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.

Exclusive Preview: Best Of Creation

The following is an extract from my
Best Of Creation Ebook: An Islamic Guide to Self Confidence, available for purchase here.

Extract from Best Of Creation Ebook:

You Can Do It

Allah does not burden a soul beyond its capacity. It will have [the consequence of] what [good] it has gained, and it will bear [the consequence of] what [evil] it has earned. “Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred. Our Lord, and lay not upon us a burden like that which You laid upon those before us. Our Lord, do not burden us with that which we have no ability to bear. And pardon us; and forgive us; and have mercy upon us. You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbelieving people.”[1]

This is the promise of Allah and it should keep us strong during difficult times. Understand that if AllBest Of Creation Ebookah has sent a specific test into your life, it is because you have the capabilities to deal with it and pass it.

Allah would not have given you that specific test unless you were the right person to deal with it and overcome it. Remind yourself of this verse every time you are in a jam. There is no test in your life that you don’t have the ability to pass, and every human has been given the capabilities to be successful in both worlds.

Reflecting on this verse should give you confidence in your ability to overcome your current predicament. Allah chose you for it, because you have what it takes to deal with it, even if you haven’t discovered that yet. This belief should empower us to dig down deep and do our best in every situation.

The Win/Win Formula

The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:

Amazing is the affair of the believer, verily all of his affair is good and this is not for anybody except the believer. If something good befalls him he is grateful and that is good for him. If something harmful befalls him, he is patient and that is good for him[2]

This Hadith is very powerful in helping us embrace this world with all its flaws. As believers, we must look at everything that happens to us as something good. When things go our way, it is a gift from Allah and we should be grateful to Him for it, and this is good for us in both worlds.

When things don’t go our way, we must be patient, solution-focused and ready to learn some life lessons through the experience, and that too is good for us in both worlds.

This means whatever happens to us in life is good for us, so why fear living. Go out there and make every day count. Be the best you can be. Accomplish whatever you can and be ready to face any setbacks or trials along the way.

There is no reason to sit at home afraid. Doing so won’t hold back the tests but it will hold you back from accomplishing anything worthwhile.

Allah created this world to test us. We are tested with good and with difficulties too. Things are always changing and nothing in this world is constant or eternal. Embrace the nature of this world and you will live a happier life and be able to accomplish more. Do not fear trials, failure or death.

These are all natural parts of our experience in this world and unavoidable. Live each day as if it is your last, but make your plans for doing good deeds being optimistic that you will live a long time. Even if you pass away before accomplishing all your goals, Allah will accept your noble intentions and might even use others to accomplish your goals for you.

[1] Surah Al-Baqarah 2:286

[2] Saheeh Muslim 2999

Extract from Best Of Creation, pp. 56-58, available for purchase here.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Books, Self Confidence, 0 comments
10 Time Management Tips for Ramadan – Part 2

10 Time Management Tips for Ramadan – Part 2

Ramadan Time Management Tips – Part 2

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3

This is Part 2 of my series on Time Management Tips for Ramadan, click the above link if you haven’t read Part 1 yet.

4. Allocate time to 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.

Likewise, allocate specific times of each day things for each important act of worship. This means that you will set a specific time of the day for reciting Qur’an (perhaps before or after Fajr), making dua (before Iftar), having a family Halaqa (perhaps after Asr or after Tarawih) and any other goals you are working towards. Be specific as possible and stick to your times.

There may be days when you are unable to stick to the times completely due to elements beyond your control, but at least by having such a schedule, even on such days, you will make time to get these things done. If you are having an unusually busy day, instead of abandoning these goals completely, try halving them. So instead of not reading Tafsir at all for a day, try reading for half an hour or at least twenty minutes. In this way, you stay on track, even on your busiest days.

5. Utilize the early hours of the morning

Depending on whether Ramadan falls in Summer and Winter in your country, this would refer to the time before or after Suhoor. 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 (or at least half an hour early) and dedicating that time to Qiyam Al-Layl (Tahajjud), dua and reciting Qur’an.

The reason I emphasize the early mornings is because it is a time known for having Barakah. It is a time when we are not preoccupied with work and family obligations. Making it the best time of the day to dedicate to intense ibaadah, a private time alone with Allah.

6. Schedule in a family Halaqa

If this is not already one of your established habits, I recommend starting it this year. 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).

