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Apr 29, 2011

Child Sexual Abuse Awareness


CHILD ABUSE is the physical, sexual, emotional mistreatment, or neglect of children. There are four major categories of child abuse:
  1. Neglect
  2. Physical Abuse
  3. Psychological/Emotional Abuse
  4. Child Sexual Abuse
Different jurisdictions have developed their own definitions of what constitutes child abuse for the purposes of removing a child from his/her family and/or prosecuting a criminal charge. According to the Journal of Child Abuse and Neglect, child abuse is "any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm".

Child Sexual Abuse is usually swept under the carpet as something too dirty to talk about. The result? Many, many people who go through their childhood believing whatever happened to them was their fault.



SURVIVOR STORY

To my abuser,

This is just to let you know that when you forced me as a kid few years ago to satisfy your sexual desires few years ago, you had successfully ruined a big part of my life. I had decided to grow up and commit suicide to put an end to my misery. Thanks to you I thought all men are bastards like you are, but turns out you don’t really represent a man.

You are a coward who thought that asking a small kid not to spill this secret of yours can let you get away from the crime that you have done and even I thought that it would have until I figured out that even though you have successfully hidden your pathetic face from the society and people around you, just know that Allah is watching you. He will question you on everything you have done to me. My family knows about you but they have done no justice to me hence you can freely move among them, but what about Allah? Would you be able to be stand in front of him knowing the fact that he knows what you have done to me? I doubt. Highly.

Thanks to your pathetic acts that screwed up my xmentality, I started to question Allah. I thought it was Allah who let all these bad things happen to me, while I ignored the fact that he wants something special for me. It was you and your low life personality that could see a sex-toy in a girl of 6,8,9 years.

How I hate you for what you have done to me, but more than that I hate that your act made me question my religion, my God, and His justice. I went away from religion when I grew up and saw you again thinking how can Allah allow you to live such a comfortable life with a wonderful job and kids? Now, when I look at you, you are all sobered up with your long beard, once again thanks to you I started hating religious men. I don’t look at you as a good muslim, although all I hear around me are people singing your praises, and God knows you may have changed but for me, in my mind and memories you are still a pathetic monster.

You did message me once saying that you repented. How I doubt that because I know for a matter of fact that you haven’t just ruined my childhood, many others were victims of your selfishness.

What you have done to me has changed me twice, once I lost faith in God and all goodness around me as a teenager. Because I could not understand how I lived with myself after doing the pathetic things you made me do.

The second time I changed again and with that I came close to religion, I came to know the reality of this world and I strengthened my belief in the hereafter. Alhamdulillah this change is lasting long than the previous one, because I know my God will not leave you because it’s not just my justice he needs to take care of, it is also about the other kids.

I have tried forgiving you, many times. Sometimes I even made dua for you so that God can forgive you. But you know why I can’t do it anymore? Because the damage you have done to me is so great, that even till today I get nightmares about you. I wake up crying but please don’t you feel sorry for me, or don’t you pity me because just know this, how many ever times I have cried I am sure that Allah has witnessed it and he is going to definitely hold you accountable for it.

I hope sincerely and pray that although you are a part of my family that I never ever get to see you again.

From,
One of your victims


SIGNS OF NEGLECT AND CHILD ABUSE

The warning signs that a child may be a victim of abuse may vary depending on the type of abuse. Some general common signs include:

Unexplained bruises or physical injuries
Shaken baby syndrome
A young child who is left alone or abandoned
Frequent evidence of poor hygiene
Acting-out sexually or showing interest in sex that is not appropriate for his/her age
Nightmare and sleep disturbances
Behavior problems and aggression toward adults, other children and pets


ACTION STEPS

Through prevention activities such as parent education, home visitation, and parent support groups, many families are able to find the support they need to stay together and care for their children in their homes and communities.

Prevention efforts can help parents develop their parenting skills
Understand the benefits of nonviolent discipline techniques
Understand and meet their child’s emotional, physical and developmental needs
Help parents identify other needs they may have and offer assistance in getting that additional support
One of the most important things you can do to prevent child abuse is to build a positive relationship with your own children.
Help your children feel loved and secure.

We can all take steps to improve our relationship with our children:
Make sure your children know you love them, even when they do something wrong.
Encourage your children. Praise their achievements and talents.
Spend time with your children. Do things together that you all enjoy.
Seek help if you need it.

Problems such as unemployment, marital tension, or a child with special needs can add to family tension. Parenting is a challenging job on its own. No one expects you to know how to do it all.

