Join the mailing list

Click here to read our privacy policy


Subscribe to emel's RSS Feed Subscribe to emel's RSS Feed


On Mount Nur with Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra

On Mount Nur with Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra

Issue 6 Jun / Jul 2004

First Published on July/August 2004

To access the issue page, click here 


Over fourteen hundred years ago, in the rugged mountain of Nur on the rim of Mecca, the Prophet Muhammad used to retreat to a cave during the holy month of Ramadan. In utter seclusion, he would devote himself to meditation and spiritual pursuit. This profound spiritual sanctuary eventually culminated in the miraculous revelations of the Qur’an.

Read in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created -Created man, out of a clot of congealed blood:Read! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful-He Who taught the use of the Pen taught man that which he knew not.(Al-‘Alaq 96: 1-5)

Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra mentally retraces those steps to thepeak of Mount Nur to share with us his intimate thoughts on the divine message of Islam and inspiring personal experiences. Shaykh Ibrahim was born in Malawi and came to England at the age of eighteen to study medicine but was soon taken overby the overwhelming desire to change the course of his life topursue the knowledge of Islam. He studied at Dar al-`Ulum andthe prestigious Al-Azhar in Eygpt and at S.O.A.S, University of London. He now runs a Madrasah for five to sixteen year olds and is engaged in inter-faith work. He lectures in schools, colleges, universities and churches, as well as regularly contributing totelevision, radio and print media. In his participation of the Radio 4 programme, Beyond Belief, he attempts to dispel misconceptions regarding such hot issues as Jihad, Hijab and polygamy.


If On Mount Nur is an imaginary journey ofspiritual enlightenment, what experiences initiated your life journey as a seeker and sharer of knowledge?



I think it would have to be my experiences withmy teachers at madrasah from the age of five.Learning the Arabic script and eventually being able to recite the Qur’an was the greatest gift they could have given me. I still remember vividly the day I completed reciting the complete Qur’an for the first time. It was a tradition in our madrasah to mark this achievement by sharing sweets with everyone…but not my father, he was so overjoyed and proud of the first of his children to complete the Qur’an; he himself was not able to read a singleword of it. He decided that sweets were not goodenough. Instead, I proudly distributed chocolates to the whole madrasah. I must admit that I kept what was left and enjoyed it for days afterwards. I was hooked and continued as best as I could, enjoying a lot of success. When most boys and girls left from the age of 15 or so, I continued even when I was in the second year of my A levels. My teachers encouraged us to take on responsibilities from a very young age. At the age of seventeen I was told to organise and chair the annual end of year performance and awards ceremony, as well as coach all the other participants. I was also given the opportunity to deliver a talk for salat al-Jumu`ah. I have never looked back since and decided that rather than study medicine, I would study Islam at Daral-`Ulum. Allah then guided me to Al-Azhar and to The University of London. I am still a student of Islam and try to share what little I know with Muslims and non-Muslims alike.


What book or person has been most influential to your life?


It has to be the Qur’an, the collections of Hadith and the Messenger Muhammad. The joy I feel when reading the Qur’an, knowing that the Lord of all creation is addressing me, a mere mortal. I am awe-struck by His Powers, His Mercy and Kindness, and I am always trying to fathom the fact that He loves us more than our own parents love us. When reading the Ahadith and the life of Muhammad, it is utterly inspiring what he did for humanity, his concern for all, and the hurt he felt when Allah was disobeyed. He is a true example to us all in the forgiveness he taught and the respect he showed to others – even for the dead enemy’s body. He is indeed a special mercy sent to us by Allah, ‘Now hath come unto you a Messenger from amongst yourselves: it grieves him that ye should perish: ardently anxious is he over you: to the believers is he most kind and merciful.’ (Al-Tawbah 9:128).



As a fountain of knowledge to others, how do you replenish that resource?


I am definitely NOT a fountain of knowledge but I do pray that Allah makes me one! I like to sit in the company of the ‘ulama and scholars to learn from them. I am always asking questions and I try to read as much as I can. I also learn a lot from children, adults and students, both Muslim and non-Muslim, through their questions.


If you were to choose three short selections from the Qur’an to take on this imaginary journey to Mount Nur, what would they be?


‘Say: Whether ye hide what is in your hearts or reveal it, Allah knows it all: He knows what is in the heavens and what is on earth. And Allah has power over all things.’ 

‘On the Day when every soul will be confronted with all the good it has done, and all the evil it has done, it will wish there were a great distance between it and its evil. But Allah cautions you (to remember) Him. And Allah is full of kindness to those that serve Him.’

‘Say (O, Muhammad!): If ye do love Allah, follow me: Allah will love you and forgive your sins; for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’

(Al `Imran 3: 29-31)


This is a reminder that whatever I do, good or bad, Allah knows about it. In the akhirah (afterlife), all my deeds will be presented to me and I will wish I had not disobeyed Allah. In order to obey Him always, I should love Him more than anything. If I want Him to love me, then I have to follow the sunnah of Muhammad (pbuh) and Allah will forgive me. The last few words ‘Allah is most forgiving, most merciful’ fill me with hope despite my sins.

'O ye who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer: for Allah is with those who patiently persevere.'

'And say not of those who are slain in the way of Allah: “They are dead.” Nay, they are living, though ye perceive (it) not.'

'Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere – Who say, when afflicted with calamity: “To Allah we belong, and to him is our return” – They are those on whom (descend) blessings from their Lord, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance.' (Al-Baqarah 2: 153-157)

I would also take these verses because they remind me that I cannot achieve or accomplish anything without Allah’s help. I need to seek His help through exercising patience and through salah (prayer). I know Allah is with me on my journey. The second verse reminds me of the need for sacrifice, even the ultimate sacrifice of one’s life in Allah’s way. One should always be prepared to make this sacrifice, knowing that such people are alive with their Lord. The third verse tells me that the journey of life will not always be a smooth one. The road is mapped with tests and tribulations; fear, hunger, loss or decrease in wealth, family and sustenance. Through all this, the glad tidings are for those who are patient and acknowledge that we are from Allah and to Him is our return. Such are the blessed and the guided.

'Verily those who say, ‘Our Lord is Allah,’ and remain firm (on that Path) – on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.' 'Such shall be Companions of the Garden, dwelling therein (for aye): a recompense for their (good) deeds.'

'We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents: in pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth. The carrying of the (child) to his weaning is (a period of) thirty months. At length, when he reaches the age of full strength and attains forty years, he says, ‘O my Lord! Grant me that I may be grateful for Thy favour which Thou hast bestowed upon me, and upon both my parents, and that I may work righteousness such as Thou mayest approve; and be gracious to me in my issue. Truly have I turned to thee and truly do I bow (to Thee) in Islam.’

'Such are they from whom we shall accept the best of their deeds and pass by their ill deeds: (they shall be) among the Companions of the Garden: a promise of truth, which was made to them (in this life).'

(Al `Imran 46: 13-16)

I would take these verses because the first verse reminds me to place my trust in Allah, then I have nothing to fear and jannah is the final destination. Verse 15 reminds me of the most important beings in my life after Allah and Muhammad…my parents. My mother carried me for nine months, gave birth to me in pain, nursed me; how could I ever repay her and my father? How can I neglect them now when I am strong and healthy, and they are aging and need me? I thank Allah for His blessings upon me, my parents and pray for my own wife and children on this journey and always. 

Bookmark this

Add to DIGG
Add to
Stumble this
Share on Facebook

Share this

Send to a Friend
Link to this

Printer Friendly

Print in plain text




Leave a comment


Sign in or Register to leave a comment