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Blogs for New Muslims – Islamic Education Blogs

Months of the Hijri Calendar

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There are 12 months in the Islamic Year:

The names of these months pre-date the revelation of the Quran. They were named by the Arabs based on the seasons of the year and the conditions of their lives.

Month 1 – Muharram – the literal meaning is “sacred.” It is said the Arabs called this month sacred as they forbade fighting, war, and killing during it. Read More

The Miracles of Jesus

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Every messenger of God sent to his people was given miracles. These miracles were a sign to their people of the truthfulness of the messengers and how they carried God’s message. One of the messengers whose miracles are mentioned by God in the Quran, is the messenger Jesus. God gave Jesus the ability to perform the following miracles:

  1. Speaking as a baby – God describes this to us in the Quran, “[But] he said: ‘I am a servant of God. He has granted me the Scripture; made me a prophet; made me blessed wherever I may be. He commanded me to pray, to give alms as long as I live, to cherish my mother. He did not make me domineering or graceless. Protection was on me the day I was born, and will be on me the day I die and the day I am raised to life again.’” [19:23-26]                                                                                                                                                                                          
  2. Making bird shapes out of clay and bringing them to life – “I will make the shape of a bird for you out of clay, then breathe into it and, with God’s permission, it will become a real bird.” [3:49]                                                                   
  3. Curing the blind and the leper –  “I will heal the blind and the leper…” [3:49]                                                                          
  4. Bringing the dead back to life –  “…and bring the dead back to life with God’s permission.” [3:49]                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
  5. Telling people about their hidden affairs – “I will tell you what you may eat and what you may store up in your houses. There truly is a sign for you in this, if you are believers.” [3:49]                                                                                  
  6. The revelation of the Gospel –  “I have come to confirm the truth of the Torah which preceded me, and to make some things lawful to you which used to be forbidden. I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. Be mindful of God, obey me.” [3:50]                                                                                                                                                                      
  7. The heavenly feast –  “Jesus, son of Mary, said, ‘Lord, send down to us a feast from heaven so that we can have a festival- the first and last of us- and a sign from You. Provide for us: You are the best provider.’” [5:114]

When to Seek God’s Protection

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God’s divine protection can be sought at any time. However, the following are specific times, places or situations in which you should seek God’s protection with the following phrase/prayer (I seek God’s protection and refuge):

  1. Before reading the Quran 41:36
  2. When confronted by Satan’s whispers and temptations to sin – God says, “If a prompting from Satan should stir you, seek refuge with God.” 7:200
  3. When Satan disturbs you during the daily ritual devotions (Salah) – The Messenger Muhammad informed us that if Satan comes to us during this time, to seek God’s protection
  4. At times of negative improper anger – The Messenger Muhammad informed us that seeking God’s protection at this time is a means of removing anger.
  5. When seeing bad dreams – If you see a displeasing nightmare, then you should seek God’s protection from Satan.
  6. When stopping somewhere in the wildreness or the countryside – The Messenger Muhammad said that whoever says, “I seek protection in God’s perfect words from the evil of what He created,” will not be harmed.
  7. When entering the restroom
  8. As part of the morning and evening daily invocations 

Not All Prayers Are Valid, nor Will They Be Granted

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Not All Prayers Are Valid, nor Will They Be Granted


Praying to God and asking Him to grant our needs and wishes is one of the greatest acts of worship. It is a beloved act of worship to God and one that is greatly encouraged in the Quran and by the Messenger Muhammad. However, not all prayers are valid, nor will they necessarily be granted. In this blog, we will explore some of the reasons for this.

