The Mane Effect

A teenager finds her way out of the curl pool!

As a teenager, living with a mane of thick wavy locks was never a source of pleasure to me. Especially when I witnessed long, silky and straight hair possessed by any female, I couldn’t help but turn green with envy. So I headed for refuge to the nearest beauty salon. Back then the best the hair stylist could come up with was to apply a blob of foul smelling crème to my head. This was followed by a wash, some blow-drying and Voila! I actually ended up with the desired straight hair!

For the next five days, believe it or not, I didn’t dare to wash my hair. In a mad state of ecstasy, I unnecessarily jerked my head around and tossed my tamed curls, but then inevitably, I stepped into the shower. The straight strands turned back into wavy wisps. Alas! My horror knew no bounds. I drove down to the beauty salon and bombarded my hairstylist. She calmly informed me that if I was to have uncurled hair, I had to blow dry them eternally every time I washed them. Then, adding a few more words of wisdom, she continued: “By the way, the new hair that will grow on your scalp will be curly, so in any case you will have to keep coming back to straighten them out too.”

Now, that was a death sentence for a lazy Garfield like me. To me brushing hair was an ordeal and here she was suggesting standing before the mirror every day and wrestling with my tangles. For the next three months, misery was my constant companion. From hot rollers to blow-drying, from gel to mousse – I tried a myriad of hair products and processes, not to mention the wasting of all my spending allowance. The curls growing at the roots, the mercilessly pulled and blow-dried locks … they all appeared like a graph of ECG – zigzags, straight lines, crooks…

One day, sanity knocked on my door. Amid tears, I started to reflect: why did Allah (swt) give me wild and curly hair? Did he run out of stock of straight strands by the time it was my turn? Now, that seemed highly unlikely. So it must have been a deliberate attempt to make me look the way I am. I knew He (swt) is Al-Adil (The Just) so He (swt) was bound to do justice with me. I also realized that He (swt) was Al-Jameel (The Beautiful) and Al-Aleem (The Knowledgeable). His aesthetic sense combined with His knowledge was far beyond my pea-sized brain.

I started to see the sunny side of life. Casting aside nasty comments from people and luring beauty products on TV, I broke free from the myth of traditional mindsets propagating a ridiculous idea of beauty. Who decided that straight hair was something to be proud of and curly hair a cause for shame?

I searched for the beauty that was permanent and abandoned the idea of borrowed looks that were superficial. I treated my curls with more respect, once I learned that Allah’s Messenger (sa) also did not have straight hair. I began to see humour in a new light, too. When others would make fun of my hair calling me names, I retorted that I would still have half of this hair on my head when they will have none in ten years time. So there was a silver lining to the cloud!

The Quran states: “So whatever you have been given is but (a passing) enjoyment for this worldly life, but that which is with Allah (Paradise) is better and more lasting for those who believe and put their trust in their Lord.” (Ash-Shura 42:36)

After making peace with myself, I thanked Allah (swt) for His guidance. I still haven’t given up though. Now I ask Him (swt) to grant my desire in Jannah, Insha’Allah – originally and eternally soft, silky and straight hair. That too minus the blow-drying, Insha’Allah!

Usamah Bin Zaid (rta)

Vol 4 - Issue 4 Usamah Bin ZaidThe birth of Usamah Bin Zaid (rta) was a great joy for the Prophet (sa), who had a very close connection with the child’s parents. Usamah’s mother Umm Aiman (rta) used to serve the Prophet’s (sa) mother. Usamah’s father Zaid Bin Harith (rta) had a very special place in the Prophet’s (sa) heart – he had declared Zaid Bin Harithah (rta) to be his adopted son.

Dark skinned and with typical African features, Usamah Bin Zaid (rta) was known for his virtuousness, intelligence, humility, fear of Allah (swt) and passion for Jihad. He loved the Prophet (sa) very dearly and was ready to sacrifice his life for the cause of Islam. It is due to these noble qualities that the Prophet (sa) proclaimed Usamah (rta) to be dearer to him than all other Companions.

When the call for the battle of Uhud was announced, Usamah (rta) set out to join the Muslim army. Unfortunately, he was not accepted into the rows of Mujahideen due to his very young age.

