Saturday, June 27, 2015

Why dawah is important

The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) has said: "Convey from me, even one verse." (Bukhari)

When I was living in my world of ignorance, I knew nothing about Islam. For nearly 20 years of my life, I never had a clue about Islam or who Muslims where. I thought that most hijabis were all Indians or Pakistanis and that they all were hindus or sikhs! I was trapped in my ignorant bubble and my life only revolved around the gym and social parties. I was completely clueless about Muslims and I had never spoken to one in my life (or so I thought). Had Allah not put my husband in my path, I feel like I would have been living my life full of ignorance (Allah Knows Best) not knowing what the true religion of Islam was. As I look back, I realised that I must have known a handful or more of Muslims (by their names and ethnic background) but I never knew a thing about Islam because they never outwardly showed that they were Muslims or because they just never talked about it. Perhaps they were afraid that if they mentioned Islam, I would have turned my back and fled (because of 9/11) or maybe they just did not know the importance of spreading Islam and conveying the message of truth. 

So here I am, writing to you all about the utter importance of spreading the gift of Islam. After Allah guided me to this beautiful religion, I realized just how important it was for me to share this beautiful gift with others. I think that educating non-Muslims, and even Muslims about the true Islam is extremely important. Not only are there many people who do not know anything about Islam and Muslims but there is also a huge misconceptions about the religion which has been circulating the world (thanks to the media). Many non-Muslims learn the religion through watching unreliable news channels and reading anti-Islam websites on the internet. But the only way others can learn about Islam is from Muslims who understand and practise the religion according to the Qur'an and Sunnah! Therefore making it very important that we must continue always educating ourselves about our own religion and to lead by example through our character and manners. 

“Invite (mankind, O Muhammad) to the way of your Lord (i.e. Islam) with wisdom (i.e. with the Divine Revelation and the Qur’aan) and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His path, and He is the Best Aware of those who are guided” [al-Nahl 16:125] 

The only way that Islam spread through to the lands and reached us today is because of the dedication of the Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu aleyhi wasselam). Him (sallalahu aleyhi wasselam) and his companions (radiaAllahu anhum) worked day and night to spread the beautiful message of Islam. So we have no excuse. We should not be afraid of society and the media and we should never have to water down the deen or cater to the non-Muslims and keep quiet. There are many individuals out there (like how I once was), who are trying to seek the truth and find that true religion. Many individuals already believe in one God, they just need to learn about Islam so they are able to find Allah and turn to Him alone. I really encourage all the Muslims who practise Islam and who follow the Qur'an and Sunnah with the understanding of our pious predecessors, to take dawah more seriously and to reflect upon the countless rewards that Allah promised to the one who guides one to Islam (by the Permission of Allah). 

With regards to the reward, the Prophet (sallalahu aleyhi wasselam) has said: "Whoever guides (another) to a good deed will get a reward similar to the one who performs it." (Sahih Muslim) Also, "By Allah, if Allah were to guide one man through you it would be better for you than the best type of camels." (Bukhari, Muslim)

As a revert, I truly understand the importance of spreading Islam and showing others this beautiful gift. I see how my parents and old friends who are in such darkness and truly they lead a life full of worry, despair and unhappiness. It really makes me feel sad to know that one strives so hard for this dunya and that in the end all their efforts are being wasted because they do not know their purpose of life. I know many reverts can relate to me because they see how their family suffers in their ignorance. That is why it is really our duty as Muslims to show others Islam through good manners and kind words and insha'Allah Allah will guide them just like how He guided me because of someone else's good character and kind manners. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Struggle is Real. - Me, my niqab & life.

 "Do the people think that they will be left to say, "We believe" and they will not be tried?" (Qur'an 29:2) 

It has been nearly 4 years now since I took my shahadah in March of 2011 and I must say, it has been QUITE the journey! I have encountered more tests and trials now than I ever did when I was not a Muslim. Subhana'Allah! I am not going to lie, but it's been a struggle. A struggle to stay patient with things that come my way, a struggle to live as a Muslim in the West (mainly America) and not be judged for the way I dress, a struggle to find that balance and middle path, a struggle to not become complacent and too relaxed with my Islam. Everything has become a struggle. I never faced such hardships prior to Islam, probably because I would just run away from my problems and drown myself with things that were temporary and harmful. I never faced my problems when I was a non-Muslim and I chose to always rush things and run away from them at the same time. I have learnt a lot in the last 4 years and   the S T R U G G L E is real.    

