Al Haqqah


In one of the talks by Sh. Saleh Al Maghamsi, he says that some of the greatest qualities Allah has praised his pious servants of possessing are three. When the ayaat of Allah are recited, they feel: (1) Fear and humbleness in their hearts (2) creeping of the skin (3) dropping of tears. Surah Al Haqqah has a way of causing one to experience all three.

With my students, I’m making a habit for us to listen to selected ayaat (most Makki Surahs) with concentration and reflection on the meanings. They leave each week with gems and action items from what we heard together in class. I’ve chosen Makki surahs since more of the ayaat are muhkamaat and easier for students to understand. They’re also perfect for young adults in strengthening their core beliefs and aqeedah. Seeing as how Rasulullah (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) spent 13 years in Makkah, I’ve been meaning to ask someone of knowledge if these years have any bearing on how much time is needed for people to develop firm yaqeen and Iman? .. Food for thought.

It makes a lot of sense psychologically, if young people are introduced to Islam and more specifically, to Qur’an study, in the same chronological format the Qur’an was revealed because by the time they have a clear understanding of what they believe and why (which is the focus of Makki ayaat), inshaAllah they will have fewer issues when it comes to submitting to Allah’s commands and suppressing the nafs and ego when it’s most hardest to do so. When we study current data on behavior change, it’s almost like it’s taken directly from Allah’s methodology. We learn that behavior change is a gradual process that begins with a person coming to the conclusion that they need to change and this need is so urgent that if they don’t change their ways, something serious will happen. Once that urgency is developed, assessing the person’s desire, ability, and reasons for change help with creating an action plan and step-by-step process of letting go of the bad and creating room for new, more positive behaviors.

Surah Al Haqqah is one of those surahs that forces us to recognize the urgency in changing our ways. It gives a prelude as to which behaviors will lead to which destination, and Allah shows his love for us in this Surah by giving us a kind of preview of the Last Day, that only He ‘azzawajal can give. The imagery in this Surah is beyond words. What’s also interesting to note is the mention of a specific measurement when it comes to the chain that will be used to bind the criminals. One of my teachers shared that by Allah (swa) stating this measurement, we learn that everything in Jannah and Jahannum is calculated. What is calculated in Jahannum? The levels, the number of people, the temperature, etc. It’s extremely scary thought but it’s important to understand why Allah presents the kind of imagery and examples that He does, subhanahu wata’alah. Ayaat such as these also make us more cognizant and increase our zeal for da’wah inshaAllah.

  1. The Inevitable Hour!
  2. What is the Inevitable Hour?
  3. What will explain to you what the Inevitable Hour is?
  4. The people of Thamud and ‘Ad denied that the crashing blowwould come:
  5. Thamud was destroyed by a deafening blast;
  6. Ad was destroyed by a furious wind
  7. That God let loose against them for seven consecutive nights, eight consecutive days, so that you could have seen its people lying dead like hollow palm-trunks.
  8. Can you see any trace of them now?
  9. Pharaoh, too, and those before him, and the ruined cities: these people committed grave sins and disobeyed the messenger of their Lord, so He seized them with an ever-tightening grip.
  10. But when the Flood rose high,
  11. We saved you in the floating ship,
  12. Making that event a reminder for you: attentive ears may take heed.
  13. When the Trumpet is sounded a single time,
  14. When the earth and its mountains are raised high and then crushed with a single blow,
  15. On that Day the Great Event will come to pass.
  16. The sky will be torn apart on that Day, it will be so frail.
  17. The angels will be on all sides of it and, on that Day, eight of them will bear the throne of your Lord above them.
  18. On that Day you will be brought to judgement and none of your secrets will remain hidden.
  19. Anyone who is given his Record in his right hand will say, ‘Here is my Record, read it.
  20. I knew I would meet my Reckoning,’
  21. And so he will have a pleasant life
  22. In a lofty Garden,
  23. With clustered fruit within his reach.
  24. It will be said, ‘Eat and drink to your heart’s content as a reward for what you have done in days gone by.’
  25. But anyone who is given his Record in his left hand will say, ‘If only I had never been given any Record
  26. And knew nothing of my Reckoning.
  27. How I wish death had been the end of me.
  28. My wealth has been no use to me,
  29. And my power has vanished.’
  30. ‘Take him, put a collar on him,
  31. Lead him to burn in the blazing Fire,
  32. And [bind him] in a chain seventy metres long:
  33. He would not believe in Almighty God,
  34. He never encouraged feeding the hungry,
  35. So today he has no real friend here,
  36. And the only food he has is the filth
  37. That only sinners eat.’
  38. So I swear by what you can see
  39. And by what you cannot see:
  40. This [Quran] is the speech of an honoured messenger,
  41. Not the words of a poet- how little you believe!-
  42. Nor the words of a soothsayer- how little you reflect!
  43. This [Quran] is a message sent down from the Lord of the Worlds:
  44. If [the Prophet] had attributed some fabrication to Us,
  45. We would certainly have seized his right hand
  46. And cut off his lifeblood,
  47. And none of you could have defended him.
  48. This [Quran] is a reminder for those who are aware of God.
  49. We know that some of you consider it to be lies-
  50. This will be a source of bitter regret for the disbelievers-
  51. but it is in fact the certain Truth.
  52. So [Prophet] glorify the name of your Lord, the Almighty.

