Are you ready for it? It happens every year… Yes, the ‘Moon Fighting‘ is about to begin! 😛
Here are Abu Jamal’s thoughts on the whole issue! Enjoy and don’t forget to share!
[Click Image to Enlarge]
Do you know what days are better than all other days of the year? The days of Ramadan? No! (The last ten nights of Ramadan are higher in status though, as they comprise Laylatul-Qadr) It’s the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah as narrated by Ibn Abbas (rta):
Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “There is no deed that is better before Allah or more greatly rewarded than a good deed done in the (first) ten days of al-Adha (sacrifice).” It was said: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah, unless a man goes out himself for jihad taking his wealth with him and does not come back with anything.” (Bukhari and Darimi)
Surprisingly, the masses are unaware of these virtuous days and miss the opportunity to gain rewards and Allah’s pleasure in these blessed days. According to the Sunnah these are some of the important actions done in the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah:
So, there is something for everyone. If you’re not going for Hajj, you may sacrifice. If you cannot afford an animal, you can still fast. If you’re incapable of fasting you can always remember Allah! We must race after every virtue that we can lay our hands on. Life is too short and every passing second is an asset.
In this exclusive interview with Hiba Magazine, Br Omar Usman, founding member of MuslimMatters, Qalam Institute, Muslim Strategic Initiative, and Debt Free Muslims, talks about his project, Fiqh of Social Media (http://fiqhofsocial.media/). Brother Omar is a regular khateeb and has also served in different administrative capacities in various national and local Islamic organizations.
1. For people who haven’t yet heard of it, what exactly is Fiqh of Social Media? It’s a blog, it’s an e-book, it’s definitely a fantastic idea to address pressing issues related to social media… but how would you define it?
Social media has transformed our lives within the span of a couple of years. It’s like it crept up on us when we weren’t looking, and now we are trying to figure out how to deal with it. Fiqh of Social Media is a niche project under the guidance of Qalam Institute, and the goal really is to provide guidance on how to use our faith to navigate this new era. With that in mind we do have the ebook and blog, and we hope to develop more material in the future insha’Allah.
2. How did Fiqh of Social Media come into being, and what was the inspiration behind it?
The internet and social media has always fascinated me in general. I made my first website about 20 years ago when I was barely 13 years old, and was making Islamic websites in university. There is no singular inspiration point, but over the years I have been keenly aware of how these new technologies are affecting us – religiously and with our families.
It’s always bugged me that the Muslim community seems to be behind one step technology wise. When the world shifted to CD’s, we were still producing audio cassettes. When the world shifted to the mp3 age, we started producing Qur’an recitations on CD’s. Social networks now have impacted us in ways we can’t imagine.
When I was growing up, it was considered rude to take a phone call at dinnertime. If someone called, you would answer and tell them you would call them back after dinner was over. Now, many families can’t eat a single meal without everyone being attached to a device.
Our Islamic tradition is timeless and contains the solutions to these pains and problems we face – I feel it is at the point where there needs to be a dedicated resource for this.
3. Initially, what were your aims & objectives? And have they changed over time with social media’s evolution?
We are at the first time in human history where people have an abundance of relationships, but no friendships. We are able to connect with thousands of people we could not before. Before, people had to wait and clear a gate keeper to get on TV, publish a book, or even write an editorial to the paper. Now anyone can have a platform. This opens a lot of doors – but it’s an entirely new situation that raises a lot of questions. For example, how do we understand Islamic principles of friendship in an age where people have 5,000 friends on Facebook?
The aim for me has always been to connect these dots. What are the Islamic principles, and how do they apply to social media? What problems are we encountering online that we need answers to, and what are the solutions provided in our religious tradition? Those are the basic aims. What has evolved, though, is that connecting these dots is branching out into a number of subjects I never even imagined.
What problems are we encountering online that we need answers to, and what are the solutions provided in our religious tradition?
4. What is the current vision of Fiqh of Social Media?
To provide thought leadership in this area. It’s not just Muslims struggling with these issues. In fact, most of the materials I am finding are from secular sources. So there is definitely a huge problem here; I want to spread the message of how our faith addresses these issues.
5. Most of your work is online – how do you organize everything? Also, is this a one-man show or do you have a team working with you?
I wish I had a team. Right now it is a one-man show. The primary content mechanism is the email list, so I do my best to send out at least 2-3 newsletters a month.
6. You write on things people at times don’t even think of, like Food Instagramming. What kind of response do you receive on such blog articles? Are people receptive or they lash out?
Alhumdulillah the response is really positive. In the case of this article specifically I wasn’t expecting backlash – particularly because I was criticizing and analyzing my own photos (as opposed to someone else’s). A lot of items like this one are things that everyone notices, I just happened to take the observation one step further and write the article.
7. Your content and ebook is all free – how do you arrange funding?
Alhumdulillah most of the cost at this point is nominal (it’s just a couple of dollars a month) so it has not been an issue.
8. What are your plans for the future? Are you planning to get your book 40 Hadiths on Social Media formally published (in print)?
So right now there are 2 major projects being worked on. The first is an online course that is specifically for parents and how to manage social media with their kids. This will cover a number of things like kids being addicted to screens to how to reclaim family dinner time.
The second project is a formal book on the Fiqh of Social Media. This is a larger and more comprehensive undertaking so it will take some time. Please make dua Allah (swt) grants tawfiq to both projects.
9. How can other brothers and sisters help you out in your work?
The best thing is to subscribe to the email list at http://fiqhofsocial.media/40hadith – When they do this they will receive a copy of the 40 hadith as well as the new articles I am writing. The best way to help is to simply reply to those emails with your feedback. The hardest part about a project like this is understanding which material is useful or helpful, or how it resonates. So really if I had one wish, it would just be that people not just read the material, but let me know what they thought of it.
10. Any message for the Ummah
That is a really tough question. I’ll offer the advice here that I feel I need most for myself and that is simply to make more Dua to Allah (swt). It is so simple but cannot be emphasized enough.
18-24 is an incredibly formidable time, and also a time where people try out lots of different things. Embrace it, but just be cautious with what you post of yourself online.
11. Any message for Hiba’s readers in particular.
I would say just be careful. The internet is forever. Even things like Snapchat where your photos are supposed to get deleted are not that private. 18-24 is an incredibly formidable time, and also a time where people try out lots of different things. Embrace it, but just be cautious with what you post of yourself online.
12. Anything else you would like to share.
Jazakallahu khayr for doing this interview. May Allah (swt) bless your efforts with this magazine!
By Eman Al-Obaid – Al-Huda Sisters, Dubai
Allah (swt) created humans and Jinns to worship Him. This is the purpose of creation. Average life span of a human being is between 60-70 years. We don’t live forever. While we are in this world, our time is divided between eating, sleeping, working and so on. Muslims are supposed to worship Allah (swt), but if we count, then how many minutes in a day do we actually spend worshipping? Calculate the time you spend on praying the five obligatory prayers – maybe 25-30 minutes in a day out of all the 24 hours!
Realistically, HOW are you supposed to spend your entire life in worship?
Allah (swt) has made it easy for us by giving certain bonus periods in life for motivating us to worship Him with renewed feelings. We need a change or a motivation – something to boost us! We know we need to worship Allah (swt) all the time, but we should not get bored of worship! We need change all the time! Look at the cycle. We follow our normal routine. Before Ramadan, we become excited and wait for it. Our level of faith is high. In the middle of Ramadan, we become relaxed in routine. Then another injection of motivation comes in the form of Laylatul Qadr (the Night of Decree), so our faith soars. Afterwards, we relax for the Eid and enjoy. Then, comes the fasting of Shawwal and once again relaxation during the month of Dhul-Qadah, followed by Dhul-Hijjah. We have the first ten days followed by Eid-ul-Adha. Hence, there is no stagnant period – always change in order to motivate us.
Any good actions that you perform during these days will be beloved to Allah (swt). For instance, if you always pray the morning prayer, pray the same during these days and Allah (swt) will love it more, Insha’Allah!
The most important ten days start on the 1st day of Dhul-Hijjah. Allah (swt) mentions in the Quran: “By the ten nights (i.e., the first ten days of the month of Dhul-Hijjah).” (Al-Fajr 89:2) He further mentions: “That they may witness things that are of benefit to them (i.e. reward of Hajj in the hereafter, and also some worldly gain from trade, etc.), and mention the Name of Allah on appointed days (i.e. 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th day of Dhul-Hijjah), over the beast of cattle that He has provided for them (for sacrifice) (at the time of their slaughtering by saying: Bismillah, Wa Allahu-Akbar, Allahumma Minka wa Ilaik). Then eat thereof and feed therewith the poor who have a very hard time.” (Al-Hajj 22:28)
The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “There are no days during which the righteous action is so pleasing to Allah (swt) than these days (i.e., the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah).” He was asked: “O Messenger of Allah, not even Jihad in the Cause of Allah (swt)?” He (sa) replied: “Not even Jihad in the cause of Allah (swt), except in case one goes forth with his life and his property and does not return with either of it.” (Bukhari)
Spending the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah
Repent and request Allah (swt) for forgiveness for past sins, resolving to not repeat them. Even though you know the virtues of important days, your sins can prevent you from doing them. Repent to Allah (swt) well before Dhul-Hijjah begins. Beg forgiveness for mistakes you know and the ones you do not know.
Remain determined and truthful. Rely upon Allah (swt) only. We cannot do anything on our own, even if it is worship. We need to rely on Allah (swt), so that we remain steadfast upon good deeds. Don’t listen to Shaitan and don’t get discouraged.
These ten days are the ‘mother of all worship’, because there is no specific kind of worship mentioned. Therefore, since Allah (swt) loves, accepts and rewards any deeds in these days.
Good deeds to perform
Any good actions that you perform during these days will be beloved to Allah (swt). For instance, if you always pray the morning prayer, pray the same during these days and Allah (swt) will love it more, Insha’Allah! This should be an important encouragement for us to do more and more good deeds, which have greater reward with Allah (swt). You get extra rewards for all your deeds and all the things that you do even in normal routine (in those days). All the voluntary prayers, Dua, Dhikr and anything else that you do is rewarded. The reward is more because there is more struggle. In Ramadan, for example, it’s easier to perform good deeds, because Shaitan is chained. It is even easy to pray night prayers in the Masjid, because everyone else is engaged in it. In Dhul-Hijjah, it is more difficult.
