Friday, February 27, 2009

Now its the Brothers Turn!

Since my last post was on niqab I thought I'd do something for the brothers. So lets talk about the beard! There are many proofs that the beard is required for all Muslim men. We can see this from the following:

Allah's Apostle said, "Cut the moustaches short and leave the beard (as it is)."Bukhari 7:781

The Messenger of Allah said: Trim closely the moustache, and grow beard, and thus act against the fire-worshippers.Muslim

The Prophet said, "There will emerge from the East some people who will recite the Qur'an but it will not exceed their throats and who will go out of (renounce) the religion (Islam) as an arrow passes through the game, and they will never come back to it unless the arrow, comes back to the middle of the bow (by itself) (i.e., impossible)." The people asked, "What will their signs be?" He said, "Their sign will be the habit of shaving (of their beards)." Bukhari 9:651

Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said "I have no connection iwth one who shaves, shouts and tears his clothing eg. in grief or affication."
- Reported by Abu Darda (R.A.) in Muslim

Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)said: "Act against contrary to the polythesists, trim closely the moustache and grow the beard."
- Reported by Ibn Umar (R.A.) in Muslim

Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: "Anyone who shaves has no claim to the mercy of Allah"
- Reported by Ibn Abbas (R.A.) in Tibrabi

All of the above hadiths tell the believing Muslim man to grow his beard and trim his mustache. Not too hard right? A lot of people think that because these are hadith that its optional and not required but as we all know the Quran tells us to obey the Messenger:

"O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you." (Quran 4:59)

"O ye who believe! Obey Allah and His Messenger, and turn not away from him when ye hear (him speak)." (Quran 8:20)

"O ye who believe! give your response to Allah and His Messenger, when He calleth you to that which will give you life; and know that Allah cometh in between a man and his heart, and that it is He to Whom ye shall (all) be gathered."(Quran 8:24)

"Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exempler for him who hopes in Allah and the Final Day, and who remembers Allah." (Quran 33:21)

"What Allah has bestowed on His Messenger (and taken away) from the people of the townships,- belongs to Allah,- to His Messenger and to kindred and orphans, the needy and the wayfarer; in order that it may not (merely) make a circuit between the wealthy among you. So take what the Messenger gives you, and refrain from what he prohibits you. And fear Allah: for Allah is strict in Punishment." (Quran 59:7)

There will always be argument about this topic. People will say that they can't grow a beard because it will cost them a job or a promotion, but isn't obeying Allah more important than anything? Also, brothers will say that when they do grow a beard it looks strange or does not grow in fully. The answer to this is simple. As long as you don't shave, you are fine, so just grown what you can grow and say Alhamdulilah. Yusuf Estes tells a story that a brother came to him and asked him if he had to grow a beard, and Yusuf Estes answered him saying 'no, just don't cut it'.

The one thing that drives me absolutly crazy is seeing a Muslim man with JUST a mustache! Isn't that like doing opposite of what he has been commanded to do? Why would you do that? I also wonder about brothers who have the 'fashion' beard that is just a goatee or shaved real short, are they that vain that they can't grow a full beard for the sake of their creator?

So there you have it. May Allah guide all of our brothers in Islam to grow a beard as our wonderful Prophet did.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

When people ask me about Niqab

Occasionally I will get asked why I chose to wear niqab. Depending on who is asking I have some short standard answers. If it a non muslim I explain that its a part of dressing modestly in Islam and I believe it to be a command from God. My answer to Muslims is similar but I usually try to go into some of the reasons or proofs that I have for finding it to be fard.

The reason I even started to look into niqab is because a teacher and friend of mine was a niqabi. She never pushed it or said anything about it, but just to know her made you want to be like her. Not in that scary, creepy stalker sense, but because she was a very decent example of a muslimah. She was and is a wonderful role model. When I asked her about it, she directed me to a small book called '4 Essays on the Obligation of Veiling'. I ordered the book and read the whole thing in a couple of days. The proofs contained in the book changed my views dramatically.

I wanted to wear niqab right away, but at the time I worked in an office and was too scared to do it. I would wear it to the office and home and everywhere else, but not at work. I felt stupid about it. I was actually just going to go to my HR department to say I was going to start wearing it when I got laid off! Turns out that was the best thing to happen to me. Now I work in an Islamic School and I can wear it full time and not look back.

Anyway, moving on. The proofs that changed my views are too many to name in one blog post, but I'll try to give you a few so you can get an idea of the impact they had on me.

First there is this Tafsir by Al-Qurtubi:

“And all of the woman is ‘awrah; her body, her voice, and it is not permissible for her to uncover that unless out of necessity, or need such as witnessing (in court), or a disease that is affecting her body…” [Ahkām Al Qur'ān 3/1579]

Which goes along with this Hadith: “The woman is ‘Awrah, when she leaves [her home] Shaytān (satan - may Allah curse him) looks at her.”

Both of the above state that all of a woman is 'awrah. Next there is this Ayat:

O you who have believed, do not enter the houses of the Prophet except when you are permitted for a meal, without awaiting its readiness. But when you are invited, then enter; and when you have eaten, disperse without seeking to remain for conversation. Indeed, that [behavior] was troubling the Prophet, and he is shy of [dismissing] you. But Allāh is not shy of the truth. And when you ask [his wives] for something, ask them from behind a partition. That is purer for your hearts and their hearts. And it is not [conceivable or lawful] for you to harm the Messenger of Allāh or to marry his wives after him, ever. Indeed, that would be in the sight of Allāh an enormity.

(Al-Ahzāb 33:53)

Some will say that this ayat only refers to the wives of the Prophet. The ayat itself is specific to the Prophet but the generality of the words referring to veiling between men and woman seems to apply to all. The flaw of the heart that causes fitnah resides in everyone. This concept can be futher proven by the following hadith narrated by Umm Salamah:

“When my ‘Iddah (This type of ‘iddah refers to the 4 months and 10 days of mourning that Allah has legislated for a woman after her husband passes away) ended from [the death of] Abi Salamah, Rasūlullah (Sallalllahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) came and spoke to me and between him and I was a Hijāb, and so he proposed to me…”

Now before anyone says 'it only says 'hijab' not veil, the Arabic word for cover is hijab, so these hadith and ayat are talking about either a curtain or veil of some sort. Another way to look at this concept would be that if in a woman's home they have a barrier or veil between her and a man why would she abandon that form of modesty when she left the home?

The next Ayat is probably one that we all know:

O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their Jalābīb all over their bodies. That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allâh is Ever Oft¬-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Al-Ahzāb 33:59)

What comes into question here is 'what is a Jalabib'. We can explore that further in the following hadith:

It was narrated that ‘Aasim al-Ahwal said: We used to enter upon Hafsah bint Sirīn who had put her Jilbāb thus and covered her face with it, and we would say to her: May Allah have mercy on you. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And as for women past childbearing who do not expect wedlock, it is no sin on them if they discard their (outer) clothing in such a way as not to show their adornment” [al-Noor 24:60]. And she would say to us: What comes after that (of the āyah)? We would say: “But to refrain (i.e. not to discard their outer clothing) is better for them”. And so she said: [Referring to, 'But to refrain is better for them'], “It is to keep the Jilbāb.” [Narrated by al-Bayhaqi, 7/93. It is Authentic]

This hadith shows that Hafsah Bint Sirin, who was an older woman and a sahabiat, used to use her jilbab to cover her face. This is proof that the jilbab was worn as a complete body cover. It also shows how a woman of her age does not need to cover like that but it is best for her to continue to do so.

So these are just a few of the things that I found that led me to believe that veiling is fard. Now that I have come to this conclusion I feel naked without it. It is a very safe and respectable feeling. It also sort of forces you to dress properly. Wearing anything but an abaya with a niqab feels strange to me!

I will never tell a sister that she has to wear it, or look down on anyone who does not. If they ask, I'll pass them along to the book I mentioned above and give some advice, but I'll not push it. I've had plenty of people try to talk me out of it, but even more tell me that its a good thing. May Allah guide and bless the believing brothers and sisters.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Defiance Part 2

My post from a couple of days ago caused quite a stir with some people. It is never my intention write things purely to rile people up, but this post seemed to do just that. Anyway, my whole point behind writing that post was two-fold.

1. I wanted to to discuss the permissibility of Music. This is a pretty plain and simple topic. There are differences of opinion out there, but I usually go with the stronger opinion, which, in this case is that it is not permissible.

2. I wanted to point out some of the defiant attitudes I'd noticed on blogs and forums about some Muslim's choice to listen to music. Perhaps this part of the post was not the best of ideas.

So, getting back to point #1. Once while I was in a class at the masjid a sister asked our teacher about Music. The discussion went on for a while and someone asked if Nasheeds were ok. Our teacher's answer was really good. She said that if you can understand what is being said and determine that there is no biddah or shirk being talked about AND there are no musical instruments than it MAY be ok, but its best to just leave it. What I found interesting about what she said was the part about understanding the words of the song. A lot of nasheeds are in Arabic, Urdu etc. I don't know these languages well enough (or at all) to determine what they singer is actually saying. So as a little experiment I found a nasheed in Urdu and asked someone I knew to tell me what it said. They told me that the song was in great praise of the Prophet but it actually went too far and seemed like shirk to them.

So, if we should be careful about nasheeds, which are supposed to be Islamic songs, wouldn't you think that staying away from today's pop music is only logical? A lot of people will defend their choice to listen to this music saying that it doesn't really contain anything bad so it should be alright, but have you really read these lyrics? Have you looked at the album covers?

As for the 2nd point of my post, I only wanted to discuss how the defensive and defiant attitude that some Muslims have about music should be a sign to them that there is something wrong. Think about it... you get so angry when people try to give you advice and show you proofs. You sometimes even tell people upfront that 'you don't want to hear it' anymore. You defend your choice to listen to music with such passion that you would think that it was something important in this world. Its like an obsession for you. An addiction that you can't give up. When you read something about music being haram you get so angry. Where are these emotions coming from? Not from anywhere good.... And you say that music has no bad effects on people?

Inshallah this post does not get anyone all puffy and irritated. And if it does, try to think about how Shaytan is loving every moment of your aggravation, because he is winning when you feel like that about something so trival. He loves it when you disobey Allah and his messenger.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 1065 Narrated by Abu Musa
Allah's Messenger (saws) said: 'Every eye is lustful, and when a woman applies perfume and then goes about in an assembly, she is like such and such, i.e. an adulteress.'

