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About Fame, a Personal Life, and Responsibility

Fame has also allowed me the opportunity to serve as a link between people who are doing complementary work and are unaware of each other. Thus, great collaborations and synergy in this field are happening. This would not have happened through me, if not for my public profile.

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Assalamu Alaikum.  My name is Nouman. I am 36 years old, a father of six and very grateful for having a career that allows me to spend my time doing what I love.

Earlier in my life I developed a passion for the study of the Qur’an and, as a result, of the Arabic language. Now I am running an institute whose sole objective is to spread awareness and appreciation of the Qur’an.  This passion has kept me busy in one way or another for the last fourteen years.  Somewhere along this road, without my conscious realization, I became famous in some circles, notorious in others. I’ve been teaching and giving lectures a long time, but now, suddenly, there are people jumping over each other after a lecture to shake my hand, take a picture or tell me how I’ve changed their life. It’s almost an out-of-body experience and, quite honestly, most of the time I feel like they’re talking about someone else. This enhanced and continually growing public profile has forced me to think about the origins of my work and where it stands now. Actually, I should say it has made me think A LOT about the position in which I find myself. The thoughts I’m about to share with you are personal reflections and are only a commentary from me about me. They are purposely not applicable to any other public speaker, scholar, activist or leader.

Fame is Not a Curse

Nothing in life is; it’s all a test.  I happen to think fame in my circumstance is also a part of my sustenance from Allah. I may not deserve this position, but I am in it, and should thus figure out the best way to leverage it to serve a good cause. That is what any of us must do with whatever gifts, circumstances and challenges Allah bestows upon us.

Fame has been a true blessing in some ways. For starters, it has allowed me access to incredible scholars and researchers the world over. Additionally, there are people doing remarkable work in the field of Qur’anic and Arabic studies but are virtually unknown, and they simply approach me with their research contributions.  Some of this work is so unique and so incredibly valuable that I can’t think of what I would do without it, yet there is no way I would have even known of its existence had these researchers and scholars not approached me. It is my fame that motivated them to use me as a vehicle to bring their work to light, and I am deeply indebted to them for their consideration.  Fame has also allowed me the opportunity to serve as a link between people who are doing complementary work and are unaware of each other. Thus, great collaborations and synergy in this field are happening. This would not have happened through me, if not for my public profile.

Fame Can Be an Exercise in Humility, Especially Selfies

It’s really a matter of perspective.  I consider myself socially dyslexic.  Whether I’m talking to fifteen people or fifty thousand, it doesn’t really matter to me.  But since this explosion in popularity (relative to my own little world), I’ve had to learn the hard way that I can’t just be conscious of my own perspective, but need to understand that of others as well.

When I first came across people who wanted an autograph or asked to take a picture I was (a) shocked and (b) disgusted. What rock star nonsense was this? Here I am trying to share a message that is the most serious endeavor of my entire life, and trying to help you appreciate its seriousness, and you’re treating me like a performer?  This is not the way of the students of knowledge.  The great teachers and students of our noble past did not take selfies.

That was my perspective and it was wrong, self-righteous and insensitive. It had to change. It took me some time to internalize that I’m actually not reaching out to ‘students of knowledge’.  I’m reaching out to the public, a huge chunk of which is slowly finding its way back to the faith. They, for some reason only Allah truly knows, find it easy to relate to me and appreciate that they can connect with the Qur’an in a personal way through some of my talks.  They haven’t been brought up in a traditional environment where they’ve sat at the feet of a shaikh in a masjid. These are average people, much like me as a matter of fact. Before my own rediscovery of Islam, I, too, would have lined up to take a picture or grab an autograph of someone famous.

If I don’t respect where people are coming from, I can come across as highly condescending and judgmental.  Somebody who asks for a picture may be someone who will appreciate the gesture and, as a result, might share some of my work with family and friends. Maybe this selfie business can actually lead to a good word spreading. You never know.  People may have listened to me for hundreds of hours and feel an emotional bond with me. They may even feel like Allah brought a transformation in their life through my talks. If that is the case, and they come up to me and ask for a picture, this small request might mean a huge deal to them. It may be a gesture of love and appreciation. Turning them down will do nothing to me, but could be extremely hurtful and disappointing to them. I’ve had to learn to think of this problem from the other side. Regardless, there will always be people who feel this entire endeavor is an exercise in narcissism. To them I say, “Whatever dude.”

 

Fame in the Muslim Community Comes With Unrealistic Expectations

At least it does in my experience.  I am the same person I was 14 years ago, when no one knew me. Sure, I have more experience now and understand some things better, but I’m not some elevated spiritual being just because I have half a million followers on Facebook. My work, my contribution, my area of expertise and my continued interest is overwhelmingly in one space.  And even within this space, I’m more a liaison between real scholarship and the larger public, rather than a scholar myself. That is just the fact of the matter, but I’ve learned that for a huge segment of our ummah, attitudes towards public figures manifest in a number of extremes. Here are some of those extremes as they apply to me personally.

On the extreme positives, I get:

a. “Ustadh Nouman! You are the only speaker I listen to! I don’t need anyone else!”

What? Dude!  I ain’t gonna teach ya how to pray, how to do hajj, the history of Islam, manners, fiqh, aqeedah, hadith and a WHOLE bunch of other stuff that you NEED to know. I appreciate the love but you’ve got to broaden your perspective homey!

b.  “Ustadh Nouman! How do I fix my marriage/ family life/ depression/drug addiction/suicidal tendencies/some other really serious issues?”

My beloved brother and sister, I am a teacher and a Qur’an student. Your personal problems are very serious and you need someone truly qualified in matters of counseling to help you with the situation. You might be convinced I will do you good, but I might end up doing more damage without either of us realizing it.

However, I do want to know about some of the troubles, problems and challenges you face because I want to address these issues to bring about awareness of the problems, and at least give some general counsel to benefit you and others. That has actually been my stance on this issue for some time now.  I read your emails and take note of issues that would be pertinent to a larger audience, and try to highlight them in my talks through the Qur’an. I get over a thousand emails a day. If I started answering each email, even if allotting a minute per email….you do the math. I wouldn’t be doing anything else in my life.

c.  “Ustadh, only you can help me. No one else can answer this question.”

Again, my dear brother and sister, help comes from Allah, not from me. I can assure you I want to help, but I may not be able to. Recently I’ve done my best to pass specific types of concerns to other qualified individuals I consider good resources.

On the extreme negatives, I get:

a. “Why don’t you talk about Iraq or Palestine you sellout?”

b. “Why don’t you talk about Hadith you Hadith rejector?”

c. “Why don’t you talk about Aqeedah you deviant?”

d. “Why don’t you talk about Riba and Halal meet, you liberal?”

e. “Why don’t you talk about women’s rights you male chauvinist?”

f. “Why don’t you talk about husbands’ rights you feminist?”

g. “Since you didn’t answer my email or acknowledge my speaking request, it is absolutely evident, without a shadow of doubt, you are a person of dunya who doesn’t care about the ummah and its problems.”

h. “Why don’t you visit our community? Because we are small? You only like big crowds right? I wish you cared about all Muslims, but I guess you don’t.”

There aren’t enough letters of the alphabet for the negatives, but I think you get the picture. I have come to learn that most Muslims either absolutely love their public figures or absolutely hate them. There is no in between.

Once you hear something in one of my talks that disappoints you, I may be written off for life. This, by the way, is a very unrealistic policy towards any relationship.  Imagine if you were written off by friends or family because of one thing you said.  We can disagree.  It’s okay.  I still like you.  I can be wrong. That is okay too. It doesn’t make me Shaitaan.  Chill OUT.  Perfection in human beings ended with Rasulullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

On another note, no one person can deal with all the issues pertinent to the ummah and to Islam. That is unrealistic, unreasonable and even unhealthy.  Allah’s messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) carried every burden of this ummah single-handedly.  What he ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) carried alone is now distributed amongst an entire ummah.  There will always be something important I didn’t talk about. There will always be a community I didn’t get a chance to visit.

I was never asked to elaborate my position on every issue when I was teaching a small class of fifteen in a masjid in Queens, New York, because the people sitting in front of me didn’t expect guidance from me as a mufti, political activist or theologian. I was just an Arabic and Qur’an teacher to them. With this new fame, the expectations seem to have changed. I realize that and feel compelled to at least try to explain why I don’t speak on certain issues.

The truth is, the world used to be a lot more black and white when I was younger. I’ve learned, through the years, that a lot of my thoughts, opinions and conclusions about various Islamic sciences and international politics were over-simplistic and immature. I’ve learned to take a step back, be honest with myself and comfortably say I just don’t know enough.  It would be irresponsible of me to casually express my opinions, using this platform, especially on issues I don’t fully comprehend.

It often feels like the public expects me to be vocal about all things related to Islam and this ummah, and that I don’t have the right to remain silent on what I don’t fully understand. I am here to let you know that will not happen. Sorry to disappoint you, but I cannot use this position of great influence to speak on issues I truly don’t know enough about.  I will donate to a cause in my personal life without telling you, be convinced of a position in fiqh without telling you and have a particular political inclination without telling you.  I don’t want to tell you because I don’t want any of you to ever think my stances on these issues have anything to do with my study of the Qur’an.  They may not. Religious leaders can have political opinions. That doesn’t mean their opinion is a religious position.  This is why I feel responsible, and either choose to remain silent on these issues or relegate them to someone I consider a scholarly and sincere authority on the subject.  My opinions on certain matters were personal and not worth any Islamic weight 14 years ago, and half a million Facebook followers later, I’m glad to say, that hasn’t changed.

 

Fame is not an Indication of Worth

I feel very blessed to be surrounded by friends and family who know me well, and knew me much before my days of fame.  These people are my rizq as they do not see me as a Youtube personality, or even a religious figure for that matter. I’m just Nouman to them. There are no formalities and no massively exaggerated impressions of what I am. Thank Allah for them.

