Dawah Do's

>> Thursday, September 23, 2010

I was checking something out on the Internet and I ended up landing on these “bashing Islam” websites. There’s a lot of ignorance out there. Besides, I’m sure you have heard about the recent Qur’an burning event and the ground zero mosque. It seems like everywhere I look, people are pointing their fingers at Islam. I live in the West and I really want to do some dawah and let people know the true beautiful message of Islam but I don’t know what to do. Help please!
Lovin’ Islam

Dear Lovin’ Islam,
Man, those ‘bashing Islam websites’ can really get you down. I was so sure you were going to say you were all ‘depressed’ and feelin’ bad; I’m so glad instead to see you still motivated and wanting to do something to Islam. Ma’shaAlla!! And you know what? There are actually a lot of simple things you can do.

First of all, be the best you can be…. When people ask you how is it that you’re always happy and smiling, link it back to Islam. When people compliment you on being so thoughtful, link it back to being a Muslim. The better person you are and the more successful, the more people are going to become curious about Islam. (You know, this goes without saying but be sure also to avoid the ‘don’t’s- meaning, don’t use bad words, don’t smoke, don’t backbite, don’t be rude, etc. When people ask you why, let them know it’s because you’re a Muslim).

Not only that, but be approachable! Especially if you wear hijab. We all get those ‘where do you come from looks’- crack a joke, welcome questions, predict what they’re thinking and just start the convo. For example, “Yeah, so let me guess. You’re wondering why I wear this thing on my head, right…” or…”So am I like the first Muslim woman you meet?”

It’s also important that you be prepared. Any day can turn out to be your dawah day. You’re not going to be told in advance when you’re going to find someone interested/ready to ask….so be ready. Have clear answers prepared in your mind to explain what Islam is at any opportunity. I mean, I don’t know about you, but how many of us have ruined/botched up an excellent dawah opportunity because we didn’t think about how to explain to others why we ‘don’t eat pork’ and how to turn that simple question into ‘what Islam means…”

Now, you might be thinking, “Yeah, yeah, I know all this, but what about concrete ‘things I can actually do’?

Well! You can…

Pass out little booklets or leaflets on the bus. If you want to write your own, I would recommend keeping them short, simple and attractive. You can for example title one leaflet the “ABC’s of Islam” and just mention what the word Islam comes from, what Allah means, how we believe in all the prophets, etc. In fact, you can try leaving interesting Islamic pamphlets or even translations of the Qur’an anywhere! Like at hospital waiting rooms- at the coiffeur- airport- and any other place you can think up of.

You should also check out your public library and see if it has a section or any books available on Islam. If it doesn’t, get the community to organize a fundraiser and get some books for it (or even ask everyone to buy a good! book and donate it to the library). You can also, hehe, leave some Islamic bookmarks inside any random books in the library (but don’t overdo it- like 3 or 4 book marks). One thing that may also work is to go to a mall and randomly survey people’s knowledge of Islam.

You could actually write up a survey and explain how you and your community are trying to combat the “Islamophobia” going on and would the person mind answering a few questions… Ask basic things like “What does Allah mean? What do Muslims think of Jesus? What do Muslims think of the Torah? How many times do Muslims pray in one day”? You can end the survey with a question like “In Islam, there’s a saying that paradise is at the feet of someone. Do you know who that person is?” Chances are if the person doesn’t know much about Islam, they are going to guess Prophet Mohammed….just imagine how interested they will be when they find out that it’s ‘mothers’!

Another thing you can do is have your community set up an Open Day at the mosque where Non Muslims are invited. Besides having a small lecture on the similarities and differences between Islam and other faiths, you can have a small competition with prizes to get people interested.

In your school or university you can…. -

- Think about starting a club-
- Take the initiative any time an ‘Islamic occasion is coming up, and ask your school/campus (whatever) to allow you to give a little lecture about it/seminar and explain all about it, like the Hajj. If you’re too shy to give a lecture, you can always pass out little ‘candies’ ‘treats’ wrapped up with nice paper and with a nice hadith written on it.

A few last ideas….

- Download the Qur’an on your ipod (if you have one). Your friends are bound to ask you what you’re listening to. Let them listen to it, first- and then, you can tell them something like “I’m listening to “God’s words”. Be sure to translate for them whatever they listened to. (I would suggest surat al ikhlas, al ma’un, etc.)

- Try to put up something Islamic in your facebook status every once in a while. For example, you can put up a favorite verse from the Qur’an/hadith/etc. It would be really great if you do that during a day like “World Equality Day” or something like that- put up a Qur’an verse that reflects the value being celebrated that day.