‏اللهم إني أعوذ بك من العجز والكسل والجبن والهرم، والبخل، وأعوذ بك من عذاب القبر، وأعوذ بك من فتنة المحيا والمم
Allahumma inni a’udhu bika minal-ajzi wal- kasali, wal-jubni wal-harami, wal-bukhli, wa a’udhu bika min ‘adhabil- qabri, wa a’udhu bika min fitnatil-mahya wal-mamat

O Allah, I seek refuge in You from helplessness (to do good), indolence, cowardice, senility, and miserliness; and I seek Your protection against the torment of the grave and the trials of life and death.

-Fi Amanillah-

Fire, Grace, and Gratefulness


There is a beautiful juxtaposition between grace, beauty, and fire Allah has placed within horses. They have a way of making the heart race and calm down at the same time. I’ve always loved seeing them and find myself lingering much longer near horses than other animals whenever I get a chance to go to local farms.

I had an opportunity to hear one of the most uplifting and soothing recitations of Surah Al ‘Adiyat last week, and it reconnected me with the stunning example Allah ‘azzawajal presents in this surah depicting a scene of horses moving with extreme speed and energy.

وَالْعَادِيَاتِ ضَبْحًا

By the racers, panting,

فَالْمُورِيَاتِ قَدْحًا

And the producers of sparks [when] striking

فَالْمُغِيرَاتِ صُبْحًا

And the chargers at dawn,

فَأَثَرْنَ بِهِ نَقْعًا

Stirring up thereby [clouds of] dust,

فَوَسَطْنَ بِهِ جَمْعًا

Arriving thereby in the center collectively,

These horses are trained to be at the disposal of their riders by exhausting themselves in obedience. Without an ounce of hesitation, they aggressively, intentionally, and swiftly move forward into battle causing sparks to fly. You can visualize their strikes and the dust that rises as they gallop, with loyalty and clarity of purpose. They find themselves right in the middle of their opponents but they persist with limitless sincerity and devotion. Allah ‘azzawajal highlights the loyalty of these horses, followed by the most poignant comparison with the nature of human beings, and their lack of loyalty to their Rabb. SubhanAllah..

إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لِرَبِّهِ لَكَنُودٌ

Indeed mankind, to his Lord, is ungrateful.

The number of days and moments we have let pass without genuine shukr to Allah, and yet He still provides, covers our sins, and has patience with us, ‘azzawajal. This world belongs to Allah and it’s worthless to Him, subhanahu watala’ala. The things Allah has given us from His dunya are not even ours and yet we exhaust ourselves in collecting them despite knowing they will perish. Allahumma la taj’alidduna akbara hammina.. 

May Allah (swa) help us recognize His ni’am, those that are apparent and hidden, and be consistent in thanking Him, subhanahu wata’ala. I myself have been presented with so many blessings and I ask Allah to help me in being among the shakireen. I wish I could re-live last week.. minus my deer-in-headlights look lol. I’m in awe of how Allah (swa) blesses us in ways we could have never imagined. Allah knows the whispers of our hearts and He can provide for us even before we ask. :)

Collection of Beautiful Horse Photos. To Buy your own amazing horse property, visit

اللهم ارزقنا بكل حرف من القرآن حلاوة.. وبكل كلمة كرامة.. وبكل أية سعادة.. وبكل سورة سلامة.. وبكل جزء جزاءا.

