Ilma Magazine | May/June 2016 | Issue 19

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Live, Learn & Inspire May-June 2016 / Issue 19 / Ramadhan Edition


Reminiscing Ramadhan


Children in Islam

Managing Your Toddler

The Dawah Project Management Chairman: Mohamed Ali Harrath Project Managers: Ali Khalid & Yahya Currie

Editorial Team Managing Editor: Anjuma Choudhury Content and Copy Editor: Aseel Saif Religious Content Editors: Raiyyan Clementson and Essam Zein Creative and Visual Director: Muhammad Abdulmateen Writers:Anum Babar, Elena Nikolova, Hafsa Waseela, Karimah Bint Dawoud, Liz Leonard, Nasrine Abdirachid, Shahina Khatun and Yeota Imam-Rashid Contributors: Tommy Evans and Naima Elmi Special thanks to our readers, supporters and Islam Channel. For more information about advertising, marketing and sponsorship, email us at Ilma Magazine is published bi-monthly by The Dawah Project. Subscription is free. All rights reserved by The Dawah Project. Reproduction in whole or in part without written consent/permission is strictly prohibited. The opinion expressed in each article is the opinion of its author and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Dawah Project. Therefore, The Dawah Project carries no responsibility for the opinion expressed thereon. Š 2016 Registered Office: The Dawah Project Ltd 14 Bonhill Street London EC2A 4BX Contact Number: 0207 330 1744 (Mon - Fri, 9am - 6pm) LinkedIn: the-dawah-project Company No - 06864168 Registered Charity Number - 1133424 the_dawah_project

CONTENTS Editorial: The Muslim Family


Reflection: 10

Reminiscing Ramadhan By Yeota Imam-Rashid

Managing your Toddler


By Liz Leonard


44 26 18

Nurturing Children in Islam By Hafsa Waseela


Family Time By Liz Leonard


The Internet: Friend or Foe? By Nasrine Abdirachid


Muslim Women’s Voice... in Style By Shahina Khatun


The Holy Qur’an: A Divine Guidance By Nasrine Abdirachid

Disciplining the Soul


By Anum Babar



A Traveller’s Guide:

Tour Exotic Malaysia By Elena Nikolova


Food Bites:

Malay Ramadhan Bites By Karimah Bint Dawoud



93 70


The Food Journey By Hafsa Waseela

Recommended Reading By Anum Babar

98 Islam Channel Programmes

Religious Programmes showing in June and July 2016

Editorial In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Compassionate.

The Muslim Family

Assalamu’alaikum Dear Readers, Following on from ‘The Muslim Marriage’, the family in Islam is an important institution because we believe it is the building blocks of a healthy and thriving society. The family structure is supported by other institutions in accordance to ‘Shari’ah’ (Islamic Divine Law and Moral Code), such as free and quality housing, health care and education, which is quite rare to find in the modern world. Therefore, the Islamic family system gives the rights of the husband, wife, children and relatives into a fine equilibrium. It nourishes unselfish behaviour, generosity, and love in the framework of a well-organised family system. The peace and security offered by a stable family unit is greatly valued, and it is seen as essential for the spiritual growth of its members. A harmonious social order is created by treasuring children and by the existence of extended families. The ‘Ummah’ (community of Muslims) is made up of families. The month of Ramadhan is right around the corner and beautifully, it brings the family closer as we break our fast and go to the ‘Masjid’ (mosque) together. It also unites Believers as we connect with our Lord by means of worship, such as; performing the ‘Salawat’ (five obligatory daily prayers) and other optional prayers,


doing ‘Dhikr’ (Remembrance of Allah) and reciting the Holy Qur’an to reflect upon the revelations and extract beautiful moral lessons that can be implemented in our lives. We also reflect upon the past year and what we plan to do in the forthcoming year, if Allah Wills it. In this Ramadhan edition, we explore the history of the Qur’an and its power as well as uncover the ways for one’s soul to be disciplined in this auspicious month. In Lifestyle, Elena Nikolova takes us to ‘Exotic Malaysia’ and Karimah Bint Dawoud guides us in how to break our fast ‘Malay style’. Tommy Evans is back with spoken word commemorating the holy month and in Recommended Reading, Anum Babar reviews two excellent books that will help adults and children understand the Qur’an better. Ramadhan Mubarak to you and your family. Please send your comments and suggestions to We would love to hear from you! Jazakumullahu Khairan The Dawah Project Team

Ilma Magazine / Issue 19

Ilma Magazine / Issue 19


Message from the Chairman

Assalamu’alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh Dear Respected Brothers and Sisters, We have been blessed to experience the auspicious month of Ramadhan once again. It is during this glorious month the Holy Qur'an was revealed to the last messenger of Allah, Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Qur'an is our book of recitation and remembrance. A book we recite to understand and remind ourselves of our purpose in this life and what will come in the Hereafter. Let’s work in unity to increase in knowledge and ‘Taqwa’ (piety) in this beautiful month and be among the righteous, now and forever. Ameen With His mercy the gates of heaven are opened and the reward for good deeds, acts of charity and acts of worship are multiplied in this month. Muslims are practical people, as exemplified by our role model, the Prophet (pbuh) and thus, I encourage you to give to charity generously, volunteer, support local community projects and continue to do good deeds even


after the visitor (Ramadhan) leaves us. This is a time as Muslims we strive to cleanse our minds and habits for both during and after Ramadhan. Islam Channel have introduced new Ramadhan religious programmes, which are based upon the Qur'an, such as the daily ‘Morning and Evening Adhkar’, the revamped live show ‘Recite’ and many more. In Ilma, you will read articles on worship and a special article exploring the purpose and history of the Qur’an, just in time for the auspicious month. Let us maximise our good deeds to the fullest this year. I pray that each and every single one of us attains true success in the month of Ramadhan 2016/1437 AH. Ameen Ya Rabb. In Allah we trust

Mohamed Ali Harrath Chairman, The Dawah Project

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“The month of Ramadhan (is that) in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights (the new moon of) the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey - then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and (wants) for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that (to) which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful”. [Q ur’ an, Surah Al- Ba qa r a h: The Cow, 2:185]


Reminiscing Ramadhan Head of Women’s Programming Yeota Imam-Rashid, reflects on the impending Ramadhan and reminisces about what the month truly means to her. Follow Yeota on Twitter: @Ye0ta


rowing up, my fondest memory of Ramadhan is how I used to beg my mum to let me fast, “Pleassssssee Ammu (mother in Bengali) can I fast?” This would always be met with a smile and a tilt of the head, and an, “OK you can fast for half a day. But at 12 o’clock you have to break it”. Or “Ok at the weekend, not on a school day”. But it was the school day that was the most exciting to fast on with friends asking you in astonishment, “How you could go without any food and water for the whole day?” And now, as I write this feature and reflect on how this Ramadhan has tiptoed upon us once again, so quickly and quietly, standing at our door like the guest we are so privileged to host. The guest who we prepare for, take days off for, work for, clean and tidy the house for, prepare special foods for and decorate


the house for; to ultimately ensure this guest is welcomed and honoured in the way that is befitting. Interestingly, a colleague recently asked me what the Ramadhan buzz meant to me and after some reflection I replied, “so many things!” It is that beautiful aroma of cooking that hits me at my in-laws, as I walk in half an hour before ‘Iftar’ (the meal after sunset), the sitting around the table with family with food laid out in front of us waiting to hear the ‘Adhan’ (call to prayer) on Islam Channel, not touching the food that is inches away from our lips. It is the droves of people in their thobes, ‘Jalabib’ (long and loose-fit coat or garment) and ‘Hijab’ (a veil that covers the head and chest), after Iftar, running towards the ‘Masjid’ (mosque), eager to stand in front of Allah in humility; carrying their tired, exhausted bodies, after a day of work with no water and

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food, forgoing the comforts of their beds and sofas, to kneel before the Almighty Allah.

for one another supersedes any man-made borders.

That, to me, summarises the Ramadhan buzz, where every Muslim is conscious of each precious second passing them by. The anticipation of this buzz gives me goosebumps each year. But even more than that, it is the sense of unity that leaves me aching for another Ramadhan. It is when Muslim communities, from all around the world, come together to celebrate the month of sacrifice and it is when a Muslim is eager to befriend another and exchange greetings of peace (Salam). It is when they want to help carry the shopping of an Aunty Ji struggling with her bags. It is when a Muslim wants to give more to charity and attend congregational prayers. It is also, when the remembrance of our brothers and sisters in war torn countries is never far from our minds, lips and tears and when our love

How exciting is this time for us!

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And it is this guest that Ilma has dedicated this special Ramadhan edition to and what a privilege it has been, I am sure, for each one of our writers; for by writing these features it is not just a reminder to our readers but ourselves too, Alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah). May I take this opportunity to wish each and every reader and their family’s the most blessed Ramadhan yet. May this be the last Ramadhan where we see the sufferings of our brothers and sisters around the world, may this be the Ramadhan where we make an extra effort to unite as one ‘Ummah’ (Muslim community) and may He, The Exalted and The Most High, accept it from us all. Ameen.



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Managing your

Liz Leonard accepted Islam ten years ago, following several years of research into the religion. Currently, she is a presenter on Women’s AM, Islam Channel and a teacher at Tarbiyyah Madrasah in Kent. Follow Liz on Twitter: @liz_ld


here is no job more fulfilling or challenging than being a parent. When we think about having a baby, many of us will picture the idyllic scene of holding a cooing baby whilst family and friends congratulate us on our cute bundle of joy. In reality, parenthood is not like this and the toddler years present the starkest contrast to this scene. I remember someone saying to me, “You don’t realise how easy the baby years are until, you reach the toddler years”. That being said (and found to be true in my case!), the toddler years show the beginning of your child’s personality emerging. It is an exciting and special time. And with a little planning, you and your toddler can enjoy this wonderful time. The toddler years are from 14 to 36 months. Your little one is no longer a baby and now has new needs for exploration, communication and autonomy. This can be a frustrating time for them and a stressful time for you. During this time we want to create a space that is safe and stimulating for our children, whilst we have the tools to navigate them through it in a (relatively) peaceful and productive way.

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Now, the big question is how to achieve this. Here are some pointers to best place you to deal with the toddler years.

Du’a Always make good ‘Ad’iyah’ (supplications) for your children. As the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Three supplications are responded to: The supplication of the oppressed, the supplication of the traveller, and the supplication of the parent (for or) against his child”. [Jami’ Al-Tirmidhi]

Plan ahead Toddlers thrive on routine. This is how they understand time and know what they can expect to happen. By putting a structure in place, you are creating security for your toddler to be able to explore the world and feel safe. They need the reassurance that the parent is in charge and can keep them safe from the world and from their own lack of self-control. They develop self-discipline partly by living in a safe, predictable structured routine, where they know what to expect. However, try not to be too strict or inflexible with your routine; remember that we cannot plan everything!

Managing tantrums Tantrums are going to happen. As parents it is our job to understand why and manage in the best way possible. We should


not feel angry or embarrassed when this happens, instead we should view it as a normal part of growing up. Children display every emotion they feel at this age - for better or worse! We must remember that Allah does not hold them to account as toddlers and nor should we. Tantrums are an expression of powerlessness or frustration. So empower your toddler, allow them to explore and even to say no sometimes. After post-tantrum, have a cuddle with your little one, make them feel loved and safe. Do not buy into the myth that this is rewarding bad behavior. Use this time to tell the story of what happened, “You felt upset because...” This will allow you to reflect, learn and move forward.

