The Zahra Foundation has rebranded to The Zahra(s) Trust Canada.
Islam is a holistic religion, not only does it provide spiritual guidance, it outlines every aspect of life including financial responsibilities that every Muslim must uphold. Today, we will discuss 6 key facts about Khums to help us understand what sometimes can be seen as a daunting topic!
Khums is a twenty per cent obligatory Islamic tax on some items that we own, payable under specific conditions. There are a few key facts to understanding Khums so let’s begin so we can all better understand Khums and its implications!
“Know that whatever of a thing you acquire, a fifth of it is for Allah, for the Messenger, for the near relative, and the orphans, the needy and the wayfarer” (8:41). Allah (SWT) in the Holy Qu’ran outlines for us exactly the purpose of Khums.
Essentially, all forms of income whether they be through work or inheritance are liable. They include net savings, haram and halal wealth, buried treasure, minerals, spoils of war, and gems obtained from sea diving. Interestingly, some financial gains are only paid for Khums if unused for a year. These include inheritance, items such as clothing, household goods/provisions and property and savings that have not been used for a year. Of course, in the modern world, some of these categories occur more than others, for example, it is more likely that you will have unused clothing or household goods in comparison to finding buried treasure.
Every individual Muslim who has reached the age of puberty and is of sound mind. For minors, it becomes the parents’ or guardians’ duty to pay it.
There are 2 ways a Muslim can pay Khums. First, they can pay Khums upon receipt of the gain immediately. This means to pay the Khums on things which you think will be more than what you require once you own them.
The second, which might be easier, is to fix an annual date as the Khums annual date. On this date, one should pay Khums on the surplus of what one has for the preceding year.
In order to understand how Khums is calculated we have divided life’s expenditures into major categories: food, clothing and furniture, property, cash and debts.
Food: Whatever foodstuff exists in your possession, which is unused and which has a monetary value should be counted.
Clothing and furniture: Consider your unused or extra items acquired during the last year, and one-fifth of them should be paid as Khums.
Property: If you require, for example, two cars and you own three, you have to pay Khums on the third car. Or if you have a house which suffices your need, but you have purchased another home, the latter is considered a surplus of your needs and the Khums should be paid on it.
Cash: One-fifth of all money that is saved and is at hand needs to be paid as Khums.
Debts and loans: If your money is lent to someone else, after one year Khums becomes due on it.
TOP TIP: Use our Khums Calculator to help you with this step!
After calculating the items on which Khums should be paid, there are two ways to pay Khums: First way is to give one-fifth of the commodity itself. So for example, if you have 5 kilos of rice, pay 1 kilo as Khums. The second way is to pay the cash equivalent according to the market value. So instead of giving the one kilo of rice, you pay its cash equivalent.
Keep in mind, Khums is a matter which you should double-check with your Marja. Your Marja will also let you know where you can donate your Khums. The Zahra(s) Trust Canada has Khums Ijaza from Ayatullah Sistani, Ayatullah Basheer Hussain Najafi, Ayatullah Ishaq al Fayadh and Ayatullah Sayed Al Hakim, meaning if you are a muqalid of any of these Maraja you can pay your khums to The Zahra(s) Trust Canada who will allocate the funds accordingly.
Follow any of these Maraja? Donate your khums now!
The last ten days of this holy month consist of numerous Aamal and supplications to purify one’s soul and endure nearness to Allah (swt). Throughout those final days, seeking forgiveness and reciting dhikr should be maintained throughout this month and after Shahr Ramadan. Maintaining consistency in our Aamal increases our spirituality and establishes a God-consciousness state of mind. Developing a schedule for the last ten days may be beneficial to keep track of all the recommended Aamal and duas for each eve night until Eid al Fitr. Therefore, listing our Aamal, reciting dhikr, and maintaining our wajibat will keep us sustained spiritually and advance our relationship with Allah (swt).
The first recommended act for this holy month includes performing Ghusl (prescribed bath). Maintaining Ghusl is recommended throughout this holy month while completing our daily Aamal and supplications. Whilst establishing ghusl, your body is purified from all impurities for your nafs (soul) to feel pure during Aamal and recitation.
“Ghusl is a major ablution as opposed to wudu which is a minor ablution. In Islamic laws, ghusl is considered an act of worship; it is an act of purifying oneself from the ritual impurity (najasat) caused by sexual intercourse, discharge of semen or blood, and by touching the dead body. The ritual bath is given to a dead Muslim before burial is also known as ghusl.”
It is recommended to perform 8 Rakaat of prayer which consists of reciting Surat al Fatiha and any other Sura ending with a salawaat recitation.
It is recommended to say the following glorification every day in the month of Ramadan. It consists of ten parts; each part comprises ten phrases of glorification of Almighty Allah. The dua can be found here.
Dua abu Hamza Al thamali is a dua that offers significant forgiveness and portrays nearness to Allah (swt). Through reciting this dua at the time of dawn (Suhoor), one can seek forgiveness and maintain spirituality.
In ‘Misbah al-Mutahajjid’, it has been narrated on the authority of Abu-Hamzah al-Thumali that Imam Zayn al-`Adibeen (as) used to offer prayers the whole nights of Ramadan. At the last hour of the Month of Ramadan nights, he used to say this supplication
Dua Nudba offers us an insight into the final days of Shahr Ramadan. The following dua can be recited on the last Friday, the final night of the month and on Eid. This dua concludes our final nights within this month by reciting words all praise to Allah and his generosity for all our blessings throughout this month.
Lastly, it is important to always maintain constant God-consciousness and dhikr throughout our final days and nights of this month. Reciting salwaat, tasbih, Quran memorization, and seeking forgiveness will help us obtain spirituality till the end of the month.
Specific Duas to recite include: Dua Kumayl to seek forgiveness, Dua al tawba and munajat e Taebeen.
Join us in these next few nights in sincere submission to Allah (swt) and May Allah accept all your duas and aamal for this holy month.
For many of us, Eid is a day filled with fun and excitement, as we gather with family and friends to celebrate the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Usually, this day is spent offering prayers in our mosques, having a feast-like meal for lunch or dinner, and giving gifts to our loved ones. This year, like the last, will not look like a typical Eid day full of celebration.
The social precarity of the COVID-19 pandemic has inhibited our ability to commemorate this holy month of Ramadan, and Eid is no different. In many parts of the world, getting together with friends and family for a big meal is either not allowed or highly discouraged. This year, we face another Eid that is limited to small household gatherings, with limited exposure to the social activities that we know and love to participate in on Eid Al Fitr.
For millions of children across West and South Asian regions, this is a reality known all too well. For children who are orphaned, living with single mothers, and in vulnerable situations, Eid can be a saddening day. These children are often limited to prayers in the home, frugal meals consisting of the most basic foods, and rarely ever receiving gifts.
The strain of COVID-19 worsening the circumstances for families facing poverty. In Iraq and other surrounding countries, 1 in 5 children were struggling in poverty. Now, an estimated 2 in 5 children are facing poverty, struggling to survive. In Yemen, the situation has increasingly worsened, as Yemenis are facing the world’s largest humanitarian crisis in history. These and other statistics are certainly disheartening, but together we can make a difference.
This Eid, the Zahra Foundation is working to put a smile on the faces of children celebrating Eid in poverty. We are working to deliver stationery and gifts to orphans and vulnerable children. By donating to our Eid campaign, you can a gift that will serve as a reminder of the generosity of the ummah and provide hope and positivity in the lives of those in the most negative circumstances. Help provide a gift to a child in need by donating here.
Imam As-Sadiq has said, “Indeed, as part of the completion of the fast in the month of Ramadan, is to give the fitrah zakat; just as sending blessings upon the Prophet of Allah and his family is a part of the completion of the prayer; for indeed, whosoever fasts but does not perform the zakat and abandons it intentionally, it is as if he has not fasted at all.”
Don’t forget to give Zakat Al Fitr – give zakat, give hope.
World Bank (201)
Man La Yahdhuruhu al-Faqih, v. 2, pg. 183
By the grace of Allah SWT, your donations have helped to raise over $200,000 of aid this Ramadan. In comparison to last year’s campaign, this year’s funds have doubled. This means that our ability and capability to provide aid and assistance is two times greater. While our final report for Ramadan 2021 is still in the works, we want to share a sneak peak of the successes that Allah SWT has brought forth for us all. Without our generous donors, our work would not be possible. Thank you all!
As stated earlier, over $200,000 of aid was fundraised to be distributed across West and South Asian regions. From iftar packs, COVID-19 relief packs, and water relief, our brothers and sisters around the globe have benefitted and will continue to benefit from your generous donations, Insha’Allah.
Here are some numbers for a more specific breakdown:
Over 13,000 meals have been funded, included Qadr iftars, Ramadan iftars, and meals for orphans and widows.
Over 4000 water bottles have been funded, providing thousands with clean drinking water.
More than 20 COVID-19 Relief packs have been funded, preserving the health and safety of our brothers and sisters.
We have also funded 20 water wells this Ramadan, providing 20 communities with clean sanitization and drinking water for years to come.
We have also raised over $40,000 for Yemen, which extends to meals, sanitation services, financial aid among other forms of aid.
Alhamdulillah for all the success thus far. We extend our du’as and thanks to all our generous donors. As many of you may know, your donations do not only benefit our brothers and sisters, but they also benefit you in return. Many hadith narrations confirm that when Allah SWT receives our well-intentioned charitable donations, He will increase our monetary and spiritual wealth tenfold.
We pray that all your charitable donations are accepted from this past Ramadan onwards, and that Allah SWT continuous to bless us all with success. We also pray that our funds and abilities continue to increase with the years to come, Insha’Allah.
Although Ramadan has left us for another year, let us work to not lose momentum. To continue supporting our brothers and sisters around the globe by giving from our cherished wealth, you can donate to our other campaigns active on our website.
The Zahra(s) Trust Canada offers our du’as and many thanks to all of you, on behalf of the team and our beneficiaries. Thank you for making our work possible.
Islam is a religion which not only focuses on individual acts of worship but also communal service. In Islam, giving charity and supporting those in need is highly recommended, and also in some cases obligatory. Amongst the highly recommended forms of charity is a Sadaqa Jariya.
A Sadaqa Jariya is a form of charity that is continuous or long-lasting. Some examples of a Sadaqa Jariya include teaching someone knowledge that will allow them to benefit others, building a school or hospital where individuals will continuously benefit and building a water well that will continue to provide water for those in need.
While most of our deeds end with our death, there is an exception to this. Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) said, “Three things help a man after his death, and these are: a charity given by him, a good habit he taught to others and a good offspring he leaves behind, who prays for his forgiveness.” (Bihar al Anwar, Vol 6, Page 294) This hadith highlights that when an individual donates a form of charity that is continuous, this charity will continue to provide them rewards even after their death.
In the Holy Qur’an, it states: “And expend of that with which We have provided you before death comes to any of you when he says: ‘My Lord! If only You would give me respite for a little while, then I should give alms and be amongst the righteous.'” (63:10). What this verse tells us is that when we are at the time of death we will pray for an option to give more charity so that it could benefit us in the hereafter.
Therefore, giving a Sadaqa Jariya can not only help us get rewards now, it can continue to provide us rewards for the hereafter even after we pass away!
Sustainable water solutions such as water wells, including electric and manual, and water purification plants are some forms of Sadaqa Jariyas. These water solutions can help uplift communities by not only providing safe accessible clean water for drinking but also for sanitation, food preparation, agriculture and more.
Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said, ‘Six things benefit a person after he passes away: a child who seeks forgiveness for him, a copy of the Qur’an which he leaves behind, a plant that he planted, water that he donated in charity, a well that he had dug, and a tradition that others take from him and [practise] after him.’ (Man La Yahduruhu Al-Faqih, Vol 1, Page 185, Number 555).
Water is a critical resource yet, unfortunately, millions around the globe do not have access to it. 785 million people around the globe do not have access to a basic drinking water service and 2 billion people around the globe use drinking water that is contaminated with faeces. Unfortunately, the lack of accessible safe drinking water is something far too common in developing countries and consequently to up to 80% of illnesses in these nations are due to a lack of clean water and sanitation services.
Not only is clean water critical for quenching thirst, it is also essential for the prevention of water borne illnesses, agriculture and food security and much more. Without safe water communities cannot safely and effectively leave poverty.
We at The Zahra(s) Trust Canada work our hardest to help provide sustainable water solutions to those in need. In Pakistan, where 21 million people do not have access to a safe drinking water source near their home and 55000 children die each year due to diarrhoea due to poor water and sanitation, we have so far provided thousands of individuals in need with access to safe drinking water through your support.
Our team is continuing to work our hardest to provide more water and sanitation solutions in Pakistan and regions around the globe but we need your help. Donate today to help provide a suistainable water solution and fulfil a Sadaqa Jariya on your behalf or behalf of a family member who has passed. Don’t forget, a Sadaqa Jariya can not only continue to provide you rewards but also for those who have already passed.
Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said, ‘The best form of charity is to cool down someone’s internal heat [by quenching their thirst].” (Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 96, page 172, number 8).
Unfortunately, hundreds of millions around the globe are currently living without an easily accessible source of safe, clean drinking water. Water wells and other sustainable water solutions help provide a solution to this crisis and are a continuous source of relief to communities in need.
Last week we shared a post all about Sadaqa Jariya and the benefits of sponsoring a water well. Often we get many questions about how these water solutions are built, so in this post, we will be answering these common questions!
Currently, we have various projects ongoing to provide sustainable water solutions for communities in need. These include electric water wells, manual hand pumps and toilet facilities, solar water wells and water filtration plants. The first three of these are most commonly built in Pakistan. The exact location of the well depends based on what are the needs of the region considering factors such as electricity availability, drilling depth required to access water and other factors. The final project, water filtration plants, are currently being built in Yemen to purify existing but contaminated water sources.
In order to uphold the best interest of our beneficiaries, we, unfortunately, cannot accommodate requests for water wells to be built in specific locations. This is done in order to ensure those who need access to safe water are able to get it at the best and most efficient rate possible.
The cost for sponsoring a sustainable water solution depends based on the type of water solution it is.
Hand Pumps and Toilet Facilities: $900 CAD
Electric Water Wells: $2100 CAD
Solar Water Plants: $3000 CAD
Water Purification Plant: The total cost of this project is $85,000 CAD, however, smaller donations can be made.
Similarly to cost, timeline for water solutions also depends on which type and region it is.
Hand Pumps and Toilet Facilities: Typically up to nine months for completion.
Electric Water Wells: Typically up to nine months for completion.
Solar Water Plants: Typically up to 18 months for completion.
Water Purification Plant: Unfortunately, due to the unstable situation in Yemen the timing for this project can vary. Current timings can take from 6 to 12 months, however, this can be extended or delayed if situations beyond our control pose a risk to installation.
The number of people who benefit from a solution depends on various factors such as the location of installation and capacity. The range could be anywhere from up to 100 individuals to thousands. In some communities, these water solutions are the only source of sustainable safe water for the entire village.
Yes, you certainly can! A message to indicate the well was been donated in memory of a loved one or to indicate that it has been completed on behalf of an individual or organization can be included in all of these sustainable water solutions.
We hope this post has helped answer some of your common questions about water wells and sustainable water solutions! If you have any other questions do not hesitate to get in touch with us by visiting our contact page!
Help support a sustainable water solution today!
The meat of the animal that is slaughtered is distributed among the less fortunate. This act of sacrifice is referred to as Qurbani and is mandatory for those to partake in Hajj, but recommended to everyone else who can afford it. Those who can afford it but do not have access to an animal can give a Sadaqa equal to its value.
The act of Qurbani is a reflection of the dedication and submission Prophet Ibrahim (AS) had to Allah (SWT). When Prophet Ibrahim (AS) was commanded by Allah to sacrifice his eldest son Ismail (AS) through a dream, he was prepared to honour Allah with no hesitation.
Ibrahim was set to sacrifice Ismail (AS) on mount Arafat, however as he was doing so, Allah (SWT) replaced Ismail (AS) with a ram, thereby leaving Ismail (AS) unharmed. Allah was testing Prophet Ibrahim’s devotion to Him and in his willingness to conform to His commands. Ibrahim successfully passed the test and was rewarded. The willingness to submit to and worship Allah is the essence of Qurbani.
Performing or donating money for Qurbani sets a reminder of the sacrifice Prophet Ibrahim (AS) was prepared to make for the sake of Allah. By following the wishes of Allah, he became closer to Allah (SWT), which is the essence of Islam.
Moreover, the story also emphasizes Allah’s mercy and Prophet Ibrahim’s patience, both of which are important reminders for Muslims. The story of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) is inspirational and educational as it teaches us to be selfless and become obedient in order to obtain nearness to Allah.
Qurbani marks the completion of the fifth pillar of Islam, Hajj. After sacrificing the livestock, it is permissible for the individual to keep a third to themselves and gift another third to someone. It is recommended that the remaining third is distributed to poor Muslims (according to the guidance of Ayatullah Sayed Sistani).
It is narrated upon Imam As-Sadiq; “Whoever satiates a hungry believer so that the one is satisfied fully, neither a human being among people nor a near-stationed angel nor a divine Messenger knows how great his reward is in the Hereafter except Allah, the Lord of the Worlds” (Al-Kafi, Vol. 2, page 201).
As of 2019, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that more than 820 million people, or 1 in 9 people worldwide, are chronically undernourished. Together, Asia and Africa bear the greatest shares of malnutrition as they account for 90% of the children whose growth was stunted by severe hunger. Conflict is a key driving of severe food crises; more than half of the people living in hunger are found in countries affected by conflicts such as Yemen and Iraq.
The distribution of meat from Qurbani can help feed several families in countries of conflict and poverty.
Donate to The Zahra(s) Trust Canada today to help sponsor a Qurbani or support a family in need.
Charity in Islam comes in three forms; Zakat, Khums and Sadaqa. The first two are compulsory donations of one’s wealth to charity while the latter is not obligatory and is done as an act of kindness.
As we raise a new generation of Muslims, it is important to teach them the importance of giving to charity.
As Muslims, we try to do as much good in this world in order to help us in the afterlife. Allah (swt) mentions several times that those who donate to charity shall have many rewards, as well as forgiveness for our sins.
