Non-Hijabi Rant...

>> Thursday, July 29, 2010

I hope you don’t mind but I’m about to rant, LOL.

I’m a non-hijabi girl. There I said it! So what? I don’t think it is fair how we are always painted as the ‘bad Muslimahs’. Don’t you think what matters more is what is in our hearts, not what’s on our heads?!! I believe purity comes from the inside and not the outside. I know a lot of hijabi girls who date, have boyfriends, are disrespectful to their parents, etc. I’m sick of people acting like hijabis are saints and we are sinners. It’s not fair and I’m not taking it anymore.

- Your fed up, NON-hijabi

Dear MFUNH (doesn’t it look cool? My Fed Up, Non-Hijabi),

Tell me about it. It seems like our Muslim community needs to be reminded of the saying “Never judge a book by its front cover’, doesn’t it? I can tell you as a niqabi, I face a lot of stereotypes and a lot of harsh judgments. Muslims tell me that I am backward, the one ruining the image of Islam, the reason why we’re all stuck in the Middle Ages, etc. So I know how sucky judgments can be.

You are right that we should leave the judging to Allah. He subhanoo Wa’ Tala is the Only One with the exclusive rights to judge because He alone can tell what is in our hearts. He alone can unveil the action and see the intention behind it. (Yeah, choice of ‘unveil’ was intended. Pats herself on the back).

The truth is, as finite mortals, we are 'stuck' in this moment. We don't see what's going on in other people's lives or the trials they have/the journey they are on or what will happen next. I remember a hijabi friend telling me once that a woman 'meanly scolded' her- the hijabi friend told me, "Little did she know that I had just started putting it on and that not even my own mom wore it and that my parents didn't want me to wear it". The woman had no idea that she was talking to what we like to call "a hijabi pioneer"; instead, she harshly judged her and 'discouraged her' at the same time.

Also, as I said,  as human beings, we have no idea of 'the future'. We cast judgments not knowing what is going to happen or who will actually end up being the 'better Muslim'.I remember another friend (let's call her Suzy) who used to have a friend (Amirah) who sorta laughed at the way Suzy would dress/ said it 'looked funny' and wasn't proper hijab, etc. As the years progressed, it was Suzy who donned the niqab..! SubhanAllah!

Actually, your letter reminds me of at this verse:
O ye who believe! Let not some men among you laugh at others: It may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): Nor let some women laugh at others: It may be that the (latter are better than the (former): 49:11

It also reminds me of this hadith:

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (Salah Allahoo alyhee wa salam) say:

The first of people against whom judgment will be pronounced on the Day of Resurrection will be a man who died a martyr. He will be brought and Allah will make known to him His favours and he will recognize them. [ The Almighty] will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I fought for you until I died a martyr. He will say: You have lied - you did but fight that it might be said [of you]: He is courageous. And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire. [Another] will be a man who has studied [religious] knowledge and has taught it and who used to recite the Quran. He will be brought and Allah will make known to his His favours and he will recognize them. [The Almighty] will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I studied [religious] knowledge and I taught it and I recited the Quran for Your sake. He will say: You have lied - you did but study [religious] knowledge that it might be said [of you]: He is learned. And you recited the Quran that it might be said [of you]: He is a reciter. And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire. [Another] will be a man whom Allah had made rich and to whom He had given all kinds of wealth. He will be brought and Allah will make known to his His favours and he will recognize them. [The Almighty] will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I left no path [untrodden] in which You like money to be spent without spending in it for Your sake. He will say: You have lied - you did but do so that it might be said [of you]: He is open-handed. And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire.

It’s obvious from this hadith that the people around the Qur’an recitor, the martyr and the person who gave charity were deceived into thinking that these people were good, when in reality, they really weren’t doing these actions for good reasons. Allah though wasn’t deceived. He knew.

This is also definitely true with hijab, too. I know some people put on hijab and their heart isn’t really into it. They’re just wearing it because their parents tell them they have to, etc. And yes, I know hijabis who commit major 'sins', as well. So hijabis are definitely not saints... The truth is,  hijabi or not...we're all sinners!

I guess you can tell then that I totally agree with you on the part about leaving the judging to Allah, but…about purity being on the inside…

I don’t think that purity really is only in the ‘inside’.

If you look in the Quran, you will find that the word faith is almost always coupled with the words good works/deeds:

103:3 unless he be of those who attain to faith, and do good works, and enjoin upon one another the keeping to truth, and enjoin upon one another patience in adversity.

2:25 But unto those who have attained to faith and do good works give the glad tiding that theirs shall be gardens through which running waters flow.

2:277 Verily, those who have attained to faith and do good works, and are constant in prayer, and dispense charity - they shall have their reward with their Sustainer, and no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve…

What can we understand from this? It’s not just enough to believe/ be ‘pure in the inside, we have to ‘do’. Our faith is our input, but our deeds are our output!

Allah Subhanoo Wa’ Tala in fact, clearly says what is translated to mean:

Blessed is He in Whose hand is the Sovereignty, and, He is Able to do all things. (1) Who hath created life and death that He may try you which of you is best in conduct (best in deeds); and He is the Mighty, the Forgiving, (2)Surat Al Mulk.

He also says:
Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, We believe, and not be tried? (29:2)

See, if we get a little philosophical here, and I am entitled to do so since this is my (and the other aunties) little bloggy, we have to ask ourselves this: is it really pure to pick and choose which ones of Allah’s Commandments we want to do? Does that really reflect trust in Allah, in His Promises, in His Wisdom?

Does that really demonstrate reliance on Allah? Does it show true servitude? And ultimately, does it really show a pure heart?

It’s like this. Let’s say there’s a girl named Sara. Sara prays but she also happens to be ‘dating’ a guy. On the other hand, Sara’s friend, Noor refuses to ‘date’ guys, but she gets a little lazy to pray her fajr prayer….

Which one of these is demonstrating ‘purity’? Can we really say? Or would it simply be best to say that neither Sara nor Noor should be choosing what to do/what not to do?

Basically, what I’m trying to say (but I seem to have taken a few wrong turns) is that true purity comes from the inside and is manifested on the outside

In fact, there is a hadith that says:

“…Truly every king has a sanctuary, and truly Allah's sanctuary is His prohibitions. Truly in the body there is a morsel of flesh which, if it be whole, all the body is whole and which, if it be diseased, all of it is diseased. Truly it is the heart."

To me, that the ‘rest of the body will be diseased' indicates that the body shows the 'purity and impurity' of a heart-- which means that it must be manifested on the outside through our actions(disclaimer: I’m not a scholar or anything, though)...

You can think of it this Muslims, we're supposed to submit our will to Allah, right,? That means doing what He has commanded us to and in that way, drawing closer to Him. So 'obedience' and 'actions' must matter, right?

One final hadith, I promise!

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Allah (mighty and sublime be He) said:

Whosoever shows enmity to someone devoted to Me, I shall be at war with him. My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him , and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him....

So yeah, I see that Islam is all about being a servant,
Not to people’s ‘judgments’,
But To the One and Only.

What do you think?

P.S. this post is not against 'giving naseeha'. We have an obligation in commanding good/forbidding evil. It is only against judging others and acting superior to others...

P.S.S. You're not responsible for the hijabis who behave're only responsible for you :)


Marriage Troubles

My question isnt about me but a friend who I am trying to give good advice to and not sure what to say. She has been married for a few years now and loves her husband greatly however her husband travels during the week and she only sees him on weekends. When he comes home he wants to spend all his time with his family and puts them first and makes her feel unwanted. They argue a lot about this and he refuses to compromise and make time for her. Instead they go to his parents house for 7 or 8 hours a day during the weekend and while there he ignores her and spends all his time with his sisters and parents. Her in-laws do not treat her very nice and also ignore her and make her feel unwanted. She wants to spend time with her husband (alone) yet he refuses and instead feels that sitting in a room together is sufficient. She is feeling depressed and not sure what to do. Recently he has become more religious and strict and started ordering her to become like him. She doesnt wear hijab but prays 5 times a day. They started going to counseling which has helped but he still puts his family first and makes her feel like she is number 4 or 5. She has tried to befriend his sisters and family members but they want nothing to do with her and instead compete with her husband for his attention. So my question is, what advice would you give to this sister? I have suggested listening to lectures on marriage and the requirements of both the husband and wife, but she said that didnt work, same goes for books. Counseling hasnt changed his mentality and I honestly feel that her in-laws are destroying her marriage yet at the same time her husband needs to stand up to them and make time for his wife. Her parents agree that her husband is immature and needs to grow up and on a few occasions she has stayed with her family for a few days to get away from it all. She also mentioned that he has an addictive personality, and easily gets addicted to video games, etc and will spend hours on the computer while at home or sleep late (2 or 3pm). Any advice you could offer would be appreciated!

Your sister in islam,
A Concerned Friend

Dear A Concerned Friend,

Wow- we’re so honored that you think we could come up with something helpful even though you know (right, I’m pretty sure that you do) that we aren’t married ourselves. Your friend sounds like she’s in a very tough situation. We really feel for her :( She wants to spend more time with the person she loves but he’s not exactly sharing her feelings. The fact that they both agreed to counseling though shows that they want to work it out. We don’t really know if we can add to what a counselor has said already, but we’ll try to give it a shot and hope the readers (especially married ones) can provide some helpful advice, inshaAllah.

The first thing your friend needs to remember is that we all express love in different ways. Relationship experts suggest that there are five different ‘languages of love’. These are”

  1. quality time,
  2. services,
  3. gifts,
  4.  positive affirmations,
  5. and  touch.

Every one of us has a dominant language that we speak and that we feel ‘expresses love’. It sounds to us that your friend’s dominant language would be ‘quality time’. The question is—is that what her husband’s language is? Maybe he thinks that the work he does all week (the service) to provide for her is the greatest proof of his love…Maybe he thinks ‘touch’ is the way to express love…

Your friend can try to find out what her husband’s language is (like in a fun “OH, look, I took this cool test and got….what did you get, hunny bunny? way”) ; this may help the two learn to ‘speak a common language’. It could also help knowing how to rekindle his feelings for her-  she’d be able to better know if he would appreciate  a cute note from her under his pillow/in his lunch/etc more or an unexpected hug.  

Besides knowing his language though, the next thing that came to mind is: is there any way that she can live with him during the week? Or does he travel to all sorts of different places? If living with him will cost a lot, isn't there some expenses they can cut out? Because being together is worth more than 'any luxuries' right?

Okay, if that's not possible, what else can she tackle? Well, one thing your friend needs to work on is the ‘change issue’:

We have 4 possibilities: either he has changed or she has changed or they both have changed or nothing has changed. Each one of these can be problematic in itself!

Let’s take it one at a time. Did he change? Was he always like this? Back when they were engaged/ during the nikah peirod, did he mention his family a lot or is this a sudden change? If it’s not really a sudden change and he’s always expressed the importance of visiting his family, it could be that he is just following his cultural traditions. I know in Arab culture it’s expected to visit your husband’s family during the weekend, especially if you live in the same city. (I’m not sure what his nationality is, though). We’re talking about a serious tradition. Actually, my own family does it too- my older sis goes every Friday to her inlaws. So you see it could be a cultural misunderstanding…. That might explain why the counseling is not working…

However, if he didn’t seem to be that family oriented in the beginning and has suddenly shifted gears, she needs to ask herself: Why has he changed? Obviously, marriage changes us and it’s easy to fall into the routine of everyday life, but is it possible that without noticing it, she became a little too comfortable with her role as a wife and has kinda started letting herself go? Did she change? Does he feel like she takes him for granted? Maybe her eyes no longer light up when she sees him… or she doesn’t smile the same way…All of that is expected. Marriage isn’t a honeymoon forever, but maybe he feels that she doesn’t love him the way she used to.

If she didn’t change and she’s still taking careful of herself, then she needs to ask:

Why does he enjoy hanging out with his family? What is it that his family gives him that makes him want to spend more time with them than with her? Could it be that he feels like he’s more himself with them? Or he feels like he gets to be a “kid” again? Maybe he feels like ‘he’s reliving his youth’ there? Maybe he feels like she always expects him to solve everything and he’s tired of being under that pressure? Maybe since becoming more religious he has discovered the importance of parents in Islam and feels that he has to do this?

But then again, it could be as we said earlier, that “nothing at all has changed. What we mean by that is maybe her husband feels a little bored,l ike there's nothing new to talk about.

Enough philosophical/ theoretical ideas. Let’s see what things she can actually DO:

First of all, she should make dua. A lot of us underestimate the power of dua. Remember, it can actually change qadr or destiny! That’s how amazing dua is.

What’s more, Allah is the One who holds in His Hands our hearts.

The next thing, which I am sure she has done in the counseling sessions (but just in case), is to open up. She may feel vulnerable to explain how much she misses him, but he’ll never understand how much she wants his company if he doesn’t really understand how much he means to her. She can explain that she loves him dearly, misses him...

She can also try to ‘change’ the scene of the meet-up. Alright, so every weekend they go to his parent’s house. She’s not very welcome there and his sister doesn’t like her. Why doesn’t she try asking her husband if it would be possible to meet his family outside? Maybe they could all eat dinner together in a new restaurant? Not only would that not make ‘her the only outsider’, “the one who doesn’t belong’, but it might also help to lessen the amount of time they have to spend there. If they eat at a restaurant, they can’t very well stay for 7 hours, right? What about a barbeque- it’s the summer after all? Or a picnic? When it gets dark, it’s unlikely she’s going to be stuck there for long :P

We gotta be realistic, however. She can’t totally ask him to give up seeing his family completely (and she shouldn’t as they have rights upon him, too), but she can try to ask for it to be a little less. If her husband or his family doesn’t agree to ‘eating outside’, maybe she can ask if he can just cut it by one hour, at least, and that they spend that one hour together…make some sort of compromise.

Also, one thing she should focus on is the ‘quality’ of time, rather than the quantity. Ok, so they are stuck going to the in-laws…how long does it take to go there? Can they talk a bit during the car ride? Or for example, when they are going grocery shopping, or to any place….can they have some interesting and meaningful conversations while they’re out doing routinish things? Can she wake up on the weekends and make sure to have breakfast with him- start the day with him and a nice meal? Even if it’s only a few moments, it could really make a difference, because at the end of the day, it’s not the amount of time that has been spent, but the way the time has been spent.

The next thing: she should try and find some new interesting activities they could do together. You mentioned that her husband has become more ‘religious’. How about they watch Islamic TV shows together? Even though they don't see each other during the week,they could both watch the same show (from their different places, hehe) and discuss it together during the weekend or even during the 'breaks', etc. Or listen to some lectures online? They can try to answer some Islamic quizzes together or solve some riddles. Ramadan is coming so maybe they can read the Qur’an together and share their notes on it. Maybe she can ask him questions about things she’s read that she is unclear about (or even something she knows but just to get him to read and talk with her?)

It would be great if they starting praying Qiyam al Layl together (again during the weekends). If they can wake up before fajr and pray 2 rakahs…well:D

Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said:
“May Allah have mercy on a man who wakes up at night, prays and wakes his wife to pray; and if she refuses, he sprinkles water on her face. And may Allah have mercy on a woman who wakes up at night, prays, and wakes her husband to pray and if he refuses, she sprinkles water on his face.” (hasan) by Shaikh al-Albani (Abu Dawud)

This ‘mercy’ will( inshaAllah) also mean more barakah and blessings to their marriage.

They can also try setting a goal together ! It could be fixing the house together, whether that means remodeling or just getting rid of all the clutter. And if they have a backyard, they could plant a garden together.

If they’re already happy with their house, it could even be a social goal . For example, they could agree/ volunteer to clean up a masjid together– vacuum it, maybe even put some flowers on the outside, hang up some Islamic posters, etc. They could think about sponsoring an orphan, volunteering at a hospital, or plan a fundraiser for the needy together, etc.

Or what about a religious goal? Every week they could try learning a new dua. They could even try to do dawah togher- maybe make Islamic posters, try to present Islam to a certain couple they know, make an Islamic blog, etc.

And then, of course, they could always think about a health goal: maybe they both want to lose a couple kilos. They could exercise together (during the weekends)or even 'compete' with each other, through out the week! They can report to each other what they've lost, decide on recipes to try during the week, etc. And then, when they meet up, they can walk at least 20 minutes together...

Or how about taking a class together (if there's one offered during the weekends, lol.)? It could be anything…an Islamic class, a cooking class, pottery class, photoshop class, learning a new language, even something online…

Besides trying to create a routine with him, your friend should try to add some spontaneity. She could invite him to a picnic outside, try watching the sunset with him from the balcony, send him flowers to his office, post a card to his address, etc. She could even suggest that they take the weekend away…they could go camping or to a nice hotel. Or since he’s becoming religious they could seriously think about doing Umrah together.

These are all a few suggestions! Hopefully the readers can help us with more…

But, a few last words, though, before we go:

- If your friend stays at home the whole week that could explain her frustration at her husband not ‘hanging out with her’ even more. If that is the case, maybe your friend can also try and take up a hobby herself? Maybe she can join a class or something. That way her whole week doesn’t revolve around waiting for him to come home. Also, she could have interesting stories to share with her husband, inshaAllah.

- About the hijab- dearie (Hey, I have to sound like an aunt, don’t I?), you said that her husband is being more strict and stuff and wants her to put it on. I worry that if he’s being too strict, he might repel her from the hijab (although I understand his concern- after all, he will be held accountable on how he let her go out walking in the street, right) But as much as you can, gently talk to her about beauty of hijab, about Allah and how He is our Lord, etc. Ask her what’s holding her back from hijab? We can try to talk her through her concerns, inshaAllah. This could also be a major source of friction in their marriage, so solving this could really help…

- About his family not treating her well- maybe she’s trying the wrong way. She might not realize it but she could actually be ‘passing on vibes of resentment so to speak’. She doesn’t like how they take her husband away and they may feel her ‘resentment’ and ‘resent’ her for not respecting the fact that before she came, he was their son, their brother. You know what I mean? Not only that but she should try to avoid having the relationship built only around her husband. Has she tried calling up her sister in law and asking her to hang out with her? IF her mother in law ever gets sick, does she go herself and volunteer to take her to the doctors? Did she ask her mother in law to teach her how to cook her husband’s favorite recipes? Has she asked them for advice on things? Brought them some gifts? Made them feel that she appreciates them?

- Last but definitely not least, she should also focus on strengthening her relationship with Allah subhanoo Wa’ Tala. The righteous predecessors used to say that our sins not only come between us and Allah, but they affect our relationship with others. One of the salaf said: “If I disobey Allaah, I see that in the attitude of my riding beast and my wife.” The greater her relationship is with Allah, the greater her relationship with her husband will be, inshaAllah.

The final word is for your friend to check out: After the Nikah!, a blog we recently discovered and that we think is very nice and beneficial, Ma’shaAllah.

May Allah ease your friend's situation and bless your friends' marriage!


Niqabi who Needs a Little Boost

>> Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Asalamualaikum lil aunty :)
man .. it's so nice to see someone cheerful after so long.,mashaAllah, may Allah(swt) keep you that way. I've been trying to put that act on myself. but shaytan keeps poking at me. I started wearing niqab July 4th, so not too long ago. But, i did try to wear it before. . . BUT shaytan was, has been and will forever be poking at me! I and so, i had my phases of being "part-time" and even "not at all" niqabi and i did not like the feeling of regret that i had to go through and i definitely do not want to go thorugh it again! i don't know what to do! There are just so many things to think about. I'm going to grade 12 in September. I'm nervous about going with niqab. Alhumdulillah, I recently completed a course of the Qur'an and it's been the best thing in my life and will forever be! But i'm so pathetic that even after that i have so many excuses, i think it's all shaytan and my nafs. I start doing something good but then later i doubt wheteher i should have started to do it in the first place (niqab in this case) There's a lot of indirect pressure from my family and that is the worst kind! I'd rather have them speak their mind to me about what they want and how they want it rather than being secretive. Please Help!

Dear Niqabi who needs a little boost,

MashaAllah, I’m really impressed with you for thinking about wearing the nicaab. That’s not an easy decision to make! It takes a lot of guts especially in today’s world which is constantly telling us to flaunt more and to wear less. Hats off to you:D Also, that’s wonderful that you completed a Qur’an class! Ma’shaAllah!

Now, about your little question….you know me, though… I’m going to have to give it to you straight. It’s not going to be easy, especially since you wore it before but took it off. This time people aren’t just going to be a little rude; they’re going to be a little cynical. Does that mean I think you should just forget about it?! Of course, not. But I want you to be prepared. If you really want to do this, you need to think about what was it that made you take it off last time? And you’re going to have to ask yourself: Are you ready to handle these things this time? Is your faith deeper, this time? And is your personality stronger?

The next thing you have to do is to face the “pressure button pushers”. You said that your family indirectly tries to pressure you about your decision. Why don’t you take the initiative to bring out their concerns directly? I mean why should you guys keep skirting around the elephant in the room? It’s not going to get any smaller, now, is it? Tell your parents, for example, or whoever it is that’s pressuring you that you want to discuss the issue with them honesty and openly. (If they’re really busy people, don’t be afraid to schedule a time. It might seem a little weird but it gives them a chance to prepare themselves and that way you make sure you have their full attention… A dad who’s looking at his watch /mobile the whole time and a mom who keeps running into the kitchen to check on the oven isn’t exactly a very encouraging audience) Then, ask them what it is that really bothers them… While they’re talking, truly listen. Listen between the lines and then when they’ve finally explained all of their concerns, address them one by one in a polite way.

In order for this to work, there are a couple of really important things:

You need to be sure of yourself and you need to have a good answer as to why you chose to wear the nicaab. Telling your parents “I just feel like it” isn’t going to cut it. It has to be something deeper than that. Remember, however, that the issue of nicaab is controversial. One of the biggest problems women who want to wear nicaab face is the fact that whenever they discuss their choice with others, they focus on proving how the nicaab is obligatory. The reality, however, is that there is controversy over it. And what usually happens is that the other side spends the whole time trying to prove that it isn’t obligatory. Basically, it ends up becoming a boxing match and everyone walks away unhappy. The best thing for you to do is to admit that there is a controversy over it but that you believe either way (whether it’s fard or sunnah), you’ll be getting ajar and strengthening your relationship with Allah. You can remind them of this hadith:

Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet said, "Allah said: My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him.."

This way you show them that you have researched the issue carefully and know exactly what you’re getting into.

You’re also going to have to have some pre-rehearsed answers to their concerns because let’s face it…at “ The Moment”, most of us don’t sound that eloquent/ logical especially if we’re hurt or upset by what’s being said. You don’t want to sound like you’ve memorized your answers but you do want to sound like you’ve thought about their concerns seriously. So get out a paper and write down what you think bothers them about the nicaab and then think of good ways of answering those concerns…They’re probably worried about your career, chances of getting married, etc. Be prepared to reply- (Show that you’ve thought of a career that won’t be hindered by nicaab such as working as a teacher in an Islamic school/ working at home…. As for marriage: tell them that the kind of brother you want to be with is someone who will respect the nicaab)

You also need to make it clear that taking the niqab off didn’t make you feel ‘any better’. They might have assumed that when you took it off, that’s it, you were finally coming ‘back to your senses’. You need to explain that rather than making you feel good about yourself , you felt like you had made a big mistake and now you’re really sure about your decision.

At the end of your discussion, you should know your parents’ stand clearly. If they make it obvious that they’re really upset about this and absolutely don’t want you to wear it (or for example: tell you they want you to wait until after you graduate), you need to realize that some scholars have said that making your parents happy is more important than wearing the nicaab since there is CONTROVERSY over the nicaab. I capitalized that so no one misunderstands what I’m saying. At the end of the day, many scholars think the nicaab is sunnah but not a single scholar thinks that following our parents isn’t obligatory. Everyone agrees that bir al waladeen is obligatory; thus, we prioritize the obligatory action over what might not be. Now, if your parents are more relaxed about it and kinda have the attitude “Hey, we’re not so happy about this but it’s up to you”, then you should stand up to your decision.

There are going to be some other inconveniences, though….

Be prepared to deal with people who may not be so ‘willing to cooperate’ with you. Like who? Well, maybe the school administration. You might have to bring up the matter with them. They may say things like “How we will we know that it’s really you taking the test”, “etc.” and you’re going to have to work out some system with them. Remember, they may talk to you in a way that will really hurt your feelings- realize that it most likely isn’t a personal attack against you but a way for them to express their ‘fears’ about something they don’t understand (and also, don’t want spreading, lol).

What about driving? I wore niqab before I started driving, but for some reason, many people (including my driving instructor) would warn me about the dangers of driving with niqab. I never really understood that (since my glasses were actually hanging out of the eye slit which I thought showed that I could see everything), but if you haven’t gotten your license yet (and plan to), realize that you might find some difficulty there. Remember, with the issue of driving, people are concerned not only about your safety but about other people’s safety, so make sure to acknowledge that you are fully aware of the responsibility of driving.

What about ‘day to day’ difficulties you might have to deal with? Well, have you ever eaten in a restaurant with niqab? Now that, my friend, is an achievement! Do you have to keep your niqab on the whole time you’re eating? That goes back to your own ‘understanding’ of whether it is obligatory to wear or sunnah, right, but in terms of awkwardness, you might feel a little weird to enter a restaurant, uncover your face to eat, and walk back out again, covered. My advice for you is to 1) avoid ice cream cones, soup, and spaghetti (It’s isn’t a very pretty picture!). Haha, no, seriously, is to practice eating with the niqab at home and see how it goes. Also, you can always order take-out, etc. (but for me, because I didn’t want my family to feel that they would have to deal with the consequences of my decision, I continue to eat at restaurants …oh and my niqab eats with me :P)

Sneezing while wearing a niqab is also a nice challenge. Take it from me. I have allergies, LOL, so this was something ‘unexpected’ I had to deal with.

Since you already wear hijab, you might have noticed the ‘I’ll-talk- very-slowly”, phenomenon strangers tend have around hijabis…..with niqabis, though, the phenonmenon changes to “I- cannot- understand-what –you are-saying-because your mouth is covered-could you lift it up, please”? Yeah, all of a sudden, you’re going to find that you are the one who has to talk slowly and a little more clearly. Do I think that this really makes sense? Of course not. We all talk on the telephone and listen to the radio…we have telecommunications where we don’t see each other and we use them daily but this is something that you most likely will have to deal with.

Also, be prepared to become the “photographer”. If your friends like taking pictures, you might be a little surprised/ offended, but very often, niqabis are expected to be the ones who volunteer to take the shots- ALL the time.

You’re also probably going to encounter some very rude people. Do not stoop down to their level. The niqab isn’t about you and people. It’s about you and Allah. Don’t forget that. Comments like “Go back home”, “Say hi to Osama”, and “Can’t you just wear that at home?” are going to be shot at you. It helps to remember this : (Surahata Al Mutafafeen)

“Surely they who are guilty used to laugh at those who believe. (29) And when they passed by them, they winked at one another. (30) And when they returned to their own followers they returned exulting. (31) And when they saw them, they said: Most surely these are in error; (32) And they were not sent to be keepers over them. (33) So today those who believe shall laugh at the unbelievers; (33)

Finally, it can get very hot! Be sure to pick a nice cloth- one that’s not too light/ too heavy. Avoid going out in really hot weather. And remember that any every single drop of sweat is going to be rewarded on the Day of Judgment.

These are just a few points to keep in mind. Don’t let them discourage you! You can do this but you want to do it the smart way. Remember, we are cheering for you and making dua that Allah keeps you steadfast. Keep in touch and let us know how it goes :)



Does My Head Seem a Little Too Big?

>> Monday, July 26, 2010

I think I have a problem with arrogance. I try to do everything I'm supposed to, and my family usually compliment me as a result. I know they are just trying to be supportive but my head gets big!! I really want to work on it, because I know that you can't enter heaven with "an atom's weight of pride". What can I do?


Dear Anonymous,

You've asked a really great question! That's Little Auntie's way of saying "You've asked a really tough question", lol. I'll try to answer you but it's something that I need to work on myself.

Before I start, though, I want to congratulate you! You took the knowledge you had learned (that particular hadith) and you evaluated yourself. You checked yourself and you found that maybe you were a little lacking. And you decided that you needed to do something about it! Acknowledging that you have a problem is a really enormigantic (enormous + gigantic) step. Especially with the issue of arrogance!

See, really arrogant people believe that they deserve compliments and in fact, they don't even see them as compliments. They see them as 'realities'. They see those that don't compliment them as not giving them their due. The fact that you realize that maybe you're 'taking these compliments to the point of arrogance' tells me that you're not really that 'far along', inshaAllah.

So what to do?

1. When you wake up in the morning and you look yourself in the mirror, instead of thinking, "Dang, girl, you're one gorgeous Mama," say, “O, Allah, as you have perfected my creation, perfect my manners”. Even if 'beauty' isn't the area where you 'are arrogant', saying it every time you look at yourself will hopefully remind you that you didn't create yourself or your capabilities. You are actually a slave and it is Allah who created you. You know what else you can say? The dhikr were supposed to say when we put on our clothes- (actually we should all say this anyways): Praise is to Allah Who has clothed me with this (garment) and provided it for me, though I was powerless myself and incapable.

Again, you're reminding yourself that you wouldn't have gotten even these clothes on your own...stuff like that, inshaAllah. I know that you said that you get compliments for doing things your family tells you to do and maybe you’re thinking what does wearing clothes have to do with this, but this dhikr will hopefully keep you in guard…

Most important though is to say the dhikr we’re supposed to say when we get compliments: O Allah , do not call me to account for what they say and forgive me for what they have no knowledge of [and make me better than they imagine]. Saying this will hopefully remind you that they don't know your faults, but Allah does!

Btw, you can see more of these supplications Here

2. I know that if you're the 'smartest' student in your class (or heck even school) and your family keeps ranting about how amazing you are, it can be pretty easy to 'start' seeing yourself as some sorta big shot. The way to cure this is to stop comparing yourself to those who maybe aren't as skilled as you academically/sportally (haha, just making it go with the flow here), etc. Think about signing up to some 'hobby' that you really know nothing about whether its sewing, crocheting, swimming, baking, etc. If you haven't studied tajweed, try joining a tajweed halaqah and if possible, seeing the 'advanced students' (attending one of their classes). Boy, that can really be humbling! The point is for you to see how it 'feels' to be a 'beginner' and to remind yourself that none of us can do everything and that everyone is actually good at something!

3. Write your will/wasiya. Sounds morbid? It really isn't. By writing your will, you are acknowledging that you are nothing more than a mortal, a traveler passing through, and all that you own will be passed around, and you will be put into the ground. When I say 'write your will', I mean really take the time to write it though. Don't just be like 'Yeah, do it the Islamic way and that's that". Write down if you have wronged anyone, write any last words of advice and apologies...

4. Read more about Allah so you realize just how powerful and amazing He is and how 'insignificant' we 'actually' are.

In a hadith qudsi, Allah Subhanoo Wa' Tala says: ......

My servants, all of you are astray except for those I have guided, so seek guidance of Me and I shall guide you, O My servants, all of you are hungry except for those I have fed, so seek food of Me and I shall feed you. O My servants, all of you are naked except for those I have clothed, so seek clothing of Me and I shall clothe you. O My servants, you sin by night and by day, and I forgive all sins, so seek forgiveness of Me and I shall forgive you. O My servants, you will not attain harming Me so as to harm Me, and will not attain benefitting Me so as to benefit Me. O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as pious as the most pious heart of any one man of you, that would not increase My kingdom in anything. O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as wicked as the most wicked heart of any one man of you, that would not decrease My kingdom in anything. O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to rise up in one place and make a request of Me, and were I to give everyone what he requested, that would not decrease what I have, any more that a needle decreases the sea if put into it. O My servants, it is but your deeds that I reckon up for you and then recompense you for, so let him finds good praise Allah and let him who finds other that blame no one but himself.

It was related by Muslim (also by at-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah).

More importantly! Realize that it doesn't matter what others think of you and that their approval, compliments, etc. don't prove your worth in Allah's eyes. Allah Subhanoo Wa' Tala judges us by what is in our hearts and He alone sees the reality--

Let's take the story of the companion of the Prophet Ibn Masoud. (I mean let's literally take it because I am copy pasting it from: Here)

Ibn Masoud was not distinguished because of his social status for he was a poor shepherd with no wealth, or because of his physical strength, for he was thin and frail. Yet he was dear and beloved by the Prophet, peace be upon him, who appreciated his sincere devotion and his eagerness for the knowledge of Islam. He once climbed a tree to get a twig for the Prophet, peace be upon him, to use as a miswak. When the Prophet's companions saw his thin legs, they laughed..

The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "You laugh at ibn Masoud's legs! They are in the sight of Allah heavier in the Scale than the mountain of Uhud!"

You see, what mattersisn't whether the people around you think you're amazing. What matters is what Allah's thinks. So instead of letting anyone's complimentsink in too 'deeply', just ask yourself, 'but does Allah think I am good?" What can I do to improve? Am I among those He loves?

5. Sharing that story about Ibn Masoud takes me to 'read more about the Companions", May Allah be pleased with them. Now they did some pretty incredible things....reading about them may help you put yourself a little bit more into perspective. You can also read about other people who lived amazing lives.

