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Replace Anger with Forgiveness

Painting of desert sun raysThis article is reprinted from

Let go of anger and replace it with forgiveness

By Wael Abdelgawad

A man said to the Messenger of Allah, (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam – peace be upon him): “Advise me! “The Prophet said, “Do not become angry and furious.” The man asked (the same) again and again, and the Prophet said in each case, “Do not become angry and furious.” [Al-Bukhari; Vol. 8 No. 137]

Resolve to give up anger, even if only for today. Whatever anger you are harboring against others, let it go. Whatever anger you have against yourself for mistakes you have made, or wrongs you have done, let it go my brothers and sisters. It’s not helping you, it is only damaging your own spirit.

Remember that we are human; we are all imperfect. From the very beginning, starting with Adam and Hawaa (Adam and Eve) we human beings made mistakes.

Other people have made mistakes and harmed you in the past because they are human; forgive them. You have made mistakes because you are human; forgive yourself, and turn to Allah in tawbah (repentance).

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has taught us some strategies for dealing with anger. For example, he said:

“I know a word, the saying of which will cause him to relax, if he does say it. If he says: ‘I seek Refuge with Allah from Satan’ then all his anger will go away.” [Al-Bukhari; Vol. 4, No. 502]

And he said,

“Anger comes from the devil, the devil was created of fire, and fire is extinguished only with water; so when one of you becomes angry, he should perform ablution.” [Abu Daud; Book 41, No. 4766]

Abu Dharr narrated: The Apostle of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said to us: “When one of you becomes angry while standing, he should sit down. If the anger leaves him, well and good; otherwise he should lie down.” [Abu Daud; Book 41, No. 4764]

In another hadith, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said:

“If one of you becomes angry then he should be silent.”

Narrated ‘Abdur Rahman bin Abi Bakra: Abu Bakr wrote to his son who was in Sijistan: Do not judge between two persons when you are angry, for I heard the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, saying: “A judge should not judge between two persons while he is in an angry mood.” [Al-Bukhari; Vol. 9, No. 272]

So the Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, has give us several strategies to deal with anger:

  1. Seek refuge with Allah from Shaytan. This reminds us that fury and rage are not good things; they are evil forces that we need to get rid of before they take us over. Seeking refuge with Allah reminds us that Allah is near, watching us; also it reminds us to turn the matter over to Allah, so that we can let go of our anger.
  2. Perform wudu’. SubhanAllah, what a beautiful thing. The wudu’ is a source of blessings and barakah for us. It also has a powerful symbolic value, washing away our anger and making us peaceful and pure.
  3. Sit down, or even lie down. Modern science has learned that the body influences the emotions as well as the other way around. So assuming a peaceful posture leads to peaceful emotions. Sitting down or lying down are non-threatening positions. This helps to diffuse any conflict before it escalates.
  4. Stay silent. This is very important. All too often spouses or family members say things to each other in anger, and later they deeply regret it. However, the words have been uttered and the damage is done. When you are most angry is the time to remain silent. Seek refuge with Allah, make wudu, pray, go for a walk, go to the masjid… allow yourself time to calm down and reflect.
  5. Do not judge between people (in other words make important decisions). Obviously making important decisions out of anger is a formula for disaster.

So these are all wonderful points for dealing with anger in the moment. However, I am also speaking about past anger. We all have old emotional wounds that we carry around like scars. We have old resentments and hurts.

If you hold on to these hurts, they will destroy your marriage, or at least make it an unhappy, chafing relationship. Holding on to resentments and grudges will destroy your friendships, leaving you isolated. These persistent negative emotions will eat into your own soul, leaving you bitter and unhappy.

Let them go. Modern medicine tells us that carrying around these old resentments and anger is bad for the health; it actually damages the heart, increases blood pressure, and reduces lifespan. More importantly, however, it hurts our spirits. It makes us brittle and cynical. We become impatient, closed off and quick to judge.

Hurt, anger and resentment tighten your chest and narrow your vision. They make your world smaller.

Forgiveness, on the other hand, opens your lungs and lets you breathe. It releases your heart to beat freely, it removes the shackles from your mind, and lets all the weight drop off your back.

I know that this is easy to say and hard to do, but we must begin to forgive.

Start with forgiving yourself. Ask Allah for forgiveness for anything you’ve done that you regret, and then forgive yourself. Let it go. Breathe in deeply, breathe out, and let that anger escape with your breath. Do this as often as you need.

Brothers and sisters, be gentle with yourselves and with others. The world is already so full of anger, hatred, racism, divisions, and suffering. The world is torn by war and conflict. Let’s change this by starting with ourselves. Go into the world today and be gentle. Be kind.

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Be True, and Be You

Sunrays through the trees at Westonbirt Arboretum

Listen to the quiet voice of your heart that urges you to live your dreams

By Wael Abdelgawad
Reprinted from

Listen to the quiet voice inside yourself. The persistent voice that tells you that there’s something more to life, that calls you to do something meaningful, to experience the world in a profound way. So many of us dismiss that voice, suppress it. We are told that our dreams are not realistic or practical. We are told that we should settle for what is reliable, and will pay the bills, and garner us the respect of our peers.

But if we do not listen to that quiet voice, then who will? There is no external advocate who can read the yearnings of your heart and speak up on their behalf. You must be the champion of your own soul.

On the authority of Abu Malik Al-Harith bin Asim Al-Ashari said that the messenger of Allah said:

“Purity is half of faith. alhamdu-lillah [Praise be to Allah] fills the scales, and subhana-Allah [How far is Allah from every imperfection] and alhamdu-lillah [Praise be to Allah] fill that which is between heaven and earth. Prayer is light; charity is a proof; patience is illumination; and the Quran is an argument for or against you. Everyone starts his day and is a vendor of his soul, either freeing it or bringing about its ruin.”

(Related by Muslim).

You are the vendor of your soul: either freeing it or bringing about its ruin. You free it by worshiping Allah in love, gratitude and fear; keeping the praises of Allah on your tongue and in your heart; praying and fasting and living righteously (as opposed to self-righteously); by showing love and concern for other human beings; and by being true to yourself.

Allah created you with a unique nature. Do you think it’s only your fingerprints that are unique? Or your retinal scan, palm print, voice print and DNA? Do you believe that your uniqueness is encapsulated by measurable biometrical data? No, your uniqueness extends to your own wonderful thought patterns, your special heart, and your soul. You are you, not anyone else.

You are not an assembly-line robot, or a machine put here to consume, produce and expire. You are different from everyone else in the world because you are you. Respect that, and don’t try to force yourself in an uncomfortable or even impossible mold that someone else has dictated for you. Be true, be you, and free your soul.

I’m not talking about sinful desires. I am speaking of the quiet and inspired urgings of your heart. Maybe you dream of working in disaster relief, helping all those poor souls who suffered after the Indian Ocean tsunami, or from the earthquake in Haiti. Maybe you have an inner artist and you’d like to pursue that passionately and see where it takes you. Maybe you love children and would like to teach; maybe you are not satisfied with current school curricula and you have an idea of starting your own school. Maybe you’ve always fantasized about being a karate black belt, or helping poor villages in Africa become self-sustaining, or campaigning for human rights.

Maybe you’re single and you have feelings for a certain person, or just an undercurrent of admiration and respect, but you fear rejection; or maybe the person comes from a different cultural background and you worry that your family or your peers would not approve.

I could go on and on, but you get the point. Don’t be afraid of your dreams. Life is short; it passes so quickly, much sooner than we expect, and when we get to the end of the road we will regret only that we suppressed our hearts, and shoved them down into silence.

We will never regret pursuing our dreams, taking bold chances, expressing our love, whether or not we succeeded or failed, whether we experienced great joy or intense pain. In the end the difference between success and failure in any venture is in Allah’s hands anyway. All you can do is try, and trying is everything.

Stand up for your inner voice. Listen to it.

Stand up for your dreams. Give them a chance.

No one else will do it for you.

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Is it okay to disrespect non-Muslims and steal from them?

A drunk man passed out on the sidewalk in San Francisco.

A drunk man passed out on the sidewalk in San Francisco. How should Muslims treat such people?

(From Ummah1): This is a true story. Two Muslim brothers saw a non-Muslim man lying down on the sidewalk too drunk to even get up. They took his wallet and took all his money from him.

Later they laughingly told this story to a friend of mine (another Muslim). They thought it was a great joke. My friend was horrified and told them that this was wrong and they had no right to do this. They stated that since he the fellow on the sidewalk was a kafir and drunk, that there was no wrong in it and that it was okay. In vain, my friend tried to convince them that this was wrong but they never saw it that way.

Click here to read more… “Is it okay to disrespect non-Muslims and steal from them?”

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One quarter of the world is Muslim, new study finds

Map of the Muslim world showing countries with more than 1 million Muslims

Map of the Muslim world showing countries with more than 1 million Muslims

Reprinted from BBC News Online
Thursday, 8 October, 2009

A report from an American think-tank has estimated 1.57 billion Muslims populate the world – with 60% in Asia.

The report, by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, took three years to compile, with census data from 232 countries and territories.
It showed that 20% of Muslims lived in the Middle East and North Africa.

The data also showed that there were more Muslims in Germany than in Lebanon, and more in Russia than in Jordan and Libya together.

“Higher Than I Expected”

Researchers analysed approximately 1,500 sources including census reports, demographic studies and general population surveys.

Senior researcher Brian Grim told CNN that the overall figure was a surprise and said: “Overall, the number is higher than I expected.”

Asia and the Pacific: 61.9%
Middle East – North Africa: 20.1%
Sub-Saharan Africa: 15.3%
Europe: 2.4%
Americas: 0.3%

The report, published on Wednesday, also found that Ethiopia has nearly as many Muslims as Afghanistan.

Amaney Jamal, an assistant professor of politics at Princeton University, told the AP news agency: “This whole idea that Muslims are Arabs and Arabs are Muslims is really just obliterated by this report.”

Instead the report found that more than 300 million Muslims live in countries where Islam was not the majority religion.

Of the total Muslim population, 10-13% are Shia Muslims and 87-90% are Sunni Muslims. Most Shias live in Iran, Pakistan, India and Iraq.

Muslims praying at a mosque in London.

Muslims praying at a mosque in London.

Europe is home to 38 million Muslims – around 5% of its population with European Muslims making up slightly more than 2% of the world’s Muslim population.

More than half of the 4.6 million Muslims in the Americas live in the US – however they make up just 0.8% of the population there.

The Pew Forum has said the findings will lay the foundation for a forthcoming study that will look at how Muslim populations worldwide have grown and what they may look like in the future.

It also plans to compile figures for the other major world religions. According to internet-based group, Adherents, there are currently 2.1 billion Christians, 900 million Hindus and 14 million Jews worldwide.

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Islam held in high esteem in Rwanda

Many Rwandans turned to Islam after the genocide

Many Rwandans turned to Islam after the genocide because of the good example given by Rwandan Muslims during the genocide. This is a photo of a Muslim Rwandan girl visiting a mosque for a wedding.

Courtesy Arab News

DUBAI, 30 September 2007 — The life story of Umugwaneza Sulaiman, a contestant for the Dubai International Holy Qur’an Award, is truly inspirational since he has risen from rubble to create a renaissance.

Even though he is only 19, this young man from Rwanda has survived a life of hardship. As a young child he survived the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. He still has horrific memories of hiding in forests from militias that were killing people. The rivers and roads they walked through were littered with bodies. Later on he lost his father and had to lead a harsh life in one of the poorest countries in the world.

Despite all his hardships, Sulaiman was determined to become a hafiz and was rewarded by becoming the first Rwandan to take part in the Dubai International Holy Qur’an Award competition. Sulaiman’s quest with the sacred book started when he converted to Islam at the age of 11.

“Even though my family were Catholics I was never interested in the church. The Azan from the mosque in my neighborhood fascinated me and I started attending classes there,” he said.

When asked if he faced any resistance from his family, Sulaiman said that his family had no issues with him becoming a Muslim, as Islam is a held in high regard in Rwanda after the 1994 genocide. His whole family followed him a few years later and converted to Islam.

Since the genocide, Rwandans have converted to Islam in huge numbers. Muslims now make up 14 percent of the 8.2 million people in Africa’s mostly Catholic nation, twice as many as before the killings began. The reason behind the conversions lies in the fact that Rwandan Muslims did not take part in the genocide and played a key role in the humanitarian efforts that followed.

Muslims have been honored by the national government for their roles in saving the lives regardless of their faith. Many people attribute the recent spread of Islam to these humanitarian acts.

It took years of dedicated work for Sulaiman to memorize the Qur’an. The lack of qualified teachers in Rwanda made him make up his mind to travel to Kenya as there are good Qur’anic schools there.

“I was 15 when my five friends and I decided to travel to Kenya to seek knowledge. Two of my friends were converts like me,” he said.
The six young men packed their bags and traveled to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, to find the school. They enrolled themselves in a free boarding school, which accepts students from all over East Africa. There they studied under the tutelage of Qur’an scholars. It took Sulaiman two years to memorize the whole Qur’an.

Now back home in Rwanda, Sulaiman works as a part time Imam and Qur’an teacher to supplement his income while studying at the only Islamic seminar in Kigali.

Masha Allah, there are so many Muslims now in my country. We are working hard at teaching the Qur’an to the new generation of Muslim children,” he said.

After finishing his education, Sulaiman hopes to get a scholarship to study Islam. “We get Muslim scholars coming from Uganda to spread the word of Islam in Rwanda. I hope that through my knowledge of Islam I will be able to help spread peace in my country,” he said.

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Having Many Babies: a Muslim Take


Many environmental and social activists consider overpopulation to be one of the greatest challenges humanity faces.

Reprinted from

Date: 11/Aug/2009

Name of Counselor: Sahar El-Nadi

Topic: Having Many Children: a Muslim Take

Name of Questioner: Abhishek from India


Does Islam direct the married couple to have as many babies as possible? If yes, what about the problem of over-population in the country?


Salam, Abhishek.

Thank you for your question.

Your question made me think: Is it not strange that poor nations are complaining of overpopulation as a serious threat to development, while rich nations are complaining of under-population, also as a threat to development?

The EU is concerned about its demographic future because of an ageing population and overall population decline, yet it advocates birth control, abortion, selective pregnancy, postponement of child bearing, same-sex marriages, and less children per family.

In other words, the “civilized” world believes that deliberately decreasing birth rates is a pretext to affluence and happiness, when actually, demographic decline means eventual economic decline.

This formula is obviously faulty, so how could it be sold to other world nations as a ticket to development?

On the other hand, Muslims are not a world power today despite their wealth of human and material resources. Do you think that is due to their large numbers, or a direct result of the mismanagement of their resources?

If 1.5 billion humans had faith, manners, natural resources, and the required know-how to use all that for the common good, would they be considered “human surplus”?

Let us review both situations within the Islamic context of the value to all humanity of healthy, educated children.

Importance of Family and Gender Roles

There are a lot of regulations in both the Quran and the prophetic traditions dedicated to the well-being of the family as a social unit. Each Muslim family member has rights and responsibilities. And the family functions as a whole, harmonious unit rather than a group of individuals sharing the same living space.

Islam also designates gender-specific roles according to the preferences and capabilities of each gender.

As a religious duty, a Muslim man is completely responsible for everyone in his household, including servants and drivers. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) teaches that men answer to God for any negligence in providing for their families and ensuring their protection and wellbeing. In parallel, they are highly rewarded for carrying out their responsibilities successfully.

Consequently, a Muslim woman is not required to go out and find work in order to sustain herself; her men-folk provide for her unconditionally, in return for her carrying out certain responsibilities within the family. Her career outside the house is expected to be second to her highly esteemed job of nurturing her children to be successful humans.

Wherever there is a hard-working, caring dad, and a loving, well educated, pious mom, there will certainly be wonderful children making great contributions to all humanity, not just their local communities.

Obviously, the more of such children we have, the better. No one could argue that this type of children is undesirable or a burden to economy or social development.

In Europe, researchers wonder: are women restricting the size of families through free choice, or because concerns about their position at work prevent them from having as many children as they might actually like?

In other words, children have to be sacrificed in favor of career success, but does this produce affluence and happiness in the long run? (The EU’s Baby Blues, last accessed on August 2, 2009)

Muslim Parents’ Status

Rearing children to be useful individuals is highly rewarded according to Islam, both in this life and the next. Parents enjoy the highest rank next only to God’s, according to the Quran.

This alone is enough reason for Muslim families to want to have and raise good children. Prophet Muhammad teaches that dead parents continue to gain reward from a pious child who remembers them in prayers and does good deeds in their memory as a result of a healthy upbringing.

God’s Provision

People often forget it is not up to them to allow or prevent children from coming into the world. All they can do is try, but it is God alone who decides whether we have children or not, and how many of which sex.

He also created the world in perfect balance; and He knows best how to allocate His gifts. When we interfere to disturb that balance, we end up with a crisis situation, as it is in China for example, where the country is experiencing serious sex-ratio imbalance, to the extent of being called a “geopolitical time bomb”.

This resulted from laws limiting one child per family in fear of poverty, in a culture which favors sons, causing a trend of selective pregnancy, abortion, and even female infanticide.

All those practices are prohibited in Islam in respect to human life and to preserve natural balance. (China Grapples With Legacy of Its ‘Missing Girls’, last accessed on August 2, 2009, China’s Surplus of Sons: A Geopolitical Time Bomb, last accessed on August 2, 2009)

God prohibits killing children, and promises to provide for them because He created them. In the Quran, He addresses the two main concerns: anticipated poverty, and suffering actual poverty; and He promises to provide for every child born in either case:

[Kill not your children for fear of want: We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you. Verily the killing of them is a great sin.] (Al-Israa‘ 17:31)

[Kill not your children on a plea of want – We provide sustenance for you and for them] (Al-An`am 6:151)

Prophet Muhammad actually promised that marriage and having children warranted God’s provisions and bounty, and he encouraged people to get married and to have children and raise them well.

Consequently, we should view poverty in densely populated nations as a problem of mismanagement of resources and disturbing the natural balance, rather than a result of the number of children born into each family.

The Value of Humans

God describes children in the Quran as a “gift” from Him and not a burden, and mentions them in conjunction with material wealth, stressing their value:

[Wealth and children are the ornament of this worldly life] (Al-Kahf, 18:46)

We never see anyone complaining of a “surplus” of money. How can we complain of a surplus of children then? Money cannot substitute good children, and good children can make money and also do good deeds, and evidently, limiting the number of children doesn’t result in happier or wealthier conditions in the long run.

So why are people refraining from having children after all the above reassurance from the Creator Himself?

It is a shame that people are regarded as a useless surplus when human capital is a valuable economic resource.

Children & Poverty

Many people today are complaining of the lack of food due to increasing food prices. Some wealthy nations actually destroy huge amounts of food to keep the prices up. They also produce bio-fuel from crops such as corn, making more people unable to feed their children.

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel, recently said in a public speech:

If you travel to India these days, people are eating twice a day, and if 300 million people in India do that and suddenly consume twice as much food as before; and if 100 million Chinese start drinking milk too, then of course our milk quotas become skewed, and much else too.

Germany is the world’s largest bio-fuel producer; it also has the lowest birthrate in Europe with 8.18 births per thousand people per year. (Bad policy, not biofuel, drive food prices: Merkel, last accessed on August 2, 2009, Demographics of the European Union, last accessed on August 2, 2009)

The Brazilian President told reporters in Brasilia: “Food is expensive because the world was not prepared to see millions of Chinese people, millions of Indians and Africans eating three times a day.”

Brazil is the world’s largest sugarcane producer, bought by Germany for bio-fuel production.

It is sad this is happening, when there is a ground-breaking invention of Muslims in India to produce energy from plain air! (Muslims Invent Engine That Runs on Air, last accessed on August 2, 2009)

This irresponsible and supremacist exploitation of human resources affects human and animal food resources all over the planet, and causes unhappiness for billions of people.

If we really believed this world to be one unit, we will be able to see a world of opportunities and creative solutions; we will be one big family collectively responsible for finding solutions to our problems. Prophet Muhammad made a brilliant analogy about this concept: (We are all in the same boat, last accessed on August 16, 2009).

The disintegration of family values in favor of individual freedoms, the materialistic and consumerist values propagated by the media for commercial interests, in addition to lack of proper education about life skills and God’s religion, all of these are the true reasons for poverty of soul and mind, which is the most dangerous type of poverty. (The problems of being an older mum, last accessed on August 2, 2009, Is your career making you infertile?, last accessed on August 2, 2009)

I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.

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