May 14, 2009 at 4:22 pm (Uncategorized)



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Building Communities In Our Homes

October 28, 2008 at 4:12 pm (Uncategorized)

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A dua to Allah – Poem

September 2, 2008 at 5:34 am (Sr. Aysha Khanom)

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How Does one Enter Al Azhar: Imam Suhaib Webb

September 2, 2008 at 2:49 am (Imam Suhaib Webb)

How Does one Enter Al Azhar: Imam Suhaib Webb

The Question:

Asalamu Alaykum,

Firstly, brother I think you are doing a brilliant job running this website and I pray to Allah you continue doing this. I have couple of questions: 1) I have applied to Al -Azhar via Regents Park Mosque (located in Central London), unfortunately I have not received a reply nor a notification that they are considering my application. I was wondering, when does the academic year start, I was guessing September.

2) If I don’t get accepted in al-Azhar, I intend to study at an institute for a year in Cairo and then progress to Al-Azaher from there. Which institution would you recommend.

Jazakumullahu Khayran

The Answer
Wa alaykum al-Salam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh:

Asalamu alaykum,

I would not rely on long term application processes. The enrollment process is this month so I would encourage you, if you have a background in Arabic, Islamic studies and Qu’ran, to apply [if you are fluent in Arabic]. If not, then I would strongly recommend you take one year to study the basics in your homeland, if possible, improve your knowledge and then come to study, maybe for another year, in a center. If you take the exams now, you will be placed in a difficult position and find it hard to get into the university. Furthermore, the goal is scholarship and not a mere degree. A degree’s just a piece of paper. The best way to apply is to do so in person. Please see the article on this site below.

May Allah facilitate things for you

Bismellah wa salatu wa salamu ala sayedenaa rasulellaah salahualayhe wa salam:

What you need to know to get into Al-Azhar in Brief:

1. Try to have no less than 2 juz of Qur’an memorized.

2. If you are not fluent in Arabic consider studying in an Arabic center in Cairo for a year before taking the exams. al-Azhar has no department for teaching Arabic to non-Arabs. In addition, teachers utilize both Egyptian colloquial and Fusha. However, most of instruction in al-Azhar is conducted in Fusha and if requested, Fusha it will be employed to accommodate you.

3. Being a student of knowledge is a serious endeavor. Thus, I advise brothers and sisters to exhaust all their local resources before setting off to study in Egypt. It is wise to utilize the scholars and Imams in your locality before setting abroad. This is also the is the Sunnah of the Ulema –to learn firstly in one’s locality before traveling abroad to seek knowledge. Once you have exhausted your resources then you should prepare yourself to study abroad.

It makes little to no sense for a person to travel to Egypt to learn a basic book of Fiqh, Tajwid or some other science that can be learned in our lands, in the West. The Islamic sciences can be learned at a basic introductory level in our home countries as we have many teachers who are well qualified and experienced in teaching at this level. Also, failing to study in our countries for introductory level instruction undercuts the efforts of the Institutions in the West that are aiming at disseminating Islamic education.

4. It is beneficial to remember that al-Azhar, in its hey day, existed in a first world setting. Currently, Egypt no longer occupies a first world position as it once did. This is why the student of knowledge encounters many challenges and tends to be saddened by his or her experience.

Despite the challenges one may face given third world conditions is one is patient there is much benefit to be found in the Azhar of today that exists in a third world setting. Currentyl, al-Azhar is witnessing a revival so classes are to be found in the masjid at various levels and are possessed of a high degree of organization despite the environmental pressures. Cairo is one of the world’s largest cities numerically being thus one finds all the problems of a big city. Despite, pollution and the hecticness of life in Cairo and the city slicker attitude one comes to encounter there is much knowledge to be gained and many lessons to be learned in the city of a 1000 minarets. The student should not expect utopia but that does not preclude that he or she will not find the intellectual and spiritual jewels that prompt the student of knowledge to travel. It must be said that these jewels are found only by the student who is willing to endure and struggle and sacrifice for knowledge and seeks to please Allah {swt} in the contemporary world.

5. Having Ikhlaas and a heart dedicated to your Lord in the process of registering. You are required to have 5 photo copies of your passport, three passport pictures [to be taken in Egypt] , a letter from your embassy granting you permission to study in Egypt. In addition, you are required to have blood work done either the Hussein Hospital or the Zahraa hospital both which are under the supervision of al-Azhar and yo must have paper work given to you by the majma bahouth [registrar’s office] so that the results of your blood work is recorded and presented to al-Azhar so that your paper work is complete. al-Azhar recognizes blood work from the two hospitals mentioned as they are under the Azhari system.

