My Faith is Fun :)

>> Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Asalammu Alaykum! :)

May Allah [SWT] keep you in good health, Insh'Allah. Ameen!

I have a little problem. I live in the United States - but, actually, I'm from Pakistan. Anyway, I'm 15-years old, and I have seen a lot of Muslims/Muslimahs in the United States. All the Pakistani Muslims that I have seen are, well .... err .... not pious Muslims. I don't mean to offend anyone, but they don't act like Muslims - most of them. They smoke hookah, make out with girls, skip their classes, do drugs, etc. These are all haram. I have younger brothers [8 and 4]; I am the oldest sibling. I don't want my brothers to lose their track in Islam. I fear that if they grow older, they might become like the rest of the other Pakistani Muslims, influenced by the media of the America. I will be embarrassed and depressed if my brothers will ever become like that!

My 8-year old brother gets into trouble in school. Well, now he stopped, but he used to. He talked to other students in his class, while the teacher was explaining something. My mother scolded him, so he stopped. Also, he's not very smart. All of my other male cousins study hard and respect their elders. My 8-year brother fails almost all his tests no matter how hard he studies. He didn't get accepted into Gifted Classes because he has low marks. He speaks back to his elders. He is violent and screams a lot. My 4-year old brother is not like this, but sometimes, I am afraid that he will be.

I keep telling my 8-year old brother about Islam - about Jannah [Heaven] and Jahannam [Hell], but I think he ignores me. I tell him about all the Punishments, and he probably ignores me with that, too. He likes to watch TV, play on the computer, and play sports.

I know that he should be around other good Muslims, who are his age, but the problem is: There are no other Muslims, who are his age. My male cousins, who are pious Muslims, are in Pakistan. They don't come to United States. All of my brother's friends are not-so-pious Muslims.

My brother doesn't know anything about Islam. He's collecting sin, sin, and more sin. And what will he have to show Allah Taa'la? As the older sibling, I feel responsible. My mother tried to teach him, but he always speaks back to her. Now, I guess it's up to me. But, what should I do? I tried everything - I told him about Allah Taa'la, Jannah/Jahannam, etc. He just ignores me!

I'm extremely sorry that you have to read this whole thing. It's very long, I know. I'll be patient. I know it takes time to answer all the questions you recieve.

Layla ♥
Wa alaykum Salaam Layla, ♥ :)

Firstly, apologies for the late answer! Sounds like you've got an awful lot to handle and I think it's so good of you to take the reponsibility for your siblings. May Allah reward you for your good intentions and efforts in being such a fantastic older sister. (:

Now it seems that if you try to help you 8 year old brother, he could be an example for your 4 year old as he grows. 8 years old is still young, mashaAllah so you just need to show him that Islam is a whole lifestyle, even for a child! Some things you can do to make faith fun for younger children include:

It's new and vibrant and interactive. There're many resources available which use a multimedia medium in order to convey a particular message or some knowledge.
-Nasheeds!: Zain Bhika's album 'Our World' is very child-friendly and I'm sure an 8 year old would to hear the messages Zain Bhika gives. You can find it and other great nasheeds here.
-TV! : Once again, Zain Bhika, along with Dawud Wharnsby has a great series which is really fun-loving and educational too. Here it is. And Baba Ali has some great videos aimed at younger children; Here.
-Websites! : I found this really cool website for kids, I actually love it :'). ! Check it out! :D

When you're not in a Muslim country, it can be easy to lack efforts in celebrations like Eid. Christmas and other holidays are hyped up so much, right - no wonder kids want to take part in a school nativity play rather than see their families in pretty clothing on Eid.
All it takes is some balloons, games and stories about why this Eid is taking place. Make Eid a special event for your brothers to remember with a smile of excitement!

Only a few more months and Ramadan will start to approach. Make it exciting! Make sure they know why we fast, so explain why it's good to follow what Allah has ordered us, because He loves us a lot and He knows what is best for us!
When Ramadan does come, inshaAllah, make sure you all get treats at iftaar. :D

You're fifteen, (just a year younger than me), although you are responsible (and mature for taking this responsibility), do remember to stay calm and stay happy. It's the best example for your brothers if you're happy and in Islam - they'll get the message that that's what Islam gives - happiness! :D

Take any and every opportunity to show him that Islam is in everything we do. And that he will be rewarded for good deeds, inshaAllah! Talk to him about ALLAH. And everything He does for us. Most of all, pray for him, Layla.
Your efforts in helping your brother will not be wasted. Allah is with you in every little difficulty and heartache which comes your way in this task.

Keep praying and keep smiling dearest Layla :).



>> Monday, April 25, 2011

assalamualaikom sisters, i'm thankful for this blog because at least i have someone to turn to alhamdollelah.may Allah place all of you in jannatul firdaws. i have an embarrassing question to ask and i hope you can help me with this problem. the problem is that i keep thinking of sex and i dont know why i can't get it out of my head. i'm not married so i know that i have to stay away from zina and have not done anything of that sort before. i have tried fasting too but even so it will still be at the back of my head. marriage is not an option at the moment since i'm still a student and my parents have said that i get a career first before settling down. that would be a long time before i can get married. and i can't talk to them about this because they are not open to such discussions. am i a sex addict or some sort? do you think i need to see a therapy? could you give me advice on how to deal with this?

jazakallah kheir. may Allah bless you

wa'alykum as salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatoo!

Dearest "Wondering if I'm Addicted",

Sis, this is not embarrassing! Embarassing is when you hold up your pad in the middle of the classroom, mistaking it for your calculator. Yeah, been there. Done that. (Luckily nobody was paying attention, though, and it was an all girls' school- just a male teacher :P).

