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Feb 28, 2011

Self Esteem : Win The Lucky Ummah Award



By Anum Ali

The quest to find your self-worth has its essence; its success, in only one answer. This answer is to the question, “What makes you special?” and if it is answered with a concrete, undoubted answer then you can celebrate your existence because you would find your self-worth. And the answer to an even more specific question, “What makes the Muslim ummah special?” is easy. It is the miracle of the glorious Quran. The mere realization of the valuable, sacred gifts we have been given directly by Allah through this beautiful scripture would boost self-esteem to astonishing levels.

The Best for the Best Man; human beings in general, have been titled Ashraf ul Makhlooqat i.e. Best Among Creations. And it is only towards the best that Allah subhaana wa ta’aala sent His direct word. The blessed prophets, from Prophet Adam, Ibrahim (Abraham), Ishaaq (Issac), Yaqoub (Jacob), Yousuf (Joseph), to prophets Daud (David), Musa (Moses) and Isa (Jesus), may peace be upon them all, and finally, our beloved Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, were all sent to man. There are other creations as well, such as the animals, the plants, the jinns, etc. but none of these were gifted with the word of Allah subhaana wa ta’aala. Only man received the noble scriptures; the Book of Psalms, Torah, Bible and the Quran.

Furthermore, what sets the Muslim ummah a rank higher in esteem is that we have been gifted with the most pure of words from our Creator, Allah subhaana wa ta’aala that He has protected from any possible alteration, unlike the previous scriptures that were changed by human hands. The Quran affirms the previous scriptures and corrects the changes made within them. It comes then as the final definite truth that no human hand can change. With this Quran, leadership has been passed from the Children of Israel to the Muslim ummah. When we hold this book; the glorious Quran in our hands, we should stop for a second and think about what we are holding. It is the biggest prestige symbol; greater than any known award in the world that we could ever receive.

A Prestigious HeritageHave you ever observed what makes the royalty so royal and prestigious? Why are the kings and princes and queens and princesses held in high regard? There is always a royal past they take pride in and that reinstates their royal heritage. If you think about it, the Muslim ummah too has a very prestigious lineage to take pride in. We too are, Alhamdulillah, no less than sacred royalty. [From the very beginning of time, from our origin from our primal parents; the prophet Adam alayhi salaam and his wife Hawwa (Eve) alayhaa salaam, we share a sacred bond with them and the chain of prophets who all descended from them.]

The Quran narrates the story of our glorified past, the beautiful present we live today as the ummah of Rasulullah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and the blissful eternal future that has been promised to us in Paradise if we live truthfully.

Heroic Mentors and Spiritual GuidesSelf-esteem is like a flower that blossoms best when watered with exemplary mentoring and nurtured with spiritual guidance. The Quran is the ultimate provision of spiritual nutrition. The stories of the prophets and their divine lives mentioned in the verses of the Quran are actually heroic legends of the faithful; how they did not let their guard down to Satan and his human accomplices. One could immerse oneself in these truthful tales and extract valuable gems of self esteem to stud his or her character with.

There is the story of Prophet Abraham alayhi salaam who did not bow down before the king who ordered him to be cast into the fire in order to test his prophetic miracle. And Prophet Moses alayhi salaam too did not kneel before the Pharaoh who compelled Moses to prostrate before him and accept his false godliness. There is the beautiful tale of Prophet Joseph (Yousuf) alayhi salaam who chose imprisonment in the dungeons of Egypt over surrenderring his pious self-worth to the seduction of the minister’s wife. Years later, when Prophet Yousuf alayhi salaam was released, he demanded that the case be reopened and the perpetrator identified so as to officially restore his damaged honor. This, he demanded to be done before he took on the appointed role as Egypt’s Minister of Finance. Such are the stories of the righteous and how they stood firm for their worth as the chosen ones of Allah subhaana wa ta’aala.

The Science of LifeThe Quran is not only about stories but is a book of lessons; a manual for the Muslim Ummah to follow in order to lead a successful and prestigious life. The limitations of halal living are basically wise strategies of life in themselves. Each lesson learnt, adds to our quota of knowledge and most definitely the possessor of knowledge feels his own worth within his heart. Allah subhaana wa ta’aala teaches us, through the Quran, ways to honor our existence. Speaking for oneself, speaking nothing but the truth to keep the soul worthy, feeling nothing but the good for oneself and the other to keep the heart clean and worthy, and dealing in truthful ways to keep one’s character worthy of respect; it teaches us all that is needed to increase our self-worth. If you understand the wisdom of Allah subhaana wa ta’aala in His words in the Quran, you would definitely gain access to the secrets of living and the ideology of a successful life.

Harbinger of Good NewsAllah subhaana wa ta’aala mentions the abundant bounties and luxuries He has provided for us in this world to enjoy in the Quran. There are mentions of foods and fruits and drinks and mates that have been made lawful unto us so that we may enjoy the life of this world. We’ve been gifted and we, the Best Among All Creations (Ashraf ul Makhlooqat) are indeed worthy in deserving these gifts. He considers us worthy of even greater gifts in the Hereafter i.e. the life in Paradise. So, we should know our worth. He promises us eternal life of happiness and enjoyment if we remain truthful. And there are gardens under which rivers flow that have been guaranteed for us if we stay loyal to His word. We are to transform ourselves so as to make ourselves worthy of these gifts. And so, developing of self-esteem includes making oneself worthy of Paradise.

Effective Means of Winning The Lucky Ummah AwardThe Quran is the greatest award a person could win for himself. From its reading to its analysis and exegesis, reflecting upon its beautiful narratives, to its implementation in practical life; all these result in boosting one’s self-esteem. And only by developing a close relationship with this beautiful scripture can you win this award, inshaAllah.

Having comprehensively spoken about the beauty of the Quran, here are some clear-cut routines and strategies you can adopt to increase your self-esteem by loving the Quran, inshaAllah.

Develop the habit of starting each day with the recitation and translation of Quran’s verses.
Result: It would give you a “worthy” start to your day.

Read the exegesis (tafseer) of the Quran.
Result:
It would increase your knowledge about Allah subhaana wa ta’aala’s word and make you aware of the right and the wrong. This empowerment of knoweldge will boost your self-esteem inshaAllah.

Make a habit of reflecting upon the morals found in the heroic stories of righteous prophets mentioned in the Quran.
Result: There are great lessons, as mentioned earlier, for you to take examples from. You can learn how to value your own worth and also fight in your defense should somebody attack it.

Make du’aa when you recite the word of Allah subhaana wa ta’aala
Result: When you recite the Quran, you connect with your Creator, and at that moment, I believe, He holds you close too. This is your chance to make du’aa for Him to increase your belief, your virtuosity, and your self-worth i.e. the value of yourself in your own eyes.

I'd love to hear your views on this article. Please tell me in the comments section below :)

Feb 25, 2011

POEM: A short poem regarding death



It was early in the morning at four,
When death knocked upon a bedroom door,

Who is there? The sleeping one cried.
I'm Malkul Mawt, let me inside.

At once, the man began to shiver,
As one sweating in deadly fever,

He shouted to his sleeping wife,
Don't let him take away my life.

Please go away, O Angel of Death!
Leave me alone; I'm not ready yet.

My family on me depends,
Give me a chance, O please prepense!

The angel knocked again and again,
Friend! I'll take your life without a pain,

This your soul Allah requires,
I come not with my own desire.

Bewildered, the man began to cry,
O Angel I'm so afraid to die,

I'll give you gold and be your slave,
Don't send me to the unlit grave.

Let me in, O Friend! The Angel said,
Open the door; get up from your bed,

If you do not allow me in,
I will walk through it, like a Jinn.

