In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the most Merciful.

Sha’ban is the 8th month of the Islamic calendar, the one following Rajab and preceding Ramadan. It is also one of the most virtuous months of the year as has been indicated by numerous ahadith of the Prophet (pbuh). Since Sha’ban is just around the corner (13th of July according to the Umm al-Qura calendar), now is an appropriate time to learn about some of the virtues of this month so that we may strive to act upon them.

Sha’ban is a great month for fasting. The blessed companion Anas (ra) reports that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was asked, “Which fast is the most meritorious after the fasts of Ramadan?” He replied, “Fasts of Shaban in honor of Ramadan.” [Tirmidhi]

The Prophet (pbuh) used to fast frequently during this month. The number of fasts he used to observe in this month was more than any other month except for Ramadan. In a narration by the mother of the believers ‘Aishah (ra) “I never saw the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) fasting in a month so profusely as he did in the month of Sha’ban. He used to fast in that month leaving only a few days, rather, he used to fast almost the whole of the month.” [Tirmidhi & Nisa’i]
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يسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the most Merciful

Alhamdulillah with the end of another amazing, yet eventful year at the LSE, many of us would have experienced tests in one form or another. Whether it’s academics, extra curricular (ISoc or any other student society/ SU/ external Organisation), they’re all similar in nature – the context being the only thing differing each time.

The following are a few simple reminders (courtesy of fellow ISocers), beginning with none other than the importance of reminders themselves:

1. Reminders
Why do we always need them? The Arabic word for human being/man is ‘insaan’ which is derived from the word ‘nasiya’ – to forget.

2. Intentions
Correct intentions: any act + good Intentions = ‘ibadah (worship) (in arabic: 3aada + niyyah = 3ibadah). We should keep renewing our intentions, which must be that everything we do is purely to seek the pleasure of Allah (swt); don’t let anything dilute or change your original intentions.
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بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

قال عمر بن الخطابرضي الله عنهلجلسائه يومًا: تمنوا. فقال أحدهم: أتمنى أن يكون ملء هذا البيت دراهم، فأنفقها في سبيل الله. فقال: تمنوا. فقال آخر: أتمنى أن يكون ملء هذا البيت ذهبًا، فأنفقه في سبيل الله. فقال عمر: لكني أتمنى أن يكون ملء هذا البيت رجالاً من أمثال أبي عبيدة بن الجراح، ومعاذ بن جبل، وحذيفة بن اليمان، فأستعلمهم في طاعة الله. [البخاري].

Omar (ra) and some of the companions of the prophet were sitting in the mosque of the prophet in Madinah, when Omar asked them; “Make a wish”. One Companion replied saying “I wish this mosque was filled with gold so I can spend it for the sake of Allah”. Another replied “I wish this mosque was filled with horses so we can ride out for the sake of Allah.” Omar replied “I wish for neither money nor gold. But I wish for men like Abu Ubaydah ibn Aljarrah, Hudhayfa Ibn Alyamaan and Muadh ibn Jabal who we could rely on them and raise the world of Allah (swt) by resting on their shoulders” [Bukhari]
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بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Ali bin Abi Taleb was the Prophet’s (pbuh) cousin and son-in-law. He grew up in the Prophet’s (pbuh) house, was the first child to accept Islam and later became the fourth of the rightly guided caliphs.

Ali bin abi Taleb (ra) was known for his bravery and wisdom. In this tarbiya, I just want to focus on one of his statements, where he said:

“Take five things from me:

1- Let none of you fear anything but his wrong action
2- Let him hope for nothing but his Lord
3- Let someone who does not know, not be shy of learning
4- Let someone who does not know, not be shy of saying “Allah knows best”
5- And patience has the same relation to iman (faith) as does the head to the body; when patience goes then iman goes, for when the head goes, the body goes.” [in Al-Suyuti’s: The History of the Khalifahs]

Wrong Action

Here Ali bin abi Taleb (ra) reminds us that what we should fear most, rather than people or lack of provision, is our wrong actions or bad deeds. At the end of the day, they are the things that matter, because they are the things we will take with us.

Hope for your Lord

“…truly it is in the remembrance of God that hearts find peace” [Surat Ar-Ra’d, 13:28] Allah is the most generous- if we hope for Him, we will find Him. If we seek to get closer to Him by a handspan, He comes to us at speed. It is he who rewards a lot for the little that we do. So why do we hope other things and other people, yet we do not hope for Allah?