- Put up an Islamic bumper sticker on your car. -Whether you’re a student/ you work, mention when it’s time to pray so you can add a few tidbits about prayer and Islam.

- Start your own Islamic blog or join a Muslim forum (one that’s gender segregated, of course!). OH and if you’re already a member of a forum, but not an Islamic one, like a scrapbooking forum, graphic designs one, ‘mommy forum’, etc., put something up about Islam in your signature/avatar. Have a link to a good ‘dawah’ website such as www.islamreligion.com

- Donate to dawah websites and initiatives! (Donate to Islamic relief agencies as well.)

These are just a few ideas to get you started. I can’t wait to see what you come up with or the other readers suggest! One thing I do want to stress though is to keep making dua and remember that sometimes, it takes years to happen..

All you have to do is plant a seed!

I mean, remember what the Companions used to say about Umar radiya Allah Anhoo before he converted? They used to say that it was more likely for his donkey to convert than for him to turn to Islam….SubhanAllah! You just never know!

Lovin’ Islam, too,

The Little Aunties

P.S. if anyone creates/designs a leaflet or something, we’d love to see what you come up with and we’ll definitely put it up here for others to pass around.


Feature Article - C.H.A.N.G.E.S

>> Friday, September 17, 2010

Assalamu alaikum sisters.

The Little Aunties are proud to present our first guest feature article. Written by the one and only 'Lil Shireen'

Lil Shireen is a loving twenty-year-old who has a refined combination of humour and craziness with a passion for poems and paints. As Allah Ta'ala's 'Limited Edition' Lil Shireen gives advice which amazes and enthralls.


Now that Ramadan has gone…. Guess who's back? Bravo! You got it. Shaytaan, or as I like to put it…..Mr. Enemy… And he isn’t just back. He’s back with a vengeance… This time, he’s here to stay for ELEVEN months! So what are we going to do? We all know the level of self control we had just a few days ago. Well, in my case it is below the average level of course! :P But seriously, when we do some study or a project, we have a structured format of how to go about doing things in order to achieve the maximum level of success. Now in our mission on remaining steadfast for rest of the months coming along, we need to do proper planning so that our competitor (shaytan) does not get away with what he wants of us. So what we really need to do is create some C.H.A.N.G.E.S in our life and STAY on them.

C Cut down on sins
HHave trust in the Will of Allah
AActions! Actions, action….
NNever lose hope in the mercy of Allah
GGrowth of Emaan
EEngaging in Good deeds
SSelf control

Cut down on the sins – Now, this is what I find really fascinating; because I am sure all of us are really capable of just bringing about that much needed change in a way that would leave the devil depressed for ages. There is nothing as reducing sins and eventually giving up. We have to strive every single day....every single hour. The truth is, every few hours we turn to Allah and ask Him in our prayers, in surat Al-Fatiha, to keep us on the straight path.Why? Because it’s a life long battle.

Now, I know that ‘cutting down our sins’, isn’t exactly the most easiest thing out there. Obviously, we do not have a ‘’click’’ button in us to suddenly change our avatars or our habits. It would take time, it would take a lot of self control and ( since I don’t want to make all of this sound very flowery), the things is we will be thrown the temptations of doing those sins again in our faces over and over again.

But we can do it- how? Simple ways: keeping ourselves busy, making good religious friends, deleting certain individuals off facebook, etc. Each one of us knows what we’re doing wrong and how to cut it.We just got to get up and do it.

The fundamental thing we have to do is realize that the sins don’t happen by themselves. At the end of the day, we know it is our Decision. None can compel us to do bad or otherwise. We just have to ask ourselves- what is it that we really wish to do, go ahead with our whims and desires, or please our Lord?

*Wait, before you answer that, let me remind you that whatever benefits this world has to offer us stands nowhere in comparison with what our Lord has to offer you, LOL*. Now answer that…

Don’t you want to please your Lord- the One who Loves you? Don’t you want to quit doing something that He hates because He’s been so kind to you?

Remember, the only one who hates us to the level of wanting to see us in hell is our enemy and he is not even that hidden, we have to fight it out and show who actually is the boss :D

Have Trust in the Will of Allah - The next important thing to keep in mind is trust in Allah’s Will. I will tell you that in the next 11 months, you will probably face some problems. You will probably find somethings happening to you that you didn’t want to happen….but you have to have trust in His Will.

What do I mean by that? Be okay with everything? Even if something really terrible happens in our life? And, still have hope in Him? Isn’t that a bit too much? Nope, it isn’t!

