Of Celebrity Sheikhs and Fandoms

32 extra special

“All set for the lecture tomorrow?” I casually asked a friend over a WhatsApp chat.

“Should I be going?” she inquired in return.

Consequently, I reasoned: “Well, half of the city seems to be overwhelmed with the idea of attending the lecture tomorrow. I assumed you would be going, too.”

“I respect the speaker enough to not treat him as a celebrity.”

It took me some time to figure out what she meant by this statement. I had never imagined this could be a reason for not being a part of an event. It was not just any event. It was a mega event. Everyone in the city, some even from the neighbouring cities, had been waiting for months for the scholar’s visit. People had been cautious about acquiring their tickets well on time, so that they did not miss out on this great opportunity to see the scholar ‘live’, right before their eyes. His popularity had grown tremendously over the past few years. YouTube videos of the scholar’s lectures were shared over the internet numerous times by avid viewers. He had followers in hundreds of thousands on Facebook and Twitter. Why would someone deny oneself the opportunity of a lifetime, so to say? Moreover, in Islam, we are taught to put in our best of efforts to acquire knowledge. Isn’t this contrary to the teaching of Islam, if we miss out on the chance to be in the company of the learned?

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

Football: Any Place in Islam?

16 football place in Islam

By Hajji Murat Radjabov – Writer

Today, the world cannot live without football.

A German consulting company “Sportfive” did research in Europe to find out the number of people interested in football. The research was carried out in the leading football countries of Europe. The results were as follows:

  • Germany – 81% are interested in football (which constitutes 53 million people)
  • Italy – 78%
  • Spain – 67%
  • England – 63%
  • France – 60%

The numbers in other countries were very similar. Interest in football has also reached the Muslim countries and Muslims all over the world.

For football players

For practicing Muslims, Islam is not only a religion but a way of life. Generally, it is not forbidden in Islam to play football, as long as the following requirements are met:

(1) During the game, the Aurah (parts of the body that are forbidden for others to see; in the case of men, it is the part of body between the navel and knees) of the players has to be covered.

(2) Under no conditions during the game or in preparations for the game should the players miss their five obligatory players (Salah). Interest in football should not distract them from remembering the Most High or turn into them into fanatics of the game. Likewise, watching the game should not prevent people from performing their mandatory prayers.

(3) Sometimes the dates of significant football events fall in Ramadan, the month of obligatory fasting. Football, however, requires extensive physical exertion. In this situation, no matter how important the game is, Muslim players do not have the right to leave their fasting.

(4) Very rarely does a game go by without any physical trauma for the players. Sometimes, players intentionally do actions against their opponents, which cause them injuries. Such actions are also forbidden in Islam. Purposeful hurting of another person has to be compensated!

(5) Fights, filthy language, and arguments should not be a part of the game.

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

Ramadan Deal: Feed your Faith; Spare your Waist!


                                             Image Courtesy www.thefitnessgrail.wordpress.com

As I was sitting in my lounge, penning down my grocery shopping list for the weekend, I realised that the month of Ramadan was not too far and probably in a week or two I’d have to make a more comprehensive list of grocery supplies for the Holy month. My ever wandering mind drifted back to those good old days in Pakistan where we enjoyed the blessings of Ramadan with our loved ones- mum waking us up for Sehri, being constantly aware of “no backbiting” in office, Taraweeh, those deliciously mouth-watering Iftar by mum! Oh and how can I forget those Iftar trips to various restaurants!

The Drop-Dead deals

The Iftar trips had started some 12-13 years back for me when the Pizza Hut- all you can eat banners- had taken Karachi by storm. I think that Ramadan, I visited Pizza Hut twice for the “all you can eat” deal, and now when I think back to that day- I laugh at myself! All I had that day were perhaps three slices of Pizza, some salad, and perhaps, two glasses of cold drink. And, I hardly got a place to offer my Maghrib prayers that day. So much for the tempting all you can eat!

The magic in 99

And then, it started to become a habit, more of a hobby, to explore the “all you can eat” deals of various restaurants. It wasn’t just me- school, college, and even at work, there were always discussions about where we would go out for Iftar. Just like branded lawns, this started to become a trend. And, the prices kept going up Rs. 299 then Rs. 499, and now perhaps, as high as Rs. 1499 with each restaurant, offering a different variety in its so-called “all you can eat”. And, we kept encouraging these restaurants to keep hiking their prices. Trust me- when I say that there may be over a hundred restaurant offering Iftar deals in Karachi alone, but still they are met with an unlimited demand. What we fail to realise is that no matter how much we eat at these Iftar buffets, the restaurant still manages to earn more than 100% profit on it.

Go on a diet and donate!

However, thinking rationally- if on an average I am spending Rs. 1000 per visit, and I am going out thrice, that means I’ve thrown away money that could have fed a poor family of four for not three days, but for a whole month!

Looking at the value for money, we get at these Iftar expeditions; I’d say they are a bit too extravagant. Moreover, in order to try out each delicacy offered at these buffets, we tend to waste a lot of food as well. Spending so much, and then ending up wasting food too; isn’t that quite contrary to the purpose of Ramadan and fasting?

Allah (swt) has said in the Quran: “…and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not Al-Musrifoon (those who waste by extravagance).” (Al-A’raf 7:31)

And again,

“And give to the kindred his due and to the Miskin (poor) and to the wayfarer. But spend not wastefully (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift. Verily, spendthrifts are brothers of the Shayatin (devils), and the Shaytan (Devil – Satan) is ever ungrateful to his Lord.” (Al-Isra 17:2 -27)

Need I say more? Let’s imagine that perhaps if each of us decides to forgo at least one such Iftar trips this Ramadan, and I mean just one (I know it’s pretty hard to give up on the whole institution of “Iftar deals”), and donate the amount you would have spent on that lavish meal to someone who needs it.

Surely, our religion has made Zakat obligatory for this very purpose; however, modesty and helping the needy has always been encouraged by our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sa) and Quran. Moreover, if spending Rs. 1000 to help someone could save you from some accountability on that day, I believe it’s not a bad deal!

Hence, this Ramadan let’s change the trend! Let us not be too extravagant in our behaviour. Re-think the restaurant trips, and strive to bring a change. Who knows giving up one such trip, and feeding a hungry stomach might bring so many Duas, happiness and abundance to you. Insha’Allah.

The First Step to Heaven

hijabgreenSalams! I am Zamiya, eleven years old. I pour love from my heart and soul into everything I write.

I never thought I would actually cover my head until, what, eighth grade? To me, it seemed like a tiny, unnecessary part of my life, not an actual purpose. My mother wore the headscarf, and at school, hardly any girl was wearing the Hijab. I thought I would stand out, like neon yellow in a darkened background. I never thought it really was obligatory to wear it at all- until the day I found a special book.

Books are important to me. Writing is my heart and soul, and is not a passion, but a mechanism of survival. I needed it in my life- so of course, when I read that particular piece of art, I could not help, but become mesmerized. It told about a seemingly simple girl from the United States of America, who was struggling with keeping her headscarf – covered head high – she was strong, fiery, and fearless in the eyes of God. Along the way, she was faced with uncountable challenges – her scarf had been forcibly removed, Fitnah, discrimination, and a lot more. When I realized how indifferent she was, even with the Hijab – and that putting it on after reaching puberty was necessary.

I finally went up to my mother one fine day, my thoughts clashing with each other. You don’t need to wear it. You look better with your hair all styled up. Don’t do it for yourself or for others; you must look best in the Eyes of Allah (swt). I went up to her as she typed an article and told her my final decision.

“Mom, I have finally decided to wear the Hijab from the first day of school,” I anxiously announced. It turned out that she was overjoyed, gave me a hug, and took the whole family out for lunch the very next day. She styled my Hijab with pretty pins and a cool outfit, and we all went out. Even though my hair fell out quite a bit due to forgetting an under cap, all went well. Since it was my first time trying out the headscarf, I took a Polaroid picture to remember it. I did not wear it for the rest of the summer vacation, though. However, I did keep my promise for the first day of school!

