Islamic Character as our Foundation

Islamic Character as our Foundation

These days, many young Muslims fight over the technical details on what are the rights of the husband or wife. These disputes are heated, emotional and often devoid of any understanding of the Quran and Sunnah. Marriages are reduced to contracts in which rights are exchanged in a formal manner without any positive feelings towards the other. However, Islam does not encourage this kind of attitude towards relationships, whether it is a marital relationship or our relationships with our parents, siblings, children, friends, and neighbours. The focus in Islam is not on law, but on manners and character.

Islam lays down some very clear laws regarding relationships, but also leaves other aspects open to interpretation. For example, the hadith states that women must obey their husbands, but the details of what that entails are often decided by cultural and economic norms. Likewise, the Quran teaches that men must provide for their wives, but what exactly they need to provide and how much they should provide is dictated by cultural and economic norms, as well as individual needs. The laws exist to prevent abuse and to establish the parameters of the Shariah. Within these parameters, there is a lot of room for flexibility.

Islam’s laws related to marriage dictate the bare minimum that is required for a marriage to work. This has never been the standard recommended by the Shariah. That standard is a loving mutually beneficial relationship based on good character and kindness. Meeting the bare minimum does not make a person a righteous Muslim or an ideal spouse. If anything, it indicates laziness and a lack of commitment to the relationship. The true measure of success in a relationship is one’s character and manners with one’s spouse. 

The Prophet said, “The best of you are the ones who are best to their families, and I am best to my family.” (Tirmidhi 3895) He also encouraged women to marry men of good character (Tirmidhi 1084) and emphasized in multiple narrations the importance of kindness in a marriage (Muslim 1218, 1468). All of these narrations clearly indicate that marriages are not built on meeting minimum Fiqh standards, marriages are built on kindness, good character, and wanting to please each other. 

Our marriages should not be built on meeting minimum Fiqh standards or arguing over the details of the law. We need to clarify these laws so people know their rights and responsibilities, but we should build our marriages on kindness and love. This verse of the Qur’an should be the foundation of how we build our marriages, “And among His signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find peace in them, and He has put between you love and mercy.” (Surah al-Rum 30:21)

Read the full article here.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Islam
When Problems have no solutions

When Problems have no solutions

Life is hard. It is a testing ground in which we all face multiple trials. Some trials are easier to manage than others. Knowing that a trial has an end, that there is hope for solution, and that it will all be over soon, makes it easier to get through the difficult times. We remind ourselves that with hardship comes ease, and that victory comes with patience. When an end is in sight, we have more courage and hope which fuels our patience, and gets us through the trial.

But what about those trials that seem to have no end? How do we deal with a test that might last a lifetime? How do we make peace with the fact that sometimes there is no ease coming, there is no victory coming, and the test will not end until we leave this world? Whether it is a chronic illness, a tragic loss of a loved one, or an unjust lifetime imprisonment, many people are tested with trials that seem to have no end in sight. How do we deal with these trials?

Accepting One’s Qadar

And know that what has missed you was not meant for you, and what has befallen you was not going to miss you.

Hadith 19, 40 Hadith an-Nawawi

Destiny is a mystery that most human minds will fail to comprehend. We have limited free will and are responsible for our choices, but at the end of the day, nothing occurs unless Allah’s wills it. Allah already knows everything and has written all of our destinies for us. When we are faced with a trial that does not end and which we cannot comprehend, the best thing we can do at that point is to accept our destiny. This is what Allah has willed for us.

Nobody gets through life without facing some kind of trial. We all have to deal with tragedies and trauma that is beyond our control. Yet we find solace in the concept of destiny. Accepting that it was already written for us and that what has hit us was never meant to miss us brings some peace to the mind. It prevents from wishing if only I did something different, I could have changed my fate. What is done is done, we must accept that our current circumstance is our destiny and find a way to continue moving forward with our trials and pain.

Focusing on the Afterlife

One of the blessings of hardship is that they remind us to return to Allah and to focus on what truly matters. Our life in this world is short and soon we will all leave. When that happens, only our deeds and sincere intentions will go with us and benefit us in the Afterlife. A tragedy is a chance to realign our thinking. It is an opportunity to turn back to Allah and make preparation for the Afterlife our number one priority.

It is too easy to get distracted by our worldly goals, forgetting that the real victory is success on the Last Day. Our tragedies bring everything into perspective. They humble us, allowing us to see what really matters. No matter how difficult life gets in this world, if we continue to live in a way that is pleasing to Allah, the end result is Paradise and that is worth all the pain. So channel your energy into working for Paradise, and your trials will become blessings in the process.

Trusting Allah’s Plan

Allah is Most Wise, and whatever He wills is best for us. We must trust the plan of Allah. Like Yusuf in the prison, Ayub during his illness, and Yunus in the belly of the whale, our trust in Allah and connection with Allah should remain strong. “Allah knows best” should be our guiding thought. Sometimes a trial seems unsurmountable, but overcoming it is exactly what you need to level up and become a better version of yourself. Or maybe it is unsolvable, but your patience with it is your ticket to Paradise. Either way, we do not know but we do know that if we trust Allah’s plan, the end will always be in our favor.

Reflect on the story of Musa and Khidr. The owners of the ship that was damaged, the parents who lost their child, and the orphans who could not yet find their inheritance. None of them knew that these tragedies were in their favor and for their own long-term benefit. Allah’s Plans works in ways we cannot imagine. When life is tough, trust that Allah knows best and find peace through tawakul.

Buckets of Sabr

We will certainly test you with fear and hunger, and loss of wealth, lives and crops. So give good news to the resilient.

Quran 2:155

There is only one way forward through trials, and that is with Sabr. Sabr does not mean passively allowing people to oppress you. Sabr means being patient with what is beyond your control. Sabr means persistence in obeying Allah. Sabr means self-control when you desire to commit sins. Sabr means resiliency when life gets tough. Sabr is all of these things and more. Sabr should be the lifestyle of the believer, powering us through every test of life.

When life gets tough, we must be tougher than our trials. We must dig deep and find our inner strength to push through. No matter how difficult life gets, the pleasure of Allah must remain our goal. Patiently, we will accept our destiny, persevere in our good deeds, and face our trials with resiliency. Through sabr, lots and lots of sabr in all its forms, we will find peace, reward, and the pleasure of Allah.

Finding the Ease within the Hardship

When life gets hard, we have two choices: feel sorry for ourselves and give up or find a way to keep moving forward. There is no benefit in the first option. Defeat does not suit the believer. We will endure and keep moving forward. To do this, we will find the ease in our hardship. Life is tough but even in the toughest of times, there are many sources of comfort to power us through. During difficult times, seek out the good things in your life and cling to them as sources of comfort.

Find solace in your family and friends. If that is not possible, then find inner peace through worship and your relationship with Allah. Let your peace come internally, so that nobody can break it. Find the ease in your hardship, even if it is internal. Inner peace because of a strong relationship with Allah is all we need to get through our toughest trials.

Never Losing Hope

Do not despair of Allah’s Mercy. None despairs of Allah’s Mercy except the disbelieving people.

Quran 12:87

Never lose hope. Allah is there for you. He is with you in good times and bad times. Everything occurs as Allah has willed it, and sometimes we only see the fruit of our effort in the Afterlife. The believer does not lose hope in Allah’s mercy, knowing that miracles are possible, and even without a worldly victory, our patience will pay off in the next world. Paradise is worth the pain we endure in this life and that alone makes it worth every moment.

Be mindful of Allah and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, then ask Allah [alone]; and if you seek help, then seek help from Allah [alone]. And know that if the nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, they would not benefit you except with what Allah had already prescribed for you. And if they were to gather together to harm you with anything, they would not harm you except with what Allah had already prescribed against you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.”

Hadith 19, 40 Hadith an-Nawawi

Our February Specials

If you find our articles beneficial, support Islamic Self Help by purchasing one of our online courses or ebooks. Check out our February Specials below:

Foundations of a Strong Marriage: Online Course –

History of Islam: Online Course –

Islamic Self Help eBook Bundle –

Themes of the Quran eBook + Videos Bundle –

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Islam, Positive Thinking
Social Media Minimalist Experiment #1

Social Media Minimalist Experiment #1

Cutting Back on Social Media – 2018

Five years ago, I decided to scale back my social media usage. At the time, I was spending too much time on Facebook. I had gained a five-figure following on Facebook and with it came a lot of messages, comments, drama, and arguments. Facebook had become a time-consuming addiction that was distracting me from more important things in life. To fix this, I scaled back my Facebook usage by deleting the app, switching over to just posting once or twice a day without checking my feed, and using Twitter as my main source of social media.

At the time, Twitter felt like the right move for me I had a few hundred followers on Twitter, so anything I posted did not reach many people. Furthermore, I could follow various news and hobby accounts to keep up with my favorite hobbies, and stay up to date with the news. For several years, this worked fine for me. I used Twitter once a day to read the news and share some quotes and links, and the rest of my day went productively. However, in the past two years, Twitter became my new Facebook.

When Twitter became drama central

Over the past two years, my Twitter following has increased from 600 to 23k, and my reached has grown to one million per month. This completely transformed the way I interacted with the app. On one hand, I was making a lot more money through book and course sales on Twitter, compared to any other social media platform. On the other hand, my tweets were often reaching far outside my circle of influence, drawing all kinds of nasty people to comment on them.

During this period, Twitter became a new source of trial for me. I found myself caught up in drama and arguments way too often. But these arguments were worse than the Facebook arguments of five years ago, as the replies were a lot more vulgar and nasty. Hijab-wearing Muslims cursing and using filthy language simply because I stated a scholarly opinion they disagreed with. Things got worse when people started picking on every account I followed or post I liked, or mutual I followed. Every tiny detail became an issue and controversy. Dealing with all this has caused a lot of headache and unnecessary stress. Now I find myself in a situation in which I need to figure out if Twitter is worth all the pain and headache.

In the past few months, I already tried a few ways to change my Twitter usage in order to minimize the damage but none of them worked. Some of the things I tried include:

  1. Unfollowing all accounts besides the few scholars and institutes I work with.
  2. Muting any conversation or tweet that had grown too large in its reach.
  3. Creating secondary accounts for following, reading, and liking posts so it does not reflect on my main account.

Although each of these made some difference, none of them solved my problem. Almost every week, multiple hours are wasted in debating vulgar and crude people on this app. Eventually, it reached a point where it does not feel worth investing any time in these discussions. So it is time for a new experiment.

The Experiment

I am not going to shut down my Twitter account yet, as I believe it benefits thousands of people. However, I do not want to waste my time in arguments and debates with hot-headed and immature trolls on this app any longer. So, for February 2023, I am going to try another experiment to keep my beneficial usage of the app going while minimizing the drama and headaches.

For this month, I am going to try the following:

  1. I have deleted the app from my phone and will only log in from my PC for 10 minutes a day.
  2. I will post one or two beneficial tweets per day, and mute the threads so that I do not see the replies or Quote Tweets.
  3. I will not waste any time scrolling through the news feed, and will try to remain oblivious to what others are discussing on the app.
  4. I will replace using Twitter for news by following a handful of news websites instead and reading the headlines there.
  5. I will apply similar rules to my usage of Instagram and Facebook, so that social media does not take up more than 30 minutes of my day.

At the end of February, I will evaluate if this method has helped me be more productive. If so, I will either stick to this method or consider deleting the apps entirely.

Should social media be haram?

Social media platforms are very new and we do not know the long-term benefits and harms that these platforms will cause for the ummah. Only time will tell if they are a positive or negative way of interacting for Muslims. At the current stage, it feels like the harms outweigh the benefits. Social media has caused Muslims to hate each other more, curse each other openly, disrespect their own religion, experience jealousy, bitterness, and depression, and waste a lot of time.

It is too early to declare such platforms as prohibited to use. The general maxim of “Permissible until proven prohibited” will apply until we know for sure that the harms outweigh the benefits. Do not be surprised, however, if in the next decade more scholars move away from social media and declare it a place of fitna. Until Muslims learn to interact with each other maturely and discuss their differences with wisdom, discussing Islam on social media seems to cause more harm than good.

I’ll post an update in a month’s time to let you all know how my experiment is going.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Productivity