NEW RELEASE: Qur’an 30for30 FREE eBook

NEW RELEASE: Qur’an 30for30 FREE eBook

Alhamdulillah, we are excited to announce a brand-new eBook from Yaqeen Institute co-authored by Islamic Self Help’s Shaykh Ismail Kamdar. Download the free eBook here.

The Qur’an is the ultimate source of Allah’s guidance for us. To connect our hearts to the Qur’an and enrich our lives with its lessons, we need to understand it more deeply. This Ramadan, our all-new book Qur’an 30 for 30: Thematic Tafsir is here to help you in that journey.

This book compiles many of the key insights discussed in the 4 previous seasons of Qur’an 30 for 30 and presents them in an organized and easy to read way.

Explore how some of the most important recurring themes of the Qur’an — the Seerah of the Prophet ﷺ, Judgement Day, and the Qur’anic worldview — come together in each juz to provide us guidance for every aspect of life.

Download our new tafsir ebook today!

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Books
Boredom and Hard Work: Necessary for Success

Boredom and Hard Work: Necessary for Success

Modern entertainment and conveniences have accustomed us to overstimulation. We want to be excited and entertained all the time and are easily bored. We try to fill our lives with distractions to avoid boredom and silence. When seeking ways to solve our problems, we expect an exciting conclusion to our story. We may even be disappointed when we ask others about their life stories to learn that their success came in a boring and mundane manner. Yet this is the true secret to success in the modern world; being the one who is willing to do the boring stuff.

Almost any major goal requires hard work, patience, timing, and long-term commitment. Seeing long-term projects through to fruition is not an exciting process. Often it is slow and boring. If you write a book, you often have to wait eighteen months before it is published and another year before you receive any profits from it. You want to get wealthy from investments, well that means you need to invest when the market crashes, and then wait, sometimes for years, for it to go back up, so you can cash out at the right moment. That business you want to build requires paperwork, lawyers, meetings, planning, and solving logistical problems. Nothing is as flashy or exciting as it seems in movies and videogames. Real work is often boring, and it is the boring work that opens the doors to success.

Get accustomed to boredom

Boredom is not your enemy. If anything, it is your secret ally. It is during moments of boredom that our brains develop their best ideas. Creativity flourishes during these moments. When we deprive ourselves the opportunity to be silent and bored, we hinder our own creativity. Make space for boredom, make time for boredom. There is no need to entertain yourself twenty-four seven. You do not need music blasting in your ears as you work, and multiple devices in your face as you eat. Make some space for thinking, dreaming, and planning. Boredom is your friend in the path to success.

Be patient and persistent

Most goals take time, and often there is nothing to do on the path to success but to wait. If you applied for a document, you have to wait for it. When you invest in a new stock, you have to wait for it to grow, which may take years. When you start a business, you may have days in which you have no sales, and you may to wait years before it truly flourishes and reaches its full potential. Patience when things get slow, and boring is necessary if you truly want to succeed.

You also need to be persistent. This means working hard even when you feel tired, burned out, sad, overwhelmed, or bored. It means that you keep pushing forward even when things seem bleak, and your goals feel unattainable. Persistence is key for maintaining workflow during times of low motivation, and for overcoming trials and setbacks. If you wish to succeed in any field, be ready to be patient when things are slow and persistent when things get in your way.

Do the work that others neglect

In every field, you will find a lot of neglected work. There are many tasks that are too tedious, boring, and overwhelming for most people. Many people will ignore these tasks and focus only on work that is interesting or exciting. In doing so, they miss out on many opportunities to accomplish great things. Very often, success lies behind the boring work that nobody wants to do. It is these tasks that often unlock new opportunities, reveal hidden paths to success, and remove obstacles from one’s path. To win, you must get used to boring work. Whatever field you are in, look at what others are ignoring because it is too hard, too boring, or too slow. Study these options carefully because they may be exactly what you need to accomplish your goals.

Develop a Strong Work Ethic

One of the best qualities you need to succeed is a strong work ethic. Get accustomed to hard work at a young age. Force yourself to focus and get things done, no matter how hard, slow, boring, or stressful the task is. If you can master your craft and become the hardest working person in the room, you can potentially become unstoppable in your field. You will outwork everyone, accomplish more, and earn more because you are willing to do the work that others refuse to do.

Learn to breathe and enjoy peace

Peace and silence are luxuries in modernity. Life is so busy, noisy, and overcluttered that very few people have the luxury to sit quietly and think. This is one of the greatest gifts that could work in your favour. Take time to relax, learn to enjoy nature, get comfortable being alone with your thoughts, and take extended breaks from technology. Do so, and you will unlock deeper thoughts, more creative ideas, and a calmer soul. We must be intentional in seeking silence and moments of peace.

Its okay to get bored

Boredom means you have time. You have less problems than others. You have the luxury to think, rest, or start something new. Boring work is often the most valuable work, and moments of boredom are sometimes the most important moments of the day. Take the time to be patient, persistent, and work hard. A strong work ethic, coupled with patience and determination will help you power through most obstacles.

