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.

Islamic Self Help is now 1 Year Old

1 Year of Islamic Self Help

Alhamdulillah, Islamic Self Help has been running for officially 1 year now, having launched 17 April 2015.

During this year, we have grown gradually with our eyes fixed on our vision and long term goals. We started with two eBooks and 3 articles, and worked daily on this project.

The website has grown with each month and currently hosts:

  1. Sixty Blog Posts
  2. Six eBooks
  3. Two Online Video Courses

Alhamdulillah, the website would not be what it is without your support and assistance. We plan to continue growing with each passing month, and have the following lined up for this year:

  1. A new blog post uploaded every week
  2. Three more online courses in development
  3. Three more eBooks currently in development
  4. Two translations (German and Swedish) currently in development
  5. Our first audiobooks currently in development

We hope to launch all of these within 2016. We also hope that with your continuous encouragement and support, Islamic Self Help will grow beyond our imagination.

Jazakallah Khair to all of you being a part of our journey. With the help of Allah, the journey will continue deeper into this field than anyone has ever gone before.

1 Year Old eBook

Our first eBook, launched 1 year ago.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar, 1 comment

Time is Rizq – A Different Perspective

Time is Rizq (An Extract from Getting The Barakah)

In order to truly appreciate the importance of time management, we must understand and acknowledge that time is a part of our Rizq. It is a resource that Allah has provide to us, just like our health and wealth. There are two special qualities about time that separate it from the other types of Rizq we receive:

  1. Every human is provided with the exact same amount of time in a day.
  2. Time is the only resource that is not renewable. Once it is used, it is gone forever.
Time is Rizq

Check out our Time Management Course

Each of the above points has a direct repercussion on the way we think about time. The following three points should make us realize how precious a resource our time really is:

  1. As every human has the exact same amount of time per day as another, there is nothing we can do to increase our time, but we can have an edge over others is how we manage our time.
  2. As time is not renewable, it would be foolish to waste it or kill it. Why waste a precious resource that you are never going to get back?
  3. As we don’t know how much time we really have on this earth, can we really afford to waste time now and wait until later in life to do things that are important to us?

The Hadiths[1] related to time become very clear when we analyse them from this perspective. Reflect on the following Hadiths in light of the above:

Hadith 1:

عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لِرَجُلٍ وَهُوَ يَعِظُهُ اغْتَنِمْ خَمْسًا قَبْلَ خَمْسٍ شَبَابَكَ قَبْلَ هَرَمِكَ وَصِحَّتَكَ قَبْلَ سَقَمِكَ وَغِنَاكَ قَبْلَ فَقْرِكَ وَفَرَاغَكَ قَبْلَ شُغُلِكَ وَحَيَاتَكَ قَبْلَ مَوْتِكَ

“Take benefit of five before five: Your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied, and your life before your death” (Narrated by Ibn Abbas and reported by Al Hakim)

Author’s Reflection:

  1. Everything mentioned in this Hadith is a type of Rizq: youth, health, wealth, free time and our life as a whole
  2. Therefore we must be very careful in how we utilize each of the above
  3. Notice that the Hadith mentions free time and not time as a whole. Due to the necessities of life, there are times in the day that we have to do certain things (Work, Salah) and we can’t use that time for anything else, so it’s really how we utilize our free time that matters.

Hadith 2

عَنْ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا قَالَ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ نِعْمَتَانِ مَغْبُونٌ فِيهِمَا كَثِيرٌ مِنْ النَّاسِ الصِّحَّةُ وَالْفَرَاغُ

“There are two blessings which many people lose: (They are) health and free time for doing good.” (Bukhari 8/421)

Author’s Reflection:

  1. This Hadith focuses on two resources: health and free time.
  2. Both of these are necessary resources for doing good deeds. It is difficult to do good deeds without good health or enough time to do it properly.
  3. These are two things that most people take for granted. For some reason, we don’t appreciate these blessings from Allah until they are taken away from us.
  4. The best way to show appreciation to Allah for a blessing is to use it as a tool for good. Therefore, our free time must be utilized and we cannot allow it to be wasted.

Hadith 3

قَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يُؤْذِينِي ابْنُ آدَمَ يَسُبُّ الدَّهْرَ وَأَنَا الدَّهْرُ بِيَدِي الْأَمْرُ أُقَلِّبُ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ

“Allah said, ‘The son of Adam wrongs me for he curses Ad-Dahr (Time); though I am Ad-Dahr (Time). In My Hands are all things, and I cause the revolution of day and night” (Al-Bukhari)

Author’s Reflection:

  1. In this Hadith Al-Qudsi[2], Allah says that He is Time. The scholars clarify this to mean that time is controlled and provided to us by Allah. It is a blessing from Allah and so cursing it is like cursing Allah.
  2. When we feel that time is slipping away and that we don’t have enough time to accomplish what we want in life, don’t curse time because you were given the same amount of time in a day as everybody else. Rather, take that moment to analyse how you spent your time and what you can do differently.

The above Hadiths all indicate the same thing, that the true believer understands the importance of time and refuses to waste it. It is a precious asset that is deteriorating every second, and so an hour wasted is an hour that we can never get back.

[1] Hadith: A narration containing information about what the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said or did

[2] Hadith Al-Qudsi: A Hadith narration quoting Allah directly. It is considered a separate category from a Hadith quoting the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

Continue reading by purchasing the eBook:

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Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Time Management, 1 comment

How to be happy in 20 short tips

How to be happy

How to be happy? By not being sad, of course. But it is a bit more complex than that. Human beings tend to focus on the negatives in our lives. We tend to look at the glass as half empty, even when it is more than half full. Happiness lies not in owning certain material possessions or reaching a certain stage of life. Happiness lies in the decisions you make today.

You don’t need to wait for something special to happen to experience happiness. You can experience it right now by implementing these simple tips:

  1. Obey Allah and worship Him properly, because all true happiness comes from Allah
  2. Think about all of the good things in your life.
  3. Thank Allah for all the blessings in your life.
  4. Be in the moment and enjoy your time with family and friends today.
  5. Avoid worrying about the past. Whatever happened is over and can’t be changed, focus on today.
  6. Avoid fretting over the future. Whatever is meant to happened will happen, focus on today.
  7. Smile 🙂
  8. Do something nice for someone else
  9. Spend some time in nature
  10. Spend quality time with your loved ones
  11. Think about your happiest memories
  12. Give some charity
  13. Express your love to your family members with hugs and kisses
  14. Buy a gift for a loved one
  15. Experience the joy of giving
  16. Relax and have some Halal fun
  17. Visit an old friend or relative, and talk about happy memories together
  18. Start a productive and beneficial hobby
  19. Make your parents smile
  20. Laugh and share a good (halal) joke with your loved ones

Life is full of ups and downs. There are always things to worry about and things to be thankful for. Focus on the latter and your life will be happy. Whatever tests you are currently facing will pass, so do not allow anxiety to consume you. Whatever good you are currently enjoying will also end, so enjoy every moment of it while it lasts.

How to be happy

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Inner Peace, Positive Thinking, 1 comment

Introducing the Islamic Self Help Learning Academy


Alhamdulillah, I am happy to announce the launch of the Islamic Self Help Learning Academy’s first course ‘5 Basics of Time Management‘. Learning Academy

The learning academy has been established as an expansion of Islamic Self Help.com as a platform to provide visual learning on Self Help topics.

Initially, Islamic Self Help was going to focus entirely on eBooks and articles, but many readers indicated that they prefer to learn through videos. Based on the high number of visual learners to follow our blogs, I decided to expand by launching the learning academy.

The courses on this website will be recorded in video format and in keeping with the latest research will feature video lectures under 6 minutes each. Research indicates that people are best able to focus on and remember what they learn from video lectures if they are under 6 minutes.

It also shows that longer videos are harder to maintain concentration on, and one doesn’t remember everything that is said. In keeping with this research, all video lectures at the learning academy will be under 6 minutes, but each video is packed with enough information to change your life!

The learning academy will focus on two types of courses: Personal Development and Life Skills. 5 Basics of Time Management is our first personal development course, and ‘8 Fundamentals of Public Speaking‘ is our first life skills course. 8 Fund Public Speaking Thumbnail

The videos are recorded by me and will be accompanied by notes, quizzes, and a lot of bonus material. These courses will serve as a great platform for visual learners to gain knowledge of important life skills and grow into professional, practicing Muslims.

I have very high goals for the learning academy, and plan to launch at least 5 courses a year in the fields mentioned. You can sign up for our first course here. Every lecture has a comment section which I will check daily, and I will be constantly updating the courses with new content whenever needed.

I look forward to seeing you all in the courses!

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Time Management, Webinars, 0 comments

Daily Discipline Tips

Daily Discipline Tips:

Discipline Tips

Tips extracted from this eBook.

Here are some tips that assist me in maintaining the discipline to stick to a schedule.

1. Keep reminders for every important thing.

Whether you have a notebook, Tablet, Smartphone, Diary or Desktop Planner, utilize it to store reminders for everything that is important. Make it a habit to write down anything that is important in a place where you can remember it.

Whether it is a reminder to call your mechanic and make an appointment to tune up your car, or a reminder that you have a class to teach at a certain time, or a reminder to pay the bills on a certain date. Whatever it is, set a written reminder and you will be less likely to forget or overlook it.

2. Don’t mix creative and admin work.

A lot of modern day work involves thinking, creativity and planning. Many people make the mistake of trying to do this while doing admin work at the same time. This goes back to our point on multitasking, it is not productive to try and do both at the same time. Creativity requires the brain to function in one manner, while admin work requires it to function quite differently, trying to do both at the same time is not productive and can even cause a headache.

Schedule your creative tasks for separate times from your admin work. This way your mind can function in one manner and focus on the task at hand. If you are more creative in the mornings, then make that your creative time and leave your admin work for the afternoon. Likewise, if you are more creative in the afternoon or evening, schedule your time accordingly.

The point is to allow your mind to focus on the task at hand and in that manner, you will get more done faster.

3. Subconscious Level Thinking

The human mind operates on two levels. There is the conscious thinking which is what you are focusing on at the moment. However, while you are focusing on something, there are many things going on in the back of your mind that you are not aware of, this is known as the subconscious or unconscious part of the brain.

Recent studies have shown that many of our best ideas are stimulated in the subconscious level of the mind, as it never rests, even when we are sleeping. This is where the idea of “sleeping on it” comes from. Very often when someone has a really complex problem to solve, they choose to sleep on it or do something fun. While doing so, the subconscious level of the mind continues working on the problem in a more relaxed manner and the solution is soon formed.

The next time you have a complex problem to solve or are searching for a great creative idea, instead of wasting time stressing over it, sleep on it and you might find the solution you were looking for.

Perhaps this is why some of our best ideas come to us while we are praying Salah, as we are relaxed and focused on Allah so our minds are also relaxed and our subconscious can dig deeper and discover new ideas. (That’s how the idea for this book came to me)

4. Rewarding yourself

In this world, not many people are going to stand in your corner, support your every idea and compliment your efforts. You often need to be your own cheerleader as you need motivation and encouragement to push on through difficult times.

One way to keep yourself motivated is to reward yourself for each small and large victory. This will give you a boost to continue working harder and succeeding. Small victories can be rewarded with small things, for examples you can reward yourself with a ten minute break and a cup of coffee for getting that report done in record time.

Bigger victories can be rewarded with a bigger reward. For example, a successful huge sale or completion of an important course can be rewarded with a night out for the family to your favourite Halal restaurant.

The point is to take care of yourself, and this will keep you motivated to keep rising to higher levels with each little victory.

5. Set a time limit for each task

Most of us can’t keep working at one task all day. We need breaks and limits. Furthermore, setting a time limit forces you to work faster and get things done in record time. If a task usually takes you two hours to do, set a time limit to do it in one hour, you will surprised by the fact that it will probably take you 45 minutes to do it with such a time limit. The general rule is to set a time limit to do a task in half the time it usually takes you to do it.

This is because when we have tight deadlines, our mind goes into overdrive in finding ways to get things done faster. Setting time limits and deadlines for all your tasks is a great way to discipline yourself to work faster and better.

6. Set a dollar value for your time

Time is money. This is a fact. Every moment wasted with mundane activities is a moment wasted that you can never get back. Many people overcome this by working out how much each minute of their day is worth in terms of dollars.

If you earn $2000 a month, each work day is worth $80 so each hour is worth $8. If you waste an hour, you have wasted $8. Of course, if you maximize that time, you can actually increase the value of your time, because productive people tend to earn more than unproductive people. And the more your time is worth, the less likely you are to waste it because you know what it is worth.

7. Avoid Perfectionism

I always wanted to be an author. I knew that it was what I was best at, but for many years I held back because I was not happy that my writings are not perfect. It was only when I let go of my desire for perfection that I was finally able to let my ideas flow and the writing happened.

Too often, we focus on perfection and end up wasting time trying to improve already high quality work to unrealistic standards. This does not mean we should do shoddy work. No, our focus should be on high quality results, not perfect results. Nothing in this world is perfect so striving for perfection is a self-defeating goal and will always leave you frustrated and miserable.

Focus on doing your best, you can always improve and learn from mistakes, but getting things done is far more important than worrying about the impossible.

8. Identify your peak times

Every person has a time of the day when he or she is at their best. Identify your peak time (for most people, it is early morning or late at night) and schedule your most important projects for that time. This will help you give maximum attention to that task and produce the highest quality product.

9. Focus on your most important task

Ask yourself each day what is the most important thing I need to get done today, then get that done early and give it most of your attention. Do this and you will find time for everything else as well, and you will feel better for having completed the most important tasks early.

Tips extracted from Getting The Barakah: 2nd Edition

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Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Productivity, Time Management, 0 comments