Face Value

face valueHave you ever wondered why Allah has created faces so different? Why do people have to be good or ugly looking by worldly standards? The answer is simple. For Allah, each one of us is beautiful. He says: “Allah, it is He who has made for you the earth as a dwelling place and the sky as a canopy, and has given you shade and made your shapes good (looking)…” (Ghafir 40:64). However, He does have special favourites – those with a beautiful heart, for they are the ones who have equally beautiful deeds.

Humans, on the other hand, are far less forgiving. They have a tendency to seek the exterior beauty. To them, a person means a great mane of hair, a slender figure, big beautiful eyes, or a fair-coloured skin.

Show business is generally considered to be the root of this bizarre concept of beauty, which recognizes only swans in the pond. How come most of their stories revolve around extremely good-looking men and women only? Similarly, novelists are far ahead in the race of depicting an ideal, which is handsome or pretty at any cost.

Marketing gimmicks of today deserve the final applause – they lead people into a blind belief about inadequacy, unless they buy a specific product. They keep on stressing, how wrong we look and how ugly the world would be, if we would follow our own advices only.

Observe your conversations with your friends for a while. You will be spooked to discover, how very often they center on someone’s face or appearance. At school – may be a teacher, on TV – definitely some movie star, at a party – anyone in sight. We spend much time calling names, making fun of others, picking on people, or simply driving them away because of the way they dress or look.

The pressure to look our best and win people over is most obvious in the way we nowadays contract marriages. Dolling up girls and letting them loose in the middle of a party, so that every young man can stare at them to his heart’s content.

Ask yourself – is this the most dignified way of getting married? Besides, can a marriage based on something as superficial as good looks be really successful? This reminds me of a joke I once read. An idealist is the one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than cabbage, concludes that it will also make a better soup!

Trust me, if Allah has ordained marriage for you, your spouse-to-be will manage to find you even in a cave of Africa! If you are not destined to marry by Allah’s wisdom, no makeover can ever match you up.

Do not get me wrong! In every human being, Allah has placed a sense of appreciation, which instinctively appeals to beauty. However, getting carried away into extremes is absurd! Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”

Love people for the goodness in their hearts. Only Allah deserves the credit for a beautiful face that He has made. Besides, lasting and cherished relationships are based on deeper matters than one’s appearance, which would pass away in just ten or fifteen years from now, when we would start to wrinkle and gray.

Learn to look beyond a face. Search in a person for intelligence, compassion, humbleness, and truthfulness. You will be surprised to discover that this world is filled with wonderful people!

Nusaybah bint Kab (rta)

Naba Basar presents highlights from the heroic life of Nusaybah bint Kab (rta)

Not many women in the history of Islam can surpass the exemplary life of Nusaybah bint Kab (rta). She was one of two women, who traveled with seventy-three men to Makkah for pledging allegiance to the Prophet (sa). In complete obedience to the Prophet (sa), they pledged themselves also to Jihad. This historical meeting is known as the second pledge of al-Aqabah.

Nusaybah, known as Umm Imarah, was a pious and noble woman. She was also a daring and courageous fighter in the cause of Allah, and proved more than once to be truthful to her pledge.

Hearing that the army of Makkan pagans was moving towards Uhud, in order to take revenge for their heavy losses in the battle of Badr, the Prophet (sa) mobilized Muslim men of Madinah. Nusaybah (rta), with her husband and two sons, Abdullah and Habib, joined the fighters. She helped the wounded. As the battle raged and Muslims were close to being defeated, some Mujahideen began to flee, leaving the Prophet (sa) without protection. Seeing this, Nusaybah (rta) cut through the ranks of the enemy and fought fiercely.

During the battle, when the Prophet (sa) saw her without a shield and saw a man who was leaving the battlefield, carrying his shield. He (sa) asked him to surrender his shield to the one who was fighting. Nusaybah (rta) used that shield to protect the Messenger of Allah (sa).

Later, when one of her sons was wounded, during the battle of Uhud, and the blood would not stop. The Prophet (sa) asked him to bandage his wound. Nusaybah (rta) overheard this, while she was fighting. She came towards his son, carrying bandages. She then told him: ‘Get up, my son, and fight.’

A little while later, the man, who hit his son was coming their way, so the Prophet (sa) said: ‘Here is the man, who hit your son, O Umm Imarah.’ She went up to him, hit him in the leg, and left him kneeling on the ground. Prophet (sa) smiled so broadly that his molar teeth were showing and said: ‘You avenged yourself, Umm Imarah.’ The Prophet (sa) also said to her: ‘Praise is due to Allah, Who gave you victory over your enemy and satisfied you by showing you his death.'”

A few months later, when the call for another battle, Hamra-ul-Asad, was announced, Umm Imarah (rta) could not continue, because her earlier wound had got worse – she was bleeding profusely.

The battle of Uhud was not the only occasion, when Umm Imarah (rta) showed her bravery. She was among those, who gave the pledge to fight until martyrdom. She witnessed also the battle of Hunayn. When the Prophet (sa) passed away, Umm Imarah (rta) asked permission from Caliph Abu Bakr (rta) to join the army together with her two sons. He said: “We knew your bravery during the war – come on, in the name of Allah.”

She held her ground in the battlefield. Her son, Habib, fell prisoner to the enemy and was cut to pieces, organ by organ, until he died. Nusaybah (rta) returned from the war with twelve wounds, having lost her arm and her son.

Umm Imarah (rta) was a brave and true to her words woman, who holds a special place in the history of Islam.

Fun While Fasting

  • fun while fastingBrush up your art skills and create awesome Eid cards for friends and family
  • Brighten up Maghrib time by lighting colourful bulbs in or outside your house
  • Be adventurous and prepare something delicious for Iftar with your mom’s help of course!
  • Challenge yourself and learn short Duas or Surahs at home. You can even compete with your friends
  • Be generous and make colourful goody bags for poor kids of the neighbourhood
  • Chart down the good you did and bad you stayed away from. You never know mom and dad may just surprise you with a treat or reward
  • Wrap little presents for your family to surprise them with at Eid
  • Help mom at home by making less mess and cleaning up more. She will be thrilled to bits!
  • Be kind to your brothers and sisters. It is tough, but you will love it when Allah loves you for it!
  • Above all pray to Allah for everything you want! Remember the doors to Paradise are open and Allah’s mercy is down pouring!

Ramadan – An Awesome Time!

Ramadan AwesomeKhalfan bin Mohammed stresses that fasting is not a time of suffering, as many people think. It is just the opposite. Here is its essence:

  • In the month of Ramadan, the Quran was sent down to be guidance for the mankind. Through reading the Quran, we gain understanding about the purpose of our life and learn, how to establish relationship with Allah and His creatures.
  • It is a time for getting closer to Allah through prayers, recitation of the Quran, and supplications.
  • We fast to appreciate the luxury of food, which is a gift that many people around the world are lacking. There are those who go without proper food for weeks and months.
  • It is the time of the year, when we give our stomachs an annual break by reducing and regulating our food intake.
  • It is an opportunity to break free from bad habits and addictions. Many people use this period to stop smoking and eating unhealthy food.
  • It is a wonderful feeling to know that over one thousand million people are participating in this school of discipline – fasting and breaking their fasts together. It is a true demonstration of brotherhood and a proof that Muslims can be united.
  • The month of Ramadan is an opportunity to develop the qualities of endurance and self-restraint as well as to strive for controlling anger and a malicious tongue.
  • Ramadan is a time for awakening compassion and solidarity with others, particularly with the poor. We are encouraged to be generous during Ramadan and at the end of fasting, are required to give Zakat Al-Fitr, a fixed amount, which enables all to share the spirit of warmth, affection, and brotherhood.
  • Ramadan is a time of charity and fellowship, so deeply respected that even the most casual ones in their faith become observant throughout this holy month.
  • Above all, Ramadan is an opportunity to return to the Creator and the natural path of goodness, purity, and faithfulness. In doing so, one must not use fasting as an excuse for lazing around and neglecting basic duties at school or at work.

Finally, living according to the above principles requires courage and determination. So why not plan to make this Ramadan a very special one?