When I went to school on the first day, my specially-bought blue Hijab wrapped around my head and my eyes sparkling with determination, I felt unbeatable – but also a bit nervous. However, it seemed to be totally okay. Loads of girls complimented me on the style and how well it suited me (even though some were plain snarky); the older girls and teachers congratulated me – and three other girls had worn the wonderful headscarf, too! By the end of the day, the three other Hijabis and I were discussing how we decided on wearing the Hijab. My mother took me out as some kind of celebration after school as well.

When I went to school on the first day, my specially-bought blue Hijab wrapped around my head and my eyes sparkling with determination, I felt unbeatable – but also a bit nervous

Now, it has been almost three months since I put on the scarf and strode with pride. I am now encouraging and doing Dawah, representing how a good Muslim girl should behave in public – but at the same time, being the same old silly girl I always was, striving for good grades, crying over anything and being all smiley the next moment, and being just the same person I was. Nothing has changed during this time. I am sure that when I go to non-Muslim countries like the United Kingdom or the States, I will be faced with puzzled looks and fierce remarks. Still, I will never take off my scarf Insha’Allah. Instead, I will show all of them what a Muslim is, and hopefully change the minds of even the most ignorant ones with the help of Allah (swt).

My journey has just begun. I have a lot more to do – to influence the world with my talents, give them my earned knowledge, and much, much more. After all, I am still a little girl who has a lot more to learn about this world. I pray that our Ummah improves more and converts into something legendary- something so extraordinary that generations will praise us and we are in good books everywhere. Wearing the Hijab was only the first step of the stairway to Jannah – and I profusely hope, with all my heart, that I step upon each and every one of them, and that I eventually reach the glowing gates of the ineffably beautiful place all Muslims hope to reach one day: heaven. I will keep on climbing up to the next level of my Iman, Hijab on my head and eyes determined – being the same girl I always was.

When I covered my head, I opened my mind

flowerpWhen I was young, my perception was that a highly qualified woman should have a modern look! So during my teenage years, I copied all the silly pop ideas.

One of these ideas was that if I wear jeans, I would be more smart and pretty. My mother used to tell me to use Hijab, but I did not like it. The idea of modesty did not exactly click in my mind, like it did for my other friends.

I got really embarrassed, when I got a scarf as a gift! It was presented by my friend from Saudi Arabia!

Let me tell you, why I felt like this. Actually, I have beautiful, long, thick healthy hair, which would be hidden, if I would wear a scarf. Inspired by ads of various shampoos, I could not imagine doing so. Although my mother always persuaded me to cover myself, but being a young girl, my perception was totally different! I used to think that highly qualified ladies must have a modern look and obviously I dreamt to wear jeans as my casual dress, but my traditions didn’t allow me.

My friend politely convinced me to use the scarf. I was impressed by her point that pollution and sun rays may damage my hair, so for the sake of protecting my hair, I started using that abstract printed scarf.

People’s reaction surprised me! They appreciated me on covering my head. I myself felt confident, nicer and smarter. The mirror reflected the glow of my face. This excited me to continue wearing my scarf. Truly, it was my class fellows’ and friends’ positive reaction that motivated me in doing so.

One day, when I was waiting for the bus at the bus stop, some street guys started laughing at me. At that moment I realized that I became their target, because I didn’t completely cover my body. My head scarf was not complementing my dress. I admit it was stylish and trendy, and was exposing my body. That dress was good for a party or private gathering, but not suitable for a public place. This realization made it easy for me to take the next decision.

As soon as I reached home, I asked my mom to buy an Abaya for me. It was a pleasure for her. We went to market to get it. There were a lot of different varieties of Abayas in the market. Being a young, fashion-conscious girl, I selected a stylish one. I noticed my mom was not satisfied by my choice, but she approved reluctantly.

From the very next day, I started to wear my black Abaya. It transformed my personality. Everybody looked at me with a pleasant smile. It gave me confidence and pride.

“Wow! Beautiful! Gorgeous!” remarks like these made me proud on my wise decision. It was people’s response that mattered to me and enhanced my emotions towards my Abaya! This also made my daily life easy and simple, as I didn’t need to worry about clothes to wear and saved my precious time to bother about them. Hence, I could use my time constructively.

But, as there was curiosity about this getup, questions raised by some people made me to do some research about the reasons, why I should cover. I started to think: am I doing it for the sake of tradition or fashion? Was it imposed by my family or did I do it for myself? Is there anything more to it than cultural or social pressure?

But, as there was curiosity about this getup, questions raised by some people made me to do some research about the reasons, why I should cover.

Some of them were really keen to know, while a few asked just to humiliate me, because I used to get confused in replying to them, which they enjoyed a lot. I got puzzled about their satire and sarcasm. I was hurt and decided to search thoroughly for the answers of the questions; I started to learn the reality and consulted the literature about it.

Obviously, reading the Quran with translation and explanation (Tafseer) was a must! It enhanced my thirst for more knowledge; hence, I joined a group to quench my thirst. This experience helped me to rectify myself as a proper Muslimah. Not only got answers to all my questions, but gained confidence and got rid of all confusion and inferiority complexes. It solved all my problems regarding public image/opinion about me. I have to please my Creator only. My fear about people’s remarks and reaction faded. I became bold enough to face the people, carefree about public opinion and conscious of Allah’s (swt) demand.

I read the Holy Book in detail for the first time in my life. That was my first experience of understanding the Quran properly. I managed to break through the shackles of pride, ego and learnt much more. I started feeling better day by day. Allah (swt) solved all my problems. Then, I started to do veil or Niqab. That was a big change in my life. I was feeling bold and confident day by day.

It was the best choice I ever made. For the first time in my life, I felt that I was a strong person. I did what I believed is right, and I did not care of what people think of it, or how they will look at me. First day of Hijab was the best. I had never felt so good in my entire life. Everyone discouraged me, saying that I won’t be able to fight with myself for long. But with Allah’s (swt) help, I am continuing till today. Everyone started to respect me. Hijab protected me everywhere and no one would look at me, as if I was a picture or a dummy. I believe that Allah (swt) demands Hijab to help us and to make our life easier. It builds respect between a man and woman. It also indicates that you are a Muslim.

Similar guidelines are also in other religions, for example, Jews wear a small cup on top of their heads, Christians wear a cross. And none of them feels ashamed to show it to public. No man would think badly about a woman, who is wearing Hijab, so that will provide her to fall in mistake or something that is Haram. A woman, who can wear Hijab, is strong enough to do anything in life. Everyone will trust you in everything, because you trust yourself. Allah (swt) made you (Ashraf ul Makhluqat), very precious and valuable.

It was the best choice I ever made. For the first time in my life, I felt that I was a strong person.

He guided me. The change in perception enabled me to think about my get up more critically! And I felt ashamed of my choices made in the past. They were horribly against the rule of the Quran about “…not to be noticed and respected”.

This thought made me put off my ornamental Abaya and replace it by a simple, loose and dull colour Abaya. After putting it on, I stood in front of mirror and asked myself: “Is it to please Allah (swt)?” Surely, yes! My belief got stronger and firmer!

At present, I am a mature housewife and I laugh off my past. My then favourite activities seem foolish now. I am a happy and contented person, whose journey towards truth started with covering my head. Love to my scarf that gave me respect and purpose in life. Love to my friend, who had given me that scarf as a gift.

I am very grateful to Allah (swt) for letting me realize that when I covered my head, I took away from people any means for judging me other than my mind, soul and heart. When I covered my head, I took away the incentive for exploitation based on beauty. When I covered my head, I made people respect me, because they saw that I respected myself. When I covered my head, I finally opened my mind to the truth.

Life Lessons from Asma Bint Abu Bakr (ra) – 2

cherryclossomWe continue with some more characteristics of Asma bint Abu Bakr (ra).

Steadfastness in Religion

When Asma (ra) migrated to Madinah, her mother Qutalyah bint Abdul Uzza came for a visit bringing along some gifts. Her mother being an idolatress, Asma (ra) did not admit her into the house or accept her gifts, until she asked the Prophet (sa) about relations with the idolaters. The Prophet (sa) told her to welcome her mother and accept her gifts.

It was her Taqwa that made her rank Allah (swt) and His commandments above everything else. If she was unclear about a certain matter, she did not proceed on her own, until she received clarification regarding it. “And whosoever honours the Symbols of Allah, then it is truly from the piety of the heart.” (Al-Hajj 22:32)

Lessons to draw: Seek knowledge of the religion and protect yourself and your families from committing that, which might be displeasing to Allah (swt). Be conscious of your earning, your food, your clothing, and the kind of people you keep company with. Put Allah (swt) before everything else.

Perseverance and Generosity

Life for Asma (ra) wasn’t easy. Her husband Zubair (ra) had neither money nor property. Asma (ra) would do house chores as well as look after her husband’s mare. Tending to the mare was the most difficult of all jobs. When she complained to her father, he advised her to be patient.

It was her Taqwa that made her rank Allah (swt) and His commandments above everything else.

When Allah (swt) improved their financial condition, instead of increasing her living status, Asma (ra) increased her charity. She was a woman not blinded by the attractions of this world. She was focused on the hereafter and that which pleased Allah (swt). Advising her children of benevolence, she said: “Spend, give Sadaqah and charity and do not wait for abundance.”

Lessons to draw: Many women complain of not having enough to give. There are many simple ways of contributing in the way of Allah (swt), and it does not always involve money. One can contribute in the way of Allah (swt) by giving their time, talent, special skills or even provision. Prepare an extra meal one day and feed an orphan child. Volunteer to teach Quran, a Dua or even academic studies to one of your domestic help’s children.

Haya and Modesty

One day, Asma (ra) was walking home with a load of dates on her head. Upon seeing her, the Prophet (sa) signalled his camel to sit down, so that Asma (ra) could climb. But Asma (ra) refused and continued to walk. There were other men with Prophet (sa), and Asma (ra) did not find it appropriate to be the only woman in a group of men.

Once, her son Al-Mundhir sent her an elegant dress from Iraq, but Asma (ra) refused to take it. Her son, knowing his mother, contested that it was not of a transparent material. Asma (ra) replied that it was not, but it was of tight-fitting and revealed the contours of the body.

Lessons to draw: We might spend a fortune on looking elegant and distinguished, but does our clothing cover all the parameters of Haya? Let us dress up to please Allah (swt).

When Allah (swt) improved their financial condition, instead of increasing her living status, Asma (ra) increased her charity.


Asma (ra) instilled in her children religious values and instructed them about always standing up for the truth. She transferred her love for charity in them and raised them upon best characteristics. After her husband divorced her, Asma (ra) started living with her son Abdullah ibn Az-Zubair (ra). Raised by his mother, Abdullah (ra) grew up to be prudent, intellectual and a master archer.

Lessons to draw: Connect your children to Allah (swt), because when the hearts are empty, they would take in anything that Shaytan leads them to. Teach the Seerah of the Prophet (sa) and his Duas. Tell them about Shirk, and teach not to depend on anyone or fear anyone besides Allah (swt).

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

Cloak with an Eternal Glow

Photo credit: TexasEagle / Foter / CC BY-NC

Photo credit: TexasEagle / Foter / CC BY-NC

The first time I met a princess;
Astonished, I don’t know how to express,
The look of an empress,
That leaves man always impressed.

A beauty that radiates from the heart,
Makes you look down when it meets your sight.
The show of modesty so bright,
That places her in the greatest heights.

Beauty –
A controversial discussion.
Whose is the duty
To judge in that position?

Their acclaimed beauty is skin scratched;
Nothing, but a facial mask!
To a pitiful task,
Obliged to what the society asks.

The sight that betrays the gaze,
As it cruises in lustful chase.
On flesh, a baked clay,
Leaving body and soul dazed.

Beautifully unique are these knights,
Who wear the flags of the One with Might.
Not parading what is meant out of sight,
These beauties you cannot smite.

With bigots from the society,
Plague to humanity,
Coming from their so-called liberty
To distort nature’s morality.

Freedom without values,
Forced in skimp and hills,
Degrading our milieu,
With shapes without skills.

She’s free from the eyes that prey,
Cover to the heart that prays,
Save the next generation from fray,
With guidance from the religious rays.

Clothe to please her Lord
Distinguished from them all
As believers in His law,
Who look away from human lure.

She’s free;
Freedom from the denizen of earth.
She’s beautiful in her Hijab and heart.
She’s a princess on earth
And a Queen in Jannah.

She’s better than Hurul-Ayan;
They didn’t pass through this worldly strain,
Obeying their Lord’s claim,
Eminent ladies of heavenly gain.

To all Hijabis,
The queen of Al-Jannah.

Transformation to my true self

lotusMany women in my country are driven by cultural stereotypes and nationalism, peer pressure and irrational societal norms. Those who have ‘groomed’ themselves with education and negated cultural slavery, are somewhere trapped in the complicated maze of modernity and westernization. Over and above, those who tend to cover themselves, do it inappropriately by force or misuse the covering garment for illegal purposes.

Till twenty-two years of age, I was not taught the exact conditions, prerequisites, importance and the prescribed method of Hijab, as given in Surah An-Nur, Surah Al-Ahzab and the Sahih Ahadeeth of Messenger (sa). A very rigid socio-cultural way of covering had been taught to me by my elders and family, without the main rules regarding adornment and covering in front of Mahram and non-Mahram men. The very rationale given to me to cover myself did not match the course as outlined in the Quran. Social acceptance was at the core of the cultural teaching of covering and never did I realize that I had to cover because Allah (swt) loved His female servants in that attire and Jilbab, as He loved beauty and modesty!

All praise is for the Creator, the Cherisher, the Sustainer, the Loving and the Most Merciful! He guided me, and I was able to dive thoroughly into the origin, history, logic, benefits and the immense reward of covering myself. Haya, the central theme had never occurred to me like it did, as I leafed through the pages of various books and commentaries of Surah An-Nur and Surah Al-Ahzab.

If I look back to my teenage years, I have emotionally suffered solely because of the lack of knowledge of Deen I had. I was struggling to develop an identity for myself amidst false attachments to the Dunya and addiction to people. Having been obese and exceptionally tall, I received remarks and comments that made my soul shriek out. Indirectly, the evil of self (Nafs) and Satan’s planning were well-tuned; I turned to flaunting, showing off, weight loss, obsession with body talk, idealizing female celebrities and what not. What I had observed and learnt in that age hindered my learning about my Deen. My priorities and attitudes as a girl were exactly defying what my Rabb had taught in His Quran.

If I look back to my teenage years, I have emotionally suffered solely because of the lack of knowledge of Deen I had. I was struggling to develop an identity for myself amidst false attachments to the Dunya

After the transformation, I have found my soul and understood the Fitrah I was born with. I was programmed to naturally incline towards modesty and beauty, and Hijab means both. I can be myself with my outer garment and face veil (Jilbab and Niqab). I was concerned about social approval when thinking about how my dress should be before.

Now, I just feel awe-inspiring and extremely content when I think about how Allah (swt) loves me and will reward me in Jannah for covering myself. Hijab has set me free from cultural slavery, age old traditional myths, and the modern and westernized traps of Satan. It has healed me from the identity crisis I was suffering from. I am a twenty-four years old Muslim woman, and I wear the Hijab (Jilbab or Chador), just to please my Creator, Who sent the Quran as a manual/code of conduct.

When a baby is born, it needs support and guidance to live. Can a machine be operated without reading its manual? How can a human being, Allah’s (swt), the Creator’s best creation, thrive without reading, understanding and acting as per the manual revealed by the Creator Himself? How can a Muslim woman dress or carry herself without reading that manual? The Quran and Hadeeth are for us to learn, implement and share with others.

Allah (swt) empowered me with Hijab to wake me up from the slumber I was in; denying the reality of my Fitrah, Haya and the Akhirah. I understand life and Deen very clearly from under my Jilbab. Many of the infections I was suffering from on a spiritual level have been healed, Alhumdulillah!

I want to be the beloved of Allah (swt) and one of the hints Allah (swt) has given me in the Noble Quran to seek His pleasure is to cover myself. He is my Creator, my Owner! He loves to see me covered like a precious pearl; then why shouldn’t I remove the doubts and regrets in my heart about the rigid, irrational ways of society that go against the guidance He revealed through Prophet (sa).

I see many sisters stuck in the same mental state and frustration of preferring culture over religion. Allah (swt), the author of Noble Quran, wrote in the introductory chapter of the Quran,

“This is the Book (the Quran), whereof there is no doubt, a guidance to those who are Al-Muttaqun (the pious and righteous persons who fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden) and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained).” (Al-Baqarah 2:2)

This is the book, for you and me, in which there is absolutely no doubt. If we don’t understand this, we will never be able to defeat the doubts that are stored in our minds. I had a doubt in my mind that the Quran restricts the woman, but rather it sets me free. We need to crush these doubts and replace them with the illumination Quran gives us regarding the Hijab, even if we start step by step. One must do it by first understanding it herself and then the need to do it. We are the servants of Allah (swt) and we need to seek His pleasure in everything we do.

After the transformation, I have found my soul and understood the Fitrah I was born with. I was programmed to naturally incline towards modesty and beauty, and Hijab means both.

The laws and guidelines in the Quran and Hadeeth regarding Hijab have to be followed first and foremost due to total submission to our Rabb. Lastly, the way this Hijab acts as a reality check, it helps me monitor my actions outside and inside my home. It defines me from the core of my soul; it gives a title to my personality and it empowers me as a woman. It teaches me to grow, learn, write, implement and teach all for the love of Allah (swt). One of the automated reminders this transformation gives me is to repent and turn back to Allah (swt).

To my sisters in Islam, our lost souls belong to Him! Initiate and embrace Hijab. Begin by drawing near to Allah (swt) by a span of your hand! It was reported by Abu Hurairah (ra) that the Prophet (sa) said: “Allah (swt), the Exalted and Glorious, said: I am as My servant expects Me and I am with him as he remembers Me. By Allah, Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His servant than how one of you would be on finding the lost camel in the waterless desert. When he draws near Me by the span of his hand, I draw near him by the length of a cubit. And when he draws near Me by the length of a cubit, I draw near him by the length of a fathom. And when he draws near Me walking, I draw close to him quickly.” (Bukhari)

I am being myself and this is where I belong!

Pearls of Peace – An extract from Surah Araaf

pearlsWith this message we begin Surah Al-Araf. Allah (swt) says, (This is the) Book (the Quran) sent down unto you (O Muhammad (sa)), so let not your breast be narrow there from, that you warn thereby, and a reminder unto the believers.” (Al-Araf 7:2) How fortunate we are that we have the Quran, which is an anti-depressant; yet how selfish we are that we do not communicate its gems and wonders with our friends and families. We recite the Quran, learn it, preserve it in our hearts and keep the knowledge to ourselves. The Prophet (sa) said, “The best among you is the one who learns the Quran and teaches it.” (Bukhari) If someone informed us that there is a university where from if we graduated we will get $150,000 per month we would have rushed to enrol ourselves in it. The Prophet (sa) is calling us to something better and we are not moved.

We have read Harry Potter and other similar books. We wait for their launch and fantasize the stories; but have we also read the Quran? If we have not read the Quran ourselves, how can we teach it to others and be amongst the best? This is the Book of Allah (swt), the word of the Creator which we have not even attempted to learn. That is why we don’t have peace in our lives.

We need to be careful of the devil’s plot. Shaytan says, “Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful ones (i.e. they will not be dutiful to You).” (Al-Araf 7:17) He beautifies sins for us and makes us fall for them. May Allah (swt) bless us the insight to distinguish between the straight path and the trap of Shaytan. Ameen.

Adam (as) and the treachery of Shaytan

Allah (swt) then mentions the story of Adam (as) that how he lost a certain place in Paradise due to the treachery of Shaytan. This teaches us an important lesson: if we fall for Shaytan, Allah (swt) will take away the blessing that He gave us. In this story, we also learn about clothing; which is both an adornment and a covering.

Clothe with piety

When we are invited to our friend’s house or some renowned politician, businessman or anyone famous, we pick up the best clothes that we can. We make sure our hair and our accessories are in order. We check ourselves out several times in the mirror before leaving the house. But how do we approach Salah? When the Maker of everything invites us to stand before Him for a private conversation that guarantees us everything that we desire, what clothes or condition are we in? Sometimes for Fajr Salah, we simply roll out of our beds, throw water on our face, perform a quick Wudhu and stand up in prayer in our sleeping pyjamas. Is that an attitude of gratitude towards Him Who rewards one good deed up to ten times?

Allah (swt) says, “O O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes), while praying and going round (the Tawaf of) the Ka’bah, and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not Al-Musrifun (those who waste by extravagance).” (Al-Araf 7:31) Do not be extravagant in your clothing. When one looks today at the prices of bridal and semi-formal clothing, he wonders where the money is coming from. An ordinary dress with trimmings of silk or Banarsi fabric and some embellishments is priced at 50,000 rupees or even more. Lawn which was the clothing of common people is now sold at Rs. 6,000. Allah (swt) says, “And the raiment of righteousness, that is better.” (Al-Araf 7:26)

Not only should the clothing be sanely priced, but also, it should serve the purpose for which it was created. And that is “covering”. Too tight, too short, too revealing is not the clothing of people of Taqwa. If Salah is not accepted in such clothes, how can one step out of their house wearing those welcoming gazes of strange men?

Choose the appropriate attire

If one has to shed their clothing in order to appear attractive in front of others, then they should know twenty years later, they will not have the same appearance. So why not attract people by your character and Taqwa, instead of superficial things? If we dress up according to how Allah (swt) commands us, we will, Insha’Allah, attract those who are best for us in the Sight of Allah (swt). Who doesn’t want a righteous companion? Everyone does! The righteous companion pushes us to give our very best to Allah (swt). Thus, let us not attract the filth and dress appropriately instead.

Allah (swt) has promised us that He will send messages and reminders to us in various forms. Some fortunate ones lived in the midst of the messengers. For later generations, there were people who had acquired knowledge from the messengers and disseminated it to others. And that is how it reached us.

What should be our attitude towards Allah’s (swt) messages?

Allah (swt) says, “O Children of Adam! If there come to you Messengers from amongst you, reciting to you, My Verses, and then whosoever becomes pious and righteous, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (Al-Araf 7:35)

Two actions are required: Taqwa and reform. By being conscious of Allah (swt) and rectifying our faults, we will be free from anguish.

Dialogue between the dwellers of paradise and hellfire

Then we learn about a dialogue that takes place between the people of hellfire and the people of Paradise: “And the dwellers of the Fire will call to the dwellers of Paradise: Pour on us some water or anything that Allah has provided you with. They will say: Both (water and provision) Allah has forbidden to the disbelievers.” (Al-Araf 7:50)

What actions lead to hellfire?

Allah (swt) says, “Who took their religion as an amusement and play, and the life of the world deceived them. So this Day We shall forget them as they forgot their meeting of this Day, and as they used to reject Our verses (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.).” (Al-Araf 7:51) Materialism took over them. They were more attached to the material things than to their Maker. The love of Allah (swt) should exceed our love for every other being or thing. People who have taken religion as play and amusement, have chosen to ignore Allah (swt) (may Allah (swt) protect us). Hence, on the Day of Resurrection, Allah (swt) will disregard them.

How does one ignore Allah (swt)?

By not abiding to His rules and regulations, by not abstaining from His prohibitions, and by not following the commandments that He has ordained upon us. Move towards Allah (swt) even if it’s inch by inch. Our Prophet (sa) would say: “O Allah (swt), make faith appear beautiful to us and adorn our hearts with it, and make Kufr, sin and disobedience abhorrent to us. Make us of those who are rightly guided. Ameen.”

Befalling of a calamity – boon or bane?

Again we learn about calamities. One thing to remember is that a calamity is not always a punishment. While some people drown and die in floods, there’s someone in the same city who died in the state of prostration. Your heart gauges whether a calamity is destruction or a blessing. If you find contentment and peace in your heart, then you are blessed. It could be a mean to raise your status in the sight of Allah (swt). So be pleased with His decree.

Sometimes we see images of calamity-stricken areas and we notice almost the entire settlement has perished, except one house. Why it is that one house is saved while all the other houses collapsed? It could be because the resident of that house was engaged in enjoining good and forbidding evil. He did his duty, he forwarded the knowledge that he had acquired. If people didn’t pay heed, he would not be held accountable for it. Look at what Allah (swt) says, “So when they forgot the reminders that had been given to them, We rescued those who forbade evil, but We seized those who did wrong with a severe torment because they used to rebel (disobey Allah).” (Al-Araf 7:165)

Lesson to learn

The key to stay protected from Allah’s (swt) punishment, after we have reformed ourselves, is to remind others. Tell the brothers to come to the Masjid for Salah. Advise the sisters not to dress in a certain way. Remind, for reminders benefit the believers.

Pay full attention to the Quranic recitation

How would one feel if the CEO of the company is talking and no one is paying attention? Sometimes, we turn on the Quran recitation and continue chatting on the side; paying absolutely no attention to what is being said. Allah (swt) warns us about this in the Quran, “So, when the Quran is recited, listen to it, and be silent that you may receive mercy. (I.e. during the compulsory congregational prayers when the Imam (of a mosque) is leading the prayer (except Surah Al-Fatihah), and also when he is delivering the Friday-prayer Khutbah).” (Al-Araf 7:204) Listening to Quran results in receiving Allah’s (swt) mercy, Subhan’Allah! Our mind and heart both should be attentive. Know that the one who receives the mercy of Allah (swt) is a person of high rank.


Struggle All the Way to Jannah

steppingstonesA believer’s faith in the meta-physical aspects of Islam: Iman, is not something that is in a constant state, but is in a constant state of flux. Every Muslim experiences highs and lows of Iman, and often at times these highs of Iman empowers a believer to make some life changing decisions. Similar is the case with a young Muslim girl, when she decides to start taking Hijab, and guard her modesty for the sake of Allah (swt). Slowly and gradually, the way she dresses up, the friends she hangs out with, the way she thinks and responds to things around her, everything changes, and Hijab becomes an essential part of her personality. But with this comes an extra responsibility. And some extra struggle.

So when she goes to a wedding (a typical Desi wedding), people stare at her or some aunties constantly give her smiles, as if she really needs it to feel comfortable in the crowd.  Ironically, it actually does the opposite; but she struggles.

When her mother wants her to loosen the scarf a bit, so that the flashy and glamorous neckline of her dress is visible; when she can see that her mother is a little uncomfortable with the piece on her head, and that she wants her daughter to look beautiful (according to what our society defines it), she struggles.

And when somebody asks her the reason for doing Hijab, and says: “But you are so beautiful.” Her heart sinks, not because she understands their point but because they don’t understand hers. And she struggles. She struggles within the boundaries of her heart.

When we have the right to look glamorous for the society, why don’t we have the right to guard our modesty for the sake of Allah (swt)? Suddenly, people give you a suspicious look, as if there’s been something wrong in your life, may be a tragedy, which made you take the decision. Parents think that there’s something wrong with their daughter and that she needs to comply with the society norms. Taking Hijab becomes something “abnormal” and the girl becomes an “extremist”. “She just needs to be normal!” So Hijab is for the ones who’re not really a part of the society. “They are different. They are not like us. We are not like them.” And this is something that is said by a mother, or father, or a friend, of a Muslim family.

How can one expect to have a distinction, without taking an exam?

In this materialistic world, where glamour is everything; a few hits on a profile picture or a few flattering comments about how beautiful you look, defines your worth and at times your dignity. It is indeed difficult to stick to your decision. And I don’t think it’s wrong to have these feelings. It’s human, perfectly human to fall. But how you strive and fight against your Nafs to rise up again (for the sake of Allah (swt)), is what defines your worth and you as a true submitter to Allah (swt).

Allah (swt) doesn’t want us to have an empty heart, cold and indifferent; He tests us by observing as to how we deal with everything inside it. Iman, love, and faith (Aqeeda) rest in the heart and so do hatred, jealousy and doubts. The point is not to clear your heart, but to beautify it with what is good for it, according to the Master who owns it.

How to deal with criticism

How do I deal with it? How do I answer them back? How do I tell them that this is not for anyone who wants to see me all dolled up, to please their eyes? But do I really need to give these explanations to feel good about it? Well, this has already been addressed in the Quran, to answer this restlessness.

“The life of this world is no more than illusion and vanity, while the abode of the Hereafter is far better for the righteous. Do you not understand?” (Quran 6:32)

Beautiful! He knows. He knows what you’re going through. And it was actually “meant” to be this way. So she struggles. But now we know, the struggles are indeed blessings. He repeats “Do you not understand?” Actually she missed the point. How can one expect to have a distinction, without taking an exam?  He is providing her with some bonus points to reach Jannah. By practicing patience, by being even extra polite to her mother and the aunties, by holding back her tears when she is alienated in a gathering, and by having complete faith in Him, and only Him. Her struggle would pay immense rewards Insha’Allah

Remember, “Isn’t Allah enough for His servants?” (Az-Zumar)

Love or Loss?

steppingstonesIt was around 11:00 p.m. and she was running on the road in an unknown direction. The streets were covered with fog and there was complete silence, with the exception of her loud cries. She was screaming for help as if burning in scorching heat. People are always afraid of going near the fire but she was experiencing blaze with soaring intensity. Her heart was beating so fast that she felt it will burst out if she ran for another minute. Suddenly a car stopped on the adjacent lane and called her “Sara”. She turned back and recognized that it was Hannah. Out of exhaustion and fear she instantly fell on the ground and lost her consciousness. The last words on her mind were from the Quran:

“(Shaitan) said: Because You have sent me astray, surely I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your Straight Path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful ones.” (Al-Araf 7: 16-17)

Few Days Back . . .

Sara was late for the Islamic Conference and it was raining unexpectedly. “Can’t you wake up early? Is it necessary for you to always get late?” she said to herself and went out of the house. “Oh Allah (swt) help me in reaching safely there!”

While she was thinking her phone rang, “Sara where are you girl?” Nageen inquired.

“I am stuck in rain. Can you please send someone to come and pick me?” she said.

“Yeah sure I am sending Hannah, just wait there alright?” Nageen replied.

“Yep I am waiting.” said Sara.

She was now standing on the road corner under a shade when someone called her from backside,

“Hey Sara, what happened?” said Faraj. “Were you not supposed to be at the convention by now?” he inquired.

“Yeah I am waiting for Hannah.”

“Hmm, alright. But listen I am also going there so why don’t you join me?”

Sara waited for a second and realized that it was raining heavily. She was thinking what to say and just then someone whispered to her, “Sara you are already late and why disturb Hannah? She will have to leave all her work to come and pick you. Faraj’s offer isn’t really bad. Come on it’s just a 15-fifteen minutes drive.”

“Hmm yeah right!” she thought and sat in Faraj’s car. Then she called Hannah and told her not to come.

Sara and Faraj were volunteers at a non-profit organization which arranges lectures of renowned Islamic scholars in USA. They met for the first time a month ago at the annual meeting of volunteers. Although there was complete segregation between men and women but in order to resolve some technical issues in the ladies’ hall, Sara had to call Faraj and then they both arranged another room for the girls. There they had very limited conversation regarding work. They next met at a shopping mall and again had some formal exchange of greetings. Now almost two weeks later she was sitting in his car “accidently”.

The convention proved to be very successful and the audience immensely appreciated the managing team. When Sara reached home it was around 7:00 p.m. She prayed and then rested. Later in night, she woke up to check the convention response on their Facebook page. As soon as she logged in she saw a friend’s request. She opened the notification and to her surprise it was Faraj. She thought for a while and then someone whispered to her, “Yeah that’s really good that you avoid accepting friend requests from “brothers” but come on its Faraj! Remember he gave you lift today in the morning? It is inappropriate to reject his request. Don’t forget his favour…Yeah?” And she clicked “Accept”!

“And come not near to adultery. Verily, it is a Fahishah (i.e. anything that transgresses its limits (a great sin)) and an evil way (that leads one to Hell unless Allah forgives him).” (Al-Isra 17:32)

Few Days Later…

Sara was doing some of her college assignments late night. Her Facebook account was logged in and suddenly a conversation window popped up. It was Faraj.


“Asalaamu ‘alaikum.”

“Oh lol Wa alaikum salaam.”

“So how you are doing?”

“I am good and how are you?”

“Yeah fine. Actually very tired just got back from a party :D”

“Ohk so you do party?”

“Lol yeah what’s so shocking about it?”

“Nahh I was just saying….”

Out of the blue, Sara realized that it was a useless conversation. She shut down the window and continued with her work. Faraj also did not say anything. But then after a while the window popped up again.

“Hey sorry I got a call. . . so how about Sunday?”

“This Sunday?”

“Nahh next month’s fifth Sunday :P”

“Lol hmm nothing special . . . why?”

“I am having a party at my place . . . you know I have cleared my exams”

“Congratulations . . . that’s good news. Which course?”

“Business Management. So are you coming?”

“Hmm I’ll tell you about it…”

“Don’t worry I’ll send you my car :P”

“Haha nah that’s not an issue. Actually that day my father left early and I could not bear the risk of driving in such an intense weather.”

“Yeah I can understand. Alright I gotta go now. Talk to you later and yes be there Sunday 8pm. I’ll text you my address send me your number. Okay bye.”

Sara did not know what trigged her and she just wrote her number in the conversation window.

Next day in the morning, Faraj called her and explained the address. Although she was still undecided whether to go or not, she noted down the address and promised him to be there.

On Sunday evening, she received a text message while sleeping. “Hey I’ll be waiting for you . . . do come.”

Someone whispered to her “Oh he is being so nice and look how rude you are. Can’t you attend a simple party in return of his favour? Now don’t come up with a lame excuse that it’s not good. Just don’t drink and dance there. Attend the party for him and come back!”

“Yeah . . . it’s just a party! What’s the big deal?” she talked to herself. “Yes I will come.” she replied.

This became a regular pattern. Sara was amazed as to how in a few days she had come so close to Faraj. Initially she was just trying to return his favour which gradually turned into friendship.

This became a regular pattern. Sara was amazed as to how in a few days she had come so close to Faraj. Initially she was just trying to return his favour which gradually turned into friendship. She was always attracted to Muslims and tried to make friends in her community only. Therefore she had very few friends, but they were all trustworthy. However, Faraj was slightly different. She knew that he was gaining more importance than just a friend. Sara felt something in her heart “Maybe its love…” someone whispered. She smiled to herself and then went to sleep.

Sara belonged to a family where parents communicate all the religious obligations while leaving rest on the experiences of their children. She was brought up with Islamic values while also enjoying the freedom of choice. From day one, she knew that her relationship with Faraj was highly inappropriate in the religious context but she was continuing it, assuming that it was no big thing. On the other end, Faraj was an Asian, pursuing professional education in America. His family was by-the-way Muslim and had a huge architecture business in their hometown. Belonging to such a background, money and values were never his problems. He was actually very “different”’ in his routine life and he joined the conventions only on the emphasis of some fellows belonging to his district back home. He was not at all religious and that was pretty evident from his ways and attitude. But at the same time he knew that living alone in USA can be very challenging if he does not have good terms with the Muslim community. Hence he chose to volunteer for the Islamic organization.

Days turned into months and now it was the best time for Faraj to extend his relationship with Sara. By now he had gained her confidence and knew that she was blindly in love with him. When he finally proposed to her, she was overwhelmed with happiness and instantly accepted him as her future husband.

One day Faraj called her in the morning:

“Free tonight?”

“Yes what’s the plan?”

“That’s a surprise! Get ready at 9:00 am sharp. And yeah dress your best; you are going to remember this night forever.”

“Haha sure!”

“And O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in Paradise, and eat thereof as you both wish, but approach not this tree otherwise you both will be of the Zalimun (unjust and wrong-doers).

Then Shaitan (Satan) whispered suggestions to them both in order to uncover that which was hidden from them of their private parts (before); he said: Your Lord did not forbid you this tree save you should become angels or become of the immortals.” (Al-Araf 7:19-20)

Sara listened to the whispers of Shaitan and came nearer to the greatest sin with every coming day she was spending with Faraj. She knew that even coming near to adultery was strictly forbidden by Allah (swt) but Shaitan told her that it was no big deal and that she will end up with a caring and loving husband. Doesn’t she already want that?

Clock hits 9:00 p.m. and Faraj was standing outside her home. She came out telling her mom that she is going with a friend of Hannah to attend a party.

They drove over to Salman’s house, who was Faraj’s best friend. In the midst of dance and music, Salman came and informed Sara that Faraj isn’t feeling well.

“He is having a severe headache; please just go and check him.” Sara got quite alarmed. She immediately went upstairs into Salman’s room where Faraj was standing near the window. One can only imagine what might have happened next… It’s only important to know that Sara managed to run out in the nick of time.

Hannah saw her running on the road. She called her name but Sara fell on the ground unconscious. Hannah took her to the hospital where doctors examined her and concluded that she has just experienced a great shock. Hannah felt relaxed to know that she will be fine by the next morning. She dropped Sara at her home.

“And We send down from the Quran that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism and act on it) and it increases the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers) nothing but loss. And when We bestow Our Grace on man (the disbeliever), he turns away and becomes arrogant, far away from the Right Path. And when evil touches him he is in great despair.” (Al-Isra 17:82-83)

Why has he forbidden unnecessary conversations between men and women? Simply because they hurt a lot and leave an everlasting scar on our lives. It seems something very attractive and begins with innocence, giggles and loving emotions but ends on heart breaks and severe sins.

Next day when Hannah went to see Sara, she came to know the entire story. Sara told her how she met Faraj and how slowly and gradually she started loving him. Hannah was stunned to find out that so much was happening in her friend’s life and she knew nothing. After listening to Sara, she tried to console her and said: “Do you know why Allah (swt) has asked us to not even go near these relationships? Why has he forbidden unnecessary conversations between men and women? Simply because they hurt a lot and leave an everlasting scar on our lives. It seems something very attractive and begins with innocence, giggles and loving emotions but ends on heart breaks and severe sins. Allah (swt) wants to save us from the extreme humiliation that human beings suffer as a result of shamelessness. Salat and Hijab aren’t enough to protect ourselves from Fitnah these days. We actually need to take extra precautions to avoid falling prey to the Shaitan. So now repent from the depth of your heart and believe that Allah (swt) is Ar-Rahman. He will surely forgive you”.

“They said: Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.” (Al-Araf 7:23)

Modern Women VS Modest Women

hidden flowerWomen with a purpose are very rare to find and the ones that do have an aim in life are aiming to become mere pebbles. Whereas, their Deen has given them the strength to become diamonds.

What has the world done to the woman? Is she merely a puppet for the marketing of beauty products, fancy clothes and jewellery? Doe she exist only to exhaust herself in attaining physical attractiveness and overlook the mind that she possesses and the heart that she has?  You need an ambition, something that fuels you to race with high speed, but racing in the right direction is all that matters.What is that right direction? Is it just wearing brands to look beautiful, or having Lore’al, Maybelline and Sunsilk to make us shine?

Among these shining stars was Aisha (rta), an encyclopedia of Fiqh and Hadeeth. She had a brilliant mind and remarkable memory. 

My dear sisters in Islam, real beauty is not as defined by the so called ‘modern woman’. These beauty ads, the fair skin and long beautiful hair are just the modern world’s ideal of beauty, and the ones that fail to attain this are considered ‘ugly ducklings’. In reality, ugly ducklings are the ones who fail to respect themselves, their minds and their bodies. If you realize the beautiful status that Islam gives you, the way it treats you like a hidden oyster in its shell, you will stop humiliating yourself by calling your unveiled attires ‘freedom’ and ‘modernity’, or as the nineteenth century English writers say ‘The New Woman’. You will then stop idealizing the heroines that appear on television. You will stop admiring them once you realize the eternally acceptable and valid definition of beauty.

Who were the true heroines of Islam? They were a reflection of patience, bravery and forbearance. Their beauty came from the Noor of Allah due to their noble conducts and selfless character. They were fair because they were pure and virtuous. They weren’t stuck in the trivial things in life we’re holding on to. Their days and their nights were spent praising their Lord. This doesn’t mean that they lacked intellectually. Their list of achievements and accomplishments is far greater than any woman alive today. They were thirsty for knowledge.

Among these shining stars was Aisha (rta), an encyclopedia of Fiqh and Hadeeth. She had a brilliant mind and remarkable memory. It is a sad fact that today we take actresses, singers, fashion designers and models as our role models and the women of Paradise who gave us real respect and status have been forgotten by us.

Who were the true heroines of Islam? They were a reflection of patience, bravery and forbearance. Their beauty came from the Noor of Allah due to their noble conducts and selfless character.

Today, we have no shame in walking on streets with backless and sleeveless clothes, we’re happy devaluing ourselves while Allah (swt) created us to be no less than diamonds. On the contrary, we work hard to become like the pebbles on the ground. If you had known how objectified the idea of ‘New woman’ has made you, you would hold on to the Muslim ideals with your teeth. If nakedness means modern, animals are naked too.

If you knew, how when you are a daughter you become the reason for your father to enter Jannah, when you are a mother, Jannah is under your feet and when you become a wife, you complete your other half’s Deen you would never humiliate yourselves by moulding your attitude and your character according to the so called modern woman because ‘Modest Woman’ is the truest, purest definition of beauty and is an epitome of ‘Super-Heroine’.

Rise again!

Let the world know how protected you’re. How precious you are. How dignified you are.

The Veil

perlinshellEvery time I board an international flight from Dammam, Saudi Arabia, I see the very same spectacle that amazes me just about as much as it intrigues me. Muslim women, clad in the abaya taken as models of piety and chastity, continue to act as reminders of the fact that Allah (swt) loves the people of Haya. This display of piety with God is a familiar and bemusing sight for anyone travelling abroad from a heartland of Islam but it continues to disturb much of our modernized Muslims and the secular west. It begs much larger questions, such as, the role the state should play in enforcing and dictating religious law and whether ‘secularism’ championed by the West is really the best way to move forward in the modern world.

The need to spatially situate ourselves back in time before analyzing religious literature is necessary to be able to answer these questions. However, the modernists and reformists of today feel that the customs of the Hejaz of 600 CE are nothing comparable to anything in our present world. However, what they fail to realize is that although history does play a part in shaping any religion, the message of Allah (swt) is eternal and the teachings are to be followed by the entire humanity irrespective of time and place.

Arabia, before Islam, was going through what is generally agreed upon as Jahiliyah, a time of social and moral ignorance and despondence. Tribal customs prevailed and law of force was the primary law of the land. In a place where the strong dominated the weak, it should hardly be surprising that the societal setup was extremely patriarchal in nature and women were oppressed. Not only did women enjoy few or no basic rights such as those of inheritance and freedom, they could even be inherited from one generation to another, like any other commodity. Concubines, wife-lending and marriage by exchange, all practices prevalent at that time, point to the same fact that women clearly experienced a markedly inferior status in pre-Islamic Arabia. The contention here is not whether Islam came at a time when such order prevailed but rather that it was through the teachings of Islam that the society was reformed.

Many reformists feel that the problem for any male messiah or prophet born in such a society becomes easy to visualize. Despite any divine orders to ensure equality of rights between the two genders, the Prophet (sa) would constantly be surrounded by elements, his male companions, who would resist any move that would change this status quo but there is no evidence to support the claim. The Sahabah were the truest of Muslims and they totally submitted their lives for the sake of Islam. For them the message of Allah (swt) was final and they could not even think about deviating from the commandments of the Quran and Hadeeth. The effect of Muhammad’s revelations was gradual, as the society was slowly being prepared for the new teachings of Islam. Despite all the odds, the Arab society was completely revolutionalized in two to three decades.

No matter how much advancement we make in terms of science and technology, none of it excuses us from the teachings of Allah (swt). The teachings of Taqwa and Haya do not change across time

The Quran requires women to cover their entire bodies from head to toe in decent clothing.  The bosoms should be covered and the women should not show themselves off. In the modern world where people feel that there is a need for identification, I fail to see why we cannot have women in Hijab who perform all the core duties that they deem they are fit for. The Hijab is in no way a hindrance to their freedom; rather, it gives them a sense of security and dignity. However, reformists refuse to budge on the Hijab question, and demand for it to be removed from the teachings of Islam and merely be declared as optional. They use the classical line, “Islam is a personal affair between God and the believer, and nobody should have the right to enforce his or her own interpretations of religious literature upon anyone.” They feel that Hijab must remain an open and viable choice for anyone who wants to wear it. It would certainly be naïve to suggest that the stagnation of views on just the Hijab question stems in part from the sexist bigotry which seems to have permeated most Muslim societies and has become deep rooted in the vast majority of Islamic literature.

Having said all that, when I look at my surroundings and consider myself as an educated, young man belonging to a time where the youth has been caught up in the delusion of enlightened moderation and a reformed and liberal Islam, I feel proud to admit that I would like to marry a woman who not only is a practicing Muslim in terms of her actions but also in terms of her outer Sunnah i.e. wears Hijab and covers herself modestly. No matter how much advancement we make in terms of science and technology, none of it excuses us from the teachings of Allah (swt). The teachings of Taqwa and Haya do not change across time and there is no way of reforming the word of Allah (swt). Historians have known throughout time that whenever mankind has chosen to leave the word of God, they have shifted from being Ashraf al Makhlooqat to worse than animals. The choice for the Muslim woman of today might be: veil or no veil; but the Quranic stance on it remains the same. Thus what most of us might consider as conservative, is essentially not only protecting a women’s modesty, it is also a symbol of dignity and a notion of why we are the most superior form of creation. The implications of the teachings of Quran and Sunnah are beyond just the apparent aspects. They are the word of God and His Messenger (sa), and carry in them benefit for us that is beyond our intellectual capacity.

Intimate Issues

Vol 3-Issue 2 Intimate isuuesAllah (swt) created sexuality not just for procreation but as a means to attain physical and emotional fulfillment. Sexuality must be expressed and sexual well-being must be an integral part of healthy human development. Islam, being a comprehensive way of life, guides us with the Quran and the Sunnah in this important area of our lives. Let us look at:

  • Expression of sexuality;
  • Perceptions about our bodies;
  • Sexual health education.

