Ilma Magazine | September/October 2016 | Issue 21 | Muharram Edition

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Live, Learn & Inspire Sept/Oct 2016 | Issue 21 | Muharram Edition

How to be a Green Muslim

Ashura: The Victory of Musa

The Dawah Project Management Chairman: Mohamed Ali Harrath Project Manager: Yahya Currie

Editorial Team Managing Editor: Anjuma Choudhury Content and Copy Editors: Aseel Saif and Ayesha Ashiq Religious Content Editors: Raiyyan Clementson Creative and Visual Director: Muhammad Abdulmateen Writers: Aseel Saif, Anum Babar, Yeota Imam-Rashid, Shahina Khatun, Hafsa Waseela, Elena Nikolova, Liz Leonard, and Manija Omar Researchers: Zohaib Asem Contributors: Hanan Khalek Special thanks to our readers, supporters and Islam Channel. For more information about advertising, marketing, sponsorship and writing for Ilma, 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 Number - 06864168 Registered Charity Number - 1133424 the_dawah_project

CONTENTS Editorial: Living Green (Part 2)


Reflection: 08

Animal Rights in Islam By Yeota Imam-Rashid


28 22 10

Yes, I know it is Halal but is it Tayyib...? By Liz Leonard


How to be a Green Muslim By Aseel Saif


Ashura: The Victory of Musa (pbuh) By Anum Babar


Women’s AM Corner

Bosnia: Small Seeds of Hatred By Shahina Khatun



A Traveller’s Guide:

The Ancient City of Athens By Elena Nikolova


Food Bites:

Go Greek! By Manija Omar



69 52


Arthritis By Hafsa Waseela

Recommended Reading By Anum Babar

75 Islam Channel Programmes

Religious Programmes showing in October & November 2016

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

Living Green (Part 2)

Assalamu’alaikum Dear Readers, Our religion teaches us to be socially responsible and active citizens of this world. The planet is being destroyed as a result of irresponsible and unjust living and it is the world’s poorest people who are the first to feel the effects of this detrimental way of living. So we continue with the theme “Living Green” and discover practical ways of taking care of our environment, how to treat animals and what it means to live a halal and tayyib way of life. The global environmental challenge will take more than just our money; we need to change our lifestyles by returning to the teachings of Islamic traditions on social action, justice and environmental stewardship. It is about being smart, ethical and truly living green. We need to realise that our actions and individual choices have a huge impact on the lives of people across the world. It is an amanah to protect our environment and fellow human beings. Allah, The Most High tells us: “Indeed, we offered the trust (amanah) to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, and they declined to bear it and feared it; but man (undertook to) bear it. Indeed, he was unjust and ignorant”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Ahzab: The Combined Forces, 33:72] ‘Muharram’ is the first month of the Islamic calendar and is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an to be one of the four sacred months. Many events took place in this month, but there is one event that we remember - ‘The Day of Ashura’. The root of the word ‘Ashura’ has the meaning of tenth [AC1] in Semitic languages; hence the name of the remembrance, literally translated, means “the tenth day”. It is on the tenth day that


Allah, The Most High, gave victory to Prophet Musa (pbuh) and his community; ‘Bani Isra’il’ (The Children of Israel) who were oppressed by the tyrant Fir’awn. It is a remembrance that is honoured by the People of the Book and Muslims alike. We learn in ‘The Victory of Musa’ that sincere trust in Allah (tawakkul) is needed in order to pass any test. Allah, The Most High tells us: “(He) who created death and life to test you (as to) which of you is best in deed”[AC2] . [Qur’an, Surah Al-Mulk: The Sovereignty, 67:2] And may we pass all our tests in this life and the next. Ameen. As we watch, listen and read about refugees who are mainly fleeing from war and persecution; part two of the account on Bosnia reminds us of their brutal war and explores the heart-wrenching stories of the survivors. This beautiful country teaches us a powerful moral and ethical lesson, that ‘small seeds of hatred’ can lead to tragic injustices again men, women, children, nature and even God. We pray that Allah has mercy upon the deceased and their families. We also pray that there will always be a group of us who will stay committed to preventing and ending injustices in any and every possible way. Ameen. The Ilma team would like to extend our greetings to all Muslims on the occasion of the new Islamic year - Muharram. Please send your comments and suggestions to, we would love to hear from you! Jazakumullahu Khairan The Dawah Project Team

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Animal Rights in Islam Yeota Imam-Rashid, Head of Women’s Programming at Islam Channel, reflects on how we need to view animal rights. Follow Yeota on Twitter: @Ye0ta


ne of my all-time favourite movies is a film called Temple Grandin. It tells the story of an extraordinary higher functioning autistic woman; a famed animal husbandry expert who despite all the challenges she faces, becomes an innovator in the field of animal care and a lifelong advocate for humane slaughtering practices. It was this woman’s passion to see through a method she so passionately believed in, in a place like America where she was faced with so many objections to her methods for the cattle industry to ensure humane slaughtering - that left me amazed. Here was a non-Muslim carrying out the work of the Prophet (peace be upon him), trying to uphold the rights of animals which is an integral part of Islam.


Whilst many of us know that an animal that is to be slaughtered must not see the knife which is about to slaughter it and should be approached in a calm and loving manner. How many of us think about this when buying chicken meat from our local ‘halal’ (permissible according to Islamic law) butchers for under £5? How can an animal be reared, fed, watered, transported and then slaughtered for under £5 where the butcher still makes a profit? It does not make sense. Even a box of cereal can cost more. Practises across the world including the Muslim world, show us day in day out, that animal abuse takes place. Not just in the rearing and slaughtering of animals but in many industries outside of the poultry and farming industries. The examples,

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unfortunately, are endless. From the tiger in a Thai amusement park, where tourists can take a photo with this majestic creature but it is chained, made to sit all day long in the heat and prodded with a sharp metal spike for hours on end, so it ‘roars’ in time for the photo to be taken. To the Orca whale, Tilikum that has been trapped in Sea World for the past 43 years in a bath tub sized concrete tank to only come out once a day as a finale to their circus shows with a mega splash. What are we doing to the creatures Allah, He has entrusted us with? Allah, The Most High, has blessed us with what is on this earth, to utilise its fruits, soils and animals for our use. In Surah Al-Hadid, Allah says: “Believe in Allah and His messenger, and spend of that whereof He hath made you trustees; and such of you as believe and spend (aright), theirs

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will be a great reward”. [Qu’ran, Surah Al-Hadid: The Iron, 57:7] This emphasises to us that what we may see as our property to do as we wish must, in fact, be preserved and returned to Allah, in the best possible manner. Let us remember this ‘amanah’ that has been entrusted to us and not abuse it in any way. I want to end with a quote of Temple Grandin’s which I feel summarises this beautifully: “I think using animals for food is an ethical thing to do, but we’ve got to do it right. We’ve got to give those animals a decent life and we’ve got to give them a painless death. We owe the animal respect”. Ameen to that.


“So eat of that (meat) upon which the name of Allah has been mentioned, if you are Believers in His verses”. [Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-An’am: The Cattle, 6:118]


Yes, I is Hal Tayyib

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I know it lal but is it ib...? 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

“Is it halal?” This is something we ask all the time before we eat somewhere new or buy food. And this is good practice. We should be conscientious about whether or not our food is halal; there are many verses in the Holy Qur’an reminding us of this. “So eat of that (meat) upon which the name of Allah has been mentioned, if you are Believers in His verses”. [Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-An’am: The Cattle, 6:118] But is our preoccupation with whether or not our meat is halal causing us to miss out on another equally important factor? Within the Qur’an, Allah guides us towards not just what is halal, but also towards what is tayyib.

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“O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth (that is) lawful (halal) and good (tayyib) and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy”. [Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah: The Cow, 2:168]

So what does ‘tayyib’ mean? Islam is not only concerned with the lawful but also with the good. Unfortunately, many Muslims are unaware of this important principle. Most of us seem to be solely concerned with whether or not an animal was slaughtered the Islamic way. We care less about how the animal was treated before it was slaughtered, what it was given to eat if a worker was given a decent wage and so forth. We care less about being ethical and tayyib. Yet, living a tayyib lifestyle is an Islamic obligation. “O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth (that is) lawful (halal) and good (tayyib) and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy”. [Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah: The Cow, 2:168] Tayyib is derived from a root word taa-ya-ba that literally means to be good, pleasant, agreeable


and lawful. The word ‘tayyib’ itself means to be good, clean, wholesome, gentle, excellent, fair and lawful. From these meanings we get the general meaning for tayyib of anything that is good and pure. So how is this idea of tayyib presented throughout the Holy Qur’an and ‘Sunnah’ (teachings and practices of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him)? At-Tayyib is one of the ninety-nine names of Allah, The Most High. It means ‘the One far removed from every imperfection and deficiency’. Allah, The Most High says in the Qur’an: “The ones whom the angels take in death, (being) tayyibeen, good and pure; (the angels) will say, ‘Peace be upon you. Enter Paradise for what you used to do’ ”. [Qur’an, Surah Nahl: The Bee, 16:32] The Prophet (pbuh) also said: “Indeed Allah is the good, far

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removed from any imperfection, and He only accepts that which is good”. [Sahih Muslim] What do the tayyibeen receive in Paradise? Allah, The Most High, says: “Those who have believed and done righteous deeds – a good state is theirs and a good return”. [Qur’an, Surah Ar-Ra’d: The Thunder, 13:29] Once we understand the theory behind this small but complex and multifaceted word the next step is to implement this into action. But what exactly does that look like in these modern times? The first point to make here is that the word tayyib is much bigger than just what we eat. It is about how we live, the choices we make and the criteria we apply to all our decisions. But let us start with food! In its most basic understanding food that is tayyib should be organic, ethically sourced and grown in season. Nowadays, organic and fair trade products are readily available in all supermarkets, but you can do something better. Why not fence off an area of the garden to grow some of your own fruits and vegetables? And if you do not have garden, allotments are becoming very popular these days. You could share one with a friend or neighbor to do half the workload. By growing your own fruit and vegetables you will know exactly how your food has been produced. This can be a family activity, children will love planting seeds, digging up the mud and watching their crops grow! And what a great learning experience for them! The added benefit of this is that you and your family will develop a new, increased appreciation for the food you eat and the hard work that goes into producing it. Most of us will not have space or expertise to rear our own cows and sheep for meat and milk. But we should be aware of the kind of meat we are buying, we should make more of an effort to buy free range organic meat and dare I say it... we need to move away from our obsession with cheap meat! Yes, like all aspects of our lives our food must be in line with what we can afford, but cheaper meat has little or no benefit to our health, our environment and our economy. Cheap meat will most likely have been

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reared on a very large scale to keep costs down, the animals may have been ill-treated and you will probably never be able to find out what they feed on, let alone how the farm workers employed to raise them were treated. Moreover, the nutritional value of cheaply produced meat is also likely to be poor. Are not our bodies an ‘amanah’, a trust from Allah, The Most High? This means that being mindful of what we put in it is also a form of worship and as such should be taken seriously. Because of financial restrictions, this may mean that we are eating less meat. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. Modern science has proven that eating less meat is actually beneficial to our health. It reduces your risk of cancer, can aid weight loss and help lower cholesterol. Not to mention the fact it is better for the environment. Supply and production of food accounts for 19% of UK greenhouse emissions.

Yes, like all aspects of our lives our food must be in line with what we can afford, but cheaper meat has little or no benefit to our health, our environment and our economy. Cheap meat will most likely have been reared on a very large scale to keep costs down, the animals may have been ill-treated and you will probably never be able to find out what they feed on, let alone how the farm workers employed to raise them were treated. Moreover, the nutritional value of cheaply produced meat is also likely to be poor. Are not our bodies an ‘amanah’, a trust from Allah, The Most High? This means that being mindful of what we put in it is also a form of worship and as such should be taken seriously. Because of financial restrictions, this may mean that we are eating less meat. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. Modern science has proven that eating less meat is actually beneficial to our health. It reduces your risk of cancer, can aid weight loss and help lower cholesterol. Not to mention the fact it is better for the environment. Supply and production of food accounts for 19% of UK greenhouse emissions. How would we cope with eating less meat?! Well, I think we can learn a thing or two from our parents’ or even grandparents’ generation. If we plan ahead and make a conscious effort not to waste unnecessarily, smaller amounts of meat will stretch further. For example, a roast chicken makes a good dinner but do not disregard any meat left on it as this will make a good filling for a chicken pie the next day and the carcass should never be thrown away before it has been used to make a good stock! This stock can be used for broths, soups or risottos and is incredibly nutritious. It is rich in minerals that support the immune system and contains healing compounds such as collagen, glutamine, glycine, and proline. All of which are good for healing the gut lining and reducing intestinal inflammation. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) actually ate meat very rarely, which is a stark contrast to what we see today. Meat has become a daily staple on most people’s dinner tables to the detriment of our health and environment. In Islam, physical and spiritual health is very closely linked. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “No supplication is more pleasing to Allah than a request for good health”. [Al-Tirmidhi] This narration illustrates the importance with which we as Muslims should view our physical well-being. Tayyib encompasses all of these considerations.


Therefore, if we refer back to our earlier explanation of the word tayyib, it is very difficult for cheap meat to fit into this ideology. As Muslims, this is all part of our faith. We can only appreciate the true beauty of Islam when we implement it in a holistic manner. The companions of the Prophet (pbuh) benefitted from Islam in every aspect of their lives, the main difference between then and now is that today we seem to have turned Islam into something that is difficult to understand or practice, rather than something we live. By implementing a few small changes in our lives we all can reap the benefit. We are guardians of the earth and responsible for all that is on it. “And it is He who has made you successors upon the earth and has raised some of you above others in degrees (of rank) that He may try you through what He has given you. Indeed, your Lord is swift in penalty; but indeed, He is Forgiving and Merciful”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-An’am: The Cattle, 6:165]

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“Never does a Muslim plant a tree, but that he earns the reward of charity because what is eaten from it; and likewise what is stolen from it, what the wild beasts eat out of it, what the birds eat out of it, and what people take from it is charity for him�. [Sahih Muslim]

here are more ways than one in ‘going green’ that is, being environmentally friendly. Whilst some Muslims still might not be aware of the importance of this issue, our religion and the current climate teaches us that it is something we have a crucial role to play in. We live in a world where global warming has and is becoming one of the biggest threats in the world; a silent but violent disaster is happening in the background. As Muslims, it is worth reflecting upon the words of the Holy Qur’an, which encourage us to preserve and protect Allah’s creation - ourselves as well as the environment around us. The question here is, how can we achieve or become green productive Muslims? Being environmentally friendly starts with ourselves by having ‘sabr’ (patience) and ‘tawakkul’ (reliance on our Maker) to snap out of the wasteful habits, which occur in our day to day lives. From


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Aseel Saif academically majors in Middle-East politics and is an avid blogger in subjects such as religion, culture and politics. Her Palestinian roots form the foundations of her passion for writing and expressing herself to the world. Visit her personal blog:

here, extend this to our homes, and further, to various public spaces we use.

Conserving water and electricity The first point of action is to identify where these wasteful habits occur and the most common example to identify is water. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a great advocate of being green and taking care of planet earth in every possible opportunity. He understood the importance of conserving water and even in the most difficult situations. It was narrated by Ibn Majah (may Allah have mercy upon him) that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) happened to pass by a companion, Sa’d (may

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Allah be pleased with him), as he was performing ‘wudhu’ (ablution) next to a river. At this, the Prophet (pbuh) asked: “Sa’d what is this squandering?” Sa’d replied: “Can there be an idea of squandering (israf) in ablution?” The Prophet said: “Yes, even if you are by the side of a flowing river”. How can we implement this now? Simple steps can be taken in your day to day activities: 1. Turn the water off whilst you brush your teeth. 2. When you are carrying out your daily wudhu, try not to create a swimming pool around you. 3. Turn your dishwasher on when it is fully loaded. 4. Take a shower as opposed to a bath. 5. Turn off the lights as you leave a room you are not using. 6. Shutdown your computer rather than putting it on sleep mode.


Recycle and mend To recycle may seem tedious and to mend what is damaged may seem less essential when the means to replace is there; this is in fact a practise that the Prophet (pbuh) used to engage in often. When asked about how the Prophet (pbuh) used to live in his house, his wife A’ishah bint Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with her), said that he used to repair his own shoes, sew his clothes and carry out all such household chores done without complaint or want for more. [Authenticated by Al-Albani] Subhan’Allah (Glory be to Allah) – our teacher and leader provided the example of modesty and humility. I understand this may be one of the most difficult things for a person to do, especially for those who live for fashion and such. However, a Muslim should never assume that happiness is acquired through materialistic things in this world. This is not an easy lifestyle change but starting small, such as recycling your clothes or learning to keep them for as long as possible, is a good start. This concept, which was introduced by the Prophet (pbuh), is easy to adapt into the 21st century. We can start by donating clothes we have not worn for more than a year; or even share clothes with our siblings (however hard that may be). Therefore, it is important to understand that being green is not just about helping the environment by feeding the plants and planting trees, it is also reducing this ever increasing reliance on buying ‘things’. It is a vicious circle; to produce these items of clothing; factories are established, which actually release harmful emissions that destroy the earth. Reducing this demand will decrease the supply, thus reduce the total emissions. Simple recycling tips: 1. Recycle clothing by donating your clothes to charity or share your clothes with family and friends.


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2. Do not throw everything in the dustbin; make use of recycling bins – try to organise categorically, i.e. plastic glass and the like in one and the rest in another. Many county councils in the UK provide local residents with various dustbins but if yours does not, it is worth visiting your local recycling centre every now and then.

Food consumption Due to the sheer variety of food in today’s society, we tend to or very often like to ‘overeat’, when in fact in Islam this is incorrect and such actions are also damaging to us in the medical sphere, destroying the ecosystem in our bodies. Overeating leads to obesity and diseases, such as diabetes and heart problems. As Muslims, we are taught to take care of Allah’s creation, including our bodies. Our bodies have been given to us as an ‘amanah’ (trust) from Allah and therefore we should treat it as a loan that must be returned as it was given. Abdullah Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him), reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “The Believer is not he who eats his fill while his neighbour is hungry”. [Sahih Al-Albani] You may not live in an area where your neighbour is actually starving but you are probably guaranteed to walk past or hear about someone who has no food and shelter. If this is the case, let this be a constant reminder in your head for the next time you overcook, over-eat or throw away perfectly good food. Let it be one of the things that pushes you to become efficient and also encourages you to go out or donate to those who need it the most. Being green is a way of life. It is the way we change our wasteful habits to become more productive. Every human being is connected with one another and every action we engage in is reflected directly onto this earth, and thus it is our duty to make sure we make the right decisions. Conserving energy by using water and electricity smartly is a simple but effective solution. Instead of using your tablet or phone to read the Holy Qur’an, actually read it from the beautiful Holy

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book itself. For example, when it comes to food, eating less will always be more. You will not only save money, you will also be saving your health. Lastly, sharing or donating to charity will not only bring a smile to another but also guide you to lead a more humble and modest life, just like the one our beloved Prophet (pbuh) lived.

Walk, public transport or car? If the opportunity presents itself, walking will always be your best option. You are improving your health by exercising and also the environment, not burning any fuels and not giving off any harmful emissions into the air. Whenever you can, it is always worth walking to your destination and if you have children encourage your children to do the same. Living green is not an individual’s campaign; it can be a family affair. Walk to your mosque or if it is far, one could arrange a car share with friends or others attending the mosque. However, it was narrated by Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “Shall I not tell you something by means of which Allah erases sins and raises people in status?” They said: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah”. He said: “Doing wudhu properly at times when it is difficult to do so, taking many steps to the mosque, and waiting for prayer after prayer. That is constant readiness”. [Sahih Muslim] Reducing the amount of cars on the road will not only reduce emissions but also accidents. Public transport is also a good alternative to using your car, in some cases it can save you a lot of money and hassle. Being green is an opportunity to gain a great deal of good deeds and become a more productive Muslim. May Allah, The Most High, always guide us to where there is ‘khair’ (good) and may He strengthen our ‘imaan’ (faith) to appreciate this beautiful gift of life He has bestowed upon us. Ameen.


Who are we? We live in a world that is diverse, dynamic and globalised. Whilst technology develops, The Dawah Project embraces these innovations and spreads Dawah globally. We utilise Television, Radio and Digital Media promoting a better understanding of Islam and the Muslim way of life. We endeavour to provide comprehensive Islamic knowledge for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.


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Islam Channel - Religious Programmes Islam Channel is an English speaking channel, free to air and is broadcasting in over 136 countries across Europe, Africa 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. Viewer’s favourite programmes, such as IslamiQA, Recite, Soul Search, Live Hajj Broadcast, Live Arafah Day, and Footsteps of Ibrahim are all sponsored by our generous subscribers. Islam Channel is available on Sky 806, Freeview 244 via VisionTV and can be watched online at:

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. The Radio Campaign was launched in 2011 and we are currently working in Africa, where

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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, Somaliland, 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. The 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.

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 a bi-monthly e-magazine called Ilma Magazine, which is available on one of the fastest growing digital publishing platforms in the world - Issuu. You can also download the Ilma Magazine app for free on the App Store and Google Play. Ilma Magazine provides reflective writings from an Islamic perspective on various aspects of life and attracts a diverse range of readers from all over the world.



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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.


he story of Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) is one that touches the hearts of millions of people across the world, who practice one of the three Abrahamic religions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam. His life represents the struggle against idolatry and the battle against oppression - both of these trials encapsulated Fir’awn (Pharaoh), known to be the evilest human being of all time. Not only did he oppress the ‘Bani Isra’il’ (Children of Israel), he also claimed divinity for himself - an open opponent towards Allah, The Mighty and Exalted. “(Pharaoh) said, ‘If you take a god other than me, I will surely place you among those imprisoned’”. [Qur’an, Surah AshShu’ara: The Poets, 26:29] The day Musa (pbuh) defeated Fir’awn, a fast was dedicated in honour of Allah, The Most High, for which He gifted the Children of Israel a mighty victory; The Day of Ashura. Muslims across the world fast on either the 9th and the 10th or the 10th and the 11th of Muharram in order to differ from the Jewish community, who fast on the tenth alone. The significance of fasting on these days can be understood once the brief story of Musa (pbuh) has been narrated.

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The Story of Prophet Musa (pbuh) Musa (pbuh) was born in the land of Egypt during the reign of Fir’awn, a treacherous man who ruled an oppressive regime. However, Allah chose Musa (pbuh) who grew up to be a brave and courageous man, to take a stand against the oppressive tyrant. One of his qualities was that despite his deep courage and bold strength, he still held characteristics of being extremely shy and humble towards those around him. He was a gallant figure whose life was blessed by the protection of Allah, The Most High. However, the same could not be said about Fir’awn, on the contrary, although he proclaimed the title of ‘Almighty God’, he felt unsettled upon hearing the news of his future. It all began when he saw a disturbing dream that led him to request for an interpretation. He was told by a dream interpreter, a lady whom he trusted and employed, that he would be defeated by a child from Bani Isra’il who is yet to enter this world. Unfortunately, they were not treated very well; they were pushed to the bottom of the rank in Egyptian society as Fir’awn and his people loathed them. What was surprising was that Musa (pbuh) the very Israelite Fir’awn had been beware of in his dream, was now being adopted by himself and his wife Asiya (may Allah be pleased with her), not knowing who the boy would become. In fact, after his dream, Fir’awn ordered the death of every male child belonging to Bani Isra’il, hoping that this would avert his fate. Thereon, Bani Isra’il became fearful for the death of their community, leaving Musa’s (pbuh) mother in worry and confusion. “And We inspired to the mother of Moses, ‘Suckle him; but when you fear for him, cast him into the river and do not fear and do not grieve. Indeed, We will return him to you and will make him (one) of the messengers’”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Qasas: The Stories, 28:7] It was under this influence that Musa’s (pbuh) mother had the courage to place her baby into the river and let him go. This is how the story began, but it certainly did not end this way. “And the heart of Musa’s mother became empty (of all else). She was about to disclose (the matter concerning) him had We not bound fast her heart that she would be of the Believers”. [Qur’an, Al-Qasas: The Stories, 28:10]


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one point of his journey Prophet Musa (pbuh) was trapped by the heavy waters of the Red Sea preventing him from moving forward, whilst Fir’awn and his army were directly behind him. “And when the two companies saw one another, the companions of Moses said, ‘Indeed, we are to be overtaken!’ (Moses) said, ‘No! Indeed, with me is my Lord; He will guide me’”. [Qur’an, Ash-Shu’ara: The Poets 26:61-62] Prophet Musa (pbuh) responded to his enemies by having ‘yakeen’ (certainty) in Allah’s plan and this is what propelled him to enter the Red Sea. Upon approaching it, remarkably the deep waters raised above them high into the sky, overarching the people of Israel. Due to his ignorance, Fir’awn believed that the waters will continue to stagnate in the sky and instructed his army to cross, however, by the will of Allah; the water collapsed upon him and drowned his entire army. “And We took the Children of Israel across the sea, and Pharaoh and his soldiers pursued them in tyranny and enmity until, when drowning overtook him, he said, ‘I believe that there is no deity except that in whom the Children of Israel believe, and I am of the Muslims’”. [Qur’an, Surah Yunus: Prophet Jonah 10:90] Fir’awn, at this point, had acknowledged his imminent death and helplessness, so he claimed his allegiance to Allah, The Most High. However, his proclamation was too late, after all, his crime was the worst of all, as he dared to exalt himself above Allah, The Most High. Fir’awn had picked up Musa (pbuh) from the river, whereby his wife Asiya (may Allah be pleased with her) convinced Fir’awn to adopt him stating that he will be a comfort to the eye for both of them. By the will of Allah, Musa’s (pbuh) mother had also landed herself a position within the very palace reuniting with her son, as she was the only one who could wet-nurse her crying child. Although Musa’s mother felt intense grief at the moment, she had no choice but to let him go, however, Allah kept His promise by returning him to her not long after the farewell. “And We had prevented from him (all) wet nurses before, so she said, ‘Shall I direct you to a household that will be responsible for him for you while they are to him (for his upbringing) sincere?’” [Qur’an, Surah Al-Qasas: The Stories, 28:12] One of the many lessons which can be drawn from the life of Prophet Musa (pbuh) is his ‘tawakkul’ - his trust in Allah. His tawakkul gave him courage, no matter how distant his victory seemed to be, and no matter how difficult the situation was. In fact, at

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The Day of Ashura The aid of Allah, The Most Gracious, is always near and this was clearly demonstrated in the life of Prophet Musa (pbuh). Throughout his prophetic mission, Allah had always provided help whenever needed and the day Prophet Musa (pbuh) became victorious, out of sheer appreciation and thanks to Allah, he kept a fast. The month of Muharram holds many virtues and opportunities for Muslims to become closer to Allah, The Most Merciful. Linguistically ‘Muharram’ originates from the word ‘Haraam’ meaning ‘forbidden’ in Arabic. It is the first month of the Islamic calendar, which differs from the Gregorian calendar. This day was not only a victory for Muslims, but also for the People of the Book who also commemorate this victory with a fast. However, in order to differ from their traditions, it was suggested by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) for Muslims to fast consecutively, either a day before or a day after the Day of Ashura. Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) fasted on the Day of Ashura and commanded that it should be observed as a fast, they (his companions) said to him: ‘Messenger of Allah, it is a day which the Jews and Christians hold in high esteem’. Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: ‘When the next year comes, Allah willing, we will observe the fast on the 9th. But the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) died before the advent of the next year’”. [Sahih Muslim]


It is important to highlight that fasting on the Day of Ashura is not a ‘fardh’ (obligatory) act, therefore for those who opt out of keeping this fast do not fall into sin. Although, it is highly recommended as it is an act which carries great blessings. Abdullah Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said that: “The Arabs of pre-Islamic days observed the fast on the Day of Ashura and the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) observed it and so did the Muslims. This was before fasting during Ramadhan became obligatory. When fasting during Ramadhan became obligatory, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: ‘Ashura is one of the Days of Allah, so he who wishes should observe the fast and he who wishes otherwise should abandon it’”. [Sahih Muslim] Abu Qatada Al-Ansari (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “Fasting on the Day of Ashura, I expect from Allah the removal of the sins of the previous year”. [Sahih Muslim] To draw closer to Allah, The Most High, especially when faced with a trial, we should look for sincerity within our hearts. This was evident for the people around Prophet Musa (pbuh), where at many times the future was unclear, but their sincerity remained. For those who are facing trials, or are afflicted with pain, a beautiful lesson we can take away from this story is that Allah is with those who firmly believe in Him and His plan transcends any other beyond this universe. Oh Allah, fill our hearts with sincerity for You and never allow us to waver in our faith and good deeds, and when we do, remind us with Your mercy, ya Rahman, ya Rahim.

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“But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah: The Cow, 2:216]

Women’s AM Corner

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 a 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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he stench shook me. Walking into a room surrounded by the remains of those killed in the genocide that the world turned its back on, felt surreal and overwhelming. It took a few seconds to dawn on me exactly where I was. When my colleague Liz and I embarked on what we believed would be an amazing and memorable journey to Bosnia to film for our documentary, little did we realise the impact our experience would have on us. We had meetings, planned the itinerary for a trip, organised by the charity ‘Remembering Srebrenica’ who work to raise awareness about the war and its lasting impact on the Bosnian people. We have researched and read about the war. However, to be amongst people who have actually been through what can only be described as a living nightmare, plagued us emotionally whilst we were there and even after we had returned.

Sarajevo We stepped down from the plane in Bosnia’s capital city, Sarajevo to be greeted with beautiful green valleys, which were just a taster to the beauty that greeted us in Sarajevo’s Old Town, the most historically significant part of Sarajevo. At the heart of Sarajevo is the Bascarsija, the old town market sector where the city was founded by the Ottoman general Isa-Beg Isakovic in the 15th century. At the peak of the Ottoman Empire, Sarajevo was the biggest and the most important Ottoman city in the Balkans after Istanbul. Historians have credited Ottoman led Sarajevo as the ‘Golden Age’. It was a time when Jewish refugees from Andalusia and Orthodox Christians lived side by side with Muslims. The strong Islamic influence was a pleasant revelation to the whole team. Scientific ingenuity alongside aesthetic beauty made Sarajevo integral to the Islamic civilisation. The town was surprisingly lively with tourists from countries, such as the United States, China, Malaysia, and Indonesia, to name a few. There are a lot of old historical buildings to visit including a church and synagogue which are located in close proximity to the mosques, a reminder that people of multi-faiths co-existed harmoniously in what seemed to be a close-knit community, unlike the current reality, post-civil war. I could not help but wonder how many lessons could be learnt from past civilisations? Old Town Sarajevo reflected a time when people were advanced, not only in fields, such as science and technology, but they seemed to be able to co-exist with each other more peacefully than in today’s Bosnia. Surely there is a lesson in history that needs to be learnt.

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Surrounding the town were stunningly green high valleys that were dotted all over with little houses. Whenever my gaze rested on the little houses, I wondered what it was like to be up amongst the houses looking down on the world below. And that we did. The highlight of our time in Sarajevo was the panoramic view that we experienced and filmed, from the top of one of those valleys. It was a spectacular view of Sarajevo, decorated with snow-capped mountains in the distant horizon. It was certainly a dream to wake up to every morning. For the people of Bosnia however, life is not made up of dreams. Our journey into learning about the recent Bosnian war became more focused when we entered the Gallery ‘11/07/95’, owned by artist Tarik Samarah. There was a palpable mood shift within our filming crew. Our mood changed from enjoying the beauty and the bright history of the country, to one of horror and disbelief at the scale of killing and the depths of merciless inhumanity that man is capable of.

Gallery 11/07/95 The gallery was dimly lit. At the entrance to the exhibition room, we were greeted with photos of men who were killed during the Srebrenica Massacre, (now finally recognised as genocide by the international


community, with the exception of the Serbian government). Further into the room, more photos documented significant finds and events of the war, including mass graves and stories of those missing during the war and impacted by the Bosnian civil war that took place from 6th April, 1992 to 14th December, 1995. At the end of the gallery, documentaries of the war with eye witness accounts were being played to the visitors. The accounts were harrowing. Listening to mothers describe the last moments with their sons, fathers and husbands, before being separated (as men were separated from women by the Serbs), was heart-wrenching. One mother explained whilst choking on tears, that her son covered his eyes after embracing her goodbye. He covered his eyes, as he could not and did not want to watch her walk away from him. That was the last time they saw each other before he was killed. There are walls covered with engraved names of those who were killed. Names were engraved because there was not enough space for photos of all the dead. The Gallery ‘11/07/95’ was named according to the date of the genocide in Srebrenica committed by Serbian soldiers. In July 1995, more than 8,000 Bosnians, mainly men and boys from in and around the town of Srebrenica, were massacred. Their crime was the faith that they belonged to. Their crime was that they were Muslims.

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Forensic Anthropology Unit in Tuzla The following day, after our visit to the Gallery, we travelled to Tuzla with rest of the delegates of the charity ‘Remembering Srebrenica’, to visit Podrinje Identification Project (Forensic Anthropology Unit). We were greeted and guided by the Head of the Anthropology Department, who explained that this is where remains are brought over from mass graves that have been discovered so far. Despite trying to stay “professionally” minded, as we were there to work on a documentary, our hearts raced. Some were in netted bags, so we could see skulls and other small skeletal parts that were found of that person. I looked at the bones of hundreds of bodies around me, mostly in plastic bags, labelled with names and serial numbers, so that families may identify them, and finally bury them after waiting for 21 gruelling years, since the massacres that took place in Srebrenica. The voice of our guide was drowned out by the faces of my own brothers flashing through my mind, my elderly dad, my nephews, my own little boy; the thought of them being amongst these disintegrated bodies

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caused a feeling of nausea to sweep over me. I had to forcibly stop my thoughts. I found my thoughts to be unbearable, yet I am amongst people who have not just lived this but are still living this nightmare. These men and boys are lost husbands, sons, fathers and brothers of so many women still waiting to bury them and finally get some sort of closure if that is even remotely possible. In reality, a majority of these body bags (if not all), do not contain parts of an entire body. So families are still burying parts of their loved ones and re-burying again when a body part re-surfaces. Then there is the trauma of not having bodies to bury at all, hence no closure for many, 21 years on. The words of our guide echoed in my mind; “Nowhere in the world, has something like this happened”. Has it not? So many questions occupied my mind and still occupy me. How many atrocities are happening around the world today? There are very few countries where oppression is not taking place. People may not be buried in mass graves, but they are being blown to pieces by mass bombs. Those suffering in war-torn countries are faced with two choices; to stay or be killed, not knowing what horrific way death would approach them, otherwise escape to a place of safety with the risk of starving, be eaten by sharks, or drowning with their children in their arms. This may be hard to read, but this is the harsh reality and decisions that people are facing today.


If they survive and succeed in getting to a ‘safer’ place, they are treated like criminals or end up in refugee camps, living in dire condition’s, whilst world leaders discuss whether and how much they should be helped. So the question I ask is, have we really learnt from the lessons of war? And what is stopping this from happening again? Armed with more horrific details of what happened and the painful process of identification inflicted on the survivors of this war, with heavy hearts, we finally headed to Srebrenica.

Srebrenica The journey to Srebrenica was reflective, aided more by the forest covered with the tallest and greenest trees I have seen. I was in awe of the natural beauty, at the same time slightly nervous driving higher and higher into the valleys with the roads on its edge. Srebrenica too was surrounded by valleys and trees but unlike the Old Town in Sarajevo, the greenery and forests here are on a much larger and magnificent scale. Srebrenica felt empty and cold. The town is sur32

rounded by natural beauty, but is contrasted by the graves of the massacred on one side, and the other side is the area which was supposed to be the UN ‘safe zone’. The old factory buildings where hundreds of scared people were kept for safety were still standing, dreary and dilapidated. The Muslims were forced to disarm and UN soldiers were placed there to guard the area. This made no difference to the Serbian army, who entered without the slightest retaliation from UN soldiers. Men and boys were separated from the women, killed and buried in mass graves. Our first visit was to Potocari Memorial Centre led by memorial curator, and survivor Hasan Hasanovic. He survived the ‘death march’ in which his father and twin brother were killed. Hasan briefed us on the events of Srebrenica before we sat with a group of audience and watched raw footages, including of men captured and killed during the ‘death march’. As Hasan led my team and I to the hauntingly serene graveyard, the final resting place of those discovered in mass graves, he talked about his experiences and shared his thoughts on the genocide. I could not help but feel an immense amount of respect and admiration for those like Hasan, who tirelessly work hard to raise awareness about what he and his people have

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endured, despite his traumatic experience during the war.


Hadica Mehmedovic is also amongst such people working to keep the memory of their suffering alive, so the world can try to take lessons. She is from the organisations ‘Mothers of Srebrenica’. It is her words that still haunt me, when I allow myself to think about our experience in Bosnia: “This amount of sorrow cannot be described. If there was a possibility to show the sorrow of a mother, I am sure that this sorrow would flood the whole world. The genocide in Srebrenica was committed in the 20th century. It was committed in front of the eyes of the whole world. I used to have two beautiful sons, two sons that were born here in Srebrenica. They didn’t know how to hate. They were killed even before they started living”.

Bosnia has honed into me that we all need to speak up against the atrocities that are taking place today. In another twenty years time, we should not be in a place where we work to create awareness about what happened. Rather, we should be raising our voices against what is happening now, in Syria, ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, Central African Republic, Palestine, Kashmir; the list is endless.

As we drove away from Srebrenica leaving behind the haunting reality that is the lives of these people, I saw many elderly women working out in the fields on their own, stopping in-between to rest for a moment. I wondered if they were of those who have lost the men in their families and are living on their own. This is the impact of war - elderly women left to look after themselves, in mourning and living out their remaining few years alone.

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The strength, positivity and the forgiving nature of those such as Hadica Mehmedovic, has left a permanent imprint on me. She is a reflection of the people of Bosnia. She lost her husband and two sons. Yet, she and the women who are a part of ‘Mothers of Srebrenica’, work endlessly, to raise awareness of what small seeds of hatred can lead to. I will end my thoughts with Hadica’s inspirational words: “I have nothing else to lose… As long as I am alive, I want to make sure that no mother ever again, stands in front of mass graves and looks down at the bones of her child”.


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Ilma Magazine / Issue 21


A Traveller’s Guide:


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Acropolis of Athens Museum of Acropolis Mount Lycabettus Plaka and Monastiraki Ancient Agora of Athens Eating Out Prayer Facilities 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:

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Country: Greece Capital: Athens City to Visit: Athens, Attica Region Official Language: Greek Major Religion: Greek Orthodox Church Currency: Euro Best time to travel: All year round. The warm season lasts from June to September with an average daily high temperature above 28°C. The cold season lasts from December to March with an average daily high temperature below 16°C.


