what is cochineal

What is carmine? What is cochineal? What is e120?

You may find one of the above ingredients located on the back of a food product you purchase. The ingredient is a red pigment made from the crushed female cochineal insect/beetle. Basically, it’s a dye used for colouring food, made from crushed dried bodies of a female scale insect.

Here is a video explaining what carmine/cochineal/e120 is.


Struggling to pray Namaz

Asalaam Alaykum

You are visiting this page because you really want to perform your salah (5 daily prayers) but you don’t, mainly due to laziness.

There are lots of articles on the Internet which scare us with various hadith which include the punishments of not reading salah. These articles do help, but you read the articles/hadith, become fearful and the next day you forget and move on to your usual routine, and continue to miss your prayers. The Shaitaan is always playing with us.

I’m not going to quote any hadith or the punishments for not reading your salah. All I ask is you take up a 5 week challenge and In Sha Allah you will fall in love with salah.

The Challenge
For the next 5 weeks, (Not including the month of Ramadan, as we perform all of our prayers anyway whilst the Shaitaan is locked up), read your salah every day. No matter what, don’t miss a salah. If you do miss a salah due to being busy at work, make up for it as qaza salah, but ensure you perform your 5 daily prayers. But do try your best to perform your salah on time. In Sha Allah

If you find reading sunnah/nafls prayers difficult, start with your fard namaz and you will introduce your sunnah/nafl prayers as you move on, In Sha Allah. If you’re out, look for a place to perform your salah, but don’t miss your salah. Try to plan salah into your journeys, such as where you will read your salah when you’re out. This is a simple 5 week challenge which In Sha Allah will make you fall in love with salah. You won’t miss a salah ever again. In Sha Allah. It will also change your life, as you will feel at peace knowing that you are praying as the almighty has commanded us in the Qur’an, In Sha Allah.

If you have any other ideas that worked for you, please do comment below. Share the knowledge and gain reward as Sadaqah Jariya, In Sha Allah

May Allah Subhana Wa Talah guide us all and forgive me if I have made any mistakes.

Why are Hadith required?

I would like to break this article down into parts so it’s easier to understand.

What are Hadith?
The two fundamental sources of Islam are the Glorious Qur’an (the word of Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la) and the Sunnah (the example) of the Prophet (peace be upon him). By Sunnah, we mean the actions, sayings and silent permissions or disapproval’s of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).

The Glorious Qur’an, the book of Allah (SunhanawaTa’ala), is the primary source of Islamic Law. The second is the Hadith, which as mentioned above includes the sayings of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). The Hadith also include eye witness reports of all that the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) did on different occasions. The Hadith explains the Qur’anic revelation and gives details regarding certain matters that are briefly mentioned in the Qur’an.

The word “Sunnah” is also used to refer to religious duties that are optional. Here, we are concerned with “Sunnah” in the sense of the recorded sayings (Hadiths) of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In this sense, Hadith is considered to be second to the Glorious Qur’an.

Why do we need Hadith?
It is difficult to understand the Qur’an fully without reference to the Hadith, and it is difficult to explain a Hadith without relating it to the Qur’an. Basically, the Qur’an is the message, while the Hadith is the verbal translation of the message into pragmatic terms, as exemplified by the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), who is our teacher and who Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la)  commanded us to follow as an example, as mentioned in the verse below:

Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad) you have a good example to follow for him who
hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.
(Qur’an (Surah Al-Ahzab, Verse 21)

In the verse above, the almighty Allah (SubhanawaTaa’la) has commanded us to follow the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) as an example. This, therefore, means that those who claim to be believers and followers of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), should see how the Messenger conducted himself. How do we follow the Prophets teachings today? Via the Sunnah/Hadith

The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) set the best example in leadership. He endured along with others every toil and labour that he asked others to endure, and endured better than others; there was no trouble which others might have experienced and he himself did not. He was among those who dug the trench, and endured hunger and other afflictions just as the common Muslims did. He did not leave the battlefront for a moment during the siege nor retreated an inch. The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) was not one of those who would sit back whilst sending his companions forward. He worked as hard throughout his life and his actions have been recorded within Hadith which gives the Muslims the education on how the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) conducted himself throughout his life. The almighty Allah (SubhanawaTaa’la) has commanded the Muslims to follow the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) as an example, and the Hadith allow us to follow the Prophet’s example.

The Prophet’s (Peace Be Upon Him) life is a model for the person who is hopeful of Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la’s) grace and his favours, and who is also mindful that the Day of Judgement will come when his well being will wholly depend on how closely his conduct resembled the conduct and character of the Messenger of Allah in this world.

In which verses does Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la) ask the Muslims to follow the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him)?
There are lots of verses where the almighty has commanded us to follow the prophet (pbuh). See a few of the verses below, but there are more:

Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad) you have a good example to follow for him who
hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.
(Qur’an (Surah Al-Ahzab, Verse 21)

Certainly did Allah confer [great] favor upon the believers when He sent among them a Messenger from themselves, reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom, although they had been before in manifest error. (Surah Al Imran, Verse 164)

And whatever the Messenger has given you – take; and what he has forbidden you – refrain from. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty.
(Surat al-Hashr: Verse 7)

O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result.
(Surat an-Nisa`: 59)

But no, by your Lord, they will not [truly] believe until they make you, [O Muhammad], judge concerning that over which they dispute among themselves and then find within themselves no discomfort from what you have judged and submit in [full, willing] submission.
(Surat an-Nisa`: 65)

It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error.
(Surat al-Ahzab: 36)

The believers` reply, when they are summoned to Allah and His Messenger so that he can judge between them, is to say, “We hear and we obey.” They are ones who are successful.
(Surat al-Nur: Verse 51)

All of these verses show that those who abandoned the Sunnah are false and incompatible with the Glorious Qur’an. Islam is the totality of the Glorious Qur’an and the Prophet`s (Peace Be Upon Him) Sunnah; there is no question of eliminating either one. We require both to lead a good life. Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la) has clearly mentioned within the Qur’an that we must follow the prophet (Peace Be Upon him) and to allow us to follow his example and teachings, we rely on Hadith. The verses also make crystal clear, the Prophet`s (Peace Be Upon Him) Sunnah is an absolute and immaculate source of commands, because it is the way of interpreting, explaining, and applying the Qur’an.

Was the prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) sent to communicate the verses of the Qur’an only?
The duty of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) was not just to communicate the verses of the Qur’an, rather, he was entrusted with the most important task of explaining and illustrating that message. That is the reason why Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la) Himself has commanded the following:

Say: Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, but if you turn away, he (the Prophet) is only responsible for the duty placed on him (i.e. to convey Allah’s Message) and you for that placed on you. If you obey him, you shall be on the right guidance. The Messenger’s duty is only to convey (the message) in a clear way.
An-Nur 24:54

Muslims should be eager to learn and follow the teachings of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) as expressed in Hadith. If we are negligent in this respect, it is we who have to answer before Almighty Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la),

We know that the Almighty Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la) revealed the Glorious Qur’an to his chosen Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). We also know that through the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) we come to hear the word of Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la). We also know that it is the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) himself who can properly explain and demonstrate the precepts within the Glorious Qur’an. Without the required explanations and illustrations given by the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), the Qur’an may be misunderstood and misinterpreted by people. The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) took care to explain and demonstrate to his companions how the Qur’anic verses must be read and understood. That is to say, the importance of Hadith is linked to the importance of the Qur’an.

In the Qur’an, Almighty Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la) commands us not only to obey the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), but also to abide by his decisions , so how do we learn how the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) dealt with disputes at the time? We go to the hadith.

Here is the verse:

But no, by the Lord, they can have no (real) Faith, until they make you (the Prophet] judge in all disputes between them, and find in their souls no resistance against your decisions, but accept them with the fullest conviction. (An-Nisaa’ 4:65)

It is therefore obligatory that we look up to the Prophet’s (Peace Be Upon Him) morals and exemplary character and carry them out in our lives. We can never do so without studying Hadith.

What about those who reject the Sunnah of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him)?
Those who reject the Sunnah of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). They say: “We interpret the Qur’an for ourselves without the need for any clarification by the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).” They turn their backs on the Sunnah, the practical application and implementation of the Qur’an.

The fact is that these people who have abandoned the Sunnah in fact ignore the Qur’ans commandments. That is because the Sunnah is an explanation of the Qur’an and more importantly, the Qur’an orders Muslims to follow it. Almighty Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la) has not only made obeying the Qur’an obligatory, but also obeying the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).

For this reason, Islam can only be practiced together with the Sunnah and Muslims can only apply the Qur’an into real life with its help.

In the verse below, the almighty Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la) asks the Prophet to teach us the Qur’an:

Certainly did Allah confer [great] favor upon the believers when He sent among them a Messenger from themselves, reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom, although they had been before in manifest error.
(Surah Al Imran, Verse 164)

There were verses revealed where people did not understand, and the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) taught them. How do we learn that teaching today? When we are not sure about a verse, we require education from the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). We therefore visit Hadith to allow us to learn what the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him ) taught.

The next question they (who reject the sunnah) may ask is, “But I can learn everything from the Qur’an”.
No doubt, the Qur’an is complete, but for us to understand the Qur’an, we sometimes need to refer to a teacher. For example, you want to become a doctor or Surgeon. You visit University and ask that they provide you with 5 years worth of material/books. You leave University and go home to learn without a teacher. You’re not going to get far and will most likely end up causing lots of problems.