You may need proof that you are Muslim if your name Islamic and written on your passport. You can a certificate declaring your profession of faith from the mashaikha or the office of Shaikh al-Azhar which is close to the al-Azhar masjid.

Subject matters that compromise the entrance exam:

1. Hadith

2. Nahu

3. Sarf

4. Balagha

5. Fiqh according to one of the four schools

6. Aqeeda (according to the ‘Ashari school [what is required in this area is very basic information])

7. Sirah

8. Tafsir

You can find the books that will help you for the entrance exams behind Masjid al-Azhar in the Dar al-Atrak area. There is a book shop known as al-maktab al-Azhariyah and they have what are known as the Tawdih series (Yes, Azhari cliff notes) for every subject that one is tested in.

There are oral exams along with written exams. After you take the oral exams you will be placed in the part of the examination process which requires writing it consists of the eight subjects listed above. Depending on how well you prepare for the tests you will be either placed in the middle school or the high school. Most students who prepare well invest 1 to 2 years in the high school wherein they study al-Fiyah ibn Malik, a madhab, arabic rhetoric and literature and hadith and tafsir etc. The base of Azhari education is in its high school system. Education there is not bad at all, you will study a number of good traditional texts there.

After a few months (because the exams to get in are in the middle of the year) you will be eligible to take two exams:

If you failed to make it to the last year of high school then you can test for the next year (to move up a grade). Or you can take the test to get into the university (in other words kinda like a test for the high school diploma.) If you pass the exit exam you can chose from one of the following colleges:

* Usol al-Din
* Shari’ah
* Arabic language
* Qur’an (eight year program)
* Dawa
* Islamic studies

The first two have the best reputation. However, don’t expect anything like your used to back home. there is NO ORGANIZATION so you must have a great deal of patience.

6. Exams start in late October early November. Thus, you need to have your paper work turned in to the office of foreign students in Nasir City by September/late August.

This office is behind the Women’s dorms located at the intersection of Mustapha Nahas and Tayran streets. It is one the sixth or eighth floor of the building. The building is simply known as the Idara. Go there around 10 am. The will close very shortly after the noon prayer.

7. Finally, Egypt is made up of all types of groups from the Salafis to the Shadhulis. Thus, students who have a balanced outlook and avoid being too extreme, and carry themselves in a balanced manner are successful in Egypt as they are able to deal with the diversity which represents the society and the Muslim ummah.

Remember the statement of your Lord,

“Thus we’ve made you a balanced nation.” Although you have these different groups there is a general feeling of love and brotherhood amongst most of them which we lack in the West.”

Why al-Azhar?:

One of the reasons that I chose al-Azhar and why I would recommend it, is because of the depth and maturity in outlook that the program cultitvates. You will not come out of Egypt hating sufis, bashing salafis and spending your life on mundane issues. You will, inshallah, come out with a profound respect for others and a love and concern for humanity. You will learn to appreciate your condition and strive harder to be a better human being and service society muslim and otherwise. It is really something incredible here to meet, live with and read from so many persons of different thoughts, ideas and orientations, so many scholars.


If you want to come here to start the latest click, cool fad or are bent on being intolerant of others then this is the wrong place to come. People come here to help the Ummah and be of benefit to humanity.

I encourage all of you, who are serious students to come, I’m your brother here and you will find me more than willing to help you the best I can. We have now, by Allah’s blessing, around 10 students in al-Azhar form the West and a few more entering this year. Thus, you are welcome.

Which is better Syria/Egypt?

This is really a very harmful question. All of these places have benefit. I’ve seem some amazing students come out of all of these lands and I’ve seen my share of flunkies. As one of our teachers told us, “99% of it rest on the student’s heart and his hal with Allah.” Thus, let’s avoid this type of dangerous competition and say, “All are, inshallah, on goodness from Allah.” I have nothing but respect and awe for the students of knowledge from Sham and other places and feel that they are really very special people. Let move towards developing each other and not destroying each other.


