Sunday, 31 July 2016


Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said: "Strive for what benefits you and rely on God, and do not give up.  If something befalls you, do not say: ‘If I had only done such and such.’ Instead say: ‘It is as God decreed and He does what He pleases’."[1]
When Prophet Muhammad said: "Strive for what benefits you…" he was encouraging us to hasten in seizing the positive opportunities that come our way. 
When he added: "… and rely on God…", he was showing us that we should draw upon our faith in order to strengthen ourselves in our efforts. 
This is why the Prophet did not stop there.  He continued by saying: "… and do not give up."
How can anyone give up on the fuel of one’s spirit and the embers of one’s faith?
Finally, he concluded by saying: "If something befalls you, do not say: ‘If I had only done such and such.’ Instead say: ‘It is as God decreed and He does what He pleases’."[2]
Faith is not blind, nor is it a form of resignation and a denial of our great human potential.  It does not mean we should spend our time lamenting in the ruins of the past and reject change.  Instead, faith is our certainty that good is wherever God places it, and that every day you bring forth a new dream, a new hope, and a new success. 
A young man once asked me about a book entitled The Secret by Australian author Rhonda Byrne.  His question compelled me to buy it and read it.  I took it with me and read it on some of my travels.  It presents the idea that we must encourage ourselves to be optimistic, proactive, and believe that what we want can happen; indeed that it will be reality as soon as we utter it, believe it in our hearts, and rid ourselves of our pessimistic thoughts.  People have to focus their minds and thinking on what they want and what must be, instead of on what they fear and detest. 
This idea reminded me of something that Ibn al-Qayyim said: "If a servant relies on God as He ought to be relied upon regarding moving a mountain off its base, then if that person is required to move a mountain, he will do so."
I found that the basic idea of The Secret is one that we need to instil in ourselves, without dissipating its spirit by debating its finer details.  This is because the book’s basic idea is in reality one of the prime motivators for productive work and fortitude. 
She says hundreds of things in her book trying to explain the detailed implications and patterns of her ideas, but they really introduce only two or three new concepts.  One of these concepts is reflected in something Prophet Muhammad quotes his Lord as saying: "I am as my servant thinks of Me, so think of Me how you wish." In some narrations, it continues: "If he thinks well of Me, it is for his benefit, and if he thinks ill of Me, it is to his detriment."
The expectations being referred to here pertain to this world as well the Hereafter.  Good thoughts lead to good actions and good expectations lead to productive work.  When we want to take hold of a new idea, we do not want to undermine it by over-thinking it, dissecting it, and qualifying it with exceptions.  If we do that, it will sputter away and die.  Once the idea is firmly in mind, it becomes easier to modify it and improve upon it. 
The second new idea she introduces is expressed in the hadith where the Prophet said: "When you beseech God, you should be certain that He will answer."[3]
What this means is that when we call upon God in prayer, we should know in our hearts that He will answer us.  We should not supplicate with an attitude of experimentation or with feelings of doubt and skepticism. 
`Umar used to say: "I do not worry about my prayers being answered, but about what I am going to pray for, because if I pray for something, its answer comes with it."
These are among `Umar’s many inspired words.  He is not only referring to deciding what to say in his supplications, which is in itself a good and blessed concern; he is speaking about something more profound: the need for our hearts and minds to have full trust in God and His promise. 
God says: "Call upon me; I will answer you." (Quran 40:60)
And He says: "Who is it that answers the one in need when he calls out?" (Quran 27:62)
And He says: "When my servant asks you about me, I am near.  I answer the supplications of those who beseech me." (Quran 2:186)
Dark thoughts are enough to hurl us into dark places, as dank and stifling as we can imagine.  It is as is we are hastening on death with our pessimistic thoughts.  It is no surprise that pessimistic people in their psychological isolation, often appeal for death to hasten itself, and they lash out those who prevent them from attaining the only "relief" they can see in their lives. 
The Prophet was once asked: "Who are the best people?" He replied: "Those who live long and do the best deeds."[4]
He also said: "None of you should ever wish for death.  Never pray for it before it comes to you of its own accord.  When you die, your deeds come to an end, and a believer’s life is never prolonged except for good."[5]
Life is a blessing which God bestows upon the living.  It was the Prophet’s habit that when he woke up, he would thank God and say: "Praise be to God who revived us after causing us to die and to Him is the final gathering."[6]
The Prophet’s guidance is not just a provision for the next life, but for this one as well.

