Posts

Adhering to the National Lockdown – Mufti Taha Karaan

* Courtesy of the Muslim Judicial Council

In this video, Mufti Taha Karaan reminds the Muslim community of Cape Town to continue to adhere to the rules of the national lockdown. Mufti Taha emphasizes the strategic importance and benefit social distancing will have on the outcome of the Covid-19 pandemic. Additionally, he addresses the elders of the community to be an example for others and not to place themselves in vulnerable situations. Furthermore, Mufti Taha makes mention of how we should negotiate the various conspiracy theories that have become extremely prevalent. We should remember that Allah has ordained a destiny for Muslims and humanity, and that should provide us with solace from any anxiety.

* We extend our gratitude and appreciation to Mufti Taha Karaan and the Muslim Judicial Council.


Biography of Mufti Taha Karaan:

Mufti Taha Karaan is a Shafi’i scholar born in Cape Town, South Africa, to a family renowned in both its maternal and paternal lineage for Islamic scholarship. His father, the late Mufti Yusuf Karaan (may Allah have mercy on his soul), was one of the most distinguished Islamic scholars in the Cape.
Mufti Taha completed his Qur’anic memorization in one year at the Waterfall Islamic Institute, the oldest Islamic seminary in South Africa. During his stay, he assisted in the editing of the Qur’anic prints that the Institute has become famous for the world over. After finishing four years of the ‘alim course in two years, he journeyed to the Indian sub-continent and Dar al-Uloom Deoband, graduating from there in 1991 with the highest of distinctions, as did his father, in a class of over 700 students. He then travelled to the Middle East and completed a two-year graduate diploma at the Higher Institute for Islamic Studies in Cairo, Egypt.
Mufti Taha is the recipient of numerous chains of transmission (ijazaat), from well-respected scholars in India, Pakistan, South Africa, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, among others, in numerous fields of Islamic study.
Currently, Mufti Taha is the Mufti of the Muslim Judicial Council. He is a sought-after speaker at Islamic symposia and conferences but attends them sparingly, preferring to spend most of his time at the Islamic seminary, Dar al-Uloom al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah, that he founded in 1996. The educational thrust of the seminary reflects Mufti Taha’s own pioneering vision and commitment to squarely interface with the challenges of the modern age through the twin objectives of preservation and progress.
In his teaching, writing and legal verdicts (fatawa), Mufti Taha regularly addresses contemporary issues such as the challenges of post-modernity, feminism, Islamic economics and finance, the old and new Orientalisms, and fiqh issues affecting Diaspora Muslim communities.
His students describe him as divinely-gifted with encyclopaedic knowledge; possessed of a near photographic memory; an insatiable bibliophile within the Islamic sciences and without; a teacher that never ceases to inspire; endowed with an elegant calligraphic hand and a penchant for poetry; thoroughly unassuming, pleasant, brilliant and tender-hearted.

10 Reasons Not to Make a New Year’s Resolution This Year – Sidi Tushar Imdad

10 Reasons NOT to Make a New Year’s Resolution This Year

Every year the anticipation builds before January 1st to set a new habit or a new goal. And for 2020, it feels even more important. 2020 is such a nice, round number, right? We don’t want to miss out on ‘2020 Life Vision’ (get the pun?).

I’m giving you permission NOT to set any goals or resolutions or habits this January. You can relax. Your anxiety levels are probably rising at the thought, but here are 10 reasons why it may well be better to give New Year’s resolutions a miss:

#1 – It Doesn’t Work
How many times have you set a New Year’s resolution (NYR) to exercise more, or tidy up your home, or save more money – only to give up, even without realizing – a few months or even weeks into the habit?

Einstein defined insanity as ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’

So, this year, instead of reinforcing a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure (studies show that 92% of people fail to keep their resolutions), let’s do something different.

#2 – Resolutions are Typically Not Actionable
More often than not, resolutions are just vague intentions: ‘I will lose weight’, ‘I will make more money’, ‘I will eat more vegetables.’

David Allen in his hugely successful ‘Getting Things Done’ gives the simple example of clearing up your garage. If you give yourself the ‘task’ of ‘clear up the garage’, you’re highly likely to put it off until kingdom comes!

Instead, one should break down the task (which in this case is really a project) into much smaller actions and focus simply on the ‘Next Action.’ For example, ‘Get three boxes ready for garage clear out’.

