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Live, Learn & Inspire www.thedawahproject.com Winter Edition 2016 | Issue 22

“And We will surely test you with something of fear...”

Why is it Important That We Engage? A Prophetic Invitation

Order your copy of Migo & Ali Love for the Prophets


The Dawah Project Management Chairman: Mohamed Ali Harrath Managing Director: Abdullah Khan

Editorial Team Managing Editor: Anjuma Choudhury Content and Copy Editors: Aseel Saif, Manija Omar and Ayesha Ashiq Religious Content Editors: Raiyyan Clementson and Ahmad Illo Creative and Visual Director: Muhammad Abdulmateen Writers: Yeota Imam-Rashid, Adama Munu, Zohaib Asem, Maleeha Hasan, Hannah Morris, Manija Omar and Nasrine Abdirachid Contributors: Shahina Khatun, Aldo D’Andrea, Anum Babar and Layla S. Rodrigues Special thanks to our readers, supporters and Islam Channel. For more information about advertising, marketing, sponsorship and writing for Ilma, email us at ilmamag@thedawahproject.com Ilma Magazine is published by The Dawah Project and subscription is free. All rights reserved by The Dawah Project. Reproduction in whole or in part without written consent/permission is strictly prohibited. The opinion expressed in each article is the opinion of its author and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Dawah Project. Therefore, The Dawah Project carries no responsibility for the opinion expressed thereon. Š 2017 Registered Office: The Dawah Project Ltd 14 Bonhill Street London EC2A 4BX Contact Number: 0207 330 1744 (Mon - Fri, 9am - 6pm) www.thedawahproject.com LinkedIn: the-dawah-project Registered Charity Number - 1133424 www.facebook.com/Dawah.Project www.twitter.com/TheDawahProject www.youtube.com/user/TheDawahProjectLtd the_dawah_project


CONTENTS Editorial: Islam, Media & Engagement

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Reflection: 08

Dawah in the 21st Century

By Yeota Imam-Rashid

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20 16 10

A Prophetic Invitation By Zohaib Asem

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Islam and the Media By Adama Munu

Women’s AM Corner

Mus’ab ibn Umair: A Legacy of Dawah By Maleeha Hasan

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Fear Not By Manija Omar


The Etiquettes of Seeking Knowlegde Online

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By Nasrine Abdirachid

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A Traveller’s Guide:

Zambia: Diary of a Safari Adventure By Yeota Imam-Rashid

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Food Bites:

A Taste of Zambia By Manija Omar

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67 52

BODY MIND SOUL:

The Ear By Hannah Morris

Recommended Reading By Anum Babar

71 Islam Channel Programmes

Religious Programmes showing in Winter 2016/17


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

Islam, Media & Engagement Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh Dear readers, 2016 has been an eventful year, a year filled with accomplishments and disappointments. What stood out the most is this shift in political rhetoric, where it has become more direct, but certainly not progressive. Our outward and inward identity came under question - Is the Islamic headcover ‘hijab’ oppressive?” “Does Islam promote violence?” Definitely not, and because of changes and major problems in international relations, the Muslim community across the globe is persistently challenged by the mainstream media and politics. In spite of the challenges we face, our deen (religion) teaches us how to deal with fear, hatred and prejudice. Media is not an entity, but a medium that is crucial for dialogue and sharing information. Due to advancement in technology and communication, access to media has become easily available than ever before, resulting in a more globalised world. Although individuals are either uncertain or set on various political, social and even religious matters; it is important to recognise that without deep knowledge of objective and subjective history, we cannot understand the present. For instance, news reports about current events that are unconstructive and sometimes biased have created

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a negative perception of Islam and Muslims amongst the public. Thus, as an Islamic media education charity, The Dawah Project conveys a sound narrative of Islam and the Muslim community in its reality and purest form that is supported by high-quality research and studies carried out by our distinguished scholars whether it is via a religious TV programme or an e-magazine. It may seem surprising to know that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was an activist in his youth, much before his prophethood. A beautiful example was when the young shabab played an important role in forming a confederacy of the different tribes of Makkah, so that violence, injustice and vindicating the rights of the weak were suppressed. It was through the Prophet’s (pbuh) beautiful conduct that Islam was able to reach hearts and minds, even in challenging and difficult times. Therefore, engagement is part of the Muslim tradition and as men, women and youth; we are entrusted by Allah, The Most High, to be in constant service to our religion and humanity. We hope you enjoy reading this arresting issue on ‘Islam, Media & Engagement’ and share the knowledge with others. Jazakumullahu Khairan Ilma Editorial Team

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REFLECTION //

Dawah in the 21st Century Yeota Imam-Rashid, the head of Women’s Programming at Islam Channel, explains the meaning of dawah and the ways we can engage in dawah in the 21st century. Follow Yeota on Twitter: @Ye0ta

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e know that Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) was the greatest dawah carrier in the world and through him, mankind was given the word of truth through the archangel Jibril (may Allah exalt his mention).   Now, this word dawah is something we hear often. It means ‘to invite’ or an ‘invitation to the truth’. It has been expressed in the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah (prophetic teachings and practices) as ‘enjoining the good’, ‘forbidding the evil’, ‘recommending one another to the truth’, ‘advice’, ‘debating and discussing with the people in the manner which is best’.   This last definition personifies how the Prophet (pbuh) gave dawah to people around him and it is now more important than ever, for us to look back at his example and emulate how he (pbuh) confronted all the negative ‘press’ he received. And

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believe me; the similarities between his (pbuh) era and ours are uncanny.  Whilst he was falsely mocked and ridiculed for being a ‘liar’, a ‘soothsayer’, a ‘madman’ and a ‘magician’, we see around us today how Islam is also being mocked and ridiculed in the media for being ‘barbaric’, ‘extreme’, ‘oppressive’ and ‘backward’; the list goes on.   Whilst it was the Quraysh, during the Prophet’s (pbuh) time who were spreading lies about Islam and its teachings in their gatherings, marketplaces and through their poetry, today we find that it is the media that is being used as a tool to constantly attack this deen (religion).    However, one must not become disillusioned about the frequency of the attacks, but instead focus on how the Prophet (pbuh) and his small group of early followers reacted to the negativity around them. They did not retaliate and con-

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demn nor get into fiery arguments with family and abandon them; instead, their reactions were calm, measured, dignified, and honourable; something unheard of compared to those who opposed them.   In Suratul Hijr, Allah says, “Then declare what you are commanded and turn away from the polytheists”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Hijr: The Rocky Tract, 15:94] When this verse was revealed, the small band of Muslims came out into the streets of Madinah in two rows headed by Umar ibn Al-Khattab and Hamza ibn Abdul-Muttalib (may Allah be pleased with them), marching out in a line, linked arm in arm, proclaiming “La ilaha illallah” (There is no God but Allah). This shocked the Quraysh. This was something they had never seen before; the Muslims, coming together in an organised fashion, unabated, proclaiming their message, so confidently, out in public.    Now fast-forward 1400 years and whilst the techniques to create impact may have changed, the effect certainly has not. Methods, such as speaking to crowds and marching into society may have been replaced by tweets, statuses and memes, but the ability to stir and lead people certainly has not.

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This edition of Ilma Magazine talks about just that, the ways we can carry the call to Islam in dynamic ways, to tackle the onslaught that is being spread not just through the media, but also through politicians and leaders of nations. This is more prevalent now, more than ever with the current change in the political scene. Domestic policies are generating a fear of Islam and Muslims, and Islamophobia will continue to rise. The best tool we have is engagement. Engagement in dialogue with people around us–be it, neighbours, work colleagues and our acquaintances.   We know how powerful social media is and so let us use it to our advantage! Update Facebook statuses with short comments about Islam or expose the hypocrisy you see happening around you as often as you can. Use Twitter and hashtags to inspire people about Islam and its teachings, and advise those around you in your community, who have the ability to speak accurately and effectively, to take part.   Let us be as creative as possible because if we cannot spare a few minutes to correct a wrong spoken of our deen, what standing will we have on the Day when all we have, on our side, is our deeds to carry us forward? 

