"O my soul, it is only a few days, bear them patiently.A lifetime seems long but a flitting reverie"

~Imam Shafi~
" “The heart will rest and feel relief if it is settled with Allah and it will worry and be anxious if it is settled with people.” – Ibn al-Qayyim"....Say : "This is my way; I invite unto Allah with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me with sure knowledge" (Qur'an - 12:108) "Say: we believe in God and in what has been revealed to us, and what was revealed to Abraham, Isma'il: Isaac, Jacob and The Tribes, and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus and the Prophets, from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another, among them, and to God do we bow our will (in Islam)." (Qur'an, Al-Imran 3:84) . "And if he (Muhammad SAW) had forged a false saying concerning Us (Allah),We would have seized him by the right hand;And then certainly should have cut off his life artery (Aorta),And none of you could withhold Us from (punishing) him" (Qur'an,Al-Haqqah 69:44-47) "Do they not ponder the Quran! If it were revealed from a source other than Allah,certainly they would have found,many contradictions."[Holy Quran 4:82] " O man! Verily, you are returning towards your Lord with your deeds and actions (good or bad), a sure returning, and you will meet (i.e. the results of your deeds which you did)" [Holy Qur'an, 84:6] Say, "Is it other than Allah I should desire as a lord while He is the Lord of all things? And every soul earns not [blame] except against itself, and no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. Then to your Lord is your return, and He will inform you concerning that over which you used to differ." ~Holy Quran 6:164 Imam Malik (rh): “Do not look to the sins of people as if you are Lords, but look to your own sins as if you are slaves. Have mercy on the people of affliction and praise Allah for your well-being, and never say, ‘This person is from the people of Hellfire, and this person is from the people of Paradise.’ Do not be arrogant over the sinners, but rather ask Allah to grant them hidayah and rashad (i.e. guidance).” Ibn Kathir (Ra) narrated: كان نقش خاتم عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه : كفى بالموت واعظاً ياعمر “The engraving on ‘Umar ibn al Khataab’s(Ra) ring was: “Sufficient is death as an admonisher O Umar”. ["Al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaaya]. "When you fear the creation, you run away from it, but when you fear the Creator, you feel close to Him,& run towards Him.".Ibn Qayyim . "Allahumma la‘aisha illa‘aish-al-Aakhirah": 'There is no life but the life of the next world' "And worship your Lord until there comes to you the certainty (i.e. death)". (Quran 15:99) “And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways.And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.” [Quran: 29:69] "... And my success is not but through Allah . Upon him I have relied, and to Him I return." ~ Al Quran 11:88
"Nothing in this world is really useful to you unless it has some utility and value for the next world"-Imam Ali(R)

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Start thinking about Judgment Day! But I don't want to be just telling stories, I want you to start imagining, with all your senses that you are there now. I'll try as hard as I can to draw a picture just as if you were really standing there. But please, forget that I am giving a lecture now, I'm not. We are just sitting together, imagining together what will happen on Resurrection Day (Judgment Day). My aim today is not to scare you. My aim is to tell you the facts about that day.
How will it begin?

"The Trumpet will just be sounded, when all that are in the heavens and on earth will swoon, except such as it will please Allah (to exempt). Then a second one will be sounded, when, behold, you will be standing and looking on!"
"The trumpet shall be sounded, when behold! From the sepulchers (men) will rush forth to their Lord!"

Today we will only speak about one topic– the standing on resurrection day waiting for judgment. After the trumpet is blown, your body parts start to join together, and your bones start to merge once more. Your brain starts thinking, your eyes open and you start to have life back again.

Imagine what this great blow will do? It will bring back all the sand of earth that you were made from thousands of years ago. Imagine the greatness and power of this blow? The trumpet width is like the width of earth and skies together. Your grave cracks and opens from the mightiness of the blow. Are you visualizing this great day with me? So now you are back to life, coming out from your grave, naked and covered in sand, with no water available to wash yourself. Your situation is very hard.

What will you say? All the people on that day will cry out saying the same word: "myself, myself". "I don't care today about anyone except myself." Imagine the sound of billions of people around you all saying the same word "myself, myself". Who came out with you from the same grave? Now regarding your father and your mother– do you remember that day when your father died how much you cried? Do you remember how much you hugged and kissed him and said, "If I could only see him again for one second?" And now, on the resurrection day, after thousands of years, imagine how much you really missed him. Of course you will hug him and kiss him... or at least that is what you imagine. But no, this will not happen.

