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Mar 31, 2012

GEMS : Kalimah of La Ilaaha Illallha


Whenever a slave of Allah recites La Ilaha Illallah in sincerity the doors of the Jannah are made open for him till this Kalimah takes its way straight to 'Arsh. The Kalimah is accepted by Allah provided the person concerned avoid major sins."

(Tirmidhi)

Mar 30, 2012

The Tongue:The Organ That Makes You Or Breaks You



by Muddasir Masihuddin

In the science of Islamic spirituality, our Scholars say that the tongue is the heart's mirror. If the heart is corrupt, then the tongue will reflect this corruption in speech. And, if the tongue is pure, then the tongue will reflect this purity in speech.

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم said “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day must either speak good or remain silent’’. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم also said in another hadith that, “If a man avoids disputing when he is in the wrong, God builds for him a mansion in the middle part of paradise. And if a man avoids disputing when he is in the right, God builds for him a mansion in highest part of paradise’’.

SubhanAllah, this is the magnitude of importance Islam has placed on maintaining a tongue that is free of blame and falsehood.

In the light of these ahadith, it’s a moral responsibility to know how people must use their tongue,especially in this era where immorality blends in as so called "modernization".

How often do we ridicule someone without any knowledge of his/her background? And how often do we curse or use slang without even realizing that it doesn’t affect anyone but our own souls?

How many of us are guilty of imitating and mocking someone?

The tongue is the organ which can give us the utmost happiness and respect and it is the same organ which can lead to self-destruction in this world and the next. Imam Al-Ghazali, a master theologian, identifies 8 common diseases of the tongue in his book, ‘’Revival of Religious Sciences’’. They are: Lying, Breaking Promises, Backbiting, Wrangling, Self-praising, Cursing, Invoking, Ridiculing or scoffing.

Arrogance, pride, envy and jealousy are characteristics almost each and every one of us has experienced causing us to act and speak that which has grave consequences. What we must know is that the root of such immoralities dwells in a heart which has little or no Imaan (Faith).

Allah says in the Quran, "...Let not a group or a community scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former...'' (49:11).

Nowadays people assume that they will achieve a high status through criticism and foul language, but unfortunately they are losing their love in the eyes of Allah and are actually suffering from a vicious illusion of the Truth.

Let us not forget that arrogance even if it may be as tiny as the weight of a mustard-seed; will never let us even smell Paradise.

It is said that the best Muslim is the one who helps other Muslims, and the one from whom the Muslims benefit and feel protected. In this respect our beloved Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, when he was asked which Muslim is better."One from whose tongue and hand the Muslims feel safe."

Reflecting on this hadith, how many of us can testify that we actually feel safe from one another, and how many have we saved from our bickering, mockery and criticism?

Allah says in Surah Al-Nur : "On the Day their tongues, their hands, and their feet will bear witness against them as to their actions." (24:24).

Today, in a world where we are so busy indulged in mockery, falsehood and immorality, How many of us can testify that we are the best of Muslims?

Dear Brothers and sisters in Islam, let us grab hold of our lives and change for the better, it’s never too late to change, and it’s never too late to repent.

Let us begin by being conscious of the fact that Allah (swt) sees our every thought and action. Allah has stated in the Quran, that indeed it is only in the remembrance of Him where hearts find tranquility. So let’s moisten our tongues through His remembrance, purify our hearts and be humble when we speak to one another. Let us Respect one another because we share the same kalimah, “Ashadu anna la ilaha illa Allah, wa ashadu anna Muhammad Rasuul Allah

We are well aware that our speech and our actions is what we will be judged according to on the day of judgment. A true believer is he who uses his tongue to invite people to Islam, who speaks with love and respect, who does not backbite and criticize, and above all who speaks the truth and who guards his tongue from falsehood.

I would like to end with a dua for every Muslim brother and sister, “May Allah (swt) purify our hearts, and give us the ability to speak the best of words so that we may be successful in this world and the next, and that we may return to our Lord with bright faces and cheerful smiles, basking in the glory that awaits those who purify themselves for the sake of God

Ameen.

Mar 29, 2012

Budgeting 101 - Part 2

By Umm Husam 


Bismillah

Read Part 1 here

Now that you have gone through the beginning stages of budgeting, you are ready to take your budgeting to the next level. Here is a breakdown of areas to focus on.

1. Figure out how much of your income should go towards your bills. As mentioned before, there are plenty of free sites like mint.com which are a great place to go for tracking. It gives you a pie chart to show you where each part of your income goes. If you are spending 33% of your income on your home, you have 67% left for everything else. Break that down and see what went towards food, gas, shopping, entertainment, saving, etc... Once you have figured out how much you can spend a month on each of these buckets, you can move on.

2. Track yourself each month to make sure you aren’t going over in any area. It is easy to say I am only going to spending $200 a month on shopping. Unless you sit down every month and track your spending, you won’t know if you are keeping with your plan. 

3. Coupons are your best friend. You don’t really have to go out of your way to find them. Just make sure that when you receive a coupon that you can use, you save it. If there are restaurants you frequently visit, sign up for the mailing list. PF Changs, Ruby Tuesdays, and IHOP are just a few places who have mailing lists and who do send out coupons. Especially when you are shopping for clothing, household goods, and groceries, coupons are a must. 

4. Rewards programs help earn cash-back and/or free stuff. Almost every place I go has some kind of rewards program. (Macys, Sears, Sephora, Godiva, Michaels, and of course Grocery stores) They are free to sign up for. Most use your phone number so you don’t even have to carry the card with you.

5. Whenever you go shopping for anything from food to clothing, make a shopping list. If you have specific items you need, it will help keep you from straying to things that you just want. Even when shopping at the mall, if you know you need a good pair of sneakers, it would be easier to stay away from the 4 pairs of heels that are just too cute. 

To finish, I would like to remind you that excessive spending is looked down on in Islam. “Allah hates three things for you: gossip, wasting money and asking too much.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (1477) and Muslim (593).

What are some ways in which you will be budgeting your assets, inshaAllah? Please share with me!

Mar 28, 2012

Muslimah And Self Defense

By Abeer S

Bismillah

You might wonder what qualifications I hold to be writing about self defence, to tell you the truth: none. However, I was on the women’s self defence team. I chaired the women’s self defence club for a semester or so at university. A few years ago it proved to be a lot more helpful than expected (a story for another day), so I speak with a little bit more insight.

There is much to be said about this topic, but I shall limit myself to the realistic expectations and achievements that can be fulfilled by our sisters.

To begin with, we must familiarise ourselves with what ‘self defence’ is, especially in reference to our kind.

It is, as the name implies, used for purposes of defence only, it comprises of a combination of different (and easy) martial arts techniques that allows the woman to use her size against what would be a more bigger and powerful aggressor. The idea is not to fight back, but to slow down the potential attacker. Afterwards, RUN AWAY! You should run towards places that have large groups of people such as a store.

There might be legal implications which vary from country to country – which I leave up to you to find out.

What I intend to touch upon is geared towards Muslim women and it highlights what would help you ease into the process of being empowered physically to have a greater control over your own welfare – and that of your family.

1. Fitness:
The first issue that I bring up might be a bit touchy for some, but it is a fact; though it is not a pre-requisite, it is always a great added advantage to have a greater level of stamina, in order to be able to defend yourself better.

For the average Muslimah, the fact that she is always covered up when outdoors, the pressure that this so called society places on women to look a certain way (and be a certain size) is not there. And so she has a lesser motivation to remain fit. Though this should not be the case, but it is. Also, it is more difficult to find a segregated gym in western countries. Exercising outdoors might not be the most feasible option, and so the number of excuses goes up and the level of fitness goes down.
 
Remember the Hadith of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him): “Your body has a right over you” – Sahih Bukhari (Vol. 7, Book 62, Hadith 127).

If you fail to give rights to whoever (and whatever) deserves them, then they will be a witness against you on the Day of Judgement.

It is clear, that as a Muslimah you have a greater incentive (and perhaps an obligation) to stay healthy, spiritually and physically.

During the span of the women’s self-defence classes that I took, those who lacked physical fitness stood out, not because of their appearance (some were actually quite ‘skinny’). However, it was because they were the ones injuring themselves. They were the ones who kept quitting because they were simply unable to have control over their own bodies in order to practice the techniques that were being taught.

