Jews and Muslims join in celebrating a shared fasting tradition.

When attending Ramadan Tent Project’s most recent event “Faith & Fasting,” which celebrates Yom Kippur and the Thursday Sunnah Fast – something Imam Qari Asim said really stuck with me. He mentions how we have more in common with the Jewish faith than that which divides us. 

Both faiths, Islam and Judaism, follow the teachings of Prophet Abraham very closely. Islam incorporates Jewish history as part of its own. 

Historically, many of the Prophets followed by both faiths also resided in the city of Jerusalem. Both Islam and Judaism consider Jerusalem to be a holy city. The Prophet Sulaiman established the first Temple in Jerusalem which made it the religious center for Judaism. 

Jerusalem is also Islam’s third holiest city after Mecca and Medina. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was taken on a miraculous journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and then ascended to the heavens.

Coincidentally, both faiths also share days of similar status, when it comes to the rewards of fasting. Yom Kippur, which is the holiest day of the year for Jews, also known as The Day of Atonement begins at Dusk. It Involves reflection and repentance for the sins of the past year and the year for fasting. Likewise. The day of Arafat is also a day where those who fasts have their sins removed from the upcoming year as well as the year prior.

Artist Esther Caplin talks about how she spends her time during Yom Kippur. She talks about how important identity is for her, and that Yom Kippur is the perfect day for her to feel as though she is a part of a community. 

The virtual ‘Faith & Fasting’ event was organised by Ramadan Tent Project and was the second event organised in commemoration of Yom Kippur following a special Muharram/Yom Kippur fast in 2018. The event was held at Al Manaar Mosque in West London with the Joseph Interfaith Foundation alongside the Executive Director Mehri Niknam. More information can be found here.

Ramadan Tent Project has proudly carried the mission of bringing communities together to better understand one another; of different cultures, races, and faiths. Ramadan Tent Project has always been committed to taking moral leadership and building bridges of understanding, solidarity, and compassion. We are proud to have showcased the rich spiritual traditions shared between Islam and Judaism, whilst cultivating a space and spirit of togetherness for a more stronger cohesive society. We are proud to have connected and hosted over 350,000 people since our inception in 2013 and organise the UK’s largest cultural and community festival in Ramadan.

Repentance is a theme that is shared by both Muslims and Jews.

On the day of Arafat, Hajj pilgrims stand in the plains of Arafat, under the clear desert sky, beseeching God for His forgiveness, atoning for their sins and misdeeds and soothing mercy. 

The experience at Arafat is all about wiping clean of the past transgressions and having a new life, free of past sins. A reset button, of sorts. The day of Arafat, like Yom Kippur – is the holiest day of the year for Muslims.

Rabbi Natan Levy talks about how the issues between ourselves and God – things that might have gotten stuck in the last year can be resolved. Now we are blessed with the opportunity to turn around and say “I’m willing to make a change.” Yom Kippur gives people from the Jewish faith that feeling that they can start again and atone for the wrong that they’ve done.

Fasting is the reset that allows us to start anew. As we stop eating and drinking and putting things into our bodies, we carry forward with the mindset that now we are resetting ourselves. Becoming anew as we begin the year ahead of us. 

Another point that Rabbi Natan Levy mentions is that when we fast, it also allows us to see through the eyes and feel the experiences of those less fortunate than we are. “Fasting allows us to experience the face and the eyes of the other.” he says. It allows us to see things from the perspective of those who do not have the same privilege as we do and thus allows us to be more grateful for what the Lord Almighty has given us. 

Many Jews choose to follow a tradition of wearing white clothing on Yom Kippur, symbolising purity and a Biblical promise that sins that are repented shall be made white as snow.

Imam Qari Asim talks about how this is something “very similar in Islam” as Muslims, during the day of Arafat will voluntarily fast to erase the sins of the previous year as well as the next. 

“We sacrifice our passions, our emotions and our urge to eat and drink – for something greater. For the Supreme Being.” 

There’s so much that we have in common with the Jewish tradition, especially when it comes to the concept of worship and also the laws that we have. And it is through events like this one that Muslim and Jewish communities not only overcome challenges but also develop a strong sense of solidarity and mutual cooperation which can prevail over the hatred that we may find worldwide.

To view the full event, visit our YouTube channel here:

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Watermelon: The Universal Language of Ramadan

One of my favourite things about Ramadan is the proximity I feel with Muslims worldwide. Maybe this is what draws me to the tent year after year; the Open Iftar Tent itself is an embodiment of community spirit, social belonging and unity that is brought out through this holy month. But the beauty of Ramadan is truly outstanding, numerous and universal. For a full month, the Muslim ummah is in sync; we sit making du’a in the moments before the Maghreb adhan, we break our fast as the muadhin calls, and we await the highly-anticipated plate of watermelon.

Whether you pick out the seeds before you tuck in, cut off the rind before slicing, eat it with jibneh baida (white cheese) or sprinkled with fresh mint, or blended into a smoothie; Muslims around the world are ready for the delicious hydrating fruit that makes its most beloved appearance at iftar settings around the world. Though the fasting time is shortening in the UK, the long hours of a fast leaves the body needing nutrients and hydration, and watermelon is a good source of both.

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As the name suggests, watermelon is rich in water, aiding hydration after hours without drinking. Watermelon is also a fat-free and sodium-free nutrient-dense fruit, containing high levels of Vitamin A, C, lycopene, citrulline and more. But what does all of this mean?

Lycopene gives watermelon (and tomatoes) its red colour, but it will not turn you red! It is instead a powerful antioxidant. The magnesium in watermelon helps keep the heartbeat steady, and citrulline also has cardiovascular benefits, supporting the production of arginine. Arginine is an amino acid which, when converted into nitric oxide, causes blood vessels to open wider for improved blood flow, lowering blood pressure. Arginine is also important for organs such as the lungs, kidneys and liver, and has been shown to facilitate the healing of wounds.

Like most superfoods, watermelon is one of the sunnah foods. It is narrated in Al Tirmidhi that the Prophet (PBUH) ate watermelon with fresh dates as “the cold effect of one removes the heat of the other, and the heat of one removes the cold effect of the other.” In his book ‘The Prophetic Medicine’, Ibn al-Qayyim says that eating watermelon cleanses the body and helps expel stones from the stomach, and is quicker to digest than cucumber. It is also beneficial for a fever and, if ginger is added to it, can also be used to treat a chill.

Watermelon is related to other sunnah foods, like squash, pumpkin and other plants that grow on vines on the ground. It is also said to be one of the Prophet (PBUH)’s favourite fruits, alongside grapes – a fruit mentioned numerous times in the Qur’an.

Nutrition is important year-round to take care of the great amanah (trust) that is our bodies, but it is even more important during Ramadan. As we fast long hours without food and water, let us look towards the sunnah and incorporate these superfoods into our diets to nurture our bodies in this blessed month, and beyond.