[1]Saheeh Muslim
[2]Saheeh Muslim
[3]Sunan al-Tirmidhi
[4]Sunan al-Tirmidhi
[5]Saheeh Al-Bukhari and Saheeh Muslim
[6]Saheeh Al-Bukhari and Saheeh Muslim

Benefits, Rewards and Method of Performing Tahajjud Prayer

Salah is one of the core components of the Islamic ideology. A prayer is generally a means of remembrance of Allah SWT, and getting His mercy and blessings. It is of two types: first is the obligatory Namaz, which is to be offered five times a day at specific times with no choice of skipping it under normal circumstances, while second is the Nafl (supererogatory prayer) which is optional and one is not answerable to the Almighty for not performing it.

“Nafl” is an Arabic word, which means “to get something extra”. There are many kinds of non obligatory supplications such as Tahayiat-ul-wudu (offering two raka`ts right after ablution), Ishraak (after Fajr, praising the Lord through Tasbeeh till the Sun has risen, then performing two or four raka`ts), Chaasht (carrying out at least two raka`ts when the Sun has set high), and Tahajjud (praying in the later part of night) etc. The last one has been even emphasized to be executed in the Holy Quran:
Nafl prayer
“And from [part of] the night, pray with it as additional [worship] for you; it is expected that your Lord will resurrect you to a praised station.” [Quran, 17: 79]
The above mentioned Ayah shows that there is one supplementary mode of requesting God, the Exalted for His compassion, which is performed during night time, and it results in finding a blessed rank on the Day of Resurrection. The prayer that has been referred to here is indeed the salah of Tahajjud.
Highly rewarding tahajjud prayer
Timing Of This Salah
Tahajjud prayer is implemented in the final third of a night after waking up from one`s sleep. It cannot be offered straight away after Isha, but only following one`s sleep, neither when the time is near to Fajr.

Conditions And Format Of This Namaz
For the matter of carrying out the Salah of Tahajjud, one should:
  1. Make a clear intention of performing Tahajjud and arrange to wake up at last part of the night by using Alarm Clock
  2. Make and sustain complete state of cleanliness and carry out compulsory Wudu (ablution)as performed before any other normal prayer
  3. Move to a clean and quiet place in the house being away from distractions
  4. Remove all kinds of worldly matters, woes and worries from one`s heart to better concentrate on meeting with Allah SWT and attaining His Mercy
  5. Offer at least two raka`ts  up to 12, depending on one`s willpower,
  6. Consider praying Tahajjud with one`s family members to benefit them from this highly rewarding Salah
  7. Try to emulate the Prophet (PBUH) during this auspicious hour of the night, as narrated by Hazrat A`isha (R.A):
    “ Allah’s Apostle used to offer eleven Rakat and that was his prayer. He used to prolong the prostration to such an extent that one could recite fifty verses (of the Quran) before he would lift his head. He used to pray two Rakat (Sunna) before the Fajr prayer and then used to lie down on his right side till the call-maker came and informed him about the prayer.” (Bukhari)
  8. Make this Namaz part of one`s routine as Rasulullah (PBUH) has disliked this act. Narrated by Abdullah ibn Umar (R.A):“O’Abdullah! Do not be like so and so, who used to offer Thahajjud at night and then stopped offering it.” (Bukhari) 
  9. Not forget to supplicate to Allah SWT for one`s just and rightful requests in order to get benefited from this exceedingly rewarding hours of darkness
Importance Of Tahajjud Prayer
As it is quite difficult to rouse from one`s slumber in especially after a daylong hectic routine, that is why this salah results in achieving the greatest amount of rewards and great status from the Gracious God.
rewarding nafl
“And those who spend [part of] the night to their Lord prostrating and standing (in prayer)” [Quran, 25: 64]
It means that offering Namaz of Tahajjud is one of the supreme signs of the true disciples of Islam that is why Allah SWT has declared them as His loyal servants in the above verse of Furqan e Hameed. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) used to offer this Namaz frequently, which increases it importance in a Muslim`s life manifold.
“The best of prayers after the prescribed prayers is prayer in the depths of the night, and the best of fasting after the month of Ramadan is fasting the month of Allah, Muharram.”(Muslim)
This Hadith is the testimony of the fact that the night prayer is the most desirable form of supplication near the Almighty after the ones which are mandatory to act upon. It has also been referred to as the source of attaining nearness to the Almighty.
“Be vigilant in standing up [in prayer] at night, for it was the practice of the pious before you. It is a means of gaining proximity to Allah Ta’ala, expiation for transgressions and a barrier from sins.” (Tirmidhi)
It means that Tahajjud salah has always been the way of the devotees of God`s instructions. And it is the great means of getting Allah`s closest attention, which is the key towards piety and faithfulness.
The Messenger (PBUH) has regarded this Salah as a great source of getting rid of satanic influence and attainment of almost all kinds of just desires and aspirations.
Narrated by Uqba ibn Amir (R.A):
“When one, out of two persons of my Ummah gets up at night and motivates himself for Wudhu despite not feeling to do so since, Shaytaan had tied knots on him. When he washes his two hands in Wudhu, one knot is loosened, when he washes his face, another knot is loosened when he wipes his head with wet hands another knot is loosened, when he washes his feet yet another knot is loosened. Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala says to those behind the veil- His angels: “Look at My slaves! How much hardship he is enduring in dealing with his Nafs (inner self), so now whatever this slave asks of Me, it will be granted to him.” (Ahmad)
The above stated Hadith illustrates the great significance of the Salah of Tahajjud, whose positive effects start even with ablution resulting in freedom from persuasions of the Lucifer, who does not want to see a believer praying at this late hour of the night in front of Allah SWT. When one gets rid of Satan and its influence, resultantly it leads towards adoption of vital piousness and nearness to the Almighty, Who likes this act of His servant to the extent that He speaks to His Angels about it. Then, He tells them that He will grant His disciple with whatever it wishes for. All of this discussion elaborates the degree of importance of the Night Prayer, which is the greatest among all of the rest of Nafl (non obligatory) worships.
In short, this salah is the best one among the non obligatory prayers, and is the cause of getting Allah`s great Blessings and Mercy.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Common Mistakes in Raising Children

Having difficulty dealing with children has become a widespread phenomenon. Many parents seem to be quite at loss when it comes to enforcing good morals in their children. Research has shown that some parents use fruitless styles to achieve this goal. 
There are certain common mistakes parents make in bringing up their children -- both boys and girls. Parents may commit these mistakes out of either ignorance or negligence, despite meaning well. Ultimately, these parenting mistakes have negative repercussions on the righteousness and good qualities of the children.
The following are some of these mistakes:
Rebuking children for every error: Despising and rebuking the child for every mistake he commits, in a way that makes him feel humiliated and inferior. This is a great mistake committed by some educators. The right way is to warn the child gently and leniently, and convince him why he should avoid his wrong behavior.
Reprimanding children publicly: If the educator feels the need to reprimand the child or admonish him, this should not be done in front of his siblings or friends; rather he should advise him alone.
Punishing children too harshly: Punishing children too harshly is a big parenting mistake. Researchers studying child behavior state that discipline is effective only when it is mild. For example, "time out" should not be for more than a few minutes, and depriving the child from some of his privileges should not be prolonged beyond one day.
Excessive pampering: Excessive pampering of the child and showering affection -- especially by the mother -- will lead to serious consequences on the child's psyche and his behavior. It will increase his diffidence, make him introverted, increase his fear, weaken his self-confidence, and make him lag behind his peers.
Delaying the process of education: The idea of disdaining and neglecting the early education of the child is completely wrong. The process of educating the child and guiding him should start immediately after weaning. Parents should start directing the child, guide him, command him to do certain things and not to do others, promise to reward him and threaten to punish him, and inculcate the love of good deeds and hatred of bad ones.
Accustoming children to laziness: Another aspect of parenting mistakes is when the mother, as a kind of mercy and kindness towards her child, does not allow him to take up activities and chores that he is capable of doing. This mistake makes the child lose his spirit of cooperation with the family in all aspects of life, especially in the sphere of performing his duties in service of the household. This causes the child to be dependent on others, lose his self-confidence and accustoms him to laziness.
Being overprotective: Some mothers commit another mistake by not letting the child stray far from her eyes even for a moment, fearing that he will be harmed. In fact, such over-protectiveness harms the child and does not benefit him.
Treating children unjustly: Favoring some children over others, whether in giving gifts or in kind treatment or in love, is another great mistake. Parents should be fair and just with their children.
Disparaging children: Disparaging children by silencing them or making fun of them when they talk and express themselves is another mistake. Consequently, the child will be less confident, less courageous in talking and expressing himself, and more shy in front of people.
Disregarding their feelings: Children need to be able to examine their feelings about things. One of the most common mistakes parents make is disregard their children's feelings - by telling them not to cry, for example. A better way to approach such a case is to show compassion towards them by letting children know that you know how they feel.
Compromising established rules: If parents make rules, the need to be ready to enforce them. Parents are not expected to set military standards for discipline for their children, but children should know that when parents say "No" it certainly means nothing else but "No". When kids learn that parents will not give in to their fits, they will simply stop throwing them.
Setting a bad example: Finally, committing forbidden acts in front of children like smoking, listening to music or watching movies is another vital mistake. Undoubtedly, this makes the parents and the educators bad examples to children. -

Botox – An Islamic Ruling

Botox is used to remove the signs of aging, the effects that aging has upon the skin. The treatment is widely used around the world – including the Muslim world – to remove wrinkles from the skin. 