Anyways, here's the thing. In today's world, we are bombarded with 'sex'. We really are. You turn on the radio or t.v.., read a book, pass by a magazine or billboard....and all you see are some things designed to make you think, whether subconciously or not, about sex. "Buy product X and you'll no longer be a loser. You'll be sexy." (OMG: Did you hear about the 'bras' and 'thongs' some companies were marketing for 7 years olds and the like?) Not only that, but if you're in America or in a Western country, and you're in high school...well, you might hear your friends talking about it, too. Just about anything and everything now has 'some sexual aspect in it'-you could even be watching the NEWS and suddenly there's some report on 'sex'- (don't you just hate it when you're watching something clean and then your parents walk in right when the topic's changed, LOL?).

But seriously, a study conducted on television shows in 2005 (I bet by now its worse) found that 70 percent of all shows included some sexual content, averaging about five sex scenes per hour! Even Disney, which at least used to make its sexual messages a little hidden,  is now much more open about it. In the movie El Dorado, they literally have a make-out'/ 'sex' scene! (If you haven't seen the movie, don't watch it, but if you don't believe me that there is such a scene, check this link out. And for the record, I actually can't decide what's worse- subliminal messages or being open about this stuff).

So with that said, I think that 'thinking' about sex is something normal- I'm not sure how much you mean about 'a lot', though, but I tried looking it up for you in a 'an official health website', hehe. Basically someone had the exact same question as you:

I think about sex a lot. Is that normal, or am I a pervert?
- Aubrey*

It's normal to think about sex — occasionally or frequently. As people mature physically and emotionally, they become increasingly curious about their sexuality and their own bodies. As your body goes through many changes and your hormones fluctuate, you will start noticing people who you find attractive. It's normal to feel a sexual attraction and even to find yourself daydreaming, often about no one in particular.

Sometimes thinking about sex is unavoidable, like in dreams. And sometimes, you might start to think about it in a setting with a lot of people — like school. Whether you think about it a lot or a little, it's only natural to be curious and have thoughts about sex.
Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD

However, we do have to be honest and say that there are some people who are sexual addicts.

So how can you tell if you are a sexual addict? Well, Dr. Patrick Carnes has given some differences between the 'normal person interested in sex' and the 'sexual addict'. He says, the 'sexual addict has learned to rely on sex for comfort from pain, nurturing, or relief from stress, etc., in the way an alcoholic relies on alcohol or a drug addict relies on drugs.

* Ask yourself- do you use your sexual thoughts as an escapist method? To get away from any discomfort/ uncomfortable feelings or realities of your life? Are you very very lonely? Do you deal with your emotions or run away from them by 'thinking of sex'?

Dr. Carne also said (and this I think is the very important part of the definition) that the sexual addict: "transforms sex into 'the primary relationship or need, for which all else may be sacrificed, including family, friends, values, health, safety and work". When sexual behavior is compulsive and yet continues despite adverse consequences, it is called sex addiction."

*Well, what kind of behavior are we talking about?
- compulsive masturbation
- frequently visiting pornography websites/ reading or looking at pornographic magazines, watching videos, - etc.
(Btw: the Islamic ruling on these can be found in Islam Q&A)

If this stuff ^ doesn't apply to you, rest assured that inshaAllah you don't have an addiction. (FYI, though, he lists many numerous signs/ symptoms of someone addicted to sex.)

But, still, even if you don't have a problem, I do want to caution you that you may really be setting yourself up for a huge disappointment. I mean, you are building up expectation...dreaming/ thinking about it all the time.Chances are it's not going to be at all the way the media portrays it....Your expectations could be really detrimental to your marriage. Not only that, but as Muslims we should try to purify our thoughts and let our lives revolve around God and Islam- not our desires.

So what can you do about that?

Well, our minds are like sponges and they soak up what we give them. If you're watching t.v., reading romantic books, listening to hiphop/'re bound to be thinking of sex.  But if you:

- listen to an Islamic lecture a
- read more Qur'an- its translation- its tafsir- etc. Check out Bayyinah's tafsir :
- read Islamic magazines - they're so much more interesting these days! Like:
- so you're interested in marriage- why don't you try reading about the differences in communication between men and women? Men Are From Mars, Women are From Venus? Or learning more about what your Islamic duties are regarding marriage?
- try joining a fun Islamic girl's forum (e.g.
- have a project/goal that you're trying to reach- whether it's a charity project or anything else...
-You can try blogging (it's fun/challenging, lol), graphic designing (check out a Muslim sister's site that will help teach it you to make awesome graphics), gardening (well, if possible), drawing/painting, writing short stories (we need more Muslim writers who voice the Muslim girl's opinions!), etc.
- You can even become a 'movie director'- you know those short videos that teach people a 'dua' to say or something like that? You can try to make one! Have you used Windows Movie Maker/DVD Maker? It should be on your computer :D

you won't be thinking about it, anymore!

And....the most awesome thing about these kinda activities is that you can actually 'turn' them into ibadahs if you have the right intention! Like if you design graphics to spread dawah, not only will you be doing something fun and interesting and that will take your mind off of it, but you might make someone interested in Islam! Same thing with writing stories..

and yes, I know you said you tried fasting, but what you gotta do is try fasting and also fill up your day with activities ^ :)

I hope this helps, inshaAllah.

Lots of love,
P.S. If you haven't already do check out our "Grey's Anatomy Addict Post



>> Friday, April 22, 2011

assalamualaikum. i love ur blog so much and this blog like come to me on the very right time. okay . this is about a friend of mine. she asked me a year ago

we know that marriage is somethng that we done for allah. we getting married for the sake of allah. to reach his bless.but she ask me'how can we ensure that by getting married, we can increase love to allah. we can increase our iman. how this works? she means that , how by married to someone that we LOVE, we can love allah more' i hope u get it cos im so bad at explaining. but really looking forward for your reply. in my side, i know the answer for her question. but im so lack of knowledge . i couldnt give her a very tiny specific answer that can satisfy her. so please help me... help my friend. help OUR SISTERS. thank you. assalamualaikum.

wa'alykum as salam wa rahmatuallah wa barkatoo,

Dearest Wanting to Help Your Friend,

That’s a very interesting question!

Well, the truth is it begins even before marriage. The reality is that we have been encouraged to choose partners who are pious, who fear and love Allah, and who will help us strengthen our relationship with Allah.

Our Lord, grant us wives and offspring who will be the coolness of our eyes and guide us to be models for the righteous"(Al Furqan: 74)
"A woman is married for four things, i.e., her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion(her character-piety-taqwa) . You should marry the religious woman (otherwise) you will be a loser."(Bukhari) 
 If a man whose religion and moral character are pleasing proposes to marry your daughter, then marry her off to himotherwise there will be great mischief and corruption on earth."

Ideally, if we do that, if we choose someone who tries his or her best to be close to Allah, then this is bound to help our own imaan increase….and ultimately, our love for Allah to increase. You might be wondering “But how does that happen in practical terms?” Well, for one thing each partner could share ayahs, hadiths, lectures, books, and other things that touched them every once in a while… S/he could encourage each other to go to the mosque and so on. They will encourage each other to pray tahajjud, to raise their children to love Allah (which will bring them also to loving Him more), to take care of their parents, etc.

But there’s more.

Your love for Allah should also increase because He is the one who gave you your partner. At the end of the day, Allah is the Creator and the Razaq, and He is the one who willed for you two to be together. And just like any other blessing, you wouldn’t have each other’s love or companionship if He hadn’t willed that. Shouldn’t that make you feel thankful to Allah? And gratitude plays a big part in increasing our love for Allah. The more gratitude you have, the more you realize how Loving, Merciful, Close, Compassionate Allah is and the more that you love Him.

Think about it this way….

If someone were to get you an amazing gift…something you really really wanted….how would you feel about this person? As much as we’d be thrilled with the gift, it’s really the person who gave us the gift that would capture our heart. And to Allah belongs the most exalted examples.

At the same time, as much as you love your partner, it’s only natural that you two are going to face some problems. Let’s be honest….we’re humans and that means we have faults. No one is perfect and that means you are going to face problems and feel a little hurt every once in a while. Your spouse may not notice all that you do for him/her. S/he might offend you with a hurtful word…may not give you credit for something…

Now how should that make you feel closer to Allah? Because at those times, you should realize that no One ever can love you the way that Allah does or can treat you as well as Allah does. And that should make your love grow for Allah. He is the Only One who knows every single thing you do and appreciates it tremendously. He is the Only One who can hears you cry, without the tears even falling. No matter how much your husband does for you, no one can come close to Allah.

Certainly has Allah heard the speech of the one who argues with you, [O Muhammad], concerning her husband and directs her complaint to Allah. And Allah hears your dialogue; indeed, Allah is Hearing and Seeing. (1) (Surat Al Mujadilah) 

Well, sister, these are my ideas for your friend's question :D What do you guys think?


Now or...Later?

>> Tuesday, April 19, 2011

As salamualaykum DLA's :)

I ADORE your blog and could use some quick tips and help for a friend of mine!

I have a friend, she tries to do hijab, attend lectures with us and even on her own she tries to attend classes, believes in Allah and pretty much everything in Quran and Sunnah. But there's this small thing, She is not a muslim. She is a christian who Inshallahu ta'ala will accept islam soon but she is thinking of doing it in ramadan because it is the blessed month. I tried talking her into doing it at the earliest because she is pretty much a muslim anyway, she is reducing all her bad habits which contradict with deen and she is more careful about halal and haram than myself.

She told me that she wants to be perfect by the time she takes her shahadah, when i asked her she said that she should know how to pray, she should not leave any prayer, she should be comfortable with hijab and all that.. when I tried to tell her that shahadah is something that will make her a believer hence the good chances of attaining paradise, she gave an example of our mutual revert friend , lets call her A... She said that she does not want to become a muslim and miss some prayers like A. she wants to practice perrfectly hence she would take her time. :|

I'm in a fix now, can you please help me out?

In need of Advice.

wa'alykum as salam wa rahmatullah wa barkatoo
Dearest In Need of Advice,

I adore you!!!  What a sweet question :) You can tell how much you care about your friend, ma'shaAllah. It's also very exciting to think that inshaAllah sooooon we will all have a new sister. I'm almost tingling at the thought!

Now, on to the question. First of all, it's great that your friend does at least have some sort of time frame in mind. InshaAllah Ramadan is going to be in August, right, so it's not too far away. (Now, of course, none of us is guaranteed to live until Ramadan...let alone tomorrow, so I can understand your concern, though). But what I want to point out (which I'm pretty sure you already know, hehe) is that it's really important then that your friend doesn't feel like you are pressuring her into this but that you are supporting her. You can do that by continuing to talk to her, welcoming her questions/doubts, and just hanging out with her (it doesn't all have to be about Islam), etc.

As for the fact that she seems to think that it is necessary/ want to be practicing perfectly before she takes shahadah, well here are a few ideas...

1. Explain that perfection isn't a pre-requisite to becoming a Muslim nor is it EVER required from us

Try explaining to her that while it is very noble to want to be perfectly practicing to please Allah (inshaAllah), we really shouldn't putperfection as our condition/pre-requisite to taking the shahadah because the reality of the matter is that...we will never be perfect.  

Not only that, but perfection was never expected from us, in the first place :) Allah subhanoo Wa' Tala didn't ask us to be perfect, but instead, to try our best. We should submit to Allah as much as we can, but if we make mistakes, that's alright. We just have to admit our shortcomings and acknowledge Allah's favor upon us, that's all. 

In fact, Prophet Mohammed sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam told us to recite the following dua: O Allah, You are my Lord, there is none worthy of worship but You. You created me and I am your slave. I keep Your covenant, and my pledge to You so far as I am able. I seek refuge in You from the evil of what I have done. I admit to Your blessings upon me, and I admit to my misdeeds. Forgive me, for there is none who may forgive sins but You.

He said that whoever recites this with conviction in the evening and dies during that night shall enter Paradise, and whoever recites it with conviction in the morning and dies during that day shall enter Paradise, Al-Bukhari 7/150. Other reports are in An-Nasa'i and At-Tirmithi.

Talk to her about how all of us make mistakes. Tell her that you (In Need of Advice) aren't perfect, either. But that you're still a Muslim. It doesn't make you a hypocrite or 'less of a Muslim'. It just makes you 'human'. In fact, in a hadith Prophet Mohammed sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam made it clear that we all sin- Muslims, included. But he also told us what to do: 

 "All of the sons of Adam sin; the best of sinners are those who repent".

He also said, "O people! Had you not sinned, Allah would have created a people that would have sinned, and asked for forgiveness from Him so that He would have forgiven them." [Sahih Muslim, Kitab at-Taubah, #6622]
Also: Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: “Allah, the Exalted, will continue to stretch out His Hand in the night so that the sinners of the day may repent, and continue to stretch His Hand in the daytime so that the sinners of the night may repent, until the sun rises from the west”. [Muslim]

So, she really doesn't have to worry herself about perfecting her ibadaa before she allows herself to become a Muslim. She should just realize that submitting to Allah is a life long struggle and each day is a chance to be a better Muslim :) We are all a 'work in progress' :D aunties and all included!

She should instead focus on fulfilling what is required in order to be Muslim: does she fully believe in the 6 articles of faith and 5 pillars of Islam? Try and find out if she has any doubts/ questions about these. 

2. Show her the Reversion Story Mentioned in the Qur'an:

And the magicians came to Pharaoh.
They said, "Indeed for us is a reward if we are the predominant." (113)
e said, "Yes, and, [moreover], you will be among those made near [to me]." (114) They said, "O Moses, either you throw [your staff], or we will be the ones to throw [first]."
He said, "Throw," and when they threw, they bewitched the eyes of the people and struck terror into them, and they presented a great [feat of] magic. (116)
 So the magicians fell down in prostration. They said, "We have believed in the Lord of the worlds, (121) The Lord of Moses and Aaron." (122) Said Pharaoh, "You believed in him before I gave you permission. Indeed, this is a conspiracy which you conspired in the city to expel therefrom its people. But you are going to know. (123) I will surely cut off your hands and your feet on opposite sides; then I will surely crucify you all." (124) They said, "Indeed, to our Lord we will return. (125) And you do not resent us except because we believed in the signs of our Lord when they came to us. Our Lord, pour upon us patience and let us die as Muslims [in submission to You]."  (Surat Al Araf)
 In Surat Taha they also added:
They said, "Never will we prefer you over what has come to us of clear proofs and [over] He who created us. So decree whatever you are to decree. You can only decree for this worldly life. (72) Indeed, we have believed in our Lord that He may forgive us our sins and what you compelled us [to do] of magic. And Allah is better and more enduring."

^As we can see from these passages, as soon as the magicians knew that Islam was the truth, they submitted to Allah. They accepted the truth immediately, bowing down to Allah, and begging for forgiveness. This is the reversion story that Allah shared with us in the Qur'an- the story that He made timeless for us to all learn from. 

What do we learn from it? That we do not have to know all of the minuscule details in order to accept Islam or be the best servants. We simply have to believe ....and sincerely want to put Allah above everything else.

The truth is, many of the Companions of the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam didn't know that much when they became Muslim. Remember, the Qur'an was being revealed as they became Muslim, so there were lots of things they didn't know beforehand/ hadn't perfected.  But they knew the most important thing: that Allah was One and that He Alone was worthy of our Worship. 

3. What were the first surahs Revealed from the Qur'an?  

رَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِى خَلَقَ - خَلَقَ الإِنسَـنَ مِنْ عَلَقٍ - اقْرَأْ وَرَبُّكَ الاٌّكْرَمُ - الَّذِى عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ - عَلَّمَ الإِنسَـنَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ ]
1. Read! In the Name of your Lord Who created. 2. He has created man from a clot.) 3. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous.) 4. Who has taught by the pen. 5. He has taught man that which he knew not.)

Explain to your friend that Allah has honored her and chosen her by guiding her heart to Islam. He taught her what she didn't used to know. She, from among millions of Christians, has found the truth.... 

After those verses were revealed, these were the next ones;  

O you enveloped in garments! Arise and warn! And magnify your Lord (Allah)! And purify your garments! And keep away from Ar-Rujz (the idols)! And give not a thing in order to have more (or consider not your deeds of obedience to Allah as a favour to Him). And be patient for the sake of your Lord (i.e., perform your duty to Allah)

Abu Salamah explains in the tafsir that Ar-Rujz are 'the idols'.  Here Allah shows us what He wants from us once we know the truth. The most important thing He wants is for us to stay away from idols/ false gods- to willingly acknowledge that Allah is our Lord and no one else. 

