The Best Advice

>> Friday, December 31, 2010

What more can I say? What words can I add to this...

(p.s. Little Miss Aunty and Little Auntie created these. Feel free to pass them on.
You can find more here)


A Little Mystical....

>> Thursday, December 30, 2010

As-Salaamu Alaikum! This might sound a little weird, considering I'm only fifteen, but I've been very interested in Islamic mysticism lately. I've been thinking about turning Sufi, but I'm not sure if I should do it. I don't want to do anything blasphemous though, so that's why I'm seeking advice. I'm currently Sunni, but I don't care much about sect. All I know is that I'm Muslim, but I have to use the term Sufi to explain that I want to "go deeper", if you get what I'm trying to say. If you guys think it's a safe choice, can you also explain the steps I have to take to become one?

Dearest Reluctant,

Wa’alykum as salam wa rahmatullah wa barkatoo,

Wow! It’s so nice to see a 15 year old interested in religion and wanting to go deeper. It’s also extremely admirable that you would ask someone before doing something that could be potentially blasphemous. So kudos to you, our little sister!

AS for your question….

Here’s the thing.

I think many of us are confused about what “Sufism” is exactly.

Let me explain that the original early Sufis weren’t exactly known as “Sufis”. Instead, they were very much what you could call “Sunni Muslims” who understood Islam by sticking to the Qur’an, the Prophet’s sunnah and the understanding of the salaf.

Their basic motivation was simply the very Islamic idea of “Zuhd” and "Tazkiyah".

Ibn Khaldun, the 14th century Arab historian, described Sufism as:

... dedication to worship, total dedication to Allah most High, disregard for the finery and ornament of the world, abstinence from the pleasure, wealth, and prestige sought by most men, and retiring from others to worship alone.

(Ibn Khaldun, quoted in Keller, Nuh Ha Mim, The Place of Tasawwuf in Traditional Islam,, 1995)

However, as time went on, Sufism began to change.

Strange, unIslamic ideas began to creep in and many of the so called ‘teachers’ were no longer learned in the teachings of the Sunnah and tafsir. (ETA: New sects developed that began to bring in ideas that were very much blasphemous.)

One such blasphemous idea was the idea that “Allah is everywhere". The true belief is that Allah is with us in His knowledge, His Seeing, His Power, His Hearing, etc. but He is above His creation. The Qu’ran clearly states:

"Do you feel secure that He, Who is fis-sama (above the heavens), will not cause the earth to sink…Or do you feel secure that He, Who is fis-sama (above the heavens) will not send against you a violent whirlwind?" [67:16-17
"To Him ascend (all) the goodly words, and the righteous deeds lift them."[35:10]

Furthermore, Jabir ibn Abdillah said: "The Messenger of Allah said in his speech on the day of Arafah: 'Did I convey (the Message).' They said: 'Yes.' While raising his finger to the sky and then pointing at them, he said: 'O my Lord, be a witness." [Muslim]

You can see more  proofs here

Unfortunately, this isn’t the only prevalent blasphemous idea that has come to be associated with Sufism.

IslamOnline explains some of their other blasphemous ideas:

For example, they claim that the inner “feelings of a Sufi are his source of guidance; through them he knows the lawful and the forbidden. That is why they [SOME MISGUIDED PEOPLE] always find faults with the scholars of Hadith who always say "So-and-so quotes so-and-so as saying…" They find such narration as inauthentic. Rather, a genuine statement, approved of by the Sufis, should begin with: “I was inspired by my Lord that” They also used to mock the scholars of Hadith saying: “You are fond of narrating statements from mortals. But we, Sufis, narrate our statements from Allah, the Everlasting Lord.”

Of course, I don’t think I need to explain that is completely wrong!

Read more here

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibraaheem has also said:

Sufis fall into two categories: Sunni Sufis and innovator Sufis. The good ones among them have only a little bidah, but some of them have a great deal of bidah, and some understood Sufism as supporting the belief in wahdat al-wujood (a form of pantheism).

Majmoo Fataawa Ibn Ibraaheem, 1, no. 192.

I think the best summary of  today's Sufism is:

Today Sufism is a name without a reality. It was once a reality without a name.

Abu l-Hasan Fushanji, quoted in Lings, Martin, What is Sufism?, The Islamic Texts Society, 1999, pg 45

So what is my advice to you? Am I saying that ‘you can’t go deeper’?

No, not at all.

In the very famous hadith where Jabril came and asked the Prophet questions, the Prophet said something very very ‘deep’.

“He (the inquirer- Jabril alyhee as salam) again said: Inform me about Ihsan.

"He (the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam) said: That you worship Allah as if you are seeing Him, for though you don't see Him, He, verily, sees you.”

Now that- Ihsan- is deep.

Just imagine living with Allah’s presence always clearly in your mind and clearly in your heart. If you want to feel more spiritual, if you want to taste ‘the deepness’, that is what you should strive for.

So how should you try to reach Ihsan?

Well! Take the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam as your ro-model.

The Qur’an says:

"Say: if you love Allâh, follow me and He will love you and forgive you your wrong actions." (3:31)

"You have a good model in the Messenger of Allâh for one who hopes for Allâh and the Last Day." (33:21)

1. Do all the obligatory things that Allah has commanded you to do and abstain from all that He has prohibited. Perform the nawafil.

Hadith Qudsi 25:

“….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. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it. I do not hesitate about anything as much as I hesitate about [seizing] the soul of My faithful servant: he hates death and I hate hurting him.                                                                        It was related by al-Bukhari.

2. Learn more about Allah’s Names and Attributes. When you learn more about His Names, you are confronted with His (utter) Perfection and our imperfection- His Magnificent abilities and our weaknesses.

For example, let’s take the name “Al Ghani”.

Moses said, "If you should disbelieve, you and whoever is on the earth entirely - indeed, Allah is Free of need (Al Ghani) and Praiseworthy." . (Surah Ibrahim, 14:8).

Reflecting on this Name, we realize that Allah is not in need of our faith, our worship or our obedience. If the whole world were to become unbelievers, that would not harm Him in the least. The truth is that His is an endless treasury. As opposed to this, we are all poor and all 'in need'. Even rich people. NO matter how rich they are, they are still dependent on Allah, and nothing stays in their hands. Allah said:

O My servants, I have forbidden oppression for Myself and have made it forbidden amongst you, so do not oppress one another. O 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.....

IF you can reflect and actually live with that Name, alone, you are bound to reach a higher state of Ihsan, because you will realize the truth of your relationship with Allah- He does not need you but you are in desperate need of Him.

IN fact, in another verse Prophet Mosa says: "My Lord, indeed I am, for whatever good You would send down to me, in need."

What else?

I’ll give you some more beautiful verses and then list a good website with short explanations of Allah’s Names.

- That is because Allah is the (only) Reality, and because whatever else they invoke besides Him is Falsehood; and because Allah, HE IS THE MOST HIGH, Most Great. Seest thou not that the ships sail through the Ocean by the grace of Allah? That He may show you of His Signs? Verily in this are Signs for all who constantly persevere and give thanks. When a wave covers them like the canopy (of clouds), they call to Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, but when He has delivered them safely to land, there are among them those that halt between (right and wrong). But none reject Our Signs except only a perfidious ungrateful (wretch)!

- If Allah helps you, no one can overcome you. If He forsakes you, who can help you? In Allah the believers should trust." (3:160)

He is Allah, besides whom there is no god. He has know¬ledge of everything, whether perceptible or imperceptible. He is the Beneficent, the Merciful. He is Allah, besides whom there is no god, the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One, the Giver of peace, the Keeper of faith, the Supreme, the Mighty one, the All powerful and the Majestic. Exalted be He above what they associate with Him. He is Allah, the Creator, the Originator, the Fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth gives glory to Him. He is the Mighty, the Wise". (Surah al Hashr, 59:22 24).

Here's the website

3. Read the tasfir of the Qur’an or listen to it. You really can’t go deeper than the Qur’an. Imagine. It is Allah’s words. I highly recommend starting with Juza Amma and learning the meaning behind the words almost all of us have memorized but don’t really understand. A great website with lectures on this is: Just imagine that to explain surat Al Ikhlas (Kul huwa Allahoo Ahad) he had to divide it into two ‘halaqahs’. (I think it was more than an hour and a half!)

4. Do Dhikr. Moisten your tongue with His remembrance.

...hearts become tranquil through the remembrance of Allah                                                  Qur'an 13:28

5. Make lots of dua. Constantly talk to Allah. Ask Him whenever you need something. Turn to Him whenever you have a problem and even whenever you’re happy….

When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every supplicant when he calleth on Me: let them also, with a will, listen to My call, and believe in Me: that they may walk in the right way. (2: 186)
And your Lord says: "Call on Me; I will answer your (PRAYER): but those who are too arrogant to serve Me will surely find themselves in Hell, in humiliation!"

Learn also the duas the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam used to say. They are soooo deep!

- The Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhaee wa salam used to say:
“O Allah, I seek protection in Your pleasure from Your anger, and I seek protection in Your forgiveness from Your punishment. I seek protection in You from You. I cannot count Your praises. You are as You have praised Yourself.” (He would say this during sujood)

Imagine. We could never praise Allah as He deserves. Even if we were to Praise Him all day long, for 500 years, that would not be enough.

- O Allah , by You we enter the morning and by You we enter the evening, 1 by You we live and and by You we die, and to You is the Final Return.

- O Ever Living One, O Eternal One, by Your mercy I call on You to set right all my affairs. Do not place me in charge of my soul even for the blinking of an eye (i.e. a moment).

Just think about that. Not even for a minute- wait, not even for ‘less’ than a minute, should we want to be in charge of ourselves. Why? Because we could lead ourselves to destruction, but Allah leads us to the light. He is the Merciful One and He chooses the things that are best for each of us! . He alone knows what we should each get and what is right for each of us.

- After raising from ruku, the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam also used to say:

(A praise that) fills the heavens and the earth and what lies between them, and whatever else You please . (You Allah) are most worthy of praise and majesty , and what the slave has said - we are all Your slaves . O Allah , there is none who can withhold what You give, and none may give what You have withheld . And the might of the mighty person cannot benefit him against You.
One final dua:

O Lord, praise to You! You are the light of the heavens and the earth and
all that dwell therein. Praise to You! You are the Lord of the heavens and the
earth and all that dwell therein. Praise to You! You are the truth, and Your
promise is true, and Your word is true, and Your meeting is true, and the Garden
is true, and the Fire is true, and the Prophets were true, and Muhammad is true,
and the Hour is true! O Allah, to You I commit myself, and in You I believe and
place my trust, and unto You I turn in repentance, and for You I fight, and
through You I pass judgment. Forgive me my sins, past and future, open and
hidden. You are my God; there is no God but You!

These are just a few duas. There are so many more and so many that we can say through the day. You see how deep they are?

Do you see what I am saying? Do you see how we have the best example already?

6. Try reading the works of the great scholars, like Ibn Al Qayim. You can see some of his writings here. Learn more about "Tazkiyah", inshaAllah.