“Those who spend their wealth [in Allah ‘s way] by night and by day, secretly and publicly – they will have their reward with their Lord. And no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.” [Quran, 2:274]
As we witness the injustices that are occurring today which are leaving millions of people in poverty, it is important that those who have the means, donate towards the poor. This can help create a balance between the rich and the poor and prevent the rich from becoming richer.
Imam Ali (as) lived life very simply because he used to donate all his earnings to charity on his way home after a day of work. We can follow Imam Ali (as)’s steps and donate what we can to those who are more in need and help remove the large imbalance of wealth in society.
As we are taught to strive towards money and success, we can become greedy and start to hold onto all the wealth that we earn. By donating towards charity, we can let go of materialistic things aspects of life.
The act of donating materialistic items is reflected when Sayida Fatima Al-Zahraa (sa) gave away her wedding dress to a poor person. When Prophet Muhammad (sawa) asked why she was wearing her old dress, she responded quoted the Quran saying; ‘You will not achieve piety until you give what you love the most‘(3:92)”. Therefore it is important to give to charity as it helps an individual become selfless.
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) narrates: “Three things help a man after his death and there are: a charity given by him, a good habit he taught to others and a good offspring he leaves behind, how prays for his forgiveness” (Al Bihar, 6:294).
When donating towards charity, it can help strengthen our faith and remind us of the important aspects of life and the afterlife in Islam. As seen with the example of Prophet Ibrahim (as) from last week’s post, he was willing to give up his own son for the sake of Allah (swt). Donations towards charity can help those in need, while also helping us become closer towards Allah (swt).
When we donate to charity, not only does it reamplify our faith in Allah (swt), but it can also protect us from disasters or hardships. Giving charity in times of hardship can show our gratitude towards Allah (swt), and in return can give grant us protection and mercy from harm in life and on the day of judgment.
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) narrates; “An act of charity given openly prevents seventy types of mishaps, and a secretly given charity cools the anger of our Lord Allah (swt)” (Al Bihar, 62:269).
Therefore, the act of giving towards charity should be taught to our children as it can help strengthen their faith, become better Muslims and help those living in poverty.
Donate to The Zahra Foundation to help those in need.
From an Islamic point of view, a human consists of two aspects; the physical body and the metaphysical soul. The health of these two aspects are interconnected and it is therefore important for individuals to take care of both. When examining the role of mental health in Islam, there is a strong emphasis on spirituality and ensuring that the soul is at ease.
Although millions of people, including Muslims, live with mental health issues, studies have shown that there is an inverse association between religious or spiritual practices and depression (Bonelli et al., 2012). This can be traced back to many aspects of spiritual health, all of which are promoted and encouraged by Islam. The religion of Islam promotes many ideologies and acts that are able to strengthen and encourage spiritual health, which in turn can have a positive effect on mental health.
In many cases, those who struggle with mental health issues such as low mood or worries feel that life has no meaning or purpose. In Islam, the questions about the nature of life and the world and our purpose in life can be answered through the Quran and the teaching of the Ahlulbayt (as). The Quran highlights that the purpose of individuals on Earth is to obey Allah (swt) through Worship. Islam recognizes that life is temporary and that all that we do on a daily basis is just a test from Allah. At the end of the day our purpose is to serve Allah to earn happiness in eternity, which can bring ease to an individual who is struggling with worries of uncertainty and confusion.
O my people, this worldly life is only [temporary] enjoyment, and indeed, the Hereafter – that is the home of [permanent] settlement. (Quran, 40:39)
In times of hardship, one can feel lonely and it seems like one is suffering on their own without anyone to help. However, Allah recognizes that we need help at times and thus encourages us to seek help from Him. Through the five daily prayers and Du’as, we can become closer to Allah and He can help us get through tough times. This sense of closeness to Allah can bring ease to one’s heart and mental state. The association between regular prayers and improved mental health has been reported by several studies and has shown that prayers promote individuals to be in a more relaxed state, thereby decreasing anxiety and other symptoms of mental illness (Javed 2012; Doufesh et al., 2014).
Every individual is faced with an array of problems in life, some of which may be physical or mental health problems. Although living with health problems can deteriorate one’s life, Allah tells us to have patience and that He, in turn, will provide us with the strength to overcome hardships.
“O you who believe! Seek help in patience and prayer. Truly God is with the patient” (2:153).
We are given a vessel on this Earth for our soul, and Allah has told us to maintain not only our spiritual, but physical health as well. The Quran states “eat and drink and do not commit excesses; indeed He does not love those who are excessive” (7:31), which implies that individuals should stay healthy. Physical activity and healthy eating are strongly associated with improved mental health and a decrease in risk of chronic diseases, which can also prevent mental illnesses. Indeed Allah is the All-Knowing.
Alcohol is a depressant and can have major impact on mental illnesses as it can interfere with chemicals in our brain that are good for our mental health. It can also lead to addiction and lead to greater problems in an individual’s life. It is therefore no surprise that Islam forbids the consumption of alcohol as it can impair physical, mental and spiritual health.
“They ask you about intoxicants and the games of chance. Says: in both of them there is a great sin and means of profit for men, and their sin is greater than their profit.” (2:219)
At The Zahra(s) Trust Canada, we recognize the importance of physical, spiritual and mental health. Accordingly, we work our hardest to provide not only for those in need with their physical necessities but also in supporting their spiritual and mental health needs. You can help support by donating today at zahrafoundation.ca/donate
Disclaimer: This post is provided for general information only. It is not intended to, and does not, amount to medical or professional advice on mental illnesses. If you are in need of mental health support please speak to your family doctor or a qualified professional.
Bonelli, R., Dew, R. E., Koenig, H. G., Rosmarin, D. H., & Vasegh, S. (2012). Religious and spiritual factors in depression: review and integration of the research. Depression research and treatment, 2012, 962860. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/962860
Ijaz S, Khalily MT, Ahmad I. Mindfulness in Salah Prayer and its Association with Mental Health. J Relig Health. 2017 Dec;56(6):2297-2307. doi: 10.1007/s10943-017-0413-1. PMID: 28502025.
Contrary to popular belief, charity does not have to be an act of giving money; it encompasses everyday activities that provide benefits to others. Here are 5 charitable acts that we can do which do not involve donating money.
According to Prophet Mohammed (SAWA); “Every kindly act is considered charity”. A kindly act could be as simple as guiding someone in the right direction, removing an obstacle from a hallway, or visiting the sick. All these acts will help improve the lives of others. Living life as a good Muslim and being selfless is an act of charity and will increase your rewards for the afterlife.
In Islamic teachings, there is an emphasis on restraining our tongues as our words have the power to hurt others. From back-biting, lying and bringing people down, words have severe consequences that are hard to undo. As such, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) said “Guard your tongue, for verily this is a charitable act that you perform for your own sake”. This is considered an act of charity as it not only prevents problems from occurring between people, but also gives you time to think about the consequences of your words.
We are faced with many obstacles in life, some of which may stray us in the wrong direction. However, repenting and abandoning non-Islamic acts is considered an act of charity, according to Prophet Mohammed (SAWA). This is because you will benefit your soul and turn towards Allah, thereby improving your own life.
When problems occur between two individuals, it can become hard to mend the wounds. This is why reconciling individuals is considered an act of charity, as it is helping others and preventing any further harm from occurring. Imam Al-Sadiq (AS) says; “A charitable act that Allah loves indeed is reconciling people when they have become estranged to one another, and bringing them close together when they have become distanced from each other”.
Unfortunately, there are hundreds of thousands of people living with disabilities or impairments. In Islam, taking time to help someone with a disability achieve something and having patience with them is considered an act of charity. For example, Imam Al-Sadiq (AS) said that making a deaf person understand something without getting irritated is a wholesome act of charity.
It is clear that charitable acts can be done daily, without needing to donate money. We can all challenge ourselves to try to do one kind act every day to support others or fulfil one act of charity. An effective way of doing this could be by volunteering your time with The Zahra(s) Trust Canada! To volunteer and get involved click here!
The Day of Arafah is an Islamic holiday that lands on the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah. On this day, pilgrims gather at Arafat, which is a region around 20 kilometres from the Ka’bah in Makkah, to perform Amal (deeds). The day following marks Eid Al-Adha, signifying the end of Hajj. This article will talk about five recommended acts for pilgrims and non-pilgrims on the day of Arafat and Eid.
From noon to sunset on the Day of Arafah, Pilgrims visit Arafat where they stand to repent and ask for mercy and forgiveness from Allah (swt). One can also ask for forgiveness from their own homes if they are not attending Hajj. Moreover, there are recommended prayers, as well as dua’a that can be read for forgiveness. For example, the supplication of Arafa by Imam Al-Hussain (AS) is a dua’a that can be recited. This dua’a states that there is no God but Allah (swt) and that all of human creation will return to Him after death. Moreover, Dua Al-Nudbah is also recommended to be recited on the tenth day of Dul Hijjah.
Ghusl is the act of bathing oneself in an Islamic manner. This is a highly recommended act. If you are unaware of how ghusl is done, here is a video from our team at ZT Media that describes it: youtube.com/watch?v=mgxufALcPr8
Fasting is a highly recommended, but not obligatory act on the day of Arafah. According to Imam Al-Sadiq (AS); “Fasting the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah suffices to wipe out the sins committed in an entire year, and fasting the day or Arafat suffices to atone for the sins committed for two years”. Therefore those who fast are highly rewarded on the day or Arafah, and before.
Allah (swt) loves those who give or help others and as such will be rewarded with hasanat. One can perform simple acts such as volunteering at a community centre, baking a cake for a neighbour, or simply calling friends and family to check upon them. All these actions will have generous rewards as they reflect what a well practicing Muslim should act like.
As mentioned in the blog from weeks ago, Qurbani is the act of sacrifice of an animal for the sake of Allah as it reflects Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) dedication to Allah. If you are looking to donate money towards Qurbani, The Zahra(s) Trust Canada is accepting donations here and working hard to deliver your sacrifice to individuals in need. To learn more and donate towards Qurbani click here. If you cannot afford to do so, donating to charity or cooking something for the less fortunate is also a great way to make a sacrifice in honour of the blessed day!
It commemorates the day that Ali ibn Ali Talib, the cousin of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), was appointed as the religious leader to come after the death of the Prophet. Here are a few things you should know about this important day.
On the 18th of Dhul Hijjah, 10 years after the Hijrah, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stopped at a location between Mecca and Medina called Ghadeer Khuum. There, the Prophet declared in front of thousands of people, that his successor that he had chosen to lead Islam was Imam Ali (AS). During his speech, he took Imam Ali’s (AS) hand and stated;
“Oh Allah, bear witness. ‘Oh people, Allah is my Lord and I am the Lord (leader) of the believers. I am worthier of believers than themselves. Of whomsoever I had been Master (Mawla), Ali here is to be his Master (Mawla). Oh Allah, be a supporter of whoever supports him (Ali) and an enemy of whoever opposes him (Ali).”
All the believers at the time applauded Prophet Muhammad’s decision and congratulated Imam Ali (AS).
After the Prophet (PBUH) completed his sermon, the following verse of the Quran was revealed;
“Today I have perfected your religion and completed my bounty upon you, and I was satisfied that Islam be your religion” (Quran; 5:3)
This Aya is very significant as it reflects that Imam Ali (AS) was not just chosen by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), but from Allah, and that there was a reason why Imam Ali was chosen. This day marks the completion of Prophethood and the beginning of the Institution of Imamate, as Ali was named as the first of twelve Imams who would continue provide leadership and authority in Islam.
Through Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) appointing Imam Ali (AS) as the successor after He passed away, He established Wilaya, which is a regulation of governance, power and ruling in Islam. The concept of Wilaya reflects the commands Allah; only those who are chosen by Allah, through the Prophet (PBUH) can have political authority in Islam. The Imams are considered to be the rightful successors of the Prophet not because they are related to the Prophet, but because they possess the qualities required for religious-political leadership. In the absence of an Imam, a highly educated religious scholar (Marja’a such as Ayotyllah Sayed Al-Sistani), can be a source of guidance to less educated Muslims.
It is clear that Eid Al-Ghadeer marks an important day in Islam and shaped it into the way we see it in today’s world. On this special day, it is recommended that Muslims bathe, fast, recite Ziyarat Ameenallah, Ziyarat Mutlaqah, and Dua’a Nudbah. You can also give sadaqa or charity on this day in honour of Amir al Mumineen (AS). To do so, click here!
Alongside her is Lady Asiya (sa) wife of Pharoah, Lady Maryam (sa) mother of Christ (as), and Sayeda Fatima (sa) daughter of Muhammad and Khadija (sawa). In today’s blog post, we explore; what makes Sayeda Khadija (sa) so great?
Several sources state that Syeda Khadija (sa) was born in 565 A.D. She was the daughter of Fatima and Khuwaylid, and came from a family who were known to be successful merchants and business people. Upon the passing of her father and mother, Khadija (sa) was entrusted with the wealth of her family. Khadija (sa) later became a successful business woman herself, commissioning leaders of trade caravans.
It is not wealth and status alone that made Sayeda Khadija (sa) great, but the ways in which she gave her wealth in the cause of Islam and for the benefit of the ummah. Upon her marriage to our great Prophet Muhammad (sawa), Khadija (sa) took on a crucial role as a light and rock for the Prophet. At the onset of his prophetic mission, she accepted the revelations and truth in Islam – narrations state that Khadija (sa) always carried a monotheistic belief, and Islam was a seal on her belief.
Sayeda Khadija (sa), one of the first Muslims, was dedicated to helping her community, supporting those who were oppressed, and was a rock for Prophet Muhammad (sawa) in the years of his prophethood. At the dawn of Islam, Khadija (sa) was committed to giving her wealth in the name of Islam. During the first few years of the prophetic mission, Khadija (sa) scarified much of her wealth and resources in support of the ummah.
She used her wealth to feed and clothe the needy, provide shelter for the oppressed, assist her relatives and friends financially, and even provide for the marriage of those of her kin who could not otherwise have had means to marry. The vast majority of Muslims in Makkah were poor and destitute and were drawn to the message of Islam through the mission of the Holy Prophet (sawa) and the charitable deeds of Syeda Khadija (sa).
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sawa) said himself, “Who is like Khadija? She believed in me when people rejected me, and she supported me in establishing the religion of God by contributing her wealth.”
This Ramadan, The Zahra(s) Trust Canada encourages our generous donors and readers to review and donate to our Ramadan Relief campaign. We are prioritizing the plights of vulnerable and subjugated peoples around the globe. In honour of Sayeda Khadija (sa), preserve her charitable mission and donate today by clicking here.
Dr. Yasin T. Al-Jiborui, Khadija, Daughter of Khuwailid, Wife of Muhammad.
Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 131.
Al-Hayri, Sharajat Tubah, vol. 2, p. 233.
Sayyid Ali Asghar Razwy, Khadijatul Kubra, A Short Story of her Life.
Ramadan is a month of growth, forgiveness and good deeds, in which we are all are granted an opportunity to reintegrate faith into our lives and strengthen our love for Allah (swt). However, this doesn’t mean that our dedication and efforts start on the first day of the month and end on the last. Rather, it is best to prepare for this holy month ahead of time and continue to practice the good habits we’ve adopted during the month throughout the rest of the year.
Ramadan is the month in which The Holy Qur’an was revealed to our Holy Prophet Muhammad (saww). Therefore, it is critical that we not only read and recite the Qur’an during this holy month, but also work to understand its meanings and inner workings. Many verses of the Qur’an are contextual and must be understood and contextualized through hadith narrations and historical analyses.
Here are some tips to follow when reading the Holy Qur’an.
Tip 1: Make your wudu or ghusl as needed.
Tip 2: Pick a comfy spot to read the word of Allah (swt).
Tip 3: Reflect on the Qur’anic meanings: if a certain verse is puzzling you and you don’t feel as though you’ve understood its true meaning, write down the verse and seek to research its contextual meaning after you have finished your daily reading.
“Do they not earnestly seek to understand the Qur’an, or are their hearts locked up by them?”
Fasting has spiritual and physical benefits. It reminds us of our blessings and abilities while simultaneously regulating our digestive systems and cleansing our bodies of toxins. However, many of us forget to reflect on our fasts and seek to understand the greater meaning and purpose of fasting. It is not enough to simply abstain from food and water from dawn until dusk. We must actively reflect and realign our intentions, thoughts and feelings when we are fasting to acknowledge the fast as an act of worship – it must be done with intention and proper etiquette to maximize the rewards.
“Allah has said: ‘For every good deed there are ten to seven hundred times rewards, save fasting. For fasting is for Me and I am the reward of it.’” – Prophet Muhammad (saww)
(Muhsen al-Kashani, Al-Mahajjatul-Baydha, vol. 2, p. 121)
When you cannot fast due to illness, pregnancy or other valid reasons, and have not been able to make up your fasts before the upcoming Ramadan, it is necessary to give fidyah. Fidyah covers the feeding of 750 grams of food (wheat, rice, etc.) to a person in need and is roughly $2 (CAD) per day of missed fast.
Kaffarah is compensation made in the circumstance that you break or miss a fast deliberately without a valid reason. This requires the feeding of 60 people in need and is roughly $115 (CAD) per day of missed fast. In both circumstances, the fasts will still need to be made up. Therefore, it is always best to fast to complete your fasts while you are in good health and circumstance!
To learn more about Kaffarah and Fidya click here.
“Whoever voluntarily does more good than is required will find a reward for him. And that if you should fast, it would be better for you, if only you knew.” (Qur’an in 2:184-185)
Completing our daily prayers is fundamental to our success, and it is especially important when we are fasting. Increasing our supplications during the month of Ramadan is a deed that gets us closer to Allah (swt) and makes our fasts easier. The Holy Qur’an states (regarding fasting) “And seek help in patience and the prayers.” (2:45).
There is great reward in increasing our worship during Ramadan, this includes making du’a and dhikr. Try to work towards a new action of worship every day, whether it is through extra prayers offered or by reciting supplications of the Holy Prophet and his Ahlul Bayt (saww).
A simple action you can implement is reciting Tasbih Az-Zahra after each of your prayers: SubhanAllah 33 times, Alhamdullilah 33 times, Allahu Akbar 34 times, followed by la ilaha il-Allah once.
