AUTONOMY Q2:223

I was surfing the TV channels when a channel caught my eye so I paused to listen. It was a Christian station and I cannot remember what made me stop. Being one who is eager to learn from anyone and everyone, I paused with my finger on the remote control, ready to change it if he was spewing something irrelevant to me.

The preacher was walking through the congregation holding a microphone and shared this joke (which I am paraphrasing):

A lady came to her pastor and said, ‘Pastor, I need you to pray for my husband. He has a demon!’

The pastor probed further to assess what kind of demon it was and she replied exasperatedly, ‘He wants to have sex in the morning, noon and night! Every time of the day, he wants to have sex. He has a demon, please help him cast it out!’

Then the Pastor replied, ‘I am sorry I cannot help you, young woman, because I too have this demon!’

 

I first felt the need to write this post when I was toilet-training my first son. I woke him in the middle of the night when he was either 2 or 3 and took him to the bathroom to pee. As is the Islamic tradition, after he urinated, I fetched some water to clean him up with and felt an erection/boner/stiffness or whatever you want to call it. I was amazed! I thought I knew the human body but apparently, I knew very little about the male anatomy and physiology. The books never mentioned toddlers were capable of a hard-on. Was this normal?

And I am not the only one. At the programme I mentioned in the previous post, a haematologist also sounded surprised that a sickle cell disease patient was brought in with priapism (a non-sexual painful erection) and he was only 4 years old.

When I encountered that reaction in my son, who sleepily returned to bed blissfully unaware, I spent some time awake, thinking about men and felt some sympathy for them. I felt it was not really their fault they were wired that way. Putting it as delicately as I can, men have a piece of flesh that basically has a mind of its own. It is autonomous. I believe that as boys become men, they are able to control it better but I doubt if the effect lessens. I am betting it increases as male hormones (which drive libido) kick in at puberty.

Allah knows best.

Before I got married, I knew guys are crazy about sex. We had sisters-only events where married women advised us about courting and marriage and emphasized the importance of sex. During my friends’ nikkah khutbah (wedding sermon), the imams mentioned it. During my own preparation, friends reminded me. All the books on marriage swore by it. I guess like with every oft-repeated advice, it loses its potency after a while and becomes cliché.

We women are quick to blame men for thinking with their phalluses but if you were deprived of eating for days with a feast in front of you, you would tear into that juicy piece of chicken once the flag goes down signalling ‘Eat!’ Besides, for a lot of African, Arab and Asian men, their self image is tied to their sexuality.

I once had a newly-married couple visit the hospital. They were crazy in love. The man seemed shy, the woman more willing to talk (perhaps, because she had encountered a female doctor). She explained how quickly the man ejaculates when they meet and they were worried he had an anomaly. I had to explain that it was normal especially because the man had married as a virgin. (Virgins are not as rare as we think). Imagine denying such a man who had kept his virginity until marriage where he finally feels he can let go of the reins and bask in his sexuality.

To women married to good non-philandering men, consider this:

Our men decided to select us out of the multitude of women they encountered for reasons best known to them. They could have followed the Order of the Phallus to wife a professional vixen with a PhD in Bedmatics but instead, they made an effort to practise Islam and married us. Instead, we punish them for making the right decision to think with their heads and marry a good woman and prospective mother of good Muslim children. We withhold sex to get back at them; simply because we feel we cannot match their libido; or because we are scared of pregnancy/childbirth.

The basic religious reason for marriage is for procreation with permission, or as a lecturer of mine put it ‘Marriage is a license to have sex’. The major world religions discourage (even forbid) sex outside the confines of marriage. If you have a man who has a healthy fear of God and you starve him of sexual intimacy, it seems unfair, callous and even, wicked. Of course, we are tired, over-worked, unappreciated, not in the mood etc. but we should consider that this is one of the halal ways a man can let his hair down after a day of the world hammering on him, beating him down with disappointment upon disappointment, challenge after challenge, temptation following temptation.

Some men are out there getting their grooves on with strange women; others are drinking or gambling their lives away. If your man returns home to you every night, in spite of your attitude because he hasn’t fulfilled your demands, you should hug him and welcome him home. No matter how much he pretends to behave macho, I believe men just want to feel desired and loved; encouraged to go back into the ring tomorrow to fight valiantly for the family’s survival.

Of course, I am writing this because I am in a good place with my husband today. Perhaps I would be less charitable when he’s annoying the heck out of me! 😄 #remindertoself

Seriously though, it doesn’t change the truth. We should appreciate our men more (especially if they are good men). I know the comments would not roll in because this is a bit personal but I would be glad to know that you surprised your man today (or better still, early in the morning after Fajr) ;). It is a weekend so unbuckle your chastity belt and ‘go to town’ and remind him of how happy he was when you guys decided to tie the knot. Let him be reassured that YOU are the best decision of his life!

TO YOUR PLACES Q2:238

There was a time I was missing praying in a mosque so I decided to go for Juma’a in a masjid. In Northern Nigeria and a couple of countries, the women’s section of the mosque is minimal, poorly lit, poorly maintained and sometimes, away from the masjid itself, seemingly like an afterthought.

I did not want to pray in such a space.
I wanted to pray in a magnificent masjid, and stare up at the elaborately detailed dome, admire the glory of the geometric designs, bask in the beauty of the masjid’s ambience.

I wanted to pray in congregation as I hadn’t in a long time. I needed to stand side-by-side with other Muslims, shoulder-to-shoulder, praying fluidly in unison – like we were one body. I needed to bond with fellow sisters in Islam on another level…

An-Nu’man ibn Basheer reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The example of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other is that of a body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 5665

Of course, I did not communicate my feelings in detail so I was invited by a friend of mine to her masjid for Juma’a and of course, I was disappointed.
However, I was able to reignite this feeling recently. I had forgotten the magical effect praying outdoors has on me.

 

Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The entire earth has been made a place of prayerexcept for the graveyards and the latrine.”

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 317

I had the opportunity to pray outside my home (and workplace) for the first time in a long while. I was attending a week-long programme and the mosque within the premises was some distance away. A new friend and I decided to pray in the car park and it was so tranquil, quiet, secluded; and serenity washed over me. I wanted to sit there all day, perhaps, I could lay on the prayer rug and take in nature through all my senses, admire the drifting clouds, the beautiful hue of the sky…but it was short-lived. It was a car park afterall, no place for fantasies!

It is such a blessing to us to have the opportunity to recharge with Allah during the day. It’s refreshing, fulfilling and relaxing. I wish we would stop our rat races long enough to smell the roses.
Anyway, I think that car park was the strangest place I have prayed so far…and that’s so boring. I need to pray in some really weird place. Let me add that to my bucket list! 😀
So, where is the weirdest place you have prayed? Do you have a bucket list of strange places you would like to pray?

CLUTTER I Q31.33, Q102.1-8

Those of us who have watched Oprah, or the satellite TV channel TLC will be familiar with people who have so much clutter in their homes, they can no longer live comfortably. They have a need to amass possessions and keep on doing so even when there appears to be no need for it. Their homes become unsafe and uninhabitable but they keep hoarding. They seem unable to click their ‘stop’ button.

We watch them and go ‘These oyinbo people sef!’ We wonder why these Americans have all sorts of strange problems. What we fail to see is how like these people we are.

Just as people clutter their homes, so do we clutter our minds with unnecessary information and data. We are addicted to the internet and waste several hours of our day trapped in the sticky Worldwide Web.

We loathe deleting non-useful contacts from our mobile phones; itch when we have not been online with the fear of having missed something; our eyes keep darting to the blinking notification light of our phones on the prayer rug as we pray; we look forward to our online friends more than our real-life friends…

We are essentially obsessed with being online. Let’s get real; what is the point in having all the info if we cannot utilise it? Why should we stack up on recipes if we can never make out the time to cook anyway?

Some of the causes and risk factors of Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) are:
Boredom: from unemployment, Stay-at-home moms, ASUU strike, etc
Depression: from loss of a dear one, loss of job, break-ups, poor school performance, etc
Anxiety: from agoraphobia, low self-esteem, anxiety attacks, paranoia
Loneliness: from death of a loved one, divorce, break-ups, relocation, SAHM, etc
Availability of gizmos: smartphones, Ipads, laptops, PCs etc
Insomnia: funnily enough, 24 hr internet is one of the greatest distractions from sleep hence it worsens sleeplessness instead of improving it

Effects of IAD include:

• Inability to complete tasks both at home and at work
• Mediocre work from rushing to complete tasks to hurry to the internet
• Poor social skills as one would rather be with online friends than real life friends
• Distance from family and live friends and missing out on living real time
• Phone is slow, battery dies quickly and one is left incommunicado at inconvenient times
• Money is wasted purchasing extra batteries, more internet time, Wifi, gadgets, etc
• Difficulty in making simple decisions: eg. a patient comes in an you ALWAYS have to google to make a diagnosis. You cannot answer questions without a need to google first
• Accidents in the car, at home on the stairs, or involving the children due to poor monitoring

to be continued tomorrow in sha Allah…

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!

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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.

Zakat-ul-Fitr

Zakatul Fitr (ZF) is an obligation on every muslim, young or old, male or female. It is the giving of sadaqah toward the end of Ramadan till before the ‘Eid prayers on the 1st of ‘Shawwal. It seeks to purify the one who fasts from any indecent act or speech; and acts as food for the needy.

Ibn Abbas said: “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) enjoined Zakatul-Fitr as a purification for the fasting person from idle talk and obscenities, and to feed the poor. Whoever pays it before the (Eid) prayer, it is an accepted Zakah, and whoever pays it after the prayer, it is (ordinary) charity.” graded Hasan

If one cannot afford to give, that is, one doesn’t have enough for the day’s meals, then he is entitled to be given. If you are reading this, I bet you can afford to give. Here are some points to note:

• It is a timed sunnah and can be given from the 28th of Ramadan till before the ‘eid prayer. Paying it on time gives the needy time to prepare and enjoy it before the ‘Eid prayers.

• Its measurement is one sa’a (approximately 4 mudd) of local staple grains. This is the minimum requirement and could be increased voluntarily or expanded to include more. For example, tomatoes, salt and money to cook could be added to the ZF to ease the burden of cooking on the beneficiary. Hanafi scholars even permit the money equivalent to be given as it may be more useful to the beneficiary than raw foodstuff.

• The haddith says, ‘One’s faith is not complete unless he loves for his brother what he loves for himself. If you love rice, why buy maize grains to give as Zakat? Why burden the recipient of the zakat with such invaluable grains from which he can only make popcorn and a few processed meals? If you can afford better, please do get grains that will be better appreciated.

• As the head of the household, a man may have to give ZF for each member of his family if they cannot afford to do so themselves. Even muslim servants should have their zakat paid for if they cannot provide it.

According to Sheikh Yusuf AlQaradawi, ZF is a compensation for any shortcomings in the the fasting individual’s acts and speech during Ramadan. It also aims to spread love and happiness among the ummah during the Day of ‘Eid. It also purifies one’s soul from shortcomings from adoration of property and from miserliness.
If the time frame is not complied with, and ZF is paid after the Eid, it becomes sadaqah and no longer ZF.

May Allah accept our acts of worship.