My coach has us print ‘Do not disturb’ signs and stick them on the door when we are embarking on ‘deep work’. Some office workers will even stick such a sheet on their backs . The point is to communicate deadly seriousness that your work time is sacred. Because it is.

5. Share breakfast or lunch with family.
To make strategy 4 more palatable for your family, give back by being really present for a family meal – either breakfast or lunch. You’d normally be eating alone or at the office. Take advantage of the curfew by enjoying a bonus 30 minutes purely with your family. If you do this with presence, your family will be more than happy enough to then let you work intensively later.

6. Set an alarm for all your salahs.
It’s surprisingly easy to get into bad habits with salah when working from home. Your whole routine has changed and the usual cues – including the chance to pray in the masjid – are gone. You can read my brief LinkedIn post about this point here:
https://www.linkedin.com/posts/tushar-imdad-0a466b13_islamictimemanagement-productivitytips-timemanagement-activity-6648563223773745152-Yo0x

7. Keep to clear boundaries.
As my wife has reminded me on many of the occasions when I’ve slipped up on this point, there’s nothing more frustrating for your family than when you keep working past your agreed end time. If you decide and agree that you will finish at 6, then stop at 6. You’ve given your word. Stick to it. Go and be with your family for Allah’s sake.

When you keep working past your set boundaries, it communicates indifference and disrespect to your family. Your kids and your spouse see that you value your work more than them. Don’t let this happen – especially in these fearful times – when they need you to lead and guide them most.

8 .Go for a morning walk.
I won’t hyperlink again, but I’ve written before about the power of a morning walk. In countries like the UK, we are restricted to just one session of outdoor exercise outside. Ironically, this may help families exercise MORE than before! Make it an unmoveable part of your schedule to go on a 10-30 minute morning walk. If you can bring family with you, then you kill two birds with one stone! A brisk, morning walk can bring wonders to your energy, mood and sleep. Don’t miss it.

9. Schedule time for Islamic gatherings or learning LIVE.
One of the hardest aspects of the current pandemic is our isolation from each other. When in our lives have we ever been prevented from attending the masjid? As such, it is vital we replace this with the best, possible substitute: online halaqas or lectures or lessons where Islamic knowledge is being imparted and pious ‘ulema are present. Try to attend live as there is much more barakah in live sessions. Seekersguidance.org have a whole range of quality courses from absolute beginner to those proficient in Arabic – all completely FREE. Aim for at least one weekly majlis that you attend.

Aside from the social and spiritual benefits from this, spending time with those beloved to Allah palpably helps your mindset. It’s a soothing antidote to all the fear and negativity from news and social media.

10. Calendarize and timetable all the above.
I can’t emphasize this enough. You must schedule all the above in writing, or on your app. Once you write it down in your calendar, it becomes concrete. It becomes a commitment. So many good intentions float away as they simply weren’t tied down to a written plan.

Try implementing these 10 steps methodically and you’ll experience a profound sense of control and order in the midst of turbulence.

As we enter Sha’ban, our minds will start preparing for Ramadan. Allah has blessed us with a whole month to get to grips with the new unexpected lifestyle changes brought on by Covid-19. One of the best things you can do in this month is to get organized, start mastering your schedule and live optimally as possible.

That way, when Ramadan arrives, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running.

Praying for barakah and taufeeq in your time,

Tushar Imdad 

P.S. I run an Islamic-oriented online homeschool academy, specialising in quality English teaching suitable to support any Western curriculum. We are due to expand to meet the new demand caused by school closures and also add science and maths to the programme. If you are interested in learning more, please complete this short survey so I can understand your needs: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/VHFF356

If you enjoyed this article, you can sign up to Tushar’s mailing list for his weekly Jum’a articles, free content about Islamic Time Management as well as updates for exciting courses or services: https://mailchi.mp/5879bd7982eb/tusharimdad


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’.

SeekersGuidance Islamic Scholars Fund

Please note that this article is out of date.

For an updated Islamic Scholars Fund report and more information about how this fund works please visit: https://seekersguidance.org/articles/prophetic-guidance/how-does-the-islamic-scholars-fund-isf-use-your-zakat-and-charitable-donations/

Fulfil Your Role With the Islamic Scholars Fund!

Shaykh Farid Dingle speaks about how the Islamic Scholars Fund allows us Muslims to fulfil our roles in society.Islamic scholars fund

Our problem as a society is that, despite our love of Islam, we don’t know how to apply it into our lives. This leads to confusion, as we don’t understand what to do in many ordinary situations.

