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Aug 30, 2013

Hygiene for Little Muslims

By A. Ali

Bismillah



10 sticky fingers, 10 grubby toes. Food stains down your chin and a runny nose!

Not exactly the kind of lullaby you would like to sing to your bundle of joy, right?

So your precious newborn has grown up and become a boisterous toddler. Long gone are the days of simple milk-vomit messes, your new toddler has a penchant for ensuring their clothes receive more food than they actually eat, and their hands may seem perpetually sticky.

But it does not have to be this way. This messy little human of yours need not actually be, a messy little human. It is vital to ensure that your child learns good habits to maintain good hygiene for their lifetime. The old saying was 'cleanliness is next to Godliness'*. Our Prophet, RasulAllah, sal Allahu 'alayhi wa Salam expressed this centuries before this phrase was coined, in the sahih Hadith:

The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Cleanliness is half the faith (Emaan).” [Sahih Muslim]

With some consistency on your part, your child will learn healthy habits that they can carry with them throughout their lives.

Dental hygiene starts before your child has teeth. Use a clean, wet washcloth (not wipes) to wipe their gums from the time they start solid food. Special toothbrushes and toothpastes are available for toddlers. Make 'teeth time' attractive for your child. Sing a little jingle for them as you assist them in brushing their teeth, e.g. "Brush to the left, brush to the right, up and down, and keep your teeth white!". Be consistent and make sure they brush their teeth after every meal and particularly before bed. Dental hygiene is extremely important, as the consequences of not maintaining good oral hygiene are painful, embarrassing and costly.

Mealtimes are usually the messiest times of the day. Always wash your child's hand before and after meals. Place a bib on them to catch any food that misses their mouth. Wash or wipe over their mouths after meals.

When your child is ill, make sure you have some soft tissues at the ready to wipe their nose. Do not be rough when wiping their noise as this can cause the skin around the nostrils to peel and crack.

This may sound obvious, but give your child a proper wash regularly! I have heard of sisters not bathing their children for two weeks at a time! Toddlers may not have a bad body odor, but they do sweat and need a regular wash in the bath or shower. In hotter climates, a daily wash is usually enough. In colder weather, a good wash every other day seems to be appropriate. Use your discretion to determine what is right for you.

Get in to the Sunnah of cutting their nails every Friday. Long nails collect dirt and look awful. Always be careful not to cut their skin, as they tend to fidget and make the task difficult. There are small nail clippers especially designed for little fingers, usually found at pharmacies or baby oriented stores.

Lastly, despite my advice to keep your children as clean as possible, try not to take things overboard. Children can be very messy, and that's just in their nature - do not overburden them by trying to keep them immaculate, as the way of the Muslim is moderate, and not extreme. Have fun!


I'd love to hear your thoughts and experience on helping your child develop good hygiene :) Please post in the comments section below.

Aug 28, 2013

How to Start a Conversation when giving Dawaah

By Umeusman

Bismillah


http://muslim-academy.com

Living in the West, where there are many misconceptions about our religion such as women being the oppressed ones, I get a lot of stares. Some have pity, some show intrigue, and some have plain dislike.

I respond to most of them with one thing; well actually two.

1. Smile

2. Gracious greeting


Some reply, others avert their gaze and some actually come up and talk to me and ask questions. It is my personal commitment to spread the word that Islam is a great and beautiful religion.

A lot of people are unaware of the importance of communication when it comes to Dawaah. It starts with building your rapport with your audience. How do you build a rapport with anyone? YOU take the first step.

You initiate the conversation. You take interest in their interests. You start a conversation with them. Next, how do we start talking to a perfect stranger? To strike up a chit chat with anyone looks easy, but for most of us, it takes a whole lot of effort and courage to do so.

One of the most important things, which a lot of people ignore, is body language. And yes this also applies to hijaabis and niqaabis. This is one of the most amazing traits of Allah’a creation, we all can feel when somebody is approachable or feels hostile. It is our responsibility that we put our best step forward to represent our great Deen.

If you notice somebody staring at you, just acknowledge them with a nod. Two things can happen; either they will respond or ignore you. You on your part have done your job. Even if they ignore you, they will think in their head “OMG THAT MOOSLIM just nodded at me!!” And subconsciously they have reacted to you and just interacted with a khalifah of Allah’s Deen.

In another scenario, if they do approach you to talk, be friendly. Do not be offended if they say something which can be taken as rude or ill-mannered. Once I was shopping at a store for summer dresses, wearing my burqa and head scarf as usual. I noticed a lady constantly looking at the type of “western” clothing I was browsing. I noticed her and at first I did try to ignore her. After a while, I turned and smiled. She smiled back and came up to me looking utterly perplexed. She asked why am I looking/trying these clothes? I smiled and showed her what I wear underneath which in fact was a summer dress. She was amazed and asked the same question which numerous people before her had asked me “So you don’t wear this black thing at home?!” I replied and told her a little about why and from whom I cover. She was amazed by that information. We parted on a good note.

As I mentioned earlier about building a rapport with someone on a one on one basis, how do you do that? To start, you have to look like you mean it. Look friendly. People can sense if you are confident or nervous. Stand tall and talk with purpose. Another very important thing is to be perceptive of your audience. Reflect the surrounding in your conversation. Actually taking a cue from your environment is a great conversation starter. For example, in Canada, people can always relate to the weather, for example cold, too cold, hot, too hot, you like it, or hate it. Asking the other what they think about it, is always a great conversation starter. To make it easy on the eyes, let’s break up the whole art of conversation in point form with some sub sections.

1. Smile/look approachable.

2. Greeting (hi, hello or any local greeting):

a. Now see if they look interested enough in a small chit chat. You will be able to judge by the way they respond to you.

b. If they move backwards and look at their watch or their phones, most probably they are not in the mood to talk.


3. Open with a neutral topic:

a. If you are in a mall, ask them what they think of it.

b. If you are in a residential elevator, remark on coming back home.

c. If you are in a workplace elevator, comment on caffeine.

4. Take clues from their replies:

a. Women relate better to personal remarks. I like your purses, nail polish, hijabs.

b. Men relate mostly to facts, cars, sports, and politics.

5. Wrap up the conversation gracefully.

a. Everybody is busy rushing to somewhere.

b. Keep the conversation short and simple. Unless the other party wants to prolong it and so do you.

c. Take your leave on a positive note.

On the Day of Judgement, we all will be asked if we did our part in spreading the word of Allah. Talking to strangers with the intention of just introducing Islam in a positive light inshAllah will be counted as Dawaah. I am not a mufti, haafidha or aalima (definitely working to be one though). But we all have to work in our capacity to spread this great religion. I can leave a good and positive impression on a non-Muslim so they may re-evaluate their mental image of Islam, which is the first step towards becoming a believer!

Even though this has become somewhat a cliché but people:“Smile; it’s a sunnah!”


Please share your thoughts on how to start a conversation for the purpose of dawaah.

Aug 26, 2013

‘Project Hijabi’: The Muslim Fashion Label - PART 2

By Anum Ali

Read Part 1 here

Bismillah

In Part 1 we looked at how we can be muslim and also look trendy and fashionable within limits. Let us now look at other aspects of the fashion industry.

