Archive for category Having Ihsaan

Put your kids in the toilet instead…

“It’s better you put your kids in a toilet instead of putting them in a public school. At least if you put them in a toilet you can wash them after”
Sheikh Yusuf Estes

There is going to come a point in your life insha’Allah when your kids will start school and you have to decide what to do. Should you put them in public school, private (i.e. Islamic) school, or homeschool?

This article will not discuss homeschooling as an option, but will discuss the Islamic school option. As soon as you decide to put your kids in Islamic school you will find that most of the society will be against you. First of all, funding for Islamic schools is usually private, they are not usually funded by the public sphere (i.e. government funding) unlike public schools. This puts the onus on the Muslim community to cover all the expenses for running the school. To give you an example, at the time this article was written, some Islamic Elementary School costs approximately $4000 a year for your young son or daughter. That is approximately the cost of 1 term of university education!

Now, the second common argument against Islamic schools is that the quality of education is poor. Dunya comes first, and akhirah is secondary, so put them with the public schools.

Here are some points to consider. First of all is that it is well known among the elite of society that school is a form of public indoctrination. What that means is schools are used to pass on the values of a culture onto the masses. Those in control who are the mala of society are the ones who control what goes into the curriculum and what is published in the books. For some more details on this topic, I recommend reading “The lies my teacher told me” (source needed). If you put your kids into this school, you are sending them to be indoctrinated with the common views and beliefs of a society.

Kids are young and impressionable, do you really want some homosexual, some liberal, some feminist, or some overall radicalist implanting these values into your son at a young age? Do you really want to start planting the seeds of discord in your family at this date and time?

As well, from parents whose kids are in school, it has been noted that kids tend to listen to their teacher before their parent. Hamza Yusuf once gave the example of how his child was being taught Quran by a teacher who was from an Indian background and mispronounced some of the letters, but when he tried to correct his child, they responded saying the teacher knows better!

Next, there is no public implementation of Aqamas Salah, Prayers in Congregation. If your kids are lucky, they might get a chance to pray, if not, well they will grow up thinking its normal not to pray during the day. Don’t forget jumuah prayers, you either will have to drag them out of school for that, otherwise they will have to implement it at school, which can be difficult to say the least.

Also, Christmas is very much promoted, not to mention other festivals of shirk like Halloween, Easter, Valentines, and so on. Do you want your kids feeling joy that it’s Christmas and wanting to put up a Christmas tree like everyone else? Well that is what will happen. On the other side, Ramadan and Eid will be promoted in an Islamic school.

Regarding the mixing issue, there will be no school dances, mixing is not encouraged by the administration and thus boyfriend/girlfriend issues will be less common. It will definately occur, but it won’t be flaunted like in a public school. When you are a young child in high school and you see all these guys kissing girls, don’t tell me that you don’t desire the same for yourself. Admit it, your kids will be tempted…..

Here is something else to consider. Muhammad Alshareef once mentioned that if there is an Islamic school started in an area with the intention of protecting our kids, and wealthy people live in the area, but they do not put their kids in that school NOR do they support it, and the school fails (goes out of business, closes down), they will all be responsible for the failure of that school. The administration and those who struggled to make it work will inshaAllah not be responsible but the community overall will be. What this means is establishing an Islamic school is fard kifayah.

Oh Muslims how do you expect us to establish great organizations of education for our children? We want these Islamic schools to be superior in education and better than the secular schools. We want our children to grow up with a strong understanding in life and deen so that when someone tells them that a monkey is where they came from, they will have confidently be able to discuss and disprove such false allegations.

We ask Allah to grant us the rizq and the ability to establish centers of education not just for preschool, but also elementary schools, high schools, and inshaAllah even universities.

Update March 24, 2009
Today my 4 (almost 5) year old taught me a dua to say before eating: “Allahuma Bariklana …..”
Mashallah, 🙂

More information:

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How did I pay off $30,000 in university loans without paying 1 cent of interest

Bismillah.

There is a lengthy series on personal financing (financing your education in a halal fashion) on Muslim Matters. It’s quite interesting to read.

