Envy is one of the most dangerous diseases. It can lead to actions people never imagine they would do. Here is a quick list of stories that came to mind when I was reading the Quran and reflecting on story number 2 below:

1- What made Iblis disobey the order of his Lord and refuse to prostrate to Adam is envy: “… see this one whom You have honored above me; if You give me respite to the Day of Judgement, I will seize and mislead his offspring, all but a few”

2- What made the son of Adam to kill his brother is envy: “… when each offer a sacrifice, it was accepted from one but not from the other; he said, I shall kill you …”

3- What led the Brothers of Yusuf (pbuh) to get rid of him was envy: “They said: Yusuf and his brother are dearer to our father than we, while we are a strong group … Kill Yusuf or cast him out to another land …”

4- What drove the Israelites to object to the assignment of Talut as a king, despite his knowledge and strength was envy: “They said, how can he be a king over us when we are fitter than him for the kingdom and he is not given enough wealth …”

5- What made the Israelites reject the message of Muhammad (pbuh) was envy: “Do they envy men for what Allah has given them of His blessings?”

6- After the people of the book were sure that the message the Prophet (pbuh) is the truth from Allah, the wishes of many of them were not to believe in it but to deviate those who had already believed, “Many of the people of the Scripture wished that they could turn you away as disbelievers after you have believed, out of envy from their own selves, even after the truth become manifest unto them …”

Search deeply in your heart, you will probably find that the source of most of your problems is envy. It is not that people envy you. That you have no way to search for. It is about YOU HAVING ENVY IN YOUR HEART TOWARDS OTHERS. 

One solution?, Well, keep in mind the following paragraph:

Others really do not have to lose what they have or what they achieved for you to get it. As a matter of fact, it is better for you to think of how to be as good or better than others by climbing up to their level as opposed to working deliberately to bring them down to yours.

On the Memory of Malcolm

Malcolm X, one of the symbols of the black struggle in America, has become an icon of freedom and human rights for Americans, African Americans, and Muslim Americans. As we conclude February, the black history month in the US, I thought of sharing the outline of the Friday Khutba I delivered reflecting on the story of Malcolm from a personal perspective. I refrained as much as I could from talking about political and social impact Malcolm had given that I am no reference on such an important subject. However, I believe the continuous struggle of African Americans and more specifically the Muslim part of it is a very important piece of history we should all learn.

Stories are important

Stories are the best learning tool ever. It is not surprising that Allah made one third of His Book about stories. It is not surprising that He orders His Messenger (and subsequently all of us) to tell stories, “So tell stories for they may think and reflect.” When the stories are true, when they are full of challenges, struggle, and actions, they become the best tool of personal development. History is the place to examine in  order to see the future. Life is nothing but a repeating pattern, except that it requires a little effort to discover it.

The story of Malcolm is very important. Malcolm is a person many of us can relate to. He did not live very far in history. The struggle he went through and the problems he faced are very similar to those we go through.

Malcolm in brief

Malcolm’s dad died when he was a preteen. He was killed in a racist crime. His mom spent the rest of her life in a mental hospital. He grew up in a series of foster homes. He lived a typical African American life at the time, facing discrimination and racism, going into crime, and ending up in jail. In jail, he got introduced to the Nation of Islam, a black movement trying to liberate Black Americans through promoting black supremacy as an opposing concept to white supremacy. Despite its name, it was quite different from Islam the religion. After he had come out of jail, he became a very influential leader in the Nation and presented himself as one of its powerful ministers. However, due to a little conflict with –and jealousy from– other leaders in the Nation, he was banned from public speaking due to comments he made to the press. At that point of time, he was introduced to the mainstream Islam which he embraced. He then traveled to Mecca for Hajj, a trip in which he visited many places in the world and met with many Muslim leaders. He came back a completely different person. He continued his struggle for freedom and human rights for black Americans yet on a different value system other than that of the Nation. He was then assassinated by some members of the Nation with a lot of mystery about the involvement of government agencies in this assassination.*

LESSON #1: ‘Allah knows and you don’t

Malcolm started his life on a very difficult note. His father was killed in a racist crime, his mom was placed in a mental hospital, he grew up mostly in foster homes, he went to jail. This was a typical tough start for the average African American at the time. Yet, despite the challenge he went through, he ended his life as the figure we are talking about and many people look up to him and see inspiration in his endeavor. One needs to reflect on the plans that Allah makes for people. He wouldn’t have become Malcolm that we know except through this specific journey that was bumpy and challenging. Racism against father led somehow to his awareness of the problem, and later to activism and struggle against it. Jail, one of the worst experience one can go through, led to joining the Nation. The Nation, although is not the ideology that we would support, led to Malcolm developing the plethora of  skills in leadership, public speaking, and public organization. Disagreement and conflict with the Nation lead to embracing Islam and transforming his whole life. Had these challenges never happened to him, he would have become a normal person. We should not surrender to circumstances. One should not give in to bad experience or hard times. It may be Allah’s plan for us to change. It is our response to difficult experience that decides the outcome. Many people went through the same bad experience Malcolm went through but did not end up being heros.

One should recall the tough experience Prophet Yusuf (pbuh) went through. No young boy wants to be hated or kidnapped by his own brothers. No one wants to be enslaved. No one wants to be seduced. No one wants to go to jail. However, going through the story again. It is every single step in it, although very bad, is what led to Yusuf being the leader that we know of. Again, one should not aim for bad experience. Rather, when it happens, we should see it as Allah’s plan to make us better. Is it really that? Our response decides.

LESSON #2: The end is what matters

You may think that the comparison of Malcolm and Yusuf does not hold. Yusuf never committed any crime. It was injustice that is committed against him by others. However –you can claim, Malcolm was originally a bad person. He is the one who engaged in bad actions: women, drugs, gangs, etc. He is the one who put himself in difficult times.

With this thought in mind, we can learn the second lesson from Malcolm’s story: it does not matter what you were. What matters is what you are going to be. Omar Ibn Al-Khattab (r) was one of the toughest enemies to Islam. He used to torture Muslims in the streets of Mecca to force them to leave their religion. Omar’s crime is way bigger than Malcolm’s. However, when Omar saw the truth, he transformed. He embraced Islam and Islam transformed his life. He became a person about whom the Prophet (pbuh) said, “The faith of Omar outweighs the faith of the whole Muslim Ummah counting out Abu Bakr.” He lived a whole life striving for the sake of Allah, and died as a martyr for the sake of Allah. It does not matter much what Omar was originally. What really mattered was how he ended his life.

Ekrimah Ibn Abi Jahl lived his whole life fighting the Prophet (pbuh). He said, “O Prophet of Allah, I did not have any opportunity to fight you and Islam except that I did.” When the prophet went into Mecca victoriously, no one from the people of Mecca fought him except Ekrimah and a few. He forgave the whole population of Mecca despite their track of enmity to him except a handful of criminals, Ekrimah was one of them. Ekrima’s wife was able to get him forgiveness from the Prophet. Ekrima spoke to the Prophet, saw the truth in Islam, embraced Islam, and committed himself in front of the prophet  to “undo the evil he has done.” Ekrimah ended his life as a martyr for the sake of Allah and we all remember him and ask Allah to be pleased with him and have mercy on him.

One should note, however, that it is important to act upon moments of truth. Had Malcolm not changed, his name would have been written in the record of criminals as opposed to heros. Had Omar and Ekrimah ignored the opportunity, they would have continued to be the toughest enemy to Islam and ended up being in Fire.

LESSON #3: The truth needs to be sought

Malcolm’s endeavor seeking the truth is really inspiring. Although it happened over a short period of time, it appeared as a long journey. He went to the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Aisa and learned a lot in his journey. Allah (swt) said, “those who struggle for our sake, we will guide them our ways.

Malcolm’s journey reminds us of Salman, the young persian who grew up worshipping fire. He was sent to look after the real estate of his father and on the way he met a christian priest through whom he got to know Allah. He would travel between cities seeking the truth until the his last teacher told him to look for the Messenger (pbuh) in a land of the palmtrees. He sold everything he has to be given a trip to this land and he was betrayed and sold as a slave. From a master to another, he ended up being enslaved in Medina. He finally arrived at the destination he was looking for. He became Salman that we know of and who is called by Muslim historians, “the seeker of the truth.”

Finding the truth is a journey that we ask Allah every single prayer to “Guide us to the Straight Path!

LESSON #4: The unsung heros

What is really amazing in Malcolm’s story is those people who influenced his life. Reading a brief of his biography, I ask, “Who was able to convince this guy to consider Islam? Who had the ability to change Malcolm’s mind? Who met him during his trip to the Middle East? Whom did he meet in Europe and how were they able to change his mind?’

These people are more powerful than Malcolm. They are more valuable to Malcolm than he is to himself. A share of Malcolm’s effort and reward afterwards will go to them. They could have ignored him. They could have considered ‘Malcolm of the Nation’ an enemy, an intellectual and social enemy to say the least. They, instead, considered him a human who needs guidance. We should not underestimate a word of truth we say to someone even if we think this word is not going make a difference.Even the bedtime story you tell your own kids can be transformational to them. Who knows who will be the next hero?!

LESSON #5 The Wisdom of Allah and the brilliance of Sharia

A transformational moment in Malcolm’s life was his trip to Hajj, pilgrimage to Mecca. It changed his mind seeing people of different races, languages, nations, backgrounds get together in harmony and peace. It shook him how people of color get together with white people to worship Allah. It was an awakening experience for him. This is one of the message behind Hajj. We sometimes wish that Hajj is less busy or spread throughout the year but Allah knows better. This gathering in its very nature has wisdom. This wisdom was able to change a black supremacy believer into one who believes that men are created equal and there is no preference of a white over black or otherwise except by piety and good action.

May Allah have mercy on Hajj Malcolm! May Allah accept him among the martyrs! May Allah gather us with him in Paradise with our beloved Prophet and his companions. Amin!

* The detailed story of Malcolm is worth reading!

Toolkit to set our priorities and focus

This is a khutba I made to help Muslims set their personal priorities to be able to please Allah more and focus more on more important actions.



And if you prefer reading, you can check the two part article I wrote for OnIslam. Here are the links




Does One Person Matter?

The Drop and the Jar

A few years ago at my son’s middle school graduation ceremony, the school superintendent wanted to encourage the graduating students to seriously consider what they could add to society as they move further ahead in their educational journey. “Does one person matter?” he asked. And instead of continuing his speech, he made a demonstration, one that I will never forget. He showed a large glass jar full of water and an eyedropper. He then asked the students, “How many drops of water you think this jar contains?” After a few guesses from the students, he disclosed the answer, “2673 drops! I counted them myself this morning while filling the jar.” Raising the eyedropper, he asked “Do you think another drop can make a difference to the water in the jar?” The kids confidently yelled, “No!”

This is exactly how we all feel. What can one person do? What would a drop of water add to a whole jar full of water? Would my small effort make a difference in this huge complex world ? Unlike the answer to the water drop question, answering ‘no’ to this personal question will result in a lazy, inactive life, a life lacking energy and achievement. The Shaitan uses this tactic frequently to discourage people from doing good deeds, especially deeds that have wide-ranging effects. Shaitan challenges us with questions all the time: “Are you going to reform the world? How would you succeed while everyone who tried before you failed? What is so special about you? Do you think this small action will make a difference? People are completely astray; do you think you are a prophet to guide all of them?” These and many similar questions are sufficient to disable any person from doing good, and can cause stagnation in reforming a society, especially when the task is huge and the challenges are so formidable.

In this article, we will elaborate more on this obstacle and try to understand the causes. We will also identify the spiritual power needed to overcome this problem and defeat all the tricks the Shaitan uses. We will share a few examples of how being proactive and making even modest effort can bring about great results. We will help the reader answer the question presented at the outset with a resounding, “Yes! one person matters! — a lot.” We hope that by the end of this article, we will be as excited as all the students at the school graduation were when the superintendent proved them all wrong. He added one extra drop to the jar, and the difference was so obvious that it drew loud applause from all the students and their parents. The drop changed the whole jar. Of course it did. It was a blue food-coloring drop!

Full article


The hoopoe is a beautiful bird but it is not the only one that is beautiful. It does fly smoothly and with style but so do many other birds. It is not mentioned in the Qur’an because of all of that. It was its small action regarding the people who worshipped the sun. It was the hoopoe’s proactive attitude towards the truth that made its name recited by billions of Muslims in the most honorable and authentic book. It is its small effort that led a queen and her whole kingdom to believe in Allah with His Prophet Sulaiman (pbuh). Not only does one person count; Even a little bird does

Bilal Ibn Rabah – a symbol of … well, many things

This is a short talk I gave during the party of baby Bilal, the newly born baby of my friends. They named him after Bilal Ibn Rabah, the Abyssinian companion of the Prophet (pbuh). Bilal, although not as famous as other companions, was an icon of many values that all of us need to learn about and learn FROM!

When you have time, listen and learn, not from me but from Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him)






Share your thoughts if you dare!

Silence People: Block the Mercy of God

This post is inspired by a post written by my friend AB and I can’t find the link to post

In one of the very famous chapters in the Qur’an, Ar-Rahman (The Most Merciful), Allah starts the chapter by a few short versus. The First one says, “Ar-Rahman!” The verses to follow, though short and fast, describe the manifestation of this mercy. Here: “The most merciful * [It is He who] Taught the Qur’an * [He has] Created man * [He] taught him speech.” The word “Bayan,” translated here as “speech” is more comprehensive than just speech. It is about giving man the ability to express himself, share his ideas, explain what his thoughts, etc.

What is very important to know is that not only is this a right people have but also some kind of “mercy” from Allah upon his creation. When this piece of mercy is taken away from people, they will suffer. They will look for it; they will miss it; their life will be a difficult life. It is similar to taking away from people water, food, air, or shelter. The only difference is that taking away these materialistic needs has an instant apparent effect on them. Taking from people their ability to express themselves has a similar effect but on the their souls, and it will lead eventually to death, but that of the soul.

Oppressive governments do so, and hence the amount of frustration and lack of quality life. But more importantly, we, sometimes, deprive people around us from a good environment where they can “consume” this type of mercy Allah gives them. Here is a few examples to demonstrate how we do that, knowingly or unknowingly: Continue reading

Change by your heart or your heart will change

The Prophet (pbuh) said in a very famous Hadith, “Whoever sees something wrong should change it, with his hand. If he can’t, then with his tongue. If he can’t then with his heart and that is the weakest of faith.” The prophet, by this hadith, mandated everyone to change that which is wrong. All of us are obligated to do so. Sometimes, we are able to directly change what is wrong when we have an authority to do so. When we can’t, the obligation does not drop. It continues to be mandatory but through speaking against it so that people who can change it, change it. This is pretty straight forward and obvious.

What is interesting is the third statement. Continue reading

Why am I writing anyway?

I recently subscribed to the 2011 challenge of posting on daily basis. It does not seem easy btw. It is difficult to articulate ideas and it is even more difficult to get them in the first place. Also, since I am not a professional writer, that is, I do not do this for living, writing a post a day goes against my way of writing: I only write when an idea really hits me. Also, given the reflective nature of this blog, reflecting by a plan goes against the concept of reflection. 🙂

Anyway, I was excited about the challenge and I told my kids, “I need your help. I am going to have to post something every single day!” “Does anyone have an idea of what to write?” I asked. One of them responded, “Maybe you should write about the challenge. Why do you want to write a post every day?”

I think it is a very good idea! I came to the computer and started thinking about the reason. Why do I really want to write? What is my intention? How is that useful to me? Or to people around me? I rarely get an orignal idea; so why everyday? And … if I get an idea that is not original, what is the point of wasting people’s time reading it? Am I trying to use writing to vent?  Am I doing it so that I get praises when I write something good? Am I looking for the thumbs up or the “likes” count? I am not even advertising my blog that much, so what is the point? Maybe I should advertise it more aggressively. But why do I want to advertise and attract more people to what I write? Continue reading