Monday, October 8, 2012

Response to Karbala: When the Skies Wept Blood

Bismillah Irrahman Irraheem

From minute 5, it makes claims that the companions of the Prophet Muhammad, salawatu rabbi wa salamuhu alayh, may Allah be pleased with them, were conspiring while he was on his deathbed to get power for themselves. This is the most dishonest and least defensible accusation that can be made against the most honourable generation of all humankind. 

You know what the strongest argument for why we know the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him is a prophet? You know why a Muslim who knows his prophet, will never fall for the lies and misconceptions that surround him? Because of his life. His life and character bear the greatest testimony to his truth. His sacrifice of all the things a human can hold dear in this life - his wealth, his property, his city, his family, and how he withstood being insulted and humiliated - all for what? To call people away from the worship of creation, to the worship of the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth and all things in between. 

That same rationale is how we know the integrity of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. Never in history has any group of people, besides the messengers themselves, sacrificed for Allah's deen more than the companions of the Prophet Muhammad salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam and may Allah be pleased with them. ESPECIALLY the muhajireen - those who became Muslim in the first years of Islam and then emigrated with the Prophet Muhammad SAWS to Medina. These were people who sacrificed everything they had for this message - they left behind their wealth, their property, their people, their tribe, their city!! The Arabs at the time of the Prophet were an extremely tribal people and the greatest thing they took pride in was their ancestors and their tribes, and the most honourable of all cities in Arabia was Makka. These people chose to be outcasts from their tribes by declaring Islam in front of their people and leaving their city behind. If you come from a traditional country, you know how hard it is to "bring shame" to your people. Abu Bakr whom the Prophet SAWS called "the extremely truthful one" was one of the very first people to accept Islam and was his staunch victor from day 1. 
The Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said that everyone whom he gave dawah to would ask questions except Abu Bakr, the truthful one; he immediately accepted Islam. Abu Bakr was a lifelong friend of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, and so he was the first person, after the Prophet’s family, who the Prophet called to Islam after receiving revelation. 

The first people to embrace Islam suffered a great deal because they were outcasts. They were tortured and/or ostracized by their people. That is why there was not a single 'hypocrite' amongst the Makkans because you gained absolutely nothing worldly from becoming a Muslim in those first days, and you had everything to lose. What was the message they were accepting? La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammad rasool Allah. People who accepted this message were choosing the life of the Hereafter over the life of this world. They were leaving behind the pride of their forefathers and the religion of their forefathers, and the love of their community and the support of their tribe for the sake of Allah.

From his first day in Islam he began to give dawah to his friends, and several of the greatest companions became Muslim because of his dawah. Abu Bakr used to read the Qur'an out loud in those first days for dawah. Can you read Qur'an out loud in the Quad? Abu Bakr, the truthful one, once found the Makkans pushing the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him around and he went to his defense - while others were afraid - and he was pounded to a pulp so much so that they could not tell the front of his face from the back of it (figure of speech) and he fell unconscious. He was taken home and the first thing he said when he woke up was "what happened to the Prophet?"!! His mother said, look at you! Take care of yourself first, then worry about the Prophet! He replied, I will not eat or drink anything until my eyes are cooled by seeing the Prophet Muhammad salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam. 

Abu Bakr, the truthful one, the one who the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him chose to be his companion to migrate to Medina. SubhanAllah what an honour! When they stopped after a day's travel and they wanted to rest in a cave, Abu Bakr said, 'wait, O messenger of Allah' and he went in and checked lest there be something that would bite or sting the messenger. When they were walking, sometimes he would walk in front of the Prophet, sometimes behind him, sometimes to his left, sometimes to his right. The Prophet asked him why do you do this? He replied, I remember the enemies from behind us and I walk behind you, and then I remember the enemies in front of us so I walk in front of you, and then I remember those to your left and right! Look at his love!! If it was you or me we would be sweating out of fear for ourselves!!! For that, his companionship was mentioned in the Qur’an, 
“If you do not aid the Prophet - Allah has already aided him when those who disbelieved had driven him out [of Makkah] as one of two, when they were in the cave and he said to his companion, "Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us." And Allah sent down his tranquillity upon him and supported him with angels you did not see and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest, while the word of Allah - that is the highest. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.”

He gave everything for this message. One day the Prophet was collecting donations for the army and Abu Bakr came with his money. The Prophet SAWS asked him, 'O Abu Bakr, what did you leave for your family?' Abu Bakr replied, 'I left them Allah and His messenger'. It was his modest way of avoiding saying that he left them not a single penny. What for? What did he give his money to? Because the only Muslim community on Earth was being attacked from all around it. These, the companions, were the people who built the foundations of this nation with their wealth and their lives, for the sake of the message "La ilaha illa Allah" They understood that that meant that Allah is more dear than the money they own, their family, their property, their lives. 

Allah SWT praises ALL the companions in the Qur'an, but gives those who migrated with the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him a special rank because of what they suffered for His deen. 

"And their Lord responded to them, "Never will I allow to be lost the work of [any] worker among you, whether male or female; you are of one another. So those who emigrated or were evicted from their homes or were harmed in My cause or fought or were killed - I will surely remove from them their misdeeds, and I will surely admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow as reward from Allah, and Allah has with Him the best reward." 

If Allah AlMighty testifies to the integrity of a people, what does it harm them if all the world stands against them? 

These were people who loved Allah and His messenger more than their ownselves. They lived for this message, and they gave everything for this message. Allah SWT praises those people who gave their oath of allegiance to the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him in the Qur'an - 

"Certainly was Allah pleased with the believers when they pledged allegiance to you, [O Muhammad], under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquillity upon them and rewarded them with an imminent conquest" 
Among them were those blessed companions Abu Bakr and Omar and Othman who you make accusations against.

Omar ibn Alkhattab, may Allah be pleased with him, was called "alfarooq" - the one by whom Allah separates truth from falsehood with. You know why? Because before Omar ibn Alkhattab became a Muslim, the Muslims were generally in hiding because of the hell they were given by the quraishites. That changed the SAME DAY Omar ibn Alkhattab became Muslim - in fact the first hour. You know when me and you we repent to Allah, we make all these slow transitions and personally even then it was hard and I was shaky and I was so afraid of what people would say. This is the nature of people - always afraid of what people would say. Not Omar ibn Alkhattab! From literally his first hour in Islam, he said to the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, "O rasool Allah, are we not upon the truth? and are they not upon falsehood? so why shall we hide?" And so they all left Dar il-Arqam, and with their swords unsheathed as a challenge to the Kuffar, did tawaf around the Ka'aba. Omar ibn Alkhattab's uncle was Abu Jahl - the most influential man in Makka. What did Omar do on his first day in Islam? He knocked on his Uncle's door and proclaimed, "I have become a Muslim!" and his Uncle slammed the door on his face. Look at his courage for the sake of Allah! Look at how we are all cowards when it comes to dawah - but not the companions. They were something else. They didn't care if they lost this dunya. They didn't think twice. You know before Omar became a Muslim, he was the only young man to attend Quraysh's Meeting place (equivalent perhaps to the parliament) as he sat amongst the elders of his community. To tell his uncle he became a Muslim, he knew that meant his position was gone in an instant! He didn't care. From day 1 he lived for this deen and he never looked back. 

And what about Othman ibn Affan. SubhanAllah. The man who the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him gave TWO of his daughters in marriage to. TWO daughters. The first one, Ruqayya may Allah be pleased with her, died and the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him gave him gave him the second, Umm Kulthum, radiya Allahu anha. Surely he must have proven himself worthy! And that indeed he did. Othman ibn Affan was amongst the first 10 people to embrace Islam in Makkah. He was from a wealthy, influential family, and when he embraced Islam he was tortured by his own family. Imagine being from a family that own Astin Martins, and yet you choose poverty and humiliation for Islam. He thus emigrated with his wife, Ruqayya, to Abyssinia. Imagine that. He left his family, left the rich kid life, left his city, and emigrated for the sake of Allah. 

These are the people who the movie accuses of conspiring to gain power. These people who sold this dunya for the akhira. These people whom ALLAH himself praises in the Qur'an. 

My brothers and sisters, Abu Bakr, Omar and Othman are not harmed by your accusations. Allah SWT and His messenger knows their deeds and their actions. But these are the people who gave us our deen. They are the ones who built the foundations of our nation. The companions built this nation with their lives, their property, their wealth. You are at a loss first and foremost for missing out on knowing them, and second of all you are at a loss if after the truth comes to you you continue to make false accusations about people whom Allah and His messenger love.

SubhanAllah, Allah knows there are people who will accuse the Messenger's companions of turning back on their faith and of being hypocrites, but he affirms in the Qur'an that they are TRULY believers,
"But those who have believed and emigrated and fought in the cause of Allah and those who gave shelter and aided - it is they who are the believers, truly. For them is forgiveness and noble provision."

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Qiwamah - Unjust?

Bismillah Irrahman Irraheem,

AbdurRaheem Green always says that it is more fruitful in dawah to not address the misconceptions that people have about Islam but to go straight to Tawheed. The reason for this, he explains, is that the misconceptions arise because of the completely different worldviews of a Muslim and a "Western."

What does he mean? We can illustrate his point using this particular ayah that receives great objections from non-muslims of a Western mentality

"Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand."

