Time to Revive a Dying Blog :) Wednesday, Jul 22 2009 

As some of you might know that I recently moved to Qatar. All of this happened so quickly that past three months of my life were totally overtaken in packing and moving. Leaving U.S., after spending almost 20 years of my life, was not as easy as I thought it would be and to be completely honest, it hasn’t really “sunk in” yet.

In my short stay of three years in Delaware I made many friends. And I didn’t realize how much I had gotten attached to them until I had to go through the painful process of departing from them. I don’t know if I will ever get to live with them again, but I hope and I pray that Allah azzawajal join us together in Jannat-ul-Firdous.

I had quite mixed feelings traveling to Qatar. As much as I had heard bad stories about this part of the world, I had heard good as well. My husband warned me to get used to a “discriminatory” treatment and forget about the “freedom of speech”.

When the plane landed, I got a dose of desi aunties’ pushing and literally jumping over my luggage and children to make it towards the front side of the plane. Funny when they all left the backside of the plane, the flight attendant opened the back door first. So we ended up getting off before them!

There was a lot of female staff at the airport. All of them had jilbab and hijab on, however, some of them had tons of make up on and were quite “flirtous”. I couldn’t help but notice that all the flirtous men form the staff were buzzing around them, but the same men dealt quite respectfully with the sober ladies.

Alhamdullialh, I got friendly and quite respectful treatment at the airport form the local security crowd. The lady who stamped our passport was nicely covered with no makeup and seemed amongst the conservative ones. Although she had a stern look on her face, when she asked me to pull down my niqaab she reciprocated a friendly smile.

Nature greeted us with a hot breeze as if I had just opened my oven. However, and surprisingly the heat was not “irritating” neither did it make us sweat as much as it used to in Houston.  Even the kids didn’t complain as much, especially my daughter who has severe eczema. Normally, I would have to fel ed her Benadryl to keep her from itching herself to bleed. I am not sure if the heat is “different” here or if we had psychologically prepared the kids too much. Nah, kids cannot be prepared enough.

My next venture was a trip to the mall. I don’t have a car and my temporary residence is walking distance from the mall.  Apparently the grocery store is inside the mall, and people actually walk around in the mall with their grocery carts!

I was not the only niqaabi in the mall. I sort of missed the “attention” *sight*. I was about to ask the lady in Burger King if the meat was halaal. I ate a double whooper. I even ate tiramisu from star bucks without having to fear of alcoholic ingredients. I am still trying to digest all the food I bought in excitement.

People don’t smile much though, neither do they exchange salaam as much. I suppose seeing other Muslims is not any specialty. I don’t want to lose my habit of saying salam to every hijaabi I see, but a friend warned that I will soon be mistaken for a beggar *roll eyes*

People don’t thank much either. I asked a Philippine worker about another store, she gave me directions, I thanked her but she looked at me as if she was obliged to tell me but I was doing her a favor by thanking her.

Women are usually addressed as ‘ma’am’ which sounds more like ‘m-o-m’ in a mixture of British and Indian accent. I got confused a few times why some of those men kept calling their ‘moms’ only to discover that they were trying to address me!

Based on my own personal observation,  niqaabis get special treatment. Firstly, people automatically assume they are locals. Men Arab men don’t make a direct eye contact. I, on the other hand, have a bad habit of looking right into the eyes, but if they are looking down I can look, right?!

Men Arab men not only move out of the way quickly but turn their backs at me. They also hold the door wide open but turn their faces 180 degrees away not leaving any room for me to thank them.  And this is when I am still wearing my “American” style colored niqaab and khimar. I need to buy the solid dark black Qatari style niqaab so I can “blend in” LOL.

The other day, when we were walking outside, I found myself lagging behind my husband who was running after our little one. Normally, he is very particular about me not walking behind him. I told him, “Just because you are in Qatar doesn’t mean you can make me walk behind you.” And he replied with a mischievous smile, “of course I can!”

I met some really nice Brit sisters and I enjoyed their English accent as well. I have a little difficulty understanding one particular sister who is from Wales and speaks in pure Welsh. She is very sweet mashaAllah, and I really wish when I talk to her, somehow, I can turn the subtitles on.

