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Nov 29, 2013

The 4 essentials for learning Arabic - Part 2

by Tara Delancey


Bismillah 

In Part 1 of this topic we looked at how to refresh your motivation to learn the language and realised that it is essential to make time for learning if we want to achieve success in the language inshaAllah. Here we continue with the last 2 essentials for learning Arabic.

3. Invest in a good textbook: 

A “good” textbook here means one that works for you. There are many out there which present the language in different ways. Al-Kitaab fi Ta’alum Al-‘Arabia, or “Al-Kitaab” for short, is one of the best for adult learners in terms of presentation, variety of activities, and multimedia resources, but it can also be a bit pricey. In my opinion, it is worth every penny, but you may have to experiment with a few different books before finding the right one for you. 

Of course, if you are in a class, then by all means use the one you have been assigned. As an independent learner, you will know you have found “the one” when it is challenging but not incomprehensible and assigns you work that uses the three skills of writing, speaking, and reading for comprehension, and is not unbearably dull.

4. Get a speaking buddy: 

Even if your only intention for learning Arabic is to read the Qur'an, the fact is that speaking a language makes you remember it better and for a longer time. It is essential for gaining an intuitive understanding of the grammar, and makes both reading and writing easier. This is because speaking makes you produce the language quickly and spontaneously from your own mind, whereas reading only requires you to interpret what you see in front of you, which you can do as slowly as you like. 

Thus, a speaking buddy is essential to gaining a thorough grasp of the language. If you are not sure where to find a speaking buddy, encourage a friend to take a class with you or befriend a native speaker from the masjid to meet with twice a week to practice. Even hiring a tutor is great; the point is just to get yourself talking in a non-judgmental, relaxed environment. And finally, do not be afraid to make mistakes! Everyone stumbles in the beginning and says many incoherent and embarrassing things, but that is okay. In fact, it is an essential part of the learning process which will bring you one big step closer to Arabic fluency.

InshaAllah, these tips will set you off on a wonderful journey of learning Arabic. In Arabic, we say that the Arabic language is like an ocean, it is something that no one can fully encompass. It is also like a mountain with no peak- even a native speaker will probably never reach a point at which they can say to themselves “I have done it. I have mastered the Arabic language.” 

However, with strong motivation, the right book, and plenty of speaking opportunities, you will reach a point at which you will read the Qur'an and say “Hey! I know that word!” and then, “Alhamdulillah, I think I understand it!” Learning Arabic may be a difficult upward climb in the beginning, but don’t worry; just have fun with it and enjoy the journey!


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


Nov 27, 2013

Holding on to Your Deen (Part 1)

By Asrar BenHoucine

Bismillah

Would it not be great to enter the mosque and find it full of people of all ages? Finding activities for the youth, and programs to assist all age groups - whether it is fundraising for those who are in need, or after school programs for children who need help in math, reading, and tajweed. Unfortunately, we usually see mosques to be empty, and full only on occasions, especially if there is a potluck. Hey we all like food right! However, the mosque is a place of remembrance of Allah, instead it has become a social gathering gone wrong; rather people gossip or chat amongst each other rather than listening to the sermons/lectures.

I strongly believe we are approaching a major problem if we do not change our perspective about the mosque - how one should act there and why one should be there. The mosque needs more people of 15-27 age groups and I believe it is lacking due to high ignorance about the basic knowledge of Islam. Ideally, children and adolescents learn about Islam from their parents and if not from them, then mosque becomes the secondary source of knowledge; since this is the place for community gatherings and Islamic lectures etc. The adolescent age is the time when it becomes crucial and valuable to attend such learning lessons because let us be honest, if we do not teach our children and provide them understanding of morals and values they will be taught by those who are not Muslims. (Public Schools)!

Yes the public schools will be happy to take over your child’s education about Islam and even God’s existence. Schools teach our children the faith and culture of all nations and Islam is usually not taught in the most proper way. I personally have experienced it when discovering that my textbook stated that Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) wrote the Quran. Another time we were taught that the Islamic holy day was on Saturday. Luckily being there I was able to correct my teacher. As you can see, learning about Islam in public schooling is a challenge for many youngsters nowadays. Many teachers even question children about the belief in God and ask for proof of His existence. Even if the child knows Allah (subhanahu wa ta'aala) exists, the teacher can create doubt in the child’s mind which can flourish later.

What is Basic Knowledge of Islam?

Basic knowledge is covering the Pillars of Islam. It includes belief in Allah, His names and attributes, as well as the belief in Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam as the last and final messenger of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, and that he was sent to all of mankind.

Belief in Allah (His names and His Attributes)

Ayat al Kursi (2:255) is a good description of who Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is:

Let us look over ayat Al-Kursi and reflect over it, however do not take this in a literal sense for Allah cannot be limited with any space and does not need any “Al-Kursi (chair)" or Al-Arsh (throne).

Allah - there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His Kursi extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not. And He is the Most High, the Most Great. (Quran, 2:255)

Now this explains the true monotheism of Islam. The one and only Allah above all, He is not within us, nor around us, nor in nature, etc. When we hear about Allah being so close to us that He is closer to us than our jugular vein, this means that He subhanahu wa ta’ala is aware of us; close to us and in other words He knows all.

