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Oct 31, 2012

POEM: Sound Of Freedom

By Amal Milaa Filza


Bismillah
(Image borrowed from http://www.mysistersinislam.com)

Placed in a creation full of sweetness
Yet humanity inflicted it with bitterness
Misled by the society
Impossible to comprehend the truth
Knowledge is buried
Understanding is suppressed
Kindness has been stolen
To a point that hate replaced love
Allahu Akbar

Our dignity remains
When we hear, we obey
Oppressed in your eyes
But free we shall die
You may reveal your secrets
Which leads to your degradation
What you perceive as liberty
Is in fact nothing but a lie in disguise
Allahu Akbar

As silent as a whisper, loud as a scream
Still as the raindrops, not even the walls could it reach
Dripping from the window
Turning into dust
That little bit of hope
Cannot be taken away from us
Allahu Akbar

The end of the storm lies beyond the horizon
Even though the sound of freedom remains far
War is nothing, with Him by our side
We shall not surrender
Because even that distant sound tells us that victory is nearby
Allahu Akbar


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

Oct 29, 2012

Fond Memories

By Sabeen Mansoori 


Bismillah

Memories do not wilt like flowers. The colors do not fade and become old like black and white movies. They do not wrinkle at the edges like old photographs. They remain fresh like the day they were formed: crystal clear sound, color and scent, the touch of a loved one, the taste of a favorite dish, a simple piece of sincere advice. And they are recorded with equal clarity by the angels. It is our memories that fill the pages of our deeds.


Indeed, it is We who bring the dead to life and record what they have put forth and what they left behind, and all things We have enumerated in a clear register. (Surah Yaseen 36:12) 

Atharohum’ in the above ayat refers to among others things your legacy, your traces, any trends you set, a continuous charity that you left behind and the memories others carry of you. Do you have special memories of someone? Will the memories others carry of you be special?

There is a tree rooted in my past. I am sure there is one in yours as well. What does your tree look like? Did you climb it? Did you pluck its fruit? My tree was in my Aunt’s front yard. It was a ‘falsa’ tree and it had tiny clusters of purple fruit with a plump seed in the center. We played games under that tree as we munched on its fruit. We hung a rope on its limb and swung each other back and forth. My aunt was always there. Sometimes smiling, sometimes quiet. She would greet guests to her house, send food to someone who was sick, make delicacies on Eid, sew and knit and read Quran. I do not remember from her a harsh word, never even a scowl. From her came this softness and calmness that I am awed by to this day.

When I was very young I told my Mom, “Aunty is going to Jannah!”

She smiled and replied, “Really? You are sure? Where do you think I am going?

I giggled and ran away. (Inshallah my Mom is going to Jannah too!)

My aunt told me to read Sura Yusuf. She said it is a beautiful sura. She had not read several tafaseer of Sura Yusuf. She had not even understood the original Arabic…but she understood the message of patience that it taught. Patience was what she lived by. Her last words to me were, “Always be patient. Always.” The promise of Allah is that patience guarantees Paradise. Inshallah He will fill her grave with light and grant her the highest place in Paradise.

We will all leave this earth soon. Not all of us will be remembered for our grand achievements. Sadly even those that might be remembered for their grand ventures were horrible to those that they lived with. Disloyal husbands, nasty wives, disrespectful children have their names scrawled on the pages of history as presidents, inventors and reformers. The angels that write your deeds are more interested in our character than in our titles. When you become a part of someone else’s memories make sure that they remember you fondly. That when they recall times spent with you a prayer comes to their lips that the angels can keep writing in your book even when you are lying helpless in your grave.


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

Oct 25, 2012

A MUST READ: The Story of Homeless Hajrah (as)

By Sabeen Mansoori


Bismillah

The walls comfort us. Our gadgets are our nerve endings into the Universe. Loved ones are always nearby: within reach or a click or a phone call away. Imagine for a moment that there was nothing and that there was no one there. No one. You cannot update your facebook status from there either: “Help! I am alone in the desert. I am going to die!” What would that moment of absolute loneliness do to you? How would you react? Would the desolation from within make the emptiness of your soul more stark? Or would you feel at peace? Would you find Allah close in that helpless, homeless state? More importantly as you stood in that desolate wilderness, with your soul exposed where would you stand with Allah? There was one who was left alone and she was marked out by Allah as a remarkable individual by the sheer strength of her will power and the bewildering beauty of her eeman.

Hajrah is not completely alone in the desert though. There are two others on the deserted scene. But one of them is rapidly vanishing from sight. As the hot winds swirl little eddies of sand through her clothes and sting her eyes, she strains to see the speck disappearing over the horizon. I wonder if tears rolled down her cheeks or was she too resolute to let them flow? The warm bundle in her arms squirms and gurgles and draws her back to the reality of her plight.