Rest later inshaAllah. Right now I am off on a school hunt for my kids, which is yet another story!

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Afflictions: Which Level Are You On? Wednesday, Aug 13 2008 

People are upon 4 levels regarding the circumstances of affliction:


The First Level

Being angry, and this is in various ways:

The first type: That the anger is by the heart as if he is angry at his Lord. So he becomes angry with what Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, has decreed for him, and this (level) is haraam. And it is possible that this could lead to kufr (disbelief). Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, said:

“And among mankind is he who worships Allaah as it were, upon the very edge (i.e. in doubt); if good befalls him, he is content therewith; but if a trial befalls him, he turns back on his face (i.e. reverts back to disbelief after embracing Islaam). He loses both this world and the Hereafter.” – [Al-Hajj (22):11]

The second type: That the anger is by the tongue like making duaa for destruction or ruin and what is similar to that, and this is haraam.

The third type: That the anger is by the limbs like slapping the cheeks, ripping the clothes, pulling out hair, and similar to that, and all of this is haraam in contradiction to patience which is waajib (obligatory).

The Second Level:

Being patient, just as the poet said:

“Patience is like its name – bitter in taste, yet its outcomes are sweeter than honey.” So the person sees this thing (the affliction) weighs very heavy upon him, yet he bears it although he dislikes that it happened. Rather, his imaan bears it and restrains him from being angry. So the time of affliction and the time of no affliction is not the same to him, and this (level) is waajib, because Allah commanded the people to be patient, saying:

“…and be patient. Surely, Allah is with those who are As-Saabireen (the patient ones, etc.).” – [Al-Anfaal (8):46]


The Third Level:

Being pleased with the affliction in that the person is pleased with the affliction and whether it happened or not, it is the same to him so he it is not difficult upon him. He does not bear it as if it is something weighing heavy on him, and this (level) is mustahabb (preferred – between haraam and waajib) and it is not waajib according to the most correct opinion. The difference between this level and the one before it is apparent because the affliction happening or not happening is the same due to the pleasure of the one on this level. As for the level before it, the affliction is hard upon him, yet he remains patient over it.


The Fourth Level:

Thanking/being grateful and this is the highest level. This is that the person thanks Allah for the affliction which has struck him in that he knows that this affliction is an expiation for his sins and perhaps a cause for an increase in his good deeds. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:

“There is no affliction which strikes the Muslim except that Allaah expiates with it (sins), even with a thorn that may poke him.” (Recorded by Bukhaari and Muslim)

Written by/Said by: Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (رحمه الله)
Taken from: Fataawa Arkaan al-Islaam – Fatwaa 64, page 126

Level of Prayer…where do we stand? Monday, Jun 30 2008 

Ibn al-Qayyim (رحمالله) said:
And mankind, with regard to their performance of prayer are in five levels:

The First: The level of the one who is negligent and wrongs his soul: He is the one who falls short in performing wudu properly, performing the prayer upon its time and within its specified limits, and in fulfilling its essential pillars.

The Second: The one who guards his prayers upon their proper times and within their specified limits,
fulfills their essential pillars and performs his wudoo with care. However, his striving (in achieving the above) is wasted due whisperings in his prayer so he is taken away by thoughts and ideas.

The Third: The one who guards his prayers within the specified limits, fulfills their essential pillars
and strives with himself to repel the whisperings, thoughts and ideas. He is busy struggling against
his enemy (shaytaan) so that he does not steal from the prayer. On account of this he is engaged in
(both) prayer and jihad.

The Fourth: The one who stands for the prayer, completes and perfects its due rights, its essential pillars,
performs it within its specified limits and his heart becomes engrossed in safeguarding its rights and specified limits, so that nothing is wasted from it. His whole concern is directed towards its establishment, its completion and its perfection, as it should be. His heart is immersed in the prayer and in enslavement to his Lord the Exalted.

The Fifth: The one who stands for the prayer like the one mentioned above. However, on top of this, he has taken and placed his heart in front of his Lord (عز وجل), looking towards Him with his heart with anticipation, (his heart) filled with His Love and His might, as if he sees and witnesses Allah. The whisperings, thoughts and ideas have vanished and the coverings which are between him and his Lord are raised. What is between this person and others with respect to the prayer, is superior and greater than what is between the heavens and the earth. This person is busy with his Lord (عز وجل), delighted with Him.