O Allah, bestow on us, by every letter of the Qur’an (that we have read) a sweetness, and by every word (from its pages) magnanimity and generosity, and by every verse happiness and joy, and by every chapter peace and security, and by every section reward.

Allahummarzuqna bi kulli harfim-minal Qur’ani halawah, wa bi kulli kalimatin karamah, wa bi kulli suratin salamah, wa bi kulli juz-in jazaa-a.

-Fi Amanillah-

– Source: Dream notes

New Beginnings


The start of the school year feels like a marathon on many levels. Two weeks of hard core preparation, setting down milestones till the finish line, and then visualizing the sweet victory at the end. :) InshaAllah everything goes as smoothly as possible. This year I have two school roles .. one is of course my actual work, and the second is Saturday school. It’s been a couple years since I’ve been in the classroom so I spent a good portion of the weekend creating lesson plans and activities. The leadership this year is excellent and they’ve given me a lot of latitude in structuring the class and curriculum as I see fit. My focus with the Level 4 students (ages 14+) will be:

1. Increase their love for Allah (swa) and the Prophet (saw) through a special focus on Asma-ul-Husna and the Shama’il of the Prophet (saw)
2. Focus on refining their sense of self by presenting Islamic studies in a relevant way to help them reflect on and navigate their environment (school, home community).
3. Increase their confidence in learning and studying the Qur’an. Will be referencing the Abdul Haleem translation .. one of the best I’ve come across.
4. Develop their leadership capabilities.
5. Increase their critical thinking skills through meaningful activities and discussion
6. Help them connect with their community through services hours and volunteer work

With these goals in mind for each class, I plan to hit on some special topics including social media (using Fiqh of Social Media handbook by Omar Usman), diseases of the heart (Ustadh Abdul Rahman Murphy’s “The Good Life”), review of halal trade vs. riba (I want to touch on this since many of the students are thinking about college and student loans. Joe Bradford has great resources on this), and definitely plan to incorporate the Inspiration series. Season 2 episode 1 went way beyond my expectations.

I think now more than ever, we are at a very critical time when it comes to our youth. Some of the things I see in the school just boggles my mind, and it’s scary to think many parents are unaware or oblivious of the kinds of things our youth are exposed to on a regular basis. I commend parents for enrolling their kids in weekend programs because at the very least, they can benefit from an Islamic environment, but it’s certainly not sufficient. I met some of the parents yesterday and highly encouraged them to be engaged with their student’s learning by staying up to date with their studies so we can all work together in supporting their growth and education. They can’t do it alone and it’s critical for us to have active discussions about these issues.

One thing I’ve noticed more often ever since it was mentioned in a Ramadan khatira this year, is that when it comes to education, you almost always see that the child’s mother will come instead of the father. I see this a lot at work, and sometimes when I do see the father show up for a meeting, I get confused lol because I’m so used to seeing the mother coming to inquire about their child’s progress or challenges. Even in our parent orientation for Saturday school yesterday, I counted 3 fathers and the rest were all mothers who accompanied their kids. It makes sense on one level since moms’ typically fall into the nurturing role, but if you look at the Qur’an .. it is filled with examples of involved fathers who were at the front lines when it came to the education and tarbiya of their kids. In my third lesson this year, I plan to do an in-depth study of the advice Luqman gave to his son and then have the class derive lessons for themselves .. and in addition, I would like to really emphasize Luqman’s role as a father and his proactivity in counseling his son from a young age. Just in reading that passage, you can feel the intimate bond he had with his son and the progression of his advice is so beautiful, intentional, and age-appropriate. Screen shot below. At a societal level, I think we have a serious epidemic of un-involved fathers and single parent homes mostly run by mothers. More on this in another post inshaAllah, but suffice it to say there is tons of research on the mental, emotional, academic, and even developmental impact on children when one or both parents are absent.

For all of us working with youth, it’s a great reminder that we need to be active, involved, observant, kind, compassionate and give 110% to our students every single day. We should see our work as an amanah from Allah and “tread softly” on their dreams, in the words of W.B. Yeats.

May Allah (swa) make it a successful year for all students and help us in helping them reach their potential. Ameen.