We should really take the time to know Allah, learn His Names, meanings, and His Attributes. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala help us gain knowledge this way and may He send mercy on us and on our children.

Why must we pray 5 times a day?

This is our purpose in life. This is what separates the non-Muslim from the Muslim, without this we are no different! Besides the obvious “Allah says so”, and with every obligation there is a reason, and it is always good for us. Remember that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala does not need us nor our prayers but this is to only help us. He is the owner of Paradise and this could be a ticket to get in along with His Mercy.

Why do we fast in the month of Ramadan?

The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for all mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan), he must observe Saum (fasts) that month…” (2:185)

Plain and simple, Allah (swt) says so again and after such saum comes Zakat.

I have mentioned a few basic points about the pillars of Islam and insha Allah, I hope to continue discussing this in the next part. Do not forget to post your comments below and tune in for the next part of this post.



Nov 25, 2013

Preparing for Baby: Must Know Tips for a Smooth Labor and Delivery Part 2

By Sabah Chaudhry

Bismillah

Many expectant Muslim couples are looking for advice and any form of help on their journey into parenthood.  But before the baby is born, it is important for the parents to be prepared and know what to expect when mom enters the delivery room and begins to go through the stages of labor and delivery.  Part 2, a continuation of Preparing for Baby: Must Know Tips for a Smooth Labor and Delivery Part 1 will address the emotional well-being of soon-to-be moms.

It is very important to stay positive throughout this long and challenging process. As Muslims we are taught to remain content and accept whatever situation Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) places us in. Many parents have a plan and want the labor and delivery to go a specific way, but events don’t always transpire as we desire. Allah (subhaanahu wa ta’ala) tells us, “Whatever Allah grants to people of mercy – none can withhold it; and whatever He withholds – none can release it thereafter. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” (35:2). We must accept everything as planned; as long as mother and baby are healthy in the end, that is most important.  Do not forget to express gratitude to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) for bestowing you with this new precious gift and for placing His Protection over you and your growing family. 


With all this said, it is important to remain flexible because many times your birth plan cannot be guaranteed. The baby may require further help than expected during the delivery.  In the words of my candid midwife who told me at one of my first prenatal appointments, “You are telling me now that you do not want an epidural yet you might not be the same lady who walks through the delivery room door a few months later in extreme pain begging for it.” I never thought about it that way but I understand her perspective now. Right now, we think we know our bodies and we feel we can control what is to come. But the outcome can always take a 180 degree turn and be completely not as we desire. We must be prepared for that and trust in Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and that everything will happen in the best interest of you and your baby. 

There are many duas that we can say for protection from pain and difficulty. They can be found at www.makedua.com or in the dua book “Fortification of the Muslim (Hisnul Muslim)” compiled by Sa’eed ibn Ali ibn Wahf al Qahtaani. Here you can also find specific duas for protection of children. When my first child was born, I did not realize the sudden emotions that emerge from your heart out of extreme love, care, and fear of something bad happening to him/her. My husband and I tried our best to learn these duas for protection for children and we would recite them over our child every night. This sensation of extreme love, care, and concern for your child is a beautiful feeling that one cannot truly understand until he or she becomes a parent. May Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) grant us the wisdom, intelligence, and patience to raise our children with iman and taqwa in their hearts and raise them to be righteous, confident Muslim individuals in today’s society. Aameen. 

 
References:

1. Top 7 mom-tested tips for birth and beyond, Evonne Lack http://www.babycenter.com/0_top-7-mom-tested-tips-for-birth-and-beyond_10338348.bc

2. 10 smart ways to prepare for your baby’s birth, Evonne Lack http://www.babycenter.com/0_10-smart-ways-to-prepare-for-your-babys-birth_10328975.bc

3. Take it from the Labor Nurse, Jeanne Faulkner, R.N., http://www.fitpregnancy.com/labor-delivery/labor-delivery/take-it-labor-nurse

4. Epidural - Medication is delivered through a catheter – a very thin, flexible, hollow tube – that's inserted into the epidural space just outside the membrane that surrounds your spine. An epidural is the most commonly used method of pain relief for labor in the United States. Epidural pain relief for labor, BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board http://www.babycenter.com/0_epidural-pain-relief-for-labor_1489911.bc


Please let me know your thoughts and advice on what to expect during delivery!



Nov 22, 2013

The 4 essentials for learning Arabic - Part 1

By Tara Delancey

Part 2

Bismillah 


Learning Arabic is one of the most important things we can do to better understand our deen. As the language in which the Qur’an was revealed, as well as the original sources of hadith and major religious commentaries and other scholarly writing, an understanding of Arabic will allow us to access the words of Allah and his Messenger, sal Allahu aleyhi wa sallam, directly and without anyone else acting as an ‘interpreter’. 

Many sisters are aware of the value of understanding Arabic and have made efforts to learn the language but still feel stuck, as if on the edge of a steep mountain with no more strength to go on, while others are overwhelmed by the sheer difficulty of it all and have been too scared to even begin. Does either of these scenarios sound like you? If so, then here are few excellent tips to get you going:

1. Refresh your motivation:

This is number one for a reason. Get it in your system. This is absolutely the most important thing you need to have to learn Arabic. If you do not feel the desire to learn, speak, read and write the language burning in the very core of your soul, you are likely to burn out before getting very far. 