The First type will be punished,
the second type will be held to account,
the third will have his sins and shortcomings expiated,
the fourth will be rewarded and
the fifth will be close to his Lord, because he will receive the portion of the
one who makes his prayer the delight and pleasure of his eye. Whoever makes his prayer,the delight and pleasure of his eye, will have the nearness to his Lord (عز وجل) made the delight and pleasure of his eye in the hereafter. He will also be made a pleasure to the eye in this world since whoever makes Allah the pleasure of his eye in this world, every other eye will become delighted and pleased with him.

So, what level are you?
Source: Excerpted from Ibn al-Qayyim’s book al-Wabil al-Sayyib

Still Alive! Monday, Jun 30 2008 

Yes I am! Those who were wondering what happened…well I went to visit home, the H-town…i.e. Houston!! Can u believe it, I went there after 1.5 years!!!

It was a very nice trip. Originally I went there for 2 weeks but ended up staying for 4 weeks instead. I must say that once anyone had the opportunity to live in Houston no other place, at least in US, can be as enjoyable. One thing both me and my husband agreed on is that if our move to over-seas doesn’t work out, we are definitely going back to Houston inshaAllah!

My elder brother, with his family, joined me in Houston from Saudi. It was fun and kids had a blast with their cousins. My mother, of course, treasured every moment with her children and grand-children. The toughest moment for me was to leave my mother when I was coming back.

My brother flew with me along with his family and stayed here for 10 days. We were touring outside most of the days.  The next day after my brother left, Allah azzawajal blessed us with more guests. They stayed with us until Sunday.

So, today was my first “normal” day! I think me and kids will take this whole week to get back on schedule and get over all the tiredness.

An Effective Teacher Part 1 Wednesday, Feb 20 2008 

I am taking the Teaching Methodology class at AOU, and I am reading this book, “How to be an Effective Teacher: The First Days of School”. Although, the book is meant for ‘professional’ teachers and how to handle students/ in a school etc. I think every mother AND father should read this book. I learned so much from this book. Basically, the book is divided in 5 sections.

1. The Teacher: 3 characteristic of an ‘effective’ teacher

2. Positive Expectations: What are positive expectations and how should a teacher apply that to make students successful.

3. Classroom Management: (this is my favorite chapter) It discusses from discipling students, to keeping them busy, to applying rules and procedures (very nice explanations of how rules are different from ‘procedures’).

4. Lesson Mastery: how to design lesson plan, how to make sure that the lesson plan is ‘effective’ and how to help students with tests and exams.

5. The Professional: how it is important for a teacher to constantly learn and grow to become a ‘proessional’ educator.

After I am done reading the book, inshaAllah I will outline the main points from each chapter and post them here so mothers and others can benefit! 🙂

Anger Management: Short Story Big Lesson! Saturday, Feb 9 2008 

The Forbearance of Ali Ibn Hussain (radiaAllahu anhu)

Abdur Razzaq related that a slave girl who belonged to Ali ibn Hussain
(radiaAllahu anhu), was pouring water over him so that he could make ablution. But
the jug fell from her hand, landed on his face and fractured his bone.

He raised his head to her and she recited a part of the Qur’an’s verse:

“…Who repress anger…”

He said, “I have indeed controlled my anger”.

She then recited,

“…Who pardon men…”

He said, “May Allah forgive you”

She then recited the end of the verse,

“…Verily Allah love al-muhsineen (3:134)” (Al-muhsineen means the good
doers)

He said, “You are freed for the countenance of Allah”

MORAL:

We, human beings are error prone and faults happen often. It
is not befitting for a Muslim to be angry on every occasion he finds
fault. Allah is oft forgiving, and as a representative of Islam, we must
also restrain ourselves from blowing up at everyone, every time and try
to bear with patience.

…and Allah loves the patient.(3:146)

How to implement?

* Before lecturing your kids to restrain anger, present yourself
at the very best in this regard. Your children follow your
footsteps.