Even upon explaining that the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him never struck a woman in his life, and that 'striking' here is explained by the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him as striking not to cause physical harm - e.g. with a toothbrush, still the Western mind finds it abhorrent.. Why? He will argue that this is sexist.. Why does the man have authority over a woman! How sexist!! And so the Western continues to see things through his Western eyes.. while a Muslim sees things through Muslim eyes.. A Muslim worldview and a Western worldview - two completely different worldviews!

Western worldview:
- Materialistic worldview.. This is it, this is the life! Hence, a pleasurable life is of primary importance and it is ultimately important to be happy, reach one's goals, and satisfy one's desires.
- To be a CEO is hence better than being a poor employee, i.e. higher socio-economic status is better in life. More power is better than less power and more wealth is better than less wealth. Hence the belief that life is not fair because "good people" often have tough lives, while really horrible people have "good lives" - wealth, power and fame.

Muslim worldview:
This life is a temporary abode. We are here in this life to worship the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth and all that is in between. This life is a test - and what we do in this life will determine where our eternal abode will be - whether it be Paradise or Hellfire. All things in this life are a test - both those things we perceive as "good" and those things we perceive as "bad". However they are not good or bad in and of themselves, for something that may be perceived as "good" can lead you away from God, while things you perceive as "bad" may bring you closer to God. For example, a rich man may become enchanted by his wealth and become miserly and forget to thank God, and so his wealth - which was a test - is bad for him. On the other hand, a poor man may become humbled by his poverty, and reminded that this life is a short and temporary life, and so become pious, and so his poverty - which was also a test - is good for him.

"And as for man, when his Lord tries him and [thus] is generous to him and favors him, he says, "My Lord has honored me."
But when He tries him and restricts his provision, he says, "My Lord has humiliated me."
 No! But you do not honor the orphan
 And you do not encourage one another to feed the poor.
 And you consume inheritance, devouring [it] altogether,
 And you love wealth with immense love.
No! When the earth has been leveled - pounded and crushed -
 And your Lord has come and the angels, rank upon rank,
 And brought [within view], that Day, is Hell -
that Day, man will remember, but what good to him will be the remembrance?
 He will say, "Oh, I wish I had sent ahead [some good] for my life."
 So on that Day, none will punish [as severely] as His punishment,
 And none will bind [as severely] as His binding [of the evildoers].
 [To the righteous it will be said], "O reassured soul,
 Return to your Lord, well-pleased and pleasing [to Him],
 And enter among My [righteous] servants
 And enter My Paradise."

- Hence, a position of power is not a position of personal glory, but a position of responsibility. We will be tested with it! The companions of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, thus, did not seek positions of power because they knew that they are heavy trusts that they will be held accountable for on the Day of Judgement.
- A Muslim should not seek glory for himself, as all glory belongs to Allah.. At least 100 times a day, the Muslim says, "Allah (God) is greater"
- A position of responsibility and power is first and foremost a position of mercy.. We learn this from our Lord Himself, who begins His address to mankind, "In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful"

Hence.. Men and women are not competing for positions of power in this life

Finally, socio-economic status does not determine one's worth. A husband may have a position of power in the household, but this is simply circumstance of this life. Just as a CEO is not in a better position to fulfill his purpose in life than a poor person, a husband is not in a better position to reach God than his wife.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Why I love God

She asked me, "why do you love God?"
I wish I had replied..

I love Him because He is God. Everything about Him is beautiful. And because of the way He treats me. My whole life has been a manifestation of His mercy and His patience. I love Him because He created me and gave an opportunity to see His beauty. His beauty in the creation around me - from the stars and galaxies in the Heavens, to the laws that govern their movements, to the Earth and all the living things within it, to the cells that make up my body and my visual system, to the machines inside my cells! He so generously shows me His beauty, His power, His wisdom.

 How can I ever fully justify why I love Him, when everyday He gives me new reasons to love Him?

I love Him because 11 years ago when I first fell in love with Him I was ashamed of it. I was ashamed of my diaries filled with outpourings about Him, and my tears for the love of Him. I love Him because years ago I turned my back on Him because I was ashamed of Him, but He turned to me and He said, 'come back, who else can love you like Me? Who else can fill your heart like Me? You turned your back on me because you were afraid of loneliness - afraid of not having friends - but I am enough for you.' See His Mercy! See His Compassion! See His Gentleness!

Not only did He bring me back to Him, but everyday He gives me new ways of getting closer to Him. That's not my doing; that's His! If not for Him I would still be in love with everything under the stars but not Him, but by His mercy He has filled my heart with Him. That is true freedom.

