Zakat ul-Fitr

Allah SWT says in the Glorious Quran:

The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion.

So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days.

Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.

Dear brothers and sisters, we are reaching the end of this amazing month of blessing and reward insh’Allah and with it comes the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr.

And prior to that is a charity that Muslims are obliged to give and that is Zakah-al-Fitr also known as Fitrana amongst the Asians amongst us or Sadaqa al-Fitr.

The word Fitr comes from the word Iftar which we know is breaking of the fast and thus this name is given to a charity which is distributed at the end of the fasts of Ramadan.

So what is the purpose of this charity and why is is compulsory or wajib on each Muslim, male or female, young or old?

Well, the primary practical purpose of this is to provide those who fasted with a means of making up for their errors during the month of fasting. After all, this month is a challenge and none of us are perfect. Allah SWT therefore provides us with an ability to perfect ourselves over the course of the month by the act at the end of the month. SubhanAllah! 

However, there is even a more significant practical purpose and in this we see the bond that this ummah is blessed with. By paying this charity, we are providing a means for the poor to celebrate the festival of Eid al-Fitr.

Throughout the year, we give khutbas on how as Muslims we shouldn’t celebrate Easter, Christmas and other non-Muslim festivals. Allah SWT has only made permissible for us to celebrate Eid and therefore with this charity nobody is left out of this festival.

This is mentioned in the following Hadith in which Ibn Abbas reported:

The Prophet SAWS made Zakah al-Fitr compulsory so that those who fasted may be purified of their idle deeds and shameful talk (committed during Ramadan) and so that the poor may be fed.

Whoever gives it before the Salah will have it accepted as Zakah, while he who gives it after Salah has given Sadaqah.

Dear brothers and sisters, this brings us onto the final point on this important topic and that is the conditions on giving this particular charity.

We already know that it is obligatory. But how much do we give and when is it meant to be given?

Well, in answer to the first point. We go back to the time of the Prophet SAWS then it was calculated as one Sa’ of dried dates or barley. However, this isn’t literal and so in today’s age we have Zakat al-Fitr calculated for us by the local masjid.

Ours is £5.00 and we are collecting for it at the back of the masjid should you wish to pay.

Secondly, and more importantly, we want to be sure that we don’t miss the deadline for paying it. If one misses the time period without good reason, then he has sinned and cannot make it up.

So when to pay? This charity becomes obligatory from the sunset on the last day of the fasting until the beginning of Eid prayers. Anything paid after the prayer is considered a charity and not specifically this obligatory charity.

However, it can be paid prior to this time also as has been reported by many companions of the Prophet SAWS and so the collection is there at the back for those who dont want to miss the deadline.

Dear brothers and sisters, Alhamdullilah we were given the opportunity to taste Ramadan again this year. Let’s sign off in the best possible way and insh’Allah use it as a springboard for the year ahead.

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As we approach a third of the month of Ramadan having been completed, there is a sense of routine with the month that we are in. This month is all about the obvious restriction of food and drink but as Allah SWT describes fasting, it is actually so that we become mindful of Allah SWT.

And this is the topic of this weeks reminder, the topic of Taqwa which is translated to mean, becoming mindful of Allah SWT, is a topic which none of us should be complacent over and especially so in the month of Ramadan as the primary purpose of the act of fasting is to be mindful of Allah SWT.

The imam reminded us of the importance of Taqwa, or mindfulness, in the first reference today from the Quran. The 133th ayat of Sura Al-Imran is translated to say:

Rush to do good actions, and draw near to Allah through doing as He instructs, so that you achieve the great forgiveness of Allah and enter a Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth, which Allah has prepared for the Mindful.

Dear brothers and sisters, if we ponder over this ayat, the first lesson we can take from this is that Allah SWT is asking us to rush to do good actions. This isn’t an instruction to be relaxed about this responsibility. We need to have a sense of urgency on the good deeds that we perform because none of us know when our time is going to run out.

Next, Allah SWT talks of the reward of Paradise and a awe inspiring explanation of how vast that will be. But as we begin to think of this and yearn for this to be our final destination, He concludes this ayat by telling us that this is a destination for those who have Taqwa, ie those who are mindful.

And so, the obvious question to the reader of this ayat would be, what is it that Allah SWT deems as being mindful or possessing taqwa. This is mentioned in the next ayat and the second that the imam referenced in todays reminder. It is translated to say:

The Mindful are those who spend their wealth for the sake of Allah, in ease and hardship, who control their anger when they could seek revenge, and who forgive those who wrong them. Allah loves the doers of good, whose behaviour is this way.

Dear brothers and sisters, here we can see that Allah SWT has directly answered the question in the next ayat and given clear instruction on what mindfulness means.

What is interesting here is that the first point mentioned could have been so many different things. Prayer, fasting, reading Quran etc. But instead, Allah SWT chose to list the spending of wealth for the sake of Allah SWT as the first thing to acquire mindfulness.

