ANOTHER AWARD!

sisterhood award

Assalaam alaykum, dear beautiful people! My blog hasn’t been very active lately because I am working on a project which is time-bound. Gotta get it done ASAP!

It took an award by Sister Fatmawaty to get me to post today. I am grateful for the award, the ability to post today, and that YOU bothered to check up on me at my online abode. 🙂 Alhamdulillah!

In response to the questions she asked, here are my answers:
• Who is your idol in your life? Honestly, I don’t have an idol in life. I strive to be the best ‘me’ that I can be.
• Who is your favorite writer/ blogger? I enjoy Sister Maryam Amirebrahimi’s writings because they address present day challenges with insight and empathy.
• How many languages do you speak? And do you feel interest to other languages? Why?
I speak 2 pretty well, and another one manageably well. I would love to learn more, particularly Arabic, then French, maybe even Chinese! I love how people communicate better when you speak their language and how their eyes light up when they least expect to hear it from you.

• How old is your blog? 9 months now, Alhamdulillah
• Have you received blogger award, before it? Yes, the Muslim Blogger Award.
• How many hours do you use your time for blogging? Variable, depending on internet access and my schedule. I think about it every day though. Does that count? 😀
• Do you have favorite quote of writing? Please write 2 of them? Do unto others as you would like done unto you.
• Any humanitarian campaigns which you support/ or would love to support? I am not presently supporting any but I would like to join a group that fights Violence against women.
• What’s your hope for this ummah? That we unite, read more and be less judgemental.

Sister Papatia also kindly nominated me again so in response to her questions:

-What inspired you to blog? A need to put down the thoughts cluttering my head!
-How do you choose your topics? The topics come from whatever I observe that corresponds with the Qur’an or vice versa.
-Are you a morning person? Yes, because of my kids. Used to be a night owl 🙂
– Are you married or single? Married with kids 😀
– Any children if married? If single, how many you plan on having? (See above)
– What makes you happy? Once I wake up in the morning, pray, and exercise and see my family, am happy!
– What kind of food do you eat? Local Nigerian cuisine mostly
– Do you love nature? Gotta be crazy not to!
– What qualities do/did you look in a man? God-fearing, courteous, well-read, industrious, confident, humorous,easy-on-the-eye 😀

The Rules which need to be followed:
1. Provide the link to the person who nominated you.
2. Add the reward logo.
3. Answer the questions your nominator has asked.
4. Nominate 7 other bloggers and let them know via comments.
5. Ask your nominees 10 questions.

I nominate the following blogs:
Gallivantrix
Running my own race
Moderate Mama’s House
Under the Abaya
Old School Hijabi
Delusional Mom
Dooney’s Kitchen

My questions:
1. When did you start blogging?
2. What motivates you to keep blogging?
3. Where in the world do you blog from?
4. If you could have one wish granted, what would it be?
5. Choose one: public school, private school or home schooling? Why?
6. What is your favorite colour?
7. What is your ideal way to relax?
8. Where would you like to visit?
9. What weird trait do you have?
10. What’s your ideal weight?

Do you have any questions you would rather I asked? Comment freely, please! 😀

MIRAGE Q29.37-9

Photograph: Pete Turner/Getty Images

Photograph: Pete Turner/Getty Images


How fake we all are; resorting to religion only when it is socially acceptable.

We only remember to say Alhamdulillah when we are in Muslim gatherings, we observe salaah only when we have an audience, our Blackberry display pictures and Twitter avi have Islamic themes only on Islamic holidays or when we are trying to impress someone. Our Facebook statuses quickly announce to the world the minute we check into Islamic Centres and events, while our Instagram account buzzes with pious pictures which are far from who we really are. We are quick to re-broadcast messages and emails that say if you don’t pass it on then you don’t really love Allah, or the Prophet(SAW). Our cars are filled with paraphernalia with Arabic which we can neither translate nor speak.