Muslims have expressed reservations about using Botox, because an enzyme derived from pig's milk is used in its manufacture. This brings up the concern of whether Botox is a pre or impure substance. If it proves to be an impure substance, then its medicinal use would be restricted to cases of medical need, and it would not be allowed for mere cosmetic treatments. 

Botox is a trade name for a protein called botulinum toxin which is produced naturally by the baterium Clostridium. It is not, therefore of porcine origin. It is not a pork bi-product. It is not derived from pig's milk. 

However, an enzyme taken from pig's milk is introduced a culture of Clostridium in order to stimulate the production of the protein. 

Janet Kettels, a spokesman for Allergan, which manufactures the product, describes the process as follows:
The manufacturing process includes growing of bacterium using a culture containing an enzyme derived from pig's milk. A specialized purification process removes the pig-derived enzyme and produces a purified medical protein called botulinum toxin, which is an active ingredient in Botox.
She asserts that the final version of the product does not contain any pig-derived enzymes. 

There are two aspects of Islamic purity law that we should like to consider. One is that of transformation and the other is that of the ruling of an otherwise lawful animal or plant that is fed on impure substances.
Transformation of a substance (istihâlah) can affect the substance's ruling with respect to purity. 

Transformation of an impure substance occurs when it loses its physical properties or its namesake is removed. Such transformation can be achieved by increasing quantity of other substances, or by exposure to the sun or air, or by chemical processes, which is the most effective factor these days. 

Scholars give a number of examples for this: impurity can be removed and impure items could be transformed into pure ones just as alcohol becomes pure when it is changed into vinegar, or just as impure substances become pure when they are incinerated and turn into ashes, or just as the body of a dog or pig becomes pure if it falls into a salt spring and become as salt itself. 

If we consider what takes place between the enzyme taken from the pig's milk and the botulinum toxin that results from a complex biochemical process using bacteria, we can see that the divergence is far more radical that what the scholars were talking about when they discussed the process of transformation. 

This conclusion is even more emphatic when we consider that the enzyme is completely removed once the desired chemical is produced. The botulinum toxin is not merely a transformed substance. It is a completely independent substance that does not incorporate in itself anything of the enzyme that was used to stimulate its production.
Jallâlah (what is fed on impurities)
Animals that are fed on impure substances – referred to in Islamic Law as jallâlah – are a matter of disagreement among Islamic scholars. Some scholars consider such animals and their milk to be unlawful for human consumption if the majority of their fodder is impure. According to this opinion, if more than 50 % of an animal’s fodder is from dead meat, blood, or other impure substances, then its meat and milk is prohibited. If 50 % or less of its feed comes from impure substances, then its meat and milk will be lawful. 

Other scholars hold the view that the meat and milk of such animals will not be prohibited unless the impurity noticeably affects the taste or smell of the animal’s meat or its milk. 

There is also the question of using impure substances as fertilizer to grow crops. The position of the majority of scholars is that the produce does not become unlawful or impure on account of that. The produce only becomes impure if the effects of the impurity are discernable in the fruit and grain itself. This is based on the principle that the impurities have been transformed and the produce should not be considered impure. 

The Hanbalî school of thought differs on this matter, though Sheikh al-`Uthaymîn, a leading Hanbalî scholar of our times, is of the view that the opinion of the majority should be adopted. He writes:
The well-known position in the Hanbalî school of law is that fruits and produce that had been watered or fertilized with impurities are unlawful until they are watered with pure water and the essence of the impurities are removed. On this basis, it would impermissible to use such water or fertilizer at the time when the fruits are present, since it would lead to the produce becoming impure and unlawful. 

However, the position of the majority of scholars is that the produce does not become unlawful or impure on account of that. The produce only becomes impure if the effects of the impurity are discernable in the fruit and grain itself. This is the correct view. Generally, the impurities are transformed and no effects of them are to be found in the fruit and grain.
Furthermore, what we are dealing with in the process of manufacturing Botox is far less serious than proper nourishment, since the bacterium is not being nourished on pig's milk at all. The process merely introduces an enzyme derived from pig's milk to stimulate the production of the botulinum toxin. 

An enzyme is a chemical that catalyses a biochemical reaction. It is not incorporated into the resulting substance. It is not absorbed by it in the way that food is constituted into a living body. In the making of Botox, once the bacteria produce the desired chemical, the enzyme – as well as the bacteria culture itself – is completely removed. 

