GETTING INVOLVED Q3.154, Q64.11-3

As we live, we learn. We lost a patient today.

Sometimes, we keep our distance from people so we do not get bothered or hurt; so they can’t reach us within our shell. We call it ‘professional distance’. We are told to empathize not sympathise but sometimes, we don’t, nay, can’t obey. Sometimes, we wear our hearts on our sleeves and get so involved such that when they eat, we get filled; they drink and our thirst is quenched; they die and a part of us shrivels up. We grieve for them like they are family.
open grave
Other times, our affinity and commitment implodes in our faces. Either way, everyone says, ‘I told you so’. Such situations eventually cause us to harden, develop shells we withdraw into or just go out there to keep getting hurt.

In spite of these setbacks, we should not avoid volunteering, giving care, or helping the cause of Islam. It doesn’t have to be in a hospital, it could be in the mosque, at PTA meetings, in the office. We should keep trying to attain a state of equilibrium, balance and keep seeking Allah’s Favour. Such experiences make us more wholesome because at the end of our journey on earth, our lives must have mattered to someone.

And to medics reading this, the benefits (of saving lives) far outweigh the demerits. It’s not our call to extend life. Allah simply uses us to achieve His Will. We are not to rely on our strengths as the ultimate for we can only do so much. Our trust should be in Allah. We should do our best and leave the rest to Him.

To the rest of us, put yourself out there and serve people for Islam.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raajiun “Surely we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return.”

SEASONS Q6.99, Q27.60

In Nigeria, our seasons are simply 2, not the quad of spring to winter; just wet and dry seasons, for those who don’t know.

Personally, I prefer the wetter of the two, especially when the exhausting heat of March is being shooed away by the deliciously tantalising smell of water on dust and those heavy winds! *sigh* Bliss!

I particularly love being indoors when it rains, relishing the deafening staccato on our aluminium roofs. The howling wind rattling the windows in their frames…the amazing way trees bow in reverence to Allah. Most wonderfully, the rhythm of the rain lulls my littlets to sleep. Weather for two!

If caught outdoors, it’s wonderful to sing/hum/recite Qur’an to yourself while walking calmly while it drizzles. If it is raining really hard, you may even get away with a scream or two! *grin*

After the rain, all the harmattan haze seems to have been washed away and there is this beautiful clarity like everything has been washed clean. The roads seem to glitter and the brown grass seems less depressing. Maybe it’s the promise of green grass (I love green grass!) that makes me so happy but I really do prefer the rains (so long as I don’t get drenched and fall ill; and it doesn’t rain everyday for a month).
rainy-day
Going to our local markets can be terrible with the mud and poor drainage, but seeing the fresh fruits, vibrant colours of veggies…I can’t complain much!
vegetable stand
I do know of the disadvantages of the rains too: laundry doesn’t get dry, our leaky roofs and subsequently smelly rugs, blown-off roofs, the traffic and the flood with its sequelae of homelessness and water-borne diseases.

I am always grateful to Allah we do not have typhoons, tsunamis and hurricanes in Nigeria. We have enough problems to battle with in Naija, abeg!

And I always thank Allah for the roof over our heads. So, enjoy the rain…while it lasts…while you can!
Alhamdulillah!

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TRUE STORY Q2.235, Q4.24-5, Q17.31-2, Q24.3


Narrated ‘Abdullah, I asked the Prophet (SAW), ‘What is the greatest sin in the Sight of Allah?’ He said, ‘That you set up a rival unto Allah though He Alone created you.’ I then asked, ‘What is next?’ He said, ‘To kill your son lest he should share your food with you.’ I asked, ‘What is next?’ He said, ‘To commit illegal sexual intercourse with the wife of your neighbour.’ Sahih Bukhari Book 65, Hadith 4517

I had an encounter with a patient in an IVF (in-vitro fertilization) centre. She had had one-too-many induced abortions for her husband-to-be prior to their marriage. She conceived again just before the wedding but they decided to terminate the pregnancy again because they are Muslims and did not want to ‘give a bad impression of pregnancy outside wedlock.’

Fast-forward to a couple of years later, she is in our clinic seeking to get pregnant. The same husband who was encouraging her to abort earlier and perhaps financing the procedures, was nowhere to be seen. He had fathered a child with another woman, physically and emotionally abuses his wife and does everything within his might to provoke her to leave. She refuses to leave because she is now in her 40’s, still childless with nowhere to go.


If you are in a relationship with a fornicator who is trying to rope you into sin, be rest assured that his fornication will not stop with you. Why rope yourself into such a future? Are you an adulteress too?

Fornication and adultery are sins on their own but exacerbating it with killing the foetus is plainly digging our grave. Times are hard, without a doubt. Nurturing children we are not prepared for can be a daunting challenge but the maxim ‘Prevention is better than cure’ holds sway here too. If prevention fails, know that it is what Allah (SWT) has ordained so let it be.

Abstinence may be hard, particularly with someone you intend to get married to, but Islam has taken various steps to nip premarital intimacy in the bud (hijab, lowering our gazes, avoiding co-mixing and intoxicants, travelling with a mahram, no dating etc). The world may have changed since 1400 years ago but if we make sincere effort and exercise restraint, Allah will strengthen us and make it easier, in sha Allah.

We are much stronger than we imagine.

LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP Q60.12

This, here, is a medical advice. And free too. So let me cut straight to the bone.

A lot of women have had induced abortions, a lot more are contemplating having, and many more will perform them. It is very sad that Muslims are among this group of women. Don’t you dare think it’s just the single women because it is very common amongst married women particularly for the sake of Hajj, subhanallah.

I will start by laying the blame on us parents.
baby-scan-
No one expects you as a parent to encourage your daughter to get knocked up but when she does and you are the one bringing her in to request an abortion, it’s just plain sad and disheartening. It is bad enough that she committed fornication. Worse is that, if she does get knocked up, she wouldn’t dare to tell us about it, indeed, we are often the last to know. Why? Because, they are scared we will judge them instead of help them through the phase.
It is not something to wear as a badge of honour especially if your daughter is a teen but I bet you that, in a couple of years, we will be proud of our grandchild.

In Nigeria, induced abortions are not legal unless the mother’s life is at stake or for other medical reasons. Most doctors who perform this procedure, often called a D&C, MVA or Evacuation, are merely looking for a quick buck. Others who do this are not doctors but other medical personnel who acquired the skill via apprenticeship. Needless to say complications often follow this procedure if done by unskilled hands.

Years later, these ladies flood fertility centres, with their husbands in tow seeking to conceive. Some do get away with repeated abortions and go on to get married and conceive, but how sure are you that your case will be like theirs?

If Allah blesses you with a child, it is never a mistake. It is a beautiful gift irrespective of the timing and whether it is within or outside wedlock.

The best outcomes of such cases I have seen are when the girl is allowed to deliver the baby and continue with her education while her mother helps raise the baby. These girls often go on to become pillars in their families. 2 wrongs don’t make a right. The girl has erred and there is no point in making things worse.

It is really so sad the incidence of premarital sex and adultery even amongst us Muslims. Women are often served the short end of the stick in terms of sexually transmitted infections, tubal blockage, pregnancies and the complications associated with it, so it really confuses me why we allow ourselves fall prey.

I will share a story with you tomorrow in sha Allah.

OPEN BOOK Q2:271, 274

The modest ones amongst us have fallen into the habit of concealing our good deeds. We conceal them so much that the left hand is unaware of the right hand’s activities. Without a doubt, this is good but we forget that we are the first books our children read. In fact, we could be the only Muslim book a non-Muslim may feel inclined to open. But like those diaries with a lock, they cannot access the beauty of our lives because we have locked them out.

While we perform our deeds, we forget to carry our kids along. They do not see us perform ablution and pray. We do not take them to the masjid for fear of them distracting others. They do not see us give alms, fast voluntarily, pay visits to sick relatives and are unaware we pay zakat. Our co-workers do not see us pray, are unaware we fast, have never heard the recitation of the Quran or a nasheed ringtone. So secretive are we of our actions that you would think we were living in the time of the Prophet(SAW) when he had just a handful of persecuted followers. Are we ashamed?

image credit: mereponderizations.wordpress.com

image credit: mereponderizations.wordpress.com


Who knows? Just a glimpse of us in rukoo may be all that’s needed to encourage a co-worker to take that first step toward Islam. That hijab may spark curiosity in your room-mate to try it on. That ablution we performed with our child may be his first memory of you when he is older.

Let us resolve today to leave our books open for others to read so that through us, in sha Allah, they may be guided to what is right.

