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The Amazing Virtues of Duha Prayer

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The virtues of Duha prayer are vast, uplifting, life-changing, and of immense benefit to those who implement the habit of praying it on a daily basis. What follows is an in-depth description of Duha prayer for readers who prefer to understand the full context of the prayer, including its definition, description, recommended times, virtues and rewards, number of rakʿahs, and related questions. For readers who are looking to quickly skim through the inspirational virtues, scroll down to “Virtues & Rewards of Duha Prayer”.

Definition of Duha prayer

Duḥa is linguistically defined as the time of sunrise.

The jurisprudential definition: It is an optional two-rakʿah prayer that the Prophet ﷺ prayed frequently and advised the companions to pray, and its time is between sunrise and Dhuhr.

The ruling is that Duha prayer is a sunnah mu’akkadah (confirmed Sunnah), which entails massive rewards and blessings if established, but there is no sin on the one who leaves it.

Description of Duha prayer

Duha (forenoon or “chasht”) prayer, also referred to as Salāt al-Awwābeen (the prayer of the oft-repentant), is prayed like most other voluntary prayers in that you pray two units and you end the prayer with the tasleem to the right and left. If you wish to pray more than two units, then you may pray as many as you wish, two units at a time.

The Prophet ﷺ said: “The [voluntary] prayers of the day and night are to be offered two by two.”[1]

What is meant by two by two?


Ibn ʿUmar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) said: “Saying the tasleem after each two rakʿahs.”  [Muslim]

Recommended time

The time of Duha begins after the sun fully rises and it ends approximately 15 minutes before Dhuhr prayer. The most preferred time for Duha prayer is at the hottest part of the day, when the sun has reached its zenith (its highest point), and this is approximately halfway between sunrise and Dhuhr prayer.

The Prophet ﷺ said: “The prayer of those who are repentant is observed when your weaned camels feel the heat of the sun.”[2]

Virtues & Rewards of Duha Prayer

1. It fulfills charity on every joint in your body.

The Prophet ﷺ said:

“In the morning, every single joint of yours must pay a sadaqah (charity). Every SubhanAllah is a sadaqah, every Alhamdulillāh is a sadaqah, every La Ilaha Illa Allah is a sadaqah, every Allahu Akbar is a sadaqah, every commanding good is a sadaqah, and every forbidding evil is a sadaqah, and all this is accomplished through two rakʿahs one can pray in Duha [prayer].”[3]

This hadith emphasizes the status and virtue of Duha prayer, two rakʿahs of which is sufficient as a charity on behalf of every joint in the body, and a sign of genuine gratitude to Allah (swt).

2. It is the prayer of the oft-repentant. 

The Prophet ﷺ said:
“None is diligent in establishing Duha prayer except one who is oft-repentant (awwāb), and it is the prayer of the oft-repentant.”[4]

The term “Salat al-Awwabeen” comes from this narration, in which the Messenger ﷺ emphasizes that only the oft-repentant are persistent in praying Duha prayer habitually. Thus, one of the signs of true repentance is to return to Allah (swt) by not only cutting off a major sin, but striving diligently to increase in one’s voluntary deeds, especially the optional prayers.

3. It was an advice from the Messenger himself.

Abu Hurayrah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) reported: My beloved (the Prophet  ﷺ) advised me to do three things, which I will never abandon so long as I live: to fast three days of each month, to pray two rakʿahs of Duha prayer, and not to sleep until I pray Witr.[5]

Imam al-Qurtubi raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) said: “The advice of the Prophet ﷺ to Abu Hurayrah and Abu ad-Dardā’ indicates the virtues of Duha prayer, and the vast rewards of the prayer as well as its significance; thus, both companions safeguarded this habit and never abandoned it.”[6]

4. Under certain conditions, the reward for praying it is equivalent to a complete Hajj and ʿUmrah.

The Prophet ﷺ said:
“Whoever prays the Fajr prayer then sits in his place of prayer remembering Allah until sunrise, then prays two rakʿahs, shall be rewarded as if he had performed Hajj and ʿUmrah, with a reward that is complete, complete, complete.”[7]

Note: This doesn’t fulfill the requirement to perform Hajj.

5. Forgiveness of one’s sins.

Abu Hurayrah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
“Whoever regularly prays the two rakʿahs of Duha, his sins are forgiven even if they are like [the vastness of] the foam of the sea.”[8]

The Prophet ﷺ also said:
“If anyone sits in his place of prayer when he finishes the dawn prayer till he prays the two rakʿahs of the forenoon prayer, saying nothing but what is good, his sins will be forgiven even if they are more than the foam of the sea.”[9]

6. Equivalent to ʿUmrah and a lofty position.

Abu Umāmah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
“If anyone leaves his home after performing ablution for the prescribed prayer in congregation (in the mosque), his reward will be like that of one who goes for Hajj after wearing (the clothes of) ihram. And he who goes out for the forenoon (Duha) prayer, and takes the trouble solely for this purpose, will have the reward like that of a person who performs ʿUmrah. And a prayer followed by a prayer with no worldly talk during the gap between them will be recorded in ʿIlliyyūn[10].”[11]

7. Allah will suffice you!

The Prophet ﷺ said:
“Allah the Exalted says: ‘O Son of Adam, do not be heedless of praying 4 rakʿahs for Me in the beginning of your day and (as a result) I shall be your sufficiency at its end.’”[12]

In another narration:
“Allah the Exalted says: ‘O Son of Adam, pray to Me in the beginning of the day with four units and I shall thereby suffice you at the end (of it).’”[13]

The meaning of “suffice” in these narrations, according to various scholars, includes the protection of Allah from all evil and harm, protection against misguidance and sinfulness, alleviation of anxiety and worries, and forgiveness for one’s shortcomings during that day, or a combination of any of the above. Reflect on the fact that Allah, the Creator and Sustainer, will Himself suffice you of any of your worldly needs in ways that you cannot begin to imagine.

