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Learn how to cut travel costs

Part-time Offline Learning, Full-time Headache: Learn How to Cut Travel Costs

Learning the Quran in a madrassa these days (from Monday to Friday every week) is hard. The cost of travel is either too expensive or not worth it for that price. It is true when you have to drive your kids to a madrassa. There is also a hidden cost or lurking fee. And while you pay it or move on five days a week, there are always some ways around it. It just takes a little legwork to cut such annoying travel costs.

Why Travel Costs are So Annoying?

Imagine you’re living on the outskirts of your city. Your house is several miles from the nearest madrassa or Islamic center. If you bring your kid to that madrassa to learn the Quran, it takes you about two to three hours in the traffic. You have to give six hours a day (four for traveling and two for the Quran class). So, you’ll have to devote 20 hours a week (4 x 5 = 20). And when you are back home with your kid, it would be your mealtime or naptime. It’s so annoying.

You’ll never consider the stress it puts on you to run here and there for 20 hours a week. It’s very time-consuming as well, as you’ll have to bring your kids home from school and then take them out again to a madrassa. And it’s hard.

Either cut your travel costs or it will become your full-time headache.

And your quest for learning the Quran in a madrassa will turn into a full-time headache if your working hours are anything but nine to five. You will never feel creative because you will NOT be able to finish anything on time. In the end, you’ll run late for everything. So it’s something you can’t measure, and you have to find ways to cut your travel costs.

Start by Managing Yourself to Get a Handle on Your Time

Time management is all about managing yourself. An award-winning instructor Erich C. Dierdoff is right when he says it’s more than sneaky hacks in our life.

Don’t believe me? Well, think about it for a second. Did you ever control time? Can you stop it now or even slow it down? No way. No one else has more time to invest than you do. But some succeed more often than others, and they do it without controlling time. They do it by disciplining themselves to make the most of every minute.

So you have to work on the ways to let go of your time-management anxiety. Trust me, the time that you may waste in going to learn the Quran in a madrassa is immense. The driving time and going and sitting and waiting time – it seems like everything is just about twice as long as or more than it needs to be.

And if you think that people who manage themselves are fanatical workaholics, you’re mistaken. Just the opposite is the case. So invest time in planning your time, and you’ll think of hundreds of ways to manage yourself.

And then Move Online to Cut Travel Costs

The beauty of online Quran classes is that you can take them no matter where you are in the world.

Go for online Quran learning, and say no to travel costs.

There is no more travel in it because it has now become more of a challenge than expected. It upsets your daily life. And it can throw your study plans into chaos.

So anyone of you with the need to cut travel costs can take online Quran classes easily. For example,

  1. Imagine you live in a rural area, and you have to drive in cold weather. Traveling even one or two hours to the madrassa in January can then become a dangerous ordeal for you. Contrast that to staying at home while you finish your reading of the Quran. And you pay zero in fuel, parking, and maintenance of your car.
  2. What if you have a disability that makes driving to the madrassa impossible, and you’re reliant on others for moving you? Again, if you learn the Quran online, you’re on your own. You do not need travel help.
  3. Not everyone lives near the bus stop or train station. Online Quran learning cancels such a need to find and fund private transport or hitch a ride with strangers.
  4. If you move a little further, you can see that online learning is your chance to take classes from anywhere. It may seem silly to consider, but you can live in Australia and learn from a campus in Pakistan with no travel costs incurred. In one session, we have students from Great Britain, Dubai, and the United States.

Final Words

The way madrassas serve their students has evolved with the dawn of online learning. Technology has redefined the scope of it. You can now study from home; in other words, you can cut travel costs. And that means more time to your family in the end.

Is Online Quran Learning Safe for Your Kids?

Digital Parenting: Is Learning Quran Online Safe for Your Kids?

We can’t avoid using the Internet, and it’s indeed true. It’s been only about three decades or so since its start, and we can’t think of living without it. And because of COVID, we all use it now for literally everything. But an area of concern that keeps upsetting many Muslim parents is whether learning Quran online is safe for their kids.

Most worry about the risks the Internet harbors. Some call it an unsafe place for kids because even roads have rules, it doesn’t.

Let’s be easy with ourselves. No one can teach kids to be safe online well in all the chaos of COVID-19. It’s impossible because we’re all trying to juggle too much.

Is Learning Quran Online Safe?

Did you know that one in three Internet users is a kid? And, as per the European Commission, “around half of all 11-16 year-olds have faced one or more of six frequent Internet risks.”

Is online learning safe for kids?

Wow, there are a lot of kids facing digital risks. While the Internet has proven to be an invaluable asset, it has also posed many new threats. For example, DQ Institute’s Child Online Safety Index (COSI) surveyed 145,426 children in 30 countries and found that “60% of kids aged 8-12 have experienced at least one cyber risk.”

That doesn’t mean any harm to our children. It’s just as a number of risk exists whenever your kids move out. But you haven’t let them stay in your house all the time. You’ve instead taught them to stay safe while stepping out.

Your kid can stay just as safe online. And learning Quran online is safe as well. All you need is to know how such risks occur. This way, you can then place any Internet safety advice in context.

But first, you need to understand that online safety isn’t about technology; it’s all about human behavior. In other words, many of the risks online have nothing to do with technology and everything to do with your nature. Your life experiences as parents are precious assets. It is because you know human behavior better. And you have years of experience in interacting safely in the world.

How Internet Risks Occur?

The Internet gives crooks access to more information than ever before. Here are the reasons why such risks occur:

  1. Lack of Knowledge: Education is key, and we all lack a good cyber safety and security education. And sometimes, our behaviors online put us in harm’s way.
  2. Negligence: Even when we all know better, we make mistakes. It is indeed true when we see no cause and effect to help us correct our behavior. Say when you post something on Twitter and crooks use it a month later to rob you, you aren’t likely to recognize a link between the two events.
  3. Erratic Exposure to Content: The presence of disturbing content online can make online learning unsafe. Examples are pornography, violence, hate, or sites (that encourage crime, terrorism, and self-harm). Your kid can explore such content either intentionally or unintentionally.  
  4. Holes in Consumer Protection Standards: Right now, most of the burden is on you. Because of the rapid growth of the Internet, governments have not yet created a full set of standards and laws.
  5. Criminal Acts: The Internet doesn’t create crime. And sadly, it will not abolish it. But it does offer some powerful tools for crooks to take advantage of kids.

Such issues create a setting in which criminals and malicious acts can flourish. Predators are generally equal-opportunity criminals, happy to target victims of young age. That is why your kids are at risk.

So How to Make Quran Learning Online Safe?

Start on the right foot. Internet safety isn’t about “don’t,” “never,” or “no.” Remember: kids remain kids, even if they are online. It’s about learning how to create an environment to say “yes.”

Real safety is all about what you both do together. You can’t force your 10-years-old kid (or older) to act safely online.

Luckily, kids have a basic sense of safety most of the time. They don’t want someone to insult, rip off, or abuse them. And when they realize their actions may place them, their family members, or friends at risk, they are interested in using safety measures.

Indoctrination Concern

Aside from the risk factors, there is also a concern that online tutors may hold radical views and brainwash learners. But an award-winning BBC journalist Rahila Bano said:

It remains unknown if any youngsters have been led astray through online services run by radicals, but it is clear there is concern among some Muslims that it could happen.

As a result, your kids are safe, but there is a risk involved. It means the onus is on parents to know from whom and from where your kids are learning. 

Again, kids remain kids, even when they are online. They are going to engage with the digital world in silly ways. And as long as they’re safe, that’s okay. Don’t expect them to do unexpected things.

5 Reasons to Convince you Why Online Quran Learning is Better for Your KIds

5 Reasons to Convince You Why Online Quran Learning is Better

Let’s face it: You find yourselves confused about how and why online Quran learning is better. And you have no choice but to go for an offline option (or a madrassa, a school that educate millions of students in the Muslim world). Too often, you’re left to flounder with limited to no guidance. It’s because most of you are less familiar with the tools that come with it. There are many convincing reasons to move you to online Quran learning: time-saving, convenience, and reduced budgets. But can it be more effective than offline learning? Yes! 

Online Versus Offline Quran Learning

Ask any Muslim to describe a madrassa. Most will tell you about a physical space along with you as students and Qarees who assume specific roles. The Qaree decides what to teach, passes on the information to you, and awards scores to show your progress. You sit right in front of them, do the work given, and perform tasks that measure how much you’ve achieved. That is an old model, and we’re all familiar with it.

Yet ask someone about online Quran learning. You’ll get a different view. If you have ever read an article or watch a YouTube video, you are learning online.

But why online Quran learning is better? It is because online Quran courses are much more than reading or watching. They are rich experiences where you engage with the content, chat with tutors, and learn the Quran.

You might think that an online class is about a tutor lecturing on a subject and serving as the only source for answers. It is a common misconception. It is much less teacher-centric, as it centers more on students.

How Online Quran Learning Works?

There are plenty of tools and resources available for you to know how online Quran learning works. They all make your journey exciting. When you’re by yourself, knowledge and productivity are important. Here are some reasons for your tool chest:

1.    Learning the Quran Has Never Been That Easy!

For a beginner, it is easier than ever. In the past, people felt that to learn the Quran, they had to plow lots of time, money, and effort. But whether you’re out to memorize the Quran or just want to read it, you can do it now with less time and less money. Just don’t skimp on the effort.

2.    No More Traveling

The great payoff is location. With the offline Quran learning, you have to travel to get ready, drive out, and find a parking spot. With the online Quran learning, however, your tutor can teach you anywhere in the world. It also eliminates, or reduces, ancillary, non-learning expenses, such as travel and lodging costs.

3.    Flexibility and Speed

Another difference is the flexibility offered. Online Quran learning usually has a more flexible timescale. You get to work when it works for you.

Flexibility and speed in Quran learning online.

Say you’re a manager assigned to the third shift, and you work from 11 PM to 7 PM. You may be able to fit in a morning class, but chances are, your cycles put you in a sleepy state after work. You could sleep a little and then wake up and take a night class before your shift, but then when will you do your work? And, what about tomorrow night? Wouldn’t it be great to work your course around your schedule?

You can fit the learning into your busy schedules whenever you want. Unlike the offline option, where you might feel self-conscious about asking a tutor to repeat something, you will get to set the pace to accommodate your own learning style and schedule. And the offline model doesn’t offer as much flexibility to both teacher and learner.

Balancing work, family, and commitments is hard at best. Online Quran learning allows you to address your professional growth needs at a time. That is more flexible with your ways of life.

4.    Low Cost

Online Quran learning costs you less.

Unlike offline learning options that require you to shell out a lot of money, the online method is within your means. It doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket.

5.    Tutor-Led Online Sessions

When confusion or issues arise, you aren’t stuck with the canned material. You can ask tutors to clarify and give examples to clear up all questions.

Why online Quran learning is better?

Instead of the offline setup, where the tutor spends most of his time lecturing all students, the online model maximizes his value by focusing on one-on-one interactions, with personalized advice on how to learn the Quran well.  

We’re Here to Help!

If you’re still thinking about why online Quran learning is better (it’s all the rage these days), but you’re concerned about getting lost in the electronic fray, worry no more. We are here to help you, providing you with a hands-on learning experience that includes the online course. Consider us your primer.