Getting into a fitness regimen does not require any drastic changes to your lifestyle; the one thing that it requires is consistency. Perhaps investing in a short, 20 minute workout video that you can do every day or even going for a half an hour moderate-paced walk with you family. The key is to start today and do it every day.

2. Reflexes:
Something very minute, yet it is of enormous benefit. Simple changes in your routine can enhance your reflexes. Observing your surroundings for starters, we have become enamoured by technology and we find it hard to keep our eyes off the phone, tablet, iGadget, etc. Though I am not going to lecture on the dark side of technology, but this habit must be broken. Technology has been created by human beings: we control it, it cannot control us.

When outdoors, look around. Constantly be aware of the people and the places around you. This habit will not compromise the obligation of lowering the gaze. (Lowering of the gaze is incumbent when there is something forbidden in sight, I’ve seen some people who misunderstand what is intended by this and believe that it is a full-time thing and so they never look up).

Being observant of your surroundings will allow you a better chance at ‘reacting’ to whatever might come your way.

3. Islamic Obligation to protect yourself.
Yes, you have an obligation to protect yourself, your family and your property from any possible harm.

Muslim females tend to have very little to no contact with non-mahrams (especially any physical contact), and reacting to and defending oneself from a non-mahram would be a bit difficult for some to comprehend. Islam gives you the right to defend yourself physically, did you know that? (Education equals empowerment )

In self-defence classes, the weak regions are highlighted that can be easily used to your advantage: the knees, eyes and groin. Target those, simply because as a woman you have very limited options of defending yourself against a powerful male aggressor. (I do not mean to be discouraging nor discriminatory, but the facts must be faced. I also do acknowledge that every person is different).

If you are able to take classes then do so, because that will give you an excellent idea on how to go about defending yourself and it will be a good practice. If you are unable to take classes though, then YouTube is the way to go. No, I am not joking. There are plenty of tutorials up there and they will help you understand how to react, even if theoretically – it is a lot better than being completely unprepared.

But one thing that one can rarely be prepared for and so must be warned against is the actual impact of hitting someone. Most women are not used to hitting anyone (for the obvious moral and ethical values they hold). When a person actually does strikes, the shock of it leaves most people stunned and rooted in place, which is very bad. In self-defence classes, there are dummies and heavy bags to practice on. Though it is nothing like the actual thing, it allows you to practice and become more aware of your own strength and know how it feels to punch something (or someone).

4. Reading up
There is a lot of helpful material on this topic produced by professional organisations, so do your homework.

These materials aim to give you the necessary precautionary information on what to avoid and how to react in different situations.

These professional organisations also give a list of legal ‘weapons’ that can be kept with you at all times, e.g. pepper spray, whistle, etc.

Read it and share it with your loved ones.

5. Travelling without a mahram.
Whatever Islam has made haram (forbidden) it is ONLY for our own benefit, regardless of whether we understand the wisdom behind it or not. It does not intend to complicate our lives, but it only creates ease.

And thus, it is for the woman’s own safety that travelling without a mahram is forbidden for her. As Muslims, we must pay heed to Allah’s precautionary commands BEFORE we apply those suggested by professionals.

In self defence, precaution is given a greater importance than ‘fighting’ off a predator. So, keep this in mind. When we undermine Allah’s commands by not obeying it, we are in fact paving way for harm to get to us more quickly.

Lastly, another ‘self-defence’ technique that Islam has emphasised on is Muslim women protecting their beauty (and themselves) through the hijab. As we know the legal shari’ee definition of hijab is anything that covers the ‘awrah of the woman. It is not transparent, tight or revealing the shape of the body and it is not an adornment and/or used for the purpose of an adornment.

Allah subhaana wa ta’alaa says: “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused.” (Surah Al Ahzab: 59)

The first place we, as Muslims, need to seek advice, solace, protection and empowerment is in the Quran. This is what the Quran tells us as Muslim women. We should cover our beauty and this is our number one source of physical protection.

Lastly, keep making du’a. Scholars have said that when you make dua to Allah subhaana wa ta’alaa, ask Him for something (anything!). He subhaana wa ta’alaa will either give it to you, give you something better – sooner or later, or remove harm from your way. By making du’a for you or your family, you are fulfilling your spiritual needs and you are providing you and your family with protection.

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post them below!

Mar 27, 2012

Learn about Uthman Ibn Affan (rA)

By Umm Amin 

Bismillah 

The third caliph to lead the Muslim ummah was Uthman ibn Affan (may Allah be pleased with him). Uthman was the fourth Muslim to accept Islam, and he hastened to follow the Prophet Mohammad sallalahu alayhi wa salaam during times of struggle as well as affluence. Uthman ibn Affan sought the rewards of the Hereafter throughout his life.

Uthman, Companion of the Prophet Mohammad sallalahu alayhi wa salaam 
Although Uthman came from a wealthy, prestigious family, his submission to Islam came with oppression and challenges. Uthman’s father was a wealthy merchant, and he taught his son to be a shrewd trader. Uthman learned to manage business and increase his profits. Although Uthman grew up with an easy life, he disliked seeing poverty and suffering. As a result, much of his wealth was spent on feeding the poor and allaying the difficulties of the needy.

After becoming Muslim Uthman’s uncle censured him for abandoning worship of his family’s idols. Despite beatings, oppression, and torture, Uthman stood firm upon his faith and rejected turning back to the polytheistic faith of the Quraish. Uthman was part of the delegation that emigrated to Abyssinia, and later to Al-Madina. Despite these difficulties, Uthman invested in the wealth of the Qur’aan – he was one of the Muslims to learn the entire Qur’aan by memory, and recite it back to the Prophet Mohammad sallalahu alayhi wa salaam during his Prophethood. (As-sallabi, 2007; Ahmad, 2004).

Two Lights: Dhun Noorayn
Uthman was very blessed by that he earned a special title – Dhun Noorayn. His love for the Prophet Mohammad sallalahu alayhi wa salaam was reciprocal. The Prophet Mohammad’s daughters had been given in marriage to the family of Abu Lahab. When Surat al Masad was revealed, the Prophet Mohammad sallalahu alayhi wa salaam’s daughters Ruqayah and Umm Kulthoom were divorced from their polytheistic husbands. Immediately, Uthman was overjoyed to marry Ruqayah, and they built a happy life together. They went on to have a child named Abdullah. Nonetheless, Uthman was tested with loss and grief when his wife succumbed to illness during the Battle of Badr. His son also passed away at 6 years of life. When Uthman remarried, he was blessed with Umm Kulthoom. Later when Umm Kulthoom died of illness, the Prophet Mohammad sallalahu alayhi wa salaam pledged that if he had another daughter available for marriage he would have offered her to Uthman. On account of Uthman’s marriage to two distinct daughters of the Prophet Mohammad (sallalahu alayhi wa salaam), Uthman was given the nickname Dhun Noorayn, the Man with Two Lights. (As-Sallabi, 2007; Ahmad, 2004).

Sowing a Rich Return
Although Uthman ibn Affan was known for his wealth and knowledge, he wisely invested in the Hereafter. When the Muslim community was poor, weak, and struggling, the Muslims of Al-Madinah had to pay exorbitant prices for water from a well. The owner was only willing to sell half of the well, so Uthman made the purchase so the Muslims could have free use of the well’s water every other day. Similarly, when the Prophet Muhammad sallalahu alayhi wa salaam came to Al-Madinah and built a mosque, Uthman purchased a house nearby so the mosque could be expanded to accommodate the growing Muslim community. As the Romans were led by Hercules, Uthman raced to prepare the Muslim army for Tabuk by providing 940 camels, 60 horses, and 10,000 dinars to help finance the excursion! Another time, Uthman obtained a caravan of items and many merchants came to offer him competitive prices so they could in turn resell the goods. Despite the top quotes they provided, Uthman refused them all stating that nobody could match Allah’s price. In turn, he offered the merchandise to the poor and needy Muslims free from charge. (As-Sallabi, 2007; Ahmad, 2004). Clearly, Uthman was focused on reaping rewards attainable only in the Hereafter.

Khalifah of the Muslims
When Uthman ibn Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) took over the caliphate of the Muslim ummah, the Muslims were enjoying an era of prosperity. The Muslims were successful in conquests to Iran, Iran, Azerbaijan, Egypt, North Africa, and Syria, overcoming the Romans and Byzantines as well as establishing a naval fleet. Muslim judicial and financial systems were established. Although Uthman’s father died in the times of Jahiliya, his mother became Muslimah during his caliphate, and when she died he carried her to her grave. (As-Sallabi, 2007).