The scholars differed about whether this hadith refers to 4 units of Duha prayer or if it refers to Fajr prayer with its sunnah. The scholars who held the view that the hadeeth refers to Duha prayer include Abu Dāwūd, at-Tirmidhi, al-Irāqi, Ibn Rajab, and others. The wise believer, therefore, would strive to implement both views – Fajr and its sunnah as well as four units of Duha prayer – in order to maximize the reward, protection, and blessings.

8. A palace of gold in Paradise.

Anas b. Mālik raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
“Whoever prays twelve rakʿahs of Duha, Allah will build for him a palace of gold in Paradise.”[14]

Abu ad-Dardā’ raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
“Whoever prays Duha will not be written amongst the heedless (people), and whoever prays four (rakʿahs) will be written amongst the worshipers, and whoever prays six (rakʿahs), it will suffice him on that day, and whoever prays 8 (rakʿahs) will be written amongst the pious, and whoever prays 12 rakʿahs, Allah will build for him a palace in Paradise.”[15]

Number of Rakʿahs

5.1 Minimum number of rakʿahs

The minimum for Duha prayer is 2 rakʿahs according to scholarly consensus.[16]

5.2 Maximum number of rakʿahs

There is no clear report that indicates a restriction on the number of rakʿahs for Duha prayer; however, there are three common opinions on the matter:

First opinion: 8 Rakʿahs

This is the opinion of Mālikis and Ḥanbalis based on the following report:

It was narrated from Umm Hāni’ bint Abu Tālib that on the day of the Opening (of Makkah), the Messenger of Allah ﷺ prayed Duha with eight rakʿahs, saying the salaam after each two rakʿahs.[17]

Umm Hāni’ said: “I never saw the Prophet ﷺ offering a lighter prayer than that [Duha] prayer, but he was performing perfect bowing and prostrations.”[18]

 The Mālikis considered it makrooh (disliked) to pray more than 8 rakʿahs if the additional prayers were with the intention of Duha,[19] and they considered 6 rakʿahs to be moderate and preferred.[20]

Second opinion: 12 Rakʿahs

This is the opinion of the Hanafis, Shāfiʿis,[21] and one of the views of the Ḥanbalis,[22] based on the aforementioned narration:

“Whoever prays Duha with twelve rakʿahs, Allah will build for him a palace of gold in Paradise.”

This narration is weak[23] according to most scholars of hadeeth; however, even if it reached a unanimous level of soundness, the narration would not necessarily indicate a maximum restriction on the number of units one can pray.

Third opinion: Unrestricted

This is the opinion held by al-Aswad b. Yazīd (d. 75/694), Ibrahīm an-Nakhaʿī (d. 96/714), at-Tirmidhi (d. 279/892), al-ʿIrāqi (d. 806/1403), as-Suyūti (d. 911/1505), and many of the earlier and later scholars, as well as this author’s preferred opinion due to its evidence and reasoning.

Al-ʿIraqi (r) says, in his commentary on Sunan at-Tirmidhi:

“None of the companions or [their] successors are known to have restricted it to twelve rakʿahs.” As-Suyūti raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) agreed with this opinion.

Ibrahīm an-Nakhaʿī raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) reports that al-Aswad b. Yazīd was asked: “How many rakʿahs are to be prayed for Duha?” He answered: “As many as you wish.”

In other words, there is no restriction on how many optional prayers you can pray at the time of Duha, and as the reports indicate, none of the companions or their successors were known to have restricted Duha prayer to twelve rakʿahs. Therefore, any nafl mutlaq (general optional prayer) prayed between sunrise and Dhuhr would fall under the category of Duha prayer, and Allah knows best.

5.3 Preferred number of rakʿahs

Even within each madhhab, the scholars held different opinions about the preferred number of rakʿahs to pray for Duha prayer as a habit.

The Mālikis preferred 6 rakʿahs,[24] the Hanafis preferred 4 or 8 rakʿahs,[25] the Shāfiʿis preferred 8 rakʿahs,[26] and the Ḥanbalis did not specify a preferred number of rakʿahs.

Based on the authentic aforementioned evidences, what seems to be most preferable – and Allah knows best – is to pray at least 4 rakʿahs, as two individual units, based on the following two narrations: 

  1. ʿAishah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) said: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ used to observe four rakʿahs in the forenoon prayer and he sometimes observed more as Allah pleased.[27]
  1. The Prophet ﷺ said: “Allah the Exalted says: ‘O Son of Adam, do not be heedless of praying 4 rakʿahs for Me in the beginning of your day, and (as a result) I shall be your sufficiency at its end.’”[28]

Questions pertaining to Duha prayer

Q: Can it be prayed while the sun is rising?

No, that time is forbidden for prayer. The sun takes approximately 15-20 minutes to fully rise, so wait from the beginning of the known time of ‘sunrise’ for at least 15 minutes.

Q: Do I have to stand while praying Duha prayer?

No. It is permissible to pray a voluntary (sunnah) prayer while sitting, whether at home, at work, in a moving vehicle, or elsewhere, but the reward is decreased significantly if one has the physical ability to stand.[29] Nevertheless, it is lawful to sit, and in the case that one would not pray Duha unless they were able to sit, for whatever circumstances, then it is encouraged to pray it while sitting if that is the only option.

Q: Do I have to recite a specific surah in Duha prayer?

The Shāfiʿi opinion[30] is to recite Sūrat al-Kāfiroon in the first rakʿah and Sūrat al-Ikhlās in the second rakʿah, due to the massive rewards of reciting both suwar.[31] The Hanafi opinion[32] is to recite Sūrat ash-Shams in the first rakʿah and Sūrat ad-Duha in the second rakʿah, based on a narration[33] that is considered by some scholars to be fabricated.[34] What seems to be most correct is that there is nothing clearly authentic narrated about the matter, so you may recite any sūrah you wish after Sūrat al-Fātihah.

Q: For the reward of Hajj and Umrah, can a woman receive this reward if she prays at home?

Yes.

Q: For the reward of Hajj and Umrah, does one need to remain in the same spot they prayed, or can they move about the prayer area?

There is a known difference of opinion about this matter; some scholars were of the view that moving about the mosque is fine because the entire masjid is considered the prayer place, while others emphasized the importance of staying in one’s particular prayer place due to several narrations, including the following:

I (Samik) asked Jābir b. Samurah: Did you sit in the company of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ? He replied: Yes, very often. He would not stand from the place he prayed the dawn prayer till the sunrise. When the sun rose, he would stand (to pray Duha).[35]

Ibn Ḥajar (d. 852/1449) stated, “The ‘place of prayer’ referred to in the hadith is the place in which the prayer took place (i.e., the masjid) … so if the individual moves about to another area within the masjid with the intention of waiting to pray (the Ishraq/Duha prayer), he will have the same (reward).”[36]

Zain ad-Deen al-ʿIrāqi (d. 806/1403) stated, “What is meant by ‘prayer place’? Does it refer to the specific place a person prays in, and moving about the masjid would cause him to lose the reward (of Hajj and Umrah)? Or does the prayer place refer to the entire masjid he prayed in? Perhaps it is both of these meanings and most likely the second meaning is more apparent and correct.”[37]

Q: Is it permissible to pray Duha prayer in congregation?

Some voluntary prayers are recommended to always be performed in congregation, such as the prayer for rain, the eclipse prayers, and taraweeh. Other prayers, such as the greeting of the masjid, Duha prayer, and the regular voluntary prayers, are generally to be prayed alone, but it is permissible to infrequently pray the latter in congregation.

Thus, it is permissible to infrequently pray Duha in congregation, but most of the narrations describing the Prophet ﷺ praying Duha were not in congregation, and praying it in congregation should not become a habit as that would contradict the sunnah. As for narrations which indicate that it is permissible, we have the following report:

Abu ‘Abdullah said: Abu Hurayrah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) said, “The Prophet ﷺ advised me to offer two rakʿahs of Duha prayer.” Itbān b. Mālik raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) said, “Allah’s Messenger ﷺ and Abu Bakr came to me after sunrise and we aligned behind the Prophet ﷺ and offered two rakʿahs.”[38]

Q: Ishraq (or Shurooq) prayer – what is its relation to Duha prayer? 

Some scholars specified that Ishrāq prayer was the prayer of 2 rakʿahs performed after one has remained in their prayer spot until sunrise – mentioned in virtue #4 above – and has the reward of a complete Hajj and Umrah; therefore, it is the earliest possible Duha prayer. Others, and this can be observed in many classical books of fiqh, stated that there is no difference between the two prayers, since any prayer between sunrise and Dhuhr falls under the category of “Duha”, including these two rakʿahs, and Allah knows best.

Action Items

1. Set your intention now to begin praying Duha prayer habitually in order to obtain its vast rewards, blessings, and virtues, and encourage others to pray it habitually as well.

2. Take action! If necessary, set repeated reminders for yourself to establish this new habit.

3. Try to encourage your loved ones by striving for the reward of Hajj and Umrah together, particularly on days in which it is possible to remain in your prayer place until sunrise.

4. Share this article with others in order to maximize their reward and yours too.


May Allah grant us the vast blessings and virtues of Duha prayer, sound knowledge, and consistent implementation.

 

[1] at-Tirmidhi (597) and Ibn Mājah (1322).

[2] Sahih Muslim (748).

[3] Sahih Muslim (720).

[4] Reported by Ibn Khuzaymah; authentic according to the conditions of Muslim. Sahih at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb (1/164).

[5] Sahih al-Bukhāri (1981).

[6] al-Qurtubi, Al-Mufhim Lima Ushkila min Talkhīs Kitab Muslim.

[7] at-Tirmidhi (586), al-Mundhiri in at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb (1/220), and Sahih al-Jāmiʿ (6346).

[8] at-Tirmidhi (476) and Ibn Mājah (1382). This narration is weak according to some scholars, but strengthened by multiple reports according to others.

[9] Abu Dāwūd (1287), Ibn Ḥajar in Takhreej Mishkāt al-Masābeeh (2/74), and al-Mundhiri in at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb (2/221).

[10] ʿIlliyyūn: The record of the righteous, or a high place for the righteous after death.

[11] Abu Dāwūd (558), Sahih al-Jāmiʿ (6556), al-Mundhiri in at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb (1/320), al-Khulāsa of an-Nawawi (1/313).

[12] Abu Dāwūd (1289), Musnad Ahmad (22469), al-Haythami (2/239), and Sahih at-Targheeb (672).

[13] at-Tirmidhi (475), Sunan al-Bayhaqi (4786), Sahih Ibn Hibbān (2534), Ibn Ḥajar in Takhreej Mishkāt al-Masābeeh (2/73), and Sahih al-Jāmiʿ (4339).

[14] Classified as hasan by Ibn Ḥajar in Takhreej Mishkāt al-Māsabih (2/74) and Ibn al-Mulqin in Tuḥfatul Muhtāj (1/415). Classified as ghareeb by at-Tirmidhi, and daʿeef by al-Albāni.

[15] Its narrators are trustworthy according to al-Mundhiri in at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb (1/320) and as-Safāreeni in Sharh Thulāthiyyat al-Musnad (2/306), and weak according to al-Albāni in Da’eef at-Targheeb (405).