Being around them constantly is really all the reality check I need.  They know all too well I am no miracle worker, that my talking to someone’s fifteen-year-old isn’t going to solve his issues or their family problems. I give them advice when asked, but mostly I am on the receiving end of their counsel. The awesome thing is they will put me in my place and advise me for the better whether I ask for it or not, and whether I like hearing it or not! Thank Allah for them.

I’ve come to learn the truest impression of who I am will not come from conferences, speeches or Youtube comments, but from that inner circle of genuine friends and loved ones who just tell it like it is. Thank Allah for them.

Fame is Directly Proportional to Exaggeration, but I Don’t Care

Allow me to explain a bit. There are people who love me so much they attribute levels of Iman and Ihsan to me in ways that are just out right ridiculous. Then there are people who deem my intentions so sinister I am likened to the Dajjal.  Both of these have in common the flawed assumption that any human being has the ability to look inside the heart of another and tell where they stand in terms of sincerity.

In this beautiful faith, we give benefit of the doubt and assume the best about people without turning them into saints.  We don’t entertain assumptions about corrupt intentions as our judgments of people are relegated entirely to the realm of actions. In other words, you and I can criticize each other’s words or actions, but intentions are off limits. This, to me, is a principle that applies, regardless of public status, to all Muslims.  It is for this reason both of these exaggerations have no significance to me.

I don’t google myself trying to find out what new allegations are being made about me, and I don’t find validation in compliments and overly flowery words of praise.  I just have to do my best, strive to constantly improve and keep it real with the REAL people in my life (see above).  Let the trollosphere say what it will. I’ve got better things to do than pay mind to it.  Our dignity is protected by Allah and He grants us dignity so long as we dignify His deen.  If I am sincere in my work, my Lord will be enough to defend my integrity, so I don’t have to worry about what isn’t mine to protect.

Fame or No Fame, I am Honored to Serve

The fact that I get to spend my life studying and teaching whatever I can of Allah’s book is a tremendous honor. The fact that so many have benefited from whatever little I have done isn’t my own doing, but Allah’s gift. I am not superior to the people I try to benefit. Rather, I see myself as their servant. I feel a sense of love and loyalty to our youth all over the world that is hard to put in words. You are my people, my family.

Even those who find me a deplorable existence are, at the end of the day, Muslims, and I pray Allah softens our hearts towards each other here and in the hereafter. You disagreeing with me makes you no less of a Muslim in my eyes, and I am no one to judge your worth before our Master. I just pray Allah overlooks my many flaws while trying to serve His flawless deen, and that He does the same for you.

What Will I Use My Fame For, Insha’Allah?

I believe Allah guides people in unique and beautiful ways with His Qur’an. Much like the same rain sprouts every color of flower and every flavor of fruit on this earth, the same revelation inspires every manner of good across different individuals. I will use whatever public profile I have to help spread an appreciation of this beautiful revelation, and expect Allah to reward me for the unique ways in which He will make you bloom.  What you will do with this message is up to you, but I can tell you, even though I don’t know who you are, I am excited at the beautiful things Allah will bring into existence through you, as you become inspired and driven by His powerful words.

Nouman Ali Khan is the director of the Bayyinah Institute. He is well known for his contributions in the fields of Arabic and Quranic studies - most recently starting a full time on-campus institute for this purpose in Dallas, TX.

109 Comments

109 Comments

  1. Avatar

    iffat sharif

    July 31, 2014 at 6:33 AM

    SubhanAllah :) it is true that people like me connect to the Quran through your lectures !! That is how Allah guided me to the deen!! The best thing about u is ũř humility and sense of understanding …may Allah bless u Always !!

    • Avatar

      uddin

      July 31, 2014 at 2:17 PM

      MashAllah, hats off to you brother Noman!II’ve no word to comment reading your beautiful feelings and true statement. May Allah place you in a better position.

      • Avatar

        Ruzly

        August 2, 2014 at 3:13 AM

        May the almighty Allah reward you for your great work . . . .i have learned a lot from your lectures & was fortunate enough to meet u & shake your hand . . . unfortunately was not able to take a Selfie with you as it was very crowded.

        For me you revolutionized Islamic teaching & not the traditional speaker type you connect very well with all ages of people.

  2. Avatar

    Hasan

    July 31, 2014 at 8:21 AM

    May Allah bless you here and here after my dear Sheikh. I would like to take a selfie with you in jannathul Firdhouse. May Allah(swt) grant that wish.

  3. Avatar

    Shariff Muhammad Taki

    July 31, 2014 at 8:26 AM

    Soubhanallah. Ive read what you said and truely believe in each word you said. May Allah keep blessing you in your task n make things easy. By the way I emailed you for lecture in Mauritius and did not get a confirmed reply yet from your concerned office Mr Nida Kazi
    I also asked if your institute have a sort of boarding school so that I may send my Children to learn from your esteemed institute but I never get any reply. That was little discouraging but I keep hoping to receive a reply soon. Keep it up brother we are proud of you in Allah’s name
    Wassalaam
    Shariff Muhammad Taki
    Mauritius

    • Avatar

      Bayyinah Admissions

      July 31, 2014 at 3:09 PM

      As Salaam alaikum Br. Shariff,

      Jazaakum Allahu Khayran for your comment. We replied to your email on July 13th with information about the Dream Program. Please check your spam folder or if your email has multiple tabs, please check there as well. International students are welcome to apply for the Dream program, however Bayyinah does not offer housing. Students are responsible for securing their own housing for the program. Additional information about the Dream Program, including the application process, admissions criteria, and information for international students can be found at http://bayyinah.com/dream

      Please email Bayyinah Admissions or Sister Nida directly with additional questions or concerns, as we do not regularly monitor comments left on other websites.

      Barak Allah feekum

      • Avatar

        Sadia Kanwal

        November 14, 2015 at 2:01 AM

        Assalam O Alaikum, brother, I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I have a question that in case of divorce matter ….

        *The remainder of the comment was removed by the MM Comments Team*

        • Avatar

          Aly Balagamwala

          November 14, 2015 at 4:18 AM

          WaAlaikum Assalam Sister Sadia

          Our page is not equipped to provide religious rulings. We would advise you to submit your question to our “What’s the Matter” section at http://muslimmatters.org/ask/, seek the counsel of your local imam, or to consult a specialized fatwa website, or contact one of the Mashaikh through their Facebook Pages.

          We hope you will continue to read and benefit from the content on our site.

          Best Regards
          -Aly
          Comments Team Lead

  4. Avatar

    patricia

    July 31, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    as salam alejkum ,im muslim convert and your lecture helps me so much. i think you doing a great job for muslims. thanks to Allah, that we have people like you :)

  5. Avatar

    Htike Htike San

    July 31, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    well…its a very good reminder for me…me too was so desperate to see u as u r my hero…but now i realize its nothing to do with ur famines…we hv to ponder on ua words…n learn from ua teaching…thanks for this article…

  6. Avatar

    Hibaysh

    July 31, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    Assalamu’alikum brother Nouman.
    I am Hiba, 21 years old, from India.

    I have always been curious about your perspective on these very topics.

    You have absolutely reached the right conclusion when you say that the people, the public who listen to you, develop an emotional bond with you through your talks. I was one of them.
    I still remember during the first year of my college, first time away from my family, in an alien world, in my hostel, how Allah made your talks, my companion. :)

    Seriously, it is amazing how Allah puts His barakah in your words, brother.

    I don’t know if you will respond to these comments, but in sha Allah, I would like to hear your opinions on the following issues

    Do you think it’s fine to desire ‘fame’ or simply a platform so that one can use it for good works, as you are currently doing? You didn’t consciously make an effort for it, as you have stated, but do you think, it’s fine to make an effort to publicize your work? Have you ever hesitated in doing something out of fear or Riyaa?

    I have heard you interpret and clarify some controversial issues such as domestic violence, and some Ayat of the Qur’an regarding menstruation. It would be really awesome (There’s no other word for it) if you could start some sort of segment dedicated to misinterpreted or mistranslated ayat regarding women. I am not sure if you have studied and worked on other ‘controversial’ ayat regarding women, but it really is an area where the tafseer needs to be made available to the public NAK style. :D

    Basically, like you have yourself observed, people can relate to you very well. Please don’t lose your cool-dude style!
    Jazak Allahu Khair and Assalamu’alikum.

    • Avatar

      alynch4047

      July 31, 2014 at 1:54 PM

      What a sensible approach! You’re dealing with the issues you mentioned in a great way, baarakallaahu fiika.

  7. Avatar

    Aisha Hussain

    July 31, 2014 at 1:54 PM

    I enjoyed reading this very much. Please write more of these in the future :)

  8. Avatar

    Nawaz

    July 31, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    SubhanAllah, Ustad Nouman is trying to be humble, but you and I both know what he’s done for us. Specifically it’s the motivation to understand Quran by the language that he uses to communicate with his audience. Many of us owe him more than we can afford in this life. We pray Allah grants him the balance that we cannot give him in sincere thanks and love.

    JazakAllah Khair bro, you made a generation of muslims that much more connected to the Deen, and for that you will always be our first love.

  9. Avatar

    Aaminah

    July 31, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    Walaikum as salaam, ustadh Nouman! I truly appreciate you for sharing this! I will post this to share with my family and friends, inshallah. Jazakallahu khairan :-)

  10. Avatar

    Hope2Go

    July 31, 2014 at 2:27 PM

    Well I am also one of your students. I hope Allah helps you in being steadfast and more firm upon the deen e Islam. Jazak Allah hu khayr!

  11. Avatar

    Mansur

    July 31, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    JazakAllah fiddarain khair, for all that you do.

  12. Avatar

    J

    July 31, 2014 at 2:55 PM

    JazakAllah khair for the piece.

