All or nothing?! 

“If you’re not going to wear the hijab properly then don’t wear it at all!” 

Woahhh.

Hold on. That’s a HUGE thing to say. 

I overheard a conversation earlier about a lady who was saying just that. And that sisters should take off their hijab if they’re not going to wear it properly, and put it back on once they’re ready. 

I understand a part of that, obviously we should wear it properly. But the above mindest does not work- especially with our youth today- and especially living in a western country. 

I understand the origin of that thought 100%. I used to think the same way. But it’s not healthy, for you or me. 

I’m not here to defend immodest dress.

However, here are some repercussions of portraying this mindset to the community.

– Immorality leads to further immorality. If we are telling sisters to take off their hijab for not wearing it correctly- and they take on that advice because of us.. Imagine that once they take it off, they stop praying, they may think “Oh, now I can go clubbing”, “Now I can hang out with so and so, and try xyz”. Imagine if one of us were the reason for this. And imagine that the person dies upon a disobedient lifestyle before they were ready to wear the hijab properly. 

– This brings me to my next point. You can never feel 100% Ready. The shaytan will whisper to you day in day out. Unless you consciously shut that down and take action, it will not go away, or, rather it will not lessen. I’m yet to hear a hijab story of someone who felt completely ready and not scared or nervous when they decided to put on the hijab. 

– Everyone is on a different level of iman. Their ‘half’ hijab may be more pleasing to Allah swt than our ‘full’ hijab. How? Their struggle to hold onto their hijab may be the greatest struggle they are going through, but they are not taking it off purely for the sake of Allah. And our arrogance and judgement may ruin our intentions and relationship with Allah swt. 

– The idea of all or nothing, it doesn’t work. We should be constantly making improvements- furthering our knowledge and practices. We are all struggling in one way or another. Your dress code may be your struggle, yet mine may be envy- the only difference is yours can be physically seen- available for everyone to judge, and mine can’t. 

– If you’re going to give advice, please do it out of love. Speak gently, and show your concern. You’re advising them because you want to be their neighbour in Jannah. There is no need to be harsh. Most of us know what we are doing wrong. Approaching a sister harshly is not going to do anyone any good. Again, it all comes down to different struggles. How about if she is a revert, or if she just put the hijab on a week ago- are you going to discourage that? It takes time, support and knowledge to eventually cover up more and more. 

– At the end of the day, we all sin. Judging someone for sinning differently is not a trait we should have. 

I don’t want to cause a debate or heated discussion, because let’s be honest, a lot of people have a lot to say on this topic. I just wanted to spark a thought, make excuses for your brothers and sisters in Islam. Their struggle today may be our struggle tomorrow. And let’s leave the judging to the Judge Himself swt. 

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Breathe

I need to keep reminding myself to take things one day at a time. Life gets so overwhelming, it becomes easy to freak out and be in panic mode all the time. 

Constant anxiety. 

Stop, just for a moment and obvserve everything around you. Take in the trees, the fresh air. Listen to a Qur’an recitation- breathe. Everything is going to be okay inshaaAllah. 

Is the thing I’m stressing over going to matter in 5 years time? Probably not. 

I may not even be here this time next year, or next month or next week. Allah knows. I may not to even get to see the things that I’m stressing over. 

Take it one day at a time. And enjoy the journey. 

 

Hardships

The thing about hardships is that we know it’s inevitable. We know the reason for our creation. We know that this life will consist of tests. Some of them will come in the form of ease, and some will come in the form of severe difficulty.

Our ultimate goal is Jannah. And to reach that, we pray 5 times a day, we fast, give charity etc. When we perform these acts of worship, we know why we are doing them. However, when it comes to hardship, we forget that this is also a means of getting close to our Creator and attaining His pleasure, essentially leading us to Jannah inshaaAllah.

It’s easy to forget our true purpose and the reason behind tests. But to mentally and spiritually survive these tests, we need to constantly remind ourselves that hardship and ease is there for our benefit. If we make it through a hardship being grateful to Allah swt then we have succeeded.

