the P word (polygamy)

>> Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bismillah Ar Rahamn Ar-Rahmin,
Please help me...

The other day when all my friends gathered in my room, they were talking about polygamy. And I don't know why the whole time i'm thinking about it and I'm scard of getting married

Allah is The Most Wise, and He knows the wisdom behind everything that happens. I'm trying to gain knowledge regarding this issue by watching lecture and through reading. I understand its objectives and the advantages. But why I felt compel towards this?

Miss Pinky

wa'alykum as salam wa rahmatullah wa barkatoo,
Dearest Miss Pinky,

awww, sis, a lot of girls are SCARED of polygamy, so I'm glad you brought this topic up. I love how you acknowledge that Allah is the Most Wise :) I like how you've been reading about it and understand its objectives and whatnot. 

So what can I add to what you've probably already read? 

Well, the reason why most sisters are scared of polygamy is because they have seen really bad examples. They've seen it practiced incorrectly (whether in real life or in horrible soap operas/ etc.). The reality is that Islamically it is permissible for men to have more than one wife, provided that they follow  very stringent rules. A man has to be fair with all of his wives. He must provide for them equally just as he must spend equal time with his wives. He should provide separate accommodation for them, as well, if they do not want to live with each other.  The Quran clearly states this. Furthermore, there is a hadith in which the Prophet says that whoever does not treat his wives fairly will be severely severely punished.

The reality is that in pre-Islamic Arabia (and in many other ancient cultures), men would take as many wives as they wanted. There was no limit and no rules. Islam came and changed that- it limited the number of women that can be married and it said that they have to be treated fairly.

 "Marry women of your choice, two, or three, or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one." [Al-Qur’an 4:3]

And here's the thing. Most people when they think of polygamy they look at it from the perspective of the man or the first wife. They think that the minute a Muslim man gets bored from his wife, he just goes and finds himself another. But polygamy is not just about an individual…it actually plays a social role- it encourages men to marry widows and divorcees to provide emotional and financial support. At the same time, it prevents spinsterhood in societies where women outnumber men.

In fact, Islam tells us that near the end of time, there will come a time when there will be 50 women for every man. When this point of time comes, Islam is not going to have to change its laws and re-think its position on marriage- because God is the One who made the rules and already had knowledge of what was going to happen, the institution of marriage is not going to have to be changed.

This brings us to another point- just 2 or 3 centuries ago, certain non-Muslims used to criticize the fact Islam allows divorce. They maintained that divorce was wrong and ugly. Today, however, almost everyone recognizes that when a couple cannot stand being together and have no love, respect, and mercy for one another and that when every attempt at reconciliation is futile, divorce can be a peaceful solution. Most people today do not criticize Islam anymore about divorce. Similarly, when the time comes and there 50 women for every man, it is doubtful Islam will be criticized for allowing polygamy.

You might be thinking but right now that’s not the case. And my answer for you is that, most Muslim marriages today are monogamous. Remember, polygamy is allowed- that doesn’t mean that everyone practices it. It’s a choice. 

Let’s also consider the “non-Islamic” alternatives to polygamy: like having a mistress. Legally, a mistress doesn’t have any rights such as the right to inherit. And if she bore any children, they would not necessarily be given their rights either. (It’s not uncommon to hear stories of adults finding out they have other siblings years later after discovering their father had an affair) But besides rights, it’s a very hidden relationship that involves a lot of deceit and lying. Can you imagine how many times the husband has to tell his wife he has to work late when in reality he wants to go be with his mistress? Then, there are the medical issues- who’s to say how many mistresses a man might have in his life? Sexual diseases have a higher chance when more partners are involved and don’t know about one another. In Islam, there is a limit that cannot be transgressed.

You might be thinking but “I never said that I support the idea of a mistress." I understand. I'm just giving you a little more background to the idea. As we said, earlier, polygamy is a choice. 

And so, here's the thing. If you worry now about your future husband marrying over you, you're really stressing yourself out for no reason. You haven't met your husband,yet,  sweetie. When the time comes, all you'll have to do is discuss the matter with him....ask him if he is intending to engage in polygamy or not.  Be honest and frank with him; have a long talk where you let him discuss his thoughts and intentions. Explain that it worries you and that you're not sure how you'll handle that if he wants to do that. 

I also want to remind you what we said in an earlier post about fear. We said fear paralyzes us. "What if" is basically Pandora's box. We won't know what will happen until we're actually at that moment.....since we cannot control the future, why let the fear of the future control us? Really, fear keeps us trapped. But if we just say Bismillah, rely on Allah, take a deep breath, make dua, we'll find Allah by our side, and we'll find that hypothetical situations aren't really that scary. For every chance that something will happen, there's a chance it  won't.  And maybe that it won't be as we think it would be. And  a zillion other 'what if's'...:)

I want you to also read sister Megan Wyatt's excellent advice-- What You Fear, You Create.

And as Megan Wyatt said, build up your imaan. Focus on your spirituality. Read more Qur'an. Develop a greater relationship with Allah and you will find peace, inshaAllah.

I hope other sisters can also share their advice/ any great articles/ links, inshaAllah.


It's ma Partaaaaaay.

Assalamu'alaykum dear sisters:)

First of all, Alhamdulillah for me coming across your wonderful blog:) you may not be giving fatwas, but Masha Allah you have great advice:) Thankyou, may Allah reward you in the best of ways!

My question is about marriage. I'm 19, and there has been a proposal for me. You see, whenever i discuss the marriage idea with my close sister, we don't seem to be having trouble picturing how married life should be in Islam lol. :) But now that I suddenly have a proposal, im freaking out! Like, it feels so sudden, i don't really know how to handle it. I know how we should go about getting to know the guy..but my question would be however about how a marriage should be conducted. If im going to get married, should i hold a feast? Im an Indian (as in my race is indian) from Singapore, and the indian Muslim community here..I don't really like the way marriages are held here. Together with the feast, there's also loud music, flirting..basically kind of alot of haram going on. How should a Muslim couple go about having a proper wedding approved within the context of Islam? And, Masha Allah, im scared of how to go about telling my parents about my decision not to have the typical Indian Muslim Marriage here too. So far, i've tried search websites about how it should be held, but i can't find clear advice. Jazakallah Khair Akhowaatii :) <3
 Love, Princess S.

Dearest Princess S,
Wa'alykum as salam wa rahmatullah wa barkatoo :)

This is really exciting! And nerve wracking…and just soOo exciting….But yeah, I know what you mean about it being sudden; proposals usually always are. It’s like one day you’re totally single and the next day you’re suddenly ‘thinking about becoming this guy’s wife!’ But don’t worry. You just got to pray istikharah. And remember, don’t be ‘too hasty’. If you need a few extra meetings and some more time to make your decision, feel free to ask the other family to give you that. Really.

And now….

On to the question! Well, my dear, Indian weddings sound like Egyptian weddings. Yeah, not exactly the ideal Islamic weddings. It’s great you want an Islamic one, though, ma’shaAllah!

So what constitutes an Islamic wedding? How does a couple go about having a proper wedding approved within the context of Islam?

In my opinion, probably the safest way to have an Islamic wedding is not to have it mixed. That way, the ladies and men won’t get to flirting, and you can also be sure that the ladies aren’t dressed in a way that is inappropriate in front of men. And dancing...

What else? Well, there’s the issue of music like you said. An Islamic wedding shouldn’t have inappropriate music; that’s not to say that it doesn’t have duff/ nasheeds/ and that kinda thing, but there are certain songs that shouldn’t really be ‘played’.

Another thing you might want to make sure is that you start the wedding and end it at appropriate times so that nobody can really ‘blame’ the wedding on ‘not praying’; the idea is don’t keep it going all the way till 3 and fajr is at 4 (and everyone goes to sleep exactly at 3:30 missing fajr).

Some other ideas to keep it Islamic can be found in this great article called Throwing a Muslim wedding: Common Mistakes in a Muslim Wedding”.

Now, how do you tell your parents that you want an “Islamic wedding”.

Well, first broach the topic of the proposal. Ask them what they think of the suitor. Talk about the fact that the man’s religion and character are the most important things to you. Make sure they understand where you are coming from- that religion matters to you :)

Then, move on to the topic of the wedding. Tackle the ‘easier’ parent first, hehe. If it’s your mom, maybe bring up a wedding you guys went to together that you felt was o.k. but needed a little improving. I mean really sit down and analyze the factors with her. Talk to her about how you were upset that some people (and be general here and not specific so that it’s not backbiting, like don’t mention the actual names) took that wedding as an opportunity only to flirt and how you really don’t want that in your wedding. See what she says. If she says ‘she didn’t see anyone flirting/ what’s the harm in flirting’, just explain that you saw some inappropriate behavior and you want as much as possible to avoid having that kind of stuff in your wedding.

Before you start to give her more details of the kind of wedding you want, be sure to explain that you want to be happy in your wedding and you want your family to be happy and you want all the guests to be happy….and most of all, you want Allah to be happy. You want it to be an occasion to celebrate not only in this life but in the next (where you will see your book of deeds). She might say that’s what she wants too; then, you mention that possibly you have a slightly different version of what will make a ‘good wedding’.

Then picture for her your ideal wedding …

And start talking to your dad, too (or the more difficult parent).

If they seem very reluctant or are asking you the question “What the heck are we doing to do in your wedding”, just explain that you’re still going to have fun. You're still going to put up decorations, eat yummmmy food, listen to nasheeds, and talk and laugh. You might even want to bring up the point that the ladies might appreciate the chance to dress up and get their hair done (whereas in a mixed wedding, they’d have to wear their hijab on). Talk about how you guys could have some fun activities. You could have maybe some kinda powerpoint presentation with old photos of you, hehe (again, how this wouldn’t be possible for you if it was mixed) or even a small little Islamic sermon (humorous but with a good advice too).

If you have any aunties/ relatives/ religious friends that are your parents friends, too that might be able to convince your parents, enlist them, too :P Hehe.

It's important that you bring up the point that the wedding itself affects the marriage; starting one’s wedding by pleasing Allah and having a wedding that is Islamic better ensures Allah’s blessings, inshaAllah. And don't they want your marriage to be blessed by Allah? :)

Mention how they got to plan their wedding and how this is your dream wedding and you really really want it ….And if they still seem unconvinced, talk to them about how you and Mr. Groom believe that this is important.

Yeah, speaking of that, you are going to have to discuss this with Mr. Groom. After you’ve agreed on the major issues, inshaAllah, you should talk about what he thinks/ expects of the wedding, etc.

I want to be clear though that you do not make this your focus point (that Mr. Groom wants that) because your parents should understand that it comes from YOU and not from him; that way, if it doesn’t work out with this groom, they’ll still understand that this is the type of wedding you want.

But yeah, ideally, if you as a couple decide you want an islamic wedding and stand your ground, your wishes (read again: ideally), should be respected.

So, that's what I would do. I don't know if this was much help but this is how I would approach my parents. inshaAllah the readers can provide us with some more tips, too :) May Allah let everything work out perfectly :)

Lots of love,

P.s. these are two very funny vidoes that I find relevant ..


the Prophet's Marriage to Aisha

>> Tuesday, March 29, 2011

In the last post, we explained that the Prophet’s marriages to all of his wives were all decided upon and decreed by Allah who in His Infinite Wisdom chose these ladies to be the Mothers of the Believers (Radiya Allah Anhum).

That said, many people have questions regarding one particular marriage of the Prophet- his marriage with Aisha. So how do we address this?

To start off, we have to remind people that whenever we look at a different culture or a different time period, we need to remove our own social prejudices. It’s not something easy to do, but it needs to be done. As Sheik Hamza Yusuf said, we need to try our best not to superimpose our own traditions and what’s acceptable in our cultures onto other cultures.

Now, let’s try to look at the Prophet’s marriage to Aisha. First of all, we know this happened a long time ago, right? Hmmm...let's go back to around 300 years ago, or even less than that...In 1770, that was around 250 years ago, the father of Chemistry, Antoine Lavoisier married his 13 year old bride, Marie Anne Paulze. In 1876, the then 49 year old British artist named George Frederic Watts married 16 year old Ellen Terry....These examples were just a few centuries ago. Now, let's go back to more than 1,400 years ago!  Did you know that before the Prophet proposed to Aisha, she had already had another suitor and had been previously engaged? Clearly, then, she was considered old enough to get married. This is hardly surprising especially considering the fact the life span of people was much shorter than today- probably around 60 years if not much less (when you consider all of the wars and such). Childhood just did not last that long. Early on, children were given serious responsibilities. (This still happens today in pre-industrial societies). Thus, whereas, today, a nine year old girl would be considered a child, one thousand and four hundred years ago, she would not have been considered a child, especially if she had had her first menstrual cycle. She would have been considered a woman.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Let’s look at how people 1,400 years ago viewed the union between Prophet Mohammed and Aisha. Nobody said anything about it. That in, itself, is very significant. The people of Mecca tried their best to smear the reputation of the Prophet, calling him a “liar”, accusing him of being possessed, and never letting an opportunity escape when they could ridicule him. Yet, not a single Arab ever said anything about the Prophet’s marriage to Aisha. No one felt that it was unordinary or strange. This doesn’t mean that there weren’t some sexual taboos- there were. A person wasn’t supposed to marry his adopted son’s ex-wife, for example. Clearly, then, if they thought his behavior was immoral, they would have spoken up. But they didn’t think there was anything unusual about it.

Maybe you don’t care about what Aisha’s society thought…or that she had been previously engaged. Maybe you think she was still forced into it and had no say…How about we look at Aisha, herself, more closely. Surely if she had felt physically exploited, there would have been something that indicated her anger/ fear/ repulsion…the reality, however, is that all she displayed was love. Even years later, after the Prophet died, she never said anything at all that indicated she felt she was a victim. On the contrary, she was very jealous of the other wives of the Prophet- does that seem like the attitude of a victim? Moreover, she used to ask the Prophet for reassurance about his love. See, the Prophet once described his love to her as a knot- meaning something that could never be broken. Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) would ask him “how is the knot?, essentially wanting reassurance the bond between was as strong as ever.

Maybe you think “Okay, she loved him, but she didn’t know any better…maybe she loved the idea of being a Prophet’s wife or she couldn’t even recognize she was being abused.” Let me make it clear that all of the wives of the Prophet lived very simply. Though the Prophet was the Head of State, they would go many days without food and when they had food, it was the most basic essentials. Thus, there was nothing glamorous about their lives. It was full of hard work and toil. Secondly, Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) was a very intelligent woman, strongly opinionated and capable of thinking for herself. This is very clear in the way she expressed herself. For example, when the Ifk incident happened (when she was accused of having committed adultery), Aisha stood up to her parents and said:

“By Allah, I know that you heard this story (i.e. of Ifk) so much so that it has been planted in your minds and you have believed it. So now, if I tell you that I am innocent, and Allah knows that I am innocent, you will not believe me; and if I confess something, and Allah knows that I am innocent of it, you will believe me…”

This is very articulate and shows a mature mind. The fact that she had very strong opinions is also evident when she stood up against Ali (May Allah be Pleased with both of them). She realized that he was correct, though, and changed her mind afterwards. Still, this proves that she was a strong woman.

Not only that, but it is a well known fact that the Companions used to look up to her and seek her advice and ask her questions on fiqh. Perhaps this was one of the reasons Allah chose her to marry the Prophet - because we needed someone who would live after the Prophet for many years and continue to spread the teachings of Islam.

Whatever the reason was, it should be obvious, then, that the Prophet’s marriage to Aisha was one based on love and mutual respect and that there wasn’t anything strange about her age. If the age difference seems odd, this is because we are taking our own conceptions of what is a normal age difference- this differs from society to society. And from person to person…the Prophet was able to meet the needs and desires of both a woman older than him (Khadijah, his first wife, was 15 years older than him and had already been married 2 times before him) and a woman younger than him (he would race with Aisha and joke with her). Again, we can’t judge a marriage 1,400 years ago with our own modern cultural ideas. Just look at Lady’s Mary’s marriage in the Bible.

The 1913 edition of the Catholic Encylopedia records that Mary, was between 12-14 years of age, when she married Joseph, who was 90 years old and had 6 children. (If you want to read from the Gospel of James about it, see below):

The Infancy Gospel of James, Chapter 8 verse 2 to Chapter 9 verse 11

“When she [Mary] turned twelve, a group of priests took counsel together, saying, ‘Look, Mary has been in the temple of the Lord twelve years. What should we do about her now, so that she does not defile the sanctuary of the Lord our God?’ And they said to the high priest, ‘You have stood at the altar of the Lord. Go in and pray about her. And if the Lord God reveals anything to you, we will do it.’ And the priest went in taking the vestment with twelve bells into the holy of holies and prayed about her. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord stood before him, saying, ‘Zachariah, Zachariah, depart from here and gather the widowers of the people and let each one carry a staff. And the one whom the Lord God points out with a sign, she will be his wife.’ So the heralds went out to the whole surrounding area of Judea and the trumpet of the Lord rang out and all the men rushed in.

Throwing down his axe, Joseph went out to meet them. And after they had gathered together with their rods, they went to the high priest. After receiving everyone’s rod, the high priest went into the temple and prayed. When he was finished with the prayer, he took the rods and went out and gave them to each man, but there was no sign among them. Finally, Joseph took his rod. Suddenly, a dove came out of the rod and stood on Joseph’s head. And the high priest said, ‘Joseph! Joseph! You have been chosen by lot to take the virgin into your own keeping.’ And Joseph replied, saying, ‘I have sons and am old, while she is young. I will not be ridiculed among the children of Israel.’ And the high priest said, ‘Joseph, fear the Lord your God and remember what God did to Dathan and Abiron and Kore, how the earth split open and swallowed them because of their rebellion. Now fear God, Joseph, so that these things do not happen in your house.’ Fearing God, Joseph took her into his own possession.”

We’re not trying to be critical of this- we’re trying to point out that we can’t judge a society using our own cultural norms especially when Aisha was clearly happy with the Prophet.

Hope this helps you, out sis :)


The Prophet's Marriages

>> Monday, March 28, 2011

Alright, so contuining off from last time, how do we talk to non-Muslims about the Prophet's marriages?

Well, it's simple really. Arm yourself with knowledge :) Nah, don't worry. I'm not going to leave you like that. I'll give you a sample answer :)

"Let’s start off by discussing the Prophet (sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam’s) first marriage. When we examine it closely, we can understand his character and his other marriages better.

The very first wife of the Prophet (sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam) was Khadija (Radiya Allah Anha). He married her when he was in his ‘prime youth’. He was 25 years old and she was 40. In fact, it was she, Khadija radiya Allah Anha, who proposed the marriage; she had heard from her servant of the great manners and trustworthiness of the Prophet. Now, despite living in a culture that had no limit to wives and concubines and had no problems with men ‘inheriting women’, (remember the Prophet did not receive the revelation until he was 40 years old- that means, after fifteen years of his marriage to Khadijah), the Prophet remained married to her alone until she passed away (25 years). He loved her dearly and remained faithful to her and her memory long after her death. (We can see this from many narrations but perhaps the most obvious one is the one where Aisha, Radiya Allah Anha, says that she was never jealous of any of the other Prophet’s wives as much as she was of Khadija, though Khadija had passed away before he even married Aisha. (It can be found recorded by al-Bukhaari, 3815. )

So let’s stop for a moment and ponder this. The Prophet first of all married a woman who was 40 years old, older than him by 15 years. Not only was she older than him, but she had previously been married and had two children. Does that sound like a man with a ‘lustful’ nature? Second of all, during the time when the Prophet could have married hundreds of women and had as many concubines as he wanted, before the Revelation was revealed and he ‘became’ a prophet, he chose to remain married to a single woman and to enjoy a monogamous relationship. Does that sound like a man who would go around marrying just any woman he wanted to? Hardly!

The fact of the matter is that the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam married the other wives after Khadijah not out of ‘lust’ or because he was after ‘collecting as many women as possible’. Not at all. He married them first and foremost because Allah chose these women to be examples to the believers and to be his wives.  Furthermore, if we examine these marriages, we see much wisdom and many logical general and individuals reasons for the marriages.

So let's do it. Let’s take a brief look at these general and individual reasons, the Prophet’s wives roles, and who these women were.

General Reasons:

In order to give the general reasons, we have to first agree that we as Muslims believe that the Prophet sallah Allah alyhee wa salam lived his life in the best manner and that we are to emulate his teachings and behavior.

Alright, so now that we have established that, we need to understand the very important role the wives of the Prophet had to Islam; these women were the women who preserved, recorded and took note of every aspect of the Prophet’s sunnah or example of living within the home. Outside of the home, there were hundreds of Companions memorizing his every gesture, word, etc. But what about inside the home? We as people do not only have roles outside, right? When we divide the Prophet’s life as ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ of the home, we realize that these few women preserved 50% of the sunnah! Who could tell us that the Prophet would ‘sew’, help his wives with the chores, treat his wives during their menustration cycles very lovingly (he used to make sure to drink from the exact same place that his wife’s lips had touched the cup), how he would perform the ghusul ritual (washing one’s self after being intimate, etc.), how he would stand most of the night in prayer , etc. except for his wives? Who could tell us how he performed the role of a husband better than his wives? In fact, the books of authentic Hadith attribute more than 3,000 narrations and Prophetic traditions to his wives alone.

Not only did they preserve Islam, these women acted as witnesses to the Prophet’s character within the home. How many times lately have there been news stories about celebrities or very famous people who it turned out abused their wives, treated them unfairly, etc. The wives of the Prophet attested to the fact that not only was the Prophet a gentle, loving man on the outside, he was the same on the ‘inside’.

 Let’s think about this more deeply for a moment. The Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam married two women who were the daughters of his arch-enemies. These women had a high rank in their societies and their fathers held the highest positions. If these women so much as complained to somebody or grumbled once that the Prophet treated them unfairly, etc. there would be major doubt that he really was a Prophet. But instead, they only affirmed his wonderful character again and again. Now, if the Prophet had married only one woman, people could say that it was difficult for her to speak up, to admit that she didn’t think he treated her right, etc. But for 11 women to ‘hold on to a lie’ would be really ridiculous, especially when we take into consideration that one of the wives was her tribe’s leader,( and as we mentioned before), 2 of them were his arch-enemies’ daughters, and that the Prophet’s wives were known not to live a life of luxury at all. Instead, they had to live as the Prophet did, and that was extremely simple. Why would they continue to live without ever fully satisfying their thirst or hunger, if not that the Prophet was truly a wonderful man, both inside and outside of the home?

Specific and Individual Reasons..

Now, let’s be a little more specific and go over a few of these marriages:

After Khadijah Radiya Allah Anha passed away, the Prophet first married Sawdah bint Zam’ah ibn Qays. She was fifty five years old and was a widow. One of the ways that we know that in Hajj elderly and large women may go ahead and perform the tawaf earlier than others is because the Prophet gave Sawdah bint Zam’ah, Raidya Allah Anha, permission to do so. From this, though, we can also conclude that Sawdah Radiya Allah Anha was ‘elderly’ and mashaAllah, slightly ‘heavy’. Now, the question arises- do you think the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam,a man who any Muslim woman would have found it an honor to marry (and in fact, many proposed to him, but he declined), would choose to marry an elderly widow, for ‘lust’s sake’? Of course, not. The Prophet’s marriage to Sawdah in fact served as a way to help Sawdah and to honor her. It also showed Muslims the important duty of taking care of the widows. (Remember, during that time, especially, many Muslim men would die due to the wars that were fought against the Muslims; it was critical that the Prophet established in the community the importance of caring for the widows.)

The Prophet also married Umm Habibah, the daughter of Abu Sufyan, the ‘original’ arch-enemy of Islam. He married her after her husband `Ubaydullaah Ibn Jahsh apostated when they were in Ethiopia. Can you imagine? Umm Habiba was stuck in a foreign land, without any husband to support her, with a child, Habiba, and without her family’s help (obviously since her father was originally a terrible enemy of Islam).
Even while she was far away from him, the Prophet never forgot any of the followers of Islam. Instead, he comforted her and helped her out in her great trouble- he sent a message to Negus authorizing him to marry her to him (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) and the marriage contract was made while she was still in Ethiopia.

What else can we realize about this marriage? The Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam married her while she was far away from him- does that sound like the act of a womanizer who simply had a weakness for women and had lust problems? No. Because in the beginning of the marriage, they weren't even 'together'!

Another woman the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam married was Juwayriyah bint al-Haarith. Juwaryirah was like the leader of her tribe and she had also been previously married. Her tribe, including her, were all taken as captives during the Battle of Banu Al-Mustaliq. After Juwaryirah went to the Prophet asking for his help, he freed her as a captive. She converted to Islam and he married her. Right after he did that, all of the Companions freed all of the other captives; Juwaryirah’s people then all embraced Islam. Thus, the Prophet Sallah Allahoo Alyhee’s marriage to Juwayriyah helped him in his role as a messenger of God whose job is to deliver and spread the message.

What about the Prophet’s marriage to Zaynab bint Jash? Zaynab bint Jash was the Prophet’s cousin and she was a woman of high status. She had at first married the Prophet’s adopted son, Zayd ibn Haritha, Radiya Allah Anhoo. However, Allah Subhanoo Wa’ Tala abolished that type of ‘adoption’ and Zayd was no longer thought of as Prophet Mohammed's son. Zayd and Zaynab did not enjoy marital stability and they ended up divorcing. Allah Subhanoo Wa’ Tala then commanded the Prophet to marry Zaynab, Radiya Allah Anha and He clearly says His reason in the Qur’an:

… We married her to you in order that there not be upon the believers any discomfort concerning the wives of their adopted sons when they no longer have need of them. And ever is the command of Allah accomplished. (33: 36).

That is, with Zaynab’s marriage, a legal ruling in Islam became more clear and the Muslims had no reason to feel ‘uncomfortable’ with it (since the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam) himself did it.

The wife that has had one of the biggest impacts on Islam, of course, was Aisha, the daughter of the great Companion, Abu Bakr As Siddique Radiya Allah Anhoo. Aisha, Radiyia Allah Anha was extremely intelligent and after the Prophet’s death, she proved to be the first jurist in Islam. The senior companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, used to ask her about difficult juristic cases. Aisha also preserved much of the Sunnah of the Prophet, Sallah Allahoo alyhaee wa salam. She, along with the other wives, helped explain women’s fiqh in Islam.

So far, I’ve covered 6 of the Prophet’s wives, Radiya Allah Anhum ajamee’n, these wonderful Mothers of the Believers. It should be clear from these that the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam had the most excellent character and that his marriages were all decreed by Allah for a great purpose :)


Red, White, and Blue...and Muzlim

>> Sunday, March 27, 2011

I think I need some help. This week is Islam Awareness Week at my university and I'm really excited to be able to participate and inshaAllah present the right image of Islam. I believe it is my duty as a Muslim to explain what Islam really is.
Well, I have been preparing some things to say about Islam, but I wanted to ask you about three main things that I have a little bit of difficulty answering and I thought I would ask you. How do you answer people who say that you can't be American and Muslim, and the people who ask why Prophet Mohammed married Aisha and also had so many wives.
I myself, for the first question, usually say that islam is not a nationality or race. It's a religion. But I want some more things to add. What do you think?

Dearest Sister,
Ma'shaAllah, it is so inspiring to see you so concerned with the image of Islam! May Allah reward you for your endeavors, insahAllah :)

AND, you've also asked three great questions. We're going to have to divide this post into 2 or 3 parts, LOL. But inshaAllah we will answer them this week, since Islam Awareness Week is this week =)

So, first thing's first.

Can a person be Muslim and an American?

Definitely! As you said, Islam is a religion and not a race or nationality. To be Muslim is simply to acknowledge that there is One God and that He has rights over you and to strive to live your life in a way that pleases Him. It is to be God conscious in every moment of our lives- with the way we deal with our parents, children, teachers, the poor, etc.

So, the real question is "What does being American entail/ or mean?" Isn't America built on the promise of freedom of religion? Freedom of speech? Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

Isn't America all about celebrating our differences?

So how can any 'one' thing make you "American"?

And the real  fact of the matter is that Islam shares many of the same core values as the West. We just maybe sometimes see these values expressed differently.

And that's what I would do. I would start talking about these same values...

For example:

Freedom of Religion
• 'Had thy Lord willed, everyone on earth would have believed. Do you then force people to become believers?’ (10: 99)
“Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error…” (Chapter 2, Ayah 256)

Equality of the Races
* O mankind, verily We have created you from a single (Pair) of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other. Verily the most honored of you in the sight of God is the most righteous (49:13). 
Prophet Mohammed said, "O people, indeed your Lord is one and your father is one. Behold, there is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab, nor for a non-Arab over an Arab, nor for a white person over a black person, nor for a black person over a white person, except through piety." (Musnad Ahmad)
Equality of the Sexes

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!

• “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even if it be against yourselves, your parents, and your relatives, or whether it is against the rich or the poor...” (Quran 4:135)
“Let not the hatred of a people swerve you away from justice. Be just, for this is closest to righteousness…” (Quran 5:8)
• “God commands you to render trusts to whom they are due, and when you judge between people, judge with justice…” (Quran 4:58)

The Sanctity of Life
“We ordained for the children of Israel that if anyone slew a person, unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land, it would be as if he slew the whole of mankind. And if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of a whole people.” (al-Ma’ida, 5:32)
“ Nor take life which God has made sacred, except for a just cause" (al-Isra', 17:33)”.

Animal Rights
       When Prophet Muhammad was asked by his Companions whether kindness to animals would be rewarded in the life Hereafter, he replied, “Yes, there is a meritorious reward for kindness to every living creature” (Al-Bukhari).
       The Prophet also said, “One who kills even a sparrow or anything smaller, without a justifiable reason, will be answerable to God.” When asked what would be a justifiable reason, the Prophet replied, “To slaughter it for food—not to kill and discard it” (Ahmad).
       The Prophet is reported to have said, “All creatures are God’s dependents and the most beloved to God, among them, is he who does good to God’s dependents (Kashf al-Khafa’).

The Importance of taking care of the Vulnerable in Society

Have you seen the one who denies the Judgment? (1)That is the one who repulses the orphan,
(2) and urges not the feeding of the poor (3). (Chapter 107)

The Prophet said: “The one who looks after and works for a widow and for a poor person is
like a warrior fighting for Allah’s Cause or like a person who fasts during the day and prays
all the night”. (Volume 008, Book 073, Hadith Number 035).

Prophet Mohammed said, “"Have mercy on those who are on the planet earth and you shall
have the mercy of He who is in heaven."

He also said: “Whoever does not show mercy to the young and honor the elderly is not one of

In fact, guess what?

We've gone ahead and done it...We've made a presentation for you that you can use/ get some ideas from.(Alright, we didn't actually make it for you, you..we'd made it long ago, but we're putting it up now). Anyone else is also more than welcome to spread this presentation around. It gives many more common values and shared principles between the West and Islam.

And, hey, it's got a catchy intro (if we do say so ourselves, haha):

According to Wikipedia, “As of 15 May 2010, the human population of the world was estimated by the United States Census Bureau to be
Of these, more than 1,500,000,000 are Muslims.
 That’s almost 5 TIMES the population of the United States (309,276,458).
That’s a lot of people.
In fact, it means that out of every 5 people, 1 is Muslim. *
Isn’t it time, then, that we start focusing on what we share in common? Isn’t it time to start building bridges?

So can definitely be a good American and be a good Muslim. In fact, being a good Muslim should make you a great citizen of any country :)

and Little Auntie


Down in the Dumps...

>> Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dear my beloved sisters,

I am in need of motivation :( I can feel like im slipping way....

I feel like i failed everyday for the standards that Allah have given us. My Patience is running thin, i cant concentrate on my prayers properly, i get angry easily. I feel tempted to indulge in this world, i delay my prayers...

I don't know what to do, I feel ashamed of myself.

wa'alykum as salam wa rahmatullah wa barkatoo,

Dearest Sister!

awwww, sis!! Big big hugs.

You know, I think we all go through periods like that. But here's the thing. We can either use this feeling of 'shame' to our advantage or we can use it against us. WE use it 'for us', when we use it as a catalyst to becoming a better person. We use it against us when we succumb to the shame and label ourselves as 'hopeless sinners'...

So that's why we're going to stop for a second and take a little geography lesson...

Where does little auntie live?

I live in Taif.

Yes, the city that kicked the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam out. It is the city that threw stones at him. 

Living here has made me get a bigger glimpse of Allah’s Power. This city, this same city that threw our dearly beloved Prophet (sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam) out, now has masjids everywhere. Women walk out, dressed completely covered, ma'shaAllah. There are halaqahs EVERYWHERE. Shops close for prayers….every prayer…every time…

And the city proclaims “Allahu Akbar”.

God is the Greatest, dear sister.

He is capable of changing an unbelieving city into a believing city. An entire city!
If Taif can go from that to a believing city, then you can go from who you are now to who you want to be. Yes, you can.

In my very humble opinion, you're so down in the dumps because you're thinking too much about ‘whether you can do it’ or not. The thing is, ‘alone’, we can’t do anything. But Allah is Greater. He will help you get there, if you just turn to Him.

In fact, you know what's really going on? You're falling prey to Shaitan..!! 

 He's all "forget it. You stink. You're bad. Look at you losing your anger again. What a hypocrite. You're standing up to pray and you're so baaaad.." 

^He's seizing this opportunity to distance you from Allah. The more you grow distant, the less you want to stand in front of Allah....the more ashamed you are...the more you turn away! It's a horrible devilish cycle that he's trying to suck you into.

So don't listen to him...!

Realize that Allah  never once said that He is giving paradise only to those 'perfect believers'. None of us are perfect!

Instead, He said:

And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous (133) Who spend [in the cause of Allah] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people - and Allah loves the doers of good;(134) And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves [by transgression], remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins - and who can forgive sins except Allah? - and [who] do not persist in what they have done while they know. (135) Those - their reward is forgiveness from their Lord and gardens beneath which rivers flow [in Paradise], wherein they will abide eternally; and excellent is the reward of the [righteous] workers. (Surat Al Imran)

You see?

When we say that Allah is Merciful we mean that He is way beyond the mercy of people. He's nothing like humans, remember.  

He is far more Merciful than that, Far more Gracious and Kind.

Ever heard of Shakespeare's famous quote?

 “To err is human, 
And to forgive is Divine.”

That is how Allah is.  

In fact, Umar Ibn al-Khattab (radhi allahu anhu) relates that some prisoners were brought before Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) and amongst them was a woman who was frantically searching for someone in the crowd. When she found a baby amongst the prisoners, she took it in her arms, cradled it next to her chest and suckled it. 

So Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: "Do you think that this woman would ever throw her child into the fire?" We said: 'By Allah, Never!' So he said: "Allah is more merciful to His believing servants than that mother could ever be to her child."

Think about that! Reflect on that. He is so Merciful and sooooo forgiving.
The condition though is to sincerely repent and to turn back to Him. That's all you have to do.

So when you 'mess up', go right to Him. Realize that there is no escape from Him except to Him.

Make istghfar. Tell the person you 'screamed at' (got angry with) "sorry". Decide you're going to work a bit on your anger management issues and that it's not going to stand between you and Allah, anymore. Try what the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam said. Sit down when you're angry. If you're sitting, lie down. Make wudu'. 

And do some extra small good deeds! There are lots of small things you can do that will help make Allah pleased with you.

 For example, you can wake up and pray an extra prayer (dhuha). You can also simply say alhamdillah when you are eating...
Narrated Anas ibn Malik: Allah's Apostle (peace_be_upon_him) said: Allah is pleased with His servant who says: Alhamdulillah while taking a morsel of food and while drinking. Sahih Muslim: Book 34, Number 6592. 
^ All you have to do is say "Alhamdillah" and Allah is pleased. 

And reflect a bit on this name of Allah: Ash-Shakur: The One who is Ever Appreciative. He is the One Who appreciates your deeds, however small they are, and doubles the rewards for you in this world and in the hereafter. 

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

On the authority of son of Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both), from the Messenger of Allah (sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam), among the sayings he related from his Lord (glorified and exalted be He) is that He said:

Allah has written down the good deeds and the bad ones. Then He explained it [by saying that] he who has intended a good deed and has not done it, Allah writes it down with Himself as a full good deed, but if he has intended it and has done it, Allah writes it down with Himself as from ten good deeds to seven hundred times, or many times over. But if he has intended a bad deed and has not done it, Allah writes it down with Himself as a full good deed, but if he has intended it and has done it, Allah writes it down as one bad deed.

700 times. Can you imagine? That's why you gotta do it! You gotta just get up and turn to Him...


1. Focus on your prayers.  That's your connection with Allah. It'd be really great if you could get a prayer buddy. Someone who will message you at each prayer and ask you if you’ve prayed…etc. Is there any ONE religious friend you have?

Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do. (29: 45)

2. Try also get some better friends. If there aren't any,  stick to Islamic forums.  Go to some halaqahs. I know you probably don't feel like it, but if you really want to change, it's better to be around people who will help'll soon find their attitude contagious, inshaAllah. And write about religion! Writing about religion keeps you connected to it. When you actually focus in on an aspect on religion and you write about it, you ‘get more out of it’. You feel it yourself.

3. Make Dua! It is so important that you wake up before fajr prayer and just make dua. And ask Allah to let you be a better person. You can do it. That time is 'like magical'. Allah subhanoo Wa' Tala comes and asks if anyone wants don't miss that time. Your dua will be answered, insahAllah.

4. Check out some other ideas here...:)

And also be sure to read our article 'It's not too Late"!

I hope inshaAllah this motivates you a bit more, sister! 

Readers, tell us some small things you can do to 'get hasnaat easily'. Let's make a collection here :) And add any other ideas/suggestions you have :D

May Allah make things easier for you,


Just Married.

>> Monday, March 21, 2011

Asslamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatu auntie :)

i'm 18, i've been married for for nearly 4 months, i live with my husband far away from home.

Alhamdulillah, my husband is a pious man and sincerely loves me. And i love him even more. masha Allah.

i'm the only girl and youngest child in my family. i'm very attached to my family, home and especially my mother. this marriage has made me to change from a kid to a full time house wife, i'm also pregnant. so, Alhamdulillah, i have managed to adopt to that Huge change with Allah's grace. i work harder than i ever did in my life. i spend more time alone than i ever did in my life. Alhamdulillah i'm coping. i do it all with no complaints for the sake of Allah, and i try to be as patient as i'm capable of.

but sometimes it's just SO hard to bear! that i cant help but cry. sometimes i wish for a little understanding from my husband. a little help around the house. i don't want him to cut the vegetables for me but it would mean so much to me if he would just come, stand in the kitchen beside me and talk to me.

Or like, share with me of something he eats or drinks. sharing has so much barakah in it. do some thing together like cleaning or reading. (we do pray together) Take me out every weekend, atleast. it's not easy being home all day and night. i wish he would spend quality time with me, like going for a walk, or just sit down and communicate with me, for at least half an hour. i feel like he hasn't quite become a husband; he spends a lot of time studying (he is student of islamic reveled knowledge by the way) and most of the day on his laptop. there i am, waiting for him to return from class, after spending several hours alone in a fairly big apartment and when he's home, he goes straight to his laptop. Being pregnant, does not make this easy. my mood swings like wild. i'm touchy about everything. i don't understand why he doesn't care whether i have food on time or eat enough vegetables and fruits and drink enough milk. it's silly, i know. but it is these little things that matter to me. A woman's prior need is after all emotional.

but my love for him does not let me express my needs to him. i can be patient, but being patient with these things does not help me be happy. i feel like i'm bottling it all up and i spill it when i cry. and i cry loads.

i took almost a month to be free with him, i'm a very shy girl, very, very shy. and i don't want to ask him for these things, i don't want to be the nagging, complaining wife and i much rather he does them from his heart, because he cares for me.

i know this is silly but it bothers me and i was hoping you could give me some advice.

just so you know,i still love him like crazy.

Just married.

Dearest Just Married,
Wa’alykum as salam wa rahmatuallah wa barakatoo!

 Let me start off by saying MashaAllah on your marriage and mabrook on your pregnancy! May Allah shower your marriage with His blessings and may He grant you a full term pregnancy, with an easy labor, and a healthy baby. May your baby be a source of pride to his parents and a leader of this Ummah :)

Your letter was sooooo touching in its honesty and sincerity. You can tell that you dearly love your husband, ma’shaAllah and just wanna be with him.  