Digital Parenting: 5 Ways to Become Role Models for Your Digital Children

We all are living in a digital age. Many Muslim parents have begun to feel like it is impossible to keep up with it. Their plugged-in children speak a strange language. And they have many chances for learning and growth that we did not experience in our days. Even if you don’t get to know every nuance of the digital world, it’s vital to set rules. Don’t know how? No worries. Here are some chock-full of nuggets to help Muslim parents be role models for your digital children.

First of All: Know the World in Which Your Digital Children Live

Parenting is hard, no doubt. The key is to explore the digital world of your children. You have to set proper rules that work.

Raising happy digital children

Think of the ways that make your kids — from preschoolers to teens — happy digital children. And, then, create different device rules based on their ages:

Birth to Preschool (2- to 5-year olds) 

This age group is not at all immune to the digital world. Some children can operate a phone before they can even walk. As such, you have to pay close attention to screen time limits and the rightness of the content.

Young Elementary (5- to 10-year olds)

Children of this age group are often able to operate cellphones. They do not need your guidance. But they still require you for proper and safe use.

Tweens (10- to 12-year olds)

In many ways, tweens may appear to rule the digital world. That is why many tech companies create products that cater to this age group. Your rules for tweens may require fewer limits but are likely to cover more devices.

Teens (12- to 18-year olds)

Teens want freedom, and they also need technology. At this age, they start to lay down their digital footprint and make decisions that may affect their entire lives. Although teens will get many options, they may also require much guidance.

1.     Set Screen Time Rules for Digital Children

The most basic place to start is to set screen time limits. It is a highly debated topic among parents today as well. On average, teens spend nine hours on screens. But only a small percentage of that time devoted to learning. Melinda Wenner Moyer — an award-winning science journalist who writes for Slate, Mother Jones, Scientific American and O, and The Oprah Magazine — wrote:

If you had asked me [a few years ago] how I felt about digital media as a parent, I would have had an answer ready: Our kids…won’t own devices or touch social media until age 13… Then the coronavirus happened. All of my clever plans flew out the window. Now, my 8-year-old practically lives on our family tablet — doing a bit of online learning, sure, but also games, chat, FaceTime and email. Our 5-year-old is not that far behind. And really, who can blame us? My husband and I want our kids to feel socially connected even as we isolate ourselves in our home… Screen time has become our life line.

Sounds familiar? We all are floating on the same boats. So screens are here to stay, and managing screen time is the real challenge. Positive screen use is thus possible. But you have to guide your digital children with consistency.

Structured or unstructured screen time for your digital children

2.      Set Mobile Phone Usage Rules for Your Digital Children

Set mobile phone usage rules. It is vital when your child reaches tween age. Discuss this topic with your child. Be sure to answer:

  1. When can your child use the phone? Is it for weakened use or just after school? Can your child use it at home? Or, is it just when you are not with them?
  2. What are reasons for using phone? Is the purpose only to call home in an emergency or change in schedule? Or, can your child use it socially to chat with friends?
  3. What constitutes an emergency? Is it appropriate for your children to call to request that a forgotten homework be dropped off at school? Or, is that an abuse of phone rights?

If your child has a smartphone with apps, you need to include rules for app purchases and downloads.

3. Create Internet Safety Tips for Your Digital Children

The vast majority of teens and tweens can access the Internet. And many remain unsupervised. Thus, as recommended by Kathleen A. Morris, you should set clear use rules to protect both your kids and you.

10 internet safety tips for digital parents

Sharing Emails

As tweens are old enough to use the Internet, you should discuss when and how to share emails. Most sites that require account creation also need the disclosure of emails. Ask tweens to get your permission before sharing emails with anyone. 

Search Engines

Search engines are gateways to nearly endless info. But they also connect your digital children to an often unfiltered world. Be sure your kids:

  • Do not use search engines before a certain age
  • Have a supervised use
  • Do no image searches
  • Use search engines with parental controls only
  • Use them for learning purposes.

Approved and Banned Sites

If your child spends time on the Internet without your direct guidance, consider creating two lists:

  • Approved: This list contains only sites your children can access. Bookmark them to make them handy. Allow your child to update the list as they get older and learn about new and suitable sites.
  • Banned: Consider creating a list if you don’t want your child to visit specific popular-yet-inapt sites. You can revisit this list later to remove or add sites as you see fit.

Social Media and Chat

Many sites provide your children with the ability to chat with strangers. Therefore, be sure to:

  • Check which social media sites your children can join in by age group
  • Restrict sites
  • Instruct them about privacy settings on social media
  • Set rules about parent access to each child-owned account
  • Guide them to create friend lists, including whether parental approval is essential before adding someone to a list
  • Set rules for chatting on all platforms, including what level of chat you allow.

Make sure your child hangs out in an age-appropriate atmosphere. Networks such as Facebook aren’t for tweens or younger kids… but what do your children do before teenage? Most join in communities that allow them to interact with others, but in different ways from Facebook, Google+, or Twitter.

Not ready to let your child make a social media profile? Consider creating a shared account. You can build a family Facebook page and update it together.

4. Set Gaming Rules for Your Digital Children

Video games are a part of everyday living. That is why many handheld devices are available for 18 months to 18 years olds. Brainstorming games doesn’t work anymore. So don’t let your digital children video game addict (see the signs). Their lives will become unruly.

Don't let your digital children become addictive to video games.

Game Rating

Some rating systems assign age and content ratings for all games. An example is the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating system. It also gives you feedback focusing on such areas as violence or sexual content.

Don't let your digital children ruin their lives by playing games all the time.

Be specific. You may add exceptions on a game-by-game basis after previewing content or reading a game summary. This way you’ll be able to set parental controls on each of your children’s devices to enforce such restrictions.

Co-play and Social Gaming

Many game consoles come with co-plays (with one or multiple players) via Wi-Fi. Be sure to set specific rules, including whether your child can play such games with kids online.

5. Be a Digital Role Model for Your Digital Children

COVID has made the use of screens a virtual lifeline for school and social connection. Balancing it today has thus become even more complex. But it doesn’t change the fact that the Internet is an essential tool for learning.

Remember: “Real learning isn’t passive, it’s active.”

The onus is thus on you as parents to be role models for your digital children. As such, give them an experience that’s fun, educational, safe, and appropriate.

How about learning Quran online and taking online courses?

Some Quran learning institutes aim to recreate the schooling experience your child has in the classroom. If you live miles from your nearest madrassas, it’s the best way for your child to go for it. Your child will receive three-to-five, 30-minute active sessions a week of one-to-one classes with experts.

Bottom line: Raising digital children is hard, no doubt. No policy is easy to implement. It comes with costs that follow each rule. Decide what is best for you and your child. Then, get ready to enforce that policy. But whatever costs it may have, be sure to talk to your child to make it clear.

My team and I are brainstorming… We want to ensure we are doing everything possible to help you tackle your parenting challenges… but to do that, we need to know what those challenges are 🙂 Scroll down and “hit” reply. I can’t wait to read your responses!

how should women dress in line with the Quran and Hadith

How Should Muslim Women Dress: Lessons from Quran and Hadith

A veil is a piece of cloth that covers a woman’s body to varying degrees. But how should Muslim women dress remains the focus of hostility in the eyes of many who view veils as oppressive to women. Why? It’s because of the strict policies that require women to wear full-length robes, burqas, and niqabs. The West thus treats Muslim women as the only group to suffer oppression. The problem lies somewhere in our limited understanding or misinterpretation of the Quran and Hadith (our Prophet’sﷺ sayings).

Is There Any Islamic or Un-Islamic Dress in Quran and Hadith?

Many people in the West often condemn Islam for requiring women to wear the headscarf (or hijab). Skeptics often argue that Islam is incompatible with democracy because women lack the freedom to dress as they want. It is wrong. There is no requirement of a specific dress in Islam. All Islam wants from Muslim is to dress modestly.

The Quran and hadith expect both men and women to dress modestly. In Quran, Allah says:

How women should dress in line with the Quran and Hadith?

This verse clearly states the basic guideline for both men and women to dress attractively and modestly. Any clothing that “hides your private parts and adds aesthetic value” (or modest dress) is what Allah orders men and women to wear.

Laws for dressing would also reflect the cultural interpretation of modest clothing that varies from society to society. Muslim women don’t have the same knowledge of what modest dressing requires. But, in an Islamic world, the culture of the people would also reflect the law.  

Who are Pious Women in the Quran and Hadith?

Allah says to our Prophetﷺ to tell all Muslim women “to draw their veils as coverings over them.” In Quran, Allah says:

In the words of Quran and Hadith, while going out, Muslim women should draw their veils as coverings over them.

Why? It’s a way to recognize women as pious, free women. “Drawing their veils” while going out sanctifies their honor. This way, a woman can work honorably in any society without being glorified or condemned for her look. Our beloved Prophetﷺ also warns against lavish dress to impress others.

In the above verse, the word pious describes a devout person. Pious clothing is thus a piece of cloth for a Muslim woman that expresses her devotion to Islam. Piety has also become a general placeholder for ethics, so a good Muslim is pious. In the same way, pious clothing equals morality because this practice helps form a woman’s character and serves to establish public norms of dress. 

Hadith: “The Defining Characteristics of Islam is Modesty.”

Guarding chastity and modesty is one of the most oft-repeated ethical instructions in the Quran and Hadith. The word modest refers to clothing that does not show too much of a woman’s body. The goal of wearing modest clothes is to be decent and demure (see the video above). It is also to discourage sexual attention.

And that means a way to cover her body to not to arouse sexual desire for men. For example, her dress shouldn’t be see-through, too short, or overly tight. Beyond it, she can wear anything she wants or that culture in which she lives demands.

Stay Away from the Taliban Style of Islam

Why? It is because they have no vision for the future. They remained locked into male society and learned something that only made them brutal fighters. Taliban have no background knowledge of history, culture, and tradition in Afghanistan.   

Think of the Taliban’s new hijab mandate in schools as an example. Afghan women held a seminar in Kabul University to show their support for the hijab, separate education for men and women, and the new Taliban rule.

Afghan women wearing full-length robes held a seminar in Kabul University. This dress is not in line with the Quran and Hadith.

There is nothing wrong with it. Most Afghan women wear hijab, but it is not in any way an Islamic dress. All Islam wants is to dress modestly. Such attire has never been part of the Afghan culture as well. An Afghan journalist Malali Bashir painted a picture of a woman wearing traditional clothes to show the world the real culture of Afghanistan.

A traditional Afghan dress that shows the beautiful culture of Afghanistan.

The Taliban style of hijab is not the true interpretation of the instructions from the Quran and Hadith. What the Taliban are enforcing is not modest. It has nothing to do with Islam. So Muslim women should stay away from it.

Dressing in the World Religions

Of course, Islam is not the only religion that expects modesty from its followers. If you read Corinthians, 11: 4-6, it says:

See it clearly states that when a woman prays, she must cover her hair or shave it. Even modern paintings of Christian women, including the Virgin Mary, reflect this modest dress.

Young Virgin Mary Painting (Source: Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato)

Christian sects, such as Amish and the Mennonite, also require modest attire.

Source: A Christian woman wearing the headscarf

Dress codes in the world religions may overlap, but the wisdom and reasoning behind them can vary. Such a difference may explain why many in the West wrongly view veils a symbol of oppression. It also clarifies why hijab is such a hot issue in the secular world.

In short, Muslim women should avoid going to the extreme. They can wear anything that “hides their private parts and adds aesthetic value.” It is wrong to interpret the instructions from the Quran and Hadith in a restricted way. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter!  

How to Contain the COVID-19 Spread: Lessons Learned from the Quran and Ahadith

How to Contain the COVID-19 Spread: Lessons Learned from the Quran and Hadith

COVID-19 has already quaked the whole world. Every one of us finds ourselves turned upside down. We can’t meet because the danger is invisible, and it passes among people who are too near to each other. To get through COVID-19, we need to relearn what we’ve learned about how we interact. Lessons from the Quran and hadith would help contain the COVID-19 spread.

Virus spread is a sad and scary example of network effects. Think of your networks when sharing spaces. If you have a power lunch in person, you’re risking the safety of yourself and your mates. And the groups of people you have each shared air within the days and weeks near your luncheon are also at risk.

Why Studying Plagues or COVID-19?

It’s not a pleasant subject. The history of plagues is full of suffering and death. It often seems random or just bizarre, the bane of most historians. There is no happy ending.

The reason for studying COVID-19 is to help debunk popular COVID-19 vaccine myths (see the video). Vaccine hesitancy is widespread in Pakistan. It is all because of rumors and conspiracy theories on social media. While some say that there is alcohol in it, others argue that it contains pork (or other things prohibited in Islam). There are still others claiming that the vaccine may affect some parts of your brain. These claims are wrong and misleading.

But something about COVID-19 is still intriguing. It is that COVID-19 tempers the whole world. There is no middle ground. It puts us all on a litmus test.

How the Quran and Hadith Would Help Contain the COVID-19 Spread?

Now come to the point: How should we act to contain the COVID-19 spread? It isn’t just a question about how and when to shut down public spaces and schools to slow its spread. It’s all about what to do in line with the Quran and hadith to make changes happen. There’s a dire to learn what plans worked and what will not.

In Quran and hadith, Allah wants us all to repent. When corruption is widespread, Allah sends us a warning or reminder (similar to COVID-19). He puts us all on trial to desist. Allah says:

Quran and Hadith send us a warning or reminder to desist.

 It is indeed a form of warning for our evil work we have done with our own hands. Allah says:

Whatever misfortune befalls you is the result of that evil which you have done.

COVID-19 also serves as a sign of mercy and love for believers. When Hazrat Aisha (R.A.) asked about the plague, our beloved Prophetﷺ responded:

A hadith about the plague.

It means that COVID-19 comes from Allah. No one can escape it. But we can take all measures to help contain the spread of it.

What Scholars Say?

It is indeed Allah’s decision whether we will become ill. But it is still a complex dilemma for many. Perhaps the best answer is provided by Imam Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (R.A.), a prolific scholar, saint, jurist, and historian. Al-Suyuti (R.A.) lived in Egypt during the final years of the Mamluk sultanate. As plague was frequent in Mamluk Egypt, al-Suyuti wrote a tract on the origins, spread, and appropriate responses to it.

Al-Suyuti (R.A.) was the admirer of Allama Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (R.A.) and reiterated his ideas on the plague. In light of the hadith above, al-Suyuti (R.A.) equated dying from the epidemic with a martyr’s death in battle. It was to convince people to contain the COVID-19 spread. He also insisted that both the one who survived the plague and the one who succumbed to it would get the reward.

Imam Al-Suyuti (R.A.) condemned flight from plague-struck area. He argued that the most prominent of the Prophet’sﷺ companions disavowed Amr bin al-A’s (R.A.) for his flight from a plague in Syria. 

The Plague of Amwas: How Umar Ibn al-Khattab (R.A.) Contained Its Spread?

The Plague of Amwas (Amwas is a word derived from the town in Palestine) presents a convincing case study to help contain the COVID-19 spread. It also marks the first known application of stopping people from entering or leaving a plague-struck area. The plague of Amwas broke out in Syria and Mesopotamia in 638-639 and claimed around 25,000 lives.

When Hazrat Umar (R.A.) heard of the plague, he was on his way to Syria. He asked his companions whether they should continue toward the plague-stricken area.

A debate ensued about what to do. Some urged the caliph to keep going and not turn back. Others suggested not to expose himself and other leaders, including the Companions of the Prophetﷺ, to the plague.

After consulting his aides, Hazrat Umar (R.A.) decided to return to Medina. Hazrat Abu Ubayda (R.A.) posed an exclamatory question on whether by going back “Umar would be fleeing from the will of Allah.” Hazrat Umar (R.A.) then employed the parable of grazing camels on a lush slope rather than the opposite, barren slope to explain how they were:

“Fleeing from Allah’s destiny to Allah’s destiny.”

The debate ended when Hazrat ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn ʿAwf (R.A.) arrived on the scene to quote Muhammad’sﷺ saying:  

Umar (R.A.) was happy that his decision was in line with the saying of the Prophetﷺ. This hadith has thus established the general rule:

“One should avoid entering a plague-struck city but should not try to flee from it if already there.”

Umar’s (R.A.) move was a wise decision that presaged the concept of (self) quarantine.

What We Should Do to Contain the COVID-19 Spread?

It is the moral duty of our scholars to teach us NOT to commit suicide. After taking all medical precautions and getting vaccines, we must trust in Allah and seek His forgiveness. We should adopt online gatherings as a rule. As the cases are growing day by day, I’d suggest that we must hold classes, prayers, and get-together online to contain the COVID-19 spread. There is nothing more important than the life of an individual.

Saving a life is an act of worship. In light of the Quran and Hadith, the government of Pakistan must take all (strict) measures to contain the COVID-19 spread until there is no single case left (take an example of China). And we should all as a nation ask Allah to forgive our sins, desist from the sinful life, and commit not to return to it.

why you should learn the Quran to fall in love with your Allah?

Why You Should Learn the Quran to Fall in Love with Allah?

Taqwa is a word that appears throughout the Quran to describe your relationship with Allah. It expresses a spirit of God-consciousness that shields, wards off, and saves you from inner and outer evil. Taqwa is the pleasure of living with Allah’s love, mercy, and ecstasy in the supreme and nonverbal nectar of love. But how would you mediate in Taqwa to receive the Divine grace? Being close to the Quran will result in you being close to Allah! Start learning the Quran, and you’ll fall in love with Allah.