The answer is to support organisation that teach people about the fundamentals of Islam, and answer the questions that they have.

SeekersGuidance, a nonprofit organisation, aims to do just that with an Answer service, free online courses, and a solid curriculum. Additionally, it sponsors student studying the Islamic sciences.

However, the hard reality is that this is no possible without funds. Because of this, SeekersGuidance is raising money for the Islamic Scholars’ Fund, which support scholars and students of knowledge who are providing these services.

Without these support, it may be that one day, no such information will be available. The cost of not doing anything will be continued confusion.

When Less is More: Indian Practices for Protecting the Environment

Saad Razi Shaikh explores how tapping into India’s cultural practices can fulfil the Prophetic command to not waste resources, and to protect the environment.protecting the environment

And do not waste, for God does not love the wasteful. [Quran 6:141]

About two weeks back, I heard a scrap dealer passing by the road in front of my house. His booming voice announced the time had come to clear the unused items from the house. His voice was a familiar one in the neighbourhood, yet it was only now that I began to ponder about people like him, and the practices they represented.

In this case, I reflected on the many ways old objects are recycled and reused, and particularly so in my home country, India. Here, there exists a whole cultural system of reusing and recycling. In our house, there was a special place to store old newspapers, old plastic, and old utensils. Each of these would be separately sold to a scrap dealer, who would send it further up the recycling ecosystem.

The dealers had unique barter systems. We would exchange our old clothes for new utensils. As for old blankets, they would not be thrown out. A group of women would drop into our neighbourhood. Armed with needles and thread, they would sew together these blankets, creating what you could call a superblanket, a ‘godadi’ which would act as a  formidable defence against the winter cold.

Food, a dear necessity of life, had its own reuse routines. If curry and rotis were left from the night, they would be mixed and heated together the next day, a dish that we called sareed. If fresh roti was left, my mother would grind it together with sugar and cardamom, to make ball-shaped sweets called laddoos. Leftover meals would be taken by the domestic workers who came to our locality. If small morsels and bits remained, they would be fed to crows and other birds.

These routines, of reusing and recycling, were the traditions I grew up with. Much later, when I had seen the world a bit, and dug through a few books of the Deen, I came to appreciate them for what they truly were: a way to sustain, conserve and make the most of our limited resources. Little to nothing would be wasted in the house, and we were taught that from an early age.

But as we grew older, we became more susceptible to the consumerism of the society we lived in. Malls sprang up in place of the bazaar. We frequented it first, dazzled by the sheer breadth of products on display. If that wasn’t enough, Amazon landed in our homes, and we ordered products as if the world was ending tomorrow-which is not far-fetched, seeing the rapid depletion of resources and the sheer abuse and violation of the environment. Woke as we were, we read news pieces on the environment, cheered when the Paris Deal was signed, switched off our lights every year on Earth Hour, and furiously signed internet petitions for saving the environment.

Yet, we faltered where it mattered the most; in taking ourselves into account. Each one of us is mukallaf, a sane, believing adult  is accountable for his or her actions. We are the vice-regents of Allah, to whom the Earth has been entrusted as an Amanah, a trust. In our wanton consumerism, unsustainable lifestyles and poor management of our resources, how well are we carrying the trust we have been given?

Here’s my humble take:  the environment will continue to degrade until each one of us begins to take responsibility for our actions. Petitioning governments to change their policies is fine. But we need to make a real commitment to tone down our own consumption.

A good start is knowing our carbon consumption. Are you using your car when public transport is available? Are you using plastic when you can carry your own bag? Is your plumbing leaking the life out of the water systems? Do the products you are buying adhere to the latest environmental standards? Finally, are there ways you can reduce your wastage? Are there avenues for you to recycle and reuse your old stuff?

The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, the best of creations, laid great emphasis on avoiding wastage. He asked the believers to marvel at the signs of Allah in the creation of  the heavens and the Earth. We need to return to that sense of awe, of marvelling at nature and knowing that we are entrusted with it. Our mindless consumerism is blinding us to the fact that we are accountable to Allah, and that on the Day of Judgment, every action of ours will be measured.  

It is said that Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, when on his deathbed, asked his daughter Aisha, may Allah be pleased with them both, not to spend money to purchase cloth for his shroud, and to instead use the bedcloth he was sleeping on to shroud him. We need to remember examples like the actions of the righteous and how they can be of benefit to us, both in this world and the next. We need to respect the environment, to know that we do not own it, that we are its mere trustees.