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Exploring God’s Attributes: Mercy

Bismillah Al Rahman Al Rahim

In the name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

We start our actions with pure intentions, by taking the name of God and therein we remind ourselves of His traits as merciful, gracious and compassionate. We begin the Qur’an by proclaiming God’s mercy, not just with the basmala, but again in verse three of Al Fatiha “the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful” [Qur’an 1:3]. In the beginning of Ramadan, we fast through the ten days of mercy, and are encouraged to pray for God’s forgiveness and mercy, “My Lord, forgive and have Mercy, and You are the Most Merciful.” [Qur’an 23:118].

There is much written about these two attributes of God, the lexical root, the difference in meaning and its manifestation. Al Rahman is said to refer to God’s universal mercy. He is All-Merciful. His mercy is immense, all-encompassing, unwavering. It is permanent and complete. His mercy is perfect. Whereas Al Raheem refers to God’s specific, and constant manifestation of mercy. He is the Most Merciful, “Limitless is your Lord in His mercy…” [Qur’an 6:147]. He bestows His mercy in different ways, upon different people.

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What is mercy?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, mercy is “a kind and forgiving attitude toward someone over whom you have the power to harm or right to punish”, as well as “an event or a situation to be grateful for, usually because it stops something unpleasant.” Mercy is therefore to show empathy and compassion, but it is also to be grateful.

In Arabic, the word rahma (mercy) is derived from the same root as rahm (womb). Mercy is a mother’s attitude toward the fruit of her womb; the close connection between mercy and motherhood is recorded in many sayings of the Prophet, Peace Be Upon Him (PBUH). It is narrated that upon seeing a mother nurse the children among prisoners, he asked his companions “Do you think this woman would throw her child into the fire?” They said, “No, not if she was able to stop it.” The Prophet said, “Allah is more merciful to His servants than this mother is to her child.”

The way in which a mother takes care of her child when he cannot take care of himself, and beyond, God takes care of us. God showers us daily with His mercy, in more ways than we can count and for that we show gratitude, for to be merciful is to be grateful. We are merciful by being grateful for God’s mercy, a blessing that is not enjoyed by Muslims alone. The Prophet (PBUH) once said that God has divided his mercy into 100 parts, and reserved 99 of them for the hereafter. The remaining part was divided among all of His creation, allowing them to treat each other with compassion.

When we think of God’s perfect and permanent mercy, we notice that it encompasses many more of His attributes, the most compassionate, forgiving, benevolent, generous, patient – to name but a few.

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Patience in the process to progress

Mercy is often metaphorically linked to rain, and this is not exclusive to Islam. In Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Portia begins her monologue with “The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven”.

Rain is said to be the mercy of Allah, a metaphor that shows the active nature of mercy. Rain is an active process of water descending down upon us from the skies. To draw this metaphor out further, it is the primary constituent – water – that enables things to grow; after planting a seedling, it is then watered, and time transpires before the plant grows, and bares fruit. It is a process that takes time, and thus requires patience.

In the same way water nurtures plants, patience nurtures humanity. Patience through being merciful is an important, if not the most important factor to growth, as true transformation takes time. Rain is akin to mercy as it takes time for it to truly be a means for the seed to mature into a plant; patience comes from mercy as it takes time to reap the benefits from the seeds we plant for positive change. Mercy is active, for God showers his mercy upon us. Mercy is active, for we make the decision to be patient and merciful when treating others with compassion, and working for change.

The spread of Islam itself took a lifetime, the lifetime of the Prophet (PBUH).

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Mercy and the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

“And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.” [Quran 21:107].

There are countless examples of mercy in the life of the prophet (PBUH), and it is the greatest trait of all of his traits. He (PBUH) had mercy for his loved ones, for his enemies, for the oppressed, for women, for children, for animals – for all.

Take the example of his treatment of Ikrima, the son of one of the worst enemies of Islam, Abu Jahal. Abu Jahal and Ikrima harmed the Prophet and his companions in multiple ways for a long time. After Makkah was won over by the Muslims once again, Abu Jahal had passed and Ikrima fled. His wife accepted Islam and approached the Prophet, asking him to grant her husband protection. She returned to her husband saying “I have come to you from the best of people, he has granted your security”, so Ikrima returned. As he approached Makkah, the Prophet said to his companions that Ikrima will become Muslim, he will return to the city as a believer. He told them not to curse his father, “for cursing someone who has passed hurts those who are living”. When Ikrima returned, he took the shahada at the hand of the Prophet, and lowered his head in modesty. The Prophet asked Ikrima to request anything he should want. He asked the Prophet to seek forgiveness for him, for all of the enmity he had shown towards him, his companions and Islam, and such the Prophet sought Allah’s forgiveness for him.

Mercy was the spirit of the Prophet, and is one of the core messages of Islam. We are encouraged as Muslims to follow the sunnah, and such we are encouraged to show mercy.

God asks for us to be merciful

The Prophet (PBUH) said “You can never be [true] believers until you show mercy to one another… It is not the compassion that any one of you shows to his friend. It is the compassion and mercy that you show the people in general [that I mean].”

Showing mercy is a sign of strength and strong faith, and a means to strengthen our faith and become closer to Allah; while mercy is a brittleness in the hearth that triggers an act of benevolence, or good upon others, it is a strength to show mercy, and it must be at the heart of all that we do. Showing mercy requires courage, and patience. In order to nurture and incite change, and forgive ourselves and others, we must be patient to reap the seeds of goodness we are sowing. To truly be merciful, we must always think about the bigger picture; we must remember that we are accountable for our actions, we will meet God one day, and to be merciful not only pleases Him, but incites His mercy.

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How to incite God’s mercy

Show mercy, to yourself and others:
The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Allah will show mercy to those who show mercy to people. Show mercy to those who are on earth – the One who is in Heaven will show mercy to you.”

Follow the sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH):
Allow his example to inspire us to be people of mercy. Think about how we can internalize this trait? How can we exemplify and show this mercy, so we too become sources of mercy?

Remember God and the righteous:
Ibn Al-Jawzi mentions that it is critical to keep spiritual company and bathe the soul in the stories of the righteous – to stop the heart from becoming spiritually hard and dry. One of Islam’s enduring wisdoms states “On mentioning the righteous, mercy descends.”

Prayer and charity:
“Keep up prayer and pay the compulsory charity and obey the Messenger, so that mercy may be shown to you.” [Quran 24:56]

Do good:
“Surely, the mercy of Allah is nigh unto those who do good” [Qur’an 7:56]

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Mercy is the spirit of Islam for our Creator is the Most Merciful

God’s mercy is all encompassing, limitless and permanent, and supersedes the immense mercy a mother has for her child. As humans, perhaps we can look at two of the 99 names of Allah and embody mercy in our own lives, as it can pave the path to progress and positive change. To be merciful is a practice that was constantly exemplified by the Prophet (PBUH), and has been asked of us by God, the Most Compassionate.

