Saturday, September 21, 2013

Alhamdulillah - Are you Not Afraid?

A man just got married and was returning home with his wife.

They were crossing a lake in a boat, when suddenly a great storm arose. The man was a warrior, but the woman became very much afraid because it seemed almost hopeless: The boat was small and the storm was really huge, and any moment they were going to be drowned. But the man sat silently, calm and quiet, as if nothing was happening.

The woman was trembling and she said, “Are you not afraid ?”. This may be our last moment of life! It doesn’t seem that we will be able to reach the other shore. Only some miracle can save us; otherwise death is certain. Are you not afraid? Are you mad or something? Are you a stone or something?

The man laughed and took the sword out of its sheath.

The woman was even more puzzled: What he was doing?

Then he brought the naked sword close to the woman’s neck, so close that just a small gap was there, it was almost touching her neck. He said,” Are you afraid ?”

She started to laugh and said,” Why should I be afraid ?,If the sword is in your hands, why I should be afraid? I know you love me.

” He put the sword back and said, This is my answer”.

I know ALLAH Loves me, and the storm is in His hands

If we survive, GOOD; if we don’t survive, ALSO GOOD ,because everything is in HIS hands and HE knows what is best for us.

ALLAH ( Subhana wa taaala) say’s in the Quran “But it may happen that ye hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that ye love a thing which is bad for you. ALLAH knoweth, ye know not” (Quran, 2:216).

Make a habit by saying ALHAMDULILLAH and acknowledge ALLAH in everything you do. It’s very easy to forget and to neglect this. Acknowledging ALLAH as often as possible will save you from becoming selfish, self-centered and proud.

Therefore, always be optimistic and respond with “ALHAMDULILLAH” and Remember that Everything happens to you is from ALLAH.

Verily the best supplication is ALHAMDULILLAH (“Praise be to Allah“)

Sahih Muslim; #4:2073,

Monday, September 2, 2013

Ask a Muslim: 10 Weird Questions I'm Often Asked, But am Happy to Answer

By Manar Hijaz

Shared from:

As I prepare to say goodbye to 2012, I hope that I'll also be saying goodbye to these 10 interesting questions I am occasionally asked. I am not providing this list to make fun of the individuals who have asked these questions, but as a means to answer them for the last time.

1. How did you feel about Bin Laden’s death?
It’s been over a year since U.S. Navy SEALs raided a compound in Pakistan and killed Osama Bin Laden yet I continually get asked how I feel about Bin Laden’s death. Those who ask, believe the question is an innocuous one and fail to realize the hateful connotation it illustrates. What these individuals are really asking is “Were you sad about Bin Laden’s death?” The assumption would be if I am, in fact, sad about his death then I, as a Muslim, support the murder of innocent individuals. It’s really an offensive question to ask. American Muslims were also attacked on 9/11. We were attacked twice. The first attack was on our country, and the second attack was on our religion. Islam denounces terrorism and rejects all forms of unlawful violence and killing of innocent civilians. We will never lament the death of any terrorist in the world.

2. Are you forced to wear “that thing” on your head?
It’s crazy how many variations of the same question I get about my hijab. One of the major misconceptions about Muslim women is that we are oppressed because veiling is linked with oppression. People are usually shocked to hear that wearing the hijab is 100% my decision. I have immediate family members who chose not to wear it and I respect their choices. I won’t deny that in some parts of the world women are forced to cover; however, this is not a representation of Islam. Islamic principles exist but whether or not Muslims choose to follow them is entirely their decision. So, before you assume that Muslim women cover because their husbands, fathers, brothers…forced them to, think again. Quite frankly, I don’t care what people think when they see me all covered up. I’ve always rejected the “Western” definitions of beauty that provide emphasis on physical sexuality. The hijab is my version of beautiful and wearing it makes me feel confident and modest. I don’t try to compete with other women for males’ approval of my physical appearance. I am happy to lose that competition.

3. How do I know you are not bald under that?
I usually get questions relating to my hair from men. I think it’s their way of hinting, politely, that they want to see my hair. Other males are more courageous in their approach. They get straight to the point: “Can’t you just show me your hair once?!” Sorry gentlemen, no sneak peeks unless you’re family or my future husband. No, I’m not bald, and you’re just going to have to take my word on this one.

4. Is your marriage arranged?
Nope! Unfortunately I have to go through the process of weeding out all the creepy douchebags, in search of “the one,” all on my own. I’m not lucky enough to have my parents provide me with a line up of eligible bachelors to choose from. Arranged marriages are not a characteristic of Islamic teachings; they are a cultural practice, not a religious one. There is a major misconception about many communities that engage in so-called “arranged” marriages. Most people believe the scenario goes a little something like this (I’ll use fake names):

Parents: “Jane, meet Alan.”
Jane: “Hi, Alan.”
Parents: “Great, you like him. You will be marrying this man tomorrow.”
Jane: “But…”
Parents: “No buts. This isn’t negotiable. Alan will be your husband and you have no choice in the matter.”

When in reality, most families who engage in so-called “arranged” marriages the actual incident is like this:

Parents: “Jane, do you know Alan? He is a very nice man I think you should meet him.”
Jane, while hesitant to do so, actually takes her parent’s advice and meets Alan. They date. Fall in love and THEN get married. Did the parents pick a person who they thought would make their daughter happy? Sure they did. It’s no different from being set on a blind date by your parents, friends, or coworkers. They are arranging a meeting between you and someone with the hopes that you will hit it off and live happily ever after. I wont deny that there are cases where women are not given a choice, which is very unfortunate and depressing, but again this isn’t a representation of Islamic principles.

5. What do you do for “fun” if you don’t drink?

It’s always surprised me how much people think they need alcohol to have “fun.” Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against drinkers (most of my friends drink), but I choose not to because my religion prohibits it. I always respond to this question with a question: “Well, what do you do for fun?” The response is always the same: go to parties, concerts, sporting events, theme park etc. Well, I do all those things too, just minus the beer. The idea of possibly not remembering what I did the night before because of a “few” drinks never appealed to me. I’m forgetful as it is, so I don’t need a substance to facilitate that process.

6. Do they have cars where you come from?
I don’t know. Do they have cars in the United States? That is where I’m from. Of course, I know what they really mean by the question. People have actually asked me if camels are still the means of transportation in the Middle East. It’s quite hilarious but also expected. When you watch various Hollywood blockbusters (even recent ones) whenever the characters are in the so-called Middle East the scene looks like this: camels roaming in the vast sandy hills, women in burkas, men wearing long thobes and turbans, and a small village with homes made out of clay and twigs. No cars, no freeways, no streets, no skyscrapers. Nothing! So I can’t say I’m surprised by the question.

7. Do you hate Jews?
It’s very unfortunate that the Western media has been successful in portraying the many conflicts in the Middle East (especially Palestine/Israel) as a religious conflict where Muslims hate Jews. Do some Muslims hate Jews? Yup! Do some Jews hate Muslims? Sure. However, this isn’t a representation of everyone. In fact, I would confidently aver that it’s a minority. The Quran refers to Jews and Christians as “Ahl al-Kitab,” or People of the Book. Muslims believe these groups received divine revelation. The Quran is clear in recognizing previous Abrahamic religions and provides special status to “The People of the Book.” I’ve always enjoyed introducing my Jewish friends to people. The bewildered facial expression they get after they learn my friends are Jewish (and I’m clearly Muslim) is priceless. They exhibit a confused “Oh, wait, you guys actually like each other?” expression.

8. Is it true that Muslims want to kill “the infidels?”
One of the most quoted verses in the Quran is the one that reads, “Kill them wherever you find them” (2:191-192). It’s interesting that those who quote that verse always exclude the beginning, which reads, “Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loves not transgressors.” This verse is referencing a specific war. The only time Muslims are permitted to kill someone is if war is being waged against them and they are defending themselves. “Permission to fight is given to those upon whom war is made because they are oppressed” (Quran 22:39). Of course, those who argue that Muslims want to kill “the infidels” exclude major Islamic principles from their argument so that they convince people to adopt their hateful views. Unfortunately, these bigoted individuals have been successful at doing this and I know this from personal incidents.  In the last year of my undergraduate education me and a few of my friends were always harassed by this lunatic girl who would yell, “If you don’t want to kill me right now then you are not real Muslims. Real Muslims have to kill the infidels.” Yeah, we laughed.

9. Are you hot?
The hotter summers in California get the more this question is asked. I’ve always felt the need to respond with, “If you mean in a physically attractive way, then yes, I’m hot.” Although, I fear people won't sense the sarcasm and will assume I’m arrogant. If it’s 100 degrees outside, then yes, like a “normal” person I’m hot. However, I’m not a lot hotter than most people. People don’t notice that hijabis* have different clothing options depending on the weather. So if it’s hot, we usually switch to wearing lighter/sheer hijabs and lighter long-sleeved shirts. Do you ever notice that gardeners, construction workers, and other outdoor workers always put a cloth or towel over their head and then wear a hat? It protects their skin from direct contact with the sun, and it’s actually a lot cooler. The hijab is similar in that way. It Isn't as hot as it looks, trust me.

10. Do you want the United States to adopt Shari’ah Law?
I am satisfied with the United States Constitution and wouldn’t want to replace it with anything. Having said this, I would protest the banning of Shari’ah. Confused? I bet. Let me explain. The meaning of this term has been widely misunderstood. Shari’ah literally means a way or path to be followed. For Muslims, it is the path of faithfulness to God.  Shari’ah encompasses a wide range of values for Muslims like social, moral, and economic regulations among other things. Let me give you a few examples. I must exhibit a respectful attitude and good conduct towards non-Muslims because this is required of me by Shari’ah. I must donate the money I make off of interest in my savings account because Shari’ah prohibits me from keeping it. If my neighbors need assistance, and I have the means to help them, then Shari’ah commands that I do. When I see a hungry homeless person on the street and God has blessed me with more than enough to eat, then Shari’ah encourages me to feed that person. Banning Muslims’ right to practice Shari’ah is an infringement on our right to freely practice our religion.

I do not demand or expect that non-Muslims follow Shari’ah, after all, the Quran does state, “There shall be no compulsion in religion” (2:256). However, I would still demand that First Amendment rights be extended to Muslims too. Now the million-dollar question that remains is does Shari’ah law exempt me from following the laws of United Sates of America? Absolutely NOT! Did you know that Shari’ah also commands Muslims to obey the laws of the land they live in? I am required by my religion to obey and follow U.S laws as long as I’m living in this country.

While we get ready to welcome the New Year, I hope that 2013 brings more curiosity and a zeal for learning about diverse cultures, ethnicities, and religions. While I hope I wont have to be answering any of the above questions anymore, I do encourage people to ask anything their minds desire to know. I appreciate every type of question and I commend all individuals who have the courage to ask their questions. I know it’s not easy but it’s the only way misconceptions can be eradicated and we can truly learn to respect one another. Instead of relying on what the media says about Muslims go out and meet Muslims and get a first hand account. Most, like me, will be more than willing to answer your questions. Don’t be afraid to express your thoughts even if you think they may offend someone. Open dialogue and discussion is the only way we can move forward in society.

So, ask! You can ask me anything. I’m an open book. Almost nothing offends me. If being called a terrorist, Osama’s daugher, and “rag-head” hasn’t offended me, then rest assured your question will not either. Let me apologize in advance if I laugh at your question. Sometimes it takes me a while to realize that people are being serious. One time, a student in my class asked me if I shower with my hijab on. Of course, I thought he was joking so I responded with, “Yes, I shower fully clothed.” Then he said “really?! That’s interesting.” At that point I realized it was a genuine question. Oops.

I'll leave you all with this quote: "Don't make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstaings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life." -Miguel Angel Ruiz. 

Happy New Year, friends!

*Hijabis isn’t a grammatically correct word. It’s something women who wear the hijab came up with to address a group of women who wear hijab. So instead of saying “women who wear hijab” we just say “hijabis.”

Sunday, September 1, 2013

An Amazing Scientific Miracle in the Quran


Something really interesting a sister of mine posted which is worth sharing:

I came across an amazing scientific miracle in the Quran, it is in Surah Al Maryam.....
When a Mother is giving birth it can be the most painful period in her life, its not easy....
Now when Maryam PBUH was (pregnant with Jesus PBUH) was going through such pain, Allah in the Quran orders her to go near a stream of water, You have to listen carefully to the science of this verses,
Allah tells her to go near a stream of water where next to it is a Palm tree, Allah instructs her to shake the palm tree and keep pulling down from trunks of the palm tree, so the dates can fall down for her,
Some people may ask why is Allah telling us about the palm tree, the stream of water and the dates? Why did Allah not just simply tell us that she gave birth to Jesus (pbuh) and that's it, why all these details??
Now here is the miracle, Firstly Allah tells her to shake the palm tree and keep pulling, some hospitals until very recently when a Mother is about to give birth, there is something they will tell her to hold on to and they tell her to keep pulling it back so it eases labour pain and muscle tension.
Then Allah tells her to cool herself with water, there are modern hospitals today that tell pregnant women to sit in cool water as it will help them give birth,
Then Allah tells her in the Quran that when she has relaxed in the water it will make her birth pain easier but he also tells her to straight away to eat the dates that fall....
Now one may ask why did Allah instruct her to eat the dates?? This is because dates contain within them easily absorb-able sugars which help the heat and the movement and these sugars are of the fructose type which help raise the blood pressure....
So the methods Hospitals are using today to ease birth pains, Allah has hinted in the Quran 1400 years back....Subhanallah


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Egypt - the Return of a Pharoah


by Fajr
As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

For those of us who lived in Egypt recently, the events that are currently unfolding were actually seen brewing quite some time ago. Much of today’s brutality does not come as a surprise unfortunately. It was just a few months ago when my own aunt was robbed by an armed man as she walked home. He held a machete to her neck, grabbed her bag and threatened to kill her if she fought back. He ripped her hijab and her niqab (face-veil) off and threw her viciously to the floor. Thankfully he didn't have a chance to do more damage as two men shouted from a nearby building and he simply walked away, without fear. What was surprising though, was the fact that despite many calls to the police, they did not turn up. We ran to the crime scene, we then went in different directions for help, we went into pharmacy stores and dialled for the police, but they failed to come straight away (they turned up after hours). As crowds gathered around my aunt, and helped pick up her torn clothes, a man came to her, lifted his shirt and pointed to a bandaged wound on his back. “You were lucky,” he said, “I was mugged here just last week by a thief, but he actually did stab me. The police did not come to help.” I had been hearing of many incidents of muggings, burglaries, and armed criminals, but that day I realised something very sinister had began. Security, for all intent and purpose, had been decreased, and thugs were now on the scene and they carried a horrifically surprising level of confidence. This explains the phenomenon of the 'Baltagiya' (thugs) that we see in today's chaos and mayhem. It isn't just the army that is killing its people, but the thugs who've been given the license to kill are also responsible for many of the deaths.
I have been a private student in Nasr City over the years, living and mixing with locals, and in 2012, I too cheered along with the people when Morsi came into power. Not because I was a member of the Ikhwan, or that I was an Egyptian - I am neither. But I didn’t have to be to see the relief and happiness of the people. A lot that I met and spoke to were not Ikhwani, but they were just glad that Egyptians could finally choose their own leader and the country could progress forward.
But then the problems started. It wasn’t just security and police presence that had been lowered. But water issues had began to crop up, gas and electricity worsened, and management had generally become shoddier. This wasn’t the fault of the new President or the revolution, but it was becoming increasingly clear that some people some-where were doing everything they could to dismantle and sow seeds of unhappiness in the general public, all in the hopes of it reflecting back badly on current rule. And indeed it did.

The Massacre of al-Rabi’a
For several years, I used to go past and at times pray in Masjid al-Rabi’a and I often witnessed the incredible fortress that it was in society. Al-Rabi’a was a place where the poor would be fed on a regular basis, the homeless used to take shelter in it, the charity-givers would visit it hoping for some reward, and the ill were treated at its low-cost hospital often for free. But the 14th of August was the bloody day that witnessed armed men move in after shedding much blood outside, and it witnessed the burning of the House of Allah down to cinders, along with the hundreds of corpses that it held inside. This was a message firstly to the people of Madinat Nasr - a town known for its religiosity and conservative ways, a town housing a number of the Ikhwan. The fortress of al-Rabi’a which had been a towering figure throughout the sit-ins, remained so until the very last martyr; holding its worshippers tightly like a mother holding her dying child.

"And who is more unjust than those who forbid that Allah's Name be mentioned in His Mosques and strive for their ruin? It was not fitting that such should themselves enter them (Allah's Mosques) except in fear. For them there is disgrace in this world, and they will have a great torment in the Hereafter." [al-Baqarah: 114]

However, it didn’t stop at al-Rabi’a. Masjid al-Iman and Masjid al-Fath also bore the tyranny of the military coup as the minbars took the suffocation of tear gas canisters and the minarets took bullet after bullet, and its refugees witnessed martyr after martyr. Mosques across the country were then taken up as a symbol of defiance and unity and as estimated, the masses pushed back as powerful waves from the doors of at least 28 mosques nationwide.

As difficult as it is to say this, the massacres at Rabi’a, al-Nahdah, Ramsis, and other parts of the country were not done haphazardly. It was part of an execution that had been planned beforehand by an army and a police force still loyal to their military man and president of the previous regime. Hosni Mubarak may be behind bars today, but he is still very much operative in the form of his man and loyal friend, ‘Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi, and tomorrow he will re-emerge.

But for every Pharaoh, there is a Musa, and for the people of Egypt, there will be salvation insha’Allah, although it will come at a cost. Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Aziz al-Turayfi recently wrote, "There is no salvation from the punishment of Allah. Pharaoh killed the newborns of Egypt out of fear that Musa would be born, and Allah made it such that he (Musa) would be raised in his home and nurtured by his wealth.” Today we are witnessing just that. To date, 4 or 5 children of high-ranking members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been purposely singled out, targeted, and killed. The army has an agenda to sever the Ikhwan movement from its roots, take out any offspring that can continue the struggle, and remove its memory from the next generation. But for a movement that has existed for more than 80 years, that has struggled, strengthened itself and survived the brutality, oppression, and repression of leaders long before al-Sisi and Mubarak, it is an agenda that will not succeed easily. The movement - like every other movement - has its own methodology that is subject to agreement and disagreement, but there is something to admire about them, and that is their love and sacrifice for Islam and da’wah.

Today in Egypt, it really is upon the Muslims who wish to see Islam included in the future of the country to support their brothers and honour the martyrs. Putting aside differences, it is clear that that the battle of old between Pharaoh and Musa is repeating itself as Rabi’a al-‘Adawiyyah, al-Nahdah, Ramsis and other places witness the unarmed civilians killed and fall down dead all because they wish to see ‘La ilaha illa’Allah’ raised in the country, and for their rightful leader to be reinstated. The greatest treachery and breach of loyalty is to turn away from your brother at the point of death and side with his killer. I was dismayed to hear voices of people who pray as much we do, who revere scholars and Islamic scholarship as much as we do, but who betrayed the trust of brotherhood in the hour nigh. It is hypocritical and from ignorance to consider the brutal army as being the legitimate figure of authority when events show us clearly that they were never a rightful authority, nor did they deserve that. They are a group who took up arms against the Muslims, betrayed their leader, and went out against him in enmity. To thus support them means to wash your hands in the same blood that they have shed unlawfully, and to remain silent about their actions means to give your consent to a marriage like the virgin bride-to-be.

The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, “Whoever takes up arms against us is not from us.” [al-Bukhari]

But dictators and the hypocrites who side with them, never learn. The more force they use, the stronger the waves return. The more they kill and oppress, the more they ignite the fire in people's hearts. The more they subjugate and repress, the more they force out the Musa from among the masses. And the more they stomp their oppressive boot on the ground, the more they shake that ground beneath their own feet. A President was democratically elected after decades of state repression, but democracy has failed Egypt. Not because of the masses, but because the 'Democracy' that the West keeps pushing down the throats of Muslims world-wide is one that is highly intolerable of Islam and incapable of giving it due ground or due rights to lead a country and be a legitimate authority in the land. We have seen example after example that when this happens, the West and its allies raise the dreaded 'Terrorism' card and it all crumbles apart.
As I watch the events unfold in Egypt, I can’t help but see many parallels in the story of Musa. As the powerful but deceitful Egyptian media and the elite powers-that-be twist and tell tales against the protesters, eventually raising the red ‘terrorism’ card like their Western fathers, there were two verses that particularly struck me:

The first is when the chiefs of Pharaoh cry out in incitement against the innocent: “…Will you leave Musa and his people to spread mischief in the land, and to abandon you and your gods?” He (Pharaoh) said: "We will kill their sons, and let their women live, and we indeed have power over them."

And the next is the verse after; and this is the only thing left for us to say to the people of Egypt: “Musa said to his people: "Seek help in Allah and be patient. Verily, the earth belongs to Allah. He gives it as a heritage to whoever He wills of His slaves, and the (blessed) end is for the righteous.” [al-A'raf: 127-128]

As for that powerful and deceitful media, I have one befitting verse for them: “He (Pharaoh) said: ‘Throw!’ And when they threw, they cast a spell upon the people's eyes, and overawed them, and produced a mighty spell.” [al-A'raf: 116]

The Pharaoh of today’s Egypt has his magicians in the form of al-falul (remnants of the previous regime) and the Egyptian media, and for months they have been working hard to brainwash and cast the spell of enmity against their brothers, such that they do not even feel shame when they see innocent blood being spilled. But as the story of old tells us: it is Musa who will be aided and it is the righteous worshippers of Allah that will be given the land as inheritance.

Ya Allah, help my brothers and sisters around the world! Ya Rabb al Alameen! 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Hijab as Da'wah


By Dr Aisha Hamdan

Most Muslims are familiar with the various reasons that Allah has required women to wear hijab: The hijab reflects modesty, purity and respect; it lessens temptation so that more serious sins will be avoided; it protects women from the harm and molestation of evil men; a woman who wears hijab will be evaluated for her intelligence and skills rather than her appearance.

One important aspect that is often overlooked, however, is that the hijab is a symbol of Muslim identity. A woman who covers her head is making a statement that she is a member of the Muslim community and that she follows a particular code of moral conduct. 

Allah says: "O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters and the believing women to draw their outer garments around them. That is more suitable that they will be known (as Muslims and chaste believing women) and not be abused." [Qur'an, 33:59] 

"...that they will be known..." In America, where Islam is the fastest growing religion (alhumdullilah), many people are coming to know what this head covering really signifies and to understand the religion that mandates it. The hijab, in effect, is an amazingly powerful tool for dawah; one that Muslims themselves are probably not even aware of. As with any tool, the key for effectiveness is appropriate and knowledgeable use. 

The most obvious first step would be for Muslim women to actually wear the hijab. It is a tragic and upsetting phenomenon to see so many Muslims dressing in the manner of the disbelievers (blue jeans, T-shirts, short skirts, even shorts). The Prophet, sallalahu allahe wa salam, said; "Whoever resembles a people is one of them." (Abu Dawood). This is not only happening in America and other Western countries as people attempt to assimilate and adopt the practices of the prevailing culture, but it is also occurring in Muslim countries at an alarming rate. 

