Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Motherhood and Marriage... two of my greatest gifts from Allah--

Its been a while since I wrote anything. I certainly have various topics on my mind, but between Ramadan, and now recovering from a surgery I just haven't sat down and taken the time. Insha'Allah you haven't all given up on me!

A reader recently asked me to publish a post about motherhood and marriage in Islam. I am hardly one that should speak on these two incredibly imprtant elements, but insha'Allah I will divulge a piece of my life in the hopes it will inspire other Muslims, and show non-Muslims the beauty of this religion.


To understand the greatness of Allah (SWT) in this area of my life, and how He changes hearts you have to understand who I was before Islam. For personal reasons I was jaded by the idea of marriage and had decided I would never marry and didn't want children. I felt that Marriage was a useless commitment that nobody cherished as sacred, so why even bother.
When Islam, alhamdulillah, became my way of life, without my even knowing it, Allah (SWT) changed my heart. So much so that in just mere months after my reversion, and without really knowing the man I was to wed, I got married. To most in my life it seemed like the craziest thing I had ever done (even more so than my conversion in some people's minds I am sure.) Such haste in a relationship is not easily understood in the West. I even had a hard time wrapping my mind around it as it was going on for me. It really is the one of the ways I just have proof that Allah (SWT) works in a believers life if we submit to Him. I remember telling the people most important to me in my life about my impending wedding and they gave this look of shock and disaproval and I met it with "I know it seems crazy eh?" But each time someone asked me how we would raise a family or live with each other it seemed to make perfect sense. After all if we both believed the same religion which unlike the the religion of my past, dictates every life decision from how we eat, go to the bathroom to how we raise children, what would we argue about? Why did I need to know what his favorite colour was or whether he liked peas better than carrots? That could all be learned.
That being said, it really wasn't quite as cut and dry as that. Of course there were/are challenges that I couldn't forsee. The biggest often stemming from culture. This is not to say that culture supercedes religion in our home-- I don't believe it does, but at the end of the day I am Canadian-- and at times a far too independent and outspoken one, and my husband is Turkish. Somewhere there needed to be a balance, and that balance was what takes the time to find. That and there is also the learning how to be a wife and a Muslim all at the same time. Remember I had gone from living alone since I was 18 in various cities and provinces, being fully independant to sharing everything with someone I really knew little about.
I only offer so much history to show you again the grace of Allah (SWT). That is a promise, that if two people love each other and meet because they love each other for the sake of Allah (SWT) alone, that Allah (SWT) will reward them in this life and the next. And even if there are hard times that if our true desire is to stay together Allah (SWT) will make that happen. It is promised in the Qur'an.
The couple of things that I have really learned though--- Is that marriage is a challenge. Although Allah (SWT) has made us partners for each other and that there really can be a perfect balance to our mutual and harmonious existance, it is difficult at times and takes work. Don't forget that we are still two different people with different backgrounds and personalities. However, the best example always comes from the Prophet (SAW). That being said, as a wife I should look at the mothers of the believers, how did they react and act towards our beloved Prophet (SAW). The best advice that I can possibly offer is if you and your husband can emmulate the characteristics of these individuals insha'Allah there will be success.

I don't know that the person who wanted me to write about marriage in Islam was seeking my counsel but there now you have it! Insha'Allah it is of some benefit.
As for children I will try to be less long-winded.

Prior to Islam, I wanted none. I wanted financial freedom, and the thought of raising children in such a hate-filled world made me sick. When I got married I decided okay, yes I wanted children, but maybe just two or three and certainly not until a year or two after I was married. After all I wanted to just enjoy being married for a while. Again, Allah (SWT) moved in my heart. We had our first child before our second anniversary--- I can't wait for more, and even though I have a full University education and career that is perfectly established. I have NO DESIRE to pursue it. I was pregnant the month after graduation and haven't looked back. Alhamdulillah Allah has blessed us in the way that my husband can provide so I can be the care provider for our child. I can't imagine putting her into daycare knowing that she would be expose to things that I can't be there to monitor. I don't think that I am being naive or overprotective. I believe that insha'Allah I am doing my duty as a Muslim woman to raise my children. We will be responsible for them on the day of judgement and I just can't imagine standing before Allah trying to explain why I allowed my child to be in an environment where swear words may have been used, pork eaten, TV programs watched without monitoring, the values of our relgion not taught. Of course there are Islamic options out there, but right now the best Islamic option is me raising our children. It is only by Allah (SWT) that my heart has moved towards this way, and I don't think it can be fully understood until a person has children.
Of course it is a constant struggle with my family and friends who think I have thrown away my education and my career. And that's hard because I am still largely influenced by my emotion, but in the end I will answer to Allah not my family.

My greatest fear now comes from my inadequacies that I have to be able to raise a child in accordance with Islam. After all the amount of Qur'an I know is minimal, I don't speak Arabic, my knowledge of the deen is small.... But what is important is that I seek the right support, turn to my husband for what I don't know, make sure I strive to learn, and most importantly, turn to Allah.

Insha'Allah this is of benefit. Any sin or error above is mine, any goodness is of Allah (SWT) alone.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Explosion in Toronto--- Thanking Allah to be Alive

Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah...
what else can I do but praise Allah (SWT) after my weekend's events. As now it is world news, I am sure many of you have seen the explosion that occurred in TO recently at a propane plant. That plant was at the end of my street. Here are some addresses to view the video clips from the explosion.

Truly the scariest moment of my life. I have no idea how everyone in my neighbourhood survived, how houses are still standing...
The night it happened I had just got off the phone with a dear friend of mine and we were discussing the importance of reciting your dua before going to bed. To ask Allah (SWT) for protection if you were to live another day, or forgiveness if he takes you that night.
When I contemplate how close we were such harm, all I can do is thank Allah (SWT) for the reminder of His Mercy.
When we finally returned to our home yesterday we were met with broken windows and other surface damage to the homes around us. A small reminder of what happened to all of us. Really nothing in comparison to what our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan, Palestine and too many other areas experience everyday.
I pray that I will never forget the fear I had that night, the greatfulness I had to Allah (SWT) that night, the thoughts of the hellfire and how I pleaded with Allah (SWT) to save me from it. I never want to forget for one second any of it and I ask forgiveness from Him that it took such an event to really knock me into the type of worship I should be doing daily.
Allah (SWT) is Merciful, and is Powerful... I know this now more than ever before.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Links-- Journey through the Hereafter.

Here are the links to the video I was mentioning in the earlier post. May Allah (SWT) reward this brother and protect us all from the Hellfire, and punishment in the grave.

Living for Here or the Hereafter?

I remember when I accepted Islam one of the things that I found so appealing was the accountability factor. That we as Muslims are going to be held responsible for our actions (we as is everyone when they stand before Allah (SWT)). That being said, it should guarantee that we as Muslims live according to the command of Allah (SWT) maintaining a society that is free of corruption, hatred, and wrongdoing. After all wouldn't the fear of the punishment of Allah (SWT) and the fear of hellfire cause us to monitor our actions in such a manner?
Of course, we as Muslims know that it is only by the mercy of Allah (SWT) that we will enter paradise, however we must strive to follow the commands of our creator. For example prayer-- we know it is obligatory on us so much so that it is narrated that those who abandon the prayer are outside the fold of Islam. We must also uphold the other four pillars. Most importantly, not to commit shirk (associate any partners with Allah (SWT). This as a topic alone could be discussed for many posts so I will just briefly encourage everyone to think about what they "worship" in life. Because shirk isn't just worshiping Jesus or Buddha. If we worship money, fame, love of this world that is idol worship--- it is worshiping other than Allah (SWT).
But back to my original thoughts for this post-- Until recently I don't think I had a full understanding of the fear Allah (SWT) is deserving of. Of the true manner that we as Muslims should be acting in, the true conciousness that we should have of our religion. I think there is a mentality at times that "I am Muslim" so we possibly forget the manner which Allah (SWT) and our beloved prophet Muhammad (SAW) have instructed and then modelled the way we should live. I think at times we put such a focus on this life that we neglect to consider how it will impact our hereafter. We don't pray at the Mosque cause it is too difficult but we forget that one of the people who will be shaded on the day of judgement is the one whose heart is tied to the mosque. Comments are uttered such as "it is only sunnah" forgetting that it is the Quran and the Sunnah that we follow. And that we will be told to follow our Imam on the day of judgement and that our Imam should be Rasoolulah (SAW). How do we follow him (SAW)? By upholding his sunnah, by practicing what he instructed.
Maybe my point isn't as clear as I had hoped it to be, but I fear that we often forget the trials of hereafter and that Muhammad (SAW) who was guaranteed paradise used to seek refuge from Allah (SWT) from its punishment. Who are we in this religion, and are we living with the same fear?
The recent Journey of Faith conference, helped us to rediscover our love of the Prophet (SAW). Now I encourage us all to rediscover our fear of Allah and punishment in the grave and in the Hereafter. What has possibly been the most effective in helping me do this recently was the 12 part series by Brother Tafique Chowdhury on the Hereafter. I will try to post the videos on my site but if I am unable the please watch these. "Journey through the Hereafter" parts 1-12 on Google Video. Insha'Allah it will change the way you practice your faith as a Muslim, and insha'Allah it will guide non-Muslims to faith in our beloved creator, the one True God, and the knowledge that Muhammad (SAW) is his final messenger.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Conference!!

The conference on the weekend was amazing subhan'Allah. May Allah (SWT) reward all of the speakers, planners, volunteers etc for what seemed to be a seamless conference except for the fire(?) alarm that went off on the second day.
I have learned so much, and been completely saturated with profound though. Insha'Allah (God willing) I will be able to apply it to my life.
Insha'Allah I will write some thoughts about what I have learned, what inspired me etc. in the next day or so, but I just wanted to acknowledge the latest comment--
To Faithfulwonder-- I thank Allah (SWT) that you came to the conference and came across my blog. I would encourage you to read some of my first posts about my search/experience when I first found Islam if you thought it would be of benefit. Also, if I can be of any assistance to answer any questions (or help you seek answers to any questions from the right sources) please don't hesitate to let me know.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Journey of Faith Conference

Just a reminder about the conference this weekend. They have just posted information about where some of the speakers will be on Friday for Jumah and for free lectures in the evening. Insha'Allah it is worth checking out. The confirmed speakers have also been posted on the website as has a tentative schedule. check it out.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Patience like the Prophet (SAW)

On more than one occasion recently I have been out in public only to have others make rude/hurtful remarks towards me/my appearance. I feel myself getting uncomfortable and hurt, surprised especially since I live in such a multi-cultural city like Toronto. Wondering is my being dressed like a Muslim woman really that out of the ordinary? But I find that the surprise and hurt soon turns to anger and it is all I can do to surpress the urge to turn around and say something.

I was reading recently about our beloved prophet Muhammad (SAW) and what he did in similar instances and the answer is...

"The Prophet (SAW) never took revenge for his own sake, but if the laws of Allah (SWT) were violated, he would take revenge for the sake of Allah SWT)." --Bukhari and Muslim

Once a man came to the Prophet (SAW) asking him for advice in just one word, and Muhammad (SAW) replied" Do not become angry." The man repeated his request for advice several times and each time the Prophet said "Do not become angry". --Fath al Baari 10/519

Aishah (RAH) said " The Prophet (SAW) never struck any person, woman or servant with his hand, except when he was fighting in the way of Allah, and he never took offence at anything and sought revenge for it, except when one of the laws of Allah had been violated and then he would take revenge for the sake of Allah." -- Muslim 15/84

The Prophet (SAW) never reacted in a way that brought wrong to a situation. That demonstrated anything other than patience, forgiveness and kindness unless someone was going against Allah and the religion of Islam. The examples of this are many and insha'Allah the ones I have chosen demonstrate his (SAW) personality.

This is the personality we as Muslims should be trying to emulate. Not only in public by non-Muslims, but by those closest to us as well. At times in friendships, relationships and even marriages we may leave a discussion feeling as though we have been criticized unjustly, or treated unfairly. It is often a situation which is hard to walk away from or ignore. But if we look at the example of the Prophet (SAW) we will see that we should be responding with love, patience and forgiveness. If someone says something hurtful, we should not engage or retaliate. We should strive to be better... to be like the Prophet (SAW) who even forgave a woman who tried to poison him.

May Allah (SWT) give us the strength to uphold our faith, to follow the Quran and sunnah and to act in accordance of them both... Ameen.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Conference Worth Coming To.

Inshallah I hope you all can make it.. A great speaker list.

Striving to be stranger, striving to be a Stranger.

Inshallah we will all be strangers. Please watch this video.


There is a hadith (and I am paraphrasing here so Allah (SWT) forgive me) that talks about an instance when the Prophet (SAW) was at a festivity and giving gifts out to all but one person. He was questioned as to why he never gave a gift to this one individual who was perceived by the person asking to be a pious believer (muminoon) and the Prophet responded that he was Muslim. This continued again until the Prophet pointed out that the other man saw his actions and not his Iman, and thus was not at a place where he could make a comment about his faith.
It is interesting that here was someone thinking something positive about another and he was warned against it, but it goes to show something powerful. We do not know a person's heart. For this reason we are never to speak ill against another believer. We can point out an action that we know to be wrong in the religion (following the gentle method of the Prophet (SAW)) but in the end we do not know the person's heart. Whether we believe them to be weak in faith and character or strong in faith and character, that is not our decision to make or place to articulate. Because in the end when we stand before Allah (SWT) only He will be our judge. Who knows the khusu that other individual has in prayer, maybe it far exceeds our own, or the dhikr they make-- amazing examples of remembrance of Allah (SWT) that we could never know about when we look at the individual. Or there could be someone we praise while all the while they are swimming in sin.
We need to remember to try and emulate the Prophet (SAW) and be a model for others, but in the end, judgement is with Allah. I also think that there is a difference between undue praise and encouraging a fellow believer. For instance, telling someone who is striving to change a habit or better themselves that you notice their efforts with the intention of trying to motivate them to continue is different than over exaggerating what they are doing. As we know, deeds are measured by intention.
Alhamdulillah we Muslims are united by an amazing faith and we need to do our best to keep each other strong--

"And hold fast all together by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah's favor on you..." 3:103

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Jazakhallah Khair--- Clarification

Jazakallah Khair to the brother who posted, pointing out the facts about the Sunni Path website. May Allah (SWT) reward you for informing your fellow Muslims, myself included-- I very much appreciate the information as I was not aware of it-- My mention of the site was solely because I didn't want to take credit for words that were not mine and I stumbled across the quote while looking for a hadith. I have no problems with accepting what you said and am greatful for your post.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Recent Discussion...

I appreciate everyone who posted their thoughts about whether or not such articles as mentioned in the earlier post should be displayed for all to see. One reader made mention to their thinking that by my choosing not to post I am "turning my back" on such attacks against Islam.
Quite the contrary actually. However my desire is that if I am going to argue against such points I would do it based on my knowledge of Quran and Sunnah and I nor others need to read negative articles against Islam to increase our knowledge that way. In fact it would free up our time to read more of what would benefit us. We as Muslims are commanded to PROMOTE the good and OPPOSE what is bad-- and I consider these articles bad. We are also to follow the Quran which says, "Call to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and good words, and dispute with them in the best of ways." [Qur'an, 16.125]. It is redundant in my saying that the best way to argue what people say is the word of Allah (SWT). I also found something beautiful I want to share from the Sunni Path website. A "number of major scholars, most notably Shaykh Adib Saleh and Mufti Rafi Usmani... made the point that darkness is not dispelled by fighting it, but rather by spreading the light: when light comes, darkness recedes. Allah Most High tells us, "Falsehood is indeed perishing." [Qur'an]

I guess I just still believe as much as I think we are capable of deciding what is in these articles is wrong, I don't want to spread such darkness- Besides that we are also commanded as Muslims not to spread falsehood and slander. If I believe that what these articles say false than indeed I would be participating in spreading such falsehood. And lastly--

"Al-Nawawi says, it is imperative to not talk unless the speech is good, which is that wherein there is some benefit. If a person is in doubt as to whether there will be any benefit, then he should remain silent."

"And, when they hear vain talk, they turn away from it." [Qur'an, 28:55]

"[Successful are] those who shun vain talk." [Qur'an, al-Mu'minun: 3]

"Whoever is present while a Muslim is humiliated before him, and is able to assist him [and yet does not], Allah will humiliate him before [all of] creation." [Ahmad in al-Musnad, 3/487; Suyuti in Al-Jami` As-Saghir, 2/510, #8375]

"Whoever protects a believer from a hypocrite, Allah will send to him an angel to protect him from the Fire of Hell on the Day of Arising. [Abu Dawud in al-Adab, 4/272, #4883]

"Whoever averts [an attack] from the honor of his brother, Allah will avert the fire from his face on the Day of Arising." [Tirmidhi (hasan)]

And Allah (SWT) knows best.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Articles Against Islam

Assalam Alaikum

I was reading about various Qur'ans the other day, looking for various English interpretations to compare and contrast to one another and to find one that would hold true to the meaning of the Qur'an while be easily understood by recent reverts who seek truth and understanding (and Allah knows best about their Iman and desire of course.) While I stumbled across a translation by a Laleh Bakhtair. For those of you who don't know she is a woman who has "translated" the Qur'an, but as she says "from a women's perspective". I challenge all of us to think about that statement and what it means. Including the word "perspective" in any document that in its true form is to be (and is) unchanged should give us all that we need to know about this woman's "translation". Not to mention that her disapproval of various verses in the Qur'an had her change the meaning to something that "she felt was more befitting the true meaning"....

I only mention it so nobody buys the translation. I know myself when I first accepted Islam, I never checked out anything about the translator of the Quran I was reading--
I also read that she was being honored as a guest speaker for various events held by "Muslim" organizations. This is why the disclaimers atop of those organization's publications they circulate, stating they don't necessarily agree with the views presented in the article mean nothing to me.

Related to that, a reader of the blog has asked me to post some of the articles that I have been circulating so they too can read them. I must admit I had considered it earlier but decided against it on the basis that we as Muslims are not supposed to support, or spread anything that is contrary to the message of Islam, and the Prophet Mohammad (SAW). Although I have stated my opinions about the articles and inshallah those who read the articles would think the same, as I mentioned before there is this "subtle wave" sweeping across the West trying to change what Islam is. I fear that in posting the articles I would be placing myself in a position where I could deserve Allah (SWT)'s punishment if even one person changed their thinking against the true Islam... the ONE Islam. I am totally up for discussion about this if people have differing opinions about it, or think it would be of benefit to post the articles if you can explain why and how it would be supported in the religion. Please feel free to post a comment and let me know. But the key word here is BENEFIT, and inshallah i wont post anything contrary to the teachings of Islam.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Just like the Christian Reform???

Firstly apologies for the long lag in enteries... Alhamdulillah Allah (SWT) blessed us with a baby girl a couple of months ago and I have been serving Allah (SWT) by adjusting to parenthood. May Allah (SWT) bless us all with children and teach them the true Islam.

It is this, the "true Islam" that I am wishing to discuss today. Recently my inbox has been plagued with emails articles from various media sources and "Islamic" organizations that seem to highlight what "Islam really is and isn't". Be it that it seems to be in the eyes of the media which should essentially reduce all credibility, however I have become more and more anguished as I see the repeated theme seem to seep into communities... our Muslim communities and become acceptable to some. So acceptable that religious organizations are willing to publish such articles and send them out to those on the mailing list. Granted they do have a disclaimer on the top stating "we at ________ do not necessarily agree with the opinions posed in this article" yet I never see any articles from "fundamentalist" (as most Westerns seem to call the group of Muslims who refuse to abandon their shariah) sent out for mass read.
Ideas like "Islam is a personal relationship between you and God and it doesn't matter if you cover or not, or pray on time or not..." My question is have these people read the Qur'an?? Initially I was so filled with rage after I read ever article, I could hardly contain myself, but that anger has since turned to sadness.
Such explanation of Islam and "change from the extremist view" (i.e. the Shariah) has been described as the equivalent to the Christian Reform in numerous of these articles. The Christian Reform eh?? One of the reasons I was so drawn to Islam was due to its consistancy and strong rootedness in the Quran. That the religion doesn't change, that it doesn't abandon teachings and values just to "fit in" and be more "easily accepted" by the mainstream.

We as Muslims need to ask ourselves why this "reform" is happening. We need to sit back and evaluate ourselves and the environment we are living in. We need to acknowledge there are outside pressures contaminating our beliefs. We need to read and re-read the Quran and Hadith and figure out what the relgion really expects of its followers. We can't take pride in the fact that the Quran has been unchanged for 1400 years and speak of that with confidence and pride to others but then go and change how we are to act as Muslims.
I am telling you, true Islam, Iman... Ihsan is in the heart. It is conciousness of Allah all of the time-- it does NOT mean a "relationship that is between me and Him and as long as I know He exsists the rest doesn't matter." Being Muslim has the five pillars of faith and the 6 articles of belief... one of which is the acceptance of the Quran. It tells us all we need to know about prayer, covering, behaviour, mingling with the opposite sex, alchohal.... the list goes on. By abandoning the instructions of Allah, we abandon the words of the Quran.... think about it.

I hear lots of Muslims complaining about living in the West amongst so many that stray from the path of Islam... how it is so angering/discouraging and that they want to move to a Muslim country. Although I am in agreement that yes, it is angering and discouraging, we need to remember that Allah (SWT) put us where we are for a reason. The Prophet (SAW) was also considered strange in his time. He faced struggles and persecution as well. The difference is he didn't change for the sake of "fitting in"... he never abandoned his principles. And I believe -- quoting a friend of mine, that "if we as Muslims are abandoning aspects of our faith by living in this country, then it is time to make hijra" but if we are those that can see the difference, then we have a duty to be here and help establish the truth.

And of course, Allah (SWT) knows best.