On Christmas Day, 2010, I embraced Islam and became a Muslim. Why? Simply because I felt ready, as a result of a gradual process of growth and change that had been slowly transforming my life over the past year.
I moved to Abu Dhabi, UAE, in the spring of 2010, to teach English. My first time in the Gulf, I didn’t know what to expect but I wanted to understand the culture around me and the religion, which are a vital aspect of everyday life in this part of the world. Hence began my journey to learn about Middle Eastern culture and the people around me, reading books about Islam and the Quran. I had no intention of changing my own religion. I just wanted to understand Islam.
Narrated Abu Juhaifa: The Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade the use of the price of blood and the price of a dog, the one who takes (eats) usury the one who gives usury, the woman who practices tattooing and the woman who gets herself tattooed.
Sahih Al-Bukhari – Book 72 Hadith 829
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Avoid the seven great destructive sins.” They (the people) asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! What are they?” He said, “To join partners in worship with Allah; to practice sorcery; to kill the life which Allah has forbidden except for a just cause (according to Islamic law); to eat up usury (Riba), to eat up the property of an orphan; to give one’s back to the enemy and fleeing from the battlefield at the time of fighting and to accuse chaste women who never even think of anything touching chastity and are good believers.”
Sahih Al-Bukhari – Book 82 Hadith 840
Narrated Abu Burda: When I came to Medina, I met Abdullah bin Salam. He said, “Will you come to me so that I may serve you with Sawiq (i.e. powdered barley) and dates, and let you enter a (blessed) house that in which The Prophet (peace be upon him) entered?” Then he added, “You are in a country where the practice of Riba (i.e. usury) is prevalent; so if somebody owes you something and he sends you a present of a load of chopped straw or a load of barley or a load of provender then do not take it, as it is Riba.”
Sahih Al-Bukhari – Book 58 Hadith 159
In The Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
I am Omar, of Middle Eastern descend, 29 years old, and have lived all my life in Chicago. From an early age I wanted to be successful and different.
I started working when I was 15 years old. Before starting my own business in 2011, I have worked in various industries from oil & gas to financial institutions to chain of supermarkets. My first job title was “window cleaner” and last job title was “stock broker” before launching my own business in 2011.
Alhamdulillah that I was born a Muslim. A great gift to any human being is to be born into Islam. As long as I remember I was always attracted to Islam. I always felt peace, safe and happy doing something around Islam such as reading/learning Quran, Hadith, listening to lectures, and so forth. As a matter of fact in my early age, before my teen years, I used say that I will build my dream house where rivers will flow underneath my house and I will able to see river flow through my glass floor. After a decade later, I realised when I read the meaning of Quran that in Jannah there will be river flowing underneath.
After a while, I lost touch with Islam, between the age of 13 to 20. I became busy in life, work, study, worldly affairs where we value worldly education and work more than we value Islam. Due to environment and influence from home, I became more focused on studies, degree then knowledge of Islam and true value of life. There are 2 things that I never quit even when I went out of track. First, I never let go of Ramadan without fasting and enjoyed it very much. I always fasted steadfastly during Ramadan. I loved it. Second, I always talked to Allah and prayed to Him in my heart. I always remember Him every single day and talk to Him every single day. Thanks to Allah and I am in great debt to Him Alone.
My guidance day? It was 31 October 2003. You guess it – it was Ramadan. My guidance came to me from Allah on that blessed Friday. I was at Jum’ah and it was the first Jum’ah in Ramadan. During the Kutbah, the Imam “For eleven months we spend our lives however want to spend. Why not do something for Allah and give Him just 1 month.” This statement just hit me deep in my heart and Allah opened my chest for His deen. The very same day I clung to all my prayers, started analyzing myself for Islamic and un-Islamic actions and habits, I reflected on the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the ensuing image of Muslims, and so on so forth. The questions were raised in my mind and I searched for answer and Allah guided me. I have to say that there is huge pressure in the dunya if you try to pray, follow Islam, Quran and Sunnah. Its amazing the pressure is within your family and relatives.
I understand and totally agree it is hard to be on the way of deen and the world at the same time. There was pressure from outside and inside. Outside such as family, relatives, friends and inside such as shaytan and nafs. I totally agree that biggest threat to human beings is no other than their own nafs. The environment plays a role too but you have to literally fight yourself, your inner self. But as Prophet (pbuh) said, do your best and Allah knows our intention. Never give up or give in. This is life and this is our major test. We cannot ever fail or allow Allah’s deen fail. We just have to try best and have tawakul. There is so much peace in Islam and I hope that non-Muslims can see experience real Islam for the peaceful religion that it is.
I always wanted to work for myself. I don’t believe in working for someone else. As I was working as a broker, I really enjoyed it. It was quick money. Trading was fun and had I passion for it due to my degree in finance as well. But thanks to Allah, I realized that it is mere electronic money. There is nothing solid in it that I can feel or touch. So starting 2009 I looked around for a business to set up for myself. I began to take an interest in owning a gas/petrol station or a convenience store. I had worked many years so I knew the ins and out of business. There were 2 issues that were bothering me. First, I would have to sell alcohol and lottery tickets in order to bring more traffic to the store. Secondly, it would involve millions of dollars of investment so I would need a bank loan. I spoke with people and they said I would just need to take and sell lottery tickets and that’s how life and the whole system is. Go with the world or just sit home and do nothing. In other words, take it or leave it.
Astaghfar means seeking forgiveness of Allah for the sins so far committed and turning repentant unto Allah.
Allah has created us weak and we are likely to make mistakes and transgress. At the same time Allah has allowed us to seek forgiveness. Forgiveness is very important in Islam. By constantly turning to Allah for forgiveness of our sins, we learn humility. Our Creator time and time again tells His creation to repent so that they may be forgiven.
And seek forgiveness of Allah. Indeed, Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful.
Surat An-Nisa 4:106
And whoever does a wrong or wrongs himself but then seeks forgiveness of Allah will find Allah Forgiving and Merciful.
Surat An-Nisa 4:110
Allah is Ar-Rahman, the Most Compassionate, and Ar-Raheem, the Most Merciful. He loves that we ask Him for forgiveness and He has promised to forgive.
Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” And return [in repentance] to your Lord and submit to Him before the punishment comes upon you; then you will not be helped.
Surat Az-Zumar 39:53-54
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle salallahu alaihi wasallam said, “Our Lord, the Blessed, the Superior, comes every night down on the nearest Heaven to us when the last third of the night remains, saying: “Is there anyone to invoke Me, so that I may respond to invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me, so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone seeking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?”
Sahih Al-Bukhari – Book 21 Hadith 246
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, “When Allah created the creations, He wrote with Him on His Throne: ‘My Mercy has preceded My Anger.”
Sahih Al-Bukhari – Book 93 Hadith 545
Narrated by Anas ibn Malik
Anas heard the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam say: Allah, the Exalted, has said: “O son of Adam! Certainly I shall continue to pardon thee so long as thou supplicatest Me and hopest (for My forgiveness), whatever may be thy faults and sins, I don’t care. O son of Adam, even if thy sins pile up as high as the sky, and thou askest for My forgiveness, I will forgive thee. O son of Adam, if thou comest to Me with an earthful of defaults and meetest Me, not associating anything with Me, I will come to thee, with an earthful of forgiveness.”
Al-Tirmidhi – Hadith 442
Narrated by Abdullah ibn Umar
The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam said: “Allah, the Lord of honour and glory, will accept the repentance of His servant till his death-rattle begins.”
Al-Tirmidhi – Hadith 18
Prophet Muhammad salallahu alaihi wasallam, Allah’s beloved Messenger would constantly ask for Allah’s forgiveness.
Narrated Abu Huraira: I heard Allah’s Apostle saying.” By Allah! I ask for forgiveness from Allah and turn to Him in repentance more than seventy times a day.”
Sahih Al-Bukhari – Book 75 Hadith 319
Narrated Abdullah bin Amr: Abu Bakr As-Siddiq said to the Prophet “O Allah’s Apostle! Teach me an invocation with which I may invoke Allah in my prayers.” The Prophet said, “Say: O Allah! I have wronged my soul very much (oppressed myself), and none forgives the sins but You; so please bestow Your forgiveness upon me. No doubt, You are the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
Sahih Al-Bukhari – Book 93 Hadith 485
Thauban reported: When the Messenger of Allah salallahu alaihi wasallam finished his prayer, he begged forgiveness three times and said: O Allah! Thou art Peace, and peace comes from Thee; Blessed art Thou, O Possessor of Glory and Honour. Walid reported: I said to Auza’i: How is the seeking of forgiveness? He replied: You should say:, I beg forgiveness from Allah, I beg forgiveness from Allah.”
Sahih Muslim – Book 4 Hadith 1226
Narrated Shaddad bin Aus: The Prophet salallahu alahi wasallam said “The most superior way of asking for forgiveness from Allah is:
للَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ رَبِّي لا إِلَهَ إِلا أَنْتَ خَلَقْتَنِي وَأَنَا عَبْدُكَ وَأَنَا عَلَى عَهْدِكَ وَوَعْدِكَمَا اسْتَطَعْتُ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا صَنَعْتُ أَبُوءُ لَكَ بِنِعْمَتِكَ عَلَيَّ وَأَبُوءُ لَكَ بِذَنْبِي فَاغْفِرْ لِي فَإِنَّهُ لا يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلا أَنْتَ
‘Allahumma anta Rabbi la ilaha illa anta, Anta khalaqtani wa ana abduka, wa ana ‘ala ahdika wa wa’dika mastata’tu, A’udhu bika min Sharri ma sana’tu, abu’u Laka bini’matika ‘alaiya, wa Abu Laka bidhanbi faghfirli innahu la yaghfiru adhdhunuba illa anta.”
(O Allah! You are my Lord! None has the right to be worshipped but You. You created me and I am Your slave, and I am faithful to my covenant and my promise as much as I can. I seek refuge with You from all the evil I have done. I acknowledge before You all the blessings You have bestowed upon me, and I confess to You all my sins. So I entreat You to forgive my sins, for nobody can forgive sins except You.
The Prophet added. “If somebody recites it during the day with firm faith in it, and dies on the same day before the evening, he will be from the people of Paradise; and if somebody recites it at night with firm faith in it, and dies before the morning, he will be from the people of Paradise.”
Sahih Al-Bukhari – Book 75 Hadith 318
Let us take time every day to reflect on ourselves and seek Allah’s forgiveness with utmost sincerity and earnestly. May Allah help us stay on the right path, forgive us and help us repent when we falter.
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “The generous man is near Allah, near Paradise, near men and far from Hell, but the miserly man is far from Allah, far from Paradise, far from men and near Hell. Indeed, an ignorant man who is generous is dearer to Allah than a worshipper who is miserly.”
Tirmidhi transmitted it.
Al-Tirmidhi – Hadith 1869
Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh
Thank you for your question.
Reciting any verse of the Qur’ān is permissible without the need for wudū. This means one can recite from memory or looking at the Qur’ān without touching the muṣḥaf (physical copy of the Qur’ān) , as long as one is not in the state of major impurity (janābah).
‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Omar (may Allāh be pleased with him) reports that the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) said, “A menstruating woman or a seminally defiled person should not recite any part of the Qur’ān”. (Tirmidhī and Bayhaqī)
And Allah knows best.
Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Badat
Hadith of the Day Imam
Imam of the Islamic Foundation of Toronto and Director of Mathabah Institute