Technology There is a weighty argument to suggest that children under the age of two should not watch television. The professional body for pediatricians, the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, discovered that children are exposed to screens for longer amounts of time than ever before. This widespread access to smartphones, tablets, games consoles, TVs and laptops is causing concern amongst doctors in the UK and internationally. Kids’ brains grow profoundly during the first three years of life, with the brain tripling in mass in just the first 12 months. The stimuli children experience during this period profoundly influence brain development. Research shows that it can influence brain development and shorten the attention span. Similarly tablets and phones should not be used to appease your toddler or to avoid a tantrum. This will create

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the expectation that bad behavior will be rewarded with time on these devices, as well as discouraging other forms of play that will be more beneficial for their development.

to keep calm. I know it seems clichéd but it does actually work!


Some days will seem like a constant battle. The important thing is not to take it personally. When you have a bad day (and we all have bad days!) do not wallow in it, put it behind you and look forward to the next day. Like all the stages of our child’s development the toddler years will pass quickly and before you know it, they will be starting school and you will miss what has come before.

This is a powerful human emotion. Look at the situation from your toddler’s perspective; of course you will not be able to say “yes” all the time. But by sympathising with them, understanding the cause of their distress or unhappiness, you will be best placed to manage the situation and resolve it quickly. In turn, this will breed empathy in your toddler. Children begin to develop empathy as soon as they feel understood, that is when they start to share and stop lashing out, etc. By forcing the children to share their favourite toys, can make them feel insecure and even hinder their development of empathy. A good way to manage this is by encouraging them to put away their favourite toys before others visit and introduce ‘turns’ with the other toys.

Role model Like it or not, your toddler will copy your behavior, speech and temperament. There is nothing more horrifying then hearing your sweet, innocent child repeat some of your less choice words or phrases! Children learn to interact with others by experiencing relationships, and then they recreate them. How you react directly affects them. If you act cool in stressful situations, they will too. By counting to ten before you react, this method will help you

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Stay positive

Islam and secular psychology, both promote positive labelling, as having a huge impact on both adults and children. We must remind ourselves that even in the most stressful situations, we should not be labelling the toddler, only the behavior. Rather than calling the child “naughty”, we should establish the idea that certain behaviors are unacceptable, which molds their character in a positive way. And on a larger scale, even the way we label the toddler years, as the ‘terrible twos’ can impact negatively on how we handle them. I was advised to rename this stage as “the terrific twos” and I believe this is the first step towards a more positive experience. Children are an ‘Amanah’, a trust from Allah, The Most High. When taking care of something so precious that has been trusted to us, we must always strive to do our very best. We do this by viewing parenthood as we would any other act of worship, we have to work hard to perfect it and ensure we keep our intentions pure.


The Dawah Project Who are we?

We live in a world that is diverse, dynamic and globalised. Whilst technology develops, The Dawah Project embraces these innovations, spreading Dawah at an international scale. We utilise Television, Radio and Digital Media promoting a better understanding of Islam and the Muslim way of life. It is our mission to provide comprehensive Islamic knowledge for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Islam Channel - Religious Programmes We live in a world that is diverse, dynamic and globalised. Whilst technology develops, it is vital that we spread Dawah through the media - the most powerful form of mass communication. Islam Channel is an English speaking channel, free to air and is broadcasting in over 136 countries - Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia. The Dawah Project sponsors the Religious Programmes on Islam Channel; assists in improving the current programmes and provides new programmes throughout the year. Viewers favourite programmes such as IslamiQA, Recite, Soul Search, Live Hajj, Live Arafah Day and Footsteps of Ibraheem are all sponsored by our subscribers. Islam Channel is available on Sky 806, Freeview 244 via VisionTV and can be


watched online via:

The Radio Campaign In countries where access to technology is expensive or illiteracy rates are high, radio continues to play an important role in sharing information. Radio broadcasts can transmit realtime information, broadcasted 24 hours a day to provide the most recent updates to listeners. Radio stations have the ability to reach across borders and become a source of information, where reliable information is scarce. When access to the internet is blocked and phone lines are cut, people can still search the airwaves for trustworthy sources. Even electricity is not a necessity for battery-operated and hand-cranked radios.

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The Radio Campaign was launched in 2011 and we are currently working in Africa, where 60 percent of the population is Muslim and over 80 percent of Africans are tuning in every day listening to their local radio station, making it a crucial source of information. Currently, The Dawah Project is working to set up analogue radio stations in Tunisia, Nigeria, Gambia, Uganda, Sierra Leone and Rwanda. We want to educate the diverse African community about Islam.

The International Dawah Centre The International Dawah Centre project was introduced in April 2012. Our aim is to provide a centre for everyone to access in order to have a better understanding of Islam resulting in a more knowledgeable and harmonious international community.

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Ilma Magazine We are witnessing a digital revolution! An increasing number of people have their own computer, laptop, iPad and smart phone. The digital industry is always developing. We took advantage of this phenomenon by producing an e-magazine called Ilma Magazine, which is released on a bi-monthly basis and is available on Issuu - is one of the fastest growing digital publishing platforms in the world. You can also download the Ilma App for free on the App Store and Google Play. Ilma Magazine provides reflective writings from an Islamic perspective on various aspects of life attracting a diverse range of readers all over the world.



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Hafsa Waseela is in the medical field pursuing her studies to reach her ultimate vocation in becoming a Lecturer specialising in Oncology and Cancer. She is also an artist, poet and is an active member of a number of Dawah organisations, community associations and charities in the UK and abroad. To find out more about her work, please visit the following website:


re your children or the young amongst you, feeling the buzz of Ramadhan? If not, how do you get them to feel the joys of the blessed month and more crucially, love the religion of Allah, The Mighty and Exalted? Whether or not you are a parent (may Allah bless you with righteous children if the latter, Ameen); married or not (may Allah give you a pious spouse if the latter, Ameen), this article can be useful for training yourself in helping a child make the most of their time, especially if they are your own. Amongst the essential duties of parenthood besides love, care and support is to raise our children to be good practicing Muslims as well as having a good Islamic ‘Tarbiyah’ (development). For instance, see the child as a cup, when you add the ingredients to make hot chocolate, the cup requires the handle (mother) and the saucer (father) in order to support it. Sharing the responsibility between both parents will aid in constructing the new generation in the correct manner. This is because our purpose in life is to ultimately worship Allah, The Most High and follow His Commandments. How you teach your children will determine the level of attachment towards Islam. There are some parents that say, “My kids are so ungrateful…”, “I give up on her”, “He is not listening and is still on his computer”, “We never treated our parents in this manner” but they have never reflected and thought of their technique and approach when speaking to and with them, and how they act in front of them. This is why it is important that parents should pause and reflect on their actions and attitudes that may have led to this manner. Additionally, this is why it is important that if you feel you have mistreated them, you should apologise and not have an ego! The mistakes conducted in front of the children manifest in the child’s negative behaviour. There needs to be a

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fine balance when it comes to enforcing rules onto children. Therefore, encouragement and refining the good tendencies in children is vital. Our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) stated: “Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock. The leader is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock, a man is the shepherd of his family and is responsible for his flock; a woman is the shepherd in the house of her husband and is responsible for her flock, the servant is the shepherd of his master’s wealth and is responsible for it. Each of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari; Sahih Muslim] By conducting these duties, it will please our Lord and will be beneficial for parents and child in both the ‘Dunya’ (temporal word) and the ‘Akhirah’ (Hereafter). However, by following the path of ‘Shaytan’ (Devil) will ultimately lead to the wrath of Allah, The Most High. “O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are (appointed) angels, harsh and severe; they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded”. [Qur’an, Surah AtTahrim: The Prohibition, 66: 6] Why is it better to train the child at a young age? Because at this point the child is protected from the ‘Fitnah’ (temptations) of this world and the whispers of the Shaytan. Therefore, whilst initiating teaching children to carry out their daily prayers at the age of 7, reciting ‘Dhikr’ (remembrance of Allah), doing charitable activities and so forth. Thus, the child will feel a combination of elements of peace, mercy and blessings of Allah; it is He who will preserve the child’s ‘Fitrah’, the natural inclination to believe in Islamic monotheism.


How can parents develop a strong bond with their child?

The Child’s Brain Kathleen Roche-Nagi is a qualified nurse, midwife, coach, trainer, family counsellor and the Managing Director at ‘Five Pillars of Parenting’. I discussed with her about the intricacies of the childs brain.

How does the child’s brain work? It is important to develop the character of the child right from the start. Between the ages of 1 and 3 because children acquire a definite sense of themselves as separate people; the relationship they have with their parents and how they are influenced by their parents. Character building develops during stages, as the baby develops into a child, then teenager and into an adult, at each stage parents need to develop a strong bond with their child.


It is important for parents to build a strong foundation by: • Bonding: The relationship we have with the child should be of a loving nature. • Attachment: The child should feel safe and secure under their parents guardianship. • Attune: Understand how your child communicates and responding to it correctly. The way parents respond to the child’s needs shows them that they are cared for and are not neglected in this world. It also teaches children from a young age, that they can affect the world around them. This helps the child to grow up with a positive view of themselves and others. Parents are the first role models for their child, teaching them about the world and about Allah. Right from pregnancy the relationship parents have with their child can influence their development in many areas such as, child’s view of self and others, model of relationships and brain development.

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What are the benefits of having an early attachment with your child?

What is your organisation ‘Approachable Parenting’ about?

Even in an older child, looking after the relationship is just as important. If a secure attachment is developed from birth and maintained, then it is less likely that the child will have behaviour problems, more likely to trust others, be confident, cope with emotions better and learn better. Because the child trusts his or her parents, which enables them to feel safe, to explore and play in the environment. The benefits of early attachment, also leads to effective discipline and parenting. However, it takes time for parents to build character, just like the roots of a big tree takes time to grow in the ground. One’s character is like a tree, if the seeds are implanted early, good character will grow.

‘Approachable Parenting’ consists of experienced trainers that provide pre-marriage, marriage education, parenting to relationship coaching for families. This has been hugely successful as it has a direct influence in developing the characteristics of the family, empowering parents, improving confidence, emotional well-being and behaviour of the next generation by providing guidance, techniques, and skills on raising children in the modern family, drawing from both psychological and Islamic principles. This is in the form of workshops, courses and 1-2-1 parenting coaching support. This service is available for both Muslims and non-Muslim families. For more information please visit uk.

Babies are born with millions of brain cells; they cannot be used until they are connected to each other. Each second, when the baby is part of a good relationship the brain cells are developing and the neurons are connecting to each other. Parents can support this by interacting with their child in the following ways: responding, playing, speaking, singing, touching, stroking, rocking, feeding, cuddling, comforting, and also reciting Qur’an to them.

Overall, my dear brothers and sisters, the environment has a major impact on the child and their parents. Some parents experience some difficulty in raising their children, due to them being exposed to various factors, such as technology, media and peer pressure. However, it is important to note that no matter how hard you try, it is impossible to protect your child from ALL of the negative forces that can influence their mind and behaviour.

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How you can encourage your child to love their ‘Deen’ (religion) 1. The importance of worshipping Allah, The Most High

3. Understand what is Halal and Haraam

This can be achieved by teaching your child that by following the religious duties will be KEY to Paradise, where they can have anything and everything they want. The Prophet (pbuh) stated: “Order your children to pray at the age of seven”. [Abu Dawud]

Inform your child on the definitions of what ‘Halal’ (permissible in Islam) and ‘Haraam’ (forbidden) is; ask them to provide you examples of activities and things that are Halal and Haram. Tell them to thank Allah, The Most High, for the blessings and bounties He has bestowed on us.

Allow them to pray with you and involve them in all acts of worship. Wake them up for ‘Fajr’ (dawn prayer) and pray as a family. Have a dialogue with them about the benefits and rewards of praying, so it does not feel like a burden on them. Be an example to them as they will see you, the parents worshipping Allah and then will they try to imitate you.

