Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Puppy

July 7, 2011

The Puppy

Maryam Amir-Ebrahimi | October 11, 2009 12:36 pm

We had just finished dinner and had 20 genay [Egyptian currency] left over from the pool of cash we had put together. While discussing what to do with the money, one of the sisters suggested, “There’s a boy who sleeps outside Awlad Ragab [the local grocery store]. You know, he’s got that puppy! And whenever he’s with that puppy, he’s like the happiest kid in the world.”

I remembered who the sister was speaking of. There was a teenage boy who slept on the grass across the street from the grocery store. There was no trace of family, no trace of money, no trace of anything – just a boy, and the stray puppy who kept him company. “Let’s give the money to him!” the sister exclaimed. Our group began to head over.

3461154131_8590b42a0fFrom our dinner location, taking into account the number of girls who were with us and the fact that the streets of Cairo are crazy busy at night (Allahu Akbar – God is the Greatest – Egypt, I miss you!), it took us about twenty minutes to get to the location of the boy. But subhan’Allah [God is above all things they associate with Him], he was nowhere to be seen. His puppy, however, was there…and he was thirsty. The puppy had his paws around a closed water bottle, and he was unsuccessfully attempting to open it. Imagine the torment of intense thirst – staring at water at a paw’s length – and not being able to access it despite immense struggle. Realizing his dilemma, we quickly opened the bottle of water we had and began to pour it out for the puppy. The puppy came immediately, drinking the water in huge gulps, not stopping for some time. Finally, relieved, the puppy ran off to play.


We did not find the boy that night. As we walked back to our apartments I began reflecting on what had taken place. We had walked about twenty minutes in search of a specific boy. We could not find him but instead we found a puppy in extreme thirst, making a great effort to access water. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala had written for us to have extra money, helped us remember the boy in that moment, given us the strength, ability and time to take the twenty minute walk to find the boy, and guided us to a puppy who needed our help to drink water. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala had written for us, a group of foreigners from across the world, to have been in that place, at that moment of time, to help a puppy quench its thirst.

Ya servant of Allah who is struggling to please Him, stumbling upon blocks of heedlessness and difficulties… Ya Muslim or Muslimah who is trying to keep it straight, find a job, get married, do well in school, study overseas, deal with domestic issues at home or societal pressures all around… Oh one who struggles to make your prayers, makes effort to complete your fasts, fights to lower your gaze and preserve your chastity… If that is the Mercy of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala on a small puppy, that He subhanahu wa ta’ala would put all these things into place to help quench the thirst of a creature amongst His Creation – then what about the Mercy of Allah, The Most High, The One in control of everything, on you, His worshipper?

So flee to Allah…”

(Qur’an, 51:50)


as published here:


Happens for a Reason, Happens for the Best

July 6, 2011

Maryam Amir-Ebrahimi | June 10, 2011 5:00 am

There was a bus blocking the right turn lane and its emergency lights were flashing. “I need a quick detour!,” thought the woman driving. She turned into a parking lot to cross through to the adjacent street. As she made the turn, she felt her car heave forward heavily and realized she had not seen the curb. Embarrassed, she continued to the street and felt her car was driving differently. She swung into a side road to check on it.

A flat tire! Subhan’Allah (glory be to God). She immediately thought of the dua`a’ (supplication) that the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) had taught to the ummah (Muslim community) for times of difficulty: “If a servant of Allah is afflicted with a misfortune and says: ‘Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un, Allahumma ajirni fi musibati wa akhlif li khairan minha‘ (Verily we belong to Allah and truly to Him shall we return. O Allah! Protect me in this calamity that has befallen me and replace it with something better), Allah will accept his prayer, grant him reward for his affliction, and replace it with something better.”1 And so she made this dua`a’, knowing full well she had been the one to cause the misfortune to happen in the first place, but hoping that Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) would bless her in some way because of it.

She then sat there, after having called for help, dazed and wondering why this had happened. Why was that bus stopped where it had been stopped? Why was it meant for her to be on this specific road at this specific time, when she usually would never have been in that place, at that time? Why didn’t she wait and go around the bus, instead of turning through a parking lot? She began to contemplate the verse, “And whatever strikes you of disaster—it is for what your hands have earned; but He pardons much” (Qur’an, 42:30). And finally, perhaps—perhaps—this happened because something better should happen. There had to have been a reason for this situation. But what was the reason? Where was the wisdom?

After some time, her husband came, changed the flat with a spare, and directed her to go to a specific tire company to take advantage of a warranty. This tire company was much further out, in a city which she had never traversed due to its distance and decentralized location. Upon reaching the company and waiting for her tire to be fixed, she realized she needed to pray dhuhr (the afternoon prayer) and wondered if there was a masjid nearby. Mapping it, she found one only a few miles away, so as soon as her car was ready, she was headed for the mosque.

There was only one other car parked in the parking lot. Having never been to this masjid before, she searched for an entrance and walked in. There, she found an older man sitting at a table. She greeted him and as he looked up, she asked if he could point out the direction of the prayer area.

He looked at her, almost in a daze. “Aren’t you… Aren’t you that woman who spoke at the conference recently?” She confirmed as he continued, “What brings you here?” He realized she had come to pray and pointed out the direction of the prayer hall. After she had finished her salah (prayer), she headed back towards the entrance to leave. He beckoned her, “Would you mind waiting just a moment?”

He then explained that while she was speaking at the conference, he was listening to her and thinking about the future generation. He was thinking about young adults and the way they need someone to connect with them. He began to think our cultural and age gap as parents sometimes makes it difficult to convey the message of Islam in a way which is culturally relevant to their lives. If only I could somehow come in contact with this woman. Perhaps she could speak to the up-and-coming generation. But Allah—how? How will I come to connect with her? “And now,” he finished, “Here you are. Subhan’Allah.”

At that moment, the woman realized that perhaps the flat tire she had experienced—perhaps the bus with its emergency lights, the miscalculated curb, the need to go to a specific tire company so far away from her own locality—had all taken place so that she could be there, in that place, in that moment of time, where she would be connected to a person who was seeking to call youth back to Allah, subhanahu wa ta`ala.

The woman stared at the man, incredulous at the situation. Subhan’Allah, she thought. Maybe this simple man, a man without a hugely outward “Islamic” appearance, a man who sat humbly in the masjid, was someone near to Allah (swt), dear to Allah (swt)—so much so that Allah (swt) would create a situation where the person this man was seeking to speak with came to his door.

It reminded the woman of the story of Imam Ahmad and the Baker. Imam Ahmad radi Allahu `anhu (may God be pleased with him) once was traveling and needed to stay somewhere overnight. When he went to the masjid, the guard (not recognizing Imam Ahmad) denied him entrance. Imam Ahmad (ra) tried numerous times, but the guard did not accept his requests. Frustrated, Imam Ahmad (ra) resolved to spend the night in the masjid yard. The guard became furious and dragged him away, despite the old age and frailty of Imam Ahmad (ra).

A baker, whose shop was nearby, watched this scene and took pity on Imam Ahmad (ra), also not knowing who he was. The Baker thought of the man who needed a place to stay as a simple traveler without lodging. He invited the Imam to stay with him for the night. While there, Imam Ahmad noticed that the baker continually made istighfar (asking for Allah’s forgiveness) while working, and in the morning, the Imam eagerly asked his host about the latter’s continual seeking of forgiveness. The Baker said it had become second nature to him, and Imam Ahmad (ra) then asked whether the man had experienced any reward from this practice.

The Baker answered, “By Allah! No dua`a’ I made except that it was answered but one.” “And what is that dua`a’?” asked Imam Ahmed. “To be able to see the famed Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal!”

Imam Ahmad (ra) interjected, “I am Ahmad ibn Hanbal!” He then went on to add, “By Allah! I was dragged to your place so that you can have your dua`a’ (prayer) come true.”2

Perhaps this man, just like the Baker, was not some conference speaker, not some widely famed Imam, not some enormous Islamic activist, but someone who was sincere in their relationship with Allah (swt), and so Allah (swt) blessed them with acceptance and the answering of their passing wishes and dua`a’.

Days later, she continued to contemplate her encounter. Subhan’Allah, she kept thinking, everything for a reason. Sometimes, “bad” things happen to “good” people. But sometimes, those “bad” things are truly only outward moments of difficulty in comparison to the good Allah (swt) has in store and is preparing for that person to experience, when the time and moment are right.

As Ibn al-Qayyim rahimahu Allah (may Allah have mercy on him) said, “When Allah tests you, it is never to destroy you. Whenever He removes something from your possession, it is only to empty your hands for an even better gift.”

What is stopping us from working to become of those who are beloved to Allah (swt)?


published here:


July 6, 2011

Been inactive for a few years, but inshaAllah will start posting articles once again!

Please keep us in your duaa,


`ilm…witness for or against you?

July 9, 2009

‘Atâ’ narrates that there used to be a young man who used to go to Mother of the Believers ‘Â’ishah to ask her questions and she would narrate to him. One day, he came to her to ask her some questions. She said, “Son, have you put into practice what you hear from me yet?” He replied, “No mother, I have not.” So she said, “Son, why do you them seek to increase Allah’s proof against us and you?!”

Al-Khatîb Al-Baghdâdî in Iqtidâ’ Al-’Ilm Al-’Amal no. 92.

Good Dawah Websites

May 21, 2009

The BEST resource is the Quran, and for those who cannot understand Arabic, a translation of the Qur’an.

Here is a website with a translation of the entire Qur’an:

Here are other websites which you might find useful:

Covers a ton of various topics:

Scientific Miracles in the Qur’an

Sheikh Yusuf Estes’s site:

Amazing Quotes

May 21, 2009

“When you’re tested really hard…its because you’re meant for something bigger. stop focusing on your test/trial and start looking for your real purpose…”

Subhan Allah, only Allah knows how hard it is not to be in Egypt after spending almost a year there, Alhamdullilah. Alhamdullilah, so much time to just study the deen, to work on Qur’an…to hear the adhan, the iqama, pray in masajid everywhere…Allahu Akbar…I miss the people on the streets, the kids sitting in front of the masajid…subhanAllah I miss everything. But now I’m back, walHamdullilah…and only Allah Knows what’s best.


“Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves without any insistence that they satisfy you.”

February 25, 2009

Umar ibn Abdil-‘Aziz(rahimahullah) said: Become a scholar if you are able. If you are not able, then be a student. If you can not,then show love for them. If you are unable to do that, then (at least) do not hate them.

“Poverty is pushing our people into doing desperate things just to get through one more day,” he said during a visit to victims of the blaze.

February 1, 2009

News Africa –

Rescuers scour Kenya crash site

About 100 people were killed when the tanker overturned and caught fire [Reuters]

Rescue workers in Kenya have combed the crash site of a petrol tanker, which killed about 100 people when it overturned and caught fire.

At least 111 people, many of them having crowded around the vehicle to collect spilled fuel, died in the blaze in the central Kenyan town of Molo, officials said on Sunday.

“Certainly this is a national tragedy,” George Saitoti, Kenya’s interior minister, said as he inspected the scene of the blaze, which occurred on Saturday evening on a road near Molo, a town in the central Rift Valley.

“We have just been informed that more succumbed to injuries in hospitals. The total number is now 111.”

But there was some disagreement over casualty figures.

The Red Cross relief agency said that up to 110 people had died and local officials said that 94 people had died.

“We counted 89 bodies last night and five [more people] have died this morning,” Hassan Noor Hassan, the Rift Valley provincial police commissioner, said.