* Do not go around teaching others about this story and how to
implement it, rather, practice it and when questioned, present
references.

* Rather than having wall paintings / picture frames, use such
verses in your house, especially in your kids room, and let them
read it often, the more they get their attention to such verses,
the more their hearts will soften insha’Allah.

* As you would teach your children for salah, teach them other
Islamic morals like patience, and reward them as well.

* If your children / young siblings present the same verse to
you, when you are in anger, relax, do not retaliate, but make it a
lesson for you and others as well.

(Author Unknown)

Hellfire: Who Wants to be Saved? Friday, Feb 8 2008 

A very nice reminder by: Asma bint Shameem

—–

Al-Bayhaqi narrated that Abu Dharr RA said: I said, “O Messenger of Allah, what will save a person from Hellfire?”

He said, “Belief in Allah.”

I said, “O Messenger of Allah, are there are any deeds that should accompany that belief?”

He said, ‘He should give from that provision which Allah has granted him.”

I said, “O Messenger of Allah, what if he is poor and does not have anything to give?”

He said, “He should enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil.”

I said, “O Messenger of Allah, what if he cannot enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil?”

He said, “He should help the one who is helpless (i.e., has no skills and cannot earn a learning).”

I said, “What if he himself is helpless and cannot do anything?”

He said, “He should help one who has been wronged.”

I said, “What if he is weak and cannot help one who has been wronged?”

He said, “You do not want to think of your companion as having any good in him. Let him refrain from harming people.”

I said, “O Messenger of Allah, if he does that, will he enter Paradise?”

He said, “There is no believer who does not strive to acquire one of these characteristics, but I will take him by the hand and lead him into Paradise.” (Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Targheeb, 876)

Subhaan Allaah! What a beautiful reminder.

Sure, we see such beautiful reminders everywhere. Someone or the other sends us such emails almost every day.

But the big question is….

What do we do when we are reminded?

Who is it that will take heed of this reminder? Are YOU one of them?

“Has not the time come for the hearts of those who believe (in the Oneness of Allaah) to be affected by Allaah’s Reminder (this Qur’aan), and that which has been revealed of the truth…?” (Surah Hadeed: 16)

Why is Iblees Eager to Mislead Mankind Thursday, Feb 7 2008 

When Allah willed it for Iblees to stay alive until the Day of Resurrection, pride came back to Iblees once again and he sensed that this was an ideal way to take revenge from Adam and his offspring. He hates mankind, who are the children of Adam (alaihis-salaam), and he is hostile towards them because he is cursed and has been banished from the Mercy of Allah due to his refusal to prostrate to their father, Adam.

‘(Iblees) said (to Allah), ‘Because You have sent me astray, surely I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your Straight Path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful ones (i.e. they will not be dutiful to You).’ [(7): 16-17]

Ibn Abbas (radhi allahu anhu) commented on,

‘Then I will come to them from before them’: raising doubts in them concerning their Hereafter,

‘and (from) behind them’: making them more eager for this life,

‘from their right’: causing them confusion in the religion,

‘and from their left’: luring them to commit sins.’

This is meant to cover all paths of good and evil. Shaytan discourages the people from the path of good and lures them to the path of evil. Al-Hakam bin Abban said that Ikrimah narrated from Ibn Abbas concerning the Ayah,

‘Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left,’

‘He did not say that he will come from above them, because the mercy descends from above.’

Iblees is certain that he is one of those who are doomed, and in addition to this, he is arrogant and ungrateful to his Lord, he thus, resolved to mislead whomever he could of the slaves of Allah. He is eager to mislead and corrupt, so as to increase the number of his followers to share in his fate. Iblees knows that his destination is the Fire, and he hopes to take everyone else with him to Hell, out of envy, hatred, Kufr and stubbornness.

‘Surely, Shaytan is an enemy to you, so take (treat) him as an enemy. He only invites his Hizb (followers) that they may become the dwellers of the blazing Fire.’ [Soorah al-Fatir (35): 6]

Imam Ibn Katheer writes, ‘he only wants to misguide you so that you will enter the blazing Fire with him.’

