Water, The Most Vital Resource

Water is an essential aspect of our life in this world

“Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research is a research institute which aims to instill conviction and inspire contribution based on mainstream Islamic texts.”

As one of the most common and ubiquitous elements of human society, it is very easy to take water for granted. We very rarely take the time to think about how much we rely on water, and how catastrophic it would be if it were taken away from us.

This is one of the reasons why water is a very common example used in the Qur’an, which emphasizes water as an essential part of our existence. It also establishes an awareness of our use and relationship with water which can contribute to better management and preservation of our water resources.

Here are a few ways in which the Qur’an emphasizes the importance of water.

It was the starting point for every living thing

“Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heavens and the earth were a joined entity, and We separated them and made from water every living thing? Then will they not believe?”

Qur’an 21:30

It is a resource we get directly from Allah

“Have you seen the water which you drink? Was it you who sent it down from the rain cloud, or did We send it? Were it Our Will, We could have made it bitter; why then do you not give thanks?”

Quran 56: 68-70

“Have you considered: if your water was to become sunken [into the Earth], then who could bring you flowing water?”

Quran 67:30

Its use carries many spiritual and legal responsibilities

Ali ibn Abi Talib said,

“Partake of it gladly, so long as you are a benefactor, not a despoiler, a cultivator, not a destroyer.”

Moreover, statements from the Prophet ﷺ such as,

“There shall be no harm, nor reciprocating of harm,”[49] are used by Bāqādir to support the belief that precautionary measures should be taken in protecting water.

It should not be hoarded or used to hurt others

“And tell them the water should be shared between them.”

Quran 54:28

It should never be wasted

“Even if you take ablutions in a flowing river, do not waste water.”

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ

Read more in 

When the Earth Speaks Against Us: Environmental Ethics in Islam by Afsan Redwan

Do Muslims Celebrate Christmas?

Do Muslims Celebrate Christmas?

It’s the holiday season and you may be wondering do muslims celebrate Christmas? A time of year to take a break from all of our hard work and spend some much needed time with family and friends. It’s no coincidence that this holiday period happens around Christmas, as traditionally it was a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

More recently Christmas has been adopted by most of us to be a cultural holiday of gift giving and close gatherings whilst spending time with loved ones. We accept the social etiquettes such as wishing Merry Christmas, attending Christmas gatherings and even to some extent, decorating our homes and workplaces with a Christmas tree.

Though we do not believe in the religious undertones of Christmas, should we, as Muslims, participate in Christmas although it is a national holiday and celebrate this holiday? And what are the implications of our actions?

Here are five reasons why we Muslims do not celebrate Christmas.

Christmas goes against the Islamic belief in God.

Christmas is a holiday celebrating the birth of the son of God. This goes against our fundamental belief of monotheism, in the Oneness of Allah, in lordship and worship. Allah says in the Qur’an:

Say (O Prophet), “He is Allah, One (and Indivisible); Allah, the Sustainer (needed by all). He has never had offspring, nor was He born. And there is none comparable to Him.”

[Al-Qur’an 112:1-4]

Jesus is a great prophet of God but not divine.

As Muslims, we believe Jesus is a great prophet of God, but not God or the son of God with a miraculous birth. Allah mentions in the Qur’an that Jesus said:

Those who say, “Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary,” have certainly fallen into disbelief. The Messiah (himself) said, “O Children of Israel! Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” Whoever associates others with Allah (in worship) will surely be forbidden Paradise by Allah. Their home will be the Fire. And the wrongdoers will have no helpers.

[Al-Qur’an 5:72]

Christmas season traditions has its roots in pagan festivities.

Saturnalia was a festival celebrated by the Romans to commemorate Saturn, the god of harvest. This festival took place during the winter solstice and was celebrated with lots of immorality and indulgence. The church adopted Christmas within the same period of the year to ease the pagans into becoming Christians.

Association by imitation.

Prophet Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of God be upon him, said:

“Whoever imitates a people is one of them.”
[Abu Dawood, graded Hasan Saheeh by Al-Albaani]

Reward for remaining steadfast.

