Author Archives: faheemm

photo of people gathered at kaaba mecca saudi arabia

Youth perspective of Submission to Eid ul Adha

Br. Saleem Ali

Student, Islamiyat Yr. 2, MAI Institute

The word submission according to Collins Dictionary is the act of submitting, surrendering something to someone or yielding to someone or to something.

However, my dear brothers and sisters, the word submission, In Islam, means “submission to the will of Allah Almighty, alone”

What does this mean “submission to the will of Allah Almighty?” Simply put, it is the state of mind of anyone who recognizes Almighty Allah absolute authority and reaches a conviction that Almighty Allah alone possesses all power; no other entity possesses any power or control independent of Him.

Wa mai yabtaghi ghairal Islaami deenan falany yuqbala minhu wa huwa fil Aakhirati minal khaasireen

 “And whoever seeks a way other than this way a submission (Islam), will find that it will not be accepted from him and in the Life to come he will be among the losers”

(Sura Al Imran, 3:85)

So, my dear brothers and sisters, in this life, we have a choice: either be among the winners, i.e., Islam or among the losers.

Nowadays, the focus is on our youth to become additional pillars of Islam and in the analogy of a concrete pillar, it is only as strong as its construction. Unfortunately, with the advent in technology, many of our youths are increasingly tempted to cross the threshold of being lost to the material needs of this duniyah, this world, where our existence is finite and definite.

We are seeing presently that most of our youths today, instead of being present in the Masjids for the five daily salah or other activities, they instead prefer to be at other venues. Now, we cannot wholly and solely cast blame on them for this behavior, as there are various sources of reasoning.

How, my dear brothers and sisters, how can we encourage our Muslim youths to return to the folds of Islam, to increase their Iman and only be submissive to Almighty Allah?

All the Prophets, from Adam (A.S) to Muhammad (saw) were once youths and they themselves were subjected to numerous temptations and many persecutions, which they could have easily given up. However, these temptations were futile and in fact, served to increase their Iman, their dependency, their submissiveness to Almighty Allah, to resolve their situations.

إِنَّهُمْ فِتْيَةٌ آمَنُوا بِرَبِّهِمْ وَزِدْنَاهُمْ هُدًى

innahum fityatun amanoo birabbihim wazidnahum hudan

indeed, they were youths who believed in their Lord, and We increased them in guidance.

(Surah Al-Kahf, Quran 18:13)

Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) was born into a family of idolaters and in fact, his father was a famous idol sculptor. He was born in a generation where people either worshipped the idols made of wood and stone or the planets, moon, sun, and stars.

However, miraculously at a very early age, Almighty Allah blessed Prophet Ibrahim (AS) with wisdom and spiritual understanding. This made him question everything that he saw, and regardless of how much his father tried explaining to the child their faith, Prophet Ibrahim (AS) never felt content and satisfied deep down in his heart.

In his childhood, Prophet Ibrahim (a.s), used to call out to the passersby and asked them, “Who will buy my idols? They will not hurt you, nor will they help you.” He would then mock the idols by forcing them to drink water to prove to the people that there is no point in worshipping the Gods that cannot even defend themselves. On listening to this, Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) father scolded him and asked that he leaves the house.

In short, even after being born in a house of idol worshippers, Prophet Ibrahim (AS) keenly searched for the true light and the real God throughout his childhood. One day, Allah SWT granted him the blessing of becoming the Messenger and Prophet of the Almighty.

Prophet Ibrahim (a.s), after many generations of seeking Almighty Allah mercy to grant him and his wife Hagar a child, was answered with the birth of his first born, Ismail (a.s).

My Lord! Bless me with righteous offspring (Surah Al Saffat 37:100)

So We gave him good news of a forbearing son (Surah Al Saffat 37:101)

From an early age, Prophet Ismail (AS) walked in his father’s footsteps and was a devoted believer of Allah SWT. When he was an infant, the gift of Zamzam was given to satisfy his thirst, when Almighty Allah commanded his father to leave Ismail (a.s) and his mother, Hagar, in an uncultivated valley in the Arabian Peninsula.

After Ibrahim (A.S.) had helped his wife and child to dismount, he left them with a small amount of food and water which was hardly enough for 2 days. He turned around and walked away. Hagar hurried after him asking: “Where are you going Ibrahim, leaving us in this barren valley?”

Ibrahim (A.S.) did not answer her but continued walking. She repeated what she had said, but he remained silent. Finally, she realized that Allah Had Commanded him to do this. She asked him: “Did Allah command you to do so?” Ibrahim (A.S.) replied: “Yes.”

Then his great wife said: “We are not going to be lost since Allah Who Has Commanded you is with us.”

During those days, there was nobody in Makkah nor was there any water. Ismail’s (A.S.) mother went on suckling Ismail (A.S.) and drinking from the water she had. When the water in the water skin was consumed, she became thirsty and Ismail (A.S.) also became thirsty.

She started looking at her son, tossing in agony. She left him, for she could not endure looking at him, and found that the mountain of As-Safa was the nearest mountain to her on that land. She stood on it and started looking at the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but she could not see anybody. Then she descended for As-Safa and when she reached the valley, she tucked up her robe and ran in the valley like a person in distress and trouble till she crossed the valley and reached the mountain of Al-Marwa. There she stood and started looking expecting to see somebody, but she could not see anybody. She repeated that running between Safa and Marwa seven times.

When she reached Al-Marwa (for the last time) she heard a voice and she asked herself to be quiet and listened attentively. She heard the voice again and said:

“O whoever you maybe! You have made me hear your voice; have you got something to help me?”

And behold! She saw an angel at the place of Zam-zam, digging the earth with his heel (or his wing) till water flowed from that place. She started to make something like a basin around it, using her hand in this way, and started filling her water skin.

As reported in Sahih Al-Bukhari: 3362 and 3363, Narrated Ibn `Abbas: The Prophet (saw) said, May Allah bestow His Mercy on the mother of Ishmael! Had she not hastened (to fill her water-skin with water from the Zamzam well). Zamzam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the earth.

One night, Prophet Ibrahim (AS) experienced a dream in which Allah SWT asked him to sacrifice his beloved son, Prophet Ismail (AS). Initially, Prophet Ibrahim (AS) took it as the devil’s trick on him and immediately dismissed it. However, when the same dream occurred for three consecutive nights, Prophet Ibrahim (AS) acknowledged it as a divine message from the creator, Almighty Allah.

Despite his love for his only son, Prophet Ibrahim (AS) intended to go through with the sacrifice. He took his child Prophet Ismail (AS) along with a knife and a rope to the top of Mount Arafat. Upon reaching the spot, Prophet Ibrahim (AS) told his son about the dream and the command of Almighty Allah.