As we enter Ramadan, let us make the firm intention to incite God’s mercy by becoming sources of mercy ourselves. Let us cherish and nurture our relationships. Let us build bridges, not burn them. Let us take a moment to breathe and think before speaking. Let us do good onto ourselves and others. Let us pray to God for mercy, forgiveness, and goodness.

O Allah, “You are our Protector, so forgive us and have mercy on us. You are the Best of those who forgive. Grant us good things in this world and in the life to come.” [Quran 7:155-156].

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Stand firm: Lessons From Omar

Tear after tear, I was constantly trying to pace my breathing. Hot flushes, trembling, a wave of uncontrollable palpitations and my entire body was shaking – just rock, rock rocking out of control. Screaming internally, but not a single word was uttered. I was breathing faster, while watching the rest of the world moving so slowly. I felt trapped within four walls, every blank one being a replica of the state of my mind – the same colour, texture and design.

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Constantly on the go with a thousand things to do, a head full of thoughts and such little energy to harbour them, I spent so much time stuck in my head that eventually, I became mentally exhausted. I just couldn’t breathe anymore.

Cambridge. Foreign, yet known.


What do I mean by this? Cambridge is known for breeding generations of alumni that are at the forefront of their fields and home to endless developments in the academic sphere. It’s the city where the atom was first split, the structure of DNA was discovered, where Charles Darwin developed the theory of evolution, where Newton developed his theory of gravity and where the electron and neutron were discovered – to say the least. Yet, simultaneously the city is foreign to the world below the title of elite, privileged and well-established.

Often when you ask students about their experience at Cambridge University so far, they emphasise the difficulty of being away from home, how the workload can overwhelm you (often at the expense of your social life), and how homesickness never truly fades away. While aspects of each topic are true, the main struggle has been missed out, or even overlooked. The truth is, this place will challenge you. Not just your ability to be articulate, to think outside the box or to be a high performing student, a soon-to-be pioneer in their industry. But it will test your faith, break every wall of comfort you stand behind and force you to be versatile, or otherwise collapse.

For me, I was doing fine. I was “getting by”, doing me- surviving. But, week 5 came around and it all changed. University students call it “Week 5 Blues” because it anticipates a week full of challenges to your mental wellbeing, your motivation and often your physical strength to continue as the term reaches its end. By Wednesday of that week, every single bone in my body was refusing to get up out of bed to see the light of day. It felt like the world was going at 100mph and I was struggling to keep up. Insomnia got the best of me, so I was sleeping at awkward times and randomly waking up in the middle of the night from restlessness.

All I recall constantly feeling was a dark pit in my stomach. My eyes were dripping with tears. My walls, the walls that hold me up, keep me going just… collapsed. Moment by moment, they fell. The world turned into a blur, and so did all the sounds. The taste. The smell. Everything was gone. It just kept happening, over, and over again.

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Everywhere I went, be it to the town centre, to the Law faculty or even my room, I constantly felt suffocated. Living in University makes it feel as if you’re always reminded of academia – I walk in to town and see colleges, I walk out of my room and see classmates, I walk across the road and I see my lecture theatre. I live in Cambridge, I study in Cambridge and I breathe Cambridge. I grew to be stuck in a limbo of negative thoughts and a lack of motivation to continue. I woke up every morning dreading the next day before that one even commenced. I could barely look at my room without my stomach churning. I felt sick at the thought of being here for two more years.

I was fed up – fed up of having to tackle imposter syndrome. I’ve had countless moments where I’ve felt like I just wasn’t as intelligent as every other person to comprehend the content I study as well, I didn’t have it in me to respond to questions eloquently or make hypothetical situations to refute academic views. And, irrespective of the amount of times my supervisors were spelling out “the obvious”, I just didn’t get it. I was there physically but not mentally.

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Additionally, being here constantly reinforced this emerging feeling of “the fear of the unknown”, or even “the token brown girl”. Walking in to town, I could see people take one glance at me, and instantly look away. They saw a Muslim girl and instantly it rang alarm bells. Some would rush away, holding their purse just that little bit tighter. Some would look me up and down, roll their eyes or look at me funny. Some would barge their way past, without an apology or even recognising me as a human with feelings.

It’s hard to constantly be reminded of your ethnicity, every negative connotation attached your socio-economic background and the stigmatised view of your faith, simply by the way you look. I found that some people will subconsciously, or consciously go out of their way to remind you of your societal stereotype and impose it on you, irrespective of how “deserving” you are to be here. The way you dress/sound/behave is enough to make you feel like the odd one out. And, while it’s natural to feel hurt or think perhaps it’s all in your head, that’s not what I felt. Rather, I couldn’t help but feel like there was something wrong with me. It’s not to say that everyone here is like that, neither that they are to blame for their blessed/humble upbringing, but I simply don’t fit in.

By the end of the week, I was done. I tried to tell myself not to complain, to keep calm, collected and connected to Allah, and life will slowly but surely fall in to place. But, how do I even see in colour when my life is in black and white? How do I keep going when I have a gaping hole in my heart- please just tell me, how do I fill it?

Imagine gasping for air, but all you’re doing is breathing. Imagine screaming up into the heavens, but not a single word has left your mouth. Imagine feeling dead inside, but your heart is still beating. Imagine looking your parents in the eyes and crying out:

“I can’t do it anymore. I can’t live in my head. I can’t rationalise these thought processes alone. I can’t explain why that even though I’ve never been a crier, I can’t stop – it’s an open floodgate and I just can’t close it. I know I was supposed to be a fighter, I know you raised me to be fearless in all that I do, but I’m not that. I’m losing myself- please find me. Please make me sane again. Please help me.”


cambridge isoc

I needed a solution, a way out. So, I left my room and decided to attend an event ISOC was holding in collaboration with Omar Salha (CEO of the Ramadan Tent Project). The event was supposed to last for an hour and a half at most, but it ran over to the point where we had to move from our designated room to the main lobby because no other rooms were available to use. But I wasn’t complaining. Something in me had clicked and I didn’t want to leave. I was so drawn to the concepts he was explaining and the questions he was asking – it was exactly what I needed.


There are three lessons I took away from Omar’s talk:


1. Faith

“We need to reintroduce this conversation about faith in the public space; many people draw their values and beliefs from it. It’s about understanding how people are inspired by certain value systems.”

