Blue Mosque - Dubai

Plan Your Ramadan

Bismillah,

Me: I am super duper excited right now and I still can’t believe Ramadan has started. A day ago all the shaitans were roamin’ in the streets, whisperin’ in our ears to do bad sh-stuff and now they be locked up! That means we only have one month to set ourselves straight and surprise the hell out of them! Get it? ;O

You: :I

A month and a half ago I got really sick, hospitalised and all, and since then I’ve found myself becoming extremely unproductive, lazy and loserish. So personally, I am really looking forward to Ramadan so I may become productive, energetic, and a winner. #winning. Since it’s a new month, a new routine, a new beginning, I believe it will be easier to bring about a positive change with Allah’s help.

You: So how do you plan on doing that?

Me: Good question. Well the first thing I plan on doing is to plan out my Ramadan.

You: Great. Could you help me out as well, I want to be a winner too! (and I’m too lazy to do it myself)

Me: Alright let’s get to it.

1. Let’s begin by making a decision (intention). Decision: This Ramadan with the help of Allah (‘azawajal), I will change to become a better person. When you make this decision, make sure you mean it and you believe in it.

2. Make Du’a to Allah (‘azawajal) to help you become steadfast in the decision you just made and to help you achieve it.

3. Ramadan is not a month only for a ‘religious’ transformation, but rather you should aim for improving yourself as a whole. Socially, physically, spiritually and mentally. I have made a list of a few goals you can set. Take a paper and pencil, and write your goals down. Here goes.

Qurana. Quran – In this blessed month, our relationship with the Quran should strengthen. We should make it our habit to read a section of the Quran with proper recitation on a consistent basis. Since I don’t know Arabic, I make sure to also read the translation so I understand the meaning. Quran.com is a great website which I believe will be an amazing help to you.

Pick one of the following: (a) Cool: Recitation of half a Juz a day, (b) Amazing: Recitation of one full Juz a day, (c) Fantabulous: Recitation of two Juz a day, (d) Boss: Recitation of more than 2 Juz.

Bonus: Read with Tarteel (recite it slowly and properly) + read translation + tajweed.

b. Prayer – Salah is one of the most important parts of Islam. During non-Ramadan days, stupid shaitan makes us lazy, gets us to skip and sometimes completely forget about Salah. But since he be locked up, we can make an effort to overcome our laziness.

Pick one of the following: (a) Cool: Five daily prayers and sunnahs, (b) Amazing: (a) + all taraweeh prayers. (c) Fantabulous: (b) + ishraaq (two raka’at after the sun has risen), (d) Boss: (c) + qiyaam (night prayer).

Bonus: Perform prayer in congregation, on time, with proper wudhu, taqwa and khushoo.

Duac. Du’as – This is your hotline with Allah (‘azawajal) which is opened 24/7/365. Ask for all the things you want. For personal Du’as, my recommendation would be to sit down, take a paper and pencil, and make a list of your top Du’as. In other words, think about what you really want and then make Du’as accordingly and regularly.

Pick one of the following: (a) Cool: Personal Du’as, (b) Amazing: (a) + Athkar after Prayer, (c) Fantabulous: (b) + Morning and Evening Athkar, (d) Boss: (c) + More!

Bonus: Mean it. Know that your Rab is listening to you. Have strong belief.

Note: Don’t go around telling others to make Du’a for you if you yourself aren’t making them. Indeed He is the All-Hearing.

d. Relatives – It is important that we learn to mend ties with our relatives. Start with your Family. Pick up that phone and tell your parents and your spouse that you love them. Forgive your annoying chachi, nani, dadi (Boss: or mother in law). Buy them a gift, spend time with them, give them a hug. Whatsapp your siblings or whatever it is you kids do these days. Send them a smiley face emoticon (it makes a difference, trust me).

What’s the point in having all these social networking sites when you don’t even stay connected with your fambam!

e. Sadaqah – Make it a STRICT habit to give sadaqah to someone EVERY SINGLE DAY! Even if it be one (what ever your currency is). If you can, don’t just put it in a donation box, rather give it to a person physically. It doesn’t always have to be money.

f. Bad Habits – Leave at least five bad habits this Ramadan. You have 30 days to practice, that is more than enough time to break a habit. Movies, Music, TV Shows, Video Games, Sheesha, Drugs, Smoking, Drinking, Partying, BF/GFing, Fornication, Masturbating, Porn, Being Rude, Wasting Time, Useless Talking, etc.

Make a commitment, be strong, and ask Allah (the all powerful) for help.

 

Now obviously there are many more things that you can do, so in the comments below, share what plans you have for this Ramadan!

May The All-Merciful help us to keep our intentions clean, help us achieve our goals, accept our deeds and grant us more Ramadans.

Keep yo’ brotha’ Hisham Al Hadi in yo’ Du’as!

You: Ameen! I will. Thanks for the amazing tips. Inshallah I will definitely try to make an effort :D. Oh, and PLEASE post more posts!

 

Quran

Importance of Tajweed

Bismillah,

Tajweed teacher: Hisham, you are amazing! Could you give me some advice on how I could teach Tajweed effectively. I deal with aunties who have a very ‘non-serious attitude’ towards the subject. Please guide.

You: Wait, what is this ‘Tajweed?’

Me: Why do people ask me such questions? :P

Alright, let’s first discuss what Tajweed is.

(deepens voice and starts speaking like an academic) Linguistically, Tajweed means to beautify – beautify the words and letters of the Quran by reciting them correctly. In other words it means to pronounce each of the 29 letters in the Arabic language from where they should be pronounced from (Makhaarij) and give them their appropriate attributes (Sifaat).

Makhaarij and Sifaat are two main branches of Tajweed that we’ll study in further detail later inshallah.

You: Yay! I’m really excited.

Me: Cool.

Anyhow, there is one very important issue that I would like to discuss. When we recite the Quran incorrectly (without Tajweed) and the letters are therefore mispronounced, something very dangerous could happen. The meaning could change. And since this is the Quran, the most sacred of books, the Word of Allah (exalted is He), it becomes a very serious matter.

You: So do I HAVE to learn Tajweed?

Me: Good question. The scholars have said 2 things.

  1. Not everyone needs to know the rules of Tajweed (names of rules and complicated terms).
  2. However, it is an obligation to recite the Quran correctly and that may only happen if the rules of Tajweed are followed.

So yes.

Allah (exalted is He) says in the Quran:

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‘Those to whom We have given the Book recite it with its true recital. They [are the ones who] believe in it. And whoever disbelieves in it – it is they who are the losers.’ [Al-Baqarah - Verse 121]

The ‘true recital’ of the Quran means to recite it with Tarteel. Ali bin Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) said regarding the meaning of Tarteel: ‘At tarteelu hua tajweed ul hurroofi wa ma’rifatul wuqoofi.’ Tarteel is the Tajweed of letters and the awareness/knowledge of where to stop.

Realize that reciting the Quran is an act of worship. For every letter you recite, you get 10 good deeds. But there are rules that have to be followed. Can you read 3 raka’at in Fajr prayer instead of 2? Can you leave out reciting Surah Fatiha? Can you do 3 sujood instead of 2? No. Just how prayer has its musts (qiyam, sujood, rukoo’, etc.), so does reciting the Quran.

Tajweed teacher: But, you didn’t answer my question :|.

Me: I did! Make your ‘non-serious’ aunties realize the importance of Tajweed and get them to become ‘serious.’ If they don’t understand its value, how will they be interested?

You could also buy them chocolate.

You: I want chocolate.

Me: In the comment section below, tell me what exactly is it that you want to learn in the subject of Tajweed.

Human Brain

Improvement of Memory

Bismillah,

Me: As we move into an era with more and more distractions, our concentration levels decrease. Our dependance on reminder applications and personal diary planners increases, and we tend to forget things more frequently. But why?

Allah (subhanahu wa ta‘alaa) has given us a very powerful gift that we must be thankful for. The Mind. Through it we have the ability to think, to imagine, to plan, to ponder and the list goes on. This mind also has the ability to (a) store thoughts in what we refer to as the memory and (b) to recall these thoughts at will. We use this memory to well, remember pretty much everything.

You: This is interesting, you are interesting, and have my full attention (like always). Please, carry on. :)

Me: Good. Dekho, many of us don’t use this amazing gift of the mind up to its true potential. And well, subsequently our ability to memorize and recall begins to decrease.

You: So what are you suggesting?

Me: I’m suggesting that you go walk into a wall.

And 4 strategies for memory improvement.

1. Repetition – Just the other day an aunty asked me, ‘Hisham beta, please give me some tips to memorize the Quran.’ I thought about it for a second and I answered ‘Read the page you want to memorize one hundred times.’ She started laughing, then she stopped and then she said ‘Agar dekha jai, to baat tou sai hay.’

I wasn’t kidding.

Rule: The more times information is memorized, the more accurate the recall becomes and the less time it takes to re-learn.

2. Meaning – If I were to tell you to memorize Pi to the 100th digit or memorize 100 characters like this sentence, what would be easier? Obviously the sentence would be easier because it is holds some sort of meaning to you. You understand letters combined together to make words. Not just random words, but words combined meaningfully to form a sentence.

Rule: Information will be remembered better if it is meaningful.

Tip: If you are trying to memorize the Quran, try to also understand its meaning, it will definitely help.

3. Memory Cues – Yesterday, my friend and I went to a cafe called Gloria Jeans to discuss some ideas for this upcoming project. While he was talking I had this brilliant idea. When it was my turn to speak, my brain crashed and I forgot! So he started repeating different phrases that he was saying while he was talking to jog my memory and BAM, I remembered.

Rule: Recreating conditions in which material or information was learnt can act a trigger to recall from the memory.

4. Organization – These days I’m studying Tajweed, something I was previously very frightened of. I used to find it very confusing. The terminologies and concepts would go through one ear and come out the other, and most importantly what ever I learnt, I would forget. But things have changed. Apart from having excellent teachers, the way the subject is being presented to me now in an organized and structured way is what I find to be most helpful. Not only does this organization help me in remembering the concepts, but it also helps me to understand them.

Inshallah I plan to post about the subject of Tajweed soon as well.

Rule: Information is better remembered if it is presented in a structured way.

You: Cool stuff. I can’t wait for the Tajweed posts.

Me: Thanks yar. Let me know in the comments if you have any other techniques to improve memory recall.

And Allah (the all knowing) knows best.

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Dogs and Knowledge

Bismillah,

Me: The following is really interesting, so pay close attention.

You: Yes sir!

Me: Scholars of Islam have stated in light of the ahadith (plural of hadith) of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that keeping dogs as pets is not allowed.

You: Really?

Me: Yea, really! In one Hadith we find that whoever keeps a dog in their house, two mountains of Uhud worth of good deeds are deducted from his ‘akhirah account’ each day (Reference: Sahih Al Jaami’). This same dog, if it licks or puts its mouth on a utensil, that utensil has to be washed seven times with water and an eighth time with soil/clay/mittee (Reference: Sahih Bukhari).

Looking at these two evidences, isn’t it safe to conclude that dogs in Islam are looked at as filthy and unclean creatures?

Now check this out! The great scholar Ibn Qayim (may Allah have mercy on him) says that the following verse is very powerful and deep:

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‘They ask you, [O Muhammad], what has been made lawful for them. Say, “Lawful for you are [all] good foods and [game caught by] what you have trained of hunting animals which you train as Allah has taught you. So eat of what they catch for you, and mention the name of Allah upon it, and fear Allah .” Indeed, Allah is swift in account.’ [Surah Al Maidah - Verse 4]

You: Hmm, but what is so ‘powerful’ about this verse Hisham? Verses like Ayat Al Kursi are powerful. All this it is telling us about is what is Halal and what is not.

Me: True, but Ibn Qayim (may Allah have mercy on him) says otherwise. Let’s briefly analyze.

The word ‘mukallibeen’ refers to hunting animals such as dogs. Ibn Qayim (may Allah have mercy on him) says that if this hunting dog is taught three things, it becomes halal for us to eat from what it hunts.

  1. When you tell it to go, it goes.
  2. When you tell it to stop, it stops.
  3. When it hunts, it doesn’t eat from the prey. (Reference: Al ‘Ilmu wa Fadluhu – Ibn Qayim)

You: Okay cool, but Hisham, on one hand you say that dogs are filthy and unclean, and on the other hand you say that if it goes out and hunts with that same mouth, using its teeth and saliva, what he hunts becomes halal. That’s a bit confusing. What changed?

Me: Knowledge.

You: :O.

Me: I know right! That is the reason why this Ayah is so powerful and deep. It teaches us that ‘gaining knowledge’ can raise the status of such a filthy and unclean creature. If this is the case with dogs, imagine what levels we can reach by gaining knowledge.

Scene.

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Let’s Begin!

Bismillah,

Indeed, all praise is due to Allah (swt), the one who created us, the one who sustains us, and to him we shall all return. Only him we worship and only him we ask for help. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy to be worshiped but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad (saw) is his last and final messenger.

I have procrastinated for over two and a half years to launch this website! I know right? Super lazy. Laziness ki had/intihaa. So before anything, I thank Allah (swt) for giving me the ability to start and I pray that I stay consistent with this initiative.

You: So what’s the point of this website Hisham?

Me: Recently I started ‘gaining knowledge’ and I thought, why not share what I learn with you! Like this, I get to revise and strengthen my concepts and you get to learn something new (or revise something old) as well. Topics will range from Psychology to Accounting, from Aqeedah to Economics, from Critical Thinking to Tajweed and from well, pretty much anything I learn :P.

Other times I might post some reflections, thoughts or random ideas.

You: Cool, this is amazing! I love you and your idea. But how is this going to work?

Me: Educative, simple and fun. Inshallah, the plan is to start by posting at least one post every two to three days. Mostly small articles sometimes accompanied by cool drawings and lame videos. My style of writing is a little chilled out, so enjoy the sarcasm, humour, lameness and urdu-ness. Tension not, otherwise your hair will turn white.

You: WOW! I’m really looking forward to this, how can I help?

Me: Oh, I’m glad you asked. You could help in three ways: (a) by commenting – give me constructive feedback (I would honestly love that :D) or further elaborate what I have said. Ask relevant questions. (b) by sharing – if you enjoy and benefit, share the post with your friends so that they benefit as well. (c) by making du’a – remember me in your du’as and pray for my success in this world and the hereafter.

Jazakullah for taking the time out to read this. I hope that you enjoy and benefit, and I pray that this small initiative becomes revolutionary.

Let’s Begin!