For the battle of Ahzab, Usamah (rta) once again set out for joining the Mujahideen. Remembering his bad luck at the time of the battle of Uhud, Usamah (rta) began walking on his toes in order to appear taller and older. The Prophet (sa) noticed this trick and, with a smile on his face, accepted Usamah (rta). Thus, the battle of Ahzab became the first Jihad for Usamah (rta), who was only fifteen years old at the time.

Usamah (rta) was not yet twenty years old, when the Prophet (sa) appointed him to be the commander of the Muslim army setting out for Syria to fight the Roman army. Many questioned this choice of the Prophet (sa) – the young and inexperienced Usamah (rta) was to lead such distinguished Companions as Abu Bakr (rta) and Umar Farooq (rta). It so happened that just before the army set out, the Prophet (sa) passed away. Although it was suggested to delay the army and even to change the commander, Abu Bakr (rta), the first Caliph, firmly insisted that the army would set out for Syria, as he did not want to go against the dying wish of the Prophet (sa).

Harqal, the emperor of Rome, was surprised to hear that even after the death of their Prophet (sa), the Muslims had not delayed the war. This determination and confidence scared Harqal’s soldiers. The Romans suffered great losses, while the Muslim army under Usamah’s (rta) leadership, returned home safe and sound.

Two years before the death of the Prophet (sa), Usamah (rta) was appointed the commander of a regiment for an expedition. After returning to Madinah with bright colours of victory, the Prophet (sa) asked Usamah (rta) to tell him about the battle. Usamah (rta) said that when the enemy began to flee, he followed one of them. As soon as Usamah (rta) had lifted his spear over the enemy, the soldier recited the Kalimah, declaring his faith in Allah (swt). Disregarding this, Usamah (rta) still killed the soldier. The Prophet (sa) was very grieved to hear this, as Usamah (rta) had no right to kill a man, who had professed faith in Allah (swt). After seeing the anger of the Prophet (sa), Usamah (rta) felt as if all the good deeds he had ever done in his life were wasted – he learned a lesson that he remembered for the rest of his life.

When disagreements arose among Muslims, and Ali (rta) opposed Amir Muawiya (rta), Usamah (rta) categorically refused to take part in fighting. He went into seclusion, saying that no Muslim would be the target of his sword. He remembered the lesson the Prophet (sa) had taught him – not to fight against anyone, who testified that none had the right to be worshipped but Allah (swt).

Caliph Umar (rta) used to distribute stipends from the treasury, considering the services and sacrifices each person had made for the cause of Islam. Once, the Caliph’s son Abdullah (rta) approached him to inquire, why Usamah (rta) was receiving five thousand Dinars, while he was getting only two thousand. Abdullah (rta) said that Usamah’s father (rta) was in a lower position than his, and also Usamah (rta) himself had taken part in fewer battles than Abdullah (rta). Hearing these words, Caliph Umar (rta) replied that Usamah’s father (rta) was dearer to the Prophet (sa) than his, and that Usamah (rta) himself was dearer to the Prophet (sa) than Abdullah. The Caliph (rta) said that it was his duty to keep in mind the preferences of the Prophet (sa).

Caliph Umar (rta) told Abdullah (rta) the story of Usamah’s father Zaid Bin Harithah (rta), who used to be a very special servant of the Prophet (sa). When after a long search Zaid’s father Harithah finally found his kidnapped and sold in slavery son with the Prophet (sa), he asked Zaid (rta) to return home. Even though the Prophet (sa) gave Zaid (rta) the freedom to decide what he wanted to do, Zaid (rta) refused to leave the Prophet (sa). Zaid (rta) said that he would rather be with the Prophet (sa) than to have a thousand freedoms. Deeply moved to hear these words, the Prophet (sa) took Zaid (rta) to the Kabah and, in front of the Quraish chiefs, declared Zaid (rta) to be his son. From that time on, Muslims began calling him Zaid Bin Muhammad. This tradition was stopped by a revelation from Allah (swt), according to which an adopted son should be called by the name of his real father.

In addition, Usamah’s mother Umm Aiman (rta) had a special place in the Prophet’s (sa) heart. She used to attend to the Prophet’s (sa) mother. As the Prophet (sa) was very young at the time when his mother passed away, Umm Aiman (rta) took up the responsibility of raising him. The Prophet (sa) used to say that Umm Aiman (rta) was like a mother to him. He considered her a member of his own family.

Usamah (rta) himself enjoyed a very exceptional love of the Prophet (sa). Often, the Prophet (sa) used to pass on to Usamah (rta) the gifts given to him. Once, the Chief of the Quraish gave to the Prophet (sa) a very expensive dress, which he had brought from Yemen – a royal robe specially made for the King of Yemen. The Prophet (sa) wore the robe only once and then passed it on to Usamah (rta).

Although the time he spent with the Prophet (sa) was not long, people still used to ask him about the Prophet’s (sa) opinions on certain matters. Due to Usamah’s (rta) special place in the Prophet’s (sa) heart and his own exceptional personal characteristics, he was very much respected within the Muslim Ummah.

Source: “Commanders of the Muslim Army (Among the Companions of the Prophet (sa)” by Mahmood Ahmad Ghandafar.

Dear Haadia

Recently, I got married into a joint family system and am living happily with my husband. However, my family is not getting along with my in-laws. They claim that my in-laws don’t give them the respect they deserve. What should I do? I am torn between my parents and the duty towards my new household.

Answer: Indeed, your situation is quite precarious, but do remember that Allah (swt) has power over everything, as it is repeatedly stated in the Quran. Do not despair, as long as you reach out to Him. Read Dua-e-Istikharah, after offering two Nawafil and recite Surah Al-Baqarah for three nights – a Hadeeth tells us that in such a case Shaitan would not enter the house.

Apart from this, the marriage sermon delivered by our Prophet (sa) gives the advice that if we say the correct things, Allah (swt) shall set our affairs right. Do not align yourself with someone whom you know to be wrong as Islam lays great emphasis on truth and justice. On the other hand, handle the situation with the greatest of wisdom. There is no need to make hasty choices – simply believe that nobody can snatch from you your fate.

Remember that sometimes there are no black and white solutions – no definite choices for such sort of crises. Keep communication open with both parties and try to limit interaction between your in-laws and parents. Often we see that time is a great healer. Also, remember not to discuss this issue with other people, as it might aggravate the situation, if wrong advice is given or wrong information is shared.

May Allah (swt) be with you and protect you and your family from discord. Ameen.

Dear Haadia

Some of my friends have succumbed to smoking. When I try to stop them, they make fun of me. What should I do?

Answer: The topic of your question is a delicate one, as peer pressure can be extremely tough and exhausting to cope with. We often see that people are reluctant to give up smoking, either at gunpoint or through warning as to what is forbidden in Islam. They are unwilling to listen about the moral decadence of this addiction and the harmful effects associated with it. Although this is easier said than done, do not feel offended about being ridiculed, when inviting people towards the truth. Remember that even the messengers were mocked and ridiculed, when they invited people towards the good: “And never came a Messenger to them but they did mock at him.” (Al-Hijr 15:11)

First, sincerity on your part is absolutely essential. In warning your friends, keep your intention solely for the pleasure of Allah (swt).

Do not forget to make Dua for them and yourself that Allah (swt) may help you and grant you wisdom and strength in warning them.

Remember to invite with politeness and in non-argumentative ways; never strike on any individual’s integrity. You will have to build up your level of patience in this painstaking process; you might even be referred to as ‘Naik Bibi’ (pious girl). Do not get embarrassed or ashamed. In fact, when there is no negative reaction, eventually such jabs do fizzle out.

Also, remember that your role is to pass on the repercussions of this evil without nagging. An effective tool, which may be used for this purpose, is e-mail. May be you could start out by sending some interesting current discoveries and then discreetly move on to mailing information on smoking. There are many sites available, for example: http://www.missionislam.com/.

Hiba also had a special article on ‘Smoking in Shariah’ in one of its past issues. You may consult that to find out Islam’s stance and supporting evidence on the subject.

While giving the message, look for like-minded friends, so that you don’t get weakened and influenced in the process. In fact, they will be a source of strength for you, Insha’Allah.

If any of your friends wants to give up smoking, support them in any and every way possible, e.g., by offering counseling, medical help, financial or other resources. It is equally important to realize that beyond this, there is nothing else we can do, except continue praying for all such people with the utmost sincerity. Why? As we know, the ultimate guide is Allah’s (swt) will. Prophet Nuh (as) said to his people: “And my advice will not profit you, even if I wish to give you good counsel, if Allah’s will is to keep you astray.” (Hud 11:34)