A woman who refuses to wear the hijab is disobeying Allah and committing a serious sin, putting worldly pleasures above spiritual attainment, and neglecting her duty to the religion of Islam. Many scholars agree that the only reason a Muslim may live in a non-Muslim country is to conduct dawah and bring people to the true religion. How can a woman perform dawah for Islam when she is not even practicing it herself? To do this would be a form of hypocrisy and it will not be successful. 

Once a woman begins to wear hijab she completes a large portion of her responsibility for dawah with very little effort. Each time that she goes to the grocery store, the library, to work, to school, or to any other public place, she is spreading the magnificent message of Islam. This is not only because of the outer hijab that she wears, but more importantly, the modesty of her behavior that accompanies it. When a woman refrains from flirting with men, limits physical contact, and is reserved and respectful, people may become curious and want to learn more about this intriguing faith. It may just sow the seeds of something wonderful. 

At the University where I teach (which happens to be a private, Catholic school), women are often interested in my manner of dress and demeanor. Each semester I have at least one student who requests my involvement in a project for another class, usually comparative religions. They are surprised when they learn the rationale for this injunction and the fact that it was part of their religious heritage as well. If I chose not to wear hijab, I would miss these wonderful opportunities to share the beauty, peace and universality of my faith. 

When there is the possibility for further discussion with those who are interested, knowledge and understanding of the topic are imperative. A very effective technique is to relate the concept to something that is familiar to the other person. Some examples of questions that could be posed include:
•"Did you every wonder why Mary, the mother Jesus (alayhes salam) wore clothing very similar to that of Muslims?" 

•"Why do Catholic nuns dress the way they do?" 

•"Did you know that in the Canon laws of the Catholic church today there is a law that requires women to cover their heads in church?"

•"Have you read in I Corinthians (Bible, 11:3-10) the verses that Paul wrote: 'Every man who prays of prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. And evey woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head - it is just as though her head were shaved. If a woman doesn't cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or shaved off, she should cover her head." 

•"Did you know that there are some Christian denominations, namely the Amish and the Mennonites, who still require women to wear the head covering?" 

•"Were you aware that is was the custom of Jewish women to go out in public with a head covering and that some denominations still practice this today?" 

These discussion points demonstrate the obvious fact that the head cover was not introduced by Islam, but rather that this requirement has been in place for thousands of years. This can also be a cogent segue to more crucial topics such as the fact that Moses, alayhes salam, Jesus, alayhes salam and Muhammad, sallalahu allahe wa salam, were all prophets of the same God and that they each carried the same basic message. Islam corrected the errors that had been introduced into previous revelations by humans and completed the process that was planned by Allah. 

We should be proud to be Muslim. We should also be grateful for the gift that Allah has given to each one of us: The perfect truth of Islam that is our key to paradise. All others are being deluded by Satan and following paths to destruction. With our gift comes the responsibility to share the truth with those who are less fortunate. We are all responsible to carry the light of Islam. The hijab is an outward manifestation of this light that burns within, and it can be an effective tool for fulfillment of our obligation. We choose whether to develop this light into a bright, radiant star or let it be extinguished by foolish and selfish desires.  

May Allah guide each of us to the true path.Ameen!

Overcoming Anxiety


"Oh Allah, I take refuge in You from anxiety and sorrow, weakness and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, the burden of debts and from being overpowered by men." ~ [Hadith Al-Bukhari]

Anxiety is an unavoidable part of life. Everyone in this world will have his or her share of worries. However, there are limits to how much worry there should be. Worry should not lead us to despair.

Some people try so hard to avoid anxiety that they are unable to cope with the real world. By fleeing from reality, they merely increase their worries.

We need to cope with our anxiety in a rational, methodical way.

First of all, we need to stop making unrealistic demands upon ourselves and upon the society in which we live. Many people worry over problems that are far beyond their scope to deal with. These problems are often so great that society as a whole cannot hope to solve them at the present time. Worrying about these matters does nothing but cause anxiety.

There is an old Arabic parable that goes: Once there was a desert dweller who owned a servant girl. Someone asked him: “Wouldn’t you dream that instead of possessing this servant girl you could be Caliph?”

He replied: “God no!” When the other asked him why, he said: “I am afraid that then both the servant girl and the nation would be lost!”

Now there is a man who knew what he should not be bothered with.

The second thing that we must do to get anxiety under control is to find contentment with the situation in which we find ourselves. This does not mean that we always have to accept things the way they are. We should definitely have dreams and ambitions. `Umar b. `Abd al-`Azîz said: “I am an ambitious man. First, I desired governorship. When I attained it, I desired to be Caliph. When I became caliph, I renounced its pleasures, for then my ambitions had turned to attaining Paradise.”

We should have ambitions, but we should also see the good in what we already have.

The third thing that we must do is to enjoy our successes. All of us have some achievements to our credit. We need to take satisfaction and pride in them, as this helps to prevent us from making light of Allah’s blessings.

Finally, we must refrain from envying others. Whatever someone else has is purely from Allah’s grace. Allah gives whatever He wills to whomever He pleases. A single woman should not get upset when she sees her sister getting married. A married woman should not fret when she sees another woman married to a man of far greater wealth and prestige. A divorcee should not cry whenever she sees someone else living in marital bliss. Instead, she should take a deep breath and say: “Praise be to Allah who has placed me in my good circumstances.”

We should appreciate that today is better than many days in the past, and with Allah’s blessings, tomorrow can be even better than today. Those who prefer to dwell in the past keep themselves in permanent sorrow thinking about missed opportunities and what might have been.

Once a professor entered his classroom and asked his students: “Has any of you ever sawed up some wood?” When some students replied that they all had done so at one time or another, he asked: “Have any of you ever sawed up a saw?” This time no one answered. The professor then said: “A person who always looks to the past is like a person who saws up a saw.”

We must not look to the lost opportunities of the past. We must instead look forward to the promise of a better future.

Fears and Worries

Ibn Hazm mentions that he took a good look at people, all people – Muslims and non-Muslims, righteous and ignoble, Arabs and non-Arabs – and made the following observation: “I found that they all had one thing in common; they all sought to rid themselves of their problems and worries.”

He then said: “So I decided to unlock the secret to this matter and discover the best way to overcome our worries. I found that there was nothing better for this than to worship Allah, adore Him, and to submit ourselves to Him fully. From this I realized that the guidance of the Prophets and Messengers (peace be upon them) is comprehensive of what dispels the concerns of both this world and the next.”

There are many things in this world that inspire fear. However, we can find security in true reliance upon Allah and in reconciling ourselves to His decree.

Our fear is often worse that the things we are afraid of. Sometimes we fear some crisis occurring and that fear becomes a crisis in itself. Our fear of sickness may actually be the worst sickness to afflict us.

Do not grieve and do not be afraid. Allah says: “Verily, those who say ‘Our Lord is Allah’ then keep themselves upright, the angels descend upon them saying: ‘Do not fear and do not grieve. Hearken to glad tidings of the Paradise that you have been promised’.” [Sûrah Fussilat: 30]

Ibn Jawzî said: “I was plagued by a problem that compelled me to continuously suffer from worry and anxiety. I began to go to great lengths trying to figure out any ruse or strategy to rid myself of that problem, but to absolutely no avail. Then I remembered the verse: “And whoever fears Allah, Allah will provide for him a way out.” Then I realized that fear of Allah is a way out of every worry. No sooner did I resolve to strengthen my fear of Allah than I found a way to solve my problems.”

It does not behoove a created being to pin his trust, his hopes, and his thoughts on anything besides his obedience to Allah and his fulfillment of Allah’s command. Obedience to Allah is the reason for opportunities to open up for us. A person who fears Allah should always keep in mind that Allah is sufficient for him.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Ramadan is Almost Here!

Ramadan is just around the corner. Are we ready yet? Here are some guidelines to remember: