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May 31, 2011

The Story of Umm Zayd


I found a small Arabic e-book a couple of years back, titled ‘How to memorise the Qur’aan in one Month’. At the time, I remember reading the title and thinking, ‘One month?! That’s impossible!’ I skimmed the pages of the PDF file but never read it until I completed my own memorisation. In the e-book, there were several accounts of how others managed to complete their hifdh but one story touched and inspired me a great deal. It is the story of a married sister by the name Umm Zayd who despite the responsibilities of housework, looking after children and tending to her husband’s needs, managed to memorise the entire Qur’aan under unique circumstances. I will briefly narrate her story to you in the hope that it will instil within you the encouragement and drive to achieve similar to what she did.

Umm Zayd doesn’t mention when she started her journey towards memorising the Qur’aan but she mentions how she felt the task would be unattainable and extremely difficult. She says she never dreamt in her wildest dreams that she would ever complete memorising the entire Qur’aan. When she first started to memorise, she began with Soorah al-Baqarah and Aali-‘Imraan, thinking they would be the hardest and take the longest. Her memorisation of these two chapters was extremely prolonged and lasted 7 years.

During one Ramadhaan, her husband told her that he would be spending the last fifteen remaining days performing I’tikaaf (seclusion) in the Haram (Makkah). This was difficult for Umm Zayd as she would be left alone with her four sons and they lived in a remote place, far away from family and friends, and the few neighbours she had did not mingle and preferred to keep to themselves. So when the time came for her husband to travel, she says, “I raised my hands to the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful and supplicated with a supplication of one in distress and tears poured from me, O My Lord, You are the Most Merciful of those who show mercy. Grant me righteous companions who are more virtuous than me so that I may (strive to) be like them and so that they may be for me the best of companions.” So Allaah answered her du’aa quickly. Whilst sitting in front of her computer one day, she came across an online academy for memorisers of the Qur’aan and at the time she did not realise that her entering this website was the answer to her supplication but she says she entered the website in a state of sadness and when she left, she was in a completely different state to that which she was when she entered. She met through this online academy the best of sisters who inspired her with their striving to reach this noble goal. She says, “There were sisters there who had memorised the Qur’aan in three days and (here) I was, in seven years I haven’t managed to memorise anything other than two chapters!” So Allaah removed Umm Zayd’s sadness and replaced it with a new found spirit and she said to herself, this Ramadhaan will be different from previous ones. She decided she would strive her utmost to complete memorising the Qur’aan in the last ten blessed days.

Umm Zayd reminded herself of the various ahaadeeth speaking of the virtues and rewards of the memorisers of the Qur’aan, those who are the best of mankind and who have gained the pleasure of Allaah and His abundant blessings! She wrote all these things down and placed them with hermushaf, which was to be her close companion on this journey.

She performed wudhoo (ablution), sat down and opened the mushaf. She began by placing her trust in Allaah and repeating out loudly the verse from the Qur’aan, ‘And We have indeed made the Qur’aan easy to understand and remember, then is there any that will remember (or receive admonition)?’ (Soorah al-Qamar 54:17). She set herself a target of memorising one page in ten minutes and so she memorised, page after page and each time she completed one page, Umm Zayd supplicated to Allaah to make firm her memorisation and said, “O My Lord, I commit to you what you have taught me so guard it for me.” She began to memorise from the time of Dhuhaa up until 2.30pm in the afternoon. She took a short break and returned to memorising up until close to the time of ‘Ishaa prayer. By the end of the day, she had memorised three juz!! Glory be to Allaah who grants these great blessings but unfortunately we do not know how to show due gratitude!

After six days, she had completed memorising twelve juz and started to contemplate whether she should continue memorising or review what she had covered so far. She sought the advice of the sisters she met via the online academy and they encouraged her to continue memorising. She looked forward to the return of her husband and for ‘Eed day to come, when she will have two joys; the joy of completing the fast of Ramadhaan and the joy of completing her memorisation.

But Allaah brought upon her trials to test her resolve and the sincerity of her intention; was she going to give in to the tests or would she continue to achieve her goal? On one particular day, she only managed to memorise two pages, not because she was unable to do so but because she became extremely busied by many things. Amongst them were that all her four sons fell ill with an extreme fever and she was awakened throughout the hours of the night tending to them, especially her youngest child who wept profusely. Then by the Will of Allaah, Umm Zayd herself fell ill but she did not stop memorising. She strove to do as much as she could until Allaah cured them all and kept saying to herself, “I will complete it soon InshaaAllaah.”

Their remained for her only ten juz to memorise and by the grace of Allaah, she memorised them quickly and easily. On the final day, she woke up that morning having dreamt a beautiful dream that this would be the day she completed memorising the Qur’aan and she was filled with immense joy. She had three juz remaining and by now, she was able to memorise an entire page in five to eight minutes. At 9pm that night, she completed her memorisation and she tells of how she was overcome with strange feelings and emotions, the like of which she had never experienced before, nor could she describe to the readers in words.