See, I know these sort of questions really pop-up in our heads sometimes, especially when something which we did not want to happen takes place, but the answer for all these just depends on one criterion: How much do we love Allah? Do we love him enough to trust His decisions in our life? If yes, then no matter what situation we land up in, we would just not lose trust in Him. The reality is that we don’t know what’s best for ourselves- He does. Whatever He brings us, He brings us out of His Mercy and Wisdom and His desire to see us reach jannah! “Failing to pass your driver’s test” for example might just be Allah’s way of protecting you from a really bad accident….His Will is always for the Best..

Actions to be initiated – As I said earlier, everyone knows what their ‘sin’ is and what they have to deal with…We also know what other good deeds we should be doing - but it’s not enough to just make a really good long-term profitable plan and just keep it in our heads. We can’t really do just that, can we? So once we’ve realized that we want to change, just keeping it as a thought would not really help us. Actions are what really make a plan successful. We have to break it down to small steps and big goals and we have to keep checking our progress. Of course, it’s exactly when we are trying to implement these changes in our lives, that shaytan may just find a perfect opportunity to come and distract us from doing something good. He will try his best to make us procrastinate any good deed planned. Then, again it is our will in the end and we have to really believe in ourselves to initiate those actions.

Never Lose Hope in the Mercy of Allah – Firstly, how can we do it when we are instructed never ever to do it? Few of us are used as a primary target of shaytan’s multi-sins plan, he makes us believe that we have done so much bad that there is no way on this earth that Allah can forgive us. He makes us think that our evil deeds are greater than the mercy of Allah…Unfortunately, sometimes we fall into this very evil and sneaky trap of his—we start thinking ‘no point in stopping our sins..we’ll never be forgiven….hey, maybe we should even stop doing any good”.

You know what this all translates to? A big time party for shaytan..

The truth couldn’t be any further. He is Allah, the one who has given you life out of nothingness, don’t you think He would not love what He has created? Remember, HE chose for His Mercy to prevail over His wrath- don’t you think He would forgive you then? Doesn’t He come down every night and ask if there is anyone who wants to repent? Do you still think you don’t have a shot?

Growth of Emaan – Ensuring this is a bit tricky, especially with the mood swings we girls go through *cough* sometime of the month *cough* or then again maybe it is just me :P Emaan also needs renewal because it fades away, sometimes too quick or sometimes a bit slow. To ensure the growth of it we will have to sit down and see what is it that really enhances or grows our Emaan, is it some blog? *ahem* or some video on Youtube? Some particular speaker? Some reading of Qur'an? Mention of Allah’s attributes? Some good Islamic show? Going to a halaqah? Etc. Whatever it is, we have to make some effort and care for our Emaan. We must just get to know the ways with which even if there’s no growth, then at least we can maintain the level of Emaan we currently hold.

Engaging in Good Deeds – Yes, we know Ramadan is over, so the current stock market of the ‘’Sawaab’’is not really at its peak for another few months. So we do not really have a lot of motivating reasons for engaging ourselves in doing good deeds. But this thing about Islam is so beautiful that leave alone doing a good deed, even when we think of it we have some sawaab transferred in our account. (but by this I am no way suggesting that we should just think of good deeds :P and be at ease with our akhirah) we must of course engage ourselves in it, even if it means bringing water to every family member of ours who comes from outside or teaching somebody a thing or two about Islam, or even if it is giving charity and we know we don’t have to have money to give charity :P our smile to our brother itself is like doing charity. And if you have a brother like mine, then trust me it REALLY is a charity ;)

Self Control – This is the area where I myself need about a million tonnes of motivation. But there is one fact which can really help us in maintaining those high-standards of self-control. The knowledge that Allah is watching, and the way this knowledge effects our hearts. For few of us, it may not effect at all. Few might be a bit aware, and few might just avoid every evil because of that knowledge. Which category of these people do we fall in? Sometimes we have to ask ourselves those tough questions which we tend to avoid most of the times, ‘’What if Allah takes away my life doing this particular sin?’’, ‘’What would I say when he asks me why I was doing this’’, ‘’Would HE my creator, be pleased with me if I do it?’’, ‘’When my master despises something, How can I desire it?’’ Let us try doing self-assessments from time-to-time to analyse the level of self-control we hold and what we are doing to reach up to the level of standards created by our previous pious predecessors. I think we can do this, I believe we can, actually. Let’s hold our heads high and do some amazing job at being a Muslim.

You can come back anytime with the progress of your C.H.A.N.G.E.S and no, you don’t really have to show it in some excel sheet or complex graphs :P .. Just write us a line or two and we’d be SO happy for you <3


Suicide- the solution?!!

