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Friday Prayer - March 13, 2020

Legally, the Friday prayer is an individual obligation on every sane, male adult who is not a traveler (musāfir) and is in sound health. It is therefore not an obligation upon women, children, the sick, the mentally insane or the very frail.

For everyone else, in the absence of a valid excuse, missing the Friday prayer is considered a significant transgression (fisq). Thus when calls are made for suspending the Friday prayer are made or restrictions are imposed on those who wish to fulfill their obligation to Allah, it is natural for any person of faith to be disturbed.

Legitimate fear of sickness is an excuse to miss the jumu'ah salah.

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease researcher said “We would recommend that there not be large crowds.”

An infectious disease expert in the Lake County area also recommended that we avoid large crowds.

There are confirmed cases of people with the coronavirus in Lake County.

Since infectious disease experts and public health authorities advised against public gatherings because of the risk of spreading the virus, we made the difficult decision to suspend congregational acts of worship at our masjid.

Allah says, “Have taqwa of Allah as much as you are able” (64:16)

My respected brothers and sisters of IFN,

Right now taqwa is NOT to pray the jumuah salah at other masajid.

Right now taqwa is NOT to protest and pray outside the IFN masjid.

These types of actions are rooted in selfishness.

Today, taqwa is to pray the Dhuhr Salah at your home

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting - April 2020

Health benefits of intermittent fasting By: Azfar Uddin and Dr. Omar Jamil

While we should not use science to validate the prophetic biography, there is no harm in finding benefit when science elaborates the benefits of prophetic practices. Our mother A’isha (may Allah be pleased with her) described that the Prophet (upon him be peace) was keen on fasting Mondays and Thursdays, and from this narration is born the well-known sunnah of fasting on these particular days. Since 1997, scientists have been interested in understanding the health benefits of intermittent fasting. In the December 2019 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the premier journals in clinical medicine, an extensive review of the studies elucidating the health benefits of fasting was published. In summary, the review describes the following benefits

  • There are two described regimens of intermittent fasting: daily intermittent fasting with a 16-18 hour fasting period and a 6-8 hour feeding period and 5:2 fasting, eating regularly 5 days a week, and fasting 2 days a week with consumption of <700 calories on fasting days. The former regimen is more similar to the fasting of Ramadān, while the latter is similar to the Sunnah method of fasting Monday and Thursday.

  • The goal of intermittent fasting is achieving ketosis, when the body exhausts itself of glucose and begins converting fat into ketones. Ketones are a backup energy source used when the body does not have access to glucose. Additionally, it signals to the body that the body is in fasting mode and has numerous positive cellular effects.

  • Fasting periods lead to cell signaling that increase antioxidant defenses,repair of energy producing components in the cells and decrease inflammation.

  • Intermittent fasting has demonstrated better results than calorie restriction alone, and in head to head comparisons, people utilizing intermittent fasting have an increase in insulin sensitivity (to prevent diabetes) and reduction in waist circumference.

  • Intermittent fasting regimens reduce obesity, insulin resistance (i.e. diabetes),high cholesterol, hypertension and inflammation.

  • In both human and animal studies intermittent fasting regimens have demonstrated a positive impact on memory and cognitive performance.

  • Multiple animal trials and limited human trials have shown a positive impact of intermittent fasting regimens on decreasing tumor growth in cancer patients.

  • There is limited evidence that intermittent fasting regimens benefits patients with autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis and arthritis.

It is important to know that the science is always evolving, and the known benefits of intermittent fasting are dynamic. However, we know for certain that fasting Mondays and Thursdays and following the sunnah of the Prophet (upon him be peace) will have benefit for us in the afterlife. If there is benefit in the dunya as well, that can only be a good thing.

de Cabo, R., & Mattson, M. P. (2019). Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Health, Aging, and Disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 381(26), 2541-2551.

Islamic Guidelines on Plagues & Viruses - March 2020

Valentine's Day Love - February 2020

In 2019, Americans spent approximately 20.7 billion U.S. dollars on Valentine’s day

If we’re spending all that on “love", then why is major depression on the rise among Americans from all age groups, especially teens and young adults?

God says, “Surely those who believe and perform righteous deeds, for them shall the Compassionate ordain love” (Qur’an 19:96)

God is al-Wadud

He is not only the one who loves you, but He will show you that He loves you.

How will he show that He loves you?

By granting you everlasting joy.

The philosophy of love in Islam is twofold

  1. Do good to others
  2. Have faith in God.

If you do these two, He will give you His love.

The philosophy of love in Islam is giving unconditionally.

The philosophy of love in Islam is UNCONDITIONAL affection and mercy between the spouses (Qur’an 30:21)

“The hand that gives is better than the hand that receives.” (Muhammad ﷺ)

If we want to soften our hearts and achieve lasting happiness, Muhammad ﷺ advised us to perform two actions.

  1. Feed the poor
  2. Rub the head of an orphan.

It's not strange that both of these actions refer to giving unconditionally which is the philosophy of love in Islam.

Superbowl Halftime Thoughts - February 2020

I've noticed that the start of the Super Bowl usually occurs around Maghreb in Chicago. It will take imān and determination to ensure that one prays Maghreb on time. InshAllah this Concise Advice video will help us accomplish that in the future.

As far as watching the halftime show, find a healthy alternative. (The timing for the Isha salah at many masajid in Chicago occurs around the halftime show, 8:00pm.)

There are some who are stating that the Superbowl halftime show was about empowering women and not objectifying them.

At, a research study by Emily Albertson, Belynda Murray, and Lily Martin-Chamberlain concludes that, “The damage the music video industry has caused is irreparable, and it has caused an innumerable number of problems with self-esteem issues among women.”

If the message that girls are getting from the music industry (including the halftime show) is that they are primarily valued for their sexuality and their sex appeal, that can be damaging to girls’ self-esteem. The singers' intention may have been to "empower women", but the "pole dancing, crotch grabbing and tongue waving” was a clear sexual exploitation of women.

Professor Hall, who teaches a class on sexuality education at BYU, fears that adolescents will confuse the lyrics of popular music with social norms.

“If Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez are talking about sexual activity, and I’m 14, that just increases this misperception that I have that all kids are sexually active"

Hall said. "It’s this idea that if you’re listening to music that is saturated with sexual messages, you tend to believe that everyone’s doing it. That in itself becomes a powerful perspective.”

The Oregon study does point out, “There should be a distinction between embracing one’s own sexuality and giving up their rights to the men that seek them as sexual objects.”

Is it clear to everyone viewing the halftime show which one is happening?Can a young male seeing a woman in revealing clothing repeatedly spreading her legs before the camera determine whether she is empowered or objectified? Is she embracing her sexuality in a healthy way or is she entertaining men even if that may not be her intention?

“Modesty and faith are companions. If one is removed, so is the other” (Hadith).

"Sin causes uneasiness in the heart" (Hadith)

A person of haya, regardless of their faith, will be disturbed to watch the halftime show, especially with their family members.

Lastly, an ESPN article revealed that the Super Bowl remains a target for human trafficking.

Since women are being objectified during the halftime show in front of thousands of viewers, does that lead to a culture of engaging in paid sex activities?

Remembering Kobe - January 2020

Is the praying of Salah with a Kufi Part of Islam or Part of Culture - January 2020

“Covering one's head during salah is a sunnah and one should act upon it to the best possible extent, however, it is not a mandatory condition for the validity of salah therefore, the obligation is discharged without it, though devoid of the blessings of sunnah. We should try our best to make our salah as close to the sunnah as possible. Even a slight carelessness may deprive us from the barakah and reward which every sunnah of the Holy Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, may bring to his true follower. Therefore, we should not take this matter lightly.” - Mufti Taqi Usmani

“Wearing a hat (Qalansuwa in Arabic) is the Sunnah of our blessed Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace), Sahaba (Allah be pleased with them all) and the great scholars and pious predecessors of this Ummah.

There are many evidences which support this. Just to mention a few:

  • Abdullah Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) used to wear a white hat (Recorded by Tabrani).

  • Hasan al-Basri (Allah be pleased with him) says: The people (Sahaba-Allah be pleased with them all) used to perform Sajdah (prostration) upon their turbans and hats (Sahih al-Bukhari, 1/151)

  • Rukanah (Allah be pleased with him) says, I heard the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) say: The difference between us and the polytheists is, wearing the turban over the hat (Sunan Abu Dawud, 4075 & Sunan Tirmizi, 3919).

  • In the Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shaybah, the wearing of a hat is reported from Ali ibn al-Husain, Abdullah ibn Zubair, Dahhak and Abu Musa (Allah be pleased with them all).

  • It is clear from the above that wearing a hat is a Sunnah. It has been the practise of the Ummah throughout history, and has become one of the symbols of Islam.

  • The great Hanafi jurist, Mullah Ali al-Qari (Allah have mercy on him) states that the wearing of the hat has become one of the salient symbols of Islam. (Mirqat al-Masabih, vol.8 pg.246).

Due to the above, the scholars mention that even though, not wearing a hat can not be classed as unlawful (haram), as it is a Sunnah, but due to the fact that it has become one of the signs of Islam, it is generally undesirable to keep the head exposed. One should try to keep the head covered whenever reasonably possible.

And Allah knows best

Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester, UK

"Praying bareheaded is makruh (disliked).” (From Al-Qawl Al-mubin fi akhta' Al-musallin by Mashhur Hussain on page # 58 of the 2nd edition):

“It is not established at all that the Messenger (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) ever prayed outside the pilgrimage with bare head, without a turban/cap. Whoever thinks he did so then he should bring the proof. If he (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) had done so, it would have been recorded. The narration attributed to Ibn 'Abbaas that the Prophet (sallAllaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) would sometimes remove his cap and place it as a sutrah in front of him is weak (da’eef)."

Shaikh Albani (May Allaah's mercy be on him) goes on to explain the mistake of some brothers in Egypt who brought the proof of the permissibility to pray without covering the head by analogizing with how the head is uncovered for someone in ihraam during the pilgrimage.

This is wrong since not covering the head during the pilgrimage is from the law (Sharee'ah) of Allaah. If their analogy was right then they should make it compulsory to pray without any head covering at all since it is obligatory to do so during the pilgrimage and to follow all the other restrictions of Ihraam in regular life! [Tamaam-ul-Minnah fee ta'leeq 'alaa fiqh-us- Sunnah by 'Allaamah Albaani]

Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 2 pg #863It is mentioned that Anas Bin Malik (RadhiAllaahu Anhu) used to wear a kufi (cap).

When It Rains It Pours - November 2019

We have read the news of three of our community members losing their parents in the past two days. May Allāh grant beautiful patience to Br. Emad, Br. Jaseem and Br. Ahmed. May Allāh also grant them firm yaqīn in the hereafter so they realize that this separation is temporary.

My respected community members, think about this question.

What do you want those closest to you to say at your funeral?

A great way to answer this question is to visualize your own funeral.

During our summer Maktab program I asked my students to visualize their own funeral. They reflected on the question, “What do you want those closest to you to say at your funeral?”

After the students imagined themselves in 60 years, they wrote their own eulogy and had a classmate read it while a kafan was placed on top of them.

The Prophet Muhammad (upon him be peace) said, “A wise person is the one who calls himself to account and performs deeds that will benefit him after death.”

How can you call yourself to account? Three steps.

1. - The most productive and accomplished people all had a clear vision for their lives. (As Muslims, our vision must coincide with Islamic principles.)

2. - Once you have a vision, live out your legacy. People listen to us most intently, not by what we say, but by watching us live.

3. - Share with your kids what kind of lives you would like them to live, even after you have passed away. This is what the Prophet Ya’qub (upon him be peace) did with his sons while he was on his deathbed (2:133). This way, even after you have left this world, when your children are making critical life decisions, they will be asking themselves, “What would Dad/Mom do?” This is one of the most powerful legacies a parent can leave.

Domestic Violence - October 2019

Islām does not promote abuse of any kind towards any of Allāh's creation. If the Prophet (upon him be peace) strongly rebuked people who hurt animals unnecessarily, what do you think he said about those who intentionally hurt other human beings? There are narrations in which he (upon him be peace) proactively ensured that people would not get married off to individuals who were known to abuse their partner. He would publicly call out the abuser in public. Hurting human beings was never in his repertoire. Rather when the Prophet (upon him be peace) would discipline someone, he would do so with dignity. He instructed men to be mindful of women and mandated husbands to treat their women fairly. Later, Muslim legal scholars enacted this into Islamic Law and allowed women legal recourse if they fear they are being abused. Likewise, the Prophet (upon him be peace) encouraged women also to be mindful of their husbands.

Personal Transformation Worksheet - September 2019

Post Fajr Jog with Imam - August 2019

Imam held a session on 10 healthy habits of highly effective Sunday School Teachers. He shared this presentation at ICW masjid in Wheaton, IL and has shared the presentation below. 

10 Habits of Highly effective Sunday School teachers.pdf

Post Fajr Jog with Imam - August 2019

In the Summer, Imam created a weekly post Fajr jog team to help the community come for the Fajr prayer at the masjid after Ramadan. They cleaned the beach together, jogged together and had breakfast together.

Hajj Seminar - July 2019

Attached are the KeyNote Presentation and checklist from the Hajj Seminar

Hajj seminar 2018 .pdf

Preparing for Hajj Checklist and Umrah and Hajj checklist.pdf

How to Maintain Islamic Principles without being Homophobic - July 2019

Etiquette of Making Du'a - May 2019

18 Etiquettes of Making Dua.pdf

Recommended Reading List  for Fard 'Ayn - May 2019

General Books on Islam
Submission, Faith and Beauty:  The Religion of Islam by Hamza Yusuf
Being Muslim by Asad Tarsin

Islamic Belief
The Creed of Imam al-Tahawi, translated by Hamza Yusuf
Islamic Law
Ascent to Felecity: A Manual on Islamic Creed and Hanafi Jurisprudence by Faraz Khan

Life of the Prophet
Muhammad (upon him be peace) His life based on the earliest sources, by Martin Lings
Prophet of Mercy by S. Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (Haji Arfeen Academy) Translated by Mohiuddin Ahmad

The Qur'an 
Maa'riful Quran
Ibn Khatir
The Qur'an: A new translation by Abdel Haleem
Etiquette with the Qur'an, by Musa Furber

The content of Character: Ethical sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, translated by Hamza Yusuf
Islamic Spirituality, Purification of the Heart, translated by Hamza Yusuf

Time Management - May 2019

Eid al Fitr 2019 Go Home Action Item

Imam Azfar encouraged the congregants to keep a personal time log to find out how their time is allocated.

Zakat on 401k Plans - April 27th, 2019

Click on the link below for information on Zakat pertaining to 401k Plans

Qur'an Night at IFN - April 27th, 2019

Ramadan Toolkit - April 2019

The Family and Youth Institute has prepared this Ramadan Toolkit with practical tips on how to nourish your spiritual selves while simultaneously managing the realities of your daily lives during this blessed month. This toolkit includes resources in the following 7 categories.

  1. Personal Development
  2. Encouraging Family Traditions
  3. Mental Illness and Ramadan
  4. Experiencing Ramadan as a Convert
  5. Ramadan in the School
  6. Ramadan in the Workplace
  7. Fitness and Nutrition during Ramadan

Tea Time with Imam - April 21st, 2019

Fiqh of Fasting
Location: IFN LRC
Time: 10:45 a.m. to Noon

With Ramadan less than a month away, Imam Azfar will be holding a session on the Fiqh of Fasting. This is open to all and a great opportunity to help prepare for Ramadan. 

Fiqh of Fasting .pdf

Tea Time with Imam - April 14th, 2019

Zakat Workshop Presentation.pdf

Fiqh of Zakat Presentation.pdf

Du'a for Protection - March 2019

Du’a for protection - Our first line of defense

وعن عثمان بن عفان رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: "ما من عبد يقول في صباح كل يوم ومساء كل ليلة: بسم الله الذي لا يضر مع اسمه شيء في الأرض ولا في السماء وهو السميع العليم، ثلاث مرات، إلا لم يضره شيء". رواه أبو داود والترمذي وقال حديث حسن صحيح .

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, "He who recites three times every morning and evening: 'Bismillahil-ladhi la yadurru ma'as-mihi shai'un fil-ardi wa la fis-sama'i, wa Huwas-Sami'ul-'Alim (In the Name of Allah with Whose Name there is protection against every kind of harm in the earth or in the heaven, and He is the All-Hearing and All- Knowing),' nothing will harm him.” [Abu Dawud and At- Tirmidhi].

Make it a habit to recite this du’a three times in the morning and in the evening.

Allah is the All-Powerful.

While we don’t know why Allah allows certain calamities to occur, the way that people respond to calamities is a test of their moral fiber.

Let’s respond to hardship by being steadfast on fulfilling the commandments of Allah and refraining from committing that which Allah forbade us to do.

Additionally, there may be a silver lining behind every difficulty. There were numerous non-Muslims showing solidarity and offering words of support to Muslims. Rashid Davis, former Bears football player dropped off these flowers yesterday at our masjid.

We can also derive comfort in the fact that life doesn’t end after death.

This is our first line of defense.

The 2nd line of defense can be taken directly from CAIR’s packet on “Best practices for Mosque and Community safety”.

Is the Hijab Fard - February 2019

Allāh commands Muslim men to be modest and chaste. (24:30) Since, one cannot “lower one’s eyes” against everything, this verse is interpreted to mean that men should not look at those things that are forbidden with passion.

The command to women to be modest and chaste mirrors the command for men in the previous verse.

“And let them draw their khumur over their juyub and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, […]” (Qur’ān 24:31)

A khimar can mean a cloth that covers the head or neck; a scarf; a flowing garment.

Before the advent of Islām, women would wear the khīmar and it would drape behind their backs, exposing their upper chests (and according to some accounts, their breasts as well).

A jayb can refer to the heart or chest, the place where the chest meets the neck, or the opening of a shirt through which one places one’s head. (27:12, 28:32)

Islāmic laws and rulings come from the Qur’ān and Sunnah and not from speculation. Our laws and rules are guided by Allāh. The Prophet (upon him be peace) received wahi (revelation) and informed the Sahabah. The Sahabah in turn informed others and so on.

Please be aware that rulings do not necessarily have to be explicitly described in the Qur’ān for them to be Islāmic. That is NOT how Islāmic law works.

Rulings may be found and are indeed found also in the Sunnah and the consensus of the early scholars.

There are certain rulings in Islām that Muslims from the time of the Sahabah saw as conclusive; non-contextual and binding like the prohibition in the eating of pork. There are certain other rules that they deemed contextual and non-binding like sitting on the floor to eat. We must learn which rules are conclusive and binding and which rules are not.

In the issue of women covering their hair, it is clear from the verses mentioned in Surah Noor and Ahzab, and the rulings of the Prophet; the Companions and all other subsequent scholars that it conclusive (for women to cover their hair) and thus binding and non-contextual. This consensus on this matter is the reason why we hold this rule to be law and not an opinion.

In conclusion, there is clear and decisive scholarly consensus on the mandate of hijāb. The Qur’ān unambiguously commands Muslim women to wear the hijāb.

al-Noor 24:31.

al-Ahzaab 33:59

al-Ahzaab 33:53

There is no verse or hadith to show that commandment might mean anything besides obligation. The ayāt and āhadith all confirm this obligation and Muslim scholars are in unanimous agreement about it and have been from the time of the Prophet (upon him be peace) till today.

Although we believe hijab is fard, we don’t degrade those who don’t wear the hijab.

As you can see, this is not a simple answer and it requires discussion. Feel free to contact myself so we can sit down and discuss this in person.

Daily Herald Article - Imam's Invitation to Cubs Owner - February 2019

Memorization Chart  - December 2018

10 Tips to get your Kids on Allah's (SWT) side  - December 2018

1. Get them to love you

2. Understand the cosmological argument

3. Understand the design argument

4. Watch the Documentary “Privileged species” with them, but follow the strategies I mentioned on how to watch a documentary. (Activate prior knowledge, pause often, use the KWL learning strategy, watch with a purpose answering the question, “Are human beings the accidental products of a blind and uncaring universe? Or are they the beneficiaries of a cosmic order that was planned beforehand to help them flourish?”

5. Read Surah Fussilat Ayah 53 with the tafsir

6. Encourage your children who are in high school to attend the Aqidah course taught by Imam Azfar at IFN starting late January

7. The IFN Religious committee is working on having an Aqidah-Tahawiyah weekend seminar for the community by an external guest speaker. More details to follow.

8. Read an Aqidah book with them:
     a) X9

     b) Mawlana Fahim has an excellent commentary of Aqidah Tahawiyah

     c) Imam Ghazali has written “In the Principles of the Creed” (Kitab qawaid al-aqaid):

     d) Imam Suhaib Webb has a book titled, “Essentials of Islamic Faith” -

     e) Al-Ghazali The Book of Belief for Children -

9. Read the “Divine reality”  -

10. Read two research papers published by the Yaqeen Institute

    a) Why do Muslims doubt? -

     b) Can Islam Object to Evolution? Evaluating Human-Chimp Genetic Similarity -

Tea Time with Imam Azfar   - December 2018

Eight (8) Principles of Aging Successful - November 2018

Tea Time With Imam Azfar - November 2018

Etiquettes of Visiting the Sick Presentation

Thoughts on Thanksgiving -   November 2018

On Thanksgiving day, we should thank Allah for the following:

  1. Good health
  2. Food for the day
  3. Safe place to stay

These are three blessings which our Prophet (upon him be peace) explicitly mentioned to be thankful for. (Tirmidhi)

On Thanksgiving day, we should ask “Do the Native Americans celebrate this national holiday?”

Read these resources to learn more about the history of Thanksgiving:

  1. Peoples-History-United-States-ebook - read the first chapter
  2. Genocide of the Native Americans
  3. Bury-My-Heart-Wounded-Knee-ebook
  4. Read the first 4 chapters of "Lies my teacher told me. Everything you American History Textbook got wrong" by James W. Loewen
  5. Read "An indigenous peoples' history of the United States" by Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz

On Thanksgiving today, many of the Native Americans are not against giving thanks.

They are quite thankful that they survived a genocide. They are thankful on Thanksgiving, but they also mourn the ones that passed because they feel a sense of betrayal.

“We helped you survive, you almost wiped us out”

That’s different than the way many Americans celebrate thanksgiving today

This grateful attitude of the Native Americans is something we all can learn from as I discuss in this khutbah.