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As a new Muslim, Valentine’s day can be a bit of a challenging holiday to deal with. As February begins, we start to see our surrounding environments filled with giant teddy bears, heart shaped chocolates and red roses. Our online environments are also bursting with videos, gift ideas and discounts for Valentine’s day. All of this can be overwhelming to take in, and difficult to avoid.

Every new-Muslim reading this will have a different relationship status. Some may be single, some may still be in relationships that began before reverting, some may be engaged, and some may be married. No matter where you find yourself, the key thing to bear in mind is that you are making choices that will nurture your Iman and bring you closer to Allah (subhanahu wa-ta’ala). When holidays like this come round, it’s important that we stop a moment to reflect on what they truly symbolise and represent to us as Muslims.

‘So, who’s your Valentine?’

At school, work and on the TV, conversations bounce between light-hearted statements and flirtatious jokes about Valentine’s day. Growing up in this environment, we become immune to the varied themes of conversations and events that take place around us that are essentially of an un-Islamic nature. It’s just a joke though, it’s not really a big deal…right?

The history and commercialism surrounding Valentine’s day both promote ‘love’, which can stoke feelings of desire and lust in the unmarried, which can lead to immoral behaviour. In the Quran, Allah (subhanahu wa-ta’ala) says,

‘Say, “My Lord has only forbidden immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed […]’ (7:33).

In Islam, all forms of immoral speech and actions are prohibited. Following this principle protects our morals, honour and chastity. To compromise this principle would be a dishonour and disservice only to ourselves.

More worryingly, the holiday has origins in the Roman festival of Lupercalia, held in mid-February. The festival, which celebrated the coming of spring, included fertility rites and pairing off women with men by lottery. At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius I replaced Lupercalia with St. Valentine’s Day. Evidently, Valentine’s Day has very strong pagan origins and traditions.

As Muslims who have submitted to God (Allah), and guide our lives through the Quran and Sunnah (the way of the Prophet, peace be upon him), what does Islam say about this?

One relevant historic incident that helps to guide us in this regard is when the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) came to the city of Madinah. At the time they commemorated two festivals from their pagan traditions so the prophet (PBUH) enquired about these days. He (peace be upon him) then said:

“Allah has replaced them for you with something better than them. The day of al-Adha and the day of al-Fitr.”

This hadeeth explains to us that non-Islamic festivals have been replaced for Muslims by the two Eid celebrations (al-Adha and al-Fitr). The hadeeth also helps to clarify our stance towards all other commercial and religious festivities such as Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s day and Halloween etc.

Ultimately this holiday can result in harmful and forbidden (haram) things such as wasting time, singing, music, extravagance, unveiling and free-mixing. The lustful tone behind this holiday encourages immorality that cannot be excused by the simple claim that this is a form of entertainment or fun. The sincere Muslim will always seek to stay away from sin and the means that lead to it.

So even though at times it can become tempting to take part just for the fun of it, as Muslims we must remember to always protect ourselves. When our environments both inwardly and outwardly begin to feel pressured, we can turn to prayer, as Allah (subhanahu wa-ta’ala – glorified and exalted be He) says:

‘Recite, [O Muhammad], what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do. (29:45)

Allah mentions in the Quran that He (swt) can forgive all things, but He will not forgive the act of shirk – associating partners with Allah. Shirk is the greatest and gravest of all sins because it negates Allah’s greatest right, which is to be singled out in worship. As Muslims this is the essence of our Iman. For this reason, ensuring that we stay away from practices of shirk is the difference between achieving paradise or hellfire.

With Christmas upon us, it’s important that we remind ourselves of the spiritual risks associated with partaking in the season’s festivities. Besides the theological disparities, the celebratory aspects alone pose a number of difficulties for practising Muslims. Keeping away from office parties where there will be alcohol, and avoiding seasonal greetings can be hard. It can be an awkward time for Muslims who try their best to find a balance between being polite to their colleagues and neighbours, while also protecting their faith. 

Equally, it can be challenging to sit down with little children who just want to write to Santa, or have a few sparkly things in their home, to explain why we can’t take part in these celebrations.

