Reality check- Assess your success!

Image Courtesy www.homeinnovation.wordpress.com

 

 

If I was going with a bunch of young men and women on the bus, and we drove by a beautiful mansion- just a gorgeous house on top of the hill; just an absolutely beautiful stunning house; and the driveway enters the house; the gorgeous car parked outside; and on the back of the house there is an incredible backyard, a swimming pool and whatever you can imagine  is there. As if a piece of Jannah on Earth. And, as we are driving through, we see the man walking into the house, and I ask these young men and women that: “Do you think that this guy is successful?” Overwhelmingly, what is going to be the response? “Yeah, pretty successful. Look at him- he is accomplished with many successful things.”

When you take a picture of someone graduating from a college, shaking hand with the President of university, and handed over their Degree of Diploma; and somebody asks that do you think that he is successful?

Muslims or non Muslims, everybody going to say that: “Sure! It is a kind of success”.

When somebody gets a job, it’s a kind of success. Sure, we congratulate them for getting good job.

When somebody buys a house; when somebody starts a new business; when somebody buys a new car; when people get married; people accomplish things in life, and we celebrate them because these are different kinds of small and big successes- isn’t that true?

So the bus keeps driving, and  we see a  homeless man whose living in a  cardboard box on the street, and it looks like he is wearing clothes from a couple of years, and you don’t want to go close to him because of the smell; and I ask my students if they think that guy is successful.

What do they say? They say he is not successful. Now imagine- I was riding in this bus but in this bus, there were not Muslim boys and girls; they were Christian boys and girls; or Jewish boys and girls; or Atheist boys and girls; or Buddhist boys and girls; and I ask them the same questions. Do you think their answers would be same? Yes, their answers will be the same! That’s the problem.

The problem is:

The way we think about Success, and the way we think about Failure- for Muslims, it is supposed to be different.

All human beings can see in a certain way- that’s fine! They have an apparent view of Success and Failure- but us Muslims, Allah (swt) has given us clear glasses;  and once you look reality through these glasses- you see something that other people cannot see. And, when you put those glasses on, and you start thinking about the Book of Allah (swt), and you realize that one of the most beautiful, captivating, magnificent homes that was ever built was the castle of Firon, and if our bus was driving by the house, and he was walking into his house, and I ask my Muslim children: “Is that man successful?” What would there answer be? Firon is not successful; He is one of the worst losers in the human history.

Who was second kind of the person we ran into? The homeless guy.

Ibrahim (as) was kicked out of his house. He was told to leave the house, and so he became homeless. Was he successful? He’s one of the most successful human beings that ever lived.

Now, the Quran is teaching that a homeless man is successful, and incredibly wealthy man is a loser- meaning “Success has nothing to do with wealth, and failure has nothing to do with poverty. “

Success and failure are different concepts for us than they are for everybody else.

Transcribed for hiba by Faiza Rizwan

 

Life plays harder- Until you find the secret soft corner!

Image Courtesy www.save-image.com

 

Everybody goes through his own set of tribulations, and it’s very rare that people have a happy time all their life; such people are rare.

But Ibn Abbas (ra) said that the foundation of  Dunya ‘world’ is tribulation.

The best worship is waiting for the ease from Allah (swt) to come when you’re in hardship.

So if Muslims would just have that perspective, they would realize that if they are just patient here, with all these tribulations- it will surely pay off later in Jannah. While being patient, we are in Ibadah (worship); we can just be sitting in our house, and if you’re ‘Muhtasib’ (engaged in Hisba) with Allah (swt), you’re in Ibadah (worship of Allah (swt)).

But if, you are there complaining- why always me? And everything is horrible; and it’s doom and gloom; and it’s all black and it’s all dark; Allah (swt) will give you more things to complain about. And, He’ll give you some real things to complain about because there is a Hadeeth- if you complain about small calamities, Allah (swt) gives you greater calamities.

That’s why, Ibn Abbas (ra) said that in every Nikmah (tribulation), there are three Ni’mah (blessing); in every tribulation, there are three blessings.

And, the first one is that it could be worse than it is. That it’s in your worldly matters, and not in your Deen like if you lose money, its money; but if you lose Deen, you lost everything- so that’s a Ni’mah (blessing).

If you think about it, he didn’t say:  “Don’t give us any calamities,” he said: “Don’t give us tribulation in our Deen!” We’re going to get tribulation, and we know that, because that’s the nature of Dunya. So, you are going to get tribulation, but don’t make it in Deen- make it in Dunya. That’s a Ni’mah that you lost your job, Alhumdulillah. I didn’t miss my prayers, Alhumdulillah.  I didn’t lose my Iman (faith), Alhumdulillah. There is Wudhu (ablution) area, and a place to pray Alhumdulillah. Because jobs come and go, but Deen- once it’s gone, Allahu Alam (Allah (swt) knows best) if  you’ll ever get it back.

Then the final one, it’s in this world. As long as the Musibah (difficulty) is in this world- it’s a Ni’mah, because the real Musibah is the Musibah in the next world. Hence, if you look at that and realize, we are in blessing Wallahi- the whole lot of us; some may be more than others outwardly, but the whole of  Ummah is in blessing Wallahi….

Transcribed for Hiba by Faiza Rizwan

“Dear Diary: I just can’t stop smiling because Allah (swt) has His Hands on me.”

 

 

diary

                                                 Image Courtesy islampeace1.wordpress.com

 

 

Life is beautiful, yet funny. All the problems are like brain injuries, and it’s an old joke that if you get a second blow at the same spot, you get all your memory and sanity back.

 

On the second day, when my full body X Ray was performed (I was in excruciating pain on the first day, and mostly sedated throughout the day), there he was, my neurosurgeon sitting right across the table, telling me that there was just a very minor bleeder (that resulted in a clot pressing in on my nerve)in my brain, and that I would have to go through a transient amnesia for at least four weeks- as it would take that much time to get resolved- so I better not be given any blood thinner. But, that demanded that I be kind to myself for forgetting things, and ask others to do the same- as a blood thinner could cause bleeding of wounds and delayed healing- and I had already lost some blood in my accident.

 

After hearing him out, of all the possible thoughts that could have struck me, the above mentioned adage dropped into my brain box and I went like: “Doc, can’t I just get another blow at the same spot, and just get done and over with”. He was flabbergasted. After a few seconds, he managed a mild smile. I laughed (had to at my own joke), and my nose started bleeding because I had head trauma, and massive nasal bleeding post crash. I was a funny mess on a wheelchair. He told me, “You’re a doc, I understand; but I also understand the seriousness of your injuries, and what you have gone through. How are you laughing and not shocked? Do you even know that your pain scale is almost 10/10? You will receive multiple treatments including electric current therapy (transcutaneous nerve stimulation) for numbing your nerves. Your body is in shock. I am happy that you are optimistic, but this isn’t a normal reaction. We hardly see this.”

 

My reply was: “I’ve no option, but to smile and laugh about it. A few hours ago I slid down my staircase, and landed with a thud all happy, and could move my head in any direction I wanted. And now, I just can’t..Isn’t it a brilliant feat? Isn’t it funny?”
He remained totally dumbfounded at what I had said, completely quiet. Looking at it retrospectively, I also found it hard to believe- I had the courage to say all of that because I knew how much difficult and painful it all was.

Faith in Allah (swt) can do miracles. I remembered all the Prophets as), and all that they went through; and yet, they were patient. I think I remembered all of that at the right time, and gained courage through that.

 

I now think that when you lead a life of obedience to Allah (swt), He gives you all the courage. Just like His remembrance in ones youth, keeps one away from major sins because of His mercy; and even, if you slip and commit a minor one, you burn that sin away with tears of regret; and promise Him  for never repeating it again.  Similarly, He the Almighty keeps you away from major traumas, and even, if you do land in some kind of pain ( physical, emotional, psychological etc.), then Dhikr, and those nights of remembrance, burns all the pain away.

 

And so, in all his surprise, my physician went on and asked me how I was feeling; and in all my delirious amnesia (forgive my satire) I retorted: “As it is only my second day, I can’t surely say- but so far so good- best is yet to come.” I felt so calm because I had asked Allah (swt) directly during those last moments for I still hadn’t done enough for my Hereafter, and He listened. I know that pain is a blessing in disguise. Doctor told me that he couldn’t believe his ears because, even though he had seen loads of war and what not injuries, he knew my courage was coming from a place of contentment and peace. And, during the times of pain and hardship, it is rare. “I call it faith. It results in patience. I know how sweet it is. It dissolves everything bitter.”

 

“You remember Me, I’ll remember you” (2:152) –Allah (swt) addressing believers in Quran.

 

“Remember Allah (swt) during times of ease, and He will remember you during times of difficulty,” (Tirmidhi)

 

I vouch by all the Great names of Allah (swt), it’s true. I have experienced it. My doctors said that even if I’d just let myself truly feel the pain my body was experiencing, I could have died of that feeling alone. Even the mere act of thinking about pain and solidifying that thought in mind kills people because it leads to hopelessness, and that’s just like rust. Like a fire that spreads fast, and burns everything coming in its way- I survived because Allah (swt) gave me hope, and made me see it all positively. I don’t know how many times I’ve free-fallen for Allah (swt) since then. People fall for people, and things, and world, and this, and that, and what not. But I fall, I free-fall for Allah (swt) over and over again. I trust Him that much. Alhumdulillah.

 

A soldier is prepared before leaving -but even though they are all ready- after injuries, they themselves, and their bodies go through shock.

I guess none of us are ever prepared as such; but I think that Allah (swt) does prepare us- whether we realise it or not. I had seen off my father to two wars. I had seen hundreds of tanks and APCs, other equipment, and the whole garrison move from the top most place; it was terrifying to see off thousands of soldiers to war, and overwhelming at the same time, and I still remember that view.

 

I had seen death of my friends; I had shouldered and hugged my friends on their father’s funerals post war; I had prayed for my father for his martyrdom on his very own request. I had seen enough to be patient. Allah (swt) had prepared me for this well in advance. He surely only puts the burden you can always endure. All of us are the same. He makes us brave. Yes, He makes us, it’s not our own doing- it’s His. He makes us either through His own will, or He makes us when we truly seek and ask for it. Know this in your heart that all the battles you have fought, Allah (swt) had always known you could fight that one. He gave us our parents, and families, and put us through situations with the knowledge of what lies ahead.

 

My physician pushed me to meet paraplegic war veterans, and bomb blast victims- just so that I share my spirit, and humour- as it may give them courage to not give up. “They get depressed and suicidal; and it is, but natural and expected. They have suffered loss, sometimes an irreplaceable or unfixable one.” he told me. “You must meet them.” He also called on the trauma team, and said: “Emergency, RTA case, hyper-reflexes, ask her anything and listen to her replies. Which one of you was telling me the other day that she feels like killing herself just because she couldn’t do well in PLABS.” I had another bout of laughter.

 

realise now that, in this day and age of fear mongering and media blast, perfectly normal and healthy beings are ripped off of peace- just because they believe in the lies media, and the world tells them. Their innocence is lost to the stupidity of educated illiterates- (sorry, but I don’t have another term to describe the behaviour and stereotyping they preach who tell them what to look like, what to wear, and how to be like to be accepted and revered. The loss of connection with Allah (swt) makes them believe whatever they are told and taught- because they lose their ability to think, solve and apply. They lose their touch, their brilliance, their courage- because being strong, and being a believer, isn’t cool enough anymore. Beauty has lost its touch, modesty has been stripped off,  and perfect beings are just depressed because they couldn’t get an A+.

The education we get at schools and colleges, and the media we rely on, doesn’t prepare us to deal with real life situations. And, it results in depression for most of the kids and adults alike, unfortunately.

 

My earnest request is that if you ever get into a tough situation, just get help from your own nearest support system- ask Allah (swt). I do it all the time. I share with people I trust, I ask for help, because sometimes you just need to hear the thing you already know from someone else’s mouth- just for the sake of hearing and internalising it. But again, ask Allah (swt) first and foremost. Cry, beg, weep for hours esp. in the last third of the night – He listens, He truly does. Ask for help -do whatever it takes but never fall into the abyss of hopelessness- it is a trap.

Coming back to where I started off- if something hits you hard, just lie down and breathe. Laugh and remember your best friend who is always there -Allah (swt).
If you get a brain injury, get another one on the same spot like I wanted to. My religion tells me to be thankful in every situation. I was well-taught about it, and I also found it on my own through my experiences. You all probably know that too; and if not, just embark upon this beautiful journey to seek gratitude, and you will find it for sure. Allah (swt) has already told us all that, “If you are thankful, I’ll surely increase you.” (14:7)
Hopelessness is a word missing from our dictionaries because probably a believer can’t disbelieve in Allah (swt); and hopelessness is the biggest sin- it’s the denial of the Creator as the Creator. Let’s not wait for some event, or some grand thing to happen to apply this. Do it now in regular mundane stuff. If I can, you too can. And Allah (swt) never leaves a believer, trust me with this. In fact, just trust Him. He is pure love. I have experienced it, and continue to every day and every minute. You just have to let it sink in.

This Ramadan Protect your Iman from the whispers of Shaytan

whispers

                                                   Image Courtesy www.salafiri.com

 

Shayateen are widely believed to be chained during the holy month of Ramadan; yet, people are seen committing sins. How does it happen to be so?

Abu Hurairah (rta) narrated that Prophet Muhammad (sa) said:

“When the month of Ramadan starts- the gates of heaven are opened, and the gates of Hell are closed, and the Shayateen are chained.”

The above words of the Messenger of Allah (sa) explain that the Shayateen are chained- not annihilated or eliminated completely.

Apparently, Shaytan is our affirmed enemy, and he will always try to mislead the believers with his tricks, lies and deception, though restricted and imprisoned he may be.

Shaytan’s power during Ramadan

During this pious month Allah (swt) restricts Shaytan’s power to inspire evil and mischief to a considerable extent- as compared to the other times of the year.  In any way it does not mean that they are ruined completely from creating mischief.

In fact, it is clearly evident from what happens to the believers in the month of Ramadan.

Those, who normally do not pray, begin to perform the prayers regularly; those who are never seen in the mosques, start attending the religious congregations more frequently; those who hardly read Quran, make conscious efforts to recite the glorious Book of guidance in the holy month of Ramadan. There is a definite and notable increase in the devoutness and worship of the believers in this blessed month.

Locked, yet strong!

Although, the Shayateen are restrained by Allah (swt), yet they can whisper; and through whispering- Shayateen try, and get the human beings close to them.

It is narrated by Ali bin Al Husain from Safiya (rta), that the Prophet Muhammad (sa) said:

“The Shaytan circulates in the body of Adam’s (as) offspring, as one’s blood circulates in it.”

It means the Shaytan circulates in the body of a man, just like one’s blood circulates in it; thus, this avowed enemy of man is constant in his whispering of evil- whenever he is given an opportunity.

Shaytan’s main target- You!

Undoubtedly, the Shaytan’s main target is the true believer of Allah (swt); even though, he is chained and his power is curtailed during this holy month of Ramadan- but because of his keen hatred, and enmity towards the believers and worshippers of Allah (swt), he will continue to make mischief in whatsoever way he can.

The Almighty mentions in the Quran,

“Who whispers in the breasts of mankind, Of Jinns and men.” (An-Naas 114:5-6)

Evidently, if a person is sinning continuously for eleven months, and Shaytan has worked hard on him/her- it is as if the evil has been injected inside the heart and mind of the person. Hence, the person will still feel the effect of the sin throughout Ramadan- no matter Shaytan has been locked up.

The most common example is watching television. Many people are so addicted to watching their daily soaps. or their favourite TV shows. Some can’t resist and watch during Ramadan; and some record them so that they can watch it later.

Stronger the belief, weaker the mischief

The believers, who are observing the rules of Allah (swt), are concerned and apprehensive; hence, Shaytan control over them is reduced.

This sacred month, with all its blessings and spiritual motivations, lays pressure on Shaytan; and therefore, it acts as a kind of a barrier between the believer and the Shatyan.

The one who has deep faith in Allah (swt), His Messenger (sa) and the Last Day, identifies the evil’s mischief, and whispering of the Shaytan. The more faith and trust one has in Allah (swt), and the Last Day, the more he will be able to distinguish, and tackle the mischief of the Shaytan.

Allah (swt) says in the Holy Quran,

“O mankind! Verily, the Promise of Allah is true. So let not this present life deceive you, and let not the chief deceiver (Satan) deceive you about Allah. Surely, Shaytan (Satan) is an enemy to you, so take (treat) him as an enemy. He only invites his Hizb (followers) that they may become the dwellers of the blazing Fire.” (Al Fatir 35:5-6)

Indeed, we praise Allah (swt), seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah (swt) guides, none can misguide; and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright.

 

How to deal with Peer Pressure?

peersHijab leads to an Abaya!  A 19-nineteen year old was surprised to see herself,and soon, the whole college was talking about her. Fatima was scared to face her friends.

Peer pressure is not a recent phenomenon; it is as old as history itself. All the prophets and their descendants faced all kinds of peer pressure. Hence, if you are facing such a thing in your life, you should be bold enough to carry it rightly and be on your straight path.

One should adopt the following rules to handle peer pressure.

1. Keep your vision upright and feed your faith

People love to talk aimlessly, and especially, when it comes to religion, they have their own golden rules and principles of understanding. Usually, they interpret rules which benefit them. Regarding Hijab, they’ll say it’s not necessary to cover your body and that one should be modest at heart.

Hijab- Gone by the wind

People totally alter the concept of basic modesty in Islam.  Thus, keep feeding your faith by:

  • Working on your relationship with Allah (swt).
  • Plug-in yourself with Quran and Sunnah

2.  Uplift your identity

The major cause of peer pressure is that we do not have a secure Muslim identity, which results in lack of knowledge about the rules in Deen. Therefore, learn about Seerah and lives of our predecessors for better acknowledgement of Deen.

3. Take lessons from those who are steadfast on Deen

Be in the company of those who practice Deen with great zeal and enthusiasm. As it is said: “The best of you are those who repent.”
So, try to be with those who can help you in moral uplifting.

4. Friends with ever-lasting benefits

Friends are the real asset. Try to be friends with those who can help you become a better Muslim.

If your friends make you feel out dated with respect to your vision about Deen, and give you grief for your beliefs- so that is their problem. All you have to do is:

  • to bail out
  • avoid their gatherings

5. Seek Allah’s (swt) help

You cannot attain anything in this life against Allah’s (swt) Will; hence, keep asking for His help and mercy, so that you can find your way easily.

  • Make Dua for complete Hidayah
  • Get down in prostration and pray for Istaqamah

6. No complains

You cannot get Jannah easily. Hurdles are always there; all you need is to act firm on your beliefs and work to gain Allah’s (swt) love. Therefore, be positive and build up your nerves to stay courageous in all circumstances.

7.  Ignore criticism and mockery

Follow the Sunnah of forgiveness, and you will be straight on your path; ignore insulting actions of ignorant people and make Dua for them.

8. Keep yourself cool

To keeping oneself cool is one of the most difficult tasks- especially, when the other half of the world is busy in making you lose control. But being a good Muslim, it’s our duty to stay calm. Allah (swt) and Prophet Muhammad (sa) love those who remain quiet at hard times.

Try to be positive and optimistic in every aspect of life; and never lose your focus just because of what others will think of you.There will be no one who will save you from the fire of Hell, except Allah (swt).

Umm Haram Bint Milhan (ra) – A Forerunner

First flowers of SpringGlad tiding for the Forerunners

When Allah (swt) commands us to hasten towards all that is good (Al-Baqarah 2:148), it is so that we don’t miss out on the rewards that the forerunners receive.

In a Hadeeth, narrated by Anas Ibn Malik (ra), it appears that one day the Prophet (sa) entered the house of Umm Haram (ra). She provided him with food and started grooming his head. The Prophet (sa) fell asleep and when he woke up he was smiling. Umm Haram asked what made him smile. He replied, “Some people of my Ummah were shown to me (in my dream) fighting for the sake of Allah (swt), sailing in the middle of the seas like kings on their thrones.” Umm Haram (ra), not allowing herself to miss the chance, immediately requested the Prophet (sa) to pray to Allah (swt) to make her one of them. The Prophet (sa) prayed to Allah (swt), and then again went back to sleep. When he woke up, he was again smiling. Umm Haram (ra) again asked, what made him smile. He said, “Some people of my Ummah were shown to me (in my dream) fighting for the sake of Allah (swt).” He said the same as he had said before. Umm Haram (ra) again requested him to pray to Allah (swt) to make her one of them. He replied, “You will be among the first one.”

She had intended to participate in Jihad and when the time came she went with the army. She did not procrastinate or change her mind.

The dream of the Prophet (sa) came true. During the Caliphate of Muawiya Ibn Abu Sufyan, Umm Haram (ra) travelled with the Muslim army by way of the sea. When their ship reached Cyprus, Umm Haram (ra) got off the ship and was getting on her riding animal that she fell down and died of a serious neck injury. She was buried where she died. The people of Cyprus refer to her grave as ‘the grave of the goodly woman.’

Lessons to draw: Umm Haram (ra) desired martyrdom and she was so sincere in her intention that Allah (swt) granted her what she wished for. She had intended to participate in Jihad and when the time came she went with the army. She did not procrastinate or change her mind. She was true to her intention.

“Verily, Allah, With Him (Alone) is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, and knows that which is in the wombs. No person knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no person knows in what land he will die. Verily, Allah is All-Knower, All-Aware (of things).” (Luqman 31:34)

A life that began with Shahadah (testimony of faith) ended upon faith. What about our lives? How will our end be?

A life that began with Shahadah (testimony of faith) ended upon faith. What about our lives? How will our end be? Do we make half-hearted intentions or are we really committed to what we seek?

Umm Haram (ra), even after passing away, is a continuous caller to Islam. Whoever passes by her grave asks about her. He is then informed that she was one of the female companions of Prophet Muhammad (sa). What does our being remind people? Does it connect them to Allah (swt)?

(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)

A whisper in void

maxresdefault

My love and sacrifice for Him, who heals the wounds in my heart- slowly, but perfectly.
My self submitted to His will, who holds my unknown fate.
My faith and belief in the One from whom I beg mercy.
My contentment affiliates with Him who is everywhere I go.
My eyes desperate to catch a glimpse of the One I feel everywhere, but see nowhere.
My head bows to His majesty and greatness, none dares to deny.
My day begins and ends praising Him, who’s worthy of every praise.
My secrets and facts are known to Him, who peeks inside my heart.
My sins and goofs are unknown to the world; He knows and keeps them hidden.
My success and failure, it is He who decides.
My thanks merely paid to Him, who absolves sinners like nobody else.
My God, my Lord, my Allah (swt), enlist me amongst those you love.

Friends in Islam – A Powerful Reminder

friends in Islam

Transcribed for hiba by Asma Imran

Every one of us is born into a society where we interact with people from a very young age: our neighbours, people we go to school with, those whom we’ve seen elsewhere in the neighbourhood, and so on. And as time passes, we become closer to them, and they begin to be known as our friends.

What does Islam teach us about friends? We need to be aware that we should follow a certain set of rules and regulations when interacting with people whom we consider to be our friends. What should we share with them? How should they impact our lives? Let us take a look at some of the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (sa) in this regard.

The Prophet (sa) said: “A man follows his friend’s religion, so you should be careful about who you befriend.” (Tirmidhi and Abu Dawood) Therefore it is very important to select our friends carefully, making sure we do not befriend those who will have a negative impact on us. These teachings of the blessed Prophet (sa) are priceless. If he says that a person is known by the type of friends that he/she keeps, we need to realize that this is exactly the way it will be.

To read the rest of this article, and more, subscribe to Hiba Magazine.

Make a Hijab Deal – Conceal, and Do Not reveal!

Picture courtesy: arabianbusiness.com

Picture courtesy: arabianbusiness.com

“I don’t understand the purpose of this piece of cloth,” says the voice over the phone. “It only covers the head. Everything else can be seen.”

“That is why I choose to wear the outer garment that fully covers the body, as well as, the face cover,” I reply, jumping through the loophole in his argument.

He immediately backpedals.

“You know who wears that?” His voice rises. “You don’t know the kind of women who wear that, you live a sheltered life.”

“Yes,” I say. “I do know. Prostitutes.”

He is surprised, not having expected me to know the answer. He goes off on a tangent, asking me how would I like it if I talked to him with him having a piece of cloth over his face, or how would I like it if I had “three other mothers” (his reference to the Islamic allowance for a man to keep up to four wives), and other spiraling circles of conversation. After an exchange of questions and answers, he said, “Well, then, it’s just a matter of faith.”

How I came to have this conversation over the phone with my father’s friend, who is a doctor, is irrelevant. What was said in the conversation is highly relevant, as it highlights the attitude of people towards the Quranic commandment for women to observe Hijab.

I would like to highlight some points about the girls who observe Hijab (whether it is just head and front cover, or with outer garment, or with face cover, or any combination of the three).

1. Hijabi girls are not allergic to males, or to marriage. I did not discover this opinion until one day, an acquaintance said out of the blue, “You don’t want to get married, right?” which is a way of saying, “You don’t find men attractive, right?” I observed head cover and outer garment then- not the face cover, and still she thought I was against marriage. Why? Not because of my dressing only, but because I did not talk about boys the way the other girls did. I did not discuss which cute boys I had seen when I went out shopping last weekend, I did not list my crushes, I did not share which actors I found attractive, I did not keep wallpapers of actors.

People do not know that this face cover, body cover and head cover is the legacy of the mothers of the believers. Yes! They used to observe it all.

As I know the state of my own inner thoughts only and not anyone else’s; here is a sneak peek: yes, I did see cute boys when I went out. I did have crushes on some of the males I interacted with during school (and later, on work). I did have celebrity crushes when I used to watch movies, and to tell the truth, even a photo shopped poster of a movie glimpsed while driving by is enough to plant the seed of a crush. I used to save wallpapers of computer animated characters from video games, and yes, some of them did feature attractive men. What I did not do was share these thoughts with my friends, because I did not want to give power to them. You give power to thoughts, and they rule your consciousness. I did not want to sit with my friends and cook daily servings of crushes and infatuations. What ruled my consciousness were my own daydreams of my own made-up characters in my own fantasy world. I used to think I was merely making up stories as a writer, until something I read made me realize that I was substituting my own imaginary “ideals” for the flesh-and-blood members of the opposite sex in this world. Yes, my imagination did include attractive male characters as well. Make of that what you will, but I eventually learned not to daydream so much. I didn’t want to take my own whims and desires as my God.

2. Hijabis have nothing to hide. Sure, there’s the girl who will use her head cover to hide her earphones while she listens to music in a packed college classroom. There’s the girl who will use the same method to cheat in exams. Yes, I am coming to the juicy part: there are females who wear face cover to hide their identity so that they can engage with males in pre-marital or extra-marital relations, or as I mentioned in the conversation in the beginning of the article, they do it in order to sell their bodies. People do not know that this face cover, body cover and head cover is the legacy of the mothers of the believers. Yes! They used to observe it all.

The words “Khimar” (head and chest cover) and “Jilbab” (body cover i.e. outer garment) come in the Quran. Whether face cover is included in the word “Jilbab” is the only point of disagreement between scholars. Yes, contrary to the public assumption that all Islamic dress code for females is open to question, there is actually no ignoring these two words, “Khimar” and “Jilbab”, in the Quran.

This brings me to an important point. Belief in the Quran is a pillar of Islamic faith. That means belief in every verse of the Quran, including the ones which spark social controversy today. Whether or not, you choose to obey a particular verse of the Quran or not, you cannot try to change its meaning in order to make yourself feel safe and comfortable. You cannot pretend that these words are not in the Quran. Even if you believe from the depth of your heart that the Hijabi sister you see is up to no good, you should create excuses for her in your mind. After all, it’s not your job to judge people, that job is Allah’s (swt). Good thing He didn’t give it to you and me, right? Our heads would explode.

Belief in the Quran is a pillar of Islamic faith. That means belief in every verse of the Quran, including the ones which spark social controversy today.

3. The default setting of a Hijabi is not “sexually frustrated”. Yes, there are holier-than-thou Hijabi sisters and they just have frowning, or sad facial expressions naturally; but that doesn’t mean that all they need is “a good make out”. If you claim to support feminine freedom and are against “the patriarchy”, consider giving your Hijabi sisters a break, too. On the inside, they are creations of emotions, thoughts and conflicts, just like you.

All this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to addressing assumptions about Hijabi Muslims. Whether this article gives you answers, or creates more questions in your mind, depends on your perspective. I will end this article, the way I ended the conversation with my father’s friend: “It’s all a matter of faith.”

Lessons of Faith from Umm Sulaym Bint Malhan (ra)

blueflowersMother’s Sacrifice for Her Orphan Son

Umm Sulaym (ra) grieved for her unbelieving husband, for they had spent many years together under the same roof despite their differences. She turned her attention to little Anas (ra) and said, “I will re-marry when my son Anas allows.” She nourished him with the Quranic verses and the Sunnah of the Prophet (sa) until Anas (ra) grew up into a trustworthy young man.

Blessed with intellect and wisdom, it struck Umm Sulaym (ra) to request the Prophet (sa) to accept Anas (ra) in his service. The mother desired the best for her son. What could be better than learning directly from the Prophet (sa) while also serving him? The Prophet (sa) accepted this young man who grew up with the Quran and Sunnah.

Lessons to Draw: When being tested, people leave whatever good they are doing and devote their time to mourning over their loss and in depression. Umm Sulaym (ra) teaches us to rise up in the face of calamity. She focused her attention on the other blessings of Allah (swt) that she enjoyed – her son. She had him to be thankful for, look after and nurture.

What is our attitude in affliction? What has Allah (swt) given us that we are ignoring?

While at one point Umm Sulaym (ra) says she would not re-marry (that is separate herself from her son) until her son permitted; she later gave her beloved boy to the Prophet (sa). She knew she could give him love, but she could not raise or educate him better than the best of mankind. She picked the best teacher for her son and endured the temporary separation for his betterment. We must pay attention to our children’s education. If they are not being homeschooled, what kind of school have we chosen for them? Who are their teachers? Do they instil the love of Allah (swt) in their little hearts along with education? What kind of education are they being delivered?

While at one point Umm Sulaym (ra) says she would not re-marry (that is separate herself from her son) until her son permitted; she later gave her beloved boy to the Prophet (sa)

The Best Dowry of All

One of the richest men from the Ansar (the helpers of Madinah) had heard of Umm Sulaym’s admirable virtues. Her integrity and her courage, appealed him. When he learnt that she was a widow, he decided to marry her. Being affluent, he had no qualms about the dowry. He had decided he would present her with as much gold and silver as she desired. He was confident that his proposal would certainly be accepted. Umm Sulaym (ra), however, surprised him.

When this man approached her, the woman of Taqwa said, “A man like you cannot be refused, the problem is that you are an idol worshipper. It does not befit me to marry a polytheist.” The man requested her to re-consider and offered to present her with as many jewels as she desired. Umm Sulaym (ra) replied, “My dowry is Islam. Accept Islam. I will marry you. Upon your becoming a Muslim, I will not demand any other dowry.”

We must pay attention to our children’s education. If they are not being homeschooled, what kind of school have we chosen for them? Who are their teachers?

She then talked about his idols. The gods that he worshipped were crafted by people with their own hands. When they required firewood, they would throw their idols into fire and cook meal. The man agreed that it was indeed true. Umm Sulaym (ra) continued and asked him if he did not feel embarrass to prostrate to a wooden piece that grew from the Earth. A wooden piece that could not help its own self, could not solve his problems either.

The man held his head low and did not utter another word. Umm Sulaym (ra) again presented her proposal to him that if he agrees to embrace Islam, she will accept his marriage proposal. The man asked for some time to think and then accepted Islam. Anas (ra) was called and instructed to arrange the Nikah of his mother with Abu Talha Ansari (ra).

Abu Talha (ra) then approached the Prophet (sa) and inquired about the unique dowry that he had been demanded. The Prophet (sa) accepted ‘Islam’ as Umm Sulaym’s dowry and conducted their Nikah.

Lessons to draw: Allah (swt) replaced an unbelieving, unkind husband with him who was much better in many ways. One person abandoned her, Allah (swt) sent another to take care of her. We keep complaining to people that they are not giving us our right or not helping us, but we don’t ask Ar-Razzaq – He, who provides all kinds of provisions. Umm Sulaym (ra) did not remain undeterred because of a grudge. Her sacrifice was for her religion. She loved Allah (swt) more. He who loves or hates someone or something for the sake of Allah (swt), his sacrifices are never ignored by Him. The only condition is the standard of our Iman (faith). How sincere are we?

Have Tawakkal on Allah (swt) if future appears bleak today, it would not remain so forever. Allah (swt) will bring relief to us when He thinks it is right for us with what He chooses for us.

Umm Sulaym (ra) proved that to her faith mattered. Through her Dawah abilities, she convinced the man to come to the truth ‘before marriage’, not later.

We also see that Umm Sulaym (ra) gives no attention to the financial standing of Abu Talha (ra). She rejects him on the basis of his faith. Many a times, we put the faith behind thinking we can work on it later and go ahead with the marriage. When later arrives, girls have either fallen to a lower level of faith or marital conflicts have emerged. Umm Sulaym (ra) proved that to her faith mattered. Through her Dawah abilities, she convinced the man to come to the truth ‘before marriage’, not later.

(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu by Mehmood Ahmad Ghazanfar and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)

Grow in Iman at Work

grow in imaan at work

 

  1. Focus on the Ultimate Goal: Most people work to earn a decent and Halal income. However, if you want to use your work to grow in Iman, you need to change into a higher gear. You need to make your work fit a larger game plan that you strive for – earning a ticket to Jannah, Bi Izn Allah (swt). Don’t try to make Islam fit your work. Rather, make your work help achieve Islamic goals. In other words, your employer’s mission and vision must be compatible with yours.
  2.  Adopt Islamic Values with Sincerity: Global secularization has caused corporations to define core values for employees, and for professional bodies to establish ethical codes of conduct for its members. The values enshrined in our religion subsume and exceed all ethical principles. Moreover, our intentions for dedicating every action for Allah’s (swt) pleasure makes us sincerer than those who follow such values just to comply with policies and codes. Work is an opportunity for us to develop our true Islamic characters, while fulfilling our professional duties. Our Iman grows when we do our work with Ikhlas.

To read the rest of this article and more, subscribe to Hiba Magazine.

[Revert Story] Guided by Recitation

quran-2The stories of reverts to Islam are always full of inspiration. But not only that, whenever I hear a story, I unwillingly find myself thinking about the ways Allah (swt) uses people to guide others to Islam. I think of it, because my own reversion to Islam was influenced by numerous people, who might not even have the slightest idea they had anything to do with it. They were instruments in the hands of Almighty, without being aware of it.

As we were sitting and listening to the reading of Ahadeeth in a revert Muslims Halaqah, a young and fragile looking girl entered to join our circle. She quietly sat down along with us to benefit from the reading. Later we found out that she had come, because she was ready to take her Shahadah, which she did, Alhamdulillah. I was curious to hear her story, as finding Islam in a country, where Muslims constitute barely 1% of the population, is a miracle in itself. Her story proved to be an amazing illustration of the beautiful ways Allah (swt) can guide people.

This girl had become a student at a local university and was living in student housing. Shortly after moving into her room, she noticed that in early mornings a beautiful sound of recitation was coming from behind one of her room walls. The recitation was so beautiful that day after day she kept wondering what it was. Finally, she mastered enough courage to go and see, who the reciter was. It turned out to be an international student from some Muslim country, who in early morning hours was doing his Quran reading. Subhan’Allah! She got to know the young man and learned about Islam from him, which later led to her reversion to Islam. Just imagine – even recitation of the Quran in solitude of your own room may become a guiding light on someone’s way to Islam!

my own reversion to Islam was influenced by numerous people, who might not even have the slightest idea they had anything to do with it.

We never know how Allah (swt) chooses to use us in opening the hearts of people. I was inspired by several strong and confident Muslims, who were not afraid to speak their mind, even if at the time I felt they challenged me to the edge. I thank the Muslim student from Africa, who had enough courage to tell me that he would never ever for anything in the world leave Islam. Even though his boldness took me aback, I kept on thinking about the strength of his faith. I thank the ladies of a Pakistani family, who answered my questions about women in Islam in a matter of fact manner, impressing me by their confidence in their lifestyle. I thank my friend from Yemen, who challenged my beliefs about trinity in Christianity. And I thank the Australian revert sister, who in our first and only meeting boldly invited me to accept Islam with deep belief in her heart that this is the best thing that can ever happen to me. It didn’t happen on that day. But it did happen eight months later, Alhamdulillah.

My message to my Muslim brothers and sisters – do not be afraid to talk about your faith. Take pride in being Muslims and be confident about it. You may become that one much needed building brick on the way to somebody’s Shahadah!

Top Five Ways to Maintain a Strong Connection with Allah (swt)

asking allahIf the hustle and bustle of this life is weakening our connection with Allah (swt) or if we are disconnected from Him (swt) and feeling frustrated, then we need to engage ourselves in His worship. “Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Ar-Rad 13:28) Connection with Allah (swt) is as important for us as water is important for the plants. Allah’s (swt) remembrance and worship nourishes our faith and keeps us on straight path. Here are some top ways to foster a strong connection with our Rabb (swt).

1. Salah with Presence of Mind

  • Try to plan the Salah. We need to plan our meeting with Allah (swt) – just the way we plan our worldly meetings.
  • Every night before sleeping, build a strong and sincere intention to perform an excellent Salah the next day.
  • Every morning, the first thought should be the thought of performing each Salah on time. Presence of mind comes when we understand the meanings of the words we recite daily in our Salah. While reciting Surah al-Fatihah, ponder over the meanings. Just think about it: you are praising the Lord of the lords. You are talking to the king of the worlds.
  • Try to memorize new Surahs. Start with short ones.
  • Supplicate after Adhan. Try to answer the Adhan and supplicate to Allah (swt) for solace.
  • Avoid distractions.
  • Decide which Surahs you are going to recite. Pray Salah calmly and consciously.

2. Reciting and Understanding the Quran

  • Recite the Quran with understanding; read its translation and Tafseer.
  • Act upon the Quran.
  • Share the knowledge with your family and friends.
  • Open the Quran and know what Allah (swt) is telling us. Read about Him, the author of the best book of the world. Read about the Author Who is in love with the readers.
  • Personalize your Quran, where you can highlight your favourite verses and Duas.
  • If you don’t understand Arabic, get a Quran with translation. Make sure that your children have their personal Quran.

3. Supplication

  • Seek Allah (swt) through supplication. Converse with him. Praise him. Talk to him about every small and big thing. Cry before him. Tell him about how much you need him. The one who cries before Allah (swt) does not need to cry before anyone else.
  • Make Allah (swt) your best friend. No friend in the world can be as loyal as Allah (swt) is. He loves His creation seventy times more than a mother loves her child. He is closer to you than your jugular vein.
  • Keep Allah (swt) in your mind, every second. Talk to him in your heart, every moment. Allah (swt) even hears the whispers. Remember! Allah’s (swt) love is the most guaranteed love.

4. Repentance

Allah (swt) loves those who repent. Let’s be in the list of those whom Allah (swt) loves. Let’s please the Creator with the act that He loves the most. Allah (swt) waits for us to repent.  Let’s put off the burden of our sins. Repent repeatedly each day. Don’t let the sins accumulate. Every sin puts a black dot on the heart, and we need to wash our heart constantly.

5. Gratitude to Allah

Take a pen and a paper and start writing down Allah’s (swt) blessings. We would surely have a never-ending list. Keep adding things to the list every day. Every breath is His blessing. How much ungratefulness we show when we complain to Allah (swt), disregarding all the blessings that He has bestowed upon us. We need to be grateful to Him for the smallest things that He has given us. His greatest blessing is that He has chosen us to be Muslims. Be grateful to Him for the guidance that He has given us.

May Allah (swt) enable us to maintain a strong connection with Him always. Ameen

Rehab

ramadan

Changes for the better
Motivation for work, with clear
Consolation for trying and a sure
Compensation for a job done
With great aspiration for next

Gone have been laxities
Pulled off all self-restraining desires
Adorned with the garment of Taqwa
Hoping it would last beyond 720 hours

Every claim, to a reason
Even those that lead to treason
Every purpose to satisfaction
Nothing is called done, except with action

The motivation to do more
Clinical cleansing in no clinic
Shopping for rewards
All route to the market of Ibadah

Humble simplicity
Not lack of strength but obedience
This task, a must carry on
Its essence is to last long

Don’t be constrained
Just for the moment
Changes seen in a few days
A lifelong story not a case study

Aspiration for a rank in paradise
Compensation for this changed heart
Consolation with tranquillity from the
Motivation of fasting

Actions you have taken to seek
Satisfaction of the Most Merciful
Treason against God your wish to subdue
Reason so clear, as Jannah is the only clue

Allah (swt) gave us this month
To submit, submit and change
Grow your faith and manners
All thanks to Him
For this yearly rehabilitation for the best of mankind

Abdullah Bn Bashir [13/07/14 16th Ramadan 1435]

[Multimedia] Ten Steps to Fuel your Faith

Hiba Magazine presents a short multimedia presentation on ten different ways to fuel your faith and give your Eeman a boost. This series is based on an article “Ten Steps to Increase Your Faith