6. Think about what it is that really makes you 'a little too proud'. Is it your intelligence? Is it your looks? Whatever it is-- is it permanent? I doubt it. There is nothing permanent here. I know a wonderful elderly woman who now needs someone to escort her to the bathroom. You see what I am saying?

7. Dua, dua, dua! Ask Allah to guide you and clear you heart of any atom of arrogance you have!

And inshaAllah, my dear, inshaAllah you will overcome any arrogance you have. Please do keep me updated and let me know how it goes :D


I Don't Want to Marry a Stranger!

I really don’t want to marry a stranger….and I don’t want to marry my cousin, either! I know dating isn’t allowed, but I just can’t imagine spending my life with someone I don’t even love yet alone know. I’m only 17, so there’s still time before I get married, but I can’t help thinking about this.
Hopeless Romantic

Dear Hopeless Romantic,

How about you marry my cousin and I marry yours? LOL! I’m just kidding! Seriously, though, marriage in Islam is a beautiful and sacred partnership. Husband and wife are described as garments for one another and Allah calls their relationship ‘a sign’:

And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect. (30:21)

You’re not alone in your fears though. Many of us harbor the fear that our parents are going to shove us at a random stranger who we’ll only meet a few weeks before the wedding night….and who twenty years later, we’ll be wishing we never met.

Fears aside, let’s try to look at the marriage process a little more realistically.

How does the marriage process really work? Usually, it’s a community effort. No joke. What basically happens is that when you feel ready for marriage or sometimes when your mother (or real aunty) feel like you are ready for marriage (but you just don’t know it yet-LOL-), operation “Get her married” begins. Yup, the word starts spreading throughout the community. Other mothers pass the word. Neighbors join. Mothers of neighbors join. Neighbors of mothers of neighbors join…LOL! Somehow or another the entire community discovers that Helpless Romantic, X, Y, and Z are all eligible bachelorettes. Next, the community rolls up its sleeves and starts looking for Mr. Charming for each one. Essentially (and ideally), they look for someone with the same status, an appropriate age gap, similar education, similar level of religiosity, etc.

The next step is a little more interesting. Once they find someone who appears suitable, they give him your wali’s number. When he finally gets the nerve, Mr. Potentially Right calls up your wali. If your wali decides he’s worthy enough to meet you, you two get to meet. (Insert: dramatic music. Just kidding!) Before he comes, though, you should pray istikhara and make lots of dua.

Of course, while Daddy or Big Brother ( literally! or whoever your wali is) is present, you two start talking. You ask him all kinds of questions- about his child hood, his family, his views on: religion, money, parenting, etc. And of course you ask him about himself: what kind of traits he admires in himself, what he wants to improve, his pet peeves in general, his hobbies, etc. (Check out the The Big List of Questions! for a comprehensive list of questions- be careful though that you don’t bark these questions at him but that you work your way around them)

You don’t necessarily ask him all these questions in the first meeting. And that’s just it- you don’t only need to meet once. So long as you follow the Islamic guidelines and you have a wali present, you can meet a couple of times just to decide whether or not you think he really is suitable.  (After this, the ‘background criminal record check begins’—well, at least in my family’s side, lol. Seriously, usually your family will ask a few people who know this person’ what he’s like/his good qualities/his not so good qualities’, etc.)

But anyways…are you going to be singing  in the rain while all this  is happening?  Probably not. Are you going to be sighing all the time? Probably not. Are your toes going to curl? Again, probably not. (What is that supposed to mean anyway?!) You’re still going to feel your heart flutter a bit, excitement, nervousness, fear, etc but you’re not necessarily going to be in love with this person. Not yet. Is that really a bad thing, though? They say love is blind and for a reason. Do you really want to pick someone only with your heart? Wouldn’t you rather pick someone with your heart and mind?  That’s basically what Islam promotes. It doesn’t say ‘just marry anyone or any random stranger’- it says pick someone carefully. What’s so wrong about that?

  Also, don’t forget that in the Islamic way of getting married there is the nikah, or the “signing” of the contracts, a time period, and then the wedding night. It’s up to you- nowhere does it say you have to sign the contract and live with the person the very same night. You can take as long as you want to get to know the person (after you’ve signed the contract if you don’t want a wali to be present) before you decide to live with the person.  

But you know what? What you need to focus on, Hopeless Romantic, is not about marrying a stranger but that the person you do end up marrying doesn’t end up becoming a stranger! Honestly, cooperation, patience, open communication- these are all things  you need to focus on improving in yourself so that when you do get married, you don’t find yourself resenting Mr. Right.  I mean: let’s be honest with ourselves- right now, does your family really know YOU? I mean, the real you? Or are there some members in your family, who you’ve been seeing for the past 17 years everyday, who are just complete strangers to you? I’m not talking about “Oh- my brother is some weirdo from Mars” either…if you know what I mean?  

We’ve been brought up in a culture where the “magic kiss” transforms people’s lives to the better and “happily ever after’ is around the corner. Little Miss Aunty is going to tell you something….

Marriage is not all about holding hands and smooching under the patio with happy healthy kids jumping around.
  Marriage is a lot harder than that.

I once heard the expression: Love is not only a noun. It’s a verb. It requires doing. Every day. I also heard another quote that goes something like this: “I can’t tell you if you married the right person. I can tell you that if you treat him like the right person, it’ll work out”.

The truth is life changes us. Even if you marry someone you fell in love with, they could end up becoming a stranger as time passes. When you have phone bills, school fees, a roof that’s leaking, a sick child, and you can still smile at your hubby and laugh, then that’s true love.

And that kind of love requires work.  

Wishing that you find 'true love',

P.S. One really great series that deals with this issue from A-Z was written by sister Megan Wyatt. You can read the most important article, “The Fairytale that Never Was” or you can start from the beginning, which is also VERY important:  The Stupid Glass Slipper

P.S.S. While we’re on the subject, you should also check out “ Ten Ways to Marry the Wrong Person (Great link! Very good advice).


Apology& Changes coming Soon!

Asalamu aliakuam wa rahmat Allah wa barkatoo,

So I am extremely sorry to all my wonderful readers. I disappeared for about a week's time. I went to this 'beachy city' where I didn't have any internet all! When I came back yesterday, I found 11 new emails to respond to (in this email), not to mention a few other emails in my private email. So I am very sorry! I am behind on the questions, but I'm working on them :)

I'm also very happy to announce that we've had a few people contact me about becoming 'aunties'. As of today, my twin is an auntie and she goes under the name "Little Miss Aunty". She was supposed to be an 'auntie' from the beginning, but she was actually working. While I was responding to emails yesterday, though, she took over and answered a question, which I'll be putting up inshaAllah after I publish this. Also, we have other people expected to join real soon- I just need to work out how to distribute the questions :)

I would also like to call out any sisters who have written any 'pieces' of advice on their blog and would like to share it. I'm thinking to have a feature guest article every once in a while, so do contact me if you're interested...

Jazakum Allah koli khair for your patience and understanding. I am truly honored that so many people have become followers and have shared this little pieces of advice. May you all share in the reward...


My parents don't really...pray and stuff...

>> Saturday, July 17, 2010

Dear Little Auntie,
My parents are the best. They’re really good and kind people. Masha'Allah, everyone in the community looks up to them. There's only one tiny thing…They’re not really practicing. I don't know what to do. I’m really worried about them!

I'm scared they won’t go to heaven.
Just a little girl

Dear Just a Little Girl,

I can feel your pain from here. Let me give you a big o’le hug. I know we all get scared when our parents look a little sick. Let alone, when they’re a bit away from Allah’s path. The truth is, just as parents are over protective of us, so are we. In fact, your letter reminded me of Prophet Abrham and his father...remember?

When he (Ibrahim) said to his father: "O my father! Why do you worship that which hears not, sees not and cannot avail you in anything? O my father! Verily, there has come to me of knowledge that which has not come to you. So follow me; I will guide you to a straight path. O my father! Worship not Satan. Verily, Satan has been a rebel against the Most Beneficent (Allah). O my father! Verily, I fear lest a torment from the Most Beneficent (Allaah) overtake you, so that you become a companion of Satan ( in Hell-Fire)." (surat Maryam)

But you know what?

Allah subhanoo Wa’ Tala bestowed them with a great gift….YOU! Maybe your purpose here is to help bring them back to the right path Because, yes, Allah is the one who guides people, but He is the One who said:

And admonish thy nearest kinsmen 26: 214

Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance. 16:125

The question is….how?

The verse above tells us the first and most important rule-- invite to Allah by 'wisdom', 'and in a way that is better'. Be gentle and kind.

Be. Show. Do.

Actions are a lot louder than words. Telling them about Islam might not generate much interest- especially if they come from a country where Islamic rules were mixed with ‘strange’ customs. So instead of ‘telling them’ about it, you have to be the best example out there.

The first thing you gotta do is make sure is that you are praying your 5 prayers. The second thing is to let them see you pray them. Involve them, even! You can one day, for example, say that you want to sleep a bit and ask them to wake you up to pray asr- show them how cautious you are about it. Tell them, “Even if it looks like I am really sleepy, wake me up, just like you’d wake me up if I had an airplane flight that I needed to catch. The salah is my flight to paradise, inshaAllah. [FYI: this simile came from Dr. Mohammed Nuh Qudhaa]”

What else? Well, little girl, I’m not sure if you are ‘really a little little girl’ or a little girl the same way I am a little auntie (hehe)…If you really are a little little girl, it’s safe to assume that you don’t drive, and you ask your parents to drive you to places, right? (I hope! Little auntie frowns on underaged children driving…) If that’s the case, ask them every once in a while to stop by at a masjid when you’re coming back from some place (e.g. a friend’s house/ the mall/etc.). You can say “oh, I’m late, we don’t have time to go all the way home—of course, you pick a place that is near the masjid, hehe…or you can also just be frank and say “It’s been a while since I prayed in the mosque. Can we stop a few moments?” They may look at you strangely, maybe make excuses, etc. but if you stay positive, inshaAllah, they may just enter one day and pray with you…

Another thing you can do is read Qu’ran, whether in the living room or some other room that they are bound to ‘enter’. Listen to a beautiful recitation and let the volume be loud enough for them to catch ‘some of it’, inshaAllah. It might pique their curiosity. The best thing also is to have a ‘scheduled’ time- every day at this particular time you read Qur’an…soon, they will get used to that and might even start joining in. If you’re memorizing surahs (and we all should be, hehe), ask them to test you on parts.

On the other hand, if you’re a ‘big little’ girl, and you do drive a car, leave a Qur’an tape/c.d. in the car- so that when they’re driving, they might actually listen to it, themselves! You can also leave ones about Allah’s Beautiful Names, the importance of salah, etc. Nasheeds are another thing you can leave or have playing when they ride with you. (Oh, btw, if you do drive and you sometimes pick them up, we can still use the tactic we said earlier! Only this time, you tell them that you’re going to stop for a few minutes in the mosque…)
Slowly, inshaAllha, you’ll start to get to them…If you’ve got siblings, work with them on this together. If all of you are reading the Qur’an together, memorizing, etc. they are more likely to want to get involved, as well.

You can also leave’ notes and books conveniently around the house for them to find them. Have parts underlined. Put question marks around things that you actually want them to read more up on. Go to the library with them (if they are library people/if they drive you around) and let them see all the books you check out about Islam. If you have Islamic t.v. channels (whether on the t.v. or online), turn them on and leave them running even when you’re not there (they might sit down and listen!)…of course, we do have to consider the environment, though, so little auntie doesn’t mean to ‘waste electricity’ the entire day :P

You can also invite your friends over and ‘discuss’ things within your parent’s earshot. Discuss Allah’s Mercy, discuss hijab, discuss salah, etc.

Actually, it would be really awesome if you could get your parents to make new friends themselves or meet some practicing people their age. If there is any halaqah going on in your community, try and encourage your parents to join. I know that might be easier said than done, lol…what I’m thinking is that maybe, if there’s an event going on in your community, you can tell your mom that you really want to ‘bake some goodies’- could she help you? And then, invite her to come along or maybe tell her everyone loved it and wants to meet her. Another way is if you have friends whose parents are practicing, talk to your friends about ‘introducing your parents’ and getting them to know each other.

Anything else you can do? Well, get even better grades at school. Don’t come home late. That kinda thing…If they ask you ‘what’s happened to you’- always connect this [good] change to Islam. Let them know that this is also part of practicing Islam. You should also do things at home. Clean the house. If you have younger siblings, offer to babysit them and give your parents a break.

Go visit a hospital or an elderly people’s home/ an orphanage, volunteer in a soup kitchen, start a food drive. Let them know that you’re doing this stuff and that you are doing it because Islam teaches us to do that.

Show them that Islam can be fun, too! Go on a picnic with your parents and reflect on the beauty of nature. Let them watch a ‘funny’ video on Islam such as Baba Ali’s renowned Reminder videos. Again, they might have come from an area where they were taught that Islam prohibited everything fun—show them that’s not the case.

You can even try asking your parents a few [simple] questions! You can pretend you are answering some trivia about the Prophets’ lives for example and ask them “which Prophet could talk to the animals”, again? The point is to again, arouse their interest without ‘patronizing them’. You give them a chance to explain something- you might just get them interested in it and they might research it a bit.

Appeal to their emotional side. Give your parents a good night kiss and say something like- “I want to be with you in jannah”…

The most important thing though is to make dua for them. Make lots and lots of dua, especially during the last third of the night.

These are just some suggestions—I hope the readers can provide us with some more! Whatever you do though, do not withdraw from them. This is a big mistake that many practicing people do- that only ends up making them feel that Islam even took their kids away. You should, instead, show a greater interest in their lives….

And inshaAllah, inshaAllah, soon you’ll be racing to keep up with them on your journey to Paradise,
Keep us updated,

p.s. sorry for the long post, my readers :P I know, I know...long, again ;)


Sweat Free?! Eye-brows and I bow!

>> Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Is it really a big deal if I get my eyebrows done? I just don’t get it. I
feel like everyone around me sweats the small stuff. At the end of the day,
am I going to go to hell for shaping my eye brows? I mean, come on.


Dear My Little Sweat-Free (yay, you!) Anonymous friend,

You’ve asked a great question! You might have noticed that on the side of my blog, I made sure to write that this is not a ‘fatwa blog’- however,don’t you fret your little self! Little auntie is still going to ‘answer’ this question, but I’m going to do it without damning anyone to hell or promising anyone heaven, either.

Let’s start off by taking a look at this very famous hadith:

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle (Sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam) said, "A prostitute was forgiven by Allah, because, passing by a panting dog near a well and seeing that the dog was about to die of thirst, she took off her shoe, and tying it with her head-cover she drew out some water for it. So, Allah forgave her because of that."
(Book #54, Hadith #538)

Haha, bet you thought I was going to put the eye brow hadith. No, not yet! I know, it might seem really strange to put that hadith- you might be thinking, “See, that’s what I am talking about. Islam is soooo easy. Why is everyone complicating it”, but wait.

Wait. Don’t be too sure.

Read this…

"You thought it to be a light matter while it was most serious in the sight of Allah."[Al-Noor, 24:15].

Chilling, isn’t it? If you don’t know what this verse is referring to, it’s discussing the people who ‘spread’ the rumors around during the Ifk incident. Those people thought it wasn’t a big deal, but Allah Subhanoo Wa’
Tala ..He thought differently.

Okay, so what am I trying to get at?

Basically that our judgments of an act is ‘incorrect’. See, most of us would imagine that the prostitute would be ‘unforgivable’…we’d also think that ‘gossiping’ isn’t such a big deal. In both cases, we would be wrong. Deadly wrong.

The truth is that sometimes, we think something is small, but it really isn’t.

The thing about eyebrows is everyone knows the hadith clearly states that the person who does their eyebrows will be thrown out of Allah’s mercy (cursed).

Yes, now it’s time for it…

Al-Bukhaari (4886) and Muslim (2125) narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: May Allaah curse the one
who does tattoos and the one who has a tattoo done, the one who plucks
eyebrows and the one who has her eyebrows plucked, and those who file
teeth for the purpose of beautification, changing the creation of Allaah.

Is that something small?

Do we really want to risk being wrong?

Let me ask you this- do you have a tattoo? Why not (if you do have one,
forget this q, LOL)? Their ruling is in the very same hadith…

The way I see it is this—a person might not go to hell simply because of ‘doing their eyebrows’ if they recognize that they are sinners/feel bad/but keep succumbing to temptation (and boy those eyebrows can really tempt aperson to do them!). But if a person has a dismissive attitude of what Allah likes/doesn’t like, then…the person might be in trouble. It shows signs of a ‘heart that isn’t that pure’- it’s like you’re putting yourself in His place, deciding what deeds matter and what don’t. We obviously do NOT have that right.

Finally, let’s imagine if you went to a restaurant and ordered a cake, and you specifically requested that they did not put icing…and then, the chef put icing. Would you have the right to be displeased? Although
Allah subhanoo Wa’ Tala is of course above Comparison and not like His creatures, my point is that He has clearly warned us/requested us to refrain from doing our eyebrows and implied He would be displeased….doesn’t that count a little? Shouldn’t we think about that?

So, to sum it up? Am I saying that 'cleaning' your eyebrows are haram? That's actually not what I am addressing here (you can check a fatwa site for that). I am addressing though the idea of 'us' dedicing what 'Allah will judge us on'...

And in the end, I say, clip your little eye brows of the r, and tell your "I-brows", to "I bow" to Allah. Ask Allah to beautify you with not perfect eye brows but true beauty and Nur from Him; ask Him to make your face radiate with imaan, inshaAllah. And remember...

Say, [O Muhammad], "Shall we [believers] inform you of the greatest losers as to [their] deeds? (103) [They are] those whose effort is lost in worldly life, while they think that they are doing well in work." [Surat al Kahf] 


So 1,400 years ago....(Premarital sex really that bad?)

>> Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What would you say to someone that says that the rules of Islam were for 1400 years ago because now, due to technological advances, we CAN know who the father is as well use birth control so what's the harm in pre-marital sex( wow, I never type that word)?

Dear Kind Commentator,

You’ve posed a very interesting question! One that quite surprised me and made me realize just how out of the loop I am, hehe. Yes, I am getting old…(but hopefully, a little wiser :P),

But really let’s talk about this.

First and foremost- I worry when I see people thinking that the ‘rules’ for Islam were written ‘for’ 1,400 years ago.

You hear that a lot when it comes to ‘hijab’, ‘mixing,’, etc. and now apparently pre-marital sex.
I wonder, though, what that really means.

Who wrote the rules?

Wasn’t it Allah, Subhanoo Wa’ Tala?

Isn’t He the All-Knowing?

Allah knows

  • What has already passed
  • What is happening now
  • What will happen
  •  What would have happened if something that hadn’t happened had happened!

[For such is the state of the disbelievers], until, when death comes to one of them, he says, "My Lord, send me back (99) That I might do righteousness in that which I left behind." No! It is only a word he is saying; and behind them is a barrier until the Day they are resurrected. (Chapter 23)
See here how Allah knows that if He were to ‘give him another chance, the disbeliever would still not change.

Alright, so what’s my point?

Don’t you think He who has Infinite Knowledge would know if ‘His rules would not be applicable/things were to change’? Don’t you think He would have made it clear to us which rules were ‘for a certain time period’ only?

Instead, Allah Subhanoo Wa’ Tala clearly says:

“…This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion…(3:5)

You see, the rules were not written for 1,400 years ago. Their revelation was ‘completed’ 1,400 years ago…to stand the test of time.

They were decided by the One who knows us better than we know ourselves,

And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein (50:16)

and they were decided by the One who knows what’s best for us.

But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not (2:216)

When we have true faith and realize that Allah is All-Knowledgeable, the Wisest, and Most Merciful we realize that whatever He has decreed, He has decreed for our own good. Whatever He has forbidden, He has forbidden out of His Own Goodness /Kindness, and to protect us from harm.

And therefore, we believe- and more importantly, we obey,

Without necessarily always understanding the reasons behind the command.
Is that the end of my answer? The best that I can do?

No, there’ still more, but I want to clarify that we do not always know the reasons behind something and we have to understand that. No matter how many centuries pass and what technological advances we achieve, WE are still ‘finite mortals’ incapable of seeing the future and what the future holds and the consequences of our decisions of today.

Okay, okay, little auntie, can you hurry up and get to the ‘harms’ of pre-marital sex?

1. Illnesses-

- Did you know that in the United States, alone, there are 15,300,000 new STD (sexually transmitted disease) cases each year?
• 3,000,000 teenagers acquire an STD each year
• Statistics taken from: Here

  • Take one moment and contemplate on that….3 million young people acquiring such a disease.
  • Maybe you haven’t read the ‘effects of these diseases’…let’s see:
  •    Death (in the case of HIV/AIDS)
  •        Infertility (in the case of Chlamydia, which can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an infection of the uterus, ovaries, and/or fallopian tubes, which can cause infertility and ectopic (tubal) pregnancies later in life)
  •         Increased risk for some types of cancer (such as cervical cancer)
  •         Brain damage (in the case of Syphilis)
  •         Heart disease
  •      Birth defects (Pregnant women with STDs may miscarry or may pass on their STD to their baby. STD’s can also cause low birth weight and premature babies. Babies with infected mothers can have problems such as pneumonia, eye infections and brain damage)
  •    Pain, pain, pain
The biggest problem with sexually transmitted diseases is that often those who suffer from them, aren’t aware that they are ‘carrying these viruses’..…that means, if you’re engaging in pre-martial sex with someone, you can easily acquire the disease from them, because they may not even know they have it. 

2. Pregnancy
While it’s true that today we have ‘birth control methods’, pregnancies still do occur.
Research has shown that condoms have an annual ‘failure rate’ of 10-36% in preventing pregnancy.

Pregnancy is a big big thing. If raising kids is difficult even with marriage and with 2 partners, how much harder is it for a single parent? Even if we can now determine who the ‘father’, it does not mean that we can require the father to stand by the child through thick and thin. Yes, the courts can force the father to support the child financially, but fatherhood isn’t only ‘paying the bills’, you know. It’s being there--- and it is the institution of marriage that better guarantees (not necessarily ‘best gurantees/but better), both parents’ involvement in upbringing the child. Besides, if the child were to find out that say, a ‘DNA test was needed to identify who his/her father was, and that a court decision was needed ‘to force’ the father to support him/her could have a very negative effect on the child’s self-esteem.

According to Janet E. Smith, Associate Professor of Philosophy in the University of Dallas, says:
In the United States, the media and opinion makers have finally come to recognize that unwed pregnancy is a major source of social chaos in our culture. Every few weeks, some columnist in the newspaper or news journal writes an editorial bemoaning the problem of unwed parenthood. The evidence is overwhelming that children raised in households headed by a single parent are much more prone to sexual abuse, drug abuse, crime, and divorce, for instance. Their health is poorer; their academic achievement is poorer; their economic well-being is less than that of children who are raised in two-parent households. In every way, children raised in single parent households seem to have a few strikes against them as they forge their way through life.”

But there’s something else to consider about ‘pregnancies’. Because of our technological advances that we have today, pregnancies today can and often do lead to abortions.

Again, according to Janet E. Smith: One out of four to one out of three pregnancies in the United States are ended through abortion, the vast majority performed on unmarried women.

Do you see how much harm there is in premarital sex? The ‘loss of a healthy life’ for one’s self, and the loss of another one’s life (a child if you have an abortion)…Abortion is plain and simple- death of another human being.

There’s still more, though.

Engaging in pre-marital sex means that partners can have children from more than one person; imagine if one of the partners didn’t tell the other partner that s/he had another kid….if siblings do not know that they are siblings that could lead to disastrous endings. Sisters and brothers can ‘hook up’, not knowing that they are related…..

Far fetched?
But It can happen.
And it just did, on May 30, 2010.

Disgusting, Gross, and Utterly not acceptable….this stuff happens when sex is unchecked and allowed outside of a formal institution.

3.What else? Pre-marital sex, contrary to how the media depicts it, often leads to ‘broken hearts’…Forget about the ‘physical problems’, what about the emotional and psychological baggage it brings?

You see, no matter if we have ‘technological’ advances now and can tell ‘who the father’ is, ‘use contraceptives’, the reality of the matter is that, still, we human beings have not changed.

We are also still ‘wired’ the same way….

Remember Maslow’s Hierarchical Need theory? He listed a few things that we need- the 3 that are relevant to what we are talking about:

2. ‘safety needs: security of body, morality, the family
3. we need love, intimacy, and the feeling of belonging
4. we need ‘esteem’ (from ourselves and from those closest to us, confidence, and respect of others

Those who engage in sex without marriage often report feeling ‘violated/cheap/guilty’ the next day. That means they don’t feel:
1) ‘very loved. Sex outside of marriage often becomes a ‘goal’ to prove one has achieved something- a conquest- not a union of two persons
3) safe- they realize that at any moment the person may get up and leave them. They may have to deal with a pregnancy alone.

They feel like their dignity has been lost. This is especially true if the person engages in premarital sex because ‘their value’ has been linked to it. “I love you if you have sex with me’.

The person may feel that s/he is no longer a person with feelings and a soul—but an ‘object to be used’ for another person’ own enjoyment.

In fact, did you know that teenage girls who have sex are 2 times more likely to commit suicide than girls who practice abstinence?

That’s bad, right. Harmful? Yup. Real BAD!

So you see, even though we have technological advances today, sex outside of marriage still continues to lead to negative consequences. It is marriage that (better) leads to a true loving relationship- one that is based on mutual trust, respect of each other’s dignity and commitment. It is marriage that addresses the ‘emotional needs’ which Allah subhanoo Wa’ Tala has placed in us—
They (your wives) are your garment and you are a garment for them. (2:187)

And among his signs is this, that he created for you mates from amonng yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them. and he has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are signs for those who reflect. (Qu`ran 30:21)

So stay strong, and remember

Prosperous are the believers (1)...who guard their privates, (5) except with their wives and what their right hand possess, and then they are not blamed. (6) Those who seek beyond that are transgressors. (7) (Prosperous are those) who preserve their trusts and pledges (8) and those who observe their prayers. (9) Those are the heirs (10) who will inherit Paradise; they shall live there for ever. (Chapter 23)


There's this guy...

>> Saturday, July 3, 2010

There's this really good, religious guy in my class! Please don’t get the wrong idea and think we do anything bad. I swear,we don’t. We only talk and chat online sometimes. He’s really sweet and practicing, Ma’shaAllah. (I wear hijab, btw). Sometimes he even calls me and reminds me to pray the 5 prayers, asks me if I read Qur’an, etc. I’ve never met someone like him.
I’ve actually even told my mom about him. She knows I talk to him.

The other Muslim girls at the masjid have asked me about him but I told them that he’s just a friend.

Secretly, though, I think I like him more than a friend and think maybe he likes me too? I don’t know though. He always refers to me as ‘sister’. So he could just think of me as a friend. Either way, it just feels so good to have someone who understands me. He’s the only Muslim in my class and sometimes it feels like we’re the only Muslims in the whole school!
But sometimes, I wonder…. am I doing anything haram?

*Sister (sigh)*,

Dear my Little Sis,

First, I want to start off by saying it’s fantastic that you wear hijab. I know, in a world where everyone is obsessed with physical beauty and how we all look, it can be hard and daunting.

I also think it’s GREAT that you still asked someone for advice even though your mom knows all about you talking to this guy. Ma’shaAllah, that takes guts and to me, shows sincerity. You’re not looking for the ‘easy way out’- yes, your mom thinks its fine, but you’re still asking others. Ma’shaAllah. That also means you understand on the Day of Judgment, your mother is not going to be there to take your sins for you and vice versa.

Now, on to the maybe not so good news…let’s start off by asking you a few questions…
Is there a reason why you chose to tell your mother about him and not your father (or is your father not living with you)? Do you think maybe that you chose your mother because you knew your father would not be ‘as cool’ about him calling your mobile or you chatting with him online? That maybe he wouldn’t accept it?

And also, ask yourself, “Why do you think your friends at the Masjid asked you about him”. I know you said that you guys don’t do anything wrong and that you’re both Ma’shaallah practicing, but it seems like your friends were able to pick up on some AP chemistry :P

The thing is, many of us think that flirting is using a certain tone of voice, swinging our hips, etc. But actually flirting can be something much more subtle. Flirting can be even a kinda smile…

How, you ask? Hey, I’m not here to show you how to flirt! LOL.

Nah, seriously, when you smile at him and your eyes light up when he’s around, you are telling him that

a)he matters to you

b) he ain’t no ordinary brother of yours (let’s face it. “real brothers” are annoying pain in the necks most of the time). Yes, you may be calling him brother ‘verbally’, but non-verbally, you may be sending him messages that you don’t think of him as a brother.

You know, sometimes, it’s really easy to fall into the ‘we’re safe’ trap and think that Shaytan can’t mess with us ‘because we’re practicing’. The fact that you wear hijab can also add to that equation.

But the truth is that

  •  Shaytaan never tells someone to go and ‘commit zina’. He knows nobody would do that. He starts small, instead. Real small. Like with a laugh, a certain smile…
  •  Or a chat. When we unnecessarily chat with a person from the other gender, we slowly erase the barrier between us and the person, including even the hijab barrier.

The reality is that most ‘relationships’ don’t begin as relationships from day 1. They start off as ‘friendships’, grow into ‘it’s complicated’ and finally into ‘relationships’, and sometimes x-relationships.

And that’s why the easiest and most Islamic thing to do is not to have guy friends.

What’s my proof that it’s “the most Islamic thing to do”? Well, remember, Islamically we are actually told to lower our gazes when we are with the other gender. Don’t you think if we are not really supposed to be ‘looking at each other, we’re not really supposed to be hanging out with each other and being each other’s buddies?

- Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.). That is purer for them. Verily, Allâh is All-Aware of what they do. (An-Nur 24:30)

- The Messenger of Allaah (Sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam) said: “O Ali, do not follow a glance with another, for you will be forgiven for the first, but not for the second.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 2701; see Saheeh al-Jaami’, 7953)

Now let’s zoom in a little on one other hadith.

Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet (May peace and blessings be upon him) said: ""The best of the men’s rows is the first and the worst is the last, and the best of the women’s rows is the last and the worst in the first." Narrated by Muslim under No. 664.

You see how the women who sit far away from the men in the masjid are the ones who get the most ajr? This is important to note because these people, these women and men, are in the holiest of places. They are in the masjid. We can most likely assume that their reason for going to the masjid is to pray (which would make them ‘practicing’, right). And yet, still, they are told not to be ‘close’ to each other- not to sit next to each other.

What about the very famous hadith that whenever a man and woman are left alone (non-mahrams), Shaitan in their third? You might not think that you are ever physically alone with him, but aren’t you in a way ‘alone’ with him when you’re chatting with him/when you’re on the phone?

Do you see where I am going with this?

I know, sis, that you said this guy reminds you to pray and read Qur’an. And I know how on the surface that could make you assume that there is good and ‘Islamic’ benefit from this relationship, but remember what the Qur’an said about wine? It said that there is a ‘little good in it, but its bad effects far outweigh its good’.

You said yourself that you like him more than a brother. You might just be setting yourself up for heartbreak. You might also be edging slowly to a really big sin…

Ask yourself- what is it that you really want from this relationship. You want him to just remind you to pray or do you want him to be something more than that… maybe…a boyfriend? Not just a friend that is a boy?

IF you really want to keep your friendship with him solely because he reminds you to be a ‘good Muslim’, don’t you think you could replace this relationship with a sister who could call you, ask you, hang out with you, swap hijabs with you, crack jokes with you, break her fast with you, etc? You could even start a sort of competition with some girls at the masjid- who will complete the Qur’an first/who will memorize the most/etc. You can also try and join a halaqah.

You might tell me that really aren’t any other Muslim girls your age in your community…Well, you could try joining an online only girl’s Muslim forum. There are plenty and the sisters will also help you and encourage you to be a better Muslim.

But, if the truth is that deep down inside you really want this relationship to continue because you actually really like him and ummmm want him as a ‘hubby’, then you should ask yourself- are you willing to get married RIGHT now? Is he? Would your situation let you get married? If so, what are you waiting for? Have your wali arrange a meeting with him and his parents.

If you’re not ready,

Why are you ‘cultivating’ this relationship?

You have to realize that a couple loses ‘baraka’ or Allah’s blessings when they choose to ignore His commands and have a relationship outside of marriage. No matter how much love you have, in the long run, it’ll be really hard to last without Allah’s blessings.

We all want His blessings, right?

The truth is, if you really want to help the guy be the best Muslim he can be and help yourself, decide what this relationship really is. Remember, also these verses:

25:27 and a Day on which the evildoer will bite his hands [in despair], exclaiming: “Oh, would that I had followed the path shown to me by the apostle!
25:28 Oh, woe is me! Would that I had not taken so-and-so for a friend!
25:29 Indeed, he led me astray from the remembrance [of God] after it had come unto me!” For [thus it is:] Satan is ever a betrayer of man

And, always, always remember that whatever you sacrifice for Allah, He will reward you with better. He promised us that. And He, for one, always keeps His Promises.

You can do it,
I believe in you.


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