Sunan of Abu- Dawood Hadith 4161 Narrated by Abu Musa
The Prophet (saws) said: 'If a woman uses perfume and passes the people so that they may get its odor, she is so-and-so…., (meaning severe remarks)

I used to have such a huge perfume collection. I still have my favorites but got rid of most of them. Its funny because I never really thought about it until Islam, but a nice scent really does turn your head.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Not going to write much today

My son does not feel good and with his autism sometimes its really hard to understand what is bothering him. So, I'm taking a sick day from my Month-o-Blog a thon.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Lately I've read on a few blogs posts about music. The posts run from Muslims who are struggling to give it up to Muslims who know its wrong and defiantly listen to it anyway.

For those who are trying to give it up, I went through a lot of what you did. I never was without music before I reverted to Islam. At work I would have a radio on my desk and later my ipod packed full of every CD I owned. In the car I was always singing along with the radio at the top of my lungs (how embarrassing!). When I first accepted Islam I had no intention of giving it up. But as I learned and understood it became easy for me. I realized that it was taking my mind away from where it needed to be.

For those who are being defiant about it, I probably won't change your mind, but just do me a favor and read over these few Quran ayats and hadiths:

“And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing) to mislead (men) from the path of Allaah…” [Luqmaan 31:6]

“Do you then wonder at this recitation (the Qur’aan)? And you laugh at it and weep not, Wasting your (precious) lifetime in pastime and amusements (singing)”[al-Najm 53:59-61]

“Among my ummah there will certainly be people who permit zinaa, silk, alcohol and musical instruments…” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari ta’leeqan, no. 5590; narrated as mawsool by al-Tabaraani and al-Bayhaqi. See al-Silsilah al-Saheehah by al-Albaani, 91).

Narrated Abu 'Amir or Abu Malik Al-Ash'ari that he heard the Prophet saying, "From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcoholic drinks, and the use of musical instruments as lawful. And (from them), there will be some who will stay near the side of a mountain, and in the evening their shepherd will come to them with their sheep and ask them for something, but they will say to him, 'Return to us tomorrow.' Allah will destroy them during the night and will let the mountain fall on them, and Allah will transform the rest of them into monkeys and pigs and they will remain so till the Day of Resurrection."

Narrated Abdullah ibn Mas'ud: Salam ibn Miskin, quoting an old man who witnessed AbuWa'il in a wedding feast, said: They began to play, amuse and sing. He united the support of his hand round his knees that were drawn up, and said: I heard Abdullah (ibn Mas'ud) say: I heard the apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) say: singing produces hypocrisy in the heart. (Book #41, Hadith #4909)

So looking at the above (which is just a few of many) how can you read these and not care about what they say? Where it says 'Among my Ummah will be those who permit zina, silk, alcohol and musical instruments'... Music is being compared to ZINA there. So why would you think its ok? The Messenger of Allah said that singing produces hypocrisy in the heart... do you think you know better than he does?

Even if you don't want to admit it, music takes you away from where you should be. Perhaps you see it as relaxing or as a pick me up, but Allah knows better than we do what is good and bad for us. As Muslims we stay away from alcohol, pork, zina and many other things, but when it comes to music we can't give it up? Why? Do you love something of this dunya so much that you can't obey your creator? Think about it. The desire to listen to music is so strong for you, where do you think that desire comes from? Perhaps a whisper in your ear?

Anyway, my rant is over. For those of you who struggle with it, may Allah guide you to success. For those who are defiant about it, may Allah open your heart and mind to what you do not know.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Textual Islam?

What is textual Islam? I had never heard the term until earlier today. Apparently it is when someone learns about their deen only from written sources, such as Quran, sunnah and books by scholars. Now to me this seems like the only way to go. Perhaps throw in a some lectures and classes and your set. Right? Wrong... well wrong according to some.

As a revert, I can't think of any other way to learn, but then I forget that if you are born into Islam you are more thank likely going to have had 'knowledge' given to you by other sources. You will learn from your parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends teachers and so on. Now that doesn't sound too bad does it? In theory its great, but its sort of like the telephone game, as information is passed down through families and such, things can get distorted. Fiction can be passed off as fact and people start to learn things the wrong way. Culture gets thrown in there and boom, it starts to look less and less like Islam and more like.... well I don't know what it looks like, but not much like Islam.

I recently read a post on another blog where the poster (a revert) said that when she first accepted Islam she thought she was reverting to THE Islam, only to find out that there are many different sects, schools of thought and cultural divides. I was the same way. I thought that everyone that was Muslim did the same thing. Wow, was I wrong. Once I started to meet Muslims from other countries and sects I realized that it if I didn't 'stick to the books' I was going to get seriously confused. Not only did I have to stick to the books, but I had to be careful about which books. Alhamduliah I found a great community of sisters to help me and a wonderful teacher that guided us all through that maze. If I look back at my book collection from the beginning I wince sometimes thinking... 'did I actually read that?'. Now I am pretty careful about what I read, and when we started our bookstore, we sought advice on which types of books to stock and which to avoid.

So for now, I don't mind being someone that learned 'textually'.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Can't Sleep Reading

Last night I could not sleep. It was 3:00 AM and I was just laying there. I played with my phone for a while, watched my husband sleep and read a little. One of the books that I found tucked away in the pile next to my bed was a dawah book called 'Priests Entering Islam'.