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ne may question the reasons and benefits for giving dawah. Why do we bother? What will we gain from this? The answers to these questions are of many, but the main purpose of dawah is to invite people to Islam by reminding them of what they initially ignored or enlightening them in regards to what we truly believe to be the most important way of life. Where they came from, who created them and what the purpose of their existence is are many of the questions answered with pure logic and reasoning when giving dawah. Giving dawah is an obligation upon every Muslim in order to guide people towards the righteous path, but this is not only limited to guiding non-Muslims. Muslims must be reminded of their duty towards Allah, The Most High, the duty that many of us forget whilst living our lives in this dunya (temporal world). The purpose of giving dawah is not to convert people to Is-

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lam, but merely to inform, educate and invite others to tawheed (the oneness of Allah) and His Deen (way of life or creed). Islam means submission to Allah, The Most High, in order to bring tranquillity into the hearts of the Believers. It is considered as one of the greatest acts in Islam and signifies pure devotion. The Prophets (peace be upon them) were sent to earth as messengers to lead people towards morality and Allah’s way of life, especially during the times of widespread fitnah (trial, civil strife). But it was not only their duty as messengers, meaning it should not have ended there, rather it is a continuous process and makes the ummah (community) responsible for the spread of Islam and knowledge, and to eliminate any form of ignorance regarding our religion and its teachings. “And let there be (arising) from you a nation inviting to (all that is) good, enjoining what is

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BENEFITS OF DAWAH //

A Prophetic Invitation Zohaib Asem is a university student studying English Language and Linguistics, aspiring to become a journalist. He explores how Islam was initially spread and what the Muslims of today can do to spread the divine message.

right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful”. [Qur’an, Surah Aali ‘Imran: Family of Imran, 3:104] Over time, people forget this because they indulge in the worldly life, which was created as an illusion and is also a test for us. “Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children”. [Quran, Surah Al-Hadid: The Iron, 57:20] The example of an individual indulged in this world’s luxuries is like a boat floating on water. The world is like the ocean and our hearts are like ships. We can use the ocean for our needs and as a means to survive until we reach our final destination. However, if you overload the boat, it may cause some of the water to seep in due to the weight of the ship pushing it down.

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The main point is that this dunya is only something to pass through. Allowing some of that ocean water into the boat is what makes us sink. That is when the heart is held hostage and the world takes control of us. All the Prophets (peace be upon them) essentially taught tawheed, but this message was rejected by many people and the messengers were often accused of being mad or magicians. Allah, The Most High, ensures Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that, “You are not (O Muhammad), by the favour of your Lord, a madman, rather it is the disbelieving and arrogant who are deluded”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Qalam: The Pen, 68:2] We can, therefore, see that it is completely normal to receive opposition, whilst giving dawah, but to persevere and overcome this feeling of rejection is what makes us the people of hope who strive for the cause of Allah, and what a noble way of life that is.

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“And let there be (arising) from you a nation inviting to (all that is) good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful”. [Qur’an, Surah Aali ‘Imran: Family of Imran, 3:104]

Often, people feel that it is their responsibility to change people’s beliefs and if they cannot, then they are ineffective. This is not the way dawah should be done. There are many instances where during ‘street dawah’, brothers and sisters make it their mission to grab as many shahadah (declaration of faith) as they can, but the worrying issue here lies in the fact that there are often no pastoral care and our new Muslim brothers and sisters are made to feel alone even after taking shahadah. There have been situations where brothers and sisters have often left Islam because of this. The key thing about giving dawah is that our role is merely to remind and inform people about Islam and guide them to the righteous path. “So remind (O Muhammad); you are only a reminder. You are not over them, a controller”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Ghashiyah: The Overwhelming, 88:21-22] Therefore, people have free-will and it is Allah who will guide them if He wills. It is also important to follow up and build relationships with those you are giving dawah to.

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Muslims must realise that the strongest response to anything that is against Islam or Muslims is their self-image, displaying ihsaan (excellence) in behaviour and character. However, informing others about Islam and showing them the right path but not practicing it yourself is a sign of hypocrisy, a major sin in Islam. “O you who have believed, why do you say what you do not do? Great is hatred in the sight of Allah that you say what you do not do”. [Qur’an, Surah As-Saf: The Ranks, 61:2-3] Sheikh Mohammed Faqih narrated an example of a non-Muslim man who wanted to learn more about Islam and intended to convert after. An imam (community leader) of the local mosque assisted him in doing so. As he was about to take shahadah, a regular attendant of the mosque approached the imam to talk and left shortly after. The man asked who that was and so the imam told him that he was a practising Muslim and asked why he was wondering. The man then said, “I’ve seen that man before. He is the owner of a liquor store. I know that in

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Islam, drinking and even selling alcohol is forbidden. I do not want to accept Islam. If Islam isn’t good enough to change a practising Muslim’s conduct, then how will I expect Islam to change me?” Therefore, if people portray the correct Islamic conduct in their daily lives, then their neighbours, co-workers and acquaintances who know them will be less inclined to believe the negative portrayal of Islam and Muslims. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) feared for the people and so he had to constantly remind them of their duties towards Allah, The Most High. He greatly loved his ummah and was firm that dawah would work by sincerely displaying good character and conduct. For instance, the incident in Ta’if, where the angel Jibril (may Allah exalt his mention) was commanded to leave the people and not to punish them for what they have done because the Prophet (pbuh) had firm belief that they will be guided. He was right as they eventually accepted Islam. Our Prophet (pbuh) would cry and pray in desperation for those who were not able to meet

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him, saying, “my ummah, my ummah, my ummah” because he cared about his beloved people and wanted the best for us. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) began his dawah with a handful of people, beginning with his family. His beloved wife, Khadijah Bint Khuwaylid (may Allah be pleased with her) was the first person to accept Islam. He then slowly took it outside the private sphere and spread the message all over Makkah. This was a slow process; it took consistency, patience and perseverance. With all the negative press we receive, we should be more mindful in our conduct as Muslims, i.e. offering our seats on the train to the elderly, smiling at people and being helpful to those around us. Naturally, people would start to be receptive to indirect dawah; it is all about changing perspectives. Not only do we want to expand the ummah, but we also want to ensure that it consists of excellent Muslims, which depends on us as individuals displaying good character.

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Š L.S. Rodrigues 2017 Layla S. Rodrigues is an author and poet of mixed heritage, Portuguese and Angolan. Born in Madeira and relocated to England in 1994, she found Islam at 18 years old and has never looked back since. She is currently residing in Wales with her three children and uses her surroundings as a source of inspiration. Website: www.lsrodrigues.co.uk 14

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Just breathe because in the midst of this pain there is a reason to live Just breathe and allow anxiety to leave your mind Just breathe because today is not the day the world ends breathe because him leaving you and breaking your heart to pieces is not a reason to decease from this world Through loving him you lost yourself Now that you lost him it’s time to find you live for today don’t grieve about the worries of tomorrow Instead, lift your hands up And scream, “Ya Allah hold me” for surely your Creator will answer you for surely your Creator will provide for you, food, clothing and shelter For your Lord is Al-Razzaq The Giver of gifts The One who loves the creation And is full of mercy For your Lord is Ar-Rahman Your Creator will take away your sorrow your Creator is Al-Jabbar Just breathe You come from a lineage of lionesses dig deep and find the strength that has been passed on through generations Feel the pain but don’t allow it to consume you don’t allow it to destroy you Turn to Al-Malik For the King is in charge of everything Just breathe focus on the things that are amazing around you breathe for your children for they need you Just breathe because Al-Wadud stands with you You see Al-Wakeel has never deserted you Al-Muhsi is just testing you so that Al-Hadi can bring about what is better for you Just breathe Allow Ar-Rashid’s plan to unfold Just try to hold on We have been told That, As-Salam is with the sabiroon So be patient and be resilient Just breathe For surely with hardship comes ease

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Adama Munu is a both a journalist and TV producer at the Islam Channel. But when she is not working on screen, she is musing over African history with a caramel latte at hand...You can catch up with her on Twitter: @adamajmunu

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Why is it important that we engage? If there is something pivotal in our lives today, it is our engagement with the media. Laptops, smartphones, tablets and yes, even good old-school media, such as television and radio gives us round the clock information; posts, tweets and videos on social media that make it almost unthinkable how we can do without but I guess that would make for another article. Unfortunately, there is something else in this grand scheme of things, that we as a community have also learnt to live with and that is the normalisation of a deep-rooted hatred and cynicism against Muslim communities. Post 9/11 and 7/7 terror attacks were watershed moments unmatched in recent modern history. The deep divide hailed by Islamophobes and orientalists alike have set alight divisions in our respective societies and with the increase of attacks in mainland Europe, North America and even in those countries considered Muslim majorities, Islamophobia is no longer a side narrative for us, it is a part of how we perceive the world and how we are perceived today. As a journalist, I only know too well how the airwaves can carry such negative vibes. I deal with stories of hatred daily. But I also understand the immense power that the media has to create a platform where individuals and communities can counter and establish a voice that they demand must be heard. And whilst we might think that our forebears of past decades could not have understood today’s situation, I beg to differ with powerful, yet poignant words from brother Malcolm X (may Allah have mercy upon his soul) when he said: “Be careful, the media might make you hate the oppressed and love those who are doing the oppressing�.

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“Be careful, the media might make you hate the oppressed and love those who are doing the oppressing”. [Malcolm X]

What Malcolm X alludes to is what is a core underpinning of journalism-that of representation. For the Muslim community, how WE decide to represent ourselves is just as important as how the media represent, and thankfully, in the name of balance and free speech we have multiple opportunities to provide counter-narratives and the true representation of the Islamic faith. This can be considered as enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. On the authority of Abu Sa‘id Al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) say, ‘Whoso-ever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand, and if he is not able to do so, then (let him change it) with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart-and that is the weakest of faith’”. [Sahih Muslim]

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So how do we do this? It is important to remember that if we are willing to use our words to bring about positive change, then what we have to say is valid. Besides, there are ample opportunities to get involved in journalistic pursuits including blogging, using social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook to share information that is beneficial to the community or even begin a newsletter, vlog or podcast online. Speaking about what the hijab (headscarf) means to the Muslim woman, the importance of struggling for the rights of our local and international communities or even something as simple as interviewing an activist engaged in social justice can be worthwhile topics to elucidate on. A good example of this is GreenProphet.com, a news website dedicated to creating and ac-

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complishing a more sustainable and green ‘Middle East’ or even this publication Ilma Magazine designed to increase the wealth of spirituality amongst Muslims, developing their self-awareness and focusing on topics that the modern-day Muslim deals with on a day to day basis. It is worth noting that as Muslims we should be engaged and participants on matters that may not affect or impact us directly, or that which does not have a specific ‘Islamic’ slang, such as the unemployment rates. Islam is a comprehensive and wholesome religion for all times and places, and applying that through our engagement in media is a great way of exemplifying that. Reaching out to people beyond our keyboards.... ...is just as important as reaching out within the reach of our keyboards. In an era where many of us are confined to a tech reality of likes, comments, retweets and blogging, it remains to be said that whilst the media is a phenomenal path towards defining and pushing for justice, unity and a greater sense of purpose, nothing really beats meeting people through networking, events and even something as simple as dealing with our neighbours in a kind manner.

‘Islam is a comprehensive and wholesome religion for all times and places and applying that through our engagement in media is a great way of exemplifying that’.

One of the most important reasons why Muslims are suspects within the wider public comes down to interaction or lack thereof. Whether we utilise media tools or have face to face interactions, we must remember that through our actions, words or coding, we are fulfilling an important duty in Islam, to bring the people closer to this beautiful way of life and Allah, The Most High.

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MUS’AB IBN UMAIR A Legacy of Dawah Maleeha Hasan has been studying and speaking about Islam for over 25 years, in the U.K. and abroad, and is currently pursuing a diploma in Islamic Studies at the prestigious Al-Salam Institute. She is a mother of three children and a teacher by profession. She is an active member of the Muslim community, encouraging greater awareness of the relevance of Islam in our lives.

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“Among the Believers are men true to what they promised Allah. Among them is he who has fulfilled his vow (to the death), and among them is he who awaits (his chance). And they did not alter (the terms of their commitment) by any alteration”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Ahzab: The Combined Forces, 33:23] Amongst all the noble and poignant accounts of the Sahabah (the companions, may Allah be pleased with them), for all their nobility, justice and sacrifice; is one that stands alone. It is a biography that inspires the deepest love and awe for the youngest of the companions, who was the first ambassador of Islam, Mus’ab ibn Umair ibn Abdul Manaf (may Allah be pleased with him). Mus’ab ibn Umair was the son of Umair ibn Hashim and Khunas bint Malik. They were nobles amongst the Quraysh, from the Banu Abd Ad-Dar tribe; a wealthy and influential family, who staunchly upheld the pagan practices of their forefathers. Mus’ab was known as the ‘flower of the Quraysh’ for his incredibly handsome looks and charming demeanour. He was perfectly groomed and wore the best and most exquisite clothing from foreign lands. His luxurious fragrance would fill the air as he passed and it is said that the women of Makkah would vie for his attention. When speaking of Mus’ab our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) would say, “I have never seen anyone in Makkah

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with better hair, finer clothes and enjoying as many bounties as Mus’ab ibn Umair”. Despite his wealth, status, beauty and youth, Mus’ab’s pure heart was inclined to a higher purpose. So, when Mus’ab heard that the Prophet of Allah (pbuh) was inviting people to Islam in the house of Al-Arqam ibn Abil Arqam, he attended the gathering. Yearning and anxious, he contemplated the verses of Holy Qur’an being recited by the Prophet (pbuh) and as faith entered his pounding heart, he was ecstatic. The Prophet (pbuh) patted his chest with his blessed right hand and suddenly the youth who had just become Muslim had a wisdom and determination that would change the course of time; Mus’ab, still in his late teens continued to visit the house of Al-Arqam, where he refined his understanding of Islam. He understood its purpose in guiding the hearts of men and women, how it would impact the tribes of Arabia and beyond. Each day in the blessed company of the Prophet (pbuh), he became stronger in faith, understanding and practice. Mus’ab had kept his conversion to Islam a secret from his over-protective and domineering mother, Khunas bint Malik, fearing her anger. However, when the news finally reached her, she predictably was enraged and despite her love for him, she slapped him and then shackled him in a distant part of the house with a guard to prevent him from leaving, in the hope that he would abandon his belief.

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The fifth year of prophethood was a difficult time and the Muslims were facing increasing persecution by the Quraysh. So, when Muhammed (pbuh) instructed those without support in Makkah to migrate to Abyssinia (modern day Ethiopia), Mus’ab, who longed to join his brothers in religion, used his ingenuity and escaped from his guard. On his return from Abyssinia, Mus’ab presented himself to the Prophet (pbuh). He wore a simple garment patched and torn, a far cry from the fine silks and brocades of his past. When Mus’ab met his mother, her heart softened at the sight of him and she accepted his decision. He advised her with tears in his eyes to accept Islam and the Messenger (pbuh), but she swore she would never embrace Islam to weaken her senses and reject her Gods. All those who saw Mus’ab would lower their heads and shed tears at the sight of the pampered youth, now in pieces of cloth held together by thorns. The Prophet (pbuh) said, “There was no youth in Makkah so petted by his parents than he. Then he abandoned all that for the love of Allah and his Prophet”. Recognising Mus’ab’s spirit of sacrifice, noble character, charming manners, and patience, the Prophet (pbuh) commissioned him to assist the people of Madinah, then known as ‘Yathrib’. They had pledged their allegiance to the Prophet (pbuh) at Al-Aqabah,

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a place near Mina and Makkah; to call others to Islam and to prepare the city for the eventual migration of the Prophet (pbuh) and the Muslims as Muhajirun (emigrants). At that time, there were among the companions (may Allah be pleased with them), men and women of sterling character and nerves of steel, men who were older and more experienced in the ways of the world. Yet, Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) chose Mus’ab as his representative to open the hearts of the Aws and Khazraj tribes of Yathrib. Mus’ab proved worthy of the Prophet’s (pbuh) choice many times over, dealing with the tribal mentality of the leaders and citizens of Yathrib with patience and sagacity. Mus’ab entered Yathrib as a guest of Sa’ad ibn Zurarah (may Allah be pleased with him), of the Khazraj tribe. Together they approached the citizens of Yathrib, reciting the Qur’an and explaining the holistic message of Tawheed (Islamic monotheism). Once, Mus’ab and Sa’ad ibn Zurarah were sitting near a well in an orchard of Banee Zafar when they were approached by Usayd ibn Hudhayr (may Allah be pleased with him), brandishing a spear in obvious rage. Mus’ab knew he was the influential leader of the Banu Zafar tribe, Mus’ab said calmly, “If he sits down, I will speak to him”. Usayd was angry at the success of Mus’ab’s mission and shouted angrily, “Why have you both come to us to corrupt the weak among us? Keep away from us if you want to stay alive”. At this, Mus’ab smiled and said softly, “Won’t you sit down

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and listen? If you are pleased and satisfied with our mission, accept it and if you dislike it we will stop telling you what you dislike and leave”. Sticking his spear into the ground, Usayd sat down to hear them out. As Mus’ab began telling him about Islam and reciting portions of the Qur’an, Usayd’s expression changed. The first words he uttered were, “How beautiful are these words and how true! What does a person do if he wants to enter this religion?” Mus’ab explained, “Have a bath; purify yourself and your clothes. Then utter the testimony of faith, the Shahadah and perform prayers”. Usayd bin Hudhayr testified that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger (pbuh), prayed two units of salah (prayer) and was almost immediately followed by another influential companion, Sa’d ibn Mu’adh (may Allah be pleased with him). From these two Muslim men, came scores of others, as both tribes of Banu Zafar and Banu Abdil Ash’hal accepted Islam.