Allah says: "That Day shall a man flee from his own brother, and from his mother and his father, and from his wife and his children."

moonImagine yourself running away from your own father! From your own Mother, from your spouse, from your children! It has been a thousand years since the last time you saw them and you are running! Can you imagine yourself running from your mother, your children and your spouse? Everyone is running, but where to? No one knows where to. We are just running and saying the same word "myself, myself" again and again. "Myself–Myself". Imagine yourself running without an aim. You don't know where you are going, you are so afraid, and you're just running and running. You don't want to be tied down by anyone and you don't want anyone to stop you from running.

Maybe this picture scared you, but I told you that resurrection day it not all fearful. Now imagine the bright and beautiful side: A family coming out from their graves holding hands. Imagine with me– the father, the mother, and the children– all holding hands together. Why is that? Examine the verse which says: "Friends on that day will be foes, one to another, - except the Righteous." So if a family was righteous in their life will they run away from each other? Of course not. So the verse: "That Day shall a man flee from his own brother, and from his mother and his father, and from his wife and his children." Who does it apply to? It applies to the disbeliever of God and the people who forgot about God in their lives. For example, if two friends loved each other, and helped each other in obeying God in their life...on the resurrection day they are standing hand in hand. If two friends travel long distances every day in order to listen to Islamic lectures, then the same thing is true for them.

It's up to you. Which picture do you prefer? We are now all gathered on the same land. Imagine nowadays how life is becoming crowded with so many people. That is nothing compared to all the millions and billions standing together on Judgment Day. There are no trees for shade, no water to drink, and no rock to hide behind. "They will all be marshaled before Allah together".

This verse doesn't mean they are marshaled physically...no, it means that everything in their soul and heart is apparent...everything is obvious. Your cruel side appears, anything sinful you did in your life appears, if you had betrayed your spouse, your friends, your employer... it will all be clear. Yet, look at the good side. Not only will bad things appear, good things will too. If you prayed, if you fasted, if you did anything good in your life, it will also appear. Take a moment now to think about it! What would you like to show on that day? Really, it's not all fearful, it isn't all horror. If you can imagine that day clearly, you will give up a lot of bad habits that will make you regret later. So, as you can see, it all depends on what you choose to do in your life.

Now, let's go back to Judgment Day. How long do you think you will keep standing? Guess again! The answer is 50,000 years of standing! Your throat gets dry from thirst, but you still don't die. Your stomach will nearly burst from hunger, but you still don't die. Your legs can barely carry you, 50,000 years! Imagine! Who can take all that? Are you scared? Well, don't be. As a hadith tells us, time passes quickly for a believer, as long as it takes to pray two quick Rak'as. Which one are you? Imagine yourself standing there full of regret and saying, "If only I obeyed Allah". How long will you stand, 60 years? 60 years is the average life of a human. 20 years? 600 years? 20,000 years? 50,000 years? Or just a small prayer's length of time because you obeyed Allah's commandments. And as for the times that you disobeyed Allah, you quickly repented and asked Allah for forgiveness?

And not only are you standing; you are without clothes, crowded in a small and confined space. Imagine all the congestion and all the people–squished together. Imagine the pain and fatigue, the heat and the thirst. Who can take all that?

Now, let's start looking at the people around you–one is blind, though he wasn't in life, another one has vision although he was blind in life. You are confused, which one of them are you? Look at the verses: "But whosoever turns away from My Message, verily for him is a life narrowed down, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Judgment." He will say: "O my Lord! Why hast Thou raised me up blind, while I had sight (before)?" (Allah) will say: "Thus didst Thou, when Our Signs came unto thee, disregard them: so wilt thou, this day, be disregarded."

Let's look at another example– the criminals. These are the people who used to spread bad things all over the earth–your so-called Muslim friends who taught you how to use drugs, whispered to you that it was o.k. to date and disobey your parents, made you forget prayer times by partying. Look at the Quranic verses: "And thou wilt see the sinners that day bound together in fetters; their garments of liquid pitch, and their faces covered with Fire". These criminals will be cuffed with chains, and with liquid pitch in their face, and then fire nears to their face, which will make them start burning and burning.
Now, let's look at a nice example– he is a person with light emitting from all over his body. He is like the moon in a dark land– when he moves his hand right the light moves right and when he moves it left, the light moves left. Allah says: "One Day shalt thou see the believing men and the believing women– how their Light runs forward before them and by their right hands: (their greeting will be): "Good News for you this Day! Gardens beneath which flow rivers to dwell therein for aye! This is indeed the highest Achievement!"

