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Self Improvement Guide: Questions to ask yourself

“Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so – for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward.” (Quran Surat al-Azhab: 35)

When you examine all the things mentioned in this ayah, we need to apply them to ourselves and analyze where we are deficient. Firstly, we should see if we are recognizable as Muslims in our appearance, speech, thoughts. We should examine the level of our Iman – is there Nifaq (hypocrisy) corrupting our belief? Is there a poison of hypocrisy infecting us? Do we do our acts of worship in front of people for show? Are we lazy in our obligatory acts? Are we obedient to Allah (swt)? Are we truthful in our speech? Are we patient? Are we continuous or do we get frustrated easily and quit? Do we lose control of our emotions? Are we humble towards Allah (swt)? Do we have that khashiya, is it reflected in our personality and characteristics? Do we give sadaqa on a daily basis?

Minimally you should make a habit to give something at least every jumah. Sadaqa given for the sake of Allah (swt) should be a habit, separate from a hyped up fundraiser and zakat. That should be part of our personality and character- sometimes we can have aspects within us that have too much of a personal connection with money. If you don’t have money, give something- time, effort. Give at least $1, $2, whatever you can every week. There should be encouragement within us to fast beyond just Ramadan. We want to link this act of fasting to the sake of Allah (swt). Men and women who guard their chastity- that isn’t just in one way, that is also with your eyes, on facebook, etc. There are many times you can be connected with Allah (swt) like while you’re commuting. Anytime you feel stressed out, you don’t go to haram things to relieve you of your stress, but you connect with Allah (swt)-reviewing death, the purpose of life, the life you want to live. If you have a strong connection with Him you have hidaya and baraqa.

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Dr. Syed ibn Iqbal

Born and raised between the heart of the Canadian Prairies and the Rocky Mountains, Dr. Syed ibn Iqbal’s primary passion in life has been to uplift and enhance himself and the people around him through the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Holding a Doctor of Medical Dentistry along with a BSc. in Biological Sciences and Chemistry, Dr. Syed seeks to bring excellence and care to not only his profession, but also to Islamic outreach initiatives and Positive Activism. His extensive experience and expertise have allowed him to contribute towards community development and enhancement. Having almost 20 years experience with Islamic education and outreach at both the community and institutional level, Dr. Syed continues to build upon this and explore new and engaging ways of sharing the message of Islam. Dr. Syed is an instructor and frequent guest lecturer for a number of schools, mosques churches, university, and other not for profit organizations. Dr. Syed primarily specializes in leadership training, youth development, life coaching, mentorship, community development and youth empowerment. He has developed several courses and lecture series that cover various topics. These include a three-day workshop focused on Effective and Informative Engagement of Muslims Living as Minorities, The Path to Success: A Leadership and Development course, Road to Redemption: A course on self-improvement through the Islamic concept of Repentance, Heroes: Creating a positive identity through Islamic History and many more. His speaking engagements include lectures and sermons delivered in Islamic Centres and Mosques throughout North America.

In addition to presentations delivered in Islamic institutions, he has accepted invitations to engage in meaningful discussions, information and educate our fellow Canadians about Islam in Universities, colleges, high schools, hospitals and other institutions. Dr.Syed has authored several Islamic publications for University campuses across Western Canada and continues to develop new material to bring accurate information about Islam and Muslims to the broader community. He has written on the topics of Islamic monotheism, the Muslim belief system and purpose, an introduction to islam, women rights and gender equality in Islam, Islamophobia, Islamic history and other interfaith topics and issues to mention a few. Dr. Syed has served as Muslim Chaplain at the University of Saskatchewan and has held this position for the past 11 years. Prior to being Muslim Chaplain, he had also been actively involved in the Muslim Students Association for several years in both the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Alberta. He volunteered for these MSAs in a variety of capacities including the role of MSA President. Dr. Syed considers himself a perpetual student of knowledge and has a long and dynamic history in studying Islam. He has taken courses and completed summer programs from Islamic University of Al-Azhar (Bekaa, Lebanon), Al- Madinah International University and Knowledge International University. Furthermore, he has studied key subjects under highly qualified and respected Scholars. Examples include: Fiqh (Jurisprudence) of Muslim Minorities with Sh.Abdullah bin Bayyah (Mauritania), Usul al Fiqh (Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence) with Sh.Muhammad Iqbal Al Nadvi (India), Aqeedah (Islamic Creed) with Sh. Ali Bin Abdur Rahman al Huthaify (Imam Masjid An Nabawi Saudi Arabia) and many other great scholars worldwide. He has been given Ijaza (Islamic authority) on various collections of Hadith (Traditions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)). Examples include Arba’een Anawawi and various hadith from the Saheeh Sitta. He continues to expand his horizons and seek knowledge in all forms and across several domains.

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