The Fairer Sex

>> Friday, January 28, 2011

Aselemoo alyekoom sisters,
I have many questions to ask you, but my biggest question is what are women's rights in Islam. I have been reading so much lately that I am starting to get confused. Can you tell me how you reconcile the fact that women must wear hijab, stay at home, etc. with women's rights? Is it alright to be a feminist and be a Muslim or not?

wa'alykum as salam wa rahmatullah wa barkatoo,
Dearest Sis,

This is a fantastic question. Unfortunately, the media often tries to portray Islam as a religion that oppresses women; the truth is the very opposite- Islam elevated the status of women. In fact, if by feminism you mean 'advocating the equality between men and women' (and not the sameness of men and women), then, yes, Islam is a feminist religion. Islam preaches that men and women are EQUAL....

But don't just take my word for it.

Let's take out our Holy Book. It is the Quran which clearly tells us in many ayahs that men and women are equal in the sight of God, created from a single soul (Adam).

O Mankind, keep your duty to your Lord who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate (of same kind) and from them twain has spread a multitude of men and women" (Qur'an 4: 1).

He (God) it is who did create you from a single soul and therefrom did create his mate, that he might dwell with her (in love)...(Qur'an 7:189)

And their Lord has accepted (their prayers) and answered them (saying): 'Never will I cause to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female; you are members, one of another... (3:195; cf 9:71;33:35-36;66:19-21

Moreover, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said that men and women are like twins or siblings!

What's more, unlike the Biblical tradition which put the blame of sin on Eve, Islamic tradition rejects the idea that Eve is the one who encouraged Adam to sin and instead sees it as a shortcoming on both of their parts’. Both did a mistake. Both repented and both were forgiven.

It should be clear then, that Islam promotes the equality of both genders. It's just that Islam says that they are 'distinct' (biologically, physically, etc.), each with their own roles to fulfill; however, these roles in no way signify that women are 'less'...

Let's take a closer look at the different roles a woman may have in her life (as a daughter, wife, and mother):

As a daughter: Islam completely changed the attitude people had about daughters. Before Islam, the Arabs used to bury their daughters alive! The Quran denounced this barbaric custom just as it criticized the attitudes prevalent at the time:

When news is brought to one of them, of (the Birth of) a female (child), his face darkens and he is filled with inward grief! With shame does he hide himself from his people because of the bad news he has had! Shall he retain her on (sufferance) and contempt, or bury her in the dust? Ah! What an evil (choice) they decide on? (Qur'an 16: 58-59).

However, Islam went even more than just being critical of such attitudes. It linked heaven to having daughters and treating them well. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said whoever has three daughters, takes care of them, and gives them a good upbringing will be rewarded heaven. He, then, agreed that the same reward would be given to anyone who has two daughters. As far as my knowledge, there is no hadith that explicitly grants the same reward for having three sons or two sons- proof that daughters are very elevated.

As a wife: The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him said) that a woman who has hit puberty must give her consent for a marriage to be valid. Thus, Islamically speaking, a woman cannot be forced to marry anyone against her will.

Furthermore, a marriage contract is not valid unless a woman is given a gift or mahr to symbolize affection. This belongs to her alone- it’s not given to her father/ husband. (It’s very similar to the Western idea a man has to buy a ‘diamond’ ring if he wants to propose)

Moreover, the Quran repeatedly emphasizes that there should be love and mercy between spouses and that both have rights over each other.

And among His signs is this: That He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest, peace of mind in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy. Lo, herein indeed are signs for people who reflect."(Qur'an 30:2 1).
And they (women) have rights (over their husbands) similar (to those of their husbands) over them as regards to what is reasonable, but men have a degree (of responsibility) over them.) [2:228].

But what truly shows the elevated status of a wife are a number of hadiths, including:

This world is nothing but temporary conveniences, and the greatest joy in this world is a righteous woman.”

“The Prophet said, “The best of you is the best to his family and I am the best among you to my family.”

He also said, “The most perfect believers are the best in conduct and best of you are those who are best to their wives. (Ibn-Hanbal, No. 7396)

It is important to note that just as Islam gave women the right to reject suitors, it gave them the right to ask for divorce if they find themselves in unhappy or seriously unfulfilling marriages.

Another important side note is the fact that when women marry, they do not take their husband’s name but keep their own last name- this is to emphasize that they are individuals with rights, not some property that changes ownership.

As a mother: The Quran repeatedly reminds us that our parents have rights over us- so much so, we are commanded not even to utter “ouf” (or the least sign of annoyance). But mothers, especially, have an elevated status. It is doubtful that any other religion has elevated their status to the same degree.

In fact, a man once came to the Prophet and said, “O Messenger of God, who among the people is the most worthy of my good company? The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘Your mother’. The man said,’ Then who else?’ The Prophet said,’ Your mother’. The man said, ‘Then who else?’ The Prophet said, ‘Your mother’. The man asked, ‘Then who else?’ Only then did the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) say, Your father. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Furthermore, recognizing how painful labor is, the Prophet revealed that at the very first contraction a woman experiences, all of her sins are erased. Also, the Prophet said that any woman who dies while in labor is considered a martyr.

Islam thinks so highly of mothers that Muslims are told they can never repay their mothers, no matter what good they may do. What is more, the Prophet told us to remain at our mothers’ feet because that is where heaven lies.

To fully demonstrate how important mothers are, the Prophet revealed that before Islam, there was a man who used to worship Allah and who would pray a lot. Whenever he would start his supplementary prayers (extra ones beyond the obligatory prayers), his mother would call his name to ask him to do something- the man would wonder whether he should continue praying or answer his mother’s call, but he would reason that his prayer was more important and he would ignore her. His mother became very upset one time and she prayed against him. Allah granted her prayer teaching us that obeying our mothers is more important than supplementary acts of worship.

