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4 Layers Of Ease In The Quran: IOK Ramadan Reflections Series #27

29 April, 2022 - 01:15

Allah ﷻ says in Sūrah al-Qamar, “And We have certainly made the Quran easy to remember. So is there anyone who will be mindful?” [54:17] Allah ﷻ, in His infinite wisdom, repeats this statement and rhetorical question four separate times throughout the Sūrah. Repetition signifies importance.

Allah ﷻ is telling us that He has definitely made the Quran easy to remember. There are different layers of ease connected to the Quran. First, the Quran has been made easy to recite. This is an observable reality throughout history and across cultures. Muslims across the globe, regardless of their ethnicity, culture, and language learn how to recite the Quran in the Arabic language from a very young age. They learn how to read Arabic – recognize its letters, connect them, and pronounce them properly – without even understanding the language. In some cultures, they learn how to read the Quran before learning how to recite in their own native language. That is why we see Muslims from across the globe – Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Turkmenista, Kyrgyztan, all the other stans and central Asian state, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, across the African continent, America, Mexico, and anywhere else you can think of – reciting the Quran flawlessly with precision. 

The second layer of ease is that Allah ﷻ has made the Quran easy to memorize. The primary way the Quran has been preserved from the life of the Prophet ﷺ until today is in the hearts of people. Memorization will always be the primary way in which the Quran is preserved. This is part of the miraculous nature of the Quran and a manifestation of Allah’s divine promise to preserve the Quran. Millions of Muslims across the globe have the entire Quran memorized cover to cover, word for word, letter for letter. There are ḥuffāẓ that are young, old, male and female. I know of children as young as 4-5 years old that have memorized the Quran. I also know of elderly aunties and uncles that memorized in their 60’s and 70’s. The Islamophibes can burn as may copies of the Quran as they like and it won’t make any difference. There are children who are blind that have memorized the Quran simply by listening to it. I know of a child from an ex-soviet state who had memorized the Quran without ever having seen a muṣḥaf. He had the entire Quran memorized, but couldn’t read it.

The third layer of ease is that Allah ﷻ has made the Quran easy to understand. Anyone who has basic literacy of the Arabic Language will understand the message, guidance, and reminders of the Quran. It speaks to the intellectual as well as the uneducated, the urban city dweller and the desert bedouin, the rich and the poor, scholar and non-scholar.

The fourth layer of ease is that Allah ﷻ has made it easy to act upon the guidance of the Quran. Each and every single one of us has the ability to liver our lives according to the guidance of Allah ﷻ as demonstrated by His beloved Messenger Muḥammad ﷺ.

 And We have certainly made the Quran easy to remember. So is there anyone who will be mindful?” [54:17]

Tonight’s Ramadan Reflections Series talk was brought to you by the IOK Seminary Faculty. Catch up on previous videos or catch the next videos on the IOK Ramadan Reflections Series page.

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Best Ramadan Ever: Refrain From Obscene Language

28 April, 2022 - 17:10

Prepare for your ‘Best Ramadan Ever!’ with this video series from Shaykh Yahya Ibrahim!

Refraining from obscene language is a forgotten sunnah! Swearing and obscene language has become widespread, to the extent of being considered casual, and yet it is hated by Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and His Messenger subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)! Shaykh Yahya Ibrahim reminds us that obscene language can render our fasts hollow and unaccepted.


Related posts from the ‘Best Ramadan Ever’ series:

Best Ramadan Ever: Thinking Of Your Neighbour

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Prayers For The Persecuted: A Global Du’a

28 April, 2022 - 09:39

Ya Allah, Ya Rahmaan, Ya Raheem!

Ya Allah, our sisters and brothers in the Central African Republic have been annihilated. Ya Allah, protect the few that are left with Your Divine Guidance and Special Protection.

Ya Allah, You are the All Hearing, the All-Seeing. Ya Allah, the screams of our Uyghur sisters are shaking the globe. Ya Allah, Ya Naasir! Send Your angels to protect our sisters from sexual violence. Ya Raqib, You Know what they suffer every night and cannot even cry out your Name. Ya Allah we beg you to send Your help. The Ummah is weak, destroyed by greed and power. Ya Waliyy, our leaders are corrupt and we have no one but You to turn to! Ya Qadeer, send Your Divine Help. We are not worthy of asking, but we beg of you, for You are the Most Generous and the Most Giving.

