He Was Mean

>> Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Salamz little aunties,

I've never been one to send in a question to a blog, but here goes nothing. Growing up, my parents fought a lot. Let's just say my father was very mean and strict. He was religious but in a way that didn’t make you like religion, if you know what I mean? Well, my parents ended up divorcing and I grew up with my mother. My mother was never that religious but she was a very good person and very kind. When I became a teenager, I met my dad again and he seemed different, a little nicer, actually, but a big part of me still resents him.

I know I’m taking a long time to get to it, but I just feel like I have to explain everything. Basically, my biggest problem now is that I am torn between wanting to be more religious and not being able to forget the bad memories of my father. I really don’t want to be like my dad. Whenever I think about growing more religious, a little voice inside says ‘it would be better to be like my mother…”

So I really don't know what to do.


Dearest Anon,
Asalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barkatoo,

My sweet sis. One of the most painful things in the world is to ‘be on the sidelines’ and watch your parents argue/ fight. It can be even more painful when you feel that one of your parents is ‘wronging the other’ one. I know that we want to protect our parents from hurt, as well, so I can imagine that you must have felt extremely bad for your mother….

But as for your particular question, my sweets, I really think you need to ask yourself a major question,

Why do you think you need to make a choice here between being like your mother and being like your father?

What I really mean by that though is: why do you think you need to decide to either
a. Be more religious [‘like your father’]
b. Or be kind and gentle [like your mother]

The way I see it is that you absolutely do NOT need to make a decision such a decision. You only need to redefine what being religious means….

Being religious is acknowledging that you have One Lord, and that He has rights over you. It is admitting that you have a Master and that He alone is worthy of your worship….not your job, not your friends, not your computer, even.

It means dedicating your life to your Sustainer, the Most Merciful: deciding that He has a say in the way you dress, what you eat, what you watch, etc. It means keeping the covenant with Him and praying the prescribed prayers, fasting as He has ordained, and avoiding all that He has forbidden (as much as you can), and returning to Him whenever you make a mistake.

It absolutely has nothing to do with being ‘harsh’ or ‘mean.’

In fact:

In a hadith, the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam was reported to have said:
“None of you believe until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself”.

Can you imagine then how important it is to be polite to others? To care about others? To be kind?

Let’s take a look at a very important hadith:

Abu Hurayra said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was asked, 'Messenger of Allah! A certain woman prays in the night, fasts in the day, acts and gives sadaqa, but injures her neighbours with her tongue.' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'There is no good in her. She is one of the people of the Fire.' They said, 'Another woman prays the prescribed prayers and gives bits of curd as sadaqa and does not injure anyone.' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'She is one of the people of the Garden.'"

Do you see what this hadith is saying? Part of being religious IS being kind to others. It is not "only dividing religion between you and Allah” (as in praying extra prayers but being mean to His creatures), but realizing that religion encompasses the relationship you have with OTHERS! The way you treat others is a reflection of your piety.

In fact, we have an entire surah in the Qura’n that revolves around this:
Have you seen the one who denies the Recompense? (1)For that is the one who drives away the orphan (2) And does not encourage the feeding of the poor. (3) So woe to those who pray (4) [But] who are heedless of their prayer - (5) Those who make show [of their deeds] (6) But refuse (to supply) (even) neighbourly needs. (7) [Chapter Al Ma’un]

Let’s also take a look at this hadith qudsi:

Allah subhanoo Wa’ Tala says:

O son of Adam, I fell ill and you visited Me not. He will say: O Lord, and how should I visit You when You are the Lord of the worlds? He will say: Did you not know that My servant So-and-so had fallen ill and you visited him not? Did you not know that had you visited him you would have found Me with him? O son of Adam, I asked you for food and you fed Me not. He will say: O Lord, and how should I feed You when You are the Lord of the worlds? He will say: Did you not know that My servant So-and-so asked you for food and you fed him not? Did you not know that had you fed him you would surely have found that (the reward for doing so) with Me? O son of Adam, I asked you to give Me to drink and you gave Me not to drink. He will say: O Lord, how should I give You to drink whin You are the Lord of the worlds? He will say: My servant So-and-so asked you to give him to drink and you gave him not to drink. Had you given him to drink you would have surely found that with Me.

It was related by Muslim.

So being religious means helping your Muslim brothers and sisters. It also means having a good character.
Abu Darda (Radiya Allah Anhoo) narrated that the Prophet (Sallah Allahoo Alyhee wa salam.) said, “There is nothing heavier than good character put in the scale of a believer on the Day of Resurrection.” (Abu Dawud, 4781)

Do you see what we’re saying? Nowhere does it say that in order to be religious one has to be very ‘strict’ and ‘mean’. In fact, Allah subhanoo Wa’ Tala also says:
"It is part of the Mercy of Allah that you dealt gently with them. Were you severe or harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you" [ 3:159]

This verse is referring to the Prophet. Our prophet was kind and gentle. He was also our role-model, the example that Allah told us to follow. When we imitate his merciful nature/ his sunnah (the way he would always smile, etc.), we are ‘being religious’.

In fact,

Being religious means giving charity; caressing the head of an orphan, forgiving people, and not accusing people of things they have not committed. It is not lying, it is saying the truth, it is not being racist. A white is not better than a black, and a Arab is not better than a foreigner and a foreigner is not better than an Arab except in taqwa (piety).

Being religious means visiting the sick, respecting the elderly, being gentle to your parents, treating your neighbors good. It means being peaceful, it means honoring your promises, it means treating people like brothers and sisters, it means not harming yourself or harming others, it means calling your friends with names that they like, not talking about people behind their back.

So what do you think, sis, of this (really long, lol) definition, sis? Will you decide to be more religious? Will you aim to be a person of the Garden?

Lots of love,
P.S. Even though I am pretty sure I do not have to say this, I just want to let you know that becoming more religious does not mean that you are siding with your father- it in no way reflects negatively on your mother.


You guys make good aunties!

>> Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Asalamu ailakuam wa rahmatullah wa barkatoo!

Wow, Ma’shaAllah, we had such GREAT replies, I decided to post up my reply so that others would be sure to read your replies and also contribute to our 101 Project. And yeah, my comment in response to your comments was waaaay too long anyways :P)

Jnana, I totally agree. I remember once a da’ee was addressing this issue. He said “Girls, when you are around guys, your faces should be like ‘wood’”….It sounds funny in English but it’s sorta like being an ‘ice princess’. I know a lot of girls think “But he’s going to think I’m so rude if I don’t add him on facebook/ if I don’t stop and say hello and…etc.” but the reality is that it’s really us who sets the limits. If you make it clear from the beginning that you don’t talk to ANY guys, they’ll understand it’s not personal…but once you start with the ‘oh, he’s my brother in Islam, I’ll just smile, let’s just exchange emails, let me ask him about his mother/brother/sister/school/work,” you really can’t ‘stop it’……It’s like ‘friendliness’ opens up (can I say it?) Pandora’s box. It’s best instead to keep your relationships professional.

Oh and always remember that guys are wired differently from girls. There has been a few studies also on how guys and girls interpret each other’s ‘behavior’ and you’ll be surprised to know that many times guys get the signal that you are ‘flirting’ with them, when you really don’t mean anything by it….so again, remember that you might think you are ‘being friendly’ but he ‘might be interpreting quite differently’.

Athoofa, you are so right about having at least one friend that can keep you on the path.

Our friends really do have a huge impact on us. SubhanAllah, the Qura’n even warns us of taking certain people as friends:

On the Day of Judgment, some people will be saying: (O! Would that I had taken a path with the Messenger. Ah! Woe to me! Would that I had never taken so-and-so as an intimate friend!) Surat Al Furqan.
I love how you said to ‘look outside’. (Uni, try this!!) You know, me, athoofsy. (For those who don’t know, we met on a forum like 5 years ago and have met in real life, alhamdillah..I wuv her!!)…I also looked to Islamic forums and found a lot of support there. I also learned a LOT of things. Yes, I did waste some of my time, but I believe wasting my time there was a lot better than wasting my time in other things.

Not only that, but I want to tell my sisters this—if you aren’t the best Muslim that you can be, what you can try doing is LOVING someone (hey, we’re talking halal honest sisterly love) who you think (inshaAllah) is a really good Muslimah. Love someone for the sake of Allah….the reward is unbelievable. Remember what the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhaee wa salam said? He said that we will be in paradise with who we LOVE!

Also, there's the hadith of Mu'adh who said that the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Allah (subhanahu wa ta`ala) said: 'Those who love one another for My glory, will have minbars of light, and the Prophets and martyrs will wish that they had the same." [Reported by al-Tirmidhi, who said it is a hasan sahih hadith]

In another hadith "we are told that Almighty Rabb will greet those who love each other for His sake on the Day of Resurrection and say to them: "Where are those who loved one another for My glory? Today I will shade them in My shade on the Day when there is no shade but Mine." (Muslim)

Alhamdillah, I was able to meet and discover many sisters online that I truly love simply for His sake. In real life, I mess up, a LOT, but I hope that this love for these sisters will help me be in a better place, inshaAllah. Try it, y’all. It won’t hurt, inshaAllah. (OH and please try to stick to segregated forums.)

Jazaki Allah also for posting the wonderful hadith about strangers and all the links. We are the strangers :D

Uni, you don’t sound like a hypocrite to me! I think each and every one of us has something we need to work on…. Wearing hijab doesn’t mean that you are perfect. Not at all! If that was the case, none of us would wear hijab! Wearing hijab means that you believe in Allah and you are trying to submit to this particular commandment. We are all a work IN progress!

As for being lonely (besides trying online forums), have you tried going to the Masjid? Are there any conventions held in your area? How about ‘planning an event’ at your masjid? Show up on Fridays, say salaams, and then put up a sign that you’re going to have a girlie halaqah. You can just buy some c.d.s (like Muhammed Al Shareef’s)or you can research a topic and present the halaqah yourself. I bet you there are sisters there who are just as lonesome as you and wishing for better company. You just need someone to take charge!

I also wanted to show you this hadith:

Narrated Buraydah ibn al-Hasib:

I met Abu Bakr. He said: Who are you? He (Hanzalah) said: Hanzalah has turned out to be a hypocrite. He (Abu Bakr) said: Hallowed be Allah, what are you saying? Thereupon he said: I say that when we are in the company of Allah's Messenger we ponder over Hell-Fire and Paradise as if we are seeing them before our very eyes. When we are away from Allah's Apostle we attend to our wives, our children, our business; most of these things (pertaining to the after life) slip out of our minds. Abu Bakr said: By Allah, I also experience the same. So Abu Bakr and I went to Allah's Apostle and said to him: Allah's Apostle , Hanzalah has turned to be a hypocrite. Thereupon Allah's Apostle said: What has happened to you? I said: Allah's Apostle, when we are in your company, we are reminded of Hell-Fire and Paradise as if we are seeing them with our own eyes, but whenever we go away from you and attend to our wives, children and business, many of these things go out of our minds. Thereupon Allah's Apostle said: By Him in Whose Hand is my life, if your state of mind remains the same as it is in my presence and you are always busy in remembrance (of Allah), the angels will shake hands with you in your beds and on your paths. However, Hanzalah, time should be devoted (to the worldly affairs) and time (should be devoted to prayer and meditation). He (the holy Prophet) said this thrice.

Random, your comment was so beautiful. Reach out to Allah. No matter what. No matter what you did/ who you were….reach out even if you sometimes feel like your imaan has gone totally down and you will find that He will answer you. What you wrote reminded me of this verse in the Qur’an:

And [He also forgave] the three who were left behind [and regretted their error] to the point that the earth closed in on them in spite of its vastness and their souls confined them and they were certain that there is no refuge from Allah except in Him. Then He turned to them so they could repent. Indeed, Allah is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.

We run away from Allah’s wrath by running to HIM. We run to His Mercy. He is our Refuge. For those who have not read or heard before the ‘story’ behind these ayaat, try to read them. It’s the story of Ka’ab bin Malik….(somebody post a good lecture/article on it, hehe)

Let me share this with you guys, as well.

One of the companions during the Prophet's time was an alcoholic. Abd Allah, in fact, would often become so drunk that he had to be brought staggering through the streets before the Prophet (peace be upon him) to be sentenced for public drunkenness, and each time, the Prophet would rule to have the prescribed punishment carried out. This was a common occurrence.

After `Abd Allah had departed from one of these all too frequent sentencings, one of the Companion's declared about `Abd Allah: "O Allah curse him! How often he is summoned for this!"

The Prophet (peace be upon him): rebuked that Companion, saying: "Do not curse him, for I swear by Allah, if you only knew just how very much indeed he loves Allah and His Messenger." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (6282)] He then added: "Do not help Satan against your brother." 

Anonymous teen, what you said is sooooooooooo important. Stop caring about what others think. You know why? When it’s all said and done with, a part of you will feel unhappy/bad/rotten if you do something ‘wrong’ or don’t do something right (don’t pray/ don’t wear hijab) just to please others. That’s the way Allah created us. He created us with a desire to submit to Him. When you do something that isn’t really Islamically correct to please those around you, you will never be 100% happy. It’s like there’s this ‘pin bursting your little bubble’.

It’s only when you try to please Allah that you will taste real happiness. I remember when we were in 12th grade and the girls were all talking about going to Prom. (Muslim girls) It was hard, but I told them that I would not go. I sent an email to one girl who was even ‘planning’ the prom itself, explaining why I would not go. To my shock she wrote back and said “I truly respect you”. 

Now that was AWESOME. Why? Because I gained her respect by not compromising Allah’s orders. If I had compromised Allah’s orders she might have laughed with me/ we might have picked out our dresses/etc. but that ‘fun’ wouldn’t have lasted long and more importantly I would not have respected myself. I would have ‘sold Allah’s contract with me…His Love and Protection’ for the price of a something that really wasn’t worth it.

Actually your comment about being a happy loner and not caring what others think reminded me of this poem I wrote for a friend of mine who expressed that she did want to go to prom and hang out with the ‘those girls and just see what they do.” I thought I'd share this just in case somebody else here is struggling....

We were ‘ friends’,
But they never came along,
And they never said hi,
And they never listened,
And they never cared,
And we…well we could have cared less.

But it would have been nice,
Just to have been invited for once,
Just to have known everything that they do,
Just to have seen them do whatever it is that they do,
Just to have gotten dressed up,
And made fun of everything they do.

But you and me,
We were meant for something better,
We were meant for something special,
You and me,
We’re not just ordinary folk,
Our father was a prophet (Adam alyhee as salam),
And well…we’ve got a test from Allah,
That we need to ace.

So while they’re out partying,
And maybe having some fleeting fun,
And we’re home away from their music and dancing,
Know that we’re the special ones.

You and me,
We’re walking toward a garden of Delight,
We’re racing toward eternal bliss
And well…they,
they could care less.
You and me,
We don’t need them
We’ve got Allah on our side,
And to Him,
Do me and you Belong.

 As for my advice for teens- write about religion. Blog about it. keep a diary. Don't think of Islam as something you 'inherited'. Live it :) Also , like athoofa said, watch videos and lectures.

As for the question on how to give nasiha, I'd say "Give it, but ask yourself how would you like to be 'told' about your sins and how to correct them"? Allah told Prophet Moosa to be gentle with Firawan! I'm sure none of our friends are as bad as Firawan, right? So be gentle. At the same time, just do it. I know I need to work on it, myself. Online it's easier than offline :P 

Okay, y'all, keep your ideas coming in.....



>> Saturday, November 20, 2010

Asalamu aliakuam wa rahmatullah wa barkatoo, my darlings!

How are you all? We hope you have had a super duper wonderful (and delicious Eid). Things have been a little quiet here lately (well duh, with our internet still a bit cukooO), but we thought we'd turn over the blog to our readers....

Tell us! TEENS!

 What advice do you have for other Muslimah teens? How can they  stick to the deen? (HEY, that rhymes...well sorta!)

What quote really inspires you to be a better Muslim?

How did you decide to wear hijab?

Are you close with your parents? Your family?

Have you shared any stories/ experiences on your blog that you think others should read? Now's your chance to link it in the comments here :) Yuppers, shamelessly advertise your own blog. ( Seriously, people, I wanna read your blogs too and get to know you better :D)

What else? Well...What's keeping you from being a better Muslim? What is it that you're struggling with? Write it as anonymous and we can all work on it together.

This is the 1.0.1. Guide to being a Muslimah Teen written by YOU for YOU. 

Let's do this=)

Lots of love,
all the little aunties


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