When we are tested with ease we don’t bat an eye. We don’t thank Allah swt for all the amazing blessings He provides us with daily. So why do we lose hope when we are tested with hardship?

Blessing in disguise

I think sometimes Allah swt wants to remind us that this world is temporary. That we need to detach ourselves from the pleasures of this world, and remember our true purpose. Sometimes the reminder comes in a hardship that you don’t think you will ever be able to overcome. But Allah does not burden us more than we can bare. And we know this, we know it so well, but we struggle to comprehend it. Whether we understand it today or not, whether we can see through the light through the tunnel or not is completely irrelevant. All we need to know and understand is that what ever has happened has happened for a reason. And that He will take care of you. All you need to do is ask. And maybe that’s another thing, maybe we’ve slacked off so much since Ramadan that Allah swt just wants us to call out to Him again, and worship Him the way we did when things weren’t so great. Forgetting our purpose in life is worse than anything I can ever think of. So maybe this hardship is not the worst thing that can happen to me right now. Maybe I need to start putting my full trust in Allah swt so that He may be pleased with me and grant me a place better than this world and everything in it.

Darkness to light 

Ughh this couldn’t be written any better. I was once at a friend’s house, and one of her friends’ was saying exactly this ‘good men are for good women’. And she was talking about how if someone has had a bad past then they’re not going to marry, or rather they’re not worthy of marrying someone who has been ‘good’ all along. 

Another friend tried to get her to understand the other side, and suggested that if someone has repented then it’s not up to us to decide whether they are a ‘good’ woman or not. However, she kept rebutting with this verse that says good men are for good women. 

For someone like me who has come from darkness into light (inshaaAllah), it was really, and I mean really hurtful and agitating to sit there and listen to someone basically say that you don’t deserve a good brother because of your past. 

Despite my frustration, I stayed quiet. Because 1. The other sister already explained to her exactly what I was thinking and she didn’t understand and 2. There is no point arguing with people when they only see things in black and white. 

This sister grew up quite religious you could say, and I guess despite her age she is quite naive to the world beyond hers. She even went the extent of saying ‘imagine marrying someone knowing they’ve kissed another woman on the cheek’. I Thought, woah, you’re living in a bubble! Now I’m not belittling the sin, I’m just trying to point out that a lot of people, including Muslims have done a lot more than that but have repented and completely changed their lifestyle. This includes reverts, your everyday Muslims, AND shaykhs, does this mean that they are not deserving of a good person because they haven’t been practicing their whole life, and who are we to make that call?

Look at the sahabah for example. Some of them were into drinking, gambling, zina, and yet when they repented and turned their life around, some of them were promised Jannah. Are you better than them? 

It’s not how you begin, it’s about how you end your life that counts. 

You can probably tell by the way I’ve written this that I’m still so frustrated about what she said, and this was probably 8 months ago. 

It is not up to us to decide whether someone is a ‘good’ man or woman, only Allah swt is the Judge of that. Especially if they have had a past, if Allah has forgiven them, then who are we to say anything? 

May Allah swt guide us all to the straight path. May He soften our hearts and forgive us for being harsh. May He pull us out of ignorance and direct us to correct knowledge and thinking. Ameen.

The Qur’an

People sometimes ask the inevitable question,

“Why do you read a book that requires so much comprehension?”
“If you do not understand what you’re reading
How do you expect to find in it healing?”

See, this book is the one that can turn the hearts of many,
Regardless of how much envy
You may have originally had
You cannot escape the plans of God, Al-Ahad.

When I recite the verses of this book,
I cannot overlook
The fact that God is speaking to me personally
How could I read it carelessly?

In this Qur’an there is a remedy,
For every pain and every calamity.
If you reflect upon its meanings,
You will find so many blessings.

It is out of God’s love and mercy,
That he sent Prophets before you and me,
Whose stories are lessons for every human being,
Not matter what hardships you might be facing.

Read this book so that it may heal
All this pain that seems surreal,
Recite in the name of your Lord,
So that you return to Him with much reward.

Near death

Two nights ago my grandfather had some sort of heart attack or stroke. His long term heart issues, plus diabetes and other health problems almost gave in on him. At one point in the night, whilst the paramedics were attempting to revive him, were told that he died. We later found out that his pacemaker stopped 62 times. SubhanAllah.

Alhamdulillah, after many attempts of defibrillation and CPR, they got his heart beating again. And of course, none of this happened except by the will of Allah (SWT). At almost 12 midnight, he was rushed to the hospital and we all followed. Not knowing anything, everyone was extremely distressed and concerned, particularly my grandmother.

After some time, we received news of his condition; 3 broken ribs due to CPR, unhealthy kidneys, at this point it was not looking good at all. We weren’t allowed to see him, and for the next few hours we waited in the waiting room, anxious and longing for answers. We were later asked a question which I never could have ever comprehended; to put him on life support or not to. We were explained the possible consequences of the choices we had, and my grandmother and aunty were quick to agree to the life support.

After a couple of hours waiting, knowing that by waiting at the hospital, news wouldn’t come any faster, I decided to leave to clean my grandmothers house before she came back. (Before I left, I walked into the house and there was blood on the bathroom floor and the lounge room was trashed with needles and rubbish from the paramedics). I desperately wanted to clear everything before anyone else came home to the mess, particularly my grandmother. And at this point, I was almost certain that he was not going to make it. At almost 2 a.m, I left the hospital to go to my grandmothers house, and my cousin followed. At first, I was kind of okay (or at least pretending to myself and to people) with going alone. Then one of our relatives told us that the carpet needs to be taken outside (due to blood on it, which I ended up just scrubbing as it wasn’t much) and suggested that my cousin should come with me. I was relieved that he did. When I got there, I waited in the car as I just did not want to enter alone into the mess I saw before I had left.

It might sound a little cliche, but you know the saying “you don’t know how strong you are until you have to be” something like that, well it’s kind of true. I’m usually not good when it comes to blood and other ‘icky’ things. But God gave me some sort of strength to clean up this pool of blood, that had also splattered on the wall, (Sorry for the image!) Although I felt a little uncomfortable doing it, I didn’t want to leave the burden on anyone else, and I was trying to stay strong as everyone else was breaking down.

I got home at about 3 a.m, and broke down. I was so sure this was it, I wasn’t being negative, I was being realistic. His heart stopped so many times, it was not looking good at all! The next morning (now yesterday morning) we woke up and we rushed to my grandmothers and then headed back to the hospital. At this point, he was stable but not breathing on his own, they had put him in intensive care, and couldn’t tell us what the outcome would be. Then late last night, they called the hospital and we were told that they plan to wake him up the following morning, (i.e this morning).

Alhamdulillah, today he woke up and was able to breathe on his own. And then in the afternoon, he was able to talk! SubhanAllah. Things are looking steady now alhamdulillah, and he will inshaaAllah slowly recover.

This incident made me think about a few things.

We celebrate birth but hate death, but death brings us closer to Allah swt (inshaaAllah). We are so surprised when someone dies, even though we know that it is the only thing guaranteed in this life, and whatever happens is the decree of Allah swt, and He knows better!

Losing a loved one is one thing, but being at the centre of the tragic moment makes things SOOO much more painful. When I lost my dad at 13, I was not with him whilst he was having a heart attack. And up until a couple of nights ago, I thought it would have been good for me to be with him in his last few moments. But witnessing someone die, being there when there are ambulances and paramedics everywhere, being there through the anticipated death is on another level. That gut wrenching feeling came once again that night, but it was a different kind of one. Knowing someone definitely passed away vs being there looking for answers and making dua that someone survives are both feelings I never want to feel again. But that is the nature of this dunya, our loved ones will leave us one day, and I don’t know how many more times I can go through this.

And this thought brought me to my next reflection, I lost one parent, but Alhamdulillah, I have my mother remaining. I almost lost my grandfather, and I don’t want people to die, simply because I don’t think I’m capable of handling it. This made me think about the people who lose family members everyday, those who are in Syria and other countries, even those in my own country who’ve lost multiple family members at once due to a car accident or something. It made me later think about the Prophet (SAW) who lost his beloved wife, uncle, companions, and many other loved ones during his life. Yet he always, always stood firm (SAW).

It also brought me back to reality. After Ramadan, we tend to slack off a little, or a lot. And seeing people on social media complain about the smallest things agitated me so much, because I just thought how small of a problem they had compared to mine and my family’s. Although this is probably not the correct way to think, I should instead, think about how many times I’ve complained over petty things and put an end to it. This incident, for a moment, removed the bubble that I had been living in. And I think it did for a few of my family members. But once we heard the good news this afternoon, I think we all started to slacken again with our prayers and other ibadah. How heedless we are, reminder after reminder, it makes me wonder; when will we learn?! A reminder to myself first!

Oh Allah, cure the diseases of our heart so that we may worship you with sincerity, ameen. Grant shifa to the sick, and sabrun jameel to their families, ameen.

Newly learnt concept: Mu’akha

Tonight I learnt somethings about the Seerah which I had no idea about. This is the Mu’akha (I believe it means brotherhood or something alike), in which after the hijra, the Prophet (SAW) paired the muhajirun and the ansar. From my understanding, this is the second thing he did after building a masjid (i.e. before establishing his own home). They took this brotherhood so seriously that they were to inherit from another if one of them passed away (until Allah SWT revealed not to do this). They took this brotherhood so seriously that some of the ansar offered half of all of their wealth to their new brothers.

Something that brought tears to my eyes was when the muhajirun complained to the Prophet (SAW) about the ansar. The ansar were so generous and helpful that the muhajirun feared that they would take their rewards away from them. SubhanAllah, the complaint was not against them, rather the muhajirun were worried about their own good deeds. The complaint was in the way of a praise.

It made me think about when someone is extremely good to us, we often get suspicious and think that they may have an ulterior motive. And SubhanAllah, this is our weakness and something we need to change, as we shouldn’t suspect bad of people. BUT look at the worry they had, the level of imaan, I can’t comprehend. May Allah SWT be pleased with them all, and may He allow us to follow their path and the path of the Prophet (SAW). Ameen.

I often think about how amazing it would have been to live in those times, although extremely, extremely hard. Just to be in the presence of the Prophet (SAW) and to be of the sahabiyat. What an honour! However, Allah SWT in His infinite wisdom chose us to live in this century- and there is greatness in this, even if we may struggle to see it.

By the way, this is the YouTube series of Shaykh Yasir Qadhi, where he completes the entire Seerah (highly recommend!) And he mentions how there is a common misconception regarding the mu’akha. It is sometimes perceived that the mu’akha only lasted a short amount of time. However, it continued until the very end. He mentions that this is known due to the fact that the sahabah that were paired, their names are later mentioned together. And also at the fact that the later Muslims were also paired.

This shows us the importance of brotherhood and sisterhood in regards to the success of a community. He mentioned that it is a neglected Sunnah, and we should make an effort to revive it- particularly with our revert brothers and sisters.

I vividly thought about how this can be done within our community, and plan to brainstorm ideas about how we can implement this in our local masjid, even if it’s pairing younger sisters with older ones etc. inshaaAllah.

The prophet (SAW) said: “Whoever revives an aspect of my Sunnah that is forgotten after my death, he will have a reward equivalent to that of the people who follow him, without it detracting in the least from their reward.”

[Reported by al-Tirmidhi]

SubhanAllah, now that we know this is a sunnah, may Allah swt make it easy for us to revive it, whether it is within our home, school, workplace, masjid etc. So that we may be rewarded in the hereafter, ameen.

If you have any ideas on how this could be done within a masjid, or any other setting please feel free to share!