    One thing I realised after coming across brother Nouman is that, we as the ummah need to help each other out instead of relying on the select few people to shoulder all the responsibility. We need to actively learn from these people or learn from any available source, and spread the knowledge. Imagine an ummah, where everyone knew the language of the Qur’an just like the brother?! Would we then have select few well-known personalities, or an ummah that was self-sufficient in its knowledge that didn’t have to run to others for second opinions on simplest of matters. We need to learn from people like him. Today, we see a brother who is very knowledgeable and has much better grasp of Qur’anic arabic compared to the most. I’m pretty sure a lot of hard work and dedication went after it. Lot more than we will ever see or hear about.

    May Allah (SWT) give us the strength to invest in the deen and in attaining its knowledge. May Allah (SWT) grant us more teachers and students of this deen so that its knowledge may flourish. Ameen.

  13. Avatar

    Sanaa

    July 31, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    Jazak Allah khayran Ustadh Nouman for posting this article and for everything you are doing in Allah’s cause. It was very important to read something like that from you and I will pass it on as well. Your critics need to read your thoughts about what they say and the people who appreciate you need to realize your stance on the position you are in today. May Allah reward for the millions of lives you have touched.

  14. Avatar

    Helana Rawwad

    July 31, 2014 at 3:06 PM

    Everything you have said is so true..May Allaah give you a long blessed life to help us even more..Ameen

  15. Avatar

    Abdullah

    July 31, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    Salaam.

    Are we even allowed to make money out of/by spreading Islam/Qur’an? As a ‘career’? Your thoughts please Ustadh Nouman.

    • Avatar

      Sara

      August 5, 2014 at 2:10 AM

      Of course you are. If you have kids and send them to
      islamic school or bring them a Quran teacher at home,
      dont you pay them?

      How else are they supposed to buy things that only money
      can buy such as food, clothing, further education, housing?

      Why do you see money as being bad or dirty?

      Money is good…its a tool that allows us to build more schools, build more hospitals, help our families and pay charity

      What is bad is greed and “attachment and love” of money

      As a wise man said….Love the people and use money, and not the other way around

  16. Avatar

    Abu Shaummo

    July 31, 2014 at 3:36 PM

    I feel blessed to subscribe Bayyinah TV and listen to your many lectures. This is a great service to Muslims and humanity.
    I think you rightly chose this topic of fame, and shed light on such an important element in your life. I pray that Allah keeps you in his guidance, because no one is safe until one reaches the Almighty. I pray that no matter how much your fame increases, you remain appropriately humbled.

  17. Avatar

    Khadija

    July 31, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    Assalamu Alaykum I am Arab Muslim . I like to be like you . I like your way of Dawah

  18. Avatar

    Khadijah

    July 31, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    I Ask Allah swt to reward you for the amazing work you brought forth and the beautiful gift and honor he has given you ! Masha’allah ! Jazakullahu Khairain For Sharing your thoughts with the public Sheikh Nouman ! Totally Awesome

  19. Avatar

    Nazish

    July 31, 2014 at 4:42 PM

    I feel really connected to the story you elaborated about yourself however I find fame as a test. As I feel I am not only responsible of myself but also so many others who are following me in my little community and school I run. At the same time I feel if one is feel natural he/she can react naturally not in the character people want to see them in.

  20. Avatar

    Muneeb

    July 31, 2014 at 4:43 PM

    May Allah SWTA accept your sincerity and watch out Ustad.

  21. Avatar

    Noor Saadeh

    July 31, 2014 at 5:01 PM

    Nice and thank you. Fame is tough to deal with. So important to stay connected to Allah and humble. Who are doing it for anyway? Nice to hear you express yourself in this way.

  22. Avatar

    Hassan Mushtaq

    July 31, 2014 at 5:04 PM

    Why don’t you answer my phone calls?? :)

    My parents are here, but now leaving tomorrow, I wish my mother could meet your mother after long time. May be next time insha’Allah

    • Avatar

      Sara

      August 5, 2014 at 2:17 AM

      dont be needy

      Stop acting like people owe you their time….dont act entitles to anything

  23. Avatar

    Kirana

    July 31, 2014 at 6:00 PM

    I’m an ‘in between’. Again, probably you have no time to read this but: You are mostly a teacher and a bridge, as you said, and I relate to that. You have a good blend of generality and relevance.

  24. Avatar

    waseema

    July 31, 2014 at 7:39 PM

    Asalam u alykum brother Nauman,, loved 2 read this just like i love 2 listen 2 u,,,Alhamdulilah 4 ppl lyk u,,,n kp up the gud work.

  25. Avatar

    Ola

    July 31, 2014 at 7:56 PM

    mashaAllah!!! and also SobhnaAllah
    I truly and truly needed this article.
    Alhomdulliah for people like Br. Nouman. May Allah accept from all of us and truly make sincere, Ameen.

  26. Avatar

    Astri

    July 31, 2014 at 8:01 PM

    Barakallah n jazakallah khoiron katsiro for what you have done..may Alloh blessing you always…keep istiqomah..keep humble..

  27. Avatar

    Madiha Ahmed

    July 31, 2014 at 8:05 PM

    Assalamualaikum.Ustadh Nouman.

    Allah guided me to the Deen and loving it and I want to serve it to the best of my ability with His Help,in sha Allah …and all this happened through your lectures and notes. May Allah bless you and your family. May Allah Help you to continue to inspire many more people and change lives.Ameen

  28. Avatar

    Bilal Abdullah

    July 31, 2014 at 8:13 PM

    Assalaamualaykum Ustadh Nouman and all the REAL people around him,

    SubhanAllah!! Your timely arrival onto the Global Islamic Scene has certainly raised awareness amongst the rather disillusioned and dis-engaged Ummah.

    Allah azza wa jal has empowered you and many other scholars with the knowledge and its dissemination, truly path-breaking. The responsibility lies on all of us, its recipients, to take it, apply it and transform ourselves.

    Personally, I feel blessed to be part of your virtual classrooms – learning, spreading and gaining a little bit of fame as a Nouman disciple :)

    You are certainly the fulcrum of Islamic Rennaissance – I have absolutely no doubt about that.

    May Allah SWT bless you and your family and all those behind the scene @ Bayyinah, with more strength and ability to serve HIS glorious Deen and to be the guiding light for all of us when there is no light except that of the Holy Quran. Aameen.

  29. Avatar

    Dr mohamed zarougui

    July 31, 2014 at 8:14 PM

    May Allah showrs you with more baraka for the time you striving to use

  30. Avatar

    Na'ima B. Robert

    July 31, 2014 at 9:03 PM

    I can relate to this on so many levels, subhanAllah! Wonderful to read and learn from, barakAllahu feek.

  31. Avatar

    Arif Abdullah

    July 31, 2014 at 9:17 PM

    Subhan’Allah, I cannot describe the sense of contentment that I felt while reading this article by Ustadh Nouman. Off late, I’ve been advised to stay away from “NAK” lectures and I was being told that he has no formal background, he is not from the salaf and so on. I was so disturbed by this because my own friends were being influenced by such derogatory articles online. This article has addressed all the issues including myself.Yes,I’m that person who has an emotional bond with Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan and I’m overjoyed to know the fact that he is concerned about the youth. I was even more overjoyed when I got a gift subscription to Bayyinah TV. Being a revert, I cannot describe my emotions when I started learning the tafseer series in Bayyinah TV.I can never forget the way Ustadh Nouman taught me the ayah of ‘Nuran Ala Nur’. I dont think I would have been able to ponder over it by reading the translation. There is one ayah that I recently came across in ‘Qur’an for Young Adults’ that puts everything into perspective. -“Our Lord, indeed we have heard a caller calling to faith, [saying], ‘Believe in your Lord,’ and we have believed. Our Lord, so forgive us our sins and remove from us our misdeeds and cause us to die with the righteous.(3:193)
    Yes,Ustadh Nouman is just a caller to faith and I’m sure there are many more people whose lives have been influenced by this Da’ae. All this would not have been possible without the Barakah of Allah Subhanawatala. I pray that Allah continues to shower his Barakah on Ustahd Nouman, his family,his Bayyinah team and on all those people who have and who will continue to benefit from this Barakah.

    • Avatar

      Sara

      November 3, 2016 at 4:41 PM

      Subhanallah, this comment really touched me. I feel exactly the same and that’s what I’m actually brought me to this page. A “salaf” friend tried advising me to stay away although this person’s knowledge literally changed my life and made me a muslim. In atempt for stronger defense, I searched for his comments on these criticisms although in my heart I was already convinced. It’s so sad how Muslims are the first to try to bring down other Muslims in such an immature and narrow way of thinking. I feel blessed to see the beauty and wisdom in all that he teaches, because clearly not everybody gets to experience it. Alhamdulillah…

      • Avatar

        Noor

        October 18, 2017 at 12:44 PM

        Same here sister Sara!Same here!May Allah keep us steadfast and protect out teacher!

  32. Avatar

    farhan

    July 31, 2014 at 10:19 PM

    Walaikum assalam ustad Nouman:) Till yesterday i was amazed by your talks. Now i am even amazed by your writings. Masha Allah.

    May Allah(swt) grant all of us (you, your students & umma at large) Jannat ul firdose – Ameen.

  33. Avatar

    islam

    July 31, 2014 at 10:50 PM

    American scholars like Hamza Yusuf and Noman Ali Khan seem to be completely silent at the atrocities that are taking place in gaza.

    They have purified themselves so much that their hearts have become hard as stones. .whereas you will find non-muslim journalists/public are raising their voice in protest and weeping at the massacre that is taking place.

    • Avatar

      Sara

      August 5, 2014 at 2:16 AM

      And what have you done for islam or gaza and other atrocities?

      Do you just complain about the problems and blame “Arab Leaders” and “muslim governments”

      You have probably done nothing of value for anyone….because you are a small and little person.

      how do I know this, because people of value would not have time to spend commenting negatively about others

    • Avatar

      mohd

      September 19, 2015 at 3:46 PM

      This time s the problem.. .when our people do something good.. .The first one to critisize is from our ummah only.. ..appreciate what he is doing and if you are having any issue with them.. Reach out and discuss with them. They aldo know what is happening and there would be reasons for them to behave like this. We ourselves are not doing anything but are here. On net critisizing the man through whom Allah(swt) has guided many.