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Surah Luqman

اَللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ عِلْمًا نَافِعًا , وَ رِزْقًا طَيَّبًا , وَ عَمَلاً مُتَقَبَّلاً
Allahumma inni as’aluka ‘Ilman naafi’an, wa rizqan tayyiban, wa ‘amalan mutaqabbalan
O Allah, I ask You for knowledge that is of benefit, a good provision and deeds that will be accepted. Ameen

-Fi Amanillah-

Glistening stars


New page in my ever-growing art journal.
Watercolor is turning out to be my medium of choice. :)

‘The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming.’
– The Dark Knight

-Fi Amanillah-

Surah Muhammad


This surah is absolutely perfect for the times we are in. It fortifies one’s Iman and reorients our hearts and minds towards that which is most important – supporting Allah’s deen and firmly adhering to it times of difficulty and fitan.

During times of fitna, you will find that most people want to stay out of it but yet they also want to know 103% of the details lol. In our class with Sh. Muhammad Zidan, he explained that one of the best things a believer can do in difficult times is to stay consistent / have istiqamah with regards to their ‘ibadah. The reward of doing this will be multiplied for them because such few people will be doing this. Instead, many people will be engrossed in the fitna itself (excessive discussions, wasting time online, taking pictures/posts, etc), which further perpetuates the fitna rather than curtailing it.

Imagine a glacier coming down with incredibly high speed. The cold, chilling ice water is rushing down a massive mountain and you are standing right at the bottom on flat land. This fitna is sweeping everything along that comes comes in it’s path, but you are standing firmly and holding on to the only pole in sight as tightly as you possibly can. You know this glacier will pass but you have to exert every ounce of Iman and willpower to withstand the rushing ice water until the glacier passes. This pole is our deen and it is our choice as to how strongly we hold on to it when we find ourselves surrounded by challenges. May Allah (swa) help us plant our feet firmly and hold on to the most precious gift He has blessed us with until our last breath, ameen.

وَالَّذِينَ اهْتَدَوْا زَادَهُمْ هُدًى وَآتَاهُمْ تَقْوَاهُمْ

And those who are guided – He increases them in guidance and gives them their righteousness. [47:17]
-Fi Amanillah-



In Surah ‘Ali Imran, Allah (swa) says:

يَوْمَ تَجِدُ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ مَّا عَمِلَتْ مِنْ خَيْرٍ مُّحْضَرًا وَمَا عَمِلَتْ مِن سُوَءٍ تَوَدُّ لَوْ أَنَّ بَيْنَهَا وَبَيْنَهُ أَمَدًا بَعِيدًا وَيُحَذِّرُكُمُ اللّهُ نَفْسَهُ وَاللّهُ

رَؤُوفُ بِالْعِبَادِ

The Day every soul will find what it has done of good present [before it] and what it has done of evil, it will wish that between itself and that [evil] was a great distance. And Allah warns you of Himself, and Allah is Kind to [His] servants.” [3:30]

The use of Allah’s name – Ar-Rauf mentioned in this ayah, right after the statement that Allah warns us of Himself, requires much pondering and reflection.

This name of Allah comes from the root, rā hamza fā (ر أ ف), meaning to be compassionate/kind/merciful. It gives the meaning of having pity, tenderness, of being clement and mild. This is one of those names that makes you love Allah so much.

Allah (swa) sees our situations when we engage in good deeds and sins, and he realizes our state. Compassion is to feel what the other feels and understand their experience at a deep level. Our closest friends are those who understand us and get what we’re going through. Only then do we open up to them and feel like we can be vulnerable. Even at a basic level, when we ourselves see someone suffering and have the urge to help them .. that is ra’fa. Allah is extremely compassionate and wants to help us knowing what we are going through. Allah knows what we miss, what we want, what we’d really like to have.

This beautiful name of Allah (swa) indicates that He not only knows our struggles but he is compassionate towards us because of his knowledge and understanding. In this life, we are bound to make mistakes and sin. Keeping in mind that Allah warns us of himself, we should be alert and conscious of our every action and thought, exhibiting as much control as we can knowing that our deeds will be presented to us one day. Allah even foreshadows how people will express their regret, wishing there was a vast and timeless distance between them and their bad deeds when it is time for judgement. So if and when we fall into a mistake, remember that Allah is Ar-Rauf, especially towards His ‘ibaad. He understands us and knows us in ways that no one else can. If this isn’t heartwarming, I don’t know what is.

Looking at this ayah from a literary perspective, only Allah (swa) has such unique speech where such clear statements that elicit fear and hope are mentioned so closely together.

