Who is Truly Strong?

truly strongBy Irada Mirzamagomedova – Writer

Strength. Power. What comes to mind when we hear these words? Someone may imagine a muscular athlete with a stern face, while someone else may think of the power of a thought or a word.

So who, in your opinion, is truly strong? Is it someone who can bend iron rods or pull a truck on his own? Yes, such people are ‘strong’ in the physical sense of this word; we cannot argue over this. However, how can we identify a person with a strong spirit? Here intuition will be of no help as a person with a strong spirit can only be identified through his deeds and his words. Have you ever heard the statement: strong is not the one who beats, but the one who can tolerate the beating? It is a fact that no special talent is needed to hurt someone. However, helping another person or finding enough strength within oneself to refrain from replying to an offender in kind is something that is in decline today.

It is not always true that those who possess willpower – which characterizes them as a strong person – are able to live through the hard times and trials of life without collapsing and falling in the eyes of the society as well as close ones. Often, the reason behind all the troubles of a ‘strong’ person is his inability to accept his own weakness. Unwilling to admit this, such people swing from one extreme to another as they seek a way out of difficulties, making use of means which exceed the limits of morality and conscience. Today, we witness such cases in our society more and more often.

Who is the strong one today, according to the standards of society? Is it someone who has power, money, and beauty?

Translated from Latvian to English by Laila Brence

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The Dua that changed my World

dua(This was one of the entries received as part of the story writing competition 2014)

Making Duas was never important to me. I always used to think that since Allah (swt) knows what is in my heart, He will listen to me. Consequently, there was no conscious effort in my Salah or otherwise to make Dua during rain, or between Adhan and Iqamah, in prostration, after reciting Quran, after Fard Salah, on Friday, while travelling, before opening a fast or at the time of Tahajjud. However, my thinking and understanding of the Deen changed considerably after my new homecoming to Deen.

It was something magical and surreal. There was something divine about this change. It made me happy and satisfied. It completed me. It gave me an identity and put my aching heart, wandering mind and unrest soul at peace!

My life took 360 degrees turn four years ago. A lecture at a friend’s house, followed by a few lectures at Markaz Al-Huda in Sharjah, and my heart gradually attached to the Deen.

It happened immediately after I realised that I had been wasting my life. I had surrounded myself only with things that would drift me away from the Deen, rather than bring closer. This realization was painful but satisfying. It put me to shame, but I was grateful to Allah (swt) that He opened up my mind to this reality.

The next big challenge was to remain steadfast upon the change. Guess what helped me to continuously come closer to Allah (swt), seek His pleasure, and increase the knowledge of Deen? The Duas, of course! My favourite Dua at that time and even today is: “Ya Muqqalib Al-Quloobi, Thabbit Qalbi, ‘Alaa Deenik.” (“O, turner of the hearts, make my heart steadfast upon your Deen.”) (Muslim)

I learnt some very meaningful Duas and started reciting them regularly, Alhamdulillah. Each one of it sounds more beautiful and meaningful, since now I make a conscious effort of learning the meaning in English and reciting the Dua in Arabic. Slowly and gradually, my misconception of the fact that Duas are not answered faded away, as I saw, in front of my eyes, my Duas being answered, irrespective of the language… one by one, Alhamdulillah!

Just like many of my sisters and brothers in Islam must have discovered the power of Dua, I too am discovering and enjoying it. In fact, sometimes a Dua that I have asked for is answered beautifully, and it leaves me awe struck and amazed. Sometimes the Duas are answered as I have asked, while at other times my Duas are in fact replaced by something better than I could never have imagined. I have been experiencing the miraculous beauty of the bond between the Creator and His servant getting stronger, Subhan’Allah!

To think of any single Dua that was answered is difficult for me at this point in time, because like I said, Allah (swt) has been so Merciful, Masha’Allah, that when He guided me to His Deen, He made ways of bringing me closer to Him, day by day. The recent Dua that I made, was answered in a manner I could have never imagined – I will share with you this beautiful incident.

My seventy-three years old mother was sick in Pakistan. I had seen her in 2011, and in 2014 she fell really sick. I told my family back home that I was coming from Canada, because I wanted to meet her. This was in February, this year. I went and spent 12 days with her, Alhamdulillah. During this time, she recovered from her illness and seemed to recuperate day by day. What happened to her? Well, a mix of multiple problems. She had angina, breast cancer, arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, hernia, and in February she developed severe bronchitis, due to which she used to have breathing problems, as water would fill up in her lungs. To top it all, old age itself is a big problem. When I came back and saw her for the last time on the 8th of March, my heart was aching and my tears wouldn’t stop. I didn’t want to come back to Canada, but I had to!

After coming here, I got busy with various chores. We were moving from Toronto to Mississauga. The kids were starting Hifz program here. Then I slipped from the stairs of my new house. There was too much on my plate at that time. I used to call mummy on Sundays and speak to her for a while. I used to make a lot of Dua for her health.

I remember vividly the Sunday before she passed away – I couldn’t call her, as we were going somewhere. In the car, while it was raining outside, and we were travelling to a relative’s house, I made a sincere Dua to Allah (swt). I begged him to relieve my mother of all the pain and never make her dependant on anyone. I prayed to Allah (swt) to ease her of all her sufferings and trials. I prayed for her to die peacefully, as a Shaheed, whenever her time came. I was deeply saddened by the fact that I wasn’t close to her and I couldn’t serve her or do anything for her, except make Dua.

That night in the bed and all the nights that followed, I repeated the same Dua. I didn’t want my mother to suffer any more, as I had always seen her sick. She had always been a fighter. The following Thursday, on the 12th of June, 2014, she passed away – peacefully – in her bed, Alhamdulillah!

I don’t know what to say. I wasn’t happy about the fact that I didn’t speak to her on the last Sunday that she was alive, but I was grateful to Allah (swt) that she died in her own bed, not in the hospital. She went away without giving trouble to any of my siblings. I sincerely hope and pray that she had recited the Kalimah, when she passed away. I beg all the readers of this insignificant note to recite this Dua for my mother with me:

“O Allah (swt), forgive and have mercy upon her, excuse her and pardon her, and make an honourable reception for her. Expand her entry and cleanse her with water, snow and ice, and purify her of sin, as a white robe is purified of filth. Exchange her home for a better home, and her family for a better family, and her spouse for a better spouse. Admit her into the Gardens, protect her from the punishment of the grave and the torment of the Fire.” Ameen. (Muslim)

Dua – Fortress of Islam

Vol 5 - Issue 3 Selection of DuasHow do you make Dua? For many of us, Dua is a way of just reciting verses. And for few it is the mode where one turns to Allah (swt) in difficult times and makes Dua to Him to remove the affliction that he is going through. For a few, it is like a daily routine where we recite Dua after every Salah; many of us don’t do even that much…

Dua round the clock

How exactly should we make Dua? How should we strengthen our connection with The All-Hearer (As-Sami)? We should make Dua in every prospect of life; in fact, every moment. Not only while you are facing huge problems, but even for small needs you should ask Him for He is The Provider (Ar-Razzaq).

For example, if you need a pen, ask Allah (swt) and make Dua to Him, before you go to buy it. If the strap of your shoe breaks, ask Allah (swt) for a new pair; but we tend to forget that it is He, Who provides and look around for solutions.

Dua as a form of worship

Do you know you get rewarded for making Dua? Hence, we should be constantly engaged in making Dua. When Allah (swt) mentions Dua in Quran, he establishes a direct connection with you. Even Prophet Muhammad (sa) is not mentioned in between. Usually, Allah (swt) commands Prophet Muhammad (sa) to “tell His command” to the people. But when it comes to a verse with a Dua, the word “Qul” is removed. This conveys pure Tawheed. Dua makes a direct connection between you and Allah (swt), no messenger; no Wali is between you and Allah (swt).

Subhan’Allah! Thus whenever you start making Dua, take a moment and visualize a direct connection that is established between you and Allah (swt) and experience the beautiful essence of Dua!

“Therefore, remember Me (by praying, glorifying, etc.). I will remember you, and be grateful to Me (for My countless Favours on you) and never be ungrateful to Me.” (Al-Baqarah 2:152)

Thus O you believers! Make Dua for Allah (swt) does not return a servant empty handed.

The power of Dua in the light of Sunnah

Salman Al-Farsi narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “Indeed, Allah (swt) is Hayy (Generous), when a man raises his hands to Him, He feels too shy to return them to him empty and rejected.” (Tirmidhi)

Allah (swt) loves to see you make Dua. Allah (swt) gets angry, when you do not ask Him or make Dua to Him. Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “Whoever does not call upon Allah (swt), He will be angry with him.” (Ibn Majah)

Isn’t this so wonderful? Allah (swt) wants us to gain His mercy in every possible way. He is Al –Wadud (the All-loving), and the most important thing to keep in mind is to be patient. Do not be in haste. Don’t keep any negative thoughts about whether you Dua is going to be accepted or not; in fact, erase them totally! “The Dua of any one of you will be answered as long as he is not hasty in seeking a response and does not say, ‘I prayed but I have not had a response.’” (Bukhari, Muslim)

So we all need to try to make a connection with Al-Qareeb (the One Who is near), and He will definitely answer His slaves. Keep seeking for His forgiveness and ask for best in both worlds. May Allah (swt) grant us the highest level in Jannah (Jannat ul Firdaws) and may blessings be upon Muhammad (sa) and his companions. Ameen.

Review: The Forgotten Queens of Islam

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Fatima Mernissi is a controversial figure in traditional Islamic circles. Her book Forgotten Queens is not for the faint hearts as Mernissi challenges traditionally held views about what it means for a woman to rule and a detailed discussion about the definition of ‘queen’ and the definition of a ruler.

Mernissi’s introduction “Was Benazir the first?” is very thought provoking, “…Either women heads of states never existed…or in the past there have been women who led Muslim states, but have been rubbed out of official history.” She claims that this book does not redefine the Muslim women’s role, but simply challenges the premise that there were no women ever who ruled, and explores in what capacity they ruled. Forgotten Queens takes the reader through 15 centuries of colourful history, interpreted through a woman’s eye.

The book is divided into three parts, part one is titled “Queens and Courtesans’. Courtesans were a reality during many Caliphates, where the rulers maintained harems, which by their very nature are contradictory to Islamic teachings. Mernissi, describes how women here wielded power that affected the Caliph. Part two is called ‘Sovereignty in Islam’ and deals with the definition of sovereignty. The part I found interesting was the chapter dedicated to ‘Fifteen Queens’. These include a look at all the Muslims Dynasties and their ‘first women’, so to say. Finally part three is dedicated to ‘The Arab Queens’, and has historical information about the dynasties in Yemen, Cairo and the Queen of Sheba.

Besides the historical aspect, the book sheds light on a modern phenomenon, that women have become generally more educated than men. In the past, the women Mernissi talks about faced similar situations. Being more educated, maybe more capable, but excluded from politics and public life, how do Muslim women make their voice heard? That is the fundamental question I asked myself as I read the book.

“There is no feminine form of the word ‘imam’ or ‘caliph’, the two words embody the concept of power in the Arabic language…How did the women of former times manage such an achievement…In many Muslim countries there is a sort of acceptance of democracy…Muslim women going to the voting booth…Nevertheless, rare are institutions in which women figure.”

Though the historical aspect of the book is enjoyable, the conclusion is disturbing. Mernissi concludes, “…Believers do not have the right to say or write what they want, and especially what comes to their head….” My objection to this is that part of my Iman is obeying Allah and His prophet (sa) without question. A caliph cannot be a woman, no matter how accomplished, that is an irrefutable fact. Challenging traditional roles, which are in fact based on Islam and its code of conduct, is also not acceptable. So, ignoring Mernissi’s philosophical debate, the historical aspect of the book is worth your time. I would like to conclude saying that reading literature and learning to be critical is an essential skill for a Muslim. This is the reason why this book is recommended.

Forgotten Queens can be downloaded in .pdf format at:

http://ebooklink.net/g/download/0816624399/Forgotten%20Queens%20Of%20Islam/