See the different cases of the people? Some will be standing for 50,000 years; some will be standing for a small prayer, some with their faces burning, some in complete darkness, some with light leading their paths. Which of these people are we?
Wait, another thing starts to happen. The sun starts to get closer and closer until it becomes one mile away from the heads of the people. Today, the sun is millions of light years away from us and we can barely stand it in the summer. Imagine when it is one mile away? Imagine how hot it will be. We all start to sweat. Imagine sweat combined with sand on your lips. You can't even open your mouth or the sand will enter. In fact, you can't even say ouch! Imagine 50,000 years, one sinks (drowns) in his sweat and doesn't die. But don't be afraid for Allah's shade will shade those who did not disobey Him. Imagine that–it is not any ordinary shade, but the shade of Allah's throne. Unlike the shade of a tree, this shade will cover so that no sun can shine through and you will sweat no more.
Supplication .There are seven types of people who will be shaded on the day when there will be no shade but Allah's shade. Imagine Allah is calling for them now and you are waiting to be called:

1) A just leader

2) A young man, or woman, raised to obey Allah. Are you one of them? Come on, you must be one of them before it's too late. Don't wait and regret it until later in life. These people kept saying I will go to Allah when I am older. But how can you be so sure that you will even live until you are older? So, none of the last two are you? Let's go on to the third.

3) A man whose heart is joined with the mosques. What does that mean? It means that he loves the mosque so much that he prays all of the five prayers in the mosque. Remember when you said, "I'll not pray in the mosque. It is enough to pray at home." Now, keep standing then. Imagine now people are getting shaded under the Throne of Allah and you're still not? Let's go on to the fourth type of person. Now, maybe that's you!

4) Two people who loved each other for the sake of Allah. Do you have someone you love for the sake of Allah? No?
Now on to the fifth:

5) A man who was tempted by a beautiful woman and he refused this temptation and sin and said, "I'm afraid of God". This situation might happen to you some day; you have to resist and say no, to guarantee the shade of Allah's throne.

6) A man or woman who mentioned God alone and tears burst out from his/her eyes. Alone doesn't necessarily mean alone. You could be with a hundred people, but only God is on your mind. You cry from the love of God, not caring about people seeing you or not. Are you still standing? Is your heart that cold? Didn't you ever tear from the fear of God? One last chance is the seventh one. If you miss it, you will stay standing in the sun. This next one is very easy and we can all do it!

7) A person who paid charity such that his left hand doesn't know what his right hand spent. Go out now to a poor man, make sure no one is watching you, give him charity, and then go away quickly. This guarantees you that you will be shaded, Insha'Allah, under the throne of Allah.

Now, the standing people who are shaded by Allah and who stand for a small prayer are finished. The others are still left, just standing there. And the humanity starts to cry out, "Where is God to judge us, where are the Angels to judge us". They are just left there standing, nobody caring about them. So they start calling out again, "Who will help us? Who will get God to forgive us? Who will ask God for the start of judgment?" So they go to Adam (AS) and beg, "Please Adam, you are the first human, you are the one who the Angels prostrated to, please ask God to start judgment". Adam (AS) replies, "Myself, myself. Today my God is angry like never before, go and ask Ibrahim".

So they go to Ibrahim (AS) and beg, "Ibrahim, you are the friend of God, please ask God to start judgment". Ibrahim (AS) replies, "myself, myself. My God today is angry like never before, go to Musa". Then they go to Musa (AS). Imagine all of humanity moving at the same time as a huge bulk and you are inside it? So they beg Musa (AS) saying, "Musa, please ask God to start judgment". Musa (AS) replies, "Myself, myself. My God today is angry like never before, go to Jesus".

So they go to Jesus (AS) and say, "Jesus you are God's servant, please ask God to start judgment". Jesus (AS) replies, "Myself, myself. My God today is angry like never before, go to Muhammad the final of the prophets". So they finally go to Muhammad(S) saying "Muhammad, you are the last of the prophets. Please ask God to start judgment". So he replies, "I'll go, I'll go". So Muhammad(S) prostrates under Allah's throne. Imagine that's the first time you see him and in this situation. Allah says to him: "Muhammad, raise your head, ask and you'll be given what you want". Just imagine how precious Muhammad(S) must be to God?

