Ilma Magazine | May/June 2015 | Issue 13

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Live, Learn & Inspire May / June 2015 / Issue 13



A Seeker of Knowledge




Arabic: The Language of the Ummah


The ‘du’a’ (supplication) to start our fast is:

“Wa bisawmi ghadinn nawaiytu min shahri Ramadhan”. Translation: I intend to keep the fast today; in the month of Ramadhan.

[Abu Dawud]

Management Chairman: Mohamed Ali Harrath The Dawah Project Manager: Azma Gaffar

Editorial Team Managing Editor: Anjuma Choudhury Content and Copy Editor: Aseel Saif Religious Content Editor: Raiyyan Clemenston Creative and Visual Director: Muhammad Abdulmateen Writers: Yeota Imam, Aseel Saif, Anjuma Choudhury, Nasrine Abdirachid, Maryam Issadeen, Hafsa Waseela and Elena Nikolova Contributor: Rahbbya Iftikhar Researcher: Anum Babar Special thanks to our readers, supporters and Islam Channel. For more information about advertising, marketing and sponsorship, email us at Official website: 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. The Dawah Project Ltd Registered Office - 14 Bonhill Street London EC2A 4BX Company No - 06864768 Registered Charity Number: 1133424 Tel: 0207 330 1744 (Mon - Fri, 9am - 6pm)

CONTENTS The Quality of Worship and Education (Part 2)


The Dawah Project

Reflection: 14 The Quality of Education By Anjuma Choudhury


30 24 24

Arabic: The Language of the Ummah By Aseel Saif



To Give to Charity


Celebrate after the Fast

By Nasrine Abdirachid

By Anjuma Choudhury

The Blessed Months: Ramadhan and Shawwaal By Maryam Issadeen

Lifestyle Section




Ramadhan Supplications


Recommended Reading

By Hafsa Waseela

80 Islam Channel Programmes Programmes Showing in June and July 2015




A Traveller’s Guide:

A Turkish Delight By Elena Nikolova


Body Mind Soul:

A Spiritual Detox By Hafsa Waseela


Food Bites: Turkish Style in Ramadhan By Elena Nikolova

83 Get Involved Volunteering and Job Opportunities

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

The Quality of Worship and Education: Part 2

Assalamu Alaikum Dear Readers, Following on from Issue 12 which focused on achieving ‘quality worship’ when performing Islamic obligatory duties; Issue 13 deals with the importance of seeking knowledge, be it religious or secular. Seeking good knowledge is the key to excel in this life and next, In shaa Allah. You will learn about the status quo of education and what we can do to improve the education system and the way we seek knowledge. In this Ramadhan edition we want to give you a head start on learning useful supplications and knowing the history behind this auspicious month. We also aim to help you understand how to spiritually and physically benefit in this wonderful month of Ramadhan.


We want to welcome Sister Elena Nikolova, who by profession is a Chartered Islamic Marketer and not to mention the first woman in the UK to have achieved this, she also has a love for travelling. Read her feature ‘A Traveller’s Guide’ on Turkey and let her take you on a tour this year to fabulous and Muslim friendly destinations, only in Ilma. Ramadhan is fast approaching and we would like to wish you and your loved ones Ramadhan Kareem. Make sure to read Ilma and share it with others for Ramadhan gems. Please send your comments and suggestions to We love to hear from you! Jazakumullahu Khairan The Dawah Project Team

Ilma Magazine / Issue 13

Ilma Magazine / Issue 13


THE DAWAH PROJECT Registered Charity: 1133424

This Ramadhan, will you help us educate millions around the world? We live in a world that is diverse and globalised. As many communities progress technologically, The Dawah Project embraces these advancements, 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 education about Islam for Muslims and non-Muslims.

We accept Sadaqah and Zakat donations.

+44(0) 207 330 1744

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 education about Islam for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Islam Channel - Religious Programming

watched online via: and

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.

Radio Campaign in Africa and Asia

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 broadcast; 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


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 provide 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 44 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 campaign was introduced in April 2012. Our aim is to provide a centre for everyone 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! More people have their own computer, laptop, iPad and smart phones. The digital industry is always developing. We took advantage of this phenomenon by producing an e-magazine called Ilma, which is released on a bi-monthly basis and is available on Issuu - the fastest growing digital publishing platform in the world. Visit www.issuu. com /dawahprjct Ilma Magazine provides reflective writings on various aspects of life attracting a diverse range of readers all over the world. 11

Update: The International Dawah Centre Campaign Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu

Dear Patrons, In April 2012, The Dawah Project launched The International Dawah Centre Campaign. The purpose behind launching an International Dawah Centre is to fulfil our obligatory duty of inviting people to have a better understanding of Islam, resulting to a more knowledgeable, tolerant and peaceful international community. By the will of Allah, The Most High, and the generosity of our Muslim brothers and sisters, till present we have raised £116,000 towards this ambitious project. We want to assure all our donors that the money raised so far, has been put aside into a savings account. At the time, our aim was to purchase the Kassaba building in North London. The reason why we could not go through with this building was due to legal conditions attached to Kassaba; a 2999 years lease, which meant that the landlord could impose certain covenants on us. Since then, we have found an alternative building, Alhamdulillah, that we are pursuing. This particular building is located in the UK for which we have already paid a refundable deposit and now we are waiting for legal obstacles to be cleared, In shaa Allah. Inclusive to this campaign, we are in the process of acquiring land in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda (Central Africa) to have an International Dawah Centre, In Shaa Allah. We have also been offered a prime location in Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria (West Africa) and we are in talks with Gambia’s government (West Africa) to acquire land, all of which will be part of this great Dawah mission. Your patience, understanding and generous contributions are sincerely appreciated and we hope to still have you on board supporting this great mission, In shaa Allah. May Allah, The Most High, reward you immensely for donating towards this cause and may it be an on-going source of Sadaqah Jaariyah for you and your family In shaa Allah. We will update you on these campaigns accordingly. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require any further information.

Jazakumullahu Khairan

Mohamed Ali Chairman “And whatever you spend in good, it will be repaid to you in full, and you shall not be wronged.” [Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:272]

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Reflection ‘The Quality of Education’

Anjuma Choudhury reflects upon the importance of secular and Islamic education and its development.

“I am not teaching you to think like me, but to think!”

‘Education’ is a formal system where we acquire knowledge, be it at school, college or university. ‘Knowledge’ is based on knowing facts and information and when an education system is in place, the learning process enables structure in seeking knowledge, critical thinking and creating a strong individual identity. In the modern world, for people to have access to education has become a universal right. Furthermore, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, states in Article 26: “Everyone has the right to education”. In the United Kingdom, we have four stages in the education system: early years (three to four years old); primary (five to eleven years old); secondary (twelve to eighteen years old) and post-secondary, which involves one seeking higher or vocational education at a college, undergraduate and or post graduate level at university. It is compulsory for British children to be in full-time education from the ages of five to seventeen and so, it means we are being taught under this system for nine years! Nine


years of students grasping knowledge, using their thinking marbles, and being tested with the near ominous final exams. Thereafter, many of us enter higher education, in order to train ourselves academically to follow careers such as medicine, engineering, law and so on. Some will break the expectations of the average Muslim by becoming an entrepreneur, architect, or even a film producer. The Muslim community, like all other struggling communities around the world, need professionals in all fields of work, and so all should be endorsed. Just remember to put your trust in Allah and strive to seek the benefits of your profession in this world and the next. With various education systems existing in this modern world, it is evident that the way we seek knowledge is crucial in helping us understand that knowledge. Thus, the education system is always developing on standards and structure. Discussions on the British education system have always been debated and more so now,

Ilma Magazine / Issue 13

Ilma Magazine / Issue 13


than ever before. Many feel that the system is failing due to the ever changing nature of society, where poverty has risen. A recent BBC article (Teachers warn of ‘Victorian’ poverty among pupils’ by Sean Coughlan) linked the low concentration of pupils to poverty and homelessness. Alongside that, the quality of teaching has come under scrutiny. A Member of Parliament (Tristram Hunt) stated that ‘teachers should be highly qualified and require training in improving pupils behaviour’ in State Schools. Private schools usually serve the elite class, and thus are known for producing some of the top students and leading high-flyers. The status quo of the British education system is a hybrid, in a way that it is more class based when it should not be. Nevertheless, we do have a standard National Curriculum from Year 2 to GCSE level and every child deserves the best education. I remember when growing up and how often my parents advised me to work hard and not to procrastinate. By withstanding the difficulties involved, the learning and application of knowledge helps you become wiser and more confident. I had not always been taught at the best schools, but I was determined to succeed and this is something my parents instilled in me, and crucially, Islam taught me discipline and sensibleness. My parents always attended ‘parent evenings’ discussing with teachers regarding my successes, “failures” and where I can or could have improved. They even ques-


tioned the quality of subjects taught, where my mother thought it was strange for a school not to teach French compared to their “competitor” that were doing extremely well and taught French. Eventually I left. The quality of education is based upon several factors: funding, qualified teachers, disciplined pupils, stable home-life of the pupils and strong parent and teacher relationship. Therefore, we need to be observant and take our child’s education seriously. I encourage parents to join their school’s ‘PTA,’ which stands for Parent Teacher Association. A PTA can be a powerful way to engage parents, encouraging them to contribute to the way their school is run and to have a say in deciding how valuable resources are used for the benefit of their children’s education. Parents should be hands-on over their child’s education, as education starts at home and when your child returns from school, this is the perfect time to discover what they have been learning. Parents should engage in reading to their child and being read to; this is a great way of bonding and helping them to improve their reading, spelling and grammar skills. The British charity, National Literacy Trust discovered in their research that children who regularly read stories or novels outside school have better reading scores than children who rarely read for pleasure. When I think of my childhood, the book that always gave me com-

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fort was Matilda by Rahl Dahl; a classic that still exists on my bookshelf and In shaa Allah, I will pass it down to my children. Parents should be knowledgeable about the education system, curriculum and the culture of the institution. You want to know what your child is being taught and observe the environment they are learning in. You want to know if your child has been bullied, which needs to be dealt with immediately, as it can consume them and eventually leading to self-harm or Allah forbid, suicide. A child will struggle to excel in school if they are experiencing mental or physical abuse. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to have a good education, Alhamdulillah, can consider volunteering our time to tutor the youth, especially the underprivileged. This is an excellent charitable deed. We can start off by teaching our cousins, nephews, nieces and even the neighbours’ children. We can build a strong community by looking after our future leaders, motivating them towards the path of self-discovery and accomplishment, In shaa Allah. Another matter is that Muslim children should have knowledge of all mandatory subjects, including Islam and other optional subjects. If you observe early Islamic History, you will discover that our notable scholars were always learning sciences of this world, history, philos-

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ophy, law, politics, etc. Understanding Islam assists us in understanding human society, development and the sciences. I have noticed that parents, these days, are sending their child and or children to Islamic institutions, where the institution offers secular studies as well as Islamic studies. Those children, who attend secular schools, are attending an Islamic institution one day at the weekend, where they learn about Islam and the Arabic language. However, it is highly recommended for parents to teach their child about Islam. I encourage parents to make the learning process enjoyable, by playing games that will help your child remember, such as key events in Islamic history. If they pass reward them with incentives. If someone desires to study Islam further at a degree level then this should be praised, as we always need learned male and female scholars in our community. I believe in this personal motto that “education is constant and powerful”. We should always be seeking knowledge within and without the education system, for the Believer is a person of understanding, humility and hope. You should have the love for knowledge and specialise in a subject that makes you shine. I would like to end this reflective piece by quoting a statement from Ustadh Imran Salha of the USA; “we need to show people that Islam made me a better doctor, than I could have ever been had I not been Muslim…we were created to benefit humanity”.