There is a bit of a discussion first of all about whether it’s really even necessary to go to college or university. Well, I won’t debate that, but let me at least give you the real cost of education. In economics they call this “opportunity cost”. When you go to university for 3 or 4 years, that means you are losing that income. Say an entry level job with absolutely no post-highschool diploma education you can make $30,000 to $40,000. For the sake of argument, lets say you are more competent and you can get a decent job at $40,000 (say telemarketing, sales, construction, or whatever). You have to factor this into the cost of your education.

So really your education comes at a cost of 4 years of lost income or $160,000. Now, from a strictly financial perspective, you have to ask yourself, am I going to make up that $160,000 over my lifetime because I have a degree? That is a long discussion and I won’t get into it. But to summarize, it depends and that’s what you need to think about.

Lets say you have now decided you want to go to university. Great. But how to finance it.. ?? ??

  1. First of all you have to realize the seriousness of riba. Interest (paying it or receiving it) is one form of riba. So thats the first step.
  2. Second of all, you have to make sincere intention to avoid it at any costs and try your utmost to do this.
  3. This might require a lot of personal sacrifice. This starts with living frugally (i.e. living simple. No expensive cell phones, avoid eating out, try to get stuff used instead of brand new, and so on)
  4. Enrol in a CO-OP program (such as University of Waterloo Computer Science), and be practical about which programs lead to $$$. This might sound harsh but it’s good advice from a good brother and friend of mine. Alternatively you work part-time in the evenings or on weekends.
  5. Lastly, place your trust in Allah. After you did all that, you place your trust in Allah and leave it to him 🙂

Now lets say you did all of the above (or maybe its too late and you are about to graduate) and you need to pay off your loan without paying interest? Well if you have either personal loans from family members or friends and they are not interest bearing, great, this doesn’t apply to you. Otherwise, here is what you can do.

As a background note, before I explain, I live in Canada and received OSAP (Ontario Student Assistance Program which is basically an interest-free loan for the duration of your studies) but as soon as you graduate interest starts accumulating immediately. Update: Someone emailed me to ask if this is halal. I don’t think its halal to sign such a contract, please read the muslimmatters blog for a similar explanation about credit cards and why it’s best to avoid them.

How I personally avoided interest on my entire loan.

  1. Gather a list of all your friends and family members who might be able to help you with your loan. Be creative, your list should include the imam of the masjid you attend, the sheikh teaching the last seminar you attended, and so on.
  2. Contact them and ask them for assistance. Mention to them that you are in a difficult situation, maybe they were also in a similar situation and needed help. One brother who gave me some money as a loan mentioned that he was also in a similar situation and someone helped him, so he told himself that if ever someone asks him for help with student loans he will give him the money for that. The easiest way is to email them and ask them. I would recommend a personal email. Here is a draft:

    Dear So and So
    Assalam alaikum wa rahmatullah
    I am in the final year of my university program at UofXYZ.
    I am about to graduate and land my first job inshaAllah. The program I have studied in has given me an excellent background in this field and I feel confident about landing my first job shortly. I hope you can assist me so that I can avoid paying interest on my loans. I am looking for a 2-4 year loan that will be paid back entirely at the end of the term or sooner if required. JazakAllahu Khaira.
    Your name

    As an exercise, you can look up a few hadith and ayah on the reward of lending loans and the seriousness of riba.

By the way, It helps if you already have a job offer. It also helps if you are well known in the community (i.e. go to the masjid regularly, and so on).

Here is how it worked out for me.

  • An older brother (doctor) lent me $1000
  • A university friend (graduated before me) $500
  • My paternal uncle $1500
  • A close friend who was graduated and working $500
  • Another friend who lived with me at one time and graduated before me $2500
  • My brother undisclosed amount 😉
  • A brother who I only knew online but emailed him for help (lived in USA) $1000
  • Another brother whom I only met once before in the masjid – approximately $29000

Now you might be wondering why someone I met only once would lend me so much money? The simple reason is for the sake of Allah. He obviously did some reference checks on me from friends and others. The funny thing is I just asked him for $1000 but due to some circumstance I mentioned that I actually needed more and then he offered to lend me whatever was remaining (asked me to pay him back within 2 years if possible).

The surprising thing is that people I thought who had money didn’t, and where I least expected it, thats where it came from.

As a last note, if you are trying your best but not succeeding, keep in mind, its the effort that counts, not the result. Effort from you, results from Allah. Now sleep soundly knowing that you did whatever you could to please Allah.