In Islam, sexuality is a part of our identity as human beings. Allah (swt) has distinguished us from animals by giving us reason and will – we can control behaviour that in other species is governed solely by instinct.

Although sexual relations can result in reproduction, which ensures the survival of the human race, our capacity for self-control allows us to regulate this behaviour. Also, the fact that human beings are the only creatures engaging in sexual relations beyond the physical capacity for reproduction is what sets us apart from all other species.

Concept of Marriage

The Prophet (sa) said: “Marriage is my tradition. He, who rejects my tradition, is not of me.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Islam encourages marriage as a socially responsible way for sexual expression and as a shield from casual relationships. The disastrous effects of non-committal intimacy on the health and emotional well-being of individuals, families, and society as a whole can be seen not just in the West but across the spectrum of the Muslim Ummah. Marriage provides space for safe intimacy “that will keep one free from diseases, infections, and dysfunctions.”

The marriage of a man and a woman is not just a financial and legal living arrangement. The goal is to create tenderness between two individuals and satisfy the basic human need for companionship, intimacy, physical and emotional fulfillment.

Allah (swt) says: “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.” (Ar-Rum 30:21)

“They are your garments, and you are their garments.” (Al-Baqara 2:187)

The Prophet (sa) himself, while not divulging all aspects of his own intimate life, was known for his nature of a loving husband, who was sensitive and physically demonstrative. In several Hadeeths, he speaks about the importance of foreplay and speaking in loving terms during intimacy moments. One Hadeeth advises husbands to let their wife achieve fulfillment of her desires first. Sexual dissatisfaction is considered legitimate grounds for divorce on the part of either wife or husband.

Intimacy Outside of Marriage

Allah (swt) says: “And let those, who find not the financial means for marriage, to keep themselves chaste, until Allah (swt) enriches them of His Bounty.” (An-Nur 24:33)

Extra- and pre-marital intimacy is not allowed in Islam. Allah (swt) does not simply forbid or allow behaviour whimsically – He does so considering our best interests: guiding us away from potentially destructive behaviour towards a path that allows us to achieve our utmost potential.

Allah (swt) says: “Should not He Who has created know? And He is the Most Kind and courteous (to His slaves), All-Aware (of everything).” (Al-Mulk 67:14)

Modesty and Perceptions about our Bodies

The Prophet (sa) said: “Haya and Iman are two companions that go together. If one of them is lifted, the other is also lifted.” (Hakim)

Islamic perspective on sexuality, body image, and self-awareness is based on the concept of Haya, which loosely translates to modesty. Haya is usually misunderstood and regarded as a one-dimensional concept meaning shyness or bashfulness. Media rhetoric has further narrowed the vision of Muslims and non-Muslims alike into believing that Haya is a sign of backwardness or lack of confidence. When the popular slogan is, “if you have it – flaunt it,” it is inconceivable that a person would choose to be modest.

Haya is actually an inner spiritual protective device that makes a person avoid transgression and behaviour that may lead to it.

The Prophet (sa) said: “Every religion has an innate character. The character of Islam is modesty (Haya).” (Abu Dawood)

And: “From the words of the previous prophets that people still find are: ‘If you feel no Haya, then do as you wish.'” (Bukhari)

Pertaining to sexuality, the manifestation of Haya is an attitude that reflects a Muslim identity – men and women, who are confident about their bodies but choose to exercise control over their sexuality in accordance with the Quran and the Sunnah.

Islam encourages men and women to dress and behave modestly, in order to minimize unwarranted display of sexuality. This is not just for curbing extra-marital relations or suppressing women’s sexuality. The Chaddar and Chahardiwaree concept of women’s repression is totally alien to Islam.

Display of sexuality has a deep impact on the way we perceive our bodies and our sense of self. An excerpt from an article by a 17-year-old high school student from Toronto, Canada, eloquently illustrates a contemporary Islamic interpretation of modesty in dress and self image.

“The concept of the Hijab, contrary to popular opinion, is actually one of the most fundamental aspects of female empowerment. When I cover myself, I make it virtually impossible for people to judge me according to the way I look. Compare this to life in today’s society — we are constantly sizing one another up on the basis of our clothing, jewellery, hair, and makeup. What kind of depth can there be in a world like this?
Yes, I have a body, a physical manifestation upon this Earth. But it is the vessel of an intelligent mind and a strong spirit. It is not for the beholder to leer at or to use in advertisements. It is a myth that women in today’s society are liberated. What kind of freedom can there be, when a woman cannot walk down the street without every aspect of her physical self being checked out?
When I wear Hijab, I feel safe from all of this. I am first and foremost a human being, equal to any man, and not vulnerable because of my sexuality.”

Sexual Identity and Homosexuality

Dostoevsky said: “Without God, everything is possible.”

Human beings are capable of many forms of sexual expression, orientation, and identification. However, to date, no researcher has claimed that genes can determine sexual orientation. At best, researchers believe that there may be a genetic component. Sexuality, like every other behaviour, is undoubtedly influenced by both biological and societal factors.

The potential for behaviour, such as homosexuality, does not mean that its practice is acceptable in the eyes of Allah (swt). We also have the potential for deviant and violent sexual behaviours, such as pedophilia and rape. However, responsible human beings do not act upon all their dormant impulses.

The argument that consenting adults can do what they please is contrary to the very essence of Islam. Submission to the will of Allah (swt) is what it means to be a Muslim. Even consenting adults need Allah’s (swt) consent in all matters. Homosexuality and other forms of sexual relations outside of heterosexual marriage are prohibited in Islam.

The story of Prophet Lot (as) in the Quran categorically condemns homosexuality.

So when Our Commandment came, We turned (the towns of Sodom in Palestine) upside down, and rained on them stones of baked clay, in a well-arranged manner one after another; marked from your Lord; and they are not ever far from the Zalimun (polytheists, evil-doers).” (Hud 11:82-83)


This method of self-gratification does not correspond with the ethos of Islamic teachings.

Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “And those, who guard their chastity except from their wives or (the slaves) their right hand possesses – for then, they are free from blame; but whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors.” (Al-Mu’minun 23:5-7)

A Hadeeth indicates that those, who seek sexual gratification from other than their legal partners, are transgressing set limits. Scholars interpret that this refers not only to adultery but also to masturbation. Another Hadeeth reads: “We were with the Prophet (sa), while we were young, and had no wealth whatsoever. The Prophet (sa) said: ‘O assembly of youths; whoever among you possesses the physical and financial resources to marry should do so, because it helps him guard his modesty, and whoever is unable to marry should fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual power.'” (Muslim)

If masturbation was permissible, the Prophet (sa) would have named this as a remedy.

Sexual Health Education

In Islam, education about sexual health is not just recommended but mandatory.

Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “Say: are those who know equal to those who know not?” (Az-Zumar 39:9)

In reading Hadeeths, one is impressed about the Prophet (sa)’s ability to discuss all issues, including those dealing with intimate matters. He was not embarrassed by such inquiries but strove to guide the Muslims who asked.

Umme Sulaim asked the Prophet (sa): “Oh Messenger of Allah (swt), Allah (swt) does not shy away from the truth. Does a woman have to make Ghusl (bath), if she has a wet dream?” The Prophet (sa) stated: “Yes, if she sees liquid.” (Bukhari)

The concept of Taharat is so comprehensive in Islam that its equivalent is not found in any other religion or culture. It loosely translates to physical and spiritual cleanliness. We cannot achieve the state of Taharat without understanding our body, its physical functions, and changes that occur at different stages of maturity. Issues relating to our psychological and emotional development alongside the physical changes are equally important to understand.

It is the responsibility of parents to prepare and educate their children about all aspects of their lives, including the intimate matters. Other responsible adults in a child’s, pre-teen’s or teenager’s life can also be involved in this learning process. Educators must keep in mind the Islamic position on issues relating to sexuality and provide age appropriate information to children at their discretion.