The ‘du’a’ (supplication) to break the fast in someone’s home is:

“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. [Abu Dawud]


KNOWLEDGE Islam Channel Producer Yeota Imam defines the importance of ‘ilm’ (knowledge) Follow Yeota on Twitter



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The fundamentals of our creed are summarised in the ‘Pillars of Islam’ which is to believe in the following:

When we look around us, we see many Muslims putting a lot of effort into different aspects of their lives, be it in education, work or even their social lives, in order to achieve or fulfil certain aspirations they have for themselves. But that same passion is not always reciprocated when it comes to the ‘deen’ (religion) itself. Why is that?

1. Allah and the Oneness of His being (Tawheed) 2. The Angels, such as Jibreel, Mikaeel and Israfeel 3. The Books, which includes the Qur’an, the Injeel (Gospel), the Torah (Old Testament), and Zabur (Psalms) 4. The Messengers, from the first to the last, which is our Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him 5. The Hereafter, which is from the moment the soul departs, through to the world of the ‘barzakh’, which is the barrier between the physical and spiritual worlds, in which the soul awaits after death and before resurrection on the Day of Judgement, trials of the grave and the eternal abode of ‘Jannah’ (Paradise) or ‘Jahannam’ (Hell) 6. The Divine Decree of Allah and embracing the trials and moments of contentment

ow many of us have put our all in trying to get the best grades possible in our studies? Be it in our GCSEs, A-Levels or degree? Staying up late into the night, squeezing in as much revision as possible, so when it comes to that paper; we hope to answer all the questions quickly, thoroughly and succinctly, In shaa Allah. I am sure we have all been there and have a T-shirt or a certificate to prove it.

Perhaps because we have not yet understood the importance of seeking ilm, or more specifically, understood the importance of seeking ilm which is essential for our daily lives as servants of Allah, The Exalted; rulings pertaining to prayer, fasting, and so on. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim”. [Al-Tirmidhi] There are two types of knowledge we can attain: there is knowledge which is ‘Fardh AlAyn’ – compulsory upon every individual, and ‘Fardh Al-Kifaya’ – knowledge which is compulsory upon the community at large, but fulfilled when a person, or group of people, learn it and apply it to the community.

What Type of Knowledge is Fardh Al-Ayn? Firstly, as Muslims it is obligatory upon each one of us to believe in Islam definitively, without doubt. This knowledge is the understanding of the fundamentals of ‘aqeedah’ (creed), from which Islam is based upon.

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Secondly, it is an obligation for the individual to know the Islamic rulings concerning our lives and actions. Allah, The Most High, has addressed us directly on so many occasions on this matter: “O you who believe, obey Allah and His Messenger”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Anfal: The Spoils of War, 8:20] We know that our purpose in life is to worship Allah, The Most High, as He said: “I have not created jinn or mankind except that they worship me”. [Qur’an, Surah Adh Dhariyat: The Winnowing Winds, 51:56] Allah, The Most High, has also clearly ordered us to take from the Messenger (pbuh): “And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it)”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Hashr: The Exile, 59:7].


All Muslims are therefore required to know the ‘ahkam’ – rulings, obligations and prohibitions regarding such acts as: • The commandments of ‘Salah’ (Prayer) • The responsibility towards our parents • The rulings of buying and selling • What facilitates and nullifies ‘tahara’ (purity) • Interacting with family, the opposite gender and society as a whole • The rulings of speaking to and about others • Financial matters (i.e. what constitutes as ‘riba’, which is interest ) Whatever actions we undertake, we firstly need to know the ‘hukm’ (commandment) before performing the action. There is a principle in ‘usul’ (critical analysis of jurisprudence) that every action requires a hukm and every hukm requires evidence. For an ‘Imam’ (religious community leader) at the mosque for example, it would be Fardh to know the hukm relating to leading the prayer, the obligations of the ‘khutbah’ (sermon), the responsibility towards the Muslims, the obligations of speaking the truth from the pulpit, etc. It is Fardh for the husband to know his obligations towards his wife, what is permissible and impermissible with her, his duties towards his in-laws, etc. Similarly, the wife should know her responsibilities towards her husband, her role as a parent towards her child, the rulings on menstruation and so forth. The acquiring of knowledge has become a lot easier with information available at our fingertips. Some may feel this has created much distraction, especially for the youth, but it has also had a very positive effect. We now have access to information that twenty years ago could only be found by trawling through hundreds of books. We have access to the Qur’an on our phones with different reciters and ‘tafseer’ (exegesis). We have a digital compass that tells you which direction to pray and apps on our phone to inform you what time to pray and in advance we also get to know the day Ramadhan and all the other blessed months start, Alhamdulillah.


But with so many options available to us, finding the correct information can sometimes become confusing and overwhelming. Thus we should ask those we trust who have more knowledge than ourselves and those who exhibit good Islamic character – the local Imam, ‘ulama’ (learned scholars), close friends and relatives of ours to accompany us in our journey to perfect our Islam.

The Recommended Knowledge When the foundations of our religion are established, it is highly recommended to pursue Islam further, for doing this increases our closeness to Allah in worship, thought and general practice. Some subjects in Islam which we are encouraged to learn and develop greater knowledge of include: • The ‘Seerah’, which is the biography of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) • The tafseer of the Quran • The ‘Ahadith’ which includes the narrations of the Prophet (pbuh) • And of course, a further study of the Arabic language, the key to accessing the above topics directly from the original source We should strive to learn these types of knowledge continuously and make it a part of our daily habits. When we look back at our rich history, we are aware of the companions and predecessors studied their deen with so much passion. They felt as if they never had enough knowledge. There are many great examples of the learned men and women who were exemplary in balancing the religious and worldly knowledge. From A’ishah bint Abi Bakr (may Allah be pleased with her), Fatimah Al Fihri who established the first degree granting university located in Fez, Morocco to the great Imam Abu Hanifah and Imam Al-Ghazali (may Allah have mercy upon them).

Imam Abu Hanifah Imam Abu Hanifah (may Allah have mercy upon him) was born in the city of Kufa, Iraq ap-

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proximately in the year 699 AD. He was the son of a Persian merchant, Nu’man bin Thabit Ibn Zauti. When Imam Abu Hanifah joined his father’s business, he showed much skill in trading and was admired for his ethics. Once his agent had sold a shipment of silk cloth on his behalf but forgot to mention a slight defect to the customers. When Imam Abu Hanifah learnt of this, he was greatly troubled because he had no means of refunding the customers; so he immediately ordered the entire proceeds of the sale (30,000 Dirhams) to be given in charity. This highlights his honesty and fairness and his intention was always to please Allah, The Most High. He earned his living through this trade and with the earnings he made, he met the needs of his students. He gave much to charity and every Friday he would distribute twenty gold coins to the poor on behalf of his parents’ souls. Imam Abu Hanifah was also keenly interested in education. He established a school in Kufa, which later became a famous College of Theology. There, he delivered lectures on Islamic Law and other related subjects. Although we know Imam Abu Hanifah as someone who excelled in his Islamic knowledge and as one of the four greatest scholars of Islam, he was very much active in worldly terms and earned a good living to support himself and his students. It is also important to point out that his help extended beyond his immediate family and he was keen to help the Muslim community, the Ummah as a whole. Honouring his life is as special today as it was then.

Imam Al-Ghazali Another man who is held in high esteem and understood the importance of worldly and religious knowledge was Imam Al-Ghazali (may Allah have mercy upon him). Also known as al ‘hujjatul Islam’ (authority on Islam), Imam Al- Ghazali was born in 1058 AD in Tabaran, a town in the district of Tus, which lies within the Khorasan Province of Iran. His life as a scholar is well known but what is Ilma Magazine / Issue 13

not, is his brilliant career as the highest-ranking orthodox doctor of the Islamic community in Baghdad from 1091 to 1095 AD. This period of his life was short but significant. Al-Ghazzali came to Baghdad in 1091 AD and began a prestigious career of teaching, giving ‘fatawa’ (an Islamic religious ruling, a scholarly opinion on a matter of Islamic Law) and authoring books in nearly all of the Islamic sciences of his day. He wrote more than seventy books on the sciences, Islamic philosophy and spirituality. These noble men are true inspirations for us, in encouraging us to acquire knowledge to the highest levels and reap the rewards in this world and the next. Their focus was not just on the worldly knowledge; it was a mix of both. They understood that knowledge was important in progressing themselves, their family and society as a whole. This is the golden legacy we inherit from our pious predecessors. As well as these inspirational examples of men who reached the pinnacle in their respective fields, what can further motivate us are the rewards that await the individual who acquires knowledge, for the sake of Allah. Such rewards should surely ignite our passion and vigour to seek knowledge.

The Rewards of Gaining Knowledge In Islam, we see that Allah, The Most High, not only places importance in seeking religious ilm but worldly ilm too. In fact, it was due to Islam and its teachings that urged Muslims to find ways to improve human life through science, technology and art. Having worldly knowledge is a necessity in order to progress in society, yet, without religious knowledge, application of the worldly knowledge is inhibited. The two types of knowledge are what spurred on the Golden Age of Islam and propelled the world into an era never witnessed before. May Allah, The All Knowing, enable us to gain the correct knowledge and apply it in our lives. Ameen.



