Every day is your Birthday!

birthdayThe hailstorm turned into a thunderstorm while I was preparing dinner. I sat on my rocking chair and grabbed a cup of tea. What an exotic combination- hot beverage and cold weather! I was absorbed in my chain of thoughts when she came in- my best-est friend. In spite of our years of friendship, we share some conflicts too, and are still struggling to resolve them and gather on the same page. There she was- lying comfortably on the comfy sofa while gazing here and there.

Me: What are you looking for?

She: Where is birdy?

Me: Must be playing outside with him.

She: Do you remember what is coming up?

Me: What?

She gave me a stern look

Me: Oh ok I get it, charity month.

She shook her head in disgrace.

She: Can you ever in your life, just once,  behave like a normal person?

Me: Now what?

She: Dumbo! Its birdy’s birthday.

Birdy was my one and only daughter born after years of anticipation and was turning one year old that month.

Me: Oh that!

She: Yes that! And, I am here to plan with you and we will throw a mind-blowing party for her.

Me: What is so good about birthday?

She: Don’t be ungrateful; after such long wait and prayers, you got her. Don’t you want to celebrate? What kind of a mother are you?

Me: I have my set of belief.

She: Yes my religiously scholar sister, do share your old dated belief and enlighten our ignorance with your deep knowledge

Me: When we conceive, three things are decided at that very moment. First, life span; second, the gender; and third, whether one will be fortunate or unfortunate. Do you agree?

She: Hmm, so?

Me: Each passing year (for you, each birthday) is marking one year less to your total lifeline. What is there to celebrate about it? Celebrate your approaching death or wasted life?

She: Umm hmm..

Me: I am that kind of a mother who would not waste time, energy, and money on things that are of no importance. Instead, I will put in my efforts to earn for birdy’s life in the hereafter. I would rather invest in the later life which is eternal. I am that kind of a mother, who will try her best to make her daughter earn good deeds and the pleasure of her Rabb so she can celebrate with joy in her grave and hereafter.

She: Okay, but it will not cause any harm in celebrating a little bit? Your parents celebrated yours too.

Me: Birthday celebration is innovation in religion. It was originally celebrated by the non-muslims, and we will be among those whom we used to follow when alive. Islam does not teach us any of these rituals and celebrations.

And, it is not necessary to follow the same path of ignorance that we had once lived. We did celebrate birthdays when we were unaware.

She: I agree. But what will birdy think when she would see birthday celebrations of other kids? She will feel bad.

Me: Imagine what I now say. Consider yourself a kid and your birth date is approaching. You are waiting for the day when you are treated special. When you cut a cake, you receive gifts and privileges. The other kids around are not getting anything. They look towards you and crave to be in your place. They want to feel special and want those fancy wrapped gifts too. But they don’t. Will you share your presents and offer the same place of yours to be?

She: No not at all. Kids are kids. Why they would let other kids step in their zone of specialness and undivided attention.

Me: Exactly my point. Through this we are instilling selfishness in them. It is the time when every birthday child is just thinking about himself.

She: So what else can we do? We can’t have same date for every kid around?

Me: We can celebrate our two big festivals with fervour i.e. our Eid. We can décor our homes and invite guests and have food and fun. It is the right time to exchange gifts, and to create sense of communism and unity. Shared happiness, and shared love. It will be more encouraging if we present them with board games which require more than one player. This way all will be united.

She: Wow, I never thought on these lines. You nailed it sister.

This concluded our discussion and with this discussion, I finally got one conflict down between us. Smilingly I looked outside the window and I realized that continuous water drops can make a hole in a stone. Can’t we penetrate in ones heart with softness yet strong determination and commitment? When there is a will, there is a way.

Etiquettes of Celebrations – The Sunnah Way

ConfettiThe faces of the old and young – and indeed even the trees and birds around us – rejoice when they come to know about the happiness of the beloved Prophet (sa). His happiness is the happiness for those, who love him, and it is guidance for his followers. The Prophetic guidance teaches us the manners of how to be happy in the times of success and joy.

Allah (swt) did not create us to be robots. He created us with feelings, will, intellect and has granted us the liberty to choose and to act according to the situations. Now it is obligatory on a believer to adopt the Sunnah of Prophet (sa) in every sphere of his life, as acting upon Sunnah is also a worship of our Lord.

Let’s learn the etiquettes of celebrating joy and success as per Sunnah of the Prophet(sa) in different occasions of our lives.

Marriage – A Sacred Occasion

Out of all the occasions of celebration of joy and success, the marriage comes first on the list, as this is the occasion of our life in which we break the rules and commandments of Allah (swt) the most. Marriage (Nikah) is a solemn and sacred social contract between bride and groom. It is a major step in one’s life. Marriage is a matter of great responsibility which should not be taken lightly by any means. In Islam, a marriage ceremony is comprised of a Nikah (marriage contract) followed by a Walima (marriage feast) once the marriage is done.

The Prophet (sa) said: “The marriage, which is most greatly blessed, is the one which is the lightest in burden (expense). However, if people are well catered for, without extravagance and show, there is no problem with that either.” (Baihaqi)

Nowadays, our marriages follow such rituals and customs on which we tend to waste enormous amount of money and time that simply isn’t required. Nikah and Walima are both the Sunnahs of the Prophet Muhammad (sa), so we should try to commemorate these joyous occasions in the same way as he did to make them more valuable and blessful.

According to Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (sa), the Nikah can be held at the local asjid or at home whereas the Walima can be held anywhere.

Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “The worst of the feasts are those marriage feasts to which the rich are invited and the poor are left out.” (Mishkat)

Anas  describes one of the Walimas hosted by the Prophet (sa): “The Prophet(sa) stayed for three days at a place between Khaibar and Madinah and there he consummated his marriage with Safiyya bint Huyay (rta). He invited the Muslims to a banquet which included neither meat nor bread. The Prophet (sa) ordered leather dining sheets to be spread. Dates, dried yogurt and butter were provided over it and that was the Walima (banquet) of the Prophet (sa).” (Bukhari)

There is nothing wrong with  an elaborate ceremony being  held in an elegant banquet hall and a full-course meal if you can afford. But its neither a criteria nor a requirement of a successful marriage. Moreover by doing so many people become the victim of debt due to spending extravagantly on this occasion which is of no use.

Although it’s not that easy to row your boat in the opposite direction to which the society is moving, but it’s worth going against the tides that are against the command of  Allah (swt) and the teachings of the Prophet (sa). We should try our utmost to follow the footsteps of Prophet (sa) rather than blindly following the pathetic, shameless acts of Jahiliyyah in our wedding ceremonies which lead to nothing but Fitnah and do not even guarantee  a successful marriage.

Eid – The Blessful Occasion

Islam is a very practical yet reasonable religion. After spending the whole month of Ramadan in worshipping Allah (swt), Muslims are blessed with the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr to celebrate this success with happiness and excitement. Similarly, Allah (swt) has blessed us with Eid- ul-Adha in the memory of the great sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim (as).Therefore on these two occasions, the observance of the Sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (sa) doubles our celebration and joy.

The Sunnahs of Eids include:waking up early in the morning than usual, brushing of teeth with Miswak, taking a bath, dressing up in neat and clean clothes, using perfume and the performance of Eid Salah at the Eidgah. However it is a Sunnah to avoid eating dates or something sweet before Eid Salah of Eid-ul-Fitr , reciting aloud Takbeerat on the way to the place of prayer for Eid-ul-Adha and silently for Eid-ul-Fitr:

 “Allaahu Akbar Allaahu Akbar Laa ilaaha illallaahu Wallaahu Akbar walillaahil Hamd.”

Using of different routes to and from the place of Eid Salah and the offering of two Rakahs of Salat-ul-Eidain (which is Wajib) are the Sunnah of celebrating these joyous occasions.

Sport Success Celebration

Then there comes a celebration of success and joy during sports activities where we are especially required to follow the Sunnah of our Prophet (sa). Playing sports is permissible in Islam. There are some sports which are considered to be Sunnah sports such as archery, wrestling, swimming, running, horse riding, camel racing and competition. Prophet Muhammad (sa) used to watch these sports and also award those who won.

Regardless of age, everybody is engaged or interested in some kind of sport. Sport is defined as ‘physical activities in the form of games, races and competitions that aim to improve fitness.’

While playing sports and celebrating the success, one must keep the following things in mind; the foremost is not to indulge in sports to such an extent that you miss your Fard prayers or to take part in sports where you have to play sports with the opposite gender.

According to Sunnah, the sportsman is not even allowed to wear such clothes which do not cover the body parts that are obligatory to cover. During the celebration of victory and joy, it is not permissible to use foul language, slandering and bad behaviour against the opponents. Furthermore, it is against the Sunnah of Prophet (sa) to play sports in areas where you become the cause of suffering for others such as roads and crowded streets.

Gratitude is Sunnah

In short, it is the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (sa) to be humble and thankful to Allah (swt) when one gets His Blessings in the form of success or joy rather being rude, boastful and arrogant. Whenever the Prophet Muhammad (sa) was happy, for example, after coming back from a battle or on the occasions of Eids, marriage or any other occasion of happiness; he always used to offer Nafil to thank Almighty Allah (swt) and also included the poor and needy in his happiness by giving charity or Sadaqah.