Well, sis, those were just a few suggestions. This link mentions some Other ways to Draw Closer to Allah

"I hope inshaAllah you try these suggestions out and you find 'the deepness' that you are looking for. Feel free to write in any 'amazing' things you read/ learn about Allah/ tafsir/ etc. We'd love to share it :) Jazaki Allah for your awesome question and wishing you all the best,

One final verse:

Yet there are some who take for themselves objects of worship beside Allah, whom they love as they should love Allah; but those who believe, love Allah more ardently". (Surah al‑Baqarah, 2:165).


The FacebOokEr

>> Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Dear Li'l Aunties,

Lately I've had a few friends tell me that they're deactivating their facebook accounts for 'Islamic reasons'. I know I spend a lot of time on FB, but I'm not sure if I really should deactivate it myself, or not. What do you think?"

Dear "FaceBooker",

This is a really good question!

I can't tell you whether you should personally delete your fb account or not, but I can provide you with some questions to help you decide. Does that sound okay to you?

1. Do you have friends on facebook or do you have 'an audience'? Think about it. Are the people on your friends list people you actually know or just random strangers you happened to add? Oh, wait! Before you answer that, let me ask you another question. Are these people 'your present friends' or just any persons you happened to know in your past? 

Why am I asking? 

Well....This  may sound cruel, but the truth is that you don't have to keep in contact with every single person you knew in your past. I mean, you are most likely not the same person you were back in kindergarten. So why add some people who you really don't have much in common with anymore (we're talking about *Islamically*)? In fact, there are some people who 'you really should say goodbye to.' Those are the people who never encouraged you to be a better Muslimah. Those are the people who 'had your back for you' but 'when you were sinning' or  doing whatever. Don't add those people to your FB list. You already gave them 'some time' of your life. Don't give them anymore....

2. If you're a hijabi, are you a hijabi online, offline or both?  Do your friends actually recognize your profile picture (if you have one- and I suggest 100 X that you DON'T  put up any pictures of yourself) or do you look (for some reason) like you're about to go to a wedding? 

It's not only about pictures, though.  Do you do what you would do in real life or do you say certain things/ post certain comments on people's profiles that you wouldn't normally do?  Are you the same *modest* person that you are in real life or are you a little 'daring' on facebook? Like have you added non-mahrams guys to your FB? Even if they're your Muslim brothers, the truth is, they aren't your biological brothers and they are non-mahrams to you. You know what translates to, right? *Delete, delete, delete....*

3. What are you a fan of? 

I know, it takes only one second but when you click that button....*like*'re doing something really big. You're saying what you approve of and what you don't. When you click that you like some singer who sings about sex, you are flaunting your sin....and you're encouraging others to listen to it. 

The  Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, 
“All of my Ummah will be forgiven of their sins except those who flaunt their sins.”  

You want the full lecture of what I'm talking about?  Little Miss Aunty and I wrote about this very topic  in what we called "Becoming an Unfan on Facebook"

4. How much time is a 'lot of time' on facebook?  If you're spending more than an hour.....seriously, that is way too much time. Ask yourself how much time you leave to 'memorizing new duas/ hadiths/ Qur'an?' Is it in any way proportionate to the amount of time you spend on facebook? 

5. Is your profile clear of dead flesh? Or you talk about people in your statuses? Like if someone makes you angry, does everyone you know know about it? 

And finally....

6. If you were to come back, after like 10 years, and find your profile, would you be 'happy or ashamed' with what you have there? 

Well, these are the top 6 questions that I could think of :P. 

I hope you make the best decision for your deen, dunya and akhirah. May we all re-evaluate our activities and make Allah's pleasure our number one goal.


Fed Up of the Roller Coaster Ride

>> Friday, December 24, 2010

"Asalamu Alaykum,
I am in my first year of university, and before I started I imagined everything being so different. This is my first year attending any school wearing the hijab and abaya, and I had all summer to get use to wearing it and I was ready. However, I'm just finishing up my exams, [I completely bombed one yesterday :( ] And have one more to go. I was on a Iman high when I started school, I joined MSA, met fellow muslimahs, but now as I'm heading to the school break my Iman is at an all time low. I've stopped praying my Sunnah prayers, waking up to pray in the middle of the night is so difficult for me now and my fard prayers are rushed. I'm down in the dump because of school and stress. This isn't the first time this has happened to me. One week my Iman is so HIGH and the next it's almost non-existing. How can I bring my Iman back up for second semester and FOREVER? What can I do this winter break that can help me keep my Iman from being on this never ending roller-coaster? May Allah reward you sisters for your beneficial advice.

Fed Up of the Roller Coaster Ride

Dear Fed Up of the Roller Coaster Ride!

First of all, let me CONGRATULATE you on wearing hijab and abaya in university. Wow!! I am so proud of you. I really am. I mean to have gone from not wearing hijab to wearing the hijab and abaya…..that’s just awesome, sis! Ma’shaAllah. May Allah make each day easier for you than the last! Ameen! Ya Rubb.

As for university not being what you expected- it takes a while to get used to it. Back in the day (*insert lame joke on how old I’ve gotten*), when I was still a newbie at uni, I was totally lost. But by the end of the first year, I was walking through the university like it was my own personal backyard, lol. So yes, it is ‘different’, and you do have ‘different kinds of things to face’, but I can bet you that by the end of the 4 years (or less), you’re going to think of it as your home. It just takes some time. Oh, and some really great friends, of course. (I’m glad you joined the MSA!)