To be our best, we need to let go of our desire to be constantly entertained. This is a childish desire that holds us back from our full potential. Adult life is not meant to be exciting and fun all the time. You should still carve out time for rest and entertainment, but the bulk of your day should go in hard work. It does not matter if that work is boring, what matters is that it is beneficial and helps open the doors to your success. Success is hard work and boring, so get used to it.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Leadership, Life Hacks, Stress Management
Fiqh is Speculative

Fiqh is Speculative

A common question I often here from young zealous brothers who are newly seeking knowledge is “What is the correct opinion regarding xyz issue?” Today, I want to discuss why this question is wrong, what led to us having this incorrect approach to Fiqh, the correct approach to Fiqh, and why this matters.

I want to start with an issue that does not seem relevant here but is actually crucial for understanding why we approach Fiqh incorrectly in the modern era, and that is the school system. Now most of you already know that I am highly critical of the current school system and believe that it is greatly flawed. One of the biggest flaws of modern education is that it trains the human brain to assume that there is only one right answer on any issue. School forces young people to spend 13 years in a system in which every test and question has just one right answer. Often the system is so strict that even if you arrive at the correct answer through a creative or different approach, it is still graded wrong, because you have to give the exact answer with exact method that the teacher prescribed.

This trains the human mind to think in a very binary way, that for every issue, there is a right answer and a wrong answer. We then carry this mindset into our study of Fiqh which leads to a completely incorrect approach to Fiqh as a whole. Fiqh as a science has always been a field of probability, in which no matter what conclusion you come to, you accept the possibility that you could be wrong and someone else could be right. To appreciate Fiqh, we need to let go of this binary thinking and accept the idea of a spectrum of possibility correct opinions. It is this adjustment in mindset that many people find difficult to make.

You may find it difficult to reconcile between the fact that Islam is the true religion with very clear beliefs and primarily laws, and the fact that Fiqh is mostly speculative and probabilistic, but the Muslims of the past did not see this as a contradiction. A distinction needs to be made between that which is known of the religion by necessity and that which Allah has left open to interpretation as a Mercy to us. Things like the six pillars of faith, the five pillars of Islam, and the major sins are clear and agreed upon. These are the fundamentals that every Muslim must know and follow, and in which there is no room for differences of opinion.

However, Allah as a Mercy to us, did not make the entire religion so stringent. It is only a few issues in which things are this clear-cut and agreed upon. The bulk of Fiqh was left purposely open to interpretation for a number of reasons which include to make things easy for people, to accommodate a diversity of thought patterns and approaches, and to keep the law flexible and practical. Scholars of Fiqh have always viewed Fiqh as a Dhanni science meaning that Fiqh is probabilistic and speculative, and there is always a possibility that you are wrong. It is learning to accept that possibility that is crucial for become tolerant to other Fiqh opinions and learning to live in peace with Muslims that follow a different opinion from you.

Let us look at a contemporary issue as an example, the issue of smoking cigarettes and related tobacco products. My opinion is that smoking such products are haram because these things are dangerous for one’s wealth and cause millions of deaths every year. A Muslim should not purposely destroy their own body in this manner. However, I accept the possibility that my opinion could be wrong, and that another opinion may be correct. I know that many scholars consider smoking to be makruh which means it is disliked but not sinful and they have good reasoning behind their opinion too. So how do we live with this clear difference of opinion.

The first step is to accept that both opinions have the possibility of being correct so whichever opinion you believe is stronger, you follow that, but you cannot make this issue a big deal or force your opinion on others. If someone else is convinced of a different opinion from you, you have to let them follow that opinion and respect their decision. This means that when I teach or advice people, I will make my opinion clear, explain the reasoning behind it, and try to persuade them to follow it. But in my daily dealings with fellow Muslims, I will not enforce my opinions on others, treat them badly for following a different opinion, or make it a big deal.

This is why it is important for us to have the correct approach to Fiqh. When we accept that Fiqh is about following what is probably the strongest opinion while accepting that you could be wrong, you automatically become more tolerant of the diverse range of opinions that exist within mainstream Islam. You do not force your opinion on others, make differences of opinion a big deal, or break ties with other Muslims over these issues. Over time, you may learn to appreciate these differences more, enjoy the diversity that makes up the ummah, and marvel at the vast scholarship behind these various madhabs.

I will end with a beautiful quotation from the great Caliph Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz (RA), when he was asked about why differences of opinion exist in such issues. He replied, “It pleases me that the companions disagreed on some matters because if not, then there would have only been one view, and this would be difficult on the people.” This should be our approach to dealing with differences in Fiqh, we must view them as a mercy from Allah and a gift from Allah that makes life easier for the believers.

Learn more with our latest course “An Introduction to Islamic Law” on sale here.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Islam
40 Personal Development Tips

40 Personal Development Tips

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Peace be upon the Final Messenger.