2. Treat your child with kindness and manners By being kind to your child, they will be kind back to you and also to others. Our Beloved Prophet (pbuh) was the best example of being kind to children. Allah’s Messenger kissed Al-Hasan Ibn Ali whilst Al-Aqra Ibn Habis At-Tamim was sitting with him. Al-Aqra said, “I have ten children and have never kissed one of them”. The Prophet cast a look at him and said, “Whoever is not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari]


4. Learning to love the Qur’an Loving the Book of Allah, the Glorious Qur’an, should be nurtured at a young age. Therefore, it is best for you to make a habit to recite the Qur’an regularly in front of your children or even when expecting a child. This is because, your child visualises you as a role model. It is important the child sees or hears you reciting the Qur’an to ignite loving the holy text. In addition, reciting the Qur’an before your child goes to sleep provides a calmness and peace. Besides reciting the Qur’an, it is even more important to teach your child the meaning of these verses to increase the attachment and respect towards the Book of Allah. Always ensure prior to that, that you experiment with different techniques to find out which method does your child prefer to learn. For example, some children prefer hearing recitation, whereas others prefer writing the verses down. The Prophet (pbuh) said: “No people gather in Ilma Magazine / Issue 19

a house of the houses of Allah (i.e. masjids) reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among themselves, except that the tranquillity descends upon them and Allah mentions them to those who are with Him (the lofty gathering of Angels)”. [Sahih Muslim] Children will be provided with a position in Paradise according to the number of verses memorised from the Glorious Qur’an. The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Read, ascend and recite with slow, rhythmic chanting just as you used to recite in the worldly life. For verily, your position (in Paradise) will be at the place of the last verse that you recite”. [Abu Dawud; Al-Tirmidhi]

5. Make them feel that they are important to you Never neglect your child. See what they are up to, go on family trips, perform the ‘Sunnah’ (teachings and practices of the Prophet, pbuh), play sports, such as archery, running and horse-riding as well as any sports that build character and strength; as long as they are dressed modestly. Moreover, take part in picnics with other Muslim parents whom have children of the same age.

6. Teach them who their real role models are This can be done by reading them Prophetic stories before they go to sleep as well as stories of the Companions and Islamic history; to show the impact they had on the world.

7. Have that balance: praise them, do not spoil them nor humiliate them! When you praise your child for doing a good deed, such as helping an elderly person, it will encourage them to perform other good deeds. Nevertheless, it is important not to spoil them and be wise in how you spend your money. I would advise to take them to an orphanage for a humbling experience and be grateful for what they have been blessed with. When your child does something wrong, it is Ilma Magazine / Issue 19

better to tell them in private than humiliate them in front of others.

8. Have faith in your child! By allowing your child to take part in suitable house chores gives them the sense of responsibility. This can then be rewarded with pocket money, treats and so forth.

9. Choosing the right company! Bad behaviour can be directly transmitted via peer pressure and the type of friends your child hangs out with. Ensure you know them well and know their parents and get along with them for your child’s safety. The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Man is inclined to get influenced by his friend’s manners, so one must be careful in choosing friends”. [Abu Dawud; Al-Tirmidhi] In addition, encourage your child to take care of everyone, such as their neighbours, family, friends, the ‘Ummah’ (Muslim community) as a whole. Your child will feel a sense of unity and empathy towards others.

10. Take them to the Masjid Ultimately, parents are the first role models and examples for children. We need to accomplish the job entrusted to us by the Almighty Allah. Instil in children of loving Allah, His Prophets (peace be upon them) by performing good deeds and important habitual practices, such as ‘Salah’ (prayer). Collectively, this love will lead to a special attitude towards loving Islam and people who follow Islam (Muslims), and the best place to start is at the ‘Masjid’ (mosque) A combination of the following factors: practice, disciplinary manners, patience, understanding, knowledge and experience will aid in raising children. Always remember that if you do not show much interest nor take Islam seriously, your children will follow you. As a parent, you are their steering wheel, so steer it correctly to allow them to move on the right path.



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“Our Lord! Grant unto us wives and offspring who will be the coolness of our eyes”. [Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Furqan: The Criterion, 25:74]

Liz Leonard accepted Islam ten years ago, following several years of research into the religion. Currently, she is a presenter on Women’s AM, Islam Channel and a teacher at Tarbiyyah Madrasah in Kent. Follow Liz on Twitter: @liz_ld


e all have many different relationships that we have to manage at any one time. Our relationship with our family is of huge importance, and hence, why do so many of us find we are investing the least into it? In the lands of Arabia, prior to Islam, the family structure was built upon mistreatment and oppression. Women had few rights and it was customary in Arabia to bury daughters alive in their infancy to avoid shame. Islam redefined the family. It gave each member their individual rights and responsibilities. The Qur’an holds relationships between family members in the highest esteem and repeatedly stresses the significance of safeguarding the ties of the womb. For example: “So give the relative his right…” [Qur’an, Surah Ar-Rum: The Romans, 30:38] “Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives…” [Qur’an, Surah An-Nisa: The Women, 4:36] Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has similarly instructed: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should maintain good relation with his kindred”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari]

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Secular teachings also attribute huge worth to the family structure. The theory is simple, by spending more time with your family, you will have a better marriage and your children will have a better upbringing. But the practice proves to be a little trickier. In an ideal situation, you will have plenty of time and money to dedicate to your family’s needs. But most of us live in a reality that is more challenging than that. As a parent, guilt is one of the major stumbling blocks we must overcome. So how do we do that? By investing time and energy into nurturing our family relationships, every member can reap the benefits. The family structure discourages selfish behaviour. Decisions are made for the family as a whole rather than on an individual basis. In Islam, mothers enjoy such a high status, highlighting that motherhood is a hard (although rewarding) task. But this can result in feeling extra guilty if you are a mother who also has to work. As well as having to manage your time more effectively and juggle all your different roles, you have to deal with the emotional turmoil this creates. When you do not have to go out to work, you are described as a ‘full time mother’. So does that mean that working mothers are part time parents?! Labels can be dangerous and best avoided where possible. The truth is we never stop being a mother. Furthermore, if going out to work is necessary for the financial stability of your household, then this even becomes an extension of your role in the home and another duty that being a mother requires of you. Here are the best tips that have been given to me over the years. These are tried and tested ways to make your life easier. Do not forget that when it comes to establishing and maintaining a happy, organised and productive household, the partnership between husband and wife is crucial. You both want the same things for your family and must work together when it comes to communicating and implementing these ideas.

Build a support network As the saying goes, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. Bringing up a family on your own can 28

be very difficult. The people around you are a resource from Allah that we must use. Taking people up on their offers of help and delegating tasks to your partner are certainly ways to better manage your time. Similarly we should be aware of pressures on other family members and always be willing to lend a helping hand!

Be organised Plan your week ahead, or even a month ahead, if possible! Schedule in times for different tasks, whether these tasks are inside or outside of the house. For example, plan your meals for the week. We can spend considerable time contemplating dinners and visiting the supermarket many more times than is actually necessary. Menu planning eliminates this. Keep a ‘to-do’ list. This helps you keep track of what needs doing and ensures nothing gets forgotten. Do not forget that when planning your week, to Ilma Magazine / Issue 19

schedule time for yourself and private time for you and your spouse.

Spend time with your children With a never ending to do list, we can sometimes forget to have fun with our kids. It is important to plan some time to stop and play. By spending regular time with them, you can explain to the children that there are times you need to get other tasks done. In this way they are less likely to be disrupting you, or demanding your attention. Moreover, by spending time teaching children to do simple tasks for themselves, not only will you increase their self-confidence and build their independence, but you will eventually free up some time for yourself, as you will not have

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to do this task for them. Starting with small things like tying their own shoe laces, making their beds, making a sandwich, are good places to start. You can also give them tasks to develop their Islamic character, such as putting out the prayer mats and helping prepare ‘Iftar’ (meal to break the fast at sunset) when you are fasting.

Speak to your employer Most work places have facilities in place to accommodate working parents. And if even if they do not, then talk with HR or your line manager to allow some kind of flexible working, which will allow you to balance your responsibilities at home and at the workplace. After all, you will be more content and productive at work if the stress at home is under control.


Invest in your family Do not take your family for granted. Spend quality time with them. The housework can and sometimes should wait. I am sure many of us have participated in team building exercises in the work place, and whilst it may have felt like a waste of time, these activities actually have a significant function. They help you bond as a team and work together more effectively. So why not think of activities that you can do as a family, which will afford you the same benefits, such as camping. Other corporate tools that can be transferred to the family home include suggestion boxes and meetings. Try introducing a family meeting to discuss household issues that affect everyone and use this a time for family members to talk about anything that may be bothering them.


It is important to remember that we must never fall into the trap of comparing our family to anyone else’s. Just because something works for one person, does not necessarily mean it will work for you. Our family is a blessing from Allah, The Most Generous and not a burden. It could be a means with which we attain ‘Jannah’ (Paradise) and so we must nurture it and keep working on it until we have found a way to make it work best for us. Allah, The Most High, reminds us to make ‘Du’a’ (supplicate) for our family, that they may be a safe haven from the chaos of this world and a means by which we can enter Jannah, as a family. “Our Lord! Grant unto us wives and offspring who will be the coolness of our eyes”. [Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Furqan: The Criterion, 25:74] Ilma Magazine / Issue 19

“If you want to focus more on Allah in your prayers, focus more on Him outside your prayers�. [ U stadha Yasm i n Mogah e d, Inte r na tiona l Spe a k e r a nd W r ite r ]

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NASRINE ABDIRACHID explores the advantages and disadvantages of Internet access for young children and teenagers. Nasrine juggles work and marital life in the heart of Kenya, bustling Nairobi.

There are many types of addictions and bad habits, but the one that we often overlook is our obsession with all things technological. With the advances in science and technology, it seems that nowadays there is almost always an electronic devise glued to someone’s hand. Be it a tablet or a smart phone; there are plenty of avenues one can take to access the World Wide Web and engage with people across the globe. And whilst this is a great tool for information and education, it definitely has its disadvantages and dangers. What are the downsides to the Internet? How can we allow our children to benefit from its many advantages, whilst keeping them safe? And how do we ensure they have a life away from the computer screen?

Social Media The pros and cons of the Internet solely depend on the way it is being utilised; for the way its utilised will determine how it shapes the minds of people. In the context of teenagers and young adults, closely monitoring their usage is therefore paramount. Such easy access to so much information can lead to wasting a lot of time surfing the web, be it through social media, games and chat rooms.

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The Positives Social media plays a big role in the lives of most of today’s youth. It connects people on a global level, through work and play. Social media can be also be helpful in providing Islamic reminders, since many prominent Islamic speakers are now connected online, giving easy access to their lectures and sermons at the touch of a button.

Encourage your teenager to watch videos with good Islamic reminders together. Social media allows youngsters to share websites to access revision and extra educational tools. There are many sites that offer interactive learning accessible at home and help with any difficulties your child is having. Mathematics and Science papers are readily available for download, to practice for upcoming exams.

Ask your teenager’s teachers for any helpful online websites they would recommend. 34

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The Negatives However, as with everything, there are downsides to social media too. Pornography, cyber bullying and procrastination are just a few of the trials, which can plague the lives of the youth. Social media should be used by teens in moderation and under the supervision of an adult. But whilst most social media sites have an age limit to create an account, it is quite easy to sign up.

Monitoring Usage • Before allowing your child access to the Internet, it is important to know that there is plenty of software available that allow parents and guardians to have control over what is accessed online. You can speak with your service provider about putting a child-block on inappropriate websites and further monitor your child whilst he or she uses the web. • Speak to your child prior to allowing them usage of the device, asking them what they intend to do and for how long. This way there is open communication and by limiting their time, you can avoid them stumbling upon inappropriate things, due to boredom. • Computers and laptops are not the only ways in which your child can access the web. Games consoles are also Internet accessible and thus, should also be monitored. They often allow players to communicate via headset on a global level. Because people of all ages use computer games, it is important to be aware of the dangers of online grooming. Again, making your child aware through open communication is highly important. Stranger danger should be implemented, even over the Internet. Ilma Magazine / Issue 19


• Lay down ground rules with your teenager about Internet usage. Some examples could be; 1. To finish all homework before leisurely Internet access 2. To provide parents with all social media passwords (your privacy will be respected) 3. To be as respectful online, as you are offline 4. To tell an adult if something occurs online that makes you feel uncomfortable. 5. To ensure that any devices that are Internet accessible are used in areas of the home that the family congregates in (as opposed to bedrooms). This particular rule enforces openness amongst all family members. One important factor to note is that in Islam it is believed that upon reaching puberty children are responsible for their own actions, good or bad. They now fully understand the distinction between right and wrong, a concept that should be regularly reinforced. ‘Tawqa’ (God consciousness) should be practiced “offline and online” and one should act according to what is right. Reminding your child of this often will make them aware that their actions have consequences and that they should be wary of what they do and say.


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Wasting Time Online The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

“Make the most of five things before five others: life before death, health before sickness, free time before becoming busy, youth before old age, and wealth before poverty”. [Sahih Al-Jaami’, 1077]

Making the most of free time before becoming busy is such an important reminder in life, particularly for those who are often busy. When the motions of life, work and study slow down, we all tend to “relax” and use our weekends or time off to be highly unproductive. We spend the majority of our time catching up on shows or ‘socialising’ over social media. It is quite easy to become sidetracked when trying to complete tasks and to become preoccupied in trivial things. These trivial distractions can soon become bad habits. For something to become a habit, one must consistently do the action, after which will become second nature or habit. The continuous obsession over the act means it can lead to it being an addiction and that is when it becomes significantly harder to stop. We are all prone to falling into bad habits; bad eating habits, bad time-management skills or even bad friends. Life comes with all sorts of challenges, but the ones that we subject ourselves to, are often the ones we can overcome. Limit online access by giving yourself and your children set timings to use the Internet or devices, such as tablets and computers. Ilma Magazine / Issue 19


Fasting means good bye to pride, wrath and greed Master my passions before they master me The grandmaster crafts a masterpiece Soul food for thought like mac ‘n’ cheese to master-c-a-t-e Let’s chew the fat but no appetite for apathy Actually be active don’t atrophy, download the app for free Or pay the price for acting backwardly Gnashing teeth backbite rapidly, wrap it up. Tongue tied rappers flow with no lyrics; a diet of liquid Polish off solids, knowledge nourished the spirit Consume soulless garbage on hardware, technical wizards Flog us products with a vivid sexual image To mimic, can’t diminish our lust for luxury Our gluttony’s gluten free, it’s much more than cookery We play hunger games hunting fame, look at me Look at me! Our egos eat loads, cut down without cutlery Spoon fed lies served on plates to regurgitate So sick, hours devoured vegetating to commercial breaks Fronted with a perfect face, abs are cut, add it up Six packs and size zero equals “I feel inadequate” Had enough? We function for consumption Fast one month then its undone, therein lies a conundrum


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Š Tommy Evans 2016 Tommy Evans is a poet, presenter, producer, performer, pedagogist, postgraduate researcher and polymath. Currently, he is best known for his spoken word poetry as well as developing his doctoral thesis exploring the educational arena in which migration, minorities and markets intersect. It is clear that imagination, initiative and industry are embedded in his DNA. Follow Tommy on Twitter: @TommyA_ManEvans

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By Islam Channel Presenter Shahina Khatun and a graduate of Journalism. She is passionate about having the Muslim woman’s voice heard on issues ranging from race, religion and politics. She is also an up-and-coming poet and believes poetry to be a beautiful and powerful medium to connect with people. Follow Shahina on Twitter @shahina_media and visit her blog


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s descendants’ of some of the greatest women to walk the earth, we, Muslim women need to step up to such a legacy.

At a time when Islam is inundated with attacks and Muslim women are misunderstood and misrepresented, Muslim women need to ensure that their voices are heard. And whilst doing so, they need to be the ones to lead on the narrative about Muslim women and Islam. Once upon a time, it would have been extremely difficult for a woman to be given a platform to speak and have her honest opinion heard without it being edited or dictated. However, we now live at a unique time, where social media has opened up an enormous amount of doors to platforms that have the ability to reach people all over the world. Where once, ideas were required to be pitched to the mainstream media in order to have an article published or months of internship were required before being employed as a junior writer; social media has enabled people to have their work published at the click of a finger. Whether it is blogging, vlogging or just writing brief comments, experience is not required to have our opinions published, as it was in the past. All of this can be done from the comfort of one’s home. It is also not always necessary to access the laptop or computer to do this, as most, if not all of this can be done via smart a phone (which is good news for mums!). The ease at which we can reach these platforms makes it all the more necessary to grab onto these opportunities. There are also Independent Channels and radios set up by Muslims, therefore Muslim women can now play a massive role in broadcast. There are a growing number of women’s programmes, such as discussion shows, covering many areas and topics ranging from; social, political, religious and lifestyle. A few years ago, this was unheard of and impossible for a Muslim woman to appear on television in ‘Hijab’ (headscarf) and ‘Jilbab’ (long and loose-fit coat or garment) and discuss from her perspective on issues that were discussed by men, only. In addition, when issues relating to the Muslim woman were discussed, whether it is her Islamic dress or her place in Islam, others were invited to speak about her rather than speak with her. Muslim women who were the centre of such discussions were rarely given the platform to represent themselves. And she certainly was not invited to host discussion shows.

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For those who are not inclined to write articles and are blessed with other creative abilities, such as writing poetry, then that is certainly another blessing. Poetry is a powerful tool in enabling our voice to not just be heard; but poetic styles particularly spoken word has the capability to reach minds and touch hearts. It has the power to connect with people in a manner that discussions and debates and even articles are not always able to. Poetry has so many elements; it can be charming, graceful and elegant. It can grab the heart and pull at emotions that reduce its audience to tears. Its words can overwhelm and more importantly, it can inspire and motivate people. So, rather than just igniting the heart and creating a moment of emotion, poetry can also wake the soul into action. A message carried with such attributes and elements is rarely bound to fail in reaching its destination with colossal impact. Muslim women have many messages to send to the world and many misconceptions to clarify. Therefore, poetry is one of those beautiful and powerful styles that do that. The important point that we as Muslim women should remember is that there are so many means and styles that are at our disposal. It is incumbent upon us to respond to negative stereotypes associated with the ‘Muslim woman’ and Islam, in general. The responsibility of defending Islam and portraying it as a just way of life does not only lie on the shoulders of men but also women! We need to join them in the frontline and help each other in getting our opinions heard in an effective manner. Although, sometimes we may differ in our opinions, we need to unite together on common grounds, as first and foremost, we are Muslims. Our differences should not divide us.


Islam raised women to a position of respect and honour, at a time when their value was such, that it was common occurrence in Arabia to bury them alive when born. Islam led women to achieve great things and paved the way for a better society, where they were no longer viewed as a burden. Islam has raised women to a position where, as a mother, Paradise for her child (son and daughter) lies beneath their feet. Muslim women became scholars and led in various fields of sciences and specialised professions. They were poets and mathematicians like Lubna of Cordoba. They were warriors like Nusaybah bint Ka’ab (may Allah be pleased with her), a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who fought along him and protected him during the famous Battle of Uhud. They raised many of the greatest scholars, single-handedly, in the Muslim world, such as Imam Shafi’i (may Allah have mercy upon him). They had rights that women in the rest of the world could only dream of. They were women like Fatima Al-Fihri, the first woman to establish a university in the world, in Fez, Morocco. Not to mention one of the greatest scholars of Islam, A’ishah Bint Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with her), who narrated two thirds of ‘Ahadith’ (recorded traditions in Islam) that exists today. This is just a tiny glimpse of the calibre of the women we have descended from. These are heights that we can reach again. We need to take hold of the reigns and utilise the styles at our disposal. We just need to pick up our pen and write; or be it the mic and speak, and pave the way for a new legacy.

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Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves (by sinning), do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful”. [Q ur’ an, Surah Az- Zuma r : The Tr oops , 39:53]

Nasrine Abdirachid explores the Holy Qur’an, its power, its purpose and our relationship with the Divine Book. Nasrine juggles work and marital life in the heart of Kenya, bustling Nairobi.


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The Power of the Qur’an “This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah - Who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them, And who believe in what has been revealed to you, (O Muhammad), and what was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are certain (in faith). Those are upon (right) guidance from their Lord, and it is those who are the successful”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah: The Cow, 2:2]

The Qur’an is the Holy Book of Muslims; an oral revelation presented to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and eventually compiled into written text. The power of the Qur’an lies in the fact that it is the direct Word of Allah, The Most High. It is His glorious words that we have been blessed to recite in our prayers. It answers the questions asked by all those that seek knowledge of the purpose of life and the Hereafter. The Qur’an, a complete text, leaves no stone unturned, delving into the spiritual, the physical and even into many social economic issues, such as the divisions of inheritance. The pure poetic and linguistic beauty of the Qur’an remains unmatched and its timelessness is never ending. The Word of Allah was revealed to the Prophet (pbuh) over the course of 23 years, with every verse providing context to, or gaining context from, events occurring simultaneously at the time of the Divine Revelation; in spite of this, these verses are not only relevant now, 1400 years after their revealing, but they are relevant to each and every human being, from now until the end of time – Subhan’Allah (Glory be to Allah).

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The memorisation of the Qur’an is in the hearts of the Muslims, from the ‘Sahabah’ (the companions of Prophet, may Allah be pleased with them) to the students across the world today, which means the Qur’an has been preserved since it was revealed to mankind. It is free from tampering and corruption and Allah, The Most High, says in the Qur’an: “Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian”. [Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Hijr: The Rocky Tract, 15:2] The Holy Qur’an is more than just a book of do’s and don’ts, it is a book of remembrance; containing words of beauty, comfort and encouragement, stories of the Prophets (peace be upon them) that serve as lessons, as well as moral obligations. Allah, The most High says the Qur’an is: “…a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion…” [Qur’an, Surah Al Baqarah: The Cow, 2:185]

one’s immoral actions) is what is visible in the Holy Qur’an.

The History of the Qur’an Many Muslims are starting to make the mental and spiritual preparations for the fast approach of the Holy month of Ramadhan, known as the ‘month of the Qur’an’. It was during this month that the first revelation, the direct word of Allah, The Most High, was revealed to the Prophet (pbuh) by the Angel Jibril (may Allah exalt his mention). Before the call to Prophethood, Muhammad (pbuh) often spent some time in solitude, trying to worship one God (Tawheed) in a society of polytheism (the worship of many gods). He was given the Divine Word of Allah, The Most Merciful, in an overwhelming and intense first revelation, an experience that was fearsome. Whilst in seclusion in Mount Hira,

It is a book of ‘warning’ and deterrence, as much as it is a book of ‘mercy’, with explanation and reminders of the rewards of Paradise and the consequences of one’s negative actions. The Islamic scholar Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya (may Allah have mercy upon him) explained the concept of ‘hope’ and ‘fear’ best when he said: “The heart on its journey towards Allah, The Exalted, is like that of a bird. Love is its head, and fear and hope are its two wings. When the head is healthy, then the two wings will fly well. When the head is cut off, the bird will die. When either of two wings is damaged, the bird becomes vulnerable to every hunter and predator”. [Madarij Al-Salikeen] A delicate balance between hope and fear (the knowledge that there are repercussions to


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at 40 years of age, he was approached by the Angel Jibril (may Allah exalt his mention) who ordered him to read. Struck by fear and desolation, Muhammad (pbuh) replied he was not of those that read. The Angel repeated; READ! Once again Muhammed (pbuh) replied he could not read. Finally the Angel Jibril said: “Recite in the name of your Lord who created. Created man from a clinging substance. Recite and your Lord is The Most Generous, who taught by the pen, taught man that which he knew not”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Alaq: The Clot, 96:1-5] “Recite (or read)” was the first word and first command that Allah prescribed in the Qur’an. Its relevance is clear even to the layman; to read, to be educated, to seek, knowledge, to learn and be open to receiving knowledge; the seeking of knowledge, reading, cures ignorance. There are several other references in the Qur’an about the importance of seeking knowledge, both by praying for it and being blessed with it.