And in many ways this makes sense. Human Psychology and Economics teaches us that it is human nature to spend less, the more wealth we acquire. We tend to hoard the wealth more as the amount of wealth we acquire increases. Therefore, to go against this human nature, to spend that money on others for the sake of Allah SWT requires us to go against our inner nature and thus requires us to be mindful of Allah SWT and the potential reward of such an action. We need to spend in charity at all times, consistently and independently of how our financial situation is, this is the test and one we must not overlook if we are to be of those mentioned in the earlier ayat.

Next is the act of controlling anger, but Allah SWT makes the point here of exacting revenge or right some injustice. This is also the hardest act to perform because irrational anger where we are wrong is easy to spot because it usually follows with guilt of some form for being angry.

But when the anger is justified, when the injustice is on you and when you are the victim, then every fibre of your being tells you that you deserve that revenge, that you are within your rights to carry out a sense of justice, to right that wrong, it is that overwhelming feeling when you are in that position that you must bring yourself back from the brink and ask Allah SWT to forgive that person as you forgive them yourself. This requires serious self-control and mindfulness of Allah SWT and the reward you will receive from Him for showing mercy at this point. Hence the scale of the reward mentioned in the previous ayat.

Allah SWT concludes by telling us that He loves those who have this type of behaviour. But the two examples are quite different, one is to do with giving away wealth and the other is to control your most-potent of emotions. And so, we need to ask ourselves what is the common factor that links these two characteristics together?

In this month of Ramadan, more than ever, we are, to some extent already performing that common factor. It is the act of knowing that Allah SWT is there at all times, watching us, testing us and all the while offering us the ability to reside in eternal bliss in Paradise through passing these short tests of the dunya.

Once we realise this fact, and we actualise this into our everday living, our habits automatically start changing for the better. We stop wasting time on frivolous activities, we stop hanging out with people who take us away from Allah SWT and we find it uncomfortable to do anything we know Allah SWT doesn’t like.

This is is what taqwa is. It is living life knowing you are under the care and watch of Allah SWT at all times. Allah SWT speaks of this in the next ayat and the imam referenced it today. It is translated to say:

˹They are˺ those who, upon committing an evil deed or wronging themselves, remember Allah and seek forgiveness and do not knowingly persist in sin—and who forgives sins except Allah?

Dear brothers and sisters, we all have the ability to be this person today. Why? Because Ramadan is that blessed time of year where we are already in this state. None of us here will take the opportunity when alone to drink a sip of water or steal a bite of food whilst fasting? Why? We all have the ability to hide it from the world but none of us do it because we are all practicing mindfulness. We are all performing taqwa every day in this month. And that is the beauty of Ramadan, a stepping stone to carrying on being mindful for the rest of the year.

And as Allah SWT then says in the fourth ayat to be referenced today, in the next ayat of Sura Imran, it is translated to say:

Their reward is forgiveness from their Lord and Gardens under which rivers flow, staying there forever. How excellent is the reward for those who work ˹righteousness˺!

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Rulings on Ramadan

As we embark on the blessed month of Ramadan, we are slowly getting accustomed to the nights of worship, the feelings of thirst or hunger during the day and most of all, the overall change that this month brings in terms of our habits and our thinking.

It is easy to think that the month of Ramadan is simply about abstaining from food and drink but there is more to this month in terms of the manners, etiquettes and rulings that we must adhere to as part of this month.

Todays reminder is an attempt to convey some of those so that we can be of the best manners for this month and so that we do not break any of the rules surrounding this month.

The first point was highlighted by the imam through the 185th ayat of Sura Baqara which is translated to say:

Ramaḍân is the month in which the Quran was revealed as a guide for humanity with clear proofs of guidance and the standard ˹to distinguish between right and wrong˺. So whoever is present this month, let them fast. But whoever is ill or on a journey, then ˹let them fast˺ an equal number of days ˹after Ramaḍân˺. Allah intends ease for you, not hardship, so that you may complete the prescribed period and proclaim the greatness of Allah for guiding you, and perhaps you will be grateful.

Dear brothers and sisters, from this ayat alone there are a number of ruling we can take but alongside that there is a deeper explanation given by Allah SWT for this blessed month.

Starting with the fasting itself, Allah SWT tells us that we should be fasting in the month of Ramadan. However, as with all things, Allah SWT demonstrates mercy in His deen because he clearly outlines exceptions for those who may find it difficult to fast.

The first one of these is that we should not be fasting when we are feeling unwell. There is no heroics in attempting to fast when you are unwell. It places unnecessary burden on your own body as well as unnecessary burden on those around you who worry at the prospect of someone unwell fasting and therefore not resting or taking medicine.

We have clear instruction here from Allah SWT that we are to skip fasting when unwell and make it up later and so we should not allow ego to get in the way of this instruction.

Equally so, if we see hardship coming from fasting whilst travelling then we also have the means to skip fasting on this day and make it up later. We should assess if the travelling will place any unnecessary burden on ourselves or others by fasting and if it does, we should follow the guidance as given in this ayat.

The other point to remember in this month is one the first part of this ayat. Allah SWT chose to link the mention of Ramadan with the first revelation of the Quran. We should also take a lesson from this that the month of Ramadan isn’t just about fasting. We should use this month to reconnect with the Quran.

Whether it is through extra recitation, through contemplation of the meaning of the Quran, through study circles or any other means, the month of Ramadan to the believer should be entwined with the reconnection with the Quran.

Alongside the above reminders from this ayat, the imam also reminded us that the month of fasting has been prescribed in our deen to all people of sound mind that have reached puberty. This excludes those who are not able to due to mental or physical disabilities.

And fasting is prescribed for the month of Ramadan from the beginning of Fajr to the start of Magrib prayer. It is fasting of the physical, i.e. refraining from food and drink but also it is fasting of the mental and spiritual. This means we should refrain from bad habits, bad behaviour and step up acts of worship and charity in this month.

The imam also reminded us of another ruling in regards to the month of Ramadan by referencing the 187th ayat of Sura Baqara which is translated to say:

It has been made permissible for you to be intimate with your wives during the nights preceding the fast. Your spouses are a garment for you as you are for them. Allah knows that you were deceiving yourselves. So He has accepted your repentance and pardoned you. So now you may be intimate with them and seek what Allah has prescribed for you. ˹You may˺ eat and drink until you see the light of dawn breaking the darkness of night, then complete the fast until nightfall. Do not be intimate with your spouses while you are meditating in the mosques. These are the limits set by Allah, so do not exceed them. This is how Allah makes His revelations clear to people, so they may become mindful ˹of Him˺.

Dear brothers and sisters, we can conclude from this that this is not a month to become like a monk. For those of us who are married, there is wisdom in this ayat that we must strike a balance in this month of Ramadan. We have a duty towards Allah. SWT in regards to this month but our responsibilities and duties, as bestowed upon us by Allah SWT, should not be overlooked in this month and this ayat clearly outlines the ones we have towards our spouses.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, the main take away from this weeks reminder is that the month of Ramadan is a great opportunity to gain reward and blessing from Allah SWT. However, we should not be under the false assumption that this month is only about not eating and drinking during the daylight hours.

There is a mindset shift that ought to and does take place during this month. Especially in a place where we are surrounded by non-Muslims, they should be able to see from our behaviour that we are in the month of Ramadan and not just because we are skipping lunch. Ramadan is about cleansing the mind, removing the bad habits and detoxing our soul from all the filth it has acquired over the past year. We can only do this if we enter Ramadan in its entirety and by devoting our time, our efforts and our mind to this blessed month.

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Benefits of the month of Ramadan

When we are growing up, it is normal to assume that the month of Ramadan is merely a test of our worship of Allah SWT. After all, it is abstinence from things that we would otherwise do in the course of our day and it is refraining from certain things that provide us with pleasure.

However, as we grow up we come to the realisation that the month of Ramadan is far from being just a test for our devotion to the commands of Allah SWT but instead, it is actually a source of benefit and great blessing.

And make no mistake, despite the attempts of some to dismiss the importance of the act of fasting, this month forms the absolute pillar of what it is to be a Muslim. The imam reminded us of this by referencing the following hadith in which the Prophet SAWS is reported to have said:

Islam is based on five things – the testimony that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is His servant and messenger, the observance of the prayer, the payment of zakat, the Pilgrimage, and the fast during Ramadan.

Dear brothers and sisters, we live in a time where there is a constant effort to dilute the practices of our faith. From people saying that fasting is only to be done during weekends or office hours to even more absurd ideas which are all designed to take us away from the blessing of this month.

There is no room for misunderstanding as Allah SWT has clearly stated that the month of Ramadan is incumbent upon us to perform fasting and other acts of worship in this blessed month. The imam reminded us of this in the following references from the Quran in which Allah SWT taught us in Sura Baqara, ayats 183 and 184 that:

You who believe, fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may be mindful of God.

Fast for a specific number of days, but if one of you is ill, or on a journey, on other days later. For those who can fast only with extreme difficulty, there is a way to compensate- feed a needy person. But if anyone does good of his own accord, it is better for him, and fasting is better for you, if only you knew.

Dear brothers and sisters, fasting in the month of Ramadan is not something that was given to just the Prophet SAWS. It was actually in fact, restored by the Prophet SAWS and it was always an act of worship that was expected of man.

So before we move onto the benefits of the month of Ramadan, we need to be mindful of this fact.

And so, the reminder today moves onto the benefits that we receive from the act of fasting. The reminder lists 10 benefits or blessings that are both for us in this life and the next.

  1. This is the month in which the book of Allah SWT was revealed to the Prophet SAWS. The glorious Quran is the single biggest blessing each of us have accessible to us at any time and the month of Ramadan is the month in which we received it through the Prophet SAWS.
  2. It is a month of forgiveness. The imam reminded us of this through the following hadith he referenced in which the Prophet SAWS is reported to have said:

He who observes fasting during the month of Ramadan with Faith while seeking its reward from Allah, will have his past sins forgiven.

  • It is the month in which we have the night of power. Insh’Allah we will go into this more in the near future khutbas.
  • Our good deed in this month are boosted in that each one has double or more reward attached to it. The Prophet SAWS is reported to have said:

Every deed of the son of Adam will be multiplied for him, between ten and seven hundred times for each merit. Allah said: ‘Except for fasting, for it is for Me and I shall reward for it

  • The act of fasting will act as a source of forgiveness on the Day of Judgement insh’Allah.
  • The dua of the fasting person is not rejected. The Prophet SAWS is reported to have said:

There are three whose supplication is not rejected:
one who has just ended a fast, a just imam, and one who has been wronged whose supplication is raised by God above the clouds and for which the gates of heaven are opened. The Lord says, ‘I swear by my might that I will certainly help you, though it be after some time’.

  • Those who fast will be presented with their own entrance to Jannat as explained by the Prophet SAWS in the following hadith which is translated to say:

“In Jannah there is a gate which is called Ar-Raiyan through which only those who observe Saum (fasting) will enter on the Day of Resurrection. None else will enter through it. It will be called out, “Where are those who observe fasting?” So they will stand up and proceed towards it. When the last of them will have entered, the gate will be closed and then no one will enter through that gate.”

  • The month of Ramadan goes hand in hand with night prayers usually for those who observe fasting and this act has great reward as well.
  • The Umrah performed in this month is equivalent to Hajj.
  • And lastly, the one who performs Ramadan correctly each year has their sins forgiven between the two.

Dear brothers and sisters, the month of Ramadan is full of blessings and reward. Let us use the reminder today to begin our preparations so that we can make the most of the month insh’Allah.

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How to welcome the month of Ramadan

Dear brothers and sisters, the month of Ramadhan is upon us. This sacred month in which the Prophet (SAWS) used to give glad tidings.

This month has the potential to carry so much weight for us into the next life. The imam mentioned the 185th ayat from Sura Baqara. It is translated to say:

The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.

The Prophet SAWS has mentioned the whisperings of Shaytaan that we all suffer from throughout the year and what impact the sacred month of Ramadhan has on this. The imam mentioned the hadith which is translated to say:

When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained

Dear brothers and sisters, we can deduce from this then that the month of Ramadhan is truly a mercy to us. It is a time to rest and revitalise our faith. A time to strengthen our connection with our Lord and to polish up on our faith.

As Ramadhan approaches it is imperative that we begin thinking about how we can benefit from the journey ahead of us. Here are five simple ways that we can plan for the month of Ramadhan:

1)Intention: Make the sincere intention that you want this Ramadan to be a sacred and special Ramadan. Thank Allah SWT that you have reached this month and that you will be given the opportunity to reap the rewards of Ramadan.

2)Make a plan: Plan how you would like to spend each day this Ramadan. Postpone things that can be postponed, and focus on activities that will benefit you, insha’Allah, in the hereafter. Here are some examples: Set a target for how much Qur’an you will recite and make a plan for when you will recite it. Set a target for how many prayers you will pray at the masjid and make a plan for how you will reach this target.

3)Make a du’a list: Make a list of supplications and include the following: a) your needs for this dunya; b) your needs for the hereafter; c) the needs of your family members and friends; d) the names of your friends and family members.

4)Serve: Go beyond just yourself and your own needs during the month of Ramadan. Before Ramadan begins, find an avenue for community service so you can serve others throughout the month.

5)Charity: Figure out how you can spend less on yourself so you can spend more on the needy during Ramadan. Begin calculating your assets, so that when Ramadan begins, you are ready to pay your zakat and sadaqah. It is often the case this month that we hear about all the wonderful projects and initiatives being run all over the world to help the needy. Although it can become overwhelming to hear of all these aid requests, bear in mind that there is no better month to commit to these worthy causes than the month of Ramadan insh’Allah.

Dear brothers and sisters, the month of Ramadan is that month that the soul yearns for all the other months of the year. It is the month that is the equivalent of a car’s service or MOT as it boosts the imam, detoxs the body and strengthens the resolve for another eleven months of the year.

Only Allah SWT know if we will make it so see another Ramadan. We need to treat each one as if it is our final Ramadan and therefore act accordingly. The imam mentioned the following hadith of the Prophet SAWS which is translated to say:

“He who observes fasting during the month of Ramadan with Faith while seeking its reward from Allah, will have his past sins forgiven.” Dear brothers and sisters, this is the boost we pray for all year round. There is no better time than Ramadan to race for forgiveness from your Lord. We can do this by making this Ramadan the best in terms of what we achieve during it. By doing this, we can aim to be of the people that benefit most from this month in this life and the next insh’Allah.

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Rise and fall of Imaan

Today’s reminder is on the rise and fall of Imaan and the acceptance of acts of worship

This life is a time of our existence where we are constantly bombarded with shaitaan attempting to take us off the path of Allah SWT as taught to us by the Prophet SAWS.

And this battle between our imaan and our nafs, the battle between what is right and the temptations to do what is wrong is ever present in this world we live in.

What this does though is that it affects our level of imaan. Some days we find ourselves elevated in the deen, our acts of worship are on point, we feel connected to Allah SWT and we feel the love of Allah SWT and we love being Muslims and following acts that we know will please Him.

Other times, we are caught in the traps of Shaitaan, our imaan suffers and we begin to feel low, we feel disconnected from Allah SWT and unfortunately, this sometimes has the danger of spiralling out of control as we then move further and further away from blessed acts and fall more and more into acts that are against the deen of Islam.

