Narrated Abu Musa (R.A.):

The Prophet (SAW) said, “Set the captives free, accept the invitation (to a wedding banquet), and visit the patients.” –  : Sahih al-Bukhari 5174

Although I work in the hospital, I hate staying long when I visit patients (unless they would rather I stayed). I worry that I am burdening the patient with my stay and would rather pop in and out. I am also uncomfortable staying long at people’s houses for a visit. It feels like extending my handshake to the elbow. As a woman, I am aware of the hoops women jump through to make their guests comfortable at their own expense and it seems unfair to take full advantage of that.

We should not visit people unannounced unless we are extremely familiar with them. There is really no excuse why anyone will suddenly drop by in this era of cell-phones, free emails, text messages and instant messaging. This will give your host time to prepare and possibly purchase or cook/bake what to host you with. Not all homes are fully-stocked 24/7.

cookies and milk

image credit:

As much as is possible, a non-mahram male should not spend the night in the house of a couple. It inconveniences the woman who has to observe her hijab in your presence. Personally, I cannot do without my hijab outdoors but once I am indoors, I toss it fast! A woman’s home is her sanctuary, somewhere she can let her hair down and dress down. You ruin this tranquility for her particularly when you prolong your stay; her only reprieve in her bedroom. Between the tropical temperature and special times like breastfeeding, her hospitality can quickly become hostility.

Fellow women who travel for visits with their toddlers need to be mindful of them. We should not leave them to run amok, destroy appliances, break dishes, defecate or urinate indiscriminately, and leave food crumbs in their trail. ‘They are just kids!’ No. Pick up after your children and caution them when necessary.

We should also endeavour not to make a nuisance of ourselves by staying out late, disrupting the peace in the house by playing loud music or having noisy friends over. Destroying property in their houses is also a big no-no.

Narrated Abu Shuraih Al-Ka’bi quoted Allah’s Messenger (SAW) as saying: Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should serve his guest generously. The guest’s reward is to provide him with a superior type of food for a night and a day and a guest is to be entertained with food for three days, and whatever is offered beyond that is regarded as charity. And it is not lawful for a guest to stay with the host for such a long period so as to put him in a critical position. – Sahih Bukhari 6135

Also try to involve yourself in helping around the house and following the house rules. Take your dish to the kitchen and wash it, preferably. Clean up after yourself and make your bed. Assist by taking the children off their parents’ hands by playing with them or helping with their homework.

Do not pry into their affairs particularly if they are a couple and unless your advice is sought, or it is absolutely necessary, keep most of your thoughts to yourself. Do not take sides without listening to both sides of the story.

When preparing to leave, inform your hosts ahead of time so they can accommodate dropping you off at the airport or car park, into their plans.

Also noteworthy is that we should not convert our observations to gossip and tales by moonlight for our family members and friends. ‘Do you know the couple sleep in separate rooms? They must have quarrelled more than 5 times in the few days we were there!’

As the hosts/hostesses, we are duty-bound to treat our guests kindly. Having snacks, some juice or cake handy can save us embarrassment when friends pop in unannounced. We should be patient and accommodating and try to involve our guests in our activities. Time should be set aside daily to converse with them no matter how tight our schedule is.

We should also discuss when would be convenient for a reciprocal visit. No responsible individual wants to be the perpetual visitor. Make an effort to return the visit to keep the ball rolling.

And when they leave, we should see them to the door (or gate / bus terminal/train station/ airport) and let’s try not to make our relief obvious! ;)



My son has begun his life’s sojourn into formal Islamic education. We used to take a few lessons on the Arabic alphabets and a few short surahs (Chapters of the Holy Qur’an) but we also wanted him to interact with more Muslims in a classroom. They do tend to learn faster that way and it is more consistent.

During his first week, I felt separation anxiety every time I dropped him off. It was weird because I thought I was over that since he started regular school a couple of years ago. I would walk him to the gate or classroom where he would wave solemnly and turn to enter and my smile would falter. Immediately I returned to pick him, promptly at the closing time, I would grill him about how the class went; if he made new friends; if anyone fought with him or beat him, but he would be all smiles. Running ahead of me excitedly, he would tell me names of new friends (which I would hurriedly commit to memory) and snippets of how the 2-hour class went. Yeah, I know…a mere two hours!

This reminded me of when I began my Islamic education too. I cannot quite remember my age but I was older than my son is, and I went with my brother. The school was a weekend one and lasted about 4 hours. It was a farther distance from our home than my son’s is and we used to be dropped off in the car but would often walk home when we closed.

I do not have fond memories of this school. I don’t think I ever discussed it with my brother but I was filled with dread whenever it was weekend and we had to go. I know he was too. I was a good student and did not get beaten by my tutor but the matron of the school (who I will call ‘Ma’) scared the hell out of our little minds. Pa, on the other hand, was a gentle soul.

Abu-Darda (R.A.) reported that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “He who follows a path in quest of knowledge, Allah will make the path of Jannah easy to him. The angels lower their wings over the seeker of knowledge, being pleased with what he does. The inhabitants of the heavens and the earth and even the fish in the depth of the oceans seek forgiveness for him. The superiority of the learned man over the devout worshipper is like that of the full moon to the rest of the stars (i.e., in brightness). The learned are the heirs of the Prophets who bequeath neither dinar nor dirham but only that of knowledge; and he who acquires it, has in fact acquired an abundant portion.” – Riyad Saliheen Book 13, Hadith 1388

Yet, Ma attracted such curiosity out of me. I used to peep at her if she performed wudhu beside me. I would surreptitiously try to catch a glimpse of her face when she prayed beside me. She was not Nigerian, I could tell even though she was always in black and all I could see were her hands. Her complexion, her accent and her children’s looks gave her away.

I think I was eight or nine when this family came in quite late. Classes were in progress in an open space (we had long desks and chairs arranged in the compound) so when the group came in, we all looked up, distracted. A man reported one of his daughters (I think?) to Ma and it was a grievous crime that this teenager had committed. Ma ordered for canes and holding her niqab to her face with one hand, she lashed this teenager repeatedly following her around as she tried to escape the burning strokes. The cane broke and she asked for another! It was amazingly scary seeing this rather diminutive niqabi striking a precocious teenager who was even bigger than she was. The cane whipped the student’s hijab off and I saw blood streaks. It was gruesome and we were horrified.

Alhamdulillah, our Islamic school was eventually changed (my parents had begun to hear rumours about the school which probably correlated with our complaints). The new Islamic school was even farther (an hour walk) from home so we were usually dropped off by my mum or we took the bus. This place was so much nicer, run by medical students, and less oppressive. I have fond memories of this place <3. Now, it's my turn to do the dropping off :)

Do you have any memories of your early Islamic education?

May Allah bless our (good) teachers everywhere!

REBEL Q17:23

‘When you are screwing up and nobody says anything to you anymore, that means they have given up on you.’ –Randy Pausch, an American Professor of Computer Science.

The other possibility when nobody talks, is that they are praying for you to fail and bury yourself. Rebelling often occurs in teenage years and young adulthood. It is at that time folks feel you are simply trying to renegade. (Older or younger than that, you are simply thought to be pig-headed and obstinate).

At that age, one tends to have a tech-savvy know-it-all air, filled with the swagger of youthful exuberance coupled with good health and good looks. There is also the impression that the older ones ‘just don’t get it.’

You are right. They just don’t get it; they are materialistic, archaic, annoying. However, it is also possible that they are simply looking out for you and considering your best interests. They are scared you’ll make the same mistakes they made and are lovingly trying to prevent you from making a mess of your life based on their life experiences. Every normal parent wants his child to succeed beyond him.

Most parents have sacrificed immensely for their children and it is sensible to expect to reward them with obedience and kindness. In fact, it is a major sin for a Muslim child to disobey his parents unless they advise him to do something wrong. Through our parents, we can attain Al-Jannah.

Abdullah bin Amr reported: A man said to the Prophet (SAW), ‘I pledge alliance to you for emigration and striving in the way of Allah, seeking reward.’ The Prophet (SAW) said: Are one of your parents living?
He said, ‘Yes, both of them.’ The Prophet (SAW) said, ‘Do you seek reward from Allah?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ The Prophet (SAW) said, ‘Return to your parents and accord them benevolent treatment.’ Sahih Muslim 2549

Try to listen patiently to what they have to say and weigh your options. Neither you nor they know the future but of course you can take precautions. After all has been said and done, you and only you will live with the consequences of your actions; whether you decide to capitulate for the sake of peace or insist on the path you have chosen.

However, never forget that, for most of the part, your parents love you and do not wish you harm. Every time you disobey them, it hurts them. No matter the tension between you, accord them respect. Hopefully, this phase will pass and you will one day, all sit together and laugh about this episode of your lives. In sha Allah.


It can be pretty difficult to follow wise counsel sometimes; have you observed that?

We have Professor XYZ tell us some of the finding he arrived at following extensive research but we don’t buy his argument. Why should we buy his argument when it demands more from us than we are willing to give? Besides, it is not appealing and may not work anyway. However, we did not ask his advice; we are doing fine all by ourselves!

You see, the problem is mainly that we do not like change; most times we really don’t. Even if we do seek counsel, we have our minds made up on our courses of action, consciously or subconsciously. When we seek advice, we are simply thinking aloud or looking for someone to validate our decisions. Very few (often highly introspective people) air their views and seek advice to counter their conclusions and steer them in the right direction. Arguably, they could subconsciously have their minds made up but be looking for someone to hold responsible for their actions.

Sometimes, all people need is to be allowed to hear themselves, listen to their dilemmas and they solve their problems themselves. It is where some psychologists make a ton from ‘doing nothing’ but listening to you talk while often asking insightful questions to help you arrive at your destination. Writing thoughts out on paper or a computer screen may help others to dissect the issue at hand.

For some of us, unfortunately, no matter what anyone says, we will not listen! Unless, it is validating our beliefs and perceptions, it is not worth listening to because our minds will not change. We are so stuck and focussed on our view that, nothing else can be right. Those who share their conflicting thoughts with us earn our enmity. When our minds are closed off to other possibilities, we can have no change, no growth, no improvement. In my experience, arguing with such people is never worth the effort because even when faced with facts, such people will perforate it and taint it until the truth is distorted into mere fabrications.

During the Prophet (SAW)’s time, despite the unlikelihood that he wrote the Qur’an being non-literate, many people did not believe. Many more do not and even more will not believe.

I may be wrong but it seems obvious that more miracles were given the older prophets than the more recent ones because Allah knows that miracles reinforce belief, they do not change a stony heart. In recent times, our hearts are colder and more impenetrable. Miracles may drop our jaws for a split second then we will analyse it to bits and decide (rather flippantly) that though rare, it still is ‘no biggie.’

We watch evil being perpetrated so frequently, it’s no longer a big deal. We’ve heard and seen rape, paedophilia, incest, homosexuality, nudity, pornography, obscene talk, serial killings, beheadings, gruesome murders and the rest. In fact, we may witness all these in a 30-min TV show which we watch every week for 6 months or during a movie marathon during the weekends or weeknights. Nothing can faze us except the ‘Special EFX’ on the Day of Judgement- if that!

Pharoah was so stubborn and still ascribed himself with Allah even when the plagues hit. Witnessing these signs of Allah did not stop him from pursuing the people he had granted freedom into the Red Sea. In the face of such awesome ‘EFX’ like the splitting of the Red Sea, he still took his chance and pursued the people of Moses until he met his demise!

May Allah thaw our hearts with daily miracles we witness. May we be able to look at the sunset and see the beauty of Allah’s Work. May our hearts not be sealed to recognise the presence of Allah in every moment of our lives.


Narrated `Abdullah bin `Umar (RA), the Messenger of Allah(SAW) said, “A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him, nor should he hand him over to an oppressor. Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs; whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection, and whoever screened a Muslim, Allah will screen him on the Day of Resurrection . “- Sahih al-Bukhari 2442

I recently heard of a revert who would refuse to cover her hair and pray when she and her husband had a fight. I found it quite amusing, to put it mildly.

I often admire the bravery of reverts though, and I am easily impressed when they make a little effort because in my humble opinion, Islam is not the easiest of religions to follow especially with increasing global islamophobia.

So, I’ve got a question:

If you were a revert, what aspect(s) of Islam would you find the most difficult to inculcate?

I would love you to share your thoughts so that when next we see a revert striving to be better, we would appreciate them more, encourage them, correct them kindly and be less judgmental.


I had resumed work after taking a day off to renew my medical licence. The day started off on a good note because my patient (now friend) had delivered a baby girl overnight. I hurried to the postnatal ward to rejoice with her when I encountered the nurse on duty. She looked glum so I asked about our client and her baby. I was not prepared for the news I received.

I retraced my steps and asked the nurse to fill me in on the details. I had heard she delivered a baby girl in the early hours of the morning; what did she mean by, ‘We lost the baby’? It hurt twice as much because she had become a friend. I am usually stoic but when I finally went in to see her, my eyes welled up.

My dear friend was strong! She was consoling us not to feel bad, that her daughter was beautiful and had had a full head of hair. My heart shattered into a million pieces as I watched her smile while she comforted us. My dear friend was chockful of faith. Some of the nurses had to leave as they were in tears. This was a patient who had been admitted a couple of times because of a difficult pregnancy only for her not to get to return home with her trophy. Even her parents were in tears.

Abu Hassaan said: ‘I said to Abu Hurayrah: Two of my sons have died. Can you narrate to me any hadith from the Messenger of Allah (SAW) which will console us for our loss? He said: Yes; Their little ones are the little ones (da’aamees) of Paradise. When one of them meets his father – or his parents – he takes hold of his garment – or his hand – as I am taking told of the hem of your garment, and he does not let go until Allah admits him and his father to Paradise’. – Sahih Muslim 2635

Abu Hurairah (RA) reported that a woman came to Allah’s Apostle (SAW) with her child and said: Allah’s Apostle, invoke Allah’s blessing upon him for I have already buried three. He said: You have buried three! She said: Yes. Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: You have, indeed, safeguarded yourself against the torment of Hell with a strong safeguard. Sahih Muslim 2636a

I really doubt that there can be a pain worse than that which a mother feels when she loses her child. Unfortunately, we do not allow mothers dwell on this. Instead, we urge them to move on and not dwell on it. It’s Allah’s Will. It is His Will, alright but they should be given the opportunity to grieve and heal. We should also provide our shoulders for them to cry on; to be available for them to talk, if need be. Here is a useful LINK.

May Allah reward their patience by reuniting them with their children in Al-Jannah.


With feathery steps, she walks the fields
Yearning her babes in the depth of night
She hears them cry – cry in pain
Her breasts are full and seek her twain.

She knows in her heart – knows it well
Her twins are alive. Yes, she can tell!
The doctors say they died at birth
What did they know? Yes, she said so!

Her lips tremble, her eyes glisten,
And tears stream down her cheeks sunken
Her clothes snag, but she presses on
Such love even for the stillborn.

-©Anchor with Keidi
10th October 2007.