Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bismillah Walhamdulillah Was Salaatu Was Salaam 'ala Rasulillah

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

The Secret

One day, one friend asked another, "How is it that you are always so happy? You have so much energy, and you never seem to get down

With her eyes smiling, she said, "I know the Secret!" "What secret is that?" To which she replied, "I'll tell you all about it, but you have to promise to share the Secret with others."
The Secret is this:

I have learned there is little I can do in my life that will make me truly happy. I must depend on ALLAH (SWT) to make

me happy and to meet my needs. When a need arises in my life, I have to trust

ALLAH (SWT) to supply according to HIS riches. I have learned most of the time I don't need half of what I think I do. He has never let me down. Since I learned that 'Secret', I am happy."

In everything you do, put

Allah (SWT) first, and he will direct you and crown your effort with success

The questioner's first thought was, "That's too simple!" But upon reflecting over her own life she recalled how she thought a bigger house would make her happy, but it didn't! She thought a better paying job would make her happy, but it hadn't. When did she realize her greatest happiness? Sitting on the floor with her children, playing games, eating pizza or reading a story, a simple gift from


In everything you do, put

Allah (SWT) first, and he will direct you and crown your effort with success.

Now you know it too! We can't depend on people to make us happy. Only

ALLAH (SWT) in His infinite wisdom can do that. Trust in HIM! And now I pass the Secret on to you! So once you get it, what will you do?

YOU have to tell someone the Secret, too! That ALLAH (SWT) in His wisdom will take care of YOU! But it's not really a secret... We just have to believe it and do it... Really trust ALLAH (SWT) !

In everything you do, put Allah (SWT) first, and he will direct you and crown your effort with success.

Muslim girls have eating disorders too

Muslim girls have eating disorders too

The article hereunder was submitted by a sister who requested its publication for the benefit of the Muslim community.

When I was put to the task of writing an article related to counseling, I wracked my mind for an idea. What could I write, after possibly, a five year academic hiatus? I trawled articles, blogs and websites on the internet for inspiration. And then a thought: why not write an article on a problem that has plagued me for most of my teenage and young adult years. A problem that was, undoubtedly, a deciding factor in choosing my undergraduate field of study in psychology. Eating Disorders.

I did not want this article to be a regurgitating hash of psychological terms and textbook-style definitions. Open any book, magazine article or website on Eating Disorders and you will read this. Nor did I want this article to be about Mary* (pseudonym for a person that probably does not even exist) and how Mary manages to overcome her obsession with food. I wanted to share with you my story. The story of a Muslim woman whom struggled for many years with a mental illness that is commonly thought of as a disease of the west. 

Almost everyone has a love of food. Our gatherings and celebrations are often centered on mouth-watering, delicious dishes and calorific, sugar-laden desserts. Food has a universal appeal. It transcends religions and cultures. Nevertheless just about every person has said, at least once, that they need “to go on a diet.” For some people, however, this goes far beyond simply choosing a low-fat or non-fat version of a foodstuff in a bid to be healthier. It becomes a serious and life-threatening reality. An anxiety that consumes every second of their waking lives.

I know this obsession by its first-name. It was an unwelcome guest for a countless many breakfasts, lunches and dinners. I struggled day after day; often feeling like a war was being waged on my body and in my mind. And I felt very alone. A Muslim girl suffering from an eating disorder? Unheard of. There were definitely others like me, but we were blanketed by the disapproval of a society that assumes these are the problems of the “white girls.”
It was only after researching social network sites and the internet that I realized; Eating Disorders are prevalent amongst Muslim females and in certain cases, Muslim males. It is a growing phenomenon and is often overlooked. Do we presume that because a woman wears a hijab, she is immune to media and social pressures that dictate a certain standard of beauty? A Muslim woman may be the embodiment of modesty and reserve, but she is still just a woman. I am not sheltered in a cocoon, blissfully unaffected by a measure that values the lithe and slender.

I particularly remember an incident when I was in the awkward phase of puberty- a time of teenage angst and melodrama, and whilst visiting some family members, an old lady said to my mother, “she could be pretty if she lost some weight.” 

This comment, although it was probably well-meaning, was very damaging to my emerging self-esteem and it became the twisted motivation I used to starve myself.

Fast-forward a few years and I beat my body into submission. I became an emaciated version of my former self. At the peak of my struggle with my eating disorder, I felt at the lowest ebb of my Iman. The blessed month of Ramadaan became my enabler and often times I questioned myself, “was I fasting for myself or for Allah.” An eating disorder is a debilitating disease and it encumbers you from doing what you really want to do. Your spirituality is put to the test.

On the contrary, I finally received approval from the marriage police. You know the sort- those well connected aunties who rate you based on a number of factors: complexion, eye-colour, body size and social class. If you were fair, green-eyed, slim and from a good family, then you rated extremely high on the potential bride scale. You would hardly, if ever, hear about the girl that was an excellent match for so-and-so because of her good character. These are the unspoken rules of our society. A society that frowns upon anything remotely westernized yet uses these same shallow principals when discussing young Muslim women as prospective brides-to-be.

Therefore, we should not only blame the western objectification of women’s bodies, fashion and clothing. We are far too quick to lay fault on modern ideals. “These young girls are obsessed by movie stars,” is often our repetitive complaint. Perhaps we need to rethink the discourses of our own culture.

Through the immeasurable mercy of the Almighty, this story has a happy ending. I have thankfully, managed to overcome my eating disorder and my obsession with being a size zero. It is important to seek the help of a professional counselor or psychologist to defeat this mental illness. I also firmly believe in the power of supplication and in earnestly asking our Creator for help and forgiveness to supplement ones treatment. 

“There is no disease that Allah has created, except that He has also created its treatment.” (Al-Bukhari)

It is my sincere wish that this article will help, inspire and encourage others. After reading this, I hope they realize that they are not alone in their struggles. Muslim girls have eating disorders too.

The Play Dough

The Play Dough

She stared at the play dough in her hands. The different colours reminded her of the rainbow that her father had shown her just the day before. She was only four years old and doctors had given up hope of her motor-skills ever returning to her since that ghastly accident two years ago. Pushing the curls away from her eyes, she miraculously began pulling at it: twisting, rolling and shaping it into the house ... the house that she would always tell her father about whilst sitting on his lap and swinging in their sun-filled veranda. He would always twirl her baby-soft hair around his fingers and say:
“Darling, the happiest day of my life will be when you build me a house with your play dough.”
That evening, a plastic toy box lid lay on the doorway holding a house whose blue roof was ready to cave in, whose red walls were set in a shape other than a square, whose green door leaning on the wall appeared more like a warrior’s shield than a door. She waited in the guest room hiding behind the curtain until she heard the car pull into the driveway. The door banged, the alarm clicked and the sounds of footsteps crunching the gravel pounded her ears as he jingled his keys in his pocket to open the door.
Ah! It was a sight sweeter than the sweetest honey, more fragrant than the richest perfume, the dawning of a new era in the future of his baby, a sight that pieced together his shattered hopes, a sign that her neuro-motor-skills were slowly returning to her.
He shouted out for her. She stood behind the curtain grinning from ear to ear unable to contain her laughter, her pink shoes with their white bows peeping out from beneath. She let out a small giggle, then a bigger one until she burst out laughing. He rushed into the room and cried ‘I caught you!’ She ran out from the curtain into his strong arms which lofted her to the ceiling, spinning her around. He hugged her and tears of joy streamed down his cheeks and soaked his beard.
What joy and excitement! What happiness and elation! What delight!
All because of the SOFT dough!!!
Had the dough not been soft and pliable the house would never have been built and the return of her skills never proven. If the dough was hard and tough, her father may have never seen this joyous day. The pleasures of life lie in being soft and submissive, in being meek and obedient.
A cake can only be baked if the egg eventually cracks, the egg white allows itself to be whipped, the sugar granules slowly dissolve, the flour allows itself to mix and the chocolate eventually melts ... A car can only be built if the steel eventually softens and becomes a panel, the rubber allows itself to be moulded into a tyre, the petrol eventually burns to provide energy and the parts allow themselves to be restricted and bolted to one place ... and the list goes on and on.
Analyse the list of words in these examples: soft, pliable, crack, whipped, dissolve, melt, soften, mould, burn, restricted and bolted. Every single one of them indicates toward the meek nature and submissive character of the dough, the cake and the car. The pleasures and enjoyment of this world are the same. They could have only come about when someone or something was submissive.
Attaining the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala is the very same. It requires total commitment, loyalty and submission to the commands of Allah Ta‘ala and the sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). It calls upon us to be soft and pliable, to be cracked and whipped, to dissolve, melt and soften, to burn, to be moulded, to be restricted and to be bolted. It demands that we be totally meek and submissive to his laws without any hesitation or reluctance.
This was the hallmark in the life of Sayyidah Haajar (‘alaihas salaam). When Nabi Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) brought Sayyidah Haajar (‘alaihas salaam) to the barren land of Makkah Mukarramah, she was, bluntly speaking, staring at her destruction. Such a land stretched out before her eyes, where there was no soul to be seen or even heard, where nothing edible grew ... a land that outwardly promised no future. She was, however, fully aware of the fact that this was the command of Allah Ta‘ala brought to her by the Nabi of Allah Ta‘ala. The command of Allah Ta‘ala and the way of His messenger as a rule is never beyond a person’s ability. All it requires is a bit of courage in the beginning. Then the road opens up. 
The response of Sayyidah Haajar (‘alaihas salaam) to this command of Allah Ta‘ala is worthy of being written in gold and etched onto the heart of every Believer. Her words echoed the very mindset that made her a celebrated member of a family chosen by Allah Ta‘ala. She said:
“How will Allah Ta‘ala ever destroy us when we submit wholeheartedly to His decree? I am happy with the command of Allah Ta‘ala.”
“It does not befit a believing man or woman when a matter has been decided by Allah Ta‘ala and His Rasul (‘alaihis salaam), to have any option about their decision.” (Surah Ahzaab v 36)

Put the Horse Before the Cart

Submission entails that a person follows deen objectively. At every moment one should be maintaining the purity of the shareeah, without looking for any short-cuts or guise. Rephrasing the words, re-interpreting the meaning and altering the context of deen to suit our convenience would be equal and akin to putting the cart before the horse. 

The journey of Islam would never start in that event.