Ya Allah, help Muslims around the world stand up for them and unite against the zalimeen.

Ya Allah, stop the zulm! You are in control. Ya Allah, send an army of angels like those You sent at to Badr, and overcome the oppressors. Our Uyghur and other Turkic siblings cannot fast for Your Sake. They are forced eat pork and drink alcohol, and the mushrikeen have compelled them into false marriages. Ya Allah, keep them strong in their faith and save their children from the vile plans of the Chinese Communist Party. They plot, and You plot, and You are the Best of Planners!

Ya Allah, help us be the cause of the end of their genocide.

Ya Allah, either guide the Chinese oppressors or break them. Free our Uyghur brothers and sisters from the concentration camps, where saying your Name subjects them to torture.

Ya Allah, give them back their lands and their resources. Let Islam flourish in the region. Reunite Uyghur families across the globe with their loved ones. Ya Allah, I am blessed that I can speak to my loved ones, while our Uyghur brothers and sisters cannot

Ya Allah, as we sit in the safety and security of our homes and masajid, we ask You to free Al-Aqsa.
Ya Allah, grant the Palestinians pious leadership. Ya Khafid, humiliate the colonizers and render their powerful weapons useless in the face of the believers.

Ya Rabb, the One who has the the most perfect Hijab, protect each and every Muslimah who is being attacked for her covering. Protect our sisters in India as they enter their schools, colleges and universities. Protect their iffah, their izzah and dignity. Let not the mushrikeen strip them in public!

Ya Allah, protect our sisters in France. Accept their struggle with the highest reward, and grant them steadfastness in their faith that can never be shaken. Protect their masajid and their institutions from the oppression of the French government.

Ya Allah, Ya Jabbar, Ya Bari! Free Kashmir from the iron vice of the Indian regime. Ya Allah, expand their homes and their masajid. Grant them the right to make their own decision for the lands. Free their prisoners and grant those who have been displaced the right to return with freedom.

Ya Samee’ ad-Du’a, protect the Musalmaan e Hind from violent Hindu mobs.

Save their homes and masajid from the bulldozers of the kufaar. Grant them himmah to overcome their persecution. Raise their ranks and build their fortitude.

Oh Most Kind, grant the people of Yemen peace and security. End the blockades, the famines and their suffering. Feed them like You fed Maryam (alayhis) in her hujrah. Shield them from the drones, the bombs, the missiles.

Ya Allah, Ya Salaam, Ya Mu’min! O Granter of Peace and Security, bless the people of Shaam. Grant them freedom from the evil rulers and those who seek to benefit from their suffering.

Ya Rabb! Oh Malik al Mulk, end the Rohingya genocide. Allow them to return to their homes in safety and security. Break the backs of the Tatmandaw, the Burmese regime and open the passage for a safe return for the millions of refugees in Bangladesh. Ya Allah, they are traumatized; they have suffered so much and continue to suffer in the camps. Accept those who were slaughtered as Shaheed in Your path.
Ya Allah, protect them from fires, from hunger and disease, from human traffickers, from the fitnah of unemployment.

Ya Allah, have Mercy on the Muslims of Sri Lanka who could not bury their dead, who are persecuted for their faith. Ya Allah, grant them istiqamah and protect their masajid, homes and businesses.

The Muslims in Iran, Syria, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia live under tyrannical regimes, ruthless dictators, and murderous military juntas. They do not have the most basic of civil liberties and human rights. Ya Allah, Ya Aadil! Grant them just rulers.

Muslims around the world are in a struggle for Laa ilaaha illAllah. Ya Allah! Uplift them in their struggle and let your Word be proclaimed.

Ameen Ya Rab Al Aalameen.


