This Ramadan, our special guest blogger and columnist will be sharing daily Islamic reminders with our community.

Read previous blog posts!


Reap Ramadan rewards, even if you cannot fast

As we head into the last 10 days of Ramadan, there is a feeling of great anticipation as we seek Laylat-ul-Qadr (the Night of Power). On the other hand, there is a feeling of sadness, as the days and nights of Ramadan recede into the past.   

This Ramadan has been one free of all COVID restrictions and concerns.  As such, the frenetic pace that we saw before COVID, involving community and iftars, has returned.  No one wants to return to the era of COVID restrictions. Yet, the serenity, the quiet pace, and solitary time for reflection that we experienced during COVID, have been fleeting this time around.  Alhamdulillah for everything.  

One of the most profound Ramadan’s that I experienced, occurred some twenty years ago, when I actually did not fast, since I was expecting our third child.  Knowing that there was another heart beating in my womb (rahm, in Arabic), and that Allah (swt) had given permission to forego the fast in order to nourish a life, gave me a deeper appreciation for the mercy (rahmah) of my Lord.  Rahmah upon the rahm. I also remember feeling like a full participant in Ramadan, by preparing food for those who fasted, mindful of the hadeeth: 

“Zayd ibn Khaalid al-Juhani said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever gives iftaar to a fasting person will have a reward like his, without that detracting from the reward of the fasting person in the slightest.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, who said it is a saheeh hasan hadeeth)

I raced after the reward of the fasting person – finding every opportunity to prepare an iftar meal. And of course, I was still able to pray taraweeh, again mindful of the life beating inside my rahm. A deep appreciation of the wondrous power of Allah, the Creator (al-Khaliq). The ayahs in the Quran that describe the development of life in the womb took on a special meaning, as I knew these words of Allah (swt) were occurring in my very being.  

To those who are not fasting for reasons of health, travel, or the monthly period, the blessings and rewards of Ramadan are waiting for you.  There are so many avenues:  giving sadaqah, providing a meal at Iftar, reading Qur’an, praying taraweeh, performing dhikr, and of course, seeking out Laylat-ul-Qadr. Allah is truly merciful, truly generous to His servants.  We make our intention for His sake, and seek His reward alone.  

On making supplication to Allah for everything in our lives

There may be a tendency in the minds of some people to be hesitant when making supplication to Allah to make mention of their personal problems or situation when they compare their state with the larger issues in our world.

For example, as I write these words, we are weeks away from witnessing a large catastrophe in Turkey and Syria in which thousands of people have perished over the space of just a few days, tens of thousands more have been injured and millions have been rendered homeless. And this is just one part of the world that is going through very severe calamities.

As a result of this, we may view our own personal problems as being trivial and may even feel selfish for making supplication to ask Allah for help.

But this is an incorrect way of thinking. Allah is generous to His servants and He wants us to make supplications to Him on a regular basis even if the thing that we desire may seem trivial or insignificant in the eyes of others.

Currently, you may be passing through a personally difficult time in your life with regard to finances, health status, relationship issues, etc. And these issues may, as I stated, seem very small in the wider context of what is taking place in the world, and thus you may be hesitant to even make mention of these things in your prayers. But regardless of what other people are going through in other parts of the world, you must never fail to supplicate to Allah for all of your needs and relief from all the sources of your worries. Believers can both pray for themselves as well as other people who are suffering elsewhere, and Allah knows all and sees all.

Consider and reflect upon the following narration:

Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Let one of you ask his Lord for his needs, all of them, even for a shoestring when his breaks.” — Sunan al-Tirmidhī

What can seemingly be so insignificant or trivial than a broken shoelace? Nevertheless, the prophet (peace be upon him)  instructed his followers to make supplications to Allah for all of their needs even if it is something as simple as a broken shoelace.

And consider this famous Hadith Qudsi:

On the authority of Abu Dharr al-Ghifaree (may Allah be pleased with him) from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) from his Lord, that He said:

O My servants! I have forbidden dhulm (oppression) for Myself, and I have made it forbidden amongst you, so do not oppress one another. O My servants, all of you are astray except those whom I have guided, so seek guidance from Me and I shall guide you. O My servants, all of you are hungry except those whom I have fed, so seek food from Me and I shall feed you. O My servants, all of you are naked except those whom I have clothed, so seek clothing from Me and I shall clothe you. O My servants, you commit sins by day and by night, and I forgive all sins, so seek forgiveness from Me and I shall forgive you. O My servants, you will not attain harming Me so as to harm Me, and you will not attain benefiting Me so as to benefit Me. O My servants, if the first of you and the last of you, and the humans of you and the jinn of you, were all as pious as the most pious heart of any individual amongst you, then this would not increase My Kingdom an iota. O My servants, if the first of you and the last of you, and the humans of you and the jinn of you, were all as wicked as the most wicked heart of any individual amongst you, then this would not decrease My Kingdom an iota. O My servants, if the first of you and the last of you, and the humans of you and the jinn of you, were all to stand together in one place and ask of Me, and I were to give everyone what he requested, then that would not decrease what I Possess, except what is decreased of the ocean when a needle is dipped into it. O My servants, it is but your deeds that I account for you, and then recompense you for. So he who finds good, let him praise Allah, and he who finds other than that, let him blame no one but himself. (Muslim)

The take-home message here is that as believers we should be in a continual state of supplication to Allah no matter what our situation may be, and nothing is too small or too great for Allah.



A few words of advice to young Muslims

Dear young Muslim (or anyone else reading this), I wish to here offer a few words of advice which I hope will be of benefit to you.

First of all, it is essential that you read a lot. And not just read a lot, but to read widely so that you expose yourself to a variety of perspectives and worldviews.

In my own life, I have read a lot of books on a variety of topics, but I feel that my reading has been quite narrow and thus my worldview has, as a result, remained limited in scope.

It is equally important that you expose yourself to ideas that you may not agree with. For if you limit yourself to only those ideas or perspectives with which you agree and insulate your mind from all other opinions, your worldview will not only be very limited, but you will develop a high level of intolerance towards those with whom you disagree. This is not a good place to be.

You must come to the realization that not everyone will agree with you. Furthermore, no matter how much knowledge you acquire in life, you will never have all of the answers. This realization should keep you in a state of humility.

If you can, and while you’re still young, learn another language. In fact, if you can learn more than two that is even better for you. For to be able to speak, read, communicate, and think in other languages will be very enriching for you and will open up the world and make it a much wider place than if you only know one language. The best time to acquire another language is when one is young for youth are able to absorb new information much more effectively than when they are older.

I also want to remind you here that it is important to establish a foundation of belief and conviction so as to anchor your mind and heart when you are exposed to different philosophies and teachings. Without this anchor, you will have no criteria by which to judge the veracity of what you’re being exposed to and thus become very confused.

As a fellow Muslim, I want to tell you that the best anchor that you can have is the teachings of Islam as found within the Quran and the life example of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Once you have a good and solid grasp of the Islamic faith, you will be able to assess and judge other worldviews through that lens.

Many of the ideas that you will be exposed to in life will sound very convincing and you may be tempted to actually embrace those ideas and consider them to be the truth. But you must be careful before taking that route because many ideas may sound convincing on the surface but once you analyze them more carefully and reflect upon their real message, you may find those opinions and perspectives to be not as strong as they appear to be. This is why it is important to have the solid foundation and anchor that I spoke about above, as well as a strong critical mind.

I also advise you not to waste your time on useless video games and other trivial forms of entertainment, but learn instead to cultivate your mind so that you become a more well-rounded and educated person who can defend your position in an articulate and convincing way. You should know that as a Muslim education and reading are very important.

In addition, those who seek to educate themselves and become more knowledgeable about the world around them are in a better position to make a positive contribution to not only their specific community but to the world at large.

 When I say education, I don’t simply mean those people who have the opportunity to go to college or university, but to anyone who takes the time to educate themselves regardless of what station they are in life.

Dear young Muslim, learn to guard the integrity of your mind because the ability to think critically and to engage with the world around you is one of the greatest gifts that you have been given by your creator. Thus exposing yourself to those things which potentially harm your mind, such as drugs, alcohol, etc., should be something that you avoid at all costs. These things may seem appealing on the surface but many people have been destroyed as a result of indulging in them.

Before I complete my comments, I wish to remind you of one more thing. Islam is not merely a set of do’s and don’ts. Islam is a complete way of life which is centered around pleasing Allah. You may not always understand the wisdom behind everything that Islam teaches, but be patient and it will come to you in time if you are sincere and persistent. Do not be disheartened if you do not understand everything all at once, for the acquisition of both knowledge and wisdom is a lifelong quest that is both fulfilling and rewarding.

You are young and filled with energy and abilities that an old man like me no longer has. Use that energy and those wonderful talents for the sake of good and in doing so you will have a much more rich and more fulfilling life.

Be not like the son of prophet Nuh (pbuh) who thought he could take to the mountain in order to save himself from the flood. Prophet Nuh (pbuh) told him there was no salvation other than in Allah, but the son, who thought he knew who better,  resorted to his own line of reasoning in order to save himself but at the end perished in the deluge.

Know, my young Muslim reader, that there is no salvation outside of Allah. No matter what you do in life if you keep this in mind you will be on a safe and secure path.

True success is not found in the possessions or status that you acquire in life, but is found in living a life that is pleasing to Allah and leaving this life as a believing and practicing Muslim.