Ismail Kamdar

Ismail Kamdar is the Founder of Islamic Self Help, author of over a dozen books, research manager at Yaqeen Institute, and a freelance writer.
Ismail Kamdar is the Founder of Islamic Self Help, author of over a dozen books, research manager at Yaqeen Institute, and a freelance writer.
10 Forgotten Principles of Dawah

10 Forgotten Principles of Dawah

Dawah on social media has become a mess. People with no training or qualifications are put on pedestals and promote Islam in the most vulgar and harshest of manners. Their self-serving methods create a toxic culture of sectarianism, hatred, and cults of personality.

Dawah is not a free-for-all, in which anyone can say anything however they wish to say it. There are principles that govern Dawah. These principles are derived from the Quran and Sunnah and include the following:

1) Focus on the pleasure of Allah. Results, numbers, and conversions are secondary. The pleasure of Allah is everything.

2) Mercy and compassionate should be your standard approach. The foundation of Islamic Dawah is to be merciful and compassionate in your interactions with people. Harshness should be the exception and only when wise to do so, not the norm.

3) Seek to understand before presenting your position. You cannot reach people and guide them back to the straight path, if you do not understand how they reached their current ideas.

4) Do not write people off. Anyone can be guided back to Allah if Allah wills. Do not write people and claim that anyone is beyond guidance.

5) Always give people hope of a way back to Allah. No matter what sins or wrong ideas people have fallen into, there is always a way back. Find ways to guide people back, and do not write them off.

6) Call people to Allah, not to yourself, your sect or your channel.

7) When you do not know, then state that you do not know. Do not answer without knowledge

8) Mockery, slander, and verbal abuse does not produce any positive results.

9) Be clear and honest, but also wise and compassionate in how you present your message.

10) If you find yourself out of your depth, then take a step back and leave it to the experts.

A lot needs to be done to move away from this modern toxic culture that has developed online, but grounding our Dawah in the above principles is a good first step back towards the Sunnah methodology.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Islam
8 Tips for Producing High Quality Islamic Content

8 Tips for Producing High Quality Islamic Content

1. Plan it out carefully. Take the time to map out a full plan regarding what you are producing, why you need to produce it, how it benefits the ummah, how long it will take to produce, and what you need to do each step of the way.

2. Take your time. Do not rush it. Good work takes time and meticulous effort. If you need to research for two years before you even start writing, then do that! Do not rush the process, because this often destroys the quality of the end product.

3. Do it for Allah. Even if your books or courses are a source of income, ensure your primary intention is the pleasure of Allah. This will lead to barakah in whatever you earn through those projects.

4. Hire experts. Nobody is an expert at everything. You will need to outsource some aspects to others, be it cover design, video editing, or marketing. Know your areas of weakness and outsource those to experts.

5. Set deadlines and stick to them. If you say you will write a book some day, that day will never come. If you commit to completing your book by December 5th, you may actually do so.

6. Listen to constructive feedback from your sincerely well-wishers and even from your critics. We all are a work in progress, and in order to grow into the best versions of ourselves, we must be open to criticism and feedback.

7. Dedicate time daily to your craft. Block out time to focus on your product. Even if you spend an hour a day over three years working on one book, it will be worth it. Just block out time, work hard, keep improving, and take your time.

8. Block out the noise. Do not allow yourself to be distracted by the latest trend and controversy. Utilize social media for beneficial means only, and completely shut it down during your work time. Your craft deserves for full attention.

Alhamdulillah, hard work pays off in the long run. I spend years researching the History of Islam, and 18 months working on the course (https://islamicselfhelp.gumroad.com/l/history1). I ask Allah to accept my efforts, and make it a means of khayr for the ummah.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Goal Setting
Ramadan Mubarak – New Free eBook

Ramadan Mubarak – New Free eBook

As Salaam Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah

Ramadan Mubarak!

I ask Allah to bless us all with a productive, spiritually uplifting, piety-increasing Ramadan.

