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Is Islam a Fairy Tale When Told to the Poor?

homeless.jpgMuslims like to tell the legendary stories of centuries past—the battles, the victories, the just leaders, the ascetic scholars, the generous kings. We love to talk about the time when Allah granted honor and ascendancy to Muslims, when the word of Allah was raised high. And as we relate these tales, we love to fancy ourselves as the rightful inheritors of that noble legacy.

In reality, we do not have any share in those past glories. We are not accumulating reward for the deeds of our predecessors. Though certainly, to the extent that we follow their example, they are accumulating reward from us.

And just as we love to reflect on a past that we did not author, we also like to dream of the eventual revival and resurgence of Islam. Yet, there is no guarantee that we will have much of a share in that either. In fact, we may be remembered as one of the lost generations that failed to fulfill its covenant with Allah.

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Allah says:

2:83 And remember We took a covenant from the Children of Israel (to this effect): Worship none but Allah. treat with kindness your parents, kin, orphans, and those in need; speak good to people; be steadfast in prayer; and practice charity regularly. Then you turned away, except a few among you, and you continue to backslide.

Let us keep in mind the various purposes of such verses. One is to teach us how the people of the past have gone astray. This is the aspect we like to talk about.

But there is another aspect, one that is more frightening. These verses also serve as a warning to us. They serve as a forecast of the way that this ummah will go astray. The Prophet, sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, said,

“You will follow the ways of those nations who were before you, span by span and cubit by cubit (i.e., inch by inch) so much so that even if they entered a lizard’s burrow, you would follow them.” We said, “O Allah’s Apostle! (Do you mean) the Jews and Christians?” He said, “Who else?”

So let us hold ourselves to account and consider just two of the virtues mentioned in this verse—providing for orphans and the poor. Providing aid to these two groups is so central to our faith that it spans all ideological and sectarian divides.

Before offering some concrete suggestions, I want to mention two important principles to guide our practice of charity. They are the generosity of giving, and the generosity of our hearts. I only mention these because their opposites are tragically common. First, there are so many opportunities to give; so many projects on a local, national, or global scale that need support. This creates a logistical dilemma. Should we split our giving between as many different causes as possible? Or should we spend more or a few select projects? There is no definitive answer to this question…or rather, the only definitive answer is that we should give generously from our wealth, no matter how it is apportioned.

But the second principle that I want to mention is even more essential—the generosity of our hearts. It is tragic that some Muslims do not truly care about all those in need. Some argue that we should not support local causes, especially those that assist non-Muslims, when so many Muslims are suffering overseas. Others resent this negligence toward local communities, responding in turn with callousness toward the traditional international causes. This attitude is truly a disease, for even if we lack the funds to support one cause or another, or we prefer to give to one cause or another, we can always dip into the inexhaustible resource of sincere empathy and du’a for all those in need.

Giving to Orphans
At the 2007 Texas Dawah Convention, Islamic Relief, a major international Muslim charity, hosted an inspiring session. One of the brothers from Islamic Relief gave a presentation about his travels to natural disaster zones around the world. This is someone who works on the ground to make relief efforts happen. And when listening to the tragic and touching stories about what goes on after an earthquake, tsunami, or hurricane, our comfort and ease of life starts to feel like negligence.

Islamic Relief offers a simple formula to guide charity: Think-Care-Act. First, take the time to withdraw from your daily routine, from your worries and concerns, and think about the suffering that occurs all across the world. Then, assuming that your heart is not hard, and you actually care about those in need, you will start to feel their pain. And finally, don’t leave the good intentions, or the moment of awareness, without acting upon it. Give.

Islamic Relief, and many other Islamic charities—Muslim Hands, Zakat Foudation, etc.—put a major priority on orphan sponsorship. In places where natural disasters occur, thousands of children become orphans in an instant. Think about their situation. For those of you who are parents, think about your own kids. Consider all that they face in this world, and the little bit of security you feel knowing that you are there to protect them. But what if you were no longer there? How would your kids fare?

The Prophet said, “I and the one who sponsors an orphan will be like this in Paradise” – and he gestured with his index and middle fingers, holding them slightly apart.

Do we need any incentive other than this?

Alhamdulillah, there are many Muslims doing great work in this regard. While conducting some cursory research on Muslim charities for this article, I discovered that over 20,000 orphans have been sponsored by Islamic Relief ( and over 4000 by Muslim Hands ( Many other Muslim charities are also active in orphan sponsorship.