Did she think of running after him? She had followed him initially and asked, "O Ibraheem! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person whose company we may enjoy, nor is there anything (to enjoy)?" But he continued walking away. Realizing that Ibraheem would not leave them needlessly, she asked, "Has Allah ordered you to do so?" He said, "Yes." She said, "Then He will not neglect us,"

It is important to understand that she choose to remain in that uninhabited and unforgiving terrain as an act of obedience to Allah. She could have followed him all the way home. He was Ibraheem aleyhi salaam ‘awwahun haleem,’ he would not have pushed her away. Allah subhanwatala testifies to the tenderness of his character:

…Indeed was Abraham compassionate and patient. (At-Tawbah 9:114) 

But she understood the meaning of ‘We hear and we obey’ in a way that we can only imagine. This was a woman who had truly submitted her will to the Will of the Creator. So as her beloved husband disappeared, she stood her ground in the shifting sands and trusted that Allah would not neglect her and her child.

As the dates and water that Ibraheem had left for her ran out, and baby Ismail started to cry from hunger, she began running between the hills of Safa and Marwa. Why did she run between the hills? Why did she run so many times? Once she had looked over Safa and Marwa once she did not sit down and mope and wail, “Why did I have to marry this pious husband? How come Sara gets to stay at home?” The truth is that she was an extraordinarily determined woman with amazing insight. She understood that the help of Allah comes but one must strive for it. Even if that striving means running between hills in the middle of a desert when there is absolutely no hope.

She was not aware that Ibraheem alayhi salaam did help his family in the best possible manner. He paused when he was out of sight and made the dua,

“'O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Your Sacred House (Kaba at Mecca) in order, O our Lord, that they may offer prayer perfectly. So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allah) provide them with fruits, so that they may give thanks.' (Sura Ibrahim 14.37) 

She was not aware that the Angel Jibrail would precede the humans in coming to their aid.

In that suffocating seclusion the only sound was the rustling of her clothes as she rushed anxiously from Safa to Marwa and back and the agonizing cries of a starving child. “When she reached Marwa (for the last time) she heard a voice and she asked herself to be quiet and listened attentively. She heard the voice again and said, 'O, (whoever you may be)! You have made me hear your voice; have you got something to help me?" And behold! She saw an angel at the place of Zam Zam, digging the earth with his heel (or his wing), till water flowed from that place. She started to make something like a basin around it, using her hand in this way, and started filling her water-skin with water with her hands, and the water was flowing out after she had scooped some of it."

We still reach out our hands to drink the Zam Zam that first flowed through her fingers. Its blessing and bounty brought with it people and eventually the establishment of the city of Mecca. The story of Hajrah’s homelessness ends there. Then it is the story of Ismail and Ibraheem and the Kaabah and Hajj. It is the story of millions who make hajj annually. It is our story as we run between the hills of Safa and Marwa. We walk on the cold marble floors, surrounded by millions of people, with Zam Zam flowing freely around us and we try to aspire to her stature, but we can’t. With all the knowledge we have we cannot recapture the power of her presence in that desolate wilderness. For her is the unique honor of having millions of men and women retrace her footsteps upon the command of the Creator. As we walk between Safa and Marwa we are forced to ask ourselves, “She believed with certainty. Do you?”

References:
· http://quran.com/14/37
· http://quran.com/9/111-117
· http://quran.com/2/285
· Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 55, Number 583

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


A Brief Look at the Important Rituals of Udhiyah - Sacrifice


From Islamic Newsletter 'As-Sunnah' Issue no: 10

Submitted by Brother Abdul Majeed Alee Hasan

"Turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice to Him alone." [Soorah al-Kauthar (108): 2]


Udhiyah (sacrifice) is among the great rituals of Islam, which signify the Oneness of Allah, His Blessings, and Bounties. It reminds us the exemplary obedience of our father, Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam), to His Lord and his great sacrifices to Him. Udhiyah encompasses much goodness and blessings and thus acquires a great deal of importance in the lives of Muslims. 

"And for every nation We have appointed religious ceremonies, that they may mention the Name of Allah over the beast of cattle that He has given them for food. And your God is One God, so you must submit to Him Alone (in Islam)…" [Soorah al-Hajj (22): 34]


Hereunder is a brief look at the important rituals of Udhiyah.

Udhiyah: Its meaning and definition

Udhiyah refers to the animal (camel, cattle or sheep) that is sacrificed as an act of worship to Allah, during the period from after the Eid prayer on the Day of Nahr (Eid al-Adha) until the last day of Tashreeq (the 13th day of Dhul-Hijjah), with the intention of offering sacrifice. Allah says: "Say (O Muhammad sallalahu alaihi wa-sallam): 'Verily, my prayer, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the Aalameen (mankind, jinns and all that exists)." [Soorah al-An'aam (6): 162]


Is Udhiyah an Obligation?

Scholars differ concerning the ruling of Udhiyah, some are of the opinion that Udhiyah is wajib or obligatory while others hold Udhiyah as a confirmed Sunnah.


Among those who uphold the first opinion (wajib or obligatory) are Imaam al-Awzaa'i, Imaam al-Layth and Imaam Abu Haneefah, and it is one of the two opinions narrated from Imaam Ahmad. It was also the opinion of Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, and is one of the two opinions in the mathhab of Imaam Maalik. Those who favor this opinion take the following as evidence:

Allah says: "Therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only)." [Soorah al-Kawthar 108:2] This verse is a command and a command implies obligation.