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بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

“…truly it is in the remembrance of God that hearts find peace” [Surat Ar-Ra’d, 13:28]

How long did your last prayer take? 10 minutes? Hm, not quite. 6 minutes? Closer but not quite there either… 4? Sort of. Maybe 3? That sounds just about right. Or sometimes it’s 2 minutes. Wow- that means we effectively spend 10minutes out of 1440 minutes in a day remembering God.

Why do we think that is? Some answers from people have included heedlessness, a lot going on in our heads thus a lack of focus, too much work to do, not knowing how to concentrate and so on.

But if our 2 minute prayers are a regular thing, then there a root cause. I believe it is a lack of remembrance of God. Although there have been a few tarbiyas on the virtues of remembering God, it is something that we should be reminded of often. Allah says in the Qur’an:

“…and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so – for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward.” [Surat Al-Ahzaab, 33:35]

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Since many of us are either taking exams this summer or working on different projects, I thought it apt to focus this tarbiya on something that plagues many (and unfortunately myself); that is laziness and procrastination.

Why is it that often we are surrounded by commitments and deadlines yet we are unable to fulfil them because of our laziness? We know there are matters and duties we must perform but sometimes we end up procrastinating and leaving them to the last minute, busying ourselves in anything and everything but the most vital. Often, we have the urge to bury our heads in the sand shirking our responsibilities; as ‘they’ say ignorance is bliss.

For example, during exam time you witness the whole student body suddenly exerting themselves, studying at full capacity trying to achieve that 2.1, even though many had slacked off for most of the year; but why is this so? Psychologically, it is because the exams have become a reality, something tangible that you are forced to face up to, but if you can surmount your laziness before reality sets in, we would place ourselves in a far better position; the students who come out with firsts are almost always the ones who have consistently worked hard and striven throughout the year. But what does Islam have to say about laziness? What should be our perspective, and how should we combat it?

What does Islam say about laziness?

Laziness is viewed as something that we should constantly guard ourselves against, it is a sign of weakness and as is seen in the dua below is grouped with other negative traits such as fear and repression:
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بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Imam Ja’far Al-Sadiq was a scholar of scholars- he is known to have taught Imam Malik, Imam Abu Hanifa and Sufyan Ath-Thawri, among others. The late Sheikh Ash-Sha’rawi describes him as having the most knowledge of the Qur’an. Below is his advice given to Sufyan Ath-Thawri:

“Sufyan, if you have a blessing and wish to enjoy it for long, then continue to praise God and thank Him for it. Allah has said in the Qur’an:

‘If you are thankful, I will give you more’ [Surat Ibrahim, 14:7]

And if you feel that your sustenance is slow coming, seek God’s forgiveness repeatedly. For God says:

‘Ask forgiveness of your Lord: He is ever forgiving. He will send down abundant rain from the sky for you; He will give you wealth and children; He will provide you with gardens and rivers.’ [Surat Noah, 71:10-12]

Sufyan, when you have a problem weighing heavily on you, say: ‘No power works except by God’s leave’. That is the key to its disappearance and one of the treasures of Paradise.”

May we each take benefit of these words.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

As Shaafi- The Healer Al Wakeel
We all have gone through both emotional and physical pain at some point in our lives that cause us to recognise Allah by one of his beautiful names Ash-Shaafi – The Healer.
By recognizing Allah as Ash Shaafi we place our trust in Him and ask Him to grant us Shifa (cure). By doing this we are saying that Only Allah can remove an illness for He is the One Who created it. He is the Healer of all diseases.
So how can we best live with the name of Allah Ash-Shaafi?
There are two types of Shifa (cures)
• Shifa of the heart
• Shifa of the body
1) The Shifa of the Heart
The illness of the spiritual heart is caused by many things including but not limited to…
• Negligence
• Perpetual sinning without asking for forgiveness
• Envy
• Hatred
• Anger

So we should ask Ash-Shaafi cure our hearts by
• Knowing our Shifa is in the Quran.