The first point to make in regards to the rise and fall of Imaan is that this is not unique to you and it is not unique to the cursed. Everyone has good days and everyone has bad days. Allah SWT tells us that He designed us to in this way and that the pleasure comes from His slave returning to Him asking for forgiveness and mercy.

Nobody is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. However, remember that the ultimate goal of Shaitaan is not to have you commit the sin but it is to make you believe that there is no forgiveness from Allah SWT.

Shaitaan is determined to make each and every one of us convinced that we are beyond forgiveness as this then leads us to depression and despair which then leads to further and greater sin without any hope left in the person. We must all be mindful of this strategy and avoid despair at all costs. Allah SWT is the most forgiving and the most merciful and He will do so if we ask Him of it and repent with sincerity.

And this leads the reminder nicely onto the way in which we know that our worship has been accepted by Allah SWT.

The point here is that we must ask ourselves, for what purpose are we taking the actions that we are taking in this life. For example, if we are giving to charity, are we doing that for Allah SWT’s pleasure or are we doing it to make ourselves feel good or to show others that we are charitable.

Another example is, when we come to the masjid to pray. Are we doing it because we are prominent members of our community and we pride ourselves in making an appearance in the masjid, to socialise with others only or to demonstrate to ourselves and others on our level of imaan. Or are we coming to the house of Allah SWT in a state of humiliation, of humility and of yearning to seek His mercy and pleasure alone.

The imam reminded us of the following ayat from Sura Al-Bayyinah in which Allah SWT is addressing the stubbornness of the disbelievers around the Prophet SAWS at the time and the ayat is translated to say:

though all they are ordered to do is worship God alone, sincerely devoting their religion to Him as people of true faith, keep up the prayer, and pay the prescribed alms, for that is the true religion.

Dear brothers and sisters, Allah does not accept any person’s work in prayer, fasting, zakat, hajj, ummah, good deeds and charity if this work does not come completely and with the sole intension for Allah SWT’s sake. We need to be mindful of this if we are to gain the reward of our actions and have them in our account on the Day of Judgement.

The other condition, which is even more important than the one just mentioned is highlighted by the imam as he reminded us to ayat 65 of Sura Az-Zumar which is translated to say:

It has already been revealed to you [Prophet] and to those before you: ‘If you ascribe any partner to God, all your work will come to nothing: you will be one if the losers.

And so dear brothers and sisters, we must remind ourselves of the importance of the key statement of belief. As Muslims, we bear witness, that there is only one God worth of worship and that Muhammad SAWS was his messenger.

But we are not being asked to believe that just or to say it just, we are being asked to bear witness to this fact.

When someone bears witness to something, it is not saying it to be true but it practically demonstrates that something is true. When we are bearing witness that we only worship one God and that we believe Muhammad SAWS is His messenger, we need to be mindful of this.

We have to practically show this in our actions, our words and our manners. There is no point being a Muslim by name if we don’t demonstrate it in our every day lives. And there is no point to being a Muslim if our lives go against the teachings of the Prophet SAWS.

Therefore we need to align ourselves with the meaning of bearing witness because without this we run the risk of becoming hypocritical in our faith.

Dear brothers and sisters, imaan is not something which will always be at 100%. We know that we will have dips and falls in the levels at times. What we need to protect at all costs is the manner in which we recover from those dips and that is to continue to practice, with sincerity, the acts and behaviours taught to us by the Prophet SAWS and the mindset brought about being a Muslim that bears witness to the truth.

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Offering Condolences

Dear brothers and sisters, with the nature of the week just passed both overseas and within our community, there have been times when offering condolences was suitable.

The imam reminded us of ayats 155 to 157 of Sura Baqara as part of this reminder and it is translated to say:

Allah will test people with different types of hardships: some with fear of those who are against them; hunger because of lack of food; lack of money because of losing it or difficulty gaining it; loss of lives due to death from diseases and tragedies that kill people, or being martyred for the sake of Allah; and a lack of resources from the earth. Give good news, O Prophet, to those who are patient in the face of these hardships, of what will make them happy in this world and in the Afterlife.

The patient are those who, when they are struck by one of these hardships, say, in acceptance, that all power belongs to Allah, He deals with us as He wills, and we will return to Him on the Day of Judgement, and it is He Who created us and showers us with many blessings; so, to Him is our return and our end.

Those who possess these virtues are praised by Allah in the highest gathering of angels, and mercy descends on them. They are the ones guided to the path of truth.

Dear brothers and sisters, the first point made by the imam is that the act of giving condolence to the families are close ones to a deceased person is not mandatory or wajib, but instead it is considered a liked action by most of the scholars. Allah knows best.

With that being said, we should still employ the best of manners befitting Muslims and therefore the manner of offering condolences is mentioned in todays reminder.

The imam reminded us of a number of hadith in relation to this reminder. In the first one, the Prophet SAWS is reported to have said:

 ‘There is no believer who consoles for his brother for a calamity, but Allah will clothe him with garments of honor on the Day of Resurrection.’”