Despite the flourishing state of affairs, opponents and hypocrites spread out rumors to weaken the thriving Muslim community. These rumors included accusations that Uthman’s leadership was spoiled with nepotism in which appointed family members unjustly abused Muslims. These false allegations claimed Uthman was stealing from the Muslim treasury for his wealthy family! The exaggerations surmounted until an angry mob accused Uthman of not following the way of the Prophet Mohammad (may the please and blessings of Allah be upon him). Subhan Allah wa ta alaa, after the group broke into his house, they killed Uthman while he recited Qur’aan. The irrational crowd rushed to his cabinet to recover the funds. Inside his locked box, they only found Uthman’s handwritten note,

“This is Uthman’s testimony before Allah: In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Uthman ibn Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) bears witness that there is no true deity but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger. Paradise is true and Hell is true, and Allah will resurrect everyone on the Day of Judgment, for Allah will never break His promise. He lives by that, dies with that and resurrects believing in that.” (Ahmad, 2004)

Although Uthman was falsely accused, he remained firm on Islam to the end of his life and refrained from harming others. When a person is firm upon the truth, they uphold it in all that they do even when those around them have forgotten or missed the basic elements of Islam. Doubts, misinformation, angry gangs, and transgression may have taken his life, but they did not tarnish Uthman’s faith in Islam. Dismally, with Uthman’s murder the Muslim era of prosperity transitioned toward turmoil and an internal community fitna fomented.

Please share your views on this article below :)

References 
Ahmad, A. (2004). Uthman bin Affan: the Third Caliph of Islam. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Maktaba Dar-us-salam.
As-sallabi, A. (2007). Biography of Uthman ‘Ibn Affan. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Maktaba Dar-us-salam.http://www.kalamullah.com/Books/Exclusive/The-Biography-of-Uthman-Ibn-Affan-R-Dhun-Noorayn.pdf

Importance Of The Dunya In A Muslimah’s Life

By Mabrouka Al-Tajoury

Bismillah 

What’s dunya?

Wikipedia Definition: ‘In Islamic terminology, the dunya means: the temporal world and its earthly concerns and possessions as opposed to the eternal spiritual realm or the hereafter.’[1]

"Islam teaches us that dunya is distant. One of the root meanings for dunya is to reach out for grapes that you can never grasp, because that’s the nature of dunya; you will never be able to get it; it will always evade you.’’ ‘’Don’t let the deluder, delude you.’’

How can the dunya ever be important?
~ If dunya is Satan’s world then how can any vice be considered important? In short, the answer can be simple:

‘’…perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.’’- Holy Quran [02:216]

That is:
· The dunya can be your beneficiary or opponent – it depends on your reaction. See, the dunya throws at you evil temptations and by neglecting it, you benefitely receive reward and by falling for it, only brings you darkness. Therefore, the dunya ‘which one hates’ is actually good for them in that when avoiding it, it increases them spiritually. The dunya ‘which one loves’ is actually bad for them in that it decreases them spiritually.
· An example of what we might consider as vice or negative that can actually be positively effective and important is the following:

 "I asked for Strength, and Allah (swt) gave me Difficulties to make me strong.
I asked for Wisdom, and Allah (swt) gave me Problems to solve.
I asked for Prosperity, and Allah (swt) gave me the Brain & Brawn to work.
I asked for Courage, and Allah (swt) gave me Danger to overcome.
I asked for Love, and Allah (swt) gave me Troubled people to help.
I asked for Favors, and Allah (swt) gave me Opportunities.
I received nothing I wanted, but I received everything I needed!’’ – by Anonymous

What is the importance of the dunya in a Muslimah’s life?
Sisters in Islam, the dunya is important in that it can be a vast gateway OPPORTUNITY for you to receive further reward by avoiding it, which therefore, betters your mental, spiritual, and psychological life and elevates your presence here in this life and the next. Now, Let’s zoom in on a boxing arena between the Muslimah and dunya where the dunya becomes important for her in elevating spiritually by avoiding its attacks. These attacks can be the following:

~ Makeup Attack!
In a boxing arena the dunya aims high trying to paint makeup on the Muslimah to distort her perception of beauty, but she overcomes it by true beauty of her noble characteristics and morality of her words. One point for the sister!

Makeup Facts
· [3] Layla Mandi, as a Canadian convert to Islam and with an extensive background as a make-up artist, Mandi was unsatisfied with the quality of the beauty products available to her as a Muslim. “There are pork derivatives and alcohol in most cosmetic products,” ‘‘Many shampoos, moisturizers and lipsticks contain pig by-products such as placenta, blood, urine fat and gelatin obtained from boiling pig skin, bones and hooves.’’ She therefore made her own halal makeup products.
· [4] Women’s makeup draws 33% more men. (than without it)
· [5] Health experts have gone as far as linking some of the compounds used to make cosmetics and toiletries with side-effects such as skin problems, premature ageing and even cancer.
· [6] Makeup can have a psychological effect. The use of make-up causes women to become dependent on an artificial mask and to have a negative image of their true selves. It promotes a shallow image of the world where beauty can be bought with money.

~ Tight Clothes Attack!
The dunya flashes materialistic clothes to wrap her in darkness but she burns it off by illuminating her nour of correct hejab. Two points for the sister!

Tight Clothes Fact
· [7] Wearing tight clothes can affect your health. For example:
- By wearing tight clothes around the waist this will cause you ‘Acid Reflux’.
- By wearing figure hugging tops creates ‘Back Acne’.
- By wearing tight pants around the pubic area traps heat becoming warm which therefore causes you ‘Yeast Infection’.
- By wearing tight jeans causing restriction in hip movement causes chronic ‘Back Pain’.

~ Body Perfection Attack!
Dunya gives primacy to the body because it views the female as an object so it tries to convert her focus onto achieving body perfection. She angelically fights back by ‘firstly’ bettering her inner self and then her body in terms of cleansing & health. Three points for the sister!

Body Facts
· [8] Psychological research has consistently shown that women feel unhappy with their body after looking at images of thin, idealized models, which are typically represented in the media.
· [9] McKinley and Hyde (1996) found evidence that body surveillance is related to lower body esteem and increased restricted eating and disordered eating among young women (Stacey L. Sinclair)

~ Gazing at Male Attack!
Using media, magazines, & other means, the dunya tries to lure the Muslimah’s eyes towards men. But like hurricane she blows down dunya by simply lowering her gaze. Four points for the sister!

Gazing at Men Facts
· [10] Research shows that the male gaze affects more than the self – it has serious deleterious effects on the female recipient of the gaze. One such study (Calogero, 2004) revealed that the male gaze results in the female experiencing significantly more feelings of shame and embarrassment about her body. In fact, a female does not have to actually experience the male gaze; only imagining or anticipating a male gaze triggers the same negative psychological response. Further, other research indicates that body shame is correlated with eating disorders and depression. 

~ Gossip Attack!
The dunya uses the media like talking about celebrities best and worst outfits, commenting on who’s gained or lost weight etc; in order to try to brainwash her that gossip is normal. But she blow washes the dunya away by neglecting dark talk and advising others to stop. Five points for the sister!

Islamic Gossip Facts
Prophet Muhammed sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: “Whoever conceals [the faults of] a Muslim, Allah will conceal [his faults] in this life and the Hereafter.’’

Ding-Ding-Ding! The Muslimah wins by five – nil. Devastated are the supporting audience of the dunya which are the dark devils while cheering, smiling, and clapping are the sunlight angels for her. Sister, how many points have you earned? You are in a constant arena with the dunya; make those angels smile and more importantly make Allah proud of you!