If you think stress may be affecting the way you treat your child, or if you just want the extra support that all parents need at some point, try the following:


Talk to someone. Tell a friend, healthcare provider, or a leader in your faith community about your concerns. Or join a self-help group for parents.
Get counseling. Individual or family counseling can help you learn healthy ways to communicate with each other.
Take a parenting class. Nobody was born knowing how to be a good parent. Parenting classes can give you the skills you need to raise a happy, healthy child.
Accept help. You don't have to do it all. Accept offers of help from friends, family, or neighbors. And don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it.


ORGANISATIONS SUPORTTING THE CAUSE


http://www.arpan.org.in/
http://www.womensweb.in/
http://www.tulir.org/
http://www.southasianparent.com/
http://www.rahifoundation.org/home.html
http://www.enfoldindia.org/
http://www.bubblewrapped.asia/

Apr 19, 2011

POEM: Death


by Hamdi Farha

Death...
Death does not scare me,
What makes me tremble with fear, and fills me with pain and anxiety
It’s what waits for me in the next life of eternity.


Have I really done enough?
Have I fulfilled my purpose of life?


Was I a good and obedient slave?
Or will my punishment start in my grave?


O Possessor of Majesty and Honor! When You send the angel of death for me
I pray that You grant me one last request and plea


When I meet him, and fear jams in my throat over my pending death.
And with each passing second it becomes harder and harder to take a breath.


And the echo of his uncompromising words still resounding in my ears,
While the utter sadness of time spent in forgetfulness wetting my face with tears.


I pray that You let my last ninety-nine breath be the ones I use to praise and Glorify You.

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

Apr 18, 2011

The Qur'an Series : Read Qur'an To Remember Allah


By Ni'mah Ali

The world has never been so advanced before; at least that’s what some people claim these days. There is always something new to do, to see and to discover. There is much new technology and new ones coming out every day. Everyone is chasing money, education to advance his/her life, or working hard to buy the newest iphone, car, TV, or whatever else that's in style. People are busy, whether they are single, married, young or old. Some of us have work all day, and by the time we come out of work, we are too exhausted to do anything else other than sleep so we can repeat the same thing again tomorrow. Others are students. They have exams, papers and projects to worry about. And some are parents with little children, and we can just imagine the time and work that goes into raising good children these days. After all of the important things are done, some of us must have our own “self” time. We must watch our favorite TV shows, or perhaps read a good book. There’s only 24 hours in a day. With so many things to do, we are lucky if we can remember Allah, right? Wrong! We must always make time for Allah in our lives no matter how busy we are because Allah is the most important and none should come before Allah. There are many different ways we can remember Allah, but one of the best ways of remembering Allah is by reciting and understanding the Quran. The Quran is indeed the word of Allah. Therefore, the more you read the Quran, the more you will remember Allah. And what is better than remembering Allah the all mighty and powerful.

How many of us put aside some time from our busy lives to listen, recite and ponder over the Quran? When was the last time you picked up a Quran and recited from it longer than thirty minutes? When was the last time you were moved to tears when you read one of Allah’s verses in the Quran? When was the last time you actually felt bad for not reciting and reading the Quran? The Quran has so much benefit but only those who love it, recite, and act according to it can truly understand the Quran‘s benefits, miracles and greatness. If you are one of the few people who actually make it a priority to read at least some of the Quran every day, masha-Allah great, keep up the good work and may Allah bless, and reward you. But if you are one of those people who’s Quran is collecting dust somewhere in his/her house, then shame on you, because you don’t know what you are missing. Suggestion: run right now and go read the Quran, even if it maybe one or two ayahs.

The Quran is essential to have in our lives. It is the source for our religion. It is our guide, and our light. We must learn it, teach it if we can but most importantly; we must act accordingly to it in the best way we can. The Quran never seizes to amaze those who ponder over it. Every ayah (verse), and every surah(chapter) is so unbelievably amazing, interesting and sweet, that there will be no doubt in the readers mind who it came from, Allah of course. The more one learns the Quran, the more they will learn about Allah. The more Quran is recited, read, and understood, the more the hearts will fill up with love for Allah, and this beautiful religion: Islam. The Quran is unique and from the first surah, to the last surah; it is accurate, amazing and fascinating in every sense of the word. One will only discover and know this fact by reading it and learning it. Learning the Quran should be on top of the list of things to do in every Muslim person‘s life.

Though the Quran in its entirety is a great miracle and guide from Allah the Great, let’s take just one surah to prove that the Quran is indeed a miracle, unique and Allah’s words. Sura Al-Asr is one of the shortest surahs in the Quran, yet Allah has summed up what life is all about for human beings in this single, short surah. Let’s take a look at what the Sura says, InshaAllah.

1. By Al-`Asr(time.) (2. Verily, man is in loss.) (3. Except those who believe and do righteous deeds, and recommend one another to the truth, and recommend one another to patience.) Quran: 103
Isn’t this what life is all about? No matter how rich, or poor, how great your lineage, tribe or your nation is, if you are disobedient and an non believer, then you are in loss. It does not matter how much wealth and materialistic things you own, in the end, you are in loss, a great one at that. (Except those who believe and do righteous good deeds) So Allah makes an exception, among the species of man being in loss, for those who believe in their hearts and work righteous deeds with their limbs. Look at how great this surah is…SubhanaAllah! Imam Shafi’ said about this particular surah the following: "If the people were to ponder on this Surah, it would be sufficient for them.''

May Allah give each and every Muslim person who recites and learns the Quran for Allah’s sake great benefit and award both in this world and in the hereafter. May Allah make us those we will be among the Ahlu Quran on judgment day…Amin

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

Apr 14, 2011

Webinar - Muslim Woman, The Leader on Apr 28, 2011



Habibi Halaqas presents:
FREE ONLINE WEBINAR
Suggested Donation: $ 5

Muslim Woman, The Leader
Where: Online
When: Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 6:00-7:00 PM EST
Who: 3 Dynamic Muslim Women Leaders

A free webinar that will leave Muslim women inspired and motivated to emerge as leaders within their spheres of life. The guest speakers were once regular Muslimahs who have over the past few years made an outstanding contribution towards the betterment of the Muslim ummah. They share their top tips and words-of-inspiration on how to become a leader and leave a positive legacy that will reap immense reward on the day of judgement inshaAllah. Join us to discover what it takes to succeed as a dynamic, inspiring leader.

Saiyyidah is a qualified architect and has spent the last 10 years of her life leading multi million pound regeneration projects. She has many roles in life including being a mother, a wife, a daughter, and is active in her local community as a Chair of Governors of a School and mentor to up coming leaders. Saiyyidah recently founded WorkingMuslim.com in order to champion the Working Muslim.

Navin Siddiqui is the founder of UnDebt Me and the author of the book Eid On A Budget. Navin resides in Mississauga, Canada where she has lived most of her life. She aspires to help people where and whenever she can and having recently graduated Niche Hero, has started a project called UnDebt Me.


Kanika is an engineer by profession, currently pursuing a Bachelors in Islamic Sciences from Arees Institute (studying under Shaykh Isam Rajab, hafidahullah). She is the founder of  Habibi Halaqas - http://habibihalaqas.org . 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 - http://learnindiancooking.com .

----------
This is a sisters only event
Online webcast with audio and visual presentation
----------
For maximum benefit, try your best to attend this event live.
---------
Toronto Time: 6 pm EST
Chicago Time: 5 pm CST
LA Time: 3 pm PST
Egypt Time: 3 am
London Time: 11 pm
---------

FREE ONLINE WEBINAR
Suggested Donation: $ 5

Muslim Woman, The Leader
Where: Online
When: Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 6:00-7:00 PM EST
Who: 3 Dynamic Muslim Women Leaders


Apr 13, 2011

Choosing Your Anger Destiny


By Umm Amin

SubHaana wa ta 'alaa! Have you ever had a long day washing laundry, cooking dinner, and checking your children’s homework book when you notice somebody has entered the home? Imagine if that person enters without placing their shoes into the nearby rack, leaving muddy footprints across the freshly mopped floor! Aaargh! Do you choose to throw your hands in the air and yell until your face is red? What about a passive aggressive sulking session followed by negative comments and hinting complaints? Either option allows your emotions to boil over, and if left unchecked this could detrimentally impact your relationships with people you love.

We do not want anger to harm ourselves or others, because it tears up the fabric of families and communities. In Allah’s noble book we read Surat al Imran, 132-134, “And obey Allah and the Messenger that you may obtain mercy. And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden [i.e. Paradise] as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous who spend [in the cause of Allah] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people – and Allah loves the doers of good.” It is clear that the message of Islam places a high importance and reward upon dispelling anger and forgiving others. These ayat show us that refraining from anger and forgiving others ranks among those who spend it in the way of Allah and are rewarded with paradise!

When we encounter anger, we are encouraged to stop our anger, make dua, perform wudu, and forgive others. In Sahih Bukhari Sulaiman bin Surd (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates, “While I was sitting in the company of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, two men abused each other and the face of one of them became red with anger, and his jugular vein swelled (i.e. he became furious). And that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, ‘I know a word, the saying of which will cause him to relax, if he does say it. If he says: I seek refuge with Allah from Satan, then all his anger will go away.’ Some body said to him, ‘The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, ‘Seek refuge with Allah from Satan.’ The angry man said, ‘Am I mad?’”

