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Which deeds are most beloved to Allah?

Alhamdulillah, by the blessings of Allah (swt) and readers like yourself, MuslimMatters has been an independent platform for our best thought leaders to educate us in our faith and catalyze change through powerful, necessary conversations. Since our humble beginnings as a basic wordpress blog in 2007, our content has remained free.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support us with a monthly donation of $10 per month, or even as little as $1. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

One (by Benefit of Hindsight) Wow!

It has been nearly one year now since our first post on MuslimMatters.org. It seems like yesterday when we started rounding up like-minded writers to join students of knowledge in a blog that covered a variety of topics – from Islamic fiqh to politics to just carefree rants! Our goal was to fill, what we saw as, a gaping hole for mainstream moderate, yet “conservative”, Muslim opinion, upon the traditions of our faith, and to pull the discourse back from the fringe elements who seemed to have it all for themselves. :)

Some of our mundane achievements thus far: increasing readership almost 4-fold (and still growing), 200,000+ visitors (+ over half a million page views), ~200 authority on Technorati (+ ~1000 reactions/links to MM posts), 450+ RSS subscribers (between feed-burner and google), ~1000 members on our FB and googlegroups, and best of all: grabbing the attention and time of some of the brightest readers on the blogosphere (i.e. YOU). We also got into the Times UK’s 30 most influential blogs, and had an honorable mention for best group blog on Brass Awards.

Alhamdulillah, this is all only from Allah’s blessing, and we are all cognizant and thankful of that, insha’Allah. May He continue to help us succeed through our service to the online Ummah – Ameen!

Of course, all these achievements haven’t been without mistakes, pitfalls and “sorry” posts. But it’s a blog. Posts come in all varieties. Some are great, others maybe not that great :) Just the reality of things. Some of our other nags include: the blog layout/cover, over-aggressive/confused moderation at times, and other rookie mistakes. Thank you for your patience – we are still growing up. :)

We thought it would be a good idea to put together a top-10 list (in no particular order), and also mention some of our favorite readers/commentators:

10. Creating MM’s Achilles’ heel, but having it exorcised soon after.
9. Making new friendships & upsetting a few with this, while ruining others.
8. Lots of people hitting on MM about sex.
7. Commemorating a hero from VT, and a mad-scientist playing god.
6. Bringing stars down to earth, by paying respect to grassroot activism.
5. The Earth Complained, but women aren’t far behind.
4. Tips on saving yourself from Banks, Media and Dead Ideas.
3. Waking people up to Islamophobia (many times) and talking about homegrown (what?).
2. Hitting up on controversies around Slavery, Zakat and Moonsighting.
1. Saving everyone’s appetite & taste-buds for Doritos by halalifying them!

The staff voted for our favorite readers/commentators (i.e. YOU) and again in no particular order… (suspense…)

MOFW (multiple mentions), Dawud Israel, Sequoia, Aarij, Aboo Uthman, ExExBlogger & Hid. But this is just off the top of our head, so forgive us if we missed mentioning some of the other prolific commentators. :)

What we are thinking about for the future:
-Complete blog makeover (already in the process)
-Increasing participation of our specialist.
-New and different content, esp. audio-visual.
-New 1-stop RSS list of blogs
-New awards related to islamic content
-Attract more specialists
-More subject-matter experts
-Your suggestions?

Go ahead, it’s your turn: tell us our goods, nags, suggestions for the future, and if you’re up for it, how you can help us grow.

We love you all!

[Photo Credit: benefit of hindsight]

40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. Amad

    Amad

    March 13, 2008 at 8:01 AM

    Happy Bida’day to us.

  2. Avatar

    Yasir Qadhi

    March 13, 2008 at 8:32 AM

    Celebrating Birthdays is not a Bid’ah :)

    One complaint that you didn’t mention: writers starting multi-series posts and then unceremoniously delaying them ;)

  3. Amad

    Amad

    March 13, 2008 at 9:16 AM

    Sheikh Sahib, that was what you might call a tongue-in-cheek or simply cheeky comment. I liked the ring of it.

    Multi-series posts: Salvification, Islamophobia, Sex & the Ummah… seems like you and me are dominating that list.