Check out our free Ramadan resources at the Yaqeen Institute here: https://yaqeeninstitute.org/

This includes a brand-new free Ramadan ebook entitled Qur’an 30for30: Seerah Edition, co-authored by Dr. Omar Suleiman and Sh. Ismail Kamdar.

The Qur’an was revealed over 23 years, its revelation intertwining with the Prophet’s ﷺ Seerah. Many chapters and verses were revealed addressing specific events that occurred during the Seerah. Which surahs have a special reason for revelation? How can learning about this context help us gain a deeper appreciation of the Quran?

Explore key events from the life of the Prophet ﷺ and learn about the reasons for revelation of various passages of the Qur’an with Qur’an 30for30: Seerah Edition.

Tip: To enhance your Qur’an 30for30 Season 3 viewing experience, read the eBook chapter corresponding with each day’s juz before watching the episode!

Download the ebook here
Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Books
10 Time Management Tips for Ramadan

10 Time Management Tips for Ramadan

The countdown has begun and we have less than a month left until the greatest month of the year, Ramadan knocks at our doors! I’m sure by now most of you are stock-piling the goodies for iftaar and downloading as many resources as possible for Ramadan preparation but the question remains “How can I manage my time well enough to get it all done?”

That is what this article is going to assist you with, insha’Allah. Without any further ado, let’s jump right into our Time Management Tips for Ramadan:

1. Plan in Advance

Time Management is divided between planning and application. Without adequate planning, there isn’t anything much to apply and the result is another Ramadan that just flies by. To plan for Ramadan, we need to be clear regarding the goals (Maqasid) of Ramadan, which is to attain taqwa. Therefore, our objective of Ramadan should be an increase in guidance and taqwa.  

2. Calculate how much Ibaadah time you will have daily

Ideally, we all want to spend Ramadan performing acts of worship 24/7, but this isn’t realistic and most of us have other obligations that we need to take care of as well. So work out in advance how much time you will have daily for Ibaadah, then set goals to get that much Ibaadah done. The formula is simple: 24 Hours – (Sleep time, Work Time, Family Responsibility) = Ibaadah time.

If for example, you have 3 hours of ibaadah time, you can schedule in an hour of Qur’an reciting, an hour of studying Islam and an hour for dua and Dhikr. You can really get a lot done if you stick with this formula for the entire month.

3. Set Clear Goals

Now that you know how much Ibaadah time you have available daily, the next step is to set S.M.A.R.T goals. S.M.A.R.T means that the goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. For example,  if your goal is to study some Tafsir this Ramadan, the problem with this goal is that it is too vague (which Tafsir), not measurable (How many pages), and not attainable or realistic (does one page of Tafsir fulfil the goal or five books of Tafsir?).

A S.M.A.R.T goal would be: I want to complete studying this 800 page book of Tafsir this Ramadan. In order to complete 800 pages in 29 days, I need to read an average of 28 pages a day.

4. Allocate time for each goal:

Now that your goals for Ramadan are clearly defined and you know how much time you have daily for Ibaadah, the next step is to combine this by allocating specific times daily for chasing each goal. Eg: If you have the goal of reading 30 pages of Tafsir daily and that will take you an hour, and you know that you have an hour a day free every evening before Tarawih, then allocate that time to be your Tafsir time. Set a specific time of the day for reciting Qur’an (perhaps before or after Fajr), making dua (before Iftar), having a family Halaqa (after Asr or after Tarawih) and any other goals you are working towards.

5. Utilize the early hours of the morning:

In Summer countries, Suhoor is quite early and many people can’t wake up too early before it. In that case, I recommend utilizing an hour after Suhoor for Ibaadah. In Winter countries, Suhoor is quite late, so waking up an hour before it is easier. In such countries, I recommend waking up an hour earlier and dedicating that time to Qiyam Al-Layl (Tahajjud), dua and reciting Qur’an. The early mornings are known having Barakah (blessings) and it is a time when we are not pre-occupied with work and family obligations. Use it!

6. Schedule in a family Halaqa:

Ramadan is the perfect time for the family to bond and grow in Imaan together. The devils are locked up and everybody is more spiritual. This spirituality needs to be nurtured so that we can benefit from it after Ramadan. One way to do this is to establish a family Halaqa (study circle). Read a chapter of an Islamic book (or listen to a lecture) then discuss its contents with each other. Continue this even after Ramadan.

7. Dedicate time daily for Qur’an:

Ramadan is the month of Qur’an and so it is obvious that time must be dedicated daily to Qur’an. In some communities, people recite Qur’an very quickly each Ramadan to get it over with or complete as many Qur’an recitals as possible. Instead of doing this, focus on reciting properly, studying the Tafsir and reflecting on its meanings. This will have a longer lasting effect on one’s Imaan and Taqwa.

8. Avoid Multi-Tasking

This is a general time management tip that applies outside Ramadan as well. Studies show multi-tasking actually slows down productivity and causes sloppy work. Modern time management experts agree that focusing on one task at a time gets the task done faster with better quality than multi-tasking. Don’t try to recite Qur’an, while browsing through Facebook and taking care of a child all at the same time. The same applies to studying Tafsir or making dua. Choose a place, time and situation in which you will have the least distractions and give the act of worship your undivided focus.

9. Fast from excessive socializing

This includes both social media and physical socialization. Ramadan is the month of Itikaf. One of the goals of Itikaf is to take a break from our social lives so that we can focus on our relationship with Allah. If you are unable to make Itikaf, you can still get this benefit in Ramadan by cutting down on socializing and dedicating more time to Ibaadah. Attend a few less Iftaar parties, log into Facebook and Twitter for shorter durations and excuse yourself from unnecessary gatherings.

10. Stay Healthy

You cannot accomplish your goals if you are feeling lazy, weak, agitated or sleep-deprived. Some of us do too much during the first few days of Ramadan and end up without any energy to push on for the remainder of Ramadan. Pace yourself and take care of your body by getting enough sleep, eating healthy and staying hydrated.

The average person needs between 6-8 hours sleep a night, so make sure you are getting it, even if it means going to bed a bit earlier. Avoid sugary and oily foods and eat wholesome foods for both Suhoor and Iftaar. Drink a lot of water at night before bed as that will keep you hydrated during the day.

May Allah make this Ramadan a productive and blessed one for all of us. Ameen

We would love to hear time management tips which you follow to get the most out of the blessed Ramadan. Please share in the comments section below. 

To learn more, check out our productivity products, available here.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Time Management

Explore the 1400 year History of Islam

Finally, a course that covers the entire history of the Muslim world in 30 amazing videos.

Join us on a life-changing journey across the great empires of old.

Explore the world of the Umayyads, Abbasids, Ottomans and more with in in-depth video series that covers the history of Islam in a comprehensive and engaging manner.

In this course, Shaykh Ismail Kamdar will take you on a journey through the past 1400 years, starting with the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), through the eras of the Rightly Guided Caliphs, the Umayyads, Abbasids, Ayyubis, Mamluks, Ottomans, all the way into the 21st Century.

THIS COURSE IS FOR ‘YOU’ IF YOU ARE:

  • A Passionate History Buff
  • A Muslim who is curious about our Ummah’s legacy
  • A Muslim Teenager who wants to learn the real history of the Muslim world.
  • A Parent who wants to teach their children the correct history of Muslims
  • Anybody who is tired of the Islamaphobes controlling the narrative and wants to empower themselves with the true history of the Muslim world.

Why You’ll Love This Course

This course offers the kind of one-stop learning environment that benefits you both during and after the completion of the course in a multitude of ways:

  • Solid Learning with dedicated help, support, motivation and accountability
  • Self-Paced Online Learning – you can study anytime and learn from anywhere, according to your daily routine.
  • Lifetime Access to Learning Materials for continued Referencing, Knowledge, Development and Inspiration

Whether it’s work, academia, family or other constraints, the course allows you the flexibility to learn at your own pace without pressure.

Free Video: Introduction to Muslim History

The above video is the first video in this series. It lays the foundation for the course and gives you a good glimpse at the structure, format, and methodology of the course. To learn more about the course, or to sign up for it, click here.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar