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Friday, 18 December 2009

Pictures: Hajj 2009

Beautiful images from Hajj 2009

(Thanks to Brother Arshad for forwarding these images)

Click on the pictures to make them bigger

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Happy New Year!

Al Hijra: Islamic New Year’s Day

Al Hijra is the first day of the Islamic New Year, marking the day when Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) began his migration from Mecca to Medina in Islamic Year 1 (1 AH), 622 CE.

In 2009, Al Hijra in the UK falls on 18 December: 1 Muharram, 1431 AH in the Islamic calendar. (source: National Maritime Museum, UK)

Al-Hijra, is a low-key event in the Muslim world, celebrated less than the two major festivals of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha.

New Year rituals
There is no specific religious ritual required on this day, but Muslims will think about the general meaning of Hijra, and regard this as a good time for 'New Year Resolutions'.

Muhammad Ilyes [Ilyes84] quotes Nadvi who wrote:
"It (the advent of the 15th century) is indeed, a unique occasion to ponder that the Islamic Era did not start with the victories of Islamic wars, nor with the birth or death of the prophet (PBUH), nor with the Revelation itself. It starts with Hijra, or the sacrifice for the cause of Truth and for the preservation of the Revelation.

It was a divinely inspired selection. God wanted to teach man that struggle between Truth and Evil is eternal. The Islamic year reminds Muslims every year not of the pomp and glory of Islam but of its sacrifice and prepares them to do the same.''

A personal Hijra
The Qur'an uses the word Hijra to mean moving from a bad place or state of affairs to a good one - and so Muslims may think about how their faith helps them leave behind bad ways of living and achieve a better life.

'New Year Resolutions'
Some people may use this time to reflect everything and seek to improve their iman (belief). Some people may argue that Ramadan is the time to reflect oneself and make changes and may regard this "new years thing" as just another innovation. Personally I believe there is no harm in that i.e to improve ones iman whatever the day in the year. If you decide to make resolutions, then read the following advice on "Ten useless matters" and think about what you can do to improve youself. It would have been easy to write a list of resolutions to think over based around the five pillars of Islam, but the list of "ten useless matters" should make you think on what we are doing wrong and correct them accordingly.

Ten useless matters
(taken from lutonmuslims)
1. Knowledge that is not acted on.
2. The deed that has neither sincerity nor is based on following the righteous examples of others.
3. Money that is hoarded; as the owner neither enjoys it during this life nor obtains any reward for it in the Hereafter.
4. The heart that is empty of love and longing for Allah; and of seeking closeness to Him.
5. A body that does not obey and serve Allah.
6. Loving Allah without following His orders or seeking His pleasure.
7. Time that is not spent in expiating sins or seizing opportunities to do good.
8. A mind that thinks about useless matters.
9. Serving those who do not bring you close to Allah; nor benefit you in your life.
10. Hoping and fearing whoever is under the authority of Allah and in His hand; while he cannot bring any benefit or harm to himself; nor death; nor life; nor can he resurrect himself.

However the greater of these matters are wasting the heart and wasting time. Wasting the heart is done by preferring this worldly life over the Hereafter; and wasting time is done by having incessant hope. Destruction occurs by following one’s desires and having incessant hope; while all goodness is found in following the right path and preparing oneself to meet Allah.

How strange it is that when a servant of Allah has a [worldly] problem; he seeks help of Allah; but he never asks Allah to cure his heart before it dies of ignorance; neglect; fulfilling one’s desires and being involved in innovations. Indeed; when the heart dies; he will never feel the significance or impact of his sins.

Further reading:
(1) Story of the Prophet’s Hijrah - islamonline.net

(2) A Brief Introduction ToThe Islamic (Hijri) Calendar - Dr Waleed A. Muhanna

(3) What is the proper way of celebrating the Islamic New Year? - islamonline.net

(4) The best of the best, Have you ever wondered to yourself what it actually means to be the best? - lutonmuslims.co.uk

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

25 Rules Of Being Close To Allah

In the name of Allah most gracious most merciful
Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatuallahi wa barakatuhu

1. Start off each day with 'adhkaar al-istiyqaadh' (waking up Supplications), thanking Allah for waking up in good shape.

2. Put Allah first in your life.

3. Broaden your horizons - learn 5 new verses from the Quran every day, travel to pray far in the mosque to brighten your day,take up a booklet having supplications and read them.

4. Pray Salaat Al-dhuhaa (after sunrise).

5. If someone says something mean to you, just shrug it off and dismiss it in a friendly, laidback manner; and pray that Allah shall forgive them.

6. When you get angry, remember Allah; and how short and worthless life is to waste in being Angry.

7. Remember that you can never have too many friends, but you can have few quality friends that help you fulfill the purpose of your creation (i.e. live for Allah).

8. When you're happy, try to share your happiness with others. Thank Allah for that, and pray its continuation.

9. When something bad or embarrassing happens to you, just think that it could always be worse, remember the reward of patience,and thank Allah that it's not worse than it is.

10. Do something extra of goodness once in a while, like feeding a poor person, or caressing an orphan's head.

11. Never stop believing that you can win Allah's love and thus work for it. Then you can win the love of Allah's slaves.

12. Spend some time thinking of Allah's amazing creation.

13. Always love those who love Allah unconditionally. This way you will ensure that you live for Him, love for Him, and hate for Him(those who are enemies of Him).

14. Find the righteous ways to express yourself, and if you think what you are about to say shall cause no benefit, maintain silence (this is tough!!).

15. Every now and then, give yourself a break. Play sports, give time to your family, friends, but always remember Allah and watch that He is watching you.

16. Pray for blessing to come to those being lost, and pray to Allah to guide them to the right path.

17. Hug your parents, kiss their hands and heads and always obey but stop at Allah's orders.

18. Smile to everyone, for your smile makes a big difference to him or her and you are rewarded.

19. Forgive, forget and smile.

20. Tears are not for women only... tears are for all human beings with feelings remaining in them. Don't restrain your tears when remembering Allah.

21. When people criticize your actions and effort, revise your actions and see if they please Allah or not. If they do; then ignore and remember how the Prophet (SAW) and the Sahaba were criticized, made fun of and even physically harmed, so have patience.

22. Read the Quran daily and try to have a schedule for completing it as much as you could. As you open the Quran daily, read with observation not just passing your eyes through the words.

23. Don't let popularity go to your head, for it never lasts and you may lose from it more than gain.

24. Never look down on anybody, for, to Allah they may be better than you.