Muslim Communal Obligation: Stories That Will Have You In Tears

Imagine spending years saving up for hajj. And then imagine, not being able to go because you gave all your money away, but Allah accepts your hajj anyway. This is the story of Ali, a humble cobbler from Damascus whose random act of sacrifice fulfilled the Muslim communal obligation – fard kifayah – of hundreds of thousands of others.
Imagine facing Allah on the Day of Judgement, while standing next to a man, woman or child from your community who suffered neglect, abuse, injustice hunger and deprivation. What will our excuse be? “I thought someone else would take care of it” might not cut it.

Every single Muslim needs to hear this khutbah by Imam Khalid Latif.

Imam Khalid Latif - Muslim Communal ObligationImam Khalid Latif is a University Chaplain for New York University, Executive Director of the Islamic Center at NYU, and a Chaplain for the NYPD. He is also the co-founder of Honest Chops, the first-ever all-natural/organic halal butcher in NYC, the Muslim Wedding Service, an agency specializing in providing charismatic and inspirational marriage officiants for wedding ceremonies. Sincere thanks to ICNYU for the recording of his Friday prayer sermon on Muslim communal obligation, or fard kifayah.

Resources on Muslim communal obligation:

Impoverished Muslim Converts in Chiapas Need Help

In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful


To send financial assistance to the Chiapas Muslim converts in Mexico, please donate now via Paypal.

Fellow Seeker, Sister Zainab Ismail, will be embarking on her third journey to San Cristobal de Las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico soon. Chiapas is in the south of Mexico where it borders Guatemala and Central America.
Sister Zainab embarks on this journey from 10th February to 14th February 2016 with two other volunteers.  The intentions are to continue the work that started on their previous trips.

Who are the Muslim Converts in Chiapas?

Chiapas Muslim Converts Chiapas Muslim Converts Chiapas-image4 Chiapas Muslim Converts Chiapas Muslim Converts Chiapas Muslim Converts Chiapas Muslim ConvertsThe communities they visit are made up of 180 indigenous peoples who are converts to Islam.  Approximately one hundred of these members are children. They primarily speak Tzotzil, a Mayan language, which is the native dialect of the people. However, most of them are bilingual with Spanish being their second language.
These communities are very impoverished and have faced many hardships over the years struggling to maintain their Islamic identity with little support from the outside world. Aside from these immense difficulties, the community continues to strive in studying the Quran and the learning the fundamental teachings of our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ .
It is important to help these communities maintain their Islam as many of our teachers feel there is an urgent need to support their sustainability.

Scholar Endorsement

Upon the advice of our teachers Habib Umar bin Hafidh as well as Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, Imam Zaid Shakir and Shaykh Yahya Rhodus, these sisters are keenly working to assist their growth.
Mexico is over 80% Christian, which makes it difficult for them to access traditional Islamic education, halal resources, and interaction with other Muslims.  Thanks be to God they have a great Imam, who has lived with them now for four years.
The people live in very poor conditions, and the homes are made of wood with dirt floors and plastic tarp as walls.  They are unable to get proper medical, gynecological, or dental care.  They hold to the rope of God by the thread of their firm belief.

Previous Trips

From our previous trips the donors helped to accomplish the following:

  • Provide New clothing and toys for the children during both Eid celebrations in 2015;
  • Teach from the Shamail the Prophetic character and Prophetic nutrition in Spanish;
  • 100 % support for both Eid celebrations;
  • Provide support for Eid Qurbani & distribution to families (both Muslim and non-Muslim)
  • 100% support for the renovation and reconstruction of one of the family home (family of 14+)
  • Sponsor volunteers to visit Chiapas
  • Provide one on one private Q&A sessions for the women;
  • Provide ongoing access to a female teacher;
  • Bringing together of two communities;
  • Strengthen sisterhood/brotherhood ties in families;

In the upcoming trip, they would like to continue with the improvement of the living conditions. One of the women lives in a single room with her husband, seven children, and is expecting another child soon.  The want to renovate and build an expansion so they can live more comfortably.
There will have a community gathering to celebrate the completion of another sister’s home – she is one of the first converts in Chiapas. Sister Zainab Ismail and another sister will be the witnesses for two community weddings. Sister Zainab will begin with lessons from “The Clarification of Noble Character” by al-Habib Umar bin Hafiz in Spanish.
They also have a surprise Skype meeting planned with the students of an Islamic primary school in Leicester, UK and the Muslim children of Chiapas, Mexico to create a network of support.
We ask you to pray and support financially this noble project to assist the deeply spiritual community that is suffering hardship due to little financial means of supporting their lives.
Please donate generously to bring light to this endeavour and May God grant all those supporting it with His mercy and guidance.
Make a donation online via the Al Maqasid website.
You can also send us a check, write “Latin America Outreach” in the memo and make it out to:
PO Box 99
Macungie, PA 18062
We are a 501(c)3 Non-Profit registered in New Jersey.
Jazak Allah Khair

Update from Sister Zainab Ismail:

Alhamdulillah, we shared an emotional Skype meeting with Muslim children of Chiapas and Muslim children from The Land of Learning Primary school in Leichester, UK. The children asked, each other questions and recited Quran for each other. We closed with a beautiful nasheed and dua from the students in Leichester, UK. May Allah preserve our children and keep them on the straight path.
Chiapas-Skype3 Chiapas-Skype2 Chiapas-Skype1

American Muslims Respond: Fundraise for Victims’ Families

At least 14 people have been killed and 17 more wounded in San Bernardino, California where up to 3 attackers went on a shooting spree at a regional center that provides services to those with special needs. The San Bernardino families lost their loved ones in a deplorable act of violence. This is why a collective American Muslim leaders and groups have launched an effort to raise funds for the victims’ families.

We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us and send a powerful, united message of compassion through action. Our Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, said: “Have mercy to those on earth, and the One in the Heavens (God) will have mercy upon you.” And the Quran teaches to “Repel evil by that which is better.” (41:34)

All fundraising proceeds will help with the immediate, short term needs of the families, such as funeral expenses. If we exceed the $50,000 goal, we can even assist the families with long-term expenses or possible provide a donation to the regional center where the shooting took place. Funds will be distributed to the victims’ families by the MiNDS Institute.

Please contribute and share this project with those you know and inshaAllah together we can send this message of compassion.


Resources for Seekers:

Zakat: Giving Locally vs. Abroad

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Asalamualykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh,
A good friend of mine and myself were discussing donating zakat locally vs globally. One point was made that donating locally is the way of the sunnah and the way of ihsan. Is this correct? Is one better than the other?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
In general, the sunna is to give your zakat to the needy of your community, particularly to your relatives, neighbours, and more broadly, those in your vicinity.
Sending your zakat elsewhere would be disliked.
However, the scholars mention that it is not disliked to send your zakat elsewhere if it is to a relative, to someone in greater need, to someone more religiously scrupulous, to someone who is of greater benefit to the Muslims (e.g. by teaching), or a student of knowledge, or the like of such people.
Ibn `Abidin said, “The best of charity [and zakat] is that which fulfils the greatest need, or is a means to the greatest benefit.” This is the way of the strong believers and the way of true excellence; not simply giving blindly, but giving with consideration, supplication, humility, in gratitude to the receiver, and in purifying oneself inwardly and outwardly.
Please also see: Eligible Zakat Recipients, Giving Locally vs. Abroad, Charity to a Mosque, and Proper Handling of Donations
And Allah alone gives success.
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani


Eligible Zakat Recipients, Giving Locally vs. Abroad, Charity to a Mosque, and Proper Handling of Donations

Answered by Sidi Wasim Shiliwala

Question: Who is better to give my zakat to: (1) a Muslim working on a project for an impoverished nation, (2) an imam in an impoverished country building a mosque, (3) to a mosque in an impoverished nation , or (4) to a friend who is extremely poor?

In regard to the Muslim’s project, he has a stronger conviction since the project is more personal for him. He  says 25% of my income would be sufficient. Our communication has become strained due to my hesitance and often he throws insults my way.

Also, how can I give charity and avoid vanity?

Please advise me regarding these matters.

Walaikum As-salaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu

Firstly, I pray that Allah provide you with much wisdom, increase you in guidance, shower you in His grace and blessings.

Introduction – General Conditions of Zakat
When it comes to zakat, the eligible recipients include: the poor, the indigent (who possess less than the nisab), those with overwhelming debt, and travelers cut off from their wealth at home.

It cannot be given to non-Muslims, the wealthy, Hashimis (those from the Prophet’s clan), and certain relatives (parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, and spouses). It also cannot be used to pay off the debt of the deceased. [Shurunbulali, Ascent to Felicity]

One of the conditions of zakat is that it entails a transfer of ownership to an individual; as such, we cannot use our zakat to pay for the construction or support of Islamic institutions. Rather, this money goes specifically to the individuals listed above.

Who can receive my zakat?
You mention four possibilities: a) the Muslim working on a project, b) the Imam building a mosque, c) an impoverished mosque, or d) a poor friend.

– For the first 2 (the Muslim and the Imam), zakat would only be permissible if you are giving the money to them, and not their efforts (the project/mosque). You need to ensure that they are poor or indigent, meaning they have less than the nisab.*

– For the third (the mosque), zakat is impermissible, so any money given to it will count as sadaqa.

– For the fourth (the friend), zakat is permissible so long as that person is Muslim and possesses less than the nisab amount.

If, after taking into account the above considerations, you still have more than one choice, then you can give the zakat to whomever you please, and you can even split it between multiple recipients.

*The nisab amount today (April 16, 2012) is around $4943. Remember that the nisab does not include daily essentials (residence, clothing, furniture, transportation, etc.). [Check for up-to-date calculations]

Donating Locally
Although the choice is yours, I would specifically recommend that you give a good portion of your zakat to local people and causes. Giving zakat in this manner fulfills local needs that would otherwise not be met, and it also increases the bonds of brotherhood and love within the Muslim community.

Assuming that your friend (option 4) is eligible for zakat, then that person would probably be the most deserving of your zakat given the above considerations. Of course, this is a weighty decision, so consider your options, pray istikhara, and then pay your zakat, and insha’Allah it will be of maximum benefit both in this world and the next.

Giving Charity to a Mosque
As you mentioned, giving the money towards building a mosque is considered voluntary charity (saqada) and not zakat. The amount you give is up to you, and remember that every dollar you give carries with it a major reward. Indeed, the Prophet (peace be upon him) told us that “The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his charity.” [al-Tirmidhi]

If you fear vanity, find a way to give the money anonymously. If you cannot do that, then make dua asking Allah for protection from vanity before you give it.

Someone Demanding Your Charity
If I understand this scenario correctly, you did not make any promises or guarantees to fund the project, yet money is being demanded from you. If this is the case, then there is no requirement for you to give to the project. The question of whether you helped the project in the past is irrelevant. The money is under your possession, so only you have the final say as to where it goes.

As for the person asking for the money, he has no right to demand money from you for this project, and 25% is a very large portion to demand or expect from someone. Based on your description of this person, I would actually advise against working with him. By insulting you and demanding large portions of your money, he is displaying very poor adab (Islamic etiquette). This casts doubt on his ability to handle your money in a proper manner as well.

Be Mindful of Who Handles Your Donations
I highly advise you to give your sadaqa (voluntary charity) to more reputable organizations and products run by Muslims who are trustworthy and have good character. Only give what you are comfortable in giving: 25% is a very large amount of one’s income, and oftentimes that conflicts with one’s obligations to supporting themselves, their families, day to day needs, and maintaining extra funds for emergencies.