>> Monday, September 13, 2010

I’ve started reading your blog after my sister introduced it to me… and somehow I think it’s great that I can finally rely on someone on this matter (I’m so sorry for the long letter, but I really need a few advice on how to deal with such things). I have a friend I’ve just met about 3 months ago after entering college. I don’t know how, but we somehow clicked with each other. But I never noticed (maybe a few signs, but never the huge one) that she was beginning to think that death is better for her. I did noticed that she was somehow upset and depressed with something, but I just couldn’t grasp what it was all about… not until she broke down and told me everything just 2 weeks ago.

She had a problem with her dad and she was always frustrated with her mother because her mother never complained, even though her dad treated her mother really badly. Always calling her mother fat and stuff until she cried and starts to think that liposuction could help her to look more beautiful. In the midst it, my friend ran away from home at the age of 18 after she couldn’t stand anymore of it. She got married to someone she know at London and they were blessed with a healthy son. She said that it was the happiest year in her entire life.

But when she heard a news about her mother getting sick (thyroid cancer), she returned home just for the sake of her beloved mother. Her mother died soon after that. She was so upset but there was nothing she could do. She wanted to return back to her husband (at London), but to her surprise, her passport has gone missing (she suspected her dad had took it away). Ever since then, her dad had been stressing her greatly by forcing her to divorce her husband! But she declines it with much force.

One thing leads to another; her dad managed to force her to enter college even though all she wanted was to be a housewife. But seeing the odds were great against her (with her dad freezing her bank accounts and all), she couldn’t do anything. She left her son in the care of her closest aunt and start studying in the same college I’m attending. She stayed in the hostel and made good friends. She could still get in touched with her husband through skype, so she wasn’t that upset yet. Not until…
Eid Mubarak arriving and she had to go home. What had upset her most was:
1) Her son didn’t recognize her after not seeing her for almost 1 month

2) Her dad had remarried even though her mother had just passed away 3 months ago

3) Her dad cutting off the internet connection at home and she couldn’t get in touch with her husband!

I knew all of this through hand phone, so I couldn’t pat her back like I always do, or hug her when she cries. Her hometown is very far from my own and I couldn’t be there for her in this dire situation. What had shocked me the most was that she started to say things like how much she wanted to die and all? I have tried my best in giving her advice and reminding her that it is HARAM to commit suicide! I’m scared for her since I know that she once had a history of overdose! I’m trying my best to reach out for her, but I think I’m already at my limit since what else could a 17 year old girl like me do than giving a pat at the back?

Please… I need some help! How can I persuade her? I’ve been praying to Allah SWT to give her His guidance day and night, but I’m still scared with all of this. It’s affecting my mind too... somehow!

A concerned and scared 17 year old girl.

Dear A concerned and scared 17 year old girl,

My poor sis, what a load you have had to bear these past 2 weeks! Thinking that your friend might do something desperate and kill herself must have been driving you 'crazy' from worry. I can imagine that after clicking 'send' this email, you might have felt a little like you 'broke your friend's trust', but I want to reassure you that you did the RIGHT thing. You did this because you CARE about your friend. The truth is, the fact that you sent this question to me shows me that you’re a very good friend, mashaAllah!! I’d want someone like you on my side.

Now, I was thinking- if you want, you can tell her the truth- that you reached out for help for because she matters that much…because she is important…and because she is our sister in Islam. I mean you can tell her you sent in an anonymous question, but if you feel that would upset her, then don’t do it. You can just give her our advice yourself which basically is...

Begin by reminding her that this life is a test and she was created for eternal bliss.

Acknowledge that she is in pain and suffering but remind her that Allah loves her. You can tell her something like this:

“Right now, I know you’re hurting really bad and things seem completely out of your hands. But I want you to remember something: suicide is never the answer to your problems. Allah (SWT) loves you. That’s right. He loves you. The closest people to Allah are the ones He tests the most.

And He has wisdom in every single thing He does even if you can’t see it right now. I want you to stop a moment and to think about that….really think about it.”

Try to boost her emaan a bit by reminding her of other people’s trials- really try to get her to visualize it. You could say something like this:

*Friend’s name*, sweetie, do you realize how similar your story is to one of the Mother of the Believers? Yes!! What you are going through right now is so much like what our mother UmmSalamah went through.

(Here’s a reminder of her story for you, hehe.) When the Qurayshis ‘upped’ the level of their torture and it became sooooo unbearable, the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam gave permission for the Companions to do hijrah to the Abyissinia, right.

Umm Salamah and her husband and son got ready to emigrate…as Umm Salamah literally got on the camel to go, her tribe came running to stop her. They told her husband that he could go as he wanted, but that she ‘was theirs’, and she couldn’t go! Just like how your friend’s father isn’t letting her go back to her husband.

