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WEEKDAY CHALLENGE: Deed of the Day Q41.46

A’isha (R.A.) reported:
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) …used to say: Do as many deeds as you are capable of doing, for Allah will not become weary (of giving you reward), but you would be tired (of doing good deeds) ; and he also said: The deed liked most by Allah is one to which the doer adheres constantly even if it is small.- Sahih Muslim 782

Do you notice how surprised some people seem when you perform an unexpected act of kindness to them? Ever detected the question in people’s eyes when you behave considerately like they are wondering what you’ll benefit from your gesture? Have you observed the amazed look on their visage when they notice you are a Muslim being kind to a non-Muslim like it’s a rarity? This is because kindness is rapidly becoming extinct.

Here are some ways we can revive the flagging spirit of humanity:

• Removing a stone or stick out of the way which may harm someone
• Allowing another driver right of way as we drive
• Smiling and saying salaam first; responding to the greeting
• Visit someone at home, in boarding school, at NYSC camp, the hospital, prison, orphanage, anywhere your visit will be appreciated. Don’t you dare go empty-handed!
• Send an inspirational text to the Muslims on your phone
• Call your family members
• Send someone a recharge card
• Share your lunch or buy someone one
• Call your subordinates by name and ask about their families
• Give a hand to someone carrying or lifting a load
• Help pick fallen books, keys or other items. And no! Not only because you have a crush on him/her!
• Tip the messenger who just served you
• Pay the bus fare/ticket for a stranger
• Hold the door for someone behind you
• Help a child, the blind or a senior citizen cross the road
• Give someone a lift to the gate, bus-stop, masjid…
• Hold the elevator for someone rushing to get it
• Allow someone join the queue in front of you
• Return misplaced items or declare them found
spread love kindness

This list is by no means, exhaustible.

These acts may be small but are significant both to the person we are kind to and especially on our scale of deeds. We may, by these little efforts, plant beautiful thoughts in people’s minds toward Islam and leave behind wonderful memories of their encounter with a Muslim. That single positive act (amongst others) may be what will tilt that individual to seek out the truth in Islam.

Like the hadith above mentioned, we should strive toperform these acts consistently, no matter how small they seem.

May Allah guide us all and may we not be led astray after being guided. May He not let us tire easily of doing good.

THE ILLUSION OF FREEDOM Q82.6-19

free
Centuries upon centuries, revolutions have occurred and wars have been fought; all in a bid to attain freedom from perceived oppressors.

Toddlers scream, teenagers rebel; all for the sake of freedom. They demand their independence!

But can we be truly free? Independent?

Man has been given free will compared to the angels who can only obey Allah. We can choose to do what ever we want to do, be who we want to be, go where we want go. This free will however, comes with a price. Every action has a repercussion or in the words of Newton’s law, ‘For each action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.’

Failure to observe salaah has its’ consequences, just as fasting during Ramadan does. Obtaining an education, snorting cocaine, cheating in exams, disobeying our parents, frequent abortions all have their repercussions.

Some people appear to get away with misdemeanours or grave acts of injustice but we should remember that all is not lost. If the effect is not felt on Earth, it will be felt in the Afterlife. What goes around comes around. Karma, right?

We are all servants of Allah; here on Earth to serve Him, not ourselves. This is not to say we shouldn’t take out time to relax and have some decent fun but we really should not delude ourselves about our independence because we are completely and wholly dependent on Allah; whether or not we accept it. It’s like a foetus demanding to be detached from its umbilical cord in utero.

One may decide to act as he pleases, or dress as she chooses, or we may even worship as we desire, but these all come with their price tags.

We shouldn’t fool ourselves that we are free. We all have to account to The Big Guy Upstairs.

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10 DAYS Q 6.162; Q9.36; Q89.1-3


The final month in the Islamic Calendar will be here soon, in sha Allah and it is one of the sacred months.