    Folks are awfully quite on this post… we can’t be that perfect??? Or that bad??

  4. Avatar

    vindicated

    March 13, 2008 at 9:42 AM

    congrats.. keep up the good work! Love skimming through the posts every day.

    -one of the many not-so-vocal readers :P

  5. Avatar

    Irum Sarfaraz

    March 13, 2008 at 10:21 AM

    Congratulations ten times over. Amazing achievement Masha Allah and a such a breath of fresh air for the oft accused ‘radically-conservative-outdated-Muslim’ like myself!

  6. Avatar

    Mass

    March 13, 2008 at 10:47 AM

    Takbeer for your Blog.

    I suggest that you folks include more social science academic style posts on your blog and to poke Musa Maguire to post more often.

    and perhaps if you could get some discussions on Islamic Political Theory that would be great !

  7. Avatar

    Tanveer

    March 13, 2008 at 10:59 AM

    We muslims are blessed that we have some dedicated and sincere people who put in their valuable efforts (thoughts, time and resource) in writing articles or blogs to ensure we are checked in with reality that most critical thing is to worship Allah subhanatalla

    Congratulations, I have been a silent reader for most of the past one year and have occasionally put my comments when I feel it makes sense to comment.

    Suggestion/comments/advice:
    As this blog or site is dedicated on MATTERS about muslim, I would request, suggest or advice the administrators or responsible folks to make sure that topics are relevant (like they have so far been) and conversation or dialog are constructive to benefit readers. At times blog topic is simple, but comments to-and-fro takes away from the initial point the writer makes. Comments portion of the blog is really misused at times by either commenting negatively, cursing and baseless arguments. We all forget the hadith to leave an argument for the sake of Allah even if we are right .

    PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT THIS DOES NOT BECOME a “MuslimCHATTERS.org” website.

    I understand responsibility lies at both sides writers and readers, but my suggestion is to come up with rules to make it that way, so that we use this website to LEARN not to abuse our learning.

    Jazakallah Khair. May Allah s.w.t bless you all with more knowledge, patience at times to deal with critical readers like me :-)

  8. Avatar

    iMuslim

    March 13, 2008 at 11:35 AM

    Jazakallah Tanveer for your thoughtful suggestions, masha’Allah. We will definitely have to come up with a good strategy to avoid a MuslimChatters.org type scenario!

  9. Avatar

    imran khan

    March 13, 2008 at 12:15 PM

    Congratulations, keep up the good work.

  10. Avatar

    SaqibSaab

    March 13, 2008 at 12:28 PM

    Yay. Shaykh Yasir let’s have a cake with a giant ‘1’ candle on it when you come to Chicago this weekend.

    Comments portion of the blog is really misused at times by either commenting negatively, cursing and baseless arguments.

    Tanveer Bhaiya, it’s unfortunate it happens, but such is just the nature of a blog; those kinds of things are expected with open commenting.

    In any case. it’s a real treat when I see your name in one of the comments! Please comment more often. :)

  11. AnonyMouse

    AnonyMouse

    March 13, 2008 at 1:06 PM

    Al-Hamdulillaah! It’s only by the Grace of Allah that we’ve managed to reach such a point… from 0 to 229, 423 visitors (well, that’s the number it’s showing right now) over a single year!
    I know that for me, MM has been an amazing opportunity to learn and grow, especially as a writer.

    May Allah keep us firm upon the Straight Path, increase us in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, and keep us always amongst the sincere, ameen!

  12. ibnabeeomar

    ibnabeeomar

    March 13, 2008 at 1:30 PM

    i think its an almaghrib course in chitown this wknd

  13. Avatar

    Dawud Israel

    March 13, 2008 at 2:40 PM

    Ahh shucks ya thought about me… -blushes-

    Few suggestions:

    1) Faster loading server–my browser is fast on just about every website except for MM. Waallahi this really tests my sabr!

    2) The whole Brass Crescents thing kinda peeved me off. They didn’t really reward you guys or other Muslim bloggers with anything…and that’s basically just something for the nafs yea? I wish MM and others had just completely ignored the awards…

    3) More diversity. I mean I know it’s obvious MM is Salafized but at least show some of the views of Traditional Muslims. Sometimes this place is like “AlMaghrib Lite” or “AlMaghrib Plus” which can be bad if the problems we are discussing relate to the Ummah overall and not just a section of the Ummah. Just think about it ok?