Seeking Refuge with Allah from the Lures of Shaytan from all Directions
Imam Ahmad narrated that Abdullah bin Umar said, ‘The Messenger of Allah (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) used to often recite this supplication in the morning and when the night falls,

O Allah! I ask You for well-being in this life and the Hereafter. O Allah! I ask You for pardon and well-being in my religion, life, family and wealth. O Allah! Cover my errors and reassure me in times of difficulty. O Allah! Protect me from before me, from behind me, from my right, from my left and from above me. I seek refuge with Your greatness from being killed from below me.’ Waki commented (about being killed from below), ‘This refers to earthquakes.’ [Abu Dawood, An-Nisaee, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban and Al-Hakim collected this Hadeeth, and Al-Hakim said, ‘Its chain is Saheeh.’] [Quoted from Tafseer Ibn Katheer]

Taken from As-Sunnah Newsletter – http://www.qsep.com

 

An Interview with a Grandmother who Became a Hafidha Monday, Feb 4 2008 

MashaAllah it is truly inspiring to read how Umm Salih, the 82 year old grandmother, was motivated and how she worked hard regardless of being so old. In all honesty, after reading how she worked on her hifdh, I truly believe that everyone of us is capable of memorizing if we truly work hard and we ask Allah azzawjal to help us and open our hearts and minds to His Speech.

Just to motivate everyone, including and especially myself, just recently another grandmother finished memorizing Qur’an in Houston TX. She is not as old as Umm Salih but she also has grandchildren. She is Sister Henaa Gamal’s student and she used to drive from Clear Lake to North West Houston (which is raughly50 miles) to her teacher, mashaAllah ‘aliha. I might try to ‘interview’ her to find out how she got inspired and exactly how she memorized.

Enjoy the interview with Umm Saalih, a grandmother who became Hafidha (memorized the entire Qur’an) at Eighty-Two!

——-

Q1: “What was the reason that drove you to memorize the Qur’an after so many years?”

She said, “I always hoped to memorize the Qur’an from the time I was young. My father always used to invoke Allaah for me to become one of the memorizers of the Qur’an, like himself and like the elder brothers of my family who memorized it. So I memorized in the beginning about three parts and then after I completed the age of thirteen, I got married and became busy with the household and the children. After I had seven children, my husband died. They (the children) were all young so I took the time to raise them and educate them, and then after they grew up and got married, I had more time for myself. Therefore, the first thing I directed myself to focus upon was the Qur’an.

Q2: “Tell us about your journey with the Noble Qur’an.”

She said, “My younger daughter was going to high school and she was the closest of my children to me and the most beloved, because she stayed with me after her older sisters got married and got busy with their lives, and because she was a quiet girl, upright, loving, and good. In addition, she was interested in learning the Noble Qur’an, and her teachers encouraged her. Furthermore, she was very enthusiastic and always told me of many women who were driven by this great motivation to memorize the Qur’aan, and this is where I started.”

Q3: “Tell me about your way of memorization.”

She said, “We assigned ten verses (meaning her and her daughter who was going to high school). So each day after Asr, we used to sit together. She reads and I repeat after her three times. Then she explains the meaning to me, and after a while, she repeats that three times. On the next morning, she repeats them to me before she goes to school. She recorded also the recitations of Ash Shaykh al Husary, Rahimuhullaah, repeating each verse three times and thus I continued to listen most of the time. Therefore, the next day we would go to the next ten verses if my memorization was good. Otherwise, we would postpone taking additional verses until the day after. Moreover, we assigned the day of Friday to review the memorizations of the entire week. And this was the journey from the beginning.”

Then she said, “Over four years and a half, I memorized twelve juz according to the way I described to you. Then this young daughter got married. When her husband knew of our task concerning the memorization, he rented a house close to me, close to my house, so that he could allow the continuation of the memorization. In addition, he, May Allah reward him used to encourage us and sometimes sit with us listening, explaining and teaching. Then after three years of her marriage, my daughter got busy with the children and the household and our schedule was interrupted, but that did not make her give up. To the contrary, she sensed that my eagerness for the memorization was still established so she looked for a special good teacher to continue the journey under her supervision. So, I completed the memorization by the success of Allaah and my daughter is still working to finish the memorization of the Glorious Qur’an. She has a little left, In Shaa Allaah Ta’ala.

Q4: “This motivation of yours, did it have an effect on other women around you?”

She said, “It really had a good strong effect. My daughters and stepdaughters were all encouraged and worked on learning and teaching the Qur’an to their children and learning it themselves.

Q5: “After finishing the Noble Qur’an, don’t you think about working on memorizing hadith?”

She said, “Now I have memorized ninety hadith and Insha’Allaah I will continue the journey. I depend, in my memorization, upon the tapes and upon the Qur’an radio station. At the end of each week, my daughter comes and checks for me the memorization of three hadith, and I am trying now to memorize more.

Q6: “Over this period of memorization of the Qur’an, did your life change? Was it affected in one way or another?”

She said, “Yes, I went through a major change and I tried always, all praise is due to Allaah, to obey Allaah before I started the memorization. However, after I started the task of memorization, I began to feel a self-comfort, a great self-comfort and all worries began to move away from me. I even reached the stage of freeing myself from all these excessive worries concerning fearing for the children and their affairs, and my morale was boosted. I had a noble objective to work for and this is a great Nia’mah (Favor) from Allaah upon me, since we know that some women, when they get old and they do not have a husband, and their children got married, may be destroyed by the empty time, thoughts, worries, and so forth. But, Al Hamdulillaah, I didn’t go through this and I made myself busy with a great task and a great objective.

Q7: “Didn’t you think at one point, to join one of the circles focusing on teaching the Noble Qur’an?”

The answer was, “Yes, some of the women suggested this to me, but I am a woman who got used to staying at home, and I don’t like to go out everyday, and Al Hamdulillaah, my daughter sufficed me from all difficulty and I was so happy while I was learning from her. My daughter had set an example in goodness and righteousness which we rarely find in our days. She started this task and journey with me while she was an adolescent and this is a critical age many people complain of. She used to pressure herself so that she could have spare time to teach me, and she used to teach me with kindness and wisdom. Her husband was a good help to her and he exerted a lot of effort. I ask Allaah to give them success and to bring their children up on uprightness.”

Q8: “What do you say to a woman of your age who wishes to learn and memorize the Qur’an yet she is worried about it and feeling unable to?”

She said, “I say to her there their shall be no despair with the firm, sincere and truthful determination. Begin with sincerity, firm determination and dependence on Allaah at each time. And remember that at this age you should have the time for yourself. However, do not use your time to only go out or to sleep and so forth. Rather, busy yourself with righteous work.

Q9: “Now what would you say to a woman who is still young? What would you advise her?”

She, may Allaah preserve her, said: “Preserve Allaah and He will preserve you. Make use of the favor of Allaah bestowed upon you from health and ways and means of comfort. Use that to memorize the Book of Allaah. This is the light which enlivens your heart, your life and your grave after you die. And if you have a mother then exert the effort to teach her, and there is no better favor upon a mother than one of her righteous children aiding her to be close to Allaah.”

As Read by Dr. Saleh as Saleh

Originally published in Ad-Da’wah Magazine, no. 1552, 17th of Rabee’ Al-Awwal 1417.

www.alihsaan.org

Ladies’ Man: Bilawal Bhutto! Friday, Feb 1 2008 

For long Imran Khan’s reputation has been played around with. An allegation was constantly used, without any sufficient proof, to disqualify him from being able to lead Pakistani people. Regardless of how much he has changed, his past is continued to be thrown at his face whenever needed!

If that standard is kept in mind, then I wonder what makes Bilawal Bhutto so different. The 19 year old is made the leader of the leading party of Pakistan, but what about running a check on his personal life??

This is from Daily Mail:

——

His antics at Oxford University would shock people in Pakistan awaiting Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s return to take over the political dream shaped by his murdered mother Benazir. The 19-year-old’s preparation for his role in one of the world’s strictest Muslim states has certainly been unconventional. Orthodox Muslims will be surprised to see the new leader of the Pakistani People’s Party with his arms slung casually around two girls, one of whom declares herself as “bisexual” on a social networking website. (more…)

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