Once the topic is about the size of hijab, the length of beard or trouser, and marriage (especially polygyny), we all get in a fevered frenzy trying to out-fatwa each other. The Arabic words that roll off our tongues were carefully articulated before a mirror to sound as authentic as possible and we drop them frequently and unnecessarily.

We scrub our foreheads with stones or insist on smacking the bare ground with our foreheads to acquire the tell-tale mark of prayer. Others will refuse to wipe the grains of sand off their faces and indeed would discourage others from doing so too. We play up our religiousness in front of honest folk and cheat them after they trust us. In politics, trade and daily activities.

What separates us from those who disbelieve? We have forgotten what it means to be Muslim and instead focus on being perceived as religious.

We are more concerned about portraying the right image than we are about truly connecting with Allah. If we focus on Allah instead, others will see the message clearer in us than when we continue to put up a facade and act a charade.

So, what does it mean to truly be Muslim, submitting to the will of Allah? Amongst other things, it is obeying His commands and avoiding what He has prohibited; forbidding evil and enjoining good, to avoid judging others, inviting to Islam in the best manners possible and doing all these strictly for Allah’s sake.

May Allah save us from ourselves and help us collapse the facade behind which we hide and improve ourselves for His Sake. May our deeds never become like a mirage in the desert.

LAST STRAW Q2.35-6, Q29.32-3

You know about the last straw that breaks the camel’s back, right? That’s the issue on ground today.

A lot of times, we trivialise the wrong deeds we do, like we trivialise the small good deeds. We shrug our shoulders and flip our hairs at those sunnah acts and see them as going the extra mile. We look at those who bother as the over-zealous ‘over-sabi’ people. It may be alright to stick to what is compulsory and avoid what is haram but that extra mile may be what will tip the scales in our favour. We are not keeping a record of our deeds and sins so how do we know where we are deficient?

Those seemingly little good acts can act like a bonus or indeed, a jackpot! Like the tale of the prostitute and the thirsty dog.

But that is not the issue today. The issue is effortlessly accumulating sins, little by little until our boat capsizes.

image credit: parentingthepresence.com

image credit: parentingthepresence.com


We know we shouldn’t shake hands with members of the opposite sex, shouldn’t talk during the Khutbah, recitation of the Qur’an or adhan, shouldn’t travel without a mahram, sip alcohol or taste pork, use nail polish; but we do anyway. Why do we do these? We feel they are inconsequential and when our attention is drawn to it, we look at the messenger with scorn or rationalise our way out of it.

Do we know how heavily the scales are tipped against us? Or we would rather be optimistic that it is in our favour? Do we know what final small deed of disobedience we would commit that will break the scales and plunge us into Jahannam? No, we don’t. So, it really is foolhardy to keep stacking up on the little misdeeds in favour of the little acts of kindness.

Shaytan may have been gradually stacking up on his sins in Paradise before he finally placed that last straw that broke the camel’s back. Prophet Adam (ASW) disobeyed Allah by eating the forbidden fruit and he was cast out of Eden. Lut (ASW)’s wife could also have done her fair share of stacking before Allah finally brought the axe down on her; the lands Allah wiped off had committed grave sins till they reached a final breaking point. It may seem like we have been getting away with our small misdemeanours but one sin might be all it takes! One last sin. That final straw. Think about it.

Do not belittle that sin. Think of all Allah has done for us and at how we disobey Him when He deserves so much better.

May Allah make our hearts surrender to Him enough to forgo these small sins. And when we do sin, may He remind us to seek His forgiveness and truly repent before it’s too late.

JAHANNAM Q3.88, Q44.43-6, Q45.9

There is this joke I want to share with you; and with good reason.

Angels: Almighty Father, we are tired of these Nigerians in Heaven!
God: What have they done this time?
Angel: Everything! They do not listen to instructions! They don’t obey traffic rules and don’t wait their turn. They are reckless! In fact, they have turned heaven upside down since we started admitting them in.
God: Please, bear with them. They are very special to Me. Let Me call Satan in Hell to see how he is doing…Hello, Lucifer. How are things over there?
Satan: Baba God, please call me later. There is an issue I am trying to resolve!
10mins later
God: Hello, Lucifer…
Satan: I’ll call You back; the issue has turned to a crisis!
1 hour later
Satan: Sorry, God!
God: Are you having problems over there?
Satan: It is these Nigerians I have with me in Hell. They…they have quenched the fire in Hell and installed air conditioners!

One may chuckle or be tempted to. It is quite funny and pokes fun at how troublesome but resourceful we Nigerians can be. However, such issues shouldn’t be trivialised. I love jokes like any other person but we should be cautious when we fool around so we do not fall into error.

In contrast to the joke, the verses on Jahannam are truly terrifying. Do look them up.

image credit: jackidelecki.com

image credit: jackidelecki.com


To make matters worse, thirst is quenched with hot scalding oil, boiling water and dirty wound discharges in a place of inexorable heat, where the suffering is unrelenting and persistent.

And to read the tone of Allah’s Voice in these verses; so angry, so scary!

May Allah protect us from His Wrath. May we never get to spend a single second in such a vile fiery place!

IN THEIR SHOES Q53.42-48

Have you ever attempted to console someone and have them respond hotly, ‘No, you don’t!’ to your ‘I understand’? The thing is they are absolutely right and you know it.

You may have lost your dad at an early age but you still don’t know how she feels losing her dad; you were close to your dad, she wasn’t. You may have had an easy pregnancy but that doesn’t make her pregnancy symptoms less real. You may have lost your job and taken it in good faith but don’t think you know what he’s going through now that he has lost his because he doesn’t have your entrepreneurial skills. The truth is you only have an idea of people’s emotions. You do not know for sure. Humans are very forgetful. We think we know how it is but actually, we’ve forgotten. it is one of the reasons married couples are told not to bring third parties into their problems unless absolutely necessary.

image credit: chamber-queen.blogspot.com

image credit: chamber-queen.blogspot.com


We do not have access to the shoes the individual is presently wearing to be able to tell exactly where it pinches. Even if we do, our feet are different from theirs and we may not feel the pinch or we may even be unable to take a step in the said shoes. All we can and should do is to walk their journey with them, even if for a short distance. Accompany them on their journey and listen to them; most times, they will be grateful for the companionship.

The mistake we make is we often try to talk instead. We try to tell them we know exactly what they are going through but we really don’t. Besides, they may be unwilling to accept advice then.

Empathise instead. Occasionally, we can insert necessary reminders into the conversation. When they are ready to seek a solution, they will. If they are incapable of seeking help, only then should you intervene. Everyone is different. Let them be. At least, for now.

May Allah help us all during trying moments.

RESTING SPOT Q2:21-2

I must begin by apologising first. I am in the medical profession and my thoughts, reflections on the Qur’an and experiences are shaped by this. Some of the posts on the blog reflect that already, but more will so bear with me.

In my second year at the University, we commenced dissection of the human cadaver in Human Anatomy. Our assessment tests in the dissection room was called ‘Steeple Chase’, where various muscles, blood vessels, nerves etc were pinned and numbered for us to identify. We were arranged in a single row according to our matriculation numbers and given seconds to write down the answer. A buzzer would sound and we would all shuffle to the next question.

There were designated areas called ‘Resting Spots’ where we had a chance to review our work, correct spellings and …

BUZZ! Back to the chase!

The time at these resting spots were rarely ever adequate to correct all the errors. Same with the dunya.

image credit: syndney.edu.au

image credit: syndney.edu.au

Allah referred the Earth as a ‘resting place’, a temporary place; it is a place to strategise on how to attain Jannah. Soon, the buzzer will go off and we will be shuffled to the next stage: Jannah or Jahannam which are not-so-temporary places.

Often times, we get sidetracked and set up rivals unto Allah and forget our purpose. We may not worship idols in the literal sense but we do figuratively by worshipping money, beauty, power, superstars, super models and other celebrities, even the internet!