Therefore, we conclude that Botox should not be regarded as an impure substance. The impurities that are possibly introduced into the process of manufacturing Botox are not present in the final product. Moreover, that product in no way resembles the possibly impure substance that was used in its manufacture. 

We see no reason for prohibiting the use of Botox to remove the signs of aging as long as using the substance is safe and poses no threats to a person's health. 

And Allah knows best.

Muslims' Beliefs About Family Life

Family is a major foundation of Islamic life. The Quran speaks of marriage in traditional terms -- the man as breadwinner and head of the house, the mother as nurturer and the children as respectful. The Prophet Muhammad himself was a parent and grandparent, and like Muhammad's family, Muslim families are supposed to be close, kind and loving.

Importance of Family

The Sahih Bukhari hadith collection of Muhammad's sayings, book 73, number 13, quotes Muhammad as saying: "The person who severs the bond of kinship will not enter Paradise." Family is a critical component of Muslim life, and keeping with pre-Islamic sensibilities, ties among extended family are encouraged. Surah 30, verse 21 of the Quran also lays out God's plans for marriage, which are to create "tranquility" between husband and wife with a bond of "affection and mercy."

Expectations of Parents

Parents are expected to provide for their children, be kind to them and raise them as Muslims. Muslim parents will often whisper the Shahada, or Muslim profession of faith, into an infant's ear when the baby is born. The advent of Islam also greatly changed the attitude of parents toward female children -- the religion strictly forbids the ancient Arabian practice of female infanticide.

Expectations of Children

Book 74, number 290 of the Bukhari hadith collection quotes Muhammad as saying that the two worst sins are worshiping someone other than Allah and being undutiful to one's parents. Being dutiful to parents includes being obedient, kind and respectful. Surah 17, verses 23 and 24 of the Quran emphasize respect for parents once they reach old age, and it commands children -- out of gratitude for all their parents have done -- to pray for their parents.

Muhammad's Family Life

Muhammad sets the example for Muslims past and present; his interactions with his own family are critical to Muslim belief. The hadith portrays Muhammad as a dutiful and affectionate parent. The Bukhari collection, book 73, number 65 states that Muhammad "used to keep himself busy serving his family." Book 73, number 26 of the same collection tells of Muhammad kissing his grandson and admonishing a man who was not "merciful" to his own children.

Marriage and Divorce

Marriage is recommended in Islam, and most aspects of Muslim marriage are similar to those in the West. The most distinctive aspect of Muslim marriage, when compared to the West, is polygamy. The Quran, in surah 4, verse 3, permits men to marry up to four wives if they can be treated well. Divorce after marriage is sometimes a reality, and Islam recognizes this. Surah 2, verses 24 through 37 outline Muslim positions on divorce, including the mandatory waiting period to see if the woman is pregnant.

Friday, 29 July 2016

The Company We Choose to Keep

Allah has blessed me with many wonderful friendships throughout my life. Most have served as a comforting, healing balm that has pulled me through some of the more difficult times of my life. Others have created so much drama and turmoil that I couldn't cut them loose fast enough! I have friendships that have followed me from childhood until now, as I attempt to raise my own children, and I have encountered fresh, new relationships in the process of carving their own deep, meaningful connections. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) was known to have said, "When souls recognize one another, they will become friends, if not, they will simply part ways." [Muslim]

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) also stated, “A true believer is a mirror to his brother. He prevents him from any harm.” [Abu Daawood] We are in fact mirrors in some way of those we decide to take on as companions. I have been guilty of associating with individuals whose behavior is not worth mentioning, let alone imitating. I have suffered the consequences of those alliances. When left alone for a while after having departed their company, I would suddenly see the light and recognize them for the lying/undependable/deviant person they really were all along. But then also came the sobering realization that I might not be so different, as I had found something attractive enough in them to pursue an acquaintance, regardless of all the glaring, warning signs.

As believers, we are instructed to be careful of the companions we choose for friendship. Our friendships can draw us closer to our Creator or cause us to sever all ties of faith we have established. As with most relationships in this lifetime, we will experience blessings in some friendships, and trials through others. Just who are your friends? How do they affect the person you are or hope to become? What kind of friend are you?

The Peer Pressure that Never Ends

It doesn't matter if you are a high school student, university student, or working your way through the corporate world. Peer pressure is a never-ending presence that must be dealt with. Its face may change, but its goal is unwavering: to influence you by attacking your personal vulnerabilities. It may be the quiet urge to join your fellow students after a difficult exam at that party everyone's been talking about all week. Sure there will be drinking, smoking and free gender mixing, but you can still go and have a good time without indulging in all of that, right? Or maybe it's the feeling that you might fit in with your coworkers even better if just once and a while you joined them after work at their favorite little bar down the street. After all, there's no harm in a little socializing after work, right?

