Shaykh Hafiz Fateh Muhammad- A Man of People

When I first became interested in Islam, I was overwhelmed by the information that I needed to learn. I had friends who were telling me all the things I needed to memorise; the Arabic terms and verses which I had to recite. There was an expectation on everyone's part that I should be better than them; I should practice more than them; I should know more than them. It was all too much for me. Information was being fed to me as to what I should wear or should not wear, what I should eat and should not eat. The whole issue was complicated by the fact that there was slight difference of opinion between the scholars and each friend of mine was at pains to drag me to their reasoning. In the midst of this, another revert brought me to Imam Hafiz Fateh Muhammad.

When I came to see Hafiz, he calmed my worries and reassured me that living under the shade of God's mercy, being a Muslim, was a process that required hard work and endurance. He reminded me of the saying of the Prophet that the religion is ease and that if you take one step to Allah, He comes ten steps towards you. He asked me to learn about my new faith step by step and not be overwhelmed by it all. As Allah had accepted me into his chosen faith, I could only come closer to Him by learning more about this faith. Since then whenever I had a particular dilemma, I came to Hafiz sahib for his spiritual and practical advice and sometimes I brought other reverts with me. He never made us feel intimidated by his knowledge

He was truly a man of people. He would often remind those close to him of the saying of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) 'the best amongst you is the one most beneficial to them'. He was sincerely interested in providing religious advice in a practical form. People of all backgrounds; Muslims, non-Muslims, young, old, men and women would come to him regarding private and personal matters of love and life, family and faith. Despite the fact that these meetings with people affected his routine of doing set remembrance of Allah and recitation of the Glorious Quran and his studies and writing, he always gave time to the people who came to him and listened to their heartache.  He never judged people and would not talk behind their backs about their private and personal matters. Instead he guided with compassion and always tried to make the religion easy to practice.

Another key characteristic of Hafiz sahib's personality was his altruistic, selfless and self-sacrificing personality. He did not want people to praise him for how close he was to Allah or recognize how high his status was in terms of spirituality or how much insight/farasah of a believer he had, rather he wanted people to turn to Allah and develop those characteristics in themselves. He wanted to empower others rather than hold all the power to himself. That is the reason that with his practical advice, he would always ask people to either recite a particular surah or verse of the Noble Quran or some other zikr. It was his quality of serving His Lord by helping people that people not only from all over the UK but even from outside the UK would call him and discuss their matters with him. He knew a lot of people in Europe and the US who would invite him to visit their countries but he always declined saying that with the time that he had, he was even unable to serve people locally.

Most reverts to Islam are usually so disillusioned with the world and its attractions that they want to run away from the ordinary life and perhaps try to create a new world for themselves. However, Hafiz sahib always motivated reverts to not isolate themselves from the world. Muslims must live in the world but not let the world live in their hearts so much that they forget the Creator of the world. We often spoke about the challenges of our times and the difficulty of balancing student life, professional life with spiritual life. He once said that he went through the same emotions during the early days of him teaching English Literature in a College and in order to create emotions conducive for nurturing the soul, he increased his portion of daily recitation of the Holy Quran.

 

Muhammad Dawud

Posted in Shaykh Professor Hafiz Fateh Muhammad | Leave a comment

Founder of Leeds Makkah Masjid- An Inspiration to the Youth

We are all familiar with the famous Prophetic saying <em>Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave</em>. Few people implemented this hadith into their everyday lives with as much dedication, ardour and passion as the late Shaykh Professor Hafiz Fateh Muhammad (may Allah have mercy on his soul and grant him the highest ranks of paradise). 

I was fortunate enough to have known Hafiz Sahib (as he was fondly known by his students and congregation) practically my whole life. I was even more fortunate to have been taught to read and memorise surahs from the Holy Quran by him. Seldom did I enter Madina Masjid, where he was based before the construction of Makkah Masjid, to find him doing anything other than seeking knowledge, either reading a book on Islam or reading the book he loved above all other books, the Holy Quran.