The Earth is a transient lodging from where we move to a more permanent place.

The Prophet (SAW) said: What do I have to do with the world! I am not in the world but as a rider seeking shade under a tree, then he catches his breath and leaves it. – Jami’at Tirmidhi 2377 graded Hasan

May Allah purify our hearts to worship Him Alone.

ISTIKHARAH

At certain points in our lives, we arrive at a crossroads. It could be deciding to leave a job or choosing between two; whether or not to travel somewhere, buy something, choosing who to marry…it could be major, it could be minor.

When these situations arise, we often seek the counsel of those we know or experts in the field. However, after this, we should seek guidance from He Who matters the most. What we request is that Allah should have our backs, whatever decision we make.

This is not advocating indecisiveness; it is saying that after weighing our options, discussing with those with experience in that field or those dear to us, we should make our decision then trust Him to embark on the journey with you by making istikharah.

image credit: facetofaceafrica.com

image credit: facetofaceafrica.com


There is nothing spectacular about it. You do not need anyone to make it on your behalf. You do not need a special rug. Simply make your ablution and follow it with 2 rakats of prayer after which you recite the du’a. Afterwards? Well, you shouldn’t expect to see flying unicorns, that’s for sure. Allah will not (or is highly unlikely to) take our hands and lead us to ‘the chosen option.’ We will just have to proceed on our journey knowing He has endorsed our decision and is close by in case things go wrong.

Aisha (R.A.) said it can be repeated as necessary.

Allahumma innee astakhiruka bi ‘ilmik; wa astaqdiruka bi qudratik, wa as’aluka min fadhlika-l-adheem. Fa innaka taqdiru walaa aqdir, wa ta’alamu wa laa a’alam, wa anta ‘alaamul ghuyuub. Allahumma, in kunta ta’alamu anna haadhal amr, khayrun liy, fiy deeni wa ma’aashiy wa aqeebata amriy…


For the full Arabic text and translation, click HERE.
May Allah guide all our decisions.

GAZING INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL Q3.179, Q27.65, Q7.187-8

As Africans, it is considered part of our custom to consult with mallams, babalawos, dibias, and herbalists who also double as fortune tellers/soothsayers/(false)prophets. Once we consult these people, we commit shirk as this act is pure idolatry. Indeed, the Rasul (SAW) had forbade us from visiting them.

image credit: leancut.co

image credit: leancut.co


Palmistry, crystal ball gazers, horoscopes, or any form of fortune-telling is not acceptable in Islam. Why? Here is how it works:
A jinn or devil hears a snippet of information from the heavens by eavesdropping; then reveals it to these charlatans who dilute it with many lies and tell your ‘fortunes’ for a fee.

Aisha (R.A.) narrated: Some people asked the Prophet (SAW) regarding the soothsayers. He said, “They are nothing.” They said, “O Allah’s Messenger, some of their speeches come true!” The Prophet (SAW) said, “That word which happens to be true is what a Jinn snatches away stealthily (from Heaven) and pours it in the ears of his friend (the fortune teller) with a sound like the cackling of a hen. The soothsayer then mixes with that word, one hundred lies.” – Sahih Al-Bukhari 7561

Why would we want to taint our lives and very existence by dealing with such people? Then perform an exercise in futility with our prayer when we have set up rivals with Allah. We should endeavour to avoid these shady people under whatever guise they come in and guide our faith fiercely.

Abu Hurairah (R.A.) narrated that: The Prophet (SAW) said: “Whoever engages in sexual intercourse with a menstruating woman, or a woman in her anus, consults a soothsayer, then he has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad.” – Jamia Tirmidhi 135 (graded Hasan)

A true servant of Allah (SWT) will not claim to possess knowledge solely attributable to Allah. We, as humans, should know our limits. However, if an error in judgement is made and such people are consulted, disbelieve in their prophecy and repent to Allah. The knowledge of the unseen is solely with Him.

INADVERTENT SINS Q39.47

During our clinical rounds as medical students, we came to the bed of a woman who had terminal cancer with a festering sore. Anyone who has smelt a cancerous ulcer in late stage will testify to the ‘God-awfulness’ of the stench. The nurses had peppered her vicinity with air freshener but the odour persisted and some of us covered our noses and couldn’t wait to get out of there.
ward rounds
Our resident doctor ordered us to remove our hands from our noses and spent an unduly long time sitting at her bedside showing her care.

Reflecting back, we had sinned by showing our disgust at her fetid ulcer. Our emotions were not wrong but our action was. I usually pray to Allah to forgive my sins, those doing both knowingly and unknowingly. I know many of us do too.

How do we commit these inadvertent sins? There are various ways, often from being negligent to those around us.

• Relishing a meal in the presence of him whose stomach is empty and not offering him any
• Talking animatedly of our children or husband to our unmarried or childless friend (I am so guilty of this!)
• Refusing to allow our kids play with children beneath our status or ‘protecting’ them from ‘childless’ people
• Rejoicing at our child’s success in the presence of one whose child is retarded.
• Reading the Qur’an very loudly in the masjid or allowing our kids run amok and disturbing the concentration of he who is praying
• Showing our disdain for a gift given to us
• Showing off our happy married life on social media while our friends are struggling through divorce or other problems

You will observe that these actions are not bad in themselves but they could be construed as improper. We may not have meant to do wrong but the other party feels slighted, and rightfully so.

We have every right to rejoice, to eat, to celebrate and protect our children but we should remember to be sensitive to the feelings of those around us. Being oblivious to their discomforts can cause negativism and ill feelings that should not have arisen in the first place. Let us not live our lives like those described in the verse, oblivious of the consequences of our actions. We should always ask for Allah’s forgiveness for both inadvertent and intentional sins.

Bottom line: Live your life, but be considerate (as much as is possible) of others.

HABITS Q3:139, Q39:53

‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act but a habit.’ -Aristotle

As a high-school student, if I was late to school on Monday, I believed I was going to be late everyday of that week because my mum had said so. Some of you may be familiar with that saying: What you begin your week with, you will end it with.

So in High School, I was such a believer of that saying and would jump through hoops to ensure I wasn’t late. It did not take me long to figure out it was a superstition, but in it still lies a thread of truth.

Some say it takes at least 21 days to develop a habit, so if we persist with a simple pattern of behaviour, it could become automatic in 3 weeks. However, in life we know this could take even longer if not forever. Once a habit is established, it takes Allah’s Grace to break it. Take a look at the drug, alcohol, cigarette, sex addicts.

Little drops of water make an ocean.

Instead of succumbing to bad habits, we should subscribe to healthy habits and good deeds. Allah loves a small deed done consistently. We shouldn’t limit giving alms to only Eid days but we should regularly give some change to that beggar sitting outside the fast-food restaurant we often have lunch; we should strive to pray sunnah rakats before or after salaah; praying in the masjid daily (for men) etc.

Whatever is good that we perform consistently will weigh heavily on our scale while the negative habits we consistently avoid will cause, in sha Allah, a precipitous drop in our bad deeds’ scale.


Let’s kick it up some notches:
1. Define our goals: our goals should be SMARTER. Specific, Measurable, Attainable/Achievable, Relevant/Realistic, Time-bound, Evaluated, Reviewed.

2. Punish yourself and reward yourself accordingly. If you resolve to perform a certain good deed, or avoid a certain behaviour but shirk your duty, instead of despairing of your weak nafs, turn it around for better. Rent to Allah then punish yourself by getting closer to Allah. Here’s an instance, if you decided to pray 2 nafl before Fajr and you defaulted, pay a fine of a certain significant amount as sadaqah. If you made a decision to stop lying but failed today, make a pact to fast tomorrow. And if you do achieve your goals, rewards yourself appropriately. This way, you win both ways.

May Allah strengthen our resolve.

#remindertoself