Related reading:

Oppressors Beware & Oppressed Be Comforted: IOK Ramadan Reflections Series #13

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A War Hero Comes For Taraweeh – The Remarkable Story Of Hajjah Hasna al-Hariri

28 April, 2022 - 08:31

An elderly grandmother who comes to taraweeh every night turns out to be a war hero living in our midst. The remarkable tale of Hajjah Hasna al-Hariri – grandmother, revolutionary, war hero – is revealed to the local community in the dark nights of Ramadan.

A Grandmother Walks for Taraweeh

Ramadan nights are quiet at our Islamic center: less than twenty men, and far fewer women are present each night. Yet, each and every single night, often before even any men arrive, one elderly woman is already there and waiting.

One weeknight, I overheard another masjid aunty ask the Hajjah if she had walked – which she confirmed. I marveled at this. This elderly woman, who clearly finds it difficult to move, who even sits and prays, walks every night just to pray taraweeh in jamaa’ah every night. The nights are long and cold, the neighborhood isn’t the best. What must her love for Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) be like, if she does this at her age and infirmity? That night, I prayed that I too could feel the level of imaan and devotion to ‘ibaadah that must fill her heart.

Then I wondered – if she is here before anyone else, and without a man to accompany her… where is her family?

After salah, I asked my father about her. “She’s known as al-Khansaa’,” he told me. I immediately realized that there was much much more to the story of this masjid grandmother.

Khansaa’ al-Hawraan: The Revolutionary

Hajjah Umm Qasim Hasna al-Hariri has been a part of the Syrian revolution from the very beginning. Her nickname is al-Khansaa’ – an incredibly high honor – in homage to the great Sahabiyyah al-Khansaa’. Hajjah Hasna smuggled food and medical supplies to civilians and revolutionaries. While her city was under siege, she walked across farmland and fields to bring back what she could. Under cover of darkness, she took doctors to the wounded. She watched one of her sons killed, 20 meters away from her, while countless young men died in her arms. She buried tens of bodies, alone, with her own two hands.

Hajjah Hasna was labeled “the number one terrorist” and “ally to foreign terrorists” by the Assad regime – who eventually captured her.


Bashar al-Assad’s military forces “arrested” her, along with her daughter and her cousin, and held them in the Syrian death camps known as the military prisons. There, Hajjah Hasna witnessed horrors that no human should ever have to see, let alone endure. Her son-in-law was tortured and killed, hundreds of men were brutalized, just as many women were raped, and blood flowed through the corridors. Hajjah Hasna herself was tortured, despite already being in her 50s at the time. In the midst of this all, she remained a rock for all those around her, especially the hundreds of women who were imprisoned, gang-raped, and tortured.

In a documentary detailing her experiences, Hajjah Hasna recalls one particular incident: soldiers came to drag out one of the women in the cells to be raped, who fled behind the Hajjah. Hajjah Hasna had a broken leg at the time, yet when the soldiers came at her to get to the woman, she stood up and fought them off… only to be stabbed twice. Despite her wound overflowing with blood, she remained so fierce in her defense of the woman that the soldiers fell back, furious and unsuccessful.

The Mother of Martyrs

Over eight months later, with fourteen broken bones and two stab wounds later, Hajjah Hasna was released. Though she was warned to stay away from her hometown of Daraa, she made her way back home. Her tribespeople were overjoyed, thronging to meet her as she returned. Yet amongst the crowd, the most important faces to her were missing: her husband, her sons, and her sons-in-law. “They have left you and gone to another land,” she was told. Her ire was raised. How could they abandon her while she had spent months being tormented in the worst of Syrian prisons? “We shall show you where they went,” her kinsmen added hastily, and led her to the graveyard.

Shortly after, the Hajjah left for Jordan to be with her youngest son. Even during this time however, she refused to stay silent. Instead, she roused rallies and protests against the Syrian regime and supported the revolution in every way she could. The Jordanian government quickly came under pressure from Bashar al-Assad, and decided to deport her. Her family scrambled to get her sponsorship to another country, and she was finally accepted by Canada. Thus, Hajjah Hasna al-Hariri wound up living in a hotel in the city of Victoria, British Columbia. She now walks alone in the cold, dark nights, to pray taraweeh with a handful of strangers every night.