That is true freedom. To be free of the worship of creation - for a true believer depends on no man, no friend, no parent - only God. God is enough to fill your hearts - and that's the point. He placed us in this Earth that is full of His bounties, so that we can make the choice of loving the Creator of all those bounties. Those bounties that are but a reflection of His wonders. Fill your heart with the Creator of all creation.

He cannot be depicted by an image or a statue because all of the images are reflections of His creation. He is not a man or a woman or an animal or a tree or any shape or form that our feeble minds can imagine. - He is the Creator of the Universe, Who created all things from nothing. He is above all of creation; far transcendent above all the imperfections of finite beings - How dare we attribute to Him a likeness of anything in the Heavens or in the Earth? How dare we attribute to Him equals from among His creation, when He is the One who was, when nothing else but Him was? How dare we bow to something He made from nothing?? How dare we attribute to Him weaknesses and imperfections? Glory be to God!

May God's peace and blessings be upon the Prophet Muhammad, the servant and messenger of God who taught us this beautiful message. And I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah, and Muhammad is His servant and messenger.

Who is Allah?
He answers Himself: "Say, "He is Allah, [who is] One, Allah, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, Nor is there to Him any equivalent.""

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Measure of Success

The Journey is the goal

For 3 years now anxiety has gripped me over not seeing the results of my actions.. Does this mean that Allah is not pleased with what I am doing? Finally, I have found the answer

Working for Islam Awareness Week has opened my eyes to just how much can be done to help our communities and New Zealand.. Everyday I discover new ways that we can help develop and improve what we have, it is as if I have been given the ability to perceive a whole new dimension: and while this has been exciting and exhilarating, at the same time it has only increased my anxiety; how shall I accomplish all of this in one life? I only have 60 years - if that - and there is so much to do, so much to fix, so much to develop! The answer is clear: it is impossible.. I need not one life, but many. How can this be? God has ordained for us only one life - can it make sense that He would give us less than what we need to achieve our goals?

That was the spark.. Finally, my incredibly dense, slow mind *got it*, after 3 years of Allah teaching me the same lesson. We are not here to 'save' or fix the world, or fix anything: we are here to 'fix' ourselves.. *our* eeman, *our* individual belief in, and relationship with, Allah is the goal.. Every action of worship - although it may extend to the physical world, is only intended to 'fix' our own soul. Allah does not need us to fix the world, for He is the Maintainer, the Cherisher, the Warden, the One upon whom all of creation depends - everything in each of our worlds is a scenario created for testing us. Giving to the poor, having a family, 'saving' a life, building a society, building a country - all of these acts are meant for us to grow closer to God, and are not the goal in and of themselves - for all this world and everything in it weighs nothing in the sight of Allah except for the heart of a believer.. the heart of the believer is the goal of all creation - the heart that carries within it la ilaha illa Allah.. It is for this reason that the physical result of our action cannot in any way be an indication of our success, for success - may Allah bless us with it - is the attainment of a heart that is near to Allah, a heart purified for Him

"By the Soul, and the proportion and order given to it;
And its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right;-
Truly he succeeds who purifies it,
And he fails who corrupts it!"

When your heart becomes attached to the physical result of your actions, it defeats the very purpose of ibaadah, which is to bring us closer to the Almighty.. This, in my life, has been the most difficult thing to understand.. Forever I have dreamt of 'saving the world', and in return Allah's message has been: save yourself

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Women in the Dawah Field.. An Outcry

باسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
إن الحمد لله نحمده و نستعينه و نستغفره و نعود بالله من شرور أنفسنا و من سيئات أعمالنا، من يهده الله فل مضل 
له و من يضلل فلا هادي له و أشهد ان لا إله إل الله وحده لا شريك له و أشهد ان محمدا عبده و رسوله۔

أمّا بعد، أيها الشّيخ العزيز

I have a request and I ask you by Allah, do not reject it. I request that upon returning to Saudi Arabia, you call upon the ulamaa of Saudi Arabia, those whom you may find support from, to voice their opinion strongly in support of women in the field of dawah, and for all of you who hold this view to make your voice heard far and wide. We, the women of dawah, are suffering greatly, and I am asking for you to kindly help us.

At the dawah forum you said these words, and to you these words may have been trivial, but for me they were something greater than you can imagine - they were a فتح من عند الله. So much so that I wrote these words down lest I forget, and I wrote this to my sisters:

My sisters in dawah, Allah the Most Generous has brought you all a gift. Print this conversation out, learn it, and spread the message to others.

"Mateen Jamil : We need the Ulema (here) to understand the background of New Zealand and be giving fatwas that are appropriate for the New Zealand context.. There are ulema who say women shouldn't be giving dawah, they should stay at home. For example in our dawah stall we have boys and girls and we don't have a separate table for the boys and one for the girls.. We need it to be okay-ed at the level of the Ulema.

Sheikh AbdulAziz: [It's okay-ed] *At the level of Allah Azza wa Jall!*. We have in the seerah the female sahaba would do everything - fighting in battles, nursing the sick on the battlefield - everything you would think is 'just for men'. As long as there is Islamic etiquette; you're not going to say, "hey what's up sister how was your weekend in las vegas" thats not the way we talk to each other.. maybe you can have different time for sisters and for the boys, but it's okay as long as there is etiquette, and what I have seen so far here is mashaAllah very decent."

ALLAHU AKBAR!!!! This coming from a Sheikh who runs one of the biggest Dawah foundations in Saudi Arabia and in the world. And SubhanAllah Allah SWT He knows our craziness and our paranoia!! If it was a sheikh from other than Saudi we would tell ourselves, yes but the Sheikhs in Saudi say differently! Maybe this sheikh is too soft! What if!

For the Sheikh these words may be easy to say, but I am sure that paranoia about this issue has kept MANY a female da'ee or potential da'ee up at night, drowning in worry and anxiety; is she doing the right thing? Is she pleasing Allah SWT? Is she shaming herself?

Alhamdulillahi Rabbi ilaalameen. Oh Allah, to You belongs all praise in the Heavens and the Earth. We don't deserve what you do for us. You hear our pleas and you never fail to answer our calls. How little we give and how much you give in return. You Who brings the sinners from the depths of darkness into light. You Who conceals the faults and grants repentence and a path of return after Your servants turn their back on You. Oh Allah, We do not praise You enough. We do not thank You enough. We do not worship You enough, and with all our shortcomings You bless us with the ability to worship You.. and the ability to call to Your way. Praise be to You. Glory be to You.. Oh Allah, forgive us our sins and bless our dawah, and let our voice reach that which night and day reaches. Ameen 


Ya Sheikh, these words that you said - you cannot imagine the impact that they have on a muslimah who takes part in dawah.. These words are sweeter to my ears than hearing that Palestine has been freed. 

When a man goes out to do dawah, he knows that the ummah is standing with him and supporting him, but when a woman goes out to do dawah she feels that she is not just standing in the face of the kuffar, but also much of the ummah is standing against her. You cannot imagine how it feels to know that the scholars of this ummah who you most respect and love do not support you, but in fact are standing against you.

Alhamdulillah, a muslimah whom Allah SWT chooses to do dawah, she has the support of Allah Azza wa Jall and He is Suffice! But 
there is something seriously wrong with the picture when the people who should most be in support of her are standing in her face. The fatwas related to women - they are .. I don't know how to say it but I feel they are not given the weight that they should be given.. A sheikh will talk about the rulings regarding women on television so easily like he says bismillah before his food, not realizing the impact he is having on his female audience - wallahi to us it feels like he is dropping upon us nuclear bombs. A sheikh was asked about the niqab on television and he said the answer so lightly! Does he not care that he is telling millions of muslim women that they are uncovering a 3awra and have been doing so all their lives? How can he say it so lightly! These things they say about women they affect us more deeply than anything a man can ever imagine - a man can never imagine what it means to a muslimah for a scholar to suggest she is doing something shameful!! I am not saying he should not say what he believes to be true, but at least when you say it, do not speak of it as if you are speaking about the rulings of economy and banking! This is related to our dignity!

And here we are in the field of dawah, who is supporting us? Who is speaking out for us? Who is standing in our support? Do the scholars not realize that they are shaping the mindset of the whole ummah? And when I ask my mother she says, yes but Saudi is different and their community is different that is why their rulings are appropriate for Saudi - but we are no longer living in a time when Saudi is secluded from the rest of the world - the ulamaa of Saudi send ripples (more like tidal waves) that reach every corner of the world.. We are all affected by their rulings. When, for example, they say a woman cannot drive and she can't do this and she shouldn't do that, this is not affecting only the women of Saudi, it is affecting the mindset of every muslim around the world who hears it. When I just think, if the respected scholars of Saudi don't even think a woman should drive, what about all the other activities related to dawah? How must they see us? They must see us in a very bad light indeed, wa na3ootho billah.

Wallah I would be watching a fiqh of dawah course and I am just waiting, eagerly waiting for the sheikh to say something in support of women doing dawah, but I don't understand why they do it only in passing!! To me, give me one word of support better than the whole dawah course! Khalas tell me I'm on the right track and that the respected scholars are supporting me, I have heard all I need to hear and I can live in peace.

Allah SWT is Suffice for us, but this is not healthy for the Ummah, because it has broken our trust for the scholars. Ya Sheikh, forgive me, but when I heard you were coming I was worried! How will we be treated? what will you say about us women doing dawah? When someone is in the field of dawah, their hearts should be soaring that there are scholars coming to teach them, not feel scared and worried and ashamed of themselves, as if we are doing a crime! But everyday we feel that the community and the ummah at large is pointing a finger against us.. You know ya sheikh, dawah at our university started by girls. The first stall 3 years ago was started by 5 girls. Unfortunately two of our greatest and most knowledgeable sisters did not continue, one telling me that the voice of a woman is 3awrah and her husband does not like her doing dawah, the other telling me this is not our field and the men should do it. So I ask, where are these men she speaks of?! For many months at the stall there was only 2 sisters, and men with beards would pass by our stall and never stop to ask if we need help - because 3aib to talk to a sister! But somehow it is not 3aib for a sister to do your job? It is not 3aib for you to see the sisters carrying boxes and tables and you never ask if she needs help? Astaghfirullah, may Allah forgive me and my brothers and sisters, it is not their fault but this is a direct result of what we are all being taught. 

May Allah SWT have mercy on Sheikh Muhammad Al-Ghazali and bless Sheikh Al-Qaradawi, they are always standing staunchly in our support, and when we read their words they are like medicine to the sick heart. 

May Allah forgive me if I have said anything that displeases Him. I apologize if I have overstepped my bounds or been disrespectful at all.

Finally I would like to thank you for standing in our support. Just by treating us the same way you treated the males spoke volumes.. volumes that we all needed to hear.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Most Generous

I turned my back on You because I was lonely, You said come back, I am enough for You. I turned my back on You because I had no friends, You gave me brothers and sisters I turned my back on You because I was sad, You gave me the greatest joys I turned my back on You because I was bored, You gave me the best hobby in the world I turned my back on You because I wanted love, You gave me Yours "If they knew Him, they would melt for love of Him. If they knew Him, they would melt in longing for Him."

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Words to Live By

Golden words of advice from my brother. God bless him <3 

Please read, think about, understand and then absorb these words and make them part of your life.

“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

If you ever want to contribute to anything you must follow this advice.  This also applies to religious opinions.  Too often we let religious opinionschoke our thinking and creativity.  We grew up in a society that opposes and fights creative thinking.  It's not too late though.  We are still young and we still have a lot of time to undo the damage that our conservative environment has inflicted on our thinking. You are at an age where if you choose to lock up your thinking and intuition, it is unlikely that it will ever be unlocked again.  Do not let this happen.

So how does religion fit into all of this?  I am sure you have asked yourself time and time again.  It doesn't.  Our religion doesn't need to fit into anything.  Religion is not something you think about separately.  Religion is our spirit.  Our soul.  It is not there to tell us how to live our material life.  It is there to nurture your spirit regardless of what direction in life you pursue.  "As long as that direction is permissible ofcourse!" - lose this thinking.  You must, and already have, an iron solid belief in your gut that you will never pursue something that is "not permissible".  You do not need someone to tell what you can and can't do.  When you live your religion everyday, in your prayers and in your thoughts it becomes your attitude, your behaviour.  That is enough.  Religion is the reason we do not need to turn to distractions like drugs and alchohol to feel at peace.  Religion is our peace.  Use it to drive you forward faster than any non believer can.  Do not follow unenlightened scholar's opinion that will only create obstacles for you.  Yes scholar's can be unenlightened.  Their experiences are so limited they cannot fully comprehend what this life has to offer an ambitious believer.  When our ummah returns to its olden age again, then we again can turn to our scholars for leadership.  Until then though, we must use them as only as consultants for guidance on specific issues.  Otherwise, their narrow views of this world will only serve to narrow our minds.  Never let anyone, scholar or otherwise, impose their thinking upon you.

Congratulations on completing this academic year.  Be happy that your knowledge has increased this year.   To some extent also be happy with your grades when you get them, but do not let your ambition settle on mere grades.  Grades are a sign that you are doing things right, but you must ensure that you have the confidence to assess your own performance in life, so that you do not get discouraged if someone says you are doing poorly - because you already know that you are doing poorly and already know how to improve.  It will also mean that you won't be happy with people's praise because you already know you are doing well.  In otherwords - let your mind be your own critic and you will never be affected by people's opinions.  You will take their advice but never be affected negatively by either their crtiticism or their praise.  

Take advantage of this summer holiday.  As a student, at school and university, I found that the short breaks and extended holidays were what I needed to freely think what I wanted.  These breaks were the times when I plotted for my future, and structured my ambitions.  Do not always discuss your thoughts with other people as most people will not get it and their negativity will only curb your enthusiasm.  Living alone for all of those years at university I began to realise that you do not always need people around you.  My mind became my best friend.  Let your mind become your best friend and you will never feel that you need people's encouragement or approval.  You will never be afraid to do what you believe is needed to be done to achieve your goals. 

The take home message from the quote above is not to waste our time living someone else's life by allowing them to impose thier opinions on us.  This is golden advice. My final words to you are, seek knowledge, think freely and march with drive and aggression towards achieving your goals.

Your brother.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dreaming of Jannah

Dreaming of Jannah

I'm sitting on my riverbank.. This is my favourite river and it goes right by my door, but I'm sitting a few hundred metres down where the river is barely a stream. I like it here because I can easily sit next to the river with my feet dipping into the water that flows by me. It's a beautiful day today - it's warm with a soft breeze, and the water is a tickling cool. Everyday is beautiful here. Tomorrow will be beautiful too.

I remember what it was like in the dunya.. and the biggest difference is not the scenery. The biggest difference is that if you were to search every inch of my heart and every inch of my mind, you wouldn't find a single drop of sadness. I don't have a single anxious thought inside me. Not a single fear.

I don't have to worry about my sins here. I don't have to worry about shaming myself tomorrow, or hurting myself today. The greatest fear that paralysed me in Dunya - the fear of going back to my old habits, the fear of losig my way, the fear of my eyes no longer seeing the light, of my heart being darkened with sin - that fear is only a memory now. A memory that brings only happiness because I know that it will no longer trouble me.

I don't have to worry about loneliness here, or of losing the ones I love. Everyone I love is here, and always will be. I don't have to worry about losing my friends or my family - I know that they will always be with me, and that they will always love me. And everyone who is here, I love.

I don't have to worry about the future, because here the future is always good. My heart is at rest, and I know that it always will be. I know that I don't have to be sad anymore, that there will be no more tears.

I am safe here, and everyone who I love is safe, and they always will be. There will be no bombs, no war, no bloodshed. My loved ones are safe, and no one will ever harm them ever again. There will be no more killing, no more lost lands, no more destroyed houses. Our houses are now grand palaces, and they will never come to ruin. The gardens of Palestine we once lost, we have been given something better than them - with all of the mercy and blessings that Palestine had and more! And we are all here in our homeland, and we always will be, and no one will ever take that away from us. No one will ever have to suffer a taghreebe, no one will ever have to be a stranger, and my people will no longer cry. I will no longer see my brothers and sisters suffering on the news.

There is no Fox News here. There are no liars or deceivers. No more sad news from Iraq. No more sad news from Syria. No more sad news from Palestine. There is no Bush administration, no Sharon or Began, no Serbia or the USSR. There is no oppression, there is no subjugation, there is no superpower here. Only God.

I will never miss anyone here. Everyone who I love, I can see and talk to. My ancestors and my extended family who I never met who were righteous, and all those to come. The Prophets! Oh the Prophets! Words cannot express the feeling you have when the Prophet Ibraheem peace be upon him smiles at you for the first time.. I have met them all. In fact, you may find it hard to believe but I see them every Friday!! In fact, the Prophet Nooh peace be upon him and his family will be visiting my house next century.

And oh, the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.. May Allah have mercy on the companions, they did their best in describing him, but you cannot really understand what it is to be with the greatest man who ever lived - the most beautiful character in all of humanity, until you see for yourself!

But there's something else.. Something greater than all of this that I must tell you about. If you remember nothing else, please remember this. You know why we are always happy here? You know why we never worry? You know why we are never scared? Because Ar-Rahman is pleased with us. He told us so Himself. And He will never, ever be angry with us. How can you be sad or scared when you know that Allah, the Most Merciful, is pleased with you, and always will be? The One whom you spent your whole life trying to get close to.. The One whom you used to pray to, and fast for, and supplicate to. The One whom you feared would punish you for your sins, has forgiven you all that has past - and you will never again anger Him. And the best of it is.. you can even speak to Him. Oh, how my heart sings when I remember that last Friday! I cannot wait for it to be Friday again, so that my eyes can be pleased with seeing the Most High..

Ya Allah.

Friday, June 15, 2012

To all my brothers and sisters in dawah,

Whenever I watch or hear news of great dawah success, in myself I often get this great doubt - will I ever, could I ever be so successful? Could it really be ME like that one day? I mean.. what are the odds? How unlikely is it? And then it occurred to me how extremely "unlikely" mine and your circumstances already are!! I am sharing this with you so that inshaAllah if you ever have such doubts, maybe these thoughts will give you hope.

Consider a Venn diagram with the piece of paper being all of creation.. Consider how small and how fortunate the circle of humanity is.. and then within that circle, consider how small and fortunate the circle of the Ummah of the Prophet Muhammmad peace be upon him, by far the most blessed of all nations, is.. and then within that Ummah, consider how small and fortunate the circle of those who accepted the message of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him is, and then in our times, consider how small and fortunate the circle of muslims who are practicing their religion is. This one you do not appreciate fully until you go and live in a muslim country - how many thousands and millions of people follow Islam like a tradition or a culture! And amongst the youth, how many millions see Islam only as a restriction to their pleasures!

And then consider in that circle of practicing muslims, how small and fortunate you are to be living in New Zealand where 1. you have ample dawah opportunities, 2. dawah is easy and muslims still have it easy, and 3. there is a relatively good number of practicing muslims mashaAllah.. and then consider our situation at uni.. consider how fortunate you are that you are a practicing muslim who actually *cares* about dawah. The fact that you even care.. SubhanAllah.. really you fully appreciate this when you see yourself before and after.. You see yourself before, and consider that you could have been like that for the rest of your life. You could have just been one of the millions of muslims living abroad who only went there to get a job and have a family and get education.. and who were never blessed with the motivation to want to do dawah.. I was there before.. I have been the type of muslim that has very little connection with Islam and who was enamoured with the Western lifestyle.. I dont deserve to be doing dawah - but you know what, I never had to "deserve" any of the blessings that I now have. You and I, all of us, are incredibly, incredibly, incredibly blessed to be here in this virtual gathering for the remembrance of Allah.. He who blessed us to be of the fortunate few, can, if He so wills, choose us to be of the fortunate few again whose dawah becomes enormously successful..

But still there is more.. Whenever I think of our situation, of the uncanny 'unlikeliness' I cannot help but feel overwhelmed with a feeling of awe at Allah's planning.. To think that all of us happen to be at the same place and the same time, all of us wanting to do dawah.. many of us wanting to dedicate our lives to this cause.. It so often happens that there is one fortunate person chosen by Allah who cares about His cause, but it doesn;t go very far because of lack of support.. Even amongst those muslim youth who  are practicing and who love their deen, how many of them are moved with a great passion for dawah?
How fortunate are we to find ourselves all at the same time and the same place with the same mindset? For almost a semester  this whole dawah project consisted of 2 people.. It couldn't even have been called a dawah project then. Who was it that brought us all together? Who, but the best of planners?

So let us dream together.. And why not? Why not dream big dreams?
Why not dream of our dawah reaching every ear, or even every heart!
Why not dream of a muslim in every house in New Zealand? Of thikir and prayer and fasting in every home? The Prophet Muhammad SAWS already prophecised that Islam will enter every home, why not in New Zealand it be becuase of us?

Why not dream of mosques on every corner and athaan in the air?
Why not dream that all our neighbours will one day also be our brothers?

Why not dream big dreams for the sake of Allah? People spend their days and nights dreaming of this dunya, of cars and castles and wealth and fame - why not we dream for the sake of Allah? Why not, when dreams are for free?
Why not dream of meeting the Prophet Muhammad on the Day of Judgement and him seeing us from afar and calling to us - the Auckland Dawah Project he's heard so much about!!
Why not dream of The Rahman praising us before His angels?
Why not dream of being neighbours of our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAWS in Jannah?
Why not dream of being called to enter Jannah with thousands of those who have been guided to Allah because of our dawah? Why not millions?

Don't say it's unlikely.. We are already unlikely because of The Most Generous..  Nothing is too much or too great for The Most Generous, Who has already given us so much! 

Ya Allah.. Allahumma Ameen.

Friday, April 13, 2012

I want things, you want things, we all want things

تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي إِن شَاءَ جَعَلَ لَكَ خَيْرًا مِّن ذَ‌ٰلِكَ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ وَيَجْعَل لَّكَ قُصُورًا

(Blessed is He who, if that were His will, could give thee better (things) than those,- Gardens beneath which rivers flow; and He could give thee palaces (secure to dwell in).)

---> In other words, Allah SWT did not will that he should have those things (in this life). And Allah SWT has a wisdom for everything! So think about yourself (and myself) for a minute: If you want something, and you do not have it, know that if Allah SWT had willed it, you would have had it! It is easy for Allah SWT to give you this object of desire, and yet for some reason, He has not willed you to have it at this moment. For a believer, Allah SWT only chooses what is best, so you must ask yourself, why does Allah SWT not give me this thing that I want? This life is a test - so, what does Allah SWT want from me? Is it a test of patience? Is it a test of faith to see if I believe that He alone can provide me with it? Is it perhaps not a good thing for me to have? Do not be fooled by the shaytaan or your desires and blinded from the significance of such events in your life! Do you want wealth but do not have it? Do you want knowledge but cannot reach it? Stop and reflect... You want these things, but the more important question to ask is, what does Allah SWT want.. ? (Think of what He wants, and He will shower you with blessings! Think only of what you want, and you will still only get what He wants you to have..)