When she read the final verse, she threw herself onto the ground and prostrated a prostration of thankfulness, weeping out of happiness that she was finally carrying the Qur’aan in her chest. She thanked Allaah for granting her the ability to do so before death approached her and she hurried to share this happiness with her husband.

At the end of her account, she gives some final words of advice saying, “I am a woman like any other woman. I have a husband and children and they study in select schools known for their demanding curriculums and teaching methods. I memorised the Qur’aan without neglecting any of my duties and responsibilities, I put my children and (helping them with) their education first, and always hastened to do what would please my husband without falling short in giving him his rights and always fulfilled my obligations completely. And to Allaah is all Praise. O you mothers! By Allaah! Do not ever make excuses for your not memorising the Qur’aan. So how about those young girls who are not married and do not have such responsibilities upon them?”

She goes on to say, “When I thought that Soorah al-Baqarah and Aali ‘Imraan would be hard to memorise and take a long time, Allaah gave me that which I thought, for my memorisation of these two chapters was extremely prolonged. It took 7 years because I did not have good thoughts but when I placed my trust in Allaah and thought well of Him, and said I will memorise the entire Qur’aan in a short space of time, Allaah honoured me with the memorisation of His Book and made it easy for me….O you who wishes to memorise the Qur’aan! Place your trust in Allaah and be true and sincere and have good thoughts about Allaah that He will direct and facilitate that for you, for By Allaah, you will find that (you will reach that goal) quickly.”

May 26, 2011

The Wasiyyah (Will) of Imaam Al-Albaanee


Imaam Muhammad Naasirud-Deen Al-Albaanee

Source: Ma'a Shaykhinaa Naasiris-Sunnah wad-Deen (p.27-31)

In the Name of Allaah, the All-Merciful, the Most Merciful...

Firstly, I advise my wife, children, friends, and all of my beloved ones, when the news of my death reaches them, to supplicate to Allaah, asking His Forgiveness and Mercy for me. I ask that they do not wail over me nor cry with a raised voice.

Secondly, I ask that they hurry my burial. I ask them also not to inform any of my close relatives or brothers (at the exclusion of others), except that which is necessary to prepare me for burial. Also I ask that they allow my body to be washed by my neighbor and sincere friend, 'Izzat Khidr Aboo 'Abdir-Rahmaan, and whoever he asks to help him with it.

Thirdly, I choose to be buried in the closest place available, so those who carry me will not place me in a car, nor will the followers of the janaazah (funeral) ride in their cars. I also ask that the graveyard be an old one, to ensure that its graves will not be exhumed...

...And for those living in the land that I die in, I ask that you do not make it a priority to inform my children from other lands until after I am buried. This is to prevent the emotions from overwhelming you, and as a result my janaazah becomes delayed.

I ask Al-Mawlaa (Allaah) that I meet him and that he has forgiven my past sins, and those I have yet to commit (at the time of writing this)...

...I bequeath my entire library, every printed book, copy, and manuscript (by my handwriting or someone else's) to the library of the Islaamic University of Al-Madeenah. That is because of my many fond memories of that place, the da'wah to the Book and the Sunnah upon the way of the righteous Salaf that I remember from the years I used to teach there.

I hope that Allaah will cause it to benefit the leaders of the da'wah there, as its owner used to benefit the students there in days gone by. And I ask that Allaah benefits me by them, from their sincerity and their work in the da'wah.

( O my Lord! Make me thankful for Your Favor that You bestowed upon me, and upon both my parents, and make me one that does righteous deeds that you love. And correct my offspring for me. Surely I repent to You, and surely I am from amongst the Muslims. ) [1]

Muhammad Naasirud-Deen Al-Albaanee
The 27th of Jumaadaa Al-'Oolaa, 1410

*********************************

Comments on the Wasiyyah
by 'Alee Al-Halabee

These are the most important excerpts from his wasiyyah, may Allaah sanctify his soul, from what is beneficial for the masses of the people. Some things specific to his situation, may Allaah have Mercy on him, were excluded.

And we took care of his request as he asked; as his death was before sunset and the prayer on him was performed after 'Eshaa'. And the time between his death and burial was less than three hours.

And in the hour of his burial, those present from his brothers, children, students, loved ones, friends, and relatives gathered, their number being close to 5000, or perhaps more.

And the prayer was performed outdoors in an open area, according to the Sunnah.

He was carried upon the shoulders of the people to the closest graveyard to his house, a privately-owned graveyard not open to the public. Allaah Alone granted us ease in getting him buried there, in a lahd [2], precisely according to the Sunnah once again.

Our teacher, the Shaykh, Muhammad bin Saalih Al-'Uthaymeen, may Allaah preserve him [3], called the family of Shaykh Naasir on the night of his death to console them for their loss, saying, "His entire life was an exemplification of the Sunnah, his living as well as his dying." May Allaah reward him.

I can not find words to close with regarding our Shaykh, the great scholar, except that I say about him what Al-Imaam Al-Haakim said about his shaykh, Al-Haafith Abee 'Alee An-Naysaabooree, may Allaah have Mercy on all of them:

"I do not say this as a dedicated fanatic since he was my teacher, but I simply never saw anything comparable to him." [4]

**********************
FOOTNOTES
[1] the meaning of Soorah Al-Ahqaaf (46):15
[2] an L-shaped grave
[3] may Allaah have Mercy on him
[4] Siyaru A'laam An-Nubalaa' (16/54)
**********************

TEST YOUR UNDERSTANDING

Why did Imaam Al-Albaanee not want anyone to spread the news of his death?

To whom did the Shaykh bequeth his entire library? Why?

How much time passed between the time of the Shaykh's death and his burial?

Who said,"His entire life was an exemplification of the Sunnah, his living as well as his dying" ?



May 19, 2011

Keeping Ties


By Ni'mah Ali

My heart aches when I see the way some Muslim families and communities, including my own are towards each other these days. We have severed the ties of kinship without even realizing it. How do we then expect to receive Allah’s love and mercy when we have abandoned the most important of Allah’s commandments and advice?

Yesterday, I saw a cousin of mine who I didn’t see in long time. Several months earlier, my sister told me that she was sick, but all I did, was say, “Oh Allah cure her” and went about my business. I didn’t bother to call or visit her. I didn’t bother to ask if she needed any help with her young children and home. I didn’t give her the support and company she needed in her time of sickness and loneliness. It wasn’t because I didn’t care, I just thought maybe it didn’t really matter all that much. Plus, I told myself, I’m just too busy running around between work, school, and home. Honestly, I just didn’t make the effort.

When I saw her yesterday at the masjid, she definitely looked weakened from the illness but recovering Alhamdulilah. At the moment, I didn’t remember right away that she got sick, and I thought to myself, she looks like she got sick or something. I said Salaam to her and extended my hand. She looked at me for a brief moment, almost with disappointment and surprise, then shook my hand and returned my salaam. Before I could say anything else, I remembered. I couldn’t even give her a second look. Immediately, a wave of guilt came over me. She didn’t say much to me. She just looked away and went back to reading the Quran. I almost broke into tears. I felt ashamed of myself. It’s too late I thought. There’s absolutely nothing I can say to her now. I didn’t know what else to do. So I just left without saying another word.

Ever since yesterday, she has not left my mind. Every time I remember that look she gave me, the look of sadness and questioning, not to mention disappointment; I just feel guilty and sad all over again. This incident sparked many important questions in my head. I wonder why and how keeping ties with family, relatives, neighbors and friends has become so difficult to the point that now it is almost un-important to many people including myself. Everyone has their excuses, but the bottom line is, we are severing the ties of kinship and we don’t even realize it.

There’s no denying that there are families who are very close, who share the good and challenging times in life. But the majority of Muslims these days don’t have those tight-knit family relationships. And those who do have a good relationship with their families, relatives and communities should praise and thank Allah everyday because it is a blessing from Allah Himself!

So this brings me to my main question: how does one bring people in their families, relatives, and even communities not only together but to have them be open and loving to each other? Clean from hatred, grudges, and bad feelings. We have to remember, the challenges are many in bringing families and people in general, together.

I believe there are a number of reasons why families and relatives are usually divided or simply put, don’t keep contact with each other—and I speak from my own experience coming from a large family but with little contact with many of them. There are a number of things that usually push people apart and those things are the following:
  1. Lack of trust: If there’s no trust between people, it’s hard for people to be open with each other.
  2. Grudges! Grudges will destroy any relationship especially between families. Sometimes people just don’t want to let go of damages done to them. This will create long lasting enmity between people.
  3. Not growing up together or around each other: in other words not seeing each other enough! When relatives, even siblings don’t grow up together or around each other, there will be no familiarity, which means even brothers and sisters from the same womb will not be comfortable with talking to each other openly; there’s always going to be a sense of awkwardness in the air and to avoid that, people will just avoid each other.
  4. Fear of rejection: When someone goes out of their way to be nice to someone, to try to get close to them, to welcome them to their homes and lives, and the other person wants none of it, it hurts! Some people don’t know how to deal with this kind of rejection, and they just quit all together and never try again.

So how does one get the courage and strength to try to bring their families and relatives together and to accept each other with flaws and all even though are all the above mentioned challenges? Even more important, how does one get over all of these obstacles and try to change their own mindset and abilities? I certainly don’t have the answers, but we have to start somewhere. We should start by understanding how important keeping ties with kin is in Islam. Keeping ties with family is mentioned in the Quran more than once or twice, and the prophet SalAllahu aleyhi wa sallam has talked about it in many hadiths narrated by the companions. It takes strength and courage to even make the effort of keeping family ties, but the more we make the effort the more it will become easy and Allah will certainly love us for it. May Allah keep our hearts and minds clean of bad thoughts and feelings for the people that matter most: our families, relatives and brothers and sisters in Islam.