The Purpose of the Qur’an As mentioned above, the Holy Qur’an is guidance for mankind, the manual to provide us with the answer to the age-old question; “what is the purpose of life?” Allah, The Most High, clearly states the purpose of creation and our reason for existence: “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me”. [Qur’an, Surah Adh-Dhariyat: The Winnowing Winds: 51: 56] The Qur’an then allows us to fulfill our purpose of worshiping Allah, The Most High, by doing so in the way in which pleases Him. It gives us

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clear guidance so that we may strive to attain Allah’s pleasure and reap the promised rewards, In shaa Allah (if Allah wills it).

Our Relationship with the Qur’an It is a book of remembrance; so that we may practice ‘Taqwa’ (God consciousness). The Qur’an contains constant reminders of Allah’s mercy and compassion. But in order to benefit from these reminders, one must strengthen their relationship with the Qur’an and view it as more that just a book. Understanding that the Qur’an is the direct Word of Allah, sent down from the Heavens to serve as guidance and mercy for mankind, will give you peace in the knowledge that Allah’s words are ready for you to read, if you will only benefit from its immense blessings. When we have questions, the Qur’an surely has the answers. As the direct Word of Allah, The Most High, the sensation one feels when reciting the words truly transcends any euphoria of this world. To read the Holy Qur’an is truly a blessing and mercy from Allah, The Most Merciful. It was narrated that Abu Umamah Al-Bahili (may Allah pleased with him) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) say: “Read the Qur’an , for it will come on the Day of Resurrection interceding for its companions”. [Muslim, 804] May we be from among the people for whom the Qur’an intercedes on the Day Judgment. Ameen.


Anum Babar has a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Politics, and is currently studying Islamic Scholarship at the respected Al-Salam Institute in London. She brings inspirational knowledge into her writing.


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“When the month of Ramadhan begins, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari]


amadhan is a special month dedicated to the training and disciplining of the soul. It is an essential pit stop for all Muslims in order to purify their body, mind and soul. The month of Ramadhan is filled with delight, where upon its arrival, love is exchanged and upon its departure, tears are shed. Fasting in the Arabic language is ‘Sawm’, which linguistically means ‘abstaining from’. In Ramadhan, this term means to abstain from desires specifically relating to eating, drinking and sexual intercourse from the time of dawn to sunset. This much awaited month occurs once a year, whereby Muslims repent for their misdeeds and increase in good deeds, as the virtues of this blessed month are invaluable. The smallest actions are magnified in the month of Ramadhan helping us to look deeper within ourselves. This constant act of thinking before doing a deed and then taking ‘Muhasibah’ (accountability) of it, help us form a shield against the insinuations of ‘Shaytan’ (the devil) and his allies, who come back in force once the holy month has passed. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “When the month of Ramadhan begins, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained”. [Sahih Al- Bukhari]

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“The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) used to do I’tikaf in the last ten nights of Ramadhan and used to say: ‘Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of the month of Ramadhan’”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari]

The most beautiful virtue of fasting is gaining the pleasure of Allah; the reward of this act is not stated in the Holy Qur’an, but lies with Allah, The Most Generous. There are many traits that we need to constantly work on and what better time to train the soul than in Ramadhan? Not only does Allah emphasise abstaining from eating, drinking and sexual intercourse, but He also wants us to relinquish our ‘Nafs’ (desires). The human body is a clear manifestation of the mind and the soul; therefore the way we present ourselves externally is a clear indication of who we are inside. It is just vital as any other act in Islam to present, for instance, based on one’s intentions the tongue could lead to argumentation or such as, the ‘Dhikr’ (remembrance of Allah). Therefore, restraining one’s Nafs will automatically provide aid to the outer human body Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “Allah said: ‘All deeds of Adam’s sons (people) are for them, except for fasting which is for Me, and I will give the reward


for it’. Fasting is a shield or protection from the fire from committing sins. If one of you is fasting, he should avoid obscene language and quarrelling, and if somebody should fight or quarrel with him, he should say: ‘I am fasting’. By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the unpleasant smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk. There are two pleasures for the fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time when he will meet His Lord; then he will be pleased because of his fasting”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari] In the blessed month of Ramadhan the ‘Fara’id’ (obligatory) and supererogatory acts are to be carried out meticulously, in order to achieve the maximum reward available. This month is treated as a special month, which can bring a Muslim closer to Allah and cause a servant to completely surrender himself to ‘Ibadah’ (worship). ‘Taraweeh’ is a night prayer offered during the time of Ramadhan, where the Holy Qur’an is recited in parts through-

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out the month and the recitation of the Holy Qur’an will eventually be completed by ‘Eid Al-Fitr’ (festival of breaking the fast). “The month of Ramadhan (is that) in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights (the new moon of) the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and (wants) for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that (to) which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah: The Cow, 2:185]

A Night Surpassing All Others Many internal and external acts are prescribed by Allah, Exalted is He, and demonstrated perfectly by our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). These wondrous gems can

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be studied from the main sources of Islam: the Holy Qur’an and ‘Sunnah’ (teachings and practices of the Prophet, pbuh). In addition to understanding Allah’s guidance upon mankind, these messages need to be internalised and re-enacted. Only when the knowledge is practiced with correct ‘Niyyah’ (intention) does the message come alive. ‘The Night of Al-Qadr’ is the greatest night of the year, which excels any other night; it is the night when the Holy Qur’an was first revealed. “Indeed, We sent the Qur’an down during the Night of Decree. And what can make you know what is the Night of Decree? And what can make you know what is the Night of Decree? The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. Peace it is until the emergence of dawn”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Qadr: The Power, 1-5] This ‘Surah’ (chapter) clearly demonstrates the virtue of capturing this Night, where the number of months is a demonstration of the

length one would have to make up if one had missed such a golden opportunity. Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates: “The Prophet (pbuh) said: ‘Whoever established prayers on the night of Qadr out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven”’. [Sahih Al-Bukhari] This Night is unknown and there are many suggestions as to why, one being that it opens up the year to seeking forgiveness rather than restricting it just for one Night. However, there are many ‘Ahadith’ (recorded traditions), which limit the search of ‘Qadr’ (decree) to the last few odd nights in the third portion of Ramadhan. A’ishah Bint Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that: “The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) used to do I’tikaf in the last ten nights of Ramadhan and used to say: ‘Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of the month of Ramadhan’”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari]


The righteous predecessors would make great effort to seek this favourable night, where mercy descends from Allah in abundance. One way of making the most of these precious nights is to do ‘I’tikaf’. Linguistically ‘I’tikaf’ means to ‘seclusion’, and it is an act the Prophet (pbuh) used to do, where he would abandon any form of desire and sit in seclusion doing nothing other than Ibadah. Women who wish to perform I’tikaf must seek consent from their ‘Wali’ (guardian).

Prescribed Acts Making firm Niyyah before any act is fundamental, not only does it give your action purpose and focus; it deepens one’s consciousness of Allah, The Most High.

manoeuvre their time towards something that is truly beneficial for their life in ‘Dunya’ (this world) and the ‘Akhirah’ (Hereafter). Abdullah Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates: “The Prophet was the most generous amongst the people, and he used to be more so during the month of Ramadhan when Jibril visited him, and Jibril used to meet him on every night of Ramadhan until the end of the month. The Prophet used to recite the Holy Qur’an to Jibril, and when Jibril met him, he used to be more generous than a fast wind (which causes rain and welfare)”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari]

Hafsah Bint Umar (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “The fasting of those who did not make their intention before the dawn is no fasting for them”. [Abu Dawud]

Increasing supererogatory acts, such as praying ‘Tahajjud’ (voluntary late night prayer, preferably in the last third of the night), seeking ‘Istighfar’ (Forgiveness) and saying ‘Alhamdulillah’ (Praise be to Allah). These terms of Dhikr are commonly described as being light on the tongue, but heavy on the scale. Allah has indeed made the religion easy upon His worshippers.

The Prophet (pbuh) would be more active during this period of time where he paid alms to the needy and spent his time in spreading goodness around the community. One should make an extra effort to recite the Holy Qur’an in Ramadhan and reflect upon its meaning, as much as possible, as it is the ultimate guidance and source for all. The Holy Qur’an and this blessed month are strongly linked and thus, all the baring of one’s desires would enable a Muslim to

‘Du’a’ (supplication) is pillar of ‘Imaan’ (Faith) and in this auspicious month the prayers should intensify in numbers and depth. Supplications are relative and individual to a person’s life and could be related to both materialistic and non-materialistic desires, needs and permissible desires. However, there are supplications that were specifically asked by our Messenger (pbuh). This golden opportunity should not be passed and the Du’a, narrated by A’ishah Bint Abu Bakr (may Al-


lah be pleased with her) should be recited whenever possible, throughout the month, as the most valued request is to ultimately be forgiven and be granted His pleasure: Arabic transliteration: “Allahumma innaka `afuwwun tuhibbul afwa fa fu annee”. Translation: “Oh Allah! Verily You are All-Forgiving, You love forgiveness, so forgive me”. [Al-Tirmidhi] Ramadhan is a month of intense training of the soul and purification of the heart, where strong intentions are made. The training should continue and gradually increase throughout the year as, in and outside of Ramadhan, we are living in testing times. During Ramadhan, a test is put to see whether or not one can successfully seek Allah’s pleasure and ultimately have their fasts accepted. When outside of Ramadhan the ‘Shayateen’ (Devils) are let loose, constantly knocking on the doors of Believers hearts. A Believer should understand that their test in this life will never be at complete rest; ‘Sabr’ (patience) is a virtue that can only be practiced in the Dunya and is not required in the Hereafter; a place where we can rest eternally. May Allah, The Most Forgiving, allow us to reach Ramadhan with a clear intention and leave Ramadhan having achieved acceptance of our fasts. May He forgive us for our misdeeds and replace them with seeds of good. Ameen Ya Rabb (Lord).

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Ilma Magazine / Issue 19



Ilma Magazine / Issue 19

A Traveller’s Guide:

Elena Nikolova is the creator of She helps Muslims travel the world in style without breaking the bank. You can connect with Elena on Twitter: @MuslimTravelGrl

Kuala Lampur Putrajaya Selangor Tamran Negra National Park Langkawi Borneo Island Perhentian Islands

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Malaysia Country: Malaysia Capital: Kuala Lumpur, State of Selangor


Currency: Malaysian Riggit

Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country occupying the Malaysian Peninsula and is part of the Borneo Island. Malaysia is a multicultural and multi-confessional country. The state religion is Islam and therefore, is regarded as a Muslim country. However, in the 2010 census, only 59 percent of the population described themselves as Muslims; followed by Buddhists, Christians, Hindus and Taoists. It still remains one of the most popular Muslim countries to visit by Muslim and non-Muslim travellers and for the right reasons too.

Best time to travel: There is no off-season in Malaysia. The country is beautiful all year around. The climate is tropical with high temperatures and humidity, throughout the year. Daytime temperatures rise above 30°C (86°F) all year round, and night-time temperatures rarely drop below 20°C (68°F). If you do not like the heat, then avoid visiting Malaysia during the summer months.

Malaysia is a progressive country with a stable economy and is safe to visit, especially with families. Malaysia has some wonderful beaches, beautiful rainforests and amazing islands. The Malaysian culture is unique because of the eclectic mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European influences due to where Malaysia is situated, and of course, imperialist dominance (Portuguese’s, Dutch, British, Siamese and the Japanese).

City to visit: Kuala Lumpur Major languages: Malay (official), English, Chinese dialects, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam Major religions: Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Taoism and Sikhism


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Malaysia has some beautiful colonial buildings integrated with new modern architecture such as; the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station, designed by British colonial architects and the most famous modern landmark; the 451m tall Petronas Twin Towers. If shopping activities, sightseeing, trekking and relaxing by the beach are on your agenda, then visiting exotic Malaysia ticks all of the above.

Petronas Twin Towers The most famous landmark in Kuala Lumpur is the Petronas Twin Towers or also known as the “Twin Towers of Asia”. The towers were once the tallest building in the world from 1998 to 2004 and currently, are the world’s tallest twin buildings in the world. Travelling to Kuala Lumpur is not complete without a visit and a photo in front of the towers! The skyscraper is visited by millions of visitors per year and is a central attraction for those who love views from above. You can buy tickets and visit the viewing deck, which is on the 86th floor offering beautiful views of the city or walk on the world’s highest double decked bridge between the two towers. Make sure you book your tickets as early as possible because spaces are limited. Visit:

Perhentian Islands


Tamran Negra National Park

Kuala Lampur Putrajaya Selangor

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Borneo Island


Delicious Food at the Local Bazaars

National Mosque of Malaysia

In Malaysia there is an array of bazaars that you can visit, where you can enjoy local cuisine. They are buzzing with locals and tourists, day and night. Plus, the delicious food is also ‘Halal’ (permissible according to Islamic Law) and so you will not have to wonder whether or not the food is Halal; you can savour everything your heart desires. Some of the top bazaars in Kuala Lumpur are TTDI, Kampung Baru and Subang’s SS18.

One of the best places to meet locals and experience some of the local culture is in the mosque; the place of worship and a focal point for Muslims. The National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur was built in 1965 and now, is an important symbol of Islam. So when visiting this mosque or any other beautiful mosque in Malaysia is perhaps a religious obligation for Muslim visitors, but also mandatory for a tourist to experience, to be exposed to the Muslim culture. The National Mosque is an impressive building that has a capacity for 15,000 worshippers and it is surrounded by 13 acres of beautiful gardens.

At the bazaars you will find, not only, traditional Malay cuisine but also souvenirs and hand crafted jewellery. When you are shopping, try to practice your Malay and make friends with the locals. 62

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Putrajaya Putrajaya is a planned city, 25 km away from Kuala Lumpur; it also serves as the administrative centre of Malaysia. One of the most important and famous landmarks you can visit in Putrajaya, is the pink domed Putra Mosque. If you have always wanted to visit this special mosque and you are in Malaysia, this is the perfect opportunity. The KLIA transit train from Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya takes only 25 minutes and the ticket prices costs less than £3.

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia No visit to Kuala Lumpur is complete without exploring the Islamic Arts Museum. The museum was opened in 1998 and it is within walking distance from the National Mosque. It is the largest museum in South East Asia and has more than 7,000 Islamic artefacts, several galleries and exhibitions. To see the latest exhibitions, visit their website before your trip to the museum:

Batu Caves The Batu Caves is a limestone hill, which is made up of a series of caves and cave temples, situated in the Gombak District, Selangor; 13 km away from Kuala Lumpur. Its name derives from the Batu Pahat River, which flows past the hill. The Batu Caves are a popular tourist spot and there are good transportation links connecting Kuala Lumpur and Gobmak.

Taman Negara National Park If you love nature, trekking and exploring one of the oldest tropical rainforests in the world, then you must visit the Teman Negara National Park, which encompassed three states: Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu, each with its own legislation. Teman Negara is a vast national park in the Malay Peninsula and it is said to be 130 million years old. It is a popular ecotourism and adventure destination; the national park is full of rare exotic plants and wildlife, such as the Malayan tiger, Asian elephant and more. You can also take a night safari to see the wild life and nature, which only becomes alive at night, such as the glow-in-the-dark fungi, owls, water dragons and wild cats. This will definitely be an unforgettable experience. The national park is 200 miles away from Kuala Lumpur, but there are excellent transportation links that can take you there.

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Venturing into the Islands Kuala Lumpur might be one of the world’s most famous cities to visit and the capital of Malaysia, but there is so much diversity, beauty and nature to see in the surrounding areas too. What is really beautiful about this country, are the different scenic views you can experience. The Borneo Island is full of wild jungles, animals, remote tribes and some pretty amazing diving spots. The Malaysian islands also offer beautiful beaches, amazing views and peaceful seclusion, perfect for relaxing the mind and body. Venturing outside of Kuala Lumpur is very affordable with a number of low cost airlines starting from as little as £10 (one way) to £50. If you decide to explore more of this beautiful country, do not miss out on visiting these incredible islands.

Langkawi Langkawi is one of the most popular Malaysian islands and on top of the list for honeymooners to go to. The island is located off Malaysia’s northwestern coast in the Andaman Sea; Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands. It boasts picturesque beaches, rainforest, mangroves and forest-clad mountains. It has a great deal of natural beauty and in recent years, there have been many luxury resorts being developed on the island. If you are visiting Langkawi, do not forget to visit the Langkawi Sky Bridge; a curved pedestrian bridge, 660m above sea level on top of Gunung Mat Cincang peak.


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Borneo Island Malaysian Borneo is considered to be Borneo’s most sophisticated territory, because it brings together a number of cultures, craftsmanship and cuisines. The other owners of the island are Brunei Darussalam and Indonesia. There are two states in Malaysian Borneo: Sarwak and Sabah. Kuching is the state capital of Sarwak and Kota Kinabalu is the state capital of Sabah. You will see a mixture of modern and colonial architecture and plenty of incredible views from the island. Kuching is a starting point in the Borneo Island for exploring the national parks, amazing rainforests, wild life and local tribes for the tourist to admire. Some of the places you should visit are Nanga Delok, situated in the untouched jungle near Jelia River in Batang Ai, where you will explore local tribal culture and the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, which is the natural habitat of the ‘Orangutans’ (great apes). If time permits, visit the breathtaking beaches in the state of Sabah, such as the Pulau Lankayan, Pulau Kapalai and Tanjung Aru. Ilma Magazine / Issue 19


Perhentian Islands If you love going off the beaten track and visiting less explored and touristy places then you do not have to go far. The Perhentian Islands in Malaysia offer exquisite beaches, where you can relax and enjoy nature. Only few hours away from Kuala Lumpur, these small islands are not as touristy as Langkawi, so you can enjoy more of the local culture there. The experience may not be luxurious, as these islands are not very developed yet, but you will appreciate the authenticity of local life there.

Why Tour Exotic Malaysia? Exploring Kuala Lumpur leisurely is the perfect start to your holiday. It is a fascinating capital and there is so much to do and see. No wonder it is the top destination for Muslims to visit, according to the Global Muslim Travel Index in 2016. Once the Eid celebrations are over this year, you can certainly travel to Malaysia with your family and venture outside the capital to enjoy some of the beautiful national parks or just relax by the beach. Malaysia is one of the most fascinating countries in South-East Asia, where experiences are indescribable and unforgettable. If you are travelling to Malaysia, please send your holiday feedback to and address it to Elena Nikolova. 66

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Hafsa Waseela is in the medical field pursuing her studies to reach her ultimate vocation in becoming a Lecturer specialising in Oncology and Cancer. She is also an artist, poet and is an active member of a number of Dawah organisations, community associations and charities in the UK and abroad. To find out more about her work, please visit the following website

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It is important to remain healthy before, during and after the blessed month of Ramadhan, by having a healthy diet and looking after one’s digestive system. In Ramadhan, we will be observing two meals: ‘Suhoor’ (pre-dawn) and ‘Iftar’ (sunset) and it is advised that your meals should contain food from all seven food groups: proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, fibre, minerals and water. In order to understand the importance of eating

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healthily, the physiological mechanism of what happens after when we eat needs to be addressed. “And your Lord inspired to the bee,“Take for yourself among the mountains, houses, and among the trees and (in) that which they construct. Then eat from all the fruits and follow the ways of your Lord laid down (for you). There emerges from their bellies a drink, varying in colours, in which there is healing for people. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought”. [Qur’an, Surah An-Nahl: The Bee 16:68-69]


The Purpose of Digestion

A Journey through the Alimentary Canal

Proteins, fats and complex carbohydrates like starch are big complex and insoluble molecules. Food needs to be absorbed into the blood stream and transported around the body. For this to be possible, the foods need to be simple, small and soluble.

Digestion is a complex process and a number of organs work together to complete the task. The food passes through the alimentary canal, which starts at the mouth and ends up at the anus. The alimentary canal is split into a number of sections, which are adapted for a particular part of the digestive process.

Digestion is the process by which the large molecules are broken down into their smaller subunits. This also means that the subunits can be reconstructed in different ways, for example, chicken muscle protein can be broken down and synthesised to produce human muscle protein, or connective tissue or hair. There are two types of digestion: 1. Mechanical digestion - the teeth mechanically tear and grind food into smaller pieces. 2. Chemical digestion - this is when special chemicals called enzymes chemically breakdown foods into their subunits.


To understand the digestion process we need to follow the food through the alimentary canal and find out what happens to it. We will follow the journey of a ‘chicken sandwich’ as it contains all the macro nutrients, which will need to be digested.

Mouth Food is ingested and chewed. The teeth help to tear and grind the food into small pieces. This increases the surface area for the action of enzymes. The food is mixed with saliva, which is produced by glands called the salivary glands.

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Saliva has a number of functions: 1. The saliva contains mucus, a slimy substance, which moistens the mouth and helps the food to be swallowed. 2. It contains the enzyme amylase, which initiates the digestion of starch into the sugar maltose. As food does not remain in the mouth for very long, only a small amount of starch is digested here. 3. It also has anti-bacterial compounds such as hydrogen peroxide, thiocyanate and Secretory Immunoglobulin A, which protects the mouth from bacteria and bad breath. 4. It also contains proteins and minerals that aid in protecting the enamel of the tooth and prevent tooth decay. There is not a normal reference range of the amount of saliva as the quantity varies from person to person. However, it is important to state that regardless of the amount produced during the day. The least amount of saliva is at night. Moreover, having little saliva causes the mouth to dry and this is called xerostomia. This is normally due to medications and also certain diseases. The tongue assists by pushing the food to the soft palate (back of the mouth).The food is formed into an oval shape called a bolus. A reflex action causes the food to be swallowed and enters the oesophagus.

Oesophagus This muscular tube pushes the food to the stomach by way of rhythmic contractions. There are two sets of muscles in the oesophagus: 1. Circular muscles - these make the oesophagus narrower. 2. Longitudinal muscles - these make the oesophagus wider. The muscles work in conjunction with each other to force the food down the oesophagus and into the stomach. The circular muscle just behind the bolus contracts and pushes the bolus forward. The longitudinal muscle located in front of the bolus contracts making the oesophagus wider for the bolus to move into. When the bolus is moved forward the circular muscle just behind the bolus, which contracts, whilst the longitudinal muscle relaxes. This continues in a rhythmic wave. This is how the food is able to move along the alimentary canal. It is called peristalsis

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Stomach When the food reaches the stomach, gastric juice is released from the stomach lining. Gastric juice contains two substances: Pepsin - an enzyme which breaks proteins down into shorter chains called polypeptides. Hydrochloric acid - needed to help pepsin work and also helps to kill any ingested bacteria. The stomach has two rings of muscles at the top and bottom, called sphincter muscles, which prevents the food from leaving the stomach, whilst it is being churned around. After a few hours, the food is now a mushy liquid called chyme. It is then allowed to continue on its journey a bit at a time.