This is where tapping into our traditional practices of sustainability can come in handy. Each culture has valuable practices which fit this concept, and my example is just one amongst plenty.  We need to revive them, for they allow us to follow an Islamic ideal while doing our part to save the environment.

May we be those who respect the environment. May we neither waste nor neglect the bounties entrusted upon us.


Saad Razi Shaikh is a journalist based in Mumbai. He writes on popular culture and community initiatives. He can be reached on Twitter @writweeter


 

Frequently Asked Questions – Living Green Series

The Living Green Series takes us through our responsibilities towards green living and environmental stewardship. In this segment, the panel speakers answer some frequently asked questions.

At the end of the panel, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Leslie Adams, and Ustadh Amjad Tarsin answer some questions about environmentalism and living green.

Why isn’t environmentalism  a more prominent issue in the Muslim community?

Every community goes through developmental stages, especially when they are a minority group. In terms of the Muslim community, the  priority of the first generation immigrants were financial security, as well as building religious centres for their children’s sake. Similar to voting, these relatively new communities are  addressing them a generation later, after their more pressing needs have been fulfilled.

Is there a connection between sin and environmental damage?
Yes, because sin comes from heedlessness, which is lack of concern. A lot of environmental damage comes from lack of concern and carelessness. For example, so much water and food is wasted because of our carelessness because we don’t realise the impact of what we are using.

How can we find out whether our smartphones, and other  products, have been ethically produced?

Before buying anything, we should do our research as much as possible and find out whatever we can about that material. In addition, we should make an effort to seek change ourselves. For example, we could write to companies to express our concerns, and share our research within our social circles.

About the Series

What is the place of green and environmental stewardship in Islam? How does the Qur’an view concern for the environment?  What is your responsibility towards the environment? Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Ustadh Amjad Tarsin and Shaykh Ali Hani answer these are other critical questions by citing several prophetic traditions emphasising environmental consciousness and awareness.


Resources for Seekers

 

The Urgency of Stewardship – Living Green Series

The Living Green Series takes us through our responsibilities towards green living and environmental stewardship. In this segment, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explains why we all have a responsibility to be stewards of the earth.

Stewardship a necessary part of living in this world. We are actually commanded to work towards justice to everything around us, and we have been given the moral ability to do so.

Allah commands us in the Qur’an:

Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded. (16:90)

Justice entails giving everything its due, whether it be other humans, plants, and animals. The Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and give him peace, would give names to his tools and household objects, signifying that he had a relationship with them.

Muslims have an overarching commitment to environmental protection, and are called to have a good balance with everything in our daily lives. This includes doing things like avoiding waste, knowing that small amounts of waste and extravagance are disliked, while gross waste is sinful.

It also involves  having a commitment to do well in work, studies, and family and social life, but not be excessively attached to them. This balance involves being in a position where we seek the good for ourselves, while still seeking good for others. We do this while being mindful of Allah, and doing everything with the intention of reaching Him.

About the Series

What is the place of green and environmental stewardship in Islam? How does the Qur’an view concern for the environment?  What is your responsibility towards the environment? Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Ustadh Amjad Tarsin and Shaykh Ali Hani answer these are other critical questions by citing several prophetic traditions emphasising environmental consciousness and awareness.


Resources for Seekers

7 Sunnas of Stewardship – Living Green Series

The Living Green Series takes us through our responsibilities towards green living and environmental stewardship. In this segment, Ustadh Amjad Tarsin speaks about the sunnas connected to environmental stewardship.

Ustadh Amjad highlights some key practices of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, with regards to the environment. He explains some Islamic values with respect to environmental concern.

He begins by quoting a hadith, “People who show mercy to others will be shown mercy by the All-Merciful. Be merciful to those on earth, and the Lord of the Heavens will be merciful to you.” This teaches us that all of us as believers have a responsibility of mercy to the animals, the environment, other people, and even inanimate objects.

  1. Have concern. Be mindful of what you use, and be careful not to waste. Recognize that your usage affects others. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, told us not to waste water, even if making wudu on the banks of the Euphrates River.
  2. Eat good food. Ensure the food you eat is blessed, is nourishing,and has not been oppressed or mistreated. Most of the meat we eat nowadays is grown on factories rather than farms. Similarly, many of the plants grown nowadays are sprayed with pesticides that we aren’t meant to ingest.
  3. Have reverence for all of Creation. Know that everything in Creation glorifies Allah, and that we have a special connection to it all. Allah has created the environment in a natural balance, but us humans are disrupting it.
  4. Reuse. Create a relationship with what you have, rather than throwing things away. The Prophet would give names to all of his household items.
  5. Reflect. Allah has praised “those of deep reflection,” in the Qur’an. The natural order of the world is meant for us to reflect on. Take some time out and reflect in nature.
  6. Balance. Every part of Islam is about harmony and balance. We are called to give everything its right. We need to use resources, but we can do this in a way that is not excessive.
  7. Concern. Learn more about the problems around us, and take steps to rectify it. Whether it be an endangered species, or a shortage of water in a place far away, we need to take responsibility for the actions of the human race.

About the Series

What is the place of green and environmental stewardship in Islam? How does the Qur’an view concern for the environment?  What is your responsibility towards the environment? Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Ustadh Amjad Tarsin and Shaykh Ali Hani answer these are other critical questions by citing several prophetic traditions emphasising environmental consciousness and awareness.


Resources for Seekers

Why Biodiversity Matters – Living Green Series

The Living Green Series takes us through our responsibilities towards green living and environmental stewardship. In this segment, Leslie Adams speaks about the importance of biodiversity and why we have a responsibility to protect it.

Leslie Adams from the Ontario Biodiversity Network, begin by giving an overview of biodiversity and its functions.

Biodiversity is the different organisms that are found within an ecosystem. The relationship between these organisms forms a unique environment which is crucial to our living. A biodiverse ecosystem provides food, clothing, and medicine. It covers genetic diversity, species diversity and ecosystem diversity. As humans, we depend on all the species and ecosystems that exists, because they all have a part to play towards the quality of our environment.

Ecosystems provide us with goods and services. Goods include things like food, wood, air and water. Services are the benefits that the ecosystems provide us. They are sometimes less obvious but equally important, and they include things like water filtration, temperatures, and pollination.

One of the largest problems of the modern age, is that ecosystem services are taken for granted. Because of this, a monetary value can be easily attached to them, which is quickly paid by development companies eager to construct buildings on natural land. However, the replacing a natural ecosystem such as a forest, with concrete jungle destroys the services it was providing. Since the forest no longer exists, pollination of nearby crops and plants can no longer take place, and the water that the people drink becomes dirty.

When we learn more about biodiversity, we begin to understand how important it is to preserve the natural habitat.

About the Series

What is the place of green and environmental stewardship in Islam? How does the Qur’an view concern for the environment?  What is your responsibility towards the environment? Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Ustadh Amjad Tarsin and Shaykh Ali Hani answer these are other critical questions by citing several prophetic traditions emphasising environmental consciousness and awareness.


Resources for Seekers

The Environment and the Qur’an – Living Green Series

The Living Green Series takes us through our responsibilities towards green living and environmental stewardship. In this segment, Shaykh Ali Hani speaks about what we know about environmental protection in the Qur’an.

Shaykh Ali Hani begins by speaks about the Arabic meaning of the word Bi’ah, or “natural environment”, referring to things that affect humans, and that humans affect it. It includes the plants, animals, people and water bodies.

The Qur’an tells us that the universe has been made for us, meaning that the creation of the natural environment is deeply linked to our existence in their earth. We also know that Allah has made us people Khalifa, or Vice-regent, representing Allah on this earth.

In another verse, it is mentioned that our purpose in life is to worship Allah. This is not just for devotions like prayer and fasting, but also includes being kind and gentle, and treating others well. However, the greatest act of worship is to know Allah.

Allah created the universe with precision, perfection and order. It is in constant worship of Allah, and always obedience to His commands. Similarly, we are commanded act according to His law. We must use what He had given us in moderation, and in a way that is in harmony with the universe.

The human race is distinct from the rest of the natural environment, because it is blessed with an intellect and rational reasoning. A true believer uses this intellect to fix problems in the environment, and fears to even kill an ant, knowing that Allah is watching him.

About the Series

What is the place of green and environmental stewardship in Islam? How does the Qur’an view concern for the environment?  What is your responsibility towards the environment? Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Ustadh Amjad Tarsin and Shaykh Ali Hani answer these are other critical questions by citing several prophetic traditions emphasizing environmental consciousness and awareness.


Resources for Seekers