1. Up until now Al-Azhar is free although there is a rumor that they will begin to charge Westerners $400.00 yearly next year. However, books and everything are very cheap here in Egypt. For example I bought the ‘Amir’s printing of Lisan al-’Arab for $75 USD.
2. Living is cheap as well for many. But for families it can get interesting. There are a number of Islamic schools for children here and some of them can get a little pricey. At the same time there are others that are good and the price is decent.
3. If you are married make sure brothers to involve your wife in the process. There are many great Women scholars here and a number of places for women to study. However, it is important to get out and not live in the Arabic language centers. That is a first step and you should try to move beyond that after you have a good mastery of the language.
4. It is important to surround yourself with Westerners who can help you and keep you cool. Egyptian people are very good but poverty is eating at the faith like a termite eats wood. Things are not easy for them. You will see a lot of boy friend girl friend stuff, people smoking weed, robberies and other things. Thus, you need your fellow students to offer you support and fraternity in such situations.
5. It should, if all goes according to plan, take you 6-7 years to complete the Azhari program.

With love and respect.

Suhaib D. Webb

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Station Of Firasa

September 2, 2008 at 2:41 am (Ibn Al Qayyim (Rahimahullah))

Station Of Firasa

From Madarij As-Salikin

Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyah 

Firasah is a sense of visual acumen, perception and insight. Allah says, “Surely! In this are the signs for the mutawassimeen.” [15:75]

And with the regard to the meaning of mutawassimeen, here is what some of the great interpreters of the Qur’an said about it: Mujahid said it is “those who have visual acuity”. Ibn Abbas said that it means “those who watch closely”. Qatadah said that it means “those who learn the lessons”. And Muqatel said that it means “those who reflect”. There is no contradiction or apparent incompatibility amongst these interpretations. For example, one who sees the ruins and houses of those who belied Allah’s Messengers would receive insight, admonition and reflection.

Alllah, subhanahu wa ta`ala, says the following with the regards to the hypocrites, “Had He willed, We could have shown them to you and you would have known them by their marks, but surely you will know them by the lahn of the speech!” [47:30] The first thing mentioned is the firasah of the eye and watching and the second thing noted is the firasah of the ear and hearing. The lahn of their speech is namely two varieties. One is proper and the other is wrong.

The proper lahn may mean eloquence as stated in the hadeeth: “And perhaps some of you are more eloquent in their claim than others.” (Bukhari and Muslim) Or it may mean an indirect reference or indication. The wrong lahn is the speech that has grammatical mistakes. By using it, people tend to change the meaning to something incorrect or to a hidden meaning which may not have been intended.

The meaning of the verse is that Allah has confirmed to His Prophet, sallallahu `alayhe wa sallam, that he would know them from the lahn of their speech. It is more likely that one may know more about the speaker and what is within his mind from his speech and the tone of his voice than from his physical appearance. The words and the tone of voice can tell much more, than the appearance, about the intention of the speaker. Firasah can be either visual or auditory. The Prophet, sallallahu `alayhe wa sallam, is reported to have said, “Beware of the firasah of the believer, for he sees with the light of Allah,” then he recited the verse, “Surely,?¢â‚¬A¦.mutawassimeen.” (Tirmidhi) The firasah of the believer is always truthful.

The firasah is a light which Allah, subhanahu wa ta`ala, deposits in the heart of His servant. By this light, His servant distinguishes between truth and falsehood and between right and wrong.

The reality of firasah is a sharp thought that enters the heart and dominates its opinion. It overwhelms the heart just as the lion does to its pray, fareesah. Note the similarity between firasah and fareesah in Arabic. However, in their linguistic forms, fareesah is an object whereas firasah is similar in form to wilayah (authority and power), imarah (authority and command) and siyasah (administration and leadership).

The strength of firasah is dependent on the strength of faith. A person with stronger faith has sharper firasah. Amr bin Nujaid said that Shah al-Kermani had sharp firasah and was never wrong. He also used to say that whoever lowers his gaze away from prohibitions, restrains himself from vain desires, constructs his interior according to muraqabah (knowledge that Allah is watching over us), his exterior according to the Sunnah, and accustoms himself to eat only halal, his firasah will never be wrong.

