Sunday, November 20, 2016
Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah), I always regard myself as fortunate to meet Muslim women with such conviction and strength that it moves me. There are many such women, and it brings home the fact that we need to understand the stories of women in order to appreciate them for who they really are.
The article below was written by a sister I met recently. It is so inspiring to understand the choices and processes that women go through, and it's beautiful to be reminded of how dynamic Muslim women really are.
I am thankful to sister Rehana for allowing me to post this here.
Please enjoy the read (see below for meanings of Arabic words)
The beauty of hijaab, sister Rehana Bint Ismail of Johannesburg, South Africa
SEPTEMBER 28, 2013 / NUJOOMULAYL
Hijaab…nikaab…purda… I don’t have to cover my face its not farz…purda is in the heart not covering the face…that’s what they all say… and that’s what I too believed at first…
My mum started wearing nikaab 15 years ago and at that time there were more and more woman donning the nikaab ! I felt really proud of her taking this big step but never told her my feeling even though I admired her courage..
I got married in 2008 and 1 of the perks of being a home exec was giving up my career of corporate banker after 12 years.It was quite an adjustment but I benefited a lot alhamdulillah ,as I started attending deeni talks for ladies and had ample time to do all the hobbies and courses I couldn’t do whilst pursuing a career.
My husband was and still is a remarkable spouse who always encourages me to new spiritual heights without loosing the essence of ikhlaas or sincerity.He never expressed his wish to see me wear the nikaab but always explained the benefit and the virtues of it to me.
He is a student of deen and a popular leader of the community in a suburb situated within Johannesburg South.
I became very conscious of not wearing it and felt awkward and uncovered when ever we would frequent shopping malls or the local supermarket or bakery as everyone would stare at me and remark ” theres moulana and his new wife”, which at times resulted in me wearing a big pair of sunglasses to cover half my face!
My mum would constantly encourage me to wear the nikaab explaining how important it was to wear it as I was now a “moulanas” wife.
Yeah right forget about everyone else but what about my feeling and thoughts and ambitions !
Having always heard my father speak about his 4 months spent in 1975 ,I asked hubby if he would take me out for 3 days mastooraat jamaat just to experience what it was all about. Now when you leave your home as a couple you have to wear the nikaab till you get to the hosts place and then you have to wear it on your way back home too.
I wasn’t aware that I had to wear it and felt reluctant at first but wore it none the less.It felt good yet somewhat uncomfortable but I felt a sense of “completeness”- kind of like i wished I could always wear it so I secretly bought my first nikaab and started wearing it whenever I would leave home.Hubby didn’t notice.He probably thought it was just a passing phase.
After 2 weeks of wearing it all over he looked at me while driving to Lenz and asked me if the wearing of the purdah was going to be a permanent situation so I said it was a trial phase !!! What a lie because deep down I knew that this was such a great and noble step in my life and I was trying to make it a permanent one too.
Eventually he sat me down and explained to me that Allah swt honours a women who wears the nikaab and told me how proud he was about me taking this step all on my own…subhanallah I felt so chuffed and was waiting for those wise words of approval ….
It is 5 years now since I donned the nikaab and yes …we only wear nikaab for Allah's pleasure.. we are observing modesty and this too is ultimately for the pleasure of Allah swt…a woman modestly dressed is like a pearl in an oyster..
They say Allah honours a woman who wears the nikaab and yes I have witnessed being honoured on many occasions when non-Muslim men come up to hubby and express that they too would love their wives covered up the way I do !
Only Allah swt knows what’s in each persons heart and Allah grant me the steadfastness to improve my akhlaaq and use me as a means of spreading this wonderful concept of hijaab as well as the beautiful deen of Islam !
Alhamdulillah, we, in Aouth Africa are not restricted from practicing any avenue of deen compared to other countries where the hijab is banned, and because of this we have to take full advantage of practicing deen in totality.
Allah swt in his infinite wisdom has bestowed us with so many nemats and besides being the reciters of the kalima and the ummatees of Nabi Mohammed saw , Allah swt has made us woman and have completed us by making modesty a branch of imaan…
It is not farz but waajib to cover the face as ulama explain that it is a protective measure in this time of fitnaa that we are living in where woman are exposed to many evils.
