Cultivating Friendship with your Spouse

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Any princess, who was swept up to the altar in the arms of her prince charming, can tell you that, a few months later, she’d gladly trade in the glittery clothes and tinkling laughter for a comfortable pair of pants and a good chuckle over a cup of coffee with her prince. Marriage is for the long haul, and like any journey, it is more fun when your travelling companion is a good friend.

Friendship in marriage must be developed and nurtured. Unfortunately, once the ethereal feeling of the honeymoon period ends, most couples take living together for granted. The following are top five “tried and tested” reminders of how to cultivate your relationship with your best friend – your spouse.

Companions on the Sirat-ul-Mustaqeem

We have been instructed: “O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones…” (At-Tahrim 66:6) Regrettably, many couples interpret this as fault finding and preaching to one another. A true friend desires to aid his companion grow as a person; husbands may arrange to oversee the children so that their wives could study the Quran or attend a class; similarly, a wife may ungrudgingly arrange the family schedule so that her spouse can spend time with beneficial brothers.

Buy mustard and Achar

Expect to have differences in opinion, tastes and even sleeping habits. Our Prophet Muhammad (sa) stated: “A believer must not hate (his wife) believing woman; if he dislikes one of her characteristics, he will be pleased with another.” (Muslim) Accept each other’s diversity and respect it. To put it simply: if he prefers mustard above your Achar, just serve both with dinner. To each their own.

Your spouse is not your extension

Best friends need not do everything together or account for every moment spent without each other; allow your spouse to chill with her friends or dedicate time to a project she values. Does his office work or other family obligations limit time spent with you? Focus upon the time you have together instead of the time you feel you are being cheated out of. Value the quality time that you spend with each other; don’t fret upon its quantity.

Surprise!

Giving a gift is just as much fun as receiving one, for Prophet Muhammad (sa) asserted: “Give gifts to one another, and you will love one another.” (Bukhari) So why wait for a ‘special’ occasion? Whether it is something wrapped up, a dinner for two, setting off with him to his favourite electronic store to get that gizmo he’s been raving about or taking the toddler outdoors so his exhausted mommy can get some sleep, a gift can be anything that is valued by your friend. Remember – rewards must be earned, but giving a gift is rewarding.

Love is saying you are sorry and meaning it

The term ‘sorry’ is much abused by couples: some don’t feel the need to say it, while others say it as a muscular reflex. The term ought to be valued and used to mean: “I apologize for my actions, which hurt you, and will try my utmost not to repeat them.” Use the term with sincerity and it will strengthen your relationship immensely, Insha’Allah.

Are you a happily-married couple? What tried-and-tested reminders would you like to share about cultivating friendship with spouse? Email us your suggestions at editor@hibamagazine.com.

Shaitan’s Schemes against the Prophet (sa)

Vol 6 - Issue 1 Shaitan's SchemesSherlock Holmes had Professor Moriarty, Spiderman battled the Green Goblin – every fictitious hero has had to face a devilish, scheming enemy in their action-packed lives. The same is true for our real life heroes – Prophets of Allah (swt) have had to face many enemies, including the devil himself – the Shaitan (also known as Iblis).

It is taken for granted that Shaitan’s Waswasa (whispering) would encourage many people to conspire against the prophets, our guides towards the path of Jannah. However, Shaitan himself has also come physically for leading our prophets astray. For example, Shaitan appeared before Prophet Ibrahim (as), as he prepared to sacrifice Ismael (as) on Allah’s (swt) command. Shaitan was stoned for his efforts by both father and son, and the incident was made an important ritual of Hajj – stoning the pillars at Jamarat. On studying Prophet Muhammad’s (sa) Seerah, we find that this evil nemesis and his aides made physical appearances during the Prophet’s (sa) lifetime, too.

It was during the turbulent times in Makkah, shortly before the Prophet’s (sa) Hijrah, that the Kuffar amongst the Quraish gathered to conspire against the Prophet (sa). They had tried verbal persuasion, physical torture, humiliation, starvation, banishment and even promises of wealth and position to lure Prophet Muhammad (sa) away from his mission of spreading the word of Allah (swt), but it was all in naught. At this point in time, Prophet Muhammad (sa) appeared most vulnerable to them, because his strongest supporters – his uncle, Abu Talib and his wife, Kadijah (rta) – had died.

As the Quraish debated on the best means to silence the Prophet (sa) forever, they were interrupted by an old man. He introduced himself as a well-wisher from the tribe of Najd, was curious to hear their talk and hoped for their success on reaching a sound decision. This old man was Iblis himself, and with his smooth talking he was readily admitted into the meeting! In this way he, too, was present when the Quraish plotted the murder of Muhammad (sa). (Ibn Hisham)

Alhumdulillah, Allah (swt) warned the Prophet (sa) of their plans and temporarily blinded the assassins who surrounded his house, as he left Makkah and made his way to Madinah.

Later, Iblis made his appearance when the Quraish prepared to battle the Muslims at Badr. On hearing the fabricated news that the Muslims from Madinah were intercepting a Quraishi caravan returning from Syria, the Quraish swiftly rounded up their men and armaments for war. They rallied other Arab tribes to help as well and then came a moment of hesitation; they were afraid that the tribe of Banu Bakr (their age old enemies) might attack the Quraish’s army from the rear. Should they advance towards Muslims or not?

It was at this crucial point of indecision that Iblis approached them, disguised as Suraqa Ibn Malik Ibn Jusham Al-Mudlaji – chief of Bani Kinana. He boldly promised: “I guarantee that no harm will happen from behind.” Thus reassured, the army of disbelievers charged forward.

It was in the very midst of the battle that Shaitan revealed his true self as a traitor and a liar. The Muslims were rapidly gaining ground on the battlefield and Angels had begun to descend, by Allah’s (swt) command, to aid the Muslim army. Seeing this, Shaitan fled. Indifferent to the pleas of his allies, he deserted the Kuffar’s army and plunged into the sea.

Sheikh Safi-ur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri has recorded these incidents of Shaitan’s interference in our Prophet’s (sa) life in his noteworthy book “Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum” (“The Sealed Nectar”).

Shaitan’s workers amongst the Jinn have also been recorded to have made an effort to entice Prophet Muhammad (sa). It has been recorded by Imam Bukhari that Abu Hurairah (rta) narrated the following words of the Prophet (sa): “Last night, a big demon (Afreet) from the Jinns came to me and wanted to interrupt my prayers (or said something similar), but Allah enabled me to overpower him. I wanted to fasten him to one of the pillars of the Masjid, so that all of you could see him in the morning, but I remembered the statement of my brother Sulaiman (as stated in Quran): ‘My Lord! Forgive me, and bestow on me a kingdom such as shall not belong to any other after me: Verily, you are the Bestower’ (Sad, 38:35).” The sub-narrator Rauh said: “He (the demon) was dismissed humiliated.”

These incidents prove that Shaitan is conniving, and even those most beloved to Allah (swt) are not spared from his plots to misguide. Truly, we are unable to stop his efforts; yet, we are not his helpless prey. Allah (swt) has armed us with Dua and Salah to protect us from Shaitan’s plotting. As we learn from the Seerah of the Prophet (sa) and the lives of the prophets before him, Allah (swt) will protect those who seek His protection, and help those who seek His aid. May Allah (swt) grant us refuge from the evil schemes of the Shaitan. Ameen.

Terrific Teaching Techniques

Vol 5 - Issue 4 Terrific teachingPicture this: seated around a single man is a crowd full of eager eyes. Some of the men appear to be from the elite society, highly educated and of polished manners; they sit shoulder to shoulder with desert-rough Bedouins, whose swords speak more eloquently than their tongues. The gathering also includes shepherds, scribes, farmers, merchants and even street urchins. Children freely hover among them – they are never shooed out of the way. Such was the informal classroom of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sa).

Our Prophet (sa) had much to teach and his knowledge, which determined the destiny of people, was not to be taken lightly. His students varied in age, background, gender and disposition. How would he address such a diverse gathering?

To begin with, the Prophet (sa) did not limit his ‘classes’ to sermons after Jumuah or a gathering under a tree – he would teach his companions whenever a suitable moment arose, whether they sat together for a meal or rode together through the desert. Accordingly, his manner of teaching varied, too. Let us look at some of the Prophet’s (sa) methods of instruction, as observed from his Sunnah.

Stories

Many important lessons have been etched in our minds through the true stories related by our Prophet (sa). Stories of strife borne by pious people of the past encourage patience. Reflecting on the good deeds of others invites us to similar actions, whereas stories about oppressors and their retribution by Allah (swt) discourage people from following their steps. Today, parents, teachers and all forms of information media can attest to the effectiveness of this method of instruction.

Diagrams

Once, the Prophet (sa) drew a square and then drew a line in the middle of it, letting this line extend outside the square, and then drew several small lines attached to that central line. Upon finishing this, he said: “This is the human being, and this (the square) is his lease of life, encircles him from all sides (or has encircled him), and this (line), which is outside (the square), is his hope, and these small lines are the calamities and troubles (which may befall him), and if one misses him, another will snap (i.e., overtake) him, and if the other misses him, a third will snap (i.e., overtake) him.” (Bukhari) This method of drawing in the sand was used by the Prophet (sa) for explaining abstract concepts.

Parables

Parables obviously simplify concepts and were extensively used by the Prophet (sa). For example, to encourage keeping good company, he said: “The example of a good companion (who sits with you) in comparison with a bad one is like that of the musk seller and the blacksmith’s bellows (or furnace); from the first you would either buy musk or enjoy its good smell, while the bellows would either burn your clothes or your house, or you would get a bad and nasty smell thereof.” (Bukhari)

Questions

At times, the Prophet (sa) would quiz his companions. This was used not only to test their knowledge and understanding of the Deen but also as a method to make them start thinking about a certain topic. Sometimes, he would begin talking about a topic by asking a question first, in order to call their attention towards it or allow them to view their understanding of a topic, before he clarified a misconception. He would even have them ponder over a riddle, from which they could benefit. Once, he said: “Amongst the trees, there is a tree, the leaves of which do not fall and is like a Muslim. Tell me the name of that tree?” Everybody started thinking about the trees of the desert areas. Ibn Umer (rta) thought of the date-palm tree but hesitated to give a reply, because he did not wish to appear more knowledgeable than his father Umer (rta) and Abu Bakr (rta), who sat with him. The others then asked: “Please, inform us what is that tree, O Allah’s Messenger?” He replied: “It is the date-palm tree.” (Bukhari)

Visuals

The impact of the visuals cannot be denied. The Prophet (sa) would often indicate an object, which could easily be viewed by the people for comparing it with something, or speak of something in terms of an object, which people could easily visualize by themselves. He often compared the punishments in Hell with the Mountain of Uhud, in order to help people visualize the immensity and seriousness of the punishment. He would even use his hands to help people visualize the meaning of his words. It is narrated that “the Prophet (sa) said: ‘He, who brought up two girls properly till they grew up, he and I would come (together) (very closely) on the Day of Resurrection,’ and he interlaced his fingers (for explaining the point of nearness between him and that person).” (Muslim)

Catch Phrases

“May his nose be rubbed in dust, may his nose be rubbed in dust, may his nose be rubbed in dust,” repeated the Prophet (sa), catching the attention of the companions around him. They wondered what type of a person should be so humiliated. Burning with curiosity, they focused on the Prophet’s (sa) next words: “Who found his parents one or both approaching old age and did not enter Paradise through serving them.” (Muslim)

Repeating a phrase in this manner not only called people to attend but also stressed the importance of the discussed issue.

Speeches

There are some noteworthy characteristics about the speeches delivered by the Prophet (sa). They were never long and winding but to the point, using simple language that could be easily understood by the masses. He would speak with sincerity and would pause at places, giving time for the impact of his words to sink in, and at times he would repeat a statement several times for emphasis. Rather than vent his anger at people, he often became silent, which was enough to make those around him realize his disapproval, just as his quiet smile would indicate his approval of a matter and even his pleasure.

Being a Role Model

Most importantly, the Prophet (sa) provided a role model to be followed and a physical example of everything he taught – in short, he practiced what he preached, and his actions spoke volumes.

The above techniques used by the Prophet (sa) should be kept in mind by those whose responsibility it is to teach and impart knowledge, regardless of what the subject matter may be. Just as hundreds of years ago the Prophet’s (sa) techniques proved to be effective for people of diverse backgrounds and ages, we also will be able to make a difference around us if we will adopt these methods and work with the intention to please Allah (swt), Insha’Allah!

Knowledge – Ask for More

Vol 5 - Issue 3 Knowledge- Ask for moreBefore operating a new webcam, a smart thing to do would be to read through the instruction manual, understand all its features and, hence, utilize it to its maximum benefit. Experimenting as you use it is fun too, but you may inadvertently mess up something important (plus have a lot of lousy pictures). So to make the most of anything you really care for, it’s best to read and understand how to use it.

Well, what could be more important than getting the best out of your life? To be successful not just for a couple of months or years but for the whole eternity? Unfortunately, there is no quick fix solution for success; it entails striving hard to obtain knowledge (how can you be successful without knowing the steps to success?). Alas, most of us tend to ignore one very important instruction manual…

The instruction manual of life, sent to us by the One, Who created us, and explained by the one sent to instruct us… the Quran. This book has been explained by our teacher Muhammad (sa) in the form of his Sunnah and further clarified by the works of our dedicated scholars.

Acquiring knowledge of the Deen is not to be taken lightly. The Prophet (sa) said: “A learned person is as much above a worshipper, as I am above the least of you.” Furthermore: “Allah, His angels and all those in Heavens and on Earth, even the ants in their hills and the fish in the water call down blessings on those, who instruct people in beneficial knowledge.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Often, we procrastinate from beginning the journey of learning, because we tend to fall into the trap of thinking:

  1. I’ll do it tomorrow…
  2. I’ll begin during my summer break, after the exams, after I’m married, after the kids grow up, after…
  3. The knowledge of so-and-so is flawed, so I won’t study from him…

Hence, we are targeted by these whispers, which the Daee Muhammad Alshareef describes as the ‘weapons of Shaitan.’ As a remedy to overcome these thoughts, he prescribes keeping the following in mind:

  1. Know that there is paramount reward from Allah (swt) for those who seek knowledge sincerely for His sake and pass it on to others.
  2. Know that through the knowledge you pass on, you will receive reward even after you are dead; the reward lives on.
  3. Know that this knowledge is the inheritance from the prophets. Go and take your share.
  4. Know that you will bask in happiness, when the cloud of ignorance is raised from our heads.

So don’t delay – make the intention to delve into the depths of Islamic knowledge and go for it. Start by reading the translation of the Quran (consider it an email sent especially for you!), ponder over it and start applying it to your life. You don’t have to rush yourself, take out some time for this blessed companion every day and be consistent, no matter how difficult it may seem (remember that Shaitan will set his traps where ever he can).

Hence, be firm and keep this Dua of our Prophet (sa) on your lips at all times: “O Allah, I ask Thee for beneficial knowledge, acceptable action and good provision.” (At-Tirmidhi) May Allah (swt) make it easy for all of us, Ameen.

Combating Depression the Prophet (sa)’s Way

role modelThe most popular fictional stories of today speak of people, who braved humiliation and personal loss and arose from the ashes of depression to take on the world and march towards success. As inspiring as these stories may be, they offer little practical advice on coping with our own personal pain. For learning to deal with real grief, we must look at the stories of real people; and such is the story of our Prophet Muhammad (sa).

Sahabahs have recorded the many afflictions our Prophet (sa) faced and how he endured them for the benefit of all Muslims. Just like us, he also bore the loss of his loved ones. In fact, his beloved wife Khadijah (rta) died early in his mission of prophethood. At that point of his life, he was already struggling with continual physical and emotional harassment by his townspeople and soon faced the challenge and helplessness of seeing his strongest supporter Abu Talib die a Kafir. Rather than wring his hands in despair, Allah’s Messenger (sa) entrusted himself to Allah (swt). His daughter once wept, seeing him being harassed by insolent Kaffars, and he in turn tried to comfort her by saying: “Do not weep, my daughter – Allah will verily protect your father.” (Bukhari)

Later, our Nabi (saw) suffered the anguish of witnessing the death of his young son Ibrahim, the only son, who did not die in infancy. He wept, yet mourned by simply saying: “The eyes are shedding tears and the heart is grieved, and we will not say except what pleases our Lord. Oh Ibrahim! Indeed, we are grieved by your separation.” (Bukhari)

Our Prophet (sa) also endured the pangs of starvation, the humiliation of being labelled a magician, a liar and even a mad man. He was stoned by disbelievers in Taif, and his blood glued his sandals to his feet. He was wounded in the battle of Uhud and even spat on by his enemies. Unable to shake him from his determination to continue his mission, they attacked his family by spreading slander about his youngest wife Ayesha (rta). In each case, he called out to his Lord and asked for mercy and patience.

Our Prophet’s (sa) entreaties and Duas to Allah (swt) are lessons for us to follow in our own cases of pain. Our Prophet (sa) bore more than what we, his humble followers, ever could endure, as he himself explained: “Those, who are most afflicted among the people, are the Prophets…” (At-Tirmidhi) Although he was an exceptional man, Muhammad (sa) was a human being. Being orphaned at an early age, he was known to be a very sensitive person. We would be mistaken to assume that because of his prophethood, he could shrug off his grief and continue to strive for his mission, just like our mythical comic book heroes do. Sahabahs claimed they had never witnessed the Prophet (sa) weep, as he did when his cousin Hamza (rta) was assassinated. Though he gave no orders to search for the assassin, it became known that a slave named Washi had done it. Much afterwards, when the Prophet (sa) met him, he asked Washi to hide his face from him (Bukhari) – the pain of losing Hamza (rta) was still felt by Muhammad (sa).

It was his unshakeable faith in Allah (swt) that provided Muhammad (sa) with the healing balm for the wounds cut by the tests of life. We will also be tested to see, if we are worthy of Paradise. We will be able to pass our tests of life only if we turn to Allah (swt) as our Prophet (sa) did.

Date Palm Education System

Vol 4-Issue 3 Date palm education systemAllah’s Messenger (sa) said: “Amongst the trees, there is a tree, the leaves of which do not fall and is like a Muslim. (…) It is the date-palm tree.” (Bukhari) This was the inspiration for the name of Fozia Ahsan Farooqi’s school – Date Palm Education System. Disillusioned by the emphasis on fancy campuses over quality education by most schools, Fozia Ahsan wanted to build a school, which highlighted the holistic development of the child, making him what the Prophet (sa) desired of a true Muslim.

“Children are like flowers, they need to be nurtured with care,” Fozia Ahsan explains. The date palm is symbolic to her mission: “Its roots (a symbol of emotional stability) uphold the trunk signifying academic excellence, leading to a value based approach to life – the leaves and fruit of the date palm.”

In her seventeen years long teaching experience, Fozia Ahsan has had the opportunity to observe and evaluate the learning development of children. Her observations helped her to develop a series of books entitled “Urdu Ka Guldasta” (“Urdu’s Bouquet”) published by the Oxford University Press (one of their online bestsellers) and devise Urdu school syllabi as Urdu coordinator at Generations’ School, where she previously worked. As she taught children, she continued to work on the methods for making learning easy and fun. She applied different learning techniques in the classroom, noted their effects and then worked towards having other teachers apply them as well. Fozia uses her experiences to make education a nourishing experience for the students of Date Palm Education System.

In order to infuse values into our society, Fozia’s school curriculum includes a daily class introducing to students the lessons found within the Quran. Various Ayahs are taught and their meanings adapted to meet the understanding level of students.

For parents, who desire their children memorize the Quran, Date Palm Education offers a Hifz program. The Islamiyat teachers are proficient in Tajweed and are Hafiz themselves. The school plans to make the memorization of the Quran a part of their regular academic timetable, so that the entire Quran would be completed by the time children would graduate. Fozia Ahsan understands that just as regular academic subjects are taught gradually through out the schooling years, the Quran should also be taught steadily, so that it sits firmly in the child’s mind.

Fozia Ahsan also realizes that for providing academic excellence you need excellent teachers. Dedicated teachers should know their subject well and have passion for teaching. Furthermore, she feels that many teachers simply are not informed about the tools that can make teaching an enriching experience. As a trainer for the Teachers’ Resource Center, she has seen first hand the positive effects of workshops for teachers. Thus, after the school hours and during school vacations, Date Palm Education System organizes for teachers and interested parents workshops on such topics as child counselling, working with teenagers and using audio-visual aids in teaching Islamiyat. By equipping teachers with the necessary skills, she hopes to improve our overall academic culture and ensure a better future for our children.

Date Palm Education System currently has classes from pre-nursery to grade 5 and plans to grow with addition grades every year. May Allah (swt) aid Fozia Ahsan and her team at Date Palm Education to achieving their dream of nurturing the children of today into the Momins of tomorrow. Ameen.

Date Palm Education System

B-277, Block A

North Nazimabad

Karachi

Phone: (+92) 21-6635451

The Prophet’s (sa) Marriages – Wisdom for Those Who Seek it

role modelMany will agree that the decision to marry is not an easy one. What kind of spouse to look for? How should the wedding be conducted? How to nurture the bond of marriage? – All of these are weighty considerations, especially for those, who seek Allah’s (swt) blessings for a successful and joyous marriage life. As in all instances, we can find the answers to true marital success from our Prophet’s (sa) life.

Our Prophet (sa) was married eleven times. The number itself makes many critics (including Muslims) to shy away from studying the example he sought to uphold through his marriages. His wives were bestowed the title of Ummul-Momineen (mothers of the believers) and truly played the role of the first ladies of the Muslim Ummah, supporting and advising their husband, bringing to him the grievances of people and educating the masses about the Deen.

Additionally, they lived with each other comfortably. They did have their differences but managed to avoid the types of soap operas created by lesser numbers of women living together, let alone sharing a single husband. Each of them gave their consent to marry him, and none of them sought to leave him – even when Allah (swt) promised to provide them with the bounties of this world, if they would divorce him.

Our Prophet’s (sa) first wife was Kadijah Bint Khawaylid (rta). She was a forty year old noblewoman and a respected entrepreneur, who had been a widowed mother and later a divorcee prior to her marriage to the Prophet (sa).Though fifteen years his senior, Khadijah (rta) was the Prophet’s (sa) most beloved wife and the mother of his six children. She witnessed the early days of the Prophet’s (sa) mission and was ‘the woman behind the man’- the first to accept Allah’s Messenger (sa) and support him through initial difficulties. After her death, the Prophet (sa) continued to make Dua for her and remembered her throughout his life.

Kadijah’s (rta) death left the Prophet’s two younger daughters in need of a woman’s motherly love. The widowed Saudah (rta) was requested to fill that void. Being a humored person, she soon created a comfortable and light atmosphere in the Prophet’s (sa) home and eventually was considered a mother figure by her co-wives.

Aisha’s (rta) history as the youngest of the Prophet’s wives is often under harsh scrutiny. Her marriage was a direct order by Allah (swt), which the Prophet (sa) received in his dreams. Dreams were a form of revelation also for other prophets, including Ibrahim (as), who was ordered to sacrifice his only son through a dream. Aisha (rta) was six years old, when her marriage was arranged – a feature allowed only to Allah’s Prophet (sa), but a blessing for his entire Ummah, as she became Islam’s foremost female scholar. Aisha (rta) was blessed with an inquisitive mind and incredible memory. Through her close relationship with the Prophet (sa), she would question him about all matters and would then memorize his every word. After the Prophet’s (sa) death, her home became the school, from which many future scholars emerged.

Through marriage with Aisha’s (rta) the Prophet (sa) formed strong family ties with her father Abu Bakr Siddiq (rta) (the first Caliph). Similarly his marriage to Hafsa (rta) did the same with her father Umar (rta) (the second Caliph). Interestingly, even the third and the fourth Caliphs (Usman (rta) and Ali (rta)) shared ties through marriage with the Prophet (sa), as his daughters were their wives.

We see the example of bringing families together by means of marriage also through the Prophet’s (sa) marriages to the war captives Safiyyah (rta) (a daughter of a prominent Jewish leader) and Jawayriyah (rta) from the tribe of Banu Mustaliq.

Zainab Bin Khazeemah (rta), also known as ‘mother of the needy’ for her generosity, and Umm Salamah (rta), an elderly wise woman and a renowned narrator of Ahadeeth, eventually joined the ranks of these blessed women. Their husbands were martyrs and Prophet’s (sa) marriages with them brought them and their children under his protection, thus encouraging the Ummah to help the widows.

Umm Habibah (rta) was Prophet’s (sa) cousin, and their marriage was a long distance one. She was in Abbassinyah, a widowed and destitute mother, when the Prophet (sa) heard of her situation and sent his proposal through a messenger to the King Negus. On her consent, Negus arranged the wedding and a wedding feast, gave her Mehr on the Prophet’s (sa) behalf and even had her transported to her husband. This wedding refutes the belief that the consummation of marriage is a prerequisite for Valima. It also refuted the once prevalent custom of not marrying one’s first cousin.

The story of the Prophet’s (sa) marriage to Zainab Bint Jahash (rta) is outlined within the Quran (Al-Ahzab) itself – as Allah (swt) Himself had the Nikah preformed in Jannah. She was a divorcee of the Prophet’s (sa) ‘adopted’ son, so this marriage broke down the custom of adoption. This marriage made many a tongue wag and, hence, helped to identify the hypocrites among the true followers of the Prophet (sa).

Since the prophets must face harder trials than their followers and observe more demanding religious rites, they have also been given some privileges for them alone. Such was the case of the Prophet’s (sa) marriage to Maimoona (rta), as stated by Allah (swt) in (Ahzab 33:50-52). She was very pious woman, who had been once divorced and later married and widowed. It was her ardent desire to be amongst the Um-ul-Momineen, even though she knew well the difficult lives they had. Allah (swt) accepted her earnest plea, and the Prophet (sa) accepted her proposal.

The Prophet (sa) treated his wives equally, spending one day with each of them, beginning with Umm Salama (rta) (the eldest) and ending with Aisha (rta) (the youngest). Each was allotted a night with him and lots were drawn to choose, who would accompany him on a journey. Though Aisha (rta) was his favourite, he treated them equally in all matters

Further study of the lives and personalities of the mothers of believers would reveal, why they were selected by Allah (swt) to uphold this special title. A question that ought to be considered by the ‘Muslim’ critics of the Prophet’s (sa) marriages should be: “If we accept him as the Prophet chosen by Allah (swt), may we question his actions and refuse to seek the wisdom within them?”

Junaid Jamshed‘s Media Musings

Vol 4- Issue 2 Junaid Jamshed unpluggedAzeem Pirani and Atefa Jamal recount Junaid Jamshed’s narration of his life in the media

His was not a story of a boy with a song in his heart; rather, Junaid Jamshed doesn’t recall being an ardent music listener at all. Living within a protected environment as a child (his father being an ex-air force officer), Junaid was a studious boy, who enjoyed sports and even played under-19 tennis for Pakistan. It was at college and later university, where he met music lovers and proficient music makers, that he discovered his ability for reproducing songs and soon taught himself to play a guitar for making music of his own.

Junaid’s interaction with the media began as a member of Pakistan’s first official band the Vital Signs. This group of professional musicians worked together for three years, before they caught the media’s attention. Music journalism was in its infancy then and matured with every step the Vital Signs took. The band worked hard to market itself. With no radio FM available then, they relied solely on television and print media. Once Pepsi took them under their wing, they no longer worried about economic stability and concentrated on their music.

Being a ground breaking band in Pakistan, the Vital Signs were celebrities and the first to taste the glamour that came with the role. What helped them to avoid becoming addicted? When Shohaib Mansoor, whom Junaid describes as a visionary, asked them about the basis of their money making, fan following and fame, they replied: “Our work.” To this, Shohaib added: “Don’t go after any of these three things. You will receive them all, but only on the basis of your work.”

“So we always focused on our work all the time,” explained Mr. Jamshed, “and, thanks to Allah (swt), we always considered the running of our houses more important than glamour. Man gets destroyed by the glamour world, when his focus shifts away from his work.” In fact, the Vital Signs made it a point not to discuss the matter of fame, so their only disagreements were about the work itself (sound of the music, etc.). Thus, they worked together for 13 years and remain good friends even today.

“But no doubt, there is a lot of glamour in this field,” Junaid Jamshed pointed out, “but it [glamour] is an unnatural life; it is a life of disobedience to Allah (swt), so there can be no Barakat in it. How can there be any? If I live in your house and disregard your every word, will I ever be at peace there? There will always be some problems to face. Similarly, no one can live peacefully in this world, while disobeying Allah.”

The Vital Signs eventually disbanded, because some of its members felt they had lost the appetite for the work. As most Pakistani music fans know, Junaid continued making music as a soloist.

But then, much to the media’s surprise, he began to change and announced that he would stop making music altogether. The media world was in an uproar. What brought about this sudden decision?

Junaid explains that he met an old school friend Junaid Ghani. This Junaid did not chide nor question his music making; rather, he silently made his presence felt in Junaid Jamshed’s life. All he asked from Junaid Jamshed was to participate in some Dawah work for the Pakistani Dawah group the Tableeghi Jamaat, in order to introduce people to Allah (swt) and His Prophet (sa). As this seemed simple enough, Junaid Jamshed began to enjoy doing it. However, while going door to door with Dawah, he also found many people unwilling to give him the time of day. Used to catching the media’s attention easily, this disregard of his presence deeply wounded him. “Then there was [also] Allah’s help, which is necessary,” Mr. Jamshed observed, “if you don’t lead your life according to the Deen, then no matter what plan for success you may have, you are ultimately going towards disaster and will face the effects of that disaster in this world and in the Hereafter.”

His Dawah work and several strange incidents continued to shake Junaid, giving him the strength he needed to turn away from music making. Once, for example, he was approached by a smart young man desiring to learn music. Junaid tried to dissuade him, when much to his astonishment the young man told him that he was a Hafiz of the Quran and had shaved his beard to be more like Junaid. Stunned, he realized that his music making was corrupting the Ummah itself.

Furthermore, he observes that the media makes a person seem like a public commodity. The gossip and fan following had disastrous effects on his family life. Junaid found his family drifting away from him, and he was constantly stressed by this.

When Junaid Jamshed finally announced his departure from music, the media’s reaction was severe. Although initially he gave up in front of the immense pressure from the media and sponsors, later he did manage to stand his ground.

Shaitan made him worry about what to do next. By Allah’s (swt) Mercy, Junaid Jamshed now runs a successful chain of clothing stores popularly known as J..

Surprisingly, he is still working with the media. How did this come about? At the suggestion of Mufti Taqi Usmani and the support of Maulana Tariq Jameel, Junaid Jamshed released two albums of Nasheeds (musicless recitations for praising Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa)) as an alternative to musical (Haraam) songs. He also gives Dars on television and is using the media towards making people aware of the Islamic banking as an alternative to the conventional (Riba based) banking.

The media attention now aids Junaid in Dawah and working towards gaining Allah’s (swt) pleasure. His family can clearly see and appreciate his efforts for the Deen. Though the people using the media for spreading good are assisting each other, Junaid Jamshed cautions: “One should not set out in the way of doing good on ones own; rather, he should ask for elders’ [wise people] advice and then do it. Otherwise, the efforts to spread good would spread Fitnah instead.”

Junaid Jamshed aptly concluded his narration by explaining Surah Ar-Rad (13:11): “Allah will not change the condition of a people, as long as they do not change the state of themselves.”

Junaid Jamshed aptly concluded his narration by quoting from Surah Ar-Rad: “Allah will not change the (good) condition of a people as long as they do not change their state (of goodness) themselves (by committing sins and by being ungrateful and disobedient to Allah).” (Ar-Rad 13:11)

Fear of loss obstructs the desire to turn away from sin. Junaid Jamshed observes that Allah (swt) will test one’s firmness of faith but then: “When Allah decides to make someone His friend, He makes that person beloved and respected by the people. Then, He exalts Himself and His Prophet (sa) through that person. An example is the Sahabahs – every Hadith first quotes the name of the narrator (Sahabah) and then the words of Allah and His Messenger. Such is the manner of respect Allah bestows upon His friends.”

 

Pakistan still sees Junaid Jamshed in the media eye, still holding a microphone, still using his voice. Now, however, he speaks for the pleasure of Allah (swt).

Power nap -The Pause that Refreshes

Vol 4- Issue 2 Power napFeeling a bit drowsy after lunch? Can’t seem to give it your all in the afternoons? Need something to perk you up? Well don’t reach for that cup of tea or coffee, just shut your eyes and take a nap – a Power Nap that is.

Dr. Maas, the Cornell psychologist and author of Power Sleep (Villard Books, 1998), writes, “naps greatly strengthen the ability to pay close attention to detail and to make critical decisions, . . .napping should not be frowned upon at the office or make you feel guilty at home,” in fact he states, “it should have the status of daily exercise.”

The journal Nature Neuroscience published a research by Harvard University that assessed the effects of an afternoon nap on learning and memory skills. The study compared the performance of two groups of people during a single day and then the following morning. The group that was not allowed to sleep at all during the day, performed poorly on a learning test given in the afternoon and evening, whereas the second group that was allowed to take a nap fared significantly better in the tests they preformed later in the day. Furthermore, after 24 hours, the performance of those who took a quality nap was just as good as that of those volunteers (in previous studies) who were tested after they had slept two full nights.

Sarah Mednick, researcher at the Psychology Department at Harvard University, concludes: “From the perspective of behavioral improvement, a nap is as good as a night of sleep for learning on this perceptual task”.

Neuroscientist Robert Stickgold of Harvard Medical School, observed: “Napping may protect brain circuits from overuse until those neurons can consolidate what’s been learned about a procedure.”

