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3 Steps to be the Best Child to your Parent!

by Zohra Sarwari - Posted on August 29th, 2013
Bismillahhe Rahmanee Raheem
Often when I give a speech for the Muslim Youth, at the end of it I am asked “How can I change and be the best child to my parent?”
SubhanAllaah, this shows me that if we were to teach our children the importance of parenthood, then they would actually reflect on the subject and possibly change their behaviors for the better.  Glory be to Allaah for all of His favors.  The problem that many of us have is that we do not teach our children how to be the best child.
InshAllaah today I will be teaching just that.  I am writing this article for all of the youth out there who want to know in 3 simple steps how to be the best child inshAllaah.   If you are one of those youth, then I would like to begin by saying mashAllaah I am proud of you first for reading this article.  That tells me a lot about you as a person.  If you have the courage to admit that you could be a better child, and you want to learn more skills that alone says a lot about your character.  However, to fully benefit from this article you need to actually put the information from this article into action- inshAllaah.
Before we get started I want to ask you one question.  Will you commit to me that you will use these 3 steps as often as you can until it eventually becomes habit?  Please say YES.  InshAllaah you said yes, and our journey begins.
Let’s start with Bismillah:

Step 1.  Always say “At your Service Umme or Abi (Mom or Dad)”:
What does this mean.  Well when you’re called upon to do something without a second thought say “At your service Umme or Abi.  That means I am ready to do as you wish.  With those words coming out of your mouth, your actions inshAllaah will be sincere as they take into effect next.   You see sometimes the words coming out of our mouth helps us put our actions to ease as they take effect into the next few minutes.  Believe me just saying this will make you smile and be ready to serve your parents.

 Action Step:  Practice saying “At your service Umme/Abi.  Say this 20 times to yourself, until you feel comfortable saying it inshAllaah.
It should be natural and easy to come out of your mouth.   Everytime you say these words to your parents and actually do what they ask you to do inshAllaah Allaah will bless you more, and you will feel happier.  When our parents are happy with us, Allaah subhana wa Tala is happy with us, when our parents are angry with us Allaah subhana wa Tala is angry with us.
The Prophet (Sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said:“The pleasure of Allaah is from the pleasure of the parents, and the anger of Allah is from the anger of the parents.”

So let’s not make our parents angry and instead earn their pleasure, for when we do good to them, we make our Lord happy.  SubhanAllaah what a beautiful religion Islam is, Allaah subhana wa Tala only wants the best from each of us.   By taking the action step as I proposed you’re on your way to success inshAllaah.
Step 2:  Always be thankful to your parents after your thankful to Allaah subhana wa Tala. 
Allaah subhana wa Tala also says in The Qur’aan
Thank Me (Allaah) and your parents…
(The Qur’aan, Chapter 31; Verse 14)
Allaah subhana wa Tala gives us everything, so much that if we actually sat down with a paper and pen to write down all of his blessings we could not count them all.  SubhanAllaah.  I mean this literally.  For breathing alone we could not thank our Lord all of our life.  SubhanAllaah.  Please remember to always be grateful to Allaah subhana wa Tala, and say “Alhamdullilah” as often as you can inshAllaah.  With that being said, after thanking Allaah subhana wa Tala, it is time to thank your parents for all that they do for you.  Sometimes you may think they are not doing much for you, but believe me being a parent we always try to do our best for our kids.  If they cannot financially, they will try any way they can to give you all they got.  Thank them for their time.  Thank them for their support.  Thank them for raising you.  Thank them for their patience.  Thank them for loving you.  Thank them, thank them, and thank them.  Remember that being thankful is also a good deed, and humbles us as human beings.

Action Step: Say Jazak Allaah Khairan as often as you can to your parents.  This will help you appreciate them more and remember all of their acts of kindness.


Step 3:  Always keep them company when they need you. 