Critics often say that the Quran describes Allah as “angry, vengeful, cold, distant, and unloving.” This claim is false and baseless. I often wonder if these critics have ever bothered to pick up or learn the Quran. There are still others saying that the Quran mentions the concept of love only twice. If numbers really mean anything, I must say that the Quran is all about the love of Allah.

Allah is Most Loving in the Quran

Let’s face it: Every Surah, except Surah Tauba, begins with Allah as “the Most Compassionate, the Ever-Merciful.” Allah also calls Himself “Ever-Merciful, Most Loving”:

Learn the Quran to know How Much Allah Loves You!

It is with the attribute of Allah’s love that the Quran most often seeks to create a bond with you.  In Sahi Al-Muslim, Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said while quoting Allah, “My Mercy prevails over My wrath.”

Allah loves you, as His mercy prevails over His wrath.

Allah Recreated His Attribute of Love as an Instinct in You

Allah describes Himself in the Quran in ninety-nine different ways. Each of these names of Allah tells about His attribute. They all are creative possibilities present in the essence of Allah. Allah causes these possibilities to become manifest in His creation of the world and of humanity. Love is the force that causes Allah to create the universe. A hadith says:

“I was a Hidden Treasure, so I loved to be known. Hence I created the creatures that I might be known.”

“Allah is Closer than Your Jugular Vein”

Abu Hamid al-Ghazali once said,

“No one other than Allah can ever know Allah.”

Indeed, that is why He is Allah. But to know that you don’t know the essence of Allah is to come closer to knowing Allah. That’s a little tough to follow!

Humans can know something about Allah by knowing His attributes. It means that believers shouldn’t grasp His traits in their heads only. They should also embody His attributes in their lives.

But Islam balances this idea of never knowing Allah with statements about the nearness of Allah. Two verses from the Quran perhaps express this immanence of Allah:

Fall in love with Allah because He is closer than your jugular vein.

Anatomists and physiologists know that each side of the neck has jugular veins. The role of these veins is to bring blood from the head to the heart.

Jugular vein pulses.

These veins stay in touch with two carotid arteries (one on each side of the neck). These arteries carry blood from the heart to the head. As the bloodstream is the vehicle of life, the phrase “closer than your jugular vein” implies that Allah knows the innermost state of your feeling and consciousness than does your ego. Also, Allah says:

Fall in love with Allah because He knows everything which is in the heavens and in the earth.

This verse shows that Allah remains with you wherever you are. Although we may attempt to know how we fall in love with Allah in different ways, the most important is that Allah loves us.

Fall in Love with Allah for Himself, Not for Anything Else

Ahmad al-Ghazali (R.A) wrote:

Love integrates the human soul, and the ultimate object of love is Allah.

Maulana Rumi (1207-1273) and Fareed al-Din Attar (1119-1220) also developed the theme of Allah’s love for us. Attar’s account Memoirs of the Saints is perhaps the most-often cited book on spirituality. It quoted Hazrat Rabia Basri’s (713-801) sayings on the importance of humans loving Allah:

Fall in Love with Allah for Himself, not for anything else.

In another incident, Hazrat Rabia Basri (R.A.) was hurrying down a path. She had water in one hand and a torch in the other. Someone asked her why and she replied that the water was to put out the fires of hell, and the fire was to burn up paradise.

Reason: One should not love Allah out of fear of punishment in hell or reward of heaven but only out of love for Allah Himself.

An Open Call to Fall in Love with Your Allah

We know life is hard overseas. Not all of you can afford to go to the mosques. But how many minutes or hours do you devote only to Allah? Think of the time you spend and reflect on how you go through your daily life. How much effort do you put in loving Allah, reciting His words, reflecting upon them, teaching others, and putting them into practice?

Now is the time to invest in it because it can shine the potential in you that you might not notice before. And that is only possible by creating a strong bond with the Quran and Sahib-e-Quran (our beloved Prophetﷺ). I invite you all to love Allah as He does with you and enlighten your inner and outer selves with the light of the Quran.

5 Reasons Why Learning the Quran and Hadith Online is Vital for Children

Bringing up a child is hard. The speed, pressure, and stress of living mean you never seem to have enough time. We are living in strange times. A recent survey by Pew Research Center suggests that children spend vast amounts of time in front of screens. The screen time has soared even in the COVID. And despite many other things they could do, they always appear bored. Your children need a base to grow. You, as parents, need a plan to know from where you should start and end. We know that parenting is harder today than it was twenty years ago. But don’t worry. Here are the five reasons why learning the Quran and hadith online is vital for parents to raise happy children and become the planner of your family’s future.

1. Learning Quran and Hadith Online Allows Parents to Understand Themselves and Children Better

Many of us send our children to Madrassas to learn the Quran and hadith. While such a practice is good to some extent, you should spend time raising your children. But this practice also involves learning the Quran and hadith first because the duty of teaching children rests on you as parents.

Yes, your child can see you going to attend a madrasah three hours a day, five times a week. But they can’t watch how a Qaree teaches you offline.

That is why the online option works best for your child. It allows him to observe how you’ll log in daily and learn the Quran and hadith online.

2. Don’t Let Your Children Think that Islam is for the Mosques Only!

You put your children on the wrong track when you allow them to play and watch TV all day at home and go (or send them) to madrassas to learn the Quran and hadith under the tutelage of a Qaree. Children start to think that Islam is for the mosque only, while a home is a place for worldly pleasures and pursuits.

Beware: Telling children what to do and not showing them a good example is a hypocritical act. It confuses your children and drives them away from YOU.