Invalid Prayers

There are a number of reasons which may cause prayers to be invalid including:

  1. Impermissible earnings – wealth which is not attained from pure means or earned by Islamically unlawful means.  The subsequent food, drink, and clothing we purchase with such wealth is one reason for our supplications being rejected.
  2. Making Impermissible Requests or asking for evil and harm to befall oneself or others  – praying to God and asking for something which displeases God is something which may be rejected. For example, asking to break our ties of family kinship.
  3. Sins – disobeying God can at times act like a barrier which prevents our prayers from being answered.
  4. Being Inattentive – the Messenger Muhammad informed us that God does not accept the prayers that come from a heedless heart.

How Prayers Are Granted

For the Muslim who is trying their best and sincerely prays to God, they will find an answer. However, the response may not necessarily be what they expect. The Messenger Muhammad informed us that God answers our prayers in one of three ways:

  1. God gives us what we ask for – this means that God accepted our prayers and gave us what we wanted in our lifetime.
  2. God does not grant us what we ask for, but instead gives us the reward of our supplication in the Hereafter. 
  3. God does not grant our prayer, but instead removes from us an equal harm that would have befallen us, making the prayer a form of protection.

Remember, God is All-Knowing and All-Wise. If God chooses to withhold something from us, it is due to Him knowing that it is not in our best interest. However, the prayers are not lost; the reward of those prayers will be preserved and other harms that we were unaware of will be removed from us.

Therefore, never despair from praying to God as often as you can. When the disciples of the Messenger Muhammad heard the three ways in which God responds to our prayers, they stated that they would pray even more. The Messenger Muhammad replied that God’s bounty will always be more than our prayers.

Pilgrimage Rites Connected to Abraham & His Family

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Many of the rites of pilgrimage are connected to Abraham and his family. Abraham was commanded to leave his baby son Ishmael, and Ishmael’s mother Hajar, in the barren land of Mecca before it became a thriving city. Hajar was left with little provisions for herself and her son. In order to seek water, she ran between the two nearby hills of Safa and Marwah a number of times. This is where the pilgrimage rite of Sa’i, or the walking between the two hills comes from.

On her 7th circuit up the hills, Hajar saw water by where she had left Ishmael. Fearing the water would run out, she built a small mound around it to contain it. This is the well of Zamzam. This water is considered blessed and pilgrims will drink from this water throughout their stay in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

Ishamel and Hajar settled in this city and other people noticed the water so they requested to join them. When Ishmael was a young boy, Abraham saw a dream that he should offer him as a sacrifice to God. Abraham informed Ishmael of this, and together they walked the short distance to Mina, the place where pilgrims today spend much of their pilgrimage. On his way, Satan appeared three times to Abraham to convince him to disobey God’s command. Each time, Abraham took small pebbles and threw them at Satan. This is why pilgrims stone the three pillars during the pilgrimage.

When Abraham was about to sacrifice Ishmael, God informed him that he had passed the test, and instead replaced Ishmael with a ram. Today, pilgrims offer a similar sacrifice during their pilgrimage.

A number of years later, Abraham returned to Mecca. This time, God had commanded him to raise the foundations of the Ka’bah. Abraham asked Ishmael for his assistance. Together, they built the Ka’ba. Abraham proclaimed this as God’s house and a place of pilgrimage, and invited God’s faithful servants to come there for pilgrimage.

It is in response to this call from God, through Abraham, that millions of Muslims flock annually to the holy city of Mecca to perform this once-in-a-lifetime obligation of pilgrimage.

Preparing For Last Ten Nights of Ramadan

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The last third of Ramadan has finally arrived, all praise and thanks is due to God. No matter how good or average the last 20 days have been, we have another chance to make everything better. These are the best nights of the entire year and one of them is better than a 1000 months, so no excuses! Let’s just do what we need to and bring it home!

Here are some tips to do our best:

1. To have an amazing night, you need to have had an amazing day! So be sure to look after the compulsory deeds and stay away from everything forbidden. If you slip, seek forgiveness sincerely and move on!

2. Perform all the confirmed recommended prayers which are attached to the compulsory prayers, and get your daily house in Paradise for doing so.

3. Try your best to pray at least 2 units of the recommended forenoon prayer every morning before midday.

4. Complete your morning Statements of Praise and Glorification of God in full before midday, and complete your evening Statements of Praise and Glorification of God daily before maghrib, so that the prayers are already helping you as soon as the night begins.

5. If you can, take a nap after the mid-day or afternoon daily prescribed ritual act of devotion, as it will help you manage the night with more energy and focus, God willing.

6. Put your phone on flight mode as soon as you can in the evening, and don’t switch it back on except at fajr. This is if you can of course. If your phone must be on, please don’t waste time on social media and focus solely on God.

7. Burn in, don’t burn out! Worship God with quality, and not quantity. If you feel you’re getting tired or losing focus, try another act of worship. All praise and thanks are due to God, that there are so many ways to worship Him, which includes teaching others beneficial knowledge.

8. In your prayers and remembrance, frequently repeat the prayer taught to Aisha by the Messenger Muhammad:

اللهم إنك عفو كريم تحب العفو فاعف عني

‘Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbul-‘afwa, fa’fu ‘anni

O Allah, You are Forgiving and love forgiveness, so forgive me.” 

9. Have faith in the promised rewards for your worship throughout the night, as well as positive hope that God Almighty will grant you better than you dream of in both worlds, including the rewards of the night which is better than 1000 months!

All the best everyone!  

Fasting at Work

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Ramadan is the name of the Islamic month which Muslims fast. It’s very likely that this will come during your work year. We will look at things we can do to help us fast whilst working.

1.      The Islamic calendar is based on the lunar calendar and the sighting of the moon, and therefore moves ten to eleven days each year. Therefore, there will be times when Ramadan is in the summer and times when it is in the winter.

2.      In Ramadan, we fast the daylight hours. This means we refrain from eating, drinking and other things which are consumed such as smoking.

3.      Ramadan is also a time when we (especially) improve our character and refrain from bad characteristics such as lying and backbiting.

4.      It’s a good idea to start fasting during the month before Ramadan begins so that we can train our bodies to get used to the fasting process.

5.      You may find the first few days difficult but your body will soon get used to the new routine.

6.      It is highly recommended to have a pre-dawn meal. This is also a good time to drink plenty so as to keep hydrated throughout the day.

7.      If the fast opening time which is at sunset is during work hours, you can use your comfort break for this, or depending on your job delay your lunch break to this time. You don’t necessarily need to eat a full meal at this time, just enough to rehydrate and sustain yourself until you can have dinner.

8.      If at any point in this month you fall ill or travel you can miss that day of fasting. You can then make this day up after Ramadan.

9.      Pregnant and nursing women likewise have an exemption from fasting and make the days up at a later time.

Minor Signs of the Day of Judgement

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God has not informed anyone of the exact timing of the Day of Judgement. This is knowledge He has kept with Himself. However, God has given us signs which show the nearness of the Day of Judgement. God says, “What are the disbelievers waiting for, other than the Hour which will come upon them unawares? Its signs are already here, but once the Hour has actually arrived, what use will it be then to take heed?” [47:18]

Therefore, God tells us to take heed of the signs of the Day of Judgement so that we can ensure we are working towards what pleases God. There are many signs of the Day of Judgement, however they can generally be split into minor and major signs. The minor signs are many and are those which are events and changes that occur well before the Day of Judgement and continue up to it.

The coming of the Messenger Muhammad and his death were from the first minor signs of the Day of Judgement. Since then, they have been occurring. A sign of the Day of Judgement does not necessarily mean that it is evil but prophecies which show to us the truthfulness of the Messenger Muhammad and remind us to prepare for the Day of Judgement.

Other minor signs of the Day of Judgement include increased ignorance of religion, increase in frequency of earthquakes, indiscriminate murder and killing, time passing by quickly, increase of immorality and bad conduct. To be aware of these and other signs is to know that the Day of Judgement is drawing close and the need to prepare for it.