From the diary of the young

Vol 2-Issue2 From the diary of the youngMonday,

June 21, 2004.

8.59 p.m.

These six months have been wonderful, poignant, eye-opening, enervating. Being a 20-year-old may not exactly be the most wonderful thing since childhood – but I would not exchange this period of my life with any other known or unknown one. My ideals are still being built, my sense of practicality isn’t too refined yet, but then again, I’d rather feed on my idealism. The world has not lost its charm – it does, however, seem bleaker than it once was. People take me seriously only because I do not reciprocate their gravity. If I did, God knows, I’d either be in tears or in constant fits of rage.

Hope has a renewed form and rain isn’t entirely unromantic – as long as the lights aren’t out. From the kaleidoscope of life, this is the time, when I’m laughing out loud, a booming hearty laugh. This is the age, when I have the time and the mind to hang out with my close group of friends at our popular hangouts. This is when I can get away with funky jewellery, mismatched clothing, unwashed dyed hair and too obviously coloured lenses. This is the time, when I get excited about a new dress, low mobile phone rates or at the opening of a new restaurant. This is when I’m confident enough to believe that I can change the world. This is when I’m scared about it all too… but not enough to back off.

The apple is red – shiny red. My horizon goes beyond my sight, yet my decisions are my own. Life is good. It does sting sometimes. But it doesn’t stop my eyes from welling up, when I read about twenty or so innocent teenagers being slaughtered in Thailand or Iraq. I’m still indignant at the low amount of taxes on cigarettes. I’m taken aback by the flaws in our educational system. My world is limited, but it is full. It is full of hope, dreams, ambition, strength, love, and faith. I know I will not always feel this invigorated. Nobody stays young forever. But all my experiences are my investments – and my life to come will build on these assets. Youth is not an age that passes. It is not a vacation from life that you’d merely like to remember fondly. It’s a filling station. You get the fuel you want — all the supplies, hope, joy, wonderful memories, corny jokes, laughs, and strength — to carry you through.

I see Allah (swt) as my Guardian. I see Him as my Hope… maybe that is why I am not afraid of things big and small, come what may. Perhaps it is this Way of Light that helps us define the fine line between youth being reckless and youth being confident.

I have been laughed at for thinking that I am able to make changes … in the way people think and in the moulds of society. But I cannot find my laughter, when I see a young Ali (rta) or a young Ayesha (rta) working in the way of Deen … age cannot be enclosed in stereotypes … it is the power of Allah (swt) that puts us through all our hurdles and all our struggles, when we are young and bright; old and gray.

Manners of Reading the Quran

Vol 2-Issue2 Manners of reading Quran

  • Be careful when you handle this holy book. Remember, it is not an ordinary book. We need to do the following for giving to the glorious Quran its due respect:
  • Before you begin reciting from the Quran, seek refuge with Allah (swt) from the Satan, by saying – ‘Aoodhu Billahi Minashaitanir Rajim.’
  • Take Allah (swt)’s name, before you begin to read, by saying – ‘Bismillah.’
  • Try your best to be in the state of Wudu, when reciting from the Quran, and sit in a clean place.
  • Begin reading with a clear intention of seeking only Allah (swt)’s pleasure, not any other worldly gain.
  • Turn the pages gently and slowly to the required page. It is best, if you use a bookmark at the place you finished last, so that there is no unnecessary flipping of pages.
  • Maintain humility, tranquility, and respect, while reading the Quran.
  • Read the Quran in a moderate voice.
  • Read the verses with short pauses in between.
  • Be careful about the Makharij (pronunciation of the letters). Give every letter its due right.
  • Read the Quran attentively, calmly, and sincerely.
  • Ponder over the words of the Quran and make efforts to act upon them.
  • Be grateful, when the verses of Shukr (being grateful) are mentioned and seek refuge with Allah (swt), when asked.
  • Listen quietly and attentively, when the Quran is being read.
  • Do not put the Quran on the floor or near a person’s feet.
  • Do not leave the Quran open, when not being used, or turn it face down on the table.
  • Do not step over the Quran, if it is lying on the ground or at a low level, such as a prayer mat.
  • Do not use the Quran as a support to write on.
  • Do not place things on the top of the Quran.
  • Do not scribble unnecessary things on the pages of your Quran.
  • Do not touch the Quran with dirty hands.
  • Make sure you keep the Quran out of the reach of children that may tear its pages.
  • Do not eat, while reading from the Quran.
  • Sit in a proper, respectable position when reading it.
  • Try not to talk in between, while reciting from the Quran.
  • Keep the Quran in a clean place.
  • Learn as much as you can about the Quran by reading an authentic translation in the language of your preference.
  • Keep the Quran within your reach and in sight.
  • Let no day pass, without reading or reciting from the Quran.

Khalid Ibn Al-Waleed

Roomana Rais Khan familiarizes us with ‘the sword of Allah (swt)’ on earth.

Khalid Ibn Al-Waleed (rta) was born in a prominent family of the Quraysh tribe. He was a strong and courageous soldier, trained in horsemanship and the use of all types of weapons.

In the battle of Uhud, he showed superior military skill against the Muslims, and as a result was appointed Commander General by the Quraysh. His Muslim brother sent him a letter from Madina and mentioned the Prophet’s (sa) concern for Khalid (rta). This impressed Khalid (rta) so much that he travelled to Madina on the 1st of Safar, 8 A.H. and embraced Islam.

Khalid’s (rta) ultimate battle was that of Mutah in the 8 A.H., when 3000 Muslims fought against an army of 200,000 men. After three Muslim commanders were martyred consecutively, Khalid (rta) led the army, and as a result, the Mujahideen were able to retreat intact. Because of this, the Prophet (sa) gave him the title of ‘the sword of Allah (swt).’ During this battle Khalid (rta) also broke nine swords and there were only twelve casualties.

In the battle of Hunain 8 A.H., many Muslims fled and only 12 Companions, including Khalid (rta), remained to protect the Prophet (sa).

After the death of the Prophet (sa), Abu Bakr (rta) used Khalid’s (rta) services in the wars against apostasy, false prophets, and those, who stopped paying Zakat. He commanded a large division against Musailimah the liar in the battle of Yamamah in 11 A.H. Despite Musailimah’s strong and well-equipped army, Khalid (rta) was able to slay Musailimah himself. Thus, the threat of the imposter was buried forever.

When the Roman Emperor challenged the Muslims with an army of 240,000, Muslims made great self-sacrifice and displayed steadfastness. Under Khalid’s (rta) influence, one of the Roman commanders, by the name of Jerjah, embraced Islam.

During the war against the Romans, Khalid (rta) received news from Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (rta) about the death of Abu Bakr’s (rta), and new orders to hand over command to Abu Ubaidah Ibn Al-Jarrah (rta). It did not matter to Khalid (rta) as long as he was able to carry out his duties towards Allah (swt). He concealed the news, till they had gained victory. Upon seeing this gesture of Khalid’s, (rta) Abu Ubaidah (rta) kissed him on his forehead and praised his greatness.

There was only one thing that Khalid (rta) treasured obsessively-his helmet. In the battle of Al-Yarmuk, he lost it and exhausted himself and others searching for it. He kept it for luck, for it had some of the hairs of the Prophet’s (sa) forehead. He said: “It makes me feel optimistic that victory is within reach.”

When he died in 21 A.H., his mother took one last look at the hero, commended him to Allah’s (swt) protection and said: “There are far, far better than a thousand men, who flung themselves into the battlefield. Do you ask me about his valor? He was much more courageous than a huge lion that protects its cubs in the time of danger. Do you ask me about his generosity? He was far more generous than an overwhelming torrential rain that slides down from the mountains.” Umar’s (rta) eyes flowed with tears and he said: “You spoke the truth. By Allah (swt), he was everything you said he was.”

“Sorry” Made Easy

Vol 2- Issue 2 Sorry  made easyA friend arrives late for an appointment. Your teacher criticizes you in public. Your cousin loses the book you lent her. An acquaintance passes a remark that ends up hurting your feelings. Yet, none of them say they are sorry. No doubt, you get upset at the fact that people do not realize their mistakes and apologize for them.

However, in all fairness, are they the only ones to blame or are we partially responsible as well? How often have many of us made it difficult for others to apologize? I mean, finally someone musters up the courage to admit ones mistake and then apologizes only to get bad reactions in return for their noble efforts. I once heard a woman say, “Sometimes, if you say sorry to someone, they think themselves superior and act haughtily.” Imagine it was you apologizing, wouldn’t you like your apology to be accepted and your mistake forgiven, instead of being jeered at?

It is equally important to learn to accept the apology of others as well as forgive graciously and humbly. We can actually cultivate such courteous behavior by recalling the rewards Allah (swt) has promised in the Quran to those who forgive: “Those who spend (in Allah’s (swt) Cause – deeds of charity, alms, etc.) in prosperity and in adversity, who repress anger, and who pardon men; verily, Allah (swt) loves Al-Muhsinun (the good-doers).” (Al-Imran 3:134)

Allah (swt) the Almighty, the Creator of all things, with His infinite Mercy constantly forgives our sins, so why should not to forgive others?

Here are a few things for you to remember the next time someone apologizes to you. Know that it is not the time for digging up and settling old scores. You will only end up making things worse. If you need to clear misconceptions about the issue at hand, do not discuss it in an accusatory manner. Instead, provide constructive advice whenever possible. Indeed, some of us really do not know how to react or what to say, when somebody apologizes to us. Try saying something pleasant like: “Everybody makes mistakes,” or “I know you didn’t really mean it.” A smile at times is enough, or maybe a hug or pat on the arm or shoulder. By the way, a kind gesture goes a long way. And once you accept someone’s apology, let bygones truly be bygones. Neither dwell on it, nor talk about it with others.

We should strive to cultivate this noble trait from a young age. How? By responding to other peoples’ apologies with warmth and encouragement, making them feel comfortable about admitting their faults. If you do so, they will always be ready to admit their mistakes without shying away. And don’t forget to own up and apologize to them for your mistakes, too.

Finally, be sensitive to and recognize nonverbal apologies. Some people, like parents, older siblings, teachers, or elder relatives, find it difficult to make verbal apologies to those they consider their subordinates. Or maybe they just find it hard to do so. They usually prefer to make amends through kind deeds, praise, or nice gestures, such as, giving flowers or gifts. So, please recognize and accept both the conventional and unconventional forms of apologies.