Islam is a way of life, a reminder of the purpose of your sole existence and a source of hope. It constantly influences day to day activities, yet it doesn’t receive the recognition it deserves. It is not seen as enough of a viable reason for justifying the way individuals live, rather, often it is misunderstood, mistreated or simply forgotten. Not only is the aim to ensure that Islamic values are respected and accordingly allowed to be expressed in an open environment, but too that there is a constant support system within the community, of the same faith, to ensure that its members are never left alone. To ensure that everyone is able to continue treading their path of life, with respect to faith, and not be afraid of losing their way.

Why? Because this level of faith is never steady, it dips, and without a fraction of doubt, it’s frightening. Living here feels like my heart is constantly uneasy. Imagine living in isolation from the constant reminder of Allah from your environment, from the masaajid (mosques) in walking distance and the encouragement to pray salah (the prayer) on time gone. Question your imaan (faith). Will it sustain? Will you continue to serve that single purpose of ibaadah (worship), or will you turn a blind eye and begin to excuse your actions? Will you go out of your way to get out of bed to pray your Fajr salah, when there’s no one else to follow, or will you sleep throughout the night with the objective of needing to “wake up early in the morning for lectures”?

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But he reminded me that it is in times like these where you need to take a step back. Re-evaluate your values. Ground yourself. Hold onto your morals with your two hands. Stand firm, be vocal about the importance of your faith to you, find that ease within you, and understand that you must carry tawakkul (trusting in God’s plan) and imaan (faith) throughout this Dunya (world).

Anas ibn Maalik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessing be upon him) said: “There will come upon the people a time when holding onto the religion will be like holding onto hot coal”.

Hold on to that hot coal. It will burn you. But you will heal. You will grow stronger, thicker skin.

Don’t forget these values and beliefs you hold. Don’t feel forced to conform to be accepted. Embrace your faith and let it continue to give you meaning in all that you do. You believe that when something breaks, for example a plate, that there will always be some broken parts that cannot be retrieved because they are small and veiled. So factually, there is a slim to none chance of putting the plate back together to be whole again because that tiny fragment will always be missing. But remember that He is Al-Jabbar. He fixes that which you don’t even know of, so what makes you think that the slightest err in your life doesn’t have a solution greater than your mind could fathom? Ask yourself, would Al-Wadud put you in a situation in bad faith? Does Al-Alim not know how much you can handle? Does Ar-Razzaq not provide for you, irrespective of your circumstances? Will Al-Mui’zz not honour you, raise you in status and keep you among the righteous?

Your soul is fuelled by what you feed it. Nourish it with knowledge of the Lord you worship and feel free to align your priorities in line with faith. The sweetness of imaan (faith) will never burden your heart. Faith elevates you in ways you could never imagine, so hold on to its ropes, and don’t let go.

2. Purpose

The first question Omar began with is “what is your purpose?”. I gulped, perplexed at how to even form a sentence explaining my worth when I saw little value in myself. Of course, first and foremost, we were made to be عِبــَادَ اللهِ

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ – And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me” [51.56]

But what makes me so unique? Why does anyone need me?

He asked us to distinguish ourselves from the plastic water bottle in his hand and then to the peers around us. Lost in my thoughts, I had no answer.

You may not have an answer too, and that’s fine. But, in due course you will. Let yourself continue to travel through your journey of life and the answers will soon prevail.

We all have a reason why we’re here – a very delicate, intricately designed one. To illustrate this, imagine a case where V was hit brutally by D who was driving recklessly on a country road at midnight, with no other cars around. X, a pedestrian who happened to be walking past witnessed this accident and called the ambulance. Y, the paramedic arrived in five minutes with a team of three to rescue V who seemed as though he was just about holding on to dear life. Upon arrival to the hospital, Z, a doctor, began treating V. In these sequences of events, every single person played a key role – be it for the better or worse of V. Without X, who else would have seen this accident and reported it immediately? Without Y at constant disposal for the general public, who else would intervene? Without Z, who else would have the professional skill and care to treat V at that moment in time?

7.7 billion people in this world, and yet every single one was created to be in one place, at a certain time, for a given, written purpose. You are part of that.

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Remember three things:

  1. Knowledge: Allah’s knowledge encompasses everything, irrespective of its size.
  2. Pre-recording: Everything is written for you and what is pre-destined by your Lord is greater than any desire you have
  3. The Will of Allah: The belief that nothing, whether related to Allah’s actions or actions taken by His slaves, can occur without His permission

Keep your heart firm upon Qadr (willing) of Allah – what is meant for you will never miss you, and what is bad for you will instantly be distanced from you. There is a greater plan in place- you serve a purpose in it.

3. Social action

في سبيل الله‎

Often, it satisfies us to have the thought of one day graduating, securing our dream job, getting married, buying a house and having children. While each is a justified achievement in of itself, why stop there? Why do we think we’ve now done enough to satisfy society and think very little about the influence we could have had had we dedicated our time and energy to use our skillset for the world at large?

“We can change the world!”

Perhaps it sounds too cliché and unconvincing. Let us even reduce the scope from the “world” to “our communities”- is impacting a single life for the better not just as great? We have the world at our fingertips from the growing use of social media platforms/technology so we can so easily influence with very little effort required on our part. So why be satisfied with comfortability?


For me, while the main goal of studying at Cambridge University is to complete my degree, I too realised that being here is so much more than that. I am a living example of the capability of Muslimahs, and I mustn’t give up. I mustn’t cloud my judgement with negativity. I mustn’t despair in the plan of the Best of Planners. Nor must I forget that He knows what is best for me, whilst I do not know, because He wouldn’t burden my soul beyond that which it could bare. I must rather understand that I need to represent; I must remember my roots, where I came from and why I came here. I must take control of my narrative. I must use my intelligence, conduct and voice as a symbol of what I stand for. Cambridge is now my home- and I wouldn’t change that for the world.

A message for my ikhwaan (brothers), remember that our religion has produced the noblest men to ever walk the face of this Earth.

And, for my akhwaat (sisters), what makes you think our women weren’t just as successful? Our women paved a path of greatness, yet how many of us follow their footsteps? Did our women struggle and strive to be forgotten?

Your perspective of social action comes from what you make of it. You have skills unmatched. You possess a talent like no other, irrespective of what you think right now. So, pursue it with all that you have in you.

It’s time for us to touch the hearts and minds around us!



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10 Tips for making the most of Dhul Hijjah blessed days

How can we, as Muslims not partaking of the Hajj itself, strive to make the best of these most blessed 10 days?

1. Fasting especially on the day of ‘Arafah

Abu Hafsah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet, Peace Be Upon him, said:

“Fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah absolves the sins for two years: the previous year and the coming year, and fasting on ‘Ashura, (the tenth day of Muharram) atones for the sins of previous years.”

Reported by all except Al-Bukhari and At-Tirmidhi

In another saying the Prophet’s wife Hafsah, may Allah be pleased with her, said:

“Four things the Messenger of Allah never neglected: Observing fast on the day of ‘Ashura, ‘Arafat, three days every month, and offering fajr sunnah prayers early in the morning.”