And since you said that you live far away from your folks, I can imagine how quiet and lonesome it must get during the day and how you probably count down the minutes for your husband to come home and talk to you….only to have him turn to the laptop.

So what to do?

Well, I’m no expert (not having gotten married, myself) but here’s what I think.

I think that sometimes we have to help our loved ones out a bit….and tell them what we want and what matters to us. Your husband probably has no idea that you’re sitting down, craving a talk with him. He thinks “I’m at home, studying and my wifey is making my home all perfect…Aaaah, life couldn’t get any better”.  
So you need to give him a little tip….clue him in on what you’re feeling. I know you said you’re shy and that you don’t want to seem like you’re nagging…and I understand what you mean about ‘wanting it to come from him’, but let me tell you something.

Some women wait an awful long time for it to ‘come from their guy’…
Like three children later….
Like a whole lifetime.

Do you really want to wait that long?

And let’s break it down a bit, okay? Let’s analyze it a bit more…

Say your guy wanted to bring you a big big present to express his love for you. And he decided that of all things he was going to get you a new ….

Get ready for this….


Ironing board.

Now, would that be what you wanted? I doubt it. But let’s imagine that he was smart enough to run the idea by you…and you had the chance to tell him “Sweetie, I’d rather we go out to dinner together”…

What do you think that would mean?

Would the fact that you  specified what you wanted take away from the fact that he really did want to get you something”?

Nopes. It wouldn’t. It would have just added direction (man, I’m taking this example pretty seriously. )

It’s the same thing, though.  I’m 100% sure your husband wants to make you happy and the last thing he has on his mind is to make you cry. But he just doesn’t know how to make you happy in the way you want. 

And just because you tell him that you ‘miss him’, ‘want to sit and talk with him’, doesn’t mean that when he does sit down with you, it doesn’t come from his heart.  It just means that you are showing him how to get it out of his heart; you're giving him a little direction with what is important to you.

You see, let’s be honest, my sis. You’re giving him a ‘little test’ each day, right (and this is something most of us women are guilty of in some way or another).  You think “Let’s see. Maybe today he’ll finally do it. He’ll sit down with me”…but each day he doesn’t. He keeps failing your test and you know why?

Because he doesn’t even see the ‘questions’ or have any idea what the right answers are’ (=to hang out with you).  You haven’t told him. Now tell me, sugar pie, does that really sound fair to him?

That’s why you should just do it.

You should have a heart to heart talk with him, and let him know that you miss him like crazy. When you do that, you clue him in on the questions and answers and more importantly,

  •     1. Give him an opportunity to show his love to you
  •     2.  Release the inner tension and bottled feelings that could very much turn into resentment and anger on the long run
  •       3.  Allow your relationship to deepen and mature to a level where you can both express who you really are and where you feel safe enough to express your vulnerability.

Yes! inshaAllah this will all allow you to actually deepen your relationship! When you open up with him and really talk to him about your feelings, you express that you trust him enough to continue to love you and protect your feelings. 

You’re no longer acting out the roles of the ‘newlyweds’ or who you think the perfect wife is. You are showing who you truly are- and this gives you the chance to be each other’s true garments and partners, protecting each other and comforting each other.  

And that’s why there’s nothing wrong with saying what you feel. There’s just something wrong with saying it the wrong way. That’s all.

Like having a tantrum on the ground and kicking chairs or having a screaming match is not the way to go, right. Or being sarcastic like “Gee, is the laptop your second wife?” and that kinda thing. That won’t help.

All you have to do is tell him the way you told me!  I mean everything you said sounded so reasonable- to have an hour talk, to eat dinner together, to go out once a week. These are all great ideas and something you guys really should start to think about before baby comes along.

 If you’re too shy and you just cannot possibly  get yourself to ‘say these words out loud’, e-mail him or print it and put this letter next to his pillow. I am sure it will make his heart totally melt. What guy would not want to hear that his wife misses him and is totally in love with him?  

And  THEN….whenever he starts to forget it….you can start to think of some creative ways to remind him. 
For example…

  • 1.      If you usually make him do the grocery, write on the bottom of the grocery list…”You” or something like that. 
  • 2.      Make his desktop picture on his laptop a funny / sweet note from you and the baby ;)
  • 3.      Bring out the candles and surprise him with a romantic dinner. Take the initiative!

As for being pregnant and he not asking you about what you eat/ caring/ that kinda thing, remember, in many ways, he feels like ‘an outsider’. He doesn’t have a baby in his body. You do- you feel all the differences…he maybe doesn’t. So get him involved. There’s a nice website “BabyCenter” that will help him get excited about it. Like the week by week e-mail thing they do..
- Think of names together.
- Ask him to recite Qur’an for the baby, 15 minutes each day or something like that.
- Maybe make a journal with your husband for your baby. Write letters to your baby! What do you want to 
teach him/ her? OR write some small Islamic stories for him/her.
- Read parenting books together. 

On the other hand, you can also try and get involved with his Islamic studies. Offer to test him on any material. Ask him to teach you some of the things he learns. Suggest you listen to some lectures together, etc. Quality time doesn’t have to mean that you are ‘talking and discussing things’ together; it can mean that you 
are doing things together.

And one last thing! Since you’re so away from ‘home’, have you gone to the masjid and met any girls? You could even visit the ‘local university’ and ask about the MSA. It’s important that you also build some new friendships, too.

Well sis, I hope this helps you out a bit and you realize that there’s a difference between nagging and expressing how you feel. Remember that your feelings are really important during pregnancy, too…so wipe 
your tears, sweetie and get ready for a new day =)

With love,
the little aunties

p.s. here’s an interesting list! (100 ways to love your husband his way- although it seems like it’s a Christian website, much of it we can all learn from :D)


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