There are a number of recommended acts during these days because they have been selected by Allah as the best days in the Islamic year.

Narrated Ibn Abbas, the Prophet (SAW) said: No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these (first ten days of Dhul Hijjah).
Then some companions of the Prophet (SAW) asked, ‘Not even jihad?’ He replied: Not even jihad, except that of a man who does it by putting himself and his property in danger (for Allah’s sake) and does not return with any of those things. – Sahih Bukhari 969

Here is a list to help:
Pilgrimage: Fulfilling the 5th pillar of Islam for those who can afford and are capable of undertaking the journey would be the best act of ibaadah during these first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah
Fasting (for non-pilgrims): This is another recommended act during the first 9 days of the month. It is not an obligatory fast so ladies, remember to inform your husband of your intention to fast. The fast can also be limited to the 9th only – the Day of Arafah
Reciting tasbeeh, tahmeed, tahleel and takbeer : that is Subhanallah, Alhamdulillah, laailahailallah, Allahu akbar.
Sincere repentance.
Adhkaar
: Everyone can join in. No pregnancy, breastfeeding or illness as an excuse 🙂
Read Al Qur’an
• Giving Charity
• Nawafil and Tahajjud
• Pray Eid in congregation
: on the Day of Eid.
Udhiya: After salatul Eid on Day 10, if you can afford it. The meat should be consumed by the family, neighbours and distributed to the poor. For those intending to perform the sacrifice, avoid cutting your hair, or beard and clipping your nails until after the sacrifice.

Umm Salma reported the Messenger of Allah (SAW) as saying:If anyone of you intends to offer sacrifice, then he should not get his hair cut or nails trimmed.- Sahih Muslim 1977

May we make the most of the coming days, in sha Allah.

UPDATE: Saudi Authorities have declared tomorrow (25th Sept. 2014) as the 1st of Dhul Hijjah 1435H so Eid-ul-Adha will be on 4th Oct. 2014 in sha Allah.

SUICIDE Q4.29, Q53.43-4

suicide knot
Life can be overwhelming (or underwhelming) sometimes; downright depressing at other times. When we hit rock-bottom, this is not our cue to chicken out of the planet. It is a cue to rise up to the challenge, reconnoitre, re-strategise and re-evaluate oneself. The winds of change will eventually blow. Nothing lasts forever, not even rotten luck.

Anas reported that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: None of you should long for death because of a calamity that had befallen him and if he cannot but long for death, then he should say, ‘O Allah, let me live for as long as life is better for me and take my life if death is better for me.’ – Sahih Bukhari Book 80, Hadith 48

While

Abu Hurairah quoted the Prophet (SAW) as saying, ‘…and none of you should wish for death for if he is a good doer, he may increase his good deeds and if he is an evil doer, he may repent to Allah. – Sahih Bukhari Book 75, Hadith 34

Misfortune can come simultaneously and in rapid succession but we must thank Allah for the opportunity to get closer to Him. We should make the most of such situations and scoot closer to Allah and ask Him to help us through. It can seem like no one cares, or even like Allah can’t be bothered by our existence or absence but nothing is farther from the truth.

We did not come to the Earth of our own volition and we should not leave without permission from the Master of our lives. Only He has the authority over our lives.

Allah has reiterated in the Qur’an that every soul shall be tested with trials and travails. These help to polish our exterior till it shines with a bright gleam.

In the words of the famous Persian poet, Rumi, ‘I did not come here of my own accord and I cannot leave it that way. Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.’

PS. If you are having persistent suicidal thoughts, you should ensure you see a psychiatrist. ASAP!

FRIENDSHIP Q2.254

This post is dedicated to my oldest friend. We’ve known each other for 2 decades now.