  34. Avatar

    Khadijah A.

    July 31, 2014 at 11:21 PM

    As-Salaamu ‘Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuhu

    Jazaakumullahu khairan katheeran wa katheera.

  35. Avatar

    Norlian Daud

    July 31, 2014 at 11:32 PM

    Assalamu’alaikum…I am most grateful thar through you Ustadh Nouman n Mufti Menk..I have started to appreciate the Quran much more n have realised how important it is to understand what Allah SWT Has Revealed to us via His Prophet, our Beloved Rasulullah SAW…I m certainly not your targetted youth group but have nevertheless benefitted so much from your teaches.May Allah SWT Bless you and your family n your coworkers always…Aamiin
    Jazakallahu khairan kathira…

  36. Avatar

    Norlian Daud

    July 31, 2014 at 11:36 PM

    Typo errors:1) grateful that
    2)your teachings…

  37. Avatar

    Uthman Badar

    August 1, 2014 at 12:58 AM

    Assalamu alaykum akhi Nouman,

    Allah reward your good work.

    Some excellent and beneficial points you raise, and some others that require, I think, some further thought.

    Some points for your consideration:

    1. Most Muslims do not operate at the extremes of love or hate. It’s probably more that those who do are more likely to make a point of it, and these points are more likely to register with the recipient than the more benign or nuanced feedback since the former have an emotional element to them with both the sender and receipent. I’m sure there are many Muslims who are not in agreement with your politics or some other element of your work but would continue to benefit from your tafsir and general talks. It’s a minority that throws out the baby with the bathwater.

    2. Remaining silent/relegating on something you lack expertise in is a good thing. However, this does not justify your silence on many issues of the Ummah. Some political issues need expertise, others do not, but you are silent across the board. For instance, one does not need a political science degree from Harvard to know that what Israel is currently doing in Gaza is wrong, or that Sisi is a tyrant or that the rulers in the Muslim world more generally are under foreign influence and do not implement Islam, etc. Yes, to know, for instance, what exactly is going on in Syria or Egypt in terms of players, agendas, objectives, etc. requires analysis and expertise. This is where one relegates (still not an excuse for silence, since one is meant to consult and find out from those who do know). But knowing that Assad/Sisi is a tyrant who is against Islam is rather plain.

    This is where you have a responsibility to use your influence to contribute in leading the Ummah’s struggle for Islam and its implementation. To speak against tyranny, oppression and kufr, to enjoin the good and forbid evil, etc. None of this requires deep expertise. It requires understanding, will and courage.

    An understanding all students of the Qur’an must have – else something is wrong with their study – because so much of the Qur’an is about the struggles of the prophets and Allah manifesting his perfect attributes through these – struggles for political change as much as spiritual change. How anyone can study the examples of Musa (as), Nuh (as), Ibrahim (as) and most of all the Messenger of Allah (saw) and still restrict themselves to an apolitical activism is difficult to understand and indeed very disappointing.

    3. You say, “I’ve learned to take a step back, be honest with myself and comfortably say I just don’t know enough. It would be irresponsible of me to casually express my opinions, using this platform, especially on issues I don’t fully comprehend.”

    This would be the next-best ideal (after actually learning where one lacks and getting engaged). However, you have in recent times done exactly this: casually express over-simplistic views. On the issue of khilafah for instance. you don’t positively address the matter of your own accord (by choice I imagine), but when asked questions you have displayed a tendency more than once to offer flippant remarks. It would be better if you did not do this.

    Allah forgive your shortcomings and ours and guide us all to what is most pleasing to Him.

    • Avatar

      h

      August 2, 2014 at 8:13 AM

      BaarakAlah feek – well written – constructive feedback.
      May Allah forgive all of us..

    • Avatar

      Sara

      August 5, 2014 at 2:20 AM

      that would distract him from his current goal…of bringing the understanding of the Quran to the masses

      • Avatar

        O H

        August 10, 2014 at 2:49 AM

        As if such issues are separate from the message of the Qur’an and the deen?! Infact knowledge and analysis of such issues is well rooted in the Qur’an and this is pretty clear to whoever has studied the history of the Prophet’s and their struggle against transgressors. This would boost the understanding of the Qur’an to the masses as it’s very relevant to our times and we could relate the current affairs of the Ummah with the ayaat of the Qur’an. Avoiding such discussions is a distraction from a comprehensive & contemporary understanding and application of the Qur’an.

        I am a big fan of NAK myself but this is an area in which many of the speakers can improve. It doesn’t change the fact that he is a source of much goodness for the Ummah.

        Alhamdulillaah we all have been blessed with many shuyookh/speakers so each of us should take the various aspects of the deen from different speakers depending on their strengths and areas of expertise as NAK himself has urged his audience. I personally benefit immensely from his tafseer work but when it comes to political matters, oppression of the Ummah, activism, etc I would prefer other speakers. This is the same when it comes to issues of fiqh, etc.

        May Allaah Subhana wa ta ‘ala enable him to benefit the Ummah even more and reward him greatly for his efforts, Ameen.

  38. Avatar

    Omar Ibrahim

    August 1, 2014 at 2:02 AM

    Assalamu ‘Alaykum Akhi,

    It is refreshing to hear from you in this way. Though your lectures are wide spread and they are certainly one of the first things that had brought me closer to the quran they certainly will make someone like myself feel far away. Written word has a different impact I suppose.

    I want to say that I do not think you give yourself enough credit because the word of Allah is the greatest thing we have to guide to Islam and to build a strong ummah, along with the sunnah of our messenger peace be upon him of course. What I mean is that few speak about the quran the way that you do, and to be honest, few can. I think this is one thing that is prevalent in our day and age, a lack of acknowledgement of who of us Allah has bestowed with what.

    Of course the internet creates a false sense of community so I pray Allah protects all of us from its fitnah.

    I had longed to reach out to you and to join you at Bayyinnah but it seems Allah had other plans for me. I still believe insha’allah that we will be able to meet and work together someday, however. I have continued to pursue my studies of language and the quran as I see no other course as being more honorable.

    The prophet peace be upon him encouraged us to tell those we love that we love them. It was you who introduced me to Sheikh al-Sha’rawy and his genius (being Egyptian, I’m somewhat embarrassed at myself), and I continually study him to this day. I have also discovered a gem of knowledge by the name of Sheikh Sa’d al-Kamaly from Morocco , and I must say that him, you and sheikh Sha’rawy are among those I love most in the path of Allah, at least from our most modern scholars and students of knowledge, though I have yet to meet any of you! Well I actually met you once in New York, but it was a fleeting encounter.

    In any case I wish you and yours the very best, and I hope to read more from you insha’allah.

    Salam

  39. Avatar

    Tiya from Indonesia

    August 1, 2014 at 3:48 AM

    I hope that one day I can study Quran in Bayyinah institute :) aamiin

  40. Avatar

    Irshad

    August 1, 2014 at 6:22 AM

    Jazakallah Ustadh Nouman. Your written words had a larger impact on me than the spoken ones :-) Because the subject is relevant to my life as well, in its own little capacity. For me, these were the two highlights:

    1. “….it was wrong, self-righteous and insensitive……I’m actually not reaching out to ‘students of knowledge’. I’m reaching out to the public….who haven’t been brought up in a traditional (learning) environment.
    2. “….Fame is part of my sustenance (and test) from Allah. I may not deserve this position, but I am in it, and should thus figure out the best way to leverage it to serve a good cause”

    Jazakallahu Khairan for delivering this clarification to me in your own way…connected and personalized. As one brother said, Insha Allah we wil take a family selfie in Jannah!

  41. Avatar

    Meraj Shaikh

    August 1, 2014 at 8:23 AM

    JazakAllahu Khayr Usthad Nouman Ali Khan,

    I hope the Muslims didn’t say the negatives

  42. Avatar

    somayyamasood

    August 1, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    wa ‘alaikum ssalm w rahmatullah

    Alhumdulillah, You have said ‘everything’ that i wanted to hear/read by a famous public speaker and a well-known ‘public figure’ regarding their fame.

    BarakAllahu feek, may Allah accept every effort you put in learning, teaching and preaching His deen, and may He (the one void of all evil) purify our intentions. Ameen

  43. Avatar

    umbudimary

    August 1, 2014 at 12:29 PM

    Jzk. My brother was part of your first bayyinah student batch and I heard many beautiful things.
    I pray for Allah to keep you sincere to Him alone. Truly He has guided you to this and may He bless you and your family.

    I think its also so important to be reminded that no speaker has perfect. And that’s simply an unrealistic expectation we are prone to developing.

  44. Avatar

    Noor-e-Hira

    August 1, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    Walaikum assalam! Very nice article and a reminder for all of us.

    Thanks so much and may Allah increase you in His way. Ameen!

  45. Avatar

    Nabila

    August 1, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh brother Nouman,

    It was very enlightening to read your article. May Allah (swt) reward you for all the work that you do with Allah’s help. Just prior to Eid, an elderly person was trying to warn me about you and I was obliged to at least listen. Her main point of concern was that why don’t you speak about ‘Aqeedah’ in each and every lecture of yours. I personally that of it as a ridiculous request, because every lecture has a different topic. But she kept on insisting that all speakers all around the world must only talk about ‘Aqeedah’ due to it’s immense importance. But Alhamdulillah, now I know why not everyone talks about ‘Aqeedah’ in detail. This article is perfectly timed and may Allah (swt) preserve and increase your honor in this dunya and akhira both, Ameen. May Allah (swt) put immense barakah in your work, Ameen.

  46. Avatar

    Mahmoud

    August 1, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    A.aleikum brother,

    I always admired your work and I wish I will benefit from it insha alah. Just to comments on what you said regarding being silent on political views, for examples what Israel doing to Gaza to condemn and aware muslims ragarding this issue I don’t think one have to be experts. When Allah make a person leader of the ummah or scholar they have more responsibility to wards the ummah if you see some one opressing some one else even if they are non believe you have to stop it by action or by addressing about it, just like Arab leaders if you are silent about muslim being oppressed then you will be the same as them.