Selling the Muslim Fashion Label the Halal Way
If the label says Muslim, it must be marketed, distributed, and sold the Halal way i.e. with modesty. The reason behind the resistance in using the word “Muslim Fashion” is the dirty picture of the existing fashion industry. Unfortunately, the physical exposure and exhibition of females, beauty politics in pageants and competitions, and inappropriate messaging and imagery have crawled gradually into the Muslim zone of fashion.

Islamic countries, predominantly the United Arab Emirates, have transformed into the Paris of Muslim fashion. They host a series of Muslim fashion shows in which under the Muslim label, some serious dressing compromises are seen in the runway designs put forward by Muslim fashion designers. The objection comes up the instant you see a Muslim model cat-walking down the runway with paparazzi snapping photos for print and broadcast. It becomes a nightmare when a jilbab range comes up revealing necklines and sheer fabrics.

The image of a Muslim woman is synonymous with modesty, shyness, humble grace, and simplicity. Posing for hundreds of tabloid-thirsty media men, while standing in an awkwardly crooked pose; chests thrust forward and hips arch backwards, Muslim fashion models instantaneously replicate the innovation of non-Muslims. The Muslim fashion label then serves the purpose of altering the image of Islam.

The best way to sell a Muslim label is to organize female-only exhibitions which do not employ runway models but take on an art exhibition-like approach. Mannequins work just fine unlike dances and catwalks which are simply immodest. Another recommendation is to avoid outrageous dresses to make them look like peacock feathers, bat wings, and what not.

The Positives of Fashion: The Muslim Fashion Statement
The beneficial aspect of fashion can be associated with personal grooming and self-development which essentially means that dressing, makeup, and accessory trends come with sensible fashion advice. The Muslim fashion statement honors Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala’s creations, follows the Sunnah, and functions within parameters of modesty in attire and mannerisms. Fashion categories for Muslim women should be suited to match their daily lives and not consist of replicas of Hollywood red carpet outfits.

Fashion categories could begin with ‘Religious Wear’ such as jilbabs and niqabs and move onto ‘Professional Wear’ suited for the working Muslim woman incorporating sophisticated blazers and smart skirts. Then a ‘Casual Wear’ category can also be introduced. Developments in Muslim fashion have helped reinstate some of the Islamic parameters which signify that a Muslim fashion statement is a statement of an Islamic lifestyle. For example, many Hijab observing ladies were compromising their Hijabs for their wedding day simply because they did not have enough styling sense to incorporate it into their wedding dress. Hijab fashion moguls such as Amena Khamkar of Pearl Daisy have helped Muslim women around the world incorporate the Hijab beautifully into any form of outfit for any occasion.

Muslim Women in the Fashion Industry
Many popular Muslim names operate in the fashion industry such as Sarah Elenany and Rabia-Z. A lot of them have faced criticism for their work and participation in the glitz and glam which comes with several non-Islamic mannerisms. Some exceptionally skilled fashion designers, however, have preserved the Muslim image very well.

In 2012, the world saw Philippines’ 21-year-old Fatima Guerrero making her way into the final rounds of Project Runway Philippines. The TV show is a brilliant platform for novice fashion designers. Overall, this industry is worth pursuing provided that Muslim women aim to attend a respectable fashion school or personal training program. The idea is to keep your heads on your shoulders in compliance with Islamic codes of life so as to avoid the obvious hazards of the industry.

Cutting the Beauty Politics
Crafted standards of perfection such as a size-zero figure, pouted lips, high cheekbones, tall height, tanned (or fair in Asian countries) complexion, polished teeth, augmented breast and bottom sizes, etc. are some of the concepts introduced by “politicians” of the fashion industry. Starting off with adult runway models, these trends have spiraled to include teenagers and adolescents. It is devastating to see young girls, starting at age three even, undergo brutal transformation to participate in beauty pageants. Beauty politics, introduced by fashion industry moguls, involve judging Allah's creations and altering them brutally to fit crafted standards of perfection. This aspect of the fashion industry, therefore, falls beyond the parameters of religion.

Muslim fashion glorifies the natural beauty in human beings and is not about re-creating individuals but developing their true potential. Cosmetics can be used for beautification in order to secure a sense of self-esteem or to please one’s husband. But women must realize they should not be showing off to non-mehrams nor change their physical features, for example by threading eyebrows or getting Botox.

“Project Hijabi” – A Potential Fashion TV Show
This thesis on Muslim fashion can be concluded on a witty, but potentially profitable note. There could very well be a Muslim fashion competition for reality TV – the “Project Hijabi”. The challenges given to potential participants would be to follow the parameters set by the Quran and Sunnah and design Halal Muslim wear!


References
(1)Krista. (2012). Fashion designers, how not to study gender, and more on Iran’s women ninjas. Patheos.com. Retrieved from http://www.patheos.com/blogs/mmw/2012/04/fashion-designers-how-not-to-study-gender-and-more-on-irans-women-ninjas/
(2)Sobh, M. (2010). Project Runway’s Nina Garcia on hijab fashion. HijabTrendz.com. Retrieved from http://www.hijabtrendz.com/2010/08/23/project-runways-nina-garcia-hijab-fashion/


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

Aug 25, 2013

Short Story: MY WIFE IS A NINJA CHAPTER 3

By Alawiya Abdalla


Previous Chapter | Next Chapter


Bismillah

Aysha

“OH HELL NOOOOO I’M NOT DOING THAT!! ARE YOU CRAZY??”, shouts Osman at the suggestion his dad made to him.

Do you wanna know what prompted Osman to say that? Well we need to go back in time for the final time to see the story shaping and unfolding to what it is now.

We go back to London with Mohamed and Khalifa’s mother Aysha. Aysha was going on about with her daily life, doing nothing in her son’s mansion when something unusual happened.

She was told that someone by the name of Fouad was asking to speak to her urgently. She tried to flash through her mind to see if she can remember the name but nothing came back to her. So she decided to see what he wants.

“Asalamu Alykum Ya Ukhti”, he greets her in an Egyptian slang.
“Wa Alykum salam” I reply.
“You are probably wondering who I am and what I want from you right?” He asks me like he’s reading my mind.
“You can say that” I eye him suspiciously.
“ I'm a friend of your husband May Allah rest his soul. Actually friend is not the word, I betrayed your husband’s trust in me”
“How?” I ask him curiously.
 He tells me the story from the beginning.