Lately, I have been really struggling with my niqab. With all that is going on around the world and all the Islamaphobia, I can't help but to feel like a victim. Living here in the US has not been easy for me, especially since I am in a small remote town where Muslims are few and if there are Muslims, well, let's just say, they aren't the type of companions I would like to keep. I didn't know what to expect when I moved here. A small town in the South where there are no masjids or any halal restaurants or markets! The only masjid is 30 minutes away and that masjid is NOT welcoming AT ALL (with the exception of one or two older ladies). Perhaps it was my niqab that made them feel like I was an "extremists." These are the type of sisters I am referring to in my previous post "Sisterhood" where I talked about the good sisters who always make you feel loved and welcome, and then the other ones who just ignore you and pretend you are not there and because of this, I refuse to go back to the masjid (another reason is because the men and women love to congregate at the front of the masjid after ever Jummah prayer?? Like what ? Are we in high school on lunch break? Allah Must'aan). This was NOT what I expected. Poor innocent me 4 years ago, thinking that ALL Muslims were friendly, loving, caring, and welcoming *eyes widening* ...I was sooo wrong. And I write this because I want all born Muslims and reverts to know that YOUR actions, YOUR character, YOUR manners MATTER. Allah has not stressed the importance of GOOD MANNERS for no reason. Your good manners makes or breaks a Muslim's heart and I speak from experience.

To born Muslims and converts who are reading this, please PLEASE please, whenever you see a niqabi sister, a half-hijabi sister, a sister who isn't dressed very modestly at the mosque LOOK AT HER AND SMILE AND SEND SALAMS. Even if they don't respond or they look at you weird, send them SALAMS and do yourself a favour! Anyway, so because I don't have any Muslim support here, it has been very difficult to keep my emaan strong. Sometimes I feel extremely pressured to take off my niqab because of the constant uncomfortable stares and all the negativity it brings. Now, when i first started wearing niqab, I followed the opinion that it was fard but with some more extensive research, I follow the opinion that it is mustahab (highly recommended). Some of you may say "ohhhh, she is not 'Salafi' anymore! she became so relaxed and secular" (LOL!) well to those who think this way, May Allah guide you on the straight and moderate path and give you all a better understanding of the deen ameen, AND, before you judge others, judge yourself first because on the Day of Judgement, Allah will do the Judging, not YOU. Sadly, I shouldn't even have to explain myself but with the amount of extremism out there these days, you really need to clarify yourself or else you will be called an innovator and a modern Muslim!
Anyhow, do not get me wrong, I love the niqab and I think it truly is liberating and makes me feel free, none of that changed, but ironically enough, it is not my niqab that oppresses me but it is the non-Muslims (and even some Muslims) and this society we live in that really oppress me. I feel sad most of the time when I wear my niqab in public because people automatically look at me with evil eyes and total disgust. They look at me like I am filth thus it is extremely difficult to try to give them da'wah. Yes, you can smile through your eyes and say "hello, how are you," but the type of americans here, already have a preconceive notion about "people" who are dressed like me, and the door is automatically closed before it can even be open. Maybe I am wrong and others have had different experiences, but for me, this is what I have experienced and this is how I feel because I first hand experienced it with people. Alhamdulillah, Allah sends me one or two rare gems from time to time who are extremely friendly and intelligent and who actually treat me like an actual human being . I write my true feelings about how I feel with my niqab mainly because I know there are many sisters out there who struggle with the same issues. Depending on which state or country you live in, it is very difficult and many of us face extreme challenges with our niqab. Surely, we can definitely say that we feel like strangers and instead of detracting attention from ourselves, we are in fact attracting more attention to ourselves! I know there are many sisters out there who have the "I don't care what other people think" mentality and I truly commend these sisters and wish I had their courage. I used to have this courage, but as I spent more years here in the US, without many companions to help encourage me, without any halqah circles to help me increase my emaan, and without any strong support from Muslimahs (because there just aren't many here at all who follow the Qur'an and Sunnah) you kind of just become complacent and lose that zeal you once had. The struggle is real.

I know many sisters struggle with the same feelings I have and even though there are many times you feel like giving up, just remember to push on a little bit more and remember that Allah is with the patient and He WILL reward us! There are manyyyyy times I felt like giving up, and I admit, I feel like giving up daily because I feel like my situation will never change and I will be stuck here forever, but then I remember, nothing is forever and Allah is most Wise. We do not know what Allah's Wisdom is but we can only try our best to trust Him and continue to struggle and hope for the best. It is hard to stay positive in today's society - no kidding! Muslims are always being the target and the media is trying to turn the whole world against us! They will never win, Allah is our Wali and they have no protector. I need to keep reminding myself first and foremost before I can even remind any of you! I felt the need to document my feelings and experience in this post because I really needed an outlet to express myself! I just wanted to remind myself and all those sisters who struggle, that there is hope and there is always light at the end of the tunnel! Patience is the key to success (but exercising patience is so hard right?! Subhana'Allah). If we do not continue to proceed forward then we will never find that light, so we must keep going and keep pushing through. Often there are times I just lose hope and feel despair with all the things I struggle with. I feel as if nothing will ever change and that I will not be blessed with good news with any of my affairs. But then I think about all the small blessings and then I think about the Mercy of Allah and how He chose Islam for me and that this life is only a test. It is only temporary and whatever struggles and hardships we struggle with, it is only temporary and it will pass. Even though we may feel like it will never pass, Allah's Promise is always true and as my favourite saying goes ..." This day shall pass"! Just keep reminding yourself that the struggle is worth your akhirah and we all want to be neighbours in Jannat al-Firdaus and Allah will never burden us with more than we can bear.. Allahu Akbar!

Allah tests all His servants with tests that are specifically catered to the individual and their weakness. Tests are not meant to destroy us but they are supposed to help bring us to a level that we were not once able to be at. Tests are supposed to bring us closer to Allah because He loves to hear His servants beg to Him for His Help, His Guidance and His Mercy. 

So I leave you with these inspirational verses from the Qur'an and I hope that you can choose a few and read them each day over and over and write them somewhere and post it on your wall:

"O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient" (2:153)

“So lose not heart nor despair…” [Al ‘Imran 3:139]

"O you who believe, persevere and endure and remain stationed and fear Allah that you may be successful " [Al ‘Imran 3:200].

“…Indeed, the patient will be given their reward without account.” [az-Zumar 39:10]

“…and be patient. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” [al-Anfal 8:46]

“…but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere – who say, when afflicted with calamity: ‘To Allah we belong, and to Him is our return’ – they are those on whom [descend] blessings from their Lord, and Mercy and they are the ones that receive guidance” [al-Baqarah 2:155-7]

“We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirun (the patient).” (Surat al Baqarah, 155)

“Or do you think that you will enter Paradise before Allah tests those of you who fought (in His Cause) and (also) tests those who are As-Sabirun (the patient)?” (Surat A’le Imran, 142

“You shall certainly be tried and tested in your wealth and properties and in your personal selves, and you shall certainly hear much that will grieve you from those who received the Scripture before you (Jews and Christians) and from those who ascribe partners to Allah….” (Surat A’le Imran, 186

“And fear the Fitnah (affliction and trial) which affects not in particular (only) those of you who do wrong (but it may afflict all the good and the bad people), and know that Allah is Severe in punishment.” (Surat al Anfal, 25

“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….” (Surat al `Ankabut, 2-4). 

“Who has created death and life that He may test which of you is best in deed. And He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving.” (Surat al Mulk, 2)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


The Prophet May Allah's peace and blessings be upon him said, “The dearest to me among you and the nearest to me on the Day of Judgement are those who have the best character.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhee: 2018)

As I reconnect with some old friends from high school, I try to let them see how much Islam can change a person; Islam can change one's morals, character, and manners. Alhamdulillah I am blessed with many sisters who have beautiful character and manners and they truly show me what real sisterhood in Islam is. They make me feel like I have entered into a religion that truly does preach unity, peace, and kindness. It is safe to say that I can count my closest friends on one hand and these are the sisters who have been riding along side with me during my journey as a Muslim. Islamic sisterhood is something sacred and beautiful, IF it is built upon the purpose of pleasing Allah and if it is done for His Sake alone. Islam teaches us how to treat our sisters with care and respect. A simple message to greet her and ask her how she is doing, or a friendly visit to bring her a gift are some of the beautiful things I have been able to experience as a muslimah. Many sisters go above and beyond to really make you feel cherished and appreciated and it is something that I never experienced during my life as a non-Muslim. 

As I write about the good, sadly, I must also bring attention to the not-so-good. There has been a trend in this Ummah these days and it is the lack of akhlaq and adaab within the Muslim community. I have noticed that the good manners and basic etiquette of giving and even returning salams have become something very rare. I have been a Muslim for nearly 4 years now by the Mercy of Allah and I have begun to notice that a lot of non-Muslims are more polite and supportive than Muslims and this is something that is very troubling. Our religion teaches us to be supportive of each other and to treat each other like we are sisters of one another and Allah has promised us His Shade on the Day of Judgement for those who love each other for His Sake, 

 It was reported from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
 “There are seven whom Allaah will shade with His shade on the day when there will be no shade except His: the just ruler; a young man who grows up worshipping his Lord; a man whose heart is attached to the mosque; two men who love one another for the sake of Allaah and meet and part on that basis; a man who is called by a woman of rank and beauty and says ‘I fear Allaah’; a man who gives in charity and conceals it to such an extent that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives; and a man who remembers Allaah when he is alone, and his eyes fill up.” (Agreed upon, narrated by al-Bukhaari, no. 620; Muslim, no. 1712; and others)
I really do not know where this "attitude" stems from but I think it is something that we all really need to reflect upon. We tend to forget the importance and value of good character. Having good manners and good character will only bring about good. It will only increase love between one another and it is something that pleases Allah. So why can't we put our arrogance and difference aside and treat each other in a way that Allah Loves?

When asked about the best of the believers, the Prophet May Allah's peace and blessings be upon him replied, “They are those who have the best character and manners.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhee: 1162; Sunan Abu Daawood: 4682)

Good character and good manners are signs of a true believer, and the amount of reward that can be sought just by having good manners is better than those who do the voluntary prayers and fasts!

The Prophet May Allah's peace and blessings be upon him said, “No deed that will be placed on the scale of deeds [on the Day of Judgement] will be heavier than good character. Indeed, a person with good character will attain the rank of those with a good record of voluntary fasts and prayers.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhee: 2003)

 One thing that really attracts people to Islam is the good manners and character of Muslims. Of course, we can not speak on behalf of ALL the Muslims but wouldn't it be such a beautiful thing if we could be in the category of Muslims who practise and preach good manners and good etiquette? Exercising good manners and good character could not only attract non-Muslims but also encourage Muslims who are not necessarily practicing, to find Allah and return back to the deen! Many of us forget the important sunnah of having good character, it really does not take a lot to smile and send Salams to your sister in Islam or to send her a random message asking her how she is over e-mail or what's app. Let us always try our best to remember our manners the next time we are online or out in public. No matter how hard it is to be polite to a rude person, remember that the upper hand is better than the lower hand and your reward and efforts will not go overlooked by the Almighty (I know it can be so difficult and I speak from first hand experience, and still I am struggling to this day!) May Allah bless us with good akhlaq and be a leader of good rather than a follower of bad. Ameen. 

I would like to know your experiences that you have had with good manners and bad manners, and how did you overcome your struggles and how you deal with rude people. 

When the Prophet May Allah's peace and blessings be upon him was asked about which act leads people to enter Paradise the most, he replied, “Piety and good character.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhee: 2004; Sunan Ibn Maajah: 4246)