Sunday, November 30, 2008

10 days of Duhl Hijjah

Eid card Design can be found at my CafePress Store

Asalamu Alaikum

We are in the 10 days of Dhul Hijjah and we should not miss out on the blessings listed below. (I got these in an email from a very knowledgeable sister).

Recommended Deeds During These 10 Days:

1- Performing Hajj & Ummrah is the best of deeds as supported by numerous ahadeeth including that in which the prophet said: Sins commeded between two ummrah are forgiven & the reward for hajj performed in the right manner is heaven.

2- Fasting as many as thes days as possible, particular the day of arafah ( for non pilgrims ), for fasting is amongst the best of deeds that can be performed as Allah in the qudsi hadeeth says: fasting is performed my sake & I my self shall decide its reward ( for each person ) for he ( the servant ) has abstained from his desire, eatin & drinking for my sake. ( Bukhari & Muslim )

Also the prophet said: Any one who fast a day for the sake of Allah ( seeking His pleasure ), Allah would distances his face ( him ) by seventy seasons ( years) away from the hell fire. ( Bukhari & Muslim ) Also, the prophet said: the reward for fasting the day of arafah would cancel the sins committed in the year before & the year after that day. ( Muslim )

3- Takbeer ( saying ALLAAHU AKBAR ) & to praise & glorify ( remembering ) Allah in those days, as allah says in the Quran: ( And celebrate the name of Allah through the days appointed ) Al Hajj: 28. those days were interpreted as the first 10 days of the month of Zul Hijjah. Thus religious scholars recommend praising & glorifying Allah by saying: LA ELAHA ILLA ALLAH, ALLAHU AKBAR, ALHAMDU LILLAH .

Al Bukhari mentioned that when Ibn Umar & Abu Hurairah ( companions of the Prophet ) went out to the markets they used to say aloud: ALLAHU AKBAR, ALLAHU AKBAR & the people would emulate them. It is also reported that people in early days of Islam Altabieen , in the 10 days of the month of Zul Hijjah, used to say aloud: Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar la Elaha illa Allah & Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar , Walillahi Alhamd . It is recommended to raise one s voice with Takbeer when one is out in the markets, streets, mosques & other places for Allah says in the Quran: ( And to glorify Him in that He has guided you), Al Baqarah: 185. It is also possible to praise & glorify Allah by various forms of Takbeer , Tahmeed , Tasbeeh & other supplications.

4- Repentance & refraining from sins & ill deeds, so that one s deeds would gain him Allah s forgiveness & mercy. The Prophet said: Allah can be displeased & His displeasure is in one who commits what Allah forbids. ( Bukhari & Muslim ).

5- Performing extra optional acts of worship ( Nawafeel ) like salah, charity, Jihad, reading Quran, Promotion of virtue & prevention of vice & other acts of worship as their reward is multiplied in those 10 days.

6- Takbeer in general is allowed & recommended in those 10 days, during all hours of days & night up to the time of Eid Prayers. After Eid Prayers Takbeer is allowed for non pilgrims after each congregational prayer starting from Fajr (dawn) Prayer on the day of Arafah & for Pilgrims starting from noon time on the 10th of Zul Hijjah. Takbeer for both groups can continue up to time of Asr (mid-afternoon) Prayer of the day of 13th Zul Hijjah.

7- It is recommended to offer animals for slaughter on the day of 10th 13th Zul Hijjah in commemoration of the very act by Prophet Ibraheem peace & blessings of Allah be upon him, & also because it is a sunnah by Prophet Muhammad peace & blessings of Allah upon him.

8- A Muslim who plans to offer an animal for slaughter during the days of10th- 13th Zul Hijjah should refrain from cutting any of his hair & nails starting from the sighing of the crescent of the month of Zul Hijjah (i.e. beginning of the month) until the actual slaughtering of the animal. This is according to the hadeeth of the Prophet reported by Muslim. Also Allah says in the Quran: ( And do not shave your heads until the offering reaches the place of sacrifice), Al-Baqarah: 196. This applies to the person who will be slaughtering but his wife or children are not asked to refrain from doing so unless one of them in particular wishes to sacrifice. A Muslim however can wash & rub his head even if some hair was to fall down.

9- A Muslim should endeavour to perform Eid Prayer & attend the sermon. He should also understand the wisdom behind the Eid that is a day of expressing gratitude to Allah & of righteousness. Thus, he should not make it a day of ill deeds & sin through forbidden practices by going to nightclubs or consuming intoxicants which by so doing could abolish all the righteous deeds he may have done during those 10 days.

10- In addition to the above, a Muslim should utilize those days in worshipping Allah & by glorifying & praising Him & by thanking Allah for enabling him to perform those righteous deeds & abstaining from ill deeds. Also a Muslim should utilize those special occasions, as in the first 10 days of Zul Hjjjah, to reap Allah s extra mercy & rewards.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Keeping out of the line of Fire

I'd been really good for a while. I'd stayed away from reading forums and sites that made me upset. Nothing lasts forever!

Recently I got an email newsletter from a forum that prompted me to go back and take a look at what had been going on in a thread I'd posted in. Big mistake on my part. All it did was cause me to feel attacked and I retaliated. The only way I can explain how I feel about these things is that I am very passionate about them, but that might seem like the wrong term to use. I am very serious about my deen. I don't want to even take a chance in compromising it, and that is what happens when I read these forums. I get upset and worried that people are being misguided by 'well meaning' people just trying to make Islam something it is not.

First of all, I'm so tired of people telling me that Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala has made Islam easy for us, as an excuse to do anything and everything in this Dunya. All of the Ayat and hadith that talk about Islam being easy do not refer to twisting things to suit your needs. They talk about how once you have submitted to Allah and his messenger that things become easy because you understand. They also refer to the mercies that Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala has given us, such as combining prayers when traveling and not having to fast when you are ill.

Secondly, I'm tired of trying to explain what a scholar is to people. I have my own theory on it I guess, but I think its pretty sound. A scholar is someone who has studied intensively his whole life under someone else who has done the same. That means spending 20+ years with a teacher. Until you reach that goal you are just a student of knowledge. This is not to undermine anyone of knowledge, but when it comes to serious issues I'm not going to take rulings from someone who has spent a few years here and there and calls himself a Sheikh.

Third, why oh why do non Muslims try to tell me about my religion? Yes, sometimes its a perfect opportunity for dawah, but there are those who find themselves so clever and intriguing they can't take a moment to ask themselves what are they obsessed with? Perhaps they need to validate themselves as human beings, I don't know, but I wish they would do that by taking up needlepoint or something... and leave Islam to those who love and care about it.

Fourth, and I've said this before somewhere else in this blog o mine, Islam does not need to be Americanized!!! We don't need to slap a logo on it and do some marketing. We need to stick to what Islam really is. A faith that has not changed its basic tenets in over 1400 years. So lets stop calling ourselves 'American Muslims' and saying we need to refer to 'American Scholars' (which I don't know if there are any). We are Muslims, first and foremost. We don't need to tack anything else on the front of that. We don't need to be a black Muslims, or white Muslims, or purple Muslims... we need to be.... MUSLIMS. United on the path that our Prophet, Salla Allahu alaihi Wa Sallam, and his companions were upon.

Fifth. Stop telling me that when I give you some information about Islam and its rulings that its my opinion. It's not. It's the opinion of true and learned scholars of Islam (the ones I talked about in rant #2 above). I guess that if you tried hard enough, you could find a ruling or fatwah that would allow just about anything in Islam. That is why we have to be so careful. Just because someone did some studying somewhere for a while, does not make them qualified to tell us what is right and wrong. Everyone makes mistakes, but if you go back to Quran and Sunnah (interpreted by true scholars) you can't go wrong insha'Allah.

So now to the point. A friend of mine told me to stop putting myself in the line of fire..... and it made sense. This same friend also said, that I go out of the house protected, covered from head to toe, but when it comes to things like this, I just leap in and put myself in harms way. At one time I thought that I needed to go to these places and do these things so that people would not be misguided. But I can't change that. Only Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala guides who he wills. So I will stick to my own forum, and try to help people see the truth of Islam. Come and join me if you like!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fashion or Faith?

I recently did this design for my cafepress store, and it reflects how I feel about hijab and the command of Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala to cover.

A narration from `Aishah (radhi Allahu anha) that some women from Banu Tamim came to see her wearing transparent clothing. `Aishah said to them: "If you are are believing women, these are not the clothes of believing women."

There seem to be a trend as of late of Muslim women thinking that as long as the actual skin is covered its ok if its tight. An example would be jeans wiith a long sleeve shirt... all tight, but not skin showing! We are to be modest in our dress. Nothing is to be tight, transparent or overly vibrant.

I think this ties into my last post as well, about not being able to let go of this dunya. Muslm women are tempted by what they see in the streets and in fashion magazines. They want to be able to fit in with western society and therefore try to emulate their form of dress. We all have nice clothes for home or sisters gatherings, but they are not meant to be worn in everyday life. For new Muslims things are different, they are just getting used to the concept of modesty and need to have that transition period. But as the knowledge and iman grows, they should start to see the true value in dressing modestly.

Another thing that I find hard to understand is those that don't cover at all. Of course the new Muslim thing applies here as well, but I don't get how people who have been Muslim for years or born Muslim do not follow that command of Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala? What is it that holds people back? I'm not being judgmental here, I really want to know? Is it fear of acceptance? Is it lack of confidence?

May Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala give us strength to fufill his commands to the best of our ability.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Letting Go of Things From This Dunya

Around this time of year I'm reminded of how hard it seems for Muslims (reverts or otherwise) to let go of things of this dunya.

It all starts when the leaves begin to change color here in New England. October comes, Halloween rolls around, and the arguments begin. I guess that the idea that we argue at all is silly, but it is our duty as Muslims to advise our brothers and sisters of things that they are doing wrong. It becomes personal, and people get accused of trying to shove their ideas down others throats, when in fact we are only sharing the rulings of some of our best scholars.

A few more weeks pass and we come across Thanksgiving... and yet again, more arguing. Every excuse in the book is thrown up there. Things like... it not a religious holiday, and its a time to be with family and thank God for what we have. At its origin, it was a Religious holiday. The people that celebrated it were Christian, and they were thanking God. If only those Wampanoag Indians knew what would become of their land and tribe they never would have sat down. Over time Thanksgiving has become something else to Americans, but we should not, and can not forget its origin.

Now that we are past the turkey, we bump smack into Santa Clause. Christmas is here! If there is anything I don't understand, it is how any Muslim can justify celebrating Christmas. It is a celebration that glorifies something that is a huge sin in Islam. Shirk. Christian celebrate Christmas because they believe it was the day that Isa (Jesus) was born. They see Isa as God himself. Even if it has become a Santa filled commercialized spending fest, it is still based on a religious holiday. One that is not ours.

As a revert I understand how hard it is to explain to friends and family that you will not be celebrating these holidays. It takes time, but if you ask your family to respect your faith and are firm in that, inshallah they will understand. A lot of reverts (myself included) will have nice memories of time spent with family and friends during the holiday season. But let us try to remember that its not the holiday that made us happy, it is the people that we love. Find ways to keep that feeling alive without comprimising your faith.

Finally, I'd just like to say that we are commanded by Allah to obey him and obey his messenger. That is the most simple thing to understand and its easy to follow.

Anas (ra), a companion of prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) reported that when the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) migrated from Makkah to Madinah, the people of Madinah used to have two festivals. On those two days they had carnivals and festivity. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) asked the Ansaar (the Muslims of Madinah) about it. They replied that before Islam they used to have carnivals on those two joyous days. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) told them: 'Instead of those two days, Allah has appointed two other days which are better, the days of Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha.'

Sunday, November 2, 2008

CafePress Store - Ummah Designs

I've recently been working on some Islamic designs and started a CafePress store called Ummah Designs. Here are some of the things you can find there. I'd really like to see some comments on what you think.