He also shows that our deeds will never be a favor to Allah. He is the One granting us a favor by allowing us to pray to Him; therefore, again, she doesn't have to worry about perfecting her deeds before becoming a Muslim. She should first become a Muslim and then be patient and perform her duty to Allah as the order of these ayaat show.

The truth is that the first 13 years, while the Muslims were in Makkah, most of the Qur'an focused on tawheed. Afterwards, the other commandments were revealed. Therefore, tawheed should be her most important concern before accepting Islam.

4. Remind her that Allah made becoming a Muslim easy:

All that is necessary to become a Muslim is to recite the Shahada. There must be hikmah or wisdom in why Allah chose something sooooooo important to be soooooo easy to do. 

Also, show her this hadith:

 Narrated 'Ubada: The Prophet said, "If anyone testifies that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah Alone Who has no partners, and that Muhammad is His Slave and His Apostle, and that Jesus is Allah's Slave and His Apostle and His Word which He bestowed on Mary and a Spirit created by Him, and that Paradise is true, and Hell is true, Allah will admit him into Paradise with the deeds which he had done even if those deeds were few." (Junada, the sub-narrator said, " 'Ubada added, 'Such a person can enter Paradise through any of its eight gates he likes.") 

OKay, In Need of Advice!! These were my quick ideas :) I know they're not much...Hey, it's marked 'urgent' and I wanted to quickly reply! :) May Allah forgive me if I said anything wrong! It is great that she cares about salah and stuff. Make sure to offer to teach her how to pray step by step. I hope inshaAllah the other sisters can also share their advice :) Especially the converts, inshaAllah. 

Lots of love,

ETA: A good link for others thinking of converting to Islam...I want to be Muslim....BUT.


The Pursuit of HappIness...

>> Sunday, April 17, 2011

Salam. how are you . i love ur blog and read it everyday. my question may sound simple but i find it so not easy.

my problem is i cant find any inner peace and happiness anywhere, i find it very temporary .
i talkd to no one about this but it hurts =[


hopless in search of happy

Dearest Hopeless in Search of Happy,

Awww, sis, I'm sorry you feel that way. I think, happiness- besides world peace, is probably the number one thing everyone desperately wants. Yet, even though everyone wants to be happy, the majority of us aren’t. Most of us are still chasing after happiness in, what almost seems to be, a never ending “pursuit of happyness. The question is: why. Why aren’t we happy now? And what can we do about it?

The major reason we aren’t happy now is because we don’t understand what happiness is.

Think about it: the majority of us think happiness lies behind things. How many times have you thought that if you could just get the newest mobile/ purse/ laptop/ car/ etc. you’d be happy and you’d never want something else again? Yet, a few hours, days, or weeks after purchasing whatever it is that you wanted, you’re back to feeling unhappy again and thinking you just need to get something else. But you don’t need something else. Happiness doesn’t come with a price tag. As much as advertising campaigns try to convince you that if you buy something you’ll be happy, it just isn’t true. Just look at superstars- they’ve supposedly got the latest designer clothes and gadgets, houses that cost millions, and things we can only dream of, and still many of them drink or take drugs to escape their lives and many others are depressed and unhappy.

If we don’t think happiness is limited to things, then, we’re usually caught in the trap of thinking happiness is a result of reaching a certain stage in our lives. We think to ourselves, “When I finally get a promotion, I’ll live happy ever after.” And you can substitute getting a promotion for anything: “When I finally (drive/ graduate/ lose weight/ get married/ retire/ etc), I’ll be happy.” But we’ve seen it hundreds of time; university graduates returning to visit the university they were desperate to leave, people who lost tens of kilos still unhappy, married couples speaking about how they miss being single, and even retired men and women complaining about how they miss the jobs they used to moan about. The fact that these people still aren’t happy shows that happiness isn’t actually restricted to reaching a certain point in life.

Instead, happiness is a decision.

It is an attitude we need to consciously choose everyday. It’s not easy but these seven things can help us develop such an attitude:

1- Remember Allah.

Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest” [al-Ra’d 13:28]
When you feel close to God and realize how entirely Merciful, ever Forgiving and Loving He is, then there is nothing that can bring you down. That's why it's so important that you get to know His Names and Attributes better.Also, feed your soul by reading the Qur’an or listening to your favorite reciter (every day!). Make dua. Talk to Allah. Get spiritually active =) This also includes 'doing good deeds'. Pray. Seek forgiveness. Listen to good lectures. Give charity. Allah subhanoo Wa' Tala has given us a promise of the good life if we do good deeds. He said :

Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer - We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do. (16:97).
Also, there's also no shame in asking Allah for a good life and making dua. There are lots of supplications you can recite to ward off sadness and depression.

2- Develop an “attitude of gratitude”:

“And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, 'If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed My punishment is severe.'”
Remind yourself of all of the blessings that you are lucky to have from the big things in life (like your family and health) to the little things in life we often take for granted (like the ability to see a sunset). A great exercise would be to write down five things every day you were grateful for. Once you find yourself feeling grateful for a single grain of rice, then you know you’re definitely close to feeling true happiness.

I want you to also watch this video:

3- Don’t just live for yourself:

Abû Hurayrah relates that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever removes one of the hardships of a believing soul, Allah will remove from him one of the distresses on the Hereafter. Whoever solves someone else's problem, Allah will make things easy for him in this world and the HereafterAllah is ever assisting His servant as long as that servant is helping his brother.” [Sahîh Muslim (4867)]

In fact, Helen Keller once said, “True happiness is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose". Find a cause you believe in and help make a difference. Get involved in your community- from writing a suggestion for something in your local newspaper to cleaning up a beach with some friends-there’s always something that can be done. Help the little elderly lady carrying her groceries. Babysit for your neighbor. Kick start a halaqah. Donate your old clothes and things you don't need. Visit the local orphanage and ask them what things they need (toys/clothes/etc.).

You’d be surprised how much you get by giving.

4- Make sure your life is well rounded:
"The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, while there is good in both." (Reported by Muslim.)
This doesn’t just mean that you need to find a balance between work and play. It also means you need to make sure you are physically and socially active. So you're a little shy? Well, would you rather be miserable all the time or laughing with some good friends? Just do it! Go up to some girls and say salaams. Bring some dates/ candies/ yummy things to the Friday prayer and pass it out in the end. Sign up on a Muslimah forum. Start a blog! You'll find lots of cool sisters :)

As for being physically active, remember, exercise means happy endorphins. Try circling the block a few times (brisk walk) or joining an aerobics class/ gym. It will make all the difference!

5- Do something different every week: 

One of the biggest reasons we tend to feel unhappy is because we become bored with life. Stuck in the same routine, we begin to feel life is just a boring cycle. But life doesn’t have to be the same thing day after day; all you have to do is try something different. It doesn’t even have to be something extreme like bungee jumping. It could be something as simple as visiting a new place you’ve never been to, meeting new people, trying food from a different culture, etc.

6- Related to the previous idea is the idea of challenging yourself. Keep challenging yourself: Challenge yourself mentally by reading new books, learning a new language, taking a course outside of university, etc. Test yourself physically by learning a new sport, raising the number of crunches you can do, etc.

7- Be honest and true to yourself with others: 

You can’t feel happy when you don’t even feel like you are yourself. It’s frustrating and depressing when you do things that you don’t want to, when you pretend to like something that you don’t, and when you say what you don't mean (and don't say what you mean). If you want to be happy, you have to be yourself first.

This also means that you should accept your past (and if it is standing in the way of your future) and embrace the future.

The Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu `alayhi wa-sallam) said, “Seek that which benefits you, and rely on Allāh and do not surrender to weakness. If you are afflicted by a hardship then do not say, ‘Had I done this, such-and-such would have happened.’ Instead, say, ‘Allāh has decided and He does what He wills,’ for ‘if’ opens the door for Satan’s work.’” [Muslim]

Remember, happiness is something that we all deserve and there’s no reason to keep waiting. Make the decision today to change your life. Be happy :)

Readers what do you do to be happy? Share =)


Heya Ala As Salah...(Come to Prayer).

>> Friday, April 15, 2011

I feel disgusted with myself. I don't know why but I just don't pray. I want to pray but I still won't.
I've stopped listening to music for awhile now. I still watch movies and a few shows but hardly.
I'll pretend I'm on my period, so I don't have to pray. I want to pray but I don't know why I don't. Maybe it's laziness, I don't know...
I want to pray. Please help me and make dua for me.

Dear Ukthe,

It's very good  that you stopped listening to music, ma'shaAllah, but salah is our single most important link to Allah. Allah subhanoo Wa' Tala has told us that the FIRST thing we will be judged upon is our salaah.

The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: “The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the prayer. If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be sound. And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad.” (Tabarani).

The salah is the condition/ pre-requisite for other other ibadaa' to be accepted...

I mean, just imagine it was Ramadan. And you didn't watch t.v. or backbite or anything of that kind.

But you also didn't fast.

Would that be o.k.?

You and I both know that wouldn't be, right. It's the same thing here, sister.

When you don't pray, it's like you're purposefully not turning in your biggest and most important homework assignment. Every single day.

That's why, you have to turn this around. Today, not tomorrow. You can start off by reading our two previous entries on salaah...These are for the kind of people who just need a little inspiration and motivation....

But if you need a more serious wake- up call...I honestly hate using the 'harsh method', but some people need more than a push to get up..If you're one of those persons...

Well, honey, pack your bags.

We're going on a little trip.

The Prophet (Sala Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: “Between a man and kufr and shirk, is abandonment of the prayer.” (Muslim)

"Verily, I am Allah. There is no god but I: So serve thou Me (only), and establish regular prayer for My remembrance". {Sura Tá-há, ayah #14}

And when you travel throughout the land, there is no blame upon you for shortening the prayer, [especially] if you fear that those who disbelieve may disrupt [or attack] you. Indeed, the disbelievers are ever to you a clear enemy.  (4: 101).....And when you have completed the prayer, remember Allah standing, sitting, or [lying] on your sides. But when you become secure, re-establish [regular] prayer. Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times. (103)

Notice, sister how Allah subhanoo Wa' Tala does not
 excuse the Muslims from completely abandoning 
the salah even during war. We are allowed to shorten it, but even when we are 'battling with an enemy', we still have to pray!

Narrated Abu Huraira: I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "If there was a river at the door of anyone of you and he took a bath in it five times a day would you notice any dirt on him?" They said, "Not a trace of dirt would be left." The Prophet added, "That is the example of the five prayers with which Allah blots out (annuls) evil deeds."

"And be steadfast in prayer and regular in charity: And whatever good you send forth for your souls before you, you shall find it with Allah for Allah sees Well all that you do." (Sura Al-Baqarah, ayah # 110)

Narrated Abu Hurairah (Radiya Allah Anhoo) Rasualullah (Sallahoo Alyhee wa salam) said... "If the people knew the reward for the Zuhr prayer in its early time, they would race for it. If they knew the reward for the 'Isha' and the Fajr prayers in congregation, they would join them even if they had to crawl. If they knew the reward for the first row, they would draw lots for it."