But you know what else happened? Well, her husband’s tribe got angry that her tribe was also taking the son with them. They claimed the son ‘was theirs’. They grabbed him. (In fact, the two tribes fought over the poor boy, hurting his little hand!)

In her own words, she says:

They took him by the hand and pulled him away from me. Suddenly, in the space of a few moments, I found myself alone and lonely. My husband headed for Madinah by himself and his clan had snatched my son away from me. My own clan, Banu Makhzum, overpowered me and forced me to stay with them.

Can you imagine? She was separated away from them for an entire YEAR! At a time when there was no telephone/computer/etc. Nothing. And don’t forget- the majority of the Arabs were illiterate so there wasn’t any snail mail either!

For months, all she could do was cry and cry. Finally, a man pleaded on her behalf and she was free to take her son and join her husband.

She quickly grabbed her camel and headed in the direction of Madinah. Remember, she was ‘a woman’ and she was completely alone in the desert- at that time, it really wasn’t safe for women to do that!

But Allah subhanoo Wa’ tala, He had plans for her. After traveling 3 miles she met up with Uthman ibn Talhah who at the time was still not Muslim- but being a great and noble gentleman, he chivalrously insisted that he escort her all the way to Madinah (despite not having anything to do there!). As soon as she arrived, he left her and the family was happily reunited…

And yet, her story doesn’t end there. During the the Battle of Uhud, Umm Salamah’s husband, Abu Salamah was greatly wounded. At the end of the battle, he was terribly sick. While his wife nursed him, he said to her,
"I heard the Messenger of Allah saying whenever a calamity afflicts anyone he should say, 'We belong to Allah and to Him shall we return; O Allah, with You I leave my plight for consideration, reward me for my affliction and give me something better than it in exchange for it.'"

Soon after, her dear husband passed away. She remembered the prayer her husband had quoted from the Prophet and began repeating it, "O Lord, with you I leave this my plight for consideration…." But she could not bring herself to continue with "O Lord, give me something better than it in exchange for it." She kept asking herself, "Who could be better than Abu Salamah?" But after a while she completed the supplication….

And you know who she ended up marrying, right?

The Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam, himself!!

My point with all this? Although in the midst of everything happening, the world may seem very black- an unfriendly, cold place, in the end it becomes obvious that everything happens for a reason. Allah subhanoo Wa’ Tala says, “Verily with hardship is ease”!

In fact, the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam said:

“Whatever befalls a Muslim of exhaustion, illness, worry, grief, nuisance or trouble, even though it may be no more than a prick of a thorn, earns him forgiveness by Allah of some of his sins.

Sa'd (Radiya Allah anhoo) reported that the Prophet (sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam) said: " The most in their suffering among the people are the prophets, then the best, then the (next) best. One is afflicted in accordance with his deen (faith). If his deen is firm his affliction is hard, and if his deen is weak, his affliction is light. Indeed, one would be so much subjected to adversity until he walks among the people without any sins. " [Ahmad, Tirmithee ]

Once you’ve tried to boost her emaan (which btw you can also try from here:), try thinking together of a solution…a real one instead of suicide. Tell her: I know that right now things seem really really bad, but if we work together, I really think we can come up with a plan of action. I believe things can turn around, but we’ve got to zoom out a little from the problem and zoom IN on what can be done. What do you think about that? Does that sound okay? We take a look at what we can do instead of what we can’t :)

Like what? Well….

I’m sure you’ve already told her this but just in case you haven’t, suggest that she needs to sit down with her dad and have an honest discussion with him. She needs to tell him that as much as she knows he has rights over her as a father and as important as he is to her, she is a mother and a wife. She needs to recognize that she hurt him when she ran away and she needs to tell him that she want him to be a part of her life but that she has her own son and husband to think about now and she is deeply unhappy without them. She should also try to find a compromise about university- why doesn’t she tell him she’s stilling willing to go to college but that she wants to go to one in London so that she can be with her family. Or that she want to continue studying but she wants to wait a few years until her son is a little older? Or that she’d rather get an online degree? As much as her father has hurt her in the past, he might seriously be worried about her future and a college degree, today, is practically essential.

There’s another very important reason why she needs to talk to her dad and that has to do with the Islamic validity of her marriage. Islamically, a girl needs her wali’s consent to get married which is generally considered the ‘father’. Now, you didn’t mention what happened in this case, but if there was no wali, your friend should as soon as possible discuss this issue together with an Imam/scholar and her father and try and see how things can be sorted out. Let me make it clear, again, that the majority of scholars believe that a woman who weds a man without a wali isn’t considered married- so this needs to be resolved ASAP.

Now, as for her father remarrying- as much as we love our parents, they are human too and they have human needs. Try to gently talk to your friend about the fact her father’s step wife won’t replace her mother but she is a part of the family now. I’m not denying the fact that 3 months is a short time- but we have to also respect the fact that he did wait until after she died before having another relationship. Unfortunately, there are thousands of men who commit adultery. He didn’t do that. He might not have been the perfect husband- he might have been a lousy one, but at the end of the day, he stayed with her when she was sick with cancer. He didn’t walk away. More importantly, maybe your friend’s step-wife can help her. Encourage your friend to try to develop a relationship with her and then to try to appeal to her motherly side. If she isn’t that nice to her, maybe she can appeal to her selfish side- as in your friend might want to consider convincing her stepmother to pressure her dad to let her go back. Most newlyweds don’t want ‘an extra’ person around….

But what if her dad is completely unreasonable and she has discussed the issue with a scholar and has been told that she has the right to leave her father and go to her husband: (Again- she’s talked to a Muslim scholar and he’s studied her case properly)

  •  Your friend may try to get a grandparent/ uncle/ aunt/ someone her father respects to plead her case for her one last time...
  •  If that doesn’t work, she might want to think about working on getting a new passport. She can call her local consulate and tell them she’s misplaced her passport and would like to travel as soon as possible. They should be able to tell you what to do. Remember, passports are replaceable…lives are not! Once you have your own passport, again, she won’t be a prisoner
  • She needs a lawyer’s help/ she needs to do some research- find out how/ why her dad was able to freeze her bank accounts. If there is no way for her to access the money that was already in her account, then she needs to start looking for some part time work. I know she’s studying, but she could try babysitting a few hours in the weekend or tutoring some kids in the community. With her own pocketbook, she won’t have to rely on her dad as much. Another solution: she could get her hubby to send money every month to a very close friend’s account who would then give it to you and you’d give to her…
  • What about your friend trying to use the Internet in her university to talk to her hubby? If your campus doesn’t have Internet, she can try visiting a friend’s house and using theirs. Or how about going to an Internet cafĂ©? If none of those options are possible, why doesn’t she try SMSing her hubby? You didn’t mention his financial situation but maybe he could try calling every once in a while?

Other than that, you should try to remind your friend of the fact that her son needs her. Remind her that she said that her best year was the year with her husband and son—that can happen again…she just needs patience. Ask her what she misses most about her son? Get her to talk about him and open up. Ask her how she felt when she was pregnant, how they picked the name, etc. Then, gently ask her, “Don’t you want to be there for him on his first day of school? Don’t you want to make his lunch for him? Tell him goodnight stories? Kiss his boo boos away”? Let het realize what she will be purposefully missing out if she decides to kill herself.

And, I’m pretty sure I don’t have to say this but, anyways, it’s important though that you are very gentle in your approach and that you do not make it sound like she’s some kinda wacko for considering suicide- just remind her that she still has her son and that he's not actually gone!

I do realize she must have been terribly hurt when he didn’t recognize her when she was on skype, but the same thing happened to me (almost). When I moved away, my 2 year old niece didn’t recognize me when I tried to webcamera chat with her- even though I had practically been her second mother. Well, at first it really hurt, but I kept making contact with her. Your friend’s husband should keep showing pictures of his wife to the child, reminding him of his mom. Your friend can even do what I did which was take pictures of myself and then add some of my niece’s favorite characters on to the picture…I kept going on and singing to her her favorite songs, making funny faces. She didn’t fully respond as before, but when she finally came to visit me (in the new country we’d move to), after a few minutes of initial shyness, she soon was playing and coloring with me…hanging out just like before.

The truth is her son will always be her son and he needs her…!

InshaAllah that will get to her, but if it doesn’t seem to get to her, the important thing for you to do is to stay strong. Tell your friend to call you whenever she begins to ‘despair’. If several days pass, you should also try calling her. Don’t be afraid to ask her how she’s feeling--- ask her, do you still feel like death would be better? Did anything happen lately that you want to talk about? Let her know that she can be honest with you. More importantly, always end your conversations with her reminding her how much she means to you. Tell her she has an incredible spirit/she’s beautiful inside and out/etc. Words like that can have an amazing effect. Tell her that you wish you could hug her and be there for her, etc.

However, if she still shows signs that she is majorly considering suicide, don’t be afraid to talk to a professor/counselor/someone and have someone intervene. In fact, you should do that! Your friend has a history of overdose- so, this is really serious.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, remind your friend to try to deepen her relationship with Allah. There is nothing He cannot do. There is nothing to difficult for Him. When all we see are closed doors, He opens a window in ways we never would have thought were possible. Tell your friend to keep making dua- to keep making istifgaar- to keep making extra prayers and acts of worship to please Him and to always have a positive image of Him. Perhaps Allah put her through this test for her to focus on Him… maybe she hasn’t really been paying Him too much attention and He wanted to turn her back to Him. This is her chance…she just has to seize it.