And the next one, as narrated by Usama bin Zaid, which is translated to say:

We were with the Prophet (ﷺ) when suddenly there came to him a messenger from one of his daughters who was asking him to come and see her son who was dying. The Prophet (ﷺ) said (to the messenger), “Go back and tell her that whatever Allah takes is His, and whatever He gives is His, and everything with Him has a limited fixed term (in this world). So order her to be patient and hope for Allah’s reward.” But she sent the messenger to the Prophet (ﷺ) again, swearing that he should come to her. So the Prophet got up, and so did Sa`d bin ‘Ubada and Mu`adh bin Jabal (and went to her). When the child was brought to the Prophet (ﷺ) his breath was disturbed in his chest as if it were in a water skin. On that the eyes of the Prophet (ﷺ) became flooded with tears, whereupon Sa`d said to him, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! What is this?” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “This is mercy which Allah has put in the heart of His slaves, and Allah bestows His mercy only on those of His slaves who are merciful (to others).”

And so dear brothers and sisters, this reminder concludes with three points in relation to the manners of giving condolences.

Firstly, the act of giving condolence to someone has no expiry date and so if you hear of a passing much later than others then it is still good manners to offer your condolences to the relatives of the deceased.

Secondly, regarding the act of gathering by the relatives of the deceased in a assigned place such as a masjid or hall so that others can give their condolences. This is an act which is split in terms of the opinion of scholars. There are two opinions and many scholars state that this act is not allowed or makrooh and this includes the Shaafi school of thought’s opinion, other scholars, including the more recent contemporary scholars believe that it is permissible. Allah knows best.

Lastly, there are actions which have no basis in the sunnah of the Prophet SAWS and are regarding as innovation. These are acts which we need to protect ourselves from as they risk bringing something into the deen which has no historical basis. Two examples of this action are reading the Fatiha specifically as part of offering condolences and the other is paying or bringing people specifically to read Quran for the deceased. Allah knows best.

Instead we should offer condolences by offering a dua for the deceased, give charity on behalf of the deceased, and to offer kind words of comfort for the relatives who are grieving. The Prophet SAWS taught his daughter to say a dua when she informed him of the death of her baby. It is translated to say:

“Whatever Allah takes is for Him and whatever He gives, is for Him, and everything with Him has a limited fixed term (in this world) and so she should be patient and hope for Allah’s reward.”

And so, dear brothers and sisters, we should use todays reminder to keep us grounded on the reality of the life that we live. We will be offering condolences throughout our lives as we all have a fixed time and one day others will be offering their condolences for our passing. Let us use todays reminder to ensure that we deliver this aspect with the best of manners.

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Todays lesson on the Eathquakes in Turkiye and Syria

Allah SWT is the most wise, He is knowledgeable of all things and presents reminders how He deems necessary.

And in the Glorious Quran, there are references to this in various places as mentioned by the imam today. One of them is from Sura Al-Isra, ayat 59 which is translated to say:

Nothing prevents Us from sending miraculous signs, except the fact that previous peoples denied them. We gave the people of Thamud the she-camel as a clear sign, yet they maltreated it. We send signs only to give warning.

Alongside this, the imam reminded us of the hadith in which the Prophet SAWS spoke of the events that we have all witnessed via the news this week. It is translated to say:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The Hour (Last Day) will not be established until (religious) knowledge will be taken away (by the death of religious learned men), earthquakes will be very frequent, time will pass quickly, afflictions will appear, murders will increase and money will overflow amongst you.”

Dear brothers and sisters, we cannot deny that some, if not all of these signs are here now and we should take heed as we seem to be headed towards the final days. Allah SWT knows best.

But whilst people discuss and debate the end of times and how close we are, the truth of the matter is that for the people of Turkey and Syria, this week was their hour and we should all be mindful that whether it is through events predicted in the end of times or whether it is through the written end of our temporary lives in this dunya, we will all taste death.

The events of this week in Tukey and Syria have left people feeling a sense of shock and sadness and such is the miracle of the Ummah of the Prophet SAWS that whenever one part of his Ummah suffers, the whole Ummah feels it. We ought to take this hurt and use it as a reminder for those of us who are fortunate enough to have not been directly affected by it.

And whilst the people of Turkey and Syria struggle to rescue those still alive, we can all do our part, either through dua or direct contribution of our time, effort and money to ensure that we represent what it means to be a single nation following the leadership of our beloved Prophet SAWS.

However, this reminder is not for those who returned to Allah SWT this week. For them we pray that they are counted as the martyrs as their test is over and the Prophet SAWS reminded us in the following translated hadith:

“The martyrs are five: the one who dies of a stomach illness, the one who dies of the plague,  the one who drowns, the one who is crushed, and the one who dies [fighting] in the path of Allah.”

Instead, todays reminder is for the rest of us. How do we process what we have witnessed and what should we take from the events of this week?

And so, this reminder concludes with 5 practical tips we can take away.

1. Your life can change in a split second, without you even anticipating or realising it. There are no guarantees whatsoever. Hence, live life as if your return to Allah SWT is imminent and as if your account for the Day of Judgement is about to be finalised.

2. You could be living comfortably with no financial hardship and all of a sudden, you may be a recipient of Zakat funds. Dear brothers and sisters, we never know what is written for us in the future and so we should forever be grateful for all the blessings that we have in the life that we live. This week’s reminder teaches us that nothing is guaranteed and everything is with the permission of Allah SWT.

3. Life is so short. Unfortunately, we don’t value or cherish the previous gift of life as much as we should. From the news of this week to recent passing of friends and family, we are all only too aware of this fact and so we need to be mindful of the biggest blessing of all which is time and so, we make the most of the time we are given before that runs out too.

4. The first initial earthquake took place in the early hours of the morning in Turkey. Yet some of us go to sleep at night holding grudges with our loved ones. Every single night we embrace a temporary death and none of us know if we will wake from that in the morning. From grudges to mistakes for which we have not sought forgiveness, it is easy to assume that it can wait until the following day but nothing is for certain and so, if amends can be made in the now, there is no better time to do it.

5. Many of the deceased may have planned for and were eagerly anticipating the month of Ramadan. Little did they know that they would not witness another Ramadan. Dear brothers and sisters, we are only a month away from the blessed month and so, like the pious gone before us, we need to start building up to this month. And insh’Allah when this month comes to us again, lets make the most of this month by remembering this point because none of us know if we will experience the blessing of Ramadan again. Dear brothers and sisters, this week has left us feeling humbled by the might and power of Allah SWT. Reminders like this should serve to bring us out of our spiritual comas and return to Allah SWT in devotion and sincerity. Let us implement the lesson today into our lives so that we are not of those who are desensitised to these events but instead are of those who see events of this week as catalysts to bring our level of worship to the next level.

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Living with the Quran

For those of us who follow the news, there were incidents this week in a European country in which the Quran was burned as part of a minority group of people who felt it was their right of freedom to perform such a cowardly and provocative act.

Interstingly, in the same week, in the same country, an individual was banned from burning the Torah, the holy scripture of the Jewish faith, as this was an act of hatred as so the authorities didn’t allow it to proceed.

What is interesting in this story, and lessons that we must learn from is that this is nothing new. From the first ayat being revealed to the Prophet SAWS to the present day, there will always be people who want to provoke a reaction, who want to demonise Islam and who want to destroy our faith and our scripture.

We need to remind ourselves that Allah SWT has protected this book from those people and as the imam referenced the 8th ayat of Sura As-Saff, it is translated to say:

They want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His light, although the disbelievers dislike it.

And Sura Al-Hijr, ayat 9 which is translated to say:                     

Indeed We have Revealed this Quran and surely We are its Guardian to protect it

Dear brothers and sisters, we should not be worried on the impact this week will have on the Quran because this book is a miracle of our lives. The following two points illustrate this miracle.

First of all, this book is the most read, understood, memorized, discussed and contemplated book in the whole world and it will continue to be until the last day of this life.

This book is such that it is being read all the time somewhere in the world due to the time zones that span the whole world. It is a book that, if the world was to burn every single copy of every single book in the world tomorrow, we would have the Quran back on paper within 24 hours due to the amount of people that have memorized it across the world.

This book is a book that is unaltered and cannot be altered due to the vast number of people who have memorized this book over the world. It is a book that is repeated in part in every single masjid in every town in every country in the world. And there is no variation, there is no discrepancy and there is no change. Nothing else written past, present or future has and will come close to this.

And secondly, and most importantly, this book is a source of happiness, healing and mercy. In a world where the hedonistic pursuit of one’s desires results in the chaos we see, the Quran is the true source of contentment until the return to our Lord.

Dear brothers and sisters, it may be painful to see the images on the news but we have a responsibility to keep the book of Allah alive in our hearts, minds and our action. By doing this, the events of this week can never impact our deen and our book. This reminder concludes with a 5 short reminders on how we can make this happen.

Read it. It’s not given to gather dust in our homes. It ought to be a member of our family and all should witness it’s reading, especially children in the home.

Try to memorize some of it. Allah SWT said in Surat-Qamar, ayat 17:

And We have certainly made the Qur’an easy for remembrance

Since, this book is a guidance for all, regardless of nationality or language, not a single Muslim should ever think that this task is beyond them to achieve. However, it requires effort and focus which lies within the induvial to commit to.

Try to ponder over the ayats of the Quran. Dear brothers and sisters, for those of us who are not native Arab speakers, this may appear like a difficult task. However, this is a question of attitude. Imagine this, you’ve just received a message from out of this world. This message is from your most beloved person. It is a message that is however encrypted. However this message is one you have waited your whole life for. It is the key to understanding everything about your beloved and about yourself. However, it’s encrypted. But good news, you can learn to decrypt the message as there are people who can help you do this. The question then is: Would you not then make the effort to decrypt that message? would you not then spend every waking minute wondering what this super message is to you? Would you not seek the best people to unlock this supernatural message that’s been sent just for you?

Dear brothers and sisters, this is the Quran. It’s encryption is the language of Arabic. And this is a message delivered from the Heavens by an Angel to a Prophet specifically for you. Why wouldn’t you make a small commitment to work towards understanding the book of your beloved Creator?

Work on practically adhering to the lessons within the Quran. This book is a living book, unlike any other which talks back to the reader and guides them to the path of Allah SWT. And alongside that we have the example of the living embodiment of the Quran, the sunnah of the Prophet SAWS to help us live out the lessons of the Quran.

Lastly, the Prophet SAWS said: The best of you are those who learn the Quran and teach it. So let’s spread wisdoms and lessons we learn from Quran. Let’s teach our youth how connected we are to the book. Let’s make the book of Allah SWT the central point in each of our homes.

Dear brothers and sisters, we are the nation to which belongs the single greatest miracle in existence today. However, the Quran serves not only to prove the authenticity of Islam but also provides each and every believer with a source of happiness that cannot be found anywhere else in life. The biggest tragedy that can befall us is that we do not realise this fact and that we don’t make the effort to acquaint ourselves with this living miracle and source of real happiness in this life.

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Importance of the Masjid

Dear brothers and sisters, every week we have the blessing of coming to the mosque or masjid to pray our Friday prayers. For some of us, this is a daily trip and for those who are truly blessed, the masjid is a place they visit five times every day.

However, the role of the masjid is more than the prayers alone. It serves as a central point, a community centre, for our local Muslim community. In fact, it offers its services to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, such is the importance and diverse nature of the masjid.

The masjid is the house of Allah SWT and each one, all over the world, shares this important status. This is the place you come to for escape from the outside world; and this is the place you visit to avoid the distractions and worries that the world presents.

In fact, the house of Allah SWT should be free of the distractions of the outside world and instead, the masjid should be the focal point for worship, remembrance of Allah SWT and doing things for the sake of Allah SWT such as guiding and helping one another.

The imam reminded us of this through references of the Quran. The first of these was from Sura Al-Jinn, ayat 18 which is translated to say:

The places of worship are ˹only˺ for Allah, so do not invoke anyone besides Him.

And sura at-tawba, ayat 18 which is translated to say:

The mosques of Allah shall be visited and maintained by such as believe in Allah and the Last Day, establish regular prayers, and practise regular charity, and fear none (at all) except Allah. It is they who are expected to be on true guidance.

Dear brothers and sisters, each and every one of us should feel a sense of ownership and pride to our mosques. We should want to be part of the mosques, their activities and services, step forward when volunteers are required and encourage one another to attend the prayers within.

As the imam reminded us, the masjid is a reminder from Allah SWT to come and remember Him, to seek the reward and mercy of Allah SWT in His house whilst in this world, as there will be a day when we will not get this opportunity again.

Dear brothers and sisters, we were also taught by the best of all creation SAWS, that the masjid plays a pivotal role in society and in our communities. The imam used todays reminder to reference the following hadith which are translated to say:

“Whoever builds a mosque for the sake of Allah, like a sparrow’s nest for Allah or even smaller, Allah will build for him a house in Paradise.”


“The parts of the land dearest to God are its mosques, and the parts most hateful to God are its markets.”

Dear brothers and sisters, it is not easy to incorporate the masjid to your daily routine. Most of us have so many commitments that are already rendering us tired and rushed that the prospect of adding daily visits to the masjid seems daunting and overwhelming.

However, it is worth mentioning at this point that this view may be flawed for two reasons. Firstly, it could be that the reason why we feel this way is that we don’t feel the blessing of time. Often in our weekly reminders we are asked to think and contemplate about the blessings that are bestowed upon us by Allah SWT. We think of things at this point like our wealth, our youth, our looks, our status etc. But how many of us think of time as one of these blessings?

Ask those whose time in this world has run out and they will tell you that time is the biggest blessing of them all. This is the blessing that we cannot spend any slower, it is the blessing we cannot purchase any more of and it’s the blessing we know may run out at any time – and we cannot control when that will be.

Ask yourself, is the reason of time being the obstacle to come and pray a valid one? Or could it be that shaitaan is presenting that obstacle to you as a form of distraction from worship as he said he would to each and every one of us?

And if the thought of not coming to the masjid is due to worldly yet valid reasons, then the second point is worth mentioning because who is it that gives you the world? If you are busy because of work or kids or your spouse or your family or your education then who gave you those blessings in the first place? Could it not be that those could no longer exist in your life and thus freeing up your time?

Dear brothers and sisters, we need to be careful that we do not become complacent and use the gifts and blessings Allah SWT has bestowed upon us as the exact reason to be ungrateful and neglect the masjid. And if the worldly reasons are a source of worry then it’s even more of a reason to come here and ask Him for help and for guidance.

And so, this reminder concludes with 3 practical tips we can take to help us establish the habit of coming to the masjid:

  1. Begin with small changes. First of all, ask Allah SWT for help in making this change and begin by choosing the easiest prayer to attend in congregation. For most of us it’s the evening prayer when work is over and we are winding down so let’s make this a habit and keep it going for a couple of months before adding another to it.
  2. If the masjid is a distraction because of friends who also come then go to another one where you aren’t known. You are coming to the house of Allah SWT for worship and so don’t let the world follow you in and distract you from the primary task.
  3. Make the masjid a second home by getting involved in it. Ask the imam if you can help or support it in your time, money or effort. Only by everyone getting involved can we make this a true centre for our communities.

Dear brothers and sisters, we need to be of those mentioned by the Prophet SAWS as receiving shade on the day of judgement. One of those groups of people are described as being a man whose heart is attached to the mosque.

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