"And be steadfast in prayer; give Zakat; and bow down your heads with those who bow down (in worship)." (Sura Al-Baqarah, ayah # 43)

But there came after them successors who neglected prayer and pursued desires; so they are going to meet evil - (59) Except those who repent, believe and do righteousness; for those will enter Paradise and will not be wronged at all. (60) (Surat Maryam)

The Day that the shin shall be laid bare, and they shall be summoned to bow in adoration (prostrate), but they shall not be able,- (42) Their eyes will be cast down, ignominy will cover them; they used to be called to prostrate (offer prayers), while they were healthy and good (in the life of the world, but they did not). (43) (68: 42- 43)

“What has caused you to enter Hell?” They will say: “We were not among those who prayed (Salaat).” [Surah al-Muddaththir:42-43]

Sis, we have no reason not to pray. Did you know that even the paralyzed person has to pray? Yes! They do. They have to use their eyes. So what about us?

No matter where we are, what we're doing, Allah subhanoo Wa' Tala is Greater. I mean think about Shaytaan. He refused to bow down once to Allah's command and look what happened to him (true, it was out arrogance), but the idea is...We are in desperate need of our salah.

The 5 daily prayers remind us that our Lord comes first, before anything else. When we put aside what we’re doing to pray, we declare that nothing in this life matters (not our jobs, families, etc) more than Allah. And since the prayers come every couple of hours, we are constantly reminded of Allah. Our lives, then, revolve around Him instead of worldly matters. And although we are told to think of Allah all of the time, it is in our prayers, especially, that we remember to glorify our Lord, thank Him for the countless of blessings He has provided us with, ask Him to guide us to His true path, etc. And when we physically prostrate to the true King and put our faces on the ground, we remind ourselves of our insignificance.

Don’t you agree that the more times that we communicate with Allah, the stronger our relationship with Him?…We have to turn to Him, sis. Before it's too late.

I want to point out something really terrifying. 

The scholars said that if a person dies and they did not pray, they truly die in a state of disbelief.
"He is not washed or prayed over, nor is he buried in the Muslim cemetery. His [Muslim] relatives do not inherit from him. Rather, his wealth is for the Muslim’s state treasury, according to the strongest opinion amongst the scholars. [This is] based on the authentic hadeeth [in which the] Prophet [sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] stated: “Between a man and shirk [associating partners with Allaah] and kufr [disbelief] there stands his abandonment of the prayer.” This was reported by Imaam Muslim in his Saheeh. The Prophet [sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] also stated: “The vow [religious commitment] that is between us and them [the hypocrites] is the prayer. He that abandons it has committed disbelief.” This was reported by Ahmad and the compilers of the sunan with an authentic chain from the hadeeth of Buraydaah radiyallaahu ‘anhu.

"My Lord, send me back (99) That I might do righteousness in that which I left behind." (Surat 23) 

Sister, I know that you can do this. I know you can get back to praying. Talk to your sister. Your family. Friend. Get someone to be your prayer buddy. You will be able to do this. 


Let's Get this Straight. (Homosexuality.)

>> Thursday, April 14, 2011

I've been reading your amazing blog for a while now, and even though i get extremely lazy and not read entire answers, I do pick up some great things. :)

My question for you today is....on a very touchy topic. I live in America and this is becoming an ongoing debate between Christians and Atheists...but I want to know what Islam says about it.


My reason for this question is, if people start discussing this i want to imput ISLAMIC points. I know (for sure) that homosexual marriages are completely not allowed in Islam, but what are these people's status's considered? Does Islam say people are born this way or become this way? Whenever I used to go to Pakistan and saw the Hijraas wearing a ton of makeup and asking for money, I was...annoyed. Why don't these people work? Or do something? why are they just begging? why is EVERY homosexual in pakistan just begging? But with all the recent debates, I think maybe these people are begging because no one over there will accept them doing anything else. I also fear for my future. When I have kids and they go to school, will they be seeing these relationships openly in school? Am i supposed to teach them it's wrong? What if my child is like that?

So, I am very confused. I'm sorry for the extremely long question, but i had to explain my stand point.
I hope it is not too much trouble for you to answer this, as this is the type of thing i'd never bring up to my family.
Thank You in advance :)
-Hoping to Learn

Wa'alykum as salam wa rahmatullah wa barkatoo,

Dearest Hoping to Learn,

You know, I've been waiting for someone to ask this question. And don't worry. This whole blog is for the stuff we're not comfortable talking to dear mumzy and daddy about.

So yeah, I know-the issue of homosexuality can seem a little confusing right now. But you know what? It’s really not- the truth is, this is another one of those things that modern society is trying to make “politically correct”. You see, with so many people coming out of the closet and so many shows starring homosexuals, we are constantly being bombarded with the message homosexuality is natural. The media keeps asking us: What’s wrong if two people love each other? Even if they are the same gender? Shouldn’t everyone have the right to decide who they feel attracted to?

To be blunt about it, the answer is: There’s a lot wrong with homosexuality.

Yes, I said it.

Homosexuality is not normal- it’s unnatural. And it’s a sin to act up on it.

Let me ask you something:

Is it acceptable for a boy to feel sexually attracted to his sister? Or for a woman to feel sexually attracted to her son? Or what if a man feels attracted to his niece? How about if a boy feels sexually attracted to his stepmom? Would it be acceptable for him to act on his desire? Well, why not? What if the people involved in all of these scenarios share deep feelings and feel the need to act on them physically? Who’s to say they shouldn’t?

