Excerpts from my life

Empty Hands…

I remember meeting Mariya* shortly after her divorce. Life certainly did not look like a bed of roses but her positivity was hard to miss. A toddler to look after and a newly acquired job that barely managed to make her ends meet. Yet, she had a zeal towards life that lacks in us despite we are blessed with more endowments.

Speaking to her clearly reflected the affection she still held for her ex-husband. I don’t know why they separated. I never asked and she never hinted the slightest contempt towards him. It would be a lie to say I was not curious but then, it was unimportant. Any normal person would wonder why they parted ways when she had all good words about him. There was no custody battle. He would visit his son often and she never resisted. It was unusual.

What I appreciated the most was that she never adopted the “why me” attitude. With a smile and immense courage she lived through the hardships. She didn’t portray herself as the abandoned helpless woman. Rather, strove to survive with Tawakkul that it is Allah who provides. And surely He did.

Tough times got over. Few years later she got married. In fact, I am certain, to her those were “many “years. And she got married to the same man. As usual, I do not know the why and how. The cheer she had on her face on her wedding day was the brightest that I have ever seen. Perhaps it was relief. Perhaps it was more. They had another baby and its a blessed marriage. Alhamdulillah.

It has been years since I have spoken to her. The heart remembered her today nevertheless. To remember what sincere faith looks like. Devoid of any aggression, contempt, envy or apparent sorrow. She made post-divorce phase look so easy. The true meaning of relying on Allah and handing over your issues to Him. Who else sorts out all the issues anyway?

“… And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him of his matter ease. . .
. . .Allah does not charge a soul except [according to] what He has given it. Allah will bring about, after hardship, ease.” [Surah at-Talaq: 2 & 7]

When we think of trials and tribulations, I am certain we can recall at least one person who is suffering more than us. That victim of domestic violence, that person abandoned and shunned by family, the one struggling for two meals a day, the one whose children died, the Rohingyas, the people in war torn states, the homeless, the victim of drug abuse or the child who was raped.

To even think about their issues fills my heart with distress. What did I ever do to be here and they are there? Is it not purely the mercy of Allah? Even in my worst situations I was in a better position than them. And how ungrateful of me to even frown and clinch during my ‘tiny’ tests. What a bad performance.

I see those with huge problem smile and say “Alhamdulillah” and I see ones blessed with almost everything being depressed over small nothings.

Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you? They were touched by poverty and hardship and were shaken until [even their] messenger and those who believed with him said,”When is the help of Allah ?” Unquestionably, the help of Allah is near. [Quran, 2:214]

You know this verse. I know this verse. And we know innumerable other verses which tell us everything about our problems. Why they are there, how do we react to it and what do we get in return. Yet, we succumb. Making these verses mere theories. Ever experienced how it is to apply them and test reliance on The One?

Next time you feel life is tough, remember this:

On the authority of Abu Hurairah (رضي الله عنه) who said: the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said:
“Look at those who are beneath you and do not look at those who are above you, for it is more suitable that you should not consider as less the blessing of Allah.” [Bukharee 6490, abridged & in Muslim (2963) in its completion.]

Your empty hands will be filled counting things you never worked for, yet you do not want to lose. Were they ever empty in the first place? Its overwhelming!

#RemindeToMyselfFirst


*Name changed

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Excerpts from my life

While in Search of the “Right” One.

How hard is it to take a stand for the right in hard times? What does being a Muslim mean in the first place? Do we perform the external obligations of salah, sawm, zakaah, hijab etc. and when time comes to adhere to commandments which do not suit our ease we discard it?

We ought to be vary about our acts with people. Why do we not hate what Allah hates?Something like cheating and more so cheating a slave of Allah. Who knows the someone we underestimate might be dear to Allah? Many a times we do not realise that what we do might be something fraudulent.

Allow me to give an example I recently witnessed. You promised marriage to someone. The someone is looking forward to it. Meanwhile, you get other alliances and you start considering them without informing the former party. No, I am not speaking about considering multiple alliances at a time (I do not have knowledge about its validity). What I am speaking of, is promising someone the hand your son or daughter. Guaranteeing that the alliance is finalised such that the other stops his/ her search but we still search. Many of us carry the misconception that it is okay until the marriage actually happens.

Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) which states that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No man should offer a proposal of marriage over the proposal of his brother until the first one gives up or gives him permission.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 4746).