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

May 18, 2011

Pre-Nuptial Knots and Marital Bliss: It Really Does Take Two (and more) to Tango


By Maryam

It was a bitter-sweet day for me. I called a long-time friend that I have known since my high school days. After ten years of waiting to marry the one who proposed to her, it turned out by the will of Allaah that their union as one, was not meant to be. And so, with every difficulty, there is ease, as promised to the believers. She hung on with extreme patience and consistent dua until Allaah blessed her with someone else, during the last ten days in Ramadhan 1431AH.

So, why did she wait so long, or rather, why did both parties (my friend and the brother) wait so long? Well, it was really obvious to their families and close friends that they both wanted to get married to each other. The brother and my close friend were spiritually sound, well educated, and financially stable. Both were ever ready to settle down as husband and wife. But there was a huge stumbling block. A close member of the groom-to-be’s family just could not imagine both getting married and becoming a family. There were consultations here and there, to convince this particular family member but all to no avail. Years went by, and nothing happened. Wedding announcements were ringing in the air from family friends including many of our class mates in high school back then, but no one heard of any wedding announcement from my friend. Yet, she and the brother did not budge to give up each other.

Her family got so worried especially when she clocked thirty. Her younger siblings got married and started their own families. Still, nothing happened from her side. Suddenly, all eyes were on deck. People waited and waited. I also waited. People who knew how close we were, continued to bombard me with questions. It was not easy on me as well though we lived thousands of miles away from each other. There is an African proverb which says,” There are many fish in the ocean”. Basically, this means that if option A does not work out for you, there are other options available at your finger tips that you can choose from. This is my own rough English translation of the African wise proverb. In short, this was the advice my friend’s family kept on repeating to her after she hit thirty.

My dear sisters in Islam, the destiny of Allaah will always come to pass, no matter how we pave our ways to live our lives. So, the moment came when I got the bitter-sweet news about her nikkah. The bitter part of the news was that she and the brother had to part ways due to intense, nasty pressure against their plans for marriage. It had got to a point where the relationship between the brother and some members of his family became strained. My friend’s family too often got upset with her for not moving on after it became so obvious that she was not going to be welcomed assuming she got married to the brother. Then, the sweet part of the news really made my day. SubhanaAllaah! How ironic the story turned out to be.

I was ecstatic when she told me that she got married to a brother who hailed from a completely different tribe and spoke a completely different language from hers.

SubhanaAllaah! The first brother was from her own tribe and spoke the same language but as Allaah would have it, they were just not meant to be husband and wife. Also, the first brother is few years older than my friend whereas, her new profound love that Allaah blessed her with during the month of Ramadhan, was ten years younger than she was. The moment she told me this, I suddenly remembered Khadijah Bint Khuwaylid, radhiAllahu anha, our mother and the wife of Rasululaah, salla laahu alayhe was salam. Subhana Allaah!

My friend sounded happy, confident, and reassured that indeed, Allaah knows best. Indeed, Allaah is the best of all planners and the best of all plotters.

After our phone conversation, I was left deep in thoughts of our world beyond. Marriage in Islam is not a joking matter. Marriage between two people should be based on sincere love, respect, patience, and good relationship. Yes, it takes two to tango as the English saying goes. I would add to that by saying it takes two and more to tango. For a Muslim marriage to survive and weather the storms that every marriage experiences (Fact: There is no perfect, “Alice in Wonderland” marriage), both the wife and husband’s families must fear Allaah, show support, give sincere advice, and practice justice when dealing with their children, especially with their daughters’ and sons’ in-laws. Seriously, the current status of Muslim marriages in our ummah. Be it in the West or near East, all the way from Sub-Saharan Africa to the Arabian Desert, Muslim marriages are hitting the rock. And until we all come together as one big family, either by joining two hearts together on the deen, irrespective of their ethnicities, races, languages, or socio economic status, or by saving failing marriages, which are often ruined by marriage breakers, then we will be failing ourselves and failing the future of our children.

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

May 14, 2011

Webinar: Unveiled - Understanding the Niqab, May 26 2011


FREE ONLINE WEBINAR
Suggested Donation: $ 5

Unveiled - Understanding the Niqab
Where: Online
When: Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 7:00-8:00 PM EST
Speaker: Hebah Ahmed

 There is much confusion and dispute among Muslims and non-Muslims about the status of the niqab (face veil). The intent of this webinar is to dispel myths regarding the face veil. Is it oppression? Is banning it a breach of freedom of rights? Is it mandatory to wear in Islamic law? All this and more!

Come and Learn:

What is Niqab
The origins of Niqab
Criticisms against Niqab
How does one's life change when they start wearing Niqab
How should one deal with sisters who wear Niqab - Muslim and non-Muslim perspective
Political enforcement and/or banning of Niqab


Hebah is a Muslim American with a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering. She was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee to Egyptian immigrants. Hebah is a social activist who works to dispel the myths about Islam and Women in Islam through community presentations and panel discussions.


----------
This is a sisters only event
Online webcast with audio and visual presentation
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For maximum benefit, try your best to attend this event live.
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Toronto Time: 7 pm EST
Chicago Time: 6 pm CST
LA Time: 4 pm PST
Egypt Time: 4 am
London Time: 12 am
---------

FREE ONLINE WEBINAR

Suggested Donation: $ 5

Unveiled - Understanding the Niqab
Where: Online
When: Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 7:00-8:00 PM EST
Speaker: Hebah Ahmed


May 10, 2011

Recording - Muslim Woman, The Leader


This is a recording of the webinar 'Muslim Woman, The Leader' presented by Habibi Halaqas.



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.

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May 9, 2011

My Love Is In The Dock : Part 2


Read part 1 HERE

By Khadeeja Islam

Within days, I decided to practise Islam, all the while remembering not to skip prayers and reading the Qur’an. Eventually, as I did more and more research from authentic sources, the truth dawned upon me. The purpose of life is to worship or obey Allah and this is a two-fold purpose, entailing the following:

That we fulfil the rights of the Creator, for example offering our prayers and upholding Tawheed.
That we fulfil the rights of His creation, for example, taking care of animals and helping the poor.

Alhamdulillah! I am a practicing Muslim for 2 years now and I would love to share how Islam has shaped my personality. From the grumpy, disputatious girl, I am now a cheerful, friendly spirit. I am confident and by Allah’s Mercy, I have been endowed with patience, humility and the ability to control my temper. I am passionate about education and feel that I have an added responsibility towards the society and the proper representation of Islam. I maintain a healthy relationship at home, school and work, which has only heightened my productivity in these places. I realize that hygiene, grooming, healthy living and positive attitude are the real factors behind a great looking face and body. No make-up kit can bring out the glow, the blush, the smile, that a jovial, righteous heart is able to. I am active in community service which makes me more humble and grateful for all the blessings that I have been gifted with by Allah. It is very rewarding to spend time with those less fortunate than me and to see them smiling for the little things that I do for them. I am very careful about the way I spend my money because “1.4 billion live in extreme poverty” [1] and for them, even a single penny matters. The best part is that I have Allah to rely on, both during times of ease and anguish. Alhamdulillah! At a time when Islamophobia is on the rise and people in general are skeptic about religion, everyone seems amazed at how a practising Muslimah can emanate such radiance. The transition has not been easy. I have made mistakes and still do, but none of the mistakes have been major as compared to the past and they do not leave me sulking in seclusion, thinking of how to rectify them or thinking of what my goal is. I bounce back every time with repentance and steadfastness towards my goal. Alhamdulillah!

Now that I look at my past, I have mixed emotions. I feel I have missed out on a lot for not being a practicing Muslimah since childhood. I think I could have contributed greatly to the Muslim Ummah and to humanity as a whole. I wish I was born into a practicing Muslim family. However, I know that Allah has only decreed that which is good for me. I feel grateful to Allah for having guided me so far. Even now, when I think of these developments, I get overwhelmed with tears. He has brought me from darkness to light. This is what keeps me away from disobeying Allah. How can I disobey Him after all the favours that he has bestowed on me? I cannot imagine what I would have done if Islam did not happen to me.

It is very ironic that Islam, the way of life, that has contributed so much to my personality development is now being scoffed at or misrepresented. It is ironic that practicing Muslims are deemed as threats or as unproductive burden, when in reality, we are so keen on benefiting everyone. I remember bursting out in tears because I could not bear Allah and His chosen Deen being insulted in my presence. However, this should not make us fall into despair. Instead, this should remind us that we have a lot to do for Islam. We need to be a proper demonstration of Islam, not by mere lip-service, but by our actions and speech for real. For example, I make it a point to smile even at strangers, so that they instantly feel the warmth of Islam. This is in contrary to the violent images that we see in the media or hear in the lectures of politically-motivated “preachers”. Smiling is a very small deed, but it goes a long way in creating a healthy environment for everyone. It is also our duty to produce greater output in every halaal field, for example, photography, fashion, writing, movie-making, poetry, business, art, medicine and journalism. This will not only ensure halaal entertainment, products and service for the Muslim Ummah, but it will also go on to show that our religion does not promote backwardness. We will also be less dependent on those who hold malice against Islam.

Let us take leadership in every field and produce some really talented artists, scientists, entrepreneurs and writers. Islam is in the dock. My love is in the dock. Will you help me to free it from the allegations?

Footnotes:
[1] Rural Poverty Report issued by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/insidestory/2010/12/2010127101119119276.html

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



May 5, 2011

What Lessons I Learnt From The Prophets of Islam


By Seema Muhammad Belushi


I have always been fascinated with the lives of the Prophets of Islam (Peace be upon them all)… and how Allah sent His messengers one after the other so that they might connect people to their Lord. I used to wonder that there must have been something really great about them that Allah subhanaa wa ta'aala chose them above all people to deliver His message to the World.

One thing which I am sure everyone will agree about is the great trials which they all faced in their lives. Be it Prophet Nooh, Ibrahim, Yusuf, Musa or Muhammad (Peace be upon them all). All of them had trials in their lives which they faced boldly without complaining to anyone about it but to Allah, can we even imagine anything like that?

Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam :

If you have read the seerah of Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam you will understand what I am talking about. What did this great man who was sent as a mercy to the world went through in life from the time he was born? The death of his father even before he was born, then the death of his mother at such a tender age of 6 … and after two years his grandfather who cared for him so much, also died … how difficult it must have been to have been raised up as an orphan… can we even imagine?

Musa alayhi salaam:

And how can we forget about the story of Musa alayhi salaam. How Allah had made him go through various twists and turns of his life before coming finally to this awesome moment when he was being chosen as a Prophet. When Musa alayhi salaam was born, his mother feared that the people of Fir’oun might come and kill her child. Therefore, by Allah’s inspiration, she put Musa alayhi salaam in a box and cast him into the river. Although it seemed like she would lose her child forever, Allah guided the box to the shore where it was picked up by the people of Fir’oun. Later however Musa alayhi salaam was re-united with his real mother subhanAllah!

Yusuf alayhi salaam:

Prophet Yusuf’s story is the most detailed story given in the Qur’an and is full of description of vicissitudes of human life, and therefore deservedly appeals to men and women of all classes. It paints in vivid colors, with their spiritual implications, the most varied aspects of life - Yaqub’s old age and the confidence between him and his little beloved son, the elder brothers’ jealousy, their plot, Yaqub’s grief, the sale of Yusuf into slavery for a petty price, carnal love contrasted with purity and patience and fortitude, chastity, false charges, prison, the divine gift of interpretation of the dreams, evil life and spiritual life, innocence raised to honor, forgiveness and benevolence, matters of administration, humility in glory, filial love, and the ultimate victory of piety and truth.

Ibrahim alayhi salaam :

Prophet Ibrahim alayhi salaam who alone challenged a whole system of Idol worship, left the culture of idol worship and brought people towards the worship of one Allah. Who left his wife Hajar alay salaam and son Ismail alay salaam in the barren valley of Makkah. Prophet Ibrahim whom Allah called His friend was the son of an idol maker and yet he searched for the one true God, amid a whole system of polytheism. Allah gave him His knowledge and he in turn sacrificed all his life towards submission to Allah.

Nooh alayhi salaam:

We know that Nooh alayhi salaam preached for 950 years but instead of listening to him the people threatened to stone him to death. As a result Nooh alayhi salaam prayed to Allah for help. And so the Prophet as well as the believers were saved and the rest were all drowned. Look at his example who spent almost a 1000 years of his life trying to bring people to the worship of Allah, yet only a handful of them accepted his “dawah” (call to the straight way). Do you think it was easy for him? Just compare it with our own attitude. How easily we lose heart and our Iman starts decreasing if anyone refuses to agree with us.
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In the end I would say that it is a great lesson for us to learn from them and see how in our life we are faced with trials and we think it is so unfair; whereas it is actually a test from Allah subhaana wa ta'aala to make us strong and to prove our sincerity and commitment to Him. Whosoever has patience and keeps working towards attaining Allah’s pleasure is rewarded abundantly both in this world and the next. May Allah subhaana wa ta'aala give us the same strength and patience to work for His deen. Ameen
I'd love to hear your views on this article. Please tell me in the comments section below :)
 

May 4, 2011

POEM: If One Day...


by Shaharban



“If one day, you are to walk out of my life...

I promise I will never whine and never ask ' why?'

But in return, promise me that you shall

give me back a few things that I ask for.



Promise me that you will give me back

the endless sleepless nights I spent talking with you.

Promise me that you will give me back

the millions of tears I cried begging God to give me you.

Promise me that you will give me back

the hours I spent dreaming of a life with you.

Promise me that you will give me back

all the hopes and faith I had in my heart.



All those nights, I could have slept well

and woke up early to help my folks.

All those tears I could have cried for something

genuine and in asking forgiveness to God.

All those hours I could have been realistic

and thought of life and the hereafter.

All the hopes I had in our love and

the faith I had in you could have been directed to God.



And finally sweetheart, Promise me…

That in the Hereafter you will be there

to stand for me, to fight for me and tell God,

“I used all tactics to make her fall for me

And I led her astray…away from her family..away from prayers..