The obedient son immediately obliged and asked Prophet Ibrahim (AS) to blindfold himself so that he does not have to suffer. Prophet Ismail (AS) also requested his father to tie his legs and hands so he may not struggle.

Then when the boy reached the age to work with him, Abraham said, “O my dear son! I have seen in a dream that I ˹must˺ sacrifice you. So, tell me what you think.” He replied, “O my dear father! Do as you are commanded. Allah willing, you will find me steadfast.”

(Surah Al Saffat 37:102)

Therefore, Prophet Ibrahim (AS) did as his son had said. He tied the legs and hands of Prophet Ismail (AS) and blindfolded himself. Prophet Ibrahim (AS) then took the knife and fulfilled the wish of Almighty Allah. But to his surprise, when he took off the blindfold, he saw the body of a white horned ram in front of him, whereas Prophet Ismail (AS) stood beside him, completely unharmed. However, Prophet Ibrahim (AS) thought he had failed the trial, but then he heard a voice that told him that he does not need to worry, and Allah SWT always looks after his followers. This strengthened his faith.

We called out to him, “O Abraham!

You have already fulfilled the vision.” Indeed, this is how We reward the good doers.

(Surah Al Saffat 37:104 – 105)

So, my dear brothers and sisters, it is important for us to encourage our young people to emulate the youths in the Quran, as they would eventually become Almighty Allah vicegerent in this world and to use them as the present-day role models. All these youths it was not easy for them. It was difficult, and they had to go through trials and tribulations.

The significance of Eid-ul-Adha is that it commemorates Prophet Abraham (a.s), Hagar, and Ismail’s (a.s) trust and obedience to Almighty Allah.

Islam teaches that our life on earth is a test of our faith in God, our level of submissiveness, what we would sacrifice and how much for the sake of our creator. It is not limited to the physical sacrifice of animals.

Eid-ul-Adha reminds us to remain hopeful. Almighty Allah will rescue us from our difficulties and reward us with happiness, because that’s who Almighty Allah is, Al-Khaaliq, the Creator and to whom we belong and to whom we return.

green and white tidal waves

Islam, Muslims and Mental Toughness

 Many people today are facing a lot of challenges:

  • Some have lost their jobs or their source of income.
  • Others are being overworked and underpaid.
  • Some are struggling with their physical or mental health.
  • Some are facing difficulties in their relationships
  • Others have lost loved ones, close friends and family

The youths today have additional struggles to content with

  • climate change and a sustainable future
  • technology competing for our jobs
  • the spiraling costs of living
  • and increasing scarcity of resources
  • There’s the social issues of how groups identify or relate by race, religion and gender.
  • And of course, in the midst of all this, we are seeing international conflicts and competition like Russia-Ukraine, Palestine-Israel, and the rising BRICS alliances.

All the while the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, and everyone feels like they are in the matrix, and want to escape this life of economic slavery and poverty.


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Where do we start if we want to fix our situation? First thing we recognize is that success is about attitude, its 90% attitude 10% physical. And attitude takes you a great part of the way towards achieving your goals and objectives.

To that end today we are seeing online a range of different individuals and characters who are speaking to that issue and exhibiting traits or characteristics that persons are gravitating towards. We are seeing a lot of content feature from persons like Andrew Tate, Jordan Peterson, David Goggins, characters like Thomas Shelby and even political figures in the international arena.

Content on these and others show huge viewership online and massive interest in what they have to say, people are searching for a way out of this matrix and the shackles of economic slavery.

The messages we hear are around the need for resilience, keeping the faith setting a goal and striving towards that goal, as the means to success. Content repeatedly resound on perseverance, patience, endurance, staying humble and staying committed, staying focused…

A lot of what we are hearing by way of solution are elements of mental toughness –

and by that we mean the ability to face challenging environments and stay focused, and continue to perform.

People who have mental toughness are able to survive and function in different situations,

  • provide for dependents, and
  • create an enabling or safe environment.

That person can achieve goals,

  • is better able to source and organise resources,
  • overcome setbacks or failure,
  • stay healthy physically and mentally,
  • control their emotions and behaviors, and
  • and generally maintain a level of order in a volatile environment – faster changes with deeper impacts.

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Where does Islam fit in all of this?

It is expected that every single practicing believer is mentally strong. Every single one. Male and female. If you are following Islam you don’t have a choice. Mental toughness is inevitable. You cannot escape it.

We are told in the Quran that we will face trials in life:

We will certainly test you with a touch of fear and famine and loss of property, life, and crops… but give glad tidings to the patient (patiently persevere) (Quran 2:155)

We are told also in the Hadith in Tirmidhi

Those whose religious commitment is strong, will be tested more severely, and the trials to the Prophets were strongest

You probably heard of this in the saying the strongest soldiers get the hardest fight. And we have many examples of this in the lives of the Prophets of Islam.

  • Some were tempted (e.g. Yusuf by the Governor’s Wife).
  • Some were ignored by their family and community (e.g. Nuh and his family; Hud and the people of Ad).
  • Some were betrayed by their companions (e.g. Isa)
  • Some were persecuted and driven out of their communities and their societies (e.g. Prophet Muhammad at Hijra),
  • And some were tested repeatedly (e.g. Ibrahim as a child, or when ordered to sacrifice Ishmael; Prophet Muhammad on the death of his sons).

In the same way Almighty Allah tells us we will be tested, He also gives us a number of assurances, a social contract, if you will, in writing, in the Quran. And these help us to frame our psychology and thoughts in facing difficulties:

We are told in the Quran for example we will not be given more than we can bear (2:286)

And we are told in a Hadith: When Allah wants to give you more, He tries you (Bukhari)

“Never a believer is stricken with a discomfort, an illness, an anxiety, a grief or mental worry or even the pricking of a thorn but Allah will expiate some of his sins on account of his patience.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

In fact, we are told in the Quran “For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.” (Qur’an 94: 5–6).

We are taught to build a direct relationship with God – we don’t need any intermediary, a priest or a pundit or even an imam. The Quran (33.3) tells us:

And put your trust in Allah; and sufficient is Allah as a disposer of affairs.

We are taught to ask Allah for anything we need or desire, even if it is a broken shoe lace.

Let each one of you ask his Lord for all his needs, until he asks for the straps of his shoe when it is broken.

Allah tells us when we put our trust in Him, He will provide for us from sources we never expect, and He will never let us down. (65.3)

And [We] will provide sustenance from sources he never imagined.