    May Allah accept our good deeds and forgive our short coming.

  47. Avatar

    Mahmoud

    August 1, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    One more thing I would like to say even If I don’t agree on certain point with you this will not make me to hate you or not to benefits from your great work. I always love you for the sake of Allah.
    Jazakumulah khair

  48. Avatar

    Ameen

    August 1, 2014 at 5:59 PM

    May Allah give numan Ali Khan steadfastness on the truth, may He purify his intentions always, may He accept from him.

  49. Avatar

    Ahmad Abdallah Toure

    August 1, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    Mash’Allah! like everyone else i will just make du’a for you, that Allah grants guidance and happiness in your live and your loved ones. I listen to many scholars all around the world but the special thing that made me more curious about your lectures was your sense of humor and how it directly hits us(young adults). Once again May The Almighty keeps you safe and your loved ones. Amiiin

  50. Avatar

    sahul hameed

    August 1, 2014 at 8:39 PM

    Enjoyed reading your thoughts – frank and humble. God bless.

  51. Avatar

    Mohammad Faisal

    August 2, 2014 at 1:21 AM

    Its a very long artical to read. Could you please have a audio or video lecture of this?

    • Avatar

      Sara

      August 5, 2014 at 2:23 AM

      do you think the world revolves around you?

      Dont make selfish requests

      Everything in life must be win/win….not just what ever is convenient for you

      • Avatar

        Mohammad Faisal

        August 6, 2014 at 7:27 AM

        I’ve heard many lectures of Brother Nouman and many of them are on youtube. So I’ve just made a request if it could be possible for him to have a video or audio lecture on same could help. In support to my request I would like to make a point that things can be easily remembered if they are seen or heard. I’m not being selfish, it could help others.

  52. Avatar

    Nasy

    August 2, 2014 at 3:59 AM

    Jazaka Allah khayraa, please write more of these in the future :)

  53. Avatar

    Melanie

    August 2, 2014 at 11:06 AM

    Your honesty was refreshing..I have never been one of those cult of personality type people !!
    People are all flawed.
    Actually, I have had you as a teacher in both Bayyinah and Quran Intensive and your style was completely different each time..both times beneficial..Alhamdulilah
    Thank you for writing this article..

    • Avatar

      Melanie

      August 2, 2014 at 11:07 AM

      ps. i like that your picture is a normal picture, not posed.. nice.

  54. Avatar

    The Shardul of Allah

    August 2, 2014 at 2:55 PM

    Here is my observation about Usthadh Nouman Ali Khan:

    I have been following the lectures of NAK for years and I have greatly benefited from them. And I sincerely ask Allah to bless bother NAK for all the good he has done.

    Initially, when NAK was not so famous, he used to come and give lectures/seminars without any pressure. Whenever he would talk, it would be straight and it would directly affect my heart. However, recently, when NAK become famous, NAK changed his dress and also his bread. He trimmed his beard and and now he always appears in suit and pant (I may be hated for this but I am one of those Muslims who is greatly concerned about the length of beard and length of pant; after all our prophet and righteous predecessors were concerned about them). With the change of appearance, I also feel that NAK now unnecessarily tries to make his audience laugh. Also probably because of fame and because of speaking on response to public demand, NAK lost the natural aura and the direct way he used to have while giving talks before. NAK’s talks are still beneficial, but I miss his old appearance and the talks of his fame-less days, which were much effective on the hearts.

    • Avatar

      Sara

      August 5, 2014 at 2:26 AM

      do you have any other requests? would you like some coffee with that maybe?

      What else should we change to suit your needs, your excellency?

    • Avatar

      O H

      August 10, 2014 at 12:54 AM

      Assalamu alaykum.

      The Beard and pant length is not insignificant but nor is the negative assumption you have made. Infact the latter could be far worse! The correlation you have made between his fame and beard/pant length is quite absurd. Plus how do you know that he tries to make the audience laugh just to get more fame? It could be that he is forced to do that to prevent boredom and hence motivate the audience time to time. A speaker who fails to understand his audience is bound to be ineffective & so as long as he fine tunes his approach in a manner which isn’t unislamic, it’s a praiseworthy trait.

      Btw wearing a suit is better than turning up in a t-shirt, hoodie like some other speakers do so long as Isbal is avoided.

      The only worry I have of NAK and many other speakers is that the US is not a place conducive for speaking the haqq for obvious reasons.

  55. Avatar

    abahe

    August 3, 2014 at 12:44 AM

    jazakallah khairan katsiran :)

  56. Avatar

    Jannatun Naayeem

    August 3, 2014 at 6:48 AM

    As salamu alikum brother Nouman.I want 2 listen all of your lectures in a day.it is so addictive;seems like i want 2 know all d things at a moment..your knowledgeable talk is like that..no one can reject this in whose heart has fear of Allah.
    Can you do something for India Pakistan & Bangladesh about d Arabic language.
    May Allah blessed you.

  57. Avatar

    Sayeeda

    August 3, 2014 at 1:54 PM

    Assalam Alaikum wa rahmataullahi wa barkatuhu.
    Brother Nouman , just wanted you to know. We have a small woman’s madrasah in Bangalore, India catering mainly to poor women who have no access to the Internet and who don’t understand English either. It’s a run by a group of women who are not formally trained alimas but have a passion to teach .Saturday is “dars day” and open to the general public. I cannot count the number of times we simply translated one of your lectures to Urdu ( word for word) and delivered the dars. And alhamdulillah , each one of those was a roaring success. May this be a thawab jaariyah for you and may Allah swt bless you and your family and give you the strength to continue this amazing work ! Ameen !

    • Avatar

      Sister

      August 4, 2014 at 3:41 AM

      Assalamualaikum

      Have you heard of Dr. Farhat Hashmi? Her lectures from her institute AlHuda are available Urdu and very effective as she speaks to the hearts of south asian women. Even if you just proadcast her lectures in your dars in Bangalore it could be really effective. Just an idea. May Allah bless you and your work with the womens madrasah.

      • Avatar

        Sayeeda

        August 5, 2014 at 4:00 AM

        Wa alaikum sala wa rahmatullahi .
        Yes indeed , we know of Dr Farhat Hashmi and we are all her virtual students.She is an amazing Ustadha , may Allah preserve her. Ameen. Her lectures formed the basis of our Urdu Quran classes . And yes , we have relied on her too for the Saturday dars. Jazakallha khair for your duas , Ameen. May Allah swt give us all the strength to do whatever we can for His deen. Ameen.

    • Avatar

      Sara

      August 5, 2014 at 2:28 AM

      thats amazing…May Allah bless you

    • Avatar

      O H

      August 10, 2014 at 12:20 AM

      Heard Dr Israr Ahmed is also quite good. I believe Br Nouman Ali Khan is his student.

  58. Pingback: About Fame, A Personal Life, and Responsibility by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan | Al Muqarraboon

  59. Avatar

    Sara

    August 5, 2014 at 2:31 AM

    I think the reason people love Ustad Nouman Ali Khan and other sheikhs such as Yasir Qadhi and Bilal Philips, is because they explain things. So many people are just told to pray and to fast without being given any “wisdom” with the advice.

    The youth want to know why they have to do something

    And I wont lie, my mp3 player is filled with lectures from NAK and Yasir Qadhi……I like to listen to thinkers who make me think

  60. Avatar

    Malak

    August 17, 2014 at 8:31 PM

    So much I had on my mind reading this, but after the last very very beautifully written lines.. I can ONLY say … THANK YOU!

  61. Avatar

    za

    August 18, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    This made me cry…..we human beings are too foolish.and ignorant…may allah reward nauman ali khan for his work.

  62. Avatar

    Faiza

    August 18, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    Ustaad Nouman! I love you for Allah’s sake….

  63. Avatar

    zara mariah

    March 24, 2015 at 7:09 AM

    Mashallah ….!!! having such a great fame hiz just down to earth ….!!! i wish to b hiz student ….!!!! :)

  64. Avatar

    V.M. Khaleelur Rahman

    April 9, 2015 at 11:40 PM

    Assalamu Alaikum. I enjoyed reading your inspiring expressions. In the present world one has to be careful in every aspect of life. Taking people together for peace and making this world a beautiful place to live in us the biggest noble task.

  65. Avatar

    Madeeha

    May 29, 2015 at 12:04 PM

    Pray to Allah & keep going !…..Best of luck !

    Allah is with us all…InshaAllah

  66. Avatar

    taimoor

    June 10, 2015 at 8:02 AM

    i just want to thank you (nouman ali khan) for your youtube lectures.
    You have such a great understanding of human psychology….i have never been influenced by any religious leader or scholar so much that i got by your lectures…..

  67. Avatar

    Noman Ali

    November 7, 2015 at 10:06 AM

    Sir, Noman Ali Khan l wondered to see and read you with such spirits in America, so plz pray for me…. And l have no more words to express my feelings for you….

  68. Avatar

    Nasreen Abdulla

    December 20, 2015 at 9:20 AM

    Asalaamu Alaikum.
    Brother Nouman, May Allah bless you for all your efforts in spreading your knowledge of the wisdoms of the Quraan.
    It makes me sit back and ponder over my life and strive to do better.

  69. Avatar

    Edris

    December 27, 2015 at 1:46 AM

    Asalaamoalikum Nouman ali khan, I seen you couple times at the reviving islamic spirit convention. Just wanted to say your different than the other lecturers you always walk through the bazaar so humbly. Nobody realizes it’s you because they would never expect you to walk among everyone else. Mashallah keep it up you.

  70. Avatar

    E. M

    February 15, 2016 at 7:25 PM

    Thanks for everything Mr. Nouman Ali Khan! I hope I see you in Jannah with my family, and talk about all your YouTube lectures and so forth. #keepdoingwhatyou’redoing

    E

  71. Avatar

    Syed

    March 2, 2016 at 12:45 PM

    AoA
    Please send me the letter

  72. Avatar

    Parveen

    June 2, 2016 at 2:13 PM

    I am proud of you son

  73. Avatar

    Sue Hashim

    June 22, 2016 at 5:05 AM

    You have done a very good job. Keep it up ustadh!