#3 – Unrealistic Expectations
NYRs tend to be lists of hopes, wishes and vague goals. So in addition to not being actionable, there are simply too many goals to realistically achieve.

People who have achieved extraordinary results, and changed their lives around, almost always focussed on ONE habit or goal at a time. This allows you to harness all your energy on one habit and achieve success.

With multiple habits, you spread yourself thin and risk failing in all of them. Less is more with habit forming.

#4 – Weak External Motivation 
Even if you made an elaborate SMART plan for your NYR, you are still likely to fail as your motivation may well be wrong.

We tend to make resolutions because we think we should rather than because we want to. Perhaps it’s because it’s what we’ve always done, it’s tradition, or since everyone else does it, or countless articles/posts fill you with false hopes.

None of these are good reasons. These reasons rely on weak exernal motivation whereas you need strong, internal reasons for change.

No wonder that we lose steam after a few weeks when all the excitement dies and you realize, too late, that your why wasn’t strong enough.

#5 – Reverse Accountability
Habit forming experts are unanimous that accountability to a group is one of the strongest means for making your resolutions stick. There is a caveat. The group should be filled with inspiring people on a similar journey with plenty of role models.

With NYRs, you have the reverse of this: failing to meet resolutions is so common in society, you may subconsciously expect to fail before you begin!

#6(a) – Problematic Timing (1): Holidays Just Over
Ironically, the new year is actually a BAD time of year to form a goal or habit. This point is so fundamental, it expands to two reasons!

Firstly, you’ll be just finishing the holidays. Psychologically, it can be hard enough motivating yourself to return to work, let alone adding the pressure to meet a challenging NYR.

#6(b) – Problematic Timing (2): Winter
Secondly, January is in the heart of winter for most of us. Have you ever tried forming a walking habit in winter only to put it off for spring?

It’s not just with exercise. Since January is one of the most depressing months of the year, it will be an uphill emotional battle to make any major life change.

Dark, cold, wet. Sound motivating to you?

#7 – Long Year Ahead
If you start a habit in January, you can see the whole year stretching ahead of you with sunny days many months away. This makes it so easy to procrastinate as it’s hard to focus on one goal for so long.

We want lasting change, not just a short-term fix. New Year’s resolutions can often be like crash diets which rebound as soon as we hit our target weight.

If we want true lifestyle change that lasts a lifetime, then we need to be more systematic and intentional with our goals.

#8 – Unnecessary Stress
Setting an arbitrary date to set resolutions forces you to panic and think up of goals when you may not be ready – especially when there are 364 other perfectly good days to decide to change.

Furthermore, the mindset encouraged is a state of entering the new year wanting more in your life than you have right now. Wouldn’t it be great, instead, to be more grateful and present with what you have?

#9 – Tradition Divorced From its Origins
The practice of NYRs go back to the Babylonians and Romans who ‘celebrated’ the new year by offering sacrifices and pledges to their gods.

Interestingly, this is more in line with the Muslim philosophy of celebration. Eid, Jum’a, Dhul Hijjah and other holy times in the Muslim calendar are not marked with fireworks or secular goal setting. Rather, they are times for repentance (tauba), thanksgiving (shukr) and ibaadah (worship).

#10 – Distraction From the Most Effective Means of Change
Some people do nothing all year except the same lame, half-hearted resolutions every January 1st – which they inevitably break. It’s probably a deliberate ploy by our inner chimps (nafs) to avoid doing the real work of forming challenging habits.

New Year’s Resolutions can be trendy, convenient band-aids to real change. Sure, it’s possible to set realistic, time-specific, mission-driven and achievable goals in time for the new year. But for all the reasons above, you’re more likely to succeed in simply starting another time. When you’re truly ready and self-motivated.

What to Do Instead?
Having said all that, I appreciate that New Year’s Day is still a symbolic, memorable time and therefore there is emotion attached to the occasion. It’s a great excuse to do something important.

So, yes, we should leverage the beginning of 2020. But how?

That is the perfect topic for a special New Year’s Eve article to be sent only to my mailing list this coming Tuesday. If you’re not on my mailing list, sign up via the link below. You’ll get the article and access to much more.

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 and 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’.