The man held a gun in his right hand,
Ready to defy the Angel's stand.

I'll point my gun, towards your head,
You dare come in; I'll shoot you dead.

By now the Angel was in the room,
Saying, O Friend! Prepare for your doom.

Foolish man, Angels never die,
Put down your gun and do not sigh.

Why are you afraid! Tell me O man,
To die according to Allah's plan?

Come smile at me, do not be grim,
Be Happy to return to Him.

O Angel! I bow my head in shame,
I had no time to take Allah's Name.

From morning till dusk, I made my wealth,
Not even caring for my health.

Allah's command I never obeyed,
Nor five times a day I ever prayed.

A Ramadan came and a Ramadan went,
But no time had I to repent.

The Hajj was already FARD on me,
But I would not part with my money.

All charities I did ignore,
Taking usury more and more.

O Angel! I appeal to you,
Spare my life for a year or two.

The Laws of Quran I will obey,
I'll begin SALAT this very day.

My Fast and Hajj, I will complete,
And keep away from self-conceit.

I will refrain from usury,
And give all my wealth to charity,

Wine and wenches I will detest,
Allah's oneness I will attest.

We Angels do what Allah demands,
We cannot go against His commands.

Death is ordained for everyone,
Father, mother, daughter or son.

I'm afraid this moment is your last,
Now be reminded, of your past,

I do understand your fears,
But it is now too late for tears.

You lived in this world, two score and more,
Never did you, your people adore.

Your parents, you did not obey,
Hungry beggars, you turned away.

Your two ill-gotten, female offspring,
In nightclubs, for livelihood they sing.

Instead of making more Muslims,
You made your children non-Muslims.

You ignored the Mua'dhin Adhaan,
Nor did you read the Holy Quran.

Breaking promises all your life,
Backbiting friends, and causing strife.

From hoarded goods, great profits you made,
And your poor workers, you underpaid.

Horses and cards were your leisure,
Moneymaking was your pleasure.

You ate vitamins and grew more fat,
With the very sick, you never sat.

A pint of blood you never gave,
Which could a little baby save

O Human, you have done enough wrong,
You bought good properties for a song.

When the farmers appealed to you,
You did not have mercy, it is true.

Paradise for you? I cannot tell,
Undoubtedly you will dwell in hell.

There is no time for you to repent,
I'll take your soul for which I am sent.

The ending however, is very sad,
Eventually the man became mad

With a cry, he jumped out of bed,
And suddenly, he fell down dead.

O Reader! Take moral from here,
You never know, your end may be near

Change your living and make amends
For heaven, on your deeds depends.

If this poem inspires you,
It can help someone too.

*********************************************
What do you have for your END?
Take Care with: The END

The End
* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I'd love to hear your views on this poem. Please tell me in the comments section below :)

Feb 23, 2011

MEMORIZATION TECHNIQUES & ADVICES



Why You Should Do Hifdh

As Allaah Subhaanahu wa ta`Aalaa tells us in the Qur’aan, we have been created to worship Him (alone).[1] As such, our every action should be done seeking to earn His Pleasure. You should know that the Qur’aan is the Speech of Allaah and that it was retained in the hearts and memories of those whom you should seek to emulate; namely, our Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi was-sallam), his companions and the pious predecessors. There are many aayaat and ahaadeeth which highlight the importance of learning the Qur’aan, reciting it, acting according to it, and reflecting on its meanings.

From the Qur’aan:

اللَّهُ نَزَّلَ أَحْسَنَ الْحَدِيثِ كِتَاباً مُّتَشَابِهاً مَّثَانِيَ تَقْشَعِرُّ مِنْهُ جُلُودُ الَّذِينَ يَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ ثُمَّ تَلِينُ جُلُودُهُمْ وَقُلُوبُهُمْ إِلَى ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ ذَلِكَ هُدَى اللَّهِ يَهْدِي بِهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَمَن يُضْلِلْ اللَّهُ فَمَا لَهُ مِنْ هَادٍ

Allaah has sent down the best statement, a Book (this Qur'aan), its parts resembling each other in goodness and truth, oft-repeated. The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it (when they recite it or hear it). Then their skin and their heart soften to the remembrance of Allaah. That is the guidance of Allaah. He Guides therewith whom He pleases and whomever Allaah sends astray, for him there is no guide. (Surah Az-Zumar 39:23)


إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِرَ اللَّهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَإِذَا تُلِيَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُهُ زَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَاناً وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ

The believers are only those who, when Allaah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses (this Qur'aan) are recited unto them, they (i.e. the Verses) increase their Faith; and they put their trust in their Lord (Alone); (Al-Anfal 8:2)
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءتْكُم مَّوْعِظَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَشِفَاء لِّمَا فِي الصُّدُورِ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ

O mankind! There has come to you a good advice from your Lord (i.e. the Qur'aan, ordering all that is good and forbidding all that is evil), and a healing for that (disease of ignorance, doubt, hypocrisy and differences, etc.) in your breasts, - a guidance and a mercy (explaining lawful and unlawful things, etc.) for the believers. (Yunus 10:57)


وَلَقَدْ يَسَّرْنَا الْقُرْآنَ لِلذِّكْرِ فَهَلْ مِن مُّدَّكِرٍ

And We have indeed made the Qur'aan easy to understand and remember, then is there any that will remember (or receive admonition)? (Al-Qamar 54:17)
From the Ahaadeeth:

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلّم said, "Keep on reciting the Qur'aan, for, by Him in Whose Hand my life is, Qur'aan runs away (is forgotten) faster than camels that are released from their tying ropes." [Al-Bukhaaree, Book of the Virtues of the Qur'aan]
An-Nawwas bin Sam`an (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) saying, "The Qur'aan and its people who applied it, will be brought on the Day of Resurrection preceded with Soorah Al-Baqarah and Soorah Aal-`Imraan arguing on behalf of those who applied them.'' [Muslim]

The Prophet (Sallallahu `alayhi was-sallam) said: “Whoever reads one letter of the Book of Allaah will have one hasanah (reward) for doing so, and every hasanah will be multiplied by 10. I do not say that ‘alif, laam, meem’ is one letter, but ‘alif’ is a letter, ‘laam’ is a letter and ‘meem’ is a letter.’” [at-Tirmidhee - classed as hasan]

`Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al-`Aas (May Allaah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, "The one who was devoted to the Qur'aan will be told on the Day of Resurrection: ‘Recite and ascend (in ranks) as you used to recite when you were in the world. Your rank will be at the last Aayah you recite.’'' [Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi].

‘Aa’ishah (May Allaah be pleased with her) relates that the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) said: "Verily the one who recites the Qur’aan beautifully, smoothly, and precisely, will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels. As for the one who recites with difficulty, stammering or stumbling through its verses, then for him is two rewards.” [Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]
When you understand the importance and merits of reading and memorizing the Qur’aan, you will be motivated to achieve your goal of memorizing the Words of Allaah. Indeed it is the way of the companions and the way of the Salaf of this Ummah.

The Importance of Tajweed
Striving to recite the Qur’aan with correct pronunciation is an obligation upon each and every one of us. The science of tajweed is very noble as this is the way that Jibreel (`alayhis-salaam) taught the Qur’aan to our Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi was-sallam), and the way that he taught it to his companions. Those who are skilled in the recitation of the Qur`aan have been given a high status as they will have the reward of being in the company of the obedient and noble angels (Bukhaaree and Muslim). For this reason, you should learn to read the lesson (suwar/aayaat) that you are memorizing with proper tajweed. You can listen to a skilled Qaari (recitor) in order to learn the correct pronunciation. This can also aid non-Arabic speakers to ascertain places where one can stop. It should be noted however that this advice is not intended for one to be unnatural in his recitation by trying to be ‘another recitor’. Additionally, if you are able to recite to a qualified teacher, the problem of memorizing with tajweed errors would be avoided inshaa’Allaah, and you would not be ignorant of the correct pronunciation which you could then work to implement and apply to your new hifdh lessons and recitation.


