Ilma Magazine | Nov/Dec 2015 | Issue 16

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Live, Learn & Inspire Nov / Dec 2015 / Issue 16

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: Aseel Saif, Elena Nikolova, Hafsa Waseela, Maryam Issadeen, Nasrine Abdirachid, Shahina Khatun and Yeota Imam Researchers: Anum Babar Contributors: Sami Ali and Ayesha Ashiq 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 - 06864168 Registered Charity Number: 1133424 Tel: 0207 330 1744 (Mon - Fri, 9am - 6pm) the_dawah_project

CONTENTS Returning to Allah The Dawah Project


Reflection: 12 In Conversation with Allah By Shahina Khatun


34 16

30 Sabrun Jameel By Nasrine Abdirachid

Most Beautiful 16 The Names of Allah By Maryam Issadeen


The Six Articles of Faith in Islam By Yeota Imam

is a Friend? 34 Who An Islamic Perspective By Aseel Saif

Women’s AM Corner: Skin Colour


By Shahina Khatun


54 A Traveller’s Guide: Malta

The Mediterranean’s Best Kept Secret By Elena Nikolova

Bites: Maltese Fusion 71 Food Cuisine By Elena Nikolova



80 Recommended Reading 64 BODY MIND SOUL:

Healing Through Ruqyah By Hafsa Waseela

84 Islam Channel Programmes Programmes showing in December 2015

87 Get Involved Jobs and Volunteering Opportunities

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

Returning to Allah

Assalamu Alaikum Dear Readers, What a beautiful way for the Ilma team to mark the end of 2015, by writing on a theme that is very dear to us; ‘Returning to Allah’. Our Lord, our Creator, created us from dust “then from a sperm-drop, then from a clinging clot, and then from a lump of flesh, formed and unformed”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Hajj: The Pilgrimage, 22:5] Surely we belong to Allah and to Him we shall return. We do not want to return to our Lord only in our final state which displeases Him but return to Him every day of our lives, at least five times a day. We want to return to Him when we are going through hardship; when we are alone by reciting words of ‘Dhikr’ (remembrance of Allah) and be reminded of Him when we are with our friend/s. Sister Hafsa Waseela explores a treatment that some of us may want to remain ignorant about because it makes us uncomfortable; ‘Ruqyah’ which is usually used to remove ‘Sihr’ (magic, spells, and witchcraft). She reminds us that Ruqyah is also


a form of spiritual healing performed by reciting Qur’an, seeking refuge from Allah, The Most High, remembrance and supplications. To learn more about Ruqyah see page 64. In Women’s AM Corner, sister Shahina Khatun reflects upon a disturbing topic that we thought does not exist in the modern world; the issue of ‘skin colour’. Amongst us there are those who believe that lighter skin or white skin suggests beauty, status and success. Undoubtedly this mentality is not from the teachings of Islam as we all come from Allah and we are all on a journey to return to Him. Please send your comments and suggestions to We love to hear from you! Jazakumullahu Khairan The Dawah Project Team

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

The International Dawah Centre The International Dawah Centre 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! An increasing number of 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 - is one of the fastest growing digital publishing platforms in the world. You can also download the Ilma App for free on the App Store and Google Play. Ilma Magazine provides reflective writings on various aspects of life attracting a diverse range of readers all over the world. 09

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]


“The bottom line is pray. If you’re tired, sick, emotionally overwhelmed; pray. If you’re on cloud nine and life seems perfect; pray. If you lack direction; pray. If you doubt that prayer makes any difference; pray. If the circumstances of your life are out of your control; pray. If the circumstances of your life seem well within your control; pray even harder. Whatever you do; pray”. [Pastor Tony Evans]

In Conversation with Allah…

By Islam Channel Presenter Shahina Khatun Follow Shahina on Twitter: @shahina_media and visit her blog


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“So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah: The Cow, 2:152]

Loss, grief, sadness, solitude, and tests may lead to a place of darkness that can sometimes seem too overwhelming to overcome. And it may feel as though there is no-one to turn towards. In those moments, it may be hard to comprehend the presence of your Lord, but those are the moments that the heart should seek to comprehend Him, return to Him; in full submission and reliance. Know that there is no place in the Heavens or the Earth that is too dark for your Lord to see you. There is no place that is too far for your Lord to hear you. There is no grief or pain that your Lord cannot alleviate. Even if you were the last person left in this ‘Dunya’ (temporal world, illusion), do not consider yourself to be alone. Despite what life throws at you, despite your losses, despite having no friends or no one that you feel understands you, there is always Him. He Who Knows what is in your heart; The Knower of All, Al-‘Alim, The Seer of All, Al-Basir, Who sees your suffering even when no one else sees. He knows what

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you are thinking, how you are truly feeling, without you needing to explain. And He will never misunderstand. He will never be fed up. He will never be too busy to listen. So have a conversation with our ‘Rabb’ (Lord), Allah, the One who Loves for us to turn to Him. Talk to Him quietly or talk to Him out loud. But it is important you talk even if it is to complain or to cry out to. It may be that the heart is restless, anxious and it just needs relief; talk to The Reliever, Al-Basit, the One Who can bring relief and ease in ways and from places beyond our comprehension. In contentment and thankfulness, keep talking. Testing days are not the only days that we remember Him and return to Him. Is there contentment really, if we are not thankful to the One Who showered us with His Mercy in the first place? “So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah: The Cow, 2:152]



Whether this conversation is during ‘Sujood’ (prostration) or when we are working, cooking, cleaning, vacuuming, doing school-runs, the conversation can still be had. Sometimes we can find life’s daily routines, raising children or looking after our elderly parents’ and other endless responsibilities, leave us with no time for that extra worship, that extra ‘Nafl Salah’ (supererogatory prayer), so that we may gain closeness to Allah. Besides the fact that these daily actions are acts of ‘Ibadah’ (worship) in themselves that closeness can still be attained. Do not let the Dunya be an obstacle to performing your religious duties. Just talk to Him, make ‘Du’a’ (supplication) to Him, ask Him to give you ‘Barakah’ (blessings) in time. Surely this, too, is a pathway to attaining closeness to our Lord Who Willed those everyday responsibilities upon us, in the first place. Allah will hear us at any time in any place. There is no need for an intercessor or a middle-man in the conversation with Allah.

Do you feel you do not deserve to speak to Him? Or do you feel you have not done enough to deserve His attention? Let Him be the Judge of that. Talk to Allah as He will not turn you away. “And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me - indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah: The Cow, 2:186]

“Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], “Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire”.[Qur’an, Surah Ali-Imran: Family of Imran, 3:191]

Surely this is a form of worship to Allah, The Most High and Most Merciful. Surely this is remembering Him and relying on Him, turning to Him and trusting Him over everything else, to heal our wounds, to hear us, to bring us relief and to give us ‘Sukun’ (tranquillity) whilst being tested in this world.

It may be that we want to be close to Allah, but we struggle to live our life the way He obliges us to, so we may be unsure as to how to begin. So it is advised to just begin the way that best suits you.

Surely this is a beautiful bond between you and your Lord…

“…if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw closer by a distance of two outstretched arms nearer to him; and if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

“Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah”. [Qur’an, Surah Ar-Ra’d: The Thunder, 13:28]

Know that His Mercy outweighs His Wrath. So have hope in Him, for He will be what we hope Him to be. It could be this self-doubt, a whisper from ‘Shaytan’ (devil), to pull you away from this conversation, lest this is the conversation that leads you to Him. It may be the beginning of your journey towards the One Who Says “… when he calls on Me…” rather than “if He calls on me”. Maybe, just maybe, your Lord awaits you…

Surely this is the best kind of conversation we can have…

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



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Maryam Issadeen reflects upon some of the Glorious names of Allah, The Most High, and the importance of bringing these beautiful attributes into our lives.

“And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-A’raf: The Heights, 7:180]

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Allah, The Most High, Owner of all things is, likewise, the Owner of numerous names which all serve to glorify His existence. It is narrated by Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “Allah has ninety nine names, one hundred less one; and he who memorised them all by heart will enter Paradise”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari, 7392] The Arabic word used in the narration is ‘ahsaaha’ ( ) which is translated by some as ‘memorised’ them (the names), ‘counted’ or ‘guarded’ amongst others. The most important point to focus on is that many scholars agree that simply memorizing the Glorious names will not warrant the reward mentioned. Rather, the ‘Hadith’ (recorded tradition) should be considered as a recommendation for us to try to understand the names, so we can better understand our Creator and strive to implement the Noble Attributes in our lives (where applicable). Each Noble name and attribute of Allah, The Most High, carries with it a tremendous value and reflecting upon them can only serve to improve ourselves, our lives and our actions. When we supplicate before Allah, The Most High, we have been advised to call on Him with His attributes as they relate to our call. For example, a person repenting to Allah, The Most


High, for a sin they have committed could call Him by His blessed names ‘Al-Ghaffar’, (The Ever-Forgiving) or ‘Al-Rahim’ (The Most Merciful). Dedicating time to the learning and understanding of Allah, The Most High’s attributes is described as a honourable pursuit. The scholar Ibn Al-Arabi (may Allah be pleased with him) is quoted to have said, “The excellence of a field of knowledge is determined by its subject matter. Thus, since the Creator is the highest and most excellent subject of consideration, knowledge of His names must be the highest and most noble branch of knowledge”. To draw nearer to Allah, The Most High, it is imperative that we strive to know Him and to know His attributes, which is essential for this purpose. Guarding and preserving the names of Allah, The Most High, include giving them their due right which involves believing in Allah, The Most High, in accordance with His names. This is to help us better understand who He is and to protect us from assigning His attributes to His creation in error. The number of names of Allah, The Most High, is a debatable topic. The Hadith quoted pre-

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viously, from Al-Bukhari, mentions ninety nine names and there is often a misconception that this is the exact number of them. However, the following Hadith quoted in Musnad Ahmad (volume 1) suggests otherwise. The following is a ‘du’a’ (supplication) made by the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him): “O Allah, I ask you by every name belonging to You with which You named Yourself, or You revealed in Your scripture, or You taught one of Your creatures, or You kept with Yourself exclusively in the hidden knowledge”. The du’a makes it evident that there are many more names of Allah, The Most High, some of which are yet to be revealed. The specific number of ninety nine names mentioned in the Hadith relate to what is required to achieve the reward, and should not be considered a limiting figure of the total number of Noble names of Allah, The Most High. It is narrated by Abdullah ibn Mas’ood (may Allah be pleased with Him) that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “…none loves to be praised more than Allah does, and this is why He praises Himself”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari, 4637] The Glorious names of Allah, The Most High, are a means of us praising Him through sup-

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plication and His remembrance. It is important to remember however, that Allah, The Most High, does not need our praise in the slightest. Rather, He would be pleased with it because by praising Him we are in fact worshipping Him and thus fulfilling our purpose in this world. Allah, The Most High, never tires of answering our supplication, though we may tire of asking Him. He, Al-Haleem, (The Most Forbearing) Forgives us every time we ask and tells us to ask for more. Allah, The Most High, says in the Qur’an, “Call upon me, I will respond to you”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Ghafir: The Forgiver, 40:60] Whilst we should strive to bring into our lives the characteristics which Allah, The Most High, has infinitely, there are some which are by their very nature Divine and only for Him. Such qualities include the names such as Al-Ba’ith (The Resurrector) and Al-Muhyi (The Giver of Life) however there are other names and attributes such as Al-Latif (The Most Gentle) and Al-Shakur (The Most Thankful) which we can practice upon ourselves and strive to implement in our lives. May Allah, The Most High, make us from amongst those who are able to learn and understand His Divine attributes and through them, come closer to Him. Ameen.


Yeota Imam explores the six articles of faith, a topic that some may not be familiar with as a title, but upon closer examination will be something we all recognise and believe instantly. Follow Yeota on Twitter



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These articles are aspects of Islam that one must believe to be upon this ‘Deen’ (religion).

Belief in Allah As a born Muslim this is one belief that took me a while to grasp. Growing up with many religions around me, I did not have the conviction that Islam was the only truth and that Allah, The Most High, was the only One true God. What if the Christian God was the One or the Jewish God? What then? It was only once I looked into Islam properly and studied its tenants and teachings, did this resonate loudly within my soul. That there truly is only one Creator who created everything and nothing existed before Him and nothing exists without His Permission. Not even a leaf falls off a tree without His Knowledge. He is ‘Al-Khaliq’ (The Creator). ‘Surah Al-Ikhlas’ (Chapter of The Sincerity) in the Qur’an encapsulates the notion of ‘Tawheed’ (Oneness of Allah) beautifully. Narrated in Arabic; translated in English: Say, “He is Allah, (the) One. Allah-us-Samad (The Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, He neither eats nor drinks). He begets not, nor was He begotten; And there is none coequal or comparable unto Him”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Ikhlas: The Sincerity, 112:1-4] Surah Al-Ikhlas is an affirmation of Allah’s Oneness and subsequently negates all forms of polytheism and idolatry. It is the chapter many Muslims start off memorising, not only because of its short length of four ‘Ayaat’ (verses) but also because of the reward for reciting it; it has been described as being equal to one third of the Qur’an.

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Belief in Angels Living in the West, we have all grown up with the idea that angels are beautiful female ephemeral creatures clad in white, who have bird like wings; intermediaries between God and earth or who are sent to protect human beings. However, the descriptions of angels in Islamic text are far more detailed; they are creatures made of light, who are completely submitted to the commands of Allah, The Most High, and their number is beyond our comprehension. They settle around areas and gatherings of good, where the name of Allah is mentioned, and they refrain from places where evil and vice are manifest. Within the world of the angels there are ranks, and within those ranks we have four distinct angels who hold key roles in the creations and the Heavens. The Angel Jibril or Gabriel (may Allah exalt his mention) is a commanding figure and in the following ‘Hadith’ (recorded tradition) upholds quite a spectacular figure. Abdullah ibn Masud (may Allah be pleased with him), said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saw Jibril in his true form. He had six hundred wings, each of which covered the horizon. There fell from his wings jewels, pearls and rubies, only God knows about them”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari, 4:54-55]


Jibril was responsible for bringing down to us our criterion, the Qur’an, through the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Angel Mikail or Michael (may Allah exalt his mention) controls the weather and regulates the growth of plants. He is also involved in distributing rewards to people who deserve it based on their merit and good deeds. Angel Israfil or Raphael or (may Allah exalt his mention) is entrusted with the role of holding the trumpet to announce ‘Yawm Al-Qiyamah’ (The Judgement Day). Such is a gravity of his role that Angel Israfil’s eyes are fixated on Allah, The Most High, and he is scared to blink in fear of missing the command from The Lord of the Worlds. Angel Izrail or Samael is the fourth major angel and known as ‘Malik Al-Maut’ (Angel of Death); the angel who takes the soul of all human beings, Believer or Disbeliever. The noble soul is extracted smoothly from the body, whilst the wretched soul is extracted in an excruciating, horrendous manner. As well as the major angels, other angels have specific roles in Islam such as the angels who record the good and bad deeds of all human beings; thus each person’s actions are recorded until their death. The diversity of tasks appointed to angels by Allah, The Most High, highlights the value of their existence and a means to appreciate Allah’s greatness as well.

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Belief in the Books of Allah As Muslims we must believe in all the revealed books of Allah that the Qur’an affirms; the Scriptures of Prophet Ibraheem or Abraham (pbuh), The Gospel, The Psalms, The Torah and finally the Noble Qur’an itself, the final revelation to mankind. This notion truly humbles me when reflecting on the revealed books; the Mercy of Allah, The Most High, and His love for His slave. He has never left His creation to aimlessly search for the truth but He has revealed to them guidance throughout time, which when followed leads to Allah’s Pleasure and Paradise. Allah gave these laws and guidance to all nations, helping to distinguish true Believers from those who are not; with the revelation of the Qur’an, all previous scriptures have been abrogated, and the Qur’an itself is now the criterion between right and wrong, truth and falsehood, and more.

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Belief in the Messengers The Prophets of Allah (peace be upon them all) are the real role models and heroes we find ourselves absorbed with today. They were individuals with a real special commitment and submission to their Lord. The stories of the Prophets always fill me with awe and astonishment at how they overcame the hardest of trials and the special abilities they were blessed with to connect to people. Prophet Suleiman or Solomon (pbuh) was a Prophet who was blessed with much wisdom. He was able to command winds, understand and talk to birds and animals. In the time of Prophet Isa or Jesus (pbuh), when medicine was a making in much progress, he was granted the ability to cure the ill and bring back the dead to capture the hearts of his people. Prophet Musa or Moses (pbuh) was raised in an era when magic and illusionary was popular, and the ability for Musa (pbuh) to turn his staff into a snake, astonished the magicians of the time which forced them to lie in prostration to the God of Musa, much to the disbelief and frustration of Firaun (Pharaoh), the wretched tyrant who is considered amongst Allah’s greatest enemies. And finally the most blessed creation of Allah, The Most High, the final Prophet, Muhammad (pbuh) was blessed with the revelation of the Noble Qur’an, in a time when poetry was a phenomenon and which won people to ‘Al-Haqq’ (The Truth). All the Prophets had a consensus on the Oneness of God and the belief in ‘Akhirah’ (Hereafter). They all invited people to believe in the same beliefs and reject all falsehood. 24

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Belief in The Day of Judgement The Day of Judgement (Yawm Al-Qiyamah) is when everyone’s good and bad deeds will be exposed to the whole of humanity and Allah, The Most High, will bring about justice to everyone that was ever wronged. It is the day when Allah, The Most High, will bring back to life all those who have died, and when Angel Israfil will blow the horn for the second time: “And the horn shall be blown, and all who are in the Heavens and who are in the Earth shall fall down fainting, except those that Allah shall spare. Then, it shall be blown again and they shall rise gazing around them”. [Qur’ an, Surah Az-Zumar: The Troops, 39:68] People will arise from their graves, answering the call of their Lord. They will be barefooted, naked, and uncircumcised: “As We started the first creation, so We shall bring it back again. This is a promise from Us, so We shall assuredly fulfill it”. [Qur’an, Al-Anbya: The Prophets, 21:104] It is a day of recompense, it is a day of justice, and it is a day when humanity will find out if they have fulfilled their purpose on earth. It is also important to believe in the trials of the grave; this is a branch of the pillar of believing in the Day of Judgment, and it is from our entry into the ‘Barzakh’, the barrier between this life and the life beyond, that our reckoning begins.

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When our soul departs from the ‘Dunya’ (temporal world, illusion), we will be questioned by two angels; Munkar and Nakir, to determine our ‘Imaan’ (faith) in Islam. The three questions we will be asked in the grave are: 1. Who is your Lord? 2. Who is your Prophet? 3. What is your Religion? These questions will only be able to be answered if we have acted upon what we have learnt; hence someone who has disbelieved in Allah, even if they know His name, the name of Muhammad (pbuh) and the name of our Deen; Islam, will fail the test because they did not submit to Allah and single Him out alone for worship; nor did they follow the teachings of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh); which in turn meant they never embodied nor embraced the religion sent to mankind for all time. Answering correctly will result in a pleasant time in the grave, accompanied by a companion who represents our good deeds and there will be two windows; one shows the successful person in ‘Jannah’ (Paradise), and the other window shows them in ‘Jahannam’ (Hell-fire), had they had become one of its residents. Answering incorrectly will result in being punished severely; accompanied by a wretched, foul smelling and evil looking companion who represents the evil deeds; and again there are two windows; but one shows the unsuccessful person in Jahannam, and the other window shows them in Jannah, had they had become one of its residents. May Allah grant us a successful end. Ameen.


Belief in Predestination ‘Qadar’ or predestination is to believe that Allah, The Most High, knows everything that is in the Earth and in the Heavens. Nothing happens without His Permission; whatever Allah destines will happen and whatever He does not, will not happen. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “A slave (of Allah) will not have faith unless he believes in predestination, whether good or bad, and that whatever befalls him could not have missed him, and that which missed him could not have befallen him”. [Al-Tirmidhi] Allah’s decree and predestination is split into four components: I. Knowledge: We believe with certainty that Allah has knowledge of everything; the minute as well as the general details of all that happens, whether it is of His own doing or of His creatures.


II. Writing: Allah has written all of His knowledge on the fate of His creatures in the ‘Al-Lawh Al-Mahfuz’ (Preserved Tablet), as He tells us in the Qur’an, “Do you not know that Allah knows what is in the Heaven and Earth? Indeed, that is in a Record (Al-Lawh Al-Mahfuz). Indeed that, for Allah, is easy”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Hajj: The Pilgrimage, 22:70] In one Hadith mentioned in Faith in Predestination by Dr. Suhaib Hasan, London: Darussalam, the Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said: “Indeed the first thing that Allah created was the pen. He said, “Write!” It said, “What should I write?” He said, “Write down everything that is going to happen. So at that moment flowed everything that would happen until the Day of Judgement”. At this the Prophet was asked whether the actions we do are new actions or are actions that have been decreed already. He replied: “They are already decreed”. The Companions said: “O Prophet of Allah, should we then not do and just depend?” He said: “Do, and everything that was created for you will be made easy”. The Prophet added: “Do, O my brother, do and what was created for you will be facilitated for you”. Then followed the words of

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the Almighty: “As for him who gives (in charity) and keeps his duty to Allah and fears Him, and believes in the best, We will make smooth for him the path of ease (goodness). But he who is greedy miser and thinks himself self-sufficient, and gives lie to the best, We will make smooth for him the path for evil”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Layl: The Night, 92:5-10] III. Will: Allah Wills the presence or absence of everything in the Heavens and in the Earth. Nothing can exist without His Will. This is reiterated in the Qur’an: “To whomever among you wills to go straight. But you shall not will except as Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, Wills”. [Qur’an, Surah At-Takwir: The Overthrowing, 81:28-29] “…If your Lord had so Willed, they would not have done it”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-An’am: The Cattle, 6:112] “…If Allah had Willed, they would not have fought each other; but Allah does what He likes”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Baqarah; The Cow, 2:253] Allah also relates that His actions always yield to His own Will: “And if We had Willed, surely We would have given every person his guidance…” [Qur’an, Surah Al-Sajdah; The Prostration, 32:13] “And if your Lord had willed, He could have made mankind one community; but they will not cease to differ”. [Qur’an, Surah Hud; Prophet Hud, 11:118] Thus, true faith is not complete unless we believe in the total submission to the Will of Allah and All-Embracing. IV. Creation: This means that we believe that Allah is the Creator of everything and anything, even Death, although it is the absence of Life. The Qur’an states: “He who created death and life to test you as to which of you is best in deed - and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Mulk: The Sovereignty, 67:2] The skies, the mountains, the winds, the rain, the growth of living organisms and the droughts;

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all are the creation of Allah. The danger of misunderstanding predestination is that a person may be deceived into believing their actions are not of their own free will. However, the answer is that our actions and utterances are the result of our ability and desire to do them. Since Allah alone is the One who created us and gave us the ability and the will to distinguish, choose, and act, our actions are His Creations; He created the cause which generates the result, so He is the Creator of the result as well as of the cause. But, this does not belittle our choice and will. For example, fire burns. The One who gave this power to fire is Allah, as fire on its own does not have the capability to burn. We see an instance of this in the Qur’an: “We (Allah) said: O fire! Be you cool, and safety for Ibraheem!” [Qur’an, Surah Al-Anbya: The Prophets, 21:69] Thus, the fire did not burn Prophet Ibraheem (pbuh) in this case. It is Allah who gives fire the power to burn, just as He gives man the power to choose and act according to his decision. Belief in predestination makes the Believer courageous and never afraid to voice the truth. It urges him or her to stand up to any wrong, knowing well that the span of their lifetime is predestined. This article renders man responsible, before Allah, for their actions and deeds which he or she performs out of his or her free will and choice. When the Believer is afflicted with a calamity, he or she is patient and never shows discontent. When the Believer is successful, he or she thanks Allah, The Most High, and never becomes proud or arrogant. This makes a Believer lead a happy and tranquil life. It urges man to work and utilise the means required for success and then put their trust in Allah, The Knower of All. In summary, ‘The Six Articles of Faith’ consolidate to the Believer the true Greatness of Allah, The Most High. It forces the Believer to evaluate the rewards and consequences of not following Allah’s commands and helps us understand the greatness of the Deen. The articles of faith is an aspect of Islam that forms part of the ‘Aqeedah’ (creed) of the Deen, within its greater context and ultimately makes the Believer come to terms with his or her vulnerability and ultimate purpose in life.


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Nasrine Abdirachid explains the beauty of having ‘Sabr’ (patience).

Sabrun Jameel, is truly one of the most beautiful phrases I have heard; a “beautiful patience”. To be patient during calamity and hardship is courageous in itself, but to do so beautifully, calmly and contently is nothing short of attaining ‘Ihsaan’ (excellence). It is unlike any other form of patience, it is “patience without panic” as was described by Scholar of the Qur’an, Mujahid ibn Jabr (may Allah have mercy on him). It is to practise a beautiful patience that incorporates the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. It is when one, at the strike of calamity or break of calamitous news, acts the exact same way as they were the day before the hardship. A number of ways of doing this is as follows: • • • •

Not outwardly showing distress, such as panic, complaint, howling or cursing Avoiding thoughts of the worst possible case scenarios and other matters that could exacerbate the hardship Remaining emotionally calm with what has just occurred Spiritually accepting that the occurrence is Allah’s Will and having faith in His plan for you

Enduring hardship A beautiful patience comes from the verse, in the Qur’an, in which Allah tells us that upon receiving news of the “death” of his son, Prophet Yusuf or Joseph (peace be upon him), Prophet Ya’qub or Jacob (pbuh) said: “And they brought upon his shirt false blood. (Jacob) said, “Rather, your souls have enticed you to something, so patience is most fitting. And Allah is the one sought for help against that which you describe”. [Qur’an, Surah Yusuf: Prophet Joseph, 12:18] Ilma Magazine / Issue 16


Though Prophet Yusuf (pbuh) was not dead, the mere separation caused Prophet Ya’qub a great amount of distress, as it would for any parent that is separated from their child, for a lengthy period of time.

distress that was on him, and We restored his family to him (that he lost) and the like thereof along with them as a mercy from Ourselves and reminder for all those who worship (Allah)”. [Qur’an, Surah Anbya: The Prophets, 21:83-84]

We all have our own struggles and tests to deal with. Whether these are monetary issues, marital problems or academic difficulties; it is the way in which we overcome the struggles that will ultimately be our rise or our downfall. Will these hardships bring out the best in us and allow us to reflect on life or will they make us despair and lose faith in Allah, The Most high? Will our reactions allow us to attain Allah, the Almighty’s, Rewards or Wrath?

It is important to view hardship as a test of your strength, character and faith in Allah, The Witness. Allah, the All Forgiving, tests those whom He loves, as these difficulties will, In shaa Allah (If Allah wills), serve as purification and reward in this world and the next. It is faith in Allah’s plan for you that will follow you through and keep the remembrance of Him on your lips.

The story of Prophet Ayub or Job (pbuh) also comes to mind when speaking of patience through faith and trust in Allah. Prophet Ayub (pbuh) was a righteous man, blessed by Allah with health, wealth and patience. One day ‘Shaytan’ (devil) overheard the angels praising him for his constant remembrance of Allah and gratitude for all His favours. Allah says in the Qur’an about Prophet Ayub:“Truly! We found him patient. How excellent a slave. Verily, he was oft returning in repentance (to Allah)”. [Quran, Surah Sad: The letter Saad, 38:44] Iblis wanted to prove that Prophet Ayub (pbuh)’s prayers were insincere and that he would no longer praise Allah if he suffered major hardship. Prophet Ayub (pbuh) suffered a loss of wealth, the death of his children and the deterioration of his health for seven years and patiently bore his hardship keeping Allah’s remembrance soundly on his lips. Allah tells us in Qur’an what Prophet Ayub (pbuh) supplicated: “Verily distress has seized me and You are the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy”. So We answered his call, and We removed the 32

Allah, The All-Powerful, knows best Patience should not only be practised when a hardship befalls you, but also when praying for something in particular. It is easy to think that, since you have prayed for something it will surely be granted, but we plan and Allah plans; Allah is the Best of Planners. Whilst it is not easy to search for the silver lining when something does not go your way. We often look back on our lives, recounting the things we prayed for and did not come and in hindsight realise it was the best plan for us. Perhaps you were unable to get into the university you desperately wanted and got into your second choice institution; where you subsequently met your spouse. Perhaps the job you prayed hard for was not meant for you and you find out that the company is bankrupt; Allah, the Most Merciful, saved you from redundancy. And perhaps, after years of infertility and praying for a child, you finally conceive, but not before developing an unconditionally loving relationship with your spouse. You come to realise everything that you thought that was negative at that moment was and is a blessing in disguise.

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“Rather, your souls have enticed you to something, so patience is most fitting. And Allah is the one sought for help against that which you describe”. [Qur’an, Surah Yusuf: Prophet Joseph, 12:18]

Patience, not silence While practising patience in the face of adversity is courageous and strong, bearing hardship alone is not. Seeking Allah’s guidance in matters through ‘Istikhara’ (praying to seek Allah’s counsel) is highly recommended as is seeking advice from others. Sharing your difficulties with a support network does not make you any weak, nor does it diminish your patience. Explaining your worries and difficulties to someone who will understand and advise is actually thoroughly recommended. Allah says in the Qur’an: “...and consult them in the matter. Then when you have taken a decision put your trust in Allah”. [Qur’an, Surah Ali-Imran: Family of Imran, 3:159] We should not trudge along and bear our hardships if there is something that can be done to alleviate the pain. We owe it to our bodies, our state of mind and souls the right of receiving treatment for whatever difficulty we are going through and if that requires that we consult with others then that is merely a step towards feeling like ourselves again.

Remembering Allah, The Almighty, through hardship At the moment of sorrow, tears are almost inevitable, but the words we utter and the actions we take are our choices. Upon calamity, it is important to remember to utter ‘Alhamdulillah’ (Praise be to Allah). This is spoken whether we hear good or bad news and is more than just speech. It outwardly displays an inward ‘Imaan’ (faith) that will make the difficulty easier on one’s heart. It is more than just words, but rather a source of strength in knowing that Allah, The Exalted, is in control of whatever happens next. It was reported by Bukhari and Muslim Ilma Magazine / Issue 16

that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “Allah (the All forgiving) does not punish a person as a result of tears, or of the sorrow of the heart, but Allah punishes or bestows His mercy as a result of this”. And the Prophet (pbuh) pointed to his tongue. Tears do not diminish your strength or faith in what has been decreed for you. Upon being separated from his son, Prophet Ya’qub (pbuh) cried for sorrow over the loss. Allah says in the Quran: “And he turned away from them and said, “Oh, my sorrow over Yusuf”, and his eyes became white from grief, for he was [of that] a suppressor”. [Qur’an, Surah Yusuf: Prophet Joseph, 12:84] You have prayed and supplicated and you have endured through the hardship that was written for you. Allah tells us in the Qur’an that: “For indeed, with hardship (will be) ease”. [Qur’an, Surah Al Sharh: The Relief, 94:5] It is easy to dwell on the difficult times without seeing the light at the end of the obstacle filled tunnel and whilst it can seem that there is not an end in sight, pain is not permanent. Physical, emotional or mental pains are but temporary tests for those whom Allah loves and In Shaa Allah, a purification that will weigh heavily on our scales in the Hereafter. The problems we face may seem difficult to us, but if we all put our problems and pains in a great big pile and had a chance to look at everyone else’s, we would rush to take ours back. May Allah grant Sabr to all those who are suffering from any type of pain and purify it for them and us. Ameen.


The Believer to the Believer is like a solid building, one part supporting the other”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari; Sahih Muslim]


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

We, as humans, are social creatures. There is no denying the fact we like to interact and socialise with others. We long for a friendship we can value and one that resembles the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) and his companions (may Allah be pleased with them). But more often than never, and especially in today’s materialistic society, finding this type of companionship or friendship is difficult. From a very young age in school to when we start working, we are put into situations where we are exposed to a whole new world beyond the confines of our homes. Our personalities are moulded by the many people we meet and interact with, on a daily basis. Therefore, it is vital we learn to identify the right people we should surround ourselves with. For many Muslims around the world, who are living in diverse societies, the issue with choosing the right friends and companions is a difficult and incredibly challenging endeavour. Choosing the right companions are essential for preserving and improving our ‘Deen’ (religion). The Prophet (pbuh) often spoke about good companionship and the value of it. He encouraged the necessity of surrounding ourselves

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with good people; people who share the same values and beliefs, in order to create the foundations of a successful friendship. For a Muslim, the foundations of a friendship should lie within the Deen and the best way of preserving it. The Prophet (pbuh) spoke about this mutual bond in such a beautiful manner: “The example of the Believers, in their mutual love and mercy for one another is like the example of one body, if one part feels pain, then all of the body suffers in sleeplessness and fever”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari; Sahih Muslim] “The Believer to the Believer is like a solid building, one part supporting the other”. [Sahih AlBukhari; Sahih Muslim] Companionship and or friendship is important in one’s life. Yes, it is true that we will be judged on an individual bases but Allah created us to be part of the ‘Ummah’ (community of Muslims). An Ummah that helps each other to remain on the straight path. In order to achieve this and to behave like one entity, as relayed by the Prophet (pbuh), we must support and love each other for the sake of the Allah, The Creator of the Heavens and Earth and everything within them.


Choosing a Companion Due to this, one must take heed when making friends. It has been said in an authentic ‘Hadith’ (recorded tradition), the Prophet (pbuh) said: “A person is likely to follow the faith of his friend, so look to whom you befriend”. [Reported by Abu Dawud & Tirmidhi] This is why companionship is an important aspect of a Muslims life. We, as humans, are easily influenced, regardless of how strong we may be. We can be led astray very easily by those we surround ourselves with. Allah warns us about this in the Qur’an: “And (remember) the Day when the wrong-doer (oppressor, polytheist etc.) will bite on his hand, he will say: ‘Oh! Would that I had taken a path with the Messenger. Ah! Woe to me! Would that I had never taken so-and-so as a friend! He indeed led me astray from the Reminder (the Qur’an) after it had come to me’”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Furqan: The Criterion, 25:27] It is vital that we are able to identify what a good companion looks like. Whilst it is important for him or her to accept their shortcomings, it is also important for them to guide and support you and vice versa. In this way they are able to 36

accept your faults but also support you in correcting them, in a way that pleases Allah, The Most High. And essentially, before anything a good friend is one who will love and forgive you for the sake of Allah. Muslims are advised by the Prophet (pbuh) to choose a good friend to associate with, and to have them as a companion in life. By selecting a good companion as their lifelong friend, one enriches his or her life. Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “The similitude of a good companion is like an owner of musk; if you don’t get anything, you will get the smell of it. The similitude of a bad companion is like the blacksmith’s bellows; if you are not affected by its black dirt, you will be touched by its smoke”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim] To give us an idea of what a true companion truly looks like all we have to do is to relay and remember the relationship between the Prophet (pbuh) and Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him) who was also his father in law. When Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was making ‘Hijrah’ (migration) from Makkah to Madinah, he Ilma Magazine / Issue 16

did not leave until he had chosen a companion to accompany him on his way. Abu Bakr offered himself to accompany the Prophet (pbuh), but he was waiting until Allah approved it. “Allah did indeed help him (Muhammad) when the Disbelievers drove him out. The second of the two, when they (Muhammad and Abu Bakr) were in the cave, and he (pbuh) said to his companion, ‘Be not sad (or afraid), surely Allah is with us’”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Tawbah: The Repentance 9:40] Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him), the most trusted friend and companion of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), sacrificed everything for the sake of Allah and to the service of the Prophet (pbuh); because of this he was given the title ‘Al-Siddiq’ (The Trustworthy).

Companionship in Marriage Just like a regular friendship, one should aim to build a relationship with their spouse based on their love and devotion to Allah, The Most High. “And among His signs is this: that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquillity with them. And He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect”. Ilma Magazine / Issue 16

[Qur’an, Surah Al-Rum: The Romans, 30:21] The relationship between a husband and wife is one of the closest bonds which exists. Through marriage, the individuals involved become aware of each other’s secrets, habits, faults and their virtues like no one else. Thus, companionship cannot just happen sporadically; it must come from a shared sense of responsibility for each other’s wellbeing. Such as helping each other out with the daily chores or simply discussing ones day or feelings. The Prophet (pbuh) set an example for us through the way he interacted and showed compassion to his wives. A’ishah bint Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with her) was asked: “What was the Prophet (pbuh) doing at home?” She replied: “He would be helping the family in their household chores”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari, 6039] By doing small things such as chores together, the couple is showing compassion and their mutual love for one another. As the earlier quote indicates Allah, The Most High, teaches us that He created spouses for us from among ourselves. Therefore, by accepting we are extensions of each other, we ensure kindness and tranquillity is embedded into our relationships. 37

A Non-Muslim Companion Contrary to what many may think Allah, The Most High, did not forbid Muslims making non-Muslim friends. “Allah does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly with those who have not fought you due to your faith or driven you out of your homes. Allah loves those who deal justly. Allah only forbids you from those people that fought you because of your faith, drove you out of your homes and helped in your expulsion, that you take them as intimate associates. And whosoever takes them as intimate associates, then it is they who are the wrongdoers”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Mumtahana: She that is to be Examined, 60:8-9] This verse shows that there is no opposition with Muslims having a casual friendship or acquaintances with people of different faiths. However, given that, those we choose to be friends with, do not harm or offend Islam and Muslims. Also, they do not lead you to engage in impermissible behaviour and anything that may be deemed as ‘Haraam’ (forbidden). We recall the relationship between the Prophet (pbuh) and his uncle Abu Talib ibn Abd Al-Muttalib, who was a non-Muslim and yet showed kindness to his nephew at a very turbulent time. Although, you may say family relations are dif38

ferent to companionship, in this context it goes hand in hand. The Prophet (pbuh) was deserted by many of his family members but at the same time, others became some of his most entrusted companions. Abu Talib, one of the closest and most entrusted companions of the Prophet (pbuh), who did not embrace Islam, remained loyal to his nephew, till the day he died.

Concealing a Companions Faults Once we have found the right companions, it is important to hold firmly onto them. We are all connected by the love of Allah and His Messenger (pbuh) of which gives us certain responsibilities that we must maintain. We must learn to give our brothers and sisters in Islam excuses for any behaviour that may seem incorrect. Hamdun Al-Qassar, one of the great early Muslim scholars, said: “If a friend among your friends errs, make seventy excuses for them. If your hearts are unable to do this, then know that the shortcoming is in your own selves”. [Imam Bayhaqi, Shu`ab Al-Iman, 7:5] This, however, does not mean you turn a blind eye to behaviour that may harm their relationship with people and ultimately Allah. Rather, it means that, due to your mutual respect for one another, you understand that one makes mistakes and together you can correct it. A good Ilma Magazine / Issue 16

trait in a Muslim is their humility, one that does not aim to name and shame another, thus when addressing ones faults it is your duty to do it with kindness and mercy. Islam is a tolerant and peaceful religion and its Believers must reflect that in every possible way. It was narrated by Abu Dawud (may Allah be pleased with him): “Whoever conceals (the fault of) a Muslim, Allah will conceal his fault on the Day of Judgment”. [Muslim]

Selflessness in Companionship On the authority of Abu Hamzah Anas bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet (pbuh) said: “None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself”. [Related by Sahih Al-Bukhari & Muslim] This Hadith is similar to the saying “do as to others what you want to yourself” and that is to love for your brother what you love for yourself. In this society, we live where people tend to be somewhat anxious to give advice; or often get offended to accept advice. When in reality, we should appreciate ones effort and accept their advice and give advice in the best way. This is essential for a tolerant community and for our personal wellbeing.

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Good Companionship and the Hereafter Allah, The Most High, says: “Friends on that Day will be enemies one to another, except Al-Muttaqoon (i.e. those who have Taqwa or piety)”. [Qur’an, Surah Az-Zukhruf: The Ornaments of Gold, 43:67] Sealing a friendship for Allah’s sake will result in one’s receiving protection from Allah, The Most High. As Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “No one may taste true faith except by this (i.e. building relationships for Allah’s sake), even if his prayers and fasts are many. People have come to build their relationship around the concerns of the world, but it will not benefit them in any way”. [Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi] Like with everything we do, we start it and end it for the sake of Allah. We do it to please Him and Him only and that includes who we choose to spend most of our time with. Companions play a significant role in our lives, whom influence us greatly. Therefore, we should be wise when we choose them. We must always ask Allah, The Most High, to make us of the righteous ones and give us companions that will take us away from His Wrath and lead us to His Pleasure and Paradise. Ameen. 39

By Negla Abdalla A spirited journalist, sharing her passion of tackling issues of a religious, political and societal nature through a range of mediums starting from poetry all the way through to long form features.


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My heart melts from her beauty, As she consistently makes it her duty, To guide, protect and calm me, Cleanse, eject and clear all the pain that I can see. She peacefully wakes me from my sleep, So that I don’t miss the way the sunrise colours seep, Into the bright dawn of the sky, I gaze out of the window and bid farewell to the night slowly passing by. Ready to greet my Creator, Repent from my sins and send thanks for all that is greater, My health, my life, my family, my friends, My wealth, my wife, and all the wounds she never failed to mend. They compliment me on my strength. They compliment me on my respect for others. They compliment me for my generous nature, They compliment me from the smile I always wear. They compliment me on each thing within me and around me. I smile softly, look down shyly and reply Jazakallah Khair…. Thank you. But that strength is not me, it’s my faith in her. That respect is not me, it’s my obedience to her. That generosity is not me, it’s my understanding of her. That smile is not me, it’s my love for her. All that you see me within me and around me is her. Because He the Almighty blessed me with her. Because beauty is her. Beauty is Islam.


“Those with the highest ambitions will get no rest in this life. Their rest will come when they take their first step into Jannah (Paradise)”. [Friday Sermon in Qatar, 2015]


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“Mummy, I want to be bright like the light”. By Islam Channel Presenter Shahina Khatun. Follow Shahina on Twitter: @shahina_media and visit her blog

“Mummy, I want to be bright like the light”. Intrigued, but hesitant, I asked Maryam; “what do you mean?” Her following words made my heart drop down to my stomach; “I don’t want to be dark, I want to be a lighter colour…” From the instance my baby girl was born, I vowed to protect her from words uttered by colonised minds that pity a girl with a darker shade of brown. I vowed to protect her from growing up with insecurities about her skin colour and to not let anyone cause her to falsely believe that she is in anyway less fortunate or less beautiful. And more importantly, for her to believe that it is not our appearance that defines us. So to hear these words from my five year old daughter, as I was putting her to sleep, came as a shock. More than that, it hurt. This is not the perception a child should have, and it is not a perception that children should be exposed to. I realise that there is only so much I, as a parent, can do to protect my child from such racist and shallow form of thinking that is widespread and ingrained within our communities. However, the least we can do is firstly, to not accept this attitude around us. Secondly, to try and change people’s mindset that is often bred out of ignorance as well

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as to raise awareness about the negative impact it has on individuals, as well as society itself. Within many societies if a child, especially a girl is born with fair skin, it is a matter of celebration. It seems that the standard of beauty is defined by the colour of one’s skin; the lighter the colour, the more beautiful one is deemed to be and off course, the more advantaged you are in life than a person with darker skin, especially with regards to marriage prospects. Disappointing as this attitude may be, it is real and it exists. The concept that ‘fairer is better’ is not a problem within just one or two communities; it is deeply rooted in many other cultures and communities, including the Afro-Caribbean, Asian, Latino, Chinese and Arab communities. The skin lightening industries are making a fortune out of people’s insecurities; insecurities that are created by the media and magazines that tell their audience that in order to look better, purchasing a particular lightening cream or product would make that happen. Where does this standard of beauty emanate from? Not just beauty, rather, the belief that “lighter skin is righter”. Historians would argue that the root cause of this perception leads back to European imperialism.


During pre-colonialism, in some cultures i.e. North Africa and Japan; there may have been a lifestyle based colourism, where pale hair and dark skin signified under-privileged lifestyle of rural workers working outdoors, and pale skin signified wealth and the financial status or economic well-being of the individual, just as being overweight. Although every civilisation may have defined attractiveness, the modern standards of beauty emanate from colonialism and slavery. The exportation of standards and ideas of the white master-race by Europeans to the colonised lands, created a toxic reaction that produced a harmful new idea of the better race and colour. This concept is deeper than the ideal physical appearance. Skin colour was used as a tool to create a hierarchy within slavery itself. As a result of black female slaves being abused by their white masters, a generation of mixed race children were born. As they were lighter in shade, they were given the better jobs within the household, as opposed to working in the fields with those with darker skin. Hence, the lighter the shade, the better prospects available for the person. In some instances, it lead to some achieving their freedom from slavery, instilling in the minds of the colonised, the path to accomplishment and success is through achieving this standard set by their colonisers. The colonised mind now aspires to be like its coloniser, to dress like them, behave like them and, to look like them; the white-skinned man perceived as the epitome of success. This mind-set has created an inferiority complex and self-hate that continue to plague many in the modern world. Following colonisation in India, for example, there was a deliberate re-enforcement of the caste system and the colour of the skin as a measure of what is ‘better and ‘righter’, or rather, a ‘superiority’ system that placed the fairer skin at the top of the strata, with more opportunities and privileges. This was done in order to further imbed colonial rule. The impact of colonial perception towards the fairer skin is strongly felt to this day. This standard appears in its ugly form particularly when 46

searching for a bride or groom for marriage, especially within certain communities such as the Arab and South Asian communities. It is important to realise that it is not just women who are criticised for their skin colour, but men also. Often, if not the first, the key question asked is: is she fair? Is he or she dark? How dark? A glimpse into matrimonial websites will highlight the open-armed acceptance of this attitude. There are sections with boxes to tick for the preferred skin colour of the potential spouse – Fair? Tanned? Light brown? Dark brown? Claim to superiority is still made in various forms and methods. For instance, Darwinism claims the theory of the ‘Survival of the Fittest’, which has been interpreted by some people that the most civilised and advanced form of evolution is the white man, again pushing the idea that the white man is superior to the black man. Language is a powerful tool in itself i.e. terms given to different groups of people. A British person who migrates abroad is termed as an ‘expat’, whereas a person from the East would be termed as an ‘immigrant’. There is a suggestive message in such usage of words. Why do we allow this? This is acceptance and reinforcement of an ignorant and backward attitude that our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) came to abolish over fourteen hundred years ago.

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within people, but it is also a cause of division and is dangerous especially at a time when unity of Muslims is challenged. We are the ‘Ummah’ (community) of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Our Lord is One and we are one. Language, race or colour, are not there to divide us. Our bond is one that is greater than blood and based on a unified belief in Allah, The Most High. The Prophet (pbuh) said, “The Muslim Ummah is a unique Ummah among the whole of mankind: Their land is one, their war is one, their peace is one, their honour is one and their trust is one”. [Ahmed]

Surely it is our piety and goodness that defines our worth as human beings. Surely it is the one who upholds justice and speaks the ‘Haqq’ (truth) in the face of injustice, is what raises one in rank in the eyes of Allah, The Most High. “Allah, the Exalted is He, does not look at your appearances and your possessions, rather He only looks at your hearts and your deeds”. [Muslim] Racism in all its forms, even if subtle, is a whisper of the ‘Shaytan’ (devil) that seeks to lower Muslims down to their knees. Not only does this backward attitude create an inferiority complex

This shallow thinking does not belong in us. It is an alien concept in Islam and the kind that Islam came to abolish. How does one claim superiority over another based on colour when Allah created us all from clay; when we are all descendants of Prophet Adam (pbuh)? Rather, this difference is a sign of beauty and magnificence in the creation of Allah, The Most High. “O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with Allah is that (Believer who has Taqwa (i.e. is one of the Muttaqeen – the pious). Verily Allah is All-knowing, All-Aware”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Hujurat: The Rooms, 49:13] Ilma Magazine / Issue 16

And so that we may recognise each other…


“Among His Signs is the creation of the Heavens and the Earth and the variety of your language and your colours. There are certainly signs in that for every being”. [Qur’an, Surah Ar-Rum: The Romans, 30:22] “Do you not see that Allah sends down water from the sky and by it we bring forth fruits of varying colours? And in the mountains there are streaks of white and red, of varying shades, and rocks of deep jet black. And mankind and beasts and livestock of varying colours. Only those of His slaves with knowledge have fear of Allah. Allah is Almighty, Ever-forgiving”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Fatir: The Originator, 35:27-28] So this incorrect thinking needs to be stamped out, starting with our own mind-set, making sure that we ourselves are not affected by “fairer is better” mentality and investing in skin lightening products that can be harmful to our skin! When history teaches us the roots of this standard, hence an illogical standard, we are obliged to question how we define what is attractive. More than anything, we should not allow family, friends or relatives to make negative comments about our skin colour, even though they are supposed to be “light-hearted humour”. There is nothing humorous about the discrimination of a people due to a biological difference. We know this is common, not just amongst the elders but also the young. Our children have a binding right over us to protect them not just from physical harm, but from psychological harm too, including protection from being made to feel inferior. I can say for certain, that most of those who have a darker shade of skin colour have been hurt by this within their own community, made to feel that they are not good enough and less fortunate. This is a form of racism. It is also a form of bullying which we experience and im48

pose on ourselves. This racist mentality is more openly accepted by most communities and is promoted by various institutions such as the media and the beauty industries. When it comes to protecting our children and raising the next generation, we need to raise them without the incorrect ingrained definitions of what beauty is, or to even give ones appearance such significance that it affects their personality. It has to stop and In shaa Allah (if Allah wills it) will be abolished. We should not allow anyone to entertain negative comments and socalled light-hearted jokes about skin colour or anyone’s physical appearance for that matter. And the same applies to racist attitude towards people who are Caucasian or have a lighter skin colour, as this does exist too. Does Islam not teach us the meaning of true beauty? In one’s character and conduct, kindness and compassion towards others, in ones struggle to beautify the heart and mind in worship to Allah, The Most High? I look at my daughter and hope that she grows up strong enough to not let this type of behaviour impact her. I hope that I am able to teach her the true definitions of beauty and what truly matters. I hope she grows up to speak out against injustice and strives to uphold the truth. I pray for you my baby-girl that Allah, The Most High, does make you glow brighter than the light, in His Eyes, He whose perception of you is only what matters. May our Lord make you and all our children’s heart illuminate brighter than any light and beauty of the calibre and eminence that we can ever comprehend. Ameen. WAM had a great discussion on this topic and to view this episode please click here: Ilma Magazine / Issue 16



France Islam France Islam provides alternative news, current affairs and entertainment programming from an Islamic perspective. Broadcast in French, France Islam aims to appeal to both Muslims and non-Muslims; ultimately conveying Islam in its true form to everyone.


“The more spiritually alive your heart is, the more pain it will feel”. [Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon him]

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A Traveller’s Guide:

The Mediterranean’s best kept secret Elena Nikolova is the creator of She helps Muslims travel the world in style without breaking the bank. You can connect with Elena on Twitter: @MuslimTravelGrl

The Fortress City of Valletta Medieval Mdina Breathe the sea air at Grand Harbour Gardens in Palazzo Parisio Hal Saflieni Hypogeum Best Beaches in Malta

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Country Profile

Malta Malta is a small European archipelago country in the centre of the Mediterranean, between the south of Italy and North Africa. It includes several islands, the majority of which are not occupied, with the exception of Gozo, Comino, Cominotto and Fijfla as well as the largest island of all, Malta. Malta is also the capital of the archipelago with all administrative and juridical activities based there. The entire island of Malta and Gozo only has 450,000 inhabitants. Country: Republic of Malta Capital: Valletta Major Languages: Maltese (modern Semitic language closely related to the western Arabic dialects) and English Major Religion: Catholicism Currency: Euro Climate: Subtropical-Mediterranean climate, mild winters and warm to hot summers Best time to Travel: May to October 56

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Naxxar Sliema

Malta Mdina



St Peter’s Pool

Overview Malta has a remarkable history with some of the burial chambers, catacombs and historical sights dating back to 3,600 BC. This small island has a greater concentration of historic sites than many other countries, ranging from pre-historical temples, Roman catacombs and medieval villages. During its great history it was ruled by the Greeks, Romans, Phoenicians, Arabs, Normans and many other empires. Even their language was and still is influenced heavily by the Arabic language due to centuries of Muslim rule. Today English and Maltese are the two official languages of the country. Malta not only has history, but also warm weather for almost 300 days a year, making it a tourist hotspot. No wonder why 1.5 million tourists visit

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every year. Malta may be small in size but it is rich in character and beauty. No matter what “type” of tourist you are, Malta has something for everyone. Families can enjoy days out on the beach or sightseeing around the historic city or even both; as the islands are relatively small. There is also a thriving Muslim community, therefore an abundance of Halal (permitted) food options for the Muslim traveller. The local cuisine is heavily influenced by the sea and majority of their traditional dishes are based on this very fact. If you would like some Halal meat, visit selected restaurants and takeaways around the city. Malta is a family friendly island offering everything a traveller might want. Beach resorts with crystal clear waters or even private villas with high walls for maximum privacy. 57

The Fortress City of Valletta Valletta is Malta’s capital and it is also known as The Fortress City. It is named after its founder, the respected Grand Master of the Order of St. John, Jean Parisot de la Valette. After the Great Siege in 1565, this magnificent city was built on an entirely new site in only fifteen years between the city’s two harbours. It was a remarkable construction, considering the fact that most of the engineering tools and equipment of today did not exist then. Many streets are still closed for pedestrians only, giving the visitors the opportunity to enjoy the inspiring views from the small streets. It is highly recommended to spend a day exploring the beautiful city of Valletta. Whilst in Valletta you should visit the St John’s Co-Cathedral. The Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens located near the harbour offer spectacular views across the three cities of Cospicua, Vittoriosa, and Senglea.


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Breathe the sea air at Grand Harbour The Grand Harbour, also known as The Port of Valletta, is one of the deepest natural harbours in the world since the Phoenician times. It is a spectacular harbour with massive sandy walls overlooking the sea. It has been used for centuries and for over one hundred and seventy years by the British and the Knights of St John. As mentioned before, you should definitely spend some time in the Barrakka Gardens where you can enjoy a coffee, walk around and appreciate the great views or even visit the cannon museum located there.

Medieval Mdina


arb Grand H Valletta

Mdina is a fortified city in the northern region of Malta, with imposing walls, cobbled streets and beautiful architecture; it is definitely a city not worth missing. Not many cars are allowed within its walls and it is known to locals and visitors as the silent city. Mdina served as the capital of the island until 1530. This small city is only 220 square meters and has only three hundred inhabitants within its walls; though it is a contiguous part of Rabat, a local village of eleven thousand inhabitants which takes its name from the Arabic word for ‘suburb’. This medieval city can literarily take you back in time with its dungeons, cathedrals, cobbled streets and its thirteenth century Palazzo Falson, which is filled with antique collections. Every year, around April, there is an annual festival in the old city of Mdina recreating life in the medieval times. During the two days of festivity, the streets and squares of Mdina come alive with re-enactments of scenes from the medieval times, such as the town crier, a slave market, a medieval kitchen, sword fighting, archery, and medieval tavern. Do not miss the view of northern Malta whilst in Mdina. The city is built on a hill and it offers a lovely view of the island. There are certain areas along the cobbled streets where you can sit and enjoy the view.


l Mdina

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Gardens in Palazzo Parisio Palazzo Parisio is located in Naxxar, a town in the northern region of Malta. It was first built as a hunting lodge as well as a summer residences and even a college. It was then acquired by Marqis Scicluna in 1898. He was a wealthy banker and merchant who turned it into a beautiful palace with charming gardens. Today, the palace and the surrounding gardens are open to the public to stroll around and admire, ending your day with an afternoon tea.

Palazzo Parisio Naxxar

Hal Saflieni Hypogeum Hal Saflieni Hypogeum is located in Paola, a town in the southern eastern region of Malta. It is an underground barrier complex cut into rock, dating back to 3600 BC and 2500 BC. It was constructed by the same inhabitants who created the pre-historic temples on the island and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For conservation purposes, only ten people are allowed in per hour and no children are allowed under the age of six. If you would like to book tickets to visit the sites you should do this well in advance whilst planning your trip. The tickets are sold in the National Museum of Archeology in Valletta but the tickets are available on a first come first serve basis.


Hyp i n e i l f a al S

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The entire hypogeum is curved mostly by hand, and it was held up by seven thousand bodies in its pre-historic times. It is of great historical importance and does, indeed, show a glimpse of a different era. You will see the three layers of graves all curved within the stone, as well as parts of their burial process. The tour starts with a short video of the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum and it is accompanied by an audio throughout the tour.

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Best Beaches in Malta Malta has some of the most beautiful and crystal clear waters. Due to the warm weather, throughout the year, the water is warmer than in many other Mediterranean countries. Although the beaches are not segregated, Muslim women can swim wearing a Burkina swimwear or even just enjoy the sun. The Golden Bay is located in the north western part of Malta and it is popular for swimming, snorkeling and even having barbecues. The Blue Lagoon is located in the island of Comino and has some beautiful clear waters. The St. Peter’s Pool is a natural pool lagoon where you can spend the day away from the main tourist beaches.


agoon L e u l B The o Comin

There are several places in St Julian’s and Sliema located in the central region of Malta where you can find restaurants serving Halal food. The InterContinental Hotel in St Julian’s does offer Halal options but it is advisable to enquire. There are some restaurants owned by Muslim owners who serve Halal food such as Mamounia in Sliema, Turkish Kebab and Shekinah in St Julian’s which also serves Arabic and Indian dishes.

Mosque There is a very small Muslim community of approximately three thousand people in Malta. Majority of them are people who have settled in Malta and are of Arabic decent. There is one large mosque in Paola, which is located 10 km from St Julian’s and Valletta called The Islamic Centre of Malta. Make sure to pray your ‘Salah’ (prayer) there at least once!

Driving and Electrical plugs With its British influence, the driving system in Malta is the same as in the UK; therefore exploring the island by car is the best form of transportation. Car rental can be very affordable, especially at off peak seasons, starting for as little as five pounds per day! Moreover, whilst travelling to many European countries, you usually need an adaptor for your electronic gadgets; however this is not the case in Malta since they use three pin electrical points just as in the UK. Malta is the Mediterranean’s best kept secret combining beauty, culture and pleasant weather. It is an ideal combination for any traveller. Malta suits everyone’s needs perfectly and it is an up and coming Muslim friendly destination. It offers affordable villas with private pools as well as Halal food and friendly people to welcome you. Certainly some of the best things in life come in small packages.

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Healing through Ruqyah

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 an active member of a number of Dawah organisations, community associations and charities in the UK and abroad. To find out more about her work, please visit the following website

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Ruqyah is amongst the greatest Prophetic remedies that Muslims should use regularly. It is a form of healing and protection for any and every situation, contrary to the widely held belief that it is only to be used in times of evil, or due to the effects of ‘Sihir’ (magic) and/or possession. Our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) recited Ruqyah for himself and some of his companions (may Allah have mercy upon them). It was narrated that A’ishah bint Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) was ill, he would recite Al-Mu’awwidhatayn (chapters of Al-Falaq and An-Nas) over himself and spit dryly. When his pain grew intense, I recited over him and wiped him with his own hand, seeking its blessing”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari]

What is Ruqyah? ‘Ruqyah’ is derived from the verb ‘Ruqa’. When translated into English, it means ‘incantation’ which causes misconceptions as incantation is linked to Sihir, witchcraft and spells.

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“Indeed, ruqa, amulets, and tiwala, are all acts of shirk”. [Recorded by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and others, 331]

Many people from different cultures use Ruqa in different manners that include incantation and ‘Shirk’, which is the sin of practicing idolatry or polytheism. This is why our Beloved Prophet (pbuh) said: “Indeed, ruqa, amulets, and tiwala, are all acts of shirk”. [Recorded by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and others, 331] ‘Tiwala’ are beads worn around the neck where some individuals believe it has the power to make a husband love his spouse, for example, or that it protects them from harm; in reality this is a type of Shirk because nothing tangible is capable of protecting us or bringing us good, other than through the permission and command of Allah, The Most High. Therefore, Ruqyah is a means of increasing our relationship with Allah, The Most High, by seeking refuge in Him, increasing our Qur’an recitation, reciting ‘Dhikr’ (remembering Him) and supplicating to Him (Ad’iyah).


What are the conditions of Ruqyah?

What are the types of Ruqyah?

There are three conditions that are summarised by Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani (may Allah have mercy upon him):

There are three main types of Ruqyah: reciting Dhikr, reciting Qur’an and making Ad’iyah.

1. The Ruqa must entail Allah’s names or attributes. In other words, it must consist of specific content from the Qur’an such as ‘Surah Al-Fatihah’ (Chapter of The Opening), ‘Ayatul Kursi’ in Surah Al-Baqarah (Chapter of The Cow, 2: 255) or praises of Allah and invocation of His Help and Protection. 2. Words must be easily understood. This aids in eliminating any factors of Sihir from the Ruqa. 3. Believing that the Benefit and Protection is from Allah, The Most High. Allah alone is the One who initiates healing and all Ruqa and treatments are a means to what He wills. Therefore, we need to put our trust in the Almighty Allah, The Most High. “So seek refuge with Allah (only); verily, it is He who is All-Hearer, All-Seer”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Ghafir: The Forgiver, 40:56]


Power of Dhikr Sometimes when we are busy with our worldly responsibilities, we tend to forget our spiritual needs; but Allah, The Most High, has made practicing Islam easy, whereby reciting simple phrases can have plenty of rewards, that fill our scales with good deeds on the ‘Yawm Al-Qiyamah’ (Day of Judgement), and can be done any time and place; during work, college, commuting, and so forth. Dhikr, the remembrance of Allah, The Most High, carries many virtues and benefits and is a vital part of one’s day. “...the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so - for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Ahzab: The Combined Forces, 33:35] After ‘Salah’ (prayer) we recite ‘Subhan’Allah’ (Glory be to Allah) thirty three times, ‘Alhamduli-

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lah’ (Praise be to Allah) thirty three times and ‘Allahu Akbar’ (Allah is Great) thirty four times. Due to Dhikr being a simple, direct and a powerful method to worship Allah, The Most High, we should strive and encourage others to practice this beautiful form of worship. “O you who believe! Remember Allah with much remembrance”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-Ahzab: The Combined Forces, 33:41] By increasing in praising and glorifying Allah, The Most High, we are acknowledging His Majesty and showing our gratitude to Him; for we have no power without Allah, The Most High, and He controls everything. Once we consolidate this understanding within us, we will then know that it is only with the Help and Will of Allah that we can become successful, as we do not know what the future holds. In return, His love for us increases which, in turn, strengthens the relationship between the Creator and the servant. When you make a habit to do Dhikr regularly, you will feel more connected and you will feel an instant calm feeling over your body, mind and soul. “Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest”. [Qur’an, Surah Al-R’ad: The Thunder, 13:28] There are many ‘Adhkar’ (remembrances) that can be recited for Ruqyah and can be found in the ‘Fortress of the Muslim’ book by Sheikh Sa’id Wahf Al-Qahtani.

Amongst the Adhkar that can be recited are below: “Bismika Rabi wadha’tu janbi, wa bika ‘arfa’uhu, fa’in ‘amsakta nafsee farhamhaa, wa ‘in ‘arsaltahaa fahfadhha, bimaa tahfadhu bihi ‘ibaadakas-saaliheen”. Translation: With Your Name my Lord, I lay myself down. And with Your Name I rise. And if my soul You take, have mercy on it, and if You send it back then protect it as You protect Your righteous slaves. [Sahih Al-Bukhari, 1:126; Muslim, 4:2084] “Allahumma ‘innaka khalaqta nafsee wa ‘Anta tawaffaahaa, laka mamaatuhaa wa mahyaahaa, ‘in ‘ahyaytahaa fahfadhhaa, wa ‘in ‘amattahaa faghfir lahaa, Allaahumma ‘innee ‘as’alukal-’aafiyata”. Translation: O Allah, You have created my soul and You take it back. Unto You is its death and its life . If You give it life then protect it, and if You cause it to die then forgive it. O Allah, I ask You for strength. [Muslim, 4:2083; Ahmad, 2:79] Recite three times in Arabic: “Allahumma qinee ‘athaabaka yawma tab’athu ‘ibaadaka”. Translation: O Allah, save me from Your punishment on the Day that You resurrect Your slaves. [Abu Dawud, 4:311; Sahih Al-Tirmidhi, 3:143] “Allaahumma ‘Aalimal-ghaybi wash-shahaadati faatiras-samaawaati wal’ardhi, Rabba kulli shay ‘in wa maleekahu, ‘ash-hadu ‘an laa ‘ilaaha ‘illaa ‘Anta, ‘a’oothu bika min sharri nafsee, wa min sharrish-shaytaani wa shirkihi, wa ‘an ‘aqtarifa ‘alaa nafsee soo ‘an, ‘aw ‘ajurrahu ‘ilaa Muslimin”. Translation: “O Allah, Knower of the unseen and the evident, Maker of the heavens and the earth, Lord of everything and its Master, I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but You. I seek refuge in You from the evil of my soul and from the evil of Satan and his helpers. I seek refuge in You from bringing evil upon my soul and from harming any Muslim”. [Abu Dawud, 4:317; Al-Tirmidhi, 3:142]

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The Power of Reciting Qur’an The Qur’an was revealed to our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as a source of guidance, mercy and healing to all mankind. “O mankind! There has come to you a good advice from your Lord (Qur’an) enjoining all that is good and forbidding all that is evil, and a healing for that which is in your breasts, a guidance and a mercy for the Believers”. [Qur’an, Surah Yunus: Prophet Jonah, 10:57] “And We sent down of the Qur’an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe”. [Qur’an, Surah Isra: The Night Journey, 17:82] A synonym for Ruqyah is “ta’with” and “ta’withah”, from which obtains the “Al-Mu’awwidhatayn” (Verses of Refuge) from the last two chapters only: • •

Surah Al-Falaq (The Daybreak), chapter 113 Surah Al-Nas (The Mankind), chapter 114

This is the permissible Ruqya which our Beloved Prophet (pbuh) approved and performed


onto himself and his companions (may Allah be pleased with them). On the authority of Ma‘mar from Al-Zuhry from Urwah that A’ishah bint Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with them all) said: “In his last illness, the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to blow breath (into his cupped hands) and recite Al-Mu’awwidhatayn (Surah Al-Falaq and Al-Nas) and then wipe over his body. But when his illness aggravated, I used to recite them over him and pass his own hand over his body for its blessing. Ma‘mar asked Al-Zuhry “How did he use to blow breath?” He said, “He used to blow into his hands and then pass them over his face”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim] In another ‘Hadith’ (recorded tradition) it has been narrated by the scholar Ibn Al-Qayyim that, “the effectiveness of these chapters is great to repel magic, evil eye, and the rest of the evils and the need for a slave to seek Allah’s protection through these two chapters is greater than his need for self, eating, drinking, and wearing dress”. [Al-Fawaid, 2:426]

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Other chapters that are beneficial are: • • • •

Surah Al-Ikhlas (The Sincerity), chapter 115 Surah Al-Fatihah (The Opening), chapter 1 Ayatul Kursi, chapter 2 and verse 255 Last two verses of Surah Al-Baqarah (The Cow), chapter 2

Benefits of reading Ayatul Kursi: Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “Whoever recites Ayatul Kursi at night, a protector (angel) from Allah continually safeguards him and Shaytan (devil) will not come near him until morning”. [Sahih Al-Bukhari] Benefits of reading Surah Al-Baqarah: Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “Whoever recites the last two verses of Surah Al-Baqarah at night, they will be sufficient for him”. [Sahih AlBukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Nasai, Ibn Majah] After every ‘Fardh Salah’ (obligatory prayer), read Surah Al-Ikhlas, Surah Al-Falaq, Surah AlNas. Read it thrice after ‘Fajr Salah’ (pre-dawn prayer) and ‘Maghrib Salah’ (dusk prayer).

The Power of Du’a There are many supplications prescribed for the Muslim if he or she wants to recite Ruqyah for himself or herself or for someone else. One of them being the following du’a: “A’oodu bikalimatil’lahit tam’maati min shari ma khalaq”.

Translation: “I seek refuge in all the Perfect Words Of Allah from the mischief of His Creations”. [Sahih Muslim; Tirmidhi; Ibn Majah] You could also read the following du’a three times at the beginning of the day and before going to sleep: “Bismil’laahil lazi laa yadhur’ru ma’a ismihi shay’un fil ardhi walaa fis samaa’i wahuwas samee’ul ‘aleem”. Translation: “In the Name of Allah with Whose Name nothing can cause harm in the earth and the heaven. And He is All Hearing, All Knowing”. [Sahih Abu Dawud; Tirmidhi; Ibn Majah; Hakim] May Allah, The Most High, protect us from calamities. May He continue to protect our Deen (religion) and give mankind the correct understanding of it. May He keep us away from any action that displeases Him, The Most High. Ameen.

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


“Man is cautious about consuming anything that might harm his body, yet doesn’t care about exposing himself to what will harm his soul”. [Dr Yasir Qadhi]

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


Maltese Fusion Cuisine

Maltese cuisine is greatly influenced by its long standing relationship between the islanders and the many civilizations’ that crossed its paths over the centuries. Whether it was by the occupiers or traders, their influence till this day, is present in Maltese cuisine. These influences have had a lasting effect on the Maltese cuisine; which is obvious in the various exotic and exciting flavours you taste and cook with. Maltese food is defined by its eclectic mix of Mediterranean and Arabic cooking.

Ilma Magazine / Issue 16



Ilma Magazine / Issue 16


Hobz biz-zejt (Traditional Maltese Bread Appetiser) Preperation Time: 10 mins cooking Time: 10 mins

Hobz biz-zejt is a traditional Maltese dish. It is delicious, easy to make and ideal as an appetiser, light lunch or for a picnic. The primary ingredients of the dish are bread, olives, olive oil, tomatoes, salt and pepper. The rest of the ingredients vary widely and they depend on personal taste. You can add tuna, cheese, capers, peppers and anything else you might find in your fridge. If you are using tomatoes, make sure they are ripe and juicy as they will make the bread softer. The best bread for Hobz biz-zejt is a bruschetta bread or farmhouse style bread which has a thick crust. You can find this dish as an appetiser in restaurants as well as a takeout option from bakeries around Malta.

Main Ingredients (12 slices serves 4-6) • • • • • •

1 loaf crusty bread 5 tbsp olive oil 5 juicy tomatoes (or 1 can of tomato purée) Salt Peppers 10 sliced olives

Optional: • • • •

1 can tuna flakes 2 tbsp of pickled capers 1 thinly chopped green pepper Grated cheese

Ilma Magazine / Issue 16

Preparation 1. Pour the olive oil into a plate. 2. Slice the bread. You can also toast the bread slightly if you wish for more texture. 3. Dip one side of each slice into the oil. Squeeze out the excess. 4. If using fresh tomatoes, slice them in half then rub the cut side over the bread until it is red. If using tomato paste, just spread over the bread. 5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste 6. Add your sliced olives, green peppers, tuna flake and other optional ingredients. 7. Serve on a platter for everyone to share and enjoy



Ilma Magazine / Issue 16

main course

Traditional Lampuki Pie (Fish Pie) Preperation Time: 20 mins cooking Time: 30 mins The Lampuki Pie is a traditional dish cooked not only in restaurants but also in Maltese homes. The Lampuki fish or commonly known as Mahi Mahi (Dolphin fish), is a small fish found in the Maltese waters. It is so famous that it is Malta’s national fish. It is a seasonal fish found in the waters between August and November and it is very much in high demand.

Main Ingredients (Serves 6) • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

500g prepared puff pastry or short crust 1½ kg fresh Lampuki or any white fish Flour, for coating 2 sliced onions ½ cup cooked peas 2 peeled and chopped tomatoes 1 parboiled small cauliflower or broccoli 1kg fresh spinach, cleaned and cooked or 500g frozen spinach cooked and drained 2 peeled and boiled carrots 2 tbsp tomato puree (canned) 2 tbsp capers 2 tbsp sultanas 6 chopped black olives 1 tbsp parsley 1 tbsp mint leaves 1 tbsp basil 1 lemon, zest only 1 tsp mixed spice Olive oil Salt and pepper

Preparation 1. Cut the fish into small cubes. 2. Dip in seasoned flour. Heat the oil and shallow fry until they are cooked through. 3. Set the fish aside to cool down.

Ilma Magazine / Issue 16

4. Cook the sliced onions in olive oil until they become soft. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for one minute. 5. Add the chopped cauliflower, carrots, spinach and peas. 6. Add half a tea cup of water and let it simmer in slow heat until the vegetables are tender. 7. Finally add the lemon zest, olives, herbs, spice, tomato puree, sultanas, and capers. Season to taste and let it simmer for another five minutes. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool. 8. Roll out the pastry and line a shallow round, square or rectangular oven dish. Remember to keep one third of the pastry for the top of the pie. 9. Take half of the vegetable mix and spread it on top of the pastry base, then place the fried fish pieces evenly over all the vegetables. Spread the remaining vegetable mix as a top layer over the fish. 10. Roll out the remaining pastry and place over the top, sealing the edges well. 11. Prick all over the pastry lid with a fork. 12. Bake in a hot oven 200°C / 6 Gas for fifteen minutes, then lower the heat to moderate 180°C and cook further until the pastry is golden brown. 13. Allow the pie to settle for ten minutes and serve it warm.



“Whatever you send out, comes back to you; a general rule to live by because life’s an echo. What you give, you get! What you sow, you reap”. [Mufti Menk]

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By Saqib Majid Saqib is a poet and spoken word artist from Birmingham, UK. He has written poems and short stories from a very young age and performed poetry at various events. His work aims to address personal and social problems from an Islamic viewpoint for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.


Ilma Magazine / Issue 16

DON’T QUIT, LETS TALK The view from here is not letting you breathe, Breath-taking as it is A dream as can be: Above the clouds you look down Taxi-cabs and removal vans Vagrant gents asking for pence recent mothers pushing prams. Bus hastily indicating a stop Overtaken by the horning reddened, expletive spewing man. What am I doing up here? You are part of the picture Twenty floors up On the edge of town: Defaulted on the rent The Missus left and You found the tallest building. The leap may leave you docile Institutionalised for life, then the clock of your troubles will leave you incapable of escape will leave you bereft of sound mind. Have you looked for answers? Have you explored them all? Don’t quit please. I’m Muhammad/Umar/Uthman Let’s talk. Get the next lift I will meet you on the ground.

Ilma Magazine / Issue 16


Follow Shahina Khatun on Twitter: @shahina_media and visit her blog

Illuminating the Darkness - Blacks and North Africans in Islam By Habeeb Akande, London: Ta-Ha Publishers (2012) At a time when racism frequently hits the headlines in the East and the West; such incorrect thoughts and ideas are also a cause of disunity amongst Muslims. To obliterate this attitude especially from an Islamic standpoint, ‘Illuminating the Darkness’ is certainly the book to help achieve that.

Available at all Islamic Bookshops and Amazon


Habeeb Akande uses his knowledge in Islamic Science and the Arabic language to clarify specific styles; as well as the words the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used in order to address or emphasise particular issues. This approach makes the book an interesting read, enabling the reader to realise that recorded traditions and verses of the Qur’an cannot be interpreted without taking context into account. Many examples of the colour ‘black’ seen in a positive light within Islam is also provided, negating the claim that ‘black’ is linguistically used as something negative. And of course, the book brings to light many prominent Black Muslim figures, including the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon them all) who are a great part of our Islamic heritage and role models for Muslims today. Ilma Magazine / Issue 16

“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”. American Islamic Scholar Hamza Yusuf

Catch Me By Na’ima B. Robert, London: Sisters Awakening Press (2015) A poetic journey of pain and loss that is soothed by the love of Allah, by turning to Allah and by relying on Allah. ‘Catch Me’ by Na’ima B. Roberts is a collection of poetry and prose, that are full of emotions that touch the heart. The author lays bare her soul, poems arising from her wounds. Yet the reader is left with hope and positivity. Though some of the poems reflect pain, they also reflect wisdom and acceptance that gives strength to carry on, with a silent tranquillity, despite the tests and trials of life.

Available at all Islamic Bookshops and Amazon

Ilma Magazine / Issue 16

‘Catch Me’ is a treat especially as it is a contemporary poetry book, intertwined by thoughts and emotions that Muslims can particularly relate to. It is rare to have a collection of English poetry that is current and written by not just a Muslim, but a Muslim woman. This in itself makes this an inspirational read. With a hot cup of tea on the side (and tissues!), this is definitely a moving, yet motivational and an enjoyable read.


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Religious Programmes Showing in December 2015 Sponsored by The Dawah Project Subscribers

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Ilma Magazine / Issue 16

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Ilma Magazine / Issue 16


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