Daily Checklist for the Spiritual Traveler to the Divine – Compiled by Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmān al-Sha‘ār

Any individual wishing to turn to Allah on a daily basis should try their upmost to implement the following checklist and advice.This daily checklist was compiled by Shaykh Abd al-Rahman al-Sha’ar, son of Sidi Abu Munir, the longtime personal attendant of the great Damascene scholar of Islamic spiritually, Shaykh Abd al-Rahman al-Shaghouri.

صلاة ركعتين في السحر
1. Performing 2 units (rak‘a) of prayer in the last part of the night

أداء الصلوات الخمس جماعة وخصوصاً الفجر مع الخشوع والحضور في الصلاة
2. Performing the five obligatory prayers in congregation, especially Fajr, with presence and humility before God ﷻ

المحافظة على الوضوء
3. Consistency upon ablution (wudū’)

المحافظة على السنن الرواتب وأربع ركعات الضحى
4. Consistency upon the supererogatory prayers (sunan) associated with the obligatory prayers and four units of the morning prayer (duhā)

قراءة جزء من القرآن مع قراءة (الواقعة, الملك, أواخر البقرة والحشر) كل ليلة
5. Reciting a juz’ of Qur’ān every day, as well as al-Wāqi‘a, al-Mulk, and the endings of al-Baqara and al-Hashr every night

وقراءة (100) استغفار – (100) صلاة على النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم –       (100)  لا إله إلا الله – (100) سبحان الله وبحمده صباحا ومساء
6. Reciting 100x istighfār, 100x prayer on the Prophet ﷺ (salawāt), 100x lā ilāha illā Allāh, and 100x subhān Allāhi wa bi hamdihi every morning and evening

صلاة ركعتي التوبة كل يوم قبل النوم مع البكاء من خشية الله
7. Performing 2 units of the prayer of repentance (tawba) every night before sleeping, crying out of humility before God ﷻ

التصدق ولو بشيء يسير كل يوم
8. Giving in charity, even very little, every day

صيام الاثنين والخميس على قدر الاستطاعة
9. Fasting Mondays and Thursdays as much as one is able

الجدية التامة وقلة الخلطة وعدم الانشغال بسفاسف الأمور
10. Maintaining complete solemnity, spending little time intermingling with people, and not wasting time in trivial matters

حسن الخلق والتزام الآداب الشرعية
11. Having good character and maintaining the etiquette (adab) of the sacred law

الاضطرار والحرقة للوصول إلى الله تعالى وإشغال الفكر بالتقدم في السلوك وترقية الحال
12. Having a deep, burning need to arrive at God ﷻ and busying one’s thoughts with spiritual advancement and the elevation of one’s state

إحكام الصمت الشرعي واغتنام الوقت
13. Staying silent in accordance with the law and taking advantage of one’s time

النصيحة لكل مسلم
14. Advising every Muslim

محاسبة النفس كل يوم
15. Taking oneself to account every day

مسامحة الخلق أجمعين
16. Forgiving all people

التواضع والشعور بأنك أقل الناس قدراً
17. Being humble, feeling that one is the least worthy of people

الحرص على تتبع السنة في كل الأمور
18. Covetousness in following the Sunnah in all matters

التفاني وبذل النفس للدين
19. Spending and exhausting the self in service of the religion

ملازمة مجالس العلم
20. Constantly attending gatherings of sacred knowledge

قراءة أصول الطريق كل أسبوع مرة على الأقل
21. Reading the foundations of the spiritual path at least once a week

الابتعاد عن الأمور التالية
Avoiding the following matters:
– Love of being seen and of leadership | حب الظهور والرياسة
– Anger | الغضب
– Tale-telling | النميمة
– Backbiting | الغيبة
– Lying | الكذب
– Deceit | الغش
– Ostentation | الرياء
– Letting others hear of one’s religious works | السمعة
– Conceit | الغرور
– Mentioning immoral acts | الخوض في الباطل
– Arguing | الجدال
– Reliance on oneself | الاعتداد بالنفس
– Being intimate and delighted with the people of heedlessness | الانبساط والاستئناس مع أهل الغفلة
– Satisfying one’s hunger beyond filling one-third of the stomach | الشبع بمجاوزة ثلث المعدة
– Looking down upon other people | التعالي على الخلق
– Coveting this world | الحرص على الدنيا
– Sloth in acts of worship | الكسل في الطاعات

Dying Upon Love of Allah — the Beautiful Counsel of al-Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib to His Son

Imam Bayhaqi relates in his Shu’ab al-Iman that when al-Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib—the uncle of the Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him and his folk)—was on the verge of death, he said to his son:

 

“O Abd Allah! I counsel you to:

(1) love Allah (Mighty and Majestic),
(2) and to love His obedience;
(3) to have fear of Allah,
(4) and fear of His disobedience.

“If you are this way, then you will not dislike dying when death comes to you

“I counsel you to regarding Allah, my dear child.”

“Then al-Abbas turned towards the Qibla, said, “La ilaha illa’l Llah (‘There is no god but God’),” raised his gaze, and died.”

[Bayhaqi, Shu’ab al-Iman, 2.15]

 

Translated By Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

 


 

 

 

10 Steps to Firm-Footedness in Seeking Knowledge of Fiqh

In this brief podcast, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani provides 10 genuinely useful tips on gaining and retaining a firm grasp of your knowledge of fiqh.

See also:

“From knowing nothing to becoming a student of knowledge”
Advice from Habib Ali Al-Jifri for Seekers of Knowledge
The Etiquette of Seeking Knowledge

Habib Umar’s Advice to the Seekers of Sacred Knowledge
Shaykh Áwwamah’s advice for Students of Sacred Knowledge
Importance of Intention in Seeking Knowledge

 

How Can I Advise My Non-Practicing Sibling?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

My sister has not been fasting for over 30 years. She admits that she has not any physical reason or illness that makes fasting difficult. She gives money to poor people, but not in any calculated method or order. She also didn’t pray for all that time. How can I help her?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. May Allah reward you for your concern over your sister.

It can be difficult to advise one’s adult siblings in religious guidance, and one has to be careful not to push too far or quick, so as not to put them off practicing all together. Usually what happens is that subtle seeds have to be sown in the heart first, and when they realise for themselves that it’s time to take stock, then they will decide to make changes with confidence and conviction.

Steps to Take

1. The first step is to pray for your sister. Allah is the One who guides, so we should always turn to Him first and foremost. The following du’a is narrated by the Prophet ﷺ as a supplication for oneself, however, one could change the word قَلْبِي (my heart) to قَلْبِها (her heart):

يَا مُقَلِّبَ الْقُلُوبِ ثَبِّتْ قَلْبِي عَلَى دِينِك
O Turner of the hearts, make my heart steadfast in adhering to Your religion [al Tirmidhi]

2. Avoid talking about make up prayers or fasts for now. The most important thing is that she wants to start practicing and fulfilling her current obligations. By reminding her of the many years of make up worships she has, your sister may be put off practicing all together. The time to discuss make-up should come later, when she has established herself in the religion and practicing out of her own desire.

3. Be subtle and gentle in your advice. For example, rather than telling her she should pray or fast, perhaps invite her to pray with you sometimes, or have suhur together. Make Ramadan special.

4. Buy her Islamic gifts such as a special, beautiful quality prayer rug or sibha (beads), as it will remind her of the beauty of faith and worship.

5. Invite her to general social gatherings where good Muslims will be and where there is a relaxed atmosphere. This may help her see that she could adapt her lifestyle and still socialise.

6. Buy her a few Islamic books/CDs on interesting subjects such as history or seerah and biographies (rather than fiqh or Hereafter topics).

7. Be kind and thoughtful, but principled in your own practice, and hopefully she will see that it is a better lifestyle choice than her own.

I hope the above is of some help. May Allah guide your sister to the religion with love and dedication.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil: A Comprehensive SeekersHub Reader

Enjoining good and forbidding evil forms the 19th chapter of Imam Al-Ghazali’s seminal work, the Ihya, which is widely regarded as the greatest work on Islamic spirituality in the world.

Imam Zaid Shakir on The Futility of The "Haram Police"

When Imam Zaid Shakir first became Muslim, he was a massive jazz fan. It was all he listened to.

“No one ever told me music was haram,” he says. “No one threatened to lynch me or burn me in a pile of melting LPs.”

So how did he give it all up? Find out in this brief video, courtesy of Al Madina Institute.

Resources for seekers

Cover photo by Alan Eng.

Thank God for SeekersHub

Shaykh Hamdi Ben Aissa was at the SeekersHub booth at the 2015 Reviving the Islamic Spirit Conference in Toronto. In this video, he gives pertinent and relevant advice to SeekersHub’s volunteers and students of knowledge. He emphasizes the importance of recognizing and rejoicing in Allah’s blessing of us being connected to the SeekersHub, especially the scholars.

 

Resources on Thankfulness and How to Make The Most of What SeekersHub has to offer

 

How Can I Help Non-Practising Family and Friends?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalamu alaykum,

I have friends who I’ve known for almost a decade, who don’t practice unfortunately. I try my best to drag them to Islamic events, talk to them about Islam. This is the same case with my siblings.I try my hardest, but there’s only so much I can do.

What should I do in this situation? Especially when I feel like I’m losing my own imaan by being around people who don’t care about their deen as much.

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well.

Priorities

“Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, “When (will come) the Help of Allah?” Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near!” [Qur’an, 2:214]

The nature of this dunya is one of trials, and we are often tested by those whom we are nearest to. InshaAllah, successfully navigating this difficulty will help you attain closeness to Allah.

Your priority is learning your fardhul ‘ain (personally obligatory knowledge), in order to ensure that your acts of worship are sound and valid. Lectures and so on move the heart, and do serve a purpose, but it is safest for you to learn your fiqh and aqidah from teachers who are connected to the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace). Seekers Guidance offers courses in Hanafi and Shafi’i Fiqh as well as Aqidah. I strongly recommend that you pick a fiqh class which is closely aligned to what you are already practicing. If your family is from the subcontinent, then Hanafi fiqh would be best. Study Aqidah as well, to solidify your belief.

Prayer

Please strive to pray all of your five daily prayers. Guarding our prayers is of the utmost importance. Do not let them go because all the prayers that we miss must be paid back before we meet Allah. There is something deeply transformative about guarding our prayers no matter how unmotivated we may feel – there is a medicine in salaat which we cannot find in any lecture.

Convincing others

It sounds like you are very tired of trying to persuade others in your family and circle of friends. My advice is for you to stop trying. Focus on improving your own worship. Be the example you want others to follow. Your adult friends and siblings are accountable for their own actions, as you are accountable for yours. If they wish to spend their time pursuing other things, then that is up to them. We cannot change people unless they want to change.

Take comfort in knowing that guidance is ultimately from Allah. The most non-practising sibling/friend you have could be inspired by Allah one night to make his/her taubah, and return wholeheartedly to Him. No amount of haranguing from you could have the same effect. On the contrary, you could drive him/her futher away from the deen, no matter how praiseworthy your intentions.

Gently ask your mother to make dua for her wayward children, instead of relying entirely on you to guide them back. Their state with Allah is not your burden. Your state with Allah is your responsibility. It is natural to be concerned about our family members, but not to the point where you tire yourself out and miss your own prayers.

Good company

“The example of a good companion and a bad companion is like that of the seller of musk, and the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows. So as for the seller of musk then either he will grant you some, or you buy some from him, or at least you enjoy a pleasant smell from him. As for the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows then either he will burn your clothes or you will get an offensive smell from him.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

It is the nature of humans to seek companionship, so choose your companions wisely. Make new friends who inspire you and remind you of Allah and His Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

Tahajjud

Seek comfort in the last hour of the night, before the entry of Fajr. Make dua, and stand up for tahajjud prayer. Pour out your concerns to Him, the All Powerful and Most Merciful. You were created for Allah alone, and only He can truly soothe your pain. No matter what your mind may tell you, your heartache and exhaustion will not be relieved when your friends and family start practising the deen. That is a situation you cannot fix by your own hands.

Reconnecting to Allah and submitting to the wisdom of His Decree, however, will soothe your heart, inshaAllah. Part of His Wisdom is the current state your family and friends are in. The wheel is always turning, as Shaykh Nuh Keller has said. None of us know the states we will be in when we meet Allah, but we can prepare by doing our best and by making plentiful dua for a good ending.

I pray that Allah eases your heartache, makes you steadfast on prayer, and guides your loved ones back to Him, when the time is right.

Please refer to the following links:

A reader on missed prayers
Is it disbelief to miss prayers and pray them late?
How Can I Give Islamic Advice to My Family When They Know About My Sinful Past?

Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani