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I Converted to Islam but My In-Laws Do Not Accept Me. What Do I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

I was Hindu but converted to Islam and got married to my husband. His family does not accept me. Please, how do I have a successful love marriage?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us. Please forgive me for the delay.

Marriage Contract

Dear sister, you are in a very difficult situation. I am sorry that both your parents and your husband’s parents are not accepting of your marriage.

The rules of Islam are are clear on the validity of the marriage contract. For as long as you are both Muslim, then your nikah is valid.

Convert

Dear sister, rest assured that your past sins were forgiven the moment you embraced Islam. Because of the stress of what you are going through, I encourage you to look after yourself and your marriage.

Make good on your Islam. Continue to perform your obligatory acts such as prayer, fasting in Ramadan, paying zakat, and so on. Observe your hijab as best you can. Spend time make sincere dua to Allah. Please perform the Prayer of Need and ask Allah to help you through this.

I am sorry that you are struggling. Aside from your husband, do you have any Muslim friends who can support you?

Acceptance

Please accept that for the near future at least, your in-laws will remain unhappy with you. You cannot control what they do or say. All you can focus on is yourself and your marriage.

Please know that you can seek help with a culturally-sensitive counsellor – none of us were meant to go through this world alone.

Marriage

I encourage you to enrol in Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages and listen to Getting Married with Ustadha Shireen Ahmed and Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Do everything in your power to nourish your marriage. Marriage, even in the best of circumstances, is hard work. When you and your husband are a solid team, then you’ll be better able to handle your difficulties. Go on holidays together, create positive memories together, and be each other’s staunchest supporters.

Seriously. What’s the Point of Marriage?
Managing vs. Resolving Conflict in Relationships: The Blueprints for Success
How to Make Repair Attempts So Your Partner Feels Loved

Please see:

Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah

[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

Sura al Kahf: Musa, Khidr and Knowledge – Shaykh Walead Mosaad

Shaykh Walead explains the story of Musa and Khidr, peace be upon them. He highlights the key lessons from the story and its major theme.

Now we get to the parable of Musa and of Khidr, peace be upon them. Tribulation with one’s knowledge – what one thinks one knows. It’s mentioned that Musa, peace be upon him, that he believes that or he believed that there was no one more knowledgeable than he. And then Allah directed him to “a servant among our servants” where he might learn something that he did not know.

Another narration says that the Prophet Musa, peace be upon him, said that if there is someone who is more knowledgeable than me, then Allah lead me to him. I want to meet him, so that I may learn from him.

The River and the Ocean

Musa, peace be upon him, is of the five considered to be the five greatest prophets and messengers. The other four being Ibrahim, Nuh, Isa, and Muhammad, peace be upon them. So we can’t say that Khidr overall was greater than Musa, who also was sent as a messenger, peace be upon them.

The most that they say about Khidr is that he was a prophet, and even that is a point of contention. Not everybody agrees that he was a prophet. In other words, that he received revelation. So how is it then that Musa, peace be upon him, can learn something from someone who overall is less than he is. That’s the whole point of the story.

Sometimes you can find things in the river you don’t find in the ocean. If Khidr was a river he certainly had things that Musa did not have. The three things that Khidr did and then the justifications of why he did them cannot be understood in terms of outward aspects of Islamic law – or the Shari‘a. They can’t be reconciled.

Outer Form, Inner Truth

That’s why Musa had the objections that he did, peace be upon him. He had to object because from the outward aspect of it there’s no way they could be justified. But then Khidr shows him that inwardly there is a reason.

Allah Most High says:

وَإِذْ قَالَ مُوسَىٰ لِفَتَاهُ لَا أَبْرَحُ حَتَّىٰ أَبْلُغَ مَجْمَعَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ أَوْ أَمْضِيَ حُقُبًا

And when Moses said to his servant, “I will not give up until I reach the meeting of the two seas, though I go on for many years.” (Sura al Kahf 18:60)

It said that the servant was a great-grandson of Yusuf, peace be upon him. His name is Yusha (Joshua). He was in the court of Al Aziz – the court of Pharaoh in Egypt. He was with Musa, peace be upon him.

When he says: “I will not give up until I reach the meeting of the two seas.” He had received revelation from Allah that this is where you may find him. No one knows exactly where that is. Different opinions have been given.

Some have said that it’s where the two rivers meet between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Another opinion says that it’s actually where the Strait of Gibraltar is, which would be where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Meeting of the Two Seas

It’s not the important aspect of the story but there was an appointed place where they were supposed to meet so they go.

فَلَمَّا بَلَغَا مَجْمَعَ بَيْنِهِمَا نَسِيَا حُوتَهُمَا فَاتَّخَذَ سَبِيلَهُ فِي الْبَحْرِ سَرَبًا

Then, when they reached their meeting point, they forgot their fish, and it took its way into the sea, being free. (Sura al Kahf 18:61)

One of the things that Musa, peace be upon him, received as revelation is that when you reach the point of the two oceans or the two seas, you will lose your fish that you brought as provision to eat. Then you will know that is where to find him because he doesn’t find you, you find him.

This shows you adab al ‘ilm: that the seeker goes and finds the teacher, not that the teacher goes and finds the student. Musa, peace be upon him, is the one who went out forth even though he is the prophet and the greatest messenger living on the face of the earth of the at the time, which would make him the greatest human being living on the face of the earth at the time. Yet he is the one who’s going to seek not the one to be sought.

Prophet, Teacher and Student

So even though some some people may be teachers they’re also always going to be students. It’s not a mutually exclusive thing. Every teacher is a student, although not every student is a teacher.

فَلَمَّا جَاوَزَا قَالَ لِفَتَاهُ آتِنَا غَدَاءَنَا لَقَدْ لَقِينَا مِن سَفَرِنَا هَـٰذَا نَصَبًا

When they had passed over, he said to his page, “Bring us our breakfast; indeed, we have found weariness in our journey.” (Sura al Kahf 18:62)

قَالَ أَرَأَيْتَ إِذْ أَوَيْنَا إِلَى الصَّخْرَةِ فَإِنِّي نَسِيتُ الْحُوتَ وَمَا أَنسَانِيهُ إِلَّا الشَّيْطَانُ أَنْ أَذْكُرَهُ ۚ وَاتَّخَذَ سَبِيلَهُ فِي الْبَحْرِ عَجَبًا

He said, “Did you see? When we took refuge in the rock, then I forgot the fish, and it was Satan himself that made me forget it so that I should not mention it – and it took its way into the sea in a marvelous manner.” (Sura al Kahf 18:63)

قَالَ ذَٰلِكَ مَا كُنَّا نَبْغِ ۚ فَارْتَدَّا عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِمَا قَصَصًا

He [Musa] said, “This is what we were seeking!” And so they retraced their steps. (Sura al Kahf 18:64)

In other words that was the sign that Must, peace be upon him, was waiting for from Allah Most High.

فَوَجَدَا عَبْدًا مِّنْ عِبَادِنَا آتَيْنَاهُ رَحْمَةً مِّنْ عِندِنَا وَعَلَّمْنَاهُ مِن لَّدُنَّا عِلْمًا

Then they found one of Our servants unto whom We had given mercy from Us, and We taught him knowledge from Our Presence. (Sura al Kahf 18:65)

A Servant of Allah

This ‘abd: Khidr, peace be upon him, is described again as a servant of Allah. This could mean he that was a prophet. Again there is a difference of opinion. It seems that he could not have known what he knew except by revelation. That would give credibility to the idea that he was a prophet. In all likelihood he probably was.

Allah says: “unto whom We had given mercy from Us, and We taught him knowledge from Our Presence.” Mercy and knowledge go hand in hand, because if your knowledge doesn’t need lead you to mercy it will lead to poison and destruction.

That which is powerful of itself – and there’s nothing more powerful than knowledge, than to know – if it’s not coupled with or tempered by mercy, it could be destructive rather than productive. That is often what happens. Knowledge can be used for very destructive ways.

A Mercy from Allah

Even knowledge of the religion can be very destructive. People can use it as a hammer to beat people into submission, rather than as an tool of mercy as was originally intended. Now Khidr had both, which means that any of the things that he did, even if we don’t understand them outwardly, were still done by Allah’s mercy.

The type of knowledge that Khidr, peace be upon him, had was not a taught knowledge. He didn’t learn it from anybody. No one taught it to him. This is referred to as al ‘ilm al ladunni, which is directly inspired knowledge from Allah Most High, of which any human being can avail themselves.

You don’t have to be a prophet. Allah can inspire you to do things or can put things in you: knowledge or epiphanies or realizations of things that you didn’t realize before.

It could be reflection on a verse. It could be a particular circumstance or situation in your life. Years later or even at the time you see the wisdom of why it happened the way it happened. Things like these are things Allah can can give you as gifts.

Knowledge and Illumination

Khidr’s ‘ilm was ladunni. So was Musa’s knowledge, peace be upon them. Musa, peace be upon him, was a prophet and a messenger. He received revelation but he was also a messenger with what we call the Shari‘a.

Usually when we talk about Shari‘a in this sense, it means that which regulates outward acts. What we call the dhahir: things that you do outwardly, or the manner by which you do them. for example, the prayer ritual, the manner by which you fast, what days and when, and the manner of determining who is eligible for zakat and who is not, and interactions and commercial transactions. All those things we understand by the term Shari‘a.

And the Shari‘a is always underlined by something else called the haqiqa. That is a bit of Sufi terminology but they use it to describe the practice and implementation of the Shari‘a, which is then called tariqa: walking the way or following the way.

This will lead you to this thing called haqiqa, which is the unveiling and cognition of why things happen the way they do and the reality behind things. And the knowledge of Khidr, peace be upon him, is as if it was concentrated more on the haqiqa than the Shari‘a, because he did things that in at least two cases contravened the Shari‘a.

Fear of the Unknown

You would say, if he didn’t know better: That’s haram! How could you do that? You’ve made a transgression! That is why Musa, peace be upon him, objects. And Khidr, peace be upon him, tells him at the beginning: You’re not going to be patient enough with me. You’re going to object, but we’ll do it anyway and we’ll see how that turns out.

So then Musa, peace be upon him, says to Khidr in the next verse:

قَالَ لَهُ مُوسَىٰ هَلْ أَتَّبِعُكَ عَلَىٰ أَن تُعَلِّمَنِ مِمَّا عُلِّمْتَ رُشْدًا

Moses said to him, “Shall I follow you so that you teach me, of what you have been taught [by Allah] of right judgment.” (Sura al Kahf 18:66)

قَالَ إِنَّكَ لَن تَسْتَطِيعَ مَعِيَ صَبْرًا

Said he [Khidr], “Surely you will not be able to bear with me patiently.” (Sura al Kahf 18:67)

وَكَيْفَ تَصْبِرُ عَلَىٰ مَا لَمْ تُحِطْ بِهِ خُبْرًا

“And [says Khidr] how should you patiently bear what you have no knowledge of?” (Sura al Kahf 18:68)

Ignorance Is a Test

As our Master Ali said: “A person is an enemy of that which did not know.” It is just so much easier if you don’t understand something to say: Oh, it’s wrong or, it’s not right. Rather than admit that one does not know.

That is because it is easier on the ego. It is easier to shift blame to the thing, the object of your scorn that you don’t know, rather than to shift the blame on yourself. We think or say: “All those people are like that. That’s the way they are.”

But do you know them? Have you met them? “No, no. But that’s the way there are.” That is the ego speaking. You haven’t even seen them. You have no interaction, but yet you base it on a preconception.

So Khidr, peace be upon him, is just stating a fact of the human condition. There is a great lesson in this.


This lesson by Shaykh Walead Mosaad is part of the On Demand Course: Giving Life to Sura Al Kahf, in which Shaykh Walead explains the key lessons of Sura al Kahf: the four great stories in it and the four great tests they represent. Namely the tests of faith, wealth, knowledge, and power. Download the entire lesson-set here.

View other SeekersHub On Demand Courses here.


Day 12: Learn a Dua for the Deceased – 30 Deeds 30 Days

Day 12: Learn a Dua for the Deceased.

In Ramadan, we tend to focus on our fasts and prayers, and their spiritual effects on us. However, sometimes we forget about the ones who can’t perform these deeds anymore. You may have grandparents, parents, or even siblings and friends who have passed away.

This Ramadan, look up a comprehensive dua for the deceased, and make an effort to recite it often, such as after tarawih prayers or before breaking the fast. You will be giving benefit to those who have passed away, as well as gaining rewards with Allah.


Bring new life to this Ramadan by enrolling in a FREE On-Demand course.

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari on Women of the Qur’an: Bilkees, Queen of Sheba

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, in partnership with Muslimah Media, speaks in a 6-part series about women who are documented in the Quran.

Bilkees, Queen of Sheba

The Queen Bilkees is another woman mentioned in the Qur”an with a fascinating story. So fascinating, in fact, that scholars wondered whether she was, in fact, a human, or whether she was something more.

However, Bilkees was a human woman, who ruled over present-day Yemen. She had a vast kingdom, and she lived during the time of the Prophet Sulaiman. She was a female ruler who ruled with no consort, and she was also very wise. She had appointed a group of advisors whom she would consult, although the practice was that the king would rule alone.

The Prophet Sulaiman heard about her when one of his servants, the Hoopoe bird, returned from a prolonged absence. The bird spoke about her great kingdom and wealth, and about her magnificent throne.

The Prophet Sulaiman sent her a message, telling her about Islam. In her wisdom, she did not want to provoke conflict, and took the way of diplomacy. Eventually, she was invited to visit Sulaiman’s palace. There, she found her own throne, which Sulaiman had miraculously been able to summon. He also showed her the miracles in his palace, including a floor of glass which ran over a river.

A Deeply Spiritual Woman

When she realized that the way she had following was wrong, and that Prophet Sulaiman was teaching the true religion, she said, “Verily I have oppressed myself.” Thus, when she realized her previous mistakes, she as astute enough to admit them and change her ways. She knew that it wasn’t because he was a man and she was a woman, but rather it was a case of him being a Prophet of Allah.

She accepted Islam, and some day that she married Prophet Sulaiman as well. Regardless, she is documented in the Qur’an in her own right, as a wise, strong, and pious woman.


Resources for Seekers

How Can I Know the Time for Fajr in a Country Where There Is No Real Darkness?

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I have a question about Fajr and Isha timings in Poland. Here in Poland from May to August there is no real darkness. Only Astronomical Twilight till Nautical Twilight appears in the morning. Some mosques uses 15 some 17 and some 18 degrees. Which one is the correct one according to the Hanafi school?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

I pray you are well.

A practical approach

The simplest approach is to pick a local mosque and then pray, and initiate your fast according to its timetable. You should, however, try to stick to one so you are not praying fajr at a time one day, and then eating at that time the next, and so on. Treat it as you would treat any other position upon which the ulema have differed: practice one unless there is undue difficulty, in which case you should consult a reliable local scholar.

Differences within the school

This issue has been the subject of a much discussion amongst scholars from all four legal schools for a millennium. The essential discussion revolves around the question of does the prayer time for salat al-ʿisha exist in places which are found on at latitude of 48.5 and above during the summer months when there is a persistent twilight, or not? This, in turn, affects the question of when the fast, and the time for salat al-Fajr should begin.

In the Hanafi school there are two positions on this: the former states that the time of ʿIsha does not exist, and the latter states that it does, but the sign the Shari’a has given us to indicate its entrance – the disappearance of the twilight – is missing. Both positions have the support of major figures in the Hanafi school.

The latter position, however, has been very convincingly argued by leading Hanafi scholars such as al-Kamal b. al-Humam in his book Fatḥ al-Qadir, and more recently by Harun al-Marjani. al-Marjani was a 19th century Russian Hanafi who lived in Qazan, which is on a latitude of 55, and had to deal with this very issue. In his seminal work, Nazurat al-Haqq, he convincingly shows the superiority of Ibn al-Humam’s position, and concludes that in the absence of the usual sign to indicate the entrance of Isha and Fajr, the time to pray Isha and to begin fasting must be calculated. This is also the position of other scholars, and of the Shafi’i school.

Calculation

Seeing as the precise means of calculation is not mentioned in the primary texts of the religion, this issue becomes a matter of ijtihad, which means that qualified scholars must attempt to come to a conclusion based on their understandings of the religion. There are a number of valid positions and methods of calculations which have been put forward, and each is assessed by scholars on the grounds of the strength of its legal reasoning.

Here in the UK, some of the more commonly used means of calculation of when the fast should begin are:

1. Aqrab al-Ayyam, which means that Fajr will be said to begin at the last time it occurrence was observed before then onset of persistent twilight.
2. Tansif al-Layl, which is when the time between is divided half; the first half being allocated for Maghrib and Isha, and the latter half for Fajr.

These two positions are considered by many leading scholars to be the most precautios in religion; they are also quite practical seeing as they allow people to start their fast and pray fajr in the region of 1-2pm, based of the location, and then get a block of uninterrupted sleep. There are, however, other valid approaches. Similarly, there are also a number of positions to determine the start of Isha.

Further Reading

A good resource which details the intricacies of this issue is the work Shedding Light On the Dawn by Dr Asim Yusuf. Even a quick look at this work shows the great effort scholars put into reaching legal rulings, and that their conclusions are not arbitrary.

(Ref: Durr al-Mukhtar; Radd al-Muhtar, Nazurat al-Haqq, Fath al-Mulhim, Shedding Light of the Dawn).

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

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 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.

Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with 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 Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, 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 amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.

His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.

When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari on Women of the Quran: Aasiyah

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, in partnership with Muslimah Media, speaks in a 6-part series about women who are documented in the Quran.

Aasiyah, wife of the Pharaoh

Aasiyah is significant in many ways. Firstly, she is connected to Prophet Musa, one of the five greatest Prophets and the most-mentioned in the Quran. She played a huge role in his life, saving him from certain death and raising him to adulthood. Her care enabled him to grow up to be the man who lead the liberation of the people of Israel. Secondly, she displayed immense courage, standing up for her faith even against her own husband.

A Maternal Figure

Prophet Musa was born at a time when the Pharaoh was killing all the newborn boys of the Banu Israel, to ensure that they did not defeat him. His mother was divinely inspired to put him in a basket and release him into the river. He was found by Aasiyah and her attendants. Aasiyah, who did not have children of her own, convinced the Pharaoh to allow her to adopt him. He agreed, and the young Prophet Musa was raised in the royal palace.

Aasiyah’s Courage

Eventually, Allah revealed the message to Musa. He confronted the Pharoah with it, and asked him to release the Banu Israel. He performed many miracles to prove himself. Aasiyah witnesses all this, and said, “I believe in the Lord of Musa.” In a beautiful prayer preserved in the Quran, she asked Allah to build her a house in Jannah with Him, and free her from the evildoers. Because of her faith, she was tortured to death by her own husband, the Pharoah.

Her story may have ended tragically in a material context. But it is preserved in the Quran to this day, along with the promise of her high rank in Paradise.


Resources for Seekers

The Fitra Lessons 4/4 – Dr Umar Faruq Abd Allah

Dr Umar Faruq Abd Allah talks about the Sibgat of Allah and how it pertains to taking on the color of Allah, which is the Fitra of Islam.

Allah Might and Majestic says in Sura al Baqara 2:138:

صِبْغَةَ اللَّـهِ ۖ وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ مِنَ اللَّـهِ صِبْغَةً ۖ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ عَابِدُونَ

The baptism of Allah; and who is there that baptizes fairer than Allah? Him we are serving.

The word translated here as baptism: “sibgat,” connotes notions of dyeing or coloring of cloths, notions of immersion into a substance such that one takes on the coloring through and through.

The Dye of Allah

The Dyer of the cloth being Allah Most High. Allah dyes His servants in the most lasting and most beautiful of colors. This indicates that the Fitra – this coloring – is natural and that it promotes our inherent beauty in disposition and character.

The context of this verse also suggest that the baptism of the People of the Book, Jews and Christians, comes through the mediation of men. Whereas the baptism of Muslims by Allah comes to us directly from Allah.

The Fairest Stature

In Sura al Tin 95:1 Allah says:

لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ

We indeed created Man in the fairest stature

Referencing the Fitra or our true nature. This goes against our common understanding when viewing creation through worldly eyes. The common conception, if we look through history and so on, is that man generally behaves badly. That implies, in the perspective of the Qur’an, that man generally behaves contrary to his nature.

This is an important point that one must not lose sight of. The call of Allah, the call of Revelation, is the true call for us to return to nature – primordial nature. The Fitra. It is a call to immerse ourselves in the coloring of Allah.

Allah’s call to the Truth is His call for us to truly become who we are. This is the return.


Dr Umar Faruq Abd Allah taught a series of four lessons based on his book Al Iman Fitra during his visit to Cairo 23-27 February 2018. The lessons were orignally recorded and posted online by The Qadriyya Association.


How Do I Know If My Dhikr Is Rewarded and Accepted?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

1. When I make dhikr for example, is it obligatory to move my tongue in order to be rewarded or is it sufficient if I just do it in my head? will it still be counted as good deeds?

2. If I make istighfar, how do I know that I have been forgiven?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam, Jazakum Allah khayran for your questions.

1. Dhikr (Remembrance)

Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi has explained dhikr of the tongue, heart and limbs as:

1. The dhikr of the tongue is the expressions that stand for exaltation, praise, and glorification.

2. The dhikr of the heart is in reflection of Allah’s essence and His attributes, on obligations including what is enjoined and what is forbidden, and on the secrets of Allah’s creation.

3. The dhikr of the limbs consists in their being immersed in obedience.

Dhikr, as Imam al Nawawi mentions, ‘’May be in the heart, or on the tongue, but the best is that which is both in the heart and on the tongue. If it is limited to just one of them, then the heart is better.’

Some scholars held that dhikr made with the heart alone, or dhikr not said loud enough such that one cannot hear themselves, is not rewarded. However, as Ibn Hajr al Haytami explains, ‘We should understand these words [of some of our scholars] that there is no reward as pertaining to specific [legislated] dhikr. As for the preoccupation of the heart with the meaning of it [dhikr but without utterance] … there is no doubt, based upon what the evidence necessitates, is that one is rewarded for it.’

This nuanced understanding of the opinion of some scholars that dhikr of the heart alone is not rewarded correlates with what Imam al Nawawi also mentions, ‘Know that specifically legislated dhikr in prayer or other, whether obligatory or recommended, is not counted or deemed valid unless expressed with the tongue such that the person can hear himself, if sound of hearing.’

Specifically legislated dhikr means specific adhkar (plural of dhikr) which have been handed down to us and we have been obligated or encouraged to say, through the Quran, Sunna or other legally binding means, in specific situations. For example, saying the Basmalah before eating, or the Tashahud in prayer.

In summary then, dhikr can be in the heart alone and by the tongue alone, but combining them is optimal. The reliable opinion is that dhikr of the heart alone is rewarded except in specifically legislated dhikr, in which the dhikr must be said with the tongue in order to be considered valid and rewarded. The minimal of saying dhikr with the tongue is that one can hear themselves saying the words. And Allah knows best.

[al Adhkar, Tafsir al Razi, al Fatawa al Hadithiyya]

2. Al Istighfar (Seeking forgiveness)

One takes comfort in the boundless Mercy of Allah when making Istighfar, because He has told us Himself, ‘O son of Adam! I shall go on forgiving you so long as you pray to Me and aspire for My forgiveness whatever may be your sins. O son of Adam! I do not care even if your sins should pile up to the sky and should you beg pardon of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam! If you come to Me with an earthful of sins and meet Me, not associating anything with Me in worship, I will certainly grant you as much pardon as will fill the earth’ [al Tirmidhi]. There are many other similar ahadith.

Glory be to our Lord, who forgives and forgives and never tires of forgiving!

The scholars have mentioned that forgiveness is conditioned by the following:

1. One is sincerely sorry for their mistake

2. One resolves in their heart that they will not return to the mistake (even if they actually do slip, as long as they are sincere in their repentance each time).

3. That if the sin involves the right of another human being, then one first restores the person’s right.

After this, one assumes one has been forgiven, and has only a high opinion of Allah.

May Allah keep our hearts and limbs engaged with His remembrance always, and forgive us through his loving Mercy.

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.