If only he were Muslim.

>> Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I met someone that I have never met before in my life, and no words can explain his character, but a few things to say, he has the greatest, kindest, generous, caring heart I have ever come across. He is smart, charming, handsome, strong, wise, and just all of the above. BUT sadly he is not Muslim. He is Catholic. Nonetheless, I could not help my feelings towards him, and I have fell in love with him. I tried to not let it get to that point, but it just kind of happened. I tried to trick my heart and telling it, I had no feelings for him, but I was clearly lying to myself when all I could think or breathe is him. The feelings between us are very strong and mutual. I don't know what to do, I know this is wrong and haraam and all that, but is it really haraam to love someone with all your heart? He is a better person inside and out than most Muslims I know, and yet they have a chance to go to heaven, and not him? I know, its because he is not Muslim and does not have faith in Allah or our prophet (pbuh), and I want more than anything to educate him on Islam NOT just so maybe we could get married, but because I can't think about him going to hell as a disbeliever. I want to show him the right path to Islam whether we stay together or not. I don't know, I know I probably sound dumb or the worst person ever, but I just had to email you, I know you are not judgmental, and are open minded and hope to get some advice. Tomorrow insha'Allah is Ramadan, and I have ordered the english version of the Holy Qura'an and hopefully he can read it with me too.  I just love this guy so much and want to show him the right way.

wa'alykum as salam wa rahmatullah wa barkatoo, my darling sister,

First of all, let me wish you a wonderful Ramadan. May Allah let this Ramadan be a means to bring you close to Him and His pleasure =)

Second of all, your story reminds me of the story of Zainab, the Prophet's daughter, sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam. Have you read about her story? This is the full story which I definitely recommend that you read...but I'm also going to summarize it a bit, for you :) 

Basically, before Islam was revealed, Zainab was married to a man named Abul-Aas. He was her relative (a cousin, I think), but their marriage life was based on mutual love. When Islam was revealed, though, Zainab accepted it, but her husband didn't. At first, they continued to live together as the command had not yet been given that women could not marry men of different faiths. Yet, things were really not easy. The Battle of Badr happened and Zainab had to endure the pain of knowing that her father and husband were fighting different sides. Her husband was taken captive by the Muslims. Still loving him, she sent her necklace as payment to free him. This was actually a very special necklace that she had been given by her mother, Khadija. When Prophet Mohammed found the necklace, he immediately remembered Khadijah [his own love :)} and he freed Zainab's husband [and asked the people if he could give Zainab back her necklace, too]. However, although Aboul-As was freed, the prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam explained to Abul-Aas that Zainab was no longer allowed to be married to him as Quran had been revealed against that kind of marriage. 

Her husband now became her ex-husband.

Zainab left her homeland and her husband and went to Madina.

 Deen over dunya. God over man. Love of Allah over love of a man.

After a long time and more hardships endured, the Muslims ended up capturing a caravan that was returning from Syria. This was actually Zainab's ex-husband's caravan. Although his caravan was captured, he escaped...but he was now stuck in Madinah, in the land of Muslims, and he was not a Muslim [and had fought the Muslims before]. Fearing for his safety and with no one else to count on, Aboul-As headed to Zainab's house. In the middle of the night he found her house and told her about his problems: that he was worried about his safety and that he needed to return the goods to the people who had purchased it. 

Zainab did not let him down. After fajr prayer, she announced to the people of Madina that Aboul-As was under her protection. [This was the system they used back then...] Nobody could think to hurt him, now...especially since he was under the protection of the prophet's daughter!
Prophet Mohammed told her: Receive him with all honor, but let him not come to you as a husband, for you are not his by law". 

She still could not be with him....though her heart still loved him.

To cut a long story short, he finally did accept Islam. And their marriage was renewed :) (A little while later, I believe it was one year, Zainab passed away.)

So, why do I tell you all this?

Because hun, what you're going through ....the Prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam's daughter went through. All your feelings...how much you want to be with him.....you can bet Zainab felt that, too. But when faced with the decision of what to pick, Zainab shows us that we have to pick Allah.

 Deen over dunya. God over man. Love of Allah over love of a man.

You ask: is it haraam to love someone with all your heart?

The heart sometimes follows its own tides. It sometimes doesn't listen to our minds. We say "No, you can't love him," and the heart answers, "I already do." 

But as this story shows, it's not about what your heart FEELS. Zainab clearly still loved her husband.

It's about what you CHOOSE.

Are you going to choose to let your heart rule you? Or are you going to rule your heart? Do you obey your desires? Or do you train them to obey you? Maybe you cannot control your heart, but you definitely CAN control your actions...and that's something you are going to be judged on. 

And you know what? Sometimes you love something but it's not the best thing for you. We gave the example before of a chocolate and a cucumber. How many of us would willingly choose a chocolate over a cucumber? What would a doctor say, though? What's better for our health? The doctor would know, right? 

Well, when it comes to our hearts, Allah subhanoo wa' Tala knows what is best for us. I mean, really think about it. He is the One who created our hearts in the first place, isn't He?

And He is the one who in His Wisdom, Knowledge and even Mercy decreed that we cannot marry people of different faiths.

And you know what? When you think about it, it really makes sense. Marrying someone of a different faith would be like using different sized wheels at the same time and trying to ride the bike. A little difficult.

 Think about it. 

 Islam is not just a weekend religion. It's something that affects everything about us- what we wear, eat, say, the holidays we celebrate, and even where we go and what we see! I know that you're saying that this person is a good person but what happens when he doesn't agree with all these rules? What happens when he doesn't want to raise his children to fast Ramadan, for example? Or what if he teaches them that the Quran isn't the "real" word of God? What happens when he lets pork in the house? 

The truth is, the Prophet didn't just advise us to marry any Muslim. He advised us to marry the one with good manners and the one who knows his religion/ is pious. You know why? Because marriage is the means we have to build an Ummah that serves Allah well. Marriage is the foundation- the very cornerstone- of our Muslim Ummah.

Ask yourself: what have you done for Islam, lately? What if...what if you were to raise a family knowing Allah? A family that lives and breathes Islam? What would your reward be?

I'm not saying that marriage is only about the Ummah, though. Allah describes the feelings between spouses in the Quran as "muwada" and "rahma"- love and mercy. And He describes the spouses as garments for each other. There is love and there is romance and all that stuff....you deserve to love and be loved in return, but you really need it to be someone who will understand every aspect of you. Someone who will read Quran with you, fast, pray and at the same time, do the hokey pokey with your children. Someone who will love you so much that he will care for your Hereafter and beg you to wear hijab. Someone who will do everything he can to make sure you and your children and him are family in Jannah- under the throne of Ar-Rahman.

I know this is a bitter pill to swallow.

And it's hard to write.

But Allah tests us to the extent of our faith. Some things happened and this person was let in to your life....now what are you going to do about it? :)

I'll give you a few tips:

a) You need to let him know that you can't pursue this relationship as it is not allowed in your religion

b) You can give him the Quran translation you ordered, inshaAllah, and also send him some books/ links/ resources on Islam. You can show him this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZ-xc7kr5_o

c) Start learning more about Allah. Read our posts on loving Him, too.

d) Stop thinking about the similarities you share with him and just think a bit about the differences. And what those differences entail. You need someone who will honor and cherish both sides of you as an American Muslim. Someone who will understand your sense of humor but who will also help you wake up for fajr time. Someone who will eat brownies with you while you listen to a nice Islamic lecture. 

e) Make dua to Allah to replace him with someone better for you. [Browse the profiles of a Muslim matrimonial website such as Single Muslim to see if there are people who are like you. ]

e) Try and busy yourself with something. Why not take the time now to seek knowledge? Taraweeh? Quran? This month is the MONTH that you really should use to get to jannah, inshaAllah

f) Remember, he's a non-Muslim and if you do get into a relationship with him, then you are deliberately setting yourself and him up for disaster (heart break). I mean, besides being haram, you are being unfair to him. Think about that :) 

I know this is probably going to be the hardest battle you fight....but now is the time for the gold in you to shine. Now is the time for you to tell Allah: Thank you for blessing me with this Ramadan. This Ramadan, I'm not only going to give up my food and water for you. I'm going to reclaim my heart for YOU. May Allah make things easier for you!

With all my love,


Taraweeh? Tahajjud? How to?

>> Friday, July 6, 2012

Assalaamu' alaykum Auntie,
Thank you very much for such a LOVELY blog, your advice is so helpful, and I hope you Insh'Allah continue on helping others and giving advice. I really, really need help..i'm 16 yrs old, and feel that i've wasted most of my Ramadhan's- usually by sleeping, waking up then eating and going off to bed again, I wanted to Insh'Allah make use of this Ramadhan but feel very confused over some things. I remember when I learnt how to pray when I was younger I found it difficult to remember the number of rakah's to pray and the niyah for each Salah...I'm kind of facing that same problem again and would really appreciate your help.
I see older cousins/friend in Ramadhan praying Tarawih..I have some questions, could you please tell me briefly what it is and when we pray this..my main problem is how many rakah's do we pray for Tarawih? I tried searching on Google but ended up more confused, and what about the niyah? What do I have to say? Is it exactly the same for the obligatory 5 prayers? I'm so confused...and i'm having the same problem with the Tahajjud prayers, i'd like to Insh'Allah pray this a few times in Ramadhan and maybe develop it into a habit Insh'Allah- but how many rakah's and what do I say for the niyah?
I find it hard to ask people directly things that I really need help with, so thanks a lot for the blog Auntie! :D I promise to leave a comment in the answer thread (i'm the short_sister who drops a comment now and then)

wa'alaykum as salam wa rahmatullah aw barkatoo, Short_sister feeling confused ,

Your email brought a huge smile to my face! It's wonderful to see you already planning ahead and wanting to really make the most out of this Ramadan, insahAllah :)

You asked some great questions =)

Let's first talk about "niyah" when it comes to ANY salah. 

Niyah means intention. It means that you have a true and firm intention to really pray. The niyah isn't something that is found in the words you choose to use but what is actually in your HEART.

Ibn al-Qayyim said in Zaad al-Ma’aad (1/201): 
When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stood up to pray, he would say: “Allaahu akbar,” and he did not say anything before that, or utter the intention (niyyah) out loud at all. He did not say, “I am going to pray such-and-such a prayer, facing the qiblah, four rak'ahs, as an imam or following an imam.” And he did not say “ada’an (on time)” or “qadaa’an (making up a missed prayer)” or “fard al-waqt (the obligatory prayer of this time).” 

So, following the prophet sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam's example, you do not have to say anything out loud :) You can totally relax on that part.

Also: Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah was asked about the intention when starting to do an act of worship such as praying etc., do we need to utter it verbally, such as saying, “I intend to pray, I intend to fast”?*!
He replied:*!
Praise be to Allaah.*!
The intention of purifying oneself by doing wudoo’ ghusl or tayammum, of praying, fasting, paying zakaah, offering kafaarah (expiation) and other acts of worship does not need to be uttered verbally, according to the consensus of the imaams of Islam. Rather the place of intention is the heart, according to the consensus among them. If a person utters something by mistake that goes against what is in his heart, then what counts is what he intended, not what he said.*!

In fact, your intention for salah begins when you start making your wudu, inshaAllah. So don't stress about what to say. 

Now, what is Tarawih and what is Tahajjud? And how do we pray them? 

Here's the thing. Qiyam or standing in the night is the term used to refer to voluntary night prayers which are performed from after Isha prayer until dawn.'

We use the words tahajjud and taraweeh to simplify things but they are actually not different prayers. This is what we commonly use them to describe:

Tahajjud: Any salah performed after one sleeps during the night. That means, that you went to sleep, and then woke up to pray extra prayers.
Taraweeh:  voluntary night prayers performed during the month of Ramadan.
To simplify when we use these names more, if you were to go to a mosque during Ramadan, taraweeh would begin after the Isha prayer immediately. Tahajjud prayers would begin in the middle of the night, say 1:00 a.m. or 2:00. (You would have had a chance to sleep for one or two hours and then wake up).
But how do you pray them?
The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said, “Night prayer is two by two.” (Bukhari and Muslim). 
Also, Aisha Radiya Allah Anha was reported as saying: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pray eleven rak’ahs at night, and say the tasleem after each two rak’ahs, and he would pray Witr with one rak’ah. Saheeh, agreed upon. [Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him: Fataawa Islamiyyah (2/156).]
What that  basically means is that you pray 2 rakhat, just like Fajr prayer. You say the salams at the end of the 2 Rakhat.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that Taraweeh, got its name from  tarweehah, which means the space of rest between every two rak’ah. Usually in mosques that pray 8 ones, they give a short break after praying 2 sets of 2 rakhat (after praying 4 rakhat). So you pray 2 prayers, take a break, and then continue again.
How many rak’ah is it? There are different opinions. These include: 
1. Eight Rak’ah:
- Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said that that Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم never prayed more than eight rak’ah (plus three witr).
- This was the opinion of Shaykh Al-Albanee (may Allah have mercy on him), he said more than eight is an innovation (bid’ah).
2. Twenty Rak’ah:
- Umar ibn Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) brought the people together to perform Taraweeh and it was performed in twenty rak’ah (However, authenticity of the narrations are disputable) . To read more on this: http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/82152/
3. No specific number:
- The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم never limited the number, he said: “Night prayer is two by two.”
- Ibn Taymiyah and Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on them) did not limit the number of rak’ahs, although, in terms of quality and quantity, they preferred eight rak’ah.

At the end of the day, the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم : “Whoever stands with the imaam until he finishes, it is equivalent to spending the whole night in prayer.”
(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 806; Abu Dawood, 1375; al-Nasaa’i, 1605; Ibn Maajah, 1327. Classed as saheeh by al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Khuzaymah (3/337), Ibn Hibbaan (3/340) and al-Albaani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 447.)
Hope that helps sort the confusion a bit. Please sisters correct me if there's anything wrong in there :) And finally, May Allah let us be among these people mentioned in the Quran:

Verily, the Muttaqoon (the pious) will be in the midst of Gardens and Springs (in the Paradise),
16. Taking joy in the things which their Lord has given them. Verily, they were before this Muhsinoon (good‑doers).
17. They used to sleep but little by night [invoking their Lord (Allaah) and praying, with fear and hope]”
[al-Dhaariyaat 51:15-17] 

16. Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope, and they spend (in charity in Allaah’s Cause) out of what We have bestowed on them.
17. No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do”
[al-Sajdah 32:15-17] 


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