Melbourne Cup Reflections…

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

Growing up I was oblivious to the Melbourne Cup festivities, right through uni too, I heard about the race that supposedly stopped the nation but I couldn’t be bothered to even take note of some of the things that go on. I remember my first Melbourne Cup day in the office, everyone was excited about dressing up, getting drunk and betting on horses with the most unusual names. I spent the day before the races turning down various sweeps and betting syndicates and had to explain to everyone why I didn’t have an interest in gambling or the idea of heading to the pub for the races.

I was the only Muslim in the office so this was new to many of my colleagues but everyone was understanding. I requested to be excused from the afternoon lunch at the pub and my manager was very accommodating so while the rest of the office got drunk and lost all the money they played on the races, I stayed back and had a quiet afternoon in the office. This took place towards the end of my first year in public practice and despite being excused from the actual drinks and gambling that afternoon, I recall feeling very uncomfortable in the office and began noticing how different I was from everyone else.

By this time, the euphoria was wearing off and I began noticing a few changes taking place that I wasn’t very happy with so I remember questioning whether this was the right work place for me. Fast forward a few months and my prayers were answered, I received a job offer from a smaller firm up the road that turned out to be alcohol free, gambling free and pork free. My new manager was mormon and my new colleague was a fellow Muslim brother I knew from an Islamic camp a few years before.

The new office was awesome, didn’t have to deal with the office drinks, drunken parties, gambling or dirty talk. All the food was halal, afternoon drinks were replaced with afternoon tea and office parties were replaced by jet skiing, mini golf and gelato overlooking the beach. Halal food, halal entertainment, a boardroom for our prayers and a 2 hour lunch break for Jumuah… Perfect. My first Melbourne Cup day in the new office was actually quite enjoyable, no one cared about the races, not a beer in sight and instead off drinks at the pub, the manager treated us to a little lunch and dessert which was a good change in routine.

I spent 2 Melbourne Cups at the new office which was quite enjoyable and comfortable… lots has changed since then and by the next Melbourne Cup I found myself working from home completely oblivious to the hustle and bustle of the corporate world. I am so grateful for the way things turned out. After working in public practise for 3 and half years, despite a very Muslim friendly work place in my last job, the freedom and luxury of working from home and working for yourself is absolutely amazing. The challenge now is maintaining an Islamic working environment while having complete flexibility and control of my own working conditions. It’s easy to complain about restrictions and limitations when you work for someone else, the real test is whether or not you can fulfil your duties, both religious and professional when you have control of your time and workload.

I hope and pray that my new boss allows my faith to flourish beyond the restrictions and limitations of the corporate lifestyle. Looking forward to many more Melbourne Cup Days in my virtual office away from the drinking and gambling. While I am grateful for my experience, I also pray that anyone out there subjected to less than the ideal working environment be granted the strength to maintain their faith and prosper in their line of work.

Friday morning…

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

As I took out the trash this morning I was reminded of a little story … The Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) was seen by one of his companions while taking out the trash.  His companion was alarmed and said to the Prophet: Oh Messenger of God, you are taking out the trash!  The Prophet replied: who should I have take out the trash, the mother of the believers?

Following the Sunnah is really not that difficult… Blessed Jumuah!

Jumuah @ School…

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful. 

Alhamdulillah, with the Grace of Allah, we were able to conduct Jumuah Salaah at Benowa State High School this afternoon. We hope that this will continue and that the attendance will improve each week. The principal, teachers and students were very accommodating which made for a very relaxed and casual environment. We even had a few non-Muslim spectators which is always a good sight. The school is very Multicultural and brought back memories of my days in High School.

Despite the negative publicity Muslims get in the media, we have much to be grateful for. I remember Jumuah at school and I believe that fostering an Islamic environment in schools can greatly influence the youth. I sincerely hope we are able to maintain this arrangement and that the students can benefit from this initiative. I don’t believe that prayer facilities in non-Muslims schools is a right of Muslims, it is a privilege and is something we should acknowledge and show our appreciation for. 

May Allah guide the youth and allow them to become righteous leaders of Islam. 

Jumuah Reminder: How close do you want to be to Allah?

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

In “Choosing your place in a gathering”, I mentioned the importance of sitting within a gathering and suggested finding a place closest to the Imam at Jumuah Prayers. This will put things into perspective…

According to Imam Abu-Haneefa in al-Fiqh al-’Akbar: “Allah is seen in the hereafter. The believers will see Him while they are in Paradise. (They will see Him) without any likeness, ascription, and quantity and there will not be any distance between Him and His creations.”

In a lecture I recently listened to by Imam Anwar-al Awlaki, he mentions that ”The people of Jannah, every Friday, will go down to a gathering place, and they will be seated according to how close they were to the Imam in Khutbatul Jumuah, this is when people will get to see Allah. That is the greatest pleasure. People in lowest Jannah will get to see Allah every Friday, but people in Jannatul Firdous will see Allah twice each day, once in the morning and once in the evening.” This is also mentioned by Ibn Al-Qayyim in Nooniyyah.

Remember this the next time you choosing your place at the Musjid. The ultimate incentive, the ultimate reward!

…and remember… “The deeds most loved by Allah are those done regularly, even if they are small.”

Etiquette of the day of Jumuah: A short reminder…

In the Name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

Ali Ibn Abu Taalib (RA) narrated:  When Friday comes, the devils go to the markets with their flags, and involve people in their needs and prevent them from the Friday prayer. The angels come early in the morning, sit at the door of the mosque, and record that so-and-so came at the first hour, and so-and-so came at the second hour until the imam comes out (for preaching). When a man sits in a place where he can listen (to the sermon) and look (at the imam), where he remains silent and does not interrupt, he will receive a double reward. If he stays away, sits in a place where he cannot listen (to the sermon), silent, and does not interrupt, he will receive the reward only once. If he sits in a place where he can listen (to the sermon) and look (at the imam), and he does not remain silent, he will have the burden of it. If anyone says to his companion sitting besides him to be silent (while the imam is preaching), he is guilty of idle talk. Anyone who interrupts (during the sermon) will receive nothing (no reward) on that Friday.

Blessed Jumuah…

Etiquette of the day of Jummah: A few reminders…

In the Name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

“O believers, when the call is proclaimed for the prayer on Friday, come to the remembrance of Allah and leave off business, that is better for you if you but did know.” [Al-Jumuah, 62:9]

Etiquette of the day of Jumuah:

  • Purifying and cleaning oneself
  • Dressing well for Salat-al-Jumuah
  • Reciting Surah al-Kahf
  • Going early to the Masjid
  • Going to the Masjid in a state of calmness and not being hurried.
  • Walking to the Masjid whenever feasible as there is a reward for every step taken to the Masjid.
  • Avoiding stepping over people to get to a particular spot in the Masjid.
  • Avoiding dividing two people who are sitting together.
  • Performing tahiyyat al-Masjid (The prayer of greeting the Musjid)
  • Sitting in the front rows and close to the Imam whenever possible.
  • Reciting Durood upon Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W)
  • Remaining quiet while the Imam is delivering the Khutbah. This actually includes listening to the Imam and not playing with anything while the Imam is speaking.
…and remember… “The deeds most loved by Allah are those done regularly, even if they are small.”
Jumuah Mubarak!

Choosing your place in a gathering…

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

I read a Hadith narrated by Abu Waqid Al-Laith (RA) which tells of three men at a gathering. One of the men found a place within the circle of the gathering, the other sat behind the gathering and the third man walked away. When Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) completed his talk he said, “shall I tell you about these three persons? One of them betook himself to Allah, so Allah took him into His Grace and Mercy and accommodated him, the second felt shy from Allah, so Allah sheltered him in His mercy (and did not punish him), while the third turned his face from Allah and went away, so Allah turned His face from him likewise.”

I will remember this the next time I am present in a gathering and I hope we can all benefit from this Hadith. Let us be among those whom Allah takes into His Grace and Mercy.

I think it’s important that when we learn or become aware of such teachings that we avoid judging the actions of others. It is through Allah’s mercy that we attain such knowledge and through these actions we may earn His pleasure. Don’t spoil the reward of such an action by judging others or by making them uncomfortable. People may leave Islamic gatherings or might prefer to sit outside them for good reason, it’s not for us to judge or question their intentions, if you are sincere in spreading the knowledge then narrate to them the above Hadith and Insha Allah through you, they too will earn Allah’s pleasure.

A good place to start will be in the Musjid at Jumuah, Insha Allah I will find a place nearest to the front. It’s a shame that the back wall gets full so early in the sermon.