Overview Athens has always been a top destination to visit amongst tourists, even though in the last few years the economic crisis has affected the lives of the locals in this historical and beautiful city. Athens is one of the most widely known cities in the world where millions of tourists visit per year. The history and the contribution of the philosophers, scientists, architects and so forth, thrived there during ancient times and still influence many aspects of our lives today. Athens is located in the administrative region of Attica and it is the largest city in Greece. Athens port, Piraeus, is the busiest passenger port in Europe and the second busiest in the world! The city’s architectural

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sites are bountiful, from Neoclassical and Greek Revival architecture to the more modern structures. Athens is recognised as ‘the cradle of Western Civilisation’ due to contributions of the Ancient Greeks in the development of sciences, humanities and politics. The most interesting fact about the capital of Greece is that it is one of the oldest cities in the world, which traces back to 3000 years ago. Throughout the country’s history, Athens has played a major role in many political and cosmo-political events, and so your trip to this stunning city can only enrich your life!

Top Places to Visit in Athens:

Acropolis of Athens One place and so many monuments to admire! The word ‘acropolis’ means the highest point of the city and the highest point in Athens is not the only one in the world, but it is the most famous. The best known monument in the hill is the Parthenon temple, which is the symbol of Greece. It was constructed in honour of the ancient Greek goddess, Athena, from which the city takes its name. The constructions of the temple began in 447 BC during the Golden Age of the city. An interesting fact about the Parthenon is that during the Ottoman Empire it was converted into a mosque. Another important monument is the Erechtheion, which is located on the north side of the Acropolis. It also served as a temple dedicated to the deities Poseidon and Athena.

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Museum of Acropolis When in Athens, visit the Museum of Acropolis because it contains artefacts from the long history of the monument! Initially, it was a small area of the hill, but due to the high number of people visiting the museum, it did not function adequately. As a result, it was later decided that a new and larger space will serve better for the purposes of the museum. Today, the new museum is spread over 25,000 square meters and if you want to explore in its entirety you will need a few hours to spare. The general admission fee is 5 euros, but there are reduced fees for some groups. The busiest months are July and August as there are many tourists who flock to the city and explore the museum. So do plan accordingly.

Mount Lycabettus The Lycabettus mountain is one of the highest points in the city; 295 meters above sea level! According to Greek mythology, it was formed, when the goddess Athena dropped a heavy rock she was carrying after


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hearing some unpleasant news, but in fact, Lycabettus is formed by a Cretaceous limestone. If you want to get on top of the hill, you can either get there by foot or take the ‘funicular’ (cliff railway) all the way up, and admire the panoramic view of the city! At the top of the mount, there is a small chapel and a cafe, where you can enjoy the amazing view. It is definitely a landscape one must see, even though not many tourists know about the place. It is one of the most visited locations in the evening, even by locals.

Plaka & Monastiraki The locals and tourists adore the charming and ancient neighbourhoods of Plaka and Monastiraki. Being under the Acropolis, it is known as ‘The Neighbourhood of the Gods’. It is surrounded by the neighbourhoods of Zappeio, Monastiraki, Makrigianni and the centre of Athens. The area is very well preserved and so I recommend you spend a few hours exploring its classical architecture. Plaka and Monastiraki has a totally different vibe than the rest of Athens. One very famous part of Plaka is Anafiotika, a neighbourhood resembling very much the Cycladic architecture; whitewashed houses with blue elements on narrow streets. The houses in the area was constructed by builders from the island of Anafi, from where the neighbourhood took its name. Monastiraki is mostly known for its flea market. You

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can buy so many souvenirs and gifts to take back home. Just make sure you barter for the best price. The name is translated as the ‘little monastery’. The Monastiraki Square is the centre of the neighbourhood and in the middle, under the Acropolis; you will find an old mosque, which now serves as a museum. It was built during the Ottoman Empire.


ancient agora Ancient Agora of Athens Ancient Agora was the place where all great things in Athens happened. It is also located very close to the Acropolis and Monastiraki. It was once the philosophical, educational, social, and economic centre of the city. There are many remains and buildings to admire there; starting from the Temple of Hephaestus and continuing to the Stoa of Attalos, which today serves as the Agora Museum and there is vast amount of art history to admire. The ruins and landmarks in the Agora are plenty, with the most remarkable ones being; the Temple of Apollo Patroos, Stoa Poikile, and Stoa Basileios. It is highly recommended to explore all of them. Make sure to take photographs of these extraordinary landmarks as they are well preserved, even today, giving you a feel of how the city used to be almost 3,000 years ago.


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Eating Out Finding ‘halal’ (permissible according to Islamic law) options in Athens should not be a problem because there is a large Muslim community and some places in the city centre do serve halal meat. Many places, however, cannot be found online. Always make sure to ask if the food is halal and if you cannot find halal options then there are plenty of seafood and vegetarian options available. A really good halal restaurant in Athens is Aladdin Kebab House, where Turkish and Middle Eastern food is served. Whilst there make sure you try the very famous Greek Souvlaki, which is made of pitta bread with usually pork or chicken, tzatziki dip, fries, and salad. It is a staple food eaten by local and tourists alike. Its closest cousin in terms of food will be the ‘kebab’ and many say it was influenced by the Greek souvlaki. Address: Avenue Amfitheas 104 & Areos 88, Palaio Faliro, Athens For more information visit:

Prayer Facilities Although there is not an official mosque in Athens, there are a few places you can pray at. Two of the main prayer facilities are the Al Salam Mosque and the Athinais Cultural Centre. Al Salam Mosque Address: Galaxia 9, Athens 117 45, Greece Athinais Cultural Centre Address: Kastorias 34, Athens, Greece

Public Transport The best way to explore the city is by public transport. Athens is best explored when travelling on the train, tram and local buses all connecting various parts of the city. It is easy to navigate and very affordable. A return ticket to and from the airport will cost you 18 euros, but a five-day travel card will cost 9 euros.

Memories from Athens Greece is a very popular destination for Muslims and I have seen some amazing photographs. I would love to see where you have been in Greece. So why not share them with me using the hashtag: #MemoriesfromAthens and the best photographs will get featured on my Instagram account @muslimtravelgirl. Ilma Magazine / Issue 21


“And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel (evil) by that (deed) which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity (will become) as though he was a devoted friend”. [Qur’an, Surah Fussilat: Explained in Detail, 41:34]



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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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Arthritis Each and every one of us would know or hear of at least one individual who suffers from a painful condition called arthritis. There are around 10 million people who have arthritis. Arthritis causes pain and inflammation in the joint and affects all genders and ages. There are two fundamental types of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the main type of arthritis affecting 8 million people in the UK. Despite it can occur at any age due to injury, it predominantly develops in adults who are aged 40 and above, and is more common in women and those who have a family history with the condition. Initially, osteoarthritis influences the smooth cartilage lining of the joint causing pain, stiffness and difficulty in movement. The cartilage starts to thin and the tendons and ligaments need to work harder causing swelling and osteophytes

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production. Osteophytes are bony spurs. Loss of cartilage causes the bone to rub together which alters the joints shape and puts the bones out of position. The joints that are affected are knees, hips, hands and spine. Alternatively, rheumatoid arthritis is caused when the body’s immune system targets joints that are affected resulting in pain and swelling. Problems with other tissues and organs can also develop. It initiates in the outer covering of the joint; synovium. This then spreads across the joint causing further swelling and a change in the shape of the joint. This results in the breakdown of the bone and cartilage. There are approximately more than 400,000 people who are affected by rheumatoid arthritis in the UK. Women and those who are aged between 40 and 50 are mainly affected by it. There are other types of arthritis such as gout, cervical spondylosis, fibromyalgia, and ankylosing spondylitis. Gout is caused by lots of uric acids accumulated in the body and can be left in the joints causing intense pain, swelling and redness. Cervical spondylosis affects the joints and bones in the neck causing stiffness and pain. Fibromyalgia causes pain in the muscles, tendons and ligaments. Ankylosing spondylitis mainly affects the bones, muscles and ligaments of the spine causing stiffness and joints fusing together.


Amongst the symptoms of arthritis are joint pain, stiffness, inflammation around the joints, restricted movement, weakness, red skin around the affected area and muscle wasting. Did you know that arthritis occurs even in children? Approximately 15,000 children are affected by arthritis in the UK. The most common childhood arthritis is juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). The exact cause of JIA is unknown but it causes frequent pain and inflammation. The symptoms improve as the child grows older leading to a normal life.

Can Arthritis Be Treatable? There is no cure for arthritis; however, there are various treatments to aid in soothing the symptoms. For instance, analgesics (painkillers), corticosteroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Surgery is conducted in serious scenarios. Examples of surgical procedures are osteotomy, arthroplasty and arthrodesis. Osteotomy is where the bone is cut and re-aligned;

arthroplasty is the procedure for replacing joints and arthrodesis is the fusion of joints. In addition, studies have shown that medications contain glucosamine alone or with the combination of chondroitin alleviate arthritic pain. Consuming cod liver oil, ginger, avocado and soybeans have also shown to aid in patients due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies have also revealed that patients with arthritis found benefit with acupuncture. Improving your lifestyle also helps, such as losing weight as it adds less pressure on the knees and reduces symptoms. Physical activity is essential for people with arthritis, such as walking and swimming. However, that is dependent on the individual. For instance, if the person is old and fragile, walking around the apartment would be beneficial. However, if you are in a better shape and able, then swimming would be ideal. For further advice, please contact Hafsa Waseela via email:


Ilma Magazine / Issue 21

By Manija Omar Manija juggles between work and studying for her Masters in Human Rights. To escape the hustle and bustle of life, she enjoys taking home recipes from her travels to experiment with and carries a passion for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Olive oil, lemons, herbs and garlic are ingredients which not only are key seasonings to a lot of foods but are also what makes Greek cuisine like none other and will always be one of my personal favourites. The climate in Greece is perfect for growing many of the herbs they use in their cooking, such as basil, oregano, mint, and thyme. Whilst there still remain Greek dishes which are exactly the same today as what the ancestors ate, the Greek cuisine not only tells a story of the country’s past but also the present. For some of us, it is easy to fall into the traps of feeling lethargic because of excessively spiced, fried and meaty dishes. It is usually at the end of the week I opt for a light Greek dish to help lift my spirits and senses.

at a restaurant several years ago in East London. Having been unfamiliar to what Greek cuisine had to offer and feeling less of a risk taker that particular day, I opted for one of my most favourite of all vegetables, the aubergine! This mincemeat stuffed aubergine dish, also known as ‘Melitzanes Papoutsakia’ not only tasted great but it was hearty and yet light. Also, let’s not forget to add that aubergines are rich in antioxidants and vitamins! Greek cuisine offers fresh, organic and light dishes; it is no wonder residents of Greek islands are known to live much longer due to their diet and lifestyle! I am certain the recipes to follow will be a personal favourite.

The first time I had tried Greek cuisine was

Ilma Magazine / Issue 21




MAIN course

Greek Stuffed Aubergine (Melitzanes Papoutsakia) Preparation & cooking Time: 2 hours Main Ingredients: • • • • • • • • • • • •

6 aubergines 500g of mincemeat (beef) 1 large red onion, finely chopped 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped 1 tin chopped tomatoes 3 tbsp of olive oil 1 tsp of oregano A few leaves of basil 100g of grated cheese Salt and freshly ground pepper A handful of fresh parsley, chopped Bechamel sauce, also known as white sauce (readymade)

4. 5.


Serving: • • • • •

Yoghurt (Greek) Finely chopped mint Lemon Chopped coriander Salt




1. Preheat the oven at 200C. In the meantime, cut the aubergines into two pieces and carve the inside ‘flesh’ in crosswires. 2. Season the aubergines with olive oil, salt, pepper and for that extra flavour, rub in a bit of garlic and then set aside for half an hour 3. Whilst the aubergines are set aside, make the mint flavoured yoghurt sauce: mix Greek yoghurt, chopped mint leaves, coriander, salt, and a generous squeeze of lem-


on juice. Stir well and leave to set in the fridge. There are no exact measurements as it may vary according to personal preference; I personally add a little extra lemon juice and an extra pinch of salt for that ‘kick’ combination. Place the aubergines (with the skin facing up) in a baking tray, lined with parchment paper. Bake the aubergines for about 30 minutes, until softened. Whilst the aubergines are baking in the oven, prepare the meat sauce to serve on top and inside the aubergines. Set a large pan over medium heat; add in the olive oil, chopped onions, garlic and then saute till it is soft. Slightly turn the heat up and add the minced beef. Stir in the canned tomatoes; add a small pinch of sugar, the oregano and basil. Bring to the boil and then allow simmering with the lid on for about 20 minutes. At the end, add 1 to 2 handfuls of grated cheese with parsley. Take the aubergines out of the oven and remove some of the flesh by spooning a bit out, to make room for the filling. (Tip: try cutting or removing a bit of flesh between the crosswire to make space for the meat filling and that way you can still enjoy the baked aubergine flesh!) Last but not least, sprinkle the aubergines with some grated cheese and spoon the meat sauce on top of each piece; sprinkle with grated cheese once again. Bake the ‘melitzanes papoutsakia’ at 180C for 20 minutes, until nicely coloured. Serve this delicious stuffed aubergines dish with a nice Greek salad and some crusty bread to go with the yoghurt.

Kali oreksi!: Enjoy your meal!

Have you enjoyed making and indulging in this recipe? If so, please share your pictures with us: @TheDawahProject hashtag #Ilma #FoodBites #GoGreek

Ilma Magazine / Issue 21





Greek Yoghurt Lemon Cheesecake Bars Preparation & cooking Time: 3 hours & 35 minutes This dessert recipe is light, fresh and tasty bursting with flavour which will not only cleanse your palate but satisfies your sweet tooth too.

Main Ingredients: • • • • • • • • • • •

6 whole ginger biscuits 2 tbsp of unsalted butter (melted) 6 ounces of low fat cream cheese (softened) 6 ounces of plain low fat Greek yoghurt 1/3 cup of brown sugar 1 whole egg & 1 egg white Pinch of salt 1 tbsp of lemon zest ¼ cup of fresh lemon juice 1 tsp of vanilla extract 2 tsbp of plain flour

Method: 1. Preheat the oven at 200C. Place the biscuits in food processor to create fine crumbs or simply crush the crackers in a plastic food bag (leave a little remaining on the side to use for later). 2. Drizzle in the melted butter and stir.

3. Pour the mixture of butter and crumbs into an 8x8 inch sized pan and firmly press onto the bottom evenly. 4. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes and then remove and let cool. 5. With an electric mixer beat the soft cream cheese until light and fluffy for about 2 minutes. 6. Add the Greek yoghurt, sugar and salt; once stirred add in the eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla and plain flour and beat until a smooth mixture forms. 7. Pour the mixture on top of the crumbs mixture evenly and place into the oven. 8. Bake the cheesecake for about 30 minutes until it is set but the middle is still ‘wiggly ’. 9. Once out of the oven, let it to cool and then leave in the refrigerator for approximately 3 hours. 10. Sprinkle the fine ginger biscuit crumbs on top of the cheesecake and serve with a lemon slice. Tip: Prepare the cheesecake the night before and refrigerate, so it can be enjoyed straight after your main meal.

Have you enjoyed making and indulging in this dessert? If so, please share your pictures with us: @TheDawahProject hashtag #Ilma #FoodBites #GoGreek

Ilma Magazine / Issue 21


“It’s the repetition of affirmation that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen”. [Muhammad Ali, Professional Boxer and Activist]

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Š Hanan Khalek Hanan Abdel-Khalek is a freelance journalist and writer. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Media in the Middle East and is an advocate for human rights and social justice pertaining to gender, identity and race. hanan_a_k_s



Ilma Magazine / Issue 21

Maybe the reason I’m shy and awkward, Trip over my own tongue, choke over my vowels and consonants, from too many continents. Hairs stand on end, sickness in the sack near my nourishing womb, forgotten how to open up my skin, I fall apart, I speak, as a figment of my whole, not nourishing my throat, Or teeth, And bones, Lungs or Breath. By stubbing me, shrouded and clouded by insignificant wasted trials. Maybe the real reason my hair and skin quivers with foreign, unfamiliarity is my hesitance‌ If my skin was laid bare on the ground it would map my ancestry, reaching the shoots in the earth. Veins of ivy, they are the shrubs and plants, travelling beneath my skin. my family are lemurs, I am an Italian palm tree, Im the only one. What if my language was that of another species, and every time I speak English It seeps out of my skin, like an aloe fragrance spilling over flooding my insides. Waiting to burst into an explosion of fruits and blood ties. Afraid to implode, my supernova of misconduct, I awkwardly grasp to my good command of the English language, I study it, till I am sick. I perfect it, rolls off my tongue

Ilma Magazine / Issue 21


I have gotten good at imitation you see, And so, the rest of my internal universe dissolves. As the language turns on itself, A civil war in my mouth. Between my expression of those who don’t understand me, And the hunters who have been glorified. Even though I learned their language, I forgot to tell my story. You see, I have a foreign demeanour outlook, I act odd in my atmosphere, I convince no one as I lay my head on my pillow, I limit myself to one island. Imagine what I could’ve been: Sapphire, amethyst and opal. Languages of arts, Languages of faiths, Languages of solar systems, Languages of ant tribes, of desserts beneath oceans homing creatures that won’t die. Colours and continents Will be lost between the small spaces around my teeth and tongue. The hours lost spent mastering grammatical survival, I speak on this island I live, afraid to explore and get stung. So I sit in fear of myself, and all the poisons that may erupt. From the antibodies of my immunity, weakened with each new tongue I hear. Only when wet With remembrance of the ONE, will I ever find Sanctuary. My tongue only recognises its creator humbled before HIS royal highness COILED bowing to HIM, Light upon light respect,


Ilma Magazine / Issue 21

Multiple universes I rolled up into flecks of moisture, project into the air, damp with worship. My languages will be underlined by my veins Screaming for blood flow, Clinging around muscle tissue to stretch their meanings. Walk down my scalp and hang off the roots like twigs, Smells like orange mangoes pulling at the branches of my memory ducts. Roots and shoots of dragon grass, and wild berry I stutter. Ignore this tongue of mine. Embarrassing me. The great orator of my life. Wrestling to be sovereign of my organs. The front of my antibodies. All angry in search of a new leader. They plot a coup. I am calm and quiet. Waiting my turn, Sick of turning in on myself, by myself, biding my time. Relentless. Heckled. and imprisoned. That little red berry that sits between my teeth, an invader in my own mouth, From another land, Making me purge on my own imitation It swells and GROWS. Outliving the ancient veneers that have seen kingdoms rise and fall. The war continues. The fight of ownership of my gums. And in all this my brows sit locked in anguish. Framing the slope of my nose that droops in disappointment. Making egos out of neurons and power hungry synapses. They say introvert is a superpower forgive me I’m guarded.

Ilma Magazine / Issue 21


“It’s the repetition of affirmation that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen”. [Muhammad Ali, Professional Boxer and Activist]

By Anum Babar 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.

“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 21


Muhammad : The Perfect Teacher An insight into his teaching methods

By Moulana Mahomed Mahomedy, Muslims at Work Publishing: 2013

This book is a revised translation based on the outstanding compilation by the Syrian, Hanafi jurist, Sheikh Abd Al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah, who beautifully portrayed the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) as a teacher. The author focuses on how our Prophet (pbuh) conveyed the message of Allah, The Most High, in the utmost best of manners and explains how he had touched the hearts of many people through his effective speech and noble character. Each claim is backed up with references from the Holy Qur’an and ‘Sahih Ahadith’ (authentic recorded traditions and narrations) in Arabic with English translation, unravelling the wisdom of each inclusion with a full explanation. The author divides the book into clear sections, beginning with the essentials by reflecting on the verses from the Qur’an relating to our Prophet (pbuh) as a teacher. The Prophet’s (pbuh) multi-faceted nature described in the Qur’an and Ahadith whereby teaching played a significant role in his lifetime benefits humanity in a number of ways. Many of us at one point of our lives will have to take on the role of teaching, whether that is in a profession, or as a parent, or even as a friend and so forth. This makes the study and research on the Prophet’s (pbuh) life relevant to all of us. Available to purchase from Amazon.


Ilma Magazine / Issue 21

Contemplation: An Islamic Psychospiritual Study With an introduction by Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi

By Malik Badri, The International Institute of Islamic Thought: 2007

Malik Badri is a qualified therapist and a Professor of Psychology at the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation in Malaysia. He has authored a number academic papers relating to the study of the human mind in the Islamic context. Quite often, the study of science in the West is restricted to non-religious thought rarely relating back to a God. Hence, why this book proved an interesting read as Badri offers an Islamic approach towards the spiritual connections and insight into the human psyche. Badri constantly refers to the works of early scholars, such as Al-Ghazali and Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy upon them) in his study, where he provides insight into what their thoughts on various matters were, as many of us know these scholars were highly regarded in their fields and dedicated much of their lives to acquire such great knowledge. Their extensive studies have given us a solid foundation into what the ‘Ulama’ (a body of Muslim scholars) had practiced, whereby Badri has successfully collated such information and compared it to contemporary practices. What is interesting is that Badri discusses the gap between acts of worship and internal acts, such as contemplation and places emphasis on both in order to achieve true success. In his book, he expressed that, ‘The main aim of meditation as an Islamic form of worship is cognitive, intellectual and spiritual: to elevate the Muslims’ cognizance of their creator’.

Available to purchase from Amazon.

Ilma Magazine / Issue 21


“This world is like a shadow. If you try to catch it, you will never be able to do so. If you turn your back towards it, it has no choice but to follow you”. [Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah, Islamic Scholar and Jurist, may Allah have mercy upon him]

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.

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Available on Sky 806; HOTBIRD 8; Astra 2A/2B/2D; DSTV Africa and Freesat 693 and Freeview 244 via VisionTV Ilma Magazine / Issue 21


Virtues of Muharram Presented by Sheikh Samer Darwish, this program focuses on the many virtues of the blessed month of Muharram. Telecasts: Available to watch on YouTube NOW

The Sacred Lineage Presented by Ustadh Adnan Rashid, Sacred Lineage is a show that discusses the history of the family of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Telecasts: Thursday, 6th October

Recite Call in and perfect your recitation with the panel of experienced teachers. Telecasts: Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Tajweed Show Learn how to recite the Holy Qur’an proficiently by observing the correct pronunciation of every letter with the rulings and characteristics which apply to each letter. Telecasts: Every Saturday


Ilma Magazine / Issue 21

Our Lord Series Dr. Saeed Al-Gadi reflects upon the attributes of our Lord, Allah, The Most High and ponders upon the impact of His beautiful names on our lives. Telecasts: Every Tuesday

Islamiqa A daily show presented by Muslim scholars who answer viewer’s questions Telecasts: Daily

Daily Reminders Is a daily show (fillers) which consists of some special Qur’an recitations and general reminders for the benefit of the viewer’s. Telecasts: Daily

Jumu’ah Khutba The Jumu’ah Khutbah from Makkah and Madinah is translated in English every Friday from Islam Channel studio for the benefit of the viewer’s. Telecasts: Every Friday

Ilma Magazine / Issue 21


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Ilma Magazine / Issue 21

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