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Wednesday, 23 February 2011  |  Rabiʻ I 20, 1432  | Last updated at 11:42
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Islam in Perspective
Prayer times for Saudi Arabia
23 February 2011

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey.
What the Qur'an teaches: When response is slow in coming
In the name of God, the Lord of Grace, the Ever Merciful
Respond to your Lord before there comes, by God’s will, a day that cannot be put off. There shall be no refuge for you on that day, nor shall you be able to deny your sins. If they turn away, We have not sent you to be their keeper. Your only duty is to deliver the message [entrusted to you]. When We give man a taste of Our grace, he rejoices in it, but if misfortune befalls him on account of what he has done with his own hands, he is bereft of gratitude. To God belongs sovereignty over the heavens and the earth. He creates what He will. He grants female offspring to whomever He will, and male to whomever He will; Or gives both male and female to whomever He will, and causes whomever He will to be barren. He is all-knowing, infinite in His power. (Consultation, Al-Shura, 42: 47-50))
Aspects of Islamic Faith — 93: Gifts from rulers
Umar reports: “God’s messenger used to give me money and I would say to him: ‘Give it to someone who is poorer than me.’ He told me: ‘Take what comes to you of money when you have neither looked up to receiving it nor asked for it. Otherwise, do not wish for it.’” (Related by Al-Bukhari).
Prophet Muhammad — 62: What to do with God’s bounty
The Qur’an was the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) permanent companion: He loved it and recited it at all times, in prayer, night worship and whenever he could. Once he asked his noble companion Abdullah ibn Masoud to recite from the Qur’an and he would listen. Abdullah said: “How can I recite it to you, when it is to you that it has been revealed?” The Prophet said: “I love to listen to it recited by someone else.” Abdullah recited the first 41 verses of Surah 4. As he read the last verse, he looked up to find the Prophet weeping.
Consultation: An essential quality of Muslims
In the name of God, the Lord of Grace, the Ever Merciful
Whatever you are given is but for the enjoyment of life in this world, but that which is with God is much better and more enduring. (It shall be given) to those who believe and place their trust in their Lord; who shun grave sins and gross indecencies; and who, when angered, will forgive; who respond to their Lord, attend regularly to their prayer, conduct their affairs by mutual consultation, and give generously out of what We have provided for them.
(Consultation, Al-Shura, 42: 36-38)

Perhaps no historical character has been subjected to vile criticism, false accusations and fabricated assertions by his opponents than Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Yet no one has been the recipient of more profound and genuine love and respect than him. Both love and hostility linger on, and are nurtured despite the fact that 14 centuries have passed since Muhammad had departed this world. Neither feeling would have lingered had Muhammad been an ordinary person, or had his contribution to human life been of temporary nature. Today we see both feelings surfacing in different ways and shapes, in areas of our world that are wide apart, and among people of different races, cultures, beliefs and life perspectives. Books like Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, the Danish cartoons, as well as videos and websites dedicated to attack Islam and its Prophet are manifestations of the hostile trend. The large demonstrations that swept the Muslim world against such productions symbolize the deep seated love Muslims feel toward Muhammad, God’s last messenger.
Prophet Muhammad — 61: Aspiring to real greatness
What sort of attitude did Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) have toward the life of this world? Did he like it, or did he feel disgusted by it? The answer is that he knew it well, and appreciated it in a healthy and sound way, but he was preoccupied with what is far greater and nobler. His full attention was focused on God’s glory. Hence, prayer was his great love and fasting was the stage where his soul found its fulfilment. He looked up to what was with God, knowing that it was far superior to any position ambitious people aspire to attain.
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Prophet Muhammad — 60: True reliance on God
All prophets were ordinary people who experienced the same feelings as other humans. They certainly had their special status as a result of the fact that God had chosen them to deliver His messages to mankind and provide them with guidance. However, they endured tests that were even harder than what most people go through in life. Prophet Moses had to flee from Egypt when he was informed that certain people were plotting to kill him.