THE LANGUAGE OF THE UMMAH 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.



rabic is considered to be one of the most beautiful languages in the world, as it is poetic, meaningful and quite simply visually pleasing. It has survived the test of time through its collection of synonyms and words structure of which Arabs have excelled in poetry, literature and eloquence. It is also far more than that, especially to Muslims. It is a language that goes beyond any other language we know and practise; it is the language that Allah, The Most High, revealed His Miracle to mankind with.

think that those that have been born into an Arabic speaking home, have a better understanding than a non-Arab family; but this is not necessarily the case. No person is better than the other, and thus we should not feel daunted by the task of learning this extraordinary language.

On a daily basis we as Muslims use the Arabic language in almost everything we do, from our five daily prayers to the supplications we make throughout the day. Arabic is embedded into the Muslim’s daily routine and we may forget how integral it is to our ‘Imaan’ (faith) in Islam. You do not need to be a student of Islam nor a scholar to learn it; you simply need the desire to further your relationship with Allah. You may

Even the most learned scholar will have a limited understanding of the true meaning of certain ‘ayah’s’ (verses) and ‘surahs’ (chapters); and this is why we must strive to push ourselves to understand what we can from the Qu’ran, by taking Arabic vocabulary classes as well as lessons on how to read the rules of ‘tajweed’ (the rules governing pronunciation during recitation of the Qur’an).

Likewise, we are all students of Islam in this world and every day is a new opportunity to unravel the miracle that we know as the Holy Qur’an.

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There are many reasons as should and are encouraged and thus this article aims to number of important reasons remember.

to why Muslims to learn Arabic shed light on a we must always

A few basic facts about the prominence of Arabic in Islam: • The ‘Sunnah’ (teachings and practices of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him) has been recorded in Arabic, and any reference to matters relating to the Sunnah, is through the earliest compilations on this subject. These sources are all in Arabic. • The ‘Ahadith’ (compilation of recorded tradition) are all in Arabic, and they explain, clarify, describe and comment on various subjects related to Islam. • Both ‘Shari’ah’ (Islamic Divine Law and

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moral code) and ‘Fiqh’ (Islamic Jurisprudence) rely on Arabic sources as they are from the Qur’an and Sunnah. • The Prophet (pbuh) was born in Makkah in Arabia, around 570 AD. He did not know how to read or write. The Qur’an was revealed to him in Arabic, over a period of twenty years. • The uniqueness of the Qur’an’s language cannot be substituted by another language. Hence, Arabic is the only language that perfectly conveys the message of the Qur’an. • The Arabic language has a unifying role in this whole context. Being the one and only language of the sources of Islam, its use does not only serve to unify the faith, but also to protect these sources from alteration.


The Language of the Qur’an Allah, The Most High, chose to reveal the Qur’an, the miracle that was bestowed upon us, in Arabic. This in itself acts as a sufficient reason as to why we should learn Arabic. Allah, The Most High, states in the Holy Qur’an: “Verily, We sent It down as an Arabic Qur’an in order that you may understand”. [Qur’an, Surah Yusuf: Prophet Joseph, 12:2] This particular verse alludes to us that Arabic holds a certain level of superiority to all other languages of the world. It is superior in nature as it is the language that was revealed by our Creator, thus making it prized and cherished miracle to mankind.

The Language of the Sunnah Ibn Abi Shaybah (may Allah have mercy on him) narrates that Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) once sent a letter to Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari (may Allah be pleased with him) and in it he wrote: “Learn the Sunnah and learn Arabic. Learn the Qur’an in Arabic for it is in Arabic”. In another version he said: “Learn Arabic for it is part and parcel of your religion”. Therefore, understanding Arabic makes your ‘ibadah’ (worship), be it in ‘Salah’ (prayer) or when you send your ‘Salam’ (greetings of peace) to one another, more meaningful. With this, reaching ‘khushoo’ (sincere devotion) in Salah is more achievable as you truly understand the words and stories you recite. When you listen to a ‘khutbah’ (sermon) or when you make ‘du’a’ (supplication) it will truly come from the heart, rather than simply reciting what you have learnt. Knowing Arabic enables you to really listen to the Qu’ran and the Prophetic statements, in which allow you to feel its enormous power.


We must always remember, just as the Qur’an came to us in Arabic, the Sunnah of our Prophet (pbuh) came to us as well. Both of these sources were revealed in Arabic in their wordings, in their idioms, and in their meanings. To ensure meaning is not lost in translation, learning the language will benefit you greatly. As well, the Qu’ran being the words of Allah, The Most High, represent the epitome of perfection and cannot be changed and so why should we not take the time to learn it and show our appreciation for this Miracle to our Creator?

Technique and Tajweed The latter reasons identify the importance of understanding Arabic for reading the Qur’an and the Ahadith. However, once we grasp this concept, we must look further into the rules of the Arabic language such as tajweed. One of the many miracles of the Holy Qur’an is that regardless of the number of times it is recited, one never gets neither tired nor bored with its recitation. Allah, The Most High, says in the Noble Qur’an: “Indeed the Believers are those who tremble with fear when Allah is remembered, and when the verses of the Qur’an are recited before them it increases their belief; and upon Allah they have complete trust”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Anfal: The Spoils of War, 8:2] One of the striking points mentioned in this verse is that when a Believer recites the Noble Qur’an in the correct manner, it increases his faith and belief in Allah. Reciting the Noble Qur’an in the correct manner means to recite it with tajweed.

What is Tajweed? Tajweed means to recite every letter correctly, i.e. from its proper origin of pronunciation coupled with its stipulated attributes. Allah, The

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Most High, says in the Noble Qur’an: “And recite the Qur’an with tarteel (in a slow pleasant tone and style)”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Muzzammil: The Enshrouded One, 73:4] Abdullah bin Masood is reported to have said, “Ali Ibn Abi Talib said to us, “Verily the Messenger of Allah, (pbuh) ordered you to read as were taught”. [Al Mughni by Ibn Qudamah, 1/493] Therefore, the Qur’an should be read in a slow and clear manner, reading it letter by letter.

Obligation of Learning Tajweed Since the Qur’an commands us to recite the Qur’an with tarteel, we should try to read it with tajweed. Tajweed is not like other Islamic sciences in which there is a degree of separation from the Qur’an; instead tajweed and the Qur’an work synonymously. Due to the vastness of the Arabic language, any small mistake in pronunciation of a letter or word may change the meaning of that word. For example, the word ‘qalb’ (with q) means heart, if read ‘kalb’ (with k), it will mean a ‘dog’. This all may seem daunting, but we must always remember that the harder we try to accomplish, the greater the reward is from Allah, In shaa Allah. You may make a mistake or two but you learn from them and Allah does not forget the effort you have put. A’ishah bint Abi Bakr (may Allah be pleased with her), relates that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “Verily the one who recites the Qur’an beautifully, smoothly, and precisely, he will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels. And as for the one who recites with difficulty, stammering or stumbling through its verses, then he will have twice that reward”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

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Glory be to Allah, He, the all Forgiving and Merciful, is always giving us a chance to gain deeds and better ourselves.

The Language of the Ummah Beside all these reasons, there is one that truly resonates in my heart and that is Arabic unites the ‘Ummah’ (the community of Muslims). It is the one language that brings every Muslim, regardless of the colour, background, ethnicity and social status together. In every Salah we recite the same ‘Surah Al-Fatihah’ (The Opener), we gather to the same ‘Adhan’ (call to Prayer) restricted to the country you are living in but heard in every Muslim country, we say the same Salam to one another and we all read the same words in the Qur’an. We are truly united under one language and belief; Arabic and Islam. It is not possible to do justice to the wonders and importance of the Arabic language in such a short space of time. However, I would like to leave you with the following; like any language, Arabic can be difficult to learn, but remember the verse of the Qur’an in which Allah says: “Indeed, We have made it an Arabic Qur’an that you might understand”. [Qur’an, Surah AzZukhruf: The Ornaments of Gold, 43:3) In this globalised, the tools that we need to learn this language are at our fingertips; online, in books and maybe even around the corner, Alhamdulillah. It is time we took advantage of this and increased our knowledge of the Arabic language. It will not only benefit you, the Ummah, and your relationship with the Religion of Allah, The Mighty and Exalted. May Allah give us the correct understanding of this beautiful religion, Islam. Ameen.


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“The first thing for which people will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection will be their salah (prayer). Our Lord, may He be glorified and exalted, will say to His angels - although He knows best - ‘Look at the salah of My slave, whether it is complete or incomplete’. If it is perfect, it will be recorded as perfect, and if something is lacking, He will say, ‘Look and see whether My slave did any voluntary (nafil) prayers’. If he did some voluntary prayers, [Allah] will say, Complete the obligatory actions of My slave from his voluntary actions’. Then all his actions will be dealt with in a similar manner”. [Abu Dawud]

PART II Maryam Issadeen highlights some of the significant events which took place during the blessed months of Ramadhan and Shawwaal throughout Islamic history.


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‘Oh Allah, make the months of Rajab and Sha’baan blessed for us, and let us reach the month of Ramadhan. Ameen’.

Two months ago, the prelude to this article (Ilma Magazine, Issue 12) concluded with this ‘du’a’ (supplication) and with the holy month of Ramadhan a few weeks from beginning, it seems that Allah, The Most High, in His Infinite Mercy and Grace has given many of us this blessed opportunity once more. The blessings and rewards in the month of Ramadhan are endless. To mention a few, sound narrations show that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, that “the reward for performing an optional act of worship is that of an obligatory act of worship, and the reward of an obligatory act of worship is seventy times greater than what it would normally be”. [Sahih Muslim] He also mentioned the generous reward given to one who feeds a fasting person which has been narrated by Zaid Ibn Khalid Al-Juhani (may Allah be pleased with him) as follows: “Whoever provides the food for a fasting person to break his fast with, then for his is the same reward as his (the fasting person’s), without anything being diminished from the reward of the fasting person”. [Al-Tirmidhi: 807]

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The purpose of this article however, rather than to discuss further these bountiful rewards, is to highlight the significance of this month in Islamic history.

