Fasting New Muslims

The Four Sacred Months: What Do You Know about Them?

From the twelve lunar months of the Islamic calendar there are four sacred, concerning them Allah says:

Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so it was ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them, four are sacred. That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein. (At-Tawbah 9:36)

Four Months Are Sacred

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also said about them:

“The division of time has turned to its original form which was current when Allah created the Heavens and the Earth. The year is of twelve months, out of which four months are sacred. Three are in succession: Dhul-Qi`dah, Dhul-Hijjah, and Muharram, and (the fourth is) Rajab of (the tribe of) Mudar which comes between Jumada Thani and Sha`ban.” (Al-Bukhari)

So what characterizes these four months, and what should we do in them?

Sheikh Muhammad Salah answers in this video…


New Muslims Pilgrimage

Places of Ihram (Miqat) Map

Places of Ihram (Miqat) map

There are five particular places appointed for entering the state of ihram, which is a basic condition for the validity of hajj.

1- Dhul-Hulaifah, a place southwest of Madinah and 18 km from its mosque. It is the miqat for the people coming from Madinah and beyond.

2- Dhat-`Irq, a place 94 km to the northeast of Makkah. It is the miqat for the people coming from Iraq and beyond

3- Al-Juhfah, a place 187 km to the northwest of Makkah.

This was the miqat for the people coming from or passing through Syria and Egypt.

It was on the eastern coast of the Red Sea, but it has completely disappeared and Rabigh (to the north of Al-Juhfah) is used as the substitute for this miqat now.

4- Qarn Al-Manazil, 94 km to the east of Makkah. It is the miqat for the people of Najd and the pilgrims who pass by it.

5- Yalamlam, 54 km to the south of Makkah. It is the miqat for those coming from Yemen and the pilgrims who pass by it.

E-Da`wah Committee presents this map as an illustrated guide to explain the different places of Ihram



New Muslims Pilgrimage

What to Pack for Hajj

Hajj Baggage

Having an idea of what you will be doing each day helps immensely.

Hajj is a spiritual journey made by Muslims who travel to Saudi Arabia for 2-4 weeks. It is usually made once in a lifetime, and it’s difficult to get an idea of what you might need to take because you’ve never done it before! During Hajj, you don’t just stay in one place.

Every couple of days, you keep moving. You move from hotels to old apartments to tents to sleeping under the stars out in the open. Then back to tents then apartments and finally a hotel, if your duration of stay is over two weeks.

This, in a way, symbolizes that life is a journey. We’re constantly moving, and our lives in this world are only temporary.

So, what are you supposed to pack for such a journey?

First, find a group that is recommended to you by others, and that you know is organized. This is everything during Hajj. An organized group saves you from stressing out about other things and focusing on the real goal when you get there, which is worship.

This type of group could also give you information on what they will provide for you during Hajj, and it will save you from taking extra things that you don’t need.

Also, you will need a lot of knowledge beforehand. Don’t go into Hajj thinking you will be guided every step of the way. There are around 120 people per group and only two leaders.

Although they are there to help, having an idea of what you will be doing each day helps immensely.

Now, on to the list of things to take:

My husband and I took one large suitcase with us. We were not going there for shopping, so we took the minimal amount of items. For gifts, we only got some prayer beads for direct family members and some dates.

You will need a backpack for this journey. Make sure it is comfortable with thick, cushioned straps, and a medium size. As you get ready to board your flight to Saudi Arabia, keep your backpack with you rather than checking it in. The last thing you need is losing all your essentials!

There is a chance of buses breaking down during journeys, resulting in walking a few miles with your bag, so make sure it is not too heavy or big in size. Some people brought rolling luggage but you’ll need to remember that the streets aren’t smooth and there are also a lot of stairs, so backpacks are the best option.

Comfortable walking shoes are a must. We always heard that we have to walk a lot during Hajj but only realized how much after we got there.

Tawaf and sa`i were easy for us Alhamdulillah. But just to give you an idea, to find a taxi from the Mina tents, you will need to walk around 1.5 hours. Our walk to Jamarat was also 1.5 hours in the heat, and then we had to come back as well same distance (the group website said it will be 45 minutes, so be prepared to walk more than expected!).

Practice walking for over an hour nonstop before leaving for Hajj. Make sure to buy them at least a month in advance and break into them before the journey.

Finally, I got a neck pillow for the bus journeys, tent, and sleeping in Muzdalifah out in the open. I kept it in a drawstring bag which I attached to the strap of my backpack so that I don’t have to carry it around.

Also, you will need two other bags apart from the backpack. One will be a small, cross-body messenger bag for the airport and during travel in general. You will need to take this during your visits to both Al-Masjid Al-Haram (in Makkah) and Al-Masjid An-Nabawi (in Madinah) as well.

Cross-body is important so that it  cannot be easily snatched like a shoulder bag, and it is also more confortable. In here, keep some cash, phone, solar power charger, snacks for energy, notebook and pen in which you have noted down addresses of where you’re staying and directions, prayer books and sunglasses.

On the main day of Hajj, you will be away from your tents and your belongings for an entire 24 hours. You will spend the entire day in `Arafat and entire night in Muzdalifah. For this you will need a medium sized bag, because there really isn’t any space in both places for anything bigger.

I didn’t want to have to take a whole different bag just for this one day, so I found a foldable bag online that worked perfectly for this occasion. It unfolds to a backpack that is ideal for a day trip. Keep an extra pair of clothes in this bag apart from other necessities.

Men will need a money belt to wear under their ihrams.

A document folder is essential to keep all your paperwork together in one place and safe from getting dirty. There are number of things you’ll need to keep in here:

Passport copies – at least 3 passport sized photos

Flight details

Credit/Debit Card copies

Hajj notes printouts

Proof of having taken the proper vaccines

Marriage Certificate copies if traveling with spouse

A Will is highly recommended and should be given to family members before leaving.

Finally, communication. It is absolutely necessary to get phones for all members of the family going. First of all, men and women stay in separate places throughout the stay and phones are the best way to get in touch. In a lot of cases in our group, only the husbands had phones and not the wives.

The husbands would be standing outside the women’s area, knocking loudly on doors, yelling out names. It was very disturbing for other people trying to worship or rest.

We got an extremely basic phone and used it every day.

I also took my smartphone. I had left my two-year old son with my parents and just needed to see him on Skype and through pictures. It definitely made me feel at ease. There is Wi-Fi in very limited pl

aces there.

In hotels they are reliable but outside that it’s hit or miss. If by chance it got connected, I was able to receive my son’s latest pictures and it comforted me knowing he’s having (way too much) fun!

I hope this post was helpful to you!


Source: simplyincontrolplog.


New Muslims Pilgrimage

Best Days of the Year & the Best Deeds in Them

Do Not Miss out on `Arafah (9th Dhul Hijjah)!

The great importance of the day of `Arafah, the day when pilgrims gather in Mountain of `Arafah and perform the most important ritual in Hajj, is shown by the fact that Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) swears an oath by this day:

Don’t waste this golden, annual opportunity to gain enormous rewards.

And (by) the witness and what is witnessed (the day of `Arafah). (Al-Buruj 85:3)

To make the most of the grand day of `Arafah, make sure to:

1- Fast and expiate your sins

Out of the first nine days, this is the most important day to keep a fast on:

Abu Qatadah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Fasting on the Day of `Arafah, I hope from Allah, expiates for the sins of the year before and the year after.” (Ibn Majah)

Fasting this day is only recommended for those who are not performing Hajj, and it is not permitted for those performing Hajj to fast on the day of `Arafah.

2- Repent

The Messenger of Allah said: “There is no day when Allah ransoms more slaves from the Fire than the day of `Arafah. He draws near and expresses His pride to the angels and says: ‘What do these people want?’” (Muslim)

Don’t settle for less. You will have your minor sins forgiven with the fast of `Arafah (In sha Allah), so what about your major sins? Repent sincerely and remember that Allah is capable of forgiving all our sins no matter how great they are. Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) says in the Qur’an:

Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves (by sinning), do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful”. (Az-Zumar 39:53)

These grand days are a great opportunity to quit your sinful habits once and for all! Be regretful for committing sins and make a strong determination to never commit them ever again.

3- Make du`aa’, ask forgiveness

Even though the Day of `Arafah has a special status, it’s important to remember that all the days of Hajj are days of dhikr (remembrance of Allah).

The importance of dhikr is demonstrated in the following verses in which Allah addresses the pilgrims in Surat Al-Baqarah:

…But when you depart from ‘Arafat, remember Allah at al- Mash’ar al-Haram. And remember Him, as He has guided you, for indeed, you were before that among those astray. (Al-Baqarah 2:198)

Then depart from the place from where [all] the people depart and ask forgiveness of Allah… (Al-Baqarah 2:199)

And when you have completed your rites, remember Allah like your (previous) remembrance of your fathers or with [much] greater remembrance… (Al-Baqarah 2:200)

And remember Allah during (specific) numbered days… (Al-Baqarah 2:203) in reference to the Days of Tashreeq (11-13 Dhul-Hijjah).

With regards to making du`aa’, the Prophet said: “The most excellent du`aa’ is the du`aa’ on the Day of `Arafah, and the best of what I and the prophets before me have said, is ‘There is no god but Allah, alone, without partner.’ (Malik)

Another recommended du`aa’ that is mentioned in the Qur’an is:

…Our Lord, give us in this world (that which is) good and in the Hereafter (that which is) good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire. (AL-Baqarah 2:201)

What a great chance you have to get your du`aa’ accepted! Prepare a du`aa’ list, as advised in Ramadan, so that you don’t spend a minute without asking Allah for everything you want, in this life and the Hereafter.

Again, don’t waste this golden, annual opportunity to gain enormous rewards. Fast and spend your time in supplication, repentance and remembering Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He).

The Udhiyah (Sacrifice)

A great act of charity to get closer to Allah on the day of `Eid Al-Adha is sacrificing a livestock animal. This revives the sunnah of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) was ready to give up everything for the sake of Allah and submitted unconditionally to Allah’s commands by even offering his beloved son as a sacrifice.

