Salaam: The greeting of peace


Islam is the religion of peace and love. The word Islam has originated from the word ‘Salm’ which means peace. No other religion promotes peace as Islam does and a simple straight forward justification is Salaam; the Islamic way of greeting. Indeed greetings bring hearts together. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “You cannot enter paradise until you believe, and you cannot believe until you love each other. Shall I not inform you of the thing which if you do, will love each other? Spread Salam (the greeting) among you” [Muslim]. The wordings of Muslim greeting are “Assalamu alaikum” (may peace be upon you) and to it should be replied “Wa alaikumus salaam” (and upon you be peace too). This is the shortest form of greeting.

Abu Hurairah RA narrated that a man passed by the Prophet PBUH greeting “Assalamu alaikum”, while the Prophet PBUH was in a gathering. The Prophet PBUH said “Ten rewards”. Then another man passed by saying “Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah”. The Prophet responded “Twenty rewards”. Later when another man wished, “Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh”. The Prophet mentioned, “Thirty rewards”.

It is Sunnah to greet everyone we meet. Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr RA: A person asked ALLAH’s Apostle PBUH, “What sort of deeds or what qualities of Islam are good?” He replied, “To feed (the poor) and greet those whom you know and those whom you don’t know.” [Bukhari] It is a sign of Qiyamah to greet only those whom we know. Ibn Mas’ud RA narrated that the Prophet PBUH said, “Among the signs of Qiyamah is (when you see) that the greetings are (being paid) only to the known ones,” [Musnad Ahmad; Saheeh].

Islam promotes brotherhood and discourages enmity and hatred. Islamic greetings vanish animosity from one’s heart and help reconcile. Narrated by Abu Aiyub RA that ALLAH’s Apostle PBUH said: “It is prohibited for a man to desert his brother Muslim for more than three nights. It is prohibited when they meet, one of them turns his face away from the other, and the other turns his face from the former, and the better of the two will be the one who greets the other first,” [Bukhari].

Enlisted are major etiquettes of Islamic greeting:

1. It is Sunnah to greet whereas it is Fardh (obligatory) to reply the greeting.

2. It is disliked to convey or retort the greeting if someone is in the toilet. Ibn Umar RA narrates that a person passed by and paid greetings to the Prophet while he (the Prophet) was in the toilet, so he did not reply. [Muslim]

3. Salaam should be said while entering house even if there are none around. ALLAH says, “But when you enter houses, give greetings of peace upon each other – a greeting from ALLAH, blessed and good.” [Al Noor 24:61]

4. It is from the Sunnah that a Raakib should greet the Maashi (the on board should greet the one on-foot); a person passing by should greet the one sitting; the small group of people should greet the larger group; and the younger should greet the elder.

5. It is not permitted to wish Islamic greeting to non-muslim. The Prophet PBUH said: “If an Ahle Kitaab (The people of the book: Jews and Christians) greets you (with salaam), then you say: Wa alaikum,” [Bukhari and Muslim].

6. If a person conveys salaam, then he should reply to the conveyor, “Wa alaika wa alaihis salaam” (peace be upon you and on him). A person came to the Prophet PBUH and said, “My father pays you greeting.” So the Prophet PBUH said, “On you and on your father be peace too,” [Abu Dawood]. It is also allowed to say only “peace be upon him” as narrated by A’ishah RA that the Prophet PBUH said her that the Angel Gabriel is saying you salaam. She said, “And on him be peace and ALLAH’s blessings,” [Bukhari].

7. It is allowed to say Salaam when you enter a mosque except when the imam is on the pulpit delivering the Friday speech. The Friday speech has got an exceptional rule as the Prophet PBUH said, “If you (even) say to your fellow: Be quiet – while the imam is delivering speech – then you have made your Friday void,” [Bukhari].

8. It is Sunnah to shake hands while greeting. The Prophet PBUH and the companions used to shake hands. Qatadah said that I asked Anas RA: Was (the concept of) shaking hands present among the companions of the Prophet PBUH?. He said Yes. [Bukhari].

ISLAMIC APPROACH TOWARDS VACATIONS


Students and parents expectantly anticipate vacations. They provide much needed break from hectic day-to-day schedule and form vital part of our lives. Vacations might be a boon if time is efficiently managed or could be bane if left slackly. Many a time vacations fall prey to unorganised and poor planning which reaps little or no benefit at all.

The religion of ALLAH SWT paves way for individuals’ rest and relaxes. A companion of the Prophet PBUH by the name of Handhalah Ibn ‘Aamir, RA complained ALLAH’s messenger that the intensity of his imaan diminishes when he in the company of wife and children (as opposed to the time when he was in the companionship of Prophet PBUH). ALLAH’s apostle responded by saying: “A time for this and a time for that” (Bukhari & Muslim) which means an hour of worship to enhance one’s imaan, and an hour of dedicating life for family being within the tenets of Islam to enrich imaan. ‘Ali Ibn Abu Taalib, RA used to say: “Relax your hearts and find some means of entertainment for them, because they become apathetic just as bodies get fatigued.”

One of the most exasperating habits cultivated during vacation is that of staying up for night and sleeping during the day thereby skipping dawn prayers. The widespread ill practices of vacations are gluing eyes to the television sets, surfing online, frequenting social networks, gaming addiction, so on and so forth. The content available on said media is most of times contemptible and leads to immense destruction.

Children reading QURAN

On contrary, vacations provide golden chance to unwind and analyse our lives. We should contemplate whether we are being better Muslims or the other way round. Plan your holidays such that it can provide you prospect of spiritual recharge. It presents us an ideal opportunity to boost one’s deen (religion).  Parents must ensure that their children offer all the obligatory prayers in congregation which may not be possible during school. Improve and enhance recitation of holy Quran. Initiate efforts to memorize parts of glorious Quran and learn ahadith of our beloved Prophet PBUH. Employ time in studying Seerah of prophets and sahaba. Foster the habit of implementing Sunnah in every walk of our lives. Endeavour to enlight our future generation with the awareness and beauty of Islam. It is an utter disgrace for us that our children are capable of solving complex problems pertaining to math and physics but possess little or no knowledge of our Prophet and his companions. More importantly, warrant vacations to be sin free.

In most cities there are arrangements for Islamic summer camps which provide an ideal atmosphere to learn deen (religion). Parents must try and get in touch with the organisers and enrol their wards in these camps. Most of these camps provide coaching as well as edutainment to children in order to make the course lively.

Vacations can be spiritually enriching for both parents and kids provided if engaged islamically. It is an excellent occasion for us to develop our kids’ character and uplift their Imaan! Let us pray and hope that inshALLAH these holidays are source for our salvation. Aameen

The Messenger of ALLAH PBUH said:“The best amongst you are those who have the best manners and character.” (Sahih Bukhari)

World Cup and Islam.


Sports and games both synonymously convey the same meaning, have always attracted huge crowds. Amid all action, the ongoing Cricket World Cup is currently under the spotlight. Stadia are packed to the rafters with spectators and especially the sub continent rakes in most passionate followers. Numerous eyes are glued to television sets to witness the games with maximum excitement.                                                                                                                              

Islam is a religion which prohibits detrimental entertainment. It believes that most entertainment negates the real purpose of a Muslim life, as ALLAH SWT mentions in holy Quran “And I (ALLAH) did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship ME” [Dhāriyāt 51:56]. Anything which diverts an individual from the remembrance of his Creator amounts to lahw. Entertainment is greatly responsible for this. Prophet PBUH said, “Everything devoid of the remembrance of ALLAH SWT is Lahw save four actions;

Walking between two targets (while practicing archery),

Training or disciplining of one’s horse,

Amusing oneself with the company of one’s wife,

Learning of the art of swimming.” (Targheeb WaTarheeb)

Now the moot question arises is that; whether playing a game or a sport is lawful or unlawful? Majority of Islamic scholars respond to this question as playing sports is Wajib (obligatory), Mustahabb (recommended) Mubah (permissible), Makruh (abominable) and Haraam (prohibited) in varied circumstances. The relevance of this can be explained as participating in sports is Wajib on the part of soldiers who must rigidly train themselves for jihad in the cause of ALLAH. It is Mustahabb on the part of those who wish to strengthen their physical abilities to better perform worship. Moreover, it is permissible with regard to those who indulge in sports for entertainment. In addition, it is Makruh if it results in undesirable waste of time although does not lead to missing fundamental acts of worship. Finally, it is Haram when it involves omission of obligatory prayers; if practiced by women watched by men or vice versa; wearing of tight clothes that bulge private parts such as swimming costume, gymnastic suit or wrestling attire etcetera. Likewise, it is Haram if accompanied by betting or gambling.

Narrated by ‘Aisha RA: “I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet, and my girl friends also used to play with me. When ALLAH’s apostle used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me.” [Bukhari]

In a lengthy hadith narrated by `Uqbah ibn Aamir RA, Prophet PBUH is reported to have said, ‘Every Lahw (amusements, pastimes, games, etc.) a man involves himself in is in vain except practice of archery with his bow, teaching (breaking, training, etc.) his horse and playing with his wife. (Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Abu Dawud)

In the back drop of a sports most individuals involve themselves in betting rackets which is completely Haraam and forbidden in Islam. Islam disallows any game which involves betting or has an element of gambling into it. ALLAH SWT warns in the Holy Quran, “O ye who believe! Strong drink and games of chance and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan’s handiwork. Leave it aside in order that ye may succeed.”[Maidah 5:90]. Prophet said, “He who says to his friend, ‘Come, let us “gamble,’ must give charity. (Bukhari)

Another grave sin that people commit when they are engrossed in games is deferring Salat or omitting completely. ALLAH SWT said, “Then woe to the worshipers who are neglectful of their prayers,” [Al Maaun 107:4-5]

A humble request to fellow Muslims to abstain from sports which encourage Haram. Entertain yourself such that your enjoyment is best for you in this life and everlasting hereafter.

Let us not forget to pray for Muslims who are gravely suffering by the autocratic regimes all over the world especially in the West Asian Region.

Responsibilities of a muslim concerning a NEWBORN..


“To ALLAH SWT belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth; HE SWT creates what HE SWT wills. HE SWT bestows to whom HE SWT wills female [children], and HE SWT bestows to whom He SWT wills male or HE SWT creates them [both] males and females, and HE SWT renders whom HE SWT wills barren. Indeed, HE SWT is all Knowing and Competent.” [Ash-Shura 42:50]. Surely, children are gifts from ALLAH SWT. Prophet Zechariah had no son until he wept and cried to ALLAH SWT for one. ALLAH SWT says, “And [mention] Zechariah, when he called to his Lord, “My Lord, do not leave me alone [with no heir], while you are the best of inheritors.” So WE responded to him, and WE gave to him Yahyaa and amended for him his wife. “[Al-Anbiya 21:89,90]. ALLAH SWT the Glorious granted him a son from a barren wife.

ALLAH SWT says while mentioning the traits of HIS noble slaves, “And those who say, “Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes” [Al-Furqan: 25:74]. It therefore becomes imperative to fulfill some duties which ALLAH SWT has levied upon an individual whom HE SWT has granted an offspring.

1. Aqeeqah (slaughtering): Aqeeqah is a term used for an animal, to be slaughtered for the sake of a new-born baby whether male or female. It is a Sunnah Moakkadah (a Sunnah that has been emphasized upon) according to the majority of scholars. Prophet PBUH said, “Aqeeqah is to be offered for a (newly born) boy, so slaughter (an animal) for him, and relieve him of his suffering.” (Bukhari). Prophet PBUH offered Aqeeqah of his grandsons Hassan and Hussain (may ALLAH SWT be pleased with them). It is important to note that Aqeeqah should be offered on the seventh day as he PBUH said, “Every child is dependent on his Aqeeqah. It should be slaughtered for him on the seventh day, his hair shaved and he should be given a name” (Saheeh Abu Dawud, Tirmizi, Nasai). In case of delay, it should be offered as soon as possible for him. The Aqeeqah of a boy is with two sheep and a girl with one. Prophet PBUH said, “It is two sheep for a boy and one for a girl.” (Saheeh Abu Dawud, Ahmed, Nasai)

Note: If a person’s parents have not offered his Aqeeqah, he can himself offer his own Aqeeqah

2. Naming the newborn: The newborn should be conferred an appropriate name on his/her seventh day of birth according to Sunnah. The prophet PBUH renamed inept and unislamic names. The best of names are Abdullah and AbdurRahman. Ibn Umar RA said that the Prophet PBUH said, “The best of your names in the sight of ALLAH SWT are Abdullah and AbdurRahman” (Muslim). Names other than these are also permitted under the condition that they should not be attributing shirk or mean ill. One such example is the name, Abdul Munaf or Munaf. During the times of Prophet PBUH, Munaf was the name of an idol hence Abdul Munaf would mean the slave of the Idol Munaf.

Note: Prefix of “Abd” should only be labelled to the 99 known names or Sifaat of ALLAH SWT, rest all would be termed as Shirk.

3. Shaving the head of the newborn: The head of the newborn male or female should be shaved on the seventh day of birth after the Aqeeqah. This shorn hair should be weighed and an equal amount of silver (equal to the weight of the shorn hair) should be given away as charity. Ali RA said to Fatimah RA, “O Fatimah, shave his (her son Hassan’s) head and give silver equal to the weight of his hair as charity” (Hasan Tirmizi)

4. Tahneek: It is a practice to chew a date (a portion of it) and make the newborn to taste it until a bit of it enters his stomach. Narrated Abu Musa RA: “A son was born to me and I took him to the Prophet who named him Ibrahim, did Tahneek for him with a date, invoked ALLAH SWT to bless him and returned him to me.” (Bukhari)

5. Pronouncing Azan (Call to prayer): An Azan should be said in the right ear of the child. According to Abu Raavi’s hadith, he says, “I saw the Prophet PBUH giving azan, as that of prayer, in the ear of Hasan bin Ali when Fatimah RA delivered him” (Hasan Tirmizi)

Kindly be aware that the Sunnah regarding Aqeeqah, confering a name and shaving the head are to be observed on the seventh day of the child’s birth, whereas tahneek and azan are to be discharged soon after the birth. It is therefore the prime responsibility of parents to bring up the child in an Islamic environment so that the offsprings are better Muslims inshALLAH.

Raising children: Need of the hour


The major challenge of a modern Islamic society is to raise children in an appropriate Islamic environment. It is more a distinct dream for Muslim parents in today’s highly undesirable culture. Negative effects of television, internet and other forms of media have spread their tentacles deep and wide into our families. It is rather an uphill task for Muslim parents to shield their children from these vices. Raising and educating children is one of the fundamental duties required of parents. ALLAH SWT has enjoined in the Holy Quran “O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the Commands they receive from ALLAH SWT, but do that which they are commanded.” [Tahreem 66:6] In the commentary of this verse, Imam Al-Tabari said “and your families against a Fire” connotes to educate your families towards acts of obedience to ALLAH SWT so that they may safeguard themselves from the Fire.                                                                                               

Ibn Al-Jawzi narrates about a very wealthy King who had only one daughter. The girl was pampered to core with luxurious upbringing. A devout worshipper who happened to be the king’s neighbour, whilst reciting Quran one night, raised his voice upon the verse, “O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones” [Tahreem 66:6]. Taking notice of this recitation, the girl ordered her servants, to “Stop!” But they could not pause him. The staunch believer continued to repeat the verse, and the girl kept on insisting to bring that to a halt, but the worshiper didn’t. She put her hands to her collar and tore her garment. The servants who witnessed the scene rushed to her father and revealed the matter. The king went to his daughter and said, “My dear, what happened to you tonight? What made you weep?” and he hugged her. She said, “I ask you by ALLAH SWT, O my father, tell me, does ALLAH SWT has created a Fire and the fuel of which is men and stones?” He said, “Yes.” She asked him, “Why did you not enlighten me? By ALLAH SWT I will not eat any good food or sleep on any soft bed until I know whether my abode is in Paradise or Hell.” [Safwat Al-Safwah, 4/437-438]

In another verse ALLAH SWT mentions “And enjoin as-Salaat (the prayer) on your family, and be patient in offering them [i.e. the Salaat (prayers)]” [Ta-Ha 20:132]. This ayah further substantiates the approach towards constitution of family and emphasizing the importance of Salaat. The Messenger PBUH shouldered the mammoth responsibility of fostering children on parents and made it obligatory on them. It was narrated that ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar said: I heard the Messenger of ALLAH SWT PBUH say: “Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock” [extracted from Agreed upon hadith].

It is one of the obligations of parents to up bring their children in best prescribed manner so that they develop love for ALLAH SWT, HIS messenger PBUH and towards the teachings of Islam. It is the responsibility of the parents to advice their children that ALLAH SWT adjudicates every action, the reward for good deeds being Paradise and Hell for misdeeds.

It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas that the Messenger of ALLAH SWT PBUH said: “Hang your whip where the members of the household can see it, for that will discipline them.” [Tabaraani classed hasan by Al-Haythami and Shaikh Al-Albaani]. Parents ought to protect children from immorality and misguidance and ensure they grow up evil free. Such should be the upbringing that the offspring differentiates between Halal and Haram and decide to choose the path of ALLAH. Once this is guaranteed, parents can then expect the children to be righteous; for whoever sows thorns cannot harvest grapes. This model of upbringing should be conceptualized and implemented in the initial stages of upbringing so that it is deeply rooted in their lives.

One should bear in mind that the child should not be reprimanded excessively, because it makes the child immune to condemnation and scolding and increases in him the courage to commit wrong, thereby gradually diminishing the value of admonitions from the heart of the child. Similarly, it’s necessary for the father that when he talks to the child, he maintains his awe and fear [in the heart of the child] and should rarely rebuke him. And the mother should make him fear the father when the child is being stubborn and should strictly stop the child from misdeeds. Undoubtedly man’s real wealth is his children and if they are nurtured with care, love, affection and protected from evil, they will inshALLAH be a source of rewards here and hereafter.

TAQWA: The Fear of ALLAH


ALLAH SWT has decreed in Holy Quran: “Every Soul will taste Death” [Al Imran 3:185] and accordingly the Creator has specified a time when HIS creation will cease to exist. Death is as certain for all as life. Even an atheist will concur that death is a universal truth. Post death, on the day of resurrection (Qiyamah), all of us will assemble and our Book of Deeds will be revealed. None will be spared from presenting the Account of Deeds. Wise is the one who reflects on this and is better prepared in advance for the ultimate examination. What could be the best thing a person can possess to present to ALLAH?

Fear of ALLAH SWT is the best thing what a servant (of ALLAH) can take as a provision for the goodness of his Deen (way of life). ALLAH SWT states, “And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is fear (of ALLAH)” [Baqarah 2: 197]. No good deed is acceptable except that which is a result of Taqwa. ALLAH says: “But righteousness is (in) one who fears (ALLAH)” [Baqarah 2:189].

Let us understand the meaning of Taqwa. Taqwa essentially is to protect self from punishment of ALLAH by obeying HIS orders and by abstaining from what HE has prohibited. It was reported that Umar bin Khattab asked Ubay Ibn Ka’b about Taqwa. In reply Ka’b queried Umar (RA), ” O Leader of the believers, what do you do when you have to pass through a thorny road? Umar (RA) replied, “I lift my cloth up to my calves and watch my footsteps and take each step slowly from the fear of thorns lest they don’t prick me”. Ka’b said, “This is Taqwa”.

ALLAH SWT says, “O you who have believed, fear ALLAH as HE should be feared and do not die except as Muslim (in submission to HIM) [Al Imran 3:102]. He who fears ALLAH SWT and acts according to HIS instructions will be secured from HIS punishment. ALLAH SWT says: “And fear ALLAH and know that ALLAH is severe in penalty” [Baqarah 2:196]. He who is safe from the torment of that day (Qiyamah) will notice that his days on earth were nothing compared to what he is rewarded. ALLAH says: “And the hereafter is better for one who fears (ALLAH)” [Nisa 4:77].

Some of the factors that lead to Taqwa are:

Obedience to ALLAH’s diktat and abstinent from what HE SWT prohibits;
Submission to the Will of ALLAH and to the decree HE SWT has set;
Love of ALLAH SWT and HIS Messenger PBUH;
Striving in the way of ALLAH and HIS Messenger.

We observe that the affection towards this worldly and materialistic life has corrupted our heart to renounce Islam and its beautiful teachings. We have become slaves of this perishing life to such an extent that we consider the rich and those who have gained this world and its splendours or luxuries to be the most successful. Woe on us!! Whereas ALLAH says, “Indeed the most noble of you in the sight of ALLAH is he who has the most consciousness and fear (of ALLAH)”. [Al-Hujraat 49:13].

Abu Zar RA narrates that the Prophet SAW said to him, “Fear ALLAH wherever or however you are, and make a good deed subsequent to a bad deed; so that the good wipes away the bad, and treat people with the best of characters” [Tirmizi]. Our beloved Prophet SAW always advised his companions to fear ALLAH in all their matters. He once said, “Fear (ALLAH) in your worldly matters and fear HIM regarding your wives” [Ibn Majah]. In another hadith, Abu Ummah RA narrates that he heard the Prophet SAW saying in a speech during his Hajj, “Fear ALLAH, and pray your five prayers, fast your month, and pay the zakat of your money, and obey those who are in authority among you so that you will enter your Lord’s Paradise.” [Tirmizi].

The ill morale and character of the present society has deprived us the fear of ALLAH. Satan has showcased evil deeds in such an attractive package that the evils are being glorified and not considered harm. The condition of Muslim society can be improved only by retaining and refreshing Taqwa in our lives, i.e. by fearing ALLAH SWT and acting on HIS orders. May ALLAH guide us to HIS fear and reward us better than what we deserve and may HE love us in return of our fear for HIM. Aameen. ALLAH mentions, “whoever fulfils his commitment and fears (ALLAH) – then indeed, ALLAH loves those who fear (HIM)” [Al-Imran 3:76].

“A BELIEVER CAN NEVER BE A LIAR”


Once there lived a selfish man. He loved only to own but disliked to share.

One day, the man lost thirty gold coins. He visited his friend’s house and narrated how he lost his gold coins. His friend was a kind man.

The friend’s daughter while coming from an errand found thirty gold coins and accordingly informed the father. The girl’s father told her that the gold coins belong to his friend and he sent for him. Upon arrival of protagonist (the selfish man), he reported how his daughter had found his thirty gold coins and duly handed them over.

Greed overrode the man’s honesty. After counting the coins, he claimed that ten of them were missing and accused the honest girl for stealing them. He further stated that he will recover the remaining from the girl’s father. But the father refused.

The man left with the gold coins and went to the court and revealed the matter before the judge. The judge sent for the girl and her father, and when they arrived questioned the girl how many gold coins she found. Thirty! Replied the girl.

The Judge then queried the greedy man, how many gold coins he lost? Forty replied the dishonest.

The judge proclaimed that the gold coins do not belong to him since the girl found only thirty rather than forty. The judge decreed the 30 gold coins to remain under the custody of girl until someone comes looking for it. Further the judge addressing the greedy said that if anyone reports finding of forty gold coins, he will send for him. At this point, the cheat confessed to lying but alas! His plea was ignored.

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.

Prophet PBUH said, “A believer might commit every sin except betrayal and lying.” (Ahmed with narrators of Bukhari)

The prophet was asked, “Can a believer be a coward?”
He replied, “Yes”
He was then asked, “Can a believer be miserly?”
He replied, “Yes”
He was then asked, “Can a believer be a liar?”
“NO” he replied. (Mursal hadith from Muwatta)

Abdullah bin Amir RA said, “My mother once called me while the Messenger of ALLAH PBUH was sitting in our house. She said, come here and I will give you something.
The Messenger of ALLAH PBUH said to her, ‘what do you want to give him?’
She said, ‘I will give him some dates.’
He said to her, ‘If you were to fail to give anything to him, one act of lying would have been recorded against you.’ [Abu Dawud]