Finally in every Lesser pilgrimage (umrah) and Hajj, Muslim men, especially, are told to commemorate Hajar, Abraham’s wife’s, struggle to find water for her son, Ismael, after Prophet Abraham left her in the desert at the command of Allah. Thus, Muslim men imitate her, running where she ran between the mountains looking for water. Is there any other religion that has so memorialized a mother’s act of love?

(An important note is that Muslim women are given the right to abortion only if their pregnancy endangers their health.)

So far, it should appear obvious, then, that women are highly esteemed as daughters, wives, and mothers. Each role in fact, elevates their status.

But what about women's economic rights in Islam?

Again, Islam has given women rights that no modern society has been able to match. Muslims believe that men are financially responsible for women- thus, they must secure decent clothing, housing, food, etc for their wives and daughters (and their female relatives, such as their sisters, mothers, etc if their “guardians” have passed away) regardless of whether or not the women in the family have money. Let us say, for instance, a woman makes $100,000 a year. This does not mean her husband does not have to pay for her financial needs- Islamically, he is still supposed to pay for her basic finances! Interestingly enough, women are not under any obligations to pay or help out financially in their homes. Their money belongs solely to them- completely at their disposal. How can anyone think that this system oppresses women? As for working, Islam believes that motherhood is such a sacred duty that it should come first before work. However, women may work if they find suitable jobs where they do not have to compromise religious principles.

Related to this, is the fact that Islam gave women the right to own and sell property just as it gave them the right to inherit. These may seem like basic rights, but two or three hundred years ago, many Western women still did not have these rights!

Thus, economically, women are not oppressed at all.

How about women as individuals? Many people often think of Muslim women as oppressed, silent shadows. Although some women may be oppressed, this is due to cultural backwardness rather than Islam. Women in Islam have always played an active role. The first person to believe in Prophet Mohammed was his wife, Khadija (May Allah be pleased with her). The first martyr in Islam was a woman. Besides being pioneers and fighting alongside men in wars, women were scholars. It was under Aisha’s tutelage, one of the Prophet’s wives, (May Allah be pleased with her) that many of the scholars learned about Islam.

Scholars? Really? So Islam isn't against women being educated?

Of course NOT! Did you know that the first degree granting university ever built in the entire world was built by two Muslim sisters in the 9th century (in 859)? Princess Fatima al-Firhi and her sister built the al-Qarawiyyin Mosque and University in Morocco long before Western women were even given the right to enter a university!

Therefore, as should be obvious, Islam did not oppress women.

It liberated them.


P.s. As for hijab, when a woman adorns the hijab, she is signaling to the world that she is a Muslim and has submitted herself to her Lord. She rejects the idea that anyone should be able to look at her and instead, declares her body her own private property- firmly, she tells the world that she will not parade her beauty and instead will only reveal it to the people who truly love and value her. Thus, she decides who will be able to see what and how much (of course, it is Allah who decided who can see what but by wearing the hijab a Muslim woman shows that she accepts His Wisdom). Doesn't this sound like the ultimate feminist tool? Besides, it allows women to be flag bearers of their faith. And let's not forget that men also have a dress-code to follow.

P.s.S.  Please read this link, too!!


This is for You.

>> Monday, January 24, 2011

Asalamu aliakum wa rahmatullah wa barkatoo!

Yesterday, I decided to have a little bit of fun and try my hand at typography (as those who visit Easel and Ink may have noticed)...and I made this for you. They're amateurish, but it's the message that I want to share with you...

For every sister who put on the hijab and has forgotten that she's beautiful.

For every sister who put on the niqab and has started to have doubts.

For every sister who, no matter if she wears hijab or niqab, is trying to be a better Muslimah.

So that is for you.


And for a special sister, a beautiful butterfly, Jazakillah koli khair! I hope to live up to the award that you have so graciously given me...Please go visit (the ever) Wise Miss Tweet Blue! 


Aah, the Joys of Blogging

>> Friday, January 21, 2011

Asaalmu aliakuam, girlies!

ETA--- Junainah has spoken. LOL, she was the only one who wrote her opinion so we went back to the original. Just made a small change :)


So I like to think that this new design is a lot like high heels...

Beautiful...but completely unfunctional. You can't walk in them.

Yuppers, you can't actually use the 'tabs' with this new design.

So why'd I install it? Cause I didn't read the fine print, properly. *Sigh*

But seriously, the results of our poll were as follows

-Basically 6 wanted us to stick to blue
- 3 wanted pink
-1 really didn't want that much blue
-1 wanted some kind of design change

That meant...6 vs. 5...

So I figured, we would simply change the banner (you see, a rather generous sister had given me such a wonderful gift- she'd offered to make us a new one! Ma'shaAllah- which is what had prompted the whole poll in the first place) rather than change from blue to pink....but while I was looking for something, I landed on this gorgeous template and just...spontaneouly decided to change it.

What do you think? We keep it? We leave it? We go back to what we had?

And the other great joys of blogging is that a rather sweet sister has awarded us the Versatile Award!!

Jazakillah Sara! We were so toucheeeeeeeeed! We're supposed to write 7 facts and nominate 7 bloggers...we'll look in to that, inshaAllah =)


How do I tell da Teacher it's a bit Tight?

>> Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Asalamualykum dear ukthi,
i have this teacher at school who wears a hijab however wears very rivealing clothes which makes me quite uncomftable because i tend to hear boys in my class shouting out ''slag'' ect. i don't want to tell her because i know i will end up in trouble and the teacher will just say that i should mind my own business but its really fustrating. what should i do?? jazakAllah"

wa’alaykum as salam wa rahmatullah wa barkatoo,

Dearest Worried Student,

I gotta admit it to you. I saw your letter and I panicked. I thought ‘NOW that is a tough question”. That’s why it has taken me sooooo long to respond to you. I mean if it’s hard to tell our FRIENDS that their hijab is a bit…well..needs some more improvement…what about our teachers? Yup, definitely tough question…

But at the same time, it is really great question. It speaks a lot about your character, ma’shaAllah, that you would want to talk to your teacher and give her nasiha…

So I’m going to give you some really different strategies and hope that our readers pitch in some of their own ideas, hehe, and you see what you think you should do.

  1.        The Anonymous Tip Idea
It sounds like you are in a Muslim dominant school/ country (since your teacher is wearing hijab). IF that’s the case, and your teacher’s got a cubby hole, you can print out a nice article on the obligation of hijab, its conditions, etc. and put it there anonymously(and in other teachers’ cubby holes, too- so it doesn’t look like you are signaling her out). You can decorate it and put it on nice paper and maybe toss in a few chocolates.

2. The “Let’s Be Friends” Idea
If you’ve got facebook, ask her if she has it, too. If she does and she agrees to add you, wait a few days and then put up a nice article on the obligation of hijab, its conditions (haha, yup, I am repeating myself purposefully). OR, you could always put up a nice video on the topic. I’m not sure, but I think Baba Ali did a sort funny but true on one this topic?

3.   The Sincere Student Method
You pick an appropriate time- (preferably when there’s no one else in the classroom)- and you open up. You say something like “Ms. I really admire you and respect you. Thank you so much for teaching us X and Y. I learned a lot. There is just one tiny thing I thought you should know.  There are some people in this school who talk about you physically and I think you deserve more respect than that. I know that you wear hijab, ma’sahAllah, which is so inspiring and wonderful to us, but maybe it would also be a better idea to wear (for example? ) skirts or abayas. It might be a little less distracting for the guys, inshaAllah.

 4. The “Girls for REaL  Hijab” Campaign
Yes, I am suggesting you start a whole campaign for this, lol. Quite simply, you get together with some friends/ other girls in your school, and you decide that you’re going to make some posters, maybe give a small talk on what is true hijab- you invite her/ you tell her about this campaign of yours/ you ask her permission to put up a poster or talk about hijab during her class for 5 minutes. Heheh. So then, you talk about haya, you talk about modesty, etc. You talk about how it’s more than a scarf on your head, how it’s important to wear loose clothes, and how it’s important to act modestly. I would suggest using an article from I Got it Covered, like this one, called "garment of piety"
Okay, these were my little ideas....I hope inshaAllah things work out and that years from now, your teacher makes dua for you, thanking you for telling her what hijab is =)


Oh, shoot. Picture problems...

>> Sunday, January 16, 2011

I have a very small problem, but I don't know what to do and I hope you can help me. I started wearing hijab last year and alhamdillah, it's been very good. But a few days ago I found out that this person I used to be good friends with but no longer speak with put up pictures (that have me in them) on her facebook. The problem is that I'm not wearing hijab in those pictures. I'm not sure what do to. Should I let her keep them since I wasn't wearing hijab then or should I ask her to remove them? And if I should ask her to remove them, how should I do that since I no longer talk to her?
- Thanks so much for your help,

Teensy weensy shy

Dear “A Teensy Weensy Shy”

Ma’shaAllah! I am sOooO proud of you for wearing hijab, ma’shaAllah. That’s wonderful!

As for your question, I hear you. Man, oh, man, is facebook a little problema because of all the pictures on it.

I don’t have a fatwa for this, but even though you weren’t wearing hijab at the time that picture was taken, if you were SUPPOSED to be wearing hijab, you really probably should try to avoid having those pictures up there. Not only that, but you said they were pictures of you one year ago- right? You probably didn’t really change much (in terms of looks). I don’t know, but I’d feel really uncomfy with people seeing pictures of me that still clearly look like me- you get me.

So what to do… I can think of 2 options.

  1. You tell a mutual friend of yours to inform her that you started wearing hijab and have asked everyone that has pictures of you not to post them on facebook/etc. Remember, there are chances that she doesn’t even know that you wear hijab.
  2.  You send her a message on facebook/ or her e-mail, yourself….preferably NOT one like this:
You little scum, you. How dare you put up pictures of ME?”

That would be a huge, big, No NO! Seriously, though, I know it can be hard to think of what to say which is why I wrote a little template for you.

Dear X,
How are you? It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? I know we had some problems in the past- I’m really sorry about that. But we also had a lot of good memories, didn’t we? And lots of crazy, fun times :P

The thing is, the other day, Y was checking her FB (or however it happened- you explain) and I saw that you had put up some pictures of me. I know you might not know this, but I started wearing the hijab. (This is the veil that we Muslim girls wear as a command from God in front of male strangers). Since I’m not covered in those pics, I feel a little uncomfortable with them being on the internet. I’d really appreciate it if you could remove the pictures or even just black me out. I could even photoshop it myself (err, teensy, do you know how to do that hehe), if you want. Thank you so much.

*End of template*

Any normal person would honor such a polite request/ or honor the friendship that you once shared and immediately remove any pictures of you. If, however, she refuses, then you have a small problem. We’ll cross that bridge when that happens, though.

However, I’m not done, yet. I’d like to take the opportunity now to give some advice to our readers.

1. Be careful. Once someone takes a picture of you, you are no longer in control. You don’t where your pictures will end up. You don’t know who is looking at you, what they’re doing, how they think, etc. This might sound like the words of a paranoid aunt, but it happens. Like Teensy Weensy Shy, this is especially a big problem if you take the picture and you’re not wearing hijab (whether you actually wear the veil or not) because you might have to deal with such pictures later. It can have ‘devastating effects’….so just be careful :)

2. NEVER put up pictures of people on facebook without their permission. Seriously. Not everyone one feels comfy with pictures of them on the internet and not all parents allow the same things for their children. I know this might seem a little ‘harsh/extreme’ but just because you are friends with someone and you took a picture with them that you really like, doesn’t mean that person wants you to put that picture up. Ask them. Do they mind? Is it okay? If you don’t want to ask permission, cut them out. They have the right to decide what they want up/ don’t want.

3. My personal tip for hijabis who put up pictures of their friends who do not wear hijab. We cannot guide our friends but we are responsible to give nasiha. See, when you go walking out with your friend, it’s your friend’s decision to let people look at her and she will have to deal with that on the Day of Judgment. BUT when you put up her pictures, you are responsible for those people on your list/ in your home/whatever who look at her. Think about it. Don’t you love your friends enough that you don’t to encourage her to do wrong things?

Remember, this hadith:
"Whoever amongst you sees anything objectionable, let him change it with his hand, if he is not able, then with his tongue, and if he is not even able to do so, then with his heart, and the latter is the weakest form of faith."

When we put pictures of her up, are we really following that?

Besides, you might also want to read this: Interesting Article

OK, teensy weensy a little shy, I hope this helps you a bit. And remember readers…You’re gorgeous. You’re a diva. You’re beautiful. How could you not be when Allah created you? But be grateful to Him and honor His commands…even on your facebook,


To wear Niqab ...or not to!

>> Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"Asalumalykum fellow muslim sister,
i'm really confused at the moment, recently i have started to respect and follow my deen to its full potential and mashAllah its going great. i have one question? i really want to wear the burka but its not essential is islam. can you please give me advice on what to do. jazakAllah "

Confused Sister

Wa’alykum as salam wa rahamtullah wa barkatoo, Confused Sister,

Ma’shaAllah to you! It’s so very beautiful to hear you say that you have begun to respect your deen and follow it as much as you can. May Allah keep you steadfast.

As for your question, I have to be honest with you. There is difference of opinion on the issue of niqab. You will find well known and extremely respected scholars of Islam who said that it was obligatory. On the other hand, you will also find others who said that it isn’t obligatory. (On the bottom of this post, I’ll provide you with links that show a little bit of the different opinions on the matter because we’ve actually had more than several sisters sending in questions about that. Ma’shaAllah, ta’barakaAllah really @ all these sisters who want to take such a big step)…

But as for now…

If you mean that you follow the opinion that it’s not obligatory, so you’re not sure whether to do it or not, I’ll tell you some advice I’ve heard many daee’s say over and over again…

One thing that happens to many people who ‘re-discover Islam’ is that they ‘go all out’. Whereas they used to pray once a year, suddenly, they’re reading three azjaa a day, fasting every Monday and Thursday, praying all the sunnahs, waking up in the middle of the night and praying, giving half their money as sadaqah, etc.

That’s all wonderful, of course, and ma’shaAllah and completely inspiring…except that, unfortunately what ends up happening to many people is that they crash.

Big Time.

Like if ‘this was a diet change’, they would be in the kitchen with their mouths stuffed with double fudge chocolate cake, and a few cartons of ice-cream already finished.

Yeah. They end up feeling overwhelmed, and unfortunately, many times, ‘retreating back to their old habits’ and abandoning even the obligatory things.

This is why most daee’s give this advice. If you’re going to start ‘hooking up with your deen again’, take it step by step.

(Now, we’re definitely not talking about taking it step by step with haraam things. If you’re doing something haram, you should stop it immediately).

But what we’re saying is first, make absolute sure that you are doing ALL the obligatory things. Then move on to the extra things or nawafil.

This is because Allah subhanoo Wa’ Tala said in the hadith:

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

So before you think of niqab:
  •     Are you praying fajr? Isha? All five prayers on time?(which I am sure you are, ma’shaAllah)?
  •       Do you already wear khimar/ abaya (or the very long scarf that covers your chest)?  
  •     Those kinda things…
If you are already doing all that, fantastic, ma’shaAllah.
  •     You can try and move on to [what is generally thought of as the easy] nawafil: are you praying the sunnah prayers?
  •     Do you pray witr?
  •       Do you fast the 3 days of the month? 

If yes, GREAT.

If not…

Here’s the thing. You should be warned that everyone has different experiences with niqab. Your experience with the niqab will depend a lot on your environment (including the familia- fam- mama- baba- that kinda thing) and more importantly on your own faith and trust in Allah. You most likely will get asked a LOT about it. You may find some Muslims who will also ‘accuse you of being extremist/ ruining the image of Islam/etc.” You may find your friends suddenly developing some sort of allergies to you and disappearing. If you’re still studying, you may find that your school/university doesn’t really accept it. If your imaan is still a little bud and hasn’t really blossomed yet, you may verily well end up feeling very alone and taking it off a few weeks later. Even years later, you may wonder if you had rushed into things that you didn’t really have to do… You may wonder why you didn’t just draw closer to Allah using these easier (less noticeable) nawafil (praying sunnah, etc.)…

That’s why I would recommend building your imaan as well as adding extra ibaadat in your daily life as much as possible before deciding to wear niqab. (Actually, this is something we should all do, anyways!)

Like set a goal date—6 months time- 8 months…etc.

Then, decide some actions that you are going to do each month to build up your iman. For example:

This month, I’m going to work on reading at least 10 pages of Qur’an every day…”
Second month: Now, I’m going to continue reading those 10 pages and add 3 more pages each day. I’m also going to start giving sadaqah once a week….
Third month:…..*and so on*

You see,

The Prophet (sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam) also said,:
 Take from works that which you are able to sustain, for Allah does not tire [of rewarding you] until you tire [of works].

That's why it's really important that you are consistent with what you do. Once you've done all that, try on the niqab. Get in touch with other niqabis around you. Ask them what their advice is. I'm not sure what country you're in which is why I advise you to talk to others actually in your area...Broach the topic with your family. Will they accept it/allow it? Read more and more about it.

The most important thing is understanding exactly what you’re getting into before getting into it, ishaAllah…

I hope inshaAllah that this little helps you and I ask Allah to forgive me if I said anything incorrect!