“Well, your husband and I went into business together years ago. You see in the 90′s the internet had just hit Egypt, in fact it wasn't that widely popular or famous like it is now”
“But I learned it and actually got a degree in Computer science in the USA. So I decided to try and get major companies and banks to use this new technology instead of type writing” He continues as I listen intently.
“So I tried going to these banks and companies to sell them the idea, but they all came back with the same answer which was do you have a company? And my answer used to be no of course as I just came back from USA”
“I almost gave up hope, until I ran into your husband in the coffee place near your old house in Egypt. He told me how bored he is after the civil war in Somalia broke out and the country’s unrest left everyone without a government and that means no job for him at the embassy”
“He also told me that he had saved up quite a lump sum of money, $500.000 to be precise but had no idea on what to do with it. As soon as he told me the sum, I offered him the business plan”
“Your husband hesitated at first as he only JUST met me, but he gave in after a few weeks of persuasion from me”
“As soon as your husband handed me the money, I worked hard on building the business of importing and selling computers in Egypt. Things were slow at first, but it picked up in the end”
“When the money started rolling in, I was supposed to give your husband a sum of one million pounds as an investment from the profits because that’s what we agreed on”
“We agreed that he wouldn't come and ask for his money for the first year of opening the business. What your husband didn't know was that I made TWO million dollars in the first year of business”
“Money was coming thick and fast, every bank wanted one. Every major companies wanted one, even universities and schools. But I failed to give him his investment back, as Shaytan started messing with my head”
“I wanted to keep ALL the money to myself, as I convinced myself that it was ME who was working so hard after all. I never thought for one second about my consequences or the fact that if it wasn't for your husband’s investment, I wouldn't be where I was back then”
“The legal contract between us had so many flaws that if your husband were to take me to court, it would have cost him a lot of money and many years of his life to get what he is owed. And the fact that I knew important people in the government made it impossible for him to fight me in court”
“The last words your husband told me was that I can enjoy all the money in the world, but he will leave me to Allah (SWT) to punish me. And that my money is tainted with the injustice I did to him”

“I never thought much about his words, as I was too arrogant at the time. But Subhanallah, how those words will come back to haunt me I never imagined”
“I got married, had three boys who were the centre of my life and a luxury life I never imagined. I never imagined for a second that punishment was waiting around the corner”
“Ukhti, My kids died one after the other year after year from heart attacks. They NEVER ever suffered from anything, but all of a sudden they would just drop to the floor and die”
“I was distraught and so was my wife. My wife’s heart never recovered from the shock, that she followed them soon after leaving me all alone by myself” He says with tears in his eyes.

“Ukti, I'm here to do what I was supposed to do all those years ago. I'm here to give you your husband’s share in pound not even dollar. I'm sorry I can’t give more than that, because I'm giving the rest away to charity projects”
“So in my hand a check for one million pounds, since your husband died who shall I address the check to? I know he said he had two sons. Shall I address it to one of them?” He asks me.
“No, address it to me” I reply after pausing to digest what is happening.

After the man left, I sat bewildered at just happened now!! I decided to myself that I need to see a lawyer immediately to discuss about putting it in a will, in case something happened to me.

But I just did not want the money to be split into two halves, so it goes to both my kids. I wanted to do something that will FORCE my younger son Khalifa to give his brother his share, as I know what he is capable of. Khalifa always hated his brother, and I am scared that he might take his half one way or another. Allah only knows how much it kills me to see Mohamed living like that, while his brother is enjoying his millions here.

Khalifa does not even offer ANYTHING to his older brother, even though he gave up his place in university for him as we could not afford to send them both to school. I have to set a condition that would make Khalifa have no other option but to do as I say in order to get his half.

I did the will and felt satisfied with it. I only started to realize how it will be unfolding when I was at my deathbed, there was nothing I could do to change it back as I was unable to move or talk. The only thing I'm sure of is that the decision lies with Shaimaa and Osman. I pray to Allah that you will be the breath of clean air that will come and rescue my son and my grand child from the destruction they are leading, Shaimaa.

For the few times that I saw you, I realized that you can almost do what I never managed to achieve with them……………………


*Next time Shaimaa and Osman AKA Ozzy as he likes to be known will make their appearance for the first time inshallaaaahhhh :D*


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

Aug 23, 2013

Watch that Tongue Part 2

By Nur

Part 1

Bismillah



While it is imperative to fulfill our religious duties, it is equally important to fulfill the rights of others over us. You may be wondering, what are the rights of my fellow Muslims? The Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa salam) details them for us in a hadith:

The rights of one Muslim over another are five: returning the greeting of salaam, saying ‘yarhamuk Allaah (may Allaah have mercy on you)’ when he sneezes, accepting invitations, visiting the sick, and attending funerals.” (Muslim, 2625)

What are some ways we can treat others fairly:

1. Treat other people the way you want to be treated. If you do not want to be lied to, do not lie, and if you do not want to be slandered about do not slander others. If you do not want to be insulted, do not insult others.

2. Apologize when you make mistakes. When you hurt someone, make sure you try your best to apologize and also make repentance to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), because when you hurt someone you are sinning at the same time.

3. Spread the ‘salam’ amongst those whom you know and those whom you do not know. As mentioned in a hadith, the salam increases our love for one another (as we saw in the above hadith narrated by Muslim).

4. Have mercy in your dealings with others, forgive them when they err, and Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) will have mercy on you.

5. Do not judge others based on their outer appearance. Remember the hadith about the prostitute who was promised Jannah and forgiven because she fed a dog that was about to die of thirst (Bukhari Vol. 4 : No. 538). Anyone can change and anyone can be forgiven because Allah’s (subhanahu wa ta’ala) mercy is unlimited.

6. Never think you are better than someone due to your skin color, appearance, weight, height, ethnicity, etc.

7. Do not walk amongst people with arrogance; people do not want to be friends with arrogant people.

It is reported that Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wa salam) said:

By Allah, the Almighty, you (all) will not enter Jannah until you become true believers. And you will not become true believers until you like each other. Should I tell you about something, if you apply in your life, you will love one another? Spread the proper, meaningful and truthful greetings amongst each other.” (Muslim, 96)


What are your thoughts on mannerisms? Please share below :)

Aug 21, 2013

Happily Ever After- Part 2

by Sabeen Mansoori

Part 1

In part 2 of this topic, we continue to discuss our relationship with Allah and how we are preparing to meet him InshaAllah

Bismillah

No one says, “I love you but from a distance. Stay away, no offence intended.” A natural consequence of real love is a desire to meet the beloved; to be able to look into his or her eyes and find acceptance and a reciprocation of the love. That is why it is so painful for parents when children roll their eyes at them or the spouse becomes distant and silent. There are those that transcend the ephemeral relationships of this world and aspire to a higher calling. They seek the ‘Wajh’ (face/ countenance) of Allah and strive for it all their lives.

And those who are patient, seeking the countenance of their Lord, and establish prayer and spend from what We have provided for them secretly and publicly and prevent evil with good - those will have the good consequence of [this] home –” (13,22)

When the most critical relationship of all, that of the ‘abd (slave) with his Master, is ignored, the human being is left to drift amid the tide of culture, fashion and oppression. He has no direction in life because, unlike those who are working on their relationship with Allah, he has forgotten that he has an appointment to keep with his Lord.

And be not like those who forgot Allah, so He made them forget themselves. Those are the defiantly disobedient.(59,19)

They are lost and bored, wasting their time and talent in activities of disobedience rather than obedience.

Imagine an important meeting: a job interview, your first meeting with a potential spouse, meeting parents after a long time, a guest coming over etc. Intense preparation precedes such encounters. When are we preparing for our meeting with Allah? Are we arrogantly assuming that we will be granted His Wajh (countenance)? Is that why we are so relaxed and we have time to complain and whine? We aspire to the company of the Prophets and the sahaba. Have we acquainted ourselves with their lives? Do we sit with people that miss them? Do we really expect to fit in with such exalted company?

And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His Countenance. And let not your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments of the worldly life, and do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance and who follows his desire and whose affair is ever [in] neglect.(18,28)

The appointment with Allah also requires appropriate preparation, a life immersed in ikhlas (sincerity), sabr (patience) and shukr (gratitude). Days and nights spent in actions that will carry weight in the hereafter, engaged in constant worship and remembrance desperately, consistently planning to meet Allah. Lips that remain moist with the recitation of the Qu’ran, and hearts that aspire to imitate the akhlaq (character) of His beloved Messenger Muhammad sal allahu alaihi wa sallam.

Like all appointments, this one is also at a specific time and place:

The Messenger (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “When the inhabitants of Paradise enter Paradise, Allah will say to them, ‘Do you want Me to give you anything more?’ They will reply, ‘Have You not made our faces bright? Have You not brought us into Paradise and moved us from Hell?’ Allah will then remove the Veil and they will feel that they have not been awarded anything dearer to them than looking at their Lord.” (Sahih Muslim)

But sadly there will be those that Allah will not look at on that day and they will be shielded from seeing Him. Their preparations were checked and were found lacking.

No! Indeed, from their Lord, that Day, they will be partitioned.” (83,15)

Just as the ability to see Allah will surpass all the other pleasures of Paradise, the inability to view Him will be the most excruciatingly painful experience of those in the Hellfire. Separation is not inevitable. Not yet at least. In this world, the doors to Allah’s nearness are always open. It is always possible to run back to Allah subhana wa tala:

And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me - indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.(2,186)

May Allah subhana wa tala save us from the fire of hell and grant us the light of His face in Paradise. Ameen


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

Aug 19, 2013

‘Project Hijabi’: The Muslim Fashion Label - PART 1

By Anum Ali

Read Part 2 here

Bismillah 

The modern day definition of fashion is tainted with ideas of physical exposure, sexuality, beauty, politics, drug abuse, homosexuality, and inappropriate imagery. Considering this definition, fashion is a straight-away NO in Islam for the beautiful reason that the religion condemns all of the above-mentioned. In contrast, considering its real definition, fashion is about staying up to date, making the right statement, portrayal of the right image, personal grooming, looking beautiful, and putting creative talents to the right use. This is more suitable and more acceptable, provided that trends are created and followed within the parameters of a Sunnah lifestyle, as prescribed by Prophet Muhammad salallahu alayhi wasallam.

The Sunnah Dress Code
For fashion-forward Muslim ladies, it is an essential reminder that compromising the Hijab code or awrah requirements, i.e. revealing more than the face, hands, and feet to non-mehram males, is simply prohibited. Coverage, modesty, and layering are the basic rules to follow as prescribed by Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wasallam. Some rules are exempted for ladies-only gatherings. For instance, the Hijab code can be compromised at ladies-only parties, provided nobody is taking photographs for Facebook!

In addition to restrictions on exposure, symbolism and imitation of the attire of people of other religions, photographs of living beings, outrageous styles, and display of excessive wealth and luxury have also been condemned. Apart from the restrictions, certain recommendations are also found in the Hadith. For example, there is a mention of an additional cover such as a long scarf to be worn over dressing to cover the chest for females. Black color is considered the best for women and red is condemned for men because it is worn by non-believers’ religious folk. Considerable print and patterns are addressed as good for females.

The Conservative Confusion and the Possibilities
The traditional Islamic standards of conservativeness and feminine modesty are often mistaken by both Muslims and non-Muslims. The misconception remains that an extremely loose Jilbab, equal to a circus tent, and black, is the only garment permissible for a Muslim woman. The jilbab is a traditional garment which serves the purpose of coverage and modesty exceptionally well, but other covering and modest dress forms are certainly not prohibited.

In conversation with Hijab Trendz, Nina Garcia Fashion Director at Marie Claire magazine and judge of Project Runway said about fashion possibilities for Muslim women:
“Never confuse conservative and covered with shapeless and genderless. Opera gloves are a perfect example of ultra-feminine but extremely modest dressing.”

Muslim women, and men, have the liberty to dress contemporary while adhering to religious codes of dressing. Adornments, embellishments, and cosmetics can most definitely be worn at ladies-only parties, colors and patterns can be incorporated into daily wear, and several flowing and loose dressing alternatives are available besides the traditional jilbab. Conservative; therefore, does not imply wearing a paper bag or a trash bag in everyday life. Keeping them loose does not imply buying clothes three sizes bigger than you. One size bigger in blouses and shirts, baggy trousers under below knee-length tunics, and skirts would do the trick. The idea is to hide the figure but flatter your human silhouette so you appear socially acceptable and not shabbily dressed.

The Muslim Fashion Label
No item of clothing is prohibited for Muslim women, not even the Victoria’s Secret range, provided that the limitations of awrah (body parts to be covered), visibility to non-mehrams (men you can potentially marry), and religious distinction from nonbelievers are maintained. This statement must have already tickled the critics’ nerves by now, but it is the truth. Muslims can most definitely set their fashion lines with a diverse range of apparel inclusive of undergarments, casual wear, party wear, and bridal wear. The idea is to sell those ideas right, with fashion advice on how to assemble outfits for modesty.

We are aware of the basic loose garments rule which does not reveal a woman’s figure, displaying the outline of two legs when she’s walking or exposing her awrah i.e. the entire body except the face, hands, and feet. Besides the jilbab, gypsy skirts, loose blouses, and even the Indian Pakistani “Shalwar Kameez”, i.e. loose trousers and loose long tunics with a long scarf, are great dressing alternatives. Western dressing styles such as long sun dresses and gowns can also be revamped, e.g. outfits with overcoat on top or loose blouse options to equate the jilbab.

Some obvious bits you might want to avoid are skinny jeans (unless you wear them under your skirt to keep warm), churidaars (Indian Pakistani version of skinny trousers), short shirts that hang above the hips, heavily decorated clothing, and tight clothing. These are not a complete no-no because at a ladies party you can always wear them. This, however, must be worn with care because often photos are taken and they end up on social media sites.

In Part 2 we shall see the other aspects of fashion industry which are having an impact on Muslims.

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

Aug 18, 2013

Short Story: MY WIFE IS A NINJA CHAPTER 2

By Alawiya Abdalla

Previous Chapter | Next Chapter

Bismillah

Mohamed

I am Sitting here and waiting for my wife and daughter to come back from work, and the wait is killing me. I feel like a prisoner to this wheelchair since the accident, the accident that almost took my life.

I thank Allah everyday that he saved my life. But my mind races back to 2 years ago, when I was working as a taxi driver, and bringing home enough money to feed my kids, Shaimaa and Amr.

It used to be enough for us, we do not own the most expensive house in a posh area. Infact we live in an area called Bolaq El Dakroor in Cairo, because that is what we can afford but we were happy, Alhamdulilah.

Allah has blessed me with the best wife in the whole wide world, and he also blessed me with very good mannered kids and that was enough for me.

I still remember the day I met my wife Sara till this day. I remember my brother Khalifa standing outside our school gate, which was adjacent to their school. I saw him looking at this girl Noha who was standing next to Sara our new neighbour, so I knew immediately that my brother was planning to make a move and talk to her.

Now I am not one to gossip or anything, but I heard that she has a bad reputation. I know I should check before I accuse any girl of such things, but I was only a teenager. So I just decided that I was gonna distract him whenever he tries to talk to her, I know what you are thinking but I honestly thought it was a great idea!! As I suspected, when I approached him with the offer of a free popcorn he started to become agitated at my presence.

That was when I noticed Sara, our neighbour. I have never looked at her up close before, but Mashallah she was beautiful. From then on I made my feelings towards her clear, and because that was the same time I started to know my religion properly I told her that I wanna marry her. I asked her if she could wait for me two years until I finish my secondary years, I told her that I am going to find a job as soon as I finish instead of going to university because I had to help my brother as he wanted to do English business studies and we do not have enough money to send us both.

She agreed to wait for me. So the two years passed, and I got a very high percentage to send me to a faculty of medicine if I wanted to. But I could not because I promised my mum that I would rather my younger brother do his degree than me.

Me and my brother were not close, as much as I tried to understand where his unfriendliness towards me came from. I really tried everything, but he would always be so rude towards me. He would always make his feelings towards me clear, which was nothing but dislike. Even on the day of my Nikah to Sara, he refused to come. I thought that all the tension that was there between us will melt away, I thought that a blessed day like a wedding would solve an issue that I had been simmering for years but I was wrong.

I mean I was extremely happy that Sara’s parents, who are both Egyptians agreed to marry their daughter to a Somali. When my dad died, Khalifa had finished his studies and decided to take our mum to live in London with the rest of our families. Of course I could not leave my wife in Egypt to go with them to England as he casually suggested!! So I bid them a farewell till we meet again.

I counted down the days till I see either of them again, but I only saw my mother who visited us a couple of times. I never saw or heard from my brother again. Even when I sent him pictures of my two kids, I got no reply from him. The last time my mother visited, she reassured me that my brother was rich now and that was why he has no time to reply to anyone but he was really happy for me apparently.

Of course she was just trying to put my heart at ease, but I knew it was over between us. It was time to put an end to all my efforts to make peace with my brother for whatever it is I did to him. However, I will never forget what my mum said to me that day -
“Don’t worry my precious son, I will make sure your rights are preserved Inshallah. I will make sure that everyone gets what they are owed”
Those were her last mysterious words before she left to go back to England. Shortly after she passed away, and she took the last remaining member of my family who cared about me with her.

As I finish recalling my life before the accident, my mind goes back to the accident itself. It was a typical normal day, I was about to go home when I saw a car heading towards me when it was supposed to be on the other side of the lane. The head lights was so blinding, that I lost control of the brake. Instead of pressing on the brake, I pressed on the gas and it just flew into the other car.

I do not remember anything after that, except waking up in the hospital and not being able to feel my legs. The first thing I thought about was how are we going to pay for the hospital fees!! Then my sweet daughter Shaimaa suggested that we take her university funds that I have been saving up.

I looked at her with tears in my eyes, because I could not believe how history is repeating itself right in front of me. Here is my daughter giving up university to look after me, just as I did with my brother.

My daughter not only had to give up her place in university, but she had to go and earn money to look after us as my wife could not do cleaning as a full time job. I get so worried everyday waiting for them to come back home. Life in Egypt is not easy if you are a girl, and walking at night and taking buses is a hassle not to mention the danger that accompanies that!

But I pray everyday that Allah brings them safe to me. This was just one of the many nights that I was waiting for my wife and daughter to come home, only it finished in a really surprising way.

“Salamu Alykum, Baba” Shaimaa greets me and kissed my head as she enters.
“Wa alykum salam, sweety” I reply to her greeting.
“Salamu Alykum, Mohamed. How are you today?” asks my wife as she enters after her.
“Wa Alykum Salam habibti. I'm ok as long as you two are ok”, I reply to my wife.
“Ok before we eat or talk about our day or anything. I have an announcement to make” , says Shaimaa.
“Khair inshallah” I wonder.

“I have decided that from now on I am going toooo ……………………………………………………….. wear this”
She shows a niqab.

We were speechless not from the horror of it, but from the amazing feeling and pride we have for our daughter right at this minute. For in Egypt wearing a niqab is very much an honour for a girl, of course it will make her job harder if the owner of the shop that she works in does not approve. But the society will respect her and honour her, so after staying quiet for a minute to absorb this I tell her

“Mashallah my sweet daughter I'm so proud of you” I tell her while hugging her.

Alhamdulilah Ya Rab for everything.

Meanwhile back in England a girl wearing a Niqab walks with her two friends in Northwest London. As she walks by, a couple of elderly people leave a shop as the girl passes them by. They look at her in horror and yell
“JESUUUUUUUSSSSSSSSSSSS”
The girl looks at them and tries to reply to them, when her two friends pull her and tell her to ignore it. 

Subhanallah what a difference!!!!!!

*This chapter is dedicated to Sheyma my niqabi friend and all the niqabi girls who have to endure that kind of attitude towards them…….I think you are so brave, Mashallah :D*
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I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)

Aug 17, 2013

POEM: Change

By A. Ali

Bismillah


http://www.positivewordsblog.com














Our Ummah is weak, though our numbers are strong.
we wallow in mediocrity,
and for too long,
we've persisted in the same wrongs.
We forgot to change ourselves,
before we tried to rescue humanity.
We're making the same mistakes but praying for change.
Isn't that the definition of insanity?

While bombs drop on our heads,
We fight over triflin' nonsense and almost lose it.
The ability to change our condition is in front of us yet we abuse it.
our hearts have been affected,
by all the deeds we have neglected
Our own deen we've disrepected,
From the Quran we've disconnected.

Our reality should be piety,
and morality, not notoriety.
the better influence on society
yet our own mothers have to ask
"are you lying to me?".

We want victory now, but we failed to guard our prayers
The first thing we'll be asked about on that Day!
Yet seemingly, the least of our cares.
Such a small thing to give,
To the One who Gives without measure,
He didn't ask you for your treasure,
Only that You seek His pleasure.

But our iPhones got us busy,
Texting and Facebook got us dizzy.
The deen is at the bottom of our priorities list,
With all the other deeds and prayers that we missed.
so worried about what other people think,
What about Allah Whom we've dissed?

Change isn't easy,
It's a struggle and a test.
But how can be better than the rest
If we don't aim to be the best?
Are we drowning in a sins
And unable to reach the shore?
Are we wasting what we have,
And daring to ask Allah for more?

You can't help the world if you neglect your own soul.
Would you help another team
win and neglect to score your own goals?
Save the deen, save the world,
But save yourself first and to Allah be true.
Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change themselves -
and the first change starts with you...


Please share your thoughts on this poem below :)


Aug 16, 2013

Watch that Tongue Part 1

By Nur

Part 2

Bismillah


Have you ever entered into your university class and realized that you virtually know no one there? Maybe you are a shy individual, an introvert, and find it difficult to make friends in a new environment. Perhaps it is due to your inability to converse in an ordinary conversation that people think you are cold or arrogant. We all have been in a similar situation, feeling lonely or wishing we had some company to keep us occupied. What we need to know is that we do not have to have a Masters in Linguistics to be able to converse with people. It is absolutely alright for us to be introverts; in fact, it is best to remain silent if we do not have anything good or beneficial to say. But it is still a must to make sure that we fulfill the rights that others have upon us. This article will discuss the importance of fulfilling these rights and how we can go about achieving this, with Ahadith and Quranic verses to back up these statements.

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) says in the Quran:

And do not turn your cheek [in contempt] toward people and do not walk through the earth exultantly. Indeed, Allah does not like everyone self-deluded and boastful. And be moderate in your pace and lower your voice; indeed, the most disagreeable of sounds is the voice of donkeys.”(31:18-19)

The first verse above cautions us not to turn our faces away from people when they try to speak to us; additionally, we should not look down on them because of arrogance. We should be kind and gentle towards them. We are also told not to be boastful or arrogant because Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) does not like the arrogant, boastful, and self-indulgent.

We must make it clear here that avoiding arrogance does not mean that one cannot have nice clothing, or look clean and presentable. Arrogance in the above means rejecting the truth and looking down on people. This is illustrated in the hadith by the Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wa salam):

He who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of pride shall not enter Paradise.” A person (amongst his hearers) said, “Verily a person loves that his dress should be fine, and his shoes should be fine.” He (the Holy Prophet) remarked, “Verily, Allaah is Graceful and He loves Grace. Pride is disdaining the truth (out of self-conceit) and contempt for the people” 
[Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Number 164]


When Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) says in the second verse: 
Indeed, the most disagreeable of sounds is the voice of donkeys,

Ibn Kathir, Mujahid, and others commented: “The most ugly of voices is the voice of the donkey (i.e. when a person raises his voice, the resulting noise is like the voice of a donkey in its loudness). Moreover, this is hateful to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). Likening a loud voice to that of a donkey implies that it is forbidden and extremely blameworthy.”

None of us want to be hated by the Creator of the heavens and the earth; rather we should strive to be of those who are beloved and near to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala).

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) describes His true servants in the Qur’an:

And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace.” (25:63)

These are Attributes of Allah’s (Subhanahuwa ta’ala) believing slaves who do not walk arrogantly nor with pride, rather they walk with humility and dignity. When those who are ignorant insult them or are rude to them, they reply with good, patience, and forgiveness which is the way of the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa salam).

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) also says (what is translated to mean):

And when they hear ill speech, they turn away from it and say, ‘For us are our deeds, and for you are your deeds. Peace will be upon you; we seek not the ignorant.’ ” (28:55)

Many times we may feel that if we fulfill our five pillars, then we will be fine on the Day of Judgment; however, we find in a hadith that the consequences of mistreating others will follow us in the hereafter.

The Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wa salam) said:

Do you know who the bankrupt are?” They said, “The one without money or goods is bankrupt.” He (sal Allahu alayhi wa salam) said, “The bankrupt are those from my nation who come on the Day of Resurrection with prayer, fasting, and charity, but come also insulting, slandering, consuming wealth, shedding blood, and beating others. They will each be given from his good deeds; if his good deeds run out before the score is settled, their bad deeds will be cast upon him, then he will be thrown into the Hellfire.
[Sahih Muslim, Book 32, Number 6251]


Liked what you read so far? Look out for Part 2 of Watch that Tongue for more :)

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


Aug 14, 2013

Happily Ever After- Part 1

by Sabeen Mansoori

Part 2

Bismillah


She stood very still and watched her daughter’s tear stained face melt into the crowd. The pain of her departure would tear at her heart and soul. The daughter on the other side willed her feet to step in leaden uniformity towards the door, and away from the beloved figure that gazed desperately, lovingly in her direction. As she heard the doors close behind her, she wanted to break through them and run back and embrace her mom. She wanted to gaze at her face and feel the love that glowed from her presence. But she could not. She had to move on…

Do you love someone dearly: a parent, a child, or a spouse? Does your heart feel fulfilled when you gaze at them? Do you feel incomplete without them? Is their pleasure the most desirable experience of your life? Would you move heaven and earth to make them happy? The quality of our life is equal to the quality of our relationships: if we have content relationships, then we are generally happy and satisfied in life. A single argument or dispute can wreck havoc over our peace of mind. There is, however, one very unique and important relationship that is increasingly overlooked in this equation of happiness: it is our relationship with Allah.

Is it a relationship of love or fear? Is it a relationship of ritual or reflection? Is it a didactic relationship of rules of haram vs. halal, or does the remembrance of Allah bring tears to your eyes and your soul overflows with gratitude? When you hear the recitation of the Qur'an, are you thinking of a checklist of dos and don’ts or are you so overwhelmed by the magnificent subtlety of His Words that you become incoherent with awe? If indeed you love Allah, how would you describe Him? Prophet Ibraheem alayhi salam expresses his love and reliance in the following words:

Who created me, and He [it is who] guides me. And it is He who feeds me and gives me drink. And when I am ill, it is He who cures me. And who will cause me to die and then bring me to life. And who I aspire that He will forgive me my sin on the Day of Recompense. [And he said], ‘My Lord, grant me authority and join me with the righteous. And grant me a reputation of honor among later generations. And place me among the inheritors of the Garden of Pleasure.’
(26,78 – 85)

Prophet Ibraheem recognizes the Majesty and Authority of Allah, and recognizes his own utter helplessness and dependence on Him. He praises Him and begs for His Mercy in the most eloquent manner and expresses the desire to be in the company of those that Allah loves.

Without those we love, we are incomplete. We are anchored to existence through those we belong to, and we desire that they should belong to us. I am not a mother without my children. I am not a friend without my friend. I am not a wife without my husband. Allah subhanahu wa tala however is Al-Ghani and free of all wants but we are nothing without Him. Our utter dependence upon Allah is eclipsed only by His Complete Independence of us. He calls upon us to remember Him; not for His Sake but for ours:

“So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.
(2,152)

When we belong to Allah, then we are connected in a meaningful way to all of Creation. So the sunset is mine because my Rabb made it. The birds, that swoop so close to the surface of the ocean so I can see their reflection on the waves, are there for me because My Lord created them all out of His Infinite Mercy. The crisp winter morning and the sultry warmth of a summer evening are all mine so that I can praise my Rabb. The times of joy are tailored for me to be thankful and the moments of trial are mine to bear so that I can learn patience. Nothing is accidental and nothing is meaningless because it is above the Majesty of Allah to create this vast universe and this plethora of experiences for no reason.

And to Allah belongs the east and the west. So wherever you [might] turn, there is the Face of Allah. Indeed, Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.”
(2,115)


Stay tuned for Part 2 of this topic for more about our relationship with Allah and preparing to meet Him inshaAllah


I'd like to hear your views on this topic. Please leave comments in the section below!


Aug 12, 2013

The Many Names of Patience

by Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya


Bismillah

Image credit to maroonmoon87




We all know or thought we knew what PATIENCE is. Do we know that PATIENCE has many names depending on situation? Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah wrote:



If PATIENCE consists of restraining sexual desire, it is called honour, the opposite of which is adultery and promiscuity.

If PATIENCE consists of controlling one's stomach, it is called self-control, the opposite of which is greed.

If PATIENCE consists of keeping quiet about that which it is not to be disclose, it is called discretion, the opposite of which is disclosing secret, lying, slander or libel.

If PATIENCE consists of being content with what is sufficient for one's needs, it is called abstemiousness, the opposite of which is covetousness.

If PATIENCE consists of controlling one's anger, it is called forbearance , the opposite of which is impulsiveness and hasty reaction.

If PATIENCE consists of refraining from hate, it is called gracefulness and steadiness, the opposite of which is to be hot-headed.

If PATIENCE consists of refraining from running away, it is called courage, the opposite of which is cowardice.

If PATIENCE consists of refraining from taking revenge, it is called forgiveness, the opposite of which is revenge.

If PATIENCE consists of refraining from being stingy, it is called generosity, the opposite of which is miserliness.

If PATIENCE consists of refraining from being lazy and helpless, it is called dynamism and initiative.

If PATIENCE consists of refraining from blaming and accusing other people, it is called chilvalry. 

Indeed Islam in its totality is based on patience.


Reference:
Patience and Gratitud: An abridged translation of 'Uddat as-sabirin wa dhakhirat ash-shakirin - by Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, translated by Nasiruddin al-Khattab (1997), Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd: UK. pg. 15.


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

Aug 11, 2013

Short Story: MY WIFE IS A NINJA CHAPTER 1

By Alawiya Abdalla

Previous Chapter | Next Chapter

Bismillah

Have you ever sat down and write down your families names on a piece of paper? and have you ever put a tick next to it to see who you have visited lately?

Have you ever witnessed petty fights between families that run and run for years and years? If the answer is yes to all of these questions then all I have to say is, remember. Remember this Hadith, and look into your heart to find forgiveness

“Rahm (family ties) is a word derived from Ar-Rahman (The Compassionate One) And Allah says: ‘I shall keep connection with him who maintains you and sever connection with him who severs you” [Bukhari]

This story is about Kinship and the importance of it. This story is about two brothers who find themselves in each other’s lives in an unusual events. One of the brothers cut ties with the other one without even explaining his reasons. The one who was left behind tried his best to reach out for his brother, but to no avail. In the end he just gave up….

They will be FORCED to get back together as a family again. But is any of them willing to fully forgive the other? And did all these years apart mean that they will never have something in common again?

Let us explore the story of Mohamed, Khalifa and their families to see where it all went wrong.

Mohamed is the first born to Aysha and Ahmed, and then Khalifa followed two years later.

Mohamed was light skinned but not particularly text book handsome, in fact he was average looking but not ugly. Khalifa was the same in terms of not being overly handsome, but he was dark skinned. As in so many countries but particularly in Barawa, being light skinned means you get all the attention. You are classified as handsome or beautiful AUTOMATICALLY.

If you are a guy, then you are Atore (movie star handsome). If you are a girl you will be called Atiriche (Beauty queen), you will get proposals so easily just because you are light skinned. Unfortunately it is true till this day, and it creates such jealousy amongst siblings. In this case did the jealousy just stop at being just that or does it grow into hatred that has shapes Khalifa’s character into what he is today?

Fast forward to Egypt on a sunny day

Khalifa

It is sooo hot today and I cannot stand myself let alone anyone! Seriously you would think that we could afford an air conditioner, with the amount of money we have. 

Nooooo, my dad likes to “save”, I mean seriously we live in this really posh area and we are the only people who do not own an air conditioner!! Arrghhh.

I am all for “save for a rainy day and all that” but this is too much. My dad’s way of living completely changed after the Civil war in Somalia broke out. He instantly went from care free and “buy whatever you want kids” to “TURN THE LIGHTS OFF” or “This bread is too expensive buy from the street corner instead”

Yep, life was tight and there is nothing we can do about it. My dad went from being a foreign minister to virtually no one, and I could see how hard it has been for him. All he does is go to the embassy to drink tea with the staff, they have nothing to do.

But I am still a teenager and I WANT AN AIR CONDITIONER!! And to make matters worse, my brother Mohamed is walking around the house topless when he knows that the Somali neighbours next door are watching. He is such a show off!!! At every opportunity he would be there showing off to whoever is watching. I have had enough of this to be honest, I mean at first it was a little annoying but now I absolutely CANNOT stand him. Whenever we go back home to Somalia for the holidays, our relatives would ask where he was or what he was doing. They would not even bat an eyelid if I was there!!

“Where is the Atore?”, they would ask.
Or
“Mashallah, have you seen how handsome this guy is”, they would say in awe.

At first I could not understand why was he getting all the attention and I was not  because I was young and I could not care less about these things. However, as I grew older I figured out that it had something to do with the skin colour.Resentment towards my brother slowly started building up. And to make matters worse, Mohamed acts all nice and stuff towards me.
I do not want his pity love!! It was as if he is doing it to show off even more. I mean whenever I dismiss him, my mum always tells me off!
“Your brother is being nice to you, why don’t you try and act kindly towards him” She would ask angrily.
Nobody understands!!! I just want him out of my life and AWAY FROM ME.

BUT, recently something is making me smile :D to be precise, SOMEONE is making me have a big smile on my face.
Her name is Sara, and she just moved in next door. She is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen in my whole life, and she has the most beautiful smile I have ever seen. She is Egyptian and she goes to the girls school that is next to our language school. I get to see her every time, while we wait for our dad to pick us up.
Today I have decided that I am going to go up to her, and introduce myself to her. Of course, I would start with saying that I am her neighbour and that if she needs anything, she can always come to me as she is new to the area :D

I start walking towards her, when SOMEONE catches up to me.
“Khalifa wait up” Says Mohamed running towards me.
“Ufff what do you want. Go wait for our dad over at the gate!!” I tell him furiously.
“I bought you our favourite pop corn from Rabb3a’s place” He tells me with an annoying smile.
“Just go away will you?” I warn him.
“YOU ARE GOING TO TALK TO A GIRL RIGHT? RIGHT?” He starts shouting from figuring out what I was up to.
“Shush, uff. No!” I reply and getting agitated by the minute.
“Come on, tell your big brother who it is?” He says in a lowered voice and looking towards the girl’s school.
“NO ONE!! Why don’t you eat ALL the pop corn yourself?”, I suggest.
“Are you sure?, because I will” He replies while scoffing his pop corn to get to my one quickly.
“Yeah yeah, whatever” I tell him, and looking towards Sara who is like in front of us waiting for her dad to pick her up.
“Hey ishinntt da giw who wivs neph to ush”, mumbles Mohamed as he attempts to eat the whole pop corn all at once.

And at this point Sara turns around to look who’s talking like that!! When she sees Mohamed’s mouth all filled with pop corn, she starts laughing politely.

“Excuse my dumb brother” I tell her to explain the situation.
“That’s alright, I can see how much he loves pop corn” She replies smiling.
“Sorry about that, but this pop corn IS THE BEST AROUND. The name is Mohamed by the way and we are your neighbours”, he says after finishing swallowing the pop corn.
“Sara”, she introduces herself.
“This is my little brother Khalifa”, he introduces me even though I wanted to do it myself. Thank you very much!!
“Sorry guys, this may seem rude. But I don’t want a bad reputation, so if you don’t mind” She reminds us about the culture regarding girls and boys talking.
“Oh sorry, we will move. But before I leave I wanna give you this extra pop corn because I have some in my teeth”, says Mohamed cheekily.
“OKAAAY!! not feeling hungry after you mentioned teeth but thanks anyway” She replies laughing politely.

So we leave her by herself, and I cannot believe that MY BROTHER interfered once again in my life like that!! and to make matters worse they seem to give each other looks that shows that they like each other!

I hate him, I hate him I hate him I hate him I HATE HIIIIMMMMMM!

That was 20 years ago, from that day I vowed that I would be better than my brother in every way. If I do not have looks, then I am going to make enough money to buy me respect and make people notice me. And here I am in London surrounded by my shops at every corner, with my wife who is so proud that she married the famous Khalifa owner of the happy sweet corn chains. I also have an 18 year old son named Osman, and my mum lives with me after my dad passed away. Life could not be better for me, and as for my brother, he got what he deserved. He lives in Egypt with his wife Sara, and daughter Shaimaa and son Amr in a really poor area with the lowest wage possible.

That makes up for all the years that I was cast aside somehow bearable. I cut all ties with him, as he is not up to my standards now and I like it this way………


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

Aug 7, 2013

The Unity of the Muslim Ummah in Ramadan

By Ruby

Bismillah


We’re all looking forward to Ramadan, I am sure of it. We love the sense of doing more good, knowing Allah subhaana wa ta'aala will (inshaAllah) give us multiple times reward for even the tiniest of good deed. We all look forward to fasting with all the other Muslims around the world, and gathering together to break our fasts. Best of all, we want to get together at the masajid to pray the Taraweeh prayers in congregation. We yearn for these Ramadan experiences, and we excitedly anticipate the blessed month.

Now I want you to look back: what is common in all these Ramadan activities? For one thing, a majority of these activities are done together as a group. Ramadan is a chance, not only for one’s personal growth in Imaan and as a Mulsim, but for the Ummah as a whole, to become stronger.

It is reported in Sahih Bukhari that Nu’man b. Bashir reported Allah’s Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam as saying:

"The similitude of believers in regard to mutual love, affection, fellow-feeling is that of one body; when any limb of it aches, the whole body aches, because of sleeplessness and fever."[1]

Thus, my dear readers, we have in our own Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam the proof that the Muslim Ummah, the community, needs to be one strong body. If any one part of the Ummah is suffering, the whole Ummah suffers. It proves how the bond of Muslims really is supposed to be.

As Muslims, we know that the Ummah is one big, strong body. We have heard it time and time again. Yet why do we see that there is fighting, disputes and arguments over the most miniscule of details? I am not talking about worldwide conflicts, like between different sects. I’m referring to the same disputes that occur in our own communities, among people we know personally.

How come no one does anything about it? Is it that we have gotten to the point of despair where we give up and just sit around for a miracle to happen? The truth is that no one is going to help the Ummah unite except for the Muslims themselves. If we are to be part of the Ummah, then we need to do our share, our part as Muslims, to help the Ummah we belong to. It is our duty to do something about it.

My point for writing this is not how we can solve all the issues plaguing us today as Muslims, because that’s just too broad of an issue to tackle in a single article, and I am not qualified to do that. Instead, I want to discuss how to take simple steps in our lives to improve our bonds with each other and as a Muslim Ummah. With Ramadan on the way, it is an excellent chance to make the intention to better ourselves for the good of the entire Ummah.

1) Make the Intention: Without having the right intentions, we will not get reward for it. With the right intention to unite our Ummah, to help ourselves and other become better Muslims, something as intimidating as this will become easier with the help of Allah subhaana wa ta’aala.

2) Take Small Steps: Of course, no one is expecting you to jump right in and begin organizing huge social events for Muslims. Instead, take things slowly, and gradually, you can increase your ability to contribute.

3) Educate Yourself: Even if it’s a two hour class once a week, the smallest amount of knowledge is helpful and beneficial. To know more of Islam is always a blessing, and can be helpful as you progress yourself. Further, when you study with someone else, it can strengthen friendship ties.

4) Join Muslim Events: If your community and masajid hold events like carnivals, fundraisers, seminars, lectures, etc, go and join them! These events are crucial to uniting the Ummah because Muslims join together for a similar purpose, whether it is getting to know others or going to become better Muslims. This instills a mindset of a united Ummah by participating in these events.

5) No Events in your Community? Well, it’s up to you then, to start something! Even something that seems unimportant or unnoticed at first will eventually grow, inshaAllah. Begin by gathering a few of your own friends for a halaqa once a week, where you share an interesting hadith or ayah together. Try organizing and arranging for speakers to come to a local masjid. Arrange fun events and workshops for the community. These events gather Muslims together, to learn, grow, and have fun inshaAllah.

6) Acknowledge Differences: It is normal for people to have a difference of opinion over various issues, and this is acceptable in Islam, as long as there is evidence to back it up from the Quran and Sunnah. Instead of arguing over who is right or wrong over certain issues that are within the bounds of Islam, we should accept that difference of opinions does exist and move on from this.

With Ramadan on the way, we all need to see this opportunity to really unite as an Ummah. It is time for us to set aside differences because ultimately, what defines us as Muslims is the fact that we worship Allah subhaana wa ta’aala alone and follow his Messenger sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam as our example.

Nowadays, it is common to see that Muslims head in different directions, as arguments and difference of opinions break up communities and the Ummah. However, there is hope, because as long as we can follow the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam’s example, we know we cannot go far. This is why projects, events, and gatherings that teach and remind us about Islam are crucial to us as Muslims.

It may seem like we have busy schedules, with school, kids, family, and life, but as long as something is done with the intention to please Allah subhaana wa ta’aala, we can find the time. We just need to take things slowly. No one expects you to fill your entire schedule with these events, but try to take things one step at a time.

This Ramadan, inshaAllah, I urge you to meet up with fellow Muslims and increase your knowledge and Imaan. Gather in halaqas, meet at community events, and expand your knowledge. The importance of these activities is so important to unite us as an Ummah, so we can succeed and pass on the message of truth.

As Ramadan quickly comes nearer, make the right intention to improve the bonds of the Ummah!


Please read and comment, I would love to hear what you think! Jazakumullahukhair.

Reference:
1. Sahih Bukhari, Book 2, Number 6258.