So Mohammed(S) says, "I ask that the Judgment starts". So the judgment starts as requested. But two things must happen first before judgment starts. The first thing is very nice– we start getting clothed. So the first ones who get clothed are the Prophets (peace be upon them all). After that all humanity starts to get clothed according to their faith. Imagine seeing your family members clothed and you're still naked. Imagine the woman who delayed the decision of Hijab for 20 years, how much will the decision of her getting clothed be delayed?

Another thing must happen before Judgment starts. Hell must be brought. Allah says: "And Hell, that Day, is brought (face to face), - on that Day will man remember, but how will that remembrance profit him?"

Angels bring hell with 70,000 ropes. Each rope is held by 70,000 angels. This means that it takes 4,900,000,000 angels to bring hell. So how will hell be placed? Humanity will stand in a circle and it will be placed in the middle of all humanity. "So, by thy Lord, without doubt, we shall gather them together, and (also) the Evil Ones (with them); then shall we bring them forth on their knees round about Hell".
Upon seeing hell, people start to fall on their knees from horror. Where are the prophets? All the prophets are saying one phrase, "Please God, make it easy. Please God, make it easy". That is, except Muhammad(S), who pleads, "Please God, my nation. Please God, my nation". Imagine how much he loves us? The love of our Prophet(S) is so great that he begs Allah for Mercy for his Ummah.

So, where are you now? Have you obeyed Allah's Commandments? Have you prayed today? It's Ramadan now! Are you fasting? Are you praying the taraweeh prayers? Are you refraining from backbiting, gossiping, foul language? Are you kind to your parents, neighbors, fellow Muslims? Then don't be afraid! Look at the beautiful verses: "Those for whom the good (record) from Us has gone before, will be removed far therefrom. Not the slightest sound will they hear of Hell: what their souls desired, in that will they dwell. The Great Terror will bring them no grief: but the angels will meet them (with mutual greetings): "This is your Day, - (the Day) that ye were promised." The Day that We roll up the heavens like a scroll rolled up for books (completed)."

That means you will not see it, you will not even hear it, you will be standing far from hell with the Angels. So which one do you prefer? It's all in your hands; you can choose your situation by what you do now.

So the judgment starts, but the judgment has six rules:

1) No injustice today. Allah says: "Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good, see it! And anyone who has done an atom's weight of evil, shall see it."

2) No one is going to be judged for other people's sins. "Nor can a bearer of burdens bear another's burdens". No son is going to be judged for his father's sins nor vice versa. But this rule has one exception– if anyone misguides someone, he will also carry this person's sins. For example: A guy who teaches his friends how to smoke cigarettes and other stuff, he will carry all their sins.

3) The judgment is written and not by mouth. Allah says: "And the Book (of Deeds) will be placed (before you); and thou wilt see the sinful in great terror because of what is (recorded) therein" They will say, "Ah! woe to us! What a Book is this! It leaves out nothing small or great, but takes account thereof!" They will find all that they did placed before them: And not one will thy Lord treat with injustice." Picture that! What is in your book? Try to remember!

4) A good deed can be counted as ten times or more, while the bad deed is counted as only one bad deed. Imagine the mercy of God! Not just ten times, it sometimes reaches 700 times. And only Allah knows the reward for fasting.

5) The sins convert to good deeds for those who asked Allah for forgiveness and started obeying him again. If you disobeyed Allah for 20 years and then started obeying him and didn't return back to the sins you were doing...the whole 20 years sins will convert to good deeds.

6) This next rule is quite difficult: the witnesses. The 1st witnesses are the angels. They wrote everything you did. They leave out nothing. Even if you made fun of someone with a smile. The 2nd witness is Mohammed (S). Imagine the prophet is testifying against you. He told you about the fajr prayer, he told you to lower your gaze, he told you to treat your parents with kindness. Didn't he teach you all of this? So imagine your situation...how you might feel when the prophet testifies against you. The 3rd witness is the land (the earth). If you traveled to make umrah, all of these miles, every sand particle, every tree, every rock, every blow of the wind will testify about you. The companions always prayed in lots of places so every piece of land will testify for them in front of Allah. Please make the lands that will testify on your side be more than those which will testify against you. Don't ever travel to commit sins. Do you know what that means...it means that all of these thousands of miles will testify against you on judgment day.

The last witness is so unusual you would never think of it ... some disbelievers think that there is no way they won't go to hell so they will tell Allah, "I'm not satisfied with these witnesses. No one testifies against me except myself." So Allah agrees and says, "Yes, we accept your testimony". So his mouth gets shut. Look at the verses: "That Day shall we set a seal on their mouths. But their hands will speak to us, and their feet bear witness, to all that they did." "On the Day that the enemies of Allah will be gathered together to the Fire, they will be marched in ranks. At length, when they reach the (Fire), their hearing, their sight, and their skins will bear witness against them, as to (all) their deeds. They will say to their skins: "Why bear ye witness against us?" They will say: "(Allah) hath given us speech, - (He) who giveth speech to everything: He created you for the first time, and unto Him were ye to return."

And his body starts to testify against him and the man becomes confused...Why did you do this my hand? Why did you do this my hand? I did what I did just for your pleasure. So it says: "Allah has given me speech, who giveth speech to everything". Can you imagine you are fighting with your own body? Your organs are fighting with each other! Can you imagine how humiliating?!?

The judgment starts right now. The verse says: "And thy Lord cometh, and His angels, rank upon rank".

Then, one by one will be presented in front of Allah all by himself. YOU, come to the Almighty! The angels come and take YOU!
Can you imagine this? You and Allah and your book in your hands?
So some people will run going to Allah as soon as he was called– he wants to stand and talk to Allah. Others will shiver from fright. So the angels will drag them and they will beg the angels to take them to hell without standing before Allah.
You are now standing before Allah and He starts asking you, "Did you take my meeting for granted? Was I so unimportant? Did you dare to do what you did in front of me and were ashamed from people? Why did you do this sin? Didn't I get you married? Didn't I give you strength? Didn't I give you money?"

"What made you think I'll forgive you for all your sins? Did you forget you're going to meet Me? Why did you seem so polite in front of people and you come to me with all the ugly things you do? Why did you hide from people and not be ashamed in front of me although you know I can see you? Why did you shiver if anyone saw you committing the sin and don't shiver when I look at you? Wasn't I watching your eyes and your legs when you were going to disobey me?"

If you were a disobedient slave and you are reading your book, the skin of your face falls and you burst in blood. Allah is so angry from you and tells you, "I'll never forgive you for your sins. Angels, take him to hell– I'm angry with him".
But if you were an obedient slave to Allah, Allah would tell you "come closer". So you approach Allah and you find yourself overwhelmed with His light. Then He covers you with a sheet so no one can hear you. So He tells you, "Can you remember that sin and that sin and that sin". At this moment you think you are a goner. But Allah tells you, "I concealed them to you in life and I am concealing them to you now. I forgive you and I'm pleased with you...go to My heaven".

I hope you have imagined it well. Today you have a chance to save yourself. I hope you don't wait until it is too late.

By Amr Khaled


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How can you laugh ?

Wahb ibn al-Warid noticed people laughing on the day of Eid, upon seeing this he stated:

“If their fast was accepted, then know that this is not the action of those who are grateful, and if it was not accepted, 

then this is not the action of those who are afraid."

[Source: ”Lata’if al-Ma’arif fima li Mawasim al-Aam min al-Wadha’if” of Ibn Rajab, page 210]

قال حمزة الأعمى: وكنت أدخل على الحسن منزله وهو يبكي، وربما جئت إليه وهو يصلي فأسمع بكاءه ونحيبه فقلت له يوماً: إنك تكثر البكاء، فقال: يا بني، ماذا يصنع المؤمن إذا لم يبكِ؟ يا بني إن البكاء داع إلى الرحمة. فإن استطعت أن تكون عمرك باكيا
فافعل، لعله تعالى أن يرحمك

Hamza al
amaa said: I would visit Hassan al-Basari at his house and find him crying.
Sometimes I would come to him while he was in pray and hear him weeping.
So I spoke to him one day saying: ‘You cry too much.’ He replied: ‘O my beloved son, what should the believer do if not cry? My dear child crying invites His mercy, so if you can spend the rest of your life crying, then do so. For perhaps Allah will have mercy upon you because of it.

Ibn Al-Qayyim said :
والرجل هو الذي يخاف موت قلبه لا موت بدنه
A man is the one who fears the death of his heart, not his body.
["Madarij Al-Salikeen", 3/248].

Al-Rabī‘ bin Khuthaym once passed by some children in a classroom crying. He asked them, “What is wrong children?”

They replied, “Today is Thursday, the day we are supposed to present our books to the teacher, so we are afraid he will beat us.”

So al-Rabī‘ started crying, saying, “O nafs, how about the day ‘the Book’ will be presented before the Al-Mighty.

“Once, King Khalid visited Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymīn رحمه الله at his house, as was the habit of the rulers in their high regard and respect for the scholars. And when the King saw the humble home of the Shaykh he offered to have a new house built for him, (at which) the Shaykh thanked him saying:

“I am building a house in
(the district of) As-Sālihiyyah, however, the masjid and the charitable trust are in need of (financial) assistance”.

So, after the King left, some of those sitting in the gathering said:

“O Shaykh, we did not know that you were building a home in as-Sālihiyyah”, (to which) the Shaykh replied:

“Isn’t the graveyard in As-Sālihiyyah”!?”

(Ad-Dur tah-Thamin fi Tarjamti Faqihil-Umah page 218)


Friday, September 7, 2012

Sulaiman Al-Rajhi’s life a rags to riches story

Saudi Arabia’s rags-to-riches billionaire Sulaiman Al-Rajhi is also a world-renowned philanthropist. He is the founder of Al-Rajhi Bank, the largest Islamic bank in the world, and one of the largest companies in Saudi Arabia. As of 2011, his wealth was estimated by Forbes to be $7.7 billion, making him the 120th richest person in the world. His flagship SAAR Foundation is a leading charity organization in the Kingdom.

The Al-Rajhi family is considered as one of the Kingdom’s wealthiest non-royals, and among the world’s leading philanthropists.Al-Rajhi is a billionaire who chose last year to become a poor man at his own will without having any cash or real estates or stocks that he owned earlier. He became penniless after transferring all his assets among his children and set aside the rest for endowments. In recognition of his outstanding work to serve Islam, including his role in establishing the world’s largest Islamic bank and his regular contribution toward humanitarian efforts to fight poverty,

Al-Rajhi was chosen for this year’s prestigious King Faisal International Prize for Service to Islam.In an interview with Muhammad Al-Harbi of Al-Eqtisadiah business daily, Al-Rajhi speaks about how he was able to succeed in convincing chiefs of the leading central banks in the world, including that of the Bank of England, nearly 30 years ago that interest is forbidden in both Islam and Christianity, and that the Islamic banking is the most effective solution to activate Islamic financing in the world and make it a real boost to the global economy.The story of Al-Rajhi is that of a man who made his fortunes from scratch, relying on grit and determination.

Al-Rajhi threw away his huge wealth through two windows — distributed a major part of his inheritance among his children and transferred another portion to endowments, which are regarded as the largest endowment in the history of the Islamic world. He had to fight poverty and suffering during his childhood before becoming a billionaire through hard work and relentless efforts, and then leaving all his fortunes to become penniless

again.Al-Rajhi is still very active and hardworking even in his 80s with youthful spirits. He begins his work daily after morning prayers and is active until Isha prayers before going to bed early. He is now fully concentrated on running the endowment project under his SAAR Foundation, and traveling various regions of the Kingdom managing activities related with it. He always carries a pocket diary containing his daily programs and activities and he is accustomed to stick on to the schedule he had prepared well in advance.Al-Rajhi scored excellent performance results in almost all businesses in which he carved out a niche for himself.

 In addition to establishing the world’s largest Islamic bank, he founded the largest poultry farm in the Middle East. The credit of activating the organic farming experiment in the Kingdom mainly goes to him through launching a number of farming projects, including Al-Laith shrimp farming. He also established real estate and other investment projects.


Sheikh Suleiman, have you become a poor man again?

Yes. Now I own only my dresses. I distributed my wealth among my children and set aside a portion for endowment to run charity projects. As far as I am concerned, this situation was not a strange one. My financial condition reached zero point two times in my life, and therefore I have had the feeling and understanding (about poverty) well. But now the feeling is accompanied by happiness, relaxation and the peace of mind. The zero phase in life this time is purely because of my own decision and choice.

Why did you choose this path?

All wealth belongs to Allah, and we are only those who are entrusted (by God) to take care of them. There were several reasons that prompted me to distribute the wealth and that resulted in performing this virtue. Most important among them is to foster brotherhood and love among my children and safeguard their harmonious relationship. This is more significant than any wealth in this life. I was also keen not to be instrumental in wasting the precious time of courts in case of any differences of opinion among them with regard to partition of inheritance. There are several examples that everybody could see when children entered in dispute over wealth and that led to the collapse of companies. Nation has lost many large companies and their wealth that we could have been saved if we tackled the matter in a right manner. Apart from this, every Muslim should work on some endowments that could benefit him in the life after death. Likewise, I prefer my children to work on developing wealth, which they inherit after my death, during my lifetime itself rather than I continue working to increase them.

Are you getting enough free time after the distribution of wealth?

As earlier I am still working on developing endowments. I will donate and give alms from it until Allah takes over this trusted deposit. I have worked out a meticulous scheme for this endowment and developed it with the support of specialist consultants and agencies. This idea struck me long before. Usually people in the Islamic world set aside one-third or one-fourth of their wealth for endowment and that will be effective only after their death. But in my case, I decided to implement this decision in my lifetime itself. So I invited my children to Makkah during the end of Ramadan and presented the idea in front of them. They readily agreed it and then I distributed my wealth among my children in addition to setting aside a part of it for endowment. I sought the help of consultants to facilitate the procedures for the distribution of all my assets including properties, real estates and stocks, and that was completed in a cordial atmosphere. All my children are now fully satisfied with my initiative and they are now working on these properties in my lifetime.

How much wealth you distributed among children and set aside for endowment?

He laughed without giving an answer.

How do you feel now about your projects?

I would like to point out that there were some factors that prompted me to make investments in certain specific areas. My experiment in money exchange was the temptation to set up a bank. The absence of any Islamic banking was also another factor in establishing Al-Rajhi Bank, which is now the world's biggest Islamic lender by market value. I began the experiment with opening an office in Britain where we introduced Islamic banking system at a greater level. The experiment was a success and it had received total backing of the Saudi Islamic scholars at that time. I still recall the application made for getting license for the bank was turned down in the beginning. This was because the concerned British officials did not have any idea about Islamic banking. Therefore, I went to London and met with the manager of the Bank of England and two of his deputies. I told them that Muslims and Christians see interest as forbidden (haram), and the Muslim and Christian religious people are unwilling to make transactions with banks based on interest and instead prefer to keep their cash and other valuables in boxes at their homes.

 I tried to convince them that (if we establish Islamic banks) this money would be helpful to strengthen the world economy. These talks were helpful in convincing them and they agreed to open Islamic banks. Then I traveled widely throughout the world in the West and East, and met with the chiefs of central banks in various countries and explained to them about the salient features of the Islamic economy.

We started working and achieved success through launching it in the Kingdom and implementing it in London. When I returned to the Kingdom from London, I met the late Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Baz and Sheikh Abdullah bin Humaid, and informed them about the plan saying: 'We would reach, by the grace of Allah, the Islamic banking within a stipulated period of time.' They praised me for the initiative.

We started aggressively implementing the project and that is in the form of Al-Rajhi Bank as you see now. Regarding Al-Watania Poultry, the idea of establishing such a venture struck me after my visit to a poultry project abroad. I saw that the way of slaughtering chicken was not proper. Then I decided to make investments in the field of poultry after considering it as a duty to my religion and nation. I started the project even though making investments in poultry involved high risks in those days.

Now Al-Watania has become a mega Saudi project that is instrumental in achieving food security in many respects. The company enjoys a 40 percent market share in the Kingdom, and Al-Watania chickens are naturally fed and halal slaughtered in accordance with the Shariah principles.

What about your insistence on introducing organic farming through Al-Watania agricultural projects?

As you see, now I am 85 and still enjoy good health. If we pursue organic farming as our healthy food style, we can bring down cost of treatment to a great extent. We made several experiments in the field of organic farming. Our numerous experiments met with setbacks in the beginning. This prompted many engineers and workers to reach a conclusion that it is impossible to have organic farming and profit together. In the beginning, they were firm in their view that this would not at all be successful. But I insisted that it would work and continued compelling them to proceed with the venture. At one time, I took a firm position and told them either to do organic farming or quit. Now we are reaping the fruits of this lucrative business in line with my vision to provide only the healthiest, safest and most trustworthy food to consumers. Al-Watania Agricultural Company stopped using chemicals and artificial fertilizers and focused exclusively on organic methods such as the use of pest insect repellants and animal manure.

Your austerity and thriftiness on spending are well known. Please comment?

I am not a miser. But I am always vigilant against extravagance. I always try to impart this lesson to all those working with me whether it is in banking or poultry or other projects, and I am more concerned about it when it is coming to the case of my children. In the past, I never gave money to my children when they were young in return for nothing.

When any one of them approached me to give them cash, I asked them to do some work in exchange for it. In our life, we practice some extravagance without being aware of it. But it affects our whole life, exhausting us and putting a burden on our country. For example, there is no logic in putting heavy curtain on our windows and then lighting lamps in daytime when we get sunlight free of cost while electric lamps are costly.

Despite all your wealth, why don't you still have a private aircraft?

Let me tell you that I have many planes but they belong to various airlines. I have ownership in all of them to the tune of the ticket fare that I pay for each travel. I always travel in economy class with the conviction that Allah bestowed us wealth not for showing arrogance or spend extravagantly but to deal with wealth as a trusted property.

What about the recreation and hobbies of Sheikh Al-Rajhi? How do you spend free time?

I have not any special recreations. However, I find happiness and enjoyment while making a trip to the desert. I never went out of the Kingdom on a tourism trip.

What about your will? What are its salient features?

Regarding my will related with wealth, I have already implemented it in my lifetime. As for the remaining aspect of my will, it is a public matter and also involves certain private matters, besides encouraging my children to maintain their kinship and always reminding them about the life after death.

How do you see your children's private investments? Are there any directives to them?

A number of them are doing an excellent work in accordance with their knowledge and experience. Most often, I try to guide them when I noticed anything undesirable even if it is in their private investments. Regarding my younger children, I always guide them, especially in the case of their investments. This is purely out of my keenness that they should be honest in their work as well as in spending wealth given by God as a trusted property.

I am also eager to hear about my children that they are interacting with the society in the best possible manner, and that they are serving their religion and nation.

In what way you like to spend your time? What are the places that you like most?

I used to travel between Riyadh, Qassim, Al-Jouf, and Al-Laith to oversee my projects there. I always prefer to visit the farms in Qassim and Al-Jouf.

How could you preserve many old and precious things and antiques at Suleiman Al-Rajhi Museum?

A long time ago when I was in Jeddah, I was keen on preserving heritage pieces and gathered them together, especially those related with money exchange. There would be a history with every human being. The museum tells the story of money exchange. I particularly kept registers and cash boxes that were used when I started the money exchange business.

The first cash box was made of wood, and there was a huge treasure box in which we kept our gold and silver. The artifacts kept at the museum tells the evolution of currency in the Kingdom through issuance of bank notes, as well as some currencies and coins that were in circulation among the Haj pilgrims. A major factor that prompted me to set up the museum was the visits made by a large number of officials from various countries to know more about these old coins and currencies.

We have had to exhibit these rare collections in front of them to explain about our history and heritage, especially those related with money. I was keen to furnish the museum with historic and heritage pieces, especially with the same materials used for construction in the past. Hence, the roof of the museum was made of palm branches, and that was the case with the seating arrangements at the museum.

Al-Rajhi's punctuality

The interview also sheds light on many qualities of Al-Rajhi, including his punctuality. "In the beginning of my business career, I had appointments with several top European company executives and officials. I still remember that I reached late for such an appointment due to an unavoidable reason. My delay was only a few minutes but the official excused himself for the interview. Later, after expansion of the projects, the same official came late for an interview with me so I excused myself for the interview.

I always carry a paper to note down the schedule of meetings and stick to the schedule at any cost."Al-Rajhi continued: I am always keen to strictly adhere to the Islamic principles throughout my life. Once I received an invitation from an Arab government to attend an investment conference there. On the sidelines of the conference, I was invited to take part in a dinner reception. When I reached there, I found a recreational program, which is contrary to our religious customs and traditions, taking place. So I quit the place immediately and, Abdul Aziz Al-Ghorair from the UAE also joined me. Soon minister plenipotentiary rushed to us, and we explained to him that the function is against our Islamic tradition. So he informed us that the recreational party would be cancelled. When they canceled that party, we participated in the dinner.

Tackling crises

Al-Rajhi said: There was a huge fire that gutted down one of my factories managed by my son. When he came to inform me about it, I told him: Say praise be to God. I asked him not to submit any report about the losses to the authorities seeking compensation. In fact, the compensation is from Allah and it is essential for us to be satisfied with What Allah destined for us. Assam Al-Hodaithy, financial director of Al-Watania Poultry, said: "When the fire broke out at the factory, we decided not to hurt Sheikh Al-Rajhi by informing about it at that moment.

Later, when we met him next morning, he told us to shift the factory to another place and remove the debris until completion of reconstruction." There was a similar fire at Al-Watania Poultry project in Egypt. The company incurred losses worth SR 10 million Egyptian pounds. When the concerned factory official contacted Al-Rajhi to inform about the fire, he was surprised to hear an instant reply from him: "AlHamdulillah." 

ref: http://arabnews.com/