My USIC Experience

By Ayyub Ahmed

The transition to university life was something I really did fear. Having never been away from home for more than 2 weeks, the thought of not having the luxuries of home cooked biryani or freshly washed clothes was terrifying. Once you move away from home, you really do appreciate the things your parents do for you, and I don’t just mean laundry and food but rather the support parents give mentally, physically and most importantly spiritually. However, my first week in Sheffield was not as daunting as I had first anticipated. Having said that, driving up to Sheffield in a jam-packed car, which was initially a 5 seater that had now become a 1½ seater car was not the smoothest of rides. The picturesque views I encountered on my way up did help make the journey a little more fruitful but little did I know that all these beautiful hill tops I was in awe of, were going to be my downfall (pardon the pun). One thing I was definitely looking forward to was the USIC Fresher’s events. There was a wide array of events for both brothers and sisters but to be honest it was the trip to Peak District that had really caught my eye. Cycling through the peaks was a true a bashing of my Nafs (ego) having believed that cycling up the hills would be a piece of cake, I couldn’t have been more wrong. But the trip really did show me how strong the brotherhood was in USIC. All the brothers on the committee have been very welcoming and have really helped me settle into Sheffield. When I come to think of it, even though I have left my family, I feel as if I have been welcomed to a new family with USIC, a sense of belonging. The events taking place during the week kept me occupied whilst most of my course friends were going out on a late night binge! This was not really a problem, the hardest aspect since moving to Sheffield would undoubtedly be having to climb Mount Snowden (Glossop Road) every day just to go from my lecture hall back to my flat (Just a note USIC have organised a challenge to climb this mountain for charity). The next hurdle I foresee would be my meal planning once I ran out of my mum’s frozen curries (I am so dreading this moment). Nonetheless, in the little time that I have spent as a fresher in Sheffield, I have learnt that Imran’s on Wicker is the place to be and that joining USIC has been really helpful. In shaa Allah this year is another year that Allah the Almighty bestows blessings and love upon us all and that we can encompass our lives with the love for our master, the Beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ

I would like to leave you with a quote by a great Islamic mystic:

You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop” – Hazrat Rumi (RA)

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The Sacred Month of Muharram

by Huraira Maneer

إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُورِ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ مِنْهَا أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ ۚ فَلَا تَظْلِمُوا فِيهِنَّ أَنْفُسَكُمْ ۚ

Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them…[9:36]  

As Salaamu Alaikum!

We have reached the blessed month of Muharram, one of the sacred months in Islaam and the first month of the Hijri calendar. With it are virtues and other important facts which I’ve noted below:

Ashura (10th of Muharram) is the day Allah rescued the Prophet Musa and his people, after Musa had called Firaun to Tawheed (To single Allah out in worship). But Fir’aun arrogantly rejected!

Ashura was also the day Pharoah (Fir’aun) and his people were destroyed 1

Muharram is one of the sacred months as well as Dhu’l-Qi’dah, Dhu’l-Hijjah and Rajab. As in the Quraan it says:

Indeed, the number of months with Allah is Twelve (lunar) months in the register of Allah (from) the day he created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion [i.e.way], so do not wrong yourselves during them…” (At-Tawbah:36)

Good deeds are of greater reward, and wrongdoing is more grave and serious in this month as well in other sacred months2

In order, the Islamic Months are as follows: 

  1. Muharram
  2. Safar
  3. Rabi’ al-awwal
  4. Rabi’ al-thani
  5. Jumada al-awwal
  6. Jumada al-thani
  7. Rajab
  8. Sha’ban
  9. Ramadan
  10.  Shawwal
  11.  Dhu al-Qi’dah
  12.  Dhu al-Hijjah

So what should we DO in this blessed month?

DO more righteous actions! Try harder to leave off prohibitions! Increase in fasting in this month especially the fast of Ashura.

The noble Scholar and Faqeeh Shaykh Uthaymeen advises us with regards to these months:

Respect the limits set by Allāh, carry out the obligations ordained by Allāh, and stay away from His prohibitions. Fulfil the rights with regards to what is between you and your Lord, and with regards to what is between you and His ‘Ibād (servants, slaves, worshippers)3

Abu Qatadah narrated that the Prophet said:

“Fast the Day of Ashura, for indeed I anticipate that Allah will forgive (the sins of) the year before it.”4

Al-Hāfiz Ibn Hajr said:

Fasting ʿĀshūrā is of 3 levels: The lowest is to fast it alone . Above this is to fast the 9th along with it.• Above that is to fast the 9th and the 11th along with it. And Allāh knows best.❞4

USIC Blogs

Shaykh Sha’arawiy says…

by Anonymous

Shaykh Sha’arawiy says:

I’m baffled by four persons faced by four situations, but forget four solutions:

  1. Someone in Grief, how does he forget:

۞ لا إلهَ إلاّ أنتَ سُبحانكَ إني كنتُ من الظالمين ۞ (Laa ilaaha illaa anta, sub-haanaka, innii kuntu minadzaalimeen.)

There is none worthy of worship event You. Glory be to You. Indeed, I am from the wrongdoers.

Don’t you see what Allah says afterwards?

۞ فاستجبنا لهُ ونجيناهُ من الغم ۞

“So, we responded to him and saved him from GRIEF…”

  1. Someone in SICKNESS, how does he forget to say

۞ ربي إني مسّنيَ الضرُ وأنتَ أرحمُ الراحمين ۞ (Rabbii innii massaniya-dhurr wa anta Arhamur-Raahimeen.)

Indeed, adversity has touched me, and You are the Most Merciful of the Merciful.

Don’t you see what Allah says afterwards?

۞ فا ستجبنا له وكشفنا ما به من ضر ۞
“So, we responded to him and cured him from all his SICKNESS…”

  1. Someone in FEAR, how does he forget to say

۞ حسبنا الله ونعم الوكيل ۞ (Hasbunallaahu wa niimal-wakeel)

Sufficient is Allah and the Best of Protectors.

Don’t you see what Allah says afterwards?

  ۞ فانقلبوا بنعمةٍ من اللهِ وفضلٍ لم يمسسهم سوء ۞

“Therefore, they returned with a great bounty from Allah and a great favour; … no evil had befallen them.”

  1. Someone facing PEOPLE’S EVIL; how does he forget to say

۞ ۞”وَأُفَوِّضُ أَمْرِي إِلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بَصِيرٌ بِالْعِبَاد (wa ufawwidu amrii illa-llaah, innallaaha baseerun bil-ibaad.)

I turn my affairs over to Allah. Indeed, Allah is all aware of His slaves.

Don’t you see what Allah says afterwards?

۞ فوقاهُ اللهُ سيئاتِ ما مكروا ۞

“Thus, Allah protected him from the EVIL they had planned…”


USIC Blogs

The Beautiful Trait of Equality

by Neelam Hafiz

Allah Ta’ala has given man intellect to think which is what sets us apart from any other species and is the reason why we must learn about the faiths and cultures of other people and make them aware of Islam. This is so that we comprehend each other’s values and by conversing on the subject of mutually shared values, attain mutual confidence and reliance, for the Qur’an has encouraged acting upon and paying attention to mutually shared values. Therefore, rather than propagating conflicts and disputes by focusing on controversial issues, attempts should be made to make the atmosphere more pleasant by stressing commonly shared values and making them the topic of discussion. Where there is mutual understanding, mutual confidence and respect will automatically prevail In Sha Allah!


USIC Blogs

Surah Ad-Duha

By Anonymous

So many people are suffering from depression and low moods..
This is a really good read and the next time you feel disconnected, disheartened or depressed with your level of Imaan and your connection with Allah – read Surah Ad Duha and ponder over its meanings – Inshallah it will restore your faith and increase your belief in the greatness of Allah.

Surah Ad-Duha & struggling with low mood & depression

Most of us know this Surah by heart. It was revealed to the Prophet (peace be upon him) at a time when he had not received any revelation for six months. He was in a very disturbed state of mind, feeling negative and depressed and believing that Allah was displeased with him, had forgotten him…

Don’t we have similar feelings in our lives? Times when our level of imaan is low, our khushoo in salah wavers and we feel a drop in our connection with Allah?* We feel like our duas are not being answered, our salah is not having a positive impact on our hearts, and worst of all the feeling that we’re horrible human beings, that Allah doesn’t love us or doesn’t care about us anymore.

Surah Ad-Duha was revealed to the Prophet (sallalahu aleihi wa sallam) to relieve him of these negative feelings and to give him hope, positivity, and the assurance that Allah is with him no matter what.

So what does this surah say?

Wad duhaa— By the morning brightness

This is the first thing you need to hear when you’re depressed: Wake up, look at the sunshine! Everything in life is not doom and gloom– you just have to look up!

Wal laili iza sajaa— And [by] the night when it covers with darkness,

A reminder to us that the night is meant to cover and give us comfort and rest. Generally when we’re depressed, we tend to get into a very bad sleep pattern by staying up at night and sleeping all day, thereby worsening our state of mind. This aayah reminds us to use the night as a comfort to ease our distress.

Ma wad da’aka rabbuka wa ma qalaa -Your Lord has not taken leave of you, [O Muhammad], nor has He detested [you].

This is a very powerful verse from Allah telling us that He doesn’t hate us and hasn’t forgotten us– reminding the depressed person that He is always by his or her side!

Walal-aakhiratu khairul laka minal-oola— And the Hereafter is better for you than the first [life].

Many times when we’re depressed we think: Is this all my life is going to be? Is it never going to get better? This aayah serves as a perfect answer to those questions, reminding us that life in this world is temporary and that Aakhira is certainly a better, more permanent place for us than this world could ever be. This makes us look forward to attaining our place in Jannah and helps us look at any problems in our lives as temporary tests of our faith from Allah.

Wa la sawfa y’uteeka rabbuka fatarda— And your Lord is going to give you, and you will be satisfied.

A promise from Allah that very soon he will give us a massive reward (Jannah) and we will be happy! Subhanallah! Isn’t this the best thing to hear when you’re depressed and fed up with this worldly life and the problems you’re facing?

Alam ya jidka yateeman fa aawaa – Did He not find you an orphan and give [you] refuge?

Now many of us may think: how would this aayah about orphans relate to the majority of us? Think about it– weren’t there many times in your life when you were sick or lonely and felt like you had nobody who cared about you? Who was the only one by your side at that time? Allah! It was He who took care of you and guided you out of that stage in life.

Wa wa jadaka daal lan fahada— And He found you lost and guided [you].

How many of us, despite being born Muslims or even reverts after some turbulent events, have found ourselves misguided and straying away from Islam in the past? It was Allah who gave us that hidaya and brought us back to the straight path and to Him and made us practicing Muslims. Alhamdulillah!

Wa wa jadaka ‘aa-ilan fa aghnaa— And He found you poor and made [you] self-sufficient.

Many of us have probably gone through many periods in our lives when we have been short of money and wealth. Now when we look back we realize that it was only Allah who gave us that rizq in some form and got us through those tough financial times. When a person is depressed, giving him or her examples of how Allah has helped them in the past will strengthen their conviction and belief in the promises Allah makes in this surah for their future.

Fa am mal yateema fala taqhar — So as for the orphan, do not oppress [him].

Depressed people are mostly consumed with their situation and feel that nobody could possibly be in a worse situation. This aayah reminds us to look at people who are in far worse situations than ourselves when we’re feeling hopeless and depressed— Look at the orphans, who have no family or loved ones and nobody to care for them. We have families and parents who love us, a roof over our heads and food on the table and we still think we’re in a bad situation? Subhanallah!

Wa am mas saa-ila fala tanhar— And as for the petitioner, do not repel [him].

Another example is of the beggar – to once again remind us of the many material blessings that Allah has given us that we take for granted – food, clothing and shelter. How many of us have ever gone to sleep hungry? How many of us don’t have clothes to wear? Or don’t have a home to go to? These examples of the orphan and the beggar are ones we should constantly remind ourselves of to be thankful for the numerous blessings Allah has given us, get over our depression and feel connected to Allah again, out of gratitude.

Wa amma bi ne’mati rabbika fahad dith – But as for the favor of your Lord, report [it].

This final aayah is about maintaining that renewed faith and bond with Allah – by pondering, glorifying and talking about the blessings of Allah! Either in terms of halaqas, discussions with family and friends or even da’wah! Dhikr, reading quran and listening to lectures are also great ways to keep the remembrance of Allah close to your heart!

USIC Blogs

An Attempt at Repayment

By Anonymous

This is a story that serves as reminder of how much our parents do for us, and what we can do in return for them..

I fought with death when I was giving birth to you. I spent sleepless nights when you were sick and crying. I never ate without feeding you first. I bore so many pains to bring you to the stage that you are in today. How will you repay me my son?

When I grow up, I will find a good job and earn lots of money for you so you can enjoy the pleasures of this world.

Your father is doing this already and I do not expect this from you too. By the time you are earning I will be old and will not be in need of any worldly luxuries.

I will find a pious lady and marry her so she can cook for you and take care of you.

That is not her duty my son and neither should you marry for that reason. It is not compulsory on her to do any service to me, neither do I expect this from her. Your marriage should be for you, a companion and a comfort for you as you go through this journey of life.

Tell me mother how can I repay you then?

(With tears in her eyes) Visit or call me often. A mother only requires this much from you while she is alive. Then when I die give me your shoulder and bury me. Whenever you perform prayers, supplicate for me. Give out in charity for me. Remember your every good deed will benefit me in the hereafter so be good and kind always. Fulfil the rights of Allah SWT and all those around you. The sleepless nights and pains I took to bring you up was not a favour to you but was for my creator. He blessed me with you as a beautiful gift and as a means for me to attain His pleasure. Your every good deed becomes my repayment. Will you do it my son?

The son cannot speak and has tears in his eyes.

May we all be of those that are a coolness of our parent’s eyes and a means of their purification. Aameen.


USIC Blogs

My Crown

By Anonymous

In a society that is rife with immorality and crime,
Where everyone wants to be ahead of time,
where bare is beautiful, and exposure is expected,
where a woman is ‘liberated’ from feeling any shame,
She is given something which is more than just a name,
Some definition, highlighted contours, and that million dollar smile,
Make up to match her personality, a touch of class and her signature style,
As the world feasts their eyes upon her, she begins to thrive upon all of this ‘appreciation’
She races with dear life and may even reach the catwalk, though it is not her final destination,
Even with her miss world slash, she still yearns to be miss universe,
Constant dissatisfaction like a perpetual curse,
And as age begins to take its toll, she isn’t even noticed as she walks down the street
Tired and lifeless as she struggles to drag her feet,
Shaking those once so beautiful hands, she begins to lose her grip,
Alone and miserable, yearning for companionship,
She recounts the days of glory, so many years, and now just a trophy,
But with no one to applaud her great achievement,
She dies alone, a freedom fighter for women’s liberation?
Or a symbol of women’s social slavery and oppressive subjugation?

And then there is my hijab, my abayah and my niqab,
Protecting me with its layers like a pearl within its oyster
Away from harmful gazes and strange eyes,
Away from being judged by my dress size,
Pleasing My Lord, My Maker and Sustainer,
I feel safeguarded, shielded and complete,
I respect myself and this is what Islam teaches me,
That I am a ‘woman’ and not just an object or a commodity,
A woman of honour and dignity,
And modesty is the celebration of my femininity.
The more I think of women’s freedoms and rights,
The more my love for my Deen Islam just deepens and increases.

I love my hijab, my abayah and my Niqab,
They form the crown of a believing woman, never to let go and never to be left.

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