There are many ways Islam helps us to achieve success in this life, and build the mental toughness and resilience to not only survive but to thrive.

1 is salaat.

Pray 5 times a day. Winter or summer. Rain or shine. Tired or energized. Once it is binding on you, you have to do it. And we hear in the call to prayer Hay yaa allal falah Come to success…

Salaat brings discipline. It brings commitment to duty. It brings reliance on Almighty Allah, and helps us to persevere in our struggles. If we are struggling with a problem and 5 times a day we turn to Him and pray for a resolution, for ease, do you think He will let us down? Ignore us? No!

We are told in the Quran (2:186)

And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.

Another institution that helps build mental toughness is fasting in Ramadan.

Abstain from all food and drink and sexual relations from break of dawn to sunset, everyday for the month.

What happens when we fast?

Fasting helps us to build willpower. By obeying the command of Allah, we are putting ourselves through a difficult process whether we want to or not. I’m sure there are days when we just do not want to fast. Why cant we skip a day and make up for it afterwards. But we are told to fast for the month. Through fasting we learn that we do what we need to, and not what we feel to.

Fasting helps us to establish discipline in our time management and our lives. We have to wake up for suhoor to start the fast, we have to hasten to break the fast, observe the times for salaat (or else all our fasting might be in vain), all these help us to establish discipline and adhere to a schedule.

Fasting helps us to adjust and refine our attitude. Avoid backbiting. Slander. Cursing. Succumbing to temper – we have to show patience, and not allow provocations to overcome us and spoil our fast. And knowing that it gives us extra blessings is one thing, knowing that if we do not guard our conduct the fast might be spoilt, we learn to be patient in those trying situations we face.

Fasting teaches us perseverance. From the start of fasting, we know the time that it ends – at sunset. The duration may be 9 hours, it may be 14 hours, or even 20 hours. Whatever it is, we have to endure the period. And it gets difficult during the day – especially at the times we are accustomed to having a meal. But we have to endure, and we are given the reward for it – we are told in a hadith one of the 2 happiest times for a believer is when he has broken the fast.

Fasting teaches us contentment and helps us to identify with those less privileged, and be more humble. Some persons are accustomed to having elaborate feasts, or living in the lap of luxury. In Ramadan they too have to endure the humbling process of abstaining from food and drink and sexual relations. They too know what it feels like to be hungry, and there is nothing that can be done about it. A simple thing as a sip of water is a luxury when you are thirsty. We learn how to function when we are going without. And it makes us more sympathetic to those less fortunate, and more inclined to help them. And when fasting is completed, we can better appreciate whatever we were blessed to have, and enjoy it.

When we follow the tenets of Islam,  

  • Physically our bodies undergo transformation, from the diet to habits, and time schedules.
  • Mentally we build endurance, patience and perseverance, and adjust our attitudes to our lives, to others, and to Allah.
  • Spiritually we become more devoted and humble, and more aware of what is and is not in our control.

By doing these, we become stronger. And by obeying the commands of Allah, we are in fact helping ourselves to become better, stronger and more resilient versions of ourselves that we were before we started. We are stronger for it, and set the stage for us to do more. Be more, and reach further in life.

May Almighty Allah allow us to obey his commands, and embrace them, and benefit from them, and grow through them, and be better able to cope with the changing conditions of life that we may experience, and through these grow closer to our Lord.


Faheem Mohammed is a Director at MAI Institute (Markaz al Ihsaan), and is an Entrepreneur, Business Consultant and Educator by profession. To contact him you can email admin@maiinstitute.com.

A Message to Muslims on the Burning of the Quran in Sweden

Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Expression and Calculated Provocation

Rasmus Paludan, leader of Danish far-right political party Hard Line, burnt a copy of the Quran – an act for which he obtained a permit from the police – near the Turkish embassy as an act of protest against Islam and Turkish President Erdogan’s attempt to influence freedom of expression in Sweden.

This is an atrocious and hateful act designed to provoke, insult and disrespect Islam and Muslims, and we condemn the actions outright, and those who allow these actions to occur.

We note as well that this is the latest in a series of actions – from burning the Quran, to insulting the Holy Prophet (peace be on him) and his family, to persecution of Muslims and others wearing beards or scarves, to graffiti on and vandalism of mosques and places of worship.


What’s driving this?

The actions have in the past been justified by a difference of values and the insistence by some on promoting their values at the expense of Muslims and Islam, with attempts trying to desensitize Muslims from central aspects of Islam. Otherwise, these acts can be and, in some cases, have been, calculated to provoke a reaction for some personal gain – in this most recent case seemingly political and geopolitical positions around NATO applications.

We recognize the differences in values permitting these types of actions, as outlined in the Majlis ul Ulamaa paper Insulting Islam (https://majlistt.com/final-papers/4-insulting-islam/). Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the UN in 1948 states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” Alternatively, the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam (Cairo 1990), Article 22, says, in part, “Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari’ah…. It is not permitted to arouse nationalistic or doctrinal hatred or to do anything that may be an incitement to any form of… discrimination.”


But there is a difference between the right to offend and the right to be offensive. In Islam, we are instructed to not to provoke, slander, ridicule or jest with other groups, based on the Qur’anic ayat, “One group of people should not make fun of another group of people. Maybe they (the latter) are better than they (the former).” (Qur’an 49:11) Compared to Western perspectives such as “No idea should be sacred in the modern world. Instead, in order for us to progress as a species, every claim, every idea should be subject to debate, intelligent discussion, and when necessary ridicule… encourage even ridicule of the sacred Qur’an in the public media. The more frequently and openly this appears, the less threatening it will seem…” Krauss 2015.

Deliberate attempts to be offensive are irresponsible, naïve and reckless, and not in the teachings of Islam. We condemn outright the behavior of individuals or entities to do such.

We expect, however, that the ridicule and blasphemy would continue.

We note that these actions tend to be inflamed by on-going political and socio-economic situations across both the Middle East and Europe – the realities of immigration and current economic recession alongside the realities of oil, political and ideological warfare. We recognise as well the rate of the growth of Islam in Europe, which also ‘threatens’ core European values.

How should Muslims respond to those who insult Islam?

It is natural for Muslims to become offended by the ridicule and un-Islamic utterances and actions of non-Muslims. Some may even be provoked to retaliate, and can use – as some have in the past, misinterpretation of Shariah, as Islamic guidance for the basis of retaliation. Others see these actions as opportunities for personal gain or to promote specific agendas.