Now…about your question. What a great question! I love how you took the time to evaluate yourself and your imaan. But the thing is, I have to be very honest with you, though. As far as I know, there is no ‘magical fix’- I can’t give you a recipe that will keep your imaan completely constant for all your life. You see, the word ‘heart’ in Arabic is ‘qalb’ which comes from the root word meaning ‘change’. Our hearts change all the time. Even the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam said:

“Faith wears out in the heart of any one of you just as clothes wear out, so ask Allaah to renew the faith in your hearts.”

Of course, just as the hadith shows, that doesn’t mean that we can’t work on our imaan and that there aren’t small things we can try to do to fix our imaan. There are things to do- just like the hadith shows- like making dua to Allah to strengthen our imaan.
The Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam used to say:
Ya muqallib al Quloob, thabbit qalbee alaa deenik
O turner of the hearts, establish my heart upon your deen

In another narration, he was also quoted as saying:
“O Allah, Turner of the hearts, direct our hearts to Your obedience.”

The prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam also taught us to say the following after our prayers:
Rabbi ai’nni ala dhikrika wa shukrika wa husni ibaadatika.
O Allah, help me to remember You, thank You and worship You properly. (al-Nasaa�i, 1303)

Finally, the Qur’an also teaches us another dua to say:
Our Lord, let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us.” (Surah Ali ‘Imran 3:8)

But what else can we do? Before I mention a few other suggestions, let’s take a detailed look at YOUR situation. You said that your imaan falls down when you are ‘studying and stressed’ and as a result ‘your prayers are rushed’.

You hit right on Little Auntie’s theory.

For many of us, when we’re super busy studying, our imaan falls because unfortunately many of us think, “We don’t have time to do (insert Islamic activity such as reading Quran) right now. We need to study”…..

That thought alone distances us from Allah and decreases our imaan.

It suggests that we ‘don’t have time for Allah, right now’. Like we ‘divide our life into when we have time for Him and when we don’t.” It shows that we haven’t grasped that He is with us (in His knowledge, His Sight, His Power, etc) all the time, whether we have a test or not.

That kind of thinking also means that we have separated our own life into 2 categories: “Islamic life” (praying/fasting/etc.) and “worldly life” (studying, getting a successful career, etc.)

But the reality is much more complicated. Our two “lives” are actually very much intertwined. We really only have ONE life- and that is the only life we have to get us into the Hereafter. Each day we live (whether we have a project/ assignment due/ test coming up/ or not) is a chance to get closer to Allah and His paradise or…..get further away.

Yes, I know I am getting a wee bit philosophical here. But it really is the truth.

That’s why my first tip for you to get your imaan back on track is to ‘demolish those barriers/ those 2 sides of your life.” I want you to turn even your ‘unIslamic activities’ into acts of obedience and worship to Allah. I want you to stay connected to Allah 24/7, to really live that ONE life in the best way.


By using your heart.

This is serious heart ibadaha.

  • Ask yourself why are you studying? What’s your goal? Is it just to pass? To get a great career? If that’s your ultimate goal, studying will never increase your imaan and you’ll find yourself always stuck with a roller coaster ride during and after exams. But if you can make your intention that you want to help the Muslim Ummah, that you want to pass and be successful to do something for Islam, you turn your studying into worship. You can make your intention also something like “I want to have a successful career so that I don’t have to beg/ use interest/ do anything haram.” Pick whatever you want, but let it be something that will draw you closer to Allah.
When you do that, you make yourself conscious once more of Allah. You’re basically saying, “Whatever I’m doing, I’m doing it for You”. If you keep reminding yourself of this intention, your heart, inshaAllah, will remain attached to Allah whether you are solving chemistry equations or reading Qur’an...

Okay, so make your intention for Allah. What else, you’re thinking? 

Don’t only study during exams week and take really good notes during class.

NOooooo, don’t press the X button on your browser. I know it doesn’t sound like ‘fun’ to do, but just bear with me. Let’s stop for a moment and take a look at what happens during exam week …

I don’t know exactly about you, personally, but most people spend the entire week (or more/ or less- lol) eating, breathing, drinking, consuming ‘tons of information’. They go on studying ‘overhaul’.

So basically, they leave themselves with no energy for “ normal imaan boosting activities". They’re just too tired to read Qur’an, to watch an Islamic lecture, etc. And who can blame them? They just spent all this time ‘studying’.

BUT if you follow that tip, if you take notes during class (like of the main ideas/ main concepts)you’ll be able to remember your teacher’s explanations better and you won’t have such a nervous breakdown during exams. You won’t be so stressed. More importantly, if you actually review the material that you cover each day (like take 15 minutes and review each course, each day), you won’t have to study as much during exams week. That all means that you won’t be exhausted. You won’t be ‘too tired’ to listen to an Islamic lecture (inshaAllah). You won’t have to rush your prayers because you won’t be having panic attacks (in the middle of your salah) about the upcoming tests. Why? Because you would still remember the important material. Those extra 15 minutes you spend studying during the course will give you extra 5-10-15 minutes of prayer time and ‘taking care of imaan time’!

How does that sound? Can you do that?

What else?

Well, while you’re studying, take a 5 minute ‘praise Allah’ break. A LOT of us take a “Ooo, just a 5 minute facebook break” or a “chocolate break” while we’re studying. I know I would always take those kinda breaks when I felt l like “I’d been underwater too long and needed to surface”. (LOL). If you do take those kinda breaks (and even if you don’t!), try taking a different kind of break. Instead of just reading people’s statuses, try watching a short interesting Islamic clip. Try praising Allah and doing dhikr. Ask Him to help you do well. Ask Him to let you pass HIS test. Ask Him anything! If you can’t think of something that you want, pray for your brothers and sisters around the world. Remember that whenever you make dua for your Muslim brothers and sisters, an angel asks for the same for you.