How to Memorize & How Much to Memorize
As Muslims who are sincerely striving to please Allaah, hifdh of Qur’aan should be a part of our daily lives. We are all at different levels of knowledge of Arabic and the Qur’aan, so one person’s daily portion may vary from another’s. The guidelines of Al-Haafidhoon wal-Hafidhaat program are that you memorize at least one aayah per day. However, students who are proficient in Arabic and Tajweed are encouraged and expected to do more. The important thing is that you specify a daily portion and do not decrease from it. Decreasing from your daily set portion means that the Shaytaan is whispering and then you will start claiming laziness. If you are able to participate in a Hifdh class and/or have a study partner with whom you compete, it will keep you motivated and consistent.

You should also keep a chart so that you can remind yourself how much you do on a daily basis and it would also enable you to see the days when you lapsed in your daily portion. (Click to download your customizable blank charts). Having a set daily portion allows you to set a target goal for your completion of hifdhul-Qur’aan. If you are consistent in memorizing one line each day, you will complete the entire Qur’aan in 24 years. Whatever you set for your daily portion, you will find that when you persevere with it, it will become easier and easier for you to increase upon it, by Allaah’s Mercy.

A program to memorize the Qur’aan in 2.5 years
One model program (ideal for one who is proficient) is to complete hifdh of the entire Qur’aan in 2.5 years by memorizing one page daily, half after Salaatul-Fajr and half in the evening (spending approximately one hour in each sitting). You should also spend twenty minutes reviewing five pages before the current page being memorized daily, as well as stick to what you have memorized and recite it in your salaah. No matter what your level, it will serve best to memorize after Fajr or early in the morning when the brain is soft and fresh.

If the aayah is long, you should break it up into smaller sections for the purpose of memorizing it and then say the entire aayah several times by connecting the parts as well as applying the correct stops. Reading a tafseer or translation is recommended as it would aid you in sequencing the aayaat. For example, you may know an aayah well but are unable to recollect which aayah comes after it; by knowing what Allaah is speaking about this would aid in sequencing the aayaat in your memory.

Ways to Retain What Has Been Memorized
There are some simple techniques you can apply to help you retain what you have memorized. First and foremost you must ask Allaah to help you and be confident that He answers your du’aa. You should use your time spent for memorizing wisely, and remember that reciting Qur’aan is a superb way to remember your Rabb. When you want to do hifdh, try to sit in the same place each time – a place that is free from distractions and people walking hither and thither. Read from the same Mushaf each time so that you may have a mental picture of the words on the page that you have memorized. Whether you use tapes, CD’s, iPods or the computer, ensure that you listen as well as read and these would aid in making your hifdh well rooted. It is important to pay attention to those aayaat which resemble one another. Ideally, the teacher who you choose should remind you of the similar aayaat when you recite your hifdh to him/her. For example, if you arrive at aayah 61 in Soorah Al-Baqarah and then when reading Aali `Imraan you come to aayah 21 or 112, you should be able to cite the semblance in the words. If the teacher does not point out the mutaashaabihaat (resembling verses), then you should try to read some books which deal with this subject matter. It is also recommended that you read your hifdh in your salaah as it would aid in reinforcing what you have memorized. Ideally you should memorize with the verses flowing smoothly in your memory. If there is problem sequencing the aayaat, then you should spend some more time reviewing and Inshaa’Allaah the little hiccups will be ironed out with more and more reviews.


How to Review and How Often to Review

In the model program mentioned above, it was advised to review five pages before memorizing one page. Whether you are memorizing one page a day or one aayah a day, it is essential that you review a portion of your hifdh every day. The review is an indispensable component of your hifdh program that makes the verses flow smoothly in your memory and effortlessly from your tongue. A particularly effective method of reviewing is to recite your hifdh in the Tahajjud prayer. You can have the Mushaf open and set in a place where you can glance at it so that if you stumble on a word, you may look at it on the page. You can do this in all your voluntary prayers repeating the portion in each raka’h until it flows smoothly.

These were some benefits gleaned from several books that deal with memorizing the Qur’aan as well as personal advices received from our hifdh and tajweed teachers. You may find the books listed under Our Sources. We hope it will benefit you. And Allaah Ta`Aalaa knows best.

[1] Adh-Dhaariyaat 51/56

I'd love to hear your views on this article. Please tell me in the comments section below :)

Feb 22, 2011

Five Categories of People Who Pray



Author: Shaykhul Islaam Ibnul Qayyim

The first: The category of the oppressor to himself, the negligent one, one who is deficient in performing ablution for it, negligent with its appointed time periods, its boundaries and its pillars.


The second: One who preserves it appointed time periods, its boundaries, its outward pillars and ablution for it. However, he forsakes striving against his own self from whisperings and thinking to himself, and so is preoccupied with whisperings and thoughts.


The third: One who preserves its appointed time periods, its pillars as well as strives against himself in repelling whisperings and distracting thoughts that overcome him, he is busy in striving against his enemy in order to prevent him from stealing his prayer, he is in prayer as well as Jihaad.


The fourth: One whom when he stands for prayer perfects its rights, its pillars and its boundaries. His heart is occupied with preserving its boundaries and preventing anything of it being lost, rather all his attention is directed to performing it as it should be, in its most complete and perfect form, his heart is occupied with the prayer and worshiping his Lord the Elevated with it.


The fifth: One who performs the prayer like the previous person, but in addition to this, he has taken his heart and presented it to his Lord. He looks at his Lord with his heart, fully concerned with Him, in utmost obedience out of love and reverence for Him, it is as if he sees and witnesses his Lord. All distracting thoughts and whisperings fade away and the veil between him and his Lord is removed. The difference between this person in his prayer and others, is greater and better than all that is between the heavens and earth, he is fully occupied and overjoyed with his Lord in his prayer.


The first category is punished, the second is held accountable, the third is pardoned, the fourth is rewarded and the fifth is brought close to his Lord, because he gains a portion of what made the prayer a delight to him. For whoever is delighted with his prayer in the life of this world, will be delighted by being close to his Lord in the afterlife as well as being delighted with his Lord in this life, and whoever is delighted with Allaah, everything would be delighted with him, and whoever is not delighted with Allaah the Elevated, his soul will be torn apart for the life of this world in loss.

It is narrated that when a servant stands for prayer, Allaah the Glorified says; “Remove the veil.”, and if the servant turns away He says: “Replace it.”

This ‘turning away’ has been explained as the turning of the heart away from Allaah the Mighty to other than Him. So if he turns away, the veil is replaced between him and his Lord and Shaytaan enters and presents worldly affairs to him, he shows them to him in the image of a woman. But if he turns with his heart to Allaah and does not turn away, Shaytaan would not be able to come between Allaah and that heart, he only enters if the veil is replaced. If he returns to Allaah the Elevated with his heart, the Shaytaan would escape, and if he turns away, the Shaytaan would return, such is his state with his enemy in prayer.

May Allah make us from the last and most virtuous group (i.e. the fifth). Aameen

Reference: Al Waabil as Sayyib : Vol. 1 P. 138

Feb 21, 2011

POEM: Hijaab



by Amal Milaa Filza


Telling me I'm too young,
I ain't no adult,
I'm not ready for it,
might even regret it,
won't get accepted.
Now I'm getting doubts,
maybe it's true what they say
but all those doubts fade away,
when I think about Allah
everything will be okay
everything will find it's way.. if I just believe..
and stop listening to what other people say..
& then maybe...
eventually..
paradise will be mine ..

Feb 19, 2011

The Team of Habibi Halaqas

Habibi Halaqas consists of a staff of over 50 dedicated people who are striving to take this project to even bigger heights. Jazzak Allah khair to all of you!

If you are someone who is looking to professionally get involved in areas of video making, graphic designing, magazine editors, column writer/editor, article authors, public relations work for immense ajr from Allah, limited monetary perks and professional descriptions for your resume/biodata then simply email habibihalaqas@gmail.com with your area of interest!


The Founder of Habibi Halaqas, KA is an engineer by profession and holds a Bachelors in Islamic Sciences. She is also a professional makeup artist and looks forward to increasing Muslim sisters' self esteem through her new venture: http://beautyglamsham.com . She also has a diploma in Indian Cooking and offers classes in Indian Cuisine in Greater Toronto Area - http://learnindiancooking.com .


"I'm Melody a university student currently studying in the UK. I love to write, write and write! I like to analyse and ponder over life and the Glorious Qur'an, and my writing gives me that flexibility to expand on my ideas. This is something I wish to share for the benefit of this Ummah, insha'Allah."

Nur is in her last year of high school and is also completing an Islamic Certificate course with Alhuda Institute. Nur aspires to publish books of her own one day. You can check out some of her other writing pieces on her blog: http://sharethekhair.wordpress.com/

Nasmira Firdous is a Nutritionist and Health Writer by profession. Currently pursuing her Bachelors of Arts in Islamic Studies from Islamic Online University, she believes in balancing deen and dunya to climb the ladder of success. Passionate about painting and blogging, she loves to string her thoughts together by writing articles that would empower Muslims with beneficial knowledge and graceful confidence, helping them become the torchbearers of Islam. http://diffrntstrokes.wordpress.com/ gives a sneak peak into her world.

Sabina Giado is a writer, comedienne and Muslim woman with a high tolerance for humanity. Her vision is to create world-class media content for Muslims that puts the fun back into fundamentalism - or, less glibly, turns entertainment into Ibadah.

Shazia Arif is student, who is hoping to bring about a change about the perspective of Islam in the West through her writings and the career she pursues. She spent 2 years amount of time studying Islam in Canada. She finds writing as her way of expressing her thoughts in a beautiful manner. She loves meeting new people, baking, reading and swimming!

My name is Sabeen Mansoori and I am a homeschooling mother, a certified teacher and currently a student of AlHuda Taleem Al Quran course. I am passionate about writing and painting and my love of both has intensified as I humbly strive to understand my place in the universe through the words of Allah (swt). I strive to discover and implement 'ihsaan' (excellence) in my life and share my reflections on my blog ihsaanlife.com

My name is Alawiya Abdalla, I am a housewife and a mother of two (Dalia and Yassine) I am from Barawa (Somalia), lived in Egypt for 13 years and then came to live in England since 1998. I am one of six sisters, and I have been writing since the age of 12 years but never had the chance to showcase my writing due to my studies. I have a degree in Travel and Tourism, and I have been posting stories on Facebook for the last 2 years and haven't stopped ever since Alhamdulilah. I am an advocate for Autism, which I am fiercely passionate about.

Amatullah Aminah - A Slave. That’s my identity; a role which I keep closest to my heart out of many roles Allah swt has blessed me with.  After earning my bachelors degree in commerce I chose to do my post graduation in Islamic studies. A wide array of subjects interests me, the favorites being religion, history, literature, health sciences (yes! I am an annoying health freak who loves chocolates), philosophy, psychology, economics, politics and photography. Of late I have developed an astounding amount of interest in cooking too.  However Islam remains my first and last love…

Mila Filza was born and raised in the Netherlands and aims to spread the message of Islam through her photography and writing. Her main goal is to please Allah and she hopes that by spreading the message of Islam through her works will benefit the ummah insha Allah.

A. Ali, alias Abbie, is a creative writer based in the USA. The Habibi Halaqas' Self-Esteem Series was her debut into writing for personal management and self-development of Muslim women. She has been writing for Habibi Halaqas since 2010. Abbie has a passion for creative writing, good coffee, digital photography, cooking, and crafts. She authors an Islamic writing blog, Sisterly Yours (www.sisterly-yours.blogspot.com), and an adventure blog, Abbies Adventure Diaries (www.abbiesadventurediaries.blogspot.com) dedicated to a sisters' audience. Working towards an MBA in Human Resource Management, Abbie also writes for Productive Muslim and runs a Facebook Page, Sisterly Yours (www.facebook.com/SisterlyYours)

With a background in science then later venturing into business & education; Amina E has a passion for learning, creativity & entrepreneurship. Also having worked with people of all ages, pre-school to teens and elderly; She enjoys supporting others & sharing knowledge. Great lover of pasta & bookstores; dreams about skydiving someday

Asrar has an Associates degree in human behavior studies and is currently pursuing her career in Islamic studies with a Major in Islamic Psychology. She is a mother of two and homeschools her daughter.She hopes to teach Islam to non Muslims and Muslims through her writing as well as speech in hope they can perceive the beauty and truth in Islam

As-salaamualaikum! Here is just another striving muslimah who is trying her best to make a difference; who simply wants to keep smiling and climbing through the world's sometimes cacophonous ways. - Farheen

Ruby is currently a student at UCLA studying English. She hopes to become a historical fiction writers for young Muslim girls, teach, and possibly begin a bakery business. When she's not in class, volunteering, reading or writing, she loves to bake, decorate cakes, take pictures, travel, and spend time with her family and friends

Aasiya Maryam is a software engineer by profession. She treasures the free time she gets to share with her nieces and nephews. Passionate about graphic designing, reading and writing, she is constantly in pursuit of peace, which she believes can be achieved only with closeness to Allah (swt). She shares Islamic articles from across the web along with tit-bits of her journey from darkness of dunya to finding peace in light of deen on her blog: http://dunyatodeen.wordpress.com.

Yasmin Ahmed is a qualified teacher, trainer, mentor and Life Coach. She believes everybody is unique and has amazing potential. Follow her blog on http://unique-yoo.blogspot.co.uk

Assalamualakum everyone:) I'm Mabrouka Al-Tajoury, a Libyan Muslimah. Currently doing my MA in Applied Linguistics and a 24/7 full time humbly proud crazy rockin' Muslimah. My motto is: 'Life is not about doing what pleases you or people; life is about doing what pleases Allah'. Sincerely give your WHOLE life, every inch of your heart, yourself to Allah and overflowing nour of His unlimited peaceful light and contentment will be your reward. Go to Allah, and He will be with you, by you, there for you. From the deepest core of my heart, I wish EVERY single soul on this earth true righteousness of unlimited light - super ameen. ]PEACE[

Glib (my pen name :P) is a junior in high school who enjoys reading, hands-on work, and makeup; writing is not a hobby, but a skill she continuously aims to refine. Glib also enjoys spending time with her family and seeks to positively influence people around her, which is one of the reasons she has chosen to write for Habibi Halaqas.

Tara DeLancey AlOmari is a freelance writer from Colorado (USA). She currently resides in Swansea, Wales with her husband and son.

Muaaza Essop - I'm a food-lover of note!I like learning in general.I reside in South Africa. I love my family, and believe that we can all make a happier existence with a bit of kindness, forgiveness, tolerance and a lot of love. Smile at someone today.Help someone with a little task,visit someone nobody normally does. and love the joy that fills your heart.