In general, we maintain the options of responses to include:

Vocal objection: The community can, and should make its objection heard, as strong as they need to, but non-violently and without hostility. This can include protest, commentary and other intellectual forms of condemnation. We are told in the Quran:

“And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend. But none is granted it except those who are patient, and none is granted it except one having a great portion [of good].” (Qur’an 41:34-35)

Boycott, divest, sanctions: social, political and economic protest of products and companies affiliated with those who engage in, condone or allow such behavior, at the individual, community and national levels are suitable and proven to be effective. We are told in the Quran:

“And when you see those who engage in [offensive] discourse concerning Our verses, then turn away from them until they enter into another conversation. And if Satan should cause you to forget, then do not remain after the reminder with the wrongdoing people.” (Qur’an 6:68)

Enhanced dawah: such acts of ignorance and disrespect serve to highlight the beauty of Islam in its respect, tolerance, open dialogue and moderation. This beauty needs to be communicated to perpetrators of such hostile and ignorant actions. Until that time, we can strive to move more people towards Islam, and promote the adoption of Islamic values to those who prove themselves morally deficient. We are told in the Quran:

“Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord, with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and argue with them in ways that are best, and most gracious,” (Qur’an 16:125)

Patience: We as Muslims can choose to be patient, and not give in to immediate reactions. We are told in the Quran:

“Hold on to forgiveness, command what is right and turn away from the ignorant.” (Quran 7:199)

We know that the Quran is a compilation of the words of Allah, and persons would have to account to Him for their actions on a fixed day. Burning the Quran and disrespecting it does not in any way destroy the message of the book that came from Allah. It resides in the hearts and minds of people who recite it on an ongoing basis. Allah will be its protector: Allah says

“We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption).” (Quran 15:9)

Furthermore, we are encouraged to pray for them, as our Holy Prophet Muhammad (pboh) prayed for those Makkahns who acted condescendingly and abusively towards him, when he said “O Allah, Guide my people, for they do not know.”

GREETING EACH OTHER WITH SALAAM

By: Farook Mohammed Jr.

Student – MAI Institute

In the world today, we often hear the phrase “Salaam… Salaam”, but what is it? The Merriam-Webster defines Salaam as follows: ‘a salutation or ceremonial greeting in the East.’[1] However, it is much more than that.

The world today has many forms of greetings or salutations which they came about out of traditions, courtesies, and manners, such as “Hello” or “Good day”, or “Top of the Morning to You”. The Salaam is a bit different, not just in literal meaning, but also in the inner context of the phrasing itself; it has a deeper connection and implication for the people who use it; the Muslims.

As Muslims, we are taught that the greeting used for one another is the Salaam. Let’s be clear here, the Salaam is not a single word, but rather a phrase, As-salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barkatuhu, and its reply is slightly altered as, Wa Alaikumus-salaamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barkatuhu. In Arabic script, they look like this:


As-salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barkatuhu

‏اَلسَلامُ عَلَيْكُم وَرَحْمَةُ اَللهِ وَبَرَكاتُهُ‎

Trans. Eng.: Peace be upon you and God’s mercy and blessings

Wa Alaikumus-salaamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barkatuhu

وَعَلَيْكُمُ ٱلسَّلَامُ وَرَحْمَةُ ٱللَّٰهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ

Trans. Eng.: And upon you be peace and God’s mercy and blessings


Comparison of Greetings

The wording of the greeting is much more than merely arbitrary words put together, but word with meaning and significance, with a prayer for your wellness and goodness in mind.

We are under the impression that these greetings are Muslim-originated but are you aware that these greetings pre-date the advent of the Prophet Muhammad (Allah’s Peace and Blessings Be On Him)? In fact, these greetings, or rather the Hebrew version of it was used by the Jews long before in the time of Musa (Moses). A similar version is also found in Aramaic scripts.

Where Did It Originate?

With the advent of Prophet Muhammad (Allah’s Peace and Blessings Be On Him) we learned about our Salaams and the deeper connection and connotation. In fact, from an Islamically theological point, the Salaams pre-date the arrival of mankind on Earth. We are taught that the origin in a narration from the Prophet Muhammad (Allah’s Peace and Blessings Be On Him).

Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet (Allah’s Peace and Blessings Be On Him) said,
“Allah said: [to Adam] Go and greet with peace these groups of assembled angels and
listen to how they greet you, for this will be the greeting among your progeny.
Adam said: Peace be upon you.
The angels said: Peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah.
Thus, they added the mercy of Allah.”
[2]

Don’t you think it wonderful that we use greetings inspired by the Lord himself to mankind to be used as a means of greeting one another? We tend to give attached importance and inner meanings to items which have history behind it. Which salutation is older and more meaningful than the one taught to our first father by the Lord of Mankind and his Angels?

Why is the Reply Different?

A person listening to the Salaams given between Muslims might ask the question, “Why is the reply different in sentence structure from the given Salaam?” When told As-Salaamu Alaikum, why isn’t the reply the same words, As-Salaamu Alaikum? Why is the reply stated as “Wa Alaikumus-Salaam”?

Well, the answer is not a linguistic one, but rather an implied one. You see, the reply is stated with the Arabic word for ‘and’ which is ‘wa’. This means that the reply is connected to the first given Salaam which makes the given and the reply connected as one statement; unity between words and hearts.

Implied Connotation of the Salaams

The Salaams as said above, means much more than just the sum of the words. It holds a deeper meaning for the users. When stated it implies that you are my brother/sister, I trust you and assure you are safe with me, and I am safe with you. It means that we are connected with a bond of brotherhood under our religious code. It assures one another of protection of self and property from harm by one another. With outstretched hands fostering unity and embraces with promote brotherhood, our Salaams are much more than a selection of arbitrary words melded together.

The Importance

So, why is it so important for us? Why is it such a matter of contention amongst people that they pronounce it correctly? Why is it necessary that we expect to be given Salaams from another known Muslim?

As Muslims, the source of all our undeniable teachings and unshakeable practices stem from firstly the Holy Qur’an (Words of the Almighty) and then supported by the Sahih Ahadith (Recorded Sayings/Practices of the Prophet).