    4) A harsh word of critique to the shuyookh: You guys have created “personality cults” and people are taking notice how you behave in regards to this. Remember Allah is watching how you represent the deen.

  14. Avatar

    iMuslim

    March 13, 2008 at 2:52 PM

    I want cake!

  15. ibnabeeomar

    ibnabeeomar

    March 13, 2008 at 3:06 PM

    “A harsh word of critique to the shuyookh: You guys have created “personality cults””

    i don’t think that’s necessarily a fair statement to say any shaykh has ‘created’ something like that. you can’t control how ppl react. in any case, if you have some specific concern, i think itd be better served if you sent that privately inshallah.

    jazakallahu khayr

  16. AnonyMouse

    AnonyMouse

    March 13, 2008 at 3:14 PM

    I’m going to be a bit selfish here, and ask for commentary/ critique on my writing… have you seen it get better or worse? Where should I improve? What topics do I write well on, and what should I just leave alone?

    Personally, I think my best articles were my earlier ones… which is odd and disappointing… but anyway, what do YOU think?

  17. Avatar

    Peaches

    March 13, 2008 at 3:27 PM

    Congrats to your organzation

  18. Avatar

    Nadia

    March 13, 2008 at 4:13 PM

    Congratulations MM! May Allah allow many more beneficial posts to come forth. Always keep your intention for Him and He will give success inshallah.

  19. Avatar

    Anisa

    March 13, 2008 at 5:51 PM

    Asalaamu Alaaikum
    Alhamdulilah!! Mabrook!
    I love this site, insha’Allah it grows even more and benefits all.
    Keep up the great work!
    Wa’alaykum Asalaam
    your sister Anisa aka Shaykha…

  20. Avatar

    Graceful

    March 13, 2008 at 6:20 PM

    I LOVE this blog masha Allah :) I hope to see great things happen on this in the coming year insha Allah.

    Sr. Anonymouse, subhan Allah, your articles always seem to generate a ton of comments and I am always amazed and blown away at the fact that you’re still a teenager. I pray to have a daughter like you, you’re very eloquent in your writing, very mature in your Deen masha Allah and you touch on topics that need to be discussed.

    As far as your other questions, I’d have to organize my thoughts before posting, but I just had to let you know to keep up the beautiful work!

  21. Avatar

    Faiez

    March 13, 2008 at 7:17 PM

    Congratulations to MuslimMatters on having Tanveer comment on their blog.

    Keep up the good work.

  22. Avatar

    SaqibSaab

    March 13, 2008 at 7:41 PM

    What is going on in Chicago? Is that a public event or something private?

    Musa, it’s some event he’s in town for non-AlMaghrib related.

    i think its an almaghrib course in chitown this wknd

    He’ll be coming for his second AlMaghrib seminar in Chicago in mid-June inshaAllah. Besides, we just finished Seerah with Sh. Abdul Bary like two weeks ago!

  23. Avatar

    Aiyah

    March 13, 2008 at 7:52 PM

    Acctually celebrating birthdays is bida’.
    The evidence in the Qur’aan and Sunnah indicates that celebrating birthdays is a kind of bid’ah or innovation in religion, which has no basis in the pure sharee’ah. It is not permitted to accept invitations to birthday celebrations, because this involves supporting and encouraging bid’ah. Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

    “Or have they partners with Allaah (false gods) who have instituted for them a religion which Allaah has not allowed…?” [al-Shoora 42:21]

    “Then We have put you (O Muhammad) on a plain way of (Our) commandment. So follow that, and follow not the desires of those who know not. Verily, they can avail you nothing against Allaah (if He wants to puish you). Verily, the zaalimoon (wrongdoers) are awliyaa’ (protectors, helpers, etc.) to one another, but Allaah is the Wali (Protector, Helper) of the muttaqoon (pious).” [al-Jaathiyah 45:18-19]

    “Follow what has been sent down unto you from your Lord, and follow not any awliyaa’ (protectors, helpers, etc.) besides Him. Little do you remember!” [al-A’raaf 7:3]

    According to saheeh reports, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever does something that is a not part of this matter of ours (i.e., Islam) will have it rejected” (reported by Muslim in his Saheeh); and “The best of speech is the Book of Allaah and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). The most evil of things are those which have been newly invented (in religion), and every innovation is a going astray.” There are many other ahaadeeth that convey the same meaning.