I think the idea is getting a little clearer…..but just in case, let me ask you some other questions.
Forget relatives….what if a 45 year old man feels attracted to his neighbor’s 3 year old daughter? Or if a female teacher feels attracted to her 9 year student, who happens to be a male?

Would our society accept these people acting out on their desires? The answer is a big fat no. These people, in fact, would be encouraged to see a psychiatrist and to get serious counseling. Muslim or not- no one in their right mind would accept them saying “I was just created this way”.

And that brings us back to homosexuality. It is not natural to feel attracted to one’s own sex. At the end of the day, the Creator created men and women for a reason. With His Wisdom and infinite knowledge, God is the One who created us and He made us physically different. Moreover, mankind would not be able to continue to exist if we all suddenly took up homosexuality- a clear sign that something is wrong with it. Our very existence as a species depends on men and women being together. Think about it. IF it was 'okay for homosexuals to be together', why can't they naturally conceive?

The answer is clear. They weren't created to be together.

So, yes, Islamically, homosexuality is NOT allowed. This is clearly stated in the Qur’an.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

81. ‘Verily, you practise your lusts on men instead of women. Nay, but you are a people transgressing beyond bounds (by committing great sins).’
82. And the answer of his people was only that they said: ‘Drive them out of your town, these are indeed men who want to be pure (from sins)!’
83. Then We saved him and his family, except his wife; she was of those who remained behind (in the torment).
84. And We rained down on them a rain (of stones). Then see what was the end of the Mujrimoon (criminals, polytheists and sinners)”
[al-A’raaf 7:80-84]

“And (remember) Loot (Lot), when he said to his people: ‘Do you commit the worst sin such as none preceding you has committed in the ‘Aalameen (mankind and jinn)?

Not only do we have the story of Prophet Lot and his people and the destruction that fell upon them for this sin, we also have a clear hadith:

Ahmad (2915) narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “May Allaah curse the one who does the action of the people of Loot, may Allaah curse the one who does the action of the people of Loot,” three times. This was classed as hasan by Shu’ayb al-Arna’oot in Tahqeeq al-Musnad.

Furthremore, the scholars stated that when Allaah mentioned zina, He described it as a “great sin” (faahishah – indefinite) among other great sins, but when He mentioned homosexuality, He called it “the worst sin” (al-faahishah – definite). This suggests that it contains all the essence of evil and sin. End quote from al-Jawaab al-Kaafi (p. 260-263)

Well, what about if someone thinks s/he is homosexual?

The first thing they need to do is redefine themselves not as homosexuals but as persons who may experience some "homosexual thoughts". There's a difference.

When a person defines himself as a homosexual, he/she basically gives himself a license to sin. That's not acceptable  It's not okay to go with the excuse that this is what Allah wanted". Our thoughts are not the same as our actions. We are responsible for our actions.

And we must always remind ourselves that this is not what Allah subhanoo Wa' Tala wanted.

Remember, that's the excuse the 'mushriks' use in the Qura'n and it is completely incorrect.

And those who associate others with Allah say, "If Allah had willed, we would not have worshipped anything other than Him, neither we nor our fathers, nor would we have forbidden anything through other than Him." Thus did those do before them. So is there upon the messengers except [the duty of] clear notification?  16: 35

Anyone who feels like this must remember that they were not innately created like this. This is not their identity. This is maybe a trial for them, but not 'who' they are.

The second thing the person should do is seek help.

The person should try and get their hands on resources to help them overcome homosexuality/ homosexual thoughts. 

In fact, contrary to what the media tries to teach us, it is possible to leave homosexuality. 

Take Alan Chambersis. He was a gay man who overcame unwanted homosexuality and started a family. He wrote a book called, "Leaving Homosexuality". There's also Yvette Schneider who wrote "Leaving Lesbianism". She explains that she 'chose homosexuality' because she found her emotional needs being met through it (she wanted to feel loved/ appreciated/ etc.) It wasn't because she was actually physically attracted to women. Both of these authors are now very Christian, but the point is that they were able to realize why they were 'going with their own gender' - that it wasn't actually in their innate being- and were able to stop it.

So, it is possible. If anyone suffers from any homosexual thoughts, consider it your own jihad that you have to struggle against. You are going through a difficult trial ....but you will be able to overcome it, inshaAllah. Hold on to the rope of Allah.

I do want to point out that Islam is a very practical religion, though. And that is why, even in front of only women, women should cover certain parts. Also, if you read fatwas on dancing, sometimes you will see Sheikhs saying not to dance provocatively even in front of your own gender. Why? So that we stay away from the doors of homosexuality.

About explaining to your future children, inshaAllah- yes, you should explain it to them that it is wrong. I'm quoting Hena Zuberi Siddiqui . Tell them exactly what this says:

a. Homosexual behavior is not an innate identity.
b. No matter what factors may influence homosexual feelings, freely chosen homosexual behavior is immoral and should be resisted.
c. Homosexuality is not equivalent to race.
d. Disapproval of homosexuality is not equivalent to racism; nor is it hatred; nor is it bullying; nor does it constitute an incitement to violence. It is permissible and ethical to express disapproval of homosexuality. Just because someone may feel bad when hearing that someone disapproves of homosexuality does not mean that disapproval is cruel or wrong.
e. No school should support a view of homosexuality that is unproven and controversial, and that is physically, emotionally, and spiritually destructive to individuals and society.

InshaAllah, if you provide the right emotional support for your children, they will not be like that.

As for the beggars, I'm not really sure what your view should be of them Isalmically. We should consult a scholar for that....:)

I hope this clears things up for you, sis and as always, the readers are more than welcome to add their wonderful sprinkely thoughts :)


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