Rejoice!
11:56 (listen)

Go ahead, accept that gift

Bismillah

Narrated ‘Aisha, our Mother, and the Wife of the Beloved of Allah:

Allah’s Apostles used to accept gifts and used to give something in return. (Sahih Bukhari)

The messenger of Allah, Sallahu alaiyhi wa salam, always used to accept gifts. And he used to return kindness with kindness. He did not think it was below him to accept a gift, no matter how little it was. And he also used to smile and accept it generously.

Whenever a piece of meat was offered to him, for example, he would ask, is this charity (sadaqa), or is this a gift?

If it was a gift, he would thank the person, and invite others to share in the blessing and eat with him, whereas if it was a charity, he would invite others to eat from it, but would not take any for himself.

Whenever a meal was brought to Allah’s Apostle, he would ask whether it was a gift or Sadaqa (something given in charity). If he was told that it was Sadaqa, he would tell his companions to eat it, but if it was a gift, he would hurry to share it with them. (Sahih Muslim)

It is from his mercy that he always accepted gifts. It feels good that when you give someone a gift, that they accept it from their heart. Sometimes in our cultures we grow up thinking its righteous to reject a gift. In fact this is not true, and it hurts the giver when you do not accept.

When someone gives you a gift, what should you do?
You should try to give them a gift back, and if you cannot, then you should pray for them and ask for Allah to give them goodness.

Supporting Hadith

  • Prophet accepted a gift of drink and shared it (Sahih Muslim)
  • Prophet accepted a gift of some gold rings and gave it to his grand daughter (Sunan of Abu Dawud)
  • The muhajireen (ones who migrated to Makkah and were mostly poor) returned the gift that the ansar (the local people of Medina) when they were wealthy and could afford it (Sahih Muslim)
  • The ruler of Aila gave a gift of a white Mule to the Prophet, and he in return gave a gift of a cloak (Sahih Muslim)
  • The Prophet would not reject the gift of Perfume (Bukhari)
  • Prophet accepted the gift of some food but did not eat the parts that he did not like (Bukhari)

Let us add some joy to this world, and start accepting gifts and giving gifts in return.

Copyright in Islam

Bismillah. This is a very hot topic and it seems that most people have a lot of “logical” reasons why we should pirate Islamic content. Firstly I will tell you that I agree that in most cases in an ideal world it would be great if all this material was free, but lets look at this not from our own opinions and desires, but from what Allah Subhanahu wa taAla and His Messenger (alaihis salam) have decreed in this matter. Obviously there was no issue of “copyright” back at the time of revelation, but we can look at what the scholars have to say. Fiqh is not as easy as 123 tada!

You cannot become a Mufti on the weekend. Fiqh is a complicated process that involves looking at proofs, finding out if a specific rule overrides a general rule, looking at exceptions, understanding the language of the sources, and so on.

When Allah and his Messenger rule something, it is not for the believers to have any choice in the matter

And it behoves not a believing man and a believing woman that they should have any choice in their matter when Allah and His Apostle have decided a matter; and whoever disobeys Allah and His Apostle, he surely strays off a manifest straying. (Quran Trans, Shakir)

Most of the responses I usually get on this topic are “logical” answers, stuff like “it hurts the dawah”, and “we have to spread the deen”, and stuff like that. But In reality, are we following Islam, or our own hawa (desires)?
We have to look at the matter in question and see what scholars have said about it.

In regard to the matter of putting up Muhammad Alshareef’s copyrighted material (or Anwar Al-Awlaki, or Khalid Yasin for that matter) we have to keep in mind that

1. In a lot of cases, they do not have any other income. They spend a lot of time and effort propogating the deen of Allah full time, and this does not necessarily pay the bills. I personally talked to Yusuf Estes and told him I disagreed with sheikhs making it copyright, and he told me.. “what can they do? they need money to pay the bills for their wife and kids’. As far as I understand, he encourages the free spreading of knowledge and to not charge fees for teaching the deen, but does not criticize those that do.

Infact we live in such a pathetic world that most of these sheikhs, nobody provides them financial assistance for their hard work of inheriting the task of the messengers and awliya of Allah. SubhanAllah.. back in the day AlMaghrib (the OLD AlMaghrib not AlMaghrib Institute today) used to pay a stipend of money to everyone who used to study Islam and teach it, to encourage people to become scholars.

