Category Archives: Islam

Ramadan 1438H Preparation Lectures

Lecture 1 (Legal rulings and spiritual advice)

Whether it is a job interview, a presentation, an exam, a sports match, a ceremony, or any occasion of some significance, we always prepare. We just never show up without any preparation and hope to ace the occasion. Yet the sad fact is, Allah is about to bless us with the biggest month of the year, and majority of us are not exerting any effort whatsoever to prepare for it. We think we can simply show up and ace the month, but isn’t it sad that we only demonstrate such counter-intuitive attitude for religious matters and almost never for worldly matters?

My dear fellow Muslims! The month of Sha’ban is not over yet, and we still have 10 days left to prepare for the most generous month of the year. Here is a quick four step Ramadan preparation guide:

1. Repent: Repent from your past sins. Sins are like burden on your back. No runner can enter a race with a burden on his back and expect to win. Similarly, we cannot enter the month of Ramadan with a soul weighed down by sins and expect it to sprint in worship. Therefore, purify it now with repentance.

2. Learn: Learn the fiqh rulings pertaining to this month before the month begins.

3. Increase: Start increasing your level of worship. Fast a few days, read more Quran, and pray extra prayers so that you are acclimatized with increased level of worship before the beginning of Ramadan.

4. Make Ramadan planner: Ramadan should not be the month when you live every moment as it comes. Prepare a Ramadan plan so that you know beforehand what you will be doing at each time slot and thereby squeeze the most out of this month.

Finally my fellow Muslims, I STRONGLY RECOMMEND you to listen to the following lecture by Shaykh Yasir Qadhi about preparing for Ramadan. The shaykh beautifully explained the fiqh rulings of Ramadan and followed it with some heart melting spiritual reminders about this month.

May Allah make this Ramadan the best Ramadan, and may He bless us with many more Ramadans, and may He make each Ramadan better than previous Ramadan!

Lecture 2 (How to make our hearts submit)

A beautiful lecture by Shaykh Omar Suleiman about how to submit our hearts to Allah during the month of Ramadan. The key points from the lecture are as follows:

(1) The word ‘taqwa’ linguistically means ‘to protect’ or ‘to shield’. In Islamic sense, ‘taqwa’ means to protect or shield yourself from the punishment of Allah.

(2) Taqwa can be defined in many ways, but generally, taqwa means that Allah is always obeyed, and never disobeyed, and that Allah is always remembered and never forgotten. Always remembering Allah does not meaning always doing literal dhikr of Allah, rather it means to be conscious of Allah during all our actions and interactions.

(3) ‘Umar bin ‘Abd al-‘Azīz said: “None can reach the state of taqwā until he possesses neither actions nor words that can be exposed to his embarrassment, either in this world or the Hereafter,” and he was once asked: “When does the worshipper reach the peak of taqwā?” So, he replied: “If he puts all the thoughts and desires in his heart on a plate and then wandered around in the market, he should not feel ashamed of anything there.” [‘Min Akhlāq as-Salaf’; p. 56]

(4) Allah commanded the believers to strive to attain taqwa in numerous verses of the Quran, and the foremost verse among them is the following:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ
O you who have believed, fear Allah as He deserves be feared and do not die except as Muslims [in submission to Him]. [The Noble Quran 3:102]

When this verse was revealed, the companions were terrified, for it is not possible for any human to fear Allah and be conscious of him like He DESERVES to be FEARED. Thereafter, out of His Mercy, Allah revealed the following verse:

فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ
So fear Allah as much as you are able [The Noble Quran 64:16]

Many scholars of the Quran said that while both verses (3:102 and 64:16) are still recited today, Allah abrogated the meaning of 3:102 with that of 64:16. However, the latter verse cannot be used as a leeway or excuse to commit sins. A Muslim is not allowed to say that he has tried his best to stay away from a certain sin but failed and thus committing the sin. Rather, the correct understanding of the verse is this: when it comes to executing the injunctions of Allah, Muslims must strive their best to fulfill them in the best possible manner, and when it comes to prohibitions, they must avoid them altogether. This is how the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) explained the verse in the following hadith:

“What I have forbidden for you, avoid. What I have ordered you [to do], do as much of it as you can.” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

Notice that when it comes to prohibitions, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) commanded us to avoid them altogether, because Allah never burdens a soul beyond its capacity to withstand:

لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا ۚ
Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. [The Noble Quran 2:286]

(5) Before we attend any training course, the objectives and learning outcomes are laid out. At the end of the course, if we attain those objectives, the completion of the course is considered successful. If we do not attain those objectives, our mere attendance and going through the motions of the course mean nothing. Similarly, the end goal for the month of Ramadan is to attain taqwa, as Allah has clearly mentioned in the following verse:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may attain taqwa [The Noble Quran 2:183]

While we are planning to do a lot of good deeds in the month of Ramadan, we must not lose sight of the end goal – to attain taqwa. I am not downplaying the importance of doing good deeds, but if at the month we fail to achieve taqwa, if we fail to eliminate certain disobedience and sins from our lives, our Ramadan mission will be a failure.

(6) The similitude of a heart that has no taqwa but is doing a lot of good deeds is that of jar with holes – no matter how much water is poured, it will never be filled.

(7) Remember that taqwa is primarily demonstrated in avoiding the prohibitions. Muslims and non-Muslims alike do good deeds. For example, an atheist occasionally donates to charity and shows kindness to his neighbor. However, you will never find a non-believer who gives up his desire or self-pleasure for the sake of God. Also, the primary motivation for not doing good deeds is laziness whereas the primary motivation for committing sins is self-pleasure. Therefore, you can only attain true taqwa and claim love of God when you can give up your sinful self-pleasures for the sake Allah.

(8) For those who are doing good deeds but have failed to attain taqwa and leave out Allah’s prohibitions, should be afraid of the following verse and hadith of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) :

يَوْمَ يَرَوْنَ الْمَلَائِكَةَ لَا بُشْرَىٰ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْمُجْرِمِينَ وَيَقُولُونَ حِجْرًا مَّحْجُورًا
وَقَدِمْنَا إِلَىٰ مَا عَمِلُوا مِنْ عَمَلٍ فَجَعَلْنَاهُ هَبَاءً مَّنثُورًا
The day they see the angels – no good tidings will there be that day for the criminals, and [the angels] will say, “Prevented and inaccessible.” And We will regard what they have done of deeds and make them as dust dispersed. [The Noble Quran 25:22-23]

“I indeed know that some people from my Ummah will come on the Day of Judgment with good deeds like the white mountains of Tihama, but Allah will make them scattered dust.” Thawban said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, describe them to us, so that we may not be one of them without knowing it!’ He (ﷺ) said, “They will be your brothers, and from your people, and they will take from the night as you do (meaning prayers, etc.), but they are a people who, when they were alone with the prohibitions of Allah, violated them.” [Ibn Maajah]

Therefore my fellow Muslims! Beware of your end goal of Ramadan – attaining taqwa. Sincerely ask Allah to make you from the people of taqwa. Has time not come to be a person of true taqwa? And what opportunity can you have greater than the month of Ramadan to make that transformation in your life?

أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَن تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَمَا نَزَلَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ
Has the time not come for those who have believed that their hearts should become humbly submissive at the remembrance of Allah and what has come down of the truth? [The Noble Quran 57:16]

(Go through the lecture for more learning)

হারিয়ে ফেলা জগৎ থেকে

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(https://www.flickr.com/photos/55293400@N07/5950740495/in/photostream/)

প্রতিটা বয়সে মানুষের একটা জগৎ থাকে।

যখন স্কুলে পড়তাম, তখন একটা জগৎ ছিল। যখন ইউনিভার্সিটিতে পড়তাম তখন একটা জগৎ ছিল। এখন কর্মজীবনে একটা জগৎ আছে।

কোন জগতের সাথে কোন জগতের মিল নেই। প্রতিটা জগৎ স্বতন্ত্র।

মানুষ যখন একটা বয়স পার করে অন্য বয়সে চলে যায়, তখন পুরনো বয়সের সাথে আগের সেই জগৎটাকেও হারিয়ে ফেলে।

চাইলেও সেই আগের জগতে ফিরে যাওয়া যায় না। এটাই প্রকৃতির নিয়ম।

হারিয়ে ফেলা সেই জগৎ থেকে আজ মনে পড়ছেঃ

নেই কোনো কল্পনা আজ তোমায় নিয়ে
নেই কোনো প্রার্থনা আজ তোমায় চেয়ে
নেই কোনো কামনা তোমায় সাজিয়ে
নেই কোনো প্রেরণা তুমি কোথায় হারিয়ে

-নেই, তাহসান

আলো আলো আমি কখনো খুঁজে পাবে না

চাঁদের আলো তুমি কখনো আমার হবে না

-আলো, তাহসান

Quran Best Recitation Website

Welcome to my website of the best Recitation of the Noble Quran.

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I first listened to the Quran recited by Shaykh Saud Ibraheem Al-Shuraim and Shaykh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais when I went for my first umrah with my parents at seven years of age. The deep voice of Shaykh Shuraim and the melodious tone of Sudais deeply impacted me and induced in my heart a love for the Quran by the will of Allah. Like every Muslim, I traverse through the highs and lows of faith (eeman), but irrespective of the state of my faith, Allah has sustained the love for His book in my heart. Since that childhood umrah, I have been an avid listener of the Quran.

After years of listening, the idea sprang into my mind that I should compile a Quran such that I will choose the best recitation of each surah per my experience and (humble) judgement. In my selection process, I have primarily listened to the taraweeh recitations of Masjidul Haram from 1414 hijri to 1437 hijri, and the recitations of few other reciters whose recitation I enjoy. By Allah’s grace, I finished my work on the vacation of Eid Al-Adha 1437.

I have spent a lot of hours creating and compiling these audio files. I sincerely hope that Allah will accept this work from me. I hope that my compilation will induce the love for the book of Allah into the heart of many Muslims.

There are many benefits to listening to the Words of Allah. Listening makes your familiar with the Quran. Listening improves your pronunciation. But to me, the greatest benefit is the consolation of Quran. No matter how depressed, sad, or wounded you are, the divine words of Quran will console you like nothing else in this world.

Therefore, I conclude with the following beautiful dua, taught by the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him):

O Allah, I am Your servant, son of Your servant, son of Your maidservant, my forelock is in Your hand (i.e. You have total mastery over), Your command over me is forever executed and Your decree over me is just. I ask You by every name belonging to You which You named Yourself with, or revealed in Your Book, or You taught to any of Your creation, or You have preserved in the knowledge of the unseen with You, that You make the Quran the life of my heart and the light of my breast, and a departure for my sorrow and a release for my anxiety.

Ameen!

Sincerely,

The Shardul of Allah

O My Soul!

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O my soul! How do the glitters of this world make you sad when Allah and His Messenger (ﷺ) promised us the hereafter, the eternal?

O my soul! Don’t you know that the promise of Allah is true, and He never breaks His promise?

O my soul! Don’t you know that Allah decrees, and His decree is precise and just?

O my soul! Don’t you know that whatever Allah has decreed for you will not miss you, and whatever He did not decree for you, will never come to you?

O my soul! Don’t you know that Allah has purchased the souls of the believers?

O my soul! Don’t you know that there is no gain except through obeying Allah and His Messenger (ﷺ)?

O my soul! Don’t you know that Allah tests only for a little while, and that if you succeed, He will grant you abundantly both in this world and the next?

O my soul! Isn’t it enough comfort for you that Allah knows what you are going through?

O my soul! How do you give up so easily when Allah has always rescued you from every difficult situation in your life even after you committed countless sins and was not grateful to Him?

O my soul! Don’t you know that Allah has promised ease after hardship?

O my soul! Have you forgotten that a believer, as informed by the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), rejoices whether a good or bad befalls him, for during good he is thankful, and during bad he is patient?

O my soul! How do you get depressed when Allah has declared that He is the wali, the Protector of the believers?

O my soul! Are you not ashamed to give up good thoughts about Allah, the Master of the Throne, so easily?

O my soul! Don’t you know that only disbelieving people lose hope from Allah!

O my soul! How do you get depressed over not getting something of this world, when your depression indicates that you are entitled something from Allah, whereas no one is entitled anything from Him, and whatever we receive is nothing but out of His Mercy?

O my soul! How do you forget that the calamity that has afflicted you is nothing but the consequences of the sins and defiant disobedience your own hands have committed?

O my soul! Are you not ashamed of your impatience before Allah?

O my soul! How quickly you forget that Allah is nearer to us than our jugular vein and that when we call out to Him, He loves to hear our voice and respond to our pleas?

O my soul! Isn’t it shameful how quickly you focus when Allah deprives you of something but only rarely it occurs to your mind the much greater blessings He has already bestowed you with without you even asking for majority of them?

O my soul! Don’t you remember that Allah is capable, and He can change your situation within a blink of an eye?

O my soul! Don’t you know that dawn is nearest when the night is darkest, and that the help of Allah arrives just when you are about to give up?

O my soul! Did Allah not promise in His mighty Book that He will make a way out for whoever has true taqwa of Him?

So ask yourself O my soul! Have you truly feared your Lord? Have you exercised the true taqwa? Have you truly kept your duty to Him? Have you obeyed Him with the love He deserves?

New Year’s Resolution: Become an Upright Young Person

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I was reading Shaykh Uthaymeen (May Allah have mercy on him)’s book Youth’s Problems: Issues that Affect Young People. Never have I read a book of Shaykh Uthaymeen, except that his wisdom, insight, and depth of knowledge amazed me.  In this short booklet, the Shaykh provided a description of an upright young person, and I said to myself, “how wonderful would it be if I could describe myself with this description.” So, I have decided to use Shaykh Uthaymeen’s description of an upright young person as my new year’s resolution for 2015 instead of drafting that of my own.

(If you read the following excerpt carefully, you will notice that even while describing an upright young person, the Shaykh first introduced Islam, and then introduced eeman. The Shaykh has a famous booklet titled The Explanation of the Fundamentals of Islamic Belief. Even in that booklet of Islamic belief, the Shaykh first talked about the five pillars of Islam before talking about eeman. This shows the depth of Shaykh’s understanding and the consistency of his methodology.)

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Upright young people are believers – in every sense of the word. They believe in their religion in such a way that they love it and are convinced by and content with it. They regard embracing it as profit and denial of it as a clear loss.

They sincerely worship Allah alone and follow the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) in their words and deeds because of their belief that he was truly a Messenger of Allah and that he is the leader that should be followed.

They observe salah (obligatory prayer) perfectly to the best of their abilities because they believe in its temporal, eternal, and social benefits and advantages as well as in woeful consequences of its neglect for individuals and nations.

They pay zakah (obligatory fixed alms) fully to those who deserve it because they believe that it satisfies the needs of Islam and Muslims: a reason that makes it one of the pillars of Islam.

They fast in the month of Ramadan and abandon their desires and pleasures, whether in winter or summer, because they believe that it pleases Allah and therefore give what pleases Him preference over their own desires.

They perform the obligatory pilgrimage (Hajj) to the Sacred House of Allah because they love Allah and as a result love His House. They go to places of His mercy and forgiveness and share their experiences with their Muslim brothers and sisters who also visit those places.

They believe that it is Allah who created them as well as the heavens and the earth because they see in the signs of Allah that which leaves no iota of doubt or reluctance in the fact that Allah exists. They see in this universe – vast and marvelous in its shape and order – a decisive proof of the existence, the perfect ability, and the extreme wisdom of its Creator for it is impossible for it to create itself. They know it is also out of the question for it to exist accidentally because it was non-existent before it was created and a thing that is non-existent cannot make another exist because the thing itself is non-existent. They realize it is unfeasible for the universe to exist accidentally because it has a wonderful and symmetrical order that does not change or deviate from the path on which it is destined to move. Allah (subhanau wa t’ala) says:

فَلَن تَجِدَ لِسُنَّتِ اللَّهِ تَبْدِيلًا ۖ وَلَن تَجِدَ لِسُنَّتِ اللَّهِ تَحْوِيلًا

But you will never find in the way of Allah any change, and you will never find in the way of Allah any alteration. [The Noble Quran 35:43]

He also says:

الَّذِي خَلَقَ سَبْعَ سَمَاوَاتٍ طِبَاقًا ۖ مَّا تَرَىٰ فِي خَلْقِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ مِن تَفَاوُتٍ ۖ فَارْجِعِ الْبَصَرَ هَلْ تَرَىٰ مِن فُطُورٍ

ثُمَّ ارْجِعِ الْبَصَرَ كَرَّتَيْنِ يَنقَلِبْ إِلَيْكَ الْبَصَرُ خَاسِئًا وَهُوَ حَسِيرٌ

[And] who created seven heavens in layers. You do not see in the creation of the Most Merciful any inconsistency. So return [your] vision [to the sky]; do you see any breaks? Then return [your] vision twice again. [Your] vision will return to you humbled while it is fatigued. [The Noble Quran 67:3-4]

If it is agreed that this universe possesses such a marvelous and well-arranged order, it is impossible for it to have existed accidentally because whatever accidentally exists will, as a result, be prone to changes and disruption at any moment.

The upright youth believe in Allah’s angels because He speaks about them in His Book and because His Prophet (ﷺ) also spoke about them in the Sunnah. The Qur’an and Sunnah contain many of their descriptions, acts of worship, and the works they carry out that are for the benefit of all creatures, which give us clear-cut evidence of their real existence.

They believe in the Books of Allah which He revealed to His Prophets, that with them they may guide humankind to the straight path, because it is impossible for human intellect to perceive the detailed benefits inherent in acts of worship and human interaction without divine guidance.

They believe that Allah’s Prophets and Messengers were sent to call people to all that is virtuous, enjoin all that is good, and forbid all that is evil so that the human race should have no plea against Allah after the coming of the Messengers. The first of them was Adam and the last of them was Muhammad, may the best of blessings and peace be upon all of them.

They believe in the Last Day: the day people will be resurrected after their deaths in order to be rewarded for their deeds. Whoever does an atom weight of good will see it and whoever does an atom weight of evil will see it [The Noble Quran 99: 7-8], for that is the result of this life. If this were not so, what then is the logical reason behind it if humankind does not have a day in which good-doers will be rewarded for their good deeds day and evil-doers will be compensated for their evil acts?

They believe in predestination, including that it can be good or evil. They accept that everything is in accordance with Allah’s ordainment and predestination, while believing in causes and effects and that prosperity and misery have their respective causes.

These young people practice their religion with total sincerity to Allah, His Messenger, Muslim leaders, and Muslim common folk*. They deal with their fellow Muslims with the straightforwardness and clarity with which they would like to be treated. Treachery, malpractice, crookedness, or hiding facts have place in their dealings.

They call to the way of Allah with clear knowledge and in accordance with the methods explained by Allah in His Book. Allah, the Exalted, says:

ادْعُ إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ ۖ وَجَادِلْهُم بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ ۖ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ

Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided. [The Noble Quran 16:125]

They enjoin all that is good and forbid all that is evil because they believe that the prosperity of communities and nations lies in that which Allah has specified in the glorious Qur’an:

كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ ۗ وَلَوْ آمَنَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُم ۚ مِّنْهُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah . If only the People of the Scripture had believed, it would have been better for them. Among them are believers, but most of them are defiantly disobedient. [The Noble Quran 3:110]

They strive to change all that is evil according to the method recommended by the Prophet (ﷺ) when he said: “Whoever of you sees an evil action let him correct it with his hand, and if he is unable to do that then with his tongue, and if he is unable to do so then with his heart.” (Recorded by Muslim) They speak and accept only the truth because of their understanding that truthfulness leads to righteousness and righteousness leads to paradise, and that a person keeps on telling the truth until he or she becomes a truthful person.

They love what is good for their Muslim brothers and sisters because of their belief in the hadith: “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” (Recorded by Bukhari and Muslim)

They are aware of their responsibilities to Allah, the Ummah, and their countries and they always strive for the benefit of the religion, the Islamic nation, and their homelands -far from selfishness and pursuance of personal interests at the expense of other people’s interests.

They strive in the way of Allah with His assistance and because of Him only. They strive with sincerity to Him without intending to be seen or heard by people. They strive while seeking assistance from Allah without self-admiration or depending on their wits and energy alone. They strive in the way of Allah within the framework of His religion without exaggeration or negligence. They strive with their words, hands, and property in accordance with the needs of Islam and Muslims.

They are religious and possess good conduct. They are well-mannered, religiously upright, lenient, magnanimous, noble, good-hearted, extremely patient, and tolerant but decisive. They do not waste opportunities or allow sentiments to overpower their sense of reason and the establishment of peace and order.

The balanced and orderly young people work wisely and silently with perfection and quality. They do not waste any opportunities in their lives but rather utilize them in what is of benefit to them and their Ummah. These young people, though they preserve their religion, conduct, and manners, are nevertheless abstentious from all that negate these virtues, such as kufr (disbelief), atheism, profligacy, disobedience, indecent manners, and bad dealings.

These young people are a pride for this Ummah and the symbol of its life, its prosperity, and its religion. They are those whom we hope Allah will use to repair the Muslims’ damaged condition and illuminate the way for the followers of the right path. They are those who shall attain the bliss of this world and the next, Allah willing.
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*This is a reference to a hadith recorded by Muslim: The Prophet (ﷺ) said: Religion is sincerity. We said: To whom? He said: To Allah and His Book and His Messenger, and to the leaders of the Muslims and their common folk.

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O Allah! Turn me and turn all the Muslim young people into upright young people.

Letter to Mom and Dad

Dear Mom:

I am writing this letter just to let you know that I love you. I know you have always yearned to hear these words, but having been brought up in an environment where I was never taught how to express love, I have failed to express my love for you verbally. However, please know that I love you v-e-r-y dearly, and I love you from the core of my heart.

We may have our differences, but know that at the end of day, I LOVE YOU.

I do not know why, but now a days, sometimes the horrible scenario of losing you come to my mind. I dread if I will live to see that day. The thought of losing you, who have carried me nine months in her womb with utmost love, makes me numb, and if I live to see that dreadful day, I just do not know how I will cope with it.

It is not possible for me to requite your love for me. It is not possible for me to requite the sacrifices you have made for me. I only ask Allah with all sincerity that He gives you a long, healthy life full of obedience to Allah and His Messenger (ﷺ), and I ask Him to reciprocate all your sacrifices with nothing but the highest level of Jannah.

Sincerely,

Your Son

***

Dear Dad:

I know that I have not been the best son to you. I have lost temper many times with you, and I still do. I know that you mean well to me. Please forgive my behavior. And please know that never have I fallen short of my best behavior to you except that I have felt bad afterwards for the whole day.

May Allah bless you with a good life both in this world and the next.

Sincerely,

Your Son

***

No one can articulate a better prayer for their parents than what the Most Merciful has taught us in His Glorious Book:

وَقَضَىٰ رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا ۚ إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِندَكَ الْكِبَرَ أَحَدُهُمَا أَوْ كِلَاهُمَا فَلَا تَقُل لَّهُمَا أُفٍّ وَلَا تَنْهَرْهُمَا وَقُل لَّهُمَا قَوْلًا كَرِيمًا

وَاخْفِضْ لَهُمَا جَنَاحَ الذُّلِّ مِنَ الرَّحْمَةِ وَقُل رَّبِّ ارْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِي صَغِيرًا

And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word. And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, “My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.” [The Noble Quran 17:23-24]

Alauddin Abbas: Volunteer of Haram

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Every Ramadan a group of African teenage boys serve iftaar to over a million pilgrims at Masjidul Haram. They do this voluntarily to earn reward from Allah. Since the schools remain closed during Ramadan in the Kingdom, these teenage boys usually spend majority of their Ramadan days and nights at the Haram. After asr prayer, they start their work by spreading out plastic sufras (clothes over which food is spread out). Then they bring in dates and evenly distribute them.  About half an hour before maghrib, they distribute zamzam water and Arabic coffee and tea among the pilgrims.

These volunteers are very diligent in their work and take great pride in serving the guests of Haram. No matter where you sit in the Haram, these volunteers ensure that you receive dates and water.

Once the iftaar is over, they quickly roll in the sufras and collect litters. Before maghrib prayer, these volunteers remain busy serving the pilgrims. Only after maghrib prayer, they enojy their own iftaar.

During my recent umrah, I met one such volunteer. I was able to have a brief conversation with him because he could speak English. Below is the conversation, which gives a brief glimpse about the life of these volunteers.

***

What is your name?

My name is Alauddin Abbas.

You had told me yesterday that it was your grandmother who came to Saudi Arabia first. How did she come here? Did she come here for hajj?

Yes, she came from Nigeria for hajj. Then she stayed here. MashAllah, my grandmother is still alive, and she is probably 130 now.

MashaAllah! Were your parents born here is Makkah?

Yes. And my father married my mother in Makkah.

So it means you are the third generation here is Saudi.

Yes.

Do you have Saudi passport now?

No, but some people in our family have Saudi passport. There was a time when they (Saudi government) used to give passports, but my father did not like the idea then and did not take it.

It means you are now living in Saudi without any passport or documents.

Unfortunately yes.

How many brothers and sisters do you have?

We are seven brothers and sisters together: four brothers and three sisters.

MashaAllah! Where does your family live in Makkah?

About a kilometer away from the haram.

Did you and your siblings all go to the local schools here?

Yes. Some of my siblings also studied up to college. All praise is for Allah.

What are you doing now?

At the moment I am staying in the haram (and serving the pilgrims). After Ramadan InShaAllah, I am going to get vocational trainings on electrical work.

Is there a vocational school in Makkah?

Yes, I will have the training in Makkah. At same time, I am already doing an electrical field job now.

Is the earning good?

Alhamdulillah.

Are you hopeful that sometime in future you will attain Saudi citizenship?

May be, I don’t know. InShaAllah when Allah grants, we will get it.

Yes, we are a nation who never lose hope from the mercy of Allah. You must be very lucky because you are living in Makkah, the blessed of all places.

Alhamdulillah. We can come to haram anytime.

All the children and young men who are volunteering and serving the pilgrims, do they get paid for this?

Some families do pay some of them. However, it is primarily a volunteer work.

All right brother. It was a pleasure speaking with you. Assalamualikum.

Wa alikumusalam.