This is not meant to discourage anyone but only to say that, because Arabic is such a difficult language (one of the most difficult in the world, according to linguists), and so different from English, that it requires more effort to learn than usual. On the bright side, Allah makes it easy for the keen learners. If you have the motivation, you truly can achieve anything. 

To increase your motivation, remind yourself that the first reason you are learning Arabic is in order to understand the Qur'an more perfectly and connect more deeply with the words of Allah. This is not a trivial matter. The fact is that something is always lost in translation. If you are reading a translation, you will always be limited by another person’s interpretation of the meaning. 

Ask yourself: how important is it for me to explore the layers and depths of the Qur'anic Arabic text and understand it for myself? When you discover the answer to that question, you will find that the next point comes very easily inshaAllah.

2. Make time: 

Luckily, this is something that everyone has. If you are thinking, “but seriously! I just don’t have the time!” you have exactly as many hours in the day as Helen Keller, Gandhi, and the Prophet Muhammad himself, sal Allahu aleyhi wa sallam. The trick is to organize your time in the most efficient way. This is also about making priorities. If you have the motivation mentioned before, and have internalized the seriousness of learning Arabic for understanding the Qur’an, then it should be fairly easy to make the space in your schedule for Arabic study bi’idh Illah.

Furthermore, even though sitting down and studying is an essential foundation, it is not enough. There are other ways to reinforce and expand your practical ability to use the language which, thankfully, can  be combined with other important things in your day. For example, relax by watching Arabic shows on the TV or internet, talk to yourself about what you are doing when working around the house (“now I’m vacuuming, I’m in the shower, I’m cooking dinner”), or anytime you get together with your friends who are learning or already speak Arabic, try to keep the conversation in Arabic as much as possible (don’t forget your Arabic/English dictionary!).


Look out for Part 2 of this topic where we will continue with the 3rd and 4th essentials for learning Arabic InshaAllah.


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


Nov 20, 2013

A Brief Explanation of Aqeedah Al Wasitiyyah Part 6 Continued

By Amatullah Aminah

Bismillah
http://hq-mwalls.blogspot.com


This part is a continuation of A Brief Explanation of Aqeedah Al Wasitiyyah  Part 6, in which we discussed some of the attributes of Allah.

Al-Khabeer

Khabeer is derived from 'Khibrah' which means to comprehend the inner as well as outward realities of things. Allah being Al-Khabeer encompasses the innermost and hidden realities of all things (including the outward realities), He has knowledge of what lies in the depths of oceans, under the earth, inside rocks, not a leaf falls but it is in Allah's knowledge.

He knows that which goes into the earth and that which comes forth from it, and that which descend from the heaven and that which ascends to it”. [34:2]

And with Him are the keys of the Ghaib (all that is hidden), none knows them but He. And He knows whatever there is in (or on) the earth and in the sea; not a leaf falls, but he knows it. There is not a grain in the darkness of the earth nor anything fresh or dry, but is written in a Clear Record”. [6:59]

And no female conceives or gives birth, but with His Knowledge”. [35:11]

That you may know that Allâh has power over all things, and that Allâh surrounds (comprehends) all things in (His) Knowledge.” [65:12]

SubhanAllah! Place your trust in Allah and do not despair in face of storms, because Allah being Al-Khabeer has knowledge of all things, and what may appear tormenting may pave way for His blessings and true happiness.

Affirmation of Hearing and Sight


There is nothing like Him, and He is the All-Hearer, All Seer.” [42:11]

The aforementioned verse begins with a proclamation that there is nothing like Allah. Allah is unique in all ways and cannot be compared to His creation. The negation of His likeness, to the creation, is followed by affirmation of His sight and hearing. Allah sees and hears everything but it cannot be compared to the hearing and sight of His creation; also we must refrain from resorting to anthropomorphism. His eyes are nothing like our eyes or any other kind of eyes we know of; similarly His ears are nothing like ours. When studying such attributes, it must be kept in mind that Allah is as-Samad, He is unique. Neither time should be devoted in imagining how Allah's eyes, ears (or hands) must be like. Allah is beyond our imagination and knowledge. We know of Him only that which He has chosen to reveal. “And they do not encompass Him in knowledge.” (2:110)

With that said, Allah is aware of everything. He sees and hears everything, all the time.

Verily, how excellent is the teaching which He (Allâh) gives you! Truly, Allâh is Ever All-Hearer, All-Seer.” [4:58]

The point of evidence from these two noble verses is that they contain an affirmation of hearing and seeing for Allah. And in the first verse there is a negation of any likeness to the created things. Therefore, in what He has described and named Himself with, there is a combination between negation and affirmation.

The next article will focus on Allah's will (Mashee’ah, Iraadah)

To Be Continued...


Reference:

[1] And [mention] when your Lord took from the children of Adam - from their loins - their descendants and made them testify of themselves, [saying to them], "Am I not your Lord?" They said, "Yes, we have testified." [This] - lest you should say on the day of Resurrection, "Indeed, we were of this unaware." [7:172]

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

Nov 18, 2013

Preparing for Baby: Must Know Tips for a Smooth Labor and Delivery Part 1

By Sabah Chaudhry

Bismillah

Many couples begin their journey to parenthood having expectations, fears, hopes, and dreams for the new bundle of joy that is about to join them. Both mom and dad need to be prepared and know how to react when that long awaited moment arrives, the moment the mother’s water breaks or her contractions onset and labor begins. Both mom and dad will be excited yet nervous as they are about to meet this newest member of the family, the newest blessing in their lives.


Alhamdulillah being seven months pregnant and awaiting the arrival of our little one, I pray I can shed light and share my thoughts, fears, and hopes as I also plan to face labor and delivery in the next few months. I pray my words inshaAllah can benefit our sisters who are expecting and allow them to tread this journey to motherhood feeling a little less stressed and a little more prepared and excited about bringing in a beautiful new life into this world. A lot of the tips I will mention are advice given to me by mothers, midwives, doctors, and healthcare professionals. It may seem difficult to remain calm and patient when entering the final and possibly most painful stage of pregnancy, but with dua, trust in Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), and being ready and prepared, that fear and anxiety can be extinguished.

As you venture through pregnancy and before you enter the delivery room, it is important to go through this checklist and be prepared for what to expect:

  • When visiting your doctor or midwife, be sure to ask lots of questions. It never hurts to ask and you have every right to receive answers about your health and the health of your baby.
  • Read books and articles about pregnancy, labor, and delivery. You will not have much time afterwards.  I have found Babycenter.com to be an excellent resource for expectant moms. You can track your pregnancy, see what your baby looks like, and know what to expect at each stage. Even for postpartum, new moms can find information on how to care for their newborns and growing babies, and they can track their development.
  • Attend a childbirth class. It will help you, as an expectant mother, to understand the stages of labor and what your body will go through during labor. It will also teach you breathing techniques for relaxation, the positions to be in to ease the labor and delivery process, and the ways your spouse can help you.
  • Make a birth plan. You can use a birth plan worksheet to share with your provider. Babycenter.com has a worksheet you can use: http://assets.babycenter.com/ims/Content/birthplan_pdf.pdf
  • Ask experienced and trustworthy moms for advice and what to expect.
  • Know the protocols to follow once you go into labor. Your doctor or midwife should give you clear guidelines on what to do, such as when to call and when to go to the hospital or birthing center and where to arrive from.  Of these protocols is making sure you have emergency care arranged for your other children (if any).
  • Have a bag packed and ready to go for the hospital; prepare weeks before your due date because you never know if you will deliver early. Make sure you have things packed for yourself, the new baby, and your husband. You can refer to this article for tips on what to pack: “Mom says: Top 12 things to pack for the hospital” at http://www.babycenter.com/0_moms-say-top-12-things-to-pack-for-the-hospital_10339938.bc

I hope you liked reading my article.  Part 2 will contain more insight on how to prepare for a smooth delivery.

Nov 17, 2013

Short Story: MY WIFE IS A NINJA CHAPTER 15

By Alawiya Abdalla

Bismillah 

Shaimaa

Sitting here and eating my mini breakfast and I have no care in the world whatsoever. I have to admit though that the constant threat of Osman walking in on me eating is spoiling my fun, just a tiny bit.

Even though I locked the room, I still do not feel entirely comfortable. A girl gotta eat right? and I cannot eat with my Niqab on, that’s just mean

I hope breakfast is not gonna be croissants everyday though! I miss Fool (Egyptian beans dish) and Taamia (Falafel) sooo much. One day I will go in the kitchen and cook it for them, I bet they will like it they just do not know it yet

As I was dreaming about Egyptian food, Osman knocks on the door.

“WAIT A MINUTE PLEASE” I tell him while trying to locate my Niqab in a hurry.
I find it and I quickly go and open the door for him.
“How come you’re back so soon?” I ask him trying NOT to sound disappointed.
“Sorry, I have to go somewhere” He tells me not looking at me and searching for his shoes.
“Are you OK? You seem a little bit jumpy” I tell him.
“No I'm not” He replies not making eye contact
“If you’re sure then OK” I give up figuring out what is wrong with him before I add “Erm Osman, have you got a laptop?”

“Yeah, do you wanna use it?” He asks.
“That would be lovely, I wanna find out where the Mosques are so I can go and visit them” I reply.
“Sure why not” He tells me before he reaches out for the door handle to make his exit.
“Osman, I just wanna thank you for today. That was very generous of you to take me to your area when you would have been asleep at that time” 
I make sure he knows how grateful I am for his help, even though he is an annoying creature and I was just telling him off a few minutes ago but I know deep down that he is lost and he needs to be told he is doing good sometimes.