2. Reflecting upon the Prophet Ibrahim legacy

A pillar: The Hajj (pilgrimage) and a celebration: (Eid el Adha) have been left the legacy by the prophet Ibrahim (Peace Be upen Him). Let’s take a moment to think about his strength of character and faith and how he challenged the status quo in his time when everyone was worshipping idols he objected to and he reaffirmed the Oneness of God (Tawheed).

3. Takbeer, Tahleel, Tahmeed, Tasbeeh

grayscale photography of woman kneeling on area rug
Photo by on

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (Peace Be Upon Him) said:

“There are no days that are greater before Allah in which Good Deeds are more beloved to Him, than these ten days, so recite a great deal of tahleel, takbeer and tahmeed during them.”

Narrated by Ahmad, 7/224.  

Takbeer is to proclaim the greatness of Allah by saying Allahu Akbar (Allah is Great!)

Tahleel is to declare the oneness of Allah by saying La ilaaha il-lal-laah (There is none worthy of worship except Allah)

Tahmeed is to praise Allah by saying Alhamdulillah (All Praise belongs to Allah)

Tasbeeh is to glorify Allah by saying SubhanAllah (Glory be to Allah)

SubhanAllahi wa bi hamidihi

“Glory and praise is to Allah”

سُبْحَانَ اللهِ وَبِحَمْدِهِ

“Whoever recites this (SubhanAllahi wa bi hamidihi) one hundred times in the morning and in the evening will not be surpassed on the Day of Resurrection by anyone having done better than this except for someone who had recited it more. ”

Al-Bukhari 4/2071.

سبحان الله العظيم (Subhaan-Allahil-Azhim)

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “There are two statements that are light for the tongue to remember, heavy in the Scales and are dear to the Merciful: `Subhan-Allahi wa bihamdihi, Subhan-Allahil-Azhim [Glory be to Allah and His is the praise, (and) Allah, the Greatest is free from imperfection)’.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

4. Creating a meaningful connection with the Quran and being constant

Photo by abdulmeilk majed on

Start slowly but surely reading your Quran; mediating and learning from it. Try to read every day whenever you can, only a few verses at the beginning and then more.

Start with one verse then five, then ten after that try to finish one page, then five pages etc..

The main thing is to take the opportunity during these 10 blessed days to build a solid relationship, a connection between you and the Quran. The real success is to make it a habit for the rest of the year!

Let’s see how much Quran we can read or learn during these blessed days. The #10BestDays challenge starts now, bismillah!

5. Increasing the spiritual knowledge

by reading hadiths, biography (sirat) of the Prophet ﷺ.

6. Repenting to Allah

Read Astaghfirullah 100 times after waking up and 100 before going to bed.

7. Increasing the prayers

do extra voluntary prayers and tahajjud prayer during nights.

8. Improving your character/manners  (akhlaq)

Avoiding backbiting, slander, cursing and lying and be extra careful on the actions you do. On the Day of Resurrection (el Qiyamah) nothing will me more weightier on balance than good character/manners.

Visiting relatives and call them. Take a moment to visit the sicks. Repair broken relationship and forgive whoever hurt you. Go forward, don’t spend too much energy thinking about the wrong that people have caused us. Life is too short, this is a time for moving on and looking to the future.

9. Making lots of invocations

for yourself and as well for your friends, family and everyone to benefit indeed Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said:

“None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.”

Narrated by Bukhari & Muslim

Making invocations is important in your prayers (and everyday life). It reinforces the link between you and Allah. Among other things, it elevates your prayer to a higher degree and it helps to increase serenity.

‘And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me—indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of every supplicant when he calls upon Me…’ (Qur’an 2:186)

10. Charity

Being generous with the people that are in need and giving charity (Sadaqah). This is an excellent opportunity to support projects around you and earn so much reward!


Oh Allah! Grant us the quality of the people of Jannah!

Allahuma Ameen

Hawazine Haouat

#dhulhijjah #blessed10days #mercy #rewards


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Hajj: The Greater Pilgrimage

What is ‘Hajj’?

Hajj, known as the greater of the two forms of pilgrimage (see Umrah, the lesser pilgrimage), takes place in the last month of the Islamic lunar calendar – Dhu Al-Hijjah. Muslims are expected to make at least once during their lifetime, if indeed their means, circumstance permits them to do so. It is said to be the largest annual pilgrimage in the world, with 2.35 million pilgrims from across the world performing it last year alone.

Hajj is both a collective undertaking and a deeply personal experience. It involves a series of rituals around Mina, ArafatMuzdalifah over a period of 5 or 6 days.

The rituals have their origins in the time of the Prophet Ibrahim (Upon Him Be Peace). Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) led the Hajj himself in 632AD.


Entering the holy city of Makkah, the journey begins…

It begins with pilgrims arriving in the Masjid al-Haram in Makkah.


At the centre of the Masjid Al-Haram in Makkah is the Kaaba, around which pilgrims perform Tawaf, circling the Kaaba seven times in anti-clock wise direction. During tawaf, pilgrims will recitate supplications, prayer and the Talbiyah. The purpose of Tawaf is to symbolically represent the idea that our life should revolve around thinking and remembering Allah Almighty.


لَبَّيْكَ اللَّهُمَّ لَبَّيْكَ ، لَبَّيْكَ لَا شَرِيكَ لَكَ لَبَّيْكَ ، إِنَّ الْحَمْدَ والنِّعْمَةَ لَكَ وَالْمُلْكُ ، لَا شَرِيكَ لَكَ

لَبَّيْكَ إِلَهَ الْحَقِّ لَبَّيْكَ

“Labbayka Allaahumma labbayk, labbayka laa shareeka laka labbayk. Inna al-hamd wa’l-ni’mata laka wa’l-mulk, laa shareeka lak.

Here I am, O Allah, here I am. Here I am, You have no partner, here I am. Verily all praise and blessings are Yours, and all sovereignty, You have no partner”.
This is the Talbiyah recited by the pilgrim doing Hajj and ‘Umrah.

More on this:

The hills of Al-Safa & Al-Marwa, performing Sa’i

In Islamic tradition, Abraham (Ibrahim) was commanded by Allah to leave his wife Hagar (Hajar) and their infant son, Ishmael (Isma’il), alone in the desert between Safa and Marwa. When their provisions were exhausted, Hagar went in search of help or water. To make her search easier and faster, she went alone, leaving the infant on the ground. She first climbed the nearest hill, Safa, to look over the surrounding area. When she saw nothing, she then went to the other hill, Marwah, to look around. While Hagar was on either hillside, she was able to see Ishmael and know he was safe. However, when she was in the valley between the hills she was unable to see her son, and would thus run whilst in the valley and walk at a normal pace when on the hillsides. Hagar traveled back and forth between the hills seven times in the scorching heat before returning to her son. When she arrived, she found that a spring had broken forth from where the archangel Gabriel (Jibra’il) hit the ground with his wing as both sustenance and a reward for Hagar’s patience. This spring is now known as the Zamzam. (source)

And so, once their Tawaf is complete, pilgrims will walk between the hills of Safa and Marwa seven times to commemorate this advent.

Safa and Marwa are mentioned in the following Quranic verse:

“Behold! Safa and Marwa are among the Symbols of Allah. So if those who visit the House in the Season or at other times, should compass them round, it is no sin in them. And if any one obeyeth his own impulse to good,- be sure that Allah is He Who recogniseth and knoweth.”

— Surah 2, Al-BaqarahAyah 158[1]

8th of Dhul Hijjah – Hajj Begins

Once pilgrims have completed their premiere Tawaf and sa’i between Al-Safa and Al-Marwa, and as dawn breaks on the 8th of Dhul Hijja, they make their way to Mina, the ‘city of tents’, situated 7km east of the Masjid al-Haram in Makkah. It is here that pilgrims will undertake their daily prayers, remain immersed in worship.

Day of Arafat – 9th of Dhul Hijjah

Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said:

“The Hajj is ‘Arafat, the Hajj is ‘Arafat, the Hajj is ‘Arafat” [Tirmidhi]

As dawn breaks on the 9th of Dhul Hijja, pilgrims make the 14.4 km journey from Mina to the plains of Arafat, Mount Arafat itself, or Jabal al-Rahmah (Arabic: جبل الرحمة; ‘Mount of Mercy’), also known as Mount Arafat, the scene of the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) final sermon. Pilgrims spend the day here in remembrance of their Lord, repenting for their sins and seeking His mercy. Many muslims around the globe, who are not performing Hajj, choose to fast on this day. The Day of Arafat is considered one of the most important days, not just of Hajj, but of the Islamic calendar.

Collect pebbles at Muzdalifah 

After sunset, the pilgrims will make their way to Muzdalifah – a 9 km trip – where they spend the night under the stars. Many will also begin collecting pebbles here for tomorrow’s rites at Jamarat, departing again just before sunrise.

Eid Al-Adha – 10th of Dhul Hijjah

This day starts by casting stones at Jamarat, three stone pillars which are pelted as a compulsory ritual of Hajj in emulation of the Prophet Ibrahim (upon him be peace). They represent the three locations where Ibrahim (upon him be peace) pelted the shaytan (Satan) with stones when he tried to dissuade him from sacrificing his son, Ismail (upon him be peace). The pillars are called ‘Jamarat-al-Ula’, ‘Jamarat-al-Wusta’ and ‘Jamarat-al-Aqaba’. Throwing stones in Jamarat reminds the pilgrims to be conscious of temptations and act against them, to counter our nafs, or lower self, and to remain steadfast in serving God.

Pilgrims must then slaughter a sheep, goat, cow or camel – or pay for it to be done in their names. Eid Al Adha symbolises the devotion to God and a commitment to help the poor and the needy. The symbolism is as well in the attitude — a willingness to make sacrifices in our lives in order to stay on the Str and please God.

After Eid, pilgrims will return to Makkah to perform the final circulation of the Kaaba, a ‘farewell’ tawaf.


Philosophy of Hajj

Hajj is more than a series of rites to be undertaken, Hajj is founded on the tenants of spirituality, unity, equality and simplicity. Pilgrims performing Hajj are known as the ‘guests of God’. It is, ultimately, a pilgrimage aiming to revitalise the pilgrim’s love for their Lord in their heart, seeking His mercy and forgiveness for all their transgressions.


Hajj is the last pillar of the Five Pillars of Islam. The five pillars being:

  • ShahadaFaith
  • SalatPrayer
  • ZakātCharity
  • SawmFasting
  • Hajjpilgrimage to Mecca

Many steps lead us to Hajj, bring us closer to Allah. These steps can be followed through the order of the pillars. After the shahada their is prayer, a concrete action that illustrate the love of the worshipper in his/her daily life; charity will improve and purify your soul, whilst fasting is the expression of your devotion, then comes pilgrimage where you worship in the symbolic abode of your Creator.

The Prophet (saw) says:

إِنمَا فُرِضَتِ الصّلاةُ وأُمِر بِالحَجِّ والطّوافِ وأُشْعِرتِ المَناسِكُ لإقَامَةِ ذِكْرِ اللهِ، فإِذا لم يكُنْ في قَلبِكَ لِلمذكُورِ الّذي هو المَقصُودُ والمُبتَغى عَظَمَةٌ ولا هَيبَةٌ فَما قيمَةُ ذِكْرِك؟

“The daily prayer, Hajj, circumambulation, and the other rites are aimed at remembering Allah. But when there is no remembrance of Him in your heart, what value will your oral remembrance have?” [Hadith Qudsi]


From all over the world, people converge unto the same place, at the same time of year in order to perform the same act of worship: Hajj. Hajj is a perfect illustration of the universality and beauty of Islam, the construct of ‘Umma’ is brought to life before one’s eyes. It’s a unique, very powerful and immersive experience, where you feel a strong connection with fellow Muslims through your supplications, prayer and the recitation of Talbiya (Labbayk Allah). This is the beauty of Hajj, to be  connected to God and connected to one another – one Ummah (community), one body, one faith, one heart.

Simplicity & Equality

Wearing simple clothes is essential, the Hajj is performed in a state of Ihram. In addition to the simplicity of the attire that must be worn, is the simplicity and piety of the manner in which a pilgrim must behave; stripped of worldly possession, and immersed in worship, the pilgrim exists in a supreme state of simplicity – even the accommodation is reflective of this, Mina is a temporary camp, for example.

Prophet Muhammad PBUH, said:

“Be in this world as though you were a stranger or a wayfarer.” [Bukhari]

Be it under the tents in Mina, or as pilgrims congregate on the plains of Arafat, during Hajj, every pilgrim worships as an equal to their brother or sister, equal in the eyes of their Creator – your worldly station matters not.

For those preforming Hajj, may it be accepted by Him, and for those who have not been blessed with the opportunity as of yet, may He call you to Him in due course, give you the opportunity to perform this beautiful pilgrimage, inshAllah! On this day, the 8th of Dhul Hijja, may all our duas be accepted, our sins forgiven – may we all be in receipt of His mercy inshAllah!

– Hawazine HAOUAT –

Some useful resources:





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Location: London

Start date: ASAP

Deadline: 10th November 2019, 23:59PM

If you have any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to contact

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About RTP

The Ramadan Tent Project (RTP) is a social enterprise dedicated to serving the youth and wider community through creating spaces of spirituality, dialogue, & empowerment. We empower individuals, facilitate dialogue, raise awareness on important social issues and work towards a more cohesive society.