Revolutionary, War Hero, Refugee

Hajjah Hasna is a living legend, a heroine who has no fear of the tyrants who tortured and murdered her loved ones, who fears only Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and mentions Him with her every breath. She deserves so much more than to be exiled to a strange land, surrounded by people who have no idea of what she has endured. While we can do nothing to erase the memories or heal the injuries of what she has suffered, we can help her in some small way. This donation campaign is to raise money to pay for her expenses as well as to purchase a scooter for her; so that rather than walking everywhere alone, she can at least have some ease of mobility.

Please donate generously – we are hoping to gift her the scooter in time for Eid inshaAllah!

UPDATE: The fundraising goal has been met, a mobility scooter was purchased, and the remaining funds will be used to attend to Hajjah Hasna’s remaining needs. The campaign is now closed, and we pray that Allah bless everyone who donated. JazaakumAllahu alf khayra! 

You can watch the documentary on Hajjah Hasna here: [Part I, Part II], and an Al Jazeeera feature on her here. Read more about her here and here.


Related reading:

Syrian Crisis Creating a Lost Generation

Three Years into Syria, Children are at Greatest Risk

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Small Deeds, Massive Rewards : Love For The Sake Of Allah

28 April, 2022 - 05:00

Welcome to the ‘Small Deeds, Massive Rewards’ series with MuslimMatters and Shaykh Yahya Ibrahim!

In this 30-part video series, Shaykh Yahya will guide us through the entire month of Ramadan, on how we can incorporate simple but immensely beneficial deeds into our own lives, with the aim of getting to a higher spiritual station with Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) inshaAllah.

In this episode, Shaykh Yahya elaborates on the immense reward that comes with simply loving someone solely for the sake of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).


Related posts from the ‘Small Deeds, Massive Rewards’ series:

Small Deeds, Massive Rewards : Spreading The Salaam

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The Quran As A Reminder: IOK Ramadan Reflections Series #26

28 April, 2022 - 04:28

Allah ﷻ says in Sūrah Qāf, “There truly is a reminder in this for whoever has a heart, whoever listens attentively” [50:37]. This is a very important verse highlighting how we can truly benefit from the message, guidance, and reminders of the Quran. Allah ﷻ says this in the context of describing some of the scenes from Hell and Paradise. Descriptions of the hereafter are an important theme in the Quran. One of the reasons why they’re mentioned is to create this balance between fear and hope. We are supposed to fear the anger, wrath, and punishment of Allah ﷻ. There is a sense of fear of the unknow; we fear what will happen to us at the time of death, in the grave, and on the Day of Resurrection. We are supposed to balance that fear with hope in the infinite mercy, grace, pardon, and forgiveness of Allah ﷻ. This balance between hope and fear is what helps keep us firm and steadfast on the Straight Path.

After describing some of these scenes from Paradise and Hell, Allah ﷻ says, “There truly is a reminder in this for whoever has a heart, whoever listens attentively.” The Quran is general is a reminder; it is a reminder of the existence, oneness, might, power, glory, and magnificence of Allah ﷻ. It is a reminder of our relationship with Him and our true purpose in life. It is a reminder that the life of this world is fleeting and temporary; whereas, the life of the hereafter is for eternity. It is a reminder of what is right and wrong, moral and immoral, ethical and unethical. It is a reminder of our responsibilities towards Allah ﷻ and towards each other.

But we will only benefit from these reminders if we have a heart that is willing to accept them. Our hearts have to be alive, sound, pure, and wholesome to truly benefit from the reminders of the Quran. In terms of our relationship with the Quran it is very important for us to understand that the Quran is addressed to our hearts. Within the framework of Islam, the heart plays a very important and significant role. The Prophet ﷺ told us, There is a single piece of flesh in the body, if it is sound, healthy, wholesome, and pure then the entire body will be sound, healthy, wholesome, and pure. If it is corrupt, sick, and damaged then the entire body will be corrupt, sick, and damaged. And that is the heart. The heart being referred to in this ḥadīth is not the physical heart, the organ in the human body. Rather, what is being referred to here is the spiritual heart.   The spiritual heart is the single most important part of the human body. That is where the seed of faith is planted, nurtured, and allowed to grow. The heart is the center of faith, īmān, understanding, thought, reflection, and contemplation. The heart is the engine that drives human behavior; both actions and statements. The heart is the general or the commander and the limbs are its soldiers. So if the heart is pure then the eyes, ears, and tongues will also be pure. That is why there is so much importance placed on the concepts of spirituality and purification.

