Sunday, December 13, 2015

Fear and be Conscious .

When we think of the word "fear" we think about our parents not finding out about something we do behind closed doors on a Friday night, or we think about our boss firing us because we did not complete a project on time. Fear is always something we feel around people when we have not lived up to their expectations or when we worry that some of our secrets and sins may become exposed to others. Fear can also arise out of admiration for someone because when we admire and love someone, we always worry what they will think and we care a lot about their opinions of us. We strive to impress them and do anything so that they will not become displeased with us or hate us. These are some interpretations of what fear means to some of us. Beyond the surface however, lies a deeper meaning of fear. As a Muslim, we should always think about ourselves and what the greater purpose of our existence is. We know as a Muslim, we are to obey, love, fear and follow Allah's Commands and His Messenger (sallalahu aleyhi wasselam). 

"Say, 'Obey Allah and the Messenger'. But if they turn away, [know that] Allah does not love the disbelievers." (Qur'an 3:32)

However when we think about fear in Islamic terms , we learn something completely different. Fear in Islam does not mean to fear your boss, your husband, or your parents but it is to have conscious of Allah, to have piety, and to be Allah fearing. All these can be summed up in one word, "taqwa". Taqwa is something we should all strive to accomplish because what matters the most is that we fear Allah rather than fear the creation. Ultimately, when we have consciousness of Allah, we will be able to fear Him and thus we will achieve piety and success. When we remember that the only One we should be mindful of and the only One who we should always be conscious of, is the One who created us. When we are able to know where Allah belongs in our heart, then we will not have any fears of people and we will always be conscious of our sins. Sometimes we imagine our loved ones in the back of our mind and think about what they would say if we committed a sin or did something they disliked, but what we should really be doing is imagining and remembering that Allah can See us and that we must be concerned about His Opinion over anyone else's. Wherever we are, whatever we are doing and whoever we are with, we should always remember that Allah is watching us and we should always ask ourselves "Will Allah approve of this?" "What would Allah think of me if I did this?" The key to a successful dunya and akhirah is to always observe taqwa and it is truly the only way that Allah will help us and make a way out for all our troubles and worries.

Whoever fears Allah, Allah will find a way out for him (from every difficulty) and He will provide for him from sources that he could never have imagined.” 

[Quran 65:2-3]

We must learn who our Lord is and always make duaa for our intentions to be sincere. To obtain taqwa, we must be in the best company and always try to improve our knowledge of the Qur'an and Sunnah. The most important way to achieve taqwa is to abstain from things that is disliked and forbidden in Islam and to always keep our intentions sincere. I ask Allah to make us of the muttaqeen and to keep us firmly guided on His straight path towards Jannah. Ameen.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Islam & Terrorism

In less than 24 hours, ISIS took responsibility for terror in Beirut, Baghdad and Paris. Understandably, social media quickly lit up as people sympathized (mostly with the French), pontificated and pointed fingers. As the dust settles it's important not to lose sight of the following:
1) Muslims have roundly condemned these vile criminal acts and terrorism in general
Within minutes of the news, tweets and Facebook status updates queried why Muslims were not condemning the horrendous attacks in Paris. One Toronto couple even put up a lawn sign asking Muslims if they were sorry.
Even a quick Google search reveals that Muslims came out strongly against the Paris attacks. Those who bothered to pay attention or suppressed their observer bias would have seen extensive coverage of this outpouring of condemnation.
In fact, even major ultra-conservative groups around the world including the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars joined the chorus: "Terrorists are not sanctioned by Islam and these acts are contrary to values of mercy it brought to the world," said the statement.
Muslim clerics representing the broad spectrum of sects and schools have not only condemned the attacks in Paris, but have been condemning terrorism itself for years. Here is a sampling compiled by Charles Kurzman, a professor and co-director of theCarolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations. If this is not enough, virtually every prominent Islamic group and religious leader has condemned ISIS in one way or another. Even books have been written challenging ISIS's Islamic claims.
Short of branding all newborn Muslims with an "I condemn all past, present and future violent acts committed by Muslims" tattoo at birth, there is not much else Muslims can offer.
2) Terrorists represent Islam no more than the KKK represents Christianity or other fringe groups represent their respective traditions
As Muslim basketball legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar brilliantly summed up, "When the Ku Klux Klan burns a cross in a black family's yard, Christians aren't required to explain how these aren't really Christian acts." Same can be asked about the Christianclaims of Apartheid proponents and even the mass suicide of 900 people underReverend Jim Jones.
The double standard is not lost on many who ask why only Muslims should be held collectively responsible for the actions of a criminal fringe. ChristiansBuddhists,HindusJewsSikhs and even animal rights and environmental activists are not expected to apologize for and distance themselves from terrorists among their ranks, and rightfully so.
Before atheists get all smug, they should not forget their own fanatics and the fact that some from their ranks are responsible for far more death and destruction than religious people over the course of human history.
3) Islam unambiguously opposes terror tactics -- terrorism is not a religious ritual but a military strategy
Muslims condemn terrorism because it is as antithetical to their worldview. Almost all iterations of Islamic law explicitly classifies hirabah (terrorism and highway robbery) as a major sin. Indeed, the Qur'an proclaims: "If anyone kills a person without justification, it is as if they have killed the whole of humanity."
Moreover, the Prophet Mohammed's strict rules of engagement even in times of hostility were blunt: "Do not kill women or children or non-combatants."
Of course, critics have latched onto to the fact that these are subject to interpretation. They then uncritically accept the readings advanced by terrorists while dismissing outright more grounded interpretations with mainstream credibility.
In doing so, these critics give credence to those who ignore centuries of jurisprudential methodology (and its inherent dynamism) and still claim to have on par status with those who stick to the established methodological tradition. This is intellectually akin to giving legitimacy to anarchists who claim to be upholding the Parliamentary common law system while ignoring constitutionalism, separation of powers and stare decisis (precedent), all of which are fundamental to the tradition.
As Islamic scholar T.J. Winter of Cambridge University observed, "Terrorism is to jihad what adultery is to marriage." Indeed, this explains why polls have shown that Muslims are more likely than Christians or Jews to object to the targeting and killing of civilians.
As CJ Werleman points out in a Salon piece, those who contend that terrorists are motivated by Islam while minimizing the economic, social, geo-political and military considerations are ignoring the facts. Interestingly, Marc Sageman, a psychiatrist who studies terrorism, says that most of us are guilty of "fundamental attribution error" (excessive emphasis on perceived internal motivation when it comes to judging the actions of others) whenever we look at what does or doesn't motivate terrorists. He says: "You attribute other people's behaviour to internal motivations but your own to circumstances. 'They're attacking us and therefore we have to attack them.'"
The reality is that it is politics not religious ideas that lead to terrorism. Numerous research centres, including the University of Chicago's Project on Security and Terrorism (UCPST) which was partly funded by the Defense Department's Threat Reduction Agency have confirmed this. Robert A. Pape and James K. Feldman of UCPST have demonstrated that terrorism is overwhelmingly a strategic response to occupation, not an attempt to change our ways.
Most people who join terror groups have excellent grasp of their grievances, but very poor understanding of Islam. Understandably, the nuances of Islamic jurisprudence is well beyond most recruits whose grievances are reinforced through propaganda. Indeed, a 2010 United States Institute for Peace study of more than 2,000 people who were attracted to terrorism found that they "have an inadequate understanding of their own religion, which makes them vulnerable to misinterpretations of the religious doctrine."
4) Muslims are the main victims of terrorists
ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda, Al Shabaab and Taliban all have different goals and targets, but they all have one thing in common: They have all killed more Muslims than non-Muslims. Though exact figures are hard to muster, based on available data from a number of sources including a 2011 report of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center and the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) at the University of Maryland, we can safely conclude that the vast majority of victims are Muslims ("about half of all terrorist attacks, and 60 per cent of fatalities due to terrorist attacks, took place in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan -- all of which have a mostly Muslim population").
In fact, Muslims are victimized twice -- by terrorists and those fighting them. A conservative estimate by Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival and the Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War puts the civilian death toll at between 1.3 million and two million. All of this "collateral damage" and "bugsplat" translates to Muslim flesh and blood.
Muslims clearly have more reason to hate terrorism in all its forms.
5) Terrorism is not a 'Muslim thing'
Conventional wisdom will have you believe that Muslims commit most terrorist acts. In fact, according to Europol (the European Law Enforcement Agency), European figures suggest that only two per cent "of all terrorist attacks were committed by Islamic groups or individuals..."
Meanwhile in the United States, terrorism scholars Charles Kurzman and David Schanzer wrote in the New York Times that according to the FBI and other police agencies, "the main terrorist threat... is not from violent Muslim extremists, but from right­-wing extremists." They further point out that "...terrorism of all forms has accounted for a tiny proportion of violence in America. There have been more than 215,000 murders in the United States since 9/11. For every person killed by Muslim extremists, there have been 4,300 homicides from other threats."
To provide some perspective without minimizing the threat, you are more likely to get hit by lightning than be killed by a terrorist, and chances are that the terrorist may not even be Muslim.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The struggle is real : Patience

Many of you were able to read my struggle about wearing the niqab in the West, and I really wanted to thank you all for the endless support and encouragement! May Allah reward and bless you all ameen!!

I know I am not the only one who struggles, we all struggle. After all, what would this life be like if we were never being tested by our limits and strengths to know what we are capable of right? This life is nothing but a test and Allah has made it clear countless times in the Qur'an.

Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: "We believe," and will not be tested. 

And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test).

[Surah Al Ankabut 29:2-3]

Many times I get lots in my struggles and I lose sight of who I am. Even though I converted to Islam four years ago, it is safe to say that I feel like I just starting my journey as a Muslimah . Sure, I learnt quite a bit when I became Muslim and I would write and write about endless topics that were stressing the Ummah, but until I was put in my own predicament, until I was the one struggling with my own hardships and trials then that was when the real learning began. I admit, I did not handle my situations the best as I could, and still to this present day I struggle and fight with my own nafs. I try my best not to complain but weakness overpowers me at times and I stumble. I realised just how weak I truly am and I finally understand what it is to be tested and how it feels to preserve with patience (or lack thereof). Patience is something very valuable and it is something that does not come naturally or easily for mankind was made to be hasty. I have probably failed miserably countless times because of my lack of patience. I always find myself feeling guilty after and realising I must have lost all the rewards of a test of a trial because of my lack of patience and reacting right away! I know I am not the only one! 

I have to constantly remind myself that I am being tested and Allah wants to See how patient I will be! He wants to reward me and yet I fail each time! My emotions sometimes overpower me and I just lose control and forget the whole purpose of my tests ! As I sit here writing, I reflect upon myself and my weaknesses. Do not get that confused with sins because some people have asked me "why are you exposing your sins online" when in reality, and Allah Knows Best, I am not exposing any sort of sins. It is not wrong to admit that we are weak and that we have faults. I know I am not the only one who suffers from countless weaknesses and I know many people can relate with me. I just wanted to write this post to remind myself and others that we should always try our best and keep fighting through the trials and the difficult times. I wanted to give up co many times yet I kept telling myself NO, this is just a test and I must get through this and Allah will reward me accordingly! It is not easy being patient, truly it is one of the hardest tests we all have to face. But while we try to be patient we should also reflect on the blessings we DO have and not to dwell on the things we don't have. I find every time I am surrounding myself too much with social media and I see how people always post themselves with their perfect lives, I always end up comparing myself to them and then I end up feeling miserable and so depressed! Subhana'Allah! Allah already tells us that we should always look to those who are less than us so that we will always be grateful! How wise!

I am going through a lot of things right now that are truly testing my patience and though it may not be hard for someone else, this test and struggle is catered perfectly to me and my abilities according to Allah and His Wisdom! I know that many of you are going through some tests and trials in your lives and even though they are not big to someone else they are to you and that is what matters! We should keep making duaa and ask Allah to make a way out for us and to increase us in patience and don't be afraid also to talk to someone who actually cares! A lot of the times we go to people for advice but many of them just brush it off and tell you the generic advice "don't worry, just have patience and make duaa".. (just like what I am telling you hahah!) but seriously, though that IS the best advice and the advice i give to myself, I don't know what you are going through but whatever it is, just know that it is really meant to shape you into a more resilient, positive and beautiful Muslimah! Our trials and hardships are meant to bring us closer to Allah and to help prepare us for Jannah insha'Allah! Just look at all the non-Muslim historical figures and the Muslims ! They did not get to where they were/are today overnight! They suffered, struggled, fell many times but they kept getting back up and kept going. It is so easy to give up but the best of those are the ones who get back up and keep going and keeping reminding themselves that this is all from Allah and that He WILL help me get through this since He put me in it in the first place! Let us reflect on the following verses about patience and the rewards Allah has promised! I hope that we can all encourage each other to strive harder and to never give up and help each other during times of hardship and ease! It is amazing you will find out who your true friends are when you are going through hardships. Some people just end up smiling in their glory because of your sufferings (astughfurAllah) and then there are some who truly care sincerely for you and wish to help you along your journey! Seek the latter and get rid of the prior because ain't nobody got timeeeee for that!!!! Please keep me in your duaas my sweetlings and I pray to Allah that He helps me and you through the hard times and the easy times and to never ever remove from us the blessings He has given us and to protect us from His Punishment! Ameen!!

“But if you endure patiently, verily, it is better for As‑Saabiroon (the patient)”
[al-Nahl 16:126] 

Verily, he who fears Allaah with obedience to Him (by abstaining from sins and evil deeds, and by performing righteous good deeds), and is patient, then surely, Allaah makes not the reward of the Muhsinoon (good‑doers) to be lost”
[Yoosuf 12:90] 

“And seek help in patience and As-Salaah (the prayer) and truly, it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khaashi‘oon [i.e. the true believers in Allaah — those who obey Allaah with full submission, fear much from His punishment, and believe in His Promise (Paradise) and in His Warnings (Hell)]”

[al-Baqarah 2:54] 

“Verily, I have rewarded them this Day for their patience; they are indeed the ones that are successful”
[al-Mu’minoon 23:111]  

Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, "When (will come) the Help of Allah?" Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near!

[Surah Baqarah 2:214]

Friday, October 16, 2015

Islam and Women

This is for non Muslim women who are trying to learn more about the truth about Islam and how Muslim women are treated. It really helps clear up any misconceptions you may have. If you ever have questions, please do not hesitate to actually ask a Muslim woman. You can also e-mail me (women only please).

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Canadian Elections

Many Canadian Muslimahs are now faced with an issue. We all know that we do not want Harper to be re-elected into office because he is not only a bigot but he is an Xenophobe and an Islamaphobe! I have seen countless Harper supporters on Facebook and the amount of ignorant comments that are being made are ridiculous and angering! But the sad thing is, I don't see ANY Muslims defending Islam or speaking out to clear up misconceptions and misunderstandings! Surely, we do not want to raise debates or arguments ! Of course not! But sisters, we can not just sit back and allow these ignorant people to be drowning in their Harper fever!? I am not into politics because it really does not concern me but as a Canadian citizen and living in Canada, I can't fathom the fact that there are so many ignorant Canadians who are misinformed because of the media yet we are not doing anything to educate them or answer their questions or reply to their uneducated responses! I know sometimes it is better to stay quiet and let them drown in their misery but with all the misunderstandings about Islam and with all the news about this niqab debate, we really need to step up our game and speak out to defend our religion and our rights. It all starts with your voice. Show the people your good manners and your patience and what Islam teaches you and educate the ignorant masses because if you don't then they will continue learning from the news and letting Harper dictate to them what Islam is and we all know, he clearly does not know a thing or two about Islam and Muslims. He hates them and he wants to see them fall! If you have Facebook or if you have seen anyone speak out wrongly or falsely about Muslims, please, do your deen a favour and educate them with the manners of rasulullah sallalahu aleyhi wasselam!

and just for the record :

It is permissible for a woman to uncover her face when she is giving testimony in court, whether she is a witness in a case or is there to witness a deal, and it is permissible for the qaadi (judge) to look at her in order to know who she is and to protect the rights of all concerned.
Shaykh al-Dardeer said: “It is not permitted to give testimony against a woman in niqaab until she uncovers her face so that it may be known who she is and what she looks like.” (Al-Sharh al-Kabeer li’l- Shaykh al-Dardeer, 4/194)
Ibn Qudaamah said: “The witness may look at the face of the woman against whom he is testifying so that his testimony will speak about her in specific terms. Ahmad said: ‘He cannot testify against a woman unless he knows who she is.’” (Al-Mughni, 7/459; al-Sharh al-Kabeer ‘ala Matan al-Muqni’, 7/348, bi haamish al-Mughnial-Hidaayah ma’a Takmilat Fath al-Qadeer, 10/26).
V – In court cases
It is permissible for a woman to uncover her face in front of a qaadi (judge) who is to rule either in her favour or against her, and in this situation he may look at her face in order to know who she is and for the sake of protecting people’s rights.
The same rules that apply to giving testimony or bearing witness also apply in court cases, because they serve the same purpose. (See Al-Durar al-Mukhtaar, 5/237; Al-Hadiyah al-‘Alaa’iyah, p. 244; Al-Hadiyah ma’a Takmilat Fath al-Qadeer, 10/26).