Best of Planners

“What has reached you was never meant to miss you and what has missed you was never meant to reach you.” Prophet Muhammad (saw).

I’ve read this many times before, but yesterday when I read it I seriously internalised it. Maybe because I was having one of those days where I was just thinking everything over. Did I make the right decision when I did this, etc.

We always think ‘What if I had done xyz?’, ‘What if it turned out to be like this instead of that?’

SubhanAllah, Allah swt is the best of Planners. Yet, sometimes we question a situation forgetting that this is the decree of Allah swt. Allah is the One who created us, He knows us better than we know ourselves, He knows what is best for us. Yet we still wonder why things didn’t go the way we wanted them to. Where is the trust?

If you were never meant to marry a particular person, then be happy with it because that is what Allah swt decreed.

If you were never meant to have that job, be sure that that is what is best for you because indeed Allah is the best of planners.

What He has in store for us is better for us than what we want for ourselves. This is something we all forget.

 

 

Blessings of an iman low

Too often we forget where we came from. I don’t mean this to be physically, but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. 

About a month or two ago now, I felt like my imaan was at a high Alhamdulillah. Although I didn’t consciously recognise this until later on. 

I saw sisters coming to the mosque and attending halaqahs and wondered why they didn’t pray, I didn’t understand it. Because I felt like it was such an easy thing to do. 

Then I realised I was being judgement. And that this is not my right. 

Soon after, I fell into an iman low. This dip lasted about a week to two weeks, and although it didn’t feel good at the time, I am grateful that it happened. 

This iman low made me realise how hard worship becomes when your heart isn’t there. And I knew what I had to do to bring it back up, but I physically could not bring myself to doing these things because of the hold shaytan had on me. And I hadn’t felt like that in quite sometime. I also knew why my iman dropped, and still, I continued to do these things. 

The reason my iman dropped was that I slacked in worship and seeking knowledge, and wasted my time watching TV and on social media. I knew that I had to stop these things, and instead pray more sunnah prayers, read more Qur’an, and spend my time in seeking knowledge of the deen. But I could not bring myself to stopping these bad habits. Nor could I bring myself to worship beyond the 5 daily prayers and reading a little bit of Qur’an. 

I soon realised that this was a great test from Allah swt. I had been confident in my Deen, and critical of others, forgetting where I was 2 years ago and how much I was struggling just to pray the fard. 

This test was so that I could humble myself, to be more critical of myself rather than being critical of others. And to keep taking those little steps in worship that make a big difference to my iman, such as sunnah prayers, thikr etc. And to always, always ask for guidance because it is not guaranteed. SubhanAllah. 

I don’t know about anyone else, but I often forget how low my iman used to be. How astray I was. And how much patience, perseverance, and struggle it took for my iman to increase. SubhanAllah. 

We often forget that everyone is on a different journey. We might have the same goal, but this person may have just started learning about their religion, and maybe their strive to pray the fard is a greater reward in the sight of Allah swt then someone else who is praying their fard and sunnah prayers and doing extra worship, which isn’t as much of a struggle for them.

Therefore, when we see someone doing less than what we would normally do, it’s not ok that we look down on that person or think any less of them. 

Even when I started attending the mosque regularly. I came across sisters who had been practicing for much, much longer than I have been. And I was surprised to see them wearing makeup, and being relaxed in other matters of the deen. And I didn’t understand it. But this iman low made me realise that maybe their struggle is greater, maybe their environment is a bigger test, and maybe their reward is greater for the seemingly ‘less’ that they are doing. 

Now I try to immediately correct myself when I realise that I might be judging someone. 

This is a reminder to myself first, because I seriously struggle with this. And when I feel that I’m judging someone, I remind myself of my ‘jahiliyyah’ days, even though I tried so hard to forget it. I guess it just gives me a humble reminder of where I was, and that guidance comes if Allah wills, and it goes if Allah wills. 

May ALLAH swt protect us from pride and arrogance. It truly is evil. It damages the heart in more ways than we can imagine. 

Your struggling sister in Islam ❤