October 29, 2009 § 24 Comments
I love Thursdays. Thursdays are ‘lets-relax’ days for me, the beginning of the weekend. I usually end up spending Thursday curled in bed with a book or the laptop with a cup of tea catching up with ‘things’ unless I’ve got plans. Anyway, I promised myself a blog post on Thursday and here it is.
Currently nothing majorly interesting is happening in my very uninteresting life, but anyay, if you’re still interested: 😛
- The IPhone Update
My brother bought me the IPhone 3GS. It’s sleek, its beautiful and if you’re a gadget lover you’ll love this. I’m currently still getting the hang of it and its been distracting me for the past two days. I got the package from Du, but the silly people haven’t activated my SIM yet so I need to go tomorrow morning to get it checked.
- The health-freak update
Okay, okay, most of you hear me ranting about gaining weight a lot and probably think, ‘Another of those Women things which women don’t stop talking about’. However, this time I’ve seriously put on a few extra kgs & although being nearly 5’8′ has the advantage of the extra weight not showing, I know its there! In the end, for me its not even about the weight, but more about feeling light and healthy. I hate it when I stop eating healthy, its almost as if I can hear my body groaning.
Been considering the gym again, but i’ve realised there are some obstacles in the way [Like how the Camry isn’t mine yet…] so I’ll leave that. However, my sister and I have started walking in the nearby park though & I’m hoping thats a good start.
- The Studies update
I finish my 20th Juz of the Qurán on Sunday inshaAllah. That makes it 9 more to go. The more towards the end I come the more I’m freaking out. I’m scared. I haven’t done enough. I don’t want to leave the protected environment I’m currently in.
May Allah subhanna wa ta’ala make it easier for me and give me the tawfique to spread the deen forward. Ameen.
It’ll be to Uni after this & although I’ll be behind two years it really doesn’t matter in the end. Am I looking forward to it? I don’t know anymore… I’ve gotten so used to being among people of the same mentalitiy and the same wave-length that I know it’s going to be a bit difficult to go back into a secular and co-ed environment. That’ll be the real test.
Studying the Qurán is a beautiful inexplainable experience. It’s not something you can describe but something you have to experience on your own. Just the thought that these are the words of Allah azza wa jal, a miracle on its own, tends to affect you.
- The Marriage update
If anybody else asks me when I’m getting married again, I’m seriously going to loose it. Seriously.
This month was Breast Cancer month. Breast Cancer has taken the lives of a lot of Women and Men and its a deadly disease since a lot of Women and Men don’t tend to find out till the end. The Mother of my closest friend who is almost like a Sister to me found out she had breast cancer a couple of months ago. After going through a lot of chemotheraphy treatments she looked a bit better during Ramadan but come Eid she looked utterly tired.
She’d lost her hair and I don’t know why this particular thing caught my attention. Maybe its because older Pakistani Women tend to have long hair and they keep it like that, especially if they’re Mothers/Grandmothers.
After Eid they went to get her check-ups done and found out that her breast cancer had moved to her brain and has been growing there for a while. She went for brain surgery day before yesterday and is currently in the ICU right now.
Please keep her in your duas, the doctors still haven’t said what her survival chances are, but inshaAllah I hope Allah azza wa jal grants her shifa and heals her.
- The Weather
Coolness is in the air and the winds tease with the promise of coming Winter. I love it when the breeze brushes against me and the leaves rustle when I’m in the garden. It’s not too hot and its pleasantly cool. Sigh. I love this weather.
O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stained
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou mayest rest
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.
And.. thats all for now. 🙂
October 25, 2009 § 8 Comments
A couple of weeks back I had to review Surah Al Baqarah for an assignment I had to submit. More specifically the second Juz’ of the Qurán regarding divorce.
As I was going through it I came across this specific verse that caught my attention.
وَلِلۡمُطَلَّقَـٰتِ مَتَـٰعُۢ بِٱلۡمَعۡرُوفِۖ حَقًّا عَلَى ٱلۡمُتَّقِينَ
And for divorced women, maintenance (should be provided) on reasonable (scale). This is a duty on Al-Muttaqûn (those who fear Allah). (2:241)
If we ponder upon this verse and more specifically the Arabic of this verse, Allah subhanna wa ta’ala says this is a ‘Haqq’ a religious duty and an obligation for those who fear Allah. [IE – Have taqwa].
One of the conditions of Imaan is to fear Allah subhanna wa ta’ala, no body can claim to be a Muslim and say they don’t fear Allah azza wa jal. However, to actually become one of those who are Muttaqun, you have to have a deep sense and recognition of that fear and be acting upon it.
In this verse, Allah subhanna wa ta’ala is saying that if anyone truly deeply fears Allah, they will provide for divorcees in a reasonable manner. And it should not just be limited to provision but should extend to kindness and dealing with them justly.
Thirdly, this verse is not directed just at the family of the divorcee but the society as a whole. The word, ‘Muttaqun’ is used which is plural.
In our societies this verse is rarely acted upon or much less known. Especially in the Asian region, a divorced Woman is considered the lowest of society and isn’t given her rights. Much less spoken to properly. Although this has been changing over a period of time, it still exists in some Muslim societies.
Two of my Sisters are divorced and I remember when we’d first visted Pakistan after her divorce a relative of ours blatantly pointed her out to another Woman loudly whispering, ‘Look, its her, the one who got divorced’. This was done in public at someone elses wedding we were attending.
This was a long time back, but it still shows the absolute state of ignorance some people are in. When my second Sister was divorced, we heard someone had said that it was a ‘family problem’.
Divorcees rarely get married again and have a stigma attached to them. It’s okay if her husband is abusive and an alcoholic and that going through everyday is hell – but God Forbid she seeks a divorce or he gives it her. As it is, any divorcee, be it Man or Woman has a difficult time dealing with seperation, they also have to deal with the crap from society as well.
Whats deeply saddening is that this view is held by a lot of Muslims, maybe ignorant-about-the-deen Muslims, but Muslims all the same.
If we look at the time of the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasallam and even during the time of the Sahaaba radi allahu anhum, divorce was a common matter and divorcees weren’t looked down upon. Although it should be used as a last resort, when you’ve exhausted all means to stay married, it still is something you can use which is permitted by Allah subhanna wa ta’ala and the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasallam.
Anyway, one of the parts of assignment consisted of looking into the iddah period every Woman who is seperated with her husband either through divorce or his death or Khulda. And guess what, its different according to each Woman and her condition. Any fiqh which is related to Women is considerably so much more complicated apparently.
Oh and the person who bad-mouthed my Sister? Sadly, a couple of years later her own daughter got divorced too.
In the end, if only people actually read the Qurán and understood it.
October 21, 2009 § 38 Comments
I’ve been tagged by Sawj [I refuse to call him Senilius :P] to do this 25 tag thing: [25!!]
Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. If I tagged you, its because I want to know more about you.
25 randomest things from the top of my head.
- I’m doing this tag when I should be studying.
- I find immense pleasure in killing stereotypes.
- The max I’ve ever driven a car is at 120kmph & I really really want to touch 140 one day but I don’t know if I have the guts to do it. [Usually I’m a very careful driver :P]
- Since I was young there has been always one pet or the other in my house, we’ve had parrots, turtles, canaries, lovebirds, cats, cats and did I say cats? 😛
- When I used to listen to music my favourite genre was hip-hop. I’m mentioning this because people see me now they can’t imagine me listening to music, much less hip-hop.
- I get really concious & embarrased when I speak in Urdu because I speak it with an American accent. Especially when I’m in Pakistan [I think this also has to do with the fact that I’ve been picked on by my cousins a lot when I visit] – so when I do speak I make it a point to think clearly about my words but somehow I end up stuttering trying to explain myself. I’m trying to make it an accentless Urdu.
- I love being creative and trying out new styles when it comes to Hijab & Niqaab. Oh the possibilities are endless. 😉 [Just don’t over-do them]
- I like to match! Although I wear the Abaya everywhere, I match my shoes to my bag to my watch to my rings to the embroidery on my shayla.
- I love sleeping. I absolutely need my sleep to function properly.
- I have a hard time saying ‘No’ to people… & this too has landed me in a lot of trouble.
- I have Gamophobia – fear of marriage – and I just recently admitted it to myself. When marriage and my name is mentioned in the same sentence i literally have the tendency to suffocate & I find the oddest things wrong with potentials. :O Surprisingly though, I also have people come to me for marital advice or to listen to their marital problems when I’m the last person they should be seeing.
- I’m awful at making decisions.
- I’ve been in love with Zaater W Zeits Djeij W Chicken for a while. *drool-worthy*
- When I first meet people I’m usually a very quiet person and I only tend to speak to people after I know them a little.
- I daydream & procrastinate at the most irrelevant times.
- A couple of months back I was heavily involved in writing, I used to write for a lot of different people/organisations and then I just… stopped. I feel bad because I haven’t written anything productive in a while.
- Until just a few years back, I used to play… computer and PS2 games. My brother would get all these new games and then we’d both end up trying them out. I became exceptionally good at AOE3, Monkey Island & Tekken.
- I really like the concept of cooking but I don’t know how to cook much except for baking. And currently my Moms going crazy getting worried that I’m in my 20’s & I don’t know half of the thing she knew when she was in her 20’s. 😛
- I get self-consciouswhen I wear glasses. I’m a very non-specs person because when I started wearing glasses initially I was in Junior School & my first pair of specs were big fat blue specs and they looked awful on me. When I got the chance I started wearing lenses but just recently after a few infections in my eye I was re-motivated to try out glasses again at times.
- I absolutely love horse-back riding. I used to ride for 4 years but that was before I started wearing Niqaab strictle. I’m hoping they open a riding school specifically for just-women over here in Dubai. I was initially motivated to start riding because of my love of horses. Horses are beautiful creatures.
- I’ve once hit a parked car and ran. Because I was scared. [But it wasn’t so bad] However I’ve always felt guilty about it till this day. [Why I’m admitting this on here i dont know…]
- I’m not a very patriotic person.
- I’m awful at organisation. Absolutely awful.
- When I leave the house I try do Wudhu whenever I can, its this habit I’ve developed, especially since I started driving because of the possibility that I could always end up in an accident and die.
- I get asked about how I don’t feel like visiting Cinemas anymore… [I’m not going to go into if Movies are halal or haraam thing] because what started happening was I’d think if I die at this moment, in this Cinema hall, I’m going to be brought up on the day of judgment facing Allah subhanna wa ta’ala watching a … movie. That really killed it for me. 😛
Oh and considering most of the people are already tagged I’ll just do a few:
I tag: Sophi, Falsa & Farooqk.
If you’re reading this and aren’t tagged, consider yourself tagged!
October 19, 2009 § 16 Comments
I’ve been wearing the Niqaab for the past two years and although in the beginning I wasn’t so strict about it I’ve become steadfast in the past year alhamdulilah. That’s not what this post is about though, it’s more about how people tend to perceive munaqabbas. Although I live in a Muslim/Arab Country where Niqabis are spotted, the city is inhabited mostly by Non-Muslims.
As my experience as a Munaqabba I’ve had the most funniest, craziest and silliest experiences. The questions I’ve been asked sometimes made me laugh and other times made me cringe. What sometimes saddened me though was when they were asked by Muslims themselves. I’m tempted to do a series of posts on some of the questions, it should be fun but I don’t know if I’ll have time. Maybe in the future inshaAllah. 🙂
Anyway, I came across this article by Sister Fatima Barakatulla [I love her work!] on Niqab which was posted on TimesOnline. Although it was mainly in response to the claims that were made against Niqab in the UK & recently in France, i think it’s still relevant.
How much do you really know about the niqab? An insider guide to common misconceptions.
1. The niqab is a symbol of female subjugation.
None of the niqab-wearing women who I know, wear it because they have been forced to. They see it as an act of devotion to their Creator: the culmination of a spiritual journey. In fact most of them are women who were born and brought up in the UK; many are White or Afro-Caribbean Muslim converts to Islam who have chosen to observe it.
The hijab, niqab and abaya are outer garments and are worn only when outdoors or in the presence of men who are not close relatives and so, contrary to popular belief, underneath their robes, in family and female-only settings Muslim women are often very fashion conscious and outgoing.
They dress in everyday clothing; they get their hair done, go on holiday and even buy lingerie!
2. Women who wear the niqab cannot possibly contribute to society
People are surprised to hear that niqab-wearers come from varied vocational backgrounds. They include doctors, teachers, dentists, authors, social workers, university graduates, lecturers and more. They usually prefer to work in a female environment and so would not wear the face-veil all the time.
Other women say that wearing the niqab actually makes them feel more comfortable when they are working with men. It is ironic that the very women who are the subject of debate are far from being a burden on society: they don’t get drunk and disorderly, don’t smoke and are likely to be very good citizens. Many of them are full-time mothers who take pride in raising well-educated children who will be an asset to British society.
3. The niqab isn’t in the Qur’an
The Qur’anic worldview presents a complete system of living, which permeates the daily lives of observant Muslims. This includes everything from rituals of personal hygiene, advice on neighbourly behaviour and animal rights to regulations for dress. Some women see the niqab as a religious obligation, others, as an act of worship following in the footsteps of notable Muslim women of the past. Numerous verses in the Qur’an contain directives for Muslim women’s dress, amongst them:
“O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the Believers to draw their outer garments all over their bodies. That will be better, so that they may be known and so as not to be annoyed, and God is Ever-forgiving, Most Merciful.” (33:59)
The Qur’an was interpreted by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his disciples and their teachings form the basis of Islamic law. There are two orthodox schools of thought with regards to the interpretation of this verse. One orthodox interpretation is that it means covering the whole body including the face. The other school of thought is that, though not obligatory, covering the face is a virtue.
4. Wearing the niqab implies that all men are predatory
Just as locking our doors at night doesn’t imply that all members of society are burglars, wearing the niqab doesn’t imply that all men are predatory.
The Islamic worldview recognises that attraction between men and women exists and, if left unharnessed, has the potential to break down the moral fabric of society. It also acknowledges the physiological and physical differences between men and women and therefore Islamic legislation for dress and behaviour reflect these differences and aid adherents to avoid situations that could lead to extra-marital sexual relations. Hence both men and women have been commanded to lower their gazes and given directives on dress.
5. The niqab poses a security risk at banks and airports
By simply going to the side and showing their faces and ID to female members of staff, Muslim women who wear the niqab, have been, for decades, passing through airport security in major airports all over the world without cause for security concern. The same sort of arrangement can be made for any situation where ID needs to be checked.
6.Niqab wearers can’t possibly be teachers.
There are many highly qualified and experienced Muslim teachers. A Muslim teacher, who wears the niqab, would not need to do so if men were not present, therefore many female Muslim teachers choose to teach women or children and uncover their faces whilst teaching.
7. Banning the niqab will free those Muslim women who are coerced into wearing it.
Banning the face-veil would be totally counter-productive: it would cause many Muslim women to feel targeted and persecuted and is likely to cause many talented women to withdraw from society. The majority of niqab-wearing women in Europe, wear it out of personal choice, so if, for the sake of a suspected minority, the niqab was to be banned, this would be clear discrimination against the majority.
If we want to empower women from any community who are oppressed or abused, effective public services where such abuse can be reported need to be made more available and accessible to the women involved.
October 17, 2009 § 15 Comments
6 Months & 10 more Juz’ to go.
In the next few days I finish my 19th Juz of the Qurán and that will start my official countdown to the end. I’ve come to realise 6 months isnt a long time, time just tends to fly by and you don’t even realise it.
I’ve come to love studying the Qurán, its Tafseer, come to love my environment, come to love the deep attachment I’ve developed with the Qurán. In the next 6 months I’ll complete the whole Tafseer of the Qurán and Arabic Grammar including some other Fiqhi books bi’idhnillah. I’m so glad I’ve done this course, alhamdulilah, its increased my in knowledge and thought me so many things. I felt as if I was reading the Qurán for the first time in my life although it was a book I’ve opened for so many years with and without translations.
The question that comes to mind is, how many years do we dedicate of our lives studying the beloved book of Allah subhanna wa ta’ala compared to the amount of years we spend studying and earning dunya? How much ilm of our own deen do we have compared to the ilm we strive for of the dunya?
On the day of Judgment the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasallam will be a witness against those who have left the Qurán wrapped in cloth on their highest shelves and only take it out on weddings or funerals:
وَقَالَ ٱلرَّسُولُ يَـٰرَبِّ إِنَّ قَوۡمِى ٱتَّخَذُواْ هَـٰذَا ٱلۡقُرۡءَانَ مَهۡجُورً۬ا
‘And the Messenger will say: O my Lord! Verily, my people deserted this Qur’ân!’
[Surah Al Furqan – 30]
It’s been a beautiful journey, a journey of light and guidance, a journey of attaining sacred knowledge [although my knowledge is still a drop in the ocean] and love and fear and understanding. A journey of gaining the pleasure of Allah and actually recognising my creator. My only regret is that in these two years that I took off to the study the Qurán is that I didn’t start hifdh side-by-side. I almost feel as if I was cocooned in a protected environment of nothing but goodness.
I’m scared though. I don’t want it to end. I don’t want the sweetness in my heart to die, i don’t want my Imaan to go do low on the scale. And a part of me is afraid, how will I deal with the Qur’an after this? The attractions and attachment of dunya is deadly and so is your own nafs. It’ll be going back to secular education after this, back to a co-ed environment and being caught up with dunya. Maybe not to such a large extent but it won’t be like these moments now.
Seeking and attaining ílm of the deen comes with a responsibility – that of spreading further and secondly, anything you do wrong, after knowing its consequences fully will have double the punishment.
Will I be able to fulfill this responsibility? Will I be able to give the Qurán it’s haqq?