Reference 
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunya
[2] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zEdgSEnr38
[3] http://muslimmedianetwork.com/mmn/?p=4586
[4] http://www.spring.org.uk/2009/02/womens-makeup-draws-33-more-men.php
[5] http://themedicalsanctuary.com.au/health/why-make-up-can-be-bad-for-you/
[6] http://www.debatewise.com/debates/2144-is-make-up-bad-for-you
[7] http://www.medimanage.com/my-worries/articles/perils-of-tight-clothes.aspx
[8] http://esciencenews.com/articles/2011/04/05/how.materialistic.advertising.messages.negatively.shape.female.body.image
[9] http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb1416/is_1_28/ai_n29242967/
[10] http://sakina08.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/lower-the-gaze-the-impact-of-the-gaze-on-females/


Share your views below :)

Mar 26, 2012

Webinar: A Beautiful YOU - Inside and Out on Apr 11, 6pm



FREE ONLINE WEBINAR
Suggested Donation: $ 5

"A Beautiful YOU - Inside and Out"
Nutrition, Weight Loss, Beauty and much more! 
When: Wed, April 11 2012 inshaAllah at 6 pm EST
Where: Online
Speaker: Sanaa Ahmed
Register online at http://bit.ly/habibimail

Sister Sanaa is the head nutrionist for sisters at Sunnah Fit. She is an accredited nutritionist (A.Nutr), a member of the nutrition society,and currently pursing a Masters of Research in Human Nutrition at Imperial College London. 

What will be covered?

Come and learn A-Z of all secret nutritional tips for losing weight, putting on weight, pros and cons of common diets people undertake these days. We will also cover foods that sisters should be eating more of based on latest scientific research. This seminar will not only be thought provoking but sisters will have the chance to walk away with loads of practical information on how to lose, put on and maintain a healthy weight.

Also a quick glance into beauty issues such as how to get the best skin, hair, nails by the foods you eat and how to combat common beauty problems (e.g. spots, marks and more!)

Brought to you by:

Sunnah Fit: We aim to revive the neglected Sunnah of being active and taking care of your health. We do those through teachings from Quran and Sunnah and modern unorthodox methods that have been researched and proven to provide the best possible results in the field health and fitness - www.sunnahfit.com

Habibi Halaqas is a for-sisters, by-sisters organization that holds online webinars on topics such as Islamic Knowledge, Life Skills specific to Muslim sisters, Social Psychology, Self Grooming and more topics! Our website also includes articles, e-books, videos, wallpapers and now an online/in-print magazine! - www.habibihalaqas.org

Register online at http://bit.ly/habibimail

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This is a sisters only event
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"A Beautiful YOU - Inside and Out"
Nutrition, Weight Loss, Beauty and much more! 
When: Wed, April 11 2012 inshaAllah at 6 pm EST
Where: Online
Speaker: Sanaa Ahmed
Register online at http://bit.ly/habibimail

Mar 25, 2012

The Struggle of the Soul in Light of Surah al Shams

By Melody

“By the Sun and its brightness....”

Bismillah

I can never forget the moment that the hidden meanings of this Surah – Surat Al-Shams – first touched my heart at a time when I most needed to hear those words. This simple chapter in the Qur’an, that I had memorised as a child... this Surah that I so frequently read in my prayers, had such hidden depth to its content and I was completely unaware of it. Meanings of hope, mercy and love are all tied in so eloquently in such a small number of words, and it was only at that moment of need that this beauty was unfolded.

As I go through the verses below, I want you to close your eyes and visualise with me the images that each verse is describing...

(1) By the sun and its brightness
(2) And [by] the moon when it follows it
(3) And [by] the day when it displays itا
(4) And [by] the night when it covers it
(5) And [by] the sky and He who constructed it
(6) And [by] the earth and He who spread it
(7) And [by] the soul and He who proportioned it...

Allah subhaana wa ta'aala swears by the Sun in the first verse, and notice how the next three verses also have the Sun as the subject. One thing you must bear in mind, is that when Allah subhaana wa ta'aala testifies by anything in the Qur’an, which He has done in other chapters, it is to intensify the meaning of what He is testifying to. He testifies by celestial objects, mainly, to show His power. What’s different about this chapter in the Qur’an is that God swears by Himself also, in addition to the celestial objects, further raising the significance of what He is testifying to. What He is testifying to is outlined in the following verse:

(9) He has succeeded who purifies it [the soul]

The Sun, the Moon, the day, the night, the sky, the earth... all of these signs are examples of the great creations of our Creator. That same Lord who is in control of the Sun – look how big, bright and powerful it is – yet He, the All-Powerful, can cause its alternation into night and day, for He veils the sun to create darkness. That same Lord who created these two complete opposites – intense darkness to brightness and yet allows them to merge so subtly, that very same Lord who created and controls this sign that we take for granted, this sign that we see right before our eyes every single day of our lives, also created our soul. And just how He can alter the Sun to produce lightness from darkness, so He can bring that same change to our souls. However great your flaws may be, it is no match to Allah's ability. Regardless of what you’re struggling with, He can give it to you as subtly and as assuredly that night goes into day. The All-Powerful, who created the sky above you, and spread out the Earth below you, also created you, honoured you, raised you from nothing, and so how can He not help you?

...And He doesn’t stop there:

(8) And inspired it [with discernment of] its wickedness and its righteousness,
{i.e. showed it right from wrong}
(9) He has succeeded who purifies it,
(10) And he has failed who instills it [with corruption]
(11) Thamud denied [their prophet] by reason of their transgression,
(12) When their most wretched of them was sent forth
(13) And the messenger of Allah [Salih] said to them, "[Do not harm] the she-camel of Allah or [prevent her from] her drink."
(14) But they denied him and hamstrung her. So their Lord brought down upon them destruction for their sin and made it equal [upon all of them].
(15) And He does not fear the consequences thereof.

The last verses of Surat Al-Shams describe the transgressors of the people of Thamud (whom Prophet Salih was sent as a Messenger), and their punishment. Allah is therefore providing us with an example of a people who corrupted their soul, and He is showing us that the way in which one can inflict such harm on a soul, is by transgressing the boundaries that He has ordained.

And so this follows that the one who is struggling with their soul, and seeking to purify it to prevent transgression, is the one who is on the right track.

“Succeeded is he who purifies it” is what Allah tells us. What does this mean? It means that this life is supposed to be a struggle. This is what is known as Jihad of the Nafs – striving hard for the sake of Allah with your Nafs (soul). And only He, alone, is responsible for creating that change. So all that is required from us is our intentions and our efforts, but the change itself is out of our hands and something that only God Himself can give. So strive for His sake, bear with it patiently, and put your complete faith and trust in Him, knowing that the All-Powerful is on your side. And if you ever lose hope, just look at the sky and ponder over the night and day. He has given us this powerful sign as a beautiful reminder a reminder that has been there since the day we were born – of His Might and His Existence, just in case we forgot.

I conclude with the words of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, that he would recite when coming across the above verses from Surat Al-Shams:

O Allah! Give my soul its good. You are its Guardian and Master, and the best to purify it.

Allahuma Ameen

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)

Mar 24, 2012

GEMS : Words that take you to Hell-fire or Paradise


"Truly a man utters words to which he attaches no importance, and by them he falls into the Fire of Jahannam, and truly a man utters words to which he attaches no importance, and by them Allah raises him into the Garden." (Bukhaari)

What do you learn from this reminder? Please share with us :)

GEMS : 2 Qualities to Enter Paradise


Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr (ra) who said: “The Messenger of Allah (saw) said:

There are two qualities, no Muslim man acquires them but he will enter Paradise, and they are simple and easy. He should glorify Allah (say Subhaan Allah) ten times immediately after each prayer, and praise Him (say Al-hamdu Lillaah) ten times and magnify Him (say Allaahu Akbar) ten times.

I saw the Messenger of Allah (saw)) counting this on his fingers. He said: ‘That makes 150 on the tongue and 1500 (hasanaat) in the scales.'

[Translator’s note: each of three phrases repeated ten times makes thirty; multiplied by the number of daily prayers, which is five, makes one hundred and fifty. Each of these good deeds of the tongue will be rewarded with ten hasanaat which will be added to the total of good deeds to be weighed in the balance or scales on the Day of Judgement].

When you go to bed, glorify Allah (say Subhaan Allah) and praise Him (say Al-hamdu Lillaah) and magnify Him (say Allaahu Akbar) one hundred times: that will be 100 on the tongue and 1000 in the scales.

Who among you does 2,500 bad deeds in one day?’ They said: ‘How could we not count?’ He said: ‘The Shaytaan comes to any one of you whilst he is praying and says, remember this, remember that, until he
finishes his prayer and does not do (this dhikr), or he comes to him when he is lying down and makes him sleepy, until he falls asleep (without doing this dhikr).’”

(Mentioned in Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 3332)

Mar 23, 2012

The Life Of Prophet Yunus

By Nasmira Firdous

Bismillah 

Allah subhaana wa ta'aala says in the Quran
“……So relate the stories that perhaps they will give thought” (Surah Al-Araf 7:176)

Ever wondered why Quran has so many stories related to the blessed prophets, places and people who lived centuries ago? Instead of just looking at them as stories, we must realize that its Allah’s way of teaching us some extremely important lessons. The story of Prophet Yunus alayhi salaam is one of the many stories that make us think and reflect over the power of repentance, du’a and Allah’s mercy.

A Quick Summary:
Prophet Yunus alayhi salaam was sent to the people of Nineveh, a town engulfed in idol worship. When his extensive preaching fell into deaf ears, Prophet Yunus alayhi salaam left his people in haste. Allah subhaana wa ta'aala says:

“And [mention] the man of the fish (Yunus), when he went off in anger and thought that We would not decree [anything] upon him. And he called out within the darknesses, "There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers”. (Surah Al-Anbiya 21:87) 

Power of repentance:
Ibn Katheer in his book, “Stories of the Prophets” states that as soon as the blessed Prophet left, his people immediately saw the huge punishment that was going to engulf them. The skies changed color making them look like they “were on fire”. Seeing the horrific punishment that lay ahead, the people of Nineveh called out in fear and repented immediately, begging Allah subhaana wa ta'aala to send His Prophet back, to be a source of guidance and mercy. Ibn Katheer states that the cries of repentance began to get so loud that the mountains “echoed with their cries”. This sincere repentance was accepted by Allah subhaana wa ta'aala.

Let us ponder for a minute here: How often have we cried out and repented a cry that would make our hearts tremble and our limbs shiver in fear of our sins?

Allah subhaana wa ta'aala in His infinite wisdom teaches us a powerful lesson here: to repent before its too late. If you are still breathing, it’s not late yet. Let’s take a deep breath, reflect upon our sins big or small and sincerely repent right now, for we never know if we would be alive the next minute!

Power of dua:
Meanwhile, Prophet Yunus alayhi salaam was already on a ship, sailing away from his people. The sea turned extremely violent, with waves as high as mountains. The people cast their luggage off to decrease the weight in the ship. When this didn’t work out, they had to lighten the load of the ship even further by casting away one of the travelers. A lot of people were casted off the ship. Suddenly, it was Prophet Yunus’s name that came up. He accepted this to be Allah’s test so, Prophet Yunus alayhi salaam voluntarily jumped off the ship. A huge whale was already commanded by Allah subhaana wa ta'aala to swallow Prophet Yunus alayhi saalam.

Allah says: 
“[Mention] when he ran away to the laden ship. And he drew lots and was among the losers. Then the fish swallowed him, while he was blameworthy.” (Surah As Saffat 37: 140-142) 

Let’s us imagine the scenario here. Prophet Yunus alayhi saalam was all alone, being left at the mercy of the huge waves, a violent sea on a dark night and was inside the belly of a whale.

If it’s difficult for you to place yourself in his shoes, let us look at it this way: How many times have we sinned and felt that we are being drowned in the ocean called “dunya” with a huge baggage of sins on our shoulders? Have we already been swallowed by our own mistakes?

The whale’s belly was secreting powerful enzymes that were peeling Prophet Yunus’s skin. This is when he made an extremely powerful du’a, a du’a for each one of us to recite many times over:

“And Zun Nun (Yunus), when he went away in wrath, so he thought that We would not straiten him, so he called out among afflictions: There is no god but Thou, glory be to Thee; surely I am of those who make themselves to suffer loss (wrongdoer).” (Surah Al-Anbiya 21:87) 

How many times have we acknowledged and cried out in front of our Lord that we have been one of the wrongdoers? Let’s acknowledge the fact now before the doors of repentance are closed on us!

Ibn Katheer states that power of repentance and praises by Prophet Yunus alayhi saalam were so powerful that every single creature in the sea and the angels began to pray together and praise Allah subhaana wa ta'aala asking him to bless Yunus alayhi saalam and save him.

Forgiveness is near, for those who ask for it!

Allah subhaana wa ta'aala heard His slave pray and beg for forgiveness and forgiveness was bestowed on him. Prophet Yunus alayhi saalam holds a unique distinction in the sense that he cried out for help and forgiveness in a place where no man has ever asked from: in the belly of a huge whale.

We probably do not want to be tested on those terms, but this just serves as a powerful reminder that one must never despair of the mercy of Allah subhaana wa ta'aala. Indeed, Allah subhaana wa ta’alaa’s help is very near. All we have to do is call out. When was the last time you called out for His help after feeling absolutely worthless and helpless?

Ease after hardship:
The whale was then commanded to carry the Prophet to a nearby island and eject him out. His peeled skin, however, was burning intensely under the sun’s rays. Allah subhaana wa ta'aala again, out of His mercy, covered Prophet Yunus alayhi saalam with shade allowing his body and soul to heal.

Allah says:
“And had he not been of those who exalt Allah, He would have remained inside its belly until the Day they are resurrected.” (Surah As Saffat 37: 143-144) 

It was because of the constant prayers of Prophet Yunus alayhi saalam that Allah subhaana wa ta'aala saved him and forgave him, else Allah subhaana wa ta'aala testifies to the fact that he would have remained in the belly until the Day of Judgment.

A key lesson for us to ponder: Have we already called out and begged for Allah’s mercy and forgiveness or do we want to be left in the belly of our huge sins until the last day? Let’s say astaghfirullah before it gets too late!

The beauty of repentance and prayer:
Allah subhaana wa ta'aala responded to the people of Nineveh’s call for help and repentance. He, subhaana wa ta'aala, made thousands of people proclaim the oneness of Allah, forgiving them and the Prophet that was sent to them, giving Prophet Yunus alayhi saalam the coolness he was looking for.

Allah says:
 “And We sent him to [his people of] a hundred thousand or more. And they believed, so We gave them enjoyment [of life] for a time.” (Surah As Saffat 37 :147-48) 

The unique distinction of the people of Nineveh:
Allah subhaana wa ta'aala says:
“Was there any town (community) that believed (after seeing the punishment), and its Faith (at that moment) saved it (from the punishment)? (The answer is none,) -except the people of Yunus (Jonah); when they believed, We removed from them the punishment of disgrace from the life of this world..” (Surah Yunus 10:98) 

While the people of Prophet Nuh alayhi saalam, Prophet Hud alayhi saalam, Saleh alayhi saalam and Prophet Lut alayhi saalam amongst others had witnessed the signs of severe punishment and were destroyed in the process. The people of Nineveh were the only ones to have witnessed Allah’s punishment and be saved from it rather than being destroyed. They were the only ones to have seen Allah’s anger, but sincere repentance that had crawled into their hearts had saved them from being destroyed as disbelievers.

A few lessons that can be drawn from the life of Prophet Yunus (AS):

· Give dawah and have faith in Allah subhaana wa ta'aala. He subhaana wa ta'aala is listening to you even if no one else is.
· Cry out for His help, irrespective of where you are.
· Repentance/tawbah are hallmarks of the believers and therefore one must never lose hope in His mercy or forgiveness
· Pray to be guided and remain steadfast in doing so.

What are the lessons you’ve learnt?

Mar 22, 2012

Helping Your Mother


By Ni'mah Ali

Bismillah

Islam encourages all good things and prohibits every evil and bad thing. One of the most beloved actions to Allah is helping and being good to one’s parents, especially the mother. When Allah discusses something in the Quran, that means whatever is being discussed is something very important. Allah enjoins us to be dutiful and good to our parents in numerous verses of the Quran. Furthermore, Allah says in this particular ayah,

“And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years -- give thanks to Me and to your parents.” (Surah Luqmam 31:14)

There are two very important statements which stand out the most in this verse--the hardships and weakness a mother goes through during pregnancy and labor and being thankful to Allah and to ones’ parents. Allah doesn’t just tell us to be dutiful and good to our parents, He shows us why we should be thankful and dutiful to our parents especially our dear mothers by explaining in detail the hardships a mother goes through. Allah in that verse also tells us of the importance of parents by giving parents the second spot on those who are most deserving of being thanked after Him, subhanAllah! That is just amazing and says a lot to us.