An Ghela is graduate student with a BA in Psychology and Foreign Languages. She resides in New York, where she became a Muslim after 9/11. She has a strong interest in Journalism and Languages; her goal is to use her skills to create bridges between Muslims of all different backgrounds inshaa’Allah. She also wishes to use the web as a network to connect the muslim community as well as to discuss issues that affect it and create solutions based on our beloved Deen. 

My name is Binta Diop and I'm a muslima living in Atlanta, Georgia. I currently work as an Accountant for the Canadian Consulate and work both in French and English. I am fully bilingual in both French and English. I would love to contribute and use my love for writing in any way that could be beneficial to the ummah.

She finds humans interesting, but have trouble understanding them, amazing as it seem, they also find her alien. Cause two roads diverged in the woods , and she took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference - As now she dreams 24/7 of Stars, Nebulae and para-para paradise! Pervisha Khan , Mphil in Mass Communication, Research. Interests versatile! You can't possibly count so lets just skip that and say Assalam o alaikum! :)

Shamsiya Noorul Quloob is a child psychologist by profession and a free lance writer for Times of India. She loves reading,cooking and aspires to be an activist for domestic abuse awareness and help. A hafidha in making she believes in living one day at a time.

Umm Amal – Alhamdulillah, I embraced Islam at the age of 17 and my family is of Iranian descent. I had the blessing to study Arabic for 2 years - I feel that learning Qur'anic vocabulary and basic Arabic grammar is important in order to strengthen and beautify our connection with the Qur'an. I enjoy taking Qu'ran classes online at Studio Arabiya  (www.studioarabiya.com) and gazing at the beautiful nature around us. I'm just another Muslimah trying to live as a slave/worshipper of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala.

SisterSunshineSmiles is a novice at authoring, hoping to make a difference, touch lives or send out a message with every write....and to top it with HH...for a nobler cause inshaAllah! When it comes to acquiring knowledge, Ignorance can never be bliss. So she hopes for this to be a blessed, successful, fruitful and educational experience for you,the readers as well as her, the writer.

Jean D. Cooksey "Has degrees in International Studies, Nursing, and a minor in Arabic. Works as a pediatric nurse but prefers spending time with her own kids! Loves to learn and get inspired about Islam. Enjoys nature, cooking, travel, reading, learning about different cultures/languages, and arts and crafts. Currently living in the Pacific Northwest, USA.

My full name is Seema Muhammad Belushi and I live in Dubai,UAE with my Parents..I am a student of Taleem ul Quran in Markaz Al Huda which is a non-profit Islamic Center. AlHamdullilah! I am a born Muslim but was not a "practicing" one until I started learning the Qur'an some time back which changed my life completely,before that I was working in the Airline Industry for couple a years. My hobbies are reading (which is mostly Islamic stuff),writing and Traveling.

Juli Herman is a Malaysian stay-at-home homeschooling mother of five currently living in the Southwestern desert of United States. When she has free time, which is very rare, she loves delving into creative pursuits such as baking, cake decorating, writing, blogging, sewing, coming up homeschooling activities etc. She is currently doing Taleem Quran with Al Huda Institute, and hopes to remain a student of Quran for the rest of her life. She occasionally blogs at juliherman.wordpress.com

I'm a mother of 3, Alhamdulillah, a student of Islamic Studies from IOU currently, and reside in KSA. Love gaining Islamic knolwedge from anywhere, reading in general, and writing. I like to volunteer for Islamic causes online too. - Umm Adil

Thaminah Choudhary - “The world is a prison for the believer and a paradise for the unbeliever” (Saheeh Muslim) This Hadith made me realise about this life and how short it is. I long to return to Allah one day, in the meanwhile I try to invest in the hereafter. One of the things I have invested my time in is studying Alimi (Islamic Theology) which I appreciate every word that is being taught. I also do calligraphy which I give to charity auctions. Another hobby I do is helping Islamic secondary girls schools in my area . One thing is a must for me in my daily life is reading Quran and contemplating over its meaning. Literally I try my best to put my life around Allah, and I am hoping to share my love for Allah with Habibi Halaqas and the sisters around the world. Spread the love of Allah and in return you will gain love from Him.

My name is Amina, I am a Nigerian, married with a gorgeous baby girl. I have a bachelors degree in English Language and a Masters in International Relations. I love reading anything that has to do with women in Islam and I'm grateful everyday for being a Muslim.

My name is Ganna Al-Mansoub, 22 years old, and am the 2nd oldest of 8 kids, mashaAllah and alhamdulilah. I am majoring in Near Eastern Studies, as well as Languages, at Wayne State University in Michigan. One thing about me is that I enjoy learning about Islam and Islamic history. Aside from that, I enjoy learning the Arabic language, and translating. I hope, bi’ithnAllah, to get my certificate in translation next year! I am very keen about learning as much as I can about Islam, and how to better myself as a Muslimah. May Allah (swt) increase us all in beneficial knowledge, and ease our journey to get to where we want. Ameen.

Zainab Moh - I'm from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. My interests include reading, writing poetry, cooking, sports, the beach and so many other things Alhamdulillaah. I try to do the best that I can with everything that I do

Rukshana is grateful to be part of an awesome team that works hard to keep our Muslim sisters connected! She currently lives in New York City and her many interests include reading, writing, teaching, and learning.  She looks forward to contributing her talents that Allah subhaana wa taa'ala has blessed her with and also to keep learning from other Muslimahs!

Customer Service Professional, Dreamer, Humanitarian, Bookworm, filmmaker & animation enthusiast, Fitness freak, Travel lover, Seeker of beneficial knowledge (of deen & dunya) and to add another skill to my kitty, a Transcriber. My little feet are trying to find its Path. I kinda like being confused. It makes me try new things (a quote from yours truly)" - Nehan Saud.Dubai, UAE 

Reham Monier : An Egyptian Architect, currently working at the renovation and development of suburbs.  Reham has multi-interests, ranging from; philantrophy, human development, fashion, hand crafts, photography, teaching and all that enrolls under 'Art'. Graphics designing is her true passion.

Asalaam alaikum, I am Afrah, just another sister trying to strive in the path of Allah with my work. I like cooking/baking, designing and listening to Islamic lectures online.  

Farah, student and entrepreneur with a love for Islam, da'wah, philanthropy, languages and world peace. I dream to inspire changes in the Ummah, and shall take baby steps everyday until this dream materializes. I want to die with my forehead on the ground,the Sunnah in my heart, Allah on my mind, the Quran on my tongue and tears in my eyes. "So glorify the name of thy Lord Most High." (Qur'an 69:52)

My name is Moumina, I am a mother of 2 childrens.  I am research scientist. I speak Arabic, French and English. My objective in this life is  to be a "life maker" and a: love luminary", by spreading the love and peace of our Islam. May Allah subhanahou wa taala guide us all to the right path and help us to be loving and responsible persons in this life.

Feb 18, 2011

REMEMBER – The ‘Inevitable’ Death




by Shaharban

Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakathuhu

Prophet E’esa (alayhis salaam) said, “This world is a bridge: Cross it but do not build on it.”

How many of us think about death in our daily life? Do we reflect upon the realities of hereafter or do we keep it in the back of our minds and just live on? Allah (subhaana wa ta’ala) has clearly mentioned in the Holy Qur’an about the Aakhirah. We are here to worship Allah and to follow the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), but in reality…how many of us take our “real” duty seriously?