Ibn Masoud said, “There are three people with the sharpest firasah. The Egyptian who bought Yusuf and then said to his wife, ‘Make his stay comfortable, maybe he will profit for us or we shall adopt him as a son.’ [12:21]. The other was the daughter of Shuaib, who said to her father with regards to Musa, ‘Hire him!’ [28:26] And Abu Bakr, for he appointed Omar as his successor.” Another narration includes the wife of Pharaoh who said about Musa, “A comfort of the eye for me and for you. Kill him not, perhaps he may be of benefit to us, or we may adopt him as a son.’ [28:9]

Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq is considered to be the one with the greatest firasah in the ummah and Umar was the second. The incidents that prove Umar’s firasah are numerous, familiar and well-known. He never said with regards to anything, “I think this is so,” but it was what he thought. The fact that the Quran approved of his opinion sin many incidents is sufficient evidence of his sharp firasah. One of which was his opinion regarding the redemption of the captives from the Battle of Badr.

Once a man named Sawad Bin Qarib passed by and Umar dind’t know him. Umar said, “This is either a soothsayer or he was so in the days of jahiliyyah.” Upon sitting before Umar, Sawad said, “O commander of the faithful! You never received any of your guests the way you did me.” Umar said, “What we used to do in the days of jahiliyyah is worse than this. But tell me about what I have asked you.” Sawad said, “You were true, O commander of the faithful! I was a soothsayer in the days of jahiliyyah, then he told him the story.”

The sahabah, in general, had the most accurate and sharpest firasah. The true firasah is obtained from life and from the light Allah grants to whom He wishes from amongst His true servants. The heart receives life and light and then its firasah will almost never be wrong. Allah says, “Is he who was dead and We gave him life and set for him a light whereby he can walk amongst men, like him who is in the darkness from which he can never come out?” [6:122]

The verse describes the person as “dead” because of the disbelief in his heart and the life of jahiliyyah or ignorance he was leading, but then Allah gave him life through emaan or faith of knowledge. Upon his acceptance of these gifts, the Qur’an and faith become the light by which he sees his way out of the darkness (of disbelief and ignorance) and onto the straight path.

Firasah is linked to three human organs: the eye, ear and heart. His eye examines the look and the signs, his ear examines the speech, the over expressions, oblique inferences and hints, content, logic and tone of voice. And his heart analyzes both what is seen and hear to perceive hidden thoughts of others. His analysis and examination of the interior compared to the exterior is like one who examines currency to see if it is counterfeit after examining the outside. It is also similar to Ahlul-Hadeeth (scholars who specialize in the knowledge of the hadeeth), who will read a hadeeth that has a sound isnad (chain of narrators) but upon examination of the matn (text of the hadeeth), it is found that it is a fabricated hadeeth.

There are two factors in firasah. One is the quality of one’s mind, the sharpness of the heart and the intelligence. The second is the appearance of the signs and indications on others. When both factors are present than one’s firasah may not be wrong. Iyaas bin Mu`awiyah had great firasah and he was well-known because of it , as was Imam Shafiee who was also reported to have written about it.

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Pursuit Of Knowledge – Putting it into Perspective; ‘Dont overfill your buckets’: Sr Aysha Khanom

August 25, 2008 at 5:42 pm (Sr. Aysha Khanom)

Pursuit Of Knowledge – Putting it into Perspective
‘Dont overfill your buckets’: Sr Aysha Khanom
 In The Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful
Sometimes, I look upon my bookshelf, and see the books, audio lectures, and Quran, and question myself.. where has all this knowledge got me? How much have I implanted in me of the knowledge I’ve sought.
The fact of the matter is, the benefit we have drawn from knowledge shows at the time where we are tested. We learn about The Seerah, The Sunnah, The Akhira, and we take many great lessons from The Qur’an. When times become easy and we have contentment in our hearts, practising the deen becomes easy, and we feel we are untouchable, we predict that nothing can lead us astray because of our conviction in Islam. Yet, when we are tried and tested, the knowledge there then is truly applied. If we are tempted, do we give in or turn away? When life seems like its crumbling around us, do we take the example of Prophet Muhammad (saw), and carry on labouring hard in Allah’s way, or do we sit in a corner and lose focus on our purpose?
Somebody once said to me (May Allah preserve him), that its the ‘last five minutes that count’. For instance, we can work hard for a person all our life, and give them everything, but all in all, anything that person does to illustrate any unappreciation, can cancel it all out. The same applies with our deen, and the knowledge we gain.
The beauty of Islam is that, theres always an addiction for knowledge. Once we start seeking it, we can never get enough. We want more and more, this is especially felt in those who convert, or those who are born Muslims and make repentance at first. The Zeal for knowledge grows, because we are learning about our reality, and a different approach and perspective of life which is mind blowing. Yet, this can be a ready trap from shaytaan, and a danger for us.
The seeking of knowledge, is always a beautiful pursuit. Although sometimes, we need to becareful not to overload our buckets. We can often attend talks, with our full stomach of knowledge, and expect to digest more. The way we can emtpy the full bucket, is by following knowledge through with action, and spreading it. Otherwise, our efforts to seek knowledge would have gone to waste and it can be held against us.
Imam Ghazzali (May Allah have mercy on him), mentions in his Letter to a Disciple;
“O Disciple, be neither destitute of good deeds nor devoid of spiritual states, for you can be sure that mere knowledge will not help. It is as though a man in the desert had ten Indian swords, and other weapons besides – the man being brave and a warrior- and a huge terrifying lion attacked him. What is your opinion? Will the weapons repel this danger of hid from him without being used and being weilded? It is obvious that it will not repel it unless drawn and wielded!..
… Even if you studied for a 100 years, and collected a 1000 books, you will not be eligible for the mercy of God the Exalted except through action.”
I remember telling somebody once, ‘Picture it like this, your carrying with you a long rod on your shoulders, and on both ends are two buckets. Everytime you seek knowledge, you fill up each bucket, until it gets heavy. Whenever you act upon the knowledge, your pouring the bucket out, and you can carry onto get some more. Yet everytime, you gain more knowledge, and dont act upon it, you begin to add more weight, and your journey to the well becomes heavier, and slows down your progress. The knowledge then becomes a burden, and any extra knowledge is whats falling out of the bucket as would water, has gone to waste, aswell as your efforts’.
The heart will begin to repulse the extra knowledge.
Shaytaan is always ready to make us fall, not only through the bad things, but even through what may seem good to us.
InshAllah this Ramadhan, it maybe that we need to sit back and think, although there will be some, who will want to open their abandoned books, there maybe also some of us, who may need to close them, and act on what we already know.
May Allah give us all the ability, and make our knowledge a means for us to earn Allah’s pleasure.

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The Description Of The Prophet (saw)

August 24, 2008 at 2:12 pm (The Prophet (Saw))

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Love Of Allaah” – Ibn Ul Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah

August 24, 2008 at 2:09 pm (Ibn Al Qayyim (Rahimahullah))

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The Characteristics of the Seeker of Happiness

August 24, 2008 at 2:05 pm (Ibn Al Qayyim (Rahimahullah))

Ibn al-Qayyim: The Characteristics of the Seeker of Happiness

Ibn al-Qayyim said:

“…The seeker of Allah and the Hereafter – rather, the one who seeks to obtain all knowledge, productiveness, and leadership, such that he is a leader who is taken as an example in all of this – should be brave, bold, in control of his whims, and not under the control of his imagination.

He should be abstinent from everything except that which he is after, passionate about what he has turned his face towards, knowing the path to it, as well as the paths which lead away from it.

He should be bold in his aspiration, firm in his resolve, and not swayed from his goal by the blame of the blamers or the discouragement of the discouragers.

He should generally be tranquil, constantly in thought, and not be moved by the sweetness of a compliment or the pain of criticism.

He should be forthcoming in providing himself with what he needs to help him obtain his goal, and should not be incited by those who oppose him.

His slogan should be patience, and his rest should be his fatigue, and he should love to have the best manners.

He should make the best of his time, not mixing with the people except in a most cautious state, just like a bird that quickly comes down to snatch a morsel from between two people.

He should stand over himself, encouraging himself by way of hope and fear, and should seek to be outstanding amongst his group…”

[‘al-Fawa’id’; p. 265]

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Achieving High Aims

August 24, 2008 at 2:02 pm (Ibn Al Qayyim (Rahimahullah))


Achieving high aims depends upon having a firm intention and a strong will. Whoever loses them will never attain one’s goals, because when one’s intention is firm, it adheres to the plan, and if one’s will is strong, the servant will walk along the right way that leads to that aim. Having a strong will opens the way and a resolute intention focuses one on the aim. If one’s aim coincides with the way that reaches to it, one will be successful.

If one’s intention is weak, one will not have a high aim. If one’s will is not strong, it will (also) not lead one to the aim. The whole matter depends upon the will and the intention of the servant, and they will never be achieved without the following:

First, neglecting innovations which people make.
Second, abandoning worldly benefits and vain pleasures, which hinder one from one’s way and aim.
Third, purification of one’s heart from any vain desires that will distract one’s intention.

Imam  Ibn al-Qayyim al Jawziyyah, Al-Fawa’id

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