‘Dropped cigarette’

Rescuers said someone may have accidentally dropped a cigarette, although there was also suspicion someone angered at being blocked by police may have started the fire on purpose.

Titus Mungou, the Kenya Red Cross spokesman, said: “The people went to scoop up the oil, then something lit the fire, maybe someone dropped a cigarette.”

According to witnesses and rescue services, the tanker overturned after being involved in an accident.

When the oil tanker careered off the road, hundreds of locals came to the scene with containers to try to scoop up some free fuel, witnesses said.

But the oil caught fire and the blaze engulfed the crowd.

Bodies charred beyond recognition were strewn across the road as emergency services struggled to cope with the casualties.

Raila Odinga, Kenya’s prime minister, said the disaster showed the desperation of poor Kenyans and the nation’s lack of preparedness for accidents.

“Poverty is pushing our people into doing desperate things just to get through one more day,” he said during a visit to victims of the blaze.

“This being a rural area, there was no response by any disaster team because there is no such team.”

The fire followed the deaths of at least 25 people in Nairobi when a supermarket caught fire earlier this week.

Advice on gaining knowledge- from almaghrib forums

February 1, 2009

One of our teachers when we studied the life of ‘Abdullah ibn Al Mubaarak (rahimahullah); he emphasized something – practicality of gaining knowledge and including

analytical knowledge as well.

Since we live in the west;

I, personally, have not seen a book that comprehensively discusses how WESTERN students of knowledge can gain knowledge (outside of programs such as Arees Institute and other institutes, in general).

Memorization – though, a key in becoming a student of knowledge; by no means is it an impediment in being a student of knowledge. And so many of the books these days focus on this aspect, where as lacking in other important aspects.

The key is a lot of the books discuss how to systematically become a dedicated full time student of knowledge…. in the east. I am regretful that a lot of students in the west take so much out of context and begin to dwell on this “forget the dunya studies” aka “madinah university syndrome” dream of leaving off ‘everything’ to ‘study.’ They end up milling around, with wrong intentions, wrong syllabus, and no more a pragmatic solution – and end up in 2-4 years doing nothing and achieving nothing in terms of study.

As we LIVE in an environment that does not alott us the rigorous schedules of Fajr till ‘Asr studying and memorizing;

I believe, living in the WEST, we need to be practical.

Does that entail we cannot memorize Sahihayn? Of course not. And i know some, (meaning: few) students who have memorized books such as

Riyadus Saaliheen
Bulugh al Maram, even Sahihayn. etc.

What I am suggesting is fully taking in our situation and being pragmatic in terms of how to use our time MOST effentially.

This is from what I personally have gathered. M

1. Memorizing the Qur’an is the CRUX. No matter you are in the east, west, north, or south. The issue is Not to be engrossed in so many classes and etc. that one forgets the book of Allah – i firmly believe this is one of the MAIN PROBLEMS that western students face.

LEARNING PRIORITIES. And this was a problem we had to get over, and we see in many students they leave off memorizing the book of Allah for things that shaykhul islam ibn taymiyyah rahimahullah mentioned as, “in the outside looks like they are beneficial, but in reality people are engrossing themselves in that which will ultimately have no benefit.”

2. Knowledge of Arabic.
No more excuses.
You are not a (proper) student of knowledge if you do not know arabic.
Sorry to be harsh, but we’re all ‘wannabes’ until you know and learn arabic.
One’s depth of understanding is expanded million fold once we learn arabic.

And our knowledge is expanded to past ‘oh x publishing company just translated the new y book by the famous shaykh z.’

Does that mean you cannot traverse on becoming a student of knowledge in the meantime while you learn? of course not.

The objective here is optimism. You can do SO much while you’re learning arabic!

One of them is see number 1. Memorize Qur’an. and we will also mention others below..