Away from herself and now away from God…”



So, like you always say “Together in life and together in death”

But, let me add to it now that this one sin will make us

together in hell burning ourselves time and again to death…

- (Shaharban)

May 3, 2011

Sisterhood – A Joie de Vivre

This post has been cross-posted from Muslim Matters.
by Hena Zuberi


Nothing compares to the pleasure of bonding with your sisters. Romantic love is not the only joy de vivre. It takes time spent with your sisters to feel the delight of simple, soul connections. I am replenished, rejuvenated. The spontaneous burst of laughter, finishing each others thoughts and sentences, the ‘not’ needing to explain a phrase. Masha’Allah, after 4 whole years my gorgeous sisters and I were in one place. We bemoaned how much like our mother we had become and then thanked Allah for a mother like her. We spent lazy mornings in PJs with waffles and Washington blueberry sauce, exchanged recipes – ours, Ammi’s, our mothers-in-law’s, our cousins. We ate without abandon through boxes of gourmet cupcakes, Pacific salmon with almond-crusted asparagus and creamy butter chicken. We laughed, giggled and shopped like teenagers. We missed our only brother like crazy. Alhamdulillah for the many blessings. We celebrated one sister’s achievements, running an institute named after a mother of the believers (radhi Allahu ‘anha), the Ayesha School, with a potluck in a quaint house behind the Abu Baker Masjid.

We thought Aboo (our father) would have loved this – “pack up the car! instant picnic.” We marveled at the beauty of the Puget Sound, strolled Pike Place sampling Snoqualmie Valley honey, berries & Le Panier eclairs & of-course coffee. And then there were the tulips at Der Roosengarten. We were just in time for the Skagit Tulip Festival. SubhanAllahi wa bi hamdihi was on all our lips, “so we can have gardens like that in Jannah” said my daughter. Ameen, my daughter, Ameen.

We know each other’s strengths, faults, weaknesses, positive energies, failures, tragedies, dramas, likes, pet peeves, shortcomings, victories. With each other we have to be real because we know; its amazing not to have to pretend. We see how much we have grown spiritually and emotionally because we were there in the beginning.

When our souls were first created, theirs must have rested next to mine for Allah to choose them as my sisters. They are my childhood; they remind me of things long forgotten like an old family video but brighter, more colorful and from different angles. Sometimes you don’t even need words; a look, a frown, a smile gives away the emotions. She is what I could have been.

A sampling of memories of our triad - sisters are flowers from the same garden. Our mother was left trianthous, our eldest sister passed away in childhood. May Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) reunite us in Jannah.

She sobbed in dua (prayer) for you when you were losing your baby at the emergency room. She held your hand during your C-section and welcomed your daughter with Takbeer. She has become an amateur matchmaker in hopes that Allah will help her find the perfect match for you.

She secretly fasted on your roza khushai (first fast celebration) and stole your thunder. She stayed up all night to put henna on your hand for your shaadi (wedding) because you didn’t want it done by an impersonal professional. She urged you to wear abaya, “just do it, don’t wait,” she said. She nursed your baby because she was crying, and you weren’t there.

She was your first baby before you ever bore any from your own womb, the first diaper you changed, the first nose you wiped. She held your dupatta (veil) as you walked up the aisle for your Nikkah. She took your kids to the zoo on Eid while you were away at Hajj. She didn’t need to tell you she loved her gift, you could see the same look of giddy satisfaction as when she got presents at birthdays past.

You keep your past by having sisters. As you get older, they’re the only ones who don’t get bored if you talk about your memories.
- Deborah Moggach

Cousins bickering over toys, over who loves each other more. We find each other in our children. A lift of an eyebrow, a throaty laugh, same toddler gibberish. My children need to see us loving each other so unconditionally, a model for what their future relationship should be like, God Willing. A day after we land back, my two year old says, “Mama remember when we went to Khala jaani’s house? Can we go there again…TODAY?” I wish, sweetie, I wish…

My intense bond with my sister makes me want to take a closer look at sisterhood in Islam -

The first pair of sisters that immediately comes to mind in Islamic history is our mother Ayesha (radhi Allahu ‘anha) and her sister Asma bint Abu Bakr (radhi Allahu ‘anha). They were both Abu Bakr Siddiq’s (radhi Allahu ‘anha) daughters and also had a half-sister named Umm Kulthum. Ayesha (radhi Allahu ‘anha) would often ask her sister, Asma, to nurse young children (mainly orphans) – this way she would become their mahram and would teach them. Since Ayesha (radhi Allahu ‘anha) did not have children of her own, she adopted her nephew’s (Asma’s son’s name) as her kunya- Umm Abdullah. How deep a bond between sisters to be known as the mother of your child. I know sisters who have given up their children to their siblings who do not have biological children of their own, so they too may enjoy this great blessing. Abdullah once said of her, “I have not seen two women more generous than my aunt Ayesha and my mother Asma. But their generosity was expressed in different ways. My aunt would accumulate one thing after another until she had gathered what she felt was sufficient and then distributed it all to those in need. My mother, on the other hand, would not keep anything even for the morrow.”

Another model for sisterhood that we find in in the daughters of the Messenger of Allah’s daughters: Zaynab, Umm Kulthum, Ruqiyyah and Fatima az-Zahrah.