Revive the spirit behind the Sunnah, be generous and select a healthy animal for sacrifice. You may have given a lot of charity other than the udhiyah, but if you miss out on this, you have missed out on a great act of charity specific to this occasion. Look at how you have spent your money on luxuries for the entire year. Now what will you offer as a sacrifice to gain the closeness of Allah?

Give Charity

The days of `Eid are the days of sacrifice. Apart from the udhiya, what will you give for the pleasure of Allah?

a Spend from what you really love

Allah says in the Qur’an:

Never will you attain the good (reward) until you spend [in the way of Allah ] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it. (Aal `Imran 3:92)

What is it that you value greatly? What possession can you sacrifice for Allah’s sake by giving it in charity? This may even be your precious talents, time, reputation, etc. How can you spend that in the way of Allah?

b- It’s time to give away everything extra

This may be the best time to de-clutter your house. Give in charity everything extra that you possess. What is the use of hoarding stuff that you will never use?

Assess your community needs. What can you do to help your community?

Befriend the Qur’an

The immense reward of reciting the Qur’an is evident from the following hadith:

Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever recites a letter from the Book of Allah, he will be credited with a good deed, and a good deed gets a ten-fold reward. I do not say that Alif-Lam-Mim is one letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter.” (At-Tirmidhi)

As Muslims, our job is to not only recite, but also to understand, implement and spread the teachings of the Qur’an. How can we expect to be guided to the straight path unless we read The Book of guidance?

Given the importance of reciting the Qur’an, it is essential that we block time out of our day especially for this task. The most productive time to recite the Qur’an is in the early hours, as Allah says:

Establish prayer at the decline of the sun [from its meridian] until the darkness of the night and (also) the Qur’an of dawn. Indeed, the recitation of dawn is ever witnessed. (Al-Israa’ 17:78)

Reading around 3½ juz each day will allow you to finish the Qur’an before `Eid begins Insha’Allah (within the first 9 days)!

Do Not Waste Time

These are the best days of the year! How can you possibly waste your time? Reject all invitations to parties and appointments which can be delayed to a later date. Tell them about the immense importance of these days and Insha’Allah you will even get rewarded for every good that they consequently do. If you can take time off work, do so. Again, remember that these are the most valuable days of the year!

Maintain Good Character

Just like the person performing Hajj must refrain from getting into disputes and acts of disobedience or risk the acceptance of their Hajj, you should try to do the same. Forgive everyone no matter what they have done to you. Visit the sick. Have good relations with people, especially your parents, relatives and neighbors. This would be the best time to re-establish ties of kinship and put barakah (blessing) in your life.

Spread the Knowledge

Unfortunately, many Muslims are unaware of the superiority of these days, or are unsure how to make the most of them. Spread the knowledge and multiply your rewards. This will also In sha Allah get you motivated to be foremost in performing good deeds.

The best days of the entire year have almost arrived! Muslims from around the globe will unite to perform one of the greatest forms of worship: Hajj.

Make the most of this grand opportunity by drawing nearer to our Creator by performing acts of worship with true sincerity and according to the Sunnah.

May Allah (Exalted be He) make us understand the greatness of these days and help us perform the best possible deeds with the purest of intentions. Ameen.





Articles of Faith New Muslims

Emigration to Madinah: Lessons for New Muslims

The mountain of Thawr

Emigration to Madinah: Lessons for New Muslims. What lessons does the Prophet’s Hijrah offer on the life of a Muslim?

The early Muslim community suffered a lot before they were ordered to leave Makkah and go to Madinah.

The persecution exercised against Muslims increased especially after the death of Prophet Muhammad’s beloved wife, lady Khadijah and his uncle, Abu Talib. At a certain point, it was necessary to look for a new soil to plant the seed of Islam, to spread the word of God, and to practice Islam in a secure and receptive environment.

I am not going to give a detailed account of the events of the Prophet’s emigration to Madinah. Such details can be found in the Hadith Collection of Al-Bukhari (hadith no. 245). However, I am going to mention some lessons that can be drawn from this great event in the history of Islam.

The first lesson is patience. By patience I mean enduring the hardships put forward by the people of Quraish to check the tide of Islam. Muslims were boycotted; they were not allowed to buy and sell in the open market or engage in any business. However, they persevered and accepted the tribulation.

After the command of emigrating to Madinah, Muslims left behind everything they loved, their families, friends, their country, etc. Why did they do that? Because they put their trust in God and cherished hope in His mercy that He will make a way out for them. In Madinah, Muslims were free to practice their religion and they were able to establish a new state.

New Muslims can learn from this lesson that there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

You might be treated badly or ridiculed by your families, neighbors and friends. Therefore, do like what the early Muslims did; endure the hardships with patience. Do not lose hope. Rest assured that your decision to take Islam your way of life will not let you down.

Put Your Trust in God

Nothing on earth should make you give up. See how the Prophet behaved when he was in the cave and the people of Quraish were following him. His friend Abu Bakr  reported that: ”I was in the company of the Prophet in the cave, and on seeing the traces of the pagans, I said, “O Allah’s messenger if one of them (pagans) should lift up his foot, he will see us.” He said, “What do you think of two, the third of whom is Allah?” (Al-Bukhari)

Put your trust in God and be sure that He is always there to help you.