Dr. David Dinges, sleep researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, strongly advocates taking a “power nap” during the day to head off the cumulative effects of sleep loss. He explained that the brain “sort of sputters” when deprived of sufficient sleep, causing slips in performance and attentiveness often resulting in “microsleeps” – involuntary lapses into sleep, in which accidents can occur.

Furthermore, studies show that sleepy workers make more mistakes and are more susceptible to heart attacks and gastrointestinal disorders. Consequently, some companies in the west have set up nap-rooms with reclining chairs, blankets and alarm clocks. They claim napping has reduced accidents, errors and increased productivity, even though it shortens the workday slightly.

In fact, within the Empire State Building a company called Metronaps rents out specially designed pods for napping, at $14 for 20 minutes.

Researchers like to point out that many a famous personality were napping enthusiasts, (Einstein, Edison and Churchill to name a few) but unfortunately what many of us don’t realize is that taking a Siesta was one of the practices of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sa)!

Many Hadeeth mention the Prophet (sa) taking a Qaylula – (short rest), after Dhuhr prayers, both at home and when traveling (Bukhari). Though still practiced in the Middle East, Latin America and some European countries, it is considered to be cultural and, until recently, frowned upon by most of the business class.

The Prophet (sa) is our role model, and his actions are divine inspiration that Allah ordered us to obey His Messenger (sa). In doing so we obey Allah (Surah An-Nisa 4: 80).

Thus taking a short nap after Dhuhr prayers, with the intention of following the Sunnah and using the rest of our day productively can help us earn Allah’s (swt) blessings. Some scholars say it can also help us establish Tahajjud.

To establish this Sunnah, it would be best to start our day-to- day activities right after Fajr, as the Prophet (sa) would. Then Insha Allah follow his custom of scheduling our work around the times of Salah, so as to allow us to take a short Qaylula before Asr prayer, thus refreshing ourselves to get through the rest of the day. This may seem easier said than done, but Allah (swt) has promised that He will make easy any effort we make to get closer to Him.

The Prophet (sa) said: “My Lord says: ‘If My slave comes nearer to me for a span, I go nearer to him for a cubit; and if he comes nearer to Me for a cubit, I go nearer to him for the span of outstretched arms; and if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running.’” (Bukhari)

The nap need not be very long, as Scholars like Ibn Jawziyyah strongly discouraged sleeping beyond Asr time as it leads to grogginess. Even researchers today recommend a 20-minute nap while others suggest 30 to 60 minutes. Beyond the recommended time leads to deep sleep from which it is difficult to awaken. Parents of little kids have been advised to take a quick nap while the kids are napping, instead of dashing around to get other work done.

Moreover, you don’t actually have to fall asleep; a Qaylula can simply mean putting up your feet and taking a physical and emotional break from your hectic schedule (a good chance to make Dhikr, etc.).

So call it Qaylula or Power Nap, there is ample proof that this Sunnah like all actions of our Prophet (sa) is beneficial for us in our daily lives, and its implementation will help us make the most of our time, Insha’Allah.

Voicing Their Silence

Vol 4-Issue 1 Voicing their SilenceImagine landing at an airport in a remote corner of Europe. At the immigration counter, you are bombarded with questions in a language you’ve never heard before. You try to communicate with the immigration officer the best you can, but he just doesn’t seem to understand. In fact, even the people queued behind you seem to be unable to comprehend your language and start getting irritated by the hold up. Eventually, the officer pulls you aside, so he may deal with the others in line. You stand there feeling helpless, angry, and humiliated. This feeling would give you an inkling of what most deaf people often feel, when dealing with the ‘normal’ people.

Difficult enough as it is to live among the ‘hearing,’ finding a decent job is almost impossible. Unfortunately, Karachi has very little to offer its hearing impaired citizens, other than a few schools teaching the universal sign language. Now, KFC Pakistan endeavors to bring them into the work arena for proving to the public that they are an able and capable task force. KFC has opened an outlet dedicated and operated by the hearing impaired.

This KFC outlet is specially equipped to be run by the hearing impaired – for instance, the bells, which are used to alert a cook, have been replaced with flashing lights. This outlet does more than give the deaf a vocation; it seeks to educate its customers about bridging the communication gap between them. The walls are decorated with images displaying the signs for such simple phrases as “thank you “and “I don’t understand”. The menus at the counter show the orders with the images of items and their sign language equivalents, so a customer may simply point out his desired meal, and for less inhibited, ‘sign’ the order.

Setting up a facility, which caters to their vocational needs, doesn’t mean that things have been smooth sailing for KFC’s team of 32 hearing impaired. Vigorous training to run the restaurant and serve the customers cannot build the courage and confidence they need to deal with ‘normal’ hearing customers. “They have had to deal will all kinds of customers,” explains Ahsan Farhan Naqvi, assistant business manager at the branch. There are those customers, who are very encouraging and specially come to dine here for supporting the staff; however, many have demonstrated much impatience, which naturally disheartens the team. In fact, a number of the initial hearing impaired team quit soon after the restaurant launched.

Currently, the outlet has some ‘hearing’ members, who supervise the running of the outlet and do deliveries. As learning sign language takes some time, they have been provided by communicators proficient in the language to act as mediators amongst the team and customers when necessary. Many from the hearing team are keenly learning the sign language through their everyday interaction with the rest of the team. But in the forefront at the counters, you will be greeted by a smile from the hearing impaired.

Ahsan explains that the KFC Gulshan branch team consists of educated and very capable young people. They can operate computers, fix electrical equipment, and have been handling most of the branch’s maintenance work as well. Karachi is lacking in opportunities for them, which is why they are thankful to KFC for providing them with the platform to bring about a positive change for the future generations.

Furthermore, KFC also offers its hearing impaired team career growth opportunities. As they strengthen their capabilities within the branch, they can apply for positions further up the KFC career ladder, just like any other ‘hearing’ employee. This symbolizes KFC’s promise of not making distinctions among its employees, which is difficult for most organizations dealing with the deaf.

Most organizations, in fact, are unwilling to take on the challenge of setting up a work environment conducive to the needs of the deaf at all, and many of the hearing impaired themselves hesitate to go out of their own home environments. Ahsan explains that though the schools for the deaf teach them sign language, they do not help build a strong command of reading and writing Urdu and English. This handicap decreases their chances of securing any meaningful employment.

Bringing this hearing impaired team together was not as easy as simply putting an ad in the papers. Forms for potential employees were initially sent to the “Deaf Reach Centre” (which teaches computer literacy) that eventually circulated them to other schools for the deaf. The response was slow at first. Many of the deaf, like most young people, were initially anxious to take on the world. However, their first interaction with the real world had been so daunting that they hesitated to consider this to be a true opportunity. Currently, though, there are over a hundred applications in pending, Alhumdulillah.

There are many young and proficient individuals out there, who can see, think, read, and write but just can’t hear our language. They need jobs. KFC has taken the lead in improving their futures, and others need to follow through for expanding their horizons. Allah (swt) has said: ”Who is he that will lend Allah (swt) a goodly loan, so that He may multiply it to him many times? And it is Allah (swt) that decreases or increases (your provisions), and unto Him you shall return”(Al-Baqarah 2: 245). A little investment in this world to overcome our handicap – our inability to communicate with the deaf, which can give us great returns in this world and the Hereafter. Insha’Allah (swt).

 

Islam Encourages Working in Spite of Disabilities

Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum (rta) was one of the early converts to Islam – a Sahabah, Muezzin, Muhajir, and governor of Madinah. He even bore the standard for Muslims during Jihad. He did all this in spite of his handicap – he was blind. He would, in fact, speak of his handicap as an advantage by saying: “Place me between two rows and give me the standard. I will carry it for you and protect it, for I am blind and cannot run away.” The Prophet Muhammed (sa) and his Ummah respected and accepted him as he was – a man worthy of honor.

Shaking Off Superstitions

Vol 3- Issue 4 Shaking off superstitionsIn the days before the mankind turned to the science for explaining and predicting incidents of life, superstitions thrived. A broken mirror, spilt milk, and flying birds all foretold destruction and misfortune. Although today we are seemingly more ‘enlightened,’ we still are not completely free from the urge to wear ‘the lucky shirt’ or follow ‘harmless rituals,’ in order to attain good luck before important events.

What makes man turn to such objects in hope of good fortune? 18th century naturalist Gilbert White observes: “It is the hardest thing in the world to shake off superstitious prejudices; they are sucked in as it were with our mother’s milk; and, growing up with us at a time, when they take the fastest hold and make the most lasting impressions, become so interwoven with our very constitutions that the strongest sense is required to disengage ourselves from them. No wonder, therefore, that the lower people retain them their whole lives through, since their minds are not invigorated by a liberal education, and, therefore, not enabled to make any efforts adequate to the occasion.” Yet many of the liberally educated carry a charm, including the famous J. D. Rockefeller, an American icon of American capitalism, who was known to treasure a hollow stone (called an ‘eagle stone’) believed to protect one from shipwrecks and other disasters.

Fear of misfortune and ignorance about the cause of calamities still allows superstitions to thrive, just as they did during the Age of Ignorance. With the beginning of the Age of Enlightenment, kindled by Islam, Prophet Muhammad (sa) refuted superstitions, stating: “Whoever lets Tiyarah (superstition) stop him from doing something is guilty of Shirk.” His companions asked: “What is the Kafaarah (expiation) for that?” He said: “To say: ‘Allaahumma la khayra illaa khayruka wa laa tayra illaa tayruka wa laa ilaaha ghayruka (O Allah, there is no good except Your good, no portent except Yours, and there is no God beside You).'” (Ahmad)

Why does a harmless action, such as knocking on wood, fall into the sin of Shirk? Simply because it ‘innocently’ claims to protect us from harm, which, in truth, can be averted only by Allah’s (swt) Decree. Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “Tiyarah (superstition) is a kind of Shirk and a way, in which the Shaitan influences and scares a person. It is very serious for the one, who takes it to heart and pays too much attention to it, but it is insignificant for the one, who pays no attention to it and is not concerned about it.”

Nowadays, superstitions take on a ‘religious colour’ – charms have Allah’s (swt) names or Ayats from the Quran on them. No heed is paid to the extreme dislike of the Prophet (sa) towards charms (Taweez) of any kind. He would even refuse to take the hand of those, who wore a charm and wished to pledge allegiance to him, saying: “Whoever wears an amulet has associated others with Allah (Shirk).”(Ahmad)

How can one overcome the desire to perform the traditional rituals of predicting good luck?

Entrust yourself to Allah (swt): “And put your trust (o Muhammad) in the Ever-Living One, Who dies not, and glorify His Praises, and Sufficient is He as the All-Knower of the sins of His slaves” (Al-Furqan 25:58). There is nothing wrong in having a bad feeling and it is advised that one should take precautions, in order to avoid foreseeable disasters. The Prophet (sa) clarified this, when he explained: “That (bad feelings) is something that any of you may feel in himself, but it should not stop you from doing anything.” (Muslim)

Know that everything happens by the will of Allah (swt): “No calamity befalls on the earth or in yourselves but is inscribed in the Book of Decrees (Al-Lawh Al-Mahfooz), before We bring it into existence. Verily, that is easy for Allah.” (Al-Hadid 57:22) Thus, neither walking under the copy of the Quran nor staying indoors during an eclipse can alter your destiny.

Sheikh Munajjid prescribes Istikharah: “This is one of the greatest forms of worship and is complete Tawakkul or dependence on Allah (swt). It is the alternative to Tatayyur and Tiyarah (superstitions). The Prophet (sa) used to teach his companions to make Istikharah for all their affairs, just as he used to teach them the Surahs of the Quran.” Furthermore, one can find many Duas to be said during the morning and night, asking Allah (swt) to protect us and sort our affairs.

Avoiding things associated with good or bad luck. When an incident occurs, it is difficult to shake off the nagging thoughts (often Shaitan’s whispering) connecting the situation with superstitions. A person once related, how he moved to a house, where his wealth and the family numbers diminished; our Prophet (sa) suggested they move away from it. (Abu Dawood) Al-Baghawi explains: “They did not like it and did not feel comfortable; if they moved, the things they were feeling would go away. (He did not tell them to move, because the house was the cause of the problems).”

Remember that “no fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.” (Bukhari) Free yourself from the hold of superstitions and Shaitan’s teasing and rest assured that your destiny is in Allah’s (swt) hands.

From Childhood to Adulthood

transitionFor young Muslim adults, puberty entails not only physical change but a host of social changes as well. No longer innocent children, developing adults are expected to be more conscious of their clothing, gaze, and even his social etiquettes. Suddenly finding themselves confronted with a list of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ can be overwhelming and confusing. As parents, we can make this easier for our adults-to-be by making them aware of these protocols, long before their transition to adulthood begins. The following are a few tips towards this.

Knock, Knock

As the Quran and the Sunnah are our guides to life, the best advice is found within them. Allah (swt) has instructed us to teach our children to ask permission before entering their parents’ rooms on three occasions: before Fajr prayer, at noon (when their parents are resting), and after Isha prayer (An-Nur 24: 58). These times have been described as the times of privacy for parents.

Aurah Awareness

Make your child aware of his body parts, which will be considered his Aurah (the parts of the body Allah (swt) has forbidden to keep unclothed in front of others). Explain that no one should be allowed to see or touch them there, with the exception of those responsible for helping them in the bathroom, and with dressing and undressing. Insha’Allah (swt), this awareness will protect your child from being vulnerable to abuse. Emphasize that his/her body is special and not a source of shame, and that as a result Allah (swt) wants him to take special care of it.

Dress for Success

From a young age, dress your kids in clothing, which covers the Aurah, so that they get accustomed to avoiding very short and tight fitting clothing. Do allow them to choose what they’d like to wear, but make sure the options are those you approve of. This will, Insha’Allah, help avoid conflict, when the child is ready to buy his own clothing. Though there is no need to enforce Hijab on little girls, do encourage them, if they wish to cover their hair like their mommies. Telling them that they should enjoy their ‘freedom’ while still young can breed contempt for the Hijab.

Bed

Our Prophet (sa) has instructed to put our children in separate beds by the age of 10. (Abu Dawood) As puberty arrives soon after this age, this will make the child feel less awkward around his siblings, Insha’Allah.

Ghusl

Just as you would teach your child to bathe, make it a point to also teach him/her, how to make Ghusl. The Prophet (sa) said: “Ghusl (taking a bath) on Friday is compulsory for every Muslim reaching the age of puberty.” (Bukhari) Make Fridays special; a day to do Ghusl, wear clean clothes, and pray in Jamah (at a Masjid when possible).

Value Your Values

Teach your precious ones Islamic values, “Parents are going to have to sit down and explain their values to their own children. And this needs to start young, before society influences them,” says Marilyn Morris, who is president and founder of Aim for Success (USA). This is one of the largest organizations promoting abstinence from sex to students in grades 6 to 12.

It is necessary that parents model, what they expect from their kids, and accordingly avoid watching and reading material they want their kids to avoid. “Being careful themselves about what they (the parents) watch on TV or what movies they go to see is crucial,” Morris explains, “because that’s a bad influence on us at any age. And if our children see us doing it why shouldn’t they as well?” Bring your children, together with other children whose parents share your values, so that they all feel a part of a group. Insha’Allah this will also help reinforce what you teach them.

Honesty: The Best Policy

Children are very observant and will question every person’s actions, especially yours! Keeping your child’s age in mind, satisfy queries honestly. For example, when mommy does not pray during some part of the month, explain that this is a time, when Allah (swt) has excused her from doing so.

Let Allah (swt) be Your Guide

As always when explaining anything to your children, do make a point that the physical changes they will face have been put forward by Allah (swt). Refer to passages in the Qur’an and the Ahadeeth, not only to point out the protocols they must follow, but also highlight the rewards bestowed by Allah (swt) on those, who follow His commands. Furthermore, point out that though they will find many people, even among their peers, who may act contrary to these commands (keeping a beard, wearing Hijab, etc.), following Allah’s (swt) will is the best way to do things.

Insha’Allah the above tips will help you gently steer your children towards assuming Islamic etiquettes necessary for adulthood, and will eventually help them to guide their own little ones in the future, too.

Mind Your Mehrums

Allah (swt) has commanded: ” …Women not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s sons, their sons, their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s son’s or their (Muslim) women (sister’s in Islam) or the (female) slaves, whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigor, or small children, who have no sense of shame of sex…” (An-Nur 24: 31)

Explain to your little ones that Allah (swt) has made a special circle, which consists of your child and his Mehrums. Point out these people and their relationship with your child. For a girl, the above circle of special people are those, whose company she may enjoy, even when she’s all grown up. No matter how old, a boy may share the company of those to whose Mehrum circle he belongs.

Julaybib (rta) – The Diamond in the Rough

Vol 3-Issue 2 Julaybib RASome day a new child will come to school, who looks a bit strange; he may walk funny or talk with an odd voice. All your friends will ignore him; nobody wants to be seen with him. You don’t know, why you don’t like him. But before you decide to stay away from him, just think you may be overlooking something extraordinary about him.

Long time ago in Madinah, there lived Julaybib (rta). He was short and ugly, no one knew what his name really was, and he had no family. Since he was small like a Jilbab (small gown), people called him Julaybib. Most men made fun of him and teased him, so he stayed away from them and kept close to women, who were nicer to him.

When our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sa) migrated to Madinah, Julaybib (rta) became one of his friends. Our Prophet (sa) gave him the help, confidence, and encouragement he needed. He loved him and could see beyond Julaybib’s (rta) deformed physique the beauty within.

One day, the Prophet (sa) suggested Julaybib (rta) to get married. Knowing that he was considered an outcast by society, Julaybib (rta) wondered, who would give him his daughter. Our Prophet (sa) decided to choose Julaybib’s (rta) bride himself, and approached an Ansar for his daughter. The girl’s parents were shocked by the very thought, how could they marry their daughter to such a creature? No way!

On overhearing their discussion, their daughter was upset too but for another reason. “Do you refuse the request of the Messenger of Allah (sa)? Send me to him (Julaybib), for he shall certainly not bring ruin to me. I am satisfied and submit myself to whatever the Messenger of God (sa) deems good for me.” This young woman was a true Muslim. She remembered that Allah (swt) had said: “Now whenever God and His Messenger have decided a matter, it is not for a believing man or believing woman to claim freedom of choice in so far as they themselves are concerned. And he, who disobeys Allah (swt) and His Prophet, has already, most obviously, gone astray.” (Al-Ahzab 33:36)

Thus, she obeyed her Prophet (sa) and married Julaybib (rta); they lived together till he was killed.

Julaybib’s (rta) death, was that of honour. He was martyred during one of the battles against the Kuffar. Our Prophet (sa) himself noticed him missing among the martyrs and asked his companions to look for his body. They found him near the seven people he had killed, before being martyred. The Prophet (sa) gathered him in his arms and praising his heroism said: “He killed seven and then was killed? This (man) is of me and I am of him.” The Prophet (sa) repeated this two or three times.

Subhan’Allah! Such a tribute! Who wouldn’t like to be amongst those beloved to Rasul’Allah (sa), the one who is loved by Allah (swt) Himself? Then the Prophet (sa) dug Julaybib’s (rta) grave with his own hands and laid him in it himself.

So next time you meet someone, who seems odd, give him a chance – get to know him. It may be he has something special hidden within him, which just needs your help and encouragement to bloom.

Squeeze Success From Sickness

Vol 3-Issue 1 Squeeze Success from Sickness

An episode of sickness is usually considered a hindrance, preventing one from doing much else than lying dormant and waiting for either health or death. Not so for the believers!  Sickness, like all phases of man’s life, can be an opportunity to use the faculties (heart, tongue, etc.) Allah (swt) has blessed us with for earning His favour and gathering reward. Here are some suggestions:

Submission to Allah’s (swt) will

To begin with, it would be a good idea to refrain from complaining, as illness, just like health, is from Allah (swt). “No disaster strikes except by Allah’s (swt) permission, and whosoever believes in Allah (swt), He guides his heart. Allah (swt) is the Knower of all things.” (At-Taghabun 64:11)

Be patient and express submission to Allah’s (swt) will, for illness may be a test or a cleansing of sins, washing away the burden we carry into the Hereafter. Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “No Muslim is afflicted with harm because of sickness or some other inconvenience, but that Allah (swt) will remove his sins for him as a tree sheds its leaves.” (Bukhari)

Have good thoughts and expectations from Allah (swt)

Thinking cheerful thoughts always helps to alleviate misery; moreover, we have been cautioned: “None of you should die without having good expectations in Allah (swt).” (Muslim)

Fear, hope, and repentance

Through our lives, we must fear Allah’s (swt) punishment for our sins; therefore, repent from them and hope for His Mercy, especially in times of sickness. The Prophet Muhammad (sa) once pointed out to a dying man: “The two (fear and hope) cannot come together in a man’s heart at such a time without Allah (swt) giving him what he hopes for and granting him security from what he fears.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Reading the Quran and other Islamic books

Sickness brings a halt to one’s usual time-consuming activities; thus, this is a good time to read and reflect upon the Quran. Contemplating on Allah’s (swt) Words brings a person closer to his Creator, and this in itself can be a source of healing: “We sent down of the Quran that which is a healing and mercy for the believers, but it does not increase the wrongdoers except in loss.” (Al-Isra 17:82) Reading Islamic books furthers our understanding of Allah’s (swt) decree.

Dhikr and supplications         

Dhikr and supplications demonstrate our conviction that only Allah (swt) is the One capable of helping us. These are the means for strengthening one’s ties with Allah (swt) and placing our affairs in His Hands. Various forms of Dhikr and supplications are recommended in the Quran and Hadeeth, which aid in bringing an ailing person into the company of Allah (swt) as the Prophet (sa) has said that Allah (swt) says: “I am with My servant, when he remembers Me and his lips move to mention Me.” (Ahmad)

Do not ask for death

Regardless of how severe one’s sickness may be, a person should never ask for death. Allah’s Messenger (sa) admonished: “So do good to your best ability, and let none of you wish for death: if he is righteous, he may have; and if he is a sinner, he may have a chance to repent.” (Bukhari)

However, we can ask Allah (swt) to bless us with the rank of a martyr: “(He) Who sought martyrdom with sincerity will be ranked by Allah (swt) among the martyrs, even if he died on his bed.” (Muslim)

Cleanliness

“Cleanliness is half of faith.” (Muslim) An ailing person should endeavor to keep his body and clothing, as clean as he is able. If water is unavailable or harmful for the ailing person, other items can be used (tissues, cotton pads, leaves, etc.), to cleanse away impurities (pus, urine, feces, etc.).  Similarly, in the case of Wudu, a person may perform Tayammum. Bleeding from a wound does not invalidate Wudu; during battles the companions of the Prophet (sa) maintained Salah, despite their wounds. Moreover, a nice wash can be refreshing, aiding in recovery and preventing further illness.

Maintaining ritual acts of worship

All ritual acts of worship carry their own reward. Hence, it is essential that they are not neglected during illness, or (as in the case of Salah) delayed, because one is “just not feeling up to it.” The Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “Pray standing; if you cannot, pray sitting; if you cannot, pray on your side.” (Bukhari)

Though the ailing is exempted from fasting, missed obligatory fasts must be made up, when health returns. If the sickness is chronic, we have been instructed to feed one poor person per fast.

“So, whoever among you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days. As for those who can afford it, they have to offer a ransom by feeding a poor person (for every day).” (Al-Baqarah 2:184)

Increase good deeds

Use sickness as a chance to increase in good deeds by giving charity, maintaining good manners with those around you, and allowing visitors to come see you (which bestows reward for both them and you). The Prophet (sa) has said: “The secret Sadaqah (charity) extinguishes the Lord’s anger; preserving the ties of kinship increases the life span; and rendering good to people protects from evil fatalities.” (Baihaqi)

Additionally, a good word can save a person from the fire (Bukhari); accordingly, advise your family to do good, as Allah (swt) has said: “They believe in Allah (swt) and the Last Day, they enjoin good and forbid evil and rush in emulating each other in good deeds. These are the righteous people.” (Al-Imran 3:114)

These are just a few acts to be kept in mind for productively using a period of illness to expand one’s reserve of good deeds, acquire more rewards, and rise in the ranks of the righteous, Insha’Allah.

Sujood-As-Sahu

SujoodWe often find our minds wandering during Salah: tasks to be done, friends to call, memories of days gone by – all kinds of important and more often unimportant reflections vie for our attention, just as we are trying to call out to our Lord. Prophet Muhammad (sa) warned us that although Shaitan flees on hearing the Adhan and Iqama (calls to prayer): “He returns again, and whispers into the heart of the person (to divert his attention from his prayer) and makes him remember things, which he does not recall to his mind before the prayer and that causes him to forget, how much he has prayed.” (Bukhari)

Sometimes, we end up omitting from Salah, adding to it, or having doubts regarding a part of our prayer. In all three cases, we have been instructed by our beloved Prophet’s (sa) example to perform Sujood-as-Sahu (two prostrations of forgetfulness).

Narrated by Abdullah ibn Abbas (rta): “The Prophet (sa) named the two prostrations of forgetfulness disgraceful for the devil.” (Abu Dawood)

Abu Hurairah (rta) describes the way the Prophet (sa) performed these prostrations: “He said Takbir (Allahu Akbar), performed a prostration of ordinary duration or longer, then he raised his head and said Takbir and performed another prostration of ordinary duration or longer, and then raised his head and said Takbir (i.e., he performed the two prostrations of Sahu, i.e., forgetfulness).”

The point of prayer, when the prostrations must be made, depends on the error committed.

The Error of Adding to Salah

When addition is made to the positions of Salah-bowing, prostrating, standing or an entire Rakah (unit or prayer)-Sujood-as-Sahu must be preformed after Salam.

The Prophet (sa) once made five Rakahs, instead of four, for Dhuhr. When questioned about the addition, he made two prostrations (Sujood-as-Sahu). He had also pointed out: “I am a human being like you and liable to forget like you. So if I forget, remind me…” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Note: If you realize you are adding a Rakah while still praying, stop and return to the original position before the addition was made, complete the Salah, and perform Sujood-as-Sahu.

Furthermore, if one adds Salam before completing the required Rakahs (for example, making two Rakahs and then saying Salam (ending Salah), where four Rakahs are required), the missing Rakahs must be prayed as soon as the omission is remembered. In this case, Sujood-as-Sahu should be preformed after Salam. “Once, the Prophet (sa) led the Dhuhr prayer, offering only two Rakat and then (finished it) with Salam. The people then informed him, upon which he proceeded and completed his prayer and then prostrated twice after Salam. He also said Salam after completing the two prostrations.” (Bukhari)

However, if your Wudu needs to be repeated (due to nullification: by passing wind, answering the call of nature or vomiting) before praying the omitted Rakahs of Salah, you must then repeat the entire Salah again, regardless of the Rakahs you had previously prayed.

The Error of Omitting from Salah

If omission is made from the positions of Salah, the prostrations of forgetfulness are preformed before Salam.

“Allah’s Messenger (sa) stood up for the Dhuhr prayer and he should have sat (after the second Rakah, but he stood up for the third Rakah without sitting for Tashah-hud (the sitting position after the second Rakah), and when he finished the prayer, he performed two prostrations and said Takbir on each prostration while sitting, before ending (the prayer) with Salam; and the people too performed the two prostrations with him, instead of the sitting he forgot.” (Bukhari)

The Case of Doubt in Salah

When unsure of how many Rakahs have preformed, the lesser number must be considered and the prayer accordingly completed with Sujood-as-Sahu made before making Salam. The Prophet (sa) has instructed:

“When any one of you is in doubt about his prayer, and he does not know, how much he has prayed, three or four (Rakahs), he should cast aside his doubt and base his prayer on what he is sure of, then perform two prostrations before giving salutations. If he has prayed five Rakahs, they will make his prayer an even number for him, and if he has prayed exactly four, they will be humiliation for the devil.” (Muslim)

However, if a person positively determines the number of Rakahs preformed, then he should complete his Salah accordingly with Sujood-as-Sahu after the Salam.

“If any of you is uncertain about his prayer (how much he has prayed), he should strive to achieve certainty, then complete his prayer accordingly and prostrate twice after Salam” (Bukhari).

Thus, our beloved Prophet (sa) has guided us in correcting unintentional errors in Salah, so we may defy Shaitan by making our prayers acceptable to Allah (swt) and continue to strive for perfection in Salah.

ERROR MADE  EXAMPLES OF POSSIBLE ERRORS WHEN SUJOOD-AS-SAHU IS PREFORMED
Addition to Salah. Addition of a prostration, Ruku (bowing), or Rakah (5 made, when 4 required). After Salam.
Salam is made before completing all required Rakahs (the Salam is considered an addition), as a result of what Salah is cut short (2 Rakahs preformed instead of 4). Forgotten Rakahs should be made and Sujood-as-Sahu performed after Salam.
Omission from Salah. A bowing, prostration, or sitting is omitted. Forgetting to say Takbir during the prayer. Before Salam.
Doubts in Salah. Uncertainty about the number of Rakahs performed. Assume the lesser number of Rakahs you are sure about, complete the remaining Rakahs, and make Sujood-as-Sahu before Salam.
At first, in doubt about the number of Rakahs made, but then positively determining the exact number. Complete Salah according to the determined number of Rakahs and make Sujood-as-Sahu after Salam.

 

Salat-ul-Istikhara

istikhara1Life is full of choices affecting our future and the lives of those around us: career options, marriage proposals, selecting a school for children and the list goes on. Often, decisions make us feel uncertain and uneasy, even after deciding on an option. Unable to predict the outcome of our judgement, we often wish for reassurance from someone, who has more wisdom than ourselves. Hence, our beloved teacher Prophet Muhammad (sa) instructed us to make Istikhara for all the important matters of life.

“Allah’s (swt) Messenger used to teach his companions to perform the prayer of Istikhara for each and every matter, just as he used to teach them the Surahs from the Quran.” (Bukhari)

The term ‘Istikhara’ means ‘seeking/requesting guidance in what is good’ – hence, it is a means of asking Allah (swt) (the One, Who knows the seen and the unseen) to guide us to the right decision concerning any affair in our life, especially, when we have to choose between two or more alternatives.

Performing Salat-ul-Istikhara

The Prophet Muhammad (sa) informed us: “If anyone of you thinks of doing any job, he should offer a two Rakah prayer other than the compulsory ones and say (after the prayer)…” he then recited the Dua of Istikhara. (Bukhari)

Thus, performing Istikhara is really very simple:

  1. Decide on the option you wish to take.
  2. Make Wudu and prepare for Salah.
  3. Pray two Rakahs of Salah, other than the obligatory ones. The intention of Salah should be made in your heart, without saying it out loud. This prayer can be performed at any time, when Salah is permissible.
  4. After completing the Salah, recite in Arabic the Dua of Istikhara, clearly mentioning the affair you are concerned about (the affair can be said in the language you are accustomed to, if you do not know, how to translate it into Arabic).
  5. Trust that Allah (swt) will now guide you towards what is best for your future in this world and the Hereafter. Then, act upon what you feel is the best choice in the matter.

Note: There is no harm in repeating Salat-ul-Istikhara, before acting on a decision. Every person concerned with a particular affair should perform this Salah individually.

Misconceptions regarding Salat-ul-Istikhara

Many people feel that Salat-ul-Istikhara should be followed by a feeling or a dream, pointing towards the correct decision. The Prophet (sa) has warned us: “Dreams are of three types: glad tidings from Allah (swt), whispering from the soul, or frightening thoughts from Shaitan.” (Bukhari) Thus, we cannot be sure about the source of a dream.

The Dua of Istikhara asks Allah (swt) to make the right direction smooth and easy for us, and also make us satisfied with the outcome. Sometimes, after acting upon a decision, we find the outcome different from what we had anticipated. Only much later we realize that the results were definitely in our favor. We are hasty to taste the fruits of success and feel restless and unsatisfied, when things do not seem to go the way we plan. This Dua asks Allah (swt) to give to us a feeling of content, no matter what the outcome is, for truly, only He sees the fruits of our deeds.

The affairs Salat-ul-Istikhara can be made for

Istikhara can be made for all affairs affecting our lives, in which we have to choose between permissible alternatives. This includes making choices between obligatory matters, for example, trying to decide, whether to go for Hajj or postpone it in order to take care of a sick parent. However, it cannot be made for the following matters:

  • acts, which Allah (swt) has made obligatory on us, such as performing Hajj, giving Zakat, or fasting in Ramadan;
  • acts, which Allah (swt) has declared Haram (forbidden), such as drinking alcohol or giving bribes;
  • acts, which may involve harm or result in oppression of another Muslim.

Remember, making Istikhara does not mean that you should not turn for advice to those, who have more knowledge. Allah (swt) Himself instructs us, what can be translated as: “… and consult them in the affairs. Then, when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah (swt); certainly, Allah (swt) loves those who put their trust (in Him).” (Al-Imran 3:159)

Hence, make a decision after proper research and then put your mind at ease by entrusting Allah (swt) with the matter as “Allah (swt) is Sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs.” (Al-Imran 3:173)

Translation of Dua of Istikhara

“O Allah (swt)! I consult You, for You have all knowledge, and appeal to You to support me with Your Power and ask for Your Bounty, for You are able to do things, while I am not, and You know while I do not; and You are the Knower of the Unseen. O Allah (swt)! If You know that this matter (name your matter) is good for me both at present and in the future, (or in my Deen), in this life and in the Hereafter, then fulfill it for me and make it easy for me, and then bestow Your Blessings on me in that matter. O Allah (swt)! If You know that this matter is not good for me in my Deen, in this life and in my coming Hereafter (or at present or in the future), then divert me from it and choose for me what is good, wherever it may be, and make me be pleased with it.” (Bukhari)