SENSATIONALISM Q16.96

Have you ever tried to see a highly-placed government official? Have you had the misfortune of being told to wait (which you do for hours) only to be told later that the official is ‘no longer on seat?’ Have you had the bad the bad luck of being scheduled for the next day for the rest of the week and still not seeing the individual? You leave such situations convinced that the only way you can see the person is if they want to see you.
convoy
Have you seen a Presidential convoy: big pilot motorcycles, large intimidating jeeps hurtling by with the final vehicle loaded with soldiers cock-ready pointing their weapons every which way? So much hype! It happens in hospitals too. You go to attend a specialist’s clinic only for him not to show up or he shows up and sees some key patients who just came in, then tells the rest of you to reschedule for the next week or two. Everyone seems to give into the hype too: politicians, clerics, celebrities etc. We are all guilty of making a mountain of a molehill.

At every public function, every dignitary wants to be recognised verbally with an extensive protocol that is typical around these parts. Before a speaker is introduced, he wants his detailed citation read.

Islam is not that way, at least, it shouldn’t be.

Thauban, the freed slave of the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, ‘While I was standing beside the Messenger of Allah, one of the rabbis of the Jews came and said, Peace be on you, O Muhammad. I pushed him backward with a push that he was going to fall. Upon this, he said, ‘Why do you push me?’ I said, ‘Why don’t you say O Messenger of Allah?’ The Jew said, ‘We call him by the name by which he was named by his family.
The Messenger of Allah said: My name is Muhammad with which I was named by my family. And the Jew proceeded to ask his questions which the Prophet answered.

Just Muhammad (SAW) without the frills and bells and whistles. No prefixes or suffixes. No protocol, no bouncers or bodyguards.

Allah has removed all the drama and intermediaries between Him and us. He has cut down on the extensive frills and protocol, pomp and pageantry required to speak to Him. He has made the entire earth a mosque for us to pray. He has made dust or snow permissible for ablution in the absence of water; He has made the Quran easy to remember and included the Hadith to guide us; He made prayers simple and relaxing, reduced them from 50 to 5; given us Lailat Qadr, and the month of Ramadhan and Hajj to cleanse us of sins; explained in clear terms what our purpose on Earth is. How simple Allah has made things! If we need to talk to Him, we only need to call on Him and Him alone. He has even given us special times to have uninterrupted access to Him and He’ll accept our du’a.

The wealthy dodge the less-privileged because they are tired of being curried for favour, they are fed up of being asked for money over and over again, perhaps fearing the exhaustion of their wealth; but Allah delights in our asking and never gets tired of it! Allah Akbar!

We do not need any intermediary between us and Him to help us verify whether or not we will make it to Jannah; we do not need to pay anyone to guarantee our salvation; we do not need anyone to help us talk to Him. The lines are open 24/7, just dial his number at no extra cost. A simple heartfelt du’a is all u need.

GUARD YOUR FLAME Q15.56

Sometimes, we overestimate our strengths and underestimate Iblis’s. We seem to forget he has a single purpose on earth and he has been at this for centuries, nay, millennia. If you had a single job you were doing for years, you would have such a well-oiled system that would be near-perfect so I wonder why we do not consider what a pro Iblis is at his job. He has perfected to an art, the singular purpose to derail us all and ONLY by Allah’s Mercy will we maintain the Right Path.

A dear friend of mine was lamenting at how an environment she found herself eroded her beliefs and due to the number of hypocrites she saw around, she began to slip in Iman. The truth of the matter is there will always be reasons for us to decline in faith, we just have to recognise them for the excuses (whisperings from Shaitan) that they are.

When we decide to wear the niqab or the hijab (or lengthen it) or keep a beard or shorten our trousers, fast Mondays and Thursdays, Shaitan is there trying to belittle our efforts. He’s uncomfortable with our desire to improve and whispers our inadequacies to us. We still tell lies, gossip, get angry. We are still irregular and tardy in our 5 daily prayers. We have failed to keep up with our resolutions to read the Qur’an daily, give charity, pray in the mosque and give da’awah hence we are unqualified to seek to be better Muslims. Besides, what are we worried about? Others are doing the same as we are, even worse. The sad part is we believe and despair, immobilised into inactivity by the weight of our sins. And Shaitan is never in a hurry because he knows he has more time than we do.
Flickering flame
I remember in the University, I moaned to a sister about my dwindling salaah and she told me something I haven’t been able to forget. The fact that I worried about the paucity of my salaah showed that I had iman. How true. Iman is never consistent; it ebbs and flows like the tide and the very fact that we are Muslims means we will always have to persist in nurturing it. It’s like the flickering of a candle flame. On windy days, it will flicker so weakly we may need to cup our palms around it, other days it will burn steadily and illuminate the entire room. We should never despair, give up and leave the wind to snuff out our flame. Allah is always Merciful, alhamdulillah!

We can never and will never be perfect. If we wait for that level of perfection in ourselves, we won’t accomplish a single thing. The key is to recognise the excuses as whisperings of Shaitan, keep our heads down and keep forging ahead. Insha Allah, one day we will lift our eyes to look around us and marvel at how far we’ve come, with Allah’s Help.

A WORK IN PROGRESS Q96.1-5

My friend and I set up a Blackberry Group in Ramadhan of 1434AH and we had a couple of challenges initially (different people, different thoughts). As I handled some difficult situations as one of the administrators, I marvelled at who I had become. I had not even seen myself becoming this individual that I had been praying and wishing I could be. I am not there yet but masha Allah, I recognised some changes in myself and others did too. The old me would not have handled the problems as I had, so I was pleased that there was progress, Alhamdulillah!
work-in-progress
I attribute this to the answering of my prayers to Allah to enable me improve daily and to the writing for this blog. Subconsciously, you start becoming like what you preach. You learn more as you write because for you to write, you have to read. When you read, you know; when you know, you want to share.

I urge you to keep reading the Qur’an in a language you understand, continue reading the Arabic Quran too if you know how to, read other Islamic literature including the Ahadith and attempt writing, if you can.

It is amusing how sometimes, we behave like Allah doesn’t know what He’s saying and we know better. We ignore the fact that the first word of the Qur’an was ‘Read!’ Why, of all the words in the languages of the world, would He select that word as the first? It is because He knows its significance. He knows how colourful knowledge makes our world. We should obey that command and read!

Most importantly, reflect on all you read and try to implement those you can. That’s the hard part. Insha Allah, with the right motives, your life will become richer, more tranquil and you will be happier.

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IMAN EBB Q5.93

iman decline
I do not know about men but an ebb in iman is pretty common amongst us women. We complete our period and have difficulty returning to worship. We’ve just finished our post-natal bleeding and have to struggle to fast n pray. During PMS, we simply feel off. Pregnancy and its discomforts discourage us from waking up for Fajr. Pregnancy or breastfeeding may prevent us from enjoying the iman rush of Ramadan. During salaah, we struggle to concentrate and would rather just curl up on the prayer rug and cry or sleep.

We feel hurt by our spouses, in-laws, children, co-workers and simply lose interest. We lose interest in reading the Qur’an and in performing good deeds. We couldn’t care less about properly covering up when a male guest comes in. The kids haven’t prayed yet but are playing football in the yard yet we can’t be bothered to remind them. Heck, we are tired of the scheduled lives we live and couldn’t care less! Sitting on a couch in our pajamas and bingeing on chocolate-chip cookies and burgers while watching season re-runs back-to-back or a marathon session of telenovelas would be the most enjoyable things to do at that moment.

During these periods when our iman declines, how do we get back on track?

• Revisit your intentions. Why do you do good deeds? For Allah’s Pleasure or to be seen among men?
• What do you do wrong that has been niggling at you that you need to desist from?
• In what ways do you feel unfulfilled? Is there something making you feel a failure? Islam, family, work, finances? Look for solutions to move you closer to your goals but don’t fail to prioritise according to Allah, family, finances/work.
• Is it a temporary change in routine that’s responsible (monthly period, a new baby, a guest, festivities, new job, job loss, death, divorce)?

  • Or, conversely, are you tired of the boring routine your life is?

    Here are a few ways to get out of the doldrums (doldrums, don’t you just enjoy that word!):

    • If you are like me, go to a bookstore and get a really nice book you’ve always wanted to read. Curl up with it in your favourite spot at home with your favourite (non-alcoholic) beverage.
    • Treat yourself to some me-time. Go for a drive alone and pray under the sky. Lie down on your prayer rug afterwards and enjoy the world around you. Indulge in a meal and eat it all up in the privacy of your car or alone in the restaurant. Do your hair, manicure, pedicure, go shopping with your best friend or sister but don’t spend the whole day. Remember your salaah and other responsibilities.
    • Instead of cooking tonight, take the family out for dinner and a movie.
    • Start a hobby or learn something new.
    • If you are tired of the routine, shake things up a little. Tweak your dull schedule.
    • Read, listen to and deliberate upon the Qur’an. Try to understand and act upon it. Memorise your favourite verses.
    • Stick to the compulsory acts of worship. Pray extra naflah or Tahajjud (voluntary night prayer) in a private corner. Talk to Allah about whatever it is that bothers you and that He draws you closer to Him. If a domestic or official problem troubles us, let us take it to Allah. After Ishai or before Fajr, when everyone is asleep is usually a good time (if we can summon up the energy to pull ourselves up by our shoelaces).
    • Do good deeds in private, strictly for Allah’s Pleasure.
    • Go for lectures, and classes to make you feel closer to people with better iman.

    The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “A faithful believer to a faithful believer is like the bricks of a wall, enforcing each other.” While (saying that) the Prophet (ﷺ) clasped his hands, by interlacing his fingers. – Sahih Bukhari 481

    • Make du’a every time you remember especially if your routine has been shaken up by travel, sickness, festivities etc. Make a routine within the chaos and pray on time even if you don’t feel like it and your attention keeps shifting.
    • Go out for a picnic or to the mosque with your family. No one makes you laugh out loud like family. Focus on making them happy today instead of yourself. They’ve probably begun to feel the strain of your receding iman.
    • Exercise. Just that vibrant beating of your heart can make you exhilarated.
    • Travel. If you can.
    • Be patient. This is a test and it will pass, in sha Allah.

    DO NOT:
    • Listen to sad mushy music or waste ALL your time with multiple movies or empty surfing of the internet or retail shopping. You will feel worse eventually.
    • Don’t tackle it alone but don’t broadcast it either. Share your problem with a friend or relation who cares for you.
    • Don’t feel like a sinner. Your iman is in the right place for you to worry about its decline. Do not neglect the compulsory acts of worship.
    • Don’t fling it all away or make rash decisions during this time like stopping the hijab, cutting your hair, shaving off the beard, losing your virginity or leave the deen.
    • Don’t give up by listening to Shaytan’s whispers as he wants you to slip beyond redemption during this vulnerable period of your life. Avoid committing sins that will widen the gap you feel between you and Allah.

    However:

    If it persists, and you become increasingly tearful, persistently lacking in motivation, or find previously enjoyable activities no longer pleasurable, low sex drive, feel worthless and suicidal or these moods interfere with your daily life and relationships; it could be clinical depression. It is pretty common and very treatable, so see a doctor.

  • DAY JOB Q4.29, Q17.35-6, Q83.1-6

    Unemployment rates are skyrocketing worldwide. Companies are downsizing due to budget cuts and others are becoming more computerised. Strangely enough, the employed few don’t seem to care about their jobs. Unfortunately, for every sacked individual, there are 100 other qualified people seeking his position. Even the so-called professional fields are not spared.

    We should be thankful to Allah for our jobs and try to complain less about it. I know. It’s pretty hard not to gripe about our jobs. We would complain even if we worked at Google. However, we should acknowledge that we are fortunate to possess a job and we should show our gratitude by treating our jobs like an act of worship.
    job queue
    Perpetual lateness (story of my life!), leaving work before closing hours, playing Solitaire while official work piles up, confiscating office property, using office hours to run personal business, collecting bribes for the work you are paid to do, etc.
    Same goes for the marketplace. Traders concealing defects in items they sell, altering the scale to show false higher readings, hoarding merchandise and selling at a much higher rate are a few dishonest tricks dealers practise. These acts are not limited to the market place but in every business. Customers are cheated of their hard-earned money daily by unscrupulous people in all the fields of business.

    By doing what is required of us at work and making an intention of working fisabilillah (for the sake of Allah), we convert a boring job to ibadah (worship). Maybe through our work, people’s negative perception of Islam and Muslims may change.

    Our present jobs may not reflect all our years of study, research or experience. Indeed, our take- home-pay may be less than the worth of the paper our certificate was printed upon but make the most of it and thank Allah for it. In sha Allah, He will bless our efforts, and take us higher than we imagined.

    I know the reward of hard work is more work but that should not deter us from putting in our best. Allah is aware of all we do, both hidden and manifest; and others will notice our work too. Soon, we would be recommended for a better job based on how well we’ve performed at our present line of work. Acting too big to do little jobs could mean we are actually too little to do big jobs.
    Keep at your work and be grateful for it and remember: it could be much worse.