 In the Holy Qur’an, Our Lord The Most High instructs us,

“…greet one another with a greeting of peace from Allah, blessed and good.”[3]

He further instructs us on a manner of etiquette in replying to the Salaams…

“When a (courteous) greeting is offered you, meet it with a greeting still more courteous,
or (at least) of equal courtesy. Allah takes careful account of all things.”
[4]

So, reply the same or better to the Salaam given to you. If you are greeted with As-Salaamu Alaikum, reply with the same or better, such as Wa Alaikum-mus-Salaam wa Rahmatullah.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah’s Peace and Blessings Be On Him) said,
“There are six things due from the believer to another believer:
Visiting him when he is ill, attending (his funeral) to him when he dies, accepting his invitation when he invites, giving him Salam when he meets him, replying to him when he sneezes and wishing him well when he is absent and when he is present.”
[5]

The Rewards for Salaams

Are you aware that your Salaams can enter you into the Paradise (Jannah)? Yes! Read the words of our beloved prophet of Allah (Allah’s Peace and Blessings Be On Him). He said,

“O people! Spread (the greeting of) Salaam, feed others, uphold the ties of kinship, and pray
during the night when people are sleeping, and you will enter Paradise with Salaam (Peace).”
[6]

He also said to us,

“Shall I not tell you of something which, if you do it, you will love one another?
Spread (the greeting of) peace among yourselves.
[7]

It is also a way to gain closeness to the Almighty. The prophet also said in this aspect,

“They said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! When two men meet, which of them initiates the Salaam?’
He said: ‘The nearest of them to Allah.”
[8]

In conclusion, we see that the Salaams are not just words of Hello and Hi, but rather they are words which unify hearts and people, originated and prescribed by the Lord Almighty, as a means of goodness and well-wishes to one another, so that we may get closer to Allah and make it a means of our entry into Paradise.

May we be amongst those who promote and spread Salaams, Ameen.

References:

[1]          https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/salaam

[2]          Sahih Al-Bukhari, Hadith# 5873.

[3]          Holy Qur’an, Surah An-Nur, Chapter 24, Verse 61.

[4]          Holy Qur’an, Surah An-Nisa, Chapter 4, Verse 86.

[5]          Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, Hadith# 2737.

[6]          Riyadus Saliheen, Hadith# 848.

[7]          Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith# 68.

[8]          Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, Hadith# 2694.

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Science, Scientific Progress and The Religion of Islam In Today’s World

It is common these days to hear the sentiment science is progress and religion is backward. You believe in religion? You believe in fairy tales. You have been brainwashed. Clearly you are incapable of independent thought or critical analysis.

Its important as Muslims to know where this came from, where it stands today, and what the general Muslim position is, understanding that even in the Muslim viewpoint there would be some debate and variance in the positions held.

Where it came from

So, where did this come from? It is the late 1950s & early 60s, the world war is over, Europe is flattened, UK is divesting its colonies by giving them Independence – cutting them loose, in part to focus on rebuilding and in part under the terms of the Marshall Plan, as conditions to get funding for that reconstruction.

There is an ongoing ideological war between the Capitalist West and the Communist Europe, across many fronts – nuclear, military, geopolitical, economic and social. This of course is the time for the Cuban Revolution, with Fidel and Che declaring a socialist state. The Cold War period is at its peak, the nuclear arms race is underway, American technology in air and sea helped western forces repel the North Korean attack on South Korea. And communist Russia seems to be winning on the technology front. It not only launches the Sputnik 1 in 1957 – the 1st earth-orbiting satellite, and Sputnik 2 a month later carrying the dog Laika into space, but also Luna 2 in 1959 – the 1st man made object to reach the moon, and in 1961 the first human, Yuri Gagarin, to reach into space on board the Vostok 1.

These are disturbing developments, since scientific and technological superiority of the Communist Russia can shift the balance of power in the west. Not to mention the ideological impressions on the minds of the global citizen – we saw it in the shift in focus in things like the toys kids played with and the themes of focus in fiction – a shift from The Wild West – cowboys and Indians – to sci-fi and aliens. If you saw Toy Story, you would see Woody and Buzz Lightyear side-by-side as one example of this.

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None of this was helpful to the capitalist/democratic west, so there was need to win this war. To this end we saw the formation not only of NASA in the late 50s but of the NIST – national institute for science and technology. What do we need to win the space race? We need more engineers and technologists – STEM, basically, and to do that we have to re-engineer the education system – syllabus, scholarships, the works. It is at this point we saw the secular movement and the separation of church and the state – in order to control the curriculum, we need the church-dominated schools to yield. So if we are funding the school, we want to inform the content to help the country achieve its goals.

It was of course from all of this we saw the grandeur of Rocket Science – aeronautical engineering – and the formative years of computer sciences in the modern context. This of course gave a voice to the agnostic and the critical skeptics – establishing a solid foundation for atheism as we know it today. So you stop teaching about God, focus on natural laws and principles, and seek justification from selections of specific authors, and the result is what we have – a materialist godless society replete with moral relativism.

Now to be clear, the problem to Muslims was not the developments in science itself, as was the objection with some other religions[1]. In fact, Islam propelled development in science, as we will see later on, but the problem was rather the removal of the religious ethic that contained development within a self-regulating ethic of morality – was is directed to the greater good.

Where are we now? But this brings us back to the sentiment science is progress and religion is backward. And that was how we got here.

[1] In The Meadows of Gold, al-Mas‘udi wrote his famous condemnation of revelation over reason: The sciences were financially supported, honoured everywhere, universally pursued; they were like tall edifices supported by strong foundations. Then the Christian religion appeared in Byzantium and the centres of learning were eliminated, their vestiges effaced and the edifice of Greek learning was obliterated. Everything the ancient Greeks had brought to light vanished, and the discoveries of the ancients were altered beyond recognition.

Have a question or comment on this content? Email us at admin@maiinstitute.com – we would love to hear from you

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Crime, Poverty, Social Issues and The Muslim Mindset

We have seen the world heave under the covid restrictions, and following that, we are experiencing even more pressures from inflation and supply chain disruption. Society seems to be in upheaval, with increases in crime, poverty, more persons getting ill, less staff and more work, and more complex demands on the work that persons do.

To speak with us about this is Br. Faheem Mohammed, Director of the MAI Institute, University Faculty and Researcher. Br. Faheem Assalaamu alaikum and welcome to the program.

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Q1 In the face of all that we are seeing in the community and in society, how do we make sense of all that is happening today?

Well, what we are seeing today is the symptoms at different levels, across different facets of society.

Socially crime is spiking because people need money – price increases in food, fuel and pharmacy, and school supplies etc. mean that people have to find a way, and unfortunately some choose to do that at the expense of others.

The stress of course raises the demands for narcotics, which means more money spending there, and increases in gang warfare and people fighting for turf and distribution blocks.

None of this is new. Its maybe more amplified, but its been the case for decades.

Economically, the economy is not doing well, and you might find some companies are either relocating to or focusing on countries like Guyana with cheaper resources and better opportunities, or simply cannot compete with maybe online channels with more developed AI technology, or simply better funded larger competition.