The Quran is a reminder for those who have hearts that are alive and “whoever listens attentively.” When we listen to the words of Allah ﷻ being recited, we should try our best to give them our undivided attention. We should be actively listening in such a way that the beauty, power, and eloquence of Allah’s words penetrate our hearts. As Allah ﷻ says in Sūrah al-Aʿrāf, “When the Quran is recited, listen to it attentively and be silent, so you may be shown mercy” [7:204].

May Allah ﷻ grant all of us pure hearts and attentive listening so that we can benefit from the reminders of the Quran!

Tonight’s Ramadan Reflections Series talk was brought to you by the IOK Seminary Faculty. Catch up on previous videos or catch the next videos on the IOK Ramadan Reflections Series page.

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Best Ramadan Ever: Thinking Of Your Neighbour

28 April, 2022 - 04:07

Prepare for your ‘Best Ramadan Ever!’ with this video series from Shaykh Yahya Ibrahim!

One of the sunnahs of Ramadan – and the rest of the year – is to think about our neighbors and care for them. Shaykh Yahya Ibrahim reminds us of the rights of our neighbous, and what we can do for them, especially in Ramadan.


Related posts from the ‘Best Ramadan Ever’ series:

Best Ramadan Ever: Increasing In Fear of Allah

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Ramadan Reflections From A Humanitarian Relief Worker

27 April, 2022 - 15:10

When Ramadan rolls around every year there’s a buzz in the house of making menus, freezing meals for easy preparations, decorating the house, and sharing baskets with family, friends, and neighbors. As arrangements are being made at home, another family overseas sadly faces a different dilemma. We may be in Ramadan mode, but these families are in survival mode.

This dichotomy goes with the territory when it comes to humanitarian relief work. We experience such extreme situations in the field as we navigate assisting with wisdom and compassion. The main struggle seen across borders, cities, villages, and camps, is the scarcity of food. Ramadan planning on our end may include lots of feasting, but on the other side many remain fasting without food to break it.

Helping Hand for Relief and Development (HHRD) invites you to share your plate with needy families this Ramadan!  HHRD’s Global Ramadan Food Program provides food packages with nourishing essentials for a family for up to 15 days. Securing a meal can be a heartbreaking task for parents and guardians. When you donate $100 for food packages, 2 families receive essential items such as lentils, flour, rice, oil, tea, and more. This allows them to not only enjoy nourishing meals but also the opportunity to fast during the blessed month of Ramadan.

Ramadan is more than filling one’s own plate; when you share your plate you feed your soul. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Whoever feeds a person breaking his fast will earn the same reward as him, without anything being lessened from the reward of the fasting person.” [Tirmidhi]

Doubling the reward of your fast during the blessed month is an opportunity that should not be missed.

A Beautiful Patience: Ramadan in Hardship

Refugee families, orphans and their guardians, people living with disabilities, the elderly, and daily wage workers, all have a similar viewpoint when discussing their hardships and needs. They thank Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for what little they have and supplicate for what they need to continue living. Many have lost loved ones, homes, possessions, and memories and yet they continue to be hopeful that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will answer their prayer. Their steadfastness motivates us to work harder and be their spokesperson in circles that unfamiliar with their struggle.

Ramadan is a time for reflection. It’s a time to make peace with oneself as we strive to increase our prayer, supplications, and charity. Relief work allows us to reflect on what we have, and the opportunities put before us to do greater good – which we pray, in turn, counts towards our worship. The images, videos, and interactions, coming from our field teams motivate and inspire us to help the needy.

Make this Ramadan about your soul, share you plate and give a helping hand to a hopeful heart.


Related reading:

Share Your Plate and Feed Your Soul This Ramadan

Another Nightmare Ramadan For Refugees

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