Those Pesky Pimples

>> Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Asalamu aliaakum, sisters!

We need your help with this question :) How do you deal with those pesky pimples? 
What advice/home remedies can you offer this sister, inshaAllah? :)

Asalamualaykum little aunties,

The advice you give the sisters, they manner in which you talk to them, the care and love you give to each, and how quick you are to answer just blows me away. SubhanAllah, whenever I feel down, I rush to this website and read the posts even if I have read them already. Wallahi, they have never failed to give me an "iman rush". Jazakumullahu Khairan for each and every letter that you type because in a way, every post is beneficial to me. May Allah grant you the highest level and make you the companions of the Prophets and his Sahaabi and the Ummahat-ul-Mu'mineen. I pray for you in each of my Duas. question is how can i get rid of pimples? i have sooo many of them. i really need them. soo many scars do not look good. everyone tells me and i get a bad look for them

jazakalllahu khair

You can leave your advice in the comments below or in our new Facebook Page, inshaAllah.


In Defense of 'those so called "barbaric punishments"

>> Friday, January 20, 2012

I need some help. I am a person who grew up Muslim by name, only, but alhamdullillah, lately have felt a need to know more about my religion. I have learned so much in the last few months. But still, I am uncomfortable with some things and don't know how to explain it to others or to myself. Cutting the hand and flogging as punishments really make me feel doubtful about my religion. I think that they are not ok, cause we can behave like western countries in such cases and it looks more reasonable. Please give me some advice on this.

Dearest Confused,
I’m really glad you brought up this question! These days, the media likes to throw the word Sharia around as if it’s an atomic bomb or something (lol!), when in reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

Let’s start off by explaining 2 very important and critical notions of Islam.

The first and very important concept of Islam is that of choice and responsibility.

Islam did not come to restrict or deny human nature. On the contrary, Islam was intended to make things easier for us.

And Allah wants to lighten for you [your difficulties]; and mankind was created weak. (4:28)
Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel, who enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them. So they who have believed in him, honored him, supported him and followed the light which was sent down with him - it is those who will be the successful. (7: 157)

The truth, as we explained in a previous post (Is Everything Haram?), is that most things have been made lawful for us. What has been made unlawful are the things that 'harm us' (and have negative effects such as diseases becoming rampant, families breaking up, etc.) It's up to the person to choose to obey Allah and stay away from what has potential harm or...follow their own desires.

And here we come to the crux of the issue: There is ALWAYS a permissible Islamic alternative to a person's desires/ needs/wants. It's the person who chooses if they will use the Islamic alternative or turn to other things.

Let's take a clearer example.

Let's say a person feels that his/her marriage life is miserable and would like to be involved with someone else. There is an Islamic alternative- the person has the RIGHT in Islam to divorce. Keep in mind that this is not a right given in all religions. Even today, people in the Philippines are fighting for the right of divorce. Yet, Islam grants it. Islam allows a person to divorce and remarry.

Also, another Islamic alternative would be polygamy.

IF a person commits an affair, then, they have willingly chosen to forgo Allah's permissible alternatives. That is something they have chosen to do- a course of action that they decided to pursue.

We'lll talk more about that in second, but first, let's continue with the second critical aspect to Islam.

The second important notion in Islam is that of justice. Justice is extremely important in Islam. Islam recognizes that a society cannot prevail without justice. Justice therefore must be protected and laws must be set to ensure that justice is served. That is why the Qur’an commands that we are just, even if we have to stand against our own families or ourselves. Not only that, but we know that one of God’s attributes is that He is the Just; He has forbidden injustice upon Himself and He has forbidden it on us.

Now, justice does not come by recognizing only a criminal’s rights. It comes when both the victim and the criminal are given their due rights and when the welfare of the entire society is taken into consideration.

Justice also cannot be carried out by any random person, but should be carried out only by the people in authority and only once sufficient evidence has been brought forth. 

Okay, okay, enough with the intro. What about cutting the hand off a thief?

Most people automatically imagine a very poor, needy, desperate person as a thief. They think "Islam is so cruel. Cutting the hands of a needy person?"

But that's not the case, at all. Islam wants to help and protect the needy people.

As Muslims, we're commanded to pay zakat, or a percentage of money to the less fortunate, right. Don't we have to pay 2.5 % of our wealth, 5% of our crops that are grown, and 20% of any minerals from the earth? This is not something extra. Instead, it’s considered an obligation that every Muslim must do. Besides that, Muslims are encouraged to give voluntary charity or sadaqah. That’s what individuals are supposed to do.

You know what else…Islamically, the government is supposed to ensure that every single person has the basic necessities, from food, clothing, housing, and medical fees. Islam is completely against the idea that someone in a society could die from starvation because they didn’t have enough money…or that someone could die because they couldn’t afford health care.

This is what is supposed to happen if Shariaa was implemented properly.

As you can see, someone who would steal in such a society really is only stealing out of greed…And that’s not fair. Islam is very big on making sure everyone understands that they have their rights. It’s not fair for someone to steal from someone else’s hard work and effort.

In fact, I want you to imagine a poor person putting away all of their life savings in a tiny little box in their cupboard and locking that cupboard with a key. And then, somebody coming in the middle of the night and stealing that poor person's life savings. Just imagine how that person would feel!

You see, the hadd punishment for stealing has a lot of conditions. One of those conditions is that the 'sariq' took something that had been put away and properly 'hidden'...that the victim had taken precautions to protect their things, yet the 'criminal' had deliberately chosen to 'break in and steal it'. Read more about it here:

Other conditions that have to/ should be fulfilled before someone can be considered guilty of stealing include (according to Wikipedia and I did hear this on t.v.)

  1. The theft must not have been the product of hunger, necessity, or duress.
  2. There must have been criminal intent to take private (not common) property.
  3. The goods stolen must: be over a minimum value, not haraam, and not owned by the thief's family.
  4. Goods must have been taken from custody (i.e., not in a public place).
  5.  There must be reliable witnesses/evidence.

There are a few other conditions, too...But anyways, once they have all been fulfilled, then, the punishment is to take place. The purpose of this punishment is to act as a deterrent .It tells people to seriously think about what they are doing.

And one last point, I heard in a funny video was this: if someone steals a huge amount of money and then is given a prison sentence, what happens to him/ her? Don’t we steal have to feed/ house this person while they are incarcerated? You know who’s paying: all of the tax payers, including the person who was robbed. Does that make sense?

Well, what about the flogging and stoning punishments.

Okay, here's the thing:

Islam as we said, does not deny human nature. It does not condemn ‘sex’ but condemns sex only outside of marriage. (In fact, Islam has promised married couples that their intimate act yields them ‘hasnaat’ or rewards). Because Islam understands human nature, though, Sharia has commanded:

-men and women to lower their gazes (around each other),
- to cover certain parts of their bodies, 
-and not to unnecessarily be alone together (those that are non-mahrams to each other).
-Islam has encouraged that people get married young, and that marriages are made easy- that is, grooms and brides should not ask each other for unrealistic things or big dowreis, etc.
- Islam has also allowed for divorce and polygamy

What we have to remember then is that a person who has engaged in pre-marital sex or adultery has chosen to willingly ignore all of the above commandments and the permissible alternatives.

We also have to remember that there are also conditions for this punishment, too. In order for the punishment for pre-marital sex to be carried out, the Qur'an stipulates that there must have been four reliable and trustworthy witnesses. FOUR witnesses!

So what that basically means is that the person was FLAUNTING their sin....that they were very open about it. That's not acceptable. It's one thing to 'fall into a personal sin". It's another thing to 'invite' others to sin by flaunting it, yourself.

These are not just 'simple sins' either. Pre-marital sex and adultery threaten they very cornerstone of the society- they threaten the family backbone. They are major causes of illnesses spreading, of families breaking up, of children growing up without their fathers or any clue to who they are....They can also lead to such things as abortion or the killing of innocent babies.

Allah subhanoo wa' Tala sets the boundaries by putting these laws for us. They act as a deterrent and essentially protect our societies.

At the end of the day, as Muslims, we believe that God, our Creator, is the One who decided the punishments for those crimes. We believe that as our Creator, God knows what works best for us and what is better for our societies. The punishments are really meant to scare people from thinking of doing any crimes.

I hope this helps a bit, but sis, please remember that our faith is so much more than two or three punishments :) Islam is about a persons's relationship with the Most Merciful (our Lord), with others (our families, neighbors, towns, Muslims, non-Muslims, etc.), and ourselves.

(One last thing I want to point out is that even the Old Testament mentions stoning as a punishment. Just because the Western countries have "given up the punishments listed in their books, doesn't mean that we should." It says:)
22.22 “If a man be found lying with a woman married to a husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman and the woman; so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.

Stoning to death punishment for virgin women for adultery.
22.23 If a damsel who is a virgin be betrothed unto a husband, and a man find her in the city and lie with her,
22.24 then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones, that they die — the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city, and the man,because he hath humbled his neighbor’s wife; so thou shalt put away evil from among you.)



Fall Back in Love?

>> Wednesday, January 18, 2012

 I have a huge problem in my life and cant find 2 solve it all by myself. Iam married for about 2.5 years and we have a 1.5 year old son. You see i got pregnant right after getting married :) The problem is i left my homecoutry ( in europe) and came here 2 marry someone i didnt know very well. I loved him and trusted him. Now hes not a bad person but he made a lot of mistakes. So slowly my love 4 him died. Now we have talked it through and he finally sees the things he did wrong and that he has 2 change things so i could be myself and happy. All well so far but no matter how hard i try i cant get myself 2 love him again. I appreciate him and respect him but i dont want him near me ( like cuddle), kiss me or anything else. Hes like a friend 4 me now and i just cant change that. What should i do? Iam so unhappy like this cause i wish i could fall in love with him and be like a normal couple again :( If i live with someone i dont love or feel atracted 2, i know it will lead me 2 fitnah :( But also i dont want to destroy him by leaving and i dont want my son 2 grow up with his father being away. I really hope u can give me a good advice. Jazak allah khair 

Dear Mother of One,
I’m sorry to hear about your situation. But, as I've previously mentioned before, none of the aunties here are married….so we can offer you our advice, but we really have to count on the sisters reading this, too, to add their own input.

Now, I do want to say Ma'shaAllah ta'baraka that you "concealed" your partner's mistakes in the letter. The only thing is I can't really tell if you mean something like almost getting involved with another woman or if you just mean that he made some bad choices, like siding with the in-laws against you, not letting you keep in contact with your friends/family, I'm just answering in general.

Whatever he did, though, you said that you felt like you couldn't be yourself (or who you really are) and it's obvious that it hurt you.

Well, sis, let's do a small exercise.

Let's imagine that 'hurt' as having a kind of 'physical presence'…..Let's imagine it as a burning fire. (You know the amount of hurt and pain- you decide if it is a big fire or small one).
Can you smell the fire burning? Can you feel it? I really want you to close your eyes and just imagine for a second that you touched that fire. OUCH!

Would you hold on to that fire for longer than those few seconds that it took you to register the feeling of pain? (I don't think so!)

When it comes to pain, we can choose to hold on to it or to let it go. You can choose to be rooted, frozen in that pain or to let the pain melt away. You have to accept the fact that no matter what your husband did, it's you who decides if you are going to keep touching the fire or if you are going to let it go.

And you need to let go of that fire.

I want you to take a few moments and write down all that caused you pain. Think about it. Accept it. Consider his reasons and why those choices were made. And then, take that paper and rip it up or throw it away….and imagine the hurt flying/blowing away.

And say it out loud: "I have decided to no longer hold on to this pain. I have decided to let it go. I will give this relationship another chance, for the sake of my child, etc..

IF you truly want to move forward and live in this moment and not in the past (and not be stuck in the moment that your husband made a mistake), you need to be committed to today. You need to be willing to commit to your marriage. You can't be thinking about 'ending the marriage' and then hoping it will somehow 'begin all over again'. You need to believe in your marriage. 

And the truth is, your marriage life is not over….Not if you both put your heart back in it, your dedication and you promise to work on it.

You already said that you asked your husband to change and you talked about it and he agreed. That's a great step on his part.

It's time to give him that chance. It's time for your relationship to mature and grow to another level, where both of you are free to be yourselves. It's time to restore your marriage and move past the past!


#1. Accept that you are both human
There is no one perfect on this earth. Everyone makes mistakes.
Think about that. Consider the fact that you also make mistakes. How many times have you sinned against Allah subhanoo Wa' Tala? How much are you in need of His forgiveness? Don't you hope that Allah looks at your good deeds and overlooks your mistakes? Well, why don't you think about the good things your husband does? Remember, Allah promises His forgiveness to those who forgive others.

2. Work on your imaan together :
If you want your relationship to flourish and deepen, then you've got to build it something greater than him and you. Great love doesn't come from 'simple human desire'. It comes from a greater love- love of Allah. Build your relationship for the sake of Allah and you will find it reach a different level. Really make your niya that your entire marriage is for the sake of Allah...and that every day is a chance to get closer to Allah.

Try listening to a lecture about Allah's Names at least once a week, reading at least one page of the Qur'an together every day and its translation, praying at least one prayer together. Try coming up with "What I’m thankful for" lists together….Try talking about your favorite companions and stories of the Prophet together (sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam.)

3. Decide on boundaries. 
You and him are 2 different individuals. You are partners but you do have different ways of doing things. If he "was too controlling and didn't let you clean the room the way you wanted to or something like that", you need to decide whose area is whose domain. You are free to suggest and help each other, but both of you will not "control" each other and will have your own respective domains that you are in charge of .

Or, if his mistake was related to the in-laws….set boundaries with that. "The next time so and so calls (e.g. mother in law) and says something impolite to me, we are going to explain to her graciously that each person has their own way of doing things."