Although the people of Quraish were hostile towards the Prophet and wanted to put an end to his life and message, they used to call him the truthful and the trustworthy. They used also to entrust him with their valuables. What a contradiction!

His honesty was put to test when he was ordered to emigrate. What would he do with the valuables entrusted with him? Would he use it to make his emigration plan successful? Would he give it to his followers? On the contrary, the Prophet asked his cousin `Ali ibn Abi Talib to delay his emigration for three days so that he can return to people their valuables.

We learn from this situation that when you are put to test, do not forget your principles. Do not forget what your religion asks you to do. Islam urges you to be honest with all people, Muslims and non-Muslims.

If a colleague or friend entrusts you with something and it happens that you are not in good terms with him, do not give yourself excuses misusing the trust. You have to return it to him immediately. By this you will be teaching him something about Muslim’s ethical code.

A Professional Guide

When the Prophet and Abu Bakr decided to leave Makkah, they wanted to get the job done professionally. Therefore, they hired `Abdullah ibn Urayqit, a non-Muslim who was a professional guide in Makkah, to act as their guide. Lady Aishah reported that:

“Allah’s Messenger and Abu Bakr had hired a man from the tribe of Bani Al-Dil from the family of Bani `Abd ibn `Adi as an expert guide, and he was in alliance with the family of Al-`As bin Wa’il Al-Sahmi and he was on the religion of the people of Quraish. The Prophet and Abu Bakr trusted him and gave him their two she-camels and took his promise to bring their two she-camels to the cave of the mountain of “Thawr” in the morning three nights later. And (when they set out), `Amir ibn Fuhairah and the guide went along with them and the guide led them along the sea-shore.” (Al-Bukhari)

We learn from this situation that there is no problem to seek the help of people of other faiths as long as they are qualified enough and have more experience than Muslims. If it happens that a new Muslim is in trouble and the solution to his trouble is in the hand of someone who belongs to another religion, he should seek his help as long as he is a trustworthy person.

If there is a vacant job for which two persons apply, Islam teaches that proficiency comes before piety. Take the professional even he is not Muslim. By this, you are doing the Muslim who is not qualified enough a favor. He will learn more and gain more experience so that next time he will be accepted.

In Madinah

After the Prophet arrived to Madinah, the people of Madinah welcomed him and protected him as they would protect themselves and their families. The Prophet ordered that each Helper (one of the Ansar) would have an Emigrant (Muhajir) brother.

In their new life after conversion, new Muslims should interact with their Muslim community and they have to adapt to the customs of their community. New Muslims are the emigrants and Muslim communities are the helpers (Ansar). Muslim communities should welcome new Muslims and help them.

Another important lesson of the Hijrah is how the Prophet approached those who showed interest in Islam. When he met the first delegation of the Khazraj he just told them about Islam and only urged them to read the Qur’an. Next year he told them about the acts of worship, manners and virtues. In the second Aqabah pledge, the Ansar accepted to protect the Prophet and his followers as mentioned above.

This is how new Muslims should be approached. First, they have to be convinced of God’s Oneness. In later stages, they can learn how to perform the Prayer, pay the zakah, observe fasting, etc.

It is noteworthy that what we celebrate on the month of Muharram is the beginning of applying the Islamic calendar because the emigration took place in the month of Rabi` Al-Awwal not in Muharram.

So, let’s make the new Hijri year a new start

for all of us.

Let’s make it a turning point in our life.

Let’s start a new leaf.

Let’s purify our intentions in every action we do and make it only to please God the Almighty.

Let’s apply the actual meaning of Hijrah as the Prophet is reported to have said: “An emigrant is the one who abandons what Allah has made unlawful.” (Al-Bukhari)



New Muslims Society

What Do Muslims Celebrate?

celebrations in Islam

The first day of the month following Ramadan is `Eid al-Fitr (`Eid of Breaking the Fast). This is the celebration of fast-breaking.

In Islam, celebration is a form of thanking Allah, the One True God. Celebration, in Islam, is merry-making, going out to parties, visiting and meeting friends and relatives and having clean fun, and also a form of physical and spiritual purification.

Islamic celebrations include taking a bath, putting on clean or new clothes, wearing perfume and going to the mosque or a place of congregation for salah (prayer), a form of prescribed prayers. The Islamic celebration of `Eid is also a day when children and adults may get new clothes and gifts.

The dates and days of celebration are set according to the Islamic calendar.

Islamic Calendar

The Islamic calendar consists of twelve lunar-based months. A new month begins with the sighting of the new crescent. Since lunar months are 29 or 30 days long, a year has 354 or 355 days, 10 or 11 days shorter than the solar year.

Another characteristic of Islamic months is that the number of days of a month is not fixed. For example, the month of Ramadan may be 30 days in one year and 29 days in another year.

In this age of advanced astronomy and mathematics it is possible to calculate the first of the month years ahead of time, but conservative interpretations of the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) require Muslims to see the new crescent physically before announcing the first day of the month. Hence, there is uncertainty in fixing the date.

In practice, Muslims look toward the western horizon on the 29th of the month, immediately after sunset for the new crescent. If the crescent is not sighted they complete 30 days of the month, then start the new month. If the moon is sighted on the 29th , the new month has already begun with the sunset.

The twelve months of the Islamic calendar are Muharram, Safar, Rabi` Awwal, Rabi` Thani, Jumada Awwal, Jumada Thani, Rajab, Sha`ban, Ramadan, Shawwal, Dhul-Qi`dah and Dhul-Hijjah.

The moon by itself is not holy or sacred in Islam. The moon, as a symbol which appears on flags and minarets, may have been an adaptation from the Romans or the Turks in the early period of Islam but after the period of the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad. Islamic teachings do not place any significance on the moon, sun or other heavenly objects except as creations and signs of Allah.

Prescribed Salah (Prayers) and the Time Table

The prayer is a form of worship, a celebration of the holiness, praise and glorification of Allah and the renewal of dedication of oneself to Him. Every adult Muslim is required to perform prayer five times a day. For the preparation of the prayer time table, the position of the sun in relation to a location on the earth are used, that is, sunrise, meridian and sunset.

Before sunrise but after dawn, which commences 80 to 90 minutes before sunrise, is the time for the morning or Fajr prayer. Immediately after the meridian is the beginning of early afternoon or Zhuhr Prayer (Noon Prayer), which lasts midway to sunset. From midway to sunset till shortly before sunset is the mid-afternoon or `Asr Prayer time.

Immediately after sunset is the Maghrib Prayer (Sunset Prayer) time which lasts until the disappearance of twilight (approximately an hour). After Maghrib until dawn is the `Isha’ or (Night Prayer) time. Each of the prayers lasts five to ten minutes, but it must be done within its own time slot. All Muslims who have attained puberty are required to perform prescribed prayers at the proper time. A brief washing is required as a preparation for the prayers.

The following weekly and annual celebrations are mandated in Islamic textual sources, that is, the Qur’an and the Hadith.

Yawm Al-Jumu`ah

The literal meaning of these two words is ’the day of congregation‘, which is Friday. Muslims gather in the masjid (mosque) for a khutbah (sermon or speech) followed by Jumu`ah (Friday Prayer) led by an Imam. After the prayer, people meet each other in the masjid and may visit relatives and friends.

In Islam there is no Sabbath, therefore, there is no mandatory closing of businesses on Friday except for the duration of congregational services. However, in a majority of Muslim countries, Friday is the weekly holiday, sometimes combined with Thursday or Saturday. In the West, Muslims take a couple of hours from their jobs or businesses to go to the mosque on Friday. The Friday Prayer, held in the early afternoon, lasts less than an hour in general.

In large work places where many Muslims are employed, Muslims use a room and prepare it for the Jumu`ah (Friday Prayer). In some places a community center room is rented for a couple of hours on Friday for holding the congregation. Since, a part of the prayer requires prostrating and sitting on the floor, it is covered with clean sheets or rugs.

Ramadan: The Month of Fasting

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is known as the month of fasting. During Ramadan Muslims get up before dawn, 2-3 hours before sunrise, and eat a pre-dawn meal. There is no eating, drinking, or sexual activity between dawn and sunset. In addition, Muslims must implement the moral code of Islam very strictly; the violation thereof nullifies their fast. During the night Muslims eat, drink (intoxicants are forbidden) and carry on normally.

Laylat Al-Qadr

The literal meaning is ‘the Night of Decree’, “the Night of Measure’ or ‘the Night of Value’, sometimes also translated as ‘the Night of Power’. The worship and works of this night carry more value than the worship and works of one thousand months. This is the night when angels descend with the decree of Allah.

This night may be any of the odd nights of Ramadan during the last ten days, meaning, Laylat al-Qadr may be the 21st or 23rd or 25th or 27th or 29th night of Ramadan. Some Muslims celebrate only on the 27th night and by doing so they may be missing the real Laylat al-Qadr.

During these nights, Muslims stay awake all night reading and studying the Qur’an, listening to religious addresses and performing salah. They go home for the pre-dawn meal to prepare for the fast; naturally, they need to sleep the next day.


   1. Some Muslims take time off from their work for the entire last ten days of Ramadan and stay in the masjid, day and night, until the end of Ramadan. This is called I`tikaf (spiritual retreat in the mosque or isolation from the worldly affairs). Those who are in I`tikaf are allowed to go out for necessities only, such as for food and to use the bathroom and shower, if not found within the mosque area.

`Eid Al-Fitr

The first day of the month following Ramadan is `Eid al-Fitr (`Eid of Breaking the Fast). This is the celebration of fast-breaking. Muslims watch the western horizon immediately after sunset on the 29th day of Ramadan for the crescent. If the crescent is sighted, it is the first day of the new month and beginning of `Eid day. If the crescent is not sighted within ½ an hour after sunset on the 29th day of Ramadan the Muslims complete 30 days of fasting. Either way, the 1st of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic lunar calendar is ‘Eid al-Fitr.

On `Eid day, Muslims gather in a larger facility than the neighborhood masjid and join in Salat Al-‘Eid which is composed of salah followed by an address by the Imam (leader). This is a major holiday for the Muslims. On this day, they visit many relatives and friends and give gifts to the children.