3. Having studied primers in each field of the sciences-
by study we mean with a shaykh, an institute, or otherwise some kind of formal study.. There is also many commentaries available online in audio that a real student has the time to listen to all

Fiqh – al-Majmu’ sharh al-Muhadhdhab or Al maqasid (being wary of the appendices if it’s the english translation) for example by An Nawawi in Shaf’iee Fiqh. and Fiqh us Sunnah by Sayyid As-Sabiq in Comparative. When one increases in Arabic

can move towards, ‘Umdat al Fiqh, and ‘Umdat al Ahkam, etc.

Also emphasizing in some works like The Book of Pre requisites, Pillars, and Recommendations of the Prayer by ibn AbdulWahhab, etc.

‘Aqeedah – Usool ath thalatha, Kitaab at Tawheed, Al Qawaa’id ul Arbaa’ah, An Nawaaqidul Islam, Kashf ash shubuhaat all by Ibn ‘Abdul Wahhab. Al ‘Aqeedatul waasitiyyah, hamawiyyah, tadmuriyyah by ibn Taymiyyah rahimahullah, and many many others (see the ‘Aqeedah folder for a comprehensive list here)

(The lists in what to cover in Usool ud deen, Usool ul fiqh, mustalahul Hadeeth, ‘Uloom ul Qur’an, arabic, etc. can be overwhelming for this post so i will leave it off; as it has been also mentioned in some posts above, etc.).

4. In hadeeth specifically. A student needs to memorize 40 hadeeth an Nawawi. This is essential and covers so many principles in Usool ud deen that are VITAL, i mean ABSOLUTELY vital for western sense! I mean anything from the ‘meat issue,’ to prayer, to intention, to ‘aqeedah, fiqh, etc. Covers masha’aAllah a lot.

Get your hands on every explanation and audio on it. Heavenly Pearls by Abu Abdis salam. Ibn al ‘Utheimeen rahimahullah’s explanation. J. Zarabozo 3 volume set. the Almaghrib class coming up. Memorize it and study it in depth. It will GROUND you so well in the study.

Also notice how steps 1-4 all are cohesive? They help build one another?

While you memorize qur’an it builds arabic.
When you memorize hadith it builds arabic.

When you study arabic it builds your understanding of Qur’an and Hadeeth.

When you study fiqh and ‘aqeedah exposes you to new vocabulary and you can incorporate your knowledge of Qur’an and Hadeeth and your study of Arabic.

This is practical.

The point is how can one go about achieving this?
After being GRILLED about memorizing Qur’an.. how do I go about studying the other fields? What should I Give priority to?

etc. answering all these important questions

Utilizing Fajr and off time; between uni studies, and specific days to study – or extracurricular activites and ‘general lectures’ and choosing how to prioritize and make ones schedule, etc.

I could write more but I hope insha’aAllah we students come together and WRITE up a PIECE with the approval of instructors and publish it. As we all can help with something tangible to give,

when someone asks next time..

“ya akhi/ya ukhti HOW can i be a student of knowledge here?”

We can have a different answer other than “dude go to madinah,

or read x book written by famous shaykh” – which is not practical for that person.

We can hand them

an AlMaghrib Institute Teacher Approved and Published- Student prepared Guide and Syllabus.

– How to be a successful memorizer of Qur’an in the west
– Pitfalls in steps to knowledge
– Perfecting one’s niyyah
– how to pracitcally achieve study habits alongside Uni studies!
– finding balance
– the practical aspect of knowledge in the west.
– how to make a proper schedule
– how to avoid distractions
– Fiqh of Priorities (fiqh al awlawiyaat)

(all this in addition to any institutes, we attend of course)

I know this will be covered insha’aAllah as well in ‘Ilm Summit. So insha’aAllah those students who Allah blessed them to go, take good notes!

And we can compile insha’aAllah something for Ummat Muhammad and so many can benefit from..

wAllahu ‘alam

Making a positive impact on society

December 2, 2008

“Meet people in such a manner that if you die, they should weep for you, and if you live they should long for you”- Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, the cousin of the Prophet sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallama