Current Affairs articles

We Need One Ummah, Not One Eid

Every Eid same drama, same “unity” palaver. But hang on unity is from the Sunnah? The Quran endorses unity! The Qur’an and Sunnah teaches us a lot of things… tazkiyah and purity of the heart being number 1. 

What is the point of one Eid when the hearts aren’t one? The hearts aren’t united?

What is the point of one Eid when we pray Salah shoulder to shoulder but the Ummah isn’t one? 

What is the point of one Eid when our marriages aren’t unified? Surtis don’t marry bharuchis and Indians don’t marry Pakistanis? 

What is the point of one Eid when your masjids don’t allow all Muslims to be members? When your Islamic schools give preference to the four holy Masjids because they are ‘from the ghom’?

Can someone tell me what really is the point? I don’t understand. 

Have one Eid or a dozen Eids, but this Ummah will always be fragile until we learn to live like brothers.

Allah purify our hearts from jealousy and malice and unite this Ummah on the best day of the year. Ameen.

Ismail ibn Nazir Satia (one who is in dire need of Allah’s mercy, forgiveness and pleasure)

1 Shawaal 1443

Muslim women

I don’t wear a Hijab, but my heart is clean!”

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

170720-brands-selling-hijabs-feature“All of my Ummah will be forgiven except those who sin openly…” [1]

Sinning privately is between Allah and His servant and a struggle that only He knows about and which In sha Allah He will give His servant the Tawfiq to repent for. Openly sinning with no remorse is tantamount to a public challenge to Allah and it doesn’t just remain between a servant and his Lord, but with the people too. One is to unashamedly disobey Allah and then to further justify the sin, but “Allah will not help a people until they help themselves.” [2]

Lately, I seem to have come across many sisters who give reasons for their Hijab – or lack thereof!

“I’m not ready for the Hijab yet!”
“So what if my hair is uncovered? My heart is clean!”
“Don’t tell me to wear Hijab, only Allah can judge me.”

Naturally, it led to many debates where not everyone agreed. Hence, this is merely an opinion.

At random, I started looking at other commandments of Allah. His order to fulfil the obligation of Salah comes with the condition that one has reached the age of puberty, is sane, and is a Muslim. Similarly, the donning of Hijab becomes compulsory once a woman reaches the age of puberty. But why are sisters so quick to make excuses like, “I’m not ready yet” and, “But my heart is clean,” when we don’t make the same excuses for our Zakah and fasting the month of Ramadhan?

My mind is at awe with the women around my Nabi ﷺ who dropped all they had in order to comply to another commandment of Allah with the hope of coming closer to Him. Fatimah Al-Zahrah (R), the queen of the women of Jannah, was the epitome of modesty at the time of Nabi ﷺ and continues to serve as an example until the end of time. Similarly, Umm Khallad (R) who upon hearing of the martyrdom of her beloved son on the battlefield, rushed to it whilst veiled. When asked how she managed to cover in such a state, she responded, “I have lost my son, but I have not lost my modesty.” [3]

Such women had the purest of hearts and yet they did not make the excuses we make because it is not befitting for a Muslim woman to ask for a concession in a matter that Allah and His Nabi (S) have ordained for us!

It may be true that a sister without the Hijab may have a heart purer and Taqwa stronger than that of a sister fully covered. However, when a Muslim woman CHOOSES not to wear the Hijab out of her own free-will (without a valid Shar’i reason), she becomes another fallen brick in the wall that divides us as an Ummah because she has chosen to hide her identity. Those who wear the Hijab (despite their struggles) are then labelled fanatics and extremists because another side has presented a “liberal” image which shows the world that it clearly isn’t mandatory to wear the Hijab and it can’t really be part of the faith! And so in this manner, she makes it harder for her “Hijabi” sister to practice her faith.

Those who refuse the Hijab claiming only Allah can judge them, remember that indeed Allah WILL judge them. Let’s help one another to become stronger in our faith and show the world that we are proud of our identity. May Allah help each of us in our struggles and only He knows what they are.

Do you agree? Disagree? All comments welcome, but please be courteous.plain-chiffon-hijab-plain-chiffon-charcoal-hijab-1_large

[1] Bukhari and Muslim
[2] Surah Ra’ad (13:11)
[3] Abu Dawud

Zainab Bint Husain (Allah protect her)

10 Muharram 1440


3rd March 1924

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Today in Ottoman history marks the 94th anniversary of an event so momentous that we are still feeling the aftershocks of it today: the abolishment of the Office of the Caliph. It marked a turning point in history. To fully appreciate the significance of this anniversary, we must take ourselves back to Istanbul. The year is 1924, sometime after midnight. A single light, coming from the library is on, in the Dolmabahçe palace. There, an old man sits quietly and reads the Qurʾan, pondering over the state of his Ummah (i.e. the Muslim nation). His name is Abdülmecid II and he is the 101st Caliph of Islam. Two years prior, his cousin Sultan Mehmed VI Vahdeddin had been exiled to Italy (where he later starved to death) and the Ottoman Sultanate had been abolished by the Grand National Assembly. The end of the Ottoman Empire had finally come to an end, however, the Office of the Caliph was not so easily dismantled, due to fears of a massive backlash that would ensue.
A campaign of violence and intimidation began to ensure that all those who supported the Caliph were removed. Then, on the night of March 3rd, the final move was made. A young army messenger opened the door to the library of the Dolmabahçe palace. The hunched over Caliph continued to read from the Qurʾan. The messenger was initially taken aback by the sight, but he forced himself and read out the proclamation from the Grand National Assembly. The Caliph refused to leave Istanbul, but his staff were worried that they would all be killed by the army that had now surrounded the palace and had him and his family, including women and children at gunpoint. After weighing the few options he had, he reluctantly packed some of his clothes and went into exile. Before morning prayer, the Caliph was taken to the main train station at gunpoint where he and his family were put on the Orient Express bound for Switzerland.
An envelope containing £2,000 was given to the man who left behind entire palaces full of diamonds, emeralds and gold. The station master quickly took the Caliph and his family into his small house adjoining the train station to shelter them from the cold on the platform while they awaited the train to start on its journey. As they drank tea, the Caliph thanked him for his hospitality. The station master, a Jewish man, began to cry. “How can you thank me?” he asked especially knowing that it was the Caliphs/Sultans of Islam who had preserved the life and dignity of the Jewish people whenever they were persecuted elsewhere in the world (e.g. Spain). Instead, he thanked the Caliph for the honour of being able to serve him even if for the briefest moment. In the morning, citizens awoke to the news that they had scarcely believed would ever happen – the Caliphate had been abolished. There were isolated riots and uprisings in various regions, but the army quickly put them down. The last Caliph spent his days walking along the promenade in Paris, France. There, he lived a humble life until he died in 1944 during the Nazi occupation of France.
As no Caliph had ever been buried in non-Muslim lands, Abdülmecid II’s body was eventually transported to, and buried in Jannat Al-Baqi cemetery in Madinah, Arabia. The major political and spiritual office of Caliph had also been buried with him as well, an office which, to this day, remains to be filled, leaving a lasting impact on present-day Muslim lands and the Middle East, and fracturing the unity and peace that Muslims once possessed in their neighbourhoods.
Pictured: The last Caliph of Islam, Abdulmecid Efendi II, just before the last Jum’uah of the Caliphate.
Current Affairs articles

Qurbani – ‘Sacrifice’ or comparing the price?

Unfortunately, Qurbani has become rather like car insurance, where one searches for the lowest “quote” and the cheapest price… this should not be the case.
We shouldn’t think of Qurbani or any obligation in Islam as a BURDEN, brothers and sisters. Rather we should fulfil it for solely the pleasure of Allah SWT.
Give to the “needy” countries.
Give to the “poorest” country.
Don’t go for the LOWEST quote!
Did you know, there are many Muslims who don’t eat meat all year round, only on Eid! Remember that, next time you’re licking your chicken legs and eating that Kobeda.
I feel sooner or later, we will have websites or apps (like ‘gocompare’… ‘goqurbani’) that will compare charities and countries then show which are the cheapest. Astaghfirullah…
My gripe is we earn thousands of pounds and when it comes to spending for Allah SWT, we are tight fisted – La Hawla Wa La Quwwata Illa Billa!
The saddest part of all of this is, how deep our selfishness goes. The word ‘Udhiyyah’ (Arabic), ‘Qurbani’ (urdu), actually means ‘sacrifice’. It really shows whether we love Allah or just love our pockets, our purses and our bank accounts.
Lastly, many of you reading this will be from Bangladesh/India/Pakistan. Let’s not just focus on these countries, we have many of our Muslim brothers and sisters around the world who are living in extreme poverty. I understand that some of these other countries have extortionate rates for an animal. But, if we all go for a £15 share in a cow from India and just want to absolve ourselves from this obligation, who will feed the Muslims in Iraq and Palestine where a large animal costs almost £2,000 (approx £300 per share). It is advised that family and friends get together and offer a ‘Nafl’ Qurbani in these countries, i.e. split the cost between them, if they can’t afford a full share. A great way of doing this is with the intention of Esale Thawab. This Eid, let’s not deprive anyone In Sha Allah.
Please bear in mind, Qurbani comes once a year and we eat meat on a regular basis in the UK.
(Mawlana) Ismail Ibn Nazir Satia (One who is in dire need of Allah’s forgiveness, mercy and pleasure).
1st Dhul Qa’dah 1438
Miscellaneous Muslim men

Muslim Unity

By Khalid Baig – (From the book ‘First Things First’)


The article below is adapted from two talks of Mufti Muhammad Shafi (Allah have mercy on him) given in 1963 and published in the booklet Wahdat e Ummat.

“I gave a lot of thought to the causes of the sorry state of the Ummah, during the years of captivity in Malta,” said Shaykh-ul-Hind Mawlana Mahmoodul Hassan (Allah have mercy upon him). It was 1920, and at 69 not only was he one of the most distinguished scholars of his time, he had also spent a lifetime in political struggle. His audience was a gathering of Ulama, eager to hear the lessons of a lifetime of study, struggle and reflection. His conclusion: “Our problems are caused by two factors; abandoning the Qur’an and our infighting.” He spent the few remaining days of his life addressing these causes.

The reasons Shaykhul Hind (Allah have mercy upon him) stated are as valid today as they were then. They are also related; the second being caused by the first. The Qur’an had declared us as one Ummah and had warned us against infighting. We have ignored those teachings and the billion-strong Ummah has turned into an Ummah fragmented into a billion segments.

A very large number of our internal battles are the result of narrowly defined self-interest. Islam could have been the force that helped us overcome that. Unfortunately, instead of letting it fulfil that role, today we have made even religion provide us with additional and irresolvable points of conflict. We fight over petty issues of fiqh. We fight over fine points of religious interpretation. We turn minor points of religious law into big battlegrounds while most important and fundamental teachings of religion are violated.

We all do this even as this religion has been under attack from all directions. Thousands of people become apostates every year in Pakistan. Qadianis (who declare Mirza Ghulam Ahmed of Qadian to be a prophet), and munkireen e hadith have been busy attracting our new generation to their falsehoods. Haram is being declared as Halal. Our masses are ignorant of their religion and easily indulge in customs borrowed from polytheists. On top of all that is the western culture of hedonism, of shamelessness, of moral anarchy, that is invading our societies through film, television, radio and obscene literature.[And we might add now the internet.] Corruption of all sorts has permeated all layers of our society. Should not we be reflecting on this and asking ourselves what would the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) expect of us, the heirs of the Prophets? In the hereafter shall we be able to give a sufficient answer by mentioning that we wrote a book on rafa-yadain (the issue of raising hands during certain movements in obligatory prayer)?

Once I saw Mawlana Anwar Shah Kashmiri (Allah have mercy upon him) in a very sad mood. What is the matter? I asked. “I have wasted my whole life,” he said. “You have spent your entire life in spreading Islamic teachings. Thousands of your disciples are themselves Ulama who are serving the religion. If that is a waste, what hope can anyone else have?” I insisted. “Look, what has been the main thrust of all our efforts,” he replied. “It has been to show why Hanafi school is better than others. Imam Abu Hanifa (Allah have mercy upon him) did not need this. His grandeur did not need our approval. Imam Shafi’ee (Allah have mercy upon him), Imam Malik (Allah have mercy upon him) and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Allah have mercy upon him) could not care less about it. All that one can ever prove in these matters is that a certain position is right but has the probability of being wrong and the other position is wrong but has the probability of being right. Moreover, these issues will not be resolved even in the hereafter. For Allah (be He glorified) will not humiliate Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi’ee, Imam Malik or Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal by showing that they were in error.” Then he added: “Today when the roots of Islam are under attack, we have been busy taking care of the leaves.”

It is not that debates or disagreements in religious interpretation are themselves evil. Today, many western educated Muslims, with scant understanding of their religion do think that way. Some even suggest that we should bury all fiqhi schools and create a new one. This is neither possible nor desirable. Difference of opinion are inevitable wherever people have both intellect and honesty. Complete consensus on every issue is only possible when everyone is dumb, so they cannot think of a different idea, or they are dishonest so they willingly agree with a position they consider wrong. After all religious interpretations are not so personal rights that can be sacrificed away.

The problem rather occurs when we overstate these differences. There were difference of opinions in Fiqh amongst the companions, the Successors and great Mujtahideen. They disagreed but did they not turn these into fights. They disagreed but they maintained respect and love for each other.

The brotherhood remained intact.

They had tolerance for the other view.

How can we have tolerance for something we know is wrong? Of course we cannot have any tolerance for anything clearly established as wrong by the Qur’an or Hadith. We can never show accommodation for apostasy. We can never agree on changing the Shariah’s established definitions of halal and haram. But beyond this there are issues about which the Qur’an and Sunnah are silent or are subject to more than one interpretation.

Here the Mujtahideen deduce the intent of the Qur’an and Sunnah based on their based ability. Here disagreements are possible. As long as those involved are qualified Mujtahideen (like the four respected Imams), their differing views have to be respected. We can follow only one opinion, and we should try and determine the one closest to the intent of the Shariah, but we cannot declare opposing views as evil. We exaggerate when we deal with people holding valid opposing views as if they were outside the bounds of Islam.

Overstatement (ghuloo) is the main cause of most fights involving our religious groups. It also happens with Islamic organizations. Most are doing useful work in the areas they have chosen based on their abilities and inclinations. Had they developed a spirit of cooperation and considered their differences as just a natural division of labour, together they could have become a formidable force. Unfortunately, each one of them considers their work and methodology as the only methodology for Islamic work. If a person leaves one of these organizations to join another, he is treated as if he recanted his faith. This is ghuloo. It produces the tribalism of Jahiliya (the pre-Islamic period of ignorance) among religious workers.

Pious people are not extinct today. What we sorely need are the reformers who can rise above their narrow perspectives and heed the universal and unifying call of Islam

The ship and the lifeboats (This section contains Khalid Baig’s reflections on the above).

The above comments of Mufti Muhammad Shafi (Allah have mercy upon him) regarding ghuloo (overstatement) and tribalism in Islamic workers need to be understood in light of Muslim experience with colonialism and its aftermath. Colonialism had hit them hard. It subjugated them physically, politically, economically, culturally and mentally. It was like a big crash in which their ship was destroyed. In the immediate aftermath, survival was the main goal, and people came with whatever lifeboats they could. After the formal ending of direct colonial rule after decades of struggle, there was the time to pick up the pieces and build the ship again. The problem is they had been living in the lifeboats for so long, they confused them with the ships. They still do.

The schools for secular education were one such lifeboat. They imparted some skills necessary for survival in a changed world, although they impoverished Muslim education and society tremendously in so many ways. But today so many well-meaning people who get excited about spreading education in the Muslim world think of nothing more than establishing more of these same schools. Campaigns for “democracy,” whatever it means, were another such lifeboat, aimed at returning control of Muslim affairs to them thereby seeking liberation. Today, democracy or no democracy, nowhere do Muslims have any control over their affairs, but this lifeboat has become a ship and Khilafah, the Islamic system of governance, remains a strange entity.

Most important, Islamic organizations were such a lifeboat, aimed at gathering likeminded people so they could focus their resources and energies on some of the important things. Islamic teachings encompass our entire life and no private organisation can handle all of them to the exclusion of others. Charity is a big part of Islam and it needs organized efforts. So does Islamic education. And calling to Islam. And amr-bil-maroof-wa-nahee-anil-munkar. And the struggle on the battlefield. And so on. Those engaged in media, political, charitable, or other struggles are all part of the jihad. In the absence of the Khilafah, these are all lifeboats. Yet each of them is considered to be the ship by its occupants and captains, thereby creating new lines of cleavage within the Ummah.

The claim that what an organization is doing is the task that needs to be done and the way it is doing it, is the only Islamically legitimate way of doing it, is as damaging as it is common. It helps recruitment for a particular organization but hurts the overall cause. It may make the riders of the lifeboat feel good, but it pushes further the day when we can build the ship again. Little do we realize that one cannot live forever in the lifeboats.

The attitude also betrays lack of appreciation of the current situation of the Ummah. Since the formal end of colonialism we have been living with its legacies. One of them is an education system that we embraced as a ticket out of our miseries during that period of oppression; it compounded our problems by producing self-doubt and self-hate. It produced generations of perfect strangers within the house of Islam, who were then – for this “acheivement” – given leadership roles in all areas of Muslim societies. They hated their languages, their culture, and their religion. It is such people who rule the Muslim world today.

Simultaneously, a whole gamut of institutions, from sophisticated research centers to slick media, is dedicated to the campaign to sow doubts, to spread confusion, and to denigrate Islam. In hot spot after hot spot around the world, the sword is busy prosecuting a war on Islam. The pen is busy in both conducting a war on Islam and in trying to foment a war within Islam.

With that armada arrayed against it, not only the ship is missing here, but the lifeboats cannot even make a fleet because of their illusion that each of them is not a lifeboat but the ship.

This is not to suggest that the situation is entirely hopeless. For these are also the times when people all over the world are coming to Islam in unprecedented numbers. At a time when Muslims have lost control of the sword and the pen, Islam is finding new followers everywhere everyday. (It is quite revealing that even as Islam continues to spread despite the sword, some people continue to insist that it spread by the sword).

Within the Muslim world there are signs of awakening. Muslims are coming back to Islam after having toyed with one false ideology after another. More women are choosing Hijab and are becoming more assertive about it as a symbol of their Islamic identity. There is a greater interest in Islamic knowledge. Qur’an lectures are attracting crowds that were not seen in the past. The nature of the questions people ask about Islam is also changing. There are more “how to” and “what to” questions than “why” questions coming from the secular educated groups. As a small indicator of the new trend, the Biswa Ijtimas (annual gatherings of Tablighi Jamat in Bangladesh) lately have attracted around two million attendees. What is more, they come from widely varying segments of society. A parallel growth can be seen in Islamic activism. Politics, media, relief and charity, education, and community service are all attracting new workers and new organizations. There is new enthusiasm, new energy, and new awareness.

Can we imagine how much speedier our recovery could be if we rose above our petty perspectives, pooled our resources, and recognised the difference between the lifeboats and the ship?

Allah purify our hearts and unify our souls. Ameen.

Muslim men

The Call to Jannah

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

Do you have a yearning to be close to Allah?

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “The servant is closest to Allah when he is in sujood (prostration). So increase your du’aa (prayer) whilst in that state.” (Muslim)

Would you like to gain reward equivalent to an accepted Hajj?

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Performing Umrah in Ramadhan is equal to (the reward of) Hajj” (or according to some narrations) “…Hajj with me.” (Bukhari/Muslim)

Would you like a house in Paradise?

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Whoever builds a Masjid for the sake of Allah, Allah will build for him a house similar (to that) in Jannah.” (Muslim)

Would you like to gain the pleasure of Allah SWT?

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Allah is happy with a servant who when he eats, praises Allah and when he drinks, he praises Allah.” (Muslim)

Would you like your Du’aas to be accepted?

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Du’aa (made) between Adhan and Iqamah will never be rejected.”

Would you like a reward equivalent to fasting for a whole year to be written for you?

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Fasting three days every month equals to fasting for a lifetime.”

Would you like rewards that equal to a mountain?

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Whoever attends a Janazah (funeral) and prays Salah receives the reward of one ‘Qeeraat’ and whoever stays until the burial he will receives the reward of two ‘Qeeraats.’ It was asked. “And what are two Qeerats?” He (pbuh) said, “Equal to two great mountains!” (Bukhari/Muslim)

Would you like the company of the Prophet (pbuh) in Jannah?

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Me and the guardian of the orphan will be in Jannah like this (at this point he [pbuh] joined his index and middle finger together) (Bukhari)

Would you like the reward of a soldier in the path of Allah or the reward of a fasting person or one who stands for night prayer?

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “The caretaker of the widows and the orphans is like a soldier in the path of Allah.” Or (according to some narrations), he (pbuh) said… “Is like someone who stands for night prayer and does not tire, and like a fasting person who does not do Iftar.” (Bukhari/Muslim)

Would you like the Prophet’s (pbuh) guarantee that you will enter paradise?

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Whosoever guarantees me (to safeguard) that which is between his jaws and (to safeguard) that which is between his thighs, I will guarantee him paradise. (Bukhari/Muslim)

Would you like your actions to continue after your death?

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “When a person dies, all of his actions cut off except three: Sadqah Jariyah (continuous charity), knowledge which benefited someone, or a pious child who prays for you.” (Muslim)

Would you like a treasure from the treasures of Jannah?

The Prophet (pbuh) said, “La hawla wa laa quwwata illa billah is a treasure from the treasures of Jannah.” (Bukhari/Muslim)

Would you like the reward of standing the whole night in prayer?

The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever prayed Isha Salah with Jama’ah, it is as though he stood in prayer half the night, whoever prayed Fajr with Jama’ah, it is as though he has stood the whole night in prayer.” (Muslim)

Would you like to read a third of the Qur’an in one minute?

The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Surah Ikhlas is equal to a third of the Qur’an.” (Muslim)

Would you like to make the good deeds heavier in your scale?

The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Two words are beloved to Rahman, light on the tongue and heavy in the scale. (They are) Subhan’Allahi wa biHam’dihee Subhan’Allahil Adheem.” (Bukhari)

Would you like your sustenance to be abundant and your lifespan to be long?

The Prophet (pbuh) said, “If you would like to have abundance in your sustenance and your lifespan to be increased, join ties (with your relatives).”

Would you like Allah to protect you?

The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever prays Fajr Salah he is in Allah’s protection.”

Would you like your sins to be forgiven even if they are many?

The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever says Subhaan’Allahi wa biham’dihee 100 times in a day his sins will be forgiven, even if they are equal to the foams of the ocean.” (Bukhari/Muslim)

Would you like there to be a distance of seventy years between you and hellfire?

The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever keeps a fast in the path of Allah, Allah will remove him from the fire a distance of seventy years.” (Bukhari)

Would you like Allah to send blessings upon you?

The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever sends salutations (durood) upon me, Allah sends tens blessings upon him in return.” (Muslim)

Would you like Allah to raise your status?

The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever humbles himself before Allah, Allah ‘azza wa jalla’ will elevate his status.” (Muslim)

Translated by Mawlana Ismail Satia  (In dire need of Allah’s forgiveness, mercy and pleasure).

Ramadhan 1435