`Eid is, first, a day of thanks to Allah, and next, a gathering of families and friends. All financially able Muslims are required to give Sadaqat Al-Fitr, a form of charity, on behalf of each and every person of the family, including newborns, to the poor and needy during the Ramadan but before the `Eid Prayers.

`Eid Al-Adha

This is the celebration of sacrifice which comes two months and ten days after `Eid Al-Fitr. Muslims celebrate the sacrifice of the lamb in place of Ishmael (Isma`il) by his father, Abraham. On this day, after Salat Al-`Eid (the prescribed `Eid Prayers), Muslims sacrifice an animal: a ram, goat, sheep, cow or camel. The meat is divided into three parts: one part is distributed among the poor and needy, one part is distributed among relatives and friends and one part is used by the family.

This is also a major holiday for Muslims to visit each other and give gifts to the children. `Eid Al-Adha is celebrated on the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah, the 12th month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and again depends upon the crescent sighting for the first of the month. For those people who have gone to Makkah for Hajj (the pilgrimage), staying in the Plain of Arafat on the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah is the most important event. However, for those not performing Hajj, `Eid Al-Adha is the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah and one of the two most important celebrations of the year.

In the Arabian Peninsula the calendar follows the local crescent sighting criterion, whereas in the U.S., the local crescent sighting is used for the determination of dates. `Eid Al-Adha may be celebrated for four days from the 10th to the 13th of Dhul-Hijjah.

Cultural Celebrations

There are many other occasions which Muslims celebrate that are developments of local cultures and traditions. Some celebrations are more widespread than others. However, these are innovations in Islam and have no foundation in the Qur’an, the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) or practices of the Sahabah (the Companions of the Prophet).

These innovative celebrations are not found in the early generations of Muslims. In fact, Prophet Muhammad has declared all innovations (in the religion of Islam) to be bid`ah (heresy) and he declared that all bid`ah lead to dalalah (misguidance) and all dalalah lead to the hell-fire.

The following celebrations are religious/cultural innovations which are discouraged by the informed Islamic scholars.

Mawlid An-Nabi

Mawlid An-Nabi (Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday) is the most common innovative celebration in the Muslim world. It is supposed to celebrate the ‘birthday’ of the Prophet Muhammad. However, there is no authentic record that the Prophet or his Companions celebrated his birthday. Besides, there is no verifiable proof of Prophet’s date of birth. It is an innovation of later times, reported to have been introduced by the Fatimids in Egypt, a very corrupt Shiite sub-sect.

Laylat Al-Isra’ & Al-Mi`raj

A verse in the Qur’an, “Glorified be He Who carried His servant by night from the Inviolable Place of Worship to the Far distant place of worship the neighborhood whereof We have blessed, that We might show him of Our tokens! Lo! He, only He, is the Hearer, the Seer” (Al-Isra’ 17:1), states that the Messenger of Allah was taken one night to Jerusalem and brought back to Makkah.

In addition, authentic traditions add that he was led to the Heavens to visit the signs of Allah. However, there is no authentic day or date of this event recorded nor did the Prophet or his Companions ever celebrate this night. Despite the lack of evidence, many Muslims continue to celebrate it.

Laylat An-Nisf min Sha`ban

Laylat An-Nisf min Sha`ban (The Middle Night of Sha`ban), which is called also Shab-e-Barat, is a celebration which takes place on the 15th night of the 8th month of the Islamic lunar calendar, Sha`ban, but has no foundation in the Qur’an or teachings of the Prophet.

Unpermitted Celebrations

Some Sunni Muslims celebrate such days for many assumed saintly persons and Shiite celebrate such days for their assumed Imams. There is no evidence to permit such celebrations in Islam. There are related celebrations held annually at the graves and mausoleums of reputedly virtuous m    en (assumed saints or awlia’-Allah) of the past era. Such celebrations on or off the grave sites are not permitted according to the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad.

National Celebrations and Holidays

Celebrations such as of Independence Day, Republic Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and others are rooted in the secular lives of nations. Such celebrations are not mandated in Islam and have no Islamic significance.




New Muslims Pilgrimage

Virtues of the Ten Days of Dhul Hijjah… Don’t Miss

Allah has favored over other days, the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah are a great season of worship with great virtues and unmatched blessings.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” The people asked, “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said, “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah, except in the case of a man who went out to fight giving himself and his wealth up for the cause, and came back with nothing.” (Al-Bukhari).

Sheikh Asim Al-Hakim talks about these days and their virtues here…


New Muslims Society

New Muslims and Halloween

First we would like to congratulate all those who have taken the decision to convert to Islam and accept it as their new lifestyle.


Halloween is usually celebrated on the evening of October 31.

Following the shahadah (testimony of faith) many Muslims face many problems. But they should not panic. Islam is a simple religion. Islam does not ask its followers to apply all the rules at once. Islam adopts the process of gradual legislation. It is not expected from a new female convert to wear the hijab few hours after taking the shahadah. It is not expected form from a new Muslim to fast for 30 days immediately without any good preparation.

One of the problems faced by new Muslims is the issue of different celebrations held throughout the year. Halloween or Hallowe’en or All Hallows’ Eve is one example. Halloween is usually celebrated on the evening of October 31. This celebration has its pagan origins. The celebration represents the devil worshipper’s New Year. People wear costumes, go tricking and treating and decorate their houses with witches, spider nets and wasting.

Every Muslim has to celebrate only the celebrations that were celebrated by the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his followers. There are two celebrations in Islam viz. `Eid al-Fitr and `Eid al-Adha. Rather than these two celebrations, a Muslim in not allowed to participate in.

New Muslims find it difficult to escape such situations. But they have to to handle these situation wisely as much as they can.

As for Halloween, they can tell their neighbours ahead of time that according to their belief they are not recommended to celebrate such an event. This will help in introducing you to your neighbours and will be a good opportunity to tell them something about Islam. Some Muslim scholars suggest that you go out with your family and have dinner with them so that no one will be at home at the time of celebration.

New Muslims have to be careful not to do anything that contradict the teachings of Allah and the traditions of the Prophet.


Ethics & Values New Muslims

Between a New Hijri Year and a Leaving One

Just a few days remaining from the current (Hijri) year and a new one will start, and such is the course of life. Once man is born, he or she uses up their predestined age. Allah (Glory be to Him) precisely determined everyone’s lifetime. When the life comes to the end, none can prolong it even a second. Allah says:

between a new hijri year and a leaving one

Determine to lead the coming year with success. Try to avoid the mistakes and get rid of unavailing things that waste your time.

When their time has come, then they will not remain behind an hour, nor will they precede (it). (Yunus 10:49)

That limited and exactly determined period of time, one should make use of it and never waste even a second. The Prophet (peace be upon him) stressed on the importance of making use of life before death strikes. He said:

“Make the most of five things before five others: life before death, health before sickness, free time before becoming busy, youth before old age, and wealth before poverty.” (Al-Hakim)

So, it is most required to be keen on utilizing it in good things and not to waste any part of it in what displeases Allah. The Prophet notified of the significance of time and indicated that it is a favor from Allah but most of people are unaware of it. He said: “There are two blessings which many people do not make the most of and thus lose out: good health and free time.” (Al-Bukhari)

On the Day of Judgment, one will be called to account about his life and how he spent it. The Prophet said:

“The son of Adam will not be dismissed from before his Lord on the Day of Resurrection until he has been questioned about five things: his life and how he spent it, his youth and how he used it, his wealth and how he earned it and how he disposed of it, and how he acted upon what he acquired of knowledge.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Undoubtedly, one will be called to account about the passing year and will be questioned about everything he did in it. He will be asked about bad deeds, negligence, imperfect worship, the major and minor sins, etc.

Likewise, one will be praised and rewarded for the good deeds and acts of worship.

Before this moment of reckoning comes, is not better to ask yourself and call it to account before you?

Is not better to review this year and think a while about what you did in it?

I suggest you the following stances to think about to have a good end of this year:

1- Thankfulness

One should constantly express gratitude and thanks to Allah, as He helps and gives us the ability and time to accomplish things. At the year-end, one should be grateful to Allah Who prolonged his life and gave him the time to carry out what he wanted.

A lot of good things, hopes and success of course happened, and one certainly got new friends, achievements and positions. Does not all of this require thankfulness? Just being alive until reading these lines is a blessing that you should thank Allah for. So, you should show gratefulness to Allah for that year.

2- Review

By the end of year, a businessman usually checks his business to know if he loses or wins. The same should Muslim do. He should review his deed and whether they will make him win or lose Paradise. Ask yourself, “Will your deeds during this year open the doors of paradise or the Hellfire for you?” Allah talks in Surat Al-Mutaffifin about the description of Paradise and after mentioning a number of its attributes and the characteristics of its people He said:

So for this let the competitors compete. (Al-Mutaffifin 83:26)

So, did you win this competition in this year? Will you win the race of Paradise?

new hijri year

By the end of year, one should review one’s knowledge and whether one have learned new things or not.

3- Determination

A full year has now elapsed, but still many things undone. Now, think deeply about the reasons that impeded you from accomplishing them. It would have been better if you already achieved these things.

So, determine to lead the coming year with success. You might have been occupied with fruitless things or pointless reasons. Try to avoid the mistakes and get rid of unavailing things that waste your time. Get prepared for your goals and hopes and do not miss your priorities.

4- Reflection

Allah Almighty says:

And say, “My Lord, increase me in knowledge.” (Taha 20:114)

The most favored people are the people of knowledge:

Are those who know equal to those who do not know? (Al-Zumar 39:9)

By the end of year, one should review one’s knowledge and whether one have learned new things or not. How many verses of the Qur’an did one memorize? How many hadiths did one learn?

Knowledge is of utmost importance. So, do not miss it.

5- Repentance

During the past year, you might have got weak and overwhelmed by desires. Then, you wronged yourself and fell into that which Allah has forbidden. However, Allah’s mercy encompasses all things. Whoever repents after doing wrong, Allah will accept his repentance, for Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

But whoever repents after his wrongdoing and reforms, indeed, Allah will turn to him in forgiveness. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (Al-Ma’idah 5:39)

The gate of repentance is open and will continue to be open until the sun rises from the west.

So, finish your year with good repentance.

May Allah forgive me and you and grant us success!