“One who recites the Tasbih of Hadhrat Zahra (sa) after a wajib prayer before he stretches out his legs or moves his feet ( i.e. while he is in the posture of tashahud), then Jannah becomes wajib upon him.” – Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq
(Falaahus Saael, Ibn Taaoos, p. 165)
During Ramadan, strive to practice charity daily. Charity does not have to be of monetary value, it can be practised in the form of a good deed or giving food to one who is in need. We recommend setting a sustainable goal for yourself before the month begins. For example, if you want to donate $150, give $5 of charity each day! Setting this goal will not only make your daily tasks easier but will also build a sense of accountability.
“You will never attain piety, until you spend from which you own and cherish.”
Many narrations tell us that our good deeds can be erased when we act in a poor manner and displease Allah (swt). This is especially important to be aware of during Ramadan. Ramadan offers us time for personal reflection and strengthening of our akhlaq (manners and ethics). Try to realign your thoughts and perspectives daily to avoid giving in to the dislikes of Allah such as gossiping, back-biting and general pessimistic thoughts. We should strive to foster a positive mindset and act with good intentions every day!
“One who while fasting does not guard his tongue from telling lies and does not refrain from bad deeds, is not respecting his fast. Allah does not approve of mere abstention from food.” – Prophet Muhammad (saww)
(Wasa’il Ash-Shi’a, vol. 8, p. 183)
Amongst the greatest actions in this holy month is to give charity as was mentioned above. Join us this Ramadan in supporting those in need by donating to our Ramadan campaign.
This worldly life has been designed for tests and trials, and we cannot help but search for a deeper meaning to give us closure as to why certain situations take place. It is in our nature. We all have the ability to perceive such obstacles in either a positive or negative light.
Whenever I go through a trial, I try my best to thank my Lord for every difficulty I endure in life. Even if I do not understand why, I always have faith I will eventually come to know these unanswered questions whether in this life or the next.
To start, we know Imam Ali (as) was a gem given to us by Allah (swt) in order for us to succeed in our faith in Islam. Imam Ali (as) was sadly attacked while he was in sujood during his prayers in the Holy month of Ramadhan. After being struck, he saw that his killer was in distraught, and had requested for a sweet drink to be brought to him so that he may calm down. This is an extraordinary act of kind character demonstrated in one of the most difficult hardships Imam Ali (as) had to go through. Instead of reacting negatively to the situation, he responded with empathy and kindness towards his enemy. Imam Ali (as) teaches us how to keep our dignity, respect, and morals in all situations.
Thus, whenever we face issues in life from work, school, strangers, businesses, and even family or friends, we must not let our negative emotions be executed in an immoral way. Imam Ali (as) has given a perfect example of how to react in a negative situation and we must learn to apply this knowledge in all hardships we will endure.
Second, we have Imam Hussain (as). The unimaginable suffering and tragedy of Imam Hussain (as) on the Day of Ashura is a lesson for millions around the globe. It is widely known that he was deprived of water, saw the massacre of his own family, dealt with unbearable cruelty, and deep heartbreak. Despite the severe circumstances, Imam Hussein (as) never submitted to injustice or oppression. Imam Hussain (as) has given the entire world an example of standing up for truth and justice. He (as) teaches us the peak of morality, how to be steadfast in this temporary life and helps us to focus on the ultimate goal – serving Allah (swt) by maintaing the highest manners and standing for justice, peace and equality. Whenever we face struggles in our daily life, we should take inspiration from Imam Hussain (as) and seek strength in working to please Allah (swt) and act upon that which is righteous. Imam Hussein (as) teaches us high moral standards. There is no reason we should ever act immorally for the sake of our anger, frustration, or sadness.
As a third example, if we look at the life of Imam Musa al-Kadhim (as) he was imprisoned for much of his Imamate. The oppressors kept him in inhumane conditions and treated him with cruelty and disrespect. Yet, despite the situation. Imam Musa al-Kadhim (as) viewed the imprisonment as a positive event as he looked forward to worshipping Allah (swt).
His patience has been brilliantly proven in the prisons of where he was situated. With this example of a response to a long and terrible hardship, how can we not learn patience from the man who saw positivity while being confined? As his followers, we can learn to practice and attain higher levels of patience in the face of tribulations.
The Zahra(s) Trust Canada wishes all people immense blessings and patience through life hardships and to remember the life difficulties of the Imams and how we can calm our hearts by reflecting on how the Holy Household (pbut) have dealt with trying adversities and remained steadfast in doing righteous acts for the love of Allah (swt).
Contributed by: Wasefah Askari
Jesus (AS) is central to the Islamic message of Allah’s will. He is revered to be a prophet, messenger, messiah, and a leader in the realms of spirituality and worldly affairs. The general Islamic beliefs regarding Jesus (AS) are similar to those within Christianity. This includes Jesus’ ability to perform miracles, his mission of justice for all humankind, and that he will come back to the Earth again near the Day of Judgement to aid in guiding all of creation to a path of salvation.
As Muslims hold Prophet Jesus (AS) to a high regard, we also hold his mother, Lady Maryam (AS) to a noble and high status. Lady Maryam (AS) is the only woman that the holy Qur’an mentions by name, and the Qur’an has revealed Surah Maryam, a chapter in her name. She is noted as one of the most important and highly guided women in Islam, with the best of morals and deeds, and purest in character. She received revelation in her difficult journey to the birth of prophet Jesus (AS), and she is highly rewarded for her perseverance and trust in Allah.
With over 2 billion Christians and 1.8 billion Muslims living around the world, The Zahra(s) Trust Canada encourages our generous donors to let our love and reverence for Prophet Jesus and Lady Maryam (AS) to be central in our kinship with the Christian community. We believe that our similarities must continue to be highlighted, as the first step to establishing an alliance with one another is practising mutual understanding and respect. The establishment of peace means the destruction of war, injustices, hate crimes and otherworldly perils that stem from misinformation, biases, and lack of compassion.
The Zahra(s) Trust Canada wishes a happy and joyous Christmas to our Christian followers and readers. The holy Qur’an states that our Christian brothers and sisters are nearest to us in affection and friendship (5:82). May we all take our time off in this holiday season as a time to reflect on the year passed, and actively work to employ Jesus’ (AS) teachings of compassion, justice and love of God into our lives.
The current world population consists of 7.8 billion people. Out of those people, 9.2% of the world, or 689 million people persons live in extreme poverty living on under $1.90 a day and without basic necessities in life – food, water, shelter, education, or healthcare.
Poverty is caused by many factors such as inequities in gender or ethnic discrimination, poor governance, conflict, exploitation, and domestic violence. These inequities not only lead a person or a society into poverty but can also restrict access to social services that could help people overcome poverty.
At The Zahra Foundation, we strive to aid in reducing global poverty. Donations made to us directly aid our appeals in countries such as Yemen, Lebanon, and Iraq. These donations are able to help support and provide some relief to those in need. But, unfortunately, due to the great demand, much more is needed to eradicate poverty. We cannot stand by and simply wish for individuals to get the aid that they need, unfortunately, global poverty will not be eradicated so easily… “Indeed Allah (SWT) will not change the condition of a people, until they change what is in themselves” (Quran 13:11).
Imam Mahdi will want us to strive for this change. We must work towards changing ourselves and building our imaan therefore when Imam Mahdi reappears, we will be able to support him as he revolutionizes the world and eradicates poverty.
It is said that the following will happen:
1. He will teach us how to maximize and utilize natural resources to provide everyone with wealth.
2. People will be so trustworthy that they would feel comfortable leaving their homes unlocked as no one would be in need anymore.
3. He will truly eradicate world poverty, distributing wealth equally amongst all people so there would be no one to give Sadaqa to anymore.
4. The amount of cruelty and poverty among us will cease and Allah (swt) will fill the earth with his just government through Imam Mahdi, bringing peace and justice for all mankind.
We pray that Allah will hasten the reappearance of Imam Al-Mahdi (AJFS) to bring peace and justice and eradicate poverty on Earth.
Contributed by: Wasefah Askari
On Sunday January 3rd, eleven hardworking family men from the Hazara community were kidnapped on their way to work. These eleven were coal miners and after being kidnapped were all brutally killed. This attack comes after a suicide bombing last April which killed 18 people and countless other attacks over the past two decades. Some estimates have indicated that in Balochistan alone there have been at least 3000 Hazaras killed since 2000.
Oppression and targeting are not something new to the Hazara community. Since the 1890s, the Haraza ethnic community have been continuous victims of mass persecution, displacement, and marginalization. Although majority of this ethnic group live in Afghanistan, many live in Pakistan and other nations. The Hazara community have faced countless attacks from terrorist organizations.
Unfortunately, the oppression facing the Hazara community victim is not limited to physical persecution and oppression. For decades, this community has faced significant discrimination leading to socio-economic effects as well. Reports indicate that Hazaras living in Balochistan, unfortunately, live in great poverty and this is the case in other regions in Afghanistan as well. At The Zahra Foundation, we believe that no human should be a victim of violence, discrimination, or oppression.
Imam Ali (AS) said, “People are of two kinds; either your brothers in religion or your brothers in humanity.”
It is for this reason that we have launched the #UnitedinHumanity campaign. A campaign to support the oppressed around the globe, specifically the Hazara community following this recent attack in Quetta. Our goal with this campaign is to highlight that regardless of faith or background, we as humans should be able to stand together and support those in need. While we may not be able to bring back those who have been wrongfully killed, we can still support the community and families which remain living in dire conditions.
Donate today to support those afflicted and in need of emergency aid.
Fatima al Zahra (SA) is described by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) as the greatest woman of this world and the hereafter. Fatima is not an ordinary figure, from her childhood until her martyrdom she worked earnestly to serve God and those around her. It is in her honour that we at The Zahra(s) Trust Canada do the work that we do. This post is dedicated to Fatima al Zahra and is a humble effort to provide information about her.
Fatima al Zahra is widely known for how she used to cherish and treat her father, the Prophet of God, in the utmost best manner. Fatima would take such great care of her father that he would call her ‘Umm Abiha’, the mother of her father. On many occasions at a young age Fatima would care for her father after he had been harassed or attacked by others.
Throughout the life of Fatima she would put the needs of others before herself. The quoted verse was revealed when Fatima al Zahra and Imam Ali (AS) (and some narrations include their maid Fidha and Imam Hassan (AS) and Hussain (AS)) fasted for three days after Allah had healed Imam Hassan and Hussain from an illness. On each night, someone in need would come to their door asking for food and each night they would give what they had leaving themselves hungry.
On another occasion, on the wedding day of Fatima, she donated her wedding dress to a woman in need. It is said that she quoted this verse of the Qur’an when asked why: “You will never attain piety till you spend from that which you love.” [3:92]
Imam al Hassan narrates that he would hear his mother late at night praying for all the believing men and women without praying for herself. Upon asking her why, Fatima said ‘‘O my son, the neighbor (first) and then the house…’. This is a crucial lesson for us living in the modern world. With the rise of individualism, we may sometimes forget to care for our neighbours and community members. It is essential for us to follow the message of Fatima and pray for the wellbeing of the Muslim Ummaa.
Fatima al Zahra is the mother of the eleven infallible Imams. Without Fatima’s role as a mother there is no connection between Prophethood and Imammah. As a mother, Fatima’s influence was not limited to her own doings, but also the acts of the pure infallibles from her lineage. Sometimes we forget to value the mothers in our lives and, on a wider scale, the community. Especially in recent times, it has been found that often women who are stay at home mothers are looked down upon, while in fact they are doing one of the greatest services for society.
Shortly after the death of the Holy Prophet the rights of inheritance of Fatima al Zahra were taken away. In response, Fatima delivered a famous sermon condemning the injustice. This was not for her own worldly gain but to uphold justice and declare her rights. Knowing the asceticism of Fatima, it is understood that she did not care for this inheritance for its material value. Yet, she still stood up for her rights. The lessons from this stance are critical as they highlight to us that maintaining justice is critical and should never be overlooked.
Fatima al Zahra (SA) is an excellent role model for both men and women alike. At The Zahra(s) Trust Canada, we work in the name of Fatima and aspire to uphold the teachings and values she stood for.
Support the cause of Fatima al Zahra today
The United Nations (1993) defines violence against women as, “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life”. The most common forms of violence against women include domestic abuse, financial abuse, street harassment and sexual harassment (UN Women, 2020).
Some of us may be fortunate enough to only experience the phenomenon as a statistic that is read or reported. Yet, for millions of women worldwide, violence, threats, abuse and assaults have become a part of their daily lives. It is estimated that 1 in 3 women have experienced sexual or physical violence by a spouse, partner, or non-partner worldwide (World Health Organization, 2017).
Undoubtably, these facts and figures are difficult to read. At the Zahra Foundation, we are taking the steps to end violence against women. Victims of abuse are usually denied three essential rights – financial support, food and water, as well as education (UN Women, 2020). The Zahra(s) Trust Canada actively works to eradicate these forms of oppression and ensure women receive these rights through multiple supports. Our supports ensure financial security, food security, and education.
When women are denied their financial rights, it becomes nearly impossible to flee an abusive household. This not only puts women at risk, but their children as well. Furthermore, for widows, financial insecurity can lead to exploitation. Our campaign appeal for orphans, widows and vulnerable children directly works to support women and children, many of whom have experienced domestic or societal abuse. This appeal prioritizes financial aid and tackles the combination of food and financial insecurity. Finances are allocated on the basis of need and are also used to provide women and children with staple foods to ensure physical health needs are met.
The Zahra(s) Trust Canada also works to support housing for women, children and orphans. In addition to housing supports, our educational systems have been successful in providing women and children with basic literacy and academic education and training. Women and children are empowered when they are provided with the tools to support themselves and ensure their rights are fulfilled.
As the Zahra Foundation’s workers are on the grounds in underprivileged countries, we are able to actively meet the needs and ensure the safety vulnerable women and children are met. Safeguarding vulnerable populations, especially women, orphans, the disabled, and oppressed is not only at the core of our values as an organization, it is also a core tenet of our Islamic duties. Inspired by the actions of The Holy Prophet and his household (SAWA), The Zahra(s) Trust Canada takes pride in our work that is exemplary of true Islamic values, community and livelihood.
Donate today towards programs for women and vulnerable children by clicking here.
Contributed by: Lauren Iaccino
1. United Nations. Declaration on the elimination of violence against women. New York: UN, 1993.
2. World Health Organization. Violence Against Women. 2017.
3. United Nations, UN Women. Facts and figures: Ending violence against women. 2020
At the time, the risk of the spread of the novel Coronavirus, Covid-19, was not fully understood and some predicted that it would be rare to see the spread of the virus. Almost two months later, on March 11th, the World Health Organization officially declared the outbreak of Covid-19 as a pandemic.
Since then, a lot has changed. For us living in Canada, changes since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic have been vast. Shifting from working at the office to working at home, home schooling, not getting to see family and friends, wearing a mask whenever you leave the home, these are only some of the changes that have taken place.
For many of us, one of the biggest changes was no longer being able to visit mosque, something we may have felt was most difficult during the holy months of Ramadhan and Muharram. Unfortunately, many of us have lost loved ones as well. Meaning this year, while we still may not face the difficulty of separation from Mosque in Ramadhan, we may also face the difficulty of separation from our loved ones.
So, while we have undoubtedly gone through a rollercoaster of changes here in Canada, how aware are we of the changes that have taken place around the world? For many of us, Coronavirus has meant separation from family and friends, staying in and working and studying from home. Thankfully with access to free healthcare, not many of us were faced with the difficult decision that comes along with not being able to afford medical treatment. Elsewhere, however, shattered health systems were put to the extreme test and effectively failed in being able to treat and support those who became ill.
For millions around the globe, Coronavirus has meant not only medical emergencies but also increased financial burden and stress. In Iraq, where there are millions in need of humanitarian aid, some of the widows and vulnerable women we support were in dire need of financial support after being unable to work as housemaids or in restaurants due to quarantine restrictions. Men and women around the globe living in poverty who usually rely on daily wages to feed their families were left extremely vulnerable being unable to fulfil many of the jobs they used to do.
In countries already facing extreme distress, it is not uncommon for significant portions of the population to live in areas where health workers are insufficient or completely absent. In Yemen, where 80% of the population was already in need of humanitarian aid, the risk of an outbreak was alarming.
The Zahra(s) Trust Canada has worked its hardest over the past year to provide humanitarian assistance to those at risk due to Covid-19. Today, one year later, millions around the globe, both here in Canada and abroad, are still in need. So, we are launching a Qurbani for Covid campaign. Donating the greatest Sadaqah on behalf of you and your family will provide meat to those in great need around the globe. Donate today at zahrafoundation.ca/qurbani
Giving for charitable purposes is a key pillar of our religion, and while some forms of charity (such as Sadaqa) are recommended, others are obligatory (such as Khums).
Charity exists as an obligatory practice with very good reason. The organization of societies in historical and modern times have often resulted in unequal access to wealth, property and resources, leaving a different group to be deemed unworthy or undeserving. This societal imbalance results in an unjust and inequitable society.
Thus, charity in Islam operates to redistribute wealth to those who have been forgotten and undervalued by the organizations of society, regardless of their race, gender, status or creed.
Charity is seen as one of the most valuable and high-earning deeds. It is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an that righteousness exists in spending our cherished wealth to kinsfolk, the orphans, the poor and needy, and to those who ask for help (2:177). The Qur’an does not restrict charity to be distributed solely amongst Muslims but rather encourages the opposite. As Muslims, we are instructed to strive for an equitable and just society for all people.
Charity does not have to be given in large or substantial amounts. Rather, we should strive to give charity in small ways too, as they are good deeds that gain for us high rewards and bring ease and sustenance for both the individual and the society. A famous saying of The Prophet Muhammad (sawa) is, “give charity, even if it is as small as a date” (Jami’ al-Sa’adat, vol. 2, pg. 145). All charitable deeds are seen by God and are accounted for, regardless of religious belief.
The Holy Qur’an states: “and they give (food) in spite of love for it, to the needy, the orphan, and the captive, saying to themselves, ‘we feed you only for the sake of Allah, seeking neither reward nor thanks from you” (76:8-9). In describing these individuals who have given food to the needy, orphan, and the captive the Qur’an goes on to state “So Allah will deliver them from the horror of that Day, and grant them radiance and joy, and reward them for their perseverance with a Garden in Paradise and garments of silk” (76:11-12). This is just one example highlighting the importance of charity to “captives”, including people who have been enslaved, imprisoned or are captives of war.