He hesitates for a minute but does not turn around, before he finally says
“Your welcome”

He gives me the laptop and then he dashes out of the room as fast as he can. Subhanallah, these people really need to have at least SOME Iman in their lives.
No wonder they all look lost and not knowing where they are heading! And me being me, I know that I cannot help myself from trying to change things so May Allah give me strength for this. Ameen

I open the laptop and go to Google and type famous Mosques in London and wait for the results. What? Just because I'm from Egypt you think I do not know what Google is? 
Come on girls give me some credit
Anyway! there are A LOT of Mosques in London apparently as the results show Mashallah, but one in particular caught my eye.

The London Central Mosque & The Islamic Cultural Centre, it LOOKS fabulous and amazing in the pictures. I CANNOT wait to ask Osman to take me there :wOOt:

I was engrossed in the search when I heard a knock on the door

“Who is it?” I yell.
“It’s me. Your Uncle” Uncle Khalifa responds.

I shut the laptop immediately and I went to open the door. What does he want I wonder

Osman

I leave the house in a hurry not knowing where is my head from my toes, AND to make it worse I have diarrhoea when I get nervous I always get diarrhoea, I know too much information bro!

I just wanna clear my head somehow, and the only person I can think of is Amber. She knows Kevin and she will tell me if his threats are for real or not, I know she will tell me that I got myself in it and that Kevin does not mess about.
I just think to myself there is no harm in trying now is there? So I find myself standing at her council flat and I turn my nose up a bit because I have never been to her place before.

WOW there is a difference between where she lives and where I live! And why in the world does she have to live on the 9th floor?? The lift smells kind of funny
Finally I reach her flat and I ring the door bell. I wait for about 5 minutes before someone opens the door! A woman who looks like she is in her 40s, stands there with a cigarette in her mouth.

She says nothing to me, and she looks at me from head to toe then she suddenly winks at me
“Erm, is Amber awake?” I ask her and I get a bit anxious when she starts circling me
“Amber didn't tell me she had a fit and rich boyfriend!” She finally says something and she is making me feel uncomfortable
“Could you please wake her up?” I ask her politely hoping she would just STOP checking me out!
“Come in” She says seductively.

She ushers me to the living room and she goes to wake Amber up. I take a look at the surroundings, and I realize that I never bothered to know much about Amber. I feel kind of sad for her all of a sudden, no wonder she is hanging on to me like hanging on to dear life.

I am her only escape from this life, I know that now but I just cannot see myself spending the rest of my life with her, sad but true
As I was lost in my new found “thoughts” thanks to ninja Amber walks in blurry eyed. She looks at me with an unspoken astonishment of why I was here.

“You’re probably wondering why I'm here innit?” I state the obvious.
“Aha” She replies.
“Kevin wants me to start tonight, and I was wondering if you can tell me what am I supposed to do” I tell her about my worries.
“Ozzy, you’re not trying to back out are you? Cuz Kevin won’t leave you alone” She warns me.
“I'M NOT” I say it sharply “I'm just wondering that’s all”

“I have no clue, he doesn't tell me anything. It’ll probably involve beating someone up cuz they didn't pay the loan on time or something else I don’t know” She says casually.
“What something else??” I ask nervously
“Oh if it’s a woman they__you don’t need to know all this. You’re just watching out, don’t bother yourself too much” She tries to make me feel better about what is about to go down.

“What do they do to the women?” I push her for information.

“Ozzy, if Kevin didn't tell you then I'm not gonna! He’ll punish me if I did. You wanted thrill, you’re gonna get it. Stop acting all sissy man” She mocks me.
“I'm not being a sissy! I just wanna know what’s gonna happen that’s all” I defend myself

“Anyway, how’s your “wife” She asks.
“She’s cool, she’s actually not that bad you know. She’s safe” I reply.
“You’re not liking her are you? Cuz I won’t let that happen you know that right? You’re mine” She threatens me indirectly.

“NAH MAN! ME? AND NINJA? FOR REAL? YOU’RE MAD!” I cannot believe she would even think that

“Just saying” She relaxes.
“Look I gotta go make myself ready for tonight” I inform her eager to get away from her.
“What’s the rush?” She stands up as I make my way to the door.
“Nothing, like I said I just wanna get ready” I lie.

I was about to leave when her mum shouts
“Come back again and visit us sometimes will you?” She says with a wink

I make my way out quickly! and I realize to myself for the first time EVER the mess I am living in. The sort of people that are my “friends”.
I would have never realized all this if I did not wake up early today, and all of a sudden I wanna go back home and strangle ninja because this is all her fault. I was fine before she came, and now I am “thinking” and “analysing my friends”.

If she did this in a day what could she do to me in A YEAR? She NEEDS TO LEAVE MAN

Khalifa

I am sitting here asking Shaimaa how she is and how is she finding life with us so far, but all the while I want to tell her about my secret.

“Have you spoken to your family yet?” I ask her.
“No, I haven’t. I don’t wanna ask too much from you guys, I’ll call them when I have money Inshallah” She replies shyly.
“Shaimaa! You need to stop saying things like that please. We are family! I know the situation doesn't show me to be the kind of uncle who you could rely on, but you are FAMILY OK? No more nonsense talk about my money your money” I sincerely mean it.
“Jazakallah uncle, forgive me” She replies.
“I’ll get someone to buy a phone card so you can call your family tonight. Actually let me write it down in my notepad in case I forget it” I tell her not explaining why I have to write things down.

“Why do you have to write it down” She asks curiously.
“Actually, that’s what I came to talk to you about” I feel grateful that I do not have to beat around the bush to explain my situation to her.
“Is everything alright?” She asks nervously.

“Shaimaa, I think I have Alzheimers disease. I just came back from the GP this morning and he’s gonna run tests to make it official” I get everything out of my chest for the first time since I started experiencing the symptoms.
“You said it yourself uncle, they are gonna run tests. You can’t jump into conclusion just yet” She tries to reassure me.
“I have been feeling lost for a couple of days now, things just keep slipping out of my mind all of a sudden. Once, I couldn't even remember which keys open my cars. I'm pretty sure it’s that” I explain.

“Have you told your wife or Osman about this?” She asks sympathetically.
“No! And I won’t. They can’t find out, that’s why I came to you. You've seen the way my wife and Osman behave! they only care about the fact that I bring in the money. I just can not bring myself to see pity and disgust in their eyes” I tell her my fears.
“But uncle, anything could happen to you! You could forget where you are and I won’t know what to do” She says it in a panicky voice.

“I'm sure you’ll figure out a way Shaimaa, from one day I can tell that you’re a smart girl and that’s why I chose to tell YOU. Please promise me you won’t tell anyone about this” I beg her.

“But uncle___” She tries to say something but I cut her off by saying
“You can tell them if you are ABSOLUTELY stuck and you genuinely have no clue what to do. Only THEN you can tell them, how does that sound?” I make her promise me.
“I guess that would be alright!” She tells me with a heavy sigh.
“You don’t know how much this means to me. Thank you very much” I tell her.
“You’re welcome” She replies.

I stand up to leave the room, but Shaimaa stops me in my tracks by asking
“Uncle, why doesn’t anyone pray in this house?”
“Shaimaa, that is something I don’t even know the answer to. It’s too late for all of us, might as well live the way we are living now” I answer her question with a heavy heart as religion has not been discussed in our house in a looong time.
“It is never too late to ask Allah’s forgiveness uncle, you just have to have the intention and the rest will follow Inshallah” She reassures me.

I leave the room feeling heavy and confused. No one has ever questioned me about praying except my mum (May Allah rest her soul).
She was always pushing us to pray, but her requests fell on deaf ears. I just feel like it is too late to do that, my sins are toooooo much and I realize that I am gonna end up in hell anyway.

What is the point

Osman

I left Amber’s house and I kept wandering the streets to kill time. I was just walking aimlessly at Oxford Street, because I did not wanna go back home facing ninja and her holier than thou stuff.

And that is when I got a text from Kevin that said -
Be ready in an hour time. You will meet with John at Watford station. He’ll recognize you.

So I am here. Waiting for “John” if that is his real name even! I look around to see if I can spot the guy, and that is when I see a car with black windows pulling up next to me.
The window goes down and I see a HUGE white guy ushering me to get in with a nod. I go in nervously not knowing how the HELL DID I GET MYSELF INTO THIS

“So where are we going bruv?” I ask trying to clear up the tension
“ I'm not your bruv and No questions” Was all he said in a rough voice.

I say nothing and just wait for any signs to check where we are. We drove in silence for an hour, and I figured out from the road signs that we were heading to Leytonstone.

We pull up outside a semi detached house and we wait. I have no clue and I am too scared to ask anything, but we are STILL waiting___
A car pulls up, and a man, a woman and a boy come out heading towards the house. The man spots us and his eyes grows wide.
He says something to the woman and she takes the boy inside, before he comes towards us.

John comes out of the car and immediately pulls him in the car! He does not tell me anything so I just sit there SCARED and shocked.
We drive to a secluded area which has a park. He pulls the man in question out of the car and orders me to look out.
I do as I am told because what other choices do I have really
“Did you think we were not gonna find you” He hisses at the man punching his face hard
”Did you think you can borrow money from the boss and run off?”
“Please don’t kill me! I was gonna tell you about the change of address but I just got busy with the move” The poor man tries to explain.

“SAVE YOUR BREATH!” John orders the man.

“Here’s what’s gonna happen. We’re gonna give you another chance to keep up with the repayment, but we have to leave you with a little reminder so you won’t act clever again” He tells him smiling in a scary way.

“PLEASE DON’T____” And before he could finish his sentence I hear a loud CRACK followed with a piercing scream.
I turn around and I witness the poor man holding his left leg, which looks like it’s dislocated and I feel physically sick
“Ta, see you soon mate. Make sure you have the payments by next week Thursday” He tells him laughing as he makes his way to the car.

“GET IN” He orders me after seeing my shocked face and my stillness.

OMG WHAT DID I GET MYSELF INTO

Meanwhile in a club not faraway______
“Why did you give Ozzy that job?” Amber asks Kevin.
“Cuz lover boy is loaded, and we need him to be involved with us as much as he can. The more involved he is, the harder it will be for him to escape” He explains with a wicked smile.
“Why couldn’t you just let him do drugs” She asks.
“He would have seen drugs as a thrill. I wanna make him terrified, so he will NEVER try and leave us” He answers.

And with that answer, Amber and Kevin smile at each other as their plan come alive________

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

Nov 15, 2013

Don’t feel sorry to be sorry

by Nourin Ibrahim

Bismillah 

A very easy word to utter is “sorry’’. It has the ability to heal broken hearts, forget the past, remove physical pain, wash away ego, dissolve anger and a whole lot of other advantages.

Then why is it so difficult for us to utter it when we know we have done something wrong?

A husband finds it very difficult to say sorry to his wife when he knows he hurt her feelings; sons or daughters shrug off when asked to apologize to their mother whom they have disobeyed; a brother does not say sorry to his sister when he has broken her favorite toy, and the list goes on.

In most cases, we find a third person forcing one to say sorry to the other. Only in very few cases does a person voluntarily say sorry. Have you ever given a thought why saying sorry is like a tedious job for all of us?

The main enemy of “sorry’’ is our own ego.

Ego is when you are wrapped in yourself to the extent that you become unable to see or hear what others around you are feeling. This is when you are in a dangerous situation.

A husband feels that he is the head of the family and the provider for his wife, which means he does not have to bother to say sorry to his wife when he has done something wrong. At the same time, the wife feels that she is doing so much for him and still he is hurting her by finding faults and not saying sorry for things.

We see friends who make an issue out of a small fight and finally lose the most precious friends in life just because they could not say a simple sorry and hug. Just imagine two friends who have been together for years and chatted with each other 24/7 now finding it difficult to open up, the reason is plain - ego…

I believe a parent should apologize to his/her kids if they have hurt them in any manner (that does not mean that you should say sorry to your kids after punishing them). If we punish them it is for their good and it is part of parenting, but when you feel you have ignored, teased, or hurt their feelings it is always better to say sorry which will make you more respectful in their eyes.

We usually hurt people surrounding us and who are very close to us. It can be our family or friends who love and care for us. There is nothing wrong or extraordinary in saying sorry or apologizing for our mistakes, after all she is your own mother, he is your own brother, your own kid, your own husband, your best friend…why shy away? 

Even when it is not our mistake, saying sorry to amend the situation is not a bad idea. For example, if a wife knows her husband is not going to say sorry after a fight, it is always advisable for the wife to approach him and apologize, which will not make the wife defeated in his eyes, but he will realize how selfish he has been.

Six Reasons why we should not feel sorry to be sorry…

*Saying sorry shows you care and do not want to lose that person in your life.

*It shows you are not just bothered about yourself, but can feel the emotion of the person you have hurt.

*Saying sorry makes you feel you are broad minded but remember the person needs a broader mind to forgive you.

*Saying sorry makes you realize you were wrong and will remind you not to make the same mistake again. You should not get used to making a mistake and saying sorry often which will have an adverse effect. It is like taking an antibiotic every time you fall sick and later your body stops reacting to it.

*Saying sorry will relieve a mental block and free your mind. You can tell yourself - I tried.

*Never delay to say sorry.



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



Nov 13, 2013

A Brief Explanation of Aqeedah Al Wasitiyyah Part 6

By Amatullah Aminah

http://www.myheartmakkah.com
Bismillah

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Al Awwal. Al Akhir. Adh Daahir. Al Baatin


And His, the Sublime’s saying, “He is al-Awwal and al-Aaakhir and adh-Daahir and al-Baatin. And He has knowledge of everything”   [57:3]

This beautiful verse brings to revelation some very majestic attributes of Allah. The process of research of these attributes was an extremely humbling experience. You understand, from the very core of your soul, that truly Allah is the only one deserving to be worshipped and prostration comes upon you intrinsically. Your body (and soul) would voluntarily fall into prostration and in that very moment you will realize you have discovered the covenant your soul gave to Allah when it was created. [1]

This noble verse was explained by the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) in the hadeeth that is reported by Muslim, that he (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said, “O Allaah, You are al-Awwal (the First), so there is nothing before you. And You are al-Aakhir (the Last), so there is nothing after you. And you are adh-Dhaahir (the Most High), so there is nothing above you. And you are al-Baatin (the Nearest), so there is nothing nearer than You.

The affirmation of these Noble Names from Allah, necessitates His encompassment of every single thing, in time, in place, in knowledge, in estimation (taqdeer) and in regulation (tadbeer). May He be exalted and sanctified in the loftiest manner. He is eternal, without beginning and before the existence of everything else (al-Awwal) and He will continue to exist after everything perishes (al Akhir). He is Most High and above everything in terms of time, space, power and knowledge (adh-Dhaahir) and He is nearer to us than our own selves (al-Baatin) which can be comprehended in various beautiful ways; closer in the sense to protect and provide solace, close enough to have knowledge of what our hearts conceal, close enough to listen to our pleas and respond to them.

Al Hakeem

[All] praise is [due] to Allah , to whom belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth, and to Him belongs [all] praise in the Hereafter. And He is the Wise (Al Hakim), the Acquainted (Al Khabeer).  [34:1]

Hakeem has two meanings: 1] One who judges between people/things/affairs in the most perfect and precise manner and 2] The One who is infinitely wise and has knowledge of things.

Both the words hakam and hakîm arise from the same haa-kaaf-meem root. Hakam is a verbal noun which emphasizes the delivery of justice, while hakîm is a noun which indicates the essential nature of the possessor of wisdom. In regard to the attributes and nature of Allah, Most High and Wise, Al Hakeem would hold the following connotations:

The One who is Most Knowing.

The One who possesses the quality of discrimination between right and wrong and who is free from error or misunderstanding.

The One who has perfect wisdom.

The One whose wisdom turns mankind back from wrongdoing.

The One who is qualified to judge the worth of all things.

Thus Allah being Al-Hakeem judges between the affairs of His creation in the most perfect manner as He is the Only One who possesses the knowledge of true nature of things. He perfectly executes and balances things due to His infinite wisdom and knowledge of past, present and future.

They said, "Exalted are You; we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Indeed, it is You who is the Knowing, the Wise (Al-Hakeem)."   [2:32]


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Stay tuned for the next part of this article!

Nov 11, 2013

Gheebah: the Ills of the Tongue Part 2

By Umm Yusuf Zaid

Part I
http://islam-is-our-salavation.blogvie.com

Bismillah

This article is a continuation of Gheebah: the Ills of the Tongue Part 1 where I discussed what gheebah is and its ruling according to our Islamic teachings.  In this part, I shall discuss why many of us commit gheebah.

Causes of Gheebah

Hatred and enviousness are among the main causes of gheebah. The backbiter mentions the errors of whomever he hates in order to satisfy the hatred he feels. Or one backbites someone who has been favored upon by Allah, be it in terms of wealth, children or knowledge. Therefore, a jealous backbiter who is weak in his religion will try and remove this favor. However, he finds no way of doing this except by backbiting the person.

The trade of a person who indulges in Gheebah is a losing trade, as he surrenders his goods to whomever he backbites in spite of himself. At the same time, it is a profit for the other (backbitten) party, as he acquires its rewards in goods deeds, thus making his scale of deeds heavier while he is unaware.

Those who commit Gheebah have an awful stench.

Jaabir (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated:
We were with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) when an awful odor arose. He (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Do you know what that odor is? It is the odor of those who commit gheebah against the believers.” (Hasan: Recorded by Ahmad)

The one who listens to backbiting

Listening to someone who practices gheebah, showing interest, amazement and delight at what he says, falls under the same ruling of gheebah itself. This behavior increases the activity of whoever commits gheebah and encourages him. It also contains a form of affirming his truthfulness. Consequently, when the listener accepts the words of backbiter and becomes pleased with his speech, he will have participated with him in committing gheebah.

Worse than gheebah

Abu Dawood narrated in his Sunan via Nawfal ibn Masahiq from Sa’eed ibn Zayd that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The most prevalent kind of usury (riba) is going to lengths in talking unjustly against a Muslim’s honour.” [4858]

From the calamities that the Muslims have been tested with is that you see a person backbiting his brother, but not because of a sin or shortcoming; but solely based on his assumptions of matters that he is oblivious off.

For example, a person maybe humble in his dressing, even though he is able to be extravagant. Therefore, the ignorant person will say “Look at this stingy person. Look at this man who forbids for himself the adornment of the worldly life. Look at this person who tries to put our worldly life to death.” The opposite is also true. For example, if Allah provides a person with a house and animal, they say, “Look at him. Verily he does not fear Allah regarding the Muslims. While he is living in his house and riding his animals, he does not think about the Muslims.” And so forth.

Do we know their hidden secrets, as to whether he spends in the way of Allah or not? If Allah provides for him from His bounty, does he reject that bounty or does he give it its just due?

Such assumptions and slander are the worst type of gheebah. It is most emphatically forbidden to cast aspersions upon one's honesty, look down upon a Muslim, do one’s utmost to insult and dishonor him. This is a blameworthy characteristic and a serious malady; it is one of the major sins and the one who does this is subject to severe punishment

Cure for Gheebah

There are two ways to treat one’s inclination to commit gheebah. The first is to repent from gheebah. This is that the person knows that if he commits gheebah, he is exposed to the anger and wrath of Allah. Also he should know that by committing backbiting, some of his good deeds are transferred to the backbitten person on the Day of Resurrection. Therefore, one should sincerely repent to Allah from gheebah, feel sorry for his sins and intend to refrain from committing gheebah in the future.

The second cure is that the person should look into the reason that caused him to backbite. For verily, the problem is rectified by cutting off its originating source. An intelligent person cuts off the, means of gheebah and takes the means of cure and remedy. He occupies himself with his own shortcomings instead of the shortcomings of others. He guards his tongue from speaking anything but goodness. In this way he is victorious with both the good of this world and the good of the Hereafter.

Fear Allah, fear Allah regarding the honor of the Muslims and their flesh.


A wise man once truthfully spoke who described Gheebah as the entertainment of the sinners, the pastures of the women, and the condiment of the dogs of the people [i].

We ask Allah to save us all from the ills of the tongue and torment of the Fire. Insha Allah a reminder for me first.


Reference:

[i] Al-Gheebah - Backbiting & its Evil Effects on Muslim Society by Abdul Malik al-Qasim, Second edition 2004, Darussalam.