I also learned that there are many orphans currently awaiting sponsorship. At present, there are 161 orphans awaiting sponsorship through Islamic Relief, 148 through Muslim Hands, and 29 through the Zakat Foundation of America.

That’s 338 orphans who are waiting to be sponsored right now. 338 opportunities to be like “this” with the Prophet, sallallahu alaihi wa sallam. And all you have to do is go to the website, fill out a form, and you are charged 40-60 dollars per month.

But let’s reflect on this from another angle. What does it say about us that these charities have orphans on a waiting list? What does it say about our wealthy communities in the West that hundreds of children are a mouse click away from their basic necessities and education, but somehow we fail to make the effort to assist them.

Is this the way it should be? No, exactly the opposite should be true. These charities should have a waiting list of donors. We should be eagerly checking our email everyday to see when we will get this wonderful opportunity to sponsor an orphan. Poor children in Palestine, or Mali, or South Africa, should be able to visit an Internet café and choose their sponsor. They should be able to browse our photos and short bios, selecting whoever seems most worthy to receive the abundant reward or orphan sponsorship.

So ask yourself, what is stopping you from spending the $40, $50, or $60 a month for orphan sponsorship? This is one trip to the grocery store, one month of cappuccinos, a dinner at Red Lobster. What is preventing you from this small act that may very well earn you Paradise?

In light of this situation, I am calling on all of our readers to help create a logistical headache for the charities. Let us deplete their waiting lists of orphans and redefine how sponsorship works. Let’s force the charities to make new databases of potential sponsors and new web pages to register for the waiting lists. Let us not leave the orphans waiting when we are the ones in need.

You can access orphan sponsorship programs through the following websites. All of these charities operate legally and under the supervision and regulations of multiple governments, so there is no risk to your security in making a donation. Don’t let Shaytaan or your vain desires sway you from making this small sacrifice. Think. Care. Act.

Islamic Relief (UK site)

Muslim Hands

Hidaya Foundation

Zakat Foundation of America

Serving the Poor in America
Without a doubt, supporting the poor is a core principle of Islam. And the extent to which we support the poor is a good indicator of the level of our faith. This is not an issue that requires us to look far from home. I live in Milwaukee, one of many rust belt cities that suffer from serious economic problems and a high rate of poverty. On August 28, 2007, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that Milwaukee has the eighth highest poverty rate among the largest cities in America. The numbers are startling, 26.2% of the population, or 143,000 people, live below the federal poverty line.

The fact is that most of us live very close to poverty, but we may never see it. It may just be sad stories on the evening news, or a blighted neighborhood that we pass on the highway. But across America, poverty is real and abundant.

This is what’s going on right around us. In Milwaukee, there are 143,000 people living in poverty. That is 143,000 people living in a society where corrupt politicians blame poverty on the poor. It is 143,000 reasons why the wealthiest country in the world is a disgrace. And for those who only wish to focus on poverty and suffering overseas, it is 143,000 potential recruits for the armed forces, 143,000 people who may risk their souls in Iraq or Afghanistan because there are no alternative opportunities for a decent life in America.

Of course, as Muslims, the calculus is a bit different. We should see 143,000 opportunities for seeking the pleasure of Allah, 143,000 guaranteed investment opportunities for this life and the Hereafter.

Keeping all this in mind, it is befitting to ask: who are the leaders in the fight against poverty in Milwaukee?

When I gave a khutbah about this topic several months ago, I sent the following message to the head of a local charity:

“Hi. I am giving a speech to a small group tomorrow (as a component of the Muslim Friday prayer) about the importance of charity, feeding the hungry, sponsoring orphans, etc. I was wondering if you could answer a short question to help me prepare. When you think of the leaders in the fight against poverty and hunger in Milwaukee, what groups (religious, non-profit, community, etc.) come to mind? I want to use this as motivation to encourage my community to step up to the plate.”

She responded:

“Thomas–hope I’m not too late in responding.
The Episcopal Diocese sponsors both the Gathering soup kitchens and Sojourner Truth House.

Lutheran Churches make up more than 30% of all pantry operators and are all volunteer run.

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee (Catholic Church) is a strong contributor to shelters, pantries and soup kitchens and their Saint Vincent DePaul Societies are voluntary organizations that form the backbone of the work.

Interfaith of Greater Milwaukee organizes the annual Crop Walk, raising food, money, and awareness for both local and international hunger causes.

Non-profits with a clear and obvious history–Salvation Army, American Red Cross who both operate shelters for the homeless.

If your group wants to get involved, we can help them to get organized. Let me know”

Notably absent from the list is the Muslim community, and this is not a local anomaly. Muslim communities across the country are not doing enough for their impoverished neighbors. If we made it a priority, Muslims could solve, or at least severely mute poverty in America. Our numbers and wealth are sufficient for that.

Poverty and hunger are vast problems, but we can make small steps to get ourselves involved and, more importantly, to develop a culture of giving within our communities. There are many ways to go about this, but I will mention just one.

Most cities have organizations that deal directly with hunger issues. In Milwaukee, the Hunger Task Force is a non-denominational organization focused entirely on the collection and distribution of food for the poor. Hunger Task Force accepts food donations in all quantities, and they provide marketing and logistical support for food drives.

One of the local masjids in Milwaukee has started a continuous food drive program. This idea is not to accumulate a great deal of food in one shot. Rather, it is designed to help nurture a culture of giving in our communities. Muslims are encouraged to make regular donations of non-perishable food to collection boxes in the masajid. To meet this call, all one needs to do is buy a little extra food during each trip to the grocery store. When there is a 10 fo $10, or 8 for $5 deal at the local supermarket, it is a wonderful opportunity to give. This is a small effort, but it is important for several reasons. First, it is realizable given the existing financial capacities and organizational dynamics of the community. It would be nice to offer food pantries and other meal services across the city, but that may not be realistic at this stage. Next, and more importantly, it adheres to the principle that the most beloved deeds to Allah are those that are done regularly, even if they are small. A box of cereal here, and a can of soup there, may add up to a mountain on the Day of Judgment. This program is something that all communities can implement to help feed the hungry in their respective locales.

This title of this article presents a questions: “Is Islam a Fairy Tale When Told to the Poor?” Let us renew our efforts in this regard, so when future generations tell our story, it is not one of miserliness, self-absorption, and selfishness. Are we the exemplary community that one finds in the history books? Or are we like the people who came before, more certain of our own virtue than we are of our imminent Recompense?

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Musa Maguire is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and accepted Islam after graduating from college. In 2004-2005, he received a Fulbright grant to study in Egypt, and then spent the following year working at Huda TV, an English-language Islamic satellite channel that broadcasts from Cairo.



  1. Avatar


    June 2, 2008 at 12:08 PM

    I always had the dream to take a homeless person from the street…bathe them, clothe them, groom them, and feed them. Then I would give them da’wah and help them find a simple job.
    May Allah help me or someone else carry this dream out someday.

  2. Avatar


    June 2, 2008 at 12:18 PM

    Asalaamu Alaikum Br. Musa,

    Was your khutbah recorded by any chance? If so can you share it with us?

    Jazaka Allahu khayran,

  3. Avatar

    Dawud Israel

    June 2, 2008 at 1:29 PM is a new one

    Also starting project downtown AKA feed the streets in your community is a good idea:
    This is really good for the youth as well.

    Another thing would be to actually help out these churches and other community groups. Muslims can’t expect to all of sudden go out and be experts at it but once we start working with others–we can pick up enough momentum to start our own efforts. Step at a time Insha Allah!

    The other thing is just having a big wooden box in your masjid where people can just drop off their extra clothes and anyone who needs it can take it. A lot of Indian families will go to salvation army and give there clothes that don’t fit etc. away so the will is there.

  4. Avatar


    June 2, 2008 at 3:08 PM

    Indeed we need to make sure that Islam does not become a fairy tale to the poor and those in need. Muslims should ideally be out there, up front and center, when it comes to helping orphans and the poor. And although this is the case in some cities, overall there’s a lot more we can do. I love the author’s wish to turn the waiting lists over so that sponsors are in line to help orphans. This would be wonderful to see, and is very much possible if every Muslim male and female take it upon themselves to gain the pleasure of Allah by becoming active in helping the poor. 338 and plus orphans should be like zilch to us inshallah.
    Regardless, the desire to help those less fortunate is definitely there, but after that it all comes down to turning our thoughts and words into action. Brother Mohammad, your wish to help homeless people individually is admirable because it adds a personal touch to it. But to hear you say ‘someday’ saddened me. Indeed this is a word which many Muslims use, myself included. Every day we let pass by in dreaming of doing something means one more day a person will sleep on the streets cold and hungry. Muslims have the potential all over to make real change. All we have to do is stop dreaming and start doing.

  5. Avatar


    June 2, 2008 at 5:27 PM

    As-Salaamu Alaykum, though Muslims in the US are affluent compared to other communities, many of the wealthier Muslims live in the suburbs and are therefore not as clued in to the plight of urban areas. A wealthy Pakistani or Arab doctor, for example, often has trouble relating to the needs of poor people in the community. As a community, we are preoccupied with building masajid, full-time Islamic schools, and gaining political strength. Unfortunately, we are failing in helping meet the basic needs of the poor in our community and amoungst our neighbors.

    Thank you for this reminder.

  6. Avatar

    Ibn Masood

    June 2, 2008 at 8:24 PM

    Jazakallahu Khair for the reminder. That orphan sponsorship program sounds very appealing.

  7. Avatar

    Abu Abdul

    June 3, 2008 at 8:42 AM

    Thanx bro. You know, I don’t think it has to be very big before we can affect the lives of people or that we have to be very many. Even if we are few, with little resources, but sincere and consistent, we can achieve a lot. Take for instance, a group of three brothers or sisters teaming up and visiting a local hospital or orphanage or any welfare centre to help the people, attend to their needs and perhaps make little contributions and give to them or use it to buy gifts. It doesn’t even have to be every day or every week, a monthly consistent effort will go a long way.
    May Allaah assist us and make this easy for us.

  8. Avatar

    Sponsor an Orphan

    July 15, 2013 at 5:06 AM

    Very nice post. That’s what I always think why we never do such things.

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Help! I Can’t Make Dua For More Than 30 Seconds On The Day Of ‘Arafah

Much emphasis has been given on the importance of fasting on the day of ‘Arafah, but don’t forget, this was a day the Prophet Muhammad (upon him be peace) “made du’a from the time of Dhur til the time of Maghrib on the day of ‘Arafah while STANDING.” (Sahih Muslim)

He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) also said, “The best du’a is that which is made on the day of ‘Arafah.” (Sahih Muslim)

If we can develop the capacity to binge watch on Netflix 5-6 for hours a day, we can develop the capacity to make du’a longer than 30 SECONDS on the day of ‘Arafah.

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I used to be a person who couldn’t make du’a longer than 2 minutes.

3 things changed

1. I started writing my personalized du’as on a mini-notebook

2. I started reading du’as using Hisnul Muslim (The Fortress of the Muslim)

3. I started following the etiquettes of making du’a.

As an Imam, I have numerous meetings with members of my community. Sometimes, at the end of my meetings, I asked the community member to end our meeting with a du’a. It is surprising that many of them do not know the etiquettes of making du’a. By following the above etiquettes of making du’a, you can make du’a longer than 2 minutes inshAllah!

Here are 16 etiquettes of making du’a from the Qur’an and Sunnah

1) Have 100% conviction that Allah will answer you

2) Find a way to praise Allah before making your request

3) Use the proper names of Allah

4) Send salutations upon Muhammad (upon him be peace)

5) Raise your hand like a beggar

6) Face the qibla

7) Be in a state of wudu

8) Cry

9) Be a lone wolf (Be alone)

10) Ensuring that your food is pure

11) Acknowledge your sins (Privately)

12) Repeat the du’a 3 times

13) Start the du’a by praying for yourself

14) Expand your heart, pray for everyone (in particular those Muslims in China who wish they could fast on the day of ‘Arafah, but they are prohibited from doing so.)

15) Say Amin after making du’a.

16) Make du’a during the “prime-times” (From Dhur till Maghrib on the day of Arafah is primetime!)

Bonus tip: If you’re like me, you may get stuck when making du’a. An excellent tip given by our master Muhammad (upon him be peace) is to use the “filler du’a”. This “filler du’a” was actually what Muhammad (upon him be peace) and all of the Prophets made on the day of Arafat!

He said, “The best invocation is that of the Day of Arafat, and the best that anyone can say is what I and the Prophets before me have said:

Lā ‘ilāha ‘illallāhu

wahdahu lā shareeka lahu,

lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamdu

wa Huwa ‘alā kulli shay’in qadeer.


None has the right to be worshipped but Allah

Alone, Who has no partner.

His is the dominion and His is the praise,

and He is Able to do all things. (Al-Tirmidhi)

To recap, here are 5 action items you and your family can perform on the day of Arafah.

1. Go over the following hadith with your family members.

“Allah frees far more people from Hellfire on the Day of Arafah than on any other day, and Allah comes closer this day and proudly says to the angels, ‘What do these people want and seek?’” (Sunan an-Nasa’i)

2. Say to your family members or whoever you have influence over,

“The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) made du’a on the day of Arafah from Dhur till Maghreb. How long do you think we can make du’a for on this day?”

3. Go over the 16 etiquettes mentioned in this post.

4. Challenge your family members to make a 10 minute du’a.

     Materials needed

  • Whiteboard
  • Markers
  • A Creative mind
  • Brainstorm with your family members what du’a you want to make and then write them on a whiteboard.

5. Whenever you get stuck and you can’t don’t know what du’a you want to make, make the “filler du’a” the Prophet (upon him be peace) made on the day of ‘Arafah.

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

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The Inner Dimensions of the Udhiyah

Apart from Ḥajj, the greatest action a Muslim can do in the blessed days of Dhū al-ijjah is to offer the udḥiyah (qurbāni/sacrifice).

‘Āisha raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) reports that Rasūlullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “A human does no action from the actions of the Day of Naḥr [slaughtering; refers to the day of Eid al-Adḥā] more beloved to Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) than sacrificing the animal. On the Day of Judgement, it will appear with its horns, and hair, and hooves, and indeed the blood will be accepted by Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) before it even falls upon the ground, so let your heart delight in it.” [Tirmidhī]

Although we all know that this is an action that is traditionally performed on Eid al-Adā, a lack of understanding of its reality has led some to question the importance of doing it in the first place. In past years, and increasingly during the current pandemic, many have been asking, “Can I give ṣadaqah (charity) instead?”

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

To answer this, it is necessary to understand the following.1 Everything in this world is comprised of an outer form – an appearance and a desired outcome – a “soul.” These two are intertwined in such a way that separating them is impossible. One cannot survive without the other. The clearest example of this reality is in ourselves.

سَنُرِيهِمْ آيَاتِنَا فِي الْآفَاقِ وَفِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ ۗ

“Soon we will show them Our Signs in the horizons [external] and in themselves [internal] until it becomes clear to them that it is the Truth.” [Surah Fussilat; 53]

We are made of a body, which is comprised of several parts, and a soul, which fills the entire body and allows each part to fulfill its unique function. Without a body, our soul cannot survive, and without a soul, our body cannot survive. Additionally, if any part is missing, the whole person will be considered to have some deficiency. Likewise, the same principle applies to our n. Our n has an outer form, which is comprised of the actions that we perform, and a soul as well. The fact of the matter is that our goal in life is to achieve a complete connection with Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). The Quran identifies this quality with the word taqwā. The soul that permeates our entire n and therefore, all our individual actions is taqwā. All these actions display a different aspect of taqwā and together form complete n in a person. If anything is missing, a person’s n will be deficient.

For example, the soul of ṣalāh is the portion of taqwā that relates to expressing humility in front of Allāh. The soul of fasting is the portion of taqwā that relates to suppressing one’s desires for Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). The soul of is adaqah is the portion of taqwā that relates to curing one’s love for wealth by donating in the path of Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

Each of these things is necessary, and although they are all types of taqwā, they are not interchangeable. To expand on this, imagine that a person had $100 in cash, $100 worth of food, and $100 worth of furniture.2 The values of all three would be the same, but the functions they perform are different. None is more important than the other but all are necessary.

Similarly, a person cannot discard the outer form (different forms of ibādāt) and say that the only thing that matters is the soul (taqwā). If this were the case, our entire religion could be discarded. Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says:

لَن يَنَالَ اللَّهَ لُحُومُهَا وَلَا دِمَاؤُهَا وَلَٰكِن يَنَالُهُ التَّقْوَىٰ مِنكُمْ ۚ

“Neither their flesh reaches Allāh nor their blood (the udḥiyah animal); it is your taqwā that reaches Him.” [Al Hajj; 37]

There goes udḥiyah. Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

“Oh you who have believed, fasting has been prescribed on you as it has been prescribed upon those before you so that you may become people of taqwā.” [Surah Al-Baqarah; 183]

There goes fasting.

 إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ ۗ

“Verily ṣalāh prevents indecency and sin” (in essence, taqwā) [Surah al-‘Ankabut; 45]

Ṣalāh can also be put to the side.

لَّيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَن تُوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَلَٰكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّائِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَالْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَاهَدُوا ۖ وَالصَّابِرِينَ فِي الْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَحِينَ الْبَأْسِ ۗ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُتَّقُونَ

“Virtue is that one sincerely believes in Allāh, the Last Day, the Angels, the Book and the Prophets and, out of His love, spend of one’s choice wealth for relatives and orphans, for the needy and the wayfarer, for beggars and for the ransom of slaves, and establish ṣalāh and give zakāh. And the virtuous are those who keep their pledges when they make them and show fortitude in hardships and adversity and in the struggle between the Truth and falsehood; such are the truthful people, and such are the people of taqwā.” [Surah Al-Baqarah; 77]

There goes our entire dīn.

The soul of udḥiyah is that portion of taqwā that expresses our total submission to Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). “O Allāh, my life is in your Hands. Do with it whatever you wish!” The actual command was to sacrifice the thing that is most dear to you – a life. And in Ibrahīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) case, the life of his only child. The life of the child who for decades, he prayed and hoped for. Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) commanded Ibrahīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) in a dream to sacrifice his beloved son, Ismā’īl 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). Ibrahīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) said, “My beloved son, I have seen that I was sacrificing you in dream. What do you think?” Without hesitation, Ismā’īl 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) responded, “O my beloved father, do as you have been commanded. Inshā Allāh, you will find me among the patient.” When Ibrahīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) tried to push the knife on his son’s neck, it became dull and “We called on to him, O Ibrahīm! You have surely fulfilled your dream. This is how we reward those of excellence. Indeed, this was a clear test. We ransomed him with a mighty sacrifice.” [As-Saffat; 100-107]. From that day until the end of time, Muslims have and will continue emulate this sacrifice of Ibrahīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) as a reminder of what true submission is.

When standing before Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), we will need to present all types of taqwā. If we were to have a surplus of one type, for example, ṣadaqah, we would be rewarded for it, but that would not change the fact that something else is missing. If we were to tell our child to make sure that their room is clean for Eid and, instead of doing that, they cooked a delicious meal, we would thank them for their gesture, but then say that there is a time and place for everything and this time is for cleaning your room.

The purpose of ṣadaqah is to cleanse our hearts from the love of wealth by giving it to the poor. Although it is recommended to give a portion of the sacrifice to the poor, it is not the purpose, nor is it a requirement for its validity. The purpose of udḥiyah is to follow the command of Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), in the way that He commanded it. In the past, and even now in some agrarian societies, the most beloved belonging to many people was their animals. This is because unlike other wealth, animals serve many purposes. They are a means of milk and clothing, a status symbol, a means of breeding, and also can be sold or eaten. To sacrifice an animal was truly a great sacrifice.

However, times have changed. Yet due to this very reason, udḥiyah is still a sacrifice, especially in America. We are used to the comforts of our home and would much rather donate money than take a day off from work and spend time, money, and energy in going to a farm and performing the udḥiyah. This is our sacrifice. We cannot abandon this great act.3,4

May Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) preserve our pristine religion in the manner it was practiced by Rasūlullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and his companions.

قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

“Surely my prayer, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allāh alone, the Sustainer of Universe. He has no partner. This is what I have been ordered, and I am the first to submit.” [Al-An’am; 162]

و ما توفيقي إلا باالله عليه توكلت و إليه أنيب

[1] The concept of actions having an outer form and inner soul were expanded upon in the Khutbāt of Hakīm al-Ummah Mawlāna Ashraf Alī Thanvī (throughout volume 16 – Barakāt e Ramaḍān) and Hakīm al-Islām Qāri Muḥammad Ṭayyib رحمهما الله تعالى رحمةً واسعةً . Qāri Ṭayyib specifically spoke about this concept in relation to the udḥiyah (Sunnat e Khalīl ‘Alayh al-Salām, volume 3, page 211). I benefited from these works immensely in the course of writing this article and hope the readers appreciate the depth and foresight of our pious predecessors’ foresight.

[2] This general idea – actions of being of the same value but different types – is proposed by ‘Allāma Ibn Taymiyyah and mentioned by Muftī Rashīd Aḥmad Ludhiyanvi رحمهما الله تعالى رحمةً واسعةً  in Aḥsan al-Fatāwā in relation to another topic, but the concept fits here as well.

[3] This article is not meant to say that having someone else perform your sacrifice by sending it overseas is invalid. Its purpose is to explain that the sacrifice itself is an important part of our dīn, and its full benefit will be realized when we perform the sacrifice by ourselves. It should also be noted that perhaps the reason that there is confusion over why the sacrifice cannot be substituted with ṣadaqah and thus, the distinction between the two is not clear.

[4] This article was started before the current pandemic. In a situation like this, if someone does not feel comfortable from a health perspective to perform the sacrifice on their own, they can appoint someone else to perform it for them, whether here or overseas. However, the current situation does not allow for ṣadaqah to be given in place of the sacrifice. Many ahadith (Bukhārī, Ahadith 968, 984, 985; ‘Ilā al-Sunan 17:212-217) indicate that the sacrifice is wājib. A wājib act cannot be substituted based simply on our thoughts or opinions. For more details on the obligation of the sacrifice, please read Muftī Abdullah Nana’s upcoming article about the fiqh of the udḥiyah.

* Two more points should be kept in mind. First, despite the pandemic, people have not stopped eating meat. In the current climate, if one is not able to perform the sacrifice by themselves, having it done in another country will also be a means of helping others. In fact, for many, Eid al-Adhā is the only time of the year that they able to eat meat. Second, we must broaden our thinking about charity. Our charity should not be restricted to only those things that are obligated upon us by Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) such as zakāh and udḥiyah. If Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has blessed us with the means,  we should strive to give ṣadaqah above and beyond these obligated act.

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A Khutbah For Kashmir

Over 125 imams are asking you to rise up for Kashmir. Sign the Imams’ letter in Support of Kashmir here

By Imam Muhammad Abdul Jabbar

After Hamd o Thana:

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Brothers and sisters! The month of Dhulhijjah has dawned upon us that reminds us of the commitment, devotion, sacrifice and strong faith of Syedna Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)

  • He was tested many times but he proved his steadfastness, resolve and dedication.
  • He had a natural inclination to worship one God and dislike for idol worship from the very beginning of his conscious life.
  • He broke idols into pieces instead of bowing down before them.
  • He was thrown into a huge furnace of fire but came out unhurt because of his strong belief and total reliance in God.
  • He emigrated out of his homeland to Syria with his faithful wife and a nephew in pursuit of worship of one God and to bear witness of truth to mankind.
  • He took his wife Hajar and new-born Ismail to Makkah following the orders of Allah SWT.
  • Syedna Ibraheem AS travelled far and wide from Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Hijaz many times to fulfill his mission.
  • He expressed his unbent resolve to sacrifice each and everything beloved to him just for the sake of Allah SWT. Even he was ready to sacrifice his only beloved son, Ismail whom he got after long and intimate prayers.

The seerah of Ibraheem 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) is a role model for us to follow; فاتبعوا ملة إبراهيم حنيفا regardless of our status as majority or minority.

Currently, many Muslims are suffering throughout the word from Syria, to Yemen, Ethiopia, East Turkestan, Burma, Palestine. Today, we remind you of the Muslims in Kashmir. Kashmiri Muslims, in pursuit of the Sunnah of Syedna Ibraheem A.S have been tested adversely by persecution at the hands of polytheist regimes for the last 89 years. They went through sufferings, torture, detentions, massacre, enforced exiles and evacuations, curfews and finally a prolonged lockdown but their commitment to freedom from Hindu polytheists has never declined.

They have never accepted to be sold in slavery. They resisted against the Amritsar Treaty through which each Kashmiri was forcibly sold in slavery by the British rule to Hindu Maharaja Ghulab Singh in 1846.

Every year, July 13 reminds millions of Kashmiris how the Maharaja Hari Singh’s troops took aim at each caller that stood up to call for Friday prayer service. 22 innocent Kashmiri Muslims fell to the bullets, one after the other in cold blood, in front of Srinagar Central Jail. Since that gloomy day, Kashmiris have been holding peaceful protests and rallies throughout the world until now.

The Kashmiri struggle for freedom was spurred up by the historic event of the 1947 Partition of the subcontinent into India and Pakistan. The struggle of the Kashmiri people was recognized by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in a 1948 resolution which called for a plebiscite on the future of the region to be convened “as soon as possible” i.e. a referendum to allow the Kashmiri people to determine their own future. However, such a referendum was never held.

Kashmiri Muslims believe that their suffering has not ended despite the end of the despotic Dogra rule, rather the fate of Kashmiris has transformed into the worse.

Repression in Kashmir under the Hindutva nationalists has reached a new and unprecedented pinnacle of oppression. Kashmir has been under lockdown and communication blackout for almost one year.

The Modi regime abrogated the nominal autonomy of the state of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019. It has unleashed a reign of terror unprecedented even under the oppressive Indian rule of the last 72 years. Under the so- called Registration Act 2020 and State subject Rules 2020, India has enforced a settler-colonialist apartheid project in Kashmir with a drastic demographic transformation to make Kashmiris a minority in their own land.

Young men are abducted or “disappeared” by Indian security forces, and sometimes die in custody. In the last few years more than 10,000 have disappeared and over 7,000 have been killed in military custody. Spouses are left behind with no knowledge of what happened, in families that have been torn apart, and nothing but uncertainty for the future. They are Kashmir’s “half-widows.” Young children, even babies, are blinded and wounded by the weaponry of the Indian forces. And more than 10,283 reported they have been gang raped by the Indian military.

Kashmiri political leaders and activists are languishing in various jails where they are being subjected to torture, isolation and healthcare deprivation and unhygienic crowded conditions. They are facing the added fear of Covid-19 pandemic which is raging among jail staff and security forces. The Modi regime’s goal is to totally incapacitate the political leadership of Kashmir to silence any voice of freedom and their right of self-determination.

How should we as sensible Muslims and responsible global citizens respond to the current crisis in Kashmir? 

First and foremost, as conscious Muslims, we are obliged to stand for justice as is mentioned in the Qur’an:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ بِالْقِسْطِ شُهَدَاءَ لِلَّهِ

وَلَوْ عَلَى أَنْفُسِكُمْ أَوِ الْوَالِدَيْنِ وَالْأَقْرَبِينَ

Believers! Be upholders of justice, bearing witness for Allah alone, even if it means testifying against your own selves, or your parents and relatives. (Q4:135)

Furthermore, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) has advised that:

مَثَلُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ فِي تَوَادِّهِمْ وَتَرَاحُمِهِمْ وَتَعَاطُفِهِمْ مَثَلُ

الْجَسَدِ إِذَا اشْتَكَى مِنْهُ عُضْوٌ تَدَاعَى لَهُ سَائِرُ الْجَسَدِ بِالسَّهَرِ وَالْحُمَّى

The parable of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other is that of a body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever.

(Sahih al-Bukhārī and Sahih Muslim)

From the guidance of the Qur’an on witnessing for justice and the parable in the above hadith, we understand that if any part of us is suffering from injustice, we should all be feeling their pain. As conscientious Muslims, therefore, it is our duty to stand up for justice in the face of human suffering, no matter who the victims are or who the perpetrators are, and call for solidarity with all people of the world whose human rights and dignity are being violated by oppressive regimes.

Over a hundred imams are calling on us to rise for Kashmir. We should call on our governments to pressurize the Indian government to defuse the current situation in Kashmir and to work with the United Nations to resolve the Kashmir issue urgently and peacefully. We should visit our elected Congressmen, Senators, Ministers, MPs or write to them and impress upon them to move for a resolution on Kashmir to pressurize the Indian govt. to rescind the revocation of 370 article and reinstate the status of Kashmir as it was before 5th August 2019. We ask you to join a digital rally for Kashmir tomorrow on Muslim Network TV so you can listen to Kashmiris themselves.

Last but not least, we should remember the dire plight of the Kashmiri people in our supplications and du`as. Prayer is a powerful tool that can be used to influence social change. At this sacred hour of Jumu`ah I call on you to join me in making a special du`a for the people of Kashmir:

O Allah, our prayer for the people of Kashmir is full of hope.

We ask for Your help to bring lasting peace in Kashmir and other parts of the world where our brothers and sisters are being persecuted.

O Allah, we pray for the turmoil to end,

O Allah our hearts go out to the innocent children who were maimed and blinded due to pellet injuries, To the youth who have been picked up from their homes and are detained in jails of India thousands of miles away from their homes.

O Allah give sabr e Jameel to those parents who have lost their children and youth during this struggle.

May Allah give the innocent Kashmiris the strength to deal with the oppression they encounter.

We pray for the dignity and freedom of the Kashmiri people and for peace and normality to be restored.

We invoke mercy and forgiveness of Allah SWT for 100,000 Kashmiris who have laid down sacrifices for freedom,

We pray for all those who dedicate their lives to fighting oppression and

striving towards justice and peace.

Allahumma anta al-Salam – O God Thou art peace

Wa minka al-Salam – and Peace comes from Thee,

Fa hayyina Rabbana bi al-Salam – Allow us to live and subsist in peace

Allahumma Amin

Justice For All is hosting a Global Digital Rally for Kashmir. Register here


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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

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