We desire big, shiny, trendy cars and forget that one day we will be driven in hearses to our graves. We are shopaholics, crazy about the latest line of clothing and would pay any price for them forgetting that, in the end, we’ll end up just in a kafn. We recklessly compete with one another in building the best homes and mansions…but do we remember our ‘real’ home – The Graveyard Pit? Now who doesn’t like entertaining their taste buds by devouring tasty and extravagant delicacies? Think…one day WE will be the meal for worms, ants and all those creepy creatures. We aspire for fame, fortune, popularity and bright lights….but remember the awaiting darkness and loneliness in the grave.

The grave is a nightmare for everyone…except true Muslims; Muslims who live obeying the commands of Allah subhaana wa ta’ala). The Qur’an and Hadith clearly tell us how to escape this nightmare. Fasting, charity, recitation of Qur’an, etc are all deeds which help save us from the punishment in the grave and hereafter. All deeds, good and bad, are written down and are countable. Thinking about death and the hereafter often times a day will help us strengthen our emaan. Death is inevitable and no one will escape it, but preparing for the aakhira will make our death easier, protect us in the grave and, inshaAllah, guide us to Jannah.

Among the many signs of qiyamah is that towards the end we will find a lot of people who preach religion but are hypocrites. Their imaan will only be ‘til their vocal cords and not in their hearts. Although the Islamic education imparted to our generation at present is of a superior grade and taught by highly qualified personnel, the quality of the product is one of degeneration: the spirit of Islam is lacking. I always pray to Allah (subhaana wa ta’ala) to include us, the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam), among the true Muslims who get to live and die with imaan, inshaAllah, and enter jannatul firdaus…aameen

Baarakallahumma Feekum…

I'd love to hear your views on this article. Please tell me in the comments section below :)

Feb 17, 2011

Makeup Basics 101: The Face – Foundation




Foundation is a staple in just about every girl’s makeup regime. Depending on your skin type and coverage requirements, you may not be using what’s best for your skin. Keep reading to find out more about this beauty essential!

Types of Foundation

Liquid

Most women reach for liquid foundation when looking for coverage. It is easy to apply, price is usually on point, and it provides a medium coverage. For those with oily/combination skin, reach for an oil-free formulation. For those with normal skin who are just looking to even skin tone, I suggest moving on to a tinted moisturizer for every day looks, and leave the foundation for evening and event looks. It will help your skin breathe better while still providing the evening effects you are looking for.

Product Recommendations:
·         Splurge: Makeup Forever HD Invisible Cover Foundation (http://sephora.com, $40)
·         Moderate:  Revlon PhotoReady Foundation (http://revlon.com, $16 - $18)
·         Cheap: Annabelle SkinTrue (http://annabellecosmetics.ca, $8 - $10)

           
Applicators:
·         Best: Stippling brush (http://eyeslipsface.com - $3,  http://maccosmetics.com – 187 Brush, $50)
o   Lightly dab your brush into some poured liquid foundation that is about the size of a quarter. Dab – or stipple – the brush over the face until even coverage is achieved. The absolute best application type for those with acne or scarring.

·         A close second: Beauty Blender (http://www.beautyblender.net/, starter kit, $34.95)
·         Others: Foundation brush (http://sigmabeauty.com – F60, $14), sponges


Tinted Moisturizer

For those looking for a lighter coverage, look no further than tinted moisturizer! With SPF protection in most formulas, you get an extra bit of protection for your skin. I personally use this for an every day look – it leaves my skin looking a little ‘dewy’ which works for my dry skin. This is not, however, good for people with blemishes, oily skin or a lot of redness. It is also not recommended for event with photography, as the SPF will reflect in photos resulting in a washed out face.
  
Product Recommendations:
·         Splurge: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 (http://www.lauramercier.com, $42)
·         Moderate: Clinique Almost Makeup SPF 15 (http://clinique.com, $22)
·         Cheap: Hard Candy Tinted Moisturizer (http://hardcandy.com, $8)


Powder/Cream to Powder Foundation

Powder foundations are more for women who want very slight coverage. What it is most often used for is to set existing foundation in place. Just take your favourite powder brush, then evenly and lightly apply the powder to your face over your foundation. We will explore finishing powders further in articles to come.

Cream to powder foundation takes the ease of application and coverage of cream foundation and it dries/sets like a powder. A definite must have for those with combination skin. 

Product Recommendations:
·         Splurge: MAC Studio Tech (http://maccosmetics.com $35.50). This is my best and only recommendation for this foundation type.

Mineral Foundation

Mineral foundation provides comparable coverage to liquid foundation in many cases, though it can be very light and sheer depending on the formulation and application technique. You must always use a Kabuki brush for mineral foundation application. For more information, check out our Guide to Mineral Makeup here. 


Keep coming back to Habibi Halaqas for more information on brushes and application techniques. For even more information on foundation, check out our other Flawless Foundation article. Leave your questions below and I’ll do my best to get back to you! Until next time ladies, happy makeup-ing! 

Feb 16, 2011

Reality Check: The Tide is Turning



by Maryam

I vividly remember almost two decades ago when I was a first year pre-clinical medical student in my home country. I had many Muslim friends in various departments - Education, Pharmacy, Arabic and Islamic studies, Agriculture, English, Biochemistry, and so on. Back then in those days, most parents gave full recognition to majors such as Medicine, Pharmacy, Architecture, Dentistry, Engineering and other “highly reputable” majors. If you were studying Arabic Language, Education, or Islamic studies, you were looked down upon. The looks entailed that you were not smart enough or studious enough to be admitted into the “reputable majors” mentioned above. In fact, subconsciously, I also had this feeling whenever I met a Muslim sister studying one of the “less recognized” majors at the university. It was really a subtle cultural flaw that many of us ignored for a long time until…

… the tide started turning. Personally, I never realized this issue until I returned to the United States for further studies. And as Allah would have it, I ended up not even pursuing my own childhood dream: Medicine. The moment I became a diaper changer, laundry-machine assistant, and a self-made arbitrator in the midst of my kids’ chaotic dramas, my life completely changed. However, I still continued my studies but this time in a less “reputable” field that was more flexible and not too demanding.

Just a few years ago, I also realized that I needed to do more than just reading the Qur’an without understanding what I was reading. Learning the Arabic language became my next task on my “to do” list. Then, I began to go down memory lane, thinking about my friends and my days at the university in my home country. I started thinking of those sisters whose majors were Arabic and Islamic studies, or Education. It was such a deep and sober reflection that I had had for a long time. I started regretting why I had not declared a major in Arabic and Islamic studies, and why on earth would I have even look down upon such majors? I realized that our destiny is not and will never be in our hands. We have plans, dreams, aspirations, and fantasies, that we all tend to run after as if the world will never end. I wished I was more experienced and culturally competent to correct the ridiculous misconceptions people hold about specific majors. I wished I had been more open minded to those sisters I had met many years ago. They were my friends yet I had showed no interest in what they were studying. It was just the feeling of “I wished, I wished, I wished”.

Now, fast forward almost twenty years, and you will see that things have really changed. Gone were those days when such majors were viewed as “unmarketable” in the cultural sense. Gone were those days when Muslims did not realize the importance of such areas of studies. Now, the tide has completely turned back home and here in the west. For example, many private and non-profit organizations, as well as the federal government, have scholarships and fellowship programs to fund students who are interested in learning Arabic or anything related to Islam. There are now Islamic learning institutes, here in the United States, encouraging and recruiting Muslims to learn the language of paradise. Muslim students in the States are seizing any slightest financial opportunity to travel abroad for a summer or two semesters, for Arabic language studies. As a matter of fact, the number of non-Muslim students declaring Arabic language, Islam studies, or Middle Eastern studies as their second major or minor is astonishing. Some of these students also apply for scholarships to travel to the Middle East and/or North Africa. Some go there to experience a completely different way of life that seems natural to them, sometimes returning to the States as Muslims. Or, they come back feeling humble and at the same time guilty that they have allowed the western media to brainwash them.

In regards to the field of education, Muslims in general are becoming more aware of the importance of Muslim educators in their children’s lives. Hence, the tide has completely changed as well. It is a fact that some Islamic schools are not as fully funded like their public school or private Christian school counterparts. Many Islamic schools, at least in the US, depend on private donations and fund-raisings. Despite the meager amount of money some Muslim teachers receive at some Islamic schools, they continue to touch lives, one child at a time. I have a friend who is a teacher at an Islamic school in Texas. She tells me that although the pay is not good, she still feels completely pleased with her job as a Muslim teacher. She can pray at the right time without much ado when it is time to pray, and there’s no fuss or outcry about her Islamic dressing. To her, these two issues are worth more than the money she receives. MashaAllah!

As for me, it was a reality check. It finally dawned on me after many years of ignorance, that acquiring Islamic knowledge is a must alongside our various educational pursuits or careers. Islamic knowledge should never suffer at the expense of other academic vocations. For at the end of the day, what will count is our knowledge of the deen and not necessarily the worldly degrees we attain.

I'd love to hear your views on this article. Please tell me in the comments section below :)

Feb 15, 2011

POEM: ..........I am..........



by Shireen Baig

I am the tears that run down in streams on your face,
I am the reminder for you to lower your gaze.
I am the thought that keeps you awake at night,
I cause you to fear,to prostrate long and right.

I am what makes you get up to pray on a cold morning,
I am in your life a reminder, a blessing and a warning.
I will stay with you until your on your deathbed,
I am your best friend forever, I am your regret.

Feb 14, 2011

10,000 fans FACEBOOK GIVEAWAY!


Enter your email address for exclusive updates:


We are excited to have reached 10,000 fans on facebook

It would not have been possible without your immense love and support, jazzakum Allahu khairan!

So to celebrate, we are giving a FREE STUNNING HIJAB/Brooch to a blessed winner EACH WEEK, for the NEXT 6 WEEKS. To enter just change your facebook profile image to the image below and send us an email with your profile address to habibihalaqas@gmail.com and your name goes into the prize giveaway.

NOTE: Your profile address will typically look like http://www.facebook.com/habibihalaqas or http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=123456789 inshaAllah and can be found on the top of your web browser inshaAllah.

You can either right click on the image below and select "Save Image As" and save it. Or you can click on the link and go to the browser menu and press "Save As" inshaAllah.


The hijabs/brooches are sponsored by www.StunningHijab.com. Please check them out on facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/StunningHijabs and also join their mailing list for exclusive offers here: http://eepurl.com/81oc

  

Feb 11, 2011

Fawaa'id ul Fawaa'id of Ibn ul Qayim


Shaykul Islaam ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah

Reference: Fawaa'id ul Fawaa'id of ibn ul Qayim - p. 103

Category: Sayings of the Salaf

The first thing Allah created was the pen (as it was mentioned in the hadeeth of Ubaadah Ibn Samit (radiallahu anhu) found in the Sunan of Abu Dawud), in order to write down everything that was decreed to take place before anything was brought into existence. Adam (alayhi asalaam) was the last of creation and there was remarkable wisdom in this which was:

The First: To prepare the dwelling place before the inhabitants settle therein.

The Second: Everything that was created was done so for the purpose of making it subservient to Adam (alayhi asalaam) and his progeny. This includes the heaven, the earth, the sun, the moon, the land, and sea.

The Third: The Most Prestigious Designer (i.e. Allah (subhana wa ta'ala)) finishes His work with His most precious creation exerting the best of His vigor in order to make it the epitome of all of His past work. Just as He begins His work making it the foundation.

The Fourth: The human desire is always to be last, look at what Musa (alayhi asalaam) said to the magicians:

َقَالَ لَهُم مُّوسَى أَلْقُواْ مَآ أَنتُم مُّلْقُون
"You throw first what you are going to throw…" (26:43)

So when the people saw what the magicians threw, they were filled with anticipation for what Musa (alayhi asalaam) was going to throw afterwards.

The Fifth: Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) delayed His most prestigious Book (i.e. the Qur'an), Prophet (i.e. Muhammad Ibn Abdullah (salla allahu alayhi wasalaam)) and generation (i.e. the Sahabah (radiallahu anhum)) to the end of time. He made the latter better than the former and as the saying goes: "The end is always more complete and perfect than the beginning!" Consider carefully how much time was between the statement of Jibreel (alayhi asalaam):

اقْرَأْ
"Read!"

And the reply of Prophet (salla allahu alayhi wa salaam):

مَا أَنَا بِقَارِئٍ
"I don't know how to read!" (Sahih Al Bukhari)

And the final verse revealed of the Qur'an:

ًاألْيَومَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُم دِينَكُم وَ أَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيكُم نِعْمَتِي وَ رَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْاِسْلَامَ دِين
"This day I have completed for you, your religion and perfected My favor upon you and I am pleased with Islam as your religion." (5:3)

The Sixth: Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) combined in the creation of Adam (alayhi asalaam) all of what He dispersed throughout the earth. The creation of Adam contains everything that is in the life of this world as well as the greater world in the hereafter!

The Seventh: Adam (alayhi asalaam) is the quintessence of all creation and the sole reason why they were even brought into existence. Thus it was only appropriate that his creation be brought into subsistence after all other forms of creation were created.

The Eighth: From the bounty of Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) upon the creation of Adam is that He prepared for him everything that was going to be a benefit for him in this life. He provided Adam with everything that was going to satisfy his needs and the tools by which he can earn his living
and the necessities to sustain his life. With the mere lift of his head, he can find everything he needs present right in front of him!

The Ninth: Allah wanted to expose the nobility of Adam over the rest of creation so He created them first and this is why the angels said: "Our Lord is going to create what He wills, but He will never bring into existence a creature more honorable to Him than us!"

So when Allah created Adam (alayhi asalaam) and commanded them to prostrate to him, at that moment, Allah exposed his virtue and nobility over them by way of the knowledge and understanding He endowed him with. But when Adam committed the sin (i.e. eating from the tree), the angels thought that he was stripped of his virtue and nobility!

However, they were unaware of the potential of sincere repentance! So when Adam performed that magnificent act of worship (i.e. repentance) to his Lord, the angels knew at that moment that Allah has a secret relationship with the human race they obviously didn't know about!!!

The Tenth: When Allah began the creation of this world by the pen, it was absolutely appropriate for Him to finish it with the creation of the human being. For indeed the pen is a tool for seeking knowledge and the human being is intelligent with the potential to be a person of knowledge! So when Allah exposed the virtue of Adam over the angels it was by way of knowledge which Allah specified the creation of Adam with.

Translated by Abu Azzubayr Shadeed Muhammad on Febuary 12, 2010 in the capital of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh.
Translator's Note: Please read this article again and contemplate over the bounty Allah has bestowed upon you as a human being!

Feb 9, 2011

Makeup Basics 101: The Face – Priming the Skin




In a series of upcoming articles, I will be exploring the world of makeup with you. Each major area of makeup application will have its own mini-series and we will begin with the face. Inshallah. Learn tips, tricks and techniques on making your skin look flawless! Be sure to follow the entire series for best results. Enjoy!

Before we can even begin talking about foundations, concealers and powders, we have to prepare our face for makeup application. Think of your face as a canvas – having the right texture canvas can positively impact not only the overall look of the painting, but the actual application of the paint is easier! The same goes for makeup application – if your skin is properly cleansed, exfoliated, and moisturized, your foundation will look much better (not to mention your skin will look better overall) and you will most likely use less product than you would if you weren’t taking care of your skin.