We know she can do it! It's time she stops running away....and starts facing her problems. It's the only way that they'll really go away =)

May Allah keep your friend from any harm,


P.s. Readers please share your words of encouragement (in the event that her friend does read this/for any sister that may be considering suicide. You don’t know whose life you may save!)

P.s.s. bits of Umm Salamah's story taken from here: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1209357788368&pagename=Zone-English-Living_Shariah/LSELayout


It's Just Cultural- You Don't Have to Wear that Thing

>> Saturday, September 11, 2010

i grew up in a community where it is normal to wear or not to wear hijab.i started wearing hijab at such a young age that i can't even remember the period that i didn't wear it (well you can blame on my short-term memory as well). Hijab is a normal thing to me, like a bra.Always there but never really feel the presence of it and its importance.when i came to study in Australia, that's when i realised i never did understand the true meaning of hijab. [at first,] the weird glances.the weird comments.the weird reactions all were totally new to me but alhamdulillah, it didn't bug me much .I started to learn Islam,like really learning it;the true virtues of being a muslimah .i realise that people do judge the things i do and the decisions i make and i don't want them to think bad about Islam if i did anything wrong.I stumbled upon your blog a month ago and alhamdulillah it's now a part of my life.i can never end my day without checking your blog.Thank you soo much for all the inspirational posts and advises! May Allah grant you jannah :)

Recently,I got this comment from my lab demonstrator at uni: "That thing you're wearing(hijab),i know it's not a religious thing,rather it's a cultural thing.You girls have been brainwashed to believe that it is. I've checked and i know there's nothing about covering heads in the quran and i don't want you girls to be ignorant about it."

and she told me about her story that she met a religious muslim couple and they told her that hijab was not a religious thing. she told us to 'blend in' as it would attract attention,which contradicts with the objective of wearing hijab at the first place.She's a feminist and has this way of thinking that hijabis are ignorant, brainwashed and oppressed.She sounds a bit annoying,but she's really nice when she didn't talk about this topic haha.

There's so much that I can say to prove to her that she's wrong and i don't know where else to ask for help except from u aunties.


p/s: sorry it's a bit long,i was planning on a short but concise message but wasn't able to.so pls bare with me :p

The sister who need guidance

Dearest the Sister Who Needs Guidance!

Ma'shaAllah to you for becoming more religious and really learning about Islam and what it means to be a true Muslim. I think for many of us, we at first simply 'inherit Islam'. It takes effort on our part to decide to really understand what Islam really is, our obligations, etc., so Ma'shaAllah to you!

Also, we're so honored that you read our blog daily :) The truth though is that without you guys's questions, though, the blog wouldn't really work, so you deserve a pat on the back yourself =)

Now the thing about your question- it's a pretty complicated situation! There are several different approaches you can try to use—since we don’t know her, we can’t recommend which one will work best. You try with what you feel she will respond to best, inshaAllah, or even a combination, lol.

But first, whatever you do, it’s best to start off by letting her know that you appreciate her concern. Thank her graciously for taking some of her own time and caring enough about you that she would try and help you ‘see the light’. Be kind and courteous- then, you can use the

  1. You ‘are not brainwashed’ method
Remind her that you are an educated girl, pursuing your career, studying abroad in university, living in a society where if you wanted to, you could easily take it off and no one would notice/say anything. That means you made the DECISION, yourself, to keep it on, day after day.

Don’t just stop there, though. Explain to your lab instructor that you made an ‘informed’ decision. You see, your lab instructor is half right. To some people it is cultural. In fact, it was once almost cultural for you. You yourself began wearing it not really understanding its purpose. But then, you chose to dedicate yourself more to your religion and really learn about it. Explain to her that now that you have read up on it and know the different interpretations of the ‘hijab verses’ (although just between us almost all ‘real controversy’ today exists only on whether or not the verses refer to hijab or niqab, not actually on whether the hijab is obligatory), you are fully convinced of the interpretation that does include covering the ‘hair’. You choose to follow that interpretation. Your choice of interpretation if not understood by others should at least be respected…

Also, since she brought it up, you should explain that you are fully aware that the Qur’an does not literally use the word ‘hair’, but that it does refer to covering certain parts of the body and adornments and an implication of a woman’s adornment is her hair.