There are a lot more verses in the Quran which are just like the above mentioned verse, that Allah says be thankful to Him and to be thankful to your parents. Thus Allah has placed mothers and fathers on a high level. When Allah the all mighty has honored our parents this way, what do you think our dear Prophets advices would be concerning our parents and especially our mothers?! The prophet saAllahu l alayhi wa sallam has told us of the great reward there is in helping our mothers so much so that he even put it above Jihad. Let’s take a look at some of the famous hadiths of Prophet Mohamed mentioning the importance of the mother.

In this hadith narrated by our mother Aisha, The Prophet sallallaahu alaihi wasilla said, "the word 'Ar-Rahm' (womb) derives its name from 'Ar-Rahman' (i.e. Allah). So whosoever keeps good relations with it (womb i.e. kith and kin), Allah will keep good relations with him, and whosoever will sever it (i.e. severs his bonds of kith and kin) Allah too will sever His relations with him (Sahih Bukhari Vol. 8 : No. 18 Narrated by Aisha )."

In another hadith--I’m sure most Muslims know or have heard of this hadith, highlights the importance of the mother; Abu Huraira says a man came to Allah's Apostle and said, "O Allah's Apostle! Who is more entitled to be treated with the best companionship by me?" The Prophet said, "Your mother." The man said. "Who is next?" The Prophet said, "Your mother." The man further said, "Who is next?" The Prophet said, "Your mother." The man asked for the fourth time, "Who is next?" The Prophet said, "Your father." Dear reader just look at this encouragement from our Prophet salalaahu alayhi wassallam. There’s a reason why the Prophet repeatedly said your mother.

Our mothers put us first instead of themselves. A mother thinks of her child before she eats or drinks, she makes sure her child is well-fed and happy before she even thinks about eating. When a mother sees something nice guess who she thinks of first to get that nice thing for, herself? Of course not, she thinks of her daughter or her son. She wants to give her child the best of everything and if she could she would give him/her the world. A mothers’ heart cannot find rest even for a minute while her child is sick, she stays up all night with a worried heart, trying everything in her power to make her child feel better. Why shouldn’t you want to help your mother when she went through not only the challenges and struggles of pregnancy and labor with you, but of raising you, paying for you education, and putting all of her energy to raise you to be the best you can possibly be. Your mother is most deserving of your help. She deserves your help without her asking for it. Our mothers need to be honored, respected and most importantly they need to be helped with whatever they need help with when they need it and for how ever long they need it. Helping her in this world only is not enough. We must help our mothers by asking Allah to forgive their sins, mistakes and shortcomings. This is the best help a daughter/son can give to his/her mother. Allah tells us to say,

“My Lord! Bestow on them Your mercy as they did bring me up when I was young .” (Al Isra 17:23)

May Allah forgive our dear mothers. May Allah bless them and shower them with His mercy, and may Allah always help our mothers for Allah can provide the best of help.

Sources: 
http://www.muhajabah.com/mom.htm
http://etori.tripod.com/on-mothers.html
http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php

Mar 21, 2012

Umar - The Conquerer of The Sword

By Yasmin Ahmed 

Bismillah 

Umar ibn al-Khattab radiAllahu anhu is today what we would call ‘a real legend’, a precious gem in the Prophet’s sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam circle.

All of the Prophet’s sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam companions have led amazing lives, which strikes a chord within the normal person and Umar’s life is no exception – from the day he accepted Islam, to the day his blessed soul departed from this world. Umar led a full and exemplary life.

Umar’s ibn al-Khattab background
Umar radiAllahu anhu came from a very affluent background, he was from the Adi clan of the Quraysh and was one of the select educated few. He was described as being fair-skinned with some redness, tall and well built, a skilled fighter and horseman.

How Umar embraced Islam
It was at the age of 27 Umar radiAllahu anhu embraced Islam. Umar’s embracing of Islam is very special as this was due to a special supplication the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam made.

…the Messenger of Allah asked Allah to make Islam strong by the Islam of one of the two Umars: Umar ibn al-Khattab or Umar ibn Hisham (Abu Jahl). Allah, glorious and exalted is He, responded to the Prophet by making Umar ibn al-Khattab declare his Islam.[i]

Umar radiAllahu anhu set out with the intention to kill the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, on his way he met a companion of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. The Companion realised something was wrong and inquired where Umar was going, when the companion realised Umar’s motive, he replied “Before you go to Rasulullah, why don’t you take care of your household first?” [ii]

Umar had learnt that his sister Fatimah and brother in law had become Muslim, so he headed for his sister’s house. Fatimah and her husband Sa‘id ibn Zayd were being taught the latest revelation by Khabab ibn al-Arat when Umar knocked on the door. Fatimah quickly concealed the scroll whilst Khabah went into hiding.

Umar enquired whether it was true that his sister and brother in law had accepted Islam, when his brother replied in the affirmative, Umar attacked him, and when Fatimah came to her husband’s aid, Umar struck her in the face making her bleed.

She then said “O’ Enemy of Allah, you hit me just because I believe in Allah? Whether you like it or not I bear witness and testify that there is (no) God but Allah and Muhammad is (the) Messenger of Allah, do whatever you want!” [iii]

When Umar saw the confidence and vehemence with which his sister spoke, he changed and softened. He asked to see the scroll his sister had been reading. Fatimah explained that he had to wash before touching the scrolls, which Umar did. As Umar was of great intellect he realised the words on the scroll were like no other (Surah Ta Ha), and as the light penetrated his heart he headed for the house where the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam was and from where he was to emerge a changed man forever.

Umar’s acceptance of Islam was a blow to the enemies of Islam, it strengthened the Muslims and they were now able to pray openly at the Ka’bah.

Umar’s Uprightness
Umar radiAllahu anhu was well known for his sterling uprightness, unflinching demeanor and a will of steel. Umar was a dignified man, one who was not afraid to state the truth, for this reason people both feared and respected him.

Allah has placed the truth on the tongue of Umar and on his heart. [iv]

Umar was concerned for the welfare of the Muslim women in Madinah, particularly the wives of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and he made the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam aware of his concern for them. Very soon revelation came to the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam on this very subject.

O wives of the Prophet, you are not like anyone among women. If you fear Allah , then do not be soft in speech [to men], lest he in whose heart is disease should covet, but speak with appropriate speech.

And abide in your houses and do not display yourselves as [was] the display of the former times of ignorance…[v]

The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam turned to Umar and said “Umar, rejoice for once again Allah has spoken through your tongue.” [vi]

Even Shaytan avoids Umar ibn al-Khattab
Once the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam was in a meeting with the ladies of Quraysh. When the ladies heard Umar approaching they fled and hid from the presence of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam smiled, at which point Umar entered, and enquired about his smile.

‘Umar said “O Allah’s Apostle! May Allah always keep you smiling.” [vii]

The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam explained how the ladies hid as soon as they heard Umar coming, to which he replied…… "O enemies of yourselves! You fear me more than you do Allah's Apostle?!"
They said, "Yes, for you are harsher and sterner than Allah's Apostle." [viii]

The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam replied “O Ibn Al-Khattab! By Him in Whose Hands my life is, whenever Satan sees you taking a way, he follows a way other than yours!” [ix]

Umar and Abu Bakr were the right hand men of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam

Just as Umar never compromised his thoughts and beliefs, he never compromised his duties. Before Umar became caliph, he would walk around Madinah seeing to the needs of the people. In one area there lived a blind woman who Umar went to help, only to find that her needs were attended to on a daily basis. Umar curious to know who did such a noble deed hid, only to find out that his dear friend Abu Bakr had beaten him to this good deed.

Umar would compete with his friend Abu Bakr to do good for the sake of Allah subhaana wa ta'aala. In preparation for the expedition to Tabuk, Umar donated half his wealth, whilst Abu Bakr had donated all of his wealth. Just as it was Umar nature to praise where praise was due he said “Verily Abu Bakr is the foremost in good”. [x]

Umar a wise Caliph
Umar just like other Caliphs did not desire for leadership and fame. When Abu Bakr had informed Umar that he had chosen him as his predecessor, the latter replied “But I have no desire for the office”. [xi]

When Umar became Caliph he gave the following poignant speech, openly admitting his weaknesses.