Duodenum, Liver, Gall Bladder and Pancreas When food enters the duodenum (the first 30cm of the small intestine) a number of secretions are added to it; digestive enzymes from the wall of the duodenum and from the pancreas are added. There are a number of enzymes here, which will complete the digestive process.

Digestive enzymes of the small intestine



Food Type Digested








Protease (e.g., trypsin)


Amino Acids


Fatty and Oils

Fatty Acids and Glycerol

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Another substance is added from the gall bladder; bile, made in the liver and stored in the gall bladder, contains no digestive enzymes. It contains bile salts (breakdown products of dead red blood cells), which play a vital role in the digestion of fat. Bile salts hydrolyses large fat drops into tiny droplets, which can mix better with water to create an emulsion. This makes it easier for lipase to digest the chemicals as it increases the surface area of the fat. The pancreatic secretions contain hydrogen carbonate ions to neutralise the stomach acid. The enzymes of the small intestine work best in a slightly alkaline environment. An alkali has a pH above 7. pH is the measurement of how acidic or alkaline the water is. It ranges from 0 - 14, whereby an acid is from 1- 6, 7 is neutral and an alkali is from 8 - 14. The diet has an impact on the pH of the blood, whereby some food contains high acidic levels, whereas others contain more alkaline. Consuming food that has a high alkaline content such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains as well as eating less acidic food improves health.

Ileum As the food is digested, the products are absorbed into the blood. This takes place in the ileum before moving into the large intestine. This is a long and narrow tube and is the last part of the small intestine. Absorption is the ability to travel through the walls of the small intestines and into the blood stream, to go where they are needed. For instance, glucose is needed to provide cells energy. Substances that are able to pass through are termed ‘soluble’, whereas those that cannot are termed ‘insoluble’. Only small, soluble substances can pass through. However, large, insoluble substances are unable to pass through the wall. The ileum is adapted for absorption as it is folded, which increases the surface area. The surface is covered with tiny (about 1mm long) finger-like projections called villi. The cells on the surface of the villi have tiny finger-like projections on their cell membrane called micro-villi. Villi has a blood capillary network and its function is to remove absorbed food molecules. The intestinal wall is also thin. Without these adaptations; digested food may not be absorbed before it is egested through the anus.

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Colon By the time the food reaches the large intestine, all the nutrients have been absorbed. What remains is indigestible fibre, bile salts and water. The water is absorbed here. The remaining substances, termed faeces are passed along to the rectum before passing out through the anus.

After Digestion When the food is absorbed into the blood stream, it flows via the hepatic portal vein to the liver before being allowed to pass on to the rest of the body. There are a number of reasons for this as the liver performs a great many number of functions. The liver detoxifies poisonous chemicals making them safe before being allowed into general circulation. This helps to protect the body from harmful chemicals, which may have been digested. The liver is a storage organ for many food chemicals such as vitamins, minerals and glucose. The liver can take out excess food chemicals the body does not require and store them until they are needed.

How is Excess Water Removed? This can be excreted as sweat and as urine. Urine is produced and removed via the renal system that removes wastes. Each individual has two kidneys that consist of a cortex, medulla and pelvis. The cortex is the outermost layer of the kidney, whereas the medulla is the innermost layer of the kidney. The blood reaches the kidneys via a blood vessel called renal artery, the artery is further split into smaller vessels called afferent arterioles that are connected to the Bowman’s capsules. The Bowman’s capsule consists of units called nephrons, where wastes are removed from the blood via a process called filtration. In addition to this, peritubular capillaries surround the nephrons, so substances can be exchanged from and to the blood. The pelvis removes blood from the kidney via the ureter. After the ureter, it enters the bladder. When the bladder is filled, it is excreted via the urethra and out of the body. If you require any health advice, please email Hafsa Waseela at ilmamag@thedawahproject. com

Supplication for Healing Sickness “Allahumma Rabban-nasi, adhhibil-ba’sa, washfi, Antash-Shafi, lashifa’a illa shifa’uka, shifaan la yughadiru saqaman”. Translation: O Allah! The Lord of mankind! Remove this disease and cure him or her! You are the Great Curer. There is no cure but through You, which leaves behind no disease. [Sahih Al-Bukhari; Sahih Muslim]


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D u’ a for one w hos e Affa ir s ha v e be c ome Diffic ult

Arabic Transliteration: Allaahumma laa sahla illaa maa ja’altahu sahlan, wa anta tajal-ul-hazna idhaa shi’ta sahlan”. Translation: O Allah, there is no ease except in that which You have made easy, and You make the difficulty, if You wish, easy.

By Hafsa Waseela

Eat lots of food that contains fibre Rich food in fibre aids in digestion and prevents constipation. The recommended dietary intake is 30g daily. Examples of food that contain lots of fibres are fruits, vegetables, wholemeal bread, brown rice, oats and beans. Some individuals end up feeling bloated after having cereals and grains. If you experience this, it is advised that you consume fruits and vegetables instead. Moreover, do not only eat food with fibre, try to have a balanced diet as Allah, The Most High, states: “And the Heaven He raised and imposed the balance. That you not transgress within the balance. And establish weight in justice and do not make deficient the balance…” [Qur’an, Surah Ar-Rahman: The Beneficent, 55:7–9]

Drink lots of fluids especially water after every meal Why you ask? Well, it aids in allowing the wastes to pass through your digestive system! It also aids in softening your stools. Despite this fibre aids in digestion; it requires fluid to help fulfil


its role. Do not intake drinks that have caffeine, such as coffee and coca cola, as these drinks can cause a build-up of acid in your stomach, which can cause heartburn! If you do not like water then why not try skimmed milk and herbal tea?

Avoid eating food with high cholesterol In other words, greasy food such as chips, burgers, pizzas and in general, fried food! The reason being is because it is harder to digest and can cause pain in the stomach as well as give you heartburn. Grilled food, lean meat and fish are a great alternative.

Chilly food depends on you I am a fan of spicy food, but looking after your health outweighs one’s desire! If after taking spicy food, you have pains in the stomach, heartburn or diarrhoea then what is the point of consuming spicy food? If you have irritable bowel syndrome, then avoid it completely!

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Avoid acidic food Foods that contain acids, such as oranges, lemons, limes, tomatoes, salad dressings can trigger heartburn! Therefore, it is best to have it in proportion as despite they contain acids, citrus fruits such as, oranges, vegetables and tomatoes have vitamin C. Vitamin C is vital for growth and development. In addition, tomatoes have vitamin A and E, which is needed for good vision, aids the immune system to fight infections and keeps the skin healthy.

Probiotics There are good bacteria and bad bacteria. In this case, probiotics consists of beneficial bacteria. Examples of good bacteria include lactobacillus. They are created to produce lactic acid

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in the gut. This in turn aids the digestive system, protects the body from disease, lowers the chances of allergies and aids in irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotics can be found in yoghurts and can also be purchased as supplements from health shops, such as Hollands and Barretts, UK’s leading health food shop. Ultimately, the wonders of the human body are beyond describable and health is one of blessings given to us by Allah, The Most High. Therefore, we should show gratitude and not take our health for granted. We must look after ourselves as He entrusted us with it and He will hold us accountable in how well we look after our health! Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Ask Allah for forgiveness and health, for after being granted certainty, one is given nothing better than health�. [Al-Tirmidhi] Ramadhan Mubarak!


The D u’a to s ta r t our fa s t:

Arabic Transliteration: “Wa bisawmi ghadinn nawaiytu min shahri Ramadhan”. Translation: I intend to keep the fast today; in the month of Ramadhan. [ Abu Da wud]


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Malay Ramadhan Bites Karimah Bint Dawoud is a qualified Islamic Nutritionist and author of the Gourmand award winning cook book Heavenly Bites: The Best of Muslim Home cooking. She is also the Director of ‘Feed the Need’ an organisation that feeds the homeless in London, UK. Follow Karimah on Twitter: @1karimah

When Ramadhan’s days are long and the nights are short, eating habits get turned upside down. A piece of toast and a banana are not going to sustain energy throughout an eighteen hour day. A few years ago, Writer and Nutritionist Gillian McKeith carried out a test proving that a high protein breakfast will provide longer lasting energy than a high fat or high starchy carbohydrate breakfast. But too much protein alone can have harmful effects on your kidneys; cause you dehydration leaching of important bone minerals. Consuming protein foods needs to be balanced with complex carbohydrates like fruit, vegetables and whole grains for optimum nutrition.

The health benefits of these natural ingredients are:

If you are looking to maintain your weight during Ramadhan then you can eat ‘sambal’ (hot sauce originating in Indonesia) with whole meal pitta bread or brown rice. If, like me, you are looking to loose weight and detox this Ramadhan, then eat this dish with plenty of veggies and no starchy carbohydrates.


Many cultures eat a dish that start with onion, garlic, chilli and ginger as the basic masala, it is, at this point, that we should remember that ginger and chilli are stimulants and are great if you want to eat at ‘Suhoor’ (pre-dawn meal) and then go to the mosque or stay up after ‘Fajr’ (predawn prayer) and read Qur’an or do some other activities. Malaysian Sambal Masala is different due to the use of the root Galangal, Lemon grass and Tamarind paste.

Ilma Magazine / Issue 19

Galangal It is in the rhizome family like ginger and turmeric. It is high in fibre, iron, vitamin A and C, good for the immune system and is an excellent anti-aging ingredient. It also combats disease of inflammation in the stomach and aids digestion. It is a stimulant like ginger and it is said that this spice increase sperm production in men.

Contains and anti-oxidant called ‘citral’, which combats free radicals. Citral activates an enzyme called ‘glutathione S’, which detoxifies harmful free radicals and helps the body get rid of them. However, pregnant women should not consume lemongrass as it can cause complications during the pregnancy.

Tamarind Combats the heat of the chillies with its sweet sour taste, but its health benefits are that it aids digestion, eases stomach discomfort and reduces constipation, due to its high fibre content. It is also a good source of potassium, which helps regulate water in the body.