    Besides being bid’ah and having no basis in sharee’ah, these birthday celebrations also involve imitation of the Jews and Christians in their birthday celebrations. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, warning us against following their ways and traditions: “You would follow the ways of those who came before you step by step, to such an extent that if they were to enter a lizard’s hole, you would enter it too.” They said, “O Messenger of Allaah, (do you mean) the Jews and Christians?” He said, “Who else?” (Reported by al-Bukhaari and Muslim). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.”
    This is from islam QA

  24. AnonyMouse

    AnonyMouse

    March 13, 2008 at 8:15 PM

    Jazaakillaahi khairan, sis Graceful! :)

    Still waiting for constructive criticism, though ;)

  25. Avatar

    Qas

    March 13, 2008 at 9:55 PM

    You have successfully refuted Shiekh Yasir Qadhi, Aiyah. As bro EE, would say “you gave it! Full force!”

    Can’t shake the feeling that Yasir Qadhi’s post might be tongue-in-cheek cause of the :) symbol.

    (sarcasm above…do not respond)

  26. Avatar

    i forget

    March 13, 2008 at 11:09 PM

    can i have some bus change?

  27. Avatar

    Ibrahim

    March 13, 2008 at 11:17 PM

    InshaAllah, I would like to know where is bro. Abu Bakr? Haven’t seen a post or a comment from him in a long while, and I used to like the few posts he wrote. I came to MM through his blog.

  28. Avatar

    Sara

    March 13, 2008 at 11:21 PM

    MashAllah I love this site. I don’t post or reply often generally because I don’t feel I have anything new to offer. But I check it several times a day (sometimes more). Alhamdulillah I came to Islam about six months ago, and this site always provides food for thought. Thank you so much for the work that you all put into it…
    The only thing that I would really appreciate is more downloadable mp3 files (especially ones that work on iTunes). There have been a few that I can put on my iPod and listen to as I walk around campus… it is a nice shot of emaan during a busy day.
    Oh, and Mouse, I love you articles. I haven’t been following the blog for that long so I can’t say much about your progression, but I always appreciate what you write. You have a very distinct style… it lends itself well to response and discussion. I know that really isn’t the critique you are looking for, but that’s all I got…
    Anway, congratulations on 1 year. May Allah accept your hard work.

  29. Avatar

    Muslimah

    March 14, 2008 at 12:23 AM

    It’s been a year already? subhanallah.

    Keep up the goodwork!

  30. Avatar

    Nazia

    March 14, 2008 at 12:23 AM

    Yay MM! MashaAllah, you guys have really maintained the professionalism and level of thought put into the posts and comments. This is actually my FAVORITE blog!

    I guess the only suggestion I have is to discuss things more at a practical level than a theoretical. Some of the posts are very informative and inspirational, but they don’t help much on a practical level because you don’t know how to take that information forward. Since you have several students of knowledge on this blog, more posts geared towards practical solutions in modern Muslim life (in America specifically) would be awesome!

    Other than that, I really love all the different perspectives and styles. Good work guys!

  31. Avatar

    Dawud Israel

    March 14, 2008 at 1:40 AM

    “i don’t think that’s necessarily a fair statement to say any shaykh has ‘created’ something like that. you can’t control how ppl react. in any case, if you have some specific concern, i think itd be better served if you sent that privately inshallah.

    jazakallahu khayr”

    Wa iyak

    My point is this is a test from Allah. Nothing more.

  32. Avatar

    Bubaker

    March 14, 2008 at 12:06 PM

    Barak Allahu Fikum… May Allah(SWT) Bless your work and every sincere person’s deeds.

    -Wa in shakartum, la Yazidannakum-
    “And if you show thanks, then [Allah(SWT)] will Increase it for you.”

    Alhamdulillah I always tingle with anticipation when I visit MM – Jezakum Allah Khayr to everyone.

  33. Avatar

    Nasir Muzaffar

    March 14, 2008 at 12:34 PM

    just having fun-
    Sh. Yasir Qadhi were you using the word “bidah” in the religious sense or in the linguistic sense ?

  34. Avatar

    Omar Mumtaz

    March 14, 2008 at 1:41 PM

    One year of great work masha’Allah.
    JazakumAllahu khayran, and keep it up!

    -Words of appreciation from a silent but consistent reader :)

  35. Avatar

    Manas Shaikh

    March 14, 2008 at 3:42 PM

    this blog was beneficial for me. i would not use that word for most blogs.

    jazakAllah khair for all the effort you have put in. congratulation for the amazing success you have achieved, and a prayer that you shall be able to deliver on the responsibilities that comes with the success that Allah (SWT) has granted you.

  36. Avatar

    aarij

    March 14, 2008 at 7:04 PM

    Subhan Allah, I love how Sh. Yasir mentions something and everyone’s in fatwa-seeking mode!!

    Alhamdulillah, this blog has been amazing. I remember it being mentioned at IlmFest in Toronto when Sh. Yasir was being introduced…and I’ve been hooked ever since.

    There has been a great mix of knowledge, reminders, laughs and solid opinions…a very beneficial experience in all. Especially for someone like me who doesn’t like to read the news, I get all my Muslim-related news here without the spins and the mirch masala. Well, not sure about the mirch masala ;) Ya’ni, lots of mirchi is some of the comments!

    I’m surprised (pleasantly!) that the staff remembered my comments. Alhamdulillah.

    My fav. posts:

    1. Muslim Guide to Money Management. A ground-breaking series in my opinion.

    2. A new measure of Muslim unity by Musa Maguire. I think that it’s probably the best piece of Muslim-blogging that I have read. Where is br Musa these days?

    3. Muslim fashion post by br. Omar (the follow-up was funny too).

    4. Of mice and men – been eating mac and cheese and other cheesy stuff from outside ever since ;)

  37. Avatar

    aarij

    March 14, 2008 at 7:11 PM

    Also a few suggestions:

    1. Please keep the comments open. I’m not a fan of having comments moderated before they are posted.

    2. Organizing the knowledge: the articles of Islamic knowledge, the standout series (no single articles) should be put in a separate page/sub-page for easier access. PDFs are a nice-to-have.

    3. Pick a different theme. This one is like…one of the worst in WP. Sorry guys.

    4. A monthly MM event…not just once-in-a-bluemoon Ramadan talk/coference call. That would set the standard very high.

  38. Amad

    Amad

    March 14, 2008 at 7:42 PM

    Aarij bhai,
    1) Comments are not moderated. Some get stuck in spam. Certain people will be put into moderation queue based on historical trolling.

    2) Good idea.

    3) Happening.

    4) If we can do once quarterly, that would be a huge step forward. You can blame our shayookh on that one :)

  39. Avatar

    ExEx Blogger

    March 16, 2008 at 3:53 PM

    Wow…I am mentioned… :)

    No Happy Birthday To You
    There’s No Cake For You
    You’re Closer to Your Graave…
    Doing Zikr’s the best way!

  40. Avatar

    Salaam

    March 21, 2008 at 12:40 AM

    wow maa shallah

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Announcements

Complicated?:​ ​The A-Z of Women’s Modern Fiqh | Sh Waleed Basyouni

Sh. Waleed Basyouni

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Which deeds are most beloved to Allah?

Alhamdulillah, by the blessings of Allah (swt) and readers like yourself, MuslimMatters has been an independent platform for our best thought leaders to educate us in our faith and catalyze change through powerful, necessary conversations. Since our humble beginnings as a basic wordpress blog in 2007, our content has remained free.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support us with a monthly donation of $10 per month, or even as little as $1. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

You know that frustrating feeling of not knowing the answers to certain questions?

Questions like:

…am I praying or am I not?

…can I touch the Quran or can I not…?

…did that man really just say that because I’m a woman, I can’t do this, or wear that, or speak up?

Every ​question,​ every ​concern,​ every ​misconception on​ Women’s Fiqh… What if you had the answers?

Women’s fiqh has a reputation for being complicated. However, the reason why is because nobody has given it the full attention it needs in the context of Muslim women living in the West today.

I propose we end that confusion, stop the misuse of Islamic texts, and reclaim the knowledge. This applies to the men, as well. Men will want to learn about this as well – not just because they have women in their life (a mom, a sister, a wife or a daughter). But because knowing the fiqh specific to half of the world’s population saves everyone from making dangerous mistakes.

The answers to your questions and the knowledge you’re looking for comes in a complete, online guided course:​ Complicated?:​ ​The A-Z of Women’s Modern Fiqh.

It’s titled with a question mark because it really isn’t that complicated. This is the complete online course that covers every stage of a woman’s natural lifecycle. From newborns, puberty, and education, to marriage, old age, and the eventual janazah.

 Plus, it covers modern fiqh questions about topics like careers, public speaking, fashion, social interactions and textual misconceptions.

Here’s what past attendees have to say about this course:

“Throughout the course, I was nodding all the time….. …..like YES, this is a question I’ve had….

…. and thank you for answering it.

It opened my eyes to so many different issues,

Som that I was struggling with, and some I hadn’t even considered.”– From author and speaker, Sr Asmaa Hussain

 

“At first, I thought it would be a course on the usual Fiqh of Women stuff… …like pregnancy, periods, ghusl, salah. Sure that was there and with great clarity… …but it was literally the A-Z: He talked about women’s leadership, women as judges, women in positions of power… Never had I felt more empowered, more confident.…and especially grateful to be present in this class. “ – Ustadha Taimiyyah Zubair

You will also get to listen to these guest speakers:

  • Imam Omar Suleiman ​- AlMaghrib Instructor, ​civil rights activist, writer, and speaker
  • Dunia Shuaib -​ Certified marriage educator, author, and lecturer
  • Maryam Amir ​- Hafidha  and social justice educator
  • Dr. Marwa Assar -​ Psychologist, educator, writer, CEO of H.O.M.E.
  • Hina Mirza​ – Registered psychotherapist

And watch recorded bonuses with:

  • Ustadha Taimiyyah Zubair​ – Instructor at AlMaghrib Institute
  • Asmaa Hussain​ – Author of the best seller- A Temporary Gift
  • Sarah Sultan​ – Mental health counselor
  • Noor Salem​ – Nutritionist, author and speaker
  • Aminah Khan​ – Entrepreneur, Founder of Amanah Fitness
  • Shaykh Yahya Ibrahim​ – Instructor at AlMaghrib Institute

 Every question ever asked about Women’s fiqh is answered in this online course. And if you still have more questions, there are Live Q&A sessions scheduled for you to ask what hasn’t already been discussed.

If you are interested in joining, then make sure you register before ​today Oct 10th 11:59pm, ​when the course closes.

Click on the link below and get access to your student portal today:

www.almaghrib.online

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#Society

Obituary of (Mawlana) Yusuf Sulayman Motala (1366/1946 – 1441/2019)

Monday, September 9, turned out to be a day of profound anguish and sorrow for many around the world. In the early morning hours, news of the death of Mawlana* Yusuf Sulayman Motala, fondly known as “Hazrat” (his eminence) to those who were acquainted with him, spread. He had passed away on Sunday at 8:20 pm EST in Toronto, after suffering a heart attack two weeks earlier.

Dr. Mufti Abdur Rahman ibn Yusuf Mangera

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Dar Al Uloom Bury, Yusuf Sulayman Motala
Which deeds are most beloved to Allah?

Alhamdulillah, by the blessings of Allah (swt) and readers like yourself, MuslimMatters has been an independent platform for our best thought leaders to educate us in our faith and catalyze change through powerful, necessary conversations. Since our humble beginnings as a basic wordpress blog in 2007, our content has remained free.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support us with a monthly donation of $10 per month, or even as little as $1. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

A master of hadith and Qur’an. A sufi, spiritual guide and teacher to thousands. A pioneer in the establishment of a religious education system. His death reverberated through hearts and across oceans. We are all mourning the loss of a luminary who guided us through increasingly difficult times.

Monday, September 9, turned out to be a day of profound anguish and sorrow for many around the world. In the early morning hours, news of the death of Mawlana* Yusuf Sulayman Motala, fondly known as “Hazrat” (his eminence) to those who were acquainted with him, spread. He had passed away on Sunday at 8:20 pm EST in Toronto, after suffering a heart attack two weeks earlier. (May the Almighty envelope him in His mercy)

His journey in this world had begun more than 70 years ago in the small village of Nani Naroli in Gujarat, India, where he was born on November 25, 1946 (1 Muharram 1366) into a family known for their piety.

His early studies were largely completed at Jami’a Husayniyya, one of the early seminaries of Gujarat, after which he travelled to Mazahir Ulum, the second oldest seminary of the Indian Sub-Continent, in Saharanpur, India, to complete his ‘alimiyya studies. What drew him to this seminary was the presence of one of the most influential and well-known contemporary spiritual guides, Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi (d. 1402/1982), better known as “Hazrat Shaykh.” He had seen Mawlana Zakariyya only briefly at a train stop, but it was enough for him to understand the magnitude of his presence.

Mawlana Yusuf remained in Saharanpur for two years. Despite being younger than many of the other students of Shaykh Zakariya, the shaykh took a great liking to him. Shaykh Zakariya showered him with great attention and even deferred his retirement from teaching Sahih al-Bukhari so that Mawlana Yusuf could study it under his instruction. While in Saharanpur, Mawlana Yusuf also studied under a number of other great scholars, such as Mawlana Muhammad ‘Aqil (author of Al-Durr al-Mandud, an Urdu commentary of Sunan Abi Dawud and current head lecturer of Hadith at the same seminary), Shaykh Yunus Jownpuri (d. 1438/2017) the previous head lecturer of Hadith there), Mawlana As‘adullah Rampuri (d. 1399/1979) and Mufti Muzaffar Husayn (d. 1424/2003).

Upon completion of his studies, Mawlana Yusuf’s marriage was arranged to marry a young woman from the Limbada family that had migrated to the United Kingdom from Gujarat. In 1968, he relocated to the UK and accepted the position of imam at Masjid Zakariya, in Bolton. Although he longed to be in the company of his shaykh, he had explicit instructions to remain in the UK and focus his efforts on establishing a seminary for memorization of Qur’an and teaching of the ‘alimiyya program. The vision being set in motion was to train a generation of Muslims scholars that would educate and guide the growing Muslim community.

Establishing the first Muslim seminary, in the absence of any precedent, was a daunting task. The lack of support from the Muslim community, the lack of integration into the wider British community, and the lack of funds made it seem an impossible endeavour. And yet, Mawlana Yusuf never wavered in his commitment and diligently worked to make the dream of his teacher a reality. In 1973 he purchased the derelict Aitken Sanatorium in the village of Holcombe, near Bury, Lancashire. What had once been a hospice for people suffering from tuberculosis, would become one of the first fully-fledged higher-education Islamic institutes outside of the Indian-Subcontinent teaching the adapted-Nizami syllabus.

The years of struggle by Maulana Yusuf to fulfil this vision paid off handsomely. Today, after four decades, Darul Uloom Al Arabiyya Al Islamiyya, along with its several sister institutes, also founded by Mawlana Yusuf, such as the Jamiatul Imam Muhammad Zakariya seminary in Bradford for girls, have produced well over 2,000 British born (and other international students) male and female ‘alimiyya graduates – many of whom are working as scholars and serving communities across the UK, France, Belgium, Holland, Portugal, the US, Canada, Barbados, Trinidad, Panama, Saudi Arabia, India and New Zealand. Besides these graduates, a countless number of individuals have memorized the Qur’an at these institutes. Moreover, many of the graduates of the Darul Uloom and its sister institutes have set up their own institutes, such as Jamiatul Ilm Wal Huda in Blackburn, Islamic Dawah Academy in Leicester, Jami’ah al-Kawthar in Lancaster, UK, and Darul Uloom Palmela in Portugal, to just mention a few of the larger ones. Within his lifetime, Mawlana Yusuf saw first-hand the fruit of his labours – witnessing his grand students (graduates from his students’ institutes) providing religious instruction and services to communities around the world in their local languages. What started as a relationship of love between a student and teacher, manifested into the transmission of knowledge across continents. In some countries, such as the UK and Portugal, one would be hard-pressed to find a Muslim who had not directly or indirectly benefited from him.

