Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sunnah of Nabi (SAW)

Sayyadina Hasan radiyallahu anhu says, “I asked my (maternal) uncle Hind ibn Abi Haalah, who always described the noble features of Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam to describe to me the manner in which Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam spoke. He replied that Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam was always worried (about the hereafter). And always busy thinking (about the attributes of Allah and the betterment of the Ummah). Because of these things he was never free from thought and never rested (or because of worldly affairs he did not gain rest, but gained rest and contentment from religious well being. It is mentioned in the Hadith that the coolness of my eyes is in Salaah). He always spoke clearly from beginning to end. (He did not speak in a manner where only half sentences are spoken and the other half remained in the mind of the speaker, as is prevalent among snobbish high-minded and proud people). He spoke concisely, where the words are less and meaning more. (Mulla Ali Qaari has collected forty such Ahaadith in his commentary which are very short. Those who wish may refer to it and memorise it). Every word was clearer than the previous one. There was no nonsensical talk, nor was there half-talks’ where the meaning was not complete and could not be grasped. He was not short-tempered, nor did he disgrace anyone. He always greatly appreciated the blessings of Allah even though it might be very minute, he did not criticize it.

He did not criticize food, nor over-praised it (The reason for not criticizing food is clear, that it is a blessing from Allah. The reason for not praising it is because it might be felt that one is gluttonous. Nevertheless, he praised food if it was to make someone happy, and sometimes praised some special things). He was never angered for anything materialistic. (The reason being that he did not pay much attention, and did not care much about materialistic things).
If someone exceeded the limits in religious matters or against the truth, he became so angry that no one could endure it, nor could anybody stop it till he avenged it. If for some reason he made a gesture or pointed at something, he did it with a full hand. (The Ulama say the reason being that it is against humbleness to point with one finger only. Some Ulama say it was his noble habit to signal oneness of Allah with one finger, therefore he did not signal anyone in that manner). When he was surprised by something he turned his hands, and when he spoke sometimes while talking, he moved his hands, he sometimes hit the palm of his right hand with the inside part of his left thumb. When he became angry with someone, he turned his face away from that person, and did not pay attention to that person or he forgave that person. When he was happy due to humility it seemed as if he had closed his eyes. The laugh of Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam was mostly a smile, at that moment his Mubarak (blessed) front teeth glittered like white shining hailstone.”

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Gardens of Paradise

The Gardens of Paradise

Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihi wasallam) said, “When you pass the gardens of Paradise, graze to your heart’s content.” Someone asked, “O Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam), what is meant by the gardens of Paradise?” he replied, “Gathering for performing Zikr.”

What is meant is that if somebody is lucky enough to get access to such gathering, he should take full advantage of this, as these are the gardens of Paradise on this Earth. The words, “graze to your heart’s content”, signify that, just as an animal grazing in a green pasture or garden does not give up grazing in spite of being driven or beaten by its owner, similarly a Zakir (one who practices zikr) should not get pulled away from the gatherings for Zikr by the worldly anxieties and hindrances. The gatherings for Zikr are likened to the gardens of Paradise, because just as there are no worries in the paradise, similarly gatherings of Zikr are safeguarded against every kind of calamity.

It is stated in one Hadith that the zikr of Almighty Allah cures all diseases of the mind, such as arrogance, jealousy, malice, etc. the author of ‘Fawaid fis Salaat wal Avaid’ has stated that constancy in Zikr is a sure safeguard against all kinds of calamities. According to another Hadith, Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihi wasallam) has said, “I enjoin in a fort against a strong enemy. One who practices Zikr is as it were in the company of Almighty Allah.” Can there be any benefit greater than that of being in the company of the Almighty Lord? Moreover, it leads to satisfaction of the mind; it enlightens the heart and removes its callousness. In addition, there are many other material and spiritual benefits, which are enumerated, up to a hundred, by some Ulama.

A man came to see Hazrat Abu Amama (Radhiallaho anho) and said to him, “I saw in a dream that whenever you went or came out, or sat or stood up, the angels prayed for you.” Abu Amama (Radhiallaho anho) replied, “if you wish you can also earn their prayers.” and recited the Ayat: “O you who believe! Celebrate the praises of Allah and do this excessively and glorify Him morning and evening. He sends blessings on you, as also his angels that He may bring you out from the depths of darkness into light, and He is full of Mercy to the believers.”

This Ayat was quoted to show that the Mercy of the Almighty Lord and the prayers of the angels can be earned through Zikr. The more we remember Allah, the more He remembers us.

Source: Fadhaail Zikr by Moulana Muhammad Zakariyya (Rahimahullah)

Discomfort is a blessing for a believer

Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Any type of discomfort that afflicts a believer becomes a means of his status being elevated in the Aakhirah and his sins being forgiven, even if it is a headache or the prick of a thorn” (Bayhaqi, Shu’abul Imaan, Hadith #: 9409, Narrated by Abu Sa’eed)

Black and White

Reading about Islam, different people's experiences, trouble, perspectives and self discoveries.

I had a thought. I am a woman, a wife, a Muslim, a feminist and I live freely/ I have a job and it all feels totally possible and reasonable. I feel like people are always coming out from all directions saying you have to make choices between some of these things. But you don't. . . none of them are mutually exclusive. . . as a matter of fact they often compliment each other.

I'm not saying I am perfect at any of them or heck even particularly good. But I try. . . and I believe in all of them. I would like to be totally self-sufficient. . but I'm not  because we all need each other. I have a husband who takes care of me, loves me and supports me and understands me. . . . often he does and I love him more than I could ever imagine. . . however no one can complete us if we can't complete ourselves.

I want to be a role model to my children when they arrive giving them beautiful memories and a strong foundation for life. . . I"ll certainly love them with all of my heart and try my best. . . but I am a person with many flaws and a decent helping of selfishness.

I want to be a good Muslim no a better Muslim and I think that that first and foremost it involves faith and being a good human being. . . I try everyday to work on who I am and who I want to be and what I want to send out into this world.

i struggle with those greedy feelings, anger, resentment and any number of emotions we deal with as human beings.

I truly believe being a good Muslim starts on the inside. It doesn't matter so much what other people think or say. It matters what my heart and my mind tell me are the right direction. There is no black and white. People who try to make everything black and white are doing us a serious disservice. They are doing a serious disservice to Islam.

Seeing life in black and white might make things easier but it also makes us morally lazy. It is easier to condemn than it is to help or to understand. It is easier to try to fit in than it is to try and stand up for what is right. I don't like seeing this happen to Islam. I don't like seeing people silenced and scared about speaking what is in their hearts. We need to learn to praise compassion and not conformity.

I have always admired my grandmother for the utter clarity of her moral compass. She was definitely a believing woman but it has never stopped her from having compassion for others. I think that is a real sign of faith. The person who stands up and fights in the face of injustice even if it doesn't affect them personally. Because the thing is that injustice should affect us all on a personal level. Maybe compassion and at least trying to understand others are the only black and white in this life.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Raising Muslim Kids in the West

   I want to write about a topic very close to my heart and maybe some of you could share your feelings and your approaches to parenting. Being in a western country can be so full of freedom and opportunity but can come with pitfalls as well. I want my children to be Muslims and to be proud of their heritage and strong in their beliefs. I also want them to be well rounded and to be a part of the wider community that they live in as well. I want them to understand what is great about their religion but respect others with different beliefs. I guess I want what most parents want. I want my kids to be among the righteous creations of Allah. I want them to be successful and to be happy and to be good, kind people who Allah will love.

   It can be tricky to decide how to approach all of these things. If you live in a place where few other people wear hijab how do you introduce it to your daughters as something required of us as well as something that is for our benefit and as something beautiful and normal? It feels like a tough balancing act. I don't want to segregate my family from other people around us so much. My approach has been to educate my kids about their religion and heritage as much as I can at home and to be as much apart of their school life as I can be as well. I try to volunteer at the school  often as well as attending as many school events as I can. I think it helps knowing some of the other mothers as well as knowing many of the students. Plus, it helps because if I know some of the parents and children I have more opportunity to explain some of the things my kids don't do or take part in. It leaves less chance for people thinking you are rude or strange just because they don't understand your religion ;).  I like to think that it helps for other students to get used to seeing us and seeing a woman in hijab or muslims as something normal and hopefully as nice people. Other people have been so amazingly nice . . . I guess that is the way it should be but I know it isn't always the way it is unfortunately. The scariest thing in the world is those teenage years that I know can be unpredictable. InshaAllah we will be able to instill a love of the beauty and truth in Islam in our children and it will be something they can run to rather than rebel from. I like to stress choice over duty. I understand that we have obligations in Islam. What I mean is that I like to put emphasis on how my obligations benefit me. I choose Islam because it is the best life. It is a blessing in my life and not a burden.

    How do you approach these issues? Do any of you think it is difficult raising a Muslim family in the west? Do any of you think it offers a unique opportunity to flower in your beliefs? I guess like anywhere else we have fears and dangers as well as beautiful opportunities and promise