Saturday, December 31, 2011

A deed SO special....yet so easy

A deed SO special....yet so easy
by Asma bint Shameem
Would you like to know of a deed.....
that will take you away from Hellfire a distance of seventy years? And every single time you do it, it takes you away another seventy years!
.....A deed that will act as a shield for you from Hell Fire and be an intercessor for you on the Day of Resurrection?!
.....A deed that is so beloved to Allaah that He said: "It is for Me and Iwill reward him for it (beyond measure).” (Bukhari – Hadith Qudsi)
Subhaan Allaah! What a wonderful deed that would surely be!
That deed, dear brother/sister is....fasting.
Our beloved Prophet (sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: “No servant fasts a day for the sake of Allah except that Allah removes the hellfire seventy years away from his face.” (Muslim)
And he (sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) also said: “The fast and the Qur'aan are two intercessors for the servant of Allah on the Day of Resurrection. The fast will say: ‘O Lord, I prevented him from his food and desires during the day. Let me intercede for him.’ The Qur'aan will say: ‘I prevented him from sleeping at night. Let me intercede for him.’ And their intercession will be accepted.” (Ahmad-saheeh)
But, mind you, I am not talking about fasting in the month of Ramadhaan. Obviously that fasting is fard on us and we really don't have much choice in that matter.
What I am talking about is the 'nafl' fast....the fast that is purely voluntary....... not because you have to fast. But because you want to fast......because you love to fast....for the sake of Allaah...just to please Him.
And if you do that, sincerely, for His sake, this nafl fasting will bring you closer to Allaah and earn his Great Pleasure and Love. It will also be a means to purify your soul and strive against your desires, while earning immense reward from Allaah, Subhaanahu wa Ta'ala.
Allaah says: “My slave does not draw near to Me with anything more beloved to Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My slave continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I will love him, When I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, he seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it.” (al-Bukhaari-Hadeeth Qudsi).
Subhaan Allaah! Imagine....Allaah loving you.....yes, you! What more could a person ask for?!!!
That's for the Dunya. And what about the Aakhirah? This fasting will take you to Jannah, the Ultimate Goal, the Supreme Success.
Abu Umamah said: “I came to the Messenger of Allah (sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) and said: ‘Order me to do a deed that will allow me to enter Paradise.’ He said: ‘Stick to fasting, as there is no equivalent to it.‘ Then I came to him again and he said: ‘Stick to fasting.”‘ (an-Nasa’ee--saheeh)
The Prophet (sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) used to love to fast, especially on Mondays and Thursdays. When asked why he does that, he (sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said:
“Those are two days on which people’s deeds are shown to the Lord of the Worlds, and I want my deeds to be shown to Him when I am fasting.” (al-Nasaa’i, Ibn Maajah, Ahmad-- saheeh by al-Albaani)
Wouldn't you like your deeds to be shown to Allaah while you are fasting?
And if you find it difficult to fast every Monday and Thursday, then try and fast at least three days out of every month. It is recommended to fast on the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth (Ayyam al-Beed) of every Lunar month. However, if it is difficult, then fast any three days in the entire month. And that means any three days out of thirty. Now that's not too it?!!
The Prophet (sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: “Fasting three days of each month is fasting for a lifetime, and ayaam al-beed are the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth.” (al-Nasaa’i-- saheeh by al-Albaani)
Someone asked Aaisha (RA) :"Did the Messenger of Allaah (sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) fast three days of every month?” She said, “Yes.” They asked: “Which days of the month did he fast?” She said, “He did not mind which days of the month he would fast.” (Muslim)
And if you think about it, it's really not that hard at all. With a little patience and the hope of earning reward, one can easily get used to fasting. Alhamdulillaah we fasted a whole month in Ramadhaan. And we proved to ourselves during this month, that we can do everything, from going to work, to working in the kitchen, studying, driving, thinking, cooking, cleaning, in fact, doing all our duties and chores extremely effectively even while fasting. And if we can do all that while fasting for an entire month, what's a couple of days in a week or three days in a month?
Amir ibn Abdullah was once asked, "How can you tolerate being awake all night, and thirsty in the intense heat of the day?" He replied, "Is it anything more than postponing the food of the day to nighttime, and the sleep of the night to daytime? This is not a big matter." 
Al-Fudayl ibn ‘Ayaad said: “If you cannot pray qiyaam al-layl, or fast during the day, know that you are indeed deprived and restricted, chained by your sins.”
It is also Sunnah to fast the day of ‘Aashoora’ (tenth of Muharram), the day of ‘Arafaah, (ninth of Dhu’l-Hijjah), the six days of Shawwaal.
So do as the Prophet (sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) advised us and make the most of your time, young age and good health before it is gone:
“Make the most of five things before five (other things happen): your life before you die, your good health before you become sick; your free time before you become busy; your youth before you grow old; and your wealth before you become poor.” (saheeh by al-Albaani)
“And march forth in the way (which leads to) forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:133]