They dont have the luxury of being a so-called computer scientist like me, or a doctor like you, and having a comfortable living. We dont even know what difficulties their family has to go through to get the deen to us

Yet we take away what little funds they have. we have to admit that by making these lectures freely available online, it definately means a lot less people will buy the audio cds because they KNOW they can find it online

So we should really try to help them by directing people to purchase such audio CDs and videos.

And in regard to hurting the dawah by not putting up such audios, we can safely say that there is still another 36+ gigabytes of stuff on other sites that is not copyright that others can benefit from. In that regard we can say that they can always listen to the alternative. Noor Allah Productions (Ahmad Moait) also has a lecture set about the Prophets and Messengers which is freely available unlike Anwar Al-Awlakis.. so alhamdullilah we do we need to pirate the others?

Allah also says “Ya ayuhal ladhina amanoo awfoo bil Auqood” (transliteration)

5:1 O ye who believe! fulfil (all) obligations.

When we are pirating Islamic media (or any media), what we are doing is breaking our contracts..

first of all we are breaking the LEGAL contract we made for living in this country (because it is illegal)
Secondly we are breaking our contract with the speaker who made the dvd by copying their material when they specifically gave us the CD with the rule that we cannot copy it, and we agreed by purchasing the CD.

We have to fear Allah and realize that even though we wish for such material to be online for free, since we did not produce it, we have no right to distribute it in this manner without their permission.

If we really fear Allah and want the dawah to go, we should ourselves, first spend years studying islam, doing research on the topic (all this time finding a way to take care of our families), and then produce these high lectures with our time, effort, and money.

Then we can safely say to anyone, PLEASE put these up for free on your site. however since we did not go through all that, who gave us the right to use such media? infact most of us live very comfy lives and never have to go through this struggle ourselves.

We should first talk to the sheikhs directly and get permission from them, and if they allow us to use their lectures, alhamdullilah 🙂

Yusuf Estes is a good example, he allows us to use his audios and videos at NO CHARGE fe sabillilah alhamdullilah we should go ahead and use it and make lots of dua for him besides the fact that he will have much less money as a result.

If someone says to me, there is a difference of opinion in this matter, and i think software piracy is halal, i will say to them, please, find me the daleel. Our religion is based on proof. You will see most scholars have very clearly said it is haram to do such a thing even if it “benefits the ummah”. Understand this well, if you want to sell pork sandwiches to benefit the ummah, it’s not going to benefit you nor the ummah on the day of judgement.

What i mean is that in the same manner, we can never do something haram, and try to do something good with it. We can never steal money, run a lottery or a prostitute house, or any of those things, in order to do dawah.

The rule is that in Islam the means does not justify the end.
EDIT: See comments, it is not always the case that the above is true

From Islam-QA

From IslamOnline

Ask Imam

Sunnipath

Actually it was not necessary for me to find references from all of the above, the several fatawa on IslamQA would have been enough (And Allah knows best), but I wanted to demonstrate how there is an overwhelming consensus/agreement on this topic.

And the last thing i can say is that I personally heard Muhammad Alshareef explain why he SELLS his cds and not gives the lectures out for free. He has some lectures online for free, and very few people (less than 1000) listened to it. However once he professionally produced it ( www.emanrush.com ) he said the production was in the thousands and thousands and so many people started listening to the lectures.. so he realized this is the best way to do it. And in the end since they put in the effort, it is up to them to decide.

If you want to discuss any of this, please do leave a comment here.

Back from the house of Allah

I just came back from 5 days of Itikaf (voluntary retreat for the purpose of worship)

The masjid that I was at, Masjid Al-Farooq was just recently opened (it used to be like a small house, now its a two million dollar facility (partially finished) just in time for Ramadan. The old masjid is 18 years old so far.

It was a beautiful experience. I urge all of you who have the opportunity to go, to go!
First of all, you will meet wonderful people, insha’Allah, who are more practising than yourself. You will have the opportunity to sit with them and to see them waking up for prayers and constantly reading Quran and making personal sacrifice for the sake of Allah.

You will also meet those who are not so fortunate that they can take time off for itikaf, yet they still are willing to sacrifice their sleep and come to pray at night. It is amazing and heart warming to see those who come and stay for the entire taraweeh prayer, leaving around 11pm, and then returning the next day between 3 to 5am to worship Allah, AND THEN to go to work between 8 to 10am.

Now, I was also amazed at the sheer number of people that come for Qiyam and Suhoor and Fajr during this week. It was outstanding. There was literally at least 60-100 people every night. It makes you realize that if you don’t wake up to pray, then tons of others are going to do it and replace you. There were also kind souls who brought us Somali tea everyday at taraweeh and qiyam 🙂

I also learned something I didn’t know about being in the masjid – namely one that worldly talk is not allowed.

I was also sad about a few things…

I also felt that itikaf is not really the time to be listening to the Quran, say, on your MP3 player, or iPod, but rather, it’s the time to be in active worship of Allah.

That also, Allahu Alem, it is better for you to stand up and pray at night rather than sitting at the back and reading Quran along with the imam.

Even reading the Quran in prayer is not recommended, and Ibn Uthaymeen even said it is contrary to the sunnah to hold the mushaf during prayer because it means you are fiddling and making more movements, and also because you will not be concentrating on the place of sujood (prostration).

Why You Should Get Millions For The Sake of Allah

Bismillah
Sometimes as Muslims we want to really fear Allah and we start to think that we have to be poor, or we think that money is bad. However, this article is going to give evidence that being rich is not bad, but rather it can bring out the goodness that is in your heart. Let us read some hadith and discuss some points on what you can do with your money.

Narrated Abu Huraira :

Allah’s Apostle (SAllahu alaiyhi wa salam) said, “By Him in Whose Hand my life is, it is better for anyone of you to take a rope and cut the wood (from the forest) and carry it over his back and sell it (as a means of earning his living) rather than to ask a person for something and that person may give him or not.” (reference)

Yahya related to me from Malik from Nafi from Abdullah ibn Umar that the Messenger of Allah (SAllahu alaiyhi wa salam), may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said from the mimbar when mentioning sadaqa and refraining from asking,

“The upper hand is better than the lower hand. The upper hand is the one which expends, and the lower one is the one which asks.” (reference)

The path of Islam is the middle path. It is the path that avoids excesses in worship, and excesses in worldliness. Allah made the Muslims ummatun wasata (reference)

The one with money is superior to the one with no money.

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Some poor people came to the Prophet and said, “The wealthy people will get higher grades and will have permanent enjoyment and they pray like us and fast as we do. They have more money by which they perform the Hajj, and ‘Umra; fight and struggle in Allah’s Cause and give in charity.” The Prophet said, “Shall I not tell you a thing upon which if you acted you would catch up with those who have surpassed you? Nobody would overtake you and you would be better than the people amongst whom you live except those who would do the same. Say “Sub-han-al-lah”, “Alhamdu-lillah” and “Allahu Akbar” thirty three times each after every (compulsory) prayer.” We differed and some of us said that we should say, “Subhan-al-lah” thirty three times and “Alhamdu lillah” thirty three times and “Allahu Akbar” thirty four times. I went to the Prophet who said, “Say, “Subhan-al-lah” and “Alhamdu lillah” and “Allahu Akbar” all together for thirty three times.” (reference)

The Prophet (Sallahu alaiyhi wa salam) did not deny the statement that “The wealthy people will get higher grades” but rather he told the poor people how to get some reward as well. That was the understanding of the companions.

What can you do with money?

  1. taking care of your parents is fard
  2. taking care of your wife and kids (hadith)
  3. feeding the poor (hadith) (Quran)
  4. lending money to your muslim brother or sister to help them get out of riba loans
  5. forgiving the debt of your muslim brother or sister
  6. setup a perpetual charity (such as a non-profit charitable business) that will pave the road to jannah (hadith)
  7. prepare against the forces of evil in the world – finance a mujahid (hadith)
  8. get married, if you are single
  9. marry a second, third, or fourth wife (if you so desire, and if you can be just)
  10. help someone to get married
  11. finance a da’ee (like Yusuf Estes)

We did not even mention the numerous stories of Uthman radiAllahu anh who time and time again gave literally ‘millions’ for the sake of Allah. and received the glad tidings of Jannah during his own life.

Keep in mind, that money can destroy you. It is a test from Allah. We are allowed to ask Allah to give us wealth to spend in his sake (hadith), so let us do that.

Can you think of any other benefits of having money?  How about being able to take your kids to far away places to see real bugs and real penguins instead of in the zoo?