We all want to fit in. In our human desire to feel comfortable in our surroundings with others, we must always consider the cost, for there is a consequence for every action we choose. Most of us are usually aware of who, what, when and where pressure to do wrong can surface. It is important that we surround ourselves with righteous friendships, the kind that provides goodness, security, and remembrance of Allah. The Quran encourages us to cultivate such relationships: “And keep your soul content with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His face, and let not your eyes pass beyond them, seeking the pomp and glitter of this Life; nor obey any whose heart We have permitted to neglect the remembrance of Us, one who follows his own desires, whose case has gone beyond all bounds.” [Quran 18:28]

When faith wanes in the presence of beneficial friendships, you find that you are surrounded by those who stand strong in front of you, beside you, and behind you providing much needed support. When it seems you might slip and fall, they are there with ropes of faith that tie around you and pull you up and onward. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) gave a beautiful analogy of this sort of friendship saying, “The good companion and the bad companion are like the bearer of musk and the one who pumps from the bellows. With the bearer of musk, he will give you a share, or you will buy from him, or you will smell a pleasant scent from him; but the one who pumps the bellows, either he will burn your clothes or you will smell a foul stench from him.”[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
What About Your Friends?

We are most likely to be similar to those we spend the majority of our time with. As the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) once said, “A person is likely to follow the faith of his friend, look (carefully) whom you choose to befriend.” (Ahmad) So what are some specific traits of sincere, loving, true friends?

They Help You to Become a Better and More Productive Person. A good and sincere friend actually inspires you, through his/her words or actions, to do self-reflection and to improve yourself.

He/She is Like a Mirror to You. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) stated, "The believer is like a mirror to other believers (in truthfulness)." [Abu Daawood]. Like a mirror's ability to cast a true reflection, so should your friend be true enough to give you an honest image of yourself. They should be able to for-give your mistakes, but not hide or exaggerate your strengths and weaknesses.

His/Her Manners and Lifestyle Remind You of Allah? The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention )was once asked, “Who is the best person to befriend?” He who helps you remember Allah, and reminds you when you forget Him," he wisely counseled. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) was also asked, "Who is best among people?"
 He replied, "He who, when you look at him, you remember Allah." A friend such as this reflects qualities of love, mercy, honesty, service, patience, optimism, professionalism, and the entire lifestyle taught by Islam.

Does He/She Love You Solely for the Sake of Allah? Often the friendships we have from school, work, and throughout our community may crumble over time if not initiated for the right reasons. A friendship based on Islamic principles is sincere and ever-lasting. It can be strengthened by a higher purpose and strong faith.

Do You Feel Comfortable and Secure in His/Her Presence? If you are in the midst of a friendship that leaves you feeling guilty about the things you do and the conversations you share, then it might be time to question the benefit of that relationship. Is the short time in this life with such a friend worth the consequences that you may ultimately have to face with Allah?

It is important that you have complete confidence in your values and beliefs. This makes setting limits and boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable much easier. You must be completely aware of your boundaries at all times. Above all, you must know what pleases and offends Allah. Friendships based on superficial principles can lead you to an artificial world of false hopes and illusion. There are two ways to handle a "toxic" friendship: either try gently to influence your friend through positive, Islamic inspiration, or simply to end the relationship. We are all familiar with the popular saying that every relationship that we encounter has "a season and a reason," meaning some friendships will stand the test of time and last a life-time, while others will be brief encounters. Every relationship has a valuable lesson for us to learn. When considering your friendships, remember the wise saying: “Being alone is better than having an evil companion; and having a sincere companion is better than being alone.” (Unknown) -

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Make Your Mark

When we're little, our parents are our heroes. We look up to them and get impressed by everything they do. We watch their every move and try to follow them. In our rooms, we play house; we pretend that we're cooking, cleaning, even raising our own (Cabbage Patch) kids.

We're amazed at how much they know and we're impressed by all that they can do. We hope that we can be just like them when we're grown up.

Then, when we're older gradually things change to overturn. We ignore them when they tell us to cut our hair or wear looser or longer clothing. We get mad at them when they ask about our friends and who they are. We even lie to them about what we do and where we're going.

We say that we don't want to be any-thing like our parents. We make promises to ourselves that we will never do such and such the way our parents did. And we're sure that when we have kids, we will know better how to raise them because we will be able to relate to them better.

“Parents just don't understand.” In the 1980s, this little mantra made a pop song a big hit on the charts. Kids of all generations agree on one thing that parents just don't understand. In fact, if you ask your own parents, you can probably get them to tell you of at least one instance when they felt that their own parents didn't understand them. Think about it. Think about our parents and forefathers. Do you seriously think that they didn't have issues that their parents couldn't understand?

Every generation faces a gap from the one preceding and the one following. Our generation is no exception. Of course we have differences in thoughts and ideals. It's virtually impossible to live in a growing, multicultural society and not have a generation gap. Things change rapidly and it's hard to keep up with advancements in technology, finance, culture, and language, to say the least. For example, the Ipod that you've got attached to your ear makes no sense to your parents, who still hold onto their cassettes.

But, these changes don't have to be the end-all for strong communication between the generations. On the contrary, there is much to be learned from earlier generations, especially from our parents. Islamically, we all know that we are supposed to respect our parents, do not behave them harshly or rudely and do not use even the silly expression such as ugh! We are to care for them in their old age. But what about actually being friends with our parents?

Your parents are the ones who most likely love you the most. They have shared their adult life with you, caring for you, providing for you, and loving you. They have sacrificed for you and they pray for only the best for you. Which friend does this for you? You have a lot in common with your friends, but you and your parents have more similarities than you might think.

The truth is that we are a product of all of our experiences; therefore, though we say that we don't want to be like our parents, we really are. In some way or another, we all have our parents' tendencies. Maybe you've learned to be punctual like your mother or you're always running late like your father. Whatever the habit or trait, it remains a mark left on you by your parents. It's like a finger-print of love; it's the invisible mark that our parents leave on us as they raise us. These marks ultimately define who we are and where we've been. These combine with your own individual and independent nature to create a whole being: You.

The real beauty of these marks is that we can choose them. We can determine what attribute of our parents we admire enough to keep. Maybe you admire your mother's honesty or your father's stability. We have been watching our parents all of our lives, we see how they live, we hear what they say and we soak it up either consciously or unknowingly. If we are now aware of what we see and hear, we can learn from it and perhaps incorporate it into our own lives.

Similarly, we can also see and hear what we don't like and we have the option to prevent ourselves from adopting what-ever unattractive traits they may have. The point is that we should not focus on our differences but rather hasten to find what we have in common. You might be pleasantly surprised to find out that your mom can do more than make a biryani. -