And finally, by overcoming social pressures to partake in such celebrations, you will be rewarded. Here are some words of motivation:

Surely those who say, “Our Lord is Allah,” and then remain steadfast, the angels descend upon them (saying), “Do not fear, nor grieve. Rather, rejoice in the good news of Paradise, which you have been promised.
[Al-Qur’an 41:30]

So what are the alternatives?

What festivals do muslims celebrate instead of Christmas Day?

Islam has given us two festivals a year in which muslim families are to celebrate, Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) and Eid al-Fitr (Festival of Breaking Fast). These festivals are uniquely Islamic and have great significance and meaning behind them; Eid al-Adha being the commemoration of prophet Ibrahim willing to sacrifice his son Ismail, peace be upon them both, and Eid al-Fitr, celebrating the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

Narrated Anas ibn Malik: When the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) came to Medina, the people had two days on which they engaged in games. He asked:

What are these two days (what is the significance)?

They said: We used to engage ourselves on them in the pre-Islamic period. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

Allah has substituted for them something better than them, the day of sacrifice and the day of the breaking of the fast.

(Sunan Abi Dawud 1134 – Sahih Al-Albaani)

Common mistakes in Jumuah

Common mistakes in Jumuah

Jumuah is a congregational prayer that Muslims hold every Friday instead of the Zuhr prayer.

These are some of the most common mistakes in Jumuah

Speaking during the khutbah

The Prophet ﷺ warned us that one should not speak during the Khutbah even if it is to tell someone to be quiet.

Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said,

“When the Imam is delivering the Khutba, and you ask your companion to keep quiet and listen, you have done something wrong.” –

Bukhari

Being distracted during the sermon

The Prophet ﷺ warned us that being distracted during the sermon will nullify our rewards, one should keep quiet and listen attentively when the Imam speaks.

“One who distracts himself with pebbles during the Khutbah will not get the (Jumu’ah) reward”.

[Muslim]

Working during the Friday Prayer

A common obstacle we face when trying to attend the Friday prayer is our responsibilities at work. Allah ﷻ commands us in Surah Al-Jumuah to stop working and attend prayer when the adhan is called.

O you who have believed, when [the adhan] is called for the prayer on the day of Jumu’ah [Friday], then proceed to the remembrance of Allah and leave trade. That is better for you, if you only knew. (

Quran 62:9)

Arriving late

Shot of brother 2 arriving late to the masjid, he runs into the masjid looking at his watch. Shot of him running to prayer from behind people praying.

The Prophet ﷺ said whoever performs Ghusl, arrives early, gets close to the khatib and listens, there will be a reward of a year of fasting and praying for every step he takes.

[Tirmidhi]

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “On every Friday the angels take their stand at every gate of the mosque to write the names of the people chronologically (i.e. according to the time of their arrival for the Friday prayer) and when the Imam sits (on the pulpit) they fold up their scrolls and get ready to listen to the sermon.”

[Bukhari]

As well as being fard (obligatory) Jumuah is a means of forgiveness of sins.

Allah’s Messenger said:

“The five prayers, and Al-Jumuah (the Friday prayer) to Al-Jumuah are atonement for what is between them, as long as the major sins have not been committed.”

Not wearing your best and cleanest clothes

The Prophet (saw) always wore his best and cleanest clothes for Jumuah and advised others to do so.

O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid (Quran 7:31)

“There is nothing wrong with any one of you, if he can afford it, buying two garments for Friday, other than his daily work clothes.”

[Sunan Ibn Majah]

Let’s try our best to avoid these mistakes this Jumuah.

How to overcome slander

Three steps to stop slander from affecting you

It’s as though everyone loves Fitnah – whether it’s gossip, backbiting or slander. It adds excitement and drama to our lives and in all honesty, most people enjoy listening to it and spreading it around.

However, it’s a whole lot different when we find out that the gossip and rumors being spread are about ourselves. It’s painful, hurtful and definitely something we don’t ever want to find out.

Spreading gossip is no doubt sinful and it is, in fact, one of the reasons some people are punished in their graves as the Messenger of Allah ﷺ stated.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ passed by two new graves, and he said:

‘They are being punished, but they are not being punished for anything major. One of them was heedless about preventing urine from getting on his clothes, and the other used to walk about spreading malicious gossip.’

Sunan Ibn Majah (Sahih)

Nevertheless, if you do find yourself the victim of slander, here are three steps to diffuse the Fitnah before it erupts.

  1. Ignore the rumors

The first thing to do when someone comes to you with gossip about yourself – is to brush it off. If someone has said something bad about you – don’t let it affect you – especially when it’s not true. Learn to ignore it.

In fact, this advice is even more so important – for those that are hearing such gossip themselves. You have even more of an obligation to diffuse the situation by not spreading such gossip in the first place. If someone comes to you spreading gossip about someone else – let them know you’re not having it and rather try to protect your brothers’ or sisters’ reputation.

Defend the honor of your brother – so that perhaps Allah will defend your honor on the Day of Resurrection.

Abu Ad-Darda reported: The Prophet ﷺ said:

Whoever defends the honor of his brother, then Allah will protect his face from the Hellfire on the Day of Resurrection.”

Sunan Al-Tirmidhi (Hassan)

  1. Thank Allah

The second thing to do for those who have been victims of slander and rumors is to use such opportunities to thank Allah. Yes, thank Allah. The truth is we all have mistakes and sins that we are guilty of that Allah has kept hidden. You should thank Allah for hiding these sins and instead of making this person busy with the sins you are completely free from.

In fact, you should not only thank Allah – but you should be happy someone is slandering you. Why? Well because every time someone slanders you – they are gifting you their good deeds. The truth is – Allah is rewarding you and elevating your rank every time this happens. You should be happy at such a thought.

  1. Make Duaa for the haters

The third and final thing to do is to make Duaa for the brother or sister that backbit you or slandered you – not that Allah destroys him or her. But that Allah blesses him and guides him. After all, they have gifted you their good deeds, let your Duaa be a returning gift for them. You should feel sorry for them, Allah is obviously displeased with such people’s actions, maybe your Duaa can help them change.

This is in line with the Sunnah of our beloved Messenger, Muhammad ﷺ who made Duaa for the very people who hurt him and his loved ones. This is also according to the character of the Prophets before him as well, as shown in the below narration.

“It is as if I can see the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), telling us the story of one of the Prophets: ‘His people beat him, and he was wiping the blood from his face and saying: “O Lord forgive my people, for they do not know.’”

Sahih Bukhari

It is also narrated that Ibrahim Ibn Adham was once attacked by his people, to which he then proceeded to make Duaa for their forgiveness. When he was asked why he would make Duaa for them, he responded by saying, “I learned that I was rewarded because of their actions and I disliked for them to be punished for this.”

May Allah protect our honor in this life and the next and protect us from slander, gossip, and rumors.

Who is Zakat given to?

The 8 Categories of Zakat in the Qur’an

“Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research is a research institute which aims to instill conviction and inspire contribution based on mainstream Islamic texts.”

Zakat, or compulsory charity, is one of the most foundational obligations upon every Muslim. It is the third pillar of Islam and must be given annually.

However, the actual recipients of our zakat are often unknown, and the system by which it is distributed is often not understood.

There are 8 categories of people who must receive Zakat as described in the Qur’an (9:60).

Each category of Zakat helps protect the entire community from different problems:

  1. Al-Fuqara’: The Poor

Zakat for this category protects us from:

  • Ongoing desperation
  • Dislocation from the community
  • A weakening of one’s faith
  1. Al-Masakin: The Needy

Zakat for this category protects us from:

  • Constant financial struggle
  • Lack of communal resources (since there will be fewer Zakat payers)
  1. Al ‘Amilina ‘Alayha: The Administrators of Zakat

Zakat for this category protects us from:

  • Diminished collection
  • Haphazard distribution
  1. Al-Mu’allafah Qulūbuhum: Bringing Hearts Together

Zakat for this category protects us from:

  • Low social and political capital
  • Animosity
  • Lack of influence
  1. Fir-Riqāb: Those in Bondage

Zakat for this category protects us from:

  • Inequality
  • Unfulfilled human potential
  1. Al-Gharimīn: Those in Debt

Zakat for this category protects us from:

  • Poor mental health for those in debt
  • Tension between lenders and borrowers
  • Reduction of lenders if there is no backup for lenders who face bad debts
  1. Fi-Sabeelillah: For God’s Cause

Zakat for this category protects us from:

  • Weakness in the face of external challenges
  • Moral decline within the community
  • Low religious literacy
  1. Ibn al-Sabil: The Stranded Traveller

Zakat for this category protects us from:

  • Social tension within communities if there is an inability to deal with stranded migrants or emergency scenarios.

The institution of Zakat, when implemented correctly,  is a completely comprehensive system to benefit every single member of the community.

Read more in “Zakat is not just charity” by Mufti Faraz Adam

 

A Message to Muslim Activists

Dr. Mohamed Ghilan is a student of knowledge who has a Ph.D. in neuroscience. He has previously given lectures on the biography of the Prophet Muhammed ﷺ, Fundamentalism in Islam, Islam and science, the message of Islam, Jesus in the Qur’an, in addition to others. He has also taught an introductory course on Islamic Jurisprudence according to the Maliki School as well as an introductory course on Islamic Theology.

In this episode, Dr Mohamed Ghilan sheds some light on the issues of activism, particularly with Muslim activists and how allying themselves with other minority groups may actually contradict Muslim beliefs.

Why do Muslims perform the Qurban?

The practice of the Prophet Abraham, peace be upon him

As the time for the annual Muslim pilgrimage comes near, so too does the Qurban, or animal sacrifice, that accompanies the end of the pilgrimage and the celebration of Eid ul-Adha.

The Qurban is a tradition that points back to the famous story of the Prophet Ibrahim, who was commanded by Allah to sacrifice his own son as a test.

“[Ibrahim] said, ‘O my son, indeed I have seen in a dream that I [must] sacrifice you, so see what you think.’ He said, ‘O my father, do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah wills, of the steadfast.”

(Qur’an 37:102)

However, once they had proven their willingness to obey the commands of Allah, Allah intervened and allowed Ibrahim to sacrifice an animal instead.

“And when they had both submitted and [Ibrahim] lay [Ismail] down, We called to him, ‘O Abraham, You have fulfilled the vision,’ Indeed, We thus reward the doers of good. Indeed, this was the clear trial.”

(Qur’an 37:103-106)

This story is the basis of the Qurban, a ritual sacrifice of a cattle, goat, sheep or camel that takes place after the prayers of Eid ul-Adha on the 10th of the Islamic month Dhul Hijjah.

This practice was strongly encouraged by the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, who when asked about the sacrifice said,

It is the way of your forefather Ibrahim…. There is one reward for every strand of wool.”

(Musnad Ahmad)

The meat of the Qurban is typically distributed first amongst the family of the one who sacrifices the animal, and then amongst the poor and needy in society, as stipulated in the Qur’an.

“We have made camels part of God’s sacred rites for you. There is much good in them for you, so invoke God’s name over them as they are lined up for sacrifice, then, when they have fallen down dead, feed yourselves and those who do not ask, as well as those who do. We have subjected them to you in this way so that you may be thankful.”

(Qur’an 22:36)

Due to the many difficulties and tragedies facing Muslims around the world today, the Qurban is typically performed by charities who distribute the meat amongst the poor and needy around the world. One such charity is Muslim Aid Australia, whose Qurban offers can be accessed at http://bit.ly/OPNMAAQurban1

May Allah accept all of our sacrifices in this blessed time.

Exert Yourself in the Last 10 Days of Ramadan – #ReviveRamadan

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Make the Most of the Last 10 Days and Nights of Ramadan

The one who has wasted the first 20 days of Ramadhan but perfects the last 10 days of Ramadhan is better than the one who perfects the first 20 days of Ramadhan but wastes the last 10 days.

The reason for this is because the last 10 nights contain a night which is better than 1,000 months, ie: Laylat al-Qadr (The Night of Decree).  

Allah mentions “The Night of Qadr (decree)” three times in just five ayaat of Surah al-Qadr (97).

  1. We have sent down this (Quran) in the Night of Qadr
  2. And what will make you know what the Night of Qadr is?
  3. The Night of Qadr is better than a thousand months.
  4. The Angels and the Ruh (Jibreel) descend in it with every decree, by the permission of their Lord.
  5. All that night there is peace, until the rising of the dawn.”

This surah by itself highlights the supreme importance and greatness of this night. We do not know which night it will be and that’s why RasulAllah (ﷺ) commanded us to,

“Search for Laylat al-Qadr in the last ten days of Ramadhan.”

(Malik)

So, Ramadhan is all about the ending, and how you end it.  

The Prophet ‎ﷺ said:

إنما الأعمال بالخواتيم

‎ “Verily deeds are according to their endings.”

(Bukhari)

Ibn Taymiyyah said:

“The lesson lies in perfection of the conclusion of a thing, not in the shortcomings of the beginning of it.”

We all know that the most important part about a race is winning at the end.  If we exert all of our energy in the beginning but exhaust ourselves, and the end we could come last.  So, Ramadhan is the same. Exert your energy in the last 10 days, race towards the finish line, and win the race and end on a high.

What is Fitrah/ Zakat Al Fitr?

Make your Fitrah Contribution

Pay your Zakat al Fitr with MAA International

What is Fitra/ Zakat Al Fitr

Fitra or Zakat Al Fitr is an obligatory charity that is distributed at the end of the Fast of Ramadan.

It is obligatory for every Muslim, to be paid on their own behalf and on behalf of their dependents (Wife, children, etc), if they have the means to do so.  

“The Prophet enjoined the Zakah of Ramadan on everyone, young and old, free and slave, male and female, a Sa’a of dates or a Sa’a of barley.”

(Sahih)

A Sa’a is a means of calculation at the time of the Prophet and one Sa’a is equivalent to 3.28 litres, or approximately 2.73 kgs of rice, 2.8kg of wheat, 2.7kg of dates, or 2.4kgs of barley.

Today you can pay cash the equivalent value of one Sa’a, which is around $12 AUD.  If one who gives Fitrah is relatively wealthy, it would also be better for him or her to pay more than the amount of a sa’a…

Fitrah becomes obligatory on every Muslim from sunset on the last day of fasting until the beginning of the Eid prayer (shortly after sunrise the following day).

However, this zakat can be paid prior to the above mentioned period, as many of the companions of the Prophet used to pay Fitrah a couple of days before Eid.

In today’s context, it would be better to pay it even earlier (as long as it is paid within Ramadan) to allow it to reach the needy in far places by Eid.

The Prophet made Fitrah compulsory so that those who fasted may be purified of their idle deeds and shameful talk (committed during Ramadan) and so that the poor may be fed.

Whoever gives it before Eid prayer will have it accepted as Zakat, while he who gives it after the prayer has only given a general Sadaqah.”

[Abu Dawood]

May Allah accept our fast and purify us from all our sins during and after this Holy Month of Ramadan and May, we all be able to pay our Fitrah on time at the end of Ramadan!

For more, visit: www.maainternational.org.au

The six pillars of Imaan (Faith)

The six pillars of Imaan.

Imaan (faith) is a crucial part of a Muslim’s life, and there are six articles of faith. These are derived from the Holy Quran and Sunnah of the prophet Muhammad. Its importance is found in the following Quranic verse:

“O you who believe! Keep faith in Allah and His Messenger and the Book which He revealed to His Messenger, and the Book which He revealed before. Whoso disbelieves in Allah, His angels, His Books, and His Messengers and the Last Day, he verily has wandered far astray.”

(Quran, 4:136)

And, also in the following Hadith:

“…What is Belief?

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Belief is to believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Apostles, and the meeting with Him, and to believe in the Resurrection.” Sahih Al Bukhari

Here are the six pillars of Imaan:

Belief in Allah

To believe in Allah is to believe that there is only one God worthy of worship, with no partner, or son. This concept is known as Tawheed. Also, it is to completely believe in the way He is described in the Quran, Sunnah and in His 99 names.

Allah clearly explains Tawheed in the Holy Qur’an as He says, “Say: He is Allah, the One. Allah, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, nor is there to him any equivalent.”

(Quran, 112:1-4)

Belief in His Angels

The angels are messengers of Allah and are created from light. They were created before humans, for the purpose of worshipping and obeying Allah.

Angels do not sleep, eat or suffer from illnesses. It is crucial to believe in the angels, as they keep a record of our deeds. Some of the other duties of angles include: blowing the trumpet on judgment day, taking people’s souls (i.e. angel of death) and to be the keepers of heaven and hell.

Who so disbelieves in Allah, His angels, His Books, and His Messengers and the Last Day, he verily has wandered far astray.

(Quran, 4:136)

Belief in His books

Allah revealed books to his messengers as a form of guidance and proof for mankind. Among these books, is the Quran, which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad. Allah has guaranteed the protection of the Quran from any distortion or corruption. The books that were sent and known to man are:

  1. The Scrolls (Suhof) to Ibrahim
  2. The Psalms (Zaboor) sent with the Prophet Dawud (David),
  3. The Torah (Torah) sent with the Prophet Musa (Moses),
  4. The Gospel (Injeel) sent with Prophet Isa (Jesus),
  5. The Quran sent with Prophet Muhammad.

Muslims believe in all of the books revealed to the messengers. However, they only follow the Quran, as it is the final revelation, and aim to implement the rulings into their daily lives, as instructed by God and prophet Muhammad.

“Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian.”

(Quran, 15:9)

Belief in His messengers

Allah sent prophets and messengers to preach the same topic: to believe in one God, guiding their nations to Islam. All messengers were created as human beings.

“And We certainly sent into every nation a messenger, [saying], “Worship Allah and avoid Taghut.” And among them were those whom Allah guided, and among them were those upon whom error was [deservedly] decreed.

Quran, 16:36).

25 prophets were mentioned in the Quran and they are: Adam,Idris (Enoch), Nuh (Noah), Hud (Heber), Salih (Methusaleh), Lut (Lot), Ibrahim (Abraham), Ismail (Ishmael) ,Ishaq (Isaac), Yaqub (Jacob), Yusuf (Joseph), Shu’aib (Jethro), Ayyub (Job), Dhulkifl (Ezekiel), Musa (Moses), Harun (Aaron), Dawud (David), Sulayman (Solomon), Ilias (Elias), Alyasa (Elisha), Yunus (Jonah), Zakariya (Zachariah), Yahya (John the Baptist), Isa (Jesus), Muhammad (SAW).

Most of the messengers of Allah were sent to a specific nation except Prophet Muhammad, who was sent to guide all of mankind. It is a duty of Muslims to send salaams (Peace and Blessings of Allah) when mentioning the names of any of the Prophets.

Belief in the final day (Hereafter)

Muslims must believe in the existence of an afterlife, where all our deeds will be accounted, no matter how big or small. No one knows when this day will be except Allah, and thus we must continually work hard to achieve the best.

Muslims also believe in the existence of heaven and hell, and our final destination will be determined according to our deeds in this life.

“And We place the scales of justice for the Day of Resurrection, so no soul will be treated unjustly at all. And if there is [even] the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it forth. And sufficient are We as an accountant.”

(Quran, 21:47)

Belief in the Qadar (Divine Decree)

Everything that happens, is due to the will and decree of Allah. Nevertheless, Muslims also understand that they are given free will and have the ability to distinguish between good and evil.

The belief in Divine Predestination includes belief in four things:

  • Allah created everything,
  • Allah knows everything; the past and present,
  • There is a record of everything that has happened and will happen,
  • Whatever Allah decrees to occur, will occur. Whatever Allah wills not to happen, does not happen.

Do you not know that Allah knows what is in the heaven and earth? Indeed, that is in a Record. Indeed that, for Allah, is easy.

(Quran, 22:70)

“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘No slave truly believes until he believes in four things: in Allah alone with no partner; that I am the Messenger of Allah; in the resurrection after death; and in the Divine Decree (Qadar).”

Sunan Ibn Majah, Book 1, Hadith 85

No matter how bad a situation may be, we must always put our trust in Allah and His decree.

May Allah SWT strengthen our Imaan and continuously guide us to the correct path. Ameen.