SEEKING THE QIBLA Q2.144

I have a lousy sense of direction, and that is putting it mildly. My parents relocated to another house while I was in the University and to date, I cannot find my way to the house on my own. Yeah, it’s that bad. But I know there has got to be people worse than me.

I haven’t held a compass before so I don’t think I will understand how to use it to find the Qibla. When I get to strange places, I often ask around and fortunately get someone to point me in the right direction. When they can’t, I try to calculate the general direction of the Ka’aba and face that direction. Allah knows best!
hajj-pilgrimage
The Qibla was formerly in the direction of the masjid at Jerusalem before it was changed to the Masjid-l-Haram in the second year of Hijra (624AD) and since then, it is incumbent on us to seek and face it for our daily prayers.

Being that it is a duty on us to try to seek the Qibla since it is one of the prerequisite for salat, I have observed and read up on some stuff lately which may help the geographically challenged like me.

1. In Nigeria, and West Africa in general, we should face the North-North East but that is useful only when you know where the North is. The Sun rises from the East and sets in the West. With the right hand pointing to the East and the left pointing to the West, we face North. Surely, you can deduce the NE from there. It is between the North and the North East. At least, that’s the general direction of the Masjid-l-Haraam. If you know how to use a compass, good luck.

2. In urban areas, the ubiquitous DSTV satellite dish points toward the general direction of the Qibla. It’s not accurate but at
least, it gives me an idea.

3. Technology via the use of various apps. I haven’t tried any but maybe you can recommend those which have worked for you in the comment section.
Any other tips?

May Allah guide us to what is right and help us to worship Him in the best of ways

WEEKDAY CHALLENGE: BARE FEET

Have you had the luxury of walking without shoes? Yeah, I said luxury because sometimes, the best things in life are free and right under our noses but we do not see them.

You should try it. Remove your shoes and walk on the cool tiles in your home or on the patio. If you’ve got a lawn or garden, try to walk on them unshod. Allow your feet sink into the soft padding of the grass and relish the tickly sensation.

I know this may feel alien to you and all the hair on your neck may stand up in fear that you are going to step on a reptile or bug but try it anyway! Your OCD may kick against getting your feet dirty; ignore it!


If you’ve got access to a beach, after work/school/picking the kids from school, you may want to go to the shore and remove your flip-flops. Burrow your feet into the cool, soft squishy sand with the wind in your face.

Exhilarating and liberating!

Alright! Go to a pool and sit down at the edge with your feet in the water if you cannot attempt the above.

You really should try it today or sometime during the weekend 
And remember to share your experience here.

Enjoy!

Caveat: If you step on a nail or sharp object…get yourself treated. At least, you can console yourself that you tried!

LEGACY Q35.18

I had a young male patient who had been abusing recreational drugs and alcohol but was admitted on account of unrelated issues. During his admission, he lamented that his father caused his predicament. I asked why and he said his father was wealthy but stingy.

This was a man in his mid-twenties and I saw no reason why such a young man would be eyeing his father’s wealth balefully. Weren’t his mates responsible for their education, rent, feeding, clothing and perhaps, younger ones? Whatever little sympathy I had for him evaporated when I met the said thrifty dad who was a septuagenarian pensioner- who, by the way, described his son as a profligate.

While I am not a member of the family and can hardly be expected to make a conclusive judgement, I wondered if I would be willing to give more money to a child who appeared to squander it on recreational drugs and alcohol. I don’t think so. I feel we the youth feel too entitled. We want everything to be handed to us on a platter of gold without even lifting a finger.

Growing up, my dad always drummed it into our ears that he was not going to leave anything in his will for us. His legacy to us was a sound education. His boys should be ready to leave his house and fend for themselves once they attained 25.

When he passed away, none of us, our step-mums or our half-siblings quarrelled about his property. We didn’t expect him to have left anything anyway. I guess it seems strict but I never really felt so. What I took from it was that my father’s money was his (and his prerogative to spend as he wished); I had to complete my education and make mine.

He will have to account, on his own, for how he spent the money entrusted to him by Allah and I will have to do so for myself too.

If our parents have given us love, food and shelter, proper upbringing (tarbiyyah) and sound Islamic and secular education, we should stop expecting more favours but instead, work hard and rely on Allah. He is Self-sufficient enough to take us where we intend to go, if we are ready to work for it. The Aakhirah is the most worthy pursuit we can ever wish for.

Besides, one is rarely careful (or wise) in spending the easy big bucks one did not work for.

TRIAL OF BLESSINGS Q6.165

I went for an interview on Friday and wrote an aptitude test. After marking the script, one of the interviewers beamed and told me I have a high IQ. I had never written an IQ test so I was hearing this for the first time.

On my way home, I kept mulling over the words. What did it mean to have a high IQ? How high was mine, anyway? What did it matter? There were less intelligent people I knew who attain worldly success better than the more intelligent; less intelligent people who were happier and had more fulfilled lives. Nerds make mistakes, plenty of them. For everything we know, we are unaware of much more.

What advantages did it confer on me? I really did not know. So much for having a high IQ.

There is a strong tendency to work less hard because one thinks he has an edge over others. I observed this a lot in medical school. This erroneous belief led to the downfall of many an intelligent student. The industrious ones came from behind and stole their spotlight. Remember the story of The Hare and The Tortoise? Some spend an unusual amount of time to keep up with the appearance of being well-informed and snub those who they perceive to be dullards.


Having a high IQ may be good and confer favours upon one, like having wealthy parents or possessing good looks; but it is not everything. It is merely a foundation to build upon to create a strong personality and a fulfilling future. It does not exonerate us from being kind, humble, courteous, religious/spiritual, friendly, decent or industrious; instead, these qualities should be expected more from us by virtue of our supposed knowledge. Indeed, not every talent can be measured via the IQ test but that doesn’t preclude the existence of the talent.

Every thing we have can also be used against us, as well as for us. We will be called to account for how we used the gifts Allah had blessed us with, not because we deserve them but because, He wants to see how we use them. Will you want to be found wanting?

DO AS I DO Q2.44

My biggest challenge as a parent is setting the right example for my children. Getting up for ablution once the adhaan (call to prayer) is made so they can link the adhaan with prayer; meticulously performing wudhu so they learn not to rush through the motions; garbing up properly so they understand they should also cover their awrah; then calmly performing salaah and refusing to be distracted by them.
do as i do
But that’s not all. I have to watch what I eat, how I eat it, start with Bismillah and end with Alhamdulillah even if I didn’t use to; reduce my attention to the media, phones, gadgets and increase eye contact; keeping my word; courtesy and manners; hygiene; being active physically and mentally; conversing in my native dialect more frequently; what I watch on TV and listen to on the car radio or play on the CD; adhkaar, adhkaar and more adhkaar

“What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you say.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Phew! All these little acts go a long way in moulding them even before I am aware. The more consistently they see these acts (and consistency is difficult unless it is already a habit), the easier it is for them to assimilate like the sponges they are. Our children want to be just like us when they grow up (and they know better than to replicate us). We catch glimpses of ourselves in them when they walk, talk, laugh, sleep…

Who we are is a collage of subconscious habits and we often get shocked when we see our mini-me’s mimic our words, actions and mannerisms. And of course, they do not discriminate in what they learn; even though they even seem to have a greater inclination toward imbibing negative traits!

Do not make your child, nephew, niece or neighbour’s child blame you for the vices (s)he later develops in life simply from watching you as ‘He who guides to a good deed is like the doer.’ Just as you would receive good tidings for the good acts you guide them to later in life, so would you receive your share from the sins you inspired them to commit. You may also be punished for advising them to good while you do otherwise.

Most importantly, rather than dissuade them from being better Muslims, let us encourage them to be better because, who knows? They may be our reason for being admitted into Paradise.

BURNOUT Q5.54

We are all converts/reverts at a point in our lives. We may have had the good fortune of being born into practising Muslim families or the luck of being born into a liberal, relaxed Muslim home, either way, we reach a point in our lives when we ‘choose’ to follow the Path of Allah and His Rasul(SAW). If we haven’t attained such a stage yet, we should strive to become committed and practising Muslims.

When we choose to follow the rules of Islam (whether as reverts or secondary reverts), we are sometimes met with stiff opposition from our families who may not condone our new dressing or behaviour, or we could be met with derision at every step of the way by ‘more-knowledgeable sisters’ at the masjid or study circles. One thing is certain; Shaytan will be there to discourage our progress through people who will place stumbling blocks in our way.

These people will constrain us with their own verdicts and make the religion burdensome, they will expect our iman to reach peak levels in an instant; pray the 5 daily prayers and their accompanying nafl, witr and tahajjud everyday, and fast the whole of Ramadan, Mondays and Thursdays and the white days, commence the niqab, grow a beard, shorten our trousers, begin da’awah, and Islamic classes, memorise the Qur’an, learn Arabic all in an instant. How intimidating this itinerary is for a born Muslim not to talk of a revert!

These actions are laudable but whoever embarks on his journey this way will inevitably burnout and lose hope. Worst-case scenario is he leaves the religion, feeling it too extreme.
burnout
When the Prophet came with Islam, he did not begin to brand everything haram, he began gradually. Even Allah did not impose Islam that way. The commandment of hijab and jihad was in stages, banning alcoholism was likewise (Q2.219 abrogated by Q5.90).

While the pressures to be a better Muslim keep mounting, we should pace ourselves. We cannot go as fast as some others we know but we should have the intention to be better and take active steps toward it. Allah will reward the effort and our sincere intention. He sees all that is in our hearts. If we turn our backs on Islam, we will only have ourselves to blame. ‘Never fear the blame of the blamers.’

On the other hand, those of us who seek to ‘encourage’ the reverts and born Muslims should do so with manners, humility, empathy and care, like true believers. We should show them concern, listen to them and allay their fears. Allow them pick a pace and stick with it. Let us not overburden them or deride their efforts. I know sometimes, the pushing helps but we should reduce it to a nudge instead to prevent them from leaving the Path altogether.

Abdullah ibn Amr narrated that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) was informed that I had said, ‘By Allah, I will fast all the days and pray all the nights as long as I shall live’….He said: You cannot do that so fast sometimes and do not fast sometimes. Pray and sleep. Fast for three days a month for the reward of a good deed is multiplied by 10 and so the fasting of 3days every month equals fasting the whole year. I said, ‘I can do more than that.’… Then he said: Fast on alternate days. And this was the fasting of David which is the most moderate sort of fasting. I said, ‘I can do more than that.’ He said: There is nothing better than that.- Sahih al-Bukhari 3418

According to another narration,

the Prophet said: Don’t do that. Observe fast for a few days then leave off for a few days. Perform prayers and sleep at night, as your body has a right upon you, and your eyes have a right upon you, and your wife has a right upon you and your visitors have a right upon you. – Riyadus Saliheen Book 1 Hadith 150

Eid-ul adha Q5.03, Q37.102-7

Eid mubarakum, beautiful people!


I miss the Eid of my childhood – don’t we all? It used to be a yearly gathering of our extended family, parents’ friends and a few of our friends too.

We would awake early in the morning, excited and euphoric; with the aroma of outdoor cooking wafting into our room. We would bathe hastily, put on our specially tailored wears for the Eid and go for the prayers (often forgetting to perform ablution from home, in our exhilaration). Gawking at all the beautiful clothing on various people, we would chat animatedly about how the day would be. My parents would give us some money to give in charity at the Eid ground. After the prayers, we would return home to lots of cooking in an aroma-filled house.

When the goat/ram/cow is slaughtered, we would report for duty as the errand boys and girls and rush to deliver chunks of raw meat to neighbours – both near and far. Why did we hurry to do this? We received money or goodies in return for a message well-delivered from the recipient!

Our house would be filled with joy, laughter, wood smoke, fried meat, food: amala and ewedu, jollof rice, rice with delicious stew and huge pieces of meat. At the end of the day, our feet would ache like mad, we would be exhausted and the house would be a mess…I miss those times!

It is now my turn to create memories for my family. I hope I’ll do a good job in sha Allah.

Anyway, it’s going to be a busy day so I will keep it short and bulleted. Here are some things to note:

Eid al-Adha (also Day of Nahr) extends from after Eid prayer to 3days after it and ends at sunset on the 13th of Dhul Hijjah
• No ram fights! The animal to be slaughtered should not be a sick, immature animal and should possess no defects; procured lawfully. Recite bismillah and use sharp knife. Read Q5:03

A’isha (R.A) reported that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) commanded that a ram with black legs, black belly and black (circles) round the eyes should be brought to him, so that he should sacrifice it. He said to ‘A’isha: Give me the large knife, and then said: Sharpen it on a stone. She did that. He then took it (the knife) and then the ram; he placed it on the ground and then sacrificed it, saying: Bismillah, Allahumma taqabbal min Muhammad wa aali Muhammad, wa min Ummati Muhammad (In the name of Allah. O Allah, accept (this sacrifice) on behalf of Muhammad and the family of Muhammad and the Ummah of Muhammad). -Sahih Muslim 1967

• For Eid al-Adha, it is mustahabb (preferred) not to eat anything until one comes back from the prayer, so he should eat from the udhiyah if he has offered a sacrifice.
Ghusl: This should be done before going to the Eid prayer ground
• Dress up in your finest. Use of perfume for men
• Everyone should attend the Eid salaah, even menstruating women.
• Go one way, return the other

Abu Hurairah narrated:
“When Allah’s Messenger would go out on the day of Eid by one route, he would return by another.” Sahih hadith from Jami` at-Tirmidhi 541

image credit: http://i.huffpost.com

image credit: http://i.huffpost.com


Narrated Al-Bara': The Prophet (SAW) went towards Al-Baqi (the graveyard at Medina) on the day of Eid al-Adha and offered a two-rakah prayer (of Eid) and then faced us and said: On this day of ours, our first act of worship is the offering of prayer and then we will return and slaughter the sacrifice; and whoever does this conforms with our Sunnah; and whoever slaughtered his sacrifice before that (i.e. before the prayer), then that was a thing which he prepared earlier for his family and it would not be considered as a nusuk (sacrifice).
A man stood up and said, ‘O, Messenger of Allah (SAW)! I slaughtered (the animal before the prayer) but I have a young she-goat which is better than an older sheep.’ The Prophet (SAW) said to him: Slaughter it but a similar sacrifice will not be sufficient for anybody else after you.’ -Sahih al-Bukhari 976

• Cut hair and nails after udhiya
• Enjoy the celebration with family and friends
• Most importantly, save a chunk of your udhiya for me!

So, share. What are your childhood memories of Eid al-Adha?