When Hafiz Sahib read from the Holy Quran his love for the book that is the fountain of all wisdom and knowledge was apparent to all fortunate enough to witness him. The love emanated from his face, which glowed when he recited the words of God. The love resonated in his voice, which frequently trembled with emotion as he was reciting. It poured out of him and into the hearts of the listeners. Who could fail to be moved by the sight of this great man reciting Surah Ar-Rahman with tears streaming down his face as he read the verse: <em>Then which of the blessings of your Lord will you deny</em>Because you knew that Hafiz Sahib thanked his Lord for all the blessings he had been bestowed with every second of every day, and you knew that he himself was a blessing sent by Allah Almighty for the benefit and betterment of the community of Leeds. 

Hafiz Sahib held education and knowledge in the highest esteem. Not only his own education and knowledge but also that of the community he served. That is why he held daily tafseer classes after prayers. Most importantly, Hafiz Sahib understood the importance of educating the Muslim youth long before his contemporaries had grasped the idea. As far back as the mid-eighties, when many of the first generation of Muslims who had migrated to this country from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India were still dreaming about returning to their home lands with their families after a few years of working in England, Hafiz Sahib was delivering his Friday sermons in a combination of his native language Urdu and the native language of the youngsters in his congregation, English. He understood that unless Islam was accessible to the youth in their mother tongue, it would become an alien concept to them that would ultimately get lost in translation.

Hafiz Sahib was acutely aware that in order to counterbalance the attractions and distractions modern day Britain posed for Muslim youngsters growing up in the country, the Muslim youth needed to be spoken to in their own language and at a level that was accessible to them. His door was always open to youngsters, and one of his most memorable characteristics was that youngsters flocked to him for advice and solace. He was a sympathetic ear and a source of practical guidance  â€“ he was a mix between a loving parent, a concerned uncle, an understanding teacher and inspiration to everyone. He was seen as so much more than simply the Imam. 

Hafiz Sahib used every opportunity to stress to the youth that it was incumbent upon them to make the most of the advantages of the British education system so that they could grow up to be professionals and Muslims could be represented in all walks and at all levels of British life. Unlike his contemporaries who did little other than stress the importance of seeking Islamic knowledge, he placed almost as much importance on secular knowledge as knowledge of the Sharia. He was himself a unique blend of a Professor of English and a Qur’an Hafiz. He saw no reason why the two cold not go hand in hand, and he was keen to stress this to the youngsters in his congregation. His message was simple; lslam does not preclude its followers from seeking success in this life as well as in the life after death. While we must not ever take our eyes off the ultimate goal – seeking Allah’s pleasure and attaining paradise – it is perfectly permissible to seek the fine things in this life also. And in order to attain these fine things, education is the key. 

Hafiz Sahib was truly a man who led by example. He led a simple life that seamlessly blended excellence in the religious and secular fields. He demonstrated to the youth that it was possible to strive for success in worldly affairs, and he was therefore seen as an accessible figurehead who many leaned on for support. His presence is to this day sincerely missed in the community of Leeds. 

 

<em>Reflections of a female Student</em>

Posted in Shaykh Professor Hafiz Fateh Muhammad | Leave a comment

Shaykh Qari Fateh Muhammad – Seeker of Knowledge

The late Professor Hafiz Fateh Muhammad Sahib was the founder of Deen Foundation. He spent his entire life gaining and imparting knowledge about Islam. He believed that knowledge is the foundation of the Deen of Islam and lies at the heart of success in this life and in the hereafter.

Professor Hafiz Fateh Muhammad Sahib was one of very few distinguished scholars who excelled in both secular and religious knowledge and understanding. In 1984, he undertook a Masters degree in English Language, Teaching and Linguistics at the University of York. He had previously held the esteemed post of head of the English Department at the International Islamic University at Islamabad, Pakistan. After settling in the UK, he taught the Holy Quran in mosques, colleges and universities, to the young and old alike. He gave lectures and translated and interpreted many surahs of the Holy Quran in English.

Professor Hafiz Fateh Muhammad Sahib was a professor of English, yet he was also a master of the Arabic language, Islamic history and contemporary affairs. He memorised the Holy Quran at a very young age and then spent the remainder of his life instilling the love of the Divine message and love for education (religious as well as secular) in the hearts of the people.

With his deep insight into the Quran and his understanding of the personality of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), he propounded the peaceful message of Islam his entire life. He believed that people could only come to obey their Lord and respect each other if they were knowledgeable about the rights of their Lord and rights of other human beings. He believed that it was due to lack of education that people were facing financial, social, economical, political and cultural difficulties.

The success of human beings is linked with learning and knowledge. The first message of the Quran encouraged human beings to learn. It was due to Professor Hafiz Fateh Muhammada's passion to spread education that he sponsored many students in various parts of the world throughout his life to gain education. His students currently hold positions such as lecturers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, engineers and Ulema in different parts of the world.

Professor Hafiz Fateh Muhammad was a God fearing person. He was a noble, compassionate, generous and honourable person, and like all truly great men, extremely humble and modest. He always strived to assist poor families to fulfil their obligations to arrange the marriages of their children, and provided financial assistance to those who struggled to meet the costs of medical treatment and other living expenses. Hence, these principles are amongst the main objectives of Deen Foundation.

Professor Hafiz Fateh Muhammad suddenly passed away while studying the biography of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) on 26th April 2005 (17th Rabi-al-Awwal 1426), at the age of 63. At the time of his passing away, he was the imam of Leeds Makkah Masjid (UK).

<em>Muhammad Irfan Chaudhary</em>

Posted in Shaykh Professor Hafiz Fateh Muhammad | Leave a comment

Shaykh Professor Hafiz Fateh Muhammad sahib (RA) in 1997

Shaykh Professor Hafiz Fateh Muhammad sahib (May Allah have mercy upon him)

During 1997 UK General Election with br.Mukhtar Hussain and Fabian Hamilton MP, Harold Best MP and others @ Woodsley Community Centre in Leeds – UK

Posted in Shaykh Professor Hafiz Fateh Muhammad | Leave a comment

Some thoughts on my Hajj journey

Alhamdulillah, in 2015, I had the opportunity to perform haj.

Following are my thoughts and experiences of this life time journey. I am only putting these experiences in writing to prepare the future pilgrims to be physically and psychologically ready for this magnanimous experience.

 

Patience:

Before you go on haj, start practicing more of your patience. You need it in plenty while you are on this journey. Haj journey in itself will be long, tiring and difficult. You need your supply of patience to complete this journey. Whole Haj journey requires us to be patient but it's very easy for Hujjaj to loose their patience. Fights can break out over food, queuing for toilets and even mobile charging. We want to keep our mobiles charged so we can keep in contact with the world. We love to keep in touch with the world instead of being with Allah even during the days of Haj. Not everything will go according to your plans. You will have complaints about your transport, hotel accommodation, food and your hajj colleagues. Keep a cool temper, and control your tongue. Remember, Shaitan wants to ruin your haj reward. Don't let him win.

Come prepared:

I have realised that people come to Haj very unprepared. They are not aware of all the Haj rituals and the difficulty in performing them. When they get a taste of difficulty of performing Haj, they seem to be giving up on performing the rituals. For instance they were asking others to do rami on their behalf. They don't realise that they have to pay damm for missing rami themselves. People wanted to stay in the comfort of their hotels instead of staying in Mina according to Sunnah on 10, 11 &12 Dhul Haj. Haj operators make it worse for the Hujjaj by giving them incorrect Haj rulings and doing things what's in their best interest instead of making sure that Hujjaj can perform mistake free Haj. I have realised that Hujjaj do need a qualified scholar accompanying them who can guide them throughout this blessed journey.

Plenty of food:

I was amazed by the government's arrangements in Mina. There was plenty of food and drinks available in the tents. Air conditioning made it easier to spend the time in the tents. There is plenty of food and drinks for everyone to indulge in. However, a lot of it goes to waste too. All the food is provided by the Saudi Moallam in Mina and Arafat. It goes without saying that if it was up to the Haj operators to provide food and specially drinks then we would see half of it. Specially drinks would be rationed out. So Alhamdulillah it has been delegated to the Hajj Moallam to provide them and it has been provided for abundantly (at least thats the case in European camps) Because food and drinks are provided freely, pilgrims over consume them, specially fizzy drinks. Almost everyone was coughing in our tent. The only time you will have to arrange for your own food and drink is when you are staying in Muzdalifah or travelling to Makkah or Mina from Muzdalifah.

Stay in Arafat:

The stay in Arafat is in open tents without air conditioning. Some tents do have air conditioning. People must have paid more for that luxury. The day of Arafat will the most difficult day due to the hot weather.

Haj Operators:

Everyone we spoke to was not happy with his Haj operator. They are regarded as ripping people off. There are also shortcomings on behalf of the British Hujjaj. They have no patience. They want everything to be perfect and without delay. Little they realise that they are on a journey. Every journey requires patience. Haj journey requires even more patience because you are on the way to house of Allah and Shaitan will do his best to divert your attention from Allah to other petty things. The whole journey is full of reward and exhibiting patience is rewarded with paradise. If there are mistakes by the Haj operator they must be identified and corrected but you must not loose your temper and ruin your own Haj. May Allah accept all of ours Haj and forgive our major and minor sins. Aameen

Fizzy drinks:

Hot weather plus affordability would push you to consume a lot of fizzy drinks. Please avoid them as much as you can. Fizzy drinks are not good for your health anyhow and specially at crucial time such as haj, you want to make sure that you remain in good health all the time. With cold fizzy drinks you could get cold, flue, sore throat and chest infection. Falling ill just before or during hajj will ruin your hajj experience. Look after your heath with good care. The best drink is zamzam. Even zamzam can be quite cold. Mix it with non-cold zamzam. In the Haram, non-cold zamzam drums are marked with blue "Not cold" writing on the top. Unfortunately I saw so many pilgrims in hajj ihram suffering from chest infection but still consuming cold fizzy drinks. What was worst for some was that their condition was so severe that they had to wear face mask during their hajj ihram. Under normal circumstances wearing face mask violates the condition of ihram, unless allowed for severe exceptions. Why put our hajj at risk if you can take some time to look your health during these crucial days.

Shopping:

Once the Hajj days are over, our eyes long to see the majestic light shinning over the Green Dome and to be present in the city of the Holy Prophet. However, in between there is another worry covering the mind of the pilgrim: SHOPPING. Larger the family, bigger the problem. Specially when you are in Madina, most of your time would be spent on buying gifts for your loved ones back home. Of course, you don't want to disappoint anyone and of course, its sunnah and good manners to give gifts to your family members, relatives, and friends but it must not be at the expense of your ibadat – your worship. Its a life time opportunity to be in Makkah and Madina. Lets makes use of this time and spending more time in the masjid than in shopping malls.

Lets face it. Most of the items that people get from Saudia are from China and readily available in other countries. Lets not carry so much weight from Saudia. The best gifts you can bring from Hajj are Zamzam, dates and attar (perfumes). These are lightweight and blessed items. People over-buy the items and run over their luggage limits. During the last days in Madina overarching worry is how to take their shopping back to their country. They will ask their fellow Hujjaj if they have any space left in their luggage and receive the answer in negative. The person being asked the question will be in similar situation to the questioner. Some pilgrims also cargo their shopping back to their country. All this situation reminds a Mu'min (believer) of the scenes of the day of judgement when we will be carrying our load of sinful activities and we would be looking for someone to share our burden. A day when our parents, children, friends and all our wealth would abandon us and only good actions, charity, righteous company and intercession of holy prophet would come to our rescue. May Allah Almighty protect us from any calamity on the day of resurrection and grant us the company of righteousness. Relatives back home can also play their part by frequently reminding the Hujjaj that they do not expect nor want any gift on their return except duas, zamzam and dates. Relatives can also remind the Hujjaj that their primarily role of going to Hajj is to please Allah and His holy Prophet Muhammad.

May Allah accept our Hajj. Aameen.

Posted in Islamic Articles | Leave a comment

Theresa May – A new Prime Minister, A new beginning (I hope)

We congratulate Theresa May on becoming UK's 54th Prime Minister, a great position that comes with great responsibility.

Of course, this new role is best suited for her as she has already spent the last 6 years on reducing immigration, an imaginary tool or a magic wand in the minds of so many politicians and now cascaded down to the public, to eliminate every economic and social problems currently suffered by UK.

As 'Brexit is Brexit', no doubt Mrs May will use her expertise in isolating UK from the rest of Europe as the last government has isolated communities living in UK.

No doubt, her jubilant case of deporting one person, Abu Qatada, from UK will come handy in deporting EU migrants.

It was inspiring to listen to Theresa May talking about 'burning injustice' in society and the need to remove these injustices. but it was coming from the mouth of someone who has helped to create such injustices in the last 6 years. Perhaps such admissions are way for Mrs May to achieve atonement and ask for forgiveness from the public who has suffered severally by her policies.

In her speech she mentions the name of her party and what it means to her: "It means we believe in a union not just between the nations of the United Kingdom but between all of our citizens – every one of us – whoever we are and wherever we’re from." What beautiful words from someone who has ripped families apart and forced them to live separately due to her non-EU immigration policy. No indigenous British person would understand the trauma and agony of living away from their spouse and children caused by her policies.

She promises to listen to 'you' and not 'wealthy', 'mighty' and 'privileged' ones. However, its only been few years that she backed 'bedroom tax', police cuts and voted against measures to prevent climate change. Her actions defy her words and future is to monitored closely.

She also has the audacity to talk about white vs black when she has not done any positive action to lower such barriers in the last 6 years. Her critics will point out the extradition cases of Gary McKinnon vs Talha Ahsan, when one extradited to the US and not the other. I am sure you can guess who was extradited by just looking at the names. Not an exact case of discrimination based on colour, but discrimination based on faith or race.

Her addiction to Prevent and snooper charter also gives no cause for celebration, in particular to the minority groups. There is a hope among the communities most hurt by her policies that her tenure is swift and the next 4 years passes without new policies being passed to divide the communities further.

Politicians have a habit of doing only lip service to the real issues. Perhaps Mrs May's first speech was just a lip service to appease the public and calm them at this uncertain times. We hope not so and that she sticks to her words.

Posted in Current Issues | Tagged , | Leave a comment

TRIBUTES TO IMAM HUSSAIN on Radio

TRIBUTES TO IMAM HUSSAIN (may Allah be pleased with him) will be aired on Radio Asian Fever 107.3 FM

Saturday, Sunday & Monday 1 – 3 November 2014 between 10 – 12pm

 

Posted in Radio Shows | Leave a comment

Youth Residential trip pictures

I was delighted to take few youth for a short residential and for their physical, character and spiritual development in Malham – UK.

Posted in Community | Leave a comment

Ramadan Food Bank 2014

During the month of Ramadan, I had the opportunity of organising a food bank at Woodsley Centre.

It was a great feeling to be part of an important community initiative that really benefited the needy families in our areas.

I want to thank all the donors for contributing to the food bank. May Allah bless you all.

Posted in Community | Leave a comment

SPIRITUAL RETREAT: MALHAM – YOUTH RESIDENTIAL

Leeds Makkah Masjid in association with Fateh Foundation is taking a group of youth aged between 14 – 17 for a night residential to Malham in the Yorkshire Dales.

The purpose of the residential is to develop character and spirituality of our youth. The residential will include physical activities and Islamic learning. Children will be encouraged to participate in each Namaz, Quranic recitation and Dhikr.

We will be leaving on 9th August from the Makkah Masjid at 11:00 am and returning on Sunday 10th August approximately 8pm. The group will be staying at Malham Youth Hostel over night.

There are limited places available, so it will be a first come basis. If you would like your child to participate please fill in the consent form and return it to Imam Muhammad Qasim asap.

Send your enquiries to mail@qariqasim.com

Posted in General | Leave a comment