Monday, 24 January 2011

100 more days to go Insha-Allah!

According to my pregnancy countdown, only 100 more days left insha-Allah! I am very excited but also quite worried as well. I really don’t want to have gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia again. I hate thinking about getting induced especially before 38 weeks. This time alhamdulillah I am trying hard to avoid any sugary and carbohydrate-rich food as much as possible. Since last couple of weeks I have started my high protein diet. I know diet during pregnancy is not really recommended but I don’t think I am doing a proper high protein diet as my body does need a bit of carb as well. I am trying to eat as many veg and fruits as possible with a little bit of rice or wholemeal bread. Whenever I feel hungry, I am eating fruits, cheese string, cottage cheese or couple of nuts and drink lots of water ( no juice alhamdulillah) to fill myself up. I am also trying to have lots of fish through out the week thanks to my dear friend J as she occasionally sends me some yummy fish dish alhamdulillah. As a pregnant woman, I feel so lucky and blessed to have family and friends who cook for me. May Allah SWT reward them abundantly for all the efforts and love for me, ameen.

So far , I am feeling okay alhamdulillah. But I do suffer from occasional aches and pains and cramps. I got my exercise bike down ( thanks to yobo) but I haven't done that much exercise as I feel lazy. I am also thinking that taking care of my young chlidren should be enough exercise but I know deep down that this is not really a good excuse!  Insha-Allah hope to start soon.

Going through pregnancy is not easy but hope we will get reward insha-Allah for every second of it. It is actually seen as a form of struggle ( jihad) in Islam. So we are mujahidas Insha-Allah and there is this tiny mujahid in my tummy who is dependant on me! Most of the time, the doctors and midwives give us this impression that we pregnant women are in great risk of health problem but we tend to forget that for the babies in our womb life is not that easy either. I was reading an article where it was mentioned that for babies to come out from their mothers’ womb is also a very difficult journey. The more we know about pregnancy and child birth we can end up feeling a bit scared but I just try to remind myself that everything is in Allah’s control. Insha-Allah things will be fine. He SWT is in full control and He SWT knows what is best for us so Insha-Allah no worries! La Hawla wa la quwwata illah billah. Allahmumma la sahla illa ma’ja’altahu sahlan, wa anta taj’alaul hajna idha shi’ta sahla. O Allah! There is nothing easy except what You make easy. And You make the difficult easy if its Your Will.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Are we wearing our hijab properly?

Nowadays, we are witnessing a very disturbing trend in hijab style. Sisters are wearing hijab (?) but not really fulfilling the basic requirements of hijab. Thanks to most of the young hijabi sisters, it has become a norm to wear lots of make up, wearing very eye catchy and tight-fitting and see-through clothes. May be only one thing hasn’t changed that much and that is not to show the hair as if hijab is only to cover our hair and everything else can be on display! I feel very sad seeing the state of our hijab. What's the point of wearing hijab then?  Where are we heading? I am not just witnessing this new trend in the West but almost every other parts of the world thanks to global media and culture. I wanted to write about this issue for a long time but felt it can be quite a sensitive issue to deal with. Seeing my own family and friends getting sucked into this silly trend made me feel determined to write about it. Allah (swt) knows my intention. This post is first and foremost for my own sake as I am also a hijabi person and want to follow the requirements of hijab properly just to please my Lord. I also thought that when as Muslim we see something is wrong we are told to voice our concern in a polite way to encouarge and help brothers and sisters to correct themselves. Moreover, I am a mother now so I have a huge responsibility to educate my children about the true values and norms of our faith insha-Allah. I hope this post will also help our sisters and brothers to understand the real hijab insha-Allah. Before dealing with the issue I would like to share some sample of so-called hijab we can witness around us so that you can get an idea of what I am referring to.

I think the rise of the new so-called ‘trendy’ hijab style is due to our sheer ignorance and lack of understanding about what hijab really means and what it actually requires. The word "hijab" or "ḥijāb" (Arabic: حجاب he-zjab) refers to both the head covering traditionally worn by Muslim women and modest Muslim styles of dress in general. The Arabic word literally means curtain or cover (noun). Most Islamic legal systems define this type of modest dressing as covering everything except the face and hands in public. According to Islamic scholarship, hijab is given the wider meaning of modesty, privacy, and morality. So it’s not just a piece of cloth but it is a symbol for us as Muslims to behave in a modest way and present ourselves as well-balanced Muslims. The Qur'an instructs both Muslim men and women to dress in a modest way.

The clearest verse on the requirement of the hijab (for men and women) is Surah Al-Nur (Light) 24:30–31 which says, “[Prophet], tell believing men to lower their eyes and guard their private parts: this is purer for them Allah is well aware of everything they do. And tell believing women that they should lower their eyes, guard their private parts and not display their charms beyond what [it is acceptable] to reveal; they should draw their coverings over their neckline and not reveal their charms except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their womenfolk, their slaves, such men who attend them who have no desire or children who are not aware of women’s nakedness; they should not stamp their feet so as to draw attention to any hidden charms. Believers, all of you, turn to Allah so that you may prosper.”

It has also mentioned in the Qur’an, “O Prophet! Enjoin your wives, your daughters, and the wives of true believers that they should cast their outer garments over their body (when they are outside): That is most convenient, that they may be distinguished and not be harassed. [...] (Qur'an 33:58–59)

The four major Sunni schools of thought (Hanafi, Shafi'i, Maliki and Hanbali) hold that entire body of the woman, except her face and hands must be covered during prayer and in public settings. There are those who allow the feet to be uncovered as well as the hands and face. However, some scholars encourage covering the face, while some follow the opinion that it is only not obligatory to cover the face and the hands but mustahab (Highly recommended). Some niqabi sisters follow this argument and that’s why they cover their face and hands too.
According to majority of Muslims scholars, it is recommended that women wear clothing that is not very fitting to the body: either modest forms of western clothing (long shirts and skirts), or the more traditional jilbāb, a high-necked, loose robe that covers the arms and legs. A khimār or shaylah, a scarf or cowl that covers all but the face, is also worn in many different styles. As a practical matter, however, the opinion that Muslim men must cover themselves between the navel and the knees is predominant, and most Muslims believe that a man who fails to observe this requirement during salah must perform the prayer again, properly covered, in order for it to be valid. Three of the four Sunni Madh'hab, or schools of law, require that the knees be covered; the Maliki school recommends but does not require knee covering. According to some hadith, Muslim men are asked not to wear gold jewellery, silk clothing, or other adornments that are considered feminine. Some scholars say that these prohibitions should be generalized to prohibit the lavish display of wealth on one's person.
If you read the tafseer ( explanation) of the Quranic verses on Hijab, you can easily notice the basic criteria of hijab. Hijab is meant to help us lead a simple and humble life. We are told to cover ourselves in a way so that we are not creating fitna by getting the wrong attention from the non mahrams. Allah (swt) also mentions very clearly in the Qur’an who are allowed to see us without hijab and when we are wearing our hijab, we are not suppose to beautify ourselves in such a way that creates attention.

Rules are there for a reason. Allah (swt) know what is good for us and what can cause us harm. Let us follow His Qur’an to save ourselves from any sort of harm. Come on sisters! Let us wear hijab properly and let us get our intention right. We are here to please Allah (swt) and no one else! Our ultimate success lies in getting closer to Him. Thanks to internet and all the social networks we are commiting more sins by publicising our beauty with hijab (?) and we are claming that we are proud Muslimahs! Are we really proud of our faith? If so, how come we are not following the basic rules of our faith? Do you think Allah (swt) is unawre of what we are doing?
I know it’s a big trial (fitna) for our young sisters and brothers living in a world where look, size matters more than intellect, moral values, skills etc. Even our faith acknowledges this fact and that’s why we will get more reward if we follow the faith wholeheartedly while young as it is really very hard given all the temptations around us. We need to seek knowledge and know what our faith is all about. Only through knowledge we can empower ourselves and create a strong Muslim identity insha-Allah so that all the secular and non-islamic norms and values will not seem so cool to us. I would like to finish this post with a beautiful supplication done by a group of practising youth who are mentioned in Surah Al-kahf. They wanted to follow the faith properly but the society they were living in was so anti-Islam that it was almost impossible for them to remain Allah-conscious people and that’s why they decided to hide in the cave. Allah (swt) was so impressed by their faith and action that He (swt) made them a symbol of a great miracle ‘The people of the cave’. They said, “ Our Lord, grant us Your Mercy and find us a good way out of our ordeal.” (Surah Al-Kahf:18:10)

May Allah (swt) forgive us, have mercy on us and guide us to the right path, ameen!

On a lighter note, MashAllah brother Baba Ali did a great video on hijab named ‘That’s not hijab’. MashAllah I think he did it really nicely without sounding preachy.

There is also another great video on hijab mashAllah

Monday, 17 January 2011

The best dua for forgiveness (Istighfar)

Alhamdulillah last year I came across this beautiful dua and I would like to share this dua with you. We all are sinners but we are told by our beloved prophet Muhammad (saw) that the best of the sinners are those who constantly repent and ask their Lord to forgive them. May Allah (swt) make us the best insha-Allah!

اللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ رَبِّي لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ خَلَقْتَنِي وَأَنَا عَبْدُكَ وَأَنَا عَلَى عَهْدِكَ وَوَعْدِكَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا صَنَعْتُ أَبُوءُ لَكَ بِنِعْمَتِكَ عَلَيَّ وَأَبُوءُ بِذَنْبِي فَاغْفِرْ لِي فَإِنَّهُ لَا يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ
Allahumma anta rabbi, la ilaaha illa anta khalaqtani wa ana 'ala 'ahdika wa wa'dika maa s'ta'tat, audhu bika min sharri maa sana't abbu laka bini'matika a'layya wa abu'u bidhanbi faaghfirli faa innahu laa yaghfiruj' junuba illa anta.

"O Allah, You are my Lord, there is none worthy of worship besides You, You have created me and I am Your servant, I am Your pact and promise, I seek refuge in You to the best of my ability from my evil sins. I testify to Your favours and to my sins, hence forgive me since there is no one else to forgive sins besides You".
The person who recites this dua sincerely in the course of the day and night and dies will be among the people of jannah insha-Allah. ( Bukhari)

Supplications to feel and get recession-proof Insha-Allah

Since 2009 almost everyone of us are affected by recession. I know this is just part of life, a form of test from Allah swt as He mentioned in the Qur’an that He (swt) will definitely test us with loss of wealth, health, food etc to see how we deal with it and approach Him (swt). Admit it or not, we are here for a reason and that is to worship our Creator in every moment and state insha-Allah. Having said that, it can get pretty tough going through the hardship if we are not really accoustomed to loss of wealth, health and so on . There are beautiful supplications in our faith which can help us in feeling in control and optismistic insha-Allah. I have gathered some authentic dua's from the Sunnah (tradition) of our beloved prophet (saw). Do remember to recite them with the meaning as well as having firm faith that Insha-Allah through Allah swt’s mercy and generosity we will indeed get our supplications answered very soon INSHA-ALLAH!

It has been mentioned by Ali (raw) that the prophet (saw) taught him a dua by which our debt can be paid even if it be as great as a mountain. The dua is given below:
اللَّهُمَّ اكْفِنِي بِحَلَالِكَ عَنْ حَرَامِكَ وَأَغْنِنِي بِفَضْلِكَ

عَمَّنْ سِوَاكْ
ALLAAHUMMAK-FINEE BI-H'ALAALIKA A'N H'ARAAMIKA WA AGHNINEE BI-FAZ'LIKA A'MMAN SIWAAK.
“O Allah, make Your lawful bounties sufficient for me so as to save me from what is unlawful and from Your grace grant me sufficient abundance to make me free from the need of all except You.” (Reported by Tirmidhi, who considers it sound)

Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri (R.A.) reported, “One day the prophet (saw) entered the mosque. He saw there a man from the Ansar called Abu Umamah. He asked, ‘What is the matter with you that I see you sitting in the mosque when it is not the time of prayer.’ He replied, ‘I am very much worried and in great debt, O Messenger of Allah!’ The prophet (saw) said, ‘Let me teach you words to say so that Allah will remove your worries and settle your debt?’ He exclaimed, ‘Of course, O Messenger of Allah.’ The prophet (saw) said, ‘Say in morning and evening,

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْهَمِّ وَالْحَزَنِ وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْعَجْزِ وَالْكَسَلِ وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْبُخْلِ وَالْجُبْنِ وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ غَلَبَةِ الدَّيْنِ وَقَهْرِ الرِّجَالِ
ALLAHUMMA ‘INNEE ‘A’UDHU BIKA MINALHAMMI WALHAZANI, WAL’AJZI WALKASALI, WALBUKHLI, WA DHALA’ID-DAYNI WA GHALABATIR RIJAALI.
"O Allah I seek refuge in You from all worry and grief. I seek refuge in You from incapacity and slackness. I seek refuge in You from miserliness and cowardice and I seek refuge in You from being overcome by debt and being subjected to men". The man said, ‘When I said that, Allah (swt) removed all my worries and settled my debt.’ ( Abu Daw’ud)

We are so lucky to have these supplications taught by our beloved prophet Muhammad (saw). Sadly, despite the abundance of so many great advice and supplications in our faith, most of the times we just feel depressed so easily and don’t really try to find out how to cope with difficulties. May Allah (swt) help us in understanding the beauty and comprehensiveness of our faith and also help us in implementing the teachings in our daily life, ameen!