A woman's femininity

Islam appreciates the woman’s femininity

Woman is an integral part of man because of her femininity, just as he is an integral part of her. The man and woman are neither opponents nor rivals. Rather, they help each other to attain perfection with regard to their personality and gender. The norms that have been set by Allah The Almighty imply that duality should be a characteristic of all creatures. Hence, we find males and females in the world of humans, animals, and plants. Even non-living things, which include electricity, magnets, and atoms, consist of positive and negative charges. Atoms include electrons, which are negative, and protons, which are positive. The Noble Quran referred to this fourteen centuries ago in the verse where Allah The Almighty Says (what means): "And of all things We Created two mates; perhaps you will remember." [Quran 51:49]       
The male and the female are like a container and its cover, and like a thing and its requisite. Neither of them can do without the other. When Allah The Almighty created the first human soul, Aadam (Adam), may Allah exalt his mention, He created from it its spouse so that they would live together. Allah The Almighty did not leave Aadam, may Allah exalt his mention, alone, even though this loneliness was in Paradise. Divine speech was directed to them both, whether orders or prohibitions. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): "And We said, “O Aadam, dwell, you and your wife, in Paradise and eat therefrom in [ease and] abundance from wherever you will. But do not approach this tree, lest you be among the wrongdoers.” [Quran 2:35]  
The woman is different from man because, and so that, they complete one another. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): "And the male is not like the female." [Quran 3:36] Positive charges are different from negative charges. However, women are not created to be opponents or rivals to men. They are created from and for men. Allah The Almighty Says (what means):
  • "You [believers] are of one another." [Quran 4:25]
  • "And Allah has made for you from yourselves mates." [Quran 16:72]
One of the implications of the Wisdom of Allah The Almighty is His making the woman’s physical and psychological structure attract and find attraction in men. Allah The Almighty created in men and women a strong natural sexual instinct that drives them to have intercourse with one other, so that life would go on and humans would continue to exist. Hence, Islam refuses any system that contradicts or disables this natural instinct, such as monasticism. Moreover, it bans the gratification of this energy through anything other than marriage, which is the basis of the family. Hence, Islam, like other divine religions, has prohibited adultery and forbade all kinds of immoral acts, what is apparent of them as well as what is concealed. It blocks all gates that could lead to these immoral acts so as to protect men and women from excitement and factors of temptation. From this perspective, Islam treats women well, determines how their relationship with men should be and establishes its systems, directives and rulings. It guards the woman’s femininity and acknowledges its implications. Thus, it neither suppresses it nor eradicates it. It prevents her from following a way that leads her to immorality, abuses her femininity and protects her from human scavengers that kidnap women to rape them and then discard them. The stance of Islam on woman's femininity can be summed up in the following points:
1-       Islam preserves the woman's femininity to remain a source of compassion, kindness, delicateness, and beauty. Hence, it allows them to do some things that are unlawful for men, for example, wearing gold and pure silk. Such acts are in harmony with the nature and role of women. The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “These two things [Gold and Silk] are unlawful for the males of my Ummah [Nation] and lawful for its females." [Ibn Maajah]
Moreover, Islam forbids women from anything that is against their femininity. For example, it forbids women from imitating men in their clothes, movement and conduct. Islam forbids women from wearing men's clothes, and vice versa. It curses women who assume a masculine attitude and vice versa. The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “There are three categories of people who will not enter Paradise and at whom Allah will not look on the Day of Resurrection: those who are undutiful to their parents, women who assume masculine attitude, and men approving indecency among their womenfolk.”[Ahmad, An-Nasaa’i and Al-Haakim]
2-       Islam protects the woman's femininity and shows mercy towards her fragility. It makes the woman forever in the custody of men, meaning, that of her father, husband, children, or brothers, who provide for her and give her all that she needs. Such men are required by the Sharee‘ah to provide for her. Consequently, women would be in no need of being involved in the hardships of life and competing with men in order to earn their living.
3-       Islam protects the woman’s morals, modesty, reputation and dignity. It maintains her chastity from ill thoughts, words, and actions. Hence, Islam orders women to:
A)     Lower their gaze and maintain their chastity and cleanliness. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): "And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts." [Quran 24:31]
B)      Wear decent clothes and hide their beauty. Islam does not overburden women. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): "And not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests." [Quran 24:31]“Which [necessarily] appears thereof" was interpreted to refer either to kohl and rings; or to the face and hands, or to all these things in addition to the feet.
C)      Hide their hidden beauty, for example the hair, neck, chest, arms and legs, in front of non-Mahram (i.e., marriageable) men. This does not apply to their husbands and Mahram men, for it is difficult for women to hide their beauty in front of their Mahram men. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): "And not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers, their brothers' sons, their sisters' sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women." [Quran 24:31]
D)     Be serious when walking and speaking. Allah The Almighty Says (what means):
·        "And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment." [Quran 24:31]
·        "Then do not be soft in speech [to men], lest he in whose heart is disease should covet, but speak with appropriate speech."[Quran 33:32]
Women are not prohibited from speaking. Their voice is not considered‘Awrah (i.e., compulsory to be concealed). However, they are ordered to speak appropriately.
E)   Avoid all that which tempts and attracts the attention of men, for example, exposing what they are not permitted to expose of their beauty, which is peculiar to the first or last period of Jaahiliyyah (pre-Islamic ignorance) . Chaste women avoid such things. The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “If a woman applies perfume and goes out to make people smell her, then she is an adulteress.” [Abu Daawood and others]
“Then she is an adulteress” means that this woman is doing what an adulterer does, even if she is not a real adulterer. Women must not do such things.
F)       Avoid being in seclusion with any man who is not their husband or one of their Mahrams, so as to protect herself and the man from ill thoughts, and to protect her reputation from evil tongues. The Messenger of Allah,sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “It is impermissible for a man to be alone with a [non-Mahram] woman, unless she is accompanied by her Mahram.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] 
G)     Avoid mixed company, unless there is a necessity and a considerable interest. If so, she is allowed to stay in mixed company no more than needed. Examples include, performing prayer in mosques, seeking knowledge and co-operation in kindness and piety. By observing these conditions concerning mixed company, women will not be deprived of co-operation in serving their community.
Through these rulings, Islam protects the women's femininity from human predators. It also protects women's modesty and chastity by keeping them away from factors of deviation and misguidance. Moreover, it protects their honor from the evil tongues of human predators and wicked people who spread false rumors. Furthermore, it protects their souls and nerves from tension, worry, shocks and disturbances, which are the result of overactive imagination and of occupying oneself with various means of sexual excitement. Through these rulings and legislation, Islam also protects men from the factors of deviation and worry, and protects the whole community from all that leads to degradation and moral decay.