3. Learning the Quran and Hadith Online will Make You Caring Parents

Islam urges you as parents to teach your children the Quran and hadith. That is what our pious ancestors did. But learning online will give you more time for your child whose mind roams in this digital age and needs constant attention.

You Are No More in Charge

Admit it: You are not in charge. Your child is, and the worst part, he knows it. Your kid has a great plan of attack: He draws you in, and then he pounces!

You are well aware that your child is manipulating you, but, as parents, you don’t have to destroy your opponent. You have to raise your child properly. Do you know the way our beloved Prophetﷺ dealt with children? Heﷺ teaches us each and everything to implant beautiful things in the minds of our children. A case in point is that our Prophetﷺ never said a minor harsh word to children:

Our Prophetﷺ even warns us against lying to our children and belittling their feelings.

How our Prophet (PBUH) treated our children? Learn the Quran and hadith online.

Did you see how caring was our beloved Prophetﷺ? Heﷺ even considered it a lie when you call your children to give them something, but you won’t.

Be Flexible

You must learn how to impart the ability to bounce back! There isn’t a total victory but rather a mutual solution that keeps both of you happy.

Our beloved Prophetﷺ always advises us to honor our seniors. And it is hisﷺ sunnah as well to circulate milk or water (in a meeting) from the right-hand side of the one who serves that drink. But Abdullah Ibn Abbas (R.A.) narrated,

Do you see the way heﷺ treated Abdullah Ibn Abbas (R.A.), a seven-year-old child? How beautiful is the act of our Prophetﷺ! Heﷺ does not reprove or scold him. Instead, heﷺ gives him his right.

This way you can also listen to your children to adapt to and recognize their needs. It would help you and your child grow and develop together.

4. Explaining What is Right and Wrong to Your Children

Let’s face it: We, as parents, find it hard to tell right or wrong to our children. How would you explain your duty as a Muslim “to act in defense of what is right is as much part of your faith to oppose wrong” to your child if you learn this hadith in a mosque? Not in front of your child?

In other words, how would you explain to your child how he must right the wrong with his hand, tongue, gaze, and heart? It is because your child never watches you doing it. And you don’t know how you and your child perceive the ways to oppose wrong. How can you simplify this hadith?

Now imagine if you are learning the Quran and hadith online in front of your children. You and your child can see how a teacher explains you right the wrong you see:

why learning the Quran and Hadith online is good for you and your children

This way you can talk to your child about how such types of protest can also empower them to make their voices heard.

5. It’s Still Not Too Late to Learn (How to Recite) the Quran and Hadith Online

Not every Muslim can recite the Quran well because some have a natural stutter that they cannot overcome. Non-Arabs also find it hard to pronounce some letters of the Quran. Such people, who strive to improve but fail, get two rewards from Allah, and they are not guilty in the least.

Learn how to recite the Quran online today because you and your children need it. Otherwise, you will find the rules of recitation too hard to master. We know that many of you started it when you were young but left it for many years.

Your long detachment resulted in it being hard for you (and your children in the future) to re-learn how to recite the Quran. But it’s still not too late. You can achieve proficiency through practice and will. All you need to do is to try hard. Allah will make matters easy for you.

Why You Should Learn to Recite the Quran with a Lovely Voice?

Quran is the word derived from the root word Qara’a, which means ‘to read’ or ‘to recite.’ The art of reciting the Quran is Tajweed, a system of rules ruling the correct way to recite the Quran. That is why, learning Tajweed is the duty of every Muslim. Allah says,

Recite the Quran with most pleasant pauses.

This way, God has taught our beloved Prophetﷺ to recite the Quran in “slow, measured, rhythmic tones.” Trust me: Nothing will be more pleasing or more fulfilling than reciting the Quran with the lovely voice (or “most pleasant pauses”).

Think of the most beautiful Quran reciters of our time. How do they read and recite the Quran? Take an example of the “sad, soulful, and bluesy” tone of the late Shaikh Nourin Mohamed Siddique. His matchless style made him the most lovable and beautiful reciter of the Quran.

How Allah Rewards Those Who Recite the Quran?

Allah lightens up the heart of the reciter with the Noor of Imaan. He protects you from the dark, distances you from evils, guides you to the straight path, and expands your chest with it. And Allah makes His angels pray for you with mercy and forgiveness.

Reciters will never run into loss. Allah says,

Reciters of the Quran will never run into loss.

Our beloved Prophetﷺ allows us to be jealous of reciters of the Quran. Heﷺ says,

There are ten rewards for each letter you recite from the Quran. A hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Mas’ud (R.A.) in Jami at-Tirmidhi says,

Allah will have a reward for those who recite the Quran.

So, we should recite the Quran because our beloved Muhammadﷺ describes the heart of a believer who does not read or memorize the Quran as a ‘deserted house.’

What are the Ways to Recite the Quran Beautifully?

There are four ways to recite the Quran:

  1. Hadr (in regular speed)
  2. Tartil (slowly with a sense of deep reflection)
  3. Tajweed Tahqiq (slowly but with more care), and
  4. Tajweed (at a normal-and-slow pace)

Your basic understanding of the Quran cannot be complete without listening to the oral recitation. Even if you do not know the Arabic words, reciting the Quran in four ways can give you a feel for the voice of the Book that evokes such emotions.

Learn the Quran: It is Not That Hard as You May Think!

Don’t just abolish the real purpose of recitation while reading the Quran many times over without paying attention to its meanings. Your aim should be to reflect, ponder, and slowly recite some verses than to read quickly. It is as if you are skimming over what you are reading. Your ‘true purpose’ of reciting the Quran should be to learn, think, and act.

But many of you may ask, “How would I pay attention?” Don’t worry. Most of the Arabic words derived from tri-literal (or quadri-literal) roots make it an easy language for you and your children (as non-Arabs) to learn Arabic.

Let’s try it. Add letters at the beginning, middle, and end of the roots. It will create well-structured meanings of the Arabic words.

For example, the letters Mu in Arabic at the beginning of a word express the notion of acceptance. The word for belief in Arabic is Amin. By putting Mu in place of A, you get Mumin, which means the one who has accepted belief, or a believer.

How easy is it? Isn’t it? Arabic at first seems quite hard for non-Arabs. But, structurally, linguists agree that it is not. It is because of its simple and logical pattern in forming words through their roots.

Recite the Quran Because It Softens Your Hearts

Many complain about the hardheartedness. They always look for ways to get rid of it. Indeed, the cure is to draw closer to the Quran. Allah says,

This way, when you recite the Quran, Allah internalizes divine speech in your heart. And when you recite it with a pure heart and mind, the naturally beautiful voice of the Quran comes out.

Overall, the art of reciting the Quran with a beautiful voice is not as hard as you may think. But, if you believe you cannot, get in touch! You can also get help to recite the Quran online with a lovely voice and pleasant pauses.

What the Quran Says about Public Harassment of Women?

One afternoon, I was walking through a street near my office. Lost in my thoughts, I heard a guy in his 20s saying, “I like the way your […] bounces when you walk.” He said this to a girl while standing with his friends. Feelings of anger and disgust soon followed my initial shock at hearing such words. I stopped and turned around to glare at them. I asked, “Why did you pass lewd remarks?” They started laughing, and when I tried to reach them, they ran away. I was blushing with rage. The words and laughter echoing in my mind ruined the rest of my day. This story describes only one of the many forms of how men harry women, a behavior called public harassment.

Forms of public harassment of women

The Minar-e-Pakistan Incident

Let’s take a look at the incident that took place on Independence Day when 400 brutes sexually harassed and tortured a female TikToker.

The police registered an FIR under Sections 354-A, 382, 147, and 149. There are mass arrests of the men involved as well. However, such practices from the government do not provide a real solution to this deep-rooted malaise.

What has forced men to engage in such gross violations in broad daylight? Why do men consider women, as said by Pakistan Observer’s Sargodha-based writer Tariq Mehmood Khalid, “a piece of meat that vultures must gnaw”?

The incident stirs a debate that gets the two ‘sides’ too much in a groove. It’s unfair to take any side (of either men or a girl) because we all know who is right and wrong here. I do not want to join the bandwagon of blaming anyone. Instead, I want to dig deeper and try to explain why such incidents occur. My focus will be on the root of the social problem (public harassment of women) to present a real solution from the Quran.

Let’s Dig Deeper: How the Quran Addresses Public Harassment of Women?

A brief glimpse into the different themes covered in the Quran is necessary to understand the Minar-e-Pakistan incident.

Women before Islam

The pre-Islamic Arabian world was a cruel place for women. Men grieved over the birth of girls. They even buried little girls alive to save face in society. The Quran strongly condemns this immoral behavior:

Burying like girls alive in Pre-Islamic Arabia

Also, like other societies of the time, women had no such rights as inheritance, property, and equal status under the law. The Quran raised the rank of women. Allah says,

Inheritance, property, and equal status of women in Quran

How the Quran Honored Women?

Men in pre-Islamic society also harassed and sexually preyed on them like the Minar-e-Pakistan incident. Allah says,

That is, when addressing modesty (haya), the Quran does not address women alone. The Quran honors both men and women by encouraging haya in clothing and behavior:

Dress for every Muslim men and women

The point in this verse is that haya consists of both outward (that hides your private parts and adds aesthetic value) and inward dresses (of Godwariness, which is the best). That inner attire is the sum of behavior and a moral outlook that stop men to never gawk at women.

The Prophetﷺ states that the outward dress of men involves covering their bodies from navel to the knees. Men must also wear loose (and not-too-thin) clothes that do not define the body shapes. Shirts that display muscles are a no-no, as an example. Such sharm (shame) and haya apply to a boy when he becomes ten years old.

Haya is vital for women as well. Allah says:

How the Quran protects women from public harassment?

The point about the distinction raises an important issue about the way we should understand the above verse. Nearly all scholars agree that the purpose of this verse is to protect (pious) women from (corrupt) men to hurt them. Some Pre-Islamic crooked men harassed and sometimes molested women at night. Their targets were only roving slave girls, not pious or free women. They distinguished girls from their clothes. If a woman wore a dress, as described in the above verse, the harassers assumed that she was pious, and they left her alone.  

The following verse describes the women’s haya in more detail:

Women haya in the Quran

The dress, like the men’s dress, must also be loose. It must not define the shape of the woman’s body. Women also do not have to dress with this level of modesty within the privacy of their home in front of other women, their immediate male relatives, and unrelated children who are innocent of sexual conceptualizations.

This way, the Quran sanctifies the honor of women. The reason behind it is to walk, work, and live honorably in society. In other words, Islam seeks to protect both men and women from looking at each other through a sexual lens. It also encourages a life of mutual dignity and respect.

What Our Beloved Prophetﷺ Says about Public Harassment of Women?

Our beloved Prophetﷺ says the defining characteristic of Islam is haya. Abdullah bin ‘Abbas narrated, 

Public haya rests on men.

This hadith shows the beautiful act of our beloved Prophetﷺ who caught the chin of Al-Fadl (R.A.) and turned his face towards him. It was to stop him from looking at that girl. It means the duty of haya rests on men. Men must take the lead to stop public harassment of women. In another instance, Abu Saeed Al-Khudri narrated:

Beware! Avoid sitting on roads.

Overall, I believe our social norms, media, and government are responsible for incidents like Minar-e-Pakistan. We are complicit in promoting the culture that perpetrates public harassment. We as a society must learn the Quran and Prophet’sﷺ teachings. Such incidents occur just because we forgot most of what our Allah and our Prophetﷺ tell us, or at best remember only the gist of it. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter!