Saturday, June 26, 2010

Stand back and let them learn! By Meera Raman

Cicero, the great Roman writer and philosopher once said, “The authority of those who teach is often an obstacle to those who want to learn.”

True, us adults deal with children authoritatively. As parents and teachers, we lack modesty, patience and respect when dealing with a child. There is a hierarchy of ‘superior’ and ‘inferior’. There is a feeling that the child is totally dependant and can be developed only by the adult.

The commonview point that the child develops only because of the adult is the standard opinion of many. We tend to take credit for our children’s academic success and achievement. I, myself, have always felt that I’ve had a major hand in moulding and developing my children, that whatever they have learnt, whatever they know is because of me.

But as we try to understand about the natural laws of development, our perspective starts changing. Dr. Maria Montessori, the founder of the Montessori Method of education, observes that from conception and during the physio-embryonic period (time spent in development before birth) and after birth, the child’s development is governed by Nature which sets its laws of development. Nature has its own laws regarding what the human being should achieve, when and how. It is difficult for us to decide when we adults can and should take over the tasks hitherto undertaken by nature. For more please read here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The best thing to do at different times

One problem many of us face is that we want to do so much at once, and thus become overwhelmed in our thoughts trying to establish exactly what we should be doing and what our obligations are at a given point in time.

This leads us to focus on what we can’t accomplish more so than what we can accomplish. This can be well and good, and as Ibn Al-Jawzi said, a person can be rewarded for his intentions more than for his actions.

However, the point of intending is to be productive and extract something physical from that intention.

Part of being productive is to have a methodical approach as to when to focus on what. For example, if your worship and intentions for specific efforts are organized and you properly place your focus where and when it should be, you’ll find yourself accomplishing much more as a Muslim, no matter if you’re a teacher who teaches, a caller to Allah who motivates, or an ordinary worshipper who simply wants to get closer to your Lord.

Ibn Al-Qayyim wrote: “They say that the best worship is to do what will please the Lord at every time in accordance with what that particular time calls for.

“So, the best act of worship during the time of Jihad is Jihad, even if this leads to abandoning certain rituals such as night prayer, fasting, etc. In fact, this applies even if you are to not pray a complete obligatory prayer as you would in times of safety and calm.

“And the best thing to do when you have a guest, for example, is to see to his rights as a guest and to preoccupy yourself with that instead of the recommended rituals you would usually engage in at the time. Such is also the case in fulfilling the rights of your wife and family.

“The best thing to do during the early morning hours is to be preoccupied with prayer, Qur’an, du’a, remembrance of Allah, and asking His Forgiveness.

“The best thing to do when teaching a student or ignorant person is to completely turn your attention towards teaching him.

“The best thing to do during the call to prayer is to leave whatever rituals you are engaged in and to occupy yourself with repeating after the mu’addhin (one making the call).

For more please read here.

Mirror, mirror on the wall: By Sadaf Farooqi

At times, we get so used to reciting Masnoon Du’as and Adhkaar (supplications and words of remembrance) in our day-to-day lives that we lose sight of their deep meanings and how relevant they are to our everyday thought processes and attitudes. For example, in our contemporary world of increasing mental diseases, personality disorders and psychological problems, psychiatrists, self-help gurus and life coaches help clients or patients to “think positively” and “develop a positive self-image”. Yet, this positive thinking was deeply-entrenched in the life, teachings and habits of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) – if only we paused for a moment to reflect.

Take just one Du’a. For example, the Du’a he would recite aloud when he looked at his reflection in the mirror. The translation is:

“O Allah! The way you have beautified my physical form/body (‘khalqee’), thus beautify (also) my character (‘khuluqee’).” Another Hadith added in the end: “...and make my face forbidden for the Hell-Fire”.

The starting words of this short and simple, yet profound, Du’a reflect positivism. When a person looks in the mirror, he or she sometimes does so with a critical eye (women in particular). What needs to be spruced up or fixed is analyzed in detail. The “defects” are loathed over and people turn into being ungrateful.

“O Allah, the way you beautified my physical creation...”

The believer follows the Sunnah. He or she calls out to Allah when looking into the mirror and acknowledges that Allah created the physical form in a beautiful manner. This is the first step towards positive thinking – a step that gives negative thoughts a kick in the teeth.