A man came to the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) and asked him who is more worthy of his dear companionship. He – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – said, “Your mother!” The man asked again and again, and the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam replied, “Your mother! Your mother!” Until on the fourth time he – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – said, “Your father.”
In today’s society, it is almost a shame to have your parents be your best friend.  They have made it almost like it is the worst thing on earth.  However, once again in Islaam your best friend should be your mom or dad.
The righteous and scholars have left us with many examples from the past, to learn from.   Let’s look at the example of Haywah bin Shurayh radi Allahu anhu, one of the imam’s of our ummah.  He used to give all of his classes in front of his home. During class, his mother would call him to feed the chickens. He would stop teaching, stand up, leave the halaqa, and go feed the chickens.  SubhanAllaah.  Examples like this are many for us to look up to and learn from inshAllaah.
Keeping them company could be different for each of us.  Some parents may require us to listen to them tell us stories of the past, other parents require us to just obey them, while other parents want us to accompany them to outings.  You know what your parent needs, and if you cannot figure it out, ask them, what would make them happy with you.

“But if they (both) strive with you to make you join in worship with Me others that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not, but behave with them in the world kindly, and follow the path of him who turns to Me in repentance and in obedience.  Then to Me will be your return, and I shall tell you what you used to do.”
(The Qur’aan Chapter 31: Verse15)


Action Step:  Find out what makes your parents happy with you and do it, so long as it is not against Allaah subhana wa Tala.
I pray that these 3 steps which seem very easy to do are easy to do for you.   Sometimes it is very hard for us to change, but in order for success to come to us, change is what we must work on, especially when it is to benefit us in this world and the hereafter inshAllaah.  Whatever you do, do not give up.  Keep working hard on trying to improve and be the best child that you can be inshAllaah.  Always make du’aa for Allaah subhana wa Tala to help you, and inshAllaah your actions + du’aa will help you become successful.
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5 Time Management Tips for Muslims!

by Zohra Sarwari - Posted on January 16th, 2013
“By (the Token of) Time (through the ages), Verily mankind is in loss, Except those who have faith, and do righteous good deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy.”
(The Qur’aan 103:1-3)
 


It’s the beginning of your work day; you sit down at your computer to start a project that you are already days behind on. The phone rings. You talk to your co-worker for twenty minutes about an event you are planning for the weekend. After you hang up you decide to check your Facebook status, respond to a few emails, and head to the break room for a snack. Before you know it, it’s been two hours and you still haven’t gotten any work done on your project.  And now you have a pile of work you need to get done in addition to your project, and not nearly enough time to do it. Sound familiar? If it does, you are in major need of a time management makeover.
The first thing you should be aware of is: you must manage your time. Time keeps on moving no matter what you do. You have 24 hours, 1440 minutes or 86,400 seconds each day to use how you will. To say manage implies that you have some control over it, which you do. While you can’t control getting more time in a day, you can control what you do with the 24 hours that you have- inshAllaah.
Charles Bruxton once said, “You will never ‘find’ time for anything. If you want time you must make it.” These tips are designed to help you make more time for yourself. Whether you choose to use it to get more work done, spend more time with the family or enjoy a book while swinging in a hammock is up to you.
Here are 5 tips to help you use your time wisely, be more productive and as a result feel happier and less stressed as a Muslim.
1. Know where you time is going: If you want to fix your time-leak you need to find out where the problem is. The easiest way to do this is to sit down with a pen and paper and map out your day. You have 24 hours; write down how you think you spend them.  The easiest way to do this is to create a simple chart blocking out hours you spend doing certain activities. A sample daily chart may look something like this:
Sleeping:    8 hours
      Eating (including prep) 2 hours
      Work: 8 hours
      Travel: 1 hour
      Salah:  1 hour
      Exercise: 1 hour
      Shower/dress: 1 hour
      Other: 3 hours
      TOTAL: 24 hours.
Your times will vary according to your personal schedule and priorities. Now that you have a vague idea of where your time is spent it’s time to get more specific. You need to write down exactly where you time goes.
For example, you know you spend 8 hours at work, but you’re not getting everything done. Why? Take a notebook with you to the office and make note of everything you do and how much time you spend doing it. Write down every coffee break, Facebook perusal, water cooler discussion and projects. At the end of the day, you may be surprised at how much time you spend doing unimportant things because you get distracted.
“There are two blessings which many people lose: (They are) health and free time for doing good.”
 
(Bukhari 8/421)
2. Set goals: What is your ultimate goal? As Muslims everything we do if we do it for the sake of Allaah subhana wa Tala- it counts as ibidah for us.  Do you want to have more time at the end of the day to relax or more time to spend with your family without feeling guilty? Maybe you work from home and you’d like to get more work done to increase your income, so you need to be more productive. Whatever your goal is, learning to use your time more efficiently will help. Write down your goal and post it where you can see it. When you start to get distracted look at your goal and remind yourself to focus.  If you want to add Qur’aan during the day, but have no time for it, maybe you can add 30 minutes while driving to work, and 30 minutes while driving back home, inshAllaah.
 Creating goals can be an effective way to stay on task. When we consistently remind ourselves why we need to make a change, we are more likely to stick to our plan.
Along with creating other goals you can create specific time-management goals. For example, set a goal of only checking your Twitter feed after you have completed a certain project or after working for a certain amount of time. Reward yourself when you meet a goal inshAllaah.
3. Begin everything with Bismillah, and start and end your day with a plan: Take 20 to 30 minutes every morning to write down what you need to do for the day. Prioritize your list. By making a list of everything you need to get done first thing in the morning, you get your brain on track. At the end of the day take anything that is left over and write it on your list for the next day. Every morning you’ll be adding to the list of leftover items from the day before. If you can, put these left over items at the top of your list so that you don’t have a short list of things that keep tagging along with you week after week.
 
 
 
The Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said
 
“Get hold of 5 things before 5 things happen: your youth before old age, your health before sickness, your riches before poverty, your leisure before business and your life before death.”
(Tirmidhi)
4. Prioritize your list: List the top six things that you must get done for the day. For some people listing more than six things can be overwhelming. Rank the items on your list from the most important to the least important and tackle them in order. When you get one thing done move on to the next, until you get through your list. You may or may not be able to get everything on your list done. If you don’t finish all six items move the remaining items to the next day and rank them accordingly.
5. Schedule email and phone calls: Set time limits for the projects you are working on and set aside specific time to handle smaller tasks, such as checking your email or returning phone calls. Checking your email every five minutes and answering the phone every time it rings can be real time –suckers. Ignore your phone and return the calls at a later time, unless you are waiting for a call that is vital to one of your projects.
The most important thing to remember is that you choose what to do with your time. You need to choose what is most important, and it’s not always going to be work.  For me and my family it making sure we are doing ibidah and remembering Allaah in everything we do, inshAllaah.
According to John Hall Gladstone: “To comprehend a man’s life, it is necessary to know not merely what he does but also what he purposely leaves undone. There is a limit to the work that can be got out of a human body or a  human brain, and he is a wise man who wastes no energy on pursuits for which he is not fitted; and he is still wiser who, from among the things he can do well, chooses and resolutely follows the best.”  I pray that this article was beneficial to you, and that you will inshAllaah use it in your life.
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Honor Killing has no place in Islaam!

by Zohra Sarwari - Posted on December 26th, 2012

Bismillahe Rahmanee Raheem

“And whosoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell to abide therein; and the Wrath and the Curse of Allaah are upon him, and a great punishment is prepared for him”
[The Qur’aan Chapter -al-Nisa’ 4:93]

SubhanAllaah I cannot tell you how many times as a speaker do I hear this question from Muslims and Non-Muslims, “Why does Islaam allow honor killing?”  Amazed that people still think this and I just sit for a moment as I gather my thoughts together.  I realize that we are all in different places in our lives and that even I once too thought this, “Is Honor Killing allowed in Islaam?”.  How beautiful is knowledge and how beautiful it is that it illuminates our hearts from ignorance as we keep learning.  Contrary to the saying in the west “Ignorance is Bliss.” For Muslims it is “Knowledge that is Bliss, and Ignorance that ruins lives.”   I will be covering what is honor killing, why does it occur, and where does it occur most.  I will end with a short true story of honor killing, and how it could have all been prevented, inshAllaah.

What is honor killing?  Human Rights Watch defines “honor killings” as follows:
“Honor killings are acts of vengeance, usually death, committed by male family members against female family members, who are held to have brought dishonor upon the family. A woman can be targeted by (individuals within) her family for a variety of reasons, including: refusing to enter into an arranged marriage, being the victim of a sexual assault, seeking a divorce—even from an abusive husband—or (allegedly) committing adultery. The mere perception that a woman has behaved in a way that “dishonors” her family is sufficient to trigger an attack on her life.”

In Wikipedia at the entry of Honor Killings I found this “According to Dr. Shahrzad Mojab, a University of Toronto professor of women’s studies, followers of Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Christianity have used their religions as a rationale to commit honour killings. However, Mojab stated that honor killings don’t have “any definite connection with religion at all.” She also pointed out that honor killings have been practised before any major religion came into existence.  Also according to Widney Brown, the advocacy director of Human Rights Watch, said that the practice “goes across cultures and across religions.” Human rights advocates have compared “honor killing” to “crimes of passion” in Latin America (which are sometimes treated extremely leniently) and also to the killing of women for lack of dowry in India.”

When did honor killings begin?
Christian Arab writer, Norma Khouri, said “honor killings originate from the belief that a woman’s chastity is the property of her families, a cultural norm that dates back to 1200 B.C., under the rule of Hammarabi and other Assyrian tribes.  She says this predates Islaam and Christianity.  (author of Honor Lost: Love and Death in Modern-Day Jordan)

According to Matthew Goldstein he mentions that the Codes of Hammurabi and Assura, which were written in 1780 BC and 1075 BC respectively, are some of the earliest times where laws prescribed that a woman’s virginity belonged to her family. In the code of Assura it says:

“If a virgin of her own accord give herself to a man, the man shall take oath, against his wife they shall not draw nigh. Threefold the price of a virgin the ravisher shall pay. The father shall do with his daughter what he pleases.”

Goldstein also notes that honor killings were permitted in ancient Rome. He writes that female adultery was a felony and that the state “actively prosecuted” male family members who did not “take action” against the women in their family. Shockingly, the Roman statesman Cato said:

“If you catch your wife in adultery, you can kill her with impunity…”

Let’s look at what people call great literature today, did you know that “Lavinia, in Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, is killed by her father after having been raped and mutilated. Also how about in Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s novel Spartacus the Romans are described as killing their women who had been raped by the rebel slaves. In ancient Rome, being raped was seen as dishonorable to the point of destroying a woman’s life and reputation, and honor killing was supposed to be a “merciful” act. The origin of honor killings and the control of women is evidenced throughout history in the culture and tradition of many regions. Roman law Pater familias gave complete control to the men of the family for both their children and wives. Under these laws, the lives of children and wives were at the sole discretion of the men in their family. Ancient Roman Law also established historical roots of honor killings through his law stating that women found guilty of adultery could be killed by their husband in whatever manner the husband desired. In Greece, the lives of women were too dictated by their husbands as women were considered socially below males. It has been noted how in ancient Babylonian, Egypt, Chinese, North American Native American tribes and Persian cultures, women convicted of adultery were subjected to extreme punishments. In Babylonian societies, women suspected of adultery were forced to throw themselves into a river to prove they were innocent. In Egyptian culture, imprisonment, flogging, or mutilation were common punishments for women who had been convicted of adultery. Chinese culture suggested that husbands cut off the hair of adulterous women and then lead them to their death by an elephant trained to kill. Some Native American tribes punished adulterous women by cutting off their limbs and mutilating their bodies. In Persia, adulterous women were left to die after being placed into a well. (http://www.islamicawakening.com/viewarticle.php?articleID=1330)
There is much more information that can be said about the history of Honor Killing, but as for this article I feel that you have gotten the message that honor killing did not begin with Islaam.  It was there prior to Islaam and it still is done to woman, men and children around the world, only different titles are used.  They all fall into one category, which is wrongful death.  As for those who say Islaam allows it, let’s see if what they say is true.

According to the fatwa website it says:  http://islamqa.info/en/ref/101972

‘Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“The believer will continue to be encompassed by the mercy of Allaah so long as he does not shed blood that it is forbidden to shed.”

So you see the killing of a Muslim unlawfully is a serious matter and a grave crime.

