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.

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.

UNWORTHY Q5.07

Assalam alaykum, dear people.

It is good to be back! I had the intention of resuming with a post on Sitta Shawwal but I decided otherwise due to an experience I had on Friday.

My maternity leave was over and I resumed duty on Friday being the first day of the month. My mind was unsettled as I had lots of worries about what the new working schedule would be since another doctor had been employed to take my place. I feared I would have to take calls despite nursing. Perhaps, I would have to share my salary with the new doctor. Would my son be comfortable in the new environment? Would I be allowed to continue bringing him till he’s at least 6 months so I can exclusively breastfeed? Would his babysitter co-operate with me considering the new arrangement? I even entertained fears of the staff not being welcoming.

I know. It makes no sense to worry. But I worried anyway. Fear of the unknown.

Then, the day came and I resumed with trepidation only for all my fears to melt away as Allah made it all easy. Our new schedule was arranged and I settled back into my job like an old glove fits comfortably. The staff seemed truly excited to see me and the baby and I was very happy at the end of the day. So, why did I worry anyway?
SUPPLICATION
That night, when I knelt in supplication, I was speechless, humbled and ashamed. Speechless at how wonderful Allah is and how order is restored at His Command. Humbled that He made me feel such love from the staff being a lone Muslim among Christians. Ashamed that I had worried and that He chose to favour me even though I did not deserve it.

He has elevated me in the eyes of people to such a status that I do not deserve. I am unworthy of His Mercy and Kindness but He blesses me anyway. It was such a myriad of emotions I had that night but eventually, all I said were words of gratitude.
I pray that Allah continues to cover our faults in the eyes of people and helps both Muslims and non-Muslims view us in a good light. May He make us better than people imagine us to be and may He continue to pardon our deficiencies.

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.

NOiR: Memory Monday

[Qur’an in Ramadan 10:Q9.46-Q10.52]

Today’s post is about memorizing a verse of the Glorious Qur’an.
You may have a verse or couple of verses you have always wanted to memorise due to how the ayah resonates with you. It could also be a favourite hadith of yours.

My choice is a du’a from the Qur’an in Surat-al-Ibrahim (Q14:40-41) and you are welcome to memorise it with me. It is a beautiful couple of verses praying for ourselves, our children and our parents which the Prophet Ibrahim (ASW) made.

14_4014_41
Transliteration
40. Rabbij alnee muqeemassalatiwamin dhurriyyatiy, rabbana wataqabbal du’a.
41. Rabbana ighfir lee waliwalidayyawalilmu’mineena yawma yaqoomulhisaab.

Translation:
40. O my Lord! Make me one who performs Salaah, and (also) from my offspring, our Lord! And accept my invocation.
41. Our Lord! Forgive me and my parents, and (all) the believers on the Day when the reckoning will be established.

May Allah accept our du’a.

TILAWAT-L-QUR’AN

[Qur’an in Ramadan 2:Q2.142-Q2.252]
quran-ramadhan

Salaam, people! Hope we had a spiritually fulfilling day yesterday.

One of the oft-practised acts in Ramadan is recitation of the Holy Qur’an in its entirety at least once. It is perhaps the most popular resolution of the month. Makes sense since the Qur’an’s revelation began in Ramadan and deeds are magnified during this month.

It was a habit of the Prophet (SAW) to recite to Angel Jibril every Ramadan in a review, and he was said to have reviewed it twice in his last year of life.

Remember that we will be rewarded for each letter (not word) we recite, so if you stutter or are not proficient in reading the Qur’an, lucky you! It is important to note that we should all endeavour to learn and practise tajweed while reciting the Qur’an, giving each letter and word its due by pronouncing and articulating properly following the rules of quranic recitation.

Some of us cannot read the Arabic text of the Qur’an but we can enjoy the beautiful recitations by various reciters. They can be downloaded free at http://www.quranicaudio.com and http://www.mp3quran.net. This way, we can listen to the Qur’an in the car on our way to work or school, on the bus with ear-phones, on a queue, in between lectures, at lunch break; anywhere really. We can also get a good translation of the Qur’an in a language we know and fill our days with the Words of Allah.

A nasty habit I have observed is how some of us make a racket while someone else is reciting the Glorious Qur’an. In Qur’an 7:204, we are instructed to listen and be silent during the recitation of the Qur’an so that we may receive mercy.

Above all, we should apply what we have learnt of the Qur’an in our daily lives.
Read. Understand. Practise.

Tip: Dua during Sajdah (prostration) of the Qur’an:
Sajada wajhiya lilladhi khalaqahu, wa shaqqa sam’ahu wa basarahu, bihawlihi wa quwwati. FatabarakAllahu ahsanul khaaliqeen.

OPPORTUNITY Q13.11

My son’s shirt had split along its seams and since I had no sewing machine and it wasn’t something a needle and thread could fix, I waited for someone who makes such repairs for a fee. In these parts, men often roam around residential areas with the machine on their shoulders, flipping their huge metal scissors to make a peculiar sound. If you do not hurry out to call out to them, they will be on the next street in no time.
sewing machine
I was indoors and waiting for the tell-tale signal to herald the approach of one. When I heard it, I hurriedly wore my hijab (it’s pretty hot in the tropics to sit indoors with one). Alas, once I get outside, there is no one in sight. I sigh dejectedly and return inside the house, ears pricked for the signal. Before I can wear my hijab and slippers and dash out to the street, someone else has called them or they have gone beyond my line of vision.

Of course, it did not take me long to realise that if I really wanted to get Lil H’s shirt repaired, I had to sit prepared, ready to grab the opportunity once it arose.