This can be done by getting to together before Iftar or after Taraweh, reading a chapter of an Islamic book (or listening to a lecture) then discussing its contents with each other. Involve every member of the family in the discussion. This will train the younger minds of the family to think and reflect, helping them grow into practicing thinking Muslims. The habit of having a family Halaqa is one that should continue after Ramadan.

7. Dedicate time daily for Qur’an

Ramadan is the month of the Qur’an and so it is obvious that time must be dedicated daily to the Qur’an. In some communities, the practice exists of reciting the Qur’an very quickly each Ramadan to get it over with. 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.

In Part 3 of this series, we will discuss some more time management tips for staying on schedule and getting things done this Ramadan. 

Shaykh Ismail Kamdar is the author of Getting The Barakah: An Islamic Guide to Time Management, available exclusively through this website. Learn more Time Management Tips by purchasing this ebook.

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PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3

 

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Goal Setting, Time Management, 0 comments
10 Time Management Tips for Ramadan – Part 1

10 Time Management Tips for Ramadan – Part 1

Time Management Tips for Ramadan

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3

The countdown has begun and we have less than one and half months left until the greatest month of the year, Ramadan! 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 series of articles is going to assist you with, inshaa Allah. Without any further intro, 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. Don’t allow this to be such a Ramadan. You have a few weeks to plan this properly, so let’s start working on our plans now.

To plan for Ramadan, we need to be clear regarding the goals (Maqasid) of Ramadan. As per the Qur’an, we know that fasting has been obligated on us to increase our Taqwa (God-consciousness) and that the Qur’an was revealed in Ramadan as a guidance for mankind. (See Surah Al-Baqarah, verses 183 and 185)

This means our overall objective of Ramadan should be an increase in Guidance and Taqwa. Every goal you formulate must work towards these two ends. With this end goal being clear, let’s move on to the next step.

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. As the zeal dies down towards the middle of Ramadan, many people get caught up in their work, family responsibilities and rest, resulting in less Ibaadah (acts of worship) being done than initially desired.

This can be avoided by working out in advance how much time you will have daily for Ibaadah, then setting goals to get that much Ibaadah done minimum daily. The formula is simple: 24 Hours – (Sleep time, Work Time, Family Responsibility) = Ibaadah time.

For example, if you need six hours of sleep daily, work an eight-hour job every day and spent at least an hour helping the children with their homework, add in time for eating Suhoor and Iftaar, time spent in traffic and rest time after eating. The average person can free up between four to six hours a day for Ibaadah in Ramadan. (Makes me wonder why we can’t do the same outside Ramadan)

Let’s work with a smaller number though, as many people have other responsibilities like preparing meals and visiting relatives. Let’s bring it down to a minimum of three hours Ibaadah daily. If you work out that you just have three hours for extra Ibaadah every day in Ramadan, that is still enough time to accomplish some major goals. Multiply three by 29 and you get 87 hours of Ibaadah. 87 hours of optional Ibaadah in one month can transform your life and increase your Taqwa dramatically.

This means if you just 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 that for the entire month. This brings us to point number three.

3. Set Clear Goals

Now that you know the overall goals of Ramadan and how much time you have available daily to chase these goals, the next step is to set S.M.A.R.T goals to dedicate this time to. S.M.A.R.T means that the goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. Let me give you an example.

If you make it a goal 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 fulfill 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. This goal is:

Specific – It is a specific book of Tafsir you plan to read
Measurable – It is easy to measure and keep track of 28 pages daily
Attainable – It is possible to read 28 pages of Tafsir every day if you dedicate an hour to reading daily
Realistic – The book is at your level so it won’t be too difficult to read
Time-Bound – Ramadan takes care of this naturally as all Ramadan goals are time-bound to 29 days

Set a series of goals like this and you will have a clear concrete plan to follow for the entire month of Ramadan. As for which times of the day to dedicate to each goal, that will be discussed in Part 2 of our tips for Ramadan.

Shaykh Ismail Kamdar is the author of Getting The Barakah: An Islamic Guide to Time Management, available exclusively via Islamic Self Help.

Buy Now

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Goal Setting, Time Management, 2 comments

What exactly is Islamic Self Help?

What is Islamic Self Help?

Before looking at what is Islamic Self Help, let us define the genre Self Help. Self Help is a genre of literature thWhat is Islamic Self Helpat focuses on giving you the tools to help yourself improve as a person. Books focusing on confidence, stress management, time management, anger management, goal-chasing, focus, concentration, and positive psychology all fall under the category of Self Help books. Essentially, it is a book that you purchase to assist yourself in improving in a specific area of your life.

Self Help books are very popular in the twenty-first century due to the deficiency in our education system. The current school system is a twelve-year process of sapping one’s creativity, confidence and optimism, and a system in which important life skills like time management and goal-setting are overlooked, while the syllabus focuses on less important subjects like algebra and biology.

As a result, many young adults enter the adult world with no clue regarding what they want to do with their lives and how to achieve such goals. Algebra, second languages and biology aren’t going to help much if we have no idea what we are doing on this earth or what we plan to do with the rest of our time here.

This creates a dilemma for many adults who are wondering aimlessly day to day, just following social norms and suppressing all their unique talents and skills just so that they can fit in. Self-Help books exist to fill this void.

The problem for Muslims, however, is that most Self-Help books are written from a secular perspective leaving many readers puzzled as to whether the tools and skills taught therein are acceptable in Islam or not.

This is where I decided to step-in. Over the past six years, I have read dozens of Self-Help books and as a graduate in Islamic Studies, I analysed each principle and tool in light of the teachings of Islam. This allowed me to sift out the Halal from the Haram.

I realized there is a great need for books focusing on Personal Development (another name for Self-Help) from an Islamic Perspective, and decided to dedicate the next few years of my life to writing such books and articles. This is why I decided to start this website and dedicate it this topic. So inshaa Allah, through the articles and books on this website, I hope to share with you many tips and skills related to personal development, helping us all grow professionally and personally.

Not sure where to begin? Why not subscribe to this blog and receive a free copy of my e-book “10 Self-Help Tips from 10 Authentic Hadiths”. This will give you a taster of what to expect.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Books, 1 comment

Defying Stereotypes – How to live outside expectations

Defying Stereotypes

By defying stereotypes, these are the kind of stereotypes I am referring to:

By studying Islam, you are subjecting yourself to a life of poverty!

If you get married too young, you will not be able to have fun!

You can’t study, work and take care of a family at the same time!

If you don’t dress the way society wants you to, nobody will take you seriously!

If you homeschool your children, they will become unsociable!

These are just some of the many stereotypical expectations which I have strived to prove wrong over the past few years. Humans have a strange habit of limiting what we are capable of doing by enforcing man-made stereotypes and expectations. In many ways, we create our own limits and live our lives imprisoned by them.

Alhamdulillah, I have been gifted with a rebellious nature, which means whenever people tell me you can’t do this or that, without giving a genuine reason, I get a strong itch to prove them wrong!

Allah has created us with the potential to accomplish so much and gifted us with a religion that allows us to do any worldly thing that isn’t explicitly prohibited or harmful. This creates a situation in which there are so many possibilities and very few limits to what we can accomplish in our lives.

Yet for some reason, we were not content with the laws of Allah and decided to invent our own limitations, making life unnecessarily difficult and robbing ourselves of our own potential.

These limitations are generally linked to race, country, gender, age, family or career paths. You are told you can’t do that because you are a female, too young, too old, from a specific race, or because your family doesn’t do it that way. A lifetime of indoctrination of such self-limiting beliefs leads to young people who lack belief in themselves and are chained to cultural expectations.

It doesn’t have to be this way though. Allah has given each of us a brain to think for ourselves and the abilities to accomplish amazing things. It is up to every individual to use these skills to evaluate what to believe and what is just man-made nonsense.

From this day forward, do not allow the expectations of people to stop you from accomplishing anything great. The next time someone tells you, “You can’t do this because xyz reason,” ask them why! Is it something prohibited by the Creator? If so, thank them for reminding you and stay away from it. If not, then they need to provide a clear logical reason, otherwise it is just a self-limiting belief invented by someone.

Whenever you feel chained to such self-doubting beliefs, remember the following points:

1. Allah created you and has given you great skills and opportunities
2. Allah has given us a religion that allows us to do anything Halal we desire
3. Islam encourages us to strive for excellence (Ihsaan) in every aspect of our lives
4. You are primarily responsible for fulfilling your obligations to Allah and being your best self, not living by the expectations of His creation.

Allah has created you with gifts, skills and abilities to accomplish amazing things. Listen carefully to constructive criticism but ignore the doubters who tell you you can’t do it, simply because they did not chase their own goals and dreams.

Break that stereotype, defy those expectations and let the world see that, with the help of Allah, we have the ability to accomplish far more than we thought possible.

Best Of Creation: An Islamic Guide to Self-Confidence is available for purchase and download here.

Defying Stereotypes

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Goal Setting, Self Confidence, 2 comments