Shaykh Muhammad S. Al-Munajjid says:

“The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) has explained to us the reasons for which it becomes permissible to shed this blood. He said: “It is not permissible to shed the blood of a Muslim who bears witness that there is no god but Allaah and that I am the Messenger of Allaah except in three cases: a life for a life (murder), zina of one of who is previously-married (adultery), and the one who changes his religion and forsakes the jamaa’ah.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (6370) and Muslim (3175). From this it is clear that zina on the part of one who is married is one of the reasons that make it permissible to kill a person, but the zaani (adulterer) cannot be killed unless two conditions are met:

-1-
He should be previously-married. The scholars have explained what is meant by previously-married in this case. Zakariya al-Ansaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in Asna’l-Mataalib (4/128): The previously-married person, whether male or female, is any adult of sound mind who has previously had intercourse within a valid marriage. End quote. Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Sharh al-Zaad (6/120): There are five conditions for (being described as) previously-married:
1-    Intercourse
2-    Within a valid marriage
3-    Being an adult
4-    Being of sound reason
5-    Being free (i.e., not a slave).

-2-
The second condition is that it should be proven that the hadd punishment is deserved, by the testimony of four male witnesses who saw the private parts meet, or the person should freely admit to having committed zina, without being forced to do so.
If it is proven that he deserves the hadd punishment, it is not permissible for individuals to carry out this punishment themselves. Rather the matter must be referred to the ruler or his deputy to prove the crime and carry out the punishment, because if individuals carry out hadd punishments, that will lead to a great deal of corruption and evil.

Ibn Muflih al-Hanbali (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in “al-Furoo’ (6/53): It is haraam for anyone to carry out a hadd punishment except the ruler or his deputy. This is something on which the fuqaha’ of Islam are unanimously agreed, as was stated in al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah (5/280): The fuqaha’ are unanimously agreed that the one who should carry out hadd punishments is the ruler or his deputy, whether the punishment is transgressing one of the limits of Allaah, may He be exalted, such as zina, or a transgression against another person, such as slander.”

You see for one to concealing this evil deed which has taken place so that he may repent and set his affairs straight before he dies is better than exposing him, let alone killing him.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) turned away from Maa’iz (may Allaah be pleased with him) after he admitted committing zina, and he ignored him until he had repeated his confession several times, then he carried out the hadd punishment on him.

Based on all of the information that I have given you, I pray now that you can understand that honor killing has no place in Islaam.

“And those who invoke not any other ilaah (god) along with Allaah, nor kill such person as Allaah has forbidden, except for just cause, nor commit illegal sexual intercourse ___ and whoever does this shall receive the punishment.  The torment will be doubled to him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein in disgrace.”
[al-Furqaan 25:68-69]

Again regardless the person who has committed a major crime of zinna, while being married, will be punished weather in this life or the hereafter should they not repent and Allaah subhana wa Tala not forgive him/her.  And if what they did is true then it is up to that government their living in to take charge of the situation not individuals, and the government needs proof of 4 witnesses- who saw this evil deed occur.  Most of the time honor killings are done with mere suspicion, speculation, and accusation.’

So you see honor killings do not exist in Islaam.  Whoever began this and continues doing this is on the wrong path.  We must all as Muslims adhere to the Qur’aan and Sunnah and not our desires.

Story of the Most Recent Honor Killing- January 30th, 2012.
“An Afghan father, his wife and their son have been jailed for life after a jury found them guilty of killing three teenage sisters and a co-wife in what the judge described as a ‘despicable’ and ‘heinous’ crime.

The jury had taken 15 hours to find Mohammad Shafia, 58, his wife Tooba Yahya, 42; and their son Hamed, 21, each guilty of four counts of first-degree murder.
The four bodies were found in June 2009 in a car submerged in a canal in Kingston, Ontario, where the family had stopped for the night on their way home from Niagara Falls.

Prosecutors said the daughters were killed because they dishonored the family by defying rules on dress, dating, socializing, having boy-friends, and going online.”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2093513/Afghan-family-guilty-honour-killing-Canada.html#ixzz1oGVGUJi8

While this story is definitely a true one.  It is a sad one.  How can a Muslim family avoid this type of situation in the future?

1.    The parents need to educate themselves on the deen of Islaam.
2.    The parents need to be the example of honorable people first.
3.    The parents need to educate and raise their children about Islaam and the importance about being righteous.
4.    They need to talk to the Imams, and Sheikhs on how to properly deal with their situations.  What is the proper way in Islaam to talk to their kids about right and wrong.
5.    Be patient and asking Allaah (subhana wa Tala) for help through this difficult time by prayers and supplications.  .

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