The Month of the Qur’an Allah, The Most High, mentions the month of Ramadhan in the Qur’an as follows: “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] As well as addressing some of the ‘fiqh’ (Islamic Jurisprudence) matters concerning fasting, this verse mentions Ramadhan as being the month in which the Qur’an was revealed.


The Holy Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) over a period of approximately twenty three years, beginning in Ramadhan when he was around forty years of age. The revelation came in many forms throughout this period such as through the Angel Jibreel (may Allah exalt his mention) or in the form of a dream. Each year, during Ramadhan, the Messenger (pbuh) would revise the Qur’an with Jibreel. It was narrated by Ubaidullah Ibn Abdullah Ibn Utabah that Abdullah Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) used to say: “The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was the most generous of people, and he was most generous in Ramadhan when Jibreel met him. Jibreel use to meet him every night during the month of Ramadhan and study Qur’an with him”. And he said: ‘When Jibreel met him, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was more generous in doing good than the blowing wind”. [Sunan An-Nasai, 2095]

Events in the Month of Ramadhan Fasting in Ramadhan was made compulsory for Muslims in the second year after ‘Hijrah’, the year the Muslims migrated to Madinah. [Al-Haddad, H., 2014] The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is reported to have fasted for nine consecutive months of Ramadhan before his death in 11 AH (after Hijrah). A number of great battles were fought in the month of Ramadhan, one of the most signifi-


cant of which was the ‘Battle of Badr’. This decisive battle was a remarkable victory for the Muslims who were significantly outnumbered by their opponents, the Makkans (approximately 313 versus 950). Another significant moment in Islamic history for the Muslims was the Conquest of Makkah in 8 AH which also took place during Ramadhan. This event saw the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) leading a group of approximately ten thousand soldiers into Makkah after being driven away eight years previously. The Conquest of Makkah was notably peaceful and bloodless and went on to establish the growth of the Muslims across the Arabian Peninsula and its subsequent empires. A number of noble personalities passed away in the blessed month of Ramadhan. They include: • Khadijah bint Khuwaylid and A’ishah bint Abi Bakr (may Allah be please with them), two of the blessed wives of the Prophet (pbuh) in 10 AH and 58 AH respectively • Abdullah Ibn Umar (the son of Umar Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with them) in 37 AH • Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas (may Allah be pleased with him), the Companion and military commander in 43 AH The end of Ramadhan brings with it a sense of sadness for the passing of the blessed month. Nonetheless, Allah, The Most High, in His Infinite Mercy has provided us with yet another

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blessed month directly after Ramadhan which likewise has numerous rewards.

Shawwaal The tenth month of the Islamic calendar, ‘Shawwaal’ begins by signalling the end of the blessed month of Ramadhan with the day of Eid AlFitr. Besides being a time for happiness and rejoicing (in manners permitted by Islam), Eid Al-Fitr begins with the mandatory paying of ‘Sadaqat Al-Fitr’ (charity given to the poor) by those who are eligible to pay it, so that everyone in society are able to partake in the blessings of the day. The special day also involves a particular prayer, the ‘Eid Prayer’ which is often performed in a large, open congregation to invoke the blessings of Allah, The Most High, and begin the day with His remembrance. The month of Shawwaal is also unique in that it carries with it a momentous reward for those who perform its recommended six fasts. It was narrated from Abu Ayyub (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “Whoever fasts Ramadhan then follows it with six days of Shawwaal, it is as if he fasted for a lifetime”. [Sunan Ibn Majah, 1716] Shawwaal is the first of three months known as ‘Ashhur Al-Hajj’ (the months of Hajj). While the majority of the acts of ‘Hajj’ (pilgrimage to

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Makkah) are performed in the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, it is possible for some of the rites to be completed from the beginning of Shawwaal such as performing an ‘Umrah’ (non-mandatory lesser pilgrimage) ahead of time and later on, re-entering the state of ‘Ihram’ (prohibitions during pilgrimage) and performing the rites of Hajj. This is known as ‘Hajj Tamattu’.

The Battle of Uhud One of the most significant battles in Islamic history, the ‘Battle of Uhud’, took place in Shawwaal 3 AH. Following on from their loss against the Muslims in the ‘Battle of Badr’, the Makkan Pagans once again attacked the Muslims and this time emerged victorious. The Muslims were let down by a number of their archers who left their posts against the command of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) which led to a surprise attack and their subsequent defeat. A number of Muslims were killed in this battle and the Prophet (pbuh) was significantly injured. These historical events and special acts of worship and rewards are only a few of the many attributed to these two noble months in the Islamic Calendar. As we approach this significant period in the year, may Allah, The Most High, grant us all the opportunity to experience the beauty of Ramadhan once again, the ability to make the most of this blessed time and the chance to achieve His Mercy and Forgiveness. Ameen.





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“Allah is only Merciful with those who show mercy to others”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari]

Nasrine Abdirachid explores the concept of charity in Islam and why it is a command from Allah, The Most High, for Believers to be charitable in any way possible.


llah, The Most High, The Most Merciful, provides us with umpteen chances to redeem ourselves and many opportunities to repent. One such way of attaining redemption and repentance is through the act of giving ‘sadaqah’ (voluntary charity). Giving to charity from our wealth, which Allah has blessed us with, is a way of cleansing the soul of sins. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Charity obliterates sins just as water extinguishes fire”. [Al-Tirmidhi, 1527] It is ultimately an act done for the sake of Allah, and thus, as with everything that is prescribed for us to do, it leads to great benefits to oneself and to those around you. It helps oneself to become selfless and also alleviates struggles of the one you are giving to, In shaa Allah. One of the Beautiful Names of Allah is ‘ArRazaq’ (The Provider). Allah, The Most High, provides for you and all His servants. When we have been granted the blessed opportunity to give to charity, we should hasten towards this honourable deed, knowing that Allah is using

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us as a means of providing ‘rizq’ (provisions) to one who is in need. We should hasten towards giving, knowing that Allah has chosen us to reap the rewards and benefits, when He could have easily chosen another servant. We should hasten towards it, knowing that our wealth will not be depleted, as Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), said:“Charity does not decrease wealth, nor does one forgive another except that Allah increases his honor, and no one humbles himself for the sake of Allah except that Allah raises his status”. [Sahih Muslim, 2588] Giving to charity is an extremely humbling act. It reminds us that any wealth we have obtained could not have been without the help of Allah, and without Him we are non-existent. It reminds us that as Allah has been Merciful and Kind unto us, we should also extend mercy to mankind, because the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “Allah is only Merciful with those who show mercy to others”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari]


We can, at times, be disheartened if we do not have any money to give, but Alhamdulillah, giving charity can be done through a various number of means. Aside from the obvious of giving from your wealth; giving your time to another or imparting knowledge can also be a form of giving charity. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “Save yourself from the (Hell) Fire even with half a date (to be given in charity); and if you do not find a half date, then with a good pleasant word”. [Sahih Al-Bhukari] Charity is any act that impacts another human being’s life for the better; through wealth that alleviates their financial struggles, knowledge that allows them to make positive changes in their lives or companionship that improves their standard of living. Volunteering your time to tutor a student, visiting an elderly home or even baking a cake for a neighbour, can all be considered acts of charity. Instill in your heart the nature of being charitable, for even a smile can be an act of giving, Subhan’Allah. I cannot tell you the number of times that a smile from a stranger has lifted my spirits and changed my outlook on the day. Kindness unto others is infectious.

Sadaqah Jaariyah Giving in beneficial knowledge can be classed as ‘Sadaqah Jaariyah’ (ceaseless charity), which is an act of charity that keeps on giving even after you have perished, Subhan’Allah. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “When a man passes away, his good deeds will also come to an end except for three: Sadaqah Jaariyah (ceaseless charity); a knowledge which is beneficial, or a virtuous descendant


who prays for him (for the deceased)”. [Sahih Muslim] Teaching someone the fundamentals of Islam or an ‘ayah’ (verse) from the Qur’an can be a great Sadaqah Jaariyah. Other acts of Sadaqah Jaariyah can be the planting of a tree, the building of a well or even giving a family the seeds and tools to cultivate their own produce. The age old Chinese saying comes to mind: “give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for life”. “Charity starts at home” is something we have all heard many times, but what does this actually entail? It is easy to be charitable towards strangers, but we are less likely to extend the same deed to those closest to us. Our family, spouses, children and parents are also in need of time and knowledge. Small acts of kindness, such as exchanging gifts and spending quality time with family can greatly increase the love and affection in a household.

Zakat While regular, voluntary charity is encouraged in Islam, there is also ‘Zakat’ (obligatory alms giving) that is taxable; the annual obligatory charity that is duty unto every Muslim who can afford to give it. It carries immense weight in rewards and makes up one of Five Pillars of Islam; the Third Pillar. The command to pay Zakat came from Allah in the second year of ‘Hijrah’ (migration to Madinah) when the early Muslims were starting to expand and create community ties. Zakat is a great example of the importance of social co-

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hesion and community welfare in Islam. Whilst Zakat can be very loosely compared to modern day welfare system, it is quite different since the Zakat is governed by Qur’an and ‘Sunnah’ (teachings and practices of the Prophet, peace be upon him) and upon it are certain conditions that need to be fulfilled for both; the giver and receiver. As outlined by the Prophet (pbuh), taxable wealth are all acquired material assets, such as produce, livestock, buried treasures (such as minerals), gold and silver (including personal jewellery and income. Personal assets, such as one’s house or car are not subject to Zakat. The Zakat is usually paid annually, so if a person has owned the assets for a full year, the obligation applies. During the time of the Prophet (pbuh) the flowing currency was gold and silver and Zakat was calculated as being 2.5 percent of overall assets or savings. Paper money is the modern day currency, but is still based on the gold and silver a country has. Since this is the case, the value of gold and silver at the time should be taken into consideration when converting to paper currency in order to properly calculate the amount of Zakat due. Rather than seeing Zakat as a burdensome tax, one must view it as a form of cleansing. Allah says in the Qur’an: “Take, [O, Muhammad], from their wealth a charity by which you purify them… ” [Qur’an, Surah At-Tawba: The Repentance, 9:103] Seeing it as an act of financial worship will lessen feelings of miserliness and increase humility.