Christmas not only commemorates the birth of Isa (as) but for Christians, the birth of Isa (as), Christ, as God himself. This is of course antithetical to our principle belief of God as One who begets not, nor is begotten.

“And they say, ‘The Most Merciful has taken (for Himself) a son.’ You have done an atrocious thing. The heavens almost rupture therefrom and the earth splits open and the mountains collapse in devastation – that they attribute to the Most Merciful a son.” 
(19:88-91)

Many of us know this, and will therefore acknowledge that we must stay away from celebrating Christmas. It may come as a surprise however that the aspects of Christmas which seem most fun and harmless, the aspects that often skip our attention, are exactly where sinister elements of Shirk are imbedded.

As we walk past some of the ‘Santa’s Grottos’ in shopping centres, it can feel quite saddening to see many Muslims integrating into the practice of having their kids sit on Santa’s knees and tell him what they’d like for Christmas. The parents take pictures as they watch, and the children look giddy with excitement as they climb onto his lap. But what’s wrong with that? Isn’t it just a bit of fun for the kids during the holidays?

Well, admittedly, the persona of father Christmas is now more of a commercial figure than anything else. If we dig deeper into his character however, we find that our concerns lie in the ‘powers’ that Santa supposedly has. In popular Christmas carols, children unknowingly repeat verses in which they affirm that Santa is essentially all-knowing, omnipresent and aware of who has been ‘good’ or ‘bad.’  In Islam, such attributes are unique to God alone. Attributing the powers of God to anyone else is to make that person a God, and to make a partner with God, which is what we call Shirk.

You see, Islam is very clear about God, and who God is. This is what differentiates Islam from other faiths. The concept of God, His Names and Attributes, His Abilities, His Role as The Creator are all well defined and unchangeable. These are qualities which are unique to Him, and belong to Him alone. Our concept of God has not changed over time. Our core beliefs are based on how God in described by Himself in the Qur’an, and in the teachings of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh). So while it may be easier to just give in to our children’s wants, we must make sure that they too know with certainty who God is, and isn’t. We must empower them with the confidence, knowledge and character to respectfully adhere to their beliefs, and also abstain from those things which will potentially harm their faith. With an increased awareness of God’s names and attributes, we can all better appreciate who He is, and why He alone is deserving of such qualities.

He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, Knower of the unseen and the witnessed. He is the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful. He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, the Sovereign, the Pure, the Perfection, the Bestower of Faith, the Overseer, the Exalted in Might, the Compeller, the Superior. Exalted is Allah above whatever they associate with Him. He is Allah, the Creator, the Inventor, the Fashioner; to Him belong the best names. Whatever is in the heavens and earth is exalting Him. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.
(59: 22-24).

Islam has a foundational 5 pillars.

In this series, Sheikh Abu Usamah will walk you through each of these pillars to help give a clear understanding of each of the pillars.

The 5 pillars – Introduction

1 – Shahadah

The first pillar of Islam – Shahadah. 

Shahadah is the testimony of faith. 

 

For a more detailed explanation and to find out the conditions of Shahadah then please do watch our series by Sheikh Navaid Aziz HERE.

2 – Salah

 

The second pillar of Islam – Salah.

Salah is prayer which is offered five times a day at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and evening.

3 – Zakah

In this video Sheikh Abu Usamah talks about the third pillar of Islam – Zakah.

Zakah is the obligatory act upon all applicable Muslims to donate a percentage of their profitable wealth to those in need.

4 – Fasting

 

The fourth pillar of Islam – Fasting.

Fasting/Sawm is the act of abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset during the month of Ramadan.

5 – Hajj

The fifth pillar of Islam – Hajj.

Hajj is a pilgrimage made to Makkah where a number of rituals are to be made.

Every adult Muslim must undertake the pilgrimage at least the once in their lives if they can afford it and are physically able.

Shaykh Mustafa Abu Rayyan tells us in great detail how we can get to know Allah (SWT) in the following series of talks.

“O mankind! Adore your Guardian-Lord, who created you and those who came before you, that ye may have the chance to learn righteousness”
[
2:21]

Episode 1 – Allah’s right to be worshipped

 

01. Allah’s right to be worshipped

Episode 2 – Allahs name and attributes

 

02. Allahs name and attributes

Episode 3 – Belief in Allah’s Lordship

 

03. Belief in Allah’s Lordship

Episode 4 – God in Islam

 

04. God in Islam

How to recite Arabic during prayers with Coach Zubair.

This playlist covers how to recite the Arabic words in Surah Al Fatiha when praying. It starts from Bismillah and covers all of Surah Al-Fatiha.

If you would like to download the document for the transliteration you can do so HERE.

GLM Online Education presents Arabic Intensive Online Summer Course.

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‘The month of Ramadan, in which was revealed the Qur’an – a guidance for mankind…” Al Qur’an 2:185

Ramadan is the month of the Quran and many of our activities over this holy month are focused around the Quran.

The Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wassalam) would complete the recitation of the Quran with the Angel Gibraeel (as) each Ramadan, and twice in the year preceding his death.

Many of us listen to the melodious recitation during normal prayers and taraweeh (congregational evening prayer in the mosque in Ramadan) and long to be able to recite like the imam.

Most Muslims will know how to recite the Qur’an fluently from when they attended the madrasah as children. But what if you’re new to Islam? How do you improve their recitation?

Here are a few simple steps to help you recite the Qur’an better:

Step 1 – Find a quiet place

Try and find a quiet, clean place in your home where you can focus your attention and hear yourself reciting. It will be difficult to concentrate if you’re sitting in a loud, busy environment. Avoid TV rooms or busy communal areas and switch off your phone so that you don’t get distracted.

Step 2 – Learn How to Pronounce the Arabic Letters

“…and recite the Qur’an with measured recitation” Qur’an 73:4

The above verse implies reading the Quran with ‘measured recitation’ and care. So learning the correct Arabic elocution is very important. In other words, how to correctly pronounce and recite each word.

This is sometimes referred to as ‘Tajweed’ in Arabic, meaning ‘to make well, to improve or to make good’. Tajweed is the rules of recitation and teaches you how to pronounce the Quranic words in the same way that it was recited by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Through tajweed, you will learn that each Arabic letter is pronounced from a certain part of the mouth, which will allow you to create a clear and consistent sound.

It can seem overwhelming to learn the many rules of Tajweed so it’s important not to overload yourself. Take it one rule at a time.

Step 3 – Get a Quran that is easy to read

Get yourself a Quran that is easy to read. Qur’ans come in many different sizes. Obtain one that has the right font size for you to easily read.

You may prefer to get a Tajweed Quran, which have letters and words colour-coded so you can identify some of the rules.

Step 4 – Make a regular time and be consistent

Try and be consistent in your learning. Dedicate regular times in your day or week to read the Qur’an and make it a habit. As they say, excellence is not an act but a habit.

There will be times when you’re busy and you may miss a session but try and make it up and don’t do it too often. Be consistent, even if it is small.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon Him) said:

“The most beloved of deeds to Allah are the most consistent of them, even if they are few”  Al-Bukhari & Muslim

If you don’t put the effort in, you’ll always struggle to recite the Qur’an perfectly. So use every opportunity to read the Quran, even if it’s just a little at a time.

Step 5 – Listen to video or audio recordings

There are many Islamic and you-tube channels which have recordings of famous Qur’anic recitors (known as Qari’s). 

Pick someone with a slow recitation that you can easily follow and you enjoy listening to.

Listen to those with a distinct and a melodious tone, such as Mishary bin Rashid Al-Afasy, Saad El Ghamidi and Abdul Rahman Al Sudais. Their voices are distinct due to their Tajweed and the melody in which they recite the Qur’an.

Listen to their recording and follow along as you recite the Quran. It may initially be a struggle but you will get quicker. Try and pick up rules from their recitation.

Alternatively, find a Quran recitation app in which you can learn one sentence/ayat at a time. Replay the recitation of the ayat until you’ve mastered it.

Step 6 – Learn short chapters

Start with short chapters. Many of the short chapters are at the end of the Quran, like Chapter 112 (Al-Ikhlass). Pay attention to the rules and recite gently.

Step 7 – Get a teacher

Find a teacher or an imam who is willing to teach you. Learn a specific rule and then practice using that rule.

If you don’t have a teacher than use the internet to find lessons online or a obtain good tajweed book to learn some of the basics.

Step 8 – Don’t worry if your progress is taking longer than you hoped

 

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“The one who is proficient in the recitation of the Qur’an will be with the honourable and obedient scribes (angels) and he who recites the Qur’an and finds it difficult to recite, doing his best to recite it in the best way possible, will have a double reward.”

Don’t worry if you aren’t progressing as quickly as you’d hoped. If you try your best and still genuinely struggle with your recitation, you’ll receive double the reward.

Step 9 – Learn the meaning

Try to learn some of the more common Arabic words that are used in the Qur’an. This will also help with memorization.

Furthermore, read a translation to understand what Allah is saying to you

Learning how to recite and perfect the sounds of some letters and words can take a little time. Don’t give up. Be patient and just keep going, even if it’s just a little at a time.

We hope you found this article useful. Whatever you decide to do, make a firm intention to learn, ask Allah for help and start your journey!

We pray Allah makes things easy for you.

Islamwise launched a 1:1 Quran service for reverts teaching them how to recite the beautiful book of Allah (SWT) and the response has been phenomenal!

We were overwhelmed with applications from our revert brothers and sisters and we now have over 100 new Muslims on our waiting list for this service.

However, we have a problem!

Due to the current COVID-19 crisis, we cannot accommodate all the students due to our financial situation.

We want to be able to deliver this service effectively in sha Allah but to do so we need to urgently raise £17,000 to pay for the tuition of our new Muslim brothers and sisters.

Just £170 will support a new Muslim receiving two private one to one Quran lessons a week along with Islamic guidance and mentoring for 12 weeks. Alhamdullilah.

We are asking you to help us deliver this service and earn the reward.

‘The most beloved of people according to Allah is he who brings the most benefit to people..’ (Tabarani – Hasan, Silsilah Saheeha, Al-AlBani)

Earn the reward of teaching the book of Allah (SWT) 

The Prophet (sallalahu alaihi was salam) said:

“The best of you are the ones who learn the Quran and teach it to others” (Bukhari)

This project is eligible for your Zakat.

Find out more here

DONATE HERE

 

Wouldn’t you like to receive 10 rewards every time a new Muslim recites a letter from the book of Allah?

The Prophet (sallalahu alaihi was salam) said:

“Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah, he will have a reward. And that reward will be multiplied by ten. I am not saying that “Alif, Laam, Meem” is a letter, rather I am saying that “Alif” is a letter, “laam” is a letter and “meem” is a letter.” (Tirmidhi)

If you fund the cost of a new Muslim to learn the book of Allah, you will receive the same reward as them, without diminishing their reward at all!

What an amazing deal. 

DONATE HERE

In the following videos, Shaykh Yahya Adel Ibrahim explains the six articles of faith.

Episode 1 – Belief in God

 

01.Belief in God

Episode 2 – Belief in Angels

 

02.Belief in God

Episode 3 – Belief in the Revealed Scriptures

 

03.Belief in the Revealed Scriptures

Episode 4 – Belief in the Prophets and Messengers

 

04.Belief in the Prophets and Messengers

Episode 5 – Belief in the Day of Judgement

 

05.Belief in the Day of Judgement

Episode 6 – Belief in the Divine Decree

 

06.Belief in the Divine Decree

In the following videos, Shaykh Navaid Aziz explains the six conditions of shahadah.

Episode 1 – What is the Shahadah?

 

01. Understanding the statement of the Shahadah.

Episode 2 – Having certainity in the Shahadah.

 

02. Having certainty that Allah (SWT) is our creator, our sustainer and the only one worthy of worship.

Episode 3 – Acceptance of the Shahadah

 

03. Accepting Allah (SWT) legislation and living our way that has been obligated by Allah (SWT).

Episode 4 – Compliance of the Shahadah

 

04. What does compliance of the shahadah mean and entail?

Episode 5 – Being truthful with the Shahadah

 

05. Trying our utmost best to live up to all the conditions of our shahadah.

Episode 6 – Being sincere

 

06. Being sincere when taking your shahadah and following the example of Bilal (RA).

Episode 7 – Having true love

 

07. For whom is this love for and what does it entail?

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