Being angry over an incident can be beneficial if you tap your energy for productive tasks, facilitate positive change, communication of powerful messages, or identification of a problem so you can begin rectifying it. Nonetheless, unbridled rage spoils relationships, stifles cooperative solution building, stamps out dialogue, and overpowers essential collaboration that might otherwise have been solicited as strategies for reaching a common goal.

Essentially, anger is the result of failure to reach a desired goal (Bowness et al., 2008). Basically, you envision reaching a final destination – like a spotless kitchen floor, but a roadblock like muddy tracks prevents you from arriving at your destination. When you find those prints soiling the linoleum, your fury propels you to move on and overtake the roadblock. Anger can be negatively embodied as tantrums, seething, active rage, impulsive behavior, distorted perceptions and a host of actions that erode trust and breaks down relationships (Geroloff, 2000). Similarly someone that represses anger may interpret anger as being out of control, incompatible with love, impolite, or contrary to the essence of forgiveness (Gerloff, 2000). As a result of anger repression, some people feel victimized, helpless, stuck in an unfair situation, or even depressed. They fail to take steps to prevent roadblocks from recurring by completely ignoring their anger. According to a psychologist Dr. Hoskins in order to avoid regrets and positively manage anger, a person “feels the anger, identifies the desired outcome, and expresses feelings in a way that preserves relationships (Gerloff, 2000).”

When a heated topic arises and an argument ensues, take a few minutes for a time out. Dua, performing ablution, sitting, or lying down are chances for a break in which you can reflect. Do not lose sight of the panorama – keeping it in view puts things into perspective. You can weigh where it can be gauged on the scale of importance. You may need to consider whether your expectations are realistic or unreasonable – can a two year old really sit still for two hours while you have tea with guests? Is there a more appropriate time to discuss the issue? Think about whether you might feel better after a healthy dose of exercise – sometimes a walk in the cool, fresh air allows you to reflect and gives you space to think. If you are running behind on sleep or fatigued, would you approach it better with a well-rested mind?

When you feel the symptoms of anger – flushed face, pounding heart, rising blood pressure – cool it down with a relaxation technique. Whether your relaxation includes pausing to count to ten, sitting down for a cool drink, or lying down to close your eyes and imagine the ocean waves stretching out to greet you – you will come back refreshed. Once you have gathered your composure and are calm, think about the true problem at hand and try a level-headed approach to identifying possible solutions. Describe your feelings with “I” statements rather than blaming someone (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2011). For instance, you might say “I was frustrated that I did so much work only to find the floor muddy”, rather than, “you should have taken off your shoes!” Consider the situation from another angle; sometimes it may even become funny and you can use humor to ease the tension.

Ultimately, when you become angry you can manage your emotions with a variety of techniques. You can suppress it, express it, or calm it (Bowness et al., 2008). Basically, you can decide how you will control your anger in a positive manner, including 1) Bottling it up and setting it aside, 2) Channeling your anger into productive and positive activities like exercise, or 3) Quelling your anger by using relaxation techniques and conscious stress reduction. Additionally, you can reflect upon the feelings you are having as the anger builds. Tracing your thoughts allows you to identify what the problem is you are encountering, and think about the outcome you want. Then you can consider all the possible actions available, and think out the consequences of both positive and negative choices (Bowness, 2008).

Successful anger management entails making conscious decisions about positively recognizing your emotions of anger and taking steps toward your desired goal without creating harm for you or anyone else. When you weigh your options, you can select the route that most positively achieves arriving at your destination. The bottom line is expressing your anger skillfully and positively. Anger in and of itself is not harmful – it can be a motivator for change and an force that pushes you toward growth and solutions so long as it is experienced and expressed within appropriate boundaries and limits.

You may have a legitimate cause of anger but forgiveness elicits help and support in preventing an issue from occurring again. After all, we learn in Sahih Bukhari that Abu Huraira narrated: Allah’s Apostle sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “When Allah completed the creation, he wrote in His Book, which is with Him on His Throne, ‘My Mercy overpowers My anger.” Furthermore, in Sahih Bukhari, the Book of Faith, we learn the Prophet Mohammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “None of you (truly) has faith until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” Part of our love for others should be the ability to put ourselves in their shoes, to consider their perspective, and to offer forgiveness and mercy when we could be angry. And no human being is more merciful than Allah, ArraHman, and on the Day of Reckoning we will all seek the mercy of ArraHeem!
References:
Bukhari. (2010). Sahih Bukhari. Retrieved from the Internet from:
http://www.sahihalbukhari.com/sps/sbk/
Bowness et al. (2008). Creative anger management: an overview. In Forensic Mental
Health Nursing: Capabilities, Roles & Responsibilities. London, UK: Quay Books.
Gerloff, L. (2000). Anger Management. Mississippi RN, 62(4).
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2009). Anger Management: Ten ways to tame your temper.
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/anger-management/MH00102
Saheeh Internation. (1997). The Qur’aan: An authentic, accurate, and clear English
translation. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Abulqasim Publishing House. 
I'd love to hear your views on this article. Please tell me in the comments section below :)
 