Top 10 Wonderful Flower Photos! #extremeBeauty #photography

-Fi Amanillah-

Gems from Umrah


Alhumdulillah Umrah was such a personal and introspective experience at all levels. I thought to myself that it would be so neat to share what it was like through a detailed post but I quickly realized that no form of expression could truly capture what it felt like to revisit Madinah al Munawwarah, see the Ka’ba, and just have the opportunity to exist for a few days on the lands that changed the course of history. I could write an endless post and it wouldn’t do justice. Nevertheless, a few gems are still beneficial to share :)

  • There are so many Muslims who wait their entire lives to make Hajj and visit the two most blessed cities in the eyes of Allah, so when Allah (swa) chooses you and provides the means/opportunity to go .. GO! No vacation spot, resort, etc. can come close to being in the presence of believers in the city of the Prophet (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and the Haramain. Wallahi nothing comes close.
  • I will never forgot the absolutely impeccable adab / manners, generosity, and humility of all the people who helped us throughout our journey .. from the airport, to the hotels, the bazars, streets. May Allah (swa) envelop them in his mercy and grant them ease in this life and the next.
  • I thought long and hard about the du’a to make upon seeing the Ka’ba, and I eventually decided to make as sincere of a du’a as possible for Allah (swa) to make me one of His chosen people, and among those who truly thanks Allah (swa) because of the many mentions in the Qur’an of how few people thank Allah. May Allah accept the du’a and make us all among His chosen creation, whom He uses in the path of good works. Ameen. In the words of Farooq bhai, “Allah apney bando mey sey chunai karte hain, aur hamari sabsi barri khaysh ho ni chahi ye key Allah hame apney chunne ve bandon mey sey banaa ley.” (sorry, don’t have an urdu keyboard)
  • Being in Madina, the realization that every part of Madina has shifa’ .. the water of Madina has shifa’, the dirt of Madina has shifa’, the air of Madinah has shifa’. <3
  • One’s love for the Messenger of Allah (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) skyrockets in his city. The seerah comes to life :)
  • Hearing Sh. Budair (hafidhahullah) recite these exact ayaat in salah in Madina was quite possibly the most memorable salah I have prayed to date! The ayaat + the significance of where I was standing and the meanings of each word he recited.. Allahu Akbar. 
  • When we are extra cautious about our gaze, Allah (swa) provides a special type of halawah / sweetness in one’s ‘ibadah that is felt and experienced deeply.
  • Seeing the mountains and dry lands in Saudi, one develops a visceral connection with the challenges our Messenger (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) faced and the Sahaba. Leaving their homes, traveling long distances over some of the most difficult terrain, it’s as though they were not made for this world and only had their eyes set on Allah’s promise and pleasure. On the way to Makkah, I thought to myself .. “wow, there is really no other reason a person would visit here except to for the sake of Allah!”
  • We had the opportunity to see the well ‘Uthman (radhiallahu ‘anh) bought for the Muslims. It’s really incredible to think of how many times ‘Uthman (ra) had the tawfiq and opportunity to be told that he was guaranteed Jannah. The number of times he used his wealth in the path of Allah without hesitation and his overwhelming mahabba for Allah and His Messenger (saw).
  • We also passed by the exact location where Rasulullah (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) planted the palm trees to free Salman al Farisi. Reflecting upon his boundless love and energy to support the believers in times of difficulty..
  • Seeing so many believers making intense du’as at every moment, every hour of the day, seeking only from their Creator and putting their trust in Him, renews one’s Iman immediately. We had a lovely opportunity to make du’a in Madinah while it started raining and just seeing everyone raise their hands for du’a standing anywhere outside.. you can’t help but feel strong. When we know Allah exists and He answers the call of His believers, we should never feel weak.
  • Almost everywhere you go, you hear people making dhikr, sending salwat/peace and blessings upon the Prophet. This is something you miss so much upon returning home, but remembering that experience of being in a constant state of dhikr can help us stay connected to it.
  • One of the new reciters I heard in the streets of Madina has now been on autoplay since returning .. Sh. Khalid Al Jalil 

Left part of my heart in Madina, may Allah make it so we can make Umrah every year without fail, ameen. <3

– Fi Amanillah-

P.S.: When packing for Umrah, pack LOTS of sabr. :) (corny but important)