Saturday, 23 October 2010

Having gheerah is not enough

I've wanted to do a post on this topic for quite a while but kept putting it off. Something happened today that made me want to write about it right away- A question posed to me by a non muslim friend- “Do the rules in Islam apply only to women? Why is it that Muslim men do stuff they wouldn't let their women do? “ Many of you have probably been asked this question numerous times, and of course there are several things that need to be covered when respondidng to such a question, but I thought I would cover one just one cause for people to think such things about islam.

While it's wrong to generalise and put all muslim men in that category, it's true that most have double standards ; they have plenty of female friends, go out with them, spend hours chatting /talking to them but would never let their womenfolk be involved in such activities.

I know that there are plenty of brothers today Masha’Allah who try their best to abide by the qur'an and the sunnah but it's a fact that it's mostly men who have this attitude. Society is probably to blame for that. I'm not saying women don't do the same thing; many do, but somehow in most societies a man behaving in such a matter is considered to be ‘normal’ and therefore acceptable. This makes even the religious brothers think thay can do what they want because they know they can get away with it and find the ‘perfect’ woman.

It's not that we don't appreciate the fact that our men are protective. . After all, "The Men are the protectors and maintainers of women…" (Surah An-Nisaa, Ayah 34) In fact we should be proud to have such men in our lives, given that today most have lost their sense of gheerah - a very important concept in Islam. Gheerah is an Arabic word which means 'jealousy' or 'protectiveness' in a good way, but while there are matters in which men and women are treated differently in Islamic sharee’ah, certain rules apply to both, whether regarding modesty or behavior.

The Quran says (interpretation of the meaning):

"Say to the believing man that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them; and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; and that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands..." (Qur'an 24:30-31)

For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise, for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward. (33:35)

And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women. (2:226)

Some think they can change themselves once they are married; I really don't know how that is supposed to work. If you can't keep away now from this fitna now, likelihood is that you'll miss it even later on and it can affect your marriage. Moreover, it's just wrong to want a perfect spouse when you're not even trying to change. Wouldn't a righteous man/woman also want someone who is religiously-committed? Sinning and then repenting is a different story, but continuing to do something when you know it's wrong and then expecting your wife to not do what's not allowed for you either is unacceptable. This does not mean a woman can choose to rebel against him and say she can do whatever he does.

Others keep telling themselves they have 'time to change' but what if you're not going to wake up tomorrow? What if you never get that chance to change? What excuse are you going to give when you're questioned about it? Most will read this and find a way to justify what they do.

There comes a point where you must start being true to yourself. Most of those who are involved in such acts do know that they are wrong. It’s sad that most of them are sisters and brother who have a good knowledge of what Islam expects of us and how we are expected to behave. There's no excuse for playing around when you're in your teens, but once you start actively looking for a spouse it's time we become what we want our spouse to be.

This is a reminder to myself first. With so much fitna around it's never easy staying on the right path, but as muslims we also need to always be conscious of how we represent our religion. We must change. We need to stop worrying about how people will react when they start noticing these changes and remember that pleasing Allah should be our priority. It will take time, but with the power of dua and some self-restraint it won’t be too difficult.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The Stranger

Do you ever feel like you no longer 'fit in' with the rest of the crowd? You start feeling left out because you're different? People start thinking you're weird and you even start losing friends. Whether you're a revert or a muslim who has just started wearing hijab/niqab or changing for the sake of Allah, you've probably felt this way at some point. Although I know that sisters feel this way this way particularly if they live in non-muslim countries, my life in KSA has taught me that you could feel like a stranger even when you are among avlarge number of muslims. So why is it that whe feel this way?

“Islam began as something strange and will revert to being strange as it began, so give glad tidings to the strangers.” (Muslim, 145)

To understand the meaning of this hadith, listen to this short lecture by Sh. Khalid Yasin; one of the best lectures I've listened to.

A full explanation of what this hadith means can be found here, however here are a few excerpts:

The meaning of this hadeeth is that Islam began as something strange, when the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) called people to Islam, but no one responded except a few here and there. At that time it was something strange because its people were like strangers amongst others and they were few in number and weak, in contrast to the great numbers and strength of their enemies who persecuted the Muslims. Then some of them migrated to Abyssinia, fleeing for the sake of their religion from tribulation and to save themselves from persecution and oppression, and the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) migrated at Allaah’s command to Madeenah, after suffering intense persecution and in the hope that Allaah would give him people to support him in his call and support Islam. Allaah fulfilled his hopes, granted victory to his troops and supported His slave. The Islamic state was established and Islam spread, with the help of Allaah, throughout the land; Allaah made the word of kufr lowest and the word of Allaah is (always) uppermost, for Allaah is Almighty, All-Wise, and honour, power and glory belong to Allaah, and to His Messenger, and to the believers [cf al-Munaafiqoon 63:8].

This continued for a long time, then division and dissent spread among the Muslims and weakness and failure increased gradually, until Islam once again became something strange as it was in the beginning. But this is not because of their small numbers, because at that time they will be many, rather it is because they do not adhere to their religion or cling to the Book of their Lord and the teachings of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), apart from those whom Allaah wills. So they become distracted and turn to competing in worldly matters, like those who came before them, and they fight amongst themselves for leadership. So the enemies of Islam found a way in and they colonized their lands, humiliated their people and treated them badly. This is the way in which Islam returned to being strange as it was in the beginning.

A number of scholars – including Shaykh Muhammad Rasheed Rida – thought that this hadeeth gives glad tidings of a second victory of Islam after it becomes something strange again. They base this on the metaphor used by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when he said, “… will revert to being strange as it began.” So just as following the initial strangeness and alienation the Muslims were victorious and Islam spread, this will happen again after the second period of strangeness and alienation.

This view is more likely to be correct, and is supported by what is proven in the ahaadeeth about the Mahdi and the descent of ‘Eesa (peace be upon him) at the end of time, when Islam will spread and the Muslims will be victorious, and kufr and the kaafirs will be defeated.

I like what Sh. Yasin says at the end "...because strangers belong with strangers", something those of us who are unmarried must keep in mind when looking for a spouse.

"O muslim brothers and sisters, you and I, we should want to be strangers...But you should not ask for the reward of strangers, if you are not acting like the strangers"

وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

“As for those who strive hard in our cause, we will surely guide them to our paths (i.e. the straight path). And verily, Allah is with the Muhsinoon (good doers)." (Al-‘Ankaboot, 29: 69)

Sunday, 15 August 2010

A typical day in Ramadan

Lecture by Bro. Abu Mussab Wajdi Akkari

You can download and listen to his other lectures here. Wishing everyone a blessed Ramadan!

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Video: A good reminder

This is an extract from a lecture by Sheikh Muhammad Mukhtar Ash-Shinqitee, Al Hayaat At-Tayyibah" ("The Goodly Life")

Friday, 12 February 2010

A mother's advice to her daughter on the eve of her wedding

I am reading Dr. Muhammad Ali al-Hashimis' 'The ideal Muslimah' for the second time and came across these beautiful words of wisdom again. Thought it was worth sharing.

One of the most famous and most beautiful of these texts was recorded by `Abd al-Malik ibn`Umayr al-Qurashi, who was one of the outstanding scholars of the second century AH. He quotes the words of advice given by Umamah bint al-Harith, one of the most eloquent and learned women, who was possessed of wisdom and great maturity, to her daughter on the eve of her marriage. These beautiful words deserve to be inscribed in golden ink.

`Abd al-Malik said: "When `Awf ibn Muhallim al-Shaybani, one of the most highly respected leaders of the Arab nobility during the jahiliyyah, married his daughter Umm Iyas to al-Harith ibn `Amr al-Kindi, she was made ready to be taken to the groom, then her mother Umamah came in to her, to advise her, and said:

`O my daughter, if it were deemed unnecessary to give you this advice because of good manners and noble descent, then it would have been unnecessary for you, because you possess these qualities, but it will serve as a reminder to those who are forgetful, and will help those who are wise.

`O my daughter, if a woman were able to do without a husband by virtue of her father's wealth and her need for her father, then you of all people would be most able to do without a husband,but women were created for men just as men were created for them.

`O my daughter, you are about to leave the home in which you grew up, where you first learned to walk, to go to a place you do not know, to a companion with whom you are unfamiliar. By marrying you he has become a master over you, so be like a servant to him, and he will become like a servant to you.

`Take from me ten qualities, which will be a provision and a reminder for you.

`The first and second of them are: be content in his company, and listen to and obey him, for contentment brings peace of mind, and listening to and obeying one's husband pleases Allah.

`The third and fourth of them are: make sure that you smell good and look good; he should not see anything ugly in you, and he should not smell anything but a pleasant smell from you. Kohl is the best kind of beautification to be found, and water is better than the rarest perfume.

`The fifth and the sixth of them are: prepare his food on time, and keep quiet when he is asleep, for raging hunger is like a burning flame, and disturbing his sleep will make him angry.

`The seventh and eighth of them are: take care of his servants (or employees) and children, and take care of his wealth, for taking care of his wealth shows that you appreciate him, and takingcare of his children and servants shows good management.

`The ninth and tenth of them are: never disclose any of his secrets, and never disobey any of his orders, for if you disclose any of his secrets you will never feel safe from his possible betrayal, and if you disobey him, his heart will be filled with hatred towards you.

`Be careful, O my daughter, of showing joy in front of him when he is upset, and do not show sorrow in front of him when he is happy, because the former shows a lack of judgement, whilst the latter will make him unhappy.

`Show him as much honour and respect as you can, and agree with him as much as you can, so that he will enjoy your companionship and conversation.

`Know, O my daughter, that you will not achieve what you would like to until you put his pleasure before your own, and his wishes before yours, in whatever you like and dislike. And may Allah (SWT) choose what is best for you and protect you.'"

She was taken to her husband, and the marriage was a great success; she gave birth to kings who ruled after him.

You can download the book here.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Activism for change

This lecture by Sh. Yassir Fazaga is definitely worth watching.

He gives examples of the Prophets and how they dealt with 'spiritual awakening' as well as 'social reform' of the community.

Key Points:

  • When we see ills around us, it's not for us to curse, but to address as much as we can.
  • As muslims, we have a moral obligation to make a difference.
  • Prioritise. Know what to deal with first.Some things can wait. Address the most important issues first.
  • Engage in campaigns, whether it is about drugs, domestic violence or child abuse.Use the teachings of the Prophet to raise awareness
  • 'If what you believe in does not impact how you behave, then what you believe in is not important'
  • There are sevral issues within our own communities that we need to address. We can do this by putting our masjids to good use.