Mawlana Yusuf was a man with deep insights into the needs of Western contemporary society, one that was very different from the one he had grown up and trained in. With a view to contributing to mainstream society, Mawlana Yusuf encouraged his graduates to enter into further education both in post-graduate Islamic courses and western academia, and to diversify their fields of learning through courses at mainstream UK universities. As a result, many ‘alimiyya graduates of his institutes are trained in law, mainstream medicine, natural medicine and homeopathy, mental health, child protection, finance, IT, education, chaplaincy, psychology, philosophy, pharmacy, physics, journalism, engineering, architecture, calligraphy, typography, graphic design, optometry, social services, public health, even British Sign Language. His students also include several who have completed PhDs and lecture at universities. His vision was to train British-born (or other) Muslim scholars who would be well versed in contemporary thought and discipline along with their advanced Islamic learning, equipping them to better contribute to society.

Despite his commitment to the establishment of a public good, the shaykh was an immensely private person and avoided seeking accolade or attention. For many decades he refused invitations to attend conferences or talks around the country, choosing to focus on his students and his family, teaching the academic syllabus and infusing the hearts of many aspirants with the love of Allah through regular gatherings of remembrance (dhikr) and spiritual retreats (i’tikaf) in the way of his shaykh’s Chishti Sufi order.

During my entire stay with him at Darul Uloom (1985–1997), I can say with honesty that I did not come across a single student who spoke ill of him. He commanded such awe and respect that people would find it difficult to speak with him casually. And yet, for those who had the opportunity to converse with him, knew that he was the most compassionate, humble, and loving individual.

He was full of affection for his students and colleagues and had immense concern for the Muslim Ummah, especially in the West. He possessed unparalleled forbearance and self-composure. When he taught or gave a talk, he spoke in a subdued and measured tone, as though he was weighing every word, knowing the import it carried. He would sit, barely moving and without shifting his posture. Even after a surgical procedure for piles, he sat gracefully teaching us Sahih al-Bukhari. Despite the obvious pain, he never made an unpleasant expression or winced from the pain.

Anyone who has listened to his talks or read his books can bear testimony to two things: his immense love for the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and his love for Shaykh Mawlana Muhammad Zakariya Kandhlawi (may Allah have mercy on him). It is probably hard to find a talk in which he did not speak of the two. His shaykh was no doubt his link to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) in both his hadith and spiritual transmissions.

Over the last decade, he had retired from most of his teaching commitments (except Sahih al-Bukhari) and had reduced meeting with people other than his weekly dhikr gatherings. His time was spent with his family and young children and writing books. His written legacy comprises over 20 titles, mostly in Urdu but also a partial tafsir of the Qur’an in classical Arabic.

After the news of his heart attack on Sunday, August 25, and the subsequent effects to his brain, his well-wishers around the world completed hundreds of recitals of the Qur’an, several readings of the entire Sahih al-Bukhari, thousands of litanies and wirds of the formula of faith (kalima tayyiba), and gave charity in his name. However, Allah Most High willed otherwise and intended for him to depart this lowly abode to begin his journey to the next. He passed away two weeks later and reports state that approximately 4,000 people attended his funeral. Had his funeral been in the UK, the number of attendees would have multiplied several folds. But he had always shied away from large crowds and gatherings and maybe this was Allah Most High’s gift to him after his death. He was 75 (in Hijra years, and 72 in Gregorian) at the time of his death and leaves behind eight children and several grandchildren.

Mawlana Yusuf educated, inspired and nourished the minds and hearts of countless across the UK and beyond. May Allah Almighty bless him with the loftiest of abodes in the Gardens of Firdaws in the company of Allah’s beloved Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) and grant all his family, students, and cherishers around the world beautiful patience.

Dr Mufti Abdur-Rahman Mangera
Whitethread Institute, London
(A fortunate graduate of Darul Uloom Bury, 1996–97)

*a learned Muslim scholar especially in India often used as a form of address
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