Acts of Worship New Muslims

First Ten Days of Dhul-Hijjah: Special Season of Worship

With the start of Dhul-Hijjah less than a week away, Muslims all over the world are preparing to embark on a journey of a lifetime. However, if you are among those who will instead be watching them on TV and wishing you were with them, you must be asking yourself: What do I do during these days?


There are no days during which the righteous action is so pleasing to Allah than these days.

Let us remind ourselves of some specific and other general deeds which will in sha’ Allah maximize our benefit from the best of all days!

The Superiority of These Days

The immense importance of these days is shown by the fact that Allah (Exalted be He) swears an oath by them in the Qur’an: “By the dawn; And (by) ten nights.” (Al-Fajr 89:1-2)

In Tafsir Ibn Kathir it is mentioned that the “ten nights” in the verse above refer to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.

Also, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“There are no days during which the righteous action is so pleasing to Allah than these days (i.e., the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah).” He was asked: “O Messenger of Allah, not even Jihad in the Cause of Allah?” He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) replied, “Not even Jihad in the Cause of Allah, except in case one goes forth with his life and his property and does not return with either of it.” (Al-Bukhari)

The reason righteous deeds are more rewarding during these days, according to Hafiz Salahuddin Yusuf, is because they are Hajj days in the sacred season of pilgrimage. Because of their excellence and importance, Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) swore by them.

So what can you do to honor these days?

1- Take Special Care of Your Obligations

Before talking about any voluntary actions (and bonuses), it is important to remind ourselves that we must first take care of all our obligations. How can we think of building and beautifying a house without constructing its pillars? Thus, we have to pay special attention to the pillars of Islam and strive to perfect our obligations.

a- Pray on time (and in congregation, for men)

The Messenger of Allah said, “Verily, between a man (i.e., a Muslim) and between shirk (polytheism) and kufr (disbelief) is the abandoning of As-Salah (prayers).” (Muslim)

b- Give your zakat if it is due!

c- If you have not yet fulfilled the obligation of Hajj, make special du`aa’ to Allah to grant you the opportunity to do so soon and in the best of manners.

2- Supplicate for Sighting of the New Moon

Start the month with this supplication:

‘Allah is the Most Great. O Allah, bring us the new moon with security and Faith, with peace and in Islam, and in harmony with what our Lord loves and what pleases Him. Our Lord and your Lord is Allah.’ (Fortress of the Muslim)

3- Repeat Tahleel, Takbir and Tahmeed

These remembrances have a special connection to these ten days:

Our Prophet said: “There are no days that are greater before Allah or in which good deeds are more beloved to Him, than these ten days, so recite a great deal of tahleel (saying La ilaaha illa Allah, here’s no god but Allah), takbir (saying Allahu Akbar, Allah is Greatest) and tahmeed (saying Alhamdulillah, all praise be to Allah) during them.” (Ahmad)

The Companions would go to the marketplace and recite the takbir out loud and people would also recite after hearing them. Let us follow their footsteps and encourage others to recite the takbir as well, as an act of worship and a proclamation of the greatness of Allah (Exalted be He)! You might find it uncomfortable to constantly remind your family members, but if you simply play an audio file from your laptop, mobile, etc., you’ll notice others will join in with the recitation naturally, in sha’ Allah.

One of the forms of takbir you may recite is:

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, laa ilaaha ill-Allah, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, wa lillaahil-hamd (Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, there is no god but Allah, Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, and to Allah be praise.”

4- Renew Your Taqwa

After the fasting of Ramadan whose main purpose was “…that you may become righteous” (Al-Baqarah 2:183), Allah makes a special connection between sacrificing animals (which has to be offered on the days of `Eid) with taqwa:

Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you. (Al-Hajj 22:37)

The people of taqwa (piety and fear of Allah), as explained in Dr. Muhsin Khan’s translation of the Qur’an, are “the pious believers of Islamic Monotheism who fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden) and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained).”

Thus, let us repent from all our sins and try our level best to attain taqwa.

5- Earn the Reward of a Hajj without Going to Makkah

Prophet Muhammad said: “Whoever prays Fajr in congregation, then sits remembering Allah until the sun has risen, then he prays two rak`ahs, then for him is the reward like that of a Hajj and `Umrah.” He said: “The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Complete, complete, complete.’” (At-Tirmidhi)

That’s a small deed with such an immense reward! Allahu Akbar! However, this would not mean that you will be free from the obligation of Hajj (the fifth pillar of Islam) of course.

6- Observe Voluntary Fasts

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Allah says: ‘(The person observing sawm) has abstained from food and drink, and sexual pleasures for My sake; fasting is for Me, and I will bestow its reward. Every good deed has ten times its reward.’” (Al-Bukhari)

In addition, the Messenger of Allah said:

“Whoever observes fast for a day in the way of Allah (non-obligatory fasting observed for the sole purpose of pleasing Allah and seeking His blessings), Allah will remove his face from the Hell to the extent of seventy years’ distance.” (Muslim)

So imagine the reward for keeping fasts during these grand days, In sha’ Allah! This applies only for the first nine days. The 10th of Dhul-Hijjah will be `Eid, in which fasting is prohibited.

                                                                                                                                                                To be continued…