The prophet (sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam) said: 'There is no believing servant who supplicates for his brother in his absence where the angels do not say, 'the same be for you'' [Muslim] 

Most importantly, realize that spending 5 minutes doing dhikr/ remembering Allah will never ‘decrease your time’ or make you lose out on something. It will only HELP you do better.

Okay, so that was my advice for your specific situation. Now, let’s talk about the things anyone can do to build their imaan.

- Make good friends. You already said that you joined the MSA and made great friends, alhamdillah. That’s a really KEY step in improving one’s imaan. How about making imaan goals with your friends? You said you’re having trouble praying the Sunna prayers. Tell your friends that you need their help, etc. Also, get your family involved. What kind of Islamic goals can you do with your family? How about a charity project? You can have like a charity jar and the whole family puts their ‘change’ in it and at the end of the month you go and ‘buy something’ for the mosque/ pass out food/etc.

- Learn some of Allah’s Beautiful Names. The more we know about Him, the more we love Him and the greater our Imaan is.

- Read at least one page of the Qur’an daily. If you don’t understand Arabic, listen to the Arabic and read the English translation. Listen to tafsir of the Qur’an, too. You can listen to wonderful tafsir here:

- Remember death, the destroyer of all pleasures.Write your will!

- Visit the mosque or listen to an Islamic lecture at least ONCE a week. Even if you’re busy. Plan your schedule around so that you can include that.

- Have an Islamic ‘journal’. Whenever you read something that is really uplifting, a good Islamic story, etc. print it and put it there, for you to read when your imaan is a little ‘down’. If you’re reading Qur’an and you come across an ayah that moves you, write down your feelings. Why does it move you? You see, sometimes we read a verse and we don’t make ‘connections’ to it with our daily lives, so we don’t really ‘experience its beauty’. But sometimes, we’ll find ourselves really ‘connected to it’. SAVE your ‘connection’ to it, by writing it down. Write about any nice hadith you read…

- Make a “I’m thankful list”. Write down a list of things you are thankful for. Recognize that Allah has blessed you with so much. How are you going to thank Him? If you can’t think of anything that you're thankful for, (which I really hope not!), one thing I recently heard a da’ee say (Amr Khaled) say is “be thankful that Allah is the Merciful One and that He pledged that His Mercy would be greater than His wrath. Be thankful that He is Allah.”

- Try to say the morning and evening adhkar. (This is something I REALLY need to get back into the habit of). Try to also memorize the ones we need in our daily routine- like what to say when you go to the bathroom, when you leave your house, when you do wudu. Set a goal of memorizing one a week and see how that goes! Remember that the Qur’an says that even the hypocrite remembers Allah…just that he remembers Him little:

- " When they stand for prayer, they stand without earnestness, to be seen of men, but they do not hold Allah in remembrance except little." (surah an-Nisa 4:142).

- Before you go to sleep, clear your mind and heart of any ill feelings towards your Muslim brothers and sisters. 

Anas Radiya Allah Anhoo once narrated that the Prophet once said: “A man from the dwellers of Paradise will walk in now” so a man from the Ansaar (i.e. residents of Madeenah) walked in whose beard was dripping from the effect of ablution and who held his slippers with his left hand. The next day the Prophet said the same thing, and the same man walked in. On the third day, the Prophet said the same thing, and the same man once again walked in. When the Prophet left the gathering, ‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Amr followed that man and said to him: `I had a misunderstanding with my father and swore not to stay in his house three nights, so if you permit me I would like to spend these three nights with you` The man said: `Yes, I permit you.`”
Anas added: “‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Amr told us that he spent three nights and did not notice that the man prayed the optional night prayers during any of these nights, but if he woke up during the night, he would simply mention Allaah. Nonetheless, I never heard him utter except good things, so when the three nights finished, I almost belittled his deeds (as they were insignificant) and I said to him: `O slave of Allaah! There was not dispute between me and my father or anger, but I heard the Prophet saying thrice: “A man from the dwellers of Paradise will walk in now” and you walked in all three times, so I wanted to sleep in your place to see what you do in order to imitate you, but I did not see that you exert extra effort in performing any extra deeds. How did you reach such status to deserve what the Prophet said about you?` He replied: `My deeds are nothing more than what you saw` Then when I left, he called me back in and said: `My deeds are nothing more than what you saw, but the only thing I do is that I do not hold any grudge against any Muslim or envy anyone for what bounties Allaah has granted them`; thereupon ‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Amr said to him: “This difficult quality to obtain is what granted you this rank”. [Ahmad]

- Listen to that voice inside of you. If you hear a ‘beeping sound going off’, telling you that you are doing something wrong, listen to it. Avoid all that is doubtful.

- Go outside every once in a while and reflect on the creation around us and Allah’s Power.

- Sit with children for they are still very pure at heart.

- Do istgifhfaar.  Remember your past sins and ask Allah to forgive you. Remember how long it took you to respond to Allah's call (whether to prayer/ hijab/ etc.) and ask Him to forgive those days.

-Last but not least, wake up in the middle of the night- even if you can't pray and ask Allah to renew your faith. Tell Him that you can't pray unless He permits you too, and you really want that closeness again.

Well, sis, these are just a few suggestions. You can do it. You can find a balance between university and imaan.

Wishing you your best 'imaan year' yet,

p.s. Here's an awesome cute graphic for you, hehe (again from the Wonderful Art Garden for Muslim Sisters!)


No, no, I can't take the credit for this!!

>> Monday, December 13, 2010

"Asalamu Aliekum ^_________________^
lovely job with the blog!
may Allah swt yijzeeku alkheir!
huge favour aunties....
do you by any chance think you could upload all the phenomenal avatars you make?
i really want to save them but i do not know how!
Many thanks

Dear LULU!!

I'm so glad you sent in this question because I just realized that I might have made a HUGE little mistake here. I don't make these wonderful, amazing, phenomenal avators. Yeah, little auntie is seriously lacking in the 'art department skills area'....I just know where to get these awesome graphics...

Seriously, whenever I enter that site, I feel like a kid entering a candy store, especially this part:

 These sisters are MEGA-talented, ma'shaAllah, ma'shaAllah, ma'shaAllah. Not only do they share their graphics with all of us, they have a whole part dedicated to 'requests'. They will do it for YOU for FREE!

So how do you use these graphics?

IF you have a blog (like moi), you just rick click and save it....and then, you click on the image icon in the compose section and you browse for the one that you want...Viola, it puts it for you :)

If you're on a forum and that's why you want them, you need to right click the graphic you want, save it, and then upload it to a photohosting site, like photobucket. Do you know how to use that? You just make an account (like how you would make an email account- fill out some personal information and all)- and then, you just need to click 'browse' and find the images that you want....and click upload....

If that's not really clear, here are some
Really detailed instructions on how to use photobucket

You need to use the code that is between these tags though: [IMG].

By the way, if you're into writing poetry/stories,  you can also join the Wonderful Art Garden and share your stuff, there. It's 'uper cool!

Alright, now that was an easy peasy question :P Hope to see you there :)


Dear Veiled Wanna be Non-Veiled Muslimah

>> Friday, December 10, 2010

I came across your post “Dear Non-Veiled Wanna Be Veiled Muslimah” and what you wrote seemed very convincing if the person wanted to wear hijab. But my problem is a little different. I am a ‘Veiled Not Wanting to Be Veiled Muslimah”. I’ve never told anybody but my parents never really gave me an option. When it first happened, 2 years ago, I used to go to school and take it off there. But then, slowly, it got embarrassing with putting it on and taking it off, so I got used to it and kept it on.

But many times I do think about taking it off. I do want to dress up like my friends. Most of all though I want- ‘the choice’. I feel like they robbed me of the choice and like I am forced to pretend that I am someone I really am not. I know this must sound horrible to you but I really need to talk to someone about it because I feel that slowly it is driving me away from religion. I see a lot of girls on many websites and blogs talking about their love for hijab and I wish I could feel that way, but I really don’t.
What is your advice for someone like me? What do I do?
Wishing I could love my hijab

Dear "Wishing I could Love My Hijab",

I just want to start off by saying that your honesty really touched me. I also want to say that I do believe that you are not alone. As much as we “Lovers of Hijab” stress that we love it and “it’s our choice”, there are some sisters out there who do find it hard to accept and maybe don’t love it as much.

So I am glad you sent this question in. We’re going to work together on turning those feelings around….

First of all, have you heard the story of Zaynab bint Ghash?

She was the Prophet’s cousin. She was part of the elite, rich class of Quraysh, beautiful and well-desired by the whole community. One day, the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam told her to marry Zaid.

Now just who was Zaid? He was a former slave!

The two basically came from ‘totally different worlds’…

Well, Zaynab in the beginning really didn’t want to marry Zaid, but when she realized that the Prophet was telling her ALLAH’S Command, she succumbed to it. She succumbed to Allah’s decision about her ‘life partner’, even though he was someone she didn’t want to marry.

Why? Why did she agree?

Because she realized that in the end it was an order from Allah, who was Her Creator, Her Master, the One who knew what was best for her, the Most Merciful.

And you know what happened? Allah subhanoo Wa’ Tala rewarded her patience, her willingness to put aside her own desires for His sake by letting her marry the Prophet, himself, in the end. Can you imagine? She became one of the Mothers of the Believers!

There’s another story of a beautiful woman whom the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam married to a poor man named Julaybeeb. Before her parents understood that the Prophet wanted her to marry Julaybeeb, they actually thought it was the Prophet, himself, coming to propose to her. When they heard who he wanted her to marry, they were very disappointed. But that woman? She realized right away that the Prophet’s command was Allah’s command, so she agreed right when she heard the proposal. Julaybeeb ended up being a martyr in Islam and the Prophet had this to say of him: “…This (man) is of me and I am of him.”

Okay, so why am I telling you this? Well, it’s my way of giving you an analogy (LOL). Your parents told you to do something that you didn’t want to do…. Just like how the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam told Zaynab to do something she didn’t want to do. But the Prophet and your parents were not giving ‘orders’ from themselves, were they? The Prophet was actually giving her a command from Allah---- just like your parents, right?

That is….in the end, isn’t the hijab Allah’s command?

I know what you’re thinking. “BUT, but, but I wanted the right to have a choice, myself…”

You know, sweetie, I do believe that your parents should have talked to you more. They should have let you listen to some nice lectures/ maybe gone hijab shopping with you/ prepared you about it a few years before you had to do it. It would have been really great if they had enrolled you in like an Islamic school/ Islamic program/ let you meet some friends who wear it/ etc.

But, about choosing it, yourself….

You know, honey, Allah subhanoo Wa’ Tala gave us free will. Unlike the angels, we have the ability to decide what we want to do and what we don’t want to do.

But at the same time, we have to understand that we have been created for one single purpose. We have been created to worship Allah. Allah subhanoo Wa’ tala says.

And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. (51:56)

So the fact that we have free will and yet are still supposed to worship Allah means that we are actually living a ‘test’. The test is to see if we will obey Allah, if we will follow our Master. Will we do what He has commanded us to do? Will we avoid what He has prohibited us from?

Will we submit entirely to Him?

O you who have believed, enter into Islam [submission] completely [and perfectly] and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy (2:208.)

The problem though is that it’s all too easy for us to forget that and make ‘wrong decisions’.
And these decisions have MAJOR (out of this world) consequences.

Let me be a little blunt about it. If we choose to ‘ignore’ Allah’s commandment, we are actually choosing for ourselves punishment and difficulty.

So why am I telling you all this? Your parents most likely didn’t give you a choice because they were concerned about you. They asked you to wear it because they were scared about your Hereafter. I know that your parents didn’t really get you to wear hijab in the best way possible, but can you understand that maybe they did it in the only way they ‘knew’? Doesn’t their love count as something?

I’m going to guess that ‘you’re not really convinced here”…Let’s imagine for a moment you were talking about something other than your hijab’. Like ‘going to school’. How many days have you woken up thinking “Gee, I sure as heck do not want to go to school, today?” But you went because your parents (having your best interest in mind) gave you the option to either
a) go to school b) go to school….

(Another example that comes to mind is- what about wearing a seatbelt.)

Do you see what I am saying? I seriously hope you do because I myself got a little lost here, lol...:P

(OH and there is one other part we can’t really forget. On the Day of Judgment, Allah subhanoo Wa’ Tala will ask your parents why they did/ didn’t teach you about hijab. I think your parents know that/ took that aspect very seriously (and took you as ‘a trust from Allah’ seriously) but unfortunately were clueless as to how to get you to like it/ prepare you for it.)

So now, what are we going to do?

1. Realize that the hijab is not your parents and it’s not your parent’s pressure. Try to differentiate between the two and ‘let go of the pressure’ from your parents. Think of it as its own ‘thing’. Then, ask yourself
“What is it that I do not like about the hijab, itself?”

2. Once you are able to do that- you have to ask yourself some even more tough(erer) questions….

- Is the hijab an order from Allah?
- If I were to wear the hijab for Allah’s sake, would Allah ever forget about my deed? Would He not reward me? No way! Not EVER. He would never let a good deed go ‘unrewarded’.

…Indeed, Allah does not allow to be lost the reward of the doers of good (9:120)
- Okay, well, what would I get for obeying Allah? What’s the reward that He promised me?

I. How about Allah’s Love? His Protection?

(Hadith Qudsi 25)
….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. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it. I do not hesitate about anything as much as I hesitate about [seizing] the soul of My faithful servant: he hates death and I hate hurting him.

2. How about an amazing place in Paradise?

Whosoever obeys Allah, and the Messenger, they are with those whom Allah has favored, the Prophets, the sincere, the martyrs and the righteous, and these are the best company (4:69)

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Ahead of you are days of patience, during which being patient will be like grasping a hot coal. The one who does good deeds then will have a reward like that of fifty people who do such deeds.” And, someone else added, they said: O Messenger of Allah, the reward of fifty of them? He said: “The reward of fifty of you (Companions)!” (Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidh).

- Then, ask yourself: What would I get for not obeying Him?

- How many things can I name that I do every day solely for His sake?

- What do I honestly believe the people in the graves wish they could do? IF today was my last day here, what would I do? What would my decision be?

- Can I imagine standing in front of Allah and not having done what He has commanded? What would my excuse be?
But as for he who feared the position of his Lord and prevented the soul from [unlawful] inclination, (40) Then indeed, Paradise will be [his] refuge. (41) (Surat Al Na’ziat or Chapter79)

Besides asking yourself these questions, try thinking about something you do ‘appreciate about your hijab’.

- Has it helped keep you in check? Has it helped you remember that Allah is there?

Also, about your ‘friends’-
- Ask yourself this tough question: is there really something wrong with your hijab or something wrong with your choice in friends? (The aunties here aren’t saying that your friends are bad people- but if you feel that you can’t wear hijab with them or that they won’t accept it/ maybe you need to reevaluate your friendships).

- And finally: does wearing the hijab really mean that I can no longer dress up? Here, let me give you a hint on that. No, of course not! You can still have girls only parties/ invite your friends over/ etc. and dress up.

Finally, ask yourself what is it that you are ‘telling others about you’ when you waer the hijab? I know you said that you feel like you are telling others that you are someone different, but the reality is that when you wear the hijab, the biggest message that you are telling people is that you are a Muslimah. Isn't that what you are? Aren't you a Muslim? You aren’t saying that you are ‘perfect’/ ‘an angel/ ‘etc.’ only that you are trying to obey this particular command.

So what do you think?

Can you do that? Can you obey this command?

Can you go out  and decide that you are wearing the hijab, even if you don’t entirely like it, ONLY because Allah told you to.

And tell Him:

O, Allah, I’m wearing it/doing this because You told me, too, and even if I don’t understand your Wisdom, I know you will reward me tremendously for obeying you…”

Decide today that your intention is for His sake…nobody else’s.

Nobody can take your intention away from you…

Lots of love,


I can't stop looking at it....

>> Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I keep committing the same haram sin again and again. I repent afterwards but now I feel like giving up. I need to know how to stop. I've heard that it is like committing Zina with my eyes.

(the sin is looking at haram photos and videos)

How do i stop my self?

Dear "In Need of Help",

Wow, your email came to me exactly at the right time. SubhanAllah, I almost didn't believe it when I saw what the email was about! Do you know that right now, at this very moment, there is a campagin to help Muslims all over the world with this problem?  I mean like TODAYZERS (my own word :P).

So, YEAH, NO, do not give up. If anything, that you would turn this question in at this time is really a 'miracle' or a 'sign' that Allah wants you to repent and continue. He is guiding you, my sister! You can do it!!

Before I continue, let me just tell you that, I JUST received an email telling me that there will be a live webinar (today) on this very topic. I didnt' get to write as good of as an answer as I would have liked, but I didn't want to delay posting this up any longer (so you don't miss the webinar).

EDIT: For those who missed the webinar, check out his video called 
Hey, it beats watching something else. Watch it. Begin the journey to recovery, inshaAllah. 

Here *were* the details:

Asalam Alaikum Friend,

In a few hours, I'm hosting a very important webinar sponsored

by ProductiveMuslim that you can join as my guest.

The teleseminar is called: Self-Sabotage: How Addiction Is Holding

You Back From Productivity And Success.

Here is a small preview of the points I will try to cover on this webinar:

Learn how to free yourself from the habits, feelings and compulsions

that hold you back from your full potential...

Hear a story of a Muslim who discovered the scary link with his success

and his increased usage of addiction, and why this was happening...

Understand the BIGGEST obstacle facing Muslims who want to overcome

sexual addiction, and what to do about it...

The webinar is at 11:30 am Los Angeles Time
2:30 pm New York Time
7:30 pm UK

so save this link right here, and sign in at least 10 minutes early to get a line if you want to

listen in by phone.

Also, we have just opened registration for the Purify Your Gaze

program, you can read about what will be covered inside of it,

if this is something you are considering joining or want to share

with others:

Check out the program details and if you have any questions about it make sure to ask

me on the webinar in a few hours.

Enjoy, and I'll talk to you in a few hours on the webinar.

Zeyad Ramadan

Imancipate, P.O. Box 815, Lake Forest, CA 92630, USA

Inshallah, this will provide you with all the right and necessary steps to take to 'purify' your gaze and stop.

I will of course also give you some ideas here, but before that, I want to address your your issue about repenting. Sweetie, let me tell you something I learned from an expert on 'the human mind/psychology', Dr. Ibrahim al Fiqy. He said that the human mind is ALWAYS successful. WE have been wired to achieve what we 'want to achieve' and what we 'tell ourselves that we will achieve'.

The problem is that if you tell yourself that 'you can't stop', you know what your brain does?

It does EXACTLY that. It doesn't stop.

If you keep saying "I'm going to fail at this," guess what? You end up successfully failing at it.
If you label yourself as "a hopeless case", "never going to stop", you ultimately give yourself the license to 'sin' of course, your brain isn't going to work on achieving what you have convinced it is impossible.

But if you tell yourself, "I can do this. With Allah's help, I can overcome any sin. Nothing is greater than Allah. It is possible. I will do this...." you will do it :) Yes, you will!

Man has invented the airplane/ the mobile/ has been to the moon. You are capable of achieving great things and being the BEST you....

But you have to do believe that you can do it! You have to ignore Shaytan who is trying to get you to not repent. Just turn to Allah and ask Him for His help. Ask to be forgiven and inshaAllah you will be-

Hadith Qudsi 34:
Allah the Almighty said:
O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great at it.

The next thing you got to do is 'take out the television from your room' (if you have one in your room.) Yup, just like how a person who is addicted to smoking would throw out any 'cigarettes he had, you have to do the same thing...

If the stuff you watch is on your laptop, you need to
a) delete it. You also need to 'block' any of those websites from opening again:

**********I got the following techinque for you from a Mom's webiste on how to block sites ******
Step 1: Click the Start button on your computer and select Run. Now type the following text in that Run box:

notepad c:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\hosts

Step 2: You will see a new notepad window on your screen containing some cryptic information. Don’t panic. Just goto the last line of the file, hit the enter key and type the following: (for example) website

Save the file and exit. That’s it. None of the sites will now open on your computer. (inshaAllah!)

You can block as many websites as you like with the above technique.

b) remove any passwords you have put on your laptop. Anybody should be able to 'open your laptop' and see what sorta things you have. No 'secret files'.....

c) Actually, I just thought of something. You can have a log in password if it's not YOURs! You ask your sister or brother (that you're close to) to put a password on your computer. You can just say that you're wasting waaaaaaaaay too much time on your computer and you want to control that. In this way way, you can never go on in the middle of the night and be tempted to watch something you wouldn't want anyone to know that you are watching.....It's not like you're going to ask your sis/bro to log onto the computer at 2:00 a.m., right? So again your are 'controlling' your 'free time'...

d) One of the brothers on the "Purify your Gaze program" said that he started a log book. Every day that you don't watch something bad, you write down in the book. Remember, the year is only made up of like 52 (or is it 54?) weeks? That's not that much, right? Again,  you can do it!

e)Realize your 'schedule'- when is it that you usually watch it? Is it at night? If so, do a LOT of exercise during the day so that you're tired at night. Stand up and pray several rakahs of Qiyam al layal. Keep yourself busy. As much as possible, do not be alone for the first while....

f) Have an emergency 'exit'- What are you going to do when you feel like watching it? Maybe you could have some Islamic lectures on standby ready to listen to? 

g) Put up an Islamic reminder on your desktop of your laptop. Put a verse in the Qur'an that 'scares you' or that makes you remember that Allah is right there, watching you watching whatever you're watching. You can even write something like: “Allah is with Me. Allah sees all that I do.”

Well sis, I've got to run (but I really wanted to post this before the webinar ended) and I may not have given you many ideas but inshaAllah you will find all the inspiration you need at I also hope our readers can help us with their tips/ideas/thoughts, inshaAllah.

May Allah make things easier for you and cure you entirely of this addiction =)  InsahAllah soon, you will be a new you!

Lots of love,
Little Auntie

[p.s. Excuse the typos please. I'm on an ancient computer!]


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