Apr 11, 2011

Time=Past+Present+Future=Loss/Gain


By Rubina Siddiqi


The title of the article is like a mathematical equation but that 1 line conveys the whole message. The Essence of life is time. We can define time in many ways but what counts is how we use time, and that will be a defining factor in the outcome of our life. We often use the term “Time flies” in our conversations, but do we really ever sit down and reflect on the true meaning of this phrase? Do we give thought to what we have gained or lost in time gone by?

As a Muslim it is our duty to fully utilize every moment given to us on this earth in the most useful and effective manner.

Narrated by Ibn Abbas, The Prophet (saws) said, "There are two blessings which many people lose: (They are) health and free time for doing good." Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 8.421
Often when we are struck with calamity or there is loss of life, we realize the essence of time lost and rush to do good for our betterment. But again, after some time we slow down and forget . To analyze how we are losing out on the blessing of time, we ought to sit back and think about how we spend a single day in our life. Have we contributed in some way for the benefit of our soul and the akhira on this day or has the time just passed by. Futile waste of time often leads to an emptiness in our souls and makes us restless. A negative emotion that stems from the realization that nothing or not enough has been achieved. Proper choice of what activities we indulge in, how we plan our days,and effective time management are necessary for -- success in both this world and the hereafter.

We as muslims should never forget our true purpose on this earth. Our life here is not limited to this world where it will begin and end. We will be resurrected and asked on the day of judgment of how we spent our time on this earth.

Narrated by Abu Barzah Nadlah ibn Ubayd al-Aslami (may Allah be pleased with him) The Prophet (may peace & blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
A servant of Allah will remain standing on the Day of Judgment till he is questioned about his age and how he spent it; and about his knowledge and how he utilized it; about his wealth from where he acquired it and in what (activities) he spent it; and about his body as to how he used it. (Tirmidhi)
Remembering our Lord and worshipping him is an important part of life on this earth. SubhanAllah just the thought that on the day of judgement how heavily time will weigh should make us spend it more wisely. There are reminders in the Quran and sunnah to be conscious about time.

It is the duty of Muslims to foremost -
  • Learn and implement the Quran in their daily lives. If you read the Quran everyday then start reading it’s translation, If you already do that, try going a step further, try to memorize one ayah at a time and try to use and follow and spread the word of Allah.
  • Rush to do good deeds. Try to go out of your way to help others in need in any halal way you can. Try to volunteer your spare time for the masjid or any muslim or other organizations which help the needy. If you look around you will see examples from your own community of people who beautifully manage their time by giving their best to work as well as their deen. Learn from the living examples, if they can do it, so can you Inshallah!
  • Fulfill your commitments on time. As a Muslim it is your duty not to waste time while at work as well as when at home or on week-ends . So set an example for others to follow.
  • Properly manage time in the present and learn from your mistakes of yesterday. Do Dhikr whenever and wherever you are, in the car, cooking, cleaning. If yesterday you could not give time to your deen because of whatever reason don’t let that reason stop you today .

Allah (swt) has blessed us with this life. Let us thank Him and worship Him and glorify Him whenever we can so that this benefits us and our children who -see - an example in the way we live.

“By (the Token of) Time (through the ages), Verily Man is in loss, Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy.” Qur'an (103:1-3)

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

Apr 9, 2011

Makeup Basics 101: The Face – Finishing Powders


by Aisling Douglas

So far we have learned how to prime the face and all about foundation. Now let’s learn how to set and finish your look! 


Ever noticed that after a long day at work, school or chasing after the kids your foundation that you carefully applied in the morning is somehow gone? Well, you are not alone. Many women – regardless of skin type – have their foundation melt off throughout the day. By simply applying a powder on top of your favourite foundation you can keep even drug store brands on all day!

There are many types of powders including compacts, mineral, and specifically formulated finishing powders. Compacts and mineral foundation will add coverage to your initial foundation. Be sure to be very light when applying this as it has the potential to look like ‘too much’.

Specially formulated finishing powders are a must have for many makeup artists, but why can your skin look perfect every day too? They are often colourless powders that create a flawless, airbrushed look.


Product Recommendations:


Apr 6, 2011

The Taqwa Lifestyle, A Case Study Of a Queen


By Umm Sulaym


The eyes are pink-red,
Heart’s a little blue,
She’s got everything,
If she only knew…

Life passes her by,
People zoom past too,
Selfish is this dunia’s very air…
With no one to turn to…

A sincere duaa reaches the Heavens,
The Angels hear her cry,
They rush to their Rabb,
Awaiting in line, the Decision of the Most High.