It is just ethically wrong and even wrong in Deen. But you know, when we are looking into alliances we forget to appreciate the good things in a person. Especially if the ‘good’ is sincerity towards the deen of Allah. My heart burns when I hear absurd demands like not wanting to marry reverts, not wanting to marry men whose profession is not “xyz”, not wanting to marry someone who lives in “so and so” place.

On the authority of Abu Hurairah (رضي الله عنه) who said: the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Look at those who are beneath you and do not look at those who are above you, for it is more suitable that you should not consider as less the blessing of Allah.” [Bukharee 6490, abridged & in Muslim (2963) in its completion.]

I agree, some standard preferences is always there to ensure compatibility. Its about the specific ones that are so superficial and would not matter once you live with your spouse. These specific demands are just there so that people view two people worthy of each other or perhaps we view ourselves so high that we want the other one to match us in worldliness. Sometimes on a subconscious level we do it because we are competing with someone else whom we believe has a better proposal.

In times of dilemma the solution is perhaps to remember those who do not have even a single proposal because of some ailment or tribulation. Rather we show ingratitude by finding flaws in the one we have. We forget all the advice of our Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam). We forget that the other one might have ignored many flaws in us before agreeing to marry us.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Render back trusts to the one who entrusted you, and do not betray the one who betrays you.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 3534; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.  

The sad part is, even when we serve reminders, people get uncomfortable. Sooner or later your reminder is smashed on your face as if those words are made up by you and not from the Shari’a. Or some random reason will be served on how difficult it is so adhere to every bits and pieces of Islam. Worse, examples of other people committing the same fraud is given as if it validates the lawfulness of the fraud.

“And let those (executors and guardians) have the same fear in their minds as they would have for their own, if they had left weak offspring behind. So let them fear Allaah and speak right words” [an-Nisa’ 4:9]

Whether it is your parents, siblings, in laws, neighbour, friend or spouse doing it. No matter who. A wrong is a wrong. Stand against it. Allah will take care of you, your heart, your relationships, your food, bills and whatever it is that makes you consider being a silent spectator to their wrongdoing.

Remember, you cannot get beyond what is already pre-destined for you. The least you can do is behave as a strong and faithful Momin by having opinions and decisions in favour of Allah. No matter what you decide, you fate is in His control. Why earns sins and wrath in the process by accessing your will in what He hates

I’ll leave you with this: How one must love Allah?

Allah, the Most High says: “{Say (O Muhammad, to mankind): “If you (really) love Allah then follow me…}” [Surah Aal:Imran, 3:31]

 

 

 

 

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Excerpts from my life

To Love or not to Love..

We got a kitten at my mom in law’s place a couple of days back. The first day, he was a bit anxious and timid. Two days later it seems that he has accommodated well. The playful self that kitten are. He has swept everyone off their feet and has been the center of attention ever since.

 

Last night, however, he went missing. I was amazed to see how anxious and depressed everyone became. Every member of the house was searching at every possible niche one could think of. Precisely why I dislike having pets. Not because of the responsibilities they bring but because they die too early. Ten to fifteen years down the line, they grow old and then they’re gone. And if they don’t die in front of your eyes, they just vanish one day- either abandoning you or perhaps falling prey to some bigger animal whilst on their regular stroll.

 

Pet lovers might not relate to my opinion. I know, the joy they bring might seem more. But I guess your childhood frames a major portion of how you think. When I was eight, dad brought home a mongoose. Apparently, its mother had died in the 1999 cyclone in Bay of Bengal coast. I don’t remember, how long we looked after it but the heart was attached. There are still so many moments with it I remember very well. We never kept it chained. It had free access to our lawn and so one day it went out and never came back. I remember how emphatically I searched for it. I still remember the moment when I last saw it.

 

Next came home an injured Jungle Babbler. Had fallen on dad’s factory window sill after being struck by something. When it came home, it was already pretty weak. We looked after it for some days. Feeding it grain by grain. Dripping water into its mouth with an ink dropper (90s kids will know). Five to seven days later, I found him dead. I remember screaming and calling my mom to find its head dangling down while I seemed perfectly perched on the bar.

 

A fish was what we adopted next. We got it from a local fisher-monger. Amongst his heap of dead fishes, this one was still breathing. Allah had destined a longer life for it. It stayed in our water tub for a couple of weeks until dad decided to free it in a pond nearby. And so we did. Perhaps as a kid, I was expecting a Free Willy come back. But that ungrateful fish dived in the pond and cut through the waters without even looking back. The first time I realized, not everyone loves you back equally.

 

This was too much pain for my eight year old heart. That’s when I decided I will never adopt any pet. Fast forward eight years, a dog gave birth to three pups in my garden and abandoned them.Much as I scorned at the idea of having pets again, I had to raise them lest they would die. One fine day when I was coming back from my school, one of the pups rushed towards me from across the road on seeing me. Half way through, a speeding car came from nowhere and rammed it. I froze as I watched it flung into the air and lying half dead on the further end of the road. It died in a few hours. Two days later, the second pup was found dead in his kennel. Didn’t survive the winters. The third just left after that.

 

As I write about this I wonder, how Allah fills our hearts with love for these beings. How we keep giving them without any hopes of returns from them. Yet, how less affection humans show to their own families. In my last post I spoke about goodness. When I think of this term, I realize how subjective it is. There were times when I have wanted to do things that I felt were right, yet many disproved saying those were ‘not the right things’. Who set these standards in the first place? Does good and bad (in personal choices like religion, clothing, spouse or food) really need social sanction even if it costs a lifetime of mental agony?

 

For me, I found solace in the good and bad set by my Lord. Goodness in Islam begins at home. Much like the very popular phrase of “charity begins at home”. In this rush of a chaotic life that can be proudly flaunted on social media, Islam gave me the true essence of life. Not only to read, but to inculcate in life. The society is moving towards a lifestyle where parents are being taken out of homes and children made to love things. Weekend time with parents is deemed to be something mention worthy! A lifestyle that is very youth centric but ignores the needs of children and the old. What is the need of these two classes? Time, love and affection- in ample!

 

The best man is he who is the best to his wife.[1] The person worthy of your best behavior is your mother and thrice more worthy than your father![2] The amount you spend on your family is considered greater than charity.[3] Loving your wife is quoted as Ibadah. Even putting a morsel in her mouth is rewarded by Allah.[4]  Looking after your children and raising them with the goal to contribute to the society beneficially is tagged Ibadah (worship). The right to first learn religion from you is of your family.[11] Every shepherd is responsible for his flock and a man is the shepherd for his family, a woman of her home and children.[12]

 

Men are advised live with their wives with kindness. They’re advised to overlook her flaws and focus on her goodness.[5] Women are a trust from Allah to men, thus Allah tells men to fear Him with respect to women.[6] They’re their protectors and maintainers. [7] Thus, they are required to look after the needs of their womenfolk.

 

Women, on the other hand, are called the twin halves of men.[8] Allah says that it is He who fills the hearts of spouses with love and mercy so that they may dwell in tranquility. Yes, the word is not happy, together, or forever; the word is “tranquility”- an absolute sense of bliss. They are advised to be thankful for the hard-work their spouses puts in for providing the family. She is expected to be helpful to him in his faith.[9] That includes, being his adviser in enjoining good and forbidding evil.

And a woman is shouldered with the biggest responsibility- to carefully raise the next generation of ummah! And how demeaned is this task. Considered to be so fickle that now nourishing a child’s mind, soul and heart is completely compromised for everything else that the society sanctions.

 

These are not just texts. These are instructions to integrate into your life and I see families thriving on it. Prophet Muhammad (salallahu alayhi wasallam) was the perfect example of being kind and loving to his family. I remember a hadith where a man mentioned to the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam) that he has ten children but has never kissed them. Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam), who was holding and planting a kiss on his grandson, told him that whoever does not show mercy will not be shown mercy. [10]

 

I have seen closely knit families laughing for hours each day, sharing conversations about each ones lives, advising on how to move closer to Allah and never running out of words to express concern for each other. So I know it is possible. It is the parents who lay the foundations of a family. They get to decide right from the time they marry what the family framework will be. And most choose the path opposite to the straight and easy path given in Islam. How will then blessings and barakah (increase in goodness) come?

 

Ever thought why the fabric of family is disintegrating? It is because we are not providing the rights our families have upon us. Rights that Allah, Our Maker, placed for them. Then we remorse when we do not get our rights from them. We crave to earn fame and acknowledgement in the society but behind closed doors live strangers.

 

Perhaps that’s why we love pets- they never rebel no matter how much we ignore them. They always come back affectionately. We do not see the side effects of family negligence in them. No wonder, the moment parents see their adult kids wanting to live a life that does not fit their social strata, pop comes the famous Bollywood statement, “tum mere liye marr chuki ho.” . (you are dead for me). How easy an solution for dealing with differences of opinion but how grave the consequences of breaking family bonds. Bonds that we never valued in the first place.

 

The cat, to everyone’s much relief, was found selfishly sleeping in a inaccessible corner of the storage area. I, after settling to the idea of it being gone (inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon), clenched my jaws at the idea of going through it all over again.


1. Ibn Majah, 1977

2. Muslim, 2548

3. Muslim, 994

4. Bukhari, 6352

5. Qur’an, 4:19

6. Muslim, 1218

7. Qur’an 4:34

8. Abu Dawud, 236

9. Ibn Majah, 1856

10. Bukhari, 426/10

11. Qur’an 26:214

12. Bukhari, 7138

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Excerpts from my life

Settling

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

muslim-woman-praying

It is almost a month from my previous post. As I reflect upon it and my state of mind whilst I was writing it,  I recall the gloominess around me. Alhamdulillah, how beautifully my Rabb looked after all my affairs.

I appeared for my exam last week and Alhamdulillah I cleared my Arabic test too. I remember being very tensed until I completed the paper. So much that I was not even certain to pass.  It was purely Allah’s mercy.

Alhamdulillah, I also managed to knock the door of my nearest neighbor one fine day. They lady who greeted me was a warm woman with an adorable toddler who could not stop laughing when I held him. There are four more doors I intend to knock this week In Sha Allah.

I’ve started to find ease in watching the sunsets and the trains the pass make me laugh when my voice sinks in their loud horns. I wake up to bright mornings with mild rays seeping right through the window on my sheets. Just how ideal could it be. The weather is always pleasant and the breeze oh so soothing! The squirrel by my window is pregnant, so I am expecting a flourishing squirrel family there soon.

The calmness has begun to settle within me.

By the mercy of Allah subhana wa ta’ala, I mingled with the Muslimahs here and managed to start a weekly study circle to ponder over the Qur’an. Knowing these girls has again showed me a bare aspect of the Muslim society. Our youth is not guided at all. It is not that they are not interested about their religion. It is wrong to blame that they are heedless. The fact is that nobody told them. I wonder what makes parents do this to their daughters. Perhaps nobody told them too.

There is an absolute dearth of knowledge about Islam in Muslims. What do we expect from the world then? If we are humiliated all over the world, whose fault is it? When we never bothered to know our Rabb and His Book, why do expect His Mercy to befall upon us. The situation is scary. I am at a place where girls join college wearing complete hijab, but after a few months drop it down due to some unknown reason. What could it be?

  1. Lack of knowledge: This is the root of all other reasons. When in the first place we do not know why we do certain things in Islam. It applies to everything we do- sawm, salah, sadaqah, service to people, being kind etc. Not just hijab. When the reason behind any act of worship is social conditioning, family values, parental instructions, or anything other than a heart attached to Allah, it will crash down the moment the reason crashes.
    Therefore, once the society, family or parental supervision is shoved aside, the hijab is also gone. Only a heart that worships out of taqwa of Allah azza wajal will continue to do it until it knows Allah is watching- Eternally.

  2. Lack of confidence: Yes, this is a major reason why most Muslim youth (sadly) does not want to look Muslim externally. It has been so tabooed in the media that a beard and hijab or a Muslim praying in public is often prejudiced to be incompetent or socially inferior. In such a scenario, it needs a lot of courage to prove your mettle in that attire. You have to be extremely good in what you do and at the same time “know” why you do it to answer a hundred questions (or comments) posed at you on Islam. These questions can range from genuine curiosity to being hurtful and discriminatory. Not knowing the answers might leave you humiliated and dumbfound, as well as a negative impact on the opposite person. Needless to say, it will also be a lost opportunity to serve information about Islam to the masses and make them ponder over it.
  3. Hostile environment: Yes, though most of the times the reasons of why we do not practise Islam openly is our own imagination of “what people will think or do” or inferiority complexes, sometimes the hostility does push the ones with a soft heart. The warden of the hostel has no issues with the girls going outside the campus with males or unknown men. She has no tab on girls secretly visiting the boys hostel or openly romancing in the lawns of the campus. But, she has a special tab on this set of girls when they adorn the hijab to attend the Tafseer sessions at my home. She suddenly remembers some alien rules of students not allowed to visit faculty homes. Not only the warden, even the authorities here (surprisingly with majority Muslims in the administration) have kept trousers and shirts as uniform for girls. I am not a moral police. But in India, uniforms in colleges is seriously not the trend. Why can there not be freedom of clothing? Why is freedom of clothing only expressed when females want to adorn western clothing or minimalistic clothing? Is wearing a hijab, abaya, salwar kameez, or scarf not a matter of choice too?

At this moment, gaining authentic and clean knowledge seems the only way.. Until we truly know what it means to be a Muslim, we will never feel confident to practise and speak about Islam. It is the religion of the Lord of Mankind! The Maker , The creator, the Fashioner of everything that exists of this Earth.

Look around and see His signs. Understand His Mercy. Feel His blessings in your own life. Know His Book- The Qur’an. Contemplate at the beauty of the verses. What is it that is expected from us as Humans- the beings with free will. Shall we destroy our own dunya, waste this time here and be doomed forever? Is there really no ultimate purpose our existence? Ponder.. for indeed He has given us his Ayahs (verses, evidences and signs) to ponder…

May Allah ease the affairs of the Ummah and increase us in knowledge and imaan.

114:1

قُلْ أَعُوذُ بِرَبِّ النَّاسِ –

Say, “I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind,

114:2

 

مَلِكِ النَّاسِ –

The Sovereign of mankind.

The God of mankind,
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Excerpts from my life

Marriage Market

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

The wedding trends these days are disturbing. I live in a city dominated by Muslim population. However, extravagant weddings are not a rare sight. Often, during the “wedding season”, we find decorated wedding lawns, burstling with crowd and loud music. More to dismay, we find bearded men and abaya cladded women walking in and out of the premises.

 “If someone should come to you whose religion and character you are pleased with, marry (your daughter) off to him. If you do not do so, there will be mischief in the land and widespread corruption” [At-Tirmidhee (1085)]

It is common that we are told by mothers and sisters to update them if we have a suitable match in sight. On a personal level, I do not mind and often I do exchange references of good muslims. In many cases, it is surprising, that people reject profiles merely by seeing the picture. The deen and character is not even enquired or considered. A fat, dark, poor and short person will stand no chance, no matter how good her/ his character is.

 

There is this one mother, who has demanded that she wants only a doctor or an engineer from IIT for her daughter. That is because her daughter deserves no less. She is the topper of her department, she is beautiful and from a good background. So, these are the factors which make her a top class girl (not her deen) and a deserving candidate for a top class boy (not deeni boy)

It is disheartening. Is it just a textual thing today? To look for a spouse based on deen? Religious people are not considered “worthy” at all. I wonder what Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam) saw in Ali (radiallahu anhu) to marry off his daughter to him. Perhaps people of this age would prefer an Abu Lahab.

The story of practising people is no different. Practising brothers reject sisters profile because their mothers did not find them pretty enough. or because their mothers want them to marry in same caste (reverts are a banned commodity). When will we learn to take a stand for haqq?

 

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

If they (parents) say to him: Do not eat this food, do not eat meat, do not eat rice, do not eat a certain thing – and it is something that he wants to eat – then he is not obliged to obey them in that, because it does not serve any interest for them, and it is harmful for him because it causes him to miss out on something that he likes.

End quote from Liqa’ al-Baab al-Maftooh (49/6)

It still amazes me with what ease people leave pious people with the knowledge that they are rare. The criteria of being a good muslim today is one who prays five times a day. Anyone who does just that is considered super practising. His aqeedah, his ‘Ilm, Sunnah, ‘Adab and ‘Akhlaq are irrelevant. We watch Televisions, listen to music, lie with ease, clean shave ourselves, keep our women without hijab and then we pray. Therefore, we are very practising

 

On the other hand I have had religious and pious sisters reject pious brother because the brother earned less than “xyz”lakh per annum. They have a minimum slab which males have to cross. Allow me to clarify that I do not expect rich girls to marry someone bankrupt. But rejecting young educated men who have begun their careers a few years back and In Sha Allah seem worthy to make more money in future, I find it futile. Females are seeking in their grooms status which their fathers achieved at 50 years of age. Even in these cases, if the girls are fine with it, many a times parents are not.

Other than that, of course we see people rejecting each other because he is too fat, he is too short, beard is too long, she is too skinny, her nose is too big, she is too educated, she does not speak fluent English, she is not fit for our family etc.

He does not have a beard, he does not wear pants above ankles, she has not memorised enough surahs, he does not pray Sunnah, his income is haram, she does not proper hijab as Allah says, he does not lower his gaze.. these are never reasons I have heard for rejecting anyone. Rather such prospects are picked first from the market

What is wrong with the ummah? Why are we forgetting the story of Musab bin Umayr. How he withstood the pressure of his family for haqq..  It is never easy to choose Islam over everything else .There will be many occasions that will require us to compromise a bit on deen to please others. First society and then parents. Sadly, when it comes to marriage we consider their wrong preferences over the pleasure of Allah.

 

The result?

 

“…….If you do not do so, there will be mischief in the land and widespread corruption

As warned in the above hadith, Muslims today are frivolously looking at profiles after profiles as if searching for a car for their children. Just how people unaware of Islam and who do not recognise Allah search- based on looks, background and status. After this, if the prospect is religious then Ma Sha Allah, Alhamdulillah. How many religious muslims do we see today marrying the first religious alliance that comes across? Okay, let us give a concession. How many marry from amongst the first five?

Young muslims are unmarried until thirties and forties. Bad marriages have become so common. Women are reduced to maids and nannys whilst men are reduced to money minting machine. People no more exist as servants of Allah post marriage. No time for religion. No time to gain ‘ilm. No time to do any good for the ummah. A monotonous system that has been framed by the society and thus, being abided by.

Zina has become easy. Nikah has become so difficult.

Recently, the mother of an eighteen year old messaged me that she is worried for her son. He is about to join college this fall and she is worried what if he falls into any fitnah. At a time when there is open invitation for zina, it is a genuine concern. We discussed giving books and talking it out etc. When I mentioned this to my husband, his immediate response was, ask her to get him married before joining college.

I was amazed at the simplicity of the solution. Why not open doors to nikah and shut the door to zina for our youngsters forever. I told this to her, she agreed Islam is perfect in all ways. However, I am not sure how many of us would like to implement this for our children,

We have forgotten the main purpose of this Sunnah. We forget that we are choosing a companion whose character greatly affects our life in hereafter. We forget what being “coolness of eyes” means. That is where we make the major mistake for the next few decades of our lives and sometimes there is no turning back.

May Allah give us hearts to obey his commands. May He give us beneficial knowledge and keep us on siratal mustaqeem. May He help us obey Him and love Him the most. May He protect us from the fitnah of this world and make our spouse the coolness of our eyes.

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Excerpts from my life

The Perfect Tea

Almost every Sunday we have our Tarbiyah study circle. We are a group of women who study tafseer, hadith, authentic books , Arabic etc. That requires us to spend a good four hours in the classroom.

The aunty who hosts us every weekend at her place is very kind to serve us tea and snacks every time we are in our learning process.

It was the same that day. The tea arrived and the tray was circulated amongst us. We gladly took our cup and sipped into glory……. Only to realise there was no sugar.

Tea in India is a glorious drink. It has water mixed with milk, sugar and tea leaves boiled cumbersomely until it drains the leaves off all its goodness. Sometimes it has spices in it to enhance the flavor. Miscalculation in any of the above can lead to serious disappointments to tea addicts. That, is a huge portion of Indian population. My parents and husband, both cannot do without their daily two cuppaa! May Allah bless them.

I watched the expressions change. Silent expressions and confusion. Frowns, pursed lips, shrugged shoulders, raised cups hinting what was to be done. Suddenly we hear a poised firm voice -” what an amazing cup of tea isn’t it?”, and sips on with passion

Another quickly backs, “indeed it is delicious and so healthy”
-“white sugar is the poison of the century “, says another. ,” we must now start drinking this tea only. Beautiful ”

The tension suddenly eased. Everyone was smiling and giggling. And everyone continued to sip their cuppa with ease and happiness. Indeed we were reminded of another sunnah

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, would never complain about food. If he desired something, he would eat it. If he disliked it, he would leave it.

Sahih Muslim 2064, Bukhari 3370

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my journey as a revert muslimah, Random

Nine Things We Need to Work on

I wanted to name this post as reverts versus bornos, then I realised it was never a competition. However, observing certains trends in Muslim society disturb me. Viewing from outside, I assumed only illiterate or poor muslims did not practise Islam as it should be. It was a misconception. Stepping into their society, I realise that the privileged ones are no better.

They like to term themselves as moderate Muslims. Basically, they choose few commands of Allah over others to suit themselves. I wonder what they wish to express by terming their way of practising Islam as moderate. Are they saying that Allah erred in codifying the shari’a or the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam) was shortsighted to not  know that Islam would be too much for Muslims today. Nauzubillah. May we be forgiven for such grave errors.

I came across a beautiful definition of moderation in religion by Shaykh Uthaymeen (Rahimullah). He said, “Extremism, leniency and moderation, all the three relate back to the Shari’ah (law of Allah), so whatever is compliant to the Shariah is the moderate-balanced path, and whatever goes beyond it is exaggeration, and whatever reduced from it is leniency. So the criterion for all of these is the Shariah, and the meaning of al-e’itedaal (moderation) is conformance to the Shar’iah, whatever is according to the Shar’iah is (the path of) e’tidaal” [Fatawa Ulama balad al-Haram p.211]

This will make it easier for us to now classify ourselves into leniant and moderate muslims. In sha Allah.

Let us list a few things we have observed in leniant muslims, that they need to take more seriously:

  • Purdah: It always tops my list. My revert friends struggle for hijab. They look for every opportunity they can adorn the hijab, cover themselves up and walk with honor. I know of women who do not meet their cousins without their hijab. However, majority muslim women born into muslim households do not do hijab. It is sad. They forget the privilege Allah gave them. Society, culture, parents, husband, children etc etc etc. Shayateen will always give us reasons why we cannot do it. However, for a true muslim one reason is enough, “The pleasure of Allah”. There is always an excuse of being “good muslims from within”. However, there is no rotten tomato that is sweet from within. Even the ones who observe hijab, compromise. They meet neighbors, servants or extended family non-mahrams freely without hijab. Some even marry the “brother like” non-mahram. Gasp

 

  • Gaining ilm: Most women limit their lives to cooking, cleaning and running behind kids. Only to be doing exactly the same 20 years later. Whether they are high school educated, graduates or post graduates. They do not want to do any better. The role of islam in their lives in limited to 5 salahs and fasting in Ramadan. The Quran in their homes are for the old to recite or perhaps we recite it now and then too. But what about opening it and knowing the meaning of what Allah revealed? What about knowing the tafseer, doing hifdh, reading scholarly opinion about matters that affect us? How will we learn hadith? Is there no ambition in our lives at all to know Allah, get closer to Him and become His favorite? We assume that we know Allah. But the fact is majority of us die without having clear concept of Tawheed even. We think we know tawheed but if I ask you the classification of tawheed and how common men err in it thereby entering into shirk, most won’t be able to comprehend an example beyond grave worship and amulets. There are people who spent ages in just understanding a single concept of deen and here we are so casual about it. Where do we stand in our race to earn Jannah? Are we even trying for it?
    We are so full of bid’ahs like Quran khwani, reading quran for the dead (Quran bakshna), Chaliswa of the dead, Fateha, Shab-e-baraat etc. Not once in our life did we try to learn what worship (ibadah) in real sense is in islam. We are following Islam like cattle without any knowledge.
  • Preparing Children to be dear to Allah: We prefer sending our kids to western schools rather than islamic schools. No, I am not speaking of the traditional madressah system which confines outlook of children making them devoid of wordly knowledge. Both are important. However, today there are modern islamic schools or even classes to impart true authentic knowledge in an updated fashion.

    None of us aim at sending our children to Medina to become scholars. That is not even a remotely considered idea. We treat kids as an investment for dunya. It is our foolishness. They can be a great investment for akhirah. Only if we give them correct ilm, which they will not get amply from the maulana who comes to your home and teaches them to recite Quran without correct tajweed even. Oh yea! I see most reverts striving to learn tajweed and many bornos have even forgotten to recite Quran fluently
    We will not give them good books to clear then aqeedah, we will not make them aware of prophets and their stories..but they will know everything about fictional stories. We work so hard to make them fit and pleasing for the world and equally displeasing for Allah.

  •  Working on Simplicity: We are so desperate to be recognized as someone superior. Our complete focus is on good clothes, furniture, car, fancy restaurants, holidays etc. On one hand there  are those who give away every bit only to follow tawheed. The reputation, society, degree, profession, money and sometimes their names are tossed away simply for the sake of Allah. Then there are  people finding it hard to stop listening to music, celebrating birthdays, watching movies, wearing revealing clothes ….these are such simple things to stop. Most reverts stopped it the day they came to know these are haram. Why does it take years?
  • Choosing righteous spouse: This is something that has kept me in awe. Especially when it comes to daughters. Most reverts wait for years, despite being severely reprimanded by family, for a righteous spouse. Deen is something they do not compromise on. Some girls reach their 30s but do not prefer anyone less in deen. However, when it comes to people born into deen, it is sad that parents choose their spouses based on color, caste, creed, wealth and religion. Even when the kids do want to marry righteous spouse, but they are in hope of some miracle that they will find someone great in deen as well as satisfying all the criterion of their family. Sometimes girls are married off to someone way lesser in deen but good in all other aspects. What we do not realise is that perhaps they secured their kid’s dunya (in sha allah) but that marriage will not help them much in akhirah. Why can we not choose spouses who will open doors to jannah for our offspring?
  • Balance deen and dunya: People go for extremes. It is a wrong notion that if we gain ilm, follow the commands of Allah, work for deen then we will lag behind in wordly aspects. You can be rich, successful in profession and be very good in deen at the same time. You can be highly educated, smart, beautiful, modest and kind at the same time. Neither is an option against the other. Why are we so desperate to seek recognition through haram means? Do we not trust Allah that He is the One who grants us rizq and success? So how can we be successful by shunning his commands? Indeed he is the biggest loser who thinks he is progressive by sidelining Islam. Instead, we must wonder whether all the success and wealth so attained will be a reason for us to enter fire. Will our families, homes, society, or wealth be willing to shield us on the day of Judgment? Do they even have the capacity to? Will we have the audacity to give them as an excuse for disobeying our Master?
  • Blind following: Most of us consider Islam to be an outdated religion. Whereas it is quite contrary. Sadly, we take Islam from people who do not even belong to the religion. We assume an islamic lifestyle to be confined and seek liberty in ways that Allah does not appreciate.  We neglect the role of women in redefining the society. The foundation and revolution that women create. Their role is limited to kitty parties and spending money. Everything that leads to decrease in IQs. Just because most do not make money. The role assigned to women by Allah is larger than this. More than what we can imagine. Muslim women are expected to be intelligent, well read, sharp and active. We choose to be dull women whose spare time is spent watching serials, or sleeping. Everything but reading and imparting knowledge. How will we find peace and liberty in Islam, when never in our life did we try to understand and study it as a subject?
    What do we gain in the end? Amidst all the happiness, when our life in dunya is on closure, we feel scared of death. We waste decades that could have been used for our benefits.
  • Mutual respect and Peace: There is this weird aggression in many of us. Tolerance is zero. In small matters we pick up brawls, start gossiping about people who offended us, try to make lives miserable, and do everything except keeping love for Allahs sake a preference. We expect everyone to treat us superior to them. Marry when we want, attend programs that we want, run around for errands for us, never say a no to us, always have time for us, always receive our calls, be quiet when we in argument, and listen to our allegations quietly.
  • Not being scared: why are we so scared? So scared to be recognised as muslims. So scared to speak the truth. Scared of taking a stand for the sake of Allah. Scared to choose haqq over baatil. So scared of telling a phrase about Islam to make people aware. Why do we not have tawakkul on Allah? That He is The Mightiest and it is He who protects us. It is He with whose permission can harm be inflicted upon us or be prevented. Why is jannah and jahannam such an abstract term for us? Allah, angels, qadr, akhirah…why is our imaan not firm on these things? It again comes back to the fact that we have not read and learnt enough about it. How will we feel anything about something we do not know about? And how will we know about anyone without learning about Him? We suffer from complexes. Inferiority complex. Thus, the constant effort to prove oneself “normal”.

Remember, Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Islam began as something strange and will revert to being strange as it began, so give glad tidings to the strangers.” [Sahih Muslim, 145]

So, do you find yourself a stranger or one amongst many?

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