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As you drop your last remaining change from your pocket into the paper cup on the floor, or the donation box in your local mosque, what are the first things to cross your mind? Do you worry about your bus fare to go home, the chocolate bar you would have enjoyed or that you should have saved it for a rainy day? When you give to charity, these thoughts are the furthest from your mind. Allah, The Most High, says in the Holy Qur’an: “Those who spend of their goods (in charity) by night and by day in secret and in public shall have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear nor shall they grieve”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah: The Cow, 2:274] The feeling of knowing that your small act made a difference to another individual’s life or state of mind can be highly euphoric. Charity is an act that we should strive towards individually and encourage each other with. Lessons can be learnt from the Companions of the Prophet, may Allah be pleased with them, who would strive to give more than the other from their wealth. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “Envy is not permissible except of two men. A man whom Allah has given the knowledge of the Book and he recites it during the hours of the night, and a man whom Allah has given wealth, and he spends it in charity during the night and the hours of the day”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari, 6.543] May Allah make us among those who give in charity; so much so that our left hand does not know what our right hand has given. Ameen.



“(O Muhammad), We have only made the Qur’an easy in the Arabic language that you may give good tidings thereby to the righteous and warn thereby a hostile people”. [Qur’an, Surah Maryam: Mary, 19:97]


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Anjuma Choudhury explores the customs behind celebrating the most awaited celebration for the Muslims; Eid Al-Fitr.


id in Arabic means ‘feast’, ‘festival’, or ‘holiday’. The word comes from ‘awdat’, which means “to recur” and thus Muslims hope to celebrate both Eids, ‘Eid Al-Fitr’ (end of fasting in Ramadhan) and ‘Eid Al-Adha’ (end of the pilgrimage) annually. Eid Al-Fitr is a day of giving thanks, a day to thank Allah for having been given the opportunity to experience the blessed month of Ramadhan. How many brothers and sisters left this world before the holy month came to its end? How many Muslims passed away before the month had even begun? As such, Eid is way of celebrating Allah’s blessings upon us. May Allah accept our deeds and prayers. Ameen. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had stated that, “For every people (nation) there is a feast, and this is our feast – Eid”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Muslim]

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This understanding of Eid may conflict with the common perception, a day in which to eat excessively and shop unwarranted amounts for. But let’s not forget what we strove to achieve during Ramadhan, which is ‘taqwa’ (God consciousness), and the pleasure of Allah, over our own selves. Eid does not observe worldly matters, for instance, the beginning of the year, the start of an agricultural season, or the changing of the weather. The essence of Eid lies in Muslims coming together to share and acknowledge each other’s joys and blessings for the sake of Allah, The Most High, regardless of their social standing and race. Eid Al-Fitr glorifies our Lord, The Exalted, He who helped us stay upon the right path throughout the month of Ramadhan.


Eid Al-Fitr and its Customs 1. Wear your best clothes Perform ‘ghusl’ (full body-wash according to a specific method and wear the best of clothes. It may be clothes that you have never worn, or the best garments at your disposal; they need not be brand new. For more information on how to perform the ghusl, read Ilma Issue 12 on ‘The Concept of Purity in Islam’.

2. You are allowed to eat Before you leave for congregational prayers, do eat something demonstrating the fast has ended. Anas Ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) did not go out on the morning of Eid Al-Fitr until he had eaten some dates, and he would eat an odd number”. [Sahih AlBukhari, 953]

3. Say Takbir, “Allahu Akbar!” ‘Takbir’ is a form of remembrance of Allah by reciting “Allahu Akbar”, translated as ‘Allah is Most Great’. Implementing this good practice derives from the following verse: “(He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah [i.e. to say Takbir (Allahu Akbar) for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah: The Cow, 2:18] 42

Thus, recite Takbir during the night of Eid from sunset (last day of Ramadhan) until the ‘Imam’ (Religious Community Leader) comes to lead the prayer.

4. Unite through the Eid Prayer The Eid Prayer is an important duty to carry out that day. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) performed the prayer consistently and advised the women to attend: “Let the free women, the virgins, and the menstruating women go out to attend the Eid Prayer, and witness the good and the supplications of the Believers. As for the menstruating women, they should stay away from praying”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari] Many of our brothers and sisters gather together and pray on Eid. The Eid Prayer consists of two ‘rakahs’ (prescribed complete movements and recitations during Prayer) and this is then followed by reciting several times the Takbir. The Imam will end the prayer and give a sermon on his chosen topic. It is highly recommended for you to stay and listen.

5. Eid Greeting Greeting in Islam is a form of ‘du’a’ (supplication) and creates unity amongst the Muslims. Greet your brothers and sisters on the day of Eid by saying ‘Eid Mubarak’, which translates

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as ‘Blessed Eid’. Jubayr Ibn Nufayr said: “At the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him), when people met one another on the day of Eid, they would say, ‘Taqabbal Allaahu minnaa wa minka (May Allah accept from us and from you)”. [Ibn Hajar - Al-Fath, 2:446]

6. Halal Entertainment It is permissible for Muslims to sing ‘nasheeds’ (Islamic vocal music) on Eid. Nasheeds can be performed with the ‘duff,’ a one sided hand instrument making a similar sound to the contemporary drum. Women must perform amongst themselves and not in the presence of men unless the men are their ‘mahrams’ (unmarriageable male kin). A’ishah bint Abi Bakr (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that, “during the days of Mina, on the day of `Eid Al-Adha, two girls were with her, singing and playing on a hand drum. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was present, listening to them with his head under a shawl. Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) then entered and scolded the girls. The Prophet (peace be upon him), uncovering his face, told him, “Let them be, Abu Bakr. These are the days of Eid”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari, 2:987]

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Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“Every action a son of Adam does shall be multiplied - a good action by ten times its value, up to 700 times. Allah says: With the exception of fasting, which belongs to Me, and I reward it accordingly. For, one abandons his desire and food for My sake”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari]


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A Spiritual Detox Hafsa Waseela is in the medical field and is continuing to pursue her studies to reach her ultimate vocation to become a Lecturer specialising in Oncology and Cancer. She is 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

“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] Fasting during the most blessed and spiritually beneficial month of Ramadhan is a detox from the worldly matters and an opportunity to increase our connection with Allah, The Most High. Ramadhan is the ‘Fourth Pillar of Islam’ and

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this is when Muslims all over the world abstain from food, drink, engaging in sexual relations and smoking, from dawn to dusk for twenty nine to thirty days. It is a time for unity but also a combination of religious practices such as ‘Salah’ (Prayer), ‘sawm’ (fasting), reading Qur’an, improving our character, self-accountability, thinking about the poor and giving to charity. Looking after our health and well-being is also vital. Those who are not well, on menstruation, pregnant, or travelling should not be fasting, rather they make up the fast later on. There are many virtues of fasting during Ramadhan. If one realises its importance, they would have wished that Ramadhan was throughout the year. This article will cover some of the spiritual and health benefits of fasting.


Spiritual Benefits Amongst the spiritual aspects of fasting is ‘taqwa’; an Arabic phrase that can be defined by various means such as being constantly conscious of Allah, self-disciplined, self-evaluating and preparing for the Hereafter. “O you who believe fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you so that you can learn taqwa”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah: The Cow, 2:183] We as Muslims are able to increase our closeness to Allah, The Creator, by increasing in Salah, fasting with ‘imaan’ (faith) and improving our ‘adab’ (manners) to become a better person in society, In shaa Allah. Reciting Qur’an during Ramadhan is a further magnificent virtue. The Holy Book of Allah, The Most High, was revealed during this month as a guide to mankind, consisting of a manifestation of right from wrong and a summation of all previous revelations. It is a source of ‘Rahma’ (Mercy) and ‘shifa’ (healing). Imam Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah (may Allah have mercy upon him), has described the spiritual benefits of Ramadhan in a beautiful manner in his book, Zaad Al-Ma’aad: ‘The objective behind fasting is to restrain the soul from (its) desires and to prevent it from those things, which are beloved to it. And its purpose is to control the soul’s strength, so that it can be prepared to attain what is found in it (the fast) from success and joy for the soul. Through the fast, one curbs his hunger and thirst and is reminded of the condition of the hungry stomachs of needy people.

Through fasting, one narrows the passages the Devil has inside the servant (of Allah) by narrowing the passages of food and drink. Also, it prevents the forces of the limbs from getting too accustomed to things that are harmful to it in this world and the Hereafter. And each of the soul’s body limbs and energies can cease their rebelliousness (to Allah) and be harnessed by its bridle. So therefore, the fast is the bridle of those who fear and obey Allah and the shield of those wage war (against desires). And it is a garden for the righteous and devoted servants of Allah. And it is for the Lord of the worlds, over all other actions (done to please Allah). This is since the person who fasts, in fact does nothing. He only abandons his desire and his food for the sake of the One whom he worships. So fasting is an abandonment of those things that the soul loves and desires, preferring instead Allah’s love and contentment. And it is a secret kept between the servant and his Lord – no one else is aware of it. Fasting has an amazing effect in preserving one’s outer limbs and inner capacities as well as protecting the soul from being overtaken by destructive components, which can ruin and destroy it. And it has a remarkable effect in causing all the harmful things that prevent the soul from being healthy to be emptied out. So fasting guards and protects the health of the person’s heart and body limbs. And it returns the soul all that the hands of the desires have taken from it. So it is from the greatest ways of improving one’s taqwa, as Allah says: “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you in order that you attain taqwa”’. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah: The Cow, 2:185]


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The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Fasting is a shield”. [Zaad Al-Ma’aad] He commanded those who had intense desires for marriage but were not able to marry, to observe fasting, making it a shield against those desires (of marriage). When the benefits of fasting are witnessed, one will come to realise that Allah, The Most High, prescribed it as a Rahma for mankind, goodness to them and a protection and shield for them. The obligation to fast in the month of Ramadhan was introduced to the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions in the second year after ‘hijrah’ (migration to Madinah). This was at the point when ‘Tawheed’ (Oneness of Allah) and the Salah had become firmly established in the souls of the Muslims and when they loved the commands of Allah. Their souls were lead to its obligation in gradual steps.

then used as the next source of energy for the body. However, when you continuously do not eat and drink for many days, the muscle protein is then used for energy, which is why those that undergo prolonged starvation look slim and feel weak. Glory be to Allah! Though, this is strictly not encouraged. When we look at the concept of fasting during Ramadhan; we will not reach this stage as our fasting is broken on a daily basis and lasts from dawn to dusk; so the energy we need for our body has been re-fuelled from meals eaten before dawn and at dusk. Allah is truly Merciful. Moreover, not drinking water from dawn to dusk does not cause harm to the body, rather it increases the concentration of bodily fluids and causes a slight dehydration. Water levels in our body are maintained by a process called homeostasis. [Dr. S.Athar, 2008]

When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) died, he had fasted nine Ramadhans in total.