Our flagship Open Iftar is the first global community-led public iftar campaign, inviting Muslims & people of all faiths, cultural backgrounds, ages, to explore the Islamic faith and share the Ramadan spirit through food, inspirational talks, and engaging discussion.

Since RTP’s inception and the launch of Open Iftar, over 70,000 people have been

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Marketing and Creative Manager

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Send your CV and Cover Letter, alongside any links to content you’ve created/your creative portfolio, to

Please include the title of the role you are applying for in the subject heading of your email.

Location: London

Start date: ASAP

Deadline: 18th October 2019, 23:59PM

If you have any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to contact

About RTP

The Ramadan Tent Project (RTP) is a social enterprise dedicated to serving the youth and wider community through creating spaces of spirituality, dialogue, & empowerment. We empower individuals, facilitate dialogue, raise awareness on important social issues and work towards a more cohesive society.

Our flagship Open Iftar is the first global community-led public iftar campaign, inviting Muslims & people of all faiths, cultural backgrounds, ages, to explore the Islamic faith and share the Ramadan spirit through food, inspirational talks, and engaging discussion.

Since RTP’s inception and the launch of Open Iftar, over 70,000 people have been hosted in 10 cities across 4 continents. As seen on BBC, ITV News, Channel 4, TimeOut Magazine, CNN International, The Guardian, BuzzFeed News, The New York Times, LBC Radio, Evening Standard, Metro, Reuters, Newsweek & many more.

Join the journey!



7 tips for a healthy month of Ramadan

How quickly time flies – Ramadan is just around the corner! As we focus on bettering ourselves as Muslims and reflecting on our relationship with God, looking after our health during the month is also important. Let’s start with a few questions we may need to ask ourselves to work through what to focus on (no guilt-tripping intended!);

  • What are some habits that I want to change from last Ramadan?

  • How will I maintain a healthy diet week on week?

  • How will I maintain a balance between fasting, eating well AND a busy schedule?

  • What tools can help me achieve my goals during Ramadan?

  • There are many resources out there, which ones can help me?


1 – Starting with the right mindset

Fasting is a spiritual action, a bootcamp for the mind, body and soul to reach an improved if not transformed connection with Allah (swt).

‘O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous..’

Surah Al Baqarah (2:183)

Being mindful of the way we eat during the month and giving our body its right over us is a part of the process. We don’t need elaborate meals with several different kinds of main courses and then some! The aim is to be nourished, and maintain it through the month.


2 – Don’t miss suhoor!

round white ceramic bowl
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on


It can be tempting to skip the pre-dawn meal, however the Prophet said: “Take Suhoor, for in Suhoor there is blessing.” ( Sunan an-Nasa’i 2149). Having water and something to eat will help with energy levels throughout the day. Here are a few ideas for suhoor;

Dates and Milk. Dates are high in natural sugars and various vitamins and minerals, and it is sunnah!

Oat porridge with honey and dried fruit. Oats are rich in fibre including beta-glucan which slows digestion and increases satiety (feeling full).

Smoothie bowls. If you have a blitzer, try adding you a few pieces of fruit and lay the mixture in a bowl along with granola, honey and chai seeds. It is a quick way of adding different fruit to your diet for the day!

Poached eggs and wholemeal bread. Eggs (be sure to get the free-range, good quality kind) are rich in protein and vitamin A.


3 – Remember to hydrate yourself

person holding drinking glass
Photo by Lisa Fotios on

During suhoor (pre-dawn meal) and when breaking our fast, let’s remember to drink water! Not just tea, coffee and juices full of sugar (although these do count as some water intake) – but just good ol’ water! We should be drinking 2 litres per day, which works out as 6-8 cups. A good tip is having a jug or water bottle filled and in the fridge, ready for consumption at suhoor and Iftar.


4 – Meal planning

flat lay photography of variety of vegetables
Photo by Engin Akyurt on

This will look different for everyone – some of us are students or working full-time during Ramadan, others will be staying at home with child-care responsibilities. For all of us, spending an hour or so before each week of fasting can save a lot of time and help incorporate some healthier options.

When planning, the downloadable EatWell Guide gives a overview of what a nutritious daily diet should look like and in what portions. It may seem obvious but being super busy may mean we overlook some essentials!

Think about transforming the fridge so it serves better in Ramadan. Investing in containers to store pre-cooked meals and pre-made salads for a few days can help.  Think about organising it into suhoor options, soups, meals, and also fruit and veg. Don’t forget the fruit and veg!

Lastly when meal planning, let’s think about cutting down processed or genetically-modified food. Look for organic, locally produced options. If I had more time I would try and grow some herbs and veg on my own.

Did you know that about a third of all domestic waste is packaging? A shift towards buying food and drink in recyclable packaging, buying a few things in bulk and re-using carrier bags does make a difference. We are care-takers stewards of the earth, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The world is beautiful and verdant, and verily God, the exalted, has made you His stewards in it, and He sees how you acquit yourselves” (Saheeh Muslim). Being mindful of our consumption and how it impacts on our environment is definitely something to consider!


5 – A few things to incorporate this Ramadan

sliced tuna with green leaf vegetables
Photo by Pixabay on

Fish. Oily fish (salmon, herring, sardines) are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which contributes to improving heart health.

Soups. Soups and stews help replace the fluids lost during the day and can be packed with a lot of goodness if done well – vegetables, lentils, fresh herbs etc!

Brown rice. Brown rice contains more fibre, vitamins and minerals in comparison to white rice. More fibre keeps the body fully for longer. White rice is made up of only the almost nutritionally void part of the grain. However, white rice is almost a staple food for many and whilst it is more processed it might not need cutting out completely.

Nuts. High in protein, fibre and essential fats. Hazelnuts, almonds and chestnuts have low saturated fat content while cashews and Brazil nuts have a high saturated fat level.


6 – Avoid heavy meals

side view of a bottle with salt
Photo by Kaboompics .com on

Fried food. We’ve all had fried samosas or chicken during Ramadan, but the internet is filled with healthier versions of different food we know and love, let’s take the time to do some research for the benefit of our health. Try grilling or roasting everything you are used to frying or cut the foods that can only be fried down significantly.

Food high in saturated fat. Butter, ghee, pastries, cakes and biscuits all have a lot of saturated fat associated with ‘bad’ cholesterol which increases the risk of heart disease. Incorporate sparingly and think about swapping butter for reduced-fat spreads for example.

Salt. A high-salt diet is associated with a raised blood pressure which in turn impacts the risk of heart disease. Let’s cook with less salt, choose reduced-salt products and incorporate flavour alternatives such as garlic, herbs and fresh vegetables.