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Little Leap is All it Takes

Was it the latest songs? The hottest Hollywood couple? The soon-to-be-launched gadgets? Just ask Hauwa because she knows all about them!
I can still remember my friends coming over to consult me regarding the lyrics of a song or to settle a heated argument over celebrity gossip. At that time I was very much in love with the world; so much so that I avoided any thing to do with Islamic topics. As for my tongue, it ran free and wild! I would say stuff that I later on slept regretting. For example, I can still remember walking into a quiet room at the dorms during my high school days and blurting out “Did someone die?!” because they were all sulking. Little did I know that someone had actually died. Of course I didn’t mean the question in an inconsiderate way, but still it might have transmitted the wrong message to the others. I eventually got tired of that wild and carefree life. I wanted to become more mature considering I didn’t get any younger by the minute! I bought some Islamic books and tried to read them, but they mostly ended up somewhere in my closet with a dog-ear at the second chapter.
Then a very good friend of mine reccomended a lot of Islamic websites to me and I opened them up one by one. I Got It Covered happened to be one of them. I read through a few articles and suscribed for the mailing list. It was then that I concluded “CHANGE” was very much needed in my life!
I improved in my prayers and wore my hijab as it should be worn (not accompanied with too much perfume and a made-up face) and tried my best to quit my bad habits and adopt better ones. I started to read the Qur’an and the Hadith of the Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).
But even then, after all that, I still couldn’t sleep well at night. What about my friends? I kept thinking. I tried engaging in Islamic conversations with them and even offered to forward them the websites that I benefited from. But to no avail. I remembered a quote by Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change you want to see!” So I tried my best to improve my character and prayed that it would influence them even an atom’s weight. I love them and would want them to see the “light” as I have had the opportunity to.
I know that time is precious and should not be wasted, which made me learn an important lesson: Sure we have time, it’s just not in our hands. At any point in time it may be our time to go and there is nothing and nobody that can stop it from happening. So why not change today? Why not now? A little leap is all it takes.
I pray that the Almighty guides us in all our deeds and helps us fight the obstacles that we may face on our road to perfection: ISLAM. Ameen!

By sister

Saturday, December 24, 2011

What Every Muslim Should Know About Christmas

Bismillah Walhamdulillah Was Salaatu Was Salaam 'ala Rasulillah
As-Salaam Alaikum Wa-Rahmatullahi Wa-Barakatuhu


What Every Muslim Should Know About Christmas

Al-Hamdulillah, All praise be to Allah alone, for making us Muslims and bestowing us the Deen of Islam to distinguish right and wrong. The holiday season is upon us again, and the ugly head of Satan is rising again to inspire people to indulge in innovation and shirk.

What proceeds is an analytical view of Christmas and appropriate Muslim conduct during the Christmas season.

Any belief system or ritual (Christmas or otherwise) in any religion should satisfy each of the following criteria to be labeled as authentic:
1. It should have its evidence from the scriptures or from the authentic sayings of the Messenger.
2. The Messenger himself and his companions should practice and propagate it.
3. The Scripture or the Messenger's sayings in which this belief system is present should be preserved from alterations or perishment.

Does Christmas have Biblical Evidence?

The word 'Christmas' is not even present in the entire Bible. The Bible has closed lips on the entire feast of Christmas with one exception, the decoration of tree. Fortunately, for the Christians, the Bible does has a word or two to say on the decoration of the Christmas tree, but unfortunately for them, their own Bible criticizes the use of decorating tree:
"The customs of the people are worthless, they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel, they adore it with silver and gold, they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter" (Jeremiah 10:3,4).
Pre-Christian pagans superstitiously believed that the evergreen tree has special power of protection. In fact, the use of Christmas tree began in the 17th century, in Strasbourg, France and from there it spread to Germany, Britain and then to the U.S. "Tree worship was a common feature of religion among the Teutonic and Scandinavian peoples of northern Europe before their conversion to Christianity…German settlers brought the Christmas tree custom to the American colonies in the 17th century. By the 19th century its use was quite widespread". (Compton's Encyclopedia, 1998 Edition)

Was Jesus Born on Dec. 25th?

Neither the date 25th Dec. nor any other date on Jesus' birth is mentioned in the Bible. Not until the year 530 C.E., that a monk, Dionysus Exigus, fixed the date of the birth of Jesus on Dec. 25th. "He wrongly dated the birth of Christ according to the Roman system (i.e., 754 years after the founding of Rome) as Dec. 25, 753". (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1998 ed.) This date was chosen perhaps in keeping with the holidays already indoctrinated into pagans.

Roman pagans celebrated Dec. 25th as the birth of their 'god' of light, Mithra. "In the 2nd century A..D., it (Mithraism) was more general in the Roman Empire than Christianity, to which it bore many similarities" (The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, 1995 ed.)
"The reason why Christmas came to be celebrated on December 25 remains uncertain, but most probably the reason is that early Christians wished the date to coincide with the pagan Roman festival marking the "birthday of the unconquered sun" (natalis solis invicti); this festival celebrated the winter solstice, when the days again begin to lengthen and the sun begins to climb higher in the sky". (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1998 Ed.)
Other pagan 'gods' born on Dec. 25th are: Hercules, the son of Zeus (Greeks) Bacchus, god of wind, (Romans),Adenis god of Greeks Freyr the Greek-Roman god.

What about Santa Claus?

Once again the word 'Santa Claus' appears no where in the bible. However Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus) was a real person, bishop, who was born 300 years after Jesus (pbuh). According to legend he was extremely kind and went out at night to distribute presents to the needy. After his death on the 6th of Dec., school boys in Europe celebrated a feast day every year on the anniversary of his death. Queen Victoria later changed the celebration date from Dec. 6th to Dec. 24th eve.

Thus Christmas is an innovation (bidah) in their religion, associating it with Santa Claus, and changing the original date of death anniversary of Saint Nicholas are further deviations.

Did Jesus or his companions celebrated Christmas?

Of course not. If Jesus meant his 'Ummah' to celebrate Christmas, he would have practiced it himself and enjoined it on his followers. Even the 'supposed pseudo-companions' of Jesus (and not the companions of Jesus mentioned in the Quran who called themselves as Muslims) mentioned in the bible made many innovations in their religion, but celebrating Christmas was not their endeavor.
"In fact, the church did not observe a festival for the celebration of the event until the 4th century" (Grolier's Encyclopedia).
Even if Christianity passed the above two test, they still have to prove that their Bible have remained unaltered since its revelation. A whole separate article could be written on this topic.

We'll mention three brief points, insha Allah. (1) Bible, unlike our Quran, was not written down during Jesus' lifetime and no evidence of it ever being memorized. (2) The oldest bible (Codex Siniticas) in possession of Christendom is only from the 4th century C.E. (3) verses are missing or added as to the Bible throughout the centuries. Compare different Bible versions (eg. compare the King James Version with Revised Standard Version. For verse: 1 John 5:7, this verse is missing in Revised Standard Version published in 1952).

How unfortunate and pitiful: parts of the original Bible has been lost. Part surviving has been corrupted and the corrupted parts has been misinterpreted.

How should Muslims React to Christmas?

Being the custodians of Truth and the 'Best Ummah created for mankind" and "witnesses unto Mankind", we Muslims just can't stay still as the society around us is entrapped by Satan. Enjoining good and forbidding evil should be our theme.

The foremost thing to realize is that Christmas is a big innovation which is leading a big part of humanity to shirk (associating partners with God). Christianity has transgressed the limits set by Allah; therefore showing happiness and joy on Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Good Friday is like shaking hands with Satan and telling him to carry on the good work.

Remember Allah commandment to us in the Quran:
"Help you one another in virtue and righteousness, but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah, verily Allah is severe in punishment". (Quran, 5:2)
Therefore, a Muslim can't enjoin in any aspect of Christmas in the disguise that Jesus is our Prophet too, we are just honoring him by celebrating Christmas. We should recognize the bidah of Christmas and the Prophet's warning that all bidah should be rejected. Therefore, accepting Christmas invitations, attending Christmas parties, buying small plastic Christmas trees to please the kids (some Muslims actually do) should be avoided.

By greeting Christians with 'merry Christmas' we are legitimizing Christmas, by driving out on Christmas eve to witness the decoration of houses, we are appreciating bidah with our eyes, by placing our kids on the laps of Santa in the malls we are handing them in the hands of a fiend, by closing our Islamic Schools or shops during Christmas we are giving it our silent approval, by selling Christmas items in our shops, we are strengthening the pillars of Kufr.

By purchasing for children books with Christmas themes ('The Night before Christmas'), by watching Christmas movies and by giving holidays to our regular Islamic schools or weekend schools, we are passing them a misguided message.

Indeed Islam came to tear down the pillars of kufr and replace them with the pillars of Islam. Armed with facts on Christmas and eloquent words of Islam, the door of Dawah to the Christians should be wisely open.

When the Christians see us restraining from observing Christmas, they will curiously ask us for the reason. This opportunity should be used by each single Muslim to discuss Islam and invite non-Muslims to Islam.

It is highly recommended for all Muslims to carry brochures on Islam with them to pass on to non-Muslim classmates,
Writing articles in campus and local newspapers on 'Jesus (pbuh) in Islam', conducting soup kitchens in impoverished neighborhoods, clothing drives in schools and college campuses for the needy etc. are some proper modes of conduct during the Christmas holiday season.

Thus the hearts and minds of non-Muslims should be exposed to the beautiful message of Islam.

Truth comes, falsehood disappears; Islam came, now shirk must clear.

Friday, December 23, 2011

What Type of a Hijabi Are You?

1. Are you an "Occasional Hijabi"?
  • Do you cover yourself only when you are in an Islamic gathering or when you do the recitation of the Qur'an?

  • Do you cover yourself when you are in the KSA and forget that you are a Muslim as soon as your plane lands in another country?

  • Do you cover yourself when you go out, but display your pics on Facebook for others to see? (My dear sisters-in-Islam, even if you have privatized your photos and you say that only your friends can see it, BEWARE! Anyone can save our photos and then do whatever they want with it and then you never know where they will end up. Not to mention the fact that you friends may have people around while they are viewing the photos, who are non-mahram to you!)

  • 2. Are you a "Half Hijabi"?
    • Do you sometimes cover only your head and then wear tight jeans or perhaps any other tight outfit? (Seriously, there are many people who do that, and it is such an insult for the hijabis!)
    • Do you cover your head but leave a part of it open either from the back or the front, so that you may look prettier?
    • Do you cover your complete body but are the 'abayas' you wear are so attractive and colourful that they draw attention and probably need another abaya over them to cover their adornment?
    What is the actual intention behind this? What else can it be other than to attract guys? Do you dress up the same way when you know that there will be no guys around you?
     Hijab checklistBy the way, for those who don’t know, Hijab is to be maintained infront of non-mahrams (most males) and Alhamdulillah, we can dress up and beautify ourselves infront of our mahrams (our father, brothers, father's brothers, mother's brothers, grandfathers, sons, father-in-law, brother's sons, sister's sons, sons-in-law and young boys who haven't attained puberty) and in the gatherings of women.
    Ponder over this hadeeth:
    The prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:
    "In later (generations) of my ummah there will be women who will be dressed but naked. On top of their heads (what looks) like camel humps. They will not enter into paradise or (even) get a smell of it." (Muslim)
    My dear Sister’s in Islam, have you ever thought about the purpose of the Hijab?
    Why do we wear Hijab?
  • Is it because you don’t have any other option but to wear it in KSA?

  • Is it because your parents tell you to do so?

  • Is it because people around you do so?

    Do you feel oppressed wearing it? Be frank to yourself.
    Let’s see what our Lord has to say about it.
    The reason why Hijabis prescribed for women is mentioned in the Qur’an in the following verses of Surah Al-Ahzaab:
    Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
    "O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad); that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." [Al-Qur’an 33:59]
    The Qur’an says that Hijab has been prescribed for the women so that they are recognized as modest women and this will also prevent them from being molested.
    Now let’s analyze: Why do Muslims wear Hijab?
    1. Because it is an order from Allah. Simple, Allah ordered us and we do it. Islam is to submit to Allah's orders, to win His pleasure, to to do what He wants, and refrain from what He dislikes. He created us and everything around us, and He created us to worship Him alone. That’s the reason we exist right now and we have to return to Him, to account for every moment of our lives. Allah says: “And I have created Jinn and men only to worship me”. (51:56)
    2.  We are precious. A father's advice to a daughter: "Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock... You've got to work hard to get to them." He looked at me with serious eyes. "Your body is sacred. You're far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too."
    3.  It's our right. When a woman is covered, men cannot judge her by her appearance but are forced to evaluate her by her personality, character, and morals. Hijab is a responsibility plus a right given to us by our Creator, Who knows us best. It's a benefit to us, so why not wear it? Why should we display our beauty to anybody and everybody? Is that all what being female is about? Are our bodies that cheap? Why do we wish to make mindless objects of ourselves? Why wouldn't harrasment increase, if we are providing the material for it? Think about it!
    This is ME reminding myself first and then my dear sisters-in-Islam JUST IN CASE YOU FORGOT! :-)