Purdah is not in the heart and if we wish to attain closeness to Allah swt then we will obey his commands willingly or unwillingly ,ultimately for his pleasure, and Allah swt will make it easy for us.
So to all my sisters who are still undecided on taking that great step forward- just take the plunge you will never regret it. Yes Allah swt will honour you, he will make it easy for you and he will protect and elevate you….don’t look back !
Hijaab is my choice and my freedom and I am a proud Muslimah…..Allah hu Akbar !!
Alhamdulillah (All Praise is for Allah)
mastooraat jamaat- basically a religious trip where people gather and interact and discuss religion.(My description does not do justice, but nevertheless)
SubhanAllah (Glory be to Allah)
kalima - declaration of Faith- testifying that there is only One God and Muhammad (pbuh) is the messenger of God.
Ummatees- People belonging to one "Ummah" or community.
Fitnaa- trials / tribulations
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Beautiful women, running after the wrong men,
Coaxed by words, uttered so easily and freely ,
meaningless words out in the open,
his exploits forgotten so neatly.
Intelligent women, losing all reason,
drowning further and deeper in the illusion.
Wishing for things to change and get better,
Covering up faults and lies over and over.
Strong women, brought down so weak,
believeing the worst about themselves,
deceit and treachery they will overlook,
because love and approval is what they seek.
The price seems too high to pay,
Women are far more worthy than this,
Not there simply for amusement and play,
Surely not to be left to sink deep into an abyss.
She should be honoured and cared for,
Instead she is so harshly showed the door,
She gives all she can and more,
she should be loved, cherished and adored.
But the deception continues on and on,
And she is made to feel like she will never belong,
Hating everything about herself,
depending on him, holding on.
Used and abused, and even accused,
Her trust and honour so often misused.
All this for meager justification,
Do we really need a man to give us validation?
How do we women become so easily fooled?
So easily swayed and beguiled.
How can we believe in empowerment?
Yet give up ourselves so easily.
Sadly the years do not wisen us,
Examples of others go amiss,
Sweet words and promises are often enough,
Despite the rest of it being a bluff.
The price indeed seems too high,
Women were not created for this,
To be respected and honoured is not a far cry,
We should stop allowing ourselves to get lost!
I’m saddened by what I hear and see,
These women only pretend to be free,
Entrapped in the worst way they can be,
because their imprisonment they refuse to see.
Friday, November 11, 2016
After days of heat and dryness, fear of water restrictions and planned water cuts, Alhamdulillah (All Praise is for Allah), the rain came, and it didn’t just come, it came in abundance, SubhanAllah (Glory be to Allah)! It’s rained so much in the past three days that people are sending out storm warnings. I don’t know yet if this is enough to satisfy the water needs after the drought, but how can we complain when the air is fresh and the grounds are wet and there is hope of more to come.
There are so many lessons to be learnt from this. It reminds us firstly how much in need of Allah we really are. With all our modern technology and so called advancements, we are still reduced to helplessness with simple things like getting rain. What if the rain didn’t come? We would have no power or ability whatsoever to bring about any rain. Our dependence is so real that we will be complete fools if we forget this.
And just like that, if too much rain comes and the storms continue, what will come of us? We could be destroyed in an inkling, unable to control a thing! SubhanAllah, how perfectly does Allah balance everything out and how wonderful it is that everything works in accordance with the Divine Plan?
So just like the rains can come to wash out the heat and bring relief, so too can Allah change difficult situations in an instant. No problem is impossible to solve when we turn to Our Creator for help, nothing is beyond the understanding of Allah, and of course, nothing happens without the wisdom and knowledge of Allah. It’s so easy to get stuck on our problems, believing that things will never change, but who knows, change could be around the corner, we just don’t know that yet.
Trust in Allah is a fundamental part of our faith. Just like Allah is able to control the rains, so too is Allah able to control the events that happen in our lives. Whatever our stories are, whatever saddens or upsets us, whatever longing and wishes we have, there is absolutely no reason to ever despair. Let the world go crazy, our sanity rests in our belief in Allah, and Insha Allah (with the will of Allah) we will never be disappointed.
