Generous! Oh Really?

A Loser’s Gain

By Abdul Malik Mujahid – General Manager, Darussalam

Muan Ibn Zaida was a very wealthy man during the period of the Ummayads. He was also very well-known for his generosity. When the Abbasids took over from the Ummayads, he was forced to go into hiding. The following incident happened, while he was in hiding.

He was on his way out of Baghdad in disguise, when he realized that a man was following him. That man pursued him and caught up with him in a deserted area outside the city. He took hold of the camel’s reins and forced himself on its back. Once he was on the camel, he grabbed Muan with a knife in his hand.

Muan pleaded: “Why have you grabbed me? What do you want?” The man replied: “You are Muan! Ameer ul-Mumineen Mansoor is looking for you.”

Muan pretended to be surprised: “Me? Muan? You must be mistaken. I am an ordinary man.” The man snapped: “Don’t try to be smart. I know you very well, and you can’t run away. See my knife?” Muan begged him to let him go, but to no avail. Finally, he took out an expensive necklace from one of his concealed pockets and said: “What will Mansoor give you when you take me to him? This necklace is much more valuable than any prize he will give you. Take this and let me go.”

The man took the necklace and examined it. Then, he declared: “It does seem that this necklace is very expensive. However, I will not take it.” Muan asked: “Why?” He shook his head and said: “Let me ask you a few questions. If you answer correctly, I will let you go.” Muan agreed: “Ok, what do you want to know?”

The man asked: “You are known to be very generous. Have you ever given your entire wealth in charity?” Muan replied: “No, that has never happened.” The man asked: “Have you ever given half of your wealth in charity?” Muan answered: “No.” The man queried: “How about one-third?” Muan said: “No.” The man kept on decreasing the amount till it came to one-tenth. At that point, Muan was so frustrated that to shut him up, he said yes, he has given one-tenth of his wealth in charity. However, he was also feeling extremely ashamed of himself: he was known to be extremely generous but had not even given half of his wealth in charity.

The man continued: “This is nothing to be proud of. Listen, I am an ordinary man. I don’t own horses; I do not have piles of Dinars and Dirhams. I get twenty Dirhams from Caliph Mansoor on a monthly basis. Without doubt, the necklace you have given me is worth around twenty thousand Dirhams.” Saying this, he returned the necklace. “I spare your life and your necklace. I will not hand you over to Caliph Mansoor. This is only because you are known to be generous. Remember: never be proud of the fact that you are charitable. This is because there are people who are more benevolent than you. Consider your charity to be ordinary, regardless of the amount you give. Also, never abandon your generosity.” With that, he got off the camel and started to walk away.

Muan called him back: “You have drowned me in a sea of embarrassment. It would have been easier to get killed, rather than listen to what you have just said. Take this necklace.” The man laughed: “Do you want me to go back on my word? By Allah, I will not take this necklace. I will not seek the reward for my good deed in this world.” Taking huge steps, he went away.

Muan later admitted: “I always remembered that man and his wisdom. When Caliph Mansoor pardoned me and I recovered my wealth, I searched for him to repay him in kind. However, I was unable to locate him. In any case, I remembered his Ihsan to me that day, especially his Naseehah that I should remember that there are people who are more generous than me.”

Adapted (with permission) from Sunehray Huroof published by Darussalam. Translated and compiled for Hiba by Umm Ibrahim.

Murder Most Casual

Murder Most Casual

By Sumaiya Saleem

“Mommy!” I looked up at the two-year-old, who was standing on the threshold; he was simply adorable, with his unruly black hair, deep blue eyes and red lips, which were now trembling, as if he was trying hard not to cry. A closer look made me gasp in horror: his eyes were bright with unshed tears and one of his arms was missing. His shoulder was bloody, indicating that someone had ripped off his arm. He was no more than a baby: who could have been cruel and heartless enough to treat him like this?

As I was gazing at him, a clamp appeared out of nowhere; it seized his other arm and began tugging ruthlessly. Tears spilled down the child’s face, as his blood began to flow down his shirt, dripping to the floor in silent drops. Suddenly, there was a ripping sound, and his other arm was torn away as well. Both limbs lay on the floor in a bloody mess, and I couldn’t take my eyes off them. The clamp re-appeared, and, this time, took hold of his leg. I rushed forward to save him, but it seemed as if an invisible force was pushing me back. One by one, his other body parts were ripped apart, resulting in a heap of blood-soaked limbs and pieces of flesh lying on the floor, until only the face was left.

“Who did this to you baby?” I asked, tears pouring down my face, as I struggled to go close to him. The child uttered a soft sigh before replying sadly: “You did, Mommy!” Just then, his head was crushed by a blow to the skull. I started screaming hysterically, as the impact of his final words struck me.

My own screams jerked me awake; I opened my eyes to see everyone staring at me in surprise and disapproval at creating such a scene in a clinic. I swiveled my head to stare at the walls that had been spattered with blood in my dreams: they were clean now, and there was no sign of any of the horrors I had witnessed. “It was just a dream,” I consoled myself.

Ten minutes later, I was being ushered into Dr. Khan’s room; it was my second appointment, so I was at ease with her. Sitting down, my first request to the doctor was to describe the procedure I would have to undergo for the abortion. I had been affected by my nightmare, and it was an almost desperate attempt on my part to convince myself that I wasn’t doing anything wrong.

To my surprise, the doctor seemed strangely reluctant to explain, and it was only after a lot of persuasion that she proceeded to inform me that since I was already five months pregnant, she would be performing a dilation and evacuation procedure on me. It included sucking the amniotic fluid out of my body and then extracting the fetus with the help of a clamp. “Do you use a clamp?” I whispered, and when she nodded in affirmation, all the blood drained from my face. “We do require a clamp because we cannot extract the entire fetus in one part. We have to detach its limbs before the evacuation procedure. But don’t worry, Mrs. Ahmed, according to all the research I have done, the fetus doesn’t register the pain.”

“You’re planning to rip apart my baby and you have the nerve to tell me you don’t think it will hurt?” I demanded furiously.

“Pardon me, Mrs. Ahmed – I was under the impression that it was your decision to have your baby aborted,” she replied.

“I didn’t know. I never imagined it would be this terrible, this cruel,” I whispered.

“What did you think it would be? Do you think it’s easy to extract a live human being from the uterus, where it’s clinging, and not harm it in the process? It’s not easy for me either, you know. But it’s my job, and I only perform this operation when I get a request from the parents. I did tell you that you were too far along and it was unadvisable to have an abortion at this stage, but you insisted.” The doctor’s words, uttered in an icy tone, froze me in my tracks. I was quite willing to put the blame on her and had forgotten who had set the ball rolling in the first place.

I was the child’s mother. I was supposed to protect him. It was my blood the baby was thriving on. This child was the flesh of my flesh, and I had carried it beneath my heart for five months. If I could so callously decide to tear it from my womb and discard it like rubbish, how could the doctor pity me? “Maybe you need time to think it over,” Dr. Khan suggested in a softer tone, but I was disgusted at the idea of thinking over whether or not I wanted to kill my child.

Fifteen minutes later, I was home. The ride had passed in a blur, as I stared out of the window, unconsciously wiping away the tears that were rolling down my face. The fact that I had not known of the exact procedure did not absolve me of guilt. I should have asked for more information before taking such a momentous decision. However, I was so worried about my life being disrupted by an unplanned pregnancy that I had never thought of the being in my body as a living entity, a part of both me and my husband. I had viewed it merely as an inconvenience. My dream had opened my eyes to the realization that my womb held not just a lifeless clump of cells but a baby, who might have inherited my black curls and my husband’s dimple.

“Mommy, I is here,” the baby announced, and I turned to the door with a welcoming smile on my lips, throwing out my arms so that Ammar could run into them. I held him close, smelling the clean baby scent of him; it had been almost two years since my visit to Dr. Khan and my decision not to abort my child. Now, he was eighteen months old, a laughing child with ebony curls, flashing blue eyes, the cutest dimple and the ability to wind me around his little finger. He was the exact replica of the baby I had seen in my dream; as I listened to his gurgles and baby talk, I shuddered to think what might have happened, if I had not had that nightmare. It was Allah’s (swt) blessing that my son was here and not in a heap of bloody limbs in some gutter.

Every night since that horrific vision, I had thanked Allah (swt) that he had saved me from the Kabira (major) sin of killing my own child. The Ayat of the Quran flashed in my mind:

“And kill not your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them and for you. Surely, the killing of them is a great sin.” (Al-Isra 17:31)

Mother Teresa had once remarked: “In every abortion, there are two victims: a dead baby and a dead conscience.” I had been saved from murdering both my baby and my conscience.

Romance in Islam

Romance in Islam

By Shaikh Abdur-Raheem Green

Why do we find the subject of romance fascinating? The reasons are psychological, biological and cultural. As humans, we move towards pleasure. We tend to escape pain. We are looking for certainty in life. However, sometimes we are in search of variety to avoid boredom, too. We all wish to be significant in some way, and we all are in the quest to find true love. Romance encompasses all the six aforementioned needs, which humans wish to fulfill in varied degrees.

Allah (swt) gifted Islam to us in order to fulfill our needs. Our beautiful Deen recognizes and understands our innate nature. Unlike Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and some sects of Judaism, Islam is not monastic. Marriage is a confirmed Sunnah of the Prophet (sa), and he has declared it to be half of our faith. Marriage is the means to fulfill our desire to love and be physically intimate in a permissible manner. And if we follow the Sunnah, romancing our spouse becomes a means of worship, too.

The problem has occurred as we have moved away from the real teachings. In Asian communities, culture is infused in the minds of many. Thus, it has affected our understanding of marriage and romance. We are exposed to western cultural values like never before. Western culture today is based on capitalism, materialism, secularism and consumerism. Their way of dealing with people is to create desires in them to follow their passions and encourage them to buy. They appeal to the biological/psychological need of their consumers, as they believe that sex sells. Naturally, the end product is nudity and immorality. They call it love and romance. However, in reality, the dimensions and nature of romance are linked to the Hollywood and Bollywood culture.

Today, many Muslim lands are not occupied physically, but their minds have been occupied psychologically. This is the worst form of occupation – it is called mind control. This is how we have gone astray and this is how we have become extremely unhappy. In Islam, romance is embedded within marriage. When marriages fail, societies crumble. What we saw in the UK riots in 2011 were disturbed youth hailing from loveless homes. They were greedy for Duniya because their souls were hollow. Their parents’ marriages had not worked out, and, hence, they were deprived of familial upbringing and belonging.

Culturally, some common ills are marriages based on duty, loveless marriages, children not being able to relate to the ideals of the marriages of older generations, mental coercion by parents to marry cousins or relatives, marriages to mates who are physically unattractive, forced marriages, etc. (A forced marriage is invalid in the Shariah in any case. Mutual consent of both partners is a pre-requisite for a Nikah to be valid.)

The West has been through a similar myriad of issues, and, hence, they evolved romantic idealism. Early Europe was pre-dominantly Christian, but their faulty approach to marriages forced them to find love outside Halal relationships. This is how fantasy stories like Romeo and Juliet were born. This is how romantic poetries, plays, movies and songs came into being.

Shaitan attacks through Shahwat (desires) and Shubuhat (doubts). When Shaitan discovered this void in married relations, he filled it with extremism. In some cases, he converted people towards monasticism, which means to become cold fish and have no sex. Naturally, that would square marriages and societies. On the other extreme, he led them to become obsessed and envious, form romantic liaisons and behave like Casanovas. Whenever an imbalance is created, Shaitan wins. And Islam exhorts to tread only the middle path.

Today, what should be encouraged is not paid attention to – for example, early marriages. Quite often, parents themselves are the problem. They wait so long for their kid’s education to finish that appropriate suitors are not interested anymore. Doors are left wide open for dating, inter-mixing, non-observance of Hijab and segregation, physical touching, even if that means casual handshakes (human touch is where sexual desires arise), roaming gazes, casual sex, fornication, etc.

Haste is from Shaitan, except in terms of arranging marriages for your daughters. The Prophet (sa) stated: “If somebody comes to you, and you are pleased with his character and religion, marry him. If you do not, there will be discord on earth and widespread corruption.” (Ibn Majah)

Another aspect is that men and women have been created differently on purpose. Every husband and wife should understand each other’s basic behaviour, especially for marriages to prosper. For instance, when women talk out their troubles, they do not necessarily seek solutions. They want to receive empathy/ sympathy. But when men discuss their problems, they are searching for solutions.

The Prophet (sa) was beyond par excellence in understanding the intrinsic nature of his wives. In order to benefit the Ummah (especially women, who were widowed, divorced or left single), he exercised polygamy and encouraged multiple spouses for others, if one could do justice among them, as he did. All nine wives were immensely in love with him, as he treated them all uniquely.

When he entered his home, he didn’t treat his wives like slaves. Instead, he happily served them as well as his other family members. He would milk the goats, mend his clothes and help clean the house. While travelling for an expedition, as he realized how monotonous and long the journeys were back then, he would go up to his wife’s Hodaw (carriers on camels) for a chit chat. Twice he asked the caravan to march forward, just to be alone with Aisha (rta) for racing with her out of play and fun. He would take Ghusl with her in the same bath tub and drink from the spot of cup, where she had drunk from. When her father Abu Bakr (rta) once raised his hand on Aisha (rta), because she was arguing with the Prophet (sa), he intervened and playfully reminded her about it later, when they were alone.

The Messenger of Allah (sa) cared for his spouses’ emotional well-being with gentleness and kindness. He approved of physical attraction and the closeness it generated. Hence, they all loved him dearly, willing to make any kind of sacrifices. However, he did not surrender where the Shariah or materialistic issues were under consideration. Today, many couples make a grave mistake – they ignore the aspects of physical intimacy and emotional empathy; instead, they try to please each other with Haram substitutes and materialistic endeavours that are not sustainable. Hence, romance dies.

Even after Prophet’s (sa) very first soul mate Khadijah (rta) was long gone, he would reminisce about her. This is true love that transcends time, a deep romance between the most remarkable man in history who changed the fate of the world, and his loving companion who stood by him like a rock, and the memories of which never evaded the Messenger (sa) as long as he lived.

Transcribed from a Lectureshop organized by Live Deen; compiled for hiba by Rana Rais Khan.