Here are 40 important tips to help you along your personal development journey:

  1. Your number one priority in life must be your relationship with Your Creator. Everything else is secondary.
  2. Make time daily to worship your Creator and to connect with Him. The five daily prayers being the bare minimum of this.
  3. Spend time in the company of the righteous. You will always benefit from any time spent around pious people.
  4. Small consistent daily effort works best. Focus on the small things and be consistent at them.
  5. Have a vision and have clear goals that fit within that vision. This gives you something to work towards.
  6. A strong work ethic is key for succeeding at anything. Get accustomed to hard work.
  7. Never neglect your family in pursuit of your own goals. Your personal vision must include strong family ties.
  8. You will gain more happiness from a strong relationship with your spouse, children, siblings and parents, then you will from being a wealthy loner.
  9. Discover what you are good at and passionate about. Work on the side on building something that aligns your skills with your passions. Do not neglect these two sides of you.
  10. Starting your day early leads to a blessed day in which a lot gets done.
  11. You do not need to be good at school to succeed at life. Forget about your traumatic school experiences and focus on learning knowledge that benefits and growing into the best version of yourself.
  12. Focus on one task at a time. An hour of intensive focused work produces better results than a week of unfocused work.
  13. Develop a routine that s productive and healthy. Routines help you stay focused and work hard even when you are unmotivated.
  14. It is okay to sometimes feel overwhelmed or sad, to take breaks, but you need to eventually get back at it and work through your emotions.
  15. There will always be obstacles and challenges. Nothing worth having comes easy. Be ready to face a lot of resistance on the path to success.
  16. Invest in your own learning. Read daily, study a wide range of topics and skills. Keep building your skillset over a long period of time.
  17. Take time daily to relax, have some halal fun, and recharge. Do not overwork your body or mind.
  18. Take care of your health. Ensure that you eat healthy, get enough sleep, and exercise enough to keep your body working well.
  19. Some days will be harder than others. Cut yourself some slack and focus on what is necessary during those days.
  20. We stress too much about things that are outside our control. Trust your Creator, accept your Destiny, and focus on what is within your control.
  21. We worry too much about things that may never happen. Be optimistic about the future, but also be prepared for realistic things that may go wrong.
  22. Being obsessed with things that went wrong in the past will prevent you from excelling today or building a brighter tomorrow. Focus on the present and the future. Learn from the past.
  23. Community is important. Build strong relationships with members of your community and be there for each other.
  24. A life of service to others is better than the pursuit of selfish desires. Do what you can to assist others and be of service to your family and community.
  25. Be generous always. With your wealth, time, skills, knowledge, experience, and wisdom.
  26. Learn from the wisdom of your elders. Make time to sit with them, listen to their life experiences and benefit from their wisdom.
  27. You will not be able to achieve perfect work/life balance. That is fine. Just focus on working hard, and spending quality time with family, while carving out some time for yourself too. Perfection is impossible.
  28. Conflict is a part of life. Learn how to resolve conflicts, forgive each other, and rebuild relationships. Do not cut people off easily due to one bad experience.
  29. But do not be a fool either. There are people out there who are really evil and will take advantage of good people, when you encounter such people, stay far away from them.
  30. Success is not measured in wealth or fame. Success is God’s pleasure, a happy family, a content soul, and a sense of purpose and community.
  31. Halal Wealth is important, but do not make wealth your primary objective. Once you have enough to not worry about money anymore, then be content and focus on more important things. Do not feed the greed monster, it never gets satisfied.
  32. You do not have to do things alone. Work with others, benefit from mentors, and let others help you.
  33. Spend time in nature. It reconnects you with God, calms the soul, and helps boost your creativity.
  34. Learn quickly how to make money, save money, invest, and grow your wealth. These skills will help you escape the rat race quickly.
  35. Try to build hobbies that sharpen the mind, strengthen the body and channel your creativity. This will benefit you in every aspect of life.
  36. Good manners and good character are necessary for building successful relationships. Invest in your own character development.
  37. Live a life of dignity, morality, modesty, and honour. This will save you from a lot of unnecessary drama and trouble.
  38. Treat the trials in your life like opportunities for levelling up. You will unlock your greatest skills and qualities during difficult times.
  39. Be grateful for every little blessing in your life. Make time daily to focus on the blessings in your life and to thank God for them.
  40. Make peace with your mortality. Accept that death is sudden and inevitable. Focus on being the best you can be everyday knowing full well that it will end one day.

We ask our Creator for a good life in His Service, with strong relationships, consistency, strength, and a good end.


Learn more with our Self Help Starter Bundle, on sale here:

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Productivity
New Course: An Introduction to Shariah

New Course: An Introduction to Shariah

​We are excited to announce our newest course, for 2024, an Introduction to Shariah. 

Shariah (Islamic Law) is one of the most misunderstood topics among Muslims and Non-Muslims alike. In this course, we will take a deep dive into the history of Shariah and its application in various Muslim Empires. This course will focus on historical examples of how Shariah worked, and clear up misconceptions about Shariah along the way. 

The course will be part of the Islam Intensive program, so if you are already signed up for that, you will have free access to the new content. If not you can either sign up for the Islam Intensive program here or for the Shariah course by itself here

The course textbooks are already uploaded along with some bonus material. The first lecture will be uploaded this weekend in shaa Allah. 

Sign up here:

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Islam