Cleansing

Depending on your skin type, you’ll probably go through quite a few cleansers before you find out what works best for you. With a plethora to choose from, it’s hard to distinguish what is good for your skin and what isn’t. These are some general tips that I like to stick to, but I’m no expert.
· Always try to use things with natural ingredients. This doesn’t mean reaching for everything that says organic.There is a lot of misinformation out there regarding product ingredients. Checkout www.cosmetics-database.com for individual ingredient safety levels.
· Higher price does not always mean better quality.

Be sure to cleanse two times per day – in the morning and before bed. Also, it is very important to not fall asleep with your makeup on. It’s the worst thing that you can do to your skin.


Exfoliating

Exfoliating is equally important. At least once a week, use your favorite exfoliator to rub off dead skin cells. Without this, your makeup could actually accentuate your blemishes and other imperfections. Check out a few homemade exfoliant recipes here.

Moisturizing

Cleansing, UV Rays and other environmental elements can all dry out your skin. Moisturizing is key to restoring balance back into the skin. Again, my personal tip is to watch out for those ingredients and put only the best ingredients onto your skin. For people with oily prone and combination skin, it’s important to use a moisturizer that is tailored to your skin type (oil-free, etc) Or else, the moisturizer may contribute to skin problems.

Generally, moisturizing will help prime your skin for makeup application in the same way that an actual cosmetic primer would. Here are a few tips:

  • Be sure to actually massage in the moisturizer instead of simply ‘wiping’ it on.
  • Don’t forget the bridge of your nose!
  • Don’t forget your lips. Use a good lip balm before going to sleep.
  • Let your moisturizer sit for at least 15 minutes before applying your makeup.

Primer

Ok, so here is where the actual ‘cosmetic’ part starts. Primer is now becoming more readily available and affordable for the rest of us! You might be asking, what exactly is a primer? Primer helps smooth fine lines and minor imperfections in the face and helps foundation, blush, and eye shadow go on smoother.

Many women still feel this is an unnecessary step in their cosmetic routine, but once you start using it, you can’t stop! Personally, I feel I use less foundation when I use primer and my face generally looks smoother. There is also separate eye, lip and eye lash primer, but we will talk about those in later articles, inshaAllah.


Product recommendations: For those on a budget like myself, I recommend Hard Candy’s Sheer Envy Primer. For the splurge, Smashbox’s Photo Finish Foundation Primer is makeup artists favourite primer.


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If you have any questions, feel free to comment and I will get back to you! Be sure to share with your friends and become a fan on Facebook if you haven’t already!



Feb 8, 2011

Why Should I, Being a Woman, Study?



by Khadeejah Islam

First and foremost, is it permissible for a Muslim woman to study?

“Seeking knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim” [1]. This particular hadeeth stresses that education is indispensable for every Muslim, whether male or female. In addition, the following quote clarifies that any knowledge which is beneficial for this world and/or the Hereafter, and does not demean Islamic teachings, is permissible. “The seeker of knowledge should not ignore current events and the state of his society. These are essential to knowledge.

The faqeeh is the one who understands the text properly and understands the reality to which he applies them. It is well known that a person should have knowledge of real life, so that they will know how people are living” [2]. However, it is unfortunate that many Muslim women are not as passionate about education as they should be. Even worse, many Muslim men still contend that women should not venture out of their homes to study. Although the authentic ahadeeth and the verdicts by scholars are sufficient to dismiss such a notion, I would still like to delineate the importance of education. I also pray that this article inspires my sisters to study harder than ever before. It is worth mentioning that education is defined as “a mental and moral training or instruction” [3]. Therefore, throughout this article, education will refer to both Islamic and beneficial secular knowledge.

Dear sisters, we are indeed blessed to have an opportunity to study in reputable schools. We are blessed that we are not ignored or selected for “low-skilled” jobs due to illiteracy. We are blessed to be able to communicate and express ourselves in the society. Many cannot avail themselves of such privileges due to poverty or physical/mental inability. I know a visually impaired sister who studies by recording notes read out by someone else. Alhamdulillah! She is on her way to completing her Master’s degree. And here we are, having all the means to study, but still not choosing to study as passionately as that sister! Most of our education expenses are borne by our parents, who work diligently day and night. Take my maid for example. She works in three places back-to-back, cooking, washing the dishes, cleaning and doing other “odd” jobs, often bearing cruel treatment by her employers, just to support her son’s education. Remember that the money, time, and effort foregone due to your education could have been utilized in other productive projects, such as sponsoring an orphan, building a mosque or even paying education expenses for one who really wants to study. Therefore, try to yield the best returns on the resources invested in your education.

Dear sisters, education cannot be confined to your regular school textbooks and syllabus. So when you learn how to operate a certain machine and it proves to be beneficial, it is education. If you are in a secular school, then you will need to pay attention to the spiritual side of education by gaining Islamic knowledge. Consequently, it is imperative to study extensively (out of syllabus) if we want to be truly knowledgeable and if we want to survive in this world. With technology leaping bounds, we really need to be aware of our surroundings. The experiences of a widowed sister will further explain this point. Being totally dependent on her husband and having no educational background at all, she now has nowhere to go. Ever since her husband died, she wakes up each day with uncertainty and apprehension. She is literally living off the donations made by her relatives (who in turn are not so well-off!). Another sister has a similar story to share. Owing to her lack of education, she endures verbal abuse by her husband and criticism from her in-laws, just to have a roof over her head. Since her parents have passed away, she no longer has a place to seek shelter. How will these women earn a living? How will these women start a business when they have no idea of current affairs and bank transactions? How will these women demand justice when they are not aware of their Islamic rights? There are many such cases where the future of young women and children appear to be bleak just because they have abandoned education. This should send a clear message to the brothers who are against the education of women. Whatever the sisters aspire to be, whether they wish to earn or not, they must be prepared to live independently within Islamic boundaries and fight off any crisis if the need arises.

Dear sisters, today, Islam is considered a backward religion by people who hold malice against this great religion. There are misconceptions, such as; Muslim women are oppressed. Simultaneously, in the past few decades, there has been little output from Muslims. If you were to visit your local bookstore, you would find only a few Islamic books. “A woman who can read and write is far more likely to pass on these skills to her children and grandchildren than a man. Education levels can therefore be raised outside the school system at little cost. Women also have primary responsibilities for the nutrition and health-care of family units. The ability to read helps education programmes designed to improve the health of individuals. Women may run their own enterprises, selling home produced goods in a market for instance. Literacy can give an important boost to the success of such ventures. Studies also show that a larger proportion of money earned by women is likely to be spent on nutrition and education of children than of that earned by men” [4]. If each one of us teaches our families about hygiene and sanitation to improve lives, help our children to learn and take up other such projects to please Allah (subhanaa wa ta’aala), we will get rewarded immensely insha’Allah.

"The believers, men and women are auliya (helpers, protectors) of one another, they enjoin the good and forbid the evil, they perform salah and give away zakah and obey Allah" [5]. Dear sisters, in order to be active in society, you do need a certain level of education. Therefore, do not abandon education and if you have not, then study passionately to please Allah (SWT). Every day, wake up with the vision of helping others and of representing Islam in a positive light through your education. Enjoy every lesson. Expand your knowledge. For now, pick up the book which you have put aside!

Footnotes:
[1] Sunan Ibn Maajah
[2] http://islamqa.com/en/ref/76010/
[3] Oxford Compact Dictionary andThesaurus (edited by Julia Elliott), page-237
[4] Alain Anderton’s Economicsbook (4th edition), page-678
[5] Qur’an 9:71

I'd love to hear your views on this article. Please tell me in the comments section below :)