“There was no youth in Makkah so petted by his parents than he. Then he abandoned all that for the love of Allah and his Prophet���. [The Prophet (pbuh) on Mus’ab ibn Umair]

By the time the blessed Prophet (pbuh)  emigrated, there was not a single household in Yathrib in which Mus’ab had not taken the message of Islam to and which did not have a Muslim in it. Many of the prominent families from the tribes of Aws and Khazraj had become brothers in Islam and their long-standing infamous disputes were coming to an end. Even the leaders of the Al-Ansar (The Helpers) accepted Islam; including Amr ibn Al-Jamuh (may Allah be pleased with him). The idols of the Al-Ansar were broken and Mus’ab was given the title ‘Al-Muqri’, the mentor.

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Mus’ab’s intelligence and tact in propagating the call of Islam was indisputable. When the number of Muslims increased in Yathrib, he organised them in a body and requested permission of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) to lay the foundation for the Friday congregational prayer, Jumu’ah. When the permission was granted, he delivered a very impressive khutbah (sermon) and led the congregational prayer with great reverence, having the honour of founding the Jumu’ah prayer. Mus‘ab’s achievements in Yathrib were constantly reported to the Prophet (pbuh), who always had a great and profound love for him. In the subsequent pilgrimage to Makkah, Mus’ab led a company of seventy people from Yathrib to give the bay’ah, the pledge of allegiance to the Prophet (pbuh). This momentous event was known as the ‘second treaty of Aqaba’. It paved the way for the final stage of the prophetic mission and the dawah (invitation) to Islam; the stage of implementation of the revelation. As well as Mus’ab’s high intelligence and eloquence, his perseverance and sacrifice, Mus’ab also proved to be a gallant soldier, fearless warrior and able general in the Battle of Badr. Hence he was awarded the high honour of holding the raya (Islamic banner) during the Battle of Uhud. During the Battle of Uhud, it so happened that the battle was lost for a while by a mistake of the Muslims. The Makkan Quraysh led by Khalid ibn Al-Walid (may Allah be pleased with him), who was not a Muslim then, attacked the Muslims with their cavalry from the rear, disorganising and scattering them. 24

At that critical time, Mus‘ab kept the raya flying high. Although the forces were divided, he withstood the attacks of the enemy until he met Ibn Quma’ah who was a knight of the Quraysh. He struck Mus’ab on his right hand and cut it off, but Mus’ab said, “Muhammad is not but a messenger. (Other) messengers have passed on before him”. He carried the banner with his left hand and leaned on it, but soon Ibn Quma’ah struck his left hand and it was severed too. Mus’ab the valiant then leaned on the standard and held it with his upper arms to his chest, all the whilst saying, “Muhammad is not but a messenger. (Other) messengers have passed on before him”. In savage fury, Ibn Quma’ah threw the sword on the ground and flung a spear at the breast of Mus‘ab. It pierced his chest and remained embedded there. The beloved companion of the Prophet (pbuh) fell to the ground reciting the verse, “Muhammad is not but a messenger. (Other) messengers have passed on before him. So if he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels (to unbelief)? And he who turns back on his heels will never harm Allah at all; but Allah will reward the grateful”. [Qur’an, Surah Aali ‘Imran: Family of Imran, 3:144] When the noble keeper of the raya fell, the Quraysh falsely claimed the Prophet (pbuh) was dead because of the similar features of Mus’ab to that of the Prophet’s (pbuh). As the banner fluttered in the air, Abdul Room ibn Umair (may Allah be pleased with him), the brother of our treasured martyr moved forward and protected its honour. When the battle came to an end the Prophet (pbuh)

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stood by the body of Mus‘ab and recited the verse, “Among the Believers are men true to what they promised Allah. Among them is he who has fulfilled his vow (to the death), and among them is he who awaits (his chance). And they did not alter (the terms of their commitment) by any alteration”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Ahzab: The Combined Forces, 33:23] With tears in his eyes, Muhammed (pbuh) addressed the lifeless body of the one who he had entrusted with the heaviest and serious responsibility, the one who had carried the dawah to the establishment of the Islamic society in Madinah and who had sacrificed every comfort that was dear to him in obedience to Allah, The Most High and His Messenger (pbuh). The Prophet (pbuh) said, “When I saw you for the first time in Makkah there was nobody more handsome and well-dressed than you. But I see that today your hair is uncombed and only a sheet of cloth covers your body. Oh Mus’ab ibn Umair, we did not find anything of your wealth, besides this to bury your body in, as you gave it all away to those in need”.

“Muhammad is not but a Messenger. (Other) Messengers have passed on before him. So if he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels (to unbelief)? And he who turns back on his heels will never harm Allah at all; but Allah will reward the grateful”. [Qur’an, Surah Aali ‘Imran: Family of Imran, 3:144]

Mus‘ab ibn Umair, this giant of a man who lived till his early to mid-twenties had only a sheet of cloth over his body; if the head was covered, the feet were bare and when the feet were covered the head was left bare. In the end, his head was covered and his feet were covered with grass. Such was the shroud of Mus‘ab ibn Umair, may Allah be pleased with him, the great dawah carrier and martyr of Islam. References: Muhammad Yusuf Kandhelvi, Hayatus Sahaba

Ilma Magazine / Issue 22

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ISLAMOPHOBIA //

Fear Not Manija Omar is working for an elder abuse charity, whilst studying part time Masters in Human Rights. She is an activist against the practice of forced marriages and enjoys taking part in outdoor activities in her spare time.

“And we will surely test you with something of fear….” [Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah: The Cow, 2:155]

Fear is a strong aversive emotion and it is something all human beings will be tested with at some point in their lives. For Muslims in general, political uncertainty and the rise in Islamophobia have increased our feeling of anxiety, discomfort and have made us more aware of our Muslim identity. We hear stories on a day to day basis from those who have experienced Islamophobia on a first or second-hand basis, making it too easy to envelop oneself (as well as those whom we love) in our own ‘bubble’ seeking protection of the outside world. Following such experiences makes it inevitable to reduce Islamic ‘visibility’ by limiting one’s Islamic practises publicly (Islamic dress and prayers being some obvious but unfortunate examples). We too are constantly tested with our faith; it is, therefore key to remember to have tawakkul (trusting in Allah’s plan), for whose sake we commit ourselves to and remember that we are

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tested in various ways as an indication of our sincerity towards Allah. I recall one day being sent several messages on my WhatsApp from my 14-year-old niece who left three long paragraphs in writing with a recording of her voice seeking advice & support. She had recently started at a new school in her neighbourhood and having decided to wear hijab (head covering) she felt anxious after the first couple days. Her question was simply leading to whether Islam allows the removal of the hijab if she felt her safety could be compromised. She was overcome by fear and thus, felt that the solution lied in reducing her Islamic appearance, whilst maintaining her faith privately. This case reminded me of the verse, where Allah states, “Do the people think they will be left to say “We believe” and they will not be tried?” [Qur’an, Surah Al-Ankabut: The Spider, 29:2] We should not be lead by assuming the worst

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of every situation unnecessarily; making it easier to become excessively insecure than we should and thus, diminish their practices without a compelling need to do so. Diminishing Islamic practices will inevitably result in the slow withdrawal of the appearance of the Islamic faith altogether acts as demotivation for some Muslims and gives the message to withdraw religiosity, whilst maintaining a “low key” appearance, whereby practice is committed on an individual level rather than in togetherness (for instance, praying together at the mosque). In contrast to keeping a low profile in relation to faith, during the early stages of Islam, the companions (may Allah be pleased with them) would pray in public as an act of civil protest, to show solidarity and to indicate the presence of Muslims. If each one us abandons our practice publicly, to maintain our imaan (faith) on an individual level, fear will dictate our faith and will also have an impact on our religious community because the community’s presence

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should be insisted upon as withdrawal from it will result in vulnerability. We must accept that we will be tested by others as has been foretold by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that, “Islam began as something strange and it will return strange as it began, so give glad tidings to the strangers”. [Sahih Muslim] This message is one which is a profound sign of prophethood, in that our trial of faith had been prophesied and came in the form of divine knowledge as a blessing from Allah to assist us in persevering under trial through strengthening our faith in preparation for it. Similarly, Allah, The Most High, has also revealed the cure of fear in the Holy Qur’an to empower rather than limit us, “That is only Satan who frightens (you) of his supporters. So fear them not, but fear Me, if you are (indeed) Believers”. [Qur’an, Surah Aali ‘Imran: The Family of Imran, 3:175]

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“If the end of the world approaches and one of you has a seedling (or plant) in his hand and if he can plant it before the end comes, let him do it”. [Musnad Ahmad] Many previously dispossessed and disempowered minority groups have undergone discrimination or xenophobia of some kind but have managed to have their voices heard and their presence noticed; the result of which is the influential and united platform they possess now. We, on the other hand, have the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah (prophetic teachings and practices) acting as a guide and motivator, a cure for all our difficulties and we should, therefore, not feel hopeless. The Prophet (pbuh) told us, “If the end of the world approaches and one of you has a seedling (or plant) in his hand and if he can plant it before the end comes, let him do it”. [Musnad Ahmad] This narration encourages us not to prevent a positive act regardless of how hopeless the end may seem, including the forthcoming end of the world. Only firm faith in the idea that is being promoted may sustain Muslims through challenging times. The early years of the Prophet’s (pbuh) mission demonstrated this attitude; he struggled consistently and went through periods of considerable despair resulting in (at least in relation to the affairs of this world, as opposed to the hereafter) only modest accomplishments. 30

We ought to focus on the positives, to allow us to see through the difficulties we are all going through, just how previous communities went through and continue to go their trials, such as the Black and Jewish communities to name a few. These difficult times pressure us more, to maintain our connections, not only within the Muslim community but for us to provide aid and assistance to other causes as long as the cause does not go against Islamic teachings and beliefs. Nevertheless, there should not be a contrast in religious and non-religious activities, between holding a fundraiser for a local group in distress and attending regular prayers at the mosque. The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Allah will aid a servant (of His) so long as the servant aids his brother”. [Sahih Muslim] Such is the essence of our faith and humanity, peace and hope being the core of its fundamental belief system. In every crisis lies the seed of opportunity; the crisis of contemporary Islamophobia is an opportunity to build a spiritual connection with Allah, The Most High, both individually and collectively.

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

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www.thedawahproject.com

Islam Channel - Religious Programmes Islam Channel is an English speaking channel, free to air and is broadcasting in over 136 countries across Europe, Africa and Asia. The Dawah Project sponsors the Religious Programmes on Islam Channel; assists in improving the current programmes and provides new programmes throughout the year. Viewer’s favourite programmes, such as IslamiQA, Recite, Soul Search, Live Hajj Broadcast, Live Arafah Day, and Footsteps of Ibrahim are all sponsored by our generous subscribers. Islam Channel is available on Sky 806, Freeview 244 via VisionTV and can be watched online at: www.islamchannel.tv

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

Ilma Magazine / Issue 22

necessity for battery-operated and hand-cranked radios. The Radio Campaign was launched in 2011 and we are currently working across the African continent, where 60 percent of the population is Muslim and over 80 percent of Africans are tuning in every day listening to their local radio station, making it a crucial source of information. Currently, The Dawah Project is planning to establish radio stations in these countries: Tunisia, Nigeria, Gambia, Uganda, Sierra Leona, Somaliland, and Rwanda. We want to educate the diverse African community about Islam.

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

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The Etiquettes of Seeking Knowledge Online

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Nasrine Abdirachid explores ways in which one can go about seeking knowledge online, whilst adhering to Islamic morals and principles. Nasrine juggles work and marital life in the heart of Kenya, bustling Nairobi.

Seeking Knowledge Online The very first word that was revealed from the Holy Quran was “Read”, with many more verses encouraging the broadening of one’s knowledge. The significance in seeking knowledge is only reiterated further through the teachings of Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) as he said: “The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim”. [Al-Tirmidhi] In this age of information technology, the wealth of knowledge available online is astounding. Sifting through that sheer amount of information, which is sahih (correct and verified) and distinguishing it from the incorrect is a mammoth task. Sourcing Islamic knowledge from the right places has a direct impact in the way we implement our Islam. So where do we seek our knowledge? How do we ensure the information is based on the Holy Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet (pbuh)?

Sources of Islamic Knowledge The greatest source of knowledge for all Muslims is the Holy Qur’an, in which Allah, The Most High, provides us with invaluable resources to strengthen our faith, character and love for Him. The second source of information and guidance is found through the Prophet’s (pbuh) teachings, collected and compiled into ahadith. Those who interpret ahadith are called muhaddith and often use their knowledge to answer questions. The process of verification of knowledge in Islam is very in-depth and thorough. A sahih hadith can be traced back, person by person, directly to a sahabi (companion) who in turn heard that priceless piece of information from Prophet Muhammed (pbuh). Other ways of verifying ahadith are to class them hasan-the sound narration and Da’if-the weak narration. When seeking Islamic knowledge on the internet, it is wise to maintain that level of meticulousness; checking sources and verifying them with literature. There are also very useful websites, such as www.sunnah. com that do provide reference checks in order to verify ahadith. It is important to note that the study of ahadith is highly complex and thus, it is recommended to ask teachers and scholars if you are unsure.

Ilma Magazine / Issue 22

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Another crucial thing to bear in mind, whether you are learning online or in classes, is akhlaq (manners) and khuluq (character) of the person teaching you. You easily adopt the characteristics and mannerisms of a teacher you emulate. Their teachings become apparent in the way you conduct yourself, the way you speak and teach others. Abdullah ibn Mubarak (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “I spent thirty years learning manners and I spent twenty years learning knowledge”. [The Manners of the Knowledge Seeker, Abu Abdillah Muhammad Sa’id Raslan] The internet provides many avenues to Islamic knowledge and below is an analysis of just a few; their benefits, downfalls and how one can adhere to Islamic principles when utilising these means.

Learning via Video Conference Calls (Two-Way Learning) This way of seeking Islamic knowledge is steadily becoming more and more popular. With platforms, such as Skype paving the way for the development of a teacher-student relationship that would otherwise have been difficult really allows the student to gain, not only information but an understanding of the teacher’s akhlaq. Video chats are a great tool for those who live in remote areas or those who are unable to physically attend lessons. It also allows you to ask questions about things that interest you in

real-time and this is a great way of attaining knowledge, but the opportunity for sin is just as great and there are some things to keep in mind before embarking on one-on-one video chats. 1. Constantly renew your intentions. Why are you learning from them? What do you hope to attain? How can you continuously better yourself? 2. Ensure that you adhere to the Islamic principles regarding free-mixing, although video chats are done via a computer screen, they can be private and intimate and it is important to safeguard oneself as you would in real life scenarios. 3. Understand the importance of someone’s manners and stopping the interaction if you feel that their character is something not to be desired. These basic principles should ideally be applied whenever you are learning online.

Video and Audio Lectures (One-Way Learning) Online lectures have gained popularity on YouTube and various social media sites. Unlike a video chat conference, this is not a bi-lateral process, even though there are usually opportunities to ask questions by commenting or sending emails. Online

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Ilma Magazine / Issue 22


er way the internet can be highly beneficial in your aspiration to attain knowledge. Knowledge can be attained anywhere and everywhere. The ease at which the internet is available to most of us has allowed us to seek knowledge this way and there are clearly so many benefits in this method. Searching for knowledge and learning directly from a teacher is something that is emphatically encouraged as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “If anyone travels on a road in search of knowledge, God will cause him to travel on one of the roads of Paradise…” [Sunan Abu-Dawud]

lectures are great for the convenience it offers the student; if your schedule makes it difficult, you can learn at a time suitable for you. Many lectures and Islamic conferences are filmed and uploaded online for those who were unable to attend.

Social Media-Opinion or Fact?

