Ismail Kamdar

Ismail Kamdar is the Founder of Islamic Self Help, author of over a dozen books, faculty manager of IOU, and a freelance writer.
Ismail Kamdar is the Founder of Islamic Self Help, author of over a dozen books, faculty manager of IOU, and a freelance writer.

5 Steps for maintaining spiritual momentum post-Ramadan

The Ramadan Zeal

Ramadan is no doubt a special time of the year. With the devils locked up and the gates of Paradise wide open, people are motivated to go the extra mile in doing good deeds and being our best selves. This high spiritual momentum is temporary and for many people, it is gone the day Ramadan ends.

Now, to expect to maintain the same level of spirituality outside of Ramadan is not realistic. Ramadan is a special environment and outside of it, we can’t be the same. However, this does not mean we should not try.

The key to maintaining spiritual momentum post-Ramadan is to set realistic ideas of what you can do and to focus on those few things. Here are a few steps to help you figure out what to focus on.

5 Steps for maintaining spiritual momentum post-Ramadan

To keep this as simple and as practical as possible, I will focus only on five steps. These are the five simplest steps to keep our Imaan strong after Ramadan, and also the most important.

1. Continue reciting Quran

The first step to maintaining momentum is to continue growing in your relationship with the Quran. If you were readispiritual momentumng a Juz a day in Ramadan, continue reading at least 2 pages a day.

If you were listening to a one hour Tafseer a day during Ramadan, continue listening to 15 minute Tafseers after Ramadan.

Whatever you were doing, keep it going even if it is less. The key is to stay connected to the Quran. It doesn’t matter how little you are doing, what matters is that you are doing something on a daily basis, so you grow in your closeness to and understanding of the Quran with each day.

“The best of you are those who learn the Quran and teach it.” (Sahih Bukhari 4739)

2. Fast the six days of Shawwal

This is a tough one for many of us, but the rewards are great. Fasting is Ramadan is easier as everybody is doing it. Fasting so soon after Ramadan requires great will power and determination.

The reward of fasting the month of Ramadan plus the six days of Shawwal is equal to fasting an entire year. That alone is motivation. Add in the spiritual benefits of fasting and this will definitely help you stay on track after Ramadan.

“Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan and then follows it with six days of fasting in the month of Shawwal, it will be as if he had fasted the year through.” (Sahih Muslim 1163)

3. Be realistic is your self-expectations

Sometimes we expect too much from ourselves. We expect to be sinless and perfect from this Ramadan onward until the day we die. And when it doesn’t happen, we lose hope and fall back into our own lifestyles. The way to Paradise is not through being perfect. It is through sustained daily growth.

Be realistic and set high goals for yourself. But don’t be too hard on yourself when you don’t always attain those goals. You are human. You will err, you will make mistakes, and you will grow from each experience. Focus on being on your best, not on being perfect. At the end, if you sincerely try your best, Allah will forgive the rest.

Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Be deliberate in worship, draw near to Allah, and give glad tidings. Verily, none of you will enter Paradise because of his deeds alone.” They said, “Not even you, O Messenger of Allah?” The Prophet said, “Not even me, unless Allah grants me mercy from himself. Know that the most beloved deed to Allah is that which is done regularly even if it is small.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari 6099, Sahih Muslim 2818)

4. Repent Often

We all make mistakes. We all fall into sins. We all have our faults. The difference between a righteous person and an open-sinner is not the lack of sin. It is the concealment of sins and consistent repentance. After Ramadan, you may fall back into some sin or another that you had before Ramadan.

When this happens, do not lose hope. When this happens, do not give up. When this happens, do not let Shaytaan win. Get back up and try again. Repent, and never lose hope. Because you worship Al-Ghafoor (The Most Forgiving), Ar-Raheem (the Most Merciful).

“I swear by Him in whose hand is my soul, if you were a people who did not commit sin, Allah would take you away and replace you with a people who would sin and then seek Allah’s forgiveness so He could forgive them.” (Sahih Muslim 2687)

5. Prioritize the five daily Salah

I left this for last as it is the single most important piece of advice in this article. No matter what happens. No matter how spiritually low you feel. No matter how much you want to give up. Never, ever, abandon your five daily Salah!

These Salah are your connection to Allah. Your means of forgiveness. Your ticket to Paradise. Your daily conversation with your Creator. Your hope during tough days. Your peace during sad days. Your reminder during good days. And your evidence that you believe in Allah. If nothing else, at the very least remain firm in praying five time a day once Ramadan has passed.

“The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the prayer. If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be sound. And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad.”(Al-Tabarani)

These five tips will hopefully help you maintain your momentum throughout the year. May Allah forgive our faults and accept our deeds.

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Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Productivity, 5 comments

Ramadan 2016 eBook and Course Sale

Ramadan 2016 SaleRamadan 2016 Special Prices

Ramadan Mubarak to all our readers. We at Islamic Self Help wish you all a spiritually uplifting and productive Ramadan 2016.

In order to help you attain maximum productivity this Ramadan, we are offering our core products at discounted prices.

Getting The Barakah – PDFGetting The Barakah: An Islamic Guide

Check out our bestselling eBook, Getting The Barakah: An Islamic Guide to Time Management. It is available for $5 this Ramadan only!

Getting The Barakah focuses on merging leading time management techniques with core Islamic concepts. This gives the reader a well rounded understanding of Time Management in Islam. The eBook usually sells for $9, but this month only you can get it for just $5. Grab Your Copy Now!

5 Steps of Time Management – Video Course5 basics of TM rhumbnail

If you are an audio-visual learner, then you can check out our online Time Management course instead.

Focusing on the same core fundamentals as Getting The Barakah, 5 Steps of Time Management is a fun activity-filled online course that will boost your productivity. Usually selling for $44, you can grab the course at HALF PRICE this Ramadan for just $22 by clicking here. Take advantage and sign up for this deal today!

Best Of Creation – PDFCauses of Low Self Confidence

Best Of Creation: An Islamic Guide to Self-Confidence is our best reviewed eBook yet! At around 190 pages in length, this eBook is jam packed with tips on how to increase your confidence and pursue your goals the Islamic way!

The positive feedback we have received for this eBook is overwhelming, Alhamdulillah. Usually selling for $9, you can grab it for just $5 this Ramadan only. Get Your Copy Now!

8 Fundamentals of Public Speaking – Video Course8 Fund Public Speaking Thumbnail

Public Speaking is a powerful skill that can revolutionize your life, boost your confidence, and make you more effective at Dawah.

Usually selling for $64, we are offering the course for just $44 this Ramadan. Join the course today and start building your Public Speaking skills with our well-researched tips.

 

Homeschooling 101 – PDFHomeschooling 101 ebook

Homeschooling is a choice that many Muslim parents are opting for, but many are not sure how to get started. Our guidebook focuses on what to expect in your first year of Homeschooling, how to prepare and why you should consider this option.

Usually selling for $7, you can grab the guidebook for just $5 this Ramadan. This eBook has received positive reviews and support from homeschooling leaders like Zohra Sarwari and Fitrah Journal. Get Your Copy Now!

Islamic Self Help strives to provide high quality and beneficial eBooks and courses. Each of our products will help you learn new skills and grow closer to accomplishing your life goals. Take advantage of our Ramadan 2016 offers and grab each of these life-changing products today!

Ramadan Mubarak from the entire Islamic Self Help Team!

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Books, Homeschooling, Public Speaking, Self Confidence, Time Management, 0 comments

Muhammad Ali – A Legacy in breaking barriers

A few hours ago, the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali passed away at the age of 74. We ask Allah to accept his good deeds, forgive his shortcomings, and enter him into Paradise.

Muhammad Ali

1942-2016

Muhammad Ali left the world today, and people from all walks of life are united in their sadness at the passing of this legendary sportsman. But Muhammad Ali’s legacy is not defined by sports alone.

The love that people have for Muhammad Ali comes from a much deeper place. It comes from his courage, his passion, his compassion, his humanitarianism, his sense of accountability to God, and his determination to accomplish goals that seemed impossible.

Initially, I was going to write a list of my favorite Muhammad Ali quotations. However, being that Muhammad Ali had the gift of speech, there are simply too many to write about. I decided then to write about what Muhammad Ali represented to me.

For me, Muhammad Ali’s legacy was proof that there is no barrier we cannot break, no stereotype that cannot be overcome, and no goal too high to achieve. The exception being things outside human control, like health and death.

Think about it. Here is a Muslim African American named Muhammad who has just passed away. Yet people all over the world are saddened by his loss. When you think about all the racism, Islamaphobia, and other forms of bigotry that still are so prevalent in modern society, this is amazing that the death of a Muslim could cause such universal sadness. When you think about the racism that existed at the time in which he rose to fame, it seems almost impossible that someone could achieve what he did.

Achieving the impossible was always a challenge that Muhammad Ali love. After all, he was the one who said:

“Impossible is just a word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

Muhammad Ali overcame every barrier people put in front of him. He proved that Muslims and African Americans can accomplish their dreams and goals, despite all the bigotry that exists in the world. He showed us that we should simply push through towards our goals and ignore, or better yet, challenge those who promote hatred and intolerance. To put it in his own words, Muhammad Ali said:

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”

Courage was a way of life for him. This can be clearly seen in his defining moment, when he refused to enlist in the army and fight in Vietnam. In that moment, Ali showed us that you can say no, and that you should said no and bear the consequences, when pressurized to do something wrong. From his entire life, this is the moment I remember him most for. He showed me that having the courage to say no is one of the best things a believer can do.

Pleasing God by caring for his creation

One of the biggest tests of life is fame and wealth. Muhammad Ali had achieved the highest level of fame, and the wealth that goes along with it. Often this much fame and wealth can lead people into living selfish indulgent lifestyles. Yet Muhammad Ali dedicated his retirement to serving humanity and making this world a better place.

Once during an interview, he was asked about what he would do when he retired. Ali replied, “When I retire from boxing, I want to focus on meeting God, and serving the community,” He also said, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” These statements indicate the kind of man Muhammad Ali was deep down inside.

Beyond the flashy charismatic athlete, he was a humanitarian who feared His Creator and prepared for the Afterlife. He did  not allow worldly success to distract him from the ultimate success. He spent his retirement in helping people, guiding people, and uplifting society.

Muhammad Ali truly a gifted athlete, and a gifted speaker, but his legacy is much more than that. From Ali, we learned:

  1. Dedicate your life to meeting Your Creator
  2. Serve humanity and make this world a better place
  3. Aim high, aim to be the best at everything you do, and don’t let cultural and racial barriers get in the way of success
  4. Don’t let worldly success distract you from the ultimate goal
  5. Be brave, and do the right thing, even if there are consequences for doing so
  6. and finally, constantly grow and evolve.

I’ll end with one last quote from Muhammad Ali on that last point:

“The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”

Written by Shaykh Ismail Kamdar, author of Guidelines for Confused Muslims. Learn how to distinguish true Islamic teachings from false teachings with this new eBook. Purchase your copy today.

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Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Leadership, Positive Thinking, 3 comments

How To Be The Best – 5 Hadiths

How to be the best

In personal development, there is a lot of focus on how to be the best at what you do. There are many tips which we could study regarding being the best at worldly things. However, in this series of articles we will explore how to be the best in the sight of Allah. In this article, and several future article, we will be looking an a variety of Hadiths which focus on the qualities of the best of Muslims.

As believers, we need to be constantly striving to be better, so let’s follow these Hadiths and strive to be the best in the sight of Allah. Because at the end of the day, being the best in Dunya isn’t worth it, if your life isn’t pleasing to Allah.

“The best of the Muslims is he from whose hand and tongue other Muslims are safe.” [Muslim]

In order to be the best believers, we need to be the most peaceful. People need to feel safe around us, not just from physical harm, but from our speech as well. Look inside yourself and honestly analyze your lifestyle, and ask yourself, “Do I often say bad things to others or about others? Do people fear my violent temper? Are people afraid to trust me?”

These questions are very important in helping us grow into people whom others feel safe around. The general rule is ‘Do no harm’ and this is one of the fundamental principles of Islam.

“The best among you are those with the best manners and character.” [Bukhari]How to be the best

Our religion is one which emphasizes excellent manners and character. How we treat people is the sign of how well we have understood our religion.

Sadly, some people become more harsh, rude and arrogant when they start practicing Islam, which is the opposite of what Islam teaches. To be the best of believers we need to display the best of manners always, and in our dealings will all types of people. Manners are essential for perfecting our faith.

“The best of people are those who are most beneficial to mankind.” [Daraqutni, Hasan]

Islam is not a selfish religion. It is not just about personal and private acts of worship. Rather, the best Muslims are those who dedicate their lives to serving the ummah for the sake of Allah.

Each of us have different skills and knowledge that can be used to benefit others. It is our duty as Muslims to use these skills to benefit the ummah and not to focus only upon ourselves. Make it an essential part of your life to serve the community, because this is what Muslims do.

“The best of you are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it.” [Darimi, Sahih]

The Qur’an is the foundation of our religion. It is our duty to study it, understand it, practice it, live by it, and convey its message to others. The most noblest thing that a Muslim can dedicate his/her life to is the studying and teaching of the Qur’an.

This includes teaching people how to recite Qur’an, teaching Tajweed, Tafsir, Arabic, Hifz, and even Islamic Studies, because all Islamic Studies subjects require studying the meaning of different verses of the Qur’an. Let us all find a way to be a part of this noble process, so that we too can be among the best of this ummah.

“The best of you are those who are best to their families, and I am the best of you to my family.” [Tirmidhi, Sahih]

How we treat our families in private is the true test of our faith and character. It is easy to pretend to be humble, pious and well mannered in public. But to be remain righteous, humble, loving, gentle, and well mannered at home is the true sign of faith.

To be the best, we need to follow the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) example and treat our families well. A true believer is a good Muslim, both in public and in private.

To summarize, from these five hadiths, we learn that the best of Muslims are those who:

  1. Do not harm others
  2. Have excellent manners and character
  3. are beneficial to humanity
  4. study and teach the Quran
  5. treat their families well

Let us strive to practice on these five Hadiths. In shaa Allah, I will publish another article next week focusing on five more qualities of the best of believers.

Check out my latest eBook which offers guidelines for Muslims confused about sectarianism.

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Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Positive Thinking, Productivity, 4 comments

You want good leaders, but are you prepared to follow them?

The Realization 

A realization dawned on me recently. I was sitting in a meeting for one of many Islamic organizations that I am involved with. The elders in the organization praised the new young leader and said they were happy to have him as one of their leaders.

Then the new leader held them accountable for work they were not doing and set an ultimatum. The elders began to grumble, some walked out, others muttered to each other about how young people how no respect. Others said they have been doing things their way for years and are not going to change to suit this new young leader. At the end of the day, there was no compliance.

I know what happens next, I’ve seen it happen in cycles for years. The young leader begins to realize that nobody Leaders 1takes him seriously, and eventually he burns out. Then he resigns. The elders then tell him that he was doing a great job, and they will miss him, and they give him an applause as he leaves. Then a new young leader is appointed, and the cycle repeats itself over and over again.

I realized that day that many organizations are stuck in a cycle. I also realized that everybody wants someone else to lead, but nobody wants to follow. In this lies one of our biggest challenges as an ummah, who is ready to follow the leaders?

So you want good leaders?

So you really want good leaders? Or do you just want someone else being held responsible for your mistakes? Understand this very well: If you want a good leader, you need to be ready to follow him even when you disagree with him!

This reminds me of a quotation attributed to Ali Ibn Abi Talib (Allah be pleased with him). When he was the Caliph, there was a lot of turmoil. Someone questioned his leadership and said such turmoil didn’t occur in the time of Abu Bakr and Umar. To this, Ali is reported to have replied, “This is because they had followers like me, and I have followers like you,” This shows us that the quality of the followers is just as important as the quality of the leader.Leaders 2

We spend so much time talking about the qualities of leaders, we forget to discuss the other side of the equation: every good leader needs good followers in order to succeed. So let’s take a step back and talk about what are the qualities of a good follower in Islam.

1. Obedience

There is no point appointing a leader, if nobody is willing to follow the leader. Leaders need followers, and as Muslims, we must follow our appointed leaders in all that is permissible, even when we disagree with them. It is this last point that many of us fall short off. We only follow the leader when he agrees with us. At that point, you need to ask yourself, am I trying to lead the leader?

The rule is simple: if someone is appointed as leader of a group, then his decisions should be respected and followed, unless he calls for something that is haraam. If you are not willing to follow him when you disagree, why select him as a leader?

2. Humility

We always talk about humility as a quality of good leaders, and that is true. Yet humility is also crucial in followers. If the leader is humble and his followers are arrogant, they could potentially walk all over him and take over. Humility is an essential quality of every believer, whether you are in a position of leadership or not. Be humble, always.

3. Shuraa and Naseeha

It is the duty of wise followers to advice the leader and partake in group discussions. However, at the end of the day, we should respect the leader’s decision, even if it goes against our advice, as long as the leader isn’t calling towards Haraam. Advice, discuss, then respect the decision. That is how Shuraa is supposed to work.

4. Not obeying in Haraam

This point is simple. If the leader calls for something which is prohibited, then you should not obey him and should remind him that it is prohibited. This rule is so fundamental that it is better to lose a job because of such disobedience than to commit haraam in order to please your boss.

5. Following, even when you disagreeLeaders 3

As stated above in the first and third point, it needs repeating and emphasizing. This is where so many Islamic organizations fall apart, when people’s egos stop them from following orders, because the leader didn’t choose his opinion. Swallow your pride and follow through. There is a reason he is in the leadership position, as he may have experience and wisdom that you do not have.

6. Respect and politeness

Be politely and respect everybody. Manners are an essential part of our faith, so never forget your manners.

7. Dua and seeking forgiveness

Pray for Allah to always guide those in leadership positions to make the best choices, and ask Allah to forgive them and us for our shortcomings. They will make mistakes, so do you. Ask for their forgiveness, as you ask for your own.

8. Being a team player

It may seem cool to be rebellious and sarcastic, but it is not Islamic and it causes instability in your organization. be approachable, friendly, vision-focused, and flexible. Stay focused on fulfilling the vision of the organization even when you disagree with the route. At the end of the day, we are all working towards the same goal, so let’s function like a real team and stay focused.

In order for this ummah to succeed, we do need great leaders but we also need an ummah that is vision-focused and humble enough to follow the leaders. If we want things to change, let’s start with ourselves. Be the kind of team player you would like others to be if you were in a leadership position.

May Allah bless this ummah with strong leaders, sincere followers, and a clear path to revival in every way.

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Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Leadership, 2 comments