The world is becoming polarised – rapidly so.

During our early years, our home – during Eid al-Adha – was packed with both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It was an annual gathering of food, fun and laughter. For a long time, I never really understood the difference between Muslims and non-Muslims. I knew the Lord’s prayer and a couple of hymns as a child and had Christian friends who lived close to mosques and could recite Al-Fatihah and the adhaan.

It was not a big deal at the time.

Imagine my shock when I went to pick my son from school and saw a non-Muslim girl praying with the Muslims.

It is a big deal in these times.

One of my earlier memories of the difference between Muslims and non-Muslims was when my widowed aunt (who was living in our boys’ quarters at the time) declined our parcel of beef during Eid al-Adha because she had been so instructed in church. In our Islamic school, we were only told to avoid the traditional religion worshippers’ rites and practices, and of course, their food. I did not understand why she refused our beef but saw my parents’ smiles of acceptance and accepted it too. I wondered if they took offence but never asked.

These days, I ask before I offer my food. If they decline, I do not take offence but instead appreciate their honesty.

Eid mubarak to every one especially the pilgrims!


I love hearing the adhaan…but only in melodious tones, I must admit. I am often slightly peeved when I hear an off-key call to prayer but hastily remind myself that the muadhin (caller to prayer) is fulfilling one of the most important duties in the mosque. By virtue of calling the adhaan, he also calls the iqamah which is a shorter adhaan recited just before the prayer itself.

I often find myself humming to the adhaan or reciting along with the muadhin if I am familiar with the melody. Imagine how people would stop in their tracks if a woman’s voice was heard from the minaret speakers! 😀
adhaan in english muadhin
The adhaan is like the theme song of the life of a Muslim, first heard (by a born-Muslim) by its recitation into his/her newborn ears. Ideally, during the call to prayer five times a day, Muslims are required to be silent and repeat after the caller except where he says, ‘Hayya ala Salah’ and ‘Hayya alal falah’ (meaning ‘Hurry to prayer’ and ‘hurry to success’ respectively). La hawla wa la quwatta ila billah is the response here.

It is not to be made if you are praying alone. The iqamah alone is enough if you are praying on your own.

After the adhaan:

Narrated by Jabir Ibn Abdullah, who reported that the Messenger of Allah (SAW)said:
‘Whoever says when he hears the Call of Prayer, “Allahummah Robba haadhihi’l-da’watil-taam-mah wa’l-salaatil qaa’imah, aati Muhammadan Al-waseelata wa’l-fadeelah, wab’ath-hu maqaaman mahmoodah alladhi wa’ad-tahu. (O Allah, Lord of this perfect call and prayer to be offered, grant Muhammad the privilege and also the eminence, and resurrect him to the praised position that You have promised), will be granted my intercession on the Day of Resurrection.” – Sahih al-Bukhari Book 65, Hadith 4719

I must admit that I do take the adhaan for granted because I always hear it wherever I live. I cannot imagine a silent dawn! It must feel very lonely to be in a town where no adhaan is heard. May Allah strengthen the bonds of brotherhood among Muslims in such places.

The freed Abyssinian slave, Bilal ibn Rabah (RA) was the first muaddhin while Ibn Umm Maktoum (who was blind) was his ‘deputy’ in calling the adhaan.

It is sunnah for two rakats to be made between the adhaan and the iqamah for Fajr.

Anas bin Malik narrated that :
Allah’s Messenger said: ‘The supplication made between the Adhaan and Iqamah is not rejected.’ – Jami’at-Tirmidhi Book 2, Hadith 64

The janazah prayer made on the deceased is devoid of adhaan and iqamah. It is believed that they were recited at birth. In essence, our lives occur between that tiny spate of time between the adhaan/iqamah and the prayer itself…


I went to pick my son from school about 2 minutes before closing time and met them concluding the Zuhr prayer. I lingered for them to finish their supplications and went to assist my son to put on his socks and footwear. While I smiled and interacted with some of the students, a little girl caught my attention. I wondered why a non-Muslim girl was allowed to pray with the Muslims.

No, I did not mind that she was praying with them. Kids are curious and naturally drawn to the Muslim prayer. I was worried that her teacher allowed her knowing how much of a big deal her parents would most likely make of it. To confirm my worries, I asked her name and it was not a Muslim one. Many Muslims do not bear Arabic or Muslim names but her name was distinctly Christian/English.

I left with my son but my mind kept returning to the girl like the tongue would return to an oral sore so I decided to have a word with the teacher the next time I saw her. I told her of my observation and how the girl’s mother might not take kindly to seeing her daughter making the Muslim prayer and she said:

‘Oh, she has converted!’

My brows probably reached my hairline as I contemplated how a 4 year old Christian girl was allowed to convert to Islam, then she clarified that the girl’s mom had converted following her marriage to a Muslim so she had requested that her daughter joined the Muslims in prayer.

I let out a short bark of laughter mixed with relief and tinged with delight.

‘Are you serious?’ is all I managed to say while my lips formed a huge grin.

In my mind, I was doing a crazy little jig and screaming: Masha Allah, Alhamdulillah, a revert! Wohoo! Alhamdulillah! That’s so AWESOME!

I am soooo going to be on the lookout for her! 😀

May Allah reward the Muslim men who bring women into the fold of Islam. I sincerely hope they do not coerce them though. That would defeat the purpose. I did mention that my mom is a revert but it wasn’t immediately she married my dad, not because of him and definitely not under duress. It’s been a couple of years since his demise and she’s still going strong.

PS: I couldn’t help but wonder if the girl’s name was eventually going to be changed though; and if she would simply accept it or challenge it. 4 year olds can be pretty sure of themselves!

Do you think her parents should change her name? Why? I would love to hear your thoughts.


You stumble across a good book and review the wisdom of the writer with some of your friends. They share your enthusiasm and applaud the writer’s skill…until they find out (s)he’s non-Muslim then the praises stop abruptly. You can almost see the guardrails come up and click firmly in place.

In my humble opinion, that;s just plain silly!

Allah (SWT) says:

‘HE who taught Man that which he did not know…’
He did not say ‘ only Muslims’.

It is quite childish to think that all the bright ideas must come from the Ummah for it to be deemed fit for use. No one has the monopoly of knowledge that is why we transgress all bounds when we look upon ourselves as self-sufficient in knowledge.

Indeed, when we stick our noses in the air at non-Muslim sources, we behave in a manner similar to those who opposed the Prophet (SAW)’s message. They saw the sense in his words but could not think beyond the fact that he was unlettered albeit, from a good family.

image credit: www.funkydoodledonkey.blogspot.com

It is from a blackened pot that (white) cornmeal emerges – Nigerian adage. Image credit: http://www.funkydoodledonkey.blogspot.com

Allah can inspire whom He wills with whatever knowledge He decides for indeed, He is able to do all things. The onus is on us to separate the wheat from the chaff.

The Prophet (SAW) said: Wisdom is the lost property of the believer and he has a right to it wherever he finds it.- Jamiat Tirmidhi Book 41, Hadith 43

(Please, note that this is not permission to plagiarise or infringe on copyright).

May Allah grant us the humility to discern wisdom from the most unlikely sources, and use this wisdom to benefit the Ummah.


Assalamu alaikum, dearies.

It will be the 1st of last month of the Islamic calendar tomorrow in sha Allah. It is auspicious time for Muslims and we are advised to fast during these days. Eid-l-Adha (10th Dhul Hijj 1436) is most likely to fall on the 24th September, 2015 in sha Allah. Here is an old post on 10days.

And the post on Witr as promised…

Witr is an odd-numbered prayer whose time range is the same as for Tahajjud.

It is supposed to be the last prayer of the night so it can be made just after ‘Isha if you are unlikely to wake up for night prayer or after Tahajjud (night prayer). It can be tahajjud if prayed singly or it can be made after a couple of rakats of Tahajjud.
cupped hands in prayer
It is recommended to recite after Suratul Fatihah, the following surahs: Surah-al ‘Ala (Qur’an 87) in the first rakah, Surah al-Kafirun (Qur’an 109) in the second then Surah al-Ahad (Ikhlas), Surah al-Falaq and Surah an-Nas (Qur’an 112-114) in the third rakah. However, any part of the Qur’an can be recited.

The Qunut is a special du’a oft-recited during Witr while standing, before or after the last ruku’ (bowing). Here is a transliteration:

Allahumma ‘hdini fiman hadayt; wa afini fiman afayt; wa tawallani fiman tawallayt; wa baarik li fiman aatayt; wa qiini sharra ma qadayt. Fa’innaka taqdi wala yuqda alaik. ‘Innahu laa yadhillu man wa alayt, wa la yaizzu man adayt. Tabarakta Rabbana wa ta alayt.

‘O Allah, guide me along with those whom You have guided, strengthen me with those whom You have strengthened, be an ally to me along with those whom You are an ally to and bless for me that which You have bestowed. Protect me from the evil You have decreed for verily You decree and none can decree over You. For surety, he whom You show allegiance to is never abased and he whom You take as an enemy is never taste glory. You are blessed, our Lord, and Exalted.’

After the Witr, say:
Subhaanal malkil quddus, Subhaanal malkil quddus, Subhaanal malkil quddus, Rabbul malaaikati waruh. (Glory be to the Master, the Holy 3x, Lord of the angels and the Ruh (Jibril).

Ask Allah for His forgiveness and make the supplications you desire. If you have a du’a list from Ramadan, you can use that too.
You may conclude your prayers and return to bed or wait for Fajr and make the recommended two rakahs before Fajr.

Ibn ‘Abbas narrated: I once stayed over at the house of (my aunt ) Maimuna while the Prophet (SAW) was with her, to see how was the night prayer of Allah’s Messenger (SAW) …When it was the last third of the night (or part of it), the Prophet (SAW) got up and looked towards the sky and recited the Verse: ‘Verily! In the creation of the Heavens and the Earth….there are indeed signs for the men of understanding.’ (Qur’an 3:190) Then He got up and performed the ablution, brushed his teeth and offered eleven rakat. Then Bilal pronounced the Adhan whereupon the Prophet (SAW) offered a two-rakat (Sunna) prayer and went out to lead the people in Fajr. – Sahih al-Bukhari Book 97, Hadith 78

May our ibadah never be in vain.

Sources: Fiqh us Sunnah Volume 2 and Fortress of the Believer.

TAHAJJUD Q17:79, Q25:64

It has been a while that I have wanted to write this post but I wanted to include it in a Prayer Series. I still haven’t gotten around to doing the series yet but hopefully, this post will evoke the desire to begin the series.

Tahajjud (which I used to confuse with Tarawih which is essentially Tahajjud in Ramadhan) is a voluntary late night prayer. I read that whoever desires something and has not prayed Tahajjud for it does not really want it.

It is a prayer highly recommended by Allah, preferably made during the last one-third of the night when Allah is most receptive to our pleas. It can be made anytime from after ‘Isha (the last prayer of the day) till before Fajr (the first prayer of the day made at dawn). There are a good number of verses that mention those who forsake their beds at night to seek Allah’s Face.

Here in Northern Nigeria and indeed other parts of Nigeria where there are masajid, there is usually a call to prayer roughly and hour before Fajr prayer. One could get up at this time for Tahajjud.

Abu Hurairah (R.A.) reported Allah’s Messenger (SAW) as saying:
Allah descends every night to the lowest heaven when one-third of the first part of the night is over and says: I am the Lord; I am the Lord: who is there to supplicate Me so that I answer him? Who is there to beg of Me so that I grant him? Who is there to beg forgiveness from Me so that I forgive him?… – Sahih Muslim Book 6 Hadith 202

It is a time when the world is asleep and there are no interruptions and you can allow yourself be overcome by emotion without feeling people’s eyes on you. It is a serene time when you truly feel enveloped in Allah’s Mercy and connect with Him.

‘Actions are by their intentions’ so if you desire to pray tahajjud, make the intention before you fall asleep. A hadith mentions that after making the intention, if one is overcome by sleep and forgets to wake up, he will still be rewarded for what he intended.

I would recommend eating light and going to bed early particularly for the hypertensive amongst us. Lack of a good night rest tends to elevate the blood pressure, tahajjud or not so ensure you get at least 6hours of sleep at night.

On waking, thank Allah then brush your teeth or use a miswak and perform wudhu. Wake others if they are interested.

Spread your prayer rug and make two rakat at least. It can be as many as you want – even numbers only. The prayers can be said in units of two with tashahud (At-tahiyatulillah…) in between each two units and teslim (Assalamu alaikum warahmatullah) at the end, before the Witr. A single Witr prayer can also suffice for Tahajjud, however but one can make Tahajjud and pray Witr afterwards. (I will discuss Witr in the next post in sha Allah.)

If you begin to feel sleepy to the point that you become unaware of your utterances, it is allowed to return to bed.

After the Tahajjud, you may recite of the Holy Qur’an as much as you can/wish and make supplications you desire. It is a perfect time for reflection.

We should all endeavour to make this a habit as Allah loves a consistent deed even if small.

May Allah accept our supplication.

FLOWER GARDEN Q25:74, 30:21

A little boy visits a flower garden. He walks around awe, admiring the bursts of colour in a variety of shapes and intoxicating fragrances.

‘I need to have them all!’ Adam declares, but since he has only a few coins, he settles on lovely white lily.

He leaves the garden with his prize and a dance to his steps. At home, he sits gazing fondly at his purchase enveloped in beautiful gift wrap for a couple of hours.

‘I really ought to get some sleep,’ he thinks and carefully places the lone lily in an old blue jar before he retires to bed. It had been a long day.

He awakens to a lovely morning and smiles when he remembers his purchase of yesterday. With a bounce to his step, Adam goes to check on his beautiful flower.

It is still as delightful to his eyes as it was yesterday – but a little less so. He is still excited about his new possession and decides to take his friend to the flower garden too.

Now, Zack has even fewer coins but is equally enthralled by the blossoms of beauty so he also makes a purchase of a single white rose wrapped in paper and leaves the shop.

When the duo part ways, Zack takes his purchase home. He stares lovingly at it in a vase but deciding it looks alone, he unwraps it then plants it in his little flower patch beneath the kitchen window.

The next morning, he awakens to a lovely morning and smiles when he remembers his purchase of the day before. With a bounce to his step, Zack goes to check on his beautiful flower.

It is still as delightful to his eyes as it was yesterday, even a little more so. It seems happier and appears to stand out from the rest in the bright morning sunshine.

‘Well, it should stand out from the rest,’ he chuckled to himself. ‘It is my only rose!’

He carefully waters it and weeds his flower patch. He spends some time there and prays right next to his little flower patch.

Time goes by, Adam drops by. He finds Zack in his little garden, pruning the rose which had become a lovely little bush with a couple of blossoms.

‘I need to visit the flower garden again,’ he says. ‘My lily is no more. It is quite annoying, really! I kept her in a lovely blue jar, wrapped in her wonderful paper. I placed her by the window for everyone to admire when they came by but she drooped more and more until her petals fell off.
‘Say, where did you come upon the money to afford this little rose bush?’ he asks.

‘Oh, I didn’t get any money,’ Zack says. ‘It’s that same old rose that we bought together.’


It often amazes me how men see a beautiful lady they wish to marry for her wonderful qualities then pluck her out of the wonderful environment that makes her so unique. All the attributes that appealed to them suddenly become repulsive and they seem intent on squashing every single life out of her until her bright spark is replaced by a dull gleam.

I simply wonder why they do not simply go by her parents’ house everyday to see her instead. It would have been cheaper, right? Instead, they hurriedly marry her, intent on possession then leave her to wilt.

I never will understand it.

Then, when they have daughters, they do not take kindly to someone treating their daughters like they treat their wives.

Abu Hurairah narrated that The Messenger of Allah said:
“The most complete of the believers in faith, is the one with the best character among them. And the best of you are those who are best to your women.” – Jami’at Tirmidhi Book 7, Hadith 1162

If you truly want to know who a man is, watch how he treats his wife both in public and at home.

May Allah grant us wonderful spouses who would encourage us to become better people; and if they do not, may we be strong enough to motivate ourselves and them too.

Tend the Garden

Sometimes, what we think is despicable becomes what we may begin to love if given the chance (Q4:19). Give 2nd chances.


A longtime friend commented during dinner that her next door neighbor’s son was on the path to nowhere and constantly in trouble. She thought herself clever referring to him as “a weed in the garden of life”. Although an avid fan of barbed words and wit, I found her comment harsh directed at a kid who was barely a teenager. He was dismissed and labeled as worthless. A weed.

“But maybe he’s a pokeweed!” I said in a positive tone.

She rolled her eyes. I recognized the look of resignation on her face. The look many of my friends have when I spit out a puzzling one-liner and they know a story is coming. She sipped her drink and grinned, arms crossed in silent permission for me to proceed.

Years ago I had a yard packed with plants. It was full of boxwoods, azaleas, and geraniums surrounding a dogwood centerpiece…

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Due to the plethora of beautiful ladies we’ve been bombarded with in person and in various media, one involuntarily screens people based on their physical attractiveness.

‘Ugly…Fat…Mmm, weird-looking…Short…Not bad…’

We may not even be as physically attractive as the celebrities we berate on the TV but since they are not beautiful, we feel they should not have made it to the big screen in the first instance.

On the other hand, we’ve got the natural/plastic beauties who regale our eyes with their mighty fine faces and bodies – bodies they were simply genetically blessed with by Allah or bodies they furnished themselves with because they could afford it.

With the make-up artillery at ladies’ disposal, it is quite rare to find an ‘ugly girl’ these days. Ladies who are not as attractive as they would like to be ensure they have someone to bankroll their high-maintenance lives.

But, hey! Who am I to judge? It’s a tough world out there, made ultra competitive by the few eligible bachelors swinging into the gay pool.

Suddenly, our eyes are cooled by matronly faces with tired eyes, framed by sparse greying lashes and brows, some extra flesh, and genuine bright smiles. On these honestly #nofilter faces, we see the laugh lines, wrinkles, visible pores, uneven complexion and weathered skin with age spots. Yet, their beauty oozes out of the screens and tugs at our heartstrings. Their feeble attempts to pout a la duckface mode with their photo buddies draws a huge grin on our visages.

‘Me and my lovely mum’, the caption reads. ‘<3 you loads!’

‘One in a million mom! I love you forever!’ another says with a multitude of emoticons.

‘Shout out to the most beautiful mother in the world!’ #nofilter #lovemymom #momsarethebest #mumsrock #awesomemummy

You look again and cannot but agree that even though those mothers are beautiful, your mother’s beauty is unrivaled!

Say a word of prayer for your mother today.