I read a few of the stories, but the one I liked the best was the reversion story of Gerald Dirks. (you can read his story here) One of the things he said that caught my attention was the following:

There is some irony in the fact that the supposedly best, brightest, and most idealistic of ministers-to-be are selected for the very best of seminary education, e.g. that offered at that time at the Harvard Divinity School. The irony is that, given such an education, the seminarian is exposed to as much of the actual historical truth as is known about: 1) the formation of the early, “mainstream” church, and how it was shaped by geopolitical considerations; 2) the “original” reading of various Biblical texts, many of which are in sharp contrast to what most Christians read when they pick up their Bible, although gradually some of this information is being incorporated into newer and better translations; 3) the evolution of such concepts as a triune godhead and the “sonship” of Jesus, peace be upon him; 4) the non-religious considerations that underlie many Christian creeds and doctrines; 5) the existence of those early churches and Christian movements which never accepted the concept of a triune godhead, and which never accepted the concept of the divinity of Jesus, peace be upon him; and 6) etc. As such, it is no real wonder that almost a majority of such seminary graduates leave seminary, not to “fill pulpits”, where they would be asked to preach that which they know is not true

He later goes on to say that his eduction at the Harvard Divinity School "
had taken care of any belief I might have had regarding a triune godhead or the divinity of Jesus" So this made me wonder how many scholars of Christianity feel the same way? If you read his story you don't get the idea that he never had any faith in Christianity, only that when he took the time to study and learn about it, he found it was created by man and not by God. That the scriptures were very altered and that the divinity of Jesus was something politically decided by a council rather than decreed by God.

The above conclusion is not difficult to come by really. Once I started to study Islam, and by default Christianity, I found this all to be true as well. The information is out there for anyone who wants to open their eyes to the truth. Have you ever tried to ask a Christian about the trinity? The explanation given NEVER makes any sense... and even if you as a priest or minister they can't really explain it logically either. Is this what they call suspension of disbelief?

Growing up as a Christian I just knew what I was told. I went to church I went to Sunday school, I was an alter girl, and I just followed along. The very first time a Muslim asked me 'do you believe that Jesus is the son of God?' I said 'Of Course!' and then he said... 'why?'... I had no idea. This was the beginning of my journey to Islam. Someone asked me a question about my own religion that I could not answer... so I started learning the truth and it shocked me.

Alhamdulilah I was guided to Islam and so was my husband and son. I thank Allah for that everyday, the truth is there for those he gives it to.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ignoring the Gift

Islam is a gift from Allah. He gives it to some of us at birth, others he guides to it later in life. Some never receive it.

What I wanted to write about today is people who ignore this gift. I'm sure we all know someone born into Islam that takes it for granted, that does not really practice but perhaps follows their culture instead. Sisters that don't cover, brothers that don't pray, parents that don't teach their children the deen. In a way this makes me sad and angry at the same time. They have been given the most precious gift in the world yet they mock it. How can you know about the truth of Islam and not want to do everything you can to please Allah? Perhaps its Shaytan whispering to them about the marvels of this world... perhaps its ignorance. Allah knows best.

Ignoring the gift is not exclusive to born Muslims either! Reverts can fall into the trap as well. As a revert I see Allah guiding me to Islam as the most beautiful thing of all. It is like my eyes were closed tight for 34 years and they were finally opened. Of course it takes time to learn and grow, but how can you see this truth and just take it half way? Once you start learning, don't look back. Have the strength and courage to leave the dunya behind and embrace your deen to the fullest.

We all make mistakes, we all need to learn and grow, but don't ignore this beautiful gift that Allah has given you. Take it, cherish it and love it. Obey your creator. Do what pleases him and leave what does not.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

First day of Class

Alhamdulilah I made it through my first day of class! I tried my best to concentrate, but my cold was winning the war. There were over 180 people in the class, mostly sisters, but a few brothers and it went by pretty fast.

The part that I liked best was tafsir, it was very thorough and I learned some things I didn't already know. One thing that sort of drove me crazy was the amount of pointless chatter being typed in the chat box of the class. At one point the moderator shut it down which was really nice.

Tomorrow night I'll have to relocate my study area because the living room is far to active for me to not be distracted by lots of things. Inshallah I do well and continue to learn

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


While listening to NPR I heard a story about our new Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton talking about renewing good ties with North Korea. One of her stipulations was that they cease any nuclear program, be it for energy or weapons. Now I'm not a fan of nuclear weapons but what makes us think we can tell other countries they can't have them when we and our 'allies' do? Its pure arrogance on our part. The US also pulls this with Iran. What makes us think we can just tread all over this earth and lay down commands for other to follow? How dare we as a country send drones into Pakistan to kill people we deem dangerous! Do our borders now extend where ever we want them? Are we allowed to carry out these 'terrorist' acts and brand them as military action?

This also applies to the US's rampant desire to 'spread democracy'. What may work for some does not work for all. Don't impose your rules on someone else unless you are sure they want it. After no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, suddenly liberating the people and giving them democracy was the #1 reason we went there and killed 100's of thousands of innocent people.

At one time the US was more frightened of communism than it was of Islam. If you remember the US funded the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan against Russia. Now the US is there trying to 'spread democracy'. Arrogance.

When any other country dares do something that the US doesn't (even if its better) they are branded as socialist and written off. Like a national health care system that runs smoothly in most European countries would never happen here.. because of arrogance (and possible capitalist greed).

May Allah Subhannah Wa Ta'Ala guide us and protect us from the evils of this world.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Having a cold

I have no motivation when I have a cold. I've sat here for a while now trying to think of something to write about and I just can't. So I'm going to be lame and write about nearly nothing. I slept really late today, my son was home but my husband had the day off too so I was able to sleep in. We went to a sisters house to re-fix her kitchen light and then went to Target to get a few things. I saw another Muslim there (a couple actually) but they didn't see us.

So there is my boring sick feeling day :) Inshallah I feel better soon.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Back Home

After the wonderful day I had yesterday, I started to feel sick in the evening. Turns out I have a cold now. :( Inshallah it will go away soon.

I left my mom's at about 3:00 today, and had a pretty uneventful drive home. It took 4 hours and 11 minutes. I guess I was driving too fast! Its nice to go and spend time with mom, we talk about just about everything including religion. I feel sometimes like I'm not sure where to start with dawah with her. I try to explain things the best I can, but I feel I can't be pushy or bring up things that would upset her. Each time I'm there we talk a little more and I think I clear any misconceptions she has, but I find it hard to really say everything I'd like to say. Perhaps it would be better if she heard it from someone else, but who? Next time we all go up I'll ask my husband to spend some time talking about it while I go away or something. That way it won't be coming from her child, and she might be more apt to accept what is being said. Inshallah her heart is opened one day.

And here is one last picture of Vermont. I liked the way the melted snow left curvy patterns on the field.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Pictures of Vermont

Today my mom and I went out shopping. Our fist stop was the library where they always have a room full of old books they are selling. I found a couple of books on Australia for the project in school and then a few other things that will be nice reference for other lessons. Next we stopped at a yarn shop and I got a nice big skein of yarn. It is such an odd shape, its over sized and looks like a big purple and blue dinosaur egg! Next we drove to the next town to a charity shop where I got a bunch of nifty things to use for art projects at school. I plan on doing some mosaics with the kids so I got about 15 brightly colored plates to smash to use as tiles. I also found some ribbon to use for windsocks and 4 plastic horse shoe game sets for gym class! Such a bargain!

Now for the pictures!!!!

This first one is the view as you come down the hill into the town I grew up in.

These next view are just scenes as we were driving, these are the Green Mountains of Vermont (although they don't look very green right now... and also a few cow fields that I just loved the way they looked.

And now for the grand finale. While we were at the charity shop my 72 year old mum found a scooter... and she just had to try it out! I love my mommy!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Long Drive Today

Well I'm going to make this entry quick because it is late and I've had a long day. I drove to my mom's in Vermont today. Its about 225 miles and 4 1/2 hours from my house. I did come alone, which I know I should not have done, but for us all to leave for a weekend is sometimes near impossible.

It was a nice drive, not really any traffic, and once you get off the highway the scenery is beautiful. Nice little towns, winding roads and farms everywhere. There is something about coming home that makes me relax... the fresh air, the mountains and the sparser population all seem to help. Alhamdulillah I got here alright.

Tomorrow mom and I will spend the day doing simple things, but inshallah it will be time well spent. Please make dua that I can be a good example for my mom and that Allah opens her heart to Islam.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Australian Muslims

One of the big events that takes place at the school I teach at is the 'Multi-Cultural Fair'. Each grade has to choose a Country and present information about it in a showcase format. My class is going to be doing Australia.

I've assigned each student something to 'specialize' in, and one of those things is Islam in Australia. I'm looking forward to learning more about our brothers and sisters from down under. So, if any of you out there have any information you can share, my class would greatly appreciate it!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Getting Nervous

I'm getting a bit nervous now. I've signed up for another intensive course! Thanks to Saira from Italy, I will be taking the Taleem Al Quran evening courses. I am excited but also a bit nervous about the work load.

Wed 5:30-9:30 - Taleem Al Quran
Thurs 5:30-9:30 - Taleem Al Quran
Fri 6:30-8:30 - Tajweed in Hartford
Sat 1:00 - 3:00 - Al Baseerah course
Sun 12:30-1:30 - 40 Ahadeeth class

About a month ago I was getting that itch to start studying seriously. I wanted to increase my knowledge of Islam, but could not find a source that fit my budget. Alhamdulillah all of these new opportunities to learn have come my way, and I think I can manage the cost as well.

Its been over two years since I reverted, and since then I've never stopped wanting to learn about Islam. I've always got 2 or 3 Islamic books going at once. I skip back and forth between them so I can absorb the most information. Its something I never tire of. Mind you I was not like this before, there was nothing that ever captured my heart and mind like this.

So as I get ready to start this intense workload, I am nervous, but mostly I'm just really excited to be learning more about my deen.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Another Hijab Post

Yes, that's right... yet another hijab post. We see them everywhere. Blogs, forums, emails... everywhere. But this one will be different! Yeah right. As a revert I get asked a lot when I started to wear hijab, and later when I started to wear niqab. It seems to be a really fascinating story to some. Especially those who don't cover. I'm not sure if its because they want to really learn why or they want to validate why they don't.

A sister once asked me if I cover outside of school. I thought it was an odd question at the time. Why would I wear niqab to school and then not cover any other time? And that was also the first time I realized that some of the other sisters I work with don't cover outside of school. Now you may think that as long as they show a good example for the kids that there should not be a problem. This is not the case. Our community is not that large, and I hear whispers from some of the students that they saw Sister so and so out at the store and that they could see her hair and her jeans were really tight. Most of these whispers are from the girls and all of the girls that say this are 'of age' for covering full time. The issues caused by this are two-fold. One, the girls now either question the legitimacy of covering or they question the legitimacy of their teacher. Two, we have teachers that do not 'practice what they preach'. At some point during the year at an Islamic school every teacher has to give a reminder about the proper dress code for a Muslim. So does that make that person a hypocrite for saying one thing and doing another? This scares me very much because of the following hadith
"A man will be brought on the Day of Resurrection and thrown in the (Hell) Fire, so that his intestines will come out, and he will go around like a donkey goes around a millstone. The people of (Hell) Fire will gather around him and say: O so-and-so! What is wrong with you? Didn't you use to order us to do good deeds and forbid us to do bad deeds? He will reply: Yes, I used to order you to do good deeds, but I did not do them myself, and I used to forbid you to do bad deeds, yet I used to do them myself." (Book 54 Hadith #489 Bukhari)

I don't want to come off as judgemental. The reasons that people don't chose to cover are their own, and its between them and Allah Subhannah Wa Ta'Ala. I just wonder if they wonder what the consequences of that choice will be.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Origin of V-Day

As we approach the next non Islamic holiday I thought I would look up some history on Valentines day and explore why we as Muslims, do no celebrate it.

I found on a site called a rather extensive article on the topic. You can read the entire thing HERE. A few of the things that stood our for me are as follows:

The story of the Festival of Love (Valentine’s Day)

The Festival of Love was one of the festivals of the pagan Romans, when paganism was the prevalent religion of the Romans more than seventeen centuries ago. In the pagan Roman concept, it was an expression of “spiritual love”. There were myths associated with this pagan festival of the Romans, which persisted with their Christian heirs. Among the most famous of these myths was the Roman belief that Romulus, the founder of Rome, was suckled one day by a she-wolf, which gave him strength and wisdom. The Romans used to celebrate this event in mid-February each year with a big festival. One of the rituals of this festival was the sacrifice of a dog and a goat. Two strong and muscular youths would daub the blood of the dog and goat onto their bodies, then they would wash the blood away with milk. After that there would be a great parade, with these two youths at its head, which would go about the streets. The two youths would have pieces of leather with which they would hit everyone who crossed their path. The Roman women would welcome these blows, because they believed that they could prevent or cure infertility.

The connection between Saint Valentine and this festival

Saint Valentine is a name which is given to two of the ancient “martyrs” of the Christian Church. It was said that there were two of them, or that there was only one, who died in Rome as the result of the persecution of the Gothic leader Claudius, c. 296 CE. In 350 CE, a church was built in Rome on the site of the place where he died, to perpetuate his memory. When the Romans embraced Christianity, they continued to celebrate the Feast of Love mentioned above, but they changed it from the pagan concept of “spiritual love” to another concept known as the “martyrs of love”, represented by Saint Valentine who had advocated love and peace, for which cause he was martyred, according to their claims. It was also called the Feast of Lovers, and Saint Valentine was considered to be the patron saint of lovers.

One of their false beliefs connected with this festival was that the names of girls who had reached marriageable age would be written on small rolls of paper and placed in a dish on a table. Then the young men who wanted to get married would be called, and each of them would pick a piece of paper. He would put himself at the service of the girl whose name he had drawn for one year, so that they could find out about one another. Then they would get married, or they would repeat the same process again on the day of the festival in the following year. The Christian clergy reacted against this tradition, which they considered to have a corrupting influence on the morals of young men and women. It was abolished in Italy, where it had been well-known, then it was revived in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when in some western countries there appeared shops which sold small books called “Valentine’s books”, which contained love poems, from which the one who wanted to send a greeting to his sweetheart could choose. They also contained suggestions for writing love letters.

Someone may ask: why do we Muslims not celebrate this festival?

This question may be answered in several ways:

1. In Islam, the festivals are clearly defined and well established, and no additions or subtractions may be accepted. They are an essential part of our worship and there is no room for ijtihaad or personal opinion. They have been prescribed for us by Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “Festivals are part of the laws, clear way and religious ceremonies of which Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): ‘To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way [al-Maa’idah 5:48] ‘For every nation We have ordained religious ceremonies which they must follow’ [al-Hajj 22:67] like the qiblah (direction faced in prayer), prayer and fasting. So there is no difference between joining them in their festival and joining them in their other rituals. Agreeing with the whole festival is agreeing with kufr. Agreeing with some of their minor issues is the same as agreeing with them in some of the branches of kufr.

Festivals are the most distinctive things by which religions are told apart, so whoever celebrates their festivals is agreeing with the most distinctive rituals of kufr. Undoubtedly going along with them in their festivals may in some cases lead to kufr. Dabbling in these things, at the very least, is a sin. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) referred to the fact that every nation has its own festivals when he said: ‘Every nation has its own Eid and this is our Eid’ (al-Bukhaari , 952, Muslim, 1892).” (al-Iqtidaa’, 1/471-472)

Because Valentine’s Day goes back to Roman times, not Islamic times, this means that it is something which belongs exclusively to the Christians, not to Islam, and the Muslims have no share and no part in it. If every nation has its own festivals, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said – “Every nation has its Eid” (narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim) – then this means that every nation should be distinguished by its festivals. If the Christians have a festival and the Jews have a festival, which belongs exclusively to them, then no Muslim should join in with them, just as he does not share their religion or their direction of prayer.

2. Celebrating Valentine’s Day means resembling or imitating the pagan Romans, then the Christian People of the Book in their imitation of the Romans in something that was not a part of their religion. If it is not allowed to imitate the Christians in things that really are part of their religion – but not part of our religion – then how about things which they have innovated in their religion in imitation of idol-worshippers?!

Imitating the kuffaar in general –whether they are idol-worshippers or People of the Book – is haraam, whether that imitation is of their worship – which is the most serious form – or of their customs and behaviour. This is indicated by the Qur'an, Sunnah and ijmaa’ (scholarly consensus)

Mashallah that really seems to cover it. There will be people that ask what is the harm? We don't celebrate it now like they did then? But to be honest, who cares? Why do we even need to participate in ridiculous things like this? We were given days to celebrate in Islam and they are the best of days.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Signed up for a Class

I'm really excited to start this new class I signed up for a few days ago. Its an Al Baseerah course on Al-Qawaaid Al-Arba' or the 4 principles of shirk. it was advertised as 'intensive' and is only $30 for a ten week course. You can choose from 3 sessions in the week (you only have to attend 1) and there are assignments and group projects to be completed as well. The course is taught by Shaykh ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abdur-Rahmaan Al-Ghudyaan and will be translated from Arabic to English. If you are interested check it out here:

This past summer I took an intensive course with TROID that was great, mashallah. It had a bit of everything! Fiqh, Aqeedah, Tafsir and the sciences of Hadith. I learned a lot, and I look forward to doing it again this summer inshallah.

The best part is that I can never get enough of learning about Islam. Its an addiction I think, but a good one!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

If a Wife Leaves Islam

What happens if a wife leaves Islam? I've searched the Internet and asked a few people I trust and the answer is always the same. If a wife apostatizes from Islam the marriage is not valid any longer, and the children go to the father.

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Muslim men are allowed to marry women 'of the book' (meaning Jews or Christians), only if they agree to keep a Muslim house and raise the children as Muslims. I would think that would be a difficult thing in itself. A Muslim man has to find a chaste Christian or Jewish woman that is religious enough to be chaste AND willing to raise her children as Muslims. BUT things change when a Muslim man marries a Muslim woman (revert or not). If she leave Islam, she may no longer be willing to raise the children as Muslim.

The problem is, that this ruling would never be carried out in the west. Even if the husband was willing to give up his wife, no western court would ever give the full custody of the children to the father. Sadly this would mean that the child would probably be pulled in many different directions and have a struggle to keep on the straight path of Islam. Inshallah things like this are rare, and when it does happen may Allah Subhannahu Wa Ta'ala make it easy for them.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Tajweed Class

Tonight was my tajweed class. We have it every Friday night at 6:30 PM at the sister's house who teaches us. She is the Arabic teacher at the school I teach at and for $10 a class shes tutors us in tajweed.

At its best we have 5 sisters that come. Normally its about 3 of us. This allows for a lot of personal attention in the 2+ hours that we are there. I really enjoy the class, she is a great teacher and its so much more comfortable to learn from a sister. I had taken online tajweed and my tutor was a young brother. It just felt strange. I didn't like to recite for him, and sometimes he was so grumpy with me! I felt so self concise and it was hard to repeat what he said when I could not see him. I also now realize that he was not teaching me right anyway.

So, back to my class. I like the class because we are all very comfortable with each other. We encourage each other to do well and our teacher is just amazing. She really can explain exactly how to make the sounds we need to make. She understands that the average American's English does not include a lot of the sounds in Arabic and knows how to help us make them. Its actually pretty amazing mashallah. We also always have tea and something to munch on! Best of all, I've really learned a lot and I feel like I'm improving, Alhamdulilah!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Kids I Teach

As you may or may not know, I co-teach 6th grade at an Islamic school and run the art and computer program for the entire school (Grades K-8, about 70 students total). This is the best job I've even had. I'm not talking about how much I get paid, because let me tell you, its not much... I'm talking about the rewards I feel when I'm there.

The kids in the school are great. There are a few that cause a bit of trouble now and then, but it is nothing compared to what happens in public school. These kids are all brothers and sisters in Islam, and when there are issues or problems between students they are dealt with Islamically and everyone involved comes out a better person having learned a lesson that will carry them through life. These kids know how to give each other naseeha! They advise each other in a polite way and share what they learn everyday. Best of all they eager to learn how to please Allah.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

When Is backbiting permissible

Backbiting is a big issue in the Ummah, especially with sisters. We tend to talk about others behind their back and not even realize it until its too late. But when is backbiting permissible?

Imaam Abu Zakariyaa Yahyaa Ibn Sharaf-ud-Deen An-Nawawee has written about backbiting in his book Al-Adhkaar. He gives some specific situations where backbiting may be permissible:

Know that although backbiting is forbidden, it becomes permissible under certain circumstances when done for a beneficial reason. The authorization for doing it must be based on a valid and legitimate reason of which in its absence, its permissibility cannot be achieved. The authorization (making backbiting allowable) can be any one of the following six reasons:

1. Oppression -It is permissible for the one who is oppressed to complain about his situation to the ruler or the judge or anyone else who holds authority or has the ability to grant him justice against his oppressor. He should say: "Such and such person wronged me" and "he did such thing to me", and "he coerced me in this manner" and so on.

2. Seeking assistance in changing an evil and in returning a sinner back to what is correct - One should say to the individual whom he expects has the capability of putting a stop to the evil: "Such and such person did this, so I prevented him from it" or something to that effect. His objective should be to look for a way to ultimately put an end to the evil. If he does not intend that as his goal, then it is forbidden (for him to mention it).

3. Seeking a fatwa (religious ruling) - One should do this by saying to the muftee (scholar capable of issuing a fatwa): "My father" or "my brother" or "such and such person wronged me in this way." "Does he have the right to do so?" "How shall I go about putting an end to it and obtain my right while repelling oppression from myself?" and so on. Likewise, one may say: "My wife did such and such to me" or "my husband did such and such a thing" and so on. This is permissible due to the necessity for it, however, to be more cautious, it is better for one to say: "What do you say about a man who has done such and such thing?" or "concerning a husband" or "concerning a wife who did such and such" (without saying “my”), etc.

By doing this, the goal is achieved without having to resort to specifying anyone. However, specifying an individual by name is permissible (in this circumstance), based on the hadeeth of Hind (radyAllaahuanhaa), which we shall mention later, by the Will of Allaah, in which she told Allaah’s Messenger: "Indeed, Abu Sufyaan (her husband) is a stingy man." And the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahualayhi wa sallam) did not forbid her from saying this.

4. Warning and Advising the Muslims against Evil - There are several perspectives to this, of which one is: Declaring someone unreliable in the field of narrating hadeeth and giving testimony. This is permissible to do, according to the Ijmaa' (consensus of the Muslim scholars). Rather, it becomes obligatory due to its necessity. Another case is when an individual desires to enter into a relationship with another person either through marriage, business, the consignment of his property, the consigning of something to him or any other of the daily affairs. It is obligatory on you to mention to that individual what you know about the person he wants to get involved with, with the intention of advising him.

If your objective can be achieved by simply saying: "It is not correct for you to engage with him in business transactions” or “in a relationship through marriage" or by saying: "You should not do this" or anything similar to that, then adding more to this, such as by mentioning his bad characteristics is not permissible. And if the objective cannot be reached, except by specifically explaining that person’s condition to him, then you may mention that to him in detail. Another case is when you see someone buying a product from an individual who is known for stealing or fornicating or drinking or other than these. It is then upon you to inform the buyer of this, on the count that he is not knowledgeable of it already. And this case is not specified to this example only. Rather, it also applies when you have knowledge that the commodity that is being traded is defective. It is then obligatory upon you to clarify this matter to the buyer, if he does not know of it.

Another case is when you see a student going to an innovator or a deviant, seeking to attain knowledge from him, and you fear that may affect the student. In that situation, you must advise him about the condition of that innovator, on the condition that your intention only be for the sake of advising. And this is something in which regard many people fall into error, for perhaps the person speaking may do this (advising) because he is jealous (of the person he is warning against). Or perhaps the Devil may deceive him about this matter, causing him to believe that what he is doing is advising and showing compassion, so he believes this.

One last case is when a person has some leadership role, which he does not fulfill properly either because he is not fit for it or because he is a sinner or neglectful, etc. So in this case, one must mention this to those who have general leadership over this person, so that he can be removed and someone fit can be put in charge. Or those who have charge over him can know this about him so that they can deal with him accordingly and not be deceived by him, and so that they can make the right efforts to encourage him to be upright or to replace him.

5. When one openly exposes his acts of evil or his innovation - An example of this is when someone has openly exposed his consumption of alcohol, or his illegal confiscation of people’s money and raising of their taxes unjustly and his usurping command wrongfully. It is thus permissible for one to talk about what that individual has made public. But it is forbidden to mention any of his other defects, unless they fall under one of the categories, which we have mentioned that backbiting is permissible.

6. Defining someone - If someone is known to the people by his nickname, such as “the bleary eyed one”, “the one who limps”, “the deaf guy”, “the blind guy”, “cross-eyed”, “flat-nosed”, and other than that, then it is permissible to particularize him as such, with the aim of identifying him. However, it is forbidden to apply that to him, when one’s intention is to degrade him. If he can be identified with another (more appropriate) type of name, then that is more preferable. These are the six cases, in which the scholars have stated that backbiting is permissible, if it is done in accordance to the guidelines we mentioned above.

From those who have reported similar to what we have stated is Abu Haamid Al-Ghazaalee in his book “Al-Ihyaa”, as well as other scholars. The evidences for the permissibility of backbiting can be found in authentic and well-known ahaadeeth. Furthermore, there is an agreement of the scholars concerning the allowance of backbiting in these six cases.

I found a bit of point 4 interesting where it talks about a student going to an innovator. Would this also apply to modern day media situations where Muslims are being interviewed who might not be qualified to say what they are saying? Are we allowed to warn against listening to them or refute them? And what about talking about so called 'people of knowledge' are we allowed to warn against them based on what other scholars have said?

In any case we all need to be more careful about what we say and try to refrain from talking about someone in a way that they would not like. We all do it now and then.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Daily Blog for A Month?

Can I do it? I don't know why really, but I want to try write something each day for a month. So, starting today I'm going to give it a shot.

Today for my 6th grade History class we started to watch 'The Message'. Although it has its cheesy moments, it is actually very good at conveying a brief history of the beginning of Islam.

At first, the sister I co-teach with wanted to show the kids a PBS documentary called 'Empire of Faith'. I watched about 45 minutes of it one night and had to shut it off! I found many things wrong with it and I thought it best not to show it to the class. 'Empire of Faith' has non Muslim 'experts' explaining the history of Islam. It showed the battle of Badr going all the way to Mecca so that Muhammad, Sallahu Alayhi Wa Salam could break all of the idols in the Kaaba and reclaim the City for Islam. It also showed people wailing, dancing and chanting and women hitting themselves in time to a drum beat when the Prophet died. Needless to say I refused to show it. I have no idea if she still will. I'm hoping not. What is even worse is that this film is touted as 'fair and balanced' by some 'American' Muslims. Yucko!