It is reported that the grandson of The Prophet (sawa), Imam Hussein (as), witnessed an enslaved man feeding a dog from his morsel of food. He asked him why he was feeding the dog, and upon his answer, he bought the enslaved man a piece of land from his owner, freeing him due to his kindness and charity towards the animal. (Kunooz al Hikma, p. 260).
Imam Ali (as) is sometimes given the title “father of the orphans”, meaning he acted as a parental figure to hundreds of orphaned children during his lifetime. A tradition related by al-Hakam describes the Imam bringing honey to a group of orphans in such abundance that al-Hakam wished that he were an orphan himself. Feeding orphans was a common practice in the Imam’s (as) daily life. As Shi’a Muslims, we place orphans and vulnerable children at the fore-front of our charitable deeds, striving to follow the actions of The Prophet and the Ahlul Bayt (sawa).
(Ansab al-Ashraf, v. 2, p. 373).
While there are countless traditions and stories exemplifying the importance of charity to establish a just society and life, there is also a great need for charity to improve the piety of ourselves and those in our society. The Qur’an states: “you will never attain piety, until you spend from which you own and cherish” (63:92). While there is a need for charity in a tangible sense, there is also a great spiritual need for charity. As Muslims, we strive to attain piety and righteousness in our daily lives. Charity nourishes our society and communities, our own wealth, as well as our souls that are in desperate need.
At The Zahra(s) Trust Canada, we work our hardest to provide support and aid to those in need. It is our honour to serve both those in need, by providing them aid, and those who can give, by helping them fulfil their religious dues. Through our Khums Ijaza’s from multiple Maraja’ we are gratefully able to help individuals fulfil their Khums. If you are in need of fulfilling your Khums visit zahrafoundation.ca/khums for more information! You can also fulfill your Zakat, give a Sadaqah or generally support an individual in need by donating at zahrafoundation.ca/donate!
Contributed by: Lauren Iaccino
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and the infallible Imams (peace be upon them) have numerous narrations outlining the excellence of this month. Accordingly, there are also numerous recommended acts to take part in this month to worship Allah (swt) and seek forgiveness from Him for previous errs.
One parable often drawn for the month of Rajab and Sha’baan is that the two are a warmup for our body and souls to prepare for the blessed month of Ramadhan. If we were going to embark on a marathon two months from now, certainly we would be preparing in advance. Therefore, Rajab and Sha’baan are the time to train and prepare ourselves physically and spiritually for the journey ahead!
While Rajab, as a month in general, is highly regarded, there are specific dates within the month for specific recommended acts emphasizing those holy days. One of these is Laylat al Raghaib, the night of the first Friday of the month, which in 2021 falls on February 18 2021.
Following which there are a few special duas to be recited:
Recite 70 times:
اَللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَىٰ مُحَمَّدٍ ٱلنَّبِيِّ ٱلامِّيِّ وَعَلَىٰ آلِهِ
Allahumma s’ale a’laa muh’ammadin nabiyyil ummi wa a’laa aaleh.
O Allah send blessings on Muhammad, the Ummi Prophet, and on his descendants.
Then go into prostration and recite 70 times:
سُبُّوحٌ قُدُّوسٌ رَبُّ ٱلْمَلاَئِكَةِ وَٱلرُّوحِ
subbuh’un quddoos rabbul malaaaekate war-rooh’
Holy and most Holy is the Lord of the Angels and spirits.
Then sit up and recite 70 times:
رَبِّ ٱغْفِرْ وَٱرْحَمْ وَتَجَاوَزْ عَمَّا تَعْلَمُ إنَّكَ انْتَ ٱلْعَلِيُّ ٱلاعْظَمُ
rabbighfir war-ham watajaawaz a’mma ta’lamo innaka antal a’liyyul a’zam
O Lord! Forgive, have mercy and be indulgent about that which Thou knows well, verily Thou art Sublime, Mighty.
Then go into a final prostration and repeat 70 times:
سُبُّوحٌ قُدُّوسٌ رَبُّ ٱلْمَلاَئِكَةِ وَٱلرُّوحِ
subbooh’un quddoos rabbul malaaekate war-rooh
Holy and most Holy is the Lord of the Angels and spirits.
It is reported that this prayer brings about forgiveness from sins. Additionally, it is said that on our first night in the grave this prayer will visit us and help provide cheer in that lonely state.
Coincidentally, the night of the seventh of Rajab is also a recommended night to complete acts of worship, which in North America this year also falls on February 18th! The following prayer is therefore also recommended:
Following this prayer there are also special short duas to be recited which can be found here.
Evidently, the benefits of tonight, February 18th 2021, are great. On this blessed night and the nights that are coming throughout this month and those to come, we hope that all those who are in need have their duas answered. We pray that Allah (swt) provides food to all those who are hungry, water to those who are thirsty and answers the prayers of all those living in difficulties.
To give a sadaqah in this blessed month and support those in need please donate today at zahrafoundation.ca/donate
For more information on recommended acts in the month of Rajab please visit duas.org
The enslavement of Black, African and dark-skinned peoples was particularly pervasive – any changes to the laws and practices of slavery were bound to upset the general majority of society. With the dawn of Islam and the prophethood of the last Holy Prophet, many formerly enslaved individuals were given highly respected positions within the Islamic society.
Islam’s message of racial justice and equality is clear in the Qur’an and through the actions of the Prophet and his family (SAWA). There is a great condemnation within the teachings of Islam for tribalism, racism, and all forms of prejudice. With the end of Black History Month upon us, we aim to explore and review the Islamic condemnation of prejudice, racism and nationalism that has hindered the livelihood and growth of Black people throughout history.
“Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakat; [those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous.” (2)
While slavery was not fully abolished during the time of the Prophet (SAWA), the Qur’an instructs Muslims to not only free enslaved peoples, but to empower them too. They are to be given rights to property, income, enfranchisement and the general ability to participate in society. Muslims are also instructed to give charity to captives or enslaved peoples, thus empowering them, if they cannot free them.
“O’ Humanity! Without doubt We have created you from a male and a female and have made you into various nations and tribes, so that you may come to know and understand one another. Surely, the best, most honoured among you in the sight of Allah is the one who is the most God-conscious. Surely, Allah has full Knowledge and is All-Aware.” (1)
This verse from Allah (SWT) addresses all of humanity and is one of the verses that addresses critical societal issues in history and in modern times. There is high importance placed on equality between all human beings, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity or ability. The Holy Qur’an continuously denounces all forms of superiority of one human being to another, specifically regarding superficial traits and characteristics.
Our fifth Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (AS) reported from the Prophet (SAWA) who said,
“Whosoever possesses in his heart ‘asabiyyah (prejudice in any of its forms such as tribalism, racism, nationalism) even to the extent of a mustard seed, God will raise him on the Day of Resurrection with the (pagan) Bedouins of the Jahiliyyah.” (3)
This is another clear indication from the words of the Prophet (SAWA) regarding God’s hatred for all forms of prejudice. As mentioned, people during the pre-Islamic era of ignorance were culturally and societally archaic in their knowledge, actions and organization. To be judged with the inhabitants of the Jahiliyyah is a very fearful situation within Islamic tradition.
A final example to bind the anti-racist teachings of Islam and our Holy Prophet (SAWA) is seen through the actions and livelihood of his Ahlul Bayt (AS). Many of the early Imams of Ahlul Bayt (AS) were Arabs by ethnicity. As the lineage of the Prophet (SAWA) continued, it is recorded that many of the wives and mothers of the Imams were not Arab, but Persian, Indian, or African (Inloes, 2014). Many of the mothers of the holy Imams and the Imams (AS) themselves are described through Shi’i narrations as being of African descent and having dark complexions with African features (Inloes, 2014).
As Shi’a Muslims, the Prophet and his Ahlul Bayt (SAWA) are the best of teachers and examples to follow. It is through their deeds, lifestyles and teachings that we gain closeness to Allah (SWT). In the spirit of the Ahlul Bayt (AS), The Zahra(s) Trust Canada employs Islam’s message of anti-racism, bigotry, hate and prejudice through our campaigns to assist those in need around the world. We work to provide support to those in need without discrimination. To support this cause you can get involved by click here or donating here.
There are many reasons why we should care for our elderly. As our parents, supported us when we were young and vulnerable, they have weathered many of life’s storms, and have wisdom beyond our years. Islam consistently promotes respect and kindness to everyone, especially the elderly.
This following Quranic verse is clear in its message of treating the elderly with love and kindness:
“Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to your parents. If one or both of them reach old age with you, do not say to them a word of disrespect, or scold them, but say a generous word to them. And act humbly to them in mercy, and say, ‘My Lord, have mercy on them, since they cared for me when I was small” [Qur’an, 17:23-24]
Of course, as individuals continue to age, the regular challenges of daily life can become more and more daunting. Increased weakness, decreased motor capacity and possibly other confounding health issues can make the elderly even more vulnerable. In Canada, 90% of individuals over the age 65 have at least a chronic health condition. Unfortunately, it is found that sometimes individuals may become hesitant to support those in old age. This can often lead to feelings of isolation, depression and may result in many negative impacts on their mental and physical health, especially during these challenging times. With COVID-19, limited gatherings and the need for vulnerable elderly to isolate has also resulted in further feelings of loneliness amongst many older adults.
Taking the time to take care of our elders can increase their sense of belonging and purpose and also energize and empower them. Furthermore, it has the additional benefit of showing our appreciation and admiration for them.
In this rapid, ever-changing world, we must implement this practice into our daily lives, and not just limit it to members of our families, but to neighbours, strangers, and any elderly persons we see. Small conversations, a genuine smile, lending a hand–all go long ways. By incorporating these practices of kindness into our lives we also set examples for the younger generation so that they may also keep these fundamental practices in their own lives.
Serving elders in Islam is a beautiful notion, as inevitably one day (God-Willing) we will also become old and would want someone to look after us too. Here are three more pieces of Islamic wisdom highlighting the importance of supporting the elderly in Islam:
The Zahra(s) Trust Canada wishes you reward for all your efforts as we encourage everyone to take part in these beautiful deeds, for helping the elderly is a form of revering Allah (SWT)
References: Usul al-Kafi, v.2, p.658. & The Holy Qur’an
Contributed by: Wasefah Askari
The story of Karbala is not just a battle or historical tragedy – Karbala is a movement that has changed the course of history as we know it. The story of Karbala has become central to the Islamic call of justice and goodness to defeat the ills of oppression, tyranny and hypocrisy. Today, we outline three heroes of Karbala whose eloquent sermons and valorous actions saved the message of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Islam itself.
After the assassination of his father, Imam Ali (as), and brother, Imam Hassan (as), Imam Hussain’s (as) refused to give allegiance to the tyrant of his time. In his travels to Makkah, Imam Hussain (as) planned to avoid conflict with others, and delivered a powerful sermon to the people, in which he said, “You have taken lightly your duties as leaders. You have neglected the rights of the oppressed and the lowly, but have assiduously pursued what you regard as your personal rights.” (The Sermon of Mina).
Growing up in the house of the prophet, Hussain (as) was highly regarded for his just nature, compassion and morality. From his youth up until his adult life, Imam Hussain (as) lived with humility and in remembrance of his ever so beloved grandfather, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Imam Hussain (as) was steadfast on the path of true Islam – the Islam that does not prioritize rulers or dynasties. His call for justice and unity of the ummah was central in all of actions, both on and off the battlefield.
Hussain’s (as) actions on the fields of Karbala were nothing short of perfect Islamic morale and in the best of his character. Upon his travels to Kufa, Imam Hussain’s (as) caravan was intercepted by an army in favour of the tyrant of the time. Instead of fighting, acting in bitterness and in emotions of betrayal, the Imam (as) offered water to the horses and soldiers of the opposition. This is one true example of the man Imam Hussain (as) was. His selfless acts of kindness were unfortunately returned with the army cutting off the supply of water, leaving Hussain (as), his family, and his companions crying out in thirst for days.
Abbas (as), the half-brother of Imam Hussain (as), is highly revered and known by many as one of the bravest companions of Imam Hussain (as) in Karbala. Abbas (as) demonstrated the highest level of loyalty and bravery for Imam Hussain (as) in his plight against tyrannical rule. Al-Abbas (as) was entrusted by Imam Hussain (as) to bear the flag of the Ahlul Bayt (as). He earned the title Qamr Bani-Hashim, the moon of the Bani Hashim, as he acted as a guiding light for Hussain (as) and his companions in Karbala. His bravery was especially evident in his task to fetch water from the Euphrates river.
Imam Hussain (as) made it clear to Abbas (as) not to fight, only defend himself if necessary and fetch water for the children in the tented camps in Hussain’s (as) army. Faced with a difficult fate, Abbas (as) filled his hide with water for the children, picked up the river water with his hands, but did not drink any – he followed the exact instructions given to him by his brother. While on the way back to the camp, Abbas (as) was struck by arrows of the opposition, one of them piercing the hide of water meant for the children of Al-Hussain (as).
Imam Zain Al-Abideen (as) is the son of Imam Hussain (as) and the fourth holy Imam. Narrations have reported that the Imam was severely ill in Karbala. Despite being severely ill, he supported the cause of Imam Hussain (as) and stood against oppression. Imam Zain Al-Abideen (as) was taken as captive along with the women and children to Damascus. In spite of his illness, he delivered his eloquent speech of truth that highlighted the injustices and wrongdoings of the time.
Years after his release from imprisonment, he compiled a book of sayings from his grandfather, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), regarding the rights of all things, peoples and positions in Islamic law and theology, Risalat Al-Huquq. It was through his literary works and sermons that Imam Zain Al-Abideen (as) kept his father’s and grandfather’s message alive. Imam Zain Al-Abideen’s (as) Imamate is a miracle from Allah (swt) that fulfilled the promise of 12 successors to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
Learning and understanding the plights of the Imams of Ahlul Bayt (as) is a practice that we should all strive to implement in our lives. As mentioned earlier, we cannot look at modern day struggles and not compare these issues to the plight of the Imams, especially Imam Hussain (as). We often hear the saying, “every day is Ashura, and every land is Karbala” – this figurative saying also has a literal meaning, in which tragedies occur around the globe daily. Children do not have access to water, and human beings are denied their basic rights. Yet, there are people who have the spirit of Hussainiyya and are ready to sacrifice what they have to make a difference for their brothers and sisters in the name of Islam and the Ahlul Bayt (as).
The Zahra(s) Trust Canada is committed to facilitating those changes that desperately need to be made. We thank you, our donors, for your generosity and pray that we all can answer the call of the Imam of our time (ajfs).
To help provide water and support those in need click here.
The leadership of his time was oppressive and corrupt to the core, and they used propaganda to control and subvert the masses. But Hussain (as) was adamant in his mission to uphold justice and truth and distinguish them from corruption and immorality. He lost his own and his family’s lives along the way. But today, his example lives on as a beacon for others. Reflecting on the life and death of Hussain (as) has ignited the hearts of millions around the world to stand up for their beliefs as he did. Here are some of the ways Hussain (as) remains an inspiration to us today:
To Hussain (as), living with justice and morality was universal and a principle that applied to all beings, including animals. He demonstrated compassion to animals by ensuring that his horses and camels, modes of transportation of his time, were given water and rest even before himself so as not to burden them beyond their abilities.
Unity and Equality
Hussain (as) lived and acted upon the belief that no one individual was superior to another on the basis of superficial traits like race or religious background, something that he learned from his grandfather, Muhammad. He believed in the equality of all people. His supporters, who were united in their stand for truth, included Christians and Black people in an era where many Arabs deemed their race to be superior over others. Today, a group of Christian Iraqis and Hussaini Brahmins in India continue to commemorate their devotion to Hussain (as) and his supporters on the basis of truth and unity.
In his mission for justice, Hussain (as) witnessed the callous murder of his family members, from his brother to nephew to his infant son. The women of his family were subjected to torture and trauma, including sister, wife, and young daughter. Even in the face of such atrocities, his commitment to his cause did not waver. He stood with patience and strength by holding firm to his vision for a better world.
Hussain (as) and a handful of his loyal supporters were confronted by thousands of opponents. Despite being severely outnumbered and knowing that their lives were at stake, each and everyone refused to succumb to an oppressive regime. Hussain (as) did not follow the status quo and did not blindly follow the masses out of fear of material losses. His courage has been the inspiration for movements around the globe. With courage, he was able to “be the change” that he wished to see.
Because of his unwavering beliefs, Hussain (as) is revered as a champion of human rights and justice across all spheres of life. Charitable initiatives around the world have been established under the name and inspiration of Hussain (as). These range from building wells in developing countries to collecting clothing and food for the homeless and hosting blood drives for hospitals.
The Zahra(s) Trust Canada is one such charitable organization, who, along with its global partners as part of its Zuwar initiative, has provided over one million bottles of water, 100 000 hot meals, hundreds of thousands of cartons of juice, fresh fruit, and accommodation for thousands of pilgrims paying their respects to Hussain (as) at his shrine in Iraq. In addition, The Zahra(s) Trust Canada has also raised thousands of dollars in supporting various global initiatives such as appeals to assist those in need in Afghanistan and medical aid for infants with complex medical conditions.
You can be a part of the global movement to uphold the values that Hussain (as) defended. Donate at www.zahrafoundation.ca.
In developed countries, the ease with which water can be accessed using taps from within the home gives a sense of security and creates the illusion that water – one of the most basic human rights – is ever-prevalent and readily available for all. But the reality is that 1 in 9 people around the globe do not have access to safe and clean drinking water. The consequences of this are multiple and affect all spheres of life.
Young children are placed at risk of illness and death from drinking contaminated water. Lack of access to clean water leads to poor hygiene practices, which can further spread diseases. Women and children bear the brunt of the burden, being forced to spend countless hours walking and carrying heavy loads of water from distant wells to their homes in unsafe conditions. This consumes valuable time and energy that could otherwise be used to obtain an education, work, or care for the family. These conditions perpetuate the cycle of poverty.
The Zahra(s) Trust Canada’s Water Appeal was created to help provide sustainable water solutions for families and communities around the world who lack access to water. This project provides different options for water solutions that vary based on region and availability of economic resources. These solutions include:
• creating electric water wells, which pump clean water using a bore water well and an electric motor at the cost of $2100;
• handpump water wells, which provide water through manual pumps for regions that lack electricity at the cost of $900; and
• solar water plants, which use solar power to channel water in arid desert regions.
Learn more about water wells and get answers to some frequently asked questions by visiting our previous blog post.
By contributing to the creation of a well, pump, or plant in regions that most need it, you can help create a ripple effect, alleviating the burdens that families and communities face every day to obtain clean water. Not only will your donation help families have more time to pursue essential household, educational, and economic activities, it will also help avert preventable deaths due to water-borne illnesses. Your gift of water is a form of “sadaqa jariya”, the gift that keeps giving. Learn more about Sadaqa Jariya here.
Water is the source of all life. Help empower others by providing their basic human right and a better quality of life through access to clean and safe water. Donate today.
This past week, we witnessed the tragic death of young Rayan, a 5-year-old boy who fell into a well in rural Chefchaouen, Morocco and was trapped for four days whilst workers toiled tirelessly to rescue him and as hundreds of villagers looked on in anticipation of the boy’s safety. Rayan’s accident, and eventual tragedy, garnered global concern and attention. Some villagers at Rayan’s funeral commented that his “death has renewed faith in humanity as people in different languages and from different countries express solidarity” and “Rayan is the son of us all”. This speaks to a level of compassion, humanity, and particular sensitivity that we all have towards children and their wellbeing – no matter where in the world they are.
When we think of the wellbeing of children, we think of their parents first and foremost as their primary advocates — the ones who provide for and cater to each of their physical, emotional and psychological needs. But an estimated 140 million children around the world have lost either one or both parents, rendering them orphans. The vulnerability of orphans, particularly those who already live under challenging circumstances such as poverty or in war-torn regions, can be a lifelong obstacle they face without receiving the essential support they need.
In some narrations, Prophet Muhammad (SAW), who himself was an orphan from a very young age, was reported to have said, “Anyone who looks after the needs of an orphan and brings him or her up in the best possible manner, will be together in heaven like two fingers of a hand”.
In other narrations, the Holy Prophet (SAW) was reported to have said, “If you want to soften your heart, then feed the poor and pat the head of the orphan.” Patting the heads of orphans is an act that illustrates to us that orphans are not only in need of financial assistance. Treating orphans with love and compassion and attending to their emotional needs are equally important to their wellbeing. This was an act that his grandson Imam Husayn (AS) was very well known for, and an act that was denied to his own orphan children after his death.
At the heart of the Zahra Foundation’s charitable initiatives is its Orphans, Widows, and Vulnerable Children campaign. Through initiatives like Feed the Hungry providing hot meals and food packs, Water Aid creating wells and handpumps to access clean water, and Where Most Needed covering other costs of living, we seek to make a positive difference to the lives of orphans and children worldwide, one child at a time.
Donate to one of our initiatives for Orphans, Widows, and Vulnerable Children today.
When we celebrate this magnanimous man, we often bring to mind miraculous feats attributed to his name, such as his blessed birth within the walls of the Holy Kaaba — something that no other person can ever claim — or his unparalleled strength that allowed him to lift the door of Khyber with his bare hands, a door so heavy that it could only be lifted with the strength of forty men.
But alongside these astounding historical feats that distinguish Ali (AS), he is most recognized for the simple and day-to-day acts that he displayed with sincerity and love for the people around him – acts that every person can adopt as a way to walk in his footsteps and share in his magnanimity. Amongst these acts, Imam Ali (AS) was most loved by the people for the attention and care that he provided to the orphans of his city. Imam Ali (AS) prioritized their needs not only as a ruler governing over his people, but also as a fellow human who had a social responsibility to the people he lived with. For this, he was known as The Father of the Orphans.
As a caliph with a responsibility over the people he ruled, he wrote in his famous letter to Malik al Ashtar, “Take care of the orphans and the aged who have no means (for livelihood) nor are they ready for begging. This is heavy on the officers; in fact, every right is heavy.” Here, he demonstrates the importance of being the advocate for those who may not have the ability or means to advocate for themselves.
As a fellow human concerned for the welfare of his neighbours, Ali (AS) would wander the streets at night in search of those who may need assistance. In one instance, he was reported to have personally visited the home of a widow and her orphaned children to bring them groceries to cook a meal. Not only did he provide them with a fresh, hot meal that he prepared himself, he also stayed after the meal to spend time with the children, play with them, and bring laughs and smiles to their faces.
We often underestimate the value of the little acts of kindness. To us, an act may seem small and insignificant; it may take only a few minutes of our time or minimal effort on our part. But to someone else, a small gesture like a phone call or visit, a home-cooked meal, or simply sharing a part of our day with someone who may feel lonely, can truly mean the world. To orphans who are already cut off from their roots and deprived of physical and psychological needs, these acts are everything.
Let us learn from the example of Imam Ali (AS) and walk in his magnanimous footsteps. Sponsor an orphan today.
There is a very apt narration from the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) that serves as a timeless piece of advice for everyone, no matter what stage of life you are in:
“Take advantage of five before five: your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before your busyness, and your life before your death.”
Through these words, we are given some important reminders about life and the perspective we adopt through it.
This week, we suddenly and tragically lost a dear member of the Zahra Foundation community, Fazal Asgherali Virani. He was an integral member of the Zahra Foundation family who, for many years, availed of his time, health and ability to connect with others by travelling around the world and helping those in need firsthand. His sudden death is a reminder for us all, as death often is, that as long as we are living, we have an opportunity, whether it is to make amends with someone, begin a new habit (or quit an old one), learn something new, or make a small but meaningful difference in the lives of others.
Through the life and death of Fazal Virani, we are inspired to hold strong to his mission and continue making an impact on the lives of the less fortunate.
The Zahra(s) Trust Canada requests readers to recite a Surah al-Fateha for the soul of Marhum Fazal Virani and all Marhumeen.
According to the United Nations, these airstrikes have also targeted residential areas, affecting innocent families, attempting to continue to make a life within the poorest country in the world, a country that is perpetually faced with instability and destruction.
Currently, a staggering 4 million Yemenis are considered internally displaced persons (IDPs). Being internally displaced means that people have been forced to flee their homes either due to a threat of an armed attack, or they simply because they have no home left to return to.
The urgent needs of Yemenis are multi-fold as they face the seventh year of a war that does not seem to have an end in sight. There are many areas in which Yemenis need help, not only to survive, but also to live with dignity. The famine and extreme food shortage that affect over 16 million Yemenis is one area that several organizations have mobilized resources for in order to provide families with food baskets. But more strategic assistance to help Yemenis in the longer term is an area that not many institutions have committed to.
In order to assist Yemenis in the face of this alarming rise in internally displaced persons, the Zahra Foundation was on the ground in Yemen to assess the urgent needs of the most vulnerable Yemenis affected by the war. As a result, the Yemen Housing Project was born. Through this project, a number of houses will be built for internally displaced Yemenis. The houses built through this project are particularly intended for those who live below the poverty line, which stands at more than half the population, highlighting the urgency of this project. In addition, families who are currently inhabiting primitive homes such as huts made of straw, stone, or baked bricks, will be given priority to these houses. This is especially essential for families with children, as young children living in homes with poor infrastructure are exposed to many dangers, including disease, variability in climate from the extremes conditions of both summer and winter, and even dangers associated with living in proximity to wild animals such as wolves, jackals and hyenas who may attack children.
The home is a representation of stability, safety, and family. It is a place to create a life with memories shared by the loved ones around us. It is a place of comfort to return to at the end of the day, however the outside world presents itself to us. Building houses for Yemenis will not only provide them with a safe place to reside in, but also a sense of belonging to their home land, a land with people who have been unjustly uprooted for too long.
Help the Zahra Foundation build homes and a better life for internally displaced Yemenis by donating to the Yemen Housing Project today.
From within the family to the community to the broader world stage, issues of injustice and oppression have always existed. The ugly face of injustice and oppression can take on many forms, whether it looks like domestic abuse within the household, bullying, crimes, or imprisonment for adhering to one’s faith, culture or identity, systemic racism leading to debilitating cycles of poverty, or politics and policies that eventually transform people’s homes into warzones.
The silver lining behind such injustices is that they are often a source of motivation for people to come together and mobilize their efforts in bringing about change in the world. The past two years have precipitated many global movements for social justice, with what some argue to be a rekindled consciousness for the value of life, human rights, and equality. There is a growing sense of urgency to act and advocate for those who are not able to stand up for themselves.
This weekend, we celebrate the man who represents a revival of justice in the world. Narrations tell us that The Mahdi (atf)’s reappearance will be a major catalyst for global change, and that under his governance, all individuals, communities, and nations will understand and enjoy what it means to live in an ideal society – a society that is established on the platform of true justice.
Justice, or Adalat, is an usool-e-deen, one of the five integral roots upon which Islam stands and flourishes. There are several verses in the Quran that emphasize and instruct us on dealing with others fairly:
“… Be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for God, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both.” (4:135)
“And establish weight in justice and do not make deficient the balance.” (55:9)
Many communities write areezas around the time of the Imam (ajtf)’s birth anniversary, the 15th of Shaban. In these letters, they express their hopes and desires to the Imam, not only for their own personal lives, but also for the lives of others who are suffering and experiencing oppression in different ways. But celebrating the Imam, reciting prayers, sending him letters, and awaiting his reappearance are only small steps towards becoming his and Islam’s ambassadors. To really believe in and be a part of his mission means to imbue those qualities in ourselves today. To think about what justice looks like today. To raise our voices today. And to act with justice in everything thing we do – from the way we interact in businesses and relationships to whether we choose to remain passive in a situation that demands our action.
The Zahra(s) Trust Canada was established on the basis of serving humanity to provide the less fortunate with a chance to thrive, a chance at more equitable opportunities. This is how we are acting alongside the Imam (ajtf) towards justice today. How will YOU act for justice?
Donate Today in the Name of Imam Mahdi
“The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.” Quran (2:185)
The holy month of Ramadan is upon us in just one short week! There are many apparent, and even more hidden, benefits from the physical and spiritual requirements demanded of us in this month, the most obvious of those being abstaining from food and drink. While there are temporary hardships associated with the hunger and thirst that we feel, Allah reminds us in the Quran that He “intends for [us] ease and does not intend … hardship.” One of the ways that we are reminded of the ease that is enfolded within our religion and its rituals is the allowance for Fidya.
“[Fasting is for] a limited number of days. So, whoever among you is ill or on a journey [during them] – then an equal number of days [are to be made up]. And upon those who are able [to fast, but with hardship] – a ransom [as substitute] of feeding a poor person [each day]. And whoever volunteers excess – it is better for him. But to fast is best for you, if you only knew,” (Quran 2:184)
Fidya is a form of compensation paid by those who are unable to fast because of the excessive hardship they may experience as a result of fasting. This can include the elderly, those who have chronic health conditions, like diabetes, and those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. As stated in the verse above, fidya involves feeding the poor as a substitute for fasting, with the current amount equal to the payment of 750 grams of rice or flour per day1, which amounts to approximately $2 per missed fast. This is thought to be a reasonable estimate for the cost of a meal.
Many times, those who are unable to participate in the month-long spiritual journey of fasting (whether it is due to illness, age, or nurturing a child) feel as though they have somehow missed out on a special opportunity in the month of Ramadan, and often feel guilty as a result. The Quran is replete with reminders of the importance of charity and how giving to those in need benefits not only the benefactor, but also the giver. Giving in charity is a purification process for ourselves. If we look at it this way, we can see fidya as a form of ibaadat, or worship, in and of itself, rather than as an “easy way out”. At the same time, these exemptions are made for valid circumstances, and where sheer negligence or refusal to fast play roles in our lives, kaffarah, the compensation for negligence, demands from us an even greater amount of charity in addition to requiring us to make up each of those missed fasts. Allah reminds us in the verse above that “to fast is best for you, if you only knew.”
Whether it is fidya, kaffarah, or general sadaqa, each are weighty in the eyes of Allah. As we approach the holy month of Ramadan, this is a great time to think about how your donations can help feed others who may not know where their next meal will come from. Click here to donate your fidya, kaffarah, or charity to Zahra Foundation today.
Despite the great number of lives he has impacted, still many do not know much about him. The world was first introduced to Imam Ja’far al Sadiq (as) on the seventeenth day of Rabi’ al-awwal 83 AH. He would go on and become one of the most influential figures in Islamic history. In this blog post, we will introduce six facts on the life and teachings of Imam Ja’far al Sadiq.
Imam Ja’far al Sadiq (as) is the sixth successor after the Holy Prophet (sawa). He is his direct descendent through the lineage of Fatima al Zahra (sa) the daughter of Prophet Muhammad (sawa) and Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (as), the cousin and first successor of the Prophet. Imam Ja’far al Sadiq (as) is the son of Imam Muhammad al Baqir (as), son of Imam Ali al Sajjad (as), son of Imam Hussain (as), son of Fatima (sa), daughter of Prophet Muhammad (sawa).
Records indicate that Imam al Sadiq (as) had over four thousand students who would learn various subjects from him. This included both religious sciences such as jurisprudence, exegesis and Hadith as well as other sciences such as chemistry, medicine, mathematics and astronomy. Some of his students included Jabir Ibn Hayyan, the famous chemist, as well as key figures in Islamic knowledge such as Abu Hanifa, the leader of the Hanafi school in Islam. He was also praised by Malik ibn Anas, the leader of the Maliki school, as the most knowledgeable and pious scholar in their time.
Jannatul Baqi is one of the holiest cemeteries in Islam. It holds the graves of many companions of the Holy Prophet (sawa) and four Imams of the Shi’a school namely, Imam Hassan al Mujtaba (as), Imam Ali al Sajjad (as), Imam Muhammad al Baqir (as) and Imam Ja’far al Sadiq (as). Jannatul Baqi was once a beautiful cemetery with white domes and golden pillars, built in the 1840s by the Ottoman Empire out of honour and respect for its sanctity. Unfortunately, since then it has been demolished. Every year on 8th Shawwal, the destruction of Jannatul Baqi is commemorated as International Baqi day.
While Imam al Sadiq (as) is widely renowned and famously known for his role in Islamic sciences, he was also an extremely influential spiritual guide. The Lantern of the Path is a profound book attributed to Imam al Sadiq (as) covering topics such as worship, behaviour, the relationship between humans and God and is revered by many. The Imam is also praised and known for his endless teachings on morality from topics such as good conduct, manners, generosity and more.
The Shi’a jurisprudential school takes their name from Imam Ja’far al Sadiq (as). The jurisprudence taught by Imam al Sadiq (as) was that of the Holy Prophet (sawa) and the Imams preceding him. During the time of al Sadiq (as) he was able to spread the knowledge of his forefathers and hence the school is named after him.
Devastatingly, Imam Ja’far al Sadiq (as) was martyred by poison on the order of the Caliph al-Mansur on 25th Shawwal. The tragic loss of Imam al Sadiq (as) is still mourned by millions around the globe. His young son, Imam Musa al Kadhum (as) became the Imam after him and continued to uphold the mission of their forefather, the Holy Prophet (sawa).
Today, the legacy of Imam Ja’far al Sadiq continues to be a vital part of Islam’s spiritual, intellectual and cultural life. He was a man whose influence and importance far exceeds that of most historical figures from any period or culture, still serving as a source of wisdom and inspiration for over 1.5 billion Muslims today.
To donate in honour of Imam Ja’far al Sadiq (as) click here.
Every year as soon as the holy month of Dhul Hijjah approaches, a silent buzz begins to vibrate. As the first, second, and third of Dhul Hijjah passes, the buzz becomes a hum. The sixth of Dhul Hijjah arrives and the hustle begins of individuals trying to send money abroad so a goat or cow can be secured for Eid slaughter. Customers start packing up Eid bazaars in anticipation to snag the perfect outfit, fragrance, or home decor for their Eid parties. As ninth Dhul Hijjah approaches, a mesmerizing chant is vocalized by all – from pilgrims in Mecca, participants in mock hajj programs at their local mosques, to Youtube viewers watching bloggers, documentaries, news reporters, and live feeds.
The chant buzzes in the air with a hum on every believer’s lips-
Labaik Allahuma Labaik. Here I am at Your Service, O Lord, here I am.
As quickly as the month of Dhul Hijjah appeared, Eid al-Adha came and went. The festivities, feasts, friends- all the merries of life are complete. We settle into our routine lives of work, school, parents, and/or children. The oh-so-limited hours of Eid are spent in such a hustle and bustle, that it never dawns on one what the chant of Hajj truly means to us. Or rather, should mean to us all.
This declaration we repeat all day on 10th Zilhajj, simply narrates that we are present.
Where are we present? What is it to be truly in the presence of the Creator?
The Holy Quran states that the purpose of jinn and human creation is to worship Him2. Worshipping Him is by following His commandments, His rules, His religion of Islam, which itself is divided into three dimensions of jurisprudence (fiqh), theology (aqaid) and spirituality (akhlaq)3. Implementing the theories of these dimensions within one’s daily life restores and creates balance in and around oneself. It is within these dimensions that we must discover God’s presence and it is here that we must declare on a daily basis “Here I am at Your Service, O Lord, here I am.”.
The Labaik Allahuma Labaik from the tongue needs to send its frequency to the heart, mind, and soul and create a vibration strong enough so that its effect ripples to every limb, organ, and cell of our body causing movement and the need for action.
A famous quote from Imam Ali (a) reveals the linear connection of Islam being a religion that is based upon action. He states, “I am defining Islam as none has defined it before me: Islam is submission, submission is conviction, conviction is affirmation, affirmation is acknowledgment, acknowledgment is carrying out (of obligations) and carrying out obligations is action.”4 Thus, with the vibrations of zikr (recitation), one is submitting to the presence of Allah (swt).
Submission to the laws of Allah (swt) is one of the ways to be in presence. In my opinion, there are three levels and responsibilities of submission- individual, societal, and communal. For the individual, it is one’s personal journey to take one’s soul to that exalted height where the Creator’s presence is felt every moment.
Waking up in the morning and the first thought of saying Alhamdulillah, God has granted me another day on Earth, then stretching in bed thanking Him for having a healthy and able-body, shows being aware of His presence. Within the first five minutes of waking up, one can list over twelve occurrences to acknowledge the presence of God. The rush to prayers knowing that Allah (swt)’s Zoom meet is commencing.
In the framework of societal growth, personal responsibility as a duty to oneself becomes a reasonable discourse. Regardless of background or indoctrination, it is the responsibility of each individual to ensure that their good character and behavior are reflective. Social interactions will mirror this way of thinking if each person accepts responsibility for the decisions they make. Since acts will be performed positively to produce personal good deeds when a person acknowledges that they are morally obligated and accountable for them. A society will advance and prosper if all of its members behave morally and within the parameters of their responsibilities and others rights5.
Islam has laid preliminary foundational bricks on ensuring that communities are supported and grow in a prosperous and healthy way. This is found within the branches of religion – amr bil ma’rouf and nahi anil munkir – to enjoin others to do good and forbid them to do bad. Once again, this is transpired through understanding and fulfilling the responsibilities to oneself which then ripples into the community. Al-Quran eloquently states that success is when there is a moral compass actively navigating and guiding for it states that when a nation “invite [others] to goodness, and enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency. Such are they who are successful”.6
For every major and minor moral conduct, whether it be on a community-based level or that of oneself, all actions encircle around one concrete statement- Labaik Allahuma labaik, for having the presence of the Lord circumscribed around ones aura is just as equivalent of doing tawaf around the House of Allah (swt) during Hajj.
How do you walk your talk of Labaik Allahuma Labaik?
The holy month of Sha’ban is incredibly auspicious as it hosts the sacred night of blessings. This night of benefits is given its name due to the historical and spiritual event that occurred centuries ago and was brought forth by our holy prophet Muhammad (saww). This blessed night is an opportunity for those who cannot grasp and understand the spiritual realm that Allah (swt) has put on this earth to see from a tangible perspective that there is a connection between spirituality and the unknown world. This connection will help to elevate every believer, as this night provides the opportunity to manifest mercy, blessings, and miracles. The belief around this night is that Allah (swt) writes our coming years’ destiny.
Allah (swt) has promised that those who sincerely and truthfully ask from within the core of their hearts for any wishes will all be granted. He guarantees that He will grant those wishes. The question here arises, why, of all the nights, considering that on Laylatul-Qadr, the night the Holy Qur’an was revealed, has the 15th of Sha’ban been chosen as the pure night where no legitimate desire remains ungranted? Logic can only justify it within the blessings of the birth of our present Imam Mahdi (ajtfs). His advent on this night has elevated the night from a common one to one that holds tremendous honour, similar to the merits of Laylatul-Qadr and Arafat.
Imam Mahdi’s (ajtfs) life has been foretold by so many narrations that he is the ‘Messiah’ who will bring peace, blessings, and good tidings to this earth. This prestige doesn’t come quickly. He is carrying the weight of the world. He is responsible for avenging the oppression and atrocities done to Lady Fatima (a.s). He is responsible for avenging the brutal martyrdom of Imam Hussain (a.s) and his family. He has the responsibility of ensuring that we all remain guided. Not only does he carry the burden of the past, but also of the present and future. He is the one who will establish true justice.
Imam Mahdi (ajtfs) is known in many religions as the Messiah. Within the Jewish faith, the awaited Messiah is described with an underlying similarity to the Islamic belief that the Messiah will bring peace to the world. They have in their prophecy at least four other things about the Messiah. The first is that he will be a descendant of King David. Secondly, he will gain sovereignty over the land of Israel. Next, he will gather the Jews there from the four corners of the earth and restore them to the full observance of Torah law.1 Within the Christian belief system, Prophet Isa, also known as Jesus Christ, is the messiah foretold in the Bible2. Christians believe that when Jesus Christ returns to Earth with the mission of justice, it will be the reappearance of the Messiah3. Maitreya is a bodhisattva who, under Buddhist tradition, is foretold to manifest on Earth, attain full Enlightenment, and impart the Dharma. Scriptures claim that Maitreya will share many of Gautama Buddha’s (also known as Kyamuni Buddha’s) teachings. It is predicted that Maitreya will arrive when much of the human world has forgotten the teachings of Gautama Buddha4. These are just a few faiths with a clear prophecy of a saviour coming to build a just and peaceful world.
So why are we disconnected from this prophecy that most global religious faiths have in common? It all comes down to the ‘self.’ It is always of the self in metaphysical, psychological, physical or spiritual terms. In our previous article, we spoke about self-awareness and self-care. This blog will sync up on self-reflection. How perfect is the timing that we reflect upon ourselves with the coming Night of Blessings?
When we self-reflect, we look within ourselves and ask, “Who are we?”. Sure, it sounds so easy. The typical answers come up. We describe our gender, creed, race, religion, culture, values, likes and dislikes, passions, and hobbies. Have we ever asked, “Who are we in the realm of this world? In the eyes of Allah (swt)?”
“Your remedy is within you, but you do not sense it. Your sickness is from you, but you do not perceive it. You presume you are a small entity, but within you is enfolded the entire Universe. You are indeed the Evident Book, by whose alphabet the Hidden becomes Manifest. Therefore, you have no need to look beyond yourself. What you seek is within you if only you reflect.”5–Imam Ali (as)
This quote holds the secret of self-reflection. We recognize that, indeed, we do not know ourselves when we realize what and who we are and for what purpose we were created. We have the universe within us. How much do we know about the universe? Science has just discovered less than 10 percent of the ocean world6 and less than 4 percent of (outer) space.7
Yet, the Imam (a.s) says that the whole Universe is within us. Not only that, but he states that we make our sicknesses in life. These sicknesses include our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual ailments. We are oblivious to the amount of disease we carry daily. We are consumed by sickness when we get angry, upset, rageful, or even irritated. When we take our prayers lightly, forget the importance of punctuality in our prayer timings, don’t recite the Holy Qur’an to remove the rust from our hearts, be a helpful person to others, generous and kind, we bring about the disease to our soul. Every negative entity, personality, attitude, thought, and value is a disease we bring to ourselves. All these diseases can be cured by us too. This is what the Imam is telling us. The cures lie within.
Additionally, he speaks about the Evident Book. This was the overt guidance that has now become a secret. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) always said that true guidance is only accomplished when you hold fast to the Holy Qur’an and his Ahlul-Bayt (a.s). Here, the Imam (a.s) is also reiterating the same advice. The Book is engraved inside of us. We must learn to seek it and bring it towards the surface where our conscious mind can contemplate and guide itself toward inner balance and peace. This is, again, highlighted by the Holy Prophet (pbuh) when he states: An hour of contemplation is better than a year of worship. When one contemplates and self-reflects upon themselves, they have technically gone into a state of worship.
During this night of power and blessings, let’s try to utilize it to deeply contemplate who we are and why we are who we are. Aim to find the light that brightens our souls to learn about the universe within us and connect to the Lord and His light to find meaning in self-reflection.
 The Messiah. (n.d.). Copyright 2023. https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-messiah
 What Does Messiah Mean? | Bibleinfo.com. (n.d.). https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/what-does-messiah-mean
 Alma’itah, Q. S., & Haq, Z. U. (2022). The concept of Messiah in Abrahamic religions: A focused study of the eschatology of Sunni islam. Heliyon, 8(3), e09080. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e09080
 Wikipedia contributors. (2023, January 26). Maitreya. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maitreya
 Can someone explain this quote by Imam Ali (as) by each sentence: “Your sickness is from you but you do not perceive it, and your remedy is within you, but you do not sense it. . .”? (2021, September 18). Al-Islam.org. https://www.al-islam.org/ask/can-someone-explain-this-quote-by-imam-ali-as-by-each-sentence-your-sickness-is-from-you-but-you-do-not-perceive-it-and-your-remedy-is-within-you-but-you-do-not-sense-it/sayyed-mohammad-al-musawi
 How much of the ocean have we explored? (n.d.). https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/exploration.html
 Quotations, S. (2022, April 4). How Much of Space Has Been Explored? Space Quotations. https://spacequotations.com/how-much-of-space-has-been-explored/
The period between March 20th & 21st marks the celebration of the day of Nowruz amongst millions worldwide and is considered the first day of Spring by many others living in the Northern Hemisphere. As per the traditional Persian culture, it is the beginning of a new year, a renewed energetically changing of Earth’s energy. Many say it brings about the granting of wishes and dreams. No matter in which cultural lens Nowruz or the Spring Equinox is looked at, the common denominator is an energy shift, hope in the future and a reawakening of oneself.
Many religious scholars hold various opinions about the authenticity of Nowruz within the Islamic context. There may be multiple views of the recommended acts or lack thereof, per customs and practices prescribed and approved by the Ahlul Bayt (a.s). However, this article’s perspective is merely from a standpoint that Nowruz is an opportunity to ground oneself. This is done by expressing gratitude, self-reflecting on one’s present and future, and offering prayers to build our spirituality; all to recharge ourselves along with the revival of nature.
Nowruz symbolizes the beginning of our journey to grounding and rebirth of our dreams, goals, and ambitions. The prayers recited and offered throughout the day only add and boost the energies present to support our journey on Earth. With the shuffling of the Spring Equinox energy bringing back the green colours of the trees, the blooming of flowers, birds, bees and butterflies, more sunshine and a new life in the atmosphere, there is a sense of renewal.
All individuals must indulge in some grounding ceremony or activity within the year–as often as possible or at least once. When a person grounds themselves, they not only consciously remember their true desires in life but subconsciously allow themselves to gain elevation and reach a level of synchronization with their emotions and wishes. When these two entities come to a standard frequency, that manifestation occurs.
Grounding also enables people to bring stability to their lives within the four realms–physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental. It gives individuals the confidence to face challenges, the self-love to accept themselves and their struggles and the deep connection to their Lord. These attributes are fundamental to living a holistic lifestyle.
Look at a tree as an example; until the tree has not fully grown its roots, it has no stability. A forceful wind, a heavy push, extreme rain, and soft ground are all significant issues for a young tree. As the tree grows its roots and grounds itself more and more deeply, it becomes more robust and can bear the harshness of its surroundings. We need to ground ourselves like trees so profoundly that the severity of this world will not be able to uproot us, and we are so flexible that we can easily sway in the winds without causing us any damage.
Grounding oneself has many physical benefits; it helps alleviate aches, pains, and inflammation, improves sleep and increases body vitality1. Overall, it helps a person to destress.
There are many methods to ground oneself. First and foremost, it is from the spiritual field of connecting with the Creator–the One True Lord. This is a sure success and the most profound method towards grounding. Knowing that we belong to Him and to Him, we shall return, takes away all emotional connection to the atrocities of this world. Another grounding method is connecting to the land by walking bare feet on green grass before the morning dew dries up; this has been one of the recommendations in the religion of Islam. Imam As-Sadiq mentions that looking at green grass is one of the ten recommended acts of pleasing oneself2.
We also connect ourselves to the Earth daily during prayers in the state of prostration. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said3,
“The earth is made for me as a place of prostration and purification.”
This is why the Holy Prophet (pbuh) always prostrated on Earth.
It doesn’t matter what occasion is being celebrated if it falls within the jurisdiction of Islamic law. Our focus during this change of seasons should be the prayers’ words and how they connect us to God Almighty. There is an awe to feel the shift in energy at the precise time of the Equinox at 5:24 pm this year, and then wait for the first rainfall after this day to collect the first energetically charged water drops that may hold powers of healing.
To everyone, Nowruz is the beginning of a new and renewed you, a vast potential for growth, Insha’Allah!
 Science Direct
 Mishkat Al-Anwar Fi Ghurar Il-Akhbar, Hadith #787
 Bukhari1:209, Muslim 1:371, Wasa’elu-Shi’a 3:423
For years, The Zahra Foundation has been making a profound difference in the lives of those in need, and we aspire to continue doing so as we grow within the Canadian landscape.
As excited as we are to have our name and logo conform to our global brand identity, we assure you that our commitment to our core values, vision, mission, and charitable initiatives remains unwavering.
By aligning with our global charity name, we enhance clarity and foster a deeper connection with our dedicated supporters and the communities we serve.
We understand the importance of familiarity, so our updated name and logo retain the essence of our charitable trust.
Together, as The Zahra(s) Trust Canada, we will continue to empower lives, build sustainable communities, and bring hope to those who need it most.
While our name has been officially changed, we are working behind the scenes to update this information across all our communication channels and with our vendors and partners. You will see the rebranding implemented gradually in the coming weeks.
We understand that you may have some queries, so we have compiled some common questions that you might find helpful while we make all the necessary changes. Please take a moment to read it below.
Thank you for being a part of this incredible journey of compassion and empowerment inspired by the tenets of the Islamic faith and the Holy Household (as). Remember, whether we’re known as a Foundation or a Trust, we will continue our work under the banner of Sayyeda Zahra(s), and we hope you continue to support us in doing so.
The Zahra Foundation has rebranded to The Zahra(s) Trust Canada.
We have rebranded to conform to our global brand identity of The Zahra Trust, enhance clarity, and foster a deeper connection with our dedicated supporters and the communities we serve.
Besides the new name, we will update our website address, social media handles, and email addresses accordingly. These changes will happen gradually, and we will provide all necessary information as they occur.
This process will not affect the ways our donors send in their donations.
Our core values, vision, mission, and charitable initiatives remain the same.
The rebranding means The Zahra Foundation will be known as The Zahra(s) Trust Canada. We will become more identifiable with our global brand name and identity of The Zahra Trust, which has been in service for over 15 years.
Our donors/supporters can expect the same level of transparency and commitment from us, with their donations supporting humanitarian relief for those in need.
We chose our new company name and identity to align with our global brand of The Zahra Trust while still maintaining our individuality in the Canadian region.
If you are donating by credit card, there will be no changes.
If you are donating by e-transfer, you may continue until we update our email address. We will provide details as they come along; please refer to our website for notifications.
Your tax receipts under The Zahra Foundation/The Khadijah Foundation are still valid and will not impact you in any way.
Moving forward, you will receive tax receipts under The Zahra(s) Trust Canada.
Our charity registration number remains the same (73174 6681 RR0001).
If you still have any further questions, please email us at [email protected].
Currently, our response time is between 2 business days.
Findings from the fields of psychology and neuroscience have established that it takes between 21 and 40 days to create a habit, and about 90 days to create a new lifestyle. When we delve deeper into our faith, we can come to appreciate that the basis for this principle has already existed within the folds of Islam. Through the allocation of special months throughout the year, Islam provides the opportunity to revive our souls and habits.
“Surely, the number of months according to Allah is twelve (as written) in the Book of Allah… of which there are Four Sacred Months. … So, do not wrong yourselves during them. (Quran, 9:36)
The word Rajab comes from the Arabic root “rajaba”, which literally means “to respect” or “to be in awe of”.
In one narration, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “The month of Rajab is the greatest month of Allah… Indeed, Rajab is the month of Allah, while Shaban is my month and (the month of) Ramadan is the month of my community.”
When the Quran advises us not to “wrong ourselves” in the sacred month of Rajab, it’s as if it is asking us to turn inwards and re-evaluate the many ways that we may be unjust to ourselves through our shortcomings and negligence of our own selves. In this month, we are called to heighten our awareness of our actions, and begin replacing poor habits with ones that are healthier, both physically and spiritually.
Many of us scramble to prepare just days before the month of Ramadhan – the holiest month of the Islamic calendar – whether this involves physical, mental, or spiritual preparation. The narration above encourages us to recalibrate ourselves two months earlier, starting with the month of Rajab. By planting the seeds of newer, healthier habits in Rajab, we can expect to see its fruits by the month of Ramadhan, and in this way, we can change our habits that will ultimately create a new lifestyle.
In the month of Rajab, some of the most recommended acts are fasting, giving sadaqa (charity), and asking Allah (SWT) for forgiveness as a way to become aware of the distractions of our ego and of this world that turn us away from our purpose and proximity to God.
The month of Rajab is also unique because it comes with its own set of titles. This month is also known as Rajab al-Asabb, or the Pouring, referring to the abundance of blessings that Allah (SWT) pours down on us. It is also known as Rajab al-Fard, or the Separate one, because of its distinguished status over other months.
Rajab is also marked by two momentous celebrations: the birth of Imam Ali (AS) on the 13th of Rajab, and al-Isra wal Meraj, or the Prophet (SAW)’s Night Journey and Ascension to the heavens on the 27th of Rajab.
Let us embark upon our own spiritual journey today, as we mark the beginning of the month of Rajab. Let us work towards healthier habits that allow us to create a lifestyle rooted to our higher purpose, to serving others, and to understanding Allah (SWT) by better understanding ourselves.
Beauty, Compassion, and Inspiration: Fatima Zahra (AS), the Most Celebrated Woman
In pre-Islamic Arabia, it was no secret that girls and women were subjugated and considered to be inferior to men. The horrors of female infanticide were once a reality, and it was not uncommon for parents to hang their heads in shame upon the birth of a baby girl. Today, in stark contrast to that reality, we celebrate the birth and life of Lady Fatima (AS), the blessed daughter of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and Lady Khadija (AS), who in an era that denigrated the status of women, became the mother of the holy lineage of the Holy Prophet (SAW) and is recognized as the Leader of the Women of Paradise.
The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) himself demonstrated the immense love and value that he placed on his beloved daughter. Whenever she would enter a room, the Prophet (SAW) would rise from his seat out of respect for her. He famously referred to her as Umme Abiha, or “the mother of her father” to illustrate that her role in his life is no less than that of a mother, the most cherished of women in everyone’s lives.
Fatima (AS) was known to continuously provide comfort and compassion to her father, particularly on difficult days when he would come home covered in dust, thorns, and trash by those who opposed and ridiculed him. She often shielded her father’s body from the stones that others threw on him.
She was also adept at nursing and was responsible for tending to the wounds. In one example, Fatima (AS) demonstrates her skill by being the only one who was able to stop the blood flow from an injury on the Prophet (SAW)’s head, despite others’ efforts, by covering the wound with ashes from burnt straw.
Fatima (AS) was valiant and vocal in her stand for her own rights as a woman when they were denied, and in this way stood as a shining example for women of all times.
The Prophet (SAW) was reported as saying “If beauty were a person it would be Fatima. Nay! She is greater…”
Today, Fatima’s name is held synonymous with inner and outer beauty, the beauty of character, faith and spirituality.
How does Fatima (AS) inspire you? Take part in the Instagram contest and stand a chance of winning a beautiful metal bracelet. Click here to enter.
We live in a society that encourages us to be very self-serving. To cater to our whims, and eliminate any causes for discomfort in our environments, whether they are physical, mental, or emotional. To gratify ourselves and amplify our individual experience of happiness and pleasure and ‘positivity’.
What we neglect to account for in that process is that as the social beings that we are, living in a society often involves encountering, managing, and even choosing negative emotions and experiences. Living harmoniously with others can involve making compromises to our own personal comfort and short-term happiness for longer-lasting peace.
And when your goal is not only to live in harmony with others, but to live for higher virtues and greater goals, then sacrificing the most beloved of your possessions can be a source of transcendent pleasure that is parallel to no other experience.
The Quran says “You will never attain righteousness until you give [in the way of Allah] from that which you love. And whatever you give, indeed Allah is Knowing of it.” (3:92).
Lady Ummul Baneen, the mother of Usman, Jafar, Abdullah, and Abbas, the moon of the Bani Hashim, epitomized the meaning of giving and sacrificing for a greater purpose, in spite of the discomfort and pain that it may have brought.
While her birth name was Fatima, she gave up her name when she became the wife of Imam Ali (AS) so that her name would not serve as a painful reminder to the young children of Imam Ali (AS) and Lady Fatima (AS), who had tragically lost their beloved mother.
Her entire life and the lives of her children were dedicated to faithfulness, love, and loyalty to the Ahlul Bayt, the family of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), each of whom were beacons and living examples of immaculate morals, justice, and love. She brought up her four sons to stand by their brother Husayn (AS) in the fight for truth, knowing well that they would be killed in the battle of Karbala.
And ultimately, when they were killed, she also gave up her title “Ummul Baneen”, the mother of sons, requesting that she never be addressed by this name again.
There can be profound meaning and beauty in giving up what we hold dear to us, what we believe “belongs” to us. Lady Ummul Baneen demonstrated this by sacrificing for the sake of Allah, with the awareness that nothing was “hers” to keep, but belonged to Allah.
What are some of the things that we can give up for a greater purpose?
Support the Zahra Foundation in the name of Lady Ummul Baneen (peace be upon her).
This is a group that is mentioned 23 times in the Quran, a group that is emphasized and given importance and remembered in Islam while much of society has forgotten their needs and rights.
“… Righteousness is in one who … gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy…” (2:215)
“Whatever you spend of good is for parents and relatives and orphans and the needy…” (2:220)
Orphans have a unique struggle that affects multiple spheres of their lives, having been stripped of the financial and emotional support that they would otherwise receive from one, or both, parents. Historically, orphans have been left to live either in overcrowded, underfunded orphanages or homeless on the streets. They may have experienced trauma through death or other negative life circumstances such as war or abuse that, when left unresolved through lack of social support, can lead to serious mental health consequences. They are exposed to poverty, have poorer general health, are more susceptible to fall into crime, and have a lower likelihood of obtaining an education that can help them become independent.
Islam recognizes that orphans are the children of our future who simply rely on the support that they are entitled to in order to thrive. Islam gives dignity to orphans where historically they have been stigmatized. Islam places the onus on the rest of society to uphold their responsibility in caring for orphans, as is their innate human right.
Our orphan sponsorship program helps provide clothing, shelter, heating, water and sanitation. It also provides orphans with food aid by preparing and delivering hot meals, while also providing staple food items native to their home region. This allows families the opportunity to cook their own meals, encouraging their independence.
Prophet Muhammad (saw) said, “Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.” The Zahra(s) Trust Canada understands the importance of an education in changing a child’s future. This is why we help orphans around the world through online and in-person classes to support their educational journeys. We provide school supplies such as pencils, crayons, markers, notebooks and textbooks. We also provide computers equipped with Internet to help youth learn technological skills, skills that are indispensable today. This allows them to have a more level playing field in their access to knowledge. We are committed to supporting orphans on their road to success!
Upholding both dunya and deen is a priority at the Zahra Foundation. Through our program, we celebrate and commemorate Islamic occasions together to instill a sense of belonging to a community – the benefits of which are countless. We hold parties and provide gifts for each orphan on Eid, encourage them to take part in Muharram majalis and processions, and organize trips to the Holy Shrines in Iraq as part of their Islamic education. In the month of Ramadhan, we also provide daily iftaar meals and hold programs for special nights, such as the nights of Qadr.
Help fulfill the rights of the orphan, an act so highly regarded in Islam. Click here to donate today.
In 2002, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annaan issued a powerful statement on the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that continues to resonate in the Muslim and non-Muslim world alike:
“The Caliph Ali Bin Abi Talib is considered the fairest governor who appeared during human history (After the Prophet Muhammad)”.
Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (as), the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad (saw), is revered in Islam by all sects, whether as the first Imam succeeding the Holy Prophet (saw), or as the fourth Rightly Guided Caliph. In our shared history, we have the ultimate champion of human rights. And yet, much of the Muslim world, and beyond, is plagued with corruption, oppression, a lack of ethics, and utter negligence of the value of human life.
Here are 11 golden principles from his letter that apply to leaders and the general masses alike:
On Daily Life
When we think of leaders today, whether it is in higher levels of government or within our local communities, how many adhere to all, or any, of these principles? Are our leaders always the most qualified and the most honest? When we think of our own behaviour, whether it is on the job or with our relationships, do we maintain the highest standard of ethics for ourselves, the ethics of Imam Ali (as), the leader of our faith, to whom we look up and revere? Do we make decisions fairly, or is there favouritism in our circles? Are we forgiving of others shortcomings? Do we actively seek to create a positive atmosphere? How can the way we communicate with others improve so as to build, not break, relationships?
To learn more about Imam Ali (as) check out our blog post here on Eid al Ghadeer or you can also learn more about his amazing wife who is the inspiration for all our work here!
May humanity, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, unite under the principles of Imam Ali (as) by adopting the highest level of ethics in serving and supporting the global community.
Some Muslims believe that he is yet to be born and so await his birth. In the Shi’a belief, we acknowledge that the Awaited Saviour, the Mahdi (ajfs) has already been born as the twelfth prince and direct descendent of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), but remains hidden from our current reality, and hence await his reappearance.
Here are four beliefs about the concept of the “Awaited Saviour”:
1. The Awaited Saviour does not only exist in Islam, but is shared with other faiths.
In Christianity, the Awaited Saviour is believed to be the Messiah Jesus Christ. In Judaism he is a future Jewish king and leader who is believed to be the direct descendant of King David. Buddhism also embraces the concept of an Awaited Saviour; Buddhists await the arrival of the next Buddha, also known as Maitreya, or “awakened one”.
2. The Awaited Saviour will bring order in a world of chaos.
Regardless of the notion of whom this personality will be, the Awaited Saviour is a concept that unites faiths under the belief that his arrival will be a catalyst for the creation of the ideal human society. The Awaited Saviour will arrive in the world at a time of chaos to bring order. He is believed to do so by establishing one global government with universal laws of righteousness, through which wars, corruption, and poverty will be eradicated, and justice and equality will be upheld.
3. The Awaited Saviour is a symbol of hope.
By way of bringing justice, truth, and harmony at a time when injustice and chaos permeates the world, the concept of the Awaited Saviour is integral in all faiths because it instills hope in humanity. It assures humanity that there is an end to suffering and that those who are perpetrating wrongdoings will be held accountable. Hope is not only a meaningful part of the human experience, but is essential as part of one’s faith; in Islam, despair is considered to be a major spiritual shortcoming.
4. Awaiting the Saviour does not mean to wait passively.
Rather, it means an active awareness of, and dissatisfaction with, the current state of the world and all the injustice and corruption it houses. It means an active pursuit of truth and embodiment of the values that the Awaited Saviour represents. It means to work as a collective society towards the betterment of humanity, which is ultimately the goal of the Awaited Saviour.
As we await the reappearance of the Mahdi, the 12th Imam (ajfs), we aspire to follow in the example of the holy Ahlul Bayt in modeling the ideal society by alleviating the suffering of others, living with compassion, and working towards justice and equality for all. To learn more about Imam Mahdi (ajfs) and why we want his return check out our previous blog post here!
The Islamic way of living is one that advocates for complete harmony in nature and upholds the rights of all beings. Somewhere along the way, humans began to neglect those rights, as well as the responsibilities they hold as “custodians” and stewards of the Earth (Quran 2:30), throwing this harmony off balance. Climate change is a drastic and inevitable consequence of this negligence.
“Corruption has appeared in both land and sea because of what people’s own hands have brought, so that they may taste something of what they have done, so that hopefully they will turn back” (Quran 30: 41).
Consider the following statistics:
While we may acknowledge the gravity of these statistics, it is important for us all to take a closer look at our own behaviour and see whether we are unconsciously rejecting the reality of climate change and the impact of our actions. Many of us simply shrug off our individual role in contributing to the decline of the Earth’s natural resources. As Muslims, living sustainably and consciously is a part and parcel of our faith.
The Quran reminds us that we have a responsibility to each other and to the abundant resources on this planet. The Quran says, “Eat and drink, and be not wasteful. Surely He does not love the wasteful/extravagant.” (7:31). When we waste food and water or purchase plastics and clothing items and discard them frivolously, we are acting extravagantly and being unjust to the resources Allah (SWT) has provided us with.
Historically, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) set the stage for what it means to live consciously and sustainably. Killing of animals for sport (hunting) was forbidden to protect wildlife. Cutting trees and ravaging crops were also forbidden even during times of war and destruction. He encouraged people to act with compassion to their animals – the mode of transportation of the time – by providing them with rest and not overloading them with supplies. Islamically, there are many ethical regulations in place when slaughtering animals for food so as to prevent waste and to instill consciousness of nature and compassion for other creatures of Allah (SWT).
The Prophet (SAW) was also reported to say: “No man will grow a plant or sow a crop that birds, animals, or man eat from unless he has a reward for it.”
Living sustainably and being eco-friendly is not just an environmental issue – it is also a moral and ethical one. We can all make small changes to minimize this growing problem and live in harmony with the Earth. After all, “He brought you into being from the earth, and made you dwell in it.” (Quran 11:16)
‘Tis the season, and although the days are getting colder, the holiday cheer that is coming upon us is one that permeates warmth, joy, and the spirit of giving. While Muslims around the world may not celebrate Christmas, many take the opportunity to unite with others in the festive spirit by embodying the essence of the holiday season – one that shares a renewed sense of community, humanity, and generosity.
Simple acts of kindness and engaging in community service are ways in which we can become a part of the holiday cheer and celebrate together. The holiday season can be used to make a commitment to make small steps towards bettering our actions through helping and bringing joy to others. This is something that we are called to do in our faith, as the Quran says:
In fact, the Quran urges us to be the first and foremost in taking action, and not simply following the actions of others:
The Holy Prophet (SAW) has been recorded as saying, “The best among you is the one who brings most benefit to others, and the most beloved of deeds is making [one] happy, or relieving [one] of hardships…”
Helping others does not have to involve large showy acts. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has said “Even a smile is charity,” which demonstrates the impact that one can have as small and insignificant as it may seem.
Acts of service is a love language that has the power to bind together humanity in a way that effaces all outer labels, like race, religion, ethnicity or language.
Whether your interest lies in interacting with people face-to-face, working independently, using social skills or technical skills, there are a number of ways you can use your time and abilities to support the many initiatives of the Zahra Foundation and give back to the larger community.
There is a famous hadith Qudsi, or saying, in which Allah (SWT) tells us, “If you walk towards me, I will run towards you.”
Setting an intention is the basis of everything in Islam. From ritual cleansing to praying to donating in charity (which can be easily done here!), we are called to set an intention before we begin each and every act of worship. In this way, we are being shaped into forming a habit – one in which we establish a solid and pure intention at the outset of all of our actions and decisions in life, not only those that we consider as “acts of worship”. This habit moulds our mindsets and outlook on every action we undertake.
When we set intentions, we are subconsciously fortifying our own will and desire to complete and see through an action. In this way, when Allah (SWT) is at the forefront of our intentions, by taking one small step towards a resolution, we are putting in place a cascade of events that will help us see through our resolution, through the help of God. This is how He will “run towards you”.
Perhaps your intention is to pray punctually so that you can establish more discipline in life and fervour in faith. Perhaps it is to give more in charity, recognizing that your wealth is an amanat, a favour that has been entrusted to you, that you have been given to share with those who truly need it. Perhaps you are in a phase of life in which you have extra hours to fill, and feel that you can truly benefit others who may value the time you have to offer. Or perhaps you would like to become more patient with loved ones so that you can find and give more joy in the relationships that Allah (SWT) has so meaningfully arranged in your life.
With the New Year approaching, we may feel the pressure to make and fulfill lofty, but short-lived resolutions. Islam gives us the opportunity to set intentions and resolutions every single day, and we are given a chance at a fresh start at every moment. Let that moment be now.
On August 16, 2021, we were haunted by images of hundreds of Afghans desperately trying to flee instability in their country by clinging onto an airplane as it was taking off. Since then, Canada has pledged to re-settled 40,000 Afghan refugees through its federal humanitarian resettlement program.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that more than half a million Afghans were internally displaced in 2021 due to insecurity and violence, on top of 3.5 million who were already internally displaced prior to political changes that took place this year. A staggering 80% of those internally displaced are women and children. Other vulnerable populations include the elderly, those with existing health issues, and families with disabilities. These groups are in need of additional supports in the form of social programs and medical aid.
Today, over 3,500 refugees have arrived in Canada, and as we expect to welcome more in the new year, there is a dire need to assist an increasing number of Afghan families, and particularly these vulnerable groups, rebuilding their lives in their new homes.
Building a new life comes with its challenges for anyone, but is an especially onerous process for refugees. Being uprooted from the lives that they have established, refugees leave behind not only their personal belongings, but also their former identities in the form of culture, language, careers, and relationships. For refugees, rebuilding their lives entails addressing many complex needs. They are forced to shape new identities as they learn a new language, orient themselves to new geographical and cultural terrains, work on transferring skills that they had developed in well-established careers and education, and come to terms with the immense changes in their lives. They may have left behind deeply rooted friendships and homes that perhaps belonged to their families for generations. During the process, they may have experienced a significant loss of financial stability, loss of loved ones, loss of health, and trauma.
While assisting refugees can come in the form of fulfilling basic essentials like shoes, clothing, personal hygiene and school supplies, there is so much more work to be done to help them resettle and reclaim their lives.
With The Zahra(s) Trust Canada, you can help play an integral role in alleviating the challenges that come with this transition for Afghan refugee families. Donate Today
Embodying generosity as a way of living is a pinnacle of success in Islam, both personally and socially. The Quran is replete with verses on the benefits of giving in charity, benefits that do not only extend to the recipients of charity. The Quran illustrates how charity is an act that purifies the soul — a way of stamping out spiritual ailments such as greed, materialism, and selfishness:
“So be mindful of Allah to the best of your ability, listen and obey, and spend in charity for the benefit of your own soul. And whoever is saved from their own greed, these are the ones that are the successful.” (Quran, 64:16)
“Take of their wealth a charity by which you may purify them and cleanse them and may make them grow…” (Quran 9:103)
As a complete way of living, Islam is not limited to providing us with a personal code of conduct through which we learn how to improve ourselves as isolated individuals. Instead, it acknowledges our existence as embedded within a larger collective society. Through the Islamic way of living, we are responsible not only for own ourselves, our thoughts, and our behaviours within our personal spheres. We are also responsible for our behaviours and our existence as part of a social sphere, recognizing that we each have a role to play in the wellbeing of others. This is how we progress as a society, and progress towards perfection in faith.
Allah (SWT), in His wisdom, has allocated abundant wealth to some, and limited wealth to others, in the same way that everyone has different personalities, strengths, talents and knowledge to share with others as their unique gift in this world.
Khums, which literally translates to “one-fifth”, is an annual tax that is a form of charity parallel to zakat. Khums is part of the Islamic economic system that aims to bring justice to society and strengthen humanity by requiring Muslims to donate 20% of their excess wealth, or savings. These donations are used to assist the orphans and the needy, aid in relief efforts from disasters such as war, earthquakes and famine, as well as support the institutions that contribute to the growth and propagation of Islamic knowledge.
“Know that whatever of a thing you acquire, a fifth of it is for Allah, for the Messenger, for the near relative, and the orphans, the needy, and the wayfarer” (Quran 8:41)
Typically, many Muslim households will mark one day of the calendar year, such as the New Year, on which they will calculate their expenditures and savings for the entire past year, and allocate 20% of their savings for that year to pay as their khums.
The Zahra(s) Trust Canada is a Khums-eligible charity. Consider donating your “one-fifth” to The Zahra(s) Trust Canada as a means of purification and to play your role in strengthening humanity.
You can learn more about Khums, its purpose, and details about its calculation, in the book “Khums, an Islamic Tax”, written by Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi: https://www.al-islam.org/khums-islamic-tax-sayyid-muhammad-rizvi
Death is an inevitable reality for everyone on this earth, “for every soul shall taste of death” (Quran 3:185). But what we leave behind can potentially have a lasting impact for generations to come.
The wasiyat is the Arabic word for the will. In Islam, while it is not mandatory to create a will, it is highly recommended to create, in writing, a legal document providing clear instructions on how to allocate your wealth and assets after you die, or to whom you assign the guardianship of surviving children or other dependents.
“It is prescribed upon you, when death approaches (any) one of you – if he leaves behind wealth – then he should make a will (wasiyyah) for his parents and near relatives in a fair manner [in the one-third]. This is a duty upon the pious people.” (Quran, 2:180)
There are various groups of people who are entitled to inherit the wealth that we leave behind, which include spouses, children, and parents. Islamically, two-thirds of what we leave behind must be allocated according to the divisions established by the sharia. For the remaining one-third, we have the liberty to choose where or to whom we would like to allocate our wealth, such as a beneficiary, an institution or a cause.
Writing a will does not only entail material wealth. Imam Ali (AS) famously wrote a letter to his sons, Hassan and Husayn (AS) in which he imparts valuable pieces of advice, leaving behind lessons and wisdom for his sons to carry with them in their own lives.
The wasiyat also provides a way for those who may be ill or approaching death to determine the payment of any debts through their assets, including charitable obligations, such as Zakat or Khums, the return of any borrowed property, and the completion of any pending prayers and fasts.
As a complete way of life, the purpose of the wasiyat is to wrap up loose ends in both our material and spiritual lives, including our transactions with the many people we have encountered and interacted with in our lives. This has been established to help create a harmonious and smooth journey to the next life, not only for ourselves, but for the loved ones that we leave behind.
In Islam, being mindful of, and preparing for, death is something that should occur on an ongoing basis — not in a morbid way, but in ways that are both practical and spiritual. It can be a way to create a lasting impact, a sadaqa -e-jariah, for the betterment of others’ lives.
At the Zahra Foundation, our vision is to create a world where everyone has access to the basic necessities in life, living self-sufficiently with spiritual development. For more information on how you can provide sadaqa -e-jariah in your Islamic Will long after you have passed away through our various charitable causes around the world, please get in touch by email at: [email protected]
“Winter is the best season for the believer,” according to the Holy Prophet (SAW), because “its nights are long for him to pray in, and its days are short for him to fast in.”
There are many reasons why your winter donations are critical!
For many, winter is the harshest time of the year because with the long nights come cold and harsh conditions. For those who are homeless or have inadequate shelter, winter is the most trying time of the year. Harsh weather in many regions around the world also means drastic food shortages.
Afghanistan has descended into a humanitarian crisis like no other. Large parts of the country are suffering from drought due to failing crops and an impending famine. The World Health Organization has predicted that 1 million children under the age of 5 in Afghanistan will die of starvation, and another 2 million will be severely malnourished this winter. More than half of the population is already experiencing extreme hunger.
Hundreds of people gather to receive food aid from distribution centres, only to be rejected because they are “not eligible”. This is because the emergency aid that is coming in to the country is “nowhere near enough”1. But in this process and with this justification, millions of innocent children are starving and dying today.
This winter, let us not lose out on the opportunity to support those in need. Let the warmth of the spirit of this season spark a flame of hope and comfort in the lives of others.
Donate here and help provide relief this winter to the plight of families facing hunger and starvation in Afghanistan and refugees who have been displaced from Afghanistan.
Of all examples in Islamic history that exemplify justice and the need to stand up for one’s rights, Lady Fatima (AS) stands out as a pinnacle.
In a historic speech known as the sermon of Fadak, Lady Fatima (AS) spoke out publicly when she was denied the right to her inheritance following the death of her father, the Holy Prophet (SAW). The inheritance was a piece of land in a village known as Fadak, and was gifted to Lady Fatima (AS) by her father during his lifetime.
Fadak was an oasis that was known for its water wells and abundance of dates, from which the revenues were used to support the Banu Hashim, or the tribe of the family of the Prophet, allowing them to be self-sufficient in order to avoid using government funds.
After the death of the Prophet (SAW), this land was confiscated from Lady Fatima (AS). When she spoke out against this injustice, she illustrated how she was a role model for women and men alike in many ways:
Fatima al Zahra (SA) is an excellent role model for both men and women alike. At The Zahra(s) Trust Canada, we work in the name of Fatima and aspire to uphold the teachings and values she stood for.
Support the cause of Fatima al Zahra today
At The Zahra(s) Trust Canada, we firmly believe in the Power of giving back, and we’ve made it easier than ever for employed professionals like you to make a meaningful impact through your workplace.
Increasingly, employers are endorsing their employees’ charitable endeavours through company-sponsored giving initiatives and donation-matching programs. Some companies even extend these benefits to spouses and retirees. Therefore, if your employer doesn’t provide such a program, your partner’s employer might. Consult your HR department today for more information.
Eligible for Corporate Giving Charity Partners
If you are already giving through reputable corporate giving charity partners, including Canada Helps, Benevity, United Way, and more, you can select The Zahra Trust Canada as the charitable recipient, making it incredibly simple for you to offer hope to those who need it most.
Take Advantage of Your Employer Donation Matching
One of the most remarkable features of our program is employer donation matching. Your workplace may match your contribution, effectively doubling the impact of your giving. This means your support can reach even further to support crucial initiatives.
Tap into Payroll Deductions
If your employer offers payroll deductions, you can effortlessly contribute to our charity with each paycheck. Small, consistent donations can accumulate into a significant contribution, substantially impacting the causes you care about.
When you participate in our Workplace Giving Program, you are not only supporting charitable causes but also harnessing the collective Power of your workplace to make the world a better place. Your contributions are vital to our various essential operations worldwide.
Imagine being part of a movement that’s improving the world. Through our Workplace Giving Program, you can catalyze positive change. Your actions align with our core values; together, we can create a brighter future for those in need.
Contact your HR department for instructions on accessing your company’s online giving platform and follow their guidance on the donation process.
We understand that when it comes to giving back, trust is paramount. The highest standards of accountability uphold our Workplace/Corporate Giving Program.
We have partnered with reputable charity platforms to ensure the utmost integrity of your contributions.
Every day, we strive to empower lives worldwide by providing basic necessities, enhancing self-sufficiency, and encouraging spiritual growth for all. Together, we can Unlock the Power of Workplace Giving for the greater good.
Search for ‘The Zahra Trust Canada‘ today on your Workplace Giving platforms!
Your contribution, coupled with the support of your employer and colleagues, will continue to empower lives, one generous donation at a time.
Have questions? Email us at [email protected]
We Canadians we are quite familiar with a cold winter. However, despite the cold, winter for many of us is a season filled with joy because of warm evenings at home, hot chocolate and lattes, holiday breaks from school and work so plenty of time with family and loved ones and, of course, snowmen! While we are very fortunate and blessed to enjoy the winter season in comfort with our family and friends, not everyone is. Unfortunately, for those living in poverty, winter can be the most difficult time of year for many reasons. In this post, we will outline four of those reasons.
If your boiler has ever stopped working at home or if you ever went out unprepared for weather, you likely can imagine what it is like being cold and uncomfortable in harsh weather. If you have ever sent your child to school with their regular jacket and clothing, only later to realize that a snowstorm was on the way, you might be able to imagine the distress a parent goes through when they know their child is at risk of being cold or getting sick. Hopefully these scenarios can give you an idea of what living in poverty in the winter can be like when you do not have sufficient clothing and your home is not equipped to deal with the cold.
The seasonal cold and flu that comes with winter is something we are all quite familiar with. While our fall and winter routine may involve taking our flu vaccine, stocking up on cold and flu medicine and taking extra vitamin C to protect us from getting ill, for those in poverty the cold and flu can be much more dangerous. Without adequate food and safe water to maintain a healthy body, those in poverty are more likely to be at risk of getting sick.
Lack of access to health care means that if someone does get sick, they are more likely to not get the support or treatment they need to recover. Unfortunately, for the elderly this can be very dangerous and even fatal. This year, more than any other, do we really understand the difficulties associated with illness.
‘Heat or Eat’ is a common choice those living in poverty must make during the winter. Fuel is something which is already difficult to purchase for those in poverty. Once fuel costs (and need) increase in the winter, those in poverty are faced with even greater difficulty. Some must make the difficult choice between using the fuel to cook food to feed their children, or if they should keep their children warm instead. Others would opt to only have one meal a day so that they can try to keep their children warm as well.
For those who live in regions without electricity and in shelters which would not really classify as a home like you and I are used to, this can result in endless nights of cold and little food to eat. Again, this makes those in poverty more vulnerable to illness and if they do get ill, more at risk of facing more severe symptoms.
Transportation is always something difficult for those who cannot afford their own car or access to public transport. Many have to rely on their own two feet for getting anywhere. This means that when winter hits, getting anywhere can be really hard. Children must walk to school without sufficient clothing. Elderly who are still working to sustain themselves must walk in the cold to work. Even for those who rely on social services it can be really hard, because they still have to get there to get help! Some charities are able to provide transport services for their beneficiaries, but with limited budgets, this is not always the case. This means that winter not only means living in cold and difficulty, but also could mean living in isolation without income or support.
As you can see, the challenges facing those in poverty during the winter are tremendous. That is why we have launched our Winter Appeal. This appeal will work to supply food and/or heating to those in need this winter. You can help make a difference by donating today and supporting a family in need.
Donate today to The Zahra(s) Trust Canada Winter Appeal
In order for us to aid those in need, we work with on the ground partners who assess the most pressing needs of our beneficiaries. Working with partners on the ground who are experts in their local region helps us make sure we are actually addressing the concerns and needs of our beneficiaries. This may not seem like such a big issue but actually, it really is.
Sometimes when charities are out of touch with the needs of beneficiaries, unsuited aid is delivered, and beneficiaries can feel greater desperation. An example of this happened during the 2016 refugee crisis. Many mothers were being provided with powdered milk for their newborn children. However, at the time what they really needed were diapers. As a result, out of desperation, refugee mothers began selling the powdered milk at a fraction of the price simply so they could purchase diapers for their children. As you can see, it is crucial for us to accurately understand the needs of our beneficiaries and work our hardest to address those needs in order to avoid similar situations.
So, our partners carefully complete needs assessments and propose projects to meet these needs of our beneficiaries. This is submitted to our Board of Trustees.
Upon approval of a certain project, our Board of Trustees will approve a budget and set a fundraising goal. Our team works very hard throughout the year and especially during peak times of Ramadhan and Muharram, to raise funds for these projects. Volunteers play a crucial role in helping raise these funds and spread the word within communities so that we can meet our targets. (If you’re interested in helping raise funds for those in need visit our Get Involved page).
After the needs assessment, project proposal and fund acquisition, aid is finally delivered! Funds are delivered to our international partners who are then able to deliver and distribute aid locally. This may be in the form of food packages, meals, education and training classes or workshops, financial assistance, or more! Aid may also be delivered simultaneously to funds being collected to help ensure that beneficiaries get the help they need as soon as possible.
All aid is reported and monitored with progress reports, media, record keeping and final completion reports. This reporting allows us to plan future efforts effectively.
None of this is possible without YOU!
Without funds, none of our work would be possible. This means volunteers and donors are just as, if not more important, to the charity process then even the Board of Trustees because nothing would be possible without them! Donate today to help support those in need and make a difference. We wouldn’t be able to without you.
Born on the 10th of Rabi ul Thani in the year 232 AH (846 AD), Imam Hassan ibn Ali al-Askari (peace be upon him) is the 11th Imam of the school of the Ahlulbayt (peace be upon them all). While Imam al-Askari is known to his followers as the 11th Imam, not much else is widely known about him, unfortunately. In this post, we will highlight some of the key events Imam Hassan al-Askari’s life and how they relate to us in 2020!
Lesson for us in the modern world: As we continue to see the rise of changing times and challenges facing us, we must not neglect the role that youth play in the development and strengthening of our community. Age does not predict responsibility or capacity for change. The more challenges we face in society the more we should continue to encourage youth to get involved and make a change.
Lesson for us in the modern world: This year more than any other have we truly felt the difficulties of isolation. With the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us have begun to feel alone and isolated due to the necessary social distancing measures. However, through the example of Imam Hassan al-Askari we can understand that isolation does not have to be entirely negative. We can learn from the Imam to utilize our time in isolation to gain and spread knowledge.
Lesson for us in the modern world: Do not be intolerant or hasty when speaking to those with different views. It is often seen that people are becoming much more polarized with their views and much less willing to discuss with others. Having a peaceful dialogue is the way to build understanding and destroy intolerance.
Lesson for us in the modern world: Race and background are not determinants of rank or piety. Before the advent of Islam, many Arabs believed (and many continue to believe), that they were the superior race and looked down upon others from different backgrounds. The teachings of the Ahlulbayt highlighted that this is not the case. Race is not a factor which should be considered when judging or dealing with a person.
Lesson for us in the modern world: To be sure not to neglect our own religious dues and supporting those in need. We should always be generous and follow the example of the Imam who went out of his way and put effort into ensuring the poor and needy were provided for.
Imam al-Askari said, “There are two qualities such that there is no quality above them; faith in Allah and the serving of brothers.”
Donate in the name of Imam Hassan al-Askari and follow his example in supporting those in need by clicking here
Al-Qurashi, Baqir Sharif, The Life of Imam Hasan Al-‘Askari, Qom: Ansariyan Publications.
Brief History of Fourteen Infallibles, Tehran: World Organization for Islamic Services.
Shabbar, S.M.R., Story of the Holy Ka’aba And its People, London: Muhammadi Trust of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Not only is the country facing a worldwide pandemic, but also the collapsing economy is putting citizens at risk of rising poverty and hunger. Half of the population is already living below the poverty line. Currently $1 USD = 10,000 Lebanese Liras. This means that the Lira has dropped to more than half of its original value, and Lira salaries have stayed the same. To put this into perspective, imagine if suddenly your yearly/monthly wage and savings drastically lost more than 60% of their purchasing power.
Since the Lebanese Lira has been devalued, people have found themselves stuck in a financial crisis. This decision has resulted in a rapid increase of suicide rates, medical problems, and overall famine. In recent news, we have discovered multiple cases where males, specifically fathers have committed suicide due to financial struggles. These suicides are becoming more prevalent as the economic and social situation becomes worse, and there is no solution in sight.
As long as the Lebanese population does not have access to basic needs, their financial situation will never change. Hospitals at full capacity, can not accommodate more Covid cases. With the recent blast in Beirut, hospitals already struggling with Covid have been overloaded with victims of the blast. The people of Lebanon need support now. You can make the difference by donating today to help provide greatly needed aid.
In an increasingly globalized and tech-oriented world, the internet is one resource that has almost become essential to life today. The internet helps us conduct our work and education, with the scope of online activities shifting as a result of the pandemic. It connects us with family and friends living abroad. And importantly, it allows us to obtain live news coverage from various media outlets — sources that allow us to become aware of human rights violations happening in distant regions around the world.
If you have been following social media hashtags on #yemen, you may have seen that Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East, went through a four-day blackout this past week after a series of massive air raids that knocked out telecommunications infrastructure.
The blackout has highlighted the importance of the internet, and how being cut off from connection, and from the world at large, is not only a matter of inconvenience, but also potentially a matter of life and death.
Many people took to social media over the past week to get #yemen trending and to shed light on the recent atrocities. These included a massacre in a football stadium during a live game, attacks on a hospital, homes, a school, a prison, and airports. At least 300 people were reported to have been killed in only 24 hours, making January a record-breaking month for civilian casualties. The internet outage resulted in Yemenis being unable to access money transfers from family and friends outside of the country. As a result, those who were already in desperate need received even less assistance. The airstrikes have made it extremely difficult to access and provide aid to many regions of the country, and with a sharp rise in internally displaced people and fewer funds available, this means that more and more Yemenis will experience extreme hunger, famine, and disease.
We are a generation that remains connected at every moment. Our ability to connect with others is literally within the grasp of our hands. The internet is our door to awareness of what is happening around the world. With this information at our fingertips, we have a social responsibility – at the very least, to be informed of humanitarian crises like these. Read about the many injustices and human rights violations being perpetrated against our fellow brothers and sisters. Share and discuss this information with others. Use your platforms and your resources to make tangible differences in the lives of others.
The Zahra(s) Trust Canada is working to support those in need in Yemen. You can help make a difference with The Zahra(s) Trust Canada. View our campaigns here, share content from our blogs, and donate to our various causes around the world today.
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sawa) and the infallible Imams (as) greatly emphasized the benefits of this blessed month and its importance. Within the Holy Qur’an, the month of Ramadan is referenced as follows:
‘The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Qur’an was sent down as guidance to mankind, with manifest proofs of guidance and the Distinguisher.’ Holy Qur’an (2:185)
Therefore, not only is this a blessed month to reap rewards, but it is also one to reflect on the guidance provided to us and to implement their principles in our daily lives. Amongst these principles, is the importance of giving charity and supporting those in need.
On the last Friday of Sha’ban, Prophet Muhammad (sawa) delivered a speech to prepare the ummah for the coming of Ramadan. Within this speech he said,
‘…give alms to the needy and poor, honour your old, show kindness to the young ones, maintain relations with your blood relations…’
Emphasizing the importance of charity in this holy month. Importantly, he not only mentioned giving financial contributions to those in need but also kind acts such as honouring our elders, supporting the young ones in the community and being kind to our family!
The Prophet (sawa) said, ‘The best act of charity is carried out in the month of Ramadan.’
Why would we not then make it a priority to give in this holy month?
When we are hungry and thirsty at the end of a very long day we get to at least look forward to having a nice meal and cold drink to break our fast. Unfortunately, when we reflect and realize that hundreds of millions around the globe do not share the same luxury of food security, we can become more empathetic to their struggles. When we realize that we are only hungry for a set period of time but others may remain hungry for days or months uncertain of when they will be fully satiated it can remind us to share with those in need.
The Qur’an states:
“Worship none but God; be virtuous toward parents, kinsfolk, orphans, and the indigent; speak to people in a goodly way; and perform the prayer and give the alms.”
While we strive to recite as much Qur’an as possible in these holy days, let us also prioritize learning and implementing the lessons taught in this holy guidebook for mankind.
One of the emphasized benefits of the holy month of Ramadan is that it is one of, if not the most, excellent times to seek forgiveness from Allah (swt) for any mistakes we have made.
Prophet Muhammad (sawa) said, ‘If a person remains unforgiven in the month of Ramadan, then what other month is there left for him to be forgiven in?!’
One of the ways to achieve such forgiveness is through charity!
Prophet Muhammad (sawa) also said, ‘O People! One who gives Iftaar to a fasting person during this month [Ramadan] will be like one who has freed someone and his past sins will be forgiven.’
Upon hearing this some of the people who were there then asked the Prophet (sawa): “Not all of us are able to invite those who are fasting?” To which he (sawa) replied, “Allah gives this reward even if the Iftaar (meal) is a drink of water.”
Our team around the globe is working their hardest to provide food and water to those in need to break their fasts this Ramadan. For $500 you can help sponsor meals for up to 250 people to break their fast with or for $250 you can sponsor up to 1000 water bottles for individuals in need. You can even donate $80 to help provide a food parcel for a family which could sustain them for one whole month!
You can help make a difference this Ramadan in the lives of so many by donating today at zahrafoundation.ca/ramadan. If you’d like to take another step you can also join our team, #TeamZahra, to raise funds by clicking here.
To read the full sermon of the Holy Prophet (sawa) on the last Friday of Sha’ban click here.