I therefore encourage you to be generous, but in a manner that takes into account those other financial necessities that you may have. Remember that the Prophet (peace be upon him) advised us to “tie our camel” as well as to “rely on God”, meaning that we take the necessary precautions to safeguard ourselves and our property while also realizing that all of it comes from Allah. [Sunan al-Tirmidhi]

Conclusion – The Prophetic Understanding of Charity
After paying your required zakat to someone who is eligible, the amount of money you give in charity, and who you give it to, is your choice. The sunnah is to give much in charity and to give not just your money, but also your time and your sincere concern as well. He (peace be upon him) said that even if you have no money to give, simply doing the good and refraining from the evil can be considered a form of charity. [Sahih al-Bukhari]

I pray that Allah guides us to be more generous, and that He makes our matters easy for us. And Allah knows best.

Baarak Allahu Fikum,

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Helpful Organizational Tools for Muslims

Helpful Organizational Tools for Muslims

This brief post is intended to highlight organizational tools that may be helpful to Muslims on a practical level. These tools are simple aids but they can do a lot to keep track of one’s deeds (muhasaba) and in seeing one’s progress there is immense motivation to continue and to challenge oneself. Let’s get started…

Daily Goals and Tasks

This Monthly Tracker is helpful for students in keeping track of lessons, reviewing notes, personal struggles, health and fitness goals and other tasks that are repeated on a daily basis. You can download it here, fill in your daily repeated tasks and simply check them off for each day. Try focusing on goals such as praying on time, performing sunnah and nafilat, eating less than usual, safeguarding yourself from certain sins, being generous and caring with others. There is research to suggest after 21 days a repeated observance will become a habit and after 40 days it will become ingrained in one’s behavior.

“Allah loves those deeds that are consistent.” (Hadith)

Keeping track of Qadha (missed) Prayers

At times, when Muslims become more practicing in their religious observance they may realize that they have old prayers to make up that they used to miss at one point in time. This Qadha chart is helpful in keeping track of 1 years worth of 5 daily prayers. This may seem daunting but if one sticks to a schedule they can make short work of this. Please see our answers section if you have any questions regarding the fiqh.

Planning for the Moods of Friends and Family

It can be hard to understand how people work but its important to try our utmost to accommodate people through adab, akhlaq and give them 70 excuses if we find any fault in their behavior. This Mood Planner can help you keep track of what affects the moods of your friends and loved ones and how to cheer them up. One can keep track of sensitivities, likes and dislikes, past experiences, and plan based on their personal idiosyncrasies.

“The most beloved of people according to Allah is he who brings most benefit, and the most beloved of deeds according to Allah the Mighty, the Magnificent, is that you bring happiness to a fellow Muslim, or relieve him of distress, or pay off his debt or stave away hunger from him…” [Tabarāni]

Keeping track of Worship

Many people nowadays have an iPhone or a related Mac product (you may be using one now!). One great App that is worth getting is QamarDeen. Its free and it keeps track of your the quality of your prayers, charity, fasting and latest Qur’an readings. It’s a great way to assess yourself and challenge yourself to do more.

“Blessed be He in Whose hands is Dominion; and He over all things hath Power. He Who created Death and Life, that He may try which of you is best in deed: and He is the Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving.” (Quran, 67, v. 1-2)

See also:

Remember the Milk

5 Best Getting Things Done Applications

Can I Give to Street Beggars? What if They Might be “Professional Beggars”?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question : Can I give to street beggars? What if they might be “professional beggars”?

Answer : Beggars have a right upon us. Allah Most High says in the Qur’an about the righteous believers: “And those in whose wealth is a recognized right for the beggar and the one who is denied his due share.” [Sûrah al-Ma`ârij: 24-25] And Allah reminds us: “So as for the orphans, do not oppress them, and as for beggars, do not berate them,” (93:9-10) and the Almighty says, “Have you seen him who denies the deen? He is the one who harshly rebuffs the orphan and does not urge the feeding of the poor.” (107:1-3)
Abu’d-Darda’ said that he heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Help me in seeking out the weak. They are supported. You are provided for on account of the weak among you.” [Abu Dawud]
In general, the sunna is to give to those who ask, if one can–even if only a little. However, it is also from the sunna to give generously to those who are most needy.
Thus, a balanced approach is to give a small amount to beggars on the street, and to give the bulk of one’s charity (directly or through charities) to those who are most needy or most deserving.

And Allah alone gives success.
Faraz Rabbani