Tag Archives: writings

Reflection (stages)

We all have stages through which we wish to proceed in the journey of change.

If I was to split up my journey into stages, I’d say I’m on the 2nd stage out of 3. This is not necessarily in terms of goals, but in terms of tarbiyah, behavior and lifestyle changes.

1st stage: Lost and trying to find my way; not knowing what to do and/or knowing the right thing but not doing it. (This part is now over by the Grace of Allah).

2nd stage: Knowing what path I am on, what I have accomplished, what I have yet to accomplish, what my strengths are, what are the things that keep pulling me back, and what my game-plan needs to be. InshaAllah, this year and onward, I want to be able to improve myself in all the ways that I know how to.

3rd stage: This is the one that will go on forever, because improvement is a life-long journey. It includes perfecting my akhlaq, always keeping tabs on myself, attempting to make progress without regressing and teaching others bi idhnihi ta’ala.

When I was in the 1st stage, which mostly consisted of my high school and early college years, I always asked Allah for help to guide me and to help me understand others’ points of view and to make my character better as a Muslim. I was kind of lost, kind of making it to guidance. I knew what I ought to be doing but had no idea how to get there. My mistakes served as quicksand and the vines that I used to lift me back up were often too weak.

The ayah that kept me going, along with a few others, was:

And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.” Al-‘Ankabut (29:69)

Now, I feel as if Allah has answered my du’as and I have consequently landed at stage two.

That’s why this quote hit me like an arrow: “After asking Allah to guide you to the straight path, don’t just stand there … start walking!” – Albaz Poetry

I feel like that’s exactly what I’m doing: standing in the middle of a train track whose destination is clear without having the daily consistency to move upon it successfully.

And I keep forgetting what a big ni’mah it is from Allah that everyone in my family is so supportive of me, that I know what my passion is, and that I am provided with all the resources to pursue it.

Whenever I see people who are lost in their career paths or are consumed by the stress of poverty or the depression that has resulted from a bad relationship, I am constantly reminded about how blessed I am.

Having all of these blessings and then declining to take advantage of them is a type of ungratefulness.

I hope that Allah gives me the ability to overcome my personal challenges so that I can actually start moving on the path of action.

 

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Islam Has Given Women Their Rights; Muslims Have Not

Islam has given women their rights; the Muslims have not.

Daughters in Muslim homes are still treated (and disciplined) unfairly.

Sisters in Muslim homes are still expected to serve their brothers like they would serve their parents or husbands, when Islam has never stipulated that.

Wives in Muslim homes are still expected to be subservient to their husband’s entire family, when in fact Islam has not placed in-laws at that level of obedience and service.

Mothers in Muslim homes are still expected to take full responsibility of the children while the father refuses to even help. She is also degraded in front of her children, consequently lowering her worth in their eyes.

Islam never stipulated this, but did culture.

So women have been fighting throughout history for their rights that God has given them but are enforced only by some.

If a movement comes along and calls itself “feminism,” whose aim is to restore the diminished rights of women, then why would Islam be against that?

Islamic feminism is just that. By taking the support of religious scripture, historical evidence, and the prophetic example, women seek to re-establish their rights in their homes and societies.

If Muslims (and by this I mean mostly Muslim men) had lived up to the teachings of Islam on how to treat women, there would be no reason for Muslim women to turn to other places for support.

If a Muslim woman is a feminist, it does not mean that she is pursuing an ideology that contradicts the laws of Allah. It means that she is using the means available to her to regain her rights that were given to her by Allah in the first place. 

And yes, any true believing woman with knowledge will never go against what Allah has said. She will fight for her rights in the ways allowed by Islam.

So Muslim women will have to keep speaking out for their rights until Muslims decide to follow what Islam has already stipulated.

Everything Will Perish

I used to be an avid reader of Al-Jumu’ah Magazine. Now I occasionally pick it up (just because I have other things to do). I remember reading a self-help article for hoarders. I was a hoarder myself so that article helped me a lot. The ayah that the author used to drive home a point that many hoarders (and maybe majority of the people in the world) fail to realize was this one in Surah Ar-Rahman:

Everyone upon the earth will perish, (55:26)

followed by this one:

And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor. (55: 27)

From that point on, one little aspect of my consumerist and hoarder mentality received a spiritual blow, and that doesn’t mean I stopped buying and storing stuff. That means that a new realization had begun.

Then I started reflecting on other things in life. I like to write poems a lot and they are very valuable to me because in them I have documented fragments of my life, my emotions and my struggles. Then I thought: One day, all of this will be gone? When I die, these books which contain bits of my soul, these blogs which had collections of memories will vanish? These years of school which I find pleasure in remembering will be forgotten? I will be standing there on the Day of Judgment with none of these. My words, my clothes, my work, my books, my purses, my scarves, my jewelry, my laptop, everything will be gone. My feelings, my problems, my lame concerns, my valid concerns, my fears and my sorrow.

Then I realized the value of these statements that emphasized that Only Allah will remain while all else perishes.

Isn’t it amazing that even while everything perishes, including us along with the heavens and the earth, that Allah will remain and then He will bring all of us backwith all of our deeds?

There is none like Him; there is truly none like Him.

Glory be to Him.

Reflections (Parents)

I have always felt odd talking about my mom in a neutral or positive light, maybe because I’ve always focused on her negative qualities. Over time, I’ve alienated myself from her deliberately, and not all of my reasons for doing so were wrong. But now that I am able to handle what I know will come my way (inshaAllah), I think I should stop pretending to be a vulnerable victim and start doing what I know is right.

My aunt told me a few days back how much my mom praises me and loves me. I don’t need anyone to tell me that my mom loves me-that’s a given with *every* mom, but when she told me that my mom is proud of me, my world changed. Before this, I mostly used to hear complaints and sometimes I cared while at other times not necessarily.

I remember how miserable I used to be in high school; and I know for a fact that one of the main causes of my misery was my failure to treat my parents the way Allah had obligated.

One of my main du’as used to be: “O Allah, make my parents pleased with me because Your Pleasure lies in their pleasure.” 

Then, I started the journey of trying to fix my behavior with my parents. I remember first verbalizing my intention to do so to my friend on the last day of school when I was in 11th grade.

Even two years after that, I still felt as if I was lost, as if my efforts were in vain. But SubhanAllah, as with all things, Allah gave me victory with patience. I know for a fact that my parents will never be 100% pleased with me and nor will one of them probably ever say it to my face if they are, but at least I know that they are right now and that Allah is consequently pleased with me too, at least in this arena (inshaAllah).

This is an extremely personal bit of my life that I decided to share because I think there are lessons to learn from it (apart from the fact that I feel kind of at ease right now).

1) Allah is the Turner of the Hearts, so ask Him to turn your heart to His deen and His obedience. If you feel constricted by any relationship factor that is not in your control, ask Allah to help you. Beg Him to fix your situation and to grant you sabr and istiqamah, because without patience and steadfastness, you will fail.

2) Dedication is the key to attaining anything in life. Wanting something but ignoring it or not working towards it diligently will not gain you anything.

3) Your mom loves you more than anyone else, just short of your Creator Himself, Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala). You need to make time for her and validate her concerns instead of brushing them off. There is an incredible amount of love that goes into her nagging, scolding and disciplining.

4) If you love one parent more than the other, that’s not your fault; it’s a matter of the heart. But your treatment of them should be according to what the Qur’an and Sunnah dictated, i.e. a mother is 3x higher in degree than a father.

5) Learn to overlook peoples’ mistakes, esp. those of your parents. When you seek to understand people and they notice that, they will automatically let their guard down and trust and respect you. In the case of parents, when you obey them, they love you more and they become more lenient towards your shortcomings.

6) Victory comes slowwwwly. Really, really slowly. Like a wave that comes in to shore, you must come and carry the bad sand away into the ocean and purify it. You must wait and work until what you want to become is what you are.

7) The road to improvement never ends. When you have one negative thing in your life, get rid of it, revel in the joy of doing so and then move on to other things that need improvement. InshaAllah one day you’ll be able to stand before Allah telling Him all about your journey of Tazkiyah (purification).

May Allah grant us all the ability to fulfill our obligations to our parents and to treat them with love and respect. May Allah open their hearts to understanding us better and ours to do the same. Ameen.

My Little Sister

[Long-held thoughts, spontaneous post]

When I look at my little sister, I see me. I see her going to the same school I went to while wearing the same white hijab and the same style of a plaid uniform with black shoes.

I see her excellent Qur’an memorization, her above-average academic performance and her generosity to her peers.

What I don’t see is the messy, hurt, inherently timid girl who wants to feel free.

Basically, my little sister is a better version of me.

All of my positive childhood qualities are engraved within her, but in greater amounts and with more confidence.

Initially I used to be jealous of her, but instead of blaming myself for it like I used to, I learned to accept it as a natural occurrence and I now think about all the positive things that have come out of this rather hesitant journey of discovery.

My sister is not me and I am not my sister but I know that through our similarities and differences we can change something for the better.

She lights up my world with her smile and cute words and my goal is to help her grow into the being who can happily and confidently submit to her Lord, defy cultural stigmas and learn to be happy without guilt.

She is currently the better version of me, but I want her to be the best version of herself as well.

 

One Little Good Deed

One little good deed; don’t underestimate its power.

I remember once I was ranting on about my messed up sleep schedule on facebook and my friend linked me to a video about the Sunnah sleeping habits and that video changed my life. Obviously I haven’t changed things around completely but at least I now make an effort. She’s getting part of the reward for that.

Another time, one of my friends posted a lecture about Uthman (R) on her blog and I listened to it and it brought me closer to Allah. I had seen that lecture on youtube before but hadn’t listened to it. Maybe Allah wanted me to hear it through her.

Another time I met a lady at the masjid whose house I had gone to for a Sisters’ Halaqah months earlier, and she told me that when she first saw me, she had made du’a for me that Allah opens up my heart to wear niqab. And SubhanAllah, that really touched me so much! So now she’s getting a share in the reward whenever I wear my niqab.

Don’t ever underestimate the power of a small good deed, because through the benefits that others’ receive, it is Sadaqah Jari’ah for you!

Abu Dharr (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “Do not disdain a good deed, (no matter how small it may seem) even if it is your meeting with your (Muslim) brother with a cheerful face.” (Muslim)

On Men Praying in the Masjid

The decline of quality Muslim men begins with their abandonment of praying in the masjid. The leeway that Islam has given to women in regards to praying at home due to their homely responsibilities is now being adopted by careless teenage boys and grown, lazy men who are not disciplined enough to go to the House of Allah to worship Him.

We, as Muslims, have terribly underestimated the importance and value of men’s prayer that is offered in the masjid.

Ahadith Regarding the Importance of Men Praying the Fard (Obligatory) Prayers in the Masjid

Narrated `Abdullah bin `Umar:

Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “The prayer in congregation is twenty seven times superior to the prayer offered by person alone.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “No prayer is harder for the hypocrites than the Fajr and the `Isha’ prayers and if they knew the reward for these prayers at their respective times, they would certainly present themselves (in the mosques) even if they had to crawl.” The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) added, “Certainly I decided to order the Mu’adh-dhin (call-maker) to pronounce Iqama and order a man to lead the prayer and then take a fire flame to burn all those who had not left their houses so far for the prayer along with their houses.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

Regarding Sunnah & Nafl Prayers

Jabir reported Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) As saying:

“When any one of you observes prayer in the mosque he should reserve a part of his prayer for his house, for Allah would make the prayer as a means of betterment in his house.” (Sahih Muslim)
From this hadith, it is apparent that because of the Sahabah’s regularity in praying obligatory prayers in the masjid, they probably would have prayed their Sunnah prayers in the masjid as well if it wasn’t for the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) telling them that Sunnah/Nafl prayers are better when prayed at home (for both men and women).
Zaid bin Thabit said: “The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) built a chamber in the mosque. He used to come out at night and pray there. They (the people) also prayed along with him. They would come (to prayer) every night. If on any night the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) Did not come out, they would cough, raise their voices and throw pebbles and sand on his door. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) came out to time in anger and said: O people, you kept on doing this till I thought that it will be prescribed for you. Offer your prayers in your houses, for a man’s prayer is better in his house except obligatory prayer.”
(Sunan Abi Dawud, Graded Sahih by Shaykh Al-Albani)
If you are a grown man, you need to try your utmost best to make it to the masjid. Part of perfecting your Fard prayer is to offer it in the masjid.
If you are a parent, you need to get your young boys in the habit of going to the masjid with you.
If you are a wife/mother/sister/daughter, encourage the men in your homes to go pray in the masjid.
It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said: “A man came to the Prophet, who encouraged the people to give charity to him. A man said: ‘I have such and such,’ and there was no one left in that gathering who did not give him something in charity, to a greater or lesser extent. The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Whoever initiates a good practice that is followed, he will receive a perfect reward for that, and a reward equivalent to that of those who follow it, without that detracting from their reward in the slightest. And whoever introduces a bad practice that is followed, he will receive the complete burden of sin for that, and a burden of sin equivalent to that of those who follow it without that detracting from their burden in the slightest. ‘” (Sunan Ibn Majah)