Also, it is related in the Saheehayn (i.e. Saheeh al-Bukharee and Saheeh Muslim) from Jundub (radhi allahu anhu), "The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: "Whoever slaughtered his sacrifice before he prays, let him slaughter another one in its place, and whoever did not slaughter a sacrifice, let him do so in the name of Allah." [Saheeh Muslim vol. 3, no: 4818-21]

and: "Whoever can afford to offer a sacrifice but does not do so, let him not approach our place or prayer." [Musnad Ahmad and Ibn Majah. (Saheeh) by al-Haakim (from Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anhu)), it is related in Fath al-Baree that its men are thiqaat. This Hadeeth is declared Hasan (Good) by Shaikh al-Albanee in Saheeh Sunan Ibn Majah v: 2, no: 2532-1323]

Those who assert to the second opinion, i.e. Udhiyah is a confirmed Sunnah (meaning Sunnah mu'akkadah) are the better-known opinion of Maalik and Imaam Ahmad, and the mathhab of al-Shaafa'ee. It should be mentioned here that majority of the scholars uphold this view, and they state it Makrooh (disliked) to neglect this act of worship, if one has the capability to perform a sacrifice. [Rasaa'il Fiqhiyyah by Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen, p. 46]

This opinion is based on the following Ahaadeeth. 

Jaabir (radhi allahu anhu), narrated: "I prayed on Eid al-Adha with the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam), and when he finished (the prayer), he was brought one ram, and he sacrificed it. He said: "In the Name of Allah, Allah is Most Great. This is on behalf of myself and any member of my Ummah who did not offer a sacrifice." [Awnul M'abood Sharh Sunan Abee Daawood by Muhammad Shams al-Haq 'Adheem Aabaadi, vol. 8, pp. 3-6] 

And the Hadeeth reported by all the famous Muhadditheen apart from al-Bukharee that the Messenger of Allah (radhi allahu anhu) said: 

"Whoever among you wants to offer a sacrifice, let him not take anything from his hair or nails." [Saheeh Muslim vol. 3 nos. 4869-73]

Conclusion: Shaikh Ibn Uthaymeen (rahimahullah) following his discussion of those who say it is obligatory and those who say it is a Sunnah said, "Each point of view has its evidence. It is safe for the one who is able to offer a sacrifice should not neglect to do so, because of what is involved in this act of reverence towards Allah, remembering Him, and making sure that one has nothing to be blamed for."

The Principle of Udhiyah

The basic rule of Udhiyah is that sacrifice is required at an appointed time from one who is alive, on behalf on himself and on behalf of his household. He may also include in the reward all those whom he wishes, dead or alive.

It is from the Sunnah that one includes his household living and dead in his Udhiyah. So, when he slaughters his sheep, he should say, "Allaahumma haatha 'annee wa 'an ahli baytee" meaning "O Allah! This is on my behalf and on behalf of my family members."

It is from the virtues of Udhiyah that one animal is sufficient for one man and his family; he is not required to make separate sacrifices on behalf of every member (living or dead).

Narrated Abu Ayyub: "At the time of Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam), a man would sacrifice a sheep on behalf of himself and the members of his household, and they would eat from it and give some to others." [Sunan Ibn Majah v: 4, no: 3147. (Saheeh) by Shaikh al-Albanee in Saheeh Sunan Ibn Majah v: 2, no: 2546] [also, see previously mentioned Hadeeth reported by Jaabir (radhi allahu anhu) (Abu Dawood)]


With regards to Udhiyah of a deceased person, if he has bequeathed up to one third of his wealth for the purpose of sacrifice or included it in his waqf (endowment), then his wishes must be carried out. Otherwise, offering sacrifice on behalf of the deceased is a good deed and it is considered to be giving charity on behalf of the dead.

Animals prescribed for Udhiyah are camels, cattle and sheep. With regards to sharing a sacrifice, then a camel or a cow can be shared by seven people, this is based on the narration of Jabir (radhi allahu anhu), who said: "The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) commanded us to share camels and cattle, each seven men sharing one animal." [Saheeh Muslim v: 2, p. 662, no. 3024] If a sheep, a goat or a ram is offered for Udhiyah, then sharing is not allowed, since no evidence is found in the Sunnah for it.

It should be mentioned here that the scholars agree that sacrificing an animal and giving its meat in charity is better than giving its value in charity. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) chose to perform sacrifice and he did not do anything but that which is best and most befitting. This is the opinion of Abu Haneefah, al-Shaafa'i and Ahmad. This refutes the saying of those who say that today people need money more than they need food, therefore it is better to give the money rather then sacrifice an animal.

From the conditions of Udhiyah is that the animal offered for sacrifice must have reached the required age, which is six months for a lamb, one year for a goat, two years for a cow and five years for a camel. The animal should be completely free of any faults because sacrifice is an act of worship and Allah is Tayyib and He only accepts that which is Tayyib.

The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) "There are four that will not be accepted for sacrifice: a one-eyed animal whose defect is obvious, a sick animal whose sickness is obvious, a lame animal whose limp is obvious and an emaciated animal that has no marrow in its bones." [(Saheeh) by Shaikh al-Albanee in Saheeh al-Jamee no. 886]


Milder defects do not disqualify an animal, but it is Makrooh to sacrifice such animals, for e.g. animal with a horn or ear missing, or an animal with slits in its ears, etc. Whoever honors the rites of Allah, this has to do with the Taqwa (piety and righteousness) of his heart.

The Sacrificial animal is not for sale. It is forbidden to sell the animal chosen for sacrifice, except for a better exchange. If it gives birth to an offspring, the offspring must be sacrificed along with it. It is permissible to ride the animal.

Narrated Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anhu), the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) saw a man leading his camel. He (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: "Ride it." The man replied: "It (the animal) is for sacrifice." The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: "Ride it." A second or a third time." [Saheeh Muslim vol: 2, no: 3046]


Prescribed time for sacrifice: The animal can be sacrificed after the Eid prayer and the Khutbah (not when the Khutbah or the prayer starts) until before the sunset of the last day of Tashreeq, which is 13th Dhul-Hijjah.

The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: "Whoever sacrifices before the prayer, let him repeat it." [Saheeh Muslim vol: 3, p. 1084, no: 4818]


It is related from Ali (alaihi as-slaam): "The days of Nahr (sacrifice) are the day of al-Adha and the three days following it." This is also the opinion of al-Hasan al-Basree, Ataa Ibn Abi Rabaah, al-Awzaa'ee, al-Shaafi'e and Ibn al-Munthir (rahimahullahum ajma'eem)

Slaughtering the animal with one's own hands is better, but if one does not do so, it is Mustahabb (liked, preferable) for him to be present at the time of slaughtering.

Anas (radhi allahu anhu) reported that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) sacrificed with his own hands, two horned rams with black markings, reciting the name of Allah and glorifying Him (saying Allahu-Akbar). He placed his foot on their sides (while sacrificing). [Saheeh Muslim: vol. 3, p. 1087, no: 4841]


Eating from one's sacrifice is Mustahabb (liked, preferable). It is also Mustahabb for him, who performs a Udhiyah, not to eat before he offers his sacrifice; he should break his fast with the meat of his sacrifice the prayer. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam): "Let every man eat from his sacrifice." [(Saheeh) by Shaikh al-Albanee in Saheeh a-Jamee no: 5349]

Buraidah (radhi allahu anhu) reported: "The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) would not go out on the day of breaking the fast (Eid al-Fitr) until he had eaten and on the day of sacrifice (Eid al Adha) he would not eat until he had returned [from Salaat]" This is related by at-Tirmidhee and Ibn Majah and also by Sunan Ad-Daaramee who added: "And he would eat from his sacrifice." [Sharah as-Sunnah, vol. 4, p. 306, footnote no: 1. Shaikh al-Albane said, its isnaad is Saheeh, al-Mishkaat, vol: 1, p. 452, no: 1440]

Dividing the meat into three is Mustahabb (liked, preferable), one-third to keep for oneself, one-third to be given as gifts and one-third to be given in charity. This was the opinion of Ibn Mas'ood (radhi allahu anhu) and Ibn Umar t. [(Saheeh) by Shaikh al-Albanee in Sunan Ibn Majah vol: 2, p: 203, no: 2546]

Selling any part of the sacrificed animal is prohibited: Scholars agree that it is not permissible to sell anything from the sacrificed animal's meat, skin or fat. 

The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: "Whoever sells the skin of his Udhiyah, there is no Udhiyah for him (i.e. his sacrifice is not counted)." [(Hasan) by Shaikh al-Albanee in Saheeh al-Jamee, no: 6118]


The butcher should not be given anything from the sacrifice, by way of reward or payment. Ali (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: "The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) commanded me to take care of the sacrifice and to give its meat, skin and raiment (covering used for protection) in charity, and not to give anything of it to the butcher as a compensation. He said: 'We will give him something from what we have.'" [(Agreed upon). Saheeh Muslim, vol: 2, no: 3019]

"It was said that it is permissible to give the butcher something as a gift. It is also permissible to give some of it to a Kafir, if he is poor or a relative or a neighbor, in order to open his heart to Islam." [Fatawa Shaikh Abd al-Azeez Ibn Baaz]

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We hope you benefited from this article. Please leave your comments below!

Oct 24, 2012

Short Story: Letting Go (Part 1)

By Nur
Bismillah 

Amina woke up suddenly and gazed at her window. She could see the light beams streaming through the blinds and realized she had once again missed the Fajr prayer. At first when it happened she would shed tears upon tears and immediately face the qiblah and repent to her Lord, promising never to miss it again. But slowly she had become accustomed to missing the prayer that she just went about her day without feeling an atom's weight of guilt. She crawled out of her bed and went straight to the washroom, gazing at her newly plucked eyebrows and highlighted hair – she found herself beautiful now, especially that those bushy things were out of the way.

She had also started to wear tighter jeans and her hijab wouldn’t be covering her chest the way it used to. In fact her neck would be shown. She didn’t want to shock the kids at school too drastically by removing the hijab right away. She wanted to wait a few more weeks until she made that move, plus Tariq liked it. If Amina were to tell anyone that two months ago she was wearing an abayah, memorizing the Holy Qur’an, would not converse with men only for necessity and never missed a single prayer, people would think she was lying.

She got dressed quickly, and by now she was accustomed to her routine. First the foundation had to be applied throughout the face, then the concealer, after which the lips were to be lined with lip liner, lipstick then lip gloss. She grabbed an ample amount of blush and smothered it across her cheeks – she looked more innocent with it on. She placed her fake eyelashes on, and painted her eyelids with purple eye shadow (to match her shoes of course).

Before she left her room she grabbed her phone – still no text from Sarah. Amina had gotten into a fight with her former best friend Sarah about a week ago. Sarah was sick of Amina’s betrayal of lunch outings to be with Tariq and his friends. She was also not pleased that Amina stopped memorizing Qur’an with her, and she despised that all Amina had left to talk about was what Tariq had said to her, the latest episode of Gossip Girl and her weekly trips to the parlor.

Amina said to Sarah she wouldn’t miss her, but she did – she missed her friendly advice, their trips to the prayer room and their hijab shopping trips. Amina sighed and left for the bus, as soon she reached school she headed directly to her locker and waited for Tariq – it was their meeting spot. She hadn’t seen him since the last day of school before winter break and missed him ever so much. She felt like a loser just standing next to her locker, waiting. So she pulled out her phone and pretended to be occupied. Five minutes had passed, then 10, and finally the bell rang and there was no sign of Tariq anywhere. She shrugged and thought he was probably just late, so she went off to her chemistry class. She entered the room to the stare of her classmates round eyes – typical. This is what she got for coming through the front door and that hijab on her head. She stared back, and passed Sarah on her way to her seat without making eye contact.

“Welcome to Chemistry 30 class, I will be your teacher for this semester” Mr. Smith, her chemistry teacher said. Amina pulled out her phone and secretly checked it for notifications. But there wasn’t any text from Tariq. He usually told her if he’d be late or absent. She felt worried. She went to her next class, French, and still nothing from Tariq. Finally it was lunch time. Who was she to hang out with? No worries, she still had Tariq's friends to be with. She thought about it and smiled with relief. She walked down the clustered hallways and found Malik, Tariq's best friend. She went close to him and tapped his shoulder, “Hey, have you heard from Tariq?” she said. Malik turned around and faced her with a confused look and opened his jaw to speak, but no words came out.

“Is he alright Malik?” Amina said.

He shrugged, “I guess that’s none of your business.”

Amina rolled her eyes, turned around and walked away. She felt so dependent on Tariq. It was as if she was incomplete when he wasn’t there. She assumed his friends only accepted her when he did. The school day ended and she waited for the bus to come. She went on and took the window seat near the front of the bus. She laid her head against the window and sighed, feeling hopeless without Tariq by her side. As she peered out the window she saw someone awfully familiar. She saw Tariq. And he looked different.

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There will be a two more parts for this story coming up insha Allah. Find out what happened to Tariq and, most importantly what happens to Amina!

Oct 23, 2012

A Wife's Reflection on Her Husband's Spiritual Journey


by Sunya Asgher

Spiritual journey is a term often used for a voyage one embarks upon for religious reasons. As for my personal perception both these terms, spiritual and journey do not have any context with their literal meanings. Journey is the ability to be easily transferable to a place unimaginable. It is that inconceivable condition of being at two places at the same time.

Spiritual, then, to me is something very close to one’s heart. To me it is that unreachable depth of the heart that is really your soul. Something you carry around unburdened. It possesses us rather than us possessing it. The spirit has a way of its own and does more for us than our identity. It is much unique and significant than our whole being as it can not be assessed. Which is why spiritual is a feeling of having the power to let go and become weightless in mind and being.

Spiritual journey is, I believe, a state; a transformation from human to supernatural; an emotion. It does not confirm to any rules or abide by some worldly laws. It is a setting free of thoughts. It is an insight into ones self. All it requires is sensitivity and reflection. All it brings is happiness and comfort. My experience on one such journey was almost unreal. Something I still feel nobody could relate to. This feeling does not make me an extraordinary human being. Neither do I imply that I have achieved something that is not humanly possible. It is just another aspect of my feelings for my dear husband, because these spiritual journeys of ours have always kept us together, even when Nadeem went for hajj.

Nadeem left for his great pilgrimage to the holy Kaaba in the year 2005. And I went with him. I was on a spiritual journey.

The year 2004 had started off very successful and beautiful. We had our first child, our son in April. My husband became import manager from being import officer. I became a graduate. And then Nadeem planned to apply for hajj. That day I felt the heavens glow a wonderful golden as compared to the cool blue I usually imagine it to be. I felt desert winds. I felt the hot sun beating on my back as I trekked the sandy earth. I began keeping my eyes closed for long periods. Nadeem had given me an aura of peace by his decision. The year went by with Nadeem taking the different steps required for the pilgrimage to be made. I was with him on every step. He was living my dream. I was proud to be the partner of a hajji in the making. I wanted to see through his eyes at this point. I wanted to beat inside his chest and run through his veins. I wanted to be his soul and be that voice that was going to rise in Mecca………. “Labbaik”. The strange bit is I was all of that.

The day that Nadeem was to leave for hajj was a very big day for me in terms of the grandeur of the trip and the essence it held. We visited his elder ailing brother in the hospital. He held Nadeem’s hand firmly in his white shapely hands and would not let go. I wept. His white beard formed a halo around his white face. He had not performed his hajj, yet seemed a hajji. I thought of all those who had left the world. I thought of mom. I knew she would be there like how she had been there twice before in her lifetime… this time she would be among the angels. Would she be an angel herself? Perhaps Nadeem’s guardian angel….

Nadeem looked like he had never before in his ihram. For me it was like falling in love all over again. Only that it was with someone else this time. There was a certain untouchable quality, a sanctified blessed look and an angelic radiance that surrounded him. I saw him off at the airport. Saw him merge into the crowd where all were equals in emotion, in appearance, in stature and in god’s eyes! I literally felt my being, my Self tear apart. I saw myself off at the airport too.

I don’t recall crying at any instance while Nadeem was away…. Because I was with him. Eerie as it might sound, I lived every moment with him. I witnessed my beloved husband performing every ritual conscientiously and felt his adrenaline flow at the first sights of the blessed streets and minarets. He was in my mind’s eye like he would have been in front of my eyes. With each passing moment and each accomplished ritual, I felt my fondness and respect growing for him and felt his heart ache in growing religious anguish. He was to me a messiah--- a long-awaited savior and above all a “muallim”, a guide, a teacher, a mentor.

We spoke to ach other often on the phone. The first time he called me was after he had performed his first umra. He asked me to stay quiet while he spoke--- while he gave color to my images with his words. He was excited, elated, and emotional. Maybe the three necessary “e’s” of hajj. I felt the mayhem of Mecca in his voice, the festivity of city- life, the glow of a holy land, the fervor of achievement, the presence of god.

For the first time in my eventful life, I was thanking god earnestly and sincerely; each drop of my blood gushed and created torrents of heartfelt appreciation and wonder. I felt love and lived love. I was praying I would die in love, too. The emotion took a different meaning altogether. It was sacred. It was personal. It was much more than what the word suggested. In fact, it had no proper term. It could be felt and imparted. But could not be said or expressed. It could not be weighed or measured. It had substance but could not be more or less. It was as natural to me as breathing. It gave me hope. And I just knew that I was in love.

In spite of all the modern architecture that surrounded the holy mosque in Mecca and the variety of food chains scattered about the city, I knew the holy air and the spirit of the holy kaaba, the invisible presence of angels and the holy words being uttered at all times by each individual, made it un like any other place in the world. The thought of Nadeem being around a nation, a people who were descendants of god’s most beloved ones was extraordinary. I prayed for god to include my dear hajji among his favored ones. I heard the language we considered holy, being spoken casually. It was general conversation. The world felt it contained dangerous ideas and concealed devastating plans. For us it could only be divine. It soothed me to think of Nadeem living in a world that existed as desert, sand and mountain but was in reality a part of heaven.

I feared the chilly desert nights for him and the hard floor beds in mina and muzdalfah, wanting to send him some of my strength and warmth. I fretted over the stuffy bus rides and the crucial ritual of stoning the devil, hoping to relax his aching muscles and easing him through the crowds during rami. Then I treasured the little hardships and obstacles he countered, for I knew how special that made him for god. On his last day in mina, which made it the last day for rami, it rained. Nadeem was in a downpour in the holy land. He walked and bathed in the heavenly shower. God cleansed him till a pure, cherub emerged. He soaked in the rain and walked barefoot in the squishy land. Nothing could dirty him….

Sometimes I would pray to god that Nadeem would be my guide and help me seek my way to the gates of heaven. I would pray for our unison in heaven. For me to be his hoor just as I was here. I did not really count days to his return, rather I prayed for each of his days to be more fulfilling. For him to earn some extra time under the sun that shone over the holy city, to feel the winds that blew caressing the holy house, to walk the land where 124,000 of those had walked who were the most privileged and blessed ones.

Nadeem once called me when it was time for Maghrib prayer in the harem. He wanted me to listen to the azan live. Live not only in the sense of hearing it while it happened--- rather, live in the sense of he and I hearing it together while miles of sea and desert lay between us.

The last eight days of Nadeem’s 22 day trip were to be spent in medina. With head shaved and beard taking a grizzly, unruly form around his face, he headed for the land of the holy prophet (s). I felt like singing and dancing in happiness like the little girls of medina who had greeted the last prophet(s) on his arrival in medina at the time of his migration 1400 years back. My soul was joyous and my heart beat a little faster than usual. The beautifully decorated city of medina took Nadeem in its embrace and gave him what nobody could--- fulfilled dreams. He was taken by the peace and the festivity of the city. More than anything he wanted to visit the prophet’s last resting place, and he did. As did I. Tears of joy stung my eyes and my senses felt benumbed by the ephemeral moment I spiritually spent at the shrine. 

Nadeem called again that night. His voice heavy with emotion and his joy reaching unlimited heights. I was once again silent as he gave me his account of the holy mosque in medina in his quiet voice. His hushed words echoed over the phone and I trembled to hear Nadeem speak a language even he was not familiar with. He told me the inside premises of the mosque were decorated like a “beautiful bride, Sunya.” It was exquisitely beautiful and left one holding his breath in awe. It was gold and silver and shimmered and glowed. It was a jewel in itself and could not possibly be polished any further. I wished I was his hands that touched the holy shrine, I wished I was his feet that walked the harem but above all I wished I was those words that he uttered that very moment. Most of all I prayed I could be that beautiful bride he described when we would be together again in heaven.

Oct 19, 2012

Will We Answer Their Call


Bismillah 

Image borrowed from www.usatoday.com (Google images)

“Verily, those who put into trial the believing men and believing women (by torturing them and burning them), and then do not turn in repentance (to Allah), will have the torment of Hell and they will have the punishment of the burning Fire.” [Al Burooj 85:10]

I see you ..

Cold blooded enemies with a seed of hatred,

that is filled with bitterness.

I see you.

For who you truly are.

I see an enemy of Allah.


Your blinding rage makes me see

how heartless a human being can truly be.

My voice may lose its sound

My eyes may lose its sight

You can take all of my rights

But unlike you my heart will not turn blind


So do as you please

My shattered hopes and dreams

I will pick up, piece by piece

I may seem defeated

Yet I refuse to prostrate to you

Because the bending of my knees is only meant for my Lord


How fortunate we are; we have food, we have drinks, and we do not have bombs raining over our heads. One moment we are completely aware of what is happening to our less fortunate brothers and sisters and the next moment we have moved on with our lives and we have forgotten about their distress. Safety is taken for granted by many of us, we do not see how blessed we truly are. Muslims in despair are calling us from all over the world.  Are you answering their call?

It is almost impossible to hold back my tears when viewing the shocking images and videos from countries like Burma, Syria, and Palestine. Boundaries have become invisible and justice is a concept that I no longer comprehend. Love is an imaginary expression that has disappeared into dust. The pain caused by the endless violence grows to be unbearable, yet the world chooses to remain silent. How can we conceal the truth after knowing it, we have to separate truth from falsehood just as Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala distinguished day from night.

“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.”[Al-Maaida 5:8]


Helping and supporting those in need is also a trait that is highly encouraged in Islam. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: 

The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “He who removes from a believer one of his difficulties of this world, Allah will remove one of his troubles on the Day of Resurrection.” [Muslim]


The situation in many Muslim countries is becoming more intense and we have to support our brothers and sisters. We should donate our money to charities that send aid to these countries. When you do not have money, use your tongue, which is also a powerful tool. Spread the word so it will reach others who can do something about it but most importantly we should all use the weapon of the believer, just raise your hands and make dua.

The horror that is happening in their everyday life is unimaginable. Oppression is what they receive but bravery is what I see. The Muslims in despair have shown me the definition of courage. Now we have to show our courage and speak up. Do not turn your cheeks the other way and do not neglect the call of our brothers and sisters. Speak up, pray and never forget them in your dua. When we do not obey the message of our Creator and choose to remain blind, we alone have ourselves to blame.


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

Oct 18, 2012

Habibi Halaqas Writers Awards From First Half of 2012

The real strength of Habibi Halaqas lies in the dedicated group of sisters who are working hard behind the scenes, for the sake of Allah SWT and for the sake of spreading His deen. Amongst this wonderful group of sisters are our writers, who are an utmost privilege to work with, alhumdulillah rabbil 'alameen. Their writing has caused so many of our readers to leave heartfelt comments such as the one below. We cannot thank them enough for benefiting fellow Muslims through us and as a token of appreciation, present the following awards.


Congratulations to each and everyone of you! May Allah SWT allow you to benefit many more through your words and place barakah in your writing, ameen!

BEST NEW COMER WRITER OF THE MONTH AWARD

Author who was successful in proving her potential and talent for writing with her very frist article. A True writer in making.

April - Shazia Arif for her article “Salaf In Ramadan”.
May - Sabina Giado for her article “Making A Difference To The Revert’s Ramadan” (Will be published in our magazine).

METICULOUS WRITER OF THE MONTH AWARD
Author whose article had the right balance of everything. Research, quotes, references, punctuation and language. Excellence personified!

January - Sabeen Mansoori for her article “Excuses”.
February - Amatullah Aminah for her article “Aqeedah Al Wasittiyah”.
March - Abeer Sadary for her article “What Happens After Death”.
April - An Ghela for her article “Maximizing Ibadah During Periods”.
May - Abeer Sadary for her article “Importance Of Shabaan”.
June - Sabeen Mansoori for her article “How To Stay Consistent With Dhikr And Duas After Ramadan”.

INTERACTIVE WRITER OF THE MONTH AWARD
Author who connects with the audience and who has the ability to strike a cord. Makes you think and reflect through her work.

January - Ukhti Noor for her article “What’s Your Excuse?”
February - Muazza Essop for her article “Eliminating Doubts From Our Life”.
March - Nasmira Firdous for her article “Khushoo In Salaah”.
April - Binta Diop Sall for her article “30 Reasons For Being Grateful To Allah Swt”.
May - Awaz Sharief for her article “10 Tips For Performing Qiyaam Ul Layl On A Daily Basis With Ease” (Will be published in our magazine).
JuneAbeer Sadary for her article “10 Ways To Make Life Simple And Easy Again”.

DISTINCTIVE WRITER OF THE MONTH AWARD
Author who made a difference and added diversity to our article base – the one who was brave enough to venture out and address a topic that needs attention.

January - Umm Yacoubi for her article – “Connection To The Earth”.
February - Amoora A for her article “Budgeting 101”.
March - Umm Maryam for her article "Sexual Relationships And Ramadan" (Will be published in our magazine).
April - Muaaza Essop for her article "Shamelessness, Certain Manifestations And Remedies Part 1 And 2".
May - An Ghela for her article “The Art Of Looking Down".
June - Anum ali for her article "How To Maintain A Ramadan Dairy"

Please take a minute to congratulate and show your appreciation to our writers in the comments section! 

Oct 17, 2012

Of Relationships and Love - Part 1

By Amina Wasi


Bismillah


Love. Four simple letters yet they evoke an array of emotions and responses. In this context, the love that I am referring to is that which develops between people of the opposite genders. In love we sacrificie everything for our beloved. In love, we become defensive of our beloved. In love, we are willing to fight for our beloved! In love, we love selflessly! Love is something no one is exempt from. In one point of our lives or another, we have most likely experienced it or in the lives of those that are close to us. The degree of which differing from one person to another. The focus here, however, is relationships that many of the youth seem to be involved in. Some of which are headed towards the right direction but many of which are headed towards the wrong direction. Improper Relationships.

Whenever you get into an improper relationship, a part of you dies. Your ability to trust, confide in and even love someone again may decrease. This is because you had such a strong emotional attachment with the person and you had high expectations. In your mind, 'he' was perfect. In your mind, 'we' were perfect. You acted like he was your husband and held hands, talked all night and felt the need not to wear hijab in front of him because you thought, 'I'm going to marry him anyways'. All the while, deep inside your heart and at the back of your mind, you knew all this was wrong. Something was disturbing your heart through it all but you pushed it aside and made excuses for yourself. Had you listened and gave up that which was disturbing your heart, you would have realized this was a mercy from God to save you from further heartbreak. However, when you ignored it, you became more vulnerable to the situation and a prisoner in a prison which you yourself put yourself in. 

Relationships have various degrees and if you are in one now, it may not be so extreme and you can just be talking but for some it goes to the extent of very haram situations. Regardless, even if you tell yourself, you are only talking about the deen (all night!?) so it's fine, know that it's not fine because one step leads to another no matter how religious you think you are. It's shaitaan's deception to you. And finally, in the end, it doesn't work out; your parents aren't agreeing or he turns out to be a complete jerk or something else. Know that since your relationship was improper, there was no Barakah in it from God since its inception and you broke many of God's commandments, so how can you have a favorable end to it?

But what if I am genuinely in love?
For those who genuinely are in love and not just acting on their temporary infatuations should safeguard this love because it can prove to be a beautiful thing if not stained with our lusts and desires before marriage. We cannot control who we might essentially end up falling in love with but we can control the actions it leads us to. If the love prompts you to cross the boundaries of Islam where you are meeting secretly with the person, dating, engaging in obscene activity with the person then this is plunging yourself in a pool of illusions of love. Whatever leads you to disobeying God can never be right. However, if you are not doing any of these things but really want to consider this person for marriage because of what you have observed of this person in a natural setting. i.e, good character, piety, acts of kindness, behavior, then there is nothing wrong in that inshaa'Allah. 

The crucial part is in how you would go about the process. Allah has ordained marriage to satisfy and channel our natural inclinations and desires towards the opposite gender in a proper manner and through it you are even rewarded by Allah. Which other religion rewards you for this?! If you develop feelings for someone strong enough to consider them for marriage then get your family and those who are responsible and pious involved. Everyone’s situation may be different and this requires different approaches so make use of your local Imams and Mashaaikh. They are there to direct you towards a discourse pleasing to God while considering your feelings and situation. That's what the companions did! They referred to Prophet Sallalahu Alyehi Wasallam. It may or may not surprise you that that Prophet Muhammad Sallalahu Alyehi Wasallam recognized love as a natural feeling so long as it was within the bounds of the Sharee’ah.

Prophet Muhammad Sallalahu Alyehi Wasallam attitude towards those who were in love... (TO BE CONTINUED Inshaa'Allah)



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