Health Benefits The primary aim of fasting is to adhere to the commands of Allah and submit to Him in sincere devotion, and that thought should never leave our minds, nor should it be overtaken with worldly aims such as losing weight. However, from a health perspective, it should be notified that fasting provides many benefits to the body, and in truth we should not expect any less from an action which Allah obligates upon us. One of the slight differences here is that some of those benefits from fasting are not limited to the Hereafter, but apparent within science and general observation. So what happens when we fast? Glucose is a sugar (monosaccharide) that is stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver which is the body’s main source for energy. When fasting, this storage is used up to provide energy. After, when the glucose is used up, fat is

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Other advantages of fasting are the following: a) Improve ageing and can act as a healing agent The body makes Human Growth Hormone which is synthesised by the pituitary glands. The hormone is needed for growth and development and thus, when we fast, the hormone is produced more and aids in improving our skin. When the energy is being used, dead cells, tissues, tumour cells are excreted from our body. b) Lowering of the blood pressure c) To dissolve and remove toxins stored in fat Amongst the toxins dissolved is mucus that plays a major role in reducing immunity. So by dissolving mucus when we fast; it aids in increasing the immune system to combat many diseases. d) Controlling our diabetes better

Spiritual and Health Intermix! There is also a link between the spiritual and health benefits of fasting in Ramadhan. Consider the advice of our Beloved Prophet (pbuh): It was narrated from Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “When anyone of you is fasting, let him not utter evil or ignorant speech. If anyone speaks to him in an ignorant manner, let him say: ‘I am fasting’”. [Sunan Ibn Majah] This psychologically improves ourselves and can be linked to stabilised blood glucose levels in our body during fasting. This is due to hypoglycaemia after eating, which causes alterations in behaviour. [Dr. S.Athar, 2008] Another benefit is reciting Qur’an that not only provides tranquillity and peace to the heart, mind and soul but it also improves our memory. [Dr. S.Athar, 2008] Lastly, Salah aids in energy output. For each unit of prayer, there are ten excess calories outputs. Even whilst praying, it causes some movement of the joints that keeps the body fit. [Dr. S.Athar, 2008]


Tips for a Healthy and Well-being Summer Ramadhan 1) Having a balanced diet Muslims whom fast during the Ramadhan observe two meals: • Pre-dawn meal (suhoor) • Meal at dusk (iftar) It is essential that the food we eat is simple and contains the necessary carbohydrates, proteins and fats to replace the lost energy. During suhoor, meals should be moderate, and slow-digesting that will give us enough energy for prolonged period of time. Amongst these include complex carbohydrates and fibre-rich foods. For instance, salad, cereal, wheat, oats, semolina, barley and pitta bread, all of which will provide a constant release of energy. Vegetables such as green beans and fruits like apricots, prunes and figs. When we break our fasts with dates, it provides us with a high dosage of energy, to help us recover from what we have lost throughout the day. 2) Drinking plenty of water and fresh juices Drinking fresh fruit juices provides us with energy and has a revitalising effect due to the vitamins it contains. Some people have isotonic drinks to

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replace any minerals lost, such as Lucozade. It is vital to drink lots of water. The kidneys try to maintain water and mineral salts such as potassium and sodium needed for the body but can be lost via sweating, breathing and excretion of urine. Drinking water also helps to prevent headaches and dehydrations. Watermelon is amongst the super-hydrating foods and making drinks from it can give the body the additional water it needs. 3) Say NO to unhealthy cooking methods! Please try to avoid cooking methods that utilises plenty of oil such as deep frying. Alternative healthier options include grilling and baking that aids in keeping the original flavour and maintaining the taste. 4) Reduce the amount of “processed” and “junk food” Deep-fried food and “junk food” such as chips and burgers are void of nutrients. The same applies to high-sugar foods such as sweets. Processed foods consist of high levels of sodium, high-fructose syrup and MSG (enhances flavours). [Dr. Y.Maffei, 2013] Alternative healthier options include eating fruits and vegetables. Baked samosas and chapattis made without oil. Baked or grilled meat and chicken. Homemade pastry using just a single layer. 5) Eat wholegrain food Avoid white food such as white bread made from plain flour, rice, sugar. Instead healthier options include whole grain bread and brown rice.

6) Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning Whilst cooking, it is important to avoid carbon monoxide as it is a poisonous gas that has no odour. It can make one unwell and potentially kill if inhaled at high amounts. When cooking for large amounts of people using very large pots on stoves; it can cause an increase in levels of carbon monoxide (National Health Service, 2014). 7) Light exercise A fifteen minute walk after ‘Fajr’ (pre-dawn prayer) and after iftar is beneficial. If you do lifting; *AVOID* doing too much lift training. An ideal time to lift would be an hour before iftar; that way when you break your fast; it will aid in recovery. Examples of exercise you can do during Ramadhan are squats, bench press and dead lifts. 8) Have short naps It is recommended to have naps between 20 to 30 minutes. The longer the nap, the more likely you feel a sense of unsteadiness. The type of environment influences the ability to fall asleep, so please insure that the location is quiet, comfortable and has fewer distractions. Another tip is to have the nap in the afternoon; following the noon prayer (Dhuhr) where one is feeling tired and has low level of alertness. In addition to this, it will not influence your sleep at night. Having short naps aids in improving performance which includes quick reaction time, less confusion, increase alertness, lower lethargy and provides a good frame of mind. After having naps, be moderate before continuing and or starting with activities that require focus and concentration.

High or low blood pressure If your blood pressure is under control you can fast, In shaa Allah, but you must still speak to your doctor for advice. You should visit your GP prior Ramadhan as the doctor may want to change your medications that you currently take, so that you can take them at pre-dawn meal or after breaking your fast to help control blood pressure whilst fasting. Consuming lots of water also helps. Diabetes

Common Health Issues with Possible Solutions! Heartburn The purpose of the hydrochloric acid presence is to aid in ‘digestion’, (breakdown) of food. The stomach is naturally protected from the acidic environment via ‘sphincters’ (doors that opens and closes to control the amount of food entering and leaving the stomach) and digestive juices. The sphincter that links the food pipe (oesophagus) with the stomach is called the lower oesophageal sphincter and when the hydrochloric acid levels are high in the stomach this causes this sphincter to weaken and this is where you will feel the heartburn. Fasting lowers the amount of hydrochloric acid made in the stomach; however when we think about the food, it causes the production of more hydrochloric acid. Thus, it is important that those who experience heartburn are normally on medication that is taken regularly and should be taken during suhoor. Examples of medication include the popular antacid called Gaviscon, proton pump inhibitors such as Zoton and antihistamines such as Zantac. Peppermint oil is another example as it can relax the smooth muscles of the bowel. Another way in avoiding heartburn is to lower the amount of greasy and spicy food. Before taking any medication, please consult your doctor. 54

Those who have their Diabetes under control, should seek advice from their GP before Ramadhan to discuss treatment plans. Those who inject insulin should not be fasting. All Diabetics should self-monitor their blood glucose levels regularly. Having low levels of glucose in the body can result in sweating, fainting and dizziness and if this occurs; ensure to drink a high sugar content drink. Constipation During suhoor and after breaking the fast, ensure that you eat fruits, vegetables and drink lots of water. What also helps is to eat food that has fibre which includes fruit, vegetables, seeds and nuts. This will aid in bowel movement which will help break down food. If this problem still occurs; ask the GP to prescribe you with laxatives. Overweight Fasting can also lead to gaining weight, when consuming large amounts of food without discipline. Thus, it is important to eat in moderation. Headaches Headaches can occur due to anxiety, not resting regularly, hunger, dehydration, exposure to sunlight and other reasons. To reduce the risk of getting headaches: • Having a balanced diet is essential • Drink lots of water • Having medications such as Paracetamol can also help. • If the weather is hot; stay in the shade. Wearing a hat and sunglasses, would be a good idea too

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If the headaches are persistent then it is best to visit your GP. Dehydration This normally occurs as a result of loss of water by excreting urine, sweat and also breathing. It can be severe and be linked to pains, dizziness, lethargy and even fainting. Thus, it is important to drink a lot of water before fasting and after breaking the fast. It will also help if you are prescribed diuretics, which promotes the production urine. Before taking any medication, please consult your doctor. Menstruation Many are aware that every month girls and women have a certain time where they have their “period” and are not permitted to fast and pray due to it being an impure state. It is important to note that the menstrual flow (bleeding) is a form of cleansing. During that time, the uterine lining will thicken in the hopes of implantation. When this does not happen the uterine lining will shed, a form of cleansing that the body requires in order to prepare for the next month of anticipated pregnancy. If a woman commences her menstruation whilst fasting; she is allowed to eat but out of respect not in the presence of unmarriageable kin. If her menstruation has been terminated, then she should act like a fasting person by abstaining from food and drink. In both of these scenarios, her fast is invalid as menstruating women are unable to fast and have to make up the fasts missed post-Ramadhan.

A’ishah bint Abi Bakr (may Allah be pleased with her) reported from our Beloved Prophet (pbuh) that: “A menstruating woman should keep her Qadha of missed fasts, but there is no Qadha for Salah missed during Menstruation”. [I’laaus Sunan Volume 1 page 372] Once the woman finishes her menstruation, she needs to perform ‘ghusl’ (full body wash according to a specific method) before being able to fast the following day. Read Ilma Issue 12 to learn about the process of ghusl. Pregnancy It is not essential to fast whilst pregnant. Some research suggests that it is not advisable for a pregnant woman to fast. However, during the early stages of pregnancy, if the woman feels that she is fit to fast she can proceed. Islamic Law states, if she is not fit to fast then she can make up the fasts later on. If she is unable to fast, then ‘fidyah’ should be given usually by the husband; this is the charity to give to a poor person covering their food every day in Ramadhan. Moreover, it is permissible for a fasting woman to breastfeed her child. Ramadhan is a blessing for the Muslims as the doors of Paradise are open and the doors of the Hell are closed. Please ensure you look after your health and well-being during Ramadhan and beyond. Let the forthcoming Ramadhan detoxify you spiritually and physically, In shaa Allah. May Allah, The Forgiver, allow us enter the doors of Al-Rayyan and enjoy the bliss of Paradise. Ameen.