These ten days are the ‘mother of all worship’, because there is no specific kind of worship mentioned. Therefore, since Allah (swt) loves, accepts and rewards any deeds in these days.
One can do any of the following types of worship with sincerity and hope for the reward from Allah (swt).
Other positive actions we can do in these ten days are:
We ask Allah the Almighty (swt) to guide us to His love and pleasure. Ameen!
Misconception # 1: The night of the 15th of Shaban should be singled out for worship, prayer, etc.
Clarification: Our best example and role model is the Prophet (sa) and he never, ever singled out this night for worship or Qiyam nor did his Sahabah do that.
Shaykh Ibn Baz said: “There is no saheeh Hadeeth concerning the night of the fifteenth of Shaban. All the Ahadeeth that have been narrated in this regard are fabricated and Daeef (weak), and have no basis. There is nothing special about this night, and no recitation of Quran or prayer, whether alone or in congregation, is specified for this night. What some of the scholars have said about it being special is a weak opinion. It is not permissible to single it out for any special actions. This is the correct view.”
(Fatawa Islamiyah, 4/511)
Misconception # 2: There are special prayers to be offered on this night.
Clarification: There are NO special prayers to be offered on this night specifically. And all those Ahadeeth giving you long lists of special formulae that are “supposed to guarantee you Allah’s forgiveness and Jannah” are all fabricated, false and innovations in our Deen. If there were such prayers, the Prophet (sa) would have told us about them and we would have had evidence of him and the Sahabah doing it.
Misconception # 3: Allah descends to the first heavens on this night to forgive us.
Clarification: Allah’s descent to the first heaven does not happen on the night of the fifteenth of Shaban only. Rather it happens on every single night of the year.
The Prophet (sa) said: “Every night when it is the last third of the night, our Lord, the Superior, the Blessed, descends to the nearest heaven and says: Is there anyone to invoke Me that I may respond to his invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone asking My forgiveness so that I may forgive him? ” (Bukhari)
Thus, when Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak was asked about the descent of Allah on the night of the fifteenth of Shaban, he said to the one who asked him: “O weak one! The night of the fifteenth? He descends every night!”
Misconception # 4: This is the night when our fate, lifespan, and provisions are decreed.
Clarification: Some people think that the “blessed night” (Laylatim-Mubarakah) mentioned in Surah ad-Dukhan (44:3), refers to the night of 15th Shaban, when Allah decrees our lifespan, provisions and fate. In fact, they even pray 6 Rakahs, 2 for each of these things. However, all that is fabricated and far, far away from the Sunnah. And, in reality, the “blessed night” mentioned in Surah ad-Dukhan, actually is referring to Laylatul Qadr that comes in Ramadan. (Tafseer Ibn Kathir of Surah al-Qadr)
Misconception # 5: One should fast on the day of the fifteenth.
Clarification: Here again, there is no Saheeh report that tells us that the Prophet (sa) or his Sahabah ever picked this day specifically to fast. The Sunnah of the Prophet (sa) was to fast most of this month and not just the 15th. However, if the fifteenth of Shaban coincides with a Monday or Thursday, or with the three white days or if a person is generally fasting, without associating seeking extra rewards to fasting this specific day, then it is allowed. (Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid)
Misconception # 6: This is the night when the souls of departed ones return to their families.
Clarification: Here again, some people misunderstand the verse in Surah al-Qadr and think that the “sending down of the Rooh” as mentioned in this Surah refers to the souls of dead people returning to see their families, even though it refers to Jibreel (Tafseer Ibn Kathir). And that is why we see women preparing the sweets, the Halwas and other “goodies” for the souls of their loved ones.
Not only is that in itself an erroneous, deviant belief and Bidah, but to believe that the souls of the dead can return back to the world and meet/see their relatives is also totally incorrect and false. The teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah clearly state that the souls of the dead do not return back to the world. Besides, they don’t even eat the Halwas. It is actually you who eats it!
Misconception # 7: Visiting graveyards especially this night is something good.
Clarification: Although the Prophet (sa) encouraged visiting graves, he forbade singling out any day or night for any kinds of good deeds if it is not prescribed in the Shariah. And he did not specifically visit the graveyard on the night of the 15th of Shaban. The Hadeeth of Aisha (rta) that mentions that the Prophet (sa) visited the graveyard this night is not authentic and thus does not have any proof for visiting graves specifically on this night of Shaban.
“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those of you who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.” (Al-Nisa 4:59)
Shaykh Ibn Jibreen said: “These reports (about worship and fasting an the 15th of Shaban) became very well known in some countries which were overwhelmed by ignorance; One should not be deceived by the large numbers of ignorant people who do these things.”
For love, there have been wars. For love, people have harboured feelings of anger, jealousy, and hatred to the extent of committing murder and heinous crimes thereafter. Without doubt, the emotion of love is a strong emotion which is seemingly represented by red hearts, red roses, red ribbons, etc. Love is commonly expressed in a manner expressed best in stories, novels, movies, and so on. We have come to understand the emotion of ‘love’ the way it is described and portrayed in the mass media.
The moment we think about love, a picture of a couple in love springs up in our minds. We consider the ‘drama’ in their lives, which leads to marriage or yearning. Then there is some more drama, followed by suspense, and in the end, we have a standard ‘happily ever after’.
At first glance, Islam and love seem total antonyms of each other. Although all the elements of love are present in the Quran and Ahadeeth, we do not understand the concept of romance or love in Islam. Muhabbah (love) comes from the root word Hubb, which means a seed that Allah (swt) has sown in our hearts. Ibn Abbas (rta) narrated that the Prophet (sa) said:
Muhabbah (love) comes from the root word Hubb, which means a seed that Allah (swt) has sown in our hearts.
“Allah brought all the offspring of Adam from Adam’s back, in Arafah, and He took the oath from the people. Then Allah said (and the Prophet [sa] recited): ‘Am I not your Lord?’ (Al-Araf 7:172)” (An-Nasai and Ahmad)
On that day, Allah (swt) bestowed us with His love in our hearts. Allah (swt) further guides us in the Quran. He says He loves those who constantly repent, those who are pure inwardly and outwardly, those who do good deeds beautifully, those who have Taqwa, are conscious of Allah (swt) and abstain from sins, and those who are patient during trials and do not lose their temper. Allah (swt) does not love those who create mischief, those who betray others, and those who are arrogant and two-faced. Hence, we get a clear picture that those whom Allah (swt) loves will love humanity and leave a progeny full of goodness.
Today’s common ‘objects’ of love are spouses, children, wealth, and Dunya. However, Allah (swt) says that those who have Iman love Allah (swt) the most, as the Quran mentions that the believers love Allah (swt) more intensely. (Al-Baqarah 2:165) We know how much the Sahabah (ra) loved the Prophet (sa) and how they loved Allah (swt), too. Consider also the Hadeeth that specifies seven categories of people who will be given Allah’s Shade on the Day of Resurrection. In one category will be those whose love is for the sake of Allah (swt) alone.
The youth are full of emotions and emotions can make us lose control. Decisions taken on the basis of emotions are usually wrong and result in regret. These days, through pop culture and mass media, Muslim youth tend to destroy their lives by indulging in Haram relationships which have no place in Islam. A relationship whose base is either love at first sight, or beauty, or expensive gifts, or fun will always be flimsy with a weak foundation. It will not last for long as a Hadeeth says: “Your love for something blinds and deafens.” (Abu Dawood and Ahmad)
Love based on a strong foundation is love for the sake of Allah (swt). Love is to want to be with your spouse in this world and the hereafter as well. This love has commitment and is not based merely on physical or emotional factors. Spouses are garments to each other and both are enjoined to have mercy on one another. Every moment spent with each other is rewarded.
reserve all smileys, roses and hearts for what is Halal and judge for yourself what true love is. Love what Allah (swt) loves and leave what angers Allah (swt).
It was reported from Abu Dharr that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “In the (sexual act) of each one of you there is a charity.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah, when one of us fulfils his carnal desire will he have some reward for that?” He (sa) said: “Do you not see that if he were to act upon it (his desire) in an unlawful manner, then he would be deserving of punishment? Likewise, if he were to act upon it in a lawful manner, he will be deserving of a reward.” (Muslim)
If we try to emulate virtual love or love depicted in movies, it will kill our spiritual heart. The person will be deprived of Allah’s love and mercy in this world, unless he sincerely repents. Hence, reserve all smileys, roses and hearts for what is Halal and judge for yourself what true love is. Love what Allah (swt) loves and leave what angers Allah (swt).
Love is when Prophet Muhammad (sa) took the glass from which Aisha (rta) had drunk. He put his lips on the exact same place she had put hers and then drank. (An-Nasai)
Love is when Prophet Muhammad (sa) raced with Aisha (rta) and teased her when she lost! (Abu Dawood)
Love is when Fatimah (rta) immediately smiled and never complained when her father (sa) told her that her Nikah has been made to Ali (rta).
Love is when Zainab (rta) sent a necklace given to her by her mother Khadeejah as a ransom for her husband!
Love is when Khadeejah (rta) spent her entire wealth on the Deen for the man she loved!
That is real love, Subhan’Allah!
Birthdays, Halloween, bridal showers, baby showers, this day, that day, and the endless Dholkis! Come February and the entire town is painted red. Love is in the air, or so we are made to believe. Girls are coordinating red clothes and accessories, while guys are crowding the flower shops. Vendors are pleased. Their business is doing well. Families at home are not sure whether they should switch off their television sets or shamelessly sit through the entire transmission, and witness what is being broadcast in the name of love. Parents and teenagers are equally dazed: should they jump in and join the maddening crowd or should they sit on the fence holding on to the tattering family values?
If we could, we would perhaps name every day of the year and celebrate it. It is as if we need reasons to splurge and show we are not slacking in this race. Allah mentions:
The trendsetters, the celebrities, the people that we drool over and follow in every word and action will dissociate themselves from their followers. What does that mean? It means that they will take no responsibility for the actions of their followers. And why would they do that? It is because on that Day when they won’t be able to save themselves how can they possibly save anyone else?
“And [yet], among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals [to Him]. They love them as they [should] love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. And if only they who have wronged would consider [that] when they see the punishment, [they will be certain] that all power belongs to Allah and that Allah is severe in punishment. [And they should consider that] when those who have been followed disassociate themselves from those who followed [them], and they [all] see the punishment, and cut off from them are the ties [of relationship]. Those who followed will say: ‘If only we had another turn [at worldly life] so we could disassociate ourselves from them as they have disassociated themselves from us.’ Thus will Allah show them their deeds as regrets upon them. And they are never to emerge from the Fire.” (Al-Baqarah 2:165-167)
Who are the people who will disassociate themselves? Who are the ones who will wish to return? And why would they wish to return?
This verse presents a sketch of the Judgement Day. The leaders will dissociate themselves from their followers. Let’s replace the word ‘leaders’ with ‘trendsetters’ and rephrase the sentence. The trendsetters, the celebrities, the people that we drool over and follow in every word and action will dissociate themselves from their followers. What does that mean? It means that they will take no responsibility for the actions of their followers. And why would they do that? It is because on that Day when they won’t be able to save themselves how can they possibly save anyone else?
One simple criterion to evaluate our actions is that before venturing into anything ask: “Why am I doing this?” If it pleases Allah (swt) pursue it; if not, divert your attention to something of Khair.
What does this tell us? Does it give us a wake-up call? Does it give a momentary room to the voice of the conscience that asks us, “Hey, where are you heading?”
Imagine a scenario, where you are standing on the road and there are people walking in front of you. Mindlessly, you start walking behind them because…err let’s say you are impressed by their dressing, their appearance, the way they carry themselves, or perhaps you are walking behind them because you are not even sure why you are doing that. Now where would you end up by following these people? Look around yourself. Have you reached your home yet? Or is it that you have come to a place that is far away from your destination? How do you feel now? Are you pleased that you mindlessly followed someone because you were impressed by them?
Sit back and reflect; what does this example teach you?
We learn that in this world when we intend to follow someone, when we decide to tread in their footsteps, or act upon what they say, we should make use of our senses. We should ascertain where they are taking us, what interests they are instilling, what they are stopping us from, what they are saving us from, what they are promising, what they are putting us into and where do they wish to take us. Make use of your intellect.
How can the mirror of the heart shine if material images are covering it? How can the heart journey to God if it is chained by its desires?
What does the Qur’an say about the people who don’t use their intellect? Allah (swt) equates them to a herd of sheep, who can hear the calls and cries of their shepherd but don’t understand a thing. They mindlessly start treading in the direction where they see others walking.
Ever seen hens at a farm? The animals and crops at the farm are the farmer’s livelihood as well as food. Sometimes he slaughters an animal from his herd to feed his family. But how does he attract the animal towards himself? Running after them with a butcher’s knife will scare the animals away. The farmer therefore uses a clever strategy. He throws some grains and the innocent little chicken comes walking to its master. The farmer grabs it and within seconds it’s gone. The grains are temporary pleasure for the chicken but a strong tool for the farmer to tempt the chicken to come out of its coop.
The pomp and glitter of this world, and the urge to be around certain type of people are temporary pleasures of this world. By mindlessly chasing every slogan, charm or a person we act like a herd of sheep. The predator’s trap, however, will not just take our lives but also have an impact on our hereafter.
When the love of Allah (swt) enters the heart of a Muslim then nothing in the world can stop him from the way of Allah (swt). Our Prophet Ibraheem (as) was a living proof of that.
Allah (swt) says in Surah al-Anam, verse 32: “And the worldly life is not but amusement and diversion…so will you not reason?”
Let’s also read what does the Ayah before this says: “Those will have lost who deny the meeting with Allah, until when the Hour [of resurrection] comes upon them unexpectedly, they will: ‘Oh, [how great is] our regret over what we neglected concerning it.’”
People continue to live in denial until their meeting with the Creator. It is not until they are laid down in their graves that they realize their negligence. They regret the time wasted on unnecessary things and being forgetful of the Questioning. A week goes by and we don’t know where our time went: more concern for the worldly matters and ignorance to the hereafter.
Someone shouts: “It’s Valentine’s Day!” And the entire nation begins its celebrations. Amidst criticisms and objections, someone comments: “What’s wrong about it? The poor little boy who sells flowers at the signal at least earns a meal for his family on that day.” Someone else asserts: “Why do we have to make life so boring?”
But who says a Muslim’s life has to be boring?
The Creator directs the sail of our boats, “For each is a direction toward which it faces. So race to [all that is] good.” (Al-Baqarah 2:148) That is our path. The path of Khair. But what is this Khair? Khair is anything that benefits the society. Does our celebration of birthdays, Halloween, Basant, Dholkis, bridal showers and baby showers benefit the society? Or is it simply an excuse to show we are wealthy and live on the other side of the bridge? What will we say when are questioned about: In what matters did you spend your wealth? In throwing parties and exchanging unwanted gifts among people who can purchase anything that they wish to buy?
In Surah al-Fatihah we make Dua to Allah (swt) to “Show us the right way. The way of those who were favoured.” We find the detail of such people in Surah an-Nisa, verse 69, “the Siddiqeen [the truthful], the Shuhadah [the martyrs] and the Saliheen [the righteous].”
By blindly following rituals, traditions and celebrations, whose path are we really following? The ones who evoke His anger or of those who have strayed? Giving zakah or purchasing a sacrificial animal for Eid is burdensome for us, but splurging money on whims and desires is not.
For a Muslim, true love happens only once and that is with his Creator. This is what we learn from our Prophet Ibraheem (as) as we read in the Qur’an:
“‘My Lord, grant me [a child] from among the righteous.’ So We gave him good tidings of a forbearing boy. And when he reached with him [the age of] exertion, he said: ‘O my son, indeed I have seen in a dream that I [must] sacrifice you, so see what you think.’ He said: ‘O my father, do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah wills, of the steadfast.’ And when they had both submitted and he put him down upon his forehead, We called to him, ‘O Ibraheem, You have fulfilled the vision.’ Indeed, We thus reward the doers of good. Indeed, this was the clear trial. And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice, And We left for him [favourable mention] among later generations: ‘Peace upon Ibraheem.’ Indeed, We thus reward the doers of good.” (As-Saffat 37:100-110)
What will we say when are questioned about: In what matters did you spend your wealth? In throwing parties and exchanging unwanted gifts among people who can purchase anything that they wish to buy?
When the love of Allah (swt) enters the heart of a Muslim then nothing in the world can stop him from the way of Allah (swt). Our Prophet Ibraheem (as) was a living proof of that.
In his book, Al-Hikam, Sheikh Ahmad Ibn Ata’illah As-Sakandari says: “How can the mirror of the heart shine if material images are covering it? How can the heart journey to God if it is chained by its desires?”
One simple criterion to evaluate our actions is that before venturing into anything ask: “Why am I doing this?” If it pleases Allah (swt) pursue it; if not, divert your attention to something of Khair.
May Allah (swt) allow us to cleanse our souls and protect us from wandering blindly on the path of Shaytan, Ameen.
Adapted from Dr. Farhat Hashmi’s Lecture: “How to Express Love: Sacrifice or Valentine?”
When Prophet Muhammad (sa) started preaching ‘the Message’, the initial three years in Makkah were a secretive form of Dawah. The Prophet (sa) selected people based on their character and inclination to accept Islam. The six early years resulted in only 40 Muslims, yet they are the foremost, as-Sabiqoon al-Awwaloon.
I volunteer at my kids’ elementary school twice a week. This is the best Dawah I can do, using my personality, knowledge and temperament to initiate a dialogue about Islam. I pray to Allah (swt) before I approach anyone.
I live in a country with a majority population of non-Muslims, just like Makkah in the preliminary stages of Dawah. I asked my daughter’s grade four teacher, a Christian, about World Hijab Day during a recent discussion.
“Yes, I’ve heard of it,” she says. “From what I have noticed about you, you wear the Hijab, and it is not a costume but a lifestyle choice, am I right?”
“It is a lifestyle but not a choice; there are clear rules for men and women to cover themselves,” I reply.
“Then why would you celebrate a ‘day’? To me that means it is a costume one puts on for a period, like Halloween.”
The impetus behind World Hijab Day might be, “to introduce the world and non-Muslims, in particular, what it feels like to wear Hijab.” In reality, this reduces Hijab to a mere prop in a play, to be put on or taken off whenever you feel like it.
Our conversation continues, but she has a point. When we delegate a ‘day’ for something, it becomes special for that particular day, like Mother’s day, Father’s Day, birthdays, Valentine’s Day etc… Are we ready to limit Hijab to only one day out of 365?
When they ruled and conquered the world, Muslims adopted local practices. This is reflected in Islamic architecture, art, literature and cuisine. In fact, when Muslims learned during their campaigns into China’s borderlands that two of their prisoners of war knew how to make paper, they sent these two POW’s under special guard back to the Khaleefah so Muslims could benefit from this knowledge, just as the Prophet (sa) did after Badr. We must embrace change, but not to the extent that it redefines our core values.
The impetus behind World Hijab Day might be, “to introduce the world and non-Muslims, in particular, what it feels like to wear Hijab.” In reality, this reduces Hijab to a mere prop in a play, to be put on or taken off whenever you feel like it. Wearing Hijab just because everyone is doing it trivializes it. I asked my non-Muslim friend, a university student about World Hijab Day. She didn’t know about it, but said, “It’s like I am wearing a label. So I wear Hijab, but I am dressed in my usual clothes, I eat ham and I drink wine. Would that be acceptable representation? Now, people think I am Muslim because I look like one, and they then perceive everything I do and assess your faith. Would you like that?”
I ask you the very same question. Wearing Hijab is a ‘branding’ of the Muslim woman, to use a marketing term. Therefore, everyone wearing one is now representing Islam, which is the reality of the way our world functions. Ibn Khaldun in his Muqaddimah says: “…the vanquished always want to imitate the victor in his distinctive mark(s), his dress, his occupation, and all his other conditions and customs.” Are we so easily deceived, that wearing a Hijab, a mark of honour for women, has become a mere ‘custom/costume’ that must be shared with others because they can experience its ‘exotic’ feel.
Celebrating World Hijab Day in countries where the majority is Muslims is flippant. Would you advocate a ‘Salah Day’ so people can ‘feel’ what it is like to pray five times a day?
Prophet Muhammad (sa) never used this kind of Dawah to invite the Quraish or the other desert tribes toward Allah’s (swt) message. Recall the explanation of Surah Kafirun given by Sayyid Qutb – In the Shade of the Quran: “When Muhammad (peace be upon him) declared his religion to be that of Abraham, they (Quraish) argued that there was no reason for them to forsake their beliefs and follow Muhammad’s instead, since they too were of the same religion. In the meantime, they sought a sort of compromise with him proposing that he should prostrate himself before their deities in return for their prostration to his God… To clear up this muddle,…this sūrah was revealed in such a decisive, assertive tone. “Say: ‘Unbelievers! I do not worship what you worship, nor do you worship what I worship. I shall never worship what you worship, nor will you ever worship what I worship. You have your own religion and I have mine.” (Al-Kafirun 1-6).
Celebrating World Hijab Day in countries where the majority is Muslims is flippant. Would you advocate a ‘Salah Day’ so people can ‘feel’ what it is like to pray five times a day? Hijab, covering one’s hair and chest, is an obligation; there is no opinion of any scholar that will contradict the Quran’s requirements. By relegating an obligation to a ‘day’, and asking people to ‘try’ it out defeats the purpose.
This is my humble opinion. May Allah forgive me if I have hurt people’s feelings, but I am uncompromising about confining Hijab to only a ‘day’. It is the ultimate label. Wearing it makes me a symbol for Muslim women everywhere. Hijab is not a costume; it is my ATTITUDE!
In many a circumstances, it so happens that a situation arises when a person responsible finds himself unable to overcome a grave problem. A delicate situation comes across the normal working of a person suddenly, and the person facing it, after repeated efforts, thinks that the doors to its solution are all closed. He then gets disappointed and abandons his further efforts, leaving the problem in a status-quo position that may cause further harm. However, one must not succumb to the problem. One should keep striving to locate the solutions because accepting challenges and solving problems are characteristic of boldness. Any problem, as delicate as it may be, can ultimately be overcome, with the condition that certain qualifications are met.
These qualifications are precisely described below:
1. Awareness of the Problem
Persons coming across a grave situation must be fully aware of its exact nature. The one who is unaware of what the problem is will obviously fail to find a way out of it. This qualification is the basic key to success. This is the awareness of the issue that leads the person to start in the right direction.
The second quality attributed to combating the problem is the confidence of the person concerned. It is natural that confidence plays a pivotal role in confronting the issue. In its absence no success is guaranteed. But confidence of course is itself the outcome of a sound knowledge and experience. If someone possesses sufficient knowledge and experience, he must not get frightened with the gravity of the issue.
3. Observing the Rules of the Game
While attempting to solve the troubles, one must observe the entire prescribed rules of the game. That is, the person must be fully aware of where to commence from and in which direction to proceed. The formulae, principles, tools, and timings all must be kept in mind while resolving the complicated issue. Which formula to be picked first and where to hammer the last are the perquisites of success. An untimely step or a miscalculation may further develop fouls and complications.
4. Slow and Controlled Speed
Slow and steady progress toward the solution of a situation generates fruitful results. Hasty and superseding behaviour may ruin the entire effort. As complicated as the problem is, the caution should be made for its correction accordingly. People perceive commonly that since they possess all the qualities required, they therefore must hurry. Such a worried or over-confident conduct may ruin the entire labour, gaining nothing out of it.
5. Competent Team
A person determined to combat the grievance must also possess a competent team. If the members of his team are sub-graded or poorly experienced, the efforts may not materialize. An incompetent person may even spoil the whole of the team leader’s efforts. Principle of the division of work should likewise be applied in this respect.
With these qualifications as the basic tools, any delicate and mishandled situation may well be tackled wisely.
At times there arises a need to compromise and do things which might be against Islam. Such dilemmas are usually encountered by Muslims in their workplace. We act and try to make people happy because we don’t want to be labelled as ‘extremists’ or because we fear losing our job. On the other hand, we also fear Allah and want to please Him. Nowadays, many things are in direct conflict with Muslims in most of the non-Muslim society. Intricacies encountered in the workplace have become a growing concern for the Muslim Ummah around the globe because of issues ranging from prayer, fasting, attire, food, socializing, handshakes, and much more.
When encountered with such dilemmas, the very first and foremost thing that one needs to do is, stay firm and strong on Deen and not compromise on clear cut matters. Why be shy of people when we should be wary of our Lord? One should only fear Almighty Allah (swt) and have the courage to take the stand and convey one’s opinion and choices without any hesitation.
As mentioned in the Quran: Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe,” and will not be tested. And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test). (Al-Ankabut 29:2-3)
Prayer – Salah
To combat the challenges like prayer, communication, fasting, harassment, bullying; the first requirement is firmness in religion. One manifest issue for Muslim employees is prayer. Adherence to the five times daily prayer is a critical part of faith. A neutral space should be allocated for the Muslims, so that they can offer their obligation without hesitation. But in many places this issue is not addressed and no place is designated for prayer, except in rare workplaces where the company has allocated a resting area or meditation room.
Muslims have to find creative ways to fulfil what Allah (swt) has commanded. Islam is a religion of ease and does not want to cause difficulties for its believers.
Prayer is the fundamental tool for a believer to connect with Allah (swt) as it is stated in Quran; “Recite (O Muhammad [sa]) what has been revealed to you of the Book (the Qur’an), and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat). Verily, As-Salat (the prayer) prevents from Al-Fahsha (i.e. great sins of every kind, unlawful sexual intercourse, etc.) and Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism, and every kind of evil wicked deed, etc.) and the remembering (praising, etc.) of (you by) Allah (in front of the angels) is greater indeed [than your remembering (praising, etc.) Allah in prayers, etc.]. And Allah knows what you do.” (Al-Ankabut 45).
When the Prophet Muhammad (sa), was asked which deed is the best, he said: “Performing the prayer at its due time.” (Muslim).
In most Western workplaces such as UK, places are not designated for Muslims to pray. A lady shared her experience in this regard. She said that due to the unavailability of any designated place she started praying in the public area, but because this would jeopardize her physical safety she began to make up prayers at home. Then she realized that offering deferred prayers at home was also not a good option. She then started praying at her desk while sitting on her chair. Muslims have to find creative ways to fulfil what Allah (swt) has commanded. Islam is a religion of ease and does not want to cause difficulties for its believers.
Maintaining a Halal diet is another major concern. To avoid any risk one should bring food from home or select food that is vegetarian
The next challenge surrounding prayer is ablution. Ablution needs a separate place because performing Wudhu sometimes splashes water on the counter and creates a mess. But one should not fear and go ahead with making Wudhu, because it is an integral routine required before any prayer. Allah mentions:
“O you who believe! When you intend to offer the Prayer, wash your faces and your hands (forearms) up to the elbows, rub (by passing wet hands over) your heads, and (wash) your feet up to the ankles…” (Al-Ma’idah 5:6)
To avoid making a mess, keep a cloth with you to wipe the counter clean. Use water economically.
Food and Ramadan
Another religious consideration surrounds the holy month of Ramadan. One is required to fast from sunrise to sunset. In the workplace, people are usually not aware of the ones who are fasting. If you have to turn down the invite to lunch or to some other occasion involving food, do so politely.
Maintaining a Halal diet is another major concern. To avoid any risk one should bring food from home or select food that is vegetarian or made by the people of the book, as the Quran says; “The food (slaughtered cattle, eatable animals, etc.) of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) is lawful to you and yours is lawful to them.” (Al-Ma’idah 5:5).However, one cannot confirm that the meal is Halal, so to be on the safest side one should bring food from home.
Muslim Identity and Behaviour
Islam teaches us to maintain good relations and uphold a healthy and friendly environment. Muslims should also greet one another. Prophet Muhammad (sa) taught us to greet another Muslim with “Peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah or Assalamu Alaykum” and the response by a Muslim should be “Wa alaykum ussalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
The lure of gossip among employees and managers is a very normal act; they think it is a minor matter but it is very big in the sight of Allah (swt) and is highly detrimental to one’s faith.
But nowadays some Muslims do not think appropriate to greet Islamically in their professional realm. As per one interview, even if Muslims respond to Salam, they mumble it so that it is hardly recognizable as a greeting. We must be proud of being Muslims and acknowledge one another. Our Holy Prophet (sa) says: “Muslims should greet those people that they know as well as those people that they do not know.” (Bukhari and Muslim). Therefore, Muslims should be audacious and greet Muslims everywhere eagerly.
Backbiting, stealing or cheating and other unlawful or unacceptable behaviour has become a sort of norm nowadays. Committing such acts undermines one’s faith and makes him or her easily become indifferent and habitual to such attitude without even knowing the greatness of the sin. The lure of gossip among employees and managers is a very normal act; they think it is a minor matter but it is very big in the sight of Allah (swt) and is highly detrimental to one’s faith. Hence, in order to overcome this challenge one should change the conversation and divert peoples’ mind to some other useful and healthy topic.
The Quran says: “When you were propagating it with your tongues, and uttering with your mouths that whereof you had no knowledge, you counted it a little thing, while with Allah it was very great.” (An-Nur 24:15)
Interacting with the Opposite Gender
Interaction between opposite genders within the workplace can be another challenge. As a matter of fact, if men and women are working together, then potential temptation and attractiveness are natural phenomena among them. Hence, Allah (swt), the all-knower, prescribes women to cover their entire body (Awrah) except hand and face. A Muslim woman should cover her body by wearing Hijab and every believing woman should understand that it is a matter of religion and not a personal choice.
It is also stated that men and women should lower their gaze towards one another, women’s tone must be low, and the attire should not be appealing neither the saunter be attractive. If a male and female are talking, their conversation should be respectful. In short, an atmosphere of dignity with the fear of Allah (swt) should be maintained.
The Quran says: “Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Severe in punishment.” (Al-Ma’idah 5:2)
In order to combat any unlawful act, a Muslim should always be firm and confident in conveying the religious obligations. One such example is of a man who applied for a job in a large global media company. His interview was conducted on telephone by a lady. At the end of the conversation, she asked if there was anything that the interviewee wanted to ask. In order to avoid embarrassment at any later stages, the man conveyed honestly that being a strict Muslim he did not make any physical contact with women, that is, handshakes. His colleagues understood him and appreciated his outlook. Initially he was a bit embarrassed and afraid of delineating his thoughts but after being clear and upfront, he was respected. None of his peers were rude with him and ladies at work did not shake hands with him, but instead spoke in a courteous and polite manner.
In today’s world such challenges are being commonly faced by Muslims everywhere, but we must constantly be careful against the pressures to engage in the norms and activity that contradict the Muslim’s way of life. Today, it is very hard to maintain a balance between the Islamic principles and those of Western culture. We should always attempt to come closer to Allah (swt) and make preparations for the life hereafter.
The challenges present in the workplace are serious, but a sincere follower of Islam, who will be at his or her best in order to maintain being a true Muslim, will not encounter difficulty in overcoming these dilemmas.
Image courtesy: http://revenade.com/
Are we allowed to celebrate the Prophet’s (sa) birthday? Shaykh Yasir Qadhi presents a thorough analysis.
Fatimah (ra) was the fifth child of Muhammad (sa) and Khadijah (ra). She was born at a time when her noble father had begun to spend long periods in the solitude of mountains around Makkah, meditating and reflecting on the great mysteries of creation.
This was the time, before the Bi‘thah, when her eldest sister Zaynab (ra) was married to her cousin, al-’As ibn ar-Rabi’ah. Then followed the marriage of her two other sisters, Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum (ra), to the sons of Abu Lahab, a paternal uncle of the Prophet (sa). Both Abu Lahab and his wife Umm Jamil turned out to be flaming enemies of the Prophet from the very beginning of his public mission.
Little Fatimah (ra) thus saw her sisters leave home one after the other to live with their husbands. She was too young to understand the meaning of marriage and the reasons why her sisters had to leave home. She loved them dearly and was sad and lonely when they left. It is said that a certain silence and painful sadness came over her then.
Of course, even after the marriage of her sisters, she was not alone in the house of her parents. Barakah, the maid-servant of Aminah, the Prophet’s mother, who had been with the Prophet (sa) since his birth, Zayd ibn Harithah, and ‘Ali (ra), the young son of Abu Talib were all part of Muhammad’s household at this time. And of course there was her loving mother, the lady Khadijah (ra).
In her mother and in Barakah, Fatimah (ra) found a great deal of solace and comfort. In ‘Ali (ra), who was about four years older than her, she found a “brother” and a friend who somehow took the place of her own brother al-Qasim who had died in his infancy. Her other brother ‘Abdullah, known as the Good and the Pure, who was born after her, also died in his infancy. However, in none of the people in her father’s household did Fatimah (ra) find the carefree joy and happiness which she enjoyed with her sisters. She was an unusually sensitive child for her age.
When she was five, she heard that her father had become Rasul Allah, the Messenger of Allah. His first task was to convey the good news of Islam to his family and close relations. They were to worship God Almighty alone. Her mother, who was a tower of strength and support, explained to Fatimah (ra) what her father had to do. From this time on, she became more closely attached to him and felt a deep and abiding love for him. Often she would be at his side walking through the narrow streets and alleys of Makkah, visiting the Kabah or attending secret gatherings of the early Muslims who had accepted Islam and pledged allegiance to the Prophet (ra).
One day, when she was not yet ten, she accompanied her father to the Masjid al-Haram. He stood in the place known as Al-Hijr facing the Kabah and began to pray. Fatimah (ra) stood at his side. A group of Quraish, by no means well-disposed to the Prophet (sa), gathered about him. They included Abu Jahl ibn Hisham, the Prophet’s uncle. ‘Uqbah ibn Abi Mu’ayt, Umayyah ibn Khalaf and Shaybah and ‘Utbah, Sons of ar-Rabi’ah. Menacingly, the group went up to the Prophet (sa) and Abu Jahl, the ringleader asked:
“Which of you can bring the entrails of a slaughtered animal and throw it on Muhammad?”
‘Uqbah ibn Abi Mu’ayt, one of the vilest of the lot, volunteered and hurried off. He returned with the obnoxious filth and threw it on the shoulders of the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, while he was still prostrating. ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, a companion of the Prophet (ra), was present but he was powerless to do or say anything.
Imagine the feelings of Fatimah (ra) as she saw her father being treated in this fashion. What could she, a girl not ten years old, do? She went up to her father and removed the offensive matter and then stood firmly and angrily before the group of Qurayish thugs and lashed out against them. Not a single word did they say to her.
The noble Prophet (sa) raised his head on completion of the prostration and went on to complete the Salat. He then said: “O Lord, may you punish the Quraysh!” and repeated this imprecation three times. Then he continued: “May You punish ‘Utbah, ‘Uqbah, Abu Jahl and Shaybah.” (These whom he named all perished many years later at the Battle of Badr.)
On another occasion, Fatimah (ra) was with the Prophet (sa) as he made Tawaf around the Ka’bah. A Quraish mob gathered around him. They seized him and tried to strangle him with his own clothes. Fatimah (ra) screamed and shouted for help. Abu Bakr (ra) rushed to the scene and managed to free the Prophet (sa). While he was doing so, he pleaded:
“Would you kill a man who says. ‘Mv Lord is Allah?”
Far from giving up, the mob turned on Abu Bakr (ra) and began beating him until blood flowed from his head and face.
Such scenes of vicious opposition and harassment against her father and the early Muslims were witnessed by the young Fatimah (ra). She did not meekly stand aside but joined in the struggle in defence of her father and his noble mission. She was still a young girl and instead of the cheerful romping, the gaiety and liveliness which children of her age are and should normally was accustomed to, Fatimah (ra) had to witness and participated in such ordeals.
Of course, she was not alone in this. The whole of the Prophet’s family suffered from the mindless violence of the disbelieving Quraish. Her sisters, Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum (ra), also suffered. They were living at this time in the very nest of hatred and intrigue against the Prophet (sa). Their husbands were ‘Utbah and Utaybah, sons of Abu Lahab and Umm Jamil. Umm Jamil was known to be a hard and harsh woman who had a sharp and evil tongue. It was mainly because of her that Khadijah (ra) was not pleased with the marriages of her daughters to Umm Jamil’s sons in the first place. It must have been painful for Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum (ra) to be living in the household of such inveterate enemies who not only joined but led the campaign against their father.
As a mark of disgrace to Muhammad (sa) and his family, ‘Utbah and ‘Utaybah were prevailed upon by their parents to divorce their wives. This was part of the process of ostracizing the Prophet (sa) totally. The Prophet (sa) in fact welcomed his daughters back to his home with joy, happiness and relief.
Fatimah (ra), no doubt, must have been happy to be with her sisters once again. They all wished that their eldest sister, Zaynab (ra), would also be divorced by her husband. In fact, the Quraish brought pressure on Abu-al ‘As to do so but he refused. When the Quraish leaders came up to him and promised him the richest and most beautiful woman as a wife should he divorce Zaynab (ra), he replied:
“I love my wife deeply and passionately and I have a great and high esteem for her father even though I have not entered the religion of Islam.”
Both Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum (ra) were happy to be back with their loving parents and to be rid of the unbearable mental torture to which they had been subjected in the house of Umm Jamil. Shortly afterwards, Ruqayyah (ra) married again, to the young and shy ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan who was among the first to have accepted Islam. They both left for Abyssinia among the first Muhajirin who sought refuge in that land and stayed there for several years. Fatimah was not to see Ruqayyah again until after their mother had died.
The persecution of the Prophet (sa), his family and his followers continued and even became worse after the migration of the first Muslims to Abyssinia. In about the seventh year of his mission, the Prophet (sa) and his family were forced to leave their homes and seek refuge in a rugged little valley enclosed by hills on all -sides and which could only be entered from Makkah by a narrow defile.
To this arid valley, Muhammad (sa) and the clans of Banu Hashim and al-Muttalib were forced to retire with limited supplies of food. Fatimah (ra) was one of the youngest members of the clans – just about twelve years old – and had to undergo months of hardship and suffering. The wailing of hungry children and women in the valley could be heard from Makkah. The Quraish allowed no food and contact with the Muslims whose hardship was only relieved somewhat during the season of pilgrimage.
The boycott lasted for three years. When it was lifted, the Prophet (sa) had to face even more trials and difficulties. Khadijah (ra), the faithful and loving, died shortly afterwards. With her death, the Prophet (sa) and his family lost one of the greatest sources of comfort and strength which had sustained them through the difficult period. The year in which the noble Khadijah (ra) and later Abu Talib died is known as the Year of Sadness. Fatimah (ra), now a young lady, was greatly distressed by her mother’s death. She wept bitterly and for some time was so grief-stricken that her health deteriorated. It was even feared she might die of grief.
Although her older sister, Umm Kulthum (ra), stayed in the same household, Fatimah (ra) realized that she now had a greater responsibility with the passing away of her mother. She felt that she had to give even greater support to her father. With loving tenderness, she devoted herself to looking after his needs. So concerned was she for his welfare that she came to be called “Umm Abi-ha” – the mother of her father”. She also provided him with solace and comfort during times of trial, difficulty and crisis.
Often the trials were too much for her. Once, about this time, an insolent mob heaped dust and earth upon his gracious head. As he entered his home, Fatimah wept profusely as she wiped the dust from her father’s head.
“Do not cry, my daughter,” he said, “for Allah shall protect your father.” The Prophet had a special love for Fatimah. He once said:
“Whoever pleased Fatimah has indeed pleased Allah and whoever has caused her to be angry has indeed angered Allah. Fatimah is a part of me. Whatever pleases her pleases me and whatever angers her angers me.”
He also said: “The best women in the entire world are four: the Virgin Mary, Asiya the wife of Pharoah, Khadijah Mother of the Believers, and Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad.” Fatimah thus acquired a place of love and esteem in the Prophet’s heart that was only occupied by his wife Khadijah.
Fatimah, may Allah be pleased with her, was given the title of “az-Zahra” which means “the Resplendent One”. That was because of her beaming face which seemed to radiate light. It is said that when she stood for Prayer, the Mihrab would reflect the light of her countenance. She was also called “al-Batul” because of her purity and asceticism. Instead of spending her time in the company of women, much of her time would be spent in Salat, in reading the Qur’an and in other acts of Ibadah.
Fatimah (ra) had a strong resemblance to her father, the Messenger of Allah. ‘A’ishah (ra), the wife of the Prophet, said of her:
“I have not seen any one of Allah’s creation resemble the Messenger of Allah more in speech, conversation and manner of sitting than Fatimah, may Allah be pleased with her. When the Prophet saw her approaching, he would welcome her, stand up and kiss her, take her by the hand and sit her down in the place where he was sitting.” She would do the same when the Prophet came to her. She would stand up and welcome him with joy and kiss him.
Fatimah’s (ra) fine manners and gentle speech were part of her lovely and endearing personality. She was especially kind to poor and indigent folk and would often give all the food she had to those in need even if she herself remained hungry. She had neither craving for the ornaments of this world nor the luxury and comforts of life. She lived simply, although on occasion as we shall see circumstances seemed to be too much and too difficult for her.
She inherited from her father a persuasive eloquence that was rooted in wisdom. When she spoke, people would often be moved to tears. She had the ability and the sincerity to stir the emotions, move people to tears and fill their hearts with praise and gratitude to Allah for His grace and His inestimable bounties.
Fatimah (ra) migrated to Madinah a few weeks after the Prophet did. She went with Zayd ibn Harithah who was sent by the Prophet back to Makkah to bring the rest of his family. The party included Fatimah and Umm Kulthum, Sawda’, the Prophet’s wife, Zayd’s wife Barakah and her son Usamah. Traveling with the group also were ‘Abdullah the son of Abu Bakr who accompanied his mother and his sisters, ‘A’ishah and Asma’ (ra).
In Madinah, Fatimah (ra) lived with her father in the simple dwelling he had built adjoining the mosque. In the second year after the Hijrah, she received proposals of marriage through her father, two of which were turned down. Then Ali (ra), the son of Abu Talib, plucked up courage and went to the Prophet (sa) to ask for her hand in marriage. In the presence of the Prophet (sa), however, Ali (ra) became over-awed and tongue-tied. He stared at the ground and could not say anything. The Prophet (sa) then asked:
“Why have you come? Do you need something?” Ali (ra) still could not speak and then the Prophet (sa) suggested: “Perhaps you have come to propose marriage to Fatimah.” “Yes.” replied Ali (ra).
At this, according to one report, the Prophet (sa) said simply: “Marhaban wa ahlan — Welcome into the family,” and this was taken by ‘Ali (ra) and a group of Ansar who were waiting outside for him as indicating the Prophet’s (sa) approval. Another report indicated that the Prophet (sa) approved and went on to ask ‘Ali (ra) if he had anything to give as Mahr. ‘Ali replied that he didn’t. The Prophet (sa) reminded him that he had a shield which could be sold.
Ali sold the shield to ‘Uthman for four hundred dirhams and as he was hurrying back to the Prophet to hand over the sum as mahr, Uthman stopped him and said: “I am returning your shield to you as a present from me on your marriage to Fatimah.”
Fatimah and Ali (ra) were thus married most probably at the beginning of the second year after the Hijrah. She was about nineteen years old at the time and ‘Ali was about twenty one. The Prophet (sa) himself performed the marriage ceremony. At the Walima, the guests were served with dates, figs and Hais (a mixture of dates and butter fat). A leading member of the Ansar donated a ram and others made offerings of grain. All of Madinah rejoiced.
On her marriage, the Prophet (sa) is said to have presented Fatimah and ‘Ali (ra) with a wooden bed intertwined with palm leaves, a velvet coverlet, a leather cushion filled with the leaves of the Idhkhir plant, a sheepskin, a pot, a waterskin and a quern for grinding grain.
Fatimah (ra) left the home of her beloved father for the first time to begin life with her husband. The Prophet (sa) was clearly anxious on her account and sent Barakah with her should she be in need of any help. And no doubt Barakah was a source of comfort and solace to her. The Prophet (sa) prayed for them: “O Lord, bless them both, bless their house and bless their offspring.”
In Ali’s (ra) humble dwelling, there was only a sheepskin for a bed. In the morning after the wedding night, the Prophet (sa) went to Ali’s (ra) house and knocked on the door. Barakah came out and the Prophet (sa) said to her: “O Umm Ayman, call my brother for me.”
“Your brother? That’s the one who married your daughter?” asked Barakah somewhat incredulously as if to say: Why should the Prophet (sa) call Ali (ra) his “brother”?
(He referred to Ali (ra) as his brother because just as pairs of Muslims were joined in brotherhood after the Hijrah, so the Prophet (sa) and Ali (ra) were linked as “brothers”.)
The Prophet (sa) repeated what he had said in a louder voice. Ali (ra) came and the Prophet (sa) made a Dua, invoking the blessings of Allah on him. Then he asked for Fatimah (ra). She came almost cringing with a mixture of awe and shyness and the Prophet (ra) said to her: “I have married you to the dearest of my family to me.” In this way, he sought to reassure her. She was not starting life with a complete stranger but with one who had grown up in the same household, who was among the first to become a Muslim at a tender age, who was known for his courage, bravery and virtue, and whom the Prophet described as his “brother in this world and the hereafter”.
Fatimah’s life with Ali (ra) was as simple and frugal as it was in her father’s household. In fact, so far as material comforts were concerned, it was a life of hardship and deprivation. Throughout their life together, Ali (ra) remained poor because he did not set great store by material wealth. Fatimah was the only one of her sisters who was not married to a wealthy man.
In fact, it could be said that Fatimah’s life with Ali (ra) was even more rigorous than life in her father’s home. At least before marriage, there were always a number of ready helping hands in the Prophet’s (sa) household. But now she had to cope virtually on her own. To relieve their extreme poverty, ‘Ali (ra) worked as a drawer and carrier of water and she as a grinder of corn. One day she said to ‘Ali (ra): “I have ground until my hands are blistered.” “I have drawn water until I have pains in my chest,” said ‘Ali (ra) and went on to suggest to Fatimah (ra): “Allah has given your father some captives of war, so go and ask him to give you a servant.” Reluctantly, she went to the Prophet (sa) who said: “What has brought you here, my little daughter?” “I came to give you greetings of peace.” she said, for in awe of him she could not bring herself to ask what she had intended. “What did you do?” asked Ali (ra) when she returned alone. “I was ashamed to ask him,” she said.
So the two of them went together but the Prophet (sa) felt they were less in need than others. “I will not give to you,” he said, “and let the Ahl as-Suffah (poor Muslims who stayed in the mosque) be tormented with hunger. I have not enough for their keep…’’ Ali and Fatimah (ra) returned home feeling somewhat dejected but that night, after they had gone to bed, they heard the voice of the Prophet (sa) asking permission to enter. Welcoming him, they both rose to their feet, but he told them: “Stay where you are,” and sat down beside them. “Shall I not tell you of something better than that which you asked of me?” he asked and when they said yes he said: “Words which Jibrael taught me, that you should say “Subhan’Allah – Glory be to Allah” ten times after every Prayer, and ten times “Alhamdulillah- Praise be to Allah.” and ten times “Allahu Akbar – Allah is Great.” And that when you go to bed you should say them thirty-three times each.”
Ali (ra) used to say in later years: ‘I have never once failed to say them since the Messenger of Allah taught them to us.”
There are many reports of the hard and difficult times which Fatimah (ra) had to face. Often there was no food in her house. Once the Prophet (sa) was hungry, he went to one after another of his wives’ apartments but there was no food. He then went to Fatimah’s (ra) house and she had no food either. When he eventually got some food, he sent two loaves and a piece of meat to Fatimah (ra). At another time, he went to the house of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari and from the food he was given, he saved some for her. Fatimah (ra) also knew that the Prophet (sa) was without food for long periods and she in turn would take food to him when she could. Once she took a piece of barley bread and he said to her:
“This is the first food your father has eaten for three days.”
Through these acts of kindness she showed how much she loved her father; and he loved her, really loved her in return.
Once he returned from a journey outside Madinah. He sent to the mosque first of all and prayed two Rakats as was his custom. Then, as he often did, he went to Fatimah’s (ra) house before going to his wives. Fatimah (ra) welcomed him and kissed his face, his mouth and his eyes and cried. “Why do you cry’?” the Prophet (sa) asked. “I see you, O Rasul Allah.” she said. “Your color is pale and sallow and your clothes have become worn and shabby.”
“O Fatimah,” the Prophet (sa) replied tenderly. “Don’t cry for Allah has sent your father with a mission which He would cause to affect every house on the face of the earth whether it be in towns, villages or tents (in the desert) bringing either glory or humiliation until this mission is fulfilled just as night (inevitably) comes.” With such comments Fatimah (ra) was often taken from the harsh realities of daily life to get a glimpse of the vast and far-reaching vistas opened up by the mission entrusted to her noble father.
Fatimah (ra) eventually returned to live in a house close to that of the Prophet (sa). The place was donated by an Ansari who knew that the Prophet (sa) would rejoice in having his daughter as his neighbour. Together they shared in the joys and the triumphs, the sorrows and the hardships of the crowded and momentous Madinah days and years.
In the middle of the second year after the Hijrah, her sister Ruqayyah (ra) fell ill with fever and measles. This was shortly before the great campaign of Badr. Uthman (ra), her husband, stayed by her bedside and missed the campaign. Ruqayyah (ra) died just before her father returned. On his return to Madinah, one of the first acts of the Prophet (sa) was to visit her grave.
Fatimah (ra) went with him. This was the first bereavement they had suffered within their closest family since the death of Khadijah (ra). Fatimah (ra) was greatly distressed by the loss of her sister. The tears poured from her eyes as she sat beside her father at the edge of the grave, and he comforted her and sought to dry her tears with the corner of his cloak.
The Prophet (sa) had previously spoken against lamentations for the dead, but this had led to a misunderstanding and when they returned from the cemetery the voice of ‘Umar (ra) was heard rose in anger against the women who were weeping for the martyrs of Badr and for Ruqayyah (ra).
“‘Umar, let them weep.” he said and then added: “What comes from the heart and from the eye, which is from Allah and His mercy, but what comes from the hand and from the tongue which is from Satan.” By the hand he meant the beating of breasts and the smiting of cheeks, and by the tongue he meant the loud clamour in which women often joined as a mark of public sympathy.
Uthman (ra) later married the other daughter of the Prophet (sa). Umm Kulthum (ra) and on this account came to be known as Dhu-n Nurayn – Possessor of the Two Lights.
The bereavement which the family suffered by the death of Ruqayyah (ra) was followed by happiness when, to the great joy of all the believers. Fatimah (ra) gave birth to a boy in Ramadan of the third year after the Hijrah. The Prophet (sa) spoke the words of the Adhan into the ear of the newborn babe and called him al—Hasan which means the Beautiful One.
One year later, she gave birth to another son who was called al-Husayn, which means “little Hasan” or the little beautiful one.
Fatimah (ra) would often bring her two sons to see their grandfather who was exceedingly fond of them. Later he would take them to the Mosque and they would climb unto his back when he prostrated. He did the same with his little granddaughter Uma’mah, the daughter of Zaynab (ra).
In the eighth year after the Hijrah, Fatimah (ra) gave birth to a third child, a girl whom she named after her eldest sister Zaynab (ra) who had died shortly before her birth. This Zaynab was to grow up and become famous as the “Heroine of Karbala”. Fatimah’s (ra) fourth child was born two years later. The child was also a girl and the Prophet (sa) chose for her the name Umm Kulthum after Fatimah’s (ra) sister who had died the year before after an illness.
It was only through Fatimah (ra) that the progeny of the Prophet (sa) was perpetuated. All the Prophet’s (sa) male children had died in their infancy and the two children of Zaynab (ra), named Ali and Umamah, died young. Ruqayyah’s (ra) child, ‘Abdullah, also died when he was not yet two years old. This is an added reason for the reverence which is accorded to Fatimah (ra).
Although Fatimah (ra) was so often busy with pregnancies and giving birth and rearing children, she took as much part as she could in the affairs of the growing Muslim community of Madinah. Before her marriage, she acted as a sort of hostess to the poor and destitute Ahl as Suffah. As soon as the Battle of Uhud was over, she went with other women to the battlefield and wept over the dead martyrs and took time to dress her father’s wounds. At the Battle of the Trench, she played a major supportive role together with other women in preparing food during the long and difficult siege. In the place of her camp there stands a mosque named Masjid Fatimah, one of seven mosques where the Muslims stood guard and performed their devotions.
Fatimah (ra) also accompanied the Prophet when he made Umrah in the sixth year after the Hijrah after the Treaty of Hudaybiyah. In the following year, she and her sister Umm Kulthum (ra), were among the mighty throng of Muslims who took part with the Prophet (sa) in the liberation of Makkah. It is said that on this occasion, both Fatimah and Umm Kulthum visited the home and the grave of their mother Khadijah (ra) and recalled memories of their childhood and memories of Jihad, of long struggles in the early years of the Prophet’s (sa) mission.
In Ramadan of the tenth year just before he went on his Farewell Pilgrimage, the Prophet (sa) confided to Fatimah (ra), as a secret not yet to be told to others;
“Jibrael recited the Qur’an to me and I to him once every year, but this year he has recited it with me twice. I cannot but think that my time has come.”
On his return from the Farewell Pilgrimage, the Prophet (sa) did become seriously ill. His final days were spent in the apartment of his wife ‘A’ishah (ra). When Fatimah (ra) came to visit him, ‘A’ishah (ra) would leave father and daughter together.
One day he summoned Fatimah (ra). When she came, he kissed her and whispered some words in her ear. She wept – Then again he whispered in her ear and he smiled. ‘A’ishah (ra) saw and aked:
“You cry and you laugh at the same time, Fatimah? What did the Messenger of Allah say to you?” Fatimah replied: “He first told me, that he would meet his Lord after a short while and so I cried. Then he said to me: Don’t cry for you will be the first of my household to join me.’ So I laughed.” He also said to her then: “Aren’t you pleased that you are the First Lady (Sayyidatu-n Nisa’) of this Ummah?”
Not long afterwards the noble Prophet (sa) passed away. Fatimah (ra) was grief-stricken and she would often be seen weeping profusely. One of the companions noted that he did not see Fatimah (ra), may Allah be pleased with her, laugh after the death of her father.
One morning, early in the month of Ramadan, just less than five months after her noble father had passed away; Fatimah (ra) woke up looking unusually happy and full of mirth. In the afternoon of that day, it is said that she called Salma bint Umays who was looking after her. She asked for some water and had a bath. She then put on new clothes and perfumed herself. She then asked Salma to put her bed in the courtyard of the house. With her face looking to the heavens above, she asked for her husband Ali (ra).
He was taken aback when he saw her lying in the middle of the courtyard and asked her what was wrong. She smiled and said: “I have an appointment today with the Messenger of Allaah.”
Ali (ra) cried and she tried to console him. She told him to look after their sons al-Hasan and al-Husavn and advised that she should be buried without ceremony. She then turned and faced the Qiblah, closed her eyes, and slept. It was a sleep from which she did not awake.
She, Fatimah (ra) the Resplendent One, was just 29 years old.
Being raised in a society of ‘liberal’ and ‘moderate’ Muslims that believe in the freedom of expression, one is obliged to respect and tolerate matters that are against the teachings of Allah and His Messenger (sa). Those who dare to disagree are accused of being rigid, backward, fanatic, extremist, or narrow minded, depending on the category the individual best fits, according to their level of acceptance and their intensity of reaction.
An average Muslim’s goal in life has become finding happiness by submitting to his own Nafs (the base self) and keeping it satisfied at any cost. This contagious disease of wanting to acquire Dunya, is what we strive to pass on to our children too.
We can bring a change, primarily, by taking charge of our Nafs and then passing on the Khair of this Deen through actions and speech to our offspring.
Parents take pride in getting their daughters married to a well to do man regardless of where the money is coming from. Similarly, some others take pride in their sons earning a lot of money through any means. We are in danger of forgetting what is Halal or Haram.
We need to ask ourselves, what kind of society do we want to give our children? How many people seriously worry about their sons not praying Salah, or daughters not wearing Hijab or husbands earning Haram wages or parents not doing proper Tarbiyah (raising) of their children? Whose worshippers do we want them to be? Worshippers of The Most Merciful or worshippers of the most wretched, Iblis. This is one of the things we as parents will be held accountable for. Rasool Allah’s Hadith affirms the influence of parenthood as he (sa) said:
“No baby is born but upon Fitrah (inclination towards Islam). It is his parents who make him a Jew or a Christian or a Polytheist.” (Muslim)
Anticipating our children approaching a fire, would we sit back and only warn them by saying, don’t go near it, it will harm you.’ No, we would take drastic measures and would do anything to stop them from being harmed. Then why do we settle on mere suggestions about preparing for Akhirah? Why do we lack the extensive measures? Is it not inevitable? Does it not need a severe action/reaction? How can we not be anxious about it while surrounded by Fitnah (trials/mischief)? Do we possess a family visa for Jannah? Allah (swt) says in the Quran:
O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded. (At-Tahrim 66:6)
Ironically, instead of preparing our children for Akhirah from childhood and providing them with favourable conditions where they can embrace their Deen with confidence, we adopt a relaxed approach. After providing them with various distractions and Fitnah throughout childhood and getting them used to a worthless and aimless lifestyle, we expect them to focus on the real goal as grown-ups.
After death, our children will either be a reason for our comfort or torment.They are sent to as clean slates for us to decide what we want to write on them. Therefore, they will either escort us to Jannah or push us into hellfire.
This is similar to plunging someone in filth while expecting them to remain clean. Have we ever pondered on the fact that we will be questioned for every blessing sent to us? How can we assume that we will not be held accountable for bringing up of the worshipper of Allah, being one of the most significant blessings?
After death, our children will either be a reason for our comfort or torment.They are sent to as clean slates for us to decide what we want to write on them. Therefore, they will either escort us to Jannah or push us into hellfire.
Allah’s Messenger (sa) said:
“When a man dies, all his good deeds come to an end, except for three cases; the charity of continuous blessings, beneficial knowledge which he leaves behind and a righteous child who prays for him.” (Muslim)
Sorrowfully, we believe that as long as we get worldly prosperity, tangible benefits, respect, validation, appreciation and happiness, we’ve reached our goal.
People openly disobey Allah and it affects very few and those who are genuinely concerned are mocked and ridiculed with nasty names. Such type of mind-set is encouraged by Shaitan, as he wants to make us act like him.
The question is, do we want such a society for our future generations where their motives are questioned and are directed by the masses, where our children and we are embarrassed to embrace our beliefs and values with conviction and confidence? After what our generation has seen and gone through, do we want to allow this Fitnah to pass on to our children? This becomes a reason for our failure in this life and the next.
We can individually and collectively resolve to reform ourselves. We can bring a change, primarily, by taking charge of our Nafs and then passing on the Khair of this Deen through actions and speech to our offspring. The need of the day is to rectify our lives by reshaping our beliefs, perspectives, and ideas and to redirect our focus to the correct source, Allah (swt). Why? Because, we want to be liberated from the shackles of Iblis and his allies and we want the eternal success and everlasting bliss, through complete submission to the will of Allah (swt). This my friend, is the solution.
May Allah (swt) help us remember Him, repent and rectify ourselves, individually and socially. Ameen.
If “Husn-ul-Khulq” (good behaviour) will be the heaviest thing to be weighed in our favour on the Day of Judgement, then I’m fairly certain that my paternal aunt (Phuppo) will have one of the heaviest scales on the Day of Judgement (Insha’Allah).
She’s the second youngest of 10 siblings. My grandfather taught Geography in a local University and was a big supporter of female education and career. He encouraged all of his sons and daughters to pursue higher education. My Phuppo did her Master’s in Psychology, and B.Ed followed by M.Ed, and now she’s the principal of a school that’s been running successfully for over two decades (Masha’Allah).
When she got married, she was used to doing and having things her own way; but she married into a crowded family with several sisters-in-law to be married and a family that didn’t look too favourably upon women pursuing their career-related ambitions. Her husband, although very loving and caring, was far less educated and couldn’t support his entire family on his singular income. My Phuppo helped support his and her own family; they wed off each of her sister’s-in-law one by one where she put in a lot of her own jewellery into the weddings (and today, they all have grown-up children of their own, some of whom are even married).
She still lives with her mother-in-law (Dadda) who is old, and hard of hearing, Even though Dadda won’t understand a word you say, she insists that you answer each of her questions repeatedly. Her nagging behaviour can easily get on anybody’s nerves, but Phuppo still tries her best to be patient with her, and takes care of her.
My Phuppo has a soft heart that melts when she sees a person in distress. Whenever anybody in the extended family needs help, financial or otherwise, they come to my Phuppo for support, knowing that she can never say “no”. She has personally arranged and wed off several young girls in her extended family. Any time, there’s a feud in the family, people come to her to help settle their family matters for them. What’s most inspiring is that I’ve never heard her recount any favour she did for any one in front of them or even behind their backs to other people.
She prays regularly and observes the voluntary fasts. I’ve never heard her raise her voice to anyone, whether young or old; it’s like she’s physically incapable of showing rage. She’s had medical problems as well; an arthritic knee, cervical problems, stone in her gall bladder, and a bad back but through it all, I never saw her complain once. Whenever you ask her how she’s feeling, no matter how much pain she might be in, she’d always say” Alhamdulillah, I’m much fine” She never lets anybody else do her work for her and tries to take on other people’s work load and responsibilities when she can.
Even though there are several examples I can recount to you where she helped me and my family out personally, but let me tell you about the latest one. My father passed away last year after he lost his battle with lung cancer. My elder brother has had schizophrenia for over a decade now; I have two more brothers both of whom live abroad; my sisters are all married off; my mother is old and frail and suffers from paranoid delusions herself. So, after my father passed away, I was left with two psychologically impaired family members to take care of, when I myself have had some health issues in the past couple of years (I have cartilage damage in both my knees). It was a time of crisis, and without a second thought, my Phuppo stepped in and said she would shift her family to come stay with us and take care of mine; she up-heaved her entire household, and moved in with us.
My Phuppa and Phuppo take my brother to the doctor regularly and make sure he takes his medication on time; I’m still undergoing physical therapy; days go by when I might not hear from a sibling or a friend, but my Phuppo would be sure to ask after my health daily. They take care of the meals, help out with the bills and run all the errands.
Before my father passed away, he didn’t ask my brothers or my Chaccha (paternal uncle) or my Mamoon (maternal uncle) or anybody else except my Phuppo: “Please! Take care of my family after I’m gone.” Any time, I have a problem, the first person I share it with (after Allah) knowing that they would do their utmost to help me out any way they can is my Phuppo.
I once read a Hadith where the Prophet (sa) said:” The best of people are those who bring the most benefit to others.” (At-Tabarani, Al-Kabir)
Going by this Hadeeth, I can honestly claim that my Phuppo is one of the best people I know on this earth, and may Allah reward her and her family justly for it. Ameen!
Abu Darda (RA) reported that Rasulullah (sa) said: “Nothing is weightier on the scale of deeds than one’s good manners.” (Bukhari)
My life has changed completely since I invested my resources into integrative medicine. I am grateful to Allah (swt), Who has blessed me with knowledge resources and made me discover a holistic health practitioner in Pakistan, Dr. Shagufta Feroz. Her book ‘Living as Nature Intended’ is a panacea for those in search of optimal physical and psychological health. Unfortunately, the significance of nature is often not deeply absorbed by us.
Thinking about the magnificence in Allah’s (swt) creation, I asked my friends through Facebook and text messages what popped up into their mind when they hear the word ‘nature’.
Majority responses were beauty, peace, greenery, purity, and signs of Allah (swt). My cell phone was being updated with responses while I was being assailed by doubt, embarrassment and awe. We all have an association with nature but we neglect the most supreme form of Allah’s Qudrat in front of us, with us, inside us! You and I are Allah’s (swt) masterpiece! Ashraf Al-Makhlooqat. Nothing is more awe-inspiring than human beings. If we ponder over the human body, the human brain or human behaviour, we will be startled at how our Creator is Al-Musawwir the Fashioner, the Bestower of Forms, the Shaper. Allah says: “Verily, We created man of the best stature (mould).” (At-Tin 95:4)
Some of the precautionary changes that I took when I woke up from this sound sleep were to transform and check the sources of my food, cosmetics and clothing.
Imam Ghazali, while counselling the believers, states that a human being’s share in the name Al-Musawwir lies in understanding his existence, and the intricacy of his soul, body and mind. Furthermore, he advises to learn from whole details commencing from body membranes, types of organs and the wisdom and skill in their creation. The turn of studying soul, intellect and abilities comes much after understanding the minute details of body.
If we neglect our bodies, can we attain what we call serenity? If we don’t understand or appreciate ourselves can we comprehend the beauty in nature otherwise? Timothy Leary says: “One cannot understand the rhythms and meanings of outer world until one has mastered the dialects of the body.”
To value nature in the real sense of the word along with the creations of Allah, we need to probe into self-knowledge. We’re composed of an amazing network of systems: nervous, muscular, skeletal, reproductive, and digestive and so on. The elements of nature we are associated with like fire, clay, water and air have been created for our quality survival. The immune system is a blessing in disguise, Alhumdullilah. Our body’s healing properties are much stronger than any drug treatment or antibiotics and we need to nurture with pure, simple Sunnah foods.
How did I change? Five years back, like every average youth in Pakistan influenced by westernization, I had deep-rooted complexes. I found it hard to look at myself in the mirror, being bulky and tall and ‘fitting’ into the society’s acceptance limits. I found beauty around me but not inside me, until I realized I am Allah’s masterpiece. I have been created by Al-Wadud, The Loving-Kind. It is hard to alter eating habits or resort back to Allah’s super-foods; it is hard to understand the natural circadian rhythms of the human body but I have found all the changes completely worth the investment. The need of the hour is that to become sound and healthy, we need to take our mind off obesity stories and health dilemmas inside our brain and focus on Al-Khaliq’s creatures; to begin with, I’ve chosen the masterpiece! What about you?
My mother went through the conventional process of treatment chemotherapy and radiation, but it was the binding link with Allah through the Quran and intake of healing foods that she was blessed with recovery.
Over and above, in combating sickness, we can suppress symptoms by neglecting health in the first part of life and then restoring it in old age with a substantial monetary investment or as the Sunnah medicine suggests, we can address the root cause. We need to know what it means to be a healthy Muslim. Islam puts utmost importance on healing physical and spiritual diseases; a Muslim practitioner should know the uniqueness of the immunity of the patient and highlight the far-reaching effects of positive emotions (Islamic Guideline on Medicine by Yusuf Al-Hajj Ahmad).
Allah says in the Holy Quran: “We will show them Our Signs in the universe, and in their ownselves, until it becomes manifest to them that this (the Qur’an) is the truth.” (Fussilat 41:53)
So what are your plans about being a healthy and a productive Muslim? To get closer to Al-Bari, The Producer, we need to understand our systems, our soul and our mind.
Another life-enriching trial in my life was my mother’s chronic cancer. Narrated by Jabir (rta) the Messenger of Allah (sa) said:
“For every disease there is a remedy, so if you find the right remedy for the disease, you will be healed by the leave of Allah.” (Muslim)
My mother went through the conventional process of treatment chemotherapy and radiation, but it was the binding link with Allah through the Quran and intake of healing foods that she was blessed with recovery. I’ve seen the magnanimity of neglecting health and well being through her. We should not be victimized by the modern concept ‘nature deficit disorder’ such as psychological, physical and cognitive costs of alienating from nature.
Eliminate worry from your life as it can weaken your faith.
Imam Ibn al Qayyim Al-Jauziyah prescribes health over sickness, youth over old age. Leaf through his book ‘Healing with the Medicine of Prophet (saw)’ and enlighten your health instincts. In the tough journey in this world, health, time management, patience and gratitude are the tools to march forward. Understanding body and evaluating the Nafs or psyche is mandatory to become the beloved of Allah Almighty. The paradigm in front of us lies in the Seerah of Prophet Muhammad (sa). Allah says:
“Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.” (Al-Ahzab 33:21)
Let us resolve and respect the laws of nature and try to implement them. Some of the precautionary changes that I took when I woke up from this sound sleep were to transform and check the sources of my food, cosmetics and clothing. I am still discovering farms in my city and organic food sources. Many people in our honourable Ummah love home gardening. Allah’s creation can do wonders if blessed by Him!
We tend to go all green to preserve natural environment, but we forget to preserve ourselves. Let’s please Allah (swt). Stay holistically healthy and protect your family members from consuming processed, convenience foods. Another step you have to inculcate is being patient in adapting and promoting healthy behaviour. Try to inculcate the attitude of gratitude each time Allah (swt) gratifies your thirst and hunger. Praise Allah (swt), the Most Deserving of praise, when you like the colour, the taste or the aroma of any food. Cherish the times when you are healthy and equally thank for the times when Allah (swt) puts you into sickness for a while.
Lastly, eliminate worry from your life as it can weaken your faith. The following Hadeeth is the most soothing of all,
Narrated by Abu Hurairah (rta), Allah’s Apostle said: “If Allah wants to do good to somebody, He afflicts him with trials.” (Bukhari)