May Allah Almighty bless us with beneficial rains, and fill our lives with all that is beneficial!
Image 1 from here
Image 2 from here
Image 3 from here
Friday, November 4, 2016
It’s a crazy time in South Africa at the moment. Students have been protesting for months to get rid of university fees, it’s so bad that the entire academic year has been threatened. More than once, these protesting students have taken to violent means to express their frustration. Busses have been burnt, cars have been stoned, and clashes with police have been reported on. All this violence seems unnecessary, especially in the midst of worldwide violence, one has to wonder how much worst things will get.
And as if that’s not enough, the entire political system is in turmoil. Allegations of fraud, summons of government officials, cases made to cover the tracks of corruption. Who knows what dirty political games are played behind closed doors and high walls. (It’s none the better anywhere else though is it?)
It would seem that there is reason to lose hope, but then, amidst all the chaos, there is still so much beauty in the world. While driving on the streets of Johannesburg the other day, spring in full bloom, I couldn’t help but marvel at the wonderful beauty all around me. Bright purple Jacaranda trees regally decking the sides of roads, its flowers laying down a carpet of purple bliss. Lush green trees, and red and yellow flowered ones in between, and all this continues to thrive even though rain has been scarce. The natural beauty of this city is sometimes so encompassing it makes everything else seem so futile. How can so much evil go on when there is so much beauty?
SubhanAllah, I am hit with a stark realisation or re-realisation if I can put it that way. The beauty comes from the Almighty Creator, and all the turmoil has been created by us humans. Perhaps this reminder is necessary to help us strive to please Allah, perhaps it should be reminding us to be grateful. I know with certainty that it creates hope. It provides peace in a world filled with madness. It brings joy when it seems that everything is falling apart.
Years from now those strong magnificent purple trees may be witnessing completely different scenes played out. Who knows? Maybe students will succeed in their fight for free education, maybe politicians will end their corruption, maybe rain will come in abundance and the droughts will end. I’m certain though that if those trees continue to stand, they will serve as a reminder, an epitome of beauty and grandeur, and maybe this will make someone think; If this meagre creation of Allah is so magnificent, imagine what the magnificence and grandeur of the One who created it must be like. It cannot be imagined at all, but the thought that there is a Creator who is omnipresent and all-knowing is definitely soothing and comforting.
There is beauty in every turmoil, we just need to look for it!
Image 1 from here
Image 2 from here
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
There are moments in life that move you, moments that make you feel humbled and fortunate, moments that make you remember that we all have a purpose.
There are people in life that inspire you, people who are so strong despite having to face the worse adversities; people who are able to keep their faith and stay above the water when most other people would be drowning. Recently I have had the chance to meet such a person, an amazing woman, a woman with conviction and courage. A woman who just happens to be a Muslim woman, who completely covers herself, niqab and everything.
How she dresses shouldn’t matter, it shouldn’t even be an object of discussion, but it is, it’s become so because people have decided that it should be an issue, because people find it necessary to dictate what the acceptable modes of dressing are, even though this shouldn’t matter. I mention it because somewhere, someone has decided that a woman cannot be strong, productive, and empowered if she is dressed in clothes that completely cover her.
So here we have yet another example of an extremely strong woman, a woman who has fended for herself and raised her children single handed, a woman who has being making her own choices for longer than she can remember, and you know what, she has chosen her choice of dressing as well, and this only adds to her strength.
So here I am, humbled to have met such a person, in awe at her courage and conviction, moved by the moment she told me that Allah brings people together as and when we need it. This reminds me that Allah is in control of everything and even though the world may seem a mess, there is meaning behind things, and there is always hope. Our hope comes from our connection to Our Creator, our hope comes from our Love for our Creator, our hope comes from our conviction that Our Creator knows what is best for us, and when we connect with each other based on this common understanding, it just makes everything so much more meaningful.
Some moments are inspiring, some moments are needed for us to remember our ultimate purpose on this earth, some moments are so simple, but they mean so much!