Allah, The Most Merciful, has made Islam a religion of ease for us, a way of life that is not a burden or a difficulty, Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God). Make sure to utilise the avenues available to you, ensuring you verify your knowledge and put in place principles to safeguard yourself online. Most importantly, continue the cycle of learning, teaching those who are closest to you, your friends and family, and vice versa. Exude the great character and manners you have learnt from your teachers and set an example to those who aspire to be like you. The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Acquire knowledge and impart it to the people”. [Al-Tirmidhi] And with that, I pray Allah, The Most High, allows us the opportunity to learn and attain the highest levels of knowledge. And may that knowledge lead us to towards Jannah (Paradise). Ameen.

Social media can be a fantastic tool or one that can easily lead us astray. Social media is often filled with opinions, discussions and debates amongst people who make assumptions, rather than speaking armed with evidence. This is why it is highly important to take everything you read with a pinch of salt and always verify sources. Many of us have fallen victim to redistributing incorrect ahadith and statements attributed to the pious predecessors, unknowingly spreading falsehood. Despite this, social media can be brilliant in attaining constant reminders and liaising with like-minded individuals. Bearing in mind that not everything you read on social media is, in fact, always beneficial.

Online Literature The internet boasts a wealth of literature, with online essays, blogs and even many books uploaded for the readers’ ease. Of course, buying books online that would otherwise be unavailable to you is anoth-

Ilma Magazine / Issue 22

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Petals fall; rocks crushing flowers, Seeds of blood sown, Between bruised sunsets, broken towers. Helpless tears fall like debris, on playing children, Innocence drowns in a diamond sea. Howling winds cut through stone, Carving statues from hollow words, Mausoleums of flesh and bone.

Š By Aldo D'Andrea 2017


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Ilma Magazine / Issue 22


A TRAVELLER’S GUIDE BODY MIND SOUL FOOD BITES RECOMMENDED READING ISLAM CHANNEL PROGRAMMES

Ilma Magazine / Issue 22

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A Traveller’s Guide:

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Yeota Imam-Rashid, the head of Women’s Programming at Islam Channel, recalls her canoe safari adventure on the mighty Zambezi River. You can follow Yeota on Twitter: @Ye0ta

Ilma Magazine / Issue 22

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COUNTRY PROFILE

Zambia

Country: Zambia Capital: Lusaka Attractions: The Zambezi River and Mous Pous National Park Official Language: English Major Religion: Christianity is followed by over 60% of the population Currency: Zambian kwacha Best time to travel: The best time for game viewing in Zambia is during the dry season, May to October, when animals congregate around the rivers and waterholes.

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An Enchanting Experience Zambia, for me, has been the most exciting and spectacular experience of my life. It was a journey of discovery and spirituality. Never have I seen and enjoyed nature, up close and personal.    We arrived in Zambia after a long and exhausting journey, but we perked up as soon as we came out of the airport, where sunshine and beautiful hot weather met us. Our driver was waiting with a placard, on it the name of our tourist agency and along with him five others, who were also on our trip.  

Ilma Magazine / Issue 22


We were told that the journey to our campsite would be three hours away, but five and a half hours of beaten track later, we arrived at our destination, except it was not quite our final point of rest for the night. As we came out of our jeep, our guide, TK, who very quickly became one of the highlights of the whole trip, greeted us. He told us casually that we would need to pack for the first four nights, that our main baggage would be taken to the central base camp for us and that we would have to do some ‘paddling’ before we reached our camp for the night. At this point, it was 8 pm and pitch black. We were in the middle of the Zambian jungle, away from any noise and light pollution; it was darkness like we had rarely seen before. But paddle we did. As we packed, in complete darkness, except a few flashing headlights from our fellow trip members, we were interrupted by a loud call of what sounded like a cow. I stopped in my tracks and called out to TK and asked whether there was a cow nearby? He replied nonchalantly, “No, that’s a hippo”. I froze. That sounded VERY close, whilst I knew we could not have been in that much danger with a very relaxed expert with us and the team nearby, but my heart was still pounding. We all hurriedly boarded our canoes in the dark, throwing our backpacks in and at that moment I do not think I could have ever paddled so hard in my life. As we frantically canoed, trying to keep as close to our guide as possible, the calls of the hippos around us became louder and honestly, it was one of the scariest moments of my life. The five-minute paddle seemed like a half an hour, heart racing action sequence, where I thought I was going to be pulled in and drowned by a hippo. My friends had warned me of this. That a hippo attack is one of the most deadly encounters one can face. The hippopotamus can kill other ferocious animals with ease, such as crocodiles and lions, let alone human beings. Here, I was experiencing it first hand when thud, we had hit land and we were still alive Alhmadulillah (Praise be to God). I later came to realise that my unusual anxiety-filled-panic was a side effect of the malaria drug I was taking and that it was not me losing the plot!

Ilma Magazine / Issue 22

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zambezi

sunrise

Campsite The first night at our campsite was an experience. After making wudhu (ablution) out in the wild African wilderness, we prayed and thanked the Lord Almighty for allowing us to arrive safely and to protect us on our trip. The feeling you get from praying outside on Allah’s natural earth is one that really connects you like nothing else.   That first night, I cannot say I slept much. Every few minutes I kept hearing an animal call near me and I would jump up, frightened. I did eventually fall asleep and awoke to my Fajr (dawn prayer) alarm. As we came out of our tents and made wudhu, it was a very crisp morning, and although I was very tired from the journey, due to lack of sleep, I was so excited about the day ahead. We finished praying Fajr and for the first time we looked around us and saw our surroundings in daylight, and it did not disappoint. We had camped on a small grassy island on the Zambezi River and were surround-

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Ilma Magazine / Issue 22


ed by beautiful mountains to our left and Zimbabwe to our right. The landscape had a golden glow about it, probably from the rising sun and it was so quiet. I could only hear bird songs. ‘The Mighty Zambezi’, as it is locally known, was so still and impressive, not a ripple in sight and lay so proud beneath the rising sun. After eating a hearty cooked breakfast, followed by some canoeing instructions from TK, we all placed our tents and equipment into our canoes and started to paddle downstream. Rarely do you come across such peace, quiet and stillness, living in a city. We all canoed in single file with our guide at the front and his aide at the back, in stunned silence and within a few minutes of being on the river we came across our first sighting. And what a sight he was.   The hippopotamus is a magnificent creature with a huge leathery body and stalky legs. Weighing on average of four tonnes, a male hippo can easily kill a human being by drowning it, if agitated. Otherwise, this herbivore is a creature that is quite happy sitting in the water with his pod, keeping an eye out for any dangers. As we paddled past a few metres away, the hippos kept their eyes fixated on us. Once in a while, they would go under, but otherwise, their beady eyes were watching closely. Hippos became a common sight for us and within a few hours of our paddling, we had seen over fifty. Some came in pods and some were on their own. I came to know, from TK, that due to dominance, male hippos fight off their strongest competitors from their pods and these lonesome hippos were the ones who had been kicked out.  These hippos would then go on to form their own pods after finding a partner. Such is the course of nature. How complete and perfect this cycle of life of Allah, Exalted is He.   Each day we would paddle 25km down the Zambezi River and every day we would see different animals living in their natural habitat, living in the way Allah, The Most High, intended, without the interference of humans taking over their land.  Alongside a rare sighting of two lions, we saw baboons, impalas, hundreds of elephants, hippos and species of birds, vervet monkeys, warthogs, buffalos, crocodiles, water bucks, gazelles and hyenas.

Ilma Magazine / Issue 22

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majestic elephants

Close Encounters One of the most spectacular sightings we encountered, however, was on the third evening of our trip. It had been the slowest day, so far, in terms of spotting animals, and although we had seen animals that we had not encountered before it was much less than any other day till then. As we made for our island for that evening, we approached a large island to our right and to our sheer amazement we saw a massive herd of elephants on the island all stood near the bank as we paddled past.  It was just spectacular to see so many elephants and so close.  And it was not a small herd either. It was, in fact, twenty-seven strong male herd. As we quietly formed a raft with our canoes pulled next to each other’s, our guide explained in hushed whispers that the herd wanted to cross the river but were unable to do so as there was a speedboat with mesmerised tourists on it, who were blocking their path. We sat in our canoes in silence, completely absorbed. A few of the elephants were having tusk fights, but most of the other elephants were stood very still waiting for something. There was a huge elephant, the head we were told, at

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Ilma Magazine / Issue 22


the end of the island waiting patiently, gazing out into the distance. There were also four slightly smaller elephants around this head elephant and one by one, the elephants would each come up to the head elephant and nuzzle him to cross, but he did not move. These four elephants were his advisors.   As the sun set, the speedboat left, yet the head elephant stood standing, waiting. It was only after another fifteen minutes or so that he took his first step into the water. And what ensued was a sight that would never leave us. The head elephant started his descent into the waters, and then one by one, the herd followed. The big elephants were followed by the baby elephants, with the calves holding each other by their tails for security. As the water became deeper, the head elephant started to swim and the others followed suit. Imagine that picture, a row of twenty-seven elephants, swimming in a line, so elegantly and quietly, without a single splash, heading for safety for the night. The head elephant eventually disappeared under water with only his trunk poking out, which he was using as a snorkel. Once more the others followed him with complete trust and all of this was happening against the backdrop of the Maghrib setting sun. It was a sight that left nine adults speechless and etched in our minds forever.   As you have read, this is a short glimpse into my adventure on the banks of Zambia. What made the trip even more special was that Zambia until now is still quite undiscovered, so we were not in the midst of a

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great herd of tourists, rather local people who we saw from time to time on the banks.  I could not tell you what kind of tourist spots, hotels or the best restaurants to eat at in this beautiful country because I did not go there. But what I witnessed was Allah, Exalted is He, His creation in action. It was so spiritual to see His magnificence through the amazing way the animals worked together as a community, protecting each other and alerting one another to danger. Nature can teach man a lot if only we took heed and for me, Zambia was the trip that changed me in many ways and is an experience that brought me closer to my Lord, simply by observing His creation.

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Hannah Morris embraced Islam in January 2007 and she lives in Ireland with her family. Currently, she is working as a Muslim Youth Counsellor for the Islamic Online University (IOU) and is also an instructor for BA Psychology at IOU. Check out her personal Facebook page ActiveMindCare promoting psychological wellbeing in the Ummah: www.facebook.com/activemindcare

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Ilma Magazine 1322 Ilma Magazine/ Issue / Issue


The Ear Structure and functions of the ear The ear is a complex structure that is responsible for both hearing and balance. Most people experience minor problems with their ears at some point and some will experience profound hearing loss. Some of these conditions are preventable and treatable, whilst others require medical or surgical intervention. The community can provide a large amount of support to people with hearing difficulties to ensure productive integration. The ear serves to be our source of hearing, but we only see the outside and thus, take for granted the complex process involved in the way the ear works to interpret incoming sounds and transmit them to the brain. The ear is also responsible for balance. The ear is composed of three parts; the

Ilma Magazine / Issue 22

outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. The outer ear is the visible part of the ear, the pinna, which is shaped in such a way that sounds in the environment can be directed and funnelled into the ear canal. The ear canal leads to the ear drum, which vibrates as the sounds hit it. These vibrations then transmit to the middle ear. The middle ear is primarily composed of three bones known as the ossicles (the hammer, anvil and stirrup) with a purpose of receiving the message, amplifying it and transmitting it to the inner ear. The vibrations of these very small bones in the middle ear move fluid located in the inner ear, specifically the cochlea, which stimulates hair cells. The hair cells in this region are then responsible for changing the incoming message into a neurological signal to be transmitted through the auditory nerve and onto the brain, specifically the temporal lobe.

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Problems with the ear Due to the complex structure of the ear, there are many reasons that someone can experience partial or total hearing loss. To have good hearing, all three parts of the ear need to function properly. Damage can occur either as a result of an injury, infection, trauma, or can be present from birth as a congenital abnormality. Damage to the outer or middle ear resulting in loss of hearing is known as a conductive hearing loss. There are many potential causes for damage in these regions, including the build up of fluid, a blockage caused by ear wax, perforated eardrum, absence or fusion of the bones in the middle ear. The middle ear is also connected to the throat, which explains why when you have a cold; this can often be accompanied by problems with the ear, including balance problems. Sensorineural hearing loss is a result of damage to the inner ear, the nerve connecting the ear to the brain, or the brain itself. A common cause of sensorineural hearing loss is consistent and prolonged exposure to loud noises that damage the hairs located in the middle ear causing permanent partial or total hearing loss, such as tinnitus (ringing in the ears). In the simplest of cases, temporary damage can be treated with antibiotics or ear irrigation to flush out impacted wax, whereas permanent partial hearing loss can be improved with the use of hearing aids. In more complex cases, surgery

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may be required. It is quite common for children to require the placement of tubes (grommets) to drain excess fluid that occurs because of frequent infection, where damage to the hairs in the cochlea is profound and unresponsive to hearing aids. Thus, a cochlea implant can be surgically fitted to bypass the damaged cochlea in order that incoming sounds can be transmitted directly to the auditory nerve.

How to protect your ears and hearing Protection from loud noises. When listening to sounds through earphones, keep the sound level minimal to avoid damage to the ear drum and hair follicles. For those who work in industries where they will be exposed to loud sounds, precautions should be taken by wearing earmuffs or earplugs to prevent damage to the inner ear. Do not use cotton buds. It can be tempting to put cotton buds in the ear to remove a little bit of wax build up, but this can ultimately lead to wax being pushed deep into the ear, eventually resulting in impacted wax, causing temporary loss of hearing that can only be resolved through irrigation to flush the impacted wax out. It could also, result in the perforation of the ear drum if the bud is pushed in too far or the wax is pushed too close to the ear drum. Keep your ears dry. Excess moisture allows bacteria to enter the ear, which can lead to infections,

Ilma Magazine / Issue 22


therefore, ensure you dry your ears after bathing or swimming. Exercise regularly. Exercise gets blood pumping around the body, including the ear. Have regular check-ups. Just as you go to the dentist to have your teeth checked and the opticians to have your eyes checked remember, also, to have your ears checked on a regular basis too.

How to make the best use of hearing from an Islamic perspective Islam provides us with the best advice on how we can make the most of our faculty of hearing. Firstly, we are always encouraged to be grateful for the blessings bestowed upon us. Often in the search of blessings in our life, especially during times of distress, we can overlook the small things that we take for granted on a daily basis; the faculty of hearing being one of them. One way we can appreciate this is to think of those who do not have the ability to hear and be grateful for this blessing. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) instructed us to, “Look at those below you (less fortunate than you), and don’t look at those above you, for this is better”. [Sahih Muslim]

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Whilst hearing can be seen as a blessing, it can also be a test too and we are responsible for ensuring that we use this blessing in the best possible way, keeping in mind that our ears will testify for us on the Day of Judgement. We can do this by ensuring that everything that we hear is pleasing to Allah, by listening to the Holy Qur’an and beneficial knowledge. Additionally, be conscious of engaging in good conversations, whilst staying away from bad and haraam (forbidden by Islam law and ethics) conversations. The Prophet  (pbuh)  said, “Take advantage of five matters before five other matters: your youth before you become old; your health, before you fall sick; your wealth, before you become poor; your free time before you become preoccupied, and your life, before your death”.  [Narrated by Ibn Abbas in the Mustadrak of Hakim & Musnad Imam Ahmad]

How can we help people with hearing problems? For those of us who have been blessed with good hearing; we are responsible for ensuring that people with hearing problems are included and respected in the community as much as everyone else, keeping in mind the following narration.

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‘Narrated by Abdullah ibn Amr ibn Al-’As (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “The Compassionate One has mercy on those who are merciful. If you show mercy to those who are on the earth, He Who is in the heaven will show mercy to you”. [Sunan Abu Dawud, 4941] There are several ways in which we can do this aside from adopting positive and inclusive attitudes of all regardless of ability. If there is a deaf person in the community, then by having someone translate the Jumu’ah khutbah (Friday congregational sermon) in sign language is an option. If the community is small or there is no one available who can translate using sign language, then by having a written print of the content is another accessible alternative for people who have hearing problems. Failing to think of ways to include people with hearing problems into usual community activities is not providing an inclusive attitude to all and excludes those with hearing difficulties from experiencing the full benefits of things, such as the Jumu’ah khutbah. The sense of hearing is something that we often take for granted, but when we realise the complex structure of the ear and potential difficulties that people can face with hearing, viewing it from an Islamic perspective can help us to not only appreciate what we have, but to also adopt inclusive attitudes towards those who may have difficulties with their hearing.

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Ilma Magazine / Issue 22


A TA S T E O F

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

Zambia is a country with beautiful wildlife, lush greenery, a warm climate and most importantly, for this particular feature, Zambia has a number of beautiful lakes, rivers and waterfalls. Then, it is no surprise that fish, in particular the ‘tilapia fish’, is freely available and included in Zambian dishes. Tilapia fishes are known as being fresh water fishes that swim in and inhabit shallow lakes, rivers and streams. The tilapia is a very mild, sweet fish and is perfect when accompanied by side dishes. I personally enjoy cooking fish more, during the colder seasons, as fish contains Omega 3; a vital vitamin to help maintain healthy hair, skin, nails and immune system. It is during the harsh

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cold winter when our immune system weakens and makes us more prone to catching a nasty flu. Staple foods for local Zambians consist of mainly corn, nshima (porridge) and ifisashi (vegetables with peanut sauce). The latter being the main part of the recipe shown below, tilapia, therefore will be perfectly accompanied with a slight bitter peanut sauce, which marries well with lightly lemon flavoured vegetables. Nothing is more pleasant than enjoying a hearty meal during the cold season of winter, followed by a warm, steaming cup of lemongrass flavoured green tea (or any tea of your choice). I cannot imagine a better way of spending a winter evening.

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S SERVE

1


MAIN course

Ifisashi and Grilled Tilapia Preparation & cooking Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients for tilapia:

leave to marinate for approximately 20 to 30 minutes.

• • • • • • •

Step 2: Whilst the fish is marinating it is now time to make the peanut sauce. Mix all ingredients together by using a manual whisk. Pour the mixture into a small pan and allow simmering for 1 to 2 minutes till everything has blended nicely together. It may look very thick but at this stage, it is fine as more liquid will be added later. Allow to cool and leave aside to make use of later.

1lb tilapia fish (preferably fresh and in its whole form) 3 garlic cloves 1 tsp black pepper ¼ cayenne pepper 3 tbsp paprika 1 tbsp salt ½ lemon

Ingredients for peanut butter sauce: • • • • • •

1 ½ tbsp natural peanut butter 1 tsp soy sauce 1 tsp lime juice 1/8 tsp salt 1/8 tsp ginger powder Pinch of sugar

Ingredients for vegetables: • •

1 pack frozen/fresh stir fry vegetables Fresh coriander leaves

Method: Step 1: In a bowl, mix together all ingredients for the tilapia, crushing garlic cloves and a squeeze of half a lemon. Add the fillets and make 2 or 3 small cuts on one side of the fish,

Step 3: Take 2 large pieces of parchment paper and fold each in half lengthwise. Place each fillet at the bottom end of each piece of parchment paper. Place the pieces of fillets on a large baking sheet, with sides facing upwards. Pour all of the remaining marinade equally over each piece of fish and fold the top of the parchment paper over the fillet, folding up the sides to seal the marinade in. It should now look like you have two square little packets. Step 4: Wash the stir fry vegetables and grill for 10 minutes in a separate oven dish, after having drizzled it with some olive oil. Step 5: Remove the fish gently from its packages and add some of the marinade liquid or ‘juice’ to the peanut sauce. Finally, serve the fish and vegetables with rice or some fried chips and sprinkle some finely chopped coriander with the peanut butter sauce drizzled on top. Enjoy!

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

Ilma Magazine / Issue 22

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“When you fear the creation, you feel repelled by them and run away from them, but when you fear the Creator; you feel close to Him and run towards Him�. [Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziya, Hanbali Jurist and Theologian, may Allah be pleased with him]


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Š Shahina Khatun 2017 Shahina is an Islam Channel presenter and a graduate of Journalism. She is passionate about having the Muslim woman’s voice heard on issues ranging from race, religion and politics. She is also an up-and-coming poet and believes poetry to be a beautiful and powerful medium to connect with people. Visit her blog: www.lyricallyspeakingsite.wordpress.com

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Ilma Magazine / Issue 22


Traveller Many a land yearns To share the secrets of their mysteries For my eyes to witness its beauty, The sands await patiently For steps to engrave my presence on its shores While the crystal turquoise waves flow with intent to embrace Calming the soul in its tranquil cloak In readiness for reflection on a magnificence greater than the beauty created.  Pre-emptying the mind to wonder Thoughts to ponder Upon signs for the intelligent...

Ilma Magazine / Issue 22

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The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said,

“Verily, Allah has enjoined excellence (ihsaan) with regard to everything…” [Sahih Muslim]


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

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

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Iqbal, Poet-Philosopher of Pakistan

By Hafeez Malik, New York and London: Columbia University Press (1971)

Muhammad Allama Iqbal was a lawyer, jurist, reformer and philosopher; he was most well-known for his poetry, so much so that his poetry still influences the hearts and minds of many, especially in the Indian sub-continent. Iqbal was born in Sialkot; British India (now in Pakistan) on the 9th November 1877 and later lived in Europe for three years to study further, where he was able to compose twenty-four small poems and lyrics, averaging eight compositions a year. Interestingly, amidst Iqbal’s years of exploration and self-discovery, he almost gave up poetry due to its uselessness in Europe. He questioned whether becoming a poet was the right career path for him and so he decided to pursue something else. Fortunately, a short while after, Iqbal was persuaded to continue writing poetry, as it had, ‘a magnetic quality capable of inspiring a new life’, although it was upon his return where he recorded his insight into poetic language publishing famous works, such as ‘Asrar-i-Khudi’ (The Secrets of Self) in Lahore, which truly reflected his deep thinking. He explored various topics from daily political affairs and metaphysics to the inward dimensions of the human being; he successfully enchanted people from all over the world. This biography explores the life of Allama Iqbal from his childhood to the rise of his academic and poetic career. Malik discusses pivotal life decisions Iqbal was faced with and how he overcame these hurdles, including the reasoning behind his sudden change from initially writing in Urdu and then in Persian. He also explains the significance and impact Iqbal had on his readers as he was a deep thinker, a unique Islamic philosopher, who discussed various societal issues that were very much ignored in the Indian sub-continent. To this very day, Iqbal’s writings are studied in the East and West. Available in most libraries and recognised Islamic book shops

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Ilma Magazine / Issue 22


Tawhid: Its Relevance for Thought and Life

By Isma’il Raji Al-Faruqi, USA: International Institute of Islamic Thought, 2nd Edition (1992)

Isma’il Raji Al-Faruqi was born in Jaffa, British Mandate Palestine, in 1921. He was a professor, philosopher and the founder of the ‘International Islamic Institute of Islamic Thought’ in Virginia, USA. He was widely known for his research on comparative Islam. ‘Tawhid: Its Relevance for Thought and Life’ explores the Arabic and Islamic term Tawhid, which is a deep concept due to its centrality to existence and everything that exists; its primary role is to serve and guide humanity. Muslims chant in Arabic the words, “There is no God but God”, many times, from the time they accept Islam, in their daily prayers, to their death-bed. However, what do these words mean to a Muslim? From defining Tawhid and discussing its importance, Al-Faruqi then explores the current dilemmas faced in the ummah (community) during his time, though sadly, still relevant today. He compares the parallel between Tawhid and the state of the ummah, and explains that each and every single human being consist of a tripartite consensus of mind, heart and arms. It is universal brotherhood which knows neither colour nor ethnic identity. Interestingly, Al-Faruqi discusses Tawhid in a number of contexts, including the discourse related to ethics such as humanism; where he discusses how Tawhid defines the virtuous qualities man should endow, and thus, acts as an affirmative guide. In fact, the one and only God has offered abundance in provisions as opposed to denying them, thus making no separation between a religious and ethical life. He further states that there can be nothing more enchanting than coming to the realisation of oneself, which acts as self-motivation and self-discipline. This book is aimed at anybody who is interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the foundation of Islamic monotheism. It clarifies our purpose on earth and acts as a form of remembrance. Available online

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Islamiqa A daily show presented by Muslim scholars who answer viewer’s questions. Telecasts (GMT): Daily at 20:00

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Ilma Magazine / Issue 22


STUDENTS OF THE DEVIL An original Islam Channel documentary about magic, witchcraft and the evil eye. We investigate the very people who claim to have been affected by these practices and seek guidance in avoiding these illnesses. For more information, please visit: www.islamchannel.tv/programme-video/students-of-the-devil Telecasts: To release soon

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Jumu’ah Khutba The Jumu’ah Khutbah from Makkah and Madinah is translated in English every Friday at the Islam Channel studio for the benefit of the viewers. Telecasts (GMT): Every Friday 09:00 – 11:00

Ilma Magazine / Issue 22

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Ilma Magazine | Issue 22 | Winter Edition 2016