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Sep 28, 2012

Religion V.S. Vitality... Or Not: Part 1

By Wordsmith
Bismillah

Below is Part One of the “Religion V.S. Vitality…. Or Not “ series; this collection of articles discusses the ideas that revolve around whether or not religion enhances or debases the quality of an individual or society. While this first article may seem quite historically based, it is important to supplement an argument with evidence that is undeniable and relevant to the general public, which may very well be, in some cases, a history lesson. However, the coming articles of this series will be more logic, theory, or research-based; this portion aims to refute only a small but equally essential part of the debate.

In many contexts, spirituality is considered a very personal matter of choice that is to be respected by all and protected by law, as proclaimed by the Constitution of the Unites States of America; nevertheless, this fact does not keep faith from entering the sphere of debate and controversy. As can be witnessed by recent events of the country, such as the year’s presidential campaign, it is quite futile to attempt to segregate religion from permeating within the public arena. One of the sharpest angles from which faith and spirituality are examined would be the comprehensive effect of both such concepts on the vitality of man. The question is an essential one: does faith enhance or debase the quality of life? Of the latter perspective comes the idea that religion is a constituent of manipulation and evil, condoning violence and illogical conceptions in the mind of man, therefore leading people into misery and disunity that can otherwise be avoided. Contrary to this opinion, many conceptualize faith as an aspect of optimal positivity that serves to enhance the overall well-being of humans through a healthy mindset of certitude, accountability, and optimism; indispensable is the fact that spirituality is an abstraction that ubiquitously optimizes one’s frame of mind as well as actions.

Many of those who oppose the above statement pose a strong argument by pointing fingers at history, in terms of religion and its influence on various societies of the past. According to Charles Kimball, a professor of Religious Studies, “more wars have been waged, more people killed, and more evil perpetrated in the name of religion than by any other institutional force in human history. The sad truth continues in our present day.(1)” Like Kimball, those who share his views argue that faith cannot possibly be an item of good service to mankind; differences over God’s commandments, His books, and His land have led to bloodshed and the absence of peace in the world, time and time again. Again, as it is argued, one can examine history for proof; from the Spanish Inquisition to the Crusades, the “Troubles” of the Catholics and Protestants, and the 9-11 tragedy, it may seem quite undeniable that religion is at fault for a significant number of bloody episodes of both past and present. (2) That being true, how can one so erroneously claim that spirituality factors into the well-being of man? Even George Washington concurs: “Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be deprecated. (3)”

In one way, George Washington is absolutely correct: such animosity, regardless of its roots, must be eliminated completely. However, upon examining the context of the above mentioned “religious wars,” it must be noted that religion fails to be the root cause of the conflict and instead a disguise for more materialistic advantages to be gained incognito. Take, for example, the Spanish Inquisition that served as a preliminary step in the process of founding America. Declared a Christianizing mission by the royal family of Spain, the inquisition that lead to the termination of millions of Native Americans in a minimal period of time was morally justified as a motive to spread the way of Christ and save all from savagery and eternal damnation (4). In reality, however, there are two facts that disprove the claim of this colonial occupation disguised a religious war; being that the alleged murder of another soul and the coveting of “anything that belongs to [one’s] neighbor” are acts that defy the Ten Commandments, which serve as the rudimentary principles of the Christian faith, how can one make the claim that this war was religiously waged (5)? Moreover, the economic gains of such a political move only serve to fortify the proof that the Spanish conquest was dressed as a missionary war to justify un-Christian acts that would yield a supply to an ever-growing demand of eastern spices and land for the imperialistic West. 

This same approach can be measured against the “holy war” of September eleventh; according to a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer who served as the Bin Laden Unit Chief, Michael Scheuer relays that contrary to what the media has projected about Bin Laden’s motives to attack the U.S. being driven by Islamic beliefs, the truth falls far from that. In fact, according to Scheuer’s research, Bin Laden is driven by U.S. foreign policy that supports “[Israel, a Saudi police state, U.S. presence in the Arabian Peninsula, and military activities]” in various areas of the Middle East (6). The connotation of every political strategy greatly insinuates its true motives, as was proven above and therefore religion should not be given the credit of striking every match of war.

It makes perfect sense that religion become a scapegoat used to justify the most immoral and materialistic acts of history; what power of persuasion is easier than that which is claimed to be Divine? Yet what most do not realize is that spirituality is a tool, just as any other, that can be manipulated for good or evil. One can use their hands to create life by planting a seed, but they may also use those same hands to pull the trigger of a gun and end vitality; does this mean that the hands of humanity are evil and maleficent?

Needless to say, these facts are not sufficient to holistically affirm the correlation between wholesome spirituality and living a quality life. They only serve to disprove one of the most common arguments waged against religion and its purpose. In the following articles of this series, we will discuss the virtues of religion under a more minute and detailed scope. Be sure to post in the comments below if you would like to pose a counter-argument to the above mentioned concepts and contexts, as this will help us all keep an open mind as well as help form the progressing arguments within the rest of this series.

1: http://www.is-there-a-god.info/clues/war.shtml
2: http://www.webflipper.info/site-flipping-tips/why-do-atheists-think-its-religion-that-causes-many-wars-and-not/
3: http://atheism.about.com/library/quotes/bl_q_GWashington.htm
4: HB
5: biblegateway.com
6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95ncn5Q16N

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

Sep 26, 2012

Gandhi and Quest for Truth

By Tara Delancey


Bismillah 

Mohandas K. Gandhi is most famous for being the great leader of the non-violent revolution against British rule in India. However, he actually considered all of that to be secondary to his main mission in life which was finding and perfecting the practice of living Truth. In fact, he even titled his autobiography The Story of My Experiments with Truth. As this great non-Muslim thinker strove so passionately his entire life in search of Truth, how many of us as Muslims do not consider Truth to be the primary focus of our own lives? How many of us just go through the motions of our lives arrogantly assuming we’ve got it all figured out, never stopping to analyze our behavior? If we are to kick ourselves out of our own complacency, one place to start is with the beautiful advice of this great leader who made Truth his life’s mission. Gandhi writes:

‘The path of truth is for the brave alone, never for a coward.’ I realize the significance of this poem[i] more and more as days pass… This path has always been for the brave because a much greater effort is required to go up the steep slope of truth than to climb the Himalayas. If at all, therefore, we want to work in this direction and serve ourselves, we should give the first place to truth and march forward with unshakeable faith in it.[ii]

The same message is presented in the Qur’an:
Have We not made for him two eyes?- And a tongue and two lips?- And have shown him the two ways?- But he has not broken through the difficult pass.- And what can make you know what is [breaking through] the difficult pass? (Qur’an 90:8-12) 

Here Allah uses “he” to refer to mankind generally - it is a message that applies to everyone, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. What is referred to as Al -‘Aqaba (the difficult pass) is, naturally, the path of truth, even though it is not explicitly stated in this verse. Indeed, it is a universal fact of life that the path of truth is always the harder path for a person to follow. It is this path that Allah challenges us, and invites us, to strive along towards righteousness and closeness to Him.

Gandhi frequently expressed the belief that Ultimate Truth is God and God is Ultimate Truth. As he says, “There is one absolute Truth which is total and all-embracing. But it is indescribable, because it is God. Or say, rather, God is Truth. All else is unreal and false. Other things, therefore, can be true only in a relative sense.”[iii] This is completely compatible with the Islamic understanding, in which one of the 99 names of Allah is Al-Haqq (Ultimate Truth). The path of living Truth is, therefore, the path to God. But how does one embark on such a difficult journey?

The best place to start the journey of living Truth is with oneself. According to Gandhi, we should ask ourselves the following questions:

· Do I deceive anybody knowingly?
· Do I try to show, in order to win people’s respect or esteem, that I possess certain virtues which in fact I do not possess?
· Do I exaggerate in my speech?
· Do I hide my misdeeds from persons to whom I should confess them?
· If a superior or co-worker puts me any question, do I evade him?
· Do I keep back what I ought to declare?
· Anybody who follows this practice even for a month will clearly observe a change having taken place in himself.[iv]

These are all questions that have been echoed, in so many words, throughout the Qur’an and Sunna.

 Abu Hurayrah narrates that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: 
“The signs of the hypocrite are three: when he speaks, he lies; when he makes a promise, he breaks it; and when he is entrusted with something, he betrays that trust.”
(Narrated by al-Bukhari, 33; Muslim, 59) 

Living a Truthful life involves more than just speaking the truth. Truth is also knowing the difference between right and wrong and following your conscience. It involves searching within yourself and analyzing your pre-existing notions. Truth, like light, pervades everything and its absence creates a state of darkness. It involves earning and spending in halal ways that do not involve riba (interest), fitna (spreading chaos and violence), fasad (corruption) or khamr (alchohol and other intoxicants). It is manifest and spread (and also extinguished) by human beings in their every word, thought, and deed.

If we have the desire to see a better world, we must start with improving ourselves, for to attempt to reform others without first reforming ourselves is blatant hypocrisy. Though we may never realize the ideal of complete Truth in every action and every word, and will likely fall into sin over and over again, it is my hope that these words of a great Truth seeker will inspire us to strive every day to bring ourselves one step closer - one inch forward along the difficult path of righteousness. With such sincere effort we will earn the pleasure of Allah and, by his mercy, jannah inshaAllah.

Refrences:
[i] By Pritamdas (c. 1720-98), a Gujarati poet.
[ii] Gandhi’s contribution to ‘Madhpudo’, the manuscript magazine of the Ashram School, Sabarmati. July, 1920.
[iii] M.K. Gandhi., ‘What is Truth?’, Navajivan, 20 Nov. 1921
[iv] M.K. Gandhi. ‘How to Observe Truth’, MMU/II

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

Sep 24, 2012

Fights with siblings - Are we really related?

By Amal Milaa Filza


Bismillah


We differ like sweet and sour. When I am calm, you are excited. I can catch, yet you always miss. I sit in front but you hang out in the back. As I am asleep, you stay awake. While you are brave, I get afraid. You are Tom and I am Jerry. We laugh but also fight, arguing about who is right. We argue like I am a foreigner and you are the native. It always seems that you know the language and I constantly forget the words. I would tell you so much more if I thought you would listen and there is so much more you would tell me if you believed I would understand. You attack while I go into defense. Wherever I go right, you go left. We look alike yet we are so different. I can’t help but ask, are we really related?

When you are around the same people everyday, irritations can grow and conflicts can develop with some more than the other. Sometimes you just can’t believe that you are related to your siblings. They can be the complete opposite, like they are from a different planet. Obviously we still love them dearly but one moment they are kind yet the other they can be so cruel. It is almost impossible to avoid the fights at home with your siblings. Still we should try to prevent it as hard as it seems. Yet the worst thing is; they always know exactly what to say to get under our skin.

The Prophet Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: “Whoever would like his lifespan to be extended and his provision to be increased, let him uphold the ties of kinship.”
(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1961; Muslim, 2557) 

Patience is the key

“Surely, Allaah is with those who are As‑Saabiroon (the patient)” [al-Anfaal 6:46] 

Most probably you have already heard this before, but it really is the best advice. The true winners in every fight are the ones that are patient and do not lower themselves to the level of the other. Be the better person! You can count to ten, bite your tongue, or just walk out of the room. A great example is the patience of Prophet Yousuf. Allaah subhaanahu wa ta'aala tells us that the patience of the Prophet Yousuf brought him to a position of power and strength, as He says:

“Verily, he who fears Allah with obedience to Him (by abstaining from sins and evil deeds, and by performing righteous good deeds), and is patient, then surely, Allah makes not the reward of the Muhsinoon (good‑doers) to be lost” [Yousuf 12:90] 

Wasting hasanaat Shaytaan loves it when we fight, makes him feel oh so proud. Instead of fighting our siblings, we should fight the whispers of the Shaytaan. Whatever you do, do not lose your temper! The moment you start to scream, call names or even hit the other, you can wave your hasanaat goodbye. Anger is a terrible emotion and a temptation of Shaytaan. As soon as there is a conflict arising with your siblings we should think of pleasing Allah subhaana wa ta'aala and not Shaytaan!


“And if there comes to you from Satan an evil suggestion, then seek refuge in Allah. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Knowing.” [Fussilat 41:36] 


Do not forget that Shaytaan is weak, and that the power of Allah subhaana wa ta'aala is Greater and Better.

Make wudhu
Making wudhu has many blessing so when you are getting angry just go and make wudhu.

AbuWa'il al-Qass said: We entered upon Urwah ibn Muhammad ibn as-Sa'di. 
A man spoke to him and made him angry. So he stood and performed ablution; 
he then returned and performed ablution, and said: My father told me on the authority of my grandfather Atiyyah who reported the Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam as saying: “Anger comes from the devil, the devil was created of fire, and fire is extinguished only with water; so when one of you becomes angry, he should perform ablution.”
(Hadith - Sunan of Abu Dawood, Narrated Atiyyah as-Sa'di, r.a.) 

Always be kind
While they are being cruel, you should be kind. This always helps when my sister is trying to pick a fight with me. While she is saying mean things I always smile and reply with; “I will make dua for you.” This always makes her laugh and the tense atmosphere magically disappears.

After a while your relationship with your siblings will even improve because of your kindness.

Oh Allah, Pour out on us patience and constancy, and make 

us die as those who have surrendered themselves unto You. Ameen.



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

Sep 23, 2012

Story: A Midnight Prayer Chapter 8


By Alawiya Abdalla

Previous Chapter | Next Chapter

Bismillah
Asha

I was physically willing the 113 bus to arrive.
Oh please come oh beautiful bus, you own my heart and soul right now.
I do not know WHY I am serenading the bus, but basically I have lost the last ounce of sanity that I had left.
They were OGLING me!
OGLING
OGLING
OGLING
There I said it.
Okay, that didn't help at all. In fact, it just made their sick image pop up in my head once more.

I can't explain why I'm feeling so used and sick, the last thing I want is sympathy from anyone.
I just want to lock myself in my room, and cry until I am fine.
As Hamid and Suad approach fast, I get on the bus that stopped infront of me, even though I don't know it's number!!
Okay, I'm on it and I don't know where I'm going.

Great.
They are going to completely hate me, and think that I am a big snob.
Great.

Obviously I am not a snob, I just want some time for my pride to soak up my humiliation.
Exactly the same way a sponge soaks up water__

Sluuuuuurp and finito.

I like to be by myself when something humiliating happens to me, and then I like to cry and then my rational pride and my wounded pride exchange heated words and

BAM

Slruuuuuuup and finito. My rational pride soaks up my wounded pride's tears, and job done.
My mum and brothers know this, not that my brothers would ever ask me what is the matter with me.
They are men you see__

Well, of course they are men, what else would they be??
This is WHY I don't like speaking to ANYONE when I'm sad or angry, I blurt really obvious facts of life.
Now I'm on this numberless bus, going to a nameless destination.
Okay, now I'm a little bit worried.

Where am I GOING exactly? I was so busy keeping an eye on Hamid and Suad's pace, I forgot to check the number of this bus.
I persume it is going North_

Or is it technically South__
West, maybe west__
It's GOT to be east__
Basically I cannot tell my Norths, Souths, Wests and Easts as you can probably tell.

Great.
Math wasn't my favourite subject you see
Or is it biology? Maybe it's physics? OH I KNOW! CHEMISTRY
That's it. Chemistry wasn't my favourite subject__Oh no wait, what's chemistry got to do with North, South, West or East?

Great, I am confusing my subjects now.
I am hungry, I am feeling vulnerable and I don't know where I'm going.
All in all I say this has been a fetching day MashaAllah.
Well, you have to see the humor in every situation in life right?

Hamid

That bus is not the 113 bus, where is she going?
What a stubborn woman! Doesn't she realize that by leaving hastily, people will continue to bully and hassle her?
I've dealt with bullying all my life, and I KNOW that you MUST stand up to them otherwise your finished.
Yes it is disgusting what those guys did, but come on it doesn't deserve all of this exaggeration!

"Where is she going now? Did you manage to catch a glimpse of the bus number sister?" I ask Suad, as we stop running.
Yeah that's right, she saw us running and she didn't even stop. How rude!
"She went on the 274 bus going to Camden Town, is that where she lives?" Answers Suad, while she tries to catch her breath.
"No! She lives next door to me in Burnt Oak!" What IS she thinking about going to Camden Town? That's like MILES away from Burnt Oak.
"Oh good, we will pay her a visit after work InshaAllah" Says Suad very simply.

"We? I ain't going anywhere! Certainly not to her house" I fiercely protest. I mean why should I go there InshaAllah?? She is nothing but a colleague!
Is it because you're scared from her tall, rather intimidating brother?
WHAT? WHO SAID THAT?? I ain't scared of no one!
No one.

Seriously, who said that?
If it is the author, then I can assure you that I can handle him___Totally
Gulp__
STOP WRITING THAT, I DIDN'T GULP!
I just want everyone to know that I didn't gulp, OKAY?

Suddenly the voice of Suad snaps me to attention.
"Helloooo, I was just saying that we will go with my husband. Are you okay? You seemed lost in your thoughts there" She looks at me concerned.
"Oh OK, yeah that's alright" I reply hastily, not knowing what I'm agreeing to as I contemplate the various ways I can get revenge on the author of this story.

"Great, we'll meet you here after work InshaAllah. I live 10 minutes away" Replies Suad cheerfully.
Wait, huh? Oh no__no no no__I'm still not going!
Hold on a sec.
Gulp__

GO AWAY WITH YOUR GULPS PLEASE!!!! I AM NOT SCARED OF HIM_

Gulp__

FIIINNEEE, I'll go just to prove to you all that I'm not scared of him!!!

Gulp__

Why did I choose this annoying author to write my story? I'm seriously thinking about defaulting to another REPUTABLE author!

GULP_

GULP GULP GULP__

Okay Okay, I smile even though I feel like strangling the author right this minute.
"Seriously are you OK? Now you're smiling!" Asks Suad as she catches me smiling.
"Yeah I'm good Jazakallah sis" I murmur embarrassingly.

Why am I going to her house though? Maybe, I should just go home and let Suad stand here waiting with her husband for a few minutes before she realizes that I've gone home.
Sounds like a great plan to me!
A great plan that I will never FOLLOW THROUGH!!!

I hate being a good guy.
Well, I am a good guy.
Gul__
DON'T!

Asha

After so many bus changes__three in total__I am finally home Alhamdulilah.
It is now 6:30 pm, and that means Ahmed won't be home InshaAllah. The last thing I need is his interrogation.
I open the door slowly, and I don't hear anyone. Not a beeb Alhamdulilah.
I walk towards my room, and that's when I hear them! Yes THEM. Why are those voices familiar?

They are familiar because
My mum, Ahmed, Suad, Hamid and this other man are sitting in the living room.
Suad and my mum are chattering away.

Ahmed is glaring at Hamid so fiercely, he might as well just stand up and hit him.
The other guy is sitting there awkwardly, wishing he was somewhere else.
Oh, why won't they just leave me alone.
If I don't go in, Ahmed's eyes will do some serious damage to Hamid!

Hamid looks like he is not scared of Ahmed, but I know he must be. Who wouldn't!
If I was in a good mood, I would have found this situation quite hilarious BUT I'M NOT IN A GOOD MOOD.
Okay, it is a little funny. Anyone would think my brother Ahmed was raised with the wolves, away from humanity!

Great, just great.

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

Sep 22, 2012

Homeschooling Tip 9

By Juli Herman


Bismillah


I recently sat down with my planner in hand and started jotting down next year’s school plans for two of my children. Ever since we started homeschooling without a set curriculum, we have been doing a lot of trial and error and learned a lot from it. One important thing I learned is that I should include my children in the planning of their ‘curriculum’.

Rather than being told what they should learn, and how they should learn it, being given a choice to customize the learning approach is truly liberating and empowering. It gives them that sense of ownership in learning, and it can also drive up their motivation for learning. My 12 year old son loves building and working with the computer. So when I was planning out his Science curriculum for next year, I asked him how he would like to approach it. Knowing that his interest lies mostly in Physics, I said,

“Would you like to do it by projects? You can play around with the electrical circuit kit, or figure out your own projects like those you find in the library books.”

He nodded agreeably to this idea, and together, we brainstormed project ideas he would do for next year’s science. For my 13 year old daughter, I suggested keeping a nature journal, where she could draw and sketch to her heart’s content and delve into Biology. I laid out all the different options of doing Science; picking home experiments from books, doing it online from online sources, making models, lapbooks, etc. She took her picks and alhamdulilah, we had her science curriculum all laid out for next year’s science. I also recently found a rich resource of online classes on Currclick. My daughter is currently attending one on Herpetology and loves it. The approach used in this class is very similar to what I had laid out for her, and so it is a perfect fit for her interest and learning approach.

This approach pertains mostly to those who do not use a set curriculum. It does take more work and brainstorming, not to mention continuous research and searching, but when planned well ahead of time, it can be quite rewarding. It will also be quite useful when it comes to customizing a high school homeschool for those who wish to do so.


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

Sep 21, 2012

Average Muslimah's role in saving the environment

Bismillah 

I’m just an average Muslimah…What can I do to protect the Earth?

What can the average Muslimah do to protect the Earth?

So, you’re not quite ready to leave your home to live in a tree house, eat grubs, and use only the light of the sun for energy? That’s ok, there are still many ways that you can stop contributing to destruction of the earth, and actively work towards protecting it.

Doing deeds to protect the environment is a way of getting hasanat (good deeds). It is an action that may not be seen or recognized by others, but doing it will raise your status with Allah (subhannahu wa ta'ala). “Being green” is an excellent opportunity to strive for Allah’s (subhanahu wa ta’ala) mercy.

There are many ways that we can be an earth steward, be green, and protect the earth and its environment. In my experience as an educator and working directly in conservation, I find that many people are not clear on the issues affecting the earth. So, first I suggest raising you and your family’s consciousness about what is happening with the environment. Read books and articles about current events in science, and on issues such as global warming, deforestation, and over fishing. Secondly: stop waste! Stop wasting food, natural resources, space, energy, and time. Time to lighten the load we put on this earth and strengthen families and our communities with simple acts, with the intention of ibadah.

Teach children to love and revere the earth and its resources 
Teach your children to love and respect the earth by integrating earth friendly practices and consciousness into your daily routines. Children are natural scientists that love to explore their world with wonder and sincere interest. Use this natural curiosity to teach them when they are very young to respect the earth and its resources. It will instill a lifelong love of the earth and make future protectors of it.

At an early age, allow children to play outside and explore. Let them learn with all five senses. Even taste, sampling a blade of grass or giving a pine cone a lick won’t hurt them. Let them walk in the grass barefoot and play by the edge of the river looking for signs of life. Take them out at night and let them listen for bats, owls, or other animals that are active in the evenings. Show them the sunset before Fajr prayer. Take them to see the new moon and the waning moon before, during, and after Ramadan. Let them play in the rain and smell the beautiful scents of spring. Let them sit under the shade of a giant old tree feeling its strength. Experiencing the wonders of Allah’s (subhanahu wa ta’ala) creation can happen at the earliest age. If children understand that they are one of the creations on this earth, and a part of the grand cycle of life, Insha’Allah they will care about protecting it. If they never get a chance to experience the wonders of this amazing planet first hand they may feel detached and not concerned with what happens to it.

As children grow, teach them to respect the plants and animals on the earth. Visiting natural parks and protected wildlife sanctuaries can be an excellent learning experience. These large areas of land that have been set aside, preserved, and maintained give evidence to the history of ecology and earth preservation. Children can have an opportunity to see animals that are steadily disappearing from our earth, natural wonders of Allah’s (subhanahu wa ta’ala) creation, and can be reminded not to take plants or animals away from their natural habitats. This concept is necessary when learning about respecting the earth. All animals and plants are important to their biological communities. Removing animals (including insects) or plants can upset the delicate balance of the ecosystem. Have them draw a picture or take a photograph of something special that they want to remember.

Visiting zoos is another good way for children to see animals close up. Teach your children to respect the animals living there. Banging on glass walls, yelling, screaming, throwing food, and making rude faces to the animals is disrespectful. Allowing children to act in this way undermines personal dignity and is distressing for animals. As Muslims we are taught to respect all life. We always remember this. If you own animals as pets or cattle teach your children to be kind to them, feed them on a regular schedule, allowing them space to run and live. Teach children similar respect for plants.

STOP WASTING 
Waste happens in so many little ways. It may seem that that half a pan of beans that was thrown out, or the Styrofoam cups you used at the last gathering aren’t a problem, but they are. When we throw away good food we act as if there aren’t people starving. When we use products that aren’t biodegradable or recyclable we fill landfills with garbage. Consider that a handful of rice could keep a child alive for another few days. Don’t force yourself to eat more, but think about portions and take more notice of what your family will eat to avoid waste. You may find there is extra to share.

It saddens me to say I’ve been to the mosque on a Sunday morning to see pans of half eaten rice from the Walimah or Aqika the night before. If you have been blessed with the means to slaughter for a wedding or birth remember the Sunnah on the division of meat, and surely it wouldn’t hurt to feed the homeless in honor of your new marriage or child; Instead of feeding people who are not hungry and end up wasting food. If you are a guest, don’t be afraid to take the leftover food and eat it for breakfast or dinner. No, it is not glamorous, but alhamdulilah you will have avoided the sin of being wasteful.

O Children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer: eat and drink: But waste not by excess, for Allah loveth not the wasters.” (Surah Ar Raff 7:31)

There are many areas that we need to be conscious of, when it comes to being wasteful by excess. Below is a bullet list of ways to start being conscious of our place in this earth and do some benefit. Let’s leave every place we go to cleaner and better than when we first got there.

Curbing the consumer: In these times, the target of many marketing companies is the innocent children, whose little minds cannot process that they don’t need all of the stuff that the ads tell them they need. They will not know unless we teach them. If they get a new toy have them get rid of an old toy (or several), and do the same with their clothing. Teach them the concept of less is better (more). Don’t give them whatever they want, and once they are old enough let them earn their toys and gadgets. Ultimately, they will be happier with less stuff to clean up and will make wiser choices about the type of toys they get.

Recycle: Have kids wash out cans, and cartons, peal labels, and put recyclables into the correct container. These days recycling is much easier than when I was kid. Back then, we would gather all of our recyclables and take them to the recycling plant. Nowadays it’s often as close as your garbage can or curbside garbage pick-up!

Volunteer: Look for volunteer opportunities at your local parks. Often, there are work crews that pull invasive plants, pick up trash, and plant trees. This is something that you should do with your kids. Give them a sense of civic responsibility and a lesson about the environment.

Pick up trash: Hey! It’s the Sunnah!

Educate Yourself: Find an informative documentary that talks about the earth, plants or animals, and efforts to protect it. Check out books from the library about the history of the region that you live in, and about plants and animals that are native to the area. Go to informative websites that focus on environmental issues

Plant a native plants garden: Vegetable gardens are great, but also consider planting a native plants garden. After researching about native plants, plant some! Consider having your yard certified as a natural habitat by a local fish and wildlife agency. This will give your children (and you) a chance to work with the soil and leave something beautiful to be enjoyed in all seasons. If you don’t have a yard there are often community gardens that you can request a plot in.

Shop wise: So many things to buy, buy, buy, buy, but where, where, where will you put it all? Teach kids a valuable lesson about consumerism. Buying ability makes people feel powerful, but empower yourself to buy products that are packaged in biodegradable packaging. Reduce the amount of needless buying. Buy household products that say they are “earth friendly” and recyclable. Read labels carefully and never hesitate to research a products environmental record.

Food: The food choices we make are so very important to the environment as well as our and our children’s well-being. Buy organic and buy local. Although there is much debate, there really should be none. Foods that are not organic have been sprayed with pesticides that have been proven to cause cancer. Also non-organic foods are likely to be GMO (Genetically Modified). Milk and meats that are not organic have often been treated in inhumane ways and fed a steady diet of antibiotics. Our children need us to make wise decisions about food for them. Organic is often more expensive (not always).  Organic farming practices have been proven to be better for the earth, and the foods are much healthier for our children. [1]

Halal food choices should be animals that are free range and fed organically to meet the requirements of Zabiha.

This is written from the viewpoint of a person living in the “1st” world. Everyone may not have the same access and availability. It is also important to know that people from many indigenous cultures worldwide already implement earth friendly practices as a way of life, that is part of their traditions

Whatever we do, our children see us doing it. Just like they see us making our salaat and reading the Quran, they can see us making wise decisions that impact the earth in healthy ways. How will you begin to protect the earth?

References
[1]http://www.organic.org/articles/showarticle/article-206


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

Sep 19, 2012

The merits and pitfalls of discussing sex

By Sabina Giado


Bismillah


Sex is discussed in multiple arenas and in multiple contexts. Sex is discussed among friends, female and male, either as a means of entertainment, increasing their bond, or simply as a means of deciphering the opposite sex. Sex is discussed among children coming to terms with their changing bodies. Sex is discussed with doctors, scholars and parents.

In this article, inshAllah, we will discuss which of these contexts these conversations may fall into the forbidden and what would be more constructive ways of discussing the act of intimacy.

Note that I am not by any means giving fatwas. I have no authority to do so. My intention with this article is to encourage healthy discourse about sex following the example set by our beloved Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam and staying within the bounds of the Shari’ah in this case.

1. Talking about sex with friends.
As always, the Muslim should be very aware of his or her intentions. There are a couple of reasons why a Muslim may talk about sex with his or her friends.


Boasting
Both men and women are prone to boasting about their intimate life with their spouses, directly or indirectly. Men are inclined to wink and nudge and inquire after the man’s increased “happiness” after his wedded life. Women are inclined to complain/boast about how late they are sleeping or how tired they have become or how their husbands are ‘a lot of work’, all with a wry smile playing on their lips. These comments are usually made in front of single friends and often smack of arrogance, which compounds the sin.

It Is narrated on the authority of Abdullah b. Mas'ud that the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him), observed: He who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of pride shall not enter Paradise. (Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Number 164).


What happens between spouses in the bedroom is a sacred trust. To share and to perhaps laugh about the mistakes or joys of one’s sexual encounters is to betray that trust.

Abu Sa'id al-Khudri radhiallahu anhu reported that Allah's Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: The most wicked among the people in the eye of Allah on the Day of Judgment is the man who goes to his wife and she comes to him, and then he divulges her secret. 
(Sahih Muslim, Book 8, Number 3369)

Trying to find a solution to a genuine problem
Often, due to physical or psychological pressures, one or the other spouse might find their sexuality diminished and their ability to satisfy their partner diminishes with it. This can be a trying and frustrating problem for both spouses.

In this situation, rather than break the sacred trust of marriage by discussing the problem with friends, it would be wiser and more constructive to unburden to a qualified sex therapist. Doctors do not often deal with the emotional and psychological aspects of sex, whereas therapists do. In this way, we can not only share our problem thus getting it off our chests, but also get some expert advice on how to deal with it.

2. Asking questions from your parents
It is no secret that we are living in an over-sexualized cultural atmosphere. Children are likely to have many questions, fears and misunderstandings based on what they have unwittingly seen on the TV, billboards, in magazines, etc. Moreover as puberty hits, the confusion and pressure will mount for a young Muslim or Muslimah, especially as their peer group will often tend to be just as clueless and misinformed.

Secular sex education are likely to elucidate the mechanics of sex, how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy. Even if a Muslim family chooses to allow their child to attend sex education, schools are likely to avoid the emotional and psychological consequences of early sex.

Our children deserve a complete account of sex. They deserve honest, Deen-based answers from someone they feel comfortable talking to. They should not be frightened by the act; rather they should view it as something natural and sacred to be acted upon at the right time and place, as with all things in Islam.

For pre-pubescent children, a mentor to guide them through the changes that are occurring in their bodies would be a gift from Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala. InshaAllah, let us strive to be that gift for our young brothers and sisters.

There is no harm in educating our children about their bodies and sex in a frank manner, while avoiding crudeness, following the example of our beloved Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

Jabir b. 'Abdullah radhiallahu anhu reported: 'Abdullah died and he left (behind him) 
nine or seven daughters. I married a woman who had been previously married. 
Allah's Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said to me: Jabir, have you married? I said: Yes. He (again) said: A virgin or one previously married? 
I said: Messenger of Allah, with one who was previously married, 
whereupon he said: Why didn't you marry a young girl so that you could sport with her 
and she could sport with you, or you could amuse with her and she could amuse with you? 
I said to him: 'Abdullah died (he fell as martyr in Uhud) and left nine or seven daughters behind him; I, therefore, did not approve of the idea that I should bring a (girl) like them, 
but I preferred to bring a woman who should look after them and teach them good manners, whereupon he (Allah's Messenger) said: 
May Allah bless you, or he supplicated (for the) good (to be) conferred on me (by Allah).  
(Sahih Muslim, Book 8, Number 3462)

Of the many lessons that can be gleaned from this beautiful Hadith, we notice the Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam took it upon himself to educate Jabir radhiallahu anhu as his own father had passed away in the Battle of Uhud. If the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam could be a mentor in sexual matters, then parents, trusted older family members, teachers and other mentor figures may also take a lead in this matter, if there is no fear of abuse or other misconduct.

Notice also the language used by the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. It is clear that playfulness and good humour is encouraged before sexual activity. While never mincing words, the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam also never descends into vulgarity. The softness of his tone communicates his concern for the welfare of his companion.

3. Talking about intimacy with your spouse.
Pleasurable sex is not restricted, as the media would have us believe, to only a few blessed young men and women. It is a skill that can be learned. However, intimacy requires open communication, trust and real comfort. A couple would do well to work on those areas for the benefit of their marriage in general, not just their intimate lives.

4. Talking about intimacy with doctors or therapists.
A dysfunctional sex life can seriously sour a happily married life. As discussed before, in seeking a solution for a problem which may have medical or psychological roots, it is not forbidden to seek help from licensed professionals.

5. Talking about intimacy with an Imam or scholar.

'A'isha reported: Asma (daughter of Shakal) asked the Apostle of Allah 
sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam about washing after menstruation. 
He said: Everyone amongst you should use water (mixed with the leaves of) the lote-tree 
and cleanse herself well, and then pour water on her head and rub it vigorously 
till it reaches the roots of the hair. Then she should pour water on it. 
Afterwards she should take a piece of cotton smeared with musk and cleanse herself with it. 
Asma' said: How should she cleanse herself with the help of that? 
Upon this, he (the Apostle of Allah) observed: Praise be to Allah, she should cleanse herself. 'A'isha said in a subdued tone that she should apply it to the trace of blood. 
She (Asma) then further asked about bathing after sexual intercourse. 
He (the Holy Prophet) said: She should take water and cleanse herself well or 
complete the ablution and then (pour water) on her head and rub it 
till it reaches the roots of the hair (of her) head and then pour water on her. 
'A'isha said: How good are the women of Ansar (helpers) that their shyness 
does not prevent them from learning religion. 
(Sahih Muslim, Book 3, Number 0649)

In this case, Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam’s natural delicacy prevented him from telling this young lady that she could cleanse her private area. ‘Aisha radhiallahu anha however filled in the gap and praised this lady for her desire to gain knowledge.

Islam has sent us guidelines for every area of our lives even our intimate lives. We should be clear and firm on the correctness of our acts so that we know that we are gaining the pleasure of Allah subhaana wa ta'aala. If embarrassment prevents us from speaking directly, inshAllah we can go through our husbands. If we are as yet unmarried, inshAllah we can seek a female scholar or ask a male scholar via email or another less direct form of communication, as the scholar’s duty is to guide!

Subhanallah, Islam only disallows talking about sex for the purpose of titillation, entertainment or laughter among friends. Educating your children, seeking knowledge about the fiqh of the intimate act and readdressing marital issues are inshAllah allowed, if not encouraged.

We should strive to create healthy environments for the discussion of sex and body image, as sex is a gift from Allah subhaana wa ta'aala. Imam al-Ghazali even called the act of intimacy a taste of the pleasures of the afterlife, a place where pleasure is not transitory, unlike the pleasures of this world.

Whatever is wrong in this article is from me and whatever is right is from Allah subhaana wa ta'aala.

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

Sep 17, 2012

Things to remember when someone insults you

By Yasmin Ahmed


Bismillah

Insult –
1. To treat or speak to insolently or with contemptuous rudeness; affront.
2. To affect as an affront; offend or demean.[i]

When we are insulted or when we feel insulted there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration.

(When researching for information on this article I had never been insulted as much as in this short time, it is true when you mentally actively seek something you find it and for this reason I am including some of my personal experiences.)

The Insulter/Inflictor
Firstly you need to think about the person who is insulting. Is the person who is insulting somebody who is educated or not? When you take this into account you might react differently to the situation. For example, a few weeks ago whilst shopping a person mumbled the words ‘Paki!’ as I walked past (the word ‘Paki’ is used as an insult towards Asian people, it is a shortened form of the word Pakistani). I turned to look and saw a young man dragging one foot, his hands bent and his head at a slant. In this incident there was nothing I could do but smile and feel sorry.

Is the person insulting somebody you value or not?

You have to think about the person inflicting the insult, if they are somebody you do not value then you have to think what is their motive behind the insult? Are you in anyway better than them? Do you have something they might be jealous of?

Not so long ago in a restaurant, I was ordering some food and behind me two ladies were seated at a table when one lady started to mimic me. The man behind the counter asked me a question, I replied and she continued to mimic, the man stopped and stared at the ladies. Obviously the woman’s intention was to look clever and show me up, when in fact she ended up doing otherwise and looking immature.

If the person inflicting the insult is somebody you value then you have to think, are they actually insulting you or giving you feedback. To distinguish between this you might want to think about in what context is the feedback being given?

Once when giving feedback to a mentor, I totally flipped and fired back saying ‘If you can’t do your job, what are you doing here?’ He did not register that this was an observation and as his manager it was my role to give him positive feedback and to review his shortcomings and help in improving them. Another time a once close friend would take great pleasure in telling me what other people had to say about me to the likes of ‘she called you a nosy b****!’ she always focussed on the negative and laughed in my face.

So you can clearly see the difference between the two people, one was angry as he had only filtered the negative and the other was giving me useless information but also enjoying my put down, which a true friend would never do.

The Insulters life
When somebody insults you, you have to think how are they feeling? Is everything going well in their life? Are they going through a bad patch and trying to tell you something?

One night a colleague came rushing to my classroom after all the children were sent home. She was both shocked and mortified and related the incident that had occurred earlier that day. She had been teaching her 4-5 year olds, when a young girl started stroking my colleague’s legs, when she suddenly piped up ‘Have you booked for a waxing session?’, she was shocked as the youngster had never spoken before and mortified at what the young lass had to say. The youngster’s mother was a beautician!

Feedback – is a gift you take it and you hold it. If you agree you internalise it, if you disagree you dispose of it!

Our life
When we feel we are insulted we need to self reflect, especially before we start firing off all canons. Think about how am I feeling? Did I get out of the wrong side of the bed this morning? Has something happened that has put me in a foul mood and I seem to be registering all negativity. In this type of situation you might end up regretting saying or doing things later on, instead it might be better to take a step back and let the situation diffuse and perhaps ponder over it when you feel better.

Abu Dharr radiAllahu anhu said: The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said to us ‘If one of you gets angry when he is standing, let him sit down; if his anger disappears, all well and good, otherwise let him lie down’ Bukhari 8. 135

Do we deserve to be insulted?
When we are insulted, we need to think do we deserve to be insulted? Have we done something that has resulted in our being insulted? Sometimes we deserve to be insulted, we are all not perfect and do sometimes overstep the mark. For instance we might have said something in anger to our mother, brother, sister, friend, teacher etc. which results in our father saying something insulting back to us. In which case it is better to accept the insult quietly and go lick your wounds elsewhere.

Insults are a part of life
We have all been insulted and will continue to be insulted as it is a part of life. We cannot please everyone and we cannot make everyone our friends. Once we understand this we can disregard insults that have been aimed towards us. Remember

“Know that what has passed you by was not going to befall you, and that what has befallen you was not going to pass you by. And know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and ease with hardship.”(Tirmidhi-Saheeh)

Insults take many forms, and we all have the ability to do it. If an insult is delivered to hurt you, you can bet shaytaan is behind it.

When we are insulted for doing absolutely nothing wrong, it is then up to us how we deal with the situation. You can either retaliate, which might be exactly what the other person wants you to do, or you could stay quiet as silence is more powerful. You could fester in it and give the other person your power or you could brush it aside and continue on with your life.

The example of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam

When all else fails think about how the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam was insulted.

People physically assaulted him. People threw stones at him. People threw dirty intestines on him whilst he was praying. People threw their dirty garbage on him. People abused him. People killed his loved ones. People tried to give him poison in his food. They laughed at him, Mocked him. They made fun of Him. He lost His two teeth in the Battle of Uhud.[ii]

Question yourself have we had any of these things happen to us? Think about how the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam felt when these things happened? What had he sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam done to deserve this? Finally how did our Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam respond?

When we are insulted the best example to follow is the example of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam , as he sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam was insulted for doing absolutely nothing wrong. Yet, he sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam was insulted in the worst possible manner and still forgave his inflictors.

We are all being tested
At a recent charity event a lady next to me asked her son to come and stand between us, and then said to him in a loud voice ‘some people are so introvert they only smile at people they know and ignore everybody else. Asians are like that!’ I thought for a bit and said nothing. I felt sorry for the ten year old and thought she could have taught her son something more useful than making comments like that. I thought if I was in her place what would I have said and I thought not everybody does smile and can smile especially when things are happening in their lives that are hurting them, and instead we should try and smile and make others smile even if they do not feel like it.

Although it might be easier said than done, when we are insulted try and make an excuse for your brother/sister as to why they are behaving the way they are. We are living this life and we are all being tested, some more than others. When I am down and upset I look at a family friend whose husband and son committed suicide over twenty years ago, and then recently her other son was beaten to death for just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Mother had just come minutes earlier from abroad and met her son just as he was popping out to the local shop, never to return home ever again. She never blames anybody.

Other people’s lives and incidents are lessons for us to be grateful, and remember the saying

Sticks and stones may break my bones, But names will never hurt me!

[i] http://dictionary.reference.com/
[ii] http://www.nairaland.com/571546/how-behave-when-someone-insults

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

Sep 16, 2012

Story: A MIDNIGHT PRAYER CHAPTER 7

By Alawiya Abdalla

Previous Chapter | Next Chapter


Bismillah

Asha

My official first day of work has been a breeze Alhamdulilah.
Not alot of people come here in the morning, apart from the staff that work in the Masjid.

There are so many of them SubhanAllah, but their offices are in the opposite direction of the Masjid. They all stay in a big building next to the entrance. It has black tinted windows, and it is so modern.

I mean I WAS inside the building before when Nahla interviewed me, but I never realized that there are so many OTHER employers that work for the Masjid!

I was so petrified that day, I didn't notice how big the place really was.
It has so many offices, and so many people working there. Not that I've been there again, but the people who work there pass by the Masjid every so often.
I have also been catching glimpses of who comes in and out of the building, part of being a security guard and all that.

Okay, not really but there is NOTHING to do all day apart from observing people. Oh, and I have to answer inquiries and direct people to whoever they want to talk to.
I know, we have a phone! I kept wondering how they managed before I came to work here, and the thought is still baffling to me!
There are four Imams in total, and people call to speak to them. That's why the idea that no one was here to pass on their queries to the Imams, scares me.

How many Muslims would have lost the chance to know a little bit more about Islam, and maybe embrace it as a result.
How many people on the verge of suicide, missed the chance to talk to an Imam in their time of despair.
The thought makes me shudder.

Apart from getting to find out about my colleagues, or should I even call them that?
None of them came over to introduce themselves, nor did they make ANY sort of acknowledgment to any of us.
I don't mind. In fact, I am not here to make friends with them. I am here to do my job to the best of my ability InshaAllah.
It still feels like I have been punched in my gut though, I can't describe why??

Perhaps I have made my expectations regarding working alongside my fellow muslims too high? I keep forgetting about them being human and all that.
I quickly push those thoughts out of my mind. This IS my first day working in the Masjid afterall. I mustn't be so quick to judge.
The rest of the day goes relatively easy Alhamdulilah. Apart from a couple of guys standing at the corner watching me__I cannot complain my job so far.
Plus, I've kept my head down reading the Quran the whole time. I KNOW! I have so much time now, and working here really keeps me focused on reading the Quran.

The atmosphere is filled with reminders of my deen. Everywhere I look, I am reminded that I am a muslim. How can you resist opening the Quran in this beautiful place.

I read and read through the pages, and I am surprised that I reached towards the end of Surat Al Baqarah!
2:218
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ هَاجَرُوا وَجَاهَدُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أُولَٰئِكَ يَرْجُونَ رَحْمَتَ اللَّهِ ۚ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
Indeed, those who have believed and those who have emigrated and fought in the cause of Allah – those expect the mercy of Allah. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

Am I fighting in the cause of Allah? The concept is so tainted in the media, that we as Muslims forget the meaning of it.
Am I fighting in the cause of Allah?
I am. Yes, I am.
I am here, directing people to the right place.

A person might want to know more about Islam.
Another might be going through a life crisis moment.
I am doing something so simple, like directing them to the right Imam who deals with the specific issue they have.Yet, I feel so close to Allah.
Yes. I am fighting in the cause of Allah.

I gather my thoughts and I look at my watch, then I realize that it is time to pray Zuhur. I scan the area, and I see no sign of those guys.
I breathe a sigh of relief. I exist my booth, and lock it to go pray.
After I've finished praying in the ladies section, I make my way back to my booth.
I see the three guys waiting at the booth!

My heart starts beating so fast, and I contemplate whether I should go back there or not. I look out to see if Hamid is in his booth, and I sadly realize that he hasn't been back from his prayer yet.
Why am I even contemplating asking him for help!! I can do this!
I have three brothers! I can handle myself.

I walk to my booth confidently, feeling like a nervous wreck from the inside.
"How can I help you?" I ask them, as I take my seat in my booth.
"Asalamu Alykum sister, my friend here has just lost his sunglasses" Answers one of the guys, who leans in the booth wayyyy too close.
I step back with my chair, that's how uncomfortable I feel right now.

"Would you please step back, you are way leaning in way too close" That's right, I am not some damsel in distress.
He does as he is told, and their smiles disappear as they realize that I am not here to "play"
"You said your friend lost his sunglasses, how can I help?" I ask them formally.
"Well, they normally keep the lost items in those cupboards behind you. Would you mind looking for them in there?" He asks, and that slimy smile is back.

In fact, they are all smiling in the exact manner. I have a bad feeling about this, but this is my job and I have to do my job to the best of my ability.
I leave my chair, and I turn to locate the cupboard. Or should I say a multi drawer storage cabinet.
A big one actually, the ones that people in the offices use to store files.
I open the top one first, and I look for the missing glasses. I forgot to ask him to describe it for me, and I decide that I won't ask him and just see what I can find and then he can make his mind up if it belongs to him or not.

I just want to get rid of them.
I open the second drawer, and nothing.
The third and the fourth doesn't contain any glasses either.
I look at the fifth drawer, and I see that it is really low and I have to bend to open it.
That's when I hear their laughs, and I realize what they came here for!! My heart races so fast from the realization that they have been watching me this entire time!!
I feel like I'm about to throw up. I cannot believe this is happening right here at the Masjid! I cannot even turn around to face them!

My eyes starts stinging as they well up. Oh, please don't fall now! Mustn't let them see me like this.
That's when I hear it__Or him rather

Hamid

I cannot stay at my booth any longer, as I watch those guys laugh at something Asha is doing.
I leave my booth, lock it and I make my way there to find out what that is all about.
I see the guys watching Asha as she opens the drawers, and I instantly clock their intentions! I grab one of them from his collar, and drag him away from the booth
"You need to take your friends and leave the Masjid immediately, and never come back here do you understand?" I warn him, willing my fists not to take action.
"GET OFF ME! WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE??" He takes my hand off his collar, and his other friends turn around too.

"You need to take your friends and leave immediately mate, or I'm calling the police" I try my best not to punch him, even though a bruise would really go well with his personality.
"Call the police?" He asks mockingly.
"Harassment IS a crime in this country, and I cannot wait to grass you all up to the police" I take my walkie talkie out, and pretend that it is directly connected to the police station.

It is actually for the three of us to communicate.
Actually, I'm the only one has it. I do not see the need for it, if the other two do not have one!!
Great security mishap right there my friend!!
The three guys scramble on top of each other, as they make an undignified retreat. I watch them as they leave, and I turn around to check on Asha.

I see no one__
Where has she gone NOW??

Asha

I should be grateful__
I should go and thank him__
I know all of that__
But the only thing that I'm feeling right now is disgust. I feel really violated for some reason, and the idea of facing him is not appealing to me somehow.

I can just picture it
"You can thank me later" He will definitely marvel in the idea of me apologizing to him.
That's why I ran away from my booth as soon as I saw my chance. I went straight into the ladies area, and I completely ignored Suad as she kept calling my name.
Oh, she is so going to hate me!

I look for an exist door like I'm looking for my stolen dignity__
That's when I see it. And exist door right by the stairs, where it leads to the prayer room.
I open it, and the fresh air instantly hits my face.
That is all I needed. Fresh air, to make the tears stop in their tracks. I decide to go home immediately, because the thought of spending another day at the Masjid is out of the question.

Ahmed was right in being worried about me.
Mum was right.
Worst of all, HE was right in being worried about my safety!

I have failed miserably at this.
I walk towards the bus stop, and I let my tears run on my cheeks. I don't even care who sees me.
"THERE YOU ARE!!" Hamid and Suad yell in unison, as they spot me.

Oh come on 113 bus, I do NOT want to face them right now!
I so don't.
Could this day have gone worse than this????
Nope.
______________________
I'd love to hear your views on my short story. Please post in the comments section below! :)

Sep 15, 2012

PEUT-ÊTRE QU’ALLAH PRÉFÈRE QUE VOUS DEVENIEZ UNE AÏCHA PLUTÔT QU’UNE KHADIJA

Par Anonyme 
Translated By: Maryline
Read Original Article Here.

Bismillah
À Dieu appartient le Royaume des Cieux et de la Terre. Il crée ce qu’Il veut. Il donne des filles à qui Il veut. Il donne des enfants mâles à qui Il veut, ou à la fois des enfants, de sexe différent, et Il rend stérile qui il veut. Il est Omniscient et Puissant. [Sourate de la Délibération (Ash-Shûrâ), 42:49-50]

***

« Peut-être qu’Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala préfère que vous deveniez une Aïcha plutôt qu’une Khadija ! »

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C’est ainsi que cette dounia se déroule et c’est ainsi qu’Allah  subhanahu wa ta'aala a conçu cette dounia. Il se peut que vous possédiez quelque chose que d’autres n’ont pas. Et il se peut également que vous ne possédiez pas ce que d’autres ont.

Les célibataires cherchent à se marier (le plus vite possible) parce qu’ils pensent que c’est la seule et unique part de leur religion qui leur manque. Les couples mariés veulent avoir des enfants (le plus vite possible) parce qu’ils pensent que la seule et unique manière d’être véritablement heureux (et d’avoir du succès) est d’avoir des enfants. Les gens qui ont des enfants veulent que leur enfants aient le meilleur de ce que cette Dounia puisse leur offrir.

Les parents d’enfants élevés dans la crainte de Dieu ont peur que leurs enfants ne réussissent pas leur vie dans cette dounia. Et les parents d’enfants qui craignent moins Dieu, s’inquiètent pour leurs enfants concernant leur Akhira. Les personnes mariées veulent retrouver leur liberté. Les célibataires veulent se lier autour d’un engagement.

Notre problème est que nous devons accepter qu’indépendamment de ce que nous voulons dans cette dounia et indépendamment du fait que nous l’obtenions ou non, nous en voudrons toujours plus. Et encore plus. Et toujours plus.

J’en ai la preuve :

D’après Anas Ibn Malik (qu’Allah soit satisfait de lui), le Messager d’Allah (que la paix et le salut soient sur lui) a dit : « Si le fils d’Adam avait une vallée pleine d’or, il en aimerait une deuxième. Seule la poussière en effet peut lui remplir la bouche. Allah pardonne à celui qui repentit» [Sahih Al-Boukhari, Volume 8 Chapitre 76 Hadith 447]

Bien entendu, il est tout à fait normal de vouloir toutes ces choses puisque c’est ainsi qu’Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala nous a créées.

C’est tout à fait normal.

Les hommes sont irrésistiblement attirés, dans leurs passions trompeuses, par les femmes, les enfants, les amoncellements d’or et d’argent, les chevaux de race, les troupeaux et les champs. C’est là une jouissance éphémère de la vie d’ici-bas; mais c’est auprès de Dieu que se trouve le meilleur séjour. [Sourate de la Famille d’Imran (Al-‘Imrân), 3:14].

Mais se concentrer uniquement sur ces choses dans ce bas-monde n’est pas la manière la plus saine de vivre dans cette dounia. La caméra qui filme votre vie ne doit pas zoomer sur cette dounia. Une vraie musulmane se doit d’être prévoyante. Elle doit voir plus loin que le bout de son nez. Ses yeux doivent être rivés sur quelque chose de bien plus important que tous les plaisirs de cette dounia. Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala  poursuit le verset ci-dessus de cette manière:

Dis : «Vous annoncerai-je quelque chose de bien plus précieux que tout cela et qui est destiné à ceux qui craignent le Seigneur? En effet, ces derniers trouveront auprès de leur Seigneur des Jardins baignés de ruisseaux, où ils vivront éternellement avec des épouses exemptes de toute souillure et bénéficieront de la grâce divine.» Car Dieu est toujours Bienveillant envers Ses serviteurs qui disent : « Seigneur ! Nous croyons en Toi ; fais-nous remise de nos péchés et préserve-nous du châtiment de l’Enfer!»; qui font preuve de patience, de sincérité et de piété; qui pratiquent la charité et implorent le pardon du Seigneur à la pointe de l’aurore. [Sourate de la Famille d’Imran (Al-‘Imrân), 3:15-17]

Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala vous a promis une sorte de bonheur qui ne finit jamais. La promesse d’un Jardin, votre maison, inchaAllah, pour laquelle vous n’avez aucune facture à payer. Un mari ou un compagnon qui est physiquement et spirituellement dénué de quoi que ce soit de négatif ou de déplaisant. Et le plaisir d’Allah subhana wa ta'aala! Imaginez que tout ce temps que vous avez consacré à craindre Allah subhana wa ta'aala et à chercher à obtenir son plaisir… Au Paradis, quel soulagement vous ressentirez ! Quand Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala est satisfait de vous pour l’éternité. Mais pour pouvoir réussir tout ça, vous devrez faire les choses suivantes comme le confirme le verset ci-dessus :
Demander pardon pour vos péchés et chercher refuge contre le châtiment du feu
Être patiente
Être fidèle à votre religion en actions et en paroles
Obéir avec une dévotion sincère dans vos actes d’adoration envers Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala
Dépenser pour la Zakat
Prier et supplier Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala pour obtenir son pardon durant les dernières heures de la nuit (Qiyam al-Layl)

Chères sœurs musulmanes, ce n’est pas parce que vous n’avez pas d’enfants, que vous êtes :

La seule à être mise à l’épreuve.
La seule à ne pas recevoir certaines bénédictions.
Ou qu’il y a quelque chose d’anormal chez vous.

Le pire est que certaines personnes pourraient même vous plaindre. Certaines personnes pourraient commencer à raconter des histoires sur vous. Vous n’avez pas de temps à perdre si les gens font ou disent ces choses-là. Et vous n’avez certainement pas de temps à perdre dans la vie à penser que le succès d’un mariage se mesure au fait que l’on ait des enfants ou non. Puisqu’Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala n’a pas stipulé ça , qui êtes-VOUS donc pour adopter une telle définition ? Ca vaut la peine d’y réfléchir, non ?

Ce que cela signifie également c’est que ce n’est pas parce que vous n’avez pas d’enfants actuellement, que vous n’en aurez jamais. Si il était facile à Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala de créer Adam alayhi salam sans parents et Issa Ibn Maryam sans père, alors pourquoi penser qu’il serait moins capable de vous doter d’un enfant ?

Pensez à l’histoire de Zacharie alayhi salam qui était très vieux et dont la femme était stérile. Il dit : « Comment, Seigneur, pourrais-je, dit Zacharie, avoir un fils, quand mon épouse est stérile et que moi-même j’ai atteint l’âge de la décrépitude? » Il lui fut répondu : « Ton Seigneur a dit : «Il en sera ainsi ! Rien de plus facile pour Moi. Et toi-même, tu n’étais rien quand Je t’ai créé ! » [Sourate de Marie (Maryam), 19:8-9]

Qu’est-ce qui peut bien empêcher Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala  alors de vous offrir un enfant ?

Voici certaines raisons qui pourraient l’expliquer:

--> Vous et votre mari n’êtes pas capables de vous occuper d’un enfant. Peut-être qu’il vous éloignera de la religion d’Allah subhana wa ta'aala! Souvenez-vous de l’histoire de la sourate de la Caverne (Al Kahf) dans laquelle Khadr tua un garçon car il allait opprimer ses parents lorsqu’il grandirait ?!

Puis ils reprirent ensemble leur route et firent la rencontre d’un jeune homme que l’inconnu ne tarda pas à mettre à mort. « Quoi?, s’indigna Moïse. N’as-tu pas tué là un être innocent qui, lui, n’a tué personne? Ne viens-tu pas de commettre une chose affreuse?» (74) Quant au jeune homme, il avait pour père et mère deux bons croyants. Nous eûmes peur qu’il ne les entraînât dans sa rébellion et son impiété, (80) [Sourate de la Caverne (Al-Kahf)]

Réfléchissez-y un peu ! Et Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala n’impose à aucune âme une charge supérieure à sa capacité.

Dieu n’impose rien à l’âme qui soit au-dessus de ses moyens. Tout bien qu’elle aura accompli jouera en sa faveur, et tout mal qu’elle aura commis jouera contre elle… [Sourate La Vache (Al Baqarah), verset 286]

--> Vos péchés et ceux de votre mari dans le passé. Cela ne signifie pas du tout que les gens qui ont des enfants sont des personnes vertueuses. Mais alors pas du tout. Mais lorsqu’on se trouve confronté à une situation éprouvante, il est nécessaire de se regarder en face et de se demander pourquoi un certain type de Rizq ne se présente pas dans sa vie. Le rizq comprend l’argent, les enfants, un époux… en fait, cela comprend tout ce qu’Allah subhana wa ta'aala nous a accordé. La solution est inscrite dans le Coran :

Je leur disais : « Implorez le pardon de votre Seigneur ! Il est Plein de mansuétude ! Il vous enverra du ciel des pluies abondantes, accroîtra vos richesses et le nombre de vos enfants ; il vous assignera des jardins, Il vous assignera des rivières. » [Sourate de Noé (An Nûh), 71:10-12]

Ici, le prophète Noé alayhi salam propose une méthode-clé pour faire venir la pluie, augmenter les richesses et avoir des enfants. Et cette méthode, c’est l’Istighfar (l’imploration d’Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala pour son pardon) . Si vous voulez vraiment des enfants, vous pouvez peut-être projeter de pratiquer l’Istighfar de manière régulière. Bien entendu, la majorité d’entre vous veut des enfants. Mais est-ce que la majorité d’entre vous finiront vraiment par implorer le pardon d’Allah ?

--> Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala veut vous choisir pour Lui-Même. Ce sur quoi je veux attirer votre attention est que la plupart du temps nos cœurs sont remplis d’amour envers des gens et des choses. Une fois ces personnes et ces choses ne sont plus dans nos cœurs, nous avons alors beaucoup plus de place pour Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala. On ne peut jamais vraiment avoir à la fois Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala et l’amour de la Dounia dans nos cœurs puisque nous savons pertinemment que les cœurs sont comme n’importe quel récipient. C’est pourquoi nous finissons par faire plaisir à ceux que nous aimons, tout en oubliant Celui qui nous a octroyé l’objet de notre amour et l’émotion qu’est l’amour lui-même.

Il est des hommes qui prennent en dehors de Dieu des associés qu’ils se mettent à aimer à l’égal de Dieu lui-même ! Mais ce sont les croyants qui vouent à Dieu le plus grand amour… [Sourate de la Vache (al Baquarah), 2:165]

En ne vous donnant pas d’enfants, Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala vous permet d’éviter de gaspiller ces émotions sur des enfants. Il subhana wa ta'aala préfère que vous L’aimiez plus que quiconque. Il veut vider votre cœur de toute autre type d’amour qui vous enchaîne et vous affaiblit et Il veut que vous n’aimiez que Lui. Lui Seul. Tant et si bien que vos yeux ne pourront voir que l’orientation divine qu’il a subhanahu wa ta'aala envoyé et que vos oreilles n’entendront que ce qu’Il subhanahu wa ta'aala veut que vous entendiez… Il subhana wa ta'aala ne veut pas que vous soyez distrait. Il veut que vous vous concentriez sur le but ultime de votre création…

Cela n’augmente-t-il pas votre amour pour Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala?

Imaginez un peu la situation d’Aïcha RA. Elle n’a pas eu d’enfants. Mais vous savez quoi ? Elle a fini par enseigner et guider des millions et même des milliards d’enfants. Elle n’était pas seulement mère par son seul statut de Mère des Croyants… elle prenait ce rôle très à cœur en étant attentive à ceux qui venaient apprendre d’elle tout comme d’une mère.

Et si vous ne connaissiez jamais la maternité ? Ne pourriez-vous pas rediriger cet amour et guider les enfants des autres ? Ne pourriez-vous pas devenir la mère d’enfants orphelins ? Ne pourriez-vous pas être un exemple de compassion en éduquant d’autres enfants à devenir de bons musulmans ?

Réfléchissez-y ! Réfléchissez un peu à la récompense !

Vous ne deviendrez peut-être pas une Khadija, qui a donné naissance à tous les enfants du prophète, mais il vous reste encore une chance de devenir une Aïcha. Khadija, qu’Allah soit satisfait d’elle, a élevé d’excellents enfants et nous connaissons bien l’ensemble de ses merveilleuses qualités qui lui ont permis de faire progresser l’Islam de la plus belle manière. Mais elle n’a pas eu l’opportunité, comme Aïcha radhi Allahu anha, d’enseigner aux Salafs et de devenir une faquiha. Pourquoi ? Tout simplement parce qu’Allah subhana wa ta'aala offre certaines bénédictions à certains et d’autres à d’autres.

Ce dont on doit se souvenir est la manière dont VOUS utiliserez les bénédictions que vous aurez en optant son droit chemin

L’une des manières d’être satisfait de tout ce qui se présente sur votre chemin est de toujours attendre le meilleur d’Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala. Si Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala provoque certains évènements, alors soyez certaine qu’ils sont bons pour vous. Vous ne le savez peut-être pas mais Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala le sait car Il subhanahu wa ta'aala vous aime plus que vous vous aimez ou plus que n’importe qui d’autre qui pourrait vous aimer.

Allah `azza wa jalla a dit: « En vérité, il existe parmi Mes serviteurs celui dont la foi ne peut être corrigée qu’en étant infligé par la pauvreté, et qui, si je lui permettais de s’enrichir, deviendrait certainement corrompu. En vérité, il existe parmi Mes serviteurs celui dont la foi ne peut être corrigée que par la richesse et l’abondance, et qui, si je les lui retirais, deviendrait certainement corrompu. En vérité, il existe parmi Mes serviteurs celui dont la foi ne peut être corrigée que par la bonne santé, et qui, si je le rendais malade, deviendrait certainement corrompu. En vérité, il existe parmi Mes serviteurs celui dont la foi ne peut être corrigée qu’en étant frappé par la maladie et la mauvaise santé, et qui, si je le guérissais, deviendrait certainement corrompu. En vérité, il existe parmi Mes serviteurs celui qui recherche l’adoration par certains actes mais que j’empêche d’accomplir afin que l’émerveillement de sa personne ne pénètre son cœur. Certes, je dirige les affaires de Mes serviteurs selon Ma connaissance de ce qu’il y a dans leur cœurs. Certes, je suis Le Plus Savant, Le Plus Omniscient. » [Tabarani][1]
Soyez donc satisfaite et laissez le reste entre Ses mains.

Parce qu’Il subhanhu wa ta'aala sait ce que nous voulons et Il subhana wa ta'aala sait quand nous accorder ce que nous désirons. Ou même encore s’Il subhana wa ta'aala doit ou non nous accorder ces choses. Car Il subhanahu wa ta'aala sait mieux.

Vous trouverez ci-dessous quelques douas à réciter quotidiennement (tous tirés du Coran) pour être béni d’une descendance pieuse et/ou rectifier l’état de votre descendance actuelle :
Sourate de la Vache (Al Baqarah), verset 128
Sourate de la famille d’Imran (Al ‘Imran), verse 38
Sourate d’Abraham (Ibrahim), verset 40
Sourate du Discernement (Al Furqan), verset 74

Et comment vous assurer qu’Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala écoute vos douas ? Regardez un peu comment Zacharie alayhi salam et sa femme sont décrits dans le Coran :

Et Zacharie aussi avait adressé à son Seigneur cette prière : « Seigneur ! Ne me laisse pas sans descendance, bien que Tu sois le Meilleur des héritiers. » Nous l’exauçâmes également, lui donnâmes Jean pour fils en rendant à sa femme sa fécondité. Ce sont des gens qui s’empressaient de faire le bien, Nous invoquaient par amour et par crainte et faisaient preuve d’humilité devant Nous. » . [Sourate des Prophètes (Al Anbiya), 21:89-90]

Mais souvenez-vous toujours :

Et ce ne sont ni vos richesses ni vos enfants qui vous rapprocheront de Nous. Seuls ceux qui croient et font le bien bénéficieront d’une double rétribution pour leurs œuvres et connaîtront une douce quiétude dans les hauts lieux du Paradis. [Sourate des Saba’, 34:37]

Et pourquoi ça ? Parce que :

Richesse et enfants ne sont que la parure de la vie de ce monde, tandis que les bonnes œuvres qui perdurent ont auprès de ton Seigneur une meilleure récompense et suscitent dans le cœur des fidèles une belle espérance. [Sourate de la Caverne (Al Kahf), 18:46]

Qu’Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala nous rende satisfait de ce pour quoi Il nous a destinées et bénisse notre Oumma d’une descendance pieuse. Amine.

Et Allah subhana wa ta'aala sait mieux. Ne m’oubliez pas dans vos douas.

Wassalamou alaikoum warahmatoullahi wabarakatouh.

Affectueusement,
De la part d’une sœur attentionnée.