4. Rekindle the Romance:
Before I say this, let me explain something. If you're comparing your marriage life to what it was in the first few months, realize that it will always be different. As the experts always say, there is a difference between "being in love" and "love", itself. A marriage that lasts is built more than the 'happy feelings' from the honeymoon days.

But that doesn't mean that you can't bring back the romance.

  •  Consider having a romantic retreat. Taking a few days and traveling to some new place and exploring it together
  • Decide that the weekends are your date days…You guys can go to restaurant or a park and have a barbecue.
  • You probably don't want to do this, but go the extra mile. Dress up, even if you really don't want to. Leave him some small notes where you sincerely thank him/whatever…Send him a nice nasheed and see how he responds. Bring back the excitement. (He might feel a little hesitant because he knows that he hasn't met your standards/ disappointed you.)
  • You said that you do appreciate your husband and that you still do respect him. Well, that's great. Keep building your appreciation and trust for him. Every day, think of something that he's either done for you/ or does for you that you are grateful for, whether it's going out and working to support the family, throwing the trash, picking up the baby when you're tired and playing with him, complimenting your outfit, noticing your mood, buying you that thing you crave...'
  • Do some activities together! 
5. Make Dua that Allah restores the love and peace between you two. 

There were just some simple ideas. InshaAllah the other sisters can share their advice,


Success or Not?

>> Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dearest Little Auntie. First off, let me start of by saying that I love you guys so much for the sake of Allah!! <3 alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah, you guys absolutely, totally rock. :D
Well my problem is (as all problems are :P) kind of confusing. I have always been a high achiever. Alhamdulillah. Ever since my 10th grade, I have been soaring high with my grades mashaAllah. I topped my high school examination, and I got into one of the top medical schools of my country, also acing that test. And now THAT'S become my real problem. I can't seem to want to "stop," I keep wanting to go for more. I work hard to get good grades, I feel as if Allah SWT expects me to be a great doctor since he has blessed me with a good brain, and that if I fall even a little short of that standard, He will not be pleased. Then I look at the other side of the picture: I am a woman, and I will be married some day, I will be answerable if I compromise my family life and do not give my children enough time because of being a doctor! It's driving me insane, all these thoughts. Also, I want to get rid of the "competitiveness" that is growing inside me. All the times in medicine we read just how much stress is bad for your body, and I end up taking so much stress. I make a conscious effort to realize that I am doing whatever I am doing for Allah. Yet I believe my competitiveness ends up overwhelming my efforts to realize I want to please Allah, and that I am becoming a doctor for Him, to save the life of one person, which Allah says is equivalent to saving the entire Humanity. Please help. JazakAllah for hearing me out! <3<3
Not wanting to get too high!

Wa'alaikumussalam wa rahmatullah! 

May the one for whom you love us love you (lol, I'm always saying this to my baby sister), and right back atcha! :D 

Girl, that's awesome, mashaAllah, but I can see why you're getting really worried. I felt the same way, and after countless conversations with friends and family, reading, and such, I think I'm finally on my way to understanding why. And I know, this is pretty tough, because it's your future on the line here. O' course your confuzzled. :/

Let's start with defining success. What is true success? Anybody? The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as being "the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, or the good or bad outcome of an undertaking". There's another meaning also: obsolete. Ponder on it...

Depending on who you ask, you'll get different interpretations of what success is. If asked on worldly terms, "Who is the most fortunate and most blessed of all the people?" some may answer by saying the richest man, or the president of the U.S., or even a doctor or engineer (based on the varying convictions of belief in the hearts). But the reality is that the person who may be regarded as the most fortunate in this world, if this person leaves the world without imaan, so wretched will be his condition. On the Day of Judgment (according to a hadith more or less to the effect), death will be brought out in the shape of a ram and will be slaughtered. After that, no one will face death. If it were possible to die as a result of extreme joy, the people of jannah would die due to the ecstasy they will experience, subhanAllah. And it it were possible to die out of extreme grief, the people of jahunnam would die due to that, a'oodhu billah. 

So what is true success? Why, what we're striving to achieve, of course!

"Everyone shall taste death. And only on the Day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise, he indeed is successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception." [Al-Qur'an 3:185]

Again, just something for all of us to think about (myself first)...Those in whose hearts was the reality of imaan feared the dunya. Yes, they feared it, so they distanced themselves from it.

A tabi'ee asked Mu'aawiya (radi Allahu anh) to describe Ali (radi Allahu anh), he replied, "I saw Ali one night. It  was very dark. It was pitch black. I saw Ali standing in his mehraab and he had caught hold of his beard in his hands. He was crying so incessantly, like a woman who had been given news of a great calamity. He was shivering with fear and was shaking as if he had been bitten by a scorpion. He was saying, 'Oh my Allah, what will become of me? What is going to happen to me?' He then addressed the dunya and said, 'Are you trying to entice me? Have you beautified yourself for me? Are you trying to cause me to fall into your trap? Are you trying to deceive me? Oh gold, oh diamond, oh silver, deceive someone else. You are valueless!'" 

SubhanAllah, this was a Sahaabi about whom Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aala) said he was pleased with! Makes you think, doesn't it?

Now to actually getting on to answering your question (sorry, I really caught up on all the background info. there :P), it's wonderful that you're a high achiever! We all should try our absolute best in everything we do, in all of our endeavors. But now it's become a problem for you, hasn't it? This is what I've realized from my experiences: it's okay to let go and just breathe. It's great that you've started thinking about this already. :) I'm taking it that you're probably from England (or a country that follows their education pathway) since by what you wrote, it seems that you go to med. school right after high school. In the U.S., we have four years of undergraduate studies and then graduate school (medicine, law, social work, etc.) Anyhoo, you're not alone in this; I was just like you in high school. It was my goal to be valedictorian when I graduated two years ago, so I just went crazy after my grades. And...I got it. And guess what? That was it. I'm being serious. 
That. Was. It. 
 I got the highest academic distinction anyone can get at graduation. Yes, it was exciting and everything, alhamdulillah. I'm not trying to downplay it. But then what? I hit the top, and there was no other place for me to go except to come back down. So I realized, that in dunya, there will always be a "glass ceiling". Once you reach the pinnacle of "success", you're done. You got to your goal and there's nothing else to go after. Woo-hoo, but you'll  feel empty inside. There's going to be this gnawing feeling inside of you asking you what's missing. But get this, there's no "glass ceiling" in the deen! None at all! How amazing is that, subhanAllah?! We'll never hit the top. We'll always be striving until our very last breath. This was the eye-opener for me. It was like my "AHA" moment, haha. I'm still just flabbergasted. I mean, I'm sure we all know this, but when you truly think about, you'll start looking at life and success from another perspective. What truly matters? For so many of us who are really focused on being high achievers academically, have we to thought about maybe diverting some of that energy and effort into our deen and becoming better muslimahs? Now there's a thought!

It's so easy to get caught up in this dunya. For us, right now, it's education. Later, it'll be work. I know so many people (sorry, I only have the example of doctors around me) who are just going crazy after their work. They're at the hospitals before Fajr and back home after Ishaa', and I know it's exhausting since I've seen it firsthand. Some get posted on the billboards off the freeways, are affiliated with the best hospitals in the state, but they don't seem content for some reason. They're just running after one thing or the other. Granted, they're very good doctors and I'm sure they're also good muslims.

"Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest." (13:28).

This doesn't mean that we're supposed to drop our academic pursuits. No way! But we have to realize that going to college and embarking upon our careers is only a means to get to the end. I don't think I can stress this point enough.Our end is to please Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aala). Isn't that our ultimate goal in life? We can't lose sight of that. I think we get so caught thinking that there's only one way of doing things (the means), but in reality, there's so many ways. Our lives could take off in so many different directions, but in the end, we can still have the end we need in order to get into jannah. College/medicine/law/teaching/you name it isn't the only way to reach the desired end. If we make college our end, then that's like getting on a bridge and just staying there. It'll be like not crossing the bridge, and when we think about it, it seems so silly to stand on the bridge and just stay stagnant. My dad always tells us kids, that no matter what we're doing, to always ask ourselves, "What does Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aala) want from me? What would please him?" We have to keep our goal in mind. Yes, I know, it's easier said than done, but that's why we're all here, aye? :D

Niyah is a big issue here too. Our intentions can make a seemingly mundane act become an act of 'ibaadah. Say, for college or whatever field you're going into, you could intend to do it for the betterment of the ummah, to help our fellow brothers and sisters, and also humanity. We could even make niyah for it to be da'wah to non-Muslims, and actually invite people towards Islam. There's so many different intentions that we can make. 

Yes, women with careers who have kids do have it harder than most, especially doctors. But really, that's a balance you'll have to find for yourself later on. Everyone takes care of it differently. Some have their parents take care of the children. Others hire nannies and babysitters. Some even work from nine to five or part-time, so that they leave when their kids leave for school and come home around the same time as the kids do. Others still, go back to work after their kids are in middle or high school, or even college. And some decide that domestic life is what suits them best. :)

Just one more thing. I promise! For those of you who are obsessed with their >4.0 GPA's (I used to be one of them :P), as I said before, please breathe. Just inhale...and exhale. It's okay, I promise you, your life won't be over if you don't graduate as valedictorian or get that full-ride scholarship or get a 36 on your ACT. You'll still get into a good college, inshaAllah. And seriously, don't expect to excel at everything. That's a recipe for disaster. You'll only end up disappointing yourself. You will fail at times, I promise you. :P No, really, you will. Just try your best and leave the rest up to Allah (subhaanahu wa ta'aala). Rely on Him. Just don't get too focused on your studies that you forget to have fun if you're in high school. Come on, guys, it's high school! Have some fun! Get to know your teachers. Play pranks on them (harmless ones, haha). Skip class (I'm kidding! In college, yes, but not in high school.) Join organizations. It's also a great time for you to grow socially. 

Whatever choices you have to make, just remember to pray istikharah and seek advice and naseehah from others. Both are from the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammah (salallahu 'alaihi wa sallam), so they should definitely help you out. :)

I hope this post helped to answer and alleviate some of your concerns, inshaAllah! 



Beautiful Inside and Out.

>> Sunday, January 15, 2012

Before I start, can I just say that I absolutely love your blog! I only discovered it relatively recently and I am so glad I did, I check it every day. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your knowledge and advice...may Allah bless you

Anyways, on to my problem. So you can understand it I have to explain a bit about myself. You see I haven't been the best Muslim, I am ashamed to say, I did so many bad things..but alhamdulillah, God took mercy on me and brought me to the realisation that I have to change. And I have been trying but it is quite hard...(by the way, your article on forgiveness really actually moved me to tears..thank you so much)

So, you won't be surprised to hear I am not a hijabi. And I am really trying to become one. Now you're probably thinking 'Not another question on hijab! We've already answered so many!' And I have read them all, and they are wonderful answers, but they don't address my specific issue. You see, some days I feel so clear and certain that I want to wear hijab, but then the next day I just don't want to think about it and I can't convince myself that I really want to wear it. Now, you can never hide the truth from yourself for too long and I know why I can't commit to hijab...

I am ashamed to say, I have too much vanity and pride in my appearance. It is hard to admit that...but I know that the reason I dislike the thought of hijab is I like having my hair down and wearing makeup and looking 'pretty'. Now I know you can still look pretty with hijab- mash'Allah I see so many pretty girls in hijab and they all look more beautiful because they look modest and pure. And sometimes, I dislike having my hair down and not wearing hijab, it feels 'flashy' and immodest. And sometimes I feel sad that people don't recognise me as a Muslim...

But, I don't know, I can't make that feeling last! Please help me to stop being vain and shallow, please tell me how to stop caring about how I look and to stop trying to look 'pretty' and 'attractive. Please tell me a way to stop caring too much for dunya not akhira. I really want to change, I keep getting scared I will be too late...

Thank you

Assalamu Alaykum sis,

First off I want to sincerely apologise greatly for my bad manners - I'm really sorry this reply is so late and I have no excuse. I ask you to forgive me.
Secondly, I want to tell you that I have a lot of respect for you. You are so concerned about your deen and it is a lesson to us all, myself firstly.

As for your question, I am sure that many of the sisters on this site can relate to it. And us 'aunties' sure as heck would never think "Oh, no, not another hijab question!" Instead, I can understand how you feel like you're on a roller coaster with your decision to wear hijab and it's probably really frustrating. Some days you're all for it and other days the opposite. You say this is because you like to look 'pretty' with your hair down etc and I understand this. As girls, who doesn't want to put on some mascara and get the straighteners out. And I'm not saying you shouldn't... Muslimahs aren't restricted in looking pretty, as you well know.

But the thing is, darling, did you ever think about the fact that you are much more than your body? That you have a beautiful soul? And that by covering your outer beauty, your inner beauty sparkles and shines through? (I don't mean that this should be drawing attention to yourself extensively with non-mahrams, though.)

But, think about it. How much do you really value the real YOU? The person behind the hair, skin, figure, etc.?

The truth is that once you cover and understand that the things on the outside should be covered, you will value yourself as a human being and as Allah's chosen vicegerent (khalifa!) on this earth.

And you will come to appreciate these blessings and hopefully succeed in the trials that Allah has given you. Your beautiful hair and gorgeous figure, ma'shaAllah ta'baraka Allah—you didn't actually create them, yourself, did you?

Allah subhanoo wa' Tala did. He gave it to you perhaps as a blessing and perhaps as a trial…Would you obey Him in these blessings?

Sister, when you walk out on the street and you see yourself as beautiful, ask yourself the important questions:

"How does Allah see me, now?" "Am I beautiful in His eyes? What does Allah think?"

You see, Allah doesn't look as your form. He already created it (beautifully and perfectly)…Instead, He looks to the inside.

On the authority of Abu Huraira (Radi Allah Anhu) with some addition (and it is this):
"Verily Allah does not look to your bodies nor to your faces but He looks to your hearts (deeds),"
And he pointed towards the heart with his fingers.

Just imagine if Allah found your heart to be beautiful. Imagine if Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem found that you had worked in purifying your heart for Him!

You know how amazing you feel when you get that compliment from the 'coolest girl' on your stylish haircut/ cute outfit….Imagine how amazing it would feel to know that Allah is calling out your name to the angels to love you because you had obeyed Him and put Him above your desires:

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam) said, "When Allah loves a slave, calls out Jibril and says: `I love so-and-so; so love him'. Then Jibril loves him. After that he (Jibril) announces to the inhabitants of heavens that Allah loves so-and-so; so love him; and the inhabitants of the heavens (the angels) also love him and then make people on earth love him".

Forget about impressing people by your 'looks'. If you've got Allah on your side, if you work to reach Allah's love, you will find people really loving you (not all ' "Wow, you look great, *scratch/ claws come out when you turn your back).

I know what you're thinking.That's easy to say but maybe hard to do.

You've already shown at the end of your question that you know what your problem is (and I applaud you for this): 'caring too much for dunya not akhira'.

Honey, this is something many people struggle with because of the flash ''opportunity'' dunya offers us.

Shaykh Samir An-Nass said the best way to deal with these sorts of desires is to ''train'' yourself. Stick a note 'DEEN NOT DUNYA' somewhere in your room like your mirror or near your bed. Keep reminding yourself of the truest of true beauty you harbour. And that's your Deen. That is the single most beautiful thing about a Muslim. And it can be seen through the choices you make in your appearance. Every time you pray salah, ask Allah the Most Merciful, the Turner of Hearts to turn your Heart to Him and to His obedience more and more and more, inshaAllah.

You need to know that change is a funny thing...and there's a moment just before the change happens. This moment is like someone or something grabbing you by the arm and pulling you back. Back to the past. Your mind knows that you should go forward but you're being pulled back, back to the old mindset. Back to the memory of feeling good. It's vital that in this moment you pull out the strength which you do have in you. The strength you do have because it's the strength of your deen. Say to yourself 'DEEN. NOT DUNYA' Because if I give you one piece of advice, it's to never go backwards once you decide to change for the sake of Allah. Never.

The road may begin to be bumpy but the rewards and ultimately, happiness, you receive after is beautiful. It's different to the happiness before and that's why you don't feel like you want it.

Starting Hijab may feel daunting; what will people say, what will they think, school, work, family, friends, strangers. And it's a lot easier said than done to simply shrug them off. When I started hijab, a few people did stare. Many asked questions. Many were shocked (lol). But I took every day as it came. As an amazing friend told me: ''It's all about baby steps''. You have to walk before you run, right. (:

I do hope you decide to wear Hijab soon. You could organise a gathering with a bunch of friends and dress-up etc. (Strictly girls only of course ;) ) And talk to them about your decision. Remember covering isn't making your ugly. It doesn't rid you of physical beauty, merely covers it. Because it's valuable; as are you <3.

I've never seen you, sister. And I may never in this life. But I know you are beautiful;

So smile <3 (:!

And please see this video. It might help :)

Remember: Deen Not Dunya.

P.S. Once again, I'm sorry this is over a month late. :(


Change Majors?

>> Monday, January 2, 2012

Before I proceed, I just would like to inform that this is a long post.
I’ve been feeling kind of lost and sort of a little bit depressed lately (all this negatives thoughts seems to overwhelm me!). I’ve just ended my first semester of my first year in university and it has not gone too well. I have a feeling that I under perform my exams and I admit that I did not study well enough. Ever since I started school, my concentration in my studies has extremely dropped. Let me lay out 2 major reasons as to why I think this is happening:
1) As my days in school goes by, this one question that keeps popping out is whether the course that I’m currently doing is what I wanted to do in my job field in future. When I was younger, I only thought that I’m only good at this one subject and not others. Thus throughout college and again in uni, I stick to the subject which I thought I do best well in. But now, I really do not know! I really feel lost about myself. This got me to think of whether I should still continue in this course (but there’s a possibility that I may retain although results are not out yet), change to another major (but I don’t what else I can do and i think my marks are not high enough to go to another course!) or even withdraw from school (but I feel it’s kind of a waste to drop out and people keep telling me that it will gives you a better life - better job, higher pay, etc, but is getting a degree all about a better job and higher pay?!!) I no longer know what are my intentions for pursuing a degree!                                                
2) I started realizing ever since I’m in uni, I’ve been skipping my prayers, and thus on Iman low. I’ve been trying to fight against my desires but I guess I’m just not strong enough. Also, you see, I’m not really that happy being a uni student. The reason being is I did not go after in seeking Islamic knowledge as high as how I’ve been seeking knowledge for “dunya courses” (hope you get what I mean). Thus I begin to have this thoughts that why am I studying hard to get dunya knowledge but I’m not improving my Islamic knowledge?! But Alhamdullilah, I’ve just started enrolling myself into an Islamic class to learn more. Then again, my morale is still low.
Thank you for hearing me out, Little Auntie
A Lost Wanderer

Dearest A Lost Wanderer,

awwww, I'm sorry to hear that you've been down, lately. Sometimes, the transition between college and high school isn't as smooth as we expect. It's a different place, with different people, different expectations and rules....You've been used to a system for a long time and suddenly you find yourself in a totally different 'world". It's no surprise then that your grades might not have been as good as they could be...and you admit that you didn't study as well as you should have. 

But alhamdillah, you've done the right thing by analyzing your situation and your feelings.

  Let's try to work on it, together :)

For numero 1 problem:

 I understand that you've kinda always limited yourself to one subject and now you're wondering if you're even in the right major. At the same time, you're not even sure that you have the option to change majors or not....Well, first things first. 

A. Find out what the regulations are at your university/ college to change majors. There's no reason to 'keep wondering if you should change majors' if you're not even allowed to, right. So, go through your university's catalog and by-laws and see what kinds of things are needed in order to change majors. Read also about the possibilities of getting  'a minor'/ 'double major'/ etc .Also, it's very important that you schedule an appointment with your academic advisor and discuss the possibilities of changing majors- seeing what his/her opinion and advice is.  

B. Of course, your academic advisor is probably going to be all "Our major is the BEST. GO US!" So, the next thing you should do is stop by and check your career service center or guidance counselor at your university and see if they can help you decide if you are in the right major. If you do not have such a center in your university (for whatever reason), try taking some online personality tests.

I haven't used these, myself, but I did a quick search and came up with these links:

Analyze those results. Consider the working hours, pay, etc. that are most likely to be the result of working a certain career. Check the current job market. (If you do want to "work" and not stay at home). Think about your long term goals...What is is that you want to be doing 10 years from now? What do you NOT want to be doing? Try to even talk to people who are working at your current chosen career. Like if you know any people who have graduated from the degree that you are currently studying-- what do they think? 

Think about those things and also:

What can be a hobby? What do you need teachers to actually teach you and what can you learn on your own? What would you like to take a course about in your free time and what do you actually want to study and be tested on?

C. Once you've established the list of possible 'careers'/ other majors that might interest you, try seeing the possibility of attending a class or two of the other majors. See how it goes. Get in touch with students who are in the other classes and ask them about their opinions. Look at their textbooks, tuition, etc. 

D. If you find yourself still confused, try to make sure that you finish university requirements ...and take this semester as an opportunity to decide what it is that you want to do. For example, my older sis changed her major twice, but alhamdilllah, because she had worked on university requirements, she ended up graduating only a semester late. (University requirements are the things that ALL students, regardless of their degree, have to finish.) 

For your second problem:

2. Sis, you're stuck in a small cycle. You're wondering why you're caring so much about the dunya and not the deen- you're upset that you didn't pursue Islamic studies- yet, somehow you find yourself delaying and skipping your prayers.

Hunny, a great scholar once said: "The knowledgeable one remains ignorant about what he knows about until he acts upon it." 

Your salah is your connection with Allah subhanoo Wa' TAla. Think about it. There is no excuse for skipping a prayer. Did you know that there is no kafarah (no way to expiate) a skipped prayer that is deliberately missed? You can never make it up again. See here.

I don't usually take the hard approach, but I have to be straight about this. A missed prayer is not acceptable. It means that you are saying something is more important to you than Allah....

Instead, if you're feeling an imaan low, it's even more important to pray....Ask a friend to be a prayer buddy and to help encourage you. Listen to some lectures on salah. Be honest with your parents, too, and tell them you need some help praying on time. 

As for 'feeling bad that you didn't pursue Islamic studies, well, sweetie, you've done the right thing now by joining an Islamic class. You can also read at least 5-10 pages of Quran daily, try to listen to one lecture a week, read an Islamic book once a week, learn a new hadith, etc. You CAN also consider enrolling in an Islamic university online , or think about taking courses once you are done with your degree. 

And remember, that your sincere intentions can turn every day actions into worship to be rewarded for in the Hereafter. When you come to eat, say Bismillah. Thank Allah for the food He has given you. When you wake up, say the daily adkhar. If we sleep early for example so that we can wake up to pray the dawn prayer (fajr), our sleep would be considered worship. The whole time we’re sleeping, we are actually worshipping Him and ‘gaining good deeds’. Once you start implementing these small actions, you'll find that you are making your dunya as a means for your aakhirah. We don't have to totally renounce the dunya, but we should remember that it's a temporary place meant to be 

Please also read these two posts; 

InshaAllah the other sisters can also add their input <3


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