More importantly though, as Muslims, we have 2 important sources that guide us: the Qur’an and Prophet Mohammed sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam. There are many things in the Qur’an that are ‘unspecified’-for example, the Qur’an says over and over again “give charity and pray” but it doesn’t mention how much or how. We learn these from the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam. The Qur’an wasn’t sent ‘alone’, but it was sent with the Messenger sallah Alahoo alyhee wa salam and he was clearly reported as saying things that indicated the hair should be covered.

2.      “Feminism” method-

Tell her that although she may find the hijab restrictive, you don’t find it any way restrictive. Instead, you find it liberating. It liberates you from the ever fickle fashion industry (designed mainly without real women in mind) which continually manages to make girls dissatisfied with themselves and has them believe that in order to be beautiful, they have to ‘sell themselves’. The hijab makes you comfortable with the inner you! Explain that while many woman seem to feel that their worth is only in how much they reveal, for you, your worth is decided by your intellect and what you as a person really has to offer.

Show that you feel that the hijab is the ‘ultimate feminist tool’.

Also, while discussing this point, you should address her concern that hijabis are oppressed or backwards. You may want to explain that in some parts of the world, such as Egypt, most of the female population don the hijab. Despite this, they are still engineers, doctors, nurses, graphic designers, artists, etc. The hijab doesn’t render them [nor you] incapable of doing something. It simply reflects a commitment you have with God….

The fact is what stands in the way of a hijabi girl’s life is not actually her veil- it is the (welcoming or unwelcoming) attitudes around her surrounding the veil.

When policies bar hijabis from education/from schools/from work places/etc., then, they fuel oppression and bar the women from living their lives fully. Not their hijabs!

At this point, you might also want to take the time to explain two things:

a)That men have their own kind of ‘hijab’ as well
b) how Islam came and championed women’s rights. Tell her this startling fact- the first university was created by two Muslim women sisters!

3. I like it method/ the individualist method

First, in order to do this method, you need to correct this misconception she has. The purpose of the hijab isn’t about ‘blending in’. The fact is that we are told to wear hijab to be recognized that we are pious, righteous women/ Muslim women. That means the hijab should differentiate us from others.

“O you Prophet, say to your spouses and your daughters and the women of believers, that they draw their outer garments (jalabibhun (plural of the Arabic word: jilbab) closer to them; that will (make) it likelier that they will be recognized and so will not be hurt. And Allah has been Ever-Forgiving, Ever-Merciful.” ( 33:59).

What’s more we as Muslims are actually not told to ‘blend in’- we’re told to be different. We have a narration of the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam where we are called ‘strangers’…that doesn’t mean that we are rebelling against people or countries but that we choose not to change ourselves or our principals no matter where we are and that does make us a little different.

The purpose of the hijab isn’t then to ‘blend in’, but it is to help a person protect their modesty and the best way to protect one’s modesty is to obey God….

After explaining all that to her, you have to make it clear that you like that! Explain that you yourself won’t settle for being ordinary! Nope, you’re different, unique, extraordinary and you like being that way. She can't argue with that, LOL.

Not only that, but wearing the hijab allows you to be an ambassador to your religion. It allows you to invite people to God.

You can also try to reason with her logically. Why is it that today people can dye their hair X color and style it a certain way to let know others know that they are ‘emo/X/whatever’- but that when you want to identify yourself with your religion and your way of life, it just means your brainwashed?

Also, here you can start discussing ‘diversity’. We keep talking about how we are a global people and that we should accept diversity in all its sizes, shapes and colors. Yet, do we really practice what we preach?

Finally, every workplace has a uniform- you can say, “I like the thought that God chose my uniform for me”.

Well, sis, these are just some thoughts on how to deal with her. inshaAllah this will all end up being a great dawah opportunity for you! Who knows? She may get interested into reading more about Islam and women's rights, etc. =) Wouldn’t that be awesome?

May Allah keep you steadfast on the deen and all of us, Ameen!

P.S. I love how you said wearing hijab was normal like a 'bra', heheh! :P

P.S.S. Is it hard to read this post? It appears 'very tiny' to me? Let me know if it is!


Eid Mubarek

Asalamu aliakum wa rahmatullah wa barkatoo!

Dearest Sisters,

The little aunties hope you all had a blessed Eid. May Allah accept all of your worship that you did in Ramadan and keep you steadfast after =)

I do want to announce that our 'temporary break is officially over'. We did receive all of the emails and have been going through them. We apologize for the inconvenience and the amount of time it has taken us to reply-- we're just getting started, lol, but Jazakun Allah koli khair for bearing with us. inshaAllah we'll be answering all of you very soon!

Lots of love,

the whole crew :)


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