Supplication for Healing Sickness “Allahumma Rabban-nasi, adhhibil-ba’sa, washfi, Antash-Shafi, la shifa’a illa shifa’uka, shifaan la yughadiru saqaman”. Translation: O Allah! The Rabb 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 and Sahih Al-Muslim]

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“Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah, he will have a reward. And that reward will be multiplied by ten. I am not saying that “Alif, Laam, Meem” is a letter, rather I am saying that “Alif” is a letter, “Laam” is a letter and “Meem” is a letter”. [Al-Tirmidhi]

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I Intend to Fast Making the ‘niyyah’ (intention) to fast, is vital. This should be performed with sincerity in our hearts and mind before dawn, for the sake of Allah, The Most High. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever does not intend to fast before dawn, there is no fast for him”. [Al.-Tirmidhi, 730]. Ibn Al-Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy upon him) said: “If it crosses a person’s mind that he is going to fast tomorrow, then he has made the intention”. [Al-Ikhtiyarat Al-Fiqhiyyah by Muhammad Ibn Isa Tirmidhi] However, scholars have mentioned that for the month of Ramadhan, the intention to fast for the month itself require only to be done at the beginning of the month. If for whatever reasons the intention is interrupted by breaking the fast due to travel or sickness, for example, the person has to renew their intention to fast when the reason for breaking the fast is no longer present. The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Actions are but by intentions, and everyone shall have but that which he intended…” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, 1; Muslim, 1907]


Thus, it is important that when we fast we do it for the sake of Allah and we need to keep away from ‘riyaa’ (showing off deeds) and from bad intentions as that can invalidate our acts of ‘ibadah’ (worship) and displease Allah, The Most High. Imam Ibn Rajab (may Allah have mercy upon him) said: “Know that performing deeds for other than Allah is of different types. Sometimes, this action might be to show off in its entirety, and thus, one seeks to be seen by the creation for a worldly gain. For example, this is the state that the hypocrites pray in. Allah describes them as follows: “…And when they stand up for As-Salat (the prayer), they stand with laziness and to be seen of men, and they do not remember Allah but little…” [Qur’an, Surah Al-Nisa: The Women, 4:142] Allah, The Most High, also mentions in the Quran: “…And be not like those who come out of their homes boastfully and to be seen of men…” [Qur’an, Surah Al-Anfal: The Spoils of War, 8:47]

The Du’a to Start our Fast “Wa bisawmi ghadinn nawaiytu min shahri Ramadhan”.

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Hafsa Waseela is in the medical field and is continuing to pursue her studies to reach her ultimate vocation to become a Lecturer specialising in Oncology and Cancer. She is 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

Translation: I intend to keep the fast today; in the month of Ramadhan. [Abu Dawud]

Making Du’a at Iftar When we break our fast, it is one of the best times in which ‘du’as’ (supplications) are accepted. On the authority of Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him), it is related that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “There are three people whose du’a is not rejected; the fasting person until he breaks the fast, the just ruler, and the oppressed person, whose du’a Allah lifts above the clouds and opens unto it the doors of Paradise, and Allah says: “I swear by My Honour, verily I shall assist you, even though it may be after some time”. [Ahmad and Al-Tirmidhi] In another narration also on the authority of Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him), it is related that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “Whatever is prayed for at the time of breaking the fast is granted and never refused”. [Al-Tirmidhi] However, many tend to miss making du’a between the last moment of Asr and before Maghrib prayers. This is either due to preparing for the food, gazing at the different savouries, putting it on the table or other tasks. We need to

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try to strive in performing lots of du’a as well as contemplating about the blessings that Allah, has given us and how thousands of people are struggling either due to poverty, war or illhealth.

The Du’a to Break our Fast “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 Dawud]

The Du’a to Break the Fast in Someone’s Home “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. [Abu Dawud, 3:367; Ibn Majah, 1:556]



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A Traveller’s Guide: A Turkish Delight

Istanbul Turkey, the cradle of civilisation, stands firm in the modern world. This delightful country will captivate you with its historical architectural beauty; your senses with its delicious cuisine (see Food Bites on page 71) and warm your heart by the generosity of the Turkish people. Immerse yourself into an amazing journey using all your senses.

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

Istanbul Hagia Sophia Topkapi Palace Sultan Ahmet Mosque The Grand Bazaar Bosphorus Sunset River Cruise

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Country Profile

Turkey Capital: Ankara Largest City: Istanbul Major Languages: Turkish, English Major Religion: Islam (officially secular) Currency: Turkish Lira Climate: Turkey is known for its climate diversity. The coastal regions have Mediterranean climate, perfect for the summer holidays. The Northern regions have an oceanic climate, making it great for exploring the country in the Spring and or Autumn. Its internal regions have Continental climate making it an all year round destination. Best time to Travel: Summer time for the Mediterranean sun; Spring and Autumn for warm weather.

Overview Spreading from Europe to Asia, Turkey is the perfect geographical location, acting as mid-point for the European, Asian and African continents. It has served as a connector between civilisations for centuries. Modern Turkey, as we know it today, was established in 1923 in the foundations of the Turkish Republic succeeding the Ottoman Empire. It has a democratically elected regime with a population of over 75 million citizens. Officially, it is a secular country with no authorised religion since the constitutional amendment in 1924; though over 95 percent of its citizens are Muslims. Turkey has rich history and culture with an open-air museum, the city of Istanbul being the most famous of them all. Turkey has something for every traveller ranging from the great Mediterranean resorts, cave exploration in Anatolia or to a city adventure in Istanbul. This delightful country will keep you in awe. It is no surprise that Turkey ranked as the sixth most popular holiday destination, in the world, with over 30 million tourists visiting every year [figures released by Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism].


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Hagia Sophia

Istanbul is a cosmopolitan city, welcoming people from diverse backgrounds, making visitors feel at home. It has a European ambiance, yet it preserves its deep cultural and religious roots. With thousands of mosques spread across the city you can hear the beautiful ‘Adhan’ (call to Prayer) throughout the day. It is one of the most famous touristic cities in the world with over four million yearly visitors.

This is one of the most famous historical sites in Istanbul and in my opinion one of the most beautiful ones. Hagia Sophia was commissioned by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in 537 CE and served as a church until 1453 CE when the Ottomans occupied Istanbul, led by Mehmed the Conqueror, converted the church into a mosque. It was then secularised almost 500 years later by the late President Ataturk, converting the mosque into a museum due to its historical, religious and architectural significance.

Istanbul is a culturally rich city with beautiful architecture and centuries of historic sites established by the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. When you enter Istanbul, you are at the door of Europe and Asia with only a few steps separating the two continents, amidst history dating back to 300 thousand years. A mosaic of cultures, religions and civilisations collectively in one place. It is home to some of the most important and beautiful historic sites in the world. It takes only minutes to fall in love with this delightful city. No wonder it is the most visited city in Turkey and for good reasons too.

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Rebuilt three times at the same site, Hagia Sophia houses the museum with an outstanding mosaic and cultural collection. You will see a mixture of Christian and Islamic traditions, such as the ‘minbar’, where the ‘Imam’ (Religious Community Leader) in the centre of Hagia Sophia as well as glimpses of Christian icons revealing themselves through the restoration process. Hagia Sophia has different opening times during the Summer and Winter and it is closed to the public on Mondays. To find out more about this iconic building, visit this website:


Topkapi Palace If you always wanted to see how the Sultans lived and all the mystery tales surrounded their existence, then a visit to Topkapi Palace is a must! Topkapi is one of the best preserved examples of the Ottoman Palaces that we have today and it is acknowledged as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985. The palace was built in a strategic location alongside the ‘Bosphorus’ (boundary between Asia and Europe) in 1453 until 1856.Topkapi was not only used as a palace but served as the heart of the Ottoman Empire. Virtually every important function of the Empire was located within this palace. It was the centre of the administrative affairs where the Council of Ministers met and hosted the Treasury and the Sultan’s university; the most excellent educational institution in higher education at that time. The best way to explore Topkapi and avoid the long wait will be to start with the ‘Harem’. This is where the Sultan’s personal quarters are situated. Entry is on a first come first serve basis and they only let in a limited number of people each time. Then you can continue your exploration through the Treasury where you can see the exhibits of priceless jewels, gold and works of art. Lastly, enjoy a stroll down the magnificent gardens of the palace and courtyards. The palace is open daily except on Tuesdays and it operates during the Winter and Summer. You can find more information here:


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Sultan Ahmet Mosque The Sultan Ahmet Mosque or popularly known as the ‘Blue Mosque’, due to the blue tiles of its interior, leaves the visitor in wonder. It is one of the most popular and well known mosques in Istanbul today and it is located in the Sultan Ahmet vicinity which is only steps away from Hagia Sophia and the Grand Bazaar. The mosque was built by Sultan Ahmet I from 1609 to 1616 and today it can facilitate up to 10,000 worshipers. Just outside the mosque there is a resting area and I would highly recommend it for you to relax and enjoy the view of its exterior, before admiring the beautifully decorated interior. In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI visited the Sultan Ahmet Mosque during his visit to Turkey which marked only the second Papal to visit, in the history, a Muslim place of worship. The mosque is also a museum where many tourists can enter and visit during nonprayer times. As with any other mosque etiquettes, appropriate dress code of long sleeves and long skirts is advisable. Scarves and skirts are also available to borrow and are free of charge at the entrance of the mosque on a first come first serve basis.


et Mo tan Ahm




The Grand Bazaar It is regarded as one of the largest and oldest shopping centres in the world; The Grand Bazaar has become a shopper’s favourite place. It has a thriving and lively atmosphere that is lost today in many of the modern shopping malls. The Grand Bazaar consists of 61 streets with over 3,000 shops employing 26,000 people and has approximately 300,000 daily visitors. It is a great way to spend a day exploring all the stores and what they have to offer. Everything is up for bartering and you should never pay full price for anything. The Turkish shop owners in the Grand Bazaar are some of the best sales people I have met! You are easily convinced to buy something that you most likely do not need. You can find pretty much anything from European clothes, gold jewellery, Turkish carpets, and souvenirs to accessories. Do avoid buying imitation designer items! The bazaar is open from 9am to 7pm except Sundays and Bank Holidays, and it is within walking distance from Sultan Ahmet Mosque and Sirkeci tram stops. Ilma Magazine / Issue 13

THE GR AND BA Istanbul


Bosphorus Sunset River Cruise One of the best ways to explore the complete city, and my personal favourite, is the Bosphorus Cruise. The cruise gives you the opportunity to see Istanbul and many of the historical sites from sea, while you are travelling between the European side and Asian side. It is there that the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea come together. If you go during sunset, you will be able to see the lights on the Bosphorus Bridge that change colours as well as the beautiful hues of the waterway – ‘Golden Horn’.


rus Cru is




There are many different options when it comes to cruising on the Bosphorus. It can take from a few minutes to a full day. If you want to just cross the Bosphorus, you can use the local ferry that would take you from the European side to the Asian side. If you want a more leisurely experience then you can have dinner on the cruise and enjoy the city and its picturesque views.

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Making the Most of Istanbul Exploring The best way to explore Istanbul is on foot or use the extremely tourist friendly “tram”. It is cheap and easy to navigate from the airport to the majority of the historic sites in Istanbul. It is a great way to familiarise yourself with the city. If you are short of time and would like to make the most of your visit, I would recommend using one of the tour bus companies. It will cost you a little extra, but you have the opportunity to listen to some of the city’s historical narrative, as well as see some of the sites from the tour bus. You can always hop on and off and explore anything that might interest you in detail.

Museums Depending on how many museums and places you would like to visit during your stay in Istanbul, I would recommend for you to purchase the ‘Istanbul Museum Pass’ which can save you a lot of money and time. Buying the pass is trouble-free and it gives you access to museums for three or five days. In addition, the pass helps you skip the ticket queues which can be long, especially at very popular touristic sites. For more information visit:

Frauds Even though Istanbul is relatively a safe city with regards to criminal activity, it is worth knowing that it is popular for its frauds. As with any popular tourist destination, you should always take care of your personal belongings and never leave them unattended. Pickpocketing is something you can see often in Istanbul and it is highly advisable to keep your phone or money in your front pockets. It is also advisable for you to stay clear from people who would approach you while on the streets, offering you guidance or services without initially asking.

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The ‘du’a’ (supplication) to break our fast is:

“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 Dawud]

Elena Nikolova is the creator of She helps Muslims travel the world in style without breaking the bank. Follow Elena on Twitter


Turkish Style in Ramadhan Turkish cuisine is as expected, a fusion of all other cultural influences. Not too spicy but rich in taste, it is one of the most famous and delicious cuisines. Modern day Turkish food culture has been largely influenced by the Ottoman cuisine and it has a mixture of South Asian, Balkan, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavours. Depending on the area you are visiting in Turkey, you will find different Turkish delicacies that have been prepared and grown by their owners. For example, the Balkan side of Turkey near the Black Sea enjoys a lot of fish while the Anatolian side is heavily influenced by their neighbours in Central Asia, and uses a variety of spices. On the Western side of Turkey, Aegean and Cyprus enjoys more of a Mediterranean style food. I recommend you treat yourself with some easy and enjoyable Turkish dishes for you to try in Ramadhan. The recipes I have chosen for ‘Iftar’ (the evening meal after breaking the fast) and ‘Suhoor’ (pre-dawn meal before the fast starts) are delicious and less time consuming, giving you more time to focus more on what matters the most; worshiping Allah, The Most High.

Ilma Magazine / Issue 13



Kofte with Red Sauce Preperation Time: 15 mins Cooking Time: 40 mins

choose fro m to eat; There are many tasty dishes to st try is the ‘Turkish however one of my favourite mu s can be considere d a Kofte’. Kofte or Turkish meatball e. stable foo d in the Turkish cuisin

ser ve d in a variety It is easy to prepare an d can be as a san dw ich. If yo u of ways with rice, bread or even u dine in a restaurant pass by an airport lounge or yo y will have it on their in Istanbul, yo u will fin d that the menu.

Ingredients (Ser ves 4) b • 750 g Minced Beef or Lam • 4 slices of Bread Cru mbs • 2 Garlic Clo ves Crushe d • 1 tsp Cumin Pow der

• 1 tsp Paprika Pow der ing • Salt and Pepper for season


For the sauce 2 tbsp of Tomato

2 Tomatoes cho ppe d 1 tsp of Cumin Pow der

Salt and Pepper for seasoning 1 tbsp Olive Oil 1/2 cup Water

Ilma Magazine / Issue 13


1. Take your minced meat and add in the bread cru mbs, cumin, gar lic, paprika, salt and pepper in large bowl. Use your han ds to mix in the ingredients and mash the mince into more of a paste. Leave the mince in the fridge for abo ut thirty min utes for the ingredients to blend. 2. Once rea dy, take abo ut a tab lespoon of the mince mixture and shape into an oval shape. Repeat the process until you fini sh all your mince. You might wan t to fry your meatballs briefly and let them dry on a pap er tower. 3. In a separate bowl, put the tom ato puree, tomatoes, cumin season ing and olive oil, and mix together. Then add in half a cup of water. You do not want a thick paste. 4. Then place your Kofte onto a tray or glass dish that is abo ut two inch deep and cover the Kofte with your paste mixtur e. Use a spo on to do this. Make sure it does not spill. 5. Place the tray in an oven, pre heated at 170 degrees C/Gas 3. Cook until your sauce has thickened and your Kofte are pre pared. You can ser ve the Kofte with rice , pasta or on bread and have sala d on the side. Ilma Magazine / Issue 13



Menemen Preperation Time: 10 mins Cooking Time: 10 mins


Ilma Magazine / Issue 13

eakfast ma de with Menemen’ is a classic Turkish br is thought the dish eggs, tomatoes an d peppers. It the North of Izmir takes its name fro m Menemen in po pular dish not only Province; however it is a wi dely an d North African in Turkey but also in the Balkans reg ion. ions of this dish an d There are many different variat adds feta cheese, tra ditionally my Bulgarian family eless, it always a little chilly an d olive oil. Neverth eggs, peppers an d contains the main ingre dients of brings the family tomatoes. Menemen is a dish that the mi ddle of the together, placing the hot pan in enjoy. It is the table for ever yone to share an d ring Rama dhan! perfect dish to start yo ur fast du

Ingredients (Ser ves 2)

4 Eggs 2 tbsp of Olive Oil or Butter s 2 finely cho ppe d Green Pepper ppe d cho and 3 me diu m size d peeled Tomatoes • 1 Onion finely cho ppe d for seasoning • 1/4 tsp of Salt and Pepper

• • • •

Additional Ingredients

such • 1/2 cup of White Cheese as Feta taste) • Chili Pepper or Flakes (to • Olives (to taste) • Parsley (to • Natural Yogurt as side dish taste)

Preparation 1. Beg in by adding oil or butter in a pan and fry the onions with out browning. 2. Add your peppers and cook aga in until they become soft. 3. Then add the tomatoes, salt and pepper. Allow the mixture to coo k for three to five minutes until the tomatoes beg in to soften. If the mixture becomes dry add som e water. 4. Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl, and then pour them into the pan with the rest of the cooked tomatoes, onions and peppers. A dd in the Chilli Flakes and mix wel l. Keep stir ring till the eggs are scrambled and everything has bee n mixed together. You want to mak e sure your ingredients do not become too dry as you want it to be of a wet consistency. If this happens add few spo ons of water. 5. Once the eggs are almost coo ked you can add the white cheese , olives and some parsley. You always ser ve Menemen with war m toasted bread or pitta. Enj oy!

Ilma Magazine / Issue 13


Hafsa Waseela recommends her favourite books for you to read.

You can be the Happiest Woman in the World by Dr. Aaidh Ibn Abdullah Al-Qarni, Al-Riyadh: International Islamic Publishing House (2005) The moment my eyes anxiously laid on the title of the book ‘You can be the Happiest Woman in the World’. I felt as this book was meant for me and surely it could also relate to many other sisters. It reached out to my heart, my eyes filled with tears and I felt a veil of wind was removed across my face.

Available at all Islamic Bookshops


All the weights of responsibilities in this world will result in reduction in the amount of time we have for ourselves, leaving us tired and spiritually exhausted. In response to this, Dr Al-Qarni boosts our self-esteem by encouraging sisters to rejoice in our beautiful religion, Islam, and the blessings Allah, The Most High, has blessed us with. He reminds us that we are honourable and notable, and puts an emphasis on the importance of the woman, that she is a daughter, mother, wife and more importantly, a human being. Therefore, the Muslim woman plays a significant role in society. Performing well in these roles will grant us Paradise, In shaa Allah. After reading this book, you should feel peace, contentment and happiness. Love will rush through your body, mind and soul and you will be able to build healthy relationships with your family, colleagues and friends. Ilma Magazine / Issue 13

“Knowledge exists potentially in the human soul like the seed in the soil; by learning the potential becomes actual”. Imam Al-Ghazali (May Allah have mercy on him)

Death by Dr Asra Rasheed, Birmingham: Al-Hidaayah Publishing (2001) We will all die one day, a promise from Allah, The Most High. Death is the passageway between this world and the Hereafter. This is the indiscriminate reality in which we will all encounter. However, the majority of us like to keep it out of our minds. Dr Asra Rasheed, describes death in this 76 paged book, as an end to all ambitions that has the potential to dominate and influence our psyche. How we visualise death is vital and the time spent contemplating about it is also important. The book is easy to understand and follow, and it spiritually feeds and reminds us of our purpose and why we are here today. “O man! Verily, you are returning towards your Lord with your deeds and actions (good or bad), a sure returning, so you will meet Him”. [Qur’an, Surah Al Inshiqaq: The Sundering, 84:6]

Available at all Islamic Bookshops

As Allah, The Most High, has created us to worship Him and how we live our lives will determine whether we have a good death or not. “And I have not created Jinn and Mankind except for My worship”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Dhariyat, The Winnowing Winds, 51:56] We need to pray each day for Allah, The Most High, to Forgive us and have Mercy upon us on the Day of Judgement as we do not know when and how we will die.

Ilma Magazine / Issue 13


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Ilma Magazine / Issue 13

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Ilma Magazine / Issue 13



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Ilma Magazine / Issue 13


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“The philosophy of fasting calls upon us to know ourselves, to master ourselves, and to discipline ourselves better to free ourselves. To fast is to identify our dependencies, and free ourselves from them�. Professor Tariq Ramadan

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