…O Allah I am hard, make me soft to promote the Truth, to comply with your injunctions and to aspire to a better life in the world hereafter.
O Allah make me hard for the enemies of Islam and for those who create mischief so that their designs against Allah come to naught.
O Allah I am miser; make me generous in the promotion of the good.
O Allah save me from hypocrisy. Strengthen my resolves so that whatever I do, I do for the sake of winning Your approbation.
O Allah soften my heart for the faithful so that I attend to their needs with a sense of dedication.
O Allah, I am careless, make me responsible enough so that I do not lose sight of You.
O Allah I am weak in offering my obedience to You; make me active and fortify my faith.
O Allah bestow on me faith, and the power to do good.
O Allah give me the power of self-criticism and self-assessment.
O Allah bestow on me the insight into the meaning of the Quran and the strength to act in accordance with what the Quran says.
O Allah You are capable of doing anything: bless us with Your favor. Ameen." [xii]

When Umar became Caliph it is no surprise his responsibilities increased and he became just as constant in his duties as before his caliphate, he would roam the streets at night to ensure all was well in his province.

Once Umar went out with Aslam (his servant), when he came across a tent where a fire was burning and children were sitting around crying. Umar enquired why the children were crying and the lady replied that they were crying through hunger, and that she was boiling water in the pretence she was cooking food, hoping that the children would soon fall asleep through exhaustion.

Umar wept and went straight to the state granary and put together all the necessities, he then asked Aslam to help load the items on to his back. Aslam objected to the Amir carrying the provisions to which Umar replied “Will you carry my burden for me on the Day of Resurrection?” [xiii] Umar took the provisions straight to the traveller’s tent and placed some ingredients in the boiling pot. Once the food was cooked he fed the children and put them to sleep. He gave the remaining provisions to the lady and took her leave.

Umar and his family
Umar had softened towards his people when he became Caliph, but was still tough and stringent with his own family if not more so.

“I prevent Muslims from doing wrong things. People are always looking at you. If you respect the law they will do the same, but if you don’t they will not. I fear Allah, so if I see that any of you has done wrong I will punish him severely with twice the punishment of anybody else. If anyone would like to protect himself from falling into fault then he should fear Allah. Then he should fear me also.” [xiv]

Umar was true to his word and had his own son flogged twice for a mistake he made, which resulted in his son’s death. He strictly adhered to the example his people had to follow, he always thought of others before himself and took extra special care of the Prophet’s sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam family before his own.

The Golden Age of Islam and Umar ibn al-Khattab’s legacy
Today we live in a modern civilisation which was actually pioneered by Umar 1400 years ago. He was the first person to set up an Islamic democratic system.

Freedom of Speech
Umar allowed the people to voice their opinion freely and to criticise the ruler (or Government) openly.

"0 people! I am but a trustee of your property and wealth, like a person who is trustee of the property and wealth of an orphan child. Had I been rich I would not have taken any allowance for my services. In case I needed I would have accepted only to the extent of the need. Friends! you have certain rights over me and you are fully allowed to claim your rights anytime. One of such rights is: Don't allow me to misappropriate the Indemnity Tax and the Booty. You have the right to check that the poor, the needy and disabled person amongst you should get allowances for their livelihood. You have the right to make sure that the borders of the State are safe and that you are not in danger." [xv]

Allowances for the Needy
From Umar speech we can see he was the first to introduce allowances for the poor, the needy and the disabled (which included the elderly and widows), and he also introduced policing of the state.

Compilation of the Holy Qu’ran
Umar also had the first Islamic calendar made where the start date was the date of the Prophet’s sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam ‘Hijrah’. He was the pioneer of much, much, more, one of the most important being the compilation of the Holy Qu’ran which actually took place during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr ..

Umar ibn al-Khattab is a shining example to us all, as well as the Muslim and non-Muslim leaders of today.

The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam gave Umar the title of ‘Al-Faruq’ (the one who makes clear distinction between the ‘right’ and the ‘wrong’), and he sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said of Umar ..

“If there were to be a prophet after me he would have been Umar ibn al-Khattab” [xvi]

Umar a character perfected on the first-hand experience of being with the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and corrected on the teachings of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. He was the sunnah personified after the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

May Umar abide with his dearly beloved Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam in the foremost part of Heaven. Ameen

What do you learn from these few facts that we have mentioned about Umar radi Allahu anhu?

REFERENCES:
[i] Khatab, Amal (Translator) (2005) Umar ibn al-Khattab London: Ta Ha Publishers Ltd. pp 4-5
[ii] http://www.ummah.com/forum/showthread.php?159495-The-Life-of-Umar-ibn-al-Khattab-(RA)
[iii] www.ummah.com
[iv] At-Tirmidhi
[v] Quran.com/33, 33:32-33
[vi] www.islamforlife.co.uk/khalifa_umar_bin_al.htm
[vii] www.sunniforum.com/forum/showthread.php?25800-Umar-Bin-Al-Khattab-Even-Satan-Takes-Another-Way...
[viii] http://www.sunniforum.com/forum/showthread.php?25800-Umar-Bin-Al-Khattab-Even-Satan-Takes-Another-Way...
[ix] http://www.sahih-bukhari.com/Pages/results.php5
[x] www.islamforlife.co.uk
[xi] www.islamforlife.co.uk
[xii] www.islamforlife.co.uk
[xiii] Abu Aziz Sa’d Yusuf, Fulani Suleman (Translator), (2009) Men and Women around the Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam Riyadh: Darussalam p 59
[xiv] Khatab, Amal (Translator) (2005) Umar ibn al-Khattab London: Ta Ha Publishers Ltd. pp 16-17
[xv] http://ourislamonline.tripod.com/umer.htm
[xvi]http://ourislamonline.tripod.com/umer.htm

Mar 20, 2012

Islam Daily

By Hiba Khan

Bismillah 

“Living Islam Daily” - When I was given this topic to write about, I was at a loss. How could I preach about living Islam daily? My prayers were rushed and meaningless, my Fajr almost non-existent, and I couldn’t think of anything Islamic I was doing in my daily life except hijab.

… Seriously?

Is that all that had become of me? I was avoiding it for a long time, but now I was face-to-face with my dreaded reflection: a rotten, extremely rusty, almost dead heart. The weeks prior to putting my pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), I went through what I’d call a spiritual breakdown.

After having completed my Qur’an course, I got married, far from home, the place where I found the Guidance and my friends in Deen, to a place where I was all alone. Unfortunately, the lovely marital union distracted me to such an extent that I forgot the real purpose of life, which is to worship Allah. Whether it was in settling down, or making the love of my husband the centre of my universe, or trying to strike a balance between pleasing the in-laws and avoiding conflicts, or having to mingle with people more than I ever did in my life, or cooking and cleaning (something I had never done pre-marriage) - I was distracted. I had lost focus. And because of this lack of focus, I ended up wasting whatever free time I had, and even ended up committing some major sins that I’d never thought of doing even in my wildest dreams (yes, an idle mind really is a devil’s workshop).

A Qur’an teacher once told us that it’s very easy (to have a high level of eeman and practice Islam) when we’re in a classroom environment; it’s when those classes are over, and you’re left all on your own, that the test begins. And apparently, I failed that test.

It’s one thing when you’re sinning because you’re ignorant, or because you simply have no interest in following Islam. But it’s another thing when you have already studied the Quran and Sunnah for a couple of years, and yet, when you’re out of that “environment”, you let go; you complacently think your eeman will automatically take care of itself, since you already have all the knowledge. That, my friends, is a most dangerous assumption. And that is where living Islam daily comes in.

The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam warned us to guard our connection with the Qur’an by reviewing it regularly, because:

“By the One in Whose hand is my soul, it runs away faster than camels that are released from their tying ropes.”  [Bukhari and Muslim] 

I have experienced this happen, and this should be one of the biggest fears for one who values his eeman even in the slightest.

Allah has described possibly every type of person in the Qur’an, making it a universal mirror for members of mankind to check themselves; not excluded is the description of one whom Allah gifts knowledge and guidance, and yet he neglects it:

“And recite to them, [O Muhammad], the news of him to whom We gave [knowledge of] Our ayat (signs, verses), but he detached himself from them; so Shaytaan pursued him, and he became of those who went astray.”  [Surah Al-A’raaf 7: 175]

SubhanAllah! This is an epic warning to one whom Allaah had blessed with knowledge.

The time when we are new in our endeavor of seeking knowledge, is a time we have a natural spiritual high where we are passionate about living, breathing, talking and sharing Islam, greedily wanting everyone to feel the same way we do, to see the beauty in the Truth that we see.

It is when this “high” wears off (after a couple of years) that things become critical. And if we become complacent, things WILL get critical. This is when we gradually become detached without even realizing it.

Allah has indirectly told us something very profound in this ayah - detach yourself from the Qur’an, and Shaytan will actively pursue you. There is no “neutral” way. You can either have the Qur’an play a part in your daily life and still be (albeit struggling) on the right path, or you can leave the Remembrance altogether and Shaytan will try to become your best friend. And it won’t be difficult for him, considering your lack of defense and ammunition.

So for all those who had studied the Qur’an once upon a time, and it feels like exactly that - “once upon a time” - then it’s time to rekindle our eman, because it’s the most precious thing. We already know all the theory; we just have to start reviewing it and put it into practice with newfound zeal. Live Islam daily, starting with small steps (which may be great in the sight of Allah):

Get your Fajr and Isha straight
There’s nothing worse than feeling like an utter hypocrite. Not only do you feel like a hopeless failure incapable of performing the basics, but it is also a complete deterrent to doing anything good at all (because, what’s the point?).

Bring the khushoo (focus) back in your salaah
Start with doing justice to Soorat-ul-Fatihah. If you don’t know the word-to-word meaning, learn it. Pause after every ayah and reflect, as this is what the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wasallam used to do too. You can even pause after “Alhamdulillah”, taking a moment to feel grateful to Allah for all that He’s given you, and then go back and repeat the ayah in full. Also, after the durood, read duas from the Qur’an or Sunnah that you are especially in need of at the time; these can be duas regarding forgiveness, cleansing of the heart from hypocrisy, protection from the evil of your nafs, etc.

Guard your tongue
Stop complaining, even for little things like your computer running slow! Being ungrateful is a trait of the Shaytan, so be conscious not to be like him. Remember that the angels are writing your every word down, so if you have also started using bad language in any form, stop that too.

Stop wasting time on non-beneficial things
I had started wasting a lot of time on looking at “memes” on Facebook, considering how addictive they are. The moment you are “free”, be alert, because Shaytan’s going to tempt you in some form or the other. Engage yourself in listening to the Qur’an, reading it, or making the dhikr of Allah. These things can never go waste and will only make your scale heavier in good deeds inshaAllah. Any time we waste will be a source of regret on the Day of Judgement.

Reading the Morning and Evening duas
Starting and ending our day with the praise and glorification of Allah, asking for His guidance and protection, is a surefire way of keeping the right focus throughout the day, with less attacks from Shaytan. By taking out time to remember Allah and acknowledge our weaknesses at these two specific times of the day, we are also disciplining ourselves.

Bring the Sunnah back in your life
Whether it’s sleeping on your right side, spreading the salaam, giving charity in forms of money and kindness - do it all with the intention of attaining reward from Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala. Read a hadith every day and make an action-plan according to it. The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said that the best deeds are those that are consistent, even if small.

And last but not least:

Ask for guidance… consistently
Even when you feel like your heart is full of light and your intentions couldn’t get any purer, thank Allah and beg Him to never take this guidance away, because without it we don’t even have the ability to say a single Allahu Akbar. Do not become complacent for even a day, thinking that once you are guided, there is a stamp of guaranteed lifelong guidance on you. Nay, guidance is a lifelong pursuit coupled with good actions.

Hence, this beautiful dua from the Qur’an is a must-have in our daily dua list:
“Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from Yourself. Truly, You are the Bestower.”  [Surah Al‘Imraan 3: 8]

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post below! :)

Mar 19, 2012

Disrespecting Husband

By Miriam Islam


Bismillah 

Allah Swt, in his infinite wisdom and mercy, created the bonds of marriage as a permissible, enjoyable means of uniting two strangers to live with each other in love and peace. Theoretically this exists, but sadly the reality is that it isn’t always maintained and many Muslim marriages are breaking down.

Everyone is demanding their rights yet they fail to think from the other angle and neglect to fulfil rights of others. When a situation becomes very black and white people forget the essence of Islam; justice, forgiveness and humility. These qualities are lost in an argument and so a cold war ensues between husband and wife.

Keeping in line with rights, the greatest right of a woman is to be treated with kindness, but on the other hand the greatest right a husband has over the wife is Respect. Anger and displaying angry behaviour is a very disrespectful way of behaving with someone. Similarly provoking and angering the husband tantamount to disrespect. Marital breakdown is usually a consequence of anger and acting upon anger in hastiness.

In order for a wife to respect her husband she must first understand and avoid factors that anger him. Anger manifests itself in different ways but it tends to have a deeper underlying cause. A wife must try to decipher what the root cause of the anger is before any solutions can be reached. The following are a few reasons as to what can anger a husband, ranging from minor to major causes:

Hunger - Hunger can make someone very irritable and short tempered. A husband expects food to be ready when he comes home from work. This may seem insignificant, but if this happens regularly then it might be an indication of his displeasure at his wife’s time management/ organisational skills and lack of consideration.

• Neglecting Children and household duties - A wife may have commitments elsewhere, eg. Work, dawah activities, personal hobbies. As a result children or managing the household is neglected. This indicates that your husband may be displeased with your priorities and may want you to reassess your commitments.

Work/money problems - Finance can usually cause a huge strain on marriages, and the pressure of being the breadwinner can take its toll. However if the wife is oblivious to the husbands situation and spends endlessly then this means she doesn’t acknowledge his effort and is abusing his generosity. Alternately the husband may be having problems at work that he can’t discuss with his wife, leading to feelings of inadequacy and fear of redundancy.

Family problem - He may be having problems with his own family which he can’t tell you about, but which affect him deeply. Being in the dark will only make you question and misunderstand and it may anger him at your lack of sensitivity.

• Mistreating someone he loves - You may not have showed good conduct or hurt someone who he loves and respects, such as his family members or close friends. Your words/actions may or may not have been intentional, but someone was hurt by it and informed your husband, thereby causing him hurt and anger.

Hurting him with previous words/actions - Maybe you had said or did something quite a long time ago that really hurt him, but which he didn’t mention at the time. Consequently he had let the issue grow and took his anger randomly out on you at a later point.

Making him feel inferior - You might be a very confident, successful person, who is good at multitasking. If you are arrogant in your approach then this will convey through your words/actions that you have no need for him or be undermining his authority. To him it may indicate your lack of gratefulness and recognition of his qualities and capabilities.

Committed a sin/not doing Fard duties - You may be committing a grave sin that your husband may or may not be aware of, but punishment is such that it can indirectly affect your marriage, particularly if a woman is unchaste. Alternately you may not be doing your fard obligations e.g. salah, not observing proper hijab or engaging in unislamic activities, music, dance, etc.

Socialising/going out too much - Your husband might dislike who you socialise with or that you socialise too often. He may think that you’re taking advantage of his leniency or that you’re never available when he wants you to be. This may result in neglecting him and the household. Husbands have a sense of gheerah (exclusivity/possessiveness) so he might feel this is infringed if you go out so often.

Not fulfilling his desires - You may be not be fulfilling his desire properly or refusing to do so altogether. This can lead to frustration and anger, as well as a cause for him to look elsewhere.

• Not allowing him to spend sufficient time with children/family - You have a problem with him spending significant amounts of time with the children or you deny him access to children (if separate), or you dislike him spending time with his own family or someone else he is close to.

These are only a few suggestions, there are of course many more which are unique to each marriage. This is in no way suggesting that men are blameless in these scenarios, rather it is a step towards understanding why we blame them. Neither should women feel that it is biased towards men as it just presents one side, it is general advice for women as a whole to try and understand from the other angle. To present from the woman’s angle would have to be discussed as a separate issue.

Wives should bear the following advice in mind when trying to resolve a problem. Understand to the best of your ability what the problem is, accept where you have gone wrong even if it may be hard to. Have the most sincere of intentions to please Allah and your husband, do plenty of nafl (optional salat), and recite often and earnestly make dua that Allah swt gives you patience and understanding. Pray that Allah reunites your hearts and brings you closer. If ones husband is still angry, apart from seeking help, try reminding your husband of the following ayahs by either reciting it or placing somewhere respectable he would be able to frequently see it.

“And live with them (women) in a beautiful manner. If then you are displeased with them (then know) perhaps you dislike something. Wherein Allah has created abundant goodness in it”. (Surah An Nisa 4:19) 

“Who repress anger...Who pardons men... Verily Allah loves Al-Muhsinun (the good doers) (Surah Al Imran 3:134)

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post below! :)