Sugar. A lot of traditional desserts are soaked in syrup (baklava, gulab jamun, kunafe..) and we eat them out of habit with tea and coffee which can also be sweetened. An occasional treat is lovely, but in small occasional portions!


7 – The rule of thirds

Miqdam bin Madikarib said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: ‘A human being fills no worse vessel than his stomach. It is sufficient for a human being to eat a few mouthfuls to keep his spine straight. But if he must (fill it), then one third of food, one third for drink and one third for air.’”

We are fortunate to be guaranteed food and fasting with our fridges and freezers filled, alhamdulilah. Ramadan can be a time where we buy so much food especially when hosting Iftars and family gatherings. Let’s try and be mindful of of waste. If a lot of food is left after Iftar, leftovers can make for great new meals with a little time and creativity!


Making small changes will go a long way and help contribute to our health over time. Ramadan is the perfect opportunity to reflect on what we are putting into our bodies. I hope these tips help, do remember to do some research and seek individual advice especially if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

I wish you all a blessed and productive Ramadan 2019, in sha Allah!




The Finding of One’s Peace: A Necessary Precursor to Self-Reflection

The nights have drawn in and a biting chill now pervades; the end of the year is upon us, and although time will, of course, carry forth seamlessly into what signifies the beginning of a new year, the now is oft a time of reflection. Whether impacted by trial and tribulation, or blessed with triumph, over the course of this year, life has been lived, and we have been moulded indelibly by our experiences. How exactly have I been changed and to what extent? What have I achieved? Am I broken or made, working on my healing, and if in deed it is the former, how should I now chart the course of repairing myself? So on and so forth. The questions you ask of yourself, and the relative scrutiny one can pile upon oneself when in a state of reflection can be unrelenting; we tend to be far more unforgiving of ourselves than when being of counsel to those we care about, holding ourselves to impossibly high standards. How then, do we go about utilising self-reflection constructively so as to recalibrate our course and find the resolve to pursue said course?

For me, this process begins with the finding of one’s peace. In the oft all-consuming routine preoccupations of life, moments of genuine peace can be relatively few in number. The re-imagining of such a moment in time within the recent past, in which a visceral and pervasive comfort was experienced, can readily lend itself to the clearing of mind and focusing of one’s energies thereafter. My peace is currently found through the revisiting of memory pertaining to an umrah I was fortunate enough to perform this past month. 

لَبَّيْكَ اللَّهُمَّ لَبَّيْكَ، لَبَّيْكَ لاَ شَرِيْكَ لَكَ لَبَّيْكَ، إِنَّ الْحَمْدَ وَالنِّعْمَةَ لَكَ وَالْمُلْكَ لاَشَرِيْكَ لَكَ

It has rained heavily on a few occasions since my arrival; an unrelenting rain, more akin to the monsoon rains that sweep across northern Pakistan, for example. The sky remains overcast, an amalgam of greys and blues, heavy with a pleasantly warm moisture and the smell of formerly parched earth; an almost melancholy sky, but somehow beautiful still? I walk onto the white marble floors that surround the Masjid-al-Haram, it’s only just past 8am, and although umrah season is in full swing, there are relatively few in number present – mildly reassuring as I’ve a slight apprehension pertaining to navigating my way through large crowds of people, having to do so can leave me a little anxious. Prior experience, however, has taught me how to channel my energies so as to immerse myself fully in the worship itself. Save a general idea as to where my family may be at any given time, my mind tends only to be home to the echo of the recitations one undertakes whilst performing tawaf and sa’i. 


I can feel my mood shift with every step taken towards Malik Abdul Aziz Gate, a stillness begins to make its way into my consciousness. It feels as though the adding of milk in the strongest of brewed teas looks; a milky cloud forming instantly, mushrooming until every last drop of tea is overcome, it’s composition changed irrevocably. I remove my slippers outside Malik Abdul-Aziz Gate, the white marble floors so very cool under my feet, and as I set foot into the Haram, a gust of equally cool wind blows inward, as though ushering me into its bounds. 

How many times have I repeated the words of Tawheed thus far? 

Labbayka Allahumma labbayk, labbayka laa shareeka laka labbayk. Inna al-hamd wa’l-ni’mata laka wa’l-mulk, laa shareeka lak | Here I am, O Allah, here I am. Here I am, You have no partner, here I am. Verily all praise and blessings are Yours, and all sovereignty, You have no partner.

It is in this moment that I arrive. It is in this moment that these words have borne the sweetest of fruit; O Allah, here I am, here I finally stand, drawn close to You. It is in this moment that I am overcome, my disposition changed in its entirety, the strongest of brewed tea finally changed wholly in its composition; nothing save the anticipation of that first sight of the ka’bah, and the dua I would like to make, occupies my mind. I am calm.

WhatsApp Image 2018-04-30 at 17.59.57

I can hear my mother’s voice talking to the little girl she once carried into the haram in her arms, explaining how upon setting eyes on the ka’bah for the first time, I should make dua for all and sundry, for mercy, guidance, patience and more. And just like that the ka’bah comes into view; my eyes widen at the sight of worshippers moving in rhythmic unison around it and the echo of their recitation rising upwards towards the heavens, the brilliant white of many thousand ihrams a stark contrast to the magnificent black of the kiswah. My hands rise instinctively and I begin to make dua. It is in this moment that aforementioned calm has permeated every fibre of my being and I have found my peace. I am at peace.

So, where were we? 

How exactly have I been changed and to what extent? What have I achieved? Am I broken or made, working on my healing, and if in deed it is the former, how should I now chart the course of repairing myself? Find your peace; re-live your moment, then ease into asking yourself whatever you may please. You may find that with said peace, a clarity of thought, an altered perspective, pervades. You may find that the answers to questions you ask of yourself are somehow measured; you are kinder to you, and you may well find yourself in command of the resolve required to walk your path hereafter, inshAllah.   

RTP CEO Appointed Fellow of RSA

We are very pleased to announce that RTP Founder & CEO, Omar Salha has been appointed as a fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce – commonly known as the Royal Society of the Arts or RSA. 

The RSA is an organisation which seeks to find practical solutions to some of the world’s most challenging social problems.

The Fellowship is a global network of 29,000 people who support the RSA’s mission to enrich society through ideas and action which is a great opportunity for RTP to continue our work with the access to a powerful network and build upon our successes!

Reacting to the news, Omar said : “I am extremely honoured to be appointed a Fellow of the RSA. It is a privilege to be a member of such a respected society, whose commitment to finding practical solutions for contemporary social issues is one I share and strive towards”.

Salha Portrait

Omar is a PhD Nouhoudh Scholar at SOAS University of London with his research focusing on the Integration of Muslims in British Society. Additionally, he has worked for a number of community projects – most recently being one of the first respondents to the tragic Grenfell Tower Fire and played a role in the Grenfell Muslim Response Unit.


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