These of course all have political and legal implications – ease of doing business, for e.g., or the political strategy to drive economic performance of certain sectors.

At the core, what we are sure about is this is a rough patch, and whether its natural or man-made, we are at this part of the cycle and its unpleasant because of the difficulties and behaviours it leads to.

Q2 What does that mean for us as Muslims today?

Well, with everything happening over the past 3 years, I don’t think any Muslim would be surprised, to be honest. We are told in the Quran that we will face trials in this life – in Quran 29:2: Ahasiban nasu, an yut raqoo, an ya kuloo ‘a manna wa hoom, la yuf ta nun

Do people think once they say, “We believe,” that they will be left without being put to the test?

And again in Chapter 2:155: Wa la nablu wanna kum be shay inm minal kowfee wal jew’e wa nak sinm minal amwaali wal anfosee, was samaratee

We will certainly test you with a touch of fear and famine and loss of property, life, and crops.

We understand that life happens in cycles – sometimes good, sometimes bad, and it’s a similar concept in economics, with the cycles of the economy from expansion and peak to contraction and trough, or in social change as the rise and fall of civilizations as presented by scholars like Ibn Khaldun.

In fact, we are told in the Quran “For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.” (Qur’an 94: 5–6)

So whichever frame you look at it through, these are tough times and its something that is not permanent, so we have to ride it through.

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Q 3: How do we as Muslims approach that?

Well, as Muslims, it’s a bit easier to treat with, to be honest. In the same way Almighty Allah tells us we will be tried, He also gives us a number of assurances, a social contract, if you will, in writing, in the Quran. And these help us to frame our psychology and thoughts in facing difficulties:

  • We are told in the Quran for example we will not be given more than we can bear (2:286)
  • And we are told in a Hadith: When Allah wants to give you more, He tries you (Bukhari)
  • In another Hadith we are told: Those whose religious commitment is strong, will be tested more severely, and the trials to the Prophets were strongest (Al-Tirmidhi)
  • But as for a human, whenever his Sustainer tries him by His generosity and by letting him enjoy a life of ease, he says, “My Sustainer has been generous towards me”; whereas, whenever He tries him by tightening his means of livelihood, he says, “My Sustainer has disgraced me!” But nay. (Quran 89:15-17)
  • “Never a believer is stricken with a discomfort, an illness, an anxiety, a grief or mental worry or even the pricking of a thorn but Allah will expiate his sins on account of his patience.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Q 4: Is there something specific that we can do to address the challenges?

            Generally we are guided in Islam to focus on a few key things:

  1. In times of difficulty, we need to be patient and contented

Allah is with those who are patient in adversity (Quran 2:153)

“O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” (2:153)

We are consoled it might happen to make us stronger. Allah tells us in the  Holy Quran “…it may be that you hate something when it is good for you and it may be that you love something when it is bad for you. Allah knows and you do not know.” (Qur’an, 2:216)

  • Related to that, we have to make the first move to improve our lot

God does not change the condition of a people unless they change what is in themselves (Qur’an 13:11)

Let one of you ask his Lord for his needs, all of them, even for a shoestring when his breaks. (Al-Tirmidhi)

Call upon your Lord with humility and in private. Verily, He does not love transgressors. (Quran 7:55)

  • In times of abundance and ease, we need to be humble and generous.

And turn not your face away from men with pride, nor walk in insolence through the earth.  Verily, God likes not each arrogant boaster. (Quran 31:18)

And the slaves of God are those who walk on the earth in humility and calmness, and when the foolish address them (with bad words) they reply back with mild words of gentleness. (Quran 25:63)

And We have already sent [messengers] to nations before you, [O Muhammad]; then We seized them with poverty and hardship that perhaps they might humble themselves. (Quran 6:42)

Remember your Lord in yourselves with humility and in private without announcing it in the mornings and evenings, and do not be among the heedless. (Quran 7:205)

And the servants of (Allah) Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, “Peace!” (Quran 25:63)

If ye are grateful, I will add more (favours) unto you” (Quran 14:7)

[6:141] “Eat from their fruits, and give the due alms on the day of harvest” 

“O son of Adam, spend (in charity), and I’ll spend on you!” Hadith Qudsi

Honorable words and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury (Quran 2:263)

  • And at all times, we are commanded as Muslims to have faith in Allah.

“Whoever puts his trust in Allah; He will be enough for Him.” (Quran 65:3)

“And for those who fear Allah, He (ever) prepares a way out. And He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine” (65:2-3).

“And if any one puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose. Verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion” (Quran 65:3)

“Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest” Quran (13:28)

“If anyone continually asks forgiveness from Allah, Allah will appoint for him a way out of every distress, and a relief from every anxiety, and will provide for him from where he did not reckon.” (Hadith)

“Whoever Allah wants good for him, He puts them to the test. He puts them through difficulties; like a diamond or gold that has to be burnt after which anything bad from it is removed so that what you have is pure diamond or pure gold.” (Hadith)

Q5 When your children are hungry or you have sacrificed whatever you could, this seems like something easy to say but difficult to practice…

Yes, it’s a question of faith – of building your relationship with Allah, building your concept of Him, and your relationship with Him by understanding what He asks of you and what He promises in return.

Q6 Let me interrupt you there, what really does that entail?

            Well, its not really as complicated as some make it out to be. You need to know:

  1. The principles of authentic Sunni Islam. And I say authentic because there are some extremist groups that claim to be Sunni, but their practices are anything but Sunni. In fact, globally, mainstream Muslims more and more are speaking out against those fanatical extremists who have misrepresented Islam for the past decades.
  2. But anyway, an understanding of the principles of authentic Sunni Islam, the practices and bahavioural requirements or guidelines of Islam – beyond the 5 pillars, but going into how to act with parents, children, neighbours, in the workplace, etc., and thirdly
  3. It is helpful to know the culture and history of Islam and Muslims, beyond the Seerah, which everyone has  access to and hears. But there is soo much similarity of Mulims today and the time of Andalus, or with the invasion of the Monguls, or the clashes of Muslim society with colonial powers in the industrialization era, for example – a lot that we can learn from and understand to guide how we deal with issues we face today.

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Q7 I recall you were mentioning some aspect of this in introducing the Islamiyat Program…

            Yes, that mindset was… (interrupted)

Q8 I had interrupted you to speak about building the faith in Allah. I was asking about how to build faith…

Yes. I was saying building faith in Allah is one thing. And some would say that is enough, but that requires a certain understanding. For those not there, I would add building that faith requires a certain independent mindset on one part. You think that you are alone in this world as a slave to Allah, and He will look after your affairs. With that mindset, you find that you don’t rely on anyone – your boss, social worker, your in-laws or others; you depend only on Allah and He will show you the way; and He will never let you down. He tells us that in the Quran:

I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me (Qur’an 2:186)

Indeed Allah provides to whom He wills with no limit! (Quran 3:37)

and on another part, what proves helpful is immersing yourself in a community of like-minded persons who would cheer each other on, not try to fight them down or take what they can. But, even if you are alone and everyone is against you. We are told in a Hadith Qudsi

Whoever comes to Me walking, I will come to him running. Whoever meets Me with enough sins to fill the earth, not associating any partners with Me, I will meet him with as much forgiveness. (Muslim)

Q6 That might be a difficult thing to achieve

Well, yes and no. It depends on the life that you live and the circles that you immerse yourself in. We see that camaraderie and reminders of faith in the MAI classrooms, for e.g., more than we might in the mosque, or the family circle. In fact, that is something Maulana Waffie emphasized from day 1 – we are a family striving to do good. So its there, you have to find out where it is, and then make the move to get into that environment. Its probably not going to come to you.

Patience and contentment when facing difficulties… faith in Allah only, and being part of a community that supports your development, as key ingredients to help us through what is no doubt a difficult time in our country’s history.

We remind you we are accepting registrants for our Islamiyat program starting September 10th, find out more or register at MAI Institute.com, and we look forward to having you there. We hope you enjoyed this feature, and hope to see you on the next one, where we unpack and explore current issues from a Muslim perspective. This is Muslim Matters brought to you by the MAI Institute; I am Ahmed Rahamut, see you next time.

Register for the Islamiyat Program

For more information please email us at: admin@maiinstitute.com – we would love to hear from you.

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Refining your intention

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

If you go to a market you will see a lot of people and each one of them will concerned with his or her own business. Each of them would have gone with a purpose that concerns their own affairs.

Like this is the human family. We were all created by Allah and are placed on this earth for a purpose. And that is to represent Allah and prepare ourselves to return to, and Him.

Throughout the history of man you will see tribes and nations that deviated. And when they deviated, Allah sent Messengers to remind them and bring them back. Bring them back to what? This is what we need to understand. To bring them back to the common thread that binds all human beings together. This common thread has one important strand and that is to believe that Allah is the Creator of the Universe.


View the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1j3fEXYwBYn&feature=youtu.be


The Messengers came to remind the people of this and in spite of their efforts the people remained divided and disunited; each looking after his own material affairs and not thinking of the return to the Lord. Islam came to remove that kind of thinking and Allah testifies to this is Surah Imran;and ye were on the brink of the pit of fire, and He saved you from it. (3:103)

Muslims are supposed to have one common denominator and that is La Ilaha Illallah; this unites all believers together. There are, however unfortunately some who attest to this but their hearts have not yet joined that human family. For example in our zikir sessions we are joined by one motive and one intention that makes us all part of this family. But in society even amongst the believers you don’t have that common purpose and focus. The reason is because Satan is able to get into the chest of us and is able to effectively whisper in a few to get them to have some sort of selfish motive. And in spite of the fact that they are believers and they harbour love of the religion of Islam, some of them may have ulterior motives. A perfect example is the story of Adam (as) and Satan in the Garden of Eden.

Satan, Adam (as), the Angels, the Jinns all lived together in the Garden. There Satan posed to be a good and trusted friend of Adam and look what he did. He harboured an ulterior motive although he was in the Garden.This is what Islam came to guard us against. Be careful with your intention. Some people profess to be Muslims and in so doing are supposed to submit in totality to Allah and His Rasool (pboh), but they have their own agendas. Perhaps this is why today we have such turmoil in the Muslim world; because we are not living for the sake of Allah.We have to try our best to live for the sake of Allah.

Sometimes we may think ‘if I do something like this I can get personal benefit’. It’s a natural thinking but in so doing we are sacrificing some of the blessings Allah can shower upon us. Then I am not truly living for the sake of Allah. This is a little lower category than a truly righteous believer about whom Prophet Muhammad (pboh) said ‘a Muslim in the Hands of Allah is like a dead in the hands of those who wash him’.True faith is to live for the sake of Allah and understand that whatever is happening to you is coming with Allah’s Permission and Knowledge and He knows why He is doing it. That is why we recite in our duas; ‘We hear, and we obey: (We seek) Thy forgiveness, Our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys’. (2:285)

This is applicable to us all, none of us are perfect. We will at times think of ourselves, however let us all try to grow our Iman and try to think about Allah and His Rasool (pboh) and hope for the best from our Lord.Moses (as) prayed to Allah: “Our Lord! Thou hast indeed bestowed on Pharaoh and His Chiefs splendour and wealth in the life of the present, and so, Our Lord, they mislead (men) from Thy path. Deface, Our Lord, the features of their wealth, and send hardness to their hearts, so they will not believe until they see the grievous penalty”.On the other hand Allah says of Prophet Muhammad (pboh)Thou wouldst only, perchance, fret thyself to death, after them, in grief, if they believe not in this Message. (18:6)

He was so loving and compassionate that he felt sorrow for the nonbelievers who didn’t listen and were using their God giving gifts to destroy themselves and others.Let us try to do our little bit for ourselves and for others and let Allah take care of the rest. This earth belongs to Him, not us. We can do a little and if you do He will take care of you and whatever you are doing. Try to make your intentions more and more refined because we are all humans and it is very possible to get carried away and tempted at times. However when times like these occur hasten to ask your Lord for forgiveness and turn back to Him in the hope for His blessings and forgiveness. May Allah always bless us and take care of our affairs.

Transcript of discourse delivered by Maulana Dr. Waffie Mohammed

The video presentation of this discourse can be accessed at https://youtu.be/h1j3fEXYwBYn

Overcoming Hardship: Lessons from the Prophets of Islam

The world has undergone a period of struggle with Covid restrictions. Emotional difficulties, physical health concerns and loss of loved ones, economic hardship and relationship challenges have all featured, and everyone has been affected in some way or the other. Some more than others, and some in multiple ways.

We are taught in Islam that the Prophets of Allah faced the most difficulties that persons would face, followed by others in different grades. Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas reported: I said, “O Messenger of Allah, which people are tested most severely?” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “They are the prophets, then the next best, then the next best. A man is put to trial according to his religion. If he is firm in his religion, his trials will be more severe. If he is weak in his religion, he is put to trial according to his strength in religion. The servant will continue to be put to trial until he is left walking upon the earth without any sin.” [al-Tirmidhī 2398]

From this, we recognize there is much that can be learned about facing and overcoming hardships by examining the lives of the Prophets of Islam. To this end, MAI Institute is pleased to invite persons to access its free course – Overcoming Hardships – Lessons from the Prophets of Islam.

This 12-week online course is scheduled to commence on Monday June 6th, from 7.10 pm – 8.30 pm, and will be done via Zoom.

MAI Students can simply notify Admin to get registered. Any others wishing to register can do so via the following link: https://maiinstitute.com/register-here/ (Note – classes have limited spaces so please register early).

Learn of the various challenges of key different Prophets in Islam, and how that can help you today and in the future.

We hope to see you there.

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Level Up! in this life… & the next.

The MAI Institute is currently accepting registration for its Islamiyat Program – a part-time, online program ideal for working professionals and students who want to learn authentic Islam while they tend to their work, studies and families.

Ideal for persons with no prior background in Islamic studies, those seeking to learn authentic Islam practiced from Albania to Zambia, and those who wish to avoid getting caught up in extremist, fundamentalist teachings and influences.

In the face of the chaos of the world today with technological disruption, mushrooming pandemic, unstable climate and social upheaval, Islam continues to provide the roadmap for persons to achieve peace, purpose and performance for the upliftment of themselves, their communities and society at large.

On the Islamiyat Program students will cover the principles, practices and culture of Islam to be a good practicing Muslim, and strategies to engage in society in a more meaningful and influential way.

Classes start in September each year, are conducted online and are open to everyone.

Persons seeking to find out more, or register, can visit https://maiinstitute.com

The Triumph of Evil? Moral Identity and Involvement in the Muslim Community

By Faheem Mohammed

History will no doubt look back at this period of human development with a sense of awe and bewilderment. There is a lot going on. Soo much transition and turmoil abound, in fact, that not only is it hard to keep track of changes, but harder still to synthesize these into a coherent response.

We are witnessing the global transformation of societies through the diffusion of technology and its disruption of life as we know it – in our interaction, commerce, entertainment, exposure to the sheer volume of information of varying pedigree, and of course the impacts of all of these on our values, beliefs and behaviors.

We have seen the sudden and severe worldwide effects of the Covid pandemic that seemed to be the culmination of a steady progression of epidemics that rapidly appeared, evolved and diffused globally in the past decades. SARS, Ebola, Swine Flu, Avian, MERS, Zika have all taken their toll in wreaking havoc on populations, transport, travel and mobility, economic and physical welfare, only to be outdone multiple times over by Covid and its responses globally. Many of the social and economic effects we are only beginning to understand, and would take a long time to unravel.

Economically, we are faced with the dual reality of mass unemployment across sections of society alongside the significant concentration of wealth into the hands of a select few – technology entrepreneurs, innovators, inventors and investors leading the pack. Talk of a global minimum wage abound, as do efforts and advocacy against both the jobless growth that technology drives and the socio-economic systems that perpetuate such inequalities.

Political focus and military shifts away from the Muslim world towards Russia and former Soviet states are a welcome respite, even if temporary, and would give time for the dust to settle. At least we hope so. We see, in the attempts by MBS to transition Arabia into a modern (secular) society, he introduce events of morally questionable nature in the Najd region, even as his actions affect Islam – only recently we have seen some extremist groups being ostracized from its borders, and the dominant theological influences shift from hardline extremism to a more moderate interpretation of Islam. We have also seen a change in the way Hajj is being conducted – with a much more open system being rolled out to accommodate higher volumes of pilgrims.

In our sphere, the society seems to demonstrate trends that are most concerning when we consider the future of society and the wellbeing of our children. The ever-increasing materialistic propensity and hedonistic self-gratification paradigm have given us some truly bizarre manifestations under the banner of freedom and rights, be it for GLB, transgender, cancel culture or just blind liberalism. What you identify as (be creative here), what are your preferred pronouns (in English, please), and what brand of lab-grown foods you prefer (authentic inorganic, of course), are not normal existentialist dilemmas to have in the context of the annals of history, and many would argue neither should they be. Of course, distractions abound courtesy the perceived product obsolescence a la brand loyalty, the calming effects of outdoor environmentalist activism (and a stellar yoga sequence, to top it off), alongside the next TikTok fad.

Even in the Muslim community globally, we see the rise of the British-influenced and derivative fringe sects, who have meticulously studied the means of dividing the community (based on minor differences), all to build a following and access more and more resources. Yet in the face of all of these aforementioned, the mainstream, moderate Sunni Muslim community has endured, and even progressed in some spheres of society.

What does the future hold for our children? Would they be victims to this strange, incoherent, materialistic-albeit-resource-deficient world? Is there another path that can help our children grow into functional human beings, and not mindless -detergent-consuming sheep?

The answer would have to come from a source that is not infected by the strains and influences of what brought us to this point. The move towards enlightenment is questioning the future relevance of capitalism and socialism, even as there emerges varying strains of non-material cultures. With these come an array of attempts to reconfigure the rights and responsibilities of individuals and society, along with the balance of access to and allocation of resources for the betterment of society.

For us Muslims, this is an easy solution to identify. In Islam, we have a revealed code that not only guides us in these matters, but which has been proven time and again to work in ways that benefit all sections of society. Islam gives us a system that has not only endured the evolution of society throughout the passage of time, but has contributed to the foundation of those advances we enjoy in modern society – from optics to healthcare to algorithms. The Islamic Golden Age was a sterling example of science and religion working towards the development of human life and the attainment of harmony across physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing.

The Islamic way of life stands as a self-regulating, knowledge-driven, justice-based moral approach to life and livelihood that proves even more relevant to today’s operating context than ever before. Anchoring ourselves and our families to the principles, practices and culture of Islam gives us an avenue to stay focused on what really matters in life, and keep it real (even if that reality is virtual). And isn’t that what we want for ourselves and the future generations?

What is required to keep the evils at bay is – as Edmund Burke reminds us – good men to do something. There is a critical need for those who are competent to get involved in building the community in its welfare, its knowledge, and its unification, so that we become one body, and that body becomes one force, and that force is directed to upholding good and avoiding evil.

In this season of Ramadan and its afterglow, as we struggle to direct our Nafs and build our willpower, even as we strengthen our relationship with our Lord, it may be useful for us to reflect on what we see the needs of the community are, how these needs align with our potential contributions, and the best way to channel our strengths, our time, resources and efforts towards addressing those needs.

This is, after all, an obligation binding on every one of us individually, and an obligation for which we will have to account on the Day of Judgement.

May Almighty Allah be pleased with our accounts, and may He reward us richly for them (Ameen Ya Rabb).