Opportunity does not wait for us to go get ready while she waits; she is arrogant and would rather delay you than sit and watch while you prepare. She expects you to be fully alert, eager and hungry, ready to grab her with both hands.

You are not going to see an advert in the dailies and suddenly rush to get the required qualification. You have to have the necessary qualification before-hand. While you wait, you may keep improving your craft by acquiring extra degrees or going for related courses, or volunteering to improve your chances of employment. As a bachelor or spinster, you will not sit at the sidelines without an education or life goals waiting only to get married once a prospective suitor shows up then you will dash to the supermarket to procure the qualities the person desires.

Allah may occasionally toss a freebie in our laps but most times, He will not change our condition until we get up and make something of and for ourselves. It is either we create the opportunity we want or we await, ready to grab the opportunity once it presents itself. Allah will not descend to the Earth to help us but will send us guidance or help through people.

Improve your situation and ask Allah’s guidance.

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PRECAUTIONS Q3.200, Q4.71, Q12.67

Anas ibn Mailk reported that a man said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, should I tie my camel and trust in Allah or should I untie her and trust in Allah?’ The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: Tie her and trust in Allah.

We once had a patient who presented very late with terminal cancer. Her husband was wealthy and insisted that the cancer had been detected early enough and he had flown her out of the country for treatment. Unfortunately, after being persuaded by ‘Men of God’, she had discontinued her medications and decided to rely solely on faith. Needless to say, she died a slow and painful death and there was nothing anyone could do about it.
camel
During the Prophet (SAW)’s time, considering that they could be attacked at any time, some were stationed to watch out while the rest prayed. They did not foolishly place all their eggs in a basket.

And this applies to all situations. Allah has blessed us with technology, innovation, medications and a myriad of wonderful things that it will simply be foolhardy to refuse to take advantage of them and make a show of piety instead.
Tie your camel AND trust in Allah.

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LOVE FOR THE SAKE OF ALLAH Q3.104

As-salaam alaykum, people. I wanted to write a post about loving for the sake of Allah but I’ve realised how hard that is.
love for the sake of Allah
You see, it’s much easier to love people you don’t know or barely know than people you know very well. Does that make sense to you?
In case you do not, allow me to expatiate.

Abu Hurairah was reported to have narrated that the Prophet (SAW) said: Allah will say on the Day of Resurrection, ‘Where are those who have mutual love for My Glory’s Sake? Today, I shall shelter them in My Shadow when there is no other shadow but the shadow of Mine. – Sahih Muslim 2566

Loving for the sake of Allah involves loving and helping people without expectations; wishing for them what one wishes for himself; encouraging each other to good and discouraging evil; excusing each other’s behaviours; hiding each other’s faults; rejoicing with them in moments of joy, grieving with them in moments of sorrow and agreeing to disagree when your views differ.

Muadh ibn Jabal narrated that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: Allah (SWT) said, ‘Those who love each other for the sake of My Majesty shall be upon the podiums of light, and they will be admired by the Prophets and the martyrs. – Jami’at Tirmidhi 2390

Unfortunately, while we tend to love our dear ones anyway, we do have expectations of them, you know? Even though we politely anticipate little or nothing from mere acquaintances or strangers, we expect our favours to be returned by loved ones. We expect our parents to bail us out of any trouble for all the love we’ve shown them over the years. We hope our children will take care of us in our old age following all the time and money we have invested in them. We demand that our friends stick out their necks for us because we have sacrificed for them too. Our spouses are expected to reciprocate our good actions or they face the axe.

He who expects nothing will not be disappointed. Man can only try but only Allah can exceed our expectations.

Sadly, it is exceedingly difficult for me to love loved ones unconditionally and have no expectations of them; and harder to forgive them when they let me down. #sigh!

Any one with a short cut around this?

May we be among those who will be placed on pedestals of light.

TRUTH Q13.1, Q17.81, Q53.27-8

My sister once pointed out (especially in the early years of our marriage) that my husband and I love to argue. Not to worry, it is often good-natured argument; we got nothing but love for each other.

There was something I observed though; when either of us is completely sure about something, there is no argument. Why? Well, if he is 100% sure of something, he simply states it and doesn’t argue to prove his point; same with me. When I am absolutely certain of what I am saying, I simply smile when he is trying to refute my statement. Funny thing is, we tend to take each other more seriously when we don’t argue.

This reminds me of my university days too. During group study when reviewing past multiple choice questions, an argument may erupt. Those arguing try to rationalise the answer from previous knowledge and assumptions but those who KNOW do not argue. They simply turn to the books, tune the noise out and search for the answer they KNOW is there. Once they find it, they silence the rest of us with #fact. Just as the Quran says ‘guess is no substitute for the truth.’

There was this beautiful illustration of the Truth in the opening montage of a show on Iqraa TV with the same title. It showed a ship navigating stormy seas, bopping and swaying being battered by strong winds; then it emerged victoriously from the storm into a fine sunny day with calm waters. That is how the truth is. It will always triumph!
ship in a storm
The truth doesn’t advertise itself, it doesn’t need to. Our Nigerian joke is that garri is not advertised but millions of Nigerians drink it anyway. If the truth is not made manifest today or tomorrow, it will eventually emerge victorious whether we like it or not. It often fights its own fight. When people hear it, they know it is the truth even if they do not admit it. Like the Qur’an; like Islam. Some reverts returned to Islam after reading the Qur’an and knowing it is The Truth.

That is the truth for you. It may be concealed under layers of filth, dirt, pollution, corruption; but it will emerge eventually in sha Allah. And when it does, we will know for sure.