© Karimah Bint Dawoud


Egg and Spinach Sambal Preperation Time: 10 mins cooking Time: 20 mins

Main Ingredients (serves two cups of sambal sauce): • • •

• • • •

• • • • •

3 medium onions, red or white 3-7 fresh chillies depending on taste 1-5 fresh garlic cloves depending on taste (cooked garlic not the same as raw) 1 stalk lemongrass (use only the pale green bulb at the end of the stalk) 2 teaspoons of chilli powder 3-5cm pieces of fresh turmeric or 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder 3-5cm pieces of galangal and/or pieces of ginger 1 tablespoon/ 30ml of olive oil or 15ml of olive oil and 15ml sesame seed oil 2 tablespoons of tamarind paste or 4 tablespoons of tamarind juice or alternatively have 3 large dates, 1 tablespoon of pomegranate syrup and/ or apple cider vinegar 3 beefsteak tomatoes or 1 can of tomato passata 1 tea spoon of sea salt Fish sauce (optional) 4-8 hard-boiled eggs 1 cup of washed chopped fresh spinach per person or 3-5 blocks of frozen spinach

Ilma Magazine / Issue 19

Method: 1. Boil the eggs for a few hours before and leave to go cold, and then take off the shells, which can be put in compost for recycling. 2. In a medium wok cooking pan, add 5ml of oil and lightly shallow fry the eggs for absorption or prick around eggs with tooth pick so that the sauce can penetrate the eggs. 3. Remove the eggs from the pan and leave to rest on kitchen roll. 4. In a jug blender, place chopped onions, galangal, ginger, chilli, garlic, turmeric, tamarind paste, lemongrass, sea salt and a little apple cidar vinegar to help blend. 5. Blend into smooth paste. This is the base of your sambal sauce. 6. Add oil to pan and on medium heat add the sambal paste, stir fry for 1 minute and then add the tomatoes. 7. Stir fry for 5 minutes. 8. If the sauce in the pan is too much for the person to eat, you can remove a portion of the sauce and store in a glass jar and place it in the fridge for a week, at maximum. Please remember to keep the sauce in a glass to absorb excess heat from the sauce and stop the glass jar from cracking. 9. Add the hard boiled eggs. You may need to add a little of boiling water to bring the sauce to the boil quickly, then turn it down to low heat and cover with lid. 10. Meanwhile, wash and drain the spinach and then chop them. 11. Add the spinach to the egg sambal sauce, cover the cooking pot with lid and steam for 5 minutes on low heat. 12. It is ready to serve with salad, fresh lemon, whole meal bread or brown rice.





Vegetable and Seafood Laksa Soup Preperation Time: 10 mins cooking Time: 20 mins

Main Ingredients (serves four bowls):


• • • • • • • • • • •

1. In a food processor, add the garlic, onions, ginger and chilli; process until a smooth paste forms. Add a little rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar if needed. 2. Place a large saucepan over high heat. Add the oil, chilli paste and blend. Fry for 1 minute before adding the Laksa paste. 3. Add the Laksa paste and fry for 2-3 minutes until fragrant, then add the stock and bring to the boil. 4. Add the coconut cream and reduce heat to very low and simmer slowly. 5. Add the honey and stir. 6. Season with fish sauce, salt and lime juice to taste. 7. Add washed chopped mushroom, carrots and spinach leaves. 8. To prepare and re-hydrate the noodles, in another large saucepan of boiling water add the rice noodles and egg noodles, separately, for 2 minutes then transfer to a colander and rinse with cold water. 9. Add the noodles to the soup and stir gently 10. Turn up the heat to medium and add shelled prawns, fish balls, tofu and cook for 3 minutes. 11. To serve, divide the noodles, vegetables and prawns among bowls. Ladle the broth over the top and if you have time and availability, garnish with bean sprouts, spring onions, chilli, coriander, fried shallots and lime wedges. 12. Leave the piping hot soup to stand a while before savoring the exotic flavors of the East.

• • • • • • • •

6-7 garlic cloves, chopped 3 onions 5-6 cm piece ginger, chopped 1-3 red chillies chopped or to taste Rice vinegar or apple cider (optional) 1½ tablespoons or 50ml of olive oil 12 large green prawns, shells removed 1 cup of washed and quartered mushrooms 1 cup of washed, peeled, slice carrots 2-4 cups of fresh spinach 1-3 tablespoon or 30-90ml of Laksa paste (may contain cashews and so not suitable for milk allergy sufferers) 6 cups or 1.5l of veggie/chicken stock or water 400ml of coconut cream 1 teaspoon honey 12 fish balls (or use other sea food, like mussel and squid) 12 small sliced and fried tofu puffs (optional) Fish sauce to taste (optional) 1 teaspoon of sea salt 3 cups or 750 g cooked rice vermicelli noodles and/or egg noodles

Additional Garnishes Just before serving you can add the following: • • • • • •

Bean sprouts Finely sliced fresh spring onion Finely sliced fresh red chilli Fresh coriander leaves Fried shallots Lime wedges

Ilma Magazine / Issue 19


The D u’a to Br e a k our F a s t:

Arabic Transliteration: “Allahumma Inni laka sumtu wa bika amantu wa alayka tawakalto wa ‘ala rizqika aftartu”. Translation: O Allah! I fasted for You and I believe in You (and I put my trust in You) and I break my fast with Your sustenance. [ Abu Da wud]

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Ilma Magazine / Issue 19

Images of toothpick-sized women bathed in makeup cover her white walls. Her mirrors covered in lipstick stained messages to herself; there to serve as reminders for all that is wrong with her.

You see,

She wants nicer lips to better suit her face, she wants eyes that will conjure lust never love and the kind of breasts not constructed for breastfeeding. Her skin, two shades lighter than light and so light that she looks likes she’d been skinned as no more skin is left on her body.   She wants that minus nothing figure so she sticks to eating pigeon portions of salads but hold the dressings because attention is all she is craving.  They say big girls don’t cry but her insides are weeping, screaming. Her body stands there bare it’s their eyes she is feeding and she has no time for happiness she is too busy impressing NO ONE. This same body a canvas for surgeon’s and a jungle gym for lustful men, yet still not a home for her soul.  She doesn’t know beauty runs deep because all she hears is “if you got it flaunt it” but what if you don’t. So she cuts away at herself trying to perfect the unattainable but perfection lives in the mind and beauty should only be measured by what’s on the inside. Your appearance will not limit your success, as success isn’t measured by the number of heart shaped likes you get, this isn’t some contest.

It’s life.

Life is to love yourself so much that you don’t need those  Images of toothpick sized women bathed in makeup to cover your white walls. Life is to laugh so hard at the funny quotes that have replaced those self-hate lipstick stained messages on your mirrors. Life is to be lived and I know you know you’re beautiful even if you can’t say it, so this is me saying it for you.

© Naima Elmi 2016 Naima Elmi is a publishing graduate, who has been writing poetry since the age of 16. She is currently working on launching an online e-magazine, which aims to discuss taboo topics within our communities. Her magazine is called Candid Rose and can be found on social media @candidrosemag. Follow Naima on Twitter and Instagram @MrsNMElmi

Ilma Magazine / Issue 19


The D u’ a to Brea k the F a s t in Some one ’s Home :

Arabic Transliteration: “Aftara ‘indakumus saa’imuna, wa akala ta’aamakumul-abraaru, wasallat ‘alaikumul mala’ikat”. Translation: May those who are fasting break their fast in your home, and may the dutiful and pious, eat your food and may the angels send prayers upon you. [A bu D aw ud, 3:367; Ibn Ma ja h, 1:556]

By Anum Babar Anum Babar has a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Politics, and is currently studying Islamic Scholarship at the prestigious Al-Salam Institute in London. She brings inspirational knowledge into her writing.

“Islam is rooted in the idea that knowledge is the most potent force on earth. The more one knows, the closer one gets to the One who knows all. The Prophet, God bless and grant him peace, loved knowledge, and it is the only prayer the Qur’an commands him to supplicate (for increase): “Say: “O my Lord! Advance me in knowledge”. Hamza Yusuf, American Islamic Scholar

Ilma Magazine / Issue 19


The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an For School Children

By Yahiya Emerick, Create Space Publishers (2010)

The Holy Qur’an is the speech of Allah; it is guidance and the ultimate truth gifted upon mankind. In the recent times, a deeper study of the Holy Qur’an is becoming widespread even to the youngest of generations. For the first time ever, Yahiya Emerick published a translation of the Holy Qur’an in a child friendly manner. It is written in English, using clear subtitles and pictures throughout each ‘Surah’ (chapter) to support the child when reading the book independently. This pedagogy encourages independent thinking by attempting to explain the revelation and translation of each Surah in a structured and concise manner. By briefly touching upon the historical context and highlighting key themes, it allows the child to develop their thinking of each revelation holistically. Although, it is geared towards the younger generation from age 8 and above, it is useful for anyone and at any age, who wish to approach the study of ‘Tafsir’ (exegesis) before indulging into more complex exegeses or translations. Emerick touches upon key lessons in the Holy Qur’an and translates pertinent ‘Ayat’ (verses) from the start to end. Teachers and parents could also use this book as a guideline, going through each Surah helping to engage the child in the study of the Holy Qur’an. Available to purchase at Islamic bookshops and Amazon.


Ilma Magazine / Issue 19

Arabic through the Qur’an

By Alan Jones, Cambridge: British Library (2006)

Alan Jones is a professor of Classical Arabic at the prestigious University of Oxford. He has translated the Holy Qur’an and has also authored numerous works on Arabic literature. Arabic through the Qur’an explores the Arabic language referring to core grammar rules, and filtered the Arabic language to solely relate to the Holy Qur’an. This book is recommended for students at foundation to advance level who wishes to learn Arabic grammar specially, for the purpose of religious and spiritual means. Learning Arabic could be daunting at first, especially when the language is the key to opening all the doors to traditional Islamic texts. This book is different to other Arabic learning books because it includes a series of examples extracted from the Holy Qur’an, to memorise and study from; this is extremely beneficial for those who are learning Arabic to purely understand the speech of Allah. At the end of the book the exercises have all been translated into English, which is useful for those who wish to check if their translation is correct. Jones also highlights the limitations of what is covered; allowing the reader to understand that the grammar rule is not confined to what he has included, but in fact requires further study. Available to purchase at Islamic bookshops and Amazon.

Ilma Magazine / Issue 19


“Do not look to the sins of people as if you are Lords, but look to your own sins as if you are slaves. Have mercy on the people of affliction and praise Allah for your well-being, and never say, ‘This person is from the people of Hellfire, and this person is from the people of Paradise’. Do not be arrogant over the sinners, but rather ask Allah to grant them hidayah (guidance)”. [ Ima m Ma lik ]

Islam Channel Urdu L AU N C H E D 4 T H J U N E 2 015 L I V E O N S K Y 8 51 Broadcasting from the heart of London, Islam Channel provides alternative news, current affairs and entertainment programming from an Islamic perspective. Ethical Media Group, the parent company of Islam Channel, is now launching Islam Channel Urdu. Islam Channel Urdu’s key target audience are the Urdu speaking viewers of the UK as well as those in Pakistan. The main objective of Islam Channel Urdu is to promote religion from a critical thinking angle and to address current issues faced by the community so that viewers can benefit from programmes that are not only interactive but also meaningful.

Upcoming Programmes


Broadcasting from the heart of London, Islam Channel provides alternative news, current affairs, entertainment and religious programming from an Islamic perspective.

This Ramadhan 2016/1437, watch Islam Channel

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Available on Sky 806; HOTBIRD 8; Astra 2A/2B/2D; DSTV Africa and Freesat 693 and Freeview 244 via VisionTV 98

Ilma Magazine / Issue 19

Religious Programmes Showing June - July 2016 Sponsored by The Dawah Project Subscribers

ramadhan bites The flagship show for Ramadhan returns! Featuring powerful reminders, stories of the Prophets and beautiful Qur’an recitation. There’s something here for all the family!

Telecasts (BST): Everyday

wonders of the qur’an Recitation from acclaimed Qaris, gems from the lectures of Nouman Ali Khan and invaluable lessons from Dr. Ahsan Hanif provide a wonderful insight into the Book of Allah.

Telecasts (BST): Everyday

Recite Our flagship Tajweed show will be live everyday in Ramadhan, to coincide with the virtues of the holy month. Tune in and perfect your recitation!

Telecasts (BST): Everyday

Fiqh of Ramadhan Sheikh Saamir Darweesh explores the spiritual and ritual obligations of the holy month, helping us make use of this special period of the year.

Telecasts (BST): Everyday

Ilma Magazine / Issue 19


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Ilma Magazine / Issue 19

“Allah, The Most High, will say on the day of Judgement: Where are those who loved each other for my sake? I will shade them today, when there is no shade but mine!� [Ha dith Quds i, 60]

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