[16] Al-Mawsuʿah al-Fiqhiyyah, p. 225.

[17] Sunan Ibn Mājah (1323).

[18] Sahih al-Bukhāri (4292).

[19] The response to this is that any prayer performed at that time is considered Duha regardless, rather than only a nafl mutlaq (general voluntary prayer).

[20] ad-Dusqooi, Hāshiyat ad-Dusooqi, 1/313.

[21] The opinion of the Shāfiʿis, according to an-Nawawi, is 12 rakʿahs. Al-Majmūʾ 4/36.

[22] Al-Mawsuʿah al-Fiqhiyyah, p. 226.

[23] Ibn ʿĀbideen stated: What has been repeated (by many scholars) is that a weak narration may be acted upon for virtuous deeds. Hāshiyat Ibn ʿĀbideen, 1/459.

[24] ad-Dusqooi, Hāshiyat ad-Dusooqi, 1/313.

[25] Al-Haskafi, ad-Durr al-Mukhtār 1/459.

[26] An-Nawawi, Rawdat at-Tālibeen, 1/332.

[27] Sahih Muslim (719).

[28] Abu Dāwūd (1289), Musnad Ahmad (22469), al-Haythami (2/239), and Sahih at-Targheeb (672).

[29] Based on the narration, “Whoever prays while standing, that is better, and whoever prays while sitting will have half the reward of one who prays standing.” Reported in Sahih al-Bukhāri (1116), Ibn Majah, at-Tirmidhi, an-Nasa’i.  This applies to voluntary prayers.

[30] ar-Ramli, Nihāyatul Muhtāj, 2/112.

[31] It was narrated, “Qul Huwallāhu Aḥad is equivalent to one-third of the Qur’an, and Qul Yā Ayyuhal Kāfiroon is equivalent to one-fourth of the Qur’an.” Sahih Muslim (811) and Sahih al-Jāmiʿ (4405).

[32] Ibn ʿĀbideen, Hāshiyat Ibn ʿĀbideen, 1/458.

[33] Ibn Ḥajar, Fatḥ al-Bāri, 3/55.

[34] Classified as mawdooʿ in as-Silsilah ad-Daʿeefah (3774).

[35] Abu Dāwūd (1294).

[36] Ibn Ḥajar, Fatḥ al-Bāri, 2/136.

[37] al-ʿIrāqi, Ṭarḥ at-Tathreeb, 2/367.

[38] Sahih al-Bukhāri (1171).

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

Imam Suleiman Hani is an international lecturer and resident scholar from Michigan who currently serves as an AlMaghrib Institute instructor, a Yaqeen Institute scholar, and a graduate student at Harvard University. At the age of 14, Suleiman completed a 10-month Qur’an memorization program and began his intensive studies under numerous scholars, later earning a Master of Arts degree from the University of Jordan's College of Shari’ah, ranking first in his class. Over the past decade, he has served as an Imam and community leader in Michigan, lectured in dozens of countries, and was featured on the largest Islamic TV stations worldwide. His recent hobbies include mixed martial arts, archery, and skydiving.

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Taimur

    November 6, 2016 at 1:41 AM

    Very nice MashAllah . May Allah (SWT) reward you for this

  2. Avatar

    Nicolás

    November 6, 2016 at 2:55 AM

    Superb article. Very beneficial and well-referenced. May Allāh reward you.

  3. Avatar

    Haroon

    November 7, 2016 at 2:37 AM

    Important message. Allah bless.

  4. Avatar

    Abdullah

    November 7, 2016 at 9:07 AM

    Jazakumullahu kheyran very beneficial article. Let us all race for Allah’s reward insha’llah.

  5. Avatar

    Umm Hadi

    November 9, 2016 at 3:39 AM

    Barak Allahu feekum. May Allah make us steadfast on our Deen.

  6. Avatar

    Mustapha umar

    December 21, 2016 at 5:20 AM

    Jazakumullahu Bi Khair

  7. Avatar

    Bari

    March 16, 2017 at 12:58 PM

    Very informative

  8. Avatar

    Arjmand

    December 16, 2017 at 4:25 PM

    Jazak Allah khair, very beneficial and informative.

  9. Avatar

    Naswiru shema

    December 21, 2017 at 12:15 AM

    I have a question is it permissible to pray duha at home for example u finish al fajr u go home sit and wait for total sunrise and pray duha is it allowed ?Please get back to me as soon as possible

    • Avatar

      Aly Balagamwala

      December 22, 2017 at 5:30 AM

      Yes you can do so. You can read the Duha prayer from 10 minutes after sunrise till before Zawal in any place (Masjid, home, school, office, park, etc)

    • Suleiman Hani

      Suleiman Hani

      December 23, 2017 at 8:12 AM

      Assalamu alaykum Naswiru,

      As Ustadh Aly mentioned, you can pray Duha from the time the sun fully rises (approximately 10-15 minutes after the listed “sunrise” time in the prayer schedules) until approximately 10 minutes before Dhuhr adhan time, whether you’re at home or work or any general permitted environment to pray in.

      If, however, you were asking specifically about the reward of Hajj & Umrah mentioned in the virtues of the article, then as was noted, some of the scholars held the opinion that the reward is for the one who stays in the prayer area (masjid). If there is a dire, urgent need to leave the prayer area and the individual continues to worship Allah until sunrise and subsequently prays the 2 rak’ahs when the sun fully rises, then we hope and pray for the same reward, but it should be noted that it is explicitly mentioned – and opined by scholars – to try to remain in the general prayer place until sunrise. As was noted, some scholars even opined that it’s restricted to the literal place in which one prayed the morning prayer, showcasing the different viewpoints. For women, if their prayer is at home and they remain in the area in which they prayed – in a state of worship via Qur’an, dhikr, du’aa, etc. – then we believe the reward applies to them as well, wallahu a’lam.