Mariam (radhi Allahu ‘anha)’s mother Hanna (Anne) also had a sister Aashya (Elizabeth). Maryam and her aunt were both gifted with the pure souls of Prophet hood in their wombs, Hazrat Eesa (‘alayhi salaam) and Hazrat Yahya (‘alayhi salaam). Hanna and her sister both chose to give up their children to the service of Masjid al Aqsa.

Our Mother Khadijah’ sister’s name was Hala. She named her child from her second husband, Hala, after her sister. Their voices sounded so much alike that the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would recognize it from behind the door when Hala called out to him, years after our mother, Khadijah, passed away. Khadijah married her daughter Zaynab to her sister’s son, Abdul-As.

A khala (mother’s sister) is an eligible custodian of a child after the maternal/paternal grandmother if his or her mother passes away. In fact, in the Maliki fiqh the khala‘s right precedes the paternal grandmother’s. We find the importance of this bond of the womb, from a hadith of the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).

A man approached the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, and said, “I committed an offence, could I atone for it?”

He asked, “Have you got a mother?”

The man said, “No.”

He asked, “Have you got a maternal aunt?”

The man said, “Yes.”

The Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said, “Be good to her.”

(Transmitted by Tirimdhi in “Righteousness and Relations” (1905); Ibn Hibban Charity (EI-Ehsan) (435); and Al-Hakim who amended it on the terms of the two Sheikhs, agreed upon by Al-Dhahaby, 4/155, all on the authority of Umar.)

This is further supported by a hadith related by Tirmidhi

Rasulullah (sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “The maternal aunt has the status of one’s mother.” We also learn that an elder sister is similar to one’s mother and a younger sister is similar to one’s child.

The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “Allah says: ‘I am Al-Rahman (the Most Merciful) and this rahm (tie of kinship) has a name that is derived from My name. Whoever upholds it, I will take care of him, and whoever severs it, I will cut him off.’” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1907; Abu Dawood, 1694). Her rights over you are that you love her for the sake of Allah, teach her Islam, give her sincere advice, that you do not back-bite about her in her absence, you conceal her sins and shortcomings, and that you are there for her in her time of need. If you love something for yourself then you love it for her as well (yeah – get two of that hijab next time you are shopping). Keep her secrets, don’t laugh at her or make fun of her. Wash and shroud her dead body, care for her orphaned children, pray for her and ask for her maghfirah.

May He who made us sisters, give us the ability to maintain the ties of kinship, to be the best sisters, aunts, and nieces that we can be. Ameen.

May 2, 2011

Right To Believe


By Amal Milaa Filza

It's 8:00 a.m. in the morning I am still a little bit sleepy and my bus is late. I just stare at the bakery right across the street where I see people going in and out. I feel that someone is staring at me. She looks at me with hateful eyes. I tell myself I am just imagining it and I look away. Still her eyes are burning on my skin.. I look at her again, she looks at my scarf and my clothes this time, still with the same hateful look.. If looks could kill.. Just when I want to turn my head again, I change my mind. Instead of ignoring it like I usually do, I stare back at her, I am thinking I can win this game; I used to play it all the time with my brother when we were little. Instead of staring at her with hateful eyes, I look at her with warm eyes and I smile at her.My bus arrives. Those looks cannot break me.

This happens to me almost every day. It is a challenge every single day, not to break down the looks and comments of the people. But I won’t give up, I was not built to break.

I love the country where I was born and raised.The Netherlands is my home, but lately I wonder, does it also love me? My whole life I have been kind to everyone here. I have always showed respect and followed the rules. I know the difference between wrong and right and I have always done what I was told to do. But as soon as the Dutch saw that I loved my deen more than I love them, they turned their back on me. I figured out that the country where I was born and raised was not the country it has always claimed to be. I feel misplaced in this world. Humanity has been poisoned yet they reject the blessed remedy. And I just have to stand there, helpless.. because there is nothing I can do.

I am tired of the people who say negative things about the Islam, without knowing what it really stands for. I can act like I do not care but it hurts to hear. The other day I read in the news paper that a Dutch politician said, “The headscarf is an Islamic symbol of oppression and it hurts when I see a woman wearing a headscarf. She should take it off and feel the wind blowing through her hair. My immediate response was, ´Are you serious?´ Nobody comes and asks us how we feel. Nobody wants to hear our voice. It’s as if we’re animals in the zoo, and they’re the caretakers who know what’s best for us. It’s amazing how they feel this patronizing right to decide what is best for us without even asking how we feel about it. It reeks of tyranny.

They just want to ban the headscarf and make us take off our Hijaab, and by doing that they think they are doing something great for the women in Islam. If someone is oppressing the other, then it is the government who is oppressing us and not Islam! Islam is all about freedom and peace. We say that a million times but they just do not want to listen. Yet I won´t give up. I will stay strong. I have as much right to live here as every other citizen.

I am tired but I fight, I fight for my right to believe in whatever I want. Lakum dienakum wa liya dien. They cannot take from me, the light that I have seen.

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