  74. Avatar

    Sohail Arif

    June 23, 2016 at 1:36 PM

    Ma sha Allah.. What a wonderful read. Ustadh Nouman Ali khan clarifies things beautifully. I listen to his talks. This was the first time that I ‘read’ him, so to say.

    Good work Muslim Matters :)

  75. Avatar

    Zahid

    June 30, 2016 at 3:34 AM

    Masha Allah
    DOING GREAT WORK FOR THE SERVICE OF ISLAM.

  76. Pingback: Nouman Ali Khan: Tentang Ketenaran, Kehidupan Pribadi Dan Tanggung Jawab | nakindonesia

  77. Avatar

    R47

    July 21, 2016 at 9:05 AM

    Islam scholars and qari are totally milking the poor Muslims. They love this capitalist system that totally enables them to flourish in the dunya and reap rewards for a gift Allah has given them, that really should be used as a ticket for the Aakirah. I may not be the most perfect or knowledgeable Muslim. But I will never charge a dollar to give you dawah. I refuse to spoil what little I have, for a trivial worldly gain. The Quran al Karim does embellish on these points, and the evil selling the deen is also covered in a hadith.
    If you are a true alim you would stand up and say death to Bayt Al Saud. And you would prefer to liberate the holy lands from the racist tyrant friends of the athiest occult capitalist oppressors.

  78. Avatar

    sage

    October 27, 2016 at 5:22 AM

    May Allah bless you and your family Jannah
    Dont stop spread goodness and your knowledge about qur’an
    The world needs more people like you
    especially for a mualaf like me.

    Thank you for all of the knowledge about qur’an
    I’m still learning about all of it, and pray to Allah..may Allah give me a lot of knowledge about the quran before my time is end in this dunya.

    Barakallah my teacher…

  79. Avatar

    Sara

    November 3, 2016 at 4:23 PM

    To be honest, anyone who listens to his lectures can easily pick up on his positions regarding what he discussed above. Its sad that you try to do something good and get so much judgement from others. It’s sad that he has to explain this, although I understand why. But I feel like this should be obvious to the average human. HE never labeled himself a sheikh or mufti or some kind of scholar. Ustadth means teacher. Just because he got a mouse doesn’t mean now he has to change himself to be arole model or something. He is who he is, another Muslim trying his best and doing something great for islam. His intentions are between him and Allah. To expect everything and perfection from someone is just ridiculous, so I’m sorry he had to explain that but some people really need to stop judging. May Allah swt bless him in his cause.

    • Avatar

      Sara

      November 3, 2016 at 4:24 PM

      Just because he got famous*

  80. Avatar

    Sameegah

    August 30, 2017 at 6:42 AM

    … Our Creator calls on all the time in so many ways… sometimes through difficulty, sometimes ease, sometimes it’s just a sudden feeling of clarity you can’t explain, sometimes through beautiful words of another… they all all messages and calls unto Him. Masha Allah I listen to your lectures often as well as many others… don’t underestimate those nuggets of wisdom that can be acquired through our parents too! May Allah keep out hearts open to receive the messages Ameen

  81. Avatar

    Mohammad Shahroz Jali

    September 29, 2017 at 1:09 AM

    All I can say is by listening to your talks on youtube and bayinnah TV, Allah has made us (my family) realize more how beautiful our religion is and I am really thankful for that.

    • Avatar

      Mahamoud Haji

      October 5, 2017 at 9:07 AM

      Assalaamu aleykum, I asume one can revisit the post in the light of recent happenings. They say internet never forgets. I am thus endeared that the post is as relevant and true now as it was in 2014. May Allah preserve you

    • Avatar

      Molvi Hukka

      October 5, 2017 at 11:55 AM

      Same here brother, make Dua’ May protect this brother from any Fitna’s in this world and here-after, Ameen. He is done so much for our and next generation.

  82. Avatar

    N.R.

    October 17, 2017 at 6:45 AM

    You are are always in my prayers! You don’t have to explain anything to your audience.It is generous of you that you share your knowledge with us.It was not your obligation,still you did.We can never thank you enough for that.May Allah continue to give barakah in your work. Jazak Allah Khair!

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#Life

How To Be Positive In Hard Times

Amina Malik, Guest Contributor

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How to be Positive

We all know that we should be grateful. And we definitely know that we should be certain that whatever happens is good for us as believers. However, when we are tested -as we inevitably are-, many of us crumble. Why is that? Why are we not able to ‘pass’ these tests, so to speak? Many of us after a tragedy become hapless, sad, depressed, angry, or bitter.

The essence lies in knowledge that is beneficial, and the best form of knowledge is that which an individual can apply to their day-to-day life on their own. Here are a few tips to increase your patience in hard times. Like building muscle at the gym, it takes time to exercise this habit, but becomes easier over time:

Manage Stress:

Unfortunately, stressful events are abundant in our lives. People under stress can find themselves falling into thinking errors. These thinking errors include -but are not limited to-: black and white thinking, mind-reading, self-criticism, negative filtering and catastrophizing. Together this can affect how we perceive reality. Next time you are tempted to make a catastrophe out of a situation, stop and ask your self two questions:

  • Is this really a big deal in the larger scheme of things?
  • Are there any positives in this situation?

Have a Realistic Perspective of Qadr:

Although it is part of our creed to believe in divine destiny, personal responsibility is still of importance and we cannot simply resign ourselves to fate; especially if we have some sort of influence over a situation.

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says in the Quran:

لَهُ مُعَقِّبَاتٌ مِّن بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِ يَحْفَظُونَهُ مِنْ أَمْرِ اللَّهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنفُسِهِمْ ۗ وَإِذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِقَوْمٍ سُوءًا فَلَا مَرَدَّ لَهُ ۚ وَمَا لَهُم مِّن دُونِهِ مِن وَالٍ 

For each one are successive [angels] before and behind him who protect him by the decree of Allah. Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. And when Allah intends for a people ill, there is no repelling it. And there is not for them besides Him any patron. [Surah Ar-Ra’d;11]

This puts the responsibility on us to change ourselves. Notice the word, themselves. We are not responsible for events beyond our control. These events include the behavior of our spouses, the affinity of our children to the religion, the love in the hearts of people, the weather, the gender of our child (or how many we have), or even the amount of money we will earn in a lifetime -to name a few. Often we become stuck and focus on our conditions, rather than focusing on our own behavior.

Nourish Positive Thinking:

How to Be PositiveIn order to be able to have a wise and calculated response to life’s events, we must learn to interpret these events in a way that assign positive meaning to all. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is after all, how we perceive Him to be. Shaytan interferes with this process through waswaas (interjecting thoughts that are based on negativity and falsehood). His goal is for the Muslim to despair in Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy. The goal is not to be happy all the time; this is unrealistic. The goal is to think well of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) as consistently as possible.

  • Create a list of what you are grateful to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for daily.
  • Remind yourself everyday of the positive aspects of situations when your mind falls to default negative thinking. Self-criticism will will only encourage you to take full responsibility for negative life events and become depressed, or at the opposite end take no responsibility whatsoever; either mind-set does not help us improve our self.

Remind yourself as well as others of the benefits of Positivity:

  •  On an individual level, once we begin to think positive about ourselves and our life, we become optimistic. This positivity will then also effect our perception of others. We become more forgiving, over-looking, and patient with others when we can see the positives in any situation.
  • Increased rizk and feelings of well-being
  • Reduced likelihood of reacting in a negative way to life’s events; increased patience.
  • Increased likelihood of finding good opportunities in work, relationships and lifestyle.
  • Higher energy levels and motivation to take on acts of khayr and benefit.

10 Steps to Happiness!

Practice self-care as a daily routine:

Our bodies have rights on us. Our souls have rights on us. Our family has rights on us. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has rights on us. Often, when there is an imbalance in one area, our whole being can sense it. This creates anger and resentment towards those around us and life in general.

  • Take care of your body, feed it well and in moderation and exercise in a way that makes you feel relaxed.
  • Pray your prayers, read the Quran, maintain the rights Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and your own soul have on you.
  • Take care of your tongue by avoiding back-biting and complaining.
  • Take regular showers, comb your hair, brush your teeth, and wear clean clothes; even if you are at home.
  • Take care of your mind by doing dhikr as much as possible and letting go consciously of ruminating on situations.

A Powerful Dua for Happiness

Do not over-rely on your emotions:

Our emotions are a product of our thoughts. Our thoughts can be affected by slight changes in the environment such as the weather, or even whether or not we have eaten or slept well.

 

كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِتَالُ وَهُوَ كُرْهٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ 

“And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” [Surah Al-Baqarah;216]

How To be PositiveUltimately, our perception can be manipulated by our thoughts, shaytan, and other factors. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is not limited in His perceptions due to stress, emotions, or circumstances and moods. Therefore, we should be humble to defer our judgements to Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) ever-lasting judgement. Far from naval gazing, the more we are aware of our internal perceptions, emotions, and motives, the more able we are to practice Islam in its full essence. Our forefathers understood this deeply, and would regularly engage in self-assessment which gives you a sense of understanding and control of your own thoughts, emotions and actions.

The Art of Overcoming Negativity

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#Culture

Go Visit Bosnia

Amad Abu Reem

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Visit Bosnia

I have been to 35 countries, from Japan and China in the Far East, to Mexico and Columbia in South America, to Egypt and Morocco in North Africa, and there has not been another trip that was as profound in so many ways as my last trip to Bosnia. Go Visit Bosnia.

Besides Bosnia’s natural beauty, affordability and hospitality, the enrichment that comes from learning about a different culture, its cuisines, its complicated politics, and a genocide not yet 25 years old, is one that turns tourism into an experience not easily forgotten.

To the last point, why do human beings travel? What is it about a new destination that is appealing to us? Fun can be achieved in your neck of the world, so why wander? There are those who live in picture-perfect Switzerland but love to travel to remote deserts of Africa or the beaches of Indonesia. That is because traveling through new lands is a human instinct—a yearning to experience different cultures, foods, and environments.

Moreover, there is nothing more precious in life than experiences. Those who have had a sudden onset of terminal disease at an early age have an important perspective from which we can all learn. Why? Because the knowledge that you are dying quickly ends any sense of immortality, and what truly matters is crystallized. When asked what is it that they cherished most in their lives, pretty much all of them mentioned how the satisfaction from experiences such as travel beats the enjoyment of material riches any day.

What is an experience? Is it a fun week at Disney? Is it an adventure-filled trek through mountains? Is it going to a place to learn a new language? Actually, all of them are experiences, and it is not just going to a new place, but it is what you make out of that travel. If it is just fun, games, and shopping, have you really enriched your own life? Or have you missed out?

So when we planned our trip to Bosnia, many in our circle were a bit surprised as Bosnia is not on most travelers’ bucket lists. Muslims generally have Turkey and Malaysia in their must-visits “halal trips”, but after my trip to Bosnia, I feel that all Muslim travelers should add Bosnia to their short-list. Bosnia is a Muslim majority country, but barely so with about 50% Muslims, 30% Serbian Orthodox Christian and 15% Croat Catholics. I know this concerns many people, so let me add that food is generally halal unless you are in a non-Muslim village. Your guide will ensure that.

However, let me add that Bosnia is not just good for Muslims (just as Turkey and Malaysia appeal to everyone); people of all faiths can enjoy from the enriching trip to Bosnia.

Our trip began with selecting a reliable tour operator. While people tend to skip operators, preferring to book directly, I firmly believe that a professional should organize your first trip to a relatively unknown destination. I can honestly say I would have missed 50% of the enrichment without the presence of Adi, a highly educated tour guide, who was such a pleasant and friendly person that we almost felt him part of the family. The tour company itself belongs to a friend who worked for a major international company, before moving to his motherland to become part of Bosnia’s success. At the end of this article, I am providing contacts with this tour company, which MuslimMatters is proud to have as its partner for any Balkan travel.

Travel Bosnia, Visit Bosnia

Coming to the trip, I am not going to describe it in the sequence of the itinerary, but just some of the wonderful places we visited and the memorable experiences. We had 10 days for the trip and I would say a minimum of one week is needed to barely enjoy what Bosnia has to offer. However, two weeks if available would make it less hectic and give more time to absorb most of what Bosnia has to offer.

Our trip started in Sarajevo, a beautiful city. Even though it’s Bosnia’s largest city, the population is around half a million. Remember Bosnia itself has a relatively small population of 3.5 million. An additional 2 million people in the Bosnian diaspora are spread throughout the world, mostly due to the Balkan wars of the 1990s. We walked through the old town and heard amazing stories from our guide. Although I have never been to Jerusalem, I have seen its pictures and can see why many people refer to Sarajevo as the “little Jerusalem”. We heard the interesting story about the assassination of the Archduke of Austria in 1914 (the Austria-Hungarian empire controlled Bosnia at the time) and the beginning of World War 1. We visited the Ottoman bazaar, the City Hall, the Emperor’s Mosque, and many other interesting areas.

Sarajevo

Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a compact city on the Miljacka River, surrounded by the Dinaric Alps. Its center has museums commemorating local history, including Sarajevo 1878–1918, which covers the 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, an event that sparked World War I. Landmarks of the old quarter, Baš?aršija, include the Ottoman-era Gazi Husrev-bey Mosque.

Like most cities in Bosnia, a river flows right through the center of Sarajevo.

The magnificent building that houses Sarajevo City Hall is located in the city of Sarajevo. It was initially the largest and most representative building of the Austro-Hungarian period in Sarajevo and served as the city hall. During the siege of Sarajevo that lasted over 3 years, Serbs targeted this building, focusing on destroying a rich collection of books and manuscripts inside it, and it was essentially burned down. After years of reconstruction, the building was reopened on May 9, 2014.

As we were walking on the streets, I took a picture of a man sitting carefree on the bench near the garden. I found this man’s peaceful enjoyment of the weather fascinating. He was in his own world— eyes closed and smiling.

Visit Bosnia

As you go into the Old Town, you will find many shops like this one in the picture of metal-crafts. Bosnians have been historically folks with mastery in metal and wood crafts. One historic shop that still functions and has some fabulous wood pieces is shown in the pictures.

 

 

As you go through the city, you will find many graveyards as well, reminding everyone of the longest modern age siege of Sarajevo. One particular grim reminder is a memorial near the city center dedicated to the children who were killed during the war.

Visit Bosnia, SarajevoOur trip coincided with the annual somber anniversary of the beginning of the siege, April 5, 1992. Bouquets of flowers adorned the remembrance area.

Visit Bosnia

Another major graveyard (massive area) has graves of Bosnian Muslims, Bosnian Serbs (Orthodox Christians) and few Bosnian Croats (Catholics). They fought against each other with the oppressor by all accounts being the Serbs. Now they all lie together next to each other. The white tombstones are Muslims, the black ones Serbs. One pic shows a particular Serb person who lived 101 years, only to die in the first year of the war. Most of the tombstones indicated the year of death during 1992-95, the war years. Some of the white tombstones have “Sehid” written which means martyr. Interestingly, Serbs use Greek letters and other Bosnians Latin, so most signs are in both languages.

You can go up to a café in Hecco Deluxe Hotel, which is Sarajevo’s oldest “skyscraper” and just absorb a 360 view of the city.  I was able to take one picture that captured the signs of all three major religious groups in Bosnia, as labeled in the photo. However, this is also a reflection of a country divided with 3 presidents, one from each religious group. Remember that the massacres were conducted by mostly Bosnian Serbs (not Serbian Serbs) and at some point, the Bosnian Croats also backstabbed the Bosnian Muslims (for example by destroying the vital ottoman old bridge in Mostar). Croatia and Serbia were planning to divide Bosnia between themselves but the Bosnian Muslims held their own until finally, NATO stepped in. It remains shocking how genocide could happen in the 90s in the heart of Europe. And it says a lot about the hypocrisy of the “West” in general. Many Bosnian Muslims remain bitter about it and I find it amazing that despite living among their potential killers, no revenge attacks have taken place. The political situation remains stable but tenuous— extremely safe but one political crisis away from going downhill. However, everyone is war fatigued and in case of a crisis, most people intend to just leave the country than to fight again.

Visit Bosnia

A view from Hecco Deluxe Hotel, Bosnia

Visit Bosnia

In the old city, you will also find the famous Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque that was built in the 16th century; it is the largest historical mosque in Bosnia and Herzegovina and one of the most representative Ottoman structures in the Balkans. A very interesting facet of the mosque is the clock tower. This is probably the only clock in the world that starts at dawn and ends at dusk. Every day, a caretaker adjusts the time to reflect the actual hours. So whenever you look at it, you will know how many hours to Maghrib prayers!

Watering hole structure for stray cats and dogs

Another interesting feature and a reflection of the concern for animals is the watering hole structure set up for stray cats and dogs. It kind of looks like a toilet seat, with the purpose that an animal like a cat may climb the seat and drink from the small water reservoir that is constantly filled by the caretakers.

If you want to shop for normal stuff, there is the Sarajevo City Center (SCC). It has all the popular international brands, but what I found interesting is that the prices were in many cases even lower than American prices, which if you have been around, is quite rare. So if you are coming from the Middle East or Europe, definitely check this mall out.

Vrelo Bosne:

 

Just outside Sarajevo in the outskirts of the city, you a public park, featuring the spring of the River Bosna, at the foothills of the Mount Igman on the outskirts of Sarajevo. This beautiful park and the spring is a remarkable sight. It is a must see when you visit Bosnia. Crystal clear water allows you to see the entire waterbed. A beautiful white swan swam, followed by a couple of gorgeous ducks.

Visit Bosnia

Museum Tunnel of War:

This small museum showcases the tunnel that was built underneath the airport tarmac by Bosnian Muslims in order to carry food, supplies and even arms. It was called “Tunnel of Hope” and constructed between March and June 1993 during the Siege of Sarajevo. While the Bosnian Serbs besieging the country were armed to the teeth with weapons from the ex-Yugoslavian army, an embargo of weapons was applied, essentially making Bosnian Muslims sitting ducks. Such was the treachery of the international community. This tunnel helped the Bosnian Muslims protect Sarajevo from total surrender. You can see the names of those killed here.

A truck driver on the “exit” side of the tunnel would then transport these supplies up and down some treacherous mountains. The driver’s wife is still alive and has a small shop that sells souvenirs—be sure to visit and buy some.

Blagaj

This is a village-town in the southeastern region of the Mostar basin. Here we relaxed and ate fresh fish at the source of the Buna River, right next to where the water sprung out from the mountains underneath a cave. This is one of those dining experiences where the scenery makes your food even more enjoyable than it would have otherwise been.

Travnik

Visit Bosnia

This is a town and municipality and the administrative center of Central Bosnia Canton. It is situated about 50 miles west of Sarajevo. Historically, it was the capital city of the governors of Bosnia from 1699 to 1850, and has a cultural heritage dating from that period. Here you see a pre-Ottoman Fort (1300s) is still in great shape. It stands on top of the hill with mountains behind it so no one could enter the city without being spotted. The scenery from the top is also fantastic as seen in the picture. The oldest mosque of the city was built here. There were 20 mosques were built in the city, of which 17 survived to date.

Jajce

It is situated in the mountains; there is a beautiful countryside near the city, rivers such as the Vrbas and Pliva, lakes like Pliva Lake, which is also a popular destination for the local people and some tourists. This lake is called Brana in the local parlance. In 1527, Jajce became the last Bosnian town to fall to Ottoman rule, and you will see the gate to the city that fell to the Ottomans.  The 17-meter high Pliva waterfall was named one of the 12 most beautiful waterfalls in the world.

Mostar

Visit Bosnia

It is situated on the Neretva River and is the fifth-largest city in the country. Mostar was named after the bridge keepers (mostari) who in the medieval times guarded the Stari Most (Old Bridge) over the Neretva. The Old Bridge, built by the Ottomans in the 16th century, is one of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s most visited landmarks and is considered an exemplary piece of Islamic architecture in the Balkans. The Old Bridge stood for 427 years until the Croatian army destroyed it in an act of treachery in November 1993. It was rebuilt and reopened in July 2004 with support from various nations.

 

Mostar is a beautiful city. You can also shop here and like all of Bosnia, you will not be haggled or conned (something that has become a feature of doing business in Turkey, unfortunately). There is one large shop that sells bed-sheets, table covers, etc. owned by a guy from Kosovo. You will not miss it if you are going through the bazaar. That is worth buying if you like such stuff.

Not far from the Old Bridge, you can climb up a narrow staircase to a top of a mosque minaret and have another breath-taking view of the city and of the Old Bridge itself. The climb is not terribly difficult but may be a stretch for the elder.

Visit Bosnia

Mostar Old Bridge (1567) (UNESCO World Heritage List)

Olympic Mountains Bjelasnica

Bjelašnica is a mountain in central Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is found directly to the southwest of Sarajevo, bordering Mt. Igman.  Bjelašnica’s tallest peak, by which the whole mountain group got its name, rises to an elevation of 2067 meters (6782 feet). This is one of the resorts that hosted the 1984 winter Olympics. The main hotel here serves delicious food. If you are a skier, then the many mountains of Bosnia make for perfect (and very cheap) skiing options.

Bosnia

Srebrenica

Visit Bosnia

Srebenica, Bosnia

Epicenter of the Bosnian genocide, where 8372 civilians were murdered as the world watched callously. This is a must when you visit Bosnia. The genocide museum houses stories and eyewitness accounts. It is in one part of a massive warehouse that used to be a factory for car batteries before it became the command post for the UN designated Dutch army, sent to protect the Bosnian Muslim civilians, but later turning into cowards who gave up thousands for slaughter.

We met a survivor whose to this date chokes as he recalls his escape, walking 60 miles sleepless, hungry to reach Bosnian territory. Shakes you to the core.

Till today, not all bodies have been found or identified. Some of the bodies were moved to secondary graves by the Serbs to hide evidence. The green posts are the discoveries between one July 11 anniversary to the next— to be converted to white tombstones.

 

This day trip by far was the most moving. A genocide that shook us 25 years ago, but that we only heard of, is brought to life here. The museum offers stories and footage of the genocide. The graveyard makes your heart sink.

Unfortunately, this genocide is mostly forgotten and is something that we must never forget. Just as visits to Auschwitz are important to remember the Holocaust, we must make Srebrenica a place to visit, such that it becomes a history that we must never forget.

Other places of interest (not all-inclusive by any means):

Woodcrafts in Konjic, Bosnia

On the way back from Mostar to Sarajevo, be sure to stop by Konjic where you can stop by a very old woodcarving shop that to this date provides fabulous woodcrafts.

Visit Bosnia

You can also stop by Sunny Land, a small park where you can ride an alpine roller coaster that kids (and adults) will definitely enjoy. A bit further from this location, you can see the remains of the bobsled structure, built for the 1984 Winter Olympics.

Visit Bosnia, Sunnyland

Our guide was The Bosnian Guide.

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#Life

Mindful or Mind-full? Going From AutoPilot to Aware

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Mindful

Modeling Mindfulness

Mindfull

“Remember that God knows what is in your souls, so be mindful of Him.”

[Sūrat al-Baqarah 2:235]

Mindful or Mind-full?

Ever felt frustrated when you were trying to talk to your spouse, your children, your students, or your youth group and they would just not pay attention? This is a prime example of being on autopilot and getting carried away without actually being aware of what is most important in the present moment.

A recent Harvard study shows that our minds are not present in the moment and wander about 47% of the time1. In a world of technology and continuous sensory overload, the lines between work and home, friends and family, necessity vs. purpose, world-centric vs. Allah-centric have become blurred. We are either living in the past or ruminating about the future, and in the process, we are forgetting to live, enjoy, cherish, and make the most of our present moments.

For parents, teachers, youth leaders, and anyone in the beautiful role of guiding, teaching, coaching, or mentoring others, we can make a huge difference by modeling Mindfulness ourselves. But where do we start? The answer is to go from autopilot to becoming aware.

Autopilot to Aware

Being on autopilot is when you are distracted in the present moment, where your mind is wandering into the past or the future, and you are less aware of yourself, surroundings, or others. Autopilot can actually be pretty helpful for your regular habits. Waking up, brushing your teeth, getting ready for your day, going to school or work – many of the things we do habitually every day can be done more seamlessly without having to think, and that is a good thing. But there are times when you have to learn to turn off your autopilot to become aware. But how?

Here is a Mindfulness tool that can be done in just a minute or two for you to become more aware.

Step 1: Breath as a Tool. Say Bismillah. Focus on your breath. See where you experience the breath – the breathing in and breathing out of your body. Is your breath stemming from your nostrils, your chest, or your stomach? Just bring your attention to your breath and relax and stay with it there for a few moments.

Step 2: Body as a Tool. Relax your body. We carry so many emotions in our bodies2. Our stress from the past or anticipation for the future sometimes finds its way into our necks, other times in our chest muscles or our backs. Pay attention to what emotions and sensations do you feel, and try to relax all parts of your body.

Step 3: Intention as a Tool. As you have centered your thoughts to the present moment through your breath and your body, ask yourself: “What is most important now? In this present moment?”

Just simply being aware makes us more mindful parents, teachers, youth and professionals – being aware makes us more Mindful of Allah SWT. Mindfulness is the ability to be aware of your mind and body and bring your attention to the present moment.

Mindful

Real Life in the Present Moment

You are an on-the-go parent: It has been a long day and you have to pick up the kids from school, but work is still pending. You’re picking up the kids from school, feeding them, and then shuffling everyone to their afterschool activities, be it Qur’an, softball, soccer, swimming, or the million other things that kids seem to have these days. You squeeze pending work in between drop-offs and pick-ups, and you function by living from one task to the next.

The Autopilot Impact: You’re getting a lot done, but are so engrossed in quickly moving your children along from one thing to another that you are unable to really cherish your time together.

The Mindfulness Suggestion: You can try to go from autopilot to awareness by focusing on your breath, paying attention to your emotions, and relaxing your body. As you do so, ask yourself: “What is most important now?” Make the intention to slow down, listen to the children more mindfully, and cherish and enjoy your time together.

You are a busy teacher: Last night you had to take all the grading home and spent two hours poring over students’ work. This morning, you woke up early to pick up some classroom supplies after dropping off your own kids to school. You’ve already had two cups of coffee and are trying to think through everything you have to do today. You like the idea of Mindfulness, living life in the present moment, and enjoying every day to its fullest, but your mind is not free to even enjoy the beautiful morning sunrise as you drive to school.

The Autopilot Impact: You want to listen and pay attention to every child’s needs, and enjoy the rewards of their growth, but you can’t. What’s more, you judge yourself for just trying to get through your activities for the day. You wish you could connect with your students better.

The Mindfulness Suggestion: Whenever you are stressed with an unpleasant parent or student interaction, think about breathing, relaxing your body, and asking what you need to focus on now. Try to do one thing at a time, and relax into what you’re doing.

You are an overstretched youth director: You are a role model. You have this major weekend event you are planning with the youth. Your budget is still pending from the board, you have to call all these people, have to get the graphics and remind everyone about the event, you have to visit all these masjids and MSAs to announce and remind people about the weekend.

This weekend’s theme is Living a Life of Purpose and you are super passionate about it. However, the whole week you have had a hard time remembering to even pray one Salah with focus. Instead, your mind has been preoccupied with all the endless planning for this weekend. You love what you do but you wonder how to also be mindful in your everyday worship while you are always prepping and planning engaging activities for the youth.

The Autopilot Impact: You enjoy shaping the youth but you are losing steam. You are always planning the next program and unable to focus on your own personal and spiritual development. It is difficult for you to pray even one salah without thinking about all the events and activities planned for that week.

The Mindfulness Suggestion: Get serious about taking some time for yourself. Know that becoming more mindful about your own prayers and self-development will also make you a better role model. Take a minute or two before every Salah to practice the simple, 3-Step Mindfulness Tool. You say Bismillah and breathe, focus your mind, and then relax your body. Empty your mind from everything else – what has past and what’s to come – and ask “What’s most important now?” to develop better focus in your Salah.

In Conclusion: Practice Simple but Solid Steps towards becoming more Mindful Muslims

Mindfulness is to open a window to let the Divine light in.

[Imam Al Ghazali]

Mindfulness gives us the ability to be aware. We can use Mindfulness tools to remember Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), refocus, renew our intentions, and engage with the present moment in a more effective and enjoyable way. Mindfulness also invites awareness of our potential negligence in being our best selves with both Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and His creation. To put it simply, being more aware of our selves can help us be better versions of our selves.

Mindfulness is both an art and a science, with brain and behavioral science research validating the importance of Mindfulness in improving our health, managing our stress, navigating our emotions, and positively impacting our lives3. In today’s modern and distracted world, let us treasure every tool that helps us center our attention on what matters the most.

  1. Bradt, Steve (2010). Wandering mind not a happy mind. Harvard Gazette. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2010/11/wandering-mind-not-a-happy-mind/
  2. Lauri Nummenmaa, Enrico Glerean, Riitta Hari, Jari K. Hietanen (2013). Bodily maps of emotions. National Academy of Sciences. https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/12/26/1321664111
  3. “What are the benefits of mindfulness,” American Psychological Association: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/07-08/ce-corner.aspx

To learn more about how to become mindful take the Define Course on Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence.

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