      • Avatar

        Aly Balagamwala

        January 1, 2018 at 9:47 AM

        SubhanAllah Shaykh! May you be rewarded for the title but I am not an Ustadh or even close to it.

        اللهمَ اجْعَلْنِى خَيْرًا مِمَّا يَظُنُّونَ وَاغْفِرْ لِى مَا لَا يَعْلَمُونَ وَلَا تُؤَاخِذْنِى بِمَا يَقُولُون

        O Allah, make me better than what they think of me, and forgive me for what they do not know about me, and do not take me to account for what they say about me.

  10. Avatar

    doaharianislami

    March 31, 2018 at 2:29 AM

    alhamdulillah thank for dhuha payer..jazakallah

  11. Avatar

    Prayer Time Dubai

    June 10, 2019 at 3:01 PM

    very Important message. Allah bless.

  12. Avatar

    Salat Time London

    August 3, 2019 at 8:13 AM

    Such an inspiring article boosts up our whole system and we pray that ALLAH always keeps you in good health.

  13. Avatar

    Yusuf Cincinnati

    September 18, 2019 at 8:02 AM

    As. Few questions

    1) what is the significance/importance of timing from narrations mentioning the sun is a “spear length above the horizon”?

    2) if we follow the opinion that it’s preferable to pray nawafil in home, is this specific prayer an exception to that opinion per the narrations of the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam standing at Duha time?

    JAk

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“How did you convert to Islam” is a question that is commonly asked to those who convert to Islam. While the short answer to this question is, “I said shahada”, the long (and more detailed) answer is one that is commonly expected.

It is important to acknowledge that the majority of “born Muslims” who ask this question do such out of good intentions. For this reason, I wrote this piece out of a place of love and not out of a place of judgment or hatred. While it is important for “born Muslims” to be mindful of how they ask this question, it is equally important for converts to not hold ill will towards born Muslims who ask this question. Due to the fact that Islamophobia is rampant in both the media and political discourse, many “born Muslims” are naturally shocked and emotional when they meet people who accept Islam. Some “born Muslims” have also had limited interactions with converts and therefore, to them, it is not only shocking for them to meet converts, but they are genuinely unaware of certain etiquettes when it comes to asking a convert for his or her story.

In this piece, I am going to write about a pet peeve that is shared among many Muslim converts. While I cannot speak for every single convert, I can say that based on innumerable conversations I have had with fellow converts, there is one thing most of us agree on and it is this; it is rude to ask a convert about his or her conversion story when you haven’t built a relationship with the convert. This piece will explain why many converts consider such a question to be intrusive. The purpose of this article is to better educate the “born Muslim” community on how they can do a better job in support of converts to Islam. In this piece, I will break down the reasons why this question can come off as intrusive if it isn’t asked in a proper manner. I will also include personal anecdotes to support my position.

I would like to conclude by saying that I do not discourage “born Muslims” from asking this question entirely, rather I am merely arguing that this question should be asked with the best of adab.

Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said:  “Part of a person’s being a good Muslim is leaving alone that which does not concern him.” (Tirmidhi) For this reason, such a question should be asked for purpose and it should be done with the best of manners. This is supported by the fact that Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “I have been sent to perfect good character.” (Al Muwatta)

Note: For the sake of avoiding confusion, the term “born Muslim” is defined as anyone who was brought up in a Muslim household.

To ask a convert “Why did you convert?” is to ask about the person’s personal relationship with God

Within the context of a friendship, it is generally understood that friends will share personal details with each other. However, it is also generally understood that it is rude to ask people you just met personal questions. To ask a new acquaintance a personal question in most cases comes off as intrusive. This is especially the case in which you ask a person about his or her relationship with God.

For example, there are women who do not wear hijab. Even if we do (for a moment) ignore the Islamic ruling concerning hijab, we should all agree that a woman’s reason for wearing (or not wearing) hijab is a personal matter that is between said woman and God. If one was to ask a woman who doesn’t wear hijab why she doesn’t wear it, that would be intrusive because such a question would involve interrogating said woman about her relationship with God.

Another example concerns a married couple. If one was to meet a married person for the first time, it can be considered rude to ask said person about his or her relationship with his or her spouse.

When one asks a convert about his or her choice to convert, one is literally asking said convert about his or her relationship with God.

I am not saying that it is wrong in all cases to ask such a question. However, one should be mindful of the fact that because this is a personal question, one should have at least have built some form of a friendship with said person before asking.

convert friendship hugs

To ask a convert “Why did you convert?” is another way of asking, “Why do you believe in Islam?”

Many people identify to a faith tradition because it was part of their upbringing. If you were to ask a person who was born Muslim, “why are you Muslim?” you might hear said Muslim respond with, “I am Muslim because I was raised Muslim” and you wouldn’t hear a detailed answer beyond this.

In most cases, a convert to Islam (or any other religion) did such after research and critical thinking. To convert to a new religion involves not only deep thinking but a willingness to step into the unknown.

I have on many occasions told my story to people. In most cases I will ask the person “why do you believe in Islam?” I am then disappointed when I find out that the only reason the person is Muslim is due to upbringing. While I am not saying that said person’s faith is invalid or less than mine, a person who only identifies with a religion due to upbringing is a person who didn’t engage in critical thinking.

Any relationship should be built upon equality and mutual benefit. If I as a convert am able to provide a well thought out answer as to why I believe in Islam, I expect a well thought out answer to the same question from the person who initially asked me.

Again, while I am not saying it is wrong in all cases to ask, a born Muslim should ask himself or herself “why do I believe in Islam?” In my opinion, there are many who are born into Muslim families who don’t truly believe until later in their lives. Those Muslims in my opinion (and mine alone) are similar to converts.

To ask a convert “Why did you convert?” is to ask the convert to perform labor.

In some cases, “born Muslims” expect converts to tell their stories. I can remember a few incidents in which I have been asked to tell my story and I politely declined. In response, the person became angry. This to me is a symptom of entitlement. Nobody is entitled to know anything about anyone else (aside from people with whom one has a natural relationship with).

In addition, one should be cognizant of the fact that converts typically get asked this question repeatedly. Thus after a significant amount of time, a convert is prone to get tired of repeating the same question over again repeatedly. Naturally, it can become exhausting eventually.

While I do not believe it is wrong to ask this question in all cases, one should not ask this question to a convert from a place of entitlement. I can think of cases where I have been asked this question by “born Muslims” and when I have refused to provide an answer, they have gotten angry at me. This is entitlement.

To ask a convert “Why did you convert?” is to ask the convert to explain his or her personal life.

Backbiting is one of the worst sins in Islam. Another major sin is to disrespect one’s parents. Thus we can conclude that backbiting about one’s parents is a huge sin.

This is evidenced by the fact that Allah has said (ﷻ) “We have enjoined on humankind kindness to parents.” (Quran 29:8)

A typical follow-up question to “Why did you convert?” is “How did your parents react?” This in many cases puts the convert in a position where one may feel pressured to mention some negative details about his or her parents. In Islam, parents are to be respected, even if they aren’t Muslim.

Before asking a convert this question, one should be mindful of not putting unnecessary pressure on the convert to commit this injustice.

convert friendship

Cases when it is appropriate to ask

However, I do maintain a firm belief that in any true friendship, things will be shared. I don’t think it is wrong in itself to ask a convert about his or her story provided that there already exists a relationship where personal information can be shared. It is highly suggested to hang out with the person first and then ask the convert for his or her story.

As a personal rule of mine, unless I have hung out with the person one on one at least once (or a few times in group gatherings) I don’t tell any born Muslims my conversion story. Naturally, I only share personal details with people I consider to be a friend. If I would hang out with the person, I consider that person to be a friend.

The reason I am also hesitant to share my story with just anyone who asks me is because I can think of countless cases of when I have shared my story to people I have never seen or heard from again. I choose to exert my agency to share personal details of my life to people who I consider to be part of my life. While many Muslims are happy when people convert, many Muslims also fail to provide any form of support for said convert after conversion. I have seen too many cases of when a person recites shahadah, people pull their phones out to record it, but very few will give the convert his or her number. I genuinely believe that many “born Muslims” fail to see the big picture in this regard.

Before asking a convert for his or her story, you should ask yourself if you are comfortable sharing personal details of your life to that person. If you are not comfortable sharing personal details of your life to that person, there is nothing wrong with that. However, you shouldn’t expect the convert to share personal details if you aren’t comfortable sharing personal details. Even if you have built a close friendship with someone, you still aren’t expected to share every detail of your life to someone. Even if you consider a convert to be a close friend, you should still respect a convert’s wishes to not share his or her story.

Conclusion

While I have addressed concerns about the tendency of “born Muslims” to ask converts about their journeys, I want to acknowledge that most people have good intentions. In Islam, the natural state of any person is one of righteousness.

I firmly believe that a friendship that isn’t built on trust and the sharing of personal information isn’t a genuine friendship. Therefore the key term in this context is “friend”. If you wish to ask a convert his or her story, please make sure the following conditions are met:

  1. You are already friends with the convert to a point where asking a convert about his or her relationship with God isn’t an intrusive question. Ask yourself, “Are we close enough where we can share other personal details of our lives with each other?”
  2. You have a well thought out reason as to why you believe in Islam.
  3. You don’t feel entitled to know about the convert’s journey and that you will allow the convert to choose not to share such information if the convert doesn’t wish to.
  4. You don’t probe into the convert’s relationships with other people.
  5. You aren’t just asking the question to somehow feel validated about your belief in Islam.
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Dawah and Interfaith

10 Lessons I Learned While Serving Those in Need

charity
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I have spent about a decade serving the impoverished domestically and recently, abroad. I don’t work for a major charity organization, I work for my community, through grassroots efforts. It was something embedded in me while learning Islam. Before starting a charity organization, I started studying Islam with Dr. Hatem Alhaj (my mentor) and various other scholars. The more I studied, the more I wanted to implement what I was learning. What my community needed at the time was intensive charity work, as it was neglected entirely by our community. From that, I collected 10 lessons from servicing those in need. 

1. My bubble burst

One of the first things I experienced was the bursting of my bubble, a sense of realization. I, like many others, was unaware of the hardship in my own community. Yes, we know the hadith and see the events unfold on the news and social media, but when a father of three cried before me because a bag of groceries was made available for him to take home, that moment changed me. We tend to forget how little it takes, to make a huge difference in someone’s life. This experience, made me understand the following hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): “Every Muslim has to give in charity.” The people then asked: “(But what) if someone has nothing to give, what should he do?” The Prophet replied: “He should work with his hands and benefit himself and also give in charity (from what he earns).” The people further asked: “If he cannot find even that?” He replied: “He should help the needy, who appeal for help.” Then the people asked: “If he cannot do (even) that?” The Prophet said finally: “Then he should perform good deeds and keep away from evil deeds, and that will be regarded as charitable deeds.” – Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Hadith 524. I

t is simply an obligation, due to the amount of good it generates after you do this one action. I then realized even more how beautiful Islam is for commanding this deed. 

2. Friendships were developed on good deeds

Serving the poor is a great reward in itself. The Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “Save yourself from hellfire by giving even half a date-fruit in charity.” – Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Hadith 498. But it is better done with a team, I began building a team of people with similar objectives in serving the needy. These people later became some of my closest friends, who better to keep close to you than one that serves Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) by helping the neediest in the same community you reside in. Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “A person is likely to follow the faith of his friend, so look whom you befriend.” [reported by Abu Dawood & Tirmidhee] This is turn kept me on the right path of pleasing Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Working with a team removes a lot of the burden as well and the depression that might occur seeing the saddest stories on a daily basis. Allah says in the Qur’ān, “Indeed the believers are brothers.” (49:10). Sometimes there is a misconception that you have to have a huge office or a large masjid in order to get work done. But honestly, all you need is a dedicated group of people with the right intention and things take off from there. 

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: 'If you love the poor and bring them near you. . .God will bring you near Him on the Day of Resurrection.' - Al-Tirmidhi,Click To Tweet

3. Made me thankful

This made me thankful for whatever I had, serving the less fortunate reminded me daily to turn to Allah and ask for forgiveness and so be thankful. This kind of service also puts things into perspective. What is truly important in life? I stepped further and further away from a materialistic lifestyle and allowed me to value things that can’t be valued by money. I learned this from the poorest of people in my community, who strived daily for their family regardless of their situation — parents who did what they can to shield their children from their harsh reality. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “If you love the poor and bring them near you. . .God will bring you near Him on the Day of Resurrection.” – Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1376. They had a quality about them, despite their poverty status. They were always some of the kindest people I have known. 

dardir

4. People want to do Good

I learned that people want to do good; they want to improve their community and society. I began to see the impact on a communal level, people were being more engaged. We were the only Muslim group helping indiscriminately in our county. Even the people we helped, gave back by volunteering at our food pantry. We have schools where small kids (under adult supervision) partake in preparing meals for the needy, local masajids, churches, and temples, high school kids from public schools, and college organizations (Muslim and nonMuslim) visit frequently from several cities in neighboring counties, cities, and states. The good spreads a lot easier and faster than evil. People want to do good, we just need more opportunities for them to join in. United we can rock this world.

“We need more light about each other. Light creates understanding, understanding creates love, love creates patience, and patience creates unity.” Malcolm X. Click To Tweet

5. Smiles

Smiles, I have seen the wealthiest smiles on the poorest people. Despite being on the brink of homelessness, when I saw them they had the best smile on their faces. This wasn’t all of them, but then I would smile back and that changed the environment we were in. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Charity is prescribed for each descendant of Adam every day the sun rises.” He was then asked: “From what do we give charity every day?” The Prophet answered: “The doors of goodness are many…enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, listening to the deaf, leading the blind, guiding one to the object of his need, hurrying with the strength of one’s legs to one in sorrow who is asking for help, and supporting the feeble with the strength of one’s arms–all of these are charity prescribed for you.” He also said: “Your smile for your brother is charity.” – Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3, Number 98. Smiles are truly universal.

6. It’s ok to cry

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah said: “A man who weeps for fear of Allah will not enter Hell until the milk goes back into the udder, and dust produced (when fighting) for the sake of Allah and the smoke of Hell will never coexist.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi and al-Nasaa’i. There are situations you see that hit you hard; they fill your heart with emotions, but that never swayed my concrete belief in Allah’s wisdom. Crying before Allah, not just out of fear, but to be thankful for His Mercy upon you is a relief.

7. Learning to say no

It was one of the hardest things I had to do, a lot (if not all) of the requests I received for help were extremely reasonable. I do not think anyone asked for anything outrageous. Our organization started becoming the go-to organization in our area for help, but we are one organization, with limited resources, and a few times we were restricted on when or how we could help. This is where learning to say no became a learned skill. Wedid do our best to follow up with a plan or an alternative resource.

8. It is part of raising a family and finding yourself

How so? Being involved in your community doesn’t take away from raising your family, it is part of it. I can’t watch and do nothing and expect my children to be heroes. I have to lead by example. Helping others is good for my family’s health. Many people living in our country are consumed with their busy lives. Running out the door, getting to work, driving the kids to their after school activities, spending weekends taking care of their families, etc. So people have a fear of investing hours in doing this type of work. But in reality, this work puts more blessings in your time.

One may feel they are taking time away from their family, but in reality, when one comes back home, they find more peace in their home then they left it with. By helping others, I improve the health and culture of my community, this in turn positively impacts my family.

I enjoy being a softie with my family and friends. I am a tall bearded man, and that image suited me better. I am not sure what made me softer, having kids or serving the poor. Either way, it was rewarding and defined my role and purpose in my community.

I learned that you make your own situation. You can be a spectator, or you can get in there and do the best you can to help. It gave me an opportunity to be a role model for my own children, to show them the benefit of doing good and helping when you can.

It came with a lot of humility. Soon after starting I realized that all I am is a facilitator, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is giving an opportunity of a lifetime to do this work, a line of work very little people get to engage in regularly. My advice to my readers, if you can serve the poor do so immediately before you get occupied or busy with life.

Helping others is good for my family’s health.Click To Tweet

9. Dawah through action

As I mentioned before I did spend time studying, and at one point developed one of the top dawah initiatives in the country (according to IERA). But the reality is, helping the less fortunate is my type of dawah, people started to associate our food pantry and helping others with Islam. As an organization with one of the most diverse groups of volunteers, people from various religious backgrounds found the environment comfortable and hospitable. I began working with people I never would have worked before if I had stuck to traditional dawah, studying, or masjid involvement, all of which are critical. This became a symbol of Islam in our community, and while serving, we became those that embodied the Quran and Sunnah. For a lot of those we served, we were the first Muslims they encountered, and Alhamdulilah for the team we have. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) also says in the Quran: “So by mercy from Allah, [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you” (3:159). It is our actions that can turn people away or towards Islam.

10. Once you serve the needy, you do this for life

I wasn’t volunteering on occasion,— this was an unpaid job that was done regularly. I got requests and calls for emergencies daily at times. It took up hours upon hours every week. As a charity worker, I developed experience and insight in this field. I learned that this was one of the best ways I could serve Allah [swt. “They ask you (O Muhammad) what they should spend in charity. Say: ‘Whatever you spend with a good heart, give it to parents, relatives, orphans, the helpless, and travelers in need. Whatever good you do, God is aware of it.'” – The Holy Quran, 2:215

I believe the work I do with the countless people that do the same is the best work that can be done in our current political climate and globalization. My views and thoughts have evolved over the years seeing situations develop to what they are today. This gave me a comprehensive outlook on our needs as a society and allowed me to venture off and meet people top in their fields like in social activism, environmentalism, labor, etc.

I want to end with three sectors in society that Muslims prosper in and three that Muslims can improve on. We strive on individual education (noncommunal), distributing and organizing charity, and more recently being politically engaged. What we need to improve on is our environmental awareness, working with and understanding unions and labor rights, and organizing anti-war movements. 

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#Islam

He Catches Me When I Fall: A Journey To Tawakkul

Tawakkul- a leaf falling
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While discussing an emotionally-heavy issue, my therapist brought up the point that in life we can reach a point of acceptance in regards to our difficult issues: “It sounds cliche, but there’s no other way to say it: it is what it is.”

Okay, I thought, as I listened. Acceptance. Yes, I can do this eventually. She went on to add: “It is what it is, and I know that everything will be okay.””

Tears had already been flowing, but by this point, full-blown sobs started. “I…can’t….seem…to ever…believe that.” There. I had said it. I had faked being confident and accepting, even to myself. I had faked the whole, “I have these health problems, but I am so together” type of vibe that I had been putting out for years.

Maybe it was the hormones of a third pregnancy, confronting the realities of life with multiple chronic diseases, family problems, or perhaps a midlife crisis: but at that moment, I did not feel deep in my heart with true conviction that everything would be okay.

That conversation led me to reflect on the concept of tawakkul in the following weeks and months. What did it mean to have true trust in Allah? And why was it that for years I smiled and said, “Alhamdulillah, I’m coping just fine!” when in reality, the harsh truth was that I felt like I had not an ounce of tawakkul?

I had led myself to believe that denying my grief and slapping a smile on was tawakkul. I was being outwardly cheerful — I even made jokes about my life with Multiple Sclerosis — and I liked to think I was functioning all right. Until I wasn’t.

You see, the body doesn’t lie. You can tell all the lies you want to with your tongue, but after some time, the body will let you know that it’s holding oceans of grief, unshed tears, and unhealed traumas. And that period of my life is a tale for another time.

The short story is that things came to a head and I suddenly felt utterly overwhelmed and terrified daily about my future with a potentially disabling disease, while being diagnosed with a second major chronic illness, all while caring for a newborn along with my other children. Panic attacks and severe anxiety ensued. When I realized that I didn’t have true tawakkul, I had to reflect and find my way again.

I thought about Yaqub (Jacob). I thought long and hard about his grief: “Yaa asafaa ‘alaa Yusuf!” “Oh, how great is my grief for Joseph!”

He wept until he was blind. And yet, he constantly asserted, “Wallahul-Musta’aan”: “Allah is the one whose help is sought.” And he believed.

Oh, how did he believe. His sons laughed and called him an old fool for grieving over a son lost for decades. He then lost another dear son, Binyamin. And yet he said, “Perhaps it will be that my Lord will bring them to me altogether.”

There is no sin in grief Click To Tweet

So my first realization was that there was no sin in the grief. I could indeed trust Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) while feeling a sorrow so profound that it ripped me apart at times. “The heart grieves and the eyes weep, but the tongue does not say that except which pleases its Lord. Oh, Ibrahim, we are gravely saddened by your passing.” These are the words of our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) for a lost infant son, said with tears pouring down his blessed face, ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

I thought of the Year of Grief, Aamul-Huzn, when he, Allah’s peace be upon him, lost the woman who was the love of his life and the mother of his children; as well as an uncle who was like a father. The year was named after his grief! And here I was denying myself this human emotion because it somehow felt like a betrayal of true sabr?

Tawakkul, tawakkul, where are you? I searched for how I could feel it, truly feel it.Click To Tweet

Through years of introspection and then therapy, I realized that I had a personality that centered around control. I expressed this in various ways from trying to manage my siblings (curse of the firstborn), to trying to manage my childbirth and health. If I only did the “right” things, then I could have the perfect, “natural” birth and the perfect picture of health.

When I was diagnosed with a chronic disease, these illusions started to crack. And yet even then, I thought that if I did the right things, took the right supplements and alternative remedies and medications, that I wouldn’t have trouble with my MS.

See, when you think you control things and you attempt to micromanage everything, you’ve already lost tawakkul. You’ve taken the role of controlling the outcome upon yourself when in reality, your Lord is in control. It took a difficult time when I felt I was spiraling out of control for me to truly realize that I was not the master of my outcomes. Certainly, I would “tie my camel” and take my precautions, but then it was a matter of letting go.

At some point, I envisioned my experience of tawakkul as a free-fall. You know those trust exercises that you do at summer camps or company retreats? You fall back into the arms of someone and relinquish any control over your muscles. You are supposed to be limp and fully trust your partner to catch you.

I did this once with a youth group. After they fell–some gracefully and trusting, some not — I told them: “This is the example of tawakkul. Some of you didn’t trust and you tried to break your fall but some of you completely let go and let your partner catch you. Life will throw you down, it will hit you over and over, and you will fall–but He, subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), will be there to break your fall.”

I am falling. There is a degree of terror and sadness in the fall. But that point when through the pain and tears I can say, “It is what it is, and no matter what, everything will be okay”, that right there is the tranquility that comes from tawakkul.

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