The same applies with the Qur’an. The almighty Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la) has mentioned within the Qur’an to follow the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) as an example and as a teacher, so why do some think it’s OK to pick up the Qur’an without the teachings of the prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).

At this point, you will know by now that in the Glorious Qur’an obedience to the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) is considered as the same as obedience to Allah (swt). Believers are told to take the Glorious Qur’an and the Sunnah as their guides in matters on which they disagree. The following command is given in the Glorious Qur’an:

No, by your Lord, they are not believers until they make you their judge in the disputes that break out between them and then do not resist what you decide and submit themselves [to you] completely.
(Surat an-Nisa`: 65)

Each verse in the Qur’an that deals with obeying the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) states that doing so is obligatory for all believers. That is why the Prophet`s (Peace Be Upon Him) practices are impeccable and are under the protection of Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la). To put it another way, everything in the Sunnah is, in essence, based upon revelation.

See verse below:

Nor does he speak from whim. It is nothing but Revelation revealed.
(Surat al-Najm: 3-4)


Those who are unable to understand the importance of the Sunnah and who criticise it, despite what has been related above, are acting directly against the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).

Muslims can only understand and discharge their duties as Allah`s (SuhabhanawaTa’la) servants by studying the Prophet`s (Peace Be Upon Him) practices. The source of information for this is the great Hadith compilations of Muslim, al-Bukhari, and other classical-era hadith scholars. The vast collections of his words, deeds, and personal attributes, particularly those displayed during his prophet hood, were collected with great care and hard work by narrators or reporters whom scholars consider reliable.

We also rely on hadith to be able to explain verses of the Qur’an further. For example, the almighty Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la) commands us to pray Salah/Namaz. But it was the prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) who taught us how to pray. Some may argue that the Qur’an mentions you should kneel and bow, but what do we read? Is it just kneel and bow and we’re done praying? Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la) commands us to pay zakaat (Charity) to feed the prayer, but the sayings of the prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) educate us on how much we need to pay. The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) was not only sent to us to reveal the Qur’an from the almighty Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la) but he was also sent to teach and explain each verse to us, as mentioned in the verse below:

And We have also sent down unto you (O Muhammad) the Dhikr [reminder and the advice (i.e. the Quran)], that you may explain clearly to men what is sent down to them, and that they may give thought.
Al-Nahl 16:44 

I hope this article was of interest to you and may the almighty Allah (SuhabhanawaTa’la) forgive for any errors.

Umrah Essentials List

A list of essentials based on my trip to Umrah, AlhamdoLillah

Ladies Umrah essentials can be found at: http://muslimahinsolace.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/what-every-muslimah-should-take-to.html

Require a list of Hajj Essentials?
There is a list of Hajj Essentials for brothers and sisters, click here

Important: If you are not aware of the Umrah process, please carry out your research, so you know what you can and can’t do when in the state of ihraam.

  • Ihram x 1 (I took two, as i kept one as a spare in case the first got dirty)
  • Slippers x 1 – Ensure these are suitable whilst in Ihram and comfortable. I took a pair of croc slippers which were really comfortable. Click here for a picture of Croc Slippers
  • Belt or some type of secure bag to store mobile, money etc.
  • Clothing
  • Trainers
  • Vaseline, for between the thighs (men). Trust me, some of you may need it, as you can experience soreness between the thighs whilst walking in ihraam. You’ll be thanking me for it 🙂
  • Small water spray bottle (Recommended for spraying on face to cool down)
  • Essential Medication you take on a daily basis
  • Additional drugs such as Paracetamol, diarrhoea tablets, Dioraltye sachets (excellent for replacing lost body salts), cough drops/medicine, energy tablets.
  • E45 cream or any other cream for cracked heels. The chemists at Saudi sell a really good cream for cracked heels which was really effective when i went for Hajj, so you could purchase from there.
  • Toiletries (Shampoo, Shower Gel, Tooth paste, tooth brush, razors, trimmer, scissors, comb, brush etc), When in the state of ihram, use unscented products
  • Tea bags if you only use your favourite tea :). I loved the Lipton tea available at most Saudi shops.
  • Towels (Most hotels provide towels, check with your tour guide)
  • Umrah guide, Dua books, Pocket Qur’an
  • A cheap phone (Dual band). Buy yourself a Saudi sim whilst you are there. Recommended that all family members purchase one and you store each others contact numbers. You can also take your smart phone along with you to connect to hotel wifi.
  • Phone charger
  • Spare glasses (if necessary)
  • Deodorant/perfume if required
  • Pain relief spray or deep heat rub (for muscular pain). Just incase it’s required but again the chemists there offer this and employees are mainly english speakers.
  • First aid kit
  • Nail cutter
  • Multi Vitamins
  • Face mask (May be useful in a breakout, or prevention). Purchase the ones used by surgeons
  • Ensure you have had the required injections and take the injections certificate with you. Most of these injections last 3 plus years so visit your GP to confirm as you may have had the injections if you have visited Saudi Arabia recently. Best to double check with GP
  • A pump bag to place your slippers or sandals in whilst praying. Most umrah/hajj tour operators will provide a pump bag.
  • Travel adaptors as mains in Saudi are 2 pin
  • Emergency contact numbers and worth keeping a copy with each family member when out and about. Also worth keeping hotel card with you. Always inform each family member of a place to meet, like at a gate number, in the event you are separated.
  • Photocopy of passport
  • Suitcase locks + key
  • Make sure you have all the travel documents necessary before you leave for Umrah  (Passport, Airline Ticket, Hotel Voucher, Transport Vouchers or tickets etc)
  • Money
  • Some will take a small kettle/iron along with them. Washing and ironing services are provided by most hotels so no need really, unless you want to save the cost on ironing services. Some tour guides offer wash and ironing services as part of Umrah package so worth checking.
  • Alarm Clock or use alarm on mobile
  • Drinking water bottle. Avoid tapped water, stick to zam zam water 🙂
  • Do some research into Umrah. Very important

Good luck and enjoy your amazing journey InSha Allah, and please keep me in your dua’s. Stay calm as patience is tested. It is an amazing journey and you will come back wanting to go back again so enjoy your time there. Please remember me in your dua’s. Jazakh’Allah

If you feel there is additional items to add, please comment below

Please don’t forget to share this list using the social media buttons below.

Difference between shifting and non shifting hajj

Non-Shifting Package

Example: You arrive at Jeddah Airport, you travel to Makkah and are booked into a hotel until the days of Hajj. You go to Mina day 1 directly from your hotel in Makkah. Most of your luggage remains at your Makkah hotel. You take along essentials required for staying at Mina (a few days and nights), Arafat (during day)  and Muzdalifah (during night). When Hajj is completed you return to your hotel at Makkah and stay there until you set off for Madinah. The advantage being that you are close to the Haram so can easily get there to perform your prayers and tawaaf. The price of a non shifting package is slightly higher.

You don’t have to transfer all your luggage to Azizya which is where some tour guides will transfer you to. Azizya is quite far from the Haram so you’ll need to walk a distance to get to the Haram. You’ll most likely be walking as transport is in demand.


Shifting Package:

Example: When the days of Hajj arrive, you may be transferred to Azizya a few days before and then to Mina. When Hajj is completed, you stay at Azizya, but depending on your package you may be shifted a couple of times. If you are energetic and can walk between 30-60 mins to perform your salah at the Haram, it’s ok. It’s not a short walk though and pilgrims struggle to walk to the Haram 5 times a day. Also, check with your tour operator on how many people will be housed in one room at azizya hotel, as there can be 12 people sharing a room and two rooms can be sharing a toilet.

You may end up spending less time in the Haram with the shifting package due to the distance of the Haram from azizya hotel. This is going to be a journey of a life time so plan it properly.

Shifting packages can be slightly cheaper.

Confirm with your tour operator if they will provide transport to the Haram whilst at azizya. How long you’ll be staying at Azizya. How many people sharing a room. How many times you will be shifted whilst at Makkah.

When you set off for Madinah, you’ll stay at the one hotel until you leave for home. Shifting only happens whilst at Makkah, but do double check with your tour operator/group leader.

If you have any further questions, please check with your tour operator.

Help The Homeless UK

I was walking through town centre today, rushing to get to my destination due to the freezing weather. It was cold even though I was dressed with warm clothing.

I walked past a homeless man who was sat outside Greggs with a blanket wrapped around him. I stopped and asked him if he wanted something to eat. He replied, “someone has already purchased me breakfast, but thank you”. I asked if I could get him anything else, he replied “a cup of tea please”. I got him a cup of tea from Greggs and a pack of biscuits.

I thought about this homeless man all day. Thinking I am lucky to have a shelter over my head, heating and food.

On my return, later in the afternoon, he was still sat there, so I purchased him another cup of tea, a bottle of orange juice and some food.

Please remember the homeless when you walk past. Most are ignored because we may not believe they are genuine. If you think that, purchase them some food or a drink.

The next time you walk past a homeless person or someone who is begging, please think about them. We have everything today, it could all be gone tomorrow.

If we all do a little to help the homeless in the UK, we can at least help feed them every day.