Nowadays the more people look into the mirror, the more they complain about their looks – they criticize their height, anatomical proportions, their graying or balding hair, and complexion. However, this Du’a that the Prophet (peace be upon him) recited is guidance for all believers to be grateful to Allah for their physical form. For more please read here.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Deeds that wash away our sins

The following are some statements of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) on what deeds could lead to forgiveness of our past and future sins. The statements were collected in the book Al-Bihar Az-Zakhirah fi Asbab Al-Maghfirah

1. Perfecting one’s ablution
“No worshipper perfects his ablution except that his past and future sins are forgiven.” (Hasan, Al-Bazzar. Al-Haythami and Al-Mundhiri agreed upon.)

2. Fasting in Ramadan
“Whoever fasts Ramadan out of faith and seeking Allah’s reward then his past and future sins are forgiven.” (Ahmad)

3. Night prayer in Ramadan
“Whoever stands (in prayer) in Ramadan out of faith and seeking Allah’s reward then his past and future sins are forgiven.” (Sahih An-Nasa’i)

4. Night of Al-Qadr
Laylat-ul-Qadr or the Night of Al-Qadr can be expected in the odd nights of the last 10 days of Ramadan. He who performs the night prayer in it out of belief and seeking Allah’s reward his past and future sins are forgiven. (Ahmad)

5. Thanking Allah after eating and putting one’s clothes on
“Whoever ate food and then said, ‘Praise be to Allah who has fed me this food and provided it for me, without any strength or power on my part’, is forgiven his past (and future*) sins. And whoever wears a garment and says, ‘Praise be to Allah who has clothed me with this (garment) and provided it for me, without any strength or power on my part’, is forgiven his past and future sins.” (Ibn Majah, Abu Dawood, Al-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i, and others)

The addition marked by (*) is related by Abu Dawood. Sheikh Al-Albani declared it Hasan in Sahih Al-Jami (no. 6086).

6. Getting old in Islam
“No one reaches 40 years in Islam except that Allah protects him from madness, leprosy and leucoderma. When he is 50, Allah makes his reckoning easy. When he reaches 60, Allah grants him repentance. And when he reaches 70, Allah loves him and the inhabitants of the heavens love him. And when he reaches 80, Allah accepts his good deeds and overlooks his sins. When he reaches 90, Allah forgives his past and future sins, and he is named ‘the prisoner of Allah on earth’ and is granted intercession (for forgiveness) for his family.” (Hasan, Ibn Asakir. Ahmad Shakir said in his notes on Al-Musnad, 8/23, 25: “Its chain is at least Hasan. It is supported with other chains which raise it to the level of Sahih.”)

7. Neither Ruqya nor belief in bad omens
“I was told: ‘These are your people and amongst them there are 70,000 who shall enter Paradise without being taken to either account or torment.’ …’They are those who do not make Ruqya nor seek it, nor believe in bad omens, but trust in their Lord (Allah).’” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

8. Patiently bearing children’s death
“Whoever buries three children, Allah will forbid the (Hell) Fire for him.” (Sahih, Tabarani in Al-Kabeer, Al-Albani authenticated it in Sahih Al-Jami, no. 6238)

“There are no two Muslim parents whose three children die before reaching puberty except that Allah will enter them into Paradise due to His mercy to the children.

It will be said to them, ‘Enter the Paradise,’ so they will say, ‘Not until our parents enter first.’ It will be said, ‘Enter the Paradise you and your parents.’ (Ahmad and An-Nasa’i; Al-Albani authenticated it in Sahih Al-Jami, no. 5780)

“Whoever remains content and patient after the death of three of his offspring will enter Jannah.”

A woman said, “What about two?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “And two.” (Sahih, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Hibban; authenticated by Al-Albani in Sahih Al-Jami, no. 5969)

For more please read here.

My dear sister: By Hebah Ahmed

Disclaimer: This article is written for women who do not have the responsibility of supporting their families and are financially able to implement the advice contained herein.

On TV and in movies, motherhood is about excitement, happiness, and pride. Pregnancy is special and fun, and babies are there to coo and act cute, be dressed up in all sorts of must-have outfits, and be shown off as the ultimate accessory. As always, these depictions are half truths at best.

Motherhood is about submission. And just like with Islam, submission is not just when it is convenient, compatible, or easy. The fruits of your labor take time to blossom. From the first day a woman gets that positive pregnancy test, the trials and tribulations begin. Nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and heartburn characterize the first trimester. Thankfully in Allah’s Mercy He has promised in the Qur’an “With every hardship comes ease, with every hardship comes ease.” (Qur’an, 94:6) So alas, the second trimester brings a period of ease and pleasure. She revels in her changing body and starts feeling the first movements of her child. She feels great after recovering from the morning sickness and starts to plan the future. Then the third trimester starts to threaten this bliss. By 37 weeks her discomfort reaches its peak, and she is ready for that time of ease again. She begins to look forward to the birth and wants to do anything to make it come sooner, not knowing what is about to come. She thinks the birth is the end but indeed it is only the beginning of a lifelong test of her will.

The moment finally arrives and she meets her child for the first time. Again, Allah has granted a wonderful moment of ease and unadulterated joy after the hardships of birth. No woman can truly understand the intense emotional response her mind and body has to holding her newborn baby until her time comes.

Every aspect of the birthing journey becomes trivial and worth every moment with her new baby. After the initial joys, she suddenly becomes submersed in another wave of emotional intensity that threatens to overwhelm her. Again, submission is the key to accepting the instantaneous maternal extinct that Allah has created for her. Rather than fighting the feelings or trying to escape, she must submit and allow herself to cry, breathe, share and finally accept the responsibility that has now been flung on to her.

Yes, motherhood is a responsibility. A huge responsibility, and as with most responsibilities, there is pleasure spiked with pain. Allah has just entrusted her with what could be the biggest test of her life. Each stage of parenting comes with its joys and conflicts, victories and failures. Without guidance from her Creator, she may feel lost and overwhelmed and try to chart her own path, which could lead to disaster. Submission to Allah’s will and His purpose for mothers is the key to surviving the many trials to come.

Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) have made it very clear that one of the primary roles of a woman is as a mother and care provider for her children. The emotional well-being, physical health, and religious guidance of the child all rest primarily in the hands of the mother, with the most intense period being from conception through the earliest years of life.

For more please read here.

Friday, June 18, 2010

All I wanted was to embrace Islam’ By Fouzia Khan

New Muslims share their story

JEDDAH – Thirteen women who embraced Islam were felicitated in a program held at Nirala restaurant, Jeddah, last week.

The program organized by Haji Mohammed Ayub Welfare Organization was chaired by Umm Fakeha Zinjani, president of the organization. Dr. Talat Shawdeen, an Indian doctor working at the Manarat Polyclinic, was the chief guest and Mariyam Ibraham (formerly Mariyama Abraham), an Indian nurse at the Manarat Polyclinic, was the guest of honor.

Mariyam shared her journey to Islam, which began when she came to Saudi Arabia few years back to work as a nurse in Hera hospital in Makkah.

“I was always conversing with doctors and patients, most of who were Muslims. I didn’t know what Islam was. When I saw people come on Haj and Umrah, and saw people fast during Ramadan, I became inquisitive,” Mariyam said.

“I started asking doctors and patients about Islam. I was then transfered to Jeddah’s Manarat Polyclinic. Most staff here were Muslim and they treated me well. A friend explained me about Islam and gave me a book to read.”

“Whenever I had any doubt, I cleared it with Dr. Talat,” she added.

“One night I woke up from sleep feeling tensed. I dreamt that someone told me to get up and read Surah An-Noor. I did Wudhu, which I learnt from reading books, and read the Surah. It had answers to much of the tension I was going through,” Mariyam recalled.

“The next morning I told Dr. Talal about the experience. She recited Surah Noor and translated its meaning to me. I cried a lot listening to it. Dr. Talat then left for vacation in August, 2008. During that time, I felt I had to embrace Islam. I couldn’t wait for her. I went and told another doctor about my intention. She told me to think over and whether my family would accept it. I told her I didn’t care about that. All I wanted was to embrace Islam.”

For more please read here.

Wisdom in Da’wah

Narrate what people can understand

Ali Bin Abu Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Narrate to people what they can understand; do you want Allah and His Messenger to be disbelieved?” (Al-Bukhari)

Ibn Hajr said in Fath Al-Bari, “(In this narration) there is evidence that ambiguous knowledge should not be mentioned amongst the general public.”

Sheikh Muhammad Bin Saleh Al-Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) explained this very important and often misunderstood point beautifully. After mentioning the narration of Ali, he states:
“It is therefore an aspect of wisdom in Da’wah that you should not surprise people with things they are not able to comprehend. Rather, you should call them in stages, bit by bit until their minds settle.

“(The statement of Ali) ‘Do you want Allah and His Messenger to be disbelieved in?’ is a rhetorical question, posed as criticism of such behavior. It means: By narrating to people what they cannot understand, do you want Allah and His Messenger to be disbelieved in ? This is because in such cases when you say, ‘Allah said, and His Messenger said,’ people will say, ‘You have lied,’ if their minds cannot comprehend what you are saying. Here, they are not disbelieving in Allah and His Messenger, but they are disbelieving you because of what you have attributed to Allah and His Messenger. Thus they will end up disbelieving in Allah and His Messenger – not directly – but through the person who transmits this knowledge (i.e. you).

“So, should we stop telling people things they cannot understand even if they need to know? The answer is: No, we do not leave this knowledge altogether. But we should tell them in a way that they are able to understand it. For more please read

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Between the doctrines of Islam and Christianity By Faraz Omar

Islam and Christianity, the two great religions of the world, share the same divine roots. With more than two billion Muslims and Christians in a world of six billion people, let us have a look at what they share in common and where they differ.

What Islam affirms

Jesus was born miraculously to Mary.
Mary was a chaste and extremely pious virgin. She was chosen above all women to give birth to God’s messenger.
God revealed the Injeel (Gospel) to Jesus, just as He revealed Torah to Moses and Zaboor (Psalms) to David and the Qur’an to Muhammad (peace be upon them all).
Jesus will return and rule the earth with justice establishing God’s laws.
When Jesus returns, he will kill Dajjal (Antichrist, the False Messiah). God has given only Jesus the power to do that.
Jesus, with the will and permission of God, cured the lepers, healed the blind, brought the dead back to life, and spoke when he was a child in cradle. However, these are miracles that God gave to Jesus, just as He gave to all His prophets some miracles.

Points of difference

Islam says Jesus was a Messenger of God, just like the many other messengers whom God sent to deliever His message. Messengers called people to worship only the One True God Almighty. The Qur’an mentions what Jesus said to his people:

“Truly, Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him (Alone). This is a Straight Path.” (Qur’an, 3:51)

According to the Bible, this was the first commandment given to Moses, and Jesus too testified to this.
Christians believe in all prophets and messengers before Jesus, but when it comes to Jesus, they believe this time God sent His son. Allah says in the Qur’an:

“It befits not (the Majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son. Glorified (and Exalted) is He (above all that they associate with Him). When He decrees a thing, He only says to it: “Be!” – and it is.” (Qur’an, 19:35)

“The Messiah (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), was no more than a Messenger; many were the Messengers that passed away before him. His mother [Maryam (Mary)] was a Siddiqah (i.e. she believed in the Words of Allah and His Books). They both used to eat food (as any other human being, while Allah does not eat). Look how We make the Ayat (proofs, lessons) clear to them; yet look how they are deluded away (from the truth).” (Qur’an, 5:75)

The fact that Jesus was born miraculously does not make him the divine ‘son of God.’ God says that creating someone without a father is easy for Him. He just says ‘Be’ and it comes in to existence. Allah says:

“Verily, the likeness of (Jesus) before Allah is the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then (He) said to him: “Be!” – and he was. (This is) the truth from your Lord, so be not of those who doubt.” (Qur’an, 3:59-60)

Jesus is the Word from God, which means, the command, “Be” that Allah said to create him. Islam also does not approve of the concept of trinity. According to this concept, the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, with their distinctive and unique identities as separate beings are not three, but one God, or are “three persons in one single Godhead.”

Encyclopedia Britannica states:
“Neither the word Trinity nor the explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament, nor did Jesus and his followers intend to contradict the Shema in the Hebrew Scriptures: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord” (Deuteronomy 6:4) [...] The doctrine developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies.”

For more please read here.

I'm not dead ....


I know it's been soooooooo long since I've blogged here last. I'm really sorry, was busy with the ups and downs of life.

So, where do I begin? Hmmm ....

Yeah, some sisters had asked me to post about my last years' Hajj experience. Alhamdulillah it was nice, I think the best till date.

And nothing else that I can talk about here happened. So, Insha Allah I hope to get back to blogging in the blogger world with blog pals ;). I know there are heaps of posts I haven't read, Insha Allah I'll do that slowly.

Missed U all a lot- Blog pals and Followers.