When we met, we had an altercation. I was new in the class and sat in her seat because she had not resumed. I was expected to make my desk and bring from home but I only realised that after I had commenced classes in my new secondary school. I thought it was like primary school where you came as you were and were assigned to a seat. So, while the carpenter made me a seat and desk, I took an empty seat (hers) and received my classes. Until the day we met.
empty classroom
I had heard she had returned but she received her lessons in her friends’ class so I was not bothered; besides, my seat wasn’t ready yet. She came into the class with some of her friends and ordered me to get up. I did not. I continued to copy my notes.

I cannot remember all the details clearly now but it quickly degenerated into she and her friends insulting me but I ignored them. We did not fight physically (not that I even knew how to) because we would be suspended from school. Eventually, they left (if my memory serves me correctly).

When I went to the bus park, I saw her and looked right through her. As far as I was concerned, she was just a spoilt rich kid who had friends simply because of her status. We rode on the same bus more times than I could count but studiously avoided each other. I would have rather gotten on another bus than to seat beside her!

Eventually, we became friends. I do not remember how it happened but I know she made the first step toward reconciliation and we became good friends since then. Decades later, we still joke about how it incensed her that I ignored her while she insulted me. What did we know then?

So, my dear sweetheart, I am glad to have you as a friend. I wish you the very best in life, way more than you can even conceive. May Allah continue to bless and strengthen you and your beautiful family. May we continue to be friends even beyond the day when there will be no friendships or intercession.

Love you, dear! 🙂

Do you have any old friends? How did you meet?

NO COMPULSION Q2.253, 256; Q109. 1-6

la-ilaha-illallah-calligraphyIf there is anything I have learnt about Islam, it is that you cannot force it on any one.

My mum is a revert. When growing up, I knew she converted after she married my dad and thought it was done automatically but when I got older and asked her, I realised she did not switch to Islam immediately. In fact, my dad used to drop her off at church prior to her reversion.

Family friends were instrumental in her conversion and my dad never had to coerce her. She impresses me how far she has come, virtually on her own with Allah’s help. She observes her salaah, fasts in Ramadan including the six days of Shawwal and on Mondays and Thursdays; she has been to Hajj twice and is an active member of an Islamic group. If I weren’t a Muslim, it would have been difficult to convince me to begin to fast and pray and cover up and all. Alhamdulillah, I already am!

And this is a shout out to all reverts out there who are self-motivated, learning more about Islam and striving to be better Muslims than we born Muslims who are supposed to have had a head-start. We really should stop giving them a hard time about how they do not behave 100% like Muslims and focus on providing them with much-needed support instead! Slow and steady, in sha Allah.

If there is a non-Muslim you wish to convert to Islam, remember that ONLY Allah (SWT) has the ability to change hearts. Just as we do not see the wisdom in the Trinity, so can they not see the nobility of the Prophet (SAW). If Allah desired, we would all follow one religion but He did not make it so.

Please, live and let live. Invite to a way you know is better with kind words and good counsel. Then sit back and leave the rest to Allah. He is Able to do all things.

HI, SELF! Q87.1-3

So, I’ve had this idea fermenting in my mind, unsure of how to start so I’ll just lay it down here.

We all lie, everyday, everywhere, every time. It’s not always verbal but in many subtle ways. We are so full of deceit that we have begun to accept the lies as truth and carefully conceal it every time we have an audience (sometimes, even when we don’t). Some of these lies are socially polite and arguably necessary but the problem lies in when we do not know where the lies end and truth starts.

A lot of us have not stopped to give ourselves a long critical and honest look in years. We need to invest in a full length mirror and set out a day for self-reflection. Majority of us can no longer recognise ourselves because we haven’t looked in a long time.

Stand in front of the mirror, alone, stripped of a false accent, fake airs, face paint, artificial hairs, nails, your hijab, jewellery, flashy clothes, be nude if you want (but remember to secure your door). Take a good look at yourself. Take a good look, not to look for faults and blemishes. Take a thorough look at yourself and accept yourself.

