As one of our guest authors reminded us this year, there was practically no human suffering that the Prophet ﷺ did not experience—whether it was the loss of a loved one, poverty, or abandonment. He appealed to people at a personal level. He felt for the poor man’s hunger for food, the mother’s loss of her child, the orphan’s social vulnerability, and the seeker’s spiritual craving. Inspired by the wisdom in the Prophetic tradition, Qur’an, and Islamic scholarship, dozens of authors from around the world continued to share advice and reflections on the full breadth of current needs in society this past year.
The following is a list of 30 articles that were found to resonate most strongly with our readers this past year or spoke to important topics such as balanced approaches to Islamic studies and current events such as the struggles in Syria or garment workers in Bangladesh. There were many articles of significant impact that are not on the list for brevity’s sake. What article sticks out in your memory from the past year? Leave a comment to let us know!
Practical Steps for Success
Read more articles on Personal Development here
Psychology, Islam, and Self-Control by Saadia Khan (Guest Author)
Islam emphasizes restraint, discipline and sabr (patience). We pray five times a day is to gain discipline. We lower our gaze to resist temptation. Even the pursuit of wealth is not by any means necessary.
Watch as He Increases You by Reehab Ramadan
If we’re in a state of thankfulness, God will increase us in blessings and the awareness of the blessings we already have in our lives. Also see: 5 skills of a positive genius that the Prophet Muhammad had…and that you CAN too! by Jinan Bastaki.
The Seven Under Allah’s Shade by Jamal Diwan
There’s no better time than now to strive for the best. May God bless each of us to be the best we can be. Also see related advice: The Fruits of Sitting with a Teacher by Suhaib Webb and Put Your Best Face Forward - a 6 step plan to achieving the sunnah of smiling by Lobna Mulla.
Lesser of Two Good Deeds by Suhaib Webb
We often misunderstand the hadith of the Prophet ﷺ where he said, “Marry a woman for four reasons…” This also means, “Marry a man for four reasons…” This and more gems of knowledge.
Love & Relationships
Read more articles on Relationships here
Is Hot, Passionate Love Real? by Maryam Amirebrahimi
A popular question – asked over and over again by single women (and men!) – answered with practical tips on how to find this in your future marriage.
#Love by Rana Mohammad (Guest Author)
Know that it is possible to find true love in this life and to live a beautiful love story like the Prophet ﷺ and Khadija (ra). But heed that true love cannot exist unless it is for the sake of Allah.
Will Marriage Solve My Problems? by Ubah (Guest Author)
We tell ourselves things like: “after marriage, I’ll be happy,” “after I get married, I’ll be satisfied.” We begin to view marriage as the ultimate solution to all of our problems, when in reality it is not.
M&Ms: Marriage and Money by Eyad Alnaslah (Guest Author)
Questions such as “What is your credit score?” are increasingly asked when courtin. Unromantic? Very. Important? Exceptionally. This and more tips on seeking marriage.
Read more articles on Ummah here
Gay Muslims—the Elephants in the (Prayer) Room by Mohammed Yusuf (Guest Author)
A guest author argues that Muslim communities should stop sweeping the topic under the carpet and start providing the right kind of support and advice. See related post by Imam Suhaib in 2007 regarding a question from a non-practicing homosexual here.
“You’re Haram!” by Maryam Amirebrahimi
We cannot let someone else be the reason we stop seeking self-reformation or being a part of the community. The Houses of God were not built only for the always-obedient angels.
Gender Relations in the Prophet’s Society by Maryam Amirebrahimi
Contrary to popular knowledge, the homeboys and girls of the Prophet ﷺ also struggled with their desires too. Let us learn some of the ways the Prophet ﷺ dealt with gender interactions. Also see: Prophetic Narrations You Have Probably Never Heard of (Part II) by Yusra Owais (Amatullah).
5 Ways to Stop Being Judgmental by Maryam Amirebrahimi
If that feeling of, “I’m better than thou,” creeps up on you while comparing yourself to someone else, consider the following 5 quick tips on how to stop being judgmental.
Read more articles on Overcoming Hardships here
Leaving Islam by WebbCounselors
Advice to parents facing an extremely difficult challenge, a son who has lost his faith. Also see additional advice columns such as Living with My Brother-In-Law and Polygamous Marriage.
Don’t Say I have a Big Problem – Say I have a Big God: Al Kabeer by Jinan Bastaki
Allah’s Name al-Kabeer (the Most Great) is a Name that we all need to get acquainted with. When truly understood, it is a Name that brings tranquility and confidence to every person who is overwhelmed.
The Benefits of Being Tested During Ramadan: A Personal Reflection by Lobna Mulla
During Ramadan, the author’s son almost drowned in a pool and was rushed to the Emergency Room. Here’s what she learned about being tested and shares the ways people benefit from trials.
Bringing a Secret to the Prophet’s Garden by Shibli Zaman
“As I watched my son Abdullah lose every golden hair from his head and then eventually his entire body, how helpless I’ve felt as a father – unable to rescue my son. So I laid it all out before God.”
Women and the Ummah
Read more articles on Women here
Be Amazing by Reehab Ramadan
Whoever you are, whatever position you may be, do your best and be amazing. Because you, despite your circumstances, can rise high in the sight of God. Here are 5 such examples from our history.
5 Tips to Rethink Women in Islam by Maryam Amirebrahimi
If anyone makes you feel less than a man, then do not be the one who turns away from Islam or the community. We need your voices, especially, to help change the narrative many of our communities.
Reviving the Heart
Read more on Spiritual Purification here
Beware of Zombies. Or Are You One? by Moutasem Atiya (Guest Author)
Two men passed away during the life of Moses – but the perceived righteous man ended up in damnation while the sinner had been forgiven. Moses decided to investigate the matter, and here’s what he found.
Lord of the Rings: All that Glitters is Not Gold by Abdul Sattar Ahmed
Reflections on wisdom from The Fellowship of the Ring in today’s article: “All that is gold does not glitter; Not all those who wander are lost” – J.R.R. Tolkien
I Don’t Feel Ramadan by Maryam Amirebrahimi
If you are reading this: there is still time. Renew your intention. Choose to understand your relationship with God as one that will continue even when your life changes. Choose to magnify your intention.
Read more articles on Society here
Regarding the Permissibility of Music by Yahya (John) Ederer
If you choose to listen to music, observe piety and do not listen to immoral music or choose to be in immoral environments. There is no doubt that much of today’s music is prohibited by Islam and even some Islamic music still brings bad environments.
The Two Towers of Taif by Shibli Zaman
A Reflection on September 11th. The angel called out to him, “O Muhammad! Verily, God has witnessed what the people have done. […]What do you command? If you wish it, I shall topple upon them the two mountains that tower over them!”….and here’s how he responded.
Read more articles on Society here
A Holiday Message from the Life of Omar by Shibli Zaman
As our Christian brothers and sisters celebrate Christmas, there are many lessons to apply from Omar’s, the companion of the Prophet, merciful and respectful treatment of the Christians of Jerusalem.
Chained by the Syrian Regime via Syrian Chronicles
A difficult to read series – but a must read. “At 24, I wanted to be out there, I wanted the future generations to experience the freedom and justice that we missed out on…” Read what happened next…
Every Garment Has a Name by Guest Author – Sadia Kidwai
Instantly available clothing that can be discarded after a few wears has led to inhumane conditions for garment workers in countries such as Bangladesh and China. Lessons from the life of the Prophet to help us change our ways.
Worship & Islamic Studies
Read more articles on Islamic Studies here
Kids and Qur’an Fun! by Maryam Amirebrahimi
Want your kids to love the Qur’an? Here are some awesome ways to do that through interactive and engaging activities.
We Weren’t Born Knowing, We Had to Learn: The Path to Learning & Teaching Qur’an by Amal S (Guest Author) Death means time is up, opportunities are done. Except for three types of deeds: Ceaseless charity; knowledge which is beneficial; or a virtuous descendant who prays for him (the deceased).”
How to Pray 5 Times a Day by Maryam Amirebrahimi
Praying the five daily prayers on time, everyday, is a good habit that just needs to be built. You’ve been building habits since you were a child and this is just another habit you can develop and strengthen. Also see 5 Simple Steps to Wake up for Fajr: What are Yours? by Asif Mahbub (Guest Author)
Although published earlier than 2013, there were a number of additional articles that continued to garner immense interest this year including How Watching Pornography Changes the Brain by Mohamed Ghilan, Updated: Is Breathable Nail Polish Sufficient for Wudu? by Mustafa Umar, Top 5 Reasons for Hijabophobia by Lobna Mulla, The Ramadan Nutrition and Workout Plan for Success by Rehan Jalali, and 10 Tips to Becoming One of Allah’s Special People by Maryam Amirebrahimi.