Ismail Kamdar

Ismail Kamdar is the Founder of Islamic Self Help and Izzah Academy, author of over a dozen books, and the operations manager of Yaqeen Institute.
Ismail Kamdar is the Founder of Islamic Self Help and Izzah Academy, author of over a dozen books, and the operations manager of Yaqeen Institute.
Understanding the Hudud – An Analogy of a School

Understanding the Hudud – An Analogy of a School

I am often asked why does Islam have some really harsh criminal punishments that are rarely applied. The conditions for applying some of these punishments, like the penalty for adultery, are so strict that it is almost impossible for the punishment to apply in most cases. The question then is what is the point of such laws.

I will use the example of a school and its policies to explain the wisdom behind this concept.

Imagine if there is a school that has a major problem with plagiarism. To curb plagiarism, the school board makes a new school rule: if someone is caught plagiarizing, they will be expelled.

A few weeks later, four students are caught cheating in a test. These students are sent to the principal who decides to suspend two of them for two weeks, and to give the other two detention for two months, due to the differences in their methods of cheating.

Despite the rule being that such students will be expelled, nobody has an issue with the cheaters receiving a lesser punishment. This is because:
1) The principal cares about the students’ education and does not want to ruin that based on a first-time offence
2) The cheaters’ methods did not reach the level of severity to enforce the harshest punishment
3) The cheaters are grateful to receive a lesser punishment, accept their punishment gracefully, and learn their lesson
4) The effect of the policy works, and plagiarism decreases drastically as students do not want to take a chance of getting expelled
5) The rule remains in the books to be applied in worst-case-scenarios, and the principal is willing to apply it if ever needed. Even if the principal never expels anyone based on this policy, it remains part of the law and remains effective.

This is exactly how the Hudud work. Replace principal with Qadhis (judges) and you see how the Qadhi handles cases and hands out lesser punishments (ta’zir) instead of the hudud in most cases.

Allah knows best.

Learn more with our Introduction to Shariah course, available here:

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Islam, 0 comments
NEW RELEASE: 25 Keys to a Happy Life

NEW RELEASE: 25 Keys to a Happy Life

In this book, Shaykh Ismail Kamdar explains 25 keys that unlock genuine happiness, inner peace, and contentment. These principles are taken from the Qur’an and Sunnah and are timeless in their application and effectiveness.

The premise of the book is simple: happiness is not found in wealth, fame, entertainment or possessions. Genuine happiness comes from a purposeful life committed to God, supplemented with valuable relationships and good character.

The Quran and Sunnah are full of gems that train our minds to think better. The Quran reminds us that “It is only in the remembrance of Allah that hearts find peace.” (Surah al-Rad 13:28)

And the Sunnah reminds us that “The best worldly joy is a righteous spouse.” (Sahih Muslim 1467)

These are two samples of the treasury of verses and narrations I reflect on in this book. I pray that you find this book as valuable as I did, and that Allah accepts our efforts and makes this a means of guidance for many.

Learn more about this new book here at Kube Publishing or Preorder it from Amazon. If you are in South Africa, you can purchase the book directly from me for R200 each.

About The Author

Shaykh Ismail Kamdar is a graduate of a traditional ʿAlim program (Talimudin, 2006). He also holds a Bachelor’s in Islamic Studies (International Open University, 2014). He has studied Islam in both traditional and modern settings and has been a student of Islamic Studies for almost two decades. He began studying Islam full-time at the age of thirteen, began preaching at the age of sixteen, and wrote his first book at the age of twenty-three.

Over the years, he has taught multiple courses and seminars around the world and has worked with multiple leading Islamic organizations across the globe. Shaykh Ismail Kamdar currently works as a researcher at Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research. He is also the founder of Islamic Self Help and Izzah Academy. Shaykh Ismail specializes in Fiqh, Tafsir, and History, and is the author of over twenty books in the fields of Islamic Studies and personal development.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Books, Positive Thinking, 2 comments
Four Brutal Facts About This World

Four Brutal Facts About This World

“We test you with evil and with good as trial, and to Us you will be returned.”

Surah Al-Anbiya 21:35

Life is a test, and life hard. There is a trend online to trick people into thinking that life can be whatever you want it to be. They claim that you get what you attract into your life, and that anyone can become wealthy, famous, or successful (in a worldly sense). These online personalities are disconnected from reality and sell people a false vision. The reality is that life is a test, and we are not guaranteed any worldly success. The primary goal of our lives is to earn Allah’s Pleasure and enter into Paradise. Worldly success is secondary and not guaranteed. A good life is a life that is pleasing to Allah, even if it is hard. Here are some brutal facts about life from the Quran and Sunnah:

Life is a Test

It is very clear in the Quran that life is a test. We are here to separate the people of Paradise from the people of Hellfire. This means each soul will have its own personalized tests. The Quran guarantees that life is a test, and that we will all be tested. We should therefore always be ready to handle the tests of life and be patient with whatever tests Allah sends our way.

“Definitely, I made whatever is on this earth beautiful to test which of them are best in their deeds, and I will make all of it into dry soil,”

Surah Al-Kahf 18:7-8

“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth, lives, and fruits. So, give good tidings to the patient.”

Surah Al-Baqarah 2:155

Some tests last a lifetime

There is a misconception that after every trial there will be a period of ease. The reality is that each person’s case is different. Some people face tests that last a lifetime. This could be a war, unjust imprisonment, a chronic illness, or anything else. Not every test ends. Some trials last a lifetime, and the ease only comes in the Afterlife. Patience with such trials however lead to Paradise and can a be cause of forgiveness for all one’s sins.

Ibn Abbas said to me, “Shall I show you a woman of the people of Paradise?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “This black lady came to the Prophet ﷺ and said, ‘I get attacks of epilepsy and my body becomes uncovered; please invoke Allah for me.’ The Prophet ﷺ said (to her), ‘If you wish, be patient and you will have (enter) Paradise; and if you wish, I will invoke Allah to cure you.’ She said, ‘I will remain patient,’ and added, ‘but I become uncovered, so please invoke Allah for me that I may not become uncovered.’ So, he invoked Allah for her.”

Sahih al-Bukhari 5652

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “The most privileged people in the world among the people of Hellfire will come on the Day of Resurrection to be dipped in Hellfire, then it will be said: O son of Adam, did you see any good? Did you get any blessing? He will say: No, by Allah, my Lord! Then, the most miserable people in the world among the people of Paradise will come on the Day of Resurrection to be dipped in Paradise, then it will be said: O son of Adam, did you see any hardship? Did you have any distress? He will say: No, by Allah, my Lord! I did not once see hardship or distress.”

Sahih Muslim 2807

Worldly Success is not guaranteed

We are not guaranteed victory in this world. Many righteous people in history did not achieve worldly success. Many were martyred, others spent long periods of time in prison, and many worked towards projects that never materialized in their lifetime. Life is not about the results; it is about the efforts. Do good work for the sake of Allah and try your best. Leave the results to Allah. Only Allah knows what is best for us. Sometimes the humility of hardship may be better for us than the arrogance that may come with success.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Even if the Resurrection were established upon one of you while he has in his hand a sapling, let him plant it.”

Musnad Ahmad 12902

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Wondrous is the affair of the believer for there is good for him in every matter and this is not the case with anyone except the believer. If he is happy, then he thanks Allah and thus there is good for him, and if he is harmed, then he shows patience and thus there is good for him.”

Sahih Muslim 2999

Every Stage has its own challenges

Some people assume that as they get older, life will get easier. However, each stage of life has its own challenges. The challenges of youth are different from those of young married couples. The challenges of parents of teenagers are different from the challenges of elders. Every face of life has its own trials. We need to be realistic about what life has to offer and focus on excelling in every phase regardless of the challenges that we face.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “If the son of Adam had a valley full of gold, he would want to have two valleys. Nothing fills his mouth but the dust of the grave, yet Allah will relent to whoever repents to Him.”

Sahih al-Bukhari 6439, Sahih Muslim 1048

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Take advantage of five before five: your youth before your old age, your health before your illness, your riches before your poverty, your free time before your work, and your life before your death.”

Shu’ab al-Iman lil-Bayhaqi 10250

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “There are two blessings which many people waste: health and free time.”

Sahih al-Bukhari 6412

True Success

We must live in this world with realistic expectations. If we live purposeful lives that are pleasing to Allah and focused on the Afterlife, then we can survive any trials and achieve the true success. True success is not a life of luxury and ease. It is not wealth or fame. These are all actually trials that could distract one from true success. True success is eternal Paradise. This is what we seek.

“Those who believe and do righteous deeds will have Gardens beneath which rivers flow. That is the great triumph.”

Surah al-Buruj 85:11
Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Islam
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