Monday, 8 December 2014

10 Actions to Boost Self-Confidence

As Muslimahs, I think it's doubly important to have that extra bit of self-confidence what with the deen always being put down in the media and the local/wider community. I came across this post on:  which gives tips on how to be more positive as well as boosting your confidence.



10 Actions for Sisters to Boost Self-Confidence

One of the major barriers to productivity I often hear about when I meet sisters across the world, is the lack of self-confidence. I know from personal experience that is isn’t easy to develop confidence – some people are born with it, but I believe for most of us, it has to be developed and nurtured as we grow! I often have friends and family tell me I carry an aura of confidence about me; some wonder ‘what’s her secret?’ – it has has certainly taken some training! It is really disheartening to see Muslim women who are so talented, educated and ambitious thwart their progress and productivity because they have low self-esteem. I’d like to explore how we sisters can boost our own confidence with practical tips from the Qur’an and Sunnah.
Firstly, I want to remind you that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has honoured women, affording us rights more than 1400 years ago and endowing on us the opportunity to earn the highest stations in Paradise, through the various roles we play as daughters, wives, mothers and Muslimahs in our society. We only have to look to our historical examples of female scholars such as Aisha bint Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) to learn that achieving confidence is not a sign of arrogance or being against Islamic values. In fact, one can be confident in their faith whilst being a Muslimah in pursuit of her goals.
Remember, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says: “And We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference.” [Qur’an: Chapter 17, Verse 70]
Let’s look at some of the ways I have learnt to personally conquer my fear and boost my confidence:

1. Have self-belief

As a Muslimah, if you don’t believe that you can achieve something, even if it’s a small task, this can impact your confidence greatly. The first step is to develop a positive mindset and have the belief that you are capable of doing what you set out to accomplish with Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)‘s Help. This will take some internal work and will not be done overnight, but start by telling yourself that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) wanted you to be the best Muslimah you can be in every aspect of your life – this will get you on the road to developing confidence.

2. Use positive language

What kind of language do you use in your daily life, whether at work, home or in the community? Do you tend to use the words ‘can’t’, or ‘don’t believe’ or ‘not sure’ often in your responses? If you do, then perhaps you are using what psychologists call ‘self-limiting’ terms which can prevent you from being confident. Instead, try to say ‘I can do this’, ‘I will inshaAllah achieve’, or ‘I am capable of..’ as this kind of language will increase your positivity and give you a sense of self-belief.

3. Dump your negative thoughts

When negative thoughts and whispers enter your mind then remind yourself of the positive language. Don’t allow yourself to be put down by these thoughts, as this will prevent you from achieving your set goals. Try writing down negative feelings and thoughts, then tell yourself the opposite of what have you have written. For example, if you have written: ‘I can’t do this because I’m not good enough’, tell yourself ‘I will try to do this and I might actually be good at it’. If you let negative thinking sabotage your productivity, then you may feel regret later in life.

4. Write down a list of your strengths

One of the most powerful exercises I have done with my mentor on a regular basis, is to discuss and write my own strengths. As an example, I have written that I have ‘good interpersonal and communication skills’ and then written an example of when I proved this such as at an event when I met with someone new. This short exercise should take no more than 20-30 minutes but will serve as a great way to increase your confidence, especially when you are feeling down. Use this list of strengths to motivate you in whatever area of work you are focussing on.

5. Read up about confidence

Confidence is not something we are all born with, but it is certainly a quality we admire in people around us. Some are gifted with it, while others have a ‘quiet confidence’ about them which we may not always perceive. There are some great resources out there to help you with confidence; one of my favourites is ‘How to Develop Self-Confidence & Influence People by Public Speaking’ by Dale Carnegie. You can also search online for the many other tools and articles on why self-confidence is important especially in women, in both professional and personal capacities. Read up on the female scholars and pious women, and take lessons from their personalities and ways they handled their affairs – they are the best of examples.

6. Receive compliments gracefully

When I look back to my days of low self-confidence, I re-call compliments being vital to giving me a boost – especially when they were from people I respected, like my teachers. Some sisters on the other hand find it extremely difficult to receive compliments, and sometimes ‘defer’ them, so they put themselves down, instead of graciously thanking someone for their kind words. Although this should be carefully balanced with avoiding feelings of pride or complacency, accepting compliments when you’ve earned them can remind you that you have good qualities and traits to contribute. Respond to these compliments by saying ‘thank you, that’s very kind of you’ while acknowledging that you always have more to learn, to keep your humility.

7. Pursue something you are good at

There’s nothing more empowering than discovering you are good at something. Once you know what you are good at, you can gain a sense of self-fulfilment and maximise your confidence. For many sisters I meet, there are so many dreams and ideas they have, yet the environment or family expectations mean they are unable to pursue such activities. My advice is to keep trying until you are able to do this, it will in turn have positive psychological benefits for you and your family when you do what you love.

8. Network with new Muslimahs

Meeting new sisters is always a test of our own confidence as it can take us out of our comfort zone, but it is also a great way to improve your self-confidence by telling people about yourself. Before you go to an event, meeting or somewhere where you can network with people, think about the interesting things you like or have done to use as talking points. Hopefully it will ensure that the people you talk to have a interesting conversation with you and remember you as a confident Muslimah!

9. Be independent

Being able to do things without depending on others is a huge morale booster as it gives you a sense of empowerment and self-dignity. This may be doing something you haven’t ever done on your own before, like learning a new skill or practising a new hobby. For years I failed at driving many times before I passed! The ability to accomplish something completely independently will give you a real confidence boost.

10. Make this special dua

There is a beautiful du’a which encapsulates the need to always ask Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to help us improve ourselves in our faith and character. It is no easy task, and this du’a will give you the strength to be confident and productive Muslimahs!
(Moses) said: My Lord! Expand for me by breast (with assurance). And ease for me my task. And untie the knot from my tongue. That they may understand my speech.’ [Qur’an: Chapter 20, Verses 25-28]

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Umrah tips part 2: Performing Umrah & Shopping/travelling

Try to perform Umrah after Isha. I found this to be the 'least busiest' time. Others say after or before fajr.
Do tawaf upstairs as it is less packed. We did tawaf in the normal place once before fajr, it was packed. The men don't care they are pushing women less than half their size and we nearly got crushed. Yes. By men. Astaghfirallah. Some people have no manners even when right in front of Allah's house. I'm pretty sure a 6 foot 5, 10 tonne Arab man tried tripping me up from behind so he could push in and touch the black stone. Even in April, before Fajr we were not able to touch hajr aswad. That's how packed it was. I can not even imagine Hajj or Umrah during Ramadan.

Khaleejis (sorry, really trying not to generalise but it is mainly the gulf Arabs) do not comprehend the notion of queuing or waiting patiently for their turn. You will find this out when exchanging money, queuing at bin Dawood or queuing up for food. They ignore you or simply push or elbow you out the way without a care.

NOT ALL WATER IS ZAMZAM - look at the signs. Some say drinking water some say zamzam. The water tankers inside the Masjid al haram say zamzam so I would fill my bottles from there.

Madina has zamzam too! I never knew this, I thought you could only get zamzam from Makkah and was sad that we never got big bottles to bring back before going to Madinah,  but Alhamdulillah Masjid Nabi has zamzam water tanks inside YAY! You can also purchase 10litre zamzam bottles (packed in cardboard boxes) to bring back home. Make sure you write your name on all sides of the box when returning home as people may just take yours at the airport.

Wash your fruit with bottled water and make tea/hot drinks with bottled water.

Fill up on the hotels breakfast buffet. If you can, take a roll with cheese and salad and a yogurt to have for lunch as you may not feel up to walking about looking for a place to eat especially if you're fussy like me and don't want junk food broast chicken (which is everywhere!) or curry.

Make sure to fill up on breakfast and perhaps take a roll with cheese&tomato and a yogurt back with you for lunch to keep you going.

Shopping in Makkah & Madinah.

Bin Dawood is the main supermarket there. In Makkah there is one under the clock tower buildings and another branch to the right of the clock building, I think it's part of the Hilton shopping complex just after kfc. Let me know if I'm wrong. Bin Dawood sells everything from shampoo, juice, ice cream, chocolate dates, cheese, lassi, tea bags pots and pans, and fresh fruit. Defo go there for ice ream to cool yourself down after dhuhr or asr. And to stock up on fresh fruit and juices. I recommend fresh mango.

We stayed in the clock building - Movenpick hotel, hajar towers so alhamdulillah it was easy finding our way back compared to if we stayed in a hotel elsewhere. Mainly because my sense of direction is not one of my strong points. There are shops selling kids clothes, prayer mats, stands with ice cream and much more in the tower.

If you see something you like in Makkah, purchase it!. Everyone says Madina is cheaper-yes mostly true. But sometimes the quality is not as good. For example my sister purchased a beautiful prayer mat that comes with a matching bag for 35 rials (don't pay anymore than this price though, I'm sure other shops sell them for 30) it was really good quality. I got mine from Madinah for 20 rials but mine is thinner and of less quality.

Prayer mat from Makkah - Clock Tower. Thick material

Prayer mat from Madina - thin material

Buy abayas from Madinah. They were selling farashas in different colours for 50 riyal. I got a really nice button abaya with gold diamantes for 110 rial.

Gold and black abaya from Madina Taiba Centre.

Make use of Madinah market stalls for gifts - hijabs, tasbihs, Qur'an, perfumes, jewelry, kids clothing and sometimes abayas/jalabiyyas for under 20 rials! Yes under £4. Obviously they are factory rejects or may be slightly old in design or have a few threads sticking out or are an inch shorter than you'd like but they are an absolute bargain!!  Enjoy the stall holders shouting prices in Urdu - DAS RIAL lol

Cheap gifts for friends and family such as 12 tasbih for 10 rials, 12 itr for 5 rial, and a pack for men with a cap, tasbih and itr for around 2 rial.
You can buy gorgeous costume jewelry such as these rings for 5 rials each. The bangles/bracelets were from one of the many nearby shops.

The main shopping centre in Madina is the Taiba centre. Visit malik al oud for incense accessories. Alhamdulillah the Burmese worker is really fair and honest in his prices.

Travel by SAPTCO between Makkah, Madinah and Jeddah ( doesnt matter if its to and from Makkah and Jeddah as this is only 1.5 hours max) get tickets to a VIP SAPTCO bus if you can. They serve you a small meal and tea/coffee. It's nonstop and has a toilet. Maximum 30 people allowed and quite spacious. Costs about 90 rial or £15/person. Taxi drivers will charge you much more than this and some are known to be crazy or pervy so save yourself the hassle and use SAPTCO.

Air conditioned VIP bus with comfortable seating.
VIP bus breakfast meal from Makkah to Madina: Egg sub, water, fizzy drink.
VIP bus lunch meal box from Madina to Jeddah: Rice, Chicken nuggets, salad, apple, orange juice

That's all I can think of. InshaAllah this is of help to anyone traveling to Saudi. If you have anymore tips or questions please leave a comment!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Umrah/Hajj Tips Part One: What To pack

Salaams all,
as the Hajj season is upon us I thought it would be useful to post my tips as I went for Umrah a few months ago. I did initially have a post typed up in draft but accidentally deleted it :( sooo, inshaAllah, time permitting, I will type something again with pictures :)

I have compiled a list of what to pack as a general guide if any of you are thinking of going soon or in the future.

3 pairs loose trousers i.e harem pants or linen trousers.

3 abayas including the one you will wear to the airport. The abayas don't have to be black, there are people from all over the world wearing their own modest versions of traditional clothing including long skirts, shalwar kameez, maxi dresses etc. A good idea I found was a really long tunic or loose dress, 3 quarter in length (in between ankle and knee length) with loose trousers underneath. Why? Abayas are usually long and the bottom gets dusty and dirty real quick. Saudi is a desert country so lots of sand and dust about; plus you will no doubt be going to get zamzam water and the floors will be wet. Not only that but another good reason not to wear an abaya that's TOO long is to save from tripping up or people stepping on it.

3-4 light material hijabs. Nothing too thick. Not those maxi hijabs you get everywhere unless you will be wearing it in the evening. Choose any colour or print you like. Doesn't have to be limited to black.

Canvas bag/over shoulder drawstring bag to carry your shoes in. Don't leave your shoes on one of the racks in masjid al haram or masjib nabi - you won't be able to find them! Keep them in a bag on you at all times and place to your side on the floor when praying. Everyone does this.

Prayer mat - you can either take one or buy from Makkah or Madina. You won't always get inside the masjids to pray and if you do it doesn't guarantee a carpeted space i.e. you will be praying on marble so a prayer mat will make it easier/more comfortable.

Snacks: take crisps, biscuits, sweets. I wouldn't recommend chocolate as it melts. Keep some snacks in your bag at all times even when flying to the airport,  in Saudi as all the stories about Saudi airport workers/visa patrol are true. They are extremely S L O W and the queue won't move for at least an hour while they take their sweet time. Not only that but you may find yourself switching queues a few times and back. Organised they are not! The airport is not air conditioned so you may feel faint as my sister did, this is where snacks and some water will come in handy. Try to get some water from the plane - a bottle or small plastic pot.

2 pair flat comfy shoes/sandals with a good grip. Don't choose something with a completely flat sole as your feet will feel it with all the walking.

Sunglasses and sunscreen

Vaseline and mini first aid kit - plasters, sudocream, safety pins, bandage

Norethisterone - If that time of the month will fall around the time you go for Umrah or Hajj, see your GP for some medication to delay it.

Scissors and nail clippers - Ladies, you will need to cut a bit of your hair after performing sa'ee. We did this back at the hotel, there were many ladies who did it right after performing umrah but hair was on the floor which I didn't find hygienic.

Wipes - to clean your hands as well as shoes when they get dusty, and just for general quick cleaning on the go.

Toilet paper

Notebook to write down duas of those you are leaving behind as well as to keep a memoir of your time there.

Small travel spray bottle - fill with water (I filled mine with zamzam :D) keep in fridge and take out with you to spritz on face/hands/wrists to keep cool. If you can't manage to pack one, Bin Dawood sell some from 6 riyals.

Tasbih or u can buy it from there. Madinah has PELNTY. You can get a bundle for 10 riyals (under £1.50)

Take a couple empty water bottles to fill with zamzam. Your hotel may provide you with complimentary bottles of water - Movenpick did alhamdulillah.

Stay tuned for tips part 2!

Friday, 1 August 2014

Nailed it: How your fingertips hold the key to your health

Your nails can significantly contribute to the impression you leave on people. But they can say a lot more about you than just how strongly you take care of your appearance.
Research reveals that your hair and nails can be an indicator of your overall health. Healthy hair and nails have been linked to good nutrition. On the other hand brittle discolored nails and dull hair, among other conditions, can offer warning signs of malnutrition, infection and serious disease.
You probably don’t spend much time looking at your nails and hair. Abnormalities in these two areas often indicate illness in the body before the rest of the body will. Although nothing replaces a proper diagnosis from your doctor, read on to learn how to decode the signs of ill health.

Are your nails cracked, brittle, and quick to break? That’s often a sign of iron deficiency, anemia. However, if your tips seem to crack at the slightest touch, this could be caused by an underactive thyroid.
 White spots on nails, also known as milk spots, are ironically not signs of calcium deficiency. They are simply a result of minor injuries to the nail. In some cases, they are indicators of zinc deficiency. 
Pale nails, on the other hand, could be a sign of anemia. Inadequate oxygen levels in the blood can leave the tissue beneath your nails looking ghostly. More seriously, pale nails could be a sign of congestive heart failure and liver disease.
The thickening of nails, often combined with their yellowing, is usually a sign of fungal infection. In rare cases, yellow nails can indicate a more serious condition such as thyroid disease. 
Rippled or pitted surface of the nails can be an early sign of inflammatory arthritis or psoriasis.

 You are what you eat
  • While your nails aren’t a living part of your body, improving your inner health will affect their outer appearance. Before you invest in all those nail strengthening products and pills, follow these 10 simple steps to have strong healthy nails by improving what you eat. After all, you will be tackling the condition from the core.
  • Consuming a balanced diet abundant in fruits and vegetables, grains, dairy, meat, and good fats will provide you with the nutrients you need for strong healthy nails and prevent any nutrient deficiencies. Eliminating one of these food groups may disturb the balance.
  • Nails are layers of keratin, a type of protein. So, including protein in your diet, from meat, chicken, fish, and eggs, is essential for their strength.
  • Make sure to have one iron rich food source in your daily diet. You can try these foods: Pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, lentils, oatmeal, red meat, spinach, dark chocolate, and tofu.
  • Drink more water. It keeps your nails and hair hydrated. Aim for at least 8 cups daily.
  • Also, exercise regularly to relieve stress. Brittle, peeling nails are a common side effect of stress due to the rise of the stress hormone cortisole.
  • Vitamin B7 (biotin) can also reduce your body’s stress levels. Common dietary sources of biotin are bananas, beans, and whole grains.
  • Keep your thyroid regulated by consuming sufficient Iodine. It is abundant in dried seaweed, iodized salt, milk, shrimp and eggs.
  • Antioxidants can play a role in your nails as they can prevent dry weak nails and repair broken tissue. Antioxidant superfoods you should consider in your diet include berries, green tea, broccoli, cocoa, and avocados.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, amongst their countless benefits, promote nail health. This can be found in salmon, tuna, eggs, sardines, flaxseed, walnuts and almonds
  • Excessive alcohol drinking and smoking can have a negative impact on nail health. It keeps the liver strained as it excretes toxins from the body.
Now that you’ve been equipped with the right information, make a habit of checking your nails on a weekly basis.


Sunday, 27 July 2014

Fatayer, Borek with puff pastry, spinach and feta

Make sure you don't overfill the fatayer, as it won't close/seal
Fold in thirds towards the middle, leaving a tiny hole at the top
Enjoy spinach and feta fatayer fresh out of the oven!

1 sheet of ready rolled puff pastry
500 g blanched spinach
250 g feta cheese
1 medium sized onion, chopped finely
1/2 tsp. all spice powder
1 tsp. sumac
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

Method :
Heat olive oil in a pan and light fry the onions till tender. Add the spinach, spices, feta cheese, seasoning and mix well.
Roll out the puff pastry into 10 cm rounds (I placed a cup and cut around it) and fill each round with a scooped spoon of the spinach mixture. Bring up three sides of the round to form a pyramid and pinch the edges to seal it.
Place the pies / fatayars on a baking sheet, brush lightly with some olive oil and bake in a preheated oven for 25 to 30 mins or until pastry is golden brown and cooked through (I flipped mine over halfway so none of the pastry was soggy) at gas mark 5.

Recipe from:

Friday, 25 July 2014

Iftar featuring vegetarian shepherds pie and a recipe for refreshing lemonade

Salam and hello fellow readers,

Yes you read it right! Vegetarian shepherds pie made with quorn mince which we made for iftar last week.

Ezogelin - Turkish lentil soup
Feta and pomegranate salad
Quorn shepherds pie with creamy cheesy mash!
Profiteroles and a jug of homemade lemonade
Lemonade recipe:

Ingredients for syrup-
  • 5 lemons
  • 1 cup water
  • 200-250g sugar

Method - 
  • Put ingredients in a pan and boil.
  • Leave to cool and place in fridge or freezer (especially good if it's a hot day, as the syrup will be an ice block which will cool the water in the jug)
  • Once cool/frozen, place in jug and top up with plain water or sparkling water. You may need to add more lemon/water according to taste.
  • Enjoy!
Post a comment if you want the shepherds pie recipe! 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

ieatfood reviews - Halal ready meals at your local supermarket

Salam readers.
So I was in Sainsburys a few weeks ago and came across some halal ready meals. There was a dedicated section for these halal meals, which consisted of ieatfoods and mumtaz curries. These meals are perfect for iftar if you are too tired to cook as they taste home made or even to take as lunch for work. I will be reviewing 3 products from the ieatfoods range.
range of meals from ieatfood in Sainsbury's

First up was the spicy beef pizza. I found the product matched the picture, the title lived up to it's name - it was beefy and spicy! As the crust part was a bit big for my liking, I added extra cheese, cherry tomatoes and small pineapple chunks to the pizza before placing in the oven. I can honestly say it is one of the best pizzas I've tasted! So much so that I made a homemade version a few weeks later lol. This pizza deserves a 9/10.
ieatfood halal spicy beef pizza
What ieatfood spicy beef pizza looks like out of the box. I added extra toppings as I don't like the edges to have too much crust.
Fresh out of the oven with added toppings and cheese. ieatfood spicy beef pizza

Next up is the spaghetti bolognese. It comes in a black mocriwaveable plastic dish with a sleeve describing the product and nutritional information. The product is about 700grams so easily feeds 2 however, you may need to boil up some extra pasta. There is plenty of meat and sauce with carrot cubes. I found this product to be standard. It was nothing to write home about. So for this reason I will award it 5/10.
ieatfood spaghetti bolognese on the left.

Next up is the Pesto chicken tagliatelle. Descried on the sleeve as "delicious tagliatelle pasta topped with succulent british chicken breast chunks and a creamy fresh basil pesto sauce."
This product comes in at around 400 grams and is over 700 calories per person, but you can share it (if you feel inclined). I've never had creamy pasta sauce before, so this was something new for me. I saw this product being reviewed on Islam Channels Living the Life for which it got good feedback from the presenters. I can say I agree. The sauce was plentiful, it was creamy and the pesto gave it an edge. The chicken was well cooked and there was a good ratio of chicken to pasta. It didn't have that stodgy bechamel feel or taste that many ready meals have. I've been back a few times to re-purchase this item but it is always out of stock which I guess is testimony to how popular it is. I will give this meal a 7.5/10.

ieatfood pesto chicken tagliatelle.

Delicious! ieatfood pesto chicken tagliatelle

So all in all the pizza is the clear winner followed by the pesto chicken tagliatelle.
Have you tried the ieatfood range yet? What's your favourite meal?

Friday, 11 July 2014

Recipe: Date Paste Crumble (Batheetha)

1kg flour
3 cups caramel water
1 cup corn oil
1 cup date paste
1 cup sugar 

Heat the corn oil in a cooking pot and add the flour. Sauté the mixture until brown, then add the date paste, caramel water, sugar and mix for about five minutes. 

When properly cooked, remove from heat. Can be served hot or cold. A side addition of chopped fruit or ice cream perks it up nicely.
Recipe by Mike Harrison. Published in Times of Oman's 2011 edition of Art of Cooking - Flavours of Arabia

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Ramadan iftar meal plans 2014

As salaamu alaykum,

Last year, I posted meal plans where you could draw inspiration from.

Here is the link to iftar meal plans 2014:


Some of the recipes include pasta with lentils, an orange and chocolate tart and a pomegranate and date drink.

Hope this provides inspiration for some of your meals!

Monday, 30 June 2014

Do's and Dont's of Ramadan - Part 1

empty plate

Ramadan: A month in which God multiplies our good deeds, forgives us and blesses us!

'O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint'  [Quran 2:183]
This month is VERY precious for us Muslims; we cannot afford to waste a single minute.
Narrated Abu Huraira(r.a): The Prophet said:"... whoever fasts during Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah's rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven." (Sahih Al-Bukhari).
"Fasting is a shield with which a servant protects himself from the Fire." [Ahmad, Saheeh]
Here are a few Do's and Don'ts, of which some you may not know and some that you may but shaytaan our ultimate enemy has made you forget!

Dont's of Ramadan

Use websites like to help keep track of prayer times

Missing Prayers

Salah (prayers) are the second pillar of Islam. It comes before Saum (fasting).
It's OBLIGATORY on all Muslims and your saum is incomplete without Salah!
Pray 5 times a day understanding its importance and realizing that it is God you are standing in front of. This will not only help you with your abstaining from food but also from sins as the one who is busy remembering to keep his prayers doesn’t have time to commit sins!

lower gaze

The Eye

Looking at a non-mehram (any person with whom marriage is allowed in Islam) is NOT allowed!
A Muslim should lower his/her gaze at all times where possible this will protect you from going towards that which displeases Allah.

* Eye contact with non-mahrams

* Staring at the pictures in newspapers/magazines

* TV - we stare at the TV without realizing the sinful images that are infront of us which we feel are normal.

These things affect your desires (even if its subconsciously) and entices you towards acting on these desires.
  • Read Quran/observe nature and say Subhaan Allah!(All praise to Allah)
  • Use the opportunity to learn and understand how amazing nature and the world around you is, you can quite easily busy yourself in getting to know your Lord through the amazing creation he puts in front of us.

listening to music

The Ear

Quit music or try refraining from it

INSTEAD: switch to
  • Tafsir of Quran
  • Recitation of Quran
  • Nasheeds 
  • CD's of Islamic lectures etc


The Tongue

Back biting is considered a extremely sinful act
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Do you know what gheebah (backbiting) is?” They said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He said, “Saying something about your brother that he dislikes.” It was said, “What if what I say about my brother is true?” He said, “If what you say is true then you have backbitten about him, and if it is not true, then you have slandered him.” [Muslim]
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever has wronged his brother with regard to his honour or anything else, let him seek his forgiveness today, before there will be no dinar and no dirham, and if he has any good deeds to his credit they will be taken from him in a manner commensurate with the wrong he did, and if he has no good deeds, then some of his counterpart’s bad deeds will be taken and added to his burden.” [al-Bukhaari].
So if you think that talking on the phone or meeting friends might result in back biting then avoid it.
*Abusive language: When you abuse someone it doesn't harm him, it just adds to your sins!

God hates people who abuse, so don't use it even if you don't mean it!
Narrated on the authority of Jabir that he heard the (Holy Prophet) say: A Muslim is he from whose hand and tongue the Muslim's are safe.
*Be VERY careful how you use your tongue, hurting some one with your words, is DEEPER and STRONGER than physical pain!
  • Tell people about Islam.
  • It is obligatory on us to spread the word of Allah, as we are the Ummah of the last Prophet.
  • Keep good company of those who remind you of Allah.
  • Attend the masjid or Islamic events to be in an environment which people are remembering Allah.

Fist hand human evolution COSMOS Science Magazine

The Hand

Don't get into fights, stay away and if you get into one and lose your temper, practice patience (sabr) and walk away.
Narated By Abu Huraira : The Prophet said, "Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink ( i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)" – [Sahih Bukhari, Vol.3, Book 31, #127]
People will probably think you're a coward, but God thinks you're a lion!

Look out for part 2 on DO's in Ramadan.
Source: email from

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Ramadan Mubarak + Ramadan Action Plan 2014

Asalaamu alaykum, the month of ramadan is finally here! I hope you all have a productive and spiritual month in which you become closer to Allah. insh'Allah.

I received my copy of the Ramadan Action Plan and it looks fantastic so far. There is a daily checklist which helps you to organise your day as well as daily tips, a deed of the day for you to complete and a dua and ahadith. What I really like about this is that you can learn the 99 names of Allah as the plan breaks the names up so you learn a few every day. There is also a poster of the full 99 names which you can tick off as you learn.

You're allowed to set personal goals which you wish to achieve during the month and use this to fill in a post ramadan reflection. There is even a chart to tick off the 6 fasts of shawal.
You can subscribe to download the action plan here:
Best of all it's free and you can have a portable copy on your phone or print out a copy.

Ramadan kareem!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Ingredients For a Content Life (2) - Love

Part 2 (final part): All you need is love..

need love
The definition of love is a ‘strong affection for something’. Love is an innate feeling in every human being. It is sometimes thought of as the element that makes us human .

The need for love

According to Islam, love has to be enlightened. A sacred love is the love which is realistic and insightful. It has been a common theme in moral advises by great Muslim preachers and Sufi masters that one should not let one's love for something or some person make him negligent of the whole truth. The reason for this emphasis is that love naturally tends to make the lover "blind and deaf'. If you love some one it is very unlikely to have an impartial view of it, unless the love is directed by the reason.
allah love


Divine love

A Divine love is that of a mutual love and thus the most fulfilling love a creation could ever feel. Even the worst of people still can be a receiver of Love from Allah so long as they repent. There are many beautiful Hadeeth which relate this amazing and fulfilling love Allah has bestowed upon His creation.
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
"Allah the Almighty said: 'I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm's length, I draw near to him a fathom's length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed." (related by al-Buhkari)
Furthermore the amazing quality of divine love is that Allah has made it so that through loving creation you can also be loving the Creator. This is done through following the guide of how to love through the Quran, how we live our lives, how we treat the earth and people around us. All of these things can be counted as loving Allah because it is done in obedience to Him and in seeking His pleasure and in turn Allah loves us as shown in this Hadeeth;
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
"Allah (mighty and sublime be He) said;
'Whosoever shows enmity to someone devoted to Me, I shall be at war with him. My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it. I do not hesitate about anything as much as I hesitate about [seizing] the soul of My faithful servant: he hates death and I hate hurting him.'"
It was related by al-Bukhari.


Love of the dunya

According to Islam, the minimum expectation from believers is that God should have the first place in their heart, in the sense that no other love may override one's love for God; God should be the highest and foremost object of love. The Qur'an says:
Say: If your father or your sons or your brethren or your wives or your kinsfolk or the property you have acquired or the commerce you fear may slacken or the dwellings which you love¬ if these are dearer to you than God and His Apostle and striving in His way, then wait till God brings about His command; God does not guide the transgressing people. (9:24)
This verse clearly indicates that one's love for God has to be superior to one's love for whatever else that one may come to love in one's life. This superiority shows itself when the love for God and for His religion comes into conflict with one's love for one's personal belongings. In this case, a believer should be able to sacrifice his personal favourite things for the sake of God.
However there is a balance as Allah says;
But seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter; and [yet], do not forget your share of the world. And do good as Allah has done good to you. And desire not corruption in the land. Indeed, Allah does not like corrupters." (28:77)
We should be moderate in when it comes to materialistic things and show gratitude to the blessings we have. It is not wrong to enjoy or have dunya in abundance but it can become a means against you when this dunya distracts you from living your life according the deen and what is more pleasing to Allah.


Love of brotherhood

On the necessity of love for people, we see that the Qur'an praises those members of the Household of the Prophet who fasted three days and gave everyday the only little food that they had at home successively to a poor, an orphan, and a captive: "And they give food out of love for Him to the poor and the orphan and the captive. [They tell them:]we only feed you for God's sake: we desire from you neither reward nor thanks."(76:8 & 9)
In another Hadeeth, The Prophet Sallahu Aleyhi wa Sallam said: "By Him in Whose Hand my soul is, you will not enter Paradise unless you believe, and you will not believe unless you love each other. Should I direct you to something that if you constantly did it, you would love each other? Spread the greetings of peace among you."[Muslim]


Falling in love it Haraam?

We do not say love is halal or haram because it is a feeling. Maybe it is not under control. You can judge what is under control.
If we are speaking about the emotion which we call “love” then we are simply speaking of a feeling. What we feel toward a particular person is not of great importance until our feeling is expressed in a particular action. Now if that action is permissible, then well and good. If it is forbidden, then we have incurred something that Allah does not approve of. If it is love between a man and a woman, the emotion itself is not the subject of questioning on the Day of Judgment. If you feel you love someone, then you cannot control your feeling. If that love prompts you to try to see that person in secret and to give expression to your feelings in actions permissible only within the bond of marriage then what you are doing is forbidden.


In conclusion

Love is a natural need for a human and comes in many forms, a parent to a child, friendship, romantically or through the bond of Islam. Having love in ones life makes a key ingredient for a content life and the best love is that of Allah’s so use the types of love we have talked about to gain Allah's love if you want to be the most content.
''O Allah I ask You for Your Love and the love of those
whom You Love and the actions that will cause me to attain Your
Love,O Allah make Your love more beloved to me than myself,my
family and cold water''
Allahumma inni asaluka hubaka, Wa hubbaman ya hibuka,
Wal amal al-ladhi bil leghuni hubbaka,
Allahumma ja’al hubbaka a-habba alay-yai,Min nafsi,
wa-ahli,wa minal barrid.

(received in email from al Fitrah academy)