‘O mankind there comes to you instructions from your Lord and a Healing (Quran) for what is in the breast and guidance for the believers’ (Surat Yunus 57)
• Increasing in Dua
• Keeping good company
• Forgiving others
• Increasing in the remembrance of Him and of Prophet (pbuh)
2) The Shifa of the Body
Othman ibn Abi Al-Aas (ra) complained to the Prophet of Allah (pbuh) that he felt a pain in some part of his body since he became a Muslim. The Prophet (pbuh) said “Put your hand on the part that hurts and say Bismillah 3 times, then say ‘Audhu bi ‘izzat-illah wa qudratihi min sharii ma ajid wa uhadhir’ I seek refuge in Allah and His Power from the evil of what I find and fear (7 times)” (Reported by Muslim).
When we fall ill it is has become part of due process for us to go to doctor seeking medical advice and cure. Whilst it is important for us to do so, living with Ash-Shaafi simply means asking the Lord of the illness to cure you. The practical implication being having Tawakkul, that is active trust in Him, seeking the means by going to hospital, taking medicine etc as opposed to Tawaakul, which is passive trust which denotes sitting and waiting.
So trusting Ash-Shafii means trusting in the Lord of the means and not just the means and recognizing that asking Allah is also a means.
We can do this by making duas such as:
“O Allah, Lord of Mankind, the One Who relieves hardship grant healing for there is no healer but You a healing leaves no trace of sickness” (narrated by Anas and reported in Bukhari and Muslim)
Let us not forget that ‘practical’ cures are also from Allah, as the Prophet (pbuh) said “Allah has sent down the disease and the cure and has made for every disease the cure. So treat sickness but do not use anything haraam” [Narrated by Abi Ad-Darda, reported in Abu Dawud]
For all of us who are ill or have family and friends who are suffering from illnesses do not lose hope rather lets call upon Ash Shafee to relieve us of their pain.
May Allah grant our hearts and bodies Shifa.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Often when we think we’ve found Allah, we have in reality merely uncovered a barrier within ourselves. The subtleties and permutations of the soul are seemingly endless and often blinding. We justify our extravagances out of weaknesses within ourselves; we claim to follow the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and yet really, how far are we from his dear footsteps? We forget about death and grow heedless of our duty to remember Allah because our minds and hearts are sullied from talk of politics and money and class and race and culture and division.

Such is the duniya. Yet inasmuch as the world encroaches upon our lives and hinders our only true purpose, which is to remember and worship Allah, all is not in vain. For Allah reminds us:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءَتْكُم مَّوْعِظَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَشِفَاءٌ لِّمَا فِي الصُّدُورِ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ

“O mankind, there has come to you a protection from your Lord and a healing for what is in your hearts, and for those who believe, a guidance and a mercy” (10:57)

The Quran, and any remembrance of Allah really, is like a special food unique to each soul, and the more you take of it, the more it will give – without limit. The one who seeks and asks Allah sincerely will receive His signs; however, to truly benefit the seeker must constantly prepare himself or herself by establishing a spiritual exercise, which takes the form of a consistent practise.

To truly benefit, remembrance and reflection must reach the heart and must change your state. Therefore, spiritual ‘nutrients’ must be taken in accordance with one’s aspirations which must be measured according to one’s level and ability. The runner does not begin with a marathon. At the same time, if he ever wants to run that marathon, he must certainly do more than simply walk.
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It’s beautiful to sit back and reflect in silence. Everything is rushing by; we get caught up in completing tasks without taking the time to contemplate over our existence, and our relationship with the One we owe our existence to. Our lack of reflection is perhaps why sometimes our hearts harden. We fail to reflect on our actions, and the motivations behind them. We fail to reflect on the attributes of God and His Names, and how they manifest in our own lives. When we do wrong, our hope in God’s mercy decreases. But unfortunately, this shows that we didn’t really have hope in His mercy to begin with- rather our hope was in our own perceived good deeds. At other times we feel down because of a delay in the response to a fervent du’a. Yet this downward spiral can be stopped if we take the time to think about a beautiful and oft-quoted hadith qudsi, where Allah has said:

“I am at my servant’s opinion of me” (Bukhari)

What does this mean? Imam Zaid Shakir, in his commentary on “Treatise for the Seekers of Guidance” by Imam Al-Muhasibi, stated that this means that if we think that Allah is Kind and Generous, that is what we will find. Just as the Prophet (pbuh) tells us that God is too gracious to turn the hand that asks him away with nothing, He too is more Merciful than to disappoint you and your good opinion of Him.

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