‘That’s My slave, you see there supplicating,
Bint of my beloved slaves so-and-so,
With every tear and heartache,
I allow her Paradise to grow.

Noor shall fill those eyes that are pink-red,
Over-joyous will be hearts that are blue,
I am with those who hurt themselves for Me,
If they only knew…’

***

Musa ibn Imran once said, ‘My Lord, where should I seek You?’

He replied, ‘Seek Me with those whose hearts have broken for My Sake. Every day I come close to them by one arm-span and were it not for this, they would surely perish.’ [isnad to Imran ibn al-Qusayr, recorded by Imam Ahmad, Kitab az-Zuhd, pp. 75]

Dearest Readers: Asalamoalaykum warahmatullah,

Nothing will resuscitate it back. Not the medicines. Not any human. Not any psychologist/psychiatrist, nor any Imam.

Regrets of the past and fears of the future will continue to invade the fragile heart. The ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ will cooperatively continue to plague the mind.

‘If only I had known before’ ‘…if only he cared’.
‘ If only I had married someone else or if only I was married.’
‘ If only I was accepted in that school. ‘
‘If only mum was alive.’
‘ If only I had kids, I wouldn’t be so unhappy. ‘

But you can put an end to it all and have a past with no regrets and a future with no fears:

‘O Children of Adam! If there come to you Messengers from amongst you, reciting to you, My Verses, then whosoever fears (has Taqwa) and reforms himself, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.’ [7: 35]

We all need examples to motivate and teach us how to reform ourselves. What better a way than learning from a fascinating story? A story that’ll prove it to you that Taqwa is really:

  1. an antidote for loneliness and lack of love [3:76]
  2. a means of a way out of problems [65:2-3]
  3. a source of honor [13:13]
  4. a means of survival amidst bad news [10:63-64]
  5. only in those who have knowledge of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’la [35:28]
I will narrate to you a story of a woman who adopted the Taqwa lifestyle despite the challenges she faced. From loneliness, lack of love, loss of ‘status’, challenges from family to being plotted against despite wishing well for others. She lost everything and everyone except Taqwa. She didn’t complain, give up on her Lord, or go into depression. She moved on. And so shall all of us dear sisters. And so shall all of us…as we tread the path to Taqwa inshaAllah.

She was a Queen who was entitled as the Cream of Royalty. A Muslim Queen surrounded 360 degrees by kings because she was a daughter of a king, sister of a king, later on wife of two kings, mother of two kings, and grandmother of a king. SubhanAllah! Our lovely lady of taqwa was called Zummurud bint Jawlee (Rahimullah) who was born in 470 AH (1074 CE) in Damascus or Ash-Shaam. She did have a royal upbringing but her father wanted her to be raised with knowledge as well. Unlike most rich fathers today, he did not spoil her even though he could afford to. Zummurud (Rahimullah) was surrounded by kings left and right, why would she need knowledge to make decisions when she would have the power to summon scholars by a single command? Her father ensured that little Zummurud memorized the Quraan and as she grew older, she was taught the Fiqh of the Hanafi Madhab.

Around that time period, a kingdom would hold onto one type of Madhab very strongly and thus promote only that specific Madhab. Naturally then, as she was raised in a pure Hanafi environment, she got more opportunity to learn about that specific Madhab, adab and akhlaaq. As she was growing, she started learning about Hadith sciences and since a lot of scholars used to visit Damascus, she learned from them and got her Ijaaza. Therefore being nurtured in an environment of scholars, it is no surprise that she soon mastered the Hanafi Madhab and was in her life-time considered a scholar in that field.

As her life story goes she got married to King Boorie. King Boorie was one of the greatest kings of his time and he too belonged to the Seljuk Turks. He has been known as a great fighter in battles against the Crusaders and the Baatinees. Queen Zummurud (Rahimullah) and King Boorie made a couple much loved by their community. He divided his time between his work and wife. King Boorie concentrated on building armies/allies and meeting delegates while he asked his wife to be responsible for education and community affairs. Because of her knowledge and the community’s interests at heart, Queen Zummurud (Rahimullah) quickly became the community’s favourite as she continued to support education.

As a daughter of a king earlier and now a wife of the king, she had been exposed to the evil designs of the Crusaders and how with time, the Crusaders divided Muslim lands and weakened the Muslim economy. She saw how instead of being united, every Muslim region formed its own government with its own king and how they just fought with each other. As a result, despite not needing to be bothered about political affairs, she was well-informed and she knew what was happening around her.

She even witnessed the movement of ‘Imaad Ad-Deen Zinkee who wanted to unite all the small Muslim regions under his leadership in order to attack the Crusaders as a single force. If the Muslim regions did not agree, he would invade that area and force them to comply with his ideas. He did not think highly of Damascus and so the relationship with him and the royalty of Damascus was not very good.

It is hard to say what was the major turning point of Zummurud (Rahimullah)’s life but it would be not an exaggeration to claim that things totally changed as soon as her husband, King Boorie, passed away.

Like things always happen, things changed for her too. She might’ve planned otherwise but Allah subhaana wa ta'aala had planned better things for her…like for me and you.

Stay tuned for the rest of the story or better still, find out about her yourself.
And Allah subhaanawa ta’ala knows best.


Love,
-Umm Sulaym

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Apr 5, 2011

Have You Paid Your Due Yet?


By Sister Sunshine Smiles

Most of us in today’s world are extremely busy. And Metro life has become a rat race, leaving an individual devoid of their own bare self. It takes an unusual encounter with reality to knock me down and remind me that we are all humans living in this world for a bigger purpose than the one we are desperately running after.

One lucid memory I have of this incident reminds me of the wise words quoted from Sahih Muslim,

"Look at those who stand at a lower level than you but don't look at those who stand at a higher level than you, for this would make the favours (conferred upon you by Allah) insignificant (in your eyes)."

It was a fine morning after random heavy showers the previous night with puddles and water logged everywhere but with the freshness of raw earth that is usually missing in the cities. I was happily on my way to meet my colleagues and finish off some work on an assigned project.

There was water accumulated everywhere as this city was really well known for its messed up drainage infrastructure and this, could be very well established by the overflowing manholes that day.

Nonetheless, it was all expected to recede by late hours of the afternoon. I was walking across the street, just about to cross a road waiting for the ‘Walk’ sign to glow when we saw a little, say maybe a 5 year old boy, run halfway across the road.

This city did have a considerable amount of needy people but this sight was definitely a newbie to the collage of a million other pictures scened up in my mind. A shocker nonetheless because what followed was the little boy’s bath time in the dirty water from the overflowing manhole.

I was too shocked to react at the moment considering the traffic light was still green for cars. Luckily, the road wasn’t too busy at that hour but the little boy seemed to have mastered the act of spotting a car zooming to cross the signal too. He would run back to the pavement and then run back immediately after the car would pass by. From the looks of his expression the water seemed cold but complemented well because the sun was up bright by then already.

I was flabbergasted at the whole scenario that I didn’t realize when our ‘Walk’ sign turned ON and back OFF again. By then, this little boy had finished up his quick, so called bath and ran back to his mother who was busy taking care of another infant on the side of the road. At that moment, I learnt that maybe they didn’t even have even a roof to live under, let alone basic clothing or general food supplies.

That was probably the first day I realized how ‘not’ often I thank Allah for the things I have. Once in a while when I remember, I do. But how many times do I specifically think of how amazingly blessed I am or how blessed we all are?
Have we ever thought how blessed are we to have a roof over our head to shelter us and protect us from adverse weather conditions contrary to the unfortunate who are sleeping on the street tonight.

Or how blessed are we who are provided with 3 meals a day with nutritional value tabs on our intake contrary to those who have been hungry all day and may have been lucky enough to feast on a loaf of bread for dinner.

Or maybe how blessed are we who have a wardrobe stacked of clothes in innumerous shades though sometimes we complain of having nothing to wear as compared to those unfortunate who are dressed in rags for as long as they can even remember.

And, blessed are we to have proper sanitary facilities for going about our business as compared to those who have to find themselves on corners of deserted places to relieve themselves.

Also, blessed are we for all the basic necessities mentioned above and every other little thing that we may or may not realize but nonetheless have been bestowed with unconditionally.

No matter what, if you are reading this, you are from the better half of the scenario because not only do you have all of the above but also an access to a huge database of knowledge on the widespread internet from which you can seek information at your freewill and benefit from the same of course (ignoring the malicious aspect and immense sources of wrong knowledge available too).

When I began to wonder what would it take to improve the status of the poor people around us, I landed up on an enormous barren land of thoughts fighting themselves over each other and before I knew it there was too much to even begin thinking of.

What I settled with, was a hope that from the day I begin to work, I will always remember to find time to give my Zakat more than willingly and required and hasten towards it insha’Allah.

A righteous predecessor once said, “Charity cannot be perfect except with three characteristics: hastening, belittling and concealing it.”

And referencing for the same from the translation of the Noble Quran [2:177] by Sahih International,
“Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah , the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakah; [those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous.”

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

Apr 4, 2011

Judging Somebody ? Too Soon or Not ?


By Farheen Naaz

The moment we lay our eyes on someone we end up judging them, in both, a good way and a bad way. Each person’s perception is different, but in general an individual judges or has wayward opinions about another with regards to his/her overall appearance, way of talking, clothing, walk, way of expressing, job, qualification, place of stay and other such things. Often we end up forming opinions without even knowing the person personally, for example, the other day I went to a jewellery shop with some friends and while we were waiting to be attended to, we overheard another customer asking the sales person in a heavily accented tone for latest and happening designs. Now in most parts of my city such a tone is regarded with someone trying to show-off, don’t ask me why! And well, sometimes looks really odd among all desis (but no reason to deem the person as air-headed). So, back on track, someone from the group started commenting on her accent which led to a pretty ugly (not literally) conversation, ranging from how she talked to the way she dressed! (May Allah forgive!)

What I’m trying to put across here is how we fall into the trap of satan ignoring our own faults and concentrating on forming opinions about others mercilessly. We don’t flinch or wince even once before doing so. But when you imagine someone who doesn’t even know you commenting or opinionating about you, your blood boils!

When you don’t/wouldn’t want someone to do that to you, why do you end up doing the same for someone else?

Leave alone our feelings and whims for a few minutes and let us look at what Islam has to offer us on this issue of judging others mercilessly.

One of the ninety-nine names of Allah is “Al-Haleem” which translates to “The Clement” meaning, Allah subhaana wa ta'aala is not quick in judgment. Allah gives all his servants time. He is patient and waits to see His servants return to Him even if it is after leading a sinful life.

There is a beautiful hadith which elaborates this attribute of Allah subhaana wa ta'aala showing us mortals how merciful He is when it comes to recording our bad deeds. Abu Umamah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that the messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “The angel of the left raises (and holds) his pen for six hours from the Muslim servant of Allah who has wronged or committed a mistake. So if he regrets and seeks Allah’s forgiveness from it, he (the angel) returns it back, and if that’s not the case then it is written as one” [ Mu’kam al Kabeer, Hasan according to Albani]

The mercy and greatness of Allah is beyond words once you know this Hadith. How often do we admonish a person as soon as s/he does something wrong? 99.99999% of the time it is always done! Not a second is spared after something wrong has been done! We need to take heed from this Hadith. How can we judge someone and form ill opinions about them (whether we know or don’t know them) when Allah Himself isn’t doing so before giving grace repentance time for a believer and repentance time for everybody which lasts until before you die! Are we so perfect to know the status of the heart of any individual and categorize them as good or bad?

One more hadith which I’d like to mention is:

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: "One who helped someone in a trouble in this world, Allah will help him in his trouble in the Hereafter and one who keeps the faults of a Muslim secret in this world, Allah will keep his faults in the Hereafter and Allah remains in the help of the (Muslim) man until he is in the help of his brother."

The next time we do something or even think of doing something like forming opinions or commenting on someone without knowing the truth of their life, I pray to Allah that we are reminded of the beautiful haidth mentioned and the mercy, greatness, forgiveness of Allah subhaana wa ta'aala. Ameen.

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

Apr 3, 2011

Certain Uncertainities


by Ni'mah Ali

The mystery of not knowing what the future holds is at times frustrating, and at times exciting. Will my hopes be shattered? Will my excitement turn into disappointment, yet again? Will I really be happy? Will my long and at times exhausting search finally come to an end? The search of finding my "Mr. Right”—the right man to share my life with, to give my loyalty and trust, to dedicate my life to, and give my heart to. The one I will love for Allah's sake, forgive when he makes mistakes, smile for when he looks at me. I sit here with a certain uncertainty, but I'm willing to take the risk, or shall I say the chance.

I've always heard that there's a risk in taking chances. When it comes to marriage, the risk is things not working out. Maybe the person I married will not be what I was expecting, or even worse, we will not make each other happy. This is the great risk. But the chance is even greater. Maybe everything will be ok, or great! Maybe he will be the right one. Maybe he will be patient with me in difficult times; maybe this will be the person that brings out the best in me. Maybe, just maybe he will make me happy, so for this chance I'm willing to take the risk.

Isn't life all about taking chances and risks? Our role in life is to try to make the best decisions. We must do the research, listen to people's opinions, advices and suggestions, and we also have to listen to our hearts. What do you really want? What do you think is best for you? After all of the above is done, we must pray to Allah to lead us to the best of opportunities, and to make the best of decisions and choices. Then we say Tawakaltu A'lallah! And we move forward with our decision and hope for the best. As human beings we face making decisions and choices every day. Some are very easy and you don't have to put any thought to it, and some are so difficult that you just wish someone else can make the decision for you. May Allah help us in our daily life struggles, making the best decisions, putting our faith and trust in Allah and always returning to Allah and repenting.

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