Thursday, 27 October 2011


Unfortunately, I wasn’t really surprised to see Halloween decorations and event invitations being handed out today at a local mall in Karachi. The lack of my surprise primarily, because I have been witnessing the ‘western bug’ corroding our society for like the past few years now. The influence of the west is not declining but the values and beliefs of our society definitely are. It’s the ‘in’ thing of today; Halloween parties are not only ‘cool’ but are extremely fun as well.  Let’s take a quick look at the origins of this festival and then decide for ourselves if we are on the right track or not.

The origins of Halloween lie in the ancient Scottish festival of Samhain, celebrated as the beginning of the winters and the first day of the New Year, when it was believed that spirits of the people who had died during the year were allowed to visit the earth and roam around freely. Hence this festival was celebrated in honour of the Sun god (thanking the Sun for providing them with a good harvest) and the god of the dead. The ritual of putting out food on the patio and doorsteps took birth from the belief that if food wasn’t provided to these dead spirits, they would cast a wicked spell. Additionally, it was believed that the spirits of the good people were sent to heaven, but those of the bad ones hovered somewhere between this world and the next. And on this particular day of Samhain, they came to earth expecting to be honoured with food, sacrifices and offerings that would satisfy them and thus, feel no need to cast an evil spell on the living.

The christians, however, celebrated the All Saints’ Day (All Hallows’ Eve) which was in honour of all martyrs, known or unknown and with time this festival went on to include the honoring of saints’ as well. On this Day, the God was glorified for all the saints’ , known or unknown.  It was originally celebrated on May 13th, but the Pope Gregory IV moved it to 1st November(Evening of October 31st), to coincide with Samhain.  When Christianity came to the British Isles , thus started the festival of Halloween which ultimately became a blend of the Samhain festival and the Saints’ day festival. The blend however, was very peculiar since one honors the evil spirits while the other honours the ‘saints’. The Christian church was unsuccessful in to stopping the people from celebrating the Samhain event of worshipping the Satan. Hence, they simply modified the traditions a little in accordance to their own beliefs and gave it the new name of Halloween. The Samhain traditions however survived and became entwined with the Christian festival.  Some Christians rejected this festival once they realized that all the activities of Halloween (trick or treat, skulls and skeleton, images of witches and black cats, lighting of bonfires etc) were acts of worship for the devil and the evil spirits. They, thus, rejected the customs associated with Halloween and distanced themselves from this pagan festival. While many others like us enticed by the attractive activities of this festival began celebrating it with increased zeal and enthusiasm forgetting the significance of this event.

All of the Halloween traditions have been carried down from ancient pagan beliefs and customs and are a form of Idolatry (Shirk), the biggest sin of all.  We got involved in the celebrations of this event because our friends are doing it without even understanding the origins of this festival. Our religion gives us amazingly beautiful festivals to celebrate which allow for fun and celebrations while at the same time keeping the spiritual and religious significance intact. The Halloween celebrations are at the peak this year as well, with private parties being held at different places and celebrations and events being held at certain malls. Before being tempted to join in these festivities let’s just spend a moment to ponder over the origins of these celebrations and ask Allah to give us the strength to abstain from all such activities which negate our Islamic beliefs especially activities that involve associating any other being to His worship.

The Quran says:

"Has not the time arrived for the believers, that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah and of the Truth which has been revealed to them? That they should not become like those to whom was given the Book aforetime, but long ages passed over them and their hearts grew hard? For many among them are rebellious transgressors." (Qur'an 57:16)

I tried to keep the history of Halloween brief and to the point to get my point across while at the same time keeping the interest of the readers alive.  May Allah guide us to the right path and enable us to use our intelligence to distinguish right from wrong, true from false. May He forgive us for the sins we committed knowingly and unknowingly. Ameen.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

SOcial RecOmmender Systems (SRS)

this topic might sound alien to many people but those with my educational background would be having a pretty good idea about it. I wont bore my readers with details of what SRS is but to get the gist of the main idea, the concept behind how social media and social networks recommend items,books,websites and commodities to us, primarily forms the SRS. for instance if i buy a book from amazon, it will recommend several other books to me based on various factors (my buying history, purchases of buyers similar to me etc). Now getting to the point of what's the idea behind me blabbering about SRS on the platform of REFLECTIONS !
When i first started listening to Quranic explanation, the first thing i learnt (and this was within one hour of the first lecture) was that my reading and understanding the Quran is not sufficient. No! the duty of a Muslim as clearly laid down in the Quran as well is to Seek,reflect and spread (SRS) and this SRS forms the social recommender system of a Momin's life. Seek guidance from the Quran and Hadith, reflect on it , ponder over it, apply it to your own life and then spread it to others to multiply your benefits and rewards. Summed up, it forms the ideal SRS (Social recommender system) -recommending and telling people what we need in life, what we need to purchase next (guidance through Quran and Sunnah by submission of our souls to the Lord) . Additionally, spreading knowledge helps in broadening the horizon of our knowledge as wel,l maybe because the person we impart the knowledge to, might have something more to add to it, which we might be previously unaware of. However, it's equally important to be sure about what we impart to others. Spreading wrong and misleading information(intentionally or unintentionally) would not only misguide the other person but would have undesirable consequences for us as well. It's better to confirm our knowledge before telling others and even them it's a desired approach to seek for Allah's forgiveness for unintentionally misquoting or mis-stating any information.

There are three important sources of authentic knowledge as is in the following Hadith:
Abdullah ibn Amir ibn Al As (r.a.) narrated that Prophet (s) said, “Knowledge consists of three things: the decisive verses (Qur’an), authentic Hadith and prescriptions rightly deduced from the two. What is beside them is superfluous (extra).

I thought listening to the Quranic explanation and trying to understand it, is itself an accomplishment. I was wrong, because  it's not a satisfaction until and unless we spread out our knowledge and learning to our brothers and sisters who may be equally thirsty for this knowledge but might just not have the required resources to achieve it. once we realize this responsibility bestowed on us by our Creator and our Dear Prophet Mohammad pbuh (who wanted his Ummah to continue his mission of spreading Islam and imparting it's knowledge to others), only then have we fulfilled the primary duty of being a Muslim. And that is exactly why i started off with this blog. it's not necessary that everyone has to hold a religious sermon at their place, has to write articles, give public speeches on Islam and Quran. That is definitely not what I mean by 'spread'. Each of us can spread the knowledge of Islam in our own different ways. Sitting with friends and imparting Quranic knowledge to them is good enough, sending an sms to contacts regarding something we learnt about Islam is worth appreciating, telling even just one person something that we know and they might not know serves the purpose of "spreading.' it all depends on each individual's capacity and ability.
But then again a hadith of the Holy Prophet pbuh condemns extremism in teaching Islam (implying that if a person starts off with a sermon when and where possible will make people run away from the religion rather than towards it)   :

Narrated Ibn Mas'ud: The Prophet used to take care of us in preaching by selecting a suitable time, so that we might not get bored. (He abstained from pestering us with sermons and knowledge all the time).

 Knowledge is one thing that multiplies when shared and whoever has the blessing of knowledge is no doubt fortunate.

the Holy Prophet pbuh is reported to have said :  "The best of charity is a Muslim who learns a knowledge and later teaches it to his Muslim brother."

Sahih Bukhari Hadith Narrated by Abdullah bin Amr (RA)
The Prophet (SAW) said : “ Convey my teachings to the people even if it were a single sentence”

Narrated 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud: The Prophet said, "Do not wish to be like anyone except in two cases. (The first is) A person, whom Allah has given wealth and he spends it righteously; (the second is) the one whom Allah has given wisdom (the Holy Qur'an) and he acts according to it and teaches it to others."

lets all join hands in adopting the Islamic SRS in our personal lives to attain salvation and the pleasure of the Most Merciful. may our good deeds act as our saviours on the Day of Judgement and May Allah forgive us for all displeasing and disliked actions (of tongue and otherwise) done intentionally or unintentionally. Ameen. God Bless.


Tuesday, 25 October 2011

It's too late !

how often in our daily lives have we used this simple three word phrase "it's too late". it's too late to forgive you/him/her, it's too late to repent, it's too late to make things better again, it's too late to apologize and the list goes on. is it really too late ? I dont think so.
the only time when it really is too late is when we have stopped breathing. death is the only way of making this phrase realistic -"it's too late" . it's not too late for me to apologize to someone i have hurt unintentionally or intentionally, it's not too late for me to ask Allah to forgive me for all the sins i have committed, for every act of ungratefulness and for every disobedience to Him. It's not too late to forgive others who havent exactly been the nicest to us. Maybe we are still alive because we have been given a chance to realize that it's not late for anything, the fact that we are still breathing is a sign strong enough to make us realize that we can still undo our mistakes, still forgive the unforgiven,still ask for forgiveness from our Lord and still mend the hearts we broke.
Many a times we act too arrogant by saying that there is no way we are going to forgive xyz person. Irrespective of whether we receive an apology for their hurtful actions or not, do we really have the authority to withhold forgiveness? If we can be hard hearted enough to not forgive the people in our lives why then do we expect our Lord to forgive us? Especically when we continue hurting Him every hour of every day of our lives. No doubt He is all All-Forgiving the Ever Merciful but if we fail to adopt even a small fraction of mercy in our daily lives then we have no right to expect the same from others.

In a hadith the Holy Prophet pbuh state: Allah the Almighty has said: “O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as its.”

the Quran says :

Pardon them and overlook - Allah loves those who do good" (Qur'an 5:13)

"Those who control their anger and are forgiving towards people; Allah loves the good." (Qur'an, 3: 134)

Ja’far ibn Muhammad (may Allah have mercy on him) said, “For me to regret after having pardoned someone is more beloved to me than to feel regret after punishing someone.”
Many a times we feel that since we have sinned so much there is no way that Allah is going to forgive us (once again the philosophy of 'it's too late). But such thoughts are the work of the devil who tempts us and entices us into believing that we are not worth forgiveness. and this misconception moves us away from Allah and His worship as we tend to believe that no amount of worship can now undo what we did. Hence we give up on all attemtps at seeking forgiveness and we also give up on whatever worship we were previously involved in. Led astray by the devil at work we tend to forget that Allah loves it when His creations comes to Him  repenting and begging for forgiveness.

Say: "O 'Ibadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. - surah Az Zumar ayat 53

Allah's mercy is no doubt vast and deep, beyond human comprehension. But it's the human aspect of forgiveness that needs to be reformed. blinded by our arrogance we hold grudges and threaten people with statements like " I will never forgive you.". Many a times we dont even mean it and we forgive immediately after our anger subsides but then often many of us make it a point to forgive only when asked for forgiveness. This is not a trait liked in the servants of Allah. We should learn to forgive others with an open heart with this thought in mind that our gesture of mercy will inshAllah shower Allah's mercy on us.
But then again apologizing to people by no means indicates that we are subservient to the one we are apologizing to. It does not stain our reputation or our worldly, materialistic status(if that even matters), Rather it's a simple action signifying our fear of our Lord Whose ultimate Mercy we seek, with this thought in mind that our humble attitude with His people will win us His Pleasure.
But we need to remember that Allah's mercy does not mean that we keep on displeasing Him with this certainty that He will forgive us.

Brothers and sisters lets all apologize to our parents,friends,siblings,spouses and anyone else on whom we have inflicted pain with our tongue and actions. lets all seek the forgiveness of each other in other to attain salvation and Mercy of our Lord. and lets not keep the forgiveness limited to smses and facebook statuses in ramadan and in the last 10 days of ramadan. keep the spirit of forgiveness flowing all year round and InshAllah we would be rewarded for it if not in this world then in the next one.
remember as long as we are alive it's never too late for ANYTHING. it's never too late to make things right and it's never too late to make several wrongs into one right. 
May Allah bless us with the trait of forgiveness, and shower His mercy and forgiveness on us all..Ameen.

Monday, 24 October 2011

SHow me the Money !!!

Money, money,money and then more money. The world today is in a crazy frenzy of earning more and hoarding it. The means to earn may differ from person to person, may range to legal to illegal, may involve no physical activity or extreme manual labour but at the end of the day , we need money to drool over. the disparity between the rich and the poor has made each one of us blind and oblivious to the fact that hoarding money wont build us a castle in Heaven, it wont even guarantee Heaven. The eventual end of all of us is this very earth in which we all would be laid down and there wont be any distinction between the earth of a rich man's grave and that of a poor man. no money, no wealth will make our stay in that grave any easy. But hoarding money and earning it through wrong means might make our stay there unbearably painful. we save up our entire lives, being miserly about spending it on our family or ourselves but one day death simply parts us from our saved treasures. We dont get to see it,spend it or be proud of all the money we had saved up once we are sleeping in that grave. save up for the children's education, their marriage or any other legitimate reason but do not save up to the extent of being miserly in spending in charity. What Allah blesses us with , it should be shared with the less fortunate of the society as well. And remembering that whatever we have today it's not because we are better than the rest but it's only because Allah decided to bless us with it. Just as providing for us is a piece of cake for Him, similarly it wont take even a millisecond for Him to take it all away. So arrogance and haughtiness has definitely no role in our religion. Humility is a characteristic much loved and appreciated by Allah and it is He after all Whom we aim to please and not anyone else.
the disparity between the rich and the poor is increasing at such an alarming rate that it's no wonder we are blinded by the glitz and glamour of the materialistic world. we all want a three storey house even though there are just 3 people in the house, we all want to own several cars even though only one person knows how to drive in the family. there is no harm in desiring materialistic things but when the desires reach the level of obsession the humans tend to forgo the concept of right and wrong, islamic and unislamic, moral and immoral. and that's when the trouble starts for us in this world and if we are not careful the troubles may extend to the next one as well. blinded and intoxicated by these desires the goals and aims of our life slowly turn into one sole objective of gaining as much money as is possible and in the process we cease to remember our Lord, thank Him for the blessings.
Our religion does not condemn striving for a good living, it does not condemn earning well to provide a healthy and respectable life for your family, it does not condemn looking for a well paid job(as long as the nature of the business is permissible) that satisfies the needs and even some luxuries as desired by the earner and his family and neither does our religion condemn spending money on ourselves and on our families. But an obsession of anything is bound to lead us astray. Obsession of money stops us from giving charity (zakat and sadqa) which is an explicit denial of one of the important Commandments of Allah.  we have a tendency to take everything to a certain extreme missing out on the fact that islam is the most balanced religion without even a hint of extremism in it. People in our society tend to believe that doing a 9-5 job is against the principles of Islam and rather we are supposed to spend that time preaching islam and studying it. that's one form of extremism while the other form talks about earning money through any means without any care for it being legal,illegal,islamic or unislamic. Islam lies in between both these extremist thoughts. it tells us to earn our livelihood through halal(permissible) means and this includes a 9-5 job as well as long as the nature of the business,dealings of the business and code of conducting the business is permissible. But at the same time we are told not to get so obsessed with out work and earning livelihood that we forget to remember the Creator who blessed us with the job in the first place, who gave us the opportunity to earn. Who says we cannot remember our Lord while at job? Dont give up on the obligatory prayers that fall during the work hours, be aware that Allah is watching before engaging in a wrong deed, realize that Allah can hear us before being rude and disrespectful to a collegue,a client or the boss and just be aware that Allah is All-Knowing,All-Seeing and All-Hearing and we have managed to remember Him even at work.
the Quran says:

[3:92] You cannot attain righteousness until you give to charity from the possessions you love. Whatever you give to charity, GOD is fully aware thereof.

[3:134] who give to charity during the good times, as well as the bad times. They are suppressors of anger, and pardoners of the people. GOD loves the charitable.

[4:38] They give money to charity only to show off, while disbelieving in GOD and the Last Day. If one's companion is the devil, that is the worst companion.

       [24:37] People who are not distracted by business or trade from commemorating GOD; they observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), and give the obligatory charity (Zakat), and they are conscious of the day when the minds and the eyes will be horrified.

As a writer once wrote:

Resist the urge to "keep up with the Jameels"
The Jameels got a new house. But then the Syeds got a bigger one. In response the Sakrs got a mansion. And the cycle continues. This kind of competition for material things is another example of material enslavement. Resist the urge to keep up with the Jameels or anyone else for that matter. If the pressure is too intense, consider widening your circle of friends to those who don't base their relationship with you on how much money you make or how many cars you have.

Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet said: A time will come upon the people when one will not care how one gains one's money, legally or illegally. (Bukhari)

It is reported by Jabir that the Prophet said: The flesh and body that is raised on unlawful sustenance shall not enter Paradise. Hell is more deserving to the flesh that grows on one's body out of unlawful sustenance. (Ahmad).

Abu Said related that the Prophet said: The truthful and trustworthy businessman will be in the company of Prophets, saints and martyrs on the Day of Judgment. (Darimi, Tirmidhi)

let us not be a slave to materialism, let us not be blinded by the obsession for money. If we have ample of it, lets share it with the less fortunate ones of the society and spend it well on ourselves as well but do not forget that it is He Who blessed us with it, He may as well take it all away when He desires. spend well on the family and on your ownself but do not go beyond your capacity. If you cant afford the latest model of Corolla then be thankful with the cultus you have, if it's not in your capacity to build a three storey house in the most posh area of the city then be grateful for the appartment you have. competing for materialistic stuff and trying to belittle others by always aiming to get the more expensive commodity then the competing rival, makes us shallow minded and blind to the realities of life. let's just try to improve our standard of living but lets avoid trying to make our standards above those of xyz and abc family. Earn good and earn right and we will all be able to live well and eat right.
God bless:)

Sunday, 23 October 2011

We judge without knowledge of judiciary

I know my posts are getting more inclined towards daily issues and less towards tafseer but a mixture of both keep the spirits up:).
we dont realize it but we are a judge in our daily lives. we judge the person sitting next to us in the train, we judge the person who just bumped into us at the mall, we judge the lady buying bread from the store, but more importantly we even judge people we have never met or talked to. am sure no one agrees with this statement but its true.
recently the death of Steve Jobs had become the hype in the media and was the 'hot topic' of the week. some mourned his death, some were indifferent, some were actually happy with the hopes of young mind and young ideas replacing him. But then i personally caught snippets of conversations between people where they went so far as to judge the deeds of Steve Jobs. They went to the extent of deciding his life hereafter. Exactly when did we become the assistants of Allah? When were we entrusted with this task of judging who lands up in hell and who will be blessed with heaven? Maybe we do this with the ordinary people in our daily lives as well but this particular case of Steve Jobs and then Gaddafi as well has caught my special attention. Why? BECAUSE WE HAVE NEVER MET THESE PEOPLE. At least i havent. How can i say that Steve Jobs had money but no virtues to save him from Hell?How can I say that Gaddafi is destined for hell. I dont know what they were like in their personal lives. Whatever i know is through media and how much of the media are we going to believe? the same media that sells its soul,its ethics and values for a meagre sum of money? That same media that now aims to corrupt and corrode the minds of the viewers rather than show them the true reality? the same media that has been reduced to nothing more than just a vicious money making business?
I dont know what religion Steve Jobs practiced but his father was a Muslim Arab. I dont know what faith he belonged to, what level of belief he had in God and how he dealt with the daily issues of his life. But i know this that his faith is known only to Allah.
We need to realize that Taqwa is not determined by the length of the beard or the thickness of the veil, its a divine bond between the Creator and its Creation, between the Lord and the servant. That bond can simply not be understood by another human being. I cant judge another person's level of Taqwa because i may see his sins, i may see his mistakes but do i see his acts of forgiveness and repentance?Who am i to judge if an xyz person fears Allah or not? similarly claims to love Allah and claims of being the most fearful of Allah are not signs of Taqwa either. Taqwa is not something you explain, talk about or show. it's within us, in our hearts. it's the fear of Allah, it's the knowledge of the fact that Allah is All-Knowing and All-Seeing.A person may seem pious to us but we dont know his/her deeds in private. Its best to withhold judgements regarding the intensity of a person's faith and his hereafter.  we may like or dislike a person based on his/her personality traits, their thinking and their way of behaving with others. But based on this we cant and we shouldnt engage in judging and discussing what their hereafter is going to be like. its better to utilize our time worrying about our own hereafter,we need to worry about our deeds, we need to judge ourselves, we dont have time or the righ to do it for others.

I came across a very interesting article so i will quote a piece of it here:

How will Allah Almighty Judge the non-Muslims? Should a person be a Muslim first to be accepted in Paradise by Allah Almighty?

Allah Almighty will admit to Paradise those whom He loves because of their righteous work and belief:

"O mankind! [this includes all races and all nations] We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other. Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well-acquainted. (The Noble Quran, 49:13)"

"Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book [Jews and Christians] are a portion that stand (For the right): They rehearse the Signs of God all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration. They believe in God and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works: They are in the ranks of the righteous. (The Noble Quran, 3:113-3:114)"

My definition of the word 'Muslim':

I believe that the definition of 'Muslim' is not just limited to someone who believes in Allah Almighty, Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, and the Noble Quran only. While it is extremely important and becomes mandatory for a person to believe in the Noble Quran and the Prophethood of Muhammad, especially if he or she is fully convinced of the Truthfulness of Islam, but the real Noble Quranic definition of a 'Muslim' is someone who believes in the Absolute Oneness of GOD Almighty and associates no partners (idols or humans or any other creations) with Him. This makes any Unitarian and Monotheist a 'Muslim'. That is why Islam is called 'The Religion of Abraham', because Abraham, peace be upon him was a true Monotheist and associated no partners with GOD Almighty. So Salvation is not just reserved for the Noble Quran's Believers only.

To support my statement above, let us look at the following Noble Verse:

"Who can be better in religion than one who submits his whole self to God, does good, and follows the way of Abraham the true in Faith? For God did take Abraham for a friend. (The Noble Quran, 4:125)"

"Say: He is God, the One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him. (The Noble Quran, 112:1-4)"

The entire coloured text is taken from an article i read. And i tend to agree with the opinion of the writer. there are so many things we go through in life and as the Quranic verse says that the most honoured is one who is most righteous. My level of righteousness is known only to my Lord and no one else. Steve Jobs and Gaddafi may have had higher levels of righteousness than maybe us , who knows. Allah did not come and tell me at least about how righteous they were.  maybe we need to understand what righteousness is ? Its not just about labelling oneself as a muslim, praying five times a day and observing fasts. It much more than that. How we behave with others, how we earn, how we live, how we speak, how tolerant we are to others pain, how firmly we believe in His existence, our belief in His help, our faith in His guidance is what counts.
lets kill the negativity within us and promote the positivity that islam preaches us of and of which each and everyone of us is capable. May we get Hidayat and God bless us all. Ameen

Friday, 21 October 2011

Talk of the Town !

"Hey did you hear about xyz? Her nikah has been called off, apparently she was having an affair with someone else."

"Did you see abc sitting in the cafe with that guy? She pretends to be so pious and look at her now dating. What a hypocrite."

"Oh my God! Oh my God! she was wearing a sleeveless in the party tonight. everyone was talking about her. she is so 'out' ."

such conversations form a major bulk of our everyday routine. If we brood over it then it's always the womenfolk engaging in such conversations and it's mostly about other females. Nobody wants to have such conversations
" You know abc has started taking a hijaab MashAllah. I feel so proud of her."

Nobody talks about these things
" xyz's kids have started going to the mosque for prayers and they have read half of the Quran already Alhumdulilah."

Nops all we have to talk about is the negative aspects. We dont want to know who is happily married they want to know who got divorced. We are not interested in knowing the sweet person she is we just want to find out if she is having an affair. we play the accusation game every single day of our lives. we wrongly blame people, defame them and accuse them without once thinking that we may be hurting the other person in the process. we seek pleasure in gossipping about the misery other people are facing in their lives. we see a girl sitting in a restaurant with a guy and immediately accuse her of being a hypocrite for being on a date while otherwise pretending to be so pious. we dont even give her the benefit of doubt that the guy might be her brother. even if he's not what right do we have to defame her and slander her? We disapprove then the right way would be to talk to her about it, and explain things in the light of Quran and Sunnah.
people are actually observant to the extent of scanning the girl's fingers for signs of a wedding ring and in absence of one, news of her being "out on a date" will be spread all over the circle. This may sound to melodramatic but it happens and we are so caught up in this web that we fail to notice it anymore.we are more concerned about what's happening in other's lives and that interest is usually not for a good cause. No No we intend to seek pleasure by gossipping about it and spreading it to whoever we get a chance to.
one should speak ass long as what comes out of the mouth is better than silence. the main reason behind these gossips is that the women in our society have nothing better to do. the Quran strictly condemns talking behind other's back and spreading rumours about them. If we dont agree with the actions of someone the maximum right we have is to voice our opinion to them and try to reform them. When the same gossip game is played for us we get infuriated. The Holy Prophet pbuh has said that do not desire for your brother/sister what you would not desire for your ownself.
At least men have this characteristic in them that they are not interested in gossipping about other's lives. A characteristic I have always respected and prayed that the women should adopt this habit as well. Realizing the presence of this evil trait in oneself is task half done. the remaining task is to deal with it and eradicate all possible remnants and signs of it from our personality.
if we want to talk about others then talk about good stuff, appreciate their good qualities behind their back, tell others about the joyous occasions taking place in their lives rather than spreading negativity all around us.
let's all start worrying about what's going to befall us, lets guard our actions and tongue, let's not hurt our brothers and sisters with our tongue. let's all take this pledge on this blessed day of the week- Friday.

Prophet Muhammad pbuh once asked: "Do you know what backbiting is?" His companions   replied: "Allah and His Messenger know best." Prophet pbuh then said: "It is to say something about your brother that he would dislike." Someone asked: "But what if what is said is true?" The Messenger of Allah pbuh replied: "If what you say about him is true, then you have backbitten him, but if it is not true then you have slandered him." [Muslim]

Allaah states in the Quran (what means): "O you who have believed! Avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allaah; indeed, Allaah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful." [Quran 49:12]

After such strong words from our Lord even then if we fail to change our ways then now would be the crucial point to peek into our hearts, rattle and shake it and see if the heart is still alive or has it died. A dead heart cannot be a Momin's heart. May Allah guide us to the right path and forgive me and my brothers and sisters if we ever wronged a person, slandered him/her or gossiped about them. May Allah have mercy on us and keep us blessed. Ameen.
Jumma mubarak.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Parents - a blessing !

Just last week I had the chance to visit the hospital where we had to wait a good three hours for my 2 year old niece to get her turn with the doctor. While waiting I realized that my parents and everyone else's parents went through the same process over and over again with their kids. the same hospital waits, doctors appointments, staying up nights, and what not just to tend to their kids who by nature are bound to fall sick somehow or the other. I realized that bringing up kids is not an easy task yet our parents did it without any complains rather they did it happily and one day we will experience this phase of life as well InshAllah. but the thought that came to my mind that day was scary. I realized that we take them for granted. We dont realize how much pain and difficulties they went through in making us what we are today. So many of us have left their parents alone leaving them to survive on their own without the support of their grown kids which they had looked forward to ever since their kids had been a toddler. Unfortunately, the west influence is so dominant in our lives that we fail to see the beauty of being there for our parents in the age when they need us. Many are unfortunate that this realization comes to them when their parents are no more in this world.
How easy it is for a newly wedded bride to demand privacy with her husband in the form of a seperate house? How many newly weds do move out after marriage just because the same parents had become unbearable all of a sudden? does even for a second the thought crosses the young bride's mind that her in-laws are no less than her own parents? does she care to consider that what would her own parents go through if her brother moved out too leaving them alone to fend for themselves? NO ! None of these thoughts cross the newly weds mind because they are so engrossed in their own world of newly found romance that everything else seems insignificant. And it's not just the girl's fault either, taken away by the beauty, charm and grace of the young wife, the husband seems to act like a robot around her. Every wish of hers is a command for him. he goes blind to reality and practicality. Is this what our religion teaches us? Is this the code of conduct of our dear Prophet Mohammad pbuh, is this how Allah commanded us to be in our worldly dealings? A BIG NO ONCE AGAIN.
Impressed by the western concept of old peoples' home God forbid we are slowly moving towards that very same concept. I had the chance of visiting the catholic old peoples' home and i say this with 100% surety that they were all miserable. they felt insulted, mistreated and stranded by their own kids and were trying to come to terms to life and counting every passing day waiting for the misery to end. It wasnt a happy sight at all. It was miserable. maybe we are still far off from the explicit concept of old peoples' home but implicity that's what's happening. the more educated we get the lesser we think of our parents, the more money we earn today the more we boast and belittle our parents. We are nothing we are worth absolutely nothing whatever we have today whatever we are today it's only because Allah blessed our parents with the capability,love and stamina for our upbringing. it's sad to think that we are failing on the basic principles and values taught to us by our religion.  it's never too late to realize these blessings we have in the form of a mother and a father. it's never too late to apologize to them for our mistakes, to make up for the love we never bestowed upon them and to compensate for the time we never gave them. We fail to realize that what we sow, we shall reap. How we treat our parents today, tomorrow our kids will treat us in the same manner.  May Allah keep us on the right track and give us the Hidayat to obey, respect and love our parents in the right manner. Ameen

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

grieving a loss : will i ever get over it?

grieving a loss : will i ever get over it? by Amal Killawi (SuhaibWebb)

I woke up to a text message from a friend.
“I’m really sorry for texting you early on a weekend, but I need to ask you. How can you forget someone who caused a tragedy in your life? I’ve done many things to forget him, but until today I can’t seem to do so. And it is really bothering me. If you can please try to send me some ways that I can try to follow, maybe it will work.”
I smiled, but my heart ached for her. I wished it was that simple. Layla’s marriage had recently ended, and she was struggling to adjust to the new loss in her life.
We will all experience losses in our lives. A loved one may pass away. A relationship may end. We may lose a job or be diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Thus is life. God tells us:
“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient.” (Qur’an, 2:155)
Grief can be one of the most intense emotions we experience. Researchers have developed many theories about grief to help us make sense of the complex but normal process that is part of our human experience.
Mourning is how we heal through the grief. According to Worden (1991), this process involves a series of four tasks. In order to come to a sense of closure about our loss, in other words- in order to heal, we must:
  1. Accept the reality of the loss,
  2. Work through the pain of grief,
  3. Adjust to the new environment, and
  4. Emotionally relocate the “loss” and move on with life.
But perhaps the most famous theory is the 5 Stages of Grief by Kubler-Ross. She describes five stages people go through when coping with a loss or personal tragedy.
1. Denial: “I can’t believe this is happening!”
Initially, we may react with shock and denial. It is our first defense to help us make sense of the situation and deal with the first wave of pain. We slowly let in as much reality as we can handle.
2. Anger: “Why did our marriage have to end? It’s his fault!”
We begin to feel angry, and may direct our anger at ourselves, others, or life in general. Underneath our anger is intense pain.
3. Bargaining: “What if I had changed my ways? Maybe she wouldn’t have gotten sick.”
Our normal reaction to helplessness is a need to regain control. We may think in “what if” or “if only” statements. If only I had sought treatment earlier. If only we had gone to marriage counseling. We may feel guilt and try to negotiate our way out of the pain.
4. Depression: “What’s the point? I’m so sad; I don’t even want to do anything.”
We become disconnected from life around us. We may feel deep sadness, emptiness, and withdraw from others. We may wonder if life is worth living anymore.
5. Acceptance: “I’m content and hopeful about the future.”
In time, we learn to live with a different reality. We reach out to others and begin living again. We acknowledge our feelings, come to terms with our loss, and find acceptance.
Grief does not happen in a linear fashion, as in the order described above. It is important to think about the five steps as “fluid phases” since our experiences don’t fit neatly into boxed stages. We will often experience a roller coaster of emotions—moving continuously between phases that may last a few minutes, hours, days, or even months. We should be prepared for occasional relapses in the future, even after we think we’ve moved beyond the pain.
For example, after some time, we can again be struck by the reality that the loss has actually happened, or we may find ourselves angry again. Sometimes, a simple memory, a smell, an anniversary, can evoke intense emotions, and we feel sad all over again. Even the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) teared up when he came across the jewelry of his first wife Khadijah radi allahu `anha (may God be pleased with her), and this was many years after her death! This is normal, and part of the long arduous journey of grief work.
There is also no completion date for grief. There will be some good days and many bad days. If we’ve been wronged, it may be difficult to forgive. We must allow ourselves to grieve at our own individual pace. Whatever grief blueprint we may refer to, they are only maps to help us track our healing.
Remember, grief is a very personal process that will be different for each person. Knowledge about the grief process can help us navigate this journey, but each person’s journey will involve different routes, traveling speeds, and tools.
The best thing we can do for ourselves is to honor our emotions instead of resisting them. It’s important to surround ourselves with others who can comfort us and help us move forward. We can engage in various coping methods such as:
  • Talking to family and friends
  • Connecting with God through prayer, reading the Qur’an, dhikr (remembrance of God)
  • Exercising
  • Eating healthy food
  • Engaging in social and community activities
  • Seeking counseling
  • Discovering new hobbies or returning to old ones
Finally, we must also remember that all things (good and bad) come from God. In His wisdom, He tells us:
“[…] perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah knows, while you know not.” (Qur’an, 2:216)
God always has greater plans for us, even if we may not understand His decree. Loss is just an essential part of the experience we call life, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy process. Learning to adjust to a changed life, while focusing on the future, will help us to move on God-willing.
Helpful Du`a’ (Supplications) for Grief and Distress

اللَّهُمَّ لا سَهْلَ إِلاَّ ما جَعَلْتَهُ سَهْلاً، وأنْتَ تَجْعَلُ الحَزْنَ إذَا شِئْتَ سَهْلاً
Allahumma la sahla illa ma ja-`altahu sahla wa anta taj`alu al hazana etha shi’ta sahla.
O Allah! Nothing is easy except what You have made easy. If You wish, You can make the difficult easy.
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْهَمِّ وَ الْحَزَنِ وَ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ العَجْزِ وَ الْكَسَلِ
وَ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْجُبْنِ وَ الْبُخْلِ وَ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ غَلَبَةِ الدَّيْنِ و قَهْرِ الرجال
Allahumma inni a`oodhoo bika minal-hammi-walhazan. Wa a`oodhoo bika minal-a’jzi-wal-kasal. Wa a`oodhoo bika minal jubni wal bukhl. Wa a`oodhoo bika min ghalabatid-dayni-waqahrir rijal.
Oh Allah, I seek refuge in You from worry and grief, from helplessness and laziness, from cowardice and stinginess, and from overpowering of debt and from oppression of men.
اللَّهُمَّ رَحْمَتَكَ أرْجُو فَلا تَكِلْنِي إلى نَفْسي طَرْفَةَ عَيْنٍ، وأصْلِحْ لي شَأنِي كُلَّهُ، لا إِلهَ إِلاَّ أنْتَ
Allahumma rahmataka arjoo falaa takilnee ilaa nafsee tarfata `aynin wa aslih-lee sha`nee kullahu, laa ilaha illa anta.
O Allah! It is Your mercy that I hope for so do not leave me in charge of my affairs even for a blink of an eye and rectify for me all of my affairs. None has the right to be worshipped except You.
اللَّهُمَّ إني عبدك ابن عبدك ابن امتك ناصيتى بيدك ماضٍ فيِّ حكمك عدلٌ فيِّ قضاؤك أسألك بكل اسم هو لك سميت به نفسك أو أنزلته في كتابك أو علمته أحد من خلقك أو استأثرت به في علم الغيب عندك أن تجعل القرآن ربيع قلبي ، ونور صدري ، وجلاء حُزني ، وذهاب همِّي
Allaahumma inni `abduka wa ibn `abdika wa ibn amatika, naasiyati bi yadika maadin fiyya hukmuka ‘adlun fiyya qadaa`uka, as’aluka bi kulli ismin huwa laka sammayta bihi nafsaka aw `allamtahu ahadan min khalqika aw anzaltahu fi kitaabika aw asta’tharta bihi fi `ilmi al-ghaybi `indaka an taj`al al-Qur’aana rabee’a qalbi wa noor sadri wa jilaa’a huzni wa dhihaaba hammi.
‘O Allaah, I am Your slave, son of Your slave, son of Your maidservant, my forelock is in Your hand, Your command over me is ever executed and Your decree over me is just. I ask You by every name belonging to You which You have named Yourself with, or which you revealed in Your Book, or which You taught to any of Your creation, or which You have preserved in the knowledge of the Unseen with You, that You make the Qur’an the life of my heart and the light of my breast, and a departure for my sorrow and a release for my anxiety.