Prophet Muhammad — 59: Seeking the high moral ground
When we go out in the morning, seeking God’s grace and hoping to earn well for our families, we encounter a mixture of what is good and pure and what is bad and adulterated. A Muslim knows that a person who is nourished by evil, unjust earnings will not be admitted into heaven. He further knows that God is good and He only accepts what is good. Hence a believer must seek only what is permissible and wholesome. The Prophet (peace be upon him) has taught us this supplication to say every morning: “My Lord, make me contented with what You have made lawful in preference to what You have forbidden; happy with Your grace in preference to anyone else.” He also taught us to say: “My Lord, grant me useful knowledge, wholesome provisions, and make my deeds acceptable to You.”
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Prophet Muhammad — 58: When seeking God’s bounty
The Prophet (peace be upon him) always advised remembrance of God and glorifying Him as means of a more content and happy frame of mind. This is due to the fact that these strengthen our bond with God and reliance on Him. However, the Prophet does not like such glorification of God to be a cover masking a sense of defeatism. Awf ibn Malik reports that the Prophet judged in a dispute between two men. As the one who lost the case turned away, he said: “God is enough for us; He is the best Guardian.” The Prophet called him back and said to him: “God Almighty dislikes inaction. You should act with wisdom and resolve. Should something overpower you, then you may say: God is enough for me; He is the best Guardian.” The Prophet’s keen insight was fully aware of the state of mind that man was in as he lost the dispute. He felt miserable and tried to cover up his weakness with such fine words. In this case, these true words are used in the wrong frame of mind. These words are mentioned in the Qur’an in connection with the believers and their attitude after their defeat in the Battle of Uhud, the second major battle the Muslims fought under the Prophet’s leadership. The following day, he called on them to march again. They responded without hesitation, even those among them who were wounded or could hardly walk. They were willing to fight another battle against the same enemy.
Prophet Muhammad — 57: Going out to work
People go out to work every day at their offices, factories, shops, farms or other places. They begin the day preoccupied with their livelihoods. They want as much as they can get and even more. The one who is in straitened circumstances wish for ease and plenty, and the one who has plenty would love to have more. What they want out of life is without limits, and the efforts exerted for it exhaust all energy. Can we imagine the volume of effort that is poured into this area of human life? It appears to me that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), God’s last messenger, was fully aware of these human feelings when he addressed God as he went out of his home, saying: “In the name of God. I place my trust in God. My Lord, I seek refuge with You. Guard me so that I should not slip into error or be made to slip into error, or go astray or be led astray, or do injustice or suffer injustice, or wrong anyone or be wronged by anyone.” This supplication shows the Prophet as having no desire to overpower anyone. He simply wants to be free from error, whether committed by him or against him. He seeks guidance for himself and all others. He seeks refuge against injustice in whatever shape or form it happens to be. To achieve this, the Prophet appeals for God’s help.
Prophet Muhammad — 56: The nature of Islamic marriage
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Prophet Muhammad — 55: Marriage: The right course for humanity
Prophet Muhammad — 54: Remembering God in all situations
Prophet Muhammad - 53: Who were Prophet’s enemies?
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Prophet Muhammad - 52: Spending hours in night worship
Prophet Muhammad - 51: Standing in prayers at night
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Prophet Muhammad - 50: Prayers as the night begins
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Prophet Muhammad - 49: A unique type of sociability
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Prophet Muhammad - 48: Gratitude expressed at every turn
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Prophet Muhammad - 47: Enjoying comforts of this life
Prophet Muhammad - 46: Giving light to humanity
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Prophet Muhammad — 45: The voluntary way to draw close to God
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Prophet Muhammad — 44: Starting the day with prayers
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Prophet Muhammad — 43: A relation with God that is based on love
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Prophet Muhammad — 42: The proper relation with God
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Prophet Muhammad 41: The perfect concept of God
Prophet Muhammad — 40: The power of the message
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Prophet Muhammad — 39: Secrets of success
Prophet Muhammad - 38: Believer and advocate
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Prophet Muhammad - 37: Turning away from luxuries
Prophet Muhammad - 36 : Choosing a life of poverty
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Prophet Muhammad - 35 : Finest instinctive social habits
Prophet Muhammad - 34 : Fine social habits
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Prophet Muhammad - 33: Kindness personified
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Prophet Muhammad — 32: Fun that is acceptable
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Prophet Muhammad — 31: Enjoying a funny gesture
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Prophet Muhammad - 30: A perfect human being in all respects
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Prophet Muhammad - 29: Humility is a guide for Islamic rulers
Prophet Muhammad - 28: Observance of code as a way to deliver God’s message
Prophet Muhammad - 27: Good deeds and pure intentions
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Prophet Muhammad - 26: A good deed to remove difficulty
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Prophet Muhammad — 25: Delivering God’s message
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Prophet Muhammad — 24: Ensuring peace within the community
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Prophet Muhammad — 23: Different levels of aspiration
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Prophet Muhammad — 22 : Handling explosive situations
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Prophet Muhammad — 21: Implementing general orders
Prophet Muhammad — 20: Leadership qualities

An outer view of the Baiturrahman Grand Mosque in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. (AP)

People attend Friday prayers during Ramadan at al-Shikh Muhialdin mosque in Damascus, Syria, on August 27, 2010. (Reuters)

Pilgrims throng to pray at the Namirah Mosque in Mina on Nov. 17, 2010. (AN photo)
A view of the Dome of the Rock in Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Muslims pray outside Baiturrahman Mosque in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.
Minarets of a mosque in Riyadh during sunset. (AP)
A general view of Merkez Mosque in Duisburg, Germany. (Reuters)
A general view of the historical Umayyad Mosque in old Damascus. (Reuters)
The Fanar-Qatar Islamic Cultural Center in Doha. (Reuters)
The faithful offer prayers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. (AN photo by Arshad Javaid)
The Jama Masjid (Grand Mosque) in the old quarters of Delhi.
The Akhmad Kadyrov Mosque in Grozny, Russia. (AP)
The crescent moon is seen near mosque in old Cairo on the fifth day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. (Reuters)
Sudanese wait to pray on the first Friday of Ramadan outside the Umdowan Ban village mosque outside Khartoum on Friday. (Reuters)
A beautiful mosque in southern Sweden
Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi. (EPA)
The Baiturrahman Mosque in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. (Reuters)
What the Qur'an teaches: Forgiveness is the better course
In the name of God, the Lord of Grace, the Ever Merciful
And who, when oppressed, defend themselves. An evil deed is requited by an evil like it, but the one who forgives and puts things right will have his reward with God. He does not love wrongdoers.
(Consultation, Al-Shura, 42: 39-40)
What the Qu'ran teaches: The transitory nature of this life
In the name of God, the Lord of Grace, the Ever Merciful
Whatever you are given is but for the enjoyment of life in this world, but that which is with God is much better and more enduring. (It shall be given) to those who believe and place their trust in their Lord.
(Consultation, Al-Shura, 42: 36)
What price for a second chance?
In the name of God, the Lord of Grace, the Ever Merciful No blame attaches to those who defend themselves after having been wronged. Blame attaches only to those who oppress other people and transgress in the land against all right. For such, there is painful suffering in store. As for the one who is patient in adversity and forgives; this requires the exercise of truly strong resolve. He whom God lets go astray will have no one else to protect him. When the wrongdoers come face to face with the suffering [awaiting them], you will see them exclaiming, ‘Is there any way of return?’ You shall see them brought before the fire, disgraced and humiliated, looking with a furtive glance. The believers will then say: ‘The true losers are the ones who have forfeited themselves and their kindred on this Day of Resurrection.’ Indeed the wrongdoers will fall into long-lasting suffering. No protector whatever will they have to help them against God. He whom God lets go astray shall find no way forward. (Consultation, Al-Shura, 42: 41-46)
Aspects of Islamic Faith — 91: Seeking the best action for reward
When Madinah opened up for Islam, where it found broad acceptance among its people, the Prophet (peace be upon him) instructed his companions in Makkah to immigrate to Madinah. He had been preaching the message of Islam in Makkah for 13 years, gaining only about 300 followers. The leading Arabian tribe in Makkah, the Quraysh, largely rejected Islam, and was able to impose a state of siege against its followers.
Aspects of Islamic Faith — 90: Comparing a miser to a charitable person
Some people are very reluctant to give away anything to charity. Even when it comes to paying zakat, which is an incumbent duty on every Muslim who owns more than the threshold of zakat, they find it hard to pay it, trying to find ways to evade it. They feel that it is a tax that reduces what they have for themselves. Such people are often looking at their bank account balance and trying to explore ways of increasing it in whatever way they can. When the love of money becomes so keen, it is just like unquenchable thirst. Such people are oblivious of the fact that it is God who gives us whatever we have, and that He can give us from sources that we could not have ever thought available to us. People of genuine faith, on the other hand, realize this and discover that whatever they spend to help others is not merely rewarded in the hereafter, but also compensated for them. They end up increasing their money through spending it on others.
What the Qur'an teaches: Control of natural laws
What the Qur'an teaches: What causes misfortune
What the Qur'an teaches: God’s word of truth
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What the Qur'an teaches: Fearing one’s deeds
What the Qur'an teaches: Hastening the Last Hour
What the Qur'an teaches: Prophet’s assignment in a nutshell
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What the Qur'an teaches: Division in religion
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What the Qur'an teaches: The same old faith
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What the Qur'an teaches: Who judges in disputes?
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What the Qur'an teaches: The division of mankind
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What the Qur'an teaches: Makkah, The Mother City
What the Qur'an teaches: Angels praying for mankind
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What the Qur'an Teaches: The same old accusations
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What the Qur'an teaches: Given by God, the most high
What the Qur'an teaches: Who benefits by striving
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What the Qur'an teaches: Signs of God’s glory galore
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What the Qur'an teaches: Between comfort and hardship
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What the Qur'an says: Warning to unbelievers
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What the Qur'an teaches: Advocate of the divine faith
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What the Qur'an teaches: Control over human souls
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What the Qur'an teaches: Unusual Witnesses
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What the Qur'an Teaches: The warning and its effect
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What the Qur'an Teaches: What punishment for turning away
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What the Qur'an says: Source of divine revelations
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What the Qur'an teaches: Moses’ secret exposed
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What the Qur'an Says: Lord of All the Worlds
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What the Qur'an Says: Setting scene for an eventful story
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What the Qur’an says: God’s unfailing support
What the Qur'an Says: The meaning of victory and defeat
What the Qur'an Teaches: An appeal by a compassionate believer
What the Qur'an teaches — A plea from a believing man
What the Qur'an Says: An unusual opening
What the Qur'an teaches: Unbelievers’ argument in hell
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What the Qur'an Teaches: An appeal by a compassionate believer
Discourse: Sa’ie between Al-Safa and Al-Marwah
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What the Qur'an Teaches: In defense of Prophet Moses
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What the Qur'an teaches: A plea from a believing man
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What the Qur’an teaches: Argument of brute force
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Selimiye Mosque in Konya, Turkey.
A view of a mosque in Tugaya, Lanao del Sur, in the southern Philippines. (AN photo)
Aspects of Islamic Faith — 92: A simple way to earn a living
Islam stresses that its followers should always seek what maintains their dignity and self-respect. It is not acceptable that a Muslim willingly maneuvers himself into a position of humiliation. Hence, Islam wants every Muslim to be self-sufficient, earning his living and providing for his family. It does not accept that some people rely on help provided by others, unless they are totally unable to take care of themselves. Abu Hurayrah quotes the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as saying: “By Him who holds my soul in His hand, it is better for anyone of you to take his rope and tie up a bundle of firewood, carrying it on his back, than to go to someone and beg for help, whether that person gives him or refuses to do so.” (Related by Al-Bukhari).
Aspects of Islamic Faith — 88: Which charity is best?
We are always confronted by people who request charity. They may have a genuine case which needs help. How does Islam view such people and their action? Hakeem ibn Hazam, one of the Prophet’s companions, used to request the Prophet’s help, knowing that he did not refuse anyone. After giving him on several occasions, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to him a few words that are highly significant. Hakeem quotes the Prophet as saying: “The upper hand is better than the lower one. Start with your dependents. The best charity is that which is taken from what is in excess of one’s needs. Whoever seeks to be contented God will grant him content, and whoever seeks to be self-sufficient will have God’s help in being so.” (Related by Al-Bukhari).
Aspects of Islamic Faith — 87: Charity given without permission
Islam places strong emphasis on helping the poor in whatever way we can. It promises rich reward for those who often help the poor and the needy so as to alleviate their troubles. Needless to say, charity should come from one’s own money or property. One cannot give charity from another person’s money, even though he has access to it, unless the owner has given him instructions to do so. A question arises as to the position of a wife giving away something that belongs to her husband: can she do so? Who receives the reward of such charity?
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Aspects of Islamic Faith — 86: How charity grows in God’s measure
Islam stresses the importance of charity, making an essential part of it an obligatory act of worship and promising high reward for what is voluntarily given in addition.
Aspects of Islamic faith - 84: When regret avails nothing
People everywhere try to reduce their tax payments. Whenever they have a chance to make some tax-free earnings, they would not hesitate to take it. This is due to the importance of money in our lives. Sometimes people translate zakat as ‘poor tax’ or ‘charitable tax’, etc.
Aspects of Islamic faith - 83: A sure way to heaven
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Aspects of Islamic faith - 82: Gradual approach with unbelievers
Aspects of Islamic faith - 81: Praising a deceased person
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Aspects of Islamic faith - 80: Are we born with religion?
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Aspects of Islamic Faith - 79: What the prophet feared for Muslims
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Voluntary fasting after the month of Ramadan
Qur’an disapproves of economic fundamentalism
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The blessed month: Spending days in mosques during Ramadan
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The blessed month: Extended fasting is prohibited and does not add more value
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Aspects of Islamic Faith - 78: Reward for joining funerals
Aspects of Islamic Faith - 77: Taking a deceased person for burial
Aspects of Islamic Faith — 76: Weeping for the dead
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The blessed month: Training children to fast
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Aspects of Islamic Faith - 75: Patience in adversity
Aspects of Islamic Faith - 74: Mourning for deceased relatives
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Aspects of Islamic Faith — 73: Death during the pilgrimage
Aspects of Islamic Faith 72: Cementing ties within the Muslim community
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Aspects of Islamic Faith - 71: Prayers with more rewards
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Aspects of Islamic Faith - 70: When one is too tired to pray
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Aspects of Islamic Faith - 69: Waking up for worship
Aspects of Islamic Faith - 68: Worship that can be counterproductive
Aspects of Islamic Faith - 67: Compassion even in worship
Aspects of Islamic Faith — 66: Prayer at the time of solar eclipse
Aspects of Islamic Faith — 65: Three different prayers for rain
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Aspects of Islamic Faith - 64: Prayer in the depth of the night
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Aspects of Islamic Faith - 63: The last prayer of the day
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Aspects of Islamic Faith — 62: A 10-day season for best rewarding action
Aspects of Islamic faith - 61: When an order admits two interpretations
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Aspects of Islamic Faith - 60: When to slaughter your sacrifice
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