OH, you can also try reading this advice we posted earlier—Niqabi who needs a little boost

AND Hopefully also our other niqabi readers can share their experience and tips—tell us what do you advise her to do?

(And finally- for the differences of opinion on niqab: check out the link below)

P.s. Here's our story why we chose to wear niqab: For a limited time only :)


She doesn't listen!

>> Monday, January 10, 2011

"asalamualykum dear ukthi,
i have this friend who has commited a grave sin, she has had sex and she is only 15. we have confronted her and asked her why she did it but she just denied it. She also wears a hijab and she takes it off after school, i think this is absoulutly disgusting, the whole point of wearing a hijab is to guars your modesty but by doing this terrible deed she is humilliating the whoile muslim umma, how do you expect islam to get respect in this world when theres these filthy deeds going on?? i've tried explaining to her but she just dosnt want to listen. what should i do? jazakAllah"

worried friend

Wa’alykum as salam wa rahmatullah wa barkatoo, dearest worried friend,

Jazaki Allah koli khair for being a true friend and for worrying about your friend’s Hereafter.

Jazaki Allah for being honest with your friend asking her to her face about her actions rather than simply talking about her behind her back and spreading awful rumors...

Jazaki Allah for your sincerity in wanting your friend to be a better Muslimah and for your gheerah for the Muslim Ummah.

However, my darling ukhtee, it might be that I am an English teacher so I look into ‘words’ and their meanings a little more than necessary, but I have to ask you ‘what you mean by confronting her’? I know from experience that sometimes seeing our fellow sisters and brothers falling into such obvious haram and self-destruction can really raise our blood pressure, right, but if we approach them with our eyes bloodshot, our eyes brows raised and our arms flailing, you know, the whole “WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING, MISSY” attitude, we may end up only harming them more and repelling them from religion, completely.

Now, wait, don’t get me wrong. I am in no way saying don’t do ‘naseeha’. We must enjoin the good and forbid the evil. What I am saying though is that there’s a difference between ‘asking and talking to her about her actions’ and maybe, not meaning to (which I am 100% sure you did intend to do at all) but actually ‘ganging up on her ‘….

Basically, there’s a difference between ‘enjoining the good’ in a good way and doing it in a …well….not so good way; the difference can lead to a person’s acknowledgment of their wrong doing or unfortunately, their refusal to admit it.

Let’s take a look at what Allah subhanoo Wa’ Tala told Prophet Moosa and Harun alyhima as salam to do with Pharoah:

Go, both of you, to Pharaoh. Indeed, he has transgressed. (43) And speak to him with gentle speech that perhaps he may be reminded or fear [Allah]."(44) They said, "Our Lord, indeed we are afraid that he will hasten [punishment] against us or that he will transgress." (45) [Allah] said, "Fear not. Indeed, I am with you both; I hear and I see. (Surat Taha)

Can you imagine? Allah subhanoo Wa’ Ta’la commanded Moosa to speak to Firawan (Pharoah) in a gentle manner even though Pharoah was the one who was going around calling himself the ‘Lord’. I mean could you get any more criminal than that? Could anyone be any worse than that?! So how much more are we then in need of speaking to our fellow Muslims gently! None of our friends can be as bad as Pharoah …and not one of us are as good as Prophet Moosa…

Now, wait one sec (hehe, I keep making you wait, sorry)! Don’t think I think committing sex is as simple as eating your food with your left hand. No way. Having premarital relations is a big deal. A huge deal….

Big enough thought that the Qur’an warns us that we must have 4 witnesses before we accuse anyone of having committed it….

So my next question for you, my dear worried friend-- are you sure there are enough witnesses in this case? Did 4 people see her actually in the act? (audoo’billah).

If no one saw it, and she denied it, forget about it. Allah is the Concealer of Sins. We also have to think well of our Muslim sister.

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Messenger said, “I warn you of suspicion, for suspicion is the most false form of talk.” (Agreed upon).

Also, there’s a famous story of the Companion Usama bin Zayd (Radiya Allah Anhoo) who was fighting during a battle. Right when he was about to kill a disbeliever, the disbeliever proclaimed the shahada. However, Usama still killed him. The Prophet sallah Allahoo alyheae wa salam was very angry when he found out. Usama explained that man had only pronounced the shahada to defend/ protect himself. The prophet replied to him by asking him, “Did you open his heart to see what he meant?”

Does that mean you forget about your friend’s problems? Not at all. But it means you redirect the issue to ‘instead of maybe having had sex’, to her definite ‘hijab’ issues.

So how do you do talk to her about it when she refuses to listen?

You sing a different tune.

That’s right. You try a different approach
See, you have to realize something- she’s not you. If you want to reach out to her, you can’t think that what works for you will work for her. You’ve got to do the opposite. You’ve got to try to think like HER, not force her to think like you.

Huh? What do I mean by that?

I mean think about what her reasons are for doing all this. Why is she doing all this?

I may be wrong, but here’s the thing. You said that she takes if off after school? Is it part of your uniform? Is it mandatory? She may feel like “Veiled” from (Veiled, wanting to be Unveiled) feels.

She may not like the hijab, at all. She may feel like she was forced ‘to do something’ she didn’t want to do in the first place, so telling her that she is disgracing the Ummah will probably just ‘push her even more away’. You should try talking to her about the amazing reward she will get if she wears the hijab for Allah’s sake. Talk to her about jannah. To her about how if she wears the hijab now, Allah may reward her even in this life with an amazing hunk of man who will treat her right and truly cherish her. Talk to her about how Allah is Ever so Appreciative. He’s Ash-Shakur and He will never let her good deeds go to waste.

Try talking to her about how she’s more than her looks- how the hijab isn’t meant to cage her but guard her.

If she doesn’t respond to the hijab, move on. Try to show her the beauty of Islam. You can use some of the Auntie Recommended links. Share with her some beautiful hadiths and presentations. Invite her and all the other girls and watch a lecture like the “Desert Rose” one (that we have put up)…Talk about the Names of Allah- both the beautiful ones and the awe-inspiring/ scary ones. Talk about death. Try different things….

One thing you have to remember though is to be approachable. Tell her that you’re also struggling with something. Don’t make it sound like it’s so easy to be the best Muslim out there. Don’t let her think that you think you’re perfect; each one of us is struggling with something, ourselves. Acknowledge that there’s temptation, but tell her that you guys all want to help each other. You guys want to be ‘sisters’ for Allah’s sake, not just friends. Slowly, try to build up her imaan….inshaAllah if you do that, bit by bit, there should be a real difference in her behavior.

And finally tell her you care. She might have understood from your nasiha that you felt that she was the single reason our ummah is ‘so weak right now’. I know you didn’t mean that at all, but maybe that’s what she understood, right. What she needs to actually hear from you is the words you ended with: “I’m worried about you. You matter to me. What’s going on?”.

inshaAllah that will affect her!

Well, these are my little ideas. May Allah forgive me if I said anything wrong. Forsome  more tips/guidelines on how to enjoin the good and forbid the evil, check this great link out.

Hope to hear that things change with your friend and that you guys race together to jannah,

Baraka Allah feeki!

p.s. a beautiful and somewhat  relevant graphic from Easel and Ink:


Defeating the Dips of a Rollercoaster Relationship with Salah

>> Sunday, January 9, 2011

I've been brought up in an Islamic household, so I've been raised to pray Salah, cover up, etc. i just recently started wearing Hijab fully, but there's this one thing that really bugs me. My Salah. I will not pray for a while, get an Iman rush, and then start following the prayer again. It'll be okay for a couple days, then I start to slowly neglect it. I'm tired of having an on/off relationship with Salah. What can I do ?

Assalamu Alaykum my dear sister, Tired.

Congrats on wearing Hijab fully, subhanAllah (:
Well it's good that you do pray sometimes, but we both know how Salah is sooo important! It's what we'll be asked of first on the Day of Judgement...
I understand how you can have an immense Iman rush sometimes and then when that ends you can feel really rotten inside. It happens to me too and it can really knock me down and frustrate me to be honest.
I call these times 'dips'... Like pizza dips, but not as yummy.
Look at it this way though, you need the dips in order get the highs. Otherwise the highs wouldn't feel so high, right?
When you get a dip, or feel one coming on (hehe, I'm talking about it like acne!), the first thing you gotta do is remember Allah. Do so much dhikr! Wherever you are! Don't let satan pull you away from Him!
Something I try to do is to regularly is evaluate myself and if the need is apparent, 'upgrade' myself (i'm talking like i'm the iphone4 or something :P).
How? Well try this template:

Date: [Insert Date Here] 

Iman Level: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 [Circle appropriate number] 

Reason for the Dip?: [Write anything which may have happened which may have caused the dip. Write anyone, any place, any event, anything. Make a note to yourself to stay away from a certain place or certain person if you think they've or it's affected the dip! If there's no reason, never mind(:] 

What I'm gonna do!: [Don't sit around thinking how you feel down, be proactive and do something about it! Write down a list of 5 things you can do everyday in the next week to make you remember Allah more, increase sincerity and inshaAllah, bring you out of this dip! Example of this could be; 100 Darood Shareefs

  • Helping someone

  • Reading a verse/extra verse of Quran

  • Putting a £/$ in the collection box with the intention of doing it in order to feel closer to Allah.

  • Read the translation of the Quran (if you don't know Arabic), ponder over the meaning...

  • Review your list after a week and do the Iman Level thing again and see what you get. If it's still low then try again. Lifting the rungs of your targets every time. Keep striving and keep climbing inshaAllah!

Sign up for this if you want, I have, and it's really good!
Basically spending an hour or so of your weekend youtube-ing lectures and talks from various Shaykhs, can be a good use of time and it can boost your Iman too, inshaAllah! :D

Check out another answer from a while back about Salah Struggles. And this is about getting Distracted in Salah.

Your rollercoaster relationship with Salah is a trial that Allah has given to you. Thing is Sis, don't see it as a calamity. Might sound strange, but see it as a blessing. You want strength and Allah has given you a test - and you CAN conquer it! Yes, you can! (Obama Style!), inshaAllah. It's a blessing because with this test, you can become such an even more amazing Muslimah. Your soul will have new strengths and qualities added to it, and if you have the determination to keep trying (I know you can!), Allah will be so pleased inshaAllah. Keep trying and be patient, Allah is with the patient and in time, the rollercoaster will end, inshaAllah.

"Every matter has its appointed time" The Holy Qur'an 54:3
Also, don't forget;

"With hardship there is relief, with hardship there is relief"
Wish you allll the best my sister<3

Keep Smiling (: <3


A Sisterly Qur'an Club?

Do you know of a place online where Muslimas gather weekly to discuss/ study qur'an? Or...maybe you ladies could start a separate blog to do so??? It'd certainly help me, and I'm sure it'd help others too...just a question though.


Dearest  Irendi,

You should have the smile on my face when I saw a question from you, little Irendi (yes, as you can see, I like calling everyone little - * talk about inferiority complex issues). Anyways, what a wonderful question. You’ll be happy to know that I avoided doing  teacher file work and preparing for my teaching lesson    jumped at the opportunity to answer this question <3.

You know why? Because I really really really love the idea! So I went around looking to see if it had been done, already. I knew there were institutions that taught tafsir online (for example, Al Huda Institute) but a ‘sisterly group’ kinda thing, a bloggy kinda thing……I wasn’t really aware of any, so I did a little google searching..

After an hour’s search, this is what I came up with:

Studying the Quran at Noor for sisters
Sister Sarah Tajjamul, Sarah Alauddin, Sister Shahida and Sister Asma have taken it upon themselves to begin a wonderful class (beginning October 5 2010) for sisters every Tuesday at NICC in the basement from 11am-1pm. We will go through the Quran ayah by ayah not only learning the tafseer, but also spending time on word to word translation, analyzing each word linguistically, grammatically and contextually. The object of this class will be Insha'Allah to read the Qur'an in Arabic, understand it, memorize it and implement it. Please join us every Tuesday for this amazing opportunity and embark on a new chapter in your life Insh'allah.

Yeah, so my first thought was ‘-_-‘ the basement?’ And what exactly is @ NoOr?…then I looked at the URL and realized it was the name of the forum, LOL. But hey, sounds awesome, right? May Allah reward these sisters….

The rest of these finds are primarily ‘tajweed’ teaching sites and learning how to read the Qur’an… I know you were talking about sisters coming together and reading the Qur’an, though, but just in case anyone else wants/is looking for something like these (since I already searched a bit)

^This one on top is for those who don’t want something online, but offline….

NOW, if any sisters gets inspired when she sees this ‘post’ and decides to create such a blog- reading the Qur’an bookclub blog kinda thing’-please do tell us so that we can also join in. OR, if you already know such a blog exists, let us know…

Once again,  Irendi, thanks for such a wonderful question =)


Tafsir of Surat Yusuf... (Auntie Recommended!)

>> Thursday, January 6, 2011

As much as we aunties try our best to give advice,
the best advice is found in the Qur'an and sunnah.

The Qur'an truly is the best self-help book- and the reason is because it the only Book that we have today that was written by our Creator!

So with that said, Sarah of  Bint has started posting her notes on Tafsir of Surat Yusuf, ma'shaAllah. She says:

Tafseer Surah Yusuf, Ayaat 1 – 18

Yusuf is a proper name of Hebrew origin. Its meaning is said to do with the fact he faced a difficult life with lots of sorrow and returned to Allah a lot. Others say to leave it as it is. One of his titles if ‘Kareem ibnul Kareem ibnul Kareem ibnul Kareem.’ Kareem is one who is noble and honourable. His lineage is Yusuf ibn Yaqoob ibn Ishaq ibn Ibrahim – showing that he was Kareem with his forefathers also being Kareem as well mashaAllah.

This is a very unique Surah. Yusuf ‘alayhis salaam is only mentioned in this surah and this surah contains his story from beginning to end. It was revealed in the 10th year of Prophethood which is known as ‘Aamul Huzn – the Year of Grief. This was the year Khadijah, radhiaAllahu ‘anha passed away, as well as Abu Talib, radhiaAllahu ‘anhu. Its revelation came at a very critical time.

The pagans of Makkah at that time went to the Jews of Madinah and asked for something to ask the Prophet (Sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam) – something to test his Prophethood. The Jews of Madinah told the Makkans to ask the Prophet (sallah Allahoo alyhee wa saalam) about Yusuf and his brothers. If he (sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam) can talk about him, he’s a true prophethood. If not, he is a fake. The Sahabah were also facing a lot of difficulties and asked for a story of the people of the past. A good story, with lessons and wisdom, will just boost a person’s determination.


Click on the link to read what these lessons are, inshaAllah. Hope to see all of you there, inshaAllah.


Li'l Auntie's Reflections on Being a Lousy Goalie

>> Wednesday, January 5, 2011

In an instant-
The crowd cheers-
An impossible dream…

In that instant,
The goalie’s eyes – haunted- scream
The player’s mouth drops open,
The fog clears,

and I stare at the ‘unbelievable’ scene in front of me.

The player scored
against his own team.

The score -

A little while later, I sat down and mentally rewinded the scene in my mind (the game being ‘a friendly game’ between Egypt vs. Qatar). No, no, I decided; it most definitely wasn’t disgust or horror that I felt at the ‘fateful goal’.

It was pity.

Pity for the player.

Would he sleep at night or would he stay awake, replaying that goal, over and over again? Would he ever forgive himself?

It was just a mistake- just a split second decision -but there was no doubt about it. It cost them the game. (The eventual score was 2-1; had he not made that goal, it would have an even 1-1.)

As I truly sat down and analyzed that goal, my stomach began to churn. My thoughts raced to an entirely different game…one where I was the goalie.

No, it wasn’t memories of 6th grade soccer.

It was memories of my life.

I thought about the ‘game (and I use the term loosely)’ I had been playing.

How many times had I taken an ‘even score’ and willingly, ruined it.

How many times had I been a truly lousy goalie? I let in so many easy *stoppable goals*. I could have easily told my friend, “Hey, that’s backbiting. Don’t say that,” or “I really don’t think that’s appropriate to watch” I could easily have ‘not befriended’ certain people, avoided certain places, etc, but no…I let it ‘mostly’ in. Take, take, take….

No defense, no guarding…

But what was even worse than that, was that as much as I was a lousy goalie, I was really an even lousier player.

How many times had I actually helped the ‘other team’- “Shaytaan and his cronies” against myself?

“Hey, want to ….” “Let’s go do X/Y/Z.”

How many times had I initiated a ‘haraam activity’?

How many times had I delayed an obligatory act?

We can pray salah later.” “I’ll wear hijab, later…

When I really thought about it, I had basically been playing for the other side.

I had been scoring against myself.

Didn’t Allah subhanoo Wa’ Tala clearly warn us (using even the first person voice):

Did I not charge you, O children of Adam! that you should not worship Shaitan? Surely he is your open enemy, (60) And that you should serve Me; this is the right way. (61) And certainly he led astray numerous people from among you. What! could you not then understand? (62) Surat Yaseen

Had I taken Shaytaan as my enemy?

No; I think we’ve just established that I had done the exact opposite.

What about these verses:

[Iblees] said, "Do You see this one whom You have honored above me? If You delay me until the Day of Resurrection, I will surely destroy his descendants, except for a few."

(62) [Allah] said, "Go, for whoever of them follows you, indeed Hell will be the recompense of you - an ample recompense. (63) And incite [to senselessness] whoever you can among them with your voice and assault them with your horses and foot soldiers and become a partner in their wealth and their children and promise them."

But Satan does not promise them except delusion. (64) Indeed, over My [believing] servants there is for you no authority. And sufficient is your Lord as Disposer of affairs. (65) (Surat Al Isra)

As I reflected on all this, I realized that the ultimate question was--

“What is my *present score?”

I don't have the answer for that,
But I’ve got to go now and do something for the sake of Allah.

I need to SCORE.

And [by] the soul and He who proportioned it (7) And inspired it [with discernment of] its wickedness and its righteousness, (8) He has succeeded who purifies it, (9) And he has failed who instills it [with corruption]. (surat As Shams)


She doesn't believe

>> Saturday, January 1, 2011

I have this friend who is an atheist but she’s just the sweetest person you can imagine and she’s always trying to help others. Even more than Muslims. Is she really going to go to hell?


Dear Unsure,

This is a question that a lot of us struggle with at one point in our lives. Who is going to go to heaven? Who is going to go to hell?

Honestly, none of us knows for sure. Only God, Himself, knows.

But God did put some criteria down for who is going to be rewarded with heaven….and as politically incorrect as it may sound, atheists are not included, even if they are the “sweetest people” out there.

Why not? The thing is we have to remember that Allah is the Most Just. When we say Allah is Just, we don’t mean it lightly. We mean that in His Kingdom, which spans the heavens and the earth, He is fair to every single creature. We mean He is Just 100% of the time. And on the Day of Judgment, this attribute of His will be highlighted. The Day of Judgment is all about justice and mercy.

Now, let’s look at a person who is an atheist but is a “good” person.

The first thing we have to ask ourselves is: is this person really such a good person? I don’t mean it in an offensive way, either. I know- there are a number of atheists who dedicate their lives to helping others. But, see, here’s the thing. Islam isn’t just about being good to other people. No doubt that is extremely important and I can’t emphasize how important enough. (The Prophet (sallah Allah alayhee wa salaam) stressed helping the vulnerable over and over again.) But who is a Muslim?

A Muslim is someone who decides that Allah will have a say in every single aspect of their life, even the tiniest details.

Essentially, a Muslim is a person who strives to live their entire life following Allah’s Commands. Islam, after all, affects what kind what kind of job we get..where we live….how we eat…who we marry…what we wear…everything.

Is it really fair of Allah to equate someone who did their very best to follow His Commands with someone who didn’t really care? Is it fair to equate someone who gave up their own personal desires with a person who did whatever he wanted? I mean think about it- just take the act of praying. Is it fair for Allah to equate a person who got up very sleepily in the dawn and made wudoo in the freezing water with someone who slept soundly and didn’t have a care in the world? And this happened again and again and again…. Now think about every single time a Muslim has to do something he or she might not really feel like it? And think about the opposite- how many times a Muslim can’t do something he wants to because Allah forbade it. Do you see what I’ m saying? How is it fair to all of us if atheists were given the same reward we were promised?

And equally important, no matter how good or kind this person was to other people, how did they show respect to their Creator? To Allah?

Let me give you an example and to Allah belongs the Most Exalted Examples.

Let’s say a father has three sons.

His eldest son, Sammy, is an A+ student who volunteers at a soup kitchen every weekend. Not only that but he mows his elderly neighbor’s lawn every month. Sam seems like the perfect kid. Only one thing… he got really mad at his dad once and since then, he’s stopped talking to him. He still lives with his dad, eats his food, and everything but he doesn’t pay him any attention.

On the other hand, there’s Ahmed, Sammy’s younger brother. He’s a B+ student who tutors his classmates for free. Ahmed always tries to make his dad happy and though he sometimes messes up, he always apologizes.

Finally, there’s Rashid, who is a D student. He respects his dad a lot but he’s always getting into trouble with everyone else.

How do you think Sam’s dad feels? Do you think they’re equal? Probably not… Out of the three, Ahmed is probably his father’s favorite. As kind as Sammy is to other people, he’s not really treating his dad that nicely even though his dad has more rights over him. Similarly, as good as Rashid is to his dad, he still upsets his dad since he’s always getting into trouble with the neighbors. At the end, each of these will get what they deserve.

Allah is the Most Forgiving. He is also the Most Loving. But He is also Just. And He’s made it very clear that a person who chooses not to believe is going to be punished in the HereAfter.

You know why?

Because they chose disbelief…

See, Allah didn’t just leave us here without anything. He programmed us. Every single one of us was born on the fitrah and we have a conscious that lets us know when we do something right and something wrong. But equally important, Allah left signs in our selves, all around us, and in the Quran that point to His Existence and to the fact Islam is the right religion. A person who chooses to ignore all of that is responsible for that decision.

Allah says in the Quran: 
Have you made the providing of water for the pilgrim and the maintenance of al-Masjid al-Haram equal to [the deeds of] one who believes in Allah and the Last Day and strives in the cause of Allah? They are not equal in the sight of Allah. And Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people. (19) 

The other thing- an atheist helps others without thinking he will be rewarded in the HereAfter. Remember, he doesn’t even believe in a Herefater. So what does he get from helping others? He gets a good feeling. That’s what is so remarkable- the very act of giving gives someone a good feeling, a sense of happiness- that is indescribable. Besides a good feeling, he/ she gets a good reputation, which is another blessing.

And don’t forget the fact that God already bestowed millions of blessings on this person… from their eyesight to hearing a baby’s giggle.

So you see- God is Just and you can rest assured that your friend has already gotten ‘rewarded’ for it and she will be rewarded for it in different ways in this LIFE.

Now, instead of worrying about your friend, why don’t you try to talk to her more about Islam? :P :P

Lots of love,


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