Take a good look at the short or lanky stature, rolls of fat, stretch-marks, cellulite, hidden tattoos, uneven skin, dark-complexion, receding hairline, increasing paunch or six-pack, crooked teeth, squint, excessive body hair or lack of it, huge nose, hairy ears, flat-chest or saggy breasts, skinny legs, ugly toes.

Appraise yourself. Are you materialistic, not-religious, dependent on others, angry, arrogant, scared? Or you are frightened of the dark, heights, crowds, a broken heart, failure, not being accepted, poverty? Whatever you have a problem with, stare at it and stare hard. Think about what you want to do about it (if at all).

Then, analyse this: if you don’t accept yourself with your flaws, why should anyone else? It’s a very negative but comforting place to be, wrapped up in our inadequacies like it’s a security blanket. Clinging to our flaws can make us feel safe but diffident. And it holds us back from enjoying ourselves and our relationships. It is a fact that these insufficiencies prevent a woman from achieving orgasm because she is too worried about how she looks to enjoy the moment.
self-reflection
So, if you cannot bear what you see, try to fix it. If you cannot, live with it, accept it and embrace yourself. Allah has proportioned you wonderfully and blessed you immensely whether the world views it that way or not. Stop trying to live like others, be like others. Those perpetually happy Facebook posts and carefully-edited Instagram selfies are mostly lies too so stop comparing your life with theirs. No one is always happy and always so beautiful all of the time. That is not normal! Concealing yourself will only make it stranger to those who get to peek in. You may be surprised to realise that when you reveal yourself to the world, it will not cringe back in disgust but will accept you, ONLY if you have accepted yourself. You will bloom with new-found confidence and a beautiful aura.

So, go ahead and step out of your comfort zone and say, ‘Hi. I am ABCD.’ You will hear us chorus, ‘Hi, ABCD!’

Quick Question

Dear fellow bloggers,
I was on this blog and came across this:

Do you ever experience writer jealousy? Ever read something and instead of appreciating it you thought “man I could have written that!” What are you more envious of a person that writes in your same genre better than you or someone that is able to create something you cannot?

Who do you have writer’s envy for?

BIRTHDAY THOUGHTS

I am undecided about birthdays.

I used to think I was ambivalent but I am not.

Even as I type this, I am not sure what my opinion is about birthdays. I know what I don’t like about how people choose to celebrate theirs but I don’t know if I like birthdays or not.

When I was a kid, the anniversary of the day I was born always fell during the long summer break so I never had my mates sing to me while standing in front of the class, ready to slice a birthday cake. It was celebrated very minimally in our house with my mum, dad and siblings singing to be in Daddy’s room. Then my parents would hand me a beautiful card (maybe with a gift), give us some biscuits and sweets and that was it! At least, for me – who couldn’t celebrate in school.

When I got to the University though, I was forced/convinced/obligated to entertain my hungry friends every birthday I had. I did not really mind that. It was quite fun, except for the dishes we had to attend to afterwards.

Then I got married and my in-laws love to celebrate each birthday with elaborate cooking, popping non-alcoholic wine and uploading pictures on Facebook. I really did not mind that (except for the music).

Now, with kids on my tail and the hassle it takes to throw a party (plus my husband doesn’t seem much into celebrating), I honestly can’t be bothered about celebrating mine. Or it may just be what a friend of mine postulated: I am getting old!

That said, I really appreciate birthday calls, texts, cards and gifts because I honestly am surprised people remember at all. It really touches me that without me hinting on social media sites, my friends remember. I loathe reminding people of my birthday and would rather it passes quietly without a fuss.

Another thing is that, I feel obligated to get you something for your birthday (or your kid’s birthday) if I am aware and I can, particularly if we work together or we are friends.

I don’t think first birthday celebrations are even necessary because the child cannot remember it. It seems compulsory though because everyone will insist you